Wednesday, November 25, 2015


Pine Pitch, Boar’s Hair, and Romance
By Paty Jager

My love of the west and the area where I grew up, led me to write the Christmas Novella in the Silver Belles and Stetson Western Christmas Anthology. Christmas Redemption came about from my reading a story about a man from Joseph, OR who robbed a bank as a young man and twenty-seven years later became the vice president of the same bank. 

 Van Donovan, the hero in Christmas Redemption, doesn’t become the bank president, but I used that premise as the catalyst for the story. At the age of fifteen he thinks being a lookout for a bank robbery would be exciting and knows it will infuriate his father. Van’s lark was soon over when an innocent man is killed and Van ends up in prison without one word from his family.

Van redeems himself by learning a trade while in prison and having the courage to come back home and prove to the town and his family he is a changed man. 

Van’s occupation isn’t one seen very often in westerns. He’s a boot maker. I spent several hours in the shop of bootmaker DW Frommer II, who specializes in teaching the art of boot making in the 1800s. I learned about pine pitch that is boiled down and rubbed like wax into the threads that sew the boots together. This is done to make the boots waterproof. Usually the heavier boots worn in winter or by people who work outdoors had the pine pitch thread. 

Hair from the back of a boar’s neck was split and the thread stuck in the split. The boar’s hair was used like a needle, sewing the pieces together through the holes made with an awl. The hole patterns the bootmaker makes with an awl can distinguish his work.  While I came home with several pages of notes and information, I ended up using very little of this information.

That is the way of most research, several pages of information are carefully written down and that is boiled down into a sentence or a paragraph in the book. Hopefully, learning about the different types of leather, the different threads and what is pitched and what isn’t, helps the authenticity show through in what I do have about boot making in the story.

Blurb for Christmas Redemption

Van Donovan returns to Pleasant Valley, Oregon where twelve years earlier as a boy of fifteen he left in handcuffs after standing guard for a bank robbery. He's learned a trade and excelled at it and is ready to prove to his father and the town he can amount to something.

Upon his return he learns the fate of the daughter of an innocent man who died in the robbery crossfire. To make amends he takes her out of the saloon and gives her a job, not realizing she'd been squatting in the very building he'd purchased for his business.

Can two battered hearts find solace or will the past continue to haunt their lives?

Silver Belles and Stetsons: A Western Christmas Anthology
Available as a $.99 boxed set for a limited time

Ten Western Romance Christmas Novellas
Available as a boxed set for a limited time 

Bestselling and Award-Winning Authors bring you ten western romance novellas featuring alpha-cowboys from the past. This boxed set will take you back in time when
men were rugged and handsome and the women who loved them, courageous and

The Greatest Gift: A Montana Cowboy Christmas by Kathleen Ball. Amazon Bestselling
and Award- Winning Author. Looking for the man who ran out on her, Ginger finds a
cowboy worthy of love but he doesn't want or need love.

Catherine’s Cowboy by Cait Braxton, Amazon Bestselling and Award-Winning Author.  During a supernatural dust storm, Fate steps in when rugged army tracker, Elam, helps Catherine deliver her child.

Stone Mountain Christmas by Caroline Clemmons, Amazon Bestselling and Award-Winning Author. Can Celia restore the town's Christmas spirit? "A beautifully written story about love and hope and all the emotions Christmas brings out in people." Karren Lucas

Angel and the Texan from County Cork by Carra Copelin.  Amazon Bestselling and Award-Winning Author. Does Angel trust marriage to the man she suspects of killing her husband or the stranger who promises to pay off her debt and set her free if she decides their marriage of convenience won’t work?

The Drifter’s Proposal by Kristin Holt, Amazon Bestselling Author. The baker's man is home for Christmas... "Compelling. Heartwarming. Tender." ~Diane Darcy, USA Today Bestselling Author

The Perfect Gift by Lyn Horner. Friendship has blossomed into young love, but it seems destined to die on the vine...until an unexpected Christmas gift promises happiness.

 Marshal Mistletoe by Susan Horsnell. She married the wrong man. Will fate intervene?

Christmas Redemption by Paty Jager, Amazon Bestselling and Award-Winning Author. Can two battered hearts find solace or will the past continue to haunt their lives? "A story of forgiveness that has a wonderful hero who has worked hard to redeem himself."

A Hard Candy Christmas by Hebby Roman, Amazon Bestselling Author. Two damaged souls. Can their budding love and the healing power of Christmas bring them together?

Cowboy Christmas by Margaret Tanner. Will a miracle Christmas baby unite two tortured souls, or will it forever keep them apart?

BUY LINK:     Amazon

Paty Jager, Author, with equine friend

Award-winning author Paty Jager and her husband raise alfalfa hay in rural eastern Oregon. On her road to publication she wrote freelance articles for two local newspapers and enjoyed her job with the County Extension service as a 4-H Program Assistant. Raising hay and cattle, riding horses, and battling rattlesnakes, she not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.

All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Her penchant for research takes her on side trips that eventually turn into yet another story.

You can learn more about Paty at:
her website; 
Newsletter: Paty’s Prattle:
twitter  @patyjag.


Paty Jager said...

Caroline, Thank you for having me on your blog today!

Hebby Roman said...

Loved your post, especially about pine pitch and boar's hair, so interesting. Sometimes, research is the catalyst for a whole book. I know it has happened to me that way. And I'm jealous of you, holding your horse! I had a bay quarter horse at one time, long, long time ago.

Keta Diablo said...

Hello Caroline and Paty!

I love the cover for Christmas Redemption, Paty. Isn't she sweet?

And I loved the post - thanks so much for sharing with us.

Wishing you and Caroline a blessed Thanksgiving. So much fun being in Silver Belles and Stetsons with you!

Well done, cowgirl, Cait Braxton (Keta Diablo)

Kristin Holt said...

Very interesting, Paty. I'm easily fascinated by bits of historical methods, tools, resources, and artisan skills. It's fascinating to learn a bit out boot-making in the 19th Century. Thank you so much for sharing a little of your knowledge with us. I loved CHRISTMAS REDEMPTION, and found the tidbits (of bootmaking) in the story to be fresh and different. You're right. This specialty doesn't often appear in western historical romance.
Thank you!
Kristin Holt

Paty Jager said...

Hi Hebby! Yes, it is usually researching for one book that helps me come up with an idea for another book. That hunky gelding is Bud. I call him Studly Budly. ;)

Hi Keta, Thank you for stopping in. Yes, I loved this model the minute I laid eyes on her. She was perfect for my character. Silver Belles and Stetsons has been a fun project.

Hi Kristin, Thank you! I try to get all my research right. I think as a historical author I owe that to the reader.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Paty,
That was fascinating. My hubby's grandfather was a boot maker in the early 1900's.

Caroline Clemmons said...

When Paty writes a book, you can be sure it's well researched! I'm looking forward to more books from Paty in the future. Be sure to watch for her new releases.