Sunday, July 25, 2021


"Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time." ~ Thomas Edison.

Would you agree?

Too true, even for the ordinary everyday things. It’s the old adage: if first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Add as many ‘try’s as you need because the next try might be the one. And it goes hand in hand with where there is a will there is a way.

At the root of this is hope. Don’t give up. Try just one more time. Hope refuses to give up. Sometimes it’s all we have. There’s a strong element of hope in all we attempt and want to achieve. And the Covid-19 pandemic has stretched our hope (as well as many other things) to absolute limits.

We are often reminded that the opposite of hope, or the absence of hope, is despair. If you have ever been in despair you know how painful it is, and the only thing to relieve that pain is hope in some form. Think about what that could be. We cannot live in despair. To exist without hope, that sense of 'no way out of this', is an agony that human beings know only too well leads to dreadful outcomes. 

Another famous quote says: 'There are three things that last: faith, hope and love, and the greatest of these is love'. The three move and act together and are made up of each other.  And they last. It is in the nature of living to hope.

There’s a strong thread of hope wound through The Liberty & Property Legends, too, so much so that I’ve sub-titled Volume Five’s trilogy in hope’s honor.


So discover The Liberty & Property Legends Volume Five – A PLACE AMONG HEROES, Book 1: Rise of Hope & Book 2: Return of Hope… the third book in this ‘Hope Trilogy’ is in the works. hope to have it finished in the not too distant future :) 

and discover The Liberty & Property Legends

Friday, July 23, 2021


The concept (and reality) of heroism is definitely a big part of my family saga, The Liberty & Property Legends, as the title of the current volume would indicate. I think we need heroes, and I believe they rise up naturally, human nature being what it is. And to my way of thinking there are all kinds of heroes and acting in different ways.

American poet and activist Maya Angelou is quoted as saying: "I think a hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for all people."

So, what's your idea of 'hero'?
What qualities make a hero?
And who are the heroes in your life?

Chicago, May 1886. A time of anarchy in the Gilded Age. Two estranged yet much loved and celebrated heroes of the Alliance reconnect. As each negotiates the unyielding crossroads of their lives, the only signposts left standing are truth and forgiveness. Finding the strength inside yourself to be hero of your own life just might be the most courageous thing you've ever done.

When the world says give up, hope whispers try one more time...

Discover The Liberty & Property Legends

Friday, May 21, 2021



Over the years, the Taylor family history acquired the affectionate epithet Liberty & Property, a catch cry for, and the deeply-held ideology of, the American Revolution, and Declaration of Independence.

Liberty and Property comes to us from the great English philosopher John Locke (1632-1704), considered the Father of Liberalism; he is quoted, Government has no other end, but the preservation of property, and Every man has a property in his own person. This nobody has a right to, but himself.

John Locke (1632-1704)

In HEARTLAND On the Side of Angels, Luke presents his case to the governor under trying circumstances... "I am defending my life, my property and my rights." The governor replies, "A fan of John Locke, I see." Luke had an extremely powerful argument to put before the governor. By his own admission, he firmly believes in liberty and property and the governor respected it.

The American Constitution was founded on Locke's principles. They are born out in the Declaration of Independence (1776):

'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...'

The Declaration goes on to accuse the King of Great Britain of absolute tyranny and proceeds to list the grievous facts of the matter. The Congress then dissolves all political connection to Great Britain and allegiance to the British Crown, and ends with: we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.  A new nation was born.

Pledges are extremely significant in The Legends saga, too. There are several. However, the pledge that concludes the Declaration of Independence is exemplified by the Alliance families as a whole. It isn't written down as such; it is to be found where it was forged, in the friendship between Luke and Mart, and remains unbroken.

Painting by Kenneth Wyatt

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

This Old Crow



It’s very easy when writing a story to call 'something' by its generic name and mostly leave it at that, but every student of creative writing knows the consistent use of the generic can become a bit lacklustre. So, in The Liberty & Property Legends, by the time whiskey had become less like an alcoholic beverage/pastime and more like a minor character/crutch for a broken heart – right around the time I was do the multitudinous rewrites of volume four The Hour of Evidence – said whiskey needed a name. I indulged in some research and found it one. Whiskey no longer wallowed in generic namelessness; it became the genuine sour mash Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey commonly known as 'Old Crow'.
I’m not a whiskey drinker, but as I understand from various quarters, Old Crow is very good. And whiskey needed to be so; needed to be a willing companion, easy to drink and smooth enough to slacken life’s jagged edges.

As I did, you should have a good time investigating Old Crow on these links:
Dr James Crow is the inspiration behind Old Crow and many consider him to be the true father of Bourbon. While earlier being a physician, Dr Crow brought his scientific approach to whiskey making and forged a famous career.’ - Dan Murphy’s
So you can imagine my dismay when I learned that the modern day Old Crow is not the same recipe as was pre-WW2, which is a pity as I was planning on trying it for myself. If I cannot drink what my characters drank then I don’t really see the point now. According to Wikipedia, the Old Crow recipe and distillery were not kept (Jim Bean now owns the modern Old Crow) and the sour mash recipe perfected by Scottish migrant Dr James Crow in the 1835 is no more.

The historian in me is both fascinated and saddened. Surely a whiskey recipe that gave the likes of Mark Twain, Buffalo Bill and Ulysses S. Grant so much satisfaction, a recipe with a scientifically developed sour mash which led the way in nineteenth century whiskey-making to become an icon of American culture, that Abraham Lincoln famously declared if Ulysses S. Grant drank Old Crow he wanted to send a barrel of it to all his generals, surely it could have stayed. One would think so.
So, if you drink Old Crow at any time, while it is said to be delightfully smooth, you are not drinking the same recipe as in the bottle that Luke gives to Cliff in The Hour of Evidence. That may not bother you as much as it does me.

Personally, I cannot in good conscience advocate imbibing alcohol to relieve your emotional pain, the proverbial drowning one’s sorrows, so let me make that disclaimer right here and now. But one of my babies is having a very bad day and knows it’s likely to be the first of many, and even the best of men have a weakness or two.

'He glances sidelong at the expensive glass of comfort. He pours that good sipping whiskey straight down his throat... refills the glass... downs half of it. The past is a battlefield where the present can’t win.'
from THE HOUR OF EVIDENCE: Deceived, The Liberty & Property Legends, Volume 4

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The seemingly long road to publication of the fourth volume in The Liberty & Property Legends series, THE HOUR OF EVIDENCE, came to an end  with its release in July 2015. It is a great pleasure to have it out there, joining its previous legends, proudly swelling the ranks of the grand saga!

The shocking evidence no one saw coming... 
A lost family secret... 
Two hearts at destiny's crossroads...

Early in the spring of 1885, the murder trial of tycoon Loren Bodecker and the cruel maverick Donnelly commences in Cheyenne. With so much at stake, all eyes are upon this famed Magic City of the Plains, where the scales of frontier justice are poised to weigh the compelling and often bruising evidence. Drawn ever deeper into the labyrinth shaping their pursuit of justice, challenged in both heart and mind, the gallant Alliance & its friends are about to discover truth long withheld.
"There will come a time when the truth will rise up through the mire of lies and murky wrong-doing to reach the surface and show its sad yet radiant light.  And I believe that hour is coming."  ~ Emmaline Roberts
THE HOUR OF EVIDENCE is the fourth volume in The Liberty & Property Legends saga, beginning where Volume Three FIRST COUNTRY Tinged with Rose left off. As the quest continues, as the twists keep coming both inside and outside the courtroom, the next installment in the saga begs the question: what price a well-kept secret?

Available as paperback and ebook from your favorite online bookstore.
'Terri Sedmak’s writing style sucks you back into the 19th century so effortlessly… This is storytelling at its finest!' Gavin D'Souza


'Spritely and engrossing saga... captivating... enduring...'
PS News

There are two wonderful and moving volumes of adventure and romance remaining until the series arrives at its stunning conclusion.

If you haven't started the series, or have fallen behind, now is the perfect time to catch up.
Advanced work on volume five is underway; revisions and rewrites, research checks, not to mention editing, proofreading and polishing the final manuscript all lie ahead. It's going to be a very busy year.

Discover The Liberty & Property Legends



They Be Gorgeously Gowned


This month on my Pinterest boards I'm featuring a long term and somewhat favourite project of mine, which I am delighted to reveal at last, a board called They Be Gorgeously Gowned

Picturing what the women of The Liberty & Property Legends wear from day to day is quite the luxurious daydream.

Honestly, though, when it comes to writing, to describe every gown, outfit, shoe and hat would become tiresome to read and slow the pace.

As an author, I only describe clothing when I feel it is necessary for character and plot development (or if I think you should know). It also assists in setting time and place.

So this Pinterest board is my way of reveling in those western, gilded age, romantic fashions. And, as well, the aim is to make the images pertain as closely as possible to the books. There is so much glorious detail in fashions of this era, if you like that sort of thing. We can study them and be delighted or amazed, and then let our imaginations do the rest.

To quote the description from my board:
      'From Jennifer's easy get-around-town grace and elegance, Emmaline's stylish but practical work attire, Tressa and Caroline's sartorial refinement, Meg's Bostonian stylings, Raina's gorgeous gilded age glamour, Edith's Manhattan melodrama and Denver's demimonde, to practical ranch wear for Kelley, Amy and Sara, as well as fabulous accessories ~ whatever it is the Legends' ladies get up to, from frontier to city street, I imagine how all be gorgeously gowned...'
I hope you enjoy this board as much as I do! And look out soon for my newest board that will coincide with the release of THE HOUR OF EVIDENCE: Deceived, Volume Four of the grand saga of The West and Gilded Age, which after many months and a long road has arrived. 

Please enjoy They Be Gorgeously Gowned on


Love Me Some Ranch


Love me some ranch with a river running through it,
set amid sparkling jade hills,
trail horses to ride.
Sunshine days,
wood-smoke and the strum of guitar,
hummingbirds on the porch.
Starlight nights
cabin laughter and beer,
my stellar companions,
and the one who snores!
Tales of prospectors and gold-miners' dreams,
and the graft of stalwart pioneers.
Set me down on some ranch with a river running through it,
and here I will stay for a while.



Pictures: Tank & Ferry Entertainment
Location: Hat Creek Ranch, Cache Creek, BC


Friday, July 11, 2014

Why I Chose Wyoming


As the State of Wyoming celebrates her 124th birthday this July, thought I would  briefly share a few of my reasons for choosing this place of extraordinary natural beauty, fascinating people and compelling history as the central setting for The Liberty & Property Legends, my saga of The West & Gilded Age.
The fundamental theme of The Liberty & Property Legends is freedom.
Everything hangs off this. I wanted a Western setting because in The West people were looking to be free of the constraints that were stifling their adventurous spirits, their strong desire to be independent, their religious and cultural freedoms, and the need to get ahead both financially and personally.
A strong platform for women.
In The West, there is a strong emphasis on the significance of women and their contribution. As I wanted to give my female characters a firm base to strut their stuff, I chose Wyoming, where women had the franchise since the Territory of Wyoming  was created in 1868. Women were integral to Wyoming - the first US state or territory to give women the vote.

Women's suffrage in Cheyenne, Wyoming -
I am very fond of this famous image!

Wyoming is called the Cowboy state.
There is no greater embodiment of the spirit of freedom and independence  than the cowboy.  When you read The Liberty & Property Legends you see this borne out in Luke.

Bucking horse & Cowboy sculpture -
Capitol Building, Cheyenne

If you study the seals of The Liberty & Property Legends you will see two of the motifs which will never change: 
1. the train, which symbolizes the Gilded Age of capitalism and progress;
2. the bucking horse and cowboy, which symbolizes Luke, who embodies Liberty & Property; it is also the symbol of Wyoming and her cultural history, the central setting of the saga to this point.

Happy Statehood, Wyoming,
Land of Dreams, Stuff of Legends!


Monday, July 7, 2014

Contradictions of Wanderlust


And we're back! Here we are, having sighed it's good to be home like most folks upon return from a vacation, as they step through the front door and drop their bags. But then I've been known to say that after a trip to the mall and dropped the grocery bags in the kitchen. So what's really going on when we say that?

The adventurous traveler mostly returns from holiday with a stack of crumpled boarding passes and a bunch of mixed emotions... 
Sad to stop adventuring, although it's good to be back. Live happily like a vagabond, but definitely need some stability and the paid employment (travelling may not be a job, but can be damn hard work). Oh, the excitement of seeing the world... familiar mattress and pillow please. Love flitting from here to there, but isn't it nice not to have to rummage around in a suitcase for clean nickers and socks.

It's complicated. It's the ebb and flow. It's appreciating home because we've been away from it; it's enjoying the freedom and exhilaration of travel because home is waiting for us at the end of the adventure. If we've loved our destination, uncovered a deep connection, there is the strong pull to return, even though a deeper reality - home - is usually stronger. I don't know a different sensation than that of 'I must get back'. That's not everyone's feeling though - is it yours? I would love to hear your thoughts.

I won't keep you with a heap of holiday stories. I'll sort out my holiday snaps, see what might be interesting to share from time to time. Yeah, that's what I'll do. Although here is something I can't resist from my first visit to Sweden...

Above, the view from our Stockholm apartment window... a stoic sun resolving to set in
the Land of the Midnight Sun. In summer the sun sets above the horizon, so the gold fades
but not the light. The time is about 10.30 p.m.
Below, barely a few hours later, and viewable in the window next to the one in the pic above,
the sun rises on a new day; it's about 4 a.m. and the sun is high and the light is pearly.

With that promising vibe, and with that pesky jetlag finally fading, it's back to work :)

Friday, April 18, 2014

'I shot an arrow into the air, it fell to earth, I knew not where.'


Longfellow... for more great images of 
the poet and illustrations of his works, 
check out my Pinterest board dedicated to him!

Okay, I admit it. I am one of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s fangirls. Really, I hear you ask? Shouldn’t that be Lord Byron (She walks in beauty, like the night) or Keats (Thou still unravish’d bride of quietness) or Shelley (Hail to thee, blithe spirit)... Okay, I admit I am one of their fangirls, too.
Poetry is a feature of my novels and the work of these classic Romantic poets is featured in that poetry… well, so far, Shelley has been given the task of romancing Emmaline on Cliff’s behalf in Empire for Liberty and First Country … while Keats has been pressed into action in Volume Four, as you will see later on when it is published. As for Lord Byron, you just never know. I love poetry and always have.
While my characters dally with and drool over the Romantics, this fangirl author has given the verse of American poet Longfellow the singular purpose of gracing those pages that separate one section of the novel from the next. When you breathe out between sections you mostly find Longfellow’s poetry to give you thought and pause about what is to come – a troubadourian timeout with a New World twist, if you like.
On the FAQ page of my website, there is the question of why do I like Longfellow’s poetry so much. Since it’s silly to reinvent the wheel, this is what I have answered… “Longfellow [1807-1882] is a great American poet whose poetry, in content, style and sentiment, is able to span the distance of years from the days of colonial America, to the Revolution where Liberty & Property was the catchcry, to the era in which my novels are set”.
You could understand, then, my delight when on my visit to Boston in 2012 I got to tour Longfellow’s house in Cambridge. As the headquarters for General George Washington in the War of Independence, the house was already steeped in history before Longfellow and his family occupied it. Writers aren’t supposed to use clich├ęs (it’s a harsh occupation) but this was a pinch me moment: the tour docent recited verses of Longfellow’s poetry in the very room they were written. You've got to admit, that's pretty special stuff for an avid fan. Magical moments you don’t soon forget.

Photography is not permitted inside Longfellow's House in Cambridge but there are no restrictions in the gardens!
Longfellow’s Tales of a Wayside Inn, featuring the iconic Paul Revere’s Ride, still conjure the atmosphere of inn and hearth in which they were written. And then there is the perennial childhood classic The Village Blacksmith. And who has never heard of The Song of Hiawatha? At the top of my list of favourites is The Courtship of Miles Standish. The poems he composed to express the loss of his beloved wife are unbearably poignant. Across the length and breadth of his work there is adventure and history, tenderness and romance, wisdom and philosophy, lyrical beauty and narrative splendour. Longfellow’s poems run the gamut of human emotion and experience; it’s what the great poets do best.

I hope as you are reading the grand saga of The West and Gilded Age, you enjoy the poetry. The people of the era enjoyed, appreciated, considered and discussed these poems, which gave public voice to the philosophy of love and life in the days when this difficult task belonged to the poet.
For a list of the Longfellow poems I have included in the series so far, please visit Poetry & Song 


Sunday, March 30, 2014

In My Writing Space

On the shelf above my computer in my writing space I have a greeting card. In fact, if you look about my website you will see it pop up (as well as other representations of eclecticism I keep in my writing space, such as my Dr Who stress squeezy, my globe and my African violets).
The greeting card depicts a boy and girl from a bygone era, with the little boy’s arm tucked around the little girl’s waist, with her arm snuggly holding his in place. They are walking away from us, across a park. Flip over to the back and the card description reads: A boy places a protective arm around his young companion during a walk in the park in London, England – 1937. It’s adorable… I love her cosy ribbed tights and his sticky-out ears, amongst many other delightful details.

The writing on the front reads: TO THE WORLD YOU MAY BE JUST ONE PERSON; BUT TO ONE PERSON YOU MAY BE THE WORLD.  My husband gave me this card for my birthday last year. I loved it at first sight. He knows I’m a sucker for cuteness, details, images with stories in them and meaningful sentiment. Then I opened the card and he’d written: TO ME YOU ARE MORE THAN MY WORLD, YOU ARE MY UNIVERSE. Front of card sentiment, considered yourself trumped! And I’m thinking if he bought me this beautiful, romantic card and wrote that melting message in it, I think he means it!

I look at this card every day. Sometimes I imagine if we had known each other as little kids we would have been best friends, if we’d been in the same class at school always in trouble for talking, and if we‘d attended the same high school we would have been dubbed the couple most likely to get hitched. We did go to my high school formal but partnered other people. We met when I was just turned eighteen.

Three children later, lots of married years and the highs and lows, ups and downs of life under our belts, he is still giving me heart-melting cards. Sometimes when we are sharing a significant occasion or if I’ve really amused him, he’ll say, I wouldn’t want to be sharing this moment with anyone else but you.

Aw, such as when I gave him a card for our anniversary in January. The front has a sad, big-eyed character saying: BEFORE I MET YOU I WAS A LONELY WEIRDO [let’s face it, writers are at least a little weird]… inside it my big-eyed character, now with a grin, is declaring NOW I'M NO LONGER LONELY! HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!  It still brings infectious chuckles of laughter. It sits on top of the fridge. Considering how numerous visits to the fridge are, I can’t think of a better place.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Bumping into History at the Old Courthouse


History teaches us so much about who we are now and how we got here, for it probes our thoughts and opens our eyes, unplugs our ears. This is our world. How did it, and we, get this way? Why do we do the things we do, have the attitudes we have, be as complex as we are?

I tend to go searching for it, as so many historians and history buffs do, but sometimes it finds you!

Being on the spot when something historical goes down is one effective and exciting way of having all those probing questions have their way with you. One such event happened to Tank and me on our visit to St Louis, Missouri, in June 2012. The day we came to town we had no idea that a particular landmark event was about to take place beside the steps of the Old Courthouse. That event was the unveiling and dedication of the Dred and Harriet Scott Statue.

The Dred Scott case is famous.  Dred Scott was a black slave who sued for his freedom. He began in 1846 and didn’t give up until the case made it to the US Supreme Court in 1857. The final decision in the case was made by Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Roger B. Taney, who ruled that Dred & Harriet were not citizens and therefore could not sue and had to remain slaves. The consequences of this influenced Abraham Lincoln, the outbreak of the civil war and the emancipation of slaves. The Scotts were freed after the case but by their owners, the Blow family.

These links are excellent:

As an extensive group of people gathered around the front of the Old Courthouse, milling patiently in the high summer heat, with the statue still cocooned in its red shroud, all manner of thoughts paraded through my mind.

For Tank and me, it seemed that history was calling, a history stretching back over 150 years to antebellum America when slavery was a hot political and social issue. And, appropriately, an issue of liberty and property, no less, for you may recall that liberty is being free from oppression and property is ‘you’, and no one has a right to you and your worth but you (to paraphrase John Locke)! But of course these principles did not extend to black slaves in America, as the decision in Dred Scott's case illustrated only too well.

Here we were, standing on the old steps where thousands of men, women, children and babies were bought and sold as chattel. Sobering and chilling. But now, in this same spot, a black slave and his wife were being remembered and celebrated for their courage, determination and historical significance.  What an auspicious moment!

Civil war swept this 'antebellum' era away. And slavery and the slave trade in America were finished. A new era was coming, of progress and prosperity, of great waves of free emigrants and different masters. And all the while and forever after the wound of slavery ran long and deep. Festering due to the racism that underpinned it, slavery scarred the nation for the century to come.

However, on this particular day, June 8, 2012, the worst of what humanity can perpetrate upon itself was remembered as both tragedy and triumph… Dred & Harriet Scott, their heads held high, by the steps of the Old Courthouse in St Louis, looking out across the Mississippi, and into a future of freedom and hope. They made a difference.

Present at the dedication, Dred Scott Madison, Jr., great-great-grandson of Dred & Harriet, and his cousin Lynne Jackson, who worked tirelessly to have the statue erected on the south lawn of the Old Courthouse in St Louis.
He said, "I have often told her she's doing God's work, and she is, just as our great-great-grandmother and grandfather did. They dared to defy man's law and represent God's law. This is truly a nation under God, something that could never have been while slavery was in existence."

The plaque beneath this image displayed in the Old Courthouse Museum, St Louis, read: 'In the presidential election of 1856, the question of whether Kansas would be admitted as  a free state or a slave state dominated the debate. In August 1856, St Louisans gathered at the Courthouse to hear about this issue. So many people attended that the crowd overflowed into the street.'

The plaque beneath this image displayed in the Old Courthouse Museum, St Louis, reads: 'These westward pioneers, camped on the banks of the Mississippi River across from St Louis in 1846, could be headed west to settle in Oregon Territory. Is this black woman, in the left foreground, a slave or a free person? What would her future hold in her new home in the West?'

Images above are entirely from my 2012 album 'Go West, young man...or woman as the case may be'


Monday, March 17, 2014

Queen City of the Plains


A display of images that fall into the ‘now and then’ category - 'yesteryear & present day' - is a useful and entertaining way of viewing history. My research tours to the US have led me to Denver twice and it is one of my favourite cities, one I would always be happy to return to. The photos in this research montage are from my album ‘Western Odyssey’, acknowledging  Denver Public Library and Denver Union Station.

Denver was dubbed ‘Queen City of the Plains’ and for good reason. Like so many western towns, in her early days she was rough, but on the back of the mining of precious metals this hard-working, hard-drinking mining town soared to prosperity, surpassing all expectations. Mining, manufacturing, smeltering, ranching, the railroad and much more delivered wealth, culture and a large population. Denver became a world-class city.

The rough elements  - prostitution, crime and corruption - remained, their notoriety and function deftly incorporated into one booming city of enormous wealth, whose inhabitants stretched from poor migrants working the gardens along the creek to millionaires of supreme power and influence.

By the 1880’s, when The Liberty & Property Legends are set, and where volume three First Country takes the reader to Denver, this city epitomises the Gilded Age in The West.

'Toward Denver City let us know propel,
of its strange sights and startling wonders tell.'

Pike's Peakers of '59 ~ Lawence N. Greenleaf