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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Carol Cox and Trouble in Store Giveaway


CAROL COX is the author of 30 novels and novellas. A third-generation Arizonan, Carol has a lifelong fascination with the Old West and hopes to make it live again in the hearts of her readers. She makes her home with her husband and daughter in northern Arizona, where the deer and the antelope really do play--often within view of the family's front porch.

by Carol Cox
Published by Bethany House


Fired from her most recent governess position, Melanie Ross must embrace her last resort: the Arizona mercantile she inherited from her cousin. But Caleb Nelson is positive he inherited the mercantile, and he's not about to let some obstinate woman with newfangled ideas mess up all he's worked for. He's determined to get Melanie married off as soon as possible, and luckily there are plenty of single men in town quite interested in taking her off his hands. The problem is, Caleb soon realizes he doesn't want her to marry up with any of them. He's drawn to Melanie more every day, and he has to admit some of her ideas for the store unexpectedly offer positive results.

But someone doesn't want the store to succeed, and what used to be just threatening words has escalated into deliberate destruction and lurkers in the night. When a body shows up on the mercantile steps--and the man obviously didn't die from natural causes--things really get dangerous. Can Melanie and Caleb's business--and romance--survive the trouble that's about to come their way?

Readers, buy your copy of Trouble in Store today!


Researching a story is one of my favorite parts of the writing process. You just never know where it will take you! When it came to writing Trouble in Store, there were a number of topics I needed to learn about, from 19th-century mercantiles to Native American cliff dwellings to patent medicines.

The Ross-Nelson Mercantile (the store Caleb and Melanie squabble over in the book) has a number of quirky customers, including Idalou Fetterman. Mrs. Fetterman is a great believer in the curative powers of patent medicines and spends a lot of time browsing the shelves in search of the ideal remedy for whatever happens to be ailing her that day.

Back in 1885, these "miracle" medicines weren't produced by pharmaceutical companies, but by self-proclaimed experts who often billed themselves as doctors, although it's doubtful that many (or any!) of them actually had medical degrees. The labels bore colorful names . . . and boasted equally colorful claims.

Dr. Sherman's Prickly Ash Bitters billed itself as the cure for biliousness, vertigo, or a torpid liver, and contained "only the purest drugs, among which may be enumerated: prickly ash, mandrake, buchu, button snake, senna." I don’t know about you, but I have yet to reach for a dose of buchu or button snake when I’m feeling under the weather.

A little research turned up the information that the government declared the good doctor's remedy misbranded. That may have had something to do with the fact that the cure-all (which contained 20% alcohol) was recommended in wineglassful doses three times a day, but was declared to be "not an intoxicating beverage."

Then there's Dr. Kilmer's Female Remedy, the Great Blood Purifier and System Regulator, one of the best known quack medicines of the 19th century. The company was one of the first firms to advertise nationally, and targeted this nostrum at medical problems specific to women. Dr. Kilmer's nostrum also contained a substantial amount of alcohol and couldn't do much more for his female patients than make them a bit tipsy for a time.

And let's not forget Seelye's Wasa-Tusa. The name alone is enough to catch your attention, even before learning it was guaranteed to bring about good results with: muscle soreness, bruises, headache, toothache, earache, colic, and cramps. If something ached, it was Wasa-Tusa time!

Hostetter's Celebrated Bitters became a national best-seller in the 1850s. During the Civil War, it was marketed to soldiers as "a positive protective against the fatal maladies of the Southern swamps, and the poisonous tendency of the impure rivers and bayous." By now, you probably won't be shocked to learn the original formula was made up of about 47% alcohol--an amount so high that it was served by the the glass in Alaskan saloons. I'm sure those Alaskans were reassured to know they wouldn't fall prey to any maladies contracted in an impure bayou!

In addition to the widespread prevalence of alcohol, most patent medicines included vegetable extracts. Since there was no regulation on the ingredients, their curative properties were often doubtful . . . and could be deadly. Many were also laced with morphine, opium, or cocaine while being advertised for use with children and infants--which sometimes ended in tragic results.

Even so, these hucksters found a ready market for their goods. By the middle of the 19th century, the manufacture of patent medicines had become a major industry in America.

Doctors and medical societies spoke out in increasing numbers, and even more strident opposition came from the temperance movement, which protested the use of alcohol in medicines. It's no surprise that the manufacturers fought against regulation of any kind, and their resistance was aided by the press, since many newspapers had become dependent on money received from advertising these remedies.

We can all be grateful for the Pure Food and Drug Act, enacted in 1906, which required manufacturers to list ingredients on their labels and restricted misleading advertising. That's a very good thing for us . . . and Mrs. Fetterman should be grateful she's a fictional character!

Question for Readers: Many people today are shying away from traditional medicine and looking for alternative, more natural cures. Some of those seem to make inflated claims similar to the patent medicines of yore . . . but others have proven effective.

What non-traditional remedies have you heard of or used? And were they beneficial or not?

* * * * *

Thank you, Carol, for sharing with us today.

ENTRY RULES Readers, leave your email address (name [at] domainname [dot] com) along with your answer to the question for your chance to win a free autographed copy of the book featured above. If you do not answer the question, and your email address isn't provided, you will not be entered.

This week, the drawing is open to US/Canada residents.


Amy C said...

I find that a lot of products aren't worth much and seems to just take your money. Remedies have been around for very long time and were useful.
When my son was born, he had diaper rash really really bad. Like bleeding bad. He always an older sister that two years older. It wasn't like I was new to the baby business and didn't know what to do. None of the store products helped. Made it worse it seems. Finally, I found a home remedy of bathing him with tea bags. Let him soak in tub for 20 minutes. Bam! It was almost an instant solution. Needless to say, that boy took a tea bath at least once a week to prevent diaper rash. A cheap solution compared to the creams they sale that claim to help.
campbellamyd at gmail dot com

Amy C said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carol Cox said...

Amy, I never heard about a tea bath for diaper rash! What a great (and simple) idea! Wish I'd known about that when my kids were little. : )

artst4christ said...

My family was never a fan of doctors and prescriptions, unless it was a broken bone we pretty much just prayed and waited. We didn't mix up anything out of the ordinary that I can remember, mostly honey tea for sore throats, cayenne for aches (worked but gave me heartburn), and we had our own aloe plant for burns instead of buying that electric blue stuff from walmart. :)
artist4christ -@- cyberhaus -.- us

SkeeterN said...

My mother in law told me that her mother gave her kerosene mixed with sugar for a cold. I am amazed that they didn't die.

Carol Cox said...

artist4Christ, hot tea with honey is one of my favorite ways to treat a sore throat. So nice to have something that works and tastes good, too!

Carol Cox said...

Wow, Anita! Kerosene? That sounds like a case of the cure being worse than the disease! Amazing what people came up with--and I'm sure glad your mother-in-law survived to tell you about it!

Melody said...

Since working in Mexico and Nicaragua as missionaries we have come across several unusual remedies that they swear that works. My friend from Mexico absolutely believes that when you have a pimple-you put VaporRub on it and that eventually it will pop. I reminded her of the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding when the father believed Windex would cure anything. My friend is beautiful, other than the big white thing in the middle of her face!

Carol Cox said...

Melody, I'm laughing myself silly. That last line conjures up quite a mental image! : )

Judy said...

I can remember my parents giving my brother a rubbing alcohol bath to bring his fever down. Also, they never covered him up with a blanket because that would hold the fever in. It seemed to work!

I also remember that when we had a chest cold we had to rub Vicks Vapor rub on our chest and neck area and had to wear a rag around our neck. Had to put some of that Vicks up our nose too!

I'm surprised we are still living! Jk'ing!

Carol Cox said...

Oh my goodness, Judy, I got the Vapor Rub-on-the-chest treatment too! I remember how much I hated wearing that rag around my neck. And the Vicks up the nose. LOL What host of memories you've stirred up! : )

bonton said...

Used to use corn starch for rashes when I was young.


Judy said...

I forgot to leave my email address. It is, judyjohn2004(at)yahoo(dot)com


KayM said...

Yes, I think there are tons of purported medicines and supplements and procedures that are not beneficial and can often be harmful. I think we have to do much research to figure out what to try. I have frequent digestive problems. I've found that if I have alot of pressure in my upper stomach, a heating pad gives relief if I am lying down on my back. I also chew some candied ginger for stomachaches. I chew up papaya enzymes to help with digestion, especially before I go to bed or take a nap.
may_dayzee (at) yahoo (dot) com

Carol Cox said...

Bonton, I remember using corn starch for rashes, too. And it worked! : )

KayM, I've heard of taking ginger for stomach problems, but I haven't used it myself. I just may give it a try! Papaya enzymes sound interesting, too. Thanks for sharing!