The Last Bordello – visuals of settings in the novel

Research, research. I think it’s the reason I write historical novels. Here are some places that are mentioned in the novel set in San Antonio, Texas, 1901.


Menger Hotel (lots happens here)



County courthouse


Brackenridge Park


Otto Koehler’s house



Southwestern Insane Asylum


Buckhorn’s Saloon


Alderman Richter’s Bakery


San Pedro Park

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Meta’s homestead


And, believe it or not, the original location of Fannie Porter’s bordello at the corner of Durango and San Saba. (a bit different now!)

The Last Bordello – What it is, and isn’t

My novel, The Last Bordello, is not merely a who-dun-it. It’s a story about powerful women on opposing sides of a coin (or a bordello chit).

Unable to obtain money in other ways, some women found prostitution to be their only means of survival.


The Women’s Christian Temperance Union and the Suffragettes fought to improve the lives of all women. At the time, they were seen as an opposing force to the ladies of the night. But were they?


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The Last Bordello depicts the struggle of both sides.

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The Last Bordello-True Characters

Inspirations for the novel – true characters in The Last Bordello (San Antonio in 1901) Opposing forces or unified goals?


Madam Fannie Porter


Butch Cassidy










Kid Curry



Etta Place and the Sundance Kid



Helen M. Stoddard




Mayor Bryan Callaghan




Mary Eleanor Brackenridge




Minnie Fisher (Cunningham)


Carry Nation


Mayor Marshal Hicks

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Otto Koehler

The Last Bordello

It’s done. Finished. Inches away from publication. Whew!

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Madam Fannie Porter runs the best bordello in Texas. Just ask the outlaws she harbored and entertained for the weekend—Butch Cassidy and his Wild Bunch.

But when the gang rides off, Sadie, her best soiled dove, is left unhinged.

While the Pinkerton Detective Agency remains in hot pursuit of the outlaws, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union plans a town rally against alcohol and prostitution.

Neither is good news for Miss Fannie.

First, she will never give up a client. Second, while pondering the upcoming temperance powwow, she relies on her business savvy. She forbids her girls from attending the meeting and hires a pianist, the talented, yet virtuous, Meta, to keep the customers coming.

When a temperance woman is found murdered, Sadie becomes the key suspect. Now, Miss Fannie and Meta must discover the truth before the WCTU—or the killer—nails the red door, or another coffin, shut.

IC Blog Tour: Navigating the Writing Path

A big thank you to Clifford Rush for the invitation to the IC Publishing Summer Blog Tour.  Clifford Rush is the pen name for a husband-wife writing team who share 15 years in laws enforcement and write fast-paced crime novels. Learn more about them at


How do I start?

With my first novel, No Hill for a Stepper, my father and his story inspired me.

My second novel? A single image from a dream of course. The small chunk grew into the idea for a story. Then all I had to do (the “all” stated with sarcasm) was to pull out the mortar and pestle and do a bit of grinding (including my teeth when my frustration spills on my keyboard)


How do I continue?

I have no choice but to keep going. My characters tug on my sleeves and pull my hair. They want to know what will happen to them as much as I do.

I almost always write outside where there are no walls to confine me – not a noisy coffee shop but a quiet place in my backyard where the sounds of nature are my only background music.

My new novel in progress, The Last Bordello, is set in a 1901 bordello so research is a must. I love time traveling backwards so scouring the Internet is no chore.

Research, ideas and characters jumbled together, I start sorting them out like panning for gold then only choose the best nuggets.

(this is NOT my backyard)

(this is NOT my backyard)

How do you finish your project?

I keep going. My characters’ lives depend on it.

The Challenge?

Mine is wondering if I have chosen the right structure, the best POV characters, if I have enough but not too much poetic narrative and description.


If you love writing, keep going. It is your passion, your yearning. It calls to you and pleads for your attention. Hug it close.

Passing the Pen

And now, I am so inspired and excited to introduce you to the following contributors who will be sharing their experiences, challenges, and tips, on navigating the writing path from start to finish. Check out their links, and watch for their blog posts on Wed, July 23rd.

Diane Andersen holds a BA in elementary education and has over twenty years classroom experience in all grade levels from pre-K through high school. She currently teaches private piano, voice and violin while pursuing her passion of writing historical fiction. Her first series based on a historic site near her home will soon be available for publication. She also has written articles for local newsletters and a few short stories including one published by Walrus Press. She lives in Illinois with her family, a cocker spaniel, a cat and a rabbit.



Louise Redmann is writing her second medieval romance novel about what a woman will do to protect her daughter from an evil man. She also loves to write short stories and vignettes, some of which may be found on her website:

Now What? I’ll tell you…

For readers, one book closes while another one opens.  I suppose this is true for authors as well. However, No Hill for a Stepper is not only my first published book, it is my father’s story. Aside from the story itself, it is a reminder of the two years spent beside him taking notes and recording his comments on a cheap Sony recorder. It is a reminder of the trip we took back to his roots both in conversation as well as physically to Rotan, Ranger, Roby, Sweetwater and Temple, Texas. Although Dad did not live long enough to see the published version, my sister gifted me with a fabulous present. She looked at me and said, “This is a present from Dad and I.”

“Dad,” I asked. “Our Dad?”


And there it was, my favorite photo of Dad sitting on the front porch at our homestead except this time, he was holding a copy of my book in his hand.

After the book was published, I began asking readers to send me pictures of themselves reading my father’s story.  Not only did the photos make me feel proud, it made me think of how much my father enjoyed sharing his story with others.


So what’s next? An author’s pen is always close at hand. Meta, one of the central characters in my new book, was the first to introduce herself to me. Other characters have either snuck up behind me and tapped me gently on the shoulder or  have introduced themselves quite spontaneously, yelling “here I am! Put ME in your new book.”  Each time I sit down to write, I am eager to learn what they will do or say next. I have little control over these characters.

It is 1910. There is a farm girl who lives in a German community outside of Fredericksburg. There is a prostitute in a bordello in San Antonio, a thirteen-year-old newspaper boy with a rolled cigarette in his mouth and a wise great aunt. There is the madam of the bordello with her trusty assistant who is laced with spice and grit, and a young man with a deep scar across his face. There are strangers and connections.  There is murder.  There is innocence and guilt. There are lies and deceit. There is only one truth.

THAT is what is next.

But No Hill for a Stepper?  It rests comfortably, open, in the center of my chest.

There is Always Hope

     Erin Moffett was one of the nine participants in the “No Hill for a Stepper” essay contest.  It takes courage to write about difficult things but by doing so, maybe Erin has taught other kids that they are not alone and to never, ever give up! Here is her essay…


Being bullied can be an emotional rollercoaster for people. It also leads to depression in kids. A lot of people around the world have to deal with being bullied on a daily basis. This isn’t even limited to school it can also be at work or at home from your mom or dad. You also never know if the person you’re being bullied by has to deal with the same thing, by one of their own family members. It also can be over the silliest of things like the color of your skin, or the clothes you wear. I know personally how this feels, because I have been bullied most of my life.

Being bullied started back in kindergarten.  I have never been popular or all that pretty. When we went out to play in the play ground I never played with anyone.  I sat all alone at the top of the slide, talking to myself. I always had the feeling of loneliness, because I really never had anybody to talk to. I really didn’t have a so-called “friend,” I just had acquaintances. With all that loneliness I fell into a state of depression. That led me to tell myself that I would never have any friends, or that I could never amount to anything. If you never have noticed, when you walk into a cafeteria you see different kinds of groups:  preps, jocks, or academically intelligent kids. I have never been part of any of those groups. I have always felt that I needed to be popular or wanted. With the depression, I had the thought of killing myself. Then I thought that if I died, who would come to my funeral besides my family?  I didn’t really have any true friends that would go, and nobody would miss me. If anybody from school came they would probably say that I was just doing this for attention. Even back when I was in kindergarten, nobody would stand up for me, and even to this day, most people won’t stand up for me because they think that if they stand up for somebody else they would lose some of their friends. There are a couple of friends that I wouldn’t know what I would do without them. There is Blanca she is an awesome friend she holds me accountable for what I do and the mistakes that I have made even with the mistakes that I have made I know that she will always be there for me. There is also Kristie even though she doesn’t always care about what I have to say she will always be there for me to talk to. And last but not least Nancy she has been through everything with me I love her to death. If I didn’t have these people in my life I probably wouldn’t be where I am today. And I probably would have went through with killing myself

Having been  bullied I can help other people realize that they never know what somebody is going through, whether it is at home or at school. I have not had a good home life either, but I try to stay positive and look forward to the future. I learned with this that there are good friends out there for everybody. To help you with the depression and loneliness you have to find solitude in friends and family. No hill for a stepper means to me that there isn’t anything out of reach, always stays true to what you believe in.  Don’t ever let your circumstances outweigh your future.