Judy is going to put a bullet through you. Yea, that’s the scary lady with the gun. Thanks to Nicole from Cover Shot Creations for working to get this custom cover designed! Nicole was very easy to work with, professional, and gets the job done quick.
Dustland is on pace to be published this summer. Stay tuned for an excerpt from the first chapter!
The historical research for this has been very time consuming. My time writing “The Case for a New America” was mostly research and organization. When you take on a project like this, and hopefully enjoy researching, you jump down a rabbit hole of information. Ever know why the stock market is called a “Bear” or “‘Bull” market? Probably not, but I’m going to tell you anyway! A Bear market is down, while a Bull market is up. This is taken from fights in the mining camps of the day, where men literally pitted a bull against a bear. The bear would try to take down the bull, whereas the bull would thrust up with its horn to try and gore the grizzly.
Blood and Guts, Dry Diggings, Hangtown, or Placerville (all chronological names of the current city of Placerville) is where an important part of the story revolves around the villain, William Christensen, and his mysterious reasons for leaving his plantation in Georgia to bring slaves to California. It was called Dry Diggings because of all the dirt that needed to be hauled to water so they could loosen out the gold. In those early days, lawlessness was prevalent because there was no government. Dry Diggings was soon called Hangtown after some desperado’s were caught, quickly tried, and left swinging from an Oak tree in the center of town. (The stump of the original tree still exists in Placerville). Mob justice was the only way to keep law and order at the time, and it worked for Hangtown.
The fascination with the Wild West certainly stems from that time period in American history, a time where men were literally free to do as they pleased. Or, to try anyway. It was a high risk, high reward adventure for many. Gold fever agitated the natural greed in people, drawing those from all walks of life and from all over the world. It created a mass migration that would change California, and the nation, forever. Millions of dollars were being plucked out of rivers. Vigilantes would kill you for the gold you worked to get all day. Indians were pressed into slavery to work for others, and in fact, a law was passed called the “Act for the Government and Protection of Indians” which basically allowed people to indenture Indians to mine gold for them, with food and clothing their primary payment.
As gold became more difficult to mine, those who could appropriate a lot of cheap labor to dig for them had a large advantage over the free labor system everyone else adhered to. While California opposed the southern idea of slavery from extending west (the south wanted southern California a “slave state” after the war), the Californians of the time adopted their own version which used Indians as slave labor instead. Taxes against foreign miners were instituted. Racial tensions against Mexicans erupted when the gold became scarce, as lingering feelings remained from the recent Mexican-American war and American miners didn’t want the “greasers” around to compete in the mines.
It’s 1849. There are no laws, and no lawmen. Everyone is drawn to the mines to get rich, one way or another. Gambling, whoring, slaving, murdering, cheating…that is the world of Dustland.