In my new book, The Adventures of Dixie Dandelion, due to be released November 2nd from The Wild Rose Press, Dixie’s best friends are Soiled Doves. So. Who are Soiled Doves? In a word . . . Prostitutes.
In the 1800’s and the Wild West, prostitutes were among the first to populate and establish businesses. Looked down on by society these women often gave generously of their money, funding schools and other organizations. All behind the scenes, of course. From rolling wagons, tents, “bawdy” houses to stately mansions complete with china and crystal, these young women sold their wares for 25 cents up to a dollar and were known by many names: Soiled Doves, Sportin’women, Prairie Nymphs, Fancy ladies and Calico Queens to name a few. To avoid embarrassment for their families, most changed their names to such things as Hambone Jane, Sweet Annie, Black Pearl, Cotton Tail, and Big Nose. Most of the girls were young, illiterate, and poor.
While the life of a soiled dove was anything but glamorous, I took a little creative license and romanticized them in Dixie Dandelion. I modeled Peg Williams, the owner and madam of the White Dove, after Miss Kitty on Gunsmoke, except Peg has blond hair, not red. By the way . . . red-headed girls got more money than any others as it was believed red-heads were more passionate and fiery. True.
The Soiled Doves in Dixie are: Sassy Annie, Fancy, Debbie Ann, Cinnamon, Rebecca Sue and Mary Lou. As you can guess, Sassy Annie is wild and woolly, dresses in feathers and jewels, drinks whiskey like water, smokes cheroots, and is extremely fond of sugar. In fact she tells Dixie, “Sugar is good for the soul.” She is also a Christian woman, believe it or not and once said, “A whore what’s got Jesus in her heart is a dangerous woman.” She’s Dixie’s best friend and partner in crime.
Fancy is naive and gullible and can cook like she was born with a spoon in her hand and who also gets Dixie into one mess after another (as if Dixie needs any help in that direction) Debbie Ann is shy and smart, Cinnamon is half Creole with a French Accent that drives the men wild, Rebecca Sue and Mary Lou are corn-fed identical twins.
I have no idea how I came up with the idea of Dixie befriending the girls of The White Dove, but it was a stroke of genius if I do say so myself. Peg and her girls add spice and humor as well as tender moments to the story.
The Adventures of Dixie Dandelion, coming November 2nd from R.H. Burkett and The Wild Rose Press.