This Day in History — April 3, 1953 — by Donna Schlachter

To celebrate the release of The Pony Express Romance Collection, we’re highlighting the date the first Pony Express run began — April 3rd — and looking at other dates in history to see what happened. Read all the way through to see how you could win a free copy of the book, The Pony Express Romance Collection.

On April 3rd, 1953, the “TV Guide” was first published. During the 1940s, TV Guide magazine was comprised of three magazines, Chicago’s Television Forecast, Philadelphia’s Local Telviser, and New York’s Television Guide. They eventually merged and on April 3, 1953, the first national edition of TV Guide was released. The photo on the first edition of the newly formed TV Guide featured Desi Arnaz Jr., the baby of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.

By the 1960s, TV Guide became one of the most circulated and read magazine in the country and in 1974, TV Guide became the first magazine in history to sell a billion copies.[1]

While it may be difficult to imagine a world without television, the truth is that before the 1950’s, televisions were a luxury, and in 1945, for example, there were probably less than 10,000 TV’s in the entire country. But by 1960, 90 percent of households had at least 1 set. [2]

This meant television shows had to be produced to fill those broadcast hours. Westerns have always been popular with the reading public, and so it seemed common sense that television viewers would also like to watch their favorite stars riding and bucking and shooting.

It should come as no surprise that several series have aired, including “The Pony Express” in 1959[3] as well as “The Overland Mail” and others[4]. The topic was also popular in a number of movies.

For a company that delivered mail for just over eighteen months, the legacy of the Pony Express still lives on. Perhaps it’s the lure of the unknown, the desire to make a difference, or simply the romantic notion that the Wild West was a better way of life. Whatever the reason, here’s to the ongoing interest in this nugget of American history.

ponyexpressbookcover

Giveaway: One lucky winner will be chosen from those who leave a comment, and you will receive a free print copy of The Pony Express Romance Collection (US address only, please)

Echoes of the Heart

Catherine Malloy, an orphan girl running from a compromising situation in Boston, answers a personal ad in a magazine, on behalf of her illiterate friend. Through his letters, she finds herself falling in love with this stranger. Benjamin Troudt is crippled and illiterate, and knows nothing of this ad. His route supervisor, Warton, who was helping Benjamin with the paperwork, has been given only a short time to live, and knows Benjamin needs help, so he places the ad. Can Catherine overcome her belief that the God of her parents has abandoned her? And can Benjamin allow God to open his eyes and his heart to love?

 

Hollenberg Pony Express Station

Kansas Territory

May 1860

 

Chapter 1

Catherine Malloy braced a hand against the doorframe as the stage rounded a turn. A cloud of dust encircled the coach, filtering through the gaps in the doors, the curtains, the floor, and the roof, threatening to choke her. She coughed politely behind her gloved hand, cringing at the sight of the stains on her once-white hand coverings. Her spirits were as rumpled as her sleeves and skirt. Would the dirt ever come out?

But no matter how primitive the conditions, no matter how hostile the natives or how cold the winters—all stories she’d heard about the Wild West—she would not turn back.

She had nowhere to turn back.

When she’d excitedly read the advertisement in the magazine to her friend Margaret, neither had truly contemplated just how far the Kansas Territory was from Boston. Four days on the train to St. Joseph, Missouri had been just the beginning. Three days in this bouncing torture chamber, surrounded by surly men, snot-nosed children, and sharp-tongued women caused her to question her sanity and her decision more than once. She’d already eaten more dust than she’d known existed.

In Mr. Troudt’s first letter, he’d explained that he ran a way station and needed a wife. Neither she nor Margaret knew what that was. They knew a man from Australia, who talked about working at a sheep station. Perhaps a way station was similar.

Not that any of that mattered. She had no reason to go back. No family. No job.

Not after the way Master Talbott had approached her.

IMG_6534  Juggling the books - smaller

 

Donna lives in Denver with husband Patrick, her first-line editor and biggest fan. She writes historical suspense under her own name, and contemporary suspense under her alter ego of Leeann Betts. Donna is a ghostwriter, editor of fiction and non-fiction, judges in a number of writing contests, and teaches online courses.

 

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/DonnaschlachterAuthor

Twitter: www.Twitter.com/DonnaSchlachter

Books: http://amzn.to/2ci5Xqq

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] http://www.historybyzim.com/2011/08/tv-guide/

 

[2] http://hypertextbook.com/facts/2007/TamaraTamazashvili.shtml

[3] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0159903/

 

[4] http://www.xphomestation.com/movies.html

Bataan and the Pony Express — Maureen Lang

The first run of the Pony Express took place on April 3,1860. In celebration of the release of THE PONY EXPRESS Romance Collection, all nine authors have had some fun writing blogs about what happened on this day in history.

We hope you’ll enjoy our snapshots of this date down through the ages!

Year 1942 carved in the stone. The years of World War II.April 3, 1942, was a day that actually impacted my family—at least indirectly. This was the day the Japanese began their all-out assault on U.S. and Filipino troops at Bataan, not far from where my father was stationed in the Philippines on the island of Corregidor.

Most people recall the Japanese bombing at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. On that day, my father was just coming back to his patrol boat from shore leave in Manilla when he noticed everything in the bay was dark—lights out, everywhere. His shipmates greeted him with news of the Pearl Harbor bombing. The U.S. was officially at war.

 

The Japanese found their new target the very next day—the Bataan Peninsula at Manilla Bay. Bombs and bullets rained from the sky. I recall my father telling me it sounded like popcorn popping, all of those bullets pinging against the ship. Can you imagine what it felt like, knowing the invading forces wanted only one thing—to kill you?

 

It wasn’t until April 3,1942 that the Japanese ratcheted up their continued attack. From nine in the morning until three in the afternoon, a 100-aircraft bombardment “turned the Mt. Samat stronghold into an inferno” according to the Chinese Daily Mail.

 

Ultimately the Japanese took approximately 60,000 Filipino and 15,000 American prisoners of war, leading them on the Bataan Death March where so many men died along the way.

 

My father’s naval unit had been moved to the nearby island of Corregidor, but received daily bombardments. With the troops weakened by ration shortages and disease, they knew it was only a matter of time before surrender. That day came about a month later. They were sent on the same path as those before them, taken from one overcrowded camp to another, treated harshly, put on a starvation diet and pressed into forced labor, finally to survive a death sentence at the end of the war only through liberation by Allied forces.

 

The men who withstood the brutality of war were certainly heroes. They’re the kind of men romance writers dream up: strong, brave, loyal, and willing to fight for what they believe. My heart swells with pride knowing my father was one of them, even as it twists with compassion for all that he and those with him endured.

pony-express-collection-cover

I hope you enjoy my contribution to the Pony Express collection, My Dear Adora. Along with Adora, you’ll meet Chip Nolan who rescues the saddle pack his little brother lost after a robbery. Intent on hand-delivering every missive, the last one is to Adora from her loving parents. After carrying the letter close to his heart for months, Chip is already half in love with Adora when he finds her—just in time to rescue her from a fortune seeker.

DSCF6553done

Maureen Lang writes stories that celebrate a mix of God’s love, history, and romance. She is the author of sixteen novels and five novellas, and has been a finalist for Christy, Carol and Rita awards. She lives in the Midwest, is a married mother of three, and caregiver for her adult son with Fragile X Syndrome. Visit her at www.maureenlang.com

Jesse James and the Pony Express — Cynthia Melton Hickey

Today, as we celebrate the release of The Pony Express Romance Collection and April 3rd in general, we welcome author Cynthia Melton Hickey as she explains the connection between two major pieces of Americana.

Now Jesse James doesn’t play a role in my story, Her Lonely Heart, but there are outlaws and shooting, not to mention the role of young men determined to be pony express riders.

jesse_1

Jesse James was only fifteen when he joined a guerrilla band led by William Quantrill. Many pony express riders were younger by a year or two.

The Quantrill gang terrorized Kansas and Missouri during the Civil War. After the war, Jesse, his brother Frank, and brothers Cole, James, and Robert Younger moved to armed robbery. During the next 16 years, the gang became America’s most notorious outlaws. In 1976 the Younger brothers were captured. The James brothers escaped and didn’t rob another train until 1880, the same year a reward was posted wanting the James brothers dead or alive. Gang member Robert Ford decided the bounty was worth more than loyalty and shot Jesse James in the back.

On the morning of April 3, 1882, while planning one last robbery with Bob and Charles Ford that would net him enough money to settle down permanently, Jesse reportedly stood in a chair to straighten a crooked picture on the wall.

jesse_2

Bob Ford shot Jesse James in the back of the head just below his right ear. His children and wife, Zerelda, ran into the room, but it was too late. Jesse James was dead at 34 years of age.

jesse_3

There has been speculation since he died that his death was staged and that he lived the rest of his days in peace under an assumed name. In 1947, a 102 year old man named J. Frank Dalton claimed to be Jesse James. His claim was never verified and DNA testing on the supposed grave of Jesse James has been inconclusive.

In Her Lonely Heart, there is a change of lifestyle, not by a killer, but by a bitter man set in his ways. I hope you enjoy this trip back into history, not only from this post, but from reading The Pony Express Romance Collection.

img_4351

About Cynthia:

Website at www.cynthiahickey.com

 Multi-published and Amazon and ECPA Best-Selling author Cynthia Hickey owns the small press, Forget Me Not Romances, which includes some of the CBA’s best well-known authors. She lives in Arizona with her husband in Arizona and has eight grandchildren who keep her busy and tell everyone they know that “Nana is a writer”.

 

Facebook   Twitter

www.forgetmenotromances.com  www.takemeawaybooks.com
Winged Publications – Where Your Stories Take Flight
Amazon Bestselling Author
ponyexpressbookcover

Excerpt

Cottonwood Station, Kansas, 1860

Chapter One

Sadie Mathewson shaded her eyes against the harsh prairie sun. The Pony Express rider was over an hour late and his replacement had long since finished his biscuits and gravy.

“I gotta go, Mrs. Mathewson” The lanky replacement rider slapped his hat on his head. “Whatever the fella is carryin’ will have to go with the next rider through here.”

“I’m going with him.” Josiah, her twelve-year-old son, stomped from the house.

“No, son. We’ve gone over this before. The advertisement said orphans preferred.”

“Preferred, not mandatory.” His face wore a sullen look. “This trading post is boring. I want adventure.”

“I thought you enjoyed the horses and watching the wagon trains head west.”

“Not anymore. I want to be a Pony Express rider.”

Just last week, he wanted to be a farmer. “We’ve gone over this subject until I’m numb. We’ll speak no more about it.” Sadie twitched her skirts and headed into the cool dimness of the building where her ten-year-old daughter Ruth wiped down the one counter.

“Is Josiah really going to join the Pony Express?” Ruth tossed the rag into a bucket. “I want to go. I don’t see why girls can’t ride horses.”

“Girls can ride horses, just not as Express riders.” Maybe the paper wasn’t such a good idea for her children to read. It put ridiculous notions in their heads.

“Ma? Come quick.” Josiah peered into the building just long enough to call out for her.

What now? Sometimes the duty of running the post and exchange station was more than Sadie could bear. She missed her husband. With a heavy sigh, she joined her son outside.

A rider, leading another horse, headed toward the station. As he got closer, Sadie was able to see that he was an Indian. On the second horse slouched a smaller form. “Josiah, fetch my rifle. Quick now.”

He dashed away, returning as the Indian stopped in front of Sadie. She cradled the rifle in her arms. “State your business.”

“I found rider.” He slung his leg over the saddle horn and slid to the ground. “Boy fell from horse and hit head. He yours?”

While she’d not had trouble with the neighboring Kickapoo tribe, Sadie kept her distance and moved to the other side of the boy’s horse. The leather mochila draped over the horse’s flanks clued her in to the poor boy’s identity. “He’s a Pony Express rider.”

“I take into hut.” The Indian pulled the boy into his arms and marched into the building.

Sadie hurried, but not before Ruth let out a blood-curdling scream at the sight of their visitor. “Hush, child, and fix a pallet in the corner.” She propped her rifle against the counter. “I thank you, Mister…”

“Name Fox.” He laid the boy on a worn quilt.

“Well, Mr. Fox. I’d like to repay you for your kindness.”

He straightened and fixed stern dark eyes on her before his gaze moved to the shelves. “I take that red cloth.”

“Very well.” She’d hoped to sew herself and Ruth new dresses, but hopefully someone would come along with more material to trade. A boy’s life was more important than vanity, anyway. She pulled the bolt of fabric from the shelf and handed it to Mr. Fox.

“You no man?”

She stiffened. “He’s gone.”

“Away or dead?”

“Dead.”

“You the nice widow people talk about.” He gave a nod and ducked back outside. Seconds later, the sound of hoofbeats signaled he’d left.

Sadie sagged against the counter to catch her breath then knelt next to the unconscious boy. Blood matted dark hair over a lump the size of a chicken egg. “Josiah!”

“Yeah?”

“Excuse me?” She narrowed her eyes.

. I need clean water and rags. Ruth, fetch me the canteen.”

While her children scurried to do her bidding, she ran her hands over the boy’s arms and legs looking for fractures. Nothing appeared broken. God willing, he’d open his eyes soon and tell her his name.

“Here’s the water. I’ll care for the horse.” Josiah stared down at the boy. “I could take his place, Ma.”

“No.” She dipped the rag into the water and worked at washing the boy’s face and wound. “I said to say no more about riding. You’re the man of the house with your pa gone. What would I do without you?” Loneliness already assailed her from morning to night. With one of her children gone, she feared her knees would buckle from the weight of it and she’d never get up again.

Coffee Mills and the Pony Express — by Connie Stevens

The first run of the Pony Express took place on April 3, 1860. So in celebration of the release of The PONY EXPRESS Romance Collection, the nine authors are having a bit of fun with “On This Date In History. . .” blog posts.

On April 3, 1829, James Carrington obtained a patent for a coffee mill. So I thought, “WoooHoooo! Coffee!  A truly noteworthy historical event, marked by a milestone in the evolution of my most favorite beverage, to coincide with the launch of the Pony Express decades later.”

I smiled and rubbed my fingertips, readying them to uncover historical tidbits for this blog post.

While it is true, a patent was indeed issued to Mr. Carrington on April 3rd, 1829 for his coffee mill design, alas, there is no record of his mill ever being manufactured. Further research also turned up numerous patents issued from the very early 1800s through the 1890s to more than two dozen people. Clearly, the milling of coffee beans and the brewing of this delectable beverage was serious business to a great many, highly intelligent people with discriminating palates. Sadly, most of these designs never met with manufacturing success. James Carrington wasn’t the only inventor whose creation never got off the ground, likely due to a lack of funds.

So, without ironclad facts to validate my statements, it is pure speculation when I state those wiry, tough-as-nails, reckless young fellows who flew across the prairie on swift steeds, bearing the US mail from St. Joseph, Missouri  to Sacramento, California in only ten days were, without a doubt, fueled by copious amounts of coffee.

My research did reveal a pair of brothers, Charles and Edmund Parker, who were successful in manufacturing a coffee mill that eventually found its way into nearly every American kitchen over the course of a few decades. It is my opinion that one of these coffee grinders was present at most of the Pony Express outposts and stations, much to the chagrin and regret of Mr. Carrington. Or perhaps that is pure conjecture on my part.

I can tell you without a shred of doubt, everything I write is, indeed, fueled by countless cups of the rich brew, and there are numerous references to coffee as the beverage of choice in my story, ABUNDANCE OF THE HEART.  In any event, I like to believe  James Carrington’s efforts in his inventor’s workshop were similarly driven by his desire for caffeine.

ponyexpressbookcover

About “ABUNDANCE OF THE HEART”:
Two discontented hearts, both of whom must stand aside and watch others fulfill the dreams they desire, discover God has something better in mind, if only they are willing to accept it.

connie-stevens-headshot

About Connie:

A lifelong reader, Connie Stevens began creating stories by the time she was ten. She enjoys gardening and quilting, but one of her favorite pastimes is browsing antique shops where story ideas often take root in her imagination. Connie lives in north Georgia and  has been a member of American Christian Fiction Writers since 2000.

The Pony Express – And Martin Luther King, Jr.– by Pegg Thomas

To celebrate the release of The Pony Express Romance Collection, we’re highlighting the date the first Pony Express run began –April 3rd – and looking at other dates in history to see what happened.

 

On April 3, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., gave his last speech. In that speech, he asked if God granted him his choice of time period to live in, which would he choose? Dr. King suggested several time periods, including this one:

“I would come on up even to 1863, and watch a vacillating President by the name of Abraham Lincoln finally come to the conclusion that he had to sign the Emancipation Proclamation.”

The Pony Express was of vital concern to President Abraham Lincoln. He feared that California might enter the Civil War and side with the Confederate States of America. The Pony Express filled a much-needed communication gap until telegraph lines could be stretched from coast to coast. It was one cog in the war machine that eventually ended slavery in these United States.  (tweet this)

 

Embattled Hearts

By Pegg Thomas

Wyoming Territory – August, 1861

She ignored the boot that shoved against her ribs. The next shove came with more force, and Alannah Fagan let a groan escape her swollen lips. Only she knew it was a groan of rage, not pain, although there was plenty of that.

“She’s alive.”

She forced herself not to flinch at Edward Bergman’s guttural voice. It was better they thought her still unconscious. They wouldn’t bother to care for her, so she’d have a chance to escape once darkness fell.

“Leave her.” Hugh Bergman’s voice rose from the direction of the camp. “She’ll come ’round by mornin’.”

“Might rain tonight.” Edward’s voice carried no hint of concern.

“Then she’ll get wet.” Hugh Bergman’s held even less. He may have married her ma, but he was no stepfather to her or her brother. “Whatever she put in the pot looks done. Come eat.”

Edward shuffled to the fire. More steps announced that his older brothers, Carl and Arnold, joined them. The scent of scorched salt pork and beans brought Alannah a slender thread of satisfaction. The clatter of plates and spoons, an occasional grunt from one of the men, the stomp of a horse’s hoof came from behind her. Whoosh of an owl overhead. Clicking of insects. Rustling and murmurs as members of the wagon train settled down for the evening.

Where was Conn? Her brother had left to fill the canteens at the creek right before…before Hugh’s fist had knocked her unconscious.

Alannah eased open her right eye. The left refused. Pain radiated from her left cheek, engulfing that side of her face. Careful not to move more than she must, she inched her head off the ground to peer above the prairie grass. The creek lay a quarter of a mile or so ahead of her. Their canvas-covered wagon was parked behind her in the large circle they formed each evening.

The sky darkened until she couldn’t see the willows along the creek anymore. The night sounds swelled and overtook the noise of the wagon train. A sentry walked past on his circuit. If he saw her, he didn’t pause. The whole wagon train would know what had happened by now, but nobody would confront Hugh Bergman. Not since he’d beaten the wagon master half to death over a senseless dispute about where to camp one night. Now her stepfather ran the wagon train, ruling it by fear.

 

Bio:

Pegg Thomas lives on a hobby farm in Northern Michigan with Michael, her husband of *mumble* years. A life-long history geek, she writes “History with a Touch of Humor.” When not working on her latest novel, Pegg can be found in her garden, in her kitchen, or on her trusty old horse, Trooper.

Facebook 

Twitter

Goodreads

Google+

PeggThomas.com

QuidProQuills

ColonialQuills

 

Characters in Conflict — Pegg Thomas

Today we welcome author Pegg Thomas as she shares some insight into how to write about characters in conflict, and as she shares her latest release, Embattled Hearts.

Without conflict … there is no story. Some conflict is more physical than others. For my heroine, Alannah Fagan, it’s very physical. Her stepfather is abusive. The opening scene was painful to write, and I hope it’s painful for the reader to read.

Why did I start a historical romance story with a scene of domestic violence? Because life isn’t always pretty. At that point in history, women had very little protection from men in their family. A man was supposed to protect and provide for his family, but at the same time, it was legal for him to beat his wife. Imagine that! While evil men still beat women today – a tragedy each and every time it happens – at least there is legal recourse for women now.

What hope did a woman have in 1861? That’s the question Alannah is faced with in Embattled Hearts. She makes the daring decision to escape with Conn, her younger brother. They have nothing, no means of survival in a vast area of unsettled Wyoming Territory. Even so, she’d rather face death in the elements that death at her stepfather’s hand.

Stewart McCann is the hero of the story. He’s the Pony Express stationmaster at Horseshoe Station. Stewart has his own conflict, but it’s not physical. His conflict stems from a totally different source. (Which will not be told here … because I don’t do spoilers!)

Sometimes it’s easy to empathize with the person who has physical reminders of the conflict in their life. The person covered with bruises, or scars, or confined to a wheelchair after an auto accident. It’s more difficult to empathize with the person whose conflicts are internal. The soldier with PTSD, the boy with autism, the lonely old man down the street with no family left.

Fiction stories can – and I believe should – deliver a message deeper than what’s happening on the surface. Romance stories are boy-meets-girl stories. But they don’t have to be superficial. Boy-meets-girl can contain deeper issues than surface angst about sexual attraction. While that is undeniably a source of conflict, it’s not enough to keep the story alive with the reader after they close the book.  My hope is that Embattled Hearts will be the type of story people will think about, talk about, and pass along to a friend.

Spotlight:

What genres do you write in and why?

Historical is my favorite genre but I haven’t been able to break through to publication with one of my historical novels yet. I started writing Historical Romance because of the demand for it. At times I’m still a little uncomfortable writing romance, but I’m getting used it to. It’s definitely stretching me as a writer. Both genres allow me to indulge in my love of history.

Tell me about your ideal reader.

My ideal reader is a woman above the age of 30 who has lived enough years to appreciate both the present and the past. She enjoys reading. It’s something of an escape for her, a way to pass her lunch hour or de-stress at the end of the day. But she wants more than a benign story of human angst. She wants something meatier, deeper, something that she’ll think about after she closes the book. She appreciates history and the struggles our forefathers – and mothers – worked through to create the place we live in today.

Tell us about your next book & when is it being published?

My next story, In Sheep’s Clothing, will appear in another historical romance collection from Barbour Publishing, The Bouquet of Brides Collection. It will release in January of 2018. I’m having a lot of fun writing this one! The heroine is a spinner and weaver in 1702 Connecticut Colony. I settled the story in Milford, Connecticut, where some of my ancestors lived. I learned to spin a yarn – the fiber kind – when I was 16 years old. Let’s just say that’s been a while ago. I’ve raised sheep for more than 20 years. Being able to combine my love for the fiber arts with my writing is a treat. Researching for this story has taught me a lot about how King William III’s Wool Act of 1699 changed the way Colonial America clothed itself.

Bio:

Pegg Thomas lives on a hobby farm in Northern Michigan with Michael, her husband of *mumble* years. A life-long history geek, she writes “History with a Touch of Humor.” When not working on her latest novel, Pegg can be found in her garden, in her kitchen, or on her trusty old horse, Trooper.

 

Links:

Twitter

Goodreads

Google+

PeggThomas.com

QuidProQuills

ColonialQuills

 

 

Embattled Hearts – Chapter One – first page

 

She ignored the boot that shoved against her ribs. The next shove came with more force, and Alannah Fagan let a groan escape her swollen lips. Only she knew it was a groan of rage, not pain, although there was plenty of that.

“She’s alive.”

She forced herself not to flinch at Edward Bergman’s guttural voice. It was better they thought her still unconscious. They wouldn’t bother to care for her, so she’d have a chance to escape once darkness fell.

“Leave her.” Hugh Bergman’s voice rose from the direction of the camp. “She’ll come ’round by mornin’.”

“Might rain tonight.” Edward’s voice carried no hint of concern.

“Then she’ll get wet.” Hugh Bergman’s held even less. He may have married her ma, but he was no stepfather to her or her brother. “Whatever she put in the pot looks done. Come eat.”

Edward shuffled to the fire. More steps announced that his older brothers, Carl and Arnold, joined them. The scent of scorched salt pork and beans brought Alannah a slender thread of satisfaction. The clatter of plates and spoons, an occasional grunt from one of the men, the stomp of a horse’s hoof came from behind her. Whoosh of an owl overhead. Clicking of insects. Rustling and murmurs as members of the wagon train settled down for the evening.

Where was Conn? Her brother had left to fill the canteens at the creek right before…before Hugh’s fist had knocked her unconscious.

Alannah eased open her right eye. The left refused. Pain radiated from her left cheek, engulfing that side of her face. Careful not to move more than she must, she inched her head off the ground to peer above the prairie grass. The creek lay a quarter of a mile or so ahead of her. Their canvas-covered wagon was parked behind her in the large circle they formed each evening.

The sky darkened until she couldn’t see the willows along the creek anymore. The night sounds swelled and overtook the noise of the wagon train. A sentry walked past on his circuit. If he saw her, he didn’t pause. The whole wagon train would know what had happened by now, but nobody would confront Hugh Bergman. Not since he’d beaten the wagon master half to death over a senseless dispute about where to camp one night. Now her step-father ran the wagon train, ruling it by fear.

 

Reader Question:

If you were faced with the prospect of a life of drudgery with someone you loathed or escape into a wilderness you might not survive … which would you choose?

 

Behind the Scenes of “The Lydia Collection” by Lisa M. Prysock

I am really excited to welcome author Lisa Prysock today as she shares about Behind the Scenes of her latest series, The Lydia Collection. Read all the way through as she’s offering a free download!

banner

I walked into church one day not long after finishing my debut Regency Romance novel, To Find a Duchess.  I was somewhere in the middle of writing a Victorian Romance series, The Victorian Christian Heritage Series.  That particular morning, we had guests acting out short skits from the Bible.  One of the scenes they acted out was about Lydia from Acts chapter 16, the seller of purple from the New Testament.  Lydia made and sold purple linen in the marketplace.  She was faithful to serve the Lord, learned from Paul, and her entire household was converted into the faith.  She gave of the proceeds of her linen to help keep Paul and Barnabus doing mission work.  I knew immediately that the Lord wanted me to give as much as possible of the proceeds from my books to missions.

This inspired me greatly and The Lydia Collection was born.  I began giving the majority of the proceeds from all of my books to missions.  The books in this collection can be read in any order and do not intersect.  If you love Historical Romance but don’t want to be stuck in one era or time period, this collection was made with you in mind.

The first book is FREE.  You can download it here:   The Redemption of Lady Georgiana.  This story is a loose adaptation of the Biblical Ruth love story with a Regency setting (1810-1820) in England and France during the Napoleonic Wars.  Prince George IV is the Regent Prince ruling in place of his father, King George III (due to his madness which deprived him of the ability to rule).  The theme of the story is kindness and redemption.  Some of the story takes place in the beautiful French Alps and later, in the English countryside of Essex.  During the time when I was writing this story, my mother was coming to live near my family here in Kentucky.  I felt the Lord allowed me to shower my mom with many kindnesses during this transition, much like Ruth showed to her mother-in-law, Naomi.

 

covers

 

Protecting Miss Jenna takes place during the Antebellum Era (1812-1861).  Being a resident of beautiful Kentucky, I really enjoyed researching this story.  The more I read personal accounts of slaves, the more I felt compelled to write this story against slavery.  In researching the life of Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, I discovered she also felt divinely inspired to write this book that influenced Americans to want to abolish slavery and the suffering it caused.  I felt as though we had kindred hearts at once.  Real life events during this time period inspired many of the events in my book.  The hero, Wade, is a renegade for standing up to his slave owning father against slavery.  I toured beautiful plantations, including one where Abraham Lincoln stayed, Farmington House.

house

I also enjoyed a riverboat ride as part of my research.  Forgiveness and developing healthy self-esteem are two additional theme threads in this book.  These were things I struggled with in my own life and it was easy for me to write about them.

Persecution & Providence is a Jane Austen-ish mail order bride adventure that starts out in England and takes readers to Kentucky during the 1870’s Pioneer Era when the west was still expanding.  The theme is the depths of the Lord’s love for us.  This story has a number of farm animals which readers helped me name.  The book includes a humorous, satirical character sketch and a map of the fictional town setting.  I have to share one little known fact with readers though… the fictional town of Arbor Ridge is loosely based on two small towns in my neck of the woods.  Also, the book includes a scene from the real life town of LaGrange and the city of Louisville. The first lines of the novel are a parody of Austen’s Pride & Prejudice.

Don’t forget to download your FREE copy of The Redemption of Lady Georgiana and remember that when you purchase any of my books or read any of my books which are enrolled in Kindle Unlimited, you are helping to support missions.  (Both of the other books in this collection are enrolled in KU, but may not be for long.)  Also, thanks so much Donna for having me on your blog!

Lisa

About Lisa:

Lisa M. Prysock lives in the countryside of beautiful, rolling Kentucky just outside of the greater Louisville area near horse farms and four board fences with her husband of 19 years.  She homeschools the two youngest of their five children (three grown).  She and her husband live in an average, two story, Colonial style home they are continually updating– with a funny looking Heinz 57 dog; an adorably dainty lady cat; two teenagers; a vegetable garden; numerous flower beds; and a tree house undergoing a remodel.  When not in teaching or writing mode, she is teaching herself to play the piano and violin.  In regards to that, she laughs:  “It’s a pretty painful process, but I’m truly enjoying it!”

Lisa loves all things old-fashioned and has adopted a slogan of “The Old-Fashioned Everything Girl.”  A few of her interests and passions include doll houses, long dresses and hats, gardening, reading the Classics, butterflies, swimming, walking, working out, cooking, sewing, crochet, cross stitching, arts and crafts, scrapbooking, decorating, and drawing.  Recently, her husband remodeled a room in their home with a picture window overlooking a valley which contains a creek and wooded area, transforming the space into a serene and sublime writing office/sewing room.  “It’s a great source of peace and inspiration for me… and pure joy not to be writing from the busy kitchen amidst the household chaos on a laptop.  Growing teenagers eating every five minutes makes for a constant stream of happenings!”

Lisa is an Amazon bestselling author of To Find a Duchess, an Inspirational Regency Romance; a Victorian Christian Romance Series which includes Hannah’s Garden:  a Turn of the Century Love Story and Abigail’s Melody; and ‘The Lydia Collection,’ which includes The Redemption of Lady Georgiana (a Ruth love story of modern day Regency proportions), Protecting Miss Jenna (an Antebellum Era Christian Romance Adventure), and Persecution & Providence (a ‘Jane Austen-ish’ mail order bride story from the Pioneer Era).  She is also the author of a devotional/Bible Study, Arise Princess Warrior.  Lisa writes clean and wholesome literature that shares her faith in Jesus Christ.  She is a member of ACFW and Louisville Christian Writers.  You can find out more about Lisa at:   http://www.LisaPrysock.com

Links:

https://www.facebook.com/LisaMPrysock  (author page)

https://twitter.com/LPrysock

www.LisaPrysock.com

Where you can purchase the first 4 of Lisa’s books (Protecting Miss Jenna & Persecution & Providence are exclusive to Amazon, but her other books can be found at these locations.  Her devotional, Arise Princess Warrior, is currently available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble on line in a full color paperback version or black and white on cream paper.  Also available in Kindle eBook format at Amazon.)  These links will take you to her debut novel, To Find a Duchess:

https://www.amazon.com/Find-Duchess-Lisa-Prysock-ebook/dp/B00LCZCT6K/

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/to-find-a-duchess-lisa-m-prysock/1118587938?ean=2940013868922

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/541181

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/to-find-a-duchess

https://www.walmart.com/ip/To-Find-a-Duchess-An-Inspirational-Regency-Romance-Novel/19814411

The Victorian Christian Heritage Series (also available at Kobo, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble online):

https://www.amazon.com/Hannahs-Garden-Victorian-Christian-Heritage-ebook/dp/B00V92WLKA/

https://www.amazon.com/Abigails-Melody-Victorian-Christian-Heritage-ebook/dp/B00Y6A262K/

The Lydia Collection:

https://www.amazon.com/Redemption-Lady-Georgiana-Lydia-Collection-ebook/dp/B00Y8S6F54/

https://www.amazon.com/Protecting-Miss-Jenna-Unafraid-Collection-ebook/dp/B015O85J12/

https://www.amazon.com/Persecution-Providence-Lydia-Collection-Book-ebook/dp/B01C8I27OI/

Devotional (also available at Barnes and Noble online):

https://www.amazon.com/Arise-Warrior-Princess-Lisa-Prysock-ebook/dp/B01M8G567F/

4 of Lisa’s titles are also available at Apple iBooks.

PROCEEDS SUPPORT MISSIONS

 

 

The Story Behind the Story of The Planter’s Daughter By Michelle Shocklee

Today I’m excited to welcome author Michelle Shocklee as she shares where she got the idea for her latest release, The Planter’s Daughter.

Ask any author where they get story ideas and you will receive a hundred different answers. A life event, a trip, a book, or an interesting picture can all ignite an active imagination. I’ve even had the concept for the perfect story come in the middle of the night, requiring a scramble out of bed in the dark to locate a piece of paper and a pen.

The idea for THE PLANTER’S DAUGHTER began when I read UNCLE TOM’S CABIN by Harriet Beecher Stowe for the first time. It deeply moved me, in the same manner it moved people back when it was first published in 1852. I still remember how heartbroken I felt reading about the treatment of Tom and the other slaves. When I finished it, I knew I wanted to write a book that involved slavery, because the slaves and what they endured should never be forgotten.

Because we live in Texas, I wanted to set the book in the Lone Star State. I began reading about antebellum Texas and was surprised to learn of the many plantations that existed as well as the vast number of slaves who lived in the state. By the end of the Civil War, there were over 250,000 slaves in bondage in Texas, a number that still shocks me considering half of the state was considered the frontier.

While I researched the story, I discovered a book called I WAS BORN IN SLAVERY, true narratives of former Texas slaves. To hear their stories told in their own words was invaluable. Many of the scenes, experiences, and even some of the slave names in THE PLANTER’S DAUGHTER are based on the actual lives and events of former Texas slaves.

At the heart of the story, however, is the romance between Adella and Seth. I am often asked where I find names for my characters, and I must admit that the story behind Adella’s name is the most interesting. My husband and I live on a 400-acre ranch in the hill country of Texas, and directly across from our house is a small graveyard. I say small, as in there is only one marker (although I am convinced there are two residents!). The headstone is very worn, with much of the information gone, including the first and last name of the deceased. Her middle name, however, is very clear: Adele. Adele lived in the 1800s. She was born in Switzerland and was a beloved wife. I often refer to her as my neighbor, and I wanted to name my heroine after her, because a woman living in the wilds of 1800s Texas was surely a brave and interesting woman. I chose the name Adella in her honor.

My hope is readers will enjoy the historical details found in THE PLANTER’S DAUGHER, and immerse themselves in a satisfying tale of love, hardship, and courage.

ABOUT MICHELLE:

Born and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Michelle Shocklee is a Rocky Mountain girl at heart. But after living in Texas the past thirty years with her tall Texan husband, she has grown to truly appreciate the Lone Star State’s rugged beauty. Her family lived in Williamson County, the setting for her debut novel THE PLANTER’S DAUGHTER, for more than twenty years. She and her husband currently live and work on a 400-acre ranch in the Texas Hill Country where they can often be found spoiling llamas, sheep, and chickens, and enjoying the abundant wildlife. Passionate about history, she considers it pure joy to immerse herself in stories from the past, whether fiction or true-life tales. She is a contributing author in numerous Chicken Soup for the Soul books, magazine articles, and writes the Life Along The Way blog.

 

LINKS:

www.MichelleShocklee.com

http://michelleshocklee.blogspot.com/

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMichelleShocklee1/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

http://www.twitter.com/ShellShocklee

https://www.pinterest.com/shocklee8455/

 

DREAM MAKER by Katheryn Maddox Haddad

Today we welcome author Katheryn Maddox Haddad back as she previews the second book in her They Mey Jesus series, Dream Maker.

Welcome, Katheryn.

Do you ever feel like the triumph of good over evil is impossible? That’s what the Jewish revolutionary zealots tried to deal with.

Do doubts about the existence of God haunt you? John the Baptist kept asking for signs and reassurance who Jesus was.

Does Satan tempt you to do wrong to accomplish good? That is what Satan tried to do with Jesus.

How about making a list of your beliefs, then searching the scriptures to see if they are true? That’s what Andrew and Philip did.

Are people angry with you because you always tell the truth? That’s what Nathaniel was like, and Jesus praised him for it.

Is tithing a requirement? In the Old Testament it was in order to support the priests. But Jesus said the poor widow who have one penny gave more than the tithers.

Do you hold a position in your denomination you are afraid of losing if you pursue truth? That’s what Nicodemus faced.

Are you falsely accused of doing bad? The woman at the well lost five husband, perhaps in death, for she was respected by people in her city.

Is it okay for someone in high office to humble themselves? Check out the centurion who did.

Have you ever been very sick and unexpectedly got well? That’s what happened to Peter’s mother-in-law.

0-bk-2-dreammaker-cover-kindle-medium-new

This series of eight novels—THEY MET JESUS—is dedicated to everyone who has ever doubted. It shows people who met Jesus in their stark humanness and curiosity, sometimes loving him, sometimes hating him, but never left the same. I was very careful about adding words of Jesus that are not in the Bible. At the end of each chapter are “Life Application Questions” for individual readers or book clubs, and ancient historical sources such as Josephus. At the end of each book are suggested readings for special occasions. COME, MEET JESUS ALL OVER AGAIN.

katheryn-yellow

Katheryn began writing at age ten, and was “published” that same year in her local newspaper. She grew up in the cold north and now lives in Arizona where she do not have to shovel sunshine. She basks in 100-degree weather along with my palm trees, cacti, and a computer with most of the letters worn off.

With a bachelor’s degree in English, Bible and social science from Harding University and part of a master’s degree in Bible, including Greek, from the Harding Graduate School of Theology, she also has a master’s degree in management and human relations from Abilene University.

Her newspaper column appeared for several years in newspapers in Texas and North Carolina ~ Little Known Facts About the Bible ~ and she has written for numerous Christian publications.

She spends half her day writing, and the other half teaching English over the internet worldwide using the Bible as text book.  She is a member of Christian Writers of the West and is also an energetic public speaker.

Pinterest: pinterest.com/haddad1940

Monthly Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/3dM0v

Facebook: www.facebook.com/KatheryMaddoxHaddad

Website:  InspirationsByKatheryn.com
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1CjXcSz

 

The Character’s Voice — by Susan Page Davis

Today we welcome author Susan Page Davis as she shares about the character’s voice. Read all the way through, since she’s giving away a free copy of My Heart Belongs in the Superstition Mountains, (US only for print).

One challenge I’ve faced in writing historical novels is making my characters sound appropriate to their time without all sounding alike.

In My Heart Belongs in the Superstition Mountains, my characters are from several different locations and backgrounds.

Carmela speaks proper grammar. Her uncle has schooled her to speak like a lady, in order to gain respect from her audiences. For example, when she tells Freeland, the deputy marshal, about her travels during the Civil War, she says, “By the time we got to St. Louis, travel was becoming difficult. The farther east we went, the more crowded the trains were. Uncle Silas rented a house in Massachusetts, outside of Boston, as a home base, and we lived there off and on throughout the war, traveling for my engagements.”

Her uncle, if anything is even more proper. Asked to help dig a grave in the desert, he says, “I fear my heart wouldn’t stand it.”

The other men surrounding Carmela are less formal. The stagecoach driver, for instance, speaks directly to the point. When asked if an abandoned way station has horses they can swap for their tired team, he says, “Nary a one. This team’s tuckered out. We’re going to water them and give them a half hour of rest, and then we’ll go on. I’m sorry there’s no meal waitin’ for you. Just keep your eyes open, folks. Tom and I think we’re alone here, but we could be wrong.”

Freeland, the hero, speaks properly for the most part, but without pretense. He’s a font of local information and entertains Carmela during their arduous journey with several snippets, including this after they drink from a stream:

“They say once you drink out of the Hassayampa, you can’t tell the truth anymore.”          “Does that mean we’re both liars now?” she asked.

“Maybe. It’s because of all the false claims they’ve made—the miners. They’ve sold more worthless claims in this valley than anywhere else on earth, I reckon.”

Dix, the deputy’s prisoner, isn’t particular about his language. After they are robbed, Carmela confronts him as he bends over the unconscious Freeland, and they have this exchange:

“You’ve got two good hands, missy. The deppity’s got the key to this bracelet in his pocket. Get it out now.” His voice was smooth, almost slimy.

She shuddered. “Why should I?”

“Because I can’t do nothin’ chained to him. He’s dead weight.”

Still she hesitated.

He leveled a small pistol at her. “And because I’ll kill you if you don’t. Now, come closer.”

In Prescott, the governor’s wife is more meticulous: “Now, tell us about your adventures,” Mrs. McCormick said. “I’m very curious as to why you are traveling in these parts, Miss Wade.”

Mrs. Finney, who runs a boardinghouse, has a more folksy tone: “One of the gents says he heard you speak your piece once. Not here. In Albuquerque. . .Said he saw you with your uncle, only he thought you looked different.”

Finding the right voice for each character is part of the fun of writing a novel, but it does take thought, and sometimes a bit of research. I hope you enjoy “listening” to all of the voices in My Heart Belongs in the Superstition Mountains.

susan-page-davis-cropped

About Susan: Susan Page Davis is the author of more than seventy published historical romance, mystery, and romantic suspense novels. She’s a winner of the Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award, the Carol Award, and the Will Rogers Medallion, and a finalist in the WILLA Literary Awards. A Maine native, she has lived in Oregon and now resides in Kentucky. Visit her website at: www.susanpagedavis.com.

Find Susan at:

Buy My Heart Belongs in the Superstition Mountains at Amazon: http://amzn.to/2lK591K

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/my-heart-belongs-in-the-superstition-mountains-susan-page-davis/1125317838?ean=9781683220077

Christianbook.com: https://www.christianbook.com/heart-belongs-superstition-mountains-carmelas-quandary/susan-davis/9781683220077/pd/220077?event=ESRCG

 

GIVEAWAY—one copy of My Heart Belongs in the Superstition Mountains (US only for print) — winner will be chosen from a random drawing of all those who leave a comment.

my-heart-belongs

April, 28, 1861– Tucson, New Mexico Territory

 

“You get out there, and I mean now.” Uncle Silas glared at Carmela, his white eyebrows nearly meeting over his thin nose.

“I don’t think I can do it.” Her voice broke.

“Of course you can. You had it word-perfect last night.”

Her breath came in shallow gasps. She brushed back a strand of hair with a hot, moist hand. Carmela was frightened. Ma and Pa would never have made her do anything like this. But they were gone now, and Uncle Silas was in charge.

She peeked around the doorjamb. The large room was filled with noisy people, all except for the clear space at the front, where she was supposed to go and stand.

“It’s all men,” she choked.

“No, it’s not.”

She peeked again and spotted a few women with their hair piled on top of their heads or hanging down in braids. A few ranchers and merchants had brought their wives, but by far the majority of the people packed in were men.

One woman seated between two men in the front row wore a bright yellow dress with a plunging neckline. The stage driver had told her uncle that Tucson was home to about eight hundred people, and more than half of them were Mexicans. But this territory was part of the United States now, so more and more Americans were moving in. She wondered if every single American in Tucson had turned out for this performance.

“I’ll go out and introduce you again,” Uncle Silas said. “Then you’d better come out.”

His voice menacing voice made Carmela shudder. She supposed she would have to do it. He had said they would earn some money tonight, and that it was a way for her to repay him for coming all the way from Massachusetts to fetch her.

He strode out before the crowd that had jammed into the biggest saloon in Tucson—the largest space they had available indoors.

“Ladies and gents,” he said, holding up a hand. The assembly quieted. “I think you will understand my niece’s reticence. It is only a few weeks since she was rescued from her ordeal among the savages, and she has not met a crowd this large or been expected to tell her story to half so many people.” He always said that, although Carmela knew it was a lie. Her parents had died nearly three years ago.

“I ask you to hold your applause and remain quiet,” Uncle Silas went on, “not only so that you can hear her soft voice, but so that you don’t frighten her. Remember, she is not used to loud noise. After what she went through, yelling and clapping might sound to her like an approaching battle. I have assured her you mean her no harm, so please give her your attention, but restrain your enthusiasm. Without further ado, Miss Carmela Wade.”

She pulled in a deep breath and stepped into the doorway. A smattering of restrained applause greeted her. She walked slowly across to stand beside Uncle Silas. The room grew very quiet. She could hear their breathing. A hundred or more eager faces gazed at her, hungrily taking in every detail of her simple dress, leather leggings, and braided hair, but especially the ugly black and blue designs on her face. She could see pity in their eyes. A few women’s faces convulsed as though the sight of her revolted them.

Uncle Silas put his hand on her back and pressed against the layers of her clothing.

“H-hello,” she said.