Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Blog Tour Tuesday: A HEART BROKEN

This week's Blog Tour Tuesday features 
A Heart Broken 
by Sara Barnard

About the Book:
At last, the War Between the States is over! Sanderson Redding is finally home, and for Charlotte, life is good. Until the Army comes knocking. 

Sanderson's old captors have charged him with the murder of Lieutenant Lantz, who died mysteriously on the streets of St. Louis when the South surrendered. With help from the most unlikely sort, can Sanderson convince the Yankee jury of his innocence?

Left alone when Sanderson is carted off for murder, newly pregnant Charlotte is despondent. However, when the stress of their predicament threatens the life of their unborn child, Charlotte is more grateful than ever to have Minerva as her sister-in-law, and roommate.

When the judge sentences Sanderson to a suicide mission in lieu of hanging by the neck until dead, Charlotte knows she can't go along on this adventure. Between a hard pregnancy and a rash of hydrophobia that threatens the entire Arkansas countryside, Charlotte wonders if Sanderson will have a home waiting for him, if he survives the mission, and if he wants to come home at all. However, a freakish dog bite in the midst of the outbreak may well be the end of them all. 


     “Don’t die till we get to have some fun, girl.” Samuel’s whiskey-ruined voice was hot in Charlotte’s ear. Somewhere behind her, Dean’s maniacal laughter pulsated with cruelty. The Bowie knife grew closer to her face, but with her arms lashed behind her, Charlotte could only watch in helpless terror as the promise of death drew nearer.
     “Sanderson!” she screamed, just before the icy blade met the skin of her neck.
     “I’m here. I’m not going to let anything happen to you,” Sanderson murmured into her hair. His arm, muscled and tanned, tightened around her middle. His voice was thick with sleep. “Was it that dream again?”
     She sat up and traced the knife scar at the base of her neck. The air was crisp in their loft and a rash of goose bumps cropped up on her exposed skin. “It was one of them. The knife one. I always wake up before they kill me, but I swear,” Charlotte shook her head to clear the nightmare from her mind, “it gets scarier every time.”
     “They’ll get worse before they get better.” Sanderson propped himself up on an elbow and ran his hand down her thigh. “Mine are pretty bad right now, too. But when I wake up and look at you, I know that I’m finally home.” 

About the Author:

Sara Barnard is mother to four beautiful children, daughter to a pair of awesome parents who have become two of her best friends over the years, wife to a handsome Texan, student to her Master's of Arts in European History classes, and friend to many. Oh, she writes some, too. 

Sara began writing in the third grade, but became serious about becoming published after watching Eclipse with her friend, Rochelle. Rochelle mentioned that Ms. Meyer was a housewife with many children, so Sara decided that since she was back home while her husband was deployed, she would put pen to paper and see what happened. Wow. She started writing in 2009 and hasn't stopped since! This has led to her finding her publisher, 5 Prince Publishing, and her awesome Warrior Princess editor!
Her debut novel, A Heart on Hold, was published in 2012 and quickly became a series. Books 2 and 3, A Heart Broken and A Heart at Home, were published in January 2013 and June 2013 respectively, with book 4, A Heart Forever Wild, forthcoming! Book 1, A Heart on Hold, made it to the top three finalists for the best of 2012 American Historical RONE award and became an Amazon bestseller! Book 2, A Heart Broken, appears to be following in the same path. On a different note, set to release in November is Sara's debut Amish romance novella, Rebekah's Quilt.

Author Links:

Purchase Links:

Amazon  ~  Smashwords  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo  ~  Barnes & Noble

Friday, June 24, 2016

Book Review—Land Of The Burnt Thigh by Ethel Eudora Kohl

One of my works in progress is set in 1867 Kansas and involves a homesteading family. I ‘m involved in ongoing research so I can build the best story world of what’s involved. I mentioned this fact at a recent writers’ meeting and received a recommendation for this memoir.

Although the setting is South Dakota in 1907-08, much of what was shared about the attitudes and emotions of the people involved could be applied to many time periods. The first paragraph has two sisters, both younger than twenty-one years, arriving on the vast, empty prairie from Chicago to claim the older sister’s plot. Ida Mary had been proud of the fact she’d chosen one with a house about thirty miles away from Pierre. Nothing in the land office informed them the “house” was a shack with tar paper for siding—a disappointment that sets the tone for the story.

The young women are dropped off by a man who makes his livelihood as a locator who drives homesteaders out to their purchased plots. Seeing how ill-prepared they are, he does leave them a jug of water. Otherwise, they are left to their own devices. What transpires in the mandatory time to gain their deed, described in prose that is almost lyrical at times, are the struggles the women endure to survive. Especially worthwhile was learning about the ways the women adapted and the community that is built when people share hardships together.

Often research is a bit dry, but this memoir was enjoyable and entertaining. A highly recommended read both as a research tool regarding homesteading but also as a tale of the human spirit determined to make a better life. The definition of a pioneer spirit.
(free for Kindle)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Yes, that is me with my husband and sister-in-law. They are die hard Cubs fans and on our vacation a couple of weeks ago, we went to Turner Field in Atlanta, GA, and watched the Cubs win against the Braves. Go Cubbies.

So, what does this have to do with history? Well, I got to thinking just how long has the USA had baseball? After all, baseball along with apple pie are American signatures.

What I found, baseball has been around a lot longer than I thought. The first mention is way back in 1791  - and that was in an ordinance that banned the game from being played 80 yards from the meeting house. Apparently some people just didn't know how to have fun.

No one is really sure who invented the game, but the first team to play under baseball rules was the New York Knickerbockers in 1845. This was more a social club for the higher class. Even though that club disbanded, their rules were kept.

Union Prisoners at Salisbury North Carolina engage in a game of baseball.

Baseball was popular during the civil war. After the war, soldiers carried the love of the game with them across the growing country. So it's likely they played in their spare time and maybe got ranchers and cowboys into the game.

And by the way, one of the early clubs was the Chicago White Stockings and they won the championship in 1870. Today, that team is the Chicago Cubs. Go Cubs - maybe this is the year to win again.

We all go through tough times. So did baseball, in a sense. From 1909-1919, baseball had such stellar pichers, Cy Young being one of them, that home runs were rare. But a rule change - the pitcher can't tamper with the ball, and the introduction of certain player named, Babe Ruth, ended the Dead-Ball Era of baseball in 1919..

And what would a baseball story be without the song "Take me out to the ball game."The song is a 1908 Tin Pan Alley song written by  Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer. Story goes Jack was riding a subway and saw a sign that said "Baseball Today." And 108 years later we are still singing the chorus during the seventh inning stretch.

So this summer, go ahead. Go to the ball game. Have some peanuts and crackerjacks and enjoy the great American past time.

Go Cubs!
On the book front ~ I have a new one coming out Monday - Treasured Love -it's a contemporary  but a fun one about hidden treasure and of course romance.

** AND I'm working on Bride And Prejudice #8 in the Mail Order Brides of Hickory Stick  Series. I'm hoping to get it out in July.

Keep cool and enjoy the summer.

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Life of the Poor

Even though I am only about halfway through my current book, I’m always letting my mind whirl and come up with ideas for new books.  Sometimes I can find the inspiration for a story from the slightest discussion or image.  A few weeks ago, an author friend I know put up a picture of a letter discussing the auction of 3 women.  They were part of an auction of the poor.

There was something about the idea of it that struck me.  Can you imagine living back then, especially as a woman, and not having the means to support yourself or a family?

Today, there are programs in place to help the poor, but back then, some of the things they did are unbelievable to us today.

Auction of the Poor

If a person was destitute and unable to provide for themselves, they could be auctioned off to the lowest bidder.  The bidder would state a price they would be able to provide for the person, or even a family, through public funding.  They would provide housing, food, clothing and health care to the poor and their family in return for free labor.

The amount of time would be contracted, usually a year or two.  Even though it wasn’t technically slavery, it was a form of indentured servitude and the poor were completely reliant on the kindness of the bidder who won.  There weren’t any laws in place to protect them from abuse or mistreatment.

*If you would like to see the original article that started me reading more about this, you can go to http://www.poorhousestory.com/AUCTION_POOR.htm

The Start of Poorhouses

Poorhouses provided another solution that were hoped to be a better way to provide for the poor in communities.  If a person wasn’t able to support themselves or their family, they would be required to go to the tax-supported poorhouse.

These poorhouses didn’t turn out as hoped, costing much more to manage and maintain, and conditions in the poorhouses was often bad for the residents.  The thought of having the poor work every day would keep the lazy away.  However, it ended up being a majority of the residents being those who weren’t able-bodied - instead, housing the elderly, sick, disabled and homeless children.

Eventually, they had to set up different facilities to care for the dependent poor, and sent the able bodied people to what they referred to as a poor farm, or a workhouse.

We have all struggled at one time or another financially, and to consider what so many of these people would have been faced with back then is unimaginable.  If they didn’t have any family to take them in, or care for them, they could literally be auctioned off to the the lowest bidder.  Or, be sent to live in a poorhouse.

While these findings can be good fodder for a story, the truth of what would have happened to these people could never truly be described in the pages of a book.  I read through some articles I found, and almost cried hearing about the children who were left to fend for themselves or to help make money for their families.

This is just a short overview of what happened.  As I research for my next book, I might find myself wishing I had never started reading about the lives these people would have faced.

One thing for sure, the next time I complain about not having the money for something I would like, I will thank my lucky stars that I'm not being forced into the lives they would have lived.


Kay P. Dawson’s first mail order bride series, Wilder West, is available on Amazon.  Her new series, Oregon Sky, will feature the Wallace family who have settled in the Willamette Valley.  The first two books in the series, "Phoebe's Promise" and "Audrey's Awakening" are now available on Amazon!

Find Kay P. Dawson…

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Friday, June 17, 2016

What Makes Cheyenne So Special?

Cheyenne, Wyoming is beautiful, and the destination for the most recent Mail-Order Brides series with the Sweet and Clean Book Club author collaboration!  Why Cheyenne? What makes it so special?


Truthfully, covering everything would make this article far too long, so I'll start with what inspired me to select Cheyenne for Maud's Devotion, and the second book in this series, Helen's Promise, and the remaining two books that are yet to be announced, and provide a high-level view.

Cheyenne is located on the southeast corner of Wyoming, and close to the Colorado border. Historians believe the original inhabitants of this area were large game hunters, and in the mid-1970's archaeologists discovered evidence of human habitation. Mammoth remains were found in the same location as ancient implements that appear to be designed to kill animals; consisting of agate, quartzite, and even jasper artifacts. How incredible is that?


It is possible that French fur hunters penetrated this area of Wyoming in the mid-18th century, but historical records tell us that exploration of the area began closer to the 19th century.

Gold was discovered in the 1860's and 1970's, and that led to all kinds of migration west, and unfortunate conflicts between Native Americans and the people moving into the area.

In 1867, the Pacific Railroad entered southern Wyoming, coal mines were built, and many towns sprouted up in the surrounding areas, and by 1968 the area ballooned to a population of 11,000!

Cattle ranches were established in ernest around this time, and Cheyenne was declared the temporary capital in 1868.

Here comes the main reason for choosing Cheyenne, Wyoming as the destination for this series (and if you've read any of my books, this will make perfect sense to you),  the territorial legislature granted women the RIGHT TO VOTE, hold office, and serve on juries in 1869. Wow! This was the first law of its kind in the country, and Cheyenne should be very proud of this!

Of course, part of the reasoning behind this law was to attract more women to the area, but regardless, I think it's wonderful and progressive of this new territory.

The women in my new baby-focused series, and part of my collaboration with the Sweet Clean Book Club, are women to whom this new law mattered, and many of them were active in the Suffrage Movement.

Thank you for joining me on this high-level brief of Wyoming's history, and in particular Cheyenne. Join me next month as we explore more interesting facts about this influential and beautiful area!

~Kate Cambridge

Visit KateCambridge.com for more information, or KateCambridge.com/Choice to join the Choice Readers group for special launch-day pricing, contest, and more. Be one of the first to know what happens next...

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Wednesday, June 15, 2016


Post by Angela Raines-author


Colorado Mountains

* Colorado has fifty-four peaks over 14,000'. (No wonder they bypasses Colorado for so many years, they believed you could not cross over the mountains.)
* Pikes Peak is the eastern most peak in the states Rocky Mountain Range with a height of 14,115'
* Each years since 1916 there has been the race to the clouds. (It is the second oldest motor sport race after the Indianapolis 500) For more history: http://bit.ly/1S4OpH6
* The tallest peak is 14,400'Mount Elbert and is the second highest in the lower 48. Here is a list of the top 100 peaks in Colorado:http://bit.ly/1S4MoLe

Colorado Plains

* The plains of Colorado start at the Kansas/ Nebraska border
* There are two national grasslands in Colorado. The Comanche and Pawnee grasslands. The Pawnee is located in the northeast part of the state. The Comanche the southeast. For more on these amazing places: http://1.usa.gov/1l1NBZd and http://1.usa.gov/1zEqK8A
* In Kit Carson County, near the Colorado/Kansas border they have a fully restored Carouselhttp://www.burlingtoncolo.com/carousel.htm
* Early trappers founded fur trading forts along the edge of the mountains during the early 1800s. A link to a few:  http://www.colorado.com/articles/historic-forts-colorado

Early People

* The Ute Indians made their home in the high mountains
* The southwest was the home of the Pueblo Indians. Mesa Verde is the home of their ancestors
* Early settlers were the Spanish, and oldest continuously occupied town is San Luis: a short video- http://bit.ly/1YqOwVb
* The oldest church in Colorado was build in 1858:http://bit.ly/1UOAGZI

Early History

* Colorado has a rich and varied history. The area around Pueblo, Colorado has been under five different flags, in alphabetical order- France, Mexico, Texas, Spain, United States.
* Julia Archibald Holmes was the first women to climb Pikes Peak in 1858
* 1806 Zebulon Pike entered Colorado near the present day town of Holly. He never made it to the top of the peak that bears his name.
* Boggsville, Colorado was a stage stop on the Santa Fe Trail: http://bit.ly/238PQwi

So there you have some Colorado Tidbits. Hope you enjoy the links. I know many of these pieces have and will end up in a lot of my stories.

Angela Raines is the pen name for Doris McCraw. Doris also writes haiku posted five days a week at – http://fivesevenfivepage.blogspot.com and has now passed one thousand haiku and photos posted on this blog. Check out her other work or like her Amazon author page:  http://amzn.to/1I0YoeL
One Christmas Knight