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Northern Roses and Southern Belles


NorthernRosesAndSouthernBellesNot your mother’s Civil War Romance…

Thanks Slip into Something Victorian for having me…I say tongue firmly planted in cheek. Yes, I’m a member of this group and blog, but my mother raised me to always be polite and thank my hostesses. J When our group of Victorian writers started talking about doing an anthology, I chimed in. I had done one novella before and enjoyed it. Besides, I love anthologies and have found new authors I enjoy through reading anthologies.

But, I wasn’t crazy about the Civil War era. Although it’s one of my favorite non-fiction subjects, I don’t like glamorizing a terrible time in our history as some works have done. Fortunately, none of the novellas in Northern Roses and Southern Belles sugarcoats a horrific subject, yet the individual stories that emerged are fun, adventurous, romantic, and remained true to history. After wasting time toying with several ideas, I decided to fictionalize events from my own family’s history and wrote Long Road Home for Northern Roses and Southern Belles.

We narrowed from twelve to six novellas as people dropped out for various reasons, but the anthology came together beautifully. The cover couldn’t be lovelier and Allison Byers was a super editor. These are great stories, so I think the book should be of interest to all historical fans.

Even though I’ve read a lot of nonfiction about that war, I learned several things through our anthology. I can’t wait to hold a copy in my hands!  I already have requests from friends for their copy.

Were Southerners who wanted to stay out of the War allowed to do so?

Caroline Clemmons: Many who had no sympathy for either side were pressed into service. My ancestors wanted to stay home and tend their crops and families. They were told by the local bully and his henchman [portrayed in my story Long Road Home that they would enlist in the Confederacy or their crops and homes would be burned and their women raped then killed. Needless to say, they enlisted.  But one patriarchal ancestor was wounded and put in a hospital. One day, he walked out and went to Atlanta to get his parents and sister before Sherman arrived. He took them to his home in Northwest GA where they were safe. It was not that my ancestors had no opinion in the conflict. They believed in states’ rights, but they did not believe in a divided country.

The ancestor of a friend was from Norway and lived in Central TX. He wanted only to take care of his farm and his family, so refused to enlist. He was mysteriously slain months later.

Many on each side of the conflict felt that if you didn’t enlist, you were a traitor. To their way of thinking I’m sure, they were confident that if you weren’t a part of their solution, you were a part of the problem. If you didn’t fight with them, would you shoot them in the back? It was a terrible war pitting brother against brother. I’ve heard that more men died in one day during the Civil War than all those who died in Vietnam.

Excerpt from Long Way Home:

Witherspoon, Georgia, December 1864

Parmelia Bailey crept closer to the Union Army’s makeshift corral. She shivered, but not from the cold air. At best, a prison cell awaited her if she was caught. What would soldiers do to a woman of twenty caught stealing back her own horses?  

Suddenly, she stopped. Good heavens, was that Darrick McDonald in a Yankee uniform? When had he shown up? Four years had passed since he left Georgia, but there was no mistaking the man she’d once loved. Memory’s pain almost felled her, and tears welled. She’d waited for him, dreamed of his return. The love she’d thought they shared still haunted her. He’d returned to Witherspoon and hadn’t even contacted her. Had he forgotten her so easily?

Across the way, he talked to half a dozen soldiers near a campfire. All seven men walked away, but there had been no mistaking Darrick McDonald as one of them. How could the man she’d loved turn traitor? Looked as if he’d joined the low down, cheating Yankees who had taken her horses and held the town captive. Worse, although she couldn’t calculate his rank, obviously he was an officer.

Her ten-year-old brother, Rob, duck-walked to a nearby holly bush. “How much longer we have to be here?” he whispered. “I been tired of this for a long time. I’m freezing my ass—,”

“Robert Gibson Bailey,” she whispered back fiercely, and her breath clouded in frost.

“Um, I’m freezing my arms off. I can hardly move.”

“Won’t be long now. Not another word.” Bad enough they had to steal their own horses, but Rob’s complaining and her reaction risked giving away their location.

Her nerves couldn’t be more frazzled if a gun were pointed at her head. She tried not to think of the consequences of her daring. What would happen to Rob if they were caught? Surely even Yankees didn’t jail boys.

A sentry walked within ten feet of her, and she shrank back from view. Her loss of focus had almost caused her capture. And after she’d been freezing here for two hours, timing the patrols. 

The guard glanced around. “What’s got you critters stirred up? You done been fed all you’re going to get, so quiet down.” Warily, he peered around again, then moved on.

In the shadows of an ancient oak tree, she stood hidden from his view. Parmelia thanked her luck she’d worn men’s clothing so no skirt billowed to catch the sentry’s attention.

She had ten minutes before he came by again.

Caroline Clemmons is a city girl turned country girl. After moves from Southern California to a series of small towns across West Texas, her family settled in Lubbock, Texas.  A fourth grade teacher opened her world to the joy of reading.  An eighth grade journalism teacher encouraged her to transfer her dreams and ideas onto paper.  In addition to being mom to two delightful daughters, Caroline has experience that includes working as a newspaper reporter and columnist, an assistant to the managing editor of a professional psychology journal, and as bookkeeper for the local tax assessor-collector.  Caroline and her husband are living happily ever after on five acres in Parker County, Texas, where she is now able to write full time. You can find her at:


Mary Ann Webber: Southerners who owned a large number of slaves were told to stay at home to control them and to ensure that some farming occurred. This was very galling to farmers without slaves. There was a lot of quiet grumbling among men who had to leave their families and their livelihood to fight the “Rich Man’s War.”

The book and the movie, Cold Mountain, shows the viciousness of the men who patrolled the South looking for deserters. They were glad when the men resisted or tried to run away. They could shoot them in the back, load the carcasses on their horses, and still collect the bounty.

One of my ancestors, a young man, who lived near Memphis with his family, deserted the Confederate army and went home to take care of his wife and children. He was repairing his roof when the “bounty hunters” came by and captured him. His family watched him being shackled and taken away. They never saw him again, and decades passed before they learned he died in a Confederate prison.

Jennifer Ross: I have no idea, really.  Even if they were allowed, by law, I think it would have been hard to do in practice.  I mean, if you were young and able—even if you weren’t young and able, I expect doing something concrete to support the war effort, at least, would have been required, socially-speaking.  But could you move into a state in the middle, neither completely North or completely South? 

I understand Kentucky was one where the State government chose to side with the Union, but large numbers of people chose to fight for the South.  Now, THAT would have been socially interesting.  Would it come down to which street you lived on as to what side you supported, and how that support was shown?  Could you (young and able) choose to deprive both sides of your fighting skills, thereby showing support to both sides? 

Isabel Roman: Again, it goes back to the whole schooling thing. Really, American scholars don’t allow for independent thought on this until a bunch of romance writers get together to do a Civil War anthology and new and exciting avenues of thought open up. My first reactions was: Really? There were Southerners who didn’t fight? REALLY?! Man, Gone with the Wind had it so wrong!

Jeanmarie Hamilton: I don’t know about other southern states, but Texans were allowed to vote by towns if their men didn’t choose to join the Confederate army. Instead they could join a local militia which would be used to protect the town and local farms.

Susan Macatee: I really don’t know the answer to this one, but I suspect that intimidation or shaming someone into joining would have happened on both sides. But I don’t know firsthand if a man in the South would’ve been forced to fight.

The Civil War as you’ve never read it!

Caroline will give away to 1 lucky commenter: a $10(USD) TWRP gift certificate. Remember, everyone who leaves a comment on the day of the post for each of the six days will be entered into a drawing to win a copy of Northern Roses and Southern Belles signed by all six authors.


Saturday August 1: Isabel Roman is at Night Owl Romance

Sunday August 2: Jeanmarie Hamilton is at Petticoats & Pistols

Monday August 3: Susan Macatee is at Love Romance Passion

Tuesday August 4: Caroline Clemmons is at Slip into Something Victorian

Wednesday August 5: Mary Ann Webber is at Arkansas Diamonds

Thursday August 6: Jennifer Ross is at Romantic Crush Junkies



  1. Isabel Roman says:

    Hi, Caroline! What a great question. Yeah, sure, I answered it, but I’m still amazed there were so-called regular people in the Civil War who didn’t care one way or the other.

  2. carolyndee says:

    Isabel, my ancestors were very insular and cared only about their families and providing for them. It’s not that they didn’t care about the United States, but the concept of “far away” government was not as important as making sure their kids had food on the table and clothes to wear.

  3. Caroline,
    In addition to the military and patrioic pressure on men to take up arms in the war, there were strong social pressures working on teenagers and boys. Fourteen-year-old twin boys In my family became “the men of the house” when they were left at home with their stepmother and her young children and babies. Their father and three older brothers were far away fighting and doing exciting, manly things. The twins were growing taller every day and looking, and probably feeling, like stay-at-home cowards. They finally ran away and joined a Confederate regiment. Only one of the boys survived the war.

  4. Roberta Harwell says:

    Hello Caroline,

    Thank you for the excerpt. I’ve been following the blogs since the start and keep thinking to myself they just keep getting better. I can’t wait to read this book. Have a great day.

    house_mouse88 at yahoo dot com

  5. Caroline, I just finished reading your story in it’s final form, although I enjoyed it when we did the first critiques. You did a great job bringing North and South together in a terrific love story!

  6. Karen H in NC says:

    Thanks for your excerpt today Caroline. I say again: I can’t wait to get my hands on this book. I know it is a sad time in American History and a black eye on the face of our proud nation, but I still love stories dealing with the time period.

    From what I’ve read, even if a person didn’t want to be involved, not their fight, etc, they were drawn into it whether they liked it or not. It struck everywhere and just couldn’t be avoided.

  7. Valerie Oakleaf says:

    What an interesting question! I know that there were people who chose not to fight but were persecuted for doing so. How hard it would be to stand up for your beliefs with all of your family and friends around telling you that you were a traitor.
    The Civil War was such a sad time in American History but also a glorious time in bringing about the free country that we enjoy today.
    LOVED the excerpt and cannot wait to read the whole story and the book!
    Thanks for your post!!!!!

  8. carolyndee says:


    Thanks for being so gracious. I hope you enjoy the anthology. I believe it turned out well, spoken modestly of course. LOL


  9. carolyndee says:

    Mary Ann,

    Yes, I have an ancestor who was only a boy when he enlisted. He was at Gettysburg and some other terrible battles, but survived the War.


  10. carolyndee says:


    Thanks for the compliment. I believe all the stories came together beautifully.


  11. carolyndee says:


    You are so right. With fighting raging across the land, I don’t see how anyone could avoid taking sides. Thanks for your kind words.


  12. carolyndee says:


    Thanks for stopping by with kind words. I have often wondered how Quakers and other conscientious objectors to fighting fared during the War. All I have to go on is that old Gary Cooper movie “Shenandoah.” It also became a stage play and I saw John Rait appear in it at the Dallas Summer Musicals. How accurate it was I don’t know.


  13. Caroline,
    Interesting story about your family trying to stay out of the war and take care of their family. I’m sure there were many others who did the same. The various complicated situations created by the war would make for volumes of fascinating reading.
    Enjoyed your excerpt. Reminded me of what a good story you’ve written. 🙂


  14. Denise ~ says:

    It’s interesting to see your family info from the time.

    The only family that I have geneology for, goes back to 1820’s –my great-great grandfather was in his 40’s when the war started (and later ran off and left his wife to tend to the kiddos) so don’t know if or what he did when it came to the war. My great-grandfather wasn’t born until 3 years after the war ended. I don’t know of any other family that far back. (although remind me to tell you about my great etc aunt and the Alamo)

  15. Very interesting information Caroline. I hadn’t heard about the intimidation before. Guess it only stands to reason. Congrats on the release of the anthology. I am proud of you all.

  16. lorettaC says:

    I always think how terrible it is to see brother fighting brother and neighbor against neighbor, I imagine that it was a nasty conflict.


  17. carlafoust says:

    My state Tennessee went with the Confederacy, but the Eastern part mostly was pro-Union. My ancestor fought for the Union side.

  18. Yvonne Hertzberger says:

    It seems that a historical family connection helps to inspire interest in this era. The role of dissenters, especially female ones is especially interesting to me

  19. PhyllisC says:

    It was hard enough on families just to survive day to day much less have to worry about the “political” side to the war. I can’t image having to deal with handling it all when most, if not all, of the men in the family left to fight the war. Thanks for the post. I can’t wait to read this one.

  20. carolyndee says:

    Jeanmarie, Thanks for the compliment. As I said before, I think the novellas in this anthology each display a separate aspect of the War in a great story.


  21. carolyndee says:

    Denise, I look forward to hearing about this aunt. I come from a family that put the fun in dysfunctional, so I have great material for lots more stories. LOL


  22. carolyndee says:

    Paisley, Thank you for the congrats. We are proud of the end result, the lovely cover, and the amiable but expert editor.


  23. carolyndee says:

    Loretta C., Yes, I think it must have split many families for the rest of their lives. Thank goodness, that didn’t happen in my family.


  24. carolyndee says:

    My mom’s family were from Western TN, in the Spencer, Doyle and McMinnville area. Apparently, they remained out of the conflict due to the insular little valley Spencer is in.


  25. carolyndee says:

    Yvonne Hertzberger, I almost wrote about a heroine who was a stop on the underground railroad, but will save that for a full length novel. That’s why it wouldn’t work for a novella for this anthology. I am caught up by the use of quilts as messages. I’ll bet Paisley knows about this story too as, I think, she quilts.


  26. Yes, I do, Caroline. I love the info on how different quilts and different designs and colors meant different things. I can imagine a great story with them.

  27. carolyndee says:

    Phyllis C. I hope you will read this anthology and will enjoy it. It was fun to write, at least for me. Speaking of how women held on during the War, I want to write another novella about some women in Western TN who took over the town council when their husbands went off to WWII and how much better a job they did! LOL I imagine their husbands were surprised–and maybe a little miffed–when they returned to see the women had provided all the things the men had said were impossible to fund. In the Civil War, women had to be more resourceful to preserve their lives, feed their children, and protect what furnishings they could.


  28. carolyndee says:


    I have a friend who does a presentation on the quilt patterns and has a block of each to illustrate what they look like. They teach this now in Texas elementary schools–not quilting but the story–and I am fascinated by the stories. I’m not a quilter, but things like this make me want to give it a try.


  29. It was fun for me as well, Caroline, and such a treat to be included with all of you. I want to read this underground railroad/quilt story, and I also would love to read the story of the women council! You are a fabulous writer, as attested by your anthology story and others, and would make great use of those plots, I’m sure!

  30. carolyndee says:

    Jennifer, Thanks for your gracious compliments. I have to say that until your story, I hadn’t realized the War went into Canada. The furthest North my family fought was at Gettysburg and then in the South. I loved your Cottontail story and laughed at your blog about the rabbit. We have three rabbits living in our front hedge. They’re not even afraid of our Shih Tzu when my husband walks the dog around the outside of our house. The rabbits won’t touch noses with our dog, but they don’t run from him. I think there always were a lot of rabbits around, and your story made us more aware of them.


  31. carolyndee says:

    Ladies, Thanks to all of you who’ve commented on this blog. Today’s commenters will be put into a drawing for a ten dollar gift certificate for The Wild Rose Press in the morning. You will also be entered into a drawing for an autographed copy of the anthology, NORTHERN ROSES AND SOUTHERN BELLES, at the end of our blog tour on the 6th..

  32. RachieG says:

    I think today’s blog was a great one and it made a good point. Many many people WERE pressured into fighting for a cause they may not have agreed with completely. It was a scary time with some pretty terrible people out there.

    Great blog post today! Loving the blog tour!

  33. Lyoness2009 says:

    Hope I’m not too late to the party. Really enjoying the blog tour, such neat personal stories from the authors. 🙂

  34. carolyndee says:

    Rachel and Lyoness2009, I’m loving the blog tour also. Thanks for participating.


  35. carolyndee says:

    Ladies, thanks for your participation. Yvonne Hertzberger is the winner of the ten dollar gift certificate to The Wild Rose Press. I’ll be contacting her later today with the information to collect her gift. Please remember the two remaining blogs on the tour!
    Wednesday, August 5th at
    Thursday, August 6th at


  36. Helaina Hinson says:

    Southerners with a certain number of slaves, or who served in professions considered important to the war effort, could receive exemptions from service. Northerners who received conscription notices, and had sufficient funds, were allowed to pay someone else to go in their place.

    The war was so brutal in some areas that you weren’t given a choice as to whether to fight. In Missouri, which side you fought on was often determined by which side burned your barn down the week before.

    The famous Younger brothers turned guerrilla when their invalid mother was turned out into the snow, their teenaged sister raped, and their home burned down by marauding Unionists, aka “Jayhawkers.” Quantrill’s raid on Lawrence, Kansas, was actually in retaliation for the deaths of women civilians who were being held strictly and solely because of their kinship to some of his troops. (They were kept in a dilapidated hotel which collapsed and killed several…documentation exists which suggests that it was deliberately sabotaged by Union troops).

    My husband’s great-great-grandfather, a minister, was dragged from his bed and hanged. He had stated publicly that he would fight for neither side. His sons, however, were then inspired to go and fight with Quantrill.

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