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By Caroline Clemmons
Welcome, readers! Today, I’m so pleased to announce the release of my new American-set Victorian romance, WINTER BRIDE. This western historical romance is a stand-alone part of the Stone Mountain, Texas series set in the Palo Pinto Mountains of North Central Texas.
Here’s the blurb for WINTER BRIDE:
Sweet western historical romance of 60,000 words by bestselling author Caroline Clemmons is a stand-alone novel of the Stone Mountain Texas series including murder, danger, and adventure.
When Kendra Murdoch’s brother in law murders her sister, she takes charge of her nephew and two nieces. Fearing the man plans the same fate for her, she seeks shelter in Radford Crossing where she operates a café to support her small family.
Determined to be self-sufficient, Kendra shuns all advances from the handsome sheriff as danger hangs heavily over her head. But can she safeguard her family alone?
Butch Parrish battled a snowstorm and a killer to rescue Kendra and the children. He’ll do whatever is necessary to protect the independent young woman who rekindles sensations he hoped were dead long ago. Protecting her, chasing a killer, dealing with the town gossips, and investigating a stagecoach robbery, Butch has a battle on his hands.
Here’s an excerpt from WINTER BRIDE involving hero, Sheriff Butch Parrish:
As he turned onto the faint trail he sought, he spotted fresh tracks in the snow. He pulled his rifle from the saddle scabbard and slowed his horse. Instead of heading along the trail, the tracks led around the boulders.
Scout’s ears twitched forward, the chestnut’s signal of trouble. Even more slowly, Butch eased forward. He dismounted and crept along the boulders. If he could climb up to the taller rocks, he could spot where the tracks led and if Tucker waited for him.
Quietly as his boots allowed, he climbed. As he gained height, he spotted a horse tied to brush twenty yards from where he stood. Tracks crisscrossed in the snow, but where was Tucker? The man had the advantage of knowing this area’s terrain better than Butch.
“Sheriff?” The yell came from below and behind him.
Butch crouched and turned. A streak of fire burned into his chest. The impact sent him tumbling from rock to rock until he hit the snow-covered ground. He landed on his back, stars lit the backs of his eyelids, and his breath whooshed from his lungs. His rifle lay just beyond his grasp.
WINTER BRIDE is a romance, but the storyline includes mystery, murder, and mayhem. I like stories where something happens. I hope you do, too.
Here’s the buy link for Amazon http://amzn.com/B00VC9C31W
To celebrate my new release, I’m giving away a free download to someone who comments on this post by April 5th. Thanks and happy reading!
In my new time travel romance release, Thoroughly Modern Amanda, the heroine lives in a small town in Pennsylvania in 1881. She’s from a middle-class family, in her early twenties, unmarried and works as a reporter and writer for a magazine, although her ambition is to move to a big city, like Philadelphia, and work as a reporter for a city newspaper.
At the end of the nineteenth century, women’s lives were going through dramatic changes on different fronts. And this change was most visible for middle and upper class daughters. Fifty-five percent of high school students and sixty percent of graduates, in the late nineteenth century, were women. All but three state universities, Virginia, Georgia and Louisiana, admitted women by 1900. And those admittances were on the same terms as that of men. By 1920, women made up a growing portion of college undergraduates, at a time when only a small number of Americans pursued college educations. Higher education signified women had goals beyond domestic occupations. White, native born women joined white foreign born and black women in the labor force despite the exploitative conditions which most labored under. And women increasingly sought employment in historically male professions. Female’s professionally reached their peak in the early twentieth century.
In the late nineteenth century, where my story is set, most women employed outside the home were clerical workers. These “new women” represented a “vanguard of social usefulness and personal autonomy” leading to independent womanhood. Women sought to extend their boundaries and raise the stakes through the woman’s movement.
These were the new feminists, described by Randolph Bourne, a progressive intellectual at Columbia University:
“They are all social workers, or magazine writers in a small way. They are decidedly emancipated and advanced, and so thoroughly healthy and zestful, or at least it seems so to my unsophisticated masculine sense. They shock you constantly…They have an amazing combination of wisdom and youthfulness, of humor and ability, and innocence and self-reliance, which absolutely belies everything you will read in the story-books or any other description of womankind. They are of course all self-supporting and independent, and they enjoy the adventure of life; the full, reliant, audacious way in which they go about makes you wonder if the new woman isn’t to be a very splendid sort of person.”
This new feminism was a spirit of rebellion at the turn of the century. The woman’s movement became severed from Christianity and conventional respectability. The movement was seen as a “revolt against formalism” in American culture. Women refused to be defined under the definitions of character and nature attributed to females that had been handed down for generations. These women wished to “achieve self-determination through life, growth, and experience.” Charlotte Perkins Gilman described the “new woman” in this way: “Here she comes, running, out of prison and off the pedestal; chains off, crown off, halo off, just a live woman.”
Feminists sought to change society’s expectations regarding male dominance. In order to do this, they needed to create a community of women struggling against patriarchy. The suffrage and feminist movements overlapped as the organizations broadened to include working women, leftists and pacifists. And the suffrage campaign provided feminists with a platform.
But while the suffragists stressed the importance of women’s duties, including female nurturance, selfless service and moral uplift, feminists fought for a woman’s rights. Their struggle was against social, political and economic discrimination based on sex.
On this final day of my blog tour for Thoroughly Modern Amanda, be sure to leave a comment on this post to be entered to win a PDF copy of the ebook and a $10.00 gift certificate for The Wild Rose Press.
And be sure to stop by fellow Victorian, Isabel Roman’s blog http://www.authorisabelroman.blogspot.com/ for my interview and another chance to win a prize.
Anyone who left a comment on all my blog tour posts will also be included in the drawing for the grand prize, a $50.00 Amazon gift card. And if no one left a comment at every stop, I’ll pick the one who left the most comments and draw a winner if I have a tie. All winners will be announced here http://susanmacatee.wordpress.com tomorrow.
Blurb for Thoroughly Modern Amanda:
Believing anything is possible, magazine reporter Amanda Montgomery dreams about being a modern woman in a nineteenth century world, much like her exceptional step-mother. But society expects well-off young ladies to focus on finding a suitable husband and raising a family. And then Jack appears—with no past and unconventional ideas. Does he hold the key to another century as well as her heart, or is she destined to stay in her own time?
Construction worker Jack Lawton wants to preserve an old home that’s scheduled for demolition. But when he sneaks inside for a final look, a loose beam falls on his head, and upon waking, he finds himself in the arms of a beautiful woman. His only problem—he’s no longer in the twenty-first century. Can he find his way back home? Does he really want to?
“Mother, before I leave for work, I’d like to have a word with you in the parlor.”
Erin quirked a brow, but nodded. With the cook occupied at the sink, she gathered her skirts and followed Amanda from the room.
At the parlor door, Erin frowned. “Is there a problem, Amanda?”
She nodded and opened the door to the empty room. She had to find out the truth about Jack and was sure Erin knew more than she admitted.
Motioning her step-mother to take a seat on the settee, Amanda waited, tapping her foot.
Erin sighed, eyeing her. “So, tell me what’s wrong.”
“Where did Jack come from, Mother?” Amanda propped both hands on her hips.
Erin spread her hands. “How would I know? From his clothing and the place you found him, he must be a workman. But I don’t understand why no one else was in the house at the time. He surely wouldn’t have been working alone.” She shook her head. “And he doesn’t seem to remember anything except his name.”
Amanda bit her lip. “I don’t believe you, Mother. I heard you and Jack talking upstairs.”
Erin’s eyes widened, but she said nothing.
“He was saying something about the future. And he also uses those phrases peculiar only to you.”
“Amanda, I told you those were only stories I made up to entertain you when you were a child.”
“So I believed. But no longer. You have a connection with Jack.”
“I never met the man before. I swear.” Erin raised her hand.
The door creaked open, startling Amanda. Her father stood in the foyer.
“Something wrong, Will?” Erin asked.
Her father stepped into the room. “I was just upstairs with Jack. He needs attending to.”
“I’ll go.” Erin stood. “There are breakfast leavings in the kitchen if you’re hungry.”
He nodded. “I’ll get a quick bite, then I have to get to the bank.” He stepped forward and kissed Erin on the lips.
Her step-mother’s face flushed. “See you tonight.”
Her father pecked Amanda’s cheek, then stepped out, leaving the door ajar.
Amanda grasped Erin’s arm. “I’ll see to Jack, Mother.”
Erin’s brows rose. “Nonsense. You get yourself ready for work, I’ll take care of Jack.”
Amanda scowled. “But they can do without me for a half hour. You can get started on your new book.”
Erin opened her mouth, but hesitated. “I’ll have plenty of time to work after I take care of him.”
Amanda huffed and left the room. She’d catch her father before he left for the bank, but intended to see Jack and question him further.
Thoroughly Modern Amanda is available from The Wild Rose Press
And is now an Amazon Kindle book
And a Nook Book at Barnes and Noble
While pretending to be a male soldier, farm girl Sara Brewster falls for a handsome Union army surgeon. When her secret is revealed, will a lavish Christmas Eve ball work in her favor–or will her heart be broken?
Kirk Ellison is shocked to discover the assistant he thought of as a boy is a young woman disguised as a man. As his feelings for Sara grow, he must convince her she can fit into his society life, if he’s to make her his own.
This story is based, in part, on the stories of real women soldiers, who served in disguise as men, during the American Civil War.
Although we have had women participate in wars throughout history, women soldiers during the American Civil War was unheard of. After all, the 1860s was the height of the Victorian era, where women, at least high and middle class ones, were thought to be delicate creatures, who needed to be taken care of and protected by their menfolk. The idea of a woman charging into battle, firing on the enemy or worse, yet, being wounded or killed was unimaginable.
Even women who nursed wounded soldiers were often frowned upon by polite society. But in the book, All the Daring of the Soldier, by Elizabeth D. Leonard or An Uncommon Soldier, by Lauren Cook Burgess, these real life women warriors are finally exposed for the true heroines they were.
Women weren’t allowed to join either army during the American Civil War, but according to Leonard, many young women were driven not only by “Patriotism and the love of a good man…” but also by “…their quest for adventure and their hope for a different sort of paying job than was typically available to them.”
What’s unique about Sarah’s story is, like scores of other young women during the American Civil War, she disguised herself as a man and served in the Union Army as a private. And during the years she served, no one ever discovered her sex.
Many other women also enlisted in male disguise, since women at that time weren’t permitted to serve, but some were quickly discovered and either sent home or were arrested and sent to prison on false charges of prostitution. That was the only reason army officials could come up with for women to dress as men, although it would have been hard for them to ply their trade and not be found out. Others weren’t caught until they were hospitalized or killed in battle. While others served out their time and returned to civilian life without ever being found out.
Sarah was born on January 16,1843, the eldest in a fairly large farm family. She was used to hard work and in 1862, at the age of 19, with no prospects for marriage, she left home to seek outside work to help with the family finances that included a large debt owed by her father. Disguising herself as a man, she found work as a manual laborer on a coal barge for $20.00 for four trips up the Chenango Canal in New York state. On her first trip she encountered soldiers from the 153rd New York Regiment, who urged her to sign up. The enlistment bounty of $152.00 would have been more than a year’s wages, even if Sarah continued civilian work as a male, and so was a great enticement.
Sarah told the recruiters she was 21 and on August 30, 1862, signed up under the name of Lyons Wakeman. Her regiment was stationed in Washington, as one of many, to guard the Capital from the surrounding hostile territory.
In her frequent letters home, she asked her family not to be ashamed of her for the choices she’d made. She also sent money home on a regular basis, much more than she could have earned as a civilian. In February 1864, the regiment was transferred to the field to take part in the ill-fated Red River Campaign. By the end of the campaign, Sarah developed chronic diarrhea and ended up at a regimental hospital.
She died on June 19, 1864, never having been discovered.
Like Sarah, most of the women who disguised themselves as men to serve in the army were lower class, or immigrants, who had little education. Sarah is unique, however, in that she could read and write and, as a result, left her legacy of letters so we’d have the opportunity to see why a woman would choose to hide her identity to serve her country.
For more information on Sarah Rosetta Wakeman, read An Uncommon Soldier, by Lauren Cook Burgess, Oxford University Press, ISBN-0-19-512043-6
Excerpt from The Christmas Ball
Sara breathed deeply, put at ease by the woman’s demeanor. She hadn’t met many big city folks before, and the few she had looked down their noses at a simple farm girl who wore boys’ britches. “Only if you’ll call me Sara,” she said.
Mary glanced at her brother and sighed. “She’s lovely.” She waved her arm toward the doorway she’d emerged from. “Please, both of you come into the parlor. Greta will take your coats and hats.”
A young blonde woman wearing a plain brown dress and apron, strode down the hall.
“Greta, if you please,” Mary said.
“Yes, ma’am.” The woman held out her arms. Sara shrugged out of her greatcoat and handed it to her. Doc Ellison did the same. The maid turned to Mary. “Will there be anything else, ma’am?”
“Yes, could you bring a tea tray into the parlor after you hang the coats?”
“Yes, ma’am.” The maid departed.
Mary ushered them into the parlor. Sara’s gaze was drawn to the brightly decorated Christmas tree set on a maple table. The mantel on the far side of the room was adorned with holly branches. Flames from the fireplace flickered invitingly, warming the small area and sending the scent of wood smoke mixed with pine throughout the room. A plush settee sat before the fire, with chairs on each side. Mary led them in and urged them to take a seat.
She settled on the settee with Kirk beside her. Mary took a seat on her left in one of the upholstered chairs. After Mary adjusted her skirts, her gaze swept over her.
“I’m sure I can find you an old dress of mine you can wear to dinner. I’ve had rooms fixed up for each of you if you care to spend the night.”
Sara turned to Doc Ellison, whose brows rose. “Well, I would be delighted to stay here rather than spend a night at the hospital. If Miss Brewster agrees to stay, then so shall I.”
His eyes twinkled. She bit her lip. Glancing around the cozy room, she decided it would be wonderful to spend the night in a room all her own. She’d never had that luxury. The alternative was spending the night in a small cramped room with two men, who she’d have to mask her identity from.
“I’d be happy to accept your hospitality, ma’am.”
She grinned. “Yes, Mary.”
Kirk’s sister clasped her hands together. “I’m so happy you’re both staying.”
The maid returned with the tea tray and set in on a table before the settee. Sara marveled at the little cakes on a platter beside the teapot.
After pouring the tea, their hostess waved her hand over the cakes. “Help yourself. I’m sure you’re tired of all that army food.” She wrinkled her delicately shaped nose. “After our tea, I’ll take Sara to her room and outfit her for dinner.”
Sipping her sweetened tea, she helped herself to a few small cakes, delighting in the cinnamon and vanilla flavor, but she worried what the rest of Doc Ellison’s family would think of her.
The Christmas Ball available from The Wild Rose Press http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=195&products_id=5026
For the chance to win a PDF copy of The Christmas Ball, plus a $10.00 gift certificate for The Wild Rose Press, be sure to leave a comment on this post. I’ll announce the winner in the comments section tomorrow and on my own blog http://susanmacatee.wordpress.com
Today is release day for my newest historical romance novel, Cassidy’s War. Although the story is set five years after the Civil War ended, the characters are directly affected by the war. The hero, George Masters enlisted in the Union Army alongside the heroine’s brothers. He saw one of her brothers, his best friend, die at Gettysburg. He was gravely injured there as well, but recovered and rejoined the army. Late in the war, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant and was captured by Confederates as the war neared an end, ending his service as a prisoner at Libby Prison in Richmond, Virginia.
When he returned home, he planned to marry Cassidy, but nightmares of his time in the war and in prison sent him running from her just days before their wedding.
Althought post traumatic stress disorder seems to be a modern experience, Civil War soldiers did suffer from it. The horrors and hardships they experienced would’ve been hard to leave behind as they returned to civilian life.
At the start of my new novel, the hero has returned to town working undercover as a Pinkerton agent, but old memories close in as he returns to the place where he’d lived most of his life.
He watched her tread down the hall, then retreated into the formal parlor. Two chairs and a settee set around an ivory trimmed fireplace, upholstered in a combination of blue and gold. The wool carpet beneath his feet was a red, blue, and black blend. Burgundy drapes covered the windows, but gold tasseled sashes held them open to the sunshine. As he moved through the room, he studied family photos. One of Cassidy’s father seated in a chair, with her mother’s hand resting on his broad shoulder. Two other photos, Quinn and Josh, both standing tall and proud in their army uniforms. Another photo contained all the Stuart children. Cassidy and Sarah sat while their brothers, Quinn, Josh and Matt, a small boy at the time, stood around the girls.
He lifted the photo of Josh in uniform. The day his best friend had died on the battlefield at Gettysburg flooded back. The last time George had ever cried. Josh had meant everything to him. So much so, he’d followed him into the army. And then lost him forever.
Movement in the hall startled him. He turned, the photo still clutched in his hand. Cassidy stood in the open doorway watching him.
He flushed and cleared his throat, as he placed the photo on the table. “I sure do miss old Josh.”
Cassidy nodded, gazing at the photo. “We all do, but I know how much he meant to you.”
George blew out a breath. “Josh was the one real friend I had in town. Well, so much for old memories.” He motioned her to take a seat.
She gathered her skirts and settled onto the chair. George sat across on the settee, not wanting to be too close right now. He might not be able to keep his hands, lips, tongue off her, and if her mother returned, there’d be hell to pay.
“George, I was thinking…” She leaned forward, elbows on her knees, her brow furrowed.
“Well, if Miss Baker won’t tell us anything, there may be another way we can get the goods on Madison.”
“And what might that be?”
She ran her tongue over her lip, enticing him to move close, but he steeled himself to concentrate on what she said. “In town just now as I was on my way to see Miss Baker, Madison offered me a position as his assistant.”
“He what?” George’s bile rose.
“He told me since my practice was practically non-existent, I could work alongside him as I did with Pa.”
George’s blood chilled. “You told him no, I hope.”
“Of course. Why would I want to work for that arrogant ass? But now…” She clasped her hands as if in prayer. “…if I did take the position, I could get close to him. Bait him.”
“Absolutely not!” George rose to his feet. “You are not to go anywhere near him. That’s an order.”
Cassidy’s War available today at The Wild Rose Press.
Be sure to leave a comment at my blog http://susanmacatee.wordpress.com to be entered in the drawing to win a copy. Winners will be announced at my blog tomorrow.
Cassidy’s War, my newest release, will be available from The Wild Rose Press on January 13, 2012. In advance of the release, I’m running a contest on my blog, Susan Macatee Romance Writer. Just leave a comment on any post from today until January 13th to enter into a drawing to win:
First prize: an authographed print copy of Cassidy’s War
2nd and 3rd prize winners: each gets an e-book download of Cassidy’s War
The Civil War is over, but Cassidy’s War is just beginning.
Cassidy Stuart longs to attend medical school. Training beside her physician father and serving as a nurse during the war, have only increased her desire to be a doctor with her own practice. When the man who’d left her at the altar returns, she’s determined not to let him upset the plans she’s set for herself.
Until his mission is accomplished, George Masters must hide his identity as a Pinkerton agent as he investigates a physician living in George’s former hometown, a short distance from Cassidy’s home. When he finds Cassidy hasn’t married, he hopes he can rekindle their love while trying to protect her and townsfolk from the evil Dr. Madison.
Can their love be renewed despite the villain’s desire for revenge against them both?
Excerpt: The man in the door wasn’t Matt, but George. Had her mother let him in? He eyed her and frowned, his gaze drifting to the post in her hand.
Oh, Lord, just the man I don’t want to speak to right now.
“Cassie, Matt tells me you got a post.”
Drat, Matt! She chewed on her lower lip. Might as well tell him, he’ll find out anyhow.
She swallowed. “It’s from the medical school in Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania.” She dropped her gaze.
“And?” George prompted.
“They won’t accept me as a student.” She gazed into his eyes and shrugged. “I shouldn’t have tried.”
“I’m sorry, Cassie.” He stepped to her side and settled his arm over her shoulder. “I know how much this meant to you.”
She longed to collapse in the comfort of George’s arms. She’d found solace there years ago, when she thought him the man for her. But instead, she stiffened her spine.
“It’s all right,” she said. “It was foolish of me to try.”
George enveloped her in his strong arms. She bit her lip hoping to stave off the torrent of tears threatening to course down her cheeks. She yearned to bawl and scream at the injustice. She had the same credentials as Quinn, except for his experience as a steward during the war. But she’d served as a nurse, basically the same thing. Why wouldn’t they allow her to try?
George rubbed her back in an all too familiar gesture. The men in her life always felt the need to soothe her hurt away. Her father would’ve done the same.
She glanced up, frowning. “What are you doing here, anyway?”
He grimaced. “Not happy to see me? Reckon I deserve that. I spoke to Quinn. He told me he’ll be rebuilding your father’s practice.”
She nodded. “Now, he’ll be able to see patients over the summer and I’d hoped…” She swallowed, crumpling the post.
“It’ll all work out, Cassie.” He spun her to face him, and she buried her face against his rock hard chest. He’d filled out since she’d seen him five years ago.
She raised her face to his, losing herself in his dark gaze. He brushed her cheek with his fingers, then lifted her chin, sending delightful shivers through her body. Her lips parted in anticipation as he lowered his face to hers. His mouth brushed hers, gently at first, then pressed against her, shooting hot sparks to her core. His comforting scent of sandalwood, leather, and male enveloped her.
She sighed into the kiss, her tongue swirling inside his mouth. Her insides coiled with spiraling heat. She’d never been with a man and often imagined what it would feel like to have limbs intertwined, bodies pressed tightly with the one who set your soul aflame.
“Oh, George,” she gasped as he released his hold. Her skin moistened, body growing hotter by the minute. As a physician she knew what went on between a man and woman, but George sent her analytical thoughts spinning as want and need threw everything to the wind. She didn’t want the kiss to ever end.
“I know exactly how you feel, Cassie, but we have to stop now.”
“I know.” She nodded, not wanting to leave the warmth of his strong arms, but knowing she must. She gestured to one of the chairs.
“Sit, I’ll make tea. Then you can tell me why you’re here.”
Cassidy’s War available 1/13/12 from The Wild Rose Press
Don’t forget to stop by my blog and leave a comment to be entered to win.
Vonnie Davis is the winner of my contest and I’ll be sending her a copy of Confederate Rose once I hear back from her! A big thanks to everyone who commented.
This is great news for Civil War romance!
“Apology? You were going through my things.”
“Because you ordered me to see to yer wet clothes.”
Alex didn’t think he’d win this argument. “Very well, ma’am. I apologize if I’ve offended your fine sensibilities in any way.”
She straightened and hugged the quilt, eyeing him regally. “I accept yer apology, Mr. Hart.”
“Well then.” He hesitated and dropped his gaze. Her wide eyes drove his thoughts to ideas best left alone. That and the knowledge of what little she wore under the quilt. He cleared his throat. “I suggest we bed down for the night.”
“Not until you get yerself out of those wet clothes.”
His brows shot up. “I beg your pardon?”
“Ye’ll surely not be sleeping in those wet things. ‘Tis by the fire ye’ll be needing to hang them.”
His gaze settled on the clothes draped over the two chairs. Steam rose from them. “But those clothes aren’t dry yet.”
“Ye’ll not be needing clothes to sleep.” She grinned mischievously. “We’ve plenty of blankets.”