Posted on May 26, 2015 by Caroline Clemmons
How exciting to announce that my latest release, O’NEILL’S TEXAS BRIDE, McClintocks book 2, is now available. I hope you love this book as much as I loved writing this one!
One of the difficulties of writing numerous books is trying to find a fresh twist for each one. Readers know that in a romance there will be a happily-ever-after ending, but getting there needs unexpected action. For O’NEILL’S TEXAS BRIDE, I decided to take my ranch hand hero on a difficult undercover assignment to capture the culprit responsible for disasters at a Texas coal mine. My decision meant lots of research into coal mining in the 1880s.
What I found was lots of information on mining from prehistoric times to today, but not much about the period I needed. At last I found details on late 19th century mining. Additionally, my critique partner’s father had been a miner and she provided important details about daily life in a mine town.
Hero Finn O’Neill is an honorable man who has spent his life trapped by circumstances beyond his control. Through his sister’s marriage to Dallas McClintock in THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE, McClintocks book one, Finn and his family finally experience good fortune. Finn dreams of a life in partnership with Dallas raising horses. To achieve the dream, he must purchase land. Problem is, he has no money other than the generous salary paid him by his brother-in-law.
Stella Grace Clayton is a loving daughter and school teacher also trapped in a life she hates. No, she doesn’t hate teaching, just that her family lives in a coal town. Knowing her father won’t live a full life as a coal miner, she dreams of a better life for her and for her family. What’s more, she’s determined her younger brother will not be forced into that life. Nor does she want her sister or herself faced with only miners from which to choose a husband—but so far mine workers are the only men they meet.
How do two people from two diverse backgrounds meet? Thank you for asking. ☺
Here’s the blurb for this romantic mystery titled O’NEILL’S TEXAS BRIDE:
Finn O’Neill longs for his own ranch, his own horses, his own home and family but thought the lofty dream beyond him. Now the opportunity has arisen but to achieve his dream, he bargains with Grandpa McClintock and his nephew to pose as a miner and seek out the person or persons causing disasters at the Farland Coal Mine.
Stella Clayton has witnessed the heartbreak and tragedy of a coal miner’s life. Her family came from England to the promise of a better life only to find the same hardships. She is determined that her young brother will never follow in their father’s footsteps. And she vows she will never marry a man who engaged in that work. She fights to resist charms of the handsome Irishman who’s recently come to work in Lignite, Texas.
When Finn arrives in Lignite, he immediately falls for the beautiful schoolteacher, Stella Clayton. But her father is one of the men suspected of causing destruction. What Finn discovers soon puts him and members of the Clayton family in peril. Can he salvage his dream, fulfill his promise, and protect the woman he loves and her family?
Here’s an excerpt of Finn in his undercover job:
This [mining] was no life. At least the married men had families to offer comfort and support and a wife to cuddle with at night. How did the single men keep going?
He didn’t mind working from before dawn until after dark on the ranch, but he hated being underground. ‘Twas not a fit place for a human, only for worms and moles and gophers. Plus the repetitive hacking at the coal wrecked his back and shoulders.
Solve this puzzle soon or go mad. Think of Lippincott’s fine ranch, boyo. ‘Tis going to be yours if you can ferret out the troublemakers.
He figured there were multiple problems at work. He no longer suspected Karpinski either. The man was full of dark looks but he worked hard as he played. That left Swensen and Hartford. Neither man was on his crew. Mayhap he could strike up a conversation with Hartford at dinner or breakfast.
Swensen was married and lived in one of the houses near Clayton. What excuse could he find to talk to Swensen? Didn’t he have a son working in the mine? Yeah, a kid about the same age as Lance Clayton.
Hmm, that fact set him to thinking, but he’d have to work on that another time. His mind had given all he could for this day. He laid the apple core beside his boots and fell asleep.
When he woke the next morning, the apple core was gone. Worse, his knife was visible inside his boot. Last night, he’d carefully covered his boots to conceal his weapons as he did each time he undressed.
He checked around him, but others appeared engrossed in dressing and making their way to the dining hall. Quickly, he pulled on his clothes and then his boots. He knelt and looked under his bed. Sure enough, the apple core was there next to his concertina and duffle bag.
James called to him, “Hey, come on if you want to make up for missing supper last night.”
“Coming.” Shoving his shirttail into his britches, he grabbed the core and tossed it in the rubbish bin as he followed James.
He longed for a hot bath and his own bed at the ranch. The only reason he slept soundly in this bunk with a thin, lumpy mattress was his complete exhaustion. One thing was for sure, he was building muscles in his arms that would help him later on the ranch. He hoped that’d be on his ranch.
O’NEILL’S TEXAS BRIDE, McClintocks book two, is available at these sites:
Amazon AmazonUK Apple Nook Kobo Google Play
Right now, to celebrate the release of book two, THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE, McClintocks book one, is FREE in the USA. Here are the links:
Amazon Apple Nook Kobo Google Play
I’m already at work on Nettie Sue Clayton’s story. She’s the younger sister of Stella Clayton by two years. Where Stella is a redhead with a fiery temper, Nettie Sue is a blonde with a sweet, mischievous nature. Well, sweet until she tangles with Josh McClintock in McCLINTOCK’S RELUCTANT BRIDE.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tagged: 1886, Caroline Clemmons, coal mining, mystery, O'NEILL'S TEXAS BRIDE, ranching, Texas, western historical romance | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 10, 2012 by Susan Macatee
150 years ago today, on the morning of August 10, 1862, a Civil War skirmish occurred between a force of Hill Country Unionists and mounted Confederate soldiers. The Unionists had been camped along the west bank of the Nueces River twenty miles from Fort Clark. Mostly made up of German intellectuals, the Unionists had been headed to Mexico. Major Fritz Tegener led the group.
Ninety-four Confederates led by Lieutenant C. D. McRae chanced upon the camp on August 9th. The following morning, firing began an hour before the sun rose. Nineteen Unionists, of the 61 to 68 present, were killed, nine were wounded. The wounded were executed just hours after the battle.
Eight more Unionists, from those who’d escaped, were killed on October 18, 1862, as they tried to cross into Mexico. Eleven of the survivors reached home, while others made it to either Mexico or California. German members of the Union League organized a militia to protect portions of Kendall, Gillespie and Kerr counties from both Indian raids and Confederate actions. They eventually joined Unionist forces in New Orleans.
While Confederates regarded this attack as military action against insurrectionists, German Hill county residents saw the event as a massacre. A monument commemorating the attack was erected on August 10, 1866. This monument is the only German language one dedicated to the Union in the South. The remains of those killed are buried there.
For more info on this battle, visit these sites:
For info on my American Civil War romances, visit my website: http://susanmacatee.com
Filed under: 150 anniversary, Civil War, Civil War anniversary, Civil War timeline, On this day in History, Susan Macatee, Texas, This Day in History | Tagged: Civil War, Susan Macatee, Texas | 7 Comments »
Posted on March 20, 2012 by Caroline Clemmons
By Caroline Clemmons
March is one of my favorite times because so many good things happen this month. Spring arrives today. Already daffodils and pansies are waving from many gardens. Bluebirds are nesting in their house and the goldfinches have arrived at our bird feeders. Our grass and plants are greening and native elm trees have leafed out. Soon our redbud tree will flower and our peach trees have already budded. Those two trees signal to my family that spring has arrived..Bluebonnets like those above are in bloom along the roadways.
Don’t you love spring? It’s as if the world gets a fresh start. Spring is a time of renewal for people as well as the earth. The new growth and flowers inspire us to make a new start at achieving our own dreams. This time of year, I feel invincible–like the country western song says, “Ten feet tall and bullet proof.” Well, until I look in the mirror and wonder what the heck happened there? LOL What are some of your goals for the rest of this year?
One of my goals for this spring was to finish BRAZOS BRIDE, a western historical. Yes, this is a Victorian blog, but we also write the Victorian period in the United States, and this book takes place in August of 1870. Thank goodness, I finished this book and published it on Amazon only one week after my goal date. I love publishing on Amazon Kindle because this gives me control over what and when I have for readers. Even better for readers is the fact that this book is only 99 cents. What a deal, right?
Here’s a blurb for BRAZOS BRIDE:
Hope Montoya knows someone is poisoning her, but who? She suspects her mother was also poisoned and knows her father was murdered. Who wants her family eliminated? She vows to fight! She realizes she won’t last the eight months until she turns twenty-five and her uncle no longer controls her or her estate. Never will she be dominated by a man as she was by her father, as she has seen her mother and grandmothers dominated. If she marries, she gains control now, but only if she weds a man she can trust. Only one man meets her requirements. Can she trust him to protect her and capture the killer…but then to leave?
Micah Stone has been in love with Hope since the first time he saw her. But he was accused of her father’s murder and surely would have hung if not for his two brothers’ aid. Most in the community still believe him guilty. But the drought has him too worried about water for his dying cattle to care about his neighbors’ opinions. When Hope proposes a paper marriage in exchange for land on the Brazos River and much needed cash, her offer rubs his pride raw. His name may be Stone, but he’s not made of it. He can’t refuse her for long, and so their adventure begins.
Here’s an excerpt from BRAZOS BRIDE:
She looked at her hands. Perhaps she was unreasonable. Or maybe insane for sympathizing with a man who’d had to work harder because of her family.
“I know it is an odd situation. If—if you wear your shirt and britches, I guess it would be all right if you slept on top of the cover here.” She patted the bed beside her.
He froze. Not a muscle moved, and he only stared at her. Had she misunderstood? Did he think her offer too forward?
She babbled, “That is, if you want to. You said I should trust you. Well, maybe you would be more comfortable where you are.” Why didn’t he say something? Would he prefer sleeping in a chair to sharing the bed?
From the street below, she heard raucous laughter and someone called to a man named Ben. Music from a piano, she supposed in the saloon, drifted in through the open windows. A gust of breeze moved the curtains and slid across her skin. In this room, though, there was no sound.
Slowly, he rose and extinguished the lamp as he moved across the room. She slid one of the pillows beside hers then scooted down. What had possessed her to offer him half her bed? Would he think she invited more?
Too late to take it back now, for the mattress dipped as he stretched out. Quaking inside at the thought of him so near, she turned her back to him. She heard his weary sigh, as if he relaxed for the first time in a long while.
“Good night,” she offered, and hoped he understood the finality of the phrase.
“Yep. Good night, Mrs. Stone.” The mattress shook as he turned his back to her. She felt the soles of his feet press against her ankles. He must be several inches too long for the bed and she guessed he had to bend his legs to fit. She didn’t dare turn to see firsthand.
She lay perfectly still, afraid to take a deep breath. Soon his breathing changed and she knew he slept. Outside the open window the town quieted and the distant tinkling of the piano was the only sound. Light from the full moon illuminated the room and slanted across the bed. A soft breeze drifted across her, lulling her in its caress.
With a sigh, she fought to relax, but abdominal pain kept her awake no matter how her body cried for rest. Perhaps if she planned, she’d forget the pain and chills that racked her frame.
Plan, yes. She needed a plan for food preparation when she returned to her home. No, Micah said he had a plan. Oh, dear, once more he took charge when it was her life, her home.
Maybe Aunt Sofia and Uncle Jorge would have left by then and things would be fine. Already she felt more secure. She sensed her eyelids drifting closed and the sleep’s blessed relief approaching.
A gunshot ripped apart the night.
The blast startled her and she screamed as something thudded near her head, showering her hair and face with splinters. Panic immobilized her. What had happened?
Micah dragged her onto the floor as a bullet ripped into the mattress.
Did that excerpt intrigue you? Please say yes. Here’s the buy link:
Read more about me at my blog http://carolineclemmons.blogspot.com and my website http://www.carolineclemmons.com.
Facebook http://www.facebook.com/Caroline Clemmons
Twitter http://www.twitter.com/CarolinClemmons (no E in Caroline)
Since St. Patrick’s Day occurs this month and this is also Irish-American Month and some of my ancestors were Scot-Irish, I thought perhaps I’d leave you an Irish Blessing to end the post. In my book THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE, the heroine’s father, Seamus O’Neill, is a man with the gift of gab and a blessing or toast for every occasion. Here is a well-known blessing he used:
May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
The sun shine warm upon your face,
The rain fall soft upon your fields
And, until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hallow of His hand.
Thanks for stopping by!
Caroline Clemmons writes romance and adventures—although her earliest made up adventures featured her saving the West with Roy Rogers. Her career has included stay-at-home mom (her favorite job), newspaper reporter and featured columnist, assistant to the managing editor of a psychology journal, and bookkeeper. She and her husband live in rural North Central Texas with a menagerie of rescued pets. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with family, reading, travel, browsing antique malls and estate sales, and genealogy/family history. . Caroline loves to hear from readers at email@example.com
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tagged: 1870, BRAZOS BRIDE, Caroline Clemmons, poison, Slip Into Something Victorian, Texas, Victorian Era, western historical romance/mystery | 1 Comment »
Posted on January 20, 2012 by Caroline Clemmons
Hi, Caroline Clemmons here. My friend Celia Yeary is allowing me to include in this post an article she did for Sweethearts of the West this week about Mineral Wells, specifically about the Crazy Water there. There’s a Crazy Water Festival, this year from October 7-9th, 2012. But the Crazy Water is sold year round and then there’s the Crazy Water Hotel and the Baker Hotel, and BatWorld. Thanks for sharing with me, Celia.
I’ll start with Celia’s portion of today’s post and include her map of Mineral Wells’ location for non-Texans:
In 1877, James Lynch and his wife, Amanda, left the North Texas town of Denison, Texas with their nine children and fifty head of livestock. The Lynch’s were searching for a drier climate because their family had been in poor health. Both James, who was fifty, and Amanda suffered from rheumatism.
Hills of Palo Pinto County
As they traveled, news of Comanche attacks further west stopped their journey. On Christmas Eve, 1877, one of their oxen collapsed and died after crossing the Brazos River and lightning struck another. They decided to settle down where they were, in a pretty valley tucked in the hills of Palo Pinto County.
James Lynch Family Cabins and Well
Mr. Lynch purchase eighty acres of land and began to settle. From 1877 until the summer of 1880, the Lynch’s hauled water from the Brazos River to their land, some four miles away. That summer Mr. Johnny Adams happened upon the Lynch Ranch. Mr. Adams, a well driller, agreed to drill a well on the property for Mr. Lynch in exchange for a yoke of oxen.
James Alvin Lynch
At first the Lynch’s were hesitant to drink the water, because it had a funny taste and they were afraid it might be poisoned. Hauling water four miles, though, was difficult, so they began sampling the water. Finding that it was not harmful, the Lynch’s began drinking the well water. An unexpected thing happened. Mr. and Mrs. Lynch’s rheumatism was cured, and Mr. Lynch, once frail and gaunt, began putting on weight. In fact, the entire family became healthier.
News of the improvements in the health of the Lynch family spread fast. Neighbors began trying the water, and within a month strangers were coming to the Lynch Ranch inquiring about it. Mr. Lynch began selling the water for five cents a quart. The water grew in popularity very quickly, and by the end of the year 3,000 people at a time were camping on the Lynch property.
The town of Mineral Wells was laid out on the ranch in the fall of 1881, and Mr. Lynch became the town’s first mayor. People arrived by the hundreds, and by November it looked like a small army had moved in. A boom town had sprung up. Because of the enormous demand, Mr. Lynch and others began to dig more wells.
Crazy Water Pavillion
The water got its name of “Crazy Water” from an elderly lady who suffered from a form of dementia and sat by the well all day, asking people to draw her up a pail of water. The water apparently had some positive effects on the “crazy lady’s” illness, and soon others were lining up for the water. The well was named the “Crazy Well” and a pavilion was built at the site. Today, the Crazy Water Retirement Hotel sits on that spot on Main Street.
Crazy Water Company Today
The Crazy Water Company became the most well known of the Mineral Wells water companies. Today, visitors can find the Crazy Water Company a couple of blocks behind the Crazy Hotel.
Crazy Water Crystal Plant
The Crazy Water Crystal Plant was built in 1919. “Crazy” water was boiled down until only crystals remained. These crystals became an early version of “instant food” to be dissolved in water. The crystals were sold all over the world.
Mineral Wells Today
Please read these notes from Celia:
NOTE #1: A significant amount of lithium can be found in some of the town’s wells, indicating that the “Crazy Water” story may have significance. Lithium is used today to treat some mental illnesses.
NOTE #2: As a very young man, my daddy worked in the Crystal Plant. When he met Mother, I believe he was working there at the time. My mother, as a young girl, worked in the basement laundry of the famous Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells. They courted by going to dances held for young adults. My daddy always said of Mother: “Another fellow took her to the dance, but I took her home.”
Celia Yeary, Texas author
NOTE #3: I was born in Salesville, a small village eight miles north of Mineral Wells. I grew up in West Texas, but all through the years, we traveled back to Minerals Wells and Salesville to visit both sets of grandparents. I’ve known about the Crazy Hotel and the crazy water..and the Baker Hotel..my entire life.
Celia Yeary-Romance…and a little bit ‘o Texas
Caroline’s notes: In those prone to form them, the mineral-laden water hastens formation of kidney and gall stones. Otherwise, they are reputed to be beneficial for many conditions. Crystals are still shipped worldwide.
Other mineral water companies operated in the area. I have an old bottle from Wizard Wells, but nothing is left ot that community except ruins.
Now for my portion of this post. First, the Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells, Texas is on the National Registry of Historic Buildings. I love the place, and especially like that style architecture.
I was fortunate to tour the Baker Hotel on a Heritage Society Tour several years ago. My family had driven by the hotel many times when we traveled West on Highway 180 from the DFW Metroplex, and I was impressed with the architecture and size. I didn’t make it up to the bell tower, but I did see Mr. Baker’s large suite. Seeing inside the hotel saddened me. One speculator had almost gutted the place selling off fixtures, carpets, and anything marketable. After that, he deserted the hotel. Then vagrants and vandals moved in. For years, freinds of the Baker have tried to find investors to purchase and restore the hotel to its former beauty.
At one time, “the Baker,” as locals call it, had a full spa, solarium with tanning beds, ballrooms, meeting rooms, restaurant, swimming pool, bowling alley under the swimming pool, garages, and big name celebrities entertaining guests. Several notable celebrities made the Baker a temporary home during their visits to the city’s health spas; the star studded guest list included the likes of Glenn Miller, Lawrence Welk, Clark Gable, Judy Garland, and future U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson. It is even rumored by local historians that legendary outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow may have spent a night or two at the Baker.
As the lobby looked in 1929The lobby as it looks today.
The story of the Baker Hotel begins in 1925, when citizens of Mineral Wells, concerned that non-citizens were profiting off of the growing fame of the community’s mineral water, raised $150,000 in an effort to build a large hotel facility owned by local shareholders. They solicited the services of prominent Texas hotel magnate Theodore Brasher Baker, who had gained notoriety by designing and building such grand hotels as the Baker Hotel in Dallas, the Hotel Texas in Fort Worth, and managed the Connor Hotel in Joplin, Missouri. Construction began the following year on the grand and opulent structure; it would rise fourteen stories over Mineral Wells, house 450 guest rooms, two ballrooms, an in-house beauty shop, and other novelties such as a bowling alley, a gymnasium, and an outdoor swimming pool (added to the plans by Theo Baker after a visit to California). Completed three years later with a cost in 1929 dollars of $1.2 million, the mammoth building instantly dominated the city skyline and was the first skyscraper built outside a major metropolitan area
Swimming pool with garages and bowling alley underneath
It boasted extravagant creature comforts such as an advanced hydraulic system that circulated ice water to all 450 guest rooms, lighting and fans controlled by the door locks that shut off and on automatically when the guest left or arrived in their rooms, and a valet compartment where guests could deposit soiled laundry that was accessible by hotel staff without them ever even having to enter the guest’s room. The hotel was fully air conditioned by the 1940s, which added to its appeal as a top-notch convention attraction, offering a meeting capacity of 2,500 attendees; a remarkable number considering that Mineral Wells was home to only approximately 6,000 residents in 1929. Even though it opened mere days after the 1929 stock market crash, the Baker enjoyed immense success throughout the 1930s, largely due to Mineral Wells growing reputation as a top tier health spa destination.
Molding on balcony overlooking lobby
T.B. Baker began to suffer financial difficulties in the early 1930s, eventually declaring bankruptcy in 1934. He passed control of the Baker Hotel to his nephew Earl Baker, who had served as the hotel’s manager as well as managing director of Baker’s Gunter Hotel in San Antonio. Despite its owner’s financial problems, the Baker Hotel continued to thrive throughout the mid 1930s. As the decade came to a close, however, Mineral Wells’ reputation as a health spa was in decline; advances in modern medication and the discovery of antibiotics such as penicillin began to lead local doctors, who had been encouraging patients to partake in the area’s therapeutic waters, to invest more confidence in medicine. Business began to suffer, until a second boom in the Baker’s popularity began when the Fort Wolters military base opened nearby in October, 1940. It was home to the largest infantry placement in World War II, and the hotel enjoyed its greatest popularity and success as a result; throughout World War II, the transient and permanent population of Mineral Wells hovered near 30,000, a large number of them making their temporary homes in the Baker.
After the war ended in 1945, Fort Wolters was closed and business suffered. A smaller renaissance came in 1951 when the Wolters facility was reopened as a helicopter base, and the Baker hosted the Texas Republican Party conventions in 1952 and 1955, and the Texas Democratic Party held their convention at the Baker in 1954. Aside from these successes, business declined steadily through the 1950s and the proverbial final nail was driven by Earl Baker himself when he announced that he would be closing the hotel after the passing of his seventieth birthday in 1963. True to his word, Baker shuttered the building on April 30 of that year, bringing an end to thirty years of service to Mineral Wells and surrounding areas. The hotel re-opened in 1965 when a group of local investors leased the structure from the Baker family, but the revival would be brief and marred by the death of Earl Baker of a heart attack in 1967 after he was found unconscious on the floor of the cavernous Baker Suite. In 1972, the Baker closed its doors for the last time and though several groups have made offers to rehabilitate the structure (the most recent.
Who is the ghost rumored to haunt the halls? I didn’t encounter her on my tour, but others report seeing the ghost of a woman.
Contractors have been surveying the place for about a year now, sizing up everything from its electrical and plumbing systems to its compliance with modern-day building and fire codes. If they get started remodeling the place this spring as planned, it’ll be ready to open in spring 2013. The estimated $54 million price tag to get the place up and running again includes outfitting it for business as a modern spa and hotel. Plans are to reduce the number of rooms and add even more luxury.
I eagerly look forward to the time when this beautiful old building is restored.
Thanks for reading!
Caroline Clemmons, www. carolineclemmons.com, http://carolineclemmons.blogspot.com
Filed under: blog, Caroline Clemmons, Celebrities, hotels and inns, Victorian SPA, West | Tagged: Baker Hotel, Caroline Clemmons, Celia Yeary, Crazy Water Crystals, history, James Alvin Lynch, Mineral Wells, National Registry of Historic Buildings, Texas | 2 Comments »