Nothing Shy About Her

BREAKING NEWS! No Decorum has a new name!

Nothing Shy About Her


Posted in Author, BOOK LAUNCH, Civil War stories, EPIC Award Finalist, Mary Ann Webber, PUBLISHED | Leave a comment

Welcome to the Passionate Past of the New World

You’ve just landed in the New World, a place of excitement and beauty – 400 years in the making! 

People here are free to follow their dreams, make their own mistakes and seek love in their own way.

I’m Mary Ann Webber and I love writing about this country’s romantic places and times. 

Voyage with me on the Godspeed.  There’s much to discover in the New World!

Posted in Author, Jamestown, KING CHARLES II, Mary Ann Webber, THE OLD DOMINION, VIRGINIA | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Caroline Clemmons Interviews Me About NO DECORUM

 Mary Ann Webber, Author Interview        

Like many authors, Mary Ann Webber began writing fiction in elementary school. Writing took a backseat as life became her biggest challenge. She wanted it all—marriage, home, children, grandchildren, teaching career in Virginia and Arkansas. Her early life experiences now add depth to her current characters. During the years her writing was on hold, she collected history books related to periods she found fascinating. As a result, she often spends more time researching than writing. After early retirement, she moved to Dallas to be near her children and grandchild and immersed herself in writing.             

Her novella in the anthology NORTHERN ROSES AND SOUTHERN BELLES, is the first time she’s been published by Wild Rose Press.

Caroline: Mary Ann, how did you come up with the idea for NO DECORUM?

McCollum-Chidester House, once a”revolving door” headquarters for Confederate and Union armies in Camden, Arkansas, is now a museum.

Mary Ann: I’ve spent time in Camden, Arkansas, and visited the grounds of the Chidester House, where the yearly Civil War reenactments take place – so I have a real feel for the area.

A few years ago, I was surprised to learn the Union forces under General Steele occupied Camden for only eleven days. While the bloody Red River Campaign of 1864 raged through Arkansas and Louisiana, the Confederate and Union forces jockeyed in and out of position in Camden.

What can happen in the span of eleven days? I decided to pack as much life into this time as I could, and the story wrote itself while I continued my research.

This is unlike anything I’ve ever put on paper. The heroine is an innocent – but headstrong – teenage girl. Unlike my usual heroines, she seems to call the shots with everyone around her. Only a heroine like Juliet could make so much happen in such a short time.

Caroline:  Tell us about your writing schedule. Do you write full time?
Mary Ann: My stories pop into my conscious mind as full blown movies, in living color, complete with soaring music, sound effects, and the highest paid actors. I have no idea how it happens. The characters arrive and do their jobs. I scramble to find the right words and put it all down on paper. This never happens on any sort of schedule.

I write full time in the sense that I have no longer have an outside job, such as the twenty-two years I spent teaching in public schools.

Some writers switch on their writing muse when they turn on their computers, but I have a muse who thinks she’s a prima donna. “Dahling, must we do this every morning?” she groans. Then I remind her how many camera crews and actors are waiting for us and how we need some royalty checks. She usually sighs and crawls out of bed.

Caroline: LOL Love your attitude, Mary Ann. Your muse’s sister must be my muse.  Is there a reason you’re drawn to the Civil War era?

Mary Ann: My ancestors fought on both sides in the War Between the States, but probably the real reason is because my sister and I spent years sitting in dark movie houses watching GONE WITH THE WIND. It left us permanently warped. My sister says her husband has no idea how much he owes to his resemblance to Rhett Butler.

Caroline: Perhaps it’s best he doesn’t know. 🙂 What else do you have in the works for us?

Mary Ann: I’m working again on my “epic” novel, A MAN AT THE DOOR.

Also, I’m plugging away on five novellas. They’re all historical – except for one, DAKOTA WINDOW. It features time travel inside a Manhattan apartment.

Caroline: Five novellas? Wow! I remember reading part of A MAN AT THE DOOR and loved it! I hope you finish and submit it soon so I can read the rest of the story. Now, though, how about sharing a blurb for NO DECORUM for readers?

Period photo of The City of Camden paddlewheeler. It’s loaded with cotton bales and headed downstream on the Ouachita River toward New Orleans. 

Mary Ann: Here’s the blurb:

What can happen in eleven days? In the Civil War, towns could be occupied and reoccupied by opposing armies. And just as quickly, young enemies Juliet and Randolph could fall in love, marry, and be torn apart. This fast moving tale carries a story of sudden infatuation and unending love. It happens when decorum is cast aside.

Caroline: How about an excerpt?

Mary Ann: I have two, one long and one short. Let’s start with the short one:

The Confederate Women’s Memorial at the Ouachita County Courthouse.

Juliet’s voice betrayed her alarm. “What’s wrong? What are you seeing?”

 He slowly circled her. “Turn so your back is to the lamp. That’s it. Now I see what it is. Stand very still and lift your arms straight over your head. Right. Now look up at your fingertips.”
In a twinkling, Randolph grabbed the nightgown and whisked it over her head. Juliet stood naked in the middle of the room and Randolph swallowed at the vision. “Now, everything is just as it should be.”

Here’s a longer excerpt:

Randolph lifted the curtain and gazed out the bedroom window. “It’s almost dark. Let’s go have some fun.”

“I thought we were having fun.” Juliet rolled over and looked at him.

 He grabbed her hands and pulled her to her feet. “Take off that dress and put on the one you wore to church.” He grinned at her. “Don’t wear anything under it.”

 “I don’t think it’ll fit without a corset. What do you have in mind?”

Randolph emerged from the wardrobe with the church dress and tossed it to her. He also threw her a blue shawl. “Here, you’ll need this, too. It’s cool outside.”

 “Where do you think we’re going?”

 He held a forefinger to his lips. “It’s a secret. We’re going to the church. Wear old shoes. The grass will be wet.”
Juliet was intrigued. She never imagined marriage would be such fun. When Randolph came up with new games or funny roles to assume, she knew his Dolphie side was ready to play. She slipped into the dress and her husband fastened the bodice.
Leaving by the front door so they wouldn’t be seen, they held hands and ran to the unlighted church. Once inside, Randolph whispered, “We don’t know each other’s names.”

Juliet was breathless with excitement. “Yes, Sergeant.” She crept to the back of the church as Randolph moved across the front, bumping into pews.
Reaching the aisle, she moved slowly and deliberately toward the front. If her eyes hadn’t adjusted, she would still have found Randolph, seated as before in the aisle seat of the first pew.
She dropped onto his lap.
He moaned deeper than she’d ever heard him. Recovering, he whispered into her hair, “Young lady, this seat is taken.”

Caroline: LOL I remember that scene. Precious! Mary Ann, thank you so much for visiting with us today.

NORTHERN ROSES AND SOUTHERN BELLES is available from The Wild Rose Press in both print and e-download and is also available from Amazon and other online stores.

Posted in Arkansas, Author, CIVIL WAR, Confederate Women Memorial, EPIC Award Finalist, Northern Roses and Southern Belles, Red River Campaign | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

SECOND PLACE in the 2011 EPIC Anthology Award!

UPDATE! We placed SECOND in our Category!

EPIC, the Electronically Published Internet Coalition™ ( is delighted to announce that your entry, Northern Roses and Southern Belles, is a finalist in the Anthology Romance Category of the 2011 EPIC eBook Awards Competition™.

The winner of EPIC’s 2011 Anthology Romance Category will be announced at our annual conference, held in historical Williamsburg, Virginia, March 10-13, 2011.  Come join us: mix with your peers, attend wonderful workshops, eat fabulous food, learn more about EPIC…and discover the winners of our growing eBook competition.

You can find more details at

Posted in CIVIL WAR, Civil War stories, Confederate Officer, EPIC Award Finalist, Mary Ann Webber, Northern Roses and Southern Belles, VIRGINIA, WRITING | Leave a comment

EDITH WHARTON, An American Writer

Edith Jones WhartonThe Age of Innocence was published in 1920.

It won the 1921 Pulitzer Prize for literature, and Edith Wharton became the first woman to receive the award.

I have blogged about Edith Wharton in the past but I keep learning more about her. SO . . .  here I go again! This time it’s about current media references to Edith Wharton’s life and work.

She was born January 24, 1862 in New York City, to George Frederic Jones (the saying “Keeping up with the Joneses” is said to refer to the family of her father) and Lucretia Stevens Rhinelander.

Wharton combined her insider’s view of America’s privileged classes with a brilliant, natural wit to write humorous, incisive novels and short stories of social and psychological insight. She was acquainted with many of her era’s other literary and public figures, including Henry James and Theodore Roosevelt.

In 1885, at 23 years of age, she married Edward (Teddy) Robbins Wharton, who was 12 years her senior. From a well-established Boston family, he was a gentleman of her social class and shared her love of travel, however they had little else in common.  When Teddy began suffering deep depression, they stopped their traveling. In 1908 her husband’s mental state was determined to be incurable and she divorced him in 1913. In 1968,  some of her newly found papers revealed that she began an affair in 1908 with Morton Fullerton. He was a journalist for The Times, and in him she found an intellectual partner.

She deplored Victorian home decorating and crusaded against it. She and her friend, architect Ogdon Codman, Jr., teamed up and wrote the ground breaking book, The Decoration Of Houses. It was published in 1897, republished in 1978, and my copy (a gift from my sister) is the 1997 edition. which is used by architectural students. An essay, The Decoration of Houses as a Basic Text by Alvin Holme, AIA, is included in this edition.

In 1937, at the age of 75, Edith Wharton died of a stroke at the domaine Le Pavillon Colombe, her 18th-century house on Rue de Montmorency in Saint-Brice-sous-Forêt, now in Val d’Oise. The street is today called Rue Edith Wharton. She is buried in the American Cemetery in Versailles, France.

Here’s a curious and very current song by Tellison in which Edith Wharton is invoked:

There is a surprising awareness of Edith Wharton in our popular culture. Here are some other examples:  

  • Edith Wharton is mentioned in the HBO television series Entourage in the third season’s 13th episode: Vince is handed a screenplay for Wharton’s The Glimpses of the Moon by Amanda, his new agent, for a film to be directed by Sam Mendes. In the same episode, period films of Wharton’s work are lampooned by agent Ari Gold, who says that all her stories are “about a guy who likes a girl, but he can’t have sex with her for five years, because those were the times!” Carla Gugino, who plays Amanda, was the protagonist of the BBC-PBS adaptation of The Buccaneers (1995), one of her early jobs.
  • A musical version of The Glimpses of the Moon was presented in New York City in the Algonquin Hotel’s Oak Room in early 2008.
  • “Edith Wharton’s Journey” is a radio adaptation, for the NPR series Radio Tales, of the short story “A Journey” from Edith Wharton’s collection The Greater Inclination.
  • In 2009, Edith Wharton’s home, The Mount, was investigated for paranormal activity in the hit Sci Fi Channel reality series Ghost Hunters.
Posted in Author, Edith Wharton, VICTORIAN CULTURE, VICTORIAN WRITERS | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Three Cousins/Three Kings

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were the parents of nine children. Albert died at the age of 42, thereby ending the production of royal heirs.

The nine royal offspring gave Victoria a total of 42 grandchildren. The widowed Queen believed that by linking the royal houses of Europe through intermarriage, war could be avoided through family diplomacy. Being an only child, Victoria couldn’t have understood how naive her plan actually was. 

Three grandsons of Queen Victoria occupied thrones in Europe when the continent plummeted into The Great War, now known as the World War I. They were Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, King George V of Great Britain, and Tsar Nicholas II of Russia   

Victoria’s first grandchild, Willy, was born in 1859. He had a “defective” arm, now called Erb’s palsy, which may have contributed to many of his peculiarities. Willy ascended the throne of Germany in 1888.

He is the focus of a new book by Miranda Carter: GEORGE, NICHOLAS and WILHELM, Three Royal Cousins and the Road to World War I. (Knopf, $30) This book was reviewed in The Dallas Morning News on Sunday, May 23, by Special Contributor, Tim Redman.

Redman is professor of literary studies in the School of Arts and Humanities at the University of Texas at Dallas.

As a lover of all things related to the British monarchy, I was more than intrigued by this unlikely grandson of Queen Victoria. Since reading the review, I’ve been scouring the internet and my own books about royalty looking for information on the almost forgotten ruler.

The three cousins bore a striking resemblance to each other, and occasionally posed for portraits in each other’s uniforms. 

 In the first photo, Nicky and George pose in their own uniforms. In the second picture, Willy wears Nicky’s Russian Imperial attire and Nicky wears Willy’s smashing uniform with its spiked helmet. 

Willy was known as Kaiser Bill by the American soldiers and the allies who fought valiantly against the German armies.

After Armistice Day, the German monarchy was demolished and Wilhelm went into exile in Doorn, Holland. There he kept a low profile and lived out his life with his second wife on a beautiful estate called Huis Doorn. 

The wonderful 1933 photo on the right shows Kaiser Wilhelm standing in a driveway at Huis Doorn. He had finally grown a beard similar to those worn by his cousins when they were all young. Still dapper, Willy now had coat pockets in which to hide his trembling palsied hand.

Outliving his cousins, he died in 1941 at the age of 82. He is buried in a fine mausoleum built for him on the estate.

Posted in Dallas Morning News, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, King George V of Great Britain, Miranda Carter, Queen Victoria, Tim Redman, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments


Titles have always intrigued me – whether for movies, television series or books.

Titles should be original.  

They should make a casual reader or viewer pause and give a few more seconds of consideration to a movie or book.  The wide range of entertainment choices available today makes it mandatory to grab the attention of our targeted audience or readers.

Several years ago I gave up on TV series with alphabetical titles. NCIS, followed by a word or two, or a phrase followed by capital letters such as SVU (I used to wonder if the cops drove SUVs) turn me off. My brain resists giving those shows a try.

Most of you are not acquainted with this old western series. It must have started over sixty years ago and was considered a break-through TV show. I’ve always loved the title: GUNSMOKE. I think a genius must have stumbled on it. They could have named it GUNS THAT SMOKE or WESTERN GUYS HANGING AROUND A SALOON, etc, but no. They named it with one powerful word: GUNSMOKE.  

I love “off the wall” TV titles, ones that inspired question marks in my mind when I first heard them. They still tug at me after years of seeing them. MEDIUM, FRINGE, THE MENTALIST, CASTLE, FLASHFORWARD, and LOST (well, LOST lost me a few years ago. I think the writers are lost and ask each other what craziness they can concoct for next week’s idiocy, but – I still think LOST is a great title!) 

I also love the title, WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? No one would watch a prime time Friday night show with the word GENEALOGY in the title – uh, well, I probably would.

Wait. I’ve just listed my favorite TV shows!

Another quirk of mine is the use of overworked words in romance titles – such as LOVE, PASSION, DESIRE, MIDNIGHT, HEART, etc. They are lovely words – and they certainly belong in romance writing – but they are OVERUSED! I always wonder if I’ve already read the book when I see one of them in a title.

I’m currently working on a story (while I’m supposed to be working on my taxes!) set in Jamestown, Virginia in the 1680’s. The hero is one of King Charles II’s illegitimate children. He has made an unlikely new identity for himself in the new world as a tobacco farmer. For years I’ve thought the title should be JAMESTOWN ROYAL. A few days ago a new title came to me: JAMESTOWN IMPOSTER.

I think, I HOPE, it raises questions in the brains of would-be readers.

Posted in Jamestown, KING CHARLES II, LIGHT for WRITING, THE OLD DOMINION, VIRGINIA | Tagged , , , , , , | 12 Comments

FOUR STARS from RT BOOK REVIEWS for Our Anthology

 NORTHERN ROSES AND SOUTHERN BELLES, a romantic anthology featuring stories of the American Civil War, has been awarded Four Stars in the May Issue of Romantic Times Book Review magazine. My story, NO DECORUM, is one of the six stories included. The other five were written by fellow members of Scandalous Victorians: Susan Macatee, Jeanmarie Hamilton, Isabel Roman, Jennifer Ross and Caroline Clemmons.

Posted in Civil War stories, Northern Roses and Southern Belles, ROMANTIC TIMES BOOK REVIEWS, Slip Into Something Victorian, VICTORIAN CULTURE | Leave a comment





 It’s time for that pesky CSA Generals Quiz. In the interests of bipartisanship
and political correctness, the prize will feature a portrait of the president
who presided over the UNION during the Civil War.

The competition opens at Midnight Friday, February 26th, and ends at Midnight
Sunday, February 28th. You have a three day window of time in which to review
the three Confederate Generals spotlighted on this blog.

Write your answers in an email and send them to my alternate email address:

On Monday, March 1, I will place the names of entrants who made 100%
in a box and let my grandson draw the winner. I will immediately announce the
winner’s name. The winner can send me her mailing address, and Abraham will soon
be on his way in an envelope.

WARNING: Watch Abraham. He has a way of slipping through your fingers.

Mary Ann Webber



This story began writing itself while I researched the Red River Campaign, an important part of the Civil War in the Trans-Mississippi.  It’s unlike anything I’ve ever put on paper.

The heroine is a headstrong, but innocent, teenage girl who seems to call the shots with everyone around her. I recently heard someone say if No Decorum became a movie, the role of Juliet Burnham should be played by Miley Cyrus.

That’s not exactly what I had in mind – but I have to admit the choice would be perfect.

Posted in CIVIL WAR, Northern Roses and Southern Belles, VIEWS | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

New Review of NO DECORUM

FIVE STAR REVIEW by a Barnes and Noble Reader 

 During perilous times an unlikely pair rushes to form a more perfect union…

Juliet’s voice betrayed her alarm. “What’s wrong? What are you seeing?”

He slowly circled her. “Turn so your back is to the lamp. That’s it. Now I see what it is. Stand very still and lift your arms straight over your head. Right. Now look up at your fingertips.”

In a twinkling, Randolph grabbed the nightgown and whisked it over her head. Juliet stood naked in the middle of the room and Randolph swallowed at the vision. “Now, everything is just as it should be.”

Vivid descriptions, clarity of dialogue and plenty of action reveal the unusual response of a Southern family and their black servants to a handsome Yankee intruder. The tenuous position of a small Northern army occupying a town in the deep South forces secrecy and subterfuge.

With believable characters and intriguing situations the reader appreciates the values, the gentle banter, and the shenanigans as these good people face the harsh realities of war.

This talented writer is one to watch.  And, Civil War fans should not miss NO DECORUM.

Posted in CIVIL WAR, Civil War stories, Northern Roses and Southern Belles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

FOUR and A HALF LIPS from TwoLipsReviews

Northern Roses and Southern Belles

Authors: Susan Macatee, Mary Ann Webber, Jeanmarie Hamilton, Jennifer Ross, Isabel Roman, and Caroline Clemmons
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press 
Genre: Historical Anthology


Angel of My Dreams by Susan MacateeCivil War re-enactor Kyle Maguire, who is also a history teacher, meets a woman on a staged battlefield and believes her to be another re-enactor. The lovely Josephine Wentworth is however a woman living during the Civil War who has crossed the boundaries of time but only for moments at a time. Kyle finds himself dreaming of her and meeting her on those rare moments when their paths cross in time. Will time stand still long enough for their love to bind them? Ms. Macatee’s tale was a bittersweet morsel of a dream and a hope that Kyle and Josie will find one another in time. Angel of My Dreams stole my heart and Ms. Macatee made this story all the more real by using her knowledge of history and creating characters with deep emotions that break your heart.

No Decorum by Mary Ann WebberRandolph Newton is a sergeant in the Union Army and the son of a minister. He falls in love with Juliet Burnham, a minister’s daughter but a Southerner, and marries her just before he is taken prisoner. Separated so early in their relationship, can their love last until the War Between the States comes to an end? Ms. Webber demonstrates her knowledge of American history on every page of her endearing story, No Decorum.  I loved Randolph, nicknamed “Dolphie” by the heroine, Juliet and the servant, Patsy. Reverend Ambrose Burnham and General Steele were such tender secondary characters who worked toward helping the young couple even when all seemed lost.
Are You Going to The Dance by Jeanmarie HamiltonIt all begins when Lexie puts a note in Clay’s pocket asking if he’s going to the dance. But their love has barely begun when Lexie’s friends, Lipan Apaches, are blamed for attacks. The heroine, Lexie, in Ms. Hamilton’s post Civil War tale, doesn’t believe a word of it.  Even the hero, Clayton Majors, doesn’t believe Lexie when she tries to tell him the culprits are raiders. Lexie’s Lipan friend, Ynez, is injured during one of the violent attacks by the raiders but Lexie secrets him away in her home and nurtures him back to health. She even hides her dangerous activities from Clay until one awful night when both their lives may become forfeit. Lexie is one of the most courageous heroines I’ve ever read.In this adventurous tale, Ms. Hamilton brings the reader a raw taste of history and characters worth rooting for in Are You Going to the Dance.  The reader is sure to be swept away.The Colonial and The Cottontail by Jennifer RossMs. Ross has created a very different kind of Civil War story in The Colonial and the Cottontail. With a wonderfully different perspective, this story begins with the hero, a Confederate on a secret mission, and a widow and her son seeking their newly inherited home meeting on their similar journeys to Montreal, Canada. When Thomas, Becca’s son, discovers Cole in a field, he believes the man to be a rabbit changed into a man. Cole and Tom forge an immediate bond. But when Becca offers Cole a ride in her carriage to Montreal in exchange for his help, the heat turns up as they begin to fall in love along the way.  But Cole carries with him the secrets of the Confederacy and it is possible that he may have to betray Becca or lose his honor. It was truly a delight to read such a different perspective of the Civil War through the eyes of a Canadian. Ms. Ross brought to the pages of this deeply emotional story her own uniquely Canadian voice and won my appreciation in her delightful story, The Colonial and the Cottontail.

In the Shadows by Isabel Roman

Ms. Roman’s story, In the Shadows, takes place in Charleston at the beginning of the Civil War. Marion Shelton is an enthusiastic Union Spy up to her delicate eyebrows in intrigue. The Englishman, Jack Harrison, is a blockade runner and privateer for the Confederacy and the man Marion loves. Though her Aunt Glori, quite the southern belle, prefers another suitor, Marion is not deterred and she is one determined lady. One can only wonder how these two unlikely lovers can ever find common ground for their love to grow. I liked Jack immediately for his ability to protect and pursue Marion without compromising her enthusiasm. Although the resolution seemed a bit contrived, I found Ms. Roman’s tale a fantastically enjoyable story.

Long Way Home by Caroline Clemmons

The Yankees have come to town and Parmelia Bailey has sworn to help her brother Matt’s fiancé, Sarah, and her family.  This undaunted heroine and her ten-year-old brother courageously help the household of women leave their home in the midst of a raging battle to take them to the Bailey household where they hope to remain safe.  Derrick McDonald, the man she once loved but who left her four years ago, shows up in her barn to reclaim the horses she stole from the Union Army—and he’s wearing Union blue. There is little time to squabble about the past because Jeff Lawson, a spurned old beau is coming to town with his raiders to settle a score with Parmelia and her family.

Ms. Clemmons  has written a story I could really sink my teeth into. With a fearless heroine and a determined hero, Long Way Home drew me into its heart from the first sentence. Ms. Clemmons won my regard with her endearing southern-fried drawl mellowing out every page of this exciting and witty tale.  It’s a marvelous story sure to delight any reader.

Posted in CIVIL WAR, Civil War stories, Northern Roses and Southern Belles, REVIEWS | Leave a comment


 d9e7c0a398a0bd4ad223b110_MAMAZON.COM 3.0 out of 5 stars
Six Romps Through History, October 11, 2009
By James D. Miller: Civil War writer and reviewer.
Visit his blog: CIVIL WAR NOTEBOOK.
The Wild Rose Press has released an anthology of six Civil War romance stories in a collection which they have titled “Northern Roses and Southern Belles.” Between its covers are tales of Union and Confederate soldiers and the women who loved them, ghosts, spies, Confederate raiders, and blockade runners.

This is not a book of “bodice rippers,” the tales are certainly appropriate reading matter for teenage girls, or any one else who may enjoy the historical romance genre. There are however, plenty of heaving bosoms, and men and women discovering their passions for each other. You will not find explicit or gratuitous sex scenes. Though it is not great literature, the characterizations are barely two dimensional, and the plots of forbidden love and the like seem to be pulled from the standard constructions of romantic fiction, with more than a casual nod towards Shakespeare. The book does not pretend to be anything other than what it is . . . a good romp through history, or more rather, six of them.

Is this a book that students of the Civil War would be interested in? It is likely not, but the holiday season is quickly approaching, and it may make a good gift for a wife, or girl-friend who may have a passing interest in the Civil War, or maybe better for a woman you wish that did.

Posted in CIVIL WAR, CIVIL WAR NOTEBOOK, PUBLISHED, Red River Campaign, REVIEWS, Slip Into Something Victorian, TOCWOC | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment


No, not General Robert E. Lee, who certainly cut a princely figure and had very royal bearing. This CSA officer was born in France, and was a bona fide prince whose father was born at Versailles. His grandmother, Gabrielle, had been a famous aristocratic beauty and Queen Marie-Antoinette’s closest friend. The royal friendship was rewarded by the family being ensconced in a thirteen room apartment in the massive palace. 180px-Camille_Armand_Jules_Marie_Prince_de_Polignac  

Who was this prince?

How did he wind up in the Confederate army? Fighting in the Red River Campaign?

His name was Camille Armand Jules Marie Prince de Polignac, but he was affectionately called Prince Polecat by his unsophisticated soldiers.

W. P. Doran, a war correspondent for the Houston Telegraph, who wrote under the pseudonym of ‘Sioux,’ stayed with Polignac’s division throughout the Red River campaign, and in 1882 ‘Sioux’ wrote of the general in his biography of the general, as follows:

“Polignac was a true type of a Frenchman. He was about forty-five years of age, medium size with a long sharp nose, and he resembled Napoleon Bonaparte’s portraits. He spoke the French and English languages fluently, and when in camp, was no better dressed than one of his orderlies. Those not knowing him would take him for a common soldier. At one point in the woods, the Federals made a determined stand, and the writer (‘Sioux’) was near Polignac when he gave orders to the different commanders under him… He ordered battalions and regiments to the different points specified on his map with the ease of a chess player.”

Polignac was born February 16, 1832, in Millemont Seine-et-Oise, France into one of the most famous families of the French nobility. His father was Jules, Prince de Polignac, who had been a passionate supporter of absolute monarchy and chief minister during the reign of King Charles X of France. Through his distant cousin, Pierre de Polignac, he was related to the Grimaldis of Monaco, a family who still rule the principality today.

Prince Polecat studied mathematics and music at St. Stanislas College in the 1840s. In 1853 he joined the French army. He served in the Crimean War from 1854 to 1855, receiving a commission as a second lieutenant. He resigned from the army in 1859 and traveled to Central America to study geography and political economy, and also the native plant life. He then visited the United States in the early 1860s.

With the outbreak of the Civil War, Polignac initially served on the staffs of generals P. G. T. Beauregard and Braxton Bragg as a lieutenant colonel. He served at the Battle of Shiloh and the subsequent Siege of Corinth. In January 1863, he was promoted to brigadier general. Two months later, he was transferred to the Trans-Mississippi Department and assigned command of a Texas infantry brigade. Polignac is best known for his leadership at the Battle of Mansfield, April 8, 1864, in De Soto Parish, Louisiana, a Confederate victory in the first major action of the Red River Campaign. Polignac received a battlefield promotion at Mansfield to division command after the death of Alfred Mouton. He was formally promoted to major general on June 14, 1864. Polignac led the division throughout the remainder of the campaign and during its service in Arkansas in the fall of 1864. In March 1865 he was sent to Napoleon III of France to request intervention on behalf of the Confederacy but he arrived too late to accomplish his mission. He remained in his native France, his role in American history having ended. But his memory lived on in the hearts of his former Louisiana Confederate soldiers, particularly those of Mouton’s Division and the Calcasieu Regiment, who remembered their ‘Prince Polecat’ with a certain fondness throughout the remainder of their lives.

Polignac was married twice and died in France on November 15, 1913, at the age of eighty-one.

Posted in Arkansas, CIVIL WAR, Confederate Officer, PRINCE POLECAT, Red River Campaign | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments



Camden’s monument to Confederate women went up in 1914, and was dedicated in ceremonies in 1915. It stands on the grounds of the Ouachita County Court house.

Obviously, the concept of the ideal woman had changed since the “late unpleasantness”  of fifty years before. This figure is taller and slimmer.  She’s a twentieth-century woman.

Posted in CIVIL WAR, Confederate Women Memorial, Northern Roses and Southern Belles | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Northern Roses and Southern Belles






NorthernRosesAndSouthernBelles_w4303_120NorthernRosesAndSouthernBelles_w4303_120NorthernRosesAndSouthernBelles_w4303_120NorthernRosesAndSouthernBelles_w4303_120 NorthernRosesAndSouthernBelles_w4303_120NorthernRosesAndSouthernBelles_w4303_120

Join Our BLOG TOUR August 1-6

6 authors + 6 blogs =

Mayhem and Madness.

Tour Calendar:

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

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!

Posted in BOOK LAUNCH, CIVIL WAR, Civil War stories, Northern Roses and Southern Belles, PUBLISHED | Leave a comment

My Anthology Book Signing ~ With Champagne!

cropped author_editedCHEERS FOR A DREAM FULFILLED!

This party was planned for years – but no one knew it would be so long in coming. I certainly never imagined it would be July 28, 2009, before it happened and that it would be held at my daughter’s house, in Dallas!cheers!_edited

The box of books I’d ordered from The Wild Rose Press arrived late that afternoon. I’d already postponed the event, but it was decided we would go ahead with it – and move the festivities to Tracy’s house. There I sipped champagne with my family and signed copies of a Civil War anthology, NORTHERN ROSES and SOUTHERN BELLES, which contains my story, NO DECORUM.

This occasion, a woman fulfilling the dream of a lifetime, was captured for posterity in a few photographs. One small story published, one enormous goal achieved! 

Posted in BOOK LAUNCH, BOOK SIGNING, Northern Roses and Southern Belles, PUBLISHED | 6 Comments


Read My Novella: NO DECORUM





Posted in BOOK LAUNCH, CIVIL WAR, Civil War stories, Northern Roses and Southern Belles | 2 Comments


Pieced to Celebrate the Secession of Arkansas from the Union.

Posted to Celebrate the Release of Northern Roses and Southern Belles, a Civil War Anthology coming this month from The Wild Rose Press.ham_gal_quilt_secession

A circular pattern of nine stars in each corner represents Arkansas as the ninth state to secede from the Union. There is trapunto work in the white stars of this quilt. Made of cotton in 1861 by Mrs. Green McPhearson, it measures 85.5” x 97”.

I wonder what was in the mind of Mrs. Green McPhearson during the weeks and months she labored over this quilt. Did she have relatives and offspring fighting across the Mississippi? Did they come home to her?

Part of a permanent display at HISTORIC ARKANSAS MUSEUM.  Other quilts in the collection can be viewed online at this link:   Click on MUSEUM COLLECTION, then on Quilts in the sidebar

Historic Arkansas Museum

A Museum of The Department of Arkansas Heritage
Copyright © 2009 Historic Arkansas Museum
All Rights Reserved

Posted in BOOK LAUNCH, CIVIL WAR, HISTORIC ARKANSAS MUSEUM, QUILTING, Slip Into Something Victorian, VICTORIAN CULTURE | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

JEANMARIE HAMILTON, American Title Finalist and Guest Blogger for May

seduction6I’m so happy to be a guest blogger today with all of you here at Romancing America’s Past. Thank you for inviting me.

I’m thrilled to tell you that my book, SEDUCTION, is available now at and Barnes and This is my first western historical romance.  Rae Monet designed the cover for me and she did an excellent job.  You can see it on my web site at where you can also sign up for my announcements only newsletter if you’d like.

I thought of the idea for Seduction many years ago and wrote it down in my notebook for story ideas before copying it to my computer.  I keep this little notebook in a bookcase right beside my computer desk.  If a story idea comes to me while I’m on the pc working on something, I make a note of the idea so I don’t forget it. Later I can go back and develop the story. 

When I first thought of Seduction, I remembered the story my grandmother told me about the raiders in Texas after the Civil War. These raiders were a bad bunch and raided my great great grandmother’s home before leaving the town. They killed a couple of men they took with them from town as guides, and left their bodies on the side of the road. With that historical event in my mind, I asked myself “what if” and chose to use a fictitious and more dire event as my heroine’s back story.

My family has been involved with music, musicals and singing for several generations, so I decided to have my heroine be a vocalist with her goal of having her own theater in a city where she would be safe.  I chose the name of Belinda Rose for her and titled the story “The Seduction of Miss Rose.”

My hero was a little tougher to figure out. With a heroine struggling to survive pretty much on her own, I needed a hero who was a successful businessman with a theater where  Belinda would perform for the town folk. I decided he should come from a rich southern home, that he’d left when he was old enough when he couldn’t put up any longer with his hard-driving father.  I knew his name had to be Cole MacPherson.  His goal, to bring a railroad line to the town in Arizona Territory where he owned the grandest local hotel and theater. 

 Cole knows when he first sees her that he wants to spend the night with her. He must think of a way to keep her in town, and plans to seduce Miss Rose into spending some pleasurable time with him.  It’s not as easy as he thinks it will be.  Belinda is not that kind of woman, and there’s a man from her past in the area, a cattle rustler, who has threatened her life. 

I entered the first chapter of the story in a contest and it came in second. Encouraged, I kept working on the story.  The American Title Contest in 2005 asked for historical entries. I decided to take a chance and entered my story, but changed the title to “Seduction.”  After the story was chosen for the finals, I decided it should be published and worked toward that goal. 

My dream became reality this year.  My advice is don’t give up on your dreams.  Know that you can achieve them. 

Following is an excerpt from SEDUCTION in which they‘ve taken shelter in a cave for protection against the cattle rustlers: 

He supported her with his knees and checked the reddened trail of skin down her thigh. The feel of her silky flesh beneath his hand tightened his desire. He couldn’t resist brushing his lips over the velvet of her cheek. She kept her eyes closed tightly.

“Almost through.” He gently ran his hand over the damaged skin of her leg and side to feel for sand and grit. She shuddered and squeezed her arms around his neck tighter, burying her face against him.

It was almost more than Cole could take. He inhaled sharply, tensing. The damaged skin felt clean. He slipped his arm beneath her knees and carried her out of the water, walked to the edge of the pool, and lowered her gently to the cave floor. She shivered.

“Let’s dry you off.” He reached for her petticoat. First he gently patted the wounds with the petticoat, then he briskly toweled over the rest of her. Still she shook.

“Here, take off these wet clothes and put on your dry ones.”

“All right.” With a tremor in her voice, she turned her back to him.

Thankful she didn’t protest, he helped her out of her remaining clothes. Ignoring temptation, he helped her finish drying, shook out her skirt and blouse and helped her put them on.

She turned her back again, clutching her blouse to her chest. His hands shook as he managed the buttons and fastened her skirt. The aching desire she aroused in him increased unbearably. When she sat down to rest, he looked away. 

 I’d love for you to leave a comment and say hi. If you have any questions, I’ll do my best to answer. You can read the back cover blurb for SEDUCTION on my web site which Rae Monet has recently designed for me.

Posted in GUEST BLOGGERS | Tagged , | 8 Comments

NICOLE McCAFFREY and The Model Man



      Has a story ever grabbed hold of your muse and refused to let go until you sat down and wrote it?  And did you write it, even with the immortal words of Barry Manilow in the back of your brain crooning this one’ll never sell, they’ll never understand…? 

     Well that happened to me!  I’ve always been an historical writer—at least that’s how I thought of myself.  I didn’t get ideas for contemporary romances—didn’t even read them.  So why on earth was I writing one—let alone one with an over 40 heroine and a hero who was thirteen years younger.  There was nowhere for this story to go, no demographic (according to all reports, anyway) who would ever want to read it.  Yet the characters persisted, nagging me day and night until I holstered the six shooter my historical hero-in-progress kept handy and sat staring at a blank screen completely at the mercy of these “new people”, especially the hero.

     My critique partners loved the new story, cheering me on with laughter and positive comments as each scene unfolded, though it seemed our sessions always ended with a “You know you’ll never be able to sell this one…”  Yeah, I know.  The unspoken question was “so why are you working on it?”  I guess the only answer for that is because I couldn’t not write it.   

     Then Ashton and Demi made dating headlines and lo and behold the world as we know it suddenly realized that – gasp!!—women over 40 are not dead.  In another convenient twist of fate, The Wild Rose Press opened their doors in May, 2006 and had a line called Last Rose of Summer—a line that featured characters over 40 and/or second chance at love.  It couldn’t possibly be true…. could it? 

     The Wild Rose Press contracted The Model Man in December, 2007.  Since its release in March 2008 I have been the recipient of some wonderful reviews, but more importantly, I’ve been thanked by women 40-something and older for making them believe in that second chance at love, even if the first one went all wrong.  For creating an independent, intelligent, mature heroine whom they could relate to—and a hero they could drool over.  I think that means more to me than any glowing review or sales numbers.   

     Of course I can’t really take credit for it, my hero and heroine, Derek and Kelly, did most of the work, especially Derek who insisted I write their story.   

Below is the blurb for the story and a never-before-posted excerpt from one of my favorite scenes, the first time the two are left alone together after being forced to pretend they’re a couple.  I hope you enjoy it!


Single mom and romance novelist Kelly Michaels has no time for a man in her life. But when mega-famous cover model Derek Calavicci puts the moves on her at a romance writers’ conference, she succumbs to temptation. Common sense prevails, however, and after a few passionate kisses she turns him down; she has impressionable teenagers at home, after all, she doesn’t need a one-night-stand with a much younger man, no matter how hot he is. When photos of their passionate moonlight kiss hit the tabloids, her agent has to do some fast footwork to save her reputation. Will the notorious bad boy go along with her scheme?

Derek rarely hears a woman say “no” – it’s been that way his entire life. If Kelly isn’t interested, he’s not going to push her– even if she does melt like ice cream on a hot sidewalk every time he touches her. But when an unexpected opportunity falls into his lap by way of Kelly’s scheming agent, he jumps at the chance. Pretend he’s in love with Kelly Michaels for two weeks? No problem. After all, the lady may say she’s never going to sleep with him… but he’s got two weeks to convince her otherwise



After seeing Kelly to her suite, Derek stepped into his darkened hotel room. A strong flowery scent greeted him. He frowned. The last guest in this room must have loved cheap perfume.

From next door came the sound of running water. He closed his eyes and imagined Kelly sliding out of that little black dress. He tried to force the image aside but was left wondering if she was taking a shower—naked and soapy wet just on the other side of the wall. Or a long hot bath. The kind he’d like to share with her.

As he removed his watch and cuff links he heard a feminine sigh.

“Derek, is that you?”

He paused and let his watch drop to the dresser. The voice wasn’t familiar. A dim light went on beside the bed, and he turned.

A hiccup of laughter escaped her. “Hey, you’re even hotter in person.” She rose from the bed, a young Pamela Anderson clone. Damned if she wasn’t wearing a Hooters uniform. “I’m Mindy.”

She ran toward him and flung her arms around his neck in an exuberant hug. “It’s way cool to finally meet you. I’ve been waiting here for, like, hours.”

“How did you get in?”

Blaine. He said you were looking for company tonight.” She pouted, swaying from side to side. “You are glad to see me, aren’t you?”

Well, part of him was. But that body part had already been enflamed by someone else. And despite the Pamela resemblance, she was a bit too close to barely legal for his comfort.

“So do you wanna fool around?”

He spied the half-empty bottle of champagne on the night stand and the lipstick-stained glass beside it. “Uh, Cindy…”

“Mindy,” she corrected with another bubbly giggle. “Cindy is my twin sister. I could call her if you want.”

Sweet Jesus.

Folding his arms, he leaned back against the dresser. “How much champagne have you had?”

“Just the one bottle. Well, and a glass or two from that one. Is that okay? Blaine told me to order anything I wanted.”

“It’s fine. Did you think to order food, sweetheart?”

Wide eyed, she shook her head. “Why, are you hungry?”

“Uh, no.” And he wasn’t. Not for food. And not for Mindy. “For you.”

“Oh, no,” she said with a frown. “I don’t eat anything after lunch, it goes right to my hips.” She placed a hand to her shapely backside. “And I don’t eat at all when I’m working.” She wrinkled her nose. “I might get bloated or something.”

“Right. Well you don’t have to work any more tonight, do you?”

“Nope.” Another giggle.

“Then why don’t I order something for us?”

“I could go for a cheeseburger, I guess.” Cheerleader-perky, she shrugged, breasts jiggling in a way that should have interested him —and might have, at one time.

She stepped closer and walked her fingers up his chest. “I’ll go freshen up a little, and then we can have some fun while we wait for dinner.”

He smiled indulgently and watched as she disappeared into the bathroom. When she closed the door, he exhaled a loud breath. Normally he’d have Frankie or Blaine handle this. But they had gotten him into this mess. He’d simply feed her, let her sleep it off and send her on her way.

He smacked a hand to his forehead. Jeez. No, he couldn’t. It would look like they had spent the night together. Well, the reason he couldn’t leave —whatever the hell her name was — here, the reason he couldn’t even find her attractive, was just on the other side of this wall. She could damn well help him figure out what to do.


Leaning back in a soothing hot bath, Kelly frowned. She hadn’t heard a rap at the adjoining door to Derek’s room, had she? The knock came again, followed by the sound of the doorknob jiggling. Damn. She had forgotten to check that lock.


Dear God, was he in her room? She leaped from the tub and grabbed for her robe all at once. She had just belted it when he rounded the corner.

“What are you doing?” she demanded. “I was having a bath.”

His gaze skimmed the length of her. “I can see that.”

The reminder that she had pulled the satiny robe on over wet skin made her pull the edges tighter together. “What was so important you had to come barging in here?”

He didn’t even try to hide the fact that he was staring at her breasts. A moment later, he groaned and turned away. “Jesus, would you put some clothes on?”

She crossed her arms over her chest, and resisted the urge to stamp her foot in frustration. “Actually, I’d like to get back to my bath. What do you want?”

Again, that dark green gaze raked over her. When his gaze came to rest on hers, one corner of his mouth lifted slightly. “Damned if I can remember now.”

A knock sounded at the outside door. “What is this, Grand Central?” she muttered.

Moving toward the door, she reached for the knob, but Derek’s arm shot in front of her. “What the hell are you doing?”

She sighed. “Is there some maintenance medication you normally take? I think it’s way past due.”

“You’re just going to open the door?”

A knock came again, followed by a voice. “Room service.”

“Yes, I am.” She reached for the knob again.

He leaned back against the door. “Did you check to make sure it isn’t a reporter?”

“Very well.” She leaned up on tip toe to look out the peep hole. “It appears to be a waiter. He’s bringing up the tea bags I asked for, since there’s none left in my room. May I open it now?”

“You do and you’ll give him the thrill of his life.” He stepped away from the door. “You get dressed; I’ll take care of room service.”

“Do you want my pepper spray, in case he attacks you?”

He gave her a wry smile. “In the future, remind me not to come between you and your room service guy.”

“Derek?” A little-girl-sweet voice echoed from the next room.

He muttered an expletive.

Kelly folded her arms across her chest. “Who… is … that?”

“She’s the reason I’m here.” He opened the door for the waiter. “I’ll take that. Thanks.”

And to think with all the teasing, she had almost let her guard down. “Well, well, well. I see you ordered room service, too. Of an entirely different kind.”

“I need your help,” he said in a hushed voice. “She’s drunk.”

“Doesn’t that make things easier for you?”

“Why do you always assume the worst about me? I want you to get rid of her.”

“And why would I do that?”

“I’m not supposed to be bedding every female in sight. Remember?”

“Oh, no, Loverboy, this is your mess.”

“I could always sleep in here.”

“Nice try. Maybe you should have thought about that before you invited her up here.”

“I didn’t. She’s sort of a…gift.”

“How sweet.”

A moment later, the “gift” appeared, or rather, bounced, in the doorway, silicone enhancements first. She was twenty if she was a day, dressed in a body-hugging Hooters get up.

“Oh, there you are, silly. I came out of the bathroom, and you were gone.”

For a split second, Derek looked so trapped Kelly nearly felt sorry for him. But not quite. He gestured from the peroxide-blonde back to her. “Uh… Mandy —


“Right. This is my friend, Kelly.”

The sweet disposition instantly vanished. “Hey, I never said I’d do a threesome.”

“No, no, she’s my… we’re um…

“Lovers,” Kelly interjected.

The girl’s eyes, ringed with heavy black makeup, widened. “You … and her?”

Derek put an arm about Kelly’s waist and hoisted her against his side. “Yes.”

“But she’s like…” A heartbeat later, the girl burst into tears. “My mom’s age!”

Kelly started forward. “Why you little—”

“Down girl.” His fingers dug into her side. “Sweetheart, if I wasn’t already taken, you’d be my first choice.”

“Oh, please,” Kelly muttered.

Mindy sniffled and looked up at him. “You really mean it?”

He winked. “Cross my heart.”

“You’re, like, the nicest guy I almost ever —”

Kelly held up a hand. “We get the picture.”

The girl smiled, then groaned and put a hand to her stomach. “Hey, can I use your bathroom? I think I’m gonna puke.”


Posted in GUEST BLOGGERS, Slip Into Something Victorian, WRITING | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

ISABEL ROMAN & The 5 Star Review



WATCH HER MURDER & MAGICK VIDEO! com/watch? v=5KkTOOd1Fto&feature=channel_ page

Mary Ann was kind enough to invite me to blog with her.

I’ve known Mary Ann for about three years now. Wow, has it really been that long? She’s a wonderful person with some fantastic story ideas. I’m lucky enough to be one of her critique partners and can honestly say her voice is unique and her plots are riveting.


But she didn’t ask me to blog here to rave about her! She asked me here to talk about me. Which I can easily do!


In December 2008 I had my first book Dark Desires of the Druids 1: Murder & Magickpublished with Ravenous Romance, a new e-pub.

Losing her virginity can mean ruin for a Victorian lady. For Raven Drake, it means freedom to explore her sexuality. As a magicker in hiding, Raven subscribes to her culture’s less prudish philosophy. She wants to experience every erotic sensation imaginable.


Malcolm, Lord Preston, desires her from the moment he sees her, and doesn’t allow society’s rules to stand in his way. More than happy to introduce Raven to the pleasures of sex, he doesn’t expect to fall in love with her.


Their tryst is a welcome distraction from witch hunters and political manoeuvrings. But can it overcome the weight of another man’s ring on her finger?


I recently worked up the courage to send my story out to review sites. Since I’m new to this, I didn’t know where to send them, what to do, or how horrible the waiting was! Nerve-wracking it was nerve-wracking. But it had to be done.


 Here’s the story. I went to Puerto Rico for 9 days. Technically it was a working vacation. I planned to rest, write, go to the pool, write, nap, write…you get the picture. The weather was lousy (for a vacation to a tropical island that is, not for the northeast weather I’d left) so I ended up doing more marketing and promo-ing than I expected. I sent Murder & Magick into close to 10 online review sites. I don’t know what I was thinking. I only know I was possessed. Or maybe obsessed—once I sent it to one site, I had to find more. And more. And before I knew it, 4 hours passed and I was burnt out from it all.


Then I waited. Oh, this was a bad BAD idea. Seriously, what was I thinking? Sure, I love my story (it’s in the contract: Writers are required to love their stories). But…I’d just sent it to 10 review sites that only guarantee an honest review! Which is all well and good when it’s not YOUR book they’re honestly reviewing!


Breathe…breathe…ok. Well, it was too late now and if I got a bad review then so be it. Reviews are opinions no matter who’s doing the reviewing, and if they don’t like the story then they don’t. I can live with it. I can. I think.


Got in after midnight last night, crashed, and woke this morning to sluggishly get to work. Luckily, I’d switched nights with someone and could sleep in a bit. I booted up the computer, had some breakfast, checked email (since it tends to pile up if I don’t) and there it was.


I just got my first review.


Open, open, why is this thing so slow? Breathe, wait, oh boy do I want to read it? Of course I do, I HAVE to after all. Ok, waiting, waiting…Oh my!


Keira of Love Romance Passion reviewed Murder & Magick and gave me a fantastic review! 5 stars! I’ll post the link when it’s out on April 2, but had to share with everyone. Even if the other 9 reviews aren’t 5 stars or fantastic or anything remotely flattering, this first one is what counts. My first review of my first book.


I admit, I jumped up and down, twirled in a circle, texted everyone I could think of, screamed a bit, jumped some more (was glad the woman in the condo below me was already at work) and read this most wonderful of reviews.


Totally made my day. Possibly the entire week!


Excerpt from Murder & Magick:

“Are you all right?” Mac asked in a soft tone, his hand a gentle brush on her cheek. The act belied his body’s reaction. He refused to release his tight control on his emotions.

“Aye,” Raven nodded. Her eyes were still closed, her rapid breathing caused her breasts to strain against the bodice.

She was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen, and he couldn’t get enough of her. Passionate and smart, funny and willing, she was everything he’d ever wanted in a woman. And more, so much more.

Alive. She was alive and unhurt and in his arms.

“Then tell me,” he demanded, the tiniest slip of control. But his fingers were still soft on her neck, the tops of her breasts. “What the bloody hell do you think you were doing? Following me onto the lawn like that with Corwin’s men there. It was dangerous! Corwin’s dangerous. Mad most definitely in his quest, and that makes him even more so.”

Stiffening in his arms, Raven struggled to pull away. His hands tightened around her, holding her captive between him and the door. He couldn’t let her go. His hands wanted to shake. His heart clenched in remembered fear at how close she was to death. The bullet had come entirely too close to her for his liking. Too close for his sanity.

Fire in her eyes, she glared up at him. “I wasn’t going to stand indoors and wait for you to do whatever it was you planned. I didn’t follow you,” she added with a sneer worthy of the best sailors. And he’d seen more than a few. But he felt her pulse jump under his fingertips, saw her own fear, hidden in those fire-blue eyes.

“I followed Corwin to see what insanity he’d brought with him.”

“You could’ve been shot!”

His fingers convulsed on her shoulders, and he shook her once. His voice betrayed his own anger, his own panic. Hating that weakness, he stilled. Breathing heavily, Mac forced his fear-fuelled rage to calm. Forced images of Raven’s bloody and broken body away. Deliberately relaxing his fingers, he smoothed his hands down her arms, twining their fingers together.

Closing his eyes for a moment, he opened them again to see Raven watching him. She was furious, but there was still that fear deep in her eyes. She nodded once, gaze holding his. Shutting her own, she breathed deeply.

“I know.”

She was barely aware she’d said the words aloud as she rested her head against his chest. Allowing herself that single weakness, she squeezed his hands and looked back up at him. She knew what he felt, though she also knew he was unlikely to show it more than he’d already done.

His anger was fear for her safety. It didn’t stop her temper from igniting. Something settled around her heart, compressing it tight. He cared far more than he ought, far more than she should wish him to.

“I’m fine, Malcolm,” she said in an even voice, a gentle smile on her face. Despite the stress of the evening, the smile was easy. For him.

In Malcolm’s arms, with his sheer presence around her, Raven had no trouble forgetting.

Forgetting she’d wanted to know what Corwin knew, terrified he knew entirely too much. Was frightened she and her family, the people she’d promised an end to terror and persecution, were in terrible danger. She wanted to change what had happened and help that man.

Blinking the memories away, she looked into Malcolm’s clear eyes and relaxed. The tension of the day would return soon enough, haunting her nightmares. Strange how she never dreamt when she slept in his arms. But that didn’t bear thinking on.

Right now, with Malcolm holding her close, Raven willingly let him soothe her. Maybe she’d hate herself later. Maybe she’d find no solace beyond the physical.

For now, it was enough.

“They had no right,” he stated through clenched teeth. His eyes flashed and fingers convulsed around her arms. Raven wondered if it was in anger at Corwin, or at her for her perceived foolishness. “He had no right. Corwin’s a madman, worse than whatever evil he professes to hunt. That man fell mere centimeters from you, if the shot had missed…”

“Shush, darling.” She touched his cheek in a tender caress, and smiled up at him. He was a good head taller than she, strong, and commanded respect for both his size and his money. Yet all she wanted at this moment was his body in hers.

“Make me forget, Malcolm. I don’t want to think of Corwin or that unfortunate–” She looked to the side for a moment. No, there was no sense in wishing. “Make me forget.”

Posted in GUEST BLOGGERS, SIGNED CONTRACT, Slip Into Something Victorian, VICTORIAN CULTURE, WRITING | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Awaiting the Heavenly Country

The Civil War and America’s Culture of Death

This book by Mark S. Schantz was published in May 2008 by Cornell University Press.25269413 I recently learned about it when a review was published in my HENDRIX Alumni Magazine, Winter 2008-2009.

Dr. Schantz is Associate Provost for engaged learning at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas, as well as professor of history and director of the Odyssey Program. He has recently accepted a position as Provost at Birmingham-Southern College, and will asuume his new position July 1, 2009.

Schantz, who regularly teaches a “History of Death in America” course, involved his students in research for the book. This is a book I’ll buy when it’s out in paperback!


Americans came to fight the Civil War in the midst of a wider cultural world that sent them messages about death that made it easier to kill and to be killed. They understood that death awaited all who were born and prized the ability to face death with a spirit of calm resignation. They believed that a heavenly eternity of transcendent beauty awaited them beyond the grave. They knew that their heroic achievements would be cherished forever by posterity. They grasped that death itself might be seen as artistically fascinating and even beautiful.”—from Awaiting the Heavenly Country

How much loss can a nation bear? An America in which 620,000 men die at each other’s hands in a war at home is almost inconceivable to us now, yet in 1861 American mothers proudly watched their sons, husbands, and fathers go off to war, knowing they would likely be killed. Today, the death of a soldier in Iraq can become headline news; during the Civil War, sometimes families did not learn of their loved ones’ deaths until long after the fact.

Did antebellum Americans hold their lives so lightly, or was death so familiar to them that it did not bear avoiding? In Awaiting the Heavenly Country, Mark S. Schantz argues that American attitudes and ideas about death helped facilitate the war’s tremendous carnage. Asserting that nineteenth-century attitudes toward death were firmly in place before the war began rather than arising from a sense of resignation after the losses became apparent, Schantz has written a fascinating and chilling narrative of how a society understood death and reckoned the magnitude of destruction it was willing to tolerate.

Schantz addresses topics such as the pervasiveness of death in the culture of antebellum America; theological discourse and debate on the nature of heaven and the afterlife; the rural cemetery movement and the inheritance of the Greek revival; death as a major topic in American poetry; African American notions of death, slavery, and citizenship; and a treatment of the art of death—including memorial lithographs, postmortem photography and Rembrandt Peale’s major exhibition painting The Court of Death.

Awaiting the Heavenly Country is essential reading for anyone wanting a deeper understanding of the Civil War and the ways in which antebellum Americans comprehended death and the unimaginable bloodshed on the horizon.

Posted in CIVIL WAR, VICTORIAN CULTURE | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Aurora, Texas & Louth, Lincolnshire, UK?

24134331071What’s the Connection? UFO’s?ukturbinesmashedbyufo0107091ukturbinebrokenbyufo0107091

January 7, 2009 – “UFO Hits Wind Turbine,” Reports U. K. Sun

“There was a massive ball of light with tentacles going right down to the ground over the windfarm. It was huge. With the tentacles, it looked just like an octopus.”  John Harrison, Resident of Louth, Lincolnshire, England.

On January 7, 2009, at 4AM in Louth, Lincolnshire, on the east coast of England, local residents were awakened by a sound and some reported “a giant explosion in the air” after several other residents earlier in the night had reported seeing “flashing orangey-yellow spheres over Lincolnshire” where the wind turbine was seriously damaged. The Sun reports this statement from the U. K. Ministry of Defence: “Unless there is evidence of a potential threat, there is no attempt to identify the nature of each (UFO) sighting.”

Also former Ministry of Defence employee, Nick Pope, said:  “This could be one of the most significant UFO incidents for years. If something collided with the wind turbine, as seems certain, there may be residue on the damaged parts that could help solve this mystery. In the last two months there have been two near collisions betwee UFO’s and police heliocopters, and now this.”

The Octopus UFO

In the months since this occurence in the United Kingdom, the entire incident has been dubbed “The Octopus UFO” and Louth has become a so-called UFO hotspot. Will Louth’s fame linger for more than a century? Will it last as long as that of tiny Aurora, Texas?

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Happy New Year 2009


Everything points to a challenging year of hardships ahead for many people but members of this group know we can count on each other for support and encouragement.

Let’s look ahead with hopes for brighter days in 2009.

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Anthology Is Featured on DSRA-Blog

civilwarflagsPlease visit my post on the ARKANSAS DIAMONDS BLOGSPOT. I discuss our Civil War Anthology and also some facts about the Scandalous Victorians and our far-flung membership.  Here’s the link:

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My Story in The Wild Rose Press Civil War Anthology 

Juliet Burnham is the beautiful strong willed daughter of a respected clergyman in Camden, Arkansas. The only thing she’s missing is a man who’s her match. That’s when Union forces occupy her town, and handsome Yankee Sergeant Randolph Newton visits their church. He sits in Juliet’s pew, and her decorum flies out the window. 

Within days, and with her father’s help, they secretly wed at the courthouse and embark on a feverish honeymoon in the parsonage and vicinity. Their time together is measured in hours and minutes.

While the bloody Red River Campaign rages through Arkansas and Louisiana, the Confederate and Union forces jockey in and out of position in Camden. Before the Union army can make its escape back to Little Rock, Randolph is taken prisoner by the Rebel army and marched to a notorious Confederate prison in Texas.

Separately, they endure the horrors of war. Strangers when they marry, the young couple matures apart. Will their love survive the changes thrust on them and their world by a violent war?

A Story of the 1864 Red River Campaign by Mary Ann Webber

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Her Christmas Chauffeur

This VINTAGE ROMANCE is set in the mid-1920s and takes place on Long Island. HER CHRISTMAS CHAUFFEUR is one of my current projects.         

Beautiful and willful debutante, Barrie Fielding, wants her own car as a combination Christmas and eighteenth birthday present.    

Stanley Fielding, her father, couldn’t be more against the idea. He’s afraid his only child will become a Jazz Age Flapper.

When Morgan McCann, a poor college senior, applies for an intern position with Fielding Financial Enterprises on Wall Street, Stanley hires him to be Barrie’s chauffeur instead. Morgan is to be on-call for Barrie and drive her whereever she chooses during the Christmas holidays. He’s also to keep an eye on her.

Barrie is outraged. Not only is she denied her own little car with an electric starter, she’s condemned to spend her holidays being driven around in her grandmother’s old limousine.

When her father and the handsome Morgan meet her train, Barrie changes her mind about having a personal chauffeur.1920hudsonsuper6limousine

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Contract Signed for NO DECORUM!


Like a square on a chess board, this house withstood three occupations during the month of April 1864. The Chidester House served as headquarters for Confederate generals, followed (for eleven days) by Union generals, before being retaken by the Confederate Army. This location is at the heart of my story, NO DECORUM.

 A couple of weeks ago I received a contract from The Wild Rose Press for my story NO DECORUM. It will be published as part a Civil War Anthology, which is tentatively titled NORTHERN ROSES and SOUTHERN BELLES, and scheduled for release in July 2009. Until now, I’ve been too excited about this news to put my feelings into a BLOG. That’s mostly because this anthology has been a shared dream of my Scandalous Victorian writing group, and we’ve been holding our collective breaths until we were sure it would actually come together.  

 Each Anthology story covers a different part of the war, and includes incidents as diverse as the amazing Confederate raid on St. Albans, Vermont; blockade runners (think Rhett Butler); Union occupation of a North Georgia town, and major battles such as Antietam. A native Arkansan, I chose to write about the Red River Expedition, rather than the more famous Battle of Pea Ridge in northern Arkansas. Three battles of the Red River Expedition were fought outside Camden and major decisions were made by generals inside the town.

My story centers on the eleven days when Camden was occupied by Union forces under General Frederick Steele. Eleven days were all Southern girl Juliet Burnham and Union Sergeant Randolph Newton needed to fall in love, lose all sense of decorum, marry in secret, and have a three day honeymoon before they were separated.

More on this frantic love story later.

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Dress for Success Goes Deeper For Writers

candleProbably every writer could benefit from checking Chiron O’Keefe’s weekly blog, THE WRITE SOUL. I always leave it with some bit of wisdom or inspiration. This week’s blog hit me between the eyes, since I’m extraordinarily gifted in the area of negative thinking.

Chiron begins this “essay” with a quote from the old comedian, Jonathan Winters: “I couldn’t wait for success . . . so I went ahead without it.”

Further down is a great quote from Winston Churchill: “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”

This week’s focus is on reinforcing last week’s visualization with action and attitude. The essay is titled Dressing for Success and while geared for writers, I’ve had many readers tell me the ideas here are universal.

Stop by and see how beliefs can shape your future success…

When you’re down, disillusioned and disgusted, click on Chiron’s BLOG for free “Attitude Adjustment.”

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Salute to American Veterans

Where would we be today if countless people hadn’t died on battlefields around the world, and  countless others hadn’t sacrificed their health, their fortunes and their mental stability for us?

Why can’t we honor Veterans with adequate health care instead of waving our flags? Why can’t we at least build homeless shelters that will accommodate them and get them off our cold windy sidewalks – instead of placing wreaths in cemeteries?soldiers_dominoes3

This photo of Union soldiers playing dominoes really struck me today. If these soldiers survived the fighting and were able to return to their communities at war’s end, their basic needs were cared for by the people they’d fought to protect. “Confederate Homes” and “Old Soldier’s Homes” were built all over the South, and I’m sure all over the North as well.

Were any Soldier’s Homes built in this country after the 20th century wars or, now, our two 21st century wars?

The Bridge, an architecturally impressive $21 million homeless shelter opened in Dallas in May of 2008. It holds about a third of the downtown Dallas homeless people. Hundreds of other homeless people are sleeping on the ground in the big resort-like courtyard of the shelter. City fathers are upset about how this looks.

If all the veterans were pulled out of there – and sent to places where they could sleep indoors, play dominoes, watch TV, and read, as well as have hot meals, basic medical and psychological care, I would say this country honors it’s veterans.

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What Does An Elizabethan Vampire Wear?

Elizabethan Vampire

Elizabethan Vampire

What about this lavish costume?                                    

In my Steampunk research, I’ve encountered fabulous websites showing every article of period clothing from the skin out. The most amazing costumes are on the “Farthingale” site. This gorgeous costume was made by Jen Goodger of Calgary. I had to share it with you historical writers. Using the step-by-step instructions and photographs on Farthingale, you can write accurate descriptions of the dressing, or undressing, of your heroine or villainess!

Fangs not included.

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“PARTY LIKE IT’S 1899!”2288184067_f5c15edd79These brass goggle wearers appear to be fans of Jules Verne and H. G. Wells.

Want a quick overview of the whole VICTORIAN STEAMPUNK movement and its relation to historical romance? Visit my blog on the “Slip Into Something Victorian” blogsite, and start learning what it’s all about.  Here’s the link:


For more steampunk information and links to Victorian clothing: 


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AURORA, TEXAS . . . April 17, 1897. The day everything changed!       

When the airship crashed into Judge Proctor’s windmill, Mahala McAvoy’s wildest fantasies came true.
JONAH CLAY is the son of Aurora’s banking family and the handsomest man in Wise County. His only problem is that he’s been “feeble-minded” since birth, and no young woman will have him. 
MAHALA McAVOY teaches in Aurora’s primary school and lives next door to Jonah. She loves the sweet and noble man – but only as a friend and older brother. So why does she have intimate, but hopeless, dreams about him?

The alien craft brings the distant future to the Victorian Age, and takes the reader on a wild Western steampunk ride as Jonah romances Mahala, computerizes the bank, and terrifies the countryside with his newly-acquired abilities.

AURORA  AIRSHIP is based on a legendary event which was reported in the DALLAS MORNING NEWS.

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