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Archive for February, 2012

Since, on this leap day, we’re on the reincarnation/past lives theme, I thought it would be fun to share an excerpt from my short vampire romance story, Eternity Waits.

North of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
July 1, 1863

Caleb Weathers tensed at a rustle behind him. He swung his Enfield rifle in the general direction. A hoot, followed by the flutter of wings left him staring into the wide-eyed gaze of a Barn owl. When the bird took flight, he breathed a sigh of relief. The scents of pine and fetid soil calmed him a bit.

The thickness of the forest made him all too aware of how vulnerable he was to attack despite the weight of his weapon. Caleb sensed a presence behind him. He broke into a sweat and the hairs on the nape of his neck rose. He whirled and aimed the barrel at the form that appeared out of nowhere.

“Who are you?” he asked. “Where’d ya come from?”

The woman smiled. Blood-red lips and luminous blue eyes captured his gaze. Her raven hair glinted in the moonlight.

“I am Alexandra.” Her low, throaty voice held a guttural accent.

What is a beautiful woman doing in camp alone in the dead of night? She couldn’t be up to any good. And yet, as he watched her, a thrill of anticipation raced through him. Something about her seemed familiar. A memory he couldn’t quite reach.

He swallowed. “You’d best skedaddle, ma’am. You can’t come through camp without a pass.”

“I came for you, my darling.” With one fluid motion, she moved closer.

He cocked his rifle. “Stop right there.”

Her exquisite lips drew into a pout. “I would never harm you, Dimitri.”

At the sound of the name an eerie sensation swept over him.

“Who the hell is Dimitri?” he asked. “My name’s Caleb.”

Eternity Waits is available for 99 cents from Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Eternity-Waits-ebook/dp/B0054GORDQ/ref=sr_1_8?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1308606086&sr=1-8

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/eternity-waits-susan-macatee/1031420752?ean=2940012930996&itm=4&s=usri=susan%2bmacatee

and The Wild Rose Press http://thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=86_127&products_id=787

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In three of my published stories I explored the possibility of reincarnation or past lives. It’s a fun idea to play around with especially in romance fiction. After all, who can resist the lure of two soul mates reuniting throughout time?

My first past life inspired story is my short vampire tale, Eternity Waits. In this story the vampire, Alexandra, searched throughout time for the lover she lost in a long ago war.

In my full-length time travel romance, Erin’s Rebel, my heroine travels back through time to find her true love, but learns she actually had a life in that past time period, and didn’t do a very good job, so had a second chance to correct her mistakes.

In another story, “Angel of My Dreams”, now out of print, I explored how a Civil War reenactor learned he’d lived the life of a Union soldier in the past. The ghost of the woman he left behind, when he died, now haunts his life, as well as his dreams.

I think it’s fun to imagine who I would have been in a past life. Since I write historical romances, am I drawn to a certain time period, because I lived through it, or is it just one big coincidence that I’m passionate about the American Civil War and the time period shortly after?

In fact, I like the idea of the reincarnation theme in time travel romance so much that the latest submission to my editor is a sequel to Erin’s Rebel, the story of Erin’s stepdaughter and a man from the 21st century who travels back to find the love of his life.

I also would like to expand and explore “Angel of My Dreams” now that I have the rights back, because those characters intrigue me so.

So, tell me, do you think you lived before and if so, who do you think you were, or would want to be?

For more on past lives, visit this site:  http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/05/15/sunday/main20063019.shtml

And for information on my books, check out ‘My books’ page on this blog, or at my website, http://susanmacatee.com

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Join me today at Slip Into Something Victorian for my ‘This Day in the Civil War’ post on the funeral of Abraham Lincoln’s son, Willie.

 

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After lifting the arm, she straightened it, then prepared to pull. “Okay, one, two, three…” She set the bone, stealing peeks at the boy’s face for any undue distress. He bore down well.

“Good job. The worst is over. Now I’ll wrap your arm in the bandage and smooth the plaster over it. Once it dries, I’ll call on your ma.”

An excellent patient, Joey nodded.

By the time she’d applied the plaster and allowed the cast to fully dry, the sound of the front door opening alerted her someone had arrived home. The office door creaked inward to reveal Cassidy’s mother.

Arlene Stuart brushed a hand over her honey-colored bun to smooth it as she strode into the office. “I see we have an unexpected patient.”

“Yes, ma’am, Mrs. Stuart,” Joey replied.

“He fell from the oak tree outside the kitchen,” Cassidy explained.

“Oh, I see.” She inspected the cast.

“I’m finished up in here,” Cassidy said, “so now that you’re home, I’ll fetch his ma.”

“I’d be more than happy to look after Joey.” Her mother walked her to the office door. “I saw that fancy city doctor in town…Madison.” She grimaced. “Folks don’t have anything but praise for him. Think he’s God’s gift to the town now your father’s gone.”

“Doctor Madison,” Cassidy spat. “He believes he can steal all our patients out from under us.” She fisted her hands. “I just hope once Quinn finishes his internship in Harrisburg, we can rebuild the practice.”

Arlene sucked on her lower lip. ‘What about the women you’ve been seeing as a midwife. They aren’t abandoning you, are they?”

“I’m not sure. Mrs. Tasker mentioned Doctor Madison the other day. Wondered if he might be able to give her those newfangled pain relievers like ether or chloroform. And I’m not qualified to administer those.”

“Oh, Cassie. I hope Quinn can help once he’s back. Without payment from patients, we only have Matt’s pay from the bank to keep us going.” She glanced back at Joey who played with a tongue depressor. “Why don’t you let his ma know he’s here so she can fetch him? I’ll keep him entertained in the meantime.”

Cassidy nodded and left the office. She pinned her black felt hat on and threw a shawl over her shoulders, then sprinted to the Thompson home at the far end of town. Cassidy knocked on the door, but when no one answered, she discovered Mrs. Thompson behind the house hanging laundry. She stepped away from the clothesline at Cassidy’s approach.

“Joey fell out of our tree and broke his arm. I’ve set it and put a cast on. My mother’s with him now, if you’d like to come fetch him.”

“I wondered where that boy had run off to. He’s supposed to be cleaning out the chicken coop with his brother.” With an exasperated sigh, the woman set the laundry basket aside and hurried after Cassidy.

Once Joey and his mother left, Cassidy decided to stroll through town. She pinned her reticule to the waistband of her skirt and tucked a small basket under her arm.

Across the street from the mercantile, she stopped. Bessie Mae Wilson and two other young women surrounded a tall, well-dressed man. Cassidy pursed her lips as Bessie Mae twirled her lace parasol and wiggled her bustle.

Was it Dr. Madison preening in front of more patients he aimed to steal? She’d only caught a few glimpses of the man since he’d arrived in town. He sported a thin mustache but was otherwise clean-shaven with chestnut hair on a handsome, though arrogant face, and appeared to be an outrageous flirt. She made it a point to steer clear of him whenever she could. Cassidy lifted her chin and straightened her hat. She’d seen enough of that charlatan.
She had stepped in the opposite direction when a familiar male laugh caused her to glance back. That voice had caused butterflies in her stomach many times. Bessie Mae giggled and turned in Cassidy’s direction. Peering beyond the woman, Cassidy glimpsed the man she’d thought to be Madison. No, not the doctor.  Getting a clear view, she gasped. The tall dark-haired man in gentleman’s clothing was none other than her former fiancé, George Masters.

Her urge was to turn and run as far as she could, but she froze in place. She hadn’t seen George for five years, since he’d told her he couldn’t marry her because she deserved much better than him. After that, he’d left for lord knows where, leaving his ailing, alcoholic father behind. Not that she could blame him. Amos Masters had never been a father to his sons, and George’s three older brothers had run off as soon as they were old enough. Amos had passed on several months ago, but no one could locate George, so the man was buried behind his shack without ceremony.

So, why was George here now?

Cassidy’s War available from The Wild Rose Press http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=176_135&products_id=4729

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Cassidys-War-ebook/dp/B006VX48FS/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&qid=1326644295&sr=1-1

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cassidys-war-susan-macatee/1108210226?ean=2940013754980&itm=1&usri=cassidy%27s+war

and All Romance Ebooks http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-cassidy039swar-672840-158.html

Read opening chapters at my website http://susanmacatee.com

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Today I’m Cynthia Woolf’s guest on her blog http://cynthiawoolf.com/blog/  talking about women’s medical schools in the 19th century and my new release, Cassidy’s War.

Stop by and say ‘hi’.

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George glanced out the window, catching sight of Quinn strolling toward the hotel. Although he had to tell the man something, he’d avoid revealing his true identity. At least for now. He waited for the rap at the door, then opened it to Cassie’s brother.

“C’mon in.” George motioned him into the room, then closed the door.

Quinn settled on the one chair in the room. George sat across from him on the bed.

“So, George, what do you know about Madison?”

“Reckon I should start at the beginning.” George leaned forward. “I was living in New York City with no money but gambling earnings, when who did I meet but Colonel Wellingham. Remember him?”

“Do I!” Quinn grinned. “How’s the old man doing?”

“Well…” George spread his hands. “It seems he had a run in with Doc Madison in Philadelphia. His daughter had catarrh, and the doc examined her.”

Quinn leaned over on his elbows. “And?”

“Let’s say, the doc got a bit personal with the young lady. He took liberties and she slapped him, then ran out of the office half naked. When she told her father, he confronted Madison, but he denied the whole thing, blaming Wellingham’s daughter. Accused her of being a strumpet who accosted him.”

Quinn whistled. “What did Wellingham do?”

“He believed his daughter’s story, of course, and threatened to call in the authorities.”

Quinn nodded.

“But Madison’s father, Dr. Horace Madison, is a very wealthy and prestigious physician in Philadelphia. He apparently has a lot of politicians in his pocket, so the colonel wasn’t able to press charges against Scott Madison. He later learned the doc had left his father’s practice and disappeared. Wellingham wondered if he’d gone somewhere else until the gossip about the incident cooled down.”

“What happened to his daughter?” Quinn asked.

“She was disgraced. She quietly married a man who’d served under the colonel. They moved out west to avoid ostracism. But Wellingham heard a rumor about Scott setting up practice in a small town in Pennsylvania. He investigated and found out he was in Burkeville. Knowing I was from here, he asked for my help.”

“So, you’re here to investigate and get some new dirt on Madison.”

“I surely hope so.” George rose from the bed and paced. “I respect the colonel and want to make things right for him and his daughter, as well as getting a dangerous man out of this town, so he can’t prey on any more young women.”

Quinn grimaced. “I’ like to see him out of here, too. Cassie’s had a hard time keeping up the practice with him in town and now the Tasker deaths have added to the fire. He’s accused her of being incompetent.”

Find more info and read opening chapters at my website http://www.susanmacatee.com

Cassidy’s War available from The Wild Rose Press http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=176_135&products_id=4729

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Cassidys-War-ebook/dp/B006VX48FS/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&qid=1326644295&sr=1-1

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cassidys-war-susan-macatee/1108210226?ean=2940013754980&itm=1&usri=cassidy%27s+war

and All Romance Ebooks http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-cassidy039swar-672840-158.html  

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In this final post on travel in the mid-nineteenth century, the subject is hotels and inns. In Cassidy’s War, the hero, George Masters, arrives in town after a long absence and stays in the local hotel. Cassidy and her brother, Quinn, travel to Philadelphia to visit medical schools and stay at a hotel on Chestnut Street near Female Medical College.

Here is quote from The American Guide-Book, “The largest hotels are always supplied with polite and efficient waiters, excellent cooks, and almost every convenience. The beds and furniture are perfect, the means of ablution are clean and neat, many of the houses now having warm and cold bathes, the tables are supplied with all the delicacies of the season and the choicest wines, and generally if the traveler sojourns any length of time he can be as comfortable as at home.”

Charges for average hotel rooms were between $1 and $2.50 per day.

Miss Leslie advises ladies traveling alone “On arriving at the hotel, ask immediately to see the proprietor; give him your name and address, tell how long you propose staying, and request him to see that you are provided with a good room. Request him also to conduct you to the dining-room at dinner-time and allot you a seat near his own.”

Many hotels had a formal parlour and lady’s drawing room. This was where guests could go to read, receive visitors or converse. Breakfast and tea were generally taken at leisure, up until 9 o’clock. After breakfast, guests were urged to retire to the drawing room so the maids could clean the rooms. Room keys could be left with the clerk or barkeeper when the patrons went out.

Dinner was always served at a set time with arranged seating. Dress for dinner shouldn’t be “…more showy than you would wear when dining at a private house.”

According to the guidebook concerning gratuities, “When you give a gratuity to a servant…give it at no regular time, but whenever you think proper, or find it convenient. It is injudicious to allow them to suppose that they are to do you no particular service without being immediately paid for it…All persons who go to hotels are not able to lavish large and frequent gratuities on the servants. But all, for the price they pay to the proprietor, are entitled to an ample share of attention from the domestics.”

Source: Anna Worden, Travel in the mid-19th century, The Citizens’ Companion, June 2009.

For more info on 19th century Philadelphia hotels with lots of great photos, visit this site: http://www.brynmawr.edu/cities/courses/05-306/proj2/jmw2b/home.html

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