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Archive for April, 2012

Since my new release, Cole’s Promise, takes place in two Civil War encampments, I thought I’d share my research on the life of a Civil War soldier.

To quote a Confederate soldier in one of his letters to his family, “If there is any place on God’s fair earth where wickedness ‘stalketh abroad in daylight’ it is in the army.”

Soldiers in both armies often faced boredom, fear, disease, mischief and even death.

Civil War army camps were, by regulation, laid out in a grid pattern. Officers quartered at the front end of the street, enlisted men at the rear. Camps were set up along battle lines. Each company displayed its colors outside of the tents. Mess tents, medical cabins and baggage trains were also lined up according to regulations.

Campgrounds, especially in the South, became horrible to live in when thick mud, due to rain, extended for long periods in spring and summer. Winter and fall were no better, since the mud turned to dust.

Troops slept in canvas tents in summer. Both sides used Sibley tents at the start of the war. Named for its inventor, Henry H. Sibley, this tent was a large cone of canvas, 18 feet in diameter, 12 feet tall. Its support was a center pole, with a circular opening on top for ventilation. It also contained a cone-shaped stove to provide heat in cold weather. This tent was designed to fit a dozen men in comfort, but the army assigned 20 men to each tent, cramming them in. When it rained or was cold, the top flap had to be closed and the air inside turned fetid. The men had little access to clean water for bathing, so the odors of so many unwashed bodies in so close a space was unbearable.

Later in the war, the Sibley was replaced by smaller tents. Federal armies liked the wedge tent. This was a six-foot length of canvas which draped over a horizontal ridgepole. The tent was staked to the ground on the sides. The ends had flaps that could be tied closed.

But the Confederate army faced more problems when canvas grew scarce in the South. Soldiers rigged open-air beds with piles of straw or leaves between two logs. When the weather turned cold, men built crude wood huts, using split logs for bunks with pine needles for cushioning.

Next week, I’ll talk about how the soldier’s day was spent when not in battle.

For more info, visit these sites
http://www.civilwarhome.com/camplife.htm
http://www.civilwarhome.com/soldierslife.htm
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/14/notes-on-civil-war-camp/

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Cole’s Promise is now available as both a Kindle and Nook book. Purchase links below.

The Wild Rose Press http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=176_135&products_id=4821

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Coles-Promise-Love-Letters-ebook/dp/B007VRKQ04/ref=sr_1_4?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1334931371&sr=1-4

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1110282244?ean=2940014529969

All Romance Ebooks http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-cole039spromise-780707-158.html

Edits are in for my newly contracted time travel romance, Thoroughly Modern Amanda.

Blurb: Believing anything is possible, magazine reporter Amanda Montgomery dreams about being a modern woman in a nineteenth century world, much like her exceptional step-mother.  But society expects well-off young ladies to focus on finding a suitable husband and raising a family.  And then Jack appears—with no past and unconventional ideas. Does he hold the key to another century as well as her heart, or is she destined to stay in her own time?

Construction worker Jack Lawton wants to preserve an old home that’s scheduled for demolition.  But when he sneaks inside for a final look, a loose beam falls on his head, and upon waking, he finds himself in the arms of a beautiful woman.  His only problem—he’s no longer in the twenty-first century.  Can he find his way back home? Does he really want to?

I’m also blogging today at Slip Into Something Victorian about the capture of New Orleans 150 years ago during the American Civil War.

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Union camp outside of Frederick, Maryland
June 26, 1863

Cole Manning crouched behind a fragrant, flowering bush, the sweet, cloying smell mixing with the scent of pine. Pistol at eye level, he peered through the forest for any sign of a Confederate patrol. His squad stayed behind him, out of sight, their rifles on the ground by their sides, per his order.

Strains of heavy breathing surrounded him. He’d been ordered to lead his men on patrol around the camp perimeter for any sign of Rebel infiltrators.

After a short glance back to assure himself his men were ready, he turned back, squinting in the shaft of moonlight filtering through the tops of the trees. Other than the hoot of owls, the silence unnerved him. He patted his chest in the spot where his inner pocket held a tintype of his best girl, Hannah. She’d given it to him as a token to carry when he’d joined the Union army. Each night by candlelight, in the privacy of his tent, he’d studied the photo with the intentions of proposing when he returned. Thoughts of the lovely Hannah and their future life together kept his spirits from sagging even when he feared he could no longer function.

A shout echoed through the woods, tightening his grip on the revolver. His head swiveled, trying to locate the source of the sound.

“Sir,” one of the men shouted.

Cole turned back to catch the dim form of Corporal Hanson in the filtered light.  He pointed a long finger ahead. “Behind the trees.”

A line of shadows emerged through the tree line opposite their position. Cole narrowed his gaze. As the shapes passed through the open field beyond the trees and brush, the full moon enabled Cole to make out the color of butternut and gray. A Rebel patrol.

He held up a hand as a signal to the men crouched behind him. “Hold until I yell ‘fire’.”

A hushed chorus of  “Yes, sir,” sounded. He held his breath waiting for the patrol to move closer. He needed to see how many Confederates edged toward him and his men so he could plan their attack or escape, if necessary.

Tension built as the patrol edged forward. Beside Cole, a very young private, Upwood—he believed his name was—lifted his rifle, his fingers twitching on the barrel and trigger.

“Be steady, private,” Cole ordered.

The private nodded and licked his lips.

The scent of pine, spring flowers, and sweat mingled as Cole waited out the Rebels, who seemed unaware of the Union patrol directly in front of their position.

“Lieutenant,” a voice beside him whispered. “Should we get our rifles at the ready?”

Sergeant Mallory had crept up on his elbows to voice the question.

Cole nodded. “Get everyone at the ready. When I give the order to fire, stand and shoot. We’ll mow them down before they have a chance to blink.”

“Yes, sir.” The sergeant crept back to relay Cole’s orders.

He measured the enemy’s position in yards, ticking them off in his head. He wanted them close so they’d not have a chance to recover in time to fire back. After a brief glimpse to the rear to be sure the men had their rifles in position, he took a deep breath.

“Fire!” he yelled. He stood and shot a very surprised Rebel.

His men fired from behind and five more Rebs fell.

“Retreat!” a big man in his line of sight ordered. The Rebel patrol backed away, then turned and fled.

“Should we go after them, sir?” the sergeant asked.

Cole shook his head. “Not for now.” He pointed to the prone Rebels in front of them. “Get someone to check on them. Are any of our own men hurt?”

“A few minor injuries. I’ll have one of the corporals check on them.” He summoned two privates. “Check those Rebs to see if they’re alive and get their weapons.”

Cole’s Promise available at The Wild Rose Press http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=176_135&products_id=4821

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Coles-Promise-Love-Letters-ebook/dp/B007VRKQ04/ref=sr_1_4?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1334931371&sr=1-4

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1110282244?ean=2940014529969

All Romance Ebooks http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-cole039spromise-780707-158.html

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In my new release, Cole’s Promise, the hero carries a photo of his best girl while he serves as a Union soldier.

Photography was invented in 1839, just after the Victorian era began. The Victorians’ embracement of this new and innovative technology greatly increased its popularity.

A new era in photography was introduced by Frederick Scott Archer in 1851. Archer introduced the Collodion process. Much faster than conventional methods, this process reduced exposure times to two or three seconds and opened up new horizons in photography.

This new process was much cheaper than earlier daguerreotypes. It required the coating, exposure and development of the image be done with the plate still wet. Archer also developed the Ambrotype, the opposite of the daguerreotype.

The American Civil War, as well as the mortality of the general population due to common illness, brought a great demand for photographic images of deceased loved ones. A way of preserving memories. Although we today would consider this morbid, the Victorians viewed this practice of photographing the dead as a keepsake.

The photos posed the deceased as though they were sleeping peacefully, although some were placed in postions as if they were still alive.

Also soldiers had photographs made for family members and sweethearts. Wives and best girls sat for photos for their soldiers to take with them. And it seems, because of the novelty of preserving images, people of all ages sat for photographs, and some even posed with treasured belongings.

Even horribly disfigured soldiers sat for formal portraits. Perhaps this was considered a badge of honor. Whatever the reason, Victorians loved their photographic images.

A link with more info into death photography.

http://annarborchronicle.com/2010/07/14/in-the-archives-victorian-era-death-photos/

And Civil War photography http://www.civilwar.org/photos/3d-photography-special/photography-and-the-civil-war.html

Cole’s Promise available at The Wild Rose Press http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=176_135&products_id=4821

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Coles-Promise-Love-Letters-ebook/dp/B007VRKQ04/ref=sr_1_4?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1334931371&sr=1-4

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1110282244?ean=2940014529969

All Romance Ebooks http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-cole039spromise-780707-158.html

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I’m at RomCon again this Sunday, April 22nd, blogging about Cole’s Promise and giving a copy away to one lucky commenter.

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The winners of my new release contest are

1. Vintage Vonnie – wins pdf copy of Cole’s Promise

2. Karen Michelle Nutt – wins choice of one of my back listed books, Erin’s Rebel or Confederate Rose in pdf format

3. Ally Broadfield – wins $5.00 gift certificate to The Wild Rose Press

Congratulations to all the winners and a big thanks to all who left comments!

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Today is the official release day for my Civil War romance Cole’s Promise, part of the historical ‘Love Letters’ series. And the last chance to leave a comment and be entered in the drawing to win #1, the ebook copy of Cole’s Promise, #2 choice of ebook copies of either of my backlisted novels, Erin’s Rebel or Confederate Rose, or #3 $5.00 gift certificate for The Wild Rose Press.

Winners will be announced on my blog post tomorrow.

Blurb:

Cole Manning, a Union lieutenant serving during the height of the American Civil War, expects a letter from his best girl who promised to wait for him.  But her post contains an unwelcome surprise.   Heartbroken, he vows no woman will ever fool him again.

Claire Hirsch’s fiancé died in battle during the first year of the war.  Scarred by his death, she realizes loving a soldier can only lead to heartache.  Not wanting to sit home and mourn, she volunteers to assist doctors in the camps.

As the war rages around them, Cole and Claire find solace in each other’s arms. But is their love strong enough to overcome the fear of losing the one they love?

Excerpt:

Her breath caught at the sight of Lieutenant Manning standing over Private Upwood’s cot. He leaned down and spoke softly to the lad. When he turned his head and straightened, his gaze caught hers.

“Miss Hirsch.” He patted the boy’s hand and stepped around the cot.

“Lieutenant, I hadn’t expected to see you back here today.”

He lifted his bandaged arm. “I’m supposed to see Doc tomorrow, but I had to see to the private. He said the boy’s taken a bad turn.”

Her heart burned at the raw pain in his eyes. “I’m sorry. I know you’ve been so worried about the lad. But it’s not your fault.”

He shook his head. “Everyone tells me that, but it’s not how I feel. Could I speak to you in private for a moment?”

Claire’s heart fluttered at the thought of being alone with him. But he obviously wanted to speak about the private out of his earshot. “Of course, Lieutenant.”

He reached for her arm and escorted her from the tent. She followed his glance. Men milled around conversing and sipping coffee. The lieutenant bit his lip.

“How about back here?” He gestured toward the rear of the hospital tent where it abutted the forest line.

Claire hesitated. “I-I suppose so.”

His gaze slid over her. “I promise to do you no harm, ma’am.”

His boyish smile reassured her. Of course he wouldn’t dare accost her in camp.

She allowed him to lead her to the rear. Great oak and hickory trees cooled the spot. A boulder sat just a few feet behind the rear of the tent. She turned toward him, thinking he’d meant for her to sit on the smooth top of the rock, but instead, he reached his good arm around her back and drew her close.

Her pulse raced. “Lieu—” Her question was cut short by his lips pressed against hers. His kiss was soft and sweet, not demanding. He pulled away, his gaze dancing over her, a small smile on his lips.

“I must apologize, Miss Hirsch, but after being in your company, I couldn’t resist tasting. I hope you don’t think me a complete scoundrel.”

Although Claire’s first impulse was to protest such improper behavior, she couldn’t resist grinning. “Not at all, unless you want me to think of you as a scoundrel,” she teased.

“In that case…” He kissed her again, more thoroughly this time.

Little moans escaped her lips as she returned his kiss. Her eyes closed, and the thrill of his touch sent her toes curling. Her knees turned to jelly in his strong grasp.

He released her lips but held her fast. “I must apologize again, I’m afraid.” His eyes smoldered, and Claire wondered what else he had in mind.

“Lieutenant, I—”

His mouth took her lips again, sending shivers down her spine.

“Call me Cole.”

“But, Lieutenant, it’s hardly proper…” Her protest died at his intense gaze.

“We’ve shared an intimate exchange, and I’d like to share much more with you. I suppose it puts us on a first name basis, at least in private.”

She hesitated, but nodded.

“I’d like to see you later, in private.”

“I-I, don’t know…”

“Miss Hirsch?” The stern voice of an older woman broke the spell. Claire’s face burned as she realized it was Mrs. Benson.

Cole’s Promise, part of the ‘Love Letters’ series, available today from The Wild Rose Press.

Join me at Cynthia Woolf’s blog  where you can also leave a comment and win a copy of my new ebook release.

Also I’ll be doing a live chat today at Coffee Time Romance from 1 to 4 p.m. EST. Come chat with me and I’ll be giving away a copy of Cole’s Promise to one lucky reader.

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