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Archive for September, 2012

I’m blogging today over at Slip Into Something Victorian about the letter Abraham Lincoln sent to his vice-president, Hannibal Hamlin, concerning the prelimary Emancipation Proclamation drafted on September 22, 1862.

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Kyle paced the floor of his apartment. Unable to sleep for the past few days, he’d called in sick. How much longer could he go on like this?

He’d searched online and found a book on self-hypnosis. If Dr. Wyler expected him to go another week like this, he’d just take matters into his own hands. After studying the book, he decided to try a few exercises. Maybe he could put himself under and learn what it was that had set off the dreams and visions.

Kyle lay on his bed and breathed deeply. Following the book’s instructions, he put himself into a deep state of meditation. He concentrated on Josie and tried to bring himself back to the Civil War camp.

Everything came into focus. Josie gazed down at him, her cheeks wet with tears. The warmth of her hands clasping his made his breath quicken. Pain radiated from his thigh.

Grasping it, he grimaced. “What happened?”

Josie gazed at him and bit her lip. “I’ll stay with you, Kyle. I won’t allow you to go through this alone.” She clasped his hand.

“Go through what?” Kyle’s pulse raced. Something was terribly wrong here.

“I’ll help you through it and afterward…I’ll never leave you. I promise.”

“What? Tell me what’s going on?” Kyle demanded.

Two men carried a plank. They laid it across two cots. One took his arms, the other his legs.

Kyle screamed as searing pain ripped through him. Josie’s horrified face was the only thing he glimpsed through a haze of raw agony. He had to reach her.

“Josie, please—”

His plea was cut off as the men lifted him toward the back of the tent behind a curtain.

Kyle’s heartbeat raced as he tried to make sense of what was happening. A man with a dark beard approached.

“It will be all right, Corporal. We’ve got chloroform.”

“No! This is a mistake!” Kyle tried to peer through the drawn curtain. “Josie! Where is she?”

“Calm down, Corporal. It will be so much easier on you if you just relax.”

“No, no, you can’t…” A cloth descended over his face. Kyle tried to push off the noxious fumes, but darkness descended.

Kyle gasped and sat up. That had been too real! Those men were about to amputate his leg. Was that what Dr. Wyler had been talking about?

But so many soldiers lost arms and legs during the Civil War. It had to be something more.

Kyle sank back against his pillow, certain he didn’t want to visit that horrifying scene again.

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I’ve gotten back into my work-in-progress, just have a few more scenes left to write, but in the final scenes, the heroine is kidnapped by the villain. He subdues and transports her using chloroform.

This story is set in 1867, just a few years after the American Civil War ended. By the time that war had initially began, in 1861, ether and chloroform had been used for several years as a surgical anesthesia.

Both were widely used by military doctors in performing amputations and other surgical procedures on both the Union and Confederate sides.

Chloroform is also known as trichloromethane. It is produced through the chlorination of methane gas. In 1831 it was developed by a chemist named Dr. Samual Guthrie. He combined it with whiskey to produce a cheap pesticide. But it was Scottish physician, Sir James Young Simpson, who used the sweet, colorless, and non-flammable liquid as an anesthetic. It was administered by dripping the liquid onto a sponge or cloth and held over the nose and mouth of the patient. Chloroform had a narcotic effect on the central nervous system and worked more quickly than ether.

However, higher risks were associated with chloroform if not administered carefully. Reports of fatalities due to the paralysis of the lungs, led to more patients refusing any type of anesthesia during surgery.

But use of chloroform spread, and in 1853, Queen Victoria used it to ease the pain of the birth of her eigth child with Prince Leopold.

Military doctors used chloroform as early as the Mexican-American war (1846-1848). By 1849 it came into official use by the United States army. Chloroform eased out ether as the more popular anestetic due to the drug’s fast acting quality as well as large numbers of postitive results. Chloroform was widely used during the American Civil War to reduce pain and trauma of amputations and other surgical procedures.

Both ether and chloroform declined in usage after the development of safer and more effective drugs were developed. In the 20th century, chloroform was shown to be carcinogenic when ingested by lab mice and rats. But it is still used in aerosol propellents, dental products and topical liniments.

For more information about the history of chloroform, visit these sites:

http://www.history.com/topics/ether-and-chloroform

http://www.general-anaesthesia.com/chloroform.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/ahistoryoftheworld/objects/oUeLRHN6SCW7S9OpK_-RRQ http://www.chloroform.co.uk/

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My American Victorian romance, Cassidy’s War will be featured tonight at 8 p.m. at Bargain Ebooks! http://hollysbargainebooks.wordpress.com/

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Red, glowing eyes held his as he struggled to throw off the mad man’s grasp. The hideous mouth opened, exposing a set of sharp fangs.

No, get off me!” Jon struggled but the demon’s long, bony hands gripped him, dragging him into a cauldron of red, hellish flames.

“No! No!” Jon was unable to stop the man from dragging him into hell.

Jon gasped and jerked awake. He was lying beside a hearth bundled in blankets. Flames licked at cut wood sending an inviting scent throughout the room.

Where am I?

He raised his head and glanced around. A settee and two chairs, one a rocking chair, set around the hearth. He lay on a woven rag rug. Otherwise the room didn’t have many furnishings aside from a weathered side table. Heavy, dark curtains hung from the windows, to keep out the winter chill.

“Oh, you’re awake!”

He raised his gaze and saw an angel. The woman’s hair, pulled back into a bun, was spun gold. She wore a threadbare, homespun gown and apron. She stood a moment in the doorway then moved to his side.

Jon found his voice. “Who are you? Where am I?”

She knelt beside him. “You collapsed across my back stoop early this morning. I’m Mrs. Emery and this is my home. And you are?”

The eyes studying him were cornflower blue with long, golden lashes on a lovely face. Jon swallowed. “Captain Hackett, 81st Pennsylvania Infantry, at your service, ma’am. I’m much obliged you took me in.” He glanced around. “Or am I your prisoner?”

She eyed him coldly. “Sir, I’m not in the habit of taking prisoners.”

“Sorry, ma’am.” He inspected himself under the blanket. Both his greatcoat and military coat had been removed as well as his belt and revolver. “My things–”

“Are hidden, Captain. It wouldn’t be wise to have them on your person if Confederate troops are hereabout.”

“I agree with your reasoning, ma’am, but where are they?”

“In a safe place.”

He struggled to sit, but his muscles protested, and he slumped back to the floor.

“Easy, Captain. You’re very pale. Have you been ill?”

“No, I…” He recalled Arnwolf and the barn. Had that really happened, or had it just been a dream?

“Now you’re awake, I’ll heat up some broth. You look like you could use some.”

“Thank you, ma’am.”

She hesitated, a blush coloring her ivory skin. “When I took off your coat, I noticed two raised bumps on your neck. I thought they might be bites.”

He fingered the bumps. So, it hadn’t been a dream.

“A wild dog attacked me. Out in the woods.”

“A wild dog?” She shuddered. “I didn’t know there were any around here.”

“It’s the truth, ma’am.” Even as he said it, he cringed inwardly at his lie.

Her gaze narrowed as she studied him. “But when I took off your coat, I didn’t see any blood.”

No blood? Come to think of it, he hadn’t noticed any when he woke in the barn. “I’m not real sure how that happened, ma’am.”

She rose, studied him once more, then left the room.

He lay back, reflecting on what had happened. If the man, Reverend Arnwolf was a minister, he must be a fallen one. Like me.

Was that why the creature had come to drag him to his doom? Was God angry that Jon had left the priesthood? This couldn’t be a coincidence. Hopefully, the man was gone, and he’d never come across him again. But he couldn’t get those glowing red eyes out of his mind.

Satan himself couldn’t have frightened him more. He fingered the crucifix.

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and on sale for $1.00 from The Wild Rose Press for the month of September

http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=87_79&products_id=3750

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In trying to come up with a history post for my ‘Monday Inspiration’ blog, I realized I’ve already covered a lot of subjects included in my new work- in-progress.

But the real problem is, I’ve really slowed down in writing my first draft. It’s not that I’ve lost interest in the story, I just can’t bring myself to sit down at the computer and write. There’s always something else I could be doing first. And by the time I get that done, I look at the clock and decide it’s too late to start on a serious writing session.

I usually experince procratination when finishing up a project, so don’t know why I’m going through this now. And it’s not that I’m stuck, because I’ve outlined the entire story, scene by scene, so know what I’ll be writing about and whose point of view I’ll be writing that scene in.

It’s frustrating because I’d hoped to have completed the first draft by the end of the summer and leave it aside to cool for a few months while I worked on short stories.

I’m torn between forcing myself to finish that draft, and putting is aside to work on a few short stories. Then maybe I can reread and come back to it with new enthusiam.

For you other writers out there, what do you do when you just can’t get in the mood to work on your current story?

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Today I’m posting over at Slip Into Something Victorian about General Lee’s Lost Orders and how they may have affected the outcome of the war.

And my two vampire romances, Sweet Redemption and Eternity Waits, are on sale at The Wild Rose Press.

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