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Archive for May, 2013

Wanted to share a four-star review for my American-Victorian time travel romance, Thoroughly Modern Amanda.

“I love a good time travel story, and this one did not disappoint. Amanda’s determination and courage to be her own person, at a time when women were not supposed to have strong personalities, was admirable, and I liked Jack’s acceptance and willingness to be flexible in the impossible circumstances of being thrust backwards in time. This story has the expected happily ever after, but not exactly where I had expected. This was an interesting and fun read, and one that is easy to recommend.”

~ Bitten by Books for AReCafe

Thoroughly Modern Amanda is available from The Wild Rose Press    http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=176_135&products_id=5074

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Thoroughly-Modern-Amanda-ebook/dp/B00AQAIHHW/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1355948640&sr=1-1&keywords=Thoroughy+Modern+Amanda

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/thoroughly-modern-amanda-susan-macatee/1114008539?ean=2940016112596

and All Romance Ebooks https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-thoroughlymodernamanda-1026307-141.html

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Alex wasn’t sure Katie quite trusted him. But she’d brought him to this camp, and he’d given her no solid reason to suspect him of anything. Especially since he’d disposed of the Rebel correspondence by sending the bag down stream. He’d dumped it when she thought he’d gone to relieve himself on the last stop before they made camp. He had nothing on him, except…the dispatch. How could he have forgotten that? The letter was still in his pack. Could be a fiery red-head had distracted him. He’d have to read and burn it first chance he got.

Joining the Rebel army would give him the perfect opportunity to gather information. Soldiers said things to each other they’d never say to a newspaperman. Plus, he’d be privy to orders sooner.

Later that afternoon, Alex engaged a few soldiers in conversation to gather more information. From the corner of his eye, he caught sight of Katie approaching. He had to be on his guard since most of the men knew her as Sean.

She smiled then joined the men in the discussion of where they would be sent.

“We’re moving south, then?” Katie said.

A wiry, gray-haired soldier nodded. “Goin’ to meet the Yankees at Chancellorsville is what I heard.”

Alex remained silent but absorbed all that was said. Chancellorsville would take him a bit closer to Washington, but not by all that much. He’d have to find a way to smuggle messages out if he wanted to stay under cover and not be charged with desertion by the Rebels.

Since Katie knew him as Alex Hart, he’d signed up using his real name. He didn’t think it would present a problem, though. If they checked on him, and he doubted they would, they’d find he was a resident of Richmond, Virginia, and the son of a plantation owner.

If my father could see me now. But his family’s rejection brought him to this point. They’d disowned him when he refused to fight for the Confederacy. Annabelle had slapped his face and ended their engagement. She claimed he’d dishonored both her and his family.

He was completely on his own. No ties, except to his friend, Elliot James, who he’d lived with in Pennsylvania while attending a university before the war. Elliot was a surgeon with the Union Army and the only family Alex now had.

He wondered what Katie would do if she found out he was a Federal spy. Would she slap his face like Annabelle had or spear him with her bayonet? Knowing her demeanor, he’d bet on the bayonet.

Once the others drifted away, Katie moved closer and whispered, “I’m proud of what ye’ve done. I’ll be honored to stand beside you in battle.”

Her sweet, musky scent caused his senses to reel, and he felt himself grow hard. He longed to lean over and take her mouth. A male voice stopped him from doing just that.

“There you are, Sean, me boy-o.” Patrick strode up to them. He glanced at Alex. “Saw yer name on the picket roster. Looks as though ye’ll be on duty with me tonight.”

“So I am, Sergeant,” Alex said.

Katie smiled. “I’ll be seeing you tomorrow, then.”

“I look forward to it.”

Alex watched Katie move toward her tent but felt Patrick’s eyes on him.

The Irishman rounded on him, blocking his view. “I’ll be seeing you on picket, Hart.”

Alex nodded and wondered what Patrick would have to say to him once they were alone. The man’s feelings for Katie went much deeper than those for a sister.

1st place historical category of First Coast Romance Writers 2010 Beacon Contest for Published Authors!

2nd place historical category of 2010 New England Reader’s Choice Bean Pot Award!

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

Confederate Rose available for $2.99 at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Confederate-Rose-Susan-Macatee/dp/1601545568/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_4

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/confederate-rose-susan-macatee/1100248420?ean=9781601545565&itm=3&usri=susan%2bmacatee

The Wild Rose Press http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=89_117&products_id=3672

and All Romance Ebooks http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-confederaterose-362961-158.html

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Since we’re celebrating Memorial Day today, I thought it appropriate that my Inspiration post should be a continuation of last week’s post about the daily life of an American Civil War soldier in camp.

During the Civil War, soldiers spent about one-quarter of their time served on the battlefield. Between engagements, a soldier’s day started at five a.m. during summer months and six in winter. The bugler sounded reveille as the call to wake up. The first sergeant took roll call, then the men ate breakfast and prepared for drill.

Drill sessions could be as many as five per day. Men learned how to shoot their weapons and perform military maneuvers. Each session would last for two hours. Most of the men found drill tedious. To quote one soldier: “The first thing in the morning is drill. Then drill, then drill again. Then drill, drill, a little more drill. Then drill, and lastly drill.” I think you get the picture.

In the time between drilling, soldiers were expected to clean the camp, build roads, dig trenches for latrines, and gather wood for cooking and heating. A constant goal for army camps was to find a source of clean water. Lack of fresh water led to widespread disease in both armies.

In 1861, both armies had the resources to feed their soldiers. The daily mandated ration for Federal soldiers included twenty ounces of fresh or salt beef. The alternative was twelve ounces of salt pork. They also received a pound of flour, a vegetable which was usually beans; coffee, salt, vinegar and sugar rounded out the ration. But as armies moved, supply trains weren’t able to reach them in the field, so rations had to be limited.

Because of limited rations, soldiers were forced to live off the land. Since the Confederate army was mainly fighting on home ground, they relied on donations from townspeople. Sutlers were also attached to both armies as a way to provide goods the army wasn’t able to supply. Tobacco, candy, tinned meats, shoelaces, patent medicines, fried pies and newspapers were among the goods a sulter provided. The downside was steep prices demanded for these good. But most soldiers desperate for cigarettes, sweets, and news from home, were more than willing to scrape up the cash for these treats.

Hunger wasn’t the only scourge plaguing both armies. Men also succumbed to boredom. Endless hours spent with nothing to do, weighed on soldiers. Men had to devise their own form of recreation. Games including baseball, cards, boxing matches and cockfights filled idle hours. Commanders strove to control vice in camps where gambling and drinking ran rampant. Confederate General Braxton Bragg said: “We have lost more valuable lives at the hands of whiskey sellers than by the balls of our enemies.”

Enlisted men were prohibited from purchasing alcohol by army regulations. Any soldier violating this rule was punished. Even so, men on both sides were able to find ways to procure liquor. Men in a Mississippi company carried liquor into camp inside a hollowed out watermelon. They buried it beneath the floor of their tent and drank from a long straw.

Those who couldn’t buy liquor, made it. A Union recipe called for “bark juice, tar-water, turpentine, brown sugar, lamp oil and alcohol.”

Another way to escape the tedium of camp life was to procure “horizontal refreshments”, in other words, prostitutes. Washington D. C. had 450 bordellos and about 7,500 full-time prostitutes in 1862. Richmond had an equal number. As a direct result, many soldiers contacted venereal diseases.

Men also suffered from homesickness. Soldiers wrote letters home in their spare time with the hope of receiving news from home and loved ones in return. Since furloughs weren’t readily granted, soldiers had little opportunity to spend time away from camp. No matter how bad, soldiers looked on camp as home over their years of service.

For more about Civil War soldier camp life: 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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Next installment in the opening chapters of my Civil War time travel romance. Hope you’re all enjoying the reads.

Excerpt:

“You were thrown from a horse. Do you remember?”

“Horse?” She shook her head, then the sharp pain stopped her. “Ow, everything hurts.”

The man pried the damp cloth from her hand and pressed it against the back of her head. “I don’t feel any broken bones, but you’ve got a nice sized lump right here. I reckon you have a nasty headache. Just what were you doing on that mare this hour of night?”

“I wasn’t on a horse,” she said. “I’ve never been on a horse in my life. It was a car crash. I hit a tree when that truck slid in front of me.”

“A bad fall like that could have affected your mind, Mrs. O’Connell.” The man eyed her. “You’re not making a lick of sense.”

“O’Connell? No. I think you’ve made a mistake, Doctor.” She scrutinized him. “You are a doctor, aren’t you?”

Finalist in the Ancient City Romance Authors 2010 Reader’s Choice Award, paranormal category.

Read opening chapters and reviews at my website: http://susanmacatee.com/mybooks.html

Erin’s Rebel is available in ebook format for $2.99 from Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Erins-Rebel-Susan-Macatee/dp/1601545207/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1307644938&sr=1-1

Barnes and Noble  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/erins-rebel-susan-macatee/1017203009?ean=2940043330673&itm=1&usri=erins%2brebel

The Wild Rose Press http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=89_117&products_id=3554

and All Romance Ebooks

http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-erin039srebel-80339-141.html

http://sneak-peek-sunday.blogspot.com/

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I’m over at Slip Into Something Victorian today with news of what happened on this day in the American Civil War.

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Alex settled before the fire, the stress of battle now behind him. He felt lucky to have survived. The Rebels declared the battle a victory, and the Union Army had retreated. But the Confederates lost General Jackson. He’d been accidentally shot by his own men the night before the battle.

Despite the Rebel victory, maybe the loss of Jackson would bode well for the Union.

Too keyed up to sleep, he took a swig from his flask. One of the other soldiers had given him a bit of Scotch. While it burned its way down his throat, he recalled the last battle where he’d been in the ranks.

He hadn’t been engaged in combat since last September at Antietam. There he’d been with Federal troops. That had been a massacre for both sides. Since he’d become a spy, he usually witnessed battles from the sidelines.

This latest battle had taken a toll on him. He felt drained and needed to recoup and get some rest. Leaning back against a rock, he looked at the stars dotting the blackness. Moonlight brightened the landscape, producing an eerie glow.

Katie by his side in battle was also a new experience. Although he knew she was an experienced soldier and could hold her own, an overwhelming urge rose to protect her. A woman should be home tending to the hearth, waiting for her man to return from battle.

His thoughts drifted to Annabelle. Was she back in Richmond waiting for word of her new fiance’? Their brief encounter assured him he no longer had feelings for her, but he worried that she’d revealed his identity to her husband-to-be. Since the captain hadn’t confronted him, though, he doubted she had.

Smoke from the fire drifted to him, stinging his eyes. He wiped his sleeve across his face. When he opened them, a soldier approached. He focused his vision and realized Katie strode toward him. She’d acquired a new slouch hat from her brother-in-law. The large, black hat concealed her red curls.

When she settled down cross-legged beside him, her mood seemed pensive. She watched him a moment before speaking.

“I found something that belongs to you.”

His mouth went dry. Something was wrong. “What have you got?”

“I’m hating to have to say it, since I’d accused you of being a thief, but I stole something from you.” She looked away.

“What could you…?” He racked his mind trying to figure out what she could have taken.

“I went through yer pack.”

“In Patrick’s tent?”

“No, weeks ago back at the cabin. I went through it to try to learn more about you when you were in the stable. I found a letter and took it but didn’t have time to read it until now.”

Alex swallowed.

“It was a Federal dispatch. Yer a Yankee.”

His chest tightened. No wonder he’d been unable to find the dispatch. She’d had it all along. “What do you intend to do?” He hoped she wouldn’t discover his real motive. He could never harm her.

“You lied to me the whole time,” she said, disbelief marring her delicate features.

He exhaled the breath he’d held. “I had no choice.”

“If I’d known you to be a Yankee, I’d have shot you the first chance I got.” Her eyes glittered in the light of the fire. “You touched me…pretended to care fer me. And all the while, you lied to me.”

The raw hurt on her face broke his heart. He’d deceived her. He couldn’t deny it. “What do you intend to do?” he asked again.

She shook her head slowly. “I’m sorry, Alex, but ’tis me duty to turn you in.”

1st place First Coast Romance Writers 2010 Beacon Contest for Published Authors, historical category.

2nd place 2010 New England Reader’s Choice Bean Pot Award, historical category.

Read opening chapters and get links to reviews at my website http://www.susanmacatee.com

Confederate Rose available for $2.99 at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Confederate-Rose-Susan-Macatee/dp/1601545568/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_4

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/confederate-rose-susan-macatee/1100248420?ean=9781601545565&itm=3&usri=susan%2bmacatee

The Wild Rose Press http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=89_117&products_id=3672

and All Romance Ebooks http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-confederaterose-362961-158.html

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Since many scenes in my Civil War set romances, including the award winning novel, Confederate Rose, takes place in Civil War camps, I thought I’d share my research on the life of a American 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.

Since next Monday is Memorial Day, I’ll revisit this subject to 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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