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Archive for August, 2013

I’m posting a new scene today from my award winning Civil War romance, Confederate Rose, showing hero, Alex Hart, in his role as a Civil War spy.

Excerpt:

Alex watched Mrs. O’Reilly’s retreating back. She disappeared into the kitchen to look for a bottle of syrup. The dress enhanced her already pleasing appearance, although he preferred his women a bit rounder in the hips and bosom. His thoughts drifted to Annabelle. Hair the color of wheat, blue-green eyes, full bosom and hips accented by a tiny waist, Annabelle was the epitome of genteel womanhood in the South.

Growing up together, they became engaged before he’d gone north to further his education. But when he’d returned, rumors of war had started circulating. She’d called off their engagement when he’d refused to enlist in the Confederate Army. Called him an abolitionist and worse.

Although Annabelle had been adamant he fight for ‘the Cause’, would she have fought beside the men as Mrs. O’Reilly did? He couldn’t imagine it. Annabelle’s idea of patriotic duty was attending military balls and soirées, or teas with the ladies where they discussed what hardships their men endured or bemoaned the lack of male companionship. He couldn’t imagine her setting her dainty feet in an army camp.

Mrs. O’Reilly swept back into the room, interrupting his thoughts. She set a small glass bottle on the table. “‘Tis all I can find.”

Alex eyed the clear bottle half-filled with amber-colored syrup.

When he didn’t move, she said, “Eat. Ye’ll be needing yer strength.”

“Pardon me?” He reached for the bottle.

“Ye’ve not looked outside, I take it.”

“Outside?” He glanced at the gauze-covered window.

The sky appeared dark. After glancing at her, he rose to investigate. When he pulled back the curtain, the sight before him sent his stomach plummeting. Snow covered everything as far as he could see and continued to fall from the lead-colored sky with furious resolve. “This can’t be. I have to get out of here today.”

He thought of the dispatch in his pack. He had to get to the Federal camp five miles east of here. How could he do that now? Then there was the matter of Mrs. O’Reilly’s mailbag, still hidden in the stall with the horses.

He turned from the window.

She seemed to read the look on his face. “Ye’ll not be leaving here today.”

He pushed a hand through his hair. What was he to do now? He was trapped in this cabin in the middle of nowhere with a lovely Irish Rebel. Meanwhile, he had a Federal dispatch in his pack he’d be unable to deliver but would certainly incriminate him if it fell into Rebel hands.

The woman picked up her knife and fork but continued to look at him. She pointed to his plate. “You should eat. Ye’ll feel better.”

“I don’t think so.” He took the seat across from her. He stared at his meal, unable to summon back his appetite.

“Starving yerself won’t make it go away,” she said between bites.

“You’re right.” He picked up the utensils she’d set for him. “It does smell mighty good.”

“Go ahead,” she urged. “Fill yer stomach.”

When she smiled at him, all thoughts of the blizzard outside were forgotten. He lifted his fork and shoved a hunk of syrup-coated hoecake into his mouth. Chewing slowly, he savored the sweet, hot morsel and quickly shoved in another mouthful. He murmured in satisfaction. If nothing else, the woman could cook.

“When yer finished,” she said, “I’ll be cleaning up here, and you can be seeing to the horses.”

He nodded. Good, he didn’t want her near there. If she found the mailbag… They finished their meal in silence, then he trudged through the knee-deep snow to the stable.

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!

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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In the 1860s during the war between the states just how many spies were traveling back and forth across the lines? And how did they accomplish this?

In my award winning Civil War romance, Confederate Rose, the hero is a Southerner who spies for the Union Army. He meets the heroine, a rebel soldier who’s disguised as a man, while on a mission to learn what he can about Confederate positions and plans.

According to The Everything Civil War Book by Donald Vaughan, “Both sides had more than their share of spies–many of whom became both famous and infamous–as well as unique espionage technology.”

Female spies like Belle Boyd, who spied for the Confederacy, used their feminine wiles to obtain information for their side and sometimes fell in love with their informants. http://www.civilwarhome.com/belleboyd.htm

Rose O’Neal Greenhow was a member of Washington society. She sent coded messages to Confederate military leaders on Union plans that were transported by women on horseback. http://scriptorium.lib.duke.edu/greenhow/

A spy’s job was to learn battle plans, number of forces, and other useful information. http://www.civilwarhome.com/espionage.htm

Spies disguised themselves as soldiers for the other side, clergymen, war correspondents and photographers. Men disguised themselves as women, women dressed up as men and both sexes blackened their faces to pose as freed slaves or contraband. Free Negroes also served as spies for the Federal government. Spies also posed as farmers, local civilians, refugees and camp followers. http://www.civilwarhome.com/spies.htm

In More Civil War Curiosities by Webb Garrison, there is an account of a Federal soldier who disguised . . . “himself as an organ grinder to go into Baltimore daily to gather information for Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler.” Another Federal officer disguised himself as a Texas Ranger in order to pass through Confederate outposts.

If caught these spies faced lengthy sentences or execution. Belle Boyd was arrested six times. The first time she was placed in a Washington jail. After four weeks of incarceration she was released in a prisoner exchange only to be sent to prison the following year, this time for five months. http://www.civilwarhome.com/boydbio.htm

With such risks, why did they do it? Most were just loyal to their respective side’s cause. But those living in enemy territory, if discovered, were thoroughly ostracized. In The Everything Civil War Book , Federal spy and Richmond citizen, Elizabeth Van Lew, who loathed slavery, was quoted as saying after the war ended, “No one will walk with us in the street. No one will go with us anywhere, and it grows worse and worse as the years roll on.” http://www.civilwarhome.com/vanlewbio.htm http://www.civilwarhome.com/crazybet.htm

Sources: The Everything Civil War Book by Donald Vaughan, 2000, F & W Publications, Inc. ISBN 1-58062-366-2

More Civil War Curiosities by Webb Garrison, 1995, Rutledge Hill Press ISBN 1-55853-366-4

Additional Links: http://userpages.aug.com/captbarb/spies.html

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End of the second chapter of my Civil War time travel romance.

Excerpt:
Despite the pain slicing through her head, she slowly sat up. “I need a mirror.”

Doc glanced at Will.

“A mirror!” she repeated. Her heart hammered in overdrive, and her head felt ready to explode. Doc rummaged among the contents on the table, producing a small, wood-framed hand mirror.

Blinking back the blinding pain, she stared at her reflection. Her own eyes stared back, wide and bright blue. The face was hers, yet it wasn’t. The cheeks were a bit rounder. Her skin was pale. No make-up. Red-gold hair tumbled over her shoulders.

Touching her neck, she noted the maroon-checked dress she wore was topped with a starched, white collar stained with blood. She fingered a small, ivory-stoned brooch at her throat.

In the photo, her Civil War relative had worn her hair parted in the center and pulled back off her face, but otherwise, she was looking at a live portrait of her great-great-great-aunt. Erin O’Connell – Federal spy.

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=1318084452&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 Ebookshttp://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-erin039srebel-80339-141.html

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

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I’ve signed off on the galley for my American Victorian romance, The Physician’s Irish Lady. Next step will be getting a release date.

And I’m over at Slip Into Something Victorian today with a post about the historic raid on Lawrence, Kansas by Quantrill’s Raiders one-hundred and fifty years ago. Stop by and take a look.

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Claire jumped at the sound of a gunshot. Since Cole’s patrol had left, she’d been unable to sleep. She’d tossed and turned and finally threw on her wrapper and left the confines of the tent. She strolled through camp, her way lit by moonlight and a few dim lanterns. The shot sounded close. Too close.

Racing to the hospital tent, she caught the sound of muffled male voices. Lanterns lit the interior. She pulled back the flap, catching sight of Doctor Worley, garbed in shirtsleeves, his suspenders hanging to his knees.

“Doctor, what’s happened?” she called.

He turned and squinted in her direction, then set his spectacles on the bridge of his nose. “Miss Hirsch, is it?”

“I heard a gunshot.” Claire’s heart thrummed.

“I believe there was a minor skirmish with the pickets just outside camp.”

Claire’s heart dropped. “What about the patrol?”

“Word is a small patrol of Rebels was attempting to infiltrate the camp, but our patrol confronted and vanquished them.”

Claire shivered. The thought of enemy soldiers just outside sent a jolt of ice cold fear down her spine. But another thought caused her pulse to race. “Where is the patrol that left camp? Are they the ones involved in the skirmish?”

The surgeon nodded. “They’re bringing the casualties in as we speak.”

Claire swallowed. “I’ll stay to help, if it’s all right.”

Worley smiled. “I could use it.” He motioned toward the back of the tent. “Grab an apron. I’m afraid you’ll need one.”

Claire nodded and gathered her skirts as she slipped to the back of the tent. She chewed on her lip to hold back a scream. What if Lieutenant Manning was among the wounded? Or worse?

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 a few of my Civil War romances,  the heroine plays a part in some capacity as a volunteer during the war between the states. Examples are Erin’s Rebel, where the time traveling heroine is put in a position to aid soldiers in the camp where she finds herself after a car crash; another is Cole’s Promise, where the heroine, Claire Hirsch is a volunteer serving in a Union army camp after first serving from her home in Philadelphia in her mother’s soldiers’ aid group.

In paranormal romance Dreaming Josie, the heroine is a ghost on the battlefield where the hero is reenacting the war. But in his past life, he learns she was a volunteer working in the camp where he soldiered.

And in post-Civil War romance Cassidy’s War, the heroine is working as a doctor and fighting to attend medical school, but beside what she learned from her late physician father, she’d also gained experience working as a nurse both in a Washington D.C. hospital and at Gettysburg during the war.

This was not unusual for women during wartime as they sought to find a way to serve their respective country in any way they could.

During the four years of the American Civil War, soldiers by the thousands died. But not all were killed in battle or even died of battle inflicted wounds. Disease ran rampant with the lack of sanitation and so many bodies crowded together in camps. In this time period, there also was little understanding of how germs spread disease. This was the environment that spawned the sanitary commission.

In this Victorian age, women were looked on as weak and delicate creatures, who would shudder and faint at the mere exposure to the horrors of war. But in reality, women balked at the idea of sitting home and pining for their loved ones off fighting for the cause. They needed to do something constructive and many spent hours supplying food, clean clothing and providing nursing services hoping to decrease the fatality rate from diseases that spread throughout army camps.

At the start of the war, no unified services existed to aid soldiers. Women provided relief to relatives on an individual basis. But as the war intensified ladies’ aid and soldiers’ aid societies sprang up, followed in the North, by the establishment of the U.S. Sanitary Commission, providing organized aid for the first time.

In both the North and the South about two thousand women worked as volunteers in military hospitals. A few of those women, Louisa May Alcott, Jane Stuart Woolsey and Katherine Prescott Wormeley, recorded their experiences working as nurses. But most of the women who served remained virtually anonymous with no record, other than a list of their names on hospital muster rolls to show they’d ever served.

Although not much has been written in historical records about the role women served as war volunteers, the women’s wartime contributions were significant “…these women had notable impact upon the men they tended and served under; …the introduction of female personnel into responsible roles in a traditionally male military environment was one significant step in the progress of women toward a fuller involvement in American society.” http://civilwarhome.com/civilwarnurses.htm

Prior to the Civil War, the ideals of American women were shaped by a call of “the Cult of True Womanhood”. Men’s work moved away from a rural enterprises into shops, offices and factories. So, women inherited the running of the household, a sheltered place where they created warmth and cleanliness for their husbands and children in order to nurture them.

But the Civil War changed all that. With the men engaged in warfare far from home, as in World War II, women turned their attention to work outside the home. In both the North and South, women joined volunteer brigades to work as nurses. For the first time in American history, “women played a significant role in a war effort. By the end of the war, these experiences had expanded many Americans’ definition of ‘true womanhood’.” http://www.history.com/topics/women-in-the-civil-war

For more on the Civil War’s impact on women’s roles, visit these sites: http://money.howstuffworks.com/economics/volunteer/organizations/ladies-aid-society.htm
http://civilwarhome.com/civilwarnurses.htm

http://www.history.com/topics/women-in-the-civil-war

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Next installment from the opening chapters of my time travel romance.

Excerpt:

“You’ve lost your lilting brogue, for one thing,” Will said, “unless that was an act.”

She stretched out on the cot, as her stomach lurched again. “Look. All I want to do is go home.”

“This is your home,” Will said, “since you signed on as camp laundress two weeks ago. Or have you forgotten that, too?”

“No, you don’t understand —”

“Are you having second thoughts, Mrs. O’Connell?”

“I told you, I’m not—” She froze in mid-sentence. They would never believe she wasn’t Erin O’Connell.

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=1318084452&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 Ebookshttp://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-erin039srebel-80339-141.html

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

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