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Today I’m the opening of my award winning Civil War romance novel.

Excerpt:
Near Winchester, Virginia
March 2, 1863

ConfederateRose_w3122_300Katie O’Reilly tensed as she stared at the swift-running stream. Trees cast long shadows across the rushing water, and the air held a biting chill. Her stomach emitted a growl, protesting not having had anything to eat since she’d departed earlier that morning. She yanked the empty canteen’s cork to refill it before continuing the journey. As she neared the frigid water, her hands shook. Her mare, hitched to an oak tree, shook its mane and pawed the ground with the left hoof.

“I know, Morna.” Katie glanced at the mare. “Allow me to complete me task, and we’ll be on our way.”

She bit her lip and turned back to the icy water. With heart pounding, she stretched the arm holding the canteen toward the white-foamed breakers.

“There’s nothing to fear,” she recited. Nevertheless, she planted her brogans securely on the bank.

A cracking sound, like a branch snapping, stilled the outstretched arm. “Morna?”

The mare whinnied. Katie whirled. A man stood beside the gray-white dappled horse. She reached for the butt of the sidearm tucked into her belt and pulled the brim of her felt hat down to conceal her face.

The man stood stock-still and didn’t speak. Apparently, he’d hoped to make off with the pack or her horse.

He wore a greatcoat, so she couldn’t tell if a uniform for either North or South lay beneath. Likely, he was a local civilian. A black wide-brimmed hat covered his head, under which thick chestnut-colored hair touched his collar. A full beard half-concealed his face.

Katie swallowed hard and tried to speak in her most commanding voice. “Are you lost, sir?” She gripped her pistol.

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

WhispersintheWind_w9628_750And if you like Civil War romances, Confederate Rose is now part of the Civil War boxed set, Whispers in the Wind.

Whispers in the Wind available from
The Wild Rose Press http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=234&products_id=5994

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Whispers-Wind-Civil-digital-Boxed-ebook/dp/B00PPSWJT2/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1416524283&sr=8-8&keywords=whispers+in+the+wind

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/whispers-in-the-wind-nicole-mccaffrey/1120788851?ean=2940150558205

All Romance Ebooks https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-whispersinthewind-1681955-166.html

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Sarah Rosetta Wakeman is one of the real-life inspirations for the heroine of my Civil War holiday romance novella, The Christmas Ball, as well as the award winning Civil War novel, Confederate Rose, now re-released as part of a Civil War boxed-set of six romances.

In the non-fiction book, An Uncommon Soldier, by Lauren Cook Burgess,the story of Sarah Rosetta Wakeman is told through letters her family preserved that she’d sent home during the war. I read this fascinating book along with others I used in researching the subject of women soldiers in disguise during the war to come up with composite heroines for my romance adventures.

What’s unique about Sarah’s story is, like scores of other young women during the American Civil War, she disguised herself as a man and served in the Union Army as a private. And during the years she served, no one ever discovered her sex.

Many other women also enlisted in male disguise, since women at that time weren’t permitted to serve, but some were quickly discovered and either sent home or were arrested and sent to prison on false charges of prostitution. That was the only reason army officials could come up with for women to dress as men, although it would have been hard for them to ply their trade and not be found out. Others weren’t caught until they were hospitalized or killed in battle. While others served out their time and returned to civilian life without ever being found out.

Sarah was born on January 16,1843, the eldest in a fairly large farm family. She was used to hard work and in 1862, at the age of 19, with no prospects for marriage, she left home to seek outside work to help with the family finances that included a large debt owed by her father. Disguising herself as a man, she found work as a manual laborer on a coal barge for $20.00 for four trips up the Chenango Canal in New York state. On her first trip she encountered soldiers from the 153rd New York Regiment, who urged her to sign up. The enlistment bounty of $152.00 would have been more than a year’s wages, even if Sarah continued civilian work as a male, and so was a great enticement.

Sarah told the recruiters she was 21 and on August 30, 1862, signed up under the name of Lyons Wakeman. Her regiment was stationed in Washington, as one of many, to guard the Capital from the surrounding hostile territory.

In her frequent letters home, she asked her family not to be ashamed of her for the choices she’d made. She also sent money home on a regular basis, much more than she could have earned as a civilian. In February 1864, the regiment was transferred to the field to take part in the ill-fated Red River Campaign. By the end of the campaign, Sarah developed chronic diarrhea and ended up at a regimental hospital.

She died on June 19, 1864, never having been discovered.

Like Sarah, most of the women who disguised themselves as men to serve in the army were lower class, or immigrants, who had little education. Sarah is unique, however, in that she could read and write and, as a result, left her legacy of letters so we’d have the opportunity to see why a woman would choose to hide her identity to serve her country.

The heroine of my  Civil War Christmas novella, The Christmas Ball, shares part of Sarah’s real life story in that she falls for a surgeon she works under in a Union camp. But unlike the real Sarah’s unrequited love story, my heroine’s story turns out for the better. This is a romance, after all. The Christmas Ball is an ebook novella, released in late 2013 by The Wild Rose Press, originally part of the Historical Christmas anthology, An American Rose Christmas.

And if you haven’t yet read my award winning Civil War romance, Confederate Rose, the heroine of this novel, Katie Rose O’Reilly, is also a soldier disguised as a man, but she serves in the Confederate army.

Stop by my website http://susanmacatee.com for info on both stories as well as the newly released Civil War boxed-set, Whispers in the Wind.

For more information on Sarah Rosetta Wakeman, read An Uncommon Soldier, by Lauren Cook Burgess, Oxford University Press, ISBN-0-19-512043-6

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My Civil War romance novel, Confederate Rose, has been re-released as part of the Civil War romance boxed-set, Whispers in the Wind. Today I’m posting an excerpt from Confederate Rose.

Excerpt:
WhispersintheWind_w9628_750“You bloody thief!” the rider yelled in a high, strident voice. “Hand over me bag, you bastard!”

Alex kept the revolver before him but relaxed his grip. That crazed Irish Rebel had followed him.

She reined up abreast of him and didn’t flinch at the sight of his drawn gun. Curls slicked against her head, and water dripped down her face.

She glowered at him, blowing out a puff of steam. Her breath came out in gasps, and the horse huffed.

“Hand over me bloody bag.” She held out a leather-gloved hand, oblivious of the revolver still pointed at her.

“What makes you think I have it?”

“Yer a thief and a liar. Give it here.”

“You most likely left it back at the stream. Just didn’t see it in the dark.”

Her nostrils flared. “‘Tis not that dark. You have it, and I want it now!”

Icy rain continued to pelt them. Alex bristled. She was keeping him from finding the cabin, where he could get dry and warm. As far as he knew, she didn’t have a weapon. She’d lost her sidearm in the stream, and he hadn’t seen a rifle among her belongings.

“Look, ma’am.” He pointed the gun for emphasis. “I’m not going to sit here in this freezing rain and argue. When I find the cabin, you’re welcome to come inside. I’ll prove I don’t have your bag. Fair enough?”

She bit her lip, apparently considering his offer. “If I don’t agree, are you going to shoot me, then, Mr. Hart?”

He lowered the gun. “Of course not. I just wanted to convince you that we need to get out of this rain, before we both come down with pneumonia.” He shook ice pellets from his hat and brushed his coat to emphasize his point. “We’ll freeze out here.”

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

Whispers in the Wind is available at The Wild Rose Press http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=234&products_id=5994

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Whispers-Wind-Civil-digital-Boxed-ebook/dp/B00PPSWJT2/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1416524283&sr=8-8&keywords=whispers+in+the+wind

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/whispers-in-the-wind-nicole-mccaffrey/1120788851?ean=2940150558205

All Romance Ebooks https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-whispersinthewind-1681955-166.html

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Although women have participated in wars throughout history, women soldiers during the American Civil War were unheard of. After all, the 1860s was the height of the Victorian era, where women—at least high and middle class ones—were thought to be delicate creatures, who needed to be taken care of and protected by their men. The idea of a woman charging into battle, firing on the enemy or worse, yet, being wounded or killed was unimaginable.

Even women who nursed wounded soldiers were often frowned upon by polite society. But in the book, All the Daring of the Soldier, by Elizabeth D. Leonard, and An Uncommon Soldier, by Lauren Cook Burgess, these real life women warriors have finally been exposed for the true heroines they were.

Women weren’t allowed to join either army during the American Civil War, but according to Leonard, many young women were driven not only by “Patriotism and the love of a good man…”  but also by “…their quest for adventure and their hope for a different sort of paying job than was typically available to them.”

My award winning Civil War romance, Confederate Rose, is the story of a fictional woman, an Irish immigrant, who went on such a quest. But although Katie O’Reilly is a figment of my imagination, she’s based on the stories I’ve read of the real heroines who fought this war and were up until now, mostly forgotten.

And my holiday novella The Christmas Ball, features a herione who’s chosen to fight for the Union army in disguise. More information here.

Blurb for Confederate Rose: Disguised as a man to serve with her husband as a soldier in the Confederate Army, Irish immigrant Katie Rose O’Reilly vows to remain in the ranks and seek revenge on Yankees after her husband is killed at Sharpsburg. When she falls and almost drowns in a swollen stream, Southerner Alexander Hart, a Yankee spy, saves Katie from drowning then nurses her through a resulting fever, keeping his identity secret from the feisty and beautiful Rebel soldier even as he finds himself falling in love with her. Can Katie reconcile her loyalties with her love?

And this Thursday, November 20, Confederate Rose will be released as part of a Civil War boxed-set of full-length romance novels titled Whispers in the Wind by The Wild Rose Press.

The true stories of women warriers during the American Civil War were truly an inspiration for my own fictional romance stories.

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Here’s a hook from my 2009 release, Confederate Rose.

Excerpt:

ConfederateRose_w3122_300Alex 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 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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It’s romance day again at Hump Day Hook, and I’m featuring another American-Victorian romance, this time from my backlist.

Excerpt:

She collapsed against him, her warm, soft body inviting his embrace. Careful not to alarm her mother, he brushed his hands over Cassidy’s back as she sobbed against his coat, her familiar warmth and scent increased his yearning to have her back in his life again. He turned back to catch Mrs. Stuart’s glance. She mouthed, Thank you, then turned away.

“There, there,” he said to Cassidy. “You can’t blame yourself for what happened.”

“But I thought I could be a doctor. I’m nothing but a failure.” Her arms tightened around him as if she clung for her life.

“I heard in town the new doc—Madison, I think his name is—arrived afterward.”

She didn’t speak but didn’t release her hold. After a long moment, she lifted her tear streaked face. “Yes, he was there. Too late to help…and he blamed me for all of it.”

“The bastard!” George gripped her tightly wanting to protect her. “Pardon my language, Cassie, but I can’t abide the man.” He wouldn’t let Madison allow her to take the blame for something not her fault. “What did he say?”

She frowned as if trying to remember his exact words. “Something about…Ned should have called him. He could have saved them both.” She tightened her grip around his waist. “Oh, George! I’ve never felt this horrible in my whole life. Even during the war…”

“I know…” He kissed her forehead. “Life or death…it’s all in God’s hands. You didn’t do anything wrong. All you did was try to help a patient.”

“And I failed.” Her face scrunched up. In all the years he’d known Cassidy, he’d never seen her cry like this. Even when he had left her. But once he was gone for parts unknown, she might have fallen into grief. And of course, it had been less than six months since her father’s death.

He glanced toward the doorway. Although it was open, her mother no longer hovered there. Had she left to allow them privacy? Lifting Cassidy’s chin between his fingers, he tilted her face forcing her to look at him. “Cassie, I know I didn’t do right by you all those years ago, but if you’ll allow me to help…?”

She frowned. “Help? Help how?”

He leaned down and pressed his lips against her soft, warm ones, tasting her sweetness and the salt of her tears. He moved slow, keeping his gaze on the door.

After a moment, she softened in his arms and responded to his kiss, shooting delightful sensations to his groin. But he had to take this easy. He released her and gazed into her eyes.

He wanted to warn her about Madison but couldn’t chance revealing his knowledge about the doctor, even to her. He glanced back at the doorway in case Mrs. Stuart or someone else lingered.

Cassidy drew in a deep breath and wiped her eyes.

Finalist in the 2013 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence contest and the Colorado Romance Writers 2013 Award of Excellence contest in the historical category.

“A very good read. Written well and a good plot! I recommend it to any who love this genre of book! I enjoyed reading this a lot!”
~ Let’s Talk Romance Reviews – 4 sighs

Blurb: The Civil War is over, but Cassidy’s War is just beginning.

Cassidy Stuart longs to attend medical school. Training beside her physician father and serving as a nurse during the war have only increased her desire to be a doctor with her own practice. When the man who left her at the altar returns, she’s determined not to let him upset the plans she’s set for herself.

Until his mission is accomplished, George Masters must hide his identity as a Pinkerton agent as he investigates a physician living in George’s former hometown, a short distance from Cassidy’s home. When he finds Cassidy hasn’t married, he hopes he can rekindle their love while trying to protect her and the townsfolk from the evil Dr. Madison.

Can their love be renewed despite the villain’s desire for revenge against them both?

Cassidy’s War is available at The Wild Rose Press http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/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=AG56TWU5XWC2&qid=1326497502&sr=1-3

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

humpdayhook
http://humpdayhook.blogspot.co.uk/

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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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