Monday, September 21, 2020

A Prairie Monster Tells His Story by Alice Kay Hill #guest

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By Alice Kay Hill


In UNDER A FULL MOON The Last Lynching in Kansas the primary victim is Dorothy Eileen Hunter, an eight-year-old child who never came home. But there are other victims as well: the sheriff from whose custody Pleasant Richardson Read, the fifty-three-year-old perpetrator, was forcibly removed by a raging mob; the farmers and ranchers who watched him hang and who carried that image with them into their graves, bound by silence; the entire northwest Kansas area whose very foundations were rocked by this brutal event.

Perhaps the saddest victim of all was Pleasant Richardson Read.

That is the real story behind UNDER A FULL MOON.

This twist on the sensational headlines of April 1932, headlines that spanned the country and were carried into the homes of America, took fire when I received the intake photo of Richard Read from the Colorado State Penitentiary via the Colorado Archives. His eyes begged me to tell his story.

In April of 1916, Richard Read, a bachelor farmer, was living in Eastern Colorado, Kit Carson County, near a German Russian settlement. His neighbors, the Weisshaars, had a daughter, fifteen-year-old Pauline. In that spring month, when the farming community was watching the prairie grasses return to life after a tough winter, while the Great War took hold of Europe, Pleasant Richardson Read viscously raped and nearly killed Pauline. He barely escaped being hung.

In short order, justice being a simpler thing in those days, Richard Read found himself in the Canon City, Colorado penitentiary sentenced to fifteen to twenty years. Through reforms based on prison overcrowding he only served six before being returned to his hometown of Rexford, KS.

What chain of events placed Dorothy in his path ten years later?

What brought the son of a well-respected Kansas farmer to carry the title of PRAIRIE MONSTER, APEMAN, FIEND?

There is the real story behind UNDER A FULL MOON.



Alice Kay Hill is passionate about her Kansas heritage. She has published in Hobby Farms magazine and written an instruction manual title GROW TOPLESS: A Modified High Tunnel Design for Headache Free Extended-Season Gardening which is available on Amazon. UNDER A FULL MOON: The Last Lynching in Kansas is her first narrative non-fiction work.







UNDER A FULL MOON: The Last Lynching in Kansas tells of the tragic abduction and death of an eight-year-old girl at the hands of a repeat offender in 1932. This crime stands apart as the last mob lynching in Kansas. Based on true events, this account takes a deep dive into the psycho-social complexities of pioneer times and their impact on this particular crime and the justice meted out to the perpetrator.

Beginning in the year 1881, and written in a chronological narrative non-fiction format, author Alice Kay Hill vividly weaves the stories of the victims and the families involved. She reveals how mental and physical abuse, social isolation, privations of homesteading, strong dreams and even stronger personalities all factored into the criminal and his crimes.

Spanning the years of settlement to the beginnings of the Dust Bowl, historic events are lived as daily news by the seven families whose lives become intertwined. Historically accurate and written with an intimate knowledge of the area, UNDER A FULL MOON is as personal as a family diary, as vivid as a photo album found in an attic trunk, and will remain with the reader long after the book is closed.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Writing a Historical Romance Where the Protagonists Were Enemies by Jackie Barbosa @jackiebarbosa #guest #writing

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Writing a Historical Romance Where the Protagonists Were Enemies
By Jackie Barbosa

You can generally count on three things in Regency-set romance: high-waisted gowns, Hessian boots, and Britain being at war with France and its allies. Granted, a few books set in this era take place either before hostilities kicked off or after they ended for good with Wellington’s victory at Waterloo, but there’s just no denying that the genre is splitting at the seams with soldiers and spies and intrigue related to this pivotal conflict. Given the prominence of the Napoleonic War in the consciousness of both readers and writers of Regency romances, it’s easy to forget that the British also got into a little contretemps with a fairly well-known country known as the United States of America.

The War of 1812 is referred to as “a forgotten conflict” by historian Donald R. Hickey. In fact, the title of his book on the military, political, and diplomatic history of the war is The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict. And it’s easy to understand why. After two and a half years, the war ended with more of a whimper than a bang, with neither side truly winning or losing. If Americans remember the War of 1812 at all, they probably do so because Francis Scott Key penned the lyrics to the national anthem during the British attack on Fort McHenry or because the British burned the US Capitol. Beyond that, it’s an easy war to forget.

 For years, I’d been toying with the idea of a historical romance in which the protagonists were “enemies.” When the concept first occurred to me, I considered writing a book set during the Revolutionary War, but I quickly discarded that plan for two reasons. First, I’m not nearly as familiar with the late Colonial period as I am with the Regency; I would have to do a lot of additional research to get the details of setting more or less right. Second, it occurred to me that it would be very difficult to make the romance and the required happily-ever-after believable when the two sides of that war were so very far apart.

Setting Sleeping with the Enemy during the War of 1812 instead solved both of those problems for me. It’s squarely in the Regency period, which meant I only had to concern myself with researching those aspects of the plot that had to do specifically with the war and other concurrent events. And second, both Britain and the United States had some legitimate grievances and some illegitimate ones leading into the declaration of war by the US (this is a great explanation, IMO: and thus it’s hard to say that either side was “good” or “bad.”

Sleeping with the Enemy opens with the widowed heroine finding what she believes at first is the corpse of a British officer following the Battle of Plattsburgh (fought on September 11, 1814). When he proves himself very much alive, she takes him home to her farm and nurses him back to health. Their romance develops from there, with the first half of the book taking place in upstate New York and the second half in London.

I sincerely hope readers will enjoy both the love story and learning just a little bit more about an often forgotten aspect of both British and American history.

About the Author

Jackie Barbosa can’t remember a time when she didn’t want to be an author when she grew up, but there were plenty of times when she wasn’t sure she ever would be. As it turns out, it just took her about twenty years longer to grow up than she expected!

On the road to publication, Jackie took a few detours, including a stint in academia (she holds an MA in Classics from the University of Chicago and was a recipient of a Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities) and many years as a technical writer/instructional designer for a data processing company. She still holds her day job, but her true vocation has always been writing fiction and romance in particular.

Jackie is a firm believer that love is the most powerful force in the world, which that makes romance the most powerful genre in the world. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise!






About the Book:

When Mrs. Laura Farnsworth discovers the blood-stained body of a man wearing the distinctive red coat of the British army, her first instinct is to let dead dogs lie. It has, after all, been just two days since the Battle of Plattsburgh, and the disposition of enemy corpses is hardly her purview. But then the man proves himself to be very much alive by grabbing her ankle and mumbling incoherently.

After almost twenty-five years in His Majesty’s service, Lieutenant Colonel Geoffrey Langston never expected to wake up in heaven, much less being tended by an angel. But when he regains consciousness in the presence of a beautiful, dark-haired woman and with no memory of how he came to be there, what else can he think? Except it’s rather odd for an angel to have an American accent.

As the long-widowed Laura nurses the wounded Geoffrey back to health, the attraction between them heats from a simmer to a boil. Bound by his oath to the British crown, Geoffrey should be working to find his way back to his regiment and from the, to England. Instead, he’s sleeping with the enemy…and thereby committing the crime of desertion if not treason. But then, who’s going to find out?

If only Geoffrey didn’t have a family back home who refuse to take “missing in action” for an answer.


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Other Books by Jackie Barbosa:

Sleeping with the Enemy other books


Monday, September 14, 2020

New Release! BRAZEN IN BLUE by Rachael Miles @rachael_miles1

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Rachael Miles
Historical Romance

Lady Emmeline Hartley has overcome every obstacle life has thrown her way. A spinster, disappointed in love, Em is on the brink of a marriage of convenience, when the man who rejected her heart reappears in need of her help. It gives Em a chance to escape, put to use one of her most unusual talents–and perhaps convince him once and for all to risk his heart…

Adam Montclair–one of the most successful agents at the Home Office–rubs elbows with the highest levels of society. Even so, he wasn’t to the manor born. No matter how much he desires Em, as a match he is completely unsuitable. While it pains him to be near her, it’s a punishment he richly deserves. Now on a mission to uncover a plot against the government, Adam knows Em’s uncanny ability to recall voices will be essential. Yet as the two thwart the dangers in their path, it may become impossible to deny that Em is essential to happiness itself…

Book five in Miles’s The Muses’ Salon series (after Reckless in Red) delivers heady Regency romance featuring a refreshing heroine and a tantalizing mystery. Lady Emmeline Hartley permanently injured her legs at age six in the same accident that killed her mother and sisters. Her father abandoned her to be raised by servants, and Em has spent the intervening years caring for his estate with her faithful dog, Queen Bess, at her side. Now Em is on the brink of a marriage of convenience to longtime family friend Lord Colin Somerville—but she gets cold feet and flees on her wedding day, reluctantly accepting the aid of Adam Locksley, an agent of the Home Office and Em’s former lover, to get away. Though Em is angry at Adam over a perceived betrayal, Adam is determined to keep her safe. But in a delightful twist, the Home Office requests Em’s help to catch a burgeoning threat to England, and Adam and Em are quickly embroiled in a multitude of schemes. Em’s self-discovery is a delight to behold as she matures from impish child, to solemn bride-to-be, to fully self-actualized, independent woman working hand in hand with a partner. Series fans and new readers alike will be charmed.

— Publishers Weekly

Amazon →

 Barnes & Noble →


August 1819
The note was short. A time, a place, a handwriting she knew. But no apology.
Lady Emmeline Hartley read the note again.
I must see you. I wouldn’t ask, knowing how we parted. But I must say it: lives depend on it. Come to the great oak at midnight. The light of the moon will guide your way.
For months she’d imagined how she would respond if Adam Locksley ever sent her such a note. After long con- sideration, she’d determined she wouldn’t see him. She would let him and his rabble-rousing friends go; she would do good in her own way. She had her own funds. She didn’t need to overturn the aristocracy to feed those on her estate or in her shire.
She threw the note into the fire.
But she had no choice but to meet Adam. A week ago, Lord Colin Somerville had arrived, haggard and wounded both in body and soul. He was her childhood defender, her dear and constant friend. He’d asked for shelter and for secrecy. She’d promised him both. She wouldn’t let her indiscretions alter that.
If she didn’t meet Adam, he would come to the estate. He’d done it before, stood under her balcony with a hand- ful of pebbles and hit every window but her own. In the months since she’d seen him last, she’d moved her bedroom to another wing of the manor, so whatever window his pebbles struck, it couldn’t be hers. That made it more likely that Colin would hear him, and then she’d have to explain. The thought of her upstanding defender pacing off a duel with her criminal lover twisted her stomach.
No, she had to meet Adam. But she didn’t have to trust him.
She dressed quickly in a dark riding dress covered by her grandfather’s greatcoat, shortened to fit her height. Removing a muff pistol from her dressing table, she carefully loaded the chamber, then tucked it into an inner pocket she’d sewn for the purpose. When Em picked up her walking stick, her giant Newfoundland dog, Queen Bess, rose and joined her.
Taking a deep breath, Emmeline slipped into the hall, Bess padding quietly behind. She stole down the staircase and through the door leading into the kitchen garden. No one noticed.
At the garden, two paths led to the great oak. The smoother, wider, but more public, route took her toward the village, joining the forest where the bridge crossed the river. The longer, but more secluded, route led through the uneven ground of the churchyard. She chose the pri- vate cemetery path.
Since the moon was bright, she walked close to the chapel walls. Inside the churchyard, she passed the graves of her oldest ancestors. While she was within the view of the house, she forced herself to move slowly, stepping from the shadow of one tree to the next. If someone looked out a window, she wanted to appear no more than a trick of the moonlight, or, for the more superstitious, a ghost uneasy in the grave or one of the faerie folk come to dance among the oaks.
At the graves of her sisters, she quickened her pace. As a child, she had carried her bowl of porridge to their trim plots, believing they could know she was near them. But as she’d grown, she had set aside such fancies. Nursery rhymes and folk tales only cloud the judgment. Even so, she was grateful her sisters had been long silent: she would have hated for them to know what a fool she’d been.
Stepping into the forest, Emmeline quickened her step, but not because Adam waited. She could never make her way to the great oak’s clearing without thinking of her mother and sisters, lost in a carriage accident when Emmeline was just six. Her mother, Titania—named after Shakespeare’s Queen of the Faeries—had believed the clearing was one of the few remaining places where the human and faerie worlds overlapped. On picnics, Titania would enthrall her daughters with tales of magic and enchantment, her voice a lilting honey-gold. Sometimes Titania would sing them an eerie, tuneless song she claimed the Faerie Queen had taught her. On those days, Emmeline would dance around the great oak, believing that she could see shadowy figures melt out of and back into the trees.
Had Emmeline not grown up half in love with faeries, she wouldn’t have fallen so easily under Adam’s spell. When she’d first encountered him beneath the shadows of the giant oak, she would have known that, though he was playing a lyre, he was just another highwayman. Emme- line slowed, not wishing to tax her leg, as she navigated her way carefully across the raised tree roots that broke up the path. But even so, she reached the clearing long before the time he’d set.
He stood much as he had the first time she’d seen him. His long dark cloak was the color of shadows, and his doublet and trousers were a rich forest green. This time, however, he had no lyre, and, without his rich baritone, the clearing was oddly silent.
Even so, she wasn’t prepared for the visceral jolt of recognition when she saw him or the way she longed to feel the touch of his hands and lips. But she refused her desire. She couldn’t allow herself to trust him again.
“No song tonight?” She kept her distance, keeping her hand hidden inside her cloak.
“I feel little like singing.”
Even in the dark, her mind saw his words as texture and color.
He walked to the altar rock, gesturing for her to sit beside him as they used to do. His body appeared tense, his shoulders and neck held taut.
“What troubles you?” She leaned up against the giant oak instead. “Could you find no good and true English- men, to seduce with your words?”
“You’re still angry.” He stepped toward her.
“No, to feel angry, I’d have to feel something for you.” She held up her walking stick menacingly, and he stopped several feet away. “But you killed my good feelings when you let those men die. All that’s left is revulsion.”
“What if I told you that they weren’t dead? That they and their families are living well on their own plots of land, happy in the colonies?” He raised his hands in sup- plication.
“I’d ask what other fairy tales you wish for me to be- lieve. I saw the notice of execution. My only disappoint- ment was that your name wasn’t on it.” She knew the words weren’t true, but she wouldn’t let him see other- wise. Her life would be better without him.
“I knew this was a bad idea.” He raked his hand through his hair.
“After months of silence and last week’s massacre at Manchester, did you expect me to be grateful for your summons?”
“Then why did you come?” Adam held out his hand, but she ignored it.
“To warn you,” she said flatly.
“Of what?” He looked hopeful.
“Set foot upon my lands again or in the village or any where in this county, and I will have you hung. I will testify myself.”
“How can you testify without revealing your part in my crimes?” Adam’s tone sounded almost amused.
“I can’t. That’s your dilemma. You promised me once that you would never allow me to be harmed by riding with you. If you stay, I will have you jailed and tried, and I cannot help but be harmed if I testify.” She spoke slowly. She would not be misunderstood. “You have a choice. You may hold your meetings. Create your reform societies. Tempt the farmers and workmen to peaceful protests like the one at Peterloo, where they will be killed or maimed. But not here.”
“Em, I didn’t intend . . .” He stepped forward, but she held up the walking stick, stopping his progress.
“I don’t care what your intentions were. I thought you were a good man, that you hoped to ease the sufferings of your fellow men, that you wanted rational reform. You showed me those sufferings in ways that I’d never seen before.” She willed her voice to remain even. “But you betrayed the cottagers who believed in you, and you led them straight to their deaths. And I was beside you. Their blood is on my hands as surely as it is on yours. My only redemption will be to oppose you and men like you to my last breath.”
“I need your help.” He held out his palms in supplication, walking toward her.
“Never. I reserve my help for the families men like you destroy. Now leave my land before I set the magistrate on you.” She let her cloak fall open and lifted her hand, di- recting her pistol at his heart. “Or I will kill you myself.”
“Would you send me away if you knew it meant my death?”
She looked deep in his eyes and cocked the trigger. “Yes.”




Rachael Miles writes ‘cozily scrumptious’ historical romances set in the British Regency. Her books have been positively reviewed by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist, which praised her ‘impeccably researched and beautifully crafted’ novels, comparing her works to those of Jo Beverly and Mary Jo Putney. Her novel, Reckless in Red, won first place in adult fiction: novels in the National Federation of Press Women’s writing contest. A native Texan, Miles is a former professor of book history and nineteenth-century literature. She lives in upstate New York with her indulgent husband, three rescued dogs, and all the squirrels, chipmunks, and deer who eat at her bird feeders.

20 Questions with Eileen Putman Author of LORD SHALLOW @eileen_put #LordShallow #20Questions

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Today's guest is Eileen Putman, author of the regency historical romance LORD SHALLOW. Eileen is here today to answer 20 questions about her life, writing and goals.

1. Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

I used to think morning was good, since my creative juices would be rested and ready. But most of my ideas come at night as I’m trying to sleep. I won’t remember them unless I jot them down, which foils the process of going to sleep!

2. Do you outline or are you a pantster?

No outline, but I have a pretty good idea of where I’m going. (See next question.)

3. Which comes first – plot or character?

Without character, there’s no story. The plot of a romance novel is the development of an emotional relationship, which flows from character. I have to know my protagonists; otherwise, I’m just typing words without emotional resonance. Sometimes I hear snippets of dialogue in my head, and that helps create a picture, but it’s not enough. I have to know what motivates my characters. Everything flows from that.

4. Noise or quiet when working on your manuscript? 

I’m a journalist. Newsrooms aren’t quiet. I can tune almost everything out.

5. Favorite TV show? 

“Broadchurch,” “Dead to Me,” Killing Eve,” “Luther,” “What we do in the Shadows,” “The Crown.”

6. Favorite type of music?

Country and bluegrass. Comes from my time in Nashville. I love the soul of Appalachian music, like the Carters and Ralph Stanley. It’s as old and deep as the hills, rooted in Celtic music and every emotion you can think of.

7. Favorite craft besides writing?

Quilting, though I’m not very good at it. I made my son a T-shirt quilt when he went off to college. The one I’m working on for my daughter highlights her travels. And I have a quilt top my grandmother started in the 1930s that I hope one day to finish.

8. Do you play a musical instrument?

Piano, guitar. I was learning the banjo, but life intervened.

9. Single or married?


10. Children or no?

Yes, both adults.

11. Pets?

Cats.  Always cats.

12. Favorite place to write?

On an old-fashioned farmhouse table, surrounded by 10 large windows looking out over the woods in my back yard. It feels like a tree house!

13. Favorite restaurant?

If we ever go to restaurants again, I am making a beeline to a wonderful Laotian place in DC. We celebrated a graduation there, very fond memories.

14. Do you work outside the home?

Before the pandemic, yes, as a journalist. Same job now, just working from home. I miss the newsroom, which is a living, breathing thing.

15. What was the name of the last movie you saw?

In the theater, “Emma.” Streaming, “The Beautiful Fantastic,” ostensibly about gardening but really about so much more. I will watch anything Andrew Scott is in.

16. Favorite outdoor activity?

Hiking! Bad knees and all. We’re near an older mountain ranges. The views are head-clearing.

17. Pet peeve?

People who aren’t truthful.

18. Your goal in life?

Goals change, don’t they? In my twenties, I wanted to be a journalist. Later, when my kids were little, my goal was to keep them safe, raise them in a loving home, and teach them to embrace change. Then I wanted to write fiction, and managed to fit that in while they were in school. Now, I want to relish their adulthood. It’s a joy to watch what they are doing with their lives.

19. Your most exciting moment?

Impossible to pick one! Really, it’s all about family.

20. The love of your life?

My husband. Always.

Eileen Putman is the author of a dozen British historical and Regency romances. Her love of England’s Regency period (1811-1820) has inspired her research trips to England, Ireland, Wales, France and other countries — there being no substitute for stepping on the soil that Beau Brummell and his champagne-polished Hessians once trod.


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To all of London, Sebastian Traherne is a pretentious fop who prizes his tailor over his dukedom. In truth, he’s an obsessively rational fellow protecting a secret marriage. When a prickly Welsh miss arrives at his crumbling castle one gloomy night, she upends his world—and every principle he holds dear. Worse, she believes in a silly fairy tale known as True Love.

Gwynna Owen might be the last true Princess of Wales, but she needs this very English duke to claim her legacy and vanquish a tyrant. When Sebastian quickly sees through her boy’s disguise, she must plead her case with only a rusty dagger—and sapphire eyes that conjure what he most wishes to avoid.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: One early surprise may be a deal breaker for some romance fans. If you’re looking for classic Regency historical that fits a formula, Lord Shallow may not be your cup of tea. Yet character will out. Here you’ll find a man who is so much more than he seems and a woman who’s finding her voice after years of having it suppressed. Their struggle as they make their way to one another is this story’s truth.

About Maitland’s Rogues: Andrew Maitland’s group of daring English rogues risk all for their country. Hardened and deadly, they have no use for love—until it ensnares them…






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