As I began work on ONE TRUE HEART, I knew my hero would be a very intelligent man living in a little cabin in Twisted
Creek, a lake community near Harmony in the map in my head. Wouldn’t it be interesting if this man had a nutty sister who believed she could see the future? You know the type: Sweet, but not in the mainstream of anything. We’ve all got one in our family. I looked around and didn’t see one in my family so I must be it.
Running through the stories of Harmony I’ve always had a bookstore on the main street. One night, while I was writing, I noticed a sign in the corner between two over-crowded shelves that advertised palm readings the only night the bookstore was open. As the stories went along the sign would change. Once it read: Fortunes, two hands for the price of
Sooo, in the corners of my mind I knew that one day I’d have to put a fortune teller in Harmony. Two years ago I was in a delightful little second hand store in Denison. I noticed a beautiful hand-made doll, a fortune teller complete with cards in her hand and dice in her box tied to her waist. The doll traveled all over Texas with me while I was signing and finally made it home to my desk.
I had so much fun researching gypsy fortune tellers and learned much about the fascinating British Romani people. I especially enjoyed reading about the different types of gypsy wagons. My favorite is the Vardo horse-drawn gypsy wagon and you can view a beautiful one at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LPnAYm9d4g.
While my hero, Drew, is trying to live his normal life, maybe even get a date with a fascinating woman who has returned to Harmony to recover, his little sister is making his life impossible. You see, she was reading a man’s fortune when the sheriff arrested him for killing his wife. She’s the only one who believes Johnny Wheeler is innocent, because she didn’t see murder in his past. Kare defends Johnny and drives him insane while she drags her quiet, reluctant brother into a mystery that might get them all killed.
You’ll have to read to find out…unless you are a fortune teller, of course.
Even after over 40 books, I often feel like I step into a story as if it’s already a place in my mind. I meet the people just like my readers do and some nights I stay up writing late because I want to know what is going to happen. I don’t know if I’d believe a fortune teller, but I do believe in the magic of creativity.
I do hope you will enjoy ONE TRUE HEART, so be sure to pre-order your copy at my website at www.jodithomas.com.
You can also pre-order here at Amazon.
I would love to give away an autographed copy of ONE TRUE HEART to one lucky reader. I look forward to chatting with you.
Growing up I thought one of the worst things that could happen was to end up in the poor house. If we left the lights on, outgrew shoes too quickly, or took more than our share of food we’d hear, “Do you want to send us to the poor house?”
It wasn’t until I was an adult that it occurred to me that one, I never saw a poor house and two, I’d never even met anyone who lived there. As it turns out there really were poor houses throughout the country, including the Old West.
Though poor houses had been in the east since early colonial times, their numbers spread to the west following the westward expansion. Dreams of striking it rich fell through leaving many destitute. Families separated by great distances could no longer turn to each other for help. The Civil War also created a great deal of poverty. Men often returned home to find farms gone or taxes in arrears.
What we call welfare today was once called “outdoor relief.” Indigent people would have to go to an elected town official called an Overseer of the Poor or Poor Master and plead their case.
Before a person could move to an almshouse they had to take the pauper oath swearing they had no more than ten dollars to their names. Poverty was considered a sign of moral weakness so feelings of guilt and shame prevailed.
Being poor wasn’t just an embarrassment it was also treated as a crime, and many of these farms also served as prisons.
No such thing as Social Security existed at the time so, as you might expect, many paupers were elderly people with physical ailments. The greatest number of residents was widows and mothers with small children. Some famous people lived in poor houses including Annie Oakley who was sent to one at age 9.
Even back then, fraud flourished and people claimed to be paupers who weren’t. One farm superintendent accidentally found a $1000 dollars hidden in an inmate’s belongings. The man preferred living off charity than his own resources.
Paupers were expected to work and many of these farms grew cotton and other crops. Some poor houses were run with compassion, but most were not.
A Texas “Poor Farm” Romance
One story I came across involved a poor farm in Cass County, Texas. An elderly man ended up there after losing all his money. There he met a woman he had once been engaged to when he was a young man of 21 and she was 18. The families had been against the wedding and the two were forced to break off their betrothal. The elderly couple picked up where they left off and decided to marry. He asked the county supervisors to let them continue to live on the farm after they wed, but was denied permission. Two people were not allowed to marry after taking the pauper’s oath.
Soon after, the woman went to live with her daughter. She requested that a white rose be placed on her shroud to symbolize a love that had lasted through a lifetime, and hoped they would meet again in heaven.
Thank goodness Social Security put an end to poor houses, which brings up the question: What do parents threaten their kids with today?
Maggie Michaels is sent to Arizona Territory as an undercover mail order bride to track down the notorious Whistle-Stop Bandit. If she doesn’t prove the suspect guilty before the wedding—she could end up as his wife!
The winner of a 9-signature signed copy of
Vickie, I will email you and find out where to send the book.
A cool additional note.
The Homestead Brides Collection is currently on the bestseller list!
It’s number 4 on the ECPA Bestseller list for March!
That’s the highest ranking I’ve ever gotten.
(And it hasn’t missed my notice that it took 8 other authors to boost me there!!! YAY Great Team Effort)
The Fillies are jumping up and down and we know you will be too. Miss Jodi always writes an entertaining blog. This time she has Gypsies on her mind.
She’s toting a copy of her new book to give away too!
You don’t want to miss this.
Come and join the party!
During Spring Break this year, my daughter and I had a once in a lifetime opportunity to travel with a group from her high school to Italy and Greece. What an amazing experience! Ancient ruins like the Colosseum and the Parthenon, gorgeous cathedrals like St. Paul’s and St. Peter’s basilicas, and artwork from paintings to sculptures to tapestries to mosaics that simply took my breath away. One of my very favorite statues was created by the incomparable Michelangelo. His depiction of Mary holding her son after he was taken down from the cross. It is called “Pieta” which means pity in Italian. Truly stunning.
Greece, of course, is also known for their statuary, and after seeing so many examples of classical art, I started wondering about some of the artists behind the statuary closer to home. As it turns out, one of the most talented sculptors of Texas heroes is a woman.
Elisabet Ney was a German-born sculptor who worked in Europe the first half of her life, perfecting her craft and becoming so accomplished, she was commissioned to create busts of such influential world leaders as Otto von Bismarck and King George V of Hanover (pictured with her in the portrait to the left). She was the first female sculptor admitted to the all-male Munich Academy of Art.
A stringent feminist, Elisabet wore trousers and rode astride like her male counterparts. She also despised the marital state, believing it to be a form of bondage for women. However, a young (and exceedingly patient) Scottish medical student named Edward Montgomery eventually wore her down. After 10 years, he finally convinced her to marry him in 1863. That same year, he contracted tuberculosis. After struggling with the disease for many years, Montgomery took a friend’s advice and moved to the United States in 1871, to a resort for consumptives in Georgia. In 1873, after the birth of two sons, the couple moved to Waller County, Texas.
In the 1880’s, Elisabet was invited to Austin by the governor of Texas, and her artistic career gained new life. In 1892 she built a studio in north Austin and began to seek commissions. Right away, she was commissioned by the Board of Lady Managers of the Chicago World’s Fair Association to create marble figures of Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston to be on display at the World’s Fair. They can now be seen in the Texas State Capitol building.
Upon her death in 1907, her husband sold her studio to Ella Dibrell, and per his wife’s wishes, bequeathed the contents to the University of Texas at Austin. Four years later, Dibrell and other investors established the Texas Fine Arts Association in Elisabet’s honor. Today, the studio is the site of the Elisabet Ney Museum.
This passionate, strong-willed woman left her mark on Texas that still exists more than 100 years after her death. What a lasting legacy!
I can barely draw a stick figure, so art like this always leaves me amazed.
What about you?
- Have you encountered a particular sculpture or painting that touched you in some way?
- Have you ever wondered about the life of the artist who created it?
My granddaughter helped me to pick the winner today. We put all the names into her fire-fighter plastic hat, and she drew the winner.
Melanie, you’ll need to contact me directly at karenkay(dot)author(at)earthlink(dot)net. Place a (.) for (dot) and the @ for (at). Since this is a print book, I’ll need your address. My thanks to everyone who came to the blog yesterday and left a message. I really enjoyed them all.
Stay tuned. I intend to give away another Tradepaper copy of the book in two weeks time.
Today is the day! On April 7, 2015, Tradepaper copy of THE ANGEL AND THE WARRIOR goes on sale. And today I will be giving away a free copy of the Tradepaper copy of THE ANGEL AND THE WARRIOR to some lucky blogger, a $16.00 value. There is a restriction. It is limited to the United States only. Here is a link to to go to in order to look at the blurb of the book, as well as an excerpt. Also, both the e-book and the Tradepaper are on sale at the moment. Here is the link: https://www.samhainpublishing.com/book/4964/the-angel-and-the-warrior
As always, in order to claim your prize, you must come back to the site tomorrow and look to see if you are the winner. If you have won, instructions will be given on how to contact me so that the book can be sent to you. But you must contact me in order to claim your prize.
All right. So with that said, let’s have a look at what I consider to be one of the most fascinating parts of this book, and of this series. This is the first book in THE LOST CLAN series. Now, this series is set not only within historical times, but within the framework of American Indian Mythology. There is a character in this series of four books which is caught in all four books, and that character is the Thunderer.
The Thunder Being (or sometimes referred to as the Thunder Bird or Thunder God or Thunderer) is central to these stories. His anger has been stirred by acts of violence against himself and his children by a clan that is part of the Blackfoot Indians – The Lost Clan. Interestingly, the Thunder Being plays a dominant role in most Native American tribes — perhaps because when one is living so closely to nature, the Thunderer, who can produce so much damage, would be a subject of much legend. In this series of books, the Lost Clan has been relegated into the “mist” by the Creator, who intervened on the people’s behalf when the Thunderer was bent on destroying every single member of the clan. Imprisoned within that mist, each band within the Lost Clan is given a chance within every new generation to choose a boy to go out into the real world, who is charged with the task of undoing the curse, thus freeing his people from what would be an everlasting punishment (they are neither real, nor dead). But, not only must the boy be brave and intelligent (there are puzzles to solve within every book), he must also show kindness to the enemy.
Let’s have a look at the Thunderer and some of the different lore about this being. In Blackfeet lore, the Thunderer often steals women. He can take the image of a very large bird — his wings creating the thunder and his eyes shooting out the lightning. In Lakota lore, if one dreams about the Thunder god, he becomes a backwards person. He must do everything backwards. He washes in sand, become dirty in water, walks backwards, says exactly what he doesn’t mean, etc., etc. The dream is so powerful that it is thought that if one fails to do these things, he courts certain death. In THE ANGEL AND THE WARRIOR, the hero is desperate because he only has until his 30th birthday to undo the curse, and the hero of the story is 29, with only a few months left to accomplish what he must. Relying on visions and dreams, he is drawn toward a woman with hair the color of starlight. But he regards her and his growing feelings toward her, as little more than a distraction.
There is also a legend of the Thunder Being in the Iroquois Nation. In this legend, a young woman becomes the bride of the Thunderer and through him saves her village from a huge snake that burrows under her village, thus endangering the lives of everyone in her village. There is still another legend about the Thunder which you can watch on the Movie called Dream Makers — well, I think that’s the name of the movie (if I am wrong about that name, please do correct me). In this legend, which is also an Eastern Indian tribe, a young woman marries the Thunderer and goes to live with him in the above world, only to be returned to her own world when she becomes pregnant with his child.
What is very, very interesting to me is how many and how vast are the lores of Native America. Though we often hear or even study the ancient lore of the Greeks, seldom do we read much our own lore — the mythology that belongs intimately with this land we call America — which by the way, to the Native Americans on the East Coast, America is known as Turtle Island. Fascinatingly, there is a story for almost every creature on this continent, from the crow to the sparrow to the coyote (the trickster), the wolf and bear. There are legends about the stars, the Big Dipper hosts legends about the Great Bear (Iroquois) and the Seven Brothers and their sister (Cheyenne and Blackfeet). There are still other stories about the Morning Star and the Evening Star and marriages between the Gods and mortals.
In closing, I thought I’d post a short excerpt from the book.
THE ANGEL AND THE WARRIOR, by Karen Kay
He stared at her, and in his eyes, Angelia thought she saw a spark of…laughter?
“After all, what trouble could there be, since a man and his wife are often seen alone together?”
Angelia wasn’t certain she had heard Swift Hawk correctly. “What was that again?”
He shrugged. “What?”
“What you just said.”
He gave her a perfectly innocent look and repeated, “Your brother is over by that ridge, trying to discover who trails him.”
“No, not that—that other thing.”
“You mean about my wife and I being alone?”
“That’s it. That’s the one. Your wife? You have a wife?” she asked, feeling more than a little confused.
He said, “Certainly I have a wife.”
She sent him a sideways scowl. “I don’t believe you. Where is this person?”
He grinned. “Right here beside me.”
“Wait a minute. How can I be your wife?”
“Very easily, I think.”
Angelia sat for a moment, dazed. How could this be? On one hand, she was cheered that Swift Hawk was, indeed, very much interested in her. On the other hand, she realized she should have been worrying less and practicing more of exactly what she should say to this man.
Was this what he’d meant when he’d said they belonged to one another? Marriage?
Aloud, she said, “Swift Hawk, have I missed something? I don’t remember a marriage ceremony between us.”
Swift Hawk frowned. “You do not remember? And yet recalling those moments we spent together is forever here.” He pointed to his head, and then to his heart.
“Moments? What are you talking about?”
“You do not remember.” He tsk-tsked.
Angelia grimaced, placing a hand on her forehead, as if to ease the spinning sensation. “There must be something here I don’t understand, because I don’t recall a thing.”
“Ah, then I should refresh your memory. But…surely you do not wish me to do this…” he made a mock glance around him, “…where others might overhear us, or see us.”
“Swift Hawk, please. Be serious.”
She shook her head. “Have you gone crazy?”
“Perhaps, for my wife treats me as though I am nothing more to her than a…” he drew his brows together, looking for all the world as if he were in deep thought, “…friend.”
“You are a friend.”
“Haa’he, that I am…plus more. Now, I have something else to tell you, and for a moment, I would ask that we forget all this, switch our duties and I will be a teacher and you will be my pupil.”
“Why?” she asked, still feeling bewildered and having difficulty following his line of thought.
“Because I have a problem in mathematics for you.”
“Swift Hawk, please, we are not doing our lessons now. We are having a discussion about…about…”
Swift Hawk shrugged. “All right. If you do not wish to hear this problem, I will not bore you with it.”
Angelia blew out her breath. “Very well. Tell me.”
“No, I do not wish to disturb you with it…at least not now.”
She sighed heavily. “I’m sorry, all right? I… It’s only that you’ve said some things that have…surprised me, things I don’t understand, and frankly, you’re speaking about a subject that must be discussed by us in greater detail. But by all means, let me hear this problem that you have with mathematics first.”
He ignored the sarcasm in her voice and gave her a look that could have been innocent, but it wasn’t. Before she could decide what he was up to, he said, “Tell me, what is the result when you add a man, a woman, and a morning spent together in each other’s arms?”
“Shh. Swift Hawk. What are you doing? Say that quietly.”
“Very well.” Lowering his voice, he whispered, “What do you get when you add—”
“I heard you the first time. Swift Hawk, really, it…it…wasn’t like that… It was…” She stopped, for she seemed incapable of uttering another word.
Now was the time. Now she should tell him.
Angelia opened her mouth to speak, took a deep breath, then held it. How in the name of good heaven could she begin?
She shut her mouth, thinking, summoning her nerve to say what must be said.
Swift Hawk leaned in toward her. “Ah, I can see that you understand. Now you must observe that all of these things, added together, equals a marriage, does it not?”
“No, it—” Angelia shook her head, exhaling sharply. “It does not equal marriage. There was no ceremony.” She said every word distinctively. “But let’s not quibble. Not now. Not here, where we might be overhead. Besides, we forget that Julian might be in trouble. Now, if you would be so kind as to lead me to my brother, I would be much beholden.”
Angelia rolled her eyes. “Please, will you take me to him?”
“Yes, my wife,” said Swift Hawk seriously, though she could have sworn that a corner of his mouth lifted upward in a smile. “Truly, my wife, I will do anything you say.”
“Please, if you must say that, say it softly.”
“Very well.” Leaning up onto his elbows, Swift Hawk spoke quietly, for her ears alone, “Yes, my wife. I am yours to command, my wife.”
Angelia raised an eyebrow. “You are mine to command?”
“It is so.”
“Good. Then I command you not to speak to me of this again.”
Smiling, Swift Hawk inclined his head. “Very well. I will show you instead how eager I am to please you.” He held out a hand toward her.
Angelia rolled away. “Swift Hawk!” she uttered sharply, under her breath. “Stop this at once. Just…just take me to my brother.”
“Yes, my wife. Anything you say, my wife…”
THE ANGEL AND THE WARRIOR by Karen Kay
Miss Connie J is the lucky winner of a copy of The Gunslinger and the Heiress by Kathryn Albright!
Connie J — look for my email! It was lovely meeting all of you who stopped by Wildflower Junction to chat and introduce yourselves! I really appreciate the warm welcome and hospitality!