Category: Heroines

Flying Into History

 A while ago, when I was knee deep in research for my latest sweet historical romance, I happened across the mention of a woman who made history. Only I’d never heard of her.

I quickly became quite interested in learning more about her contributions to our past, though.

You see, her big historical moment might have been touted around the world, but fell by the wayside when a much bigger event took place at the same time.

Harriett Quimby was born in May 1875 on a Michigan farm.  She was in her early teens when the family moved to San Francisco. With dreams of becoming an actress, she was listed as one in the 1900 census.

She began writing for magazines.  In 1903, she moved to New York City and became a theater critic. Reportedly, she even authored a few screenplays that were turned into a silent films.

Harriett eventually turned to photojournalism as a career and leaned into adventure and excitement. She enjoyed travel, theater, and automobiles. In 1906, after a ride on an automobile racetrack, she bought her own car. At that time, it was unheard of for a woman to do such thing.

Through her journalism work, she covered an aviation tournament at Belmont Park in 1910. Harriett was friends with siblings John and Matilde Moisant. John ran a flying school and produced his own monoplane. Harriett enrolled in the school, along with Matilde. In  the summer of 1911, Harriett became the first American woman to be licensed as a flyer by the Aero Club of America, the U.S. branch of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. A few women had flown before her, but none at that time were licensed.

Tall and energetic, Harriett was hard to miss, especially when she created a flying costume that became her trademark. She wore a purple satin jacket and matching riding pants with high laced boots and a soft cowl around her head.

Seeking more excitement, she went on the barnstorming (a form of flying in which stunt pilots performed tricks, either individually or in groups called flying circuses) circuit where she became quite popular.

In the spring of 1912, after weeks of preparation, she traveled to England to purchase a Bleriot airplane. She borrowed one in Dover, England. Early on the morning of April 16, Harriet became the first woman to fly across the English Channel, landing in France.

Unfortunately, just a few hours after her history-making flight, the world discovered the tragic news of the Titanic sinking the previous day and poor Harriet was obliterated from the headlines.

She returned to America and barnstorming, joining in several air meets. On July 1, 1912, she was paid handsomely to participate in an air show near Boston. In front of the gathered spectators, her plane lurched, throwing her lone passenger to his death. Although she struggled to gain control, Harriett was also thrown from the plane and was killed.

Harriett had been a pilot less than a year, but her impact on the aviation industry, particularly for women, continues to this day.

As I was working on my book, I thought about how young women of 1912 may have looked up to Harriet, found inspiration in her achievements. You can read more about her impact on my fictional characters in Quinn (Pendleton Petticoats Book 9).  The sweet historical romance releases tomorrow.

She’s waging a war for women’s rights

He’s fighting a battle to win her heart…

There’s nothing typical about Quinn Fairfield. The outspoken suffragette spends her days writing sensational headlines as a newspaper reporter and indulging her natural curiosity. She’s much more likely to be found riding a bicycle around town than learning the social graces at which her sister, Caitlyn, excels. When Caitlyn announces her plans to wed a man Quinn doesn’t trust, she sets out to find a reason to break up the happy couple. In the process, she finds herself falling for an intriguing, kind-hearted man.

After spending several years in Portland at college, Walker Williams returns to Pendleton, eager to make his mark on the world. He’s determined to become a legendary architect despite the challenges that arise from his upbringing on the nearby Umatilla Reservation. When a feisty red-headed newspaper reporter catches his eye and captures his heart, Walker fights his growing feelings for her. He’ll do anything to shelter Quinn from the prejudices aimed at him and his heritage.

Can the two of them overcome their fears, set aside the burdens of the past, and surrender to the sweet romance blossoming between them?

Filled with laughter, adventure, and historical tidbits from 1912, Quinn is a sweet historical romance brimming with hope and love.

You can find Quinn on Amazon: http://a.co/2MX4ewF

To enter to win a digital copy of the book, answer this question:

Name a woman who has inspired or influenced you in a positive manner.

 

How am I? Same trailer, different park.

If you’ve read my books, you know I love pairing a cowboy with a city girl. My characters usually wonder how they can be attracted to someone who fails to hit even one item on their this-is-what-I’m-looking-for-in-a-potential-date list, and this creates great conflict. But another reason I love throwing cowboys and city women together is it creates great dialogue and can even increase sexual tension.

Here are some sayings that have great dialogue potential. I’ve tweaked some a little the way I would if I used them in dialogue. ?
• Woman, you’re as friendly as a fire ant.
• Darlin’, I’m so country I think a seven-course meal is a possum and a six pack. (I can see my hero saying this one with a wry grin.)
• If a trip around the world cost a dollar, I couldn’t get to the Oklahoma state line.
• You look like you were sent for and couldn’t go. (Can’t you see the sparks flying if my cowboy hero said this to a heroine?!)
• You’re so skinny you have to stand twice to make a shadow. (More sparks flying, I think as my heroine wonders if this is a compliment or a diss.)
• You look like the cheese fell off your cracker.
• Honey, you make a hornet look cuddly.
• Woman, you talk any faster and you’ll catch up to yesterday.
• You look like you’ve been rode hard and put away wet. Or, it’s twin, you look like you’ve been chewed up, spit out, and stepped on. (This one has potential for a tender moment, as the hero asks her what on earth happened. When she asks why he thinks something is wrong, he uses a soft husky voice and says, “Sweetheart, you look like you’ve been chewed up, spit out, and stepped on.” Of course, what he says shatters her control. She confides in him. He understands and consoles her. Bond forms, and there you go, sexual tension.)
• Woman, you could talk the legs off a chair.
• Are you two sandwiches short of a picnic?
• Don’t dig up more snakes than you can kill. (Can’t you imagine a city girl trying to understand what the hero means by this one and him trying to explain it?)
• Don’t write a check your ass can’t cash.
• He’s all hat, no cattle.
• You can put your boots in the oven, but that don’t make ‘em biscuits.
• Same trailer, different park. (In response to being asked how you’re doing.)
• Dang, if you aren’t double-backboned (I can see my hero saying this to a heroine when he’s impressed with her strength of will or character. Of course, she won’t quite get the compliment, and when he explains it, she’ll just melt all over his boots.)
• Woman, you’d charge hell with a bucket of ice water.

Not only can a western saying add color and realism to a story, it can add humor, reveal character or even create sexual tension. But best of all, it’s fun as all get out to write.

Now mosey on over to leave a comment about one of the sayings above or your own personal favorite and be entered for a chance to win the snack set and a copy of To Catch A Texas Cowboy featuring AJ, a Texas Aggie cowboy and New York City girl Grace Henry.

Updated: January 30, 2018 — 8:42 pm

Take Your Heroine To Work Day!

We all know why we love a great hero. Maybe because they’re larger than life. Maybe because they NEVER leave the gas tank empty or they take out the garbage when it’s overflowing or they drag those cans back up the driveway without being asked… just so we don’t have to do it.

 

Okay, that would be FANTASY WORLD here on the farm, and probably in a bunch of places! In our house the division of duties generally falls on the female of the species, and honestly… I’ve learned that teaching myself how to do things is way better than waiting for someone to do it for me. And in doing that, I’ve strengthened my heroines by default.

 

One heroine learned how to lay tile on a floor after I installed our woodstove tile and floor…

And she opened her own bakery after learning the ins and outs in a big commercial grocery store bakery… and the fact that my night job when I first got published was working in a commercial bakery didn’t hurt! 🙂

One heroine ran a sheep farm in the North Country using the STAR method… We don’t have sheep here, but we’ve got the farm!

Kayla Dougherty was a hospice nurse, based on the great hospice nurses who helped us through my mother’s cancer…

Restaurant? Waitress? A prodigal daughter comes home to help run her family’s small-town restaurant. My eleven years of waiting tables and being headwaitress at the end came in handy here…

Meg in “Small Town Hearts” ran a candy store in Jamison, New York… and guess who loves, loves, loves to make candy for holiday trays??? 🙂

After waiting tables I was offered a job as a bridal consultant at a local bridal store… I grabbed that chance to work in one of the most fun environments you can imagine… and with SO MUCH TO LEARN because I am no one’s fashionista!!! I am the opposite of fashion-savvy so I had to learn everything from the get-go. Hardest job I ever jumped into, and the most fun… And this laid the groundwork for the Grace Haven series where three sisters step in to help their mother’s event-planning business, focusing on weddings! The Gallagher girls got the best of my long-time experience, and we had so much fun!

I used that same experience for a sweet novella contracted by Harper Christian “All Dressed Up In Love”, a story of a young about-to-be lawyer who really wants to run a wedding shop and the hard-nosed lawyer who inherits the wedding gown shop when his mother passes away… and the last thing he wants is to run this store because he’s got plans… BIG PLANS!!!… and he’s also got a heart and can’t bear to see his mother’s employees and friends all out of a job. Set in Old City, Philadelphia, I drew on my experience and eight years of having boys at Penn to fill in the blanks.

Now I get that not everyone has had to hold the number of nametag and hairnet jobs that I’ve done in order to make ends meet… but the huge blessing of that was that I got first-hand experience in so many facets of real-life jobs and now I can apply them to characters and settings!

Readers are not only intuitive, they’re smart. They don’t have to have held these jobs to rationalize the reality from the made-up story. Those grains of reality are what make a story’s heart beat. They’re what cause a person to set a book on a keeper shelf and not in the donation pile… although I don’t mind being donated so that other folks get a taste of what I’m sellin’!!! 🙂

 

I’ve never lived in the West or run a ranch, so for that I take 3 parts farm life, 2 parts knowing men and how funny they are, 2 parts common sense, 2 parts research and one part Chaps and it’s a right solid recipe for creating a Western series. My Double S Series was so much fun to write… and later this year the first book of my Shepherd’s Crossing series will release from Love Inspired! Oh be still my heart, writing cowboys is fun… but then so is writing lawmen and military heroes and farmers and contractors.

This year I bought myself a bunch of power tools. My favorite one is the heavy duty cordless drill that drives screws into place. I’ve built two chicken coops (and made mistakes!) but now my heroine can make the same mistakes and it will sound real because it is!

I don’t like the pneumatic hammer… it’s too hard for me to hold the nail gun up high, I’m short and don’t have that upper body strength, dagnabbit… but I LOVE A GOOD HAMMER!

I put a roof on… badly…. ooops. But the next roof was better! 🙂

Drawing on our lives, our friends’ lives, our jobs, our experiences is a great way to round out those heroines and make them the kind of strong, forward-focused women who can match your hero step-for-step.

I love a strong heroine who’s based in old-time values, appreciates a smokin’ hot hero, and gets the job done… even when the job seems impossible, kind of what sweet Kelsey faced when lake effect snow off of Lake Erie forced her off the road and into the arms of an amazing small town… and gave her reason to renew the two friendships that got her through years of foster care as a Philadelphia teen. “Welcome to Wishing Bridge” might not be a western, ladies and gents, but it’s got the great small-town values we love and the beauty of promises kept… even when they’re old.

Because if my heroines can achieve their goals, there’s a better chance for a long and happy marriage. Pretend, of course.

But happy, nonetheless! 🙂

And for today I’ve got a sweet offering for you guys. Own it before you can buy it!

I’ve got a copy of “Her Secret Daughter” to send to some lucky person… leave a comment below… tell me what kind of heroines appeal to you? Shy? Introverted? Insecure? Or plucky? In-your-face? Determined?

The nice thing is that God made all authors different, so there’s something for everyone!

 

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