Tag: Jennifer Uhlarik

THE GILDED AGE by JENNIFER UHLARIK

 

Hello, Petticoats & Pistols readers! I’m so excited to be back with you today. I’m sharing a bit about an era in American history called The Gilded Age.

Many of you may already know what the Gilded Age is, but in case you don’t, it was the time period here in America occurring between the end of the Civil War and the turn of the century (1865 until 1900). The term, “The Gilded Age,” came from Mark Twain’s novel The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today. Twain’s work satirized the many social problems of the era, which society had seemed to gloss over, as if with a thin layer of gold. While Twain’s book was published in 1873, the term didn’t come into use for this time period until the 1920s.

 

 

So what were some of the common issues that marked the Gilded Age?

  • Rapid economic, technological, political, and social transformation
  • Huge disparity between the rich and the poor across the country
  • Building and completion of the Transcontinental Railroad
  • Westward Expansion
  • Native Assimilation—forcing the Native American people to either assimilate into white culture or live on government-run reservations
  • An increase in European immigration
  • The formation of labor unions, which fought for worker’s rights, child labor laws, and eight-hour work days, among other things
  • An increase in popularity of some Christian denominations
  • An uptick in Christian missionary work
  • Social reforms, such as temperance movements or the Women’s Suffrage movement
  • An increase in women in the workforce
  • An increase in leisure activities like sports

And the list could go on.

I was excited to have the opportunity to write a novella for Barbour’s recently-released Of Rags And Riches Romance Collection. The theme of the collection is all about the Gilded Age. Each of the nine stories focus on the haves and the have-nots of society, although the stories aren’t all about romances between a rich person falling in love with a poor person. Sometimes the stories feature two working-class people falling in love, or two rich people finding romance together. But the theme of wealth—or the lack thereof—is prevalent in each story. And in most cases, the stories also delve into at least one, if not several, other themes of this period. Because the era was so broad—board in years, broad in location, broad in the changes that came about during this time—the stories are vastly different, offering quite the range of reading in one volume. The authors in this collection are: Susanne Dietze, Michelle Griep, Anne Love, Gabrielle Meyer, Natalie Monk, Jaime Jo Wright, Erica Vetsch, Kathleen Y’Barbo—and me, Jennifer Uhlarik.

My story, Union Pacific Princess, focuses on the themes of Westward Expansion, the building of the Transcontinental Railroad, and Native Assimilation. After her mother’s untimely death, my heroine, Dara Forsythe, leaves Boston to join her estranged father, a bigwig with the Union Pacific Railroad. But she experiences quite the culture shock when she steps off the train into a hell-on wheels railroad camp. All around her are tents, mud, and squalor. The one bright spot in the entire tent city is the poor, but charming hero—Gage Wells.

Gage is a Georgia farmer-turned-highly-skilled Confederate sharpshooter. At the Civil War’s end, he moved west to escape the memories of the conflict, but as the railroad plows across the territory he now calls home, he sees another conflict brewing—this time between the railroad, the white settlers, and his new friends, the Cheyenne. Gage’s plans to stop the railroad—and prevent a war—become far more complicated when he meets the intriguing rich girl, Dara Forsythe, and realizes she’s the daughter of his nemesis.

 

So there’s a snapshot of the Gilded Age—and the Of Rags And Riches Romance Collection. I hope you’ll check our stories out.

It’s your turn! Have you ever heard of The Gilded Age? Which of the various parts of the age that I listed above do you think you’d have been a part of, if you’d lived during that time—and Why? I would love to give one lucky reader an autographed print copy of Of Rags And Riches, so leave me your thoughts!

 

Jennifer Uhlarik discovered the western genre as a pre-teen, when she swiped the only “horse” book she found on her older brother’s bookshelf. A new love was born. Across the next ten years, she devoured Louis L’Amour westerns and fell in love with the genre. In college at the University of Tampa, she began penning her own story of the Old West. Armed with a B.A. in writing, she has won and finaled in numerous writing competitions. In addition to writing, she has held jobs as a private business owner, a schoolteacher, a marketing director, and her favorite—a full-time homemaker. She currently writes historical novellas of the American West for Barbour Publishing and works as a Content Editor for Firefly Southern Fiction. Jennifer is active in American Christian Fiction Writers and lifetime member of the Florida Writers Association. She lives near Tampa, Florida, with her husband, college-aged son, and four fur children.

 

Copyright Info for steam engine photo:

© Leigh Warner

ID 10208093 | Dreamstime Stock Photos

 

Copyright info for train tracks:

© Jennifer Uhlarik

 

Copyright info for Author headshot:

© Emilie Anne Hendryx

 

Buy Link:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1683222636/ref=nav_timeline_asin?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&tag=pettpist-20

 

RECIPE FOR THE PERFECT SETTING BY JENNIFER UHLARIK

JEN HEADSHOTjuhlarik-HR-3

Hi everyone. Jennifer Uhlarik here.

Sometimes when story ideas come to me, they come already fleshed out with details that it would normally take several chapters of writing to discover. My newest novella, Mountain Echoes, included in The Courageous Brides Collection, was this way. When the idea came to me, I knew the story was about a school employee, Hannah Stockton, who is on her way to pick up a new student from a distant town. When the stagecoach crashes high in the mountains, she must lead the survivors to safety. So my setting had to included nearby mountains and known stagecoach routes that cut through those mountains. Doesn’t sound too hard, does it? But wait…I forgot to mention something. Hannah doesn’t work for any old school—it’s a school for the deaf. Oops…that certainly complicated matters. Just how many schools for the deaf were there in the Old West anyway?

Sure, I could have made up a fictional place, but I love research, and if I can find real cities or towns for my settings, it makes the storytelling all the more fun for me. I set out looking at the Rocky Mountains, and particularly Colorado. I could find stage coach routes that went up into the Rockies, but no luck on the school. I checked Arizona and New Mexico, since there are many small mountain ranges there. Again, I could find the proper terrain, the stagecoach lines, but no school.

So…when all else fails, keep looking further west!

I finally found the right place in California. The Sierra Nevada on the eastern side of the state provided the mountain range I would need, and there were any number of stagecoach lines that traveled through those mountains to points beyond. The final piece of the puzzle—the school for the deaf—fell into place when I discovered that in the Spring of 1860, a group of twenty-three ladies met together to to address the growing needs of indigent deaf children in the San Francisco area, which led to the creation of the California School for the Deaf. (Even more exciting to me is that the school is still in operation today!)

JEN DEAF SCHOOL

 

 

 

 

 

With all these pieces in place, I finally settled on setting the story in 1862 since, by then, the school had opened their doors to deaf children not just in the state of California, but also in neighboring states and territories. It gave all the more reason for Hannah to travel across the Sierra Nevada to Virginia City, Nevada (or in that day, Utah Territory).

 

JEN Pioneer Stage Line Ad

But the research wasn’t over there. I didn’t want to make up details about a stage line. I wanted to use real details—real stage stops, real time frames for traveling, when passengers would’ve eaten meals, and the like. Again, the details weren’t particularly the easiest to find, but I was eventually able to dig up old newspaper advertisements that details the routes and durations of several old stagecoach lines. It was rather fascinating to discover that Pioneer Stagecoach Company had two ways to cross the Sierra Nevada between Sacramento and Virginia City. They had the “Through Line” which would travel the roughly 150-mile route in 24-30 hours, leaving at 6:30 AM and arriving on the other end the following day around noon. Or they had the “Accommodation Line,” which traveled the same route across three days with overnight stays in Placerville and Strawberry. My characters chose the Accommodation Line, by the way.

 

JEN strawberry_1858

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had a blast researching the details that went into Mountain Echoes, and I hope you’ll enjoy reading it! Thanks for letting me share! To celebrate the recent release of The Courageous Brides Collection, I’ll be giving away a print copy of the book to one reader. Please leave me a comment!

JEN COVER The Courageous Bride Collection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bio:

 

Jennifer Uhlarik discovered the western genre as a pre-teen, when she swiped the only “horse” book she found on her older brother’s bookshelf. A new love was born. Across the next ten years, she devoured Louis L’Amour westerns and fell in love with the genre. In college at the University of Tampa, she began penning her own story of the Old West. Armed with a B.A. in writing, she has won five writing competitions and finaled in two other competitions. In addition to writing, she has held jobs as a private business owner, a schoolteacher, a marketing director, and her favorite—a full-time homemaker. Jennifer is active in American Christian Fiction Writers and lifetime member of the Florida Writers Association. She lives near Tampa, Florida, with her husband, teenaged son, and four fur children.

 

For the Amazon Buy Link Click HERE.

 

Pioneer Stage Ad: Credit California Digital Newspaper Collection (www.cdnc.cdr.edu)
Strawberry Lodge Photo: Credit The Strawberry Lodge (http://www.strawberrylodge.com)
Author Headshot: Credit EA Creative (http://www.eacreativephotography.com)

Jennifer Uhlarik’s Winner!

The Convenient Bride Collection--Lrg

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What a great time we had with Jennifer and her western lawyers! YeeHaw. Next time I end up in the hoosegow, I’ll know who to holler fer.

Congratulations to . . . Tammy Cordery.

Tammy, you are the lucky winner of The Convenient Bride Collection.

I know you’re going to enjoy all these great stories!

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Guest Jennifer Uhlarik and Western Lawyers

juhlarik-HR-3BECOMING A LAWYER IN THE OLD WEST

Thank you, Fillies, for having me today! I’m so excited to share a little about my story, Wedded to Honor, from The Convenient Bride Collection. In this novella, trouser-wearing tomboy Honor Cahill marries Eastern-bred attorney Ashton Rutherford III, in order to keep her beloved California ranch from falling into the hands of her greedy half-brother. Ash earned his law degree from Harvard, but in order to write this novella, I found myself having to research the various ways one could become a lawyer in the 1870’s.

Would it surprise you to know that during the colonial days, there were no law schools, either here in America or back in England? It wasn’t until a few years after the American Revolution that the first colleges—the College of William and Mary and the University of Pennsylvania—added a “Chair in Law” to their collegiate staff. By 1784, the Litchfield Law School opened, becoming the first official law school. It wasn’t until the 1840s and beyond that Yale, Harvard, and other prestigious institutions known today opened the doors to their law schools. And if you were a woman hoping to practice law, your choices were even fewer. Women were not allowed to study law in colleges and universities until the late 1800s or early 1900s.

So how did one become a lawyer with few choices for schooling? The short answer is—you became an apprentice. Sounds simple enough, though in my estimation, the process was anything but…

The process, called “reading law,” was composed of only two steps. First, the would-be lawyer would need to find an experienced, practicing lawyer who was willing to apprentice or mentor him. Second, under the tutelage of a willing teacher, the new apprentice would begin a period of study. There was no determined length of this period of study, so I’m led to believe the term depended on the how quickly the student learned and could convince his teacher he understood the law.

Commentaries_on_the_Laws_of_England_Title_PageEdward Coke Title PageThere were two main texts used in this study time. The first, The Institutes of Lawes of England written by Sir Edward Coke, was a series of legal articles first published between 1628 and 1644. The other, Commentaries on the Laws of England written by Sir William Blackstone, was a 18th century publication on the common laws of England published in four volumes. Can you imagine trying to muddle through these extensive tomes on a self-study course? It would be difficult at best, and would probably require many long discussions between the experienced lawyer and the apprentice. In addition, other lesser-known texts could be used for clarification and support, and lectures by the “Chair of Law” professors at various colleges and universities were also used to bolster the apprentice’s understanding, if he were near enough to attend such events. For those living in out of the way places, they relied strictly on the two resources named above.

As the study progressed and the apprentice grew in knowledge, the mentoring lawyer would allow him to do more of the work of a full-fledged lawyer, whether that was researching laws, filing petitions, or helping to prepare for trials.

In 1878, the American Bar Association was formed. Due to the association’s pressure upon the states not to admit just anyone to the Bar, the method of apprenticeship began to wane. By the 1890s, the new standard was to attend at least a couple of years of law school before one could be admitted to the bar.

Interestingly, while the standard today is for people to attend law school, California, Maine, Vermont, Virginia, and New York allow for would-be lawyers to “read law” under a practicing attorney. In 2013, sixty people in the U.S. were admitted to the Bar Association under this process.

It’s your turn: Would you employ the services of an attorney today who had “read law” rather than attended law school? Leave me a comment, and you will be entered in the drawing for a copy of The Convenient Bride Collection.

 

The Convenient Bride Collection--Lrg

Click on Cover to Order

The Convenient Bride Collection:

Join nine brides of convenience on their adventures in a variety of times and settings gone by—from a ranch in California…to the rugged mountains of Colorado…to a steamship on the Mississippi…to the dangerous excitement of the Oregon Trail…into high society of New York City. No matter the time or place, the convenient brides proceed with what must be done, taking nuptials out of necessity. . .and never dreaming that God might take their feeble attempts to secure their futures and turn them into true love stories for His glory.

Jennifer Uhlarik discovered the western genre as a pre-teen, when she swiped the only “horse” book she found on her older brother’s bookshelf. A new love was born. Across the next ten years, she devoured Louis L’Amour westerns and fell in love with the genre. In college at the University of Tampa, she began penning her own story of the Old West. Armed with a B.A. in writing, she has won five writing competitions and finaled in two other competitions. In addition to writing, she has held jobs as a private business owner, a schoolteacher, a marketing director, and her favorite—a full-time homemaker. Jennifer is active in American Christian Fiction Writers and lifetime member of the Florida Writers Association. She lives near Tampa, Florida, with her husband, teenaged son, and four fur children.

 

 

 

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