Thanks Petticoats & Pistols for having me here today! Why did I join this anthology? Everyone’s enthusiasm made me want to take part. The Wild Rose Press’s editors’ interest in our proposal increased our desire to write the novellas. We all chose a different time, either before, during, or after the war in my case, and we dove in.
My family’s experiences inspired my story, Are You Going to the Dance? With TWRP’s support, it all came together easily. I enjoyed it so much I have written two other novella’s since, and I have one out now with Red Rose Publishing, titled Pure Pleasure, and have sent another novella, a werewolf historical, to The Wild Rose Press for consideration. Along with all our anthology stories, I’m anxious to see Are You Going to the Dance? in print because the story that inspired it is dear to my heart.
What did towns that didn’t choose to fight in the war do instead?
Jeanmarie Hamilton: My great great grandfather came to Texas from Holland. In Texas he married my great great grandmother who immigrated from Alsace Lorraine. My story, “Are You Going to the Dance?” is inspired by their experiences, but does not represent them. He and many folks in the German communities of the Texas Hill Country believed in preserving the Union. If he had been caught taking the mules he raised to the Union army, he could have been shot by the Confederates.
The town where he lived in Texas voted to form local militia units rather than send men to the Confederate army. His son joined the local militia unit and took part in protecting their own town. All of the local citizens, farmers, and ranchers enjoyed frequent weekend gatherings to dance and socialize.
My great great grandmother was also independent and it is said of her that she would have rather been outside riding her horse and working with the men than working inside the house. One night, she found an Indian brave who had been wounded during a raid, but not discovered by the farmers.
She saved his life without the farmers knowing, and as a result his tribe never again raided their farm.
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Excerpt from Are You Going to the Dance?:
Lexie went to the front window. Friends from the Lipan camp had come to trade. They carried baskets of honey. Though she was happy to see them and trade for the honey, she worried for their safety. With the raids uncontrolled, and the militia convinced the Lipan were responsible, it could be dangerous for them to venture so far from home.
“I’ll see what they need. It shouldn’t take long. Go ahead with what we’ve started.” Lexie put down the dress pattern, left the parlor and opened the front door. The Indians were almost to the front yard. She waited on the porch for them. They waved to her and she returned their greeting.
The group included the fathers of two families and their older sons, all of whom she knew and trusted. She greeted them in their language, having learned from her mother. “Good evening. It’s good to see you.”
They answered her in kind, smiles on their darkly tanned faces.
“What are you carrying?” She waited while they started across the front lawn.
“Honey to sweeten your bread,” said Mr. Domingo, the older of the two fathers.
Lexie stepped down from the porch. She crossed to meet them and accept their honey. Hoof beats rumbled from the direction of town. Lexie recognized Clay’s militia racing down the road. They’d seen the Indians. Fearing Clay and his men would arrest them, she warned, “Go. You must get away. Hurry.”
The Indians left their baskets and ran for the corn field. As they started to hide among the tall stalks of corn, she turned to flag down Clay and his militia. Seeing that the oldest of the sons, Ynez Domingo, had been watching to make sure the others got away, she yelled and waved her arms at Clay, desperate to distract him from following the Lipan.
When the militia never slowed, she screamed Clay’s name. He and his men kept on. In horror she watched the brave turn toward her as an explosion blasted from someone’s rifle. He spun and ran deep between the rows of corn stalks.
“No!” she cried. She ran after her Lipan friends, desperate to protect them. Her hem caught on dried leaf stems. Strands of her hair tangled in the waving leaves.
Clay galloped his horse hard toward her. Before she could stop him, he swept her up in front of him in the saddle. In turmoil, she held onto his arms while he guided his horse to the back of her home. He reined his mount around the baskets of honey and toward the far side of the house to the back porch. He eased her from his lap and her feet touched the ground. She spun to glare at him.
“Go inside and stay down,” he warned.
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Jeanmarie Hamilton considers Texas home as it was to some of her ancestors — men who were farmers, ranchers, judges, lawmen, — women who would rather be outside riding their horses than inside cooking, who learned to speak the language of the Lipan Apache, stopped hangings, and raised children. She loves writing stories set in the Southwest about heroes and heroines, the problems they overcame, their fears and triumphs and the forever love they can’t deny. You can find her at: http://www.jeanmariehamilton.com/
Susan Macatee: I didn’t know there were towns that didn’t chose to fight. I do know for a fact that families on both sides tried to keep sons from fighting. Many shipped their sons either North or South to keep them out of the war, but it often backfired as they ended up fighting for the other side.
Caroline Clemmons: Although there was no local militia in my story, I know there were in many parts of the country. My family moved into town, and there were a lot of people migrating to escape the conflict.
Mary Ann Webber: I haven’t heard about this happening in either the North or the South. Emotions ran so high in the South that people were cautious about appearing “soft” on the Union. In my story, No Decorum, Juliet sits in church and nervously listens to her father’s sermon. She’s afraid the congregation will eventually notice he doesn’t speak out against Lincoln like the other ministers in town. Also, she is unnerved because he’s allowed a Yankee soldier to attend their church — that is, until she falls in love with the young man.
Jennifer Ross: Obviously, towns in Canada didn’t choose to fight in the American Civil War. But I was totally amazed at the number of individual “Canadians” (we weren’t a country yet) who volunteered or were “recruited” for the Union Army. Check out this site (Susan Macatee!) it even includes a Canadian woman who volunteered, posing as a man!
Isabel Roman: I had no idea that there were towns who decided not to fight! In school (and I have a BA in American History) I was taught that it was a country-fight: everyone took a side, families were torn apart, the literal north vs. south was the end all be all of the entire existence of the country! I’ve since learned the American Revolution was the true civil war, and there were entire sections of people who never fought, didn’t care because they weren’t involved, and barely kept up with the news. Huh.
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Jeanmarie will give away to 1 lucky commenter: $10(USD) The Wild Rose Press gift certificate. Remember, everyone who leaves a comment on the day of the post for each of the six days will be entered into a drawing to win a copy of Northern Roses and Southern Belles signed by all six authors.
The Civil War as you’ve never read it! Northern Roses and Southern Belles now available from The Wild Rose Press!
Blog Tour Calendar:
Saturday August 1: Isabel Roman is at Night Owl Romance http://www.nightowlromanceblog.blogspot.com/
Sunday August 2: Jeanmarie Hamilton is at Petticoats & Pistols https://petticoatsandpistols.com/
Monday August 3: Susan Macatee is at Love Romance Passion http://www.loveromancepassion.com/
Tuesday August 4: Caroline Clemmons is at Slip into Something Victorian http://slipintosomethingvictorian.wordpress.com/
Wednesday August 5: Mary Ann Webber is at Arkansas Diamonds http://arkansasdiamonds.blogspot.com/
Thursday August 6: Jennifer Ross is at Romantic Crush Junkies http://www.romanticcrushjunkies.blogspot.com/