Jeanmarie Hamilton Says “Not Your Mother’s Civil War Romance”

jeanmariehamiltonThanks 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?:

north-american-indians-5Lexie 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.

* * * *

northernrosesandsouthernbellesJeanmarie 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:

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

Sunday August 2: Jeanmarie Hamilton is at Petticoats & Pistols

Monday August 3: Susan Macatee is at Love Romance Passion

Tuesday August 4: Caroline Clemmons is at Slip into Something Victorian

Wednesday August 5: Mary Ann Webber is at Arkansas Diamonds

Thursday August 6: Jennifer Ross is at Romantic Crush Junkies


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54 thoughts on “Jeanmarie Hamilton Says “Not Your Mother’s Civil War Romance””

  1. I see I am the first for today. I love the concept for this book. It will make interesting reading.

  2. Welcome,love the post you wrote,looking forward to reading your book,sounds wonderful,I love those type of books,again thanks for coming

  3. Hello Jeanmarie,

    It is always great when authors get together to write a book. I end up with more authors on my to buy list. Thanks. Loved the post. Have a great day.

  4. Jeanmarie

    Congrats on the release of Are You Going to the Dance? I love history and the Civil War has always facinated me. What a great idea for an anthology and even neater that your relatives inspired your story!

  5. Hi Jeanmarie,

    Congratulations on another release. I just bought the paperback of Northern Roses, Southern Belles and now have to wait for its arrival. I love that TWRP issues paperbacks along with e-books.

    I’m impressed that you know so much about your family’s and your area’s history. It makes a great jumping off point and gives the story heart and soul.

    Your excerpt is exciting, and I can’t wait to read the whole story.

    All the best, jane

  6. Looking farward to the continuing encounters between Lexie and Clay.
    Love the Texas Hill Counrty. So glad to learn more about the Civil War action in that area.

  7. Hi Jeanmarie,

    Welcome back to P&P! We’re so happy to be part of your blog tour. I hope you arouse lots of interest in your anthology. Loved the excerpt of your story. I’m definitely going to have to read the full thing. I’m dying to know what happened.

    Interesting about your great great grandmother. She must’ve been quite a woman with a big heart no matter the skin color. I’d like to have known her. You’re blessed with rich family history and I envy that. I don’t have any stories from the forebearers in my family. I’d sure like to know what they did and the things they went through. But everyone is dead that would know so I’m sure everything will stay buried.

    Hope you enjoy your day and good luck with the rest of the blog tour!

  8. Jeanmarie! What a wonderful post. You make Texas seem so close and real. I can hear the whistle of that Texas wind.
    Wait a minute, I LIVE in Texas! Somehow Dallas just doesn’t cut it as a western town.
    Anyway your writing comes from a deep, and true, place. The reader is mesmerized and drawn into a long-ago time.
    Loved it.
    Mary Ann

  9. Jeanmarie, I’m so pleased you are using your family’s wonderful history in your writing. I love that you’ve taken historical details and woven them into a fictional story. That takes talent. And thanks to Petticoats and Pistols for letting you share your story–and ours–with their readers!


  10. Hi Deanna,
    Thanks, I’m so glad you love the concept of our anthology. I hope you enjoy reading it. 🙂

    Hi Vickie,
    I’m so glad you liked the post for today. Check out all our blog tour posts to find more information about the stories. Thanks for saying hi!


  11. Hi Jeanmarie,

    Your great great grandmother was a wonderful person. If more people viewed the way she did it would be a better place.
    I wish you the best of luck

    Have a wonderful day

    Walk in peace and harmony,


  12. Hi Jeanmarie,

    Great post! I am so looking forward to this book. I love historical romances and this is set in one of my favorite timeperiods.

  13. Hi Jane!
    Thanks so much for saying hi and ordering Northern Roses and Southern Belles today! 🙂

    Yes, TWRP does an excellent job of offering both print and ebook. We couldn’t be happier with the results. I’m so glad to hear you like the excerpt. I know you’ll enjoy my story as well as all the others. Have fun!


  14. Hi Nancy!
    You’ve nudged my writing muse and the imagination is already in high gear. I know you’re referring to the whole story, Are You Going to the Dance? but what if there is more to come about Lexie and Clay? Hmm.
    After we came up with the idea for the anthology, we discovered some amazing historical facts which inspired our stories. My research gave me intriguing insight to the stories my grandmother told me about life back then in central Texas.
    Hope you enjoy our anthology!

  15. Jeanmarie,
    Wow, I also didn’t realize there were towns that didn’t participate. How interesting.
    Looking forward to reading your story and learning more about the period of history that is my favorite!
    Thanks for posting the excerpt, it was enlightening.

  16. Great informational post. I have always loved reading history but was not aware of some of the facts given in this blog. Am looking forward to reading this book.

  17. Hi, Jeanmarie! I just got my print copy and finally read your story. Just couldn’t bring myself to read the pdf on my computer.

    This story was great! I love stories involving Native Americans.

  18. I love anthologies… you get to enjoy stories from different authors! Your story sound wonderful! I look forward to reading it! 😀

  19. Hi Linda,
    Thank you to you and all the writers here at Petticoats and Pistols for having us join you today. This is a great place to spend the day!

    I know you’ll enjoy all the stories in our anthology. I’m thrilled you liked the exerpt. 🙂

    As for family stories, I have more stories about my mom’s Texas family than my dad’s northern family. But I’ve recently found a fascinating article online including one generation of my dad’s family. I knew where they were married right before the husband joined the Northern Army at the start of the Civil War. A local history about their town related the account of a tornado almost destroying the whole town in Michigan. The surrounding farms weren’t damaged as badly. My dad’s people were farmers then and were mentioned. I’d never heard that story before.

    But even without family stories, our imagination is inspired by history we research and weave around our characters. Right? 🙂


  20. Great post! I love reading books set during the Civil War and I love reading anthologies, they are my favorite summer reads. Your story sounds like a fasinating read and I would love to read it. I am going to have to put this book on my wish list!

  21. Great excerpt, Jeanmarie! I love the stories you tell of your ancestors, and to see them as the basis for your story is so very special and wonderful!

    It is amazing to me how much of the Civil War we don’t know, considering how “everybody knows all about the Civil War.” Each of our stories highlights a separate, little-known aspect, which is also amazing to me since I don’t remember us planning it that way!

  22. Hi Mary Ann and Caroline, fellow anthology authors!
    Thanks so much for your good words. 🙂 We have a great team, don’t we?

    My mom has already started reading a copy of our anthology and she said it’s great! Warmed my heart. 🙂


  23. I read your excerpt when I put this together, but I’m with Susan. I’m waiting for the print just becaue it’s OUR anthology. Don’t ask, I’m all about e-books, but call me sentimental I want to read this one in print. 🙂

  24. Hi Melinda
    Thank you for your very kind words concerning my great great grandmother. I think you’d enjoy the story inspired by her courage.

    You have a great day too. 🙂


  25. Hi Valerie and Connie!
    Glad I offered some history you didn’t already know. I think you’ll enjoy all the exerpts and stories from Northern Roses and Southern Belles. Some amazing incidents than many haven’t heard about. We were surprised too by what we discovered in our research for the anthology.


  26. Jennifer and Isabel, fellow anthology authors, glad you enjoyed the exerpt!

    Yes, it is amazing how all the stories came to us for this anthology. All different aspects of the Civil War, some we didn’t know about. 🙂

    And yes, there’s something about holding the book in your hands to read.


  27. Hi Tracy!
    Thanks for the welcome to Petticoats and Pistols!

    Great to also have another Texan drop by. We have quite a few here today!

    Hope you’ll enjoy our anthology. 🙂


  28. Thanks for the fascinating take on history. I never knew that whole towns ‘opted out’ of the war.
    A couple of years ago I had a student whose family’s roots were in South Carolina. He was a Civil War history buff, and he told me that a lot of Canadians volunteered to fight for the Union. He also told me that some of his own ancestors were ‘traitors’ and fought for the Union as well. No wonder we love this time period as authors – the possibilities for stories never end.

  29. Hi Jennie,
    Yes, it was remarkable that in Texas towns could opt for a local militia that would stay in or near their own town. The people who settled in central Texas in the 1840s wanted to keep the union of states together, but they also wanted to protect their farms and family members. Making a successful new life in a new country and specifically in Texas, was their dream. Men fought for what they believed in.


  30. Hi Loretta,
    Yes, it was a frightful time in our history. As writers, we have done our best to portray the people and times of the Civil War era in our anthology of stories. The stories in Northern Roses and Southern Belles cover a broad field of experiences that the people of those times faced in their daily lives.


  31. Jeanmarie, such a neat story. I’ve been researching my genealogy lately and has had a great time learning the “history” of my family and their stories. Love that you were able to draw on that for your own fictional story. 🙂

  32. Hi Rachie!
    I’m glad you enjoyed the story. Some day I want to write a book about my family. I guess you could say I’m practicing now. 🙂
    Thanks so much for commenting. Have fun with your genealogy search.

  33. Amazing how ignorant we are of our own history. The text books have been so edited and watered down, that what students get are generalizations that give only a partial picture. We moved to northeast Tennessee and are amazed at the misinformation some of the people believe. The area was generally sympathetic to the north and many young men hid out in the mountains rather than fight for either side. Yet the local high school students run around with large rebel flags on their trucks and local groups are still fighting over little things related to a war that should have been laid to rest a long time ago. These teens don’t really know the meaning or the significance of the flag. A local group is currently fighting over the veterans’ park. There are bricks with the name of US veterans and the war they fought in. They filed a complaint that confedeerate soldiers were not included. Technically, they are not US veterans, but it was agreed to include them listed as Civil War veterans. No problem, except now they are insisting that is not good enough and want confederate listed on the brick. Some of these are the same people that are saying the KKK is a wonderful family/community organization that has picnics and never hurt anyone. Denying the reality of history doesn’t change it and does a disservice to those who lived it.

  34. love the concept of this; sounds truly like a great read and one to be read for sure. Please enter me.


  35. Hi Patricia!
    Yes, we could use more understanding and less waving of slogans.

    I hope you’ll find the stories we’ve written in Northern Roses and Southern Belles thoughtful. Even historical romances can cover social problems and still have a happy ending.


  36. So many stories. So little time. Sigh. I am really glad to see the women’s perspective on this period. We are so often subsumed under the male one. Yvonne

  37. I love this group. You all write such great stories. I can’t wait to read this one. I’ve done some research on my ancestors to see where they came from and where they first settled in this country. In the Civil War, I know there were some families that had sons fighting on opposite sides. I can not imagine having to live with that worry.

  38. Hi Phyllis,
    Thanks for commenting! And thanks for the compliments. 🙂

    The Civil War was terrible for so many, and divided so many people, even families. I found an account of my ancestors in a county gen web forum. Two older sons joined the Northern Army around the same time. The younger son joined the cavalry and died shortly after joining. The older son lived through the war but died afterward from illness brought on by the poor living conditions the troops experienced for so long. Even so, people went on living their daily lives and survived to rear their younger children and grandchildren. People show great courage during times of danger and hardship.

    Thanks for coming by. 🙂


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