A hearty welcome today to inspirational author DARLENE FRANKLIN!. Please leave a comment…Darlene has a signed hard copy of A Ranger’s Trail for one lucky person. Darlene, tell us a little bit about your latest release, fourth in your six-book series:
When Susan Page Davis, Vickie McDonough and I first brainstormed about the Texas Trails series, I chose the decade that includes the Mason County “Hoo Doo” War. The brief information I read—a range war—sounded like an action-packed, natural fit for any Texas historical series.
By the time we received the contract and I researched the book, I doubted the wisdom of my choice. “Range war” hardly does justice to the violence that erupted across Mason County and the surrounding area in 1874 and continued for several decades. In fact, the definitive history of the war, The Mason County “Hoo Doo” War by Johnson and Miller dates the end of the war as 1902, the year the last of the major players died!
More than a range war, the Mason County turned into a blood feud between the self-styled “Americans” (we might call them “Anglos” today) and the “Germans,” more recent immigrants who had settled in the Texas in the 1840s (the subject of my first book of the series, Lone Star Trail). Charges of cattle rustling started the war. Americans were tried, found guilty, and got off with a slap on the wrist fine. Germans took the law into their own hands and murdered several of the rustlers.
Before long, they had killed a close friend of a former Texas Ranger, Scott Cooley. The former ranger galvanized the Americans and made it their mission to kill the people responsible for the death of his friend. What emerged was the continuing story of blood feuds or gang war, two factions exchanging life for life. None of the principal players was ever brought to justice.
My heroine’s husband was killed by the Germans—and my Ranger hero’s family is German. An unlikely romance develops between the two of them, but Ranger’s Trail is also about forgiving the unforgivable. More than that, it’s about moving forward when a bad deed isnot punished, at least not in this life. How can someone move past the trauma? This is one period of history I am thankful I did not experience first hand!
Here’s the blurb: When Leta Denning’s husband is killed by the German mob at the beginning of the Hoo Doo War, she vows to seek vengeance on his behalf. William Meino “Buck” Morgan, one of the Texas Rangers called in to quell the violence, has ties to one of the German families. Buck is the oldest son of Jud Morgan and Wande Fleischer from Lone Star Trail. In his quest to get to the truth, Buck interviews Leta but she is not interested and believes that former rangers may be behind the violence. As Leta struggles to keep the Denning ranch afloat, Buck sees a chance to help her while searching for the truth. Their respect for eacho ther grows but will Leta’s quest for vengeance keep her from forgiveness?
Excerpt: “Found not guilty of any wrong doing. Praise the Lord.”
Derrick Denning lifted his cup of coffee in a mock salute to his wife Leta. “As the good book says, ‘Thou hast maintained my right and my cause.’ Though I feel bad about the fines the other fellows have to pay.”
Young Ricky clapped his hands, although he didn’t know what they were celebrating. Leta looked into her husband’s eyes over their son’s head and felt a smile come from the inside out. She hadn’t had a genuine smile for about a week, ever since her husband had been arrested for helping M.B. Thomas and Allen Roberts take their cattle to Llano County from Mason County. The week might have lasted a year, as scared as she had felt. The court case had set her insides all worrying, troubling the baby growing inside her, especially when six of the cowhands had been found guilty and fined $25 a head.
Derrick’s case had been dismissed for insufficient evidence. The German cattlemen had grumbled at the verdict. Leta suppressed the niggling worry that threatened to destroy this night of celebration. God had answered her prayers. She and her family—Derrick, their son, and her brother Andy—could stay put in Mason County, Texas. They wouldn’t have to move every year or two the way Pa had dragged them all over the map.
“It’s not right, the other men getting fined.” Andy stopped shoveling beans into his mouth long enough to grumble. “They didn’t do nothing wrong. The cattle belonged to Mr. Roberts and Mr. Thomas.”
Tell us about a period in history YOU are glad you didn’t experience first-hand!
Visit Darlene at //darlenefranklinwrites.blogspot.com Click on cover to purchase.
Her other recent releases: Lone Star Trail (Rivernorth Fiction, 2011) and Christmas at Barncastle Inn (Barbour, 2011)