Trouble in Texas…A New Series Begins

As authors a really common question we get asked is, “Where do you get your ideas?” Never has that answer come so easily as this series.

The Trouble in Texas Series.

Swept Away, Book #1 of the Trouble in Texas series releases in February.

I got the idea for this series while researching Andersonville Prison for the Kincaid Brides series.

All I wanted to know was, “When was Andersonville open.” That’s it. I just wanted raw dates so I wouldn’t claim my hero, poor old crazy Seth, had been locked up in Andersonville, when the prison wasn’t even there.

So two minutes on Wikipedia oughta do it, right?

Well, four hours later, I’m still reading about Andersonville.

I didn’t just read Wikipedia. I found names on books written by men who’d survived there. I found blog posts dedicated to exploring the history of Andersonville. I found a museum, or maybe it was a national park. I found pictures and first person accounts and so many fascinating personal stories, tucked within the big picture.

Now, I always say I hate research. But that’s a misleading comment. I don’t hate research because it’s a DRAG. I don’t hate it because I’m

a lazy dolt who wants complete freedom to mess with history and just tell my story my way, and the truth is a BUMMER.

No, I hate research because it’s a time sink.

I hate it because once I start, I’m gone. Hours go by. I’m following rabbit trails. Links lead to links lead to links.

In fact sometimes I get completely off the subject of my research and I’ll start off reading about a Civil War Prisoner Camp and end up looking at pictures of albino monkeys. Sometimes I have no idea what trail I followed to get there. But I do know those little pink-eyed critters are adorable and oops, I was supposed to get 1000 words written on my book and I managed sixteen instead.

Sigh

So, in my research for Andersonville I found atrocities. Prison guards seemed to turn into sadists. 

 

Captain Heinrich Wirtz

The camp commander Captain Heinrich Wirtz, was called the Pale Rider, one of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse. (unpopular much???)

Out of this toxic atmosphere small groups banded together and became known as Raiders. 

Prisoners were allowed to bring in their possessions to the prison. They had cash in their pockets, rings, food supplies, clothes, shoes, they got to keep it. The Raiders would watch daily for new prisoners and come nighttime, they’d attack. The prisoners in the camp were mostly starving and sick and weak from exposure in the cruel heat of Georgia, while the Raiders, due to their thieving, were often healthy and well fed and well supplied with other comforts. This made it hard to fight back.

One day a prisoner named Dowd, who”d been beaten and robbed, went to the gates of the prison and demanded something be done. He managed to attract the attention of Captain Wirtz and, after hearing Dowd”s story, Wirz announced the he would cut off all rations until the Raiders were turned in.

A group of men, lead by “Big Pete” Aubrey formed the Regulators, with the sanction of the camp commandant, The Regulators went to work to stop the thieving and violence. They were given authority to arrest and hold men. Put them on trial and administer punishment.

Different accounts say they arrested between 75 and 150 men in a ten day time span. A trial was held and most of the men received punishment that included running a gauntlet, stocks, and thumb screws. Several of these men were beaten badly enough in the gauntlet that they later died.

Andersonville Raiders Hanging

The most serious offenders though, the leaders were convicted and hung.

Charles Curtis, John Sarsfield, Patrick Delaney, Teri Sullivan, William Collins, and A. Munn.

This ended the Raiders reign of terror over the prison.

But the rest of these 75 to 150 men were turned lose, back into the general prison population.

And this put the Regulators lives at risk.

No more was there the organized ‘Raiding’ of new prisoners, but there was a seething resentment among the Raiders against the Regulators. There was also a large group who saw what the Regulators had done as traitorous. They’d cooperated with the hated Captain Wirtz and the loathsome prison guards. Most of the Regulators were removed from the general population to save their lives, which only made them seem more like traitors. And that’s the background of my story.

These men.

Honorable men who did what was right and then had to face down thousands who believed they were turncoats. They trusted each other implicitly and fought at each other”s sides.

This is the bond between my heroes in the Trouble in Texas series and we start with Luke Stone.

He’s going back to Texas.

He’s found his sister missing. (Callie Stone married to Crazy Seth Kincaid in Over the Edge).

His ranch stolen.

His father dead. Now Luke’s going to set things right. And his Regulator friends are coming to help him.

And as for the heroine, she was swept away in a raging flood from the family that raised her and she considers herself well rid of them. Only now, Luke Stone has pulled her out of the river, half drowned and he has bad men on his trail. He can’t leave her behind. So he takes her along to start a range war, so unfortunately there are more chances to die in Ruthy’s immediate future.

http://www.maryconnealy.com/

Mary Connealy
Author of Romantic Comedy...with Cowboys including the bestselling Kincaid Brides Series
https://petticoatsandpistols.com/sweepstakesrules
Updated: October 8, 2013 — 9:26 pm

30 Comments

  1. Another good series to look forward to. We have been to Andersonville, but it was to attend a military friend’s funeral. Unfortunately, we did not have time to spend there except for the service. We will be going back. I am always saddened when men, and women, prove just how predatory they can be. Too bad that sometimes doing the right thing is not seen as such. (doesn’t sound right) We have friends and family that are involved in Civil War reenacting and written books on different aspects of the war.

    Too true about research being such a time suck. I love it, but nothing else gets done.

    I look forward to the release of SWEPT AWAY.

  2. Mary, as you probably know, I love Andersonville Prison and have a western historical series (not sold because I’m doing a contemporary series with eKensington)about the second generation following the Civil War. My interest in Andersonville came kinda by accident. I’d read about it, and like you, if I begin researching, I’ll end up spending days on the subject. Anyway, my husband and I were driving to Florida and I realized we were pretty near Andersonville, so we made a side trip. I’ve got a fantastic DH who indulges me with my whims. Anyway, unknown to me, they were having their annual festival and the people were dressed up in period and had the whole area in period, including a field hospital. I have a picture of me at the Raider’s graves. They are buried in a location separate from the other graves. I stood behind a cannon when it was fired in a reenactment. Probably twenty feet and can still remember the sulphur burning in my nose, how the earth shook beneath my feet and most of all the pressure it put on my chest; and again, I was at least twenty feet behind it. I can only imagine how the soldiers felt after days and days of shooting cannons. I got to see how the men where dressed because I hadn’t thought about the layers of clothing they had to wear because they had to be prepared for both hot weather and cold weather. They had drummer boys dressed in period. My DH took me back to Andersonville on our way back home from Florida. Something really funny happened on my first visit. I was sitting on a bench with a lady and she asked why I was there. I told her research for a historical romance novel. She said, “So you write those SSS books!” I had no idea what she meant, so unfortunately for me I just had to ask. She answered, “Sultry, Southern Sluts!” My answer was simple, “No. I write about true Texas women who love their men and know how to treat them.” So that ended our conversation and she strolled off in her true southern flair. I love the story. I absolutely am fascinated with Andersonville yesterday and today. Mary, thanks for a wonderful blog with a ton of information. I’m fixin’ to order your book right away. Can hardly wait to read it. You’re the best! Hugs, Phyliss

  3. I just got my cover for book #2 in this series and am really in love with it.
    I hope to get it to show it off soon.

  4. Patricia and Phyliss, you ladies know more about Andersonville than I do. I love reading what you know!

  5. Fascinating research, Mary. And I already love the idea of your Regulator heros. I can’t wait to see what adventures you have in store for us!

  6. Mary, Congratulations on your new series! I know what you mean about research being a time sink. Did you know that butterflies don’t have lungs and taste with their feet?

    And if you ever have a couple of hours to kill, I’ll be happy to share all 1005 facts I just learned about the American Bison…

  7. Big congrats, Mary, on the new exciting series!! I can’t wait to read this book. Sounds like it has oodles of danger and adventure which is right up my ally. Thanks for sharing what you discovered at Andersonville Prison. Very interesting. And sad. Wishing you tons of success, my Filly sister!

  8. Margaret LOL that is EXACTLY what I mean. I am always looking for someone who will let me tell them all I know about Homesteading.
    I think there is no doubt that people are hiding from me.

  9. Karen, reading about these REgulators was just so fun. There are a bunch of old diaries available on Amazon, many on Kindle most not expensive. And the research into the Regulators led me to yet another series. The Civil War is a background event for all of them and yet a while in the past.
    But don’t you think the Civil War was a formative event for almost everyone who lived in that time? Everyone had to lose someone whether they fought or not.

  10. Linda, we start with the hero running for his life and the heroine getting caught (Swept Away!) in a flash flood… Their paths cross.

    And then things get really wild!

  11. The thing those diaries do more than regular history books or websites is give you a sense of how they talked, how they reacted. I read one once that seemed really full of hatred and so biased and slanted against the Raiders that I just doubted it was even true. Nasty comments about their parentage and stuff, but then I thought, you know that’s how the men back then really THOUGHT. It may not be factually true but the emotion of that diary was true for that one man and it could be true for one of MY characters.

  12. Mary, this sounds like another good series from you…looking forward to it!!

  13. As usual, you’ve swept me right in! Looking forward to it!

  14. Mary, this sounds absolutely fascinating. And I know what you mean about getting lost in the rabbit trails that research send you down. But it’s soooooo much more fun than doing the actual writing 🙂

  15. Cool stuff, Mary. I’d know Andersonville was a horror but these details are great. Best of luck with the new series. I know we’re all in for wonderful reads.

  16. Hi Mary – I loved the way you explained the story of Andersonville..it’s something I have a better understanding of now. I love the idea of banding honorable men together…just the premise alone should sell wagonloads of books.

  17. Is this where we can discuss Andersonville today? With Mary?

  18. Mary, I’ll be in line to get your new series. I’ve loved everything you’ve put out. Your blog on Andersonville caught my eye because I live about 50 miles away and have never had any interest in it. I went with some cub scouts once and like others, came away with my ears ringing from the cannon fire.
    It’s ironic that I’d rather research northern prisons. Go figure.

  19. Mary,
    Thank you so much for sharing about your research Mary.
    I understand about the monkey issue! I really know nothing about Andersonville Prision probably because I am a Northerner. I need to do some research before I read your books so I will get a feel for the land. Can’t wait to read this series.
    Your books always give me a mini vacation but don’t do much for the house work.

  20. FRANK!!!!!!!!!!!
    Frank is an Civil War and Andersonville expert. Yes, this is the place. Feel free to add anything, CORRECT anything.
    I’ve made some changes in my book since I talked with you, Frank.
    Frank is the author of a collection of letters home from Union Soldiers.
    His book is titled, Proud to Say I am a Union Soldier: The Last Letters Home from Federal Soldiers Written During the Civil War, 1861-1865

  21. Rosie, if you want to do research you should instead research Palo Duro Canyon in north Texas. That’s where my book is set. The Andersonville Prison part is all backstory, but it is FASCINATING backstory.

    Maybe set a timer so you don’t forget to feed the family!!!

  22. Elaine, I sooooooooo know what you mean about not getting interested in the stuff in our own back yard.
    A writer’s group I belong to has made a project out of doing the touristy things in and around Omaha, NE and Council Bluffs, IA. We’ve been going to little museums and charming old restored houses.
    Well, honestly, we mainly have LUNCH AND TALK, but we’re trying to appreciate the history of our own corner of the world. It’s surprisingly rich. Lots and lots about the Union Pacific Railroad in this area.
    Other things, too.
    I got to hold a Mammoth tooth and we saw the remnents saved from the cargo hold of a wrecked ship. Which is really cool because it’s from about the right time for my books so I could SEE old coats and boots and pans and even matches. Tins of peaches, old lanterns. You write about things differently once you’ve seen them.

  23. Although I’ve never worked a mammoth into my book yet…which is a darned shame!

  24. I’m sure I’ve said this here before but did you all know there was a BABY BORN IN ANDERSONVILLE PRISON?
    That is absolutely going to make it’s way into my book somehow!

  25. Hi Mary, congrats on your new series! Love the sound of it very interesting. I can’t wait to read it.

  26. Quilt Lady, thanks. I’m excited about it. It’s always fun to start something new. 🙂 Get a whole new batch of characters into trouble!

  27. I am looking forward to this new series so it was especially interesting to read the background. I have a cookbook that was complied in 1980 by the Andersonville Guild. Besides recipes, it contains pen and ink sketches of some of the historical buildings in the village and some historical notes. The book states that the guild was formed in 1973 to beautify the town and make it look much as it did during the War Between the States.

  28. As always, SOOO looking forward to diving into this new series head first! Thank you so much for all of your hard work in making your books A+++++++++++!

  29. I’m late to the party, but I had so much fun reading this post, Mary! I couldn’t agree more with you about researching. I LOVE to research, but it’s so time consuming and I get side-tracked so easily! But the way I look at it, if I’m on a side trail, discovering possible ideas for more stories, it’s not really wasted time, is it? 🙂

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