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