FIRST OF ALL, leave a comment to get your name in a drawing for a signed copy of TRIED AND TRUE, and if I mail it fast, you’ll get it before it releases!
I do a lot of research for my books, as all authors do. And I start reading and find something fascinating and there’s a link to click to learn more, then I read that and there’s a sub-topic that sounds interesting with a link, so I click that….and on and on and on.
Research can suck up a LOT of time. But man oh man is it ever fun.
And once in a while I read something that gives me CHILLS.
When I do that, I know I’m onto something that if I twist it around, just so, it could make a book.
Such was my reaction when researching Andersonville Prison because Seth Kincaid spent time there.
I found this woman who’d had a BABY in Andersonville prison.
No one knew there was a woman in there (further research has revealed three women)
To make it even better I found a first person account of the baby written by a guard. The way he describes it is truly chilling.
The guard hearing something he absolutely knows cannot be. The sound of that baby crying.
Seeing with his own eyes the closest thing he can imagine to a miracle in that pit of death and suffering. A baby. A woman. Life in the midst of death.
So I mentioned that baby’s birth in Fired Up, in which I had my hero Dare help with the birth.
I write a more detailed account of that story in a free novella on my blog Closer Than Brothers.
And I had Dare be affected by it much as that guard said he was.
But beyond that book I started reading up on women who’d disguised themselves as men. There were 700 women who fought in the war disguised as men…that are known. I can only imagine how many names were never known. And many of those 700 names were revealed in diaries discovered after the women’s deaths, sometimes years, even decades after the war, because to be surrounded by men like that was so improper it was unthinkable—a secret a woman took to her grave.
This inspired my new series Wild at Heart
And book one of that series Tried and True is releasing in about two weeks. In fact, I’m not sure, but I think it’s shipping from Amazon. I know they let someone put up a review. Doesn’t that mean it’s shipping?
Back to my point….I’ve written about some of these women disguised as men before in P & P https://petticoatsandpistols.com/2012/09/13/women-in-combat-as-men/
I mentioned the baby once very briefly here : https://petticoatsandpistols.com/2013/01/17/trouble-in-texasa-new-series-begins/
And here’s a detailed account (thought I’ve heard several slightly different versions) if you want to read more. This article is called: A Baby Born in Hell
But the highlights of the baby are these
Mother—Janie Hunt: The daughter of Thomas L. Scadden of Chicago married Captain Harry Hunt of Buffalo, NY, in June, 1863. Captain Hunt operated a coasting vessel out of New York City.
After the wedding, all the guests were invited aboard Captain Hunt’s vessel for a short pleasure cruise. Their ship was confiscated and forced to North where it was seized by Confederate troops. The passengers and crew were all taken into custody. The wedding guests were released and allowed to return home—all but her husband, an officer in the Union army. Janie refused to leave his side.
The newlywed couple were held in custody until February 1864—and it is believed they were treated humanely and still hoped to return home. It was during this time that Janie conceived her child. Then Captain Hunt was sent to Andersonville. Janie disguised herself as a man. It is believed she did this with the permission of her guards but they didn’t reveal that she was a woman to the people in Andersonville. She accompanied Captain Hunt to prison.
She was four months pregnant when she arrived in hell—Andersonville.
Janie gave birth and kept the baby, Harry Jr. hidden for four days before someone realized they heard a baby crying.
Janie and Little Harry were removed from the prison and sent to live nearby. One account said she lived in a tent near the prison yard. Another said she boarded on a farm. One version said they tried to send Janie and the baby home but Janie still refused to leave her husband.
Captain Hunt was allowed to work in the camp hospital, a much safer place than in the general population and it’s believe this was at least in some part responsible for the fact he survived when so many did not. So his stubbornly loyal wife and that miracle baby helped to save him. The whole family was reunited and returned home after the war.
No further record of that baby is known…which is odd because Janie and her husband were well known people. It is possible that the baby was never told where he’d been born to shelter him from the ugliness of Andersonville.
What’s your reaction? Do you get chills? Is that an author thing? Can you believe a woman could live disguised as a man in the midst of hundreds of men, sleeping side by side in tents and in the open and not be found out?
I get into all of that in Tried and True and I have a lot of fun confounding a very confused hero who thinks anyone who does realize that Kylie Wild is a woman, ten seconds after meeting her, is a fool
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Tried and True
Kylie Wilde is the youngest sister–and the most civilized. Her older sisters might be happy dressing in trousers and posing as men, but Kylie has grown her hair long and wears skirts every chance she gets. It’s a risk–they are homesteading using the special exemptions they earned serving in the Civil War as “boys”–but Kylie plans to make the most of the years before she can sell her property and return to the luxuries of life back East.
Local land agent Aaron Masterson is fascinated with Kylie from the moment her long hair falls from her cap. But now that he knows her secret, can he in good conscience defraud the U.S. government? And when someone tries to force Kylie off her land, does he have any hope of convincing her that marrying him and settling on the frontier is the better option for her future?
“Another great laugh-out-loud historical romance with memorable characters who have charm, style, grace, and a bit of mischief.”
–RT Book Reviews on In Too Deep
“Connealy’s style is fast-paced and spritely and sure to keep drawing fans.”
“With her trademark humor, Connealy weaves a delightful tale that is sure to please her fans and win new readers.”
–Library Journal on Over the Edge