Today I’m giving away a copy of a cookbook, Cooking on the Mississippi, that I picked up in New Orleans this past summer, as well as an e-book of HER WICKED CAPTAIN, to one lucky blog commenter!
I’m tickled to pieces to get to visit with you all today and want to say thanks to the ladies of Petticoats and Pistols for letting me share. I write historical romances for Avon Impulse and Samhain Publishing. My latest series, The River Rogues, is set in my neck of the woods, the Arkansas Ozarks and the Mississippi River Delta. Get ready to travel, because book one of the series, HER WICKED CAPTAIN is about steamboat gamblers, dueling, and revenge—and of course, romance!
The heroine of the story, Philadelphia Samuels, is inspired by two real women from the 1800s, Caroline Dye and Adah Isaacs Menken.
“Aunt Caroline” Dye (1843?–1918)
When I knew I was going to write about riverboat gamblers, con artists, and gunslingers, I wanted my heroine to be the perfect match for these lawless men. During my research, I then came across a story of a psychic in Arkansas named Caroline Dye with an equally infamous background.
“Aunt Caroline” was born into slavery, but she soon learned how to tell fortunes over playing cards. She became so successful at it, that people came from as far away as Memphis and even Chicago to have their fortunes read. She used her “expertise” to find lost items for people and never asked for any money for her services. Yet when she died, it is said that her bathtub was full of cash from her customers’ “donations.”
Adah Isaacs Menken (June 15, 1835 – August 10, 1868)
There are few characters in American history I find more intriguing than the beautiful Ms. Menken, a famous actress in her time, though some of the facts of her life are still a mystery. In part, her obscurity was self-created because Ms. Menken told many versions of her life story. She was also known by other names.
A great chameleon or maybe even a “Renaissance woman,” she enjoyed acting, art, and poetry. Most authorities say she was of European and Creole descent, and for all of these she also inspired my fortune-telling heroine, Philadelphia Samuels, in the first book of The River Rogues series, HER WICKED CAPTAIN.
About the book:
She played right into his hands.
Possessing uncanny people-reading skills like her mama, Philadelphia “Dell” Samuels has spent thirteen years in her aunt’s rustic Ozarks home, telling fortunes over playing cards and trying to pass as white. But the treacherous Mississippi River childhood her mama dragged her away from finally catches up to her on a steamboat captained by her old friend Rory Campbell.
Known to his crew as the Devil’s Henchman, Rory is a gambler in need of a miracle. Following the cold trail of his boss’s wife and bastard daughter, Dell, Rory has only one goal in mind: saving his crew from the boss’s cruelty by ruining him. The only one who can defeat the Monster of the Mississippi is the man trained to take his place. Rory’s convinced he can lure his boss into a high-stakes game against a rival, and with Dell’s people-reading skills, the monster will lose everything.
Under Rory’s tutelage and protection, Dell agrees to the tortured captain’s plan. Passion and peril quickly bring them together as lovers. But when Rory’s plan goes awry, the lives of the innocent depend on Dell’s ability to read the situation correctly—and hopefully save them all.
Visit the link below to enter a special blog tour contest with prizes including a $15 gift card and more. Then don’t forget to come back here and comment for a chance to win a Mississippi River cookbook and an ebook of HER WICKED CAPTAIN!
For a chance to win today’s prizes on Petticoats and Pistols, I want to know who you would most like to play cards with? (Even if you really can’t play cards, like me!)