Friday, February 24, 2017

Change of Theme by Paty Jager

The current WIP has been giving me fits.

I started with the hero and heroine. They have a resemblance in some ways to a young couple I met a few years ago. They were so in love, you could feel the electricity between them. Then when I asked them some questions about their backgrounds, I knew I had to write a book with characters like them.

My heroine was to be a daughter of a preacher. The hero, half American Indian and half French. I wanted an obscure mission in the Pacific Northwest that I could have her father teaching at and have the hero be a part of the tribe they were helping to find God and learn to be civilized.

This is country where I grew up. It resembles the Lemhi area
I thought I found my obscure mission. Fort Limhi on the border of Idaho, almost in Montana. At the time of the story it was considered to be in Oregon Territory. During my first two rounds of research, I didn't dig up much about the fort other than the site was chosen in 1856 by a group of Mormon men sent north to find a place where they were welcomed by the Indians. The area in the Salmon River Valley was one where Shoshone, Nez Perce, and Bannock tribes came to fish for salmon and smelt and to have games and races. One band of the Shoshone the Salmon Eaters lived most of the year in the valley. Chief Tendoy of this band, welcomed the Mormon missionaries.  He gave them permission to put up a mission, and they could use the bounties of the valley for their own consumption.

This is the hero, HenrĂ­ Baudin
This was all good information. But I had trouble finding information specific to the mission that they built in a log stockade. How many people lived there? Men and women? What did they all do? I thought great! I'll have an Indian school, the teacher, the heroine's father would be mean to the Indian boys and the hero's uncle would ask him to come help the children. I was 100 pages into the story when I came across half a book on the life of someone who lived and worked at the Limhi Mission (now called Lemhi) in Salmon River Valley.

That skidded my story to a halt. I read all this information, and discovered the school I had outside the stockade would have been a very small school held inside the stockade in the meeting house. And that very few Shoshone attended the school. AND there were bigger political issues taking place that my hero, who was at Yale studying law could help his people with.

With this new information, the story no longer dealt with ill treatment of the Shoshone children. Instead, it now deals with the Shoshone seeing the missionaries friending their enemies, taking natural resources from the valley to Salt Lake, Brigham Young deciding in February 1857 they should build a community rather than help the Shoshone, the army trying to get the Indians on their side to roust out the Mormons, and the final straw, the mission taking in another tribe that had stolen Shoshone horses.

The mission that started in 1856 was abandoned in March 1858 when the Shoshone stole the fort's livestock and horses and killed some of the Mormons when they took over the fort.

As with all my books what started out as a moral theme turned into a theme of justice. I can't seem to get away from that theme in my books, but that makes them grittier and more fulfilling for me to write.

This research and digging is for the fourth book in the Letters of Fate series. HenrĂ­ will release in April. 
If you haven't read this series yet you can find, Davis, Isaac, and Brody on my website and peruse their stories. 





Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 30+ novels, dozen novellas, and short stories of murder mystery, western romance, and action adventure. She has a RomCon Reader’s Choice Award, EPPIE, Lorie, and RONE Award. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. This is what readers have to say about the Letters of Fate series- “...filled with romance, adventure and twists and turns.” “What a refreshing and well written love story of fate and hope!”

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

REVIEW OF WESTERN HISTORICAL -- SLEIGHT OF HEART



Our guest reviewer didn't quite work out this month, so I'm posting a review. 

SLEIGHT OF HEART is by Jacquie Rogers. If you have read her Hearts of Owyhee series—or any of her other books, you already know what a fun, fast-paced western historical romance Ms Rogers writes. In fact, Jacquie Rogers is one of my favorite authors, and the 1880’s are my favorite historical period in the Old West.

In SLEIGHT OF HEART, sisters Lexie and Helen Campbell are in exile, so to speak, because Helen committed a social faux pas and embarrassed her parents and friends. Since she can’t be sent from Washington DC alone, Lexie has to put aside her dream to become a math professor and accompany Helen to a Colorado mine in which the family owns a share. The young women have to remain there until Helen’s blunder becomes old news. They’ve been in Silverton, Colorado a year and the mine barely makes enough money to pay the miners and expenses.

The story opens with Alexandra “Lexie” shooting at Burke O’Shaughnessy. But, her anger is misdirected. She mistakes Burke for his younger brother Patrick, who has Lexie’s sister Helen in the family way and has taken the sisters’ five thousand dollars to buy mining equipment. Lexie believes Patrick is a con man and the money Helen gave him is lost. Helen insists he will return with the equipment.

Lexie and Burke take the train to look for Patrick. Actually, Lexie forces Burke onto the train. The tables soon turn, however. Lexie has an extraordinary mind for numbers—including cards. Burke is a gambler, the son of riverboat gamblers who trained him well. Ms Rogers’ excellent writing blends in historical details with a fast paced romance. In addition to a really good story, she throws in subtle humor and suspense filled with twists and subplots that all tie up in a happily ever after.



An interesting side note is that Lexie’s gift with numbers is based on Jacquie Rogers’ aunt. Doesn’t that make this book even more fun?

I highly recommend SLEIGHT OF HEART to anyone who enjoys western historical romance with a dash of suspense and humor. I give this book a ♥♥♥♥♥ rating.



Find out more about her and her books at www.jacquierogers.com and http://jacquierogers.blogspot.com She also contributes to the blogs Smart Girls Read Romance at http://smartgirlsreadromance.blogspot.com.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Texas Border Outposts: Part One


I just got these award badges from the Paranormal Romance Guild and MUST share them with you. thanks to everyone who voted for Decoding Michaela!

          


Now for Texas Forts!
Texans have long fought border wars of one kind or another. Early settlers often fought for their lives on their own, but later they came to depend on military forces for protection. The soldiers needed a home base where they could live and train for battle. Their posts, with the grand name of "Fort," were often sorry affairs at first, but they formed a line of defense against Indian raiders and Mexican troops.

A few individual Texas forts have been featured on Sweethearts of the West in the past. Today, I’d like to lay out for you the progression of forts across the state as pioneers moved west into country formerly home to the Comanche, Kiowa and Apache tribes.

The first to erect forts were the Spaniards, who built missions and towns in south and southeast Texas. They protected their settlements with walled fortresses (presidios.) Most famous was San Antonio, once called Bexar, with its legendary Alamo.

However, as more and more American colonists flooded in, they established far-flung ranches and small towns that were vulnerable to Indian attack. Formal military protection didn’t exist at first, and colonists had to protect themselves as best they could. This is why the Texas Rangers originally came into existence.

Some early colonists built their own forts. One example is Fort Parker, established in 1834 near the Brazos River by Reverend Daniel Parker and his followers. Fort Parker is infamous because of a Comanche raid in 1836 that resulted in many deaths and the abduction of several white women and children. Among them was 9-year-old Cynthia Ann Parker who grew up to marry Chief Peta Nacona and give birth to Quana Parker, last of the Comanche chiefs to surrender.

Fort Parker; public domain, Wikipedia commons

During and shortly after the Mexican-American War (1846-48) U.S. forts were built along the Rio Grande River. Oldest of these was Fort Brown, sometimes called the “Grande Dame” of Texas Forts. Established in 1846 across from Matamoros, Mexico, it was named after Major Jacob Brown, who died there after losing a leg to Mexican artillery. Fort Brown remained in service for almost a century.

Siege of Fort Brown; Wikipedia commons; public domain

From 1848 to 1849, a chain of forts were built between the Rio Grande and north Texas to ward off attacks by Comanche, Kiowa and their allies. First, several companies of state militia were assigned to temporary camps. These were Connor’s Station in southern Navarro County, Ross’ Station on the North Bosque River, likely in McLennan County, McCulloch’s Station on Hamilton Creek in present day Burnett County, Medina Station in Medina County, Fredericksburg in Gillespie County, and in Austin, where two companies were stationed.

These camps proved woefully inadequate to protect settlers, prompting the United States Army to build the first forts manned by federal troops. They are as follows:

n      Fort Worth on a bluff above the confluence of the Clear Fork and West Fork of the Trinity River, giving rise to the city of Fort Worth (where I live)
n      Fort Graham on the east bank of the Brazos River in Hill County
n      Fort Gates on the north bank of the Leon River in Coryell County
n      Fort Croghan on Hamilton Creek in Burnett County
n      Fort Martin Scott in Gillespie County, 2 miles south of Fredericksburg
n      Fort Lincoln on the west bank of Seco Creek in Medina Cnty.
n      Fort Inge on the east bank of the Leona River in Uvalde Cnty.
n      Fort Duncan on the east bank of the Rio Grande at today’s Eagle Pass



Also in 1849, the Army erected Fort Bliss in far west Texas, where El Paso now stands. to defend against the Apaches. More posts were built on Texas’ southern border: Fort McIntosh at Laredo and Fort Ringgold (or Ringgold Barracks) at Rio Grande City (also called Davis’ Landing.)

Next month, I will talk about the second line of defensive forts as settlers move ever westward across Texas.