Thursday, March 17, 2011

Dangerous Persuasion, Inspired by an Incident in Texas

Dangerous Persuasion, was inspired by a true story that happened to my Texas grandmother's uncle in Texas after the Civil War. Following the end of the war, General Shelby crossed Texas to enter Mexico. Lawless bands of raiders also crossed Texas at that time taking whatever they could find of value. One such group of raiders demanded food and bedding from my great great grandmother, Mrs. Ihnken. My novella,
Moonlight Desperado, was inspired by her experience although my fictional story does not represent anyone in my family. Her story and her son's story also inspired my full length western historical, Dangerous Persuasion.

One moonlit night in June, loud "hellos" were heard outside their home. Mr. Ihnken and his older son had left town on business. Small, petite Mrs. Ihnken was alone with four young children, three little girls and one boy who was about ten or so. She walked outside on the front veranda to see who called out. Against the bright moonlight she saw the dark silhouettes of twenty-five men on horses looming over her. One of the men spoke up and ordered her to bring out all her mattresses and put them in the yard so they could sleep there. She protested but the man insisted. She realized she faced the feared gang of desperados the town had heard about. She went to work and carried out the bedding, placing it where the men directed. The leader instructed her to cook supper for all of them. While following his orders she managed to keep the men from discovering the family store, and they later left peacefully.

In a couple of days, they returned and demanded she provide another meal. The men wandered around the homestead and when a renegade soldier discovered the store, they proceeded to take everything. Finding the old iron safe, the leader told her to open it. Mrs. Ihnken played for time, protesting it contained nothing but some family jewelry which had no value. He ignored her protests and insisted she open it. Her young son stood by her side, and as she bent over the safe, she whispered to him to run for help. The leader heard her frantic whisper to her son and drew his pistol. At the sound of other pistols being drawn, she turned and found her son held at gunpoint by several men. The band of renegades eventually left, taking her jewelry and legal documents.

They had no use for the documents and discarded them in the brush along their way out of town. Before they left the area, they hired two men of prominent families to guide them to El Paso. The guides were later found dead beside the road.

Years later, Mrs. Ihnken's son, now grown, entered a bank to do business in a town in another state. He was directed to the back office to meet the owner of the bank. When he walked into the office, the owner held out his hand in greeting. The young man recognized him but refused to take his hand. He explained that he wouldn't shake the hand of the man who had held a gun to his belly when he was a boy.

This true story about my Texas family inspired my fictional story, Dangerous Persuasion, about undercover Ranger, Kurt MacConnor, who is driven to find and bring in the the murderous outlaw he faced in a bank robbery when a young Texas Ranger.

Undercover Ranger Kurt MacConnor has vowed to arrest an outlaw leader to settle a debt. Cassie Leland is determined to protect her father and their ranch from outlaws. When feisty Miss Leland lands in MacConnor's lap, passion explodes. MacConnor endeavors to protect Cassie Leland from dangerous outlaws, but his passion for her may be the biggest threat.

Dangerous Persuasion will be released as an ebook on March 30, 2011, At Siren Bookstrand under my Claire Adele author name. It will also be out in print later this year. I hope you'll enjoy the story about Kurt MacConnor and Cassie Leland. This was an exciting story to write.

What true stories are your favorites? Do you have an inspiring family story to tell?

Jeanmarie Hamilton, aka Claire Adele
Siren BookStrand
Moonlight Desperado
Guardian of Her Heart
Dangerous Persuasion


  1. Jeanmarie--I can't imagine how harrowing it was for the little boy to have a gun pressed against his belly and threatened to be killed. I sure don't blame him for not shaking the banker's hand later in life :-)

    Sounds like a great story Jeanmarie!

  2. It's an interesting story to read, but think how Mrs. Ihnken must have felt! Not only her safety, but that of her children was at peril--as well as their welfare without the food stores for the family. You hadn't told me the part about your great grandfathr meeting the man later in the bank. How ironic.

  3. Jeanmarie--I love stories based on real events that happened to our families. This one is a real winner--how interesting the young boy remember the banker who held the gun on him. The Banker? A skunk of many colors, I'd say.

    The only thing of a personal nature I can think of now is that my husband's mother's grandmother lived in a cave up in N. Texas--around Granbury. There she had twin boys--each with a middle name of "Cave" or "Cliff. One of the boys grew up to found and settle Stepheville. Guess what their last name was? I hope one day to write a story based on this.

    Thanks for such an interesting tale. And congratulations on your newest release! Best wishes for many sales. Celia

  4. Wow, great tale, Jeanmarie. That wasn't that long ago, really. And to think people believe they have it tough now. It sounds like a great basis for a book.


  5. Hi Jeanmarie,
    What a great story! I love novels that are based on true events. Something similar happened to my great grandmother when they had first come to Indian Territory--her husband was away, and she was there with her kids. She woke up one morning to a knock on the door and opened it to find a band of fierce looking Indians asking for tea, flour, etc. She gave them only half of what she had (good Lord, I would have just given them everything!) because she knew her family couldn't survive if she gave them more. They argued about it but she stood her ground. From time to time, they came back and asked for supplies, but after that first time she wasn't afraid of them anymore. I've thought of writing that scene into a story. But I love the fact that when your great great grandmother's son grew up, he recognized that banker as one of the outlaws. Fantastic stuff! I can't wait to read your new book.

  6. Marin,
    Yes, that must have been very frightening. It's hard for me to even imagine. It would have been shocking to run into the man at a bank in his office later in life.

    Thanks, Marin!

  7. Carolyn,
    Actually it was my great uncle who was involved. My grandmother's uncle, so I think that makes him my great uncle. :-) It's hard to keep these family relations straight. I would have loved to have been there when he told the man in the bank he wouldn't shake his hand and why. :-)

  8. Celia,
    Yes, you should write a story based on your husband's family. I've stayed overnight in Stephenville. It's a pretty setting. How fascinating their story sounds.

  9. Bobbye
    About the only thing I can equate it to these days would be a robbery at a small store in which no one is shot.
    Yes, those women were so brave back in those days to take care of little ones and the home front while their husbands were away for days, or months or more. At least these days most of us live in neighborhoods with lots of people nearby.

  10. Great inspiration for your story, Jeanmarie. WOW what a life your ancestors had.

    I do have an inspriational story that my Mom found while doing geneology - one of the Kirkpatricks discovered a plan to kill George Washington. She heard the damning words while listening through a vents in her house when it was taken over by the enemy. It was an exciting find and was posted in a newspaper after the war was over.

  11. Cheryl,
    Thanks! I hope you enjoy Dangerous Persuasion. :-)
    Yes, your family story is one that happened to other women alone on the frontier as well. My great great grandmother made friends with the Indians near her home, and eventually made friends of the Comanche after she saved the life of one of their braves. Pioneers had a special spirit, I think. :-)

  12. Paisley,
    That's an intriguing story about overhearing a plot about George Washington. Old newspapers were wonderful about posting stories about family history. I hope you'll write a story about that. I'd love to read it!

  13. Hi, Jeanmarie! Congrats on your new release!

    Sounds like a great story and I love the cover!

  14. Jeanmarie,
    I love that your story base is so personal. Wow, just imagining what your grandmother endured during her time, incredible. I'm so proud of you and wish you continued success! *Hugs*

  15. Susan,
    Thanks for coming by and for your congrats. I'm so glad you like the cover. :-)

  16. Diana,
    Great to see you here! I like to use inspiration from my family history for stories. It makes my fictional stories come alive for me.
    Thanks so much!

  17. Great story, Jeanmarie. We should all know so much of our family histories. They're a great reservoir for plot ideas. Congratulations on your newest upcoming release.


  18. Jane,
    Thanks so much for coming by. Yes, it's amazing what incredible stories can be found in history. Thanks for your congrats! :-)


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