Sunday, August 24, 2014

Story Idea by Lauri Robinson

This post isn’t all about cowboys or the west. I hope no one minds. 

My son received a genealogy software program for Christmas last year and we all enjoyed the tidbits of information he found while researching our family heritage. Some of it was new, other bits we’d heard about from other relatives over the years. The most significant probably being my 8 times great-grandmother was imprisoned in 1692 for witchcraft in Salem.

Her name was Elizabeth Austin Dicer and she was married to William Dicer. Her trial records have not survived according to the sites I’ve found, and she lived in Gloucester, not Salem. However, the women accused in Gloucester were divided between the Salem jail and the Ipswich jail. She was part of a group of women whose families petitioned for them to be released from jail in November 1692 because the conditions were so horrible. They promised to return in June. It appears none of the women were made to return because around that time is when the wife of Gov. Phipps was accused and the entire fiasco was called to a halt. 

Her son-in-law is who petitioned Elizabeth’s release. His name was Richard Tarr and was married to Elizabeth’s daughter also named Elizabeth. My paternal grandmother’s maiden name was Tarr and her line of grandfathers leads directly to Richard. From what I’ve discovered Elizabeth Dicer may have been a bit of a crotchety person who accused others of witchcraft prior to her arrest. 

As we now know, the entire fiasco was a tragedy that could have been avoided with a bit of education, but times were different back then—not so long before then they’d believed the world was flat. 

Last month while attending the RWA conference in San Antonio I had lunch with my wonderful Harlequin editor. She’s is from London and it was our first in person meeting, which was a joy. During our discussion, she asked if there was another era I’d like to explore. (My series of books set in the roaring twenties will be released in 2015.)

I told her about Elizabeth Dicer and a plot for a romance story ‘lightly based’ on her plight that had been tumbling around inside my head. She said to write up a synopsis and send it in. I did that last week, so now I wait to see what the rest of the historical team thinks. Writing in a somewhat uncommon era has its benefits and downfalls. It can be looked upon as something new and unique, but readers may not want to embrace reading stories in a time period different from what they’ve come to know and love. I’m guilty of that myself at times.

I have no idea if Harlequin will give me the go ahead on my story or not, until then I will focus on a couple other works in progress where the heroes are cowboys. Such as my next release (November 1st) which is appropriately titled, The Wrong Cowboy.

One mail-order bride in need of rescue! 

All the rigorous training in the world could not have prepared nursemaid Marie Hall for trailing the wilds of Dakota with six orphans. Especially when her ingenious plan—to pose as the mail-order bride of the children's next of kin—leads Marie to the wrong cowboy! 

Proud and stubborn, Stafford Burleson is everything Marie's been taught to avoid. But with her fate and that of the children in his capable hands, Marie soon feels there's something incredibly right about this rugged rancher and his brooding charm…. 


  1. Lauri, I love genealogy too. Isn't learning about history through our families interesting? Good luck with your premise and your upcoming release.

  2. Lauri--you're the only person I know with an ancestor who was connected with the Salem witch trials. I am impressed with your genealogy treasures.
    Your cowboy story caught my eye. I'm writing a trilogy of mail order bride stories-finished two and have the plot for the third one. I wanted them all complete before I turn them in to my publisher. I really like your cover, in addition to the premise for your story.
    And there's a topic I might write about--children in romances. Each of my bride stories have children as characters. I didn't intend that--it just happened. I always wonder if readers like this or not--I do!
    Thanks for sharing the great information on your ancestors.

  3. Lauri, I love genealogy. My mom was the oldest of 11 kids and she knew all the "ins and outs" of our family and I SO wish I had been older in my own family, so I could have listened with better ears and a more receptive mind. I was the youngest in my family, and so by the time I was growing up, even though she recounted a lot of the stories to me, I was a rebel child of the 60's-70's and wasn't prepared to listen as I should have. Thank goodness, I am close with my aunt, her youngest sister, and she is very much into genealogy and knows a lot of this, so I can hear it again from her.

    That's just fascinating about having an accused "witch" in your lineage! It's hard for me to break away into another time period, other than western romance or contemporary romantic suspense.

    Good luck with your venture! Sounds like it's going to be wonderful!

  4. Thanks, Caroline. Yes, family history is so interesting, and fun.

  5. Celia, having a direct connection to the witch hunts makes for interesting conversation. Good luck with your bride stories. I too love having children in stories--writing them and reading them!

  6. Oh, Cheryl, I can so relate. I wish I would have written down so many things my parents used to tell us about!

  7. I just lost my comment because my stupid iPad said I have to sign on again. Grrrr. Anyway, congrats on the book, and Yowzers, I hope you get the green light, Lauri. The Salem witch trials are a particular passion of mine. Way to go!

    ...trying to submit again.


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