Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Love's Undoing, with Gabrielle Meyer

Continuing with the settings of the Backcountry Brides novellas, today I'm hosting Gabrielle Meyer with Love's Undoing. Gabrielle writes:

My story begins in what would one day become central Minnesota on the banks of the Upper Mississippi River in 1792 at a Scottish fur post. Abi is the daughter of a Scottish fur trader and an Indian mother. Early in the story, she leaves the post and travels to Montreal to find her sister. She and the hero, Henry, are accompanied by a Chippewa guide, Migizi, and the man her father hopes she’ll marry, Robert. She longs to get away from the confines and expectations of the fur post and see what the world has to offer.

I loved creating the setting, especially at the beginning when they are in the fur post. My daughter and I visited The Northwest Company Fur Post in Pine City, Minnesota, and that was the inspiration for the McCrea fur post in my story. I live in central Minnesota, so it was easy to set Abi and Henry along the lakes and rivers I know so well. They travel from central Minnesota to Montreal by dogsled (also known as a cariole), and the countryside they traverse becomes almost like another character. It was fun to bring early Montreal to life, as well. It’s the first city Abi has ever seen, and because of that, she experiences it in a way others probably wouldn’t—with complete awe and wonder.

Gabrielle Meyer lives in central Minnesota on the banks of the Upper Mississippi River with her husband and four children. As an employee of the Minnesota Historical Society, she fell in love with the rich history of her state and enjoys writing fictional stories inspired by real people, places, and events. You can learn more about her and her upcoming releases by visiting her website: www.gabriellemeyer.com or her Facebook page: www.Facebook.com/AuthorGabrielleMeyer.


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Monday, May 14, 2018

Land of the Noonday Sun, by Jennifer Hudson Taylor

Welcome to the next installment of The Backcountry Brides settings, and welcome to Jennifer!


Annis Shunk, b. 1832
Deep in the mountains of western North Carolina is an area where the sun’s rays only reach the ground when it is directly overhead during the middle of the day. The Cherokee Indians called this land Nantahala, which means “land of the noonday sun.” This is where I set my Backcountry Brides novella, Heart of Nantahala, in 1757. The Cherokee built a town in Nantahala and called it Aquone, or “by the river.” It consisted of a church, a school, a post office, and a couple of cemeteries. Very little is known of the people in Aquone, as it now lies beneath Nantahala Lake, a man-made lake built in 1942 for electrical power.

In 1835, President Andrew Jackson decided to forcibly remove about 15,000 Cherokee from the eastern states of NC, SC, GA, FL, AL, TN, and marched them by military escort to a reservation in Oklahoma. This removal was gruesome, on foot, and hard on the Cherokee. Over 3,500 died on the 1,200 mile journey, which became known as The Trail of Tears. They suffered whooping cough, typhus, dysentery, cholera and starvation.
A Cherokee house

After forced removal of the Cherokee, their homes and property were confiscated and opened as homesteads to white settlers. In spite of these cruel injustices, a small band of 800 Cherokee refused to leave and hid in the Appalachian Mountains. Their descendants became known as the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

They now live in the Qualla Boundary, a chunk of land that has been transformed into an Indian reservation where they have their own nation, government and laws. Most of their income is from tourism and their casinos are outlawed everywhere else in the state. If you visit the Cherokee today, they have a teepee where you can get your photo taken with a Cherokee Indian. This is purely a tourist attraction, but the truth is, the Cherokee never lived in teepees. Instead, they lived in small houses.

To protect the natural habitat of the area, the Nantahala National Forest was established in 1920, covering multiple counties with elevations ranging from 1,200 to 5,800 feet. Part of this forest merges with the Appalachian Trail where hikers flood the area in autumn during peak season and visit the many waterfalls.

Bennie Thomas Hudson, left
The Cherokee have always fascinated me, as I can only imagine what it must have been like to be forcibly removed from their homes. What must they have endured while hiding out in the mountains to stay here in North Carolina? I believe they were strong-willed, determined, and loyal to each other. If it is true what my great-grandfather told us, that his mother was full-blooded Cherokee, I hope I have inherited that inner strength from my ancestors.

My husband's family is from the Nantahala area and I have always enjoyed visiting the beautiful mountains where my father-in-law was born and raised. In fact, I have included a photo of his ggg-grandmother. She is also from Nantahala, and to me, she looks very Cherokee.

The hills and Blue Ridge parkway call to a writer's muse. I am always inspired to write when I visit, and for a long time I’ve wanted to write a story set here. I hope you get the opportunity to read Heart of Nantahala in the Backcountry Brides novella collection.

Trail of Tears, The History Channel
Nantahala, North Carolina, Wikipedia

Jennifer notes:

The historical image of the woman is my husband's ggg-grandmother who lived in the Nantahala area near the Cherokee Reservation. Her name was Annis Shunk (b. 1832). I believe she is most likely Cherokee. 

The photo of the two men is of my great-grandfather, Bennie Thomas Hudson, on the left. He is half-Cherokee. 

The image of the log cabin is of a North Carolina Cherokee home. Contrary to popular belief, the Cherokee did not live in teepees. They built more permanent structures


Jennifer Hudson Taylor is an award winning author of inspirational fiction set in historical Europe & the Carolinas. She provides keynotes and presentations on the publishing industry, the craft of writing, building an author platform & digital marketing.

Her debut novel, Highland Blessings, won the Holt Medallion Award for Best First Book and she has had reviews in USA Today, Publisher's Weekly & the Library Journal. Jennifer's work has appeared in national publications, such as Guideposts, Heritage Quest Magazine, RT Book Reviews, The Military Trader and USAir Magazine. Jennifer graduated from Elon University with a B.A. in Communications/Journalism. When she isn't writing, Jennifer enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, visiting historical sites, horseback riding, cycling, long walks, genealogy and reading.

Jennifer's website: 

Amazon Author Page:

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Tuesday, May 08, 2018

A Visit from Debra E. Marvin

Fort Niagara stands at the mouth of the Niagara River where it flows into the last great lake, Lake Ontario. Nowadays, that’s Youngstown, New York, USA, and across the river is Fort George in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada—land once known only to First People tribes and fur traders. In 1678, the French Explorer LaSalle crossed the lake to begin a small fort. It is said he was given permission to build a ship, and when the ‘Griffon’ was complete, the French sailed away.  Almost a decade later, the French Commander, Marquis de Denonville, returned to begin work on a larger fort. Despite some success, the next winter’s harsh conditions found them without food and sympathy from the Seneca, so with only a handful of survivors, the fort was once again abandoned.

 Finally, in 1723, the current Fort began to take shape. The impressive stone quarters called The Castle was built to look more like a French Chateau than a fort. But it was a fortress nonetheless with massive walls and a gun deck concealed behind third floor windows. The fort flourished as a trading post until the Seven Years’ War (French and Indian War) when French and British animosity filled the Niagara Frontier. It was captured by the British in 1759.  My story, A Heart So Tender, is set in 1764 at the time of Sir William Johnson’s “Great Gathering”. As Indian Agent for the Crown, Johnson sought peace between the settlers in the area and the many tribes along the frontier. He could no longer ignore Pontiac’s Rebellion to the west, and the Massacre at Devil’s Hole a few months prior. 

The British held Ft. Niagara during the Revolutionary War and only gave it up by treaty in the 1790s but fought for it again during the War of 1812. Again American forces captured Fort Niagara from the British. Until… December of 1813 when the British won it back.

Unfortunately, no one was interested in spending a winter along the lakeshore, and the British abandoned the fort. In 1814 it was officially handed over (once again) to the Americans and eventually saw some new reinforcement during the American Civil War when there were concerns that the British (fearful of the impact of war on their much-needed source of cotton and tobacco) would work on behalf of the South.
Today Fort Niagara is a beautiful step back into history, and the oldest continually occupied military fort in North America. A history of war, yes, but a history of perseverance too. Please keep it in mind if you visit the Niagara River area. And for a taste of its history, read A Heart So Tender, one of the eight frontier stories found in The Backcountry Brides collection.

Debra E. Marvin tries not to run too far from real life but the imagination born out of being an only child has a powerful draw. Besides, the voices in her head tend to agree with all the sensible things she says. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Sisters in Crime, and serves on the board of Bridges Ministry in Seneca Falls, NY. She is published with WhiteFire Publishing, Forget Me Not Romances, Journey Fiction, and Barbour Publishing...and a judge for the Grace Awards for many years. Debra works as a program assistant at Cornell University, and enjoys her family and grandchildren, obsessively buying fabric, watching British programming and traveling with her childhood friends.

You can connect with her here:
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/DebraEMarvin
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDebraEMarvin/

Be sure to enter our huge Backcountry Brides giveaway, going on through the end of May!

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Release day ... party time!!

I'd honestly planned to post the next piece on setting for Backcountry Brides, but I drove to Omaha and back over the weekend for a writer's conference ... and I am tired!!! So, instead I present you ..

Come join us over at the Colonial Quills blog, and on Facebook! Giveaways on both--including a BIG Rafflecopter giveaway with all kinds of neat items--so please stop in to look.

At the Facebook party, I'll be chatting about my novella, The Counterfeit Tory, at 2 PM EDT. (Others will be there on the hour from 1 PM until evening.) The main part of the chat will be half an hour, but I'll be hanging out for a little while afterward to answer questions, etc. I hope you'll join me!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

A Visit from Denise Weimer

For this week's installment featuring different locations of our Backcountry Brides novellas, we're visiting the land of “The Hornet’s Nest,” the setting of Across Three Autumns by Denise Weimer.

Denise writes:

In a historical novel, setting consists of both location and date.

Across Three Autumns takes readers to Piedmont Georgia—the middle part of the state nestling between mountains, coast, and southern flatlands. This area where I now live includes rolling hills, hardwood and pine forests, and multiple lakes and streams. During Colonial times, pioneers described forests lush with wild oats, pea vines up to fifteen feet tall, wild grapes, and haws. Indians had burned off the forests annually to allow grasses to grow, a tradition settlers continued. Turkeys were so plentiful pioneers caught them in pens. The soil proved conducive to growing corn, wheat, flax, sweet potatoes, hemp, and fruit trees.

In the early 1770s, most of Georgia’s settlements clustered near the coastline and up the Savannah River. A 1773 land cessation meeting held in Augusta tempted settlers inland, including the family of my heroine, Jenny White. Local militia leaders Elijah Clark and John Dooly led men like Jenny’s father Asa and Scottish scout Caylan McIntosh in three-month terms battling Creek Indians. When British forces captured Savannah in an effort to subdue the south and recruit Loyalists in the backcountry, Georgia militia rallied against the Tories as well.

My story may be a little unique in the collection in that it covers a three-year period, from 1778 to 1780. I chose a range of time for a couple of reasons. First, it allowed me to show the scope of turmoil endured by the settlers who lived in what was dubbed “The Hornet’s Nest” during the Revolution. The time period includes the 1779 Battle of Kettle Creek through the exodus of Patriot Colonel Elijah Clark’s army along with up to seven hundred women and children to North Carolina.

Second, I knew a romance between Jenny and Caylan would not grow quickly. Even when they had extra time together as he recovered from his Kettle Creek wound, Jenny’s insecurities over her feminine charms kept her from believing Caylan could come to love her. A scout in the militia would only be able to make irregular and brief visits. I wanted their romance to build over time. Their admiration for how the other person courageously faced danger and privation built an initial attraction into something sure and lasting.

Denise Weimer holds a journalism degree with a minor in history from Asbury University. A former magazine writer, she is a substantive editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas as well as the author of The Georgia Gold Series, The Restoration Trilogy and a number of romantic novellas. Represented by Hartline Literary Agency, Denise is a wife and swim mom of two daughters who always pauses for old houses, coffee and chocolate!

Connect with Denise at any of these locations: https://deniseweimerbooks.webs.com