Monday, November 29, 2021
Thursday, November 25, 2021
Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Pamela Desmond Wright
Tuesday, November 23, 2021
Thursday, November 18, 2021
Wednesday, November 17, 2021
Old West Wednesday: Charley Parkhurst
Stories of extraordinary people abound from the Old West. The trick is separating fact from fiction, truth from legend. One such story revolves around Charley Darkey Parkhurst, also known as One-Eyed Charley, Six-Horse Charley, and Mountain Charley who worked as a stagecoach driver, then later farmer and rancher.
The most unusual aspect of this tale is that Charley was a woman. Scholars speculate as to why Charlotte chose to live her life as a man, but because her gender wasn’t discovered until after her death, the real reason followed Charley to her grave.
Little is known about her early years other than that she was born in Sharon, Vermont, in 1812. She reportedly had two siblings, one of whom died as a toddler, and her mother passed away shortly after Charley’s birth. Nothing is mentioned of her father, but perhaps he’s the one who took her to an orphanage in Lebanon, New Hampshire where she lived until she ran away at the age of twelve. It was at that point, Charlotte became Charley.
According to one account, Charley met livery owner Ebenezer Balch in Providence, Rhode Island. Balch took the young woman under his wing and taught him about being a stable hand as well as how to be a stagecoach driver. She worked for Balch for some period of time before moving on to Massachusetts and Georgia.
In 1848, Charley decided to take her chances in the California gold rush and boarded a ship to San Francisco. The vessel stopped in Panama where she met John Morton, owner of a drayage business. He recruited Charley to work for him. She later worked for John Birch’s California State Company and the Wells Fargo Company.
At some point, Charley was involved in an accident during which a horse kicked her in the face,
Driving a stagecoach was not only difficult but dangerous. Drivers carried mail as well as gold and passengers and had to deal with hold-up attempts, rattlesnakes that could spook horses, bad weather, and treacherous roads, some of which were no more than trails. Charley’s routes in northern California were the Stockton to Mariposa and San Jose, San Jose to Oakland, and San Juan to Santa Cruz. Described in several accounts as short and stocky, a whiskey drinker, cigar smoker, and tobacco chewer, apparently Charley was up to the task.
When the railroads cut into the stagecoach business, Charley retired and moved to Watsonville, California where she worked at farming and lumbering. She died in 1879 of tongue cancer, and when neighbors came to lay out the body for burial, her identity as a woman was revealed. An interesting aside is that one site claims the examining doctor determined that Charley had given birth at some point.
After the LA Times reported the discovery, national newspapers picked up the sensational story, including this piece from the January 9, 1880 edition of The New York Times: “Thirty Years in Disguise: A Noted Old Californian Stage-Driver Discovered after Death to be a Woman:
As they say, truth is usually stranger than fiction.
Hannah Lauman’s husband has been murdered, but rather than grief, she feels...relief. She decides to remain in Georgia to work their gold claim, but a series of incidents makes it clear someone wants her gone...dead or alive. Is a chance at being a woman of means and independence worth risking her life?
Jess Vogel never breaks a promise, so when he receives a letter from a former platoon mate about being in danger, he drops everything to help his old friend. Unfortunately, he arrives just in time for the funeral. Can he convince the man’s widow he’s there for her protection not for her money?
Gold Rush Bride: Hannah is the first book in the exciting new series Gold Rush Brides. Steeped in romance, intrigue, and history, the story will keep you turning pages long into the night.
Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/31QvuSM
Monday, November 15, 2021
Mystery Monday: Pinkerton’s Lady Detectives
Kate Warne was Allan Pinkerton’s first female detective, but neither was she the last or only woman he hired. Here is a bit about three of his lady “private eyes.”
Hattie Lewis Lawton: a widow, she was described by Allan as “delicate and driven.” She often went undercover assuming numerous identities. One of her most dangerous assignments occurred during the Civil War. Posing as the wife of fellow operative Timothy Webster, they traveled to Richmond, VA where they pretended to be Rebel sympathizers from Maryland. Prior to this Timothy infiltrated the underground Sons of Liberty organization. Over the course of several months, the pair collected and conveyed information to the home office about troop movements, battle plans, and other intelligence.
Vinnie Ream: After the plan to assassinate President Lincoln in Baltimore was unearthed, Allan
Although women were not admitted to any police force until 1891 or widely accepted as detectives until 1903, Kate Warne and her “Lady Pinkertons” paved the way for future female officers and investigators.
Set in the early days of America’s entry into WWII and featuring cameo appearances from Hollywood stars, Murder of Convenience is a tribute to individuals who served on the home front, especially those who did so in spite of personal difficulties, reminding us that service always comes as a result of sacrifice. Betrayal, blackmail, and a barrage of unanswered questions… Murder of Convenience is the first book in the exciting “Women of Courage” series.
Purchase Link: https://books2read.com/u/4Ax9aN
Thursday, November 11, 2021
Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Back, Jodie Wolfe!
Tuesday, November 9, 2021
Traveling Tuesday: Nome, Alaska
Friday, November 5, 2021
November 2021 New Releases
More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website
A Small Town Christmas Challenge by Susanne Dietze -- Will reviving an old tradition be the start of something new? When she inherits a beautiful historic house, nurse Leah Dean knows selling it could solve all her problems. But there’s just one catch—she and co-owner Pastor Benton Hunt must cohost the Gingerbread Gala in the home first. As Christmas approaches, Leah and Benton grow closer, and parting with the house—and each other—is not as easy as they thought… (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired)
Never Too Late by Susan L. Tuttle -- Widowed homemaker Rachael Stark isn’t quite sure what comes after her only child leaves for college. To fill her suddenly quiet hours and scrawny bank account, she needs a job. But painful memories prevent her from resurrecting her former art career, and motherhood isn't much of a résumé. When her best friend needs help recovering from a gunshot wound that occurred in the line of duty, she is there. Finally, someone to take care of. Evan Wayne won't let his injury keep him from being a police officer. His dedication to protect the innocent stems from the guilt he carries over having failed his childhood friend. What he needs now is to recover and get back on the streets. Instead, he's handed a myriad of light-duty tasks by his captain―one of which involves heading up the department's entry into the town's annual mural contest. He's not an artist, but he definitely knows one. And he'll take any excuse to spend more time with her. (Contemporary Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)
You and Me by Becky Wade -- Easy-going, artistic Connor Bryant fell hard for his friend Shay Seaver when they were both in the seventh grade. Sixteen years later, he’s returned to Misty River. She’s finally between boyfriends. And his crush on her hasn’t wavered. Now’s his chance. He tells Shay that he’s found someone he wants to date and is in need of a makeover when it comes to his appearance and dating strategies. He asks if she’ll serve as his consultant — in hopes that he’ll learn how he can become her ideal man. What he doesn’t tell her? That she’s the one he wants to date. Sporty stationery shop owner Shay immediately agrees to Connor’s request because he’s one of the best guys she knows. However, she quickly realizes she’s in over her head. She’s pledged to help him win the affection of another woman — even though she dearly wants to claim his heart. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)
Magi Journey: Assyria by Terry Phillip Garner -- The first in a three-book series that follows a Family of Chaldean Magi from the court of Tiglath—Pileser III, King of Assyria in 734 BC, to Bethlehem in -0- BC. Through the eyes of the Magi, we see the history of prophecy, judgment, and redemption unfold. In book one, the Magi recount: meeting Isaiah, King Ahaz, and King Hezekiah of Judah; campaigning with King Tiglath-Pileser III and King Sennacherib as they subdue the Levantine States and deport the people of Israel to Assyria, and creating the Magi school that will survive the Assyrian, Babylonian, and Persian Empires and serve as the foundation of the Magi Family of faith. (Historical from Bookbaby)
The Last Piece by Terrie Todd -- When his father dies during the Great Depression, Ray Matthews is forced to drop out of art school to support his mother and sister as a jigsaw puzzle artist. Ray has only one painting he vows never to sell: the portrait of his beloved sweetheart. When pressured to break his oath, Ray sends the painting off with a promise and a prophecy. Through eight decades, the puzzle of the beautiful girl at the wishing well passes through four households, deeply affecting each without ever being fully completed. When Leesha Pennington’s weekly treasure hunt at her local thrift shop produces an old jigsaw puzzle that might be worth something, she adds it to her shopping cart despite the old man’s mysterious warning: “Be careful with that one. Some puzzles don’t like to be solved.” Her decision sets in motion a chain of events that causes all five stories to converge. (Historical, Independently Published)
Honor in the Mountain Refuge by Misty M. Beller -- This epic journey is his last chance to start a new life. After being cast out of his Blackfoot village for his kindness to the Nez Perce captives, Chogan travels west in search of meaning for his life. Meaning that doesn’t require killing or torturing innocent people. Though the lovely face of Telípe, a Nez Perce woman, is imprinted on his heart, he avoids her village. She deserves a happy life with her husband and coming child. With her husband dead and the birth of her babe imminent, Telípe’s reality looks nothing like she planned. She’s been forced to return to the village where she grew up and the chaos of her family’s lodge—with all her boisterous younger brothers. She desperately desires to start a new life for herself and the babe growing within her, but she can’t seem to climb above the mire of her past. When she stumbles into the brave who’d shown her kindness during her captivity, something ignites within her—a new hope. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)
Protecting Annie by Jodie Wolfe -- After twenty years living along the trail as a deputy U.S. Marshal, Joshua Walker takes a job as sheriff in Burrton Springs, Kansas so he can be closer to his sister. Only problem is, she no longer requires his protecting. After the death of her father, Annie McPherson needs a change. She accepts a position as schoolmarm hoping her past won't catch up with her. Life is good, except for the pesky lawman who creates confrontations at every turn and continually questions her ability to adjust to life in the west. When the irritating schoolteacher's past and present collide, dragging Josh into the turmoil, he has to decide who he's willing to defend. (Historical Romance from White Rose Publishing)
Circumvent by SK Derban -- French-born, Nikki Sabine Moueix travels to Hawaii for a special work assignment, but the job of writing an article about a famous Swiss pastry chef generates more than a magazine piece. They fall in love, get married, and Nikki Moueix becomes Mrs. Ruggiero Delémont. When another assignment calls for Nikki to spend three weeks in France, Ruggiero’s schedule prevents him from joining her. She travels alone, advancing straight into danger. After a threatening confrontation, Nikki wakes up in a French hospital with no knowledge of her past. After she fails to check in, Ruggiero panics and pushes for an immediate investigation. But as he closes in, Nikki’s new found friend moves her to another city. It becomes a game of hide and seek with Nikki as the prize. (Mystery from TouchPoint Press)
All That’s Fair by Amanda G. Stevens -- Unable for the last century to grow old or succumb to injury, Cady Schuster has lost a lot of people, some more recently than others. She's trying to find new belonging in Harbor Vale, Michigan, among a welcoming little group of fellow ageless folk. Then she meets Paige, a mortal woman who needs a friend-and might need help. Paige's husband rules their church with an authority unquestioned by his congregation. When Paige suddenly severs all communication, Cady determines to find her. Churchgoers warn her off, and the behavior of Paige's husband proves a still bigger warning. Is this friend lost too, or can Cady help her? And how far should an ageless woman involve herself in the conflicts of mortals? (Speculative Fiction, Independently Published)
Uncharted Courage by Keely Brooke Keith -- When Bailey accepts John Colburn’s offer for her to visit Good Springs, she leaves the Inn at Falls Creek expecting to spend the autumn relaxing in her favorite seaside village. Upon her arrival, Connor asks her to cover a shift of guard duty on the equinox, and her quiet vacation takes a shocking turn. Revel Roberts works hard to keep his life commitment-free, making it easy to leave community decisions to men like Connor and John. But when the Land is threatened, Revel sees his chance to prove he is a man worthy of Bailey’s love. Amid the chaos in Good Springs, his unrequited feelings for her preoccupy him. One wrong choice could ruin everything. As Bailey’s new life in the Land unravels and threats from the outside world loom, a yearning she can’t define surges within her. It distracts her from defending the hidden world she loves, and a tragedy reinforces her need for independence. With the survival of the Land at stake and their hearts on the line, Bailey and Revel will need more courage than fighting ever required. They will need to find the courage to love. (Thriller/Suspense/Romance from Edenbrooke Press)
Unpacking Christmas by Beth K. Vogt -- As Johanna, Jillian, and Payton look forward to celebrating the Christmas holidays with their families, they’re not prepared for an announcement that changes everything they’ve grown to love and cherish. Their parents are selling their long-time family home. One change seems to lead to another, with Payton and Zach announcing their own decision to move, while Jillian and Geoff tackle the challenge of starting a family. The only ones maintaining the status quo are Johanna and Beckett—but romantic limbo is no place to be. Then their dad’s sudden health crisis spins life further out of control. Instead of putting up holiday lights and decorating the family Christmas tree, the Thatcher sisters are helping pack up their childhood home. Along the way, they share treasured memories, try to hold onto valued traditions, discovering the struggles they’ve endured pale in comparison to the love they share with each other. (Women’s Fiction from Never Door Press)
Where Memories Await by Heidi Chiavaroli -- Can memories of old restore a forgotten love? Camden, Maine ~ Present Day: Spunky octogenarian Priscilla Martin is a woman with many Christmas secrets. When a beloved niece tempts her to bare her wounded soul, Priscilla must decide whether to share the secret of her sister’s demise—and the reason she abandoned the man she loved in favor of a loveless marriage. Camden, Maine ~ December, 1957: The only person Priscilla loves more than Ed Colton is her younger sister, Hazel. But when Ed is drafted and Hazel runs away to New York to be with a man she believes will make her famous, Priscilla’s plans crumble around her. Ed’s silence and Hazel’s tragic return leads Priscilla to make a choice she will forever regret. Can revisiting long-ago memories give Priscilla what she’s longed for all these years? (Women’s Fiction, Independently Published)
Plus check out these recent additions to Fiction Finder published within the past month:
Thursday, November 4, 2021
Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Nancy Naigle!