Tag Archives: historical romance

For the History Buff

When I originally proposed At Home with Daffodils, my story in A Bouquet of Brides, I wanted the story set in 1895 in northeastern Oklahoma. When the novella was picked up by Barbour, and I began my research in earnest, I requested permission to move the historical timeline to after Oklahoma’s statehood, which happened on November 16, 1907. I made this change because I found myself getting lost in Oklahoma’s varied history. At the time of the original date part of what is now the state of Oklahoma was Indian Territory, and part of it was Oklahoma territory.

To further confuse things, it was difficult to know just which part of Indian Territory had white people “squatting” on the land. There were many white settlements in Indian Territory, despite legal efforts to keep this from happening. Take this a step further by digging into the history of the Cherokee Nation, which settled in the area I wanted to write about, and it became very difficult to know how to handle history accurately.  Though my blond hair and green eyes might not show it, I have Cherokee and Choctaw ancestry. I wanted to write about those years with the respect due this heritage, but soon realized that kind of research and historical under-girding was too dense for a book of novella length. I was relieved when the editor at Barbour allowed me to move my story to the years right after statehood.

In At Home with Daffodils my heroine is part Cherokee. Many of us who grew up in that part of Oklahoma claim a little of that heritage, whether or not we were legally part of the tribe itself. It’s interesting to note that the nearest real town to my fictional setting is Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Tahlequah is the capitol of the Cherokee Nation. The Cherokee Supreme Court Building, located in downtown Tahlequah and constructed in 1844, is the oldest public building in Oklahoma.

Cherokee Courthouse

(Photo from: http://visitcherokeenation.com)

Though modern conveniences like the automobile and electric lighting were seen in the big city in these years (and the RMS Titanic was being fully equipped with electric lights), this type of extravagance hadn’t made its way to the back hills of northeastern Oklahoma. Thus my story has undertones of the  kind of life many of us experienced through Pa and Laura as we watched the classic TV series, Little House on the Prairie.

That’s not to say that all of northeastern Oklahoma wasn’t modern at that time. The Cherokee Female Seminary was one of the first schools of higher learning for women west of the Mississippi River. When the original building burned in 1887, it was replaced by a very modern building located in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. In 1909 the state of Oklahoma purchased it from the Cherokee Nation, and the seminary became Northeastern State Normal School. This beautiful building is still in use. I had history and English classes here when I attended Northeastern State University after high school.

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(Photo from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherokee_Female_Seminary)

It’s interesting to note that Indian Territory also boasted the first newspaper. According to http://www.visitCherokeeNation.com The Cherokee Advocate, printed in both Cherokee and English, was started in 1844.  The website further states, “Soon, the Cherokees’ education system of 144 elementary schools and two higher education institutes, the Cherokee Male and Female Seminaries, rivaled the best systems in the U.S. Many white settlements bordering Cherokee Nation took advantage of the superior school system and paid tuition to have their children attend Cherokee schools. Other bilingual materials, which had been made possible by Sequoyah’s syllabary in 1821, led Cherokees to a level of literacy higher than their white counterparts, all prior to Oklahoma statehood in 1907.”

Another example of elegance built in Indian Territory is the Murrell Home, which is the only remaining antebellum home in the state of Oklahoma.

MURRELL HOME

According to http://visitcherokeenation.com where I got this photo, “George Michael Murrell was a Virginian who married Minerva Ross, a member of a wealthy Cherokee family and niece of Chief John Ross. When the Cherokees were forced to leave their homes and move west to Indian Territory, Murrell moved with his wife’s family to the new Nation in 1839.”

I have another reason for affection for this lovely home. It was the site of a very special event in 1989.

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I’m including the next two pictures so you can catch a broader view of the home itself, including the richer landscaping it now boast, and also so you can maybe chuckle. My outdoor wedding was interrupted by what we call an old fashioned “Oklahoma gully washer!” The umbrellas were going up about the time I was coming down the sidewalk.

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But it all dried up nicely by the time my groom and I headed to Tulsa for the first night of our honeymoon. We were sent on our way by a shower of birdseed.

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Though the Cherokees brought much culture and modern thinking to northeastern Oklahoma, and even though Dilly would have lived in the Edwardian era of Titanic fame, Dilly was removed from such modern living. In fact indoor plumbing didn’t come to the back hills of the area until the mid-twentieth century.

It was fun to research how my heroine, Dilly, dressed, fixed her hair, and managed daily life.

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Dilly’s work in the general store and her life in this tiny community made a simple long black skirt, white shirtwaist, and sturdy boots more sensible.

I picture her like this:

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(photo found on Pinterest)

You can learn more about the history in northeastern Oklahoma by reading At Home with Daffodils.

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And now, for the winner of A Bouquet of Brides! 

I gotta tell ya, I really enjoyed sharing this month with you. Thank you for engaging with me, leaving comments, following this blog, and signing up for my newsletter. I hope you’ll continue to stick around this February. I’m planning two series. The first is “Lessons from a Heart Attack,” where I’ll share things Jerry and I processed in January as he recovered from his December 31st heart attack.

God’s gracious intervention saved my husband’s life, and an incident like that makes you dig a little deeper. I haven’t talked much about it here, but January’s challenges were stretching–and you learn from that stuff.

The other series is, “Keeping a Spiritual Journal,” a series requested by one of my Soul Scents readers. In honor of this series, the giveaway this month will be a Soul Scents book of your choice.

And the winner of A Bouquet of Brides Collection is . . .

Congratulations!!

Until next time,

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In Sheep’s Clothing – the Takeaway Value

Today’s post comes from Pegg Thomas, the author of In Sheep’s Clothing, included in A Bouquet of Brides. It is the last in the series featuring the takeaway values in the novellas of my fellow authors. Join us every day next week for details about my story, At Home with Daffodils! I’ll start by talking about my handsome hero. I just love Jake!

And now–here’s Pegg!

One of the things I love about Christian fiction is the solid moral underpinnings. There is always a takeaway value of some sort within the stories that uplifts and inspires the reader. As I’m writing the story, I have no idea what the takeaway will be. Even though I’m a dyed-in-the-wool plotter as I write, I never try to force a moral conclusion to my stories. Instead, I watch and wait and see what comes out naturally.

My story in the collection, In Sheep’s Clothing, came down to trust. Yarrow Fenn, my heroine, struggles with trusting people for a very good reason … which I will not divulge here. My hero, Peter Maltby, has his own issues with trust. Even Meadowsweet, the cute little orphan lamb who tries to steal the spotlight, has to learn to trust. How all three overcome their hurdles is something you’ll have to read the book to find out.

To celebrate the release of A Bouquet of Brides collection and my story, In Sheep’s Clothing, I’m giving away one of my signature shawls. To enter, subscribe to my newsletter. I’ll be drawing for The Meadowsweet Shawl at the end of January.

Meadowsweet Shawl curled fronts

 

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Pegg Thomas lives on a hobby farm in Northern Michigan with Michael, her husband of *mumble* years. A life-long history geek, she writes “History with a Touch of Humor.” When not working or writing, Pegg can be found in her barn, her garden, her kitchen, or sitting at her spinning wheel creating yarn to turn into her signature wool shawls.

Paula here:

I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know my fellow authors and their stories as much as I have. Pop in each day next week to learn more about my story and leave a comment for a chance to win the book.

On Friday, I’ll announce who won January’s drawing for A Bouquet of Brides. Looking forward to interacting with each of you. Remember, the drawing ends on the the 31st and each comment on the blog means another chance to win! (So does following this blog or signing up for my newsletter!)

Blessings,

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A Song for Rose’s Takeaway

Today’s post comes from Suzanne Norquist, the author of A Song for Rose, included in A Bouquet of Brides.

Hi everyone.  I’m Suzanne Norquist, author of A Song for Rose in the Bouquet of Brides collection.  If you haven’t heard of me, it is because I’m a new author.  I’m honored to be in a collection with so many talented multi-published authors.

In my opinion, the goal of any novella in a collection is to take the reader on a mini-vacation. I want the reader to live in the historical setting for a little while and enjoy the journey with the characters.  I try to keep the tone of my stories light with fun characters, because . . . I like reading light, fun stories.

If I focus too much on takeaway value and theme, the story becomes preachy and boring.  Again, my opinion.

That said, every story has conflict and a takeaway value can hide in the resolution of that conflict.  The character may learn a lesson or be reminded of a truth.  I like that inspirational fiction can carry both a fun story and truth.

In my story, Rose Miller feels overlooked in her large family and can’t imagine God, who has the whole world to manage, cares about the details of her life.  The reader may take some value in walking with her through this journey. I won’t say too much here.  Don’t want to give away the ending.

The hero, Patrick O’Donnell, has his own issues.  If he can’t earn his father’s approval, how is he supposed to earn the approval of an all-powerful God?

Walk with Rose and Patrick through their story in A Song for Rose in a Bouquet of Brides Collection.

22687986_145284136090242_4805319986973616734_nSuzanne Norquist explores past and present through story.

Everything fascinates her, so she never settled on a career. She has worked as a sales clerk, chemist, professor, financial analyst, and even earned a doctorate in economics. As an author, she experiences different worlds without starting a new career every time. Research feeds her curiosity, and she shares the adventure with her readers.

She lives in Colorado with her mining engineer husband and has two grown children. When not writing, she explores the mountains, hikes, and attends kickboxing class.

She authors a blog entitled, Ponderings of a BBQ P.h.D. Sign up to receive her blog and receive a free five-day devotion.

Learn more at suzannenorquist.com.

Or visit her Facebook Page.

Paula here. I hope you’re enjoying learning more about my co-authors and their stories! If you’d like to learn more about the heroine of my story, you’ll enjoy visiting Kathy Kovach’s blog today, where I guest-blog about Daffodil “Dilly” Grace Douglas.