Friday, August 11, 2017
WHAT IN TARNATION?
Several months ago, I came up with a series about seven women—eight if you count their hostess—and labeled them the Bride Brigade. Being a writer has fun moments. One of them is creating a locale, or world, for characters. I’ll admit naming a town Tarnation made me smile.
What In Tarnation?
Supposedly on the way to his nearby ranch in the late 1850s, rancher Will Harrison came through a nameless village that at that time consisted of nothing more than a small crossroads store, a livery stable, a saloon, and a few hastily constructed cabins.
Will asked at the store, “Where in Tarnation am I?”
When Will came back that way a couple of weeks later, he saw hand-painted signs saying Tarnation Livery, Tarnation Mercantile, and Tarnation Saloon. That was the start of the town of Tarnation, set in North Central Texas at the foot of the Palo Pinto Mountains. Will built up a successful ranch and increased the wealth he’d brought to Texas with him. When the Civil War broke out in 1861, he went off to fight—for the North.
At the war’s end, Will Harrison returned with his new bride, Lydia Jane, a Virginia beauty a generation younger than him. By then, the village had grown considerably. Folks in town wondered if Lydia had married Will for his money but those who saw them together had to admit that she and he were in love.
Unfortunately, Will died in a ranch accident in 1869, leaving Lydia a wealthy but lonely widow. The town consisted of couples, two elderly widows, and numerous bachelors who were tired of having no women to court and marry. To prevent young men leaving Tarnation to search for a more diverse population, Lydia went back to Richmond, Virginia to recruit suitable young women to come live with her while deciding which of the Tarnation bachelors they wanted to marry.
The first woman to wed was Josephine Nailor, the only one who had declared she would never marry. Isn’t that the way things always happen? ☺ Josephine almost missed being included in Lydia’s group. Why Josephine left Virginia, who she married, and how they came to fall in love is something you have to buy the book to discover. (See how sneaky an author can be?) You’ll be happy to learn this first book is only 99 cents and is available at Amazon http://a.co/1Kd34dw.
Here’s the synopsis for JOSEPHINE:
Josephine Nailor is desperate to escape a terrible situation. When the opportunity arises via a newspaper ad, she and her best friend slip away from their oppressive fathers and head for Richmond. Neither can relax until they’re far away from their tiny hometown. With wealthy young widow Lydia Harrison’s help, Josephine and six other young women have a new life waiting in Tarnation, Texas.
Michael Buchanan is fairly content running his mercantile and being mayor of Tarnation. The town is dusty and tiny, but it’s growing. He believes it holds all he needs to be happy—except a wife. There are no available women in town, but he hopes Lydia Harrison’s Bride Brigade will offer a woman he can wed. He is immediately attracted to Josephine.
But Josephine has every reason to mistrust men in general and politicians in particular. Will her misgivings ruin her chance at happiness?
Here’s an excerpt:
Josephine brushed and pulled back her hair. “At least we’re clean and neat even if we don’t have fancy clothes.”
Her friend chewed on her lip then met her gaze in the mirror. “I don’t really want to meet anyone right away.”
She smiled. “Afraid you might end up with someone like your pa or mine?”
Ophelia shook her head and pulled on her shawl to cover the stains on her dress. “Oh, no, Lydia won’t invite anyone who isn’t nice. She promised. I feel as shy as usual and need a little more time to adjust.”
Josephine tied a ribbon around her neck with her mother’s locket in the center. “Well, I don’t intend to marry. I want to find a job and be independent.”
Ophelia stared at her. “You mean you never want to wed?”
“Can you blame me?”
Her friend’s face filled with concern. “Jo, you can’t mean it. You’d never have a home and children. Think of your future. Who will keep you company in the evenings?”
“I’ll get a cat.” She smiled at her shy friend and they walked into the hall.
Readers know that in romance, there has to be a happily-ever-after ending that involves more than the heroine adopting a cat. I hope if you haven’t read JOSEPHINE, you’ll choose to do so.
Please stay with me at this blog for the next couple of weeks while I elaborate on the conditions which send each of the seven women to Tarnation. The final book in the series, PRUDENCE, will release on August 25th. I'll be giving away a $50 Amazon or Pay Pal Gift Card to someone who comments on this series of blogs.