SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY

Authors like me are small businesses, so to help promote my novels today, Small Business Saturday, I’m offering the ebook of The Prodigal for only .99 cents on Amazon.com. One day only! So if you’ve been on the fence about diving into my Jack Mallory adventures, here’s a good reason to try them. Where can you find so much entertainment for under a dollar? Don’t have an e-reader? No problem–just download the free Kindle app to your mobile device from your favorite app store.

And stayed tuned because the Jack Mallory Chronicles are coming to Audible audio books in the next few months. Keep a weather eye out!

For today’s deal on The Prodigal, click here.

Keogh - PRODIGAL - Website Cover (600x400)

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REVIEW OF THE DRIVER’S WIFE

I’m pleased that the Historical Novel Society reviewed my latest novel, The Driver’s Wife. The reviewer calls it a “fascinating novel.” I thought I’d share an excerpt:

“This is also a love story with a twist: the forbidden relationship and marriage of a white man and a slave and its repercussions among the residents of Leighlin Plantation. The author examines how the relationships between blacks and whites can differ, and she shows a masterful command of the customs of the era. The novel is well-written, with well-formed and credible characters. I enjoyed reading this novel, although some readers might be made uneasy by the subject matter and how it deals with slavery.”

You can read the entire review at the HNS website. Spoiler alert for those who haven’t read the novel yet, though.

Driver's Wife eBook Cover Large

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DID CHARLEMAGNE PRAY FOR ANOTHER DAUGHTER?

Kim R

Today’s post is by author Kim Rendfeld, who recently released her third historical novel, Queen of the Darkest Hour. This intriguing story adds to her previous two worthy works–The Cross and the Dragon, and The Ashes of Heaven’s Pillar

 


When his third wife died in 783, Charlemagne might not have wanted to marry again. Yet a few months later, he wed Fastrada, the heroine of my latest book, Queen of the Darkest Hour.

So why would a king not want another spouse, then change his mind? A possible answer is politics. Charles likely grieved for Hildegard, but his love for her did not play a role in his decision. Marriage in early medieval times was a matter of the head, not the heart.

In Rome two years earlier, two of Hildegard’s sons were named to subkings of their father’s empire. Her middle son, 4-year-old Carloman, was baptized and renamed Pepin, even though Charles had a child by that name. The younger Pepin (whom I call Carloman in my first two novels and Little Pippin in Queen of the Darkest Hour) and her youngest son, 3-year-old Louis, were named subkings of Aquitaine and Italy. Her daughter Hruodtrude was betrothed to another child, the Byzantine emperor (his mom was regent). Like most medieval noblewomen, Hildegard was ambitious for her children.

Braun

With the elder Pepin, the son of Charles’s first ex-wife (later declared a concubine), likely destined to enter the Church as an archbishop, Hildegard probably expected her eldest son, Karl (called Charles the Younger by scholars) to inherit the rest. Frankish tradition was for each son born in wedlock to inherit a kingdom, rather than primogeniture (only the eldest legitimate son gets the throne).

Charles had not yet designated the rest of the realm—dividing the kingdom prematurely could lead to literal battles if the monarch fathered another son—but Charles might have favored Hildegard’s plan. This way of distributing the lands would have given each of Hildegard’s sons a sizeable inheritance and maintained the alliance with her powerful family. Charles could only hope that his sons would avoid the conflict that had threatened the peace between him and his late brother, Carloman.

To marry again after Hildegard’s death would be a gamble. If Charles had a son by another wife, this additional claimant to the throne would lessen Karl’s lands, and it could complicate matters with Hildegard’s powerful kin.

Saxons

A few months after losing Hildegard, Charles went to war in Saxony (again). Although victorious, he must have realized he needed to bolster his alliances in the eastern part of the realm. He married Fastrada, an East Frank, that October and took the risk.

Already a father of seven (and probably an eighth on the way by a concubine), he might have been happy if all Fastrada did was oversee his treasury, control access to him, and tend to the household. She did not need to conceive to secure her position, but conceive she did.

And I can’t help but wonder: Did Charles pray for a girl?


Visit Kim’s website to learn more about her writing. 

Dragon

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THE INCOMPARABLE LIEUTENANT HICKS – Part 8

This is the eighth and final part of my series of excerpts from Borden Hicks’ personal account in Glimpses of the Nation’s Struggle. Borden Hicks was a humorous young officer in the 11th Michigan Volunteer Infantry during the American Civil War. The 11th Michigan is the regiment chronicled in my upcoming novel, The Edge of Hell

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ATLANTA

Our last engagement was in front of Atlanta, in one of General Sherman’s flanking movements to the right. We occupied a line of works built by the Twenty-third Army Corps, our regiment relieving the 25th Michigan in which we knew many of the men; their position was so well protected by the works they had built that all we had to do was to occupy them.

The next day we were ordered to charge the rebel line. It was an open field in our front, gently sloping down to a dry creek bed that had deep banks cut out by spring freshets, and then up to the rebel line of skirmishers, and just back of them in the timber, their line of works.

We made our way down to the creek bed through a severe infantry fire and then out and up on the other side, and captured the skirmish line. I found when we arrived in this position that I was the ranking officer and consequently took command of the regiment. The major in command had been taken with a severe attack of cold feet and never left the works. On looking to the right about thirty or forty rods, I saw a column of the enemy making for the bed of the creek, to follow up and get in our rear, and capture us. I at once moved my regiment by the right flank and stopped this play of the Johnnies. After turning back this column, we directed our attention to the enemy in our front.

While occupying a position as commander of the regiment (behind a tree, of course), one of my men, William Weinberg by name, came back to me from the skirmish pit in front, and said, (first warning me that I must not go in there as a rebel sharpshooter had control of the line and had picked off every man who had attempted to go in there), “Captain, I am wounded! I have got to die for my country.” I talked with him, complimenting him on his bravery as a soldier and encouraging him all that I could, and directed him to the field hospital. The next morning word was brought me that Billie was dead–thus died a true patriot.

We were now ordered to move to our right flank and leave a skirmish line in our works to occupy the attention of the enemy. It was my turn for detail as officer in charge of the picket line. In the mean time the officer who should have been with us the day before had succeeded in restoring the circulation to his cold feet, and I had turned the command of the regiment over to him. I at once made up my mind that I would refuse to go on that detail, as our term of service was up, and it meant sure capture of the skirmish line, and about that time no one was anxious to visit the South as a prisoner of war, but fortunately for me, I was not put to the test, as a company of Regulars was taken for this duty. We moved to the right and south of Atlanta, near Jonesborough, and just the day before the battle of Jonesborough, orders came to us, to about face, and go to Michigan and be mustered out.

When we got back to Chattanooga, General Wheeler was making a raid on our railroad communications between Chattanooga and Nashville, and our regiment except the company commanders, who were left in camp to make out final papers, was added to the force sent to drive Wheeler away from the only line of road that we could take to get home. Our boys went very willingly, as this was fighting for our homes or at least for a way to get there. After an absence of about two weeks, the boys came back, and we entrained on box cars, and the roof of them at that, for Nashville, thence to Louisville, where rumor said that we would have trouble to get our colored boys across the Ohio River, but very much to our relief and the joy of the colored servants who had linked their fortunes to ours, not an objection was made, and from there up through Ohio and home.

At a little junction town in Ohio, where we changed cars, we had the satisfaction of breaking up a political meeting where [Clement] Vallandigham [leader of the anti-war Democratic Copperheads] was the principal speaker. They had a small brass piece with which they were firing salutes, but as the salutes were not in honor of our arrival, the boys kindly assisted them to dismount the piece and, loading it in our baggage car, we took it home with us and used it for many years at our annual reunions until it was bursted by an overcharge of gravel. The Vallandigham meeting was indefinitely postponed, and the arch traitor skipped out through the back door of the hotel and made his escape from town before we left.

Eleventh_Michigan_Infantry_Regimental_Battle_Flag

 

HOME

We were taken to Sturgis, Michigan, the home of our beloved Colonel, who had preceded us a couple of months, having lost a leg at the battle of New Hope Church, Georgia. Here we were mustered out of Uncle Sam’s service, to take date from the 13th day of September, 1864.

SECOND ELECTION OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN

You will doubtless remember that in November, 1864, occurred the election of President Lincoln to his second term. It was a severe trial as well as a great embarrassment to me, who after serving under him as Commander in Chief for over three years and coming home to my native town, as captain in command of the company, that I should be debarred from voting, all because I had not attained the age of twenty-one.

LOOKING BACK

Forty-six years have passed over my head, since donning the army blue, yet many of the incidents mentioned in this paper are as fresh to my memory as though occurring but yesterday. The youthful faces of my comrades appear as vividly as if standing before me at this moment.

Many of the camps, marches, bivouacs, and minor engagements have been blotted from my mind. Sometimes I think of the war as a dream, but as the fourth of January, April, July, and October comes around, and the postman leaves a pension check, I am compelled to realize that it was a reality, and that I gave three of the best years of my life to the service of my country.

I am thankful that I have been permitted to live to see that country reunited under the flag that we followed for many years, the flag that we are proud of, “The Star Spangled Banner,” Old Glory, whose folds we look upon with awe, akin to worship.

CONCLUSION

I have thus hastily sketched my personal recollections of the war. I have purposefully refrained from referring to the killed in action, not because we did not lose our proportion, but on account of the painful recollections that it would recall to my memory.

If this paper has aided anything to the unwritten history of the war, I am doubly repaid.

At my age would not this sentiment be admissible?

No money consideration could buy my experiences during that term of service, and no amount of money would induce me to again undergo it.

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THE LORDS PROPRIETORS OF CAROLINA

Today marks Independence Day for America. What better way to celebrate than to learn a bit about our history? On social media today, English Historical Fiction Authors is featuring an article I wrote about the men who founded the American colony of Carolina. These wealthy Englishmen quickly learned that colonists could not be controlled to fit their narrow vision for this fledgling American colony.

Read the article on EHFA’s blog by clicking here.

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LAST STOP ON THE BLOG HOP

The last stop is at the blog of award-winning author Linda Collison, where I focus on the lovely city of Charleston, South Carolina, the setting of my latest novel, The Driver’s Wife. Follow this link to the article. While you are at Linda’s website, check out her wide array of books, from nautical fiction to Young Adult. She just released her second story in her serialized Dystopian nurse capers.

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One of Charleston’s many historic churches. 

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BLOG HOP STOP #3

Today’s stop is at author Tinney Heath’s website. She shares her review of The Driver’s Wife and offers some very kind, appreciated words. You can view the review here. And while you’re at it, check out Tinney’s debut novel A Thing Done, a historical novel that takes place in Florence, Italy, in the 1216. Tinney weaves an intriguing story, punctuated by her signature wit.

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