Monday, January 12, 2015

Today's Guest: Historical Romance Author Patricia PacJac Carroll

Love cowboys? The romance and allure of the Old West? I've always been a sucker for a good story about the new frontier and the men and women who conquered it. Meet today’s guest, sweet historical romance author Patricia PacJac Carroll, creator of the Mail Order Brides of Hickory Stick series. Welcome to Adventures in Publishing, Patricia!

Hi, I’m Patricia PacJac Carroll. I’m a writer, Christian first, and blessed beyond my imagination. I live in the Dallas-Ft Worth area in Texas with my wonderful treasure of a husband, my spoiled dog, Jacs, and my awesome grown son, Josh. Did I say I was blessed? The PacJac is from my initials and my husband’s. I used it as part of my author name because there were already other Patricia Carrolls on the Internet. I was attacked by breast cancer but have fought back and writing strong. Check out my blog - Invasion of the Booby Snatcher.
I write historical romance set in the American West. I love the freedom of the old West, although life during that period was difficult, especially for women. The stories in my new series Mail Order Brides of Hickory Stick are especially interesting in light of the modern versions of matchmaking, such as Internet dating sites like e-Harmony.
Caroline’s Love is the first of the series. Each novella is a stand-alone story, but the characters and town of Hickory Stick are involved in each of the other stories.
I love the premise of these stories. Thomas J. Connors decided he and his brother needed a wife. In the wilds of Colorado panning for gold, women were in short supply, so he got the idea of sending off for one for him and one for his brother, Jackson.
Everything seemed to be settled and the agency in Richmond, VA. had two women picked out. Thomas was pleased with himself, but failed to tell his brother of his plans. However, as things often go, unbeknownst to Thomas the woman running the agency disappeared and a reporter discovered Thomas’ very touching letter asking for a woman to share his dreams.
The letter went out into newspapers as far away as New York City. Three women made their way to Hickory Stick, all thinking they were going to marry Thomas J. Connors.
You can imagine the fireworks.
Here is the first page.
 Caroline’s Love
Chapter 1

May 1868
Richmond, Virginia

Caroline Lovelace tucked the worn envelopes into the pocket of her beige, traveling skirt. She’d read the letters at least a hundred times. A tear slid down her cheek quickly followed by another as she bade her war-torn state of Virginia good-bye. Although the sound of cannon and rifle had been exchanged for the sound of hammers and building, she could no longer put up with the obnoxious offers from the carpetbaggers. They might have overrun her state, but she’d not give them her future.
She stared at the black locomotive, considering it a rather unlikely steed to ride to her rescue. After brushing a spot of dust from her jacket, she boarded the now chugging train that would take her to her knight who awaited her in a town near Denver in the Colorado Territory.
Hickory Stick.
The temporary stab of fear she’d felt while boarding gave birth to a sharp, piercing doubt. How could she abandon her beloved Richmond and go to a place named for a twig? Her once grand home, now owned by a wealthy coward, along with the haunting knowledge of the graves of her fiancĂ© and father reminded her of the loss and predicament she was leaving.
Her poor love. Robert never even got a shot off at one of those, well, those mean old Yankees. He died of pneumonia shortly after running off to save the causeHumph, because of that I am alone without even the status of war widow. She’d been forced to join the large number of unmarried, poor women scrapping to survive in the defeated South.
The train pulled out of the station with a cloud of black smoke and a jolt that jerked her head against the metal rail over the green, padded seat. Caroline set her lips in determination to let go of Richmond. She was soon to be a bride. “Mrs. Thomas J. Connors.”
“What?” A sultry voice from the seat across the aisle shook Caroline from her thoughts.
Caroline declined to own up to her oral thinking even though she’d startled her own self when she’d spoken aloud. To cover her error, she smiled at the woman. “Pardon?”
The stranger brushed a fly from her bright yellow gown, a dress far more suitable to a ball than a railcar. “Were you talking to me?”
Annoyed at the woman for intruding on her thoughts, Caroline tugged on the fashionable hat she’d bought with the last of her savings. “No, I. … Well, I wasn’t.”
The woman pointed at Caroline’s skirt. “I couldn’t help notice you had a packet of letters. … My name is Julia Brooks.”
Caroline fanned the air between them. Even though Julia’s gown was exquisite, the bright red lips against her very white skin placed the woman in a lower class. A painted lady, perhaps? Caroline scooted away from the woman and closer to the window. “I’m Caroline Lovelace. Perhaps you’ve heard of my father, Judge Lovelace.”
Julia smoothed the yellow satin ensconced around her. “Yes, I’ve heard of the good judge … and his demise.”
Caroline’s head snapped up. She wanted to wipe the smug grin from the woman’s face. Then again, Caroline had learned to ignore such taunting words. Yes, her father had died under unfortunate circumstances. Very unfortunate. He’d gambled the last of the family fortune in a house of ill repute and lost his life over the hand of a woman. Although Caroline’s mother had been dead for over ten years, Father should not have been caught in such a place, much less been caught dead in the Golden Palace.
A terrible nagging drew Caroline’s gaze to Julia’s necklace. There on the tart’s alabaster neck sat Grandmother’s ivory cameo. An exasperated, “Oh,” escaped Caroline’s lips. Too late to stop the announcement of her discovery, she whirled to once again face the window. However, the passing scenery was not on her mind.

Purchase Caroline’s Love and other books by Patricia PacJac Carroll on Amazon.
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