Amazon Best-selling Historical Romance

Amazon Best-selling Historical Romance
Escape to a romantic period where love endured, grew, and flourished despite a Civil War.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Florida Cracker Christmas and Christmas During the Civil War

My husband and I went to Cracker Christmas in Christmas, Florida, a few weekends ago. To my delight, I was able to speak with men and women who were displaying goods from the Civil War era. One man had a tent and replica uniforms of the Confederate soldiers as well as books and a wooden nickel. He was dressed in gray wool pants, and it was too hot for him to wear the coat. I noticed the coat was lined with the material of old-timey mattresses.

The ladies of the antebellum period were dressed in their work dresses for a day of plantation duties. They were most informative of the food available during the time, Eagle brand canned milk, hardtack crackers, and certain types of old-fashioned candy. With Christmas drawing near, I found it interesting when one lady picked up a cornhusk doll and explained that it was the type of dolls most girls would receive for Christmas, and ragdolls were considered a luxury since the rags were needed for wounded soldiers.

I ended up buying a cornhusk doll and a ragdoll. She showed me sandalwood fans, and they smelled so good. During Christmas, moms and dads couldn't just rush out to the local shopping center or mall and buy the dream doll for their little girl. They had to depend on homemade gifts, and any little girl who received a ragdoll was considered lucky.

Times have changed. Today's children would shun homemade gifts because they're all about the latest piece of technology. I truly enjoyed stepping back in time and the opportunity to complete some research for my newly-released novel River Oaks Plantation.

If any of you live in Florida, be sure to visit Cracker Christmas in Christmas, Florida, next year and step back into another time period. Women bake cornbread in iron skillets around open camp fires, and you can buy it freshly cooked. Booths of arts and crafts and delicious food make it worthwhile. I find something of interest every year and no matter how cold it is, we always get fresh homemade ice cream. This year I had strawberry with real strawberries, and it's like nothing you can buy in a store.

Just think about what Christmas was like for children during the Civil War era when simple homemade gifts were good enough, during a time of war and rations when children were thankful for what they received. Seeing the ragdoll a little girl would've received for Christmas back then made me realize that the one I received for my ragdoll Christmas so many years later, was exceptional, but it wasn't homemade. I bought my own homemade ragdoll for Christmas this year.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

River Oaks Plantation Coming Soon by B. J. Robinson

Check out the cover and blurb for River Oaks Plantation. The novel is coming soon for Amazon Kindle.

When I stared writing River Oaks (working title), this is all the plan I had. I simply sat down and wrote it in a spiral notebook to get my main characters in my head. This was my working blurb. I don't outline, but I do make notes and begin with a plan of this nature to get me started. Other characters were invented and added as I wrote.

From award-winning author B. J. Robinson comes a story of family secrets and raging passions amidst a deadly hurricane and rising floodwaters in the Big Easy or Crescent City.
Margaret Sarah Turnrow first laid eyes on River Oaks Plantation amid lush foliage and oak trees dripping with Spanish moss when she returned from her honeymoon as a petite hazel-eyed bride to the antebellum mansion. She immediately fell in love with the house and grounds and beautifying the gardens with plants. Her first task involved lining the oak drive with azaleas. Determined to have the best gardens, she soon recreated formal ones designed from precious memories of France, Italy, and England from her honeymoon tour. Before the Civil War, she imported plants, and gardening became her passion. During the war, it was her only one. The fertile Louisiana soil loved and nursed her plants as much as she did, and they grew like the cotton and sugarcane.

Pale as a magnolia blossom, she sparkled like the sun reflecting off Lake Pontchartrain when she flashed pearly white teeth with her camellia-red smile, but small white hands tucked demurely into the folds of her gown as she sat quietly during elegant dinners, concealed her true vivacious spirit. The war would change the shy woman-child as it ravaged through her life and took its toll on the home and family life she came to know and love with all of her heart.

Before the Civil War, dashing Daniel Paul Turnrow stood six-foot-two, as tall and elegant as the white-columned plantation home he'd purchased on the banks of the Mississippi River. He led a charmed life as a charismatic cotton baron known as one of the richest men around New Orleans and on River Road. River Oaks boasted over thirty-five-hundred acres of fertile Louisiana soil, mostly planted in cotton with the exception of some sugarcane along the Mississippi River banks and his wife's gardens.

Danny returned from the war a different man, as broken as the pillared splendor of the South. Surrounded by cypress swamps and sugarcane fields on the river's end and white blankets of cotton edging the dirt roads, the plantation still stood, but the grand life he'd led turned to one of backbreaking toil. He no longer stood so tall and proud with an aching back hunched over Louisiana cotton and sugarcane fields.

With the future uncertain, fear lurks in his heart and soul and clouds his mind. What will sustain his marriage through the loss? Can they defend what's most precious to them and maintain River Oaks as a working plantation? The manor home is the only legacy he has left. Will he lose it?

Years later, Amaryllis Camilla O'Brien is stranded alone with two dogs on the top floor of an antebellum plantation in Vacherie, Louisiana, as a deadly hurricane rips and roars through the city and raging floodwaters threaten to devour the old home. She discovers a yellowed diary. Will family secrets drown in the flood with her? Will the diary matter? She's determined to save it and the dogs, or die trying. Has her great grandmother left her a sinking ship?

Noah Gautreaux, the plantation manager, took vehicles to higher ground and is supposed to return, but will he make it in time to save Amaryllis and his pet girls? The old house withstood the floods of 1973, 1983, and 1993. He doesn't think he has to worry about it floating off down the Mississippi River, but as excessive rain and wind continue to batter the area and the water continues to rise when the levees breach, he realizes there's a first time for everything and this could be it for the white-columned beauty of ages past. Will River Oaks Plantation, the only woman he's ever loved, and his pets drown or be blown away?

With the future uncertain, fear lurks in their heart and soul and crowds their minds. Can they save what's most precious to them? If the Mississippi River doesn't take it, will River Oaks ever be the same again? The manor home is the only legacy they have left. Will they lose it? Just as they thought things would work out, will they lose everything they hold dear? Will it be gone with the flood?
Stay tuned, as I said, this is the working blurb. There will be another and more information. I'm in the editing and layering process and will be about half finished after tomorrow, Lord willing.

This novel begins in 1856 before the Civil War, and Danny and Maggie's story ends after the Civil War. The chapters alternate between their story and Cammie and Noah's, which begins in 2005 with Hurricane Katrina. I've put in lots of time and research on this one, and you will get the story of two couples in one book. At this time, I'm working on refining it and finishing touches. Maybe I should have titled this one Gone with the Flood.