Monday, September 17, 2012

Henry Knox's Tenacious Bride

Lucy Flucker Knox

One woman, barely noted in Soldiers Don't Cry but deserves to have her story told, is the plucky Lucy Flucker Knox. She was born in 1756 (died in 1824). As you will read in Soldiers Don't Cry (soon to be released) Lucy was from a loyalist family (her father was the Royal Secretary of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, and her brother served in the British army). She was the kind of woman that melodramas were based upon.  She went against her parent's wishes when she married Henry Knox, a bookseller and Whig. They disapproved of the match because he was not of her social class, nor could he as book seller provide for her the life which which she was accustomed. To make matters worse, his political leanings as a patriot went against everything for which her family stood. When the British forces abandoned Boston in March 1776, the Fluckers fled, turning estrangement from Lucy into permanent separation. This may explain why Lucy cleaved all the more strongly to Henry. She had no other close family besides him and his brother. Lucy Knox attempted to help her brother-in-law run the bookseller business for a while during the war, but the business failed. She also stayed with friends or in rented lodgings at times during the war, but she always preferred to be with her husband. As a result of both need and determination, she managed numerous, lengthy visits to camp, where she started to raise her family and served as a prominent social hostess. During the summer of 1777, Lucy helped her brother-in-law Billy run the book store in Boston.
When the Continental Army encamped at Valley Forge for the bitter winter of 1777-78, Lucy joined her husband. She lived in contentment in a big stone house beside Henry's artillery park, and became a pleasing hostess to cold and threadbare officers. Somehow the Knoxes always managed to provide extra food and wine, and at night there was often dancing and singing. At this time the relationship between the Washingtons and the Knoxes flourished.

Henry Knox was already close to the Commander in Chief, but as you will see in the third book (currently in barely more than an outline) in The Locket Saga--A Coward's Solace-- the relationship between "Lady Washington and Lucy Knox at while they were living at Valley Forge. Despite the 25 years age difference, the two women were close. Both came from a privileged background. Martha was a country lady; Lucy was more urban. They devoted their time to sewing, mending, and attending the sick at the encampment. Lucy grew in self-importance as she informed the older woman on matters of protocol. The Knoxes were of special value to the Washingtons in this time of open criticism of the General.

The glorious news that France recognized the new American republic and was sending aid came in the spring of 1778. Camp broke, the men prepared for battle, and the women scattered to their homes. Time and again throughout the war Lucy would come to her husband's side. At the cantonment at Pluckemin they would bury their second born Julie who was only a weeks months old.

Lucy Knox continued as a society hostess after the war, when her husband served as Secretary at War in the Confederation government and then as Secretary of War under Washington. He accepted those positions both out of a sense of public service and out of the need to support his family. The Knoxes continued to live beyond their means and without a permanent home through those years. Knox resigned in December 1794 and the following spring settled his family in Maine. After Henry died in 1806, Lucy sold her property to pay off debts and support herself.

Monday, September 10, 2012

           Here's the design of the cover of Soldiers Don't Cry--second book--of the Locket Saga.  What is your opinion?
          Edits are moving right along. We hope to have the book ready for publication by December 1st. Just in time for the holiday season!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

How Phillip and I met again

So many people have been waiting for the second book in the Locket Saga that I decided to sneak a few pages from Soldiers Don't Cry to give a taste of this second book. This is the scene where Phillip and I reunite after 12 years apart.

Phillip heard skirts rustling. He turned toward the sound, and looked up to the landing at the top of the stairs.
Phillip gasped. Beautiful was too plain a word to describe the young woman descending the stairs. The gown of fine dove gray silk trimmed in fine lace was not the dress of a poor little orphan. The long blonde ringlets cascaded down the side of her head and her delicate features were not those of a homely woman. The graceful movements, the head held high, the slight tilt of her head were all movements of a woman who had been to finishing school. Phillip sensed the anxiety under the appraising look from those powder blue eyes framed under the long eyelashes, but he also caught a glimpse of the spirit he had once known. He knew this beautiful woman descending the stairs was none other than Elizabeth Thorton.
For a moment that stared at one another. He smiled a half smile and tried to hold back a grin. He watched the line deepen in her forehead. He knew she was wondering why he seemed to know her even though he had just arrived by ship from England where she, Elizabeth, had never been.
Phillip smiled at the confusion he saw in her face. He imagined she was debating whether he was making a blatant pass at her, or how it could be possible that they could know one another. He was certain that she had no idea who he was. She did not recognize him as the eight-year-old boy she had known in the West.
After Elizabeth joined the three men, Phillip was pleased to see Gerald could not make his charms rub off on her. Phillip was impressed that she recognized Gerald as the want-to-be womanizer that he was.
When Gerald was part of certain circles where men entertained older married women, he behaved himself. However, in the company of younger women, particularly pretty younger women who were just becoming aware of their womanhood and were flattered whenever any man paid attention, Gerald created his own rules, which benefited him and not the woman. He also misbehaved with the type of woman the type of woman whom men paid for their attentions or women who would do anything to improve her status in the world. Women of that caliber he considered fair game.
Phillip was pleased Elizabeth was not impressed with Gerald’s suave sophistication. He was relieved she dismissed Gerald and she immediately became more interested in Phillip. He watched her face carefully as he introduced himself to her. She recognized Phillip’s surname.
“I knew a Colonel Randolph when I was a child,” she said.  “I was taken to Fort Presque Isle, where he was in command, after my family was killed by Indians up near Lake Erie. You wouldn’t happen to be any relation to him would you?”
His gaze never left her. “I’m his adopted son.”
Elizabeth’s mouth dropped open, and she covered it with her hand.
 Phillip grinned.
“Oh, my. . .”
She looked him deep in the eyes. Phillip could almost see the flicker of recognition in her eyes. He saw her struggle with the seeing the eight-year-old boy in the red uniform who was now a full-grown man in the red uniform. The boy he had once been but now was not. He was the boy who stood so straight and stern and tried so hard to be a man. He was the boy she tried so hard to teach to play as a normal child was supposed to play.

He heard her gasp, saw her eyes widen.

“This can’t be! Phillip, is this actually you?”
His grin grew wider, “one and the same.”
Elizabeth turned toward her brother-in law. “Peter! Do you remember Phillip, Peter?  He was the little boy who came with Colonel Randolph when he brought me back here when I was five!”
Peter cleared his throat. His eyes were darker. Phillip frowned at Peter’s worried expression. Phillip heard Peter’s voice deepen when he said, “Yes, I remember. Phillip, how is Colonel Randolph?”

Friday, June 29, 2012

Why is the series called The Locket Saga?

      If you've read the book When God Turned His Head which is the first book of The Locket Saga, you see on the front cover a picture of a locket. What is the significance of the locket, you might ask and what does it have to do with the series of stories?
      At first glance, you probably notice that my father first gave the locket and it ended up in the hands of Rachel, before it finally ends up in my mother's hands at the end of the book. This locket has become a family heirloom and it will be one of the things that ties the family together from book to book.
     The locket is more than just an heirloom, however. It represents idealization of American Individualism.The locket has it's secret place that contains the lock of my father's hair. That lock of hair represents the origins of the locket. The lock of hair represents the ideals of the colonialists where they believed that by hard work and sacrifice, they would be able to achieve the dream of owning their own stake in this country. The idea that they had a chance to live their lives as they chose. They knew that with each hardship that they suffered, they broke a glass ceiling for their progeny.
      The locket itself represents how each subsequent generation  proudly displays its ancestor's values. As you'll notice on the locket on When God Turned His Head, on that locket there is a cross. That cross represents the fact that these family members believed in the guidance of Providence. They believed that God wanted them to spread the gospel everywhere they went. By wearing the locket and displaying that cross, they were proudly proclaiming to whom they belonged.
     The Thorton family, American ideals, and the locket itself become a three cord  thread that connects each book in the saga together. Generations live, generations die, but like the family name, the locket and the ideals live on and affect the people whose lives they touch.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

My (Elizabeth's) Relationship with Paul Revere and His Family

     I know the Revere family quite . Paul’s eldest daughter Deborah was a year younger than I was. I remember when his first wife—Sarah-- died in childbirth and less than two months later the baby born that night also died. It was a sad time for the Reveres. Paul remarried a 28-year-old spinster Rachel Walker just five months after Sarah died. Less than a year later Rachel had her first child with Paul and they named him Joshua. I was training as a midwife at the time and I was the one who helped deliver him into the world. 

      Most of you have heard about the story of Paul Revere on that famous night of April 18, 1775.  According to the poem written in 1860, the fictionalized account of this incident inspired by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s visit to the Old North Church, Paul Revere and William Dawes waited for a signal from the steeple of the Old North church here in Boston. One lantern in the steeple indicated the regulars (meaning the soldiers--we were all British subjects!) were coming by land, a second lantern indicated that they were crossing the Harbor by sea (two lanterns shown in the steeple that night.)
           I remember the occasion a little differently. Revere and Dawes left Dr. Warren’s house that evening. Paul and Dawes knew before they left how the regulars were planning to cross. The reason I know this is that I told them. I was privy of the information and took that information to Dr. Joseph Warren’s house. The reason for the signal in the Old North Church was not so that Revere and Dawes would know how the regulars were coming. Like I said, they already knew. The signal was so that the patriots on the other side of the Boston Bay would know how the regulars were going so that they would know where to gather when the regulars did arrive.
      The plan was that Dawes would take the land route and Revere would row across the Harbor and ride a borrowed horse to Lexington and onto Concord, Massachusetts to warn the Massachusetts countryside that the Regulars were coming to seize munitions stored at Concord, and arrest John Hancock and Samuel Adams, the leaders of the revolt. Dawes and Revere met up on the road near Lexington. A local man, Samuel Prescott joined them on their ride. Regulars along the road captured Dawes and Revere, but Prescott made good his escape. He was the one who made it to Concord and warned Hancock and Adams.
    My own participation isn't well known in this drama, but I played a significant role in the events of that night. Read Soldiers don't Cry when it comes out and the reason my participation wasn't well documented should be clear.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

      The book Soldier's Don't Cry is coming along very well. We have a new member to the writing crew a copy editor named Megan Wenger. From what I've seen, she has done a wonderful job of copy editing the work done so far. Cygnet learned in When God Turned his Head that a writer can't depend on his or her own abilities to copy edit his or her own book. That's why we have Megan on board now. Lessons learned. This means that the book in which I am a star is going to look so much better than that first book.

      We're looking to have this book out by the end of June. So far it looks like the schedule we should be able to get it out.

     The location of the opening scene in Soldiers Don't cry occurs in an area near and dear to Donna's heart. She grew up in that part of the country. Originally the Erie Indians lived in that area. They had been killed off long before the story started in 1763. Donna wrote an article about the Erie Indians in Hubpages. It is called: Whatever Happened to the Erie Indians? 

      As you will see, I will leave that area and move back to Boston. The reason I moved from there is well part of the story, a very important part of the story. You will find out at the beginning of the story exactly why this is so important.
       If you haven't read the book about my parents yet, I definitely recommend taking a look. If you're not sure whether you should commit to buying When God Turned His Head. Cygnet has available for anyone who would like to read it, the first chapter of When God Turned His Head available on her website.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I am Cygnet Brown's Creation

I am a fictional character. Cygnet Brown created me a number of years ago and I had a cameo appearance as a baby in Cygnet Brown's first book: When God Turned His Head. I've got so much to tell you that I don't know where to start. I guess the place to start with is at the beginning. You see, I was actually created before my parents were created. (Yes, it's a bit of a paradox, isn't it?) Cygnet Brown started the first book that I am going to appear in: Soldiers Don't Cry before she wrote When God Turned His Head. Seriously. I was the original character in The Locket Saga, only it wasn't The Locket Saga back then. It was just a dream.

Yes, that's right, I started out as part of a dream. Cygnet, well, actually her real name is Donna. She just uses Cygnet Brown as her pseudonym for The Locket Saga. Anyway,Donna saw that there were so many Donna Browns in the world, (she knew three personally.) that she decided to do a take on her maiden name "Swanson" for her first name and to continue to use her married name as her last name.

Anyway, I digress. Where was I? Oh, yes, I started out as part of a dream. Cygnet dreamed that there were two young adults who were in a Fort on the frontier and they somehow knew each other before. That's it, that's all there was to the dream. From that she wrote the first draft to the book where Philip and I fall in love, and well, we have our problems, to say the least.

After she wrote that first draft of Soldiers Don't Cry, she wondered about my parents and how their relationship came together. She also had read the historical account of John Codman's murder, and she wondered if she could somehow create a historical novel based on that story. That is where When God Turned His Head came from. John Codman, the slaves--Mark, Phyllis and Phoebe were all real people. My parents, my sister Rachel, my brothers, Sarah--my father's first wife, Peter Mayford, and a few others are fictional characters. There are a few others who really existed in history,too, but I'm not going to bore you with those details.

I promised Donna, or Cygnet or whatever she wants to call herself, that I would let you all know that When God Turned His Head is available on her website in paperback, You can also read the first chapter of When God Turned His Head there too.

There, now you have it, the advertisement obligation is on my blog. You can go back to Facebook, now Donna.