Archives: historical fiction

Wagons Ho! On the Trail with Jody Hedlund

Since her Oregon Trail romance, The Doctor’s Lady, was released in September, author Jody Hedlund has been riding across the blogosphere sipping tea (slightly sweet), swapping stories, and sharing secrets at over 52 blogs.

Today Jody is joining us to celebrate her fabulous book which also marks the end of her blog tour.

Yep, I’m the last little blog wagon over the hill.

"Do you really have to stop again?"

It gets even better.

In order to make this last stop super special we get to choose a charitable organization for Jody to donate copies of her books. Yippee!!!!

Many hands make light work, right?

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Let’s talk about Jody’s second book, The Doctor’s Lady.

Now if you aren’t already familiar with Jody’s writing, then you are in for a treat. From The Doctor’s Lady:

Priscilla White knows she’ll never be a wife or mother and feels God’s call to the mission field in India. Dr. Eli Ernest is back from Oregon Country only long enough to raise awareness of missions to the natives before heading out West once more. But then Priscilla and Eli both receive news from the mission board: No longer will they send unmarried men and women into the field.

Left scrambling for options, the two realize the other might be the answer to their needs. Priscilla and Eli agree to a partnership, a marriage in name only that will allow them to follow God’s leading into the mission field. But as they journey west, this decision will be tested by the hardships of the trip and by the unexpected turnings of their hearts.

The Doctor’s Lady was a touching, sweet romantic read which required a tissue box and fresh mascara by the novel’s end. (And, I really don’t consider myself a crybaby. Oh – what am I saying? I cry over coffee commercials. You know the one where the soldier surprises his mother on Christmas Eve? I’m tearing up now. Let’s move along.)

I also loved that Jody based her characters on actual people and events. The Author’s Note at the end gives yummy historical background details, but we can peek into the research behind The Doctor’s Lady at several trail stops from her blog tour.

For instance, while visiting over at Marcia Richards’ wagon blog, Jody explained why the Oregon Trail was called an “unheard-of-journey for females.” And, when Jody called on Susie Finkbeiner she confided that while writing The Doctor’s Lady she considered Kevin Costner (Dances with Wolves) and Gwyneth Paltrow (Emma) as her Eli and Priscilla.

I also learned a lot about writing from her trail stops. Over at Roni Loren’s, Jody described how to create sizzle without sex. Then, while ringing the cowbell over at Jenny Hansen‘s blog, Jody gave tips on how to organize plot ideas.

Ambling over to Gina Conroy’s blog, Jody shared coping strategies for combining homeschooling with a writing career, and confided to Patricia Woodside how she wishes for a nanny after the schooling is done. (Me too!)

Whew! That’s only a few stops! (You can find a complete list of all the great blog visits at Jody’s blog.)

Obviously, some wonderful conversations had already taken place, so I wondered how to make this last blog stop fun and meaningful. As I was re-reading The Doctor’s Lady I reflected how difficult it was to get books to western missions and missionaries in the 19th century.

And that got me thinking. . .

In the 21st century, we still have remote places in our world and communities where receiving a book – especially a new  book – is a luxury.

So I took a deep breath and asked Jody how she would feel about donating her book to an organization which distributes books to underserved communities.

Jody – being the lovely person she is – jumped right in and volunteered to donate BOTH of her books, The Doctor’s Lady and The Preacher’s Bride, to whichever organization YOU chose.

Plus, she offered to give a copy of The Doctor’s Lady to one lucky winner who comments below!

Isn’t that wonderful?

Now before you scroll down to enter your name and email  in the comment box for your chance at the giveaway, please just take a moment to read about the five different organizations wanting book donations and then vote for your favorite choice.

It’s that simple!

Now here are our choices:

Illumination Publishers International is a non-profit organization which sends Christian literature to missionaries and Christians in third world countries.

Judith’s Reading Room is an non-profit organization which creates mobile libraries for VA hospitals, war zone areas for active military, pediatric emergency rooms, and underserved communities.

Christian Library International is a non-profit organization that brings Christian literature to men and women in prisons.

Donation Town is an online directory for local charities that accept book donations for adult literacy programs, hospice reading to patients programs, and small struggling libraries.

Christian Resources International a non-profit organization which ships donated books to missionaries and pastors around the world.

[polldaddy poll=”5604867″]


Don’t forget! Leave a comment with your name and email and you will be entered in a drawing for The Doctor’s Lady. (Drawing and voting results will be announced November 1.)

Happy trail reading!!!

Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons


Update 11/1/11:

Thanks to everyone who took the time to vote in the poll! We had a fabulous time. Here are the final results. . . and the charity with 48% of the vote was Judith’s Reading Room! They will receive a copies of The Preacher’s Bride and The Doctor’s Lady courtesy of the wonderful Jody Hedlund.

Also congratulations to Beverly! selected your number as the winner of the book giveaway, The Doctor’s Lady.


Button, Button, Who’s Got the Button?

18th century pearl buttons made in Birmingham, England

One of the perks of writing historical fiction is that I can research some pretty off-beat topics and call it work.

And I love to research off-beat things, especially when those things were part of everyday life.

Like . . . buttons.

Yep. Buttons.

Do you notice buttons?

Usually I don’t, but I started taking notice when reading description after description of 18th century deserter and runaway slave or servant ads which included information about the person’s buttons.

Like this ad from July 19, 1776 (my emphasis in both):

 RUN away, in marching up from Suffolk to Cumberland, two men who shipped [illeg.] for seamen in the Revenge cruiser, Willam Deane, esq; commander, named JOHN WILLIAMS and PATRICK CARRICK. Williams is of a dark complexion, pitted much with the small-pox, about 5 feet 7 or 8 inches high, well made, and talks hoarse. I shipped him out of capt. Stinson’s company from West Augusta, of the 8th regiment. Patrick Carrick, about 5 feet 4 inches high, is an Irishman, pitted with the small-pox, has the brogue very much, and when in liquor (which he is much addicted to) very insolent. I shipped him out of capt. Slaughter’s company, of the above regiment; had on, when he went away, a coarse blue coat with yellow buttons, an old pair of buckskin breeches, and black stockings. Whoever delivers them at Cumberland shall have 40 s. reward for each.


Or this ad from September 27, 1776:

DESERTED the 12th of September from my company of th 5th battalion, the following soldiers, viz. JAMES SELF, corporal, a lusty well made man, of a ruddy complexion, 5 feet 10 or 11 inches high, short, light coloured hair, and about 25 years old; wears a purple linen coat, with the button holes bound with white. WILLIAM SELF, a brother of James’s, and much like him, but not quite so tall, or of so ruddy a complexion, about 23 years old. RODHAM KENNER CRALLE, about 6 feet 1 inch high, slender made, and round shouldered, of a dark complexion, with black hair and eyes, and 21 years old; he wears a purple linen coat, turned up with green. FRANCIS WADDY, about 22 years old, 5 feet 11 inches high, and well proportioned, wears short brown hair, and a brown linen coat, turned up with white. These men were concerned in a mutiny before they deserted, and being fearful of receiving their deserts, have foolishly taken this method of escaping. TEN DOLLARS reward will be given for each, if delivered at Williamsburg.
THOMAS GASKINS, jun. captain.

I even discovered that there were lots of folks who collect buttons.

Apparently, in the 1940s it was popular to have a collection of buttons on a string, and many of those early enthusiasts have collected for over 70 years.

Also, it appears that American politicians have used buttons from the get-go.

Like these from George Washington’s inaugurations:

George Washington button. Sold for $1,375. Photo: Page Auctioneers.

Here’s another button from 1779:

George Washington 1779 Inaugural button. Valued around $5,000.



Although button auctioneer Rosemary McKittrick believes valuable buttons aren’t usually found in cookie tins, I think I’ll look a bit closer before tossing those old buttons.

What about you? Ever thought about buttons as being collectibles? Have you ever found a treasure in an old box or deep inside your closet?