Daughters of a Nation: "In the Morning Sun"

There's only one more week left before the official release of Daughters of a Nation! My anthology sisters and I are excited to be sharing this anthology with the world and I'm especially thrilled to be sharing a bit about my story in the collection...

With the election of 1868 underway, Madeline Asher’s mission is clear: educate and enlist the freedmen of Nebraska to vote. After losing the man she loves to war—and a small piece of herself along the way—Madeline is determined to reclaim her life by making a difference in others. But when Union veteran James Blakemore III comes back into her life, Madeline must choose between a future she’s always wanted and the chance to shape a greater nation.

(Photographs by William C Withers and Mathew Brady)

For those of you who are familiar with my story AMAZING GRACE in our last anthology, The Brightest Day, you'll remember Madeline Asher as the mail-order bride being sent to Montana and who was also the travel companion for my heroine, Gracie Shaw. In that story, Madeline doesn't quite make it to Montana and you'll soon learn why.

I can't tell you how much I enjoyed writing this story about a head-strong woman looking to make a difference in her country and the Union soldier she loved and lost. This story took me through a roller coaster of emotions and not just from writing Madeline and James story but from the research that I went through to pull this book together. I learned so much about people I had never heard of—people who came before and fought hard and valiantly to keep this country united and to fulfill its promise of liberty and freedom for all. Women like Frances Ellen Watkins Harper—who is well known as one of the first African American suffragette and perhaps not so well known for being the "Rosa Parks" of her time when she refused to give up her seat in a segregated trolley in Philadelphia. She was a huge inspiration and influence in my story and to my heroine, Madeline.

But when writing historicals, it's hard not to get lost in the research. The story is set during the first presidential election since the end of the Civil War and since the emancipation proclamation freed all slaves and gave African American men the right to vote. During that time, the climate of the country was not at it's best. IN THE MORNING SUN addresses a lot of those tough issues, which are sadly still applicable today—issues such as unlawful voter restrictions, neglect of our veterans, women rights and the lack thereof, racism and inequality.

However, I am and will always be a romance writer first, so despite these sensitive topics, there is still a central love story and of course a happily-ever-after.

Daughters of a Nation is an anthology filled with stories that are meant to bring about a sense of spirit, hope, and love. It spans several time periods of struggles for not just women rights but human rights. That is what makes are nation great—the people that came before that fought and struggle for the rights we enjoy now. And what continues to make our country great is those who continue that fight so that for liberty, equality, and justice for all.

Now for a special sneak peek into IN THE MORNING SUN...

In this flashback scene, Madeline recalls the moment James tells her of his plans to enlist in the Union army.

“I don’t want you to go, Jimmy.”

His expression softened. “I have to join, Maddie. The victory at Gettysburg was only the beginning. If we want an end to come to this rebellion, the Union needs more men to fight.”

"But what of those who have been selected for conscription. The government will have number of men they need to enlist.”

“You’ve read of what’s happening in New York. Those riots are a big setback to our cause and drafting men to fight can’t be the only solution. I for one will not just sit and wait to be called to fight.”

Madeline grabbed his hand and held it tight. “But you can do so much more for the cause here than in any battlefield. You don’t need to risk your life!”

“I have a chance to do more than write recruitment bills and articles. Let me help the Union secure victory against the southern rebels and then you’ll see. Soon, everything we’ve fought hard for will finally be realized.”

She swallowed hard, her next words barely a whisper. “And what if you die?”

He brought her hand to his lips then gifted her with his signature smile. “You worry for naught, love. This war is close to coming to an end and you forget. I’m too stubborn to die.” ♥

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