Biding Her Time

by Andrea on August 7, 2014

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Could you sell yourself into servitude for the promise of betterment in the future?

The practice was surprisingly common in the early days of America. In Colonial times many persons coming to the colonies fit into the category of “unfree labor”. Some research indicates that as many as 75% of all immigrants who settled south of New England were indentured servants who might be voluntary or involuntary; convict servants mostly from Britain who were ‘pardoned’ and banished to the colonies; or redemptioners who became indentured to pay the cost of their passage.

Including the indentured servants, sometimes called bond servants, the colonies had three distinct types of unfree laborers. The other two categories were apprentices and slaves. Apprentices were mostly native born Americans, sometimes relatives or youngsters from nearby families working to learn a trade. The awful history of slavery is well known.

The important history of the indentured servants is less well known. Terms of service to an owner might range from 3 to perhaps 7 years. Not all were voluntary. Some were forced into the indenture. Forced indenture included those who were ‘spirited’ from Europe by trickery and other devious ways, or were convicts, those rogues and vagabonds clogging English prisons. Some 50,000 convicts are believed to have been banished to the colonies during the eighteenth century, mostly to the tobacco colonies. These represented as much as one fourth of all British immigrants. Terms or service were usually seven to fourteen years for this group. They had no rights.

Non-convict indentured servants, those who voluntarily committed to a term of service, tended to be more skilled and educated. Some few were able to buy out from the servitude or escape by marriages. More found it possible to achieve land ownership or become small planters by leasing land immediately after completing their service. A law passed in Virginia in 1705 required freed bond servants get fifty acres of land when they had served out their term. The same was true whether black-skinned or white-skinned.

The heroine in Dark Prelude and Dark Splendor chooses to become a voluntary bondservant or indentured servant with the hope that once her term of service is done, the future she secures in a new land will be a far better one that she can hope for in her present life. The terms she is offered are generous and enticing to a young woman in desperate circumstances. She hastily signs the documents thrust at her and thus begins her adventures in the American colonies.

Silvia Bradstreet expects to work and earn her freedom, not to become bait in dark and terrible scheme.

Read Silvia’s story in Dark Splendor at a special price of 99¢ for a limited time.

Read the prequel Dark Prelude free.

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Seven Southern Superstitions

by Andrea on June 8, 2014

 

MC900436255[1]Just playing around with my southern roots for a spell and tossing out seven sunny south superstitions.

A superstition is the belief that one event causes another without any physical process linking the two events. Sayings and superstitions have been around about as long as the spoken word. Most of them defy logic and likely came about as a result of ignorance and fear of the unknown. Many superstitious practices can be attributed to false interpretations of natural events. Others arise from a desire to predict the future or simply to ease the anxiety of uncertainty.

We may laugh today when a superstitious saying pops out of the mouth of a friend, acquaintance or family member, but it is likely each of us has one or two we cling to, whether we admit it or not. Honestly, can you see a black cat crossing your path or a ladder propped against a building and not steer clear?

These southern superstitions gave me a chuckle and invited comment. See if they are new to you or if they spread to your part of the country and got a regional twist.

1. Pull three hairs from a dog’s tail and put them under the doorstep. Your dog will not stray from home. (He might bite you though, so fair warning.)

2. Sweeping after dark will bring sorrow to your heart. (That goes for any housework as far as I can tell.)

3. Slips from plants should be stolen. Only stolen ones grow. (Do be careful pinching off the plants at Home Depot.)

4. If you want to learn to pick a banjo, take your banjo to the forks of a dirt road on a dark night and start playing. (Wear your running shoes.)

5. To become beautiful, get behind a door and eat a chicken foot or swallow a chicken gizzard whole. (Remember, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.)

6. Run into a cobweb, you’ll get a letter. (And tick off a spider.)

7. Kissing a gal behind the ear brings bad luck. (She won’t care.)

I ran across these researching backgrounds for characters. Got my fingers crossed there are are a few you haven’t heard. It you have a favorite superstition; I’d love to hear it.

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An Excerpt From Devil Moon

March 11, 2014

Meet Rhys and Teddy from Devil Moon  Inside the Brass Bell Saloon, Teddy Gamble led to a corner table, kicked back a chair and sat.  “Marc André Rhys Delmar at your service, mademoiselle.” Smiling to full effect, Rhys slid into a second chair and squared himself across the scarred bar table from Teddy Gamble. Her […]

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Readers Delight. Read An Ebook Week At Smashwords.

March 4, 2014

Celebrate Read An Ebook Week at Smashwords. March 2-8, 2014. I’m joining in. Use the special code at Smashwords to take advantage. Whispers At Midnight is free! Dark Prelude is free and Dark Splendor is half price. Delilah’s Flame, Devil Moon, My Only Desire are also half price. Stock up. Read your heart out. Kudos […]

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Ten Quick Tips For Writers

February 16, 2014

I appreciate and adore all readers. I also know writers are voracious readers and many of you who visit my site are writers as well as readers. Occasionally I like to include a post especially for you. Even if you are a long time writer it is good to run a checklist on yourself and […]

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Valentine Goodies

February 6, 2014

Dear Romantic Readers, Valentine’s Day is all about love and romance, sweethearts and special ones in our lives.  In celebration of Cupid and all the tricky things he does with hearts and emotions, Trove Books is offering Delilah’s Flame and Devil Moon at a special limited time price of $.99. Delilah’s Flame She’s no redheaded […]

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Meet Sunny Harlowe, the bounty hunter heroine of My Only Desire

January 25, 2014

A beautiful bounty hunter on a mission A handsome scoundrel on the run. When two strong wills and two empty hearts collide, there is bound to be fire and smoldering passion that will not let it die. My Only Desire is inspired by all the women who after experiencing great personal loss shift their energy […]

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Excerpt from My Only Desire

January 13, 2014

My Only Desire A Guns & Garters Western Historical Romance A man in chains. A  woman in charge. Sunny Harlowe is a bounty hunter who always gets her man. But this time she’s captured trouble in Price Ramsey, a scoundrel who always gets his woman. “Sunny. Do you know what I thought the first time […]

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Finding Devil Moon

October 9, 2013

She was no lady. He was a gentleman gambler. Together they were like gunpowder and flint, setting the west on fire beneath a Devil Moon. Western lore dominated my childhood. Kid-friendly western movies streamed from the local theater. I saw them all and yearned for life on a ranch, a six-shooter and spurs. Not much […]

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Traveling Companions, How to Create Characters Who Live and Breathe

September 3, 2013

*The following is a chapter excerpt from my book Roadmap For Writers and expounds on the use of the character chart shown in an earlier blog post.  Many of my Creative Writing students found it useful for fleshing out the characters in their stories.  For major characters, I often write several paragraphs or more about […]

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