Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Thanks, Caroline, for hosting me on your blog today.

I thought I’d talk about what led up to the creation of my new post Civil War romance release, CASSIDY’S WAR.

Susan and her husband as Civil War reenactors
Before I began writing toward publication—I’d dabbled for years, but only had a few pieces published in school papers or amateur fanzines—my husband became enthralled by the Ken Burns documentary about the American Civil War.

Susan and husband outside
an antebellum home

This led to family trips to Gettysburg, followed by his finding a local Civil War reenacting group in Philadelphia. Once he joined, he decided the whole family had to get involved. So, in order not to spend most of my weekends from spring through fall home alone, I became a civilian reenactor.

Civil War reenactor musicians
 I had to do research and learn how to dress, what to eat and what appropriate activities the wife of a soldier would be involved in while in camp. It was a lot of fun and I learned many things that ultimately ended up in my stories set during the War.

Civil War ball gown
 While all this was going on, I was working on children’s books. My first book was a ghost story set in the 19th century, but was never published. I did write a short young adult story set during the Civil War that ended up in one of those little magazines that only paid in copies.

When I decided to write a young adult novel, I used that short story as the basis for my novel. UNDER THE GUNS was ultimately published. It was the story of a young woman and her brothers, as well as one of their childhood friends. The young men joined the Union army and the girl, in time, was able to work as a nurse in the Washington hospitals and later as a battlefield nurse. Her brother’s friend, who she’d known since childhood and considered a nuisance and outrageous flirt, wound his way into her heart after being nearly killed at Gettysburg. She nursed him back to health and fell in love only to nearly lose him again when he was captured by Confederates.

Lady's fan
When this book went out of print and I got the rights back, I thought about trying to get it republished, but decided writing a brand new story about these same characters at a later age, would be a lot more fun.

Victorian lady's hat
My new release, CASSIDY’S WAR, is the story of these same characters five years after the first book ended. My first challenge was to tear the couple apart before the new story began.

My idea was to have the hero, George Masters, suffer from a condition we associate with modern soldiers, but it happened to Civil War soldiers as well. Post traumatic stress disorder caused George to leave the heroine, Cassidy Stuart, days before their wedding and shortly after he returned from prison. He left town and wandered the country, at first living in a drunken stupor, then straightening up enough to earn his living as a professional gambler. And to make him more heroic, he’s persuaded by an old army buddy to seek employment at the Pinkerton Agency. When the story begins, he’s returned to town, five years after he left. But he’s now working undercover as a Pinkerton agent.

Although writing a whole new novel was a lot of work, I did enjoy working with ready made characters on this brand new story. And since the characters are directly affected by the Civil War, my knowledge of that tumultuous period helped to make the characters ring true.

Available now!

And now CASSIDY’S WAR is available for the world to see. I have a gorgeous cover and I hope readers will enjoy reading this story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Blurb: The Civil War is over, but CASSIDY’S WAR is just beginning.

Cassidy Stuart longs to attend medical school. Training beside her physician father and serving as a nurse during the war have only increased her desire to be a doctor with her own practice. When the man who left her at the altar returns, she’s determined not to let him upset the plans she's set for herself.

Until his mission is accomplished, George Masters must hide his identity as a Pinkerton agent as he investigates a physician living in George's former hometown, a short distance from Cassidy's home. When he finds Cassidy hasn’t married, he hopes he can rekindle their love while trying to protect her and the townsfolk from the evil Dr. Madison.

Can their love be renewed despite the villain's desire for revenge against them both?

Excerpt from CASSIDY'S WAR:

He propped her against the wall, removed his hat, and lowered his mouth to hers. Before she could utter a protest, his tongue pressed against her lips, trying to push them apart.
She shoved with all her strength. "Dr. Madison! I must insist you take me home. Now!" She struggled to keep her breath even as she watched his smoldering expression grow cold.

He leaned away from her, pushing his hand through his hair, then settled his bowler back on his head. "You must forgive me, Miss Stuart. I should never have taken such liberties. But your beauty has mesmerized me."

"Please take me home. Now."

Madison tightened his grip on her wrist. Movement outside the alley drew her startled gasp.

George raced to her side and yanked Madison's hand from her arm. "Take your hands off her, you filthy scum!"

Madison's eyes widened. "See here!"

Before he could utter another word, George raised his fist and slammed it into the doctor's face.

"George, don't!" Cassidy cried.

George paid no attention. Madison growled and swung at George. He ducked and the doctor swung again, this time connecting with George's jaw and knocking them both to the ground.

The two wrestled and grunted, rolling around in the dirt.

Cassidy stepped to the edge of the alley, her heart thudding. No pedestrians strolled by. Wringing her hands, she turned back. She had to stop this herself.

"Will you please stop acting like school boys or common ruffians?" She glared at them, hands fisted on her hips.

"I won't let you hurt Cassie, you pompous ass,' George ground out.

"Looks to me like you already have," Madison spat.

George swung and connected with the doctor's nose.

A loud crunch drew a gasp from Cassidy.
George glanced up, his lip curled upward. He rose to his feet, breathing hard.

Dr. Madison lay flat on his back, cradling his bloodied nose in both hands.

"George Masters!" Cassidy glared into his dark eyes. "Just what are you doing?"

"He—I..." George arched a brow. "He had you alone in a dark alley. What am I supposed to think?"

She lifted her fisted hands to rest on her hips. "So you punched him?"

"Well...he hit me, too." He rubbed his jaw.

CASSIDY’S WAR available from The Wild Rose Press


and Barnes and Noble
Find out more about me, read the opening chapters of my new release and learn about my other books at my website:

My thanks to Susan for sharing her writing and reenacting experiences with us. Remember that the Amazing Author Event continues:

Jan. 18. SG Rogers -

Jan. 19. Linda LaRogue -

Jan. 20 Jacquie Rogers -

Thanks for stopping by!


Susan Macatee said...

Thanks again for having me as a guest today, Caroline!

Bookie said...

Really enjoyed this post and think I would like the book. One of the first, although often unnoticed, battles was held right outside of town here...Carthage, Mo.

angelyn said...

Civil war reenactment--gives you a great authoritative voice. I know this book will do well.

Susan Macatee said...

Thanks, Bookie and Angelyn! There were so many battles fought all over the country and, of course, history mostly records the biggest and most decisive battles. When you dig into research, you find all kinds of things that can lead to great stories set in and just after the period.

Marianne said...

The pictures were awesome! Thanks for a great post. i want to read it!


Susan Macatee said...

Thanks, Marianne! Glad you liked it!

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

The photos are great, Susan. I've always loved the one with you and your hubby as you look so authentic in your garb. Isn't it great to be able to write you you love. I am also fortunate to live where my stories are set.

Love the cover for your new book. Best of luck with lots of sales.

Susan Macatee said...

Thanks, Paisley! I saves time on research too and adds that authentic touch.