Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Normally I don’t enter contests but—luckily for me—I entered the Winter Rose Contest with two of my 2012 books. As the saying goes, “you could have knocked me over with a feather” when I learned that BRAZOS BRIDE came in first in the historical category and HIGH STAKES BRIDE came in second. Even better, BRAZOS BRIDE won the grand overall prize!  You can imagine how happy I am.  Picture me dancing around the room. . . well, dancing in my mind.

Although my win still seems like a dream, I have a lovely certificate plus a beautiful silver rose necklace to prove to myself this actually occurred.

Grand Overall Winner, First Place in Historical Category,
Winter Rose Contest

For those of you who don’t know, BRAZOS BRIDE is the first of the Men of Stone Mountain series. I know there is a Stone Mountain in Georgia, but this one is in the Palo Pinto Mountains of North Central Texas.  To those from Colorado and other mountainous locales, the Palo Pinto Mountains might seem more like hills. Nope, they are genuine mountains due to the geological formation.

Modified longhorn cattle in a field
near a part of the Palo Pinto Mountains
The hazy, blue-green appearance is due to a large amount of cedar on the slopes as well as live oaks and deciduous trees. The cedar has been harvested at least since anglos came to the area. Cedar makes good fence posts and many cabins were built of cedar logs. It may have made good support posts for tipis. Certainly Native Americans inhabited this area of good springs and creeks each summer. The Gibson family, current Quail Creek Ranch owners who descend from the Henry Belding, have found evidence of Native American encampments dating back to the 11th century in the form of middens, points, arrows, pottery, and so forth. Their ranch is at the intersection of two creeks, one of which has a spring that doesn’t dry up in droughts.

Ranch house side door between original Belding cabin, right,
and original smoke house, left. Both round
cedar log structures are a part of the Gibson home.
In fact, one of the inspirations for this series was Quail Creek Ranch, which was a part of the larger Belding Ranch formed in 1859. For you New England and European folks, that’s early for ranches here. Comanche and Kiowa, and occasionally Apache, made certain settlers knew they were not welcome on these hunting and camp grounds. The last raids were early 1870, which is when BRAZOS BRIDE is set.

Second Belding Cabin now part of Gibson's main house.
Note squared off cedar logs for this two-room cabin
with cedar beaded board ceiling.
The original Belding cabin is still intact, although now it functions as a bathroom for the Gibson family. I love that the family has preserved and incorporated the original cabin and smokehouse, The second cabin functions as a family room and a bedroom, and all the original structures are surrounded by newer rooms. This is a beautiful ranch and the owners are gracious, friendly people whose home is on a historic tour every few years. This past month was our second visit there. I feel so privileged to have seen this home. 

Second Place in Historical Category,
Winter Rose Contest

HIGH STAKES BRIDE, second in the series, is set just after the last white children were kidnapped by Comanche and Kiowa. I based the rescue referenced in the book on an actual event from this area. Three children, two brothers and their younger girl cousin, were kidnapped and taken to Indian Territory. Someday, I’d like to write a story about the children. They were only in captivity eighteen months, but the trauma they endured caused them to forget English. At last they were reunited with their families, or what was left after the raid in which they were captured.

Originally, I had intended only three books for this series. However, I’m now writing the fourth and have two more planned. TABITHA’S JOURNEY is a novella spin off from the third book, BLUEBONNET BRIDE. Sometimes characters pop into an author’s head and demand a story. That's always a good thing. Although his appearance in BLUEBONNET BRIDE was brief, that’s what happened with Bear Baldwin for TABITHA’S JOURNEY. I love Bear and his mom, Erna, and would like to keep going and going to let readers know what interesting people they are. But that’s not a story. The part of their story that has conflict and resolution is the novella. I’ll let you in on the rest in later blogs.

For now, I’m celebrating my contest win and basking in happiness.

Thanks for stopping by!


Jacquie Rogers said...

Caroline, I LOVED Brazos Bride! I sure did deserve to win, and I want to be you when I grow up.

Double congratulations!

Jacquie Rogers said...

IT deserved to win. I hate that blogger doesn't let us edit. :(

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Caroline! And I would be dancing around too!

Rustye said...

Congratulations! I love the Stone Mountain books and am very glad there will be more!

Rustye said...

Congratulations! I love the Stone Mountain books and am very glad there will be more!