Friday, May 10, 2013

Bachelor Buttons - A Civil War Romance Giveaway!

This contest is closed: Winner is Leslie McDonald!!!  Thank you all for entering.. and please, do yourself a favor and pick up this book. You won't regret it!! 

Please give a hearty welcome to my friend and fellow author, Kathleen Maher!!  Kathleen has written a fabulous novella that is part of a Civil War Romance Collection.  You're going to love it!! Plus, Kathleen is generously giving away a copy, plus a gift basket to one lucky winner!

If you recall a few weeks ago, I had Carrie Fancett Pagels here on my blog with her Civil War Romance, Return to Shirley Plantation. Well, that was the first book in the series and Kathleen is the 3rd book! They are all separate stories so no need to worry.   

Now a bit about the story. 

Civil War in fiction—The Draft Riots

MaryLu, I am thrilled to be here. Thank you so much for hosting me. I have just read Forsaken
Dreams, and really loved its ties to Civil War history.  Although Veil of Pearls remains my all-time favorite, saturated as it was in antebellum culture and all of its complexities and contradictions, Forsaken Dreams is fabulous in its own right. Former Confederates fleeing to Brazil for a fresh start is a chapter of Civil War history I had never known, and you portrayed it so compellingly and with a delightful cast of characters.  

Civil War is really big right now, especially among history geeks like me. We are in the middle of the sesquicentennial—150 years since battles like Gettysburg, Chickamauga, and Chancellorsville, all fought in 1863. With two more years to go of Civil War anniversaries, these reflections provide endless possibilities for story. And that is exactly what Cry of Freedom is all about. 
Helping Hands Press, via Murray Pura has assembled 15 contributors of short stories and novellas commemorating 1863. Authors such as Kathi Macias, Carrie Fancett Pagels, and Karen Anna Vogel bring a unique angle on the history made in 1863. From the battlefield to plantation field hospitals, along the Underground Railroad and as far North as New York City, the people, places, sights and sounds of the moment are coming alive again. 

As a part of this series, my debut novella Bachelor Buttons has just released.  Set in New York City in July, 1863 just after Gettysburg, Bachelor Buttons depicts the tension among Irish Immigrants over Lincoln’s controversial Conscription Act. Feeling disenfranchised by policies that threatened their already-challenged job outlook, many Irish mistakenly blamed freed blacks who competed for laboring jobs. The Emancipation Proclamation heightened tension, but the tipping point came with
the draft. Every able bodied man from 20-45 had to serve if their number came up. Every able bodied man that is, except for those wealthy enough to buy their way out. And every able bodied man except for freedmen, who weren’t yet considered citizens. No exception was given for recently emigrated men who had come to their new country in hopes of starting a better life, however.

On Saturday July 11, the first draft lottery was held in Manhattan, and though peaceful, it struck a spark that would burn a wildfire throughout the borough all week. On Monday, Irishmen, incensed at the injustices of the draft, set fire to the Provost Marshal’s office.  They then attacked the New York Times and several other Republican papers and businesses, looted stores, and even burned a black orphanage.  But not all Irish participated in such heinous acts. In fact, in a few neighborhoods, they protected freedmen from the violence. The Draft Riots, also called the Battle of New York City, finally ended when troops were sent up from Gettysburg to restore order. 

To celebrate my novella, I am offering a gift basket of goodies, plus a pdf copy of Bachelor Buttons
to one lucky winner!

Wow, that was fascinating, Kathleen!!  I, for one, had never heard about The Draft Riots. Thank you for giving way a copy of your book and this lovely gift basket!!

I had a chance to read Bachelor Buttons a few weeks ago, and here's my review.

I'm not sure how this author packed so much good stuff in one tiny book, but only Kathleen Maher's exquisite pen could pull off such a feat.  There's so much history here, plus incredible romance, then add action and suspense and you've got a perfect getaway on a hot summer's night.  Another fun fact is that Kathleen modeled the romance and story after real life events of her great, great grandmother.
In Kathleen's words
 My great, great grandmother Katherine Meehan was a young girl of about eight or ten when the draft riots occurred, and she saw some of the gruesome aftermath of the riots, men hanging from the lamp posts in Washington Square Park. She would have come to courting age in the 1870's, and had two suitors, one a doctor and one a violin teacher named William Lee. They all lived in lower Manhattan and were first generation Irish. Katherine was smitten with both men, and couldn't decide who to choose, so she told them they must run a foot race to win her hand in marriage. The winner turned out to be William Lee, the poor violin instructor. They married, and struggled financially. Every year, Katherine and William's family received a ton of coal from a mysterious benefactor. It is said in my mother's family stories that the doctor died a bachelor, and the mysterious gift of coal stopped coming after his death.

MaryLu here: Isn't that awesome???  I just love real life stories like this! 

I met Kathleen when I judged a contest she entered and I gave her such high marks, we somehow connected and she's been a dear friend ever since. In fact, she ended up wining that contest eventually! So, you can imagine how thrilled I was when she got her first publishing contract with this book. 

Please leave a comment with your email address and answer the following question: Do you have any touching love stories from your family's history?

A winner for both the book and the the basket will be announced on Thursday, May 16th!!  Good luck!


  1. MaryLu, thank you so much for having me on your blog this week! And what an honor for you to call me friend. Your review makes me so happy I could cry. Bless you, kind lass! Looking forward to interacting with your readers this week.

  2. Way cool! My family doesn't have any neat love stories like that, that I know of :(. But it was beautiful to hear yours, Miss Maher! Thanks for hosting this contest!

  3. The first love story I can think of is my grandparents. They decided one day in 1933 to get married and did. They didn't tell anyone and Grandma was scared to tell her father about it. There was no reason why she was scared, both of them were 21.
    Their wedding night was spent at a farm where Grandpa was working. The lady of the house locked them into a room so no one could bother them. Several of the farm hands came to the window and serenaded them.
    Grandpa passed just before they celebrated their 72 year anniversary. Amazing!
    campbellamyd at gmail dot com

  4. Callie, You'll have to create your very own love story, then! Thank you for your sweet words. Blessings, and good luck on the giveaways.

    Amy, that is so sweet! I'm sorry they didn't make it to celebrate their 72nd anniversary, but my, what a testimony to faithfulness and enduring love. Thank you for sharing. <3

  5. My parents were high school sweethearts and were married at 19. 30 years later they are still more in love than most couples i know! They are such an inspiration. I want my marriage to be like that!

  6. The book sounds really good. Thanks for the giveaway. No history love stories for me. Although when I read yours, it made wish I did. I have heard 2 stories about my parents and how they got together, so not sure what the truth is.

  7. I don't know a lot about our families histories. My Grandmother won't talk about her past or her family. I do have my own personal story of romance though. I went through a bad marriage and a divorce but found the Lord through that experience. I remember sitting in my living room one day and I started talking to God. I said, "Lord, I know I'm not meant to be alone but I can't pick a decent man to save my life so you are going to have to pick the next one." As I was praying the Holy Spirit began to impress upon my heart and before I knew it I began praying for a specific man and my prayer was full of his description. "Lord, I want a man who loves you with all His heart, who will put you first. I want a man who will love me as I deserve to be loved. Who will protect me. Who will push me to be the best I can be. He will have dark hair, not be too tall, work out, play the guitar....: and a host of other things which perfectly described the man I have been married to for 16 years this May 20th. He is all those things and more. Thank you Lord for knowing better than me the kind of man I needed. There is a lot more to our story but I think that is enough for now LOL

    enter me in the contest please.


  8. Hey Ladies!!! To of my Very Most Favorite People. ;o) And both awesome writers to boot! So excited about Kathy's debut. Like you, MaryLu, Kathy pours her heart into her writing. You can't help but invest yourself in the characters. Have a great weekend ladies!

  9. The most romantic one I know is more about faithfulness through hard times and reminds me of God's love for us, no matter how unfaithful we are towards Him. Ancestors of mine dealt with an adulterous affair by the husband, yet they reconciled and stayed together, celebrated 69 years of marriage and when she couldn't care for him any longer in their old age, she visited him for most of every single day in the nursing home...doing the nurses' work of caring for her husband as much as she could, eating all of her meals with him, and loved him through it all. They are a tremendous example for me, though both with the Lord now.

  10. Awwwwww.....Ms. Karen and Mrs. sweet!!! And happy early anniversary, Mrs. Lousie!
    ps....has anyone seen Mrs. Hur--um, Brenda, this morning?? She is missing a great post!

  11. This is so great! Thank you!

    Mine would have to be of my great aunt & uncle she was 17 and he was 27 they are both just amazing!!!


  12. Lovely review, MaryLu! I love everything about this book from Kathleen. The "real life" love story and the history of the riots sound so intriguing. Love seeing your book being talked about by everyone, Kathleen! Blessings to you both!
    Susan P

  13. Kathleen's novella is great! I am so happy for her debut and I am sure this book will be the first of many! Hugs and God bless!

  14. I am so touched by the coal story. Nowadays the outcome of something like that would end with the winner being beaten up, the girl being called horrible names, and both of them being wished ill. That is a beautiful testimony of what pure, true love is. In an era filled with fleeting relationships and lust, we need more example of what true love looks like. Congratulations on your debut, Kathleen!

    I don’t know of any touching love stories from my families history! I wish I did, but alas.


  15. Oh my goodness, the gangs all here. Had to step out for some mothers day shopping, and look--you all came!
    Chaplain Debbie, you and MaryLu are enjoying the limelight on my blog this week with your fantastic new devotional. :) Big congrats to you!
    Susan, P I just mailed you a little something-something today. :)
    Lani, that sounds like an amazing romance between your aunt and your uncle. Those were simpler times.
    Callie, you are so sweet!
    Karen, that is a wonderful story of devotion. God bless them. Love it!
    Debbie Lynne! Thank you for finding me! You are way too kind to me. :D
    Louise, I love redemptive stories like that. So glad the Lord brought you happiness. Happy anniversary to you both!
    Nancy, the great thing about oral tradition family histories is the different versions you get. I'd love to hear them some time.
    Leslie, that is so romantic! God bless them for modeling a happy marriage to you.

  16. Hi ladies! So sorry I'm late to the party! I've had my head buried in research books all day! I'm LOVING these historical love stories.. thanks for those who have shared.. and if you don't have one.. that's okay. Neither do I, really.. except a really sad one. :-(

    Some of these stories should be made into books! With marriage on the decline and divorce on the rise, it's so refreshing to hear about happy marriages that have lasted a long time..

    Anyway, thanks for dropping by! I look forward to more stories!

  17. Such a lovely novella, KATHY, and I was so privileged to be one of your crit partners for this project! MARYLU, thanks for having both of us on your lovely blog! We both so admire your writing!!! Very grateful for your reviews/endorsements of these novellas! Kathy is very talented and has such a lovely voice!!! Blessings!

  18. Carrie, thank so much for stopping in to say hey. Your eagle eye along with Debbie Lynne's made a huge difference on the project. I'm so glad you led the way with Return to Shirley Plantation with its beautiful and dramatic setting and wonderful redemptive elements.
    And I agree, big thanks to MaryLu for her generosity with her time and endorsement, and for having us on her beautiful blog. Huzzah!

  19. Love Civil War stories - thanks for the neat giveaway opportunity!

  20. Thank you all so much for coming out to celebrate my novella! And big thanks to MaryLu for having me. Here's an Irish blessing: May the roads rise to meet you and may the wind be ever at your back and may God watch over thee and keep thee, and may you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows you're dead! Blessings and hugs,

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  22. Congratulations to Leslie for winning the novella and basket! selected your name.