Castles in Kansas

English Castle

English Castle

When I’m in the throes of creating a new western historical romance, my mind remains so stuck on the characters, plot, what will happen next and can I make this thing work, that I draw a blank for writing a blog for the week. Not being the type to keep up with breaking news either, because it distracts me. Well, to tell the truth, it makes me so angry that I lose a hold on the world I’m writing in. Back to my train of thought. It’s useless for me to try to blog about current events.

Often that leaves only my current world, which, at the moment, is 1875 in Victoria, Kansas. It’s winter, so naturally there was an early blizzard that caught characters unaware. Having lived in Kansas for most of my growing-up years, I know about those. Snow can pile up so deep it’s chest high to a big horse and melt in two days, and so that’s what happens. It made for a great scene because my protagonist Rowena had gone to town to rescue a young woman injured by an abusive husband. Lizza would come and stay in the castle until she recuperated, safe from his rabid search for her.

Castle? In Kansas? Yes, indeed.

A group of English emigrants bought land from George Grant who had acquired it from the railroad and decided he wanted to build an English town where second sons to royalty could prosper. Families also came, bringing with them all they possessed that was English. Stock like sheep and bob tailed ponies were shipped over. Large stones were also brought in to build small replicas of their castle homes in England. Thereby, the castles.

Which, ironically for history, were demolished by the Germans when they began a town nearby and took over Victoria when most of the English gave up on the experiment and returned to England. In this case, not a shot was fired, yet visiting Victoria, Kansas today, one will only find a few Victorian houses and no castles whatsoever. What a penchant we have for destroying the past to make way for the future. Don’t get me started on that.

Sunflowers in Kansas

Sunflowers in Kansas

This book I’m working on is the second of The Victorian series and I’ve yet to find a title. There are too many titles with Rowena and Lord in them, which was going to be the follow-up to Wilda’s Outlaw. So I have to come up with something different.

Rowena is in love with Lord Prescott. Readers of my first of the series, Wilda’s Outlaw, know this man. He was a rude, controlling, drunken lout, and many have remarked on how they don’t see this match working out. Well, wait till you get into his mind and find out what really makes Lord Prescott tick. All will become clear, and Rowena will be cheered on every step of the way as she tries to help the man she loves.

The title Rowena’s Lord will not work. Any suggestions? The last book of this series will be Tyra’s Cowboy, so you can see what a pickle this leaves me in. I want the titles to be similar so people can find them easier.

I’ll give away a copy of Wilda’s Outlaw to someone who suggests the best title for the book. And I’ll create a small part for them in Tyra’s story to boot. So give it a try.

 

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About veldabrotherton

I'm primarily a writer, but I also speak and teach workshops and co-chair a large critique group. My brand is SexyDarkGritty and that applies to my western historical romances, mysteries, women's fiction and horror novels. After almost 30 years in this business, I still have something to learn and attend conferences to network with other writers, publishers, editors and agents.
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5 Responses to Castles in Kansas

  1. I know exactly how you feel, Velda. The ‘real’ world is in the book you’re creating. And I love that you used the phrase, “in the throes.” Well said.

  2. andidowning says:

    Interesting conundrum, Velda. I’m assuming you don’t want Rowena’s Lord because it might lead a reader to think it was a Regency rather than a western? Since the other two both have the heroine’s name, it’s got to be Rowena’s Someone so what else does he do? Is he Rowena’s Rancher? Or just Rowena’s Hero? Good luck, it’s a tough call.

    • Andi, Thanks. Sadly, he’s not a rancher, but he’ll be a hero. I thought of soldier, since he’s a veteran of the Prussian/Napoleon III War. That might give you a clue as to his problem and why he can be so downright puzzling at times. Hero is a good suggestion too, isn’t it?

  3. Rowena’s Maverick? Or Rowena’s Man? I have a character named Rowena in a short story. Best of luck to you. I have lived in Kansas. My daughter lives there now.

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