Sunday, June 30, 2013


             Susannah couldn’t sit still. Every nerve inside and out stood at attention. She giggled. “When those pickers showed up, I praised the Lord right then and there. Must have been a dozen counting the ones who fired up their steam powered gin. I’d never seen anything like it in my life—oh, the Baylor Brothers’ saw mill, but they only cut up trees. This machine ate sacks of cotton like a calf sucking its mother’s milk.
            “The pickers traveled those rows like they were steam powered, too, stuffing two hundred pounds of that soft white cotton almost so quick that if you blinked you’d miss it. I swear I knew every row like my baby’s sweet smile, and the very ones I figured would be the best produced lots extra just like I thought.
            “The gin men fed those full bags into their wonderful machine, and on the other end, out popped a five hundred pound bale. Every time they stacked another one on my wagon, I thanked the Lord for His bounty.
            “One after another, until the first wagon was filled. I figured eight bales, two tons each total would be about as much as I wanted to load on the wagons. I sure was proud Andy and Jacob had beefed them up for hauling timber.
            “I couldn’t believe it when Levi pulled up the second wagon. Becky and I did a little dance, then Levi even came and joined in. The children were so excited, too. I never thought—and you know I’m a guardian of the truth—I didn’t ever think for a wink that my thirty-two acres would produce sixteen bales! Can you believe it? Sixteen! That’s four tons of cotton, eight thousand pounds! And Littlejohn’s offered three-and-a-half to four cents a pound depending on the quality. I’m no expert, but I think it’s really good lint.
            “Anyway, that’s three hundred and twenty dollars. With Levi and Becky, and the Lord’s help, of course, we’ve earned three hundred and twenty dollars. God is so good! So, I figured if I didn’t have to spend the month going to Jefferson and back, I could stay home, and Levi and I could get the fields plowed and ready to plant wheat. Everything was working out better than I’d ever hoped. Isn’t that just like our awesome Heavenly Father?
            “Now, all I have to do is deliver the cotton to Mister Littlejohn at the Sulpher Fork Trading Post morning after next. I told the children we could spend a night there, you know, for a treat. I intend to let them order a new pair of shoes and pick out a bolt or two of fabric for some new clothes.”
            She sighed and her vision blurred. A tear rolled down her cheek. “For the first time since the accident—since me losing my husband and Levi losing his daddy—we’ll finally have extra. Getting through the year won’t be so hard. You can’t imagine how grateful I am to the Lord. He’s truly blessed me.”
VOW UNBROKEN begins on that next morning after when Sue and Levi drive their wagons to the trading post to meet Mister Littlejohn..     

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


             Since I wanted to set VOW UNBROKEN in 1832, I needed to know more about the period. I couldn’t visit, so I did the next best thing and hurried to the world wide web—every time I think of that, I'm reminded of Daniel 12:4 "But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased."—and began researching.
            What did people wear? Style of dresses, britches, undergarments, shoes and hats. In ’32, ladies wore full length, full skirts with petticoats, pantelettes (also called bloomers) and chemises – a lightweight cotton, sleeveless or short-sleeved slips. But women on the prairie weren’t as fussy as those on the east coast. Though slippers were the footwear of the time, Texas women opted for the more practical, lace-up boots. Men’s trousers were also called britches and they wore boots and wide brimmed hats.
            What were their slang words and catch phrases? Loafer, toady, scalawag, and chowderhead were bad names to call scoundrels, cheats, or lazy folks. 'Hang around' as a verb phrase came into use and is still popular today, more than two centuries later! A 'big gun' was an important person then as now, but a 'bouncer' wasn’t a person who threw people out of private parties or nightclubs. In the 1830s, he was a bully. 'Ace high' meant excellent and 'proud' was used instead of glad. Boss was used for ‘the best’. It's come all the way back around, hasn't it? And I’ll 'fetch it directly' meant I’ll bring it soon. I also discovered a few phrases I’d never heard such as ‘blue at the mizzen’ – haughty – and ‘beat the devil around the stump’ - avoid doing something.
            I had to know how they communicated back then – yikes, no phones, not even mail service to Texas. Letters were often given to travelers with no guarantees.
            What about Texas during that time? Mexico called it Tejas and claimed it to be a part of Mexico, their ‘presidios’ kept order in the territory, but white settlers from the East were beginning to rebel and run them off. So much so that Mexican President Bustamonte made ‘No more White Settlers’ a law. One that white settlers ignored. Isn’t that interesting? Made me think of the scriptural principle, ‘what you sow, you will reap.’
            I needed to know about Indians, tall the little towns in North East Texas and south to Jefferson then on to New Orleans. How they crossed rivers and creeks with the heavily loaded wagons was a mystery to me until I researched it. How they cooked, what they cooked, the games and toys children played with. I developed a document on the nineteenth century information through copy-and-paste that I still refer to often. I can’t imagine how authors of yesteryear did their research. I’m such a spoiled, twenty-first century, computer Grami with anything I need to know only a click away! And I am thankful to the Lord for that.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Ever wonder how an author gets started? This is how the idea for VOW UNBROKEN began.      

        When I first decided to write a historical Christian romance set in the 1800s, a member of the Red River Writer's Workshop and friend, Marion Butts influenced my subject matter. Marion's been writing historical non-fiction about anything and everything having to do with Red River County in far North East Texas--my new home--for years. At our workshop, we read a chapter and then critique each other. I'd so enjoyed his reads and remembered one having to do with the farmers getting together in a 'wagon train' to take their cotton to market in Jefferson, about a hundred miles south.
        I talked with my husband, also a writer, and we brainstormed a bit. I thought a widow living out on the prairie would make a good heroine. How was she widowed? Husband died in an accident along with his brother. My widow would be pregnant and also now have her nephew to raise. That all happened ten years before the book opens, known as 'back story' - important for an author to know, but the reader can discover it as they get acquainted with ...with... What would I name my heroine? Susannah, and I'll call her Sue. SO, what's my premise - - -
        She believed her young husband's death was her punishment for not honoring her father. You see, she'd married without his blessing, and so to atone for her sin, she makes a promise--a vow-- to God that she will not marry again without her Daddy's blessing. This is troublesome for all her suitors since he lives in Tennessee, a long way to travel for a man unsure of the outcome. And so, Sue remained alone on the prairie, raising her baby girl and five year old nephew, eking out a living and trusting God. As is often the case, the trials she faced drew her closer to God and taught her to trust in His faithful provision.
       But I didn't want her to go with the train, that'd be too easy. So why wouldn't she? Ah, she thought she had her crop sold close to home, to a businessman at the trading post, but on the day she delivers it, he tries to cheat her, won't pay what he said he would, bad mouths her lint. Susannah is fit to be tied! And this is where I open her story. A crisis causes her to make a decision that takes her on a journey.
        I hope you'll enjoy going with her on the Jefferson Trace in the year of our Lord, 1832 - the year before Clarksville, Texas came into existence. Texas was better known as Tejas - the Spanish word for 'friendly' - since many considered it part of Mexico. Miller County in Arkansas, claimed the Red River Valley was a part of it, but one thing had been determined. The area along the Red River was known as The Gateway To Texas as it still is today.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

C*O*V*E*R and C*O*N*T*E*S*T

It's here! It's here!  The cover for VOW UNBROKEN! I love writing historical Christian romances and I love this cover!

♪♫• I am happy! ♥♥♪*•♫♪ Oh so happy!!♫•♥ *♪ The Lord has made me happy!♥ ♪♫•✫I am happy!♥ Oh so happy!♥ ♪♫•♥♫♪ I’m happy deep in my soul!♥ ♪♫•♥ My mind, my will, and emotion♥ ♪♫•♥are elated at His devotion!*♪•.♪ ♫•*♥♪*•♫♪ I’m hap-hap-hap-happy! ♥ ♪♫•I’m Hap-hap-hap-happy!♪•.♪♫ I’m happy in the Lord!!!♥ ♪♫•
That's one of my new songs the Lord gave to me. I used to feel 'funny' about calling the songs 'mine', but He told me, "They ARE yours! I GAVE them to you! They are a gift from your Abba!" So now I call them mine! : )


Love and determination conquers all on the Jefferson Trace in the fall of 1832. Desperate young widow Susannah Baylor recruits War of 1812 veteran Patrick Henry Buckmeyer to help transport her cotton from the Red River Valley to market in Jefferson, Texas. Along the trail, snakes, drunks, wolves, thieves, black bear, and nature thwart her efforts at every turn. With her daughter, nephew, unsaved hireling and his dog, Sue overcomes each obstacle. At her destination, she learns travel on to New Orleans is necessary to sell her crop. Her mission finally achieved, more travel to Tennessee is required for her love to be realized. She’s made a vow to God, and will not wed again without her father’s blessing. 

 Without further ado - - - La da de da de da ! ! ! (play like those are trumpets : )
         Drum roll, please    •*♥♪*   ♪♫•♥♫♪    ♫•*♥♪*•♫♪ 
                       HERE'S THE COVER!   : )  !  !  !  !  !  : )

What do you think?? I love it. From Sue's green skirt to the greenish wagon. Blue dog (represented here by our own Franklin Doganore Roosevelt 'Roo' for short). The sky, the grass, the font, and THE SERIES LOGO!!! 'A Lonestar Novel' That handsome Henry driving the wagon, too! Please leave your comments!
             I'm going to give a book away in celebration!!

  • You get one entry for leaving a comment here.
  • You get another entry for liking my Facebook Author PAGE - the page, not just the post : ) (here's the link :
  • You get an entry for leaving a comment there as well!
  • You get one by following my tweets on Twitter! go here:
  • Leave a tweet for me about my cover and get another chance! 
  • You get an entry for a friend you invite who likes my Facebook author's page OR follows my Twitter tweets! Be sure they mention "I'm 'Your Name's friend!"
 AND all that helps, me, too, y'all! The winner will be randomly selected from those who entered. Contest ends Saturday, June 22nd - MY 45th WEDDING ANNIVERSARY! 2013 at 5pm (CST). Winners will be announced here on my blog on the following Saturday, June 29th (I'm allowing myself plenty of time because we're moving!   Thank you again for following me on Facebook and Twitter and helping me get the word out about my new book! I've prayed from the beginning that it will be a blessing to everyone who reads it. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Makin' Hay While The Sun Shines

Hello, hello, hello, and welcome to my new 'author' blog celebrating a new phase of my life. On October tenth of last year (10-10-12), I received an email from my literary agent Mary Sue Seymour of The Seymour Agency in New York with a subject line that read 'Offer for VOW UNBROKEN'. SO excited I could hardly see - might have been the happy tears - I opened it and read the forwarded message from my new editor Beth (to Mary Sue). It went: "Thanks so much for the chance to take a look at Caryl McAdoo’s Vow Unbroken. I was impressed by Caryl’s voice and her strong writing, and I think this could be a great addition to the Howard list."
                              Woot! Woot! Praise the Lord! Hip, hip hooray! And Hallelujah!
     And that's how I learned change in my life was a'comin'. In the seventh grade, I wrote of being an intergalactic famous author, hopping from planet to planet signing books. Then life happened, and I didn't write that book until my new agent asked for a historical Christian romance set in the 1800s. She asked on Sunday, April 29, 2012. BTW, her maiden name was McAdoo. Could God hit you on the head any harder? I love His sense of humor! The next morning, Monday, the 30th, I started VOW UNBROKEN.
     Living in the country after being a big city, Dallas girl all my life, I obtained a new appreciation for many colloquialisms used since I can remember like 'tough row to hoe' or, as this blog is appropriately named, 'makin' hay while the sun shines'. Farmers plant and fertilize and hope for rain so that their pastures grow thick with tall, weed-free grass. Then once they cut it and winnow it into rows, they pray, "No rain!" Because if it does, their hay is ruined.
     I figure I fertilized my writing during fifteen years of read-and-critique and being mentored at the DFW Writers' Workshop. My window to make hay had arrived, so I got busy! In six short months, I baled up three hundred pages and put them in the mail to Mary Sue with a prayer for favor. Six months! Over ninety thousand words! Just go ahead and try to convince me God wasn't in that!
     If you haven't "Liked' my facebook author's page, please click here:
     And you may also visit my older blog: 'Grami's Gabbin' that isn't all about being an author for Simon and Schuster's Howard Book division. Be blessed!