10 Year Anniverary & New Releases Winners: Carrie Fancett Pagels' Butterfly Cottage - Melanie B, Dogwood Plantation - Patty H R, Janet Grunst's winner is Connie S., Denise Weimer's Winner is Kay M., Naomi Musch's winner is Chappy Debbie, Angela Couch - Kathleen Maher, Pegg Thomas Beverly D. M. & Gracie Y., Christy Distler - Kailey B., Shannon McNear - Marilyn R.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Part 2 of A Forted Frontier Holiday: A Colonial America Fiction Anthology - A Providential Proposal By Susan Craft

A Forted Frontier Holiday:
A Colonial American Fiction Anthology
While harvesting, the German settlement near New Market, Virginia, receives warning of an impending attack by French and Indian war parties. They flee to a quickly cobbled refuge, Fort Providence—for they will surely need to rely on God’s Provision. The forted colonials long to celebrate the holidays and await the arrival of visitors. 
Each CQ contributor to this serial will bring their characters into the fort from throughout colonial America. Join us for A Forted Frontier Holiday each Monday on CQ for the next two months!
ENJOY!!! This is our Christmas gift to our faithful followers on Colonial Quills. Many blessings to all of you during this season. And may God bring provision to our northern neighbors hit so hard by the storm.

Part Two

A Providential Proposal

Shenandoah Valley, November 1753

Climbing out of the back of the covered wagon that had been her family’s home for a month, Allison Cameron gripped the wagon bed and searched with the toe of her boot for the step-down slat. Entangled in her skirts, she careened backward, stifling a yelp when a pair of hands clasped her waist, lifted her like a feather, and settled her to the ground.
            She whirled around to find her nose planted against the buckskin-covered chest of the wagon master. Rabbit fur tickled her nostrils as she breathed in the pleasant aroma of pinewood campfires and tobacco. Her eyes traveled upward, past the collar of his linsey-woolsey shirt, to the blue flannel scarf bunched around his neck. A strand of his shoulder-length hair, the color of cattails in the fall, clung to his bottom lip, a bit fuller than the upper one. She gazed into familiar eyes, blue like the flowers that top flax stalks in June. A closely planted field of those flowers so resembled water that flying ducks would try to land on them. As flummoxed as those birds, she swallowed the words of chastisement she’d been prepared to wield against the liberty taken upon her person.
            Douglas McCallum grinned and ran his finger along the brim of her ruffled cap tucked underneath the hood of her cloak. “You must take better care, Miss Allison.” A mist punctuated each word as his warm breath mingled with the freezing air.
            Weeks ago, after she had repaired a tear in his jaw ripped by an angry bear, they’d given each other permission to use their given names. But he insisted on adding the Miss; his way of teasing her. She studied the scar. It would soon fade, for she had used the tiniest of stitches fashioned with a silky thread of her finest hetcheled flax. Though her fingers ached to caress his face, their relationship had only begun to blossom, and she felt too shy. Instead, she clasped the bear claw hung around her neck with a length of rawhide
his thank you gift.
            Allison frowned. “Delayed again. Will we ever reach South Carolina?”
            “Aye, lass. ‘Twill take time. For now, we must wait out the weather.”
            Allison caught his furtive glance toward the fort’s gates. “It isn’t simply the weather, Douglas. I’ve heard about the threats of attack."
            “Allison?” her sister, Katherine, called from the wagon. “Are you ready for Drew?”
            Allison turned around. “Yes, dear.”
            “Allow me,” said Douglas.
            Allison hovered, unsure if she could trust arms powerful enough to lift a log that had crashed down in front of their wagon to handle her one-year-old nephew. When he cuddled the blanket-wrapped bundle against his chest before depositing the sleeping babe into her arms, her worries vanished.
            “Now, you, Mrs. Hutchinson.” He swept her from the wagon and cradled her as tenderly as he had her child.
            If anyone else but her sister had clasped his neck, Allison would have bristled with jealousy, but she glimpsed the dark circles under Katherine’s eyes and the newly etched wrinkles in her forehead. Her sister had endured the unthinkable. Her young husband had succumbed to a fever on the first leg of their journey. For two long days and nights, Allison had nursed her sister back from the brink of death, but the loss of her adored husband had almost broken Katherine’s spirit. She looked so forlorn dropping her head against Douglas’ shoulder.
            What a dependable, rock of a man. Someone easy to cling to.
            She had witnessed his broad shoulders taking on much responsibility during their journey from Philadelphia. Midway through Virginia, steady rains had turned the Great Wagon Road into a river of mud. Sparing the horses, travelers unloaded their cargo and toted it up the hills. Douglas, knowing how much she treasured her spinning wheel, disassembled and tucked into straw-lined crates in her parents’ wagon, had moved the boxes personally. He had also carried the kegs of flax seeds which had survived her family’s voyage from Ireland and meant more to them than gold.
            Each evening around the campfire, Allison’s dah shared his dreams of harvesting those seeds along the Catawba River. Allison would spin it. Her mah would weave it into linsey-woolsey or crisp white linen for cravats. Katherine would tat the silkiest yarn into lace. The men would fashion the fibers into sails and ropes for ships and church bell towers.
            Allison couldn’t believe how quickly she had come to respect
and yes, lovethe kind, steadfast wagon master. For his part, he had taken every opportunity to position himself by her side, engaging her in conversation or simply passing time with her in comfortable silence.
            Do his feelings match mine?
            Drew wriggled in his sleep, wrenching Allison from her woolgathering. She tightened her grip on him and noticed her parents a few paces ahead. They hastened toward a sturdy looking building amid a spattering of lean-tos and military tents that made up the hastily erected Fort Providence. Members of their small group joined them after circling their wagons around the fort’s perimeter. Her dah waited for her, while her mother walked alongside Douglas and fussed over her daughter.
            Mr. Cameron, a tall, wiry man with warm, moss green eyes, held open his arms. “Give him to me.”
            He hiked his grandson up onto his shoulder, but before continuing on, he gazed at Allison with one of his auburn eyebrows raised.
            Strange, he looks at me as if he knows something I don’t, she thought with a shrug.
            Relieved of her burden, she offered assistance to a woman who labored under the weight of a sack draped across her chest while she hung on to her twin boys. Allison slipped the sack onto her own shoulder and grabbed the elbow of the nearest boy, who scuffled until she dug her fingers into his skin and glared at him.
            Douglas chose that moment to come through the doorway in time to see the scowl on her face. “Let me.” He took the bag from her and bent down to whisper, “I can’t abide unruly children either.”
            She chuckled, released the boy, and stepped inside where the aromas of roasted sweet potatoes, cinnamon, rabbit stew, and rhubarb pie wafted around her.
            She sighed. “Heavenly.”
            Douglas stood beside her, and they watched refugees from the impending danger plop down on the floor, happy to be inside, even happier to be alive. A man even larger and taller than Douglas stood and, in a heavy German accent, introduced himself and his wife, a diminutive woman far along in her pregnancy. Following his lead, the head of each family made their acquaintances. Allison curtsied when her father called her name. Douglas acknowledged his introduction with a nod.
            They’d been standing a while when Allison realized that Douglas stared at her intently as if studying her. A sudden warmth pulsed through her veins and her cheeks flushed so hot she pressed her cool hands against them. Searching the room for an escape, she spotted her mah waving. She approached her family as they made themselves comfortable near the fireplace where a woman bent down to stir the bubbling contents of a pot hanging from a hook and swung it back over the flames.
            Claire Cameron, a petite woman, barely reached her daughter’s shoulder, but her body was the only thing wee about her. Her love of God could fill the universe. Her voice boomed with laughter, and back home in Ireland when she chastened her daughters, children two doors down in the borough cringed. Mr. Cameron often spoke of drowning in his bride’s big, dark eyes. Allison prayed that one day she would be blessed by a love like theirs.
            Claire cupped Allison’s cheek. “A stór, you will go to our wagon and return with bear meat and the makings for dumplings? We must offer our fair share.”
            Allison found her mah’s lilt pleasing as well as the way she formed her requests into questions, as if one had the choice to obey.
            “I’ll accompany her,” said Douglas, startling Allison who hadn’t realized he was so near.
            Outside, they stopped next to her parents’ wagon and leaned against the wheel.
            Douglas removed her mitten and circled her palm with his thumb. “Your mother called you something. A stór?”
            “Yes. It means my treasure.”
            “Ah.” He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “I desire so much to call you my treasure.”
            Allison’s heart fluttered like the pedals of her spinning wheel. “I

            “I love you and have, I think, since the moment we met. Your serenity. Your lovely expressive eyes. Your generosity.” He raced on. “I even like it when you’re cantankerous. Which you can be. You know?”
            She laughed.
            “What’s even more splendid. I like you.” He kissed her palm. “Will you be my wife …my treasure?”
            Joy spun its way through her like gossamer threads weaving a tapestry of images so delightful she buried her face into his neck. “Yes. Oh, yes, my love.”
            He scooped her up, and they laughed with such abandon the people across the compound laughed with them. He captured her lips in a kiss that warmed her to her toes.
            “Day after tomorrow we celebrate Thanksgiving.” He paused. “I hear a parson is coming to bless the meal.”
            She trembled from his meaning. “’Twould make a glorious wedding day.”
            He put her down and tucked her into the crook of his arm. “I plan to thank God in a mighty way. Today, tomorrow, and each day for the rest of our lives.”

The End, Part 2
Look for Part 3 of A Forted Frontier Holiday on Nov. 19th.

Giveaway:  A copy of Susan F. Craft's award winning book "The Chamomile" will be given away to one commenter.  Drawing will be done November 23 and announced that day at our Tea Party.  Skip Black Friday shopping, put your feet up, and enjoy tea and colonial treats with us instead!  

QUESTION: Do you think that a wedding really will occur inside Fort Providence or not?  Why or why not?
A history lover, Susan F. Craft researches for her novels with the same excitement as Alan Quartermain hunting for King Solomon’s Mines and with the persistence of Lewis and Clark. She enjoys the chase when a clue leads her from one “treasure” to the next, to the next .... Her novel, The Chamomile, a Revolutionary War romantic suspense, takes place in Charleston, SC. Susan, who lives in Columbia, SC, has a degree in Broadcast Journalism. Her 40-year career includes working for SC Educational Television, the SC Department of Mental Health, the SC College of Pharmacy, and currently for the SC Senate. This is the fourth book she has authored. The first two were S.C. State Library award-winning professional works in the field of mental health, and the third, published in 2006, was A Perfect Tempest, a historical fiction set in Columbia during the Civil War. Susan is represented by Linda Glaz of Hartline Literary Agency.


  1. Susan, I really enjoyed reading Allison and Douglas's tale. I wonder how many romances blossomed under similar circumstances? Wouldn't that be fun to know?

  2. Susan, I second Carla here - greatly enjoyed reading this and it drew me right in:) Wish we could all time travel - you know where I'd be! And I imagine you'd be there, too!

  3. Susan, wonderful story. I drank in all your descriptive details. So sweet a romance. :)

  4. Thanks, Carla, Laura, and Lynn. I'm so happy you enjoyed the story. And yes, Laura, I'd travel to that time period with you. Do you remember the old (I'm showing my age) TV series "Wagon Train"? Each week a different story about people from very different backgrounds thrown together on a journey out West. Lots of romance and drama. I imagine the tales from the Great Wagon Road would match those stories.

    1. I love watching old westerns! I'll have to look for that one. :)

  5. Susan! I love all the detail in your romance chapter that draws me right into your story! Thanks for this wonderful addition to the anthology! And yes, I surely remember "Wagon Train"—I loved that show. ;-) Historical fiction brings our history alive. And I always love the way you bring life to our past. Blessings!

    1. Thanks, Elaine. I love the small details that make a story richer.

  6. Susan, I love your writing voice. So rich with character subtleties and historical detail. Very nice glimpse at a colonial courting couple. Now I want to see the widowed sister remarry and have her happily ever after, too! :)

    1. Thank you, Kathleen. Katherine's story? H-m-m-m. You've started me thinking.

  7. I was driving enroute from Charleston to Columbia, SC, which is of course Susan's stomping grounds and the setting for The Chamomile book and where these characters were heading. So I read this on the phone and I am crying my eyes out it was so EXCELLENT!!! What a well-crafted serial, SUSAN, as I told you over lunch today. We had such a great time finally getting to meet each other in person. I felt like this story was a present to me!!! Then Susan gave me an adorable ceramic tea pot. Check out my Facebook page, folks! Thanks, Susan for everything!!!

    1. I'm the one who received a present, your friendship. What a lovely gift that is to me. Meeting you and Diana and Teresa was such fun. They say laughter is the best medicine, and I received a triple dose. :-)

    2. I hope you like your angel and lambie, Susan! I will think of you, too, when I look at the one I have on my mantel, given to me by my friend, Tara, whom you remind me so much of! So wonderful to get that infusion of laughter yesterday and friendship!!!

    3. Love my angel and lambie, Carrie. I put a picture of it on FB. :-) So enjoyed the fellowship and laughter.

  8. Hi Susan--
    Just have to jump in here very late and say this was a sweet story! Nice addition to the anthology! Thank you! Loved Allison and Douglas--I could really see them. Descriptions are great--you really do your homework!

  9. A wonderful story, Susan, with terrific in-depth imagery.

  10. Susan, Carrie was right today at lunch -- this is wonderful! What a descriptive and masterful storyteller you are! I so enjoyed the opportunity to meet you and hear about your forthcoming novels. We must do it again soon!

    I never missed an episode of Wagon Train -- loved it!

  11. I'm so glad you like the story Pat, Janet, and Diana. I tried to reply to you individually, but there's a glitch, so I'm trying it this way.

  12. Pat Iacuzzi, Allison is my daughter's name, and Douglas is her husband's name. This was my surprise for them. Allison is a name that goes back in our Scot/Irish family and is given to men and women.

  13. With the name similarity to Lilyan, are they relatives (from The Chamomile, the book you are giving away)? I would like to be included in the drawing.
    QUESTION: Do you think that a wedding really will occur inside Fort Providence or not? Why or why not?
    Yes, I do think there can be a wedding in the Fort. Why? Because their lives must go on to simulate peace and continuity as they continue each day regardless of the threat to life and limb. How is the parson going to get through ~ where is he coming from? Questions, questions, questions; to be continued...
    Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House

    1. Kathleen, so excited that you have questions. When I began creating the characters, I saw Allison as a cousin of Lilyan's and I thought of Douglas as the younger brother of Angus McCallum, Lilyan's protector in The Chamomile. I think one of the later parts of the serial has a parson coming to the fort. I based my story on Elizabeth Jackson, mother of Andrew Jackson, and her family who traveled from Ireland to South Carolina via Philadelphia and the Great Wagon Road. Elizabeth Jackson is one of my most favorite female heroes of the Revolutionary War. Her story is amazing. Her family were flax growers, and she was known as an accomplished weaver.

    2. Susan, This is so interesting to me. That must be why I am an influencer/reviewer of Christian Historical Fiction! I appreciate all the research authors do to place their characters within the events/happenings of the time period. Greater learning than we would have had in glimpses at school. My father was all Irish, and my mother was half Norwegian and half German. Can just imagine how thrilled my grandparents must have been when their debutante daughter married an Irish piano player! (Could it be they met during her coming out ball?) Probably just as excited as my grandmother's parents were! She came to America with her family when she was 16 through Ellis Island. They have all passed away. How I would have loved to have hear her history. My mother died when I was five, just before my sixth birthday. I did not see my grandmother again, except for a day when I visited when I was seventeen from out of state.
      I have a comment about the flax part! While visiting a working Old World museum with our daughter's school class, I was given some beaten flax that was EXACTLY the same shade as our daughter's hair at the time. Fun memory.
      I looked the book description up of The Chamomile, is how I then had questions. Would love to read the story. Was excited about the similarities!
      Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House

    3. Yes, when I was researching, I found that finely hetcheled flax resembles golden hair.
      Sometimes a young girl would keep a quantity of hetcheled flax in her dowry chest. Each year she would carefully take it out and re-hetchel, making the fibers finer and finer over time. This extremely fine flax would then be spun into gossamer thread to be used for making the lace for the young woman's wedding gown.

  14. I think there will be a wedding at Fort Providence because love always deserves a wedding! makeighleekyleigh at

    1. I'm with you, Megan! I am guessing the question will be "when?"

    2. Love always deserves a wedding. I like that, Megan.

  15. My week has been such a disaster that I'm late getting to this chapter. Wonderful chapter! Thank you, ladies. I so look forward to Mondays now.

    1. I agree this is a wonderful chapter! CONGRATS JUDITH ROBL on winning a copy of Susan Craft's "The Chamomile" and thanks for reading our second story in the serial anthology, too!

  16. Judith, sorry you've had a bad week but happy you liked the chapter. Thought I'd share a tidbit of information with you. When researching flax weaving I found the following: Many tasks done in colonial America such as spinning flax fiber were repetitive and mindless chores. To keep one's mind on the job there were rhymes and songs to recite or sing while working. One song was Niddy Noddy.

    Niddy noddy, niddy noddy Two heads, one body. T'is one, t'aint one, T'will be one by and by. T'is two, t'aint two, T'will be two by an by and by, etc.

    Sounds like a forerunner to A Hundred Bottles of Beer on the Wall. :-)

  17. This was a wonderful installment to the story, Susan! I love how your writing is so rich with imagery. It makes me feel like I am really there with the characters. I am anticipating a wedding; at least I'm hoping so!

  18. Thank you, Lisa. That's my hope as a writer, to take people away to another place and time, at least for a little while.

  19. Wow, I love Part 2! This tale is quite entertaining, ladies, thank you for this treat. I believe there will be an attack before they can have an actual celebration. There has to be an 'Oh My!' moment, don't you think? There will be a wedding, but something exciting needs to happen first. I just hope no one gets hurt. *on the edge of my seat* (I know I am late in reading this installment, but time really got away from me this week and today I was battling a terrible tension headache. It seems to be gone now, thank God. I was even able to read more of a wonderful MS I have been given the honor of reading; Loving it, Carrie!) God bless.

  20. What an excellent installment in this wonderful series, Susan. Congratulations on the mention in USAToday. You Colonial Quills authors are astonishing: excellent writers who craft wonderful tales. It is so nice to read about the friendship you share, which I am sure contributes to your wonderful writing. May you all thrive in your work and be blessed with a Happy Thanksgiving.

  21. Thank you, Paula, for the kind comments. Happy Thanksgiving to you, my sweet friend.

  22. I think that Wiliam and Sarah will marry in the Fort. I am loving this story.
    Maxie ( )

  23. Sorry I meant Douglas and Allison will marry there, but maybe Saras and William can too.
    maxie ( )

  24. Congrats to JUDITH ROBL on winning a copy of Susan Craft's "The Chamomile" and thanks for reading our second story in the serial anthology, too!

  25. When I missed last monday's installment I decided to double up today so I can get two in a row. I'd love to have all the stories together in book form to enjoy.

    Susan, I just loved this! and it made me remember how much I have wanted to read your book.
    Thank you all, ladies!

    1. Debra, I'm so happy that you like Allison and Douglas' story. This is such a fun project to be a part of. I can't wait to read all the parts. And, yes, it would be fun to see them all together.


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