Thursday, December 27, 2007

China Doll

For Once Jilted, I've been gaining inspiration from my own keepsakes. I would share with you now, a china doll. This special lady was given to me by my aunt and unfortunately, her origins are not known, but I suspect that it was my great grandmother's doll.China Doll circa 1870

I've found some that are similar dated between 1860 and 1890. They make reference to having been made in Germany which would make sense as my great grandparents came from Switzerland. Her little hands and the dress are replacements, but the head is the original my great grandmother owned as a child.

As I said, all these wonderful items I've been sharing have given me inspiration for scenes, and while I've not yet written this doll into a scene, I suspect the small orphan in my book will wind up the proud owner of a china doll. The gift will be something special, to be treasured always.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Finally got here!

I think Saturday actually is my day to post, but this is the first time I've ever been able to get here. Google has consistently kept telling me I didn't exist and that my email address didn't exist either. Sigh. So where am I in my story? I haven't begun it yet except for the prologue, though my heroine keeps telling me she wants to get off that train and begin her journey into the unknown. Like all of the heroines of the Orphan Train Series, she's had a difficult life so far and hopes against hope for something better. But her struggle to be accepted has many false paths before she finds the right one. My book is called The Outcast and will be the caboose at the end of the train. My heroine Jehenna is not actually an orphan, since she has a father--who apparently has rejected her. Nor will she find a loving home right away.
I'll post more next Saturday--providing Google decides I'm real. For now, I wish you and yours a wonderful holiday season. Jane Toombs

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I'm past my 60,000 mark

Whoop! Okay, so I may be the only one excited about reaching 60,000 words, but that was my target goal for word count and I feared when I started that I wouldn't be able to make it. I usually write longer stories. However, I think when it's all said and done, Once Jilted will end up being almost 70,000 words and that pleases me immensely. At present I have one chapter left to write and an epilogue and I'm done. Whoo hoo, it will be a party then.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Once a Rebel, Excerpt #3

Won't be long now!!! Here's another excerpt from 'Rebel'...

“Going somewhere?” the predator purred in a tone that could melt an entire barrel full of butter.

“What?” She couldn’t think around the bulk of throbbing masculinity.

“You wouldn’t be thinking of running out on me now, would you?” His voice was low and heavy laden with lusty promises.

“Running out, on you? Why on earth would you think that?”

Powerful arms crossed over his chest as he leaned against the wall. “Hmm, let me see. Could have something to do with the way you were sneaking into the livery with a bag the size of New York City slung over your shoulder.”

“I was not sneaking into the livery, Mr. Hassett.”

“Oh? My apologies.” He bent toward her briefly. “I’d love to hear why you were crawling beneath the fence.”

He was enjoying this, the beastly man! She could see it in the beguiling twinkle in his eyes, the superior stance, the amusing grin spreading his sinfully handsome face. No one had the right to look that good. Especially someone with such malicious intent. Nostrils flaring, Galen turned her back to him and folded her arms atop the fence, gazing out over the field. “I was just coming to check on Oscar.”

“Oscar?” he scoffed, joining her at the fence.

“My--your horse.”

He erupted in laughter. The masculine pitch made her want to hit him and kiss him at the same time. “Oscar?” More bouts of broken chuckles. “You named my horse Oscar?”

She hoped her face wasn’t as red as it felt. “Well, I had to call him something. What would you have me name him--horse?” That comment only served to heighten his pleasure.

“Please, by all means, don’t let me interrupt your errand. Let’s go and see about Oscar.” Still snickering, he extended his arm in invitation. “But this time, let’s use the gate. Quite a marvelous invention. Far less stressful on the knees and back.” He winked.

Once A Rebel, by Angela Ashton coming January 2008

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Stereopticon or stereograph?

stereopticonMy mother calls it a stereopticon, but most of the information I found on the net calls it a stereograph or stereoscope. Me? I call it ingenius. I used to love playing with the apparatus when I was younger. My mother's is vintage 1906, but I found reference to the first one and it was developed in 1838 or 1833 (I found two conflicting pieces of information so I'm not real sure.)

Look at these stereopticons. I included a scene in Once Jilted whereby Shauna, my heroine, is intrigued by an object owned by Kane, the hero. Enjoy an unedited snippet:

Her eyebrows rose over wide eyes. “You want me to stay in your tent?”


“Will you be moving your things soon?” She stood, wiping her wet hands on her apron.

“Nay.” He quirked a brow and lifted the corner of his mouth in a smirk. “Nay, I’ll just come get things as I need them. Otherwise, you’re to be making yourself at home.”

“But where will you sleep?”

“Beneath the heavens.” He smiled. “I’ve always enjoyed sleeping outside with nothing more than a blanket of stars.”

“I think I’ll feel like an intruder.”

“Well now, I’m noot given you permission to snoop in me personal belongings,
mind you.”

A becoming blush stole over her features, and she quickly masked her pink features by stepping behind the drying clothes to hang more wet things on the line. Had the lass already done just that? Snoop through his things?

“Of course not, but there are some items that are in clear view.”


She smiled. “I couldn’t help but admire the picture viewer.”

“Ah. That’s a stereopticon, a present from me last employer.” A fond memory entered his thoughts as he reminisced about the bridge they’d built in Missouri.

“Are – are there more pictures for it?”

The eagerness on her face was so adorable, he laughed. “I’ll fish them out for you.”

“Thank you.”

“Well, I haven’t found them yet, lass.” He stared at the puddles made by her wash water then at her soggy hem.

Here's a photo I took of one of the photos in my mother's collection. Somehow the double image adds to the 3D effect when viewed through the stereopticon. I thought of this particular image when drafting another scene where this object came into play. This image is of a young girl playing house.stereopticon photo

Monday, December 10, 2007

Cover Art for Once A Rebel!

Had to share the cover art for Once A Rebel!

I love it!! Captures the essence of the novel.

Not much longer now... Can't wait to see the rest of the covers!

Once a Rebel, by Angela Ashton...coming January '08

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Abby’s human crystal ball

Can you imagine your path crossing with a person who knows things about you that only you know? I mean it’s one thing to seek out psychic counseling; it’s another to have it land in your lap. Talk about freaking out!

Well, this is what happens to Abby on her sixteenth birthday while she is doing her “food liberation dance”, i.e. pocketing food from venders, along Market Street in San Francisco’s Fishing Wharf area.

Mercy is nothing like any other person Abby has ever met. When Mercy tells Abby that she has been in her dreams and visions over the last five years and that they were destine to meet, Abby thinks the old women isn’t sitting squarely in her rocker. But when she lets the bomb drop about knowing its Abby’s birthday – a fact that no other living soul knew - she doesn’t know what to think.

What would you do?

Well, I must get back to working on Abby’s story. Once A Vagabond‘s deadline is looming.

Only 18 shopping days left.

So until next time, happy reading.

Kim Leady
Incredible stories…Unforgettable characters

Let's churn some butter

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketThis photo is of a butter churn that has been passed down from my great grandmother. We are guessing vintage 1880 or 1890. The next photo I post is a close-up of the insides. I mentioned churning butter briefly in one of my scenes and thought it might be a fun topic.

Ever really thought about how they made butter way back when? First of all, the frontier women would save the cream that rose to the top of milk for about a week until they had enough to churn into butter. Take a look at this site for more information on making butter. Here's another fun site on how to churn butter that chronicles the history of butter making.

I remember a girl scout activity when I was about ten in which we made butter by vigorously shaking a jar with heavy cream in it. I don't remember much after that. I assume we separated the buttermilk from the butter somehow, but for the life of me, I don't recall how. I do remember spreading it over a cracker and thinking how good it tasted.Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Once a Rebel--Excerpt #2

Here's another excerpt from 'Rebel'...

Galen couldn’t keep her head straight. Each thought was muddled with the essence of Joshua. The mild spice and woodsy scent of him, the feel of warm solid muscle as it moved in rhythm with her soul, the soft feel of dark wavy hair as she sifted her fingertips through each silky strand, the husky purr of his voice, the--

“Eve? Are you alright?”

“Huh? Oh!” Galen screeched and grabbed a towel to wipe the smudge of lipstick from her cheek. Landsakes! What on earth was she doing? He was just a man! Public enemy number one! A handsome specimen, if ever there was one. She couldn’t deny it. Even more so than her make-believe prince, Jonathan. That alone made him the most dangerous among men. At all cost, she must push him from her mind, forget about him as she’d been forced to forget her own family.

“My, my, looks like someone’s got somethin’ on her pretty little mind!” Carol teased. “Or perhaps, some dashing gentleman with a proud strut and a smile that could erect a field of sunflowers?”

“Please Carol, spare me your talk of romance and lover’s sonnets.”

“What’s the matter Eve, did Carol hit a nerve?” Donna asked, grinning at her reflection in the mirror. “I saw you talking to him in front of the theater this afternoon. You both look so smitten by each other you could slice a good chunk of lust with a knife.”

“And the way he jerked you off Seymour’s lap! Oh! Be still my heart!” Carol clutched her chest and made a great show of falling onto the bed as though she’d swooned.

Galen rolled her eyes and rounded on Carol. “You know, I hear the theater is always looking for good actresses. Ever consider changing professions?”

Carol chuckled. “I’d change in a minute if the dashing gent showed an interest in me the way he has to you!”

“You’re both crazy as a pair of freckled hens. He’s as interested in me as the next john and that’s the gist of it.”

They giggled in unison. “Really? Is that why he’s downstairs buddying up to Frank?”

Galen froze, the brush stopped midway through her hair. “What?”

“See for yourself.” Donna beamed and waved a hand toward the door. In the next second, Galen was leering over the railing, watching the devil himself glide toward the exit in a proud strut. Carol and Donna were on her heels.

What the hell was he up too? As though he felt her presence, Joshua stopped at the door and looked over his shoulder to meet her baffled stare. The beautiful demon touched long elegant and highly skilled fingertips to his hat and nodded. “Afternoon ladies. Miss Eve. You should wear your hair down more often. It’s very becoming.” As if that wasn’t enough, the smooth talking rake had the nerve to wink and blow a kiss in her direction!

Galen gulped a mouthful of air in her annoyance. Then cringed at the moans exuding from her love-struck co-workers. “I’d give anything to have a man look at me like that just once!” Carol sighed, a dreamy smile plastered across her pixie-like face.

“You can say that again. We sure don’t get many of his kind through Kaleb.”

“Ugh!” Galen stomped her heel like a spoiled child and stormed back into the parlor and resumed the task of raking the brush through her hair. If that meddlesome man had been talking to Frank, nothing good could come of it.

She piled her hair on top of her head, slipped her flask beneath the emerald-colored garter and left her infatuated roommates to swoon over the egotistical buffoon. Let them say what they would, the foolish ninnies. She knew better than to fall for a man full of sultry charms, no matter how striking he might appear. She’d almost allowed herself to do it once, but never again.

Galen had better things to do than listen to the lewd women spin tales of love and chivalry. And the first thing on her agenda was finding out what the dark devil was doing in the saloon this afternoon.

Once A Rebel by Angela Ashton, coming Jan. 2008
*Where Romance Blooms*

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Do you need your gloves stretched?

I'm old enough to still remember my mother wearing gloves and a hat to church. I even wore a pair to church when I was around 5. I think after that, the custom began to phase out except for special instances. My high school choir director made us wear long ones that reached our elbows for concerts.

I was looking in my trunk of things I'd inherited from my grandmother and I ran across a box. Inside was a pair of really cheesy salt and pepper shakers with a note that said: the first Christmas gift our first granddaughter gave us. That would be me. *grin* Beside those was an odd apparatus that turned out to be a glove stretcher that my great-grandmother had used, circa 1880.Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

This generated an idea for one of my first scenes. So, enjoy a brief unedited excerpt involving the glove stretcher:

A week later, Shauna attacked the set of silver like a banshee bent on scaring every guest in the castle. But then, the castle of her fantasies was little more than a two-story wooden frame house in Nyesville, Indiana. She picked up a fork that still had a coating of dry whiting and vinegar between the tines. After an hour soaking near the fire, the tarnish should come right off. The operative word being should. After scrubbing a stubborn spot, she dropped the fork and leaned her weight against the counter. Old enough to be on her own, she still worked like a slave with no future, living in a home that didn’t want her.

“Slacking again?”

She turned toward Madison’s shrill voice, determined not to let her nemesis nettle her today. “Aren’t you supposed to be at the Clayburg’s for morning brunch?”

Madison pulled on white gloves and patted her perfectly coiffured hair. “Well, of course, but Mother had a tirade over her tight gloves. Seems someone broke her glove stretcher. I guess you wouldn’t know anything about that, would you?”

Of course not. In a voice of false importance, she replied, “Do forgive me. I couldn’t seem to get the top to my treasure chest open this morning. I needed the glove stretcher to pry the lid. They worked quite well, and I was able to count every gold coin paid for my services over the years.”

Madison narrowed her eyes. “I keep telling Mother we need to replace you with someone younger. Your sarcastic humor is unwelcome.”

Perhaps, she hoped to provoke the Clevingers into dismissing her, forcing her to find a different situation. Truth be told, the thought of being on her own proved intimidating. She’d been saving all her money with the idea of leaving, but she didn’t think the amount in her purse would be enough. Not yet. Not while the country suffered economic depression and jobs were scarce.

At that moment, Mrs. Cora Clevinger rounded the corner and entered the kitchen. “Madison, stop by Kupert’s on your way home and buy another glove stretcher.” She held up the broken tool. The scissor-like apparatus had one piece dangling from a spring.

“I haven’t time. Make Shauna do it.”

“Nonsense. You’ll already be out and about, and Shauna has other work that needs tending.”

Other work? That didn’t sound good. Shauna stared at the mound of silver and wondered what other chores Mrs. Clevinger planned to drop in her lap.

“I’m sure Shauna wouldn’t mind procrastinating for a chance to go into town.”

Shauna picked up a silver ladle, ignoring their conversation. The last thing she wanted to do was travel to town. Since her disastrous trip down the aisle, she’d avoided people. She’d even skipped church yesterday by offering to make a special desert for the noon meal.



“If you rub any harder, I’ll lose the delicate engravings on that spoon.”

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A Writing Rebel...?

Yawza! Looks like we have lots of HOT heros in the works...and OT stories, too!

Here's a little tidbit about Rebel's heroine, Galen Stewart...

Galen is Scottish and longs to return to her grandmother in Scotland. The only person she feels ever really cared about her. Not to give too much away, she writes religiously in her journals per her grandmother's encouragment, and her heart's dream is to become a real author as she has a talent for spinning tales... *clears throat* ...but she fears no one will want to read anything a woman of ill-repute would have to say. But then again, why should she care? If congressman Cady catches up with her, she'll have a California-Collar (hangman's noose) wrapped around her neck faster than a ravenous cobra having corned a field mouse!

...but enough of that...for now.

Let's get back to out heros, shall we?! LOL
Love this pic of Josh...couldn't resist sharing!

ONCE A REBEL, by Angela Ashton coming Jan., 2008

Monday, November 26, 2007

Once a Vagabond’s hero…

It always amazes me how and when things come to me concerning the characters I’m writing about, or the stories I’m working on.

As we all know the shopping season is in full swing, and I was one of those many brave (or stupid depending on how you look at it) souls battling the crowds on Black Friday. And while waiting in line to check out, the face of Ethan, Abby’s hero, became crystal clear. Up until then I had a loose idea of what Mr. Dreamy looked like, so this was like fine tuning a pair of binoculars.

So I thought I’d share with you what Ethan looks like in my mind. He has piercing blue eyes. His unruly chocolate waves brush his collar. Ethan’s square chin and strong nose have seen a fist a time or two, which ads to his already rugged stubble face. He has broad shoulders and stands several inches over six feet. And he’s very good at using his devilish smile to get himself out of scrapes.

Ethan is easy going and quick to laugh, but he can also strike as swift as a rattler when cornered or made mad.

Meet Ethan, although this photo is of Patrick Dempsey, Ethan could be his brother.

Until next time, happy reading.

Kim Leady
Incredible stories…Unforgettable characters

Thursday, November 22, 2007

My Hero

First of all, Happy Thanksgiving! It's brrrr cold where I'm at, but we have so much to be thankful for, I don't know where to begin. Besides being blessed with the best family and the greatest group of friends, I'm thankful that I've been given the opportunity to share my writing with readers.

So, for today, I'm going to give you a sneak preview into the inner workings of my mind and share my hero with you. Angela inspired me. LOL. I've only looked for an image or a model who resembles one of my characters for one book and actually for that book, I found the image first. It so inpired me, that I wrote Celestial Dragon based on that one image.

That said, I wondered what actor I would find to play Kane McKenna, my sexy, devilish, Irish rogue from Once Jilted. I first searched through the many photos of cover models and came up with a few that might do, but none that really fit my preconceived image of Kane.

By the way, I did a numerology search on his name, Kane Devin McKenna and here's my character in a nutshell: Achievement is your motivating force and you will take on the biggest challenge in order to make the longest strides. You will often be chosen as the leader in groups and in functions where organization, strength and determination is needed. Psychology interests you because it enables you to understand the people that you are leading, as well as the competition. Inside, you have the need to excel.

There seems to be a golden glow of optimism and joy around you wherever you go. You are witty and playful, and your idealistic nature irresistibly draws the little child out of everyone you meet. Ever creative and interesting to talk to, you are never long without people to cluster around your radiance.

Here's the physical traits I envisioned: Hair: Red, auburn
Skin: freckled and tan
Height: 5' 11"
Birthday: Aug 30, 1849
Age: 25
Body shape: high hairline, squarely built.

So, the search began and I came away from the internet frustrated with my inability to find Kane. My habit in the morning is to watch about an hour of reruns before going to work. I just happened across a rerun of Angel and voila, I think I've found Kane. Is it any coincidence that his last name is Kane or perhaps, providence. You'll remember him as the sexy but evil, Lindsay McDonald. While he played the bad guy on this show, I always remember thinking how provacative he seemed. There's a hint of mystery about him that appealed to me and yes, I think he'd make a great Kane.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Meet Christian Kane, actor and musician. Better yet, meet Kane McKenna, Bridge engineer from Once Jilted.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Before the OT...

I thought I'd share an excerpt of my OT article.
(It will be included in the novel.)

It’s been said that the word orphan is perhaps the loneliest word in the English language.

In 1853, the United States sent various forms of advertisements to the rest of the world in hopes of enticing settlers to come to the “land of milk and honey”. It worked. According to the World Book Encyclopedia, the US has received the largest number of immigrants in the world. Soon the port cities were flooded. Jobs were lacking, labor was cheap and food was scarce. And without the extended family to turn to, families fell apart. Even the youngest of children were expected to work to help support the family. They’d shine shoes or sell matches or newspapers…often in their bare feet. Many men were killed on the job as safety wasn’t a priority, leaving many women and children to fend for themselves.
When overworked mothers died from diseases obtained in unsanitary living conditions, orphanages were erected to care for only those children they could accommodate. If there was no parent to pay for the child’s care, he/she became a ward of the court and was left to the disposal of the social worker.

Photo of Sunderland Orphanage...
Sunderland's East End orphan asylum was founded in 1853, it was a purpose built building for the children of seafarers. With the help of the Bishop of Durham and the Freemen of Sunderland the orphanage was opened on Thursday 17th October 1861. The orphanage was equipped to take 40 boys at a time and despite the strict rules and regulations it was always full.

Until next week, happy reading!

Once A Rebel, by Angela Ashton, coming Jan. 2008

Thursday, November 15, 2007

All aboard!

This will be a continuation of a blog post I did yesterday on the Magic Mavens Blog. There, I posted a few pictures of the inside of vintage trains. For this post, I'll be concentrating on the earliest train I found at the train museum in Galveston. This is an 1892 steam engine.Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Visuals are always a good thing when creating scenes. It helps me form the right words to have a mental picture of the item in my head. But - I discovered that pictures of the insides of trains are practically nonexistent on the Internet.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketAlthough this picture is from a 1920's train, I wanted to show everyone how narrow the hallway was leading to the sleeping compartments. Heaven forbid you should meet someone coming the other way. On the other hand, what a neat way to get hero and heroine together. With very little room to manuever, they would naturally fall into each other. LOL.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketFrom the inforamtion I've gathered so far, most of the orphans were given their own car. I would assume so that they could stay together without disturbing the other travelers. An agent would stay with them. I've also seen passages where poorer passengers rode cars with bench seats. I found this car interesting because the bench seats also served as beds. The top plank was hinched so that items could be stored underneath. The latrine was located in one corner.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket.

Trains from the time period we've chosen for our stories didn't come equipped with central air and heating either. The cast iron stove seemed rather small for the space but was intended to provide heat for the car. I love traipsing through old houses and trains. Even antique stores intrigue me, so I was in heaven taking these pictures so I might share with you.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Once A Rebel--Excerpt #1

Although the novel is still officially going through the editing process, I thought I'd share an excerpt from "Once A Rebel" ...Enjoy!

The tall lean bar dog nodded and filled a glass before settling it before Josh. “I don’t suppose you’d happen to have a pretty little redhead answers to the name of Scarlet working for you?”
“No sir, but we do have a few pretty little redheads floating about that I’ve no doubt would answer to just about anything you might fancy to call them.” The man winked and immediately Josh found that he liked him.
He laughed and lifted his glass in amicable salute before downing the amber liquid and setting the glass up for a refill.
“It’s my birthday!” a familiar voice squealed from somewhere behind him. Josh spilled the drink down the front of his shirt. His heart thundered in his ears. He caught a glimpse of the cunning harlot in the mirror before spinning round to witness the minx work her charms on a potential John. Seeing her there, in another man’s lap with a smile on her face the size of Texas and batting her eyes did unspeakable things to his insides.
Under a possessive rage, Josh marched over to the table where she was sitting with the octopus-like man and jerked her, none too gently, off his lap. “Where’s my horse?” he demanded, chest heaving in berserk fury.
Pain unlike any he’d ever known seized his heart when she looked up at him in stunned horror and he saw the bruise that marred the area just above and below her left eye. He swallowed, battling the sudden craze to pummel every man in the saloon for being suspect to the cause of her anguish.
“Let go off me,” she demanded in a huff while attempting to tug her arm free.
Josh pretended not to care about her injuries. “Not until you tell me what you’ve done with my horse.”
“Your horse?” Her eyes rounded in surprise.
The man whose lap she’d been sitting in came to his feet, as did several others at the table.
“Take your hands off Miss Eve.” The bold stranger went for his gun, but Josh was quicker.
“Stay out of this,” he warned, keeping one hand on the woman and the other on the weapon aimed at the octopus’s heart. He turned his eyes back to Scarlet. “Eve?”
She shrugged and flashed a sheepish grin. “Look gentleman. I’m sure we can settle this without resorting to violence.” At that moment, the bar dog came over.
“Miss Eve, he your husband?”
Josh’s brows shot upward. “Husband? My, my, aren't we chock full of surprises?”

ONCE A REBEL by Angela Ashton...coming January, 2008 * slight change to the lineup*

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Antique Dutch Oven

Well, I realize that this does not resemble an antique dutch oven, I thought I'd add this image before offering you the dutch oven since our series is all about the train that saw orhpans en route to new homes. While this picture isn't one of a passenger train, it is from around the time period of our stories. This is a logger train from East Texas that's on display at the Ellen Trout Lufkin Zoo. Okay, on to my real story. (grin) The next picture I want to share is that of a dutch oven that was actually hung on the side of a covered wagon that crossed Oklahoma into Texas. It was passed down from my husband's family.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The second picture shows the number, 12 in. Besides describing the diameter of the lid, the number also determines the number of coals used on top and underneath the oven. An outdoor cook knows to place the number on the lid plus three coals on top of the lid and the number minus three underneath. This formula equates to about 350 degrees if you were to bake something in an oven. I've enjoyed many tasty bisquits done this way. I also love cornbread baked in a dutch oven. Afterwards, settlers would scour the insides with dry sand then oil the insides with mineral oil.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket<

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Election Day

Galen Stewart, the crafty heroine in ‘Rebel’ is constantly looking over her shoulder for the shifty congressman Cady and his hired guns--a man that that will stop at nothing to win voters.

In light of Election Day, I’ve added a tidbit I found on the net from the Presidential Election of 1876:

This election was set against the backdrop of Reconstruction. Tilden led in popular and electoral votes but was one shy of the necessary votes to win. The existence of disputed electoral votes led to the Compromise of 1877. A commission was formed and voted along party lines, awarding Hayes (Republican) the presidency. It is believed that Hayes agreed to end Reconstruction and recall all troops from the South in exchange for the presidency.

*Doing the happy dance*
The completed manuscript for 'Rebel' has officially been handed over to the editorial powers that be. I'm looking forward to the series and can’t wait to see how the other 5 waifs fair in their battle of the sexes!

As it’s been a few weeks since I posted a pic of the template (Josh Bernstein) for my hero, Josh Hassett...*whistling like a construction worker* ...I thought it only fair that I celebrate the completion of the novel with a pic of that pantaloon-dropping grin! Yum!

So, without further ado, I proudly present the template for ‘Rebels’ heart-stopping hero…

*wipes drool from corners of mouth and sighs heavily*

Until next time...Happy drooling, er, reading, lol.

...Where Romance Blooms...

ONCE A REBEL, by Angela Ashton ...coming 2008

Monday, November 5, 2007

The wrong train...

Here is a snippet on how Abby ends up on a train - the wrong train.

The hero, Ethan, who is only 14 at the time, decides he can no longer protect ten-year-old Abby from the streets of New York – a vow he made to Abby just months earlier after her mother and father were killed in a dock accident.

Not knowing what to do, he seeks out his old friend Father Malone, who helps children get out of the city. Knowing Abby’s fear about cramped spaces and crowds, Ethan has Father Malone help him drug Abby to get her onto the train.

Unfortunately, Abby is not put on one of Father’s Malone’s Catholic trains. She is accidently put aboard another orphan train – one that doesn’t have specified families waiting for the children on the train. The type of train Abby finds herself on is one that stops at small towns along the rail line, and for a better description, holds orphan auctions at each stop.

Things are moving a little slower than my normal pace. Research, research and more research. But fear not, the train has picked up speed.

Until next time, happy reading.

Kim Leady
Incredible stories…Unforgettable characters

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The cook circle

In 1874, they didn't have the convenience of stovetop cooking or a microwave and while most kitchens boasted a wood-burning stove, cooking outdoors for a team of construction workers was even more rustic. In my story, Once Jilted, Shauna takes the job of crew cook and has to learn to cook on an open fire.

For these few scenes, I drew on my own experiences camping as a girl scout. We always had what was called a fire circle, a cleared place encircled with rocks. To begin, we dug a pit and fashioned what is called a key hole, a large groove that angled from the ground surface to the pit and provided air to the fire. My favorite style of fire was the A frame where we'd fashion an A with three smaller logs, then set the tinder and kindling against the horizontal crossbar of the A.

I remember one particular fire that I was trying to build. It was dusk and difficult to see, but we wanted roasted marshmellows. I fanned it until I was blue, determined to light it with only one match. The wood was damp and not cooperating, but I could see the glow of one spark and just kept fanning. Finally, we determined that the glow was a piece of orange yarn. Too funny.

After the fire is lit and coals begin to form, a grate is placed over the hole. We have in our possession a very large, flat griddle that is about twenty inches by twenty. I'll post pics later. I can just imagine the many meals cooked on it. We cooked a variety of foods from chicken and rice to chili to flapjacks to cake on the open flames. It was a fond time and one I hold dear.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Almost done!

Hi all! I'm almost done with "Once a Rebel"
...only had time for 1 revision, but I'm thinking I do my best work under pressure! LOL ...I guess time will tell, eh?

Last week, I metioned the heartbreak of the OT riders and found something I wanted to share. It's taken from an one OT boy's story:

The eldest of five, Ayler had a younger sister, three year-old brothers and an 18-month old brother. The younger girl, who suffered serious mental damage from successive bouts of whooping cough and diphtheria, was eventually returned to the mother.

"My nickname was Toots, but the twins, who couldn’t pronounce it, called me "Choo Choo"! They were taken to a boys home just around the corner from the Empire State Building along with the baby, while I was sent to the Goodhue Estate on Staten Island. I can still remember when they separated us, the boys crying and pleading, "Don’t go away, Choo Choo." It cuts like a knife, even after all these years."

--UGH! Pass the Kleenex!!

On a lighter note, 'Rebel' has become dear to my heart and I, too, am completely in love with my dashing hero! *heavy sigh*
...A sizzling dreamy hunk, a sultry spitfire temptress, romance, revenge, deceit, betrayal and murder...what could possibly make for better reading? ;)

Until next week...Have a Happy Halloween!

ONCE A REBEL by Angela Ashton, coming March 1, 2008

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The OT Riders

I have to confess, I seldon had a dry eye and a full box of Kleenex during my research for this project.

It's heartwrenching to read how many of these children were ripped away from their siblings.
Most thought there was something wrong with them and they had no idea they were part of the major migration to fill out the west.

The children were told never to try and contact their birth parents (if they had any), dressed up and made to stand in lines so farmers or other potential 'foster' parents could poke at them during their inspection as though they were in the market to buy a good strong horse...many children were mere slaves and weren't much better off than they were on the grueling streets on New York.

The OT movenment brought forth the onset of children's rights... I'll be doing a special article on this subject to go along with the series.

Until next time...

Once A Rebel, by Angela Ashton, coming March 1, 2008

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

In my search for a bridge

So, I'm trying to wrap my head around the actual construction of the bridge. I'm not talking about the bridge design. I've found plenty of information on the Kingpost Truss bridges with regards to the design and there are lots and lots of wonderful pictures of the old covered bridges. (I'll list a few at the end of this post) I'm talking about the actual construction. How did they erect bridges across wide rivers in the 1870's?

I ordered a DVD on the topic and hope it will shed some light, but in the meantime, I've had some wonderful discussions with my DH. He's a very talented weekend carpenter who works with engineers during the day, so he's been talking me through the process. He thinks they probably strung a guideline across the river to help position boards onto the stone pilings. Notches would have been cut into the side rails for the trusses to slip into. The trusses were connected with a pin hinge. Well, okay, not to bore you, I found it all quite fascinating. Have you ever watched an episode of the New Yankee Woodshop? Try imagining building something this big with limited tools and resources. It's not like these builders could run to the local Lowes or Home Depot for more nails. LOL

Okay, so here's the DVD I bought: Spanning Time: America's Covered Bridges or here's one on covered bridges in Indiana.

I also spent time researching cast iron, wrought iron and steel bridges. I was very happy to discover that the first steel bridge in America was built in 1874 across the Mississippi, but this works perfectly into my story as the hero's goal is to develop his own engineering company building steel bridges. Yup, this story is shaping up nicely. :-)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Rebel & Monte Cristo

The Count of Monte Cristo is one of my all time fav stories. My O.T. story, too, involves the element of revenge, so I was thrilled to find out that the tale was being acted out in theaters during the novels time can bank on seeing it referenced in the book.! *BG*

I'm finally finished with the first draft. I usually like to go over a manuscrpit SEVERAL times to flesh it out before submitting, but it looks like I will only get 1,--maybe 2 (fingers crossed) chances to do this with the deadline just around the corner.

Not sure if there are any fans of history Channels "Digging for the Truth" out there, but it's my fav TV show and the previous host, Josh Bernstein, was the template for the hero in Rebel. Blame it on the hat (Henry) he wears...oh, and maybe his dashingly dark good looks! I've added a pic, so see for yourself! *Warning, drool bib needed!!*

Until next week...
"Kings to you!" & Happy drooling! lol ;)

Once a Rebel, by Angela Ashton coming March 1, 2008

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Research Journey

One of the pleasures of writing is delving into old books and searching the internet for information. Oh sure, you have to be careful not to believe everything you find on the internet, but for the most part, the information I've gleaned is pretty consistant.

My first bit of research happened at the campus library of UT at Arlington while I was at a summer institute. Stuck there for a week without much to do at night, I used the time to browse through their books. I spent most of my time trying to find information on covered bridges since I knew I wanted my hero to be an engineer working on a covered bridge project in Indiana. I didn't find as much there as I'd hoped. I did find three books on the Orphan Train, though, which pretty much mirrored most of the information I found on the internet.

However, one piece of information came to light that I'd like to share and that's the origin of the phrase, orphan train. In 1995, the PBS channel ran a program on the American Experience and referred to the practice of sending orphans on trains in search of new homes, the orphan train. The phrase "putting up for adoption" comes from the practice of placing children on boxes or platforms to display them for prospective families. These viewings would often occur at a central gathering place like an opera house or church.

In the coming weeks, I'll give you tidbits of information I've discovered that is pertinent to my particular story.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Introduction of Once A Vagabond

I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am about this project. The Orphan Train series will be my first collaboration, and Once a Vagabond is the third book. I’m honored to be teamed up with five great Champagne authors. Over the last few months I’ve been doing the plotting and research for the book, and now I’m ready to dive into Abby and Ethan’s story.

Once A Vagabond is about Abigail McKee’s life after she loses her parents to a dock accident the day she and her family land at Castle Garden in New York City from Ireland. Although she is ten when she makes the pact with the other five girls on the orphan train, Abby’s story begins on her sixteenth birthday on the docks of San Francisco, California.

Here is a short working blurb –


2 vows 1 outcome

Abigail McKee vowed revenge. Ethan O’Conner not only lied to her and broke her ten-year-old heart, but also drugged her and then put her on a horrific orphan train. Since then, her life had been nothing but miserable and at times terrifying. Abby really wasn’t sure which had been worse - being a wagon train cook’s whipping boy, a saloon girl or a miner’s pack mule.

Ethan vowed to keep Abby safe after she lost her family in a dock accident. But never in his wildest dreams had he imagined the feisty lass, who stole his 14-year-old heart, literally falling into his arms years after he and Father Malone put her on the train heading out of New York City. And although he feared he would never see her again, he fought back the tears with the knowledge that he had kept his promise to Abby the only way he knew how.

Now ten years later, Abby is back in Ethan’s life, but only he knows their past. She only knows him as John Peacock, the Point Reyes Lighthouse keeper’s apprentice. Will Ethan risk losing Abby again with the truth? And if Abby learns the truth, will she have the courage to let go of her past and follow her heart?


I love to write about protagonists who are smart, quick tempered and who have sharp tongues; Abby is all that. But then you add to the mix a hot, and I do mean hot, hero, such as Ethan who gets Abby’s blood boiling in more ways than one. Well, you can practically see the steam roll of the pages. This story is going to be so much fun to write, I’m glad I finally get to start it today. The past few nights I’ve started dreaming about their story. This happens when I’m working on a book. So join me as I explore Abby and Ethan’s romance.

Until next time, happy reading. :)

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


I'm excited to have been included in this series. It's my first 'western' and I'm having a blast!
I'm almost finished with the first draft and I'm always surprised by the way my charachters take over the story.
Here's a brief blurb about the second book off the track...

Raped at 14, Galen Stewart awakens from a state of shock to find her foster father’s blood on her hands. Determined to stay two steps ahead of the man’s politician brother who’d rather see her dead than reveal his darkest secret, she’s forced to use the only gift Fate has seen fit to bestow upon her. Hiding beneath an array of identities, Galen accepts a station at whatever town saloon she may happen upon and works the oldest profession in the book. The mere thought of the carnal act launches horrid memories and leads her to concoct a laudanum-laced tonic that sends her ‘Johns’ into a slumberous stupor while she plunders their pockets. It seems like the perfect plan…until two of her patrons die of overdoses. To make matters worse, someone has gone to a lot of trouble to frame her for murders she didn’t commit, but who?

Six years later and still no leads, sheriff turned bounty-hunter Joshua Hassett takes matters into his own hands. Besides the fact that he's been hired by the farmer’s ambitious brother, Joshua has his own reasons for wanting to find the elusive waif. When a surprising clue sends him on the hunt for a raven-haired harlot, Joshua’s world is turned upside down by an auburn-haired angel working one of the saloons. When she’s accused of murder, he sets out to prove her innocence and soon finds himself entangled in her web of lies. Once Joshua discovers the truth, will he be able to choose between his heart and his oath to uphold the law?

Hope you enjoy!
Once A Rebel by Angela Ashton; coming March, 2008

Sunday, October 7, 2007

YEAH! Now I can officially blog!

Thanks Kim! My official day to blog is Tuesday, so I'll post a brief blurb about "Once a Rebel" then. TTYS, Angie

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Preview of Once Jilted

Wow, I've been working hard on this piece and I must say, I'm really, truly excited about it. I'm so in love with the hero I don't want the story to end. Whaaaaa. Okay, so - let's see if I can give you a preview of what to expect;


How many times will an orphan be cast aside before someone offers love?

Shauna Joyce has three weeks to find a husband or face watching a special little girl fall into the hands of loveless parents. An orphan herself, she knows the heartache of growing up without love. Armed with a need greater than her own, she finds a likely candidate in bridge-builder, Kane McKenna.

Kane McKenna has one goal; to finish the bridge he’s erecting so he can earn the capital needed to start a business of his own. A wife and child would drain his finances, so when Shauna Joyce proposes marriage, he balks at the idea. Will her determination be enough to build the bridge of trust needed to make him trade one dream for another?


Kane is a burly Irishman with a sexy accent and dimpled smile. He's quite the charmer and flirts outrageously with all the ladies. Something about the man tugs at Shauna's heart and her interest quickly turns to love, but Kane has ghosts to fight, and he's not easily led to the alter. Shauna has faced more rejection than a body has a right too, but she's strong and she knows what she wants. She wants Kane. Together, they learn the true meaning of trust.

I spent about two hours yesterday researching the exact location. Oh, I knew I wanted this story to take place in Indiana because of all the covered bridges, but I wasn't sure exactly where. At first, I had the story happening in Bridgeton, but I've since changed my mind. Why? Because I needed a small town that was near a river and close to a train depot. And -- I found it. I'm so excited. My story will take place in Nyesville, a small town not far from Rockville and very close to the Little Raccoon River. Too cool.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Internet hater

I finally got here after Google told me three times I wasn't I felt like I'd lost my identity. This is the reason I don't blog. I can't endure this kind of stuff. But I will blog On Sat. here. Don't mean to use someone else's day on the blog, but wanted to thank Jami. Jane

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Once A Dreamer

I must say I've been looking forward to writing this book all year. You see, I had so many more commitments to finish before delving into this one, that I'd almost forgotten about it. But now, those other books are done and out of the way. Now, I can concentrate a bit more on my contribution to the Orphan Train series and I cannot wait!

My book is entitled ONCE A DREAMER, and it follows Karina Vadislav, a young Russian immigrant, who's parents can no longer take care of her in New York City. She rides the train to Oscaloosa, Kansas, eventually ending up in Dodge City over the years where her story begins.

I have a rough blurb I can share with you. I'm not sure how much this blurb will stay intact, but I hope you enjoy it regardless. :)


Karina Vadislav dreamed of a better life on the Orphan Train. She thought she found it with Margaret Henderson. But when her adoptive mother is killed, Karina is left with Margaret’s abusive brother, Patrick Baker. As time passes, Karina finds out that Margaret left her an inheritance, one Patrick desperately wants--by killing Karina in cold blood.

Benjamin Sawyer is minding his own business when he literally runs into a beautiful young woman. Enchanted by her soft Russian accent, Ben agrees to help Karina find a bodyguard. But when he witnesses the brutality of Karina’s guardian, he vows never to let Karina out of his sight.

Yet neither one is prepared for the intense passion that ignites between them. When Karina finds out about Ben’s swindling past, can he convince her he wants her, not her money? And can he protect her from the very man who wants her dead?


I think I'm so excited to write this book because I love Westerns. Anyone who knows me knows how much I flip out over an awesome Western romance, even my own. :P I've never written a smooth-talking anti-hero before, so this should be FUN! :P Poor Ben won't know what hit him. Right now, I don't have much written beyond the opening prologue, but when I get into a book I'm really excited to write, I can get it done pretty darn quick. (Here's hopin' I didn't just jinx myself... lol)

ONCE A DREAMER by Rebecca Goings, coming 2008!

Thursday, September 6, 2007


There are only six months before Champagne Books’ Orphan Train Series hits the shelves. However, before that train pulls into the station there is much to be done. So join our authors – Rebecca Goings, Angela Abate, Kim Leady, Ciara Gold, Lee Ann Ward & Jane Toombs as they discover how their girls deal with the hands life has dealt them, and the pact they made with one another.

1st book – Once A Dreamer, by Rebecca Goings
2nd book – Once A Rebel, by Angela Ashton
3rd book - Once A Vagabond, by Kim Leady
4th book – Once Jilted, by Ciara Gold
5th book – Once Wayward, by Lee Ann Ward
Final book – Once An Outcast, by Jane Toombs