06-18 Sarah Raplee – WHY PSYCHIC AGENTS?

Monday, August 4, 2014

Hansom Cabs, Clipper Ships, and Trains by Paty Jager

The topic picked by the Queens of this blog couldn’t have landed any better for me. My latest release Staking Claim has nearly half the book taking place on a clipper ship. The characters also travel about New York City by Hansom cab and travel by train to Oregon.

Staking Claim is the second in the Halsey Homecoming trilogy. I already knew who the hero would be, Colin Healy, step-son of Ethan Halsey from my Halsey Brothers Series. Colin became a baronet when his father was killed. An event that prompted Colin’s mother to take him to America.

Staking Claim starts with Colin heading back home for his sister, Shayla’s, birthday and graduation from grammar school. He has always desired to travel by clipper ship because he prefers to stay in his cabin and read or do work.

Clipper Ship
A pretty passenger who requires his assistance, not once, but three times, captures his attention, and Colin finds himself taking many walks on the deck and joining her for meals in the dining area. I researched clipper ships and steamships. While the steamships were the rage to travel from continent to continent in 1899, there were still some clipper ships that booked passengers. I thought the ambiance and the lack of all the niceties and attention one received on a steamship fit not only Colin’s character but helped to show that the heroine and villain were out of place on such a ship.

It’s amazing the smallest thing a writer can find to enhance a story or show a character.

Hansom Cab
Not only does my hero and heroine cross the Atlantic by clipper ship, they also travel from New York City to Chicago via train and eventually on to Baker City, Oregon. Trying to find information on some of the stops and stations was fun and took time I hadn’t planned into the writing of the story. However, I think by doing my research it enriches the story.

The characters ride in a second class car after leaving a private car when they believe they are being followed. Discovering all about the differences in cars and the directions the trains leaving New York went was like following false leads in a treasure map.

I knew when I started this story it would be a stretch to get my hero home and find a way to make it entertaining and hold the reader to the end. The mystery and suspense I tossed in would not have worked as well if they hadn’t been traveling.

Staking Claim
Book Two – Halsey Homecoming Trilogy – Colin’s story

Deceit, contradictions, and lies.

On a ship bound for America, Colin Healy encounters a contradictory woman, whose beauty and grace intrigues him.

Livie Leatherby boards the ship as an imposter to get the information she needs to save her family. Befriending Sir Colin Healy is easy with his chivalrous tendencies. But she soon realizes discovering his past marks him for death.

Forced together to stay one step ahead of the Lord set on killing Colin for his estate, can these two get past the lies and deceit that has brought them together before one or the other meets their demise?

Back up on deck, Colin stood at the ship’s railing watching the dock workers load the cargo destined for New York. A glimpse of bright blue in the periphery of his vision, turned his attention to a small entourage headed to the ship’s gang plank.
There was no mistaking the long, bright blue coat and large, overly-flowered hat.
Where were the people now following her when he came to her aid earlier?
A servant girl followed the young woman. She carried what looked like a hat box and two men followed her carrying two large trunks on their shoulders. While the woman’s stride was self-assured, her head pivoted back and forth, her gaze taking in everything.
Why would someone clearly of gentry, use a sailing ship to travel when not one hundred feet away the Campania, a steamship in the Cunard line, was getting ready to set sail for America as well?
Before he registered his own movements, Colin discovered himself standing beside Captain Whiteside at the gangplank. The jovial captain enjoyed welcoming the passengers.
One of the reasons Colin picked going home by sailing ship rather than the faster steamship was to have fewer passengers to deal with, or in his case, hide from. He wasn’t a socializer like his sister, Shayla. He tended to have his mother’s trait of enjoying themselves just fine when alone or with family. Taking the slower sailing vessel gave him the option of never setting foot in a proper dining room or having to sit through conversations with strangers.
“Welcome!” boomed Captain Whiteside as the young woman stepped from the gangplank onto the vessel.
“Thank you, Captain.” She touched a gloved hand to her hat, then touched her earlobe showing beneath upswept copper-colored hair.
Colin didn’t want to think he was partial to red hair due to his mother’s fiery locks. This woman’s upswept hair was a more subtle hue. He found the shiny copper color mesmerizing.
“Your name?” Captain Whiteside inquired, holding a script with names and cabin numbers.
“Miss Olivia Leatherby.” The woman’s green gaze drifted from the captain to Colin. Her eyes widened, showing she recognized him from earlier. She made no move to thank or acknowledge him, and her gaze quickly returned to the captain.
Why didn’t she at least acknowledge my presence? Colin continued to study the young woman. The more he saw, the more he was intrigued. She was a good head shorter than he, but her curves and the way she set her feet to take the sway of the ship proved she wouldn’t float away in a good breeze. 
“Miss Leatherby, you will be staying in first cabin twelve.” Captain Whiteside tooted on his whistle and the cabin boy hurried forward.  “Jack, take Miss Olivia Leatherby to first cabin twelve.”
“Aye, Captain.” The young boy waved his hand for the woman and her belongings to follow.
Cabin twelve. That was two cabins down from Colin. Being practically neighbors, bumping into one another would be unavoidable.
He’d moved back to his spot at the railing when his gaze landed on another passenger whose fashionable attire and haughty manner didn’t fit with the usual sailing passenger. He’d come across a few men like this one since his return to England and taking charge of his estate. Why would a man of this class take a clipper rather than a steamship? He was the type who would think the accommodations on a clipper ship beneath him.
The wind didn’t carry the man’s name to him by the railing as Captain Whiteside greeted the stranger. It didn’t matter. He could always ask the cabin boy or the captain the gentleman’s name.
He turned his attention to the smoke puffing out of the Compania. A dark gray cloud puffed out adding more somber gray to the day. Passengers lined the deck of the steamship, waving at the people on the docks.
He could have been on that ship, surrounded by all the people and traveling in luxury, but he preferred the slower pace of the sailing vessel. He’d used his newly acquired connections in the shipping world to obtain a first cabin on the Americana. While he didn’t need the luxuries one had while on a steam ship, he did prefer traveling on a sailing ship in first class. The rooms were slightly larger, giving enough room to not feel as if he slept in a coffin, and the food, while not being served as elegantly, was filling and tasty.
The quiet, solitude, and time would allow him to go over the ideas his cousin Denis had handed him as he left Meath Hall. Even though he was excited to return to his family in Sumpter, he had become accustomed to riding about the thousand-acre estate talking to the tenants and discussing the best ways for them to grow better crops and livestock. Growing up, all he knew was mining, but living here, overseeing the land, he felt a kinship to both the people and the land.
“I guess you can take the boy out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the boy.” He grinned and headed to the first-class section of the ship. There would be a few more hours of spring sunlight streaming through his port hole. He’d best take advantage of the light to read the ideas Denis submitted.
He entered the covered stairwell and stopped.
Angry words flowed up the opening.
“I heard you were late.” The steely deep tone sounded like a threat.
“Ah had to say good-bye…”
He knew that soft wispy voice. Colin hurried down the stairs.

 Buy Links:  Amazon / Kobo / Apple / Windtree Press


Judith Ashley said...

Looks like another winner, Paty. I've got the Halsey Brothers on my TBR Kobo but haven't found the time. Will have to add Staking Claim!

Paty Jager said...

Thanks Judith! I like my Halsey's but I'll be glad when I've written the last one! LOL

Paty Jager said...

There is one more Halsey Homecoming book and then I have an idea for next year's Christmas book. ;)

Diana McCollum said...

I always wanted to sail on a clipper ship. Your book sounds really good, I will be adding it to my Nook.

Paty Jager said...

Thanks, Diana!
I hope Nook gets the book published. It's been sitting in processing for two weeks.

Sarah Raplee said...

Great excerpt and blurb! I'm intrigued! I love this series, but understand why you may be ready to write other things after so many books.

Paty Jager said...

Thanks, Sarah! This series has been fun.