A Guest Post About Texas from Darlene Franklin

Darlene Franklin is one of three authors working on our Texas Trails Series that will start being released in September.

My very first attempt at a novel involved taking a fantasy-like story I had made up as a child and converting it to a western setting. As I wrote the story, I came to realize that the Wild West forms the basis of American mythology. We view ourselves more in terms of rugged cowboys than patriotic revolutionaries (although both apply). For a girl who had grown up in New England, it came as quite a revelation.

 So I was delighted when the opportunity came to work with respected authors Susan Page Davis and Vickie McDonough on a Texas series. Texas embodies the West, and I even lived there for a brief span of time. (Now I make my home next door in Oklahoma, which has its own western traditions.)

 Vickie, Susan, and I tossed around several ideas for creating a historical series set in Texas. We flirted with the idea of six flags over Texas(France, Spain, Mexico, Texas, Confederacy, and United States).  In the end, we settled on Texas Trails, a generational saga during the nineteenth century. That way, our stories are tied together but allow for individual freedom in writing.

We used one of my favorite tools: a historical timeline, in particular, www.texasbob.com, and took note of events in Texas history that interested us. I looked into everything from camels used by the army to the visit of Lillian Gish to Galveston to a train collision filmed early in the silent film era. Sometimes two of us were interested in the same thing; Susan and I both loved the idea of a cowboy strike that took place in 1884. But in the end, the following historical nuggets formed the backdrop for our six stories: 

    • 1845: Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels purchases the land that will become New Braunfels and thousands of Germans follow him; Texas enters the union as the 28th state (Lone Star Trail, by me)
    • 1857: Congress awards a six-year contract to the Butterfield Mail and Stage Line. Also ongoing stories of white children captured by Indians (Captive Trail, by Susan Page Davis)
    • 1861-1865: Reconstruction following the War Between the States (as it is remembered in Texas), together with the formation in 1856 of the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. (Long Trail Home by Vickie McDonough)
    • 1874: John B. Jones is commissioned major in the Texas Rangers’ Frontier Battalion (reinstituted after the end of the War Between the States); the “Hoo Doo” War erupts in Mason County(range war and blood feud). (A Ranger’s Trail, by me).
    • 1883: The first cowboy strike in Texas takes place in the Panhandle. (Cowgirl’s Trail, by Susan)
    • 1896: Cattle, oil, and a stunt to wreck two trains near Waco results in the death of two spectators. (The End of the Trail, by Vickie)

Lone Star Trail pits a German immigrant (part of the Verein that followed Prince Carl) against a prejudiced Texan who lost his father in their War forIndependence fromMexico. German Texans are rightly proud of their tremendous influence in the hill country and beyond. 

We hope that our stories offer a taste of the drama, variety, and the unique heritage of our nation’s largest state.

~Darlene

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  1. What a great post and some facts about Texas that I didn’t know (yes, I’m one of those next-door Okies…). Can’t wait for your book, Darlene!

  2. Hi, Lacy, thanks for stopping by!

  3. Hey there Lacy, thanks for checking out the blog and we are glad you were able to learn a thing or two! It has been fun to read these stories and learn about Texas. Keep your eyes open for the whole series! It starts releasing in September.

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