Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Eureka! A one-time "diamond in the rough..."

If you only know a little of California history, it’s probably that 1849 marked the Gold Rush era to the northern part of the state.  Boomtowns grew out of the mud and rubble where a mix of unwashed “forty-niners”,  merchants, gamblers, savvy businessmen, and people down on their luck converged to swell the population over the next ten years.  If gold brought them out, the beauty of the area kept them!

Jen and Lisa's Diamond in the Rough takes place in Eureka, California, one of the lovely towns born of the era and the seat of government for Humboldt County. Set between mountains and the Pacific Ocean, the area saw such rapid development, there was little time to plan for the needs of the immigrants and locals—as we’ll discuss later.

Remember what’s going on back on the East Coast? A world away,  politics rumbled with increasing fervency over states’ rights and the abolishment of slavery.  Throughout the west, as settlers encroached on Indian lands, “the Indian Problem” grew. 

In 1850 Chicago Policeman Pinkerton opened his first Pinkerton Agency in Chicago Illinois and  a new era in detective work began . . .  a point you'll recall when a certain "operative" (Carter Forbes) shows up to do his job in this fast-paced story set in 1861!

Fashion. Hoops were at their largest during this period. Adding to the already confining stays were these hooped contraptions ‘the well-dressed woman’ needed to hold yards and yards of skirt/dress material out away from her body. Not what I’d want to be wearing in the searing heat of summer, and in some cases, dangerous for the woman or a man who might get tripped up in her skirts!

Architecture was a wild mix of slapped-up-quick saloons and storefronts to the grander buildings of homes and upscale hotels for the rich or just-about-to be richer. One of the most lovely holdovers is the Carson Mansion, circa 1883! Isn't it incredible?  Just happens to be the model for Lily Rose's family home. Now you know why her mother is not happy about Lily's fondness for lost causes!

That heroine, Lily Rose, longs to right a wrong suffered in the year 1860, nearly ten years after the rush of new Californians.  A very difficult part of the area’s past is the regrettable Wiyot Indian Massacre on “Indian Island”.  With concerted efforts by local ‘militia’ (vigilantes), two years of grumbling and complaint culminated one night in the massacre of from 80-150 men, women and children of the peaceful Wiyot tribe.  Most of the adult men were away and it's likely no mistake the attackers knew that.

While the Wiyot people had never been known to cause any trouble, the fever to rid the west of ‘savages’ drove white settlers (otherwise considered upstanding ranchers, businessmen and good-church-goers) to this despicable act.

Falling right into the middle of these continued hostilities is Grant Diamond, on the run from Agent Forbes and even deeper into a big mess of his own making!
"Indian Island" 

Rather than end on this dreadful historical note,  I’m adding a photo of the old 1856 Humboldt Lighthouse and hoping you’ve learned a bit more about the setting for Diamond in the Rough!

Thanks for joining us for a short look 'back' at Diamond in the Rough's setting and history! Stay with us all week to enjoy more about this 'first in the series' novel and its creators, Lisa Karon Richardson and Jennifer AlLee! Please leave a comment to be in the drawing for our giveaway! Scroll down to check out Monday's Release Party (it's worth a look-see, though the picnic is all packed up and put away).

"Indian Island photo from :  https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/img/b/R29vZ2xl/AVvXsEhtEMgZzMhhacPyoTIQO8LsquBwfWhxXUZZEqRWsq7jukWOTYnAwn9V3TT9X4d5YH495bAPBpMsJSDCuXtl4IRp2tmIlhQbAhRgHHx2HpbleqXcC1gpHy3QOrSJ_7Avd2JxNCBd2QOiGjw/s1600/250px-Indian_Island_Tolowot_California.jpg

 Grant Diamond is a professional gambler on the run from his past. When he comes across a wagon wreck, the chance to escape his pursuers is too good a gamble to pass up, and he assumes the identity of the dead wagon driver. His plan takes an unexpected turn when local heiress Lily Rose mistakes him for the missionary she had asked to come work with the Wiyot Indians. Seeing Eureka as a promising place to lay low, Grant plays along. Before he knows it, he's bluffing his way through sermons and building an Indian school. But with a Pinkerton on his trail and a rancher rousing fresh hatred against the Indians, Grant fears the new life he's built may soon crumple like a house of cards.


  1. I will be here in fits and starts today but please remember to leave a comment and your email address safely if you'd like to be in our drawing.

  2. Nice history tour, Deb. Eureka sounds just like a place I'd like to visit.

  3. Thanks Suzie. There's certainly a lot of history and beauty. I was very pleasantly surprised!

    I love learning about new places through books and especially the history of the place!

  4. After all the great chit chat yesterday, I managed to find time to read a few chapters. So far, so awesome! Lily is delightful. I love the playful elements with the hoop skirt. And I can't wait to see that gorgeous house you included here.

  5. Good morning, Ladies! Deb, this post is great. Thanks so much!

    Eureka really does have a fascinating history. Suzie, even today, it's a cool place to visit. Lots of stuff from the past to explore.

    Dina, SO glad you're enjoying DITR thus far. It sure was fun to write :)

  6. It's like a mini-pinterest page!

    Nicely done, Deb...although I miss Hugh and Jude.

  7. Awesome house! Thanks for the background on the story's setting, Deb!

  8. I have to wonder if I missed the boat here and could have added a REAL pinterest page. Ladies?

    It was an enjoyable break in my weekend to 'visit' Eureka, except for the dark part of its history. I'd heard of that event before but now it's much clearer in my head what happened and where.

  9. wow. great post.

    i love seeing the history behind the books. it greives me to hear about the dark side of history too. i think "how could God-fearing people have done such horrible things?" and then that makes me think about areas i might be blind to, where people looking back on my history might think the same thing.

    the story premise sounds very engaging. count me in the running: nm8r67 at hotmail dot com

  10. p.s.
    that house is SOOOOOOOOOOO cool! such personality!

  11. Hey girls, sorry to be so late today. Just one of THOSE days. Every time I get a chance to sit down seems I'm called away.

    Anyway, thanks Deb for giving us such a great sampler of the elements that all sort of make up the story behind the story. It is really the massacre that drives a lot of the plot. Even though it happens before the events in our story we ended up really exploring what an event like that would do to the psyche of a town, and then to the individuals within the town. The scars are very present in our story and a lot of people are given the opportunity to make different choices. Some do, some don't.

    Dina, so glad you're enjoying it so far!

  12. Great history lesson. Where is Humboldt County, though?

    That house doesn't appeal to me much because it seems to squished in. I'd love to take hold of the sides of the photo and stretch it out a bit. :D

    This story is right up my alley and I can't wait to read it.

  13. Very informative post, Deb! I love how you tied it to so many elements in the story as well as to the nation as a whole. Very nice.

    Humboldt County is gorgeous. I'm enjoying spending time "there" with Lily and Grant as I read.

    Anita, Humboldt County is in Northern California, about 200 or so miles north of San Francisco. It's not too far south of Oregon.

  14. Anita, Eureka is also as far west as a body can go and still be part of the contiguous United States. Oh, and one thing about it, at least Lily doesn't have to worry about sweating in her hoops, the weather is very mild all year without really significant highs and lows for the most part.

    They can get quite a bit of rain though, and the year of our story there was so much rain that Fort Humboldt was abandoned by the soldiers who took up residence in Eureka instead. Some of that shows up in the story too.

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  16. If I leave my email address, can I be entered in a drawing for the house? Pretty please?

    Congrats to Lisa and Jen! Now, a question. Have either of you been to Eureka?

  17. You should win a copy for such a great question, Miss C.J.

  18. Oh, and with that house, you'll need a staff of servants. I might be interested. I just need 7-8 hrs a day to write but I'm cheap and I'll do the cooking and cleaning.

  19. Yep, good question, CJ! I've been to Eureka, Montana, but have never been to Eureka, California. Lisa and I really should take a road trip there. And then we have to visit Washington DC (where book 2 is set) and New York (where book 3 is set)

  20. I'm game! Also need to make a side trip to Duchess County And Orange Counties in New York

  21. Jen, if you need help with DC, I'm probably your go-to woman. Lived in the DC suburbs (VA side) for 17 years. Of course, it's a little different now than it was 150 years ago. The book Mr. Lincoln's City is a good reference for Civil War-era DC.

    Deb, shall we make a deal of a few hours of work for room and board and all the power you need to run your laptop?

  22. Um, suppose I could have included Lisa in that first part, huh? Lisa, you can ask me questions if you need to too. :)

  23. Okay I'll meet you on the Hudson, Len (yes, I'm still pushing the combined name thing) before I take up my job for C.J.

    How cool that you are going to DC and NY! Have any of you watched Copper?

  24. Ooh, I watched the first episode of Copper. Gritty, but compelling!

  25. Thanks, CJ . I was feeling all abandoned there for a minute :)

  26. I keep waiting for the episodes to be free on Amazon Prime. I expect to watch that first one very soon as I see they are tempting us with a freebie.
    I watched the 'trailer' last year.


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