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The fourth book in my mail-order-bride series is being re-released tomorrow by Samhain Publishing (yay!), which has me thinking about how my heroine could have possibly packed for a new life back in those days (the 1860's).  Since I myself have been packing for a 2-week vacation, And my “things to pack” list is two pages long, I’m feeling her pain. Of course, she had fewer options than I did, which made her choices more difficult but also simpler. For example, my rolling carry-on suitcase and laptop bag are a far cry from the steamer trunks  I imagine the brides had back then. On the other hand, I can fit a hundred books on a single tablet. If Maggie wanted to bring books, we’re talking serious space and poundage.

I should mention that Maggie – the heroine in NIGHT AFTER NIGHT – is the one who is most like me: a shy bookworm who nevertheless has a backbone when challenged.  The others have been spunky girls who yearned for adventure – they could wipe the floor with Maggie or me, but somehow, we can take care of ourselves too (and eventually bring our chosen guy to his knees as efficiently as the others ever did).

I’m sure the other brides may have packed stationary and a pen, but they used up most of their packing space for flattering clothes. And since those dresses were bulky, they probably couldn’t bring much extra. Maybe a picture or two of loved ones?

But Maggie and me? It’s all about the books, right? In addition to the dozens of books I can read on my I-pad, there are a dozen half-finished stories of my own on a thumb drive so I can work on them during my spare time. And I might throw in a paperback or two as well.

For Maggie it’s different. She’s heading out to a small town in California where she can’t even be sure there’s a library, and she can’t possibly lug a bunch of books. She needs to choose a few that are beloved. Whereas I just need to obsess about internet access.

Here’s the good news for Maggie – there actually is a magnificent library in that small town in California. In fact, that library is such an important part of the plot, it’s almost a character itself! The man who formerly owned the boarding house had a huge book collection, and it’s still there, which means Maggie is in heaven. Except there’s this obnoxiously handsome bounty hunter who rents a room at the boarding house, and when’s he's not away on a job, he stakes his claim to the library and won’t accept Maggie’s presence. And since he pays extra for the privilege, it seems like Maggie just needs to stay away whenever he’s in town.

Except she loves those books. So even though he’s scary, she forces her way into that library. And since this is a historical romance, well…. you can imagine what happens next!

Anyway, my poor brides had their packing struggles, but that was 150 years ago. Whereas my struggles are just reaching a crescendo. Should I bring a laptop and an I-pad, or just I-pad and funky little keyboard? Make-up? (I don’t wear much in my real life, so who the heck am I trying to impress in a strange place?) Jeans? Skirts? Sweater or sweatshirt? The only thing I’m sure of is I’m bringing books, and e-books, and half-written books, and lots of paper and pencils. Oh and an electric pencil sharpener (the TSA folks always love that one…)

So I’d better get back to packing. I’ll have one last post before I leave. I’ve been working on it all week. It’s about Talk Like a Pirate Day, which is on Wednesday, so stay tuned!

Kate

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