My novels that will follow the Union Pacific Railroad will just have to wait awhile.
I started another novel set in Abilene, Kansas in 1871. The working title began as A Question of Consent, then changed to Abilene Connection before it evolved into Abilene Gamble.
The Chisholm Trail, which started across the river north of Texas and ran through Indian Territory, met up with the Kansas Pacific Railway in Abilene. From there, the railroad transported the longhorn cattle from Mexico that had multiplied unhindered in Texas during the Civil War to the beef-starved states in the North and Midwest.
The KP, as the line was known, was the railroad that brought Harry Bradford, fresh from Indiana Law in Bloomington, to the adventure and escape to be found in the West.
It was also the railroad that brought Stella from Indianapolis, who, following the few clues in her possession, searched for her brother in order to bring him home.
I am up to Chapter 5, but woke up this morning with the "hook" running through my mind. For you non-writer readers out there, that is the blurb on the back or on the flyleaf of a print book, or the description you find online at your favorite digital booksellers. It may be modified before all is said and done, but this is what I have so far:
"Harry Bradford is a lawyer and sometimes detective. Some call him a bounty hunter. With half of his face torn to pieces toward the end of the Civil War, people turn away from him in aversion. He fled his native Indiana, hoping to find among the drovers, stock yards, railroads, homesteaders and trouble-making drifters pouring into Abilene, Kansas during the hey-day of the Chisholm Trail cattle drives enough work to provide a reason to keep living.
"Stella Schoenfeld, raised in the well-to-do merchant class of Indianapolis, tracks her runaway brother as far as Abilene. Desperate to settle their father’s estate so she can move forward with her life, she comes to bring him home in spite of the warrant out for his arrest related to the incident that left her visibly scarred on her cheek and neck and in other ways not visible.
"While Harry guides Stella around Abilene, he realizes they have a connection neither would have guessed. Driven by revenge, Harry pursues her brother on his own and, over Stella’s protests, drags him back to Indianapolis to face trial. Harry risks everything in the ensuing court battle, knowing that it will probably cost him the only woman he has ever dared to love."
So, what do you think? Are you barely waiting to read this novel? Sorry, but I only have about 18,250 words written and 3-4 times as many left to go. I started on February 21st, and, although much of this writing time was devoted to research, I am still looking at several months before I type "The End."
But, you hang in there, pardner. This novel has started down the trail and will reach its destination.