ONEY, MY ESCAPE FROM SLAVERY
by Diana Rubino and Piper Huguley
Teenaged Oney Judge was Martha Washington’s ‘favorite servant.’ Oney and Martha both longed for freedom, but in very different ways. Martha hated being confined to the president’s house, forced to entertain politicians and foreign diplomats. Oney hated being someone else’s property, forced to do labor and wait on her owners day and night.
After President Washington served one term as president, he wrote his farewell speech. He and Martha started packing for their retirement at Mount Vernon, but it was not meant to be. He was elected again—unanimously. He did not want to serve another term, but gave in under pressure.
Martha had no say in it whatsoever. But as she hosted her tea parties and levees, she became close friends with several forward-thinking women, such as Abigail Adams and Judith Murray, feminists of the time. Their radical ideas rubbed off on Martha—education and job training for women to be self-supporting instead of depending on husbands. By the end of George’s term, she experienced a steep character arc. She even changed her attitude toward slavery. When Oney escaped at age 20, at the end of George’s final term, Martha was very resentful: “She was more like a child to me than a servant.” The Washingtons knew that she’d escaped to Portsmouth, New Hampshire and made several attempts to recapture her. But in a sudden act of lenience, Martha gave up on Oney and let her remain free. During her husband’s presidency, Martha complained, “I am more like a state prisoner”, so perhaps she put herself in Oney’s place and realized she deserved liberty, too.
As our first First Lady, Martha Washington evolved from a grandmotherly wife and homebody to an outspoken champion of women’s rights. She provided freedom for her slaves at her death.
While living in Portsmouth, Oney married a sailor, Jack Staines, and had three children. She outlived her husband and children, and lived her remaining free life in Greenland, New Hampshire. Somewhat of a local celebrity, she lived in poverty, but the locals supported her and she took in sewing to supplement her meager income. She declared in an 1847 interview, “I am free now and choose to remain so.”
The hour finally came—while they ate dinner.
Nothing heavied my heart—not remorse, not guilt, not sadness upon fleeing my master and mistress. Raw thirst for freedom overcame all that. I walked straight past the Washingtons and out that door. When I shut it, I left them—and my forced bondage— behind me.
I tore through the muddy streets in pouring rain. Gasping for breath, soaked to the skin, my heart slamming in terror, I glanced behind me, again and again. No one pursued me—yet. I dreaded and expected pounding footsteps, a clap on my shoulder. But, I asked myself, who would chase me through the driving rain? No, it is not possible, I affirmed—they didn’t even know I’d left the kitchen.
At the Jones house I slowed and caught my breath. When Absalom opened the door, I staggered inside, laughing, sobbing, gulping for dear life.
I spent the night pacing the attic room, hands clasped. “I beg of you, dear God, walk beside me on this journey. See me through this safe. Don’t let them capture me. I only want to be your servant, no one else’s.”
As daybreak nudged away the darkness, I fell to my knees, weary with fatigue. “Thank you, dear God, for ending my final night of bondage.”
Serendipity at Work
In May 2014, popular romance author Brenda Novak had her annual auction for diabetes—authors donate books, critiques, etc., and people bid on them, similar to Ebay. I donated one of my other books, and I also donated a free manuscript critique. An author named Piper Huguley won the critique auction, but the auction ended and I never heard from her. I thought oh, well, she doesn’t want it after all. About 3 months later, she wrote me and sent me her story, A CHAMPION’S HEART, to critique. It’s a romance about an African American girl, set in rural Georgia in the 1910s. Very moving and powerful story. I loved it. It was published in 2016 by Liliaceae Publishers.
I’d been wanting to find an African American author to go over my Oney novel, but never looked for anyone. I thought of asking one of my grade school classmates, but just didn’t get to it…well, one day I decided to ask Piper.
Right after I asked her, she wrote back and said she’d be happy to help. Then I went on Facebook and saw that Piper just posted that her mother passed away that morning. So I sent her a message of condolence. Then she wrote this back to me:
And I appreciate your kind comments about my mother. You see, I see your request as “heaven sent” for I think I told you about how my mother told me about Oney. I know that she would want me to work on anything, do anything to forward that story. So, even in the midst of a difficult time, I look forward to helping you–something I really didn’t expect after you had helped me so much. Thank you for that.
I don’t remember her telling me that her mother told her about Oney. I’ve heard so many stories about people who pass away, and send ‘signs’ etc. to their loved ones, this was just too strange to be coincidence. Piper helped me a great deal with Oney’s story and became my co-author. We dedicated the book to her mother.
About Diana and Piper:
Diana writes about folks who shook things up. Her passion for history and travel has taken her to every locale of her stories, set in Medieval and Renaissance England, Egypt, the Mediterranean, colonial Virginia, New England, and New York. Her urban fantasy romance FAKIN’ IT won a Top Pick award from Romantic Times. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Richard III Society and the Aaron Burr Association. When not writing, she runs CostPro, Inc., an engineering business, with her husband Chris. In her spare time, Diana bicycles, golfs, plays her piano and devours books of any genre. She spends as much time as possible just livin’ the dream on her beloved Cape Cod.
Piper Huguley is a two-time Golden Heart ®finalist and is the author of the “Home to Milford College” series. The series follows the building of a college from its founding in 1866. Book #1 in the series, The Preacher’s Promise was named a top ten Historical Romance in Publisher’s Weekly by the esteemed historical romance author, Beverly Jenkins and received Honorable Mention in the Writer’s Digest Contest of Self-Published e-books in 2015.
Her new series “Born to Win Men” starts with A Champion’s Heart as Book #1. A Champion’s Heart was named by Sarah MacLean of The Washington Post as a best romance novel selection for December 2016.
She blogs about the history behind her novels at http://piperhuguley.com. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and son.
Connect with Diana and Piper:
Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors, where writers share an 8 to 10 sentence snippet of their writing on Sunday. Be sure to visit other participants at http://www.wewriwa.com/ and read and comment on their #8sunday posts.
Spread the word: Twitter hashtag #8sunday
Enjoy our next snipped from The Heist – I think maybe he remembers!
Ted Springs scanned the small crowd waiting to greet passengers over the heads of others disembarking in front of him. He spotted Kara immediately—she stood at the edge of the crowd and gave a tentative wave when she recognized him.
He nodded in return, trying to be patient with the older ladies ahead of him and a family with two young children.
Wearing a simple pink dress that buttoned down the front and fell nearly to the knees, Kara Daniels looked both professional and sexy. Tossing dark hair over her shoulder, she looked much more collected than when he’d last seen her, but then this was not a surprise meeting.
His chest tightened as he neared her. Her breasts were as substantial as he’d remembered. He could still feel them crushing into his chest outside Alice’s office. That had been a shock—a shock he definitely wanted to re-experience.
Kara extended her hand in greeting—so much for a repeat hug.
A Heist? A Murder?
It’s villain’s choice.
A special-order art theft? Tedious, but seamless – until small town museum director Kara Daniels calls in the experts. Furious her favorite trio of priceless impressionist paintings has been stolen from its traveling exhibit on her watch, Kara is determined to save not only the paintings, but her future in the art world. She’ll stop at nothing to entrap the thief.
Ted Springs knows the underbelly of the criminal world a little closer than he might like—but he’s turned it to good advantage, first as a police officer, and now as detective for the Upper Midwest Arts Council. His job? To guarantee the security of the valuable paintings in the Council’s traveling exhibits.
Heat sizzles when Ted and Kara collide—can they work together, before it’s too late?
Five stars at Goodreads: “The sex is hot and I loved the phone sex scenes. Never did I expect the ending. It was brilliant. The Heist is a winner!” Sheila G.
Five stars at Amazon: “Very hot…engaging, entertaining, funny and serious, well written and extremely enjoyable to read.” Donna H. “A true ‘romance novel’! Adriana Kraft at her best.” Mama
o ~ o ~ o
Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Weekend Writing Warrior posts–you’ll be glad you did!
Military Erotic Romance—Naval Maneuvers by Dee S. Knight (@DeeSKnight) #military #romance #eroticromance
Men and women of the armed forces experience desire and love pretty much like everyone else. Except, well, there is that uniform. And the hard-to-resist attraction of “duty, honor, service” as a man might apply them to a woman’s pleasure. All things considered, romance among the military is a pretty sexy, compelling force for which you’d better be armed, whether weighing anchor and moving forward into desire, dropping anchor and staying put for passion, or setting a course for renewed love with anchor home.
Individual blurbs: (the book is in three parts)
Weighing Anchor (allowing a ship to move forward by retrieving the anchor): A professional woman sworn to avoiding all things military finds herself in love with a lieutenant commander in the Navy. Love won’t conquer all if she allows her childhood memories to eclipse future happiness.
Dropping Anchor (securing movement by dropping the anchor): Two people find (surprisingly) that they are both in the Navy and love their chosen professions—until one turns out to be an officer but not a gentleman and the other is a gentleman but not an officer.
Anchor Home (safe, smooth sailing): When two former lovers find each other after more than a decade, will a long-hidden secret threaten the course of a rekindled romance or be the cause of it?
Buy Links (Get $2 off until March 9)
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2sM5PZo
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2omZcaA
Black Velvet Seductions: http://blackvelvetseductions.com/gs_bookshowcase/4779/
“And what is your name, pretty?” Mel Crandall addressed the dinosaur bones in an undertone, bending nearly to face level. The skeleton displayed an open mouth and rows of fierce, sharp teeth.
“Roger,” a man standing next to her said in a low voice. Startled, she looked up. Up being the operative word. She stood a decent five feet ten inches, and he beat her by a good half foot. She studied him. He ignored her.
The guy had a solid profile, strong chin, chiseled cheekbones, and a straight back with muscular shoulders. Short brown hair. He wore glasses and stared straight ahead, but glasses couldn’t disguise the laugh lines that radiated from the corners of his eyes. His posture was near perfect and he was not overweight, as evidenced by the trim fit of his jeans and red polo shirt that clung enough to give evidence of a low body/mass index number.
As a doctor, she immediately noticed body characteristics before actual looks. But with this guy, examination in lieu of admiration was hard. Men were often put off by the fact that she paid attention to whether they looked sallow or flushed, or if their hands were cold or warm before she “saw” them. She noticed if a man’s eyes were dilated or glittered with fever before she registered eye color. Dates started with mini examinations before she relaxed enough to enjoy personalities, but that’s just the way she was. Men had to take it or leave it. Sadly, most left it. Which was why she talked to dinosaurs at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History all on her own.
Mel moved on to the next exhibit, a shorter built specimen but still tall and with a nasty spiked tail. “I wonder what you looked like,” she murmured. “What color were you, what did you eat, and what’s your name?” She bent to read the exhibit information.
“Gray. Grass.” That same guy had followed her. Rather than having a strong profile, she was beginning to think he was a weirdo. “Annnd, roger.”
Quickly, Mel moved to the next exhibit. “And you are–”
He stood beside her again! Mel started to look for a museum guard but saw none. Great. Planting her hands on her hips, she turned to him. “Stop following me,” she said loudly enough that people in the general area turned to see what was happening.
The guy said, “Hold it.”
Hold it? Hold it, as in “Wait a minute, little lady?” She opened her mouth to lay into him when he turned and removed his glasses, showing her the richest, most chocolatey brown eyes she’d ever seen. The words stuck in her mouth.
“I’m sorry, what?”
In a lower voice she said, “You’re following me from exhibit to exhibit and talking to me. I want you to stop.”
“I didn’t realize…” He wiggled the glasses at her. “I’m working here and I’m afraid I didn’t notice you.”
Well. What was worse, that he was a pervert following her place to place, or that he wasn’t a perv and hadn’t even noticed her?
His brow furrowed while he studied her. “Yes. Yes.” Then he shook his head. “Roger.”
Again with that Roger.
“Gotta go. Later.” Then he smiled at her. “Just a minute, okay?” He folded the glasses and put them first in a protective case. Squatting, he placed a briefcase on the floor and opened it. He stored the glass case inside a pocket. Then he removed something from his right ear—an earbud?—protected it and also put it in the case.
Mel watched all of this with curiosity. He expected her to wait for him? What arrogance. And yet, wait she did. When he stood, holding the case in his left hand and smiled once more, her heart stuttered. The guy was drop dead gorgeous—at least to her understanding of the word. Normally, she appreciated the male form, mostly from a medical viewpoint. This man she enjoyed with pure pleasure.
And Good God. He hadn’t been talking to her, he’d been talking to whoever was on the other end of that earbud. Embarrassment flooded her.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “I thought you were…” She slid her hand between the two of them and then to the exhibits.
“No,” he said. “I apologize. I shouldn’t be testing this stuff around people. The last time I did it a kid thought I was calling him Roger.” His voice had a soft drawl to it. Western Virginia or North Carolina, maybe? Somewhere in the mountains. It felt like a cool stream as it ran over a body hot and tired from hiking: refreshing and invigorating, at the same time soothing and relaxing. She wanted him to talk more.
Stop that! She laughed. “I thought you were naming each dinosaur.” He smiled and dimples indented his cheeks. His eyes crinkled and Mel’s breath caught. This guy should come with a warning label. Approach with caution. Could bring on lustful intentions and ultimately, broken hearts. Take only in small doses and in public places.
He held out his hand. “David Stimson.”
She took it gingerly, half expecting lightning to bolt between them. Nope. Nothing. So much for romance novels. He had a nice hand, large and warm with healthy pink nails, and she grasped it firmly. “Melissa Crandall.”
“Nice to meet you. Do you mind if I wander along with you?” Grasping the briefcase with his left hand, he deftly, he moved to the left of her.
“No, please. It’s a free country.” She walked to the next dinosaur re-creation. “And this one is…” She half waited for his pronouncement.
“Not Roger,” he said, stopping her heart with that killer smile again. He leaned over to read the information. “Torosaurus latus. It says here that these bones were dug up in North Dakota, but that the Torosaurus roamed from Canada to Texas, and that he had the biggest head of any land mammal.”
“Well, I guess that’s something to be proud of,” Mel responded. David laughed and she found herself smiling back. When she moved to the next exhibit, he strolled along with her, hands behind his back.
He pointed to the next specimen. “Poor guy. Starved to death.”
“Oh, yeah? How do you know?”
“Can’t you tell? He’s all bones.”
A few years ago, Dee S. Knight began writing, making getting up in the morning fun. During the day, her characters killed people, fell in love, became drunk with power, or sober with responsibility. And they had sex, lots of sex. Writing was so much fun Dee decided to keep at it. That’s how she spends her days. Her nights? Well, she’s lucky that her dream man, childhood sweetheart, and long-time hubby are all the same guy, and nights are their secret. Dee loves writing erotic romance and sharing her stories with you. She hopes you enjoy!
Release blitz organized by