One of my favorite historical fiction authors, Susan F. Craft, releases new book: Laurel

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I’m so excited about Susan F. Craft’s new book, Laurel. I love Susan’s writing so much I read this compelling story in one sitting! I couldn’t put it down.

The book is about a young couple whose daughter is kidnapped by slave runners in the backwoods of South Carolina. The couple hunts for their daughter in the wilderness and finally track her to the shores of the Atlantic at Charleston. While in Charleston, the mother, Lilyan, is recognized as a former patriot who murdered a British officer  (I won’t say why, you’ll have to read the book to find out.)  She’s thrown into jail and confined with prostitutes, thieves and murderers. Her husband, Nicholas, fights to set her free, and continue the search for their missing daughter.

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Susan’s writing is so good I was never distracted by writing craft while reading her book. (This happens to me sometimes as a writer.)  Instead, I lost myself in the story. It’s easy to do because Susan writes vivid description and deep internal emotion and motivation brilliantly.

Susan’s extensive research and travel to the locations of her novels comes through in her writing. I truly felt I was there with Lilyan and Nicholas searching for their daughter.

On her website,, she has over twenty years of research on a wide range of topics.  She says: “I knew I’d never be able to write enough novels to use all my “historical treasures,” so I decided to share and put them on my website.”

SusanCraftSusan F. Craft best

You can follow Susan here:



Twitter: @susanfcraft

Be sure to check out Susan’s other book: The Chamomile.

The Chamomile

I bought Susan’s book, Laurel, on my own. This review is my unsolicited opinion. If you want to know what makes for good historical fiction writing, read a Susan F. Craft novel!

I give Laurel five big fat stars!

BirdbooksTweet this: Laurel by @SusanFCraft — five big fat stars!


Just call me a gambler

In doing research for my book I’ve had to learn some things I’ve never had an interest in. One of those things is gambling.


Did you know that poker wasn’t the biggest game of the North American West in the 1800s? We’ve seen countless westerns with saloons full of poker players. But it wasn’t poker that was popular. Instead, it was a super easy game called Faro, also called “Bucking the Tiger.” Some of the great players include Soapy Smith, Doc Holliday, Luke Short, Bat Masterson, and Wyatt Earp.


The Bengal Tiger was a symbol for the game. All a proprietor had to do was hang a picture of a Bengal Tiger in his window to let people know a game was up.

FaroFaro Game Table

Faro was more popular than poker because it was faster and easier to learn. On the steamboats, it was Faro that was played the most because those running the game could make a lot more money in a shorter amount of time.  (And most of the time, the game runners were cheaters.)


Websites on Faro/Bucking the Tiger:


Legends of America

Bucking the Tiger

Here’s a video that teaches how to play the game:

I think Faro would make a great board game for fun and I wish they’d make one. Maybe I’ll have to do that myself. I’m not much for games but I work with a lot of young folks who love them.



Tweet this: Writing is teaching me to gamble!



What’s your favorite card game?