In my (endless) research into the first book of the Blood Guardians series, I found myself wondering about the fastest route available to two vampires trying to make a quick escape. That’s when I stumbled on the Packet Boats of the canals. They were the monster trucks of the water freeways in the 1830s (when the book takes place), with a 14 foot width and 70-90 feet long. The boats squeaked through the two-lane canals and were drawn by horses or mules.
Their ability to carry any type of cargo was one of their greatest benefits. They hauled mail, building materials and food, and all for a fraction of the overland price. Their greatest contribution to the United States, however, was their hauling of settlers to the west. Packet boats could carry up to 60 passengers at a time, and the water route was a much faster and more comfortable way to get out west. All those passengers, with the invaluable help of the packet boats, settled the old Northwest (Wisconsin) and what’s now known as the Rust Belt (Ohio, Iowa, Illinois, etc.).
Without these boats, the west would have still been won, but definitely at a slower, costlier pace.
Image of packet boat
Now I can hear what you’re thinking as you read this blog post. What took her so long to write another? It’s been, what, April since the last one? I can see where you’re coming from with that thought, but just hear me out.
First off, I’m terrible at making myself, or what I do behind the scenes sound fascinating. I’m an average just like you, with an imagination I’m able to rein in when writing (mostly). Since my books are so much more interesting than myself, I’ve decided to write about the research that goes into each of the upcoming novels in the Blood Guardians series. I’m relatively proud (and very intimidated) by the amount of links and research I gathered for those four installments, so I thought I’d share some of the joy that went into making the book. Since at this point the first book isn’t even out, I’m going to opt for a non-spoiler bit of research: the pepper-box revolver.
I’m sure you’re already confused by that name, but I assure you a lot of you recognize the gun. You’ve seen it countless times in old western movies or any films with old-fashioned guns.
Now why would I care about this little gun? For starters, it’s one of the first repeating, civilian-use pistols ever produced on a large scale. Since I wanted my hero of the story to have a gun which was capable of firing multiple times, and the year was around 1837, then this baby was the right one for me. There was also the cool factor in having the antagonists looking down the barrels of that weapon with the cool, calm eyes of the hero staring at them.
I did have my eyes set on the hero having a Paterson revolver, but I was terrified the chamber of the gun would blow up on in him (these plots are so unpredictable!). Also, the Paterson had to be taken apart just to reload, which meant my hero would’ve been killed before they got off more than a round.
And that’s the lesson for today, folks! Tune in next time while I explain to you how paint dries and ice melts!