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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Life in Hazard, Wyoming After World War II

Sarah McNeal is a multi-published author of time travel, paranormal, western, contemporary and historical fiction. Her stories may be found at Publishing by Rebecca Vickery and Prairie Rose Publications. Her website:  

 Life In Hazard, Wyoming After WWII

The world changed after WWII. After the dust settled in Europe, buildings and infrastructure were destroyed, the economy teeter-tottered on the edge of disaster. Changes began to happen between nations like the United States and Russia who were friends until the war ended. The Cold War had begun. The fear of obliteration of the entire human race pressed into our hearts after the atom bombs dropped on Japan and proved to be a dark foretelling of what could happen if we continued to build things that could destroy us.

In spite of these revelations, Americans carried on in the aftermath of the war. We didn’t suffer the loss of buildings, infrastructure and economy the way other countries did, but we would never think we could be untouched by world events the way we once did. Americans fell in love with big, beautiful cars as the automobile industry went into overdrive and that industry helped promote our economy.

In my fictional town of Hazard, Wyoming, the townspeople were beginning to settle down and carve out new lives for themselves. With the return of the men from war, some wiser or tougher, and some broken, life began to settle into normalcy once again. The folks in Hazard picked up their lives and began to build on the faith of prosperity and happiness.

But there are some things a good economy and wishful thinking just can’t fix. For Harmonica Joe and Lola’s younger daughter, Juliet, life has dealt her a cruel blow—so cruel, in fact that she has called off her wedding to Harry O’Connor, the only man she has ever loved. And for four abused children, the days are still filled with fear and hopelessness. Unexpected Blessings is my contribution to the Lassoing a Bride anthology with Prairie Rose Publication.

Unexpected Blessings

A broken dream…a cancelled wedding…and an unexpected blessing

When Juliet Wilding’s dreams are crushed, she cancels her wedding plans to Harry O’Connor. But Harry is not about to give up on the only woman he has ever loved.  What neither of them expects is the event that will forever change both their lives.

I have come to like this particular time period when people still wrote letters by hand, listened to the radio while they worked, and families ate supper together. Hollow Heart, my story in the Valentine anthology, Hearts and Spurs, which also takes place just following the end of World War II. Madeline mourns the loss of Sam Wilding when he didn’t return from the war, and finds it difficult to move on with her life.

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Hollow Heart

Lost love and the hope for possibilities

Madeline Andrews is a grown up orphan. Sam Wilding made her feel part of his life, his family and swore he’d come home to her when the war ended, but he didn’t return. With the Valentine’s Ball just days away, the Wildings encourage Madeline to move forward with her life and open her heart to the possibilities.  But Madeline is lost in old love letters and can’t seem to let go.

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Still in this time period, I am writing a story for the Fall anthology from Prairie Rose Publications: The Beast of Hazard. Joey Wilding has turned his grandfather’s ranch into a veterinary clinic. He has an innate love of all creatures, but there may be one creature he cannot help, and one love he cannot attain.
A Terrorized Town…A Killer Beast…And Deliverance

I love my fictional town of Hazard, Wyoming, and I love my Wildings, but there are other people in town who have a story to tell, like the widow, Penelope Thoroughgood who once found solace for her loneliness with Banjo when he was young.

I am giving away a digital copy of Fly Away Heart, my Great Depression era story about Lilith Wilding and the English born, Robin Pierpont, who was saved from a terrible fire by Banjo Wilding to someone who comments today. Be sure to include your email address in your comment for a chance to win.


The Great Depression…Rum Runners and Old Fears…Love Against the Odds
Lilith Wilding can’t remember a time when she didn’t love the English born Robin Pierpont, but she knows he loves another so she hides her feelings beneath a hard veneer of self-protection.
Robin Pierpont dreams of flying airplanes and winning the heart of the one he loves, but when he gets involved in illegal rum running to help a friend, those dreams seem to turn into just a fantasy. When he is called upon to face his worst fear to save Lilith’s life, his fate may be sealed in death.
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  1. Like all of your Wildings stories, Sarah, "Unexpected Blessings" is full of small-town charm and truly heartwarming romance. I always look forward to new Wildings stories. Thank goodness that family has been reproducing like minks. ;-)

    The Cold War that followed WWII was a scary time, especially in retrospect. I can't wait to see where the Wildings go during that period. Get to writing, sweetheart! :-)


    1. Kathleen, you always say the most supportive things.
      There's lots of stories yet to tell about the Wildings--and other Hazard townsfolk, too. I love my fictional town and all the people who live there.
      I was in elementary school during the Cold War. We used to perform drills in case of nuclear attack from Russia. It looks like we're come full circle now and another cold war is forming between the US and Russia, sad to say.
      Thank you so much for all your encouragement and kindness.

  2. Sarah, isn't it just wonderful when you find the time and place that holds you heart and inspires your creativity. This town, its people, the environment all sing. I have enjoyed all of the stories I have read that take place in this time and place, may they continue on for a long time.

    WWII is a time that holds a fascination for me and I have had the honor of speaking with these amazing veterans while performing for some of their reunions. A lot of them are gone now, but the gift of their stories and presence will remain with me forever. Doris

    1. Doris, thank you so much for reading my stories. I really appreciate that.
      I know your performance for the veterans' reunion must have been so exciting and rewarding for you.
      As much as I love the Great Depression and WWII, I want to go back in time and write more about the early 1900s. It was such a time of change in America and the people were so diverse and colorful. Some time in the future, I'd also like to write about some modern day Wildings--the grandchildren, maybe even the great grandchildren of Lola and Joe, as well as Banjo and Teekonka.
      Thank you so much for dropping by and commenting, Doris.

  3. The time span from about 1880 through 1955 has such rich history to draw from for writing stories. American life changed so rapidly, technology made giant leaps, there were two significant world wars, a depression, airplane flight came along, the radio brought entertainment and information right into the home, Prohibition... whew! So many stories need to be told and you're telling some of them. Thank you for that. ;-)

  4. Kate, I so agree with you. This time in history was so exciting. I was lucky enough to have parents and grandparents who lived during most of the time you mentioned. My paternal grandfather was born in 1866 just after the American Civil War. They all told colorful stories about their day to day activities so much I felt almost as if I, too, had lived through those years. I wish I had asked more questions.
    Thank you so much for your comment, Kate.

  5. Sarah, you know how I love your Wildings! I'm so glad you are continuing on with their stories, and love this entire family you've created. I think it's time for a "bad boy" in their midst...LOL You always write the best tales for your time periods. Love that you have done so much research and it shows in the things you write!

  6. Yes, Cheryl, I do need to write about a bad boy Wilding--besides Banjo. I'm thinking either Hank, who is a rancher since he returned from the war, or Kit, his twin, now a lawyer, who has PTSD from his war experiences, might be good for a bad boy scenario.
    I love research. Sometimes I dig into one of my research books and get lost in there. LOL
    Thank you for your kind comments and your constant support for me, and for all the authors at PRP.

  7. The winner of a digital copy of Fly Away Heart is Kaye Spencer. Congratulations, Kaye. Please contact me at starcriter at yahoo dot com with your email address so I can get your book to you. Thank you again for commenting on my blog.