March 17, 2011

Two Celebrations, One Day

Today's blog is by multi-published author, Kat Duncan. Enjoy! And don't forget to check out her WEBSITE for more information about Kat and her books.

It's March 17th, so I'm here to wish you a Happy Evacuation Day! I know many of you will be celebrating Saint Patrick's Day. For sure I've got many Irish ancestors who would be pleased to know Saint Paddy has not been forgotten. But dear old Saint Pat won't mind sharing his holiday a bit. I live near Boston, Massachusetts, where every year on March 17th is a local holiday called Evacuation Day. It's the day in 1776 that the British decided that blocking Boston Harbor was not a good idea anymore. They sailed off to Halifax, Nova Scotia, taking many Boston citizens loyal to King George with them.

Hey, I know, but not everyone in Boston was a patriot in those days, more's the shame.

After the big donnybrook at Lexington and Concord in April of 1775, the American colonial militia chased the British back to Boston, but that wasn't the end of the story, bless me heart, so it wasn't. It was a big day in history, but that was just the beginning. The British troops holed up in Boston. Back in those days the landscape of Boston was a peninsula with a wee little spit of land giving access from the landward side and of course great access from the sea. The American militia had no navy so the Limeys figured they were safe as long as they could come and go through the harbor. What they didn't figure on was thousands of angry militia men and their families willing to surround Boston peninsula and set up camp there - for a whole year. 'Tis sure a good bunch of them were stubborn Irish stock.

As soon as the Brits got reinforcements they went off in a huff and attacked Bunker Hill (really Breed's Hill, but that's 'nuther story) in June that year. Although the British claimed a victory at Bunker Hill, they lost a mob of men (over 1000). They didn't easily forget how ruthless these colonial rebels could be. Huzzah!

They had trouble keeping Boston supplied with food, but they were willing to hang onto The Hub even though it had absolutely no value to them as far as fighting the colonials. That's the British bulldog for you. Rah, rah! There were skirmishes here and there and by the time winter was settling in, General-and-all-around-good-guy George Washington was fresh out of ideas. He didn't want to hang around Boston anymore. There were British strongholds in New Jersey and New York that he was itching to attack.

So, along came this wacky idea, from a guy named Henry Knox, to go up to Fort Ticonderoga in New York, which had been captured from the British earlier in the year. Knox suggested that 59 cannons from Fort Ti would be nice way to greet the British in Boston some winter morning. Washington thought the idea was brilliant. He made Knox a general and sent him off to New York. It took Knox a couple of months to get back with the cannons. Hey, have you ever tried to drag 59 cannons weighing in at 5500 pounds each over a frozen lake and down through the rough country of upper state New York and then lengthwise across Massachusetts? Did I mention this was wintertime? In New England? If you're interested in a bit more history, here's some info on the Knox Trail.

Anyhoo, the cannon arrived in late January and Washington had to decide where to place them around Boston to persuade the Brits to surrender or leave. He finally decided on a plan to put them up on Dorchester Heights, but even taller-than-average future presidents need time to drag cannons uphill, so Washington had to create a diversion to keep the Brits busy on the other side of Beantown while he got the cannons in place. By early March the plan was set. The Brits saw the cannons and planned to attack, but a convenient snowstorm delayed them and they reconsidered their options. They decided to abandon Boston, so they sent word to Washington that if they were allowed to leave in peace, they wouldn't burn Boston. Huzzah!

On March 17th, the British packed up all their ships and departed. Washington entered the city and the Americans took control of it. After an eleven month siege, Boston was ours. And it remained American for the whole war. Now that's something to celebrate. Happy Evacuation Day! And Happy Saint Paddy's Day, too!

Kat Duncan


The finance mogul thinks Janet Thompson is worth a fortune. The President wants her for revenge. The nuclear arms trader needs her dead. The diplomat is willing to rescue her. And Janet thinks she’s only taking a break from her boring job.

But she’s not the only one in for a surprise. Janet isn’t the easy target they all thought she would be. Her high flying escapes win her media fame, and expose a devious geopolitical conspiracy. Brandt, the haughty magazine cover diplomat soon finds he has been bumped to page two. And likes it. The sweet easy revenge the president thought he would get comes with a price he deserves. Only Anton Zelman, the ruthless investment banker, gets what he asked for, to die in Janet’s arms on world-wide television. What is Janet’s reward? Something she never dared hope for. True love.

Six Days to Midnight combines unusual settings with outrageous characters exchanging snappy dialogue sprinkled with humor at all the wrong places.


The Russian minister's eyes grew hard, and his face stern. With one powerful blow he slammed the desk top with the palm of his hand. The glasses danced. Clear liquid spilled from Janet's glass. The desk groaned and bent under the power of the man, the wooden legs grinding against the cement floor.

He held his two huge hands up before him, turning his wrists and admiring his hands like a sculptor.

"These two hands build Transnov. They not happy is without oil. They not want Anechka open it. They want go there and reopen pipepline themselves."

He gestured, turning a huge imaginary valve wheel to release the black gold once again into his pipeline, a satisfied smile overtook his face as he worked.

Then he leaned his weight back into his chair, its wooden frame strained to the limit, creaking like a ship under heavy sail. He rested his two huge feet on top of his desk.

"I've missed my old villa on Caspian Sea." He closed his eyes in dreamy rapture. "Janet, you have chance to enjoy spa?"

"Yes, I did. It was very lovely."

"Yes," the man intoned, his voice sliding into a comfortable sigh. "I will enjoy having my old villa back."

Janet tried to imagine which would be worse, sharing the spa with Nikolai or Andy. It would be equal she decided. They were both the same. Two people divided by a common personality.

"Nikolai," Brandt pleaded. "Your army must not move on Azerbaijan."

"Why?" the man roared. "Give me one reason why I should not."

Brandt's eyes darted back and forth, knowing the man had every reason to invade, and none for restraint.
"Your men. Do you want to risk Russian lives?"

"If American recession gets any worse, my men will need target practice Azeris will provide."

Brandt licked his parched lips.

"Nikolai, please," Brandt spoke in desperation. "Give me two weeks. I will get the Transnov reopened without the Russian army."

"Two weeks without Russian army. Two days with Russian army."

"Nikolai," Janet interrupted, "what about your legacy? Do you want to be the one who is remembered by history as the man who was duped by Mirza ul-Beg and Zelman to destroy America?"

Nikolai sucked in his cheeks contemplating Janet's words.

"One week. You deal with Zelman and relieve ailing economy, or I deal final blow to she-wolf Anechka. But, I promise nothing," he said, standing to end the meeting. "Now go."

Kat Duncan is an active member of the New England Chapter of RWA, and RWA-PRO. She has written a series of popular newsletter articles on grammar and style. Check out Kat's online workshops here. Kat writes romantic suspense for The Wild Rose Press and is an indie publisher of romantic suspense, historical suspense and non-fiction shorts on writing. Find Kat on the web at


Sarah Grimm said...


I'm off to work early this morning, but can't wait to catch up when I get home.

Great to have you here today!


Kat Duncan said...

Thanks for hosting me, Sarah! I love to tell a great story... :)

AJ Nuest said...

Hey Kat,
I was cracking up during your blog because my 10 yr. old son (5th gr.) and I have been studying this very topic for Social Studies. Huzzah! Great blog for St. Patty's Day. Go Green!

Kat Duncan said...

@AJ Nuest
Excellent, AJ! We Irish love to have more excuses, I mean reasons, to celebrate... :)

P.L. Parker said...

Great post - love the historical facts.

Caroline Clemmons said...

Kat, well I'll be gobsmacked. I'd forgotten the wee bit of history you provided. Sure and we can depend on you to give us something thoughtful and humorous at the same time. Great post, lass. Have a wonderful double holiday.

Kat Duncan said...

@P.L. Parker
Hi P.L.! One of the few times I actually stuck to the facts. :)

Kat Duncan said...

Hi Caroline! I'm so glad you liked my wee bit of humor. For sure and it's a wonderful day to celebrate with friends new and old!

Anonymous said...

Cool post! Love a mini history lesson whenever I can get it!
Liz Arnold
Message to Love
The Wild Rose Press

Kat Duncan said...

Hi Liz! I always loved history. One of my elementary school history teachers used to get us so excited about history. Telling the details of the events as if they'd just happened. Love it!

Sarah Grimm said...

It's so great to come home for work, collapse into a chair and see how many have visited 'The Keyboard' while I was away.

Happy day!


Kat Duncan said...

Welcome home, Sarah! Thanks for hosting me today. It was a great day and lots of fun visiting your blog! :)