How the Tulsa Series Books Came About

Re-Release of Tulsa Tempest

I announced yesterday that the first title in the Tulsa series, Tulsa Tempest (based on the infamous 1921 Be A NovelistRace Riot) is about to be re-released. That release will take place later this month.  May 31 and June 1, mark the 91st anniversary of the riot.  In this post I’ll share the background as to how the series came into existence.


When I first moved to the  Tulsa area as a young married, I remember hearing bits and pieces about the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921.  Nothing specific. Very few details.  I later learned that the most I heard back then was fabrication.

The story fascinated me even all those years ago.  Not a morbid fascination; more like an incredulous fascination – wondering how such a thing could have happened.

Need Historical Fiction

Fast forward to the point where I am writing novels for Barbour Publishing.  I was writing inspirational romances and each time I finished one, my editor would remind me of how he needed historical fiction.

I let his plea go in one ear and out the other.  Contemporary fiction was much easier – much less research.

When I finished the fourth contemporary title for Barbour, I remember feeling as though I was dusting off my hands.  That was the last. I was through. Now I would  go back to writing juvenile and teen fiction – my first love.

I Saw Tessa

It was a Labor Day weekend; I had sent off the final edited copy of the fourth contemporary title to my editor. It was late when I went to bed.  But I couldn’t sleep. I kept thinking about the Tulsa Race Riot. I saw a young girl dressed in a plain cotton housedress, carrying a basket, walking through a crowd of angry gun-toting men into the courthouse in downtown Tulsa.  That was little Tessa Jurgen, but I didn’t know her yet.

I was hooked.  Lights on. Pen and paper. That night I wrote the thumbnail sketches for all four books in the Tulsa series. My editor loved them and within a week I had a four-book contract in my hand.

My Exhilarating Journey

Thus began a wonderful, exhilarating journey back into the history of Tulsa. I made a transfer from earth to seventh heaven.  I love the stories; love the characters; love writing historical fiction. Surprise.

Be A NovelistI also became addicted to research.  Ever study an oldBe A Novelist Sears catalog?  (In the picture on the right — a new innovation — enclose your car! They called them winter sides.)

How about a studying 1921 Tulsa High School yearbook? I did, and I loved it. I have to say I was on a two-year high!

In my next blog, I’ll share a little more about the history of the riot itself. Stay tuned!


Be A NovelistThe first book in the series to be re-released is Tulsa Tempest. If you want to be notified when the release happens just sign up here!


The four contemporary titles I authored for Barbour are:

  • Fields of Sweet Content
  • The Winning Heart
  • Love’s Silken Melody
  • Cater to a Whim

These books also will soon be re-released and will be available in all the e-readers such as Kindle and Nook. To keep updated click HERE.


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