Blessings, California

During the Gold Rush

Dallis’s Main Characters and Setting

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Below are my main characters in a series of related novels that I’m working on with Lynn Winchester, Kari Trumbo, Heather Blanton, Danica Favorite, and Mimi Milan. All of our characters are part of a fictitious town that began during the California Gold Rush. Although I provided photos of my characters, I also added their eye color since it’s difficult to tell in some of the images.

Cover Copy for Sweeten the Swindler

To swindle a swindler is Jake’s idea of the ultimate revenge. His nemesis conned away his brother’s miner hat blueprints. In turn, Jake plans to woo his enemy’s bookish niece and then convince her to buy enough shares in Jake’s railroad ponzi scheme to bankrupt the miner hat business. Jake’s Trojan horse is a four-pound carnival trick dog.
Maxine Sweeten is a math whizz at keeping her uncle’s accounts on Pasley Miner’s Hats and dabbling in the stock market. She loves all God’s creatures.
When Jake brings Maxine the supposedly lame-legged terrier, she can’t help but soften toward the rugged stranger with his own emotional wounds that shadow his eyes. Once she realizes Jake is out to ruin both her and her uncle, she’s determined to discover why. His reasons open up a whole new bundle of trouble. What’s more, she must find a way to heal not only creatures from the forest, but Jake’s wild heart.

Book Title
Sweeten the Swindler
Fall, 1851

Chocolate-colored eyes.

Maxine Sweeten: Bookkeeper at her uncle’s business: Pasley’s Miner’s Hat Factory & Store. Math Whiz. Excellent with investing in stocks & bonds.

Image from: Bound by Bond

Sweeten the Swindler
Fall 1851

Unnerving silver-blue eyes. Or ice-blue eyes.

Jake Stark: Swindler. Until his brother’s miner’s hat design was swindled away. Now Jake wants to avenge his brother.
Town​ ​Details
Blessings, ​California ​is ​a ​fictional ​town ​created ​by the fictional character known as ​Atherton ​Winslet ​in ​1848 ​as ​the ​first ​stirrings of ​“GOLD!” ​rang ​out ​from ​Sierra ​Nevada. ​It ​is ​two ​hours ​northwest ​of ​Coloma ​(by ​wagon) and ​was ​established ​as ​a ​shanty ​town. ​Over ​the ​years, ​as ​more ​gold ​miners ​arrived, ​it ​grew ​to accommodate ​larger ​buildings, ​businesses, ​and ​public ​roads. ​As ​of ​1850, ​there ​are ​no ​trains or ​stations. ​There ​is ​a ​large ​creek ​running ​to ​the ​west ​of ​town. ​The ​creek ​is ​surrounded ​by groves ​of ​redwoods. ​The ​town ​is ​situated ​in ​a ​man ​made ​clearing. ​To ​build ​homes ​and ​other businesses, ​trees ​must ​be ​cleared, ​but ​tents ​can ​be ​erected ​until ​the  homes ​can ​be ​built.
Foundation ​Characters
(Can ​be ​in ​stories ​but ​only ​as ​secondary/foundation ​characters. ​Cannot ​add ​to ​their characterization.)
Atherton ​Winslet ​– ​Founder ​– ​owns ​5 ​claims. ​Came ​to ​California ​to ​strike ​it ​rich ​and ​did! ​He founded ​Blessings ​in ​the ​hopes ​of ​growing ​a ​legacy ​in ​the ​mountains ​of ​California. ​Long ​white hair, ​long ​white ​beard, ​missing ​teeth. ​Jolly ​yet ​hardworking ​man. ​Wizened and ​wise. ​Lives ​in ​a two-room ​log ​house ​at ​the ​edge ​of ​town. ​Will ​eventually ​grow ​as ​more ​of ​his ​family ​moves ​to town ​from ​back ​east.  Married ​to ​Millie ​Winslet, ​daughter ​of ​a ​Boston ​butcher. ​Long ​blonde ​hair, thin, ​snappish ​yet ​kind ​to ​those ​she ​loves. ​Blue ​eyes,  glasses. ​Best ​cook ​in ​town. ​They ​have ​one estranged ​son, ​William. ​They ​have ​three ​daughters. ​One ​married, ​two ​single.
Pete ​Jones ​– ​Retired ​Army ​Col. ​hired ​by ​Winslet ​to ​protect ​his ​claims. ​Will ​eventually ​become the ​sheriff. ​Tall, ​broad ​shouldered, ​dark ​hair, ​hazel ​eyes, ​sharp ​shooter. ​Lives ​in ​a ​single ​room cabin ​in ​the ​clearing ​beneath ​the ​largest ​claim. ​Will ​eventually ​move ​into ​the ​town ​once ​the ​town begins ​to ​grow. ​(Will ​be ​the ​hero ​of ​The ​Blessed ​Bride.)
Eleanor ​Baines ​– ​Saloon ​Owner. ​Dyed ​red ​hair, ​brown ​eyes, ​short ​and ​plump. ​Witty, sharp-tongued, ​and ​wary ​of ​men. ​Refuses ​to ​bring ​in ​working ​girls ​because ​she ​can’t ​stomach the ​prostitution ​business. ​Came ​to ​California ​with ​her ​husband ​who ​was ​a ​drunken ​abuser. ​He died, ​leaving ​her ​enough ​gold ​to ​build ​a ​small ​building ​and ​start ​the ​saloon, ​which ​is ​a ​single
room ​building ​made ​of ​clapboard. ​Will ​eventually ​grow ​as ​the ​town ​does.
Ellis ​Mosier ​– ​Mercantile ​owner. ​Came ​west ​with ​Atherton. ​Didn’t ​strike ​it ​rich ​but ​took ​a loan ​from ​Atherton ​to ​build ​a ​small ​store. ​Married ​to ​Bethany ​(Beth) ​Mosier. ​Long ​brown ​hair, brown ​eyes, ​hardworking ​and ​kind. ​Four ​children ​(3 ​sons, ​1 ​daughter) ​who ​help ​in ​the ​family business ​by ​travelling ​for ​supplies, ​running ​the ​store, ​and ​making ​goods ​to ​sell.
Reverend ​Crandall ​Billings – ​Circuit ​preacher. ​Comes ​to ​town ​once ​every ​three ​months ​to perform ​weddings, ​funerals, ​and ​a ​month ​of ​Sunday ​services. Stays ​in ​a ​shanty ​just ​outside ​of the ​one ​room ​chapel ​– ​Blessings ​Baptist ​Chapel.