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Blog Tour and Book Excerpt for "The Founding" by Michael Ross

Updated: Dec 8, 2022

Book Title: The Founding

Series: Across the Great Divide: Book 3

Author: Michael L. Ross

Publication Date: 12/6/2022

Publisher: HistoricalNovelsRUS

Page Length: 480 pages

Genre: Historical Fiction / Biographical Fiction

Book Title and Author Name:

Across the Great Divide: Book 3 The Founding

Michael L. Ross


Two men, two dreams, two new towns on the plains, and a railroad that will determine whether the towns—one black, one white—live or die.

Will Crump has survived the Civil War, Red Cloud’s War, and the loss of his love, but the search for peace and belonging still eludes him. From Colorado, famed Texas Ranger Charlie Goodnight lures Will to Texas, where he finds new love, but can a Civil War sharpshooter and a Quaker find a compromise to let their love survive? When Will has a chance to join in the founding of a new town, he risks everything—his savings, his family, and his life—but it will all be for nothing if the new railroad passes them by.

Luther has escaped slavery in Kentucky through Albinia, Will’s sister, only to find prejudice rearing its ugly head in Indiana. When the Black Codes are passed, he’s forced to leave and begin a new odyssey. Where can he and his family go to be truly free? Can they start a town owned by blacks, run by blacks, with no one to answer to? But their success will be dependent on the almighty railroad and overcoming bigotry to prove their town deserves the chance to thrive.

Will’s eldest sister, Julia, and her husband, Hiram, are watching the demise of their steamboat business and jump into railroads, but there’s a long black shadow in the form of Jay Gould, the robber baron who ruthlessly swallows any business he considers competition. Can Julia fight the rules against women in business, dodge Gould, and hold her marriage together?

The Founding tells the little-known story of the Exodusters and Nicodemus, the black town on the plains of Kansas, and the parallel story of Will’s founding of Lubbock, Texas, against the background of railroad expansion in America. A family reunited, new love discovered, the quest for freedom, the rise of two towns. In the end, can they reach Across the Great Divide? The Founding is the exciting conclusion to the series.

Praise for The Founding:

“Michael is an excellent storyteller and has done a wonderful job depicting Luther, and the other black characters in this book. He has done his homework and depicts many historical facts about Nicodemus in a most enlightening and creative way. It has been a pleasure working with someone who has made a concerted effort to get things right.

~ Angela Bates

Nicodemus Descendant/Historian

Executive Director

The Nicodemus Historical Society and Museum

Book Trailer:

Buy Links:

Author Bio:

Michael Ross is a lover of history and great stories.

He’s a retired software engineer turned author, with three children, and five grandchildren, living in Newton, Kansas with his wife of 39 years. Michael graduated from Rice University and Portland State University with degrees in German and software engineering. He was part of an MBA program at Boston University.

Michael was born in Lubbock, Texas, and still loves Texas. He’s written short stories and technical articles in the past, as well as articles for the Texas Historical Society.

Across the Great Divide now has three novels in the series, "The Clouds of War", and "The Search", and the conclusion, "The Founding". "The Clouds of War" was an honorable mention for Coffee Pot Book of the Year in 2019, and an Amazon #1 best seller in three categories, along with making the Amazon top 100 paid, reviewed in Publisher's Weekly. "The Search" won Coffee Pot Cover of the Year in 2020, and Coffee Pot Silver Medal for Book of the Year in 2020, as well as short listed for the Chanticleer International Book Laramie Award.

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Book Excerpt:

A few days later, they arrived back in Madison. Luther got up early, eager to beat the heat of the day and finish an order. He was pounding at the forge, thinking about what Ned had said. Luther and Ruth had moved into town after their marriage, from Albinia’s farm in the country. Luther’s mother, Jemima, and sister, Olivia, stayed on the farm in the cabin Albinia had built for Will but came into town every day to help Albinia with the colored school she had started. It was a good life, he reflected, but still not one of complete independence and freedom.

Luther hefted a sack of coal and was adding some to keep the fire going when a portly white man in a bedraggled suit entered the shop. Luther wiped his hands and the sweat from his brow with a towel and came to see what the stranger wanted. He assumed he was a prospective customer, so he was careful not to look him in the eye or offer a handshake.

“Yes, sir? What can I help you with today?”

The man smiled, but his eyes did not. Handing Luther a paper, he said, “What you can do is get out of Indiana. We don’t want your kind here. I’m the sheriff and part of the Superintendent Board for the Colored just formed here in Madison. Maybe you can’t read that, but it says that you came into this state illegally, in violation of the Indiana constitution. You’re an escaped slave from Kentucky. War or no war, slavery is still legal in Kentucky, and unless you have freedom papers or permission from the state of Indiana to be here, you need to git! Someone recognized your wagon—you were at the riots in Evansville. The sheriff there sent me a wire. You’re a troublemaker. You fired a gun at white men. You slaves are just a bunch of escaped monkeys, trying to overrun us. You have twenty-four hours to get out of the state, or I’ll be back with chains and ship you to your owner in Kentucky.”

“You can’t do that!”

“Oh no? Just watch me!” Quick as a snake, he grabbed a pitchfork and jabbed the handle end into Luther’s midsection. Luther gasped for air. “Twenty-four hours,” the man said, turning and laughing on the way out.

Ned came in, passing the man, and rushed over when he saw Luther holding his stomach.

“What’s wrong? What was that all about?”

Luther handed Ned the paper, which he read line by line. “We can fight this—things are changing.”

“Not that much, and you know it. Indiana doesn’t recognize that I’m married. It says I don’t have a right to be here. Looks like I don’t have much choice. Ruth, she could stay, but not me.”

Ned shook his head. “We need to pray. We need to show this to Pastor Peter and Albinia.”

Luther sighed. “Fine, you do that. Meanwhile, I got to pack.”

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1 Comment

Cathie Dunn
Cathie Dunn
Nov 28, 2022

Thank you so much for hosting Michael L. Ross today. Much appreciated. x

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