Once Upon a Time in Iowa


A love story

Iowa, 1871

It’s the summer of her eighteenth year, and Mary Hecox is dreaming of romance. The prospects are pretty slim around her family’s fruit farm outside the almost town of Calhoun village, and she wonders if she’ll ever know what it’s like to be kissed.

On break from the Union Pacific, her brother comes home for a short visit. Jesse Messer, a Union soldier turned railroad blacksmith, has come along for the promise of home cooked meals and a soft bed. Mary is immediately smitten with the handsome stranger.

Suddenly, she has a prospect for her first kiss. With only a week until the men return to the railroad, can Mary entice a kiss from the handsome stranger before he leaves?


Once Upon a Time in Iowa is growing and blossoming along with Jesse and Mary’s love. You can follow along with its progress on Twitter, through the hashtag #onceuponatimeiniowa, by following her blog, or check out the onceuponatimeiniowa tag on her blog.


Jesse and Mary Messer are Tiffany’s third great grandparents. When Tiffany began researching her family history, she was saddened to find that little remained of the story of where they began.

She felt a particular bond to Jesse and Mary, and began digging deeper into their lives. She has read newspaper articles and found digital copies of documents on line. Still, their story remains a mystery.


As an author, Tiffany decided to give them a story. It will be a work of fiction inspired by true events. From newspapers, census records, diaries, documents and historic books, she is collecting her cast of characters and gathering up her scenery. This story is near and dear to her heart, and she is taking her time to do it right.


[read more on Tiffany’s blog]