Friday, December 29, 2017

So Much Lace So Little Time

By Sophie Dawson

Lockets and Lace is an upcoming multi-author series centered around the Bavarian Jewelry and Watch Shop established in St. Joseph, Missouri in the 1850’s. Each book will have a locket and some lace figure into the story as well as the characters visiting the shop at some time. Other authors participating in the series will post about aspects of their books, but since the main character in my book, Pearl’s Will, makes lace to sell I thought I’d give a little background on lace. 

Lacemaking dates back to pre-Christian times, but developed greatly during the Renaissance period. Making lace was something women could do in their homes to provide extra income. Machine-made lace was developed in the 19th century and took over most of the lace making industry.

Tape lace collar

There are many different types of lace, the names of which often reflect the town or province they were developed in. Men wore more lace than women during some eras. 

I didn’t realize how many types of lace there are. They fall into some main categories. Needle lace, tape lace, bobbin lace, cutwork, knitted, knotted, as well as the type that my character Pearl makes which is Irish crochet lace. Each lace has its own distinctive look. Lace has been worn as clothing decoration as well as used for home decorating.
Cutwork & Lace tablecloth circa 1900
I remember my grandmother having lace pinned to the arms and back of upholstered chairs in her home. I didn’t know what they were called but thought they were pretty. I messed with them all the time. They are antimacassars and were used to prevent soiling of the upholstery.

Pearl’s Will takes place in St. Joseph, Missouri in 1910, a time when lace was extremely popular not simply as an embellishment but for entire garments. Pearl makes Irish lace and supplements her income selling lace in Will’s shop. It’s one of the things that brings them together. Sorry, no more clues that that. Well, she does make an Irish lace wedding gown in the book.


 Various types of lace were often combined in the same item, either garments or household items. This gown combines Battenberg tape lace with Valenciennes Lace insets.

Lace coats were also popular in the early 20th century. This one combines cutwork embroidery with Irish Crochet lace. 

 Lace was also used as decorative borders on tablecloths and handkerchiefs. 

Somewhere in the depths of my basement is a box with my grandmother's handkerchiefs. Maybe someday I'll find it and post some photos of her lace-edged handkerchiefs. 

Pearl's Will is available for pre-order starting Jan. 4 and will release Feb. 1 on Kindle and in print on Amazon.

Sophie Dawson is an award-winning author. You can find her books on Amazon at

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Annie Oakley

Annie Oakley
She was born Phoebe Ann Mosey on August 13, 1860 and died November 3, 1926. The sixth of nine children, it was her sisters who called her Annie.

Coming from a poor family, Annie took up trapping at age seven, and hunting at age nine. She was so good she sold her game to restaurants and hotels eventually paying off her mother's mortgage when Annie was but fifteen.

Now to the romance part : )
Frank Butler bet a hotelier in Ohio that he could outshoot any fancy shooter. Fifteen year old Annie beat him after the 25th shot and soon after he began courting her. They married a year later.

The Oakley part of her name was a show name she reportedly got from a nearby town in Ohio.

They joined Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West show in 1885. Annie befriended Sitting Bull where he adopted her and called her Watanya Ciclla which means Little Sure Shot. They remained lifelong friends.

Annie toured Europe and delighted kings and queens with her shooting. She even told President Theodore Roosevelt that she could provide 50 lady sharp shooters if the U.S. should go to war with Spain. He declined but did name his volunteers the Rough Riders after the Congress Rough Riders of the World  in the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show.

Her life wasn't without hardship. She was partially paralyzed after a train accident but recovered and broke records even in her sixties. 

She and her husband had no children and took care of her family and gave generously to charities. 

Annie died in November 1926. Her husband so grieved that he stopped eating and died eighteen days later. 

Hope you enjoyed this little mini biography of Annie Oakley, one of the Wild West's most interesting women.

Have a very Happy New Year ~ may it be your best yet.
Patricia PacJac Carroll

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Loved Ones Come and Gone

When my family lived in Las Vegas, we had the opportunity to attend a number of Civil War re-enactments in California. My son, who was a precocious little boy with a head full of curls would often leave us to go with his 'father' the President, whenever Abraham Lincoln was in attendance at the event.

Try explaining his assassination to a heartbroken little boy (yikes).

When it was time for him to study the Civil War in school, he often schooled the teachers with his knowledge of not only the history but the way of life for people in the era. And later as a Boy Scout, he found so many connections to this history in ways we exhibit patriotism.

At a military ceremony he saw a single table set aside on the corner of the dance floor. The table had everything that the other tables had on it, and asked if it was like the song "the Vacant Chair" - the chaplain at the event had never heard of the song, so the two sat down and traded their stories...

The song was originally a poem written by H. S. Washburn about a young soldier who died serving the infantry of MA. Later, when the poem caught the attention of famous songwriter, George Root who set the poem to music.

Such a poignant way to remember a life cut short in battle...

as writers and readers, we search for this kind of meaning in words. Prose and Poetry that touches us... reaches out to us... draws us in... lives in our memories through cadence and melody.

How does this poem/song speak to you?

The lyrics -

Oh, we shall meet, but we shall miss him
there will be one vacant chair.
We shall linger to caress him
While we breath our evening prayer

When a year ago we gathered,
joy was in his mind blue eye,
But a golden cord is severed
and our hopes in ruin lies

Oh, we shall meet, but we shall miss him
there will be one vacant chair.
We shall linger to caress him
While we breath our evening prayer

At our fireside, sad and lonely,
often will the bosom swell,
at remembrance of the story,
How our noble Willie fell.

How he strove to bear our banner,
Thro' the thickest of the fight,
and uphold our country's honor
in the strength of manhood's might

Oh, we shall meet, but we shall miss him
there will be one vacant chair.
We shall linger to caress him
While we breath our evening prayer

True they tell us wreaths of glory,
Evermore will deck his brow,
But this soothes the anguish only
Sweeping o'er our heartstrings now.

Sleep today o' early fallen,
In they green and narrow bed.
Dirges from the pine and cypress
mingle with the tears we shed

Oh, we shall meet, but we shall miss him
there will be one vacant chair.
We shall linger to caress him
While we breath our evening prayer

(The above video is of the 2nd South Carolina String Band - 
I have had the joy of hearing thing band play at a Civil War Re-enactment 
years ago and I have (I believe) all of their CDs)

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or her website Reina Torres - Romance

Tuesday, December 26, 2017


Announcing a new series by some authors of
Sweet Americana Sweethearts

Nine authors of the Sweet Americana Sweethearts blog are offering a new series titled
Lockets & Lace.

To kick it off, we are making available a prequel titled
The Bavarian Jeweler
to introduce the common connection in the series, and how it came about.
Once published (sometime this week),
we will make a free copy available on this blog
(while they last).

Here is the book description for The Bavarian Jeweler:

          Sent to America in 1849 to avoid inscription into the Bavarian army preparing for war against Prussia, Wilhelm Mueller, a master jeweler and watchmaker, goes with his father’s promise that he will always have a little touch of Bavaria with him. His British cabin mate on the ship who knows German helps him learn English. He meets some of his fellow passengers, including a group of Irish refugees escaping the potato famine. The lace made by a certain young woman captures Wilhelm’s attention as much as her pretty face and curly hair.
          Upon landing in New Orleans, he finds everything is new in his adopted country, including his name. After sailing by steamboat up the Mississippi River, he stops at what was in 1850 the crossroads of America. It is there he holds to a touch of his homeland by opening his Bavarian Jewelry and Watch Repair shop. Over the decades, as he becomes known for a particular kind of jewelry, he realizes he has gained more by coming to America than what he left behind.


What characters wander into his store to sell an heirloom locket or buy the perfect keepsake for a loved one? 
Where are they from?
In the months to come, nine authors will share their stories with you.
First, we wish to showcase the exciting covers for these nine novels.
Please join us on Thursday, January 4th for our 
Cover Reveal Extravaganza
on Facebook.
Sign up to attend by CLICKING HERE.

I am publishing two books—a prequel and a full novel—in the Lockets & Lace series.
To stay informed about our upcoming events, publication of the prequel, publication dates of the novels, and opportunities to win gifts and prizes, 
please CLICK HERE 
and "Like" and "Follow" the Lockets & Lace Facebook page.

And, now...
Here is the cover for the Lockets & Lace Prequel,
The Bavarian Jeweler: