Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Of Jell-O, Straws, and Cracker Jack

By Sophie Dawson

I’ve been researching the early 1900’s for a book I’m writing. It is set in 1910, an era I’ve never written about before and not done much reading or study of. It’s been fun. Stuck between the Victorian era and, basically, World War I, the Edwardian era, also called the Belle Epoch it was a time of changing from the Industrial Revolution into the modern times that spanned the 20th Century.

Technological development research is always needed for historical writing. You can’t include barbed wire in the 1850’s or removable rifle magazines in the 1880’s. Neither were invented until a later time. Thus my research into what was available and in use by the general public in 1910. Here are some of the fun things I have found out that you’ll find in the book I’m working on. Sorry. I can’t tell the title because it’s part of a Multi-author series I’m involved in, and it’s still secret. BEG (Big Evil Grin)

I have to say, I had no clue Jell-O was invented in 1897. The flavors were strawberry, raspberry, orange and lemon. It wasn’t the first gelatin. The French used gelatin as a source of protein for their troops in the Napoleonic wars in the early 1800’s. In 1902, a major advertising campaign was undertaken and soon Jell-O was a household word.

We know that carbonated soft drinks were invented in the 1880’s. At least I knew that. Ice cream was a sweet treat enjoyed often. BUT, did you know that paper plates were invented in 1904 with cups coming shortly after? I didn’t. Dixie cups were the first in 1906.

Paper straws came about when Marvin C. Stone was drinking a mint julep through a rye grass straw. He didn’t like the grassy taste it gave his bourbon. Taking a pencil, he wound a thin paper strip around it and glued it together. That was in 1888. It wasn’t long before the resourceful man invented a machine to coat the straw in wax so the bourbon wouldn’t dissolve the glue. The bendy straw was invented in 1937 by a devoted father so his young daughter could sip her milkshake from a tall glass. He stuck a screw in the straw, wound dental floss around the grooves, removed both, and the bendy straw was born.

Baseball wouldn’t be the same without the seventh inning stretch singing of Take Me Out To The Ballgame with the iconic line 'Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack,' at least in Wriggly Field in Chicago. The sweetened popcorn has been around since 1896. It must have become very popular very fast because the song came out in 1908. The “toy surprise” in every box wasn’t added until 1912. They went through various adaptations until they were replaced by codes to be used to play games on Android devices in 2013.

I’ve included each of these within my book. I think it’s fun to include today’s common items that date back over one hundred years. My favorite was finding out that the first individually wrapped candy was created in 1907 and marketed in 1908. They took the country by storm. My characters find it at the amusement park they went to on the Fourth of July. Tootsie Roll.

A newspaper advertisement from 1918 during World War I

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

New Release HOPE ETERNAL By Sandra E Sinclair

Today is release day for 
by Sandra E Sinclair
Book 16 and her fifth book in the series

About Hope Eternal:

If you've read Gambled Pride and Captured Heart you may be please to know that the story continues from there...Meet Constance Michaels, Rachel's mother, and what it means for Rachel and Beg, having her mother turn up out of the blue...

Book Description
She wants forgiveness, he wants to protect his wife.

After years of hiding who and what she is, Constance Michaels must now face the bitter truth of her wrenched past, and the knowledge one of her children wants nothing to do with her. She understands her daughter’s feelings. Thirteen years was a long time to be absent to just expect to walk back into a person’s life and pick up where she left off. There were mountains to climb, and bridges to mend before she could possibly hope for forgiveness for the part she played.

Beg Wilson has worked hard to put together the broken pieces of his wife’s heart. The last thing he needs is Constance thinking she could come back into her daughter’s life and undo everything he’d worked so hard to achieve. He’s conflicted as to what would be best for all of them. He knew what it was like not to have a mother. How could he possibly deny his wife the chance to have hers, regardless of the outcome?

Is it possible for Beg to use the spirit of Christmas, to mend old wounds, build bridges, close the gap of time, and bring a mother and daughter together?

Find out today in Hope Eternal book 16 of the Sweethearts of Jubilee Springs Series. on Amazon. PLEASE CLICK HERE

Hope Eternal will be offered at the New Release sale price of $.99 for one day before it will be available at its usual price.

Now for an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Constance Michaels scrunched the letter she held in her hand, tears streaming down her cheeks, landing on the bobbin lace embroidery she'd been creating. She hadn't heard from Marybeth in a while and wondered why she hadn't responded to her letters.
To get this heartbreaking news from Rachel, her youngest, tore her apart. She couldn’t breathe, her chest felt tight, as though a large rock was forced into the narrow space there. Sure her heart would fail, and without warning, darkness descended as she slumped to the ground.
"Ma, are you all right? What happened?" Darrell asked, his face creased with concern.
She blinked up at him as the fog cleared from her eyes and mind. “I’m fine, I just came over all lightheaded.” Constance let her son help her to her feet. The letter from Rachel was squashed in his fist.
There was no way he hadn't read it. It was time to tell her boys about their sisters. She'd put it off for too long. Now Jeremiah her husband was gone, the risk to him and his boys was over. She could tell them about her previous life. The life she’d led before meeting their father—a generous and good man to the last.
She wasn’t proud of what she’d done and didn't know if the children would forgive her deceit. She'd abandoned her other children in order to marry a man she didn’t know when she hadn’t been free to, and raised another woman's offspring.
She hadn't seen her girls in the flesh for over thirteen years. Even so, she had never stopped thinking about them or how they were doing. She'd received many updates as to their progress through life, by her dear friend Pearl Cartwright. Until her friend's eyesight began to fail, the news of her girls had been regular.
Pearl's last few letters had disturbed her. It informed her that her baby girl, Marybeth was a dancing girl at the saloon. She'd taken the risk of asking Pearl to leave the mail order bride advertisement on the seat next to Marybeth in church, asking her to befriend her eldest daughter and to give Marybeth a letter she'd written to her.
That had been three years ago. Her letter to Marybeth had stated Constance's address in Monarch Bend. As well as the scarcity of the women in the neighboring town of Jubilee Springs, and for Marybeth to run away from her father, and bring Rachel with her.
She was to contact Mrs. Millard and make the application to be a mail order bride. Constance would send money through the post every month, so Marybeth could buy the provisions she needed for her and Rachel to make their escape.
Constance had always known it would be a lengthy process in aiding her children find a better and happier life. She never thought Marybeth would die before she could have accomplished all they had set out to achieve.
Her only consolation was that Rachel had escaped. She was safe and married. But from the tone of Rachel's letter, her daughter hated her. She felt it in every line she read. She didn't blame her. She had told Marybeth to keep their correspondence secret from everyone for fear of their father finding out. If that had happened, all their lives would have been much worse.
She could accept Rachel's feelings for now. The loss of her sister must have been brutal, and Constance hadn't been there for any of it. She hated herself, but she would have to live with the decisions she'd made all those years ago. What was done could not be undone. She could only hope to find a way to reach Rachel and beg her forgiveness.
At the same time, she had to consider her boys. She'd been their mother for thirteen years. She owed them an explanation too. Constance thanked God her beloved Jeremiah wasn't alive to see her shame. He'd given her eleven wonderful years, free of beatings, cursing, and deprecation. She couldn't have loved him more.
He'd encouraged her independence and turned her side venture into a small business where she'd earned enough money to help on the farm, giving her the ability to send money to Marybeth.
Her only regret was she never told him about her girls. Her decision to keep her husband in the dark had been a selfless one. As much as she’d pined for her girls, she had also seen the dangers.
Jeremiah would have insisted they got the girls and brought them to live with them, but their father would have sooner gunned him down in the street as look at him. The only way to keep everyone safe had been to keep them a secret and apart.
Not to mention her lack of divorce from her previous husband before marrying another. To have made things legal would have meant declaring her whereabouts. So many lies had passed her lips, she prayed every day for redemption. But she couldn’t take the beatings any longer.
She’d rather her girls be scarred from her leaving, than to have them witness her death. And in turn, bring about their own, by a ruthless hateful man, who married her for her inheritance and the money she’d made from making lace for dressmakers and linen stores.
Her skill with bobbins and pins lace making was one handed down to all the women in her family. She’d started teaching Marybeth the more difficult patterns when she had to leave. Unless Marybeth had taught Rachel the basics, the craft would die out from her line of the family with her.
If Marybeth had taught her, then she had some intricate patterns she would leave with her. If Rachel knew the stitches, the rest of it would be easy enough for her to figure out by reading the patterns.
All she wanted was one more Christmas spent with her girl, so she could hand over to her a piece of her family’s history, to pass on to her own children someday. Also she needed to know and be sure the man her daughter married would be good to her, and to impart some of her wisdom on to her if he wasn’t.
The cold of the glass being forced into her hand by Darrell brought Constance out of her musing. Her son’s face held lines of worry around his mouth and eyes. She gave him a wry smile of reassurance. She was fine. But was she? For the second time in her life, her world had been turned on its head.
“Here, drink this, and then we’re going to talk about this.” Darrell pulled her letter from Rachel out of his pocket. “I had sisters? Why would you keep something like that from us, from Pa?” His concern now merged with wrinkles of disgust, which shattered her composure. With the inability to stop them, she let her tears flow freely.
Jeremiah’s boys had always welcomed her as a mother. They had only ever shown her love and adoration. The expression on Darrell’s face was far from loving, and he was the closest to her. If he could regard her with such disdain, how would Joshua see her?


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Saturday, November 25, 2017

Daylight Savings Time--How Long Have People Been Affected?

I don’t know about you but I feel like I’ve been running since the first weekend of this month--and am always behind schedule, e.g. this post is a day late. I know the rationale behind the change is to make better use of the available sunlight as a way of cutting energy costs. But adopting this practice is not as widespread as one might think. Only 40% of countries in the world (~70) use a system of making a seasonal change in their clocks, affecting about one billion people.
Image result for daylight savings

Although the original idea first proposed in a paper presented to the Wellington Philosophical Society by New Zealand scientist George Vernon Hudson in 1895 (he suggested a two-hour change) raised interest, nothing came of the proposal. Independent of Hudson’s proposal, in 1905, British builder William Willett proposed a 20-minute change on each of the four Sundays in April and October. A bill was presented to Parliament and reviewed by a select committee but enough people were opposed, especially farmers, that passage never happened. [I’d always thought farmers were the main impetus behind the time change in the US]

Germany and Austria are known to be the first countries to formally adopt Daylight Savings Time during World War I on April 30, 1916, as a way to reduce the fuel required for artificial lighting so it could be used for the war effort. Other countries quickly followed. After the war ended, many countries dropped the system but re-started it in World War II and kept it in place. However, the city of Port Arthur (now Thunder Bay), Ontario, Canada initiated a one-hour time change in July of 1908, making that city the official first.

After a hundred years of changing our clocks, experts still debate the overall benefits and detriments to a system that in fact saves a negligible amount on electricity but disrupts our sleep patterns, causes some to miss appointments or be late for work. Possibly this tradition has outlived its usefulness, but who is to say?

Linda’s latest release is Perfectly Unacceptable, Book 13 of the Sweethearts of Jubilee Springs series.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Receipts from the 1800s - December 1876


**please forgive the lack of images on this post... having an issue with my laptop**
Peterson's Ladies Magazine 1876 - Receipts for MEATS - December*

Boiled Turkey - Wash the turkey in tepid water, and rub it all over with lemon-juice. Then put it into a sauce-pan full of boiling water, with a large piece of butter, a couple of onions, a head of celery, some sliced carrots, a bundle of parsley and sweet herbs, whole pepper, mace cloves, and salt to taste. Let it boil slowly, and remove carefully any scum that may arise. Serve with oyster sauce, or a puree of celery made as follows: Boil two or three heads of celery in salted water, with a bundle of sweet herbs, and some whole pepper and salt to taste. When thoroughly done, pass them through a hair-sieve; melt a piece of butter in a sauce-pan. Mix a tablespoon of flour with it, then add the celery pulp; stir, and dilute to the proper consistency with milk or cream.

Pigeon Pie. - Take six young pigeons. After they are drawn, trussed, and singed, stuff them with the chopped livers, mixed with parsley, salt pepper, and a small piece of butter. Cover the bottom of the dish with rather small pieces of beef. On the beef put a thin layer of chopped parsley and mushroom. Season with pepper and salt. Over this place the pigeons. Between each put the yolk of a hard-boiled egg. Add some brown sauce or gravy. Cover with puff paste, and bake the pie for an hour and a half.

*Remember, these are receipts/recipes from 1876 - I have NOT tested these, just providing them as a peek back into the past

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Blog Tour Tuesday: SOMEWHERE STILL by Denitta Ward

This weeks Blog Tour Tuesday features 
Somewhere Still
by Denitta Ward

Book Description:

For Readers of Before We Were Yours and the Orphan Train and lovers of The Great Gatsby

Roaring Twenties. Kansas City. One woman's transformative journey of love, betrayal, and redemption.  

From the day Jean Ball lands a job at the elegant Empire hotel, she quickly learns the secrets of the entitled class. Dazzled by a Roaring Twenties society on the cusp of radical change, this naive and innocent young woman finds herself dancing, bobbing her hair, and falling for Elden Whitcomb, the handsome son of the wealthy hotel owner. The stakes rise when the Whitcombs’ powerful secrets are revealed and loving Elden comes at a price – one that may be too high for Jean to pay.

Shattered and alone, Jean's in the battle of her life in a city alive with romance, smoky speakeasies, jazz music and scandal, but divided by race and class. With the help and encouragement of influential women, Jean may find what she has always needed, though her choices could echo through generations. But will the man she trusted and so fiercely loves redeem himself?

About Somewhere Still:

Somewhere Still, a historical fiction book explores the Roaring Twenties through the eyes of a young woman coming of age in Kansas City and offers a unique window into the history and culture of the city at a turning point in its development. Denitta Ward, author of the Somewhere series, blends history and fiction to tell the story of one young woman's transformative journey of love, betrayal, and redemption.
Savoy Hotel & Grill
Denitta Ward uses historical sites and real events to explore Jean's transformation from an innocent young girl to a self-assured woman, making her way in a society in transition. Somewhere Still aims to give insight into 1920s Kansas City, a city on the cusp of significant change. During this time, the city's society women united to urge social advances, the jazz culture was born, baseball's famous Negro League was formed, and the city had a burgeoning Prohibition bootleg trade. Featured locations include Kansas City's Petticoat Lane, Swope Park, the Emery Bird Thayer Dry Goods Company, the Savoy Grill, and the prestigious Wentworth Military Academy.

Clean, wholesome romance set in the Roaring Twenties. Free for KindleUnlimited or Kindle version .99 cents

Purchase Links:

Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble (Paperback only)

About Denitta Ward:

Denitta Ward, a Kansas native and author of the Somewhere series, writes historical fiction from the foothills of the Rocky Mountains featuring young women discovering their own resilience in times of transition. She holds a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law and obtained her undergraduate degree in Women's Studies and Political Science from the University of Kansas. She is a member of the Women's Fiction Writers Association, the Historical Novel Society, and Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers.

Connect with Denitta Ward: