Tuesday, April 30, 2019

A City Without A Zip Code!

A City Without A Zip Code!

What was it like to live and perform in a circus in the 1800's? If you enjoy moving from one town to another, day after day and being away from home for long periods of time, circus life may be for you. A circus is like a small town where everyone knows each other, where children grow up under the Big Top and most become circus acts themselves. 

On the East Coast, where a circus is housed in a brick and mortar building, it's easier to adjust to life in the Big Top. During the early 1800's, before railroads were connected, many circus's in the Mid-West traveled by wagons, packing up and moving almost on a daily basis to reach the next town. 

Circus life isn't easy. Weather and the elements like storms, cold weather, extreme heat and even injury can make daily life difficult. Being away from home for long periods of time is something a person who wants to be in the circus has to consider.

Most performers will tell you they do it because they love show business. A performer becomes part of the culture and falls in love with the romance of living the circus life. Learning opportunities are everywhere. Moving from town to town, working with other people from different cultures and having a different part of God's scenery in the backyard each day makes circus life so appealing.

Everyone helps to take care of the show kids, no matter what job you do or what your specialty is. Schooling the children is important and while on the road, sometimes the owner of the circus will hire a teacher for the purpose of educating the children. But, they basically live and learn more just being on the road and experiencing life under the Big Top.

When someone calls out FLAGS UP! it means food is done. Everyone rushes to the cookhouse, which is a tent that houses the food and eating facilities. There's also a tent and later on a car called the Pie Tent/Car where circus workers can go after hours and buy food and snacks. 

In my story in my new release An Agent for Carolina, the agents' assignment is to find an assassin who is hiding in the circus. Carolina uses disguises to try to dig deeper and see who may have cause to commit murder. It's a fun adventure for both Pinkerton detectives and I had so much fun learning about the close knit family called a circus. 

Monday, April 29, 2019

Welcome Laura Beers & Marisa Masterson

Sweet Americana Sweethearts is pleased to be able to introduce you to 
Laura Beers & Marisa Masterson 
who will be blogging for us beginning in May. 

Here is a little about them:

About Laura Beers

Laura Beers spent most of her childhood with a nose stuck in a book, dreaming of becoming an author. She attended Brigham Young University, eventually earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Construction Management.

Many years later, and with loving encouragement from her family, Laura decided to start writing again. Besides being a full-time homemaker to her three kids, she loves waterskiing, hiking, and drinking Dr. Pepper. Currently, Laura Beers resides in South Carolina.

Laura writes Regency romance as well as American historical romance. She will be blogging on the second Friday of the month.

Connect with Laura:

You may learn more about Laura's books on her page: CLICK HERE.

About Marisa Masterson:

Marisa Masterson and her husband of thirty years reside in Saginaw, Michigan. They have two grown children, one son-in-law, and two old and lazy dogs.

She is a retired high school English teacher and oversaw a high school writing center in partnership with the local university. In addition, she is a National Writing Project fellow.

Focusing on her home state of Wisconsin, she writes sweet historical romance. Growing up, she loved hearing stories about her family pioneering in that state. Those stories, in part, are what inspired her to begin writing. 

Marisa will be blogging on the fourth Tuesday of the month.

Connect with Marisa:

You may learn more about Marisa's books on her page: CLICK HERE.  

Friday, April 26, 2019

What Drove the Creation of Time Zones?

While researching a recent novella, I learned about the official adoption of the different time zones in the United States (and by default, Canada and Mexico).

In my story, Taming A Scandal, which is part of the Lockets and Lace series, I needed to move my characters from Rhode Island to central Texas, with a side-trip to Chicago and St. Joseph, Missouri. That train trip covered lots of miles, transported them along the rails owned by a variety of railroad companies offering a variety of services, and moved them from dense to moderate to sparse population. As you can imagine, reading those historical timetables for travel across the distances was confusing when arrival and departure times from the same city didn’t follow a logical progression.

I like to be as accurate as possible with the historical details included in my plots. I didn’t want to state that the heroine stepped onto the Fall River Steamboat in the bright sunshine when in reality, the only time the steamboat sailed from Newport, RI, was at 8:15 at night so the passengers arrived in New York by 7 in the morning. Many cities used their own time standard, and the Library of Congress estimates that at one point following the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869, at least 300 local sun-times existed!

The railroad owners knew a better system needed to be put in place to allow people to use their railways to travel with the least delay. Railroad managers instituted 100 standard zones. But that short-term solution didn’t solve the problem. The railroad operators formally adopted using four standard time zones in the continental United States on November 18, 1883. (The Time Standard Act of 1918 made the zones official for the US)  In 1884, the International Meridian Conference with representatives from two dozen nations was held, and Greenwich was established as the prime meridian and Greenwich Mean Time as the world’s standard. The prime reason was because Britain had more ships and shipping companies using Greenwich than all the other shipping lines combined. A case of majority rules.

Even with only 4 zones in the US, I always have to stop and calculate when I’m supposed to be at an online meeting at a certain time. Anyone miss a flight or train connection because of a miscalculation?

Connect with Linda Carroll-Bradd on her author Facebook page or through her occasional newsletter

Meet the Lockets & Lace Authors - Part 2

We authors who took part in the Lockets & Lace series books published in 2019 wish to thank you for your support of the series. 
We love book reviews! 
We continue today with a little bit about the other five authors... 

Angela Raines:

Angela Raines is the pen name of Doris McCraw.  Doris is an actor, historian, poet, photographer, and (of course) writer. After she retired Doris decided to pursue her other dreams. She performs as Helen (Hunt) Jackson, Katharine Lee Bates, as stand alone historic characters. She researched and wrote on Karol W Smith, Colorado's first film commissioner, and currently is researching the early women doctors of Colorado prior to 1900.

 CLICK HERE for the purchase link to her 2019 book, The Outlaw’s Letter.

To learn more about Angela, click on the above tab with her name and follow her on her Amazon Author Central page. CLICK HERE.

Kimberly Grist:

Kimberly Grist is married to her high school sweetheart, Nelson, who is a pastor in Griffin, Georgia. She and her husband have three adult sons, one with Down syndrome, and they have a passion for encouraging others with family members with special needs.

Fans of historical romance set in the late 19th- century will enjoy stories combining history, humor, and romance with an emphasis on faith, friends and good clean fun. 

CLICK HERE for the purchase link to her 2019 book, A Promised Land.

To learn more about Kimberly, click on the above tab with her name and follow her on her Amazon Author Central page. CLICK HERE.

Sophie Dawson:

Sophie Dawson has made up stories in her head all her life. It wasn’t until 2011 that she began writing typing them out.
Sophie writes Christian fiction (translate that to romance). Her first books were all historical fiction romance. They’ve won multiple awards and garnered rave reviews.

Sophie lives with her husband and cat on a farm in western Illinois. She’s an avid seamstress and was a professional quilter for a number of years before the writing bug bit. She’s just thankful it’s not fatal.
CLICK HERE for the purchase link to her 2019 book, Driving Lillian.

To learn more about Sophie, click on the above tab with her name and follow her on her Amazon Author Central page. CLICK HERE.

P. Creeden:

Pauline Creeden is USA Today Bestselling and award-winning author of inventive and inspirational stories, entwining real-world problems with fantasy characters. She spends most of her day caring for the many animals around the horse farm and mentoring kids in horsemanship. Still, she finds time to play Pokemon and binge on Kdramas.

Pauline is writing American historical romance as P. Creeden. 

CLICK HERE for the purchase link to her 2019 book, Promise of Home.

To learn more about Pauline, click on the above tab with her name and follow her, or CLICK HERE.

Zina Abbott:

Zina Abbott is the pen name I (Robyn Echols) use for my historical novels. I am a member of Women Writing the West, American Night Writers Association, and Modesto Writers Meet Up. I currently live with my husband in California near the “Gateway to Yosemite.” I enjoy any kind of history including family history. When I'm not piecing together novel plots, I piece together quilt blocks. 

CLICK HERE for the purchase link to her 2019 book, Virginia’s Vocation.

To learn more about Zina, click on the above tab with her name or CLICK HERE.