On the First and Second Day of Christmas

The Twelve Brides of Christmas begins with Jan Romes’ delightful story “Big on Christmas”.  What a charming way to begin the Christmas season. Here’s the blurb:

Born to convention-shucking parents, Cassie Newman thirsts for normal. Leaving L.A. with a secret, she finds herself in Woodstock, VT–a town rich with  Christmas tradition. She’s not big on Christmas but Woodstock feels like a perfect fit.  Landing a job with Stennet’s Hardware, she tried to forget the world she knew, but Luke Stennet’s small-town charm makes her even more aware of the life she’s never had.

Luke has his hands full with running the store and caring for his dad. He’s attracted to Cassie but he doesn’t have time for a relationship. Things are starting to go right be he harbors a secret of his own that has the potential to turn everything upside down.  Once their secrets are revealed will it kill the chemistry and send Cassie back to L.A.? Or will she fight for her and stay firmly planted in a place big on Christmas?

Jan Romes is a hopeless romantic who grew up in northwest Ohio with eight zany siblings. Married to her high school sweetheart for more years than seems possible, she’s also a proud mom, mother-in-law and grandmother. She like to read all genres, writes witty contemporary romance, and enjoys gardening and finding new ways to stay fit.

You can find Jan’s charming story, and the other “Twelve Brides of Christmas”  at Amazon, The Wild Rose Press, and Barnes & Noble.

You can visit Jan at www.authorjanromes.com

The second day of Christmas is represented in the Twelve Brides Series by Barbara Edwards “Late for the Wedding”. Talk about complications–this couple has them. Here’s the blurb:

Heather Green will do anything to make her twin’s wedding perfect. Despite an impending nor’easter, she sets out with the wedding dress, cake, favors and cake topper in her car. As the snow piles up, her car is wrecked and she barely misses injury in a major accident. Nicholas Burnes would rather be ensconced with his latest cuddle than drive a tow truck, but his brother needs his help. He reluctantly agrees to help Heather find a way to the wedding locale, but when the storm closes the roads, he ends up offering her shelter in his penthouse. Warm and rested at last, Nick and Heather explore their powerful attraction to each other, only to part when he delivers her, on time, to her sister’s wedding. But weddings breed weddings…

Barbara says of herself–

I’m a native New Englander. I’m a graduate of the University of Hartford with a Master’s degree in Public Administration. I write poetry for myself and novels when I need to tell a longer tale. I’m fascinated by the past so naturally I turned to writing historical romance. The dark paranormal stories evolve from nightmares. The romance comes from my belief in people’s basic goodness and longing for love.

I lived in Florida for several year and am past president of the Central Florida Romance Writers and a member of Romance Writers of America.

When I returned to Connecticut, I founded the Charter Oak Romance Writers, a chapter of the Romance Writers of America, along with several close friends.

My husband is a retired Police Sergeant.  We share an interest in Civil War re-enacting and travel the Eastern states to participate in events. I love visiting museums, galleries, and battle sites, gathering information for my stories.

I taught Romance Writing at Manchester Community College for three years.

I’m fond of gardening and growing antique roses with limited success.

Most of my exercise is when my Belgian Shepherd, Dixie, demands a walk.

Please follow, friend, or like me. I love to hear from my readers.

You can contact Barbara at her website barbaraedwards. net.

“Late for the Wedding” is available from Amazon and The Wild Rose Press.

Elf Invasion!

Guess who I found sitting on my deck the other frosty morning! Elves! And more Elves! Seven elves to be exact. Wow. What was the deal? Seven?

I figured they’d stopped by to check on the kids since Christmas is just a few weeks away. You know, to make sure the kids are being good these last critical days before Santa arrives. But noooo! They said they weren’t here for the kids–that they were no Elf on the Shelf. Nope. They said they were here because they wanted to see what my latest book in my Studs 4 Hire series, ELF TROUBLE, was all about.

What? Santa’s elves read romance? How cool is that?!

After a quick introduction, (left to right)  Conrad, Percy, Hermey, Nadene, Eugene and Dora, they scurried into the house and decided to scope out a few things to see if we’re ready for Christmas. Honestly, I think they got a little be ornery as the photo on the right attests. Especially, Percy. Can you see him diving into my daughter’s stocking clear on the right? I think Percy needs an elf watching him to keep him honest and out of trouble! ;-)

But, they did settle down, well . . .at least Nadene and Eugene did. They sat quietly while the rest of the gang climbed the Christmas tree like Simon’s Cat in Santa Claws! I watched in horror, worried they’d knock our keepsake ornaments off the tree, but fortunately, not one ornament or icicle was disturbed. Must be some kind of elf magic.

Then the Grinch grumbled from his rocking chair in the corner and they all settled down in a hurry and gathered round to see what their old friend had to say. Here he and Hermey wave and smile for the camera, then the Grinch grabs a copy of ELF TROUBLE and ends up being one of the best promoters I could ask for!

Be sure and watch for more adventures with the Seven Elves. I’ll be sharing on Facebook and Twitter up until Christmas!

I hope you are having a great holiday season and are finding some time to enjoy a good holiday romance or two!

Sherry James
www.sherryjames.com

The Power of Soup

Does anyone else hear a report of incoming cold and wet weather and instinctively think I’ve got to get a pot of soup started? Well, that was me this morning. I knew we had rain expected but my husband has a super-specific weather app that said we’re getting snow by tomorrow. Since we’ve only had a scant half inch of snow and maybe 3-4 inches of rain so far this year, our area is due for some moisture. Many of you may have snow falling already and others may look through a nearby window and see blinding sunlight.

As I was chopping potatoes, celery, carrots, asparagus and leeks to pile into the crock pot, I couldn’t help thinking of pioneers and frontier families and how the women might have prepared for bad weather. Of course, they wouldn’t have a 72-hour warning that a storm was going to hit on Friday but be gone by Saturday. I have no clue if wild animals give any indication of the coming storm, like they do in front of a prairie or forest fire. I’d assume in winter most would be burrowed in their dens. So pioneers had to use other signs like horses and cattle huddling together, ice on the water bucket, rigid ropes. And everyone knows when gloves are needed and the regular winter coat isn’t keeping out the chilled air well enough.

In research for my historical stories, I’ve read journal accounts where a pot of something was kept over the fire all the time. When times were good, the smell of roasting meat would fill the air. When times were lean, maybe the scent was of earthy simmering root vegetables. Anyone remember the children’s book Stone Soup? Great lesson on everyone pitching in for the good of the group. Soup is forgiving—the recipe can be only a couple ingredients like stock and pureed squash, or you can toss in leftovers from the previous week’s meals. The ingredients really don’t matter much—what matters is the instinct to prepare something warm to combat the cold outside. For anyone who’s interested, here’s a recipe for the soup I created right before I sat down to write this post.

Potato Soup

8 cups stock (I use the stock gel cups from Knorr, but you could use 2 bouillon cubes)

3 large potatoes, peeled and diced

3 stalks celery, diced (I also chop the leaves)

3 leeks, cut once lengthwise (white part only) then sliced (1 large onion diced could be substituted)

3 carrots, peeled and diced

12 asparagus stub ends, diced (bottom 3-4 inches, peeled)

1 tsp each marjoram, dill seed, caraway seed + ½ tsp paprika

Cook on high heat for 5-6 hours until vegetables are tender. Right before serving, add 2 tsp of dried (or 1 T fresh) parsley. Scoop out 1 cup of broth and mix with ¾1-1/4 cup dried milk powder (I use blender) and then add back to pot and stir. Makes at least 10 servings. I like to serve with fresh oatmeal or wheat muffins and a plate of cut-up fruit.

My family has often commented on how good soup smells as it’s cooking (I swear men love the scent of onions), and I notice how we linger around the table when soup is served. No matter what holiday you celebrate this month, consider including a big pot of soup on your menu.

Linda’s latest release is a western historical short story title Clari’s Hero in the Present For A Cowboy anthology from Prairie Rose Publications.

It’s Time for the Twelve Brides of Christmas

It’s hard to believe. Here it is Christmas again. My favorite gift is always books–whether reading or writing them. This year I was especially excited when my publisher, The Wild Rose Press, asked me to join eleven other authors in contributing to the Christmas anthology they called “The Twelve Brides of Christmas”. Each of us was asked to take one verse of the old carol and create a story that would represent that verse. I was given the third verse, the one about the three French hens. As the representative vintage author, I’d be placing my story against some event of the twentieth century. The ideas fell together and I found myself telling the story of Kay and Jeremy, two young people who had their future plans shattered by the bombs that fell on Pearl Harbor and began World War II. The “French Hens”, Kay’s grandmother and aunts, stirred the mix and added their own bit of drama. It’s a sweet, heartwarming Christmas story of love and sacrifice and a wedding that just couldn’t happen–well, not without a helping hand from the French hens and an unexpected assist from an angle in uniform. I’m giving away an electronic copy to the reader who leaves me the best comment about a Christmas romance.

Eleven other authors contributed to the Twelve Brides of Christmas. One of them is Kallie Lane whose story  “The Mystery of the Claddagh Rings” — the golden rings verse of the carol–has suspense, romance, and a fabulous setting. I can’t wait to find out how it all comes out.   Here’s the Blurb:         

Worried about her family, Fiona returns home to find her mother in danger when the Claddagh rings resurface along with the hit men searching for them. Approached by an FBI agent who offers to protect her in exchange for the rings, she must decide–trust a mysterious stranger who is not all he seems. Or go it alone and maybe lose everything–even her life.

Under pressure to retrieve the rings, Agent O’Shea is willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done, even if it means putting Fiona in the crossfire. He never imagines her strength and spirit will touch his heart, leaving him with a choice–give in to his desire for her or ignore the danger she is in to clear his father’s name.

As they join forces to beat the odds, will he be able to keep her safe–or will he surrender to the legacy of the Claddagh rings and let her g0?

For more discussion of ”The Twelve Brides of Christmas” from the authors, and for lots of prizes including a Kindle e-reader, join us  on Facebook at THE TWELVE BRIDES OF CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY PARTY, Wednesday, Dec. 10, from 6:00-10:00.

Happy holidays,

Fleeta Cunningham

Thanksgivings Great and Small

I like Thanksgiving. Focusing on gratitude for the people and love we do have reminds us that we can each make a difference in someone’s life. I’d like to think that starting the Christmas season by giving thanks for what we already have makes that holiday even more meaningful.

There are so many happy memories of large family Thanksgivings from my childhood, and later ones with my husband’s family. My mom and my husband both come from families of six kids, so I grew up with a lot of cousins, and now have numerous nephews and nieces. As a kid, large Thanksgivings were great. There were lots of people, including cousins, and lots of appetizers to eat while my mom, aunts and grandma were too busy talking and arguing with each other to tell us kids not to spoil our dinners. The men were officially keeping an eye on us, but were usually too focused on football to really pay close attention. This meant optimum play time in between trips to the kitchen to whine ‘When is it going to be ready?’

My in-laws also have noisy gatherings, but these days it would be bad form for me to sneak under the dining room table and play Barbies. But there are still appetizers, with the bonus of adult beverages. And we all watch football while our assorted offspring try to spoil their dinners and occupy themselves. These days, my children and some of their cousins are old enough for their own adult beverages, but they do still ask how soon dinner will be ready.

In contrast, this year I had a teeny tiny Thanksgiving dinner for five – besides my mom, I invited the one aunt and uncle still living nearby. There was still plenty of noise – my mom & aunt saw to that as they debated which businesses were located where in Grand Rapids, MN in 1940. I don’t even how the subject came up. We were talking about who lived in which school district, then poof – one hijacked conversation!

This is usually where any meal with my mother’s family gets interesting, both for comedy potential and new tidbits of information. One, my mother and her siblings will present any statement, no matter how illogical, if they think it will strengthen their point. This leads to comments like “Well, that can’t be true because Daddy hated sandwiches!” during a discussion of my grandfather’s travels during the Depression. (After losing the farm, he left home to find work on the west coast to support his brood. And possibly to escape the bickering.)

During similar disputes, I learned that my Aunt Betty loved to hitchhike when she was in college (granted it was a safer time then, but seriously, what was she thinking?? Did my grandma know about this??) and that my Aunt Helen was convinced as a child that she could fly if she just jumped off something high enough. (It took a bad experience with a shed and broken leg to disabuse her of the notion.) This year, I learned that my grandparents stayed in Grand Rapids for a few years after they lost the farm, instead of coming to Omaha right away, which is what I’d always thought was the case. Family stories like this are priceless.

Now that Thanksgiving for this year is past, I’m spending a quiet day writing (and maybe doing a little internet shopping). Tonight, it’s time to start getting out the Christmas decorations!! Bring on the eggnog and carols!

What’s your preference? Get into the holiday spirit early or wait till it’s closer to the day?

The Holidays are Almost Here

Hard to believe, but with Thanksgiving this coming Thursday, the holiday season is upon us.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love that it’s a time set aside to gather with family and friends and count our blessings. Holidays for me are all about tradition. Growing up, we always hosted Thanksgiving at our house. My favorite memories are waking up in the morning to the smell of turkey in the oven and getting out Mom’s good china and silverware and setting the table. Soon the family would arrive, and we’d have fifteen, even twenty people gathered around the table. Grandmas, aunts, uncles, cousins…we all came together to eat good food, to share, to laugh, and to love.

But as life goes on, traditions sometimes change. Grandmas pass on. Kids grow up, get married, and have families of their own. New routines are established…new traditions born.

This year we’ll gather at my sister’s house to watch the Bears and eat. It’s a small group this year, but that’s okay. We’ll still have plenty of food, laughs, and love to go around.

A few years ago I penned a Thanksgiving novella which celebrates all the things I love about the holiday. Family gathering, delicious food, hand turkeys drawn by little children, crisp fall weather, and especially a heroine who shares my view of not doing anything that has to do with Christmas until Thanksgiving has had its due.

Here’s a snippet:

One morning she opened the door to Joe’s smiling face. Her answering smile faded as she noticed the snow shovel in his hand.
“Why do you have that?” she demanded.
She peeked over his shoulder and moaned. A light dusting of snow covered the lawn. It sparkled in the sunshine. But she couldn’t appreciate its beauty. “No,” she whined. “It’s only November. It cannot snow.”
Joe raised an eyebrow.
She paused in her tirade to appreciate the effect it had on his face. But only for a brief second. “Snow is for Christmas. Not Thanksgiving. Ugh.”
He chuckled. “Wow. You are really hung up on that, aren’t you?”
She put her hands on her hips. “Shut up.” The words held no rancor.
He leaned in and kissed her. Only a mere brush of his lips against hers. But it was enough.
Her heart pumped into overdrive. At the same time the breath left her lungs. Her dismay over the weather vanished. She leaned in, eager for a more intimate touch.

Another tradition I have is being a rereader. I’m a firm believer that books are not meant to only be read once and put away. So, this coming week, I’ll be opening up An Unexpected Blessing and revisiting Katy and Joe’s story.

Until next time,

Happy Reading and Happy Thanksgiving!

Debra

An Unexpected Blessing from The Wild Rose Press.

Single Mom Katy Roth thinks life can’t get any worse. In the past six months she’s been let go at work, had to move back home with her parents, and found out her ex is cutting his child support payment. As Thanksgiving approaches, she finds little to be thankful for in a life that is quickly spinning out of control.
Joe Mason is the town’s bad boy. Literally. He’s just returned from a four year stint in prison. He wants nothing more than to put the past behind him and get on with his life. He’s had a secret crush on Katy since grade school, but when Katy’s parents hire him to be their handyman, she’s less than thrilled to have him around.

But soon, through her young son’s eyes, Katy discovers the good in Joe. As their feelings for one another deepen, small town gossip and prejudice threaten to ruin everything. Will Joe’s past come between them, or will they be able to get beyond it and hold onto a love neither expected?

Don’t ‘like’ this

We spend our days perusing social media sites, taking tests to see which fictional character we most resemble, taking vocabulary tests to grant rice to starving children or food to pet shelters. We see pictures of famous asses, and also Kim Kardashian. Now that nearly everyone has a smartphone, we tap our way through bus rides, play intermissions, and family dinners. We feel accomplished. By the end of the day, we’ve processed thousands of bits of digital data through our brains, and it’s no wonder we get to the end of the day and we can’t fall asleep because our minds are still revving at overload.

Or we’re stressed to the point of headache, body ache, screaming nerves and muscles that haven’t worked out all the kinks because we’ve been sitting too much.

But what have we done?

Nothing much.

I’m as guilty as anyone of this. I should be out getting more exercise, but I don’t because I’m so sore from the fibro, which means I take it easy, which means I spend too much time online so I at least think I’m doing something useful… and I don’t get exercise. The cycle goes on.

We view our world from a safe place in front of a screen, be it computer or phone, and maybe the smaller it is, the more unreal it seems. Just another story on the Kindle. Starvation in Africa. Ebola. Voter disenfranchisement in Iraq. GMOs in some mysterious factories far away. All things that are a shame, and out of our control. But we took time to read the story, so we’re better for it and feel educated.

But, you know what? That’s really not enough.

Starvation? Twenty percent of all the children in THIS country live in what is politely called “food insecure” households. That means they don’t get enough food, or don’t know when their next meal might be. This is despite food-stamp programs, WIC and other subsidies. It’s still that bad. These aren’t those pathetic, big-eyed foreigners in the Sally Struthers commercials. These are kids in your neighborhood. Maybe in your neighbor’s family.  Charities across the nation are pooling their resources to provide a holiday meal for these families, but what will they eat the rest of the time?

Use that keyboard to find a way to get out and do something about it. Your time, your hands, your effort will make a difference. Join NoKidHungry or another local organization and give hands-on help, not just an impersonal click.

Ebola? Sure, that’s horrible, and fortunately for us, not a big issue here. But what about supporting the doctors and nurses who are giving their time and risking their lives to help treat these epidemics? What can you and your local hospital do to send supplies or other donations? Get out and do it.

Voter disenfranchisement doesn’t only happen overseas. It happens here and a lot more insidiously than we suspect. The Voter ID laws are just the beginning. Get involved with your local election process and make sure that everyone has a chance to express their opinion. We shouldn’t celebrate a 40% turnout. That’s ridiculous. We have one of the biggest democracies in the world and we don’t even use it. Make sure it’s here for the next generations. Only hands-on work and close supervision will avoid eroding our important rights. (and by the way, you should also read up on the candidates before voting–just because you see an ad means nothing. Name recognition means nothing. Be informed.)

GMOs, food additives, high fructose corn syrup, processed foods? Our American diet is turning into a chemical slurry. It shouldn’t be only the wealthy who can afford to buy local, fresh products. Some of the poorest among us have to buy cheap, processed foods to fill their children’s bellies–and they get the least nutrition from them. See the starvation paragraph above. Volunteer at a food bank in your neighborhood and help during community food drives. Work with Meals on Wheels. Sign up with other agencies to help deliver nutritious foods to people in need, and then get involved in the political process of asking our government representatives to stand strong against fake food. Get your hands on a pen and paper and send them a real letter. They’ll be amazed–and might actually read it.

Next week, we’ll be giving thanks for all we have as we sit down to a holiday meal with our families.

Why not take that opportunity to put away the tablets and phones and have a real. face to face discussion about what you and your loved ones can do to help the less fortunate in your own neighborhood? It’s really not enough to be grateful–although it’s important. Until everyone can join in— healthy, fed with nutritious food, in a truly safe and representative country where men and women, black and white, rich and poor have the opportunity for meaningful and equal chance to make a life for themselves—then we really haven’t made the dream of those first Pilgrim immigrants to America seeking FREEDOM come true. Put your hands to work, in the real world. Don’t just ‘like’ this and move on.

Happy holidays.

Being Open to the Spontaneous

One of the most memorable attractions we saw in Ireland was the result of a spontaneous decision. A chance encounter at dinner one night pointed us in the direction of the Cliffs of Moher. (Although taking the word of a stranger who you’ve only conversed with for five minutes is an interesting basis for a day’s unplanned outing.) Located on a western coast of County Clare, these cliffs erupt from the Atlantic Ocean to a height of 702 feet and are within sight (on a clear day) of the Aran Islands. The day we visited was cold and foggy. Seabirds love the uneven surfaces of the rocks to roost, and visitors can spot puffins, guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes, fulmars (all species I’d never seen before). An interpretive center contains displays that describe the geologic makeup of the site, as well as show a video that displays an exhilarating bird’s eye view of the cliffs from ocean wave to grassy top. After viewing everything in the center (in hopes the fog would lift), we trekked outside and walked a portion of the path that runs along the top of the cliffs–until the chilly damp air penetrated.

An interesting fact we learned was the site was visited so often in the early 1800s that Cornelius O’Brien built a tower in 1835 for visitors to view the cliff’s natural beauty. The site has been featured in a wide variety of movies: Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince, Ryan’s Daughter, The Princess Bride, Mackintosh Man, Into the West, Hear My Song, Father Ted. Ireland’s biggest wave for surfing called “Aileens” happens at the base of O’Brien’s Tower and is featured in Sea Fever and Wave Riders. In addition to tourist visits, the cliffs are often the site for engagements, weddings and renewal of vows ceremonies.

My husband loved the environmental practices inherent in the interpretive center which opened in 2007. The grass-roofed center is built into the hillside, uses geo-thermal energy, waste water treatment and sensor lighting. Artisan gift shops are also built into the hillside with only the front façade showing, which minimizes the impact so visitors can enjoy the natural beauty.

What I took away from the visit, as a writer, was not to pass up experiences that might fall into your lap. Interestingly enough, that’s the theme of my short story title Bewitching Gypsy that is included in Roane Publishing’s Spooktacular Seductions.

http://amzn.com/B00OWJJ09C

“Patriotism Is Not Enough…”

On a chilly morning in October, 1915, a woman, not yet fifty years old, rose from her cot in an old guardhouse and awaited her last sunrise. She wasn’t ill, she had no injury, nor had she incurred a serious accident but she knew she would soon die. She faced a firing squad at first light. Accused of treason for following the dictates of her profession, condemned by court proceedings carried out in a language she didn’t understand, and represented by an attorney  whom she’d met only an hour before she faced her accusers and who had been chosen by the court, an English nurse became one of the heroines of the Great War.

I came across the story of Edith Cavell more or less by accident. By a strange set of coincidences I inherited a cache of letters written by my late mother-in-law. She was in her seventies when I came into the family, She was, at best, a trial to  her relations, having the temperament of a dictator and the tact of a cross-cut saw. We did not become best buds. But she had some stories to tell. She’d served as a nurse in World War One, been in one of the first field hospitals–forerunner of the later MASH units–and was stationed in the area of the Somme. “Close enough that they issued me a helmet instead of a nurse’s cap” she informed me when I’d asked how close she was to the fighting. Though she had closer family ties, I somehow was entrusted with the letters, pictures, and memorabilia from that significant period in her life. I promised myself I would one day write a World War One story about a nurse and use that bundle of letters to shape it.

Last year I finally began to frame my story. Following the day-to-day events of life in a military hospital, in a time without antibiotics, when a crude x-ray was cutting-edge technology, and where nursing was just beginning to be a respectable occupation for a woman, I saw my story take on life. Then, as I widened my research, I came across a biography of Edith Cavell.  The daughter of an English clergyman, she grew up with an overwhelming sense of duty to humanity. When nurses were regarded as little better than prostitutes, she valiantly set up a professional school of nursing. Serving as the director of new school in Brussels when war was declared, she tended the German wounded with the same care and dedication she gave English and French patients. She knew a British or French soldier would be taken as a prisoner of war the instant he was released from the hospital, so Edith Cavell assisted the injured in escaping. When asked why she did it, she simply replied her profession required her to save a life when and how she could. She knew men barely recovering from horrific wounds and poison gas stood little chance of surviving as prisoners of war, and so she’d helped them to return to their home countries. She added she’d have done the same for German soldiers if they’d been in similar jeopardy. The German command accused her of treason, held a trial in virtual secrecy, and condemned her on the basis of her own explanation.

Heroes come in many forms–soldier, sailor, courier, statesman–and even the quiet spinster, known for rescuing stray dogs and painting landscapes, standing against a stone wall, alone, in her nursing uniform and cape, facing execution in a chilly October dawn. On the memorial raised to her in London’s Trafalgar Square, her last words offer a haunting challenge, though it’s been almost a century since she spoke them.

Patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness for anyone..

It seems appropriate to remember them this Veterans Day

Fleeta Cunningham

Pam Crooks–November Full Moon Guest

The 1920’s – It’s the Bees Knees!

For those of you who know me and my books, you’ll remember that I’m the author of 14 western historical romances.  I got my start with Dorchester Publishing and soon moved on to Harlequin Historicals.  I cut my eye teeth on westerns, and loved and wrote them for almost twenty years.   But as often happens to those who have done what’s comfortable for a long time, I began to get the urge to do something different.  I moved on to a different era in history.

That era was the 1920s.  Hard to believe they were almost a century ago!  It was a period of great change for our country, but most especially for women.    Hemlines came up, the cosmetics industry flourished, hair styles took off in a whole new direction.   Once frowned upon as loose and scandalous, actresses became glamorized on the silent screen.   Women endeavored to be more educated, and they flowed into the work force in a variety of new professions, aided by a sweeping industrialization of the United States.

Inventions from the likes of Henry Ford and Clarence Birdseye brought the automobile and frozen food.  Radios soon entered the consumers’ homes, kitchen appliances and pre-packaged foods made home life easier, and well, I could go on and on.

But probably nothing smacks of the 1920s more than Prohibition.  If not for the Volstead Act, which prevented the manufacture and sale of alcohol for leisurely consumption, greed and crime would not have escalated to the heights that it did.

Ah, gangsters.  Gotta love ‘em, eh?

Suffice to say, I fell completely enamored, and hence, my new series, The Secret Six, was born.  The Spyglass Project is the first book in the series.

Here’s a brief blurb:

Five former military men, led by Major Michael Malone, reunite as the Secret Six.  The War Department believes there’s a connection between the rise of Adolf Hitler and money flowing into Germany.  The Justice Department points to the staggering profits made by gangsters.

The Spyglass Project takes the Secret Six into Chicago’s criminal underworld.  Among Michael’s weapons, a beautiful Italian woman linked to the Mafia and the double-agent who betrayed him.

Book 2, The Brewer’s Daughter, is coming soon!

What made me fall in love with the 1920s?  Here’s a few reasons why:

Flappers – those free-spirited young women who defied their mothers’ puritan ways and challenged the men in ways never done before–smoking, swearing, drinking, dancing and–gasp!–refusing to wear a corset.

The development of synthetic fabrics and the women’s desire for more comfort led to trousers, tubular dresses and sportswear.

One of the earliest actresses to captivate the country, she epitomized the glamour of Hollywood and appeared in dozens of silent movies.  Her career struggled with the advent of the talkies, however, and her personal life suffered, too.  She was married six times.

The cars.  Sleek and elegant and a far cry from the early Model Ts that were plain, black and affordable, thus appealing to so many of working Americans.

If you love the 1920s, too, here’s a new Facebook page dedicated to the era:  www.facebook.com/groups/RoaringRomanceBookClub

What do you think of the 1920s?  Do you find them as fascinating as I do?  More and more romances are being set in the era.  Have you read any?

CURRENT MOON
The Romance Reviews The Romance Review

Full Moon Guests

Jan. 14--Sherri Shackelford
April 22--Kate Bridges
May 27--Ann Lethbridge
Aug. 19--Cheryl St. John
Nov. 11--Pam Crooks

Summer Solstice Bash Guests

June 3--Julie Miller
June 10--Victoria Alexander
June 14--Sabrina Jeffries
June 19--Laura Landon
June 26--Caroline Fyffe

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