Inspirational Stories of Love, Faith & Family Set in 19th Century America

Category: 20th Century America

Season of Hope by Carol James: The Story Behind the Story

I’m thrilled to welcome friend and fellow Pelican Book Group author, Carol James to Romancing History this week. Carol’s latest release, Season of Hope, takes place during the years immediately following the Veitnam War. Usually I read books set in World War 2 or earlier, so this is very unusual for me, but I’m very excited to see fiction set during this time period beginning to appear.

I haven’t finished Season of Hope so I cannot link you to my review at this time, but if you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you’ll see the link to my review within the next week. I can tell you that I am enjoying this well-written story of hope, faith, and second chances very much.

Season of Hope is available now in Ebook format but soft cover is available for pre-order and will be delivered September 1, 2020. Links for purchase are available below.

Carol has also offered a giveaway so make sure you enter the drawing at the bottom of the post.


Before Carol shares “The Story Behind the Story,” Here’s a little bit about Season of Hope

About the Book

 

Hope Stockton’s life is dead, frozen in a winter of guilt, deceit, and fear. When handsome young pastor, Josh Lewis, comes to serve in her church, she wonders if she can trust him with her past. Will he be able to help her answer the questions that have been buried in her heart for years? Or will his own secrets drive them apart and prevent him from helping Hope find her spring of forgiveness?

Set in small town Texas in the years during and following the Vietnam war, Season of Hope is a story of forgiveness and restoration.

Amazon     Pelican Soft Cover    Pelican Ebook

B&N Soft Cover     B&N Ebook

 


The Story Behind the Story

 

Kelly, thanks so much for letting me visit today. I’m honored to be able to share the story behind the story of my newest release, Season of Hope. Although it is the fifth novel I’ve had published, it is the first story I ever wrote.

I began writing late in life. I was an English major who loved grammar. And unlike most authors,  I never aspired or desired to be a writer.

I’d always felt called to teach and considered that my personal ministry. But due to a family health crisis, I had to leave teaching, and I took a job in the world of international business. All along I believed God would provide another ministry. So I looked and waited…and waited and looked.

In my new position, I quickly gained the much-deserved title of “Grammar Police.” Mine were often the last set of eyes that scanned the company’s promotional and training materials. One day, my boss came into my office and closed the door. “I do a little writing,” Laura whispered, “and I wonder if you would proofread some pieces for me.”

That moment changed my life. A voice deep in my heart said, “You are in this place for this purpose. Writing inspirational romance is your new ministry.”

But how does someone who’d never been interested in writing craft an entire novel? My boss became my mentor, my critic, my encourager. “Write what you know,” she said.

I was in high school and college during the time of the Vietnam war. I met, dated, and married my husband in that era. That is what I knew, that’s what I could write about. The loss, the love, the fear, the unrest. All those emotions birthed Season of Hope.

I remember the first appointments I had to pitch my freshly-completed novel to some publishers and agents. Of course, they would love it as much as I did!

The first agent was kind and even gave me her business card. The first publisher asked one question. “Why in the world did you choose that time frame?”

I wrote what I knew.

“No one wants to read about that era. It’s no man’s land. Not old enough to be nostalgic, and not recent enough to be current.”

I felt as if she’d drawn back the blanket, looked at my newborn, and said, “What an ugly baby!” It was all I could do to hold back the tears.

But my wise friend, Laura, said “Put it away, and start on something else. In a few years, it’ll be considered a historical novel.”

I did. And between other manuscripts, I’d pick up Hope and Josh’s story and rewrite and revise it. And improve it. And wait. I love Hope and Josh. They’re my firstborns. In fact Josh is the only character that appears in my other novels.

So, I wrote what I knew. I wrote that all of us have seasons of life. Some good, some bad. That God’s love is faithful. That His timing is perfect. And whatever your season of life, He’s right there with you.


About Carol

 

Carol James is an author of inspirational fiction, in particular redemptive romance. She lives in a small town outside of Atlanta, Georgia with her husband, Jim, and a perky Jack Russell “Terrorist,” Zoe.

Having always loved intriguing stories with happy endings, she was moved to begin writing to encourage others as she’d been encouraged by the works of other authors of inspirational fiction.

Carol enjoys spending time with her husband, children, and grandchildren, traveling with friends, and serving in the production department at her church. She’s a Frappuccino and soccer aficionado.

You can connect with Carol on her website or follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, GoodReads, Bookbub, or her Amazon Author Page.


Giveaway**

 

Carol has graciously offered an Ebook copy of Season of Hope to one lucky Romancing History reader. To be entered in the drawing, leave a comment about the season of life you find yourself planted in right now. Does Christian fiction help you  bloom where you’re planted?

**Giveaway ends midnight, July 29, 2020.

Book Review, Serving Up Love

About the Book


Title: Serving Up Love: A Four-in-One Harvey House Brides Collection
Author: Various, see below
Genre: Historical Romance

Book Info: (Bethany House Publisher, November 5, 2019, 384 pages)

Tag Line

On the Menu for These Ladies?
Adventure, Independence, and a Big Serving of Romance!

 


Blurb

A storied part of American history, Harvey Houses offered women a unique chance to gain independence and see amazing parts of this great country. Celebrated historical romance writers Tracie Peterson, Karen Witemeyer, Regina Jennings, and Jen Turano offer four fun, romantic tales of Harvey girls whose western adventures lead to love.

Tracie Peterson – 
A Flood of Love
Returning home to New Mexico for the first time in years to fill in at the Harvey House, Gretchen Gottsacker is sure the past is behind her. But nothing can be that simple. When the man she loved long ago steps back into her life–with a daughter, no less–will she ever be the same?

Karen Witemeyer – More Than a Pretty Face
Rosalind Kemp becomes a Harvey Girl, clinging to the promise of one day transferring even farther west, someplace her youthful indiscretion won’t catch up to her. But the past is hard to escape, and when the worst occurs, will anyone stand up for her?

Regina Jennings – Intrigue a la Mode
When Willow Kentworth is warned that strange things are happening in the railyard after dark, she never intends to get involved. That is, until a handsome new employee at the Harvey House–who has secrets of his own–needs her assistance.

Jen Turano – 
A Grand Encounter
After her fiancé abandons her, Miss Myrtle Schermerhorn flees New York’s pity for a position at the El Tovar Hotel on the rim of the Grand Canyon. She’s determined to hold fast to her life of independence–but a rugged, frequent guest of the hotel makes that vow difficult to uphold.


My Thoughts

I tend to be a bit  hard on novellas. Often times, the plots are too grand and the author is left to tie up all the loose ends too quickly for my satisfaction. Happily, that is not the case for Serving Up Love which earns five stars across the board. Each novella was filled with just the right amount of captivating characters and swoon-worthy heroes mixed with a dash of adventure to leave this historical romance junkie’s heart satiated.

Harvey Girl Uniform, photo courtesy of Jot Powers

Harvey Girl Uniform, Photo by Jot Powers

As a big history lovin’ nerd girl, I was tickled pink to learn of this novella collection centering around Harvey Girls. I’d first heard about Harvey Girls on a vacation through Missouri, Kansas, and Colorado a few years ago. Fred Harvey was an American entrepreneur who opened a series of cafes and restaurants aligned with railroad stations in the western United States. He provided high quality food in a timely manner. Train travelers new to expect great food and excellent service in any of his establishments. Harvey Girls were the women who provided that outstanding service. Each one had to be single and of impeccable character. Housing was provided above the restaurants for these women who were not allowed to fraternize with the customers, at least not in the cafes themselves. Once a woman was engaged, her employment would be terminated.

There was so much to love about each of these stories — the railway setting, life as a Harvey Girl, and handsome customers just to name a few. In Peterson’s A Flood of Love, spunky child character, Katieann, captures the readers heart from the get go and not long after, Gretchen’s as well. I’d never read Tracie Peterson before but she penned a delightful story and I’ll be seeking more by this author. I loved the humor weaved into Intrigue a la Mode and Grand Encounter. Regina Jennings developed an intriguing plot involving smugglers along the railroad that kept me turning the pages. Jen Turano doesn’t disappoint readers used to the hilarious shenanigan’s of her characters and the author’s quippy dialogue like “Mr. Tall, Dark, and –need I say Delicious is here again and sitting in your section.” I just about spit out my tea! But I’d have to say it was Witemeyer’s, More Than a Pretty Face, that stole my heart. Rosalind, the heroine, is running from a mistake in her past, something we can all relate to. When it blows up BIG in her face, her sweetheart, friends, and co-workers all rally behind her, and Witemeyer weaves in a beautiful lesson about the power of forgiveness and the desire we all have to create a future not defined by past transgressions.

This is a wonderfully charming novella collection from an amazing set of historical romance authors. You’ll not only be “served up love,” but plenty of faith, humor, and warm fuzzies on the side.

***I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House on behalf of the authors and was under no obligation to write a favorable review. All opinions are my own.


Links for purchase

Amazon   Barnes & Noble   CBD


About the Authors

A recipient of the ACFW Lifetime Achievement Award, Tracie Peterson is well-known for her numerous award-winning, bestselling historical romances. She lives near Missoula, Montana. Visit her at www.traciepeterson.com.

Karen Witemeyer is a winner of multiple Carol Awards and has been a finalist for the RITA Award and National Readers’ Choice Award. She lives in Abilene, Texas. Visit her at www.karenwitemeyer.com.

Regina Jennings
 is the acclaimed author of The Fort Reno Series. She lives outside Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, with her husband and four children. Visit her at www.reginajennings.com.

Jen Turano
, the USA Today bestselling author of over a dozen books, lives in a suburb of Denver, Colorado. Visit her at www.jenturano.com.

 

Speak Easy Slang

In January 1920, America went dry as the 18th amendment took effect prohibiting the manufacture, sale, transport and/or  consumption of alcoholic beverages. Speakeasies, or illegal drinking establishments, derived their nickname from the practice of asking patrons to be quiet, or speak easily, about the illegal bar’s location.  Also known as a Juice Joints, they flourished in big cities like New York and Chicago between 1920-1933.

Image result for 1920s gangs

Here’s a list of phrases common during the time among those who fronted these illegal gin joints and those who frequented them.


Bootleggers is a euphemism for booze smugglers. They took they’re name from Cowboys who smuggled flat bottles of whiskey inside their boots onto Indian reservations to trade with the natives after the practice had been prohibited. Smugglers during Prohibition adopted their name.

Skid Road–A precursor to the term “Skid Row,” a skid road was the place where loggers hauled their goods. During Prohibition, these “roads” became popular meeting places for bootleggers, smugglers and gangsters to meet and do business.

Sing Like a Canary–informants who blabbled or “sang” to the the cops.

Image result for Bootleggers

Gangbusters was a 1930s radio program. The broadcast began with blaring sirens so anything loud and obnoxious comes on like “gangbusters.”

Teetotaler–A person who abstains from the consumption of alcohol. The phrase is believed to have originated within the Prohibition era’s temperance societies, where members would add a “T” to their signatures to indicate total abstinence (T+total-ers).

Image result for 1920s stills

 

Bathtub Gin–Homemade gin, usually of poor quality, that would be mixed with flavorings to improve the taste. Because the bottles were too tall to be mixed with water from a sink tap, metal or ceramic bathtubs would be used.  Though the phrase references gin specifically, it came to be used as a general term for any type of cheap homemade booze.

 

Hooch–any low-quality liquor, usually whiskey. The term originated in the late 1800s as a shortened version of “Hoochinoo,” a distilled beverage from Alaska that became popular during the Klondike gold rush. The phrase came back into heavy use in the 1920s.

 

White Lightening–The whiskey equivalent of bathtub gin; a highly potent, illegally made, and poor-quality spirit.

Dry–A  man or woman who is opposed to the legal sale of alcoholic beverages. Bureau of Prohibition agents were often referred to as Dry Agents. It also is used to reference places where alcohol is not served, i.e. a “dry country”.

Jake Walk–A paralysis or loss of muscle control in the hands and feet, due to an overconsumption of Jamaican ginger, a.k.a. Jake, a patent medicine with a high alcohol content. The numbness led sufferers to walk with a distinct gait that was also known as Jake leg or Jake foot. Jamaican ginger, a patent medicine with a high alcohol content – so high that authorities insisted manufacturers up the ginger content so that it became bitter and unpalatable. Bootleggers responded by adding a plasticizer, tricresyl phospate, that would fool government tests and keep it drinkable for those who used it recreationally. Unfortunately, the additive turned out to be a neurotoxin and some 50,000 people fell victim to jake-walk or jake-foot which often led to  permanent paralysis.

Image result for Bootleggers

A Blind Pig–low class drinking establishments often located in counties or municipalities that had voted themselves “dry.”  They often charged admission to view some kind of attraction like a pig painted in stripes or other such “exotic” creatures. Admission, surely by coincidence, included a free glass of whisky. Also known as blind tigers, the owner’s identities were often concealed, even from its patrons.

Here’s more terms from the Gangsters and Speakeasies of the 1920s

  • Babe, Bim, Broad, Doll or Dame – A woman
  • Moll – A gangster’s girlfriend
  • Bearcat – A fiery woman
  • Dumb Dora -A stupid woman
  • Sheba -A woman with sex appeal
  • Stool-pigeon – A person who informs the police
  • Peaching – Informing
  • Finger – Identify
  • Bulls – Plainclothes police
  • Gum-shoe – Detective
  • Copper – Policeman
  • Bracelets – Handcuffs
  • Big House or Can – Jail or prison
  • In Stir – In jail
  • Blow – Leave
  • Bop, Bump or Clip – To kill
  • Chopper Squad – Guys with machine guns
  • Pack Heat – Carry a gun
  • Goon – Thug
  • Grifter – Con man
  • Boozehound – a drunk
  • Meat Wagon – Ambulance
  • Chicago Overcoat – A coffin
  • Big Sleep – Death
  • Bean-shooter or Gat – A gun
  • Packing Heat – Carrying a gun
  • Can-opener – Safecracker
  • Glomming – Stealing
  • Bent – Stolen
  • Cabbage or Scratch – Money
  • Ice – Diamonds
  • Boiler or Bucket – A car
  • Cake-eater – A lady’s man
  • Dewdropper – Unemployed man who spends his days sleeping
  • Shylock – A loanshark
  • Sheik – An attractive man
  • Giggle Water – liquor
  • Bangtail – Racehorse

Prohibition ended in 1933, but the colorful colloquialisms it brought about continue to add character to American language today.

 

Veterans Day, Did You Know?

dadnavyunitpic

My dad, Harold Joseph Criste, is pictured third from left in the back row. Photo circa 1944.

Veterans Day is a federal holiday in the United States to recognize the millions of Americans who have served in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or Coast Guard. Like many of you, I come from a long line of veterans. My relatives have fought in every major combat from the French and Indian War (pre-Revolution) to Vietnam and in every branch of the United States military. Most notably my father who enlisted in the Navy during World War II immediately following his high school graduation in 1943. However, like me, you may not be aware of the history behind this national day of honor and remembrance.

 

Did you know…

armisticesoldiers

Veterans Day was originally known as Armistice Day?  In recognition of the armistice signed in the forest of Compiegne in northern France, at the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918 halting formal hostilities between the Allies and Germany effectively ending World War I. Celebrated for the first time on November 11, 1919, all business ceased in the United States for two minutes when the clock struck eleven o’clock in solemn remebrance of the war dead. From the beginning, parades and public gatherings were part of the traditional festivities marking the holiday.

 

Soldier guarding tthe Tomb of the Unknowns, Arlington National Cemetery

Soldier guarding tthe Tomb of the Unknowns, Arlington National Cemetery

The Tomb of the Unknowns was originally dedicated to an unknown soldier from World War I?  The Tomb of the Unknowns is a monument located in Arlington National Cemetery which contains the unidentified remains of a World War I soldier selected at random by U.S. Army Sgt. Edward F. Younger. Younger was highly decorated for valor and had received the Distinguished Service Medal for his service in “The Great War.” Four unknown U.S. soldiers were exhumed from four American World War I cemeteries in France. At the city hall in Chalons-sur-Marne, France, on October 24, 1921, Sergeant Younger selected the unknown by placing white roses on one of the four identical caskets. After arriving in the United States, the Unknown Soldier lay in state in the Capitol Rotunda until Armistice Day of that year when President Warren Harding officiated over his interment at Arlington National Cemetery. The inscription on the back of the monument reads “Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God.”

Although it has never been officially dedicated as such, the Tomb of the Unknowns is commonly referred to as The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The white marble sarcophagus sits above the grave of the Unknown Soldier from World War I but nearby are the crypts of unknowns from World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

veterans-day-hero-h

Red poppies are a symbol associated with our Veterans? Two days before the Armistice was signed in 1918, Miss Moina Belle Michael read a poem in the November edition of the Ladies Home Journal entitled “We Shall Not Sleep” which spoke of the red poppies growing in spring that covered the graves of fallen soldiers as well as the devastated battlefields they left behind. The poem, more famously known as “In Flanders Fields” was written by Canadian John McCrae following the death in action of a close friend.

Black and white copy of "In Flanders Fields" as it appeared in The Ladies Home Journal, November 1918.

Black and white copy of “In Flanders Fields” as it appeared in The Ladies Home Journal, November 1918.

“Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.”

Deeply moved by these lines in McCrae’s poem,  Moina vowed to never forget the fallen soldiers of World War I and started a national campaign to designate the red poppy as a symbol of remembrance for America’s war dead. Although Congress never acted on Moina’s proposal, the newly founded American Legion adopted the Flanders Poppy as their symbol of remembrance. Today on Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day it is common to see members of the American Legion distributing silk poppies to encourage Americans to remember those who gave their lives in service to our country.

 

President Eisenhower signing legislation to change Armistice Day to Veterans Day in June, 1954.

President Eisenhower signing legislation to change Armistice Day to Veterans Day in June, 1954.

Armistice Day was celebrated until 1954? Following a national campaign for a national holiday that would recognize the sixteen million veterans who served in World War II as well as the 5.7 million who served in Korea, the 83rd Congress replaced the word Armistice with the word Veteran to recognized all those who have served in any branch of the United States military, living or dead.

For eight years Veterans Day was celebrated in October? In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Holidays Bill creating four Federal holidays (Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Columbus Day and Veterans Day). The bill designated Monday observances for the holidays to encourage tourism and travel by creating four three-day weekends. In accordance with the bill, the observance of Veterans Day was moved to the fourth Monday of October. This created a great deal of confusion as many states disapproved of the change and continued their observances in November. Citing the historical and patriotic significance of the date, President Gerald Ford officially returned the federal observance of Veterans Day to November 11 in 1975.

scan0120Here is my Veteran, my husband, 1LT Michael A. Goshorn, when stationed at Fort Ord, California from 1989-1993. In this photo, Mike is on the far right of the front row. My husband served six years in the Army, two enlisted and four as an officer following the completion of his dual degrees in physics and electrical engineering. While enlisted he learned Chinese at the Defense Language Institute and was later assigned to the National Security Agency (NSA), Ft. Meade, Maryland. As an officer, he was assigned to the Chemical Corps and then was stationed at Ford Ord. While in California, Mike first served in the Field Artillery Battalion Headquarters Company with the 7th ID (Infantry Division). Two years later, Mike was reassigned to the Headquarters Company of a Helicopter Battalion, also at Ft. Ord. Thankfully he never saw combat although he served during the Gulf War.

In honor of Veterans Day, tell me about the Veteran in your life.

 

“Bully” for Teddy Roosevelt!

Teddy RooseveltBest known as the 26th President of the United States, Teddy Roosevelt was also a soldier, explorer, outdoorsman, author, reformer and trailblazer. Immortalized in stone on Mt. Rushmore, President Roosevelt’s influence stretches far beyond today’s history text books. It can be heard in many common words and expressions the former president popularized and we still use today.

Square Deal (a fair bargain or treatment) The Square Deal was President Theodore Roosevelt’s domestic program formed upon three basic ideas: conservation of natural resources, control of corporations, and consumer protection. These three demands are often referred to as the “three C’s” of Roosevelt’s Square Deal.

“The labor unions shall have a square deal, and the corporations shall have a square deal.” –TR, 1903.squaredeal

Hat in the Ring (The official beginning of a political campaign.) When amateurs wanted to challenge the winner of a boxing match for a chance to win a lucrative prize, they would throw their hat in the ring. A great sportsman, Teddy Roosevelt is credited with adapting this phrase from the outrageously popular sport of boxing to the political arena.

“My hat is in the ring, the fight’s on.”—TR, 1912. (Roosevelt said this when asked if he’d be running for president again that year.)

Mollycoddle (to treat someone indulgently or protectively; to pamper or baby)

“The Mollycoddle vote [consists of] the people who are soft physically and morally, or have a twist in them which makes them acidly cantankerous and unpleasant.” –TR, 1913. He also used this word to  describe the game of baseball, a sport for which he had no favor.

Pussyfoot (to avoid making a definite decision or commitment often out of fear or doubt)

“I think they are inclined to pussy-foot, and it is worse than useless for them to nominate me, unless they are prepared for an entirely straightforward and open campaign.”—TR, 1916. (This was Roosevelt’s response when asked about his odds of again becoming the Republican presidential nominee.)

Muckrakers (The name given to US journalists and other writers who exposed corruption in politics and business in the early 20th century.) The term was first used by Theodore Roosevelt in 1906. The phrase was modified from a character in John Bunyan’s novel Pilgrim’s Progress. “The men with the muck rakes are often indispensable to the well being of society; but only if they know when to stop raking the muck”—TR, 1906.BullMooseParty

Strong as A Bull Moose (to demonstrate formidable strength) Teddy Roosevelt coined this phrase after he received the Republican Party’s Vice Presidential nomination. After failing to win the presidential nomination in 1912, he formed the Bull Moose Party founded on progressive principles

      “I am as strong as a Bull Moose and you can use me to the limit.” –TR, 1900.

 Bully Pulpit (A public office or position of authority that provides an outstanding opportunity to speak out on any issue.) “Bully”, one of Roosevelt’s favorite expressions, means “grand” or “excellent.”

“I suppose my critics will call that preaching, but I have got such a bully pulpit!”—TR, 1909.

'Promise me we'll have meaningful wedding vows without any weasel words...'

 Weasel Words (soft and ambiguous language; words used in order to avoid being clear or direct.)

“One of our defects as a nation is a tendency to use what have been called ‘weasel words.’ When a weasel sucks eggs, the meat is sucked out of the egg. If you use a ‘weasel word’ after another, there is nothing left of the other.” –TR, 1916.

Nailing Jelly to the Wall (something difficult-to-impossible to understand or describe). I don’t hear this too much anymore but this phras was osed to be one of my grandmother’s favorite expressions.

“Somebody asked me why I did not get an agreement with Columbia. They may just as well ask me why I do not nail cranberry jelly to the wall.” –TR, 1912.

TR’s exuberant, no-nonsense personality impacted everything he touched from politics to nature conservancy leaving behind not only a legacy as one of America’s most popular presidents, but many additions to the American lexicon as well.

Is there a phrase above you use or hear frequently? One you’ve never heard?

 

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