Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Tuesday Tidbits: RANDOM RESEARCH

Being an author, I research a lot of things I never imagined learning about. From hot-air balloons to hurricanes, from challenge coins to stagecoaches tipping over, and a lot of fascinating stuff in between. (I’ll list a couple of those at the end.)

Here are a few of the things I hunted down while writing The Lady’s Mission.

~Since I was featuring a hot-air balloon in this story, I researched a ton of stuff about them and how to fly one. I watched dozens of videos on this and, by the end, felt as though I might be able to fly a hot-air balloon. Maybe not perfectly, but hopefully enough not to crash. Not that I think I’ll be flying one solo any time soon. 

~The Quilting Circle series obviously features quilts, and even though I have been quilting and sewing for years and years, I still did some historical research. I ran across some interesting newspaper clippings in a book about historical quilts. That is where I saw an article about bachelors sewing a quilt to raise money for charity. I knew that was a valuable gem, and I had to come up with a story to use it in. Well, The Lady’s Mission was the perfect story. 

~Next, I wanted a group of outcasts and chose immigrants, so I needed to know which ones might have been in Washington State. I wanted to have an eclectic mix of people in my little immigrant encampment.

~Now that I had my immigrants, I needed to know how to have my hero greet them, so learning to say “hi” in Kittatas (a Native American tribe associated with the Yakima Nation) and Chinese were important. I didn’t want to get into a lot of foreign language dialogue, just “hi”.

~With my hero being a hot-air balloon enthusiast, it made sense for him to receive a magazine that would include the subject, so I learned what the scientific journal of the day might be called.

Like stumbling across the bachelor quilt, here are a couple of other awesome finds I wasn’t looking.

~A dog who went to jail for killing the mayor’s wife’s cat. Yes, actual prison. He learned his prison number, and eagerly waited for his to be called so he could jump on the work-detail bus. If I remember right, this was in the 1920s. I have plans to mention him in a story, but that one hasn’t been contracted as of yet.

~The Oscars’ statue was named after a secretary’s uncle. She removed the yet-unnamed statue out of the box and said, “This looks like my Uncle Oscar.” Whether this is actually true or not, I don’t know, but it makes for a cute story.

The Lady’s Mission releases tomorrow. Read about Cordelia and Lamar trying to get out of an arranged courtship while hot-air ballooning and constructing a bachelor quilt.

In celebration of The Lady’s Mission releasing tomorrow, book 2 in the Quilting Circle series, The Daughter’s Predicament (Kindle version) is scheduled to be free for a few days. I believe starting on the 5th. Happy Reading!

RELEASES TOMORROW!

THE LADY’S MISSION (Quilting Circle 5)

Will Cordelia abandon her calling for love? Cordelia Armstrong wants nothing more than to escape the social norms for her station in society. Unless she can skillfully maneuver her father into giving up control of her trust fund, she might have to concede defeat—as well as her freedom—and marry. Every time Lamar Kesner finds a fascinating lady, her heart belongs to another. When a vapid socialite is offered up as a prospective bride, he contemplates flying off in his hot air balloon instead. Is Lamar the one to finally break the determination of Cordelia’s parents to marry her off? Or will this charming bachelor fly away with her heart?

 

Available for pre-order on Amazon. (Releases October 5, 2022)

 

MARY DAVIS, bestselling, award-winning novelist, has over thirty titles in both historical and contemporary themes. Her latest release is THE DÉBUTANTE'S SECRET (Quilting Circle 4) THE DAMSEL’S INTENT (Quilting Circle 3) is a Selah Award Winner. Some of her other recent titles include; The Widow’s Plight, The Daughter's Predicament,Zola’s Cross-Country Adventure” in The MISSAdventure Brides Collection , Prodigal Daughters Amish series, and "Bygones" in Thimbles and Threads. She is a member of ACFW and active in critique groups.
Mary lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband of thirty-seven years and one cat. She has three adult children and three incredibly adorable grandchildren. Find her online at:

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Tuesday Tidbits: THE TROUBLE WITH SECONDARY CHARACTERS

All stories have them.

All stories need them.

If you make them too bland, they don’t read as real people. They’re flat.

A flat secondary character. Why bother?

If you make them too interesting, they get minds of their own and try to take over.

This delicate balance between making them interesting enough but not too interesting that they demand their own story is a thin line to navigate.

This secondary character needs a story all her own.

I wrote a book years ago where the sister of the hero was to have a brief appearance in exactly one scene. ONE! Her whole purpose was to introduce the hero, then I was done with her. However, she wasn’t done with me. Every time I turned around, she was showing up again. She didn’t even live in the same town. She was in college. I kept on trying to get rid of her. “Go back to college.”

When she showed up with her car loaded down with all her earthly possessions, I put my foot down. “Go away! This isn’t your story.”

She folded her arms and said, “Make me.”

“Seriously!”

I bartered, made a deal with her, and sent her off to her parents’. She stayed away for the most part but did reappear for the holidays.

One of my critique partners (Hi, Suzanne!) had a walk-by character. If I remember right, the character didn’t even have any dialogue. Suzanne was careful to make sure the character wasn’t flat and didn’t want to use a typical description for her. Our other critique partner (Hi, Kathy!) said, “That character better be coming back, because I want to know her story.” I wholeheartedly agreed. Suzanne had no plans for further scenes for her. What got us was her haunted expression. We wanted to know why she was haunted. There was a backstory there we longed to hear.

In my current The Quilting Circle series, each book introduces additional secondary characters that further the current story. The trouble is, I want to learn more about them, and they deserve their own stories. One of those secondary characters was Lamar Kesner (the hero of book 5). From book two on, he had mild to serious interest in the heroines of those books, but he never got the girl. My publisher was eager to read his story. I was eager for it too by that time.

So, in book 5, another interesting lady waltzes into his life, but can he capture her heart as she has his and hold on to it?

Among soirees, hot air balloon rides, and a bachelor quilt, their hearts stitch together. Hopefully, the threads are strong enough to keep them together.

 

THE LADY’S MISSION (Quilting Circle 5)

Will Cordelia abandon her calling for love? Cordelia Armstrong wants nothing more than to escape the social norms for her station in society. Unless she can skillfully maneuver her father into giving up control of her trust fund, she might have to concede defeat—as well as her freedom—and marry. Every time Lamar Kesner finds a fascinating lady, her heart belongs to another. When a vapid socialite is offered up as a prospective bride, he contemplates flying off in his hot air balloon instead. Is Lamar the one to finally break the determination of Cordelia’s parents to marry her off? Or will this charming bachelor fly away with her heart?

 

Available for pre-order on Amazon. (Releases October 5, 2022)

 
MARY DAVIS, bestselling, award-winning novelist, has over thirty titles in both historical and contemporary themes. Her latest release is THE DÉBUTANTE'S SECRET (Quilting Circle 4) THE DAMSEL’S INTENT (Quilting Circle 3) is a Selah Award Winner. Some of her other recent titles include; The Widow’s Plight, The Daughter's Predicament,Zola’s Cross-Country Adventure” in The MISSAdventure Brides Collection , Prodigal Daughters Amish series, and "Bygones" in Thimbles and Threads. She is a member of ACFW and active in critique groups.
Mary lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband of thirty-seven years and one cat. She has three adult children and three incredibly adorable grandchildren. Find her online at:

 

 

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Tuesday Tidbit: LAWMAN BADGES & THE WILD WEST


How do you tell a good guy from a bad guy in the old Wild West? Their badge, of course. Unless the lawman is also an outlaw and the outlaw a lawman. The difference between the two wasn’t clear-cut. Lawmen and outlaws dabbled on both sides of the badge.

Circa 1873

Law enforcement badges have been around for thousands of years, clear back to 3000 BC. Knights' shields and coat of arms were forms of badges. However, badges didn’t start out as a sign of someone in crime prevention. The insignias announced a person’s official status and allegiance. There was even a beggar’s badge in England for the poor to show they had the right to beg for food and money.

Beggar badge

Their transition to law enforcement was a natural one, to show who was authorized to administer justice and whom a person might be able to trust. These symbols of authority were traditionally worn on the left side. I found two reasons for this. One, knights carried their shields in their left hand both to protect that most vital organ, the heart, and to leave their dominant arm free to wield their sword.

 
 
Two, the placement signifies the pledge they took to hold the office and their willingness to serve and protect others, even to the point of risking their own lives.

Not all old west lawmen wore their badge on the left but a lot did. Also, not all old west lawmen wore badges at all, because there wasn’t always one available to wear. They cost money, and often, being a sheriff or deputy wasn’t a paid position.

When badges weren’t accessible or there wasn’t a large governing body to issue badges (as was the case in many old West frontier towns), some were formed out of easy to find materials. Some badges were forged out of coins. Rumor has it that the “tin” stars were made out of can lids, though the sources I came across hadn’t seen one yet, they were still looking. Since some badges were made out of readily available items, it makes sense that someone somewhere would have fashioned one out of a can lid.

Badges came in many shapes: stars, shields, ovals, circles, and various other forms. Each organization wanted their badge to be unique, hence the reason for the variety. Here are a few.

Used during WWI




Though badges have changed in their purpose over the centuries, they still convey status and allegiance.

In book 4 of my Quilting Circle series, The Débutante's Secret, a young man with a badge finds love instead of bandits.

The latest installment of the Quilting Circle, book 5, The Lady's Mission, releases October 5, 2022.

 

THE LADY’S MISSION (Quilting Circle 5)

Will Cordelia abandon her calling for love? Cordelia Armstrong wants nothing more than to escape the social norms for her station in society. Unless she can skillfully maneuver her father into giving up control of her trust fund, she might have to concede defeat—as well as her freedom—and marry. Every time Lamar Kesner finds a fascinating lady, her heart belongs to another. When a vapid socialite is offered up as a prospective bride, he contemplates flying off in his hot air balloon instead. Is Lamar the one to finally break the determination of Cordelia’s parents to marry her off? Or will this charming bachelor fly away with her heart?

 

Available for pre-order on Amazon. (Releases October 5, 2022)

 

 

 

~Other Books in the Quilting Circle Historical Romance Series


THE WIDOW’S PLIGHT (Book1) – Will a secret clouding a single mother’s past cost Lily the man she loves?

THE DAUGHTER’S PREDICAMENT (Book2) *2020 Selah Awards Finalist & WRMA Finalist* – As Isabelle’s romance prospects are turning in her favor, a family scandal derails her dreams.

THE DAMSEL’S INTENT (Book3) *2021 Selah Awards Winner & WRMA Finalist *– Nicole heads down the mountain to fetch herself a husband. Can she learn to be enough of a lady to snag the handsome rancher?

THE DÉBUTANTE’S SECRET (Book4) –Complications arise when a fancy French lady, Geneviève, steps off the train and into Deputy Montana’s arms.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07Q6L5QT1?searchxofy=true&binding=kindle_edition&qid=1634872128&sr=1-1

 

MARY DAVIS, bestselling, award-winning novelist, has over thirty titles in both historical and contemporary themes. Her latest release is THE DÉBUTANTE'S SECRET (Quilting Circle 4) THE DAMSEL’S INTENT (Quilting Circle 3) is a Selah Award Winner. Some of her other recent titles include; The Widow’s Plight, The Daughter's Predicament,Zola’s Cross-Country Adventure” in The MISSAdventure Brides Collection , Prodigal Daughters Amish series, and "Bygones" in Thimbles and Threads. She is a member of ACFW and active in critique groups.
Mary lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband of thirty-seven years and one cat. She has three adult children and three incredibly adorable grandchildren. Find her online at:

 

 

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Tuesday Tidbits: ONE OF THOSE DAYS, A SINGING GRANDDAUGHTER, & GOOD BOOKS!


I was going to lament on my terrible Saturday, where the harder I tried to do better the worse it got. I just wanted to go to bed and hope the next day would be better. But I don’t like to complain (much) and try to be positive. (It’s hard some times.) So, I’m turning my back on the bad day to look toward the good.

On Sunday, our almost-eight-year-old granddaughter sang Happy Birthday to her grandpa over FaceTime. So stinking adorable!!! If that don’t make you smile, nothing will. I can’t wait until we can visit and hug her and her younger sister and brother. My grandma heart aches to hold them.

In other good news, I have found several nonfiction books that are helping me in various areas of my emotional, mental, and spiritual life. Some times with nonfiction I nodded in agreement all through the book, feel enriched, and move on. Three of these that I have read over the past six-ish weeks are ones I want to re-read, do some in-depth studying on them, and put stuff into practice.


One of the books is A Grace Disguised: How the Souls Grows Through Loss by Jerry Sittser. This one is helping me with my grief over losing my son eight years ago. He lost his three-year battle with cancer. I still miss him but will see him again in heaven. But I haven’t fully grieved because I felt I would have a melt down I wouldn’t be able to recover from. Couple that with several other incredibly depressing and huge, hard things as well as depression and I’ve been struggling on many fronts. With the encouragement and strength I found in this book, I think I’m ready to tackle this area.


Next is The 10 Best Anxiety Busters: Simple Strategies to Take Control of Your Worry by Dr. Margaret Wehrenberg. I like that she describes three different types of anxiety so the reader can figure out which kind they are dealing with. Then she gives the 10 anxiety busters with examples and which busters work best for which type of anxiety. I need to go back and learn, in depth, each buster so I am prepared when the anxiety and panic attacks so that I can deal with it. I have been battling a generalized anxiety disorder and panic attacks for many, many years. It is overwhelming and debilitating. Often the struggle is daily even when there isn’t anything to be anxious about. Generalized anxiety routinely doesn’t make any sense, even to me. This book gives me hope to be able to cope better with my anxiety and panic attacks.


The third is Glory Days: Living Your Promised Land Life Now by Max Lucado. I love Max’s books and have read many, many. There isn’t a Max book I’ve read that I haven’t loved. This one goes through the book of Joshua. As I read, I saw how it paralleled my life. The fears I have and needing to cross the Jordon and enter the promised land the Lord has for me. I’m tired of wandering in this desert. The time has come. It might not be smooth and there might be some set backs, but working through my grief and anxiety gives me hope that I’m ready. I can almost hear the Lord giving a great big sigh. “It’s about time. I have been waiting for you, My child.”


I’m currently read, yet another non fiction book, called The Path of Celtic Prayer: An Ancient Way to Everyday Joy by Calvin Miller. I want to be better at praying but have snippets floating around in my head that religious people have said about how to pray the right way, and they have been hampering me. If there is a “right” way to pray, then that means there is a “wrong” way. The only wrong way is to not pray at all. I hope this book will help. However, my interest in this book is two fold, it seems to be one part prayer and one part learning more about my heritage. I’m Scottish, English, Irish, and other, lots of Celtic in me. So this book is helping me connect to my ancestors.

After that, I hope to return to my to-be-read fiction pile. Or perhaps, I’ll dive into one or two of the historical research books I have checked out from the library. So much interesting stuff.

Have read any interesting non-fiction books lately?

 

COMING SOON!!!!

THE LADY’S MISSION (Quilting Circle 5)

Will Cordelia abandon her calling for love? Cordelia Armstrong wants nothing more than to escape the social norms for her station in society. Unless she can skillfully maneuver her father into giving up control of her trust fund, she might have to concede defeat—as well as her freedom—and marry. Every time Lamar Kesner finds a fascinating lady, her heart belongs to another. When a vapid socialite is offered up as a prospective bride, he contemplates flying off in his hot air balloon instead. Is Lamar the one to finally break the determination of Cordelia’s parents to marry her off? Or will this charming bachelor fly away with her heart?

 

Available for pre-order on Amazon. (Releases October 5, 2022)

 
MARY DAVIS, bestselling, award-winning novelist, has over thirty titles in both historical and contemporary themes. Her latest release is THE DÉBUTANTE'S SECRET (Quilting Circle 4) THE DAMSEL’S INTENT (Quilting Circle 3) is a Selah Award Winner. Some of her other recent titles include; The Widow’s Plight, The Daughter's Predicament,Zola’s Cross-Country Adventure” in The MISSAdventure Brides Collection , Prodigal Daughters Amish series, and "Bygones" in Thimbles and Threads. She is a member of ACFW and active in critique groups.
Mary lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband of thirty-seven years and one cat. She has three adult children and three incredibly adorable grandchildren. Find her online at:

 

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Tuesday Tidbits: WANTED: LADY’S MAID

 

Must have a comprehensive knowledge of fashion and changing trends; expertly coif high society lady’s hair; sew, mend, and complete alterations; remove all manner of stains from every kind of fabric, including shoes, handbags, and furs; must be able to keep track of all the lady’s belongings and see to it none of them are out of place or missing; bring a breakfast tray to her mistress’s room or other requested meals; draw a perfect bath; and always, always conduct herself as a lady in all situations.


Basically, a lady’s maid had to be able to do everything. She wore many hats and attended to her mistress’s every need, want, or whim. She was the one person who was allowed in the mistress’s chambers except for cleaning. A chambermaid who came in to dust and clean floors must do so when the mistress was out and should never be seen in the room by the mistress. A high level of trust developed between a mistress and her lady’s maid.

 

In the series Downton Abbey, they showed the high level of trust between Lady Mary and her lady's maid, as well as the lady's maid being at her mistress's beck and call in this scene.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6SElyaUFQs

 

Lady’s maids enjoyed a somewhat improved social status to other servants but not as high as a lady’s companion. Though a lady’s maid might begin her official work after the rest of the household staff, she is at the beck and call of her mistress, regardless of the hour. She must ensure her mistress’s privacy in everyday situations and on the occasions the mistress falls ill. A lady’s maid’s work is rarely ever done.


A lady’s maid’s day might look something like this:

 

   ~Rise early enough to ensure she is up and dressed before her mistress wakes.


   ~Wake her mistress at a specified time if desired.


   ~After her mistress’s morning ablutions (washing up), she will help with dressing and doing her hair.

 

   ~Once the lady is all put together and has vacated her chambers for the day, the first order of business for the lady’s maid is to air the room by pulling back drapes, opening windows, and drawing apart bed curtains.


   ~The lady’s maid will then tidy the room by putting away anything that was used for washing up and getting dressed. The room must be returned to its original state, as though nothing had been touched. Clean wash basins, glasses, and water jugs of soap scum and fingerprints. If a stray thread has landed on the carpet, this, too, must be removed.

 

   ~She will then wash hair combs, remove stains from clothes, starch any clothing that needs it, and various other duties.


   ~Next comes the needle and thread work of mending, darning, and other sewing tasks. The lady’s maid must sort through the soiled clothes for anything that needs repair before being sent out to the laundress. She will determine if an article is beyond use so it can be discarded.

 

   ~She must also keep meticulous inventory of ALL of her mistress’s pieces of clothing to ensure that everything which is sent out to be cleaned returns. This includes writing up a list of costs on each garment’s upkeep. Being the steward of her mistress’s belongings, she must pay close attention to everything that leaves the room.

 

   ~Once her duties are completed, she can improve her mind with reading or spend some time sewing. Her evenings can often be for leisure until her mistress needs to change her clothes or get undressed at the end of the day. Once again, everything must be put to rights. She doesn’t get to sleep until her mistress does.


   ~Because she is afforded privileges other household staff aren’t and she has the mistress’s ear, she is often the subject of jealously from her peers.

 

Being a lady’s maid isn’t the simple job it might appear to be at first glance, but these women have many talents and skills. I don’t think I would have been very good at the job. I would probably get fired the first day.


In The Débutante’s Secret (Quilting Circle 4), Geneviève Marseille is in need of a lady’s maid, but they are in short supply in Kamola. Deputy Montana comes to the rescue by suggesting his sister for the job.


 

 

 

THE LADY’S MISSION (Quilting Circle 5)

Will Cordelia abandon her calling for love? Cordelia Armstrong wants nothing more than to escape the social norms for her station in society. Unless she can skillfully maneuver her father into giving up control of her trust fund, she might have to concede defeat—as well as her freedom—and marry. Every time Lamar Kesner finds a fascinating lady, her heart belongs to another. When a vapid socialite is offered up as a prospective bride, he contemplates flying off in his hot air balloon instead. Is Lamar the one to finally break the determination of Cordelia’s parents to marry her off? Or will this charming bachelor fly away with her heart?

 

Available for pre-order on Amazon. (Releases October 5, 2022)

 

MARY DAVIS, bestselling, award-winning novelist, has over thirty titles in both historical and contemporary themes. Her latest release is THE DÉBUTANTE'S SECRET (Quilting Circle 4) THE DAMSEL’S INTENT (Quilting Circle 3) is a Selah Award Winner. Some of her other recent titles include; The Widow’s Plight, The Daughter's Predicament,Zola’s Cross-Country Adventure” in The MISSAdventure Brides Collection , Prodigal Daughters Amish series, and "Bygones" in Thimbles and Threads. She is a member of ACFW and active in critique groups.
Mary lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband of thirty-seven years and one cat. She has three adult children and three incredibly adorable grandchildren. Find her online at:

Tuesday Tidbits: RANDOM RESEARCH

Being an author, I research a lot of things I never imagined learning about. From hot-air balloons to hurricanes, from challenge coins to st...