Monday, March 16, 2020

Taming Julia by Jodie Wolfe



I've always been a fan of mail-order bride stories. They make for good fiction. It's hard to believe that it actually is part of our Nation's history. Can you imagine what scenarios caused a woman to take a chance, to travel a far distance to marry a man she'd never met? Most times they didn't correspond more than a few letters before they decided to get hitched.
I saw one advertisement that a man desired an ugly wife. I can't imagine. How do you know if you qualify as being ugly enough to suit him? Chuckle. The scenario I came up with for my mail-order bride story is what happens if a man sends off for a genteel bride and the woman who shows up is anything but that. What would he do, especially if they were already married by proxy. It wasn't like he could send her back. 

Here's a sneak peek:
Matrimony News, February 6, 1875 edition
Minister bachelor aged 27, height 5 feet 10 inches seeks genteel, honest and first-rate homemaker with a desire to serve God. Must be willing to marry by proxy and arrive in Burrton Springs, Kansas by May 1. 

~*~ 

Burrton Springs, Kansas, Saturday, May 1, 1875 

Dear Lord, please don’t let that creature be my new wife. Drew Montgomery swiped the sweat trickling a path down his neck and shoved the new hat back on his head. He squinted, taking in the lone passenger stepping from the stagecoach. At least, he thought it was a woman. He shielded his eyes from the sun, taking in the britches. 

Britches? A gun belt strapped to a slim waist. He gulped. A rifle rested on her shoulder, and she wore a Stetson situated low on her brow. The figure shifted sideways, and Drew groaned, fearing his proxy mail-order bride had arrived by the look of all the curves. He squared his shoulders and crossed the street. 

"Are you Montgomery?" Her coffee-brown gaze seared through him. 

He snapped his gaping mouth shut and nodded. "Y-yes." 

"Name’s Jules Walker." She shoved her hand into his and shook it so hard his teeth clattered. "I reckon, Jules Montgomery since we’re hitched." She waved a slip of paper in his face. "Got the paper here to prove it. So are you my husband or not?" 

Drew caught a whiff of dirt. He coughed and cleared his throat. 

She peered at him as if he were a chicken with one leg. 

"I’m Drew." He managed to choke the words out. "Isn’t your name Julia?" 

She scrunched her face, pushed her Stetson from her head, and allowed it to dangle from the string around her neck. Her brown hair scattered in disarray, slipping from a shoulder-length braid. "I can’t remember the last time I’ve been called Julia. Like I said, name’s Jules." 

"But..." Drew let the word hang between them. No matter. "Where’re your things?" 

"Got my knapsack and that there." She pointed to the top of the stagecoach. He expected to see a trunk, but a saddle rested there instead. What kind of woman brought a saddle into a marriage? What kind of woman showed up dressed like a man? No. No. Something was terribly wrong. 




About Taming Julia
In 1875, Kansas bachelor Drew Montgomery's sole desire is to serve God, but his congregation's ultimatum that he marry or leave, forces him to advertise for a wife by proxy. Jules Walker strides into Drew's life wearing breeches and toting a gun and saddle--more cowboy than bride. After years on the trail, she's not exactly wife material, but she longs for home and family, and will do anything to ensure Drew never discovers what she really is. 
Purchase Here







About the Author
Jodie Wolfe creates novels where hope and quirky meet. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Romance Writers of America (RWA), and COMPEL Training. She's been a semi-finalist and finalist in various writing contests. A former columnist for Home School Enrichment magazine, her articles can be found online at: Crosswalk, Christian Devotions, and Heirloom Audio. She's a contributor and co-founder of Stitches Thru Time blog. When not writing she enjoys spending time with her husband in Pennsylvania, reading, walking, and being a Grammie. Learn more at www.jodiewolfe.com.
Website

What do you like about mail-order bride stories? Leave a comment for a chance to win a free ebook.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Bachelor Buttons by Kathleen L Maher ends March 18th!


Please welcome my very dear friend Kathleen Maher. Kathy and I have been critique partners for over 12 years now. I love this story she wrote and I know you will too. Read on down to find out how to be entered. 



What a treat to be back on your blog again! Thank you so much, Debbie Lynne.

It feels like déjà vu, since we celebrated this same novella here seven years ago when it first came out. The re-release of Bachelor Buttons, an Irish historical romance, comes with a fresh new cover and edits, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day.

Today I thought I’d share an excerpt for your readers, and a chance to win their very own copy.



Excerpt from Bachelor Buttons:



“Katherine, would you please watch wee Thomas while I see who ‘tis, knocking at the door.” Rose handed off her youngest sibling to her sister then smoothed her cotton gingham skirt on the way to the front parlor. She wasn’t expecting Da for a day or two, not until his ship made port at
one of the East River docks. As a longshoreman, he made a sporadic presence in their lives. Even between berths, he’d come in after dark, his hands and clothes reeking of sweat and his breath of whiskey. Ever since Ma had passed in early 1862, her father seemed to need the medicinal effects of the tonic before coming home. So, if the commotion at the door wasn’t Da, then who?


She pushed back wisps of her loose titian hair and drew open the door.

His silhouette gave him away. The tall, broad-shouldered man in coat jacket, waistcoat and bow tie held a satchel in one hand and a crisp, black felt bowler in the other.

“If it isn’t Doctor McGuiness, himself. Pleased to see you this afternoon. What brings you all the way down to the East Side?”

“Greetings, Miss Meehan.” He fidgeted with his hat, fumbling to tuck it under the same arm as his medical bag, but unsuccessfully. He finally gave her a half-bow and straightened, looking at her as though she might invite him in. But that wouldn’t be proper with only Katherine at home. He jerked back the same way a horse stopped on short rein and spun the brim of his hat in both hands.

“I—I wondered if you might be interested in accompanying me to a lecture this evening. You know how fascinated I am with the study of phrenology, and it just so happens I have an extra ticket—”

Thomas let out a wail from the other room and drowned out the good doctor. Rose smiled, glancing between her guest and the lad. She shrugged one shoulder. “I promised Katherine I would stay with Wee Thomas tonight. I do apologize, especially considering that you came all this way to see me.”

He shuffled his feet and looked down at the dirt coating his newly shined shoes. “Oh, it wasn’t out of the way, Miss Meehan. I saw a patient in the old neighborhood.”

She deflected his unblinking intensity with a saucy grin. “I’ll bet all your patients just swoon at that smooth charm of yours?” His serious face mottled with port and he stammered to find a reply. She waited patiently for a repartee that never came, Da’s words reverberating in her head. Marry well, and you’ll have no worries.

Dr. Ian McGuiness was a kind man, and not hard on the eyes, if a girl like her could indulge in such frivolous concerns. She should consider herself blessed to have his attentions of all the girls he might have chosen to fancy—girls of better social advantage than she. But his Ma and hers had come over together from County Kerry during the famine. She and Ian had practically grown up together, he preoccupied with his books while she ran a racket with the neighborhood boys in marbles.

She smiled up at him, swishing her gingham work skirt. “I could see if Katherine will stay with wee Thomas.”

His dark brown eyes narrowed, the kindly edges crinkling in a slow smile.

She scurried inside to confer with Katherine, but all the while her thoughts betrayed her. If marrying a doctor was such a prize, why did the auburn waves and the snapping blue eyes of a certain violin teacher suddenly dance in her mind?

“Kate?” She used her most endearing tone on her sister and the nickname only their Ma had used. “Dr. McGuiness has called, and—”

“And you’ll be wanting to renege on your promise to me this evenin’ I suppose?”

Rose let out a sigh. “But couldn’t you bring Thomas with you? It’s only this once, and I’m sure the Sisters would welcome his presence.”

“It’s a novena, and no place for a squalling babe, Rose. And if you weren’t so selfish, you’d be keeping your mother’s memory with me instead of snaring two men in your net.”

The words didn’t sting as much as they probably should have. Her sister didn’t truly have a mean bone in her body. She wished she could be more like Kate, good and kind and close to God. Rose leaned in and kissed her sister’s pastel cheek.

“Thank you, Kate. I promise I’ll make it up to you.” She dashed away to report to her beau.

Waiting for her at the door, the doctor stood toe-to-toe with Mr. William Lee. Rose’s steps faltered and her breath stuttered behind her stays. Composing herself, she clasped her hands at her skirt, pasting on her most winsome smile.

“My, what a pleasant surprise, gentlemen! To what does a girl owe such a delightful turn of events?” She stepped out onto the stoop between them.

William adjusted his instrument case and reached out to take her hand. “You’re looking fit as a fiddle, Miss Rose, if I may say so.”

She giggled. “Aye, and your fiddle is fitter than most, Mr. Lee.”

Dr. McGuiness cleared his throat. “I must be going, Miss Meehan. Do you have an answer for me?”

“I spoke to Katherine and she has agreed to free me this evening—”

“Splendid,” William Lee interjected. “Then you can come with me to the show. I have two tickets. . .”

The doctor folded his arms across his chest, staring down at the violinist.

Mr. Lee tipped the visor of his cap down over his brows and thrust his chin up.

Rose brought them around with a gentle exhortation. “Gentlemen, tis flattered I am that you both want to take me out tonight. A girl’s only got but one Saturday evenin’ a week. Monday I am free from obligations. Perhaps one of you would care to escort me then?”

Mr. Lee grunted deep in his throat and stepped around her to pin his glare on the good doctor. “I’m not giving up these tickets without a good reason.”

“You’re too late. I have already asked Miss Rose to accompany me this evening. We’re attending a symposium.”

William cocked his head and thrust his finger within an inch of Ian’s chest. “Why don’t we let the lady decide?”

Both sets of expectant eyes turned to her. Rose held out her hand, her embroidered hankie hanging between them. An idea settled over her as deft as the breeze that rustled the tatted edges.

“It’s easily settled. Whichever one of you wins this, wins me for the outing.”

William snatched at it, but she darted it back from his reach. “Not so hasty. First you must run a race.”

“A race, Miss Rose?” The doctor’s brow furrowed, and he stood askance.

“What’s the matter, doc? Don’t want to soil your spats?”

McGuiness tossed down his hat and set his satchel by Rose’s doorstep. Straightening, he shrugged out of his overcoat. “Name the course.”







Bachelor Buttons

The daughter of immigrants who fled the Irish Potato Famine, Rose Meehan longs for a better life than the tenements of New York City. Courted by two men--a young doctor who represents material security, and a poor violin instructor who has captured her heart--she must choose between the two. When Manhattan explodes in mob rule following Lincoln's unpopular draft, Rose’s decision could mean the difference between life and death.

Purchase link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0851WX4JC/





CONTEST TIME:

I am offering a giveaway to one of your readers of an e-copy of Bachelor Buttons. All they have to do to enter is share this post on social media. The more shares, the more entries. Just tell me in the comments where you shared to claim your entry(ies). And a way for me to reach you if random dot org selects your name. (email is great.)

Also, I am hosting a huge Rafflecopter giveaway with another Christian historical author with a March release. Please take a moment to enter for your chance to win one of these great prizes!

Raffle copter runs from March 9-18th Grand prize is $50 Amazon GC, second prize is a $25 Ammy GC, third prize is an Irish goodie basket.
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0cc4b6534/?



Happy Saint Patrick’s Day. The luck of the Irish be with you!

Kathleen L. Maher: Stories Where every underdog has his day."
The Author’s first crush was Peter Rabbit, and she’s loved conflicted heroes ever since. Kathleen has two novellas in BARBOUR BOOKS' collections: Victorian Christmas Brides and Lessons on Love. Winner 2012 ACFW Genesis Award. Author of Sons of the Shenandoah Series: The Abolitionist's Daughter and The Chaplain's Daughter.
She and her husband live in an old farmhouse in upstate NY with their children and a small menagerie.



Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Kathleen-L-Maher/e/B00D8EXO80/
Facebook author page:
https://www.facebook.com/KLMaherAuthor/
Pinterest:
http://www.pinterest.com/kathleenlmaher/boards/
Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/2531698-kathleen-l
BookBub:
https://www.bookbub.com/profile/kathleen-l-maher

Monday, October 14, 2019

First Publicly Funded Schools PLUS GIVEAWAY of Lessons on Love ~ Kathleen L Maher Ends 10/21





Lessons on Love book blog tour

Hi! Kathleen L. Maher here, returning because I have some fun stories to share with you. A school teacher historical romance collection, actually. Thank you so much, Debbie Lynne, for having me on your blog! I’m really excited about this collection and thought I would share with your readers about the theme of Lessons on Love, which is early education in America.

The first publicly funded schools were called Common Schools, a push starting in the late 1830’s that would spread with the westward expansion of our country and create an unprecedented need for instructors versed in both classical learning and Christian and civic influence. Horace Mann is credited with being the founder of the Common School movement with a goal of providing a free education to all regardless of socioeconomic standing. Thomas Jefferson had expressed that the survival of this new republic after the Revolutionary War depended upon an educated citizenry. Not just the highborn.

Male instructors were at first the only choice as women were generally denied access to the education necessary to instruct others. Women were not uneducated—many could read and write, but they were undereducated, and at first disregarded as credible instructors. But as men became less and less available to teach, their skills and ambitions luring them to other more lucrative professions and ambitions, opinions on women in the classroom shifted.

It quickly became the mode for women to preside over classrooms, advocated by forward thinkers such as Catharine Beecher, sister of Henry Ward Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe. She was a pioneering voice in legitimizing women in the classroom not only because they were intelligent—she herself was an accomplished school founder, curriculum writer and activist—but she also raised the point that women held a unique advantage because they were born nurturers, ready influencers in morality for the next generation. She helped establish training schools for teachers on the western frontier and served to establish women’s colleges. The common school quickly found women teachers indispensable. Women were available and inexpensive—typically paid less than half of what a man would have been paid.

Noah Webster joined voices like Jefferson’s in emphasizing the vital importance of education to a civil society. His “blue backed” speller was widely used in Common Schools. His was an ecumenical approach, emphasizing classic literary and historical curriculum to unify a population of diverse background in terms of skill, economy, region, and even race. Webster’s curriculum shared Horace Mann’s vision of uniting a culture with a common education that would produce stability both politically and socially.

Around this time another curriculum came into vogue. The McGuffey Reader encouraged oral recitation with short verse and story, often centering on Christian didactics, scripture, and even prayer. The generally accepted values at the time of the Bible advised moral and civic instruction. In the Common School, church and state were not separate in the classroom. Only localized protest challenged this, when populations of Roman Catholic immigrants questioned the Protestant status quo, mostly to no avail.






Four schoolteachers find more than they bargained for in their contracts. Class is in session on the four R’s: reading, ‘riting, ‘rithmatic, and romance!

Something Old, Something New by Kathleen L. Maher

New York, 1840

Her father’s sudden death makes Gilda Jacobs the new schoolmaster, but to teach Christian curriculum she partners with fire-and-brimstone revivalist Joshua Blake, who learns a lesson in love.



            Gilda Jacobs                Joshua Blake


Love in Any Language by Susanne Dietze
Kansas, 1870
Mary Clarence teaches English to the children of Swedish immigrants, but when her favorite students’ widowed father, Kristofer Nilsson, is accused of robbery, she’s determined to clear his name.

In Desperate Straits by Carrie Fancett Pagels
Mackinac Island, Michigan, 1894
Desperate for work, Margaret Hadley dresses as a young man to secure a dray driver’s position. When soldiers at the fort threaten her, Mackinac Island’s newest teacher, Jesse Huntington, intervenes.

A Song in the Night
by Rita Gerlach
Virginia, 1904
Karin Wiles longs to share the uplifting power of music with children. But when she seeks to improve a poorly run school and include orphans, Nathaniel Archer delivers harsh words of opposition from the school board.

CONTEST: I am offering a signed print copy of Lessons on Love to one lucky commenter. To enter, answer this question. Would you like to see Biblical values return to public education? Why or why not?

For extra entries, share this blogpost on your social media: FB, Twitter, Pinterest, or (the cover of the book) on Instagram, etc. Be creative! The more shares, the more entries. ***US only***

Thank you so much once again for having me as a guest on your awesome blog, Debbie Lynne. I look forward to interacting with your readers!