Monday, April 27, 2015

It's Not Just Sew Sew

It’s Not Just Sew Sew

The old West had a shortage of everything except hard times and backbreaking work and there was sure plenty of that. Pioneer women took extra pains with all their belongings and to lose something as small as a button really was difficult to take.

Buttons have been around approximately 4,000 years with its history dating back to Egypt. Archaeologists have unearthed them in ancient tombs and in archaeological digs.

At first buttons were used entirely for decoration. Men and women both wore buttons to adorn themselves. King Louis XIV of France spent $600,000 a year on buttons and King Francis I once had 13,600 buttons sewn to a single coat. The First Duke of Buckingham had a suit and cloak covered in diamond buttons. Talk about extravagant.

From ancient times, buttons have been fashioned from pearls, shells, glass, metal, wood, bone and antler, precious stones, porcelain, and leather among other materials. It appears that our ancestors made buttons from everything imaginable that was available at the time. Buttons with images of angels on them date back hundreds of years. Early buttons showed beautiful artistry. Artists filled their time painting portraits and scenery on them. Europe became so button crazy the church denounced them as “the devil’s snare,” mainly because of women’s buttoned-front dresses. Even the Puritans condemned buttons as sinful.

No one is quite sure when someone came along and fashioned the first buttonhole, but it was quite an accomplishment. Everyone jumped on the band wagon. It was so nice to able to make form-fitting garments that didn’t have to be secured with a belt, rope or other device.

Sadly, decorated buttons have become a lost art. These today are made of plastic.

Vintage Buttons 

Button collecting began in the 1930’s. The National Button Society was formed in 1938. There are thousands of collectors today. People collect all kinds and shapes and some of the prices fetched for a single button is outrageous. Recently, a button was sold in auction for $850.

The Smithsonian Institution has an extensive button collection as do many other museums.

Did you know that March 13-19 is National Button Week?

I'll have a new book out on May 5th! The second one in the Bachelor of Battle Creek series -- TWICE A TEXAS BRIDE!

Scars of the past run deep inside former saloon owner Rand Sinclair, leaving jagged pain and two certainties. He'll never fall in love again. Never marry. He finally has the ranch and land he's dreamed of owning and that's enough.

But when he finds a woman and little boy hiding out in one of his outbuildings in the bitter cold, he can't turn his back. He offers her a safe haven and the warmth of his fire.

Callie Quinn is on the run from a killer outlaw who has vowed to see her dead and take the boy.

Slowly, Rand uncovers her secrets and realizes the only way to keep her safe is to push all his chips to the center of the table. He risks everything...his name...and his heart...for the woman who's awakened a fierce hunger for love.
Locked in a desperate battle to rid themselves of the outlaw's special brand of terror, Rand reaches deep inside for every weapon in his arsenal.
Whoever wants to harm her will have to go through him.
And he’ll go through hell for her.
* * *
Here's a short excerpt involving buttons:

Sliding her hand beneath the soft hair at the nape of his neck, she parted her mouth slightly. When his tongue dipped inside, she faintly tasted peaches. She’d never felt so much need well up inside. She needed Rand like she needed air and food and to be loved. How could she have lived this long without him?

A second later, he removed his mouth from hers and murmured. “You drive me crazy, woman. Would you mind if I unfasten some buttons of your dress?”

“How many?” What a dumb question, but her brain had deserted her. The tingles doing back-flips and twirls up and down her spine had made forming coherent thought impossible.

“Three. Or four. You have so many.” He flashed a fleeting grin. “I have the greatest desire to feel my wife's skin. Will you welcome me?”

“Yes,” she managed to whisper.

The cool air was welcome on her flesh as he undid the four buttons she’d allotted. But he didn't stop. She covered his hand with hers. "You said four and that's what I agreed to."

"I never was much good at arithmetic." He took her hand and kissed each of her fingertips before he resumed his mission. 

* * *

Do you have a stash of buttons? Can you imagine wearing a piece of clothing that has over 13,000 buttons sewn on it?

I'm giving away a book to two people who comment. Their choice of Texas Mail Order Bride or Twice a Texas Bride in either print or e-book.

Amazon Links:

Texas Mail Order Bride:

Twice a Texas Bride:

Linda Broday, Historical Romance Author

I'm a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. My interest in reading and history came very early, so when I began writing historical romances it was no surprise to anyone. I reside in the Texas Panhandle on land the American Indian and Comancheros once roamed. I love scouring history books and the internet for little known details to add to my stories. I've been accused, and quite unjustly I might add, of making myself a nuisance at museums and libraries. Humble roots and the love of family have become focal points of each book I write. I hope you like the stories I endeavor to bring to you and that you'll try my new Bachelors of Battle Creek series.

You can Contact me:

Visit me at:
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Monday, April 13, 2015

Could You Have A Past Life? by C. Marie Bowen

Could you have had a Past Life?

Many years ago, I knew a woman who swore she had lived a previous life. She believed she was in Georgia during Sherman’s “March to the Sea”. She told me she had never given the Civil War much thought until she watched Gone With the Wind for the first time. As the war drew closer and closer to Scarlet in the film, the woman said she became increasingly agitated. As Scarlet walked through the remains of the battlefield, the woman became so ill she had to leave the theater. She swore she wasn’t squeamish, but could never watch that show without experiencing physical and emotional pain. She blamed her visceral reaction on having been killed during the Civil War.

I also knew a man who believes he had died on the Titanic in his previous life. He claimed to have memories of being trapped beneath the deck as the ship went down. He relayed this story to me in the early 80s, well before the 1997 blockbuster Titanic. I thought of him as I watched Jack and Rose fight their way to the upper deck, and I wondered...what if?

Past lives. Reincarnation. Could it be a learning process for the soul? Do we choose to be born again, or do we earn a new life by learning a specific lesson in this one? Perhaps all this talk of reincarnation and past lives is nothing but superstitious nonsense. Each person decides their own truth.

Many eastern religions, such as Buddhism and Hinduism, hold reincarnation as a central tenant. While in the West, popular culture has brought the idea of reincarnation into contemporary books, movies and songs. For me, the fascination with past lives began with the Paul Williams song, Old Souls from the 1974 film, Phantom of the Paradise, sung by Jessica Harper. Here, give it a listen. It’s a beautiful love song.  -  Old Souls

The song is haunting, romantic, and filled my young imagination with the idea of loving someone so much you could find them in your next life, or long for them in your present one. The notion stuck with me, and the central theme of Passage was born.

 PASSAGE: Soul of the Witch, Book 1

In Passage, my heroine, Courtney Veau has a near-death experience, and returns to her past-life in the post-Civil War west. When she wakes in a present-day hospital, Courtney realizes she’s returned to her own hollow existence. Heartbroken, she knows she left behind not only a family she loves, but life with the man who shares her soul, a man she’ll love forever, Merril Shilo.

A carriage accident nearly takes beautiful Nichole Harris’s life, stealing her memories completely. Plagued by amnesia, she is confused by flashes of memory that are out of time with the world around her, and seem to belong to someone else. Only Nichole's own strong emotions remain to guide her—and as others try to take control of her life, she fights a desperate battle to survive. Merril Shilo is someone she should know, and though her memories fail her, she is stunned by her passion for him—and the remembered agony of a broken heart.

Merril Shilo is the love of Courtney’s life—no matter when that life might be. The memories and emotions of her life as ranch heiress Nichole Harris consume Courtney’s mind—and her heart. Courtney soon finds her desire for Merril threatens her sanity, as he beckons from a past she can no longer reach. Can she find the PASSAGE back to the soul-mate she left behind?

Excerpt from Passage:

The long shadows faded into twilight. She'd found what she came for—proof this house existed. There was no longer a reason to stay; and yet, just the possibility she might hear his voice again kept her waiting one more day.

Outside the window, night took final possession of the day. A few porch lights came on down the block. Headlights swung around the corner as a car turned onto the street and illuminated the pavement. The headlights winked off and a car door slammed.

Behind her, the room took on a familiar chill. She turned from the window and pressed her back against the heavy drapes as the echo of boots pounded up the back stairs. She gasped when he raced into the room, vaguely luminescent in the darkness. He was dressed in denim trousers and cotton shirt, with a silk scarf tied loosely around his neck. Where's his hat? Had he lost it in the dash up the stairs? That wide-brimmed cowboy hat was such a part of him he seemed naked without it. His hair had come loose from its binding, and he shoved it out of his face with a familiar motion. She stood close enough to read the emotion play across his face, a mixture of fear and bewilderment. His breath was labored, and his anxiety tangible as he stopped and looked right at her. Her mouth fell open in surprise and her heart tightened in her chest. Does he see me?

He took a hesitant step toward her. “Nichole?” His voice filled with horror, he whispered her name from another life.

Yes! Merril, it's me.” Courtney stepped toward the specter.

His head turned. His attention called away from her open arms. “Oh, sweet Jesus.” Merril fell to his knees and reached for something no longer there. “Nicki, please don't go. Stay with me.”

Merril, I'm here.” Her heart ached for him and for herself, but her plea went unheard.

Sobs shook his wide shoulders.

Her heart clenched to witness his despair. She longed to comfort him, to assure him she was there, but could not. In defeat, she sank to her knees beside the grieving apparition.

Nicki, don't leave me. Look at me—” His hushed voice, choked and broken.

I'm right here, my love,” she whispered, but the room grew warm and Merril Shilo faded back into the past. Courtney hung her head in the darkness and fought back tears. One question was answered, at least for now.


Comment and leave your email address. Do you believe you had a past life or lives? If you could choose a past life, who would you have been?

The winner will receive a free e-book of Passage, Soul of the Witch – Book 1.

C. Marie Bowen

Connie (C. Marie) Bowen is an award winning writer of paranormal adventures laced with suspense and romance. She grew up in Denver, Colorado and has a love of western history, science fiction, and fantasy. Her life travels have taken her from Denver to Wichita, KS and eventually settling in North Texas to raise her two boys. A LEED accredited professional, she worked as an Architectural Project Manager for retail construction prior to deciding an empty nest gave her the opportunity to follow her writing muse.

She plans to release Prophecy, Soul of the Witch, Book 2 this summer, and the final chapter, Paradox, Soul of the Witch, Book 3 by the end of the year.

She is a PRO member of Romance Writers of America, Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal Sub-chapter of RWA, North Texas RWA, and Savvy Authors.

Learn more about her books and works in progress at her website:

Monday, April 6, 2015

An Interview With Author, Diana Tobin

Welcome, Diana Tobin!

About Diana:

My first job was at a hotel in southern California where I grew up – not Eloise style.  Over the years I’ve provided daycare, worked as a cake decorator, been a farmer, and retired from 30 years of banking.  These days I spend my time writing, gardening, scrapbooking, and spending every possible moment with my beloved grandchildren.  One of my best vacations was taking them to Disneyland for the first time.
            With family members spread across the country, and overseas, I was born in Maine, grew up near Los Angeles, and have made the Rogue Valley of Oregon my home for the past 34 years.
            Half my life has been involved with writing; the study and practice of it, plus being part of local and national organizations.  A lifelong love of reading has filled my bookshelves to overflowing.  There is nothing like entering another world, another place, and meeting new people through the pages of a book.

The Interview:
         What is the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done? 
           I don’t see myself as an adventurous person, yet some might think I am.  I’d have to say I really had nothing to do with my greatest adventure and that was becoming a grandmother.  Thankfully, it’s an on-going adventure.

What adventure would you like to have that you haven’t done yet if money and skill were no problem?
            I would like to travel around the US more, and take those grandkids with me.  I’d also like to go to Israel and visit my niece.

Who are some of your favorite authors?  What commonality do you see in them? 
            My favorite authors are Nora Roberts, Linda Howard, Marilyn Pappano, and Sharon Sala.  The list keeps growing.  Their characters meet their challenges, whether large or small, and become willing to give their all for the love of their life, no matter how long it takes to fall in love with that person.

I believe color says something about a person’s personality.  What’s your favorite color?

            My favorite color is purple, all shades, from flowers, to clothes, to paint colors.  Okay, only my bedroom is purple.

If you could have a do-over life, what one thing would you do differently?  What would you do again?
          No do-over for my life.  I’ve been fortunate to see and do many wonderful things. I do feel I made one big mistake and considered correcting it many times over 28 years, but if I had I wouldn’t have those adorable grandchildren that make it all worth while.  I like my life and it’s hard to beat having a 30 year dream come true; being a published author.

What is your writing process from conception to finished MS? Are you a planner, panster or both?

            I’m definitely a panster writer.  I get an idea, get a feel for the characters, and go for it.  Planning doesn’t always work for me because the characters have a tendency to take over and say and do what they want.  I listen to them since it is their story.  Once the story is down then I edit, edit, edit, edit, until I’m satisfied it’s the best it can be.  Then, of course, the worry sets in; should I change this, that?

How did you research for your book?
            There was no research for KISSING COUSINS.  I live in the Rogue Valley of southern Oregon and have attended many of the S. Oregon Spartans Hockey games.  (Yes, readers, they are real!)  I was born in Maine, have relatives there, and been to the places in the book.  While I borrowed family names, none of the characters in the book are based on them.  Life provides much fodder for writers.

What is your all-time favorite movie?  TV show?
            My favorite TV show is “NCIS”  I love the interaction of the characters more than the crime solving part.  My favorite movie is harder to pick.  I loved Daniel Day Lewis’ portrayal of “Lincoln” and sobbed even though I knew what was coming.  “Ever After” is a good one because Cinderella saves herself and by the time she does, the prince is worthy of her love.  I have a great fondness for “Hocus Pocus” due to a fascination with the Salem witch trials.  Enough that I wrote two books set during that time.

How important do feel writing workshops are to any writer?
            Writing workshops are a great help and I highly recommend them as time and money allows.  You will always learn something, and that one thing could be just what you need.  Or, you might make a contact that becomes your new best friend.

If you could learn one new skill, fear and money no deterrent, what would it be?
            I would love to learn to dance like on “Dancing with the Stars.”  I have no desire to be on the show, but learning to dance would get me in shape without looking like I was being attacked by a hairy bug.

If you had a million dollars to donate to any one charity, what would it be?
            There are so many important causes that could use an infusion of cash but I’d go with literacy.  It doesn’t matter what a person reads, as long as they can read, and they will learn something.  Even if what they learn is to have faith in themselves.

What advice would you like to give to an aspiring writer? Did anyone mentor you or help you along the way? 
Please tell us about your mentor and what you feel they contributed to your writing career.
What is the best advice anyone ever gave you?

            The best advice I got was from Nora Roberts.  Either I was extremely na├»ve or totally brazen, but shortly after I got serious about writing I penned a note to Ms Roberts and asked her advice.  Much to my shock she answered with join Romance Writers of America.  This was a total eye-opening experience.  Those at the top were willing to help those just starting, completely the opposite of corporate America where I was earning my living.  The conferences, the workshops, the contacts, the do’s-don’t’s-and why-nots.  A group of us formed a local chapter; half our members were multi-published and willing to help the rest of us.  My mentors were Vella Mun, Wendy Warren, Rosalie More, Sheila Straus, Gail Jenner, and many more.  As chapter president I became a cheerleader with my monthly messages aimed at myself as well as my fellow members.
            Reading is a big help; not just the genre you write, but any and every thing.  You learn how a story flows or doesn’t.  You learn how traits of a character are revealed.  If you read something you don’t like, you’ve learned what not to do.

If you could live anywhere in the world you wanted to, where would it be? (Language is no barrier)

            I love where I live, but the bottom line for me is to be near my grandchildren as long as I can.  I would love to also have homes in Maine, Nantucket, and one of the Carolinas.

Where do you write? 
How much time do you devote to writing each week?
 Do you have a day every week that you take off?

            I write at home with the days and hours varying depending on what’s happening with the rest of my world.  I pick up my grandkids from school and stay with them until mom or dad arrives home.  Most often I write in the mornings before going to get them, but if a story is really clicking and I can’t bear to leave it I take my computer with me.  We each have our own homework….and my grandson only asks for my help with English and spelling.  Hmmm.  This flexibility is possible because I am now retired.

What is a genre that you have not attempted that you would like to try?
            I would love to write a humorous mystery like Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series.  Some have told me they got some chuckles while reading KISSING COUSINS.  Hopefully, not during a love scene.  There may be hope for me one day.

Is there anything you would like readers to know about you?
            Readers probably know more about me than they wish.  I do hope readers enjoy KISSING COUSINS and want to thank everyone for this opportunity.

GIVE AWAY ALERT!! Diana will be giving away a digital copy of KISSING COUSINS to someone who comments on her interview. Be sure to include your email address in your comment.


Paperback: 140 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (March 22, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1508919224

ISBN-13: 978-1508919223

Augusta Thompson has lost everything—her parents, her husband, her home…and now, her only child. Then, a legal notice arrives asking her to travel across the country to claim an inheritance from an unknown relative—a grandmother she never knew she had. There’s only one catch: she must share her grandmother’s beautiful old home with handsome Olympic contender Charles “Web” Webster—the only other person named in the inheritance—for one year. Web finds it difficult to believe Augusta never knew about her family in Maine, the family Augusta’s mother turned her back on. As time goes by, he realizes Augusta was mentally and emotionally abused by her ex-husband, and her heart and soul are wounded. Can Augusta learn to trust in others once more and make a new life for herself? Can Web’s love for Augusta heal her broken heart and allow them a future together? Will the conditions of the inheritance prove to be a help or hindrance for these KISSING COUSINS?

Augusta Thompson kept her most treasured belongings in the trunk of her car.  Her scrapbooks and boxes of photos; a string of pearls once belonging to her mother and a macaroni necklace made by her daughter; a blanket she’d crocheted when pregnant and had wrapped around baby Hope.  A few precious books by her favorite authors; Nora Roberts when she wanted to read about true love, however fictional, and Janet Evanovich when she needed to be reminded there was humor in the world.  A small collection of Junie B. Jones books she and Hope had read, and laughed over, together.
            What took up most of the trunk space in her fifteen year old Dodge Neon were skeins of yarn, pattern books, notebooks holding more patterns and ideas, and a variety of knitting needles and crochet hooks.
            Logically, keeping her most prized possessions in a vehicle might not be the best idea, but Augusta, better known as Gus, had lost much to someone she was supposed to be able to trust and in places supposedly safe.  Plus, her car had become her home.  It was old enough, with various dings and dents, no one would deem it worthy of stealing.
            Today Gus packed the last few items as she wondered how long it would take her to drive from Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine.  One saw the end of what she loved best and held most dear, the other, hopefully, would help her find a way to go on living.
            Armed with numerous maps to help her find her way across the country, she placed the last item in the trunk.  A small ornately carved box holding the ashes of her beloved eight year old daughter, Hope.