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Historytellers Scavenger Hunt!

***UPDATE*** The winner is CHRIS KEMP-PHILP of the UK. Congratulations, Chris!

Welcome to Historytellers Scavenger Hunt! This is a hunt dedicated to novels historically set in the 1910s, 1920s and 1930s where all genres are welcome. You’ll get the opportunity to discover new authors, new stories and to meet and talk to other readers who love this time period, not to mention that you’ll have the opportunity to win the grand prize which include a digital copy of all the novels participating in the hunt.

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The hunt will be online only today 17 March 2019 from 00:00 to 23:59 EST.

Go to the Historytellers Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. 

How to hunt
Authors participating in the hunt
Entry form

Here’s how it works:

***THE SCAVENGER HUNT***

Directions: I’ve included my lucky number on this post (You will spot it!). All my fellow authors participating in the hunt will include a lucky number on their posts. Collect the these numbers and add them up.

Entry Form: When you have that lucky total number, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

Rules: Anyone can take part. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by Sunday 17 March 23:59 EST. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.

LET THE HUNT BEGIN!

ABOUT ME:

Hi! I’m Jennifer Lamont Leo.

My goal in writing historical fiction is to capture readers’ hearts through stories set in times gone by. My first novel, You’re the Cream in My Coffee, won an ACFW Carol Award for debut novel, and the sequel, Ain’t Misbehavin’, is a finalist for a Selah Award. My latest book, Songbird and Other Stories, is a collection of short stories penned in the same Roaring Twenties series as the novels. In addition to writing fiction, I’m a freelance writer, copywriter, and editor. Although I’m a native of the Chicago area, I now live on a remote mountain in beautiful northern Idaho with my husband, two cats, and abundant wildlife.

Visit me on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.


Introducing SONGBIRD and Other Stories

A speakeasy singer longs for a better life than the one she’s always known.

A department-store clerk finds that the robe of her dreams may cost more than she bargained for.

A young girl wrestles with the pangs of growing up as she reunites with an old friend.

In Songbird and Other Stories, you’ll find a delightful array of charming stories set in simpler times. From the grand department stores and smoky speakeasies of Prohibition-era Chicago to the pristine shores of Lake Coeur d’Alene, these winsome characters will capture your heart and sweep you back to the Jazz Age.

Look for it on Amazon or your favorite online retailer.

What the well-dressed jazz singer is wearing in 1928!

Dot Rodgers (yes, she does bear a striking resemblance to actress Louise Brooks)

Meet Dot Rodgers, the heroine of Songbird. Let’s take a sneak peek into Dot’s closet. She won’t mind!

One bathing suit–only semi-scandalous–for sunbathing on Oak Street Beach. Purchased from Marshall Field’s with her employee discount.
An adorable hat. Or six. Because what good is it to work a day job in Marshall Field’s Millinery department if you can’t take advantage of it?
Several string of pearls, long enough to tie in a knot and swing while dancing the Charleston. Louie is so generous with his gifts. Or is he just trying to keep her quiet about the goings-on at the speakeasy he owns?
A darling ensemble for spending the Fourth of July with gal-pal Marjorie.
A photograph of dreamy Charlie Corrigan. (Gee, how did that get in the closet? Oh, yeah, so Louie wouldn’t see it).
One wedding dress, as yet unworn. Because a girl can dream!

My lucky number is 32!

Add up all the lucky numbers in the Scavenger Hunt and you’ll have the secret code to enter for the grand prize!

***CONTINUE THE HUNT***

To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author, CHRYSTYNA LUCYK-BERGER!

GOOD LUCK!!

For the Love of Antiques Shops



Do you enjoy browsing antique and vintage shops? Join Jennifer as she thinks about what draws her to surround herself with old things, and also hear her review of the Amazon Originals series Vanity Fair.

This is a podcast episode. If you prefer to read rather than listen, scroll down to find the transcript.

Show notes:

More about VANITY FAIR

GIVEAWAY: If you enjoyed this episode, please feel free to leave a review on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts..Stitcher, Doggcatcher, etc.  Then shoot me a message telling me you did so, along with which of my books you’d like to be in the drawing for (You’re the Cream in My CoffeeAin’t Misbehavin’, or Songbird and Other Stories). I’ll be drawing names at the end of the day on March 15, one for each book. You can send the email either to jennifer@sparklingvintagelife.com or jenny@jenniferlamontleo.com.

The Sparkling Vintage Ladies’ Reading Circle

Jennifer’s fiction:
You’re the Cream in My Coffee
Ain’t Misbehavin’
Songbird and Other Stories

Jennifer’s blog

 

Florence Lindsay’s painting “Song of the Lark” and my mother, Patricia
My cat Lucy, taking over my reading chair. I miss him very much.

TRANSCRIPT OF EPISODE 6

I’ve just returned from a short overnight jaunt to a small town not far away from me called Bonners Ferry, Idaho.  I visited a couple of antiques shops while I was there, and the feelings I got while I was in those shops inspired today’s topic.

But first, a bit of personal news. I’m sad today because we just lost our cat, who passed away this morning. He was nineteen years old, which is elderly for a cat, but still, my husband and I are going to miss him very much. We weren’t blessed with children, and while I won’t pretend that raising a cat replaces raising a child, he did fill a little bit of that nurturing instinct in our hearts. I know some of you have lost beloved pets, too, so you know what that’s like. But life goes on.

And now on to our topic for today, which is antique shops. I love them. I love how they smell, that musty, fusty odor. I love the hunt for just the right treasure to bring home. And I love the memories that are sparked when I see a set of dishes that look just like Grandma’s, or a china shepherdess figurine like one that she might have had in her house. Usually just looking at it is enough to satisfy that nostalgia urge. I don’t necessarily need to buy it and take it home with me.  But at the antique store, I get to “visit” it.

I have met people, though, who detest antique shops that, as one woman declared, “are filled with dead, useless things.” I don’t think antiques are dead at all. Nor are they useless. But, to each her own, I suppose.

As I get close to sixty years old, I’m in a mode of downsizing my possessions more than I am adding to the clutter in my home. I’m becoming a lot more minimalist in my thinking than I used to be. But once in a while something catches my fancy and I do have to buy it.

A few years ago in an antique mall near my house, I fell in love with a painting. Actually it’s a print of a painting.  It shows  a young girl looking at a bird. She’s dressed in what looks like 1920s or 1930s clothing, with her hair and ringlets, and looks very much like a childhood photo of my mother. I found an image of the print online, so I’ll put both it and the photo in the show notes so you can see what I mean by the resemblance. Anyway, the print was a little out of my reach financially, but I liked to go into the antique mall occasionally and “visit” it. It always gave me joy. Well, one day I went in and it wasn’t there. There was just a big empty space where it had been hanging. Well, I tell you, I almost burst into tears right there, that someone else had purchased my beloved picture. But to my great relief, as it turned out, it hadn’t been sold, only been moved to another location. But I figured that if I had that strong of a reaction to the possibility of losing it, I should buy it, and so I did. It now hangs in the room where I write, and it gives me joy every time I see it.The point of this story is, one of the joys I get from browsing in antique shops is just that thrill of finding the perfect thing. Even when I come away empty-handed, I feel richer for the experience of looking at so many beautiful old things. And of course it’s good to actually buy things once in a while, when they’re the right things, to help support the store owner and keep the shop open for future browsing.

But sometimes I feel a pang of sadness as I look at things. It’s a feeling of loss, as if something precious has been lost and we can never get it back. It’s a little hard to describe, but it’s a feeling I get way down in my gut. It often happens when I look at old sepia-toned photographs of people, knowing this was someone’s loved one at one time. Maybe the photograph had a prized position on a wall or piano in a home. Maybe it was given to a sweetheart or to proud parents or grandparents upon an occasion like a graduation. Maybe it’s someone’s wedding photo, capturing forever a special event that no one left on this earth remembers firsthand anymore. I find myself feeling lonely, missing the people, even though I never knew them.

Another thing that makes me sad in antique shops are the inscriptions in books, say from a mother to daughter or from one friend to another. I don’t think people give books as gifts as often as they used to, although as an author, I think of course that they should. Even when I do give someone a book that I think they’ll enjoy, I tend not to inscribe it, in case they want to return or exchange it. I could do a whole episode just on interesting book inscriptions I’ve come across. Maybe I will do that sometime.  

But the thing that makes me saddest of all in antique stores is the sense of loss to our culture, our society, of certain ways of living. Maybe sad isn’t the right word. A better word might be wistful. I’ll see things and think, the times just aren’t like that anymore. Once in a while that’s a good thing, but sometimes the thing we’ve lost seems precious to me. I’ll see a set of formal china dinnerware, and that will lead me to think about big family Sunday dinners people used to have, and that will make me wistful for a more gracious era when such things as china and silver mattered and people made the time and effort for big Sunday dinners. I understand that fewer brides nowadays even choose patterns for china and glassware at their weddings. They don’t ask for these things as gifts anymore. Family dinners are much more casual, and even entertaining has gone the way of paper plates and cups and sitting on the floor. Our more casual lifestyles have their good points, to be sure, but at the same time, something precious has been lost that so many of us have stopped making special occasions out of meals by bringing out the china and crystal. Do you ever feel that way?

I also love looking at feminine frippery like hats and gloves and jewelry. So many people today mock things that are dainty and feminine. They treat them as jokey, or cheesy, declaring they wouldn’t be caught dead wearing or using such things. When I was looking for podcasts similar to this one, I found so many that make a joke of femininity, or give a derisive third finger to traditional  womanhood.  And so, as a result, I started the podcast that I wanted to hear.  You’re listening to it (or reading the transcript).

As I browse in antique or vintage shops, I think, why does all this gentle graciousness have to be over? Why can’t we turn back the clock in certain small and thoughtful ways? We can adopt some of the calmer, gentler, slower behaviors and customs of the past. I believe they will serve us well even–or maybe especially–today. And taking home that china plate or that crystal goblet or that tarnished locket might just be the first step.

Do you like to browse in antiques stores or vintage stores? How do they make you feel? Feel free to leave a comment at jenniferlamontleo.com/blog.

Today’s grace note: I’ve been binge-watching and highly recommend the Amazon Original series, Vanity Fair. It’s beautifully done, with gorgeous costumes and delightful acting. Above all, the story drives home the message of the futility of striving for things in this world that don’t matter. It’s a message that seems as timely these days as it did when William Makepeace Thackeray wrote it in 1848. At that time he wrote, “Vanity Fair is a very vain, wicked, foolish place, full of all sorts of humbugs and falsenesses and pretensions.” That sounds like it wouldn’t be very fun to watch, but on the contrary, it’s very entertaining. The main character, Becky Sharp, played masterfully by Olivia Cooke,  is not a heroine in the traditional sense of the word. True to the name “Sharp,” she’s an amoral, scheming social climber–conniving, brilliant, and cold hearted, in contrast to her saintly friend Amelia. I’ve read that her character may have been Margaret Mitchell’s inspiration for Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind, to give you an idea of what she’s like. Again and again, Becky Sharp and other characters must face the consequences of their rash and ill-considered behavior, but it never comes across as preachy or didactic…just good fun.

Set in England against the backdrop of the Napoleonic wars, Vanity Fair is a story full of intrigue and scandal, and yet it’s not disturbingly graphic. Much is left to the viewer’s imagination, which is a great relief nowadays, so kudos to Amazon for that. If you enjoy historical fiction and costume dramas, I highly recommend it. You’ll find it on Amazon Prime.

Episode 5: What is Charm? part deux



In this follow-up episode to “What is Charm?”, Jennifer shares a list of twenty “shortcuts to charm” written by actress Arlene Francis in 1960. Surprisingly, these tips are as relevant today as they were almost sixty years ago, focusing on kindness, respect, and courtesy.

GIVEAWAY: If you enjoyed this episode, please feel free to leave a review on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts..Stitcher, Doggcatcher, etc.  Then shoot me a message telling me you did so, along with which of my books you’d like to be in the drawing for (You’re the Cream in My CoffeeAin’t Misbehavin’, or Songbird and Other Stories). I’ll be drawing names on March 15, one for each book. You can send the email either to jennifer@sparklingvintagelife.com or jenny@jenniferlamontleo.com.

The Sparkling Vintage Ladies’ Reading Circle

Jennifer’s fiction:
You’re the Cream in My Coffee
Ain’t Misbehavin’
Songbird and Other Stories

Jennifer’s blog

 

Episode 4: What is Charm?



She’s charming. He’s a charmer. Prince Charming. When you hear someone described as “charming,” what images does it bring to mind? Listen in as Jennifer tries to dissect what writers of the past have said about the quality of charm, and what it means for us today.

GIVEAWAY: If you enjoyed this episode, please feel free to leave a review on iTunes (or, if you don’t use iTunes, leave a review wherever you get your podcasts..Stitcher, Doggcatcher, etc.). Then shoot me a message telling me you did so, along with which of my books you’d like to be in the drawing for (You’re the Cream in My Coffee, Ain’t Misbehavin’, or Songbird and Other Stories). I’ll be drawing names on March 15, one for each book. You can send the email either to jennifer@sparklingvintagelife.com or jenny@jenniferlamontleo.com.

Jennifer’s blog

Episode 3: Swearing – Yea or Nay?



Using foul language is increasingly popular these days. Some even say that swearing is a sign of superior intelligence and creativity. But does cussing add value to A Sparkling Vintage Life? We’re guessing you know our thoughts on the answer.

Article: Psychologists urge folks to be friends with those who swear a lot

Book: F You Very Much: Understanding the Culture of Rudeness and What We Can Do About It by Danny Wallace

Book: No Nice Girl Swears by Alice-Leone Moats. This rather tongue-in-cheek tome, published in 1933, was written by an accomplished journalist. Moats, who was 25 years old when she wrote No Nice Girl Swears, traveled the world as a foreign correspondent for Collier’s Magazine. Later she was a columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer and also wrote for the National Review.

The Sparkling Vintage Ladies’ Reading Circle

Jennifer’s fiction:
You’re the Cream in My Coffee
Ain’t Misbehavin’
Songbird and Other Stories

Jennifer’s blog

My Valentine to you: a free eBook of SONGBIRD AND OTHER STORIES

Hiya, Sparklers! If your hair has been turning silver waiting for me to release a new novel, here’s a gap-filler for you. I’ve written four short stories and collected them in a single volume called Songbird and Other Stories. Each story is set in the 1920s and features one of the characters from my novel series: Dot, Marjorie, or Helen. If you enjoyed You’re the Cream in My Coffee or Ain’t Misbehavin’, reading Songbird and Other Stories ought to feel cozy and comfortable, like a visit with old friends. And if you haven’t read those books (what are you waiting for?), Songbird and Other Stories is a great introduction to the storyworld of the Jazz Age. *

Now here’s the really good part: For a limited time, you can download Songbird and Other Stories for FREE at Bookfunnel (giving new meaning to the term “Free Bird”). All I ask is that you consider posting a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads if you like it. (If you don’t like it, maybe you can just let it go gentle into that good night, with apologies to Dylan Thomas.)

Currently Songbird is only available as an eBook, but we’re working on producing a print edition that will be available soon. I know many of you prefer to read “real” books printed on paper, so I’ll let you know just as soon as the print edition is available.

* (Also, unlike so many stories set in that era, these are clean and sweet, something moms, grandmas, and daughters can all share and enjoy.)

Episode 2: The Woman’s Institute and Mary Brooks Picken

Options to consider for my “afternoon dress,” as opposed to my scruffy morning bathtub-scrubbing outfit.


Vintage Notions by Amy Barickman

Project Gutenberg, a resource for online editions of public-domain works, many of which are out-of-print or otherwise hard to obtain. Search for “Woman’s Institute” to see what booklets pop up. Only a few titles are available currently; hopefully more will be added as time goes by. Still, they give you a flavor of the era (especially those on cookery. Ha!)

The Sparkling Vintage Ladies’ Reading Circle

Jennifer’s fiction:
You’re the Cream in My Coffee
Ain’t Misbehavin’
Songbird and Other Stories

Jennifer’s blog

Episode 1: Introduction


This episode is an introduction to a new podcast called A Sparkling Vintage Life Host Jennifer Leo explains how she came to love all things vintage and sometimes feels as if she was meant to live in an earlier era. Through A Sparkling Vintage Life she’ll be celebrating the best of the past and discussing ways to incorporate vintage elements into a 21-century woman’s life. She welcomes kindred spirits to join her on the journey!

(And, yes, the sound quality needs work. “She” is still learning… appreciate your patience!)


The Sparkling Vintage Ladies’ Reading Circle

Jennifer’s fiction:
You’re the Cream in My Coffee
Ain’t Misbehavin’

Jennifer’s blog

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Jennifer Lamont Leo