Sparkling Vintage Fiction. Among other things.

Chicago

The Friday Five

What I’m reading: Life in Chapel Springs by Ane Mulligan. If you like the small-town charm and warm friendships of Jan Karon’s books, give this series a try. Life in Chapel Springs is the fourth book in the series (after Chapel Springs Revival, Chapel Springs Survival, and Home to Chapel Springs), but IMO you don’t need to have read the earlier books to enjoy this latest one.

What I’m listening to: The Write from the Deep podcast by Karen Ball and Erin Taylor Young. Thoughtful inspiration for creative minds and a regular reminder of why we do what we do.

What I’m grooving to: The soundtrack to Chicago.

What I’m going to: Tonight: Stamp Camp at Cocolalla Bible Camp to exercise creativity of a different sort (and maybe get started on my–gulp–Christmas cards). Tomorrow, brunch with friends to catch up on what we’re writing, reading, and learning.

What I’m working on: A Christmas-themed short story. No matter how hard we apply the brakes, the holidays will be here before we know it.

How’s your Friday going?

 

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Marshall Field’s Ornament Giveaway!

 

Update 12/19/2016: We have a winner! Slayton.amitchell, I’ll be contacting you for your mailing address, and this little soldier will be on its way to you pronto. Thanks to everyone who participated!

“Say the word ‘Christmastime’ and most people think of manger scenes and jingle bells, the glow of colored lights and the flutter of angels’ wings. But at the great Marshall Field & Company, Chicago’s premier department store, Christmastime meant all that and more, along with enough crowds, clanging, and clatter to shatter a sales clerk’s nerves. I know this because that clerk was me.” (Marjorie Corrigan in  The Christmas Robe)

 

Readers of You’re the Cream in My Coffee and The Christmas Robe know that the heroine, Marjorie, works at Chicago’s world-class department store, Marshall Field & Co., in the 1920s. While this sweet toy-soldier ornament does not date back to the 1920s (alas!), it is a genuine Marshall Field’s commemorative ornament, complete with the original gift box. It’s in excellent condition, gold-finish metal filigree with a silky cord, about 4 inches tall. And I’m giving him away to a Sparkling Vintage community member! To enter the drawing, do one of two things:

  1. If you’re not already signed up to receive my e-newsletter, sign up by entering your e-mail in the box at right. All new sign-ups between now and December 18 will be automatically entered in the drawing.
  2. If you’re already part of the e-newsletter community and you’d like a chance to win, say so in the comment section below, or drop me a line on  Facebook and I’ll add you to the drawing.

That’s it! A winner will be chosen at random on the evening of Sunday, Dec. 18, and the ornament mailed out to the winner on Dec. 19 (U.S. and Canada only, please.)

Merry Christmas!

Jennifer

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Ladies and gentlemen, we have a book.

i-was-told-thered-be-creamYou’re the Cream in My Coffee releases today! The very kindest thing you can do for the book–and for me–is to tell your friends about it.  There’s a needle-in-a-haystack quality to new books these days, so help those people you know who might LIKE the story, to FIND the story.(Feel free to skip your uncle who proudly declares he hasn’t cracked open a book since the day he left school, or your third cousin who only reads vampire novels.)

Post a review on Amazon. And Goodreads, if that’s a site you frequent (and if you enjoy reading, you really should. It’s like the Enchanted Forest for book lovers).

Here are a couple of ways to score a free copy of the print edition:

*If you click “follow” on my Amazon author page today (9/15) , you will be entered into a random drawing for a free copy. (Look for the “follow” button under my photo on the author page. I’m telling you this because it took me a while to find it, lol.) This promotion is facilitated by Readers in the Know.

*If you comment on my blog or sign up for my e-newsletter through 9/17, you’ll be entered into a random drawing for a free copy AND a limited-edition mug.

There’s no reason not to throw your hat in the ring for both promotions.

Thank you. I couldn’t have done it without you. Seriously. You are the bee’s knees!

Jennifer

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YOU’RE THE CREAM IN MY COFFEE: Novel Update

My debut novel, You’re the Cream in My Coffee, is scheduled to be published exactly three months from today!

Tick … tick … tick …

For updates on the book and all sorts of other newsy tidbits (like exclusive giveaways and other goodies), sign up to get my newsletter at right. It’s free, it’s fun, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Remembering the Eastland

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100 years ago this week, the Eastland excursion boat capsized in the Chicago River before it had even left the dock, killing 844 in one of the worst maritime disasters in American history. If I could have shifted my Chicago trip by a week, I would have loved to participate in some of the memorial events. The heroine of one of my novels-in-progress experiences the Eastland disaster as a young woman, and remains affected by it the rest of her life.

Most of the passengers were employees of Western Electric Company and their families, en route to a company picnic across Lake Michigan at Michigan City, Indiana. They were dressed in picnic finery circa 1915: three-piece suits and bowler hats, fancy dresses with multiple layers of petticoats, etc–all of which not only inhibited swimming but, in fact, acted as weights when waterlogged. While only mere feet away from the dock, many victims were trapped below decks and suffocated, or simply could not swim.

Family lore says that one of my great-uncles, an employee of Western Electric at that time, was supposed to be on the excursion but was detained and, quite literally, missed the boat.

The Eastland Disaster Historical Society has done a commendable job of chronicling the events of the disaster, the people involved, and the aftermath.

For decades the disaster was given scant attention in Chicago. I’ve known several lifelong Chicagoans who claimed never to have heard the story. Glad that’s being rectified now.

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