A Sparkling Vintage Life


10 Days Until THE ROSE KEEPER releases! Here’s how the cover came to be

As we count down to the highly anticipated March 15 release of THE ROSE KEEPER, I thought it would be fun to share a behind-the-scenes story or fact for each day. Today we’ll look at where the cover came from.

In the 1915 part of the story, Clara is a fresh-faced graduate of the Illinois Training School for Nurses, starting her first job at the fictional Memorial Hospital. When I looked for images of nurses from that era, I stumbled upon a wonderful image of a Red Cross nurse, not only from that decade but from that exact year–1915! She even resembled Clara in my imagination. And the image was in the public domain, being over 95 years old. So I ordered the magazine cover–yes, the real, actual, worn-and-torn magazine cover–from an Etsy shop and sent it to my designer, who worked her magic to make it cover-worthy.

I also wanted an image from the real-life Eastland disaster at the heart of the story. The Chicago History Museum came through for me, and I purchased the rights to this image from them and, again, sent it to my patient and talented cover designer to place in the background.

Finally, I wanted the cover of THE ROSE KEEPER to resemble the first book in the series, MOONDROP MIRACLE. I think the designer succeeded at doing that, using similar image placements and fonts. I think she did a great job, don’t you?

(PS: Readers have asked me whether they should read Book 1 before Book 2 in the series. I’m happy to say … no! The books are essentially standalones, tied together by theme more than story or character. So they can be read in any order.)

So that’s how the cover came to be! Stop by tomorrow when I’ll post another behind-the-scenes story.

Remembering the Eastland



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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