Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Substitute Bride releases tomorrow!



Seekerville is the best place to celebrate! I had a blast partying on Unpubbed Island after recent Seeker sales! I’m sure Ruthy, Tina and Audra would agree that nothing in a writer’s career is more exciting than The Call.

But a very close, so close it’s not really second, is the release of a book. Today I’m celebrating that The Substitute Bride, Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historical, releases tomorrow. I have yet to see the book in stores, but sightings have been reported. I will go looking Tuesday, just to hold that hot-off-the-press book in my equally hot little hands, to see Janet Dean on the cover, even at the top of each page. Seeing the book on the shelves is one of the ups in all the ups and downs of this wild, wonderful, wacky business of publication.


The Substitute Bride was a fun story to write—with a mail-order bride, disgruntled groom and a small town filled with quirky characters. Here’s a peek:
They Struck a Bargain for Marriage

Fleeing an arranged marriage, debutante Elizabeth Manning exchanges places with a mail-order bride bound for New Harmony, Iowa. Life on the frontier can’t be worse than forced wedlock to pay her father’s gambling debts. But Ted Logan’s rustic lifestyle and rambunctious children prove to be more of a challenge than Elizabeth expects. She doesn’t know how to be a mother or a wife. She doesn’t even know how to tell Ted the truth about her past—especially as her feelings for him grow. Little does she know, Ted’s hiding secrets of his own. When their pasts collide, there’s more than one heart at stake.

Why was Ted disgruntled?

When he and Elizabeth are about to speak their vows, the bride suggests one teeny change—the name on the marriage license. A clear sign trouble lies ahead for this couple.
As a homemaker and mother, Elizabeth Manning is definitely a "fish out of water." Poor Ted. Yet no matter how inept she is, Elizabeth perseveres. She manages to find unique ways to handle the children and her new and very challenging life on the farm. I admire her spirit and fortitude—the same attributes that enabled women to survive the challenges of the West.

Ted is a dreamboat with a Call of his own. And a past he fears will raise its ugly head. Elizabeth is carrying a secret too. Life is never dull in New Harmony, Iowa.

In my quest for information to write this story a friend suggested I read Hearts West: True Stories of Mail-Order Brides on the Frontier. The book explained that throughout the 1870s, 1880s and 1890s a weekly newspaper, The Matrimonial News, printed in San Francisco, California and Kansas City, Missouri, facilitated matchmaking. Men and women seeking a mate placed advertisements, giving physical description, their financial situation and whom they sought.

Hearts West makes fascinating reading and I recommend it to anyone interested in mail-order bride stories. Author Chris Enss relates stories of men and women, who wed often sight unseen. My husband and I dated for 2½ years. After we married, it didn’t take long to discover we still had things to learn about one another. All good of course. LOL Can you imagine the surprises in store for couples who may have exchanged a few letters or a picture and often never met until the wedding day?

Why did these women leave behind everything and everyone they knew to take the amazing step of marrying a stranger? Some were motivated by the fear of spinster-hood. Others desperately needed life’s necessities and hoped marriage would give them a better life.
Arranged marriages may sound odd to us, but a high percentage of marriages are still arranged today, a norm for many cultures. Though I have no idea how many of these marriages occurred, the accounts of some in Hearts West prove these mail-order bride matches varied from wedded bliss to divorce. But for those that flourished, these wives not only made a home for their husbands and children—establishing families, but also founded institutions like churches, schools and libraries, which brought civilization to the frontier.

Elizabeth, my heroine in The Substitute Bride traveled only as far as Iowa but compared to her debutante life in Chicago, an Iowa farm was the frontier. Still she managed to add a touch of civilization of her own to the town of New Harmony.

To make up for going on and on about my release, I’ve brought Starbucks coffee and Earl Gray tea with all the fixings, along with pans of hot from the oven flaky, crunchy on the outside, soft in the middle biscuits with honey. I’m serving biscuits today in honor of Elizabeth, a woman who never gave up until she got those biscuits right, and in memory of Lois, my husband’s mother, whose cookbook with the biscuit recipe somehow surfaced in Ted’s kitchen.

Captain Jack even agreed to make personalized omelets today. Let him know what you want, but ask nicely. He’s a bit surly this morning.

While we’re munching biscuits, please share any stories of your ancestors who married for convenience. Or perhaps you have a funny wedding incident you could relate. Or just say hello for a chance to win a copy of The Substitute Bride.

128 comments :

  1. oh im first. congrats on the book being released today. I am going to get it one way or the other. I have a gift voucher I plan to use If I dont win it.
    I have plenty of bacon for anyone who wants some.
    the only wedding I was in we were late getting back from the hairdresser. they had a greek wedding before us to do and were late getting to us and then late with us. so we got back to get dressed about 20 mins before the wedding. The bride needed a Tim Hortons to steady her nerves. so already about 10 mins late we go to timmy's! I think we were about 50 mins late starting. a little stressful. but it went off well with the best man crying cos of the tribute to his and the grooms parents who had passed away. I have learnt things for if I ever get married. The main one is im eloping! Did I say I had never met the bride or groom before I went to stay for the wedding but I was asked to be a bridesmaid or the fact it was in Canada

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  2. Janet, your book is staring at me as I type this...so don't enter me in your contest so some other lucky person can win. Ah, the beauty of eharlequin. Looking forward to reading it and blessings on the sales.

    Hmmmm, mail-order brides were more practical but seems like there is a modern parallel with on-line dating these days...in some ways, not all, for sure.

    Peace, Julie

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  3. Janet,
    I bought my copy on Friday. Can't wait to read it. The cover looks wonderful, and the premise sounds great too.

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  4. Janet. I cannot wait to read this book, I love MOC and mail-order bride stories.

    Sarah, Plain and Tall is on my keeper shelf of books that simply go on and on, timeless in their presentation. LOVE 'EM!!!!!

    And thank you for cooking today! I confess to being cooked out after yesterday, but I've brought the leftover Ruthy desserts (Wha Dat say she don' make no good DESSERTS??????)

    (Note that Janet does not wax on about the Super Bowl... And out of respect for her Indiana-all-things-Indy-mindset I'm not mentioning it either. Much...)

    Anyway I'm tossing a tray of custard cannolis onto the table, a multi-layered chocolate cream pie, AND... a tray full of those decadent whipped cream, custard and strawberry stuffed croissants.

    Oh my stars. That's all I'm saying.

    Oh my stars.

    Janet, The Substitute Bride (great cover, too, girlfriend) is next on my TBR list. I am so excited for you!!!!

    Ruthy

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  5. Jenny, I remember you being in that wedding, girlfriend!!!

    Honey, that's a story in and of itself. And needing a Tim Horton's coffee before reciting vows????

    Oh my stars, that's just good Northern Hemisphere common sense talking! :)

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  6. Morning Janet, I am so excited that SUBSTITUTE BRIDE will be on the shelves so others can enjoy tis wonderful story.

    Folks you have to get this book. Janet does such a wonderful job developing characters and you just feel for Elizabeth as she tries to get those biscuits down.

    btw Your biscuits are yummy, Janet. And tell Captain Jack his omelet was yummy. But you're right. He is surly so I won't tell him myself.


    I imagine most women traveling west had tremendous adjustments to make. My great grandma was only 16 when she came across in a covered wagon as the eleventh wife heading for Utah. Then flew in an airplane to see me when I was born.

    I would write her story, but Irving Stone already did in Men To Match My Mountains. Her stuff is in the Smithsonian.

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  7. Janet, your new book sounds wonderful. I'm a sucker for a mail-order bride story. I need to find that true stories compilation you suggest.
    My mother tells a story about one of her grandmothers. She was courted by both a doctor and a violinist, and she couldn't make up her mind who to marry, so she had them compete in a foot race, and whoever won, she would marry. The violinist was apparently swift, but poor, so once the children started coming and they struggled as a family, the doctor (who never married) bought the family coal and food to help out. I intend to use this to honor their memory one of these days.
    ; )

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  8. Wow, Jenny, your story takes the wedding cake! LOL Please explain how you were a bridesmaid in a wedding that had to cost a pile of cash and neither knew the bride or groom? Is one of them a relative? Or did they pick your name out of an Australian phone book? :-)

    Thanks for the bringing the bacon! And for your determination to get The Substitute Bride! You're the best!

    I'm sure eloping has it's share of hilarious stories, but it's got to be less expensive.

    Hugs, Janet

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  9. Hi Julie! A huge cyber hug for making my morning!!! ((((0))))) I hope you like teh story!

    I agree, online dating is the modern mail-order bride phenomena. I heard some lovely success stories at Petticoats and Pistols this past weekend. But I know of one woman who fell for a guy who'd swindled women out of thousands of dollars. He's in jail now.

    Janet

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  10. Thanks, Pepper!!! Another cyber hug coming your way! Elizabeth looks feisty on the cover, doesn't she? Steeple Hill's Art department nailed her. But underneath that sassy exterior is a wounded young woman.

    Hugs, Janet

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  11. Ruthy, I love mail-order bride stories too! Sarah, Plain and Tall made a great TV movie. Sounds like I need to read the book.

    Thanks for the amazing desserts!!! I've stuffed one of each into my Monday-after-Super-Bowl-Sunday mouth. And feel so much better! The Colts didn't look so hot. But alas, it's a game and I will survive!!! LOL

    Janet

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  12. Janet, this book sounds wonderful! Can't wait to read it. Don't have it yet so I would love to win!

    The most interesting wedding story I know was about my grandparents who eloped during the Great Depression. They kept it a secret and each continued living at home with their parents to save money. Well, the secret only lasted about two weeks b/c they were discovered by a nosy neighbor who was listening in on the party telephone line!

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  13. Sandra!!!!!!!! You gave me a chill, girlfriend, with that peek at your grandmother's life!!! How did I miss this? What an amazing story!! Wish I'd known. I'd have tried to see her things in the Smithsonian when we were in D.C. last summer. Or are they packed away somewhere, like our books are in the Library of Congress?

    Elizabeth thanks you for your kind words. Ted had his problems getting her biscuits down too. LOL

    Captain Jack snarled when I thanked him. Where's Tina? She knows how to handle that man.

    Janet

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  14. Hi Kathleen, thanks for another spine tingling tale!!! Imagine letting the outcome of a foot race determine your future. Wow, that doctor loved her. But she must've loved the violinist. I could've told her poverty and the Arts go together. :-)

    Hearts West is available on Amazon. I love the advertisements Enss shares in the book. Well worth getting, especially if you plan to write a mail-order bride story.

    Janet

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  15. Thanks for your interest in my book, Mary Bailey. Please leave your email address so I'll have it if you win.

    Ah, party lines. Better than a newspaper gossip column!

    Janet

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  16. Janet this story sounds great! The cover model reminds me so much of the heroine in Far and Away (Nicole Kidman)

    Sounds like a funny read too. :-) Congrats on another book release!

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  17. Hi Janet, I'm looking at your book on my coffee table as I type-saw it Friday at Walmart and had to have it!

    The funniest wedding story I've ever heard is really a honeymoon story. My great grandparents courted when they were very young(he was seventeen, she was fourteen) and decided to run off and get married. But instead of leaving a note or telling one of her parents, Great Grandma figured she would wait until she got back from her honeymoon.

    Well, Great Great Granddaddy wasn't about to wait! When he found them, he had my great grandfather tossed into jail and charged with kidnapping! Great Grandma was so scared, she didn't tell anyone that she had gotten married for THREE DAYS! So for the first three days of their married life, Great Granddaddy sat in jail!

    For such an interesting start, they had a wonderful marriage. They still hold the record for the longest marriage in Georgia at 79 years.

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  18. Blogger ate my comment! GRRRR!!! Undaunted, I will just write it again!!! Intrepid writer that I am.

    Janet, I can't wait to read this book! I love your writing and I love mail order bride stories!

    I don't have any MOC stories from my family background, but I will share this story. My cynical, very poor grandmother, living in rural Lower Alabama, had her seventh and last baby. The doctor got there too late to deliver him. But he asked my grandmother if she'd named the baby. She said No. He said, Well, name him Zane Grey (after the famous author of Westerns and ghost stories). And she did. Later, when someone came to visit and asked her what she named the baby, she said Zane. That person said, Well, you won't have any more. They obviously thought she'd run out of names!

    My dad never liked his name. He thought it was weird. But I think it's cool.

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  19. Hi Janet! I absolutely love Mail Order Bride stories!!! They are wonderful! Substitute Bride sounds FABULOUS!!! I would love a chance to win this! Thank you!!! Is it hard to write the mail order stories?????

    Blessings and hugs!
    Molly
    Mollydawn1981ATaolDOTcom

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  20. Hi Jessica. Thanks for the congrats! Elizabeth's cover reminds me of Nicole Kidman too!

    I love humor in a book, but I hope The Substitute Bride evokes a variety of emotion in readers.

    Janet

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  21. Congrats on the release Janet!

    The characters and story line is just GREAT! I'm a bit excited to read your story lol!

    Thanks for breakfast!

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  22. Good morning, Patty. Thanks for getting a copy of The Substitute Bride! And for sharing the amazing story of your great grandparents! I can't get over how young they were to take the giant step to matrimony. I feel for your great grandfather who sat cooling his heels in jail while his bride struggled to get the courage to confess they were married. LOL At least he didn't hold it against her!!

    Janet

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  23. Thanks Melanie! Your kind words are sweeter than Ruthy's desserts and that's saying plenty!

    The story of your grandmother naming your father is a hoot! I like the name Zane. Thanks for sharing!

    Janet

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  24. Hi Molly! Thanks for your interest in The Substitute Bride.

    Are mail-order bride stories hard to write? No harder than any story, though it's convenient to have the characters living under the same roof. And married but not in love produces great conflict, too. :-) So maybe it's easier. Or not. LOL

    Thanks for leaving your email address.

    Janet

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  25. Good morning, Kerri. Sounds like my excitement is rubbing off on you! Thanks. Please leave your email address so I can find you if you win.

    Janet

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  26. Congrats on the book, what an amazing feeling it will be when you hold that first one off the shelf! The book sounds wonderful, mail-order and arranged brides are so brave, much braver than I would be! Could I have a coffee with creammate please and one biscuit. I love home made baking soda biscuits and never make them because I just know that I would eat the whole batch before anyone else even knew they had been baked!

    wyndyc at gmail.com

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  27. JANET!!! SUPER CONGRATS, girlfriend, on the release of a truly wonderful book!! I finished it last week and absolutely LOVED it!! And, hubba hubba, REALLY loved ole Ted!! :) I am just itching to write a review!!

    And, Sandra, what a really cool story about your great grandma!! Like Janet said, your story gave me a chill too! And who says you can't write a story about your own great grandma??? Don't let Irving scare you away, girl, you have blood rights!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  28. Congrats On your book! It looks so good I can't wait to read it I love mail order bride Stories they are some of my faves! And I love the cover of your book it is really beautiful!
    Please Enter me to win

    Lindsey
    lindseypa89(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  29. Congratulations on your book! It sounds very interesting:) Please enter me for the chance at winning it. And as far as your questions, I don't know of any of my ancestors that had a marriage of convenience. And I have never been in a wedding. Only been to one in my life:)
    Thanks so much!

    esterried[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  30. I haven't been in any weddings, unless you count as a flower girl when I was 8. My funny story is one my mom told me about my parents' wedding. They got married in January and it was one of those all inclusive packages. When they went to pick their cake, the display model had blue flowers and they wanted maroon, but said we want that cake. On the day of the wedding it was snowing and when it came time to cut the cake, the reception hall rolled out the dusty display model cake made of cardboard! My dad was very unhappy and proceeded to hack into the cake. There was sheet cake for the guests but my Nany was very unhappy because a friend of hers was a cake decorator and would have made a beautiful one.

    Holly
    oceandreamerfla(at)aol(dot)com

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  31. Janet, your book sounds quite interesting and would love to read it. Please enter me in the giveaway.

    Blessings,
    Jo
    ladijo40(at)aol(dot)com

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  32. It's pouring snow here in Alabama! And we weren't even supposed to get any snow today. It's so pretty!

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  33. Funny wedding incidents? My brother-in-law got married last year. It was a wonderful affair in Seattle and as both bride and groom were Japanese, so were half the guests.

    As my FIL gave his speech, my wife leaned over to me me and suggested I should speak next, as no one would want to follow her father. I nodded. "Honey, you're right."

    So I stood up and started my speech like this.

    Me: My wife suggested I should go next as people would be hesistant to follow her Dad. I told her 'Honey, you're right.' So, Mark (my BIL), I want you to repeat after me. Honey...

    Mark: Honey...

    Me: You're right.

    Mark: You're right

    Me: Very good. Together now.

    Mark: Honey, you're right.

    Me: Perfect. I'll e-mail you new tips every two weeks.

    Janet, I look forward to reading your book and will definitely pick it up if I don't win.

    wmussell(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  34. Janet,

    Congrats on the book release. I'm going to Barnes and Noble later today, so I'll look for it.

    I, like you, dated my husband for two years before getting married and I can't imagine marrying someone sight unseen.

    It seems all weddings have something go wrong and ours was no exception. Our wedding day was hot and humid and by the time we made it to the reception hall the top three layers of our cake lay on the floor covered in ants! Luckily we were early enough to get it cleaned up before guests arrived and we had plenty of sheet cakes to serve.

    Rose

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  35. Congratulations on your book release, Janet. I've been intrigued about mail-order brides for a few years now and haven't been able to find a lot of information on them, so thanks for mentioning "Hearts West."

    Love the idea of a 'disgruntled groom' and looking forward to seeing how he gets undisgruntled! LOL. 'The Substitute Bride' definitely sounds like the kind of book I like to read. I guess another trip to the bookstore is on my horizon. :-)

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  36. I love mail-order bride stories, and this sounds like a fun one. Can't wait to read it!

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  37. Hi Wyn, thanks for the congratulations! It's my pleasure to serve you a cup of java with creammate and a biscuit. But trust me, you can eat all you want of the cyber variety. With Elizabeth in the kitchen, the supply is endless. :-)

    Janet

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  38. Hey ya'll! First off, Janet, that story sounds fascinating! The thought of leaving home & all things familiar to marry a man sight unseen, with his own children no less, gives me the willies! Your heroine must have been desperate...sounds like a good story. When I get back to WallyWorld for some more Capn'Crunch I'll check the shelves.
    (The CC is for my boys. I'll have another one of those strawberry filled croissants, thanks. )
    Ahem....
    A huge Congratulations to the Indiana Colts last night. Great game! Defense was awesome! We were biting our nails the whole time.
    But...
    WHO DAT Nation! Geaux Saints!
    Laissez plus les bons temps roulez aujourd'hui! Avons y nous un bon lundi, mesdames & messieurs!

    P.S. Walt, you're a smart man.

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  39. Thanks for the congrats, Julie. And your lovely comments on The Substitute Bride!!! Ted is tickled over your hubba hubba! LOL I knew you'd recognize him for a hunk. What would we do without our heroes? Especially those we married.

    Janet

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  40. Hello Lindsey. I'm glad the cover of The Substitute Bride draws you to the story. Thanks for your interest!

    Janet

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  41. Hi Charity, thanks for entering! I think you'll enjoy Elizabeth and Ted's ceremony if you win the book.

    Janet

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  42. Holly, LOL!!!!!I'm dying here!!! That is hilarious. But I'm sure not back when you're paying for a wedding cake and get the cardboard mock up! Thanks so much for sharing. I love all these stories!

    Janet

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  43. Hi there, Jo. Thanks for your interest and your email address. You're entered!

    Janet

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  44. CONGRATS on the book! Woo-hoo!! Your story looks wonderful and I LOVE mail order bride stories, so please count me in!

    I don't have a wedding story to tell, so I guess "Hello!" will have to do. :) Again, congratulations!

    caseymh18(at)gmail(dot)com

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  45. Snow in Atlanta again? This is the craziest winter! Glad you're enjoying its beauty, Mel.

    Janet

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  46. LOL, Walt! You're the perfect husband! And seeing to it that your brother-in-law learns the ropes early. Thanks for sharing!

    Janet

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  47. Hi Rose, I'm seeing a theme with these wedding cake fiascos! And here I thought all the bride had to worry about was if the cake was moist! Not cardboard or covered with ants. LOL

    Let me know if you see The Substitute Bride at B&N.

    Janet

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  48. Hi Kay, leave your email addy and maybe the trip to the bookstore won't be necessary. Though if you don't win, I thank you!

    Janet

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  49. Hi Vickie, I agree, there's just something fascinating about mail-order brides. Elizabeth switched with a MOB who got cold feet. Anyone who read the book remember her name? :-)

    Janet

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  50. Mornin' Janet!

    I love the cover of The Substitute Bride! Now the Elizabeth Manning in that pic can tackle and overcome anything, LOL!

    I'm in the middle of TSB right now. Pssst, I'm still giggling about her first encounter with the biscuits : ) I love mail-order bride stories. The risks these men and women took for companionship, and of course, the more practical aspects of relationship : )

    You just keep holding your creation in your hot little hands, Janet and enjoy it! You deserve it.

    And then get back to work and give us another!

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  51. Ah, Pamela, you're feisty enough to be a heroine in one of my books. Watch yourself! I love to torture my characters. My French isn't so good, but you're gloating, girl. Still, let the good times roll in New Orleans! The Saints earned it!

    Janet

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  52. Walt, a perfect husband with a French accent! Who knew?

    Janet

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  53. Casey, you had me with hello. LOL Sorry for borrowing Tom's line! It's not even appropriate, but that's how wacky I am today. Thanks for your interest in The Substitute Bride!

    Janet

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  54. Thanks Audra! The time will go fast and you'll be holding your book in your hot little hands too!!!!!! I can't wait for all these wonderful Seeker books in production now!!!!

    I'm working. I'm working!

    This group loves to nag.

    Janet

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  55. I loved the book, Janet.
    YAY. Except, well, shame on me but I wanted the struggling couple of oops, sort of...get carried away... and have a little ... well ...

    but it's right that they didn't. I know. Loads of trouble you caused there. Well done. :) And making the reader 'want' is a nice talent.

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  56. These are my favorite kinds of books, i don't know why, but they just somehow hook me w/the words 'mail-ordered' lol.

    I would love a chance to win your book, it sounds like a great story, and one i would read over and over.

    Rae Byuel
    raebyuel(@)gmail(.)com

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  57. This book sounds great! I love marriage of convenience stories.

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  58. Yay, Janet!! Congrats on the release of another wonderful book!!

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  59. Hi and I'd love a chance to win your book. I like mail order brides stories. Thanks.

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  60. So Mary, you wanted...well, ah, Ted to move in from the barn. He thought of that. LOL But timing is everything. I promise you their wait was worth it. Thanks for reading. Thanks for "wanting." Thanks for your lovely comments.

    Janet

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  61. Thanks Rae! The promise of a Mail-order bride hooks me too. Thanks for entering. Loving a story enough to re-read it is the highest compliment to an author. I've re-reading several favorite books. They're like friends on my shelf waiting for a visit. I can't stay away!

    Janet

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  62. Thanks for your interest, Kaitlin. Please leave your email address so I can contact you if your name is drawn.

    Janet

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  63. Thanks Missy! Have you tried some of Ruthy's fantastic desserts? Even better than your S'mores dessert looked in Atlanta!

    Janet

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  64. Robynl, please leave your email address to enter! Thanks!

    Janet

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  65. Congrats on the release, Janet! May your sales be fruitful and multiply.

    I've never been sure but I think my Italian grandparents had an arranged marriage. When they immigrated, my grandmother was actually sent back to Italy because she was very sick on the boat and nobody seemed to know what she had so they assumed she was contageous to be on the safe side. Turned out what she had was my Uncle Nick. They had 13 kids (that survived, I think the grand total was 15) of which my dad was the next-youngest.

    My DH and I were supposed to elope but my hairdresser tipped off my sister.

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  66. Hello again Janet!
    My addy...just in case...oh my fingers are crossed lol!
    Kerri192804atyahoodotcom

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  67. Janet,
    Thanks for the cyberhug.
    I can't wait to stop for a little while and read it.
    Do you still want interesting family hx stories of...um....convenience or at least interesting?
    I have a cool one from the 1800s which is very Austenish - rich landlord, poor Appalachian girl, lovechild, girl disowned by parents....etc etc

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  68. I know I've said this before. But my mother's parents had a marriage of convenience.

    And, though it was never exactly spoken of as such, I think my father's parents qualifies, too. My dad's father was 30, injured in WWI and needed a lot of help, badly damaged lungs from mustard gas in France.
    My grandma was 19. I think she needed to move out of her parent's house. My grandpa needed a nurse. The had one child after ten or eleven years of marriage. Grandpa was 41 when my dad was born.
    My grandpa died at age 60, so he was married a long, long time, really, thirty years.
    I never knew my grandpa though, he died before I was born.

    Interesting tidbit. My grandpa, because of his war injuries, qualified for a life-long pension from the military. My dad said when he could remember how much it was, they got $75. Dad was born in 1929. Right when the depression hit. He said, they were rich. I've heard other people say that too. NO ONE had any money. $75 a month was a FORTUNE. My grandpa bought land and made payments, even through the Dust Bowl, on that $75 a month.

    How things have changed.

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  69. You have an award waiting for you on my blog!
    http://emmamichaels.blogspot.com/2010/02/new-award.html

    Sincerely,
    Emma Michaels
    SincerelyEmmaM@yahoo.com

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  70. My mother's parents was a true marriage of convenience.

    My grandpa's first wife died having her SECOND child. As she lay dying, knowing she was dying and her unborn child with her, she told my grandpa to marry her old college roommate. That was the woman who she wanted to raise their 2 year old daughter.
    So he did.
    Grandpa was a Nebraska farmer with an 8th grade education.
    Grandma was a librarian and talented pianist from Washington State, where her father was a judge. Grandma had a master's degree and she'd traveled and studied in Europe.
    He proposed in a letter. She said yes. I wonder if, back then, a spinster (grandma was THIRTY after all) was pitied and a farmer was highly respected. I think of that as grandma marrying down but it probably wasn't that way at all. She was probably considered a failure as a woman and he was a big success.

    Times change...yet again.

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  71. Janet:

    Truth is I don’t read many historical books, but this one sounds interesting. Guess it’s time for a visit to Amazon—a great place for people like me who live in a small town with no book store.

    When I was about 12 or 13 my grandpa about knocked my socks off when he told me that my dad was arrested shortly after he and my mother got married—because he hadn’t divorced his first wife. I had no idea there WAS a first wife. I found out her name, but never met her. Not sure how they got things straightened out. But they had me, then 3 more, and were married 50 years.

    Schools are dismissing early around here because of the snow that’s coming down. More predicted. Hibernation time. Great time for writing!

    Helen

    helengray AT boycomonline DOT com

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  72. Congratulations!
    I hope by now you've held some in your hot little hands as you put it.
    All that hard work and such - just so thrilling.
    Thanks for letting us be part of the celebration.

    Hopefully Cap'n Jack is still serving...
    Please enter me if it's not too late. (Just got back to the computer). ksf895 at citlink dot net

    Wedding story - we married in the back yard with God as our witness. As far as earthly creatures we had the preacher, one Arabian horse, a Westie and a Schnauzer (the aforementioned all with flower decorations of one kind or another) and 2 cats in attendance. That was almost 15 yrs ago now - and we still talk about how perfect it was!

    It's been a pleasure reading the stories today! Thanks everyone for sharing.

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  73. Great stories today coming out of your 'MOC' questions, Janet!

    Walt. You're a smart man.

    Loved Sandra's and Mary's ancestor stories. Seems you get better ones if your ancestors moved out west!

    I have a great great grandmother who was tossed out of her family (clan Forbes) for marrying "down". A marriage of inconvenience?

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  74. Hi Janet,
    Love the info you provided about mail order brides! Can you imagine?

    For a modern day tale, my son and now dil emailed one another while he was in Iraq for his first deployment. A mutal friend gave her his name. We met her while he was still deployed and loved her. We told him to keep up the emails. They met on FEB 4th when he returned to the State, and for both of them, it was love at first sight.

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  75. Another interesting family wedding story.
    My grandma who married when she was 19...the one who was more nurse than wife (refer to earlier comment)...had a sister, two years older than her, who married when she was 13. To a boy who was 15.

    My grandma and her sister were walking to school, and her sister said, "Let's split up and you go on the road and I'll cut through the field and we'll see who gets to school first."
    Grandma-the-gullable said yes and RAN for school.
    She won.
    Her sister had run off with her boyfriend.
    Grandma said she was so dumb she didn't even worry about her sister not showing up. All she did was gloat that she'd won the race. This was in 1913. Did they ride a horse to the minister's house or what? I don't think I've been told that detail.

    So my great aunt married her child boyfriend and the two of them came home and moved in with his mother, who had a scad of children of her own. Bet she was thrilled, huh? :)

    They had five children by the time my aunt was twenty. They had seven children in all and were married 69 years.

    And her children were born when she was so young and my grandma had one child when she was thirty. So my dad's first cousins were nearly twenty years older than he is, more AUNTS then cousins. Even though grandma and her sister were just two years apart in age.

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  76. Mary, even your ancestors had a flair for the dramatic. Sheesh. What interesting stories, though!

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  77. Ruthy, My friend needed a timmys before everything!!!!!!!!!

    I remember watching Sarah tall and plain good movie.

    Janet, I knew the bride from the internet only. we had been online friends about 4 years. the other 2 bridesmaid she also hadn't met (the maid of honor she knew). but Hurricane Oh I forget which one but it was 2 years ago this coming Sept. kept one from coming. so the other one brought her then 14 year old and she was a junior bridesmaid. I have to say it was an experience! I love canada so it was great to go back but it took alot of working out. If I did it again i wouldn't stay as long with the bride. and alot of time I was a referee between bride and bridesmaid. Its interesting how some people are different in real life than online. But it was an experience besides feeling like the meat in the sandwich for part of the time it went well. But I decided Im eloping!

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  78. Mary,
    Do you even have to create your own story lines? IT sounds like you have plenty to draw from in your family history ;-)

    Debby,
    What a GREAT story!!

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  79. Hi EC, I love the idea of sales being fruitful and multiplying. Kind of like rabbits or mateless socks. LOL

    You should've given a spew alert. I almost spit out my hot chocolate when I read what your grandmother had on board that ship! I assume thirteen living children means she got back to America.

    Since your sister discovered your elopement plans, what kind of a wedding did you and your d/h have?

    Janet

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  80. Thanks, Kerri, for the email address! That really helps.

    Janet

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  81. Pepper, dish! You've hooked me with that bait and I'm flopping on the bank like an oxygen-deprived bass.

    Janet

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  82. Mary, what a wonderful story! $75 was indeed a princely sum during the depression. Could your grandmother remarry and still keep the pension? Or did it end with your grandfather's death?

    Janet

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  83. Mary, your family fascinates me! Certainly your grandmother had more education, but I suspect neither considered themselves as marrying up or down. They needed each other and hopefully found love too.

    I love to visit cemeteries and look at the old monuments. It's like taking a mini history lesson in the times.

    Janet

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  84. I would love to win a copy of "The Substitute Bride"! I so enjoy reading Christian fiction. I devour a book a week. Love this blog!

    God Bless You,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52[at]yahoo[dot]com
    countrybear52@yahoo.com

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  85. Hi Helen, do you have a Walmart nearby? If not, Amazon's the answer, unless you win the book here. Either way, thanks for giving a historical a chance!

    Your parent's story reminds me of Jane Eyre. Wow, finding that out about your dad had to be a shock. But I'm glad they got it worked out. Or you wouldn't be here.

    Happy writing in your Winter Wonderland!

    Janet

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  86. KC, your ceremony sounds lovely and totally romantic!

    I agree and also want to thank everyone for the stories you've told today. I hope you're writing these down so future generations will know their history!

    Janet

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  87. Hi Debra. A marriage of inconvenience sounds like a great book title. Maybe it is. LOL

    Ouch, clans ruled. Was your great great grandmother disinherited? Shunned? I'm sure the man she loved was worth it.

    Janet

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  88. Aw, Debby, that's the sweetest story!!!!! How fun that you got to meet your dil first and she passed inspection. No doubt part of military family procedure. ;-)

    Janet

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  89. Now you're giving me chills, Mary! Your gift of storytelling must come from hearing all those accounts in your family's history!

    I'm shocked a preacher would marry a couple that young, but as you say, times were different then.

    Janet

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  90. Thanks for coming back and explaining how you knew the bride! I can see why you want to elope. LOL

    As Paul Harvey would say, "That's the rest of the story."

    Janet

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  91. We love readers like you, Cindy! Thanks for your interest in The Substitute Bride!

    Janet

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  92. Hi Emma, thanks for the award for Seekerville! You rock! And thanks for entering in the drawing for The Substitute Bride.

    Janet

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  93. Hi, Janet! I just want to say I LOVE Substitute Bride. Great characters and writing. When's your next book coming out?

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  94. The Substitute Bride sounds wonderful.Congrats on the release of it.Please enter me in the giveaway. augustlily06(at)aim(dot)com.Thank you.

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  95. Janet!
    CONGRATS, girly!!

    This sounds like a winner definitely ; )

    I have to admit, I've never read a Love Inspired Historical and I've never read one of you're books... *holds out hands for ruler slap* Why do I feel like this might be the one??? *grin* Guess I'll have to see about getting my lil hands on a copy of it, eh!?

    By the way, my District Music Festival went fantastic!! There were 60 of us total in the choir : ) That's it! Friday we were 9 - 4 rehearsing and Saturday we were 9 - 3 with our concert at 4. It was CRAZY! But terrific.

    Anyway, talk to you later!
    Congrats again Janet!!!!!
    Hannah

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  96. By the way, anyone who wants to and has a minute, I have a poll going on my blog right now and I'd love it if people could stop by and vote!
    Thanks : )
    Hannah

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  97. Hey, Cara, I'm delighted you enjoyed The Substitute Bride. Seeker opinions are huge. :-) The news is--when your book's coming out! I love the Golden Age and cannot wait to read it!!!! No release date yet on my next one.

    Janet

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  98. Hi Emma! Thank you for your e-mail and interest in The Substitute Bride!

    Janet

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  99. Now Hannah, I don't do the ruler slap. Too bad, hey? LOL Okay, take a chance gal, if you don't win and buy this Love Inspired Historical.
    Go to Walmart. They're like $4.29 or $3.97. Great for a student's budget!

    Sounds like you had a lovely songfest with that 60 member choir! Congratulations!

    Janet

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  100. Hannah, leave your blog address so we can visit!

    Thanks, Janet

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  101. Janet I did get a trip to Canada and got to Washington state. I only had to pay about 2 nights accomodation and thanks to the place I stayed I had points I used for 3 nights and the points I earned but expire in 18 months I now have a $25 amazon giftcard along with some I won. So it worked out well. Just the day before the wedding I was wanting to run away!

    You know something else I have learnt about receptions. Wedding cakes are not always fruit cake.
    Here nearly all are decorated fruit cake. I dont like it but love the icing.

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  102. Yeah, too bad is right! ; ) You are right though, I probably will, can you read minds, Janet!?

    My blog address is:

    http://hcprojectjournal.blogspot.com/

    Good idea!! You are full of 'em....lol!

    Talk to you later!
    Hannah

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  103. The Substitute Bride is a great read! Lovin' it!

    EC, I’ve heard that women tell their hairdresser EVERYTHING, but honestly, telling her that you’re planning to elope takes the cake! lol

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  104. okay, I just emailed the whole story and the computer burped. AHHHHHH!!! LEt me type it againa nd save it, then I'll try to post again. :-(

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  105. Kizzie was 15 when she started working as a maid in a rich landowner’s house. The mother, a wealthy widow, had one son who would inherit everything. Not long after Kizzie began working there, she caught the eye of the son, Charles. Within a few months, Kizzie found out she was pregnant.
    She was petrified. An unmarried, pregnant girl was NOT taken lightly in Appalachia, and her parents reacted as most families did during her time. My granny told me that she listened to Granny Kizzie recount the story. Kizzie said that she remembers her mother clinging to her father’s arm and begging him not to cast her out. But she’d brought shame on the family. Disgrace. So she was sent away.

    Kizzie had no where else to go, but to Charles. He told her that he couldn’t marry her until his mother died, but he’d build her a little house on the farthest piece of his land, and he’d take care of her and the baby there.

    Three years later, when Kizzie is pregnant with her third child, she becomes a Christian. She no longer wants to live as a mistress and confronts Charles. He begs her to stay, promising that she’s the only woman for him and that he’ll marry her as soon as his mother dies.

    She will not stay. So he tells her to sell the house and the land – take the money and go wherever she needs to.

    She ends up in Mt. Airy, NC in a sock factory, placing the three children in a box at the end her workstation during the day. She’d take breaks for the children to play and the little family rented a room above a shop.
    The sock factory owner fell in love with her. Kind of like Ruth and Boaz, he watched her faithfulness and care for her children. When he asked her to marry him, she said yes, and he raised the kids as his own.
    Of course, seventeen years later, Charles comes in search of her…..

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  106. I'm delighted you're enjoying TSB, Pam. Thanks for stopping in after a hard day at work.

    Hugs, Janet

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  107. Jenny, I didn't know Australian wedding cakes were frosted fruit cakes. The trend here is have a different flavor on each layer. Usually white, chocolate, maybe spice or strawberry. I love wedding cake and consider eating a slice important, my version of blessing the marriage. :-)

    Janet

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  108. I suspect the day before the wedding most brides, grooms and parents of the couple want to run away, Jenny. LOL But glad it all worked out.

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  109. Hi, Janet,
    Yes, my grandma got back to America, two years later. She was just as happy to be able to give birth to her second child with her mom in attendance. (Her first, my Uncle John, was a year old when they first came, and went back to Italy with her.) The funny thing was she never told anybody this. The only way we found out was when my Uncle Tony was being investigated so he could take an intelligence job during WWII and they asked him "Why was you mother deported?" He was shocked, but once he got the story from Grandpa it all turned out ok.

    Pam, I ended up telling my hairdresser because I had to change my appointment to accommodate the date we had set. Little did I know that my sister had an appointment later that same afternoon, and overheard him telling another patron because he thought it was so exciting. Needless to say I changed hairdressers after that. There was quite a row, because my Dad wanted me to have the traditional big Italian wedding and I was dead set against it. We ended up compromising by inviting just first-generation family (as opposed to all 300+ cousins) and some close friends to a small wedding in a 300-year-old country inn. Bill's family and our friends loved it, they thought it was the nicest, most tasteful wedding they'd been to in years. My family thought it was disgustingly cheap. If you look at my wedding album, one side of the room looks like a party, the other half looks like a funeral. But we actually had a good time and under the circumstances I was reasonably happy with the way everything turned out.

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  110. Pepper, What a fascinating story!! Is it true? If so, who was Kizzie to you? What did Kizzie tell Charles when he finally came looking for her 17 years later? I assume "Take a hike." But please don't keep me guessing!

    Janet

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  111. EC, thanks for coming back and filling in the gaps! So the authorities sent your grandmother back to Italy because they feared she was bringing a disease into the country. Still, it's surprising no one thought of pregnancy.

    Your wedding sounds lovely! Even with your disgruntled family in attendance.

    Janet

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  112. Okay - the computer burped again. AHHH! So, here I go AGAIN!

    Seventeen years past and Charlie, the son, was brought up on charges of murder. The story was broadcast in all the local papers and reached the ears of Charles.

    He showed up at the courthouse and found Kizzie waiting for the trial to start. From what granny says, their conversation went something like this:
    "I heard about my boy."
    "Yes, but he was just protectin' hisself. He ain't guilty of murder."
    "Are you married?"
    "Yes."
    "Are you happy?"
    "Yes. He's a real good man."
    "That's good." And then he seemed to wait a long time before he continued. "I have one request of you. My mama died three years ago and left me a wealthy man. I've been hunting for you since she died. I never married cause I never loved nobody but you. I dont' have no younguns but ours. Can I leave my money to them when I die?"
    Kizzie felt a hurt-mad sort of feeling and sat quiet for a long time. "You wasn't willing to be their daddy then, I ain't gonna bring more shame to them now. No."
    Charles stayed for the trial and hten returned home.
    The following week, two articles were in the local papers regarding the people in this story.
    1. Charlie was found not guilty because of self-defense.
    2. Charles was found dead in his barn, hung by his own hand. All of his money went to the state of NC

    Kizzie was known as a woman who loved the Lord. She spent the rest of her life trying to tell young people about her poor choices and how God rescued her from her sin. Granny says that she wasn't known for keeping a clean house, but she was known for keeping a clean heart and gracious spirit.

    The weirdest part is to see the newspaper clippings. That was a very strange and amazing feeling at the same time.

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  113. I suppose in those days the immigration officials were so overworked that they made snap decisions without thinking about it too much. I guess they figured if she already had one child less than a year old she couldn't possibly be pregnant again that soon. They didn't know us Italians very well...

    BTW, speaking of wedding cakes, the traditional Italian wedding cake is a rum-soaked sponge-type cake filled with fruited cream (with more rum) between the layers. In retrospect I probably should have had one of those; it might have improved the mood considerably.

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  114. I'm using this story along with two others from my family history to write a fiction novel set in preWWII Appalachia.

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  115. Janet:

    Yes, we have a Wal Mart here. But it's small, with a very small book rack. And they carry NO category books.

    The nearest Super Center is about 60 miles, and it's hibernation weather. So online is the most convenient way to satisfy a reading addiction.

    Helen

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  116. Oh sorry, I answered your question o the first try, Janet.

    Kizzie Ball (funny names run in my family - I have three cousins named Freedom, Destiny, and Butterfly) was my great, great grandmother.

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  117. I wanted to run away cos i was afraid I would do something dangerous to the other bridesmaid.
    didn't help most of us in the same house!
    Now im fairly easy going but dont like negativity or being the meet in the sandwich.
    Oh If I ever get married (I am still waiting to find someone to keep me in the style I will grow accustomed to) I do plan to ask a friend from Georgia who I haven't met personally but have connected very well with to be my matron of honor. But I do know we will get on.

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  118. on cakes here they are 2 or 3 tiers maybe more.
    the idea is to keep the top one for your first anniversary.
    The fruitcake will last that long. not everyone likes fruit cake but here in Australia its used alot.
    They use royal icing and the decorations are really cool. they do that to christmas cakes too which are also a fruit cake. I use to give mum the cake and i got the icing. normally you take a peice home. the tradition is to put it under you pillow (single women) and you will dream about your future husband.

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  119. My grandfather's death was ruled to be a result of his war injuries. My grandma received a pension for him her whole life. She never remarried. But Grandma was cranky. I think finding a husband was a long shot for her. :) Which might explain the older, sickly husband she did get.

    I think she was getting $700 a monthy by the time she passed away at age 82. So the country had been paying out on a WWI vet for what....sixty some years?

    Your tax dollars at work, folks. :)

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  120. Speaking of anniversary top layers....

    For my parents' 50th - yes, you guessed it - we pulled out their ORIGINAL top layer, had it refrosted (no commentary needed) and we did nibble a bit.

    It wasn't bad!!!!

    I have photographic evidence, and it's not photoshopped either!

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  121. Janet,

    Congratulations on the release of your book "The Substitute Bride". I would love to be entered into your contest to win a copy. I am such an avid reader and would love to add this book to my collection.

    May the Lord richly bless you!

    Cindy Woolard

    countrybear52[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  122. Wow, Pepper! The end of Kizzie's story gave me chills big-time! Your great great grandmother lived her principles. And God used her.

    And now you're writing her story. Good for you. It needs to be told.
    Thanks for sharing!

    Janet

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  123. LOL EC!!!! Cap'n Jack and I agree!!

    Janet

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  124. I'm always amazed, Helen, to realize areas don't have stores that carry books. Thank goodness for computers and online shopping!

    Janet

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  125. Jenny, hoping you find that man who can keep you in the style you will grow accustomed to. LOL Love that.

    We save the first layer here too in the freezer. Ours tasted great at our first anniversary and it was white cake. I've heard the tradition of putting a slice of wedding cake under a pillow. Can you imagine having to clean that up in the morning?

    Janet

    Janet

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  126. Mary, I'm all for our tax dollars going to our Vets. They earn it. Glad your grandmother benefited from her husband's service. Sounds like she earned it too. :-)

    Janet

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  127. KC, amazing!!!! You're brave to eat a bite of 50 year old cake. Wonder why they didn't eat the top layer on their first anniversary.

    Janet

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