When a Department Store was an Experience

Department Stores, they ain’t what they used to be. There was a time when a trip to the department store was an experience. You had a nice meal, you got personal service, and you were pampered. Before department stores came about, upper- and middle-class women didn’t go shopping. Door-to-door salesmen brought their wares to the home. Or servants went to stores for groceries and such. People thought it was too dangerous or risqué for a woman to be on the streets alone. The First The first department store opened in London in 1796. They sold furs, fans, haberdashery, jewelry, clocks, and hats. It was called Howell & Co’s Grand Fashionable Magazine  Macy’s opened in 1878. Department store owners sought upper- and middle-class customers. Everyone else lacked the time or the money to shop at their leisure.  Whoever said that money can’t buy happiness simply didn’t know where to go shopping. — Bo Derek The Experience Aimed at women with money, most stores had elegant tea rooms or full restaurants. The buildings had high ceilings, luxury fixtures, and beautiful views. They had lounging areas, personal assistants to help you shop, and weekly fashion shows. Women loved the freedom that shopping gave […]

Inspiration from Fire and Brimstone and Redemption--the history of the Great Awakening

Inspiration from Fire and Brimstone and Redemption.

I come from a family with deep roots in conservative religion and found inspiration from fire and brimstone and redemption. Where did I find that inspiration? American Christianity has a history of periodic revivals of conservative religious fervor called the Great Awakening. During each of these periods of Awakening, there were widespread revivals led by evangelicals The phrase “Great Awakening” refers to all the periods collectively. The term Awakening refers to the awakening of interest in religion. REVIVALS Revivals were a series of religious gatherings. They lasted from three days to a week or more. Meetings would happen in the same location at the same time every day or evening. At these meetings, the evangelist preached of fire and brimstone and redemption. In the American South revivals were commonly held in tents through the summer months. In the northern states, halls and auditoriums were rented. Some areas and denominations continue to hold annual tent revivals to this day. Thousands attended these revivals. The evangelists produced a profound sense of conviction and redemption among believers. The Fellowship in my novel, My Soul to Keep, was created with this history in mind. WHEN Historians agree that there were three Awakenings. The First […]

How to Time Travel Without a Delorean

Would you like time travel in a Delorean? In 1981 a Delorean cost $26,000 US dollars. In 2016, the Delorean Motor Company planned to make three hundred replicas of the 1982 Delorean. Each of those vehicles cost approximately $100,000. I don’t know about you, but that is too pricey for my budget. What if I told you how to time travel without the Delorean? In fact, what if I said you needed a Ford or a Studebaker? Would you still want to travel into the past? When writing a novel, the right details create a verisimilitude that helps your story take on a life of its own. This is especially true when writing an alternate history like My Soul to Keep. Thank goodness I learned the secret of time travel and a way to make a new, alternate America. By now you’ve guessed the secret to time travel—the internet. Not participating in WWII, America would be a bit slower coming out of the depression. So when I looked for vehicles I looked for those that were around ten- to twenty years earlier than the 1960s when Miranda’s story takes place. I found a treasure trove in antique and classic car […]