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Thursday, May 3, 2012

JoAnn Carter's The Roarin' Twenties

Book One: The Floating Palace


ELLIE DUNKLING’S life long dream has been to work on one of Lake Champlain’s steamships, the Ticonderoga. There’s only one problem. Men, not women, are hired to work on ships. Ellie, however is determined to change that. After all, it is 1923 and far from the dark-ages.

Captain PHILIP LAWHORN is a man’s man. When Champlain Transportation Inc. informs him a woman has been hired to work on his ship as stewardess, he’s anything but pleased. First of all, he doesn’t appreciate the fact someone’s hired on his twenty-eight-member crew without his knowledge. Secondly, how is he supposed to handle this company mandated—sure to be—disaster?

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You can also purchase the book directly from Desert Breeze Publishing as well as Amazon, B&N and other e-book retailers.

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EXCERPT:

"Excuse me, captain?"

Philip whirled on his heel. A petite woman with a creamy complexion stared at him with wide, hazel eyes. "Yes?" The lady hesitated then put one foot into his room. She held out a gloved hand, which he took automatically. No matter how glad he might be for a distraction, passengers weren't supposed to be in his quarters. He made a mental note to have a word with his crew later. For now, he had to find an inoffensive way to get rid of this interloper.

"What can I do for you, miss?"

She withdrew her hand and lifted her chin. Determination sparked in her eyes, and Philip hoped what he'd heard about redheads wasn't true. The last thing he needed right now was a hot-tempered, stubborn woman -- however beautiful she may be -- to upset things even more. He took a step closer and held out his elbow. "Let me escort you back to the purser's desk to find someone to help you locate your stateroom."

The woman frowned as if he spoke a different language. Finally, she smiled. Her whole face radiated warmth that enveloped him. "I don't think you understand. I'm Ellie Dunkling, your new stewardess."

"My... my what?" So much for distracting him, she was the distraction.

"Your new--"

He cut her off with a wave of his hand. "I heard you, but I don't agree." He wheezed, "You are not a steward."

Her arched brows drew together. "There must be some misunderstanding. Mr. Trembley said you were expecting me."

Expecting her? Not hardly.

"Lady." He shook his head. "You have no idea." The situation was so ludicrous he was tempted to pinch himself. However, the only thing he was sure to wind up with was a bruise for his efforts. Before him stood an elegant woman in a long, drop-waist garment, insisting she had a place of employment... here.

If there had to be a stewardess, shouldn't it be a frumpy, gray-haired spinster with thick round glasses and a substantial waistline? At least then he wouldn't feel as uncomfortable about the dirty, difficult responsibilities she would need to carry. Nor would he have half the worry over the reputation of his crew and boat, or even the state of his heart for that matter.

--

Author's Note about The Floating Palace

I was inspired to write The Floating Palace when my family and I visited the S. S. Ticonderoga at its current home at the Shelburne museum in Shelburne, VT. As soon as I stepped foot on this boat, I fell in love with it.

While walking around this beautiful steamboat, I read and soaked up every sign there was on board expounding on the history. That's when one fact totally captured my imagination. In 1923, the first female stewardess was hired. It didn't take long for seeds to be planted for Ellie and Philip's story. Although the plot is fictional, I stayed as historically accurate as possible such as with the number of crew, their job descriptions, the boat description and layout. However, the route and schedule that the Ti ran was much more complicated than what is seen in this book.

I thoroughly enjoyed researching the Ticonderoga and writing this story. I hope it has been a blessing and inspiration to you. If you are interested in seeing photos of the Ti as well as information about its later years, you may enjoy this Web site: http://www.vermonter.com/shelburne-museum-3.asp

In the meantime, I hope you'll consider joining me again on the Ti's next journey. The second book in this series, Mercies in Disguise. We'll be starting right back here on Lake Champlain then heading to the Pine Barren's of New Jersey.


Book Two: Mercies in Disguise—

Abigail Madison, a gentle quiet spirit, has always dreamed of a life away from her mother’s controlling ways. Even more than that, she’s dreamed of finding someone with whom she could share her life with. However, her shyness is often taken as aloofness and no marital prospects were anywhere to be found. What was to become of her hopes?

Stanley Fisher, the Steamboat pilot of the Ticonderoga, was drafted and fought in World War I. The experiences he lived though on the battlefield left him wounded -- but not in a way that the naked eye could see. Yet, when he meets Abigail, he yearns for a love like his best friend and Captain of the Ti, Philip found in Ellie. However, with his recurring nightmares from war, what does he have to offer to this special woman?

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EXCERPT

Abigail's dark hair hung to her shoulders, framing her fair face in shiny curls and her green eyes sparkled when he asked if he could take her bag. A slight blush colored her high cheekbones. He was in trouble -- deep trouble. She was every bit as beautiful in person as she was in the photograph Ellie had given him earlier today when she asked him to pick up her friend at the train station. Like a magnet, the picture had held him captive. And now that he saw her in person... he gulped. As his fellow bell bottoms would say, she was a doll. And although she was very quiet, the longer they talked he couldn't help but notice her beautiful, expressive eyes. They held a sort of tempered peace, or perhaps it was contentment, which he found completely unattainable.

Never before had he been so enamored, nor had he ever had as much reason to keep far away from that allure. He needed to stay strong. The serenity in her eyes would vanish if she knew the sorrow buried within his heart and how it affected him. Granted, his war wounds didn't leave any scars on the outside, but they were too numerous to count on the inside.

Lord, help me overcome the past.

He took a deep breath and stepped back, widening the space between them. If he could just turn off his thoughts and stop dwelling on his recurring nightmares, he'd be great.

Time.

He was sure that's all it would take... time to put his experiences behind him. Meanwhile, he had God, work, friends, and most importantly, the determination to make it through -- somehow, someway -- without being a total killjoy and dragging a beautiful woman into the mess of his life.

Abigail finished the letter, tucked it into her handbag, and gazed trustingly into his eyes. "Will you please take me to the steamboat now?"

Stanley nodded and offered her his elbow. "I'd love to."

--

Author's Note about Mercies in Disguise story:

What rich history the Pine Barren's of New Jersey holds. I'm looking forward to sharing more about this area, their customs, and the 1920's time-period with you in the third book in this Roarin' 20's series, Shifting Sands. For those of you who are history buffs you may be interested to know that the Fairview sanitarium was indeed established in the early 1920's in New Lisbon, N.J but not by a Dr. Reily, but rather by Marcus W. Newcomb, M.D. It was one of the first of several in the area. They truly believed the air, cedar water, and natural springs in the pines were beneficial to the ill. Fairview was just a few miles from the New Lisbon train station, situated a short distance away from the Burlington County Almshouse, where the Buttonwood Hall Hospital now resides on Pemberton - Browns Mills Road.

As for the town of Brown's Mills, the Pig'n Whistle, where Stanley resides in this story was actually in operation until a fire claimed the facility in 1972. This community has seen many changes since the year 1923. The Springs are no longer in operation, and the tourist population has depleted. Therefore, hotels like the Pig'n Whistle are not available, the sanitarium is long since gone, people are not excited to swim in cedar water, and Camp Dix is now part of a mega base, McGuire-Dix.

However, some things haven't changed over time. The pine trees still grow, scrawny, yet thick in the Pine Barrens. The sandy soil will always make growing grass a challenge, and I imagine that the blueberry bushes will always love to grow there. Likewise, although Abigail and Stanley are fictional characters set in the past, the lessons they learn and the truths revealed within their story remains the same and unchanged. God does often bring us "Mercies in Disguise." We may be tempted to identify ourselves from our experiences rather than who we are in Christ. It is my hope and prayer that this book will/has given you things to think about and that in some way this story has blessed your heart.

For any who may be interested, Book Three: Winds of Change will release Sept. 15, 2012.

8 comments:

JoAnn said...

Thank you for having me here today!

June Foster said...

I've read both of these books. They are engaging and bring a solid Christian message that is not preachy.

JoAnn said...

Thanks for stopping by, June! (And for your support too. I really appreciate it. :))

Irene Jacobson said...

Both of these sound fascinating! I loved the background information you give on each of your settings. I'll definitely add them to my reading list. Have a lovely day ladies!

Kris Bosch said...

Hi Anne and JoAnn,
I'm excited to find a new author. Both your books do sound very interesting, JoAnn.

Cindy Weber said...

Interesting post. I enjoyed reading about your settings too, especially about Fairview sanitarium. It’s obvious research is an important part of your writing and I appreciate authors who take the time to thoroughly research their books.

JoAnn said...

Oh, I love to meet new friends! Thanks for your kind words and for leaving a comment Irene, Kris and Cindy.

Anne Patrick said...

Thank you for all the wonderful comments in support of JoAnn. You should also check out her books Paradox and Hidden Paths. Great stories!