From the Stage to the Page

Today’s post is written by fellow author and friend, Sharyn Kopf. Welcome to Historical Nibbles, Sharyn!

Two weeks before I moved to Bellefontaine, Ohio, in 2013, I saw a notice that the local theatre was holding auditions for Our Town. I couldn’t resist. I love being in a show. During the audition, I told the director I would be interested in a humorous part. She must have liked my interpretation because she cast me as the comedy relief, Mrs. Soames, and a star was born.

Ha! Not really,* but a story was. Because it was in rehearsing that play that I first stepped into the Holland Theatre, a unique structure built by Schine Enterprises in downtown Bellefontaine in 1931. The Schine family was responsible for constructing about 150 theatres in six states, but the Holland is the only one with a Dutch-style atmosphere.

Theatre architecture was at its peak in the 1920s, and many were built with an eye toward atmosphere, designed to resemble anything from an Italian piazza to a Grecian ruin to a Moorish courtyard. Theatre-goers would enjoy performances amidst Corinthian columns and loosely draped Roman statuettes with come-hither eyes. The majority of these theatres favored a Spanish or Italian fashion.

Which is why the Holland stands out with its 17th-century Dutch cityscape. If you’re not caught up in what’s on the stage, you can cast your gaze on almost life-sized timber-framed facades with softly lit windows next to two windmills that turn beneath a ceiling covered in twinkling stars.

The building screams, “Story!” and not just when you’re watching a play. I loved the historic charm from the moment I walked through one of the three sets of double doors at the entrance. But it was the romance oozing from the brick and wood and stone and dripping from the two-story red curtains that appealed to me most. Though much of the restoration has been done, it’s still an old theatre … an ideal setting for a love story and, perhaps, a haunting. All of which led me to create Stephie Graham, a lonely graphic designer who’s directing The Rainmaker at the Holland … and is distressed to find herself falling for her leading man, Andy Tremont.

But I had to bring a touch of the theatre’s history into it and did so by introducing Juniper Remington, a young girl who sang from her broken heart on the same stage 80 years before … and now may be a forlorn ghost trying to keep Stephie and Andy apart.

Or is she?

After all, the theatre is a place where magical things happen and happy endings bring the audience to its feet. And who doesn’t love being a part of that?!

-Sharyn Kopf

*Though I did win a Holland Windmill Productions Award for best supporting actress!

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Sharyn’s bio:

Sharyn Kopf didn’t find her voice until she found a way to turn grief into hope. For her, that meant realizing it was okay to be sad about her singleness. In doing so, she was finally able to move past her grief and find hope in God.

It also meant writing about the heartaches and hopes in being an older single woman. She published her first novel, Spinstered, in 2014, and a companion nonfiction version titled Spinstered: Surviving Singleness After 40 in 2015. The sequel to the novel, Inconceived, released in September 2016 and, one year later, she finished the series with Altared. Her current project is a novel about a lonely girl with a knack for matchmaking.

Besides writing and speaking, Sharyn is a freelance ghostwriter, editor and marketing professional. In her spare time, she enjoys goofing off with her nieces and nephews, making—and eating!—the best fudge ever, taking long hikes through the woods, and playing the piano.

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American Square Dancing

 

Today’s post is written by fellow author and friend, Rebecca Waters. Welcome back to Historical Nibbles, Rebecca!

 American square dancing has its roots in 16th century England and France. The “quadrille” was completed using intricate, memorized patterns. Many of the names of today’s square dance moves, such as allemande, promenade, and dos-a-dos reflect French influence.

American square dancing is linked with the settling of America and western expansion. Instead of memorizing dances, settlers opted for a leader to call out moves in sequence. Square dancing on wagon trains and in early settlements allowed men and women to engage in a socially acceptable activity. Some moves such as “take a little peek and trade the wave” or  “courtesy turn,” were considered flirtatious but safe ways to mingle with the opposite sex.

While some dances were set to music, certain groups considered the fiddle and other instruments tools of the devil. In this case, dance moves were prompted in rhythm and rhyme by a “caller.” These were known as patter calls.

Square dancing waned in the early 1900’s but made a comeback after World War II. The event surged after President Ronald Reagan named square dancing America’s official folk dance in 1982.

-Rebecca Waters

 

Courtesy Turn, a story about unexpectedly finding a second chance at love in a contemporary novella set in Cincinnati, Ohio, is one of nine stories in the newly released anthology, From the Lake to the River.

 

When Lori’s husband died of cancer, part of Lori died with him. It’s been 5 years now. Lori and her husband always enjoyed square dancing. Is that where she should start? Is it possible for Lori to find purpose and joy in her life or will she be forever dependent on her son and his family?

 

Amazon

 

 

Book Releasing Today!

My newest book releases today!

Nine Ohio authors have written novellas/short stories in Ohio settings in From the Lake to the River: Buckeye Christian Fiction Authors 2018 Anthology . What fun to be part of this anthology!

My novella in the collection, Surprised by Love, is set during the 1913 Great Miami River Flood in Troy, Ohio.

 

Here’s a blurb about my story:

Lottie’s feelings for an old school crush blossom again during the worst flood her town has endured in years.

Lottie shoulders the burden for her siblings after their mother’s death. Her seventeen-year-old brother’s disobedience troubles her, especially since she also cares for the boarders in their home. When the flooding river invades not only the town of Troy but also her home, Lottie and her family need to be rescued. 

Desperate circumstances throw Lottie and Joe, her schoolgirl crush, together. Can tragedy unite the couple to make her long-buried dream of winning his love come true?

And there are eight other stories in the anthology!

“Whether you like romance, young adult, women’s fiction, a touch of mystery or danger, some humor, some holiday cheer, a second chance at love, set in Ohio’s colorful history or the present–there’s something for nearly everyone in this collection.”-per the Editor at Mt. Zion Ridge Press, Publisher.

The collection From the Lake to the River is available on Amazon!

 

 

The Most Heroic Union Regiment in the Civil War

Today’s post was written by fellow author, Tamera Lynn Kraft. Welcome back, Tamera!

When I was asked to join the group of authors writing Murray Pura’s Cry of Freedom Anthology celebrating the anniversary of the Civil War, I knew what I wanted to write about. I’d researched the Ohio Seventh Volunteer Regiment for another novel I wrote and fell in love with them.

The Ohio Seventh was a regiment from northeastern Ohio that enlisted as soon as the Civil War began for a three-year term. During their tenure, they fought in many major battles including Gettysburg, Cedar Mountain, Lookout Mountain,  and Missionary Ridge. They are considered by many historians as the most heroic regiment.

The Ohio Seventh was sometimes called the Rooster Regiment because, when they went into battle, they crowed like roosters. They were also known for their temperance. The leader, Colonel Creighton, was a Christian and didn’t allowing drinking, gambling, or soliciting prostitutes among the ranks. One company of the regiment came from Oberlin College. Oberlin was known for its abolitionist views and religious fervor. Charles Finney, the president of the college, had been one of the preachers of the Second Great Awakening. Because most of the regiment strived to live Christian lives even in the midst of war, they were also sometimes called the Praying Regiment.

Even with all their victories, the regiment came home after three years feeling defeated. Their last major battle, Ringgold Gap, was their worst. After two days of victories in Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge, the Seventh was ordered to chase the Confederate soldiers to Ringgold Gap. The Confederates stopped running and set up an ambush. Many were killed in the last battle including Colonel Creighton, their leader. Colonel Creighton died while trying to rescue Lieutenant-Colonel Crane, the man who had been his close friend. Both men died. When the battle was over, every officer in the regiment except four were wounded or killed along with many enlisted men. Colonel Creighton, who was loved by his men, left a young widow he had married a few days before the war. Very few of the men who were left reenlisted.

Soldier’s Heart

After returning home from the Civil War, will his soldier’s heart come between them?

Noah Andrews, a soldier with the Ohio Seventh Regiment can’t wait to get home now that his three year enlistment is coming to an end. He plans to start a new life with his young wife. Molly was only sixteen when she married her hero husband. She prayed every day for him to return home safe and take over the burden of running a farm.

But they can’t keep the war from following Noah home. Can they build a life together when his soldier’s heart comes between them?

Available on Amazon Kindle, Kobo Reader, and Barnes & Noble Nook.

Bio:

Tamera Lynn Kraft has always loved adventures. She loves to write historical fiction set in the United States because there are so many stories in American history. There are strong elements of faith, romance, suspense and adventure in her stories. Her novella, Soldier’s Heart, is featured in From the River to the Lake Anthology. Her newest novel, Red Sky Over America is Book 1 of the Ladies of Oberlin series and will be re-released in September, 2018.

Tamera has been married for 39 years to the love of her life, Rick, and has two married adult children and three grandchildren. She has been a children’s pastor for over 20 years. She is the leader of a ministry called Revival Fire for Kids where she mentors other children’s leaders, teaches workshops, and is a children’s ministry consultant and children’s evangelist and has written children’s church curriculum. She is a recipient of the 2007 National Children’s Leaders Association Shepherd’s Cup for lifetime achievement in children’s ministry.

Connect with Tamera on her website,  Word Sharpeners Blog,  Facebook,  and Twitter.

 

1870s Treatment for Baldness

I’m always searching for interesting or little-known tidbits from our past. I found treatments for baldness in an 1870s cookbook that I’d love to share.

Caution: These were treatments or cures from 140 years ago. I’m not a medical professional and make no claims to how well they work nor am I advising anyone to try them.

According to the 1870s writer, hair loss indicates a scalp disease. The cure? Dip the head into cold water twice daily then rub with a brush until it glows.

If the hair is too long to rub with a brush:

  • Make a wash of 3 drachms (1 drachm = 1/8 ounce) pure glycerin and 4 ounces of limewater. (Limewater is a diluted solution of calcium hydroxide. It has nothing to do with the fruit.)
  • Brush hair until it glows.
  • Rub the glycerin/limewater wash into the roots.
  • After using this solution for 2 to 3 weeks, add ½ ounce of tincture of cantharides to it. (Warning for modern-day readers: Cantharidin is poisonous if taken internally. It’s considered an extremely hazardous substance. Further, Scientific American warns that it injures the hair and “should never be used.”)
  • Treat the area with this solution once or twice daily. If the area grows tender, stop using.

If the baldness is in spots, dip a soft toothbrush in distilled vinegar and brush the area twice daily.

This information is passed along for the entertainment of my readers. If you read this in one of my historical novels, you’ll know where I found the information!

-Sandra Merville Hart

Sources

Compiled from Original Recipes. Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping, Applewood Books, 1877.

“Cantharidin,” Wikipedia.com, 2018/07/29 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cantharidin.

“Drachm,” Oxford University Dictionary, 2018/07/29

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/drachm.

“Hair Tonic,” Scientific American, 2018/07/29 https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/hair-tonic-1853-06-04/.

“Limewater,” Wikipedia.com, 2018/07/29 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limewater.

Cleaning Up After the 1913 Great Miami River Flood

Cleaning up after The Troy Flood of 1913  was a massive effort on the part the townspeople.

The small Ohio city received about ten inches of rain in March of 1913 that flooded Troy. After the floodwaters from the Great Miami River and the Miami and Erie Canal receded, it left a muddy trail.

Citizens received warnings from the Board of Health about contaminated water. To avoid diseases left behind, they were not to return to their homes until water receded from their cellar. Wet wallpaper was to be removed.

Cleaning walls and floors with slacked lime killed mildew and mold. Troy’s Mayor John McClain requested two railroad cars of lime from the Ohio governor, James Cox.

The diseases were real. Troy citizens suffered through a typhoid epidemic the summer after the flood, said to have been caused by contaminated wells. Some died of the disease in late summer and early fall.

The characters in my novella, Surprised by Love, lived through the 1913 Troy flood. They tore down wallpaper. They cleaned with slacked lime.

They weren’t alone in this chore. Many in Troy and surrounding towns and cities along the Great Miami River also had massive cleaning after the flood.

-Sandra Merville Hart

Sources

American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. S.v. “slaked lime.” Retrieved July 21 2018 from https://www.thefreedictionary.com/slaked+lime.

Troy Historical Society. Images of America: Troy and the Great Flood of 1913, Arcadia Publishing, 2012.

Surprised by Love is Sandra’s novella in From the Lake to the River Collection (Mt. Zion Ridge Press, September 2018) that releases September 1st! Nine Ohio authors have written stories set in Ohio.

Surprised by Love is set during the 1913 flood in the small city of Troy, Ohio, where ordinary people courageously met the danger. Heroes are born at such a time.

Lottie’s feelings for an old school crush blossom again during the worst flood her town has endured in years.

 Lottie shoulders the burden for her siblings since their mother’s death. She also cares for the boarders in her home who need her assistance as much as her siblings. Dreams of Joe, her schoolgirl crush, must be put behind her. When the flooding river invades not only the town of Troy but also her home, Lottie and her family need to be rescued.

Desperate circumstances throw Joe and Lottie together. Can tragedy unite the couple to make her long-buried dream of winning his love come true?

The collection, From the Lake to the River, is available for preorder on Amazon!

 

New Release-Audiobook for A Rebel in My House!

I’m thrilled to announce the release of an audiobook for my Civil War romance, A Rebel in My House!

Tom Campbell, the narrator, does a fantastic job of drawing in listeners with his storyteller style. The novel is set during the turbulent days of the Battle of Gettysburg. when the War Between the States came to a small borough in Pennsylvania.

A Novel of Love and Sacrifice set during one of our nation’s most famous battles

Jesse has promised his sister-in-law that he’d bring his brother home from the war. Sarah has promised her sister that she’d stay clear of the enemy. Can the two keep their promises amid a war bent on tearing their country apart?

Buy it today on Amazon!

The Miracle Women of WWII

Today’s post is written by fellow author and sweet friend, Carole Brown. Welcome back to Historical Nibbles, Carole!

World War Two was raging across the seas. Women were lining up to answer the United States call for help in the factories. Patriotism and loyalty flew high and strong. They were determined to do their part, not only for their military men, but also for their country. Rosie, the Riveter was an encouraging figure for mothers, wives and women everywhere to do their duty.

Housing at times, for the women in certain parts of the country, was hard to find. Many of them shared beds, one going to work as the other went to sleep. The patriotic appeal had two aspects: The positive: “do your part” and the negative: “a soldier may die if you don’t do your part.” The Germans and Japanese already had a headstart on weaponry, so the pressure—as the war continued—increased as time went by. Stockings, certain fabrics, metals, etc. were all sacrificed.

Abigail, the young wife in Christmas Angels, is a mother to Sarah Beth, her baby. In the top apartment of a boarding house filled with elderly and middle-aged people, she spends her days caring for her daughter. But when the checks from Patrick, her husband, cease coming, when the letters aren’t in the mail box, and the bills are piling up, what is she to do? Prayers are shakily breathed to God, but the reader can easily sense her doubts and timid faith. Her mother called her a failure but her husband had always called her strong and brave. Was it wrong to fear the unknown?

Is she strong enough to get through her fears and doubts? What happens that gives her the courage to carry on? Miracles do happen, but does one occur for Abigail?

–Carole Brown

Carole’s Short Story Christmas Angels in From the Lake to the River:

Her mother called her a failure, and maybe she was. Her husband was gone—in the service, yes, but if he loved her—really loved her, why didn’t he write? Or call? Or send the money she needed?

She loved this sweet little bundle of joy—her baby—but she was scared. Was she smart enough and strong enough to raise her?

Watch for this book’s release on September 1st!

 

Bio:

An author of ten books, Carole Brown loves weaving suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy. She and her husband have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, and the simple life.

 

Buy Link:

Amazon Author Page

 

 

 

 

Announcing Next Book Release for Sandra Merville Hart

 

I’m thrilled to announce my next book release! From the Lake to the River: Buckeye Christian Fiction Authors 2018 Anthology releases on September 1, 2018.  Nine Ohio authors writing novellas/short stories set in Ohio. What fun to be part of this anthology!

 

My novella in the collection, Surprised by Love, is set during the 1913 Great Miami River Flood in Troy, Ohio. Here’s a blurb about my story:

Lottie’s feelings for an old school crush blossom again during the worst flood her town has endured in years.

Lottie shoulders the burden for her siblings after their mother’s death. Her seventeen-year-old brother’s disobedience troubles her, especially since she also cares for the boarders in their home. When the flooding river invades not only the town of Troy but also her home, Lottie and her family need to be rescued. 

Desperate circumstances throw Lottie and Joe, her schoolgirl crush, together. Can tragedy unite the couple to make her long-buried dream of winning his love come true?

And there are eight other stories in the anthology!

“Whether you like romance, young adult, women’s fiction, a touch of mystery or danger, some humor, some holiday cheer, a second chance at love, set in Ohio’s colorful history or the present–there’s something for nearly everyone in this collection.”-per the Editor at Mt. Zion Ridge Press, Publisher.

The collection From the Lake to the River is available for preorder on Amazon!

 

 

Another Award for A Rebel in My House

 

I’m thrilled to announce that A Rebel in My House celebrated its first birthday with another award!

 

 

This novel set during the turbulent Battle of Gettysburg won 2nd place in this contest and was named 2018 Finalist Faith Hope & Love Reader’s Choice Award.

 

This is the novel’s second award–the first was the 2018 Illumination Silver Award. Here’s a bit about the story:

When the cannons roar beside Sarah Hubbard’s home outside of Gettysburg, she despairs of escaping the war that’s come to Pennsylvania. A wounded Confederate soldier on her doorstep leaves her with a heart-wrenching decision.

Separated from his unit and with a bullet in his back, Jesse Mitchell needs help. He seeks refuge at a house beside Willoughby Run. His future lies in the hands of a woman whose sympathies lay with the North.

Jesse has promised his sister-in-law he’d bring his brother home from the war. Sarah has promised her sister that she’d stay clear of the enemy. Can the two keep their promises amid a war bent on tearing their country apart?