Our own Susanne Dietze signed her first contract! Her novella, Love's Reward, will be included in Barbour's Most Eligible Bachelor Collection in June 2015! A novella by Gina Welborn will also appear.

Lisa, Gina, Jen and Carla Gade. MISTLETOE MEMORIES at #10 on the ECPA bestsellers list for fiction!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Preventoriums, tuberculosis, and the Colorado "cure"

By Niki Turner

A few months ago, my blogging buddy (and the founder of Inkwell Inspirations), Gina Welborn, asked me if I wanted to participate in a project: Writing a Christmas-themed novella for a collection of eight stories to be independently published as a group with seven other traditionally-published authors. I glanced at the list of writers involved and gasped. OF COURSE I wanted to be involved in a project with these ladies (which includes our own Jennifer Allee!).

I plunged in with both feet, despite the fact I was in the middle of edits for my first contracted novella, Santiago Sol, and I don't generally write historical fiction. It must have been "meant to be," because I had the entire story written in less than a month, and these two characters have become dear to my heart.

Sadie's Gift goes "live" today on (I had a glitch in my Barnes and Noble account, so it won't be available for Nook until they email me back. Stay tuned, Nook readers! Writers: never publish anything on a holiday weekend!)

The first novella in the Christmas Traditions series, Handcarved Christmas by Cynthia Hickey, is already available and is a charming, sweet read by an equally charming and sweet author! (Cynthia also graciously designed all our covers.)

Sadie's Gift is set in 1921 Colorado Springs, Colorado. I have a soft spot for Colorado Springs because I was born there, as was my paternal grandfather.

My heroine, Sadie Hubbard, is a nurse in a preventorium. What's a preventorium, you ask?

During the last half of the 19th century, and into the first few decades of the 20th, tuberculosis—"the white plague"—was a health crisis in the U.S. and around the world. Commonly referred to at the time as consumption, tuberculosis infections had reached epidemic proportions in the 19th century, responsible for one in four deaths. A vaccine was not developed until the early 1900s, and wasn't in widespread use until the middle of the century.

Tuberculosis, an airborne bacteria spread through breathing, coughing, sneezing, and spitting, was widely considered a disease of the poverty-stricken, and spread rapidly in crowded urban areas. The bacteria primarily affected the victim's lungs, and as the disease progressed, the sufferer was "consumed" by the ailment, experiencing extreme weight loss and weakness along with fever, chills, loss of appetite, and severe coughing fits. In its later stages, victims often coughed up blood, as lung tissue was destroyed by the bacteria. 

Gambler and gunslinger Doc Holliday, made famous by his participation in the battle at the OK Corral, was a victim of TB. He died in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, of the ailment in 1887.

Doc Holliday's "grave" (no one knows for sure if this is actually where he was buried) is in the town where I grew up. 
Those afflicted with TB were often "sent West" for treatment, as doctors believed the drier climate was beneficial to the lungs. The establishment of private sanatoriums, where TB patients were housed to prevent the spread of the infection and in hopes of treating the disease through exposure to fresh air, sunlight, daily exercise, and healthy food, created an economic boom in cities like Colorado Springs. Sometimes the treatment worked, sometimes it didn't. Often, as is all too frequently the case, those with the most money received the best treatment and got the best results. 

Children who were exposed to the disease through contact with family members, but who hadn't succumbed to the illness, were sometimes moved to "preventoriums." As is evidenced by the name, the preventorium was a place where doctors and nurses hoped to prevent the progression of the disease by prescribing a strict regime of exercise, diet, and exposure to fresh air (even in the winter).

In Sadie's Gift, nurse Sadie Hubbard wants to provide a "real" Christmas celebration for the children in her care in a Colorado Springs preventorium. On her way to a pawn shop to get money to buy gifts for the kids, she's nearly run down by Nathan Wells in his brother's Model T Ford. Nathan's brother has just died of consumption, and Nathan just wants to get his brother's prized car back to their parents' home, but his run-in with Sadie delays his plans. 

     “I seem to have lost my Christmas spirit this year,” he snapped. After all that had happened to Matthew, Nathan didn’t even know if he believed in Christmas anymore.
     She twisted a corner of her napkin between taut fingers and he wished he could take back the words. His emotions were strung too tight, ready to snap at the slightest provocation. He should just leave the table. Leave the boardinghouse. Get on the train and get out of Colorado forever. Forget about Matthew’s wrecked car. But he couldn’t. He had to take the car back to his parents, leave it with them as a memorial to his brother.
     “What do you do for a living, Mr. Wells?” Sadie’s gentle voice cracked his mental whirlwind. He imagined she was a very competent nurse. Despite her personal discomfort, she was reaching out to him.
     He cleared his throat, feeling guilty. “I’m in… I was in finance. But my situation has changed, because of the economic troubles we’ve had since the war.” He felt heat in his face and neck. He had been one of the up-and-coming financiers in Chicago before everything crashed. Now he had an empty house in Chicago’s northwest neighbored. He’d sold all his fancy, decorator-inspired furniture to pay bills. He had no job, and no prospects for future employment. Depression rolled over him, threatening to suffocate him in hopelessness.
     Nathan fought to find his anger again, for that was the only thing keeping him afloat. Anger at his brother for getting sick, anger at the sanatorium for failing to save him, anger at this woman for thwarting his plans and for breaking open his wounds and peering inside his raw and exposed soul. He pushed his chair away from the table and almost didn’t hear her next words.
     “My parents died during the Spanish influenza epidemic while I was away at nursing school.”
      He looked up, surprised. Why would she share such a thing with him? “My condolences,” he murmured.
     She offered a weak smile. “As Mr. Maloney said, we’ve all lost someone. But we go on. That’s how we can honor their memories, by going on, by living.”
Sadie's Gift attempts to address the sorrow and grief of loss that can paralyze us and prevent us from seeing the blessings of God. In the story, Sadie and Nathan have to come to terms with their own ways of dealing with their pain and its residual effects to find the true spirit of Christmas.  I hope you enjoy the story, and all of the stories in the Christmas Traditions collection, which will be released between now and the end of October.

Niki Turner is a novelist, journalist, blogger, and production manager for the Rio Blanco Herald Times in Meeker, Colorado. She lives on Colorado's Western Slope, blogs at and is a co-blogger at She is also the Colorado Coordinator for American Christian Fiction Writers. Her fiction blends the good news of God's love with come-as-you-are characters in stories that encourage and inspire. 

Friday, August 29, 2014


Creighton's Hideaway by LoRee Peery

Needing to finish her thesis in order to keep her job working with youth in a residential treatment center, Shana Arnold sequesters herself on Creighton Rice’s Nebraska ranch. She expects the secluded hideaway to provide a peaceful environment. What she doesn't expect is to become the victim of identity theft and a crazed home invader.

Creighton Rice has been content to live alone with his God--until he meets Shana. He's drawn to her, but must fight the attraction. Getting close makes him face a lifetime's accumulation of scars. Plus, Shana doesn’t share his faith. But when Shana's life is threatened, Creighton must protect her--even if it means letting her in.

Will Shana discover that even when a woman loses everything, she can regain courage and strength through faith in God, and can Creighton allow God to heal scars and open the door to a lifetime with Shana?

I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.—Psalm 121:1-2

A lilting soprano voice jolted him back to his childhood, and drew him like the legendary Lorelei. Chill bumps rose on his arms. The sensation rendered him as speechless as Shana’s kiss had the day before.
Creighton wound his way through the trees into the open, and stood transfixed when he spied the subject of his thoughts. An open hymnal was balanced on her upraised knees. Notes soared pure and light as Shana sang the lyrics to his mother’s favorite song.
God was surely present in this place. He closed his eyes and listened to Shana continue all the way through to the fourth verse. Shana lifted her chin. Her face glowed.
His heart picked up its pace, and his cheeks grew warm. Were there tears clogging his throat? Something he was slow to name filled his soul.
Then it came to him as Shana rose to her feet. Humbled. She’d humbled him.
God had given him a gift in this dark haired sprite who offered her friendship. And he had been too obtuse to appreciate its magnitude. Creighton’s feet remained in place as though they were stuck in a mucky feedlot.
“Hi.” She closed the gap between. “Is something wrong?”
“That song,” his voice rasped like a cornhusk. Creighton cleared his throat and tried again, “It’s my mom’s favorite. I grew up with her singing, especially when she pinned the sheets out on the clothesline to dry in the wind.”
Shana hugged the hymnal close. With a comical scrunched up face, she asked, “Did I slaughter it? I sight read the notes.”
“Not at all. It was beautiful. Your voice is lovely.”
“Thanks. I don’t sing much anymore.”
“Well, here’s your chance to use it. Come to church with me in the morning?”
The sky glowed pink and purple. While orange streaks danced along the horizon, he waited for her answer.
“Creighton, I left my business clothes in Lincoln. I only brought country clothes back with me.”
“No problem. We’re casual. But Rita has things up at the house.”
Reflections of the sun turned her cheek golden. “You’re right! She offered them to me. Guess I forgot.”
“So, do you want to check them out now?”
“Why not? Don’t think I have a hot date or anything.”
Creighton didn’t want to think of Shana dating. Instead, he nodded at the hymnal. “That belonged to my mom. She had one in almost every room of the house.”
“Did she sing in the choir or something?”
“Actually, she played the church organ.” He reached out his hand. “Here, let me carry that.”
Creighton tucked the old volume underneath his arm and wrapped his fingers around Shana’s hand.
She gave a secretive woman’s smile that tugged deep at his midsection.
They strolled through the brush strokes of sunset. A burst of reflected gold painted the clouds rosy pink in the east. The majestic sky squelched any more words.
At the ranch house, he laid the hymnal on the counter and ran his hand up to the light switch in one smooth movement.
“Rita tell you which room was hers?”
“Second on the other side of the bathroom.”
“Help yourself.” He entered the living area and turned on two lamps. “Since I didn’t feed you yesterday, I’ll rustle up something to eat.”
She turned down the hall.
How long would he be able to keep his dark side from Shana?

A Nebraska country girl, LoRee Peery attempts to see God’s presence every day. Often that gift comes from nature, and she is most relaxed in the outdoors. The call of a cardinal draws her to look for the distinctive flash of crimson. A meadowlark’s melody always transports her to the farm where she grew up. A rainbow holds special significance, since one appeared the day of her father’s funeral and means the promise of the Lord’s presence in her life. She clings to I John 5:4 and prays her family sees that faith. You can find her at or the Pelican Book Group site

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


By Lisa Karon Richardson

That pretty much sums up my life at the moment. Seems like everything is in flux.

At work we just went through a major corporate merger and I’ve had 4 different supervisors in the last 14 months. Let’s just say there’s been some...

At home, we just bought a new house 3 weeks ago. Which is great, don’t get me wrong. I’m very blessed, and I am conscious of that fact. More to come on all that for sure. But at this very moment, we’re in the renovation stage. All the ground floors have been ripped out and it’s going to be probably two more weeks before the new flooring is put in. All the kitchen cabinets have been pulled out and we’re redoing them. The appliances are out in the garage anyway. We’ve been eating out. A lot. No washer or dryer yet. We’ve been waiting for the Labor Day sales. And of course we’ve been painting. Lots and lots of painting. I’m ready to settle in and nest, and it seems like my instincts are being thwarted at every turn!
With the new house came a new school for the kids. They are settling in to a new routine and our rhythms are adjusting. Slowly.

Finally, my husband decided that it was time to act on his calling to start a church. It’s the right thing to do. I can feel God smiling. Doesn’t make it easy. We had to leave behind the security, familiarity, and to be frank, the minimal demands on our time of our old church.

In the midst of all this I’m supposed to be writing. It’s um… slow going, and I have this dreadful sense that I’m letting my agent and publisher down because I can even seem to get my three chapters for a proposal done.

I have moments when I just want to throw up my hands and scream. Or maybe bury my head under the pillow and scream.

Thankfully, God reminds me that there are seasons in life. The challenges I’m facing aren’t permanent. The renovation will come to an end eventually. The kids will be just as comfortable with their new school as they were with the old.

But what can I do in the meantime?

First, is an attitude check. Our very own Gina reminded me not long ago that I should try to enjoy the blossoming of my new home. And she was right. I have the choice to stress about what is yet to be done, or I can enjoy the process and potential that we have in our house right now. It’s sort of a blank canvas and I have an opportunity to really make it my own.

Sometimes just reframing the “problem” can make all the difference. None of these experiences are wasted if I simply learn something from each one. 

I find that I overlook sometimes the very best coping mechanism. I forget to take the time to steal away with God. Nothing is more re-energizing and centering than spending a few moments in listening to his whispers to my heart. His voice is just there if we seek him.

In the end I know two things: 1. All the craziness is necessary to get to where I want to be in the end. 2. Throughout it all, I’m never alone.

What suggestions do you have for making it through all of life’s craziness?

Influenced by books like The Secret Garden and The Little Princess, Lisa Karon Richardson’s early stories were heavy on boarding schools and creepy houses. Now, even though she’s (mostly) grown-up she still loves a healthy dash of adventure in any story she creates, even her real-life story. She’s been a missionary to the Seychelles and Gabon and now that she and her husband are back in America, they are tackling a new adventure, starting a daughter-work church in a new city while trying to raise a family. Curtain Call, the third in the Charm and Deceit, series co-authored with Jennifer AlLee, released in March, 2014. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Real ___

by C. J. Chase

Years ago, I had a coworker who didn’t like it when an actor would age out of a long-running movie/TV series and be replaced. “Sean Connery was The Real James Bond,” she would say. Or “Johnny Weissmuller was The Real Tarzan.”

Fortunately, I knew her weakness, so one day I called her on her “Real” claims. “And who was The Real Superman?” I asked. Despite the fact she was of an age to have seen the George Reeves Superman TV series, she flashed a sheepish grin and admitted to her well-known crush on the young version of Christopher Reeve.

Regina, wherever you are now, this is for you:

For most of us, our first visual exposure to a favorite character often becomes the yardstick by which we measure future portrayals. Not always, but it usually works that way. We even had a post right here at Inkwell on The Sherlock Holmes.

I thought about taking this in some deep, theological direction, but you know what? It’s Monday, and the calendar says August for one more week. The summer movies – including a few remakes and new installments to long-running series (Planet of the Apes? Really???) – are still in the theaters, so let’s just stick to light-hearted foolishness. Give us your list of The Real __. Who is The Real Scrooge? Mr. Knightly? Sabrina? Hawkeye? Grinch? Be prepared to back up your choices because you're almost certain to find someone who disagrees.

Here are some of mine:

The Real Fitzwilliam Darcy: Colin Firth (Go ahead. Try to argue that one.)
The Real Scarlet Pimpernel: Leslie Howard (But I still love you, Anthony Andrews.)
The Real Ivanhoe: Anthony Andrews. (See, I do love you!)
The Real Cruella de  Vil: Betty Lou Gerson
The Real Henry V: Kenneth Branagh
The Real James T. Kirk: Chris Pine (Yep, I'm going with the new-and-improved, not-as-campy Kirk. But I'll grant you Leonard Nimoy for Spock.)
The Real Horatio Hornblower: Ioan Gruffudd (Mr. Peck, you were 99 degrees of hawt-ness in your day, but…no.)

Oh, and Deanna, I love you too (even more than Anthony Andrews – and not just because you’re more likely to read this than he is), but The Real Sherlock Holmes is Benedict Cumberbatch.

After leaving the corporate world to stay home with her children, C.J. Chase quickly learned she did not possess the housekeeping gene. She decided writing might provide the perfect excuse for letting the dust bunnies accumulate under the furniture. Her procrastination, er, hard work paid off in 2010 when she won the Golden Heart for Best Inspirational Manuscript and sold the novel to Love Inspired Historicals. You can visit C.J.'s cyber-home (where the floors are always clean) at

Friday, August 22, 2014

Antique Cookbooks Part 3 1920 - 1928

by Anita Mae Draper

Welcome to Part 3 in my Antique Cookbooks series. You can read my story on how I came upon this treasure by checking out the previous posts:
Antique Cookbooks Part 1 1890 - 1906
Antique Cookbooks Part 2 1900 - 1916

Today's post covers the period of 1920-1928 and delves into the world of Household Science, or what we used to call Home Economics when I went to school fifty years later.

First up is the 1920 Household Science Circular No. 3 from my own province of Saskatchewan. I believe this 30-page 6" x 9" booklet would been distributed through the school system, not only because of the photographs, but also because of the simple recipes geared toward children's meals and lunch boxes.

1920 Saskatchewan Dept of Education, Short Course Recipes
 Household Science Circular No. 3

Here's the photograph from the front of the book, which is a far cry from the photograph of a real classroom at the back of the book which follows--especially in the length of the skirt. But although it may not be true to life, it reminds me of the little Robin Hood Flour outfits I used to dress my own little kitchen helpers in when they were small.

1920 Saskatchewan Dept of Education, Short Course Recipes Household Science Circular No. 3

Note the girl in the left forefront of this classroom photo as she shows that the Flapper fashion has already hit Saskatchewan by her headdress. I also found it interesting that the girls with white stockings wore white shoes, and those with black stockings wore black shoes. I'm curious if this was regulatory or a dictate of fashion.

1920 Saskatchewan Dept of Education, Short Course Recipes
 Household Science Circular No. 3

As an example of the recipes from this 1920 Household Science circular, I chose page 18 and 19 for 2 reasons. First, because they sometimes switch the word, cookies, for the word, cakes. Is there a reason for this due to different percentages of certain ingredients? And secondly, because they use the word, cassia, for cinnamon.

1920 Saskatchewan Dept of Education, Short Course Recipes
 Household Science Circular No. 3

1924 brings the 6" x 8.5" Apple Recipes, Bulletin No. 35 from the Fruit Branch, Department of Agriculture, Ottawa, Canada. This is one of many booklets published over the years by governments who believe that educating the public on buying, storing and cooking produce will lead to more sales, better profits, and an improved and sustainable industry. If you have an abundance of fruit in your area, check your local Ag Extension Office, or local college or university, for a point in the right direction.

1924 Apple Recipes, Bulletin No. 35, Fruit Branch,
Department of Agriculture, Ottawa, Canada

The value of these types of booklets are pages like the following which show the types of apples available by season, and what they are best used for. I remember how disappointed I was when I made an apple pie using our famous Canadian Macintosh apples. So mushy. And so different when I tried a pie using crisp Delicious apples instead. Now-a-days, we know that the best pies are made using a combination of apples for different tastes and textures. It must be remembered, however, that because this information was published in 1920, many of the apples listed are of the heirloom variety and not so readily available.

1924 Apple Recipes, Bulletin No. 35, Fruit Branch, 
Department of Agriculture, Ottawa, Canada

The Metropolitan Cook Book measures 5.5" x 7.5", is 64 pages long, and was published in 1928 by The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. The introductory page notes that there is a companion book entitled The Family Food Supply which explains marketing and meal economics and will be sent to you upon request. Pity the offer no longer applies for I am quite interested in what it would say.

1928 The Metropolitan Cook Book

I once entered a Heritage baking competition at the local fair with an entry from a recipe that used measurements in pounds instead of cups. In those pre-internet days, it took a lot of research to discover what the recipe needed. So for those of you who may run into recipes of this sort, I'm including that information from this Metropolitan Cook Book, as well as some recipes such as Iced Coffee and Cocoa Syrup. Yum.

1928 The Metropolitan Cook Book

I'd like to bring your attention to the recipe for Junket on the left side of the following page set. Am I correct in assuming that Junket is some sort of gelatine?

1928 The Metropolitan Cook Book

The page above on the right side caught my eye because of the use of cottage cheese as a sandwich filling--an ingredient I never considered tucking between two slices of bread although I have to admit the addition of walnuts sound good.

I have a couple cookbooks left which I want to show in more detail so I'll end this post here with this question for today...

Have you ever eaten junket or a cottage cheese sandwich?  Would you like to share your experience?


Anita Mae Draper is retired from the Canadian Armed Forces and lives on the prairie of southeast Saskatchewan, Canada with her hubby of 30 plus years and the youngest of their 4 kids. She writes cowboy stories set in the Old West, and Edwardian stories set in the East.  Anita Mae's short story, Riding on a Christmas Wish is published in A Christmas Cup of Cheer, Guideposts Books, October 2013. She is honored that Guideposts Books has chosen a second short story, Here We Go A-wassailing,  for inclusion in the 2014 Christmas Cheer II book set.   Anita Mae is represented by Mary Keeley of Books & Such Literary Agency. You can find Anita at