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Excerpt from Yella Gal: Queen of the Montclair

 

1897

 

Chapter 1

"Ugh! Why do I bother combin' my hair when it's just gonna frizz anyway?"  

Birdie Fairfax looked at her scowling reflection in the mirror as she vainly tried to fight her unruly thick, coarse hair into a fashionable pompadour. A combination of St. Augustine's July humidity and her ethnic heritage made this a nearly impossible task.

Hortensia, Birdie's mother, stuck her head inside the door of her daughter's small, sparse bedroom. "Just put it up in a tight bun like I do. You're not going to a dinner party!" And like a flash, she was off to their tiny back garden with her daily basket of wet laundry to hang out to dry.

Birdie closed her eyes and sighed. She had no energy to deal with her mother this morning. Just ignore her, the seventeen-year-old told herself. The butterflies in her stomach had started gnawing away at her as soon as she arose that morning. Today was the day of her very first interview for a job she didn't even want.3663666168?profile=RESIZE_710x

***

It all started several weeks ago when Hortensia, who did laundry for several of the town's residents - mostly middle-class traders - knocked on the kitchen door of the home of Mrs. Della Compton. 

"Hortensia!" Mrs. Compton bellowed as soon as she heard the laundress handing off the clean linen bundle to her part-time cook Isobel. "Is that you? Come on in!"

Della Compton, a heavyset woman with an alabaster complexion which severely contrasted with her jet-black hair, had a loud and commandeering manner. Married to a humble, soft spoken accountant, Della had grand illusions of rubbing shoulders with the rich and powerful who populated the city's resorts. The thought never occurred to Mrs. Compton that the very people whose company she sought often did their best to avoid her.

"Yes ma'am," replied Hortensia as she made her way through the immaculate white washed kitchen that smelled of a freshly baked blueberry pie.

Mrs. Compton was doing needlework while sitting on a wing chair which, like a lot of her furnishings, she had inherited from an estate sale. If she could not afford the luxury of buying brand new household decor like the rich, she had no problems acquiring their cast offs. Even now, she sat in her second-hand chair like a regent on a throne.

"Hortensia dear. How old is your girl?"

"My Birdie is seventeen, ma'am," Hortensia haltingly replied, wondering why the other woman suddenly had an interest in her daughter.

"Well," said Mrs. Compton as she picked up a nearby fan and waved the black ringlets off her sweaty thick neck, "A friend of mine told me that the new hotel over on King Street needs servants - just for the summer.  And I immediately thought of your....uh....Biddie."

"Birdie, ma'am." Hortensia gently corrected her.

"Yes, of course, Birdie. My friend Iris is the head housekeeper there and she told me that they need extra kitchen help and chamber maids. They thought they wouldn’t get their heaviest influx of guests until the winter, but this summer's boat race has taken our town by storm!"

The Independence Day Regatta had drawn boating enthusiasts from all over the United States and every hotel in St. Augustine was full, which was very unusual for this time of year when visitors from the northern states found Florida’s high temperatures too oppressive. The Montclair, which had only recently opened, now found itself understaffed and in sore need of temporary workers.

"I'll give your girl a glowing reference and have my friend Iris talk to her," Mrs. Compton firmly stated, never giving Hortensia a chance to respond. After all, she thought, she was doing them a great favor.  Not only will this put a few coins in their pocket but Biddie...uh, Birdie…will be in the presence of the crème de la crème of high society. Best of all, helping the less fortunate would give Della Compton something to boast about to her friends and to the Ladies Aid Society at her church.

"Uh, yes ma'am. Thank you very much," Hortensia stammered as she wondered how her daughter would react to this act of charity. On the other hand, they could definitely use the extra income. Between her part-time cleaning job at the Eldridges and her laundry business, she was barely making ends meet. Besides, Mrs. Compton had her faults, but Hortensia believed that she was basically a good-hearted woman.  

Later that afternoon, Hortensia broke the news to Birdie.

"What? A skivvy in a hotel? Ma! What were you thinkin’? I don't wanna work as a scrub girl! Why didn't you just say no? Or at least ask me first!" Birdie was red faced with fury. She had only just finished her second to last term of school a few weeks ago. Being fairly good with a needle and thread, she hoped to get a job as a dressmaker in town once she graduated at the end of the year.

"Oh, stop it Birdie! Why are you working yourself into a tizzy? It will only be for the summer. You'll earn a bit of money and then you can go back to school and your friends in the fall." Hortensia argued as she stirred the aromatic pot of conch chowder simmering on the stove.

Birdie sat at the rickety dining table in the kitchen with her head in her hands. She was so mad at that moment, she did not trust herself to say another word. 

"Elbows off the table. You're a big girl and old enough to know better. What would people think if they could see you right now?" Hortensia carefully ladled the chowder into two mismatched bowls and set them down on the table.

What would people think? That is my mother's official motto, Birdie thought. She has always been worried about what everyone would think of them.  

Birdie often bridled under her mother's odd dictates such as never walking through town without a companion or she might be mistaken for a harlot or always keeping her eyes downcast when out in public or people would think she was being insolent. 

Birdie also couldn’t comprehend why her mother left the Catholic church, where she was baptized and raised, for the strange, loud and judgmental Community Church congregation that met over in Jeremiah Bailey's house over on Fifth Street. The shouting and hell fire sermons did nothing to draw Birdie closer to a God that she now feared more than revered.

After several minutes of eating in total silence, Hortensia delicately asked, "So, if Mrs. Compton's friend agrees to see you, will you go?"

So NOW you ask me, Birdie angrily thought, but instead she muttered, "Yes, I'll go." Besides, she thought as she looked around their humble dwelling adorned with their meager possessions, we can use the extra money until I get a proper job as a seamstress.

"Gracias a Dios!" Hortensia whispered and then said aloud, "I’ll make sure your dark blue dress is cleaned and pressed."

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Hello Everyone

Having just joined this site, i thought I’d introduce myself.  My name is Linda White and I live in Central Florida.  As a long time avid reader of historical fiction and a major fan of my favorite Florida city of St. Augustine, I combined both elements into my first novel - “Yella Gal: Queen of the Montclair.”  I am completely new to the world of book publishing and have been doing most of my own promotions.  I have a heavy graphic design background so I have created my own book cover as well as marketing material.

Looking forward to learning more and seeing what everyone else is up to.  

 

Peace and blessings.

L

 

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Dutch Rhudy Introduction

A Secret in Ash Brooke: A small town newspaper reporter's sleuthing hobby, uncovered an exceptional likeness between two young women. Each portray different lifestyles; one most proper, the other of questionable moral values. Their overlapping timetables created an impossible situation. One person cannot possibly be in two places at the same time. Or can they? Assumed correct, his quest continued to learn the truth.
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Challenges of Self-Publishing!

I wrote this post in 2013 and reblogged it again in 2019. Since then I have 25 books self published and still going strong. Is this the best way to go? Who knows? If Disney contacted me tomorrow I would jump at the change to have them work with my books. But until then I am on my own and doing everything from writing, editing, publishing, promoting (with Theodocia’s help)and marketing all my books. It’s not an easy rode to travel but I do it willingly because I love what I do. Do you love writing?

Here is the link to the post on my blog https://jemsbooks.blog/2019/02/04/the-challenges-of-self-publishing/

I hope you enjoy reading this post and will check out more of my posts at https://Jemsbooks.blog. 

Blessings & Hugs!

Janice Spina

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Hello from Kaylin!

Thought I'd introduce myself as I'm new on this site. My name is Kaylin McFarren and I can be described in the following way: a non-profit president, an interior designer, an avid gardener, a wine lover, an international traveler, a gourmet diner, duo resident (homes in San Diego and Portland, Oregon), devoted grandmother, mother with three grown daughters, a loving wife (married 46 years) and, of course, an author. I just published my sixth book, HIGH FLYING, and like to define myself as a psychological thriller writer. I'd love to know if there are other authors on this site that write thrillers or suspense stories, as I love comparing notes. Currently, I'm working on a new reincarnation manuscript to add to my annual book release practice and would enjoy hearing what other writers are chipping away at. 

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A New Thriller Coming Soon

Hello Everyone!

I'm excited about my latest work, the timing will be just right for the Holidays. The title and story is in the fine-tuning process at this writing. I look forward to sharing and promotion at the Book Marketing Gflobal Network and related sites. (A great value) Oh, almost forgot, it'll be another Rob Marrino, Tex Larson adventure. As the old saying goes, "When it aint broke don't fix it."

If any new authors out there have any questions about writing, I'm hereto help as well.

Best Regards,

RobertJ

Author's Site

 

My Books

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Prey for The Dead by Susanne Leist

Hello. My name is Susanne Leist. I'm the author of The Dead Game Series. 

The Dead Game, Book One, brings fantasy and the surreal to the classic murder mystery with dead bodies, suspects, and clues. It offers vampires, vampire derivatives, and a touch of romance to give spice to the mix. Once you read The Dead Game, you will never look at a dead body the same way. 

In Book Two, Prey for The Dead, the suspense continues as The Dead use an exclusive club in Disney World and infiltrate the rich and famous. The Dead grow in power, and not even the sun or the swamps of Florida can weaken them. Linda--my main character--and her friends join with the human vampires or hybrids to defeat the evil forces threatening to control their town. 

"The Florida coast is beautifully evoked by water that "shimmered in alternating shades of azure and cerulean blue" and "the scent of zinnias and lavender" that "permeated the gentle wind." Most of the violence isn't the traditional vampire neck biting but more in tune with battlefield carnage ("A body hung from the chandelier--a headless form--still wearing his shirt and pants, now saturated with blood")." --Kirkus Reviews on Prey for The Dead
 



https://www.susanneleist.com3444162848?profile=RESIZE_710x3444164350?profile=RESIZE_710x

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introduction

HI all.  I am new to this site and I look forward to chatting with you about your writing

I have four books on Amazon. I mainly write in the historical genre, although I do have one fantasy entitled Amulet of Darkness that is part of a box- set with 20 other authors.  The set is a limited edition and the price is only $.99 

I currently finished a time travel that goes back to 1850 to the California Gold Rush. I'm pitching it to a publishing house and hopefully, the book will be out shortly. 

I live on Long Island NY.  I love going to New York just to soak in all the culture. 

If you love the paranormal, if you love to lose yourself in a fantasy world, if witches and shape-shifters are your thing.... then check out the Fire and Ice box set and fire up your imagination! USA best selling authors and award-winning authors are part of 21 authors who have contributed to this set, so go to https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07VYMRRX9/ref=cm_sw_r_sms_c_api_i_2HgsDbHWDZ78N_nodl?fbclid=IwAR12aB_ZTu0w1G0uIN21CWhn_t40CgHlt3kVhT_V884N_D8Cxbkiq_ERxw4 and get your set today!

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Another Happy Reader -My Life For Her

 

Thanks Diane, It's all about the story.

Dianne rated it, really liked it  ·
The things we do for love.

What starts out as a normal day, if hectic day for Rob Marrino and his family becomes a thing of nightmares for the Vietnam vet turned local police officer, all because he did the job he was sworn to do. It was his bullet that killed the brother of dangerous drug lord. Now the Columbian was determined to deliver an eye for an eye.

When Marrino’s wife is kidnapped, he is determined to get her back at any cost, even his own life, and that is where his military training kicks in and a brother he made in war would stand by him once again.

Robert J. Saniscalchi’s MY LIFE FOR HER starts out like a gentle rain that soon becomes a thunderous deluge of action, adventure and suspense as two men risk everything to bring one mother home to her children.

Great story-telling by this author creates a riveting tale of bravery and daring. Marrino feels like a true flesh and blood man, his past behind him, but his skills forever imbedded. I loved the counter-point that Tex gave to Marrino’s seriousness, a deadly weapon buried deep within a bit of a showy, but loyal friend and brother.

Wonderful reading, real heroes and action, action, action. Highly recommended!
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Thoughts about Writing

When you think about starting your story, it's easy to imagine you're like a Magician, pulling rabbits from hats. Because we're pulling thoughts from imaginations, from thin air, from wherever. But the Magician knows the rabbit is in one place. We create our story by trying to weave magic from dozens of places, all thought of and scripted in our minds. But our world becomes so much more difficult when you think of who it is you're hoping to bring the wow factor to. The Magician knows - they're in the audience. We try to find our niche audience. Is it fantasy, young adult, romance, fiction, poetry or stories for small children? A rabbit is a rabbit and a hat is a hat. A book is so much more, because it is the sum of a hundred, a thousand, parts. And don't you just love it when you do your first edit and you look at a chapter somewhere in the book and say to yourself. Who on earth wrote that???? Surely that did NOT come from me? And we realize the complete disconnect between our brain and our fingers, because sometimes the bridge connecting the two fell into the river.

 

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Herbaceous the boy made of Cheese

Coming soon! An all new children's book about something totally different! The creation of this book was inspired by my childhood. My mom used to make up silly stories of different worlds and I got inspired by it. I think kids will love it. It's funny and its different from the typical childs books out there. L. J CAMPBELL lizard423@hotmail.com
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Novel Excerpt: The Girl Who Loved Cigars

My birth mother didn’t love me. She gave me up. Now there's an answer. Or is she, at this moment, getting rid of me? Poof, evidence gone. Like I never lived. How’s it feel, Marla, to be “evidence” to be gotten rid of? Evidence, like in one of Hondo’s cheating spouse cases. John Wayne Hondo, not PI Hondo. PI Hondo, not John Wayne Hondo. Why can’t I keep my Hondos straight?
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Honoring Maria Pepe

Honoring Maria Pepe

This weekend in Hobroken, New Jersey, over 100 girls will be playing baseball and not softball in different age categories and teams for the Maria Pepe Baseball Series sponsored by Baseball for All.

To those who may not know, Maria Pepe is a hero for all girls who won the right to play little league baseball with girls in 1974.

To honor Maria Pepe for her courage to stand up for the rights for girls to play little league baseball in 1972, I wrote a short poem dedicated to her:

Honoring Maria Pepe

In 1972, Maria Pepe played little league baseball with boys

As an outstanding outfielder, she caught fly balls and tossed hard grounders

One day, Maria was told firmly to give back her uniform as she was no longer allowed to play because she was a girl.

A girl, she was, but old-fashioned thinking felt that girls are not as strong as boys

“She can get hurt and maimed”, said the naysayers.

“Non-sense!” said the Women Organizations of her day. On her behalf, the National Organization of Women fought for her civil rights to play.

A big monumental victory by the Superior Court of New Jersey ruled in her favor!

In December 1974, President Gerald Ford signed the law to unequivocally allow all girls to play little league baseball in the USA.

Remember Maria Pepe as a brave pioneer who courageously stood up for girls to play baseball with boys.

Copyright (2019)

By Robbin Miller

Author of “Breaking Barriers: A Girl’s Dream to Play Little League with Boys”.

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The first time I heard my Brother Pat’s war stories we were in his truck heading north for the hunting cabin. I sat there in awe, listening and feeling very proud of him. It had taken him years before he could talk about it. Maybe, I thought to myself, he needed those years to let the pain of some of those memories fade. I never realized before just how close I came to losing him. I thanked God for he must have been watching over my brother.
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