Funerals of the 1800s

Doing some research for my latest book, Her Heart’s Secret, which is the third in the Bonnets and Beaus series I am writing, I found fascinating information on funerals of the 1800s. What did I learn?

(1)Funerals were held in homes either in the parlor or in the decease’s bedroom.

For your information, a few years ago I learned from visiting a historical home that the reason no one uses the term parlor is because parlors were connected to death. Thus this is why today we call our place where we watch television, read, etc. our living room. We live in there, not die in there.

(2)The body would be displayed in the parlor or in that person’s bedroom and sometimes were removed by the undertaker to be embalmed. If removed, the deceased was taken out feet first in fears the dead person may look back into the house, and this could lure others to join them in death.

(3)Someone had to be with the body day and night. This was done out of respect or to ward off evil spirits. Family would stay with the deceased during the day and close friends would come at night.

(4) If there was no family or friends to take care of the deceased, the person was taken to a funeral parlor.

(5) Since no telephones, smart phones, etc., existed, family alerted the death by placing black crepe on wreaths, over doors, doorknobs or doorknockers. this announced the family was in mourning. Neighbors would offer to help the family, express their condolences and bring food.

(6) Home clocks were stopped to prevent bad luck.

(7) Mirrors were covered or removed from the house based on the fear if someone saw a reflection of the deceased in a mirror, they too could die. In addition, some believed the loved one’s soul could get trapped and unable to pass to the other side.

(8) Family photographs also could be turned face-down to prevent deceased close relatives and friends from being possessed by the spirit of the dead.

(9) Family members would build the coffin.

This is a poem my mother would recite:

Did you ever think when a hearse rode by? That sometimes you and also I would be riding down in that same old hack never, never to come back.

They put you in a parlor with flowers and mourners all standing around.

Then they bury you six feet under the ground and all goes well for about a week when the coffin begins to leak. The worms crawl in and the worms crawl out until there’s nothing left of you.

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment. God bless.

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Imagery and Writing

What gives writers inspiration to write scenes?

For me, it’s seeing an image and using that to build a scene. Although the details of the below picture I did not use in my description of that mean and corrupt Mayor Brian Dickenson’s office, it enabled me to set the mood. Here is the picture and below is an  excerpt from The Librarian’s Secret, released June 6 in e-book and paperback:

Old pic 1

“Mayor Brian Dickenson returned to his office and settled into his seat. Stacked high on his desk were an assortment of papers, he pulled out the folder, titled Nebraska City Library, then opened it. Studying the ledger and the library’s small balance, he hoped he could, indeed, implement some new methods. They needed to; otherwise, other communities would outdo them, and he did not want that to happen. His office door squeaked open. “Yes.”

            “It’s me.”

            “Come on in.” The mayor beckoned his clerk to sit in the chair in front of him.

            Oscar Lieben, his carrot-topped assistant and clerk, sat down. “So what do you think of the new librarian?”

            “Well, she’s a pretty lady with those brown eyes and chestnut-brown hair. She’ll sure make a great addition to that dreary library.”

            Lieben laughed. “But is she going to be able to bring new life to that place?”

            “You bet with looks like hers, why not?”

The town’s Fall Festival plays an important part in this story. It’s near the book’s climax and sets up the exciting ending. Below are two pictures, which shows the Fall Festival’s parade:

Old pic 2

“Next, came the surrey with its fringed top, pulled by a chocolate-brown and snow-white gelding. The mother, who held the reins, urged the horse forward. Her two sons sat stolidly inside the wagon while the little daughter, who sat in the rear and wore a big bow in her hair, flapped her arms in the air while the horse moved onward.”

Old pic 3

“Another fancy carriage pulled up with several more following. Then a young girl sat in a small wagon. She tugged on the reins to lead her goat forward. The people cheered, hooted and hollered.”

So, imagery makes scenes. I often look at Pinterest for period clothing, scenery and dilapidated barns to describe. For me, it helps me make a scene come alive, and at times, gives me ideas for what will come next in the plot and more.

The new librarian’s mysterious past meets

preacher son hunting for deceased father’s

journal, which is hidden in that library and

contains his pa’s secret.

E-book Buy Links: Kindle, iBooks, Nook, Kobo

Paperback: Amazon.com

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Release Date Announced

Well, The Librarian’s Secret, the second in the Bonnets and Beaus series is released June 6, 2020. However, it is ready in e-book NOW for pre-order for $2.99.

The new librarian’s mysterious past meets preacher son hunting for deceased father’s journal, which is hidden in that library and contains  his pa’s secret.

Love, Suspense, Mystery, Historical Romance

Click links below to get your pre-order copy:

Kindle  Nook  iBooks  Kobo

Paperback available NOW: Click here for your copy!

20190705_BCD_TheLibrariansSecret

Newly hired librarian Edna Hopper holds a mysterious past

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The Librarian’s Secret

Coming soon in 2020. A June book signing is being planned at a Christian bookstore in the Omaha area.

The library door creaked open. Footsteps approached. The elderly librarian glanced up as a man dressed in a hooded midnight-black cloak stopped in front of her and presented her his journal.

“… My confession is written in this journal.”

20190705_BCD_TheLibrariansSecret

Newly hired librarian Edna Hopper holds a mysterious past.

Six years later, Heath Barrymore entered that same library to fulfill his deceased father’s wishes – to discover where the librarian had placed the journal and expose the secret his father could not.

Heath stepped toward the librarian’s desk, expecting to find gray-headed, librarian Bessey, but instead his gaze met pretty Edna Hopper, the newly hired librarian who held a mysterious past.

Return to the 1890s in Nebraska City, Neb., and witness the love and heartache The Librarian’s Secret presents to our hero and heroine, and what it holds for their futures.

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The December Miracle

As many of you know, I fell down my basement steps on March 21, 2019. Stupid me tugged on a coat’s belt as I was carrying it down stairs to put it away, so I could bring up some lightweight coats. Instead, the tug made me miss a couple of steps, and I hit concrete. It could have been a fatal fall, but through God’s grace I survived.

However, I never have faced such an injury before, thus I thought I would pull out of this in a couple of months. But the Lord had other plans, the surgeon ordered me to not put any weight on my left leg for three months. I was forced to use a walker during that time.

I learned what I no longer could do. I had to sleep downstairs in a bed unfamiliar to me. There I tossed and turned and several nights I did not believe I would wake up in the morning. This downstairs bedroom also was below our oldest autistic son’s bedroom. He would make sounds and that and the unfamiliar bed made it difficult to sleep. Of course, the leg ached as well and that also contributed to the agony.

But my husband was quite helpful to me, he had to make some of the meals and serve them to me and our oldest autistic son. It was a terrible time which became worse when weeks later my husband fell down a different set of stairs. He had to wear a boot for a while.

Thank God we made it through that horrible time. The Lord held our hands and a few weeks later my husband was well. I, though, continued to remain on the walker. I would come to the computer and my eyes would close from weakness. I could not write. My health prevented me from doing much of anything.

However, there also were many friends and people in the community who helped get us through this. They brought in food and for that I am ever grateful.

I did make a few easy meals, all thanks to a dear friend who bought some groceries for me. It took all the energy I had to even do this. I had never been this weak.

I am grateful also to the church’s secretary next door. She and her sons brought me home and enabled me to get into my house. She also loaned me an extra walker since I needed one to walk upstairs once I could sleep upstairs again. She also publicized my plight, and a church member dropped off a wheelchair for me. I remember using it to go around the downstairs rooms and dust.

Once I finished in-house therapy, I transferred to driving to physical therapy. One thing I could do with pride was drive. I even drove to Nebraska City — where my books were displayed — and back one day. The people down there were nice and set up my books for me and even sent me a card saying they were praying for me.

My Circle of Friends group also were very supportive. They brought over a meal and when I was able to go out they helped me inside a restaurant and carried my carryout meals for me. This is something you never would think of having trouble with until you face a serious injury as I did.

What I learned is how many people are there for you when things go wrong. I cannot thank them enough. Each person left their mark of caring.

After three months, I was off the walker and shifted to the cane. I used the cane when I worked the Sarpy County Fair in early August. It was not easy navigating it down to the bathroom, which was a couple blocks away from where I signed and sold books. I felt like an old, old woman, hunched over, and I know the pain of this ordeal showed on my face.

Physical therapy was no easy picnic. They pulled on my leg. At times, my eyes filled with tears of pain. But in the end, they helped me get better.

My spirits were down at times. My friends pumped me up because when you are going through something like this you wonder if you are ever going to get better. Healing is slow, especially when you are older. I prayed I could walk again and then the Christmas miracle happened on Saturday, December 21, 2019, (which was nine months later from the exact day I fell) when I walked without the cane!

I have been walking ever since that day.  Some days I walk better than others; however, as I continue to grow stronger, this, too, will pass.

This all reminded me of the miracle of Jesus’s birth when a tiny baby was born who would change the state of the world. My youngest autistic son drew this nativity scene a few years ago. Thus I thought it was fitting to share it with you. Remember the Lord is there for you no matter what you face. God bless.

AndrewsNativityScene

 

 

 

Posted in Christian, Christmas, Inspirational, Janet Syas Nitsick, Miracles, Uncategorized, writing | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

200 Exhibitors and Me

It’s one of the largest arts and crafts shows around the area, and you can join in the excitement by stopping by at the Mid-America Center, One Arena Way, Council Bluffs, Iowa 51501 this weekend. Hours are 9 a.m to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12 and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13.

I will be there as well with cane in hand after my March 21 fall. However, I am getting better and may even throw that cane away during part of my time there. Perhaps you could be there when I do it. Ha! Ha!

My latest release, The Heiress Comes to Town, the first in the Bonnets and Beaus series, is available for sale. If you like historical romances with mystery, you will love this addition to my works.

Slipping out of her father’s New York mansion on her wedding day, Nina Robert eventually ends up in Fort Calhoun, Neb. There she meets a doctor and falls in love. However, her father wants her to fulfill his arranged marriage, so he hires the famous Pinkerton Detective Agency to find her.

Enjoy this page-turner in paperback or on e-book.  06142018_The_Heiress_Comes_to_Town_EBOOK

Click the e-book link for your copy. Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iBooks

or click the link for a paperback edition: Paperback

I also will sell my Great Plains series: Courtships and Carriages, The Bride List and When Hearts Rekindle.

Courtships and Carriages, 20140601_Courtships_and_Carriages-1

Click the e-book link for your copy. Kindle, Nook, Smashwords, and on iBooks.

Paperback: Barnes and Noble, Amazon

The Bride List, 20160104_The_Bride_List_p2

Click the e-book link for your copy. Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Google Play, and on iBooks.

Paperback: Amazon

When Hearts Rekindle, 20170601_when_hearts_rekindle-frontcover

Click the e-book link for your copy. Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iBooks, Smashwords.

Paperback: Amazon

Standalone Romance: Her Husband’s Secret, Her Husband's Secret

Click the e-book link for your copy. Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iBooks.

Paperback: Amazon

Other Works: Seasons of the Soul, SeasonsoftheSoul 2017ebook Cover

Click the e-book link for your copy. Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iBooks.

Paperback: Amazon

Posted in Christian, Courtships and Carriages, Historical Western, Inspirational, Janet Syas Nitsick, mystery, Seasons of the Soul, Suspense, The Bride List, The Heiress Comes to Town, Uncategorized, When Hearts Rekindle, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Apples, Wines, Pies and More

Come to Nebraska City, Neb.,  during the Applejack Festival. There are many attractions, including Kimmel Orchard and Vineyard, the Pumpkin Ridge, Arbor Day Farm, Wildwood Historical Home, a Flea Market, a carnival, a classic car show and craft shows.

That’s what is happening this weekend from Saturday, September 21 through Sunday, September 22. I will be there as well so stop in and see me at the Fraternal Order of Eagles building, 600 First Corso or the northwest corner of Sixth and First Corso streets.

Jan in Wedding Dress

This is me dressed in a wedding gown costume for my first novel, Her Husband’s Secret.

I will be dressed in costume and ready to meet and greet all of you. I will sell my most recent mystery/suspenseful historical romance, The Heiress Comes to Town. By the way, this book was praised by Lena Nelson Dooley in her far-reaching blog. Click this link to read her interview of me and her take on this book: Lena Dooley Blog. 

I also will sell the three romances in my Great Plains Series: Courtships and Carriages, The Bride List and When Hearts Rekindle. I also will sign Her Husband’s Secret and Seasons of the Soul, which continue to be readers’ favorites.

These books are all available in e-book and in paperback. To order your copy, CLICK THE TABS LISTED ABOVE on this blog’s home page: MY BOOKS and RECENT RELEASE.

SEE YOU THERE!

Posted in Book List, Christian, Historical Western, Inspirational, Janet Syas Nitsick, kissing, marketing, mystery, new book release, Seasons of the Soul, Suspense, The Bride List, The Heiress Comes to Town, When Hearts Rekindle | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cotton Candy, Candied Apples & ?

And me because I’ll be signing books during the Sarpy County Fair in Springfield, Neb., this week. So stop by and just say hello, or buy some of my clean, Christian, historical suspenseful romances you may not have, or purchase my recent Feb. 9, 2019, release, 06142018_The_Heiress_Comes_to_Town_EBOOKThe Heiress Comes to Town, the first mystery in the Bonnets and Beaus series.

Award-winning author Janet Syas Nitsick will sign books from 6 to 9 p.m., Wednesday, July 31 and Thursday, August 1; from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday, August 2; from noon to 10 p.m., Saturday, August 3; and from noon to 4 p.m., Sunday, August 4. There’s no entry fee to look around the fairgrounds, visit 4-H booths or come by and see me in the Commercial Building at the Sarpy County Fairgrounds, Springfield, Neb.

Unable to make it. Purchase e-books or paperbacks online.

  • The Heiress Comes to Town, click the appropriate link:

Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iBooks

  • Paperback: Amazon
  • The Great Plains Series:
  1. Courtships and Carriages, click the appropriate link:

Kindle, Nook, Smashwords, and is on iBooks

2.  The Bride List, click the appropriate link:

Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Google Play, and is on iBooks

     3. When Hearts Rekindle, click the appropriate link:

Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iBooks, Smashwords 

  • Paperback, Amazon
  • Standalones:

1. Her Husband’s Secret, click the appropriate link: 

Kindle (99 cents), Nook, Kobo, iBooks

2. Seasons of the Soul, click the appropriate link: 

Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iBooks

 

Posted in book covers, Book List, Christian, Courtships and Carriages, creating, Historical Western, Inspirational, Janet Syas Nitsick, kissing, mystery, new book release, Seasons of the Soul, Suspense, The Bride List, The Heiress Comes to Town, Uncategorized, When Hearts Rekindle, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Need a Mother’s Day Gift?

Well, if your mother is a reader, I have the gift for you. I will sign books from 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, May 11, at Springfield Memorial Library, 665 Main Street, Springfield, Neb. 68059.

My newest release, The Heiress Comes to Town, the first in the Bonnets and Beaus series, will be available.

Slipping out of her father’s New York mansion on her wedding day, Nina Robert stands outside her home in the snow to hail a cab. . . .

06142018_The_Heiress_Comes_to_Town_EBOOK

Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iBooks. Paperback.

In addition, my other books will be available from Seasons of the Soul; Her Husband’s Secret; The Great Plains Series: Courtships and Carriages, The Bride List and When Hearts Rekindle. Remember if you buy two, you get $2 off your sale and if you purchase three, you get $3 off.

Unable to trek to Springfield, Neb.? Well, you are not out of luck for all books are on e-book.  Seasons of the Soul: Kindle  iBooks  Nook Kobo; Her Husband’s Secret: Kindle, iBooks, Nook, Kobo. Paperback.

Great Plains Series, Courtships and Carriages: Kindle, Nook, Smashwords and on iBooks. Paperback.  The Bride List: Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Google Play,  and on iBooks. Paperback. When Hearts Rekindle: Kindle, Kobo, Nook, iBooks, SmashwordsPaperback.

OR VISIT JANET’S WEB SITE: WWW.JANETSYASNITSICK.COM.

Posted in Christian, Courtships and Carriages, Historical Western, Inspirational, Janet Syas Nitsick, mystery, new book release, Seasons of the Soul, Suspense, The Bride List, The Heiress Comes to Town, Web sites, When Hearts Rekindle | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wounded but will be there

Want to get my newest release, The Heiress Comes to Town? If so, I, along with my husband, will be at the Red Hat Craft Fair, Ralston Senior Center, first level, Ralston House Apartments, 7301 Q Street, Ralston, Neb. 68127.

The reason I say wounded is, if any of you don’t know, I was carrying two coats down the basement steps, and one of the coat’s belts got caught on the corner of the stairwell. This made me off balance, and I probably missed a couple of steps. I hit concrete. I had two pins put in my hip bone and can only put light pressure on my left foot for three months. This is why my husband will be with me. He’s taking good care of me and our oldest autistic son. Thank God I am able to do more each day. Prayers are appreciated.

06142018_The_Heiress_Comes_to_Town_EBOOK

The Heiress Comes to Town: The Pinkerton Detective pursues Heiress Nina Robert after she slips out of her father’s New York City mansion on her wedding day. She ends up in Fort Calhoun, Nebraska. She meets a doctor. Love blossoms. However, will Nina be able to marry the man she loves, or will her father’s detective agency find her and make her marry the suitor he had arranged?

Find out by getting your signed copy during Saturday’s Red Hat Craft Fair or order your copy today by clicking the link. E-book: Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iBooks.   Paperback: Amazon.

 

 

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