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HISTORYTELLER Scavenger Hunt!

***THE HUNT IS OVER! CONGRATULATIONS TO THE WINNER, CHRIS KEMP-PHILIP!***

Welcome to Historytellers Scavenger Hunt! This is a hunt dedicated to novels historically set in the 1910s, 1920s, and 1930s, where all genre are welcome. You’ll get the opportunity to discover new authors, new stories, and to meet and talk to other readers who love this time period—not to mention that you’ll have the opportunity to win the grand prize. What is the grand prize, you ask? This includes digital copies of all the novels participating in the hunt.

The hunt will be online, today only, 17 March 2019, from 00:00 to 23:59 EST.

Go to the Historytellers Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. 

  

If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the Historytellers Scavenger Hunt page.

 

***THE SCAVENGER HUNT***

Directions: I’ve included my lucky number on this post (You will spot it!). All my fellow authors participating in the hunt will include a lucky number on their posts. Collect the these numbers and add them up.

Entry Form: When you have that lucky total number, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

Rules: Anyone can take part. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by Sunday 17 March 23:59 EST. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.

LET THE HUNT BEGIN!

***Greetings! I am Beem Weeks***

Beem Weeks here. Born and raised in Michigan, USA. I’m an indie author, blogger, blog talk radio host, Social Media Director for Fresh Ink Group, and reviews coordinator/Rave Waves producer for Rave Reviews Book Club. I have written many short stories, essays, poems, and the historical fiction/coming-of-age novel Jazz Baby. I have also released Slivers of Life: A Collection of Short Stories and Strange Hwy: Short Stories. My current work-in-progress is a novel entitled The Secret Collector, set in 1910. I live to create with the written word.

 

 

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***JAZZ BABY***

While all of Mississippi bakes in the scorching summer of 1925, sudden orphanhood wraps its icy embrace around Emily Ann “Baby” Teegarten, a young, pretty teen.

Taken in by an aunt bent on ridding herself of this unexpected burden, Baby Teegarten plots her escape using the only means at her disposal: a voice that brings church ladies to righteous tears, and makes both angels and devils take notice. “I’m going to New York City to sing jazz,” she brags to anybody who’ll listen. But the Big Apple—well, it’s an awful long way from that dry patch of earth she’d always called home.

So when the smoky stages of New Orleans speakeasies give a whistle, offering all sorts of shortcuts, Emily Ann soon learns it’s the whorehouses and opium dens that can sidetrack a girl and dim a spotlight…and knowing the wrong people can snuff it out.

Jazz Baby just wants to sing—not fight to stay alive.

BUY LINKS:

A few words about Jazz Baby.

Jazz Baby is set in the summer of 1925. The locations drift between a little town in Mississippi called Rayford, and New Orleans, Louisiana. The story is told from the point of view of a young teenage girl named Emily Ann “Baby” Teegarten. Emily has been blessed with an incredible voice for a young white girl—she sounds like a soulful black woman when she belts out church spirituals. But Baby doesn’t want to sing just spirituals. It’s jazz that gets her motor running. When both parents are taken from her early in the story, all she has left in this world is an aunt who really isn’t up to raising a rebellious teenager, and her talent as a singer. This talent—as well as her beauty—catches the eyes of those who might help her as well as those who would hurt her.

The idea for this story came from multiple sources. There are elements that came about through stories my grandfather told when I was a child. His stories didn’t make it into the book, but the era and the environment were certainly influenced by his tales. The main character is based on a composite of three girls I knew in my teenage years. These girls were eager to live life, reckless in their pursuits, and often foolish where common sense would have been better served.

Emily is a curious girl. She’s curious about people, and about the world in which she resides. And she’s curious about sex and the power of her budding sexuality, and the various taboos attached to such forbidden fruit. But sex, to her understanding, isn’t about relationships or commitment. It’s about urges, and about moments in an afternoon or an evening. While traversing the seedy underbelly of New Orleans, Emily comes to understand that sex is often a currency. It can be used to bribe the wills of others, or it can be a means to put a few dollars in a girl’s pocket. And while Emily personally rejects such ideas, New Orleans is full of people with ideas of their own—ideas she may or may not be able to resist.

I sought to create a character that is at once fierce, independent, and determined, yet vulnerable, naïve, and dependent on others for her very survival. I want readers to come away with mixed feelings for this character—caring for the girl, while shaking their heads at her dangerous—even stupid—endeavors. I want her to be real. And to be real, there must be flaws. Judging by many of the reviews, I believe I’ve accomplished this goal.

My lucky number is 3. You need to add it to all the other lucky numbers.

Add up all the lucky numbers and you’ll have the secret code to enter for the grand prize!

***CONTINUE THE HUNT***

To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author, Jennifer Lamont Leo!

GOOD LUCK!!

LINKS YOU’LL NEED!

This is number: 3
The link to the BLOG NEXT IN LINE: http://jenniferlamontleo.com/blog/
Link to HOW TO HUNT: https://sarahzama.theoldshelter.com/historytellers-how-to-hunt/
Link to the AUTHORS PAGE: https://sarahzama.theoldshelter.com/historytellers-scavenger-hunt-the-authors/
Link to the ENTRY FORM: https://gleam.io/gH08g/historytellers-scavenger-hunt

 

 

The Baby Teegarten Interview (#RRBC Book & Blog Block Party)

 

Hi and WELCOME to Rave Reviews Book Club’s BOOK & BLOG BLOCK PARTY at THE INDIE SPOT!  Location: MICHIGAN.

***

Here’s What I’m Giving Away Today:

GIVEAWAYS ARE CLOSED!

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE WINNERS: Mae Clair, Rob Kimbrell, Mary Schmidt, and Jerry Marquardt.

***

Number of Winners for this stop: 4

I decided to have a little fun with this Book & Blog Block Party stop. In the years since Jazz Baby first saw publication, some readers have been curious as to what happened to Emily Ann “Baby” Teegarten. Did she ever make it to New York? Were her dreams of singing jazz professionally ever realized? Did she find success? Well, presented here, is an interview with Baby Teegarten, which takes place ten years after the novel ends. This is meant to be a glimpse into the life our protagonist may have created for herself.

The Baby Teegarten Interview!

 April 15, 1935

She chose the meeting place. I could lie and tell you readers that I arrived thirty minutes early just to get a feel for the room. But the truth of the matter is, I get a little nervous with this one. Most of you have been reading my column for the better part of 15 years. You know the names that have graced my page: Babe Ruth, Harry Houdini, Clara Bow, Harold Lloyd—even Charlie Chaplin agreed to a sit-down chat back in 1924.

Still, this one is different.

The she I’m referring to is popular jazz vocalist Baby Teegarten. They don’t come any bigger than Baby these days. Three consecutive years as the country’s highest-paid entertainer proves this fact.

I lock down a table at the rear of McSorley’s Tavern on East 7th Street—which also happens to hold a strict policy for not allowing women inside.

But Baby Teegarten, well, she’s not just any woman.

“This is her neighborhood,” the fellow tending bar tells me. “She has a swanky place overlooking Central Park. Bought it from Babe Ruth himself.”

It’s the Babe who introduced Baby to McSorley’s.

“Nobody bothers her in here,” the barkeep explains. “Besides, if she’s pals with the Babe, she’s all right by us.”

I knock back a Scotch and soda. It’s what steadies my nerves. Only Mae West ever had me taking a nip before an interview.

I’ve seen Baby perform a dozen times easily—this going back to those first shows she did at Swelby’s Joint. Two thousand patrons lined up every night just to witness the Baby. She’d been just shy of her fourteenth birthday back in those early shows. But any fool with eyes and ears could tell she was special.

Oh, sure, we all recall the backlash at allowing a mere child up on those club stages. But nobody could—or would—stand in that girl’s way. No, sir. She’d have busted any full-grown man in the chops, should one be so bold as to try.

Prompt, this one. She arrives at 3 o’clock sharp, with her entourage in tow. By entourage I mean her manager, Abe Horowitz, and Job Pritchett, husband of Baby.

Mr. Pritchett, he’s a large fellow, to be sure. Tall and wide, real sturdy; the sort of man who likely spent his youth throwing bales of hay around the farm, maybe even punching cows—literally. Hollywood handsome: blond hair worn messy, pale blue eyes, an easy laugh. He’s more threatening than threatened. Famous in his own right, he’s known the world over for his paintings and sculptures.

Baby is a true vision, greeting patrons by name up by the front door. She’s resplendent in a violet-colored summer dress that falls just below her knees. Diamonds sparkle on her fingers and wrists, her ears, at her delicate throat. There’s even a gold bracelet on her right ankle.

Eyes as green as emeralds track me down in my corner.

There’s a subtle sweetness in her scent.

Lilacs.

“Hey, there,” she says. “I’m supposed to talk with you today?”

I’m lost for words in this moment, so I just nod like a mute fool.

“You don’t mind it here, do you?” Her accent is rich, wrapping her every word in a southern twang thicker than molasses—and just as sweet.

My voice carries a slight tremble, but I manage a quick, “No, ma’am.”

Baby Teegarten settles on a bar stool next to mine. “This is Mister Pritchett, my husband,” she says.

Job Pritchett’s massive hand takes mine with a gentle squeeze. “Good to meet you,” he tells me in a boyish tone. A lucky fellow, this one.

Abe Horowitz needs no introduction: Club owner, manager of a handful of singers and musicians. Connected. He mined gold when he discovered Baby Teegarten.

Job’s lips brush Baby’s lips. His voice comes soft, almost a soothing thing. “Me and Abe will be up at the bar—if you need us.”

It passes there in the space between them: his subtle caress of her cheek, her gentle squeeze of his hand. These two are infatuated with one another.

“Lord a-mercy, I love that boy,” she says, once we’re alone. “We got our tenth anniversary coming this summer.” She waves her right hand in my face. “He just got me this one right here.”

She means the full five carat diamond set in white gold on her ring finger.

“What does it feel like to make more money than the president of the United States?” I ask, leading us into the interview.

Her petite shoulders give up a shrug. “Just means I can buy whatever I want—’Cept Jobie’s the one buys my jewelry. That boy makes nearly as much as me.”

She’s a tiny thing, maybe five foot two. I’m guessing it might take an extra big lunch to push her past a hundred pounds. And though she doesn’t mention it, this day is her twenty-third birthday.

I ask, “When did you first start singing?”

“Since I can recollect. Pastor Pritchett first had me up in front of the congregation when I was just five. That’s when I took to singing for other folks who ain’t just my kin.”

“Mississippi, right?”

Her head tips a short nod. “Down Rayford—up a piece from Biloxi.”

“A Delta girl, huh? You pick cotton down there?”

A silver cigarette case finds her hand. “Picked a bunch. Mister Kuiper used to pay me a dime for each sack I managed. I made a dollar a day most days.”

“Doesn’t sound like much.”

“It does to a little girl ain’t got much of nothin’.”

A Lucky Strike settles between her lips. Smoke rolls from her dainty nose.

Questions my editor suggested filter through the small talk. “You’re working a lot with George Gershwin. How’d that come about?”

“Georgie’s sweet,” she says, sending smoke rings chasing after her words. “His family knows Mister Horowitz’s family. He liked my voice and wrote some songs for me—’Cept I’m the one writes the words, since I’m the one has to sing ’em.”

Sales figures wedge their way into the conversation—nobody sells more phonograph records than Baby Teegarten.

“A million,” she offers. Says it as if she doesn’t really believe it herself. “I mean, a person can reach into his pocket, grab a hundred of something, and toss it on the floor and say, ‘Yep. That’s a hundred.’ But nobody can throw a million anything on the floor and count that.”

She’s had three of them reach that plateau in recent years.

“Where’s your favorite place to play?” I ask, scratching off another one from my editor.

“Paris is nice.” Her hand gives up an abbreviated wave, catching the barkeep’s attention. “What’s so amazing there is, those folks don’t speak no English, but they sure know all the words to my songs.”

A bottle arrives at our table. Not exactly what I expected.

“Co-cola,” she says, drawing a long pull. “Mister Horowitz don’t like for me to drink liquor while I’m gabbing with newspaper fellas. He says I just might talk too much.”

I feign shock. “Secrets?”

There’s an endearing sweetness in her giggle. “Oh, I got plenty of secrets.”

“Horowitz really looks after you, huh?”

“He’s the best. Like a second daddy. Doesn’t let anybody get close enough to take advantage.”

She spends a lot of time on the road, traveling by train, singing in places like Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, St. Louis, and Kansas City. Big theaters, is where she sings these days. Gone are the smoke-filled clubs with dance floors and drunken revelers.

“I like the theaters,” she says. “And I really like seeing different places. But I do miss the New York clubs. I could do two shows a night and be at home with Mister Pritchett by one in the morning. Now, I do one show for five thousand people—nobody drinking or dancing—a night at a hotel, then up before the devil and off to the train station and the next city.”

There’s a weary tone creeping into her answers. Well, maybe weary isn’t the right word. Cautious, perhaps.

“Do you ever take time off? Maybe stay home for a while?”

She does—but only because the men in her life force her to do so.

“Once Mister Pritchett and Mister Horowitz get together, they’re worse than two fathers.”

Baby Teegarten will soon add actress to her resume. She just this week signed to play a role in a new James Cagney movie.

“It’s only a small part,” she explains. “I play a singer in a jazz club. I’ll sing two new songs they wrote just for the film.”

“Any lines?”

Just one. But that’s fine by her. “I ain’t no movie star.”

No, she’s not. But that doesn’t stop the real movie stars from turning out wherever Baby Teegarten treads a stage. It’s fashionable to be seen at her shows.

“Jean Harlow got my autograph last summer in Chicago.” She says it like it’s a normal thing that happens to most people.

“How’d you come to be friendly with Babe Ruth?”

That shrug raises her shoulders again. “He came to my shows most nights he was in town—back when I still played the clubs. Once he decided to buy a house in the country, I bought his apartment.”

“I guess that makes you a Yankees fan, huh?”

It’s a playful thing, that sideways glance she throws at me. “Ain’t no self-respecting Mississippi girl gonna ever cheer on no Yankees.”

Abe Horowitz’s approach signals a wrap to our discussion. I’d been promised twenty minutes, Baby gave me thirty.

“Gotta get ready for the trip to Hollywood,” she says, gaining her feet.

She offers a handshake, which abruptly becomes a friendly hug.

Job Pritchett, arm around Baby’s waist, sweeps the girl away, following Abe Horowitz out the front door, into the crowd moving along 7th Street.

It takes a few moments for my head to clear itself of her scent, her voice, her very presence. It’s not a difficult thing to see why so many have fallen for this lovely young woman.

“She just has a way about her,” the barkeep says as I make my getaway.

She certainly does, I tell myself. She certainly does.

Grab a copy of Jazz Baby

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Do We Write?

Why do we write? It’s a simple enough question. The answer, well, that’s not quite as cut and dried. Every writer has his or her own reason for putting pen to paper in an effort to entertain, educate, or just let off a little steam.

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I’ve been writing since about the age of eight. It’s just something I’ve always enjoyed. My motivations have changed over the years. Early on I wrote with the notion that I’d be the only one reading my work. I’d put down on paper some grand idea I’d find wandering through my head, an event from the day, or maybe a song or a poem. There has always been a need for me to create with word combinations belonging only to me.

In my teen years, for the first time, I wrote knowing that others would read my words. These writings took the form of record and concert reviews published in my high school’s newspaper. I went to a large school, with a student body of nearly 2500 members. People began to give me feedback, advice, compliments. I absorbed it all like a sponge. I felt a calling on my life; a calling to write.

To this day I am not able to make a living with this craft. And that’s fine; I didn’t take up my pen for financial gain. If and when it comes, that will be the clichéd icing on the proverbial cake!

I still enjoy writing. Whether it’s a novel, short stories, book reviews, or blog articles—like this one here—writing is my passion. I also find pleasure in writing communications to friends; letters that I’ll compose using pen and paper, stamp and envelope. I just don’t write every day the way I once did. Mood is my major motivating factor these days. Do I feel like writing something today? If I do, what form will it take? That’s just me, though.

Some writers must create each every day. Many even establish a daily word count. The day is a complete loss if they’ve not sprinkled a thousand words across their keyboard. It’s all selective depending on the individual.

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Ann Frank needed to write. This girl’s existence consisted inside four walls of a silent room that became her family’s prison for many years. She wrote every day, detailing a life most human beings could never imagine. Writing is all Ann Frank had to keep her connected to the world—as dark as her world became.

Harper Lee didn’t need to write. Oh, sure, early on she wrote short stories, essays, and articles. But then she wrote a novel called To Kill A Mockingbird and basically walked away from the craft. Her sister claims the author knew she’d never again approach the level of success Mockingbird achieved—no matter the caliber of book number two. So why bother? Rumor has it there’s an incomplete book with the Harper Lee name attached to it. We’ll probably never have a chance to read it, though.

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J. D. Salinger, though he ceased publishing his work after the mid-1960s, continued to write, taking a few hours each and every morning, creating stories only he had opportunity to enjoy. Upon his death, it was revealed that several of Salinger’s unreleased manuscripts would be published. The man loved writing but hated the attention his work drew from across the world.

Some people have never written anything outside of personal letters to friends and family. That doesn’t make them any less a writer than those with books or short stories on their resumes.

Everybody has their own reasons for writing—regardless if they publish or not.

Why do I write? I write because I have a passion to write—just not every day.

Why do you write?