Monday, February 17, 2014

A Stitch In-time 

Elias Howe's 1846 sewing machine
Inventions of all kinds have changed our lives, and those of our forefathers. One of those was the sewing machine. In 1846 Elias Howe patented his sewing machine, however, it failed to gain the interest he’d imagined, so he took his machines to England. Although though the idea was well-received, sales didn’t meet his expectations, and during his time abroad he received news his wife was gravely ill. Howe sold his machines and his patent papers to a local pawn shop in order to have enough money to return home. His wife died shortly after his return, and in time he realized sewing machines were becoming more popular. He also discovered the new machines being sold were based on his design. He scavenged up enough money to purchase back his machines and patent papers from the London pawn shop and instantly started sending out letters to the suspected patent-infringers.

Isaac Singer was one of the men Howe took to court. Howe won, however, due to the increased popularity of sewing machines and how they mechanically all used the same general needle and bobbin design, a business ‘combination’ agreement was reach in 1856. Ultimately, Howe was granted the rights to receive $5.00 for EVERY machine sold in the United States and $1.00 for EVERY machine shipped overseas. Between 1956 and when his patent expired in 1867—the same year Howe died—he’d earned over 2 million dollars. His two sons-in-law took over the business, but the Howe Machine Company went out of business in the mid 1880’s, and Isaac Singer’s machines went on to dominate the industry.

During his ‘sales pitches’ Howe challenged the best seamstresses to go up against his machine. Publically he demonstrated how his machine could sew five seams before a seamstress could finish one. His marketing also included comparisons of how long it took an average seamstress to sew specific articles verses his machine. 6 hours and 37 minutes of stitching time to hand sew a calico dress, whereas his machines stitched the material together in 57 minutes. A gentleman’s shirt took 14 hours and 26 minutes verses 1 hour and 16 minutes, and an apron, 1 hour 26 minutes, verses a mere 9 minutes. 

The time saving abilities of the sewing or stitching machines drastically changed the clothing industry. 

Currently I have a free read up on Harlequin’s website, The Stolen Kiss, where the heroine is a seamstress.

Copyright © 2014 by Harlequin Books S.A.

From rivals…to lovers!

The moment beautiful Cassandra Halverson arrives in Tulsa, Micah Bollinger knows she'll be trouble. No sooner has she set up her dressmaker's shop than she starts poaching his customers. Determined to beat Cassandra at her own game, Micah decides to keep his enemy close!

Cassandra wants nothing more than to create a new life doing what she loves and to leave her past behind her forever. But the presence of her infuriatingly gorgeous competitor threatens it all. When an unexpected kiss takes them both by surprise, it's not long before fury turns to red-hot passion!



Oklahoma Indian Territory

Faded by a sun as relentless as the wind, the red letters on the side of the weathered building announced she'd arrived. Cassandra Halverson hitched the skirt of her olive traveling suit and stepped off the MKT train amongst a splattering of Army men, Indians, and those she'd rather not notice.

The last depot before entering Indian Territory. Trains didn't even go west from here. Only Indians, horse thieves, Mexican traders, whiskey peddlers, desperadoes and those associated with the U.S. Army were brave or crazy enough to do that.

She'd chosen Tulsa, or Tulsy town as some called it, because of that. People here didn't question others about their past. The town was growing fast, and would continue to now that the railroad was here. Every man, woman and child would need clothes, and she was here to sew them.

She was making a name for herself, and a living, but could make much more if not for Micah Bollinger. Besides his golden-brown hair and gold-flecked brown eyes, Micah had a silver tongue, which he used to wrangle customers out of her shop and into his.

A flit of elation put a smile on her lips. She'd outsmarted him this time. No longer Gambling Irv's daughter or Wesley's poor wife, she was Cassandra, and no man would ever get the best of her.

She found a spot near the building, where porters unceremoniously dropped luggage and cargo of the travelers ending their voyages while others scurried to load trunks and bags for those departing. The train didn't depot here for long, and to her sensible mind, something she prided herself on, it would be more prudent to wait for the chaos to slow rather than attempting to rifle through it.

Before long, and in between two loud steam-filled blasts, the conductor shouted a boarding call, which had the crowd dispersing.

"How was your buying trip?"

Despite air so hot that the feather on the new straw hat she'd purchased in Wichita drooped over her left eye, every drop of blood in Cassandra's veins froze. She hadn't told anyone where she'd gone, especially not Micah.

"Missed me, didn't you?" he drawled.

Without glancing his way, she asked, "Would a dog miss fleas?"


The Stolen Kiss is related to my February 1st release, The Major’s Wife.


Major Seth Parker knows his wife, and the woman standing before him isn't her. The manipulative vixen who tricked his hand in marriage could never possess such innocence—nor get his heart racing like this! 

Millie St. Clair has traveled halfway across the country to pull off one of the greatest deceptions ever. But with everything at stake it soon becomes clear that the hardest part might be walking away from the Major when it's all over…. 

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