Friday, May 13, 2016

Vintage Perfumes: The Fragrances That Defined Each Decade by Connie Vines

Nothing can transport you back in time like a fragrance. They say that your sense of smell is the most powerful and evocative sense, and it’s true: Emeraude reminds me of my mother, Quorum my husband, and Halston Z-14 reminds me of my teens and guys who bathed in a cologne—rather than indulging in a spritz or two.

“A woman who doesn’t wear perfume has no future.” – Coco Chanel

This may have been a dramatic overstatement, however, when I was in the business of selling perfume, quotes such as these, gave women confidence when she entered a room! And Chanel No. 5 is one of the most popular fragrances of all time, a bottle of it is sold every 30 seconds (this includes me , too).

Coco Chanel also stated that women should wear perfume wherever they hoped to be kissed. Wise words indeed – please note that this does not mean ‘layered’ in perfume, as perfume counter girls armed with spray bottles will advise you.  No one should be able to smell your perfume unless they’re that little bit closer than is polite, then it should be something delicious and intoxicating.
Whilst researching which perfumes were popular over the decades I was surprised how many of these I’ve actually owned. Over the years, I’ve tried Anais Anais, Shalimar, Opium, Poison, Red, and Patou 1000 before I finally settled on Chanel No. 5. Of course, I selected one of the most expensive perfumes on the market, but I guess there is a good reason why it’s been a bestseller since it was launched in 1921!

Vintage Perfumes: The Fragrances that Defined Each Decade
It’s surprising how many of these perfumes are still best sellers even now, but then why would they go out of fashion?

Popular Perfumes in the 1920s.

Chanel No. 5, launched in 1921, was an immediate success even though it was the preserve of the rich at this time.  Famously worn by Marilyn Monroe, the square bottle design was rumored to been inspired by the design of a whiskey decanter.

Guerlain’s Shalimar launched first in 1925. It is one of the most popular fragrances of all time and was said to be inspired by Mumtaz Mahal, the women for whom the Taj Mahal was built. The perfume was named after the Gardens of Shalimar in Lahore, Pakistan, which were also built for her.
Popular Perfumes in the 1930s.

Tabu by Dana Fragrances which were popular in the 1930s included Tabu by Dana (a sexy evening perfume), which was launched in 1932 and Je Reviens by House of Worth, both of which remain available today.

In 1934 Elizabeth Arden developed Blue Grass.

Perhaps the most notable perfume of the 1930s was Joy by Jean Patou, voted Scent of the 20th Century at the Fragrance Foundation FiFi awards in 2000. It was created in 1929 (the year of the Wall Street Crash) and even though it was marketed as ‘the world’s most expensive perfume’, it was a huge hit. It is also considered to be one of the greatest floral fragrances of all time.

Popular Perfumes in the 1940s.

L'Air du Temps by Nina Ricci (in a pretty glass bottle with a bottle stopper fashioned as two doves). After the war lighter and fresher perfumes became more popular, one of which was the still-popular Miss Dior by Christian Dior in 1947

Popular Perfumes in the 1950s.

Femme de Rochas was a rich, sultry perfume aimed at the femme fatale created in 1944.
Arpege by Lanvin is a floral romantic perfume, created in 1927,  but became particularly popular during the 1950s.

Max Factor’s Hypnotique and Primitif (as advertised by Jean Patchett above) were popular and an affordable perfume for the masses compared to the fragrances by the big fashion houses.
Soir de Paris by Bourjois was a popular fragrance amongst teenagers during the 1950s. It was discontinued in 1969, but relaunched in 1992

Popular Perfumes in the 1960s.

Oh! de London by Tuvache, YSL Rive Gauche was a popular 1960s scent
Hubert de Givenchy created L’Interdit for Audrey Hepburn and she wore the perfume for many years before it was released to the public in 1957. She featured in the adverts for L’Interdit throughout the 1960s.

Tuvache’s Oh! de London is a bright sparkling scent which perfectly captured the mood of the swinging sixties.

Guerlain introduced the heady oriental scent Chamade in 1969.

Popular Perfumes in the 1970s.

Charlie by Revlon and Diorella by Christian Dior, a perfume for the independent woman who has everything, were both very popular.

Opium by Yves Saint Laurent, launched in 1977, and was a heady, rich oriental evening perfume.
Christian Dior released the classic perfume Diorella, which combines citrus and musky notes.
Anais Anais by Cacharel, launched in 1978 and was an immediate hit (my brother gave this to me as a Christmas Gift).

 Did I list one of your favorite perfumes?

Or, perhaps a fragrance you’ve never dared to try?

Perfuming is an art.  Indulge your senses, enjoy the fragrance—it’s mystical, it’s magical, is the new you.

Happy Reading,

Connie Vines

Links to Connie Vines' Novels

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Twilight Zone Day, Time Travel, and Me by Jina Bacarr

Twilight Zone.

Did you hear the eerie music when you read the title?

Two of my favorite TZ episodes dealt with time travel.

Civil War.

And medicine.

Cliff Robertson in "A Hundred Years Over the Rim" (a father time travels to the future to save his ill son with modern medicine) and Kevin McCarthy in "Long Live Walter Jameson." (check out an interesting filming note on this one). A professor knows history better than he should because "he was there."

When I set out to write my Civil War romance, LOVE ME FOREVER, these two TZ episodes crept into my story line in a fun and interesting way: my time traveling heroine is a part time EMT and history teacher; she helps the Union Army physician hero in his fight against "germs" and how to combat disease back in 1862.

And yes, she knows exactly when the battles take place and does her best to save lives. But can she change history? If she does, will she lose the man she loves?

How do TV shows affect your writing?

Do shows we loved as kids have an even more powerful effect on our writing?

I think so.

LOVE ME FOREVER is proof of that.

What TV shows have affected your writing?

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Till next time...


Civil War time traveler, belle...and spy: Love Me Forever from Jina Bacarr on Vimeo.

She was an imposter – a time traveler back to the Civil War in 1862 from Jina Bacarr on Vimeo.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Elena and Kitty Blabbing About Books - A Live Show

Do you like listening to podcasts or watching video interviews? Are you a fan of shows like Inside the Actors Studio? Do you love to read and talk about books?
You just might love our new show, Elena and Kitty Blabbing About Books!
Elena and Kitty Blabbing About Books
YA author Elena Dillon and I started this new live author interview show on the Blab platform in February 2016 to see if it was something we enjoyed. We've interviewed half a dozen authors so far and we're having a great time! Audience members say they're having fun, too!
The Blab platform is a new-ish website that allows people all over the world to video chat with up to three other people live while anyone from anywhere can watch and participate in the chat box. The video chats can also be recorded and watched again later.
On Elena and Kitty Blabbing About Books, Elena and I interview authors in a manner similar to that of Inside the Actors Studio. Some of the questions are silly fun, and some are about the author's process or new books coming out, and the watching audience asks questions as well.
Last week, we tried another format - Elena and I chatted about our favorite sci-fi and fantasy stories while our audience interacted with us in the chat. We discussed The Martian by Andy Weir, the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, the Lord of the Rings books by J.R.R. Tolkein, and many more. We're going to do the same kind of show this Wednesday, talking about favorite time travel stories. There are so many - A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, Remembrance by Jude Deveraux, and many more - that we had to dedicate a separate show to time travel, outside the sci-fi/fantasy show!
Elena and Kitty Blabbing About Books is live from 7pm to 8pm Pacific time (almost) every Wednesday. The link here is for the time travel show this Wednesday. But you can click the link anytime after the show is over to see the replay. You can also follow Elena and me on the Blab platform (it's connected to Twitter) and get a message when a new show is about to go live. Searching Blab will find our past episodes, but I'll also start a new page on my website soon and add all the shows we've done. :-D
We won't have a show next week, Wednesday, May 18, 2016, because I'll be out of town. But we'll be back on May 25. I hope you join us this Wednesday and/or on future episodes as we blab about books!
Kitty Bucholtz decided to combine her undergraduate degree in business, her years of experience in accounting and finance, and her graduate degree in creative writing to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher. Her novels, Little Miss LovesickA Very Merry Superhero Wedding, and Unexpected Superhero are currently available on Amazon. The free short story "Superhero in Disguise" is available wherever ebooks are sold. You can find out about her courses on self-publishing, marketing, and time management for writers at her website Writer Entrepreneur Guides.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Opening Doors to the Past

The Importance of Doing Research When Writing a Novel
Cindy Vallar

Cara Clarke once wrote, “If you don’t want to do research, perhaps you should think twice about writing historical fiction.” While fiction requires some research, historical fiction, and historical romance require an author to recreate the time, the place, and the social and political mores and customs in which the characters interact. Even the subtlest of errors can jar our readers out of the story – to the point where they scribble their displeasure (and the truth) in the margins. This can forever damage the author’s credibility, for I often encountered readers’ annoyance with the author’s historical errors as a librarian with the Baltimore County Public Library System.

Many historical novelists consult primary and secondary resources to bring authenticity to their work; other authors fail to do such in-depth research. I notice this failing when reviewing books for Historical Novels Review or Pirates and Privateers. It’s a delight to read novels, like Dan Smith’s Red Winter or Elizabeth Camden’s Beyond All Dreams, in which the authors deftly weave their research into stories that captivate readers with true depictions of the life and times of centuries past.

Roby James’ The Soldier’s Daughter asks readers to believe Robert the Bruce’s most trusted soldier is a woman, albeit William Wallace’s daughter. James does a good job weaving the complex facts of a turbulent period in Scottish history into the story but then endows the heroine with attributes more in keeping with a woman of the twentieth century than the thirteenth. The world we live in, our life experiences, and public attitudes and opinions influence us in ways we may not realize, yet it is essential we discard these “burdens” to write believable stories set in the past.

What may work in one time period may not be correct in another, but the only way we find out is to locate reliable source material and immerse ourselves in the society of that time and place. Rather than serve as window dressing, the details of mannerisms, speech, foods, clothing, attitudes, and customs provide texture to our novels and bring the past to life for readers. But doing research can be a daunting task. In my workshop, “Opening Doors to the Past,” I share some tricks librarians use to find information. We also discuss how to evaluate potential resources, organize our research notes, recreate historical times and places, and weave fact with fiction to write the story. Assignments reinforce what’s covered in the workshop, and all participants are invited to submit a chapter from their stories for a free edit. Won’t you join me as we explore the fascinating realm of researching and writing historical novels?


A retired librarian, Cindy Vallar writes feature articles and book reviews for Historical Novels Review. She also pens the biannual “The Red Pencil” column where she profiles authors and compares a selection from their published historical novels with an early draft of those works. She is a freelance editor, the Editor of Pirates and Privateers, and a workshop presenter. She belongs to the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors and the Historical Novel Society. She is the author of The Scottish Thistle, her debut historical novel about Scotland’s Rising of 1745; “Odin’s Stone,” a romantic short story of how the Lord of the Isles settled a medieval feud on the Isle of Skye; and “Rumble the Dragon,” a historical fantasy about dragons and Vikings, which appears in the anthology A Tall Ship, a Star, and Plunder. She invites you to visit her award-winning website, Thistles & Pirates (, to learn more.

Cindy is teaching the OCC/RWA May Online Class Researching and Writing Historical Fiction – Opening Doors to the Past.

  • This 4-week online course begins May 16, 2016 and uses email and Yahoo Groups. 
  • The class is open to anyone wishing to participate. 
  •  The cost is $30.00 per person or, if you are a member of OCCRWA, $20.00 per person
For more information and to register go to         


Friday, May 06, 2016

Looking Forward to Romance

by Linda O. Johnston

My attendance at OCC meetings has been spotty this year due to conferences, book festivals and family matters, but I'm delighted to say I intend to be there this month.

The conferences I've attended this year have all related to mysteries, which I write in addition to romances. One was the Sisters in Crime meets Hollywood event, where speakers taught us how to pitch our mysteries to those who might be interested in making them into movies or TV shows. It was fun, but I'll be surprised if any of my stories even get optioned.

Another event was the Dog Writers Association of America annual meeting in New York City. Most of the writers there write nonfiction--about dogs, of course. I was there because one of my mysteries was a finalist in the fiction category of their Maxwell Awards. It was fun, plus it was right next door to the Westminster Dog Show. I even saw some of my favorite pups: Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

I also attended Left Coast Crime in Phoenix in February this year. And last weekend I was at Malice Domestic in Bethesda, Maryland. It's for cozy mystery writers and fans. And I'm glad to say that my next cozy, TO CATCH A TREAT, the second in my Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries, is officially available in a couple of days, on May 8.

Lots of events and conferences. I've only one more currently planned, and I'm really looking forward to it: RWA National in San Diego! I'll bet a lot of you who are reading this blog post will be there, too. RWA National is always fun and informative, and this year the conference is practically in our backyard.

Hope to see you at OCC this month--and RWA National in July!

Thursday, May 05, 2016

12 Titles in 12 Months [Pt Three]

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

It’s time for an update on my exciting challenge, 12 TITLES IN 12 MONTHS. When I started this challenge I know it seemed like the rantings of a crazed New Indie Self-Pub Writer. Wow, that’s a mouthful.

I’m having a lot of fun on this journey experimenting with new genres and formats. When I started this, I was going to primarily do a mix of full-length and novellas. But I have to admit, in a brief moment, I sort of thought I was taking on too much. Then I read the article in the RWA magazine about story lengths. Honestly, it never occurred to me to do a short story. Funny thing, my first two published pieces were short stories. In my mind, I thought I would be doing my challenge an injustice if I didn’t commit to either a full-length or novella. So, I did a little digging in my files and found several starter pieces. I printed them and did a lot of reading.

I woke up one morning and remembered I had rewritten my next full-length book. Thank God, I kept the old manuscript. I had this really cool scene, that I thought would make a great novelette. I read the chapters and discovered, they weren't right as a novelette, but will be great for the third installment of THE GOOD GIRL…which is on the schedule for next year. I was a little bummed and then went into a blank mode. This freaked me out. It seemed like the words were gone. I won’t say it was Writer’s Block, but more like Brain Jumble. Words were there but when I started to write, it seemed force. I had almost two thousand words on a piece, but it just didn’t click. But while I was writing, I got an idea, which I turned into THE FLING. As for the other starter pieces, I like them, but I’m not quite sure the time is right to bring those stories to life. The good thing about this challenge is that I can basically write whatever I want. YEAH!

I finished out the first quarter with some pretty good sales. Here’s a funny sales story. My mother and I were at the doctor’s office waiting to get our annual blood workup. I was teasing her about something while she was proofing one of my books. I kept bothering her and she replied, “How am I supposed to finish your book, if you keep bothering me?” A woman sitting across from us heard my mother’s comment and started laughing. Then my mother went into sales mode and told her that I was a writer. The woman asked where she could find my books. I opened my iPad and showed her my Amazon page. She called it up on her phone, read the summary and bought the book.

Last week, I released my April Title, THE FIX UP. This cute short is my first RomCom. Thank you to everyone that posted the link on their social media.

For this title, I didn’t do any advertising or paid promoting. As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m trying different promotion options. For THE FIX UP, I sent an email to my mailing list, posted it on my blog, Facebook, Tumblr and Pinterest. I wanted to give my followers first dibs. This little tactic paid off on the release day. This was the first time I landed in the top 100 in one of my Amazon categories on release day. Double YEAH!! I was shocked. THE FIX UP, also aided my other books. My perma free book, THE ALEX CHRONICLES: GIRLFRIENDS & SECRETS, hit the top 100 in two categories. All this activity without me doing any paid promotions.

So what’s on tap for the next quarter? I have a full-length and what I think will be a couple of novelettes. The reason I say could be, is because I haven’t finished writing them. I already created the covers which I’ll share later in the post. but I’m not quite sure if I’ll keep the titles. Title duplication is something that really can’t be helped. But I was a little shaken when I saw a book on several sites this week with the same title as my proposed August release. Now I’m wondering if I should keep it, or rename it. If you have any thoughts on this, please post them below or send them to me…readtracyreed [at] me [dot] com.

On with the 3rd Quarter update…

Length: Full-length
Status: Completed
Release Date: July
This is the second installment in The Alex Chronicles Series. It’s also the second book I wrote. But like it’s predecessor, I held it back and I am so glad I did. The characters are more mature and the issues they deal with seem a little more realistic. This story focuses on what happened after Alex said yes to Moses’ proposal. It’s no secret they got engaged. What is a secret is if they get married. Following the rest of the girls in this series is fun as well. There’s the return of someone’s first love, a surprise break up and a so much more.
Sales Outlets: eBook - KDP Select
Print - Amazon, Createspace, B&N and my website
Marketing Campaign: Posting on my blog and social media outlets [Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest], blast to my mailing list, GoodReads Giveaway and possibly a mini blog tour or Cover Release Blast tour. And miscellaneous blogs.

Length: Novella or Novelette
Status: Still writing
Release Date: August
The reason you don't see a cover image, is because there’s a slight possibility I might change the cover. I don’t purchase images until I’m convinced I want the image. With this story having a common title, I’m a little on the fence. Even though I like it a lot. As you may have guessed, this story is about a matchmaker. She’s polished, beautiful, and very good at what she does. But her evenings are spent alone. I see this possibly becoming a cute series.
Sales Outlets: eBook - KDP Select
Print - Amazon, Createspace, B&N and my website
Marketing Campaign: Posting on my blog and social media outlets [Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest], blast to my mailing list, GoodReads Giveaway and possibly a Cover Release Blast tour. And miscellaneous blogs.

Length: Novella or Novelette
Status: Still Writing
Release Date: September
This will probably finish out as a novelette length. It started out as the beginning of a series, but I have since changed my mind. I don’t think the characters are ready for a series or more than a few thousand words. Only time will tell. Hey, I didn’t think THE GOOD GIRL would go beyond book one. This is a complicated love hate story.
Sales Outlets: eBook - KDP Select
Print - Amazon, Createspace, B&N and my website
Marketing Campaign: Posting on my blog and social media outlets [Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest], blast to my mailing list, GoodReads Giveaway and possibly a Cover Release Blast tour. And miscellaneous blogs.

Writing update. Technically, I have every month completed or partially finished. I have something special for my December release. I was going to do a novelette, but I saw something that really intrigued me. A Sampler. I saw Beth Yarnell’s romance sampler and asked her if she minded me copying her idea. She was cool with it, because she’d gotten it from someone else. I thought about releasing the sampler this summer, but decided against it. Part of this challenge has been to experiment with writing and marketing/promotion styles. Seeing I have nothing lined up for the holiday, I thought that would be the best to release my sampler in the fourth quarter. I’m going to make it a free download, just in time for all those new to the world of eReaders. I’ll share more on this title later in the year.

God has answered my prayer and those three titles I was concerned about, are coming to life. In addition to my 12 Titles challenge, I’m almost done with my first non-fiction book. Let me just say this, I commend anyone writing non-fiction. I had no idea how difficult it would be. I thought since I write fiction, it would be easy. No. Non-fiction requires a lot of person reflection and sharing. At least for the book I’m working on. Because this book is part of a larger project, I’ve elected not to release it until January.

Why the rush to finish everything a head of schedule? I would like to take a little time off and relax. But we’re writers. Do we ever really stop writing?

Have a good month and I’ll check in with you next month.

Tracy Reed

Fiction for Women Who Love God, Couture and Cute Guys=

Sunday, May 01, 2016

President's Message

Hello OCC!

Last month was a fabulous meeting, but then, in my opinion, all of our meetings shine with friendship, triumphs, and inspiration. Inspiration is everywhere we look in our chapter, from the roses, the speakers, the tooting of our horns, the chats I’ve had with members and just everyone’s determination that no matter what this is their calling and they keep going. Thank you to all of you, as you inspire me to strive to reach all of my goals. I do hope that I am able to inspire in some way and/or that there are others who inspire you as well.

Last month we had Kitty Bucholtz n the morning speaking on “Going the Distance: Time & Project Management for Writers” and in the Afternoon we had Tara Lain speaking on “Insider Marketing Secrets for Authors.” The speakers for this meeting gave us some great information that everyone could find useful, and I definitely enjoyed myself and hope that you all did as well.

This coming month I will be out of state and my Vice President of Communications Annette Macias (Sabrina Sol) will be heading the meeting. I know you all will show her just as much love as you show me. Our speakers for that meeting will be our own Brenna Aubrey speaking on “Digital Co-op: Getting Visible” in the morning session and then we will have Michelle Klayman from Boroughs Publishing Group speaking in the afternoon on, “From Submission to Release, the Publisher's POV.”

Have a beautiful meeting and I will see you soon! Remember as always OCC’s motto, “One hand reaching forward and one hand reaching back.” Keep on writing and keep on motivating and inspiring!


Nichelle Scott-Williams aka Nikki Prince