Thursday, March 24, 2022

An Accidental Theme? An Echo!

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Oh, my golly, we have a THEME! Sometimes the world works in mysterious ways…well, actually, all the time.

 Before we get to the fab Jess Montgomery and today’s mysterious ways---shout out to our own Lucy Burdette, whose chilling thriller UNSAFE HAVEN is featured on First Chapter Fun today!

 

At 12:30 PM ET, I’ll be talking about Lucy and the book, and then reading the first chapter out loud on Facebook live on First Chapter Fun. Click this link to join us! (It’s a private group, so you have to join.) Then be there at 12:30 ET to join in the fun. It’s always terrific, and Lucy is episode 249. Whoa. AND she is doing a giveaway!

 

And now, I am so honored and delighted to bring back one of the true stalwart fabulous wonderful friends of JRW—the amazing and incredibly talented Jess Montgomery. Her newest book THE ECHOES is out right now (it is gorgeous and evocative and beautiful) –and one of the main characters is the mother of the series star, Sheriff Lily Ross.

 

Just as we discussed yesterday (coincidence!) (and ooh--you might call it--an ECHO!) today we’re talking about mothers. But today, how Jess handled a fictional mom in the 1920s, and gave her a very special role.

 


Moms and Daughters

by

Jess Montgomery

  

The heart of my Kinship Historical Mystery series is Lily Ross, the sheriff of Bronwyn County in the 1920s, in the Appalachian region of Ohio. Lily is inspired by Ohio’s true first female sheriff, Maude Collins.

 

Each novel is co-narrated by Lily and another woman from her community. (In the first three novels, Lily’s co-narrators have been a woman who eventually becomes a new friend, a life-long friend, and a frenemy!)

 

In the background of each novel has also been Beulah McArthur, Lily’s mother (who Lily calls Mama.) Mama has been there for each story, helping Lily by watching Lily’s children when Lily is out on cases, even though Mama has another child, a change-of-life baby, 7-year-old Caleb Jr., who is the same age as Lily’s youngest child. (Mama is only 48, young by today’s standards, but rather long in the tooth to have a young son back in the 1920s!) Mama has also fussed at Lily about remaining safe and being mindful of the expectations of women. For example, Lily may be breaking convention by serving as sheriff, but Mama reminds her that she is still expected to go to Woman’s Club and church meetings, and to enter her pies in the county fair baking contest. Of course, Mama has also been not-so-secretly proud of Lily’s achievements.

 


For the fourth novel in my series, THE ECHOES, I decided it was time for Mama to have her own voice—and not just as a mother and grandmother and widow. But fully as herself. As Beulah McArthur.

 

This fits the plot of THE ECHOES, set in 1928. The plot is driven by what really happened to Roger—Lily’s older brother and Beulah’s first-born child—during The Great War. From the previous three novels, we know that Roger died in France during the war, but not much more than that. In THE ECHOES, Roger’s friend, who is also a veteran, creates a memorial park dedicated to veterans, and specifically to Roger, set to open on July 4. But of course, murder and other mayhem ensues—partly because both Roger and Beulah have kept secrets from Lily that must now come to the surface.

 

I relished writing from Beulah’s point of view and developing her as a character who fully embraces her role of mother, but who has so many more aspects to her than that. And it was both challenging and fun to have mother-daughter co-narrators, and consider how they might have similar viewpoints on some topics, but very different viewpoints on others. All along, I’ve seen parts of myself in Lily, but also in Beulah.

 

I am also the mother of two adult daughters. Like Beulah, I’m very proud of my daughters. Unlike Beulah, I don’t worry about whether they’re doing what society “expects” of young women. But, again, like Beulah I sometimes do worry about the safety of my daughters.


I’ve learned that parental worry never fully subsides, no matter how competent one’s adult children are. Some of Beulah’s fussiness, therefore, comes from interactions I’ve had with my adult daughters! And yet, in addition to being proud of them, I’m also inspired by them, particularly their courage and confidence. In THE ECHOES, Lily comes to a greater understand of her Mama’s worries and concerns, but Beulah also comes to a greater appreciation of her daughter’s courage, skills, and accomplishments.


How about you? Did your mom—or a mom figure—have a strong influence on you?

 

Leave a comment, and one Jungle Red reader’s name will be drawn at random to receive a copy of THE ECHOES.

 

HANK: Again—we have an accidental THEME! So since we discussed mothers yesterday (what’re the odds?), let’s flip the question a bit and keep going:

 

Have you ever done something your mother would have been surprised about?

If you have daughters, have they ever done anything that surprised you?  

What’s one thing you learned from your mother?

 

What I learned from my mother: Don’t keep tomatoes in the fridge. (Though I do anyway.) It’s just as easy to comb your hair. And her clarion call: The world is not about YOU.

 

And remember,  one Jungle Red reader’s name will be drawn at random to receive a copy of THE ECHOES. (And if you haven't read the first three books--that's fine! You can start with this one. And then, I promise you will read the others!)

 

  

 


Jess Montgomery is the author of the Kinship Historical Mysteries, set in 1920s Appalachian Ohio and inspired by Ohio’s true first female sheriff. Under her given name, she writes the “Level Up Your Writing (Life)” column for Writer’s Digest. She was formerly a newspaper columnist, focusing on the literary life, authors and events of her native Dayton, Ohio for the Dayton Daily News. She is a three-time recipient of the Individual Excellence Award in Literary Arts from Ohio Arts Council, a two-time recipient of the Montgomery County (Ohio) Arts & Cultural District (MCAD) Artist Opportunity Grant, and has been a John E. Nance Writer in Residence at Thurber House (Columbus, Ohio). Jess lives in her native state of Ohio, where she enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, swimming, baking, crocheting, and occasionally fishing and hiking. Learn more at www.jessmontgomeryauthor.com


137 comments:

  1. Congratulations, Jess, on your new book . . . “The Echoes” sounds amazing; I’m looking forward to reading it.

    My daughters constantly surprise me . . . they are amazing women who manage families, homes, jobs with grace and strength.
    Perhaps I’ve done a few things that might have surprised my mom, but she always thought we could do most anything, so I’m not too certain about that . . . .
    Something I learned from my mother? Be kind . . . and courageous.

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    1. Yes, courageous and kind. Oh, so wise. Every day, don't we realize how incredibly important those characteristics are?

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    2. Thank you, Joan! And yes to courageousness and kindness. We need both, for our communities and our own humanity.

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  2. Jess, I have really enjoyed your series. We lived in NE Ohio for 18 years and eventually had some land in southern Ohio in coal country. My mom was absolutely fearless. And kind. I'm still working on the fearlessness myself.

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    1. Thank you, Pat! Your land is right in Sheriff Lily Ross's area! Perhaps if we could do a time travel/parallel universe shift, you're neighbors? :-) I'm still working on fearlessness too--in some areas, I do well; in others, not so much.

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    2. Wow, since I'm reading The Echoes, I can completely picture that! And I absolutely believe in the parallel/time travel universe.
      Yes, fearlessness is a toughie. Because what if...

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    3. Hank, now you've got me plotting parallel/time travel stories...

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  3. Sounds like some secrets are going to come out in this book. It's sure to be a great read. And, I was five when my mother was 48, being born in 1954, something a little unusual then, too. My friends all had much younger parents. (My father was 52 when I was born.)

    Something my mother taught me that I've never forgotten is not to put my hand up in front of my mouth and whisper to someone. She said it looked rude and like you were talking about someone, which was probably true. I can remember she saw me doing that across the gym floor one time, and she let me know that it was unacceptable.

    It might have surprised my mother that I decided to get my Masters degree in my late 40s. I think amazed more than surprised describes some things my daughter has done. She taught her daughter to read early and did a great job of it. Of course, she is a teacher, but I was amazed at how organized she was about the whole thing. In fact, maybe that's something that surprises me about her, how absolutely organized she is about everything. She didn't get that from me. And, I have to say I was amazed at her as an adult in how capable she is at so many things. If she takes a mind to do something, she can do it.

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    1. What a great legacy! Yes, parents were much younger then. I as born when my mother was 18, which is quite astonishing to think about. She was still in art school in Chicago (and the Institute of Design), and my father was a music critic. What a different time. But they made it work, somehow.

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    2. I swear, I think my brain just goes on vacation sometimes. The greatest gift, of course, that my mother gave me/taught me was to value reading, not just to love it. She let me know that reading was a valuable use of my time. Sitting around reading wasn't a dereliction of duties or wasting time. It was a worthwhile pursuit and a joy.

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    3. All so interesting, Kathy and Hank! My parents met as teens, and Dad was 2 yrs. younger than Mom, but looked older and tall and played football even in high school and had part-time jobs. They married young, even had to move the wedding date up 2 wks. because Dad and his pals joined the Navy and were assigned to move from NOLA to Florida during the Korean War. That's why I'm the only one born there,when Dad was 20 and Mom 22. His 2 yrs. of service was up when I was 7 mos. old and they and their pals and kids moved back to NOLA,so he continued his college education (1st in the family to attend) while working, going on to get his Master's Degree,and raising us 3 brats! They were so young and loving and gorgeous! Many good stories I remember!

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    4. Hank and Lynn, your parents were really young when you all were born. To think that my mother was twenty-one years older than your mother, Lynn, when she had me and a whopping twenty-five years older than your mother, Hank. Wow! Of course, my mother didn't get married until she was 30 or 31. Her first pregnancy was a miscarriage, then came my two sisters, then another sister who died as a baby, then my brother, then me. It was a pregnancy/baby about every two years for a dozen years. I'm tired just thinking about it.

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  4. THE ECHOES will be fun to read, Jess. Thanks for telling us about it.

    My mother was a great reader, and she passed that on to me and my sister; she made reading for pleasure whenever one had the chance seem like the most normal thing in the world. She had a book in her purse everywhere she went, in case she had time to read, and now I do the same. She was also a librarian and worked over the years at an elementary school, a high school, a small college, and at the public library, where she was a reference librarian. Something very important that she taught me was: LOOK IT UP. Then it was reference books, now it's Google. But when some question comes into my mind, from "What's that odd-looking fruit called?" to "When was the Armenian massacre?," thanks to my mother I almost always look it up on my phone right away. Otherwise, I'll forget my question!

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    1. Oh, yes, what a gift! When I had a question, my mom used to say--"Go and find out." What a gift that was! I can still hear her voice saying it.

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    2. Kim, what great role-modeling! And it seems so simple to LOOK IT UP or Go and Find Out, and it is... if we remember to do it! By the way, I just replaced my spring purse with a tote-sized one so I'd have space for books and/or my ipad (which of course digitally contains... books!)

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  5. JESS: Welcome back to JRW, and congratulations on THE ECHOES!

    Well, as I discussed yesterday, my mom had a huge culture shock adjusting to life in 1960s Toronto, Canada. Toronto is a diverse, multicultural city. My mom taught me from an early age to accept/embrace people from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and to be kind to everyone.
    My mom must have endured a lot of pain/worry while undergoing both kidney dialysis and then a transplant but she was STOIC. I never hear her complain or whine. By comparison, I have been ridiculously healthy for most of my life. I thought I would be a wimp if some medical malady happened to me. But I was able to cope with my broken ankle in winter 2017/2018, LONG-COVID since 2020 and my cataract surgery complications in 2021 on my own. So thanks Mom, for giving me the stoic toughness that I thought I lacked.

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    1. That's so interesting, that you never heard her complain. I always think of YOU as very stoic and determined. Hmmm. :-)

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    2. Hi Grace! Thank you! Your mom does sound very stoic. And so do you! A broken ankle, long-Covid, and cataract surgery are no joke. And how lovely to have real-life role-modeling about accepting all kinds of people, with, well, KINDness!

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    3. HANK AND JESS: Thanks! I was a real crybaby as a kid but I was used to being in hospitals from the age of 4-8 so I had little fear about both surgeries. And I am stubborn and told myself to "Suck it up and deal with it" on days when I was too fatigued from LONG COVID or having to hop up 2 flights of stairs on crutches for 6 weeks post broken-ankle surgery.

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  6. Waving hi to Jess, who was our guest on the Wicked Authors two days ago!

    I surprised - and horrified - my mom by going off to Japan to live IN SIN with my boyfriend in 1975 for two years. She stopped speaking to me, but she was also getting divorced from my dad and falling into a deep depression. We made up when I came back. She recovered and went on to find another deep love a few years later and have a long retirement sewing beautiful quilts.

    I learned sewing and baking and stargazing and birdwatching from Mommy, plus a love of crime fiction. She died ten years ago next month, and I still miss her.

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    1. EDITH: Hmmm, so what horrified your mom more: living in sin or moving to a foreign country?

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    2. She was fine with living abroad - I had already lived in Brazil as an exchange student for a year when I was seventeen! No, it was the unmarried part.

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    3. Yup, Edith, exactly the same-ish thing happened to me with my step-father. In 1971. I decided to be honest about what I was doing, which was apparently the wrong decision.

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    4. Hi Edith! Funny, I had the same sort of thing happen to me in the early 80s, as I moved to New Orleans to "live in sin" with my then fiance, now husband of 38 years. My mother threatened to not talk with me if I made the move, I said, well, adults get to make choices, and mine is to move to New Orleans. My mother kept talking to me! Now as the mother of adult daughters, I might have some worries about choices they make, but I know (from experience and for the sake of our relationship!) to NOT JUDGE but just say, "tell me more about that if you feel comfortable doing so."

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    5. I've done that with my adults sons more than once!

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    6. Edith, I can relate to your story, only it was my dad who was more disapproving when I moved in with my then boyfriend,now husband of 49 yrs! I had already left home at 19, was working,taking a few community college classes and painting classes on my half-days off on Thurs. afternoons....living with a female housemate until the owner sold the house and I moved in with David. Well, we showed him by getting married a year or so later,and they became great life-long friends! (Two Pisces, no less)

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  7. Hi Jess and congrats on the new book!

    I'm sure that I've done plenty of things that surprised my mom while she was alive, though any one particular example escapes me.

    I have no daughters (no kids at all) so no surprises from them.

    What did I learn from my mom? Well, technically I learned it from both her and my dad and that is to not take anyone's crap. My mom didn't take crap from the church (when she made us go as kids) when they tried to tell her what she had to tell her kids, the schools when they thought they could substitute their (lack of) judgement over hers and my dad's or the cops when they'd call the house being rude to her while asking for my dad. She and my dad also instilled a love of reading in all three of us kids.

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    1. Jay, you are always such a wonderful surprise...and quite a philosopher. xoxo

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    2. Hi, Jay! And thank you! Learning not to take crap is a valuable lesson! And so, of course, is a love of reading!

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  8. Looking forward to reading The Echos and Unsafe Haven!

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    1. Yes, I hope you will join us on First Chapter Fun today!

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    2. Thank you! I'm hoping to tune in to FCF for the Unsafe Haven reading, too!

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  9. Congratulations Jess! My mom was a huge influence in my life!

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    1. Thank you, Sheri! Moms are such influences on our lives.

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    2. Yes! She is hardworking and always there no matter what. I try to do the same.

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  10. Jess,welcome to JRW and congratulations on your latest Kinship mystery. The Echoes sounds absolutely intriguing. Family secrets can really turn lives inside out. I am very interested in the historical aspect of your books and now the whole series is on my TBR list!

    I think my mother would be surprised at everything about me, Hank. But I am pretty sure I still wouldn't live up to her standards. As for my step- daughter, I am thrilled that we have the excellent relationship we do. Life is too short to not be the best parent you can be.

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    1. Oh, the standards! (That's what THE ECHOES is about, too!) Yup, I'm not sure I ever measured up to my mother's expectations, either. And yes, I am remembering that for my steps! xx

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    2. Thank you, Judy! I'm so glad to be on your TBR list! Hurrah for your relationship with your step-daughter. I definitely didn't live up (or down, ha ha, for that matter) to my mother's expectations. But that's OK. I learned a lot about life and relationships from her.

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    3. JUDY: Ugh, I hear you about not meeting my late mom's standards. I live in my own apartment in Waterloo from age 20, and the household inspections I got whenever my parents visited was soooo annoying. My bookcases were clean and books in perfect alphabetical order but vacuuming and dusting were not my forte!

      And even when I wore the custom suits my mom made, she offer to re-iron my slacks or blouse because I was doing such a crappy job. SIGH.

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    4. Grace, you make me laugh. She wanted to respond your clothes!!?? That should be the worst criticism that anyone gets from a mother! You "Rock!"

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    5. Re-iron is the word...darn autocorrect!

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    6. LOL, I also hate autocorrect! I think my mom believed me wearing the poorly pressed clothes reflected as badly on her, so I let her re-iron them. After she died, I bought over a dozen no-iron cotton dress shirts, and wore my imperfectly pressed clothes to work. The world did not end.

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  11. Congratulations, Jess!

    I learned this lesson directly and indirectly from my mother: Life isn't fair, so get over yourself. When I complained about something, she'd sympathize - and remind me that nobody promised me "fair." She was only 54 when she died - just as she was a grandmother - and that was really unfair.

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    1. My mother said those very words. xxx

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    2. Thank you, Liz! That is sad about your mom dying so young. Truly unfair! I never really directly told my daughters "life isn't fair," (I don't think? We'd have to check with them to verify!), but when they were Girl Scouts and complaining about not everyone buying cookies from them, I said in a probably-not-sympathetic voice, "You get more no's than yes's in life, so get out there and get through the no's to get to a yes!" Oh, how my words have come back to "haunt" me as they've reminded me of this a few times when I've complained about unwanted "no's!" (We all still love Girl Scout cookies, though, and I have yet to say "no" to a Girl Scout selling cookies...)

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    3. My mother said the similar to all 3 of us kids...."Whoever said life is fair? It's not, so get over it and move on!"

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    4. Jess, that's quite true - and I can't say "no" to Girl Scout cookies either.

      Lynn, I think your mom and mine were cosmically related. LOL

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  12. Congratulations on THE ECHOES! I've been a fan since The Widows (a knockout). My daughters surprise me every day, but my GRANDdaughter even more. She's obsessed with self-taught gymnastics moves (backbends, flips, cartwheels) whereas I could barely touch my toes. She's physically fearless which I admire and which I find terrifying. But I keep my mouth shut (except here...)

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    1. I hear you, Hallie. My middle daughter has climbed or run long distances on her own all over the world, and the youngest one has done comparable scary things. It does no good whatsoever to express concerns! But I'm inordinately proud of their courage and strength. Franny sounds like she's on her way to being a strong and independent woman.

      That said, she might need to be in a real gymnastics program. It's easy to get hurt, and learning the wrong moves could hamper her later if she takes it up seriously.

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    2. Oh yes, yikes, they just GO! And we don't want to make them afraid. Except of: (begin endless list here...)

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    3. Aww, Hallie, thank you! Your granddaughter sounds amazing! I totally understand the mix of admiration and terror, though. That's how I feel about many things my daughters do/have done (playing rugby, parachuting out of perfectly good planes just for fun...)

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  13. I have two amazing daughters and a daughter-in-law. So proud of their accomplishments.

    Advice from Mom: if someone is outrageous, obnoxious, or condescending, "nice" them to death. Works like a charm!

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    1. A more experience person than I once told me (prior to me delivering my first academic paper), "When in doubt, say Thank You." Words for life! Another friend said, "Don't forget to breathe." Right!

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    2. Margaret, that's good advice! I'm wondering... is she Midwestern? As a Midwesterner, especially as a female, you soak up the expectation of never saying anything confrontational. So, "isn't that something?" or "how about that!" or "well, THANK YOU for your input..." can mean exactly what they imply, but can also have subtext. I do find I've gotten more blunt as I've gotten older!

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    3. Waves from Cincinnati! Mom was a Californian, but I've lived many years in Ohio--and also fifteen years in Atlanta, with "bless you heart" at the top of the appropriate replies list.

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    4. Jess, thank you for that reminder of Midwestern women's approach to confrontation! (Making a note...)

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    5. Ever since I was little my mother would quote her Italian mother and grandmother with the saying "You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar". I finally figured it meant kill them with kindness!

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  14. Jess, I love the idea of a book-long "conversation" between two characters. I've been meaning to read this series, so a new addition is a good push.

    My three adult daughters are the women I wanted to be: brave, bright, adventurous, and with no, or few, artificial societal limitations. My own mother broke convention by first working full time with four kids, then getting divorced in the 1960s, but she did not want me to do any such thing, and pushed back at my wacky ideas most of my life. Now that she is 92, we have smoothed out the edges of our once-prickly relationship, and we get along okay, as long as I remember to stay in my lane.

    One thing I have learned from my mother is that we are never too old to have fun. She still laughs and carries on with her friends and especially my brother, continuing a longheld tradition in her family of joking around. All the kids and grandkids and great grandkids love "Granny Smith". And even though her eyesight suffered from her near-death bout with Covid, she still reads every day, and works her word puzzles to keep her mind sharp.

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    1. And you can start with THE ECHOES, Karen. It is SO great.
      And "Granny Smith" sounds like a treasure. Does she do Wordle?

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    2. Hi Karen! And Hank is right, you can start with THE ECHOES. (Thank you for the comment!)

      So lovely that you've "smoothed out the edges" with your mom. And I hear you re: daughters; mine are also the women I want/wanted to be in terms of confidence, bravery, adventurousness.

      It's a lovely lesson from observing your mom that we can keep on having fun all through life. Isn't it interesting that grandkids often have a softer view of our parents than we do?

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  15. So happy for your new release, Jess! I'm eagerly awaiting my pre-order copy of "The Echoes"! And I've shared each book of the series with Mom - my role model for a strong, independent woman who threw those womanly "expectations" out the window when she took up long-haul semi driving (in 1979!) to support 3 children after a divorce. She's finally - FINALLY - fully retired (took 3 tries, I think) now and spends her days reading and doing jigsaw puzzles.

    My daughter is much more fearless than I, and a role model for me in her own right.

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    1. What a wonderful idea, to read Jess's books with your mother. WOW. Wouldn't that be a great book club?

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    2. Hi and thank you! I'm delighted you've shared my books with your mom. I love that she was a long-haul driver in the 70s. Oh, the stories she could tell (and I hope she does!)

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  16. What a fabulous sounding book and what a complex topic. I think mother/daughter relationships are one of the harder things to understand about our species. I look at my own relationship with my mother (loving-ish, but not particularly close, as our core selves seem very alien to each other) and mine with my grown daughters (fraught with tension no matter how hard I try), and I shake my head in bewilderment. I always believed my mother never took the time or effort to ponder being a mother--to make the best decisions possible both in the short term and the long term. I've tried consciously to ALWAYS consider my actions, and my girls still think I'm a judgmental idiot. So I LOVE books in which the characters seem to make it work, and The Echoes sounds fascinating.

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    1. Oh, Meg, I am laughing with sympathy--your girls don't think you're a judgmental idiot. :-) But this is so fascinating--you are hitting on so many of the themes of THE ECHOES!

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    2. Meg, thank you for your comment. Relationships, especially primary ones like mother-daughter, can be so fraught and tricky! You sound very thoughtful, and here's to your girls knowing that (even if they don't express it.)

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  17. Congratulations on Echoes! I look forward to reading it. I learned many things from my mother, things I continue to try to teach my own children and grandchildren. But a couple things I learned were doing the opposite of what she would. She was a great believer in "should" and very concerned about what people might think. She felt that way even though she would say "who cares what anyone else thinks?" So maybe she was pleased that I wasn't guided by anyone else's opinion.

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    1. HA! Good one. It's intriguing to think of our mothers as people, not mothers. Just as Jess says!

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    2. Thank you Judi! Moms are, indeed, people in their own right--with all the complications, contradictions, complexities that implies. I used to hear, "what will people think?!?!?" from my mom and it took me awhile to recognize that "people" really weren't thinking about me/us/our family because they were (rightfully) caught up in thinking about their own lives!

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  18. Jess, congratulations on book #3 and for bringing Beulah to the forefront. I've spent many hours and days in Ohio's coal country, back in the days of fieldwork, so reading your books is walking familiar territory.

    All of my sibs had boys, go figure, but I've gained 4 nieces, so that's a plus. What I learned from my mom was MYOB--don't try to live your kids' (or nephews', as the case may be) lives for them. Love them no matter what, support them, and let them go their own way. Youngest nephew was surprised, I think, when he wanted to drop out of college and work on his music instead. I said, you're young, go for it! College won't go away if he wants/needs it later. Older nephew, on switching majors: Do it! Don't let 'shoulds' lock you into something you would hate. That was my beautiful, strong, compassionate mother--'Take these wings and fly away!' and all the time, she'd worry but love would never cease flowing. Not even now, when she's been gone 24 years.

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    1. OH, Flora, that is so lovely--and inspirational!

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    2. Flora, I'm so delighted that my books bring you back to Ohio's coal country in a realistic way!

      And your mom sounds awesome. There's a song, "Roots and Wings," which I started humming A LOT to myself as our daughters neared leaving home after high school. I still hum it!

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  19. My mother was very influential in my life and ideas. She was strong minded and imparted all of her philosophies and thoughts to me. At the time I was not interested but I realize now that I think like she did and have her important and necessary qualities which I gave to my sons.

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    1. I think that's so important--you say "at the time." But now you see. And maybe it's all about planting the seeds.

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    2. Thank you for sharing! And Hank's point is so insightful. Planting seeds, and eventually, perhaps the next generation sees our wisdom (or at least learns from our own choices.) I know I keep getting smarter in my daughters' eyes as I get older (which probably isn't true in anyone else's eyes, ha!)

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  20. Congratulations and best wishes on Echoes. It sounds captivating. I wish that when I was growing up I had appreciated my mother and her concern, care and devotion to us.She gave me my understanding of human nature, and was extremely wise and special. I am her now. I brought up my children that way and hope to influence my grandchildren if I am allowed to even though their parents are the most important to their lives.

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    1. Oh, being a grandparent is so special! Cannot wait to hear about your adventures!

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    2. Thank you! I hope THE ECHOES is captivating, as you say. I've yet to become a grandmother, and I know better than to hint about this with my daughters, but I can safely say here I'm looking forward to it, if the day comes!

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  21. Congratulations Jess. The book sounds wonderful. My mom taught me persistence (stubbornness?) and showed me that a woman could have a profession that she loved (she was a children's librarian) and could still also love her children.

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    1. Oh, this is SO on point. One of Jess's characters is a teacher--and it's "not done" for a teacher to be married. So what is she to do?

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    2. Thank you Gillian! Persistence is a great trait, and yes, women can have a career and children and love them both! The conflict my character feels about being torn between being a teacher and being married in inspired by that very same conflict my mother-in-law told me she felt...back in the 1950s/60s!

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  22. Congratulations on The Echoes. It sounds wonderful and I will pick it up.

    My Mother was a coal miner's daughter. She was raised in a mountain town in Colorado in the 30's and 40's by my grandmother and my great aunt, both widows. They supported themselves as the switchboard ladies. It was my grandmother who taught My Mother, and through her all 4 of her daughters to always be able to support yourself. My Mother's lesson to us was that intelligence would get us far, we could do whatever we wanted. The glass ceiling was a true shock for me.

    I spent most of my life shocking My Mother just by doing what I wanted to do. Probably the largest jolt came when I married for the second time and moved to Canada because this is where he lived. She had always been a "whither thou goest" wife and thought I had finally taken her advice. It made her happy.

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    1. Thank you! I bet your mother had a lot of stories about her childhood. Were your great-grandmother and great-great aunt widowed because their husbands died in the mines? Sounds like you took your mom's lessons to heart (even if seeing them in action shocked her.)

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    2. It was my grandmother who told the stores, but not that many. It was a time of hurt and want that made a huge impact. My grandfather, died of black lung from the mine. My great uncle died from mustard gas poisoning. My Mother's mantra was Scarlett O'Hara's, "I will never be hungry again." I wish we had more stories but because we don't, I make them up based on old photographs and the elderly women that I knew.

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    3. Oh, that is heartbreaking, and could only have happened at that moment in time. The photographs must be incredible. xxx

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  23. Congratulations on The Echoes. It sounds like a marvelous and evocative book. Amazing what we learn when we realize that parents are people in their own right!

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    1. Thank you, Kait! Parents are indeed people in their own right--a bit of coming-of-age jolt when we realize that! (Or re-realize it later in life.)

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  24. Congratulations. My mom was a big influence to me. Everyone that knows her tells me I am just like her.

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    1. Thank you! Moms are indeed a big influence on who we are and how we interact with the world.

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    2. And, happily, that's a good thing!

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  25. Congratulations on The Echoes! I've had to fight all my life to overcome my mother's teachings: to be silent, subservient, and afraid of almost everything.

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    1. Thank you Donna! Well, good for you for overcoming being silent, subservient and fearful. I wonder if your mom learned that from her mom? It can be a challenge to break generational habits!

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    2. Oh, those are very difficult rules, and yes, what a challenge, as Jess says, to overcome. You are so wise!

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  26. Looks great! Would love to win!

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  27. I'm looking forward to learning more about Beulah. I've always thought the term "late in life child" to be an interesting one. Though my youngest aunt is only 10 years older than me though there were 7 children born during the 17 years grandma was having children, so I don't think she would qualify as "late in life baby" do you? It's an interesting term, no matter how you use it.

    My mom was everyone's mom in our family. Whether she was the chief cook and caregiver for her younger siblings while grandma worked or the stay-at-home mom for my siblings and myself and our cousins while her sisters were out in the world working. Mom always wanted us to do our best. And it was absolutely okay not to be like the people next door. Our best as in individual was absolutely perfect.

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    1. Thanks, Deana! I have an uncle who was referred to as my grandmother's "change of life" baby. She was in her 40s when she had him.

      I agree--"personal best" is the ideal to strive for, rather than comparing ourselves to others, whether in an uppity or downtrodden way.

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    2. Whatever "late in life" means at that moment in time...

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    3. Deana, congratulations! I pulled your name at random to win THE ECHOES. Please email me at jessmontgomeryauthor@gmail.com.

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  28. Jess, I'm so excited to see you have a new book out. I love this series, and I love the characters and the focus on the women's world in the 1920s.

    I, too have adult daughters, which is a great delight to me. I pass on my mother's wisdom to them, including, but not limited to, "Wear layers," "Soap's cheap," (that one came from HER mother, and "If you don't at least match your employers contribution to your 401(K), you're leaving money on the table." Mom was very interested in smart financial decisions.

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    1. Thank you so much, Julia!" Smart financial decisions are so important. Funny--I said the same think re: 401(k) to our daughters!

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    2. Oh, Julia, that's very "modern." I think about my mother and money...and I remember, when she was first divorced, how careful we had to be for a while. Hmm. I'd never thought about that until now.

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  29. Congratulations on the new release, Jess! I have not read your previous works, but will have to find them and start on them now.

    Things I learned from my mother: Always speak a kind word to a young mother -- they always need it; You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar (though I'm not sure why I want to catch flies,LOL); Take good care of your body and you will be able to enjoy your later years. I'm sure I could come up with more, but those popped immediately to mind.

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    1. Thank you Susan! I hope you enjoy my books! I've always wondered about why we'd want to catch flies, too, though it is true: flies (like people?) prefer honey to vinegar.Good tips from your mom; I especially like always saying something kind to a young mom. It's so true; they need to hear it!

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    2. My mother always talked to the checkout people in grocery stores. When I was a kid, it was MORTIFYING. And now I do it, too.

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    3. I do that too, Hank, but it's kind of expected in the South to chat and wave to people. Once Mom broke into the Simon-Garfunkle song "Scarborough Fair" a few years ago when the young male cashier asked us if it was parsley or cilantro at the checkout, so I joined in and then he also chimed in with us and we got lots of smiles and applause in the grocery store!

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  30. Congrats on Echoes! My mom was a gray influence on me. She loved me my whole life unconditionally and when I became a moon, I hoped I was half the mom to my girls that my mom was to me. Her example and love was never in doubt. I just lost her last July and I miss her every day.

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    1. Thank you Abysue! I'm so sorry for your loss. That you miss her every day says volumes about how great your relationship was, and I'm sure she lives on in your heart. <3

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    2. Yes, it feels as if the fabric of the universe has changed, doesn't it? ANd you are so lucky to have been on the planet with her.

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  31. Jess Montgomery is a new author
    to me-I would love to win a copy of Echoes! Thank you for the chance.

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  32. I just joined Jungle Red Writers today-Yay!

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  33. Congrats, Jess! Mom was a great influence in my life, before and then after my angsty teenage rebellious years. She taught me so many lessons (besides cooking, reading & writing at an early age) and became one of my best pals after I got married, and she loved my husband, too, after her suspicions about him quelled when we first began dating! She also became good friends with my in-laws and we enjoyed many fun times together, even though my MIL was much older. MIL was another woman I admired, a former teacher who quit to raise my hubby until his teens, then began painting and was a well-known local artist in the Dallas community. She taught me and Mom interesting flower arrangements, good old "country cooking" and we enjoyed shopping, seeing plays, traveling and all sorts of wonderful experiences. Other interesting women in my life included Mrs. Rosen, the school librarian who taught me the Dewey Decimal system,how to use the mimeograph machine, let me volunteer in the library, helped with my column writing in the grade school newspaper,drawing comics and putting up my artwork posters. I also owe a lot of gratitude to hubby's favorite aunt Rozelle, who was also a great cook and traveling pal. So many other great females impacted my life! Except for a few shenanigans as a teen, not much I did surprised my mother besides my decision to remain child-free, and how many office jobs I had that involved me doing billing and accounting,and our own taxes, since I wasn't known earlier for being good at math! Then dh & I moved to the country and raised beef cattle and organic vegetables for many decades. I was the artsy-creative, hippie black sheep of the family, and still proud of it!

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    1. What a fascinating life!! xxx Love hearing this..

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    2. How lovely to have such a great relationship with both mom and MIL! Mrs. Rosen and Aunt Rozelle sound awesome too. And good for you for being artsy, creative, hippie--raising beef cattle and organic veggies is definitely something to be proud of, and I bet you've inspired people of people along the way just like the great women in your life.

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    3. Lynn, you did indeed have great women in your life. I'm happy for you that you had a lovely relationship with you MIL as well as your mother. I struggled with my MIL, as we were so different. I wanted to be close, but she didn't seem to want that, too. The nice thing is that before she died, we were closer, and I would take her food and baked goods she really enjoyed. Of course, in her own way of complimenting me, even then she said I'd really advanced in my cooking. Hahaha!

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  34. Oh, I've done all kinds of things my mother would be surprised by, like raise chickens and learn to shoot. I'd like to think she'd be surprised in a good way, though, rather than pulling a Scarlet O'Hara on me, fluttering her eyelashes and saying in a stern voice, "Why, Sarah Louise, we don't DO things like that!!!"

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    1. That is AMAZING--so impressive! You sound like a perfect heroine for a mystery series. And your mother could be in it, too!

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    2. Good for you, Sarah! My Lily would definitely be right there with you with the chickens and the shooting. Do you hunt or target shoot?

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  35. Great series!. There are a lot of things that I did that would have surprised my Mom. One thing I give my Mom credit for is my love of reading. My Mom was always reading and there were always books in the house.

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    1. And it makes such a difference, right? Yay, Mom!

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    2. Thank you! Having books in the house somehow just helps a love of reading seep into your bones.

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  36. Mom taught me to read when I was four before I went to school. Both my parents were big readers. She would probably be surprised that I bake. Mom was the best baker and also enjoyed it as a hobby. I like cooking more with just throwing things into the pot or pan but I like eating baked goods. I give part credit to my Dad who would eat anything Mom made. Grandma was a good cook and baker but my grandfather was stuck in his ways so Grandma couldn't be as creative as Mom was.

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    1. Hi Sally! Hurrah for parents as readers! I find baking more relaxing than cooking, which requires much quicker timing. But overall, I enjoy cooking too.

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    2. Baking is SO hard! I am in awe. (Jess, do you make cherry pies like Beulah does?)

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    3. Hank, I do! (Though I'm guessing Beulah's are better...)

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  37. Thank you, dear Jess, and everyone, for a wonderful day! See you to morrow for another adventure...and Saturday for the winners!

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  38. Congratulation!! Book sounds so good. My Mom would be surprised to learn that I developed a brown thumb. Always loved growing things. But over past 9 years have been unable to keep any plant alive. As for my adult daughter. The one who resisted cooking. Even when on her own. The one who for 5 years never bought anything fresh. Unless already prepared at a deli or restaurant. Found a new boyfriend who not only loves to cook. But actually inspired her to learn to cook. She made me a big plate of tempura shrimp and fried oysters with sweet potatoes, and roasted asparagus with roasted Brussel sprouts.

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  39. Congratulations on your new book! There are many things that would surprise my mom, some good and some not so much. One thing that I was taught is to treat others as you want to be treated. Unfortunately, some people see this as being either vulnerable or weak. I’ve had to walk away from people who said they were friends because they didn’t know how to treat others.

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