Left at the Altar Book Release and Giveaway

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LeftattheAltarfinalcoverI have a lot to celebrate.  My novella Do You Hear What I Hear? released on the 24th; my book Left at the Altar will hit the stores on November 1st; and my office is clean (no small miracle).

Left at the Altar is the first book in my new series and I’m excited about it.  The second book A Match Made in Texas will release in the summer of 2017 and the third book How The West was Wed will follow soon after.

The idea for Left at the Altar came to me in a rather unexpected way.  We inherited several antique clocks and they all needed servicing.  My husband called a clock repairman to the house and the horologist was a writer’s dream.  He was full of fascinating stories about clock collectors.  But the story that really made an impression was the one about a client who owned so many clocks, the quarter-hour racket was deafening.  The horologist’s job was to turn the clocks off before each holiday so that guests didn’t have to compete with the cacophony of bongs and chimes during dinner.

banjo-clock

This Banjo clock circa 1929 was a wedding gift for my husband’s parents.

Ah, sweet inspiration. Before I knew it, the town of Two-Time, Texas was born and the story of two feuding jewelers fell quickly into place.

The book takes place in 1880 before standard time.  Prior to 1883, the town jeweler usually determined the time. Trouble arose when a town had more than one jeweler and no one could agree on the time.  One town in Kansas reportedly had seven jewelers and therefore seven time zones.  Talk about confusion!

Just think, a person traveling from the East coast to the West would have contended with more than a hundred time zones. That wasn’t a problem when traveling by covered wagon, but it became a huge problem when traveling by train.  I was surprised to learn that some battles were lost during the American Civil War due to time confusion. When an order was issued to attack at a certain time, no one really  knew what it meant. Was that Washington time or local time?  And if it was local time, which one?

clock

This clock has been in the family for a hundred years!

Ah, yes, time.  It affects us in ways we might not even be aware of.  It certainly affected the two feuding families in my story.  A marriage was supposed to unite the families and turn Two-Time into a one-time town, but of course nothing ever goes as planned as this little excerpt shows:

The grandfather clock in the corner groaned and the wall clocks sighed. Seconds later the cacophony of alarms struck the hour of eight a.m. Only today, it wasn’t bongs, gongs, cuckoos and chimes that bombarded Meg’s ears. It was mocking laughter. Jilted bride, jilted bride, jilted bride…

Hope you enjoy the story as much I enjoyed writing it.

Now it’s your turn.  Leave a message and you might win a copy of Left at the Altar.  Giveaway guidelines apply.

How does time affect your life?  Are you always running late, early or on time? Are you looking forward to the November 6th time change?  If you could change one thing about time, what would it be?

Time for a little holiday cheer

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Margaret Brownley
Margaret has published more than 40 books and is a N.Y. Times Bestselling author and past Romance Writers of America Rita Finalist. She writes historical novels set--where else?--in the Old West! A Match Made in Texas is available for pre-order now. Margaret's stories also appear in the 12 Brides of Christmas, Pioneer Christmas and Second Chance at Star Inn collections. Not bad for someone who flunked 8th grade English. Just don't ask her to diagram a sentence.
Updated: October 27, 2016 — 7:49 am

48 Comments

  1. I vaguely remember hearing out time zone confusion before standard time. Confusion reigned completely especially in the military and in transportation in general, going from here to there. No wonder timepieces were a must, the pocketwatch, setting it and keeping to look at it to keep the time wherever you are. Madness indeed, and in a jewelers on my. Clocks and chimes and cuckoos oh my. Not forgetting the dings, dongs and steeples ringing all over at different times. How did they finally sort it out and not over dueling pistols or clocks haha. What a great tale this will be oh goody. Cannot wait to hear more and read more Margaret. Thanks for this great series.

    1. Elaine, thank you! Oh, yes, confusion reigned and congress failed to do anything about it (why are we not surprised?). Just turning the clock back an hour causes confusion. It’s really hard to imagine what it was like before standard time.

  2. I struggle with being cordial to to the necessity of “time.” It tends to startle me out of perfectly good day dreams all day long. I get stressed over it when I’m late and restless when I’m early and ignoring it bothers other people… one day we may get along.

    1. Hi Naomi, you sound like one of the characters in my book. Time really does seem to rule us, doesn’t it?

  3. I am always early. I was raised in a military family and to be punctual was important. My husband likes being early or on time as well so it works out well for us.

    If I could change one thing about time, I would do away with Daylight Savings. I dislike it. When I moved to Indiana over 15 years ago I was elated because Indiana wasn’t on Daylight Savings, then a few years after my move here the Governor decided to change & put us on it. I was none to happy.

    I would love to win a copy of your book. Thank you for the opportunity.

    Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    1. Hi Cindy, since you’re so punctual I bet you spend a lot of time tapping your feet and waiting for others. I’m of two minds about daylight savings. I like being able to garden and take walks after dinner during the spring and summer months. But I also enjoy long wintry nights.

  4. Thank you for such an interesting post! In all my reading I never came across any of that before and was totally taken with it. Thanks again. Your new story sounds great.

    I used to be a tad late more often than not. There always seemed to be just one more thing to take care of, “just in case.” Now that I’m retired, I’m never late, but I really notice “time” in traffic: during the day when most people are at work, people obey the speed limits and aren’t so pushy, yet during “rush hour” (called that for a good reason, I see), people drive faster, tailgate you, cut you off and so forth–just to be one whole car ahead. I didn’t know I was caught up in that “race” until I got out of it. And it’s an ever so much nicer way to live this way with time.

    If I could change one thing, I’d have daylight savings time year ’round, so one could at least see some daylight in the morning, instead of going to work and coming home in the dark.

    Just an aside, it was really interesting living in Scotland where it’s only dark for a few hours in the summer, and mostly dark in the winter. I remember walking down the street one summer at 1 AM their time in the light.

    1. Hi Eliza, I know what you mean about traffic. Rush hour in California lasts all day long. I had a similar experience in France. We were out at 11 p.m. and it was still light. It seems like when it gets dark early, I get tired early. In Paris I felt like I could dance all night.

  5. I like to be early and my husband on time. I am not usually late because I think it is rude. As to time, sometimes I wish I had more and sometimes I wish it would slow down but that is not to be.

    1. Hi DebraG,
      I wish time would slow down, too. It seems like each year it goes faster. It’s scary.

  6. I am retired, so time isn’t something I have to pay a lot of attention to. When I have an appointment I am usually on time.
    I wish time would either stay at Standard OR Daylight permanently.

    1. Hi Estella, I’m all for permanent Daylight savings. I don’t like going out at night when it’s dark.

  7. I tend to run late a lot of times when it comes to personal or fmaily stuff. but if I have an appointment, I usually get in right on time.

    1. Hi Janine, I’m always on time for appointments and hate waiting in doctor or dentist offices. I always make my appointments first thing in the morning or after lunch so I don’t have to wait.

  8. Its already dark so early so i guess changing the time won’t matter much.

    1. Cathy, you’re right. I can’t believe how dark it is. I used to walk in the morning at six, but it’s too dark to do that.

  9. Great post, Margaret. To be honest, I never really thought about life before standard time because standard time is such a mainstay of life. How fascinating to have towns with multiple time zones because of disagreeing jewelers! It sounds like a comedy waiting to happen. How fun! I’ll be checking out your Christmas novella, too. 🙂

    1. Thanks Karen! I agree, it’s fascinating stuff.

  10. One thing I love so much about P&P is that I learn something almost every time I read a blog post here! I have a phobia about being late, so I’m usually early. As to time, if I have enough time to comfortably get something done, I add one more thing to my plate. Great post, Margaret.

    1. Thanks Jeannie!

      I think we could all use a little more time.

  11. I hate being late, so I try to allow extra time to get somewhere. When I was a teacher, my days were very structured by time, but retirement has given me some much-appreciated freedom.

    1. Hi Cheryl, it seems like I get more done when days are structured. Don’t know why that is. Thanks for stopping by.

  12. Margaret, Congratulations on your new release out in a matter of days! This book appears filled with your wonderful trademark humor. I’m sure things were in a huge mess in the days when everyone pretty much set their own. I can only imagine trying to get somewhere on time. Great post!

    1. Hi Linda, thank you! It was fascinating to see what happened when a town was divided by, all things, time. While writing the book I thought about all the things that divides as a country. At least we can say that time’s not one of them.

  13. I used to live by my watch, but at some point in college I realized that I lived by it TOO MUCH – always checking the time, whether I needed to or not. So in an experiment, I decided to give it up. No lie, it was rough at first, but I find I now have a much more relaxed existence, and I’m still very rarely late to anything.

    1. And I don’t use a cell phone as a replacement watch. No electronic leashes for me!

      1. I guess this answers my question. “Electronic leashes”–I love that! Good for you.

    2. Rachael, that’s interesting. Are you a cellphone junkie? I know a lot of people who constantly check their phones for the time.

  14. Interesting post. Time for me was meaningful. Always was early and still am.

    1. Anne, always early–that’s me, too.

  15. I do not enjoy the short days and dark early evenings. I am consumed by time since it is fleeting and precious. Since I was raised to be on time for everything it was important and respectful.

    1. Ellie, I like that you use time to show respect. So do I. If feel that keeping others waiting is disrespectful of their time.

  16. we learn about time when we are young and this changes our outlook. We have to be at school, work or appointments on time in order to be serious. If i could change one thing about time would be to make it go slower now that I am older. It passes by too quickly.

    1. Amen, Ruth! It seems like I just packed away my Christmas decorations, and here it’s almost time to take them out again.

  17. I’m always early. But I have friends who are alway late and we joke they will be late for there own funeral. I a couple of clocks my on my mothers side that has been passed down from generation to generation.

    1. Kim, it can be frustrating when others don’t respect our time. It sounds like you are more patient about it than I am. I’m sure you must treasure those clocks, as I do mine.

  18. For me, I like to be early, but my sister is always late! As for time zones, my area does not participate, but it does confuse me for cable TV show times, LOL.

    1. Colleen, I never thought about the cable TV problem. Interesting.

  19. Hi Margaret. It’s fun to learn about the clock and daylight savings, which I never even knew! How confusing to go through about 100 time zones traveling by train…sheesh! Or that they could never agree what time it really was. Great article that I learned something new 🙂

    As for me, I like to be a few minutes early to anything, especially Dr or Dentist appointments. I hate it when, even though I’m there on time, they still don’t get you in on your appointed time…why even schedule it then…lol! It about drives me batty. And yes, I do tend to lose patience with other people who are consistently late.

    I don’t like daylight savings time and wished we could forgo it. I have an aunt and uncle in Arizona who never have to change their clock. Must be nice! It always takes me 2-3 days for my body clock to adjust. I think if I could do without something, it would be the need for time in the first place. But it does keep us on track for things in our lives, doesn’t it? 🙂

    Thanks for a fascinating and “timely” post. I love the pictures of the various old clocks, so elegant! And for the giveaway chance, blessings.

    1. Hi Trixi, it drives me batty, too, when I have to wait. Your comment about no need for time reminds me of the one I think is credited to Einstein: the purpose of time is to keep everything from happening at once.

  20. Oh, I’m an early bird. Learned that from my father. I can understand people being late occasionally but not the ones that are always late – quite rude I think, especially if dinner is involved. I can’t be without a watch lol. It seems the older I get the faster time goes – I’d like to slow it down a bit, especially during the good times.

  21. Hi Catslady, yes, it would be nice if we could slow time during the good times and speed it up during the bad.

  22. I would slow time down a bit. It passes by much to quickly now. I am the kind of person who will be a bit early for occasions, never late!

    1. You sound like me Patricia B. I go away one week and come back three weeks behind!

      Take care

    2. Hi Melanie, sounds like we all want time to slow down.

  23. Sorry I missed the giveaway, but time did me in – again. We were gone for 2 weeks and I am scrambling trying to catch up with all that needs attention. That plus 5 meetings and one doctor appointment in 3 days and I haven’t made a dent in unpacking. The book and new series sound like they will be enjoyable reads.

    1. You sound like me Patricia B. I go away one week and come back three weeks behind!

      Take care

  24. Awesome info, Margaret. I just learned some countries have zones that are a half hour or even fifteen minutes off the hour everybody else uses. Sheesh.

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