Life in the Past Lane

Official blog of award-winning romantic historical and military fiction author Jessica James

Civil War novel debuts on YouTube

I am excited to finally announce the release of a video book trailer for my historical fiction novel Shades of Gray.Video trailers for books are a lot like their counterparts in the movie industry - a visual promotional tool that gives viewers an idea of the basic...

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This house is for the birds

When spring cleaning my smokehouse earlier this year, there were a few things I wasn't sure what to do with, so I hung them on the side of the shed. One of the items was a birdhouse, and within a few hours, it was being investigated top to bottom by interested...

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Fans did the talking during the Civil War

Today's youth do most of their communicating with their fingertips through text messaging, but courtship during the Civil War era was a little more complicated. The etiquette and manners that men and women observed during the Victorian era is a far cry from what we...

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Readers help writers get back on track

I enjoy the solitary life of a writer, but it is still wonderful to hear from readers. In fact, nothing can make my day like the wonderful comment I received this morning from Marie in Charlottesville, Va.In part, she said: "Just finished reading your book, "Shades of...

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Women soldiers in the Civil War

I'm reading a great book called, They Fought Like Demons: Women Soldiers in the Civil War by Deanne Blanton and Lauren M. Cook. As I was doing research for my historical fiction novel, I discovered a few women who dressed as men and fought as soldiers, but I am...

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A taste of life in the country

We have certainly been lucky in the northeast to have had one of the coolest July's I can remember. Usually the heat and humidity settle down on us the end of June and hot, sticky nights are the norm.This July, most days have been in the comfortable high 70s to low...

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Civil War general’s romantic courtship

"I have never, on the field of battle, sent you where I was unwilling to go myself; nor would I advise to go a course which I myself was unwilling to pursue. You have been good soldiers; you can be good citizens. Obey the laws, preserve your honor, and the Government...

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Reader pens poem about Shades of Gray

As I wrote in a recent post, I had a book signing in Isle of Wight County, Va., recently for my historical fiction novel Shades of Gray. A few days after the signing I received an email from Gwynne George, who sent me this lovely poem she had written after reading the...

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Independence Day

Happy Independence Day! Please keep in mind the reason we celebrate this day and remember that it took many brutal years of war before our independence was actually achieved. It is important that we remember what the founding fathers gave to us, and that we do not...

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Olden Day’s Festival a step back in time

I'll admit that I don't always look forward to doing book signings, but I couldn't have had a better time at the Olden Days Festival in Smithfield, Va., last weekend.For those of you who don't know the history of Smithfield, it is located on the banks of the Pagen...

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