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Kristin Holt
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Sweet Historical Romances Appropriate for All Audiences
Sweet Historical Romances Appropriate for All Audiences

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Kristin Holt's posts

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Hires Root Beer, from its debut in the mid-1870s, was sold as a refreshing beverage (with no medicinal expectations). The name, chosen by Charles H. Hires, to appeal to tough coal miners, who’d never find “root tea” attractive, ended up causing Hires Co. a bit of trouble with Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). Who knew that “beer” in a name, and the common knowledge that root beer extract was percolated with alcohol (though the finished drink had no more than a whole loaf of homemade bread), to cause banning of the beverage?

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I found a book for writers, instructing how to plot a romance so all the essential elements are present, and the book was SO valuable, helped so much, I can’t keep this excellent find to myself. Come see my 5-star review for Gwen Hayes’s Romancing the Beat: Story Structure for Romance Novels.

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Pepsi-Cola was born in North Carolina from a soda fountain beverage first known as “Brad’s Drink”. Caleb Davis Bradham ran a drugstore and served cola-based beverages to his customers. His own creation, (“Brad’s Drink” which became) Pepsi-Cola, arrived at the turn of the century. Pepsi-Cola few with the new (20th) century, with changing logos, bottle shapes, and the nickel-a-glass price. One big difference from Victorian Coca-Cola? Twice the size of that glass, for the same price.

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We know original Coca-Cola (debuted 1886) did have cocaine in it–and not “a trivial amount”. The product began as a replacement for coca wine (just what it sounds like), when temperance laws outlaws alcohol, and Pemberton needed a replacement vector for his coca leaves. Looking back at vintage sources, it’s easy to see when cocaine was removed from Coca-Cola, and how the owners ensured their not-yet-trademarked product remained protected. Numerous credible scientists analyzed the syrup (from various retail locations), swearing to Coca-Cola’s freedom from cocaine, but the attacks didn’t stop overnight. Decades later, Coca-Cola maintained its status as a substance-free “refreshing drink”, a 180° switch from its Patent Medicine beginning.

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“[Coca-Cola] has gained an enviable reputation, and has taken position at the very front of the leading and popular soda fountain beverages,” said The Atlanta Constitution of Atlanta, Georgia, on June 21, 1891. People loved the beverage (and its medicinal value), and many wrote testimonials in its favor. So why the complaints? A vintage article titled It Looks Like a Dangerous Drink, originally published in The Abbeville Press And Banner of Abbeville, South Carolina, on July 1, 1891 brings up concerns and presents arguments on both sides, urging consumers to draw their own conclusions. Had YOU been a consumer in 1891, what would you have thought?

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The San Francisco Morning Call, of San Francisco, California, June 16, 1891 reported the rapid wooing and marriage of Mr. Lee Anderson of Philadelphia to Miss Sadie Michael of St. Louis. The couple met on the train between St. Louis and Fort Worth, Texas, and fearing night would fall (and the courthouse would close), they disembarked in Denton, Texas, to marry. Struck by the romanticism in this rapid courtship, USA Today Bestselling Author Kristin Holt presents "the rest of the story", and asks readers to chip in their thoughts. Vintage newspaper clippings like this can make for the true-to-life ("it could have happened") basis for romantic fiction.

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In the 1890s, Coca-Cola bottled their carbonated beverage, first in cork-sealed bottles. Metal caps came along relatively quickly. The company went through many different glass bottles until settling on their branded shape that is still in use today. Coca-Cola’s logos changed very little through the years, and the Victorian-era Spencerian script is still Coke’s highly recognizable choice today. Each glass (or bottle), about 6 oz. each, sold for just 5¢. Initially promoted as a health-promoting, illness-defeating tonic (patent medicine), the beverage was soon advertised as a refreshing beverage…and with good reason.

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Coca-Cola was born in Atlanta, and quickly gained popularity at drugstores and soda fountains, showing up very quickly a thousand miles away in mid-Kansas! Coca-Cola was touted for a wide variety of medicinal benefits, including nervous affections and sick headache. In less than fifteen years, Coca-Cola was widely known from New England to Los Angeles. Coca-Cola belongs on the long list of American Victorian Inventions.

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At the Turn of the 20th Century (year 1900), the Soda Fountain was a safe and socially acceptable place for men and women to meet. Courting couples could enjoy a little semi-private time tucked in the back of the drug store sipping one Coca-Cola from two straws. Come see a vintage article written about why soda fountains foster romance, and how the Soda Men must safeguard themselves against falling for lonely maiden customers. Soda Fountains remained a courtship and dating icon from the late nineteenth century through the 1950s and beyond. What was the draw?

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Behind the 19th century soda fountain counter, “baristas” known as Dispensers or Soda Men (or sometimes Soda Jerks, because of the movement of the levers when dispensing drinks), knew a tremendous amount about customer service, the making of an ever-growing list of beverages, and the care and use of operating the soda apparatus. While other trained men mixed syrups, compounded recipes for everything from soda water to flavorings to syrups, and cleaned and repaired the machines, this article focuses on the Soda Men and their key role in the success of a Victorian-American Soda Fountain. This post is filled with primary-source recipes, tips for excellent customer service, and instructions to properly pour a soda water or ice cream soda.
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