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The Birth of the Christmas Card

December 3, 2022 by in category Partners in Crime by Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger tagged as , , , , ,

The First Christmas Card

John Callcott Horsley designed the world’s first commercially produced Christmas card for Sir Henry Cole in 1843.

Cole was part of the elite social circle in Victorian England. During the holiday season of 1843, having too many friends caused Cole much anxiety.

The old custom in England of sending Christmas and New Year’s letters boomed with the British postal system introducing the “Penny Post.”  A letter or card could then be sent anywhere in the country for the cost of a penny stamp.

Now, everybody was sending letters, but Sir Henry Cole was a busy man. He watched the stacks of unanswered correspondence and fretted over what to do. In Victorian England, it was considered impolite not to answer mail, and being the 1840s equivalent of an A-Lister, Cole had to figure out a way to respond to all of these people.

Cole asked his artist friend, John Callcott. Horsley, to design an idea he had sketched out. Cole had a thousand copies on stiff cardboard made by a London printer. On each postcard he had printed “TO:_____” so he could “personalize” the generic greeting “A Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year to You.”

Thus was born the first Christmas card.

1843 The First Christmas Card

The Modern Christmas Card

In the early 1900s, a man named Joyce Hall started a revolution that resulted in creating the modern-day Christmas card.

In 1905, he and his brothers spent $540 to buy picture postcards to sell to store owners and retailers in Norfolk, Nebraska. A few years later, they opened their own little store in Kansas City, Missouri, selling the postcards and other greeting cards, but the store sadly burned down just a little while later. After that, The Hall Brothers bought an engraving business and printed their own cards.

Their customers wanted to write more than what would fit on a postcard. This resulted in a card that was 4 x 6 inches folded once, and inserted into an envelope. By 1928, the cards were being produced under the brand we all know today as Hallmark.

Christmas cards in the twentieth century reflected the times and artistic styles of each decade. 

With the advent of computers and digital photography, families could now shoot, design, and print their own customized cards right at home.

1920s

The Most Popular Christmas Card of All Time

Debuting in 1977, one particular greeting card quickly took hold as the bestselling Christmas card design of all time. 

Hallmark artist Ruth Morehead designed the angelic Three Little Angels artwork that depicts a trio of adorable cherubs. Unlike seasonal cards that come and go with each passing year, ‘Three Little Angels’ was so popular that it was sent over 36 million times in its first two decades of production. According to Hallmark’s director of creative writing, Kristin Riott, “Cuteness and God together are unbeatable.”

Christmas Cards Today

Technology advancements in recent decades are making Christmas cards a little less popular. Social media platforms make it easier to stay connected with friends and family all over the world, and face-to-face video conferencing helps form meaningful connections, especially around the holidays.

Along with Mother’s Day, Christmas cards are still the most popular season for card-buying, card making, & sending, with over 1.5 billion individual & boxed cards purchased every year.

Janet and Will’s Skylar Drake Mystery Series

DESERT ICE

Buy now!
DESERT ICE

SLIVERS OF GLASS

Buy now!
SLIVERS OF GLASS

STRANGE MARKINGS

Buy now!
STRANGE MARKINGS

SLICK DEAL

Buy now!
SLICK DEAL

GAME TOWN

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GAME TOWN
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Micromanaging your Manuscript During Editing #5

October 3, 2022 by in category Editing Your Novel Together by E. J. Williams, Partners in Crime by Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger tagged as , , , , ,

Editing Your Novel Together

Micromanaging your Manuscript During Editing #5

By E.J. Williams

(Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger)

Writing together as E. J. Williams, husband and wife, Will Zeilinger and Janet Elizabeth Lynn author the INTER-NATIONAL CRIME FILES, a hardboiled/thriller detective series that takes the reader to 1960s southern California, then on to international locales.

          Even after you’ve written the best book in the world, the pesky task of editing rears its ugly head! To those of you who love editing…our hats are off to you. We have come up with several suggestions that may help ease the editing process, whether you are editing your book for your editor, publisher, agent, or yourself.

          Micromanage each chapter when you edit. Start big, the chapters, then move to scenes and last sentences. Once you get to the sentence stage, fix every tiny problem or error you find. We know, when you are done, you can probably recite your manuscript by heart, but this is necessary.

          Though this mind-numbing task is necessary, it can bring about a great deal of pride when the process is complete. As a couple who write together, we have found these tips work well whether you are working alone or with someone.

And yes…we are still married!

Website: Janet Elizabeth Lynn

Website: Will Zeilinger                 

Some of Janet’s and Will’s Books

DESERT ICE

Buy now!
DESERT ICE

SLIVERS OF GLASS

Buy now!
SLIVERS OF GLASS

STRANGE MARKINGS

Buy now!
STRANGE MARKINGS

SLICK DEAL

Buy now!
SLICK DEAL

GAME TOWN

Buy now!
GAME TOWN
0 0 Read more

The Carol Burnett Show

September 3, 2022 by in category Partners in Crime by Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger tagged as , , , , ,

The Carol Burnett Show was an American variety television show starring Carol Burnett, Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence, and Lyle Waggoner. In 1975, frequent guest star Tim Conway became a regular after Waggoner left the series. In 1977, Dick Van Dyke replaced Korman, but it was agreed that it was not a match and he left after ten episodes.

The CBS show began September 11, 1967, with the final episode March 29, 1978. The series won 25 prime time Emmy Awards. In 2013, TV Guide ranked The Carol Burnett Show number 17 on its list of the 60 Greatest Shows of All Time, and in 2007 it was included on the list of Time’s 100 Best TV Shows of All Time.


Bob Mackie created all the costumes, including evening gowns, character outfits and dance clothing for guests during the run of the show. The hysterical curtain dress from the Went with the Wind! sketch is now housed in the Smithsonian Institute. Burnett credited Mackie with comedic costumes for various characters, which added to the comedy. It is estimated that Mackie had created 17,000 outfits for the show.

For a waltz down memory lane, here is the link to an interview with Carol Burnett and a clip from WENT WITH THE WIND!

The Skylar Drake Mystery Series

DESERT ICE

Buy now!
DESERT ICE

SLIVERS OF GLASS

Buy now!
SLIVERS OF GLASS

STRANGE MARKINGS

Buy now!
STRANGE MARKINGS

SLICK DEAL

Buy now!
SLICK DEAL

GAME TOWN

Buy now!
GAME TOWN
1 0 Read more

HE SAID, SHE SAID: HOW WE MADE TWO WRITERS SOUND LIKE ONE

August 3, 2022 by in category Partners in Crime by Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger tagged as , , , ,
HE SAID, SHE SAID

My wife, Janet Elizabeth Lynn, and I have been crime writing fiction for several years. In the beginning, Janet was the first to take a of couple classes and workshops. That was after we discovered we didn’t know what we were doing. I was a bit reluctant because the whole writing thing was foreign to me.  But she came home with tools and information that opened my eyes.

When Janet was writing solo, she would often ask me to read some of her work. I’d make comments like, “A guy wouldn’t care what brand of shoes a woman was wearing” or “A guy wouldn’t say/think that.” It got to the point where one day Janet was writing and said to me—“Will, if you were a guy…” to which I replied, “What?”

Thus began our co-writing partnership. I would tweak many of the male characters’ voice styles while Janet handled the female roles.  We’d brainstorm the plots, discuss our characters’ quirks and make sure the characters’ voices sounded different enough while maintaining the voice of the story. Next, we read aloud to each other. Sometimes one of us would fall asleep during the reading, but that just meant we had to fix that part. If it bored us, it would surely bore our readers.

The result is that our writing had become a true partnership in authorship and our stories sparkled (in our eyes). We now take turns polishing and refining our work before handing the manuscript over to our editor.

And after all that… we’re still married.

Will

Janet’s Website    

Will’s Website


Janet’s and Will’s Skylar Drake Novels

DESERT ICE

Buy now!
DESERT ICE

SLIVERS OF GLASS

Buy now!
SLIVERS OF GLASS

STRANGE MARKINGS

Buy now!
STRANGE MARKINGS

SLICK DEAL

Buy now!
SLICK DEAL

GAME TOWN

Buy now!
GAME TOWN

0 0 Read more

Editing Your Novel Together: Dig Deep into the Chapter #4

July 3, 2022 by in category Editing Your Novel Together by E. J. Williams, Partners in Crime by Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger tagged as , , , , ,

Editing Your Novel Together

Dig Deep into the Chapters #4

by E.J. Williams
(Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger)

Writing together as E. J. Williams, husband and wife, Will Zeilinger and Janet Elizabeth Lynn author the INTER-NATIONAL CRIME FILES, a hardboiled/thriller detective series that takes the reader to 1960s southern California, then on to international locales.

Even after you’ve written the best book in the world, the pesky task of editing rears its ugly head! To those of you who love editing . . . our hats are off to you. We have come up with several suggestions that may help ease the editing process, whether you are editing your book for your editor, publisher, agent, or yourself.

While you are editing, look at the arc of each chapter. Does it engage the reader? Does it make the reader want to read more? Does the reader like the good guy and hate the bad guy? Seriously focus on the way the chapter the beginning, the middle, and the end of each chapter.

Though this mind-numbing task is necessary, it can bring about a great deal of pride when the process is complete. As a couple who write together, we have found these tips work well whether you are working alone or with someone.

And yes . . . we are still married!

Website: Janet Elizabeth Lynn  

Website: Will Zeilinger 

Some Books by Janet and Will

DESERT ICE

Buy now!
DESERT ICE

SLIVERS OF GLASS

Buy now!
SLIVERS OF GLASS

STRANGE MARKINGS

Buy now!
STRANGE MARKINGS

SLICK DEAL

Buy now!
SLICK DEAL

GAME TOWN

Buy now!
GAME TOWN

0 0 Read more

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