My husband occasionally watches some of the coverage of the presidential campaign (for a few minutes, anyway, before he gets annoyed and turns it off). As I listen to the pundits argue over each other, I can’t help thinking about another contentious election in American history–the one mentioned in A Permanent Home, the election of 1824.
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My husband and I recently took an anniversary trip to east Tennessee, which put us in the Eastern time zone for a couple of days. As we passed the sign notifying us that we were entering the Eastern zone, we had a conversation about the concept of time and how different time would have been for people living at the time of my novels. Specifically, I asked my husband, “Do you think my characters would have had a concept of a ‘minute’ to say ‘wait a minute’ or anything like that?”
If you saw the previous post, you know I committed to donating a portion of the proceeds from sales of His Promise True in December to the Russ Bus, which works with the homeless in Russellville, Arkansas. I checked today to get the final count, and the total of all books sold this month was 48! That means tomorrow I’ll get a donation for $50 (might as well round it up, right?) to the Russ Bus, just in time for another shot of cold weather. Thanks to everyone who made this possible by buying a copy of the book!
I also want to announce a resolution for the new year – I resolve to be more active in writing for this blog. My plans are to write articles that deal with the nineteenth-century world in which the novel is set. I have several potential topics in mind, but I would be more than happy to have suggestions from readers about something you’d like to see covered on the blog. My next post will be about Rush’s Thunderbolts – look for it later in the week.
One final announcement – I’m very close to finishing the first draft of the followup novel, titled A Permanent Home. Once I’ve written these last few scenes, I’ll put it out to my beta readers (who are so greatly appreciated!), and unless they find major problems, I should be able to keep the promise I made at the end of His Promise True – “Coming in 2014”!
Happy New Year, everyone!
A lot is being said and written this week in the U.S. media about the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. While there are some reviews of factual accounts, many of the pieces have to do with memories of how this event disrupted people’s lives. Anyone old enough to actually remember November 22, 1963, is probably looking back and saying, “I was doing (this) when I heard the news about the president being shot.”
I find those accounts fascinating, partly because of the interplay between the truly historic and the mundane. The accounts always set a context of everyday life, which was then interrupted by a single statement. To be perfectly honest, I’m more interested in the context than in the historical event, because it gives a picture of a moment in time – life as people were living it in November, 1963. The accounts tell us what people were doing – sitting in a high school class, taking children to the park, working – the things that make up the fabric of life, yet are often invisible in the flow of history.
About a year ago, I read A Midwife’s Tale by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, and it really brought home to me how valuable a resource this midwife’s diary is. Through her daily entries about the weather and her work, we get a sense not only of her individual life, but also of the lives of most people in that time and place. Since reading that book, I’ve thought about how little we really know about the day-to-day lives of the people who came before us, because so few of them recorded it.
I’m hoping that EMZ-Piney Publishing will help fill that void, even if only in a very small way. I’d like to use EMZ-Piney as a resource to capture personal and family histories before they disappear into the oblivion of the past. How that will happen, I’m not entirely sure at this point. But I know I need to start. Maybe memories of November 22, 1963, is a good opening.