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Archive for the ‘Insecure Writers Support Group’ Category

American Eras #IWSG #AtoZ

Good Morning! Happy April 1st!

Today’s post is doing double-duty. It’s no April Fool’s. The first Wednesday of the month (today), I post in the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. And on April 1st (today), we kick off the A to Z Blog Challenge with our ‘A’ post for the day.

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group posts a question for each month. We don’t have to write to that question prompt, but usually I do.

The question posed to us for this month is:

April 1 question – The IWSG’s focus is on our writers. Each month, from all over the globe, we are a united group sharing our insecurities, our troubles, and our pain. So, in this time when our world is in crisis with the covid-19 pandemic, our optional question this month is: how are things in your world?

Here’s a shout out to the awesome co-hosts for the April 1 posting of the IWSG  —  Diane Burton, JH Moncrieff, Anna @ Emaginette, Karen @ Reprobate Typewriter, Erika Beebe, and Lisa Buie-Collard!

I’m only going to briefly address the ‘How are things in your world?’ question. I’m home for at least two weeks, not working. It could be extended past April 7th. With this unexpected extra time at home, I should have turned into a writing fool, cranking out the words by the thousands. I haven’t. I have accomplished some writing, a very little bit – and a great deal of attacking the prolific weeds that are threatening to overtake the back yard. Fortunately, we’re both home and virus free. And so far, it hasn’t touched anyone I know or love.

The first two days I binged on Facebook. After hardly spending any time on there at all, suddenly I found myself on there almost all day long. Liking, commenting, posting, sharing. And then – I reached a point where it all seems the same. I’m trying to stay positive and optimistic throughout all this, but to do that I need to limit my time on social media.

So that’s all I’m saying about the virus at the moment. On to A to Z, with my first ‘A’ post for the day. During April I’m going to be sharing about writing historical fiction. Today we kick off the month with ‘American Eras’.

Thanks for stopping by today. I do hope all is well in your world and you also are tucked safely and securely at home and aren’t one that’s dealing with the horrific devastation of the lives it has touched.

American Eras

I had a legitimate question. After Sir Google directed me to one of the top go-to sites, Wikipedia, I think I’m more confused than before I started. But, I’ll ramble a bit here and share my confusion with Eras and timelines with you. Then, we’ll all be confused. Excepting the more academic historians here in the group that probably have a better handle on this subject than I do.

I’d seen a post on Facebook that brought this question to mind. It was a post by our featured author that week, Nancy Bilyeau. It was in conjunction with her recently released book, Dreamland, and a trip to Cooney Island she took to celebrate its release. On one of her posts, she mentioned the phrase ‘Gilded Age.’

Truthfully, I wasn’t quite sure when the Gilded Age was. I knew when some eras were – such as the Civil War era, or my own personal favorite time to read and write about, the Depression or Post-Depression era, but I was at a loss placing when the Gilded Age was.

This quest to find how when this period in time was landed me on Wikipedia’s ‘Gilded Age’ page. According to Wikipedia:

In United States history, the Gilded Age was an era that occurred during the late 19th century, from the 1870s to about 1900. The term for this period came into use in the 1920s and 1930s and was derived from writer Mark Twain’s and Charles Dudley Warner’s 1873 novel The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today, which satirized an era of serious social problems masked by a thin gold gilding. The early half of the Gilded Age roughly coincided with the mid-Victorian era in Britain and the Belle Époque in France. Its beginning, in the years after the American Civil War, overlaps the Reconstruction Era (which ended in 1877).[1] It was followed in the 1890s by the Progressive Era.

What confused me was that looking at the years here, I’d tended to think of that period of time as the Victorian Era. Further down the page, there was a list of Periods in United States history. The Gilded Age was there, but no Victorian Era. Looking further, it’s because the Victorian Era and Edwardian period are listed as times in UK history – not American history.

I suppose the reason I was confused dates back to the degree I got so many (many) years ago. No, it wasn’t literature or English, but Interior Design. I knew I’d spent a good many hours studying and designing rooms and elements that were from the Victorian period. So, how could there not be a Victorian-era in American periods? Back to Wikipedia I went, but this time with the focus of Interior Design. There it was. I wasn’t remembering wrong.

There was not one dominant style of furniture in the Victorian period. Designers rather used and modified many styles taken from various time periods in history like Gothic, Tudor, Elizabethan, English Rococo, Neoclassical and others. The Gothic and Rococo revival style were the most common styles to be seen in furniture during this time in history.

Now I’m sidetracked a little, as I think back on all those classes I took so many years ago. I’m wondering if perhaps all those semesters of History of Architecture and History of Interiors influenced my love of historical fiction. Or, is a love of the past going to show itself in whatever facet of life we’re in at that moment?

Regardless of what drew me to historical fiction, here is a list of the eras, or periods, that are listed on the Gilded Age page. I don’t know as I agree with all of them. I still think that even though the Victorian Era is listed as a UK historical time period, I think the influence was felt here in America just the same. But, Wikipedia didn’t ask my opinion. And, some of the others that are listed – the Jacksonian Era? Really? It appears that I have a lot more studying to do.

Periods in United States history:

Colonial period                       1607-1765
American Revolution              1765-1783
Confederation Period              1783-1788
Federalist Era                          1788-1801
Jeffersonian Era                      1801-1817
Era of Good Feelings`             1817-1825
Jacksonian Era                        1825-1849
Civil War Era                          1850-1865
Reconstruction Era                 1865-1877
Gilded Age                             1877-1895
Progressive Era                       1896-1916
World War I                           1917-1919
Roaring Twenties                    1920-1929
Great Depression Era              1929-1941
World War II                          1941-1945
Post-War Era                          1945-1964
Civil Rights Era                      1965-1980
Reagan Era                              1981-

Thanks for stopping by. Come back tomorrow when we’re going to talk about – Building a Log Cabin!

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dear arlie_3 friends

Historical Fiction Short Story Contest #IWSG

IWSG

Today I’m writing for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group’s blog hop. The first Wednesday of each month, we write in inspiration to a question posed by the group’s administrators. We don’t have to write in response to the question posed. Usually I like to use their query as the springboard for the monthly post. However, this month, I’m taking a break from my norm to do a little shameless self-promotion for a historical fiction short story contest I’m holding.

The March 4 question (which I’m not answering this month)- Other than the obvious holiday traditions, have you ever included any personal or family traditions/customs in your stories?

The awesome co-hosts for the March 4 posting of the IWSG are Jacqui Murray, Lisa Buie-Collard, Sarah Foster, Natalie Aguirre, and Shannon Lawrence!

 

Historical Fiction Short Story Contest

Part of being a writer involves marketing and self-promotion. That’s not always a good mix for the ‘Insecure’ part that qualifies me to be part of this lovely group! But, no matter where a person is on the insecure spectrum, it’s always good to grow and move outside of one’s comfort zone.

So, here I go – breaking with my tradition of answering the monthly question posed by the fearless leaders at the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.

Because…well, writers! There’s lots of writers here and I’d like to reach a few more to let them know about a short story contest coming up.

It’s historical fiction. So, no sci-fi, romance, thriller, or terror. Sorry! But if you write historical fiction and feel like taking a chance to win a $50 gift certificate – keep reading.

I have a weekly newsletter that celebrates historical fiction – Pages of the Past. We also have a Facebook group. We’re having a short story contest every quarter. This is our second contest.

TO ENTER:

Write a 400-600 word story to one of the three pictures below.

Email your entry to texastrishafaye@yahoo.com with ‘CONTEST ENTRY – (title of your story)’ in the subject line.

Entries are due by midnight, Friday, March 20th.

The stories will be printed in the April 3rd newsletter. A PDF will be compiled with all the stories and posted on Facebook, allowing others a chance to read the stories and send in their votes. The contest will run until April 12th at midnight. The winner will be announced in the April17th newsletter.

The winner receives a $50 gift card.

If you’d like to read the stories that were submitted in our first contest, click here.

If you like to read or write historical fiction, you can sign up here for Pages of the Past, delivered to your inbox every Friday.

We now return you to your regularly programmed station and we’ll be back the first Wednesday in April – answering the monthly question.

FFContest_April 2020_1FFContest_April 2020_2FFContest_April 2020_3

Photograph Inspired Tales #IWSG

IWSG

Today I’m writing for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group’s blog hop. The first Wednesday of each month, we write in inspiration to a question posed by the group’s administrators. We don’t need to write in response to the question posed, but I like to use their query as the springboard for the monthly post.

This month’s question is:

Has a single photo or work of art ever inspired a story? What was it and did you finish it?

The awesome co-hosts for the The awesome co-hosts for the February 5 posting of the IWSG are Lee Lowery, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, Jennifer Hawes, Cathrina Constantine, and Tyrean Martinson!

dear arlie_3 friends

Snapshots from the Past

I’m laughing as I re-read this month’s question, posted to us from the awesome Insecure Writer’s Support Group. You’re asking me – the self-proclaimed Queen of the Antique Stores? The one who can’t always afford to buy the coveted treasures she sees displayed on the shelves and counters?

Ah, but never feat…I can afford to buy photographs and postcards, and thus have filled up my own coffers with these wondrous paper delights. Some of these photographs, and many of the postcards, have been making their way into my Vintage Daze Short Stories. Although many tales are still in the ‘In Progress’ status, and some in the done–but-editing-phase, one short story is completed and published.

Dear Arlie began with some postcards I inherited from Pauline, an elderly woman that I grew up next door to. The postcards she sent to a friend from 1907-1911 kicked off the story, but then I added vintage photographs from her companion, Bea’s, scrapbook to embellish Dear Arlie.

IMG_2192[1]

Another postcard that I discovered in an antique store on one of my jaunts inspired the beginning of a story, The Grotto. The Grotto is a magnificent creation in Iowa that is still in existence.  On this story, I had many snippets of Iowa history that I wanted to include, but they were from a wide range of time. Wanting to stay within a short story length and not have a full saga, on this story I have a current day woman visiting her grandmother that suffers from dementia. This way the different periods of time come out in varying memories through their visits. This story is only about halfway completed. It got pushed aside last year so I could start working on some Christmas short stories and I haven’t returned to it yet.

I have a feeling that many authors reading this will be nodding their heads in agreement about the ‘never returned to it yet’ phrase.

Now, thanks to this delightful prompt from my IWSG friends, I feel inspired to blow the dust off of the sitting stories and finish a few of them up in this brand new year and brand new decade. Thanks IWSG!

 

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A Long, Meandering Path #IWSG

IWSG

Today I’m writing for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group’s blog hop. The first Wednesday of each month, we write in inspiration to a question posed by the group’s administrators. We don’t need to write in response to the question posed, but I like to use their query as the springboard for the monthly post.

This month we were asked – What started you on your writing journey? Was it a particular book, movie, story, or series? Was it a teacher/coach/spouse/friend/parent? Did you just “know” suddenly you wanted to write?

The awesome co-hosts for the January 8 posting of the IWSG are T. Powell Coltrin, Victoria Marie Lees, Stephen Tremp, Renee Scattergood, and J.H. Moncrieff!

My real life world is a rich source of material for my stories.

A Long, Meandering Path

Often authors are asked what started them on their writing journey. Their answers (from this side of the print) always seem so self-assured and definite. “Oh, I’ve always written.” “From the time I was a little girl I was scribbling stories.” Or, they always had a precise moment in time they can point back to that directed them down the path of authorship.

I’ve always been jealous when I read those answers.

I haven’t always written. I can’t think of a single moment in time that pointed me in this direction. In fact, I still have my moments of feeling like an imposter. It feels as if I’ve stepped into someone’s ‘author’ shoes that they left lying on the floor and nobody’s noticed that their not my shoes yet.

Now, I’ve always read. Since I was able to start deciphering the cryptic letters on a page and realize they created words which told stories, my nose has not been out of a book since. But writing the stories? Why, that was for the ‘real’ authors; Madeleine, L’Engle (A Wrinkle in Time), Hugh Lofting (Dr. Doolittle books), or E.B. White (Charlotte’s Web).

There was that period during senior year when I filled pages with teenage angst filled poetry – but that was work that earned its place in the rubbish bin. It doesn’t count.

I might have dipped a toe in the world of writing sooner – but a room full of peers in a creative writing class in college delayed that action for many, many years. I don’t even recall the first story that I penned that I took to class for critique. Oh, lordy, I still remember the soul-crushing reception my words received. It would be many, many (many) years before I’d attempt writing again.

I was talking about writing with a long-time friend one day. “But you’ve always written,” she said.

“No. I haven’t.”

“Yes, you have. Look at all the newsletters you’ve done over the years. And the small cookbooks you made for the herb store you had.”

But…that wasn’t real writing. One was a cooking newsletter which was a Christmas present in the days when I had to deliver Christmas to family, friends, and one young child on less than $100. The herbal newsletter was when I was trying to get my small herb and garden store up and going and desperately needed a few extra dollars. The little cookbooks to sell in the store? Another cash generating idea. But…you see, typing recipes and relaying herbal information about how to grow and craft with different herbs doesn’t count as ‘real writing’.

And then, after all the years, the boys grew up and moved out. I moved. Finally, I grew up. And it seemed that suddenly there were stories spilling out of my heart and onto the page, and the faster I try to tell them, the more the tide flows in bringing more tales with it. Okay, and a pushy Grandma from heaven who wanted her story told helped me along the path a little sooner than my dragging feet were ready for.

And the critics looming in the background? The cousins to the other students in the college creative writing class from so long ago? Oh, they still make a peep now and then. But the difference is that now I keep going, despite criticism and negative remarks. I know I’m not perfect yet. I’m not where I’d like to be as a writer…yet. But I keep tapping away at the keyboard. And now, the peers I hang out with are much more supportive and we applaud each other’s progress as we journey down this writing road together.

I’d tell you more…but I’ve got ghosts from the past whispering in my ear wanting their story told next. Must. Get. Writing.

Jeepers Creepers – IWSG

IWSG

Every month, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) announces a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. “These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.”

Remember, the question is optional! (But I usually try to go with their question.)

November 6 question – What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever googled in researching a story?

The awesome co-hosts for the November 6 posting of the IWSG are Sadira Stone, Patricia Josephine, Lisa Buie-Collard, Erika Beebe, and C. Lee McKenzie!

first flight

Jeepers-Creepers

A writer’s browser history – it’s funny, but this subject just came up in my writer’s group a few days ago. One of the members is writing a psychological thriller. She was telling us about how she’s creating a board about her serial killer, similar to the ones shown in police departments in crime shows. She was joking about hoping that the police never show up on her door with a search warrant for any reason, laughing about what they’d find when they entered her office. She’s going to be doing some blog posts about her progress with this, and wants to put a disclaimer somewhere on the board – ‘Honest, I’m just a writer!’

From there we started talking about how our browser history would look to anyone examining it.

Best poison for…

How to dismember…

How deep to bury…

How long to freeze…

Alas, lately most of my writing lately has been historical fiction, so I can’t think of any fascinating things that I’ve had to research. Most of my searches lately have been of the ‘When was this phrase first used’ category. Or, what type of clothing was worn in X? When were bicycles first used? What movies were showing in 1934? What books were published in 1848? How long does it take to churn butter?

‘Jeepers, creepers’ is one of phrases I had to look up. More of a fact check instead of research. This frequently comes up in my writing group. One of us will use a phrase and some asks – was that even used then? Out come the phones as people frantically start googling the term.

I did that myself. I was reading a children’s book, set at the time the Wilber and Orville Wright were about ready to have their first airplane flight. The phrase was used a few times in the book. I thought – that’s too early. That’s a 1920s phrase.

I was wrong. The phrase came into popular use much earlier and was used in 1903.

These little pieces are all tidbits that I need to know. And they’re interesting to me – however, I doubt any of these searches quality for the strangest thing to google prize. I am interested to read some of the other posts today, to see what odd things that other authors have had to research.

IWSG

Today I’m writing for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group’s blog hop. The first Wednesday of each month, we write in inspiration to a question posed by the group’s administrators. We don’t need to write in response to the question posed, but I like to use their query as the springboard for the monthly post.

This month the OPTIONAL IWSG Day Question is: If you could pick one place in the world to sit and write your next story, where would it be and why?

laguna beach.jpg

As If There Were Any Question

Laguna Beach, California is where you’d find me writing if I had my druthers. Scotchman’s Cove, Diver’s Cove or Heisler Park – wherever I could find an empty bench or a sandy spot for my beach towel with the fewest people around.

And why there? Because it’s one of my favorite spots on earth and the sun, the salty air and the pounding of the surf nourishes my soul and heals me. It opens me up to write from my inner being. But although that’s my all-time favorite place, I wouldn’t be adverse to a week nestled along the shoreline at Big Sur either. I’d say any other beach – but that would be a lie. I’m a bit of a beach snob and am fussy about where I spend the little beach time I have. Which, now that I live in Texas, is about nil.

It wouldn’t be Huntington Beach. It wouldn’t be Seal Beach. It’s wouldn’t be…any of the other flat boring expanses of sand that graces so much of the coastline. It has to be rocky and craggy, where the surf can dash itself against the cliffs. Where there are tide pools to explore. I don’t even have to dip my toes in the water. All I need is the sights, the sounds, the scents of the vast ocean in front of me.

But you know – barring no acceptable beach, I could also disappear into the mountains where jays are screeching and the wind rustles through the pine trees that perfume the air with their fresh pungent scent.

Alas, since I’m thousands of miles from a beloved beach, who knows how many miles from a decent mountain forest, and its 95-degrees outside as I write this, I’ll settle for writing at my keyboard, tucked away in my home with the AC blowing full blast and the bit of nature that I’ll revel in right now is the teensy little spider trying to build a web outside in the corner of the window frame.

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Any other historical fiction authors here? In April I started a weekly newsletter – Pages of the Past – celebrating historical fiction. Each week I have an author spotlight on a historical fiction author, along with a Reading Roundup of 1-2 books from different eras. If you’re an author and are interested in being interviewed for an author spotlight, email me at texastrishafaye@yahoo.com. Right now I’m scheduling authors for October and November. Also, if you have any books you’d like featured, email me and let me know and I’ll get it scheduled into the next newsletter for that era.

If you’d like to take a look to see if you’re interested, here’s a link to the May 31st newsletter.

Get Pages of the Past delivered to your inbox every Friday!

Join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/184527085517941/

laguna beach 2.jpg

Patience Required #IWSG

IWSG

Today I’m writing for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group’s blog hop. The first Wednesday of each month, we write in inspiration to a question posed by the group’s administrators. We don’t need to write in response to the question posed, but I like to use their query as the springboard for the monthly post.

This month the OPTIONAL IWSG Day Question is: Has your writing ever taken you by surprise?

The awesome co-hosts for the June 5 posting of the IWSG are Renee Scattergood, Sadira Stone, Jacqui Murray, Tamara Narayan, and LG Keltner!

 

Patience Required

calendar flying by

I thought I was prepared for a freelance writing career. Before I gave notice to my employer, I prepared. I’d read about a freelance writing life. I started submitting long before I gave my notice. I had some money in the bank. I was ready. I had a plan. I had patience. I had this!

And then – the realities proved that I didn’t.

Knowing that I wouldn’t work and get a paycheck two weeks later (immediate cash compared to how the writing money trickles in), I had enough cash to get through three months.

And then…the car broke.

I had a plan and I was submitting.

And then…the acceptances didn’t come in fast enough.

And then…

Much to my dismay – and what wasn’t planned – was me taking a part-time job. But, I discovered that I really do like to eat! And the car, now fixed, really likes to eat too. And so do the plethora of cats that fill the house.

Several things caught me by surprise. The first was that even thought I thought I had a well-thought out plan – it wasn’t adequate. The second was that even though I thought I was patient – I wasn’t patient enough.

But a fun surprise down the line was having small checks appear in the mailbox unexpectedly.

When I started out, I sent submitted some devotions to The Secret Place. They only accept three submissions a month, so January, February and March of 2015 I sent in three a month. By then the realities were starting to show themselves and I knew I needed something that paid larger amounts and paid faster. So I stopped.

In May 2015 I got two rejections from them. Crickets on the other seven submissions. By then I was looking at other markets and never submitted anything else.

In October of that year, nine months after I sent the first devotion, I had one acceptance. Four months later I had another acceptance. And then an even louder chorus of crickets.

Two and a half years after sending in the first batch of three submission, I was pulling some weeds in the back yard. By then, thoughts of the other submissions never even crossed my mind. I heard the mailman drive down the street, so wandered out to the mailbox, expecting only a bill or two, possibly a letter from a friend. When I pulled out an envelope from Judson Press, I was confused. The name seemed familiar, but it didn’t match anything that I knew I had out.

I couldn’t wait to get to the letter opener. I tore the envelope open walking back to the house. There was a check for $20! Checking my list of submissions, I found it was to a devotion I’d sent in February 2015 – and a check arrived in June 2017 – two years and five months later!

I didn’t complain. It was just the right amount to buy a new printer cartridge, so I sent up a silent thank you to the heavens. After that, three more checks trickled in, one a quarter.

Now I regret not continuing on with my submissions. In my impatience of not seeing immediate results, I stopped and went to other avenues. I should have kept writing and submitting and I might have had other checks coming in through the next few years. But I stopped. So that pipeline is now dried up.

These periodic checks, while small and not large enough to retire on, showed me that patience is truly a large part of being a writer. That is one of the many things that I’d underestimated when I first stepped onto this writer’s road.

 

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Any other historical fiction authors here? In April I started a weekly newsletter – Pages of the Past – celebrating historical fiction. Each week I have an author spotlight on a historical fiction author, along with a Reading Roundup of 1-2 books from different eras. If you’re an author and are interested in being interviewed for an author spotlight, email me at texastrishafaye@yahoo.com. Right now I’m scheduling authors for October and November. Also, if you have any books you’d like featured, email me and let me know and I’ll get it scheduled into the next newsletter for that era.

If you’d like to take a look to see if you’re interested, here’s a link to the May 31st newsletter.

 

Get Pages of the Past delivered to your inbox every Friday!

 Join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/184527085517941/

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