I’ve been a bit distracted this week, so I hope you all will forgive me. My son and his wife are bringing my little granddaughter for a visit this weekend, and that has been my focus all week!
We are celebrating my granddaughter’s first birthday this weekend. I can’t believe it has been nearly a year already since she was born. Time truly does seem to fly faster and faster, the older I get.
Since they don’t get home very often, we are also using the occasion as a reason to get a lot of family and friends together. My relatives, my husband’s relatives, and several of my son and daughter-in-law’s friends who live in the area will be dropping by our house this weekend. We will have a full house, but a gathering like this is fun to do this every now and then. And so far, it sounds as though the weather should cooperate. Thank heavens!
That’s my news for this week. I hope you don’t mind if I cut this blog a bit short this week. I have a granddaughter to get ready for! Have a safe and enjoyable Labor Day weekend.
I have a confession to make. I have been drifting, writing-wise, the last couple of weeks. Ever since I completed some revisions to a historical romance and sent it out, I have been debating what to work on next.
In my partial defense, I have been preoccupied with other things. Once that story was done, it seemed like a good time to catch up on some yard work and complete some projects which were overdue. Planning to have a house full of guests over Labor Day gave me extra incentive, as guests often do. Now I’m caught up on the projects, and feeling the urge to write again.
But write what? I spent some time yesterday afternoon debating this very question. Since I’m a big fan of lists, I grabbed a whiteboard marker and started by making a list of the stories I have written. Granted, most are drafts which need additional revision. Nonetheless, it still was gratifying to realize I have written seven complete, full-length stories over the years. Seeing the list gave me a sense of accomplishment.
Next I made another list on my trusty whiteboard of things I could do related to these manuscripts. Completing revisions on the several drafts figured prominently on the second list. As I stepped back and looked at the list, a couple thoughts came to mind. Some of the to-do’s were for stories in my “small town historical” series, Colorado Wildflowers, which takes place in a small Colorado town in the 1890s. However, since the two stories I was working on most recently were in that series, a change of pace would be nice.
After crossing those possible tasks off the list, I looked at it again and came to a second realization. As much as I love the Georgian era historical I wrote, I think I’ll put that one on the back burner for now. It is one of my favorite story ideas, and I want to learn more about writing and publishing before I come back to that story, so I can give it its proper due. This meant I crossed a couple more things off the list.
During all of this retrospection and shortening of the list, an unexpected thought kept popping into my head. “It’s time to work on my Medieval time travel stories.” What’s this, you’re asking? Time travel? Indeed. Years ago, I wrote a time travel called Always Faithful about a U.S. Marine who ends up – along with his gear – at a Medieval castle. As he got to know the besieged heroine in the castle and made friends in the village, he struggled with heavy decisions about duty and honor, whether to stay or go, and if he could safely help the woman he came to love without changing history. After I finished that story, I wrote the draft of a sequel, in which one of the men he befriended there comes forward to the same castle in its modern form. The third story, which has been an idea in my head for years, is about the hero from the first story’s long-lost sister.
Now, I don’t know if time travels will come back into vogue anytime soon. But I don’t want to simply chase trends with my writing. And something is now nudging me back to this trilogy. In part, I think, because I have always wanted to reunite the Marine from the first story with the baby sister he never stopped looking for.
So, I guess I have a decision. I’ll work on my time travel trilogy. I must confess; it feels good to have a direction and purpose again.
Stories aren't the only things with hooks. I have chosen a new hobby, one which also uses hooks. I have been thinking for several weeks that it would be nice to have something to do with my hands while I am relaxing in the evening. Well… drumroll please… I decided to learn to crochet.
Crochet seems to have several things going for it. First of all, it’s portable. This is something I can do either while I’m watching TV or while I’m riding in a car on the way to visit relatives. Secondly, I like the idea of spending my hobby time creating something I can use when I’m done. And finally, doesn’t it sound like a cozy thing to do this fall and winter?
One of the things holding me back was the need for instructions. Initially, I thought I needed in-person classes to get me started. But I have since decided to give online classes a try. I get more hours of instruction for the same price, and I can always re-play any segment which confuses me. However, I do also have a backup plan. (Really, are you surprised?) If the online classes don’t work for me, I know where I can go next month for in-person instruction.
So, wish me luck. In fact, I think I’ll cut this blog a bit short this week so I can go get a few supplies and maybe try a lesson or two yet this evening. Come visit my blog again, and I’ll keep you posted periodically on how it goes. But I do reserve the option to only share photos if things go well!
I was looking at a list of events which occurred on August 10th in history, and came across some interesting parallels. Here are a few I noticed:
Two different Magellans, both the first to make very long exploratory journeys with similar goals.
This date appears to be an important day for several major revolutions.
And is also in important day when it comes to ending wars or revolutions.
Three of the world's greatest repositories of knowledge or art had their start today.
There you have it – a list of several patterns on this date in history. Now I’m motivated to look for similar patterns on other dates. I’d also love to hear of any other interesting historical patterns you have noticed!
I think I have mentioned a time or three that my mom is a great baker. She always has been. Maybe her family’s generations of Southern cooking absorbed into her blood and makes everything she bakes extra special.
Pies have been one of her specialties for as long as I can remember. More recently (though still many years ago,) she started making mini-pies for our annual family reunion. Do you recall eating chicken pot pies when you were a child out of those shiny little metal pans several inches across? She uses tins that size to make her mini-pies, so you can visualize how big they are.
A recipe for the filling in one normal pie provides the filling for about five of these pies. In other words, each pie is a little bit larger than one regular slice of pie – but that has never stopped me from eating an entire mini chess pie or brownie pecan pie in one sitting!
Every August, she makes 8-10 flavors, and 15-20 pies for each flavor. Since she can’t make them all in one day, she starts by making and freezing the pie shells in advance, and then spends a couple days filling the shells with fillings which will travel well. It always includes several types of fruit pies, pecan, other favorites such as the aforementioned chess and brownie pecan, and sometimes a new recipe she decides to try.
The family members (who are usually three-deep snagging these pies off the table) like to know what they are grabbing, so she always labels each individual pie. In the past, she wrote each label by hand. You can imagine how laborious this got, especially for a woman in her eighties. So a few years ago, I printed out sheets of labels for the different types of pies and took them up on the Friday before the reunion. I helped her put the little pies in small bags and attach the labels.
Now, I have a standing date on the first Friday of every August to do this. I already printed out the additional labels she needs this year. Tomorrow afternoon, I’ll take them by my mom, and will put them on all of the little pies which will be covering her dining room table when I get there. It’s a win-win for both of us. She gets help packaging the pies, and I get first dibs at taking some pies home with me. I guess this is a part of our own family history now.
I write historical romances, and I invite you to share the journey to published author with me.