WRITING HISTORY

Today on the blog, two writers weigh in on history: what it means to them and how it affects their fiction. Carl Brush, author of BONITA, an historical fiction novel set in California prior to unification with the United States, comments that history loops, leaving its benefactors to repeat the lessons of the past over and over again. Gonzo writer A.B. Funkhauser, on the other hand, makes a case for the continuum with the events of yesterday unfolding to an end not quite finite. Take a look…

PRESENT IS PROLOGUE TO THE PAST

carlrbrush-bio

By Carl R. Brush

Sounds funny, I guess, to say I write historical novels partly in order to create a window into the present, and that reading fiction set in the past will do the same for you. I haven’t yet written about presidential politics (though my The Second Vendetta covers a hot campaign for the 1912 California State Assembly), but politics is in everyone’s face now, so if you doubt my word, how about this?

The pundits say no one has ever before seen the scurrilous likes of the insulting, name-calling, barrage that’s been loosed upon us lately. We hold our founding fathers in reverence and imagine that they, unlike our current political crew, engaged in mature and intellectual deliberation as they went about fleshing out the institutions they created in the constitution. Well, uh, no. Check out the slings and arrows that flew during the contest between our second and third presidents.

Jefferson’s camp accused President Adams of having a “hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman.” In return, Adams’ men called Vice President Jefferson “a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father.” As the slurs piled on, Adams was labeled a fool, a hypocrite, a criminal, and a tyrant, while Jefferson was branded a weakling, an atheist, a libertine, and a coward. Even Martha Washington succumbed to the propaganda, telling a clergyman that Jeffersowas “one of the most detestable of mankind.”   [Kerwin Swint, professor of political science at Kennesaw State University and the author of Mudslingers: The 25 Dirtiest Political Campaigns of All Time]

With apologies for the racism–that’s been part of the culture since before the 4/5-of-a-man clause which the originators used to bequeath the solution to the slavery question to future (Civil War and beyond) generations. It’s important to understand that savage rhetoric has been around from the beginning, so why are we surprised about today’s hoopla? We have no sense of the past. As if the world started yesterday. Or this morning.

Cure for that? Read some history. No, not that bare-bones eleventh grade textbook. Take a peek at http://amzn.to/1ROFyzG for my take on the juicy past-as-present California and Texas. And there’s plenty beside my (excellent) works. The Shaara novels about the civil war. Max Byrd’s novelized biographies of Grant, Jefferson, and Jackson. Plus the vast sweep of historical fiction full of characters and cultures which provide insight into who we are, were, and where we’re going even though it may seem like you’re reading about people in weird costumes and funny accents. It’s all about you and me, really. Don’t think it’s not.

 

ART HISTORY

Funky2

By A.B. Funkhauser

An infamous twentieth century political figure was once asked to comment on the effects of the Industrial Revolution. His reply was fast and revealing. Paraphrased, the leader of one of the largest countries in the world remarked that he couldn’t really say, because the world (circa 1950s) was still feeling the impacts of that seminal event.

So goes it with true tales and their relationship to art.

Well before I ever took to a keyboard, I was enthralled by the stories conveyed to me by the grandparents of my industry. Their eyewitness accounts of funeral service, stressing more a way of being than a means of doing business, focused on constant evolution in response to economic and socio political pressures. Neither dry dissertation nor heartfelt laments about a life gone by, these reminiscences were a direct commentary on a way of life that had not only changed, but was still changing, and will likely continue to do so as long as there’s life on planet E.

History called and I blinked.

“Time was when we didn’t leave the building without our stripes,” one elder statesman said. “Back then, we were held in higher esteem, but then, so was everybody else.”

“Some of us had been driving since our twelfth birthday. That’s why we never crashed the coach.”

“People actually smoked in the building back then. Can you believe that?”

FD’s don’t smoke in the building anymore, and the snappy black and gray livery of an era gone by appears less and less inside North American funeral establishments. But the way an FD sees to the directions of the living in order to honor the wishes of the dead remain constant. How directors got there and how they continue to achieve that balance is the stuff of my art.

Many times, fiction writers are asked if their scenes and characters are based on actual events. I can only hope that the answer will always be ‘yes,’ for what better way to shine a light on a subject than through plumbing it’s antecedents to draw a line right up to the present.  The people and events we hear about or—even better—are lucky enough to witness with our own eyes beget the words that feed a continuum…history making news.

As the famous unattributed quote goes: “How can we know where we’re going if we don’t know where we’ve been.”

Such is the role of history in the creative process. Such is the role of great plots.

 

 

 

LINKS

https://www.facebook.com/home.php

https://www.facebook.com/CarlrBrush

www.writerworking.net

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/1Mzapu6

Author’s Den profile: http://bit.ly/1Fu4HtW

Bonita buy link: http://amzn.to/1H6M8No

Bonita trailer link: https://youtu.be/ktS6Ols1kaA

Yellow Rose buy link: http://amzn.to/1TMA2dM

Yellow Rose trailer link: https://youtu.be/MfW8qLOxgow

The Maxwell Vendetta buy link: http://amzn.to/1iV5hqA

The Second Vendetta buy link: http://amzn.to/1Gb13A8

BONITA

LINKS

Geo Buy Link: http://myBook.to/ScooterNation

Geo Buy Link: http://myBook.to/heuerlostandfound

Website: www.abfunkhauser.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/iamfunkhauser

Facebook: www.facebook.com/heuerlostandfound

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1FPJXcO

Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/abfunkhauser

FAQ’s: https://abfunkhauser.com/faqs/

SCOOTER NATION Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/oqmrW_t92jc

HLF Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-C5qBpb0Yc

Scooter Nation

 

 

Advertisements

TEN AUTHORS, TEN DAYS: DAY TWO: MAIGHREAD MACKAY BLASTS OFF WITH HER SOLSTICE DEBUT!

Today is a HUGE day for author Maighread MacKay: 5-4-3-2-1

Polaris Missile A3

That’s right! It’s LAUNCH DAY for her adult-themed paranormal novel STONE COTTAGE, and she has chosen this blog to be among the first to tell EVERYBODY.

This author/blogger is honored. Not only do we share the same publisher (Solstice) but we also share a penchant for book trailer making. (That’s another story.)

Today is your day Maighread. Let’s jump in with STONE COTTAGE followed by a tasty interview (keep reading)…

 

book coverVictoria Anne McBride is dead, mourned and buried. Unfortunately, she doesn’t see it that way and refuses to move on. There’s something she needs to tell her husband, Will. Until she does, she will wait for his return to their home, Stone Cottage. For as long as it takes, she will wait…wait…wait.

Rebecca Wainwright is a 21st century woman. Her world is perfectly controlled. Just the way she likes it. Tragedy strikes and she descends into chaos. Trying to heal, she searches for a sanctuary…a place of her own, away from the burdensome concern of her family and best friend. A place where she can lick her wounds without anyone watching. She stumbles across a lovely stone home located off the beaten path and feels completely at home, as if she’d been there before. Why is she so drawn to this place? How can it help her to heal?

Perhaps, Annie can help.

 

Q & A

 

  1. Maighread, Stone Cottage has so many things going for it: paranormal, romance, and a journey of self discovery to name a few. How would you classify this work?

I often ponder the meaning of life and had read a book Your Soul’s Plan by Robert Schwartz that presents a different paradigm from what I had been taught to believe. Wondering how his concepts would play out in everyday life, I wrote Stone Cottage. I am hoping that the readers will love the story as much as I do, but I’m also hoping that maybe it will also cause some of them to go ‘hmmm-never thought of life that way’. That said, I would classify the story as one soul’s journey to discover meaning in her life, while being presented with paranormal concepts that challenge her firmly held concepts. There is tragedy, but also hope. It does have a ‘happily ever after’ ending, along the lines of Ghost Whisperer.

 

  1. You’ve published three children’s books already. What made you switch to adult fiction?

Actually, I’ve always written adult fiction and non-fiction. The children’s books were written for my grandchildren as their legacy from me. I wanted my descendants to know who I was through my writing.

 

  1. Your love of the past (history) is apparent. That you weave it seamlessly into a contemporary parallel plot is a testament to your skill. To which time frame did you identify most as you were crafting Stone Cottage?

Ah, yes, I do love history. I love Regency romances, historical fiction, and I am the genealogist in my family. I really did identify with the Victorian era when I wrote the book. I love all of our modern conveniences, but sometimes they are very intrusive. Also, I am the youngest in my family and my Father was the youngest in his family, so a lot of my relatives were born in the Victorian era and I grew up under their influence and am comfortable with the language and customs of that time period.

 

  1. Without introducing spoilers, I’ll suggest that one of the characters starts out in a not entirely sympathetic vein. Was this done on purpose, or did she merely lead the way?

Yes, it was done on purpose. I am hoping that readers will learn that sometimes people we meet have a reason for the way they react to things. The old adage of ‘be careful how you treat people. Everyone carries a burden that you may know nothing about’ applies here. It doesn’t excuse the behaviour but it can explain it and bring understanding instead of judgement.

 

  1. Plotter or pantser?

A combination of both. Probably more of a panster. I have the main plot in my head, and think about it all the time. The characters live with me while I’m writing and they are always showing me new aspects of themselves that end up changing the parts of the plot.

 

  1. I’m so happy to be spotlighting you on today of all days: book launch day! Where can we buy your book?

It can be purchased through Amazon.com and Amazon.ca., through my publisher Solstice Publishing, and through myself.

 

  1. Whet our appetites: What is your elevator pitch?

Victoria Anne McBride is dead, mourned and buried. Unfortunately, she doesn’t see it that way and refuses to move on. There’s something she needs to tell her husband, Will. Until she does, she will wait for his return to their home, Stone Cottage. She’s been waiting a long time.

Rebecca Wainwright is a 21st century woman. Her world is perfectly controlled. Just the way she likes it. Tragedy strikes and she descends into chaos. Trying to heal, she searches for a sanctuary…a place of her own, away from the burdensome concern of her family and best friend. A place where she can lick her wounds without anyone watching. She stumbles across a lovely stone home located off the beaten path and feels completely at home, as if she’d been there before. Why is she so drawn to this place? How can it help her to heal?

It’s a story of second chances. How our lives intertwine like the weave of a tapestry to help us grow and become the people we are. It presents a different way of looking at life that will be new to some readers.

 

  1. What’s next?

I continue to write short stories, poems and such. My big work in progress is another novel with the working title – Friday: Dinner at Mother’s. I’m just at the very beginning stages of it, so I’m not sure where it wants to take me, although I can tell you that it deals with family dynamics and murder. I’m also doing a Twitter chat with Mel Massey of Solstice Publishing at 6 pm EDT on Monday, the 14th and I’m so excited about that! But there’s more: author Marie Lavender is interviewing Victoria Anne on her blog on September 11th.

Ed. — More details on these events later today!

 

  1. A lot of writers find promotions daunting. What will you be doing in the next few months to get the word out on Stone Cottage?

Yes, promotion can be very daunting. I will be doing more blogs, putting the word out on FB and Twitter, plus I have a book signing on October 11th at our local Chapters store in Oshawa and will be at Bookapalooza in November at Durham College.

 

  1. I’m not letting you go without a word on Chicken Soup for the Soul. You have a story in the next one. Deets, please.

Some of you may not know that I’m extremely fortunate to be married to the guy in the red suit that visits at Christmas. Yup, Santa! When I heard that Chicken Soup for the Soul was looking for stories regarding Christmas, I decided to submit a manuscript entitled “Being Santa” for the 2015 Christmas edition. It gives you a small glimpse of what it’s like to be Santa at other times of the year. I was fortunate that they loved the story and it will be coming out in the Chicken Soup for the Soul: Merry Christmas 2015 edition. The book will be available on October 20th. That will be so much fun. I’m really looking forward to it.

 

Thank you Maighread for the share. Here’s what we can all look forward to in STONE COTTAGE:

 

ExcerptIn the aftermath of the blinding flash, the darkness shimmered like liquid ebony. The wind ripped the leaves from the trees and tossed them aside. The rain slashed the windows of the isolated aged stone house.

Inside the dwelling, all was silent except for the ticking of the longcase clock in the foyer. The parlour to the right of the front door held a sofa placed in the centre of the room facing a large fireplace made of fieldstone. Two tall windows looked onto the lawn at the front of the house. Comfortable chairs flanked the fireside. A small table holding a glass lamp was located beside one of the chairs. A handmade throw rug covered the highly polished wooden floor in front of the hearth. An old dog lay asleep on the mat. With the shelves filled with books, the soft glow of the fire and gas lamp, and the comfortable chairs, the parlour had been warm and cozy in the gloomy night.

Victoria Anne McBride, the solitary human occupant of the room was curled up in one of the chairs, a blanket covering her and a book on her lap.

A sonic boom of thunder shook the house and ricocheted around the room breaking the spell of silence. Startled, she surged from the chair, the eiderdown and tome cascading to the floor. She had been feeling warm and drowsy under the quilt but now realized there was nothing but cold ash left in the fireplace. The gas lamp on the table had burned out and the room was freezing. How long had she been there? She listened as the rain scratched the window glass like the long nails of a ghostly hand pleading to be let in out of the cold. Bringing her awareness back to the moment, she tried to remember why she was here in the parlour.

 

LINKS AND BUY INFO:

 

Buy:

Amazon.com http://amzn.com/B01452HED4

Amazon.ca http://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01452HED4

Solstice Publishing:  http://solsticepublishing.com/stone-cottage/

 

Link:

Website: mhefferman.ca

FB: facebook.com/maighreadmackay

Twitter: @maighreadmackay

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsDj938kUzM

 

TOMORROW:

A mystery? Find out at BLOG FUNKHAUSER *Adult, Unapologetic and Cognizant*

 

 

RETURN TO ME

Whoever thumbs their nose at flea marketeers like me are more than welcome to do so, because unlike them I have no qualms whatsoever about wearing other people’s stuff. Weird? Perhaps. But then, I’m a historian and hack metaphysicist (see Smoke That Fattie, Yo Ho Ho) with a penchant for preservation, so why wouldn’t I be so?

Today I trolled the aisles of a wonderful place, the location of which I hesitate to share, because when it comes to a find as spectacular as this one, I am hard pressed to be magnanimous. In a single afternoon, I found a dress, completely mint and circa 1928-1930 with only the smallest of tatters around the hem. It wasn’t the bead work or heavy panel inserts that drew me to it; it was the name on the label that provided the piece’s provenance that got me: London—Magical, wonderful  London, which I’d never been to, yet now held a hint of, in an incredible garment that buzzed with history.

Do you catch my fascination now?

Two aisles over, located between a mountain of spinning wheels (?), oil lamps and mono record players were the costume and not-so-costume jewellery cases that offered everything from every age, real, fake or frothy. And all these could be mine, so long as I had the dough and the knowledge to spot brass from filler.

Oh, Mylanta! What I found for $9.99; an Italianesque link bracelet of such weight, color and quality as to

Someone got this for Christmas and never wore it.
Someone got this for Christmas and never wore it.

leave me gasping—so much better than the worn and faded Sarah Coventry that I could not put out of my mind until I found this beauty. And real brass too.

But that wasn’t all. Many vintages ago, my old mum bought me a hand knit sweater at a fall fair for an astonishing amount. Because of the exalted price and genealogy of the giver, I wore that sucker until it fell to pieces never to be replaced.

Until today.

The last aisle, which offered Elvis LPs, an original Marilyn Monroe Playboy—one of her many fine covers— and genuine shooting scripts from movies of considerable stature (My Fair Lady), also had racks of sweaters of the kind that brought the nostalgia back in Kleenex supported waves.

And all for the princely sum of $35 Canadian.

I love my sweater and my old brass link bracelet not just because of the price, but because of the time and distance required for them to find their way to me. Because like the vintage dress that I also bought, the owners of these fine articles may  not be around any more. But I feel them, ya know? And why not a little shared human experience across the ages?

Adult, unapologetic and cognizant, I wish you good Monday. Let’s stay above it.

ABF