Friday, April 18, 2014

Blog hop with Diana McCollum

Diana McCollum asked me to join in a blog hop and I was happy to agree. The only problem--I was to link to three other writers. I couldn't find anyone who wasn't so busy writing that they could take the time to join. Here are my answers to the questions:

What am I working on?
I'm writing the second book of the Halsey Homecoming trilogy- Staking Claim. This book starts out in the streets of Liverpool England and the characters are embarking on a  journey across the Atlantic Ocean in a Clipper Ship.

How does this story differ from others in its genre? 
Well, I consider this a historical western, because my hero is from a family living in Oregon in 1899 but he's also the heir to a British estate and has been there taking care of things. So the book will be more historical and less emphasis on western.

Why do I write what I do? 
The reason I write the books I write is because a character, a plot, or an idea came to me. I get excited about the idea and I have to do the research and write the book.

How does my writing process work?
It's different for each book. Some  books come to me as characters and I have to do what if's and come up with a plot or story. Other books come with a plot and I have to conjure up the right characters for the story. And others like the story I'm writing now, came about from secondary characters in other books and circumstances that started with a previous book. Then I have to stir all those in a pot and figure out what will make a good story to go with the character and his past.

Please go visit Diana at her site.


Monday, April 14, 2014

19th Century Etiquette

Here are some basic etiquette items I came across in one of the books I'm using for reference on the current WIP(work in Progress)

This is for the "titled" in England in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The Gentleman
1) Always place the woman next to the wall when riding horseback or walking along the street.

2) When you meed a woman you know slightly while in the street or park, await her acknowledging bow, then tip your hat, using the hand farthest away from her. You may not speak unless she speaks first.

3) Meeting a lady you know well and wish to speak with she shows she would like to speak with you, turn and walk with her, to converse. Never make a lady stand in the street talking.

4) When ascending a flight of stairs preceded the lady, when descending, you follow the lady.

5) When riding in a carriage, the gentleman takes the seat facing backwards. If riding alone with a lady, do not sit next to her unless you are her husband, brother, father, or son. You alight first to offer a hand in helping the lady down. And take care to not step on her dress.

6) When escorting a lady to a public exhibition of concert, you go in first to find her a seat. If you are alone and there are ladies and gentlemen present, remove your hat.

7) A gentleman is always introduced to a lady, never the lady to the man. The presumption is, learning the woman's name is an honor. As well, a social inferior is always introduced to the superior person present.

8) Never smoke in the presence of a lady.

The Lady

1) She is never to be in the company of a man without a chaperone if under 30 and unmarried. There is the exception of a walk to church or a park in the early morning. When out walking for any reason other than to church or a park in early morning they should be accompanied by another lady, a man, or a servant.

2) The only time a lady may call on a gentleman alone is if she is consulting on a professional or business matter.

3) Pearls or diamond are not worn in the morning.

4) Never dance more than three dances with the same partner.

5) Never "cut" someone. This is failing to acknowledge their presence after encountering them socially.  The acceptable "cut" is when a man is persistent in keep time with a lady who does not wish their advances.

Reference: What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew by Daniel Pool

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Eulogy to Boots

Over the weekend our female border collie was laid to rest. No one can remember when my husband came home from work with her in his arms. He'd gone to a farm store to get some parts and a man had Boots in the trunk of a car trying to give her away. She was limping. He said from jumping out of the trunk. The man told my husband if he didn't take her, he was going to knock her in the head.

Boots knew who her master was. She followed my husband everywhere he went. And she knew how to herd cattle better than he did. She worked with hand gestures that we learned from her. If you made a half circle with your arm, she'd go around behind the animal and move it out. If you pointed to a cow that wasn't with the rest, she gather it into the herd. If you pat your thigh, she'd come to you. If you put your hand up to stay, she stayed. And this was all instinctual, we never taught her any of it. And if you told her to stay, she did until you told her to move, no matter if cows were walking next to her or not.

Boots never liked to be pet. She wanted to be near you, but she didn't want you touching her. She was a gentle soul that only barked when startled. She didn't bark at the cows when we moved them through the chutes. She bit at their hocks. When one would kick and connect, sending her flying, she'd come back nipping harder at their hocks.

She did have a couple of quirky things. Boots didn't care to go in the water, even to just walk in and cool off, but she'd stand beside a small puddle of water and snap at the light reflecting in the water. When a dog would come near her food, or her master, when she was nearby, she'd clack her teeth together so hard it made my jaw ache just hearing it.  But she never bit or fought with another dog.

Running and chasing were her favorite things to do. We've had other dogs during Boots' life who loved to chase sticks and balls. Boots would chase them chasing after the objects. But she would never fetch. She did like to sneak up on the deer who came into the yard and follow them around waiting for me to tell her to get them. She would chase cats but never catch them. Same with Rockchucks(marmots) she'd chase them in the fields and even help the other dogs with digging and moving rocks, and nipping at one end to get the animal to go out the other opening,m but she'd never kill them.

About half way through her 15 or 16 years, she jumped up onto the hay trailer and slid down the side, sliding a leg in a stake pocket. That was the only time she bit anyone. She clamped onto my husband's leg when he was getting her leg out. She had dislocated her elbow. My husband took her to the vet. She came home with her leg in a doggy sling of sorts. It was hard to keep her down while the leg healed.

Boots had always been gentle and forgiving with the grandkids. She was one of the best dogs we've ever had and she'll be missed. But she had a good life with us and that's all we could have hoped for the lonely puppy some man was going to knock in the head.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Tidbits to Make my Story come to Life

My comfort zone is getting infringed upon with the next book I'm writing, Staking Claim. I've never been a fan of books set in England. I prefer the good ole U.S. of A. But I wrote myself into a corner. And the current WIP (work in progress) has to start in England, luckily they are getting on a ship, but I have two main characters who are British and therefore I need to learn a bit about the hierarchy and British words and customs.

I purchased the book What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew by Daniel Pool to help me get a bit of a gist of what the characters should act like and how they should respond to some or my American's actions. It also helps me to come up with ideas for scenes.  The book talks about more the first part of the 19th century and my book is set at the end of the century but I think some of what is in the book would still be the norm.

While reading through the book I came across Basic Etiquette for a gentleman and a lady. I found it interesting the men's etiquette had to do with courtesy toward the woman, while the lady's etiquette dealt more with how she showed herself as being proper.

Reading the gentleman's etiquette a scene was conjured up on how my hero, even though he's been living in Lancashire England for two years, knows nothing of the etiquette and my heroine who is British but grew up a factory worker and just recently became a maid in a Viscount's manor, also knows little of the correct etiquette, will find themselves schooled by the villain.

These are the little tidbits that get me excited about a story I'm writing. I've found several others that I've envisioned using in scenes and soon the book will practically write its self. ;)