Freedom with fiction.

bathroom

This morning a friend called and asked me if I’d read my reviews lately. She knows I don’t read reviews and haven’t for a long time. It’s her standard lead in when she feels like she needs to tell me something important.
“Well, it’s the shower thing. Another person mentioned it.”
“Ok.”
“What are you going to do?”
“Absolutely nothing.”
This never goes over well. She thinks I should try to please everyone to gain a wider audience. I just can’t do that. When I wrote 1929 I knew there were no showers in the tenements. They were lucky to have a bathroom at all. Most of the time there was one filthy toilet room on each floor for everyone to share. I knew that there were mostly coal-burning stoves instead of fireplaces. And I tried writing it like that. But in my mind’s eye I saw it differently. Showers and fireplaces were in the more modern, well to do houses at the time. Was it a stretch to add an old rusty pipe leading from the faucet to a crude shower head into the tenement? Sure. For the most part, it isn’t historically accurate. And apparently, some people are getting hung up on that. At first I tried to justify it by thinking that perhaps the previous tenant was a shipbuilder and created it himself. I went through a dozen scenarios to justify its presence to myself. And then I realized I didn’t have to justify it. It was just there and it wouldn’t be the same if it wasn’t. It was a stretch, but it’s fiction. I have creating freedom with fiction. And it isn’t as if Jonathan pulled out his iPhone while dodging a horse and buggy in the middle of the 1929 Stock Market crash. Even if I were tempted, the Muse would kill me if I tried to delete shower scene. It’s her favorite. And in case the nit-pickers forgot, on one of the first pages there are two words. For Lisa. This whole thing started out as entertainment for just her and I. My working title was a joke between us. It was called, “Killing time til Diana Gabaldon puts out another book.” That’s a mouthful so we shortened it to 1929.
So, if the shower or fireplace caused someone to put down the book, I’m sorry. Will I change it? No way. I have to be true to what I see. And I have to write not to please the masses, but as I have from the start. For Lisa.

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Keeping it alive

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I came across Misty on YouTube  about a year ago. I have watched nearly all of her videos and her way of life has been an inspiration to me and thousands of others across America. I am fascinated and somewhat envious of the simplicity, frugality and humility of this energetic woman! I find myself stuck between wanting to drink from a mason jar and a Waterford goblet. Between making handmade dresses and wearing a red-carpet gown. Stuck between this time and that. She lives in that time and no matter how beautiful the goblet or how shiny the dress, I’m drawn to that time just a little more. And I have to admit, I’ve used her videos a lot to describe scenes and actions on Caleb’s farm. I’ve never milked a cow or butchered a chicken and her videos give me a visual to work with. (There were no chickens killed in the writing of 1929) ūüėČ

The Muse and I actually made her homemade cough syrup. I renamed it “Kentucky CureAll, since my grandma was born in Haymond, Kentucky and I imagine this is similar to what her family might have used when they were sick. It certainly reminds me of how her family must have lived tucked up in the woods. These are skills that are dying with the last of the generation that survived the Great Depression. I am so happy to see someone teaching them to others and keeping them alive.

You can find Misty on Youtube and Facebook.

What doing?

When my children were little they used to come up to me and ask, “What doing, Mama?” I get asked that a lot these days as well. Several emails a day ask me when 1930 will be finished and I always cringe and feel guilty. Believe me, I want it done just as bad as some readers! I thought I would do a post, (since it’s been so long and all) about what I HAVE been doing, since obviously not a ton of work on 1930 has been accomplished. And some readers are actually angry at me for that. I try not to take this personally, but as a good thing. They are really into the book and that is wonderful. Still, I feel the need to produce and since I cannot immediately produce, I thought I should at least explain. I do want to keep my readers.

What am I doing. Wow. Where to begin. First, I suppose, is the largest endeavor we are undertaking as a family. We are transitioning into Tiny Living. Google it, it’s an amazing concept, (albeit not entirely new) and we fell in love with the idea. Our family will consume a fraction of the electricity, water and produce a fraction of the waste¬†that we do now. Not that we are raging hippies or anything, just consciously aware that things are changing, more changes are on the horizon and while preparing for these changes¬†we can do our part to reduce, reuse and recycle. Living well, living simple. When we got the idea to jump into Tiny Living, we didn’t like the idea of buying land near the city and in these parts in order to get way ‘out there’ it would be impossible to commute. So, we¬†bought an RV, gutted most of it and have been rebuilding the inside, custom to our needs. And when I say rebuilding, I¬†mean we are doing it ourselves. I have learned to work with all kinds of power tools,¬†built cabinets and sofa frames, laid hardwood floors and found trim to be my best friend. I’m not the “hire it out” kind of person unless I truly don’t know what I’m doing.That said,¬†we are bringing someone in to¬†do some custom electrical.¬†Sounds nuts, I know. The idea of giving up everything and going mobile to look for our little piece of America is terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. One of my friends shook her head at me, baffled. “Most people UPGRADE after writing a few books, M!” Yeah, I know. But I’m not most people. I do sort of walk to the beat of my own drum. And I do feel like I am upgrading, in my¬†own way. ¬†I’m totally fine with giving up most material things¬†and going on an adventure to¬†search for that perfect piece of land to build a tiny home. We will winter here in Washington¬† since the¬†season is¬†so mild and then head out into the wild blue yonder! The house plans I am drawing, (oh yeah, I’m learning how to do that, too) have the Tiny home at around 600 sq. feet. (plus a writing cabin) Which will seem enormous after the 300 sq. feet of the RV!

This has had the bulk of my time this summer. But, on the upside, when we do get moved in (roughly a month from now) I can sit in the woods with my solar laptop charger and tap away at 1930! “Housecleaning” will take all of an hour and even though I homeschool two boys, we have been turned on to the idea of “Unschooling“. I have been reading some of John Holt‘s books (literally a few minutes at a time whenever I can grab my kindle) and we are going to dive into that this year. Which will actually give me a little more free time. And by free time, I mean writing time. I am really looking forward to it and so are the boys.

Let’s see, what else have I been doing…our cat very unexpectedly had kittens, then Mama cat got a scratch on her face that required medical attention. We’ve had to wean the kittens early and¬†feed them individually. My daughter is tranistioning to the University and my husband has been working overtime being summer and all. In his line of work this is the busy season. What does he do, you might ask? Well, you know that little heart on your drivers license that indicates you are an organ donor? Enough said.

So, with all that, I will apologize to readers who have waited so patiently and ask them to wait just a bit more. Believe me, I miss the characters just as much and can’t wait to get back! I don’t like waiting either. I was, after all, one of those women in line at Barnes and Noble at midnight when “An Echo in the Bone” came out. I will try to make an effort to update this blog more often as well. Someone emailed me asking me to drop non spoiler tidbits about the next book in my blog posts to give her something to think about while waiting. That just made me smile! I am rolling that idea around. Thanks for reading and for your emails. They mean alot to me.

MLG

Loving the new cover for 1929

I hired a professional designer to give 1929 a better cover. It was, in my humble opinion, money well spent. Ronnell¬†Porter designed this last week and the new cover is live with the book. Excellent portrayal of the characters. And fans of 1929 will be happy to hear that I am working steadily on 1930. It can’t come fast enough for me either, folks!