NEW RELEASE: From Our Home To Yours: Homestead Vegetables – Rhubarb by Ann Edall-Robson

Screen Shot 2019-07-21 at 11.49.55 PMRhubarb. Is it a fruit for a vegetable?

In the pages of From Our Home To Yours: Homestead Vegetables – Rhubarb, the much-maligned, yet versatile rhubarb embarks on a culinary journey.

Rhubarb is a vegetable, and one that has travelled the world to eventually riddle homesteads across the land. A mainstay for many of the generations that came before, now only memories remain where huge leaves are found decades and centuries later, in places, near buildings, or where people no longer exist.

Experience the recipes and more as rhubarb makes its way from homestead living into the current century by way of food and intriguing ideas for usability!

To buy: https://www.amazon.com/Our-Home-Yours-Homestead-Vegetables/dp/0995978778/

About Ann

Screen Shot 2019-07-21 at 11.49.44 PMAnn Edall-Robson was raised in ranching country, and her love for cooking is filled with memories and traditions.  Ann’s passion for the fast-disappearing western heritage and values is evident in all of her creative pursuits from her numerous books and published photography. Ann currently resides near the foothills of Alberta. For more, visit: www.AnnEdallRobson.com 

 

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Living in Living History

Screen Shot 2019-07-01 at 4.19.55 PMWritten by WWW Member Susan D. Matley

This May I went “live” with a new project, portraying Matilda Sager Delaney for Fort Walla Walla Museum’s Living History program. The project incorporates many of my loves- -history, research, writing and performing.

There are probably as many formats of historic reenactment as there are historical museums and societies. At Fort Walla Walla, Living History presentations are made by individuals who portray a person from Walla Walla’s past. A major historical event in the Walla Walla Valley is the Whitman Massacre, November 29, 1847. At age eight, Matilda Sager witnessed horrendous carnage perpetrated by a handful of Cayuse warriors, including the murder of her two brothers and her foster mother, the missionary Narcissa Whitman.

I could go on for pages about the Whitman Massacre, but what I’ve been invited to write about is the experience of portraying a real person for Living History.

Screen Shot 2019-07-01 at 4.20.01 PMFirst, it’s required time and effort. I’d come to know Matilda through research for a novel-in-progress but additional research was required to create the presentation. The Whitman Massacre is a well-known incident and chances are good that someone in any given Living History audience has studied it in detail. In addition to sharing Matilda’s life and experiences, I needed to develop a concise explanation of the events leading up to the killings and know the history of any person I named.

The Whitman College archives has a major collection covering the Whitman Massacre, up to and including contemporary news articles about the semi-centennial commemoration in 1897. I chose 1898 for my presentation year for two reasons: Matilda could relate the very interesting details of the semi-centennial and she’d be nearly my age. Letters written by Matilda, interviews, and her autobiography helped me capture her voice.

In addition to archival research, I read books covering everything from the Whitmans, themselves, to the dubious trial of the five Cayuse men who were brought to Oregon City for judgment in 1850. Though I use only a fraction of what I’ve learned in my presentation, knowing more helps me understand how Matilda’s story fits into larger events. It’s also helpful during the Q & A session. I know the political maneuvering behind the semi-centennial commemoration. I know the lamentable history of Matilda’s youngest sister, Henrietta.

Shaping the presentation was challenging. I worked through many drafts, tweaking the release of historic fact for the greatest effect. It’s an ongoing process, honing a concise version of what, when, where, who, how and why. Matilda’s life after the massacre was filled with hardship and incident. Having already survived the death of her parents on the Oregon Trail and the Whitman Massacre, she was placed with a brutal foster family from ages eight to fifteen. Matilda married three times and gave birth to eight children. She proudly owned and operated the Pioneer House hotel in Farmington, Washington, until it burned to the ground in 1897. Matilda suffered terribly from rheumatism the last three decades of her life. She died at eighty-eight.

I strive to layer my life experiences underneath Matilda’s and attach real emotions to the words I’ve created for her, a kind of method acting. Side benefit: talking about the death of Matilda’s first husband gives me a conduit for my own feelings of recently being widowed.

During the month leading up to the first presentation I rehearsed every day, alternating between reading directly from the script and working “off book” to see if I could keep the story moving in a straight line without dropping relevant details. Since Matilda’s launch I review my script at least once a week, and more often when nearing a presentation date.

As writers, I believe we have an advantage in portraying real people from history. We know how to balance research and plot, and understand the importance of pacing. If you enjoy both writing and performing, creating a living, breathing character from history may be an excellent project for you.

About Susan

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Susan comes to writing from a background as an actress, musician, and accountant. She writes historical westerns and sci-fi/fantasy from her home in Washington State, which she shares with her many four-legged children. 

 

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Early Bird! 2019 WWW Conference Info

Screen Shot 2019-04-01 at 3.42.08 PMBy Sara Dahmen, WWW blog coordinator

It’s time to think about the WWW conference! If you haven’t checked your mail recently, don’t forget to head out to the mailbox and peek in to see if you’ve received your letter from the board and committee putting on the 2019 conference in San Antonio, TX.

Plus, it’s the 25th Annual WWW Conference! It’s our silver anniversary!

The event will occur October 10 – 13, with some special events, agent pitches, add-on workshops, and a silent auction. If you want to check out the Alamo or World Heritage Missions and attend the business meeting for all members, come on down (I’ll be flying down from Wisconsin)! Plus, it’s a wonderful way to meet one another after many months and years of only connecting virtually.

Be sure to check for the official registration form mailed to all active members in good standing, or visit the website to sign up online. Then be sure to book your room at the Omni La Mansion del Rio Hotel before our special rate rooms disappear.

Looking forward to seeing everyone in a handful of months!

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Upcoming Non-Fiction Reveals Sanatorium Details

Screen Shot 2019-03-18 at 4.02.11 PMThis week, we share WWW member Lynn Downey’s news about her new upcoming non-fiction book, Arequipa Sanatorium: Life in California’s Lung Resort for Women.
Lynn’s grandmother was a patient at northern California’s Arequipa Tuberculosis Sanatorium in the 1920s, a place built exclusively to treat women with TB. Diagnosed with terminal TB in 1927, Lois Downey spent 14 months at Arequipa and lived to be 102. Lynn’s book traces the life of the remarkable doctor who founded the sanatorium, what it was like to “chase the cure,” and profiles other former patients whose lives were saved at Arequipa.
Arequipa Sanatorium will be released by the University of Oklahoma Press this September.
More to come in a few months, but until then, visit: http://www.lynndowney.com
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The Need for Corroboration: Guest Post by WWW Member Cynthia Leal Massey

This week, we are joined by WWW member Cynthia Leal Massey. In one of her recent essay/blog posts, Cynthia reminds us all (including herself!) how important it is to check into historical facts a few times over when we write about the good old days. Enjoy!

Screen Shot 2019-03-06 at 10.35.57 PMAfter my book, Helotes, Images of America was published, a friend and descendant of a pioneer family in Helotes called me. She asked where I got the date for the picture I used on the cover shot. The cover shot is the iconic photo of John T. Floore Country Store’s grand opening that has been published through the years in local newspapers and other venues. I got the 1949 date from a reputable newspaper published in the 1980s.

My friend told me the date was incorrect. She knew it was incorrect because she was going to Helotes Elementary at the time and she knew several of the children in the picture. She said the date was either 1952 or 1953, and she gave me contact information for a couple of the boys (obviously now men) who were in the photo to corroborate her assertion. I called both and they both agreed the picture was taken in the early fifties, but were not sure of the exact year. Not long after my friend’s call, another old-timer told me his father had taken pictures of the original Floore Country Store location (the old Rigg’s grocery store building, today’s Helotes Art Gallery), which was still open in the early 1950s. “The dance hall was not built yet,” he told me.

I am registered with Newspaperarchive.com (an invaluable fee-based research tool) and decided to check the newspapers for those years to see if anything was written about the dance hall being built and its opening. I figured there would be. John T. Floore was a showman and publicity hound. I found the articles, and the dates jived with what my eyewitnesses told me.

In an April 5, 1950, San Antonio Light column, “Around the Plaza,” columnist Benwicke Cary wrote: “John T. Floore, the country store owner and real estate developer, is among those in the big middle of things, rushing plans on a new dance hall. He says, ‘We already have one dance hall, but there’s room for another. I want to catch some of the overflow crowd that comes here on Saturday nights for country style dancing’.”

Two years later, on Saturday, September 13, 1952, John T. Floore formally opened the doors of the Floore Country Store Dance Hall and Kitchen, according to San Antonio Express columnist Bill Freeman, who wrote about the event the next day, in his Sunday September 14thcolumn.

What I learned from this was that the rule of three should be the norm for researchers. Find at least three different sources to verify an account. Newspapers are fine, but they are not always correct. In fact, the dailies are often missing information or provide incorrect information because reporters don’t have the luxury of time. Often, subsequent newspaper issues tell more of the story and correct misinformation; sometimes they continue to print errors (as the 1980 article I used to date the picture did). Also, find people who were there for corroboration. That is not always possible, but still the rule of three applies. Find three sources to corroborate a story or supposed fact.

Ultimately 1949, rather than 1952, isn’t a catastrophic error. But it is an error. Because it is published in the first edition of my book, I’m afraid that date may stand for some time to come. Mea culpa.

For more about Cynthia, or to follow her blog, you can visit https://cynthialealmassey.com/blog/.

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New Release: METEOR by C.M. Mayo

Screen Shot 2019-02-25 at 3.48.34 PMLet’s congratulate WWW member C.M. Mayo with her upcoming book of poetry due out in a few days!

C.M. Mayo’s book Meteor, which won the Gival Press Poetry prize, will launch at the Associated Writing Programs conference in Portland, Oregon, this March where she will be participating in Gival Press’ 20th anniversary celebration reading and signing copies of Meteor at the Gival Press table in the bookfair. (Details at www.cmmayo.com/events.html)

Meteor has been garnering blurbs and reviews, among them, from Foreword Magazine, which calls Meteor “funny and thoughtful” and from poet Grace Cavalieri who hosts “The Poet and the Poem from the Library of Congress,” who says of Meteor, “I believe this is Mayo’s best work—perfect words without artifice; characters and situations made permanent; a triumph of language as a natural art. She brings flowers to the living.” Mayo also recently gave an interview about Meteor to Leslie Pietryzk for her popular TBR blog at this link: http://www.workinprogressinprogress.com/2019/01/tbr-meteor-by-cm-mayo.html

About C.M. Mayo

Screen Shot 2017-08-30 at 3.02.02 PMC.M. lives and writes in and about Mexico! She has written several books, both fiction and nonfiction, and is an avid translator of Mexican poetry and fiction. She was elected to the Texas Institute of Letters in 2017 and is an accomplished host of podcasts and blogs. Learn more at www.cmmayo.com

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First Annual Literary Festival coming to Cortez, CO in June!

Attention all WWW authors, a great opportunity:

First Annual Literary Festival, Cortez, Colorado
When:  Friday evening (6 – 7:30),   June 7th and all day (10 – 5) Saturday, June 8th
Where:  Cortez Public Library, Cortez, Colorado

Special guest author:  Anne Hillerman

Information:  Reserve a table now for book sales – $25

Deadline, March 15
Submit a proposal for a 30 minute workshop
Deadline, March 15
To:  Kathy Berg, KBerg@cityofCortez.com
Call for more information or questions:  970-565-8117
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Many thanks to WWW member Nancy Bo Flood for the heads up about this new western event!

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