Thursday, June 30, 2016

Bigger and Better

No, I do not self-identify with being a bearded young man.
I couldn't get my phone to sync with my for-real photos.
But you've got to admit he's a happy little writer, eh?
I'm on a writing retreat this week, dreaming up a new story. More on that in another post (cue evil laughter). See that smoke curling out my ears? That's what happens when the gears get clogged with scheming up plot twists. I don't want to write just any story. I want to write one that readers go, "Whoa, baby! Hot dang! Did NOT see that one coming."

But why not do that with a blog post as well? Alrighty. Let's give it a whirl.

The contest for the pre-release signed copy THE COURAGEOUS BRIDES collection is finished, and the lucky winner is (drum roll please) . . .

JAN HALL

Woo-hoo! Blow the wing-dinglers and dance the fandango--unless, of course, that's against your religion. Anyhoo, here's where today's plot twist comes in. Just when you're all mopey faced because doggone it you didn't win and you super wanted to, I've got a whole other contest for you to enter that's even bigger and better.

You heard me.

Bigger.

Better.

So here it is. Your chance to win a Kindle WITH The Courageous Brides Collection already loaded on it. Go ahead and enter. Play safe and share. Plus you might want to slap on a helmet there, little Hoss, so you don't bump your noggin.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

What Good is a Freebie? Ebook Infographic

Yep. You can steal this. It's all yours.


And don't forget today is the last day to enter the COURAGEOUS BRIDES COLLECTION giveaway . . .
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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Looking For a Summer Read?

It's that time of year. Toss a book into your beach bag and go get sunburned on the sand. If you need some ideas for some great reads, here is the list of the recently announced American Christian Fiction Writers fiction of the year nominees . . .

Contemporary:
Finding Me by Kathryn Cushman
The Art of Losing Yourself by Katie Ganshert
As Waters Gone By by Cynthia Ruchti, Abingdon Press

Historical:
Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor by Melanie Dobson
Secrets She Kept by Cathy Gohlke
Luther and Katharina by Jody Hedlund

Historical Romance:
Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden
Through Waters Deep by Sarah Sundin
A Worthy Pursuit by Karen Witemeyer

Mystery/Suspense/Thriller: 
The Aleppo Code by Terry Brennan
Blessings in Disguise by Nancy Mehl
Finding Amanda by Robin Patchen

Novella:
A Bride for Bear from The Convenient Bride Collection by Erica Vetsch
A Palace on the Plains from The Most Eligible Bachelor Romance Collection by Erica Vetsch
The Archaeologist's Find from The Homestead Brides Collection by Erica Vetsch

Romance:
The Beekeeper's Son by Kelly Irvin
Until the Harvest by Sarah Loudin Thomas
Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Beth K. Vogt

Romantic Suspense:
No Place to Hide by Lynette Eason
Submerged by Elizabeth Goddard
Miracle Drug by Richard L. Mabry, M.D.

Short Novel:
Covert Justice by Lynn Huggins Blackburn
The Christmas Family by Linda Goodnight
The Doctor's Second Chance by Missy Tippens

Speculative:
Vinnie's Diner by Jennifer AlLee
Heir of Hope by Morgan L. Busse
The Five Times I Met Myself by James L. Rubart

Young Adult:
Angelhood by A.J.Cattapan
The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson
Dauntless by Dina L. Sleiman

Debut: 
The Thornbearerby Pepper Basham
The Calling of Ella McFarland by Linda Brooks Davis
The First Principle by Marissa Shrock

And don't forget there's only one more day to enter the giveaway for the pre-release signed copy of THE COURAGEOUS BRIDES COLLECTION . . .

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Monday, June 27, 2016

Hang in There Little Champion

“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit”

I'm always nervous when I sit down to offer feedback on an aspiring writer's first chapter. Inevitably there will be some pretty big fixes that are needed, and that can suck the can-do marrow right out of a newbies bones.

The hard, cold truth is that your first manuscript will likely not ever get published. There's too much to learn. Too much to know and do and weave together. It takes time and tears and lots and lots of blood.

But if you persevere, I promise you it's worth it, and not just for holding a book in your hand with your name on the cover (though that is a nice perk). It's worth it because you know in your gut you accomplished something that scads of others have tried yet quit because the going got tough.

So hang in there. Never stop writing. Never stop learning. Never stop risking and falling and skinning your writerly knees. Eventually it will pay off, if not monetarily, at least in satisfaction and self-respect.

But here's something that's not so hard. Sign up to win a freebie of the soon-to-release COURAGEOUS BRIDES COLLECTION.

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Friday, June 24, 2016

The Customer is ALWAYS Right

I visited a new grocery store today. I know. Not a real grabber of an opening, eh? That's because I'm still suffering the effects of hypothermia. Fresh Thyme Farmers Market is a misnomer. It ought to be called Jotunheim Market (you know, the land of the frost giants from Norse mythology). Yes, it seriously is that cold. My lips are blue and I haven't even eaten a raspberry icee.

So I did what any self-respecting consumer suffering from frostbite would do . . . I complained. In a nice way, of course. First I asked a clerk about it, one who wore 3 layers, the top one fleece-lined (not even kidding). She said it's always freezing in there but she couldn't get a straight answer as to why, and that she's seen customers leave because of the temperature . . . which was great info but not helpful.

I bypassed her and went straight to the manager. I merely asked why it was so cold. Wow. You'd think I'd asked why his mama was fat and his father was a hamster. The dude was uber self-defensive, explaining every which way why he would not turn down the temp. Apparently on 90 degree days it gets roasty-toasty in there. Fine. I concede that point, but the high today was only 74. And in fact in Minnesota, we don't get a whole slew of days that are over 90.

But the point isn't really the temperature. The bigger issue is that I -- the consumer -- didn't get listened to because he was too busy defending himself. As a result, here I am letting the world at large know to avoid Fresh Thyme in my neck of the woods and that I'll never shop there again.

What in the world does this have to do with the publishing world? Ahh. Great question, Kemosabe.

You, the writer, are the store manager. The reader is the consumer. The critiquer is the consumer. The reviewer is the consumer. Practically the entire world is your consumer. Here is your duty to the consumer . . .

Listen. Just listen. Put down your dukes, lower those hackles, and don't go all defensive when someone offers you critical feedback. A reader, critique buddy, reviewer or editor are all entitled to their opinion, and more often than not, that opinion will have a nugget of truth in it that you can spit shine into a sparkly diamond.

Like take that manager for instance . . . he could've simply acknowledged the frigidity of the temperature and thanked me for bringing it to his attention. 'Nuff said. I would've walked away feeling like I'd been heard and would probably shop there again another day. The manager could've then thought over what I'd said and later on perhaps brainstormed on ways to keep the temps more even keel.

Do that with a rugged review or stinging comments. Thank the person for their valid opinion then think about it later, after you've cooled down. Brainstorm on ways you could change things up. You'll likely have a better product for the effort.

And a way happier customer.

But there's something you can do to make yourself happy right now. Enter the pre-release giveaway of a signed copy of THE COURAGEOUS BRIDES COLLECTION. No parka necessary and there's no hint of frostbite danger.

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Why Writing is Hard

A brain surgeon at a dinner party says to novelist Margaret Atwood, “I’ve always wanted to write. When I retire and have the time, I’m going to be a writer.”

She replied, “What a coincidence, because when I retire, I’m going to be a brain surgeon.”

And that, my friends, pretty much sums up most people's concept of how hard it is to write a book, basically that it's a piece of cake. The truth is that completing a novel is dang hard. Here are 3 reasons why . . .

It's a time commitment.
In order to say yes to writing a book, you have to say no to other social commitments because a novel takes time. Gobs of it. My last book took me 8 months from start to finish, 6 of which I said no to pretty much everything except for church.

It takes perseverance.
You can't write one day and not the next. You need to write every day, whether you feel like it or not.

It's a learning curve.
Remember all those grammar rules you learned in 7th grade? Yeah, forget them. Writing a novel isn't about diagramming sentences. It's about deep POV and high concepts, things your high school writing instructor probably never touched on.

Writing is hard work, but here's something that's easy. Sign up to win a signed pre-release copy of THE COURAGEOUS BRIDES COLLECTION.


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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

What's the Best Time of Day to Write?

Some authors swear by writing before the sun is up. Others are nocturnal. And lots don't have a choice, squeaking in words whenever a spare minute flares up. Which begs the question: is a certain time of day better than others to write?

Short answer:
Yep.

Long answer:
The best time to get your word count in is before decision fatigue sets in. Before you start mocking me, yes, this is a for-real thing. Decision fatigue is the state of being emotionally or intellectually exhausted from making too many decisions.

I'm not talking huge decisions like should you or should you not push the big, red nuke-the-world button. Stop and think about all the choices you make every day. What to wear. What to eat for breakfast. Which email to answer first -- or which to delete. All these little decisions add up to suck the creative juice right out of you.

So the best time of day to write is during a period when you've recovered from decision fatigue. Usually this will be in the morning, before life drains the bejeebers out of you. But if that's not possible, then shoot for a time immediately following when you've had an opportunity to relax and recharge.

And since you've probably already made enough decisions today, I'll help you out on one because it's a no-brainer. Sign-up to win a free book on this Rafflecopter contest.


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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Intellectual Discomfort

Has this ever happened to you . . . you've got a big task you want to accomplish, you're actually excited to accomplish it, yet the task is so monumental that you stall out. You might end up delegating it to someone else you think is more qualified. Or worse -- you just don't do it at all because it's too overwhelming. Even thinking about it gives you hives.

So you start to feel like a loser. No, more than that. You feel like you're the mayor of Loserville. The king. The mother of all losers ever born.

If you've experienced this, you're not alone. In fact there's actually a term for this situation: intellectual discomfort.

Throwing in the towel is a viable solution, but it's not the best solution. The next time you're faced with a project that's enormous (like writing a novel), here are some ways to move beyond the discomfort and toward the completion of that project.

1. Break it into bite-sized chunks.
Rome wasn't built in a day, neither does your task need to be completed in 24 hours. Work on it for a half-hour, then take a break. Do another thirty minutes and take a break. Repeat. Often this process will give you the momentum to begin working longer periods than half-hour increments.

2. Push it.
When you feel like you're ready to quit for the day, force yourself to do just one more thing, be it one more sentence in a paragraph, one more load of junk out of the attic, one more whatever.

3. Raise the bar.
Goals are good. Set a goal. But don't stagnate in that goal. Weight lifters increase the weights regularly because otherwise their muscles won't grow. Same thing for your project. Start out with a goal but then up it to something bigger and better. The trick here is not to aim too high so that you fail, but just enough so that you continually stretch yourself.

Life isn't all about comfort, princess, and if you give these 3 ideas a try on your next big project, you might discover that discomfort can be manageable.

But here's something that's absolutely painless . . . a chance to win a signed copy of THE COURAGEOUS BRIDE COLLECTION. If you didn't sign up yesterday, here's another chance.


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Monday, June 20, 2016

Let the Hype Begin

What books are in your beach bag this summer? I recently scored a new copy of Awe by Travis Thrasher, the 3rd in the Books of Marvella series. Thrasher is one of my favorite authors, so I'll have it read lickety split, then be on the prowl for more.

And just in case you're looking for a sweet summer read, I've got a new title coming out July 1st in THE COURAGEOUS BRIDES COLLECTION. For my readers, because you're awesome and put up with my shenanigans, I'm doing a pre-release signed-copy giveaway.

Here's a short blurb of my story, THE DOCTOR'S WOMAN . . .

EMMALINE LARSON is no stranger to loss. Living in a land as wild as the natives who roam it, she's lost her father, her betrothed, and when DR. JAMES CLARK crashes into her world, she loses the last thing left to her -- her heart.

If you can't wait until July 1st to snatch up your copy, go ahead and pre-order now or enter in this Rafflecopter drawing. I'll announce the lucky winner on June 30th.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Silent Book Club

I love pretty much everything about book clubs. The socializing. The food. The excuse to have to buy a new book. But there's one thing that sometimes puts a kink in my book-club-love hose . . . the pressure to have to finish the book by the next meeting. Am I right or am I right? Well, have I come across a brilliant idea to short circuit that stress.

The Silent Book Club.

This is the book club that's about as low key as you can imagine. It started out with a few buddies who got together to read in silence at a neighborhood bar and just kind of grew from there. No homework. No racking your brain to come up with something pithy to say. Just toss your book in a bag and go read with your friends. Brilliant, eh?

The original club was founded by Guinevere de la Mare, Laura Gluhanich, and Kristen Appenbrink in 2012. They encourage the formation of new groups all around the world, and it is spreading. Currently there are chapters in San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Jacksonville and Vancouver, with new chapters about to begin in Seattle, San Diego, Honolulu, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Berlin and Amsterdam.

Intrigued? Maybe like to start a chapter of your own? Contact the Silent Book Club HERE and they'll send you all the info you need to get going.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

You're Never Too Old

Today's my birthday so I'm thinking about age. Not in a morbid I'm-gonna-die-soon sort of way. More like a wonder-what-my-next-adventure-should-be kind of way. Life doesn't stop just because I turn 54 or 64 or 94. It continues until my last breath, and who knows when that will be.

So for all of you who feel like you've got a book in you somewhere but you think you're just too old to get published, here is your kick in the pants to start writing. Just because some writers start penning prose when they're in their twenties or thirties, that doesn't mean you can't write a fantastic debut novel when you're eighty. In fact, you'll have the advantage of life experience that gives stories a depth younger folks just don't have.

Here's a list of awesome authors that didn't start writing until their later years . . .

Bram Stoker was 43.
Laura Ingalls Wilder published her first book at 64.
James Michener wrote 40 books after the age of 40.
Frank McCourt was 66.

The point is it's never too late to start a writing career. You don't have to go to the grave with that book still inside of you. You don't have to give up your dream.

What? You're still here? Get writing!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

5 Benefits of an Author Newsletter

As always, feel free to steal this infographic if you like.




Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Author Newsletter Essentials

Apparently all the cool kids are putting out newsletters nowadays. Not that I'm feeling the need to be cool, but I am feeling pressure from all the marketing gurus that say I must generate a newsletter. So guess who I'm taking along on the adventure? Yep. You, lucky dog! After a fair amount of research, I discovered the essentials of what goes into a successful mailing . . .

Short Nuggets of Info
No one has time to read lengthy emails. Make your content punchy and interesting. Author Anne Friedman always lists what her most recent release is, what she's currently reading, and an animated gif. Limit yourself to 2 or 3 important items.

Consistency
To make your brand recognizable, keep the format of the newsletter the same each time. Content should be easy to scan and digest with a sweep of the eyes.

Provide Value
Think about what information you can provide to a reader that he will think is valuable. This can be anything from a recipe to a short how-to.

Links
Embed 2 or 3 links for people to click on--and not just for your books that you want to sell. Share the love of other sites that you enjoy.

Serialize
Hey, this worked for Dickens so why not for you? Leave your reader with a cliffhanger of some sort so that by the next time you send a newsletter he's dying to open it.

Be Original
Don't make your newsletter a copy of your blog (or anyone else's for that matter). Put up fresh content in your mailing.

Now that you know what goes into a newsletter, the next question is why. Why go to all the effort of writing and sending out one more piece of your soul into the white noise of the clamoring world? Stay tuned. You'll learn the benefits of author newsletters tomorrow.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Working Titles

When a writer sits down to write a novel, usually he'll slap on a "working title." That means it's simply an idea, not necessarily what the book will end up being called. Thank goodness. Here are some working titles of books you'll recognize . . . and be glad that the working title didn't stick. See if you can guess what the book is.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS by Jane Austen
Real title: Pride & Prejudice

TRIMALCHIO IN WEST EGG by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Real title: The Great Gatsby

STRANGERS FROM WITHIN by William Golding
Real title: The Lord of the Flies

FOUR AND A HALF YEARS OF LIES, STUPIDITY, & COWARDICE by Adolf Hitler
Real title: Mein Kampf

ATTICUS by Harper Lee
Real title: To Kill a Mockingbird

THE LAST MAN IN EUROPE by George Orwell
Real title: 1984

TOMORROW IS ANOTHER DAY by Margaret Mitchell
Real title: Gone With the Wind

SOMETHING THAT HAPPENED by John Steinbeck
Real title: Of Mice and Men

ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL by Leo Tolstoy
Real title: War and Peace

Which one surprised you the most?

Friday, June 10, 2016

Procrastinating Possibilities

"As soon as we realize that there is a difference between right now and what might happen next, we can move ourselves to the posture of possibility, to the self-fulfilling engine of optimism."

Everyone has a dream. What's yours? Maybe you've got a book inside you that you'd like to write "some day." Or you've always wanted to go to Italy but it's never the "right time." Or you want to run a marathon, restore a 1960 Mustang, take a cruise . . . whatever. The point is you have a dream, a goal, a possibility that you're not pursuing right now because you're too focused on the right now.

But what if you weren't?

What if you started moving toward that goal? What's a baby step you could take to put that dream in to the realm of possibility? Oh sure, I hear you . . . it's too expensive. You're too busy. There's a health issue or family problem or the future is just too uncertain to plan anything.

To which I politely blow a big, fat raspberry.

Stop procrastinating. Start some kind of movement toward that goal today. If it's a book, play around with titles or write a first paragraph. If it's a vacation, take one dollar and put it in a jar labeled with your destination. If it's a Mustang, go to the junk yard and pull off a Mustang logo from an old beater just to get the feel of it in your hand.

Reasons, excuses, fears, doubts, these thing will always be roadblocks to your possibilities. This is your official nudge to leap over them and go for it anyway. If you're brave enough, let me (and all my readers) know what your first step will be today.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Novella Preview

Only 3 more weeks before my next title hits the bookshelves. It's a novella . . . and when I tell people that, usually their nose wrinkles up and little furrows crease their brow. Basically a novella is simply a short story, about 20,000 words. Want to know how that measures up with some titles you may have already read?

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
418,053

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling
76,944

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
95,356

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
28,944

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
122,685

So, as I said, my novella is 20k but it's in a collection with 8 other stories, bringing the whole book (The Courageous Bride Collection) in at a whopping 160,000. Here's a blurb for my contribution, The Doctor's Woman . . .

EMMALINE LARSON is no stranger to loss. Living in a land as wild as the natives who roam it, she's lost her father, her betrothed, and when DR. JAMES CLARK crashes into her world, she loses the last thing left to her -- her heart.

And here's the first page . . .
Chapter One 
Mendota, Minnesota, 1862 

Emmy Nelson had lived with death for as long as she could remember. She’d watched it happen. Witnessed the devastating effects. Wept with and embraced those howling in grief. Even lost her betrothed—a man she respected, maybe even loved.

But she’d never tasted the true bitterness of it until now—and the acrid flavor drove her to her knees. Early-November leaves crackled like broken bones beneath her weight, but alone at last, she gave in.

“Oh, Papa.”

Did that ragged voice really belong to her?

Her tears washed onto his grave like a benediction. How long she lay there, crying, she couldn’t say, long enough, though, to warrant Aunt Rosamund’s manservant, Jubal Warren, to put an end to it.

“Miss Emmaline.” Jubal’s footsteps padded across the backyard of the home she’d shared with her father, stopping well behind her. “Time we leave, child.”

Swallowing back anguish, she forced sorrow deep, and waited until it lodged behind her heart. She’d pull it out later, when there were no eyes to watch her grieve.

She flattened her palm on the freshly dug earth and whispered, “Neither of us wanted to say good-bye, did we, Papa?”

Overhead, tree branches groaned in the wind. Fitting, really. The death of a dream and a loved one ought to be blessed with a dirge.

“Miss Emmaline?” Jubal insisted.

This was it, then. Slowly, she rose, wiping the dirt from her hands and the pain from her soul. For now, anyway. She’d put off moving to Aunt Rosamund’s in Minneapolis far too long. But walking away from a lifelong hope of settling in Mendota took more than courage.

It took time.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

To Emoji or Not to Emoji . . . Why is This a Question?

I admit it. I'm kind of a fan of emojis. What's not to love? When you don't want to or aren't able to text a message, a smiley face works nicely. Or if you haven't had nearly enough coffee and a snappy comeback is needed, my personal favorite is the pile of poo. Emojis revolutionized the texting world, but would you want to read an entire novel with tiny graphics sprinkled throughout?

Or the Bible?

Stop rolling your eyes, Bucko, because I'm not just being ridiculous. You can now seriously purchase your very own copy of the Bible Emoji Scripture 4 Millenials. In their own words:


Explore all 66 books chronicling the stories of Abraham, Noah and Jesus like never before!

Here's an example of a verse:
🙌 b 2 😇
Did you get that?  It's praise be to God.

There's even a Bible translator where you can type in your favorite verse and it will print out the emoji version.

Kind of makes one wonder what next, eh?

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Back in the Reality Saddle

My fun and frolicking (yes, I do frolic, thank you very much) (stop judging) (I see those raised eyebrows) (shut up) has come to an end and now it's time to roll up the ol' shirtsleeves. Okay, so it's summer and I'm wearing a tank top. Whatever. You get my drift.

I parked my nether regions in front of my desk today and scanned publishing headlines for the past 3 weeks to see what I missed out on. I didn't get very far because I got snagged on the first one that read:
How Much Do Indie Authors Earn From Amazon? 

Come on. Admit it. You want to know the answer to that, too. According to a study at AuthorEarnings.com, here are a few monetary tidbits:

  • Approximately 9,900 self-pubbed authors earn more than $10k per year.
  • 4,600 earn more than $25k.
  • 2,500 indie authors make more than $50k.
  • 1,340 rake in more than $100,000.

Those are some sweet numbers, eh? Kind of makes you feel like whipping open your computer and pounding out a story so you can cash in on this gold rush. But listen here, Hoss, before you do that, there are a few more numbers you should know . . .

  • There are 12 books added to Amazon's titles every hour.
  • There are 3.4 million books listed on Amazon.

That means those indie authors are either superhero marketers or got dang lucky. Not that I want to rain on your writing parade, mind you. I'm just saying while it's great that some authors are making moolah, novel writing is not a cash cow. Takeaway value: don't quit your day job.

But it is okay to run away to England every now and then.

Monday, June 6, 2016

England: Scarthin Books

How would you spend your last day of an English vacation? If you're like me, you'd find a pretty sweet little bookstore . . . and that's exactly what I did. Scarthin Books is a quaint and quirky shop nestled in the tiny village of Cromford.


Besides being awesomely cute and chock full of books, there are a lot of other surprises I found inside. I especially loved the poets' corner, where anyone could pen a bit of prose if they felt like it.


Feeling a bit hungry? There's a cafe on the second floor serving up deliciousness while you ponder which new read you want to buy.


In the children's section, the ceiling is plastered with dangling paper sculptures and pages of books.


I especially love Scarthin Book's philosophy of "taking refuge in the hearth of this place." There's no high-pressured salesmanship in this store . . . just a shared love of books. 


Wouldn't you want to get lost in this labyrinth of titles?


And that's exactly what I did. I came away with so many books that I had to buy another suitcase to haul my booty home. #firstworldproblems eh?


Thursday, June 2, 2016

England: Southwell Workhouse

Back in the day, if you couldn't pay your debts you didn't simply file for bankruptcy. You were sent to the workhouse until you paid what you owed . . . which is really trick to do if you're basically locked up. I visited the Southwell Workhouse, the first workhouse built that all the others copied.


Walking down this path and entering the institution was a last resort. A degrading shame. A stigma that would haunt you for the rest of your life.


Once inside, you were separated and segregated. Able-bodied women in one section, the men in another, and the children in a separate wing and later a completely different building. Families were torn apart. Efforts were made to find the men an apprenticeship or a job outside the facility, but since jobs were hard to come by and idleness was of the devil, men did menial tasks like picking oakum . . . stripping off old bits of tar from ropes used on ships so that the hemp could be re-used.


Women worked down in the cellars, where food was preserved and stored. Hmm. Dealing with spiders and dampness or rubbing your skin raw on hemp? Quite the choice.


Your accommodations were a bed and an outside privy (which was really just a hole in the ground).


Pretty grim, eh? But remember . . . the alternative was jail or running away to starvation. At least here you had a roof over your head and 3 meals a day. Granted, it was mostly gruel and a bit of meat, but better than nothing.





Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Fangirling Bronte

Today was the pinnacle of my England trip. I spent the morning at the Bronte parsonage, the place where the Bronte sisters (and brother) grew up. There was so much tragedy in their lives, which I suppose gave depth to the stories they created.


My all-time favorite book is Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. This is the place she wrote it, and where Emily wrote Wuthering Heights. Again, such tortured characters, but the graveyard was literally right outside their door.


Charlotte worked for awhile as a governess, away from the parsonage, and when she did, she was able to visit the Norton Conyers home . . . which gave her the inspiration for Jane Eyre. This place has been closed to the public for the past 15 years but it happened to be open the one weekend I was in town. See the round windows at the top? Only one of them is real (the farthest left). It’s rumored to be the crazy lady’s window and the rest are fake.



When the family was doing renovations on the home (the reason it was closed for 15 years) they rediscovered the secret door in the panel that was the inspiration for Charlotte to write about Bertha, the crazy lady who was locked in the attic.



And, as providence would have it, I’m also here at the exact same time the BBC is filming a production about the life of the Bronte sisters. They recreated the parsonage and church up on the moor near town. Here’s the set . . .



I’ll leave you with a sunset from the moor that Charlotte used to walk.


 
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