June 25, 2016

Learning Apote


    I am fortunate to have a found an editor, numerous appreciative readers, a delightful publisher and even a good friend who speaks multiple languages to help me make sure my books are the best they can be. When I needed a French name for a cafe in one of my novels for example, I was able to name it "A Lovely Lunch" instead of accidentally calling it something that translates out to "Bite Me". However, for my book Snake Oil, things got a bit more complicated. First of all, there is no "basic" language for America's Indigenous People. Instead there are many languages and many tribes and countless dialects, all of which are difficult to translate and understand. And so, for Snake Oil,  Apote was born, or rather invented. One of my major characters in the novel thus became an Apote Indian. Not only did the novel require that I create a heritage of sorts for my character, but he also needed a name and even a bit of conversation.

The Lincoln Gold Note 

    I have heard somewhere that you can tell those people who have read a novel and not heard one of the character's name anywhere else because have their own, unique pronunciation. Although I love that, it tends to be confusing when I'm in conversation with a reader or at a book signing. So here are some very short videos to help you pronounce the unusual words featured in Snake Oil. I personally found it was quite fun to hear them coming back at me. I truly love this book and the characters and I'm proud and pleased to have given them life and names and a little bit of language.

The poker hands from The Big Game

      The sound videos are arranged into a playlist on YouTube. When you come across these words in the book you can either let them run in a loop or listen to them one at a time. I hope you enjoy them.

Enjoy and as always, thank you for visiting and please come again!

June 18, 2016

The Inspirational Images of Snake Oil

     Ah, magic! We look for it everywhere and we love to be enchanted. We want to believe that there are amazing cures for all sorts of ailments, that a pill will make us thinner or handsomer or a fancy concoction will make our hair lustrous so that it will always behave. We are born with imaginations and we thrive on mental voyages of fancy. This natural desire has made people venture further and struggle to do more with their lives throughout history. In the late 1800's the traveling medicine shows were at the height of popularity in America. Opportunities abounded and the population was encouraged to partake in a phenomenal expansion across the country. The great railroads were being built with passion and people were heading west into unknown territories. Without doctors and with very few forms of entertainment a traveling troupe of artists, performers and creators of newly “patented” medicines were welcomed nearly everywhere.  How exciting to meet people who traversed the great land and brought stories from far distances. But, even more important they had something more valuable. They brought optimism and magic. This is how Snake Oil was born.
    Piecrust Promise took us to the Oklahoma land rush and in Ill Repute we explored the gold mines of the Yukon. Whenever I write I research, filling my mind with information and images. For my latest adventure, Snake Oil I wandered through the legends of the traveling medicine show, the early advertising in the old west, the emergence of patented medicine. On the way I met hucksters and con men of the late 1800's. Sometimes I stumbled across unexpected treasures and I really enjoyed incorporating my finds into the tale. Today I'm sharing with you some of the images I gathered while researching Snake Oil. It's a wonderful and delightful collection. I hope you enjoy them! 

Although this is a very romanticized version, this lovely wagon inspired the medicine show wagon.

  Living in a wagon meant keeping a home on wheels. Can you imagine?

A trusty draft horse or two was all the engine you needed.

For many of the medicine show people of the old west, their wagon served not only as their showplace and shopfront but also their year-around residence. I love the curtains!

In the harsh winters of the northern states a small, but efficient wood stove kept their wagon cozy and was used for cooking too. Notice the bed up behind the driver's seat.

  The wheel hub.

The real heart of the wagon's wheels was the hub. They were huge pieces, often made of the hard wood of the black walnut tree. Many of these trees were planted along the trails of the country while the land was being settled. Today black walnut trees grow over most of the United States as a result. 

 Here's something interesting! The craniometer!

Many medicine shows incorporated interesting gadgets to help them peddle their wares. The use of the unusual "craniometer" is a discovery I made while researching Snake Oil. I could not miss the opportunity to include it in the novel.

     I hope you have enjoyed this little tour of the research I have collected. Snake Oil is available directly from Amazon by clicking on the link below.

Thanks for visiting. Please come again!

June 11, 2016

Garden and Novel Plots

     This has been a busy summer so far. Over the last few weeks I have been editing my newest novel, Snake Oil, and now I wait for the printing. It’s always a bit nerve-wracking and exciting at the same time making sure a book is the best it can be while still getting it out into the world to share. I must say that my readers are fantastic, their reviews are inspiring and all of the excitement I hear from them when a new novel is published inspires me more than I can say. In the near future I will share some interesting photographs and a bit of information I gathered while researching Snake Oil. The world of traveling medicine shows was a wild and fascinating journey to study. You can pre-order a copy here: Snake Oil

      While I wait for copies of the book I have been doing a bit of puttering in the yard, it has been rather neglected over the past weeks but it is clear the work I did in late February is paying off. Almost everything I relocated has been either thriving or at least is getting reestablished. The lamb's ear has bloomed and many hydrangea blossoms are not far away. 

Lamb's ear blooms.

Flowers are blooming everywhere and the birds that come to my feeders have returned after what I am calling the ,"Great no-mess bird seed fiasco". Read about it here

The cardinals have come back with a young addition to their family.

The squirrels are getting whats left of the no mess seed in a separate feeder, while it lasts. Most of the pigeons, crows and grackles it was attracting are coming in fewer numbers now. They were messy and aggressive and I don't miss their visits.

A fat squirrel who refused to turn around and smile for the camera.

Flowers are blooming in pots.

They are climbing the trellises as well.

The butterfly bush I planted a few years back to hide an ugly corner is doing its intended job nicely.

 The only annuals I bought this year, one tiny patch of impatiens.

 The lawn is easier to mow without flower patches in the middle.

The big new trellis is ready for the roses to climb a few dozen more feet.

Thank you for visiting.
Please come again!