Posted in From The Editor's Desk, Pinterest, Podcast

How an idea comes to fruition: Collaboration, Research, Pinterest, and Maunsel White

Ever wonder how an idea comes to fruition for an editor? Or if we actually do more than just stare at the computer screen at words all day? Let me tell you about how a typical jumping off point down the rabbit hole goes when I work with my client, Edward Branley. You know him as NOLA History Guy, and as the author of various books from New Orleans: The Canal Streetcar Line (LA), Legendary Locals of New Orleans,  and New Orleans Jazz.

One morning, Edward emails me:

Maunsel White was a planter and militia officer during the War of 1812. He’s buried in Cypress Grove cemetery. He’s going to make a good podcast subject. There’s a graf from his wiki page that caught my eye:
An 1850 New Orleans Daily Delta newspaper article (reprinted in several other sources at the time) noted that “Col. White has introduced the celebrated tobasco [sic] red pepper, the very strongest of all peppers, of which he has cultivated a large quantity with the view of supplying his neighbors, and diffusing it through the state.” Furthermore, observed the newspaper, “by pouring strong vinegar on it after boiling, he has made a sauce or pepper decoction of it, which possesses in a most concentrated form all the qualities of the vegetable. A single drop of this sauce will flavor a whole plate of soup or other food.”[6]

can you get the Daily Delta out of your database? 
cbb58f732acfca78b8dceaf3f5648407
Maunsel White

 

Part of my research repertoire includes having subscriptions to various old newspaper databases. For this, I use Newspapers.com.

Newspapers.com has ~5,000 newspapers from the 1700s to the 2000s. It’s a great repository of old and new, and  I love looking through the old advertisements and the variety of places you wouldn’t see news from.  The captions and the verbiage make me smile.

Here’s what I mean, from The Daily Commercial Herald (Vicksburg, Mississippi) 07 March 1894 (Wednesday). An Advertisement for Tobasco (Maunsell White) 50 cents per bottle.

img
The Daily Commercial Herald (Vicksburg, Mississippi) 07 March 1894

 

Here is the image of the page in The Daily Commercial Herald that I found the advertisement in:

2207_4076_1254_659

 

Since being an editor means a lot of research, where would one keep their research? Keeping it on the hard drive of the laptop means it is going to run slow. What if you need to collaborate in real time over Skype or Google? How do you keep it organized? I use Pinterest. It saves me time, and I label each PinBoard with the title of the subject I am researching. Some, only have two or three “pins”, whereas others have over 1,000.  Here is a peek into my Maunsel White Pinboard.

While you’re there, feel free to browse around. You never know what rabbit hole I am falling into these days. Enjoy!

OH… The final product Maunsel White Podcast [#1] from Edward Branley.
Here’s the other story on White – and his connection to the battle of 1812 and Andrew Jackson… stay tuned for the podcast relating to tobasco and the Pinterest board coming soon.

Editorial Extra:
Here’s a link to Tulane University’s online exhibits – Andrew Jackson to Maunsel White. You know I posted these images on the Maunsel White pinboard. And even when the job is done, the historian, researcher in me, never stops finding interesting things to add!

0c10af49a100f4ad393d5ecf4bddcd90
Andrew Jackson to Maunsel White- Tulane University online exhibits
Featured image : 1879 menu from steamship Ed. Richardson includes “Maunsel White” sauce.
Posted in From The Editor's Desk

Roadmapping 2017

What’s on the calendar? Here’s a sneak peek

You can look forward to lots of projects from Edward J. Branley — the Talents Universe is doing great stuff, with some cool ideas for branching out the world and the characters into different formats.  Hint: If you liked the cover of Hidden Talents, done by Wendy Warrelmann, you should check out her page, and maybe figure out what’s coming. You will definitely see Talents book 2 – Trusted Talents out this year.

wwarrelmann_ren_thumbnail
Ren Thumbnail © Wendy Warrelmann

Another Dragons YA novel is in process to finish the trilogy, or it might be a tetralogy, one never knows what Eleni the dragon has in mind.

dragoneleni
Eleni the dragon © Elizabeth Person

Putting on his historical New Orleans hat, Edward is also writing about the Krauss Department Store in New Orleans which opened in 1903. While he’s writing, I’m helping with the research, looking at old newspaper clippings and advertisements on Newspapers.com, and doing some genealogy on Krauss family histories on ancestry.com.

Because there’s so much research and information we are passing back and forth, I am utilizing my Pinterest account to split the information into chunks on the Krauss Pinterest board.

Edward is working on a couple of other ideas that are too early to say, but, I promise, when I know, you will too!

Editor’s Note: I have been saying for a while that I want to do a blog series of posts on how Pinterest works for an author and editor, and researcher collaborations. I think 2017 might be the year you see it publish.

23ed49_ec924aa583a14ad7819ec4d65d3ae1d5-mv2_d_1589_1371_s_2

If you have been in Barnes and Noble lately, you may have seen Tricia Cohen and Lisa Graves‘ medieval cookbook,  A Thyme and Place: Medieval Feasts and Recipes for the Modern Table on the shelves. It was the Featured New Release in June 2016, and Top Cookbook Pick in October 2016.

61XFjdNX5jL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_

I’m so excited to be working with them on their second cookbook, focusing on early America: A Thyme to Discover.

Lisa and Tricia’s Thyme Machine Cuisine website is a great resource to follow, filled with cooking stories, illustrations, and fun facts.  Here’s a sneak peek at their latest blog post, Medieval Chickpeas, a.k.a. Virile Chickpeas.

Who knew history could taste so good? 

cropped-thwheader.jpg

If you want to see what else they do, follow Lisa’s History Witch website. Lots of history, unique stories, and wonderful illustrations! I have been honored to work with Lisa on her coloring books.

15420981_10154154517782205_512538293788759957_n

Ryan Z. Dawson‘s Graveworld series (Part One – Death Magick and Part Two – Winter’s Bones) will be out this year. You may recall it was originally titled The Death of Alan Shade. It’s still Alan’s story, never fear. At the moment, Ryan is in the midst of writing the  latest in the series,  Ellie Nex.  I’m looking forward to continuing our collaboration, and to see how the two stories dovetail together.

Did you know I also proofread and Fact-check?

fact_check_2

Science Fact-checking

I wear many hats, and really enjoy the time I spend doing fact-checking and research. In 2017, I am continuing my collaboration with Genome Magazine as part of their science fact-checking team. Genome publishes quarterly, so even though it is only January, I just turned in the Spring 2017 fact-checks, and am waiting on the Summer 2017 articles. Funny how publishing is always so far ahead in the magazine business. Want to know more, go check out my bookshelf.

proofreader-dictionary-entryProofreading

I’ve just jumped onto the Colborne Communications team, proofreading an online ESL project. Thanks Greg for letting me join in. The team so far is marvelous  [Hi Holly!] and very helpful on getting up to speed quickly.

I also do legal proofreading and research, reviewing assorted legal documents for correct grammar and syntax, misspellings, punctuation, style, and formatting.

Interested in getting on the editorial calendar? Have that manuscript sitting in a drawer and want a second pair of eyes? Need a proofreader or researcher? Feel free to drop me an email at: DaraR68@gmail.com.  

As you can probably tell, there is lots to do. So until next time…

tumblr_nk306n7l7o1qdjpm4o1_500

Warmly,

Dara

Posted in Character Development, Writing

“Them’s Fightin Words”: Fighting and Combat

 Fight. (v)

Old English feohtan “to combat, contend with weapons, strive; attack; gain by fighting, win” (intransitive; class III strong verb; past tense feaht, past participle fohten), from Proto-Germanic *fehtan (cognates: Old High German fehtan, German fechten, Middle Dutch and Dutch vechten, Old Frisianfiuhta “to fight”), from PIE *pek- (2) “to pluck out” (wool or hair), apparently with a notion of “pulling roughly” (cognates: Greek pekein “to comb, shear,” pekos “fleece, wool;” Persian pashm “wool, down,” Latin pectere “to comb,” Sanskrit paksman- “eyebrows, hair”).

Spelling substitution of -gh- for a “hard H” sound was a Middle English scribal habit, especially before -t-. In some late Old English examples, the middle consonant was represented by a yogh. Among provincial early Modern English spellings, Wright lists faight, fate, fecht, feeght, feight, feit, feyght, feyt,feort, foight.

From c. 1200 as “offer resistance, struggle;” also “to quarrel, wrangle, create a disturbance.” From late 14c. as “be in conflict.” Transitive use from 1690s. To fight for “contest on behalf of” is from early 14c. To fight back “resist” is recorded from 1890. Well figt þat wel fligt (“he fights well that flies fast”) was a Middle English proverb.


Fighting and Combat

If you are writing a novel that has fighting and combat scenes in it, it is important to consider what the reader will take away from it. Will they skim the every-last-detail and skip to the character-driven scenes and dialogue? How does a writer entice the reader to stay on the page and understand the character development that you have put hours into creating?

Think about Word Selection and Wordsmithing

Your choice of words can provide a crucial element or hint to the reader of what is happening in the story going forward, or bring it back to a certain point in a previous chapter. The way the protagonist fights, walks away, or uses dialogue to convey what they are thinking at that moment will keep your reader wanting more.

Also consider what the supporting characters in the room are doing during the fight. Are they chatting quietly, egging on the fighters, or placing bets on who will win while drinking whiskey?

What happens to that quiet character you’ve been showing on the page, does he get excited by the blood flow? Maybe that is a hint to your reader that there is more than meets the eye.

Who comes to help in the fight? Who stays out of the way? Maybe your character that everyone thinks would jump right in, will stay on the sidelines. The female at the bar, who one would not expect to help, will be fighting right alongside with her weapon that she has hidden on her at all times.

“Even if you’re not all that interested in firearms and knives, it’s worth getting them right because of how stories can hinge on the way characters use them. Did that revolver hold six shots or only five? In a critical scene, that could mean the difference between a character being alive or not. Are you sure that knife is legal for your character to carry? If it’s not, the knife might not match the character’s profile.”

– Benjamin Sobieck, The Writer’s Guide to Weapons

On my Pinterest Word List board, I have this pinned. I think it is a good reference when you find your fight scenes are lacking some color or action words.  If you are trying to craft the write (right) scene to jump off the page,  and have your readers thinking about the scenario and what happens next.

tumblr_nfxqnkCtOu1sg5bnlo1_1280

Fulfill the promise of your book

Carefully research your weaponry and your fighting styles are true to your era to ensure you don’t break suspension of disbelief. Think about King Arthur and the Medieval setting  — broadswords, flails, chain mail, halberds, and horsemen’s axes.

Now consider a story set in a more contemporary era. What would be the weapon of choice? Guns.

A Civil War era novel would have the Henry lever-action rifle, the Spencer repeating rifle, or a Smith & Wesson Schofield.  But you would want to use AK-47s, or M16 rifles, if you are writing a novel set in post-World War II, for infantry combat.

In This Kind of War, historian T.R. Fehrenbach’s seminal work on The Korean War, he wrote:

“You may fly over a land forever; you may bomb it, atomize it, pulverize it and wipe it clean of life—but if you desire to defend it, protect it and keep it for civilization, you must do this on the ground, the way the Roman legions did, by putting your young men in the mud.”

Here are 21 words that are obscure and may lead you down a different path in your writing. Did you know the suffix machy is Greek, from -mache, to fight?

Word Definition
alectryomachy cock-fighting
batrachomyomachy battle between frogs and mice; a burlesque poem attributed to Homer
cynartomachy bear-baiting using dogs
duomachy duel or fight between two people
gigantomachy war of giants against the gods
hieromachy fight or quarrel between priests
hoplomachy fighting while heavily armoured
iconomachy opposition to the worship of images or icons
logomachy contention about words or in words
monomachy single combat; a duel
naumachy mock sea-battle
pneumatomachy denial of the divinity of the Holy Ghost
poetomachia contest or quarrel among poets
psychomachy conflict between the body and the soul
pygmachy boxing; fighting with clubs
pyromachy use of fire in combat
skiamachy sham fight; shadow boxing
symmachy fighting jointly against a common enemy
tauromachy bullfighting
theomachy war amongst or against the gods
titanomachy war of the Titans against the gods

Hope you enjoyed “Them’s fighting words…”

For Further Reading:

Kyle Misokami’s The 5 Deadliest Guns of Modern War

The Middle Ages, Chivalry and Knighthood

Five Essential Tips for Writing Killer Fight Scenes 

Writing Tips: Guns, Bullets And Shooting With J. Daniel Sawyer

Benjamin Sobieck’s The Writer’s Guide to Weapons

Top 12 Western Classics

Word Chart courtesy of The Phrontistery

‘Fight’ definition courtesy of Online Etymology Dictionary

The Internet Movie Firearms Database

 

Posted in Writing

Colors Around the World

Happy May everyone. I am sitting here in Starbucks, perusing Pinterest boards. I came across this infographic that I pinned a while ago, and it sparked an idea I wanted to share with you.  Writers, and editors for that matter, need to know the meanings behind what colors they use, especially if you have a manuscript that is set in a different culture.

c2fe521ee0af327cfa326213c91ad5d8.jpg

Color plays an important part in writing, as it can evoke emotions, bring life to the scene, and help the reader see the imagery you are portraying in their minds with perfect clarity, as well as signal your character’s personality.  Writers can labor for days on the right choice of colors to bring forth the spring meadow or the shipwrecked boat.

Hallie and Whit Burnett expound on this idea in their Fiction Writer’s Handbook.

Actual emotions are helpful in expressing emotions, placing emphasis where human behavior becomes exceptional. The use of redred face, fire in the eyes, and the like—will express anger, or possibly embarrassment. Green is a color which tranquilizes on a summer day; and the late Louis Bromfield, in a long-ago novel, spoke of an aura of color around the heads of his characters, which somehow added to their individualization and gave clues to their behavior. Research has been done by experts to determine moods expressed in colors, the various results being used in advertising to attract the eye of a buyer. So the novelist may add depth and convey meaning if he himself sees a scene as natural as the life before him, contrasted in tone and shade and values of the color spectrum.

I hope you enjoyed this, and learned something as well. Join me again as I will be revisiting this topic and bringing you more information that you can use in your writing in regards to Color.