Yesterday was Remembrance Day here in Canada or Memorial Day in the U.S. and I got to thinking again about my Uncle Frank who died in Italy in WWII. This past summer my husband and I had a special experience related to that. I’ve linked to that post here. Please click to see our family’s story about war and remembrance in photos and words.

I Came, I Saw, I Cried.

And, of course, you can always read about other wars, families, and remembrances in my Loyalist Trilogy. Links are below.

 

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So there I was! Table dressed, poster positioned, Square device details in my head, books, cards, bookmarks and newsletter signup forms at the ready. This was going to be a great weekend. I’d get to talk to loads of people about my writing and, hopefully, sell books and get a couple of speaking gigs. Oh, and I had been asked to be a panelist talking about self publishing.

What could go wrong?

The workshop was well attended with lots of people anxious to hear what my co-panelist and I had to say about self-publishing. Good questions abounded and Carolyn Arnold and I got into a great rhythm, each drawing on our own self publishing experiences. I even sold four books that first day even though crowds were minimal.

Actually there were no crowds. A better phrase would be dribbles of people. And when Sunday morning we opened to basically no one there it was time to take action. Here is a list of what I did to use the time wisely.

5 Ways to Maximize Your Time at a (Failed) Book Fair

  1. When no one is at your table or any of the others near you, check your email, tweet about the event, or text friends to come visit you.

  2. Take pictures of the other authors at the event. This is a great time to make connections and new friends.

    Dominique Millette and one of her books in French

  3. Talk to the other authors. You can learn a lot. I found the name of a company to question about cards with a free gift link to my eBooks. And you can meet some really great people. Authors are almost always ready to share.

  4. If time is really dragging pull out your iPad and write your blog post or newsletter for the coming week. Make lists of marketing things to do. I got my newsletter for Tuesday roughed out so that Monday night I just had to transfer it to MailChimp, do a few fixes and such, and my newsletter for my very special list people was all ready. It was so ready that inadvertently I sent it Monday night! Anxious or what?

  5. Figure out a way to make lemonade. What could I do to find the positive in Sunday’s abysmal showing? (I sold nothing. Neither did many others.) Well, I decided to write this blog post with a positive slant on my weekend event. I also got two writing pieces out of the weekend so my time was far from wasted.

Al McGregor and Terry Carroll renewing old acquaintances.

Two of the volunteers and Floyd the bunny.

Jen Romnes, author of Entangled

Pat Brown author of many books in several genres.

 

 

Author Carolyn Arnold, my clever panel partner, and her husband.

This is often the life of an author. We plan as best we can but sometimes venues are just not what we planned and we must be ready to make the best of the situation. I hope that this event next year is better attended, for sure, but my weekend was useful and fun just the same.

 

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Here’s an excellent reblog for writers today. it’s all about writing a stellar book blurb. Click below! And feel free to leave a comment for author L.M. Nelson!

Writing a Stellar Book Blurb

write a poetry book blurb

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A few years ago I was asked to take part in a Doors Open event in lovely Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. The museum there was one of the spots on the tour where I joined other authors with books about the area. The delightful Barbara Nattress was one of those authors and she now has a second book featuring the history of Niagara through her fictional characters.

Today we welcome Barbara to introduce both of her books which feature ghosts, history, young love, and the Niagara area. Welcome, Barbara!

Ghosts of The Past

War is never a good event. The families suffer. The countryside suffers. The soldiers suffer. The life everyone knew never returns.

The War of 1812 between the United States and the United Kingdom was no different. Many innocent people were killed only because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Niagara Peninsula was an area of concentrated fighting because of its proximity to both Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. The town of Newark at the mouth of the Niagara River was home to many Loyalists who had settled there during the Revolutionary War. In 1813, the town was burned to the ground by the American soldiers as  local residents watched. Feelings and opinions about the Americans were cut and dried. You were either with them or against them.

These Loyalists had left the life in America behind and had to start over again clearing land and establishing a home. For many it was the second time they had done this. Others were business men and merchants and were not accustomed to pioneer life.

A number of years ago my great aunt decided to research and write the family history. She discovered her ancestors had come from Holland in the late 1600’s and settled along the banks of Lake Champlain. As disputes over taxes by the British escalated into the revolutionary war the Van Every family moved to Syracuse and later Albany. Being loyal to the British was not a wise choice in 1774. Finally in 1778 with the patriarch of the family in jail, the rest of the family crossed the river and landed in what is now Queenston.

The family stayed loyal to the British, helped run raids for food with Butler’s Rangers, and kept watch for American troops crossing the river terrorizing pioneers. For these services the Van Every family were awarded settlement land along the Niagara River. In 1799 they were endowed with the honorific United Empire Loyalist. When the opportunity arose for my husband and I to move to Niagara on the Lake and become the owners of a Bed and Breakfast, I kept many stories and ideas in my mind that later would become part of the Loyalist House books.

Dreams in the Mist, takes place during the War of 1812 and tells of a family living along the Niagara River. Patrols of British soldiers regularly traveled up and down the river. While families were always on alert for American patrols crossing the river, life went on as normally as possible on the farms. Men continued tending animals and crops, women tended the gardens and kept the household running smoothly. Children played games and helped with chores and teenagers fell in love with boys and girls on the next farm.

The story also tells of a couple looking to start a new chapter in their life after retirement and takes place in the present and in the Niagara area. As luck would have it, they purchase the home along the river where our Loyalist family resided during the War of 1812. It is now a Bed and Breakfast aptly named Loyalist House B&B. Our Hosts Marilee and Phillip are enthusiastic B&B owners, knowledgeable about the history of the area and of the homes.

I used the idea of weaving past and present together to create the story of these two families whose lives intertwine. What a perfect setting to have a ghost living in your home. Niagara-on-the-Lake is noted as being the most haunted place in all of Canada.

This excerpt from Dreams in the Mist tells of Hannah and her boyfriend Peter meeting secretly along the river. Peter’s family have decided to move back to the American side as they feel the Americans should take over this area. Hannah’s family are staunch supporters of the British.

The Proposal

 Hannah was sitting behind the bushes by the river bank, waiting for Peter. She had managed to get out of the house without anyone seeing her, but it had been close. The waiting part of these rendezvous was always the worst as Hannah worried that Peter might be seen and would have to turn back before they met. Hannah stepped out of the bushes just as Peter reached the dock. In the dark silent night , they embraced, glad that the meeting was finally here. They returned to the bushes to talk about how their friendship could continue despite the war.

“Where do you keep all the letters we are exchanging?” asked Peter.

Hannah told him she kept them in her pocket or under her pillow at night for now, but she had been looking for a hiding place where no one would look. …She told Peter she would continue to look the next day for a safe place to keep the letters, where only she might think to look.

“How are we going to see each other if your family moves across the river?” asked Hannah. …

Peter hadn’t asked Hannah to marry him, but he took both her hands and asked if she would marry him after this disagreement between the two countries was settled. Hannah of course said yes and asked Peter how long he thought that might be. Of course he didn’t know the answer to that but hoped it would be maybe a year….

Peter continued to tell her how he thought they could meet at the river. It would be more difficult as there would be no way to get letters to each other, and they would have to be careful as now he was considered the enemy on this side of the river. He thought for the rest of the summer and the fall they could meet on the fifth day of the month at midnight by the dock. They would only wait half an hour for the other person to show up…. One last kiss and a long embrace and they separated. Peter rowed back up the river along the shore while Hannah watched, tears streaming down her face.

It soon becomes apparent that Loyalist house is also home to a former resident, now a ghost. Hannah, a teenage ghost resides in the attic and interactions with B&B guests often results in difficult situations for the present day owners. Marilee is determined to discover more about the home and who this ghost is. Should she tell the guests about the ghost? Why is the ghost still here? What happened to her family? And why is there so much sobbing and crying coming from the attic?

Hannah’s Search is the sequel to Dreams in the Mist and follows Hannah as she searches for her family and her fiancé during the war. Unaware she is a ghost, she discovers she has powers to see what goes on in her home but not leave the house. Her Father is conscripted by the British and her mother and siblings leave to find a safe place. She often ventures down into the house only to find it has changed into something she can not understand. Often there are strangely dressed people wandering around the bedrooms .

Marilee is still trying to discover who this ghost is and secretly discovers she can sometimes see what this ghost is up to in her dreams. Marilee can almost predict if it will be a night of peace or if the noises in the attic will disturb everyone. The ghostly encounters often erupt into scary but hilarious situations. Can you imagine five women booking into the B&B with the intention of finding and photographing the ghost?

Will Marilee and her friend be able to find out who Hannah is and what happened to her family? Will Marilee be able to communicate to Hannah that she is safe in the attic? Will Hannah finally realize she is a ghost and be able to move on? How much furniture will be destroyed before the situation is resolved?

In this excerpt from Hannah’s Search, Hannah is quite concerned as she watches her parents prepare to leave the farm. She hears her Father tell her mother that she must walk across country for several days with the two children to his brother’s farm as it is not safe to stay here anymore. Hannah’s father will likely have to join the British troops in the area.

Hannah was terribly anxious. She flitted about the house both day and night trying to keep a watch on her family. She saw her mother packing things in a small case and making those dry biscuits that she did not like, so she knew they were planning on leaving. One night when her family were asleep, she crept into the room where the case was and unpacked all the things her mother had put in. The next morning, she saw her mother sigh and repack the clothes. When she looked closer, she noticed her mother had tears in her eyes.

On some of her trips downstairs, Hannah was puzzled by what she saw. There were things happening in what she thought was their kitchen, but people dressed in odd garments were working at very strange pieces of equipment that she had never seen before. The odd thing about it was they were doing something with food that she recognized. It was though she was drifting between different societies. One she had known and loved, and the other beyond her imagination. The strangers never seemed to bother with her, except every once in awhile someone would stop what they were doing and stare in her direction as though they had heard a noise.

The War of 1812 was a pivotal point in defining Canada as a nation. Men stood side by side defending the country to keep the values in which they believed. Over the years other wars forced men and today women to again fight and die to keep those same values. These ghosts of the past stand together as heroes and should never be forgotten.

There was a Peter, Paul and Mary song in the sixties “Blowin’ in the Wind” that stated “When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn?” I think the ghosts of the past may still be singing this song today.

I hope you will enjoy reading both these books as much as I have enjoyed writing them. When I finished the books I almost felt a loss as I was no longer in touch with my characters. I often wonder what Marilee could do next?

Find Barbara and her books on Goodreads here.

 

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Keeping This Writer in the Game

Sometimes I just have to walk away from all the email, the Tweets, the Friend Requests, and the hundreds of other time-stealers that threaten to take me away from my writing. I did this short video to share some of my strategies for keeping my time my own. Feel free to borrow from my ideas and to suggest your own in the comments. Here’s the link to my Facebook Page where you’ll find the short video that I posted yesterday.

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On my website you will see a few quotes from various readers about my Loyalist trilogy and I’d like to talk about one of those today. A friend of mine knows a lot about history in general and much more about the Rebellion history of Norwich; she and I spent time bicycling around that area many years ago with our young mothers’ group. No matter where we went this friend would point out places and tell the history. It was all fascinating.

With The Loyalist Legacy, I brought the Garners into my part of Ontario. I was very careful about my facts. When my friend wrote me the comment below I was so pleased I just had to put it up on my website:

“I was delighted with the way you handled the Norwich Rebellion in the last Loyalist book, Elaine, and have heard many positive comments about it.” Marie A.

I feel historical fiction can have lots of fiction in it but the details of actual history just have to be correct. Marie checked my facts as I’d written them and I checked over and over with reference books as well.

The fiction comes with adding fictional characters, places, details, and events. I remembered my daughter talking about a house where she cleaned for an old lady. One day the lady moved the kitchen table and pulled back a rug to reveal a door in the floor. She pulled it up and asked my daughter to go down and retrieve something for her. Beth took one look at the deep, dark hole with a rickety ladder leading down into the abyss and visions of that door slamming down over her flashed through her mind. My normally very compliant daughter just was not going down there. That scene was still in my mind when I wrote the story of two black former slaves at the time of the Rebellion of 1837. You’ll find that story near the end of The Loyalist Legacy.

The Garner family in the Loyalist trilogy are fictional even though they are based on and often named for my ancestors. I’ve had to decide what they might have looked like but draw on things I know about my father’s family to flesh them out. Someone has a widow’s peak and someone else has a prominent chin dimple. These family traits helped me give character to the fictional family. I’m not sure anyone in my family has ever said anything about the resemblance to my dad but it’s been fun for me.

I know my father told a story of a native woman coming to visit one of my ancestors, leaving her papoose on the porch while the two talked inside, and the child being carried off by a wild animal–bear or lynx, I’m not sure, as my cousin told me two different versions of the story. I decided to use the lynx because of the sly nature of cats and, believe it or not, the appeal of a lynx’s strange pointed tufts on its ear tips.

In the second book of the trilogy, The Loyalist’s Luck, I brought in the historical fact of the burning of Newark (present-day Niagara-on-the-Lake) but I also added a wonderfully sad story I discovered in my research. The residents had been given one hour to retrieve what they could from their homes before the Americans burned the town. This was in December, 1813, a very cold and snowy time of year in the Niagara peninsula. I found a story of an old lady, sick and unable to leave her bed, who was carried out into the street to watch as the Canadian Volunteers (siding with the Americans) burned her house to the ground. Through that old lady I was able to make my readers feel the absolute pain of war.

Another decision that just seemed to push itself into my mind was having Robert Garner, fictional brother of William, decide to sever off small sections of his land right where the present-day village of Thorndale is located, north of London, Ontario. Interestingly a relative of mine named Robert Garner did donate that land in the second part of the nineteenth century for municipal purposes and today there are playing fields and community buildings there. My niece’s house is actually located on the land donated by our relative. This has little to do with the plot of the book or even with the characters but it helped me add a layer of feeling that otherwise might not have been there as Robert suffered through his wife’s illness. I hope it helps my readers empathize with these characters who could very well have been real.

We never really know what facts or nuances from our own past will pop up in our writing. For me they are most pleasing. They make the story really my own. No one else could have written what I’ve written. There is an extra layer of richness that I feel each and every time I read from my work for audiences near and far. And there’s a connection to my family and my memories. If only history in school could have been taught from the point of view of the people involved instead of the memorize-the-six-reasons-for-whatever method.

 

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I can hardly remember back to the time when research for school essays, for tidbits to enliven the lessons I taught, and for more background about subjects that intrigued me all took place in the library. I knew the hours of all the libraries around and the best librarians to help. Even when writing my first historical novel, my librarian’s help was very important.

With the advent of the WEB, virtually any piece of information became accessible and the trips to the library were more for books to read or book clubs to join.  My research moved to my computer and to related historical museums and forts.

With those changes in mind I wanted to share some very cool things I’ve found that help me every day as a writer:

  1. I like the daily email I get from Google Alert about subjects that I’ve noted. This year being Canada’s 150th birthday and that linking so well with my Loyalist trilogy, I’ve kept abreast of everything across Canada that is remotely related. I had no idea the word loyalist was so widely used. And for many things not connected in the least to my books. Someone advised me to put in my actual titles and I did. That is how I found out about scammers offering my books for sale! A few ‘cease and desist’ letters seem to have eliminated that but Google Alert keeps an eye out for me.

  2. A virtual mecca of how-to information is at my fingertips and yours. Rather than go to manuals written in Chinese English, I now use the http line whenever I have a question about virtually anything. I just typed in ‘What is historical fiction?’ and ‘What is a musket?’. Click on the links to see the variety of sites I can explore about those topics.

  3. For my new book about Dr. Ronald G. Calhoun and his part in the Terry Fox phenomenon in 1980 and beyond, I’m looking for an agent here in Canada as both Fox and Calhoun are Canadian icons. Here’s a list of agents I found. If you are a possibility feel free to get in touch with me as my queries are going out soon.

  4. Even the magazine I get in my post office mailbox every month, The Writer, has an online version which is wonderful to receive, especially if I’m going to be traveling and can put it on my iPad. It is always full of interesting hints and full-fledged writing ideas–writerly gems, I call them. This month (November) the back page article by Allison Futterman is about television host Mike Rowe who gives writing tips in the article. He says if he didn’t have deadlines, he’d never finish anything as he is a picker who constantly makes changes: “sometimes making [the writing] better, sometimes making it worse.” Recognize yourself, anyone?

  5. Just a few weeks ago, I got an email about something called Bibliocommons. Of course I checked that out on the web and ended up submitting The Loyalist’s Wife so that the ebook version can be listed on library websites and more people will get to see my work. I don’t know how far this exposure will take me but the Bibliocommons people say every book gets read and this approval process can take 4-6 weeks.) I’m hopeful it will broaden my reach. I’m at Stratford Public Library this Saturday as part of their author group in connection with launching Bibliocommons.

This past weekend I was honoured to be speaking at the Colonel John Butler United Empire Loyalist branch in Niagara Falls. There are over twenty of these in our country and a few have engaged me as a speaker. This one was particularly thrilling as this is the largest UEL group in Canada and Colonel Butler and the whole Niagara area figure prominently in my trilogy. The members there were gracious and knowledgeable about Loyalist history. I was speaking to my peeps, you might say.

Of course I mean that as a writer of historical fiction about the Loyalists, specifically a Loyalist couple who came into Canada across the Niagara River in present-day Niagara-on-the-Lake. While that story is fictional, my own story is not. I could really relate to the Niagara group.

What is the fun I mentioned in the title? Well, Sunday we celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving at our son’s home by the pool which is still open for business! Crazy weather, we’ve been having here in Ontario. My grandson and I had a lovely few moments talking about rocks and shells and semi-precious stones as he showed me his burgeoning collection. It was all fun and I hope my Canadian friends had similar moments of Thanksgiving over the weekend.

 

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Today is the first Wednesday of the month and I’m delighted to bring you another wonderful guest author. Jane Ann McLachlan has written several books in various genres although she says this latest one, The Sorrow Stone, is her first historical. A seasoned writer and wordsmith, Jane Ann’s biography is below for readers to peruse. A riveting segment from her book is also waiting for you. I have to go buy The Sorrow Stone after reading that and I’m sure you will, too.

    1. Jane Ann, when were you first able to call yourself a “writer” or “author?”

I’ve been writing all my life, and have had my poetry and short stories published since university, but the significant point for me was getting my first novel published in 2012.

   2. Describe your current project.

I’’m delighted to be launching my first historical fiction novel, The Sorrow Stone. Apparently, in the middle ages peasants believed a mother mourning her child’s death could “sell her sorrow” by selling a nail from her child’s coffin to a traveling peddler. I first heard this bit of folk lore at a talk given by a midwife about medieval childbirth practices. I began wondering, What if you could pay someone to bear your sorrow? In my story, Lady Celeste is a young mother overwhelmed with grief when her son dies. Desperate to find relief, she begs a passing peddler to buy her sorrow. Jean, the cynical peddler she meets, insists she include her ruby ring along with the nail in return for his coin. They both find themselves changed greatly by their secret transaction. When Celeste learns that without her wedding ring her husband may set her aside, she determines to retrieve it —without reclaiming her sorrow. But how will she find the peddler and convince him to give up the precious ruby ring?

   3. What other books have you written? Are they in the same genre as this latest one?

 I’’ve also written a science fiction novel, Walls of Wind, in which males and females are two separate species, and two young adult fiction novels, The Occasional Diamond Thief and The Salarian Desert Game, both of which have won awards and been recommended by the Canadian and the US library Associations.

4. Are you planning to continue writing more historical fiction?

 Yes, I’m currently writing another historical fiction, an amazing story also set in the 12th Century. This time the characters and events are real. It’s the story of two people, one a former slave the other a fisherman’s daughter, who rose to hold the highest positions at court. Honestly, it’’s such an amazing story no one would find it credible if it wasn’t actually true.

  5. Has The Sorrow Stone been the title of this book from the very beginning?

Yes.

  6. What type of research did you do in the writing of this book?

 To get the time period and setting for The Sorrow Stone right I did a lot of online and library research, then I went to the south of France, where my story takes place, and traveled the route Jean the peddler takes from Cluny, to Lyon, down to the Mediterranean and across to Marseilles. I talked to guides and historical interpreters all along the route to learn what vegetation was native to the area, what the weather was like, which towns and cities, cathedrals, castles and monasteries had existed there in the 12th Century, which trades were practiced in the region then. I wanted to be able to describe these places, to take my readers with me on Jean’s and Lady Celeste’s journeys in an authentic way.

  7. That must have been a unique and amazing journey! Back to the questions, what is the most compelling thing in your current book to attract readers? 

The idea of selling your sorrow, I think, and the realism of the setting, as well as the gradual revealing of the dark secrets buried in Celeste’’s and Jean’’s pasts, juxtaposed against the dramatic things that happen to them on their respective journeys. Readers have said it is “haunting”, “gripping” and they “couldn’’t put it down.”

J. A. McLachlan was born in Toronto, Canada. She is the author of a short story collection, Connections, published by Pandora Press and two College textbooks on Professional Ethics, published by Pearson-Prentice Hall. Walls of Wind was her first published Science Fiction novel. Her YA SF novels, The Occasional Diamond Thief (2015) and The Salarian Desert Game (2016), are both published by EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing. Her first historical fiction novel, The Sorrow Stone, is available now. She is represented by Carrie Pestritto at Prospect Agency, who currently has on offer Jane Ann’s next historical fiction novel.

Excerpt from The Sorrow Stone:  This passage occurs when Jean the Peddler is an unwilling witness to the stoning of an adultress.

 The thud of stones meeting flesh filled his ears. He felt, in his own body, the hot, burning pain as each one hit, tearing the thin fabric of her shift, digging into her bruised and bleeding flesh. It should be him there, not her. He could not move, speak, breathe…

Something shoved up against his leg. His breath emerged in a gasp.

“Mama!”

A girl of five or six squeezed past him. She pushed her way through the crowd till she reached the front, crying all the while, “Mama! Mama!”

The woman’’s face was hidden, covered by her hair. The air was thick with stones. Again and again they struck her, but still she did not cry out.

“Mama!” the child screamed again.

The woman looked up.

“Mama!” She sprinted across the open ground. A stone whizzed past her ear. A second hit her back, flinging her to the ground.

The woman cried out then, a wild, animal shriek. It echoed, hideous and compelling, across the square.

She would be killed! The horror of it swept over Jean as he stared at the fallen child. No! He could not bear that! He shoved his way through the crowd, unable to look away from the woman, unable to escape the terror in her eyes as she strained against her bonds, struggling to reach the child sprawled on the ground. She shrieked again, a high, keening noise. Jean gritted his teeth to keep from screaming with her.

At the edge of the crowd he stopped. What was he doing? What in the name of Heaven had come over him?

Then the child moaned and the woman screamed again and Jean ran forward, unable to stop himself. The little girl tried to roll over as Jean reached her. He was no longer looking at the woman, but he felt her strain toward him as he bent down and scooped up the child. A stone struck the side of his head as he straightened. He staggered, almost dropping the child. He regained his footing and turned to race back to the safety of the crowd.

“The adulterer!” a man cried.

Other voices took up the cry. He stepped forward, but the gap in the crowd where he had pushed through to get to the child had closed against him. A second stone hit his arm. There could be no mistaking that this one was meant for him. He saw the metal smith among the crowd, his arm drawn back, aiming. As Jean watched, he flung his stone. It hit Jean’s shoulder with a stinging blow that took his breath away. He crouched over the child, holding her tightly to him, more aware of the woman’’s anguished cries behind him and the child’’s terror than his own pain. Two more stones came flying at him; one missed its mark but the other hit the child’’s leg. She screamed and twisted, trying to burrow into him. A third stone hit her cheek, drawing blood. He wrapped both arms around her, leaving his own head exposed as he searched for an opening in the crowd.

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A few days ago my husband and I took an afternoon away from our computers and drove the approximately two hours to a spot near Dresden, Ontario. I’ve known about this place for over forty years and even visited it when we first starting teaching in nearby Wallaceburg where we lived for three years.

The brain child of Josiah Henson and today called Uncle Tom’s Cabin after Harriet Beecher Stowe’s famous book, this settlement–the Dawn settlement, it was called–came about because Josiah Henson bought two hundred acres and called all those Blacks fleeing slavery south of the border to come and settle. For an excellent accounting please click the link above for the full story now. Remember to come back and view our pictures from last week’s visit to this historical site right here in Ontario.

We took the back roads from Woodstock preferring their quiet but forgot what a long drive it is to Dresden and didn’t arrive at our destination for over two hours. It was a lovely day driving the back roads of Ontario, some we’d never traveled before, and we reached Uncle Tom’s Cabin about 3:30 with lots of time before closing at 5:00. The docent rushed us inside to see an excellent movie before a busload of visitors would arrive. She was most helpful.

It was a perfect blue-sky-white-cloud day, and the plain but sturdy buildings stood out beautifully. This plaque is for the Dawn settlement.

You can see the time of day from the way the light is in the west. I should have taken my shots from a better angle.

Off to the side was this plaque about Josiah Henson. While I thought I knew the story I was glad to reread this and also to remember that Stowe’s book was loosely based on Josiah Henson.

I just loved the serenity of this shot. The whole property with its few buildings was clean and neat. Nothing was wasted. This experiment of Henson’s is most interesting to see.

In the church where Henson preached, excellent carpentry, plain lines, and functional furniture predominated. This old stove would have heated the whole church. I wonder how hot it might have been sitting right next to it!

Here you can see the front of the church with its piano holding a photo of Josiah Henson and simple bench behind the preacher’s pulpit.

I particularly liked this shot which the parishioners would see as they headed out into the world beyond their church. Very uplifting.

This plaque tells the story of the settlement and its evolution. I wonder how many of our southern neighbours are descended from Blacks who went back to the States after slavery was abolished.

Here is Henson’s house, very simple by today’s standards but quite elaborate when compared to the other homes in the Dawn settlement.

Above, Henson’s grave monument shows Henson’s stature in the community and, indeed, in North America. (If you haven’t clicked the link above, now would be a great time to do it. This man was amazing.)

Facing Henson’s grave monument were all of these very old markers gathered together in a protective wall under the shade trees. I like to think they are placed this way in order to listen to their preacher for eternity.

One of the themes in The Loyalist Legacy is slavery. In this book I mentioned Robert and Mary Anne who lived in Buffalo and helped slaves escape across the raging Niagara River to Upper Canada.  And I also brought a small Black boy into the story through William and Catherine. These were the stories of the times after the War of 1812 and while my instances are fiction, the tales could easily have happened. Visiting Uncle Tom’s Cabin brought it all back to me and I am so glad it did.

 

Click on the books below for more historical stories:

 

 

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Captured by my grandson. No computers here!

Does this ever happen to you? Your blog post is calling you, CALLING YOU, CALLING YOU and all you want to do is anything but write that post. Here’s a list of suggestions that work well for me at those times:

  1. Clip your toenails…..and then clip them again

  2. Tidy your desk

  3. Upload your audio interview to your computer and send it to be transformed into Word

  4. Get the mail

  5. Pay bills

  6. Go for a walk

  7. Answer all twenty emails in your InBox

  8. Get a glass of water

  9. Throw out the garbage if your husband/wife forgot

  10. Prepare supper early in the day. That’s really good planning!

  11. Have a nap

  12. Do some more research for your work-in-progress even though that phase is done

  13. Call your sister and talk even though you get a busy signal

  14. Organize the sticky notes on your To/In Progress/Done white board. Put them all in the Done column

  15. Check your Facebook Author page. Maybe someone has “liked” it

  16. Get a glass of Diet Coke even though you know it’s terrible for you

  17. Sign up for Tumblr or some other social media site you’re not on yet

  18. Check  your InBox again. Maybe there’s something new and exciting there

  19. Have another nap

  20. Try to change the date of one of your speaking engagements

  21. Enter a contest

  22. Writing contest, that is

  23. Check the oven

  24. Get out your tweezers. Nuff said

  25. Turn off your computer and realize that you need a break.

 And now back to Historical Fiction and my Loyalists. You see? Lots of days I get loads done!

 

 

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