Happy Memorial Day!
Memorial Day. They day we have set aside to remember all those who have gone on before us to protect and defend our great nation...everyone of them, regardless of background, native state or political view point. May we never forget them...
I wish I had time to list all the men who have given their lives in defense of our great nation, but there just isn't time. So instead, I have two special groups of people I would like to recognize by the war they served in and I will wrap the post up with a few from other wars.
Nathan Hale // America's first spy; captured an hanged by the British.
Gabriel Marion // Nephew to Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox; Brutally killed in battle.
Benjamin Merrill // American Patriot and North Carolinian; Hanged at the order of Gov. Tryon after the Battle of Alamance.
James Few // Fellow soldier of Ben. Merrill; Hanged following the Battle of Alamance.
Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson // Confederate general and strong Christian; Died May 10th, 1863 after being wounded at Chancellorsville, Va.
Gen. A.P. Hill // Confederate general; Killed in the 3rd Battle of Petersburg (April 2nd, 1865)
Sam Davis // Confederate scout and Christian; Hanged by Union soldiers in November of 1863.
Keith Boswell // Aide to Gen. Jackson; Shot and killed May 2nd, 1863.
Joshua Bowman // Confederate soldier and North Carolinian; My Great-great-great-great-grandfather, murdered April 2nd, 1865. (He was not killed in battle and was shot without a trial, but that's a story for another time.)
Gen. J.E.B. Stuart // Confederate Cavalry officer; killed in May of 1864 at Yellow Tavern, Va.
Gen. Lewis Armistead // Confederate general; Killed at Pickett's Charge, July 3rd, 1863.
D. B. Little // North Carolina soldier; died April 2nd, 1865 at Petersburg,Va.
Also, representing WWII, the five Sullivan brothers who died on the same ship in the Pacific; Harlan Block, Mike Strank, Frank Sousley and Harold Shultz, flag raisers of Iwo Jima; Skipping forward to the current wars being fought in Afghanistan and Iraq, USMC Leon Lucas, who was killed by an enemy grenade while on deployment.
To these men and the hundreds of thousands more who willingly gave everything for us, Thank you for your service.
You’ve got a lovely little story idea and you want to share it with the world! But…how do you turn it into a story? I mean, one that you can actually publish? Today, I would like to share with you a few opening steps to preparing your idea and finding inspiration.
I have lots of ideas for stories, ranging from WWII, The American Revolution, Modern Day, Retellings of old stories, sweet mysteries for younger girls…I won’t bore you. For the sake of this series, I will take my book The Land of Cotton as an example and explain my current mode of getting inspired to write the story. Note: I didn’t do these things with this book, per say, but I currently try to incorporate them into my brainstorming process.
Also, some of these examples include internet use so PLEASE! if you are not an adult, ask your parents for permission before you go browsing! I am an adult and have my parents’ approval to research. So, I repeat, make sure your parents are okay with you using the internet.
Write out a back-cover blurb (synopsis) for your story. We all read the back cover of a book to get a gist of what the story will be about. Write one for your story. It may not be what you will use in the end, but it is a good exercise and helps you get a feel for your story.
Example: “The year is 1861. With tension growing between the states, the Mason family finds themselves torn: Should they remain loyal to their home state of North Carolina or should they hold to the Union of their nation and fight to retain it? Either way, they can’t make everyone happy, since Mrs. Mason is originally from Pennsylvania and Mr. Mason is from North Carolina. And if they side with the South, what cause will they be supporting? A rebellion? Or something far deeper…and more important?
Join the Masons as they discover a cause worth fighting for. Experience the Battle of Manassas Junction first hand and learn things about our country you won’t learn in your average History Book. Get ready for a battle, both spiritual and physical! Once you know the facts, you can no longer sit on the fence!”
Create a picture file for your book. Anything that inspires you about your story, save in a file on your laptop. For this book, it would be photos of landscapes in the Virginia countryside, pictures from reenactments, horses that look like the ones in my story, people who make me think of my characters, old houses, gardens, battle paintings, clothing, hairstyles, old-fashioned meals, etc. (This will also help you describe things in your story later, since you have a visual!) I strongly recommend caution in looking for pictures on the internet. Get permission first, if you are not an adult, and be VERY specific in what you type into your search engine. You never know what will pop up. I recommend using Firefox.
Write out your character profiles! I cannot stress this enough! You need to know who your characters are and what makes them who they are. My favorite profile to use on all my characters came from www.victoriaminks.com. (When you subscribe to her mailing list, you get access to her members-only resources, which are amazing!) These help you figure out their physical description, family relationships, likes and dislikes, favorites, background, etc. It will also help you make sure your characters are different from each other.
Take the Myers Brigg Personality Type Test for each of your characters. This will also help you keep your characters different from each other. Go to www.16personalities.com to take the test for free. You can also read up on the different personalities to make sure your characters are consistent in every situation. Oh, that I had known about this before…
Make a playlist for your book. Go through your personal music, look on YouTube, find movie soundtracks that make you think of your book. This always inspires me so much! My favorites for my Civil War books were the Gettysburg and Gods and Generals soundtracks, any Civil War song I could get my hands on, old hymns and relaxing instrumentals. (Listening to some now as I type!) Again, get permission first. Also, please keep in mind that every time era had bad music, even the colonial days. Be very careful. For my historical fiction, I read the lyrics to songs, and if they’re good, I try to find a group that sings it that appeals to me. But again, be very careful, because music is one of the doors to your heart. That’s another post for another time, but when in doubt, stay away from it! For my modern day Christmas novella, I used conservative gospel music and conservative Christmas music to inspire me 😊
Collect quotes that make you think of your book. Think of your book’s theme and setting and look up quotes on that topic. For example, I ran across the quote “Don’t complain about things you’re not willing to change.” That applies to pretty much every book I write (even though I snagged it for a WWII idea I had 😊).
Pick your inspiration verse. For me, it is Jude 22 (as if y’all didn’t know that 😊). “And of some have compassion, making a difference.” That personifies what I want to do as a writer. But I also choose a verse for each of my books. For The Land of Cotton, that was Isaiah 19:2a, “…And they shall fight every one against his brother, and every one against his neighbour; city against city, and kingdom against kingdom.”
Above all, pray over each step and make sure that everything you are doing lines up with God’s will for your life!
Next time I post on writing, we’ll discuss the plotting stage: What I did and what I do now 😊
Hey, Y’all and Happy Confederate Memorial Day! I’m back with another 10 Totally Random Facts post! It’s been…*Checks to see when the last one was* nine months since I did one! Yikes! Well, it’s high time we bring this series back! May 10th is the anniversary of the death of Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson. Only 39 years old when he died, this amazing Confederate General is respected by northerners and southerners alike. Below, to celebrate this fine Christian’s memory, I’ve got 10 Totally Random Facts about him! Enjoy!
1. Stonewall Jackson is not a West Virginian. I’m sorry to all you Mountaineers out there, but Stonewall Jackson was born in Clarksburg, Va. Today, yes, this is part of West Virginia. But West Virginia wasn’t a state at the time and did not become a state until over a month after his death.
2. Stonewall Jackson was a teetotaler. Finding out as a young man that he had a natural desire for tobacco and alcohol, Jackson decided then and there that he would have no part in them. He feared anything a man could become addicted to. In fact, when he was wounded during the Battle of Chancellorsville, when his men tried to give him whiskey to dull the pain, he initially refused to drink it. (During that time soldiers carried it into battle as a medication/disinfectant. They didn’t have many of the medications we have today. This is not a justification, just an explanation.)
3. He only lost one battle. That’s right! Only one battle stained his pristine record, the Battle of Kernstown. (Read about this battle in my book “Our Heritage to Save” to find out why he lost this battle…and if he was really to blame!)
4. He had three children. Stonewall was married twice. His first wife, Elinor Junkin, gave birth to a stillborn son in 1854, who they never named. Elinor died shortly after her son. Later he married Mary Anna Morrison. They had a daughter, Mary Graham, who died in 1858 of a liver dysfunction. In 1862, Julia Laura was born, the only surviving child of Stonewall Jackson.
5. His horse’s name was “Little Sorrel.” Stonewall had originally purchased the horse from the Confederate war department as a gift for his wife. The horse had been captured from a Union supply line during the early days of the war. After riding the horse for a bit, he decided to keep him and send Anna another. People teased that the General’s feet would drag the ground because the sorrel was so little. The name stuck, making him the most famous Confederate war horse, next to Traveler 😊
6. The Bayonet was his favorite weapon. Gen. Jackson believed in keeping the peace if possible, but once a war was begun, he believed in getting it over with. He had his men drilled with the bayonet, some believe, to an excess, making sure they knew how to use it. His famous nickname came about because of a bayonet, actually. Confederate Gen. Bernard Bee approached him during the First Battle of Manassas Junction and informed him that Bee’s men were being beaten back. Gen. Jackson replied, “Well then, sir, we will give them the bayonet!” After this bold statement, Bee returned to his men and declared, “Rally men! Look, there is Jackson, standing like a stone wall! Rally behind the Virginians!” From that point on, Jackson was known as “Stonewall” and his men as “The Stonewall Brigade.” In fact, after the General’s death, the men got their brigade’s name officially changed from the 1st Virginia Brigade to the Stonewall Brigade.
7. Jackson had a sister who supported the Union. Laura Jackson Arnold and Stonewall had always been very close until the War Between the States erupted. Laura supported the Union, while Stonewall became the most loved General of the South. She said once that she would patch up the Union soldiers as fast as her brother could wound them. They never saw each other again. But even though she broke off their relationship, Stonewall showed his unending love for his little sister by naming his daughter Julia Laura, after his mother and sister, respectively.
8. Stonewall only bought one home. While a professor at the Virginia Military Institute, he bought a home on Washington Street. Today, it is the Home of the Stonewall Jackson House Museum. I’ve never been there, but it’s on my bucket list!
9. He gave himself a middle name. Stonewall was the only child in his family that didn’t have a middle name. It bothered him, especially when he was to enroll at the United States Military Academy at West Point. So, when his turn came to sign his name, he added his deceased father’s name to his own, Thomas Jonathan Jackson.
10. He married a North Carolina Gal! Yes, Mary Anna Morrison was a Tar Heel girl, even though the nickname came about during the war. Another fun fact about her family is that her sister Isabella was married to D. H. Hill, another Confederate General, and friend of Stonewall Jackson!
I could easily have made this into a 20+ Totally Random Facts post, but it’s got to end somewhere. 😊 Thank you for baring with me as I bragged on my absolute favorite American Hero! He was truly a great man of God and there are not enough words to express how I feel about him!
Something to think about: What are some of your favorite facts about Stonewall Jackson? If you have a blog, why not list your favorites there in honor of his memory? If you don’t, share them with a friend!
Supporting my Heritage,
Just a Friendly Reminder...
Book Review // Moby Dick
Hello Everyone! Today, I have another book review for you.! I know my past reviews have been book recommendations, but today, I’m going to venture into uncharted territory for me and give you a book warning 😊 I hope you find this helpful and please know that all opinions expressed here are my own and I in no way am trying to force you to agree with me. So, with that said, let’s get started!
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
A young seaman joins on with Capt. Ahab, who is obsessed with killing the White Whale, Moby Dick, who ate the captain’s leg. The book chronicles their journey to find Moby Dick and the final battle.
Genre: Adventure; Literary Classic Fiction; Quest; Tragedy
Setting: The Seven Seas 😉 Starts out in America
First, I will say that the copy I read was a children’s version of the book, Abridged and Adapted by Treasury of Illustrated Classics, 2009. So, while I have not read the unabridged version, I can honestly say I’m glad I didn’t. After reading more information on the full version on the internet, I was shocked by some topics that were (thankfully) left out of the children’s version.
Now, I did love the nautical feel of the story and the variety of backgrounds the seamen came from was very interesting to me 😊 Also the names were pretty neat.
But…there was far more negative reactions from me than positive. There was a professed Christian taking part in pagan worship, taking God’s name in vain, unbiblical comment about everyone being a child of God whether they are Christians or not, drinking, mysticism/devil worship, a muslim predicting a man’s death, a man thinking he was a prophet…and it was rather gory in my opinion.
That wasn’t everything, but I think you get the point.
Historical Accuracy: I don’t know what the era is supposed to be, I’m assuming 1800’s, but it rang true for me.
As a Reader: I personally didn’t like all the superstition and above negative content, but I did really enjoy learning about whaling and the method of catching the whale and processing it for food/resources.
As a Writer: I wish I could evoke setting so effortlessly in my writing. I felt like I was on a whaling ship! Also, some parts of the story seemed a bit rushed and random, which nobody wants in their writing, but again, this was an adaptation.
What I learned as a Reader: Whaling is dangerous and revenge consumes.
What I learned as a Writer: Setting is amazing! And be very careful what you write. You never know who is picking up your book and you definitely want it to be non-scarring for the reader!
Favorite Scene: Probably when they are catching a whale.
In conclusion, I would not recommend this book to anyone to be honest, but if you are going to read it, I would strongly urge you to wait until you are an adult.
Thank you for stopping by today! Also, I recently updated by post on Journey to Love with a book graphic from the author, so check that out!
Have a blessed day!
Christian. American. Southern. Author.
Subscribe for Blog Updates and a Free Short Story!