Wednesday, October 29, 2014

What is Historical Fiction?

Storytelling, lies, truth distortion, stretching it a bit, what is historical fiction? I just finished reading two books, one a modern day western, with historical flashbacks, and the other from the genre of historical fiction. In many cases I can’t tell the difference between westerns and historical fiction.

I often read through various online review sites and found some interesting reviews of the two books. Below is a summary of what I found – just the bad stuff.

1.    People complain that it doesn’t tell the whole story (It’s not a history book)

2.   It didn’t really happen that way (fiction)

3.   Plays too much with the facts (?)

4.   Varies from history (yep)

5.   Spelling and grammar errors (This should be fixed, but I did not notice much in my reading – might be some readers are looking for errors and not the story)

6.   Not enough research (This is what makes historical fiction great, an author can do as much or as little research as they want. Then run with their version of the story)

My point to this post is simple, it’s historical FICTION, not nonfiction. My Idea, at least what I like to read, of historical fiction is this – a story based on something real, a historical event. After that it’s up to the author. I am not crazy about mixed up time periods in historical fiction, but other than that I like every good story.

        What about fiction or westerns with no, real, to them, love them. Sometimes truth is better than fiction, but I can get completely lost in a great story. In the end it is still all about the story!
A notch in the Haystack Mountains of the Laramie Range Wyoming - This could be the basis for a good western story.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Great Western Line

Not sure if anyone ever rated, The Proving Trail, as one of Louis L’Amour’s best novels. I like to read what I classify as western mysteries and this is a good one.  I love this line from the novel, to me it is one of the best lines that late Mr. L’Amour ever put on paper.

“The way I see it, every time a man gets up in the morning he starts his life over. Sure, the bills are there to pay, and the job is there to do, but you don't have to stay in a pattern. You can always start over, saddle a fresh horse and take another trail.”
In my life I have done that a couple of times, changed directions, took another trail and you know what? Never regretted it. Who knows? Maybe I will try it again, just because I am retired, it’s never too late to saddle a new horse and ride a new trail.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Maybe I Am Not Who You Think I Am

Are any of you, like me, trying to decide what penname you will be using after you become famous and want to write as someone else? Just kidding, but I find pennames to be an interesting study. Why do people use them, to remain anonymous I suppose, but why? Seems I know more writers that would like to be famous than those who would like to remain unknown.

Mark Twain might be the most famous of all, but many other writers, some quite famous, have written with names other than their own. Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Benjamin Franklin, Nora Roberts, J. K Rowling, And Charles Dickens among hundreds of others wrote at times with pennames. Some, which no one would ever suspect to have used pen names, like Agatha Christie and Emily Bronte also used pseudonyms when it suited them.

A few years ago I was flabbergasted to learn that two of my favorite western series writers, Dana Fuller Ross and Donald Clayton Porter were one in the same – Noel Bertram Gerson. I guess this falls under the heading of, you learn something every day.

Now I am beginning to think many of you that I follow are likely famous and using aliases on line so that I will not find out.

Or - probably not!
 Saw this little guy last evening just before dark

Monday, October 6, 2014

Home At Last

Maybe that's the best part of going away for a vacation-coming home again.” ―  Madeleine L'Engle, Meet the Austins
The North Platte River a few blocks from HOME
It is always nice to be back home. For me, two weeks away is too much. I love to see and experience new places, always learn a lot. But am always ready to get back home usually after a few days.

Have you ever noticed how plain things around you are? Then you go away and come back, and everything looks extraordinary. If for no other reason that is a good argument to take a vacation. We didn’t go far, not by today’s standards, but for us quite a trip.

The highlights? The Vicksburg Mississippi Battlefield National Park, and a riverboat ride in Branson Missouri. 
Southern Cemetery at Vicksburg - sobering
Questions I would like answered from my trip.

1.    Are there any live armadillos? I sure saw a lot of road killed ones. I have a theory that all armadillos are dead and there are no live ones, not sure but could be – maybe not.

2.   Are speed limits just a suggestion? Sure seems that way.

3.   Does Louisiana have more trees per acre than any other state?

-New to me, food, on this trip-

1. Jambalaya – not bad, surprised me, I kind of liked it

2. Southern Blackened Chicken – too hot for this ol’ Cowboy

3. *Arbuckle Fried Pies at Turner Falls, Oklahoma – now we’re talking, very good

The red beans and rice with cornbread - good both times I tried it, as always.

*Not my first rodeo here, love this place.

        Well there it is, my vacation report – Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and Oklahoma. Now its home until February.

The sun sets over the Mississippi River at Vicksburg
“How often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.”  William Faulkner