In the writing room right now ...

In the writing room right now ... I have taken down the brown "butcher" paper that held ideas, photos, drawings, and my hand-drawn maps and plot outlines for the past five or six books. I've placed all those items into three-ring binders, and cleared the deck for paintings and photographs that involve courage, as I move forward in GHOSTKEEPER, the new novel set in Lyndonville, Vermont. My 1850 Vermont adventure THE LONG SHADOW is under contract with Five Star/Cengage -- I will give you a publication date as soon as I know! Scribbling lots of poems, too. And there's a possible route to publication of the "Vermont Nancy Drew" novel I built on Wattpad (see right-hand column). Yes, I guess I do like multi-tasking! How about you?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Genealogy: A Mystery Tour in Progress

Yesterday's Independence Day celebration in our home included guests for supper whose political persuasions are often the opposite of ours. It makes some parts of the conversation challenging. Yet we treasure the work of respecting each other's views, supporting each other in our choices, and occasionally, usually with some humor, protesting each other's convictions. This is, for me, what being an American is often about: not just knowing our differences, but "having them to dinner."

It's hard work when it reaches inside and presses those inner buttons of who we are and why we choose to be that way. Right now, my quest for more family history fits weill with most of my close family members -- but rubs one or two of them wrong. I'm hoping those individuals will continue to tolerate my investigating, but I've learned enough from our politically different friends to realize that within family, too, there come moments when the assignment is simply: Stop talking about it. Relax. Enjoy the strawberry shortcake and the thunderstorms together.

Today, as I rotate back into work mode after three days of family, I took a few minutes to also catch up on the genealogy-related e-mails in my stack. There were a couple of them from, where the slow labor of indexing all of the 1940 Census data, state by state, has now reached ten: CO, DE, DC, ME, NV, NY, OH, PA, TN, VT, VA. For me, that also meant 18 more documents that the Ancestry search engines thought might apply to my family tree -- and it turned out 17 of the 18 did indeed connect. Fun! I was also glad to find that New Hampshire is among the next set of records to be indexed, as that's where I'm looking for some farm connections from my mother's family, geared to that 1940 Census.
Because the novels I'm writing connect most of all with how difference is expressed and experienced in New England (usually from the point of view of a teen, most often a young woman), these history mysteries in my own family give me extra energy to keep exploring ... and keep writing. 

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