2018 Favorite Reads

Stack_of_booksThe books below were some of my favorite reads during this past year. They are all worth a read if you enjoy fantasy.

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Meanderings

Quill_Pen_BlueA kind of follow-up on last week’s post. [this might have been better as a Father’s Day post.]

I’ve discovered I give my characters a lot of the values and ethics that I was raised with.

My father was honest to a fault and prized honesty highly. He was also a kind man. A neighbor came over to help with some work on the farm. When the neighbor left, my Dad’s brand-new winter denim work coat was also gone. Now we weren’t rich and there definitely weren’t any $ to replace that work coat, but rather than get upset or vindictive, all my dad said was, “He must need it more than I do.” and used his old, thread-bare coat the rest of the winter.

Don’t get me wrong. Dad did not condone stealing or dishonesty. As children we quickly learned that telling the truth and taking the punishment for our actions was definitely the preferable route to take.

My dad loved to fish, and he was very good at it. If he knew any family in our community that were having hard times, he would always fish long enough so that he could take them enough fish to feed their family for several meals.

We were always taught that you are no better than anyone else, nor were we anyworse than anyone else.

About a week ago I fractured a disc in my back… if this post sounds maudlin I blame it on the pain pills.

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Surprises

Stack_of_booksI frequently take historical facts from “this” world (mainly European-based or American-based) and translate them into events in my broadly European-based “fantasy” world.

Wars, plagues, the 1922 flu epidemic–which killed many in my family–etc. have all been appropriated (although moved to a much earlier time with details changed).

I’ve also used information from the genealogy research I did multiple years ago to create scenes etc. When researching some of my ancestors and branches of the family tree, I discovered a [Roman Catholic] nun’s (well she wasn’t actually a nun yet because she hadn’t taken her final vows) description of the clothes she was forced to wear and what she thought it symbolized (since she had not entered the nunnery willingly but had been placed there against her will by her family).  Because she and others in her same situation had not taken their “final vows” and were not yet “brides of Christ”, in addition to the normal habit (covered from head to toe with only face showing), they were required to wear veils to cover all of their faces besides their eyes–since the nun’s believed that their faces might tempt men who saw them into the sin of lust.

She described herself and others in her position who were at that “facility” as property — since in her mind she had been pretty much sold into slavery to the nuns.

Although I do not have convents and/or nuns in my world, I used her description of her clothes and  what it symbolized to her in a story.

Another genealogy item I used was a description of my great-grandfather who I had never known. A lady described him and noted that what she remembered most was his startling blue eyes and his nanny-goat beard. For a very much younger me that struck a marvelous picture in my mind that I have since used in stories.

There are still other genealogical stories/tales about my ancestors that haven’t yet made it into any story… but they are waiting on the sidelines to be included and will be one day.

When I think about it, I frequently surprised at how much I take from this world/life and put into my fictional world.

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