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Archive for October, 2013

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… because she has no idea how. Yet.

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NaNo Cometh!

My friend, Molly, over at Grass Oil is right. I have been off-grid for the most part, dealing with stuff–vacation, day-job, and the general blahness and mundane bullshit of not being a full time writer. Well, I’m about to go hard-core off-grid and take up the NaNo challenge.

While I do have the NaNo web page pulled up to register, I’ve not done it yet, and I’ve forgotten what the word count requirement is. I think it’s 50k in a month. The summer heat is officially gone, what with the frost that came last night, so I have no excuse reason to go out in the yard and muck about with koi ponds and such. I can turn this 5900 word outline into 50k, I know I can. It feels like a dare, and I can’t pass up a dare.

What helped me make this decision was running into my #2 fan. She reminded me that she’s waiting to see what happens next and WHEN CAN I READ THE NEXT BOOK??? 

If all goes as planned, we can repeat the events of a Christmas Past.

I’m ignoring that that Christmas event was two years ago. The book didn’t go out on sub until October 2012 and it’s doing juuuust fine.

So will this one.

I just gotta write it.

If I get the NaNo page loaded up and find I can’t start with this outline, that’s fine. I have several other projects with dragons, shifters, and Bigfoot.

I’m going in.

Happy Halloween! Happy Thanksgiving!

See you on the other side!

 

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Ancestors and Mysteries

Last week I mentioned looking for two ancestors and not being able to find an actual record of them other than word of mouth through the family. Well, I found one of them last weekend when I couldn’t find it in me to write.

“Finn” it turned out was named Fendall, or Fenelon, depending on which Civil War record, or which census, you read. He, of his own will, joined the Confederate Army in 1862 and was wounded in battle at Gettysburg. He recuperated, was listed with honors for the battle, and rejoined his unit. Then this happened a few years later….

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Rebel Deserter.

You know that sinking feeling you get from head to toe, but especially in your gut, when you ride that swinging boat at the fair? That. Then I found the record of him taking the oath into the Union Army. It’s hard to have that nugget of knowledge because we who are alive now will never know why he deserted, and “desert” is a strong word. But it does explain why, according to oral history, he came home from the war in a blue uniform.

There are a lot of strange things going on with him, not least of all is the 1870 census showing his twin boys at eight months old (when Eugene’s gravestone says they were born in 1864), living in separate family households (which matches family stories), and his wife not being Blondene Whitedeer, but someone named Catherine. He was listed on that census as “not living in the home.” After that, he disappeared. Some say that after the war he went to New Orleans to survey the break-up of the plantations, some say he went west. All say he left and never came home.

That twin son in the other household? I was told he died in a “buggy accident” with his mother, Blondene. The mysteries deepen.

It took me years to find anything about Finn, only to have him disappear again. Maybe he didn’t want to be found? Why not? Where did Blondene go? Where did she come from?

What happened? 

I may never have my answers, but I will always keep searching.

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As you could tell from yesterday’s blog–and the huge gap of time since the last blog–that I had been on vacation. Today is technically the last day of that vacation, with tomorrow being the one year anniversary of sending out a sub that’s still playing out. It’s fine, because they recently let me know I’m still under consideration. It was a shitty time to leave because of day-job stuff and writing, but I needed a vacay to shed some stress and plot and plan for works in progress. So I took it. *boom*

Jerks.

I am ignoring youuuuuu.

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No, I am NOT behind the cones. *ahem*

I did mention that the Great Smoky Mountain National Park was closed, right? National park, and all that. Government BS, and all that.

The road through the Smokys has pull-offs where you’re supposed to be allowed to pull over and take pictures. More than half of those pull-offs were blocked by orange cones. They must have run out of cones about half-way over the mountain, because the higher up we went, the fewer cones we saw.

My husband loves the mountains, so if you think I was going to disappoint him by not stopping, you’re wrong.

 

If there’s another gap in blogging, it’ll be because the feds have shown up to arrest us for walking in a closed national park.

Criminals. Federal. Criminals.

Before we went up the mountain, we went to the Museum of the Cherokee because I was, of course, doing research for a book when I was supposed to be relaxing. I was… disappointed. The museum isn’t in the greatest shape. My grandmother’s great-grandmother? came from these mountains, from these people that I can so vaguely call my own, and it made me sad to see the condition of the museum. While there was a lot of information on how the reservation came to be, how the chiefs went to Europe, etc., it didn’t have many of the more obscure legends I needed, and frankly, expected to find. We wandered, and wandered, and frowned and frowned… until I found a case of masks.

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Look under “D.”

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The ONE bear mask I found anywhere on the entire reservation.

I’m suddenly going into fits and calling, “Honey! Look!” through a very quiet museum. I had my answer. My ever present notebook stayed closed, because that was the information I needed, that one sentence, and everything fell right into place. The answer to the question of why there is no bear clan in the Seven Clans of the Cherokee. A few steps down, I found a board that told the exact story of why they went into the woods, but that’s just gravy.

This book of mine started many years ago with a unique road sign that’s several hundred miles away from an offhand description under a mask, and my infatuation with my lost great-great-great? grandmother, known only as Blondene. I’ve never mentioned her before, but she and her husband, possibly named Finn, are a dead end on that branch of our family tree–a tree that goes back to around 500-ish AD in other directions. Having it come to such a slamming all-stop with her so relatively close to me has always bugged me.

I have a copy of a picture of her, put away for safety. I just might have to go dig out that box, hang her picture on the wall again, and then hope I don’t insult her memory with the liberties I’ll be taking in the story.

We had a great vacation, and now it’s time to get back to work. But I’m pooped because we did a lot of hiking (on the reservation, you men-in-black, you), and processing everything running in my head is sort of insane.

One last observation about the mountains? The deep mountains? In some places, the canopy makes it so dark you can barely see your hand in front of your face at high-noon. You can look up into the night sky and see so many stars that it’ll blow your mind; the sounds that echo through the valleys and down the hollows can be totally scary shit. When the government decides to get it’s act together, go. Because, yanno, I’m not going to encourage anyone else to be a criminal.

*snort*

p.s.

Happy Birthday to my daughter, Amanda. I love you more than you can imagine.

No, you cannot have a puppy.

 

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park

With that mess in Washington, all the national parks are closed. While the road through the park was open to traffic, the GSMNP itself was closed.

We chose to become criminals. Technically. Because, yanno, we got out of the car.

See that picture up there? I took it. That was a potential once in a lifetime sight and I wasn’t missing it.

Somehow, I don’t feel at all bad about our life of crime.

Bite me, Washington.

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