Monday, September 30, 2013

Darcy Dead!?!

Bridget Jones' fans horror at death

Beyond The Mugshot: Bowler Hats, Mustaches, and Mayhem

Beyond the Mugshot Book

Read the article by Garrett Ellison, then look at the pictures.
Basic descriptions of the criminals, their dastardly deeds, and sentences.  I hope you enjoy these as much as I have!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Chocolate Tastes Different

Does the shape of chocolate change its taste?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Karen Woodward: The Starburst Method: Summarizing Your Story In One Sentence

Here is another great article from Karen Woodward definitely worth the read!

Karen Woodward: The Starburst Method: Summarizing Your Story In One Sentence

Women in Gutter Journalism, The Arena, Dec 1896

 In the previous post I talked about the article by Joe Saltzman.  In that article he quotes from Haryot Hold Cahoon's article called "Women in Gutter Journalism."

I wanted to read the article for myself.  
Here it is for you too!

The Gutenberg Project

pg. 568 - Haryot Holt Cahoon: "Women in Gutter Journalism"


Early Women Newspaper Reporters

You may not know, but I am also a writer. Recently I have become fascinated with newspapers from the turn of the century (the Century before this one. :-)

This is a fantastic article called Sob Sisters: The Image of the Female Journalist in Popular Cultures by Joe Saltzman, Director, Image of the Journalist in Popular Cultures (IJPC). As you read the article you will learn that Sob Sisters refers to women reporters.  They were usually given the stories that would make you sob.

Read for yourself and enjoy!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Karen Woodward: Using Public Domain Characters In Your Stories

Last night I was looking around for Public Domain information.  I came across this great blog about characters that are and are not in the public domain and why.

Karen Woodward: Using Public Domain Characters In Your Stories


Help Me Find A Story Title

In a pervious post I talked about finding ideas from old newspapers.  I am going to take the one step further and give you a bunch of newspaper headings that have popped out while I was reading.  Yes, these are real!


  • Meanest Man in Ward County  
  • Started Hike Minus Cloths
  • A Mormon Flower
  • A Star Prisoner
  • The Nursery
  • England's Best Soldier
  • Mean To Invade Canada

I will keep adding to this list so return again!

The Cherished Old Newspaper!

In my blog post: Old Newspaper As Short Story Inspiration, I talked about the Library of Congress's fantastic collection of old newspapers. 

Well, I have found another website that lists American and International Newspapers.  What I like about this website is the fact it tells me if I need to pay for the privilege to read the newspaper. 


And there are lots and lots of old newspapers that are free! 

This site is also soooo much faster than the Library of Congress and it allows you to pick columns for a closer read instead of zooming into the whole newspaper.

As if that future wasn't great enough, you can print the one column you picked! 

Enough already Kateri, let me see!

ICON: International Coalition on Newspapers

The International Coalition on Newspapers project develops strategies to preserve and improve access to newspapers from around the globe, working on issues including bibliographic access, copyright, and information dissemination. ICON was officially established in 1999 by 13 charter members and is based at the Center for Research Libraries.

ICON’s newspaper preservation program addresses challenges related to the storage and preservation of international newspaper collections, such as inadequate storage conditions and lack of funds for microfilming. ICON selects titles for preservation microfilming with issues coming from the collections of participating institutions.

ICON provides a freely accessible database of bibliographic information for more than 25,000 newspaper titles from participating institutions. ICON also actively coordinates and supports cataloging of international newspapers in participating U.S. libraries to increase the availability of bibliographic and holdings records.

ICON provides a clearinghouse of information about international newspapers and preservation efforts. ICON collects and disseminates newspaper preservation policies from around the world and compiles preservation standards for microfilming, digitization, and retention of materials in their original formats. In addition, ICON seeks to augment the online presence of scholarly and professional information about international newspapers by digitizing bibliographic aids and reference works.

ICON is supported in part through grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Its advisory board is comprised of representatives from the Library of Congress, British Library, Library and Archives Canada, University of Illinois, and University of Washington; many other institutions participate in ICON's preservation, database, cataloging, and survey projects.

Hope you Enjoy!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

1913 Ward County North Dakota Happenings - Funny!

The Ward County Independent, North Dakota, September 1913

Archie Whipple, of White Earth, who had just located in the King's Domain, was visited by a series of misfortunes.  At Portal he fell from his car and broke his wrist and sprained his ankle,  at Moose Jaw someone stole his fine full-blooded chickens, and arriving at h is destination, he became lost on the prairie and was rescued by the Indians.

A carpenter employed on an elevator here became suddenly insane and stripped off his cloths started down the railway track.  When overtaken by fellow workmen he resisted.  Later he was persuaded to return and don his clothing and a short time afterward resumed his work though he has since acted in a peculiar manner.
Climbing telephone poles and chasing feather chickens was the pastime in which a stranger, who gave the name of Andres Boland, was engaged when taken into custody here for an examination as to his sanity.  He claimed to have come her from Pennsylvania and is undoubtedly of a mildly insane type

Andrew Boland, arrest at Tioga for insanity, was found to be only drunk.  He had tried to climb telephone poles.

Two threshers were arrested at Lansford charged with bootlegging.  Justice Cook allowed them to go after he has severely reprimanded them. 

A passenger coach was left out on the prairie west of Powers Lake one day last week to permit the conductor and passengers to hung prairie chickens.
C.T. Homes, the Soo line agent at North Portal, sustained a broken jaw while motoring four miles from Kenmare.  His steering gear went wrong and the machine turned turtle.  Homes walked to Kenmare where the haw was set and wired. 



Friday, September 13, 2013

Old Newspaper As Short Story Inspiration

There is a wealth of historical information contained in a newspaper.  Births, robberies, national news, gossip, and obituaries all supply the new or established author with more ideas and information than can be used in a lifetime.

Amit Agarwal has a great blog post called How to Find Old Newspaper Articles Online. He has a long list of sites to find newspapers; some require a fee.

My absolute favorite site to find historical American facts is the Library of Congress.  I go there for everything!

The date today is September, 12, 2013.  Let’s look at a newspaper from 100 years ago.  The best way to view is to download the pdf file.  I found trying to read the paper online was very difficult due to the pixilation.

The Bismarck Daily Tribune, September 12, 1913, Bismarck, North Dakota.   The front page has an article called Man Murdered in a Drunken Row By Six Companions in a Box Car.  According to the article Antoine Rigori, an Ital­ian laborer working on railroad construction gang six miles east of Bismarck, was slashed and cut with knives by his six companions and died al­most instantly.  It continues to report how two local men apprehended three and collected the $50 cash prize.  The remaining three are on the run and believed to have made their way to Mandan by following the river.

The article does continue, but I will let you read it for yourself.  I am inspired enough to write my own short story based on this article!

Good Luck!


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Name That Character! Best Way to Find the Correct Name for Your Western Novel

Writing a book is the easy part if you ask me.  It's the names to give my characters that can take me hours. You want the right era name for the cowboy, widow, civil war veteran, or child. You probably would not have met an 1800s Texas cowboy named Keanu unless his parents were Hawaiian. (Maybe in the gold fields of California, but not in Texas.)

The best and most accurate place to find authentic names for a Western Novel, or any American novel, is to look at census reports for that time.  It is easier than you think, and free!

American Census Reports

First determine where your characters were born and what state.  The census reports began in 1790 and were collected every ten years.  The National Archives Record Administration (NARA) delays their release by 70 years, which is for privacy protection, therefore the newest census report is from 1930. There is a separate Indian Census report for the years 1885 -1940. 

Go to, choose the year of your search, the state, then county.  You don't need to get so specific about the county, but it can add to your character's background!  

Lets look at the 1850 census.

1850 census, Flint Michigan, September 8, 1850

The census reports were hand written, so you may need to decipher some of it. You can view it online or download the pdf file.  I suggest just viewing online. The 1850 census does not have a great deal of information as the later reports, but you will see family groups and where they were born.  This is great information!  You can have the names of your character's father, mother, country they were born and names of siblings!  It even lists ages!

Here is a closer picture of the 1850 census. 
You can see Caleb Gilles 35 years old born in NY, his wife Elizabeth 25, born in Scotland and their daughter Meargaut (sp?) born in MI.
Under this family another possibly a bother to Caleb.

The possibilities for great novels are endless for these two families!

That's too much work!

You say that is a lot of work for just a couple names?  How about looking at the Social Security Administration.  They actually have male and female lists of the most popular baby names from the 1880s to the 2000s. They have also separated the names by states too!  How convenient! 

According to their website:
Popular names by decade are determined the same way we determine the popularity of a name during a single year. We count the number of occurrences of each name during the decade, and then rank them in order of decreasing frequency. Rank 1 is assigned to the name with the highest number of occurrences, rank 2 to the name with the next highest, and so on.

Popular names by decade (1880s - 2000s):
Popular names by state (1960 - 2012) :
Popular names by US Territory (1998 - 2012):

Let the naming begin!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Montana, Stories of the Land

Here is a fantastic fee resource I am using to help write my newest eBook tentatively called Letters from Montana.  It is about a Civil War veteran living on a ranch in Montana that gets lonely enough to advertise for a wife. The outline is written and I am just filling in the chapters.  Look for it in the beginning of 2014!

Montana Stories of the Land:

This is a free textbook created to help teach and learn about Montana.  There is a lot of great facts that can be weaved into your story.  It will also help with your timeline - you don't want to put an electric locomotive before its time!