That Moment When Your Historical Fiction Isn’t Fiction

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You’ve plotted your historical fictional short story. You’ve performed the research to the minutest detail, so the story is historically correct. The words of your story unfold in your editor and suddenly your initial story and your research meld together to reveal your story isn’t fictional at all. Has your muse tricked you or are history (reality) and fiction (make-believe) related in some way?

Mark Twain said, “The only difference between reality and fiction is that fiction needs to be credible.”

In my current fictional novella WIP: MASKED IDENTITIES there is a historical fiction short story interwoven within a contemporary storyline. The interior story takes place in 1890 London and focuses on a developing relationship between two young men from opposite sides of the tracks – so to speak. Their relationship is prohibited by Victorian law because they are of a homosexual persuasion.

I selected springtime, initially the second week of April for the interior story because spring is generally the season associated with romance. A note here – the Victorian story is not a full-on gay romance, but a budding attraction.

In the story, two men meet by accident at a public place. I researched popular establishments where young London gentlemen could accidentally meet, yet be believable. I narrowed my options to three popular locations doing business in April 1890.

Since I’ve never set foot in London nor did I live in the Victorian era. I reconstructed a map of London out of 15 pages of typing paper which I taped onto the wall behind my desk. (Google Search and I became quite good friends during the four months spent on online research.) I marked each potential location on my crude map to comprehend their proximity. The marked locations included where each young man resided, possible sites for their meetings and so on.

I decided on the locations for each scene. First was a trendy pub frequented by young Londoners after an evening performance at a nearby theater. My research turned up playbills for the theatrical productions at the chosen theater during the month of April. I further discovered actual images of the production reviews in archived newspapers of the time period and an original menu from the pub where the first meeting occurred.

The second meeting was at Hyde Park and later the young men cross the street to the Queen’s Horse Guard Barracks. While in the barracks, the young men are rounded up in a raid organized by Scotland Yard. This is where research (history) and story (fiction) headed for a collision course. There was an actual raid on the barracks, substantiated by newspaper accounts and (old) Scotland Yard records. The raid took place one week before the date I had arbitrarily selected for my story. I checked the playbills for the theatrical production at the Queen’s Palace Theater and discovered one of the most successful theatrical productions of 1890 played at the theater during the same week of the barracks raid. I moved the story setting up one week to correspond with the historical data.

Other than the fictional characters in the interior story, the short story depicts actual events and business establishments per historical records. I thought my story was simply something I’d concocted in my imagination until my research data proved otherwise. The remaining research fleshed out terminology, slang phrases, and recreating a similar writing voice of that used in under-the-counter “smut” stories sold during the Victorian era.

Following the completion of the first rewrite, I submitted the manuscript (through an author friend via her ex-boyfriend) to the Royal Historical Society, London, England. After several emails back and forth from the Society, my manuscript was verified as being historically and technically accurate. 

Was it a coincidence my made up story parallelled events in history? Or, are there no more original stories to tell, only the art of retelling? Or, in a past life, did I live in Victorian London? Or maybe “It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone.” — Rod Serling, introduction to the 1959-1964 TV Series.

 

MASKED IDENTITIES (fictional novella)

Brooke thought she had read every book in her grandad’s extensive collection of fiction until she stumbles upon an unfamiliar title. Curious, she delves into the book, to realize her own relationship with her boyfriend of four years parallels the Victorian short story she is reading of Ezra and Christian. Can a story of infatuation between two men provide the answers to salvage her floundering relationship?

The manuscript is currently being evaluated by Beta Readers.
Anticipated to be released later in the year.

 

 

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#DaleThele #Author #Novelist #Writer #Fiction

Interview with author Pamela Lee

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Pamela Lee and I initially met online through LinkedIn, from there we connected on Facebook and then moved onto communication through email. In this crazy world of social media and online networks, occasionally a real one-on-one friendship evolves. I was fortunate to have discovered a genuine friend in Pamela, a colleague to share ideas, inspiration, and encouragement. The following is a text from a recent interview I conducted with Pamela.

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Pamela Lee, Author

Interview with Pamela Lee

Dale: How and when did you get into writing?

Pamela: Writing came to me at age 7—my pencil poised above my ‘fancy paper.’ In the middle of a patch of Mayflowers, I had tramped down into a perfect circle. My own first created writing sanctuary.

How blissful to be close to the earth, with the sound of bees buzzing around me, the sun shining on my skin. I could almost TOUCH the air, nibble on it. The scents, sounds. That was the day my senses were truly awakened. The day I became AWARE… and was reborn.

As I write now, the image of blonde little tomboy [me] appears and I remember being so proud and careful each time I took a sheet of that floral scented paper from the box of stationery my Gramma gave me for Christmas. Each sheet I carefully titled with my word of the day—starting with the very first one. SPECTACULAR! I loved using exclamation marks. From there I added goals, wishes, observations. I was intense and passionate about life, even at 7.

We MUST have passion in our hearts to be writers, oui? For, what more lonely existence is there than that of a writer when we drift into that place. After all, with no passion—how can we writers persistently and consistently go on..and on.. and on.

Life ensued from there. Writing, a thing I did here and there through school, through several careers where I did ad copy, business plans, letters to editors. Etcetera.

I began WRITING, seriously, on October 1, 2006 — 50 years later. There is a long and involved story about why THAT date but suffice to say it involved invasive breast cancer, a follow-up heart attack to put a period on the end of that sentence, mother murder, a need to honour that mother—and a sense of my own mortality.

Dale: Which genre(s) do you prefer to write, and why?

Pamela: You could have knocked me over with a feather when I discovered I had poems within me—in 2012. Again, over the age of 60.

Much to my astonishment, I have won awards with my poems. Go figure!

I always assumed poetry was beyond my education and ability (I have grade 10) and was only for egg-heads. The smart people. Little did I know until these alien things (poems) started rushing out of me that you can say SO much in 600 words! Taught me yet another life lesson. NEVER assume.

F.Y.I, dear reader, poetry is the polar OPPOSITE to my writing style where I use many words and love to spin imagery with my prose… as you may have picked up here… lolol

Bored yet?

I wonder if I should add that I am currently working on a lit erotica novel and yes, I do love writing in that genre. It’s all about commercial when it comes to writing about that subject. Wouldn’t we all love to make a living with our writing?

Dale: Who is your most favorite character from your own writing, and why?

Pamela: Louise Kovats. Beloved Sister and best friend of protagonist Annie. An intensely complicated and endearing character in my Holy Snappin’ series, introduced in Book 1, Call Me J.

5-Star

Louise appears firstly as a simple, sweet incredibly humble and giving female child whose only wish in life is to be a good mother and wife. Her wishes are realized as she builds a home and a family of four beautiful children, circa mid-century set in South Western Ontario, Canada.

Her world falls apart when she suffers postpartum depression with child #3 then unravels completely with postpartum psychosis with child number 4. It was a huge challenge to define the level of care for severely compromised mentally ill patients in that era—or lack thereof, and their families. The paragraphs involving this character are graphic and upsetting with such images as the description of her obsession with cutting off her own lips with scissors. But, sadly, many parts of Louse are irrefutably relatable for who does not have someone in their family dealing with this debilitating malady? Louise’s struggles were hard to write for this book is grounded on a true story close to my heart. Louise will eventually commit suicide in Book 3 of the series after YEARS of a truly handicapped lifestyle, losing her family and suffering greatly with this debilitating disease.

Dale: What do you hope to get across in your writing?

Pamela: That no one is immune to horrific pain—that everyone has a story that no screenplay could outdo-—that we are never alone–and that we must NEVER give up. My family saga Call me J and ensuing books in the series is a story of faith, love, unrelenting hurt AND joy. And that there IS a ‘’6 degree of separation.”

Dale: Are there any genres you would never consider writing, and why?

Pamela: Sci-fi/fantasy The genre does not move or engage me—So, even if someone said to me “Here’s a cool million. Create a sci-fi novel”—I’d have to rip up the cheque (not that anyone pays with cheques anymore—lol)

Also—horror—I find it difficult to read some Stephen King’s stuff. SOME I can do, but others? NOT! Even at close to 70, my mind is still too fertile and susceptible to seeing what he is writing. Freaks me the heck out! Example-The Mist. But loved the Green Mile.

Dale: What is your favorite book you have read, and why?

Pamela: When asked this question I made myself zone out, avoid overthinking and just let the answers come. Oh and here’s something interesting. Once I had gathered my notes, I noticed that all of these books have a movie adaptation. How fascinating!

Historical Fiction-
#1-Hawaii—James Michener. Why? Like my aha moment at age 7, reading this novel was a life-changing experience. 12-year-old tackles her first big fat read. And falls in LOVE with reading. Every Michener novel hence evoked the same emotions.
#2-Clan of the Cave Bear—Jean Auel. Who WASN’T fascinated with Ayla and her story?

Crime/Fiction-
#1-True Crime—In Cold Blood—Truman Capote. Edgar Award winner but failed to haul in the Pulitzer. I would SAY, considering it wasn’t exactly fiction! I read a piece somewhere that Harper Lee, a buddy of Capote’s, helped him collect 6000 pages of data on the crime. The Why? Riveting. Sickening. Massively gobsmacking at how base humans can be against their species. I couldn’t put it down.
#2-The Lovely Bones—Alice Sebold. The most memorable first lines, ever!!! “My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973.” I wanted to ROOT for her sooooo bad—like we do for the heroine…but how could I? Breathtaking.

Drama/Romance
#1-The Notebook—Nicholas Sparks. Oh, come ON… Of COURSE, this had to top my list. I (and every heterosexual woman) wants to be Allie. I want my man to be Noah.
#2-Where The Heart Is—Billie Letts. Oprah’s Book Club choice. Fabulous movie adaptation to a NEVER GIVE UP novel.

Autobiography—Why Not?—Shania Twain. I felt like her SISTER! Great job done by Shania and her (assumed) ghostwriter!!

Non-fiction. On Writing—Stephen King. FINALLY, short and sweet and oh so authentically real. I did not feel alone in this crazy thing we do once I read On Writing. From the very first bite into this book, I was transported. I found myself nodding and nodding again. It was like I myself was sharing all the nuances of the art. Sooo much like my experience. Yours’ too, I’m sure. Nooo, I am, not holding myself up beside the writer, Stephen King—but instead beside the man who understands and lies it all out on the table.

Just because books—To Kill A Mockingbird, and Gone With The Wind.

Dale: Which authors have inspired you, and why?

Pamela: I cannot deny it. I am in awe of the prolific writer. Like—how do they DO that? The research. The art of chaining it all together without losing theme or character progression, storylines and depth—page one to the last word. Book after book after book. It still stops me up when I browse through my local library and see an entire row of novels—from the same author. I am particularly keen on series with the same characters—Example: The J.D. Robb In Death Series. Ohhh, Eve, Darling. There are too many to list.

Dale: What genres do you most enjoy reading?

Pamela: Family sagas. Historical fiction. Murder mystery.

Dale: Many writers/artists/content creators adopt habits in dress, writing paraphernalia, location. Tell us about your day?

Pamela: When I accidentally fell into writing at 58 years old, I quickly realized I had to look at it like a business. Writing, untrained writing with trial and error strategies and an end goal, must be taken seriously. If I was going to look at this new discovery as a career, then I must attack it as I had done in my past careers.

I write from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. I dress comfortably, often in loose PJ’s. a baseball cap. I do not answer the phone but have a local favorite classic rock radio station playing softly in the background. I like to sit where I can look outside towards nature. I make NO other plans for the day. It is my J.O.B. for the day.

Dale: Any final words?

Pamela: Yes. Before I became a writer, I had NO idea how it would take over my life when I wrote. I had no idea how my work would, on occasion, be regarded as frivolous and selfish. And that loved ones would be jealous of the time I took to pursue this thing that had taken over me over the four-odd years it took me to write my debut novel and two additional books in the series.

As writers, poets, content creators, all too often, we have to FIGHT to be recognized that we DO have a job in our writing.

See. You are not alone.

Our chances of being successful and recognized are about the same as winning the lottery. It is all about timing, luck, patience, tenacity, faith.

With a big ole jigger of self-love to bring us through day after day.

NEVER, ever give in.

Or give up.

If you believe you will fail in completing your work, living that dream, you will fail.

If you believe you will succeed in finishing that work, you will.

Pamela Lee_CallMeJ(2)
Pamela Lee is a mother, grandmother, teacher, entrepreneur, Internet TV personality, survivor, friend, poet, author, and writer.

To learn more about Pamela visit her author website.

Purchase Pamela’s books at these fine retailers.

Contact Pamela through her contact page.

Free Short Story to Download!

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Harvest Moon

Just released a quick read short story originally written six years ago. The story was filed away and never saw the light of day, until now.

It’s a free download for a limited time. You don’t want to miss it! Download now to get your copy.

If you have friends who have not read my stories, this is a fantastic opportunity to introduce them.

“Unexpected encounters during a pre-dawn walk,
while under the spell of a Harvest Moon.“

Don’t have a digital ebook reader? No sweat, you can download the free Kindle app from Amazon for a laptop, computer, or mobile phone. This story is available worldwide in English.

Download your copy of HARVEST MOON at Smashwords.

#DaleThele  #Author #Novelist

NEW Release: ROADHOUSE FRIDAY (short story)

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An unidentified individual lets his imagination roam as he weaves detailed fictional stories based on his observations of ordinary folks he encounters during a Friday evening at the Roadhouse Diner.

I was thumbing through archived documents and came across two complete rough drafts of a short story I drafted in 2012. I “married” the two renditions into what developed into ROADHOUSE FRIDAY. The story emerged from observing people at a local Austin restaurant while having supper.

“WOW!” I said to myself, while dining, “there’s a story to be told.”

I wrote the rough draft and then I misplaced it, so I scribbled another draft. I filed the draft away. Recently, I rediscovered both completed drafts. I combined favorite passages from each draft into one story. That’s how ROADHOUSE FRIDAY came to be. You never know where a story idea might pop up.

ROADHOUSE FRIDAY is available for free download at Smashwords.

#DaleThele  #Author #Novelist

Grey Expanse Between Fact and Fiction

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There’s an old saying “write what you know” a popular expression among writers. So what happens when you write a story of “what you know” but you don’t have all the factors to conclude the story?

Over four decades ago, when I was a high school student, there were some unconventional incidents that took place in my teens. Years later, I considered writing an autobiography which would have revealed a real and intimate part of my life, but I was missing a key component, the “why did those events take place?” Without answers to that question, an autobiographical account was out of the question. Who’d want to read a book with no conclusion? Those events were real, and they changed not only my life but the lives of others. Yet I didn’t have the details to wrap up the story all tidy and neat.

On a personal note, I had struggled with the “why?” for years. I had kept that part of my life private because I worried to tell my story due to possible retaliation. For years, I wanted to put those memories behind me. I craved and needed closure.

Finally, the solution came to me. Couldn’t I write the “what I know” part and fill in the unknown “why” with fictional content? I wrote the rough draft and everything fell into place. The completed draft was a blend of fact and fiction. It answered every one of the unknown factors which eluded me for years. I had a complete story. And most of all, I found the closure I so desperately desired.

The result was a coming of age story composed in the grey expanse between established facts and pure made up fiction. No loose ends, no unanswered questions, a story wrapped up with a big shiny bow. I entitled it CLIPPED WINGS.

I completed the epic length rough draft in four months. Handwritten with fountain pens and liquid bottled ink in eight cheap college-ruled composition notebooks. An additional three months to transpose the manuscript into digital format along with considerable first round editing. There are several further rounds of self-editing to do. Then, I will release the manuscript to hungry beta readers. At which time, they will rip and shred my manuscript apart with their scathing remarks. From the beta readers comments, I’ll have a plethora of editing options before me. However, I will have the last word as I wrap up the final edit before the manuscript goes to a third-party editor to polish the final manuscript for publishing.

CLIPPED WINGS may be a southern coming of age novel to its readers, but for me, I found closure to a dark part of my earlier life. The question remains, is the book fact or fiction? You and I know the actual answer, the story takes shape in that grey expanse which exists between fact and fiction, yet inspired by actual events.

Read more about CLIPPED WINGS. I invite you to subscribe to the SCUTTLEBUTT, my online newsletter, with monthly updates on CLIPPED WINGS, as well as background facts and behind the scenes news about the book.

#DaleThele  #Author #Novelist #LGBT

Conversation with an Author: Dale Thele

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Had an amazing afternoon with A Dude Abikes. A budding new author to watch for. Take a look at his blog and make sure you LIKE his posts and don’t forget to Follow A Dude Abikes. He’s an awesome dude.

A Dude Abikes

img_20180326_132441756-1483595608.jpg Dale with his coffee cup, black moustache protector, business card, and writer cap.

Dale Thele is an author.  If there’s one thing I took away from the very generous amount of time we spent together at a coffee shop today, is that to think of oneself as an author (or writer, if you prefer), is important.  No, it does not make you good, or increase your chances of publication.

But, thinking of oneself that way is one key to behaving that way.  Writers write, right?  (Do authors auth?)  Luckily, I took away alot more than that one thing, and as Dale was happy to share them with me, he’s happy for me to share them with all 168 of my followers and any new visitors.

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Handwriting Novel Rough Draft

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notebookWho handwrites any more?

That’s so old school.

Well, just call me old fashion.

Back in December, I completed the rough draft of CLIPPED WINGS, entirely handwritten in cursive with a fountain pen in a total of eight college-ruled composition books. Why would I put myself through such cruel torture?

Well, I love writing with fountain pens, there’s nothing that can compare with the feel and sensation of watching liquid ink form words on a piece of paper. In 2012 I ran across a YouTube video made by Brian Goulet about how to use fountain pens. Until that point in my boring life, I’d not paid any mind to fountain pens, after all, I grew up in the Bic pen generation. I was so captivated by his videos I watched everything Brian posted online. I searched out other fountain pen vids. It was if I’d been put under a trance, I couldn’t get enough information about fountain pens.

In 2013, I’d entered an online contest and won a genuine fountain pen as my prize. I excitedly filled that sucker with ink from a small glass bottle. As soon as the nib connected with the paper, I was hooked. I had fallen head over heels into the allusive fountain pen rabbit hole. Since that fateful day, I seek out any opportunity to write with pen and ink. Sometimes when I can’t find something useful to write I simply scribble one phrase over and over on any paper I have handy. “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”. Call me crazy and order a tailor to fit me for a straight jacket. I am a fountain pen addict, and I publicly admit it. There, I said it.

With my love of fountain pens, it was just a natural desire to hand write the first draft of my inaugural novel in 2017. Sure I’d written and published a couple of short stories and three novellas in 2010, but they were composed entirely on a laptop. That was years before I became mesmerized by the fantastical world of fountain pens.

I began my new adventure into handwriting a fictional novel rough draft. Not just any novel, but an epic-length southern literary novel. To prepare for the journey, I inked up anywhere from 6 – 8 fountain pens with different brands and colors of fountain pen ink. I also acquired a bunch of cheap college-ruled composition books for fifty cents each – I’m kind of a cheapskate. From Amazon, I purchased a SMUDGEGUARD spandex glove. It’s a two finger glove which fits on the pinky and ring fingers and prevents the transfer of body oil onto the paper as you write. Fountain pens can be persnickety boogers when they come into contact with body oil, it may skip or not lay a proper amount of ink on paper. Smudgeguard also protects the hand from getting all inky by accidentally dragging it across wet ink. Of course, for the fountain pen enthusiast, it’s considered a badge of courage to brandish inky hands and fingers, it just comes with the territory. To prepare for my new task I needed some writing background music, something that would tug at the emotions. I returned to YouTube again where I found and downloaded a large collection of emotional piano and violin music tracks. I don’t think I broke any laws in doing so — if I did — oopsie.

So, I began handwriting the rough draft in cursive, you know what that is? It’s that curlicue style of handwriting that just about anyone born after 1970 can’t read. It’s a private hieroglyphic type of writing which the Baby Boomer generation and generations before used to compose secret messages to one another.

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I found that handwriting was much more convenient than to lug a bulky laptop around everywhere. I could take my composition book and a couple of fountain pens along wherever I went. I wrote in coffee shops, on public transit, waiting in lobbies between appointments, and I could even write when I was in the toilet if I wanted. The downside, fountain pens do not hold an indefinite amount of ink. It was not uncommon to be writing happily along and run out of ink in mid-sentence when I’d simply grab a replacement inked pen. I’d go through from 6 -8 inked pens each week. Every Sunday I’d clean and refill the next week’s supply of pens. So, that’s a quick overview of how the rough draft of CLIPPED WINGS was written – by hand, in cursive, with fountain pens, in college-ruled composition books. Could I get much more old school than that?

A sampling of pens and inks I used to write the rough draft:

Sheaffer 1960’s vintage “School Pen” …………… Pelikan 4001 Dunkelgrun Ink

Fountain Pen Revolution “Himalaya” …………….. Chesterfield Amethyst

Platinum “Plaisir” ………………………………………… Sheaffer Peacock Blue

Levenger “True Writer” ………………………………… Waterman Mysterious Blue

Lamy “Safari” ……………………………………………… Diamine Eclipse

Sailor “1911” ………………………………………………. Levenger Cocoa

Esterbrook “J-Series” (vintage) ………………………Monteverde Moonstone

Parker “Sonnet” (60’s vintage) ………………………. Cross Violet (limited edition)

Waterman “Carene” …………………………………….. Waterman Serenity Blue

Pilot “Metropolitan” ……………………………………… Parker Blue/Black

Happy Writing!

#DaleThele  #Author #Novelist #LGBT

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