Model of the union transport “Maple Leaf” which was sunk in the St. Johns River during the Civil War.
One of the most enjoyable tasks that a writer engages in is researching his books. At least, it’s one of mine. You learn so much about a myriad of subjects. I’ve gained knowledge of everything from the metallurgical properties of welding and riveting aluminum to the archeological history of climate change. (believe me, the politicians don’t want you going there) Since historical fiction is my favorite, I spend a large chunk of my time in this endeavor. I’ve included a few pictures from one of my recent “expeditions.” This one was to northeast Florida and the pics are from visits to the Mandarin House Museum in Jacksonville and The Florida Museum of Agriculture in Palm Coast.
Scale model of saw mill vintage 1800. These devices were responsible for converting settlers houses from log cabins to construction we still use today.
The items pictured are from work I’m doing for a four book historical novel series titled “The Clayton Chronicles.” It covers Florida history from 1780 through 1960. The artifacts are part of the fabric used in the series first two novels. (“The Clayton Chronicles: The Wild Wild East” and “The Clayton Chronicles: A Land of Death”)
A Union infantry cap salvaged from the wreck of the “Maple Leaf.” This was submerged in mud so that no air was present and it was preserved in great condition for over 100 years!
History has taught me some important lessons. Like there are few to no absolutes. Almost everything we do has been done before. Though technology changes, the human animal’s basic psyche has changed little since we dragged our knuckles coming out of the cave. Though we have the same basic configuration (two hands, two feet, etc.) and needs, the greatest mis-judgement we make is that we’re all the same. We’re not. There’s this little thing called culture and it clashes with disastrous results at times.
If you’d like to learn how to do research for writing historical novels (and help your research with all others), you might want to sign up for a one day seminar I’ll be teaching for the Florida Writers Association in Tampa this Saturday. Check my previous post for details.
# # # # #
There are major differences between history, a historical novel and a story set in the past.
Are you thinking about writing a historical novel? Let me share what I’ve learned while writing Blue Water, Red Blood and The Cross on Cotton Creek – both traditionally published by Double Edge Press. The Florida Writers Association is sponsoring a Mini-Conference … “Day at the Bay” … on May 7th in Tampa. It will be held at the Clarion Inn, 9331 Adamo Drive, Tampa, FL 33619.
My presentation is designed to help you produce quality historical fiction. It defines what historical novels are (and what’s not). It presents a number of different methods to use history in fiction and some some starting points for doing the research that’s a requisite for this type novel. I’ll discuss historical readers preferences when reading the various classes of these books. What do they look for when they choose their favorite classification of historical novel? How important is accuracy … relevancy … rationality in works they select? What are the starting points when doing your research? I’ll pass along some tips that I hope will allow you to select subjects that will have added interest for your readers.
The Florida Writers Association consistently provides excellent seminars and conferences. You can obtain more information on this event by calling 813.621.5555 or on the net by visiting https://floridawriters.net/conferences/mini-conferences/day-at-the-bay/ I hope you’ll join me May 7th in Tampa.
DL with reader at a B&N book signing in Sarasota.
# # # # #
This post is going to be a pic post. I’ve been scrambling to keep up with my writing work load and my blog entries are suffering. Hope these will give you some idea of what I’ve been doing.
My visit to Annette’s Book Nook.
DL in a discussion with folks after his February presentation at the Ft Myers Beach Public Library
Authors David Abraham, Monika Tandon, and DL at the Florida Gulf Coast University history writers program.
At the Port Charlotte Family Book Fair.
At King’s Gate Artists and Authors
“Florida’s contribution to WWII & WWII’s contribution to Florida” DL’s March presentation at the Ft Myers Beach Public Library
DL with Dan, his biggest fan – Dan has every book DL has written and that’s been published. At the Port Charlotte Cultural Center.
More to come ……. later.
# # # # #
It’s even hard to enjoy a Pine Island sunset like this one when the flu-bug bites.
For the last ten days I’ve been covered up. Bed sheets … Kleenex … Day Quill … Night Quill … ibuprofen … Glasses of orange juice … antibiotics … Headaches … Nausea … Congestion … the runs. Oh, fun! Sound like the flu to you? Does to me. But it can’t be — I was wise … I did what the medical world advises … I got a flu shot, so it must be impossible. Oh yeah! And the moon is made of green cheese, politicians are truthful, Dolly wears falsies, and the world is flat.
This flu, the one I can’t possibly have, is particularly aggravating. It makes you want to sleep 23 of 24, and concentrating on anything is damn near impossible. As focused as I’ve been able to be is knowing what to do after one of my many trips to the porcelain bus. That took great effort on my part.
As usual, Murphy has been busy, this couldn’t have happened at a worse time. I’m in the middle of querying two novels, rewriting a third, entering two contests, and doing a first draft of the first book of a three book series. This is the “season” in Florida so my appearance schedule doubles. Time is super valuable to me right now, so naturally Murphy is raining on my parade. The bastard!
I’ve been doing lots of speaking and book signings. I’ll catch everybody up in my next few posts. Hopefully, my posts will be on a more regular basis. This week I’ll be speaking about “Florida’s contribution to WWII and WWII’s contribution to Florida” at the Fort Myers Whiskey Creek Women’s Club, Thursday, and will be at the Sun Circle Arts Festival, in Sun City Florida, Saturday. Hope to see some of you in Sun City.
Murphy! You’re a real bastard!
PS – I’ve added the Blue Ridge Book Festival to my appearance list – I’ll be there April 30th & May 1st. More on this later.
# # # # #
DL teaching his crafting characters course in the Spotlight Lounge on Royal Caribbeans, Enchantment of the Seas.
I’m back from the bounding main. Thanks to the Easy Writers, the group that organized the event. The cruise was great despite weather that didn’t cooperate. If you’re looking for a Cruise Line to hold an event on, I’d place Royal Caribbean high on my list. They were a great partner. They did everything they promised plus, and the facilities, service, and support RC provided were better than I imagined. We had a great group of writers both from the sponsoring group and those individual seminar attendees who responded to the posting in the activities paper. The participants were enthusiastic and I thank them all for the praise I hope I earned. Below are a couple more pics.
Attendees at the Crafting Characters course. The booklets are the “toolbox” each attendee received to aid in creating sharp characters to fit their plots.
The Spotlight Lounge was a terrific venue for the seminar.
I want to say a special thank you to the most active participants and support people (last names omitted for privacy) at the various get-togethers and events – Roberta, Lynn, Lorna, Jeanette, Bernice, Jeanelle, Irene, David, Gregory, and Jack. A special thank also goes to authors Coles and Everitt for sharing their forty plus years of writing experience. Look their work up and try reading some of their books. THEY ARE GOOD! A very, very special thank you to ARTY, the man who put the whole think together.
# # # # #
Enchantment of the Seas
I’m off for a few days of Royal Caribbean cruising and leading a writing seminar. I’ll be presenting my class titled, “Crafting Characters Using Human Relations Management Principles” and will do some readings from and discussion on some of my books. One of the venues I’ll be speaking is pictured below.
Spotlight Lounge on Royal Caribbean’s Enchantment of the Seas.
My wife is excited, she’s an ex-travel agent, loves cruising, and has been trying to get me “on board” for some time. Everything is ready to go – Royal Caribbean and the My Hat Travel Agency have been great support. I can’t say enough good things about them both. The only down side is my golden retriever, Sandy, is miffed. She hasn’t spoken to me since I told her she’d have to stay with the house sitter.
# # # # #
DL presents the history surrounding Blue Water, Red Blood at Ft Myers Beach Public Library
Wow! What a GREAT PLACE. I did a guest speaker appearance at the Ft. Myers Beach Public Library yesterday and it was a wonderful experience. The facility was excellent, the crowd enthusiastic, the organization flawless and the library people superb. Kathy DelBalzo is the event coordinator (hope I got her title correct) and is one of those individuals who takes personal responsibility for what she does and does things very well.
When you see any superior organization you can bet that it has a superior person managing it. Dr Leroy Hommerding, the library’s director is such a person. You don’t have to spend much time with him to realize you’re in the presence of a rarity – a totally competent person. The staff, the facility … everything about this library says top flight. The man oozes excellence, experience, and dedication.
I believe that libraries are extremely important. As you know, it is my firm belief that “Readers are thinkers!” Libraries are temples for these folks. Reading separates content from delivery. So much poor, or out-right false, information is “sold” on the basis of charisma it is disturbing. It effects our lives. That’s what makes finding an outstanding library a great thing. If you’re involved with the administration of a library, a visit to the Ft Myers Beach Library and an audience with Dr. Hommerding maybe one of the best things you ever do.
The same goes for outstanding bookstore. I’ll be at one tomorrow from 12 ’til 2. The Barnes and Noble at Sarasota, FL has a staff that keeps the reader foremost in their minds. The folks go beyond the minimum efforts that many “big box” stores provide. They’re knowledgeable and are customer service oriented. The store is located at 4010 Tamiami Trail. Visit me – I’ll be discussing my award winning literary novel, Bully Route Home. Come see me and let me sign a book for you.
DL signing books and in a discussion with some of his favorite folks – READERS
PS- Check my webpage at http://www.dlhavlin.com for my calendar of appearances.
# # # # #