It’s funny how our perception can alter reality at times, or at least distort it enough to make it palatable. In my mind, once January is over with, so is winter. My mind immediately switches into gardening mode when February arrives. I start planning for spring. I start looking at seed catalogs. I head outside and turn over the soil and continue to put additives in it, and I spend some time preparing my gardening tools for the planting season ahead. It might still be forty degrees out, but for me, winter is in the rear view mirror.
The days are longer and that means the winter blues are lifting for me. Listen, I live in Olympia, Washington, and we only have, on average, 85 days of sunshine per year. That means a whole lot of gray for many, many days. Add to that the darkness of winter, and it is a recipe for some serious winter blues. So I may be grasping at straws, but I celebrate February for good reason. Allow me to live in my fantasy world, please.
Today we have a guest blogger. Allow me to introduce you to William Smith. Bill is a writer on HP and the author of the Homesplace Series, a wonderful group of historical fiction stories and novels that I thoroughly enjoy.
Without any further introduction, let me say welcome to Bill, and I’ll turn it over to him now.
A GUEST BLOG
Guest Post for Bill Holland blog
“Why I write what I write…”
Bill Holland is a great inspiration to many of us as well as a fine teacher of writing, for which I offer my personal thanks. He often reminds us that each of us is very different in our interests and our output as well as being very similar in the skills and attitudes needed to write successfully… whatever your gauge for success may be.
Today I want to share with you, new readers and long-time readers as well, “why I write what I write.” I write family saga stories. Since they all happen in the past, they also qualify, at least in a general sense, as historical fiction. Virtually all of my stories are based on my twenty plus years of family history and genealogy research and my life experiences – 75 plus years living all over these United States of America. I do/have written non-fiction, as well, but I most enjoy sharing my stories by way of fiction. I hope and assume those of you who choose to read them will enjoy them.
I began with a story of a family set in a place: “Back to the Homeplace” by William Leverne Smith. I used my full names on my novels, all available at Amazon.com… with a name like mine, it was a challenge, let me tell you. Some of my writing also uses “Dr. Bill” – which is a brand, if you will, that I have promoted a bit, mostly since I retired from university teaching… that is what many of my students called me, and it stuck.
That first story was based on a ‘video will’ a ‘matriarch’ of the family wrote to entice her children to return home to their roots, her roots, on the Century Farm (actually more than 150 years) on which she and her children and many of their ancestors had lived. How would you have felt with that ‘enticement’ to be part of a will (involving hundreds of acres of good farm land and substantial cash investments)? The reactions of the children, from around the USA, are at heart of the story of that first novel.
As I was finishing that novel for self-publication in my first year of retirement, my mind kept being drawn to that ’150 years and more’ of family history on that farm and why Mildred (the matriarch) was so intent that the land stay in her family and not be broken up and sold off in pieces. This led to my very detailed research of the place and times of the Homeplace farmland I had created (that creation had actually begun in 1987, the year in which “Back to the Homeplace” is actually set). Here when I say ‘research’ of course, it was a combination of actual research and creation of a set of families who lived the lives I was ‘researching.’ The Civil War was also set in the middle of time time period. Towns in this southern Missouri Ozarks valley were right between the Union and the Confederacy forces, and were mostly totally wiped out by guerrilla fighters, both sides, during the war. So, this became part of the series of short stories that I recently published titled: “American Centennial at the Homeplace: The Founding (1833-186).” Three of the Founding short stories had previously been published, in each of three years, in a regional writer’s group Annual Anthology. It is very interesting where writing these stories has taken me, as a writer. Book signings are among the more exciting.
Along the way, I also published “Murder by the Homeplace” (a novella set in 1987, immediately following the first novel), “The Homeplace Revisited” (set in mid-1996 focused on the next generation of the central family), “Christmas at the Homeplace” (set in fall and winter of 1996). “3 Threats to the Homeplace” is set to be published late in 2015 (set in 1999). Collectively, I now promote all of these stories as “The Homeplace Saga” with a home base at my blog: http://thehomeplaceseries.blogspot.com/. My retirement, genealogy and book blogs are listed in the right sidebar of the homeplace blog.
I discovered HubPages, and Bill Holland (billybuc), in late 2013, and began writing (up to 64 hubs, today) in a new series of short stories I call “Weston Wagons West” (http://drbill-wml-smith.hubpages.com/). These are fictional stories that actually share specifics of my personal family history in the USA from the 1600s into the 19th Century using the eyes of a fictional family to tell the stories of my families, as if they were close friends and neighbors. It has been a fun adventure, and I’ve enjoyed the feedback I’ve gotten from readers very much.
At http://homeplaceseries.hubpages.com/ I dabbled a bit with a few stories related to “The Homeplace Saga” stories. As I worked through The Founding stories, I created a new family in Oak Springs, in 1876-77, that has now become a 40-episode (2 volume Ebook) series “The King of Oak Springs” continuing the Homeplace stories through their eyes. When my Squidoo account was merged into HubPages, that created: http://drbillsmithwriter.hubpages.com. There I have added a 24-episode ‘murder mystery’ by an ‘author’ who is a character in “The Homeplace Saga” series.
I find that I cannot “not write.” I have stories to tell. I must share them. I have the good fortune (I think that is what it is… don’t burst my bubble, please) to not need to write for money. I write for the sheer love of writing and sharing what I love. These are ‘real people’ to me, and I want you to get to know them as well. That is why ‘I write what I write.’
Dr. Bill 😉
AND THAT’S IT FOR TODAY
My sincere thanks to Bill for doing the guest blog today. You can find Bill on HubPages by following this link. I hope you visit him and give this fine writer the support he deserves.
Have a great week of writing, my friend.
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”