A Novel Announcement and the Story Behind the Story

Recently I realized I’ve never made the official novel announcement here. News I shared several weeks ago on Facebook and Twitter, but not here. (For those of you who’ve seen Facebook or Twitter you’ll like the story behind the story.) My novel, My Soul to Keep, went live as an ebook on August 21st. It is now also available as a paperback book on Amazon. Other retailers can order it from Ingram. What’s the Story? This dystopian tale takes place in 1961, but America is not the nation you know. It’s an insular land of righteousness, repression, and fear. Drawn into a maelstrom of political intrigue, familial deception, and social upheaval two women, one peaceful and the other violent, seek truth and justice. To find the truth they will have to make sacrifices. Triumph will free them and the nation. Failure will mean a face-off with the angel-assassin, Azrael. How A Nice Girl Wrote A Dystopian Novel You might wonder how “a nice girl like” me came to write a dystopian novel. I moved seventeen times before I graduated from high school. No, neither parent was in any armed service. Seventeen different homes, seventeen different schools. Can you imagine a […]

If you read my post Inspiration on Location you know I discovered a unique institution. I researched the State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded near Lynchburg, Virginia. Synchronicity struck again. First, I learned about Carrie Buck (more on her later). Then I learned about the history of eugenics in the United States of America. Yes, you read that right. Eugenics, here. During my research, I learned about Better Baby contests. The competitions were part of a movement ’scientific motherhood’ to reduce infant mortality. 

Arcane History: Better Baby Contests

If you read my post Inspiration on Location you know I discovered a unique institution. I researched the State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded near Lynchburg, Virginia. Synchronicity struck again. First, I learned about Carrie Buck (more on her later). Then I learned about the history of eugenics in the United States of America. Yes, you read that right. Eugenics, here. During my research, I learned about Better Baby contests. The competitions were part of a movement ’scientific motherhood’ to reduce infant mortality.    Founder Mary de Garmo (1865-1953) was a former school teacher and social activist in Louisiana. In 1980, she formed the Mothers Union in Shreveport, Louisiana. The Mothers Union intended to improve child welfare. Her desire to improve children’s health was the reason she created the Better Baby contests.   Better Baby Contests Begin De Garmo organized the first Better Baby contest. It was held at the Louisiana State Fair in Shreveport, Louisiana in 1908. She introduced the idea to Mary Watts who held the first contest in Iowa. The antagonist in my story mentions both of these women.   Contestants Initially, contestants were ages 6 to 36 months. After 1914 boys and girls up to age five […]

Nearing The End

I am nearing THE END of this eternal re-write. This novel was first attempted years ago, that’s many, many years ago. Earlier drafts got me two different agents and almost sold twice. Yet, it didn’t sell. And it’s a heart novel, meaning it’s near and dear to my heart. Someone once called it my therapy novel. Truth? Some of it has been therapy. Not in the way implied by my critic, but it has had therapeutic moments. It’s been a slow, difficult re-write with lots of angst, tons of learning, and more than a few tears shed. But, The End is in sight. And yet— The words come slowly to me on a good day. On bad days—words come slower than a slow snail’s slowest slog. Whew! Which situation do you think I’m in now? Yup. S-L-O-W. You’d think the words would be coming faster, wouldn’t you? And yet— I sit at the computer and type a few words then come to a section that must be a blend of the old draft and the new one. The words drip out of my fingers and nearly dry up then, something comes along to spur me forward. This blog post, for one. […]