Friday, April 25, 2014

#AtoZChallenge: O is for #Opera

O is for Opera

One of the oldest forms of theatre, Opera has entertained thousands of people throughout the centuries and is still a popular form of entertainment to this day. Contrary to the name, The Phantom of the Opera is not an opera but a musical. An opera is theatrical performance that is performed entirely in song while a musical is comprised of spoken dialogue and song. One of the most famous operas is Carmen. Carmen was written by French composer Georges Bizet and is an adaptation of the novella by the same name written by Prosper Mérimée. It was first performed on March 3, 1875 at the at the Opéra-Comique in Paris. Carmen tells the tale of a Don Jose, a young man who falls in love with the gypsy, Carmen. Jose deserts the military and abandons his childhood sweetheart for a life with Carmen. Carmen eventually betrays him by falling in love with the glamorous toreador, Escamillo. Jose is enraged with her betrayal and in a fit of rage he murders her.

The oldest known complete surviving opera, Euridice, was first performed at the Pitti Palace in Florence on October 6, 1600. It was written by Jacopo Peri for the wedding of Marie de' Medici to King Henry IV of France. Euridice retells the Grecian myth of Orpheus and Euridice. After his wife, Euridice, is fatally wounded, Orpheus travels the underworld to plead for her life.
Hundreds of operas have been written and performed since Euridice.

Monday, April 21, 2014

#AtoZChallenge: N is for Nellie Bly

N is for Nellie Bly

I am so excited to about today's entry. Today, I want to share with you about one of my American heroines, Nellie Bly. In today's world women and men work side by side in the media but it wasn't too long ago when women reporters and authors were frowned upon. Nellie Bly is someone who changed the course of American journalism for all female reporters. 

Nellie Bly was born Elizabeth Jane Cochran in  Cochran's Mills, Pennsylvania to Michael and Mary Jane Cochran. Michael and Mary Jane Kennedy had both been widowed before they married. Michael's previous wife had left him with ten children but Mary Jane had no children from her previous marriage. Mary Jane gave him five more children. Nellie was their third child. Of all his children, Nellie was considered to be the most rebellious and was called pinky because she always wore pink. 

Michael Bly had spent years buying land around his family's farm and building his mill company. He became a wealthy land owner, businessman and a judge. He was so prominent that the town was named after him. Yet that wealth did not last long for his family. Michael died suddenly when Nellie was six years old. He didn't leave a will thus his second family didn't have a legal claim to his estate. Mary Jane was forced to auction off the mansion. The widow and her five children were financially ruined. In an effort to secure financial security for her children, Mary Jane entered into a new marriage. Yet this proved to be disastrous as her new husband constantly beat her. Mary Jane had no choice but to seek out a divorce but the divorce proceedings did not favor women back then. Nellie witnessed first hand the corruption of the political system against women. She testified at her mother's trial, “My stepfather has been generally drunk since he married my mother.” Her mother was eventually granted her divorce. Once again her mother would face financial hardship. The struggles her mother endured had a lasting effect on Nellie and helped form the woman who pioneered female journalism.

You can read some of her stories here.

#AtoZChallenge: M is for Mark Twain

M is for Mark Twain

Mark Twain is one of the United States most important writers. He was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens on November 30, 1835 to John Marshall and Jane Lampton in Florida, Missouri. Missouri was a relatively new state as it had gained statehood in 1821. Samuel's family moved to the small frontier town of Hannibal when he was four years old. His father was a judge and in 1844 he built a two story home for his family. 

Samuel Clemens was very ill in his early childhood and thus spent much of his youth indoors. His health improved greatly and by age nine he started to play outside. He was sent to a private school in Hannibal. During the summers, Samuel would spent most of his time playing in the slave quarters on his uncle's farm. His father had owned one slave while his uncle had many. It was here that he listened to slaves' tall tales and spiritual stories. He would carry a deep admiration for those stories his entire life.

Samuel's father died of pneumonia when Samuel was twelve years old. A year later, Samuel left school to become an printer's apprentice for his brother's newspaper. He worked as a printer and editorial assistant. Samuel soon realized that he loved to write.  Samuel left his brother's newspaper to take up a printer's position in Saint Louis when he was seventeen years old. A year later he headed east to New York and Philadelphia‚ where he found success writing articles for newspapers. In 1857, he left his new found writing career and returned home to Missouri where he entered into apprenticeship as a river boat pilot. A year later, he earned his river boat pilot license and worked as river boat pilot. Samuel changed his name to Mark Twain while he was a river boat captain. Mark Twain is a river term meaning the river is safe to navigate. 

#AtoZChallenge: L is for LouisXVI

Welcome back to my blog. I'm a week behind in the A to Z April Challenge because I have been dealing with a family issue. But I'm back now. This week I will be catching up on the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge and my normal posts so you may see double the amount of postings.

So let's get started.

L is for Louis XVI

Most people remember King Louis XVI for being beheaded alongside his wife, Queen Marie Antoinette. But did you know that without King Louis' aid the United States of America would never have existed? 
The American Revolutionary War began on April 19, 1775 at the Battle of Lexington and Concord. The British believed the patriot rebellion was going to be short lived. They saw the colonists as little children throwing a tantrum and the children needed to be disciplined. The British military was the most powerful at that time. Determined to expel British rule and have their own government, the patriots did not give up. The thirteen colonies declared independence from Great Britain in 1776. The newly established United States of America knew they would not win this war without help. They quickly turned their attention upon the longstanding enemy of Great Britain, France. France unofficially supplied the patriots with arms and ammunitions. In early 1777, the French supplied the patriots with 25,000 uniforms and pairs of boots, thousands of muskets and hundreds of cannons. 


The United States would not exist without the help from King Louis XVI and the French aid. The French involvement in the American Revolutionary War is often downplayed yet at one time the French were honored in our country. Cities, schools and streets carry the name of our French heroes.

Monday, April 14, 2014

#AtoZChallenge: K is for Kinship #anthropology #history

Kinship is important to understand when studying history and cultures. Ever culture since the beginning of time has kinship. Societal norms are often tied to kinship. In America, when someone talks about kinship they are often talking about their family. Kinship is tied to family but the rules of how a person is related to you is kinship. Kinship is an anthropological term that is defined as the social patterns of relationships within a given culture. It is important to understand kinship when conducting genealogical or historical research because kinship determines a person's identity and inheritance laws. A good way to determine which rules of descent you are working with is to look at the person's last name and from which parent have they inherited from? Kinship is determined by rules of descent. These rules dictate how a person is related to another in their society. There are three kinds of descent rules; Bilateral, Unilineality, and Ambilineal (or Cognatic).

Bilateral Descent

A bilateral descent is also know as a two sided descent. Forty percent of the world's cultures are bilateral descents. Most of these societies are highly mobile, foragers and modern industrial. Although, Americans inherit their father's last name our society is considered to be of bilateral descent. In bilateral societies the focus is on the ego and not the family. When a child (the ego) is born they are equally tied to their mother and father's side of the family. They can inherit from either side of the family. When the ego marries they don't leave their family but gain a new one.
The spouse and his/her family is equal to the ego and his/her family. Thus, the ego becomes the son or daughter of their spouses parents and vice versa. The children of their family would view both their mother and father's side of the family as equal members. The problem with this kind of kinship structure is that it can produce conflicts when members have conflicting issues. The family built around this type of kinship only survives as long as the ego lives. Often times once the ego dies the family breaks apart. The terminology European Americans use to describe the family members is shown below.

Unilineality Descent

There once was a time when American society was of unilineality descent. Unilineality descent occurs when the ego only claim their lineage through either a male or female line. Members of these societies generally claim their descent from one common ancestor who tends to be a mythical figure. They society is clan based with each member of that clan claiming the same heritage. Sixty percent of the world's cultures are of unilineality descent. They are primarily associated with pastoralism, horticulture and agricultural systems.
There are two types of unilineality descent, patrilineal and matrilineal. 


Patrilineal occurs when the ego belongs only to his or her father's lineage. A male's name, titles and inheritance is given through his father's line. The father's line is passed down from father to son. The males of these societies dominate with power, position and property. Boys are cherished in these societies because they pass on their father's heritage. They are raised to continue their father's line while girls are raised to produce sons for other families. Although, a women marries into a family she does not lose her family heritage even though she is associated with her husband's family. The men value the women of their society because they understand without them their line cannot continue. Thus, the patrilineal society may place stricter regulations and customs on their female members than the males. A woman's conduct reflects upon her father's family and anything she does that goes against their wishes may be punishable by the law. Forty-four percent of unilineality cultures in the world are patrilineal with most of these societies found in the Middle East, East and South Asia. The Shawnee of the United States were a patrilineal society. Here is a chart of family terms and relationships related to the ego of someone who lives in a patrilineal society.


Matrilineal descent is the opposite of patrilineal descent in that the ego belongs to his or her mother's lineage. The mother's names, titles and inheritance is passed down to her daughter. The women dominate these societies with power, position and property. For example, among the Cherokee the men who sat on the council were chosen by the women. If the women did not agree to the way the man was conducting themselves on the council they would have the man removed and replaced with another. Navajo wives can divorce their husbands but if they do the only thing the husband has a right to is the shirt off his back.  Most of these societies are dying out because of commercialism.


Ambilineal descent occurs when both the parent's families are recognized and the ego must chose to affiliate with either his/her mother or father's side of their family. Each generation must make the decision as to which part of the they belong to. The decision made by the ego is not taken lightly. It is based on the importance and/or wealth one parent has over the other. The ambilineal kinship system is rare. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

#AtoZ Challenge: J is for Justice (Lady Justice that is)

Standing 100 feet in the air a top the Marion County Courthouse, the Lady Justice statue has it's own interesting history. Lady Justice was recently in the news when a remote controlled helicopter became lodged in the crock of her arm on April 27, 2013. Here's the video of the drone's flight. The owner, Terry Cline, was using the drone to film a promotional video for the city when a breeze blew the nine inch drone into the statue. It stops when the helicopter crashes into the statue's arm.

The Marion County Courthouse is one of the oldest buildings in the city. It was built sometime between 1884-1886. It is one of three courthouses that was designed by architect David W. Gibbs, the other two being  the Washington Court House in Fayette County, Ohio, and Charlotte, Eaton County, Michigan. The courthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Once the drone was up there it caused quite a controversy within the county as to who and how it should be removed. The controversy ended up gaining national attention. On May 6, 2013, volunteers climbed to the bell tower and successfully retrieved the helicopter from Lady Justice with a long pole.

This wasn't the first time Marion County's Lady Justice had received national attention.

Justice Held Hostage

Early in the 1980's, when I was just a little girl, my mother took me to the courthouse to watch Lady Justice return to her rightful place 100 feet a top the courthouse. The entire country seemed to gather around the building. News reporters and camera's were everywhere. I remember watching the helicopter lift the statue into the air and gently place her on top. I will never forget that day. I was only around 4 years old at the time. I was so amazed by the entire ordeal. My mother had told me that the statue had been stolen as part of a prank in July 1952 and had been missing for about twenty years. 

Here is an account of how Lady Justice was kidnapped and retrieved. This account was given to Trella Romine in 2010 by Richard Carey and was published as Lady Justice; The Rest Of The Story in August 30, 2010.

After 58 years I would like to tell the rest of the story surrounding the disappearance of Lady Justice in July 1952. 
I was at the courthouse on farm business. At that time the courthouse had a hallway under the steps on the south side with entrance doors at the east and west end and a door into the courthouse. According to an article in the Marion Star the workmen had placed the Lady along the south wall of this hallway. When I went into the courthouse I noticed Lady Justice lying there. Later I told two of my friends about this. What if the lady came up missing? We thought this would be the best prank ever in Marion County History. We decided we would go to the courthouse that night and remove her. 
I was 20 years old not yet married; Betty and I were married on August 23, 1952. My parents Edwin & Lucile along with my youngest brother Charles were on a big trip to the west coast being gone for over 2 weeks. 
My two friends and I met about 10:00 PM at the farm. We took one of my father’s baby chicken, panel body delivery trucks with Carey Farms hatchery signs painted on the sides of it. We drove to Marion to the courthouse to size up the situation. We observed a City police cruiser parked along the street on the west side of the courthouse. This was not unusual in that the police often parked there to check out the taverns on North Main Street and others downtown. Not seeing any police officers we parked on the east side of the courthouse. We knew we had to act with the utmost speed. We decided that George Dennison and I would carry out the statue while Jerry (Shorty) Criswell would open and hold the door at the east end of the courthouse and open the van doors. We knew the statue only weighed about 60-70 pounds as I had checked this out earlier. We picked it up and carried it out to the van sliding it inside on a layer of straw that I had placed in the truck. We did not want to damage the Lady. We jumped into the van and drove away quickly. Much to our delight we were not observed and did not see any signs of the police. We then breathed sighs of relief. 
Driving back to the farm we discussed what we could do with the Lady. Should we hold her for ransom? Should we make a casket and bury her in a grave? We decided to for the time being we would just hide her in an old barn on the farm among the several hundred bales of straw there. Here Lady Justice was hidden under the straw for many years. 
Of course the disappearance of Lady Justice was noted in the Marion Star. The story told how a company representative came to Marion a few days later to pick up the lady for repair. But the commissioners had no knowledge of authorizing a company or man to pick up Lady Justice. In my opinion it seems that the dastardly deed by three young men eventually turned out to be the act that saved the Lady. 
Over the course of years we decided to tear down the old barn. Now what to do? I was living down the road at 5211 Berry R and had a barn there. My brother Bill and I moved her to this new location. We built a casket about 4 feet by 4 feet by 9 feet long in the loft of the barn, placed her inside and sealed it up. I found later that some of the boards had been pried off. It appears that as my children were growing up they decided to look inside. Also, what had been a closely guarded secret was now being talked about in some circles. Over the course of time several people became aware of the hiding place of Lady Justice. 
In 1980 I listened to Charlie Evers talking about local history on radio station WMRN. He inquired about Lady Justice and in this way I learned of the interest in trying to find her and in restoring her. One day when I was at the Green Camp Elevator in Green Camp Charlie dropped by to pick up advertising from the elevator for the radio station. I asked him to come outside to talk. I told Charlie about my part in the disappearance of the Lady and that I would gladly return her if he would keep the details confidential. I felt she should again grace the top of the Marion County Court House. The question was how to get this done. As I was deeply involved in Marion County history, and had served as president of the Marion County Historical Society, I knew this would be an embarrassment to both the Historical Society and myself. 
Thus the headline for the story in the Marion Star of February 12, 1980 read, “Statue Coming Home.” This story indicated she had been dropped off at my home by two anonymous men when in fact she had resided at this location for about 20 years. 
What started out as a prank, or called by some a dastardly deed, had a great ending. Some might even say the three men were three young men in shining armor who saved Lady Justice. Without this episode very likely there would not be a Lady of Justice on top of the Marion County Court House today. 
There you have the rest of the story. You be the judge.

Historically Yours, 

Richard Carey

Small #Blessings: School days, School days.

I can't believe it's Friday already. My husband has been sick for almost two weeks with an upper respiratory infection. He is legally blind and has been going to Bosma. Bosma is a school where the blind and legally blind learn skills that help them live an independent life and prepares them for employment. My husband was a nurse for 20 years. He's changing his career path to become a paralegal and a translator. He's also interested in computers. My husband was so sick he missed 10 days of school. My small blessing this week is that he was well enough to return to school a few days. The school isn't set up like a traditional university. They have six classes a day but if he misses any days he's not behind. They just start where he left off.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

#AtoZChallenge: I is for Iron Plantation

I is for Iron Plantations

When people think about Ohio they usually don't think about plantations. Iron companies would buy hundreds of acres of land rich with iron ore and other resources required for their operations. They would then establish an iron plantation. The iron plantation was so isolated that is operated by it's own rules and customs. In fact, many workers and their families had no idea of what went on in the world outside the plantation.
The Iron plantation was set up much like the plantations in the south. The workers consisted of slaves, indentured servants and labors. The slaves and indentured servants generally were given the lowest of jobs while labor was given specialized jobs such as woodcutters. Even though the labor worker was a free man he had very limited mobility in moving up in rankings. Even though they workers and their families did not have many material possessions they were not poor. In fact, poverty was unheard of on the Iron plantations even when the nation was going through a depressions. Workers were not paid with money. Their wages were recorded on a balance sheet that was offset by the expenses the worker and his family occurred at the stores.
The Iron plantation was characterized by the large mansion that sat upon a hill overlooking the iron furnace. The mansion was home to the ironmaster and his family. The ironmaster was responsible for investing capital in construction and maintenance of the charcoal furnace used for the refining and working of iron and for hiring skilled labor. He and his family frequently interacted with the workers but were not equal to them. The ironmaster was responsible for maintaining the welfare of the worker and their family. He often times built a school, church, hospital, stores and whatever else his workers might need. If one job closed he wouldn't just fire a worker but would find him another position on the plantation. In school and church, the workers and their children learned about industriousness and deference. Some ironmasters allowed for liquor to be sold in there stores but most of them did not because the ironmasters required their workers to be disciplined. They often encouraged the workers to be sober and have steady work through written agreements. An iron plantation was no place for a drunkard. The ironmaster emphasized his superiority over the workers by providing them with smaller houses than his own.
The mansion often sat on hill overlooking the furnace and village. Everyone knew if you lived in that house then you were better than them. While the workers had very few materials to call their own the ironmaster's family enjoyed the luxury of many expensive items. The children were taught with private tutors and the family was afforded with opportunities to travel.
The first Iron plantation was the Hopewell Furnace. It was opened in 1771 by ironmaster Mark Bird and thrust America into iron production.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

#IndieLife: The #Author Platform

Writing. It's a great career to have. There are so many different ways you can express your creativity through the written word. Novels, short stories, blogs, articles, websites, just to name a few. What I find the hardest in my writing career is the marketing. Let's just be honest here. I would rather write all day than have to deal with the marketing or technical things that a writer must do in order to have a writing career. But if I want to keep my writing career I must do both.

So you still want a writing career and think you can handle the marketing? 

Most new writers get caught up in this thinking...."I wrote a book. It's great. It's on the market. Now I'm going to be rich. Everyone is going to buy it and I can retire from my daily life."

I hate to burst your bubble but writing a book and having it out on the market is not a great way to get rich quick. If that's the reason behind you wanting to write a book then please stop writing. Writing a book takes a lot of work and dedication. There are thousands upon thousands of books in the market today that your book is going to have to compete with. Writers who are depending on retiring on the sales of their one book are only going to cause anxiety in their life. You don't need that. What you need to do is build a platform. 

A whatform?

A platform. 

An author's platform is not going to happen overnight either. It's a foundation an author builds with works they have written. Your readers want to know if they take the risk of buying your book and love it then they can get more books that are written by you. This means YOU NEED TO KEEP WRITING! I have been writing professionally for six years and if you google my name I am all over the place. That is because I worked on my writing platform. I have have a blog, website, and am writing on several social networks. I'm an iReport reporter for CNN. I've written guest posts on various blogs. I have written magazine articles, participated in short story contests and two anthologies. If you go to my Amazon page it will show that I have eight books out. These are my novels, shorts and anthologies I have participated in. The more I write the larger my platform grows. The larger my platform grows the more my name is exposed to readers. The more my name is exposed to reader the more my sales increase. 

It's a gradual process that could thrust my name into greatness like Stephanie Meyers. Did you know that Twilight wasn't her first book? No one had ever heard of her until Twilight had gone wild on the internet. Stephanie used her author platform and social media to market her books while she continued to write. You should too. 

#AtoZChallenge: H is for His story, Her story, #History

H is for His story, Her story, History

History can be a fascinating subject to study. Many times when someone thinks of history they think it's a dull subject filled with too many dates and facts. But if you look beyond those dates and facts you would find fascinating stories and interesting people.

The history we learn in school is a great foundation but not everything you learn in your history books is true. One thing you have to consider when reading a history book is who the author is. Was the author male or female? What race were they? What cultural group did they belong to?

Take for instance the Civil War.

I grew up in Ohio which is a Northern State. When I was a child I learned all about why the North went to war and why we won the war. I didn't learn that much about the South except that they were slave holding states that wanted to keep slavery. Ohio has always been a free state and a progressive state as well. So because my education was in Ohio I learned Ohio's side of the story. It wasn't until my mom and I moved to Texas that I was exposed to the Southerner's side of the Civil War. I learned in Texas that the Southern states fought to maintain slavery because slaves were an economical commodity that the south needed in order to maintain their agricultural businesses. But slavery wasn't the only reason they went to war. They went to war because they didn't want the Federal government to dictate how their states should operate. When you look at it from their point of view it makes sense. What works for the North wouldn't, as still doesn't, work for the South because those two areas of the United States are very different.

History is written by the winners. What does that  mean? That means the history you learn is always

written by the dominant cultural group of that time. The problem is when you depend upon learning history through one group and not your own you run the risk of assimilating into the other culture. We see this all the time the United States. Take for example the Native Americans. Most of what we know about Native Americans has been passed down to use from the white side not the Native Americans. Tribal schools are federally operated although they lie on reservations. As the generations passed tribal elders have passed down their cultural heritage. Children have had struggle with their own cultural identity because Native Americans hold dual citizenship - their tribe and United States of America. The current generation has started to abandon their tribal ways and take up the American white culture. What was started by our ancestors may be finally become a reality - the destruction of the Native American culture - because the native languages and heritage is disappearing form our lands by the actions of the current Native American generation who have assimilated into the white American culture.

When we forget both sides of history we ultimately destroy our own past. We are fated to repeat the same mistakes as our ancestors. I, for one, would rather move forward than repeat the mistakes of my ancestors' past. Wouldn't you?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

#AtoZChallenge: G is for Genealogy

 G is for Genealogy
I LOVE doing genealogy. I was introduced to genealogy through a 4H project when I was nine years old. I interviewed my grandparents and other members of their generation then took their information and placed what I learned into the family tree. The more I learned about my family the more I wanted to know more. Genealogy isn't just about filling names and dates into a family tree. Sure, that's an important part of it but what I love the best about it are the family stories.

When I started my 4H project my grandparents were excited that I had an interest in learning more about the family. My grandpa Carr challenged me to find his true birthdate. My grandfather had been a toddler when his mother had died in a kitchen fire. 
Grandpa Carr and his siblings were sent to a children's home. When he was placed in the children's home they had recorded his birthdate as Jun 19, 1926. He and his sister argued for years as to the birthday. Aunt Mary had always claimed the year was wrong. She had been born April 19, 1923. There was no way he could have been born in 1926 because their brother, Clarence was older. The brothers were close in age but Aunt Mary was convinced that Grandpa Carr was older then Uncle Clarence. Grandpa Carr argued that he was the youngest of the three children and had insisted the birthdate was correct. Why wouldn't they be right? The adults who had placed them in the home had to know their real birth dates. Didn't that? He argued that all the official records showed he had been born in 1926 and that was good enough for him. But he was missing one thing to verify the accounts from the children's home, his birth certificate. 
The first year of my genealogical project had searched long and hard to find my grandfather's birth certificate with no luck. I had found his Army records from WWII and they gave me a hint as to what year to look at. I showed them to my grandfather but he argued that the Army had messed up on the records. Aunt Mary wasn't convinced that the military had messed up.  I continued my search. The following year I hit the jackpot. I found his birth certificate. 

Freeland Devere Carr was born................

June 23, 1924!

Aunt Mary had won the disagreement. Grandpa Carr didn't like that his birth certificate had shown that date because it made him two years older than what he had been lead to believe his entire life.  His tombstone shows his birth year as 1926 but all the other records show 1924. 

#Ireland #Myths and #Legends: Bo-Finn, Bo-Ruadh, and Bo-Dhu #farming #Irish #whitecow

Welcome back to my series on Irish History and Legends. Last week, we moved into the Neolithic Age when farming came to Ireland from England. Farming has always been important to Irish culture since it arrived to the Ireland. There are several myths and legends that deal with farmers. Today I am going to turn my blog over to a text that was written in the book Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms, and Superstitions of Ireland by Lady Francesca Wilde in 1888. Lady Wilde's book is a great read for anyone who is interested in Irish culture.

How Cattle Came to Ireland By: Lady Francesca Wilde

The most singular legends of Ireland relate to bulls and cows, and there are hundreds of places all commencing with the word Bo (one of the most ancient words in the Irish language), which recall some mystic or mythical story of a cow, especially of a white heifer, which animal seems to have been an object of the greatest veneration from all antiquity.

In old times there arose one day a maiden from the sea, a beautiful Berooch, or mermaid, and all the people on the Western Coast of Erin gathered round her and wondered at her beauty. And the great chief of the land carried her home to his house, where she was treated like a queen.

And she was very gentle and wise, and after some time she acquired the language, and could talk to the people quite well in their own Irish tongue, to their great delight and wonder. Then she informed them that she had been sent to their country by a great spirit, to announce the arrival in Ireland of the three sacred cows—Bo-Finn, Bo-Ruadh, and Bo-Dhu—the white, the red, and the black cows, who were destined to fill the land with the most splendid cattle, so that the people should never know want while the world lasted.

This was such good news that the people in their delight carried the sea-maiden from house to house in procession, in order that she might tell it herself to every one; and they crowned her with flowers, while the musicians went before her, singing to their harps.

After dwelling with them a little longer she asked to be taken back to the sea, for she had grown sad at being away so long from her own kindred. So, on May Eve, a great crowd accompanied her down to the strand, where she took leave of them, telling them that on that day year they should all assemble at the same place to await the arrival of the three cows. Then she plunged into the sea and was seen no more.

However, on that day year all the people of Ireland assembled on the shore to watch, as they had been directed by the beautiful sea-maiden; and all the high cliffs and all the rocks were covered with anxious spectators from the early dawn. Nor did they wait in vain. Exactly at noon the waves were stirred with a mighty commotion, and three cows rose up from the sea—a white, a red, and a black—all beautiful to behold, with sleek skins, large soft eyes, and curved horns, white as ivory. They stood upon the shore for a while, looking around them. Then each one went in a different direction, by three roads; the black went south, the red went north, and the milk-white heifer—the Bo-Finn—crossed the plain of Ireland to the very centre, where stood the king's palace. And every place she passed was named after her, and every well she drank at was called Lough-na-Bo, or Tober-Bo-Finn (the well of the white cow), so her memory remains to this day.

In process of time the white heifer gave birth to twins, a male and female calf, and from them descended a great race, still existing in Ireland; after which the white cow disappeared into a great cave by the sea, the entrance to which no man knows. And there she remains, and will remain, in an enchanted sleep, until the. true king of Eire, the lord of Ireland, shall come to waken her; but the lake near the cave is still known as Lough-na-Bo-banna (the lake of the snow-white cow). Yet some say that it was the king's daughter was carried off by enchantment to the cave, in the form of a cow, and she will never regain her form until she sleeps on the summit of each of the three highest mountains in Ireland; but only the true king of Eire can wake her from her sleep, and bring her to "the rock of the high place," when she will be restored at last to her own beautiful form.

Another legend says that a red-haired woman struck the beautiful Bo-Finn with her staff, and smote her to death; and the roar which the white cow gave in dying was heard throughout the whole of Ireland, and all the people trembled. This is evidently an allegory. The beautiful Bo-Finn—the white cow—is Ireland herself; and the red-haired woman who smote her to death was Queen Elizabeth, "in whose time, after her cruel wars, the cry of the slaughtered people was heard all over the land, and went up to heaven for vengeance against the enemies of Ireland; and the kingdom was shaken as by an earthquake, by the roar of the oppressed against the tyrant."

The path of the white cow across Ireland is marked by small rude stone monuments, still existing. They
British White Cows
Marilyn Peddle
show the exact spot where she rested each night, and had her bed, and the adjoining lands have names connected with the tradition—as, "The plain of the Fenian cows;" "The hill of worship;" "The pool of the spotted ox," called after him because he always waited to drink till the white cow came, for they were much attached to each other.

There are also Druid stones at one resting-place, with Ogham marks on them. Some time ago an
endeavour was made to remove and carry off the stones of one of the monuments; but the man who first put a spade in the ground was "struck," and remained bedridden for seven years.

The plain of the death of the Bo-banna (the white cow), where she gave the roar that shook all Ireland is called "the plain of lamentation." It never was tilled, and never will be tilled. The people hold it as a sacred spot, and until recently it was the custom to have dances there every Sunday. But these old usages are rapidly dying out; for though meant originally as mystic ceremonies, yet by degrees they degenerated to such licentious revelry that the wrath of the priesthood fell on them, and they were discontinued.

There is a holy well near "the plain of lamentation," called Tobar-na-Bo (the well of the white cow); and these ancient names, coming down the stream of time from the far-off Pagan era, attest the great antiquity of the legend of the coming to Ireland of the mystic and beautiful Bo-Finn.

Monday, April 7, 2014

#AtoZChallenge: F is for Francis Scott Key

F is for Francis Scott Key

"O, thus be it ever when freeman shall stand,
Between their lov’d homes and the war’s desolation;
Blest with vic’ry and peace, may the heav’n-rescued land
Praise the Pow’r that hath made and preserv’d us as a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!"

This month is National Poetry Month and I thought it would be important to include one of the most important American poets in the A to Z Blog Challenge. The poem above was written in 1815 by the same poet who gave us the words to our national anthem, Francis Scott Key. Every writer is inspired to create their work of art. This video explains the meaning behind the song "The Star Spangled Banner." You'll never sing the song the same way again after you watch this video. 

#AtoZChallenge: E is for #English Civil War: For #King OR Country? #England #CivilWar #Monarchy #History

This past weekend was so busy for my husband and I that I didn't have a chance to post anything. The Author Spotlight will return next weekend. I have also fallen a day behind in the A to Z Blog Challenge so today I'll be posting two historical pieces for you.  Let's start with the letter E and in my next post I'll post the letter F entry.

E is for the English Civil War

The English Civil War occurred from 1642–1651AD and was a very important conflict that had lasting effects upon that country. 
Although the conflict began in 1642, it's roots lie in the death of Queen Elizabeth I ( I have to admit Queen Elizabeth I is one of my favorite English monarchs. I'll be covering her at a latter time in the A to Z Challenge. She was such an interesting person.) Queen Elizabeth I had decided not to marry because she loved her country so much she didn't want England to fall into the hands of a foreigner. That would have happened if she married because the law stated she would have to pass her rule over to her husband because she was a woman. The only problem with her thinking was that she didn't have heir. Queen Elizabeth had reigned over England since the death of her half sister, Bloody Mary, in 1559. The daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth I had transformed her beloved country from financial ruin to one of the richest and most powerful countries of that time. She had been urged several times by other nobles and her advisors to marry so her heir could continue the legacy her father had begun and she had completed.
Queen Elizabeth decided to name her cousin, James Stuart, as heir to her throne. James was the son of Mary, Queen of Scots, and had reigned over Scotland since July 29, 1567. On March 24, 1603, the beloved queen of England and Ireland, Queen Elizabeth died and her cousin was crowned James I was crowned King of England and Ireland on July 25, 1603. His coronation brought the rule of Ireland, Scotland and England under one ruler for the first time in history. 

King Charles I 
Charles was the second son of King James I and his wife, Anne of Denmark. He was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on November 19, 1600. He joined his family in England after his father was crowned King of England and Ireland. Charles spent much of his life in the English courts. He became heir apparent when his older brother died in 1612. Charles father had suffered from arthritis, gout and kidney stones since 1616. He was a heavy drinker and had lost all of his teeth. James had suffered from bouts of severe attacks of arthritis, gout and fainting fits in the early months of 1625. In March of that year, he fell seriously ill with tertian ague and then suffered a stroke. He was left bed bound and unable to visit London. The Duke of Buckingham, a most trusted friend of the family, helped Charles a great deal while his father was ill. Charles and Buckingham had assumed much of the royal responsibilities while King James as was ill and rumors had spread around the realm about the kind of government Charles would have when he ascended the throne. On March 27, 1625 King James I died at Theobalds House after a serious bout of Dysentery. Buckingham had been by his bedside. He was buried on May 7 at Westminster Abbey, just six days after Charles was married by-proxy to the fifteen-year-old French princess Henrietta Maria in front of the doors of the Notre Dame de Paris. 

Many commoners were opposed to the union of Charles and Henrietta because they feared Charles would be undermine the official establishment of reformed Church of England and he would lift restrictions on Catholic recusants. Charles believed kings had divine right to rule and he ignored all the concerns of his people. He married Henrietta Maria in person at Canterbury on June 13, 1625. He opened the second installment of Parliament after his wedding in order to forgo any opposition he may have from them concerning his union with the Catholic princess. His union with Henrietta caused much strife with commoners and members of his Parliament because he allowed his wife to openly practice her faith. 

Charles was a devout Anglican but had very controversial beliefs about how he should rule over his kingdoms. He was open minded in a time with Protestants and Catholics hated each other. He believed in the divine right of monarchs and ruled England without a Parliament for eleven years. The longer the king reigned the more enemies he created. Eventually war broke out between those who were loyal to the crown and those loyal to Parliament. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

#AtoZChallenge D is for DD647: USS Thorn

D is for DD 647:
The USS Thorn 

The USS Thorn (DD 647) was a Destroyer class battleship that my father served on during World War II. It was commissioned on April 1, 1943 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, in New York.

The Thorn joined the Destroyer Squadron 19 (DesRon 19) for service in the Atlantic in May of 1943. The Benson Gleaves - class destroyer served in the Atlantic from May 1943 – January 1944. On January 3, 1944 the Thorn had been docked for only a day when an explosion occurred on the boat and she sank to the bottom of the Ambrose Channel. I remember my dad telling me stories about that day. It wasn't an enemy attack but a malfunction within the ship.

The USS Thorn was repaired and relaunched in February of 1944. It was sent to the Panama Canal where it had been ordered to relieve the DesRon 1 in New Guinea waters. It was delayed to the waters around Guadalcanal and Rendova Islands where it escorted an oiler liner. It finally arrived to the Milne Bay in New Guinea on February 29th where it joined the  Destroyer Division 37 for service in the South Pacific. The destroyer also served in the Philipines from October to December of 1944 and was off the coast of Japan in 1945. You can learn more about this amazing ship on Wikipedia and the USS Thorn Association

My dad, Roland Irving Bruning

Small #Blessings from #Women with Big #Hearts #Geneaology #Family Treasures

This week my blessings cam from the mail. My husband and I moved to Indianapolis last August, leaving behind our Amish friends in Kentucky. We had been unable to tell them about our move and I feared we would lose contact with them. A few months ago, I asked a mutual friend of ours if she had been out to see them. She told me that family had moved into their new farm and that she had been unable to get our there. She didn't know their address. I was heartbroken. Then I realized that another friend of ours works for the US Postal Service and was friends with the family as well. I contacted Dee and asked her if she knew their new address. She said she didn't but her best friend was the mail carrier for the wife's brother. We are all friends with that family too. She said she would get that address and messaged it to me. The following week she gave me Neil and Maggie's address so I could write to them. I knew Maggie wouldn't be able to write me back because she has four children from the ages of eight to a year. Maggie loves to read letters but rarely writes back. But I knew she would read our letter and pass the information along in the community because we had been friends with the entire community. I asked her in the letter to pass our letter to Nathan and Caroline. She did.

On Thursday, I received a letter from Nathan and Caroline. They were overjoyed at receiving our letter and asked us to stay in touch. I read the letter to my husband and wrote back to the family. I am so glad we can continue to communicate with them. Caroline loves to write letters. She has ten children ages 20 to a year old but that doesn't stop her from writing letters. What a blessings to stay in communication with such dear friends of ours.

My other blessings in the mail arrived the same day. My cousin Jill and I reconnected last year. She is the eldest daughter of my father's brother. I don't know much about my father's family and was sheltered from them for most of my life. My dad died when I was nine years old and I remember very little about his life. I knew bits and pieces, though. I've been searching to learn more about my German side of the family and reconnected with my brother a few years ago. I am the youngest grandchild of August and Johanna Bruning. My dad was 50 when I was born and he already had a son 20 years earlier. My cousins, Jill, Janice and Jeanne are around my brother's age.

Well I received a text from Jill this week and we talked for a bit. She told me she to watch for a package in the mail. She had a few pictures for me. What she sent me melted my heart.

This is a photo of dad and I. 

This is an image of my dad in his diving suit in 1963. 
He was a sponge diver at Tarpon Springs, Florida and served as a Salvage Diver in World War II. 

She also sent me a picture of my brother when he was little and a photo of me when I was in pre-school. I had seen those photos before. I loved that she had the the pic of dad and I framed. I showed it to my husband and then placed it on a shelf. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

#AtoZChallenge: C is for Camp Sherman, #Ohio #military #history

A to Z Challenge:
C is for Camp Sherman

Welcome back to my blog. Today I'm going to combine my normal Thursday posts about WWI and the A to Z Challenge to tell you about a WWI Camp that plays a pivotal role in my new book, Field of Grace, Camp Sherman. The video below is actual footage of military training at Camp Sherman during WWI. 

The First World War (aka: The Great War or WWI) began in Europe on July 28, 1914. President Woodrow Wilson had tried to keep the United States neutral in the conflict. The American people didn't wan to enter into another military conflict. But who could blame them? It had only been forty-nine years since the end of the Civil War. The adults of this generation were the children and the grandchildren of those who fought in the Civil War. The Civil War had left a distaste for war in the  mouths of everyone. America's position on remaining neutral during the conflict began to shift when Germany sunk the RMS Lusitania off the coast of Ireland on May 7, 1915. Out of the 1,959 passengers and crew on board only 764 survived. Of those who perished 128 American lives were lost including American publisher and writer, Elbert Green Hubbard. The lost of American lives outraged the American public
Germany's declaration on February 1, 1917 for unrestricted submarine warfare spurred President Wilson into action. He approached a joint session of Congress on April 2, 1917 to request a declaration of war against Germany. He argued the United States should enter the war in order to suspend unrestricted submarine warfare in the North Atlantic and the Mediterranean, and stop Germany's attempts to entice Mexico into an alliance against the United States. Two days later, the Senate agreed to Wilson's terms and on April 6, Congress voted in favor of entering the conflict. With both houses agreeing the declaration of war the United States officially entered World War I. 
The United States was ill prepared to enter into the conflict but that problem was quickly solved with the establishment of several training facilities throughout the United States. Cities throughout the country placed bids with the war department to have one of these camps built close to them because they recognized the economical incentives the training facilities would bring.

Constructing the barracks
On June 28th, Captain Walter L Gickler and 129 men of Company D, Ohio Engineers arrived at the site and began construction. The number of workers swelled to 300 within two days. Ninety five percent of the camp was finished by the time the first draftees arrived on September 5, 1917. Two days later the Army decided to raise the regiment size at Camp Sherman from 2,000 to 3,600 men. 150 more buildings were constructed bring the camp to the size of 2,000 buildings erected over 1,700 acres of land. The camp swelled Chillicothe's population from 16,000 to 60,000 almost overnight. Camp Sherman was organized like a small city with a library, hospital, farms, and theaters. It also served as one of the POW camps for German soldiers. Yes, that's right. We would capture Germans and ship them overseas to detain them at Camp Sherman.  Camp Sherman has such an interesting history. I cannot possibly cover it all. 

Here are a few interesting links about Camp Sherman:


The United States Army closed Camp Sherman in 1920. It used today by the Ohio National Guard as a training facility. Here are some pictures from Camp Sherman. Enjoy!

First draftee at Camp Sherman.

This one is my favorite. 
The men at Camp Sherman stood in perfect formation to make the image of 
President Woodrow Wilson for an ariel shot of the president.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

#ISWG: Surviving @CampNaNoWriMo

Surviving Camp NaNo

It's the first week of April and like so many writers I am sitting in the wilderness of Camp NaNoWriMo
working on my next great novel.  This is my second year participating at Camp NaNoWriMo. I am working on a historical fiction novel set in 1919 Marion, Ohio that is based on a true story. I had first conceived of the story when I was asked to participate in a short story contest. My story, Field of Grace, took third place. In 2012, I adapted the short story to screenplay for my thesis project at Full Sail University and titled it Field of Grace. This camp session I am converting the screenplay into a novel.

When I started Camp NaNoWriMo a few years ago I was a bit overwhelmed. I had participated in the 2011 NaNoWriMo and didn't win. Me, the girl who wrote 700 pages in two months couldn't even complete 50,000 words in a single month. I was devastated.  But I didn't give up. I decided to try again. I couldn't understand how writers could complete such a daunting task.

In 2012, I learned a few trick to winning the NaNoWriMo and CampNaNoWriMo game. I applied the strategies I learned and viola!

And in 2013.....

Ok so you may have noticed those are the same book. I had started Bailey's Revenge in 2011 but after I won in 2012 I scrapped the entire novel and started all over again because I felt it needed to overhauled. I am so glad I did it too. Bailey's Revenge was released by Mountain Springs House in March and has been on the Top 100 Bestselling Irish Historical Fiction novels since it's release. Sometimes you just have to start a story from scratch.

Now that I have the hang of Camp NaNoWriMo and NaNoWriMo I can see how I can push around 4 - 6 books out per year that are of the highest quality. The lessons I learn through my experiences with NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo help me to develop stronger writing skills and keep fresh story ideas around me at all time. The worst thing that can ever happen to an author is to run out of ideas. I have no idea how I went through my writing career without every participating in these events. They are a dream for any writer needing that extra push to get their first draft completed. 

 Camp NaNo is held twice a year and NaNo is always held in November. The goal is to complete your first draft in 50,000 words by the end of April. That means you need to write approximately 1,700 words a day. It sounds like a lot but you can do it. The secret to completing that many words or more per day is to have a support group. You need the interaction with other NaNo writers to keep you going. One of the reasons I failed Camp NaNo the first time was because I didn't have a support system in place. When my husband and I moved to Louisville in October of 2012 I joined the local NaNo writing group the following month. With the support of my new friends and a daily writing habit I was able to complete the 50,000 word challenge. We moved to Indianapolis last August and I am planning to join a NaNoWriMo group up here.

Camp NaNo Rules

1) You must start with a blank page. This means you cannot work on an already existing story. It has to be something new. 

2) Don't edit while you are writing. It will only slow you down. 

3) Keep track of you daily total then report then on your NaNo page. Do not report your total book word count. It will mess the NaNo Counter up. 

4)  Have fun!

You can join Camp NaNo at

Tips and Tricks to Camp NaNo

1) Register with the site. 

You want to create your camper profile. Your camper profile will not disappear after Camp NaNo ends. This means you will not have to create a new one every time you participate. The camper profile is used by other campers so they can get to know you better. You can see mine at

You will also want to create a novel profile for the book you are going to write during Camp NaNo. This will not disappear after the event. Every time you participate in Camp NaNo you will have to add a new novel. Camp NaNo will keep your novels stats on that novel's page. 

2) Keep Up With Your Daily Totals

After you have written for the day you will want to report your totals to Camp NaNo. When you sign into Camp NaNo you will see a big blue tent on the right hand side like this except it will say add your daily word count. When you are ready to report you daily progress you will want to place the DAILY number of words in the blue tent then press the green button. I would suggest you do this at the very end of the day because sometimes you will have writing spurts after you have written for the day and you will want to report that. 

Camp NaNo will keep track of your daily progress on a bar graph that you can access from your novel info page. There is a silver button on the side of that page that takes you to your stats page when you press it. Your novel's stat page will look like this. Camp NaNo will automatically compare your results to the entire cabin you are placed in (we'll talk about that next).

Camp NaNo also gives you a bullseye at the top of your site where you can see how much progress you have made towards your writing goal. This is linked to your novel's stats. 

3) Write With Your Friends

If you want to be successful with Camp NaNo then you cannot do this adventure on your own. Camp NaNo understand this. Every registered camper is placed in a cabin with other participants. When you register you will have to set up your cabin settings. You can chose to be placed in a cabin or not participate. I would suggest you chose to participate in the cabin. The cabin is a small group of writers who encourage each other while they are at Camp NaNo. You can request to be placed in a cabin with specific campers or let the Camp NaNo staff surprise you. 

Another resource you can use during camp is to join a Facebook group of other Camp NaNo participants. These groups are great because they encourage you to write. The admins of these groups organize games such as Word Wars and Sprints. 

Word Wars are occur when participants are given a set amount of time to write as much as they can. When the time is over everyone counts how many words they wrote then report it to the group. The person with the most words wins the contest. 

Sprints operate much like Word Wars except after you report your word count you also report your favorite passage or lines. There is no winner. 

Here is one group you can join

4) Develop A Daily Routine

You are also going to need to develop some discipline if you want to succeed. Chose a time in your day where you can sit and write without any disruptions. Some writers listen to music while they write while other don't. Personally, I only use the music if I'm stuck somewhere or need encouragement. There will be those days when you don't feel like writing. Don't give into those thoughts. Just write. It doesn't have to be pretty or make sense. Just write. 

5) Reward Yourself

Don't forget to reward yourself when you have met your daily total. This could be something as simple as a small snack. Save the medium rewards for when you reach the 25%, 50% and 75% mark on the bullseye. Once the bullseye hits 100% give yourself a BIG treat for a job well done. 

Camp NaNo will reward you if you complete your writing project with winner's goodies. You will only receive these once they verify you have completed your novel. After you complete your novel you will upload your manuscript to their site where they will count the words. They will let you know if you have achieved the proper word count via your camp mail. If you were successful they will send you a link where you can collect your goodies. 

6) Pay Attention To Camp Mail

You will want to read every message that Camp NaNo sends to you via your camper email box. They will send you letters of encouragement and sometimes they will have famous authors email you.  The letters have wonderful advice for any level of writer. 

Camp NaNo also allows campers to interact with one another by using Camp Mail. You don't have to be in a cabin with someone in order to send/receive email. 

7) Let the World Know You Are a Camper

If you have a blog or Facebook account you can let everyone know you are participating in Camp NaNo this year by placing one of their badges on your blog or wall. You can access these via

8) Plan You Novel Before Camp

I cannot stress this enough. I know there are some writers out there that write by the seat of their pants. I use to be one of them. You will want to outline your story and intimately know your character before you start Camp NaNo. Don't worry if your story changes during the event. It happens. Just keep writing. If you know where your story is going then it will make it all the easier to write without having to worry about what will happen next to your character. 

Another great tool is Scrivener. Scrivener is wonderful because it allows you to write your story in scenes. You can also keep track of your daily writing totals easier because the word count is per scene written. I use one scene a day while I'm writing in NaNo. After the scene is over I take that total at the bottom of the page then report that to Camp NaNo. My scenes tends to be complete chapters. Scrivener also allows me the opportunity to see images, my research and the note card for that chapter while I am writing. The outline is written in note cards that I can manipulate if I need to change the order of something. You can find Scrivener on Facebook at