"Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by doing so some people have entertained angels without knowing it." - Hebrews 13:2

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer."

Mill Springs Battlefield - Nancy, KY
Photo by Loree Huebner

I’ve been fighting with a stubborn kidney stone the past few days so my post this week will be brief. I’m fine and under my doctor’s care. Just having some discomfort and may have to go another round of antibiotics until the thing passes.    

“Some Pig”

Last week, I ran across the quote used in my post title. It’s a quote by American author, E. B. White, and found myself able to quote the very next line…“Charlotte was both.” I knew the quote was taken from the incredible book written by White and first published in 1952 - Charlotte’s Web.


I had forgotten how much I loved to read this story when I was a child. I was swept away by the tale. It was the first time I had experienced a story that touched me and drew me in. I was hooked by White’s very real characters in the barnyard. After reading the book, I swear I had been to Zuckerman’s farm. It’s such a beautifully written story of true friendship and how far one friend will go for another…in a way that a child can understand.  Now I’m sure that I don’t have to explain the plot of the story…and if by chance, you have not read the book…you should.


This was the first book that put the writing idea into my mind and heart. Heck, Charlotte was a writer. Truth be told, reading the book woke up the writer in my young soul. Back then, I knew that someday I wanted to write a story like White had.  


Did a book ever have an impact on you when you were a child? Reading or writing? If so, what was it? Please share your story. I would love to hear from you.  

Between you, me and the gatepost,



Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Twin Disasters

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Japan, and all those touched by the earthquake and tsunami. We keep you close in our hearts.

I just felt compelled to write a few words about the terrible, double natural disaster which struck Japan this past week.  

At times I couldn’t pull myself away from the different news channels. I was hypnotized, watching the story unfold with scenes of the earth violently shaking, followed by a humungous, unstoppable wave, or wall of water overflowing harbors, pouring into streets and roaming farmland. I stand in shock at the sheer force of the ocean water coming up onto the land. This concept is very scary to me. I’ve played in rough surf in the ocean, and watched enormous waves crash on the shoreline of southern Lake Michigan during a thunderstorm, but I can’t fathom this kind of wave. Like so many other people, I stared at the TV screen and prayed.

I do try to look for God's blessings in midst of trials or a disaster…they are there. While there are the heartbreaking stories of lost loved ones, there are also the miracle stories of loved ones found. There are awesome stories of the ones who lived through it, and the touching tales of ones who were saved by a stranger.

We don't always know why these things happen and maybe it's not for us to know.

I do love the way the world comes together to help a nation in need. Even so-called enemies will lend a hand during a call for help in a natural disaster. I just don’t understand why we must wait for a disaster to join hands. It should be this way all the time, don’t you think? I would love to hear from you...your thoughts, your prayers, your comments.
I leave you until next time with a picture of an iridescent cloud. I took this picture from my back deck as the sun rays struck the high cirrus clouds in such a way to create this beautiful prism of light in the sky..."a diffraction phenomenon" says Wikipedia. It was there for me to witness and now I share it with you. I think of it as a sign of hope for us all. 

An iridescent cloud over Indiana
Photo by Loree Huebner

Between you, me and the gatepost,


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Challenges of Historical Proportions

Notre Dame - Paris, France
Photo by Loree Huebner

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Japan, and all those touched by the earthquake and tsunami. We keep you close in our hearts.

Writing historical fiction can have many challenges.  In this post, I only have time to hit on a few of the main important ones.
One of the trials of writing historical fiction is keeping your reader in the past along with your characters.  Let me give you a visual example of what I’m talking about – The movie, Titanic.  This movie was a giant historical movie in 1999, but there is one scene that has always troubled me.  I’m right there, lost in 1912 as Jack and Rose are running from her fiancĂ©’s manservant.  They narrowly escape being caught by him as they board an elevator.  Now this is the part that kills me.  As they make their safe getaway, Rose turns around and… makes a very un-ladylike gesture with her finger to the man.  BAM!  What happened?  Back to present day in a flash!  It’s kind of like “the bubble” thing I talked about last week.  Now I know we could argue until we’re all blue in the face, but really, that would NEVER have happened back then.  A lady of society wouldn’t have done it in public…she didn’t even know how to spit.  And I don’t care how daring or rebellious she was acting that evening…no, it wouldn’t have happened.  The impolite gesture she used was around in that time period, but rarely brought up, so-to-speak.  In all honesty, she probably would have just stuck out her tongue at him…and not given him a bird on stick.  The scene jolted me back and my bubble had popped.  That gesture was of a modern day mindset.
We have to be careful and think it out as we write it.  When I was a novice at writing, I had written a line in my first book - A man is talking to another about how love had hit him.  This takes place, of course, during the Civil War: “It’s like falling off a cliff in slow-motion.”  This line bothered me, and I could sense something wasn’t right, but I didn’t see why.  HELLO LOREE!  Slow-motion technology wasn’t invented back then as my husband so kindly pointed out to me.  I didn’t catch it, but he did.  Such a silly mistake!  We must take care not to draw the reader back to the present.
Another challenge is too many historical facts can spoil a book.  No matter what time period you’re writing in, you don’t want to lose the tale in the historical details—you must build around them.  The author doesn’t need to describe that the pretty black bla bla bla bonnet, trimmed in pink, was made in bla bla bla, by bla bla, and first sold in bla bla bla...*snore* unless it really matters to the story.  Your character can be right in the thick of it all without it being a full blown, boring history lecture.  A writer can accomplish this with a gentleness for the subject—by following a time line without sticking every historical element in the reader’s face.  I’m not saying not to use any details, but pick and choose wisely.  Use the historical information when it really is of importance to the plot.
Agree?  Disagree?  Got any basic pointers for historical fiction that you would like to share?  Let’s talk about it.  I would love to hear your opinion or suggestions.
Between you, me and the gatepost…

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Do you write in the bubble?

Loree in the bubble - somewhere in time
Photo by Loree Huebner - Inner photo by Eric Huebner

In Civil War re-enacting, there is a term used when a re-enactor completely submerges himself, or herself, in the period.  It’s a bit of time traveling.  This term is known as being in the bubble.  Let me give you an example - a re-enactor will, let’s say for an entire weekend re-enactment, completely allow his or her mind to stay fixed on living like they’re actually in the point of time in which they are portraying.  The re-enactor will go into a chosen character and remain that person from the 1860’s for the duration of the weekend event.  They will only talk the talk of that era, make and eat food from the time period, and live the life of a Civil War soldier or civilian.  The present world doesn’t exist.
In this bubble, there are no cell phones, texting, ESPN score updates, or Revlon Color Burst lip gloss…I think you get my point.  The re-enactor tries to be as authentic as possible to feel as if they are actually back in time.  Most mainstream re-enactors, which is the kind of re-enacting I do, fall in and out of character, and only really touch the 1860’s a few times during an event.  These precious moments usually happen in camp, at a ball, or during the battle.  We connect with brief glimpses of life during the War Between the States…for a few wonderful minutes or seconds…we are there.  Only a few “authentic campaigners” claim to be able to stay in the bubble the entire weekend—not me, I can’t eat the salt pork, and I always have to touch base with the kids several times a day when I’m away.   
A great example of being in the bubble is the 1980 movie, Somewhere in Time.  The late Christopher Reeve’s character, Richard Collier, seeks out his old professor on advice of how to time travel.  Richard wants to go back to 1912 to the beautiful, Elise McKenna, played by Jane Seymour.  He locks himself in his room, removing anything modern that might distract him from the past.  He dresses in old timey clothes, cuts his hair to the fashion at that time, and tries to imagine being there…until he actually is.
Mostly, I write at my computer desk or on my lap top while in bed, but every once in a while, I write in the bubble.  Although I don’t put on my hoops and petticoats, I do put out the lights, strike a match to the candles to set a mood, or sit by a crackling fire to give me that 1860’s feel.  In no time, the characters come alive.  The trick for me, like Richard Collier, is to cast out anything modern to distract.  I turn off the phone, and sometimes, I don’t even write on the computer.  I have an old journal, pencil and pen, and the dogs at my feet.  Suddenly in a blink—I am there.  There is no TV, Twitter, or networking; just ink to paper, much like the incredible 19th century authors before me.  I’ve done some of my best writing while pushing graphite to the page in my 1860’s bubble, and yes…I was there.
Do you write in a bubble?  If so, what kind of bubble do you create?  Where are you the most comfortable writing?  Let’s talk.  I would love to hear from you! 
Between you, me and the gatepost,