Historical Tidbit – Naval Terms

How many books have you read that contained words that originated with sailors? Probably as many
as the numImageber or characters that had a past related to the sea. There are entire series dedicated to men in uniform, so many readers have encountered one. But use of the words that came from the sea aren’t necessarily restricted to romance writers. A term might creep into the ships that sail amongst the stars. And don’t forget ships that transverse the oceans of fantasy worlds.

In honor of Fleet Week, a tip to writers. A word or two (don’t use the entire dictionary) can add a hint of authenticity to a work.The U.S. Navy has compiled multiple glossaries of naval slang that has worked its way into common English. Whether you want to bamboozle or use “know the ropes” in its original meaning (which wasn’t complimentary), check out naval slang.

Image   Till Next Time ~ Helen




Dishing Secrets with Susan Whitfield

Stopped by to visit with multi-genre author Susan Whitfield who writes the Logan Hunter Mystery series. During our virtual get together I disclosed a few thoughts on the writing process and how much of myself appears in my characters. To see the answers, go to http://susanwhitfield.blogspot.com/2014/05/helen-henderson.html.

Historical Tidbit – Loyalty in Fur and Feather

DoughboyDepending on your age and experience, age and experience, the doughboy of World War I or the jungle fatigues of Vietnam have been replaced by the desert camouflage of the Middle East. In this post for Armed Forced Week, although it is still in keeping with the military values of honor, duty and loyalty, and has a historical perspective, the focus is not on two-legged soldiers but ones with fur or feathers.

Perhaps the most well-known dog from the era is RIN TIN TIN® (September 1918 – August 10, 1932), a male German Shepherd Dog rescued from a World War I battlefield by an American soldier, Lee Duncan. Duncan trained Rin Tin Tin and obtained silent film work for the dog. Rin Tin Tin went on to appear in 26 films. It is interesting to note that in 1929, Rin Tin Tim received the most votes for the first Academy Award for Best Actor, but the Academy determined that a human should win. He does have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The legacy of Rin Tin Tin might have begun in WWI, but continues today as the television program, The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, has once again returned to the airways.

While Rin Tin Tin may have been born behind enemy lines during World War I, Stubby, the stump-tailed terrier, worked behind enemy lines, and gained military honors along the way. Private Robert Conroy casually adopted the orphan pup while attending basic training on the campus of Yale University in 1917. When Conroy’s unit shipped out for France, he smuggled his new friend aboard. According to Ann Bausum in Stubby the War Dog: The True Story of World War I’s Bravest Dog, by the time Stubby encountered Conroy’s commanding officer, the dog had perfected his right-paw salute.

The tradition of military dogs did not end with WWI. War Dogs: A History of Loyalty and Heroism by Michael G. Lemish looks at unsung canine heroes from World War I to the present. Terriers, shepherds, beagles, collies, huskies, and Dobermans are only a few of the breeds that have pulled sleds, searched caves and bunkers, and even parachuted into combat. Lemish has collected true stories and rare photographs that reflect the strong bonds that have formed between war dogs and their masters as they worked together in dangerous situations.

While dogs may be the most well-known military animal, they are not the only animals who have worked with or accompanied soldiers into battle. In Soldiers in Fur and Feathers The Animals that Served in World War I – Allied Forces, Susan Bulanda, reveals fascinating true stories of the heroic animals that assisted the Allied Forces during World War I-stories that have, for the most part, been forgotten. As we approach the 100th anniversary of WWI, this book will help preserve the role of the animals that served. Who were they, why were they used, how were they selected, how did they serve, and what became of them? Soldiers in Fur and Feathers answers those questions.

From the last mounted cavalry charge of the U.S. Army to the 36,000 homing pigeons deployed overseas, service animals made a significant impact on military operations during World War II. Through 157 photographs from the National World War II Museum collection, Loyal Forces: The American Animals of World War II by Toni M. Kiser and Lindsey F. Barnes, captures the heroism, hard work, and innate skills of innumerable animals that aided the troops as they fought to protect, transport, communicate, and sustain morale.
During this period of time to honor those in military service, remember “Freedom isn’t Free.” Thank a veteran or a man or woman in active service. There are many ways to do so and organizations worthy of support. However, even a simple nod and smile to someone wearing a cap signifying service can communicate your appreciation.

Working military dogs can also be supported. One way is through the K9 Sgt. Denny Project. Their efforts have expanded from sending material to deployed working dogs and their handlers, to supporting injured warriors suffering from PTS and TBI injuries by pairing the warriors up with a service dog that enables the soldier to return to society and become productive and most of all to move their lives forward.  Information on how to contribute to can be found at http://runwithdennis.org/k9-sgt-denny-project/.
Whether you write historical fiction or contemporary, don’t forget the four-footed or feathered companions. And service animals are not restricted to those on land or even the Earth as evidenced by the dolphins that inhabited the world of Pern created by Anne Mccaffrey. In my own fantasy novels, battle-trained stallions take to the field with their chosen riders.

To all who have served or are serving, thank you for your service.

Till Next Time ~Helen

RIN TIN TIN® is a registered trademark of Belleair Trading International LLC

XPost – 5 Tips to Avoid total Disaster

When I advise new writers (and sometimes experienced ones) I like to use information from experience and not necessarily what is in the latest books. And I am trying to follow through with the philosophy when I wordart - doitallam cross-posting (or commenting on) articles. Even within a sub-genre, writers are such a diverse group that what works for one, either as a writing process or marketing, is an absolute torture or flop for another.

In that vein, I’m forwarding a guest post from the LiveWriteThrive blog by copywriter, editor, and educator Jessica Millis. As you can see from just the bio line, she comes with experience from various sides of the table, and what is perhaps the most important one–she is also a reader. Although I disagree with the statement that, “Most novels in the online and offline market today are garbage,” (mainly it is the word “Most” I object to,) her tips may not turn a bad novel into a best seller, but they are points to consider, especially for those with a novel inside them (that is still there after ten or twenty years.)

What I liked most iswordart - researchends that she didn’t start off with the usual advice of “Write what you know.” And, all too often, her first tip to avoiding a total disaster as a novelist, “Don’t Spend Forever Gathering Material,” is all too accurate. One of the points I consistently make when I lecture authors on research is once you have a base, start writing. You don’t need to know everything about every era (or even one) before you begin to put words down on paper. If your character ends up visiting Notre Dame Cathedral and you had him originally going to London, when you come to a slow spot (aka writers block) dig up the basics for the placeholders you’ve left in the prose, research a unique detail or two, then continue on.

o the rest of Millis’s tips, go to http://www.livewritethrive.com/2014/04/21/5-tips-to-avoiding-total-disaster-as-a-novelist/.

What is your favorite tip to avoid disaster?


Till Next Time ~ Helen