Friday, February 27, 2015

Jan 1997 - Life in Oak Springs, the Homeplace


Life in Oak Springs, the Homeplace

Jan 1997



This series of posts on each Friday during 2015 continues the stories of “The Homeplace Saga” series of family saga, historical fiction families in the area of Oak Springs following the novel “Christmas at the Homeplace.” Here is a peek at ‘Life in Oak Springs,’ and the surrounding valley, in January of 1997. 


Sunrise - the dawn of a new day
[Source: http://www.freeimages.com/photo/1442778 user smithwil]


The new Oak Springs Historical and Genealogical Society (Society) continued its local media campaign encouraging local folks to look for old family and community records that they might have hidden away in boxes, drawers, and attics. At the Oak Springs Library, Librarian Judy Watson took the lead in providing the record keeping to assure that each such item brought to the library was properly recorded as contributed by the person or family bringing it in and that it would be preserved in their name. Members of the Society then volunteered to process the information or artifact so as to continue to discover and record it’s place in the history of the community. It was a bigger project than expected, but most of the members of the Society found it a worthwhile challenge and pitched in to help as they could. These efforts were led by Brian Kirk, Jennifer Bevins, Rhoda Offutt and Sarah (Campbell) Flanders, among the founding members and officers of the Society. They worked closely with Judy Watson to keep their promise to the community.

Among the artifacts brought in during January, was an old manuscript found by Penny Nixon in the back room of the Oak Springs Enterprise. It appeared, on early examination, never to have been published, in the newspaper or otherwise. More research was underway, the committee reported.


Social Notes:

Local lawyer, Don Kirk, played Professor Van Helsing in "Dracula" at the Community Theater production at Ozarks Community College. Celebrating his performance with him after opening night were close friends and family, Brian Kirk, Jennifer Bevins, Linda Ogden, and Christopher and Nicole Ogden.

At the annual Chamber of Commerce dinner, Lisa Flanders-Howell, Vice President at Oak Springs Bank, was honored by being presented the Oak Star Award from the Chamber. This award was not given each year. Flanders-Howell was presented the award for 1996 as the business person leading the United Way effort to its most successful campaign in the 23 year history of the United Campaign in the Oak Springs area, along with the other local charitable activities in which she contributed. When she received the award, she was accompanied by her husband, City Manager, Jacob Howell and their 4-year-old son, Thomas Howell.


"May everyone have a homeplace, if only in your mind."

Dr. Bill  ;-)

Thursday, February 26, 2015

"3 Threats" Novel Project Update


"3 Threats to the Homeplace"
Novel Project Update


In recent weeks, I've shared some planning documents on this projected novel with my writing community colleagues as well as here on "The Homeplace Saga" blog.



Earlier this week, I shared my latest thinking on the project in this article:

On Friday, in this space, we will continue on with the story of the Homeplace and the good folks who live there with January 1997. I hope you will join me in this weekly journey of exploration.

"May we each have a Homeplace, if only in our mind!"

Dr. Bill  ;-)

Friday, February 20, 2015

3 Threats - 6 POV characters - Beverly is our sixth…



“3 Threats to the Homeplace” preview 
6 POV characters
Beverly is our sixth…



Beverly is the least well developed of the four primary siblings of the Bevins family in the entire “The Homeplace Saga,” series of stories. Although she was a principal focus in the first novel, “Back to the Homeplace,” she has been largely in the background in the more recent ones. That changes with “3 Threats.” The first threat is that she has returned to Oak Springs - “permanently” - in her words. What impact this will have on the rest of the family, and the community, is a focus of the story, of course.

To learn a little more about her, if you are new to the series, or as a reminder if you are a regular, following is a piece I recently published specifically regarding her role in the upcoming “3 Threats” novel:





As with the other major characters in “The Homeplace Saga” series of family saga, historical fiction stories, you can use the developmental wiki as a reminder. Here are links to Beverly, and the other characters:



There are currently 5, about to be 6, references under Labels (right sidebar, scroll down):


…where much of what we know about her comes through stories of her ex-husband, Paul, and her children, Scott and Heather, in Oak Springs.  Read “Back to the Homeplace” for more… ;-)


******
“May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds.”  Dr. Bill ;-)


Friday, February 13, 2015

3 Threats - 6 POV characters - Peter is our fifth…



“3 Threats to the Homeplace” preview 
6 POV characters
Peter is our fifth…

Peter is the most mysterious and the most complex character in the entire “The Homeplace Saga,” series of stories. If you have not yet read, “Back to the Homeplace,” I certainly encourage you to do so, so that you learn to know Peter… To learn a little more about him, if you are new to the series, or as a reminder if you are a regular, following is a piece I recently published specifically regarding her role in the upcoming “3 Threats” novel:




As we begin February of 1999, in “3 Threats,” Peter is devoted to the success of the McDonald Conservancy as well as to he “new family,” of course. Ronny Cox, formerly with the regional Department of Natural Resources, now Executive Director of the Conservancy, is now on board full-time to assist Peter and Board to implement the $800,000 grant they have received as well as to ensure that all of the segments of their five-year-plan are in place and moving forward. News of a threat to this whole new system sets them into a defensive posture.

As with the other major characters in “The Homeplace Saga” series of family saga, historical fiction stories, you can use the developmental wiki as a reminder. Here are links to Peter, and the other characters:



There are currently 3, about to be 4, references under Labels (right sidebar, scroll down):


…where you get more information about Peter - but not a lot… Read “Back to the Homeplace” for more… ;-)


******
“May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds.”  Dr. Bill ;-)


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Artistry With Words - Guest Post - “Why I Write…”


Artistry With Words
Guest Post
“Why I Write What I Write…”


A week ago, today, it was my privilege to have a Guest Post on the Blog of writing colleague, Bill Holland - his blog is “Artistry With Words.” His motto is: “ Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.” He inspires, encourages, and supports those of us who write, whatever we write, for whatever reason. 

Bill Holland and Friend
Author, Artistry With Words blog


It was an honor, for me, to have my post published on his blog. If you missed it, I wanted to share what I wrote there:

“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 ;-)


Friday, February 6, 2015

3 Threats - 6 POV characters - Jennifer is our fourth…


“3 Threats to the Homeplace” preview
6 POV characters
Jennifer is our fourth…

   

Jennifer Bevins also came of age in “The Homeplace Saga” stories of the 1990s…. she came back home to the Oak Creek valley as a practicing veterinarian in the summer 1996. To learn a little more about her, if you are new to the series, or as a reminder if you are a regular, following is a piece I recently published specifically regarding her role in the upcoming “3 Threats” novel:




Jennifer set up her Veterinary Clinic near the Bevins Stable and Trail Rides operations in the Summer of 1996 in “The Homeplace Revisited.” Late that summer, she developed a strong interest in her family history, along with her aunt Karen. She also met Brian Kirk, the young attorney whose mother had died too young, who also had developed a similar interest. We continued their story into the next novel, “Christmas at the Homeplace,” where they helped found the Oak Springs Historical and Genealogical Society in their community. This activity will develop an important role in “3 Threats.”

As with the other major characters in “The Homeplace Saga” series of family saga, historical fiction stories, you can use the developmental wiki as a reminder. Here are links to Jennifer, and the other characters:


There are currently 7, about to be 8, references under Labels (right sidebar, scroll down):


…where you get more information about Jennifer, including more about her relationship with her cousin, Heather, and the horses.


******

“May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds.”  Dr. Bill ;-)

Friday, January 30, 2015

3 Threats - 6 POV characters - Christopher is our third…


“3 Threats to the Homeplace” preview 6 POV characters  Christopher is our third…


Christopher Ogden would probably now be considered the central figure in “The Homeplace Saga” stories of the 1990s…. when you read the stories. To learn a little more about him, if you are new to the series, or as a reminder if you are a regular, following is a piece I recently published specifically regarding his role in the upcoming “3 Threats” novel:




In the summer of 1996 we introduced you to the mare Christopher purchased, Shadow, and his new dog, Chase, pictured (above) on the front of “The Homeplace Revisited.” In that novel, of course, he met and proposed to his future wife. This novel has been referred to as a “double romance” novel, as well as moving forward with the rest of the family storylines.

As with the other major characters in “The Homeplace Saga” series of family saga, historical fiction stories, you can use the developmental wiki as a reminder. Here are links to Christopher, and the other characters:


There are currently 8, about to be 9, references under Labels (right sidebar, scroll down):


…where you get more information about Christopher. The first one has a story about his marriage to Nicole… at the Methodist Church.

Character number 4 will be introduced next Friday, in this space.

******

“May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds.”  Dr. Bill ;-)