The D-Day Dodgers

 

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Photo courtesy of Yoal Desurmont via unsplash.com.

“Timing is everything” – cliché, but true.

Timing can mean the difference between success and failure, between ‘famous’ and ‘forgotten.’

Yesterday was the anniversary of “D-Day.” (I missed out on posting something for the day- thanks to those who shared stories and pictures!)

Did you know about the anniversary that took place a couple of days before?

Seventy-three years ago, on June 4, 1944, a military campaign that had dragged on for over a year and a half reached a historic milestone. The Allied forces liberated their first Axis capital: Rome.

Months of slogging up mountains while under fire, of crossing river after bridgeless river, of mud, cold, and disappointment, had finally borne fruit.

This momentous event held the headlines for one day.

Timing, after all, is everything. On June 6th the Allies began their long-awaited landings on the beaches of Normandy.

Of course, the D-Day invasions were extremely important. Years had gone into their planning and preparation. It was thrilling to have a foothold in France for the first time after being ousted in ’39. However, the Italian campaign, considered controversial from the start, was now definitely relegated to a secondary position.

Soldiers who’d spent years and lost friends fighting through North Africa, Sicily, and up the foot of Italy, saw commanders, troops, and materiel sent away to support the efforts in France. Loved ones sent them letters telling them what a relief it was that they were “safe” in Italy.

Perhaps Lady Astor, member of the British Parliament, wins the prize for the worst insult to the Italian effort. She named the troops the “D-Day Dodgers”- shirkers of the fighting in France.*

The response of the troops was so memorable that I’ve been caught singing it around the house. (This version- the clean one 😉 )

When I began my study of the theaters of World War 2 to pick a specific setting for my novel, I stumbled across this story and this song, and I stayed.

A few of the places of interest mentioned in the song:

“Salerno”- The first major assault on the European mainland: 4,870 Americans killed, wounded or missing. (This does not include casualties from the British 10th Corps.)

“Cassino”- The ‘Gustav Line’ of German defenses passed through the mountains by the town of Cassino. It took four Allied assaults over many months to break the line, the last being a huge effort of camouflage, false trails, and infantry assaults.

“Anzio”- This beachhead was established north of Monte Cassino. The attack stagnated, and the Allies were trapped on the beachhead for months. The American hospital area was hit so often that it was nicknamed “Hell’s Half-Acre” and stories circulate of soldiers pretending they weren’t wounded to avoid being sent there for care. The Allied forces at Anzio suffered 29,200 combat casualties, (killed, wounded, prisoners or missing,) and 37,000 non-combat casualties.

Statistics from http://www.history.army.mil/books/wwii/salerno/sal-fm.htm and http://www.history.army.mil/brochures/anzio/72-19.htm

* Some sources indicate that Lady Astor’s statement was due to a misunderstanding: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/world-war-two/10841035/Monte-Cassino-veterans-anger-at-D-Day-dodger-label.html

Thanks and God’s blessings to all who serve and have served, in the well-known theaters and in the ones we rarely hear of.

Many thanks for visiting!

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Three Questions To Ask When Choosing Your Research Sources

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One of the biggest challenges of writing historical fiction is keeping it “historical.”

Since all of my current stories are set in the 30s and 40s, I’m required to know all sorts of minutia, from skirt lengths to cigarette brands to how to simulate silk stockings when there are none to be had. Research takes more time than writing, some days.

Finding sources isn’t particularly difficult. Finding trustworthy ones- that’s the trick.

The internet is full of information, some of it true, some well-meaning but mistaken, and some blatant lies. I enjoy scouring the library’s shelves for texts on my topics, but paper and binding aren’t a guarantee of accuracy, either.

It can be frustrating, but I’ve found that asking a few simple questions eliminates  unreliable sources quickly, and gets me back on track.

1. Who wrote it?

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Photo courtesy of Braydon Anderson via unsplash.com

A quick visit to a site’s “about” page, a scroll to the bottom of the screen, or a peek at the sleeve of a book can reveal a great amount of information.

Is the author a primary source, in other words someone who actually witnessed the events they’re writing about? Are they an expert in their field? Is it a hobbyist who uses reliable sources they’ve uncovered? Are they affiliated with a particular group or philosophy? Or are they just a mysterious voice from some dark corner of the Web?

Personally, I dig for primary sources whenever I can. Diaries, memoirs etc. have the benefit of giving historical information, plus a ‘feel’ for the era. I pair these with books written by experts, especially ones with long lists of primary sources that they used in their research. (I may as well let someone who’s paid to do the research do some of it for me!)

 

2. Why did they write it?

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Photo courtesy of Steve Johnson, via unsplash.com

Most writing can be fit into one of three broader categories: writing to inform, to entertain, or persuade. It’s helpful to discern what an author’s purpose is, because their purpose will affect the way they present their information. Are they going to just list carefully researched facts, or are they going to arrange  them strategically to try to elicit a reaction from their readers?

One key to figuring out an author’s purpose is to look at their use of facts vs. opinions.

A fact is something verifiable, something that can be tested and proven.  An opinion is a conclusion that an individual draws, generally from their perception of facts.

Canned Spam played a role as a food source during World War 2: Fact.

Spam is tasty if you cook it right: Opinion.

It’s almost impossible to write without including opinion statements. However, I ask myself, does the source use facts to strengthen and verify their opinions?

“She was a terrible girlfriend,” is one person’s opinion. However, if you tell me that the terrible girlfriend never silenced her phone during movies, vandalized his apartment, insulted his mother, and kicked his kitten every time she came in the door, I’ll probably agree with your opinion.

Of course, not all facts are created equal.

It’s a pretty clear sign that an author is trying to convince you of their point of view if they fall into using “ad hominem” statements. Meaning “against the person,” these statements use facts that don’t have any bearing on the discussion at hand. The goal is to tarnish the person’s character.

For instance, if “She was a terrible girlfriend” were supported by the facts that she flunked her seventh grade Social Studies exam and once got arrested for jay-walking, first, I’d wonder if anyone actually does get arrested for jay-walking, because I’d better be more careful, and then I’d wonder what those facts have to do with her girlfriendliness, and question the reliability of the author.

3. How does it compare to other sources?

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Photo Courtesy of Eli Francis on Unsplash.com

One day I was researching Rudolf Hess’ bizarre choice to parachute into Scotland, alone, to try to create peace between Nazi Germany and Great Britain. I poked around the internet, and found a site that seemed to have a pretty thorough account.

It didn’t take too long to see that the author was a pretty big fan of Hess. And it was odd that he kept trying to blame Poland for Germany’s invasion…

Oh. It was a neo-Nazi site.

It took me far longer to figure that out that it should have, but there were no swastikas, the site title and footer didn’t tell anything about the writer’s philosophies, and the writing tone was calm and reasonable, even using real quotes to back up his points.

Aha! The quotes!

The quotes were the first thing that gave him away. You see, I’d read the books he was taking the quotes from. He used the words of Churchill and other Allied leaders verbatim, but completely out of context, and in such a way that they supported his bias. Closer examination of the other facts revealed an unreliable source.

It’s essential for accuracy to take time to look at multiple sources, and multiple types of sources. (Don’t get caught by internet sites that just copy and paste from each other!) Not only can a broad base of infomation help us catch errors and false information, but different sources provide varied points of view. They round out our understanding of people and events. They make our stories richer.

Do you have any advice on finding reliable sources, questions you ask, or stories to share?

Happy researching, reading and writing! I’m off to research the effects of my morning coffee on my laundry folding skills.

Many thanks for visitng!

 

 

 

 

 

Facial Hair Friday Returns! — Pieces of History

Greetings, fans of history and of amazing mustaches!

Now I know, this particular post from the United States’ National Archives’ blog isn’t in my usual era, focusing on photos from the late 1800s, rather than the 1930’s or 40’s.

But, “Facial Hair Friday?” How could I not share it? I can’t be the only one who has viewed historic facial hair choices with wonder and amazement, can I?

I’m excited to see what they come up with next time…

Whether it be beards, mustaches, burnsides, goatees, sideburns, or the good ol’ mutton chops, every first Friday of the month we’ll bring you the finest facial hair from the holdings of National Archives. Why are we bringing back Facial Hair Friday? It is fate—two recent posts had photos of John Alexander Logan, and while looking at…

via Facial Hair Friday Returns! — Pieces of History

 

One Year

Can it be? WordPress has just informed me that it’s officially my one-year blog-iversary!

In honor of the occasion, I’ve baked a celebratory apple pie for all of us!

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Pie?

Unfortunately, they haven’t yet come up with an app whereby I can deliver pie to all of you via this site. Someday…

Not to worry. My husband has graciously offered to eat your slice, so that it won’t go to waste. What a guy 🙂

In all seriousness, thanks to all of you lovely people whose kind comments and interesting articles have made this year fly by. I’m looking forward to the next one!

Many thanks for visiting!

-Anne

 

Memorial Day and Adam Makos’ VOICES OF THE PACIFIC

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Photo courtesy of Andrew Pons on unsplash.com

Tomorrow is Memorial Day, the day the U.S. sets aside to remember those who’ve given their lives in service to their country.

Growing up, I spent a portion of each Memorial Day bumping slowly along winding cemetery roads.

If we were visiting Minnesota’s north woods, we’d also visit Great-Grandpa’s graveside, tidying around his and Great-Grandma’s headstone, making certain that the little memorial marking his service in WW1 was in place. If we were closer to home, we’d visit my mother’s father’s graveside, pulling out any unruly grass around the star commemorating his service in WW2.

My adult Memorial Days leave me with a nagging feeling that there’s something I ought to be doing, or somewhere I ought to be. Living so far from my roots, I can’t visit the old sites in person.

Of course, with or without a walk through the grass-covered plots, Memorial Day isn’t really about cemetery maintenance. It’s about taking a moment to remember those who’ve served, who’ve suffered, and who’ve sacrificed.

I treasure books that help me in this remembrance, that highlight the cost of the freedoms I cherish. One such is Voices of the Pacific, written by Adam Makos with Marcus Brotherton.

Voices of the Pacific

“On Monday morning, December 8, 1941, the day after Pearl Harbor was attacked, I was at work at the shoe factory in Mount Joy, Pennsylvania. I was twenty years old. I shut down my machine. The boss said, “What the h*** are you doing?” and I said, “I’m sorry, but I’m leaving to join up.” It was then that I heard other machines being shut down and guys saying, “We’re going too.” (Interview with Jim Young, Voices of the Pacific pg 3)

The December 7, 1941 Japanese attack on targets including Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, inflamed the American people.

As the United States prepared to declare its entrance into the Second World War, individual citizens declared their resolution to fight. Enlistment offices flooded.

Voices of the Pacific opens in these tumultuous times. It is a collection of memories of fifteen Marines who served in the Pacific Theater of Operations (PTO).

The book was printed in 2013- none too soon. As time goes on, the voices that carry these stories are fading away. The author sums up his goal in these words:

“What follows is not a sanitized version of the war. It’s the last survivors talking to you, digging deep and pulling out painful memories, gut-busting humor, and rousing accounts of American bravery, sacrifice, and old-fashioned goodness. Here they give us one last tale, one last time.” (Voices of the Pacific, Introduction page xiii)

The authors actually narrate little of the story. Rather, each chapter is set up with title, location, and a brief introduction. Then, the Marines speak.

They share their stories, and we follow them through Guadalcanal, Australia, New Britain, Pavuvu, Peleliu, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa.

I found the book’s organization very effective. The first chapter, “We’re In It Now: Pearl Harbor,” shares the memories of Marines Sid Phillips, Jim Young and Roy Gerlach, all of whom joined just after the attacks on Pearl Harbor. Makos and Brotherton organized the men’s memories in short segments, so that they flow in roughly chronological order.

It’s almost like getting to sit in the room with these Marines while they’re reminiscing.

The subsequent chapters follow the pattern. New voices join the conversation as the narration moves to new locations, and old voices bow out as they pass the end of their service.

Of course, keeping track of who was who could have been confusing for someone like myself who has difficulty remembering names of people I’ve just met. However, the authors included captioned photos at the beginning of the book, listing the interviewees in order of appearance.

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Like some of the troops’ service, the book does not end with the official end of the war. The book also shares stories of their (sometimes eventful) journeys back home, and how they went about rebuilding their lives.

As the authors’ quote that I shared suggests, this book doesn’t only deal with pleasant events, always use nice language, or gloss over the horrors of war that these men experienced (it’s not one for the kids!) However, as a glimpse of real experiences during an awful time, and as a remembrance of what these men suffered in service to their country, Voices of the Pacific is worth reading.

The final chapter, “The Last Words,” gave these 15 Marines a chance to leave a message for the generations of today. On this weekend of remembrance, I think that the last, a message from Marine Clarence Rea, is a great note to end on.

“I’ll be ninety-two soon, and I’ve got everything to be thankful for. A great family, a great wife, a bunch of great friends. I thank God that I’m still here…

My message to anyone is care about your country. America is a great country, and it’s worth taking care of.

That’s my story.”(pg. 378.)

Many thanks for visiting!

 

 

 

 

 

Musical Interlude: Glenn Miller’s “In The Mood”

Greetings all!

With end-of-the-school-year grades to figure, field trips to drive for, and kids’ plays to attend, (on top of the normal tasks involved in LIFE,) about the only thing I’m “In the Mood” for is a nap!

However, I wanted to share a little musical interlude with you, something peppy enough that maybe it’ll help us all keep going!

“In The Mood,” recorded by big band leader Glenn Miller, topped the 1940 charts, and was used in the 1941 film, Sun Valley Serenade.

Glenn Miller earns a mention in the history of the Second World War. Too old for the draft, he felt compelled to be involved. He enlisted in the United States Army in 1942, though this meant stepping away from his lucrative civilian career. He organized an Army Air Force marching band and a dance band, and performed live and on the radio.

In June of 1944 he and the band went to Britain to perform for the troops. He planned to take his music over to Paris, to play for the soldiers on the Continent.

In order to make necessary preparations, he flew over before the rest. Sadly, his plane was lost over the English Channel.

I hope you enjoy this fantastic piece of music. Many thanks for visiting!

What If My Writing Stinks, and I Don’t Know It?

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“I was given a manuscript to read, but it was so bad I sent it back/deleted it immediately.”

“A friend asked me to read their writing. I tried, but I couldn’t think of anything nice to say, so I just gave it back and said I didn’t have the time.”

“I wrote my first novel and it still sits in my garage- I was so proud of it at the time, but now I realize how awful it is.”

Sound familiar? If you’ve poked around in the world of writing at all, you’ve probably run into stories like these.

These stories speak to the deepest, most neurotic corner of my heart, and they tell me one thing:

“Your writing is possibly, even probably awful, and you’re just too close to see it.”

The temptation to burn the whole mess, (in effigy of course, let’s not get crazy here. I still want my laptop for recipes,) is strong. Just kill the story, move on with non-creative pursuits, stay happy and safe from rejection. I’d sure get more house cleaning done…

Deep breaths. Stay calm.

Writing is an art. Taste is subjective, BUT there are definite markers for good vs. flame-worthy.

The following are a few things I’ve tried, hoping to ensure quality.

  1. Find Safe Readers.

I’ve run into a great deal of professional advice telling me not to lean on people I know as readers- especially not relatives or friends. As a newbie to this whole ‘biz, I’m going to come right out and say I ignored this. I needed readers who were going to leave me unbloodied from my first exposure as an adult author.

I was fortunate to have people who were both very literate, and honest enough to let me know if the overall project should probably be kept ‘just for me.’ After my book passed the eyes of four people I trusted, it was ready for the next step.

  1. Find ‘Scary’ Readers

I entered my novel- a much earlier draft- in the Athanatos Christian Writing Contest. I made the first judging cut, (yay!) but not the finals, (sigh.) Besides the experience of exposing my writing to professional scrutiny, I received a whoooole bunch of feedback.

Warning: Taking professional feedback was hard.

Still, once I got over the initial “But…but…but…” reaction to some of the constructive criticism, I was able to put it to work for me, and come out with a MUCH stronger draft of the story than I started with. The experience was valuable and enlightening.

  1. EDIT.

I’m not sure WHAT draft I’m officially on, and I still find sentences that could be strengthened and errors that I taught students to avoid. I’ve read, reread, taken a break and then read again. Articles by other authors have been invaluable in pointing out common errors- apparently I am very fond of adverbs, and unnecessary speech tags.

  1. Read Aloud

Especially in the case of dialogue, something might look great in type, but once you say the words you realize they sound bad enough to make angels weep.   I hyperbolize, but seriously, reading aloud has helped me pay more attention to word choice and flow. My kids look at me like I’m crazy as I go around talking to myself, but they did that anyway.

  1. Read Other Books

Apparently my female protagonist’s name was an extremely overused one. Who knew?

Avoiding clichés is easier if you know what other authors have written. Also, excellent authors encourage me to rethink word choices, to stretch and to grow.

  1. Don’t give up!

If we give up, we’ll never succeed, or even improve! If one piece doesn’t pan out, the next might be better!

Besides, let’s face reality. If I give up now, the house won’t really get any cleaner- I’ll just be out one more excuse.

Writers, do you have any tips to share that strengthen your writing and allay your fears? I first posted this one a year ago, and I’m on another wild editing spree- I could use them! 😀

Thanks as always for visiting!

Exploring Point No Point

Sun! The Sun has returned!

I’ve mentioned before that finding family adventures is a challenge during the Pacific Northwest’s interminable rainy season.

When the sun comes back, everything changes.

It takes a little adjusting, as pale, waterlogged people exit their houses, blinking and cringing in the glare. (A radio station once told me that Seattle buys the most sunglasses per capita each year of any large city, and if I heard it on the radio, it must be true.)

What better place to enjoy the return of warm weather than a sandy beach? Especially if the location also has a little interesting history associated with it…

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Point No Point is located at the northern tip of Washington’s Kitsap Peninsula, one of the many narrow fingers of land that break up western Puget Sound into little inlets and channels. The drive up, like most western Washington roads, winds through evergreen and fern until you are near the coast and the forest vanishes, revealing blue skies and salt water winking between the buildings of Hansville.

The Native tribes originally occupying the area gave the point the more picturesque name “Hahd-skus” or “Long Nose.” It was the site of an 1855 treaty signed between the Chimacum, Skokomish and S’Klallam tribes and the Territorial Governor.

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Treaty Rock

The Point also boasts the oldest lighthouse on Puget Sound.

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The very first beacon on Point No Point was lit on January 1, 1880. It was a kerosene lantern, as the new lighthouse’s keeper had arrived, but the lighthouse’s Fresnel lens was a month behind him.

The lighthouse itself is open periodically for tours, and we happened to visit on the right day.  The inside is small, but the displays are interesting, and the staff were friendly and helpful.

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We weren’t allowed up the ladder, but were told where we could look up to the light. There it is!
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Foghorn. I wonder if I could install one of these on top of our van, to call the kids when it’s time to get out the door? I’m sure my neighbors would love it.

Naturally, I had to check the displays for a World War 2 connection. During the war, Point No Point served the wounded. It housed about fifty individuals, who took turns manning the watch tower and patrolling the coastline as they recuperated.

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WW2 Watchtower

Back outside, we admired the list of all of the marine life we could be seeing. Alas, no real animals decided to visit.

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C’mon, whales! Just one big breach, maybe a backflip, is that too much to ask?

Even without the marine life, the beach is sandy and gorgeous. The kids had a great time exploring and improving driftwood huts other visitors had left behind. Further along, near the gift shop, we admired some more detailed sculptures.

A portion of the keeper’s house is available for a vacation rental. While I’m not sure that the busy beach just across the front yard would make for a relaxing neighbor, the driftwood rocking chairs on the front porch did look inviting.

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So did the trails through the wetlands, connecting different beach areas on the point. The rosebushes and blackberry bramble lining the paths weren’t in bloom yet- I’d love to make it back to see them! We did find some gorgeous giant red hot pokers flowering near the beach, though.

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The rainy days will likely return before summer sets in for good, but here’s to enjoying adventures in the sun while we can!

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Thanks for visiting!

Do you have any favorite sunny day adventure spots that you’d like to share?

 

If you’d like more information on Point No Point, here’s a link to the Friends of Point No Point Lighthouse site, which I used to fill in the background information for this post.

 

 

 

 

 

A Taste of History: The Fabulous Carrot in World War 2

 

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Having a hard time getting your kids to eat their vegetables? Maybe Doctor Carrot can help!  

Greetings all! The end of May marks this site’s first blog-iversary!

Looking back over the last year’s posts, I’ve found a few from the early days that I thought might be interesting for those of you who are newer followers. Just for fun, I’ll repost them this month, along with my new weekly content.

So! On to the Fabulous Carrot in WW2.

The summer of 1940 found London suffering under the German Blitz. Europe was overrun, the British Expeditionary Force having barely escaped annihilation on the beaches of Dunkirk.

German U-boats threatened to isolate the British completely, disaster for a people heavily reliant on imported goods. Prime Minister Winston Churchill recorded in his History of the Second World War that the only thing that ever really frightened him during the war was the U-boat peril.

At risk of being starved out of the war, the Ministry of Food, steered by Lord Woolton, instituted a large scale program of rationing and conservation, and encouraged the people to plant Victory Gardens.

The programs were successful, but required the people to adapt. Many foods that had previously been staples were unobtainable.

One instrumental “filler food” was the carrot. Carrot recipes ‘cropped up,’ everywhere, from carrot curry to carrot ‘lollies,’ to Woolton Pie.

The carrot’s popularity was bolstered by hints the government publicized that perhaps one reason for the success of the RAF pilots during the Battle of Britain was their high carrot consumption, which improved their eyesight. Perhaps, posters speculated, carrots could even help members of the public see better during blackouts!

 

eat carrots

While the vision-enhancing powers of carrots may have been exaggerated, the programs were successful. In fact, according to some sources, the rationing and food programs led to improved nutrition, health and I.Q. scores – blessings amid the trials.

If you are interested in finding out more on this topic, following are a couple of my sources.

As for me, I’m craving carrot sticks!

Stolarczyk, John. “Carrots in World War 2.” World Carrot Museum. Copyright 1996-2015. http://www.carrotmuseum.co.uk/history4.html

Waller, Maureen. London 1945: Life in the Debris of War. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press, 2004. Print.

On the U-Boat threat: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwars/wwtwo/battle_atlantic_01.shtml

 

The R-Rated Coffee Stand and the Importance of Knowing Your Genre

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Photo courtesy of rawpixel on Unsplash.com. Mmm. I need to refill my coffee cup now…

All I wanted was a nice cup of coffee.

The drive around Washington’s Olympic Peninsula winds and twists beside Lake Crescent, near temperate rainforests populated by all sorts of wildlife: herds of elk, blacktailed deer, even cougars. I needed to be alert.

When we saw a drive-through coffee stand ahead, I decided to give it a try.

Shacks peddling over-priced coffees line Washington’s roads, bearing names like “Bean Me Up” and “Express Espresso.”

This one’s name surprised me- “Bouncing Betty’s.”

My first thought was something like:

“Bouncing Betty” anti-personnel mine circa WW2

Naming a coffee shop after an anti-personnel mine seemed a little…well, tasteless. I reasoned that maybe they were just trying to indicate that their coffee was very powerful.

Whatever. That sixteen ounce non-fat white mocha was calling my name. I pulled up to the window.

I’m not sure if the barrista’s name was Betty. She didn’t have anything to pin a name tag on to.

We don’t need to discuss just how quickly I drove away after she bounced away to help the customer at the other window. We also don’t need to talk about whether I distracted the kids by pretending there was a herd of elk  running past the car on the other side, all the while waiting for one of them to pipe up in that extra audible voice kids save for awkward situations, “Mommy? Where’s her shirt?” 

Nope. The point is, whether due to unclear marketing on the part of the shop, or due to  me being a little clueless, I ended up at a shop for which I was not the target audience.

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Image courtesy of Jamie Taylor on Unsplash.com

Has something similar ever happened to you when picking up a new book?

One of my friends grabbed a book off the library shelf a few years back. The cover featured an intriguing old castle, and the blurb described it as a retelling of Sleeping Beauty.

Then she started reading it, and got to the S and M parts…

Believe me, if you knew my friend, you’d join me in having a good chuckle at her expense (and don’t worry, she’d join in). She was not the author’s target audience.

The desire to avoid this kind of confusion gives authors and booksellers a major incentive to categorize their books by genre. Romances, mysteries, thrillers, and horror stories are neatly grouped for the reader’s convenience.

It’s not a bad system. Unless, of course, you aren’t sure into which genre your book fits.

Personally, I’ve found determining my unpublished book’s exact genre a headache. I can say I’m writing historical fiction, but there are dozens of sub-categories of genre to sift through, each with its own rules. If I’d been a little more forward-thinking I would have been smarter and researched all of these rules BEFORE writing the thing.

Ah well. It’s one of those headaches that I’ll just have to live through.

After all, going back to the coffee shop comparison, I don’t want someone picking my book up expecting a “Natte Latte” and being disappointed with a “Thinking Cup.”

To keep that from happening, it’s important to realize that a thriller, which has world changing stakes and a ticking clock, is different from a suspense novel or crime fiction.

Whatever genre the book fits into will influence the cover art, the blurb on the back, even the title. After all, you don’t expect to pick up a book with a smoking gun on the cover and read on the back, “This heartwarming romantic comedy…”

Now, my ability to explain all of the nuances of book genre off the top of my head are currently equal to my ability to produce a double half-fat frapuccino. I could probably find the directions online and make a passable attempt, but why not let the experts do it?

Following are a couple of excellent and interesting resources:

Blogger Kristen Lamb gives some great (and entertaining) insights on the importance of genre, as well as giving some good genre definitions  here.

Jacqui Murray has been doing an “A-Z” series on different genres, defining them and giving examples. Here is her blog post on genres in the letter “B” as in blog.

Do you have any other sources to share? Have you had any struggles determining the genre of your writing? Have you had any surprises when someone else’s genre was unclear?

Thanks for visiting!