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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Planning Summer Adventures

As adults, summers tend to blend into all other seasons.
We lose our sense of wonder because, well, we don't have three months off to goof around like we did as kids. At least, that's the way my summers have become.
I've decided this summer will be filled with little day trips exploring regional towns and recreational areas.
When we moved to South Dakota, I was hired as the region reporter for The Daily Republic in Mitchell. Tasked with covering a variety of events, meetings and features in a 17-county area was a bit daunting. However, it came as a fun challenge and a way of discovering the beauty of South Dakota.
Since leaving the paper a couple years ago, I've been sorely lacking in my travels as I've had no real reason to go beyond the Mitchell area.
This summer, that will change.
I've compiled a list of area towns I'd like to revisit as a private citizen with my family. I hope to gain a new perspective on these rural communities as we travel to some of them throughout the three-month warm season.
Many of the towns have festivals throughout the summer. Some have attractions I've been wanting to visit. Others have amazing outdoor recreation areas I've dying to try. Others have architecture and historical buildings I've wanted to tour since I first started traveling around the Daily's coverage area.
A partial list of towns includes:
  • Platte
  • Carthage
  • Winner
  • Gregory
  • Armour
  • Stickney
  • Menno
  • Wessington Springs
  • Woonsocket
  • Freeman
  • Chamberlain/Oacoma
While covering stories in these and other towns, I usually didn't have time to roam around perusing the area. It was go, cover the story, write the story, edit the story, file the story, get the heck home. Sometimes, roundtrip, our gallavanting into the wilderness was a 4-hour drive. That's not to mention the time to cover an event or meeting, and writing the story afterward. 
I'm thinking Platte is the first on my list. It has a plethora of places I want to try -- Prairie Parfumerie being my top pick. Plus, Platte is near the mighty Missouri River and has a majestic bridge that will be fun to show Jacob. 

These little day trips will actually begin with a big family trip to Mount Rushmore. 
FINALLY! We're taking a weekend vacation to the Black Hills and have several stops planned. All to be shared here, via diary entries and photos! 

If you have any favorite places in southeast South Dakota you think we'd like to visit as a family, feel free to share. I'd love to hear. Can't wait for our vacation days .... only three months to go! 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Research: Secretarial Schools & Printing Shops

Well, January went right down the toilet with illness, but I've started off February right with some research and writing. I'm excited about my story I've begun to develop, and I'm confident my year-long journey to write a book will be successful.
This week, I'll share with you a bit about my initial research.
As so many authors do, I've dreamt up a completely doable story idea -- and set it a decade earlier than I'd even been born.
Why? I've always been in love with the history of the 1960s and 1970s. Work was hands-on for most people and many did not sit in front of a computer. Many office jobs required people to sit at desks and typewriters. However, their research often required standing to find physical files, books and search through card catalogs. Personally, it was one of my favorite things to do as a kid - search through card catalogs and then physically find a book or file on a shelf. But, I'm a huge nerd, and that's another story.
At any rate, I've long been fascinated by the whole secretarial pool concept. You know, the period in time when women were really entering the work force and one major way to climb the ladder was to enter secretarial work. Often, they did this by taking secretarial courses.

A glimpse of a secretarial class during the 1963-64 year at
Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
(With permission from Ryerson University Library Archives)

So, my most recent research for a portion of my story is to find out the backgrounds of secretarial schools, which were later called business schools and basically offered courses teaching employable skills like typing, taking notes in shorthand and longhand, transcribing, and so on.
I'm pretty early on in my research and have a feeling it's going to take me a bit to find a decent amount of information about it. I also have a feeling I may need to make a few calls to historical societies.
My research has also led me to a nearly complete unknown - small business print shops. My character owns a print shop in the 1970s, printing items like flyers, business cards, pamphlets, newsletters and the like.
This idea brought me to the fact that I know nothing about the equipment she may have used, especially since she purchased the business from an older gentleman who'd owned it for 40 years.
Thankfully, I have a few ides of where I could find viable information on what machinery her shop may contain. And then, the tricky part will be making her role convincing as she usually works on her own equipment.
Excitement floods me when I think about this research, even though it's a minor portion of the project on which I'm working and most will only be peppered in throughout the story. Nonetheless, it is significant to know the background so I don't have incorrect references.
The rest of my month of research will be spent on my phone, calling historical societies and possibly colleges/universities. In between those calls, my fingers will be flying away creating more character background and hashing out plot details.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

My Apologies

I have to apologize.
Last week, my body took yet another blow. I developed an ear infection and on Tuesday, I was in so much pain I just sat and cried at work until my doctor's appointment.
Now, a week later, I'm still recovering. My ear is still plugged, but the antibiotics are doing their job.
However, three weeks of being sick or taking care of people who are sick has left me quite out of ideas for my blog.
Well, I have ideas, but I don't want to rant about Betsy DeVos.

I will say, this week will be a week of planning and writing.
I'm finally getting back on track for writing and using my Novel Planner. I have some concrete character and plot development going and I'm really excited about that.
My week will also consist of planning out future blog posts so I can avoid this mess from happening a second time.

Again, my apologies. I hope next week will be more riveting.
Stay well!