Sunday, June 25, 2017

How to be derogatory without using naughty words



Someone pointed this blog post out to me. It’s a list of old-fashioned words used to express disbelief in people or what they say.
It should be compulsory reading for people who can’t verbalize two consecutive sentences without swearing. Here are some great new socially acceptable words to add to your vocabulary.

How many do you remember your grandparents using?

Check out: http://www.buzzfeed.com/emmyf/silly-old-timey-words-you-should-start-using-again#.oq4waQn9v


Helen Woodall
helen.woodall@gmail.com

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Historic Kilmore

Kilmore claims the title of Victoria's oldest settled inland town. It boasts many beautiful old buildings.




At the top of a big hill, which caused my electric scooter to blow a fuse, is the Old Jail.

The temporary death of my scooter put a halt to my adventures for a little while, but I'll be off traveling again soon.

Helen





Sunday, June 11, 2017

History and the Beach. My two favorite things together.



Alberton Cemetery. Port Albert was the first port established in Victoria.


And here is Port Albert.

Nearby is Port Welshpool with the longest historical jetty. As you can see it really is looooong.


Here's a close up of how old it is.

Here's the road into Nooramunga Coastal Park. It's more intended for Four Wheel Drive vehicles than 7-metre-long motorhomes.


But here's the proof I not only made it in, but didnt even get bogged.



Have fun
Helen


Sunday, May 28, 2017

Ah, the beach. My favorite place!

Anzac's Beach, which is on Phillip Island, Australia. Not to be confused with Anzac Cove, which is in Gallipoli, Turkey.


Helen




Sunday, May 21, 2017

Dying then and now



There’s an old saying that goes, “The rate of death has not changed since the days of the Bubonic Plague. It’s still one per person.”

What has changed, and most dramatically, is people’s attitudes to death and they way it is dealt with. Many writers forget that penicillin (that is, antibiotics) weren’t in common use until 1945 and there was a war on then, so many ordinary people still didn’t know about them, or had no access to them. Germ theory wasn’t proven until 1905 and even after that many people refused to believe something they couldn’t see could make them ill.

Therefore death was common and expected. Most families, even in the early twentieth century, had a child who died from measles, or influenza or diarrhea. One hundred years earlier, one quarter of all teenage brides still died in childbirth, and most women were married before they were twenty. Families did not mourn their children any less than a family does now, but death was expected, considered a part of life. Death was a fellow-traveler, always present and as likely to strike from a simple infected cut as from cholera or typhoid—diseases which appeared regularly with droughts and floods.

Take a walk through any old cemetery. Take note of the ages on the gravestones. There’ll be dozens of babies and children, a lot of people in their thirties and forties, and a very few in their eighties or even their seventies.

Any historical novel needs to accurately reflect this situation and the attitudes of those times. Today’s treatment of diseases, death and dying, are totally different from those of last century. Every time I read about a heroine washing the wound, pouring alcohol over it to cleanse it, then carefully sterilizing her needle before sewing up the wound, I shake my head. No, no, and no. A village wise woman may have learned that cleaning a wound helped it heal, but the local water supply was probably full of germs, alcohol was more likely to be forced down the victim’s throat to help them bear the pain, and the wound may have been covered with moss, or spider webs, or a dirty piece of old fabric.


Helen Woodall

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Crazy things authors do in the name of research



Over the years as an editor, I’ve had to ask various authors if what they’ve said in their books is accurate. The internet is a wonderful place for an author to begin their research, but it’s not necessarily completely correct.

I know of several authors who had to check whether certain buildings were still in various towns. Google Maps is a good place to start, but Google Earth is even better. Best of all is a friend living in that town who can do the leg work for the author.

I know of several authors who’ve been on a police program where they travel with officers on their daily/nightly duties. That really gives immediacy to the writing.

I’ve previously mentioned the well-known erotic romance author who freely confesses to having broken arms and legs off some of her Barbie and Ken dolls while researching her sex scenes. But it’s good to know what finally gets in her book works.

Then there was the author who wanted her heroine to escape from a certain model of car. Not owning that type of vehicle herself, she went down to the local car sales yard and asked to view one. I’m not too sure what the salesman thought as she practised climbing in and out of the trunk, but hey, I knew her heroine could do it!

One of my favorite stories is the author whose heroine needed to escape from a villain during a romantic scene. Her husband came home from work one night to find candles on the table and an unopened bottle of champagne. He was really happy until she explained that she was going to hit him over the head with the full bottle, and see if she could drag his unconscious body down the hallway as her heroine would need to do. Her husband just looked at her and said, “Can’t I drink all the champagne and get unconscious that way instead?”

You may already have read of Anny Cook’s research into making acorns into food. An entire chat loop of authors was waiting with bated breath for each new step of this adventure. It ended up as a great blog, but the actual book she was using it for went in a different direction from the one she was expecting and her hero and heroine never had to cook the acorns.
But maybe one day in a future book….
The acorn story is here: http://annycook.blogspot.com.au/p/great-acorn-hunt.html

Helen Woodall