Descriptions for heat levels in book list

------holding hands, perhaps a gentle kiss
♥♥ ---- more kisses but no tongue-- no foreplay
♥♥♥ ---kissing, tongue, caressing, foreplay & pillow talk
♥♥♥♥ --all of above, full sexual experience including climax
♥♥♥♥♥ -all of above including coarser language and sex more frequent

Sunday, October 19, 2014

using history in an historical

If you have never thought of how complicated writing an historical can be, just think about how much our means of communication has changed in our lifetime. As soon as you set a story in another period, little things like the mails become issues. If you base your story where a lot of records are available, it helps (other than how history often has two views of the same events). 

My third and fourth Oregon historical romances were set in Eastern Oregon from 1865-67. This was a time of great change, inaccurate maps, and little real information even in the many small museums in the area. Read the newspaper columns from then and you quickly get how hysteria and misinformation in journalism is not new to today.

Even when I visited local museums, I found real information in short supply. They would have physical items from the earlier period but that doesn't really help a lot for the kind of story I was writing. How does the post office operate, how often to mails go through, how about the stage route-- daily or weekly? etc.

The complications of research can be shown by these images-- both of Watson but one Camp and the other Fort. 

My hero was serving as captain of this post on Fort Creek which is over one hundred miles southeast of The Dalles and a little less than forty miles west of Canyon City. When he served there, the post was called Camp Watson. 

There actually had been two Watsons.  One was Fort Watson for the 1st Oregon Cavalry, all volunteers who were assembled in 1862 to deal with the Indian problems.  They were disbanded in 1865 when the Civil War was over and federal troops were sent West. At that time, the fort was moved east and called Camp Watson. Or so might be the case and it lasted until 1869 when it was abandoned. If you read that link, you see the problem in all this-- many versions of the same 'fact.'

So the probability is this diagram of the fort is of the first Watson. The drawing might be Camp Watson. I have been in several old forts but all were considerably older than Watson as well as bigger. I looked for other sketches of small posts, the likely layout and found nothing quite as detailed. 

The story goes that the first Camp/Fort Watson was abandoned as it did not have a good source of water. That would indicate the diagram of the fort's quarters is really Camp Watson... (I think the military downgraded some of these to camps to lower costs as after the Civil War, money was an issue). The photo below is during the period where Watson was a lumber camp.

My story is fiction. It is historical romance, not historical novel, but still I like it to be as close as possible to what life was like. The problem is how do we, today, decide what that was? It sounds good to do research, and I totally believe in it. The enjoyment of research is why I like writing historic romances. but it's not always easy to figure out what was a fact and what was an assumption.


Tabor said...

you do present a good argument for the difficulty in getting historic facts straight even when you have access to records. The fact that enjoy the research makes sure that meat goes on the bones of your story. I wonder if editors are smart enough to catch detail errors if they are not glaring?

Rain Trueax said...

They might, but most would know more about more famous regions. Experts usually know about one area or aspect.

I've read historical novels that were way off base from what I had read elsewhere. Historical romance readers might be better at catching errors but they have a set of ideas they already believe based on earlier books they read. Even to discuss whether women rode astride is fraught with disagreements. When I was doing the Tucson book, I found out when electricity got there, also ice boxes, but it is a big city. Figuring that out for small towns in Eastern Oregon is going to all be guesswork unless I stumbled across a person who had relatives living there in 1867 and had heard the stories. That's not always without errors either but it's a treat to hear the stories.

Which reminds me one of the places I have had good luck with stories is finding small memoirs or journals kept by average people relaying the details of their life. Sometimes museums have those and let someone look at them.

I wanted an accurate map of the stage road between The Dalles and Canyon City but when I called the Portland Historical Museum, the woman had no idea there even was such a thing. I could go in and search through what they have and before I published this book, I would. The main road on all the maps has been the Military Road, but it was later. The stage road might or might not have followed it.

I happen to have some early Oregon history books written in the first part of the 20th Century. They are totally wrong on a lot of things as we know them today. Sometimes it's politically correctness and politics of the time. Sometimes it's painting a pretty picture.

I've read that Rush Limbaugh is writing history books for children so that they get the 'true' story of how our country was founded. You can imagine which set of 'facts' he is using.

Probably whether I call it Fort Watson or Camp Watson would only matter to a eastern Oregon history buff. I call it Camp mainly because of my research but I'd much rather call it Fort... sounds better ;).