I’m Going On Tour! (Sort Of)

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Dear Readers,

I am pleased to announce that I’ll be doing a virtual book tour to coincide with the release of the audiobook version of So Others May Live. Along the way, I’ll make virtual stops at a several websites where you can find author interviews, soundbites, character profiles, and character interviews. It should be fun! The tour will run from Feb. 20 – 26. Book mark this page and you can join in the fun when the tour commences. If you’ve got friends that like WW2 and/or historical fiction, invite them to partake in the festivities.

L.H.

My Halloween Tradition

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Dear Readers,

What do you do for Halloween? I have my own little tradition that I’ve done for the past few years. On Halloween night, I get in bed, turn out the lights, and listen to the original War of the Worlds broadcast on CD via my retro looking radio/CD player. Given the fact that my house was built in 1932, it’s quite possible that the original owner may have listened to the live broadcast back in 1938! The original air date was October 30th, not the 31st, but I prefer to listen on Halloween. It gives me something to do, and by having all the lights out and being in bed in the back of the house, I don’t have to deal with trick or treaters. An added plus! If you’d like to join me on this Halloween night, you can listen to the broadcast on YouTube where, thankfully, it hasn’t been pulled by the YouTube police!

Though the stories of mass panic and hysteria because of the broadcast were greatly exaggerated by the newspapers, this does still stand as one of the most significant radio broadcasts of all time. If you haven’t heard it yet, why don’t you give it a listen?

Until next time, take care of yourselves, and each other.

L.H.

Fiction on Fire

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Dear Readers,

You’ll notice a tab to a new page on the blog called Fiction on Fire. I want to assemble a collection of every novel about firefighter written by firefighters that I can find. There are a whole bunch of non-fiction books about the job written by those who do it, but there are not many firefighters who write novels about firefighting. That’s why I want to come up with a comprehensive list of them. I do have quite a few already that I will be adding over the next couple of days, but if you know of any, please leave them in the comments or email me at leehutchauthor @ outlook.com (no spaces, of course). Again, I’m looking for FICTION about FIREFIGHTING written by FIREFIGHTERS. Let’s see how big a list we can compile!

L.H.

Molly’s Song(s)

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Dear Readers,

As the title of my work in progress, Molly’s Song, does, in fact, reference music, I thought I might take pen in hand to tell you what playlist I’ve listened to whilst I’ve been working on the book. Some of the songs are historical ones, and other ones are modern ones which fit the tone and subject matter. A few of the historical songs make an appearance in the book as well. (Only the public domain ones, of course.) So, without further delay, here is the somewhat long list (with links in case you’d like to listen). For those brave enough to read on to the very end, you’ll learn what Molly’s Song actually is!

Runaway Train by Soul Asylum. As I discussed in a previous post, this is, in fact, the song that inspired the book when coupled with the photos of the unnamed 19th Century prostitute. In particular, the verses which state “It seems no one can help me now/I’m in too late there’s no way out” and also “Can you help me remember how to smile/Make it somehow all seem worthwhile”. It would be a grand thing indeed if Molly’s Song makes it to the big screen. And if it does, I really hope they select this as the theme song. Have a listen to it here.

Young Trooper Cut Down in His Prime: Traditional, as performed by Laura Smyth & Ted Kemp. This is just one lyrical version of a song that has been around for quite some time. There are many different versions (Bard of Armagh, The Unfortunate Rake, and The Streets of Laredo to name a few). However, this particular arrangement tells of the death of a young soldier who fell victim to a soldier’s worst enemy…..VD. You have to pay attention to catch it though. When the final verse says “On the cross by his grave, you’ll find these words written/All you young troopers take warning by me/Keep away from them flash girl what work in the city/Flash girls in the city have quite ruined me.” A flash girl is 19th Century slang for a prostitute. As much as I’d love to have a scene where Molly sings this song, the truth of the matter is that this particular lyrical arrangement probably dates from the Boer War, not the 1860s, despite the use of Hindi slang for a rifle.

New York Girls was a popular sea shanty which dates from around the 1830s. There is a scene in the movie Gangs of New York where you can hear it performed by Finbar Fury. However, I’ve not been able to determine when the lyrics in that version were written as every other version I’ve heard has different ones. As this is a traditional song, it does make an appearance in the novel. When called upon to sing a tune at her new place of employment in New Orleans, Molly chooses this one. The verse mentioned in the novel is as follows “Come all you young sailor lads/Take warning when ashore/Or else you’ll meet a charming girl whose nothing but a whore/Your boots and rig will disappear/Your hard earned cash as well/For Yankee girls is tougher than the other side of hell.” My favorite version of the song is performed by the Poxy Boggards.

The Recruited Collier is a traditional song in which a young woman tells of her lover Jimmy who has been enticed into the British Army. The earliest known version of this song was actually called Jenny’s Complaint and dates from 1803. As Molly is in New York City and later New Orleans during the Civil War, all around her she sees mothers, sisters, wives, and girlfriends who have loved ones off fighting for their respective sides. Also, her older brother joined the British Army and went off to fight in the Crimean War and later in India. Upon his returned, plagued by bad memories, he committed suicide. I’d love to include the song in the book, but I cannot authenticate the lyrics to my favorite version by Kate Rusby to the 1860s. “Jimmy talks about the wars/It’s worse than death to hear him/I must go out to hide me tears/because I cannot bear it.”

Kathleen Mavourneen is a well known old Irish ballad that was popular in the US during the Civil War. As such, the first time we see Molly sing a song, it is this one. If you can listen to this song and not grow misty eyed, then you aren’t human! In the story, Molly performs it for some gentleman who have visited Miss Cecilia’s (the house of ill fame where she works). Rather than quote the song, allow me to quote from the story: “Molly closed her eyes as she sang and let her mind drift away, across the ocean, back to the cliffs of Galway and across the valleys to Belclare. She saw her grandparents in front of the fire, her grandfather smoking his pipe while her grandmother stirred a pot over the fire. Her father sat in his chair in the corner, with young Molly upon his knee as he sang to her an Irish language ballad. Her mother arranged some plates on a table in preparation for their supper. Outside, birds whistled as the sun went down. Then the image in her mind switched to Knockma Hill where she sat and dreamed of being a great warrior like Queen Mauve. A tear trickled from her eye as the memories of her lost life vanished.” Here you can see it performed in a deleted scene from Gods and Generals.

All I Can Do by Tyrone Wells is a modern tune that appeared in the series Rescue Me (which had an incredible soundtrack if I may say so myself). The overall tone of this song sort of fits Molly’s life as she is trapped in a never ending cycle of days….each one the same…stuck in her life of prostitution. Time moves forward, but doesn’t move at the same time. I do think she would appreciate this song, particularly the verse that says “Another night is flying by/somebody’s born, somebody’s died/I wanna look deep in your eyes/I wanna live and I wanna cry”. And, of course, the opening line of the chorus which says “And I can’t hold the hands of time/they will move like they will move”. This truly is an amazing song and Tyrone Wells is a gifted singer. A few of his songs appear in Rescue Me. So have a listen to this one here.

Only God Knows Why by Kid Rock. I admit, this song is my theme song. It sums up my life and how I feel on a day to day basis. Perhaps that is why I think Molly would like it too. For me, the line that says “People don’t know bout the things I say and do/They don’t understand about the shit that I’ve been through” touches on exactly what I think! People judge me based on my physical limitations, the difficulties I have interacting with people, and how I can sometimes shut down for days on end. What they don’t see are the nightmares, the flashbacks, and the never ending physical pain that I endure. And as for Molly, well, she’s a prostitute. People judge her for that without realizing that it was not a life she chose for herself, and she has no real way out. Listen to this song to understand me. But also to understand her.

Galway Girl by Steve Earle is another modern tune (I prefer the High Kings version). Obviously, as Molly is from County Galway, this song is a must for her playlist. That said, the girl referenced in the song has black hair and blue eyes whilst Molly has red hair and brown eyes, but still, “I ain’t never seen nothing like a Galway girl!” Here is a great street performance of the song shot in Galway City in 2016. It’ll get you tapping your foot for sure.

Now, there are a few other tunes that I’m not writing about specifically that I’d like to mention before I get to the song that actually is Molly’s. We have Fell on Bad Days by Rubyhorse, What It’s Like by Everlast, Oh! Susanna by Stephen Foster, The Sound of Silence cover by Disturbed, and last but not least, If I Should Fall From Grace With God by The Pogues. And now…….on to the song that she adopts as her own.

Annie Laurie is an old Scottish ballad. So why is an Irish girl singing it? She first heard the song sung by a Scottish sailor one night aboard the ship that carried her to America. The lyrics gave her comfort, and she memorized the lyrics, later, she sings it herself on the packet ship that takes her from New York to New Orleans. And, in the final scene of the novel, she sings it whilst standing over a grave before she turns and walks away into the mist. There are a billion different arrangements of this song, but here is one you can listen to.

And there you have it, Dear Readers, this is essentially what I’ve listened to whilst I’ve worked on the book.

Until next time, take care of yourselves, and each other.

L.H.

This Little Book Went to Market

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Dear Readers,

If I have learned one thing since the release of my novel, it is that I should have paid more attention in the marketing class I took in college. The “C” I received, coupled with a “D” in Business Law meant that I was in no way bound for the world of business. Fair enough. I was working as a firefighter at the time and thankfully we don’t have to market our services. People always need us and there are a handy three digits they can call to summon our assistance. Writing a book though…….that’s a different animal entirely.

My book has sold well enough to make me happy, though not rich (of course, I didn’t expect riches). I cracked the top 100 in a couple of Amazon categories for a bit. It even won an award and is in the running for a few others. The biggest hurdle is reaching potential readers. And even when you do, no one wants to see a barrage of “buy my stuff” posts. Juggling an author Facebook page and Instagram account is tough work when you are also trying to write another book and go to work every day. I actually think my cat Anastasia has sold more of my books through her Facebook page than I have through mine. Hmmm. I guess that’s a marketing tip for you.

I have to say that the learning curve for publishing and marketing a book is pretty steep. Luckily authors are very helpful to one another, and I’ve learned quite a bit from some of my colleagues. But my quest to land my book in the hands of every interested reader is proving to be a Quixotic one to say the least. Hopefully when the audiobook comes out later this fall it will reach a new demographic and broaden the overall reach of the book.

I do have a great book blurb though. Upon reading So Others May Live, my son reported back to me that “It didn’t suck.” How is that for a slogan? “Buy my book! It doesn’t suck!”

Until next time, Dear Readers, take care of yourselves, and one another.

L.H.

 

A Writer’s Schedule

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Dear Readers,

My semester ended with my last two finals on Thursday last. I entered grades and submitted all my paperwork. Friday morning I was up bright and early for a doctor’s appointment followed by a visit to the used bookstore I frequent. But this week starts my summer writing schedule, though I’m breaking it a bit to post this. Given the demands on my time during the semesters, I lack much time to write other than the occasional weekend, but only if I don’t have grading to do. So I must take advantage of the eight weeks I have off before the start of the Summer 2 session when I’ll be teaching two classes. So, Dear Readers, here is how my days go, no matter if it is a weekday or a weekend. I guess it gives me a glimpse into the life of a full time writer.

0730: Wake up and build up the strength to actually get out of bed while checking my social media accounts.

0800: Up for breakfast, either Reese’s Peanut Butter cereal or Wheaties.

0815-0900: Sit on the porch and drink my coffee with my feral cat buddy Cravat Cat while planning the day’s social media posts and waiting for my morning medicine to kick in.

0900-0915: Paying attention to Anastasia so that she will let me write in peace.

0915-1100: Write. With a break around 1030 or so.

1100-1130: Write

1130-1230: Break. I usually have a bit of a lie down to rest my back at this point and watch an episode of something….it varies as to what I watch.

1230-1245: Lunch

1245-1315: Sit on the porch and enjoy a Dr. Pepper.

1315-1500: Write. If I managed to hit my 3K word a day quote in the morning, then I use this time for marketing related things for my novel.

1500-1600: Break

1600-1615: Supper

1615-1730: Write, work on marketing items, or plan the next day’s writing.

1730-1800: My wife is home by 1730 and I sit outside on the porch and talk to her.

1800-1830: Shower, take nighttime medication, figure out what I’m going to watch on TV.

1830-1945: Lie in bed with ice packs on my back and watch TV with Anastasia.

1945-2045: Sit on front porch with my wife and listen to a baseball game on the radio.

2045-2200: Back in bed on ice packs. (20 minutes on, 20 minutes off)

2200-2245: Sit on the porch and listen to an Old Time Radio program.

2300: Lights out.

I’m usually up at least twice in the middle of the night for anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour at a time. Pain and bad dreams rob me of sleep. If I manage 6 hours in a night (though the are non-consecutive hours), I feel like I’ve won the lottery.

So there you have it, Dear Readers. This is my schedule from this week through mid July when I’m back to the campus for classes.

L.H.