Friday, December 23, 2016

The Izzy Elves Feel My Pain!

The Izzies posted this today. It's nice to know they appreciate my efforts, even though they are all for naught!

* * *


So Deedy (Dorothea Jensen to you) showed us this new picture by Shayne, Our Illustrator. It was done for a special new project Deedy has been working on ALL YEAR, only to find that it was not acceptable by the distributing company (which starts with A).  We LOVE how Shayne put in the Mouse Hole, after Frizzy went to all that trouble to decorate its door for Christmas!

Of course, we are all SAD now because this project isn't going anywhere soon, but at least we know Deedy was TRYING to do something nice for us Izzies! Sigh.



Wednesday, December 21, 2016

'Tis the Season



Re-posting a couple of pix to celebrate the season.  First, here are the Izzy Elves:




And here's me!

Merry Christmas to everyone from all of us!

Another big sale on BUSS!

A hot post from the Izzy Elves!

Another BIG Sale!

Deedy (Dorothea Jensen to you) says that Kobo is selling her Other Kind of Book (not ours) from now until January 5 for only $3.99. Here's the link!

This is all part of a Boxing Week Sale by Kobo.

We Izzy Elves have only two questions.

1. What is Boxing Week?

2. Who is Kobo?

That's all for now. We're too busy to write much these days.






Much Love From:

Dizzy, Blizzy, Dizzy, Fizzy, Frizzy, Quizzy, Tizzy, and Whizzy




Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Last day for the big discount on BUSS is tomorrow!

My publisher is offering a huge discount until December 15 on my new historical novel for young A Buss from Lafayette. Instead of the regular price, $16.95, the sale price will be $9.95! If you have a middle school student on your holiday shopping list, this would make an excellent entertaining (and educational) gift!

Here's the link:
https://bqbpublishing.com/product/a-buss-from-lafayette/

NOTE: The default payment method on this online store is PayPal, but on the checkout page, there is a link that allows you to pay by credit card. Click on that link and you'll be taken to the credit card option.
readers,

Big News that Rhymes with Circus!


Last night I found out that the Indie editors at Kirkus Reviews selected a review of A Buss from Lafayette to be one of the independently published books featured in the December print and online edition of their magazine. (Up to now, this review was only published on their website.) Apparently, Kirkus selects less than 10% of its Indie reviews for publication in the magazine. so it is quite an honor to be included.

They sent me a link to the e-edition, and I found the Buss review in the Indie section on page 203. Woo hoo!

Just for fun, I am posting a screen shot of the magazine cover below.

Here it is:




Of course, I know that the cover headline doesn't actually refer to A Buss from Lafayette in particular, but I do believe that my book is in EXCELLENT company!

Here is the review:

In Jensen’s (Frizzy, the S.A.D. Elf, 2014, etc.) middle-grade novel, a young girl in New Hampshire meets the titular, illustrious French hero of the American Revolution during his commemorative trip through America.

Clara Hargraves turns 14 on the first day of summer in 1825—a date that coincides with the one-year anniversary of her father’s marriage to Clara’s straight-laced aunt, Priscilla, which occurred only one week after Clara’s mother died. The stepdaughter and stepmother don’t get along; Priscilla considers Clara a “hopeless hoyden” for her tomboyish ways,while Clara stubbornly refuses to call Priscilla “Mama,” as her father urges her to do. Between her clashes with Priscilla, red-haired Clara chafes at the teasing of her brother Joss’ friend Dickon Weeks and her “dread cousin” Hetty—they call her “carroty pate” and “pumpkin head.” As Clara is preoccupied with her own small problems, the whole country is aflutter over “The Nation’s Guest,” the Marquis de Lafayette, who’s touring the United States to mark the 50th anniversary of the revolution; everywhere she goes, people are eager to relate tales of Lafayette’s noble deeds during the war, show off souvenirs, or share their delight in getting a wave or a buss (“a playful, smacking kiss”) on the cheek from the marquis. Her brief encounter with him will forever change how she views herself. Overall, this novel is well-researched; for example, Clara saves her pennies to buy a Simeon’s lead comb from a local store—a real-life product that promised to turn red hair “a beautiful shade of black.” Some other aspects of Jensen’s novel are predictable, however: Clara is a fairly standard spunky heroine, and her rapprochement with Priscilla is a foregone conclusion. But Jensen still manages to deliver a lot of historical facts without dull exposition—it’s perfectly plausible, for instance, that the adults in Clara’s life would tell her stories about Lafayette’s exploits, and her curiosity becomes infectious. Jensen also includes a glossary and bibliography for further reading.

A winning historical tale that may appeal to young fans of the musical Hamilton.  - Kirkus Reviews

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Wearing my other "writer's hat" - the pointy one.

OK, I couldn't resist doing this! Yesterday I read my illustrated Christmas poem, Dizzy, the Stowaway Elf,  to children at Hopkinton Town Library. It was great fun, all organized by my Trusted Sidekick, Sienna Larson.  First the kids all made elf hats, did an elf hunt for the Izzy Elves, and paraded through the library, and then I read the story. (For sale here, by the way.)

Meanwhile I spotted this sleigh on exhibit. It reminded me so much of the sleigh that Dizzy stowed away on that I felt COMPELLED to take a seat.

After the librarian gave me special permission to do so, (despite the DO NOT CLIMB ON THIS EXHIBIT sign) I climbed aboard and brought Frizzy along for the ride.

Luckily, neither Frizzy nor I felt any "vile vertigo" like that naughty Dizzy did!



Friday, December 2, 2016

Countdown Couplet #2


Deedy conferred with our boss late last night.
To rev up her brain so she's ready to write.
(Of course, we elves help her to know what to say
In our "counting down" verses until Christmas day.)

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Now the Izzy Elves are muscling in on MY blog!

So the Izzy Elves have started posting their Advent Calendar Christmas Couplets and insisting I put them on my blog, too. Here's the first one:

Christmas Countdown #1


December 1

We Izzies are in an advanced state of shock
The calendar tells us (and so does the clock)
That Christmas is coming: we'd better get busy
To do all the tasks S. C. asks of Elves Izzy.


Much love,

Bizzy
Blizzy
Dizzy
Fizzy
Frizzy
Quzzy
Tizzy
Whizzy

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

I have the pleasure to announce. . .


. . . a brand new book! 

Along with my colleague, Sienna Larson, I have written a guide to make it super easy for teachers to use my new historical novel for young readers, A Buss from Lafayette, as a cross-curricular enrichment resource in the classroom!

This guide provides bulletin board ideas, vocabulary exercises, varied handouts, puzzles and games, reading comprehension quizzes, discussion questions, individual and class project suggestions, cross-curricular activities (language arts/reading, social studies, mathematics, heath/safety, art, music, dance, drama, food/recipes) and suggestions for real and virtual "field trips."Topics covered include the American Revolution, Lafayette's role in our fight for independence, Lafayette's Farewell Tour in 1824-5, and everyday life and customs in rural America in the 1820s. A complete answer key is included.



This guide is now available as both a paperback and as a Kindle book from Amazon.com.

Here is the link to the Amazon listing:

Classroom and Reading Guide: A Buss from Lafayette

Now I must admit, a few of the things (mostly musical recordings) promised inside this book are not quite yet available as promised at abussfromlafayette.com.

However, we will be making all these recordings very soon.

In case anyone out there is wondering how to print the handouts/exercises from the Kindle edition, we recommendation making a screen shot of the page and printing from that. We found this to be even easier than copying from the paperback edition.

This Kindle edition was created using the Kindle Textbook Creator, so it appears to have some interesting features (such as the capacity to create note cards or flashcards) that we haven't figured out ourselves at this point. (Please let us know if you are able to do any of this and if it is useful by e-mailing me at jensendorothea@gmail.com.)





Monday, November 28, 2016

Whew! Found it!

Whenever I write historical fiction stories, I present what really happened in the past as accurately as I can. Sometimes, however, it is tricky to keep track of where I found every single bit of information I use in my stories.

In A Buss from Lafayette, I had lost track of the source of two small incidents I used to illustrate Lafayette's marvelous sense of humor. Along with his enduring commitment to the cause of Liberty, his personal bravery in battle,  his financial support of the war,  his go-between efforts to make the French Alliance work and secure even more aid, I have always believed Lafayette's humor was a major contribution to our struggle for independence. His humor and charm were wonderful antidotes when things looked very bleak for our cause. In some ways, I think he was the Morale-Booster-in-Chief!

Here is a case in point: imagine how Washington felt after the Battle of Brandywine, on September 11, 1777. He was desperately trying to prevent the British from capturing Philadelphia, a sort of Capital Pro Tempore for the 13 colonies because the Continental Congress met there.  Not only had he been hoodwinked by Tory locals about the existence of upstream fords on Brandywine Creek where the British crossed to outflank his troops, but his men lacked the training to deal with such a maneuver.

Here's what Washington wrote about the battle to Congress:

At Midnight, Chester [Pennsylvania], September 11, 1777.

Sir: I am sorry to inform you, that in this day's engagement, we have been obliged to leave the enemy masters of the field. Unfortunately the intelligence received of the enemy's advancing up the Brandywine, and crossing at a ford about six miles above us, was uncertain and contradictory, notwithstanding all my pains to get the best. This prevented my making a disposition, adequate to the force with which the Enemy attacked us on the right; in consequence of which the troops first engaged, were obliged to retire before they could be reinforced. . .Notwithstanding the misfortune of the day, I am happy to find the troops in good spirits; and I hope another time we shall compensate for the losses now sustained.. ."

One of those whose good spirits Washington found cheering was Lafayette, who had been wounded in the leg in the battle.

Here is what I wrote about that:

Another in the crowd of attentive listeners told how Lafayette had been laid upon a dining-room table to have his wounded leg bandaged. When Washington and his aides had arrived, the young Frenchman had joked that they looked awfully hungry and he hoped no one would mistake him for dinner. - A Buss from Lafayette, © 2016 by Dorothea Jensen

After A Buss from Lafayette was published, I started writing posts on Bublish.com about where my story ideas came from and I could not remember where I had found this one. Then out of the blue, Alan Hoffman, President of the American Friends of Lafayette, talked about this incident in a speech he made to the group. I immediately assailed him to find out his source.  He said that it came from a rare interview Lafayette did with Poulson’s American Daily Advertiser when he was on his Farewell Tour, and directed me here: http://www.ushistory.org/march/other/lafwound.htm

Here is the article.

"Lafayette returned to America in 1824 for a triumphal tour. The French hero was greeted enthusiastically in many cities. And perhaps no city loved him more than Philadelphia, the place where the 19-year Frenchman initially met General Washington in 1777 shortly before the Battle of Brandywine.

On February 25, 1825, Lafayette granted "Poulson's Advertiser," one of Philadelphia's leading newspapers, an interview. In the piece, Lafayette recalled receiving his wound at Brandywine:

The ball went through and through; I was on foot when I received my wound; a part of our line had given way but a part still held its ground. To these I repaired. To encourage my comrades, and to show them I had no better chance of flight than they, I ordered my horse to the rear. The news of my being hurt was conveyed to the commander-in-chief, with the usual exaggerations in such cases. The good General Washington freely expressed his grief that one so young, and a volunteer in the holy cause of freedom, should so early have fallen; but he was soon relieved by an assurance that my wound would stop short of life, when he sent me his love an gratulation that matters were no worse. On the field of battle the surgeon prepared his dressings, but the shot fell so thick around us, that in a very little time, if we had remained, we should both have been past all surgery. Being mounted on my horse I left the field, and repaired to the bridge near Chester, where I halted and placed a guard, to stop fugitive soldiers, and direct them to join their respective regiments. I could do no more; becoming faint, I was carried into a house in Chester and laid on a table, when my wound received its first dressing. The general officers soon arrived, when I saluted them by begging that they would not eat me up, as they appeared to be very hungry, and I was the only dish upon the table in the house. The good general-in-chief was much gratified on finding me in such spirits, and caused a litter to be made, on which I was conveyed to the Indian Queen [a tavern/hotel] in Philadelphia, and was there waited upon by the members of Congress, who were all booted and spurred and on the wing for a place of greater safety to hold their sessions. The enemy continuing to advance, I was removed to Bristol, and thence in the coach of President Laurens (and coaches were rare in those days) to Reading [here Lafayette's memory fails him — he was actually moved to Bethlehem], where I remained until so much recovered as to be able to repair to head-quarters."
***

Whew! Now I can sleep nights. (I'll write about the other incident later. This post is getting too long!)



Saturday, November 19, 2016

A-a-a-a-l-l-l-most There!!

 
THIS IS JUST AN UPDATE ON THE UPDATE BELOW.


$31,000 of the $35,000 needed has been raised!


Please contribute today!

 

OK, this is just an update on the post below.

$23,250 of the necessary $35,000 has now been received or pledged!  

 (Every dollar helps - please contribute and make a little history yourself.) 

In historic Yorktown, Virginia, site of the final major battle of the Revolution, there is a duet of statues honoring General George Washington, commander of the combined American and French forces, and French Admiral François De Grasse, commander of the French fleet that "bottled up" the British troops under General Cornwallis at Yorktown. These life-sized figures were created by Virginia sculptor Cyd Player.

Installed in 2005 and enjoyed by tens of thousands of visitors annually, the statues commemorate two important meetings that took place on board De Grasse’s flagship the Ville de Paris to plan the 1781 Yorktown campaign and to explore plans for further operations.

The problem? It was supposed to be a quartet of sculptures. There are two important figures missing! Also present for at least one of these meetings were General Rochambeau, who led the French troops, and General Lafayette, who had kept Cornwallis trapped at Yorktown until the combined American and French troops had arrived. (He also served as an interpreter at the meeting with Washington, Rochambeau, and De Grasse.)

The reason that Lafayette and Rochambeau are not represented here? There was not enough funding to create all four statues at the same time.

Now the national organization dedicated to honoring the young Frenchman who did so much to help us gain our independence, the American Friends of Lafayette, is teaming up with the Celebrate Yorktown Committee of the Yorktown Foundation, and other interested organizations and people, in order to commission a statue of Lafayette. The new statue will accurately portray this important historical event and provide an opportunity for visitors of all ages to discover and recognize the role Lafayette played in shaping America’s history.

The goal is to get the statue finished in time to be dedicated on in October,  2017, at the annual celebration of the American victory at Yorktown.

To date, over $20,000 of the necessary $35,000 has been pledged.

Please consider contributing to this exciting endeavor and helping to construct history!

To help make the Lafayette Statue a reality, click here to donate via PayPal or mail a check (made out to American Friends of Lafayette) to:

American Friends of Lafayette
c/o Chuck Schwam
302 Hart Road
Gaithersburg, MD 20878

The AFL is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and contributions are eligible to be tax-deductible.

P.S.  Finally, you might want to become a member of the American Friends of Lafayette.
The cost to join is minimal, and it is great fun to get together every year to learn more about General Lafayette and other figures and events of the American Revolution. There is also a great publication, "The AFL Gazette", with information about Lafayette sent out to all members several times a year.

Huge Discount until December 15!




My publisher is offering a huge discount until December 15 on my new historical novel for young readers, A Buss from Lafayette. Instead of the regular price, $16.95, the sale price will be $9.95! If you have a middle grade student on your holiday shopping list, this would make an excellent entertaining (and educational) gift!

Here's the link:
https://bqbpublishing.com/product/a-buss-from-lafayette/

NOTE: The default payment method on this online store is PayPal, but on the checkout page, there is a link that allows you to pay by credit card. Click on that link and you'll be taken to the credit card option.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

First ever BUSS book report and picture done by a young reader!

I was delighted to find this in my Facebook mailbox yesterday! It was drawn by Michaela, aged 10, for a school book report.

Thank you, Michaela!

I invite any other readers who draw pictures from my story to send them to me to post online. (My e-mail address is jensendorothea@gmail.com.)


Dorothea













Sunday, October 23, 2016

Amazon as Muse!

This is the final installment of my "salute" to Amazon during the time Amazon is saluting Indy authors.

I've already posted about how finding out about Createspace and KDP liberated my creative inclinations so I could write and publish all the Izzy Elves stories as paperbacks, downloadable audio books, audio book CDs, and (soon) Illustrated Audio Books via Amazon Video Direct.

Today I'd like to add a different kind of salute, to Amazon as "muse." (I keep trying to make a pun-type thingy of A-muse-zon but that doesn't work too well so I won't.)  If I did, I would use this horrible pun to refer to the fact that even when I don't actually publish something myself using the Amazon platforms, just knowing that they are available in case I need them has served as a powerful inspiration to me as a writer.

Case in point: A Buss from Lafayette.

This is a story for which I conceived the main idea almost twenty years ago. I did a lot of reading about Lafayette during those years, but I couldn't make myself actually finish writing this book. As there was no guarantee that I could find a publisher for it, it just seemed rather pointless to complete this project.

Then I heard about Createspace and KDP.  Once I knew that I could publish A Buss from Lafayette myself if I had to, my whole mindset changed and I started working on it in earnest. It took about three years to do the necessary research and create the fictional bits.

In the end, I did find a publisher (thank you, BQB Publishing) which did a beautiful job of helping me polish Buss up for publication.

It was knowing that I had Amazon as a Back Up Plan, however, that made it possible for me to write this story with confidence it would be published, no matter what.

The result? A Buss from Lafayette has received numerous wonderful reviews from Amazon readers as well as from "editorial" sources. Take a look at what's on its Amazon listing page :


 Finally, A Buss from Lafayette was just named a quarter finalist in the Booklife Prize in Fiction!

None of this would have happened without "A-muse-zon"!

Regards,
Dorothea Jensen

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Holding General Washington's Hand. Etc.

Here I am in Yorktown, Virginia recently, visiting the statues of Washington and de Grasse, commander of the French fleet that bottled up the Brits at Yorktown. (I was there for the celebration of the Brisith surrender on October 19, 1781.)

I am standing in the exact spot where the new statue of Lafayette will be placed, exactly one year from now. (His pose will be a little different, as I doubt he'll be holding Washington's hand, etc.)

Here is more information about Lafayette's statue and how you can help make this a reality!

* * *
In historic Yorktown, Virginia, site of the final major battle of the Revolution, there is a duet of statues honoring General George Washington, commander of the combined American and French forces, and French Admiral François De Grasse, commander of the French fleet that "bottled up" the British troops under General Cornwallis at Yorktown. These life-sized figures were created by Virginia sculptor Cyd Player.

Installed in 2005 and enjoyed by tens of thousands of visitors annually, the statues commemorate two important meetings that took place on board De Grasse’s flagship the Ville de Paris to plan the 1781 Yorktown campaign and to explore plans for further operations.

The problem? It was supposed to be a quartet of sculptures. There are two important figures missing! Also present for at least one of these meetings were General Rochambeau, who led the French troops, and General Lafayette, who had kept Cornwallis trapped at Yorktown until the combined American and French troops had arrived. (He also served as an interpreter at the meeting with Washington, Rochambeau, and De Grasse.)

The reason that Lafayette and Rochambeau are not represented here? There was not enough funding to create all four statues at the same time.

Now the national organization dedicated to honoring the young Frenchman who did so much to help us gain our independence, the American Friends of Lafayette, is teaming up with the Celebrate Yorktown Committee of the Yorktown Foundation, and other interested organizations and people, in order to commission a statue of Lafayette. The new statue will accurately portray this important historical event and provide an opportunity for visitors of all ages to discover and recognize the role Lafayette played in shaping America’s history.

The goal is to get the statue finished in time to be dedicated on in October,  2017, at the annual celebration of the American victory at Yorktown.

Please consider contributing to this exciting endeavor and helping to construct history!

To help make the Lafayette Statue a reality, click here to donate via PayPal or mail a check (made out to American Friends of Lafayette) to:

American Friends of Lafayette
c/o Chuck Schwam
302 Hart Road
Gaithersburg, MD 20878

The AFL is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and contributions are eligible to be tax-deductible.

P.S.  Finally, you might want to become a member of the American Friends of Lafayette.
The cost to join is minimal, and it is great fun to get together every year to learn more about General Lafayette and other figures and events of the American Revolution. There is also a great publication, "The AFL Gazette", with information about Lafayette sent out to all members several times a year. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

A Bigger Draw than the BEATLES!!!


When I was writing the Afterword for A Buss from Lafayette, I compared the huge crowds that greeted Lafayette everywhere he went on his 1824-5 Farewell Tour to the welcome the Beatles received when they toured America in the 1960s. To my astonishment, the editor took this comparison out, saying that young readers today wouldn't know anything about the Beatles or their U.S. tours.

However, Ron Howard might have fixed this situation, through his new movie, "The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years” (2016). Funnily enough, we went to see it on the recommendation of our friend, Alan Hoffman, President of the American Friends of Lafayette.

We loved it.

As I watched, however, I kept being struck by the parallels between how the Beatles and Lafayette were received.

First of all, I learned something new about the Beatles: they refused to play at the Gator Bowl if the audience was segregated. They carried the day, and apparently their performance was the first event attended by an integrated crowd there.

In a similar way, Lafayette, who was an abolitionist, made a point of greeting African-Americans during his Farewell Tour.

Secondly, I was struck by the size of the crowd at the Beatles’ Shea Stadium concert, on August 15,1965, which can clearly be seen in this short video:

https://youtu.be/M6DfG7sml-Q  (The editors of this video muted most of the screaming, by the way. It was MUCH louder than what can be heard on this.)
A Screen Shot from the Video: this only shows part of the crowd.
There were 55,600 people in the stadium that day.  Of course, there were other acts on that concert, but it appears that the Beatles were the main draw.

Now try to picture a crowd nearly twice as large: 100,000. That’s how many were in attendance when Lafayette dedicated the cornerstone of the monument at Bunker Hill on June 17, 1825.

Yes, there was another act that day – the famous orator Daniel Webster. But he was a “local boy”. The people there would have had many other opportunities to hear him speak. No, the big attraction that day was General Lafayette

Keep in mind that there was no P.A. system. Only a very few people there would have been able to hear Lafayette’s voice. The crowd was gathered there simply for the chance to catch a glimpse of the hero of the American Revolution who was a living link to our history. 

At least he didn't have to try to be heard over the screams of teenaged girls. (As far as I know, anyway.)




Woo hoo! Great Review!





A Buss From Lafayette is a historical fiction novel that takes the reader through a week in the life of 14-year old Clara. The year is 1825 and Clara lives in the small town of Hopkinton, New Hampshire with her father, stepmother, and brother. The story centers on the town’s excitement surrounding the upcoming visit from General Lafayette, a hero and famous French aristocrat from the Revolutionary War.
The book is written from quick-witted Clara’s perspective, and each new day’s adventures are prefaced by an entry from her diary, which provides a clever preview of the events to come. Clara feels life is unfair because of her family life, her lack of traditional schooling, and her red hair, which she is plotting to try to change to “a beautiful shade of black.” Weaved through her story are the events leading up to General Lafayette’s visit, who is known for delivering to his many admirers a “buss”, which, at the time, was the word used for a playful kiss on the cheek.
The vivid descriptions of clothing, family relationships, period-specific customs, and daily routines create a charming picture of life in 1825, and these elements inform the senses while reminding readers that the scene is from a different era.
“How I loved the smells: cloves and nutmeg from the Spice Islands, cinnamon from Ceylon, ginger and pepper from South America, and coffee from the West Indies. It seemed to me that the general store smelt strongly of worldly adventure.”
As a historical piece, the book dives into rich detail on Revolutionary War tales. The characters retell stories of General Lafayette, General Washington, and others, providing readers with a thorough backdrop of history to accompany the book’s main storyline about Clara. Ms. Jensen also weaves throughout the story many words and objects that are common to the era, but are likely unfamiliar to the modern reader. A glossary included in the book provides a useful way for the reader to look up historical words, thus not having to rely upon context alone to interpret.
Recommended for teen readers that have an interest in history, this book is an enjoyable introduction to the post-Revolutionary War period in America, and provides a lovely story about family, determination, and how perspective can change everything." -The Children's Book Review

Monday, October 10, 2016

Documentation: Simeon's Lead Comb

As those of you who have read A Buss from Lafayette know, a Simeon's Lead Comb plays an important role in the story.  I originally learned about it in an old Sturbridge Village publication about 19th century general stores, but recently I came across the original source of that information. Here it is:

Comb making was introduced in town about 1780, by Simeon Carpenter, and continued by him until 1815. . . These combs were made from horn, bone, ivory, tin and lead. 

Deacon Leland remarks, "Mr. Carpenter says that there was a belief that red hair combed daily with a lead comb would become black; and many people, male and female, have directed him to make them for the purpose of getting rid of a carrotty top."

-History of the Town of Sutton, Massachusetts, from 1704 to 1876


 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

French and Indian War

 The French and Indian War also known as the Seven Years’ War, lasted from 1756-1763. It was another conflict between the ages-old rivals of Britain and France and mostly took place in the New World. At the end of the War, Britain received Canada and all the land between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River from France, and the Florida territory from Spain, greatly expanding its hold of the North American continent. When England forbade settlement west of the Appalachians, it tried to tax Americans to pay for the England army sent to “protect” the settlers from Native Americans. This angered the colonists who wanted to move west of the Appalachians or who wanted to make money from selling land they claimed there.

The peace agreement let the French in possession of their Caribbean islands, however, which also led to trouble. The British islands in the Caribbean did not need to buy as much of the lumber, etc. which the colonists had to sell, nor did the people there have enough molasses to meet the needs of the rum industry in New England.

England started passing laws to "control" this trade between the American colonies and the French (and Dutch) islands, which resulted in wholesale smuggling in defiance of the laws.

These two provisions of the treaty that ended the French and Indian War helped start the ball rolling towards Revolution!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Outtake #1: Salmagundi and Privateers


 Here's what was originally in A Buss from Lafayette, that was taken out to shorten the opening chapter. You might also notice that the story was originally told in the 3rd person. (I would love to hear readers' opinions as to whether these "outtakes" should have stayed in the story or not!  Please let me know at jensendorothea@gmail.com.)
* * *
  “I think that Dickon’s mother—or Dickon—is confusing two different dishes, Joseph,” Priscilla said, addressing Joss by his formal name, as she usually did. “One is Salmagundi, made from cold vegetables and meats dressed with herbs, oil and vinegar. The other is Solomon Gundy, a kind of pickled fish paste from Jamaica.”
Clara listened intently. She might not be thrilled to have a former schoolteacher (or former aunt) as her stepmother, but Priscilla did have a lot of information stored under that white mobcap. And Clara liked learning new things. That was one reason she read every moment she could do so.
Joss didn’t seem quite as pleased to learn this new fact. “Pickled fish paste, ma’am? That sounds disgusting. Maybe I won’t run away and be a pirate after all.”
“Not many pirates around these days, son,” his father said with a chuckle. “Although I suppose you could run away to be a privateer, but that’s only if we go to war with somebody again, God forbid. This last fight with Britain when you were a young lad just about wiped out all the businesses in New England. Hardly any imports to sell, even in Towne’s or any of the other stores in the village. Some, like Mr. Ballard, were driven right out of business.”
“It’s lucky Mr. Ballard also had his own school to run, then,” said Priscilla.
“Not lucky for me,” Joss grumbled. He’d attended Mr. Ballard’s private school for a short time, until it was decided that Joss and Mr. Ballard did not see eye to eye. -A Buss from Lafayette © 2016 by Dorothea Jensen

Saturday, September 24, 2016

And Now for Something COMPLETELY Different: A New Way to Record History!

As some of you might know, I usually write posts about historical events, historical fiction, and the like about the 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. Today I am writing about an exciting new form of recording history in the 21st century to be done by Smock Media Holdings, a film production company based in Venice Beach, CA. This is a company created and run by my sons, Hawk and Nate Jensen.

Hawk is an experienced, award-winning documentary film-maker. He has come up with a groundbreaking idea for recording historical occurrences using VR360 (for an explanation, read the text below).

 To put this into practice, Hawk and his Managing Producer bro, Nate, need some help.

Please click on the following link to watch a video explaining what Hawk and Nate want to accomplish, and to connect to the crowdfunding campaign to make this happen.  
Support this 21st Century History Project!

Thanks!

Dorothea Jensen (Proud Mother)

P.S. Even  a dollar helps!




The award-winning documentary filmmakers at Smock Media in Venice Beach, CA are raising $57,500 for a virtual reality project called PRIME OBSERVER®.  Our goal is to build Camerasuits® for our team of zany photojournalist / documentarian / adventurers to capture full 360 degree footage of spectacular cultural and historical moments that place you INSIDE
these events as we experience them.
Ever wanted to go back to relive Burning Man or Coachella? Wanted to know what it's really like to be in the middle of a floor fight at a political convention? Wanted to stand between rival protest marches and form your own opinion of what happened? Wanted to surround yourself by all the glitz, glamour and glitterati at Fashion Week but couldn't get on the red carpet?  Prime Observers® Hawk, Ramblin' Tom, Kalia, Ben, Dakota, Nathaniel, Andylee and Abba Austin will put you there.     
Virtual reality is a whole new medium to record history.  With over 150 years of combined documentary production experience we know where to place the camera to capture "the moment" but now we ourselves will become that camera inside that moment.  Filmmaking will never be the same.  Come step into the scene with us!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Going to School, 1820s-30s Style

When we were visiting Monadnock History and Culture Center in Peterborough, NH, last weekend, we checked out the one-room schoolhouse, made of brick. Posed in front are re-enactors Lorraine Walker and Brigham Boice, in the roles of Mrs. Prescott and her son, Augustus Prescott.




Just for contrast, here's a one-room school house in Davisville, very close to Hopkinton, NH, where A Buss from Lafayette  is set. Note the separate entrances for boys and girls. By the way, my 8th grade teacher (the one who met Geronimo as a little girl) started her teaching career at one room school houses very much like this one.

Meanwhile, back at Peterborough, at the Monadnock Center for Culture and History, here are exterior bricks on the outside of the school.  Notice the grafitti, possibly carved by misbehaving students who were sent outside for punishment!

 Here is "Mrs. Prescott" showing us the interior of the school. She told us that the shorter benches in the front were for the youngest kids. Sher added that sometimes students who occupied the back row of benches went directly from there to being teachers, as no formal training was required.
 Here is "Augustus Prescott" modeling a dunce cap for us. This was one of the punishments common in 19th century schools. (At least the dunce cap didn't hurt as much physically as the reticule, featured in A Buss from Lafayette, that was used by teachers to hit unruly children on the hand.)

Here is "Augustus Prescott" showing us a slate board, used by pupils to write classroom exercises.

Here's what Clara says about slate tablets like this one:

"I liked everything about school, right down to the
sound of the pencils scritching on our slate tablets."
- A Buss from Lafayette © 2016 by Dorothea Jensen
 The re-enactors at the Monadnock Center for History and Culture said that in the winter, children would bring a potato from home to bake in the stove that heated the classroom. Each potato would be marked with the child's name.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

"New-Fangled" Forks

I was so upset about everyone forgetting my birthday that I had lost my appetite, but Joss dug right in to his supper. He located a piece of beef in the pile of salmagundi on his plate, speared it with the tip of his knife, and brought it to his mouth. This was his habitual way of eating, despite Prissy constantly urging him to use the new-fangled three-pronged forks she set on the table.  - A Buss from Lafayette ©2016 by Dorothea Jensen


"One of the last places the fork caught on in the Western world was colonial America. In fact, forks weren't even commonly used until the time of the Civil War; until then, people just at with knives and their fingers...And as late as 1864, one etiquette manual complained that 'many persons hold forks awkwardly, as if not accustomed to them.' ' - The Origin of the Fork, Uncle John's All-Purpose Extra Strength Bathroom Reader

I figured that Priscilla, living and teaching in Boston, would have adopted the fashion of forks earlier than folks in rural New Hampshire.


Here is a serving fork from Monadnock History and Culture Center in Peterborough, NH. The re-enactor there said that in the 1820s and 1830s, forks were used for serving but not for eating.

Instead, diners would put food on the flat blade of their knives and carry it to their mouths that way.

Here is a knife from that era, also at the Monadnock Center for History and Culture.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Visiting 1830!

Today we spent a couple of hours visiting 1830 via the Monadnock History and Culture Center in Peterborough, New Hampshire. There we met re-enactors Lorraine Walker, John Patterson, and Brigham Boice, who portrayed Nancy, Samuel and Augustus Prescott. This was the family who, in the 1820s-30s, actually lived in the house that visited.


 The demonstration we watched was of hearth cooking, foraging and preserving food. Here is the garden planted and cared for by "Mr. Prescott". Much of the food prepared inside the house (on the right) comes from this garden.

You can see that "Mrs. Prescott" is wearing a mobcap, just like Clara's stepmother does in A Buss from Lafayette. She is also wearing a kind of pinafore over her dress to keep it clean while working in the kitchen.
Just as at Clara's house in my story, sugar comes in large, cone-shaped, rock hard loaves. One of such loaves can be seen (wrapped in blue paper) on the shelf over the fireplace.

                                                                                       



Here is the fireplace, with the beehive oven on the left side, being readied for baking loaves of bread.

"Mr. and Mrs. Prescott" explained that no matter how careful the cook was in baking bread, there were always some ashes on the bottom. Apparently the richer people could afford to buy the non-ashy top part of the bread, leaving the lower, ashy bottom bits for poorer people.  This is the origin of the term "upper crust."




Of course, in A Buss from Lafayette, the Hargraves family has an "ultra modern" Rumford Range, such as the one shown below, and did very little cooking in the fireplace.




The Rumford Range is on the right under the window. It is a brick structure with holes with fitted pots, underneath which are levels for burning charcoal, and then cleaning out the ashes from the bottom level. The advantage was that cooks could stand up, not bend over, and smoke did not get in their eyes.



To Be Continued. . .

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Surprising Spanish Support for the American Revolution

Astonishing!


When I visited Santa Barbara, California, last winter, I went to see the exhibits at the Santa Barbara Mission, one of those established by Spain on "El Camino Real" going up the California coast.

This is one of those exhibits.



Help Honor "America's Favorite Fighting Frenchman!"


OK, this is just an update on the post below.

$23,250 of the necessary $35,000 has now been received or pledged!  

 (Every dollar helps - please contribute and make a little history yourself.) 

In historic Yorktown, Virginia, site of the final major battle of the Revolution, there is a duet of statues honoring General George Washington, commander of the combined American and French forces, and French Admiral François De Grasse, commander of the French fleet that "bottled up" the British troops under General Cornwallis at Yorktown. These life-sized figures were created by Virginia sculptor Cyd Player.

Installed in 2005 and enjoyed by tens of thousands of visitors annually, the statues commemorate two important meetings that took place on board De Grasse’s flagship the Ville de Paris to plan the 1781 Yorktown campaign and to explore plans for further operations.

The problem? It was supposed to be a quartet of sculptures. There are two important figures missing! Also present for at least one of these meetings were General Rochambeau, who led the French troops, and General Lafayette, who had kept Cornwallis trapped at Yorktown until the combined American and French troops had arrived. (He also served as an interpreter at the meeting with Washington, Rochambeau, and De Grasse.)

The reason that Lafayette and Rochambeau are not represented here? There was not enough funding to create all four statues at the same time.

Now the national organization dedicated to honoring the young Frenchman who did so much to help us gain our independence, the American Friends of Lafayette, is teaming up with the Celebrate Yorktown Committee of the Yorktown Foundation, and other interested organizations and people, in order to commission a statue of Lafayette. The new statue will accurately portray this important historical event and provide an opportunity for visitors of all ages to discover and recognize the role Lafayette played in shaping America’s history.

The goal is to get the statue finished in time to be dedicated on in October,  2017, at the annual celebration of the American victory at Yorktown.

To date, over $20,000 of the necessary $35,000 has been pledged.

Please consider contributing to this exciting endeavor and helping to construct history!

To help make the Lafayette Statue a reality, click here to donate via PayPal or mail a check (made out to American Friends of Lafayette) to:

American Friends of Lafayette
c/o Chuck Schwam
302 Hart Road
Gaithersburg, MD 20878

The AFL is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and contributions are eligible to be tax-deductible.

P.S.  Finally, you might want to become a member of the American Friends of Lafayette.
The cost to join is minimal, and it is great fun to get together every year to learn more about General Lafayette and other figures and events of the American Revolution. There is also a great publication, "The AFL Gazette", with information about Lafayette sent out to all members several times a year.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Love that Positive Feedback!

One tricky bit about being an author is that you are constantly in the cross hairs of readers/reviewers/critics who can easily broadcast negative reactions to your books far and wide. Ouch!

That is why it is especially gratifying when someone, especially someone who knows about books, writes something positive. Hooray!

In any event, here is something very gratifying that just came in. It is the Critic's Report for the Booklife Prize in Fiction for which I entered A Buss from Lafayette.  Whew!

* * *

Title: A Buss from Lafayette

Author: Dorothea Jensen

Genre: Fiction/General Fiction (including literary and historical)

Audience: Middle-Grade

Word Count: 46,911

Assessment:

Fifty years after American independence, General Lafayette is visiting all 24 of the new nation's states and everyone is eager to catch a glimpse of the honored guest, even 14-year old Clara Hargaves. Jensen effortlessly weaves history together with the daily trials of a girl resenting her stepmother’s reminders to behave like a lady. Most schoolchildren know Lafayette’s role in the Revolutionary War only superficially, and Jensen makes him come alive in a way they will remember. Historical accuracy, character development, and engaging dialogue enliven this narrative and make it an enjoyable read.

Score:

Plot/Idea: 8
Originality: 8
Prose: 9
Character/Execution: 9
Overall: 8.50

Thursday, August 11, 2016

How much do YOU know about Lafayette??

Here's a fun little quiz I found on the internet. I'd like to say I scored 100% on it, but that would be lying.  (Although I only missed one.)

Enjoy!

Lafayette Quiz



Help Honor Lafayette, the "Lancelot of the Revolutionary Set!"



In historic Yorktown, Virginia, site of the final major battle of the Revolution, there is a duet of statues honoring General George Washington, commander of the combined American and French forces, and French Admiral François De Grasse, commander of the French fleet that "bottled up" the British troops under General Cornwallis at Yorktown. These life-sized figures were created by Virginia sculptor Cyd Player.

Installed in 2005 and enjoyed by tens of thousands of visitors annually, the statues commemorate two important meetings that took place on board De Grasse’s flagship the Ville de Paris to plan the 1781 Yorktown campaign and to explore plans for further operations.

The problem? It was supposed to be a quartet of sculptures. There are two important figures missing! Also present for at least one of these meetings were General Rochambeau, who led the French troops, and General Lafayette, who had kept Cornwallis trapped at Yorktown until the combined American and French troops had arrived. (He also served as an interpreter at the meeting with Washington, Rochambeau, and De Grasse.)

The reason that Lafayette and Rochambeau are not represented here? There was not enough funding to create all four statues at the same time.

Now the national organization dedicated to honoring the young Frenchman who did so much to help us gain our independence, the American Friends of Lafayette, is teaming up with the Celebrate Yorktown Committee of the Yorktown Foundation, and other interested organizations and people, in order to commission a statue of Lafayette. The new statue will accurately portray this important historical event and provide an opportunity for visitors of all ages to discover and recognize the role Lafayette played in shaping America’s history.

The goal is to get the statue finished in time to be dedicated on in October,  2017, at the annual celebration of the American victory at Yorktown.

To date, over $20,000 of the necessary $35,000 has been pledged.

Please consider contributing to this exciting endeavor and help construct history!

To help make the Lafayette Statue a reality, either click here  to donate via PayPal or mail a check (made out to American Friends of Lafayette) to:

American Friends of Lafayette
c/o Chuck Schwam
302 Hart Road
Gaithersburg, MD 20878

The AFL is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and contributions are eligible to be tax-deductible.

P.S.  Finally, you might want to become a member of the American Friends of Lafayette.
The cost to join is minimal, and it is great fun to get together every year to learn more about General Lafayette and other figures and events of the American Revolution. There is also a great publication, the "AFL Gazette", with information about Lafayette, sent out to all members several times a year.


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Barouches EVERYWHERE!

I just got back from a vacation in which I stayed at a log lodge built in 1923.  This is what I found inside on the wall:











I checked all the details of this carriage:
  • Four wheels          
  • Low sides
  • Two double seats facing each other,
  • A folding top that only protects the two passengers sitting in the rear seat
It's a barouche like the one that transported Lafayette (and an anonymous Vermont Revolutionary War veteran whom everyone thought to be Lafayette) to New Hampshire in June, 1825.

In A Buss from Lafayette, here's how the veteran described that vehicle.


“Well, meanwhile, Mr. Parker and I discovered for ourselves that the barouche was just the right height for leaning over to shake hands and kiss children. Though we did not shake many hands or kiss many children, once Mr. Parker had cleared things up,” he added with a rueful grin. A Buss from Lafayette ©2016 by Dorothea Jensen






Monday, August 8, 2016

Writing with a Flourish!

Those of you who follow my social media might have noticed that I have used the "Flourish" above a number of times.  This was actually selected by the designer for the cover of A Buss from Lafayette.


I liked it so much I asked to have it at the beginning of each chapter.


Lately I've been thinking about this flourish, and it occurred to me that it is a pretty good schematic showing how to write a novel.  You start out with a single story line (see pointy bit on the left side).  In Buss, this would be Clara's family situation and her difficult relationship with her stepmother.





Gradually you develop other bits of conflict for the main character. Here we have Clara's complicated relationships with her Cousin Hetty, Dickon, etc.





Then you start finding solutions for some of your character's problems. For example, Clara might make a breakthrough with Hetty and start to understand Dickon's feelings.






Finally, the major conflict is resolved. (You'l have to read the story to find out how!)


So there you have it: writing with a flourish!