Saturday, May 16, 2015

Southern Tradition: Decoration Day #FreeFunnyStory

Some say that Memorial Day was actually born in the South when a group of Southern ladies decided to decorate the graves of soldiers fallen during the Civil War. At that time, it was known by the name, Decoration Day, which was a name commonly applied to the day chosen at rural churchyard for the cleaning and decorating of graves in the church cemetery.

This event began in the 1800's and usually the church chose a Sunday in May or early June for their Decoration Day. During that era, the month of May was usually chosen because flowers were in bloom and could be cut to decorate the graves. Also the weather was mild and the spring planting was finished. The long hot days of work in the fields had yet to arrive.

Traditionally, Decoration Day involved more than just decorating the graves of loved ones. The event included a church service followed by dinner on the ground (picnic) and sometimes a singing. Attendance brought about reunions of families who had loved ones buried in the cemetery. They all came dressed in their Sunday best, walked along the cemetery paths to admire the flowers on graves of their ancestors, and enjoyed the home-made dishes served buffet style on wooden tables. 

My family went to Decoration Day at a country church in Tennessee where my great-grandparents and grandparents were buried, along with many other family members. One my earliest memories, believe or not, is one of the outhouses behind the church, which had been built in mid-1800's. I had never seen an outhouse or used one. I don't remember ever seeing a real outhouse anywhere else. The outhouses and the old church are gone now, replaced by a new church. And the tables are gone, too. Once, they made tables for dinner on the ground by nailing a piece of wood vertical on two tree trunks, and then laid planks horizontal on top the vertical supports to make a table. 

Although Decoration Day is no longer the social event it was a hundred years ago, it still observed as a day to bring flowers to the cemetery and remember your loved ones. 

If you'd like to learn more about the tradition of Decoration Day, check out the book by folklorist, Alan Jabbour. Published by the University of North Carolina Press

And be sure to grab a FREE copy of my humorous short story, "Decoration Day" this weekend on Amazon. You'll love Melanie Sue and Annie Lou!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Why Starting a New Book is Fun!

After two months of getting stuff done around here, which included having a yard sale, I am finally settling into writing a new book. It is the second historical in my French Quarter Brides series. The characters have been haunting me for a few months. Saying write our story! But I was busy writing another book. Unfortunately, there is only one of me and I can only get so much done. I did get the other book done, which is a contemporary romantic novel that I'm marketing at the present.

So, with that book gone, it was time to start on a new project. Last night, I sat down to work on the storyboard. Once I got started, I couldn't stop. I finally made myself quit at midnight. The fun thing about starting a new story for me is the discovery process. Having the story unfold in my mind and the characters take on a life of their own is so exciting. I had several of those "OMG that is so good!" moments. Of course, during the writing and revising process, I have less of those moments and more like "That's gotta go!" 

Still the initial excitement with a story is what makes writing worthwhile. Those little moments of glory when it comes alive in my heart and I know as a storyteller that I have to write this book. That's why starting a new book is fun! It is also a good way to get yourself back on track if you find yourself not wanting to write. Start something new. That will work

Now, I have to go and do some research, name a couple of extra characters, and make other decisions that are not so exciting like writing goals, which I will share on the blog.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Using Twitter: How & Why to Pin a Tweet

One of the best ways to thank a peep for retweeting one of your tweets is to retweet one of theirs if you have time. Today, while I was taking a break from editing on my WIP, I checked my notification feed at Twitter. As always, I was happy to see that some folks had retweeted some of my tweets. So I decided to return the retweet. I usually do this by retweeting the peep’s pinned tweet on their profile page.

I was surprised by the number of peeps who didn’t have a pinned tweet, much less a tweet of their own in their home feed. Their home feed was filled with their retweets of other people’s tweets. Of course, I didn’t have time to scroll through dozens of tweets trying to find a tweet that was actually by them.

Thus, I was inspired to do this post. If you are on Twitter, you need to consider having what is known as a “pinned” tweet. The big reason for this is stated above. A pinned tweet is easy to find as it is the first tweet on your home feed, located on your profile page. That makes a pinned tweet easy to find and easy to retweet.

A pinned tweet is usually a tweet you would like to have front and center on your home feed and that you are hoping will be retweeted and/or favored. It can be a witty quote you’ve tweeted, a meme, a link to a blog post, article, book, or whatever tweet you want. That’s your choice.

You can have only one pinned tweet. You can replace the pinned tweet at any time.

How you pin a tweet:
First you have to create the tweet and tweet it.
Next you go to your home feed on Twitter and it should be the first tweet in the feed.
At the bottom of the tweet, click on the three dots. There will be a drop-down menu. Select “Pin to your Profile Page” and click.
That will pin the tweet at the top of your home feed on your profile page. It will stay as the first tweet until you decide to change it. At the top will be a push pin and "Pinned Tweet" so when someone views your page they will note it is a pinned tweet and the one you would prefer having retweeted.

You can click the three dots on the pinned tweet to unpin it, or whenever you pin a new tweet, it will replace the current one.

That’s it!! Happy tweeting, peeps!!! And you can follow me @pat_preston

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Happy Easter Weekend!

I hope everyone has a safe and happy Easter holiday weekend!

March was a crazy month for me. Besides the writing projects I am trying to get finished, I also had to have my washing machine and roof replaced which took up a couple of weeks of time. Anytime I have to deal with something like that, it turns into an ordeal. I especially hated replacing the washer. I didn't like the new one at all and I was fortunate enough to have a delivery man who suggested I exchange the washer and get a GE. I'm very happy with the GE, which is much more like the washer I had. It washes quietly, you can open the lid anytime, and it has short washes available.

I haven't had much time for blogging in March due to trying to finish a book and do research work for a new project. I did get the revisions finished on a humorous literary short story and it is available on Amazon. It is a spring story, set in May 1950. I just love the cover!

A long-time Southern tradition, Decoration Day at the Cypress Creek Church Cemetery in May of 1950 turns into a hilarious feud over a gardenia wreath and a statue of Jesus. Join Melanie Sue Haddock and Annie Lou Ledbetter for a poignant yet fun-filled day!  

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

My Quick & Quirky #MFRW Interview! Too much fun!

Check out my interview and learn about my fantasy store that has books, music, a bar and pole dancing.  Name of the place: Books, Ballads & Bottoms Up!!! There's gotta be a story there!

MFRW Authors: A QUICK AND QUIRKY #MFRWauthor Patricia Preston