Saturday, September 18, 2021

September (already?) Round Robin


Where does the time go? Here we are in September 2021, still dealing one way or another with covid and all that goes with it. Thank goodness we have our writing to keep fingers and minds busy. 

The topic posed for this month is - besides novels, do you write in other genres? Have you ever written nonfiction?

Well, yes and yes. My preferred genre is historical romantic fiction, but I have also written two contemporary western romances with a third beginning to gel. However, the processes of gelling and the actual writing are both a bit slower than they were. But, before I started writing novels, I wrote short stories and newspaper and magazine articles before that. I liked pitching ideas to magazines that interested me or following through if magazine editors called for articles on a topic of their choice.

Sadly, of all the publications my work appeared in, only one remains active. I’m happy to say their demise had nothing to do with my writing, but production costs, dwindling subscriptions, and the editor’s retirement in one tiny publishing house hit home.

Me, teenage groom and hunter

From the horses and dogs that were part of my life to beer festivals and medieval faires, my travels at home in the UK and abroad, I managed a fair range from being paid with six free copies of one magazine to a heady $800 plus, this for an article on a medieval fair. 

The magazine assigned me a professional photographer for the day. He had never worked with a writer, while said writer (me) had never worked with a photographer, professional or not. We started the day off by discussing what we were looking for and then parted company, me to interview performers and visitors, he to take as many photographs as he could of whatever interested him. We met up at the end of the afternoon and found that we had, amazingly, opted for the same subjects.

Jousting UK
The most spectacular event of any medieval fair is the jousting. The photographer’s images were stunning, and I benefited from interviewing an international jouster still dressed in his 100 lbs of full armour. The fair organizers were thrilled with the warm, sunny weather, but it must have been like living in an oven for all the jousters. The most entertaining group were the members of GNIVIL, the Living Backwards Society. Their research and attention to detail of all things medieval, including authentic hand-carved chairs, trunks and rope beds, from which the saying sleep tight originated, was a little like having a personal history lesson from each interview.

From GNIVIL's website
There is no doubt that people can tell stories that are often stranger than fiction. A history-loving Health and Safety Officer first learnt to foot fight and then turned to metalworking. He told me all GNIVIL’s clothes were handcrafted and correct for the period. Even the trumpet he used to announce the melee was a style of horn dating from the days of the Crusades. Lady Jane led dancing on the lawn during the evening, explaining why dancing was essential to medieval society. No one would have suspected her modern-day profession to be that of an electrician.

My article on a United Kingdom beer festival, including one of my photographs, appeared in the Calgary Herald (still going strong.) That was a fun gig, in part because I applied for and received funding from the British Tourist Board. No money changed hands for the beer as visitors bought a string of tickets at the entrance gate and used them to buy their beer. Friday night was a fun night with my family. I got to work interviewing people the following day. I even made it into the local paper at home that described me as ‘a mystery woman from Canada.’

So now I’ve related some of my experiences with writing outside my preferred genre, let’s look at what my fellow bloggers have to say.


Marci Baun

Skye Taylor

Connie Vines

Dr. Bob Rich 

Judith Copek

Rhobin L Courtright