My Grandfather’s Words: Monday May 13, 1918 (Part B)

The Wait was Over

The officers finally came and passed up one line and down another until they had looked over us all. There were three train loads of men drawn up there. It took some time to inspect everyone.

Then, they started line by line down to the boarding tracks where the trains were waiting. We were quickly loaded on and one after another the trains pulled away from the station. Continue reading My Grandfather’s Words: Monday May 13, 1918 (Part B)

My Grandfather’s Words: Monday May 13, 1918 (Part A)

Time to Pack

I don’t remember the time I woke up this morning, but I remember I went and had a cold shower just about day break.

The previous evening I had had my arm with the boils on it looked at by a doctor. He told me to go on sick report in the morning. So I went. There were so many there before me. The doctor just put iodine on my arm and bandaged it up again. It must have been nearly 8:30 when I got out. I hustled for the mess hall and arrived just in time. I nearly missed my breakfast. Continue reading My Grandfather’s Words: Monday May 13, 1918 (Part A)

My Grandfathers Words: Sunday May 12, 1918

I awoke rather early this A.M.

Was pretty nervous and did not know what time they would call us for breakfast. I did not exactly know how the leggings went on, so I inquired and soon found how to adjust them. The call came to get up. I think I was nearly dressed. Gilbert was next to me. I think he was already awake when I reached over and touched him. They called us out for breakfast and lined us up in columns of four to march to the mess hall. After morning mess we were told by the corporal who had us in charge that as far as he knew there would be nothing doing until after noon mess at least. Continue reading My Grandfathers Words: Sunday May 12, 1918

My Grandfather’s Words: Saturday May 11, 1918 Part B

If you haven’t been following along, this is a multi-part series lifted from the pages of my grandfather’s diary from the 1918. He has just entered the service during WWI. This is Part 2 of His First Day in the United States Army.

Still Naked.

I was taken by the arm back to the place where I was grabbed out of line, and was started past the typewriters again. Certain lines were typed on my cards and papers, which I was to collect somewhere along the line. Finally we got to a man who was stamping names and numbers on a little aluminum disk. We were each given two of these with our names and service number on them These we were told to string on the card string we still had on our necks that we’d been given at the registration hall.

From here, we were passed to a little place in the last corner where one man disinfected a spot on our right shoulder blade, another shot a syringe of anti-typhoid stuff in, and a third man swabbed the place with iodine.

I forgot to say that we left our blankets at the door when we first entered the torture chamber much earlier in the day. All this time we had nothing on. Continue reading My Grandfather’s Words: Saturday May 11, 1918 Part B

My Grandfather’s Words: Saturday May 11, 1918 part A


The train arrived in St. Louis about 10 AM, and after being switched around the train yards a while, we were hauled out to Jefferson Barracks. We were ordered to stay on the train until we had orders to get off. This being our first orders they sounded rather harsh.

At the Barracks we were ordered off the trains and lined up two by two and marched to the registering hall. We were registered and given a string with a tag on it for around our necks. The tag had our names and the group we were classified with. After standing there for some time we were taken to a barrack and told to rest a while. They showed us where we could wash and get a drink of water. It was now nearly noon. Most of us were very tired and hungry. Mary girl had given me a lunch and some cake and popcorn and candy. So I fared better than some of the boys who had no breakfast.

About half past twelve they lined us up and took us to the mess hall for dinner. The mess hall was a huge structure capable of seating several thousand men at one time. We were seated at long tables. We ate everything we saw. I guess I don’t remember much of what they offered. But we ate it, whatever it was. Continue reading My Grandfather’s Words: Saturday May 11, 1918 part A

My Grandfather’s Words: Friday May 10, 1918


I was up this morning about 7:30. I guess Mary and I cried a little. It may be the last night we ever spend together on earth. We were both rather sad. I did not feel like going anywhere so read a little, helped Mary fix up my bag – took the black Gladstone bag with me. She, dear girl, had many things for me to take that I knew I could not take. We had gone to meeting (the Plymouth Brethren church service) the evening before and then bought some oranges and apples. We had a time getting home with them as it rained and the bags burst. We carried them in our pockets.

Mary in her Red Cross nurses uniform
Mary in her Red Cross nurses uniform

Mr. Leask (Mary’s father) and Ed were coming home at noon to bid me goodbye. They were going to have a kind of extra dinner, but I had to report at two o’clock at City Hall, so had to leave before they arrived.

Honey girl went to the car line with me. I guess we were both near crying.

I arrived at City Hall. The chairman of the board did not show up til nearly three. I could have had that hour with Mary, as well as not. Continue reading My Grandfather’s Words: Friday May 10, 1918

My Grandfather’s Words: Thursday May 9, 1918

wedding-of-grampa-and-grammaMy grandfather, Glenn Ethan Hollopeter married my grandmother, Mary Dowson Leask on February 26, 1918.

The following is the first entry from my grandfather’s Journal:

Mary and I returned from Tracy, Minnesota, at 3 A.M. (Brother Ben lived there.) We went to Mary’s folks, and to bed.

Leask Home in Mason City
In 1906 Mary’s family moved to the Waterloo area from this house of seven gables in Mason City, Iowa

In the morning, I went out to the farm to get my trunk, and finish straightening things up there. I saw Oliver and asked him if I could hire Harvey for the morning. He told me go ahead. So I had Harvey go down to the station, get my trunk, and fetch it out to the farm. I had taken it out to Mother’s to put my fur coat and other things in it. Continue reading My Grandfather’s Words: Thursday May 9, 1918

In His Own Words: My Grandfather’s Diary

sam_1532When I was visiting my sweet cousins this past summer, cousin Jan came to me with a heavy-looking red book in her hands. She held it out to me, “I’ve read some of this. It’s Grandpa’s journal from his time in the army during World War One.”

Wow. Just wow!

As I flipped through it, I found some loose pages. I asked her what they were and she said she didn’t know.

All that afternoon, she and I transcribed what was Grandpa’s earliest recollections and his Christian testimony. I say ‘transcribed’ because his handwriting was nearly illegible. He was left-handed and his teachers taught him to write right-handed, you see. Some words we had to figure out letter by letter and then look up on the internet to try to decipher them.

So, I give you my Grandfather’s story, in his own words.

Early years

scan0011Father was a blacksmith.I was born in Raymond, Iowa and moved to Ladora when I was 1 years old. We moved to Crawford, Colorado when I was 6 years old. In Crawford, Father died in the spring of 1900. I was nine years old. Mother brought my brother and I back to Iowa that year, after selling the blacksmith shop and the house in Crawford. We lived with her folks a few months. Then she bought the hotel in Washburn and operated that for several months. When she married Frank Hemmer we moved to Caliofe, Iowa, near Hawarden, lived there a few months and moved to a farm across the big Sioux River to South Dakota. Continue reading In His Own Words: My Grandfather’s Diary

Buyer Beware: Predatory Publishers


piranaYou’ve got a book. It’s ready to be published, but you don’t know the first thing about how to do that. You ask around. No, you don’t want to go through the traditional publishing route because it could be several years after your book is accepted for it to even see the light of day. You want your book published and you want it now, though you don’t want to self-publish either. It sounds like too much work.

Then, someone comes along who tells you they will publish your book for you. Wow! A dream come true. Or is it?

What is a Publisher?

There are different kinds of publishers. Some are legitimate and will be good for you, while others are predators looking to make money off of you. The latter will not help you except to produce an inferior product that won’t last long in the market place.

Let’s look at the difference:

A publisher could be one of three things according to the dictionary. A publisher is a firm in the publishing business; a publisher is a person engaged in publishing periodicals such as magazines, books, or music; or a publisher is the proprietor of a newspaper.

Unfortunately, with this broad definition anyone can claim to be a publisher.

A legit publisher will not ever ask for your money. Ever. I can’t stress this enough.


An assisted publishing company will ask for money. And they are legit. So what is the distinction?

An assisted publishing company offers services to get your manuscript in shape, get artwork and narrative formatted, get the cover and book designed, and Continue reading Buyer Beware: Predatory Publishers

Using Real-World Places to Inspire Fictional Settings

photo by Sophie Masson

This is a good post about world building. Its important to study world building if you write any genre of novel. The world you build around your characters is essentially a new one, even if it is set in present day Your Town. Here’s more from Sophie Masson.

A couple of weeks ago, I was in an extraordinary place: Rotorua in New Zealand, where bubbling mud pools, shooting geysers and steam-wreathed villages create an amazing otherworldly atmosphere, complete with sound effects ( gurgle, hiss, splash ) and smell ( rotten eggs, burnt toast.)

It’s a place full of stories, of course: Maori legends, tales of historical tragedies, love stories and scary stories. A place to fire the imagination! And one which could be a living example of the idea that setting does not have to be just a backdrop to story, but almost a character in itself.

It’s easy to see that in Rotorua, where the bubbling mud seems ready at any moment to spew out a strange creature, the very hot springs sometimes called murder ripples have a weirdly placid beauty under their clouds of steam, and the fires of the earth’s center are much closer to the surface than is truly comfortable to think about for too long. Here, a writer can–and in my case, does–file away verbal and written impressions as well as photos and videos to help in the creation of a fictional setting that won’t be actually Rotorua, but will be greatly inspired by it. And like the real place, it will be more than just a backdrop.

That kind of real-world setting, which in its extraordinary distinctiveness can seem almost fictional (as, in a contrasting but complementary example, a city like Venice, which I’ve also used in my fiction, does as well) might seem like an easy way into creation of a fictional world. After all, how hard can it be to take elements like boiling mud and clouds of steam and sleeping volcanoes—or gondolas and bridges and golden-domed palaces–and fictionalize them? Don’t all you need to do is simply faithfully transcribe what your senses tell you?

Newsflash: What must be believed in real life because you see it (and smell it!) in front of your nose is not so obvious when you’re dealing with fiction. You…


Source: Using Real-World Places to Inspire Fictional Settings

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