With Gladness: World War II Christmases

with-gladness-coverChristmas and other holidays in the 1940’s seem not as “far distant” as other historical eras. I think this is because I’ve heard so many stories from my grandparents and great-aunt about their war time holiday celebrations.

When I originally planned the World War II era story for With Gladness, I intended to base it off a Christmas play we had done years before and the setting would’ve been Battle of the Bulge. However, there were flaws in that story plot, and I eventually decided to scrap the idea. Having experienced moments of waiting for news from family and acquaintances in the military, I decided the home front setting might be better and more familiar for writing. If the theory is true that writing is good if it makes the author cry, then “Stars In The Window” should be one of the best the collection.

Now, without further jabbering, here are a few historical background facts or highlights from the tale. Continue reading

With Gladness: The Dust Bowl

with-gladness-coverOne of the best things about writing is finding the right setting for a story. In my opinion, the more challenge in the historical setting, the better emphasis on character change and struggle. An especially difficult and challenging time in the America history was the Great Depression (1929-1941). The states affected by the Dust Bowl were particularly hard-hit.

In the midst of this dirt and difficulty, I found a perfect setting for the short story “Song of Hope.” I’d read about the Dust Bowl and Depression; I’d heard stories from my grandfather who spent the earliest years of his life in the dust destroyed region of northern Texas. Listening to his stories and reading other accounts, I realized the amazing courage and hope those families had to stay (or move). I hope some of those challenges and successes are well-presented in With Gladness: A Christmas Story Collection. Continue reading

With Gladness: The Gilded Age

with-gladness-coverVictorian Christmas. The style, decorations, and ideals from the late Victorian era continue to influence holiday decorating and traditions. It’s the “classic” era when Christmas becomes a holiday and month long whirl of happiness.

However, “Victorian Era” is really a British term. The “late Victorian era” is the Gilded Age in American history. So, with its proper name, I’ve introduced some features of the holiday era in the story “Curses or Blessings” in With Gladness.

Today, we present some historical background to the story and invite you to explore this era of opulence and poverty. Continue reading

Crafting With Gladness: Christmas Paper Chains

It’s Christmas Craft Day on Gazette665. We’re continuing with projects related to short stories in With Gladness: A Christmas Story Collection. The first craft of December 3, 2016, features decorations mentioned in the California Rancho story.Christmas Paper ChainFive-year-old Margarite laughed at Barbara’s distracted attempts to finish the long paper chains to hang around the windows. (From “A Light In The Window” in With Gladness, page 41) Continue reading