If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our September Author Interviews--9/6 Kathleen Valenti, 9/13 David Burnsworth, 9/20 Jeri Westerson, 9/27 Frances Brody. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

September Saturday Guest Bloggers: 9/2--Anne Bannon, 9/9 WWK Bloggers, 9/16 Margaret S. Hamilton, 9/23 Kait Carson, and on 9/30 Trixie Stiletto.


“May 16, 2017 – The Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) today announced the finalists of the second annual Star Award, given to authors of published women’s fiction. Six finalists were chosen in two categories, General and Outstanding Debut. The winners of the Star Award will be announced at the WFWA Retreat in Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 23, 2017.” In the general category, WWK’s Carla Damron was one of three finalist for her novel, The Stone Necklace. Go to Carladamron.com for more information. Congratulations, Carla!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.
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Friday, May 9, 2014

Exploring Small Towns


Exploring Small Towns

My wife and I enjoy visiting small out-of-the-way towns and discovering what they offer.  We just returned from a visit to Eudora, Kansas, home of Quilting Bits and Pieces, which is a quilting store with absolutely gorgeous quilts on display.  It is not apparent from the outside but the store has quite a bit of floor space, which allows it to carry just about anything a quilter might need.  We ate at the Black Cat restaurant just across the street from Jasmine’s Chinese and Mexican Food, a combination you are unlikely to find in a larger city.

When I lived in Orange County, California we used to search out the original downtowns of cities that have grown into one continuous urban landscape.  It was hard to know when one town ended and another began unless we paid close attention to the shapes and colors of street signs, which changed from city to city.  It took some detective work, but the cities maintain some flavor of the original settlements.

For example, Orange, California had a town circle (not a town square) with one restaurant used in a Tom Hanks movie to represent 1950s America and another restaurant that had great Cuban food and wonderful breakfasts. I admit I am  uncertain how many Cubans were involved in founding the town.  The old Fullerton, California downtown had a train station built in the 1950s and a store that specialized in items imported from the United Kingdom.  

Some Kansas and Missouri small towns have buildings built in the late 1800s that have not been wiped out in an attempt to modernize and ride the cutting edge of architecture.  Like some of the towns in the part of England known as the Cotswolds, one factor favoring the survival of older building is the lack of a booming economy, which raises real estate prices and makes tear-downs and rebuilding attractive.  

Lexington, Missouri still shows scars from the three-day battle in September 1861 between federal troops and the state militia. A house that was occupied by both sides at different times during the battle has been restored. The county courthouse has a cannonball fired by Union forces still embedded in one of its columns.

Weston, Missouri houses a flock of antique shops and restaurants where the dim outline of history can still be seen.  One of the houses was once owned by Mary Owens, a woman who spurned a decidedly lukewarm marriage proposal from Abraham Lincoln.  She probably did them both a favor by declining.  Unlike Mary Todd, she was a staunch supporter of slavery.

Are there historical buildings where you live?  

20 comments:

KM Rockwood said...

Since we live just outside Gettysburg, we're aware of historic preservation efforts. The downtown of our little town is an historic area, with an old brick tavern that has been operating continuously since before the Revolutionary War.

My kids went to the Gettysburg schools, and my oldest daughter announced in third grade that she was going to be an archeologist. That's what she's doing now, and has added certification in historic structures to her skills. It's really fun to go to historic sites with her--she often knows more than the guides.

James Montgomery Jackson said...

We prefer to travel smaller roads rather than the interstate whenever we have time and so drive through lots of little towns, villages, wide spots in the road.

Of course, what is of historic vintage in one area is modernity or impossible in another. In my East Coast days I've lived in a house built in 1795 that was just another old house as the town dated to the 1600s.

That same house would have built while Ohio, Michigan, etc. were all part of the Northwest Territory and before Jefferson made the Louisiana Purchase.

~ Jim

Gloria Alden said...

Warren, that's something my siblings and I love to do on our camping trips. In the Okanogan -Spelling? region of north central Washington states, all the towns are small, and only the capital of the region has a Walmart store. Every little town had ma and pop stores and restaurants and almost all of them had a book store.

E. B. Davis said...

I've never liked traveling by car. My muscles start to ache after three hours. I grew up around small towns. Perhaps for that reason, they don't intrigue me. Although when I was younger, I loved antique stores, finding unique items to decorate my home. I'm well past that stage of life. I hope to unload a house full of stuff to my kids. So, shopping isn't a big priority anymore. My parents took us on lots of car trips. Now, I'd rather read about historic sites than to visit them.

Warren Bull said...

KM, I've heard that preservationist fight to keep new developers from building on historic ground there.

Warren Bull said...

Jim, Perspective is everything. We had a friend from Portugal look puzzles when well called our house "old." It was built around 1925,

Warren Bull said...

Gloria,

I hope those places manage to survive.

Warren Bull said...

EB, Age changes just about everything. I've heard recording of songs I thought were great when I was young. Today they make me cringe.

Annette said...

Having grown up on a farm, as a kid small towns seemed big to me!

Our area is rich in French and Indian War and Revolutionary War history, so yes, we have a LOT of old landmark buildings around. One historically important home recently went up for sale and the whole area gasped and held our breath, hoping whoever bought it would maintain it properly. Thankfully it looks like that will be the case. Phew!

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

I live in a small town, Springville CA next to Porterville, also a small town. I write about Springville (call it Bear Creek0 in my Deputy Tempe Crabtree mysteries and about a fictional small beach town in Southern CA--much like the beach town I lived in for over 20 years (which is now a city). Years ago I lived in Cambridge MD which has lots of history and old buildings and hasn't changed much over the years. Best seafood served in the restaurants! Since I grew up in Los Angeles, small towns have always fascinated me.

Georgia said...

Warren, our county seat is full of ancient buildings and ghosts, and I am a member of the Historical Society. I have a hard time explaining to retired newcomers why our post office is twenty miles away. Some are aggravated and not impressed by the history of gold mining in NC. When CA discovered gold, folks poured out there and in the late 1800's we lost four or five local post offices. We're in the country now, and I'm fine with that. Just a diner, auto repair shop, gas/convenience store and fire hall. Who needs more? WalMart is 15 miles away for big purchases!

Barbara Graham said...

Our history in Wyoming is pretty short in comparison to others. We have the original hotel built by Buffalo Bill Cody (had built he didn't do the work)and inside the restaurant is the cherry wood bar given to him by Queen Victoria.

Warren Bull said...

Annette,

I'm happy it was saved. Developers often win.

Warren Bull said...

Marilyn,

I worked in Porterville for a few months. I remember that the foothills looked different during the day as the sun crossed the sky.

Warren Bull said...

Gloria, Who could ask for anything more?

Warren Bull said...

Barbara,

Queen Victoria? Wow!

Warren Bull said...

Barbara,

Queen Victoria? Wow!

Michele Drier said...

I've lived in small and large towns and cities, but not all very historical. In California, Sutter's Fort, built in 1839 is historic, although Monterey ("discovered" in 1602) was settled by the Spanish in 1770.
The Gold Rush towns in the Sierra foothills maintain the 1850s feel with B&Bs, small stores, board sidewalks and hitching posts; fun to visit.
A book I loved and read several times is William Least Heat Moon's "Blue Highways."

Kara Cerise said...

There are a few historic buildings in my area. My favorite is an 18th century church. George Washington was elected to the vestry. When I took a tour the historian pointed out a tall tree that Washington probably used to tie up his horse. During the Civil War, the church was used as a hospital and then a stable. Some gravestones are nicked from soldiers who used them for target practice.

Shari Randall said...

I love exploring a nice small town. Last one I visited was probably Chester, CT, a tiny town whose old mill buildings are being repurposed as chichi restaurants and boutiques. Their bumper sticker is one of my favorites "Chester, CT. We know where it is."