Monday, July 9, 2018

Milling for Inspiration

My next story to be published is a novella titled Millwright's Daughter. Story ideas are milling around out there for us all, sometimes in the most unusual places. Being observant enough to pick up on them and turn them into an entertaining and worthwhile reading experience is the trick. I hope this is what I have accomplished here.

Here is how this story came to me: I belong to Daughter of Utah Pioneers, a heritage society dedicated to collecting, preserving and sharing histories of pioneers who passed through the greater Utah territory before the coming of the railroad. We enjoy a monthly history lesson at our meetings. Several months ago, the lesson involved the early pioneer grist mills.

(Public Domain image of a mill plan)
The instructor made the comment it was not one of her favorite lessons. Too much of it involved plans for grist mills and how they were built and operated.

(Public Domain image of a grist mill)
Boy, did my ears perk up. Plans, as in blue prints and graphs? Those who know me are aware I love charts and graphs.

After the meeting, I asked to borrow the lesson book. When one of my friends gave me a rather strange look, I told her, "This is great research information. I'm going to write a story titled Millwright's Daughter."

I had other writing projects in the works for my Atwell Kin series, but when I was asked to write a novella for a multi-author anthology of sweet historical western romances, I decided to include Millwright's Daughter. That  anthology, Under a Mulberry Moon, was featured in last week's Blog Tour Tuesday which you can view by CLICKING HERE. I'll leave you to go there to see the book trailer that features all nine stories.

As for WHERE to set  my story, I decided to stay close to home. As much as I love writing about the Sierra Nevada mountains with all its gold mining history, I knew a mill designed to grind grains into flour needed to be located nearer to where they grew grain, particularly wheat. Not much wheat is grown in California's San Joaquin Valley now, but it was in the last half of the 1800's. 

I chose as a basis for the mill in my story the Tulloch Mill on the Stanislaus River in Knight's Ferry located about an hour's drive from my home. My header includes the remains of that mill in the background. Below is another image of the mill and adjoining warehouse. 

More on this mill in future blog posts.

Under a Mulberry Moon is currently on preorder on Amazon at a special preorder price of $.99. The regular price is $2.99. To purchase, please CLICK HERE.

Medleys and Musing from the Authors of Under a Mulberry Moon is available at no cost. To download it to your Kindle, please CLICK HERE.


  1. I love it when the ideas are handed to you in the most unexpected ways. What a wonderful group that sounds to be. Doris

  2. Congratulations on the new release, Zina. Your research gold mine is such a find!