Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Reference Material

Post by Doris McCraw

writing as Angela Raines

Photo property of the author

Like a lot of people, 2021 was kind of a lost year. I didn't publish anything last year. That doesn't mean I wasn't writing, but editing was a loss for me. So for 2022, it's back to business. 

So, as I finish up the stories that are in the loop, I will be fine-tuning the information. That will include my favorite part of writing, research. For those who are interested, here is a list of resources I use. Perhaps some of you have used them also.

1. Newspaper Archives. This is my go-to for information on what was happening during the time that the stories are set. Sometimes it's just a small detail, sometimes major events. Like all research, it adds authenticity to the story.

2. Colorado Historic Newspapers. Since my westerns are set in Colorado, this is my lifeline to the minutia that makes the stories come to life. 

3. "Doctor at Timberline" by Charles Fox Gardiner. This autobiography tells the story of an eastern doctor who starts his practice in the high mountains of Colorado. It has been very useful when writing the stories of women doctors in Colorado.

4. "The Doctor's Bag" by Dr. Keith Souter. This book is a compilation of blog posts about medicine through the ages, especially the way medicine was practiced in the Civil War and the West.


5. "Log Cabin Cooking" by Barbara Swell. Love this look back at the recipes and lore when cooking was done on the woodstove or hearth.


6.  "The Prairie Traveler" by Randolph B. Marcy, Captain, U. S. Army. Originally published in 1859, it is one man's look and advice for those traveling across the continent to the West. 


These are just a few of the reference materials I use when writing. Perhaps some of you might like to take a look at them also. Plaster of Paris was used with linen for the immobilization of broken bones as early as 1839. I had my heroine, Josie, in "Josie's Dream" use it when setting a broken bone. Since the story takes place in 1879 on the Eastern Plains of Colorado, I felt safe using that technique.


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