FoxTale Book Shoppe Hosts Lisa Wingate & Renea Winchester

Celebrating #SIBA14: Baby Goats, Melungeons & Books, Glorious Books

In honor of #SIBA14 (the Southern Independent Booksellers Association’s 2014 tradeshow!), I’ll divert from the norm to cover a recent event at my very most favorite indie bookstore in the world, FoxTale Book Shoppe! Authors Renea Winchester and Lisa Wingate teamed up for an entertaining evening of chatting about their new books.

Renea Winchester

Renea’s book, Farming, Friends, and Fried Bologna Sandwiches is just as southern as it sounds, and she told some howlers about goats. Yes, goats. Because friends, there is not much on this earth that is cuter than baby goats at play . . .

Ah, the sound of capricious baby goat hooves, clacking against the rock!

Ah, the sound of capricious baby goat hooves, clacking against the rock!

. . . and few things as dis-STINK-tly unappealing as a grown male goat in rut, if you get what I’m saying.

Lisa Wingate

Lisa’s latest book, The Story Keeper, is one of those I know my genealogy friends will just love–a modern woman stumbles into a historical mystery. She talked about how stumbling across an article (and then another, and another) about the Melungeons, coupled with a documentary about human trafficking, prompted her to dream the story. If you’d like to read about it in more depth, Lisa blogged about this as well. This book is bumping many, many worthy titles down the list for a top slot in my abundant TBR pile.

Thanks, Lisa!

Happiness is a new (signed!) hardcover book!

(Book links go to their online store in support of the indie booksellers catering to those of us who love to shop local and enjoy paper books infinitely more than eBooks!)

Thanks to the Foxes for hosting such a great event! (Seriously, when you’re in Atlanta, look up their calendar, because there’s bound to be a can’t-miss literary event during your stay.) Big guys online and discount supercenters simply can’t create this kind of experience for dedicated readers!

Tweetable: In honor of #SIBA14: Baby Goats, Melungeons and Books, Glorious Books!

Question for You

If you’ve ever loved a brick & mortar bookstore, tell us about it in the comments!

Bonus Question

If you are actually at #SIBA14, we’d love to hear a tidbit from your time!

2014 ACFW Pre-Conference Mix & Mingle

It’s almost here–the annual American Christian Fiction Writers national conference is only two weeks away! Author Laurie Tomlinson had the brilliant idea to host a virtual ACFW pre-conference Mix & Mingle. I love it! Here are my answers . . . and then go check out the others, too. Thanks, Laurie!

brandy_heinemanName: Brandy Heineman

Location: Atlanta, GA

What you write/tagline/trademark: Christian Women’s Fiction / “Timeslip Fiction, Eternal Truth”

Place in the book world: Contracted! My book comes out . . . soon. Not sure when. LOL! And I’m represented by Jim Hart of Hartline Literary Agency.

On a scale of hugger to 10-foot-pole, please rate your personal space: I mean, I don’t want to be rude . . . *crosses arms awkwardly*

The unique talking point that will get you going for hours: Books (of course!), Bible study, genealogy, and fur-babies, although I will try not to tell stories about my intelligent cats in response to your stories about your intelligent children. No promises. (Kidding! . . . mostly.)

Loved ones at home you’ll be missing: My pitty-pats will be headed to the spa (i.e., the kennel) while I’m conferencing this year!

Not Invited to ACFW Conference--Boo Hoo - Copy

Conference goals we can pray for? This year, I’m going to learn and to network . . . which, since I’m unquestionably an introvert (see above re: personal space), small talk, party chatter, and social niceties just don’t come easy for me. Prayers are much appreciated!

Anything we can celebrate with you? I’m excited to be a finalist in the Contemporary category of the Genesis contest!

One or two ways we can help you build your platform? I do enjoy Twitter, and if you like, you can join my Street Team for my upcoming debut novel.

Going to the ACFW conference this year? Then I hope you’ll meet me in St. Louis!  (Sorry, couldn’t resist!)

Help this introvert warm up by saying hello in the comments!

Tuesday’s Tip: 57 Angles, Tips, & Prompts for Writing Your Family History

Write Your Family History

write your family history-00

If you’ve ever struggled with ways to turn your pedigree charts and research notes into a shareable, readable history for your family to enjoy, read on. This list of story angles, creative tips, and writing prompts is for you.

Some of these ideas might seem on the border of embroidering the truth. Let me clarify upfront that my intent is to suggest fullest use of available facts, as well as drawing well-reasoned, logical conclusions wherever possible. That said, I welcome discussion in the comments!

And now, without further delay . . . !

Basic Structure & Style

1. Choose an ancestor and place births, deaths, and other impactful events on a timeline. Don’t forget their in-laws. (Tweet this)

2. Keep basic narrative structure in mind as you write (exposition, rising action and climax, resolution--i.e., beginning, middle, and end) but also realize that true stories are rare in real life. It's okay to leave a story open-ended.

Image courtesy of luigi diamanti at

3. Don’t be afraid to be a little repetitive if that works with how you’ve structured your history. Your family is all connected, of course, but ask yourself if your articles make sense as stand-alone works.

4. Utilize the word count function in most word processors. Aim for 150-300 words for a biographical blurb, 400-600 words for a family legend or interesting story, and 1200-1500 for an involved dramatic account. (And remember that even a broken guideline can aid the structure of your story. If you need to run longer, do, but ask yourself if the narrative contains a natural break where it would makes sense to divide it into parts.)

5. Use bullet lists or timelines if they make more sense than a narrative structure. (Tweet this)

6. Don’t get boxed into a format. Tell each individual story in the way that makes the most sense.

Picture This

7. Answer as many of the 5 W's as you can about your favorite family photo.

Image courtesy of scottchan at

8. Got an obvious family resemblance? Put photos side by side and write about it.

9. If you can take a 3-, 4-, or 5-generation photo, stop reading this and do it, right now. (Tweet this)

10. Try to recreate modern versions of old family photos.

11. Group scanned documents, newspaper clippings and photos by decade to create a visual history. (Tweet this)

Details, Details

12. Check your ancestor's home turf and include any insights in your write-up.

Image courtesy of aopsan at

(Even better if you can find a historic map.)

13. Got a story about a particular day? Check the weather to help set the scene.

14. Search a “today in history” archive to give your story context.

15. When details are sparse about a specific person, tell about the time and place where they lived to create a slice of life.

1906 postcard; public domain.

16. Find a moment of truth–in your ancestor’s life or in your search for him or her–and record both facts and emotions. (Tweet this)

17. Highlight apparent contradictions or discrepancies in the facts. Think about who would have supplied the data and brainstorm possible reasons. For an age variance, did your ancestor lie about their age for vanity, to guard themselves from age discrimination in the workplace, or to dodge–or qualify for–military service?

18. Spend some time researching your ancestors’ friends, associates, and especially neighbors. See if you can find a connection. Adding relevant details will enrich the story.

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Content & Substance

19. Write your family legends, just the way you heard them.

Image courtesy of kanate at

20. Resist the urge to do a Federal Census recap–unless it reveals something significant. Highlight the details beyond where and when.

21. Write about surname origins. If your findings conflict with what you know or believe about your ancestors’ homeland, highlight the puzzle and try to piece together a plausible answer to it.

22. Resist writing about your search–unless you’ve got a great search story! (Tweet this)

23. On second thought, if you take a genealogy road trip, you'll definitely want to write about your experiences.

Image courtesy of Witthaya Phonsawat at

24. Profile the community where your ancestors lived (especially if they stayed for more than a generation in one place).

25. Write about questions you have without pressure to supply answers. (Tweet this)

More Content & Substance

26. Write about heirlooms.

Image courtesy of Gualberto107 at

27. Write about pets, hobbies, or personality traits. (Tweet this)

28. Type up family recipes (along with associated food memories). If you can, ask the person handing down the recipe where it came from.

29. Contrast lives of two very different ancestors who lived in the same time period.

30. Write about generational patterns you notice–attitudes, beliefs or sayings. (Tweet this)

31. Ask living relatives if they are named for anyone. (This might not be obvious, especially if they are named for a non-family member!)

32. Write what you can infer about relationships. If a clipping lists your relative among a group of unfamiliar names (out-of-town wedding or funeral attendees, for example), see if you can draw connections to others listed.

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Even MORE Content & Substance

33. If the car had a name, it deserves a place in your family history.

Image courtesy of Ron Bird at

34. Interested in genetics? Find a list of dominant and recessive traits and see how far back you can trace yours.

35. If your ancestor got political, write about a controversial issue of the day. (Tweet this)

36. Write about a law that may have impacted your ancestors. (Tweet this)

37. Interested in medical mysteries? See if you can WebMD a “diagnosis” for a sickly ancestor (but be sure to delineate between fact and speculation).

38. Use prompts to generate more ideas. Geneabloggers has over forty day-of-the-week prompts to get you started and The Armchair Genealogist is a treasure trove of helps for the family chronicler.

Get Creative

39. Read up on creative nonfiction techniques and try applying them to your family history.

40. Write a letter to an ancestor you wish you could have known.

Image courtesy of Tanatat at

41. Write a poem or song about an individual in your family tree. (Tweet this)

42. Posing questions with answers you know, write an imaginary interview with your ancestor.

43. Got a frustrating ancestor with hardly any paper trail? Pen a tongue-in-cheek madlib-style profile and celebrate those maddening blanks for once.

44. If you feel you don’t have enough to say, make brevity the goal and format your stories for Tweets, Facebook posts, or 3×5 index cards.

Collaborating & Sharing

45. If an older generation isn’t forthcoming with stories, make it easy for them. Ask what they remember about ONE photo, person, or place.

46. Think about how to share your writing, whether via blog, CD’s, expensive bound photo books or photocopied printouts in a binder.

47. Looking to bring existing audio interviews into the 21st century? Maybe your family history will work best as a podcast!

Image courtesy of anankkml at

48. Ask a sibling, cousin, aunt or uncle to write out their version of a well-known family story. Compare notes and see if your relative highlights additional details or remembers it just a bit differently.

Words to the Wise

49. Take on a writing challenge (such as the Family History Writing Challenge in February or #52Ancestors in a year) to stay motivated.

50. Don’t plagiarize.

51. Don't let a brick wall or missing detail stop you. Go ahead and embrace the fact that your genealogy will never be "finished."

Image courtesy of Just2shutter at

52. Do a little at a time. It’s easier to write a 500-word ancestor profile than it is to “write your family history.” (Tweet this)

53. Stick with the facts, but don’t feel compelled to cram every detail you’ve learned into one article if they don’t support the story you’re telling.

54. Treat stories of ne'er-do-wells and scandals with the appropriate respect for the living.

Image courtesy of Kamnuan at

(If Grandma is embarrassed by her father’s stay at the state penitentiary, realize that what’s interesting to you might have been awful for her.)

55. Don’t wait to get started. (Tweet this)

56. Don’t be afraid to suppose (but clearly state as much, so your assumptions don’t come off sounding like facts).

57. Illuminate your family's history. Make it fascinating for the reader.

Image courtesy of nuttakit at

Your Turn

Share your best angles, tips and prompts for writing your family history in the comments below!

Family Recipe Friday: What’s a “Cannelon?” (Or, Uses for Onion Juice)

Historical Recipes: Novice Cooks Need Not Apply

Recall that last week, I left you hanging with the Cannelon recipe, so it only makes sense to lead with this question: What is a cannelon?

I’m ashamed to admit this, but even after typing up these recipes I still didn’t have a clear picture in my head . . . so I let bail me out again. Cannelon is just another word for a cannelloni, or a “tubular or rolled piece of pasta, usually filled with a mixture of meat or poultry and often cheese and baked in a cream or tomato sauce.”

In my defense, that isn’t exactly what these recipes describe. Instead, they call for a biscuit crust and meat gravy. I’m pretty certain I’ve said so before, but the contributors to this cookbook definitely assumed a minimum level of skill. Still, “like a cannelloni” helps me to visualize what these recipes are aiming for!

Quick reminder: the coupon code Top Hat Photo Repair gave us is only good through the end of August, so if you wanted to take advantage of that, seize the day! :)

This cookbook was published in 1909 and we’re exploring the recipes and the lives of the women who submitted them. (Want to know more? Read the intro here or the previous entry here.)

Please remember to use 2014 food handling safety practices when attempting to make 1909 recipes!

Pages 25-26

WV WC 25 Cannelon, Hamburg Steak, Tomato Sauce

WV WC 26 Rolled Beefsteak, Cannelon of Beef, Roasted Chicken


[Note: For convenience's sake, of course I'm including the first part of the recipe from page 24!]

One pound of round steak, chopped fine, yolk of 1 egg, 1 tablespoonful of melted butter, 1 tablespoonful of stale break crumbs, 1 tablespoonful of chopped

parsley, 1 scant teaspoonful of salt, ¼ teaspoonful of pepper. Mix well and form into a solid roll. Butter a paper and tie the roll up in it, place in a pan and bake 30 minutes. Serve on a hot platter with tomato sauce.

Sauce for above: Take a pint of strained stewed tomatoes, place on the fire until it comes to a boil; then stir in 1 tablespoonful of flour mixed with water, a small lump of butter, 1 teaspoonful of onion juice. Take off and season with salt and pepper to suit the taste.
–Cadiz Cook Book

Six ounces fine bread crumbs, ½ teaspoonful salt, ½ cup milk, a seasoning of sage or thyme, and 2 tablespoonsful chopped parsley; add 1 cup of mixed nuts, chopped fine. Fry one small onion in 3 tablespoonsful butter until slightly colored, and strain into other ingredients. Stir over fire for five minutes, then add 2 well-beaten eggs and stir until mixture leaves bottom and sides of kettle; cool then form into roll. Bake in rich biscuit dough and serve with brown gravy.

Put one pound of round steak through a meat chopper, then add to it one-fourth teaspoonful of salt, one-eight teaspoonful of pepper, one-half teaspo[o]nful of onion juice and a level tablespo[o]nful of chopped parsley. Form into six steaks, being careful not to have the edges thinner than the center of the steak. Broil or saute, and serve with tomato sauce.

Place half a can of tomatoes over the fire; add to them one small onion, one small bay leaf, a sprig of parsley and a blade of mace, and simmer gently for ten minutes, then remove from the fire; press through a sieve to remove the seeds; melt one tablespoonful of butter in a saucepan; add one tablespoonful of flour, rub together until well mixed; add the strained tomatoes and stir a moment; season with half a teaspoonful of salt and four shakes of pepper, and serve at once.
–R. H. M.

Beat a large tender steak thoroughly. Sprinkle it with salt, pepper, sage, minced onion, minced parsley and bits of butter. Have ready some mealy Irish potatoes, mashed fine and seasoned with a little butter and salt. Spread it all over the steak, roll it lightly and fasten with skewer pins, place in a pan with two teacups of boiling water, place on top a few slices of pork. Baste and roast as you would a duck; sift over it browned crackers, pounded fine. Very nice.
–Mrs. J. W. Heavner.

Mix well together the following: One pound chopped beef, two ounces butter, one-half teaspoonful salt, one-fourth teaspoonful white pepper, yolk of one egg, ten drops onion juice, one teaspoonful chopped parsley and the grated rind of half a lemon. Form into roll and bake in a rich biscuit crust. Serve with brown gravy.

Draw, wash well, wipe dry and turn the pinions under; press the wings close to the body and tie to keep in place; make slits each side of the body and force the ends of the legs in; fill with stuffing of bread–

[Note: Yep, leaving you hanging again. Sorry . . . !]

Who (or what) were they?

Cadiz Cook Book: I couldn’t find any information about the Cadiz Cook Book, and I’m disappointed. I’d hoped to find references to a contemporary cookbook–or even a digital copy online–so I could compare dates and see if this recipe was lifted word-for-word from another book. Oh well . . .

R. H. M.: This is the second recipe offered by our mystery contributor, but I’ll tell you a secret: when I scanned upcoming pages, I figured out who she was! So we won’t be in suspense forever as to her identity.

Mrs. J. W. Heavner: When we first met Leeann E. Reger Heavner, we learned that her parents were John W. and Rebecca Reger (1). I noted that there was likely a relationship between her and cookbook contributor Anna Lee Hurst Post’s mother, Mary C./Marion Reger. They were next door neighbors on Main Street of Buckhannon WV in 1880 (3), which quickly shows that Leeann’s and Mary’s ages are eight years apart (with Leeann as the elder at 38). Sisters?

Yep! (Source, and a note: Mollie is a nickname for Marion.)

So, this gives an adorable connection between two cookbook contributors: Anna Lee Hurst Post is the niece and namesake of Leeann Reger Heavner!

(Numbered sources are cited in the index.)

Having fun? :)

Next week we’ll take a look at three (!) Chicken Pie Recipes. Maybe if I get brave, I’ll try one out . . .

I’m hoping to have an update about my novel for you soon, too. Exciting stuff!

Love antique cookbooks and old-fashioned recipes? Subscribe via email or RSS reader for Family Recipe Friday updates every week!

If you are researching one of the ladies credited here, email me! I’d love to hear your story!

Family Recipe Friday: Braised Steak, Doughnuts, and who is Cousin Flora, anyway?

Connections Found in Historical Recipes

As you’re about to see, connections are forming the deeper we go into this cookbook.

I debated about how to present this entry. There’s no good stopping point for pages and pages, and this week I’m sharing an important clue about the owner of the cookbook. Couldn’t lose that in a too-long entry . . . so the answer is to chop this entry mid-recipe. Spoiler alert–I’m going to leave you hanging until next week on the Cannelon recipe!

The cookbook was published in 1909 and we’re exploring the recipes and the lives of the women who submitted them. (Want to know more? Read the intro here or the previous entry here.)

Please remember to use 2014 food handling safety practices when attempting to make 1909 recipes!

Jump to . . .

Braised Steak | Beef Loaf
Meat Loaf | Cousin Flora’s Doughnuts

Mrs. C. H. Bryant | Mrs. C. O. Latham
Nettie J. Reger | Cousin Flora

Pages 23-24

WV WC 23 Meats and Poultry

WV WC 24 Braised Steak, Beef Loaf, Meat Loaf, Cannelon

Another Bookmark!

WV WC 24c Cousin Flora's Doughnuts

WV WC 24b list of names


And A Detail For Closer Examination

WV WC 24a Cousin Flora's Doughnuts


Meats and Poultry

There’s no want of meat, sir;
Portly and curious viands are prepared
To please all kinds of appetites.

Use as much steak as desired (1½ pounds serves two persons); cut into pieces one inch square, place onion in the bottom of baking dish, then a layer of meat; sprinkle with flour, salt, pepper and bits of butter; so continue until you have used all the meat. Place bay leaf on the top, cover with boiling water, cover closely and bake in a moderate over four hours. If the water evaporates rapidly add more, as it should have a gravy around it when done.
–Mrs. C. H. Bryant

Two pounds round steak, 1 cup bread crumbs, 1 egg, ½ cup sweet milk, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon butter, 1 small onion; pepper to taste. Put beef through chopper; add crumbs, salt, onion, pepper, butter, then pour over milk and beaten egg; shape into loaf; put slices of bacon over top and bake three-fourths of an hour in hot oven.
–Mrs. C. O. Latham

Two pounds meat, ground, two eggs, two handsful of crackers, ground, a lump of better size of an egg, one onion, if desirable, salt and pepper; bake an hour. (Two slices of breakfast bacon put on top of loaf while baking adds to flavor.)
–Nettie J. Reger

One pound of round steak, chopped fine, yolk of 1 egg, 1 tablespoonful of melted butter, 1 tablespoonful of stale break crumbs, 1 tablespoonful of chopped–

1 tablespoon Butter
½ pt. Sugar
½ pt. Milk
2 eggs
2 or more heaping teaspoons b powder
Flour to roll

Mrs. Kelly

” Kessler.
” Lowry.
” Moore
” McCaughey
” McCaslin.
Miss McCann.
Mrs. Timberlake.
” S. A. Weller.
” Walters.

Who were they?

Mrs. C. H. Bryant: Beulah Nettie Herndon was born April 14, 1882 in Preston county WV to Rev. W. D. Herndon and Nancy Catherine Martin (1). She married Clarence H. Bryant at Upshur county WV on December 31, 1907 (2).

Clarence died Dec 8, 1933 (3). He left his estate to Beulah (as long as she remained his widow) and their children. Words to note: his request that his body “be decently buried  a manner corresponding with my standing in life,” and his emphasis that, “It is my desire and wish that, as the responsibilities of rearing and educating my said children will devolve upon my said wife after my death, she shall have the free right to use such part of my real estate and personal property in such manner as she shall deem, according to her best judgment, for the join interests of herself and children” (4).

Beulah’s will dated August 22, 1947 shows the clear influence of Clarence’s–she either similar estate planning counsel, or copied the verbiage she wanted straight from his will. She left her bonds, stocks and real estate to be divided equally between the four children: Hubert H. Bryant, Howard D. Bryant, James W. Bryant, and Matilda c. Bryant Baxa. Matilda also received Beulah’s diamond rings (5).

The will also mentions a husband: Ison T. White. She bequeathed him one dollar (5). (For reference purposes: according to, $1.00 in 1947 had the buying power of $10.84 in 2014 money. I’ll try not to read too much into that . . .) I couldn’t find their marriage record, but it would have had to have been after 1940 when he was enumerated with another wife, Carrie (Source.) No word on why the residue of Clarence’s estate wasn’t divvied up when she remarried.

Beulah died August 25, 1948 of cerebral apoplexy (stroke) and is buried at the Heavner Cemetery (1).

Mrs. C. O. Latham: Several weeks ago we investigated the grocers serving the Buckhannon community–and Charles O. Latham was one of them. (And an aside: this death record shows his parents were Geo. R Latham and Caroline Thayre, making him a sibling of Julia Latham.) Now we find his wife, Maude Strother Fisher (1, 2). She was born at Buckhannon WV to John Strother Fisher and Harrett Ann Arnold on January 29, 1866 (3). She married Charles Latham on August 12, 1890 (4), and she bore twin girls on October 26, 1891–though only one (Gertrude) survived (1, 2). Maude died on February 25, 1951 of coronary thrombosis (3).

Nettie J. Reger:  Another Reger! We’ve already met LeeAnn E. Reger (a.k.a. Mrs. J. W. Heavner) and Mary C/Marion Reger (mother of Anna Lee Hurst/Mrs. Wm. Post). Nettie Sue Jeffers (1) was born to Alexander B Jeffers and Alice Ann Farnsworth on January 28, 1873 (2) in Harrison WV (3). She married Edd/Edward John Reger (1, 3) at Buckhannon WV on Sept 20, 1893 (3), and she died on March 14, 1969 of acute coronary occlusion (2). Forgive me for not pressing for more details–at this rate, Regers may end up a separate spin-off project . . . !

Cousin Flora: Is there any way to learn who Cousin Flora is? Piecing together what we already know, I believe so. Remember, this cookbook was a Christmas gift from Cousin Nelson to Cousin Alice. I tried searching for Nelsons in Buckhannon, but simply couldn’t narrow it down. (I looked for Wilsons too, as far as that goes, just in case I was reading it wrong.) However, once I saw this recipe, I made a connection.

In 1910, Nelson and Flora Debarr lived in Buckhannon WV with their two sons, Luther and Ford (1). We have a match.

Her name was Flora May Lane (2). She married Nelson Debarr on March 21, 1889 at Buckhannon WV (3). Her parents were Samuel Lane (4) and Louisa Weatherholt (4, 5)–names which may prove important in learning Cousin Alice’s identity.

My gut feeling is that Alice is a blood-relative to Nelson and an in-law to Flora, based only on the fact that the cookbook was a gift from Nelson (not Flora or even Nelson and Flora). However, I won’t allow this assumption to bias my search for Cousin Alice.

Mrs. Kelly, et al: Mrs. Kelly’s name is barely visible on one side of Cousin Flora’s Doughnut recipe. The alphabetical list of names on the other side could be a Christmas card list or an invitation list. Without a locale for Cousin Alice and her friends (yet!) I can’t begin to search for them, but perhaps these names will become clues later on.

(Numbered sources are cited and linked in the index.)

See you next week

Whew! Lots here–but it’s fun to see the connections emerging. I hope you’ll continue following along.

Love antique cookbooks and old-fashioned recipes? Subscribe via email or RSS reader for Family Recipe Friday updates every week!

If you are researching one of the ladies credited here, email me! I’d love to hear your story!