Happy Fourth of July! Happy Birthday, America!

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HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!!

My best wishes to everyone for a safe and enjoyable holiday, as we celebrate our nation’s birthday.

Special thanks today to our military, our police, our firemen, our first responders and all the medical personnel who are still working hard to get us through the pandemic and keep us safe.

A Lovely Review of The Last Pilgrim from Christoph Fischer

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Christoph Fischer has become a good friend via blogging and our initial meeting at the second Blogger’s Bash in London. He is a USA Today and Amazon No 1 bestselling author – of seventeen books! – who now lives in a small town in West Wales with his partner and four Labradoodles. We have agreed that Welsh and Gaelic are both difficult languages!

I am honored to have him review the book.

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“This book is a rich resource of well researched historical facts and a concise re-telling of the story of one of many Mayflower pilgrims.

Noelle describes the characters in a series of narratives that depict the crossing with its difficulties, the landing, the search for a suitable location, the troubles establishing themselves as a village, as neighbours to natives and as a community….

and you can read the rest at

https://writerchristophfischer.wordpress.com/

++++++

Thank you, Christoph!

 

New Followers

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From time to time, as my followers know, I like to recognize new followers who have done me the honor of signing up for my posts. THANK YOU!

Delusional Bubble (great moniker!) at https://delusionalbubble.com   – a travel blog

Geoff Le Pard at https://geofflepard.com – a highly imaginative writer and bon vivant. Do check out his blog. It’s occasionally hilarious and always fun!

Short-prose-fiction at https://shortprose.blog Gabriela Marie Milton, poet, 2019 Author Of The Year at Spillwords Press

Rafaelle Schwartzbart who blogs at She Got Wings at https://shegotwings.home.blog/ – a young Brazilian woman who is sharing her beginning at flying – she’s a person trainer

Jane Wertman at https://janetwertman.com  She is a writer of grants and historical fiction and I’ve gotten to know her and have enjoyed – and reviewed – her books over the past year.

Sid Gateux at https://johnnyholidayblog.wordpress.com  Johnny Holiday is the leading character in the Johnny Holiday Mysteries by Sid Gateaux. You can follow at this site.

James Conville, a marine engineer – couldn’t find him online

Prashant Jain from India, whose blog site is under reconstruction.

Michelle Rose who blogs as Shell-Shell’s tips and tricks at https://www.michellescrazybusylife.net/

Blackwings 666 at https://blackwings666.wordpress.com – a blog about Dracula!!!

S.C.Ö  at https://sevgiylebeslenin.com- I believe this is a blog about Turkish cooking

Rebecca Dwight Bruff at https://rebeccabruff.com/ – who has just written a debut novel Trouble the Water that was awarded a First Place/ Gold prize for Debut Fiction, and First Place/Gold Prize for Adult Fiction by The Feathered Quill Book Awards, with a recommendation from the Chair of the Pat Conroy >Literary Center. Brava!

Omar Darwish at https://omardarwishcom.wordpress.com writes a social cultural blog that deals with literature, writing, education, social issues, and aspects of the human personality. It’s in Arabic but there is a translate button and I read a great post on ancient Greek and Roman civilizations

If you are interested in vitamins, this is the blog site for you: https://irvinevitamin.wordpress.com/

Romelia Lungu at https://romelialungu.home.blog . She lives in Romania and reviews books and offers her reflections, luckily some in English because Romanian is not in my limited range of other languages!

Stephen Page at https://smpages.wordpress.com.  He is an award winning, part Shawnee and part Apache author and poet. His books include: The Salty River Bleeds, The Timbre of Sand, Still Dandelions, A Ranch Bordering the Salty River. I need to take a look at one of his books.

Krutika toy at https://ktrutika.wordpress.com/ has a really unique blog on business – recent developments in working sites, entrepreneurship etc.

Christine Lucas at https://redpanda08.wordpress.com blogs about travel and nature and fitness, accompanied by wonderful photographs.

Introducing #RBRT Gold, extra-special books that were greatly enjoyed by Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team

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Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team has now been up and running for six years!  I have been one of her book reviewers for much of that time. At first I only read books in my genre, but I gradually expanded to romance, sci-fi and historical fiction. That last is perhaps what gave me the push necessary to write my recent book, The Last Pilgrim, about Mary Allerton Cushman, the oldest survivor of the Mayflower voyage.

The goal of Rosie’s book review team (RBRT) has been to spread the word about novels, novellas, short stories and non-fiction from self-published authors and independent publishers – to showcase talent found outside the mainstream publishing world.

I have had the enjoyment of corresponding with many of these authors about their books, making new friends along the way.

Each month, Rosie is inundated with review requests from authors and publishers alike.  Every book that she accepts is passed on to twenty readers of her team, which is made up of book bloggers, writers, editors, creative writing tutors and people who just love reading.  Most books gain just one or two reviews, but once in a while a gem has come along that piques the interest of several team members, and receives highly favorable reviews across the board.

That is why this week, Rosie’s site is introducing #RBRT Gold, extra-special books that were greatly enjoyed by three or more team members.

Under the title of each book, you can read the team members reviews and the Amazon links to those books are included.  Three in the first list, published tomorrow, are books I reviewed!

This is the link to Monday’s post of the first books. It will go live at 2am UK time https://wp.me/p2Eu3u-fzh

Here is a link to Rosie’s blog https://rosieamber.wordpress.com/

And here is a link to the page about how to join the review team https://wp.me/P2Eu3u-5qu

I highly recommend joining the team – it will challenge your review skills and introduce you to a wide assortment of genres!

Sorry, you have to wait until tomorrow to see what books are on the link!

What Happened to the Mayflower?

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Following on the publication of The Last Pilgrim, I am re-posting the sad story of the fate of the Mayflower.

         The Mayflower II at Sate Pier in Plymouth in 2014, looking a bit worse for the wear

I was a young girl when the Mayflower II, a precise replica of the original 17th-century ship built in Devon, England, during 1955–1956, arrived in Plymouth Harbor in the spring of 1957. My father took us out in a boat to welcome her home. The Mayflower II was moored at State Pier in Plymouth Harbor and open to visitors until 2016, when she was towed to  Mystic, Connecticut, for some long-overdue and extensive repairs.

The newly re-built Mayflower II has been launched and will be back in Plymouth for the quadricentennial celebrations. I am lucky enough to have a piece of one of the original sails of Mayflower II, given to me by the sail master who sewed the new sails.

                                      The refurbished Mayflower II prior to launch.

After launch. Note how small the ship is.

*******

The Mayflower is an iconic ship in the history of America, but did you know it never returned to the New World after it left the Plymouth Colony on April 5, 1621?

mayflower-historyHer captain, Christopher Jones, bought the Mayflower in 1607, together with several business partners. She was a cargo ship, capable of carrying up to 180 tons, and at different time carried lumber, tar, fish, French wine, Cognac, vinegar, or salt.

The home of Master Christopher Jones in Harwich, England

After returning from a voyage to Bordeaux, France, in May 1620, the Mayflower and its master were hired to take the Pilgrims to Northern Virginia.  This was the first recorded trans-Atlantic voyage for both ship and Jones although several crew members had been to the New World before.

The delayed sailing in the fall of 1620 and the damage done by storms in the crossing, plus the time it took to locate a suitable site for the Pilgrims’ colony, meant the Mayflower had to over-winter in Plymouth Harbor, where half of her crew was lost to disease. You can read all about the voyage and that first winter in The Last Pilgrim.

 The Mayflower arrived back in England on May 6, 1621. Christopher Jones took the ship out for a few more trading runs, but he died a couple of years later in March 1622.  His widow, Josian, inherited the Mayflower, and the ship was appraised for probate purposed in May 1624. At that time it was referred to as being “in ruins” and was only valued at 128 pounds sterling. The Mayflower was almost certainly broken up and sold off as scrap.

A sad end for this historic lady, but at the time the Mayflowers’s place in history had not yet been recognized.

 mayflower-barnThe “Mayflower Barn” in Jordans, England, was identified in the 1920s as having been made from the remnants of the Mayflower.  The evidence is entirely unconvincing, but that has not stopped it from becoming a tourist attraction nonetheless.

 

 

The Last Pilgrim is available on Amazon:

A Revisit: Did the Pilgrims Disembark on Plymouth Rock?

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In my latest book, The Last Pilgrim, I mention that a great granite rock was one of the landmarks for the Pilgrims (Separatists) of the site where they decided to settle, along with a high hill for the placement of their cannons, and cleared land. I didn’t write about it further because in doing primary research on the Pilgrims, I discovered there are no contemporary references to the Pilgrims landing on what is now known at Plymouth Rock.

Here is what I did discover, from a post in 2018.

Neither William Bradford’s description of the Pilgrims coming ashore in Plymouth for the first time in 1620 nor the 1622 book called Mourt’s Relation mention any rocks in their accounts. A huge granite rock was mentioned as something marking the site where the Pilgrims would land, but not that they would land ON it.

The first written mention of a rock was made in 1715 when it was described in town boundary records as “a great rock.”

                                    The Landing of the Pilgrims, by Henry Bacon, 1877.

Perhaps its identity was transmitted from father to son, because in 1741 Elder Thomas Faunce documented his claim that Plymouth Rock was the landing place of the Pilgrims. He was 95 years old at the time and had to be carried in a chair to the site. The Rock was under the bank of Cole’s Hill, and he assured those present that his father had pointed the Rock out and told him of its importance. Faunce’s father had arrived in the Plymouth colony aboard the ship Anne in 1623 two, years after the Mayflower landing, and Elder Faunce was born in 1647 when many of the Mayflower Pilgrims were still living, so his assertion made a strong impression.

Colonel Theophilus Cotton and the residents of Plymouth decided to move the rock in 1774. In their attempt to relocate it, the Rock split into two parts. The bottom portion was left behind. The top portion was first displayed at the town’s meeting house, then in 1834 moved to Pilgrim Hall (1824), the oldest public museum in the United States in continuous operation.

In the meantime, the Pilgrim Society had a Victorian canopy built over the lower portion of the Rock. It was designed by artist and architect Hammett Billings, who did the original drawings for Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and completed in 1867. The top of the rock was moved from Pilgrim Hall to rejoin the lower portion in 1880, and at that time the date 1620 was carved into it.

In 1920, the rock was moved yet again so old wharves could be removed and the Plymouth waterfront re-landscaped. The rock was then returned to its original site and placed at water level, so it was tide washed. The original canopy was removed and an imposing Roman Doric portico constructed, designed by McKim, Mead and White, architects for among other buildings, among them those on the campus of Columbia University.

It is not surprising that during its many journeys, numerous pieces of the rock were taken, bought and sold. There are pieces in Pilgrim Hall Museum, as well as in the Patent Building in the Smithsonian and a 40-pound piece is set on a pedestal in the cloister of the Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims in Brooklyn Heights, New York. Tourist and souvenir hunters chipped away at it in its early days on display. The original rock weighed some 20,000 pounds but only one-third of the top portion is on display under the canopy.

“We have come to this Rock, to record here our homage for our Pilgrim Fathers; our sympathy in their sufferings; our gratitude for their labours; our admiration of their virtues; our veneration for their piety; and our attachment to those principles of civil and religious liberty, which they encountered the dangers of the ocean, the storms of heaven, the violence of savages, disease, exile, and famine, to enjoy and establish.”  Daniel Webster, 1820 (the same Daniel Webster that debated the devil at what is called Jabez Corner in Plymouth, in the short story by Stephen Vincent Benet).

Over the centuries, Plymouth Rock has become a national icon and crept into America’s historical consciousness through the imagination of authors, painters, and, yes, politicians.

Things I Discovered While Researching for The Last Pilgrim

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You do research for a historical novel. LOTS of research. You frequently become so bogged down that you have to step back and take a breather. I am probably one of the worst researchers because if I find something interesting, I will take off down the merry path of digression.

Nevertheless, I learned a lot of history from traveling hither and yon, most of it pretty interesting. So I thought I’d share some of it with you in a couple of posts.

*****

The most important take-away for me was that early colonies populated by only men DID NOT SURVIVE. That’s not accounting for what might happen if they were overtaken by the indigenous inhabitants such as the Lost Colony in Virginia.  Women were what made the settlements thrive and grow. Huzzah for the women!

*****

I wandered off into pipes at one point. Most of those used by the Separatists were made of clay and were somewhat fragile. Lots of pipe stems have been found in the archeological digs around Plymouth. The ‘ordinaries’  – a place where meals and alcohol were served such as a public tavern or inn – offered pipes to their customers, breaking off the ends of the stems between uses. So pipes could be pretty short.

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When the Separatists planted corn – as instructed by Squanto – they also planted squash or pumpkin or beans around the sprouting corn, something called the three sisters. The three sisters are called such because the corn provides a pole for the bean vines to go up. The beans keep the soil healthy, and the squash help prevent weeds from growing. Since these vegetables grow on vines, the vines would climb the corn stalk, providing shade to the corn.

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Although the Separatists would eat fish, they were basically meat and bread eaters. They were not particularly great at fishing – they arrived with the wrong size hooks – but they did like eels, common in England and historically baked in a pie. King Henry VIII is said to have often stopped his barge on its progress to Hampton Court and sent a lackey ashore to buy an eel pie. The marshland and streams around the colony had lots of eels.

I don’t mind eels except as meals – Ogden Nash

Plymouth Bay was loaded with lobsters, so many that they might be found walking on the shore. The Native populations liked them and would travel to the Plymouth area to gather them for food. The Separatists ate so many in the early days of their near starvation that lobsters came to be viewed as ‘junk’ food and would only be eaten if necessary. New comers to the colony, until they had fields of their own and learned to hunt, ate lobsters.

*****

The Pequot War 1636-1637). Most people go “Huh?” when I mention it.  It was fought by the Pequot people against a coalition of English settlers from the Massachusetts Bay, Connecticut, Plymouth and Saybrook colonies and their Native American allies, mainly the Narragansett and Mohegan peoples. It was an especially brutal war and the first sustained conflict between Native Americans and Europeans in what is now southern New England.

When the Dutch arrived in Long Island and the Connecticut River Valley at the beginning of the 17th century, followed by English traders and settlers, they colonized a region dominated by the Pequot. The Pequot had previously subjugated dozens of other tribes and had economic, political, and military control over the whole area. The struggle for control of the fur trade and wampum was at the root of the Pequot War. (I’ll tell you about wampum in a later post.)

Although the immediate impetus for the war has been identified as the killing of English traders – one of whom was formerly a Plymouth colonist – the war was in fact the culmination of decades-long conflict between various tribes and greatly exacerbated by the incursions of the Dutch and the English.

The Pequot War lasted 11 months and involved thousands of combatants who fought several battles over an area covering thousands of square miles. In the end, it virtually eliminated the Pequot as an impediment to English colonization and forever changed the political and social landscape of southern New England. This war had a profound influence on colonial and U.S. policies toward Native Americans for centuries.

*****

In another post, I’ll talk about the second Indian war – King Philip’s war – and more things I discovered during my research.

A Little More Advertisement for The Last Pilgrim

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From Tony Riches, who helped launch The Last Pilgrim and who just introduced me to Book Brush!

You can learn how to use this tool at:

https://tonyriches.blogspot.com/2019/09/using-book-brush-to-create-videos-for.html

This is awesome!

The Last Pilgrim Sets Sail

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The day has arrived!

Launch day for The Last Pilgrim!

I’ve just been notified that it IS finally up as an e-book on Kindle!

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The Last Pilgrim: The Life of Mary Allerton Cushman captures and celebrates the grit and struggle of the Pilgrim women, who stepped off the Mayflower in the winter of 1620 to an unknown world – one filled with hardship, danger and death.  The Plymouth Colony would not have survived without them.

 Mary Allerton Cushman was the last surviving passenger of the Mayflower, dying at age 88 in 1699. Her unusually long life and her relationships with important men – her father, Isaac Allerton and her husband, Thomas Cushman – gave her a front row seat to the history of the Plymouth Colony from its beginnings as the first permanent settlement in New England to when it became part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1691.

Mary’s life is set against the real background of that time. The Last Pilgrim begins from her father’s point of view – she was, after all, only four when she descended into the cramped and dank living space below deck on the Mayflower – but gradually assumes Mary’s voice, as the colony achieves a foothold in the New England’s rocky soil. Hers is a story of survival – the daily, back-breaking work to ensure food on the table, the unsettled interactions with local native tribes, the dangers of wild animals, and the endless challenges of injury, disease and death.

What was a woman’s life like in the Plymouth Colony? The Last Pilgrim will tell you.

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This book was a labor of love for several years, and I am in awe of what the Separists – now called the Pilgrims – endured to follow their conscience and their dream. That strength and belief in God is the bedrock of this country. And they were among our first immigrants.

Mary lived to the end of the 17th century and much went on during those years. My learning curve was steep and there was much to tell.

I hope you enjoy Mary’s and my journey.

Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B089G9J83K/ref=sr_1_5?dchild=1&keywords=The+Last+Pilgrim&qid=1591018556&s=books&sr=1-5

 

 

AND A LITTLE RAIN…

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Well, folks, the corona virus strikes again. But luckily not on our health.

The publisher informed me that while The Last Pilgrim WILL be on Kindle June 1, the real book will not be available until later in June. They had to retool to accommodate the social distancing regulations and it’s taking about a month to get a printing order. So the book itself in paperback won’t be available until later.

I am disappointed but what can a poor author do? It’s just the nature of 2020!

In the meantime, I have my grandson to amuse me!