Inside Historical Fiction with Anna Belfrage

Anna Belfrage provides insightful advice for Historical Fiction writers. I also find this information relevant for all authors in general.

A Writer of History

Release date November 1, 2015 Release date November 1, 2015

Anna Belfrage and I met in Denver at the Historical Novel Society conference. According to Anna, had she been allowed to choose, she’d have become a professional time-traveller. As such a profession does not exists, she settled for second best and became a financial professional with two absorbing interests, namely history and writing. Today she’s answering questions on historical fiction.

What are the ‘magic ingredients’ that make historical fiction unforgettable/irresistible? And in your opinion, what do the best historical fiction writers do to ‘get it right’?

The one word answer is immersion. As a reader, I open the book, and within pages, I am no longer in my armchair or my bed or wherever I may be reading. I am elsewhere, in another time, another place.

To achieve this requires that the author paints the scene for us – not in too much detail, as…

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Special #Writer’s Quote Wednesday + #BeWoW Edition Part 1 – Finishing

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Welcome back to another edition of Writer’s Quote Wednesday as hosted by Colleen of Silver Threading. Today’s Writer’s Quote is part of a Special Edition where I will be combining my Writer’s Quote Wednesday Post with my #BeWoW Post (Be Writing on Wednesday / Be Wonderful on Wednesday) BUT they are coming in two separate posts. This post is Part 1. Part 2 (#BeWoW) will follow. Please bear with me.

My quote today is in honor of a project I’ve been working on and comes from The New Poetry Handbook:


I think we can relate this quote to not just poetry but writing in general. “When a man finishes a story, he shall bathe in the blank wake of his passion and be kissed by white paper”. Yes! Love how that sounds don’t you? LOL.

I love finishing a project and the feeling of accomplishment for having done so. Though I know there’s a lot of work yet to come, it is still a great feeling of positivity that I think resonates with all writers. The way that this woman is staring off into the light is how I often look at something finished; just stare at it just like that lol.

Three years ago I wrote a novel but have since taken it off market so that I can revise it for a 2nd Edition. I have even taken to adding excerpts to this blog every now and again. Today, I am excited to reveal the Book Blurb and the revised Book Cover. Its not ready yet but I am proud of the steps I have finished in the process.

In this post, I will reveal the book blurb. In the next post, I will reveal the book cover. Time permitting, I will have this Book ready to go back on the site and back into your hands by the end of the year. This means I have two major projects to end the year with. The 3rd installment of The Stella Trilogy (The Road To Freedom) and The Aftermath, Second Edition:

The Aftermath

The Aftermath surrounds the life of Doris Whitaker, a 14 year old girl living in Chicago thirty-nine years after America’s streets saw the worst destruction to ever come upon them. In 2016, streets were paved in chaos as people struggled to feed their families and to shelter their young. Bread lines stretched beyond imagination and violence ensued as people became more and more desperate to survive. Little did anyone stop to fathom that when the United States Financial System collapsed, so did the world.

In 2019, three years into America’s most destitute state, King Antiochus and his prophet Lord Pope Feinberg produced a technology that changed the way we lived. It produced financial stability, murder rates dropped significantly, and the world was at peace; or so, some of the world. “The Rebels” also known as “The Infected” is a group of people rebelling against the new system, rising up and refusing the technology. They discovered that it went against their belief systems, their morals and values and that it did not produce the kind of peace it promised. For these reasons, they turned their backs and became the world’s most hated terrorist. Antiochus had members of “The Rebel” Organization hunted down, locked away and eventually murdered. Afterward, he made it a law that anyone showing signs of rebellion were to be treated in mental institutions around the world at an attempt to cure them of the insurgence. Anyone counted with “The Infected” who could not be cured, were murdered in a legal ceremony to purge the evil from the midst of man.

It is now 2055, and this story takes place when troubled Doris is the daughter of wealthy psychiatrist John Whitaker and his wife Cynthia. The family live in a technologically advanced world where people take trips to the past and no one is ever in need. The world is finally at peace and murder rates are at zero. But when Doris and her friends get lost in Jackson Park where one of the deadliest battles took place, the Government questions the Whitaker Family’s ties to The Infected. Hidden secrets are revealed, personal ties are broken and one day Doris never comes home from school.

Discover what happens next in The Aftermath.


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And that’s it for this weeks Special Edition of Writer’s Quote Wednesday. Be sure to check out my next post for the Book Cover Reveal to this blurb in a Special Edition of #BeWoW.

Book Release Trivia Day! Post #1 *WELCOME*


First I want to thank everyone in advance who plans to participate in today’s festivities, and welcome to my first Blog Book Release Trivia! We’ll get started in about an hour (since people are still coming through the door and all). Comment on this post if you plan on winning some prizes tonight!!!

FYI: Beyond The Colored Line is Available!


Amazon Kindle

Barnes and Noble NOOK

Apple iBookstore


Google Play

and in Print!

**First Game at 9:30a CST **

Released Today! “Stella – Beyond the Colored Line,” by Yecheilyah Ysrayl

Book Launch! Beyond The Colored Line is Available Now!

Word Craft ~ Prose and Poetry

I am proud to introduce you to my friend, Yecheilyah Ysrayl, writer, poet, and blogger. Today, August 24, 2015, we are celebrating the release of her new novel, “Stella – Beyond the Colored Line.”

Here is what “Stella,” is all about:

“Born in 1916, Stella May is the great-granddaughter of former slave Stella Mae who changed the family’s name to May upon freedom. A descendant of mixed ancestry, Stella’s complexion is very light, and her blonde hair and hazel eyes cause her to be the tease of her black classmates. Unable to find solace among her African-American contemporaries, Stella finds it difficult to adjust to a world where she is too light to be black and yet too poor to be white.

After the Great Depression of the 1930s forces Stella’s family to move to Chicago, a prevailing conversation with Aunt Sara provokes Stella to pass, and she decides to…

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Beyond The Colored Line – Part 2 of Book 2


Disclaimer: The following post is excerpted from a book written by Yecheilyah Ysrayl and is property of Yecheilyah Ysrayl. No part of this publication may be reproduced, or stolen. Permission is only given to re-blog, social media sharing for promotional purposes and the case of brief quotations embodied in the critical articles and reviews and pages where permission is specifically granted by Yecheilyah Ysrayl. (For permission write to:  Copyright © 2015, All Rights Reserved.

Part 2
5 Years Later
Age 12
Daddy run off to who knows where on account of his life. Some racist whites had seen him and Mama together and threatened to lynch him if found. So he run off to nobody knows where. The community gossip is that his brothers know, but they won’t say. We weren’t alone though, Mama and me. Seems like Mama filled the hole where Papa should have been with our whole family. The house always stayed filled with guests: my people, and peoples of my people. My granddaddy was a colored man, and so owned this land. My name sake, his mama Stella, was a slave and was given this house by her owner. As the story goes, after Grandma died, I was born. Since Mama was the closest, she named me after her. We got stories going all the way back to her girlhood, and stories of Grandpa Solomon too. I heard the stories mostly on Sundays, since all the family come down. My aunts would gather around the table with my mom and they laugh and cry most of the night about they girlhood. I don’t have any uncles except from my daddy side, but they don’t come around much cause of my aunties. Uncle Roy say Mama acts different around her sisters and that they too uppity, especially Aunt Sara. She’s the youngest of my aunties and the most spoiled. She’s the one who convinced Mama to send me to a private school to escape all the worry, and boy were my uncles hot! They said we were breaking the law – that a Negro had no business in a white school. But Aunt Sara said I had all the right in the world since I was technically half white after all.

“But does the school know she colored?” one of my uncles would ask.

“That’s none of the school’s business now is it?” Aunt Sara would say and they’d just go back and forth until Mama break it up.

That’s the story of my life: Was I white? Was I Negro? Race wars always concerned these two groups of people, and there ain’t seemed to be much place for a mulatto. Speaking of race, not all talks were good talks. Not all round table discussions were filled with laughter and jolly drinking. I used to sit up until my eyes were red with fatigue to hear Mama and my uncles talk about all the killings that were taking place around the country, and especially in the south.

“That’s what I say,” said the voice of Uncle Keith. “Up there in Minnesota.”

“That close?” Mama gasped. I could just picture her now with her hand over her chest. Mama had a thing for the dramatics.

“Yea that close. What, woman you living under a rock? They just had one on over in DeKalb last month,” said Uncle Roy.

“It’s a crying out loud shame,” continued Keith. “Say they dragged the boys from the cell and a whole mob of ‘em lynched ‘em. Say it was bout least a thousand of ‘em.”

“My my,” said Aunt Rebecca.

“Well you know what I say, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,” said Sara.

“Where did you come from?” said Deborah, annoyed.

“From betwee–,“ began Sara.

“Please, spare us,” said Mama.

“I didn’t ask the question,” said Aunt Sara, smacking her lips.

But there were times, of course, I witnessed for myself evidence of the events rocking the country. One day, Mama and I went to visit Cousin Mary in Texas, and drove the truck up to a general store. We walked in, and being only about five at the time, I picked up a post card hanging on one of the shelves. It was of a man hanging on a tree that supported an iron chain that lifted him above fire. The man didn’t seem to have much of a body left. His fingers were cut off, his ears and his body burned to a crisp. On the back of the postcard read:

“This is the barbeque we had last night. My picture is to the left with a cross over it.  Your son, Joe.”

I learned later the picture was of a 17-year old mentally ill boy named Johnny, who had agreed to having raped a white woman. And everybody at home still talked of the Cairo circus of 1909, the public lynching that took place here in Illinois. I asked Mama once if we could go to a circus like that, and she told me to never ask her of such things again. I couldn’t understand what had Mama so upset till I found out what kind of circus it was. It was events such as this that caused my aunts not to want much to do with the land or the house. They say it’s too close to slavery. So when Granddaddy died, Mama took on the burden of keeping it, and keeping it full too. I got kinfolk I see every weekend, and some I never met before. And some I don’t think are kinfolk at all; they just come for a hot meal and a bed. But that was alright with Mama. She didn’t care none about being taken advantage of. She just wanted to be around people she could feed and clothe. Her heart was just full of love like that. Sometimes they spend the night, but other times they just come and go. Sundays were the biggest days. Mama cook a feast of a dinner: fried chicken, yams, macaroni and cheese, fried brim and crappy, greens, pies, cakes. You name it, it was on our table. Everything except pork. Mama say Granddaddy was always talking about his Hebrew Heritage and teaching them about it too. Said he didn’t like being called Negro and African, and they weren’t allowed to call him that either, or themselves for that matter. Granddaddy say with his face all proud, “There are two things in the world I would never be: Christian and a Hog Head.”

Then he’ll light his pipe and go on rocking in his favorite chair, like the conversation was supposed to be over, even though folk mouths hung open. That’s another reason my uncles say we uppity:

“Everybody due for a lil fat back every now and again. Everybody Negro that is,” Uncle Roy would say, cutting his eyes over at Mama.

“Good thing we ain’t Negro then huh?” Deborah would shoot back.

Deborah, named after my great great great grandmother, fit right into her biblical name and was the most like Daddy, taking her Israelite Heritage seriously and practicing the laws of the Old and New Testament. Most of the family thought she was crazy. That didn’t stop her from speaking her mind though. But good eating and conversation was just the half of it. There was music, dancing, drinking, smoking, and gambling too. Cousin Walter would bring over some of his hooch and the grown-ups forget all about the children, which was just the way we liked it. I had a lot of cousins and friends, but no one was as close to me as Thomas. Tommy’s mom died off when he was just a baby, and his dad come across the road looking for direction one day when me and Mama come walking along. Come to find out they didn’t really need direction so much as a bed to sleep in. Mama let them stay with us for a while until Luther, Tommy’s dad, got off his feet. But that didn’t stop them from coming around. Luther and Mama became good friends and Tommy was over every weekend. My aunties used to think there was something going on between Mama and Luther till she shut up the gossip with news of Luther’s lady friend, who also became friends with Mama. So naturally Tommy and I were good friends, but we were also enemies and partners in crime. Tommy was dark as charcoal with big lips, nappy hair, and a wide nose. And I envied him for being so obviously Negro. It’s the same reason I liked him too.

“How you get so dark?”

“I don’t know,” said Tommy. “Just lucky I guess.”

“Lucky? What you got to be so proud for? Ain’t no girls liking no skin that dark.”

“Shut up white girl,” said Tommy.

“Shut up big head,” I say.

That’s usually when he punches me in the arm and I’d have to hunt the rest of him throughout the house.

We weren’t much of a church going family; party going is more like it. Except when Mama wanted to show off a new dress or hat, when somebody died or needed saving, and on Holidays and such. Folk would come from all over southern Illinois to hang out with “Cousin Judy”, as Mama was often called. Sunday’s sure were fun, my second favorite day of the week.

Saturdays was my favorite day of the week. It was the day for shopping and that only meant one thing: Chicago. First, Mama would wake me to the smell of biscuits or pancakes. This was to keep me full enough throughout the day so she didn’t have to worry none about food buying. Then, I was commanded to bathe down real good, paint my arms and legs with oil, untie my curls from the night previous, and we’d both put on our Sunday’s best and be two of the most beautiful women you’d ever seen. I was a young lady now and shopping was the best thing to a young lady next to boys (but you couldn’t like them in public). You could like shopping though. I loved going from store to store in search of the finest. Skipping along while Mama scanned the insides of magazines for stuff she only saw on TV. We would squeeze our way through crowds of people, just bumping into each other. They weren’t dressed as professional today. Instead, they wore their weekend wear, bought ice cream for their children and went inside movie theatres, and so did Mama and I. We could buy candy or jewelry, or perhaps a new hat or two with the money Mama made from the laundry. We drank from water fountains without label, and spent money without prejudice. Everything was so easy on Saturdays, life itself was better. We had us a good time on Saturdays because on Saturday, no one knew we were colored.

– Stella M.


What did you think about the second part? I hope it held your interest and you’re ready for chapter three. I am leaving you with a surprise part from  Book 1 below. For the prologue to Book #1, see last week’s post. If you like this story so far, would you do me the favor of sharing this post with your friends who might enjoy reading it also? Re-blog or share on your social networks. Thanks a lot! And I’ll see you next week for Part 3.

Click Here to Read a Surprise Part from Book #1