Sunday, September 16, 2012

And now for something completely different...

I have a bit of news to share today - it's not really Vintage Goodness news though. It is more Mitzi news - in fact, it is so completely Mitzi news that the new blog I am launching is actually at MitziSwisher.com! :) I wrote a lengthy explanation over on the About page of the new site, and I'll go ahead and post it here for you all, to help you decide if this new project is something you might be interested in following along on... I don't blame you if you aren't though - I realize that I am venturing into waters that are fairly far away from my comfortable vintage geek world on this one... ;)


In the spring of 2012, out of sheer curiosity (and after watching one too many episodes of Who Do You Think You Are), I joined Ancestry.com to see what I could find out about my family tree. Little did I know that it was the first step of what now looks to be a very long journey, that will culminate not only in a (hopefully) correct accounting of my genealogy, but also in a historical novel based on the lives of my 5x great grandparents, Ambrose and Ailsey Coffee.

I’ve wanted to write a book since I was a kid, but I never had an idea, never found a story that I felt was mine – and mine alone – to tell. The more I learned about the life that Ambrose Coffee led in the early days of Kentucky, the more interested I got. He came from Ireland as an indentured servant at the age of 12, joined the Virginia Militia, and ended up at Boonesborough, where he fought with the one and only Daniel Boone.

Boonesborough Fort

All that is fascinating enough, but even more interesting, at least to me, is that while I have a first name for his wife, I have no history for her. There are a few theories floating around, but nothing concrete – nothing that can be verified with absolute certainty. While she isn’t the only “brick wall” on my family tree, for some reason she has really captured my imagination – her husband’s life is somewhat well documented, which is a blessing, but her life must have been equally as interesting, yet we have no documentation of it at all (at least not that I have found, as of yet). Other than the fact that she was Ambrose’s wife, and they had 9 children together, she is a mystery.

The little part of me that has always wanted to write a book began to poke me repeatedly.

“There’s a story to tell here, lady! You’ve always loved historical fiction, so here you go, there’s no reason in the world not to do it. I don’t want to hear about how you don’t have time – make time. Oh and by the way, you better start a blog about it all too – the research for it is going to be intensive, so you might as well share it as you go along. And don’t forget, you’ve never written a book before, so you have a TON to learn about writing – you might as well share that stuff as you go along too. Now get to work!”

Boy that writer part of me sure has an attitude… so here I am!

Here’s a little breakdown of what I plan to talk about here on the blog, just to give you a general idea. All is subject to change, and my own whims, of course.

Historical Fiction – I’ve always loved reading it, but now that I want to write it, I am reading it even more. I figure there is no better way to learn than to read what other people have done and take what I can from it. I’ll be doing book reviews, and sharing whatever sites and resources I come across that might appeal to other historical fiction fans.

Writing Fiction – I’m a novel writing newbie, so as I go along I’ll be talking about the ups and downs of writing my first book, and sharing what I learn along the way. This will likely include lots of reviews of, and discussion about, books on writing – my library of them is already off to a great start and I expect it will only grow!

Indie Publishing – My inclination as of now is that I will be publishing the book myself when it is finished. So, I will be dipping my toes in the water of independent publishing – I want to learn how it works, read what is out there that is being published by independent authors, etc. etc.

Coffee Family Ancestry & Genealogy – I want to make sure all the research I do on my Coffee family ancestry gets put out there for other Coffee researchers to find. I am so grateful for everyone who has already done work on it, and have shared what they know! I have to do the same. I’ll likely be talking about genealogy in general too, for those of you out there who have gotten bit by the bug like I have, or think you might want to.

Kentucky History – My book will be set in 18th century Kentucky, and there is a LOT to learn about this fascinating time and place in American History. Believe me, I had very little knowledge of it before I figured out my ancestors played a role in it, but once I started to discover all that was going on back then, I was hooked!

Etc. Etc. Etc. – Because, you know – it’s my blog, I’ll do what I want…


So there you have it - I'm going to write a book! :) I'm fully expecting it to take months, if not years - but I'm on the path now,  so I know I will get it finished eventually. The research involved is fairly overwhelming - but very interesting. Plus it is nice to be trying something completely, 100% NEW - something I haven't really done since I started Vintage Goodness back in 2007. I'll still be here too of course, you won't be rid of me that easily! ;)

I set up a Twitter account that, for now, is going to be my main social media outlet for the new blog - so if you want to, you can head on over there and give me a follow. I'll probably set up a Facebook page closer to the time I am ready to publish the book - honestly, I just don't want to have to mess with yet another page right now when I have so much else going on! I guess if you all show enough interest, I could post on the Vintage Goodness Facebook page when I post things to the new blog - I'll just see how it goes I guess. :)

~*~*~*~ Wish me luck!!!! ~*~*~*~

7 comments:

Wanda @ Just Vintage said...

You have my most sincere admiration! I love genealogy as much as old stuff. It goes hand in hand, don't ya think? It makes no sense to have one without the other. Genealogy is my other passion. And I've always wanted to write a book about the life of.... somebody. But I'm not a good embellisher. I wouldn't know where to begin weaving a story around the facts. So I wish you luck. You go girl! I think it's great that you've determined you'll do it.

Mitzi Swisher said...

Thanks Wanda! Who knows, someone might pop out of your family tree sometime and grab you like they did me... :)

Zendelle said...

Good luck with your new blog and book! I too, found a fascinating ancestor through Ancestry.com that has inspired thoughts of a book - a farmer from Maine who joined the Army in the 1830s and traveled all the way to Florida to fight in the Second Seminole War. But I am being realistic about the time I have to devote to a project like that, so it's staying on the back burner for now. I will follow your new blog and look forward to your progress!

MyFancy's Author said...

Wishing you success in your research and writing, Mitzi! You might want to check out this site... http://genforum.genealogy.com/coffee/

Mitzi Swisher said...

That does sound like a good book Zendelle! Don't wait too long, or it will end up on your I Wish I Would Have list - that's why I'm making myself start mine now, even though I don't have much free time. I know it is going to be a long process so I don't think I can afford to put it off or I'll never do it...

Mitzi Swisher said...

Thanks so much for the link MyFancyAuthor - I have seen that site before, it is saved in my bookmarks, along with about a million other sites that I need to organize! hehe

Linda Kothera said...

Hi! Just found your blog through the Knighwork blog. I goof around with vintage buttons and watches to make jewelry. Looking forward to following your posts. The genealogy work sounds so interesting!