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Ann Kathleen Otto


Blog posts : "General"

The Best Years of Their Lives

November 26, 2016

It's time to start book two. I'm reading about soldiers returning after WWI for a story on Appalachia. For a recent Wall Street Journal Book Section article Harvard professor and author Jane Kamensky was asked to suggest works that best reflect the impact of wartime. I decided to read a few. I re-re…

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Family Treasures

October 14, 2016

If we're lucky, we inherit a special item from an ancestor. As an only child, I'm fortunate to have many, like the chair I recently received   that connects me to the characters in Yours in a Hurry. I also asked friends what heirlooms they cherish.

One Chair Survives

Readers know that the …

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Early Aviator Frank J. Terrill

September 26, 2016

An unexpected benefit of writing a historical novel is meeting others who are interested in history and sharing family stories. Librarian Brian Burch of the Akron Public Library's Ellet Branch is one of those folks. After reading about Yours in a Hurry he mentioned that his great-great grandfather, …

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Grandfather Purl

August 22, 2016

         Anna turned to Purl. "What do you think Father and Mother would think of our plans?"

         "I doubt they would understand why we're leaving the land. I'd hope they wouldn't be disappointed about that. They would surely be disappointed in me."

          Anna didn't re…

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Oshkosh AirVenture Adventure

July 31, 2016

This weekend is the Oshkosh AirVenture's annual "world's greatest air show".  Spouse David and I recently visited and learned a lot about aviation history and some things about Milwaukee, too. Bill Zierdt, a former engineer, was our knowledgeable guide for the Pioneer Airfield at the Experimental …

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Masterful Storytelling

July 7, 2016

In an earlier blog on progressive women of the early 1900's I mentioned Clara Wolcott Driscoll, artist with the Tiffany Studios in New York. Yours in a Hurry takes place in the same period. Since then I've gotten to know Clara's ancestor, Linda Alexander who is well-known in Northeast Ohio for her m…

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Visioning Old Latonia Race Track

June 24, 2016

Our family recently spent a long weekend in Cincinnati, only minutes away from one of the scenes in Yours in a Hurry at Latonia Race Track. I was disappointed that a shopping center now stands in the original location. But I found a website, Northern Kentucky Views Presents, with great photographs …

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Reflections on San Antonio

June 9, 2016

In our story, Anna Hartle goes to San Antonio with the owner of the real estate agency, Joseph Cowell, to visit a successful developer and get some ideas about marketing property in larger developments. It turns out to be a job interview for Anna who is ready for a change. She isn't sure she'll like…

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Vintage Lindbergh at Rhinebeck

May 27, 2016

A Spirited Gala

What a great event! The Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome in tiny Red Hook, New York near the Hyde Park area served as a resource for the 1908-1912 aeroplanes mentioned in Yours in a Hurry. They have many famous models, and most still fly. When we saw that this year's gala would celebrate t…

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Thoughts on Criticism

May 14, 2016

I just published my first novel, and I'm having all the apprehensive thoughts other authors have warned about—potential negative reviews being one of them. I've read Chris McMullen's advice in Volume 2 of How to Self-Publish a Book on, and looked at advice on various social media author…

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Favorite Children's Verses

April 3, 2016

I dedicated Yours in a Hurry to my mother who influenced me and other children in our neighborhood to read. The books we loved to read together most were A. A. Milne's. My mother made me an an Anglophile at an early age. It may have been reading Christopher Robin's adventures with the changing of th…

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Problems with Names in Historical Fiction

March 27, 2016

Yours in a Hurry is at the printers. Those of you who've been following my Yours in a Hurry blogs or Facebook page will notice that some names have been changed. In the final weeks before submitting the manuscript, I had to do some soul searching. Choosing the names of our fictional characters is no…

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Memorable Women

March 14, 2016

March is "Women’s History Month" when the United States Library of Congress and six other national entities pay tribute to women who have made their mark on society. In 1981Congress designated a week in March as “Women’s History Week." It took the National Women’s History Project to convince Congr…

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The Immortal Jack London

January 12, 2016

The next blog was to be about early 20th century eating establishments, but today is Jack London's birthday and I'm looking at the biography that his daughter Joan London wrote, Jack London and His Times. It was published in 1939 by the now defunct Book League of America. I love one of the quotes, "…

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Lighter Than Air

December 6, 2015

I grew up near the Goodyear Airdock in Akron, Ohio. Blimps were a common sight above our house. I was too young to know the part they'd played in wars for more than a century when they were called airships or dirigibles, or that "balloons" first ascended in France in the 1780's. While researching Yo…

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Artistic Transformation

November 23, 2015

Steve Jobs wasn't the first to successfully consider human emotions when marketing a new technology. From the beginning of the aeroplane, art played an important role in capturing the collective imagination.  Through colorful artistic prints, first in Art Nouveau and later Art Deco we can follow the…

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Postcards and Letters Guide Stories

November 10, 2015

Some writers are blessed with old journals and boxes of letters to guide their story.  For Yours in a Hurry I had only a few, but they gave me insight to two main characters.

Locating a Character in a Point in Time

How did I know that Addison traveled a lot? According to the census he was an …

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Weeping Women's Springs

October 31, 2015

It's important to read books in the genre we're attempting to write. I've mentioned the Historical Novel Society and their great Facebook page before. That's where I found Tamara Eaton and her new book, Weeping Women's Springs, about a strange town and how five women are affected by war. It's beauti…

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Windows to the Past

October 13, 2015

Do you ever look at old photographs of a person or place and see how they change over time? It's good to have old photographs nearby to get you in the mood of an era and sometimes to better understand a character's psyche. I have only three photographs of my great aunt Anna, a character in Yours…

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Musical Moments

October 5, 2015

Can you remember what song was playing the first time you knew that guy was the one, or the one that they  played at your wedding? Music creates an atmosphere for us to remember special moments and gives us a common language transcending our native tongue. Popular songs were especially helpful in cr…

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20 Blog Posts