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Ann Kathleen Otto

Author

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Character and Craft

September 17, 2017

I just finished reading Characters and Viewpoint (2010) by Orson Scott Card, one of many books on writing I’ve read the past few years while developing my writing skills. This is one of the best, not just because it deals with character building and emotions, but because Card is an author and teache…

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A Passionate Request

August 28, 2017

At the recent 109th Annual Hartle Reunion a family member presented me with a letter dated November 17, 1909. It was written by my grandfather, Thomas Purl, to a man who would soon be a relative. Unlike the one postmark used today, this letter is stamped by five postal services beginning at Fort Mo…

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Worth a Thousand Words

August 3, 2017

“A picture is worth a thousand words.”

Looking at a family photo can give hints as to why some things turn out the way they do. Body language and facial expression tell a lot. In this photo of my mother and her siblings circa 1926 (right), William, standing at left, looks disturbed abou…

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Hollywood's Silver Screen Beginnings

July 5, 2017

“I believe we have an acquaintance in common, David Griffith. He and his wife Linda are long time colleagues of mine," Harriet said.

"Yes, since he has started filming his motion pictures here, he's become acquainted with our neighbor Paul deLongpre," Daeida replied.

This discussion took pla…

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Historical Transitions

June 15, 2017

When you're writing a novel about a period of rapid change, it's sometimes hard to tell if you're using the right terminology. That's the case for Yours in a Hurry which takes place between 1908 and 1912. Here are some examples of choices that had to be made.

"Addison stood in line outside of …

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Memories of Great Dining

May 25, 2017

There’s no question that Americans love food. Major and minor life events, as well as lively discussions, are often remembered by where we were, and maybe what we were eating or drinking. Our Yours in a Hurry characters were no different. Here are three examples with excerpts from the book.

John…

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Aviatrices of the Silver Screen

April 27, 2017

Actors in the silent era appeared in aeroplanes, but pioneer aviators Harriet Quimby and Blanche Stuart Scott were both actors and script writers. Once the public saw photos of them flying, it didn’t take the movie makers long to discover that they could draw crowds by appearing on film or writing…

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Titanic Survivor Dorothy Gibson

April 15, 2017

It's the 105th anniversary of the international tragedy, the sinking of the Titanic on April 15, 1912. Those who have read Yours in a Hurry know that the date also had significance for Harriet Quimby. Walter Lord's  A Night to Remember may be the most popular novel about the event, but my Dorothy …

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When Miss Katherine Stinson Flew

March 26, 2017

While reading materials for an earlier blog on Frank Terrill I noticed female pioneer aviator who came after Harriet Quimby, Katherine Stinson.

The Flying Schoolgirl

Katherine was born in a small town in rural Alabama in 1891. When she became the fourth woman in the United States to obtain her…

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Reading Rooftops

March 12, 2017

Here’s a trivia question: Why did people read rooftops in the early 1900's?

I  recently asked some of my readers for stories relating to Yours in a Hurry. Shirley Riemenschneider of the Rootstown Ohio History Society replied that she recently came upon a story about New Milford, now an unincorp…

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Escape to America

February 18, 2017

In last week's blog, Steve Bauer shared some of his Hungarian roots which would eventually lead his family to America. Steve's story continues with details of the family's political problems and escape from Hungary.

Hungary 1956

By 1956 dad was a foreman at an Army Weapons Command Center. I rememb…

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Ohio Hungarian Heritage Part 1

February 12, 2017

In organizing material for my next novel, I found that many Hungarians were among the immigrants working in Ohio’s Appalachia in the early 1900’s. A friend, Steve Bauer, offered to share the story of how his Hungarian family took root in Ohio. Although they settled in the greater Cleveland area, Ste…

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Iconic Los Angeles Spaces

January 15, 2017

On a recent Los Angeles visit, I stopped by some of my favorite locations from Yours in a Hurry. Some buildings still stand; others are gone. But all are early California icons. I’ve added quotes from the book to explain why.

The Hollywood Hotel

“Anna could see why the Hollywood Hotel was I…

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Depression and Loss

December 30, 2016

"Purl saw a light in the parlor and entered. Anna was sitting on the sofa, motionless. Only a flicker from the oil lamp lighted the room. I can't go to the reunion today," she said. He looked down at her and placed his hands in his pockets, helpless that she should be so sad. So little had changed s…

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Literary Day at the Museum

December 19, 2016

I returned to the Hollywood Heritage Museum this month. My family has been to Los Angeles many times, and we always visit Hollywood. This time, we stayed in the heart of it.

Sixteen other authors and I were invited to the Fifth Annual book signing event at the Museum. Yours in a Hurry was the onl…

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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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20 Blog Posts