#FineArtFriday: The Beeches by Asher Brown Durand 1845

The_Beeches_MET_DT75Artist: Asher Brown Durand  (1796–1886)

Title: The Beeches

Genre: landscape art

Date: 1845

Medium: oil on canvas

Dimensions: 60 3/8 x 48 1/8 in. (153.4 x 122.2 cm)

Collection: Metropolitan Museum of Art

Current location: American Paintings and Sculpture

What I love about this painting:

It’s been storming here on the west coast of the US, dumping rain. California has been hard hit with so much rain the soil can’t absorb it. Yet, though the snowpack will bring relief (if the state doesn’t wash away) the drought is not over. California Storms Help Relieve Drought, But How Much Is in Question – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

Here in the Puget Sound area, we’re experiencing the usual wind and rain of a Northwest winter, hopefully a respite from the droughts we’ve suffered in the past decade. So, it’s good time to enjoy the image of sunny day painted in a calmer time.

Asher Brown Durand gives us a summer day on the shore of a large pond, in a grove of beech and birch trees. The large beech tree is magnificent, with its rough, moss-covered bark commanding the center stage. In the distance, as if they were accidentally included, a shepherd leads a flock of sheep, a minor part of the scene as compared to the superb majesty of the beech tree.

Yet, nothing in this painting is accidental. The sheep and their shepherd are painted in exquisite detail, with as much attention as he gives to the texture of the bark and the moss. Each leaf, each blade of grass, each stone—every part of this scene is painted with intention. Each component of this landscape painting is as true and perfect as they were in real life.

I love the natural feeling of the plants, the intense colors of nature, the sense of a place that is vibrant and alive.

This painting is not merely a photographic representation of a summer morning in 1845. It has a life, a sense that you are there. We can almost feel the warming sunshine and slight breeze lifting the morning haze, hear the sheep as they walk to the water, perhaps even catch the earthy scent of the woods around us.

Durand was a master in the Hudson River School, a group of artists who believed that nature in the form of the American landscape was a reflection of God. Durand himself wrote, “The true province of Landscape Art is the representation of the work of God in the visible creation.” [1] This painting demonstrates that conviction.

About the Artist, via Wikipedia:

Asher Brown Durand (August 21, 1796, – September 17, 1886). (He) was an American painter of the Hudson River School. was born in, and eventually died in, Maplewood, New Jersey (then called Jefferson Village). He was the eighth of eleven children. Durand’s father was a watchmaker and a silversmith.

Durand was apprenticed to an engraver from 1812 to 1817 and later entered into a partnership with the owner of the company, Charles Cushing Wright (1796–1854), who asked him to manage the company’s New York office. He engraved Declaration of Independence for John Trumbull during 1823, which established Durand’s reputation as one of the country’s finest engravers. Durand helped organize the New York Drawing Association in 1825, which would become the National Academy of Design; he would serve the organization as president from 1845 to 1861.

Asher’s engravings on bank notes were used as the portraits for America’s first postage stamps, the 1847 series. Along with his brother Cyrus he also engraved some of the succeeding 1851 issues.

Durand’s main interest changed from engraving to oil painting about 1830 with the encouragement of his patron, Luman Reed. In 1837, he accompanied his friend Thomas Cole on a sketching expedition to Schroon Lake in the Adirondacks Mountains, and soon after he began to concentrate on landscape painting. He spent summers sketching in the Catskills, Adirondacks, and the White Mountains of New Hampshire, making hundreds of drawings and oil sketches that were later incorporated into finished academy pieces which helped to define the Hudson River School.

Durand is remembered particularly for his detailed portrayals of trees, rocks, and foliage. He was an advocate for drawing directly from nature with as much realism as possible. [1]


Credits and Attributions:

Image:  The Beeches by Asher Brown Durand, PD|100. Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:The Beeches MET DT75.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:The_Beeches_MET_DT75.jpg&oldid=617658539 (accessed January 12, 2023).

[1] Wikipedia contributors, “Asher Brown Durand,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Asher_Brown_Durand&oldid=1129313847 (accessed January 12, 2023).

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The Business Side of the Business: Managing Inventory #writerlife

Today’s post is a follow-up to Monday’s post by Ellen King Rice. It is tax season, and many people will begin trying pull together the numbers needed for their federal tax returns. If you sell books at book signing events or trade shows, you are in business for yourself, and Ellen’s post details what your responsibilities are.

Its a BusinessAuthors make readers when they do in-person book signings. We have the chance to connect with potential readers on a personal level, and they might buy a paper book. If we are personable and friendly, they might tell their friends how much they liked meeting us. Those friends will buy eBooks. (We hope!)

Most shows and events will require you to have a business license if you intend to sell books in person. This means you will have a small amount of paperwork after each in-person signing, so I am revisiting a post from 2022 detailing how authors can manage an inventory of books and have the right numbers for tax purposes.

For eBook sales, you have no obligation to report sales taxes, only your royalties as listed on the 1099 issued by Amazon or Draft2Digital, or other eBook sellers.

Whether you are traditionally published or indie, if you intend to make personal appearances at local bookstores, fairs, or conventions, you will have an inventory of books on hand to manage and account for at the end of the year. But more importantly, even if you are traditionally published, you pay for the books you sell at shows. 

The good businessperson has a spreadsheet of some sort to account for this side of the business, as it will be part of your annual business tax report. An excellent method for assembling the information you will generate for your tax report is discussed the previous post, The Business Sequence for Writers. Ellen King Rice has given us a great framework for keeping our business records straight.

There is only one more skill to have, and this is only for those who intend to sell books in person. A wise author understands that good records ensure a successful business and sets up the bookkeeping system before they go to book fairs. They have a list of the stock on hand, what books are on reorder, the day they were ordered, and how long it takes for them to ship. Also, you should keep an account of your cost for each book, both for tax purposes and insurance purposes, just in case the stock of books is lost or damaged in a house fire or flood.

You can do this on notebook paper with a pencil, a ruler, and a calculator.  I began working as a bookkeeper in 1982, using the industry-standard tools of the trade for the time. We noted each transaction with a red or black pencil in a green or yellow ledger book of varying sizes (2 to 32 columns). Then, we used rulers or yardsticks to ensure that we tracked a particular item on the correct line across all the columns. The handiest electronic device on my desk was the calculator with a printout tape.

The tools for this method of accounting are still available in the stationery section of any store and are quite affordable. I have used Excel since 1993 for all my accounting purposes, but no matter how you create your spreadsheet, each title you have on hand to take to book fairs or shows has several costs associated with it.

What follows are several screenshots of a simple way to organize a spreadsheet:

Picture1

The first column contains the heading Titles: under that heading, list each book you take to shows by the title. We will use Huw the Bard as our example book.

On the same line as the title, working to the right in column 2, write unit cost. This is the price you pay for each copy you must take to a show and varies from title to title by the length of the book and the trim size. On the same line as the book’s title, write the cost you pay KDP or Ingram Sparks or your publisher for that book: $4.99. (edited, thank you Judy!)

Column 3 is the current stock-on-hand at the end of the taxing quarter: Quantity in stock: 19

Column 4 is the sum of column three times column two: Inventory value: $89.11. That is what you would have to pay to replace those books. It is also what some Departments of Revenue may tax you on at the end of the year if the value of that stock is over a certain limit, say $5,000.00. My stock on hand never even approaches that limit.

This is why retail stores have end-of-the-year sales. They need to offload their inventory to keep their taxes low.

Column 5 is the retail price. This is what the book sells for at bookstores: $12.99. You set your retail price to cover the cost of replacing the book, with some revenue to cover table and vendor fees at shows and conventions, and still allow for a small profit.

Column 6 is the special show price (if you discount your books at shows): $12.00.

Column 7 is the retail value of your stock on hand. It is the sum of column 3 times column 6: $228.00.

Were you required to collect sales tax from your customers? When you apply for your business license, you will receive a pamphlet with all the taxing jurisdictions in your licensing area and their tax rates. These range between .08 and .11 here in Thurston County. Washington State has no income tax, so all our state’s revenues come from businesses and sales taxes collected at the time of purchase.

Make a note of the city or county where the books were sold, as you may be required to forward the taxes collected to the Department of Revenue or your local Business and Occupation tax collecting agency. If you are smart, you will make a second page with these columns:

Picture2

At the bottom of the page for both spreadsheets, total each column. That will give you the stock expenses for all your titles. There will be no scrambling at the end of the quarter for Business and Occupation taxes if you live in a state like Washington State or at the end of the year if you live elsewhere. Be smart and set the money collected as sales tax aside because it is not yours and shouldn’t be considered part of your income.

That way, you will have it at the end of the year if you only do a few shows a year like me, or quarterly if you are out there doing shows and signings every week.

The bookkeeping side of your business should take less than an hour after each show. If you have kept your spreadsheets updated, filling out annual business tax forms for your state and federal agencies will go quickly. You will have all the numbers you need to back up your reports if you are audited.

Also (and this is important), you will know the exact number of books you have on hand in each title. You will know when it’s time to reorder more stock. There is a two-to-three-week lag in printing and shipping time, so ordering books in advance is critical. You don’t want to waste money purchasing stock you have plenty of, but you need to have a supply of your better sellers.

My personal spreadsheet is a little more detailed and is saved in the cloud as are all my business and other records. It looks like this:

Dummy_Inventory_Spreadsheet

Something we rarely consider is the random natural disaster, but we must be prepared. If something should happen to your stock of books due to theft, fire, or flood, you will be able to claim your business loss. Many authors are more prolific than I am.  For most of us, replacing the stock of 1 to 30 titles is an expense that is difficult to carve out of the family budget unless we have sold enough to cover that cost.

Theft is rare, as people are usually quite decent at conventions and trade shows. I’ve only had one book stolen from a table at a show in all these years—a $15.00 (show cost) loss (or $6.80 my cost).

While it disturbed me on one level, I was a bit honored that someone wanted my book that badly. The experience left me confused as to how I was supposed to feel. But on the good side, it was nice to know that shoplifters are readers too!

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Revisiting the Business Sequence for Writers, guest post by Ellen King Rice #writerlife

Today I am revisiting a guest post from last year, written by Ellen King Rice. She has great advice about the business side of this business, and information we all can use. Ellen is a successful indie author of an engrossing series of mushroom thrillers set in the Pacific Northwest.

Its a BusinessShe also wrote the brilliant, hilarious standalone novel, Larry’s Post Rapture Pet Sitting Service. If you haven’t read that book, I highly recommend it. I laughed out loud and couldn’t set the book down.

And now, here is Ellen King Rice and her advice on how to treat this business like a business.

*** *** ***

Moving from hobbyist to professional can be challenging in any field. For indie authors, financial numbers and formal paperwork matter. There are several steps, and the sequence of them can make life easier or . . . not.

The first step in finding a path through the thicket of “business stuff” is to remember past challenges conquered. For many people this may be recalling a first bicycle ride or an early cooking effort. For others there may be a wince as we remember that first round of playing “Hot Cross Buns” on an instrument. Whatever your early challenge was, you didn’t know everything when you started, but you learned quickly.

Today, let’s build a ramp up to a business set up, including tax prep work.

  1. Author’s name.

Search your name on the internet. Make sure you are aware of other writers, activists, artists and business people who share your name. In my case, there were several, including one who shared my middle initial. After some agonizing, I decided my author’s name would be Ellen King Rice even as my friends and family know me as Ellen Rice.

  1. Publisher’s Name

I highly recommend that you chose something other than your author’s name. This gives the writer flexibility to write in more than one genre. There are also times when the publishing house name gives a bit more cachet to projects. I chose Undergrowth Publishing.

  1. Tax Number

This requirement will vary by nation. In the United States, you will want an EIN tax number from the Internal Revenue Service. There is an on-line application here: IRS EIN application online.

The EIN is a Federal Tax ID number used to identify businesses.

Having a Publisher’s name and Tax number helps with getting a business license and a bank account. Of course, I didn’t know this, so I did things backwards and sideways. I tried to get a tax EIN and failed when I was faced with the question “What is your name?”  I highly recommend brisk walks and much chocolate to break up paperwork-filing sessions.

  1. Business license

Again, requirements will vary by location and jurisdiction. If you are resident of the State of Washington, you can find the details here:

https://dor.wa.gov/open-business/apply-business-license

I chose Sole Proprietor for my business, but some writers choose to form a Limited Liability Company.

Do you need city or county licenses? In my area, obtaining a state business license triggered a letter from the city demanding I purchase a local license. It took some research, but I determined that the local vendor’s license did not apply to my circumstances (I live in the county, and I sell books on-line).

It’s wise to learn about your community rules, but often these rule sets only apply to those who are selling in person (i.e., your online sales aren’t part of the local tax structure). Even then, there are times when small vendors or special events like an arts fair are exempted.

  1. Bank account

With your writer/publisher names sorted, a Tax EIN and your business license number, getting a business bank account should be straightforward. Mine is with the Washington State Employees Credit Union. I was able to open the business account with $50 and a $5 savings reserve. This gives me an account for Amazon expenses and deposits. I also asked for a dozen checks, which the credit union provided as a courtesy.

Credit card? A business debit card is easy to request once your account is set up, but a business credit card is hard to get. So far, I’ve managed without one.

  1. Spreadsheet and Tax Forms

Last steps! At this point, it is wise to print off the small business end-of-year-tax form that you’ll be using so you can see the information required.

In the United States, this is the Schedule C “Profit or Loss from Business” form from the IRS website. We can use this form to set up a spreadsheet, by category.

We want things set up so a “Sum this category” command will make it easy to fill out the Schedule C at the end of the year.

Details matter. Take some time looking over the Tax form for your situation. Think of it as your End-of-Year Party destination. A party in the tropics requires different prep than a party with penguins. Knowing the lines to be filled makes for clever spreadsheet set up. And, yes, it feels wonderful to be fast and accurate at year’s end.

For Americans, pay attention to Schedule C, Part I which asks what your “gross receipts or sales” are (line 1) and your “cost of goods” (say, printing 30 copies of your book) for line 4.

Next look at Part II. Lines 8 to 27 list different expense categories you can report. Line 8 is Advertising, so I want an “advertising” category when I set up my writer’s spreadsheet for the year. Line 11 is “Contract Labor”, so I’ll set up that category too. My book cover designer fees can go here. Line 18 is “Office expense.”  I set up Office Expense as a category and that’s the designation to house all my paper and printer cartridge charges.

DEFINITELY check in with a qualified tax advisor (which I am not!) to make sure what you are doing is correct before you file your taxes. All I’m encouraging here is to use the Schedule C as a guide to setting up bookkeeping for easy end-of-year number crunching.
Once you have slogged your way through all six of these steps, you should be well on your way as a writing professional. Be sure to celebrate!

Footnote for American tax filers: What happens if I don’t make money? After filling in Part I (income) and Part II (Expenses), I typically show a Net loss (line 31).  That loss amount will go onto a Schedule One form, and from there to Line 8 of the 1040 form as a negative number, which will lower my taxable income.


Thank you, Ellen, for allowing me to reprint this wonderful and enlightening post. If we intend to sell books at book signings and conventions, we have a business. If we want to avoid problems with our respective taxing agencies, we must jump through the proper hoops.

The next post in this series will revisit my post discussing book signings and book fairs, and tracking inventory for both tax and insurance purposes. The pandemic has eased, and many authors have held signings and in-person events. It doesn’t matter if we are indies or traditionally published – if we sell books in person, we need to manage our costs and protect our investments.

This something we all need to consider no matter where we live in this ever-smaller world.


EKR_author_photo_2022About Ellen King Rice:

I am a wildlife biologist who suffered a spinal cord injury many years ago. Although my days of field work are over, biology continues to intrigue me.

I am fascinated by sub-cellular level responses to ecosystem changes. I also like the predictability of animal behavior, once it is understood.

A fast-paced story filled with twists is a fun way to stimulate laughs, gasps and understanding. I work to heighten ecological awareness. I want the details and your new insights to remain in your thoughts forever.

You can find me and my books at www.ellenkingrice.com

​Please join me on Instagram at:

https://www.instagram.com/mushroom_thrillers.

And on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/mushroomthriller/

EKR_3book_covers_01162022LIRF

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#FineArtFriday: Wanderer in the Storm by Carl Julius von Leypold 1835

Karl_Julius_von_Leypold_-_Wanderer_im_SturmArtist: Carl Julius von Leypold  (1806–1874)

Title: Wanderer in the Storm

Date: 1835

Medium: oil on canvas

Dimensions: height: 42.5 cm (16.7 in); width: 56.5 cm (22.2 in)

Collection: Metropolitan Museum of Art

What I love about this painting:

This painting completely describes the weather we’re experiencing this week in the cold, dark, and stormy Pacific Northwest—wind and rain and rain and wind. Winter is in full swing. Hopefully, we will avoid having more snow and ice, but it’s only January. Anything can be lurking around the corner.

I love the dark and moody sky that von Leypold paints for us. It has movement, a sense of life, of wind and rain gathering momentum, a small pause while it builds toward a tantrum of the wintery kind.

One can almost hear the water lapping at the shore. Beyond the muddy lane, the trees are like me, old but strong, holding their barren branches defiant before the storm. They seem to shout, “We will bend but never break!” and by bending with the winds, those trees will survive to see yet another blossoming of spring.

The ancient stone wall stands firm, still doing its duty despite being long neglected and left to ruin. It refuses to abandon its purpose, although it no longer remembers what that might be.

The man trudges purposefully, despite the wind that whips at his long coat. Does he feel the cold, or is he walking quickly enough that he is warm? And where is he going? Who is he so intent upon seeing that he would brave the storm on foot?

There is a story in this painting.

About the Artist, via Wikipedia:

Carl Julius von Leypold (1806–1874) was a German Romantic landscape painter known for his painting, “Wanderer in the Storm.”

Von Leypold studied landscape painting with Johan Christian Dahl at the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts between 1820 and 1829. From 1826 onwards, Caspar David Friedrich influenced his choice of subjects and painting style. His landscapes are characterized by “a painterly, but at the same time sharp-brushed style, in which high painting culture is combined with Biedermeier objectivity.”

On March 5, 1857, he became an honorary member of the Dresden Art Academy. [1]


Credits and Attributions:

Image: Wanderer in the Storm by Carl Julius von Leypold PD|100. Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Karl Julius von Leypold – Wanderer im Sturm.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Karl_Julius_von_Leypold_-_Wanderer_im_Sturm.jpg&oldid=675091985 (accessed January 5, 2023).

[1] Wikipedia contributors, “Carl Julius von Leypold,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Carl_Julius_von_Leypold&oldid=1095364695 (accessed January 5, 2023).

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The Business Side of the Business: Finding places to submit your work #amwriting

Today, we’re going to explore the various forms of short fiction publishers are looking for and how the market drives what they will buy. Each publication only buys work they think will appeal to their readers, and each serves a different segment of the reading public.

Its a BusinessWe are looking for markets that will pay you for your work. They are difficult to get into, but once you are in, you will be offered more opportunities.

If you are writing science fiction, you most likely dream of having your work published in Analog Science Fiction and Fact. They are seeking work that is strictly science-based, because that is what their readers expect.

You might also want to submit to Uncanny, as they publish both sci-fi and fantasy. Their readers are more eclectic.

Apex Magazine publishes work that pushes the limits, and that is what their readers expect.

Cover_of_October_1952_issue_of_The_Magazine_of_Fantasy_&_Science_FictionFantasy & Science Fiction is one of the most respected publications in the business. They have published some of the industry’s most famous and award-winning short fiction. But they are highly selective as to what they will accept, so read their magazine and see what sort of work they buy.

Galaxy’s Edge publishes science fiction but is currently closed to new submissions. Keep checking to see when they will reopen.

One of the best resources for authors trying to sell their work is Reedsy. They have assembled a list of 58 reputable publishers seeking a variety of works in all genres and lengths:

58 Top Short Story Book Publishers in 2023 | Reedsy

Reedsy is a fabulous resource for writers, as well as for editors who are seeking clients. This is a good place to start if you are looking for an editor. As always, when you are looking to hire a professional, be sure to check their references.

Writing Tips Oasis also has an excellent list of publishers who pay well.

Many contests and publications use the Submittable platform to accept and review the large volume of manuscripts they receive from writers. When a publisher uses this platform, it’s great for us as authors. We can use their app to track what we have submitted and where it currently is in the process.

But what kind of work are these publishers seeking?

First, they want stories with strong plots and good character arcs. They want believable settings and well-developed themes.

Second, they want work that shows us a world we might find familiar but from a new and different angle.

300px-Astound5006Third, they want work that looks professional, as if the author read their submission guidelines for formatting the manuscript and followed them. Publishers have specific, standardized formatting they want you to use, and these guidelines are posted on their websites.

When a call for submissions goes out, their editors will have no time to deal with poorly formatted manuscripts. If you don’t follow their guidelines, they will assume you aren’t a professional and won’t read your work.

What are the formatting guidelines? Each publication has its own, but most follow this standard:

What goes on the first page? Your first page should include the following:

  • The story’s title.
  • The word count. Some will want an approximation, and others will expect accuracy.
  • In the upper left, your contact details should be formatted in the same font and size as the manuscript font. (See the image below.)

Formatted_fonts_03312019

For the most part, the requirements are basically the same from company to company, with minor differences. To ensure your work conforms to the intended recipient’s requirements, go to the publication’s website and read the standards they have laid out.

We know that selling our work to anthologies and magazines is the best way for an indie to build a reputation as an author. Remember, we’re competing with many other authors, some of them famous, and all of them as creative and talented as you are. Take the time to make your work look as professional as possible, and you will have an edge.

When we finish writing a story, an article, or a novel, we feel a rush of pride. The urge to immediately send it to a magazine or contest is strong, but the wise author must overcome it. Don’t even show it to your writing group at this stage because you are too involved in it, and there may be some awkward flaws that were introduced into the narrative during the rush of creation.

Set your manuscript aside for a week or so, then return to it. This will give you a more critical eye. You should look for

  1. Dropped or missing words.
  2. Words that spell check won’t find because they are spelled correctly but are wrong: They went their for breakfast.
  3. Extra spaces in odd places and after sentences. Editors want one (1) space after each sentence.
  4. Use the Read Aloud function or a narrator app to have the story read back to you.

While we all agree that only submitting work of the highest quality is critical, one thing is clear: the greatest hurdle Indie authors face is getting our work in front of readers’ eyes.

leaves of grass memeDon’t be discouraged by rejection. Rejection happens far more frequently than acceptance, even to famous authors. Don’t let fear of rejection keep you from writing pieces you’re emotionally invested in.

I always say this, but it is true: how you handle criticism and rejection tells editors what kind of person you are. Rejection gives you the chance to cross the invisible line between amateur and professional. Always take the high ground.

  • If an editor has sent you a detailed rejection, respond with a simple “thank you for your time.”
  • If it’s a form letter rejection, don’t reply.

When you receive that email of acceptance, do that happy dance, and don’t be shy about it.

There is no better feeling than knowing someone you respect liked your work enough to publish it.

Good luck and keep submitting no matter how many rejections you receive, whether you are trying to be published in a magazine or hoping to publish a novel.

Johnathan_Livingston_SeagullRemember, 18 publishers thought a story about a seagull was ridiculous before Richard Bach’s novella, Jonathan Livingston Seagull was finally picked up by MacMillan – and even they didn’t give it any real support.

Yet that novella is one that many people, myself included, consider a watershed moment in their reading lives. Keep writing, and may 2023 be a good year for us all.

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The Business Side of the Business – managing submissions #amwriting

Do you consider yourself a professional writer? If writing is your real career (regardless of your day job), this is a good time to consider your path. One of the best ways to get your author name out there is by having your work published in magazines and anthologies.

Its a BusinessA new year has begun, and open calls for spring and summer contests and anthologies will start appearing in various forums that I frequent. Finding places to submit your work can be challenging, but here are links to two groups on Facebook where publishers post open calls for short stories.

Open Submission Calls for Short Story Writers (All genres, including poetry)

Open Call: Science Fiction, Fantasy & Pulp Market (speculative fiction only)

  • You must apply to be accepted into these groups and answer specific questions to prove you are legitimately seeking places to submit your work.
  • Once approved, the rules of good conduct must be followed for a happy coexistence. Troublemakers and trolls are unceremoniously ejected.

Some will be open calls for anthologies that are not paid, and others will pay royalties. Be wary and carefully research the unpaid ones to ensure that the publisher is reputable and that there is a good reason why you are being asked to donate your work for no compensation.

Don’t get sucked into submitting to “charity” anthology mills, no matter how fancy their website is. These publishers give legitimate charity anthologies a bad reputation. The only cause these vanity mills support is the publisher’s pocketbook, so they are thinly disguised vanity presses.

Despite their claims, many charity anthology mills are for profit, with less than 10% of any royalties going to the specified charity and the rest remaining as the publisher’s source of income. The only volumes they sell are the ones the individual authors can pressure their friends and families to purchase.

Epic Fails meme2

For those authors new to the mean streets of publishing, vanity anthology mills seem good because they’re guaranteed to be published by these predators. The publishers do little to no editing. So, you must ask yourself this: do you want your author name listed on the cover and forever associated with that pile of awfulness?

We must do a little research and only submit our work to publications that respect both the work they publish and their authors.

And on that note, be sure any contracts you sign limit the use of your story to that volume only, and you retain all other rights.

  • You should retain the right to republish that story after a finite amount of time has passed, usually 90 days after the anthology publication date.

SFWA has a list of predatory publishers you should avoid doing business with. They also have useful information on things that might be found in predatory contracts. You don’t need to be a member to access these. https://www.sfwa.org/

But there are legitimate calls for extremely short fiction by highly reputable publishers.

These publishers pay for the work they publish and offer reasonable contracts. The compensation will be small as the work they are buying isn’t long, but it is payment. Sometimes reputable publishers have open calls for charity anthologies and those are worth submitting to, with one or two well-known authors donating a short story and the rest will be work by up-and-coming writers.

You could be one of those up-and-coming authors–but you need to have written something that you can submit.

Writers gain proficiency in all aspects of writing fiction by writing short stories and essays. We increase our ability to tell a story with minimal exposition and learn ways to use intentional prose.

For practice, try picking a theme and thinking creatively. Think a little wide of the obvious tropes (genre-specific, commonly used plot devices and archetypes). Look for an original angle that will play well to that theme, and then go for it.

theRealStoryLIRF01102021My problem is this: all my stories want to grow longer than 1,000 words. It requires weeks of effort to get my work to fit within that parameter. So, I often write practice stories, limiting myself to telling the whole story in 1000 words or less. These practice shorts serve several purposes:

  1. I have a finite amount of time to tell what happened, so only the most crucial information will fit within that space.
  2. Space is limited, so the number of characters is restricted to just the important ones.
  3. There is no room for anything that does not advance the plot or influence the outcome.
  4. The fewer the words, the more important the theme becomes. One learns how to use a theme to their advantage.

Best of all, writing a new short story each week builds a reserve, a “bank” to draw on when I need a good piece to submit to a contest. If you select a different theme for each tale, and you may have just the right story in your files to submit to a themed anthology.

When you choose to submit to an open call for themed work, your work must demonstrate your understanding of what is meant by the word “theme.” This is as important as skill as your ability to write clean and compelling prose.

When you submit your work to various places, you need to keep a record of it. Most publishers won’t accept simultaneous submissions. To avoid that, you should list:

  • what was submitted,
  • links or email addresses of where it was sent to,
  • when submissions close,
  • what date the contest ends,

To that end, I suggest you create a database for your work. I use an Excel spreadsheet that lists the title, word count, completion date, where and when I submitted the work, how much I earned for it, etc.

Below is a screenshot of what my list of submitted work looks like. I started this file in 2015 and am still using this spreadsheet to track my submissions.

List of Submitted Work

I also suggest you track your productivity by keeping a daily log of your writing sessions, a writing journal. Each time you sit down to write, make a little note to yourself of how long your writing session was and your word count at the end of the session. Make a note of the time of day you were writing as well.

It’s fun to look back and see the ebb and flow of your productivity. It’s also an excellent way to determine what time of day is your most creative.

Writing is my job. I see this little productivity diary as my way of clocking in to work. It inspires me to develop a writing routine and encourages me to write at least 100 new words every day.

In extremely short fiction such as drabbles and other flash fiction, you must include only the most essential elements of a story.

Drabble_LIRF_1_jan_2018_cjjapAs a poet, I find it far easier to tell a story in 100 words than in 1,000. That 100-word story is called a drabble and is an art form in itself.

You can find publications with open calls at Submittable. Unfortunately, that site is not as useful regarding speculative fiction as it was several years ago. However, I have seen anthology calls for spec fic there. Still, poetry collections, literary anthologies, and contests use Submittable, so that is an option. https://www.submittable.com/

Some more suggestions you could implement during the forthcoming year that fall under the heading of the business of writing are:

  • Find time for education—I attend writing conferences and seminars.
  • Find time for reading—I read for two hours every evening, often longer.
  • Follow editors on Facebook, Instagram, and also their Twitter feeds if you are still using that platform. Consider following the magazines you submit to (or would like to send work to) on each social media platform you use.

This is something a fellow author suggested: keep a networking notebook. It should include the names of people in the industry you have spoken to, who they work for (if an agent or editor), their emails and/or business cards, etc., as you never know when that contact will come in handy.

Finally, you must invest in your career, and that does require a little money. You must develop the habit of saving for future expenses, so I suggest you set aside two dollars for every day you write. That isn’t much, but it adds up and can help pay for a seminar or a conference, or any number of expenses that will come up.

coins That way, you won’t be left wondering how to attend a conference and still cover your household bills.

This list of suggestions is meant for authors who intend to write professionally. It’s a business, so these little bookkeeping habits help keep me focused and on track.

In my next post, I will explore the various forms of short fiction publishers are looking for and how the market drives what they will buy.


Credits and attributions:

Coins, courtesy of Microsoft content creators, accessed December 31, 2022. Non-commercial use.

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#FineArtFriday: Merry Company by Dirck Hals 1635

Vrolijke gezelschap

Merry company *oil on panel *30 x 51 cm *signed : D Hals 1635

Artist: Dirck Hals (1591–1656)

Title: Merry Company

Date: 1635

Medium: oil on panel

Dimensions: height: 30 cm (11.8 in); width: 51.1 cm (20.1 in)

Collection: Mauritshuis

What I love about this painting:

Perhaps we are celebrating the engagement of the young couple on the far right—a fashionably, yet modestly, dressed young woman and a gallant young man holding hands and gazing at each other.

The hostess, in the center, looks up and greets her guests who have entered to the left of us. She gestures to the food on the table, inviting them to sit. Are they the future in-laws?

The host looks directly at us, the viewer. He greets us as his guests and he too gestures to the table—join us! Sit, eat, and we’ll have an evening to remember. A single crystal wine glass shows us that wine is being served but companionship and food are what the party is really about. We are here to meet and get to know each other.

An engagement is a reason to gather and celebrate—so let us join this merry company and spend an evening with friends, partying like it’s 1635.

About the setting of this painting:

Dirck Hals has given us the image of friends partying in someone’s home. This is clearly not set in a tavern, as the walls are clean, freshly plastered and painted, and the fireplace at the far left has an ornate mantel. It is for heating the room only, not for cooking. The mantel’s aesthetics are part of the room’s decor.

The scene is set in a dining room. We see six pewter tankards proudly displayed on the wall above a sideboard, along with large pewter platters, signs that this is an intimate family room. We know they are pewter because of the dark bluish color of the metal. These are serving vessels every home needed in the 17th century, but only the wealthier middle-class could afford pewter.

And if you could afford to have a separate room just for dining, you would have your drinking vessels and platters displayed above a sideboard in the manner we see here.

In the background to the right, a fine, large landscape painting also indicates a prosperous home.

Everyone is dressed in their best clothes. The modest yet stylish dress of the guests also point to a domestic scene rather than a tavern. Their garments are made from expensive fabrics, silks and satins, and they wear the immense ruffs of crisp white lace that only the upper classes could afford. These are prosperous people, traders in cloth perhaps—but no matter what they trade, they are gathered to celebrate something, and we have been invited to join them.

Taverns and the poorer classes had either wooden tankards and bowls or fired clay mugs and platters. If they had an object made of pewter, it would be put away for safekeeping. The innkeepers and owners of public houses wouldn’t keep tankards where they could be knocked down or stolen.

About the Artist, Via Wikipedia:

Dirck Hals (19 March 1591 – 17 May 1656), born at Haarlem, was a Dutch Golden Age painter of merry company scenes, festivals and ballroom scenes. He played a role in the development of these types of genre painting. He was somewhat influenced by his elder brother Frans Hals but painted few portraits.

The Haarlem writer Samuel Ampzing mentions both brothers in his Praise of Haarlem with a poem stating that both brothers were exceptional; Frans painting his portraits “awake”, and Dirck painting his figures “purely”. [1]

About pewter, via Wikipedia:

Lidless mugs and lidded tankards may be the most familiar pewter artifacts from the late 17th and 18th centuries, although the metal was also used for many other items including porringers (shallow bowls), plates, dishes, basins, spoons, measures, flagons, communion cups, teapots, sugar bowls, beer steins (tankards), and cream jugs. In the early 19th century, changes in fashion caused a decline in the use of pewter flatware. At the same time, production increased of both cast and spun pewter tea sets, whale-oil lamps, candlesticks, and so on. Later in the century, pewter alloys were often used as a base metal for silver-plated objects. [2]


Credits and Attributions:

IMAGE: Merry Company by Dirck Hals, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons (accessed December 29, 2022).

[1] Wikipedia contributors, “Dirck Hals,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, Dirck Hals  (accessed December 29, 2022).

[2] Wikipedia contributors, “Pewter,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Pewter&oldid=1129247091 (accessed December 29, 2022).

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The Editing Process #amwriting

Self-editing is not an easy task. As a rule, I don’t recommend it because we authors see what we want to see. However, hiring an editor is out of reach for some people, and we will discuss that further in the second half of this article.

WritingCraft_self-editingThe publishing world is a rough playground. Editors for traditional publishing companies and small presses have a landslide of work to pick from and are chronically short-staffed. They can’t accept unprofessional work regardless of how good the story is.

Finding a freelance editor can be a challenge. A good way is to ask other authors who they recommend. Also, many freelance editors network through social media sites like Linkedin.

Another way is to google “how to find a freelance editor.”

Quill_pen smallBefore you hire an editor, check their qualifications and references. SFWA (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Association) has an article you should read regardless of the genre in which you write: EDITORS AND EDITING – SFWA

What to expect once you do hire an editor:

Many editors will ask for the first twenty pages of your manuscript at no cost to you. They will either accept your project or explain why it isn’t ready for editing. Submissions should be formatted as MS WORD documents using Times New Roman 12 pt. font. Some editors will ask for a different font, so format it in the style they require.

Using the ribbon at the top, on the far right-hand side of the home tab, click Select All. This will highlight your entire document. With the whole document highlighted, open the paragraph tab to drop down the formatting menu. The manuscript should be aligned left, creating a ragged right-hand margin. Sentences should be double-spaced with no extra space between paragraphs. The first line of each paragraph should be indented .5 and formatted using the ribbon (not the tab key).

formatting_paragraphs_word_doc2018_LIRF

If you have used the tab key to indent paragraphs, you can fix it by using one of the following ways.

To remove tabs from a manuscript in MS Word or most other word-processing programs, open the “Find” box (right side of the ribbon on the home tab). In the “Find” field, type in ^t. (Caret + lowercase t) (press the alt key 94 to make ^ and key the t). This only works if you have a ten-key (number pad) at the right side of your keyboard: ^t.

Then click “Replace.” In this field, type nothing. Click once on “Replace all,” and it will remove every tab.

remove_tabs

That will leave you with no indents whatsoever. Your manuscript will temporarily look like a wall of words, but you will resolve that.

Once the tabs are all removed, use the following instructions to format paragraphs.

FIRST: SELECT ALL. This will highlight your entire manuscript.

Step 1: On the Home tab, look in the group labeled ‘Paragraph.’ On the lower right-hand side of that group is a small grey square. Click on it. A pop-out menu will appear, which is where you format your paragraphs.

Step 2: On the indents and spacing menu: Use standard alignment, align LEFT. We use this format because we are not looking at a finished product here. We are looking at a rough draft that will be sliced, diced, and otherwise mutilated many times before we get to the final product.

Step 3: Indentation: leave that alone or reset both numbers to ‘0’ if you have inadvertently altered it.

Step 4: Where it says ‘Special,’ select ‘first line on the dropdown menu.’ On the ‘By’ menu, select ‘0.5.’ (Some publishers specify a different number, 0.3 or 0.2, but 0.5 is standard.)

Step 5: ‘Spacing’: set both before and after to ‘0.’

Step 6: ‘Line Spacing’: set to ‘double.’

If you don’t have a ten-key pad, you must remove each tabbed indent by hand. Beginning with the first paragraph on the first page, scroll down and use the backspace key to remove the tab indenting every paragraph.

The editor will probably use the track changes function in MS Word. They will return your manuscript with their suggestions for revisions, highlighted in red and noted in the review column on the right-hand side of the document. You will use the track changes function to accept or reject each suggestion. This is what track changes looks like when you get the manuscript back:

what track changes looks like

Also, you might receive a separate report detailing the editor’s overall impressions of your manuscript’s strengths and weaknesses.

During the editing process, a word-frequency report might be generated. A style sheet will probably be developed for usages and unique spellings that may pertain to your manuscript. Via email, you and the editor might discuss the names and usages that may differ from standard spellings to create that style sheet. A good editor will respond to your questions as soon as they receive your email.

We overlook many flaws when trying to self-edit our work because we are as immersed in visualizing the scene as we were during the moments when we first wrote it. Our eyes see what we imagine to be there rather than the typos or missing words.

steampunk had holding pen smallIf you’re a member of a writers’ group, you have a resource of people who will beta read for you at no cost. As a critique group member, you will read for them too.

Be careful how you phrase your comments on their work. Be accurate and find positive things to point out as well as areas that need work.

For those who can’t afford a full professional edit, there is a way to make a pretty good stab at editing your own manuscript. However, it is time-consuming, which is why an editor’s services are not cheap.

Open your Manuscript.

Break it into separate chapters by copying and pasting each individual chapter into a new document. Doing this preserves the original manuscript and breaks it down into manageable chunks.

Save the chapters in a new file labeled with the word “revisions.” Example: Barons_Hollow_revisions_12-22-2022

FileDocumentClearly and consistently label each chapter. Ensure the chapter numbers are in the proper sequence, and don’t skip a number. I would label my individual chapter files this way:

  • BH_ch_1

Print out the first chapter. Everything looks different printed out, and you will see many things you don’t notice on the computer screen.

Turn to the last page. Cover the page, leaving only the final paragraph visible.

  • Starting with the last paragraph on the last page, begin reading, working your way forward.
  • Look for typos and garbled sentences.
  • With a yellow highlighter, mark each place that needs correction.

I can’t stress the importance of the following observation strongly enough:

YOU MUST UNDERSTAND AND OBEY THE BASIC RULES OF GRAMMAR. Those who think the standard grammar rules don’t matter to readers are doing their work and reputation a disservice.

misuse_grammar_consistently_memeIf you are writing in the US, you might consider investing in Bryan A. Garner’s Chicago Guide to Grammar, Usage, and Punctuation. This is a resource with all the answers to questions about grammar and sentence structure. It takes the Chicago Manual of Style and boils it down to just the grammar.

For a quick one-page reference, here is a link to an article I posted on the basics of grammar:

Fundamentals of Grammar: seven basic rules of punctuation

Punctuation is not an area where we can cut corners. It serves as the traffic signals, affects pacing, and avoids verbal chaos. Most readers won’t notice the grammar if you have a good grasp of the basics and are consistent.

When you have finished, you should have someone you trust read it for typos and copy/paste errors you might have missed. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but readers want to enjoy the book, not struggle through garbled sentences.

The New Year approaches, and many books will be indie-published novels written during NaNoWriMo. Will they be readable and enjoyable? If the authors took the time to have their work edited and seen by their writing group first—then yes, probably so.

Whatever you write, and whatever your publishing path, I wish you a blessed New Year. May the well of inspiration never run dry!

christmas-holly-sidebar 2

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A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens – a masterclass in structure #amwriting

Another Christmas has joined the Ghosts of Christmas Past—today is Boxing Day. Our post today explores my favorite Christmas story of all time, A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens.

My Sister's Ornament, cjjaspI have talked about this novella many times, as I think it is one of the most enduring stories in Western literature. The opening act of this tale is a masterclass in how to structure a story.

I love stories of redemption–and A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens remains one of the most beloved tales of redemption in the Western canon. Written in 1843 as a serialized novella, A Christmas Carol has inspired a landslide of adaptations in both movies and books.

Charles Dickens was a master of storytelling, employing hooks and heavy foreshadowing to good effect. Let’s have a look at the first lines of this tale:

Christmascarol1843_--_040“Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it. And Scrooge’s name was good upon ‘Change for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a doornail.”

In that first paragraph, Dickens offers us the bait. He sinks the hook and reels in the fish (the reader) by foreshadowing the story’s first plot point–the visitation by Marley’s ghost. We want to know why Marley’s unquestionable state of decay was so crucial that the conversation between us, the readers, and Dickens, the author, was launched with that topic.

Dickens doesn’t talk down to his readers. He uses the common phrasing of his time as if he were speaking to us over tea — “dead as a doornail.” This places him on our level, a friend we feel comfortable gossiping with.

He returns to the thread of Marley several pages later, with the little scene involving the doorknocker. This is where Scrooge sees the face of his late business partner superimposed over the knocker and believes he is hallucinating. This is more foreshadowing, more bait to keep us reading.

At this point, we’ve followed Scrooge through several scenes, each introducing the subplots. We have met the man who, as yet, is named only as ‘the clerk’ in the original manuscript but whom we will later know to be Bob Cratchit. We’ve also met Scrooge’s nephew, Fred, who is a pleasant, likeable man.

These subplots are critical, as Scrooge’s redemption revolves around the ultimate resolution of those two separate mini stories. He must witness the joy and love in Cratchit’s family, who are suffering but happy despite living in grinding poverty (for which Scrooge bears a responsibility).

We see that his nephew, Fred, though orphaned, has his own business to run and is well off in his own right. Fred craves a relationship with his uncle and doesn’t care what he might gain from it financially.

By the end of the first act, all the characters are in place, and the setting is solidly in the reader’s mind. We’ve seen the city, cold and dark, with danger lurking in the shadows. We’ve observed how Scrooge interacts with everyone around him, strangers and acquaintances alike.

Now we come to the first plot point in Dickens’ story arc–Marley’s visitation. This moment in a story is also called “the inciting incident,” as this is the point of no return. Here is where the set-up ends, and the story takes off.

Dickens understood how to keep a reader enthralled. No words are wasted. Every scene is important, every scene leads to the ultimate redemption of the protagonist, Ebenezer Scrooge.

This is a short tale, a novella rather than a novel. But it is a profoundly moving allegory, a parable of redemption that remains pertinent in modern society.

In this tale, Dickens asks you to recognize the plight of those whom the Industrial Revolution has displaced and driven into poverty and the obligation of society to provide for them humanely.

This is a concept our society continues to struggle with and perhaps will for a long time to come. Cities everywhere struggle with the problem of homelessness and a lack of empathy for those unable to afford decent housing. Everyone is aware of this problem, but we can’t come to an agreement for resolving it.

A Christmas Carol remains relevant even in today’s hyper-connected world. It resonates with us because of that deep, underlying call for compassion that resounds through the centuries and is, unfortunately, timeless.

Ghost_of_Christmas_Present_John_Leech_1843As I mentioned before, this book is only a novella. It was comprised of 66 handwritten pages. Some people think they aren’t “a real author” if they don’t write a 900-page doorstop, but Dickens says differently.

One doesn’t have to write a novel to be an author. Whether you write blogposts, poems, short stories, novellas, or 700-page epic fantasies, you are an author. Diarists are authors. Playwrights are authors. Authors write—the act of creative writing makes one an author.

Today’s images are two illustrations by John Leech from the first edition of the novella published in book form in 1843.  We’re fortunate that the original art of John Leech, which Dickens himself chose to include in the book, has been uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. Thanks to the good people at Wikimedia, these prints are available for us all to enjoy.

From Wikipedia: John Leech (August 29, 1817 – October 29, 1864, in London) was a British caricaturist and illustrator. He is best known for his work for Punch, a humorous magazine for a broad middle-class audience, combining verbal and graphic political satire with light social comedy. Leech catered to contemporary prejudices, such as anti-Americanism and antisemitism, and supported acceptable social reforms. Leech’s critical yet humorous cartoons on the Crimean War help shape public attitudes toward heroism, warfare, and Britain’s role in the world. [1]

Happy Boxing Day, my friends. Write what you love, and may the New Year offer you all the inspiration you need. May you be happy, healthy, and may you have many opportunities to tell your stories.


CREDITS AND ATTRIBUTIONS:

[1] Wikipedia contributors, “John Leech (caricaturist),” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=John_Leech_(caricaturist)&oldid=871947694 (accessed December 25, 2022).

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Christmascarol1843 — 040.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Christmascarol1843_–_040.jpg&oldid=329166198 (accessed December 25, 2022)

A colourised edit of an engraving of Charles Dickens’ “Ghost of Christmas Present” character, by John Leech in 1843. Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Ghost of Christmas Present John Leech 1843.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Ghost_of_Christmas_Present_John_Leech_1843.jpg&oldid=329172654 (accessed December 25, 2022).

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#FineArtFriday: Frost Fair on the River Thames near the Temple Stairs, by Thomas Wyke (revisited)

Hello from Casa del Jasperson, and may you all have a Merry Holiday, no matter how you celebrate.

Today I’m revisiting a painting, Frost Fair on the River Thames near the Temple Stairs. by Thomas Wijck (also Thomas Wijk, or Thomas Wyck; 1616–1677). He  was a Dutch painter of port views and genre paintings. This painting details a moment in history, the winter of 1686-1684, as seen though the eyes of one who lived it. I first published this post in January of 2018.

About the Artist, via Wikipedia:

Wijck was born into an artist family and received his training from his father. He journeyed to Italy, presumably by 1640, the year in which a ‘Tommaso fiammingo, pittore’ (Thomas the Fleming, painter) is documented as residing in Rome in the Via della Fontanella. Although this evidence of his residence in Rome around this time has been questioned,[1] a number of his pictures depict scenes in and around Rome which would indicate a visit to the city at some point.[2] He also resided in the environs of Naples, where he executed many sketches which he subsequently worked up into drawings of coast views.[3]

In 1642 Wijck returned to the northern Netherlands, where he became a member of the Haarlem Guild of St. Luke.[1] In 1660 he was appointed Dean of the Haarlem Guild.

He went to England about the time of the Restoration and was much employed. He was followed there by his son and pupil Jan Wyck, who remained in Britain for the rest of his career and played an important role in the development of English sporting painting. Thomas Wyck was also the teacher of the Haarlem painter Jan van der Vaart, who later also immigrated to England.

He died in Haarlem in August 1677. Pieter Mulier II was a follower of his style.

What I love about this painting:

Everywhere you look you see color. Red wheels on a cart, red tents, blue tents, and yellow–color is everywhere. We sometimes think of the 17th century as a dark colorless time, but clearly it was not. People were much the same then as they are today. We love to have fun and will find a way to enjoy ourselves even in the harshest conditions.

And winters during that time were harsh. Fuel for heating and cooking was expensive, food was expensive, and many people died from the cold and starvation.

Quoted from Wikipedia: During the Great Frost of 1683–84, the worst frost recorded in England, the Thames was completely frozen for two months, with the ice reaching a thickness of 11 inches (28 cm) in London. Solid ice was reported extending for miles off the coasts of the southern North Sea (England, France and the Low Countries), causing severe problems for shipping and preventing the use of many harbours. Near Manchester, the ground was frozen to 27 inches (69 cm), in Somerset, to more than 4 feet (1.2 m).

In the pedestrian tunnel under the south bank of Southwark Bridge, there is an engraving by Southwark sculptor Richard Kindersley, made of five slabs of grey slate, depicting the frost fair.[19]

The frieze contains an inscription that reads (two lines per slab):

Behold the Liquid Thames frozen o’re,
That lately Ships of mighty Burthen bore
The Watermen for want of Rowing Boats
Make use of Booths to get their Pence & Groats
Here you may see beef roasted on the spit
And for your money you may taste a bit
There you may print your name, tho cannot write
Cause num’d with cold: tis done with great delight
And lay it by that ages yet to come
May see what things upon the ice were done

The inscription is based on handbills,[20] printed on the Thames during the frost fairs.


Credits and Attributions:

Wikipedia contributors, “Thomas Wijck,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Thomas_Wijck&oldid=913753600 (accessed February 7, 2020).

#FineArtFriday: Frost Fair on the River Thames near the Temple Stairs, by Thomas Wyke was first published here on Life in the Realm of Fantasy on January 20, 2018.

Wikipedia contributors, “River Thames frost fairs,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=River_Thames_frost_fairs&oldid=820904368 (accessed January 19, 2018).

Frost Fair on the River Thames near the Temple Stairs, by Thomas Wyke ca.1683-1684 via Wikimedia Commons (scan from FT magazine, 2007-09-30) [Public domain]

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