What’s up this summer?

Jennifer-Hallock-Summer-2019-appearance-list

Author Appearances:

I have a new event! Come out to see Karen Coulters and I bring romance to the Weare Public Library. Whether you like historical stories or modern ones, distant settings or close ones, Karen and I have the book for you. Click on the image below to go to the Facebook event page. Come see us and meet the others of the Weare Area Writers Guild, including librarian and children’s adventure author Michael Sullivan.

Romance-at-the-Library-Weare-Facebook-event

Presentations:

This may be the last time I will be giving these three talks, so please come on out if you can:

NECRWA-May-19-History-Ever-AfterOver eighty percent of bestselling historical romance books published in the first half of 2018 were set in Britain, either during the 19th century or the medieval period. These two fabricated chronotopes are selectively accurate to history and narrowly focused on high ranks of the nobility—in other words, they are “escapism.” This presentation will consider what escapism means in this context, who it serves, and who it harms. While any reader can enjoy a good duke Regency every once in a while, the net impact of the most popular chronotopes may be to corrode our understanding of history, marginalize anyone writing from a wider palette of settings and characters, and exclude authors of color. Read more here.

New England Chapter RWA: May 19, 2019 from 1-3 pm ($5 visitors fee)


Schoolbenches-Trenches-Historical-Novel-Society-North-AmericaLiberate and uplift? Or conquer and oppress? The revolutionaries of the eighteenth century became the redcoats of the twentieth, fighting a war to seize the Philippines (1899-1913) as the first step toward overseas empire. Enter the American Century, complete with debates over transpacific trade, immigration, Muslim separatists, and national security—all issues that resonate for the modern reader. Historian, teacher, and author Jennifer Hallock will explain why the U.S. colonized the Philippines, how this experience still shapes both countries now, and how it creates engaging American historical fiction. Read more of the history behind the Sugar Sun series here.

Historical Novel Society North America: Friday, June 21, 2019 from 8-9 am (registration required)


RWA-Conference-History-Games

True stories inspire the best fiction. Let history help you find the usual, precocious, and maybe even dangerous heroes and heroines you need! A veteran teacher and researcher will show you how to exploit free sources online: memoirs, newspapers, magazines, advertisements, maps, photographs, clothing, artifacts, videos, and more. This workshop’s emphasis will be on historical research, especially the Regency through the Roaring Twenties, but it will include practical tips and tricks for all authors. Read more here.

RWA National Conference, Friday, July 26, 2019, from 9:45-10:45 am (registration required)

The vIRaL Orange Flamingos of Weare

Ice buckets, yellow bracelets, pink bows…there is another viral cause in the town of Weare, New Hampshire: the Orange Flamingos of the #AbbyStrong “Army.”

Shortly before the start of this school year, twelve-year-old Abby Van Dyke was diagnosed with leukemia. Immediately, friends and family went into action. They put together a fundraiser selling plastic lawn flamingos in the color of leukemia awareness. “It was mostly about getting as many out before she came home from the hospital,” one of the organizers said, “so she’d drive through town and see them, and know that everyone was thinking of her and praying for her and her family.”

I first heard about the flamingos at Weare’s Old Home Day on August 27th, when their booth sold out by mid-day. But I was late to the party. By this point, flamingos were everywhere. They still are everywhere—and I mean everywhere. “We have people actually call us from Canada, and Florida, Arizona,” an organizer said. The #AbbyStrong “Army” encourages this migration—they just ask that people post pictures to their Facebook page.

Clockwise from top right: the flock outside Just Like Mom’s Pastries; a flamboyance of dressy flamingos on Dustin Tavern Road; flamingos who have migrated to the Apotheca coffee shop in Goffstown (and who can blame them?); the Flamingos of the Night’s Watch along The Wall…of Flanders Memorial Road; and patriotic flamingos outside the Weare Historical Society and Weare Public Library.
Clockwise from top right: the watering hole outside Just Like Mom’s Pastries; a flamboyance of dressy flamingos on Dustin Tavern Road; flamingos who have migrated to the Apotheca coffee shop in Goffstown (and who can blame them?); the Flamingos of the Night’s Watch along The Wall…of Flanders Memorial Road; and patriotic flamingos outside the Weare Historical Society and Weare Public Library.

In a time when we live too much of our lives online, it is comforting to see a community come together in real life. This is an old fashioned vIRaL campaign—viral IRL.

But this fundraiser has not been without its drama. When a bunch of the flamingos were stolen, the Weare Police Department reported the crime on their Facebook page. Their post was a graphic of a single word: “Really?”

The Weare Police Department’s Facebook page: the reaction to the theft and when the flamingos were returned.
The Weare Police Department’s Facebook page: the reaction to the theft and when the flamingos were returned.

The thieves realized they had done wrong, and they gave back all the flamingos—along with a donation to the #AbbyStrong movement.

Their letter read:

We are truly sorry for our actions and had no idea what the flamingos on Colby Road symbolized. We would have never taken them. Please know that we returned all the flamingos we took. We did not go around town [or] all over the place—they were only taken on Colby Road. If others are missing, that wasn’t us. We have enclosed a small donation hoping this will make a difference. Stay strong—you got this. Again we are truly sorry for our actions and will never do anything like this again.

[Note: I corrected the thieves’ grammar because I’m a teacher and that’s what I do.] The general consensus in town is that—while no one condones stealing the flamingos in the first place—their return, the apology, and the donation were appropriate penance.

Meanwhile, Abby has entered her second round of chemo, which cannot be easy. I have noticed from the family’s Thanksgiving photo (far right) that Abby is not using a hat or bandana (beyond what the weather requires). I wonder how much this is convenience and how much is a result of the support of her friends and community? I would like to think it is both liberating and comfortable!

Three views of Abby from #AbbyStrong’s “Army” Facebook page: before chemo, during, and between treatments.
Three views of Abby from #AbbyStrong’s “Army” Facebook page: before chemo, during, and between treatments.

I am heartened by the statistics on the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s webpage that five-year survival rates among those aged 15 and younger may be as high as 91%, depending on the type of leukemia she has.

And at least the thieves were right on one count: Stay strong, Abby. You got this.