Archives for category: Social commentary

Summer of Love Cover Final

Welcome to the final round! We’ve asked authors Lisa Mason and Laura Vosika to talk with us about their time travel books. This wraps up the Time Travel Blogs, Parts 1 through 5.

Lisa Mason is the author of Summer of Love, A Time Travel, and The Gilded Age, A Time Travel. Summer of Love was a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book. Locus Magazine said, “Remarkable. . .the intellect on display within these psychedelically packaged pages is clear-sighted, witty, and wise.” The Gilded Age was a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book. The New York Times Book Review called The Gilded Age, “A winning mixture of intelligence and passion.”

Laura Vosika is the author of Blue Bells of Scotland, lauded as a book in the vein of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, and earning many five-star reviews. Nan Hawthorne, author of historical fiction, called Blue Bells of Scotland one of her favorite books of the year. The praise was echoed by Robert Mattos of Book and Movie Reviews, adding that it is a must-have for the book shelves of any serious reader. The Minstrel Boy, Book Two in The Blue Bells Chronicles, is also out.

What research did you do for the era your time traveler returns to?

Laura: Every possible sort. I researched medieval times, Scotland, names, food, castles, weapon(r)y; weather, temperature, and sunrise and sunset on given days of the year in Scotland; whether the clothing in 1314 had buttons (no), time travel theories in science and fiction. I brushed up on my classical music and learned about the vampire of Melrose Abbey. I routinely post a ‘Researching Today’ status on my facebook author page (www.facebook.com/laura.vosika.author) telling about the interesting things I come across. I flew to Scotland for a two week research trip to visit all the locations in Blue Bells of Scotland.

I read a number of fiction books set in the era, particularly The Path of the Hero King, the thoroughly-researched novelization of the events leading up to Bannockburn by the great Scottish writer, Nigel Tranter. My collection of books on Scotland and medieval time–castles, towns, history, music, and food to name but a few specialties–spans several shelves. A few that stand out are Robert the Bruce: King of Scots by Ronald McNair Scott, Bannockburn 1314: Robert Bruce’s Great Victory by Pete Armstrong; James the Good: The Black Douglas by David R. Ross; and Robert Bruce and The Community of the Realm of Scotland by W.S. Barrow.

I also used a number of internet resources, including digging up English records from the time online. I kept detailed charts compiling differences of opinions among scholars.

Lisa: How did people fasten their clothes before buttons, let alone zippers? You’ll have to read Laura’s book to find out, among many other things!

For Summer of Love, I set out to capture the sights, sounds, attitudes, and culture from the inside out. I started out with The Haight-Ashbury, A History by Charles Perry, a book he worked on for eight years. From there, I read the daily San Francisco Chronicle from June 21, 1967 to September 4, 1967 on microfiche at the Santa Rosa Public Library (the only place in the Bay area where I could find such an archive). I acquired the gorgeous facsimile edition of The Oracle published by Regent Press and found a complete archive of The Berkeley Barb at the Berkeley Public Library. At Walden Pond Books, Bibliomania, and the now-vanished Holmes Book Company (all in Oakland) and Shakespeare & Company and Moe’s (both in Berkeley), I found rare books such as Lenore Kandel’s infamous Beat poem, Love Needs Care by Dr. David E. Smith who founded the Free Clinic, and Notes From Underground. I borrowed people’s home movies, studied Making Sense of the Sixties, which featured the famous Harry Reasoner clip, and watched Star Trek episodes (no, I’m not a Trekkie, but that research was fun). I acquired Life and Time magazines for June through September, 1967 from online bookstores, as well as a privately published corporate history of Marinship for details on Ruby Maverick’s mother’s experience as a war worker (found that gem at a military books specialist in St. Louis). I spoke with, met, or corresponded with Paul Kantner, Grace Slick, Katharine Kerr, Allen Ginsberg, and Allan Cohen, and even spoke by phone with the late Lenore Kandel. She told me that the bus fare in 1967 was fifteen cents (not a quarter, as I’d thought) and that there was no Sausalito ferry operating in 1967. We shared a laugh over the fact that her brother wrote scripts for Star Trek (she proofed the manuscript for me and loved the Star Trek riffs). And, of course, like Laura, I visited locations. Alas, I didn’t get a two-week research trip to Scotland. I live in the San Francisco Bay area and visited the ‘hood, which remains remarkably unchanged, and walked through the Portals of the Past in Golden Gate Park.

As for The Gilded Age, I found an entire library of books about the world during the 1890s, the United States, and San Francisco in particular. Several journalists in the 1930s and 1940s published detailed and lively accounts of the City before the 1906 Great Earthquake and Fire all but demolished San Francisco. These accounts included such classics as The Barbary Coast, The Madams of San Francisco, and The Tongs of Chinatown. Accounts abound of the amazing Donaldina Cameron, who rescued slave girls from the tongs and who plays a pivotal role in my book. Fin de siècle San Francisco was already a tourist attraction in the 1890s, and I found an actual guidebook published in 1899.

But what about those telling details?

Novels of the period (by authors such as Frank Norris and Jack London) reveal much about personal attitudes. At the late, great The Holmes Book Company in Oakland I discovered recipe books by the famous chefs of 1890s San Francisco with delicious details about food and drink. I think my favorite resources are the facsimile editions of the Montgomery Ward and Sears & Roebuck catalogs. There I discovered a wealth of detail about clothing, popular books, harnesses and carriages, guns, sewing implements, patent medicines, wigs, smoking accoutrements, makeup, children’s toys, and more. Pure heaven for the historical researcher!

Laura: It really is those minute details that bring a story to life, that give it the strong touch of reality and create the suspension of disbelief. I have been looking forward to preparing some of the food in my Medieval Feasts book. I probably won’t go so far as to build a five-man-sized brazier–I have a bad feeling there are city ordinances against them–but maybe I’ll time the cooking by saying Hail Marys, as is suggested in one resource, and see how that goes! I’m currently sampling a few of the Twin Cities’ offerings in mead. All in the name of research of course!

Lisa: Research, always! The biggest, juiciest treasure trove for The Gilded Age came in a bound volume of a newspaper, The Argonaut, for the entire years of 1896 and 1897. There I discovered such eye-openers as lady bicyclists and the scandals surrounding their attire (bloomers!) and how much the Spreckels sugar baron spent a year on cut flowers ($50,000). It’s hard to find that kind of delightful everyday detail in history books.

Thanks to Lisa Mason and Laura Vosika for a lively and thought-provoking discussion. If you, the reader, wish to join the discussion or have any questions or comments for our authors, feel free to contact them at their websites.

And please buy their books! Like them, review them, add stars, blog them, post them, Tweet them, and tell your friends. Your participation really matters.

We thank you for your readership!

Summer Of Love (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book). On BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo. On Kindle in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands.

And back in Print! From the printer: https://www.createspace.com/7257603

From Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Summer-Love-Travel-Lisa-Mason/dp/1548106119/

The Gilded Age (a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book). On BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. On Kindle in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands. Back in Print in July!

Visit Lisa Mason at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, forthcoming projects and more. And on my Facebook Author Page, on Amazon, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

For urban fantasy, science fiction, fantasy, romantic suspense, humor, and a screenplay, visit the Virtual Bookstore! All Lisa Mason Titles, All Links, All Readers, Worldwide. NYT Notable Book Author https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2013/08/31/virtual-bookstore-fantasy-science-fiction-urban-fantasy-romantic-suspense-literary-screenplay-sfwapro/

Blue Bells of Scotland is on Kindle, Nook, itunes, and at Smashwords, and The Minstrel Boy, Book Two in The Blue Bells Chronicles, is on Kindle.

Visit Laura Vosika on the web at www.bluebellstrilogy.com or www.facebook.com/laura.vosika.author.

If you missed the earlier Time Travel Blogs with Lisa Mason and Laura Vosika, here are the links:
Blog 1 (Influences and Inspirations) https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2017/07/15/lisa-mason-talks-time-travel-with-laura-vosika-part-1-sfwapro-timetravel-novel-1960s-1890s/

Blog 2 (Social Commentary) https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2017/07/16/lisa-mason-talks-time-travel-with-laura-vosika-part-2-social-commentary-sfwapro-timetravel-sciencefiction-womenssciencefiction-socialcommentary/

Blog 3 (Time Machines) https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2017/07/17/lisa-mason-talks-time-travel-with-laura-vosika-part-3-time-machines-and-thin-spots-sfwapro-timetravel-womenssciencefiction-timemachines/

Blog 4 (The Rules of Time Travel) https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2017/07/19/lisa-mason-talks-time-travel-with-laura-vosika-part-4-rules-of-time-travel-sfwapro-sfwapro-timetravel-womenssciencefiction-timemachines/

10.29.15.GILDEDAGEBIG

Welcome! We’ve asked authors Lisa Mason and Laura Vosika to talk with us about their time travel books.

Lisa Mason is the author of Summer of Love, A Time Travel, and The Gilded Age, A Time Travel. Summer of Love was a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book. Locus Magazine said, “Remarkable. . .the intellect on display within these psychedelically packaged pages is clear-sighted, witty, and wise.” The Gilded Age was a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book. The New York Times Book Review called The Gilded Age, “A winning mixture of intelligence and passion.”

Laura Vosika is the author of Blue Bells of Scotland, lauded as a book in the vein of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, and earning many five-star reviews. Nan Hawthorne, author of historical fiction, called Blue Bells of Scotland one of her favorite books of the year. The praise was echoed by Robert Mattos of Book and Movie Reviews, adding that it is a must-have for the book shelves of any serious reader. The Minstrel Boy, Book Two in The Blue Bells Chronicles, is also out.

Q: Do you employ time travel as social commentary or as a way to point out how daily life has changed?

Lisa: Not all time travel authors write about social commentary, but a lot have and I’m one of them. What struck me about 1895 and 1967 were the pervasive sexist and racist attitudes, which Chiron and Zhu each rail against. My time travelers also take aim at the huge effects of the consumption of resources, pollution, and overpopulation.

Each year in the past I chose was a true time marker. 1895 was a pivotal year for the woman suffrage movement, movements to recognize racial minorities and to protest cruelty to animals, advances in medicine, like the germ theory and antiseptics, and technology, like the telephone, telegraph, horseless carriages, and moving pictures. 1967 was the birthplace of the women’s rights movement as we know it today, the equality of racial minorities, the gay movement, the space race, and the first computers. Both my time travelers stand as witnesses to those historic moments and add their encouragement.

It is one of the delights of time travel fiction to point out how daily life has changed. Yet in both Summer of Love and The Gilded Age, my time travelers eventually have to admit that those retrograde attitudes resurface even in their enlightened future and those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it. Both come to realize that, despite the wonders of far-future technology, in many ways the quality of their lives is poorer than in simpler, more natural times.

I should add there’s also plenty of fun and romance in both books.

Laura: I definitely focus on social commentary and daily life. In Blue Bells of Scotland, Shawn starts out as real womanizing, self-centered player. In medieval Scotland, where he is mistaken for Niall, he finds that what he considers having a little fun, what he considers fairly normal, is heavily frowned on by fathers and sometimes by the women themselves. Coming from an age where we express our displeasure with words and lawsuits, he is shocked to find that people have no hesitation about physically harming him. And they don’t ask questions afterward, either.

One idea The Blue Bells Chronicles touches on is that of respect for women and women’s strength, as Shawn sees the contrasts between the lives of medieval women who appear very sheltered and protected in many ways, but must be very strong to get through a hard life full of work, famine, war, and disease; and the modern women he knows who are in many ways more independent, but suffer from their own problems and societal pressures.

Thanks to Lisa Mason and Laura Vosika for a lively and thought-provoking discussion. If you, the reader, wish to join the discussion or have any questions or comments for our authors, feel free to contact them at their websites.

And please buy their books! Like them, review them, add stars, blog them, post them, Tweet them, and tell your friends. Your participation really matters.

We thank you for your readership!

Summer Of Love (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book). On BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo. On Kindle in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands.

And back in Print! From the printer: https://www.createspace.com/7257603

From Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Summer-Love-Travel-Lisa-Mason/dp/1548106119/

The Gilded Age (a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book). On BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. On Kindle in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands.

Back in Print in July!

Visit Lisa Mason at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for her books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, forthcoming projects and more. And on her Facebook Author Page, on Amazon, on her Facebook Profile Page, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

Blue Bells of Scotland is on Kindle, Nook, itunes, and at Smashwords, and The Minstrel Boy, Book Two in The Blue Bells Chronicles, is on Kindle.

Visit Laura Vosika on the web at www.bluebellstrilogy.com or www.facebook.com/laura.vosika.author.

If you missed the first Time Travel Blog (Introduction), please find it here at https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2017/07/15/lisa-mason-talks-time-travel-with-laura-vosika-part-1-sfwapro-timetravel-novel-1960s-1890s/