Tuesday, December 6, 2022

The Ohio Literary Trail

 More Than Stroll on the Literary Trail


For the past several years, my mother’s Christmas gift to me has been an Ohio membership for the automobile club called AAA. (Triple A) 

Good thing. There was the time my battery died. The time I had a flat tire. And of course the time I was at a restaurant with a friend and she locked her keys in her car. Yep, they came and helped us then, too.


The organization sends me their magazine as well. I enjoy the articles and tips. Because I live in Ohio, the magazine always has articles about the best places to visit in “the Buckeye State.” 


I save the stories I find most interesting.


I am a member of the Ohio Chapter of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). I served as the president for a couple of years. My last year to serve was 2021. That year, I proposed we accept the challenge to visit sites on the Ohio Literary Trail. I pulled out my AAA Magazine and shared the article I’d read about it. The Ohio Literary Trail was put together by the Ohioana Library Association. 


After some discussion and a bit of research, our group took on the task. 


To kick it off, we met at the Ohio History Center in the state’s capitol, Columbus. We picnicked in the historical village and toured the grounds. Ideas for stories taking place along the trail began to take shape. Michelle Levigne of Ye Olde Dragon Books offered to publish some of the stories in an anthology. 


This little idea was growing legs and taking off.


Various sites around the state were selected and hosted by members who lived near them. For my offering, I chose the Harriet Beecher Stowe House in Cincinnati. I knew a little about the famous author of Uncle Tom’s Cabinbut not much about her life in the suburb of Walnut Hills near me. I had no clue how her nearly twenty years in the area inspired the writing of her most famous book. 


I did my research and prepared myself for our group outing. Since I write contemporary fiction, I started pulling together an idea for a story before I ever toured the site.


My thought was to have a young mother help chaperone her daughter’s field trip to the house. The daughter would look at a photo and say something about her grandpa. I decided my main character would study the photo, see the resemblance, track down a long forgotten story of a guest in the Stowe house, and eventually, fill in the gaps of her father’s long lost family history.


It didn’t work. Not one photo I saw inspired me. I would need to dig deeper. However, the event was a success. I enjoyed learning about the time period and viewing the way of life once lived in that old house. Still, I needed an angle. I don’t write historical fiction. How could I write a story about Harriet Beecher Stowe without it sounding like a book report? 


I prayed about it. I wrestled with a few ideas. Then I prayed some more. 




So I let it go. Perhaps I wasn’t supposed to have a story in the anthology after all. But then it happened. As it often does, when I let go of an idea or stop trying to force an outcome, God brings it to my mind as clear as a summer morning.

Grab a Copy HERE


Split time. I read about it somewhere. Split time is actually two stories taking place in two different time periods but converging in a way that changes the direction of one of the characters. I know. It sounds a bit crazy and a little sci-fi, but it isn’t.


My historical character was Harriet Beecher Stowe. Through the story, I peeked into her daily life and the events shaping her writing. The contemporary character, Beth, is also a wife, mother, and writer living in Cincinnati. There are parallel experiences in the lives of these women and a common cause. Beth draws from Harriet a sense of purpose and a commitment to use her pen to change lives. 


The anthology released this past week. I’m posting the link to the book. You may want to grab a copy for that hard-to-shop-for friend or the Christmas exchange. That would be great. 


But the big take-away? This bit of advice: Whatever you are facing, turn it over to God and let Him do the heavy work….Oh, and of course, then…remember to tell Him “thank you.”


Thank you, AAA!

    Choose your next adventure!

        What inspires you?




  1. Always enjoy your stories!

    1. Thank you so much! That means a lot to me. You are a true encourager.


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