Showing posts from 2016

Heaven's Promise---The Final Twist

Order it here
It's here.....the conclusion of the popular family saga of the Ownby family and their struggle for survival during the Civil War.

"Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." 2 Peter 3:13 A family is like A Twist of Tobacco, layered, folded and twisted until each leaf becomes inseparable. Years of planning and treacherous journeys by wagon and exhausting railroad car, finally aid Watt and Lizzie in fulfilling their fathers' dream of settling the family in North Texas. But, does Texas hold the promise of security and prosperity for the ever increasing Ownby clan? Based on family stories and traditions and backed by years of research.
Heaven's Promise (The Final Twist)

IndieVengence Day 2016

I was honored to be invited to participate in IndieVengence Day 2016, celebrating the Independent Author Movement.
This event presents the Indie Author to readers so they can personally meet the author and the author can sign their books and announce works in progress.
Half-Price Books in Frisco, Texas was this years host and our gracious hostess, Mgr. Rekha Burns was most helpful and ...well...gracious.
Coordinator Amber Jerome-Norrgard (a published and accomplished poet as well as CEO of 629 Publishing) tackled the enormous task of herding seven (7) creative (and crazy) souls into one space for two days. I'm told it's a lot like herding chickens, and I must say she did excellent job.
The other spotlighted authors (everyone of them independently published) were:
Yours truly, Rita Ownby Holcomb James William Peercy Jacqueline Smith Ben Ditmars John M. Moody Susie Clevenger Melissa Zaroski Paula Walker Baker (Paula was ill and couldn't make it but she was missed terribly)
And a go…

Research is fascinating and you meet the nicest people

Photo taken on my first ever Genealogy Research Excursion in July of 2000. Darrell and I went to Knoxville for a Brabson family reunion (my mother's side of the family), but stopped in Nashville to meet these two wonderful gentlemen.
Knox Ownby on the left is William Peyton Winstead is on the right. The irony and fun fact is these two attended the same church and had known each other for years. Although not kin to each other they were both kin to me. Darrell and I walked into the JoJo's where we had arranged to meet and the place was empty. We spotted two men sitting in a sunny corner booth and Darrell and I just looked at each other and headed that direction. The resembled two of my uncles and as the afternoon progressed the familiarity increased. Their personalities were the same also. It was Love at first sight.
Bill left us in 2011 and Knox's health is failing but I am forever thankful that I knew both of these fine gentlemen.

Civil War Questionaire

I met with a distant cousin yesterday who had some interesting information for me.  (Incidentally I had a couple of surprises for me.) 

First but not least in the info was a transcription of The Tennessee Civil War Veterans Questionnaire, Confederate Soldiers compiled by Gustaus W. Dyer and John Trotwood.  They sent the questionnaire to both Confederate and Union soldier and compiled the study around 1920.

I found the questions condescending and the answers very enlightening. (misspellings are as originally written)

These excerpt were from the form filled out by Samuel Mortimer Ownby, Woodbury, TN.

State your full name.  Samuel Mortimore Ownby.
State your age.  76
In what state and county were you born.?  Tenn. Marshall Co
Were you confederate or federal soldier? Confederate
Name of your company: Company I Reg 14 nixon's Cavlary
What was the occupation of your father? Farming
Give full name of your father.  Ely Craeg Ownby
Maiden name in full of your mother. Nancy Winstead  she was daughter …

Dressing Miss Molly

I received the sweetest letter yesterday from the kids at the Parkside Baptist Churches summer camp program.
I had presented a program on antebellum dress during their lunch period.  They were engaged and curious and we had so much fun as I stood there in 14 layers of clothing while they were all wearing shorts and t-shirts  LOL

Even the boys enjoyed the program.  One youngster texted his mother and said, "We're watching a lady take her clothes off."  
As Art Linkletter said "Kids say the darnedest things!"

Symbolism in Display

When you are one of many at a convention, Sales show or multi book signing you want something to grab the casual lookers attention.
But ... it also needs to relate to your product. In my case, these days that product is my book series "A Twist of Tobacco" .
Last week I spent four days at the Sons of Confederate Veterans National Reunion and knew that I would be competing for the attention of the attendees. There were antique arms dealers, reenactment clothing dealers, and more books about the civil war than you could shake a stick at.
I really needed something to draw attention to my fact based historical novel.
Here's what I came up with....

Of course the eye catcher is the red white and blue quilt which was made by my great-grandmother who is also featured in my book series.
Then people notice the display board. It contains photos of my ancestors; newspaper clipping of thre brothers who fought for the confederacy in the Civil War; The United Daughters of the Confeder…

And the Winner Is.......

During the 2016 SCV National Reunion held in Richardson, Tx last week, I offered a drawing for a free copy of "Heaven's Promise-A Final Twist" which is scheduled to be released in November.

The drawing was held at 1:00 Saturday afternoon.

DRUM ROLL PLEASE...............

Roy D. King  of  Rogersville, Tennessee

Civil War Era Quilt Family Heirloom

Exciting news........ or at least for me it is exciting. As I was getting ready for the Sons of Confederate Reunion last week I wanted a table covering that was indicative of the Civil War era. I dug through my old family quilts to see if there was anything that would work. I saw this red, white and blue that satisfied my needs. It was from my fathers family, on which the "A Twist of Tobacco" series is based. All of the years I have assumed my grandmother made the quilt. She married in 1913 and died in 1959. It looked really nice and distinguished my display from others. As I sat there for 4 days I became fascinated by the blue print. Now, I have bought and sold vintage and antique fabrics for more than 15 years but I just couldn't place any of these prints. I took these photos while I was sitting there and posted them to one of my vintage and antique chat boards and can you imagine my surprise when they told me this is a 1860-1880 Victorian indigo cotton. The respon…

I will remember them!

Newest 5 star review:
Rita Ownby Holcomb uses the history of her family to weave a wonderful historical story. The author did her research, and having family from that area of Tennessee, I can relate to some of the places in the book. I love stories told at a family table. The author has brought to life her family's stories in this heartwarming labor of love.
A Twist of Tobacco
A Vow Unbroken

It's HERE A Vow Unbroken

The much awaited arrival of A Vow Unbroken is here.

Read a preview now .....

Read a Preview from your Desktop

Now you can read a preview of A Twist of Tobacco right from your desktop or any where.
No need to download a app.

Just click the link and get the first few chapters free.

Preview A Twist of Tobacco NOW!

Rewrites--The process

Each writer has a different process to get words on a page.
Some type directly into a word processor, some write in long hand and some dictate into a machine. There are even a few who still use a typewriter.

I start in longhand, then type and print, then read aloud and make notes and adjustments, then print again.   RINSE and REPEAT.

From the soon to be launched A Vow Unbroken, here is an example of a 3rd rewrite and the longhand edits and hopefully (but no promises) the final draft.

Authorfest 2016

My first but definitely not my last Author event.  As a new author I went in blind and came out with so many promotion ideas that this old head is still spinning.  Made many new friends, and renewed some long ago acquaintances. We both decided it was college just 2 years ago. (add 40 years to that and it'll be accurate.)  I'm ready for the next one, Bring it on.

A Vow Unbroken

First draft of A Vow Unbroken has gone to the editor.

Can I get a Whoopeeeeee?

What readers say

Not only do reviews help with sales for authors, face it, our ego's thrive on them too.  When I get one like the following, I just want to sit down with a glass of sweet tea and read the book like I didn't write it.

Wonderful saga for all ages
By islandbb on April 9, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition
This story is unforgettable for history buffs and anyone else who would enjoy reading a true account of a real family play out on the written page. I laughed; I cried; and when I read the last page, I realized I had seen a depiction of American life in the 19th century South at it's best. This tale by author, Rita Ownby Holcomb, reminded me of the love and the sorrow and the pure joy experienced by our ancestors. Rita does not disappoint and the good news is that this is the first of a series with her newest book, " A Vow Unbroken " coming out soon. Treat yourself to this uplifting and historically correct book.
Join us for a fun filled literary weekend.  Oh yeah, and there's puppies too!

Looking for a good book?

Are you weary of naked bodies on book covers; bored with the half dead walking amongst us; perplexed by alternate worlds and dimensions; well past the age of teen-age angst?

Do you ant to read a good story about real people, in a down to earth fashion with an authentic historical background?

Then order your copy of A Twist of Tobacco today.

Available in softcover or Kindle editions at Amazon.

Or receive a SIGNED copy from the Author.
Historical fiction at its finest!
By S. Breheny on February 10, 2016
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This is the kind of writing I absoluting LOVE! The writing flows so smoothly making it easy to "get lost" in the story immediately. The wording and phrases are accurate for the time period and locale. I especially appreciate all the descriptive passages so I can visualize clearly what each character is doing and might be feeling. It is apparent that Rita has done abundant research on many subjects combining all those elements to create a vivid portrait of real life in 1800's Tennessee.

Thank you, Rita, for your labor of love!

A Twist of Tobacco

Why leaving a review is important....

I really like your book! Tears were running down my face yesterday when I was reading it! I am not even half way through! I received this message today on a completely unrelated thread. Authors depend on reviews to generate sales but also to keep us motivated. We need to know that people are reading and getting our message, what ever it might be. Notes like that really make my day.

Get your copy today A Twist of Tobacco

Tennessee Confederate Veterans Home and Cemetery

In our research quest for A Twist of Tobacco, my husband and I visited the Tennessee Confederate Soldiers Home Cemetery located in Hermitage Tennessee. The home and subsequent cemetery was built on the grounds of Andrew Jackson's plantation The Hermitage. Built in 1892 the home closed in 1933. Residents of the home are buried in the Confederate Cemetery. My great uncle Cahal Knox Polk Ownby was a resident there and was buried in 1918. There is a large monument and the soldiers are buried with a simple stone engraved with their regiments. The graves were placed in an outward spiral. the nearest stones were the first and the farthest stones were the last. The last confederate veteran resident died in 1941.

A Way of Life

When people say Southerners before the Civil War it automatically brings to mind Tara and Scarlett O'Hara, sweeping lawns and massive garden parties. 

The truth of the matter is that the majority of southerners were simple farmers or merchants. In researching A Twist of Tobacco I visited a wonderful working farm museum near Dover Tennessee.

Homeplace 1850's Working Farm  was absolutely fascinating and gave me much background for the daily life of my ancestors before the war began. 

 Typical Two Pen House with detached kitchen at rear

Parlor with bed and trundle for visiting company. I am standing in the front door of the Pen and you can see straight into the kitchen.

Smokey the house cat.

Making tomato sauce in the hot kitchen.

Stairs to the loft and upstairs bedrooms

Loft room
As you can see, these people lived a life far different from what is often portrayed in movies and TV shows.

Butternut Grey

"Baby Henry was asleep in a basket on the porch while Carol sewed yellow trim on her son’s Butternut coats. Lizzie had painstakingly cut out the patterns for the uniform jackets and pants. And during the quiet afternoons, when the men were in the field and the children were in school or taking a nap, Carol had been sewing the uniforms for Watt and Ed. She said a silent prayer for all of the boys already gone to war."  
from A Twist of Tobacco
I have found so many tiny little tidbits of information in my research over the years.  It's these actual bits that give my story life and authenticity. 

A page from Watt's actual Confederate Pension Application.

A trip back in time

In September of 2001 I took my first genealogy research trip to Tennessee. Two distant Ownby cousins and I planned to spend at least 10 days touring the area and researching in courthouses.   And we did.  
We met up with other distant cousins and spent time in the towns and ate way too much country cooking. We based ourselves in Murfreesboro, Cannon County. We were actually researching several families but that's another story for another book. 
Along the way we were directed to property that belonged to Eli Craig Ownby and some that is still in family hands.

Tobacco drying shed on land still in possession by an Ownby descendant. 

The creek featured in A Twist of Tobacco

Of course yours truly (on the right) had to wade in the creek like a little girl.  After all Queen was my great Aunt.

View from the road where Eli and the children lived after the war.
I'm afraid this chapter of my research story doesn't have a happy ending. 
Did I mention it was early September, 2001?
On the morn…

Recognizing and Honoring Confederate Veterans

The United Daughters of the Confederacy To honor the memory of those who served and those who fell in the service of the Confederate States.
To protect, preserve and mark the places made historic by Confederate valor.
To collect and preserve the material for a truthful history of the War Between the States.
To record the part taken by Southern women in patient endurance of hardship and patriotic devotion during the struggle and in untiring efforts after the War during the reconstruction of the South.
To fulfill the sacred duty of benevolence toward the survivors and toward those dependent upon them.
To assist descendants of worthy Confederates in securing proper education.
To cherish the ties of friendship among the members of the Organization
I am proud to have six family members so honored. 
First and foremost is my great grandfather Watterson Knox Polk Ownby