Monday, August 4, 2014

Please help identify this pouch!

Does anyone know anything about this type of pouch?

This leather pouch has been in my family a long time, but we're not sure how long. It was most likely passed down from my great-great aunt Emma (Kittle) Mielke. She lived in Kenmare, North Dakota in the early 1900s and also in Paynesville, Minnesota. To me, the pouch looks Native American in design. It's about 7-3/4 inches from the top to the bottom (not counting the pom-pom type thing at the bottom). It appears to be made of 6 separate panels. It could be about 100 years old or even older. I really have no idea.

I'm hoping someone out there might now more about it. I'm just wondering what the design is called. Was it a tobacco pouch? A coin purse? Is the pattern a known motif? Was this typical of a certain Native American group or region? If you know, please let me know, too!
Both front and back have the same bead-work design.

Here's a close-up of the side panels. I'm not sure what kind of beads those are.

Here's how it opens up.

Some more detail - the rope/string is very soft. Not sure what it's made of.
Thanks for looking! I'm sure someone out there knows way more about this kind of thing than I do.

Google Play - ebooks

I'm slowly starting to put some of my ebooks up on Google Play. If you get your ebooks that way, then take a gander here, if you're so inclined.

I don't have all of my work up there, yet, but I'm working on it.

Fort Abercrombie, North Dakota, Author & Artist Expo

I was one of the authors at the Author & Artist Expo at Fort Abercrombie in Abercrombie, ND over the weekend. It's a well-run historical site and museum in a beautiful setting along the twisting and turning Red River. They give tours of the area via golf-cart, which is a nice way to see and learn about the expansive grounds. The fort played a role in the Dakota Uprising of 1862 - under siege for 6 weeks.

There were two other authors, and a handful of crafters - quilters, leather and wood-workers, photographers, etc. There was also a black smith on-site.

The Blacksmith!

Barb Nicholson, a well-known quilter from Kindred, ND, was there with her beautiful quilts and dolls. One of her quilts was even used as a prop in the show Scandal, appearing briefly in the second episode!

Here's me with Barb
Author Candace Simar was also there. One of her books, The Abercrombie Trail, takes place right at the fort! She gave an excellent talk on Sunday. It was great to meet her, and her books are all highly recommended, especially if you enjoy historical fiction.

Candace Simar
The drive was long from Savage to Abercrombie, but I'm glad I went. As always, it's great to meet new readers, authors, artists, and special thanks to site supervisor Lenny Kroeger and his wife Mary!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

White Crosses - a short mystery

My newest story. This one features the same two main characters that first appeared in my story Leave No Wake which was originally published in the Minnesota Crimewave's Resort To Murder anthology.

I got the idea while driving highway 191 between West Yellowstone and Bozeman through the Gallatin Canyon. There are so many white crosses there to indicate where someone died in a car accident. I tried counting them one time, and lost track at some point after fifty. This stuck in my mind for a long time, and finally a grain of an idea started to form. It really started coming together once I decided to use the Dick Varney and Noah Johnson characters from Leave No Wake.

Here's a little about it:

Mr. Varney and Mr. Johnson are on vacation out west, travelling in an old school bus they’ve converted into an RV. When thirteen-year old Kelly befriends them at a campground in Gallatin Canyon, they suspect that her guardian is up to no good. Is she the unwitting victim of a kidnapping? Or is something more sinister going on?

As Varney tries to make peace with a tragedy that happened years before, he and Johnson try to decide just how involved they should get in the suspicious circumstances that surround their new young friend.
The characters of Joel Arnold’s short mystery Leave No Wake are back for another adventure in this latest mystery short, White Crosses.

Available for the Kindle, the Nook, and other ereaders.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Eric Bailly's Songs of the Red

After giving my Ox Cart Angel talk in Moorhead at the Hjemkomst Center this June, a fellow came up to me, introduced himself as Eric Bailly and gave me a copy of his CD called Songs of the Red. The songs are inspired by the Red River, whether they're about Lake Agassiz, the Red River Oxcarts, Louis Riel, or the Red River's tendency to flood. As I'm a bit scatterbrained, I completely forgot about it until I finally found it weeks later in my box of speaking materials. (Sorry, Eric!) I popped it in my car's cd player and listened. Excellent stuff! There's guitar, harmonica on some of the songs, some cello, and great harmonies.  Reminds me of early REM at times. 

Take a listen to one of my favorite songs on the album:

I highly recommend it!

The entire album is available on iTunes here or on Amazon here.

Give it a listen!

Portrait of Jennie & The Picture of Dorian Gray

At 2014's CONvergence - whose theme was 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' - I watched two movies that were early examples of using color in otherwise black & white films for an interesting effect.

The first was Portrait of Jennie, 1948, starring Joseph Cotton as a down-on-his-luck artist, trying to eek out a living in depression-era New York City. He lacks inspiration until he meets a young girl in central park named Jennie. They strike up a casual friendship, and he sketches a picture of her. There's something strange going on, however; each time they meet, Jennie has aged, even though it's been only a matter of weeks or months between meetings. Eventually, her age catches up to his, and they fall in love with each other. He paints a beautiful portrait of her which catches the attention of the art world, and he becomes successful. More happens afterward, which I don't want to give away, but I really enjoyed this movie. Though most of the movie was in black & white, the last part of the movie suddenly becomes tinted green, then tinted red, and then when the full portrait is revealed in a museum years later, it's in full technicolor. (And for some interesting trivia, one of the teenagers looking at the portrait in this last shot is Nancy Davis - better known as Nancy Reagan.) This film also stars Jennifer Jones (as Jennie) Ethyl Barrymore and Lillian Gish.

Next was the classic The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1945, (based on the Oscar Wilde novel) starring Angela Lansbury, Donna Reed, Peter Lawford, George Sanders and Hurd Hatfield (as Mr. Gray). It also used a similar technique, in that the movie is filmed in black & white, but they use color when showing Dorian Gray's portrait. At first, they show the original portrait in color - the portrait of a gentleman - then later reveal the revolting image of Dorian as his soul has been nearly lost to corruption. It is this image, painted by Ivan Albright, that caused this fantasy movie to be labeled a horror film by many. I can see how springing this monstrous color painting near the climax of an otherwise black & white film must've been quite a shock to audience members. (If you'd like to see Ivan Albright's famous portrait of Dorian that caused quite a fright, you can see it here. However, you may want to watch the movie, first, and experience it that way!)

I highly recommend seeing both movies, especially one right after the other! 

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

2014 Author Tour - Final Part

(To start at the beginning of this series of posts about my 2014 Author Tour, go here)

After spending the night in Murdo, we drove east toward home. Stopped for lunch at Al's Oasis while it poured rain, crossed the Missouri River into Chamberlain and then stopped in Mitchell. Of course the Corn Palace was an obligatory stop, although they were doing some refurbishing of the outside.

After buying some delicious popcorn balls inside the palace (which is actually an auditorium where high school basketball games are played and concerts are held, but during tourist season converts into a giant gift shop) we headed over to the Dakota Discovery Museum, where they were kind enough to purchase some of my books. After that, it was a long stretch home.

It was a great trip. Got my book into 13 new stores that hadn't carried it before. Saw a lot of great places that can serve as potential magazine articles, story ideas or at least blog posts. I made a few great contacts, met a lot of good people, and Paige and I had a great time.

Yes, we had a great time, but we breathed a sigh of relief as we finally pulled into our driveway.

It's good to be home, be among the familiar, be with the rest of my family, my bed, my couch, my yard, my porch...

It's good to be home.

Thanks for following my blog posts about our 2014 Author Tour! If you'd like to be emailed whenever I post a new blog entry, and/or if you'd like to sign up to my once-a-month-or-so newsletter, check out the links on the right-hand side of this blog.

Take care!