Monday, July 8, 2019

Lilac Wine - Chapter 22

On this episode of Lilac Wine - The Podcast, Billy takes Robert to the Mississippi River and teaches him the art of "jugging" catfish.

Chapter 22 is available now.




Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Lilac Wine - Chapter 21

In Chapter 21, Robert deals with the aftermath of his waking dream. While walking Abelia home from the picnic, he ponders his choice of coming to Lily Springs.

Chapter 21 of Lilac Wine-The Podcast is now available.




Thursday, June 20, 2019

"Over There" and Historical Anachronisms



One of the cool things about writing an historical novel is the ability to place characters in actual events and places. When I started Lilac Wine, I was determined to make the novel as historically accurate as possible.  Being a history teacher, this was very important.

So, when my characters go on a Mississippi river excursion, for example, it is based on the actual timetables for the actual boats. In this case, the S.S. Sidney.  When they go to a movie theater in Chicago, they go to an actual theater and see what was playing that evening---such as seeing Charlie Chaplin's classic The Cure at the Gem Theater on June 10, 1917.

In Chapter 20, a special guest arrives in Lily Springs for the Fourth of July celebration.  He is there to sell Liberty Loans and, in the process, sings a rendition of the famous George Cohan song, "Over There."

The problem is:  in July of 1917, no one had ever heard of the song. Although it was written in April of 1917, it wasn't recorded until July by Nora Bayes.  That recording wasn't released until October.  The song was premiered live for the first time in the fall of 1917 at a benefit in New York for the Red Cross.

When I first wrote that chapter, I had read that George M. Cohan had written the song the day after war was declared in April of 1917.  I assumed then that the sheet music would have been released shortly after.  None of the examples of the sheet music had a date beyond the year.  So, I just went with it.

Just recently I discovered that I had been mistaken.  Horribly mistaken. Turns out the sheet music wasn't copyrighted until December.

So this brings an historical conundrum.  "Over There" is a song that modern audiences will know; it can give the reader a sense familiarity.  However, it is not historical.  The character could not have sung that song.

So, do I go with history or familiarity?  If I chose history, what could I use in its place?

Thank God for Google.  Although they are no longer adding to their newspaper archive, Google has hundreds of newspapers digitized.  And among those digitized is the Dubuque Telegraph-Herald.  A few years ago, I traveled to Dubuque to view issues of the newspaper on microfilm.  Not anymore.  I can look at every issue from 1917 from the comfort of my own home. Thanks, Google.

So, I began searching for ads and articles related to music of 1917 and found this Victor ad from the June 18, 1917 edition:

Among the standards, such as "Hail Columbia" and "The Star Spangled Banner," the ad lists two popular songs as well.   A quick search in the Victor catalogue reveals that both songs were written before war was declared and even the sound recordings were released just in May of that year.  So these two songs are prime candidates if I chose to replace "Over There" in Chapter 21.

The first song is "America, Here's My Boy."  It was written by Andrew Sterling and Arthur Lange.  It was published on April 20, according to the Copyright office and released on Victor Records in May, 1917.  This version is performed by the Peerless Quartet.



The other song is "Let's All Be Americans Now," written by Irving Berlin.  This recording is by Billy Murray and the American Quartet. It was released in February of 1917.



Both songs have a great feel for a patriotic Liberty Loan rally....but, for most readers, these songs will be very unfamiliar.  Does that matter?  Or is it better to go with a song that many people can hum in their heads?

I think I need to go with the history.  That was the intent at the beginning and I cannot change now. The question then is:  which song?


(This post was originally published in July, 2013. Updated on June 20, 2019)


Monday, June 10, 2019

A Special Guest Arrives in Lily Springs - Chapter 20 is now Available

Ellie's special guest finally arrives, dressed in olive drab and with the goal of selling Liberty Bonds.  His presence triggers some lucid dreams for Robert. Listen to Chapter 20 now.




Monday, June 3, 2019

Lilac Wine - Chapter 19 is now available!

As the 4th of July Celebration begins in the Lily Springs town triangle, Robert wonders if Abelia is going to make an appearance.

Check out the new episode of Lilac Wine, available now. Listen below or in your favorite podcast app.




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Monday, May 20, 2019

Lilac Wine - Chapter 18 is now available!

On this episode of Lilac Wine, we go back to the battlefields of France as the war once again invades Robert's dreams. But this time, the dream is more realistic, more terrifying. Listen now below or in your favorite podcast app.




Monday, May 13, 2019

Chapter 17

After a week hiatus, we are back with Chapter 17. Robert pays a visit to Abelia's backyard and the "Clara Barton of Plants" attends to his wounds.

Listen below, or in your favorite podcast app.





Monday, April 29, 2019

In Chapter 16, Robert learns a little something about small towns

After waking up the next day, Robert is confronted by Art and Tom about the incident aboard the Sidney and he learns firsthand how a small town operates. Chapter 16 is now available. Listen below or in your favorite podcast app.



Monday, April 22, 2019

Lilac Wine - Chapter 15 is now available

Robert tries to piece together what happened on the Sidney, and Billy gets a telegram from Streckfus Steamers.

Listen now to Chapter 15. After the reading, author Bruce Janu discusses the character of Billy. Listen below or in your favorite podcast app.



Thursday, April 18, 2019

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We are starting a mailing list to keep better in touch with our listeners. Don't worry, we will not give your email to anyone. We want to keep you up-to-date about things to come. But, more importantly, we want to reward our listeners. By signing up, you will be in the running for free Lilac Wine stuff, like T-shirts and mugs.

This is a "Thank You" for joining me on this journey.  Sign up below, or at this link.

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Monday, April 15, 2019

Lilac Wine - Chapter 14

On this episode of Lilac Wine-The Podcast, the excursion aboard the SS Sidney takes a turn for the worse for Billy and Robert. Cornered on the hurricane deck, fists fly.

Listen below or in your favorite podcast app. Let us know what you think in the comments below.



Monday, April 8, 2019

Lilac Wine - Chapter 13

On this episode of Lilac Wine-The Podcast, Billy takes Robert on an unconventional trip on the SS Sidney, a steamboat excursion paddlewheeler "tramping" along the upper Mississippi. On board, they listen to some jazz from Fate Marable and drink real beer for a change.

Listen below or in your favorite podcast app. Let us know what you think in the comments below.




Monday, April 1, 2019

Lilac Wine - Chapter 12

Chapter 12 is now available. Abelia makes some gazpacho and reminisces about Rima Reiniger, a woman from Over-the-Rhine who taught her about the "fruit of love" so many years ago. When Robert pays another visit, she is surprised at how she feels.




Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Chapter 11 is now available

Finally, after a two week hiatus another chapter of Lilac Wine is available. And this is a big one. In Chapter 11, Robert starts delivering the mail in Lily Springs and he finally meets the strange woman who lives in the last house on River Road. Listen now.





Monday, March 4, 2019

Chapter 10

In this Chapter, Billy takes Robert to his favorite spot along the Mississippi and the two of them drink Bevo, a non-alcoholic drink by Anheuser-Busch.

After the reading, Bruce talks about Bevo and steamers.




Monday, February 25, 2019

Chapter 9

On the next episode of Lilac Wine, Robert finally arrives in Lily Springs. He's greeted at the depot and then taken for a joy ride around the town triangle.

After the reading, Bruce discusses researching how to drive a 1913 Ford Model T.



Check out this video about driving a model T:





Monday, February 18, 2019

Lilac Wine - Chapter 8

Robert is on a train to Dubuque when the war invades his dreams. This isn't the first time that this has happened. But this time the war is more real, more immediate.

Listen below, or in your favorite podcast app.




Monday, February 11, 2019

Lilac Wine - Chapter 7

In this episode, we sit with Abelia on a warm June evening on her porch. She pours herself some wine and listens to records on her talking machine. John McCormack, an Irish tenor, is one of her favorites. She is reminded of her mother, Colleen Brody.

Listen below or on your favorite podcast app.



After the reading, Bruce discusses music from the early 20th century, the difference between 78s and 33s and the only "castrato" ever recorded, Alessandro Moreschi.


Thursday, February 7, 2019

"The Cure" Starring Charlie Chaplin

In Chapter 6 of Lilac Wine - The Podcast, Robert attends a screening of the new Chaplin film, "The Cure." Here is the film. Imagine you are in a dark theater in Chicago in 1917. It is a Saturday night, scattered people throughout the small theater. Some women are "working" in the dark corners, if you know what I mean. After the film, all hell breaks loose. Listen to Chapter 6 now.


Monday, February 4, 2019

Lilac Wine - Chapter 6

On this episode of Lilac Wine - The Podcast, we are back in Chicago for Robert's last night in the city before catching a train to Lily Springs inthe morning. A fan of Charlie Chaplin, he decides a trip to the Gem Theater is in order to catch a screening of The Cure---and then all hell breaks loose!

Listen below or on your favorite podcast service. Subscribe now and tell your friends!




Monday, January 28, 2019

Lilac Wine - The Podcast: "Chapter 5"

On this episode we are going back to Lily Springs. Charlotte is painting in Abelia's garden when chaos strikes.

Be sure to subscribe on your favorite podcast app, or listen below.  If you are enjoying Lilac Wine, please consider writing a review at iTunes.  That would be greatly appreciated!

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Monday, January 21, 2019

Lilac Wine - The Podcast: "Chapter 4"

On this episode, we join Robert Bishop as he pays a visit to Conrad's Tavern, and meet the proprietor and his wife. There, Robert and Conrad talk about recent events as Robert enjoys a class of Edelweiss lager and contemplates his uncle's offer.


After the reading, author Bruce Janu discusses the plight of Germans in Chicago following the U.S. declaration of war against Germany.


Monday, January 14, 2019

Lilac Wine - The Podcast: "Chapter 3"

On this episode of Lilac Wine, we go to Chicago to meet Robert Bishop, who works at his uncle's piano factory on "Piano Row." Chicago, at the time, was one of the leading producers of musical instruments. But the war was taking a toll on business, and soon Robert will need to find another job.

Check out the picture of "piano row" below, taken in 1907. Tell your friends about the podcast. Subscribe on your favorite podcast app.



This is "Piano Row," Chicago. Click on the picture below to go to a full size version. The detail is amazing!





Monday, January 7, 2019

Lilac Wine - The Podcast: Chapter Two

After Owen's accident at the swimming hole, Abelia's picnic in interrupted by a black cherry wine-induced dream. Listen below or in your favorite podcast app. Subscribe so you don't miss an episode!






Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Lilac Wine - The Podcast: Chapter One

Chapter One is here! An accident at the swimming hole brings out several residents of Lily Springs, hoping to find the source of the sound that is reverberating off the buildings in Lily Springs.  Listen below or in your favorite podcast app. Subscribe so you don't miss an episode!




This episode features some of the more eccentric characters in Lily Springs. Where is Lily Springs located? North of Dubuque, Iowa, along the Mississippi.

When researching the book, I took a trip to Iowa and drove up and down the banks of the Mississippi, stood at the railroad tracks mere feet from the river.

Lily Springs is a completely fictional town, but North Buena Vista was a town that had many qualities I was looking for in regard to the "look" of Lily Springs.  Here are some pictures I took on that trip: