October 20, 2014 by Kiersi
So, I’ve been in Spain the last week. Part of our trip here was to visit my father’s Basque relatives and, specifically, the house where my ancestors lived in the Basque Country (in the northern part of Spain) before migrating to the United States.
I’ve always wondered what brought them to the US all that time ago—but the truth was way more exciting than I thought it would be.
My great great grandfather’s brother was the first to immigrate to the US. But once he got there, he was murdered by a “blue-eyed Irishman.”
The news traveled back to my great great grandfather, Benito Arrizabalaga, who still lived in the Basque Country. After hearing it, he vowed to avenge his brother.
Benito stowed away on a ship crossing the Atlantic to the US, but somewhere along the way, he was discovered. The Captain gave him two choices: work as a cabin boy to pay for his passage, or get thrown overboard.
He obviously chose the first option.
Once in the US, though, Benito never did find that blue-eyed Irishman who killed his brother. Though he did get into some other trouble, I was not surprised to hear, that included accidentally driving a wagon and a team of horses off a cliff.
I see where I get it from, though I have yet to lose my whole wagon yet.
Category Personal | Tags: ancestry,Basque Country,basques,family,heritage,immigration,true story | 17 Comments
June 29, 2012 by Kiersi
After last week’s Dick and Jane post about buffing up your story or manuscript with conflict, a commenter suggested I discuss and share some ways this can be accomplished. What kinds of conflicts do people have? What are some ways to integrate them into your manuscript?
1. Characterization is key. I referred to this loosely in the comments as “just make everyone a big, fat jerk,” but that’s not really the whole story.
Let’s start with this: people are twits. I mean, just look at these teenagers who mercilessly taunted a volunteer school bus monitor. A quick and easy way to create conflict in a story is to make one of your characters act like a total and complete asshat. If you’re like me and generally writing young adult fiction, that should be easy enough to do–a teenager can vacillate between being an angel and a demon faster than you can say “adolescence.” He inflames others around him. He starts arguments. He causes continental drift. (more…)
Category How-to | Tags: characterization,conflict,disasters,expectations,family,nature,romance,YA | 2 Comments
January 22, 2012 by Kiersi
Hey there, big brother. I heard it’s your birthday today. As in, the day you graced us with your presence. The day you emerged soggy and sobbing into this unfair universe, with the best intentions, the biggest dreams and hopes and a real nice head of hair. (more…)
Category Uncategorized | Tags: birthday,brother,family | 2 Comments