Welcome To A Website For History, Writing and Baking

I never thought I’d be writing again, much less brainstorming two novels at the same time. The good news is, the concepts and genres are so very different from one another. One is historical fiction; the other is science fantasy. Neither genre choice should come as a big surprise, especially if you’ve followed this blog for any period of time.

So, not only did this site get a much needed and major facelift, but so did my approach to writing. chocolateandpaper.com will be a very visual representation of this new journey. It’s one of returning to my Pennsylvania roots, returning to my love for all things Pennsylvania history, and a resurgence of all things baking and writing. If any of that sounds good to you, I hope you’ll stick around!

A Website for History

I shall begin this section with an age old cliche: I’ve loved history since I was a child. Only, I didn’t realize it at the time. Because Dad’s job granted us the opportunity to travel a lot (on a budget, mind you), I got to see many different sights around the United States before I was fifteen. Not only that, but I spent New Year’s in Germany when I was eight, flew across the pond once more to England for a cousin’s wedding, helped build a church in Mexico in my teens, and traveled – with a group of other college kids – to China in 2008.

No matter where you find yourself, history is there. You just have to look for those little nuggets of knowledge. I will admit that, with all this foreign travel, I never really dove into Pennsylvania history until I reached my thirties. And boy oh boy do I have a lot of catching up to do! Pittsburgh and Philadelphia – two of the earliest cities on the East Coast – are bridged by a frontier of history – bookend Pennsylvania in a unique way.

I used to think I had to travel to find history. Or, rather, what I found to be interesting history. While Germany, England and China may possess some of the oldest known histories, Pennsylvania was, and still is, such a mystery to me. Pennsylvanians really only learn about the big events that took place here (Gettysburg, Homestead, everything in Philly’s 1776). But what about that bridged frontier?

What about that bridged frontier? That’s what I’m going to explore with this kinda travel blog. From Johnstown and Altoona to Homestead and Franklin, I hope you’ll stay to read about all the adventures I hope to have in the coming years. Yes, much of it will include trains, but what do you expect from the granddaughter of a zealous train and trolley lover? I hope you’ll also join me in learning more about your own backyard!

A Website for Writing

As mentioned above, I’ve begun work on two brand new works-in-progress. While both are polar opposites in setting, genre and time, both include elements of history that were hard to ignore. It’s been said that in order to write about history, one must first learn that history. Learn everything about it.

Does your character want to be a farmer, or do they hate farming? You gotta know something about farming to help that trait along. Does a secondary character wash and starch clothing in the 1850s? Then you gotta know that profession inside and out in order to create believable scenes for the reader.

I will always, always make a case for research, no matter your genre, no matter your characters. Writing makes you question everything you think you know. And, even if you truly are an expert on some facet of history, there’s always something new to learn.

All that ties in to how I’ll approach my blog posts about my own writing journey. I’m sure, if you’re a writer, you’ve heard the phrase “research rabbit hole.” I hope to combine elements of those rabbit holes not only into my WIPS, aesthetics and travel posts, but regular blog posts as well.

And who knows? Maybe one day I’ll have a writing sesh at the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum!

A Website for Baking

This is a brand new section of the website, one I’m thoroughly thrilled to work on. At first I was just going to explore all the chocolate recipes I could. However, as much as I love chocolate, you really can have too much of any good thing (cold brew pumpkin spice lattes also fall in to that category).

If you feel so inclined, please feel free to check out these Baking Adventures: Fudgy Brownies, and Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting. I’ve got loads of plans for future posts, including one this week featuring all things pumpkin!