Tuesday, June 27, 2023


Post by Doris McCraw

aka Angela Raines

Photo (c) Doris McCraw

Have you ever seen a piece of news that just begged for further research? Sometimes you find enough for a nonfiction piece. Other times it ends up being a nugget for a story.

The below clipping is from San Franciso, CA. newspaper in 1879  that inspired a nonfiction piece on the death of Lafayette Shidleler and his murderer Joe Ward. 

That same Joe Ward was the model for one of my characters in the novel, "The Outlaw's Letter".

There are some other tidbits that may warrant further investigation. We will see. In the meantime, the Smoky Hill River Trail has caught my eye.

How do you find your story inspiration? I'd really like to know.

Until Next Time: Stay safe, Stay happy, and Stay healthy.




  1. Doris, I love old newspapers. I've been coming across some genealogy tidbits as I've sorted through my parents' crates of things that came from their house when they moved into assisted living so many years ago. One of the things I found was an article about my dad's father and two army buddies who were reunited -- they fought together in WWI!!!!!!! They were all in their 80's when they got together again, and there is a picture, but it is really grainy. My granddad was born in 1898. I wish I had been older and more "aware" so I might have talked to him and asked some questions.

    Inspiration comes from everywhere for me--many times, just a painting or a photograph (those really are worth a thousand words!) A newspaper clipping from the past is also great! When I went back to college to finish up, in my late 20's, I worked for one of my history professors doing research about women in Britain in the 1500's-1800's that died in childbirth or of related illness following childbirth. What an eye-opener that was! And some of the "aside" notes that were included in that research were just fascinating. Alas, there was no place to really use that information in my writing. LOL

    Very interesting post!

    1. What a wonderful 'gift' to have something like that saved. I grew up in a community where I was surrounded by stories from way back. I was old enough to be fascinated by them. I sometimes think that history and research are in my DNA. LOL. Needless to say, I've more stories ideas than time at this point in my life.

      Thank you for your kind words about the post. Love old newspapers! Doris

  2. I find inspiration in newspapers, too, Doris. I love browsing old issues of the papers where my stories are set. I also look at photos of the areas I'm using, and often those will inspire something as well.

    I also like reading journals or diaries of people who were in the right area at the right time. You can find a lot of interesting tidbits of information from these sources.

    Thank you for another good post!

    1. You are a person after my own heart. If possible, I also like to walk or drive through the area in question also. Sometimes I can picture my characters moving through the environment.

      Thank you for the support. Doris