Category Archives: Writing and Literature

REVISITING THE SEVENTIES

I’ve been working on a novel that takes place in the seventies and it has proven eye-opening in what research has uncovered,, and what it’s brought to mind. Although I am old enough to have lived through that era, I spent most of it in the U.K. , which had problems other than the ones so divisive to the United States.

Haight Ashbury, courtesy of Arjun Sarup via Wikimedia Commons

Viet Nam and Watergate marked the decade, the former possibly sowing the seed of today’s divisions in our country, the latter being compared at times to the present government. But I’m not here for political proselytizing; I did not give (thus far) politics anything more than a passing mention in my book. I’ve used the seventies as background, and in so doing, have discovered quite a few interesting things.

Birth Control: Although the contraceptive pill came on the market in 1960, it wasn’t made available to all women regardless of marital status until 1972. Meanwhile, IUDs were held responsible for the deaths of seven users and removed from the market. In most people’s minds, it was ‘the pill’ that was responsible for free love and the sexual revolution.

Abortion: Roe vs Wade was decided 22 January 1973, disallowing many state and federal restrictions on abortion. More than forty years later, the arguments continue.

DNA Testing: Although DNA Testing became available in 1960, it only had 80% accuracy and could not distinguish between close relatives. It was not until 1970 that a specific enzyme was identified to improve results.

Seat Belts: Although it became law in 1968 that all vehicles except buses had to be manufactured with seat belts, it didn’t become law that you actually had to

1978 Chevette, photo courtesy of The Paper at The English Language Wikipedia

use them until 1984—in New York. Today all states except New Hampshire have seat belt laws; eighteen states make it only a secondary offense under which the car cannot be stopped for that reason alone.

Child safety seats: Although some form of child booster seat was invented and in use as far back as 1933—allowing children to look out the window—it was not until 1971 that the government brought in safety standards, and 1979 that Tennessee was the first state to bring in laws making child safety seats compulsory.

Some Popular Children’s Toys: A stuffed Lassie dog, Peanuts character dolls, a Waltons Playhouse, Apollo Moon Rocket, Radio Flyer Wagon, Etch-a-Sketch, Charlie’s Angels dolls, Erector sets, Starship Enterprise, and the perennial favorite, Barbie dolls were popular through the decade. The Atari Home Computer system became available in 1979 at $594.95, a whopping sum at the time.

Sport: In 1973 Billie Jean King (world No. 2 female tennis player) fought fifty-five year old former champion Bobby Riggs in a match that was called ‘Battle of the Sexes.’ King won in three sets. In 1971, Muhamamed Ali won a Supreme Court decision after four years reinstating his boxing titles of which he had been stripped for refusing to be drafted on the basis of religious beliefs. He went on to win heavyweight championships in both 1974 and 1978; famous fights included the Rumble in the Jungle against George Foreman, and the Thrilla in Manila against Joe Frazier, both of which he won. Gymnast Nadia Comaneci won three gold meals at the Montreal Olympics with seven perfect scores.

Fashion: Best not to go there! Polyester coordinates and leisure suits remain forgotten, please. Wet-look vinyl and fake furs also made a stand. But we had flared pants, fringe, and embroidery still in use today.

Fashion Model Twiggy, 1970

Cars: the Ford Mustang, the Mercury Bobcat and the Chevette shared the road with station wagons like the Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser, and ‘woodies’ were a favorite.

Travel: Concorde took off in 1976, cutting transatlantic travel time to three and a half hours—if you could afford it.

More food for thought: Taking 1975 as my example, inflation was at 9.2% in the US and at 24.2% in the UK, the Dow Jones was averaging 858, interest rates were at 7.25% in the USA and 11.25% in the UK, gas was around 44¢, the average cost of a new car was $4,250 and a new house $39, 500. While the heyday of hippies in Haight-Ashbury may have passed in the sixties, despite heavy drug use and a lack of a police presence, communes were still going, most famously the Scott Street Commune and The Red Victorian, which served as both hotel and commune after 1977.

Bomber during Operation-Linebacker, Viet Nam war

So, Viet Nam: The war had actually been going on since 1965 after the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which gave Pres. LB Johnson permission to wage war—after an attack on one of our destroyers which just happened to be out there. By 1970, Richard Nixon was president and Cambodia was in the war, Henry Kissinger was trying to negotiate a peace settlement but protests continued. Four students were killed and eight wounded by National Guardsmen at Kent State University in Ohio. In 1971, Lt. William Calley Jr. was convicted of the murder of twenty-two unarmed South Vietnamese civilians in the Mai Lai Massacre. He was released after three and a half years for a number of reasons, not least was the fact he was the only army officer singled out for the crime. In 1972, Nixon won re-election and Kissinger revealed peace talks were underway with Le Duc Tho. By 1973, a cease-fire was signed, the end of the draft was announced, and the last American troops left Viet Nam. Kissinger and Le Duc Tho won the Nobel Peace prize; Kissinger accepted and Le Duc Tho declined saying peace did not exist.

And finally, Watergate: In 1969, Richard M. Nixon was inaugurated as the President of the USA. In August, 1971, a list of his enemies was started by his White House aides. A group called the White House Plumbers was started to find information to discredit his enemies. On June 17, 1972, the Plumbers were arrested in the process of planting bugs at the Democratic National Committee

Richard M. Nixon during campaign, photo by Oliver F. Atkins, public domain

headquarters at The Watergate Hotel. On June 20, 1972, Mark Felt, Director of the FBI (J. Edgar Hoover had died in May)—previously known as ‘Deep Throat’—started giving tips to Bob Woodward of the Washington Post. Later that month attempts were made to shut down the investigation of the FBI. In September, 1972, the first indictments were made and in November, Nixon was re-elected. Through 1973, televised hearings and indictments continued. In October 1973, VP Spiro Agnew resigned due to corruption as Governor of Maryland, and Gerald Ford took his place. In July of 1973, Nixon refused to hand over the White House tapes, and in November delivered his “I am not a crook’ speech. But by March, 1974, Nixon was named as a co-conspirator while the Watergate Seven were indicted; in May, impeachment hearings began, in June All the President’s Men was published, and in July the tapes were finally handed over. On August 9, 1974, Richard M. Nixon (Tricky Dick) resigned from the Presidency and Gerald Ford—unelected to the vice-presidency but holding that office—became President of the United States.

And that, folks, was the Seventies.

 

 

 

 

 

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Amy Hale Auker

Fellow member of Women Writing the West, Amy Hale Auker writes and thrives on a ranch in Arizona where she is having a love affair with rock, mountains, piñon and juniper forests, the weather, and her songwriter husband who is also foreman of the ranch. She is the author of Rightful Place, Winter of Beauty, The Story is the Thing, and the forthcoming Ordinary Skin: Essays from Willow Springs. Continue reading

Psychic Adventures

charlene-raddon-headshot-4Another  co-author from The Good, The Bad and The Ghostly, Charlene Raddon is also a talented cover designer. Her first serious attempt at writing fiction came in 1980 when a vivid dream drove her to drag out a typewriter and begin writing. Because of her love of romance novels and the Wild West, her primary genre is historical romance. Kensington Books originally published five of her novels. These were later released as eBooks by Tirgearr Publishing. Currently, they are self-published with new covers designed by the author. Continue reading

Adding a dash of Western. No big deal, right?

erin-hayes-profile-photoSci-fi junkie, video game nerd, and wannabe manga artist, Erin Hayes writes a lot of things. Sometimes she writes books. She works as an advertising copywriter during the day, and is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author by night. She has lived in New Zealand, Texas, Alabama, and now San Francisco with her husband, cat, and a growing collection of geek paraphernalia. Here’s her take on moving from writing paranormal romance to a western historical setting. Continue reading

A Sultry Childhood Journey . . . .

Cover Final (with margo)I’m happy to have here once more fellow author from Come Love a Cowboy Keta Diablo.

COME LOVE A COWBOY is now available at http://Come-Love-Cowboy-Kathleen-Ball-ebook/dp/B01D5876UK/

The dictionary says sultry means to be hot with passion or to be capable of exciting strong sexual desire. But sultry can also mean sweltering or torrid. Continue reading

SO YOU THINK WE HAVE FREEDOM OF SPEECH?

A few weeks ago I sought the web page for the NY Public Library, checking to see about opening hours for this magnificent building. What greeted me was a display of various books that had been banned or censored over the years, most of which were well known to me as an avid reader. What I didn’t know was that the last week in September is Banned Books Week, “Celebrating the Freedom to Read.” I wondered whether the freedom to read coexists with the freedom to write? Continue reading

The Good, The Bad, & the Ugly of Deadlines: Pt. 2

Sydney St. Clair continues:

Today, I’ll finish talking about deadlines, those necessary evil’s of life. Let’s look at:

Types of Deadlines Writers Face

Completed Manuscripts This is the most common and the most important. None of the other deadlines can happen until you meet this one, and no one else will be able to meet their deadlines unless you meet yours. If you are not published yet, you will never be published unless you finish that manuscript or two or three. As said earlier, being productive and making progress is the key to making writing a career. Continue reading

The Good, The Bad, & the Ugly of Deadlines

For the next couple of weeks, I have fellow author from The Wild Rose Press, susan picSydney St. Clair visiting and talking about that dreaded part of author’s lives:  deadlines!

Sydney St. Claire is the pseudonym of Susan Edwards, author of 14 Historical Native American/Western/Paranormal romances and the author of the popular “White” Series. Continue reading

What is Sharing and why do you need to encourage it?

I’m pleased to have literary promotion experts Babs Hightower and Barb Drozdowich with me today to give a little insight into the world of social media. Continue reading

Why I Ride by Amy Hale Auker

Amy Hale Auker

Amy Hale Auker

Fellow member of Women Writing the West, Amy Hale Auker, is a Texan now living in Arizona, a writer, mother, and cowboy.She writes and rides in the Santa Maria Mountains with her husband, singer/songwriter Gail Steiger.  Her first book, Rightful Place, was the 2011 WILLA winner for creative non-fiction and Foreword Book Reviews’ Book of the Year for essays. Continue reading