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Showing posts from January, 2013


Finally! I started writing the sequel to Azure Maris over the summer, August, I believe, and I managed to write the first twenty-two chapters and the last chapter. From twenty-three to twenty-nine, I was stuck.

Knee deep in mud and unable to escape. I had run into a writer's block that must have been several feet thick. Trying to break through the wall hurt, and I finally had to give up writing for almost six months.

Now, however, I have managed to break through the wall - it isn't much, just able to squeeze through, but it is enough to see daylight on the other side of the wall. Currently, I'm attempting to finish the book up so that I can begin the process of editing. I have to date only five chapters left.

Have you ever had a writer's block that simply would not be budged? In my case, I needed to sit back and allow the book to work itself out; I also just needed to write through the trouble. This is how I accomplished to overcome my writer's block, what have …

January Book Finished

Yesterday, I finished my book for January. This book takes place in Buffalo, NY, during the 1920s and is the first in a series of historical mysteries.

Now, begins the editing process for the book. I'm encouraged, though, by the fact that my endings are improving. Practice makes perfect, and it takes time to be able to write well. I wrote my first mystery in February 2012, and while the character is interesting, she is a little flat. In all, over the past twelve months, I've written four more mysteries, and each of them had problems. The primary one is a rushed ending. My most recent book did not have the rushed feel at the end. Pacing has become easier for me to plot out.

Pacing is a hard thing to develop in a novel. I've read books in which the mystery was solved, but there were another four chapters left in the book, tying up what I considered to be the subplot, not the plot. I've read other novels that just ended, leaving me with literary whiplash. I rarely do th…


Pearls. They must be some of my favorite jewels, and I really have no reason why I like pearls so much other than the fact that I think they are beautiful. What surprises me about pearls is their creation. A tiny grain of annoyance is put inside an oyster's shell, and there, the oyster creates a barrier around the substance. Over time, a pearl is formed.

Writing can be that way - a tiny grain of annoyance starts the process. For some that annoyance is that - an annoyance. It begins with an idea that just won't leave. Over time the process creates a story which in turn needs to be fine tuned.

In many cases, editing is the actual process of writing. When I first started writing, most of my editing required correcting grammatical difficulties. Once edited for proper grammar, I was finished. Reading some of those stories that I wrote almost twenty years ago now is painful, though I see good stories there under the exterior.

How long should it take to edit a novel? It depends. …

Fun Bibliography - 1920s

These are a collection of my favorite research books. Now, I don't necessarily recommend these for your primary research (ie those where you gather the information), but these are good primary resources (ie books from that time period). Lucy Maud Montgomery, wrote many of her Anne books in the early 1900s. Ngaio Marsh (New Zealand) and Dorothy L. Sayers (England) are contemporaries of Agatha Christie.

If you have characters living in these time periods, they would have heard about, or read some of these books. The best part of the books is to gain a feel for the time period's wording as well as some of the slang. In looking back, I sometimes think that proper individuals wrote and spoke with proper English grammar, and few contractions. In researching, and reading, I've learned that it isn't always so. Bear in mind that they reflect their time period, so stereotypes and attitudes are present.

I'll put authors in this bibliography, not necessarily books since the…

Purple Iris Bag Project

Above is one of our purple irises from the front yard. I love the colors, and while the photograph is a bit bright, it captures the colors well-enough. They are a little darker in real life. The project was to take those colors and to make a bag. Known as the Purple Iris Bag.

This a portion of the fabric I wove for the bag base. I used 3/2 cotton rug warp, in alternating lavender and aubergine blocks. The actual term is called log cabin weave, which is nothing like the log cabin quilt block. The filler fabric is a black, white and aubergine plaid cut into inch strips then folded into half inch strips.

This photograph gives you a better idea what the material looks like when it came off the loom. I wove this on the 12" Ashford Knitter's Loom sett at 12dpi. The band, shown below, was woven on the Ashford Inkle Loom.

All bags need a strap so we can carry them. So, I wove a band for my bag using the colors from the flower as the basis. In this case, I added a sea green border…

A Short Prohibition Bibliography

This is not a photograph of the bibliography, just an image of some of the books that I have. As you can see there are more below on the shelf, and this is only a portion of the ones that I own, let alone the ones I borrow from the library.

Writing historical fiction requires practically writing a non-fiction book on the subject.

As I progress, I will obviously add more to this bibliography, and eventually place it online, but for a general overview of the time period, I have here my shorter list:

Prohibition. This is the PBS version that is now out on DVD. An excellent overview from the rise to the fall of Prohibition. I feel that it devotes entirely too much information to how Prohibition came into effect, but as delved deeper into the subject, I realized that the history leading up to the passing of Prohibition was equally as important. One of the aspects of the DVD that I enjoyed were the firsthand stories told by those who lived through the Prohibition whether about their parent…

Human Trafficking Awareness

I can't quote it directly, but I know if comes from L. M. Montgomery's book, Anne's House of Dreams shortly before or after Anne and Gilbert marry. Anne has always wanted a pearl for a ring, and Gilbert gives her one, though he is uncertain about giving her a jewel that symbolizes tears.

Anne's classic reply is that sometimes tears come from joy as well as from sorrow, for some of her most joyful times involved crying.

Yesterday, January 11 was Human-Trafficking Awareness Day - a day set aside for all of us to contemplate what it means for those caught in this vile world, as well of those who can help them escape.

To remember to pray for those involved with human trafficking (both those within the industry, and those helping others to escape the industry), I wear the necklace shown above with a freshwater tear-shaped pearl on a strand of beads. Symbolism is important to me, especially in my art and novels, so the blackness of the strands reminds me of the great figh…

Purchase Azure Maris

Just letting you know that you can now purchase Azure Maris through the website here. The link goes to Amazon's Kindle, but if you'd like a hard copy of the book such as I have in the photo, Amazon sells them there as well.

If you'd like to purchase a signed copy of Azure Maris on the sidebar is a link to pay through PayPal. If you'd like it be addressed to someone, please make certain that you leave a message in the order form.

Next Tuesday, I am going to focus on the bibliography that I am currently developing: the Time Between the Wars.

General Historical Fiction

In my last post, I gave you suggestions for what writers need to keep around. In this post, I am going to further explore general needs in historical research. The historical fiction that I write covers a wide time frame, though most of it is limited to the Dark Ages through to the Regency Era. Still, that covers almost 1,500 years of human history. In addition to those time periods, I also have a series in the 18th Dynasty of Ancient Egypt as well as several series set in the time periods around the two World Wars (1910-1950). Due to the time periods that I cover, a general history is always the best place for me to start researching a new novel.

In the list below, I own the first five books, and I use the last one on a somewhat regular basis.

The Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia of World History, published in 2000.The Kingfisher Illustrated History of the World, published in 1992.The Timetables of History, New Third Edition, published in 1991.People's Names: A Cross-Cultural …

First of the Month Review

Many people want to write the next American novel in the New Year. Of course, most of those who desire to write a novel never finish it, but many do then comes the process of submitting and publishing.

This entry is actually more of a list of ideas to start off the writing year than a review of one specific book, but the list is a good starting point. I can think of three general items that you need to launch a novel. The first one is a book, and the last two are collections.
Writer's Market is published every year and there are several different ones to fine-tune your choices. You can focus on poetry, novels and short stories, photographers or songwriting. There is also the Writer's Market that covers most all of the other topics. If you want to write for a specifically Christian market, the Christian Writer's Market is the book to find. For me, I use the Christian Writer's Market exclusively, though I do try to look through the Writer's Market at least once a ye…

Happy New Year

We have nearly a foot of snow, so I wanted to post a picture that reminded me of warmer days: Ireland, late September 2007. This photo was taken in the Connemara region of Ireland.

Wishing you all a happy new year.

My goal this year is to be more like Christ, and to be a better writer and artist. I have a list of things that I want to pursue this year - including weaving a small tapestry. I have already begun playing around with ideas for the tapestry.

What about you? Anything that you wish to learn how to do this year?

Here's to you and whatever the Lord has in your path.