Skip to content

Unwelcome visitor

Recently my old acquaintance Tenebra came to visit. I came across her sitting by the fish pond.

“How come you always show up when I’m three-quarters done with a first draft?”

“It’s the perfect time to visit you,” she said. “If you listen to me, not only will you stop writing this book, but you’ll have wasted the time you already put in on research, plotting and writing.”

“That doesn’t make me more inclined to listen to you.”

“No? Then why are you sitting by this pool, chatting, instead of going indoors and writing?”

Read more

Blast From the Past: To Forgive or Not to Forgive

So I ran into a complete “do not want” when I started to write this post, and instead went looking for something appropriate from the much earlier days of this post. And lo and behold, I found an old gem about how readers will forgive most things as long as you give them enough pleasure in the process. By which I mean if you give a satisfying story in some way, all sorts of technical issues will be forgiven because the readers liked enough about it to overlook the problems.

So without further ado, here’s the rest of the piece.

To forgive or not to forgive

Read more

Perils of Research

If you’re like me, you get a great idea for a story, do a bit of research, and promptly get so lost in the research that you forget to write the story (I’m still irked over the loss of that novel about Byzantine iconoclasm. Maybe I’ll get it back. Someday).

But that’s only one of the perils of research, and in this post, I’d like to focus on the ways a writer can be tripped up by the research itself, particularly in historical research, since most of my (limited) experience is in that field. Read more

The Atmospheric

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

“Through the shredded black clouds a fire moved like a dying star, falling back to earth —
the earth, that is, of the Discworld —
— but unlike any star had ever done before, it sometimes managed to steer its fall, sometimes rising, sometimes twisting, but inevitably heading down.
Snow flowed briefly on the mountain slopes, when it crackled overhead.
Under it, the land itself started to fall away.  The fire was reflected off walls of flue ice as the light dropped into the beginnings of a canyon and thundered now through its twists and turns.” – Terry Pratchett, Carpe Jugulum

Read more

Pen Names — Whys and Wherefores

First of all, thanks for understanding about the post being late today and for the topic recommendations. I am still waiting on the contractor but it has given me time to do other things — like try to figure out who to go with for our electric supply. Grumble, grumble, stupid companies that punish loyal customers instead of encouraging them to remain loyal. Any way, that’s a post for another blog. So let’s talk pen names.

When I first started getting serious about writing, one of the things I looked at was whether or not to use a pen name. I had a long discussion — actually, a number of discussions — about it with Sarah. At that time, indie publishing was just beginning and the rules of traditional publishing still held sway. There were a number of reasons then to have a pen name, many of them no longer applicable. But one explanation for why you should have a pen name I learned at RWA. To be honest, it is the only reason why you would want not only a pen name but a closed pen name. Read more


Real life is being real. Which means it isn’t letting me have any time to sit and blog — actually, it means I’m dealing with contractors who don’t know the meaning of being professional right now. So the post is going to be delayed until afternoon. In the meantime, toss out some suggestions on what you’d like me to blog about.

In the meantime, here’s the cover mock-up for Fire from Ashes, the next book in the Honor & Duty series, that Sarah did for me. Read more

Getting back together

The loves I’ve left behind…

I’ve just had a couple of weeks of my cousins from Brittany visiting. Like us, they’re a family quite content to companionably read, but they like having adventures with – as they call me – Robinson (as in Robinson Crusoe – when the boys were teens, visiting us from French urban life, I introduced them to being hunter-gatherers, which made me ‘Robinson Crusoe’ long before I lived on an island) as well as eating the ‘exotic’ (as in shot or caught or collected ourselves) things which are our normal diet (like the picture), not theirs. It’s been a busy time, spearing, netting, diving, shooting, to say nothing of the prep of the gear, and processing and cooking. Read more