Switching gears

So, with a reasonably clean first draft of Book of Secrets sent out to the generous souls who volunteered to be beta readers, naturally I needed to start another project - if only to keep me from chewing my nails down to the knuckles while waiting for responses. And very fortunately, one floated into my... Continue Reading →


I don't want to stomp on Dave's post, but it's two weeks until my next scheduled post, and I. Can't. Wait. On Saturday I wrote the last scene of the last chapter of Book of Secrets. I'd estimated it would run to 100,000 words and the first-draft word count was 100,646 words. Am I brilliant... Continue Reading →

Getting back on the bicycle

Over this summer, in between the unavoidable interruptions of Real Life, I had begun to wonder if I was really going to write this book or if I would simply spend the rest of my life taking notes about Renaissance Italy and the Turkey of Mehmed II. Then things began to fall into place. The... Continue Reading →

Thank you, Frau Lindemann

Sometimes it takes a while to recognize a blessing. In fact, sometimes it takes 60 years to realize the full extent of it. Look, I already knew my high school German teacher was a blessing, even if she disapproved of me personally. Without Frau Lindemann the school wouldn't have offered German at all, and without... Continue Reading →

What can I count on readers not knowing?

Here I am poking around in the last half of the fifteenth century again, making another attempt to cobble an actual plot out of the interesting bits and pieces I keep collecting, and constantly banging my head against History. Because my favorite interesting bits, which might come together into a story, obstinately refuse to have... Continue Reading →

Open for business, and an invitation

This first Friday has come at a good time, as I'm about 30 pages from clearing the last manuscript in my queue. So if anybody has a manuscript that's all but ready for publication, and wants to avail themselves of Margaret's Volunteer Copyediting and Proofreading services, contact me at margaretball7 at gmail dot com. The... Continue Reading →

What Am I Trying to Do Here?

When I started volunteering to proofread books, I thought that was just what I’d be doing: offering another pair of eyes to scan for typos, misspellings, homonym abuse, places where a word had been repeated or dropped. It turns out that, while doing my best not to interfere with the writer’s intent, I’m constantly crossing... Continue Reading →

Looking in all the wrong places

My only excuse for being so late posting is that February is an unreasonably short month, and I was still living in February this morning. So, no deep thoughts today. Instead I thought I'd tell you a cautionary story about trying to live other people's visions. I have a Ph.D. in linguistics, despite having tried... Continue Reading →

Never mind his eyes

There’s a story that I think I first encountered as a Turkish proverb, but that I suspect is nearly universal among cultures. A hunter walked through the forest with his bow, shooting down birds for their feathers. As he walked, he wept for the beautiful birds whose lives he was taking. A young bird said,... Continue Reading →

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