Thursday, December 16, 2010

Potato Hatred

Great phrase, no? A shortcut for those of us who love historical fiction and hate the errors that some authors can let into the story.

Example: the medieval lord and his fair lady sitting down in 1253 to a hearty dinner of good old English roast beef with a side of potatoes and gravy.

Gravy I might buy. But the potato, along with a dozen other vegetables and fruits, is a New World import that didn't exist in Europe in 1253.

Ditto the tomato. And corn (American sweet corn, a.k.a. maize). The historical English, if they refer to corn, mean any grain product, particularly wheat. So if you're reading about a 15th century "corn merchant", don't think you've encountered a moment of Potato Hatred -- think wheat merchant instead.

Why do authors do this? I can't speculate on every possible reason, but among them must be haste; laziness; ignorance; and/or bad editing that "corrected" a reference to a veg that was correct for olden times to one more easily recognized by a modern readership.

But I feel as though Potato Hatred can cover almost any anachronism in fiction. My criterion: if it yanks you out of the book, has you scratching your head and thinking, "Whaaa--?" it's a candidate for Potato Hatred.


Wednesday, December 08, 2010

New Review

MONTANA HEARTS, Charlotte Carter, Love Inspired Historical, December '10, ISBN 978-0-373-86742-6

What's not to like? Cowboys. Montana skies. Motherless kids...well, not often for this reader, on.

I liked this book though I don't generally buy titles with women in cowboy hats on the covers (G). I approached it with some trepidation but found myself liking it more than I thought I would. Sarah has undertaken a rather risky search for the family of her donor -- she's had a heart transplant. Needless to say, she finds them, and the widow of her donor is a true and studly muffin with two traumatized kids and a cantakerous mother in law looking after them.

I won't spoil the read by telling more, but the story had a sort of inevitability that only good writing and a good sense of pacing can produce. Yes, Steeple Hills do all end with him and her together at the end, and we know that, but it's the "how do they get there" bit that's intriguing. Carter has done a good job with this love story. Mind you, there's a twist to the end that's also charateristic of a fine author with an engaging tale to tell.

Would I read this author again? Yes, definitely. My rating: 4 stars

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Come & Meet -- Shawna Williams

Happy Sunday, gang. Today I'm privileged to have an interview guest: DBP and ACFW's own Shawna Williams.

DK: When you’re not writing, what do you like most to read? Genre, favorites, etc.

SW: I read a little bit of everything – with the exception of horror and erotica. I don't like to be scared or grossed out. My favorite genres include science fiction, suspense, romance, historical (20th century) and fantasy.

DK: If you didn’t write in your chosen genre, which would you write? Why?

SW: Science fiction, baby! I plan on it, too. My mother is a Trekkie, so how can I not have a little of that in me. Okay, a lot. I love the adventure of it, and the limitless field for one's imagination. Pondering on the vastness of God's universe is pretty inspiring. It's something I've enjoyed since I was a kid and I'd love to create stories that can pass on that same sense of adventure to others.

DK: Where do you see the Christian fiction market going next?

SW: It's hard to say. I know where I'd like for it to go. I'd like to see it broadened, with more room for genres that many have questioned the appropriateness of in this market, like science fiction and fantasy.

There will always be a place for 'feel good' stories, and I'm glad to have those. My Christmas release is exactly that. But I would also like to see stories with harsher realities to them. Not because anyone enjoys misery or angst, but because there are a lot of people who've had it tough in life, and I think that most of what dominates the Christian fiction market is hard to relate to for them. There just aren't enough commonalities. This is where I see Christian fiction as a ministry, and not just as entertainment. I feel very strongly about this, actually.

DK: What has been your biggest challenge since you decided to seek publication?

SW: Balancing my time. For example, it's 1am on a Sunday morning and I've got church in a few hours. Promotion is probably the biggest time suck. It's necessary, and there are parts that I really enjoy, like meeting new people and answering interview questions J, but my house is a disaster! And I feel like we live off of hamburger helpers, frozen pizza and tacos or spaghetti because those things don't take much time to fix. It's been so long since I ran a load of laundry that I forgot where the washer and dryer are, and hubby has been forced to take over that chore. I think my house has a floor under all of this clutter.

I used to keep a very neat house, so these things actually bother me a lot, and I hope to get a little better at this time management thing.

DK: Name a few of your favorite authors.

SW: Francine Rivers, Susan May Warren, Deanne Gist, Tess Gerritsen, Nicholas Sparks, Tom Clancy and Stephen Ambrose.

DK: Wow, we share quite a few of those! Care to share a holiday tradition?

SW: My kids each have a small tree in their room, and for a week before Christmas I sneak little gifts under it. This started when they were small with silly dollar store items. They thought it was the elves back then. I loved watching the anticipation build on their faces as the big day approached. Now they are teenagers and they still like for me to do it out of nostalgia, but it's stuff like nail polish or lotion for my girls, and beef jerky for my son. Still small stuff, just more age appropriate. Sometimes I include something silly, like a funny pair of socks.

Sounds like a winner. Shawna's release from Desert Breeze is pictured below. Neat cover, eh?

Friday, December 03, 2010

Coming Soon -- SNOW!

Our first big storm is heading this way. Oh, joy -- Chicago, road salt, loony drivers, shoveling, more road salt...need I say more?

I'm determined to put a good face on this by spending the weekend working on THE HEALING TREE and biding close to home.

That said, tomorrow (Saturday), I'll pick a winner of the jewelry I'm giving away. Some of you prefer necklaces, others prefer earrings. It'll be winner's choice.

One way to make a snowy lake-effect day tolerable: give something away!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Go Ahead, Win Something

Better still, help me celebrate -- ALOHA, MY LOVE comes out from Desert Breeze tomorrow. To celebrate this e-book, I believe one of you Faithful Minions should win something!

Sound like a plan?

Post a comment. Win one of my jewelry pieces (I design and create jewelry). Most of them are necklaces but I also do earrings for pierced ears. Haven't found any decent findings for non-pierced ears yet. "Findings" are those little extra necessities like earwires, posts, those round springy things that fasten the necklace in get the picture.

Enough of the jargon. Make a post. Win a necklace or whatever you choose that I have (I have some real sweet stuff ready-made).

Celebrate! Aloha.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Booksignings -- The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

My buddy Diane Moody guests this week, sounding off about every author's "bete noir" -- the booksigning. Here's what she says:

Book Signings: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

I’m relatively new to the world of book signings, but I’ve already learned a lot—mostly what doesn’t work. Like the manager of a conference center bookstore who wasn’t remotely interested in making the event successful. No signage. No advertising. Refused my offer of free bookmarks. She set us up in the most off-the-path location on campus and scheduled our signing during the dinner hour. The result? *Cue the chirping crickets.* One of the other authors left half-way through. I didn’t blame him.

Then there was the event at a major bookstore here in Nashville. Someone dropped the ball, and less than 48 hours before the signing, there had been no advertising or signage whatsoever. A phone call sent them all scrambling. They quickly set up a table - in the back of the store – and printed a small sign with several misspellings. The result? *Chirping crickets.* I signed one book.
But enough about the bad ones.

While on a mini-tour in Florida, I was thrilled with a weekend-long event where everything was done right for a change. Martha Brangenberg, bookstore manager extraordinaire of Charis Christian Bookstore, located on a church campus in Largo, had planned well in advance. Weeks before my visit, she stocked up with plenty of copies of my book. She advertised in the church paper, the church bulletins, and on multiple TV monitors posted throughout the campus. She set up an end display in the heart of the bookstore and a table for my signing where we’d get the most traffic. And did we ever! I signed about 85 books that weekend!

Lessons learned?
(1) Booksellers who love books and the authors who write them, sell lots of books.
(2) Those who don’t should take up knitting.

Just sayin’ . . .

Diane Moody

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Get Thee to a Wall

That is, THE MASTER'S WALL. It's a book just coming out through DeWard Publishing, by Sandi Rog. I read and enjoyed it. It's well worth your time and your teenager's, since the main characters are much younger than "adults" in the present age.

Set in Roman times, it tells the story of David, a Messianic Jewish boy who's sold into slavery to a wealthy Roman villa-owner. It tells the story of Alethea, a Greek girl who doesn't understand much about what's going on around her, and is determined on her own way...

Grab this book. Watch this pair clash--and clash--

Background data. Sandi is an ACFW pal, historical-writing pal, and conqueror of MS, which has laid her low several times since I first met her. Currently, though, she's battling lymphoma in the brain, and is undergoing therapy. Her publisher, DeWard, is donating $1 of every sale of this book as a benefit/fund-raiser for Sandi.

That's over and above what many publishers would do. Our part is to go buy this book. I plan to score several more copies.

Join me.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Just Telling the Story, Part 3 (?)

Not sure if this is actually part three or part twenty-two. No matter.

I'm pleased to announce Some Insights. No, not mine -- those of my masterful-writer with crit-partner, Janny. She's found out that she cannot have "The Box" in her head when she's writing. That she must write like she wants to, the stories she wants to tell.

Now, this is a writer with a superb sense of "story." She is always asking her characters: "Why?" And she insists I take my work to a higher level by asking my characters "Why?" also.

Here's the reason. You sit down and begin to write (at least, you do if you're a seat-of-the-pants writer, like I am) and a character pops up and begins to form in your mind. Sometimes, if the Muse is smiling on you (mine usually doesn't -- that's why I call her Sulky Brat), your character will pop up full-formed and deliciously realized, like Athena springing from the forehead of Zeus. At other times, you only get a glimmer of who your character is. This demands you drill deeper.

Let's say your character is a woman with commitment issues. You peel off a layer and find out she has commitment issues because (1) her dog died; (2) her father abandoned the family when she was small; (3) the last guy she dated treated her like youdon'twannaknowwhat.

Okay -- why? Why do these things cause her to distrust going with someone long-term? How did they affect her? You don't know that just by discerning the basis of her issue. You have to ask why, not once but many times, to get the right depth and make her "live" in your reader's mind as a character.

Janny's great at this -- when she lets herself tell the story she wants to tell and doesn't hem herself in by thinking, "Must color inside the lines...must color inside the lines."

No. Take risks. Get dirty. Dare to tell the story you want to tell, give your characters the lives and personalities they must have, let your voice be heard clearly. Worry about the market later.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Win a Few, Lose a Few

What to say about the week it's already been? Perhaps the best comment comes from Jeremiah 17: 7-8 "Blessed is the (wo)man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit." (KJV)

My hope and my trust are in Him. Oy, what a week it's been!

Revisions on the existing parts of the 974 Wales book, PEACEWEAVER, are going along great. The book formerly intended for Sheaf House, SEASONS OF RECKONING, is going there no more. Instead, it's being reworked with a new framework and a new (if lame) working title: THE STRANGER-GUEST. It's now a straight medieval, book #2 in a series to be called "The Faith Box."

Janny correctly points out the obvious flaws in its working title: "Stranger than what?" says she, and beshrew me if she ain't right!

The series as I envision it will be four books: the first, PEACEWEAVER, is where the Faith Box originates, in 10th century Wales and Chester. The box travels a bit; book #2 may be THE STRANGER-GUEST or it may morph into a book set between these years. I'm thinking 1215 or thereabouts--who can say? In any case, the box is handed down, a precious heirloom something like a reliquary, from mother to daughter through the centuries. The final book in the series will be present-day, or close to it. Of course, the box's stories are blurred and distorted by time. But the Faith Box always holds items of meaning in its (current) owner's walk of faith -- it never loses its power to inspire.

How say you, minions?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Cover Art Triumph!

Once again, the wonderful artist Jenifer Ranieri at Desert Breeze has created a great cover. I'm pleased to show it to you here.
This is the fourth of four winner covers Desert Breeze has assigned to my books.
Color me pleased, humbled, and proud.
ALOHA, MY LOVE, a contemporary romance, releases as an e-book in all known Terran formats on December 1.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fired Back Up!

Writing news today, plus a mini-rant.

The good news is: I'm afire once more. Those peripherals I discussed in the previous post will have to wait -- a story burns!

More than once in the past I've discussed with Janny the idea of a series, centered around a container of some kind that the characters use to store mementoes in -- items that figured in, or remind them of, some sort of crisis of faith. The items can be anything: a rock found on the beach that day they prayed and got answers; a bead from Grandmother's paternoster; a note from a friend thought lost.

The concept was originally the Bag o' Religion, shamelessly borrowed, but it's morphed into an ancient reliquary. PEACEWEAVER, the piece I'm brushing up (and trying desperately to finish) will be the introductory story. After that I'm fleshing out a previously written medieval, set later in the period, for the second book. Working title: THE STRANGER GUEST.

Janny's question was, "Stranger than what?" That needs answer, but not right now!

Mini-rant follows. Those of you who don't care, now's your chance to opt out.

ACFW in their forward-thinking mode has decided that e-books are no longer acceptable as Book Club selections. They selected Shawna Williams' NO OTHER as their first ever e-book. All 'round cyberspace, e-authors were applauding. ACFW "gained face" as they say in the East.

Now that's all over. One e-book was permitted for discussion, but not any more.

C'mon, ACFW. Get with the times. Do we always have to be two years behind the industry? Or this once, can we put on our Big Girl Times-They-Are-A'Changin' Hat and try, at least, to get on a level playing field?


Thursday, September 30, 2010


It's a funny, sad, serious business, this writing thing. I find myself looking back at a week just past, and thinking, "Where did the writing time go?" Some weeks I can sit back and slam the keyboard like whoa, and some weeks (like this one), I self report my progress as...




The reasons can be many. I'm hungry. I'm full. I'm tired. I'm too full of energy. Name an excuse not to put in quality time on the work-in-progress, and I've used it.

But I find myself spending increasing amounts of writing time in activities that are peripheral to the Main Event. I blog. This is a good thing. I maintain my web site. Also a good thing. I check e-mails, which is a must-do good thing. I schmooze with my writing and non-writing buddies. I do the social network sites.

And what happens at the end of all that? Have I set down one word toward fulfilling my goal -- writing something that'll get me a bit closer to THE END?


Time to consider. Time to think about whether to cut back. Do I need to be on fourteen different e-mail loops? Maybe not. Do I need to perform all these peripheral tasks? Or do I need to better focus on the stories in my head, and the talent to tell them that God gave me?


Friday, September 10, 2010

A Very Merry Sale

That's right! I'm thrilled to tell you that SEASONS IN THE MIST is now available for the Kindle! And at a lovely introductory price. You cannot get hardly anything of mine this cheaply! Well, on some days I'd make you quite a deal on my teenaged daughter, but usually not so much...

Get thee to Amazon, plunk down $3 for the load to your Kindle or your pooter (Kindle software for your computer is free!) and settle in to enjoy (one hopes).

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Down to the Wire

Did I mention I had a deadline? September 1, for the novella I started dog's ages ago. Desert Breeze expressed an interest in this short piece, called ALOHA, MY LOVE and we got to "yes" on it fairly quickly.

However, in this summer's, well, being SUMMER, the project took a back seat to a couple of other activities. Swimming. Art fairs. Hanging with friends. A trip to Nashville for Sheaf House business. A trip to Orlando for Universal Studios-with-friends business. Did I mention relaxing with tall, cool, fruit-juice based drinks?

So I had to get cracking on the tweaks ALOHA needed...and I had to hit myself over the head several times with the Righteous Nerf Bat to get 'em done.

Hallelujah! The tweaked manuscript went to the publisher today. This will be release #9, depending on how you're counting. It's all good!

Now I can go back to hanging out, drinking juicy drinks, and working on other stuff. Deadlines are my FRIENDS!

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Setting It Free

Hallelujah! My publisher was kind enough to accept the half-edited SEASONS OF RECKONING this past week! She knows it's a first draft after chapter 10 and she was okay with that! Meanwhile I keep editing and will send her the other smoothed-out chapters as I get chunk after chunk done. Praise the Lord for a patient editor.

That said -- I released the document from my jump drive to her computer with no small degree of trepidation. Let nobody deny this -- it's hard to set your story free and hand it into someone else's keeping. The usual bugaboos lift their heads. This puppy is going to be read by another! What if she liked the first book in the "Seasons of Destiny" series (she did like it) and hates this second outing? What if my character's rather dry, low-key sense of humor doesn't work as well as Bethany's out-there one? What if she hates the way Marcus and Ebrel meet? What if what if what if--?

It's not easy.

In other news from Casa Chaos, I see on an e-mail loop we all know and love, what we'd change about CBA publishers. I did respond in my trying-to-be-the-voice-of-rational-thinking mode to the loop. What I wanted to say was: Why is this even a question? Who (except for those three or four remaining CBA publishers) cares what CBA does anymore? The Christian fic market has grown so vastly larger than these few, conservative, "let's ignore the world's need for Christ and push out more Bonnet Books" publishers that the conversation is all but irrelevant before it begins. Please!

Striking my blow for the larger market.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Laughs for the Humor Impaired

Two short talking points today -- happy to announce that in edit, Marcus has found his sense of humor. Why did it not come out in first draft (where I usually do better work than in edit-mode--just ask my superb crit partner)? I do not know. I think the scut has been holding out on me.

But there is hope -- he's currently on trial for murder and he just compared the medieval "prosecuting attorney" to a housewife peering into the meat case at the various lumps of ground beef. Good on ya, Marc.

Also I recently posted as an invited guest on my marvelous agent's blog (Hartline Literary) and was taken to task on yet a third blog by one of those lingerers at the margins who knows everything about everything. I love when this happens. It's all safe, mostly anonymous, since the blogger didn't have the guts to post his rebuttal to my opinions on the Hartline blog or this one. No -- his comments resided safely on the owner's private blog. I found them by accident, and called him to account there, where it belonged. Hope my thread there dies a natural death.

Let me emphasize that I love the medieval centuries as fiction fodder. They sing to me. Their ways inspire me and give me plenty of literary meat to work with. That does not require that everyone love them as I do. Everyone should feel free to love what they love and confusion to the "shoulds"! After all, don't some folks like Amish fiction? Does that mean I must, also?

No. Nor do I travel around cyberspace telling folks their research is wrong, their opinions faulty, their "take" less worthy than mine. Life's too short.

Besides, I don't have time -- I'm too busy giving Marcus an intravenous humor-booster.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Season after Season

Halfway through edits on SEASONS OF RECKONING. I'm really captured by this hero. He's smart, sensitive, sexy...have I left anything out?

Well, now that you ask...

He doesn't seem to have a sense of humor. I'm editing and editing and I'm like, "Why doesn't he think this is funny?"

Some people are serious. I simply cannot believe I've written one. Marc's sense of humor must be in there somewhere!

(Scrabbling through Marc's large leather travel pouch, in his coffer, under the straw tick on his bed, under Brengy's saddle. I can't have left it out!)

Say it isn't so!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Linda Windsor's HEALER

Micro-review follows: HEALER is a terrific story that takes the reader into a poorly illuminated and endlessly interesting period of the past. And no, I do not call them the "Dark Ages" anymore. These were the centuries when a small band of committed Christians copied the Gospels out by candlelight and daylight, to make sure we would have the wondrous Word we enjoy so freely today.

Linda graciously consented to answer a few questions: here they are, so enjoy!

1.) Tell us about your book HEALER. What led you to this particular historical era and setting?

HEALER is a book of my heart that has been percolating in my mind for over ten years, morphing from a former sexy historical into a moving inspirational saga set in Arthurian Scotland. My Celtic Irish series, "Fires of Gleannmara" kicked off my interest in Dark Age history and early Christianity in the British Isles. Many of you know how MAIRE, RIONA and DEIRDRE’s research helped me to reach my daughter after she’d been stalked and assaulted in college, turned against God and to Wicca-white witchcraft. We as Christians could learn a lot from how our first through third century forefathers tamed barbarian Europe when Rome’s might could not. It was that approach that I used when speaking to my daughter, using history and tradition to reach her when she’d not listen to Scripture. It was a process that took five or so years, but then so did the early Christian witness take time to take root and grow.

HEALER is book one of the Brides of Alba trilogy, Alba being an early name for Scotland. And this is Arthurian Scotland—and King Arthur, for that matter—as never seen before. The series focuses on three brothers, their respective brides, and how love and faith grow to enable them to survive those trying times of the Saxon invasion and the church's desperate measures to ensure the survival of Christianity. These measures include matchmaking men and women from the Davidic bloodline passed on by royal Irish and the apostolic bloodlines established in Britain by the first century family and followers of Christ.

The historic Arthur in HEALER, one of at least two arthurs (a title) and definitely the last one, is a product of such matchmaking. So is the merlin (another title) Merlin Emrys, who in this case is a documented Celtic Christian bishop and druidic scientist. In fact most of the Arthurian figures were bred and raised by the Grail Church to become warriors, kings and queens of Britain to ensure the Grail Church's survival. Brenna and Ronan's conflict is a result of that matchmaking gone wrong.

Forced to live most of her twenty years in hiding from both her own clan and the clan who murdered her family, Brenna of Gowrys wonders how she can possibly fulfill her mother’s prophecy that their family's seed will divide the enemy O’Byrne’s house and bring about a peace beyond his wicked ken. Brenna’s clan remnant would have her lead them to certain death against the stronger O’Byrnes. But Brenna is a healer, not a warrior. Nor is she the shape-changing wolf-woman of the hills she’s rumored to be by the superstitious clans; although she does have a gift with wild animals, including her pet wolf Faol.

So when Brenna witnesses the ambush and attempted murder of a warrior during the annual O’Byrne hunt to find the wolf-woman, she does what she’s called to do. She brings him into her mountain hideaway to heal him, even if he could be her enemy. All she knows is that he is not just wounded in body, but in spirit; that he’d been there as a frightened child when her family had been slain; and that she has seen a future with him. But is her faith strong enough to follow the vision, no matter where it leads?

2. What's your favorite part of the story?

I can’t say I have a favorite part, but I do have a favorite theme that ties in to teaching Christians a bit about Dark Age “magic” or proto-science versus and dark magic. Unfortunately some reviewers are already calling my heroine a witch. And in truth, I expected some controversy, even though I have Scripturally backed up the concepts and provided resources.

Brenna had been taught the proto-science of nature magic, which was knowledge of herbal remedies and of the electro-magnetic neurological circuits in our bodies used in in today’s chiropractic and acupuncture. The existence and efficacy of these is accepted even in the western world, although we’ve yet to find a way to quantify them.

To the common mind this was magic. Even someone who was charismatic and spoke with eloquent persuasion was considered practicing magic. In fact, our learned professionals of today (doctors, lawyers, teachers, judges, etc.) would have been dubbed magicians. She also invoked the power of the Holy Spirit as the apostles did, but gave all credit of healing to God. And she made it clear to others that healing from using herbs and nature magic was not usually a permanent cure. Only healing by the Holy Spirit was complete.

I list my research sources (great book called From Magic to Science, for one) showing that this nature magic was proto-science of the day and I contrast the use of that knowledge by my devout Christian heroine (who is also accused of been too good) by showing how that same knowledge can be misused for evil. Like arsenic. It’s used to kill cancer cells to save lives. It’s also used to murder people. And lastly, I differentiate between nature magic/proto science with dark magic, which involves the aid of spirits or demons. Readers, and my skeptical hero, will see a desperate battle against this type of magic with the triumphal power of the Holy Spirit.

Like I said. Controversial. Food for thought, but wholly intended to glorify how wonderfully made we are and what wonderful gifts we have at hand in creation, all from the Creator God and all to His glory, not that of the practitioner.

3.) What was the hardest part to write?

Differentiating between the two types of magic and showing that much medieval magic was no magic at all, but knowledge of God’s creation—His gift to us to use for good. Making it clear through Brenna’s profession that only God’s healing was complete. She didn’t heal like Jesus did, as one reviewer complained, and she never claimed to. That would be blasphemy to her.

I also gave Brenna the gift of visions, fully Scriptural based. They come at God’s will, not hers, and they prompt her to act against reason and on faith. She becomes dismayed when people, on hearing of this, come to her seeking their fortunes and turns them away, saying God gives her only what He sees fit, not what she asks for or even seeks, for that matter. She tells them their future is in God’s hands, not in her visions.

I prayed through and through this book because of broaching these topics. In it, God used Brenna’s willing heart to work His will, against all earthly odds. And she glorified Him for it.

4.) What's one of the oddest or most interesting things someone has ever said about you?

I fear that is to come, if readers don’t understand what I’ve tried to clarify. On a lighter note, my birthday is marked on the calendar of great historical moments as the day the Liberty Bell cracked. Now I don’t believe in omens, but hey…

5.) Can you tell us a little about the ups and downs on your journey to publication?

How about AFTER publication? It’s been like riding a carousel from my first book in 1999—HI HONEY I’M HOME—to HEALER. I joke that I will someday do a keynote speech title I Failed My Way To Success. Because I’ve been so wordy here, readers might want check out on July 19th, where I tell the whole sordid ride from rescuing my first manuscript from the garbage, mistakes I made, and how God always took me from one failure or closed door, to a better place…every time. I hope it doesn’t overload her web space. Oh, and it’s has humor as well. The Liberty Bell isn’t the only thing a little cracked.

6.) What writing challenge do you find hardest, and how did you overcome it?

Writing with chemical depression is my best asset and worst enemy. Feelings give me a special insight into life and faith’s conflicts, lending power and inspiration to my stories. But they also discourage me when I am in that dark place. I stall and can’t think how to move on. And I have learned that every time I wait on the Lord, stick to Him like glue, rest, and read the Psalms. Misery loves company, especially company that always reminds me that no matter how low I go, God has never let me or the psalmist down. So while feelings can be great, they can not be trusted and they are temporal. God can be trusted to be there, even when it feels like one’s praying to the ceiling and He is eternal. God and my sense of humor (the cracked psyche) is my salvation in life and writing. He’s plotting the second half of THIEF right now and making me rest after a three-week headache/sinusitis/bronchitis bout. I’m a month behind my schedule, but He won’t let me move ahead until I’m well and ready for whatever is going to happen. All I know is that what I had plotted will not work now. And I have to wait on His time.

Great advice for anyone involved in projects, not just writers...

7.) What advice would you have for a new fiction writer?

I’ve failed my way to twenty-nine books. Get used to rejection and accept that the work wasn’t ready yet according to God’s time. I’ve had the same books rejected one year, published the next without a word changed. God’s timing. My books that grew dusty under the bed and in the attic have always had their day. Every one I’ve ever written has been published. I may have had to revise them or completely rewrite them, but the ideas were good. My craft and timing? Not so much.

Do everything you can to send out your best work and be ready to accept that God may have other ideas. Learn from your rejections if you can, even if it’s only to wait on God. Don’t stop writing. By the process itself, your work improves. I shudder to go back and read some of my first books. The stories were great, but I can’t believe how the craft itself has evolved into tighter, stronger work.
I’ve said this many times. Rejections are like footprints in the sand. If you don’t see any, you are not moving toward your dream.

8.) You’ve had many books published. Which was the “book of your heart” and why?

Before HEALER, I would have said MAIRE. MAIRE introduced me to the Dark Ages and early Christianity. That research helped me reach my daughter, plant the seeds of God’s glory and the idea to worship the Creator, not creation. God watered them until they filled the black void left by her pain and anger from her assault with the light of Christ.

The knowledge I gained of my own faith and of druidism—the root of most New Age philosophy (and old age), has filled me with a passion to inform others how to witness to their lost loved ones, especially those involved in New Age theories. I use history and science and build on what our beliefs have in common, just as the early Christians did. And I extend the grace to them to hear what they believe, without judging. In doing so, I pray they will see something of Christ in me, hear my historical and personal reasons for believing in Him. The rest is up to God. This has become my passion because of the heartbreak my daughter (and I) went through so many years ago. Most of those we are trying to reach have gone through similar heartache and been hurt horribly by an uninformed and judgmental church. Or they perceive their pain as such.

9.) Where can readers get in touch with you?

Please stop by my website at and check out HEALER and sign up for my contest to give away a signed copy. Email me at I’d love a book report on HEALER!
Also you must see the gorgeous book trailer David C. Cook did on You Tube at It’s my first book trailer and I am over the moon with it and the cover. It so captures the essence of HEALER. Plus, the heroine on the cover looks like my new daughter-in-law. I received the proof as I was on my way to my son’s wedding rehearsal and everyone was blown away by the resemblance.

Thanks, Linda, for the insight into HEALER and your own journey!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The End!

News hot off the press for all three of you -- I finished Book #2 in the "Seasons of Destiny" series! Well, at least I told the whole story. Isn't that what this blog pretends to be about?

Yeah, right.

Anyway, thanks to my superb crit partner who never lets a good turn of phrase go unpraised or a *clunk* go unpunished, I hit on a boffo ending (we think) and sat down and finished the book! I feel good.

However, its title is still a botheration. I originally called it SEASONS OF RECKONING, and changed the working title to APRIL'S PILGRIM because, at the end of the day, there really isn't very much reckoning going on in this book!

My Historical Writers yahoo loop is weighing in on the choice, and so far it's 3-0 in favor of RECKONING. I dunno what I'll do.

Anyone want to weigh in? I chose APRIL'S PILGRIM because it puns on a main character's name: Ebrel means "April" in Cornish. Also the point-of-view character does take a convoluted journey through various trials in the book--something like a pilgrimage. But now (perverse woman!) I find myself liking SEASONS OF RECKONING better.

How say you, minions?

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The Home Stretch

I'm getting close to the end of book #2 in this series, tentatively titled SEASONS OF RECKONING. The working title, which I don't greatly care for, is a botheration, but I cannot seem to come up with anything I like better. Pah! My crit partner and I tossed ideas back and forth throughout our two-day writing retreat last weekend, and came up with some titles that were beyond ridiculous.

Anyway, I digress. One of my besetting sins is the tendency, when wrapping up a story, to speed-write through the thing. Of course, it feels rushed. I need to s l o w d o w n and "just tell the story" without worrying about how long it takes! Don't I? Oh, you bet I do.

That said, RECKONING is at about 81K words, winding up nicely. One current issue is that I'm concentrating on plot points and not including enough emotion. Bad romance writer! Bad!

The other issue is that this one is NOT pointing toward a Happily Ever After ending. Oh no, it is not. What to do!? I think this one will have a bittersweet ending...that's what the characters seem to be driving toward, having taken over the story a long, long time ago.

Thoughts? Is a non-HEA ending even permissible for a writer who's always cranked out Happies?

Sunday, May 09, 2010

A Tasty Read?

Fellow Desert Breeze author and ACFW member Shawna Williams is waiting to read SEASONS IN THE MIST, but is in a holding pattern. Her 13 year old apparently got to it first.

She reports, "My oldest daughter likes to read outside, so she took the book with her to the goat pen. We love our goats...anyhow, she has this goat named Precious, who was happily sitting next to Lexi while she read. Lexi got distracted by a bug and set the book down to swat it. When she turned around, Precious was walking off with the book in her mouth, and Lexi had to wrestle it away. The book is fine, only slight teeth impressions. But now it seems that not only am I having to fight my daughters for a turn to read it, the goat's trying to weasel in, too."

I'm honored & humbled that a goat loves my book. But a tad bit bummed, alongside.

See, I had visions of fans reading it, not eating it...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Early in the SEASONS

I'm pleased to announce that reviews are beginning to post for SEASONS IN THE MIST. So far, every one I've seen has been 5 stars, and I'm getting some great comments as well.

Today, Dina Sleiman posted an interview on Inkwell Inspirations, her blog. It was fun to dig a little deeper into the question: "why Christian medieval time-travel?"

A good and interesting question, and quite valid, but you could just as easily ask, "why Amish?" or "why Regency?" First, a writer does well to write what interests her most. If I were passionate about the Amish, I suspect I would dig into everything I could find about them, learn all I could, and then write what I love most.

So it is with me, with the medieval era. SEASONS has never been anything but a time-travel story from its earliest (shuddering at the quality) versions. So when I re-wrote it with a hope toward publication, it seemed natural to tell of the 14th century through the eyes of a passionate, prejudiced, backslidden medieval historian. With thanks to my editors, it became what it now is: what I hope will be a fun, stimulating, and may I say mildly educational romp into a fascinating era.

I'm working on the sequel. I hope it will be everything it should. If passion alone can make it so, I won't have too much trouble.

To God the glory.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Doubly Blessed say that it's release day -- not for one book, but two. Has ever an author gotten such a terrific blessing?

Here's the cover for the first (in no particular order):

And here's the second.

They're both lovely, aren't they? DAMAGES is an e-book from Desert Breeze Publishing, and SEASONS IN THE MIST is available now in print from Sheaf House (most large booksellers seem to be carrying it).

Color me thrilled!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Books and Truth

All three of you who follow this blog are aware I occasionally review books.

What I haven't done is reviewed books I don't care for. If I post about a title, you can rest assured I thought it was pretty horking good, or I wouldn't bother posting anything at all about it.

However, this troubles me. Is not the "I didn't finish this" or "I finished it under the author's threat to have my children fed to sharks but I hated the book" review as valid as the one that explains why I loved it? Where is the line to walk between Momma's admonition to say something nice or nothing at all, and the truth?

Now, I don't expect anyone to like the same books I do. And I don't always like what other folks do. What a dull world it would be, if only one set of preferences were all that sells! In fact, I expect others to differ with me regarding my take on any given book.

I call that constructive dialogue. Unlike a few other places, I want to encourage such dialogue. If we do this, we may run the risk of disagreeing with one another or something equally terrifying.

I submit that we're all big grown-ups and we can take it.

That said, along the lines of "what's in it for you" -- where do you stand? Would you like to see all reviews on this blog, for books I loved and books I read muttering, "You have got to be kidding!"?

Do you value honest comment (which may lead to controversy) over being nice?

Weigh in, please.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sing With Me (The Danger Theme From "Jaws")

You know how it goes...duh DUHH...duh DUHH.

Right, this means Kinnard is swimming about, fin showing just above the waves, daring to approach...

...with another book review. FTC, I was sent this book without charge, for review, so here goes.

Yes, just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water. Deb's been reading again.

This time it's a real treat. I have few nits to pick with this one, and I'm happy as a hog in slop to say so.

The book in question was written by Lisa Wingate, and its title is NEVER SAY NEVER. The piece departs from Lisa's general narrative style by alternating back and forth between two unforgettable characters: Donetta, a senior with spunk to spare, and Kai, a twentysomething who's security deprived.

A sudden hurricane ties these two strangers together. Donetta yearns to know her husband cares that she's gotten lost with two of her age-mates on the way to the Gulf coast to take a cruise in which he wasn't interested. Kai, rootless and friendless except for two abandoned dogs, evacuates her endangered seacoast town and runs into the lost ladies, a church on the run from the storm, a handsome but enigmatic nephew of Donetta's, and a cat from the Lower Reaches of Hell. And will Donetta ever find out the long-ago story of the mysterious Macerio?

It's a heady, yummy brew. I thought it might dwell too much on the "escape from the hurricane" portion of the story (actually two intertwined stories), but the true crises come when the entire motley mob arrives in Daily, Texas.

It's a fully realized love story in both characters' points of view. Wingate has a flair for local language mannerisms that caught me from the first sentence. More importantly, she layers a story delicately, flavor by flavor, so that at the end she leaves the reader sighing in replete satisfaction.

My grade: A. I'm a picky eater/reader but found nothing that could be improved upon. All three of you blog readers know how rare that is! I heartily recommend it.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

First Day of Spring - Where?

The weatherman claims the Vernal Equinox hit Chicago about 20 minutes ago. So, technically, astronomically, and meterologically it's spring.

Yeah, right. My back yard says differently. And this is NOT a black-and-white shot, folks -- it's full color.

Whatever happened to global warming? Bring a tiny piece back here, please.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Explanation Points

Just a housekeeping chore or two...

I don't accept anonymous comments, so those of you who've been posting them: I delete them all. If you have something to say here, give yourself an identity.

Just good 'net manners.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

More Cover Wonderfulness!

Got my cover art for my April e-book release, DAMAGES, from Desert Breeze Publishing. I love it like whoa.

Desert Breeze just does an awesome job with covers. If you hit their website,, you'll see what I mean on every page of the site.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Apparently I Told the Story

I gave the full edited MS of SEASONS IN THE MIST to my crit partner Janny over the weekend. Mind you, she's seen pieces of it as it's grown, but never the full.

I'm tearing up now, because here is her assessment of the part she has read so far:

"...your characters have a relaxed sense of humor that shines through; I think that many historical romance writers are so cognizant of the necessity to put in crackling sensual tension that the characters almost end up being too intense and focused on those things, to the exclusion of being balanced human beings (unbalanced, unrealistic human beings in romance books? Surely I jest!).

"And, of course, because there's a spiritual content to yours that is more straightforward and wholesome than secular medievals tend to have, the entire world and the people in it 'hang together' better. One temptation that contemporary writers always have to fight is the tendency to forget that their heroines cannot be modern women in costume dramas--they have to sound, as much as possible, like women of that time WOULD sound, act, and yes, even think. This is hard for most of them to do, especially in the area of faith, religion, and/or the Church.

"In that sense, your characterization of Michael is especially wonderful--he balances the hard (and sad) reality of clerics who don't do their jobs and/or aren't educated properly and/or are lazy against the spiritual reality that, in fact, this is all the people HAVE and that no servant of God is gonna be perfect anyway. There's an almost tender regard he has for the human weaknesses of the priests and other clerics in this book that I think would ring much truer to the time period than the more cynical, jaded, or sarcastic viewpoints that so often show up on the part of characters in other medievals. In that sense alone, you've already risen above the crowd.

"And it goes without saying that as a Catholic, I'm thoroughly sick of reading contemporary liberal anti-Church speeches coming out of characters who wouldn't have made those speeches in the times in which they lived. You not only stayed out of that trap, but you made the character come alive as a man of faith as a result. To which I can only say, 'Brava!'"

As I say, this gets me, like, all misty. I've aspired to something and apparently in my crit partner's eyes, achieved it. All glory to God. This is a story I've wanted to tell for years, and it seems to me a very wondrous and humbling thing that it'll be coming out to the world in general.

If there's a point to this post is: they say, "Write the book of your heart," and it's true. I was told this piece would never sell. I put it away assuming the industry was right and I was all wet, that it would never find a home and I alone would travel this road along with my characters. I guessed wrongly. A most humbling thing.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Interview with One of the Up-and-Coming

Just when you thought it was safe to venture back onto my blog...

Another entry!

Today we're chatting with rising author Lisa Lickels. I posed a few little questions:

Deb: Want to tell us the title of your new book and what it's about?
Lisa: The title is MEANDER SCAR. Tag line: Love can heal even the deepest scars... Just when Ann is ready to move on with a new love, she learns the truth about her husband's disappearance.

Deb: What makes your book stand out?
Lisa: Besides the title? LOL. There's the idea of what happens to all those people who go missing and are never found, tied in with an over-the-top wonderful young man in love with his former next door neighbor lady, outrageously dysfunctional family life...a boatload of generational issues to address. My theme is "what makes a family?" I held my husband's youngest brother, then a USC psychology professor, hostage on a car trip in California to discuss the topic. Then I plotted the book while sitting at a picnic table in Yosemite while they bonded, crawling around on rocks.

Deb: What a visual! If you weren't writing in your current genre, in which would you write? And why?
Lisa: I'm not currently having that issue, as I have yet to discover what genre I'm really supposed to be writing. As a historian, I should like writing historicals, but I don't. As a HUGE Anne McCaffrey and Star Trek and Star Wars fan, I might consider writing fantasy/SF, but the thought scares me to death, even though I'm often told I live on my own planet. I'd like to move toward the literary side of life, but don't tell anyone, 'cause nobody wants to represent or publish literary as it doesn't sell and only gets Pulitzers. MEANDER was supposed to be more literary, but they made me change the ending, except for the last line.

Deb: If you could grow up to write like someone else, who would it be (i.e., what writer do you most admire)?
Lisa: Me, looking toward the ceiling, "May I never grow up, please, God." I adore Ray Bradbury who also happened to publish the best book of the twentieth century in the US.

Deb: Were you born in the right century? If you could pick another era, which would you choose?
Lisa: I think I could handle being a pioneer woman, except for slitting the goat's neck and things of that type (Cold Mountain reference) and butchering, but I guess I'd have to get used to it, since vegetarians didn't do very well over the harsh prairie winters. And not being able to vacuum cobwebs would kinda drive me nuts, but that's why God made brooms and low ceilings in soddies.

Deb: Describe your ideal G-rated romantic evening.
Lisa: Nice meal we make together, well, he grills. Venison in his special marinade. Mushrooms. A walk on the pier at Port Washington as the sun goes down. A turtle sundae at Culver's. A slow ride back through the Kettle Moraine. Listening to Prairie Home Companion and having a beer. Oops, can I say that for "G"?

Deb: Sure! This isn't a stiff sort of blog...Does your book have a heart-thumping hero? What makes him heroic?
Lisa: Oh, absolutely. I have a wonderful fantasy life. Ann, the heroine, thinks Mark's eyes are the color of bluebird feathers in the sunshine (really, the feathers are black unless the sun shines on them), and dimples that probably turn his secretary's knees to pudding every morning. He is still a virgin at age 35 because he thought being married was worth the wait, and he's a great, kind, gentle lawyer. Oh, yeah, and smart - got a full scholarship to Georgetown. And rich. Did I say that already? And has great manners, and drags Ann to church. Sigh. Besides the fact that he's not really much of a Plan B kind of guy, he might be perfect.

Deb: Sounds heavenly. What's your next project (the one you're either currently writing or canoodling)?
Lisa: I'm pretending to work on the third book of the Buried Treasure (or Judy Winters if you've seen it on Amazon) cozy mystery series that no one wants since Heartsong Presents: Mysteries folded. Actually I'm about 2/3 of the way through the draft. Also I'm editing another romance with some great suggestions from some new friends. THE LAST DETAIL was originally written a couple of years ago to pitch during Heartsong's wedding year, but I had to kill someone. Heartsong doesn't really approve of that bumping off characters, so I rewrote the thing for a couple of other markets who still weren't taken with the body count. Now I'm just rewriting it like I always wanted it to turn out and we'll see what happens.
"Can real love survive a tumultuous courtship and marriage between a business woman and a busy pastor? Amalia, a sheltered young woman, and confirmed bachelor missionary Merit learn to accept God’s interference in their plans when he throws them together in an unlikely romance."
I'm also tinkering with a story line I pitched at a conference a couple of years ago. My local crit group likes it. I'm really gonna get stuck writing romance, aren't I?
Oh! Except for the radio drama series I'm writing for FreeQuincy Radio Theater. "As the Neuron Turns," a radio soap opera, will be out on Podcast in the fall. We're recording the vocals now and doing sound effects over the summer. Sometimes I can't believe myself.

Deb: Wow! And I thought I was busy! Where can fans buy your book, and in what format(s)?
Lisa: MEANDER SCAR releases on February 15 from Black Lyon Publishing. It will be available in print and e-book formats, including Kindle. The first chapter is posted on my website for your previewing pleasure. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Fictionwise, and will carry the book.
Author: Lisa J. Lickel
ISBN: 978-1-934912-23-2
Price: $16.95 paperback
Price: $8.00 Ebook (PDF format)
Pages: TBD paperback

Deb: Sounds great. Do you have a blog and/or website of your own?
Lisa: Sure do.

Lisa, thanks for a fun interview. MEANDER SCAR sounds fun and different.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

For You, Part Two - Another Book Review

Yes, I know...what's Kinnard about? TWO in a WEEK?

Yes. Get a lawyer.

Today's confection is Betsy St. Amant's A VALENTINE'S WISH (Love Inspired, Feb. 2010, ISBN 978-0-313-87581-8). And for all you FTC types, I bought this book with my hard-earned, so there.

A VALENTINE'S WISH tells the tale of Lori -- broke, unemployed and boyfriendless as V-Day approaches. It's Andy's story also, a youth pastor who's told by his church board that he'd better look for a wife toute suite because of another local youth pastor's scandalous conduct with one of his young flock.

How do they meet, you ask? Oh, don't worry, they're already best friends. Though for some couples this is an easy slide-in to True Love, for this pair it's anything but. Andy's gotten used to seeing Lori as a pal. Lori's accustomed to being the Invisible Woman as far as romance is concerned. These two have a bit of heavy sledding before arriving at Hearts and Flowers Bliss!

Ms. St. Amant has crafted a tale that reads as slick and smooth as some of those chocolates her heroine's been consuming. (Though Lori does gain 4 lbs. during her work at a candy store, never a zit to be seen! It's not fair!) The book is a treat for the reader and will go down as easy as Cadbury's Royal Dark. Though I don't often buy Steeple Hill, this one is the exception sort of book that always catches me as a pleasant surprise.

Five stars.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

For You, a Book Review

Just finished Linore Burkard's THE COUNTRY HOUSE COURTSHIP and enjoyed it very much. Here's my review--I give it four stars (five's my max and I don't do halfsies unless I'm REALLY conflicted):

ISBN # 978-0-7369-2799-4
Harvest House, January 2010

Genre: historical romance (Regency)

Beatrice Forsythe is guilty of the sin of envy. Her sister Ariana is happily married to Philip Mornay, “The Paragon”, a gentleman of ton with extensive properties. All Beatrice wants at age seventeen is a husband as rich as her brother-in-law, who can give her all the same material benefits The Paragon offers her sister.

To a wintertime house party at the Mornay estate arrive a husband-candidate with a sister in disgrace, plus a worthy but wary applicant for the vicarage in Mornay’s gift. Mr. Barton, the ideal society husband, has his own agenda—the Prince Regent wants to ennoble Mornay with a viscountcy, and it’s Barton’s job to get Mornay to agree, and quickly! At Aspindon, the Mornays’ country home, guests with secret agendas, well meaning relations, Beatrice-on-the-husband-prowl and a dangerous fever making rounds among the locals, make a dangerous and exciting brew. Beatrice finds that the prime candidate for her affections is not all he appears to be...

Ms. Burkard’s historical romances are new to me. I felt the novel’s opening was a bit slow, but the quality of the writing made me dismiss this as merely a matter of style. Ms. Burkard uses Austen-era literary conventions to make THE COUNTRY HOUSE COURTSHIP read very authentic to the time. I loved the parenthetical explanations and mental squirming written in, even within dialogue. It added a fresh dimension to a story that could have felt predictable, but was not. The ending was neither rushed nor drawn out too long. The secondary love story was somewhat thin, and at times I itched to slap Anne into some of Beatrice’s backbone. She has plenty to spare despite her early lack of maturity. I was very pleased with Beatrice’s character development, for she felt shallow in the early pages. I also liked the fact that the house party took place in winter—so many authors ignore the fact that the English of other eras had to find some way to entertain themselves through a cold season!

Ms. Burkart’s backlist is now on my TBR list, and I look forward to reading future titles from this very able author. If you’ve never read a Regency romance before, this is the book to start with.

Four stars.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Stolen Goods, Part II

Why is this important, you ask? After all, doesn't "every generation/blame the one before"? Isn't it just human nature to get revisionist about history and claim that THEIR age is the one that has sole possession of The Light?

Human nature, maybe. Resistible, definitely. If we counter, at every possible opportunity, the human tendency to dismiss an entire millenium as unenlightened, backward, all those terrible adjectives...I think there is hope to redeem the middle ages as fiction-fodder.

The marketing wunderkinder claim if we want to tell historical tales, they must not be set in the medieval era. Why is this? Because "it doesn't sell." Are they really saying, "we can't feel the love for this era because the characters, no matter how fervently Christian, must be Catholic"?

Horrors! We cannot honor THAT! Didn't we spend decades and buckets of martyrs' blood to get away from all that? Yes, the Reformation was necessary, though I think in places, particularly England, it went way out of hand. It also got out of control because of the aforementioned human nature. "What!" says sin-prone humanity. "Some children are bad? Throw them ALL away!" And from this mindset we get excesses of all horrific kinds.

We who read and write in the Christian market can reject this "throw it all out" mindset. We can refuse to accept the "no medievals" position on the part of the publishers, and write (and request, as readers) books that will be Entirely Unrejectable.

Recent events have shown that some publishers are ready to consider medieval-set fiction. Witness Michelle Griep's superb GALLIMORE and several other titles I have not yet read. I have hope.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Stolen Goods

In keeping with the "what's in it for YOU" feature of the blog, I offer the following mini-rant and some food for comment/thought.

A few years back I saw in the bookstore William Manchester's A WORLD LIT ONLY BY FIRE. Woot! thought I. A new research/enjoyment tome about the middle ages! So I yanked out the gift card and it was mine.

Surprise. I never finished reading the book (and those of you who know me are aware I ALWAYS finish a good medieval nonfic book). Here's why. It did not deliver on the unspoken promise to be a scholarly, thoughtful look at those centuries we call medieval. Oh, no. Instead it claimed that people in the middle ages "invented nothing" and were shackled to superstition, starvation and stupidity.

Hence the problem listed above: that of Stolen Goods. See, I've been canoodling this for a while, and I propose the following conclusion: the middle ages have been "stolen" from Christians due to the fruitbasket of biases Manchester so ably enunciated.

The medievals did nothing, accomplished nothing, knew less. They were one step up from Saxon/Viking/name your barbarian paganism. Barely Christian, right? After all, they weren't Protestants. Never mind that fervent believers spent almost a thousand years making sure the Gospels and other Writings were not only preserved, but enhanced. They found better source documentation in the Arabic and Greek writings as they came to light. They worked by candlelight in freezing or damp monasteries, hand-copying the Word of God one letter at a time. They dedicated their lives to doing this.

But they aren't worth writing about. They were pre-Reformation, therefore Beyond the Fictional Pale.

I submit otherwise. I find them very worthy of admiration. More so, the more research I do for the medieval fiction I seem stubbornly determined to write. My ancestors survived the Black Death, feudalism, probably slavery. They were admirable people despite they believed in a religious system to which I do not adhere.

Please, readers. Let not this fascinating time period be stolen from us by those who say that only the recent centuries matter.

Sunday, January 03, 2010


Happy New Year. Hasn't been a great one for us so far, due to family illness and associated challenges. But my husband and kids are healthy and enjoying their school and work vacations.

For my part, work continues on SEASONS OF RECKONING, the planned sequel to SEASONS IN THE MIST. Marcus, the main character, has just been found guilty of murder in a medieval (literally!) trial.

Trouble is--how much do I know about medieval trial procedure? How much do you, my would-be reader, know? Eh?

Realizing I'd written a whole ten pages of trial-fiction without actually knowing one iota about what I wrote. Aargh! This can't be good. So I went to the 'Net, which didn't find much, but I found there's a book. I got it on Interloan at the library, and let me tell you, it's tough slogging. Already in page 4 it uses terms I'm supposed to know but have never heard. Maybe I should've gone to law school before writing this one! Eh?

Then a small voice reminds me: "Hey, Kin, it's a ROMANCE. Get as much of it right as you can and don't sweat the rest." Now I want to understand as much as possible but follow this plan.