Tag Archives: Historical Fiction

Editing My Latest

Having finished drafting the third book in my series of historical novels called, “The Carolingian Chronicles,” I’m on to editing.
By now, I should be used to it. The bulk of my career has been spent in jobs that required my writing to be reviewed. I was a press secretary on Capitol Hill, a weekly columnist for a daily newspaper and a public relations professional for an international pr firm. Editing was just part of the deal. I’ve never had a first draft approved without a mark on it.
Creative writing, however, is a little different. It’s personal. As much as we writers like to talk about the muse (who is real btw) at the end of the day, it’s still us on the page, our thoughts, our words, our vision. We sometimes spend years getting a story down on paper.
That’s why editing can be such a challenge. Among writers it’s called “killing our babies.” Granted, it will make our story/novel/screenplay better, it’s just a difficult process to endure.
I’ll also admit that corralling 100,000 words into shape can be a herculean task. Word use, syntax, grammar, character consistency, plot pacing and backstory all require attention.
And the period details can kill you. “How long does it take an army on foot to move eighty miles?” “Didn’t this minor character die before this timeframe in history?” “Were tomatoes present in Europe in the eighth century?” “Was the Litany of Saints commonly used in France at that time?”
So, it goes. I’ll let you know how it turns out. And maybe after it’s done, I’ll tell you about the muse…
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Anvil of God Now Available as an Audiobook!

I’m very pleased to announce that Anvil of God is now available as an

audiobook!  If you sign up for Audible (for the first time), you can even get

it for free.

After reviewing the 30,000 or so books in their portfolio, iUniverse selected two for their maiden voyage into the audiobook market.

Anvil of God is one of them.

They contracted with Deyan Audio to do the 16 hour and 48 minute recording.   After searching through dozens of potential narrators, we chose Michelle Carmen Gomez to bring the story to life.

Check it out here: https://www.amazon.com/Anvil-God-Book-Carolingian-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B076MDKXWG/ref=sr_1_1?crid=U170DPKVIL56&keywords=anvil+of+god&qid=1563727924&s=gateway&sprefix=Anvil+of+god%2Caps%2C159&sr=8-1&fbclid=IwAR3diD8kOXkiKv5A7s7zrnGvnRs0CrH97P8qMvvuLRu5OCtTcUDdcqPMejM

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The Clifton BELLES

I was delighted to have an opportunity to speak to the BELLES book club last night (October 29th). BELLES stands for “Bright, Energized Ladies’ League for Educating and Socializing” and I have to say this group of women did not disappoint. About thirty of their ninety members showed up for dinner and a talk at Joya Cottington’s beautiful home in Clifton, VA.

FullSizeRender copyI was treated to fine wine, great questions and a lively conversation about my first book,  Anvil of God, Book One of the Carolingian Chronicles. Topics ranged from my writing process (I’m a pantser not a plotter), my muse (who can be a very scary presence), how characters can take over a story, and how writing explicit sex scenes can be difficult on your children.

Headed by Pamela Jones, the group is a discerning crucible for new and established writers. Their members came prepared with insightful questions about the novel’s main characters (Trudi & Pippin seemed to be their favorites), the role of women in the eighth century, the evolution of historical fiction and the rise of a new category called “faction” (fact-based historical fiction).

Plus, they gave me wine. I’ll show up to speak for good wine any day…

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I Blame it on Pags

I blame my buddy Steve Pagnotta.  In high school he suggested that I read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings (in that order, of course).  His sales pitch fell apart when I asked him what they were about.  He said, “dwarves, wizards and dragons.”  I immediately stopped listening.  Although I had been a comic book fiend in my youth (DareDevil, Spiderman, Batman), the idea of reading about faerie people just didn’t seem my style.  Fortunately, Pags persisted and I promised to give Tolkien’s books a try.

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I devoured them over the course of a week.  They were so wonderfully different and amazingly complex.  The plots followed a familiar “imperiled hero on a quest” format; the action was intense, the writing engaging and the characters were filled with a mixture of comic relief and pathos.  What captured my attention, however, were the backstories of the elves and dwarves and wizards and hobbits who all had their own well-formed histories, legends and languages.  I felt like I was missing the best part of the story. Continue reading

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