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Friday, April 29, 2011

Creating Worlds by Judy Nickles

Hogwarts, Indiana Jones’ Temple of Doom, Star Wars, Narnia, and so many other popular worlds exist because their characters inhabit them. Creating worlds is a challenge beyond anything I can imagine. However, my characters live in the past, often the near-past, and rather than creating their world, I must go back and try to walk through it as it existed, despite the fences of time.

Because I write mostly ‘vintage’ stories, one of my passions is researching settings, in particular the houses of the time period. In a time when old homes are being snapped up for renovation, seeing these houses as originally constructed (not as they’ve evolved over years of changing ownership and necessary repairs and modernization) is always fascinating.

Whenever I travel, I always make it a point to tour any available older home open to the public, especially antebellum houses. I recently visited the McCollum-Chidester House in Camden, Arkansas, which dates from the 1850s and was used as Union headquarters during the nearby battle of Poison Springs.

While researching a setting for a story set between the present and Civil War eras, I happened on Plantation Houses and Mansions of the Old South (J. Frazier Smith, reprinted in 1993 from the original 1941 version, Dover Publications). The discussion of the homes, complete with sketches of grounds and outbuildings, explanatory text, and floor plans, fascinated me and eventually led me to the absolute ‘right’ model for my story.

Sadly, many of these grand structures were victimized by looters both during and after the Civil War and later fell into disrepair beyond reclamation. Those that remain are rich sources of ideas for writers. And, perhaps stories lurk even among the silent columns and disembodied steps of those structures no longer whole.

We tend to take for granted many of our modern conveniences, but did you know that outhouses were in common usage until at least 1920? Larger, more expensive homes of the 1880s had indoor plumbing, including flush toilets. Some bathrooms even had showers in that decade, and there were smaller bathtubs built for children.

Kitchens, originally detached buildings due to fire risk during the antebellum period when cooking was done on an open hearth, moved inside. Wood burning and coal and stoves evolved into gas and electric appliances.  During the later 1880s, women left outdoor wash pots for deep sinks that even came equipped with wringers. “Slop sinks” served for the messier jobs like rinsing floor mops.

Between 1879 and 1889, electricity and stamped metal ceilings (still to be seen in many older business establishments) appeared. Most houses were two-story with the requisite parlor and front ‘lobby’. 

From about 1908 t0 1940, Sears Roebuck sold homebuilding kits delivered to your lot (hopefully with basement and foundation ready) by train or truck. Montgomery Ward and other companies provided their versions of the product and service. In the first decade of the twentieth century, Colonial Revival styles became popular. Enclosed porches, basement furnaces, steam radiators, and sheet rocked walls marked newer homes in this time period. Also popular were attic dormers.

Houses known as ‘bungalows’ were fashionable in the next decade. The latest in electric appliances, as well as the candlestick telephone, took up residence with the families who occupied these homes. Residents might even add a sleeping porch or a fireproof steel garage for their car.

In the 1920s, people became interested in European style homes. Glass doorknobs, highly prized by some collectors today, opened inside doors. Built-ins included Murphy beds and ironing boards.

The came the Great Depression. Forced from their homes, people migrated to shanty towns, living in any shelter available to them. Still, those who could, built stylish homes with stucco exteriors, slate roofs, sunken living rooms, and all the latest conveniences, including air-conditioning. Tile and linoleum flourished, and those who had cars parked them in detached garages.

In 1940, my parents built and were married in the living room of their first home. I lived there until the age of four, so I have some memories of the house. Still, it was exciting to find a picture of the exact house in The Vintage House Book: Classic American Homes 1880-1980 (Tad Burness, Krause Publications 2003). The credit for much of the previously-shared information goes to Mr. Burness and his well-researched, heavily-illustrated volume which I would recommend to writers of tales from by-gone days. I’d even go so far as to say that it’s a ‘must’ on your writing bookshelf.

It’s not enough to ‘set’ a story in a previous time. Readers must be able to ‘see’ places through interspersed (though not belabored) description. They want to feel a part of the time and place, as if they, too, were living in that Dutch Colonial or English cottage. If I soak up the atmosphere of these long-ago homes, either by visits or vicariously through books, I’m better able to create it for my readers. 

For a list of resources for information on various aspects of the past (characters, settings, etc.) visit the Resources for Writers page at my website I try to update it as I get new ideas, and I’d love for you to share your own resources to be posted there. Use the ‘contact me’ box on the home page.

Blurb: Despite over thirty years in a faithless marriage to wealthy investment broker Rand Kingston, Jean is  shocked when he asks for a divorce. Encouraged by her former housekeeper-turned-best-friend, she determines to rediscover herself as an independent woman and move on with her life. Nick Cameron, prominent attorney and long-time widower, would like to figure in her plans. The opposition of their adult children surprises them. Then, a series of chilling near misses makes them wonder who really is determined to keep them apart—and why. 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Can You Hear Your Characters Speaking? by Joanne Troppello

When I first started writing, I was terrible at keeping true to one character’s point of view at a time.  I was a head hopper.  Yes, I can admit that—now I feel so much better. 

All kidding aside, my lack of discipline when it came to POV totally ruined my efforts in creating a smooth flowing story.  After working with some wonderful editors, I realized my problem.  It was not easy to change my bad habits, but once I actually saw what I was doing wrong, it definitely made a difference. 

There are so many facets of writing well with regard to POV and as long as you start at the beginning, you’ll keep getting better at it.  Don’t allow discouragement to take over.  Rome wasn’t built in a day; although as my Italian husband always likes to joke, it sure fell in a day.  Back to POV…it takes time to develop good writing habits.  I can say this because I’ve been down the road to recovery when it comes to changing bad habits. 

I’m currently working on the edits for my fourth book.  I still have to remind myself that I need to get into character, just like an actor when acting out a scene.  Get into your character’s head and see what she or he is seeing.  Hear what she’s hearing.  Smell what he smells.  Touch what she touches.  Feel what he feels.  That is the only way that you’re going to get it right. 

You need to jump into the scene with your character and almost imagine that you are that character—at least for the moment, until you finish that scene and get into the head of another character.  Don’t just tell us what this character is feeling, but show the readers.  Telling won’t draw the readers fully into the story.  Showing will fully engage them and they’ll love your story.

What is the character thinking?  What’s on his or her mind?  The readers want to know that.  Here’s an example: 

          She cried out in pain and lurched forward as her foot got caught in the meandering roots of an old oak tree.  Landing on the ground, her hand smashed down on a rock and pain seared up her arm.  Great, twisted ankle and sprained wrist in the same day—pulling through the pain, she stood up and leaned on the tree for support.  She thought about Peter again.  The love of her life, he was also the man who broke her heart when he chose the agency over her.  Don’t think about him, just keep moving. 
What do we learn from this paragraph about the character?  Well, she’s obviously running somewhere and trips and gets hurt.  We get a glimpse into her thoughts when she shares about her lost love.  “Don’t think about him, just keep moving,” is a line that shows narration of the story from the character’s POV.  To write effectively, we need to get into the mind of our characters and write from their senses.

BLURB: Sophie Baird is looking for a way to escape the painful reality of her parents' deaths. Unable to live in their home any longer, she takes a job as a live-in tutor to Anastasia Shipley to remove herself from her painful memories and the feeling that God has abandoned her.

Anastasia has an illness that has prevented her from ever attending school and makes her father, Sebastian, over protective.

When Sophie first meets Sebastian, she cannot deny the intense attraction she feels toward him. When an unexpected romance begins between them, she starts to rebuild her relationship with God, with the help of a certain little girl.

~ * ~
AUTHOR BIO: A romantic suspense and inspirational romance author writing contemporary romance with a classic feel, Ms. Troppello is also a freelance writer / marketing consultant, located in Pennsylvania.  She has two books published.  Shadowed Remembrances is a mystery novel and Mr. Shipley's Governess is an inspirational romance novel, published through Wild Horse Press.  She is contracted to work for several different companies, to write non-fiction, how-to articles each week.  She also works as a freelance marketing consultant for a local medical organization and manages facebook and twitter accounts for different clients.  Ms. Troppello loves to write and read and spend time with her family.

~ * ~

Also from Joanne Troppello:

Shadowed Remembrances is a story about a young woman who has walked away from her past and her small town and started her life over in the city. On a visit back home, she is confronted with the hurts of her past, the rekindling of an old flame, and a murder. Torianna Silverman is a crime scene investigator, specializing in fingerprint identification. She is a NYC detective who is on vacation in a small Pennsylvania town. She encounters God in a special way and has to come face to face with her fears and find a way to move forward and solve the crime.

Joanne's Links:

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Hi. My name’s Brandi, and I’m a Southerner by Brandi Evans

When approached to write this guest blog, I was asked to write about my home town, which made me realize something odd.
I don’t have a home town.
I was born in Ft. Smith, AR, but my parents moved around so much I don’t claim an actual hometown—and that was before my dad joined the military. Yet despite being constantly uprooted, I’ve always lived in the South. From the great state of Misery, er Missouri…my bad, to the costal beauty of South Carolina, and then finally back home to The Natural State, I’ve always unapologetically been a Southern gal.
Therefore, I present to you (in no particular order)…
10 Reasons Why Living in the South ROCKS
1.   Sweet tea.
2.   I don’t have to explain how far “yonder” is.
3.   Grits.
4.   I can use the word “fixin’” as a noun, verb or adjective.
5.   I’m surrounded by others who understand BBQ is NOT a condiment…it’s a state of mind.
6.   Cowboys (or cowgirls if that’s your thing).
7.   You can deep-fry anything, even butter.
8.   Front porches.
9.   I can pretty much wear the same clothes all year ‘round.
10.  I don't have to explain or defend my accent!
~Brandi Evans
P.S. In honor of my sexy Ellora’s Cave release, Lust, Lace & Lingerie, anyone who leaves a comment will be entered in a drawing to win these steamy sex coupons!

I love managing the sexy Dallas boutique, Red Light Lingerie—talking to people about sex, toys and bedroom wear. One of my favorite erotic benefits? My boss, Maxwell Penn, is a Matthew McConaughey lookalike—but with a hot British accent. Okay, he can be domineering and I spend most of my time on the clock fluctuating between “I want to bed him” and “I want to strangle him.” But still…yum.

Tonight, however, everything will change.

An old friend of Max’s from Britain, a lingerie designer, has flown in to show Max a couple possible pieces for our new Risqué line of bedroom wear—but their model canceled. Can you see where this is going? Yep. I go from manager to model, and before I can say G-string, this spur-of-the-moment modeling gig ignites in passion and little ’ol me finds herself sandwiched between Max and his dark-n-sexy best friend.

I’d be in heaven if it wasn’t for the guilt swirling in Max’s blue eyes. But guilt for what?

“As you can see,” Garrett said to Max, “the fishnet offers the viewer a very visual picture while giving the wearer some sense of coverage.”
Sense of coverage? I tried not to roll my eyes. My damn pubic hairs were showing.
“And the black color,” Garrett continued, “combined with the extra-firm elasticity of the fishnet, help minimize bodily imperfections. Not that this one needs any help in that arena, hey, Max?”
“No, not at all. She’s…breathtaking.”
My nipples hardened at his words, and Max’s gaze zoned in on my breasts like heat-seeking missiles locking onto a target. He adjusted himself.
“And…” Garrett spun me around so my breasts pressed against the hard planes of his chest and swept my long hair over one shoulder, exposing my back to Max. “As you can see, the view from the back is exquisite as well. The dipping backline draws the eye and plays with the senses.”
As if accentuating his words, he teased his fingertips along the small of my back. Shivers followed where he touched me and I bit back a moan. My mind went wild with images of his big, gentle hands touching other parts of my body.
Christ, this was not happening.
“And the thick crisscrossing ropes,” Garrett said, his breath hot on my neck, “are not just decorative, my friend. They’re great for anchoring ties too. Now I know what you’re thinking. ‘It’s fishnet. One good tug, and it’s gonna rip.’ But I assure you that’s not the case. The synthetic fabric has some give, yes, but it’ll take a lot of force to rip. It will give you absolute control over your woman. And I know how much you like that.”

Brandi's Links:


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Secrets and Lies: The story of an author mom by Jennifer Wylie

            I am a stay at home mom for my two darling boys. This year they are both full time in school. You'd think I'd have a lot of time to write. Not so much. Though I do try. There seems to always be a million things to do. I'm known to be a very organized person, yet still things get away from me.
            My morning starts with a very cranky me in search of coffee. My husband, the boys, and even the dog stay clear until I reach the pot. Our mini Australian shepherd will wait a few feet away, butt wiggling and waiting to be taken out. Coffee in hand we head to the back yard, we have a five foot fence, it was high enough for our last full sized Aussie. This one jumps it. So I must stand there and wait to ensure she doesn't escape. Though we live in the country, our road is busy and people drive too fast. In the summer I don't mind so much. This time of year when it's snowing and -20 out, I wish she'd learn to pee faster.
            Back inside I fill up my cup and if it's a school day the orders start. Get dressed, eat your breakfast. No, do NOT leave your jammies in the middle of the floor! Brush your teeth, did you go pee? I am weaving through our horribly small kitchen now. (I really hate it. It's literally 3 feet wide. You can't have more than one person in without bumping into them). Hub is trying to get his breakfast and coffee, I'm trying to get sandwiches made for lunch, do breakfast dishes, ensure all school paperwork and homework is in backpacks. Now the cranky moments of trying to get kids into snowsuits and out the door.
            Finally a moment of quiet. Time to check emails, sigh at the amount, tweet good morning. Take dog out again, get more coffee. I spend a few hours tweeting, emailing, facebooking, checking various forums and lists and blogs. Not all for fun, as an author you have to maintain that Internet presence. I also have a work from home job, which involves working with other authors, reading, editing etc.
            During the day I rotate the laundry, pick up toys, do dishes (no dishwasher!), take out the dog every hour, make beds, sweep floors. Oh, did I mention I have over 50 birds? A hobby that got a bit out of control. We can't forget the hour or so feeding and watering and checking on all of them. If I'm lucky I get a short nap.
            The kids get off the bus at 4. Hubby is home before or after, who knows. Where has the day gone? Time for checking journals, cleaning out bags, doing homework and starting dinner. Eat fast. Do dishes, more laundry, more tidying, bathe the kids, get them in jammies and teeth brushed and lunches made and tucked into bed. I feel like collapsing but I've yet to do any writing. Sometimes I manage. Luckily the boys go to bed at 7.
            Where are the secrets and lies? My house is clean. (Snort! Do not look in the corners, or too closely). Of course I sit around eating bon-bons all day and watching soaps. (TV? What is that? I don't have time for TV! Okay yes I do eat a lot of chocolate though :P) How often to I sit down to edit or write and just get started... and then am called away? Yet I still say, yes I'm editing, yes I'm writing.
            The classic of course... What did you do today?
            Oh, not much.
            On the other hand, there are those days all I do is edit or write, but I'll whisk around the house just before everyone gets home and when asked I say I cleaned all day. :D Shh. That's a secret.

            Being a published author is fun and exciting and also a lot of work. With the marketing, edits on upcoming work, and writing new stories my brain sometimes start to spin.
            My debut short story Jump came out Dec. 15th. March 1st my next short story, The Forgotten Echo was released. I also contracted for a 6 story short series- one due each month, and my novel Sweet Light is coming out in May. I've two other shorts just contracted and another novel submitted, four novels in progress and a few I need to clean up before submitting.
            I might be insane.

Follow the insanity--

The Forgotten Echo

Short Story- YA, Paranormal
Published  by Echelon Press
Top seller and top rated on OmniLit eBooks site.

Sometimes death is only the beginning...

Even after the bad day she's had, Cassy is still surprised to find herself shot, an innocent bystander in a drive by shooting. Bleeding to death in an empty parking lot, she knows she is going die.

What she doesn't expect, is the arrival of a strange, and unnaturally handsome, man who tells her he can keep her from passing on in return for being his forever. In desperation, she agrees but afterwards she is beyond dismayed to discover she has died.

To make matters worse, the stranger has disappeared, leaving her spirit to wander through a series of worlds unknown to her. Her existence is one of fear and loneliness, until she meets another like her and discovers she's not a ghost at all but something much more.

Sometimes death is only the beginning...

Even after the bad day she's had, Cassy is still surprised to find herself shot, an innocent bystander in a drive by shooting. Bleeding to death in an empty parking lot, she knows she is going die.

What she doesn't expect, is the arrival of a strange, and unnaturally handsome, man who tells her he can keep her from passing on in return for being his forever. In desperation, she agrees but afterwards she is beyond dismayed to discover she has died.

To make matters worse, the stranger has disappeared, leaving her spirit to wander through a series of worlds unknown to her. Her existence is one of fear and loneliness, until she meets another like her and discovers she's not a ghost at all but something much more.

If you were told to jump off of a bridge would you? Perhaps it would depend on who was doing the asking. Our heroine has spunk and a sense of humor, however suffers from an extreme case of inappropriate clothing. When things take a turn from dangerous to worse what will she do when fantasy becomes reality? Warning: May include hot leather clad men, singing and demons.

Buy Links: Now just .99!

Jennifer Wylie was born and raised in Ontario, Canada. In a cosmic twist of fate she dislikes the snow and cold. Before settling down to raise a family, she attained a BA from Queens University and worked in retail and sales. Thanks to her mother she acquired a love of books at an early age and began writing in public school. She constantly has stories floating around in her head, and finds it amazing most people don’t. Jennifer writes various forms of fantasy, both novels and short stories. Sweet light is her debut novel to be published in 2011. Jennifer resides in rural Ontario, Canada with her husband, two boys, Australian shepherd a flock of birds and a disagreeable amount of wildlife.

Author Blog

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Help The Relief Effort In Japan & Read Some Great Fiction from Elizabeth Black

All proceeds from sales of Fountain of Youth from erotic romance author, Elizabeth Black will go to aid relief in Japan. 

The world was shocked by the destruction caused by the Sendai earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan in March 2011. What can a writer do to help? 
Searching for a way to help relief efforts, Ms. Black, along with her publisher, Romance Divine, LLC collaborated to earmark all sales of her short erotic story Fountain of Youth through June 15, 2011 to be donated to the Red Cross foundation to assist the Japanese in their recovery efforts.

Fountain of Youth is particularly appropriate since it is a M/M erotic short based on a Japanese folk tale. In Ms. Black's Americanized version, as in the Japanese original, a lesson is learned – be careful what you wish for. 

What if you could have a do-over – a second chance at love and romance with the object of your heart's desire? What would you wish for? Careful, sometimes wishes do come true but they might not always be exactly what you expect. Sydney finds romance, and changes after discovering a secret Fountain Of Youth. Find more about this story on Ms. Black's web site. 

All proceeds from this short story sold through June 15th will be donated to the Red Cross for the relief efforts in Japan.

Author bio: Elizabeth Black is a writer who lives on the Massachusetts coast with her husband, son and four cats. She pens erotic romance, erotica, dark fiction and horror. She also writes articles about sex and relationships for numerous publications. You may find her at her web siteand friend her at Facebook

Romance Divine LLC is a publisher of print, electronic, and audio books; fiction and non-fiction in a variety of genres. 

Romance Divine books can be found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, All Romance e-Books, Kobo, Bookstrand, Google Bookstore, Apple iBookstore and other fine on-line retailers. They are also available at Romance Divine.

Contact Information:
Elizabeth Black

Romance Divine, LLC
Gregory Causey, Publisher

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Exciting Life of an Author - Not! by F.M. Meredith

Author F.M. Meredith

To describe most of my days as a writer, I am sitting in front of the computer typing away. If not on my work-in-progress, writing a blog for my own blog or for someone else like I’m doing right now.

Once the first draft is done, the work has only begun. Usually, I begin by reading the novel chapter-by-chapter to my critique group. It’s what I think of as the first edit. Usually, though, I’ve gone over the chapter before I’ve taken it to the group and think it’s in pretty good shape. I’m usually wrong. The member of the group who was an Honors English Teacher always finds grammar errors—and she’s great at getting rid of unnecessary words. Another gal is good at pointing out sentences that could be rearranged for better clarity. The youngest of our group always finds ways to update the dialogue. Our one and only man is wonderful for pointing out what the male characters would do or say.

The next day I’ll work on that same chapter. I don’t necessarily make each correction as suggested—but I usually do something because if what I wrote caused someone to make a comment it probably needs work.

Once the whole book has been gone over that way, I’ll start over, looking for ways to make it better and checking for inconsistencies. I do have a reader I always send my manuscripts off to who finds even more things that need to be fixed or clarified.

When it’s where I think it’s the best it can be, I send it off to my publisher. Because I write two series, so far each time I send in a new offering they’ve been accepted. However, this is not the end of the work. Both publishers have editors who will go over the manuscript again, sending it back to me with more corrections and questions. I don’t always agree with what they’ve corrected, but I seldom argue over punctuation because each house has it’s own preferences. Often, despite all the care I took prior to sending the book out, the editors always find more things to correct.

Once it’s printed, a galley proof will be send to me. This I always print out because it’s easier to find mistakes on a printed page than on the computer screen. Despite all the work we’ve done to make it perfect, more typos and errors have made their appearance. I think there are gremlins at work who love messing up a manuscript.

Are we done after I send in the corrections? Sometimes. But with my last book, Angel Lost, the publisher, Oak Tree Press, decide to print ARC (Advance Reading Copies) that we could send out for pre-publishing reviews. You guessed it, The ARCs had more errors. Where on earth had they come from? Gremlins at work again.

Yes, we went through the ARC carefully to make corrections in the finished product, but we still used them to send out as review copies. Unfortunately, one of the review sites commented about all the errors in the book, not explaining that it was an ARC. The main part of the review was great though, so I thanked her kindly for the review.
Maybe you might think that’s all exciting, but it’s a lot of work.

Promotion is a lot of work too whether you’re doing it on line or in person. You don’t have to get dressed up to promote online, but it does take a lot of time away from writing. It’s necessary though, if you want people to know about your book.

You do have to dress appropriately when you’re doing in-person events—and my big worry is whether or not I wore the same outfit the last time I did the particular event. Also if photos are going to be taken, I don’t want to have the same clothes on I did the year before. In-person events consist of talks and presentations at libraries, bookstores, book clubs, schools, writers conferences and mystery conventions as well as selling my books at book and craft fairs. Though these are fun to do, again it takes time away from my writing.

What is exciting is when someone comes up to me and tells me how much they liked one of my books.

--F.M. Meredith a.k.a. Marilyn Meredith

My latest book is Angel Lost from Oak Tree Press.

Blurb: As plans for her perfect wedding fill her mind, Officer Stacey Wilbur is sent out to trap a flasher, the new hire realizes Rocky Bluff P.D. is not the answer to his problems, Abel Navarro’s can’t concentrate on the job because of worry about his mother, Officer Gordon Butler has his usual upsets, the sudden appearance of an angel in the window of a furniture store captures everyone’s imagination and causes problems for RBPD, and then the worst possible happens—will Stacey and Doug’s wedding take place?

In Judgment Fire a battered wife is murdered and Tempe is given a warning by a shaman. She participates in a starlight ceremony, and repressed memories of her own painful high school days help her find the killer.
A shaman warns Deputy Tempe Crabtree her life is in danger. The death of a battered wife leads Tempe to participate in a Native American starlight ceremony that brings back hidden memories of her painful high school days. She attempts to help the delinquent son of the murdered woman, is threatened by his step-father--the primary murder suspect, deals with a man who may be mentally ill, and renews acquaintances with not such good friends from her younger years. A second fire brings judgment to the guilty party.


Friday, April 1, 2011

Serendipity by Ann Duncan

Author Ann Duncan

During a recent attempt to get organized–I have a boxy little six-by-six office that contains all my writing and crafting paraphernalia–I found a long-lost bundle of bright green tulle. You know, the “fabric” that looks and feels like plastic netting. And now it’s sitting in a cabinet in my tiny office, waiting for this year’s cutting of Queen Anne’s Lace. (It’s a great way to dry them. You simply hang the tulle--spread out like a tent top–then poke the stems thru the holes so they can dangle in mid air while the umbel (flower head) rests comfortably flat. If the holes are too small, tear them wider with your finger or the pointed end of a pair of scissors. After a few weeks, voila! Dried lacy flowers that will look great amongst your holiday decorations or tucked into a colorful bouquet. I know, you might be thinking, Why focus on that at this time of year. Spring is here but it still feels like winter. I guess I’m in one of those moods to plan ahead. (Let’s hope I stay organized and can find it when the time comes. Ha).

Queen Anne’s Lace. How can you look at the perfection of it and not feel the fullness of faith? The unwavering existence of our Creator? How can you not want to follow Him? His ways? After all, it’s the path that our founding fathers followed . . . and look where it brought them:  To the creation of the greatest nation on earth! When I see a field of Queen Anne’s Lace, I can envision George Washington on his knees, praying for guidance, surrounded by the genteel grace of a patch of these flowing flowers. Ever stop to observe them? Once you’ve clipped and dried some, it’ll become an annual event.  And you’ll realize, it’s almost Biblical. As if each perfect petal is valiantly awaiting its fate–to be snipped and clipped, to slowly and quietly dry and stiffen . . . at first snow-white, then turning a muted ecru. Originally adding grace and beauty to a northeastern hillside, they’ll continue this legacy in the “afterlife”.

You’ll never convince me that Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota), or any other flower for that matter, is just an “accident” of nature.

So, here I am. Clean office. Downright organized office! Even my file folders are within easy reach in a rolling cart. And I’m writing about Queen Anne’s Lace in March? Could be writers’ block, you say, or procrastination. After all, you write historical adventures for kids.

“But,” I respond with glee, “this has spurred a new story! My character (who goes back thru time) is going to meet founding father John Jay in his next adventure. And, he will be traveling along the hills and valleys in the state of New York, in the 1700's, where he’ll come upon this great founding father’s estate. And? He’ll be traveling right thru a field of Queen Anne’s Lace. At least I think he will. Sudden thought, were they actually here then?
Well, I’ll just pull out my research folder (from that nicely organized rolling file cart) and scribble in a new entry: Research the history of Queen Anne’s Lace.

Ta Daa! Serendipity at its best. 
~ * ~

Ann Rich Duncan is the author of The SEED, a novel of suspense that placed as a top-ten choice with New Century Writer Awards. She is also the creator and author of the (YA) Johnny Vic historical adventure series that has been endorsed by educators in Vermont and New York. A former radio talk show host, public relations specialist, and weekly newspaper publisher, she currently fills her days working to fulfill the requests of her new literary agent. To see her books or to reach her blog, go to her website.

Treasure Hunter John Victor comes to the chilling conclusion that the essential right to sustain life could be taken away forever if he doesn't stop Alexander Graham Rossweild's people from using The Terminator. It's a formula that could devastate America's farmlands!  Poor John, all he wanted to do was unearth a chest of gold that was hidden by Civil War soldiers.

Read an excerpt.

Ann's Links: