Thursday, May 31, 2018

10 Things Bog Mummies Have Taught us about Iron Age People

I am so excited to announce that my article has been published on Listverse! I had fun researching & writing it, so I hope you have fun reading it. Please check it out and let me know what you think in the comments.

10 Things Bog Mummies Have Taught us about Iron Age People

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Rediscovering my Voice

I am now in the process of putting the final polish on my romance manuscript. It has  already been edited approximately... 8,000 times. The first draft was unusually rough for me and I've only just realized why.

I wrote The Gates of Nottingham when I was very young. It was a huge learning experience for me. I believe any author's first novel teaches them patience, perseverance, and humility, but most of all, it gives them a voice. From Nottingham I learned that I prefer to pen third-person limited narratives with tight, lean prose. My novels have all had varying degrees of darkness, most exuding a certain level of anxiety.  In So Many Secrets I experimented with first person story telling because I believed that would best suit the story, but in Prince Dead, I returned to form with a story written from the perspective of four characters. I have often been told I write like a man, all flowery prose and high emotion kept to a minimum for the sake of stress-inducing suspense and emotionally scarred characters.

For these reasons, dipping my toes into the romance genre proved a challenge.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

The Best Software for Novelists?

If you are a writer who has not heard of Scrivener, I would highly recomment it. If you are already using it, my guess is that you love it.  Before I begin my review, I want to assure you that I am in no way affiliated with Scrivener, nor am I being in any way compensated for my review.

Scrivener is word processing software targeted at writers of long projects, novels included. These projects are broken down into subdocuments, e.g. chapters, scenes, research documents, etc. Most people are familiar with Microsoft Word, so I would like to share the advantages of Scivener over that program:

1. Scrivener allows the reader to view multiple subdocuments at once. For example, if you are working on a historical fiction novel set during WWII and want to quote Winston Churchill, you can have both your text and a copy of one of his speeches open simultaneously . These two subdocuments can be viewed side by side or one atop the other. Perhaps you are modeling a character after an actor or model. You can view an imported photo of that person beside the text of your novel as you write your character's description. To make it super simple, there is a "Binder" (think of it as a table of contents for your project) to the left of your text editing screen which allows you to quickly select your subdocuments.

2. The ability to easily import research documents, photos, and video from online is invaluable, particularly if you live in an area with unreliable internet connection. I am sure every author has had the experience of minimising their MS Word document to open a new window to view such research and spent a great deal of time clicking back and forth. With Scrivener, you don't need 100 folders saved in the documents on your computer to try to organize everything. It's all right there in the binder.

3. Moving chapters and scenes is easy. Not every author writes their novel in chronological order. No more copying and pasting huge amounts of text, clicking "Cut by accident, and then panicking that you've lost 20 pages of work. Simply select the scene or chapter in your Binder and drag it to the order you prefer.

4. Character Cards and Place Cards are easy to make and quickly available in the binder. Did you forget what color Mary's hair is? You don't have to go find that ruber-banded stack of index cards to remember. Again, the information is one click away in your binder.

5. Scrivener also has a tool called the Inspector. The inspector can be viewed to the right of your Editor. As you write a scene you can take notes and write a summary in the Inspector. These notes can later be viewed as an Outline with the click of a button.

There are three major disadvantages to Srivener. The first is that the program is not always self-explanatory. If you do choose to purchase it, I strongly suggest going through the entire tutorial. This will take two and a half to three hours, but trust me, you don't want to guess how to do these things later. The second is that agents / publishers are most likely not going to accept a Scrivener document. You will probably have to export it to MS Word. The third downside is that there is no mobile version for Android. I do quite a bit of work on a Samsung Tablet because of its highspeed mobile connection. I cannot work on a Scrivener document on my Tablet. Hopefully, that will change soon.

Please... please, Scrivener make that change soon.

To purchase, or for more informatin, go to

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Gates of Nottingham Free on Kindle

I am excited to announce that from 7/13/17 to 7/17/17, my medieval action/adventure novel The Gates of Nottingham will be FREE on Kindle. Get your copy while the promotion lasts!

Please remember that an honest review is one of the best payments you can give an author. I hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

A Novel Half Edited, A Novel Half Written

I haven't updated this blog with anything personal in a while, so I wanted to let you know what has been going on with my writing.

My contemporary romance novel is undergoing a final edit. I am moving the setting to the Sierra Nevada foothills, to a fictional area inspired by the by the towns of Rough and Ready and Penn Valley. The novel touches on fictional issues of nepotism, gossip, and abuse of power in a small town, but is not meant to reflect any person, people, or behaviours of those in government in either of these real towns. As I say, the story line is entirely fictional.

I wanted to reflect the natural beauty of the area and the slower pace of life which conflicts with the protagonists' experiences in LA and San Francisco. I believe that when most people think of California, they picture sunny beaches and movie stars, but that is really such a small part of the state.

I live in a gold rush area, filled with redwoods and pines, scarred by the strip mines, and fed by an abundance of lakes and rivers. This is a place where you may lose cell phone reception, where you can still get lost, where you can hide out in the hills and avoid contact with other people if you chose. It is a place where you can go fishing, boating, or hiking just ten or fifteen minutes from home. There is one sandwich shop in town and one small grocery store. Costco is an hour's drive. It might take even longer if your neighbor happens to be herding cattle up your street or driving a tractor to a friend's house to lend a hand.

I think this unique setting will be of interest to readers and will certainly influence my characters.

As to the novel half-written, I have reached a point where I need to do some serious research to plot the second half. I have not fully researched the War for Independence at this point because inspiration struck and I wanted to get the main plot on paper while it was strong in my head. The war affects the characters and exists in the background, but this is not a war novel. It is the story of a group of people attempting to do what is right, stumbling, disagreeing, and creating anguish in the process. It is about compromise, forgiveness, and respect. So, while I will be learning more about the setting, this is definitely a character-driven novel. I hope to finish it soon.

Let me know if you like these updates and I will post more. You can also follow me on Twitter for tidbits on my writing struggles and triumphs.

Friday, June 30, 2017

All Kindle Books now $.99

I am very pleased to announce that I have lowered the price of the kindle editions of each of my books. For a trial period, each book will sell for just $.99 on Amazon.

These are not run of the mill $.99 self-published novels. Each one is a completed story of over two hundred pages. You will not reach the end of your kindle edition only to find that the last chapter has been removed and that you have to pay a second price for it, nor will you discover that what you hoped to be a juicy read turns out to be a low-effort, seventy-page promotion for something else. I am very proud of each of these novels and worked diligently on them. As always, they are free to read for members of Kindle Unlimited.

If you choose to purchase or borrow anything I have written, please remember that the greatest gift you can give an author is an honest review. Whether one sentence or multiple paragraphs, one star or five, every review and rating is helpful. I learn from criticism and profit from praise.

Remember, you can also leave a comment here or contact me by email or on Twitter.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Body in the Bog: Elling Woman

In 1938, a local farmer discovered what he thought to be the remains of an animal in a peat bog in Bj├Žldskovdal outside Silkeberg, Denmark. Then, he noticed a belt fastened around the remains. Instead of a drowned animal, he had found the remains of a long-deceased human. The farmer contacted the National Museum of Denmark and the body was subsequently transported to Copenhagen for further inspection.

The front of the body suffered decomposition while the back had been better preserved by the acidity and lack of oxygen in the bog. It was determined that the person wore a skin cloak and belt with a blanket of cowhide covering the lower body and legs. Because of the furrow left in the neck and the skin belt with a sliding knot which was discovered with the body, it was determined that this person was hanged to death. With the available technology of the time, researchers found it impossible to discover more, and the body was then moved to a storage room in the museum.

It was not until the 1970's that x-ray technology allowed researchers to discover the sex and age of the body. These were the remains of a young woman, approximately 25 years old. Radio Carbon dating placed her lifespan during the 4th and 2nd centuries B.C. in Northwestern Europe.

Although the discovery of bodies preserved in Northern European bogs was not unusual, nor was her mode of death or dress uncommon amongst the bodies found, one there was something remarkable about the body.