Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Clear your closets & clear your mind?

Lately, I've been avoiding making a few life and career decisions. One is whether or not to move. I'm leery of making the wrong choice and/or making a mistake...especially after spending significant time and effort. Yes, I know that no decision is a decision in itself. And that wrong choices/mistakes can often be corrected.

In case I do decide to move, I've embarked on a project: going through all of my stuff. I don't consider my place cluttered, but do have hundreds of books and many closets. Being a writer, I love my research books and those on keeper shelf. Then there's the to-be-read shelf. It hurts to donate any of them, but some must go. Being an actor, I never know what I might need to wear for an audition or a booking, so I have a wide variety of options. Yet surely some things can be added to the pile.

This morning I worked on my coat closet, organizing bins holding hats and gloves. I came across this pair of green leather gloves with gold and metal decoration. I don't know where I got them or if they were a gift. I've never worn them, because they're that nice, and enjoy admiring them from time to time. Keep? Try to sell them on e-Bay? (I've been looking up a few items and am surprised by the low prices. How does an individual make enough money to make it worth the time to take pictures, post and follow the sale, and pack and ship the item?) Or actually wear them?

There's a style of velvet Thinsulate gloves I love that I've bought in different colors and patterns over the years at TJ Maxx and other discount retailers. Apparently I lost one black and one grey, but those remaining make their own pair.

Seeing the now-tidy bins lined up in orderly rows gives me a sense of accomplishment. Each time I fill a bag or box, I feel lighter. Clearer. I'm sure I'll feel even better when I actually take the bags to their next destination.

Will those feelings carry over into my work and/or decision-making? Does an orderly home lead to an orderly mind? I hope so.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

My Enemy, My Love releases today in Kathryn LeVeque's Kindle World!

I'm excited to announce that my novella My Enemy, My Love is now available as part of Kathryn LeVeque's Kindle World, World of de Wolfe Pack!

Kathryn asked me to tell the story of her hero Sir William de Wolfe's best friend Paris de Norville's parents. Her book introducing Paris, The Wolfe, starts at the end of 1231 AD. So to make him the right age, my novella needed to be set around 1200 AD. I like to incorporate some real history, so I searched for events around that time. And chose King Philip II's 1203-4 siege of Chateau Gaillard.

Philip Augustus wanted to evict the English from Normandy, and at the time, CG was their last holding. He sacked the nearby town, then placed the chateau under siege.

Some civilians were allowed to leave the chateau. But several hundred weren't. The chateau's commander wouldn't let them back in because supplies were running low, and he needed to keep his soldiers alive to defend the fortress. So many people were trapped outside for months between the French army camp and the chateau in the midst of winter. Some died, and some resorted to what many would consider immoral acts to stay alive.

My other books are set in 15th century England, and I have hundreds of research books on that era. Finding what I needed for MEML was challenging, though I did come across great resources such as an episode of the PBS show Battle Castle.

Another challenge was how to make a tragic event the backdrop for a romance. I condensed the progress of the siege and left out some of the more horrific elements. For example, since those left outside had so little food, some went to extremes to find sustenance. One source said dogs were eaten, others said something even worse: cannibalism.

I focused on the concept that something can come out of very difficult times. I hope readers enjoy Lady Aline de Lacy's and Sir Apollo de Norville's story.