Tag Archives: Research

Where’s The Love? An #amwriting post.

Okay, so I didn’t come up with anything romantic for yesterday because there was a little too much romance in my own life. Lunch date with my husband, grocery shopping together, a nap because it felt like -10F outside and 10F is my limit on coldness when it comes to walking in the park.

So, what now? Writing! The MLK holiday is over, and the house is quiet. I’m smashing everything I should have done yesterday into today’s schedule. Laundry, dishes, writing 6,000 words, which seems a little much. Fair warning, I might not get to my word count goal.

What am I working on? A historical romance set in Liberty, Missouri during the 1870’s. Alice, a lovely young woman from New York City, is bringing three young children to their new parents, Jack and Ellie Dryden. Only, they arrive at the Liberty depot to learn Ellie has gone back home to Boston. Does the adoption go through, or does Alice turn them over based on Jack’s promise to be a good single parent? ::cue dramatic music::

I love this story. My only problem with it is there’s not enough about the orphan situation overall. The romance needs to be front and center, and there’s nothing romantic about children selling newspapers by day and sleeping in the streets at night. In an era where birth control wasn’t as easy to find as it is today, the amount of abused, neglected, or abandoned children was incredible.  There’s no definitive number, but it’s estimated that 250,000 children and babies were sent west to new homes.

In this book, like all the other historicals I write, I’m researching to the nth degree. I have plans to photograph the depot where the kids arrive, to not use the word “kids” no matter how tempting it is, and to research 1880 farms near Jack’s fictional place.

There are three more books planned for this Pioneer Romance series. Next up is the Pony Express based story, the Santa Fe Trail story, and the Northwest Shipping story. They’re all plotted. I just need to park my butt and write them.

African lion

This guy? He’s a hint for an anthology story I’m also writing at the moment.

Meanwhile, if there’s a romantic topic you want to be researched between now and Sunday, comment below! I personally LOVE researching stuff, especially romance.

Merry Christmas and happy #MondayBlogs!

There’s going to be so much in this post! Grab something to drink and get comfy because this’ll be fun.

First off, happy holidays! No more Christmas music! Yay!

Whaddya mean you're glad it's over?

Whaddya mean you’re glad it’s over?

I know. I’m one of those people who dread the music every year. I do try to like it, but nope. I’ll let others enjoy the tunes. Even better than the lack of Jingle Bells sung a million different ways? Free trash pick up! That may be for only our city, but it’s wonderful and I love it. Trash men are magicians, no kidding.

My writing is my life, but my publishing is my business and I have goals for 2018. Readers will be happy to know I’m expanding a beloved series and adding more to a currently in progress series. If I stick to plan, I’ll have at least eight novels and three short stories drop in the next year. They’re all plotted and waiting for me to write them. Along with all the writing, I’ll be creating  another spin off series and maybe launching it late in 2018. Everything depends on God not laughing as I plan.

Meanwhile, 2018 will find me upping the romance in my life and hopefully in your life, too. I’ll be researching and posting practical action items we all can take to help add love and romance to our day. I don’t intend for my posts being all for married people. I want to help singles find their best match possible or how to enjoy being on their own.

I hope you either join or continue on this vastly fun journey with me in 2018. Click subscribe or follow me on the various social media outlets I play on right now.

 

Field Trip!

I have big plans for this weekend. Not as big as the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention, of course, but big on the research for a new series.

For the RT lowdown, head over to here to read and then come back.

Fun, right? But what’s this weekend? And that new series? Drumroll, please…

Introducing the American West series. Four stories set during the American expansion era. I have four books planned for sure about the Santa Fe Trail, the Orphan Train, the Pony Express, and a Northwest Shipping adventure. Characters from my Oregon Trail series will make guest appearances, too, and I’m so looking forward to seeing them again.

I’ll post on Monday what we did and saw on our intense research weekend.

#MondayBlogs for the Readers

I’ve had a lot of feedback from readers in the past week and thankfully, it’s all been great.  It’s super hard for me to take compliments and I find praise both wanted and difficult.  Whenever someone is gushy over my work, I have to take a deep breath and say thank you.  Then nothing else.  No deflecting or saying I’m not worthy because doing such will dilute the compliment and who wants that?

That’s my thoughts on the past week.  Back to you, the reader.  In that ‘Fine’ voice you get from your mother when she’s been worn down by your pestering, I say, “Fine.”  There’s been enough ‘eh’ reviews about The Very Best Man’s ending that I’ve decided to add another chapter.  This last bit of the book is inspired by Kung Fu Fighting.

I think most of the readers who didn’t like the current ending are those born after 1985.  They’re too young to remember the non-endings of movies made in the early and mid seventies like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Did they die?  Or did they survive and live out their lives in Bolivia?  We can only guess because that movie’s end didn’t tell us, just hinted.

I’m currently mired in the thing that is National Novel Written in a Month.  The word count is good and I’m using the month to write The Very Worst Man.

In progress!

In progress!

It’s wonderful so far.  I’m having the best time ever writing it.  The dialogue is a blast.  Plus, there’s already a secondary character trying to take over and I’m having to back off from letting her do so.  Can I just drop her and go on?  Of course not!  She’s my heroine for The Very Poor Man.

Most of my readers will probably be wondering whose blog they’re reading.  Like, am I not the author of that whole Oregon Trail series?  Yes!  I am and Uncivilized is in progress.  When I hit the word count goal on The Very Worst Man, I go back to the 1850’s and hang out there.  I thought when starting the contemporary Worst Man that intense research could take a break.  Nope!  Thanks to writing Hayden and Alexandra’s love story, I know a lot more about Wyoming law, prisons, and prosecuting attorneys than I had planned.  Something else that’s been a surprise?  How much of the villain’s crime I need to know.  So much for my idea of writing a few sex scenes and calling it good.  The best thing is how all my research makes it a better book for you, the reader.

I have a ton of them in paper form and several more bookmarked on my web browsers.  Some were hand drawn and now available via Google, while others are the latest in tourist roadmaps.  Still more are from National Geographic with infinite detail of every mountain and valley in our country.  I have more maps than those of just the United States, of course.  I’m trying to ignore them in favor of finishing the Oregon Trail series. After this project and all its intensive research, I’m totally in favor of writing something either present day or set in the far future.

“What?  That can’t happen!  You just pulled that out of your butt!”

“Why yes, yes I did.”

So back to the maps and why I have access to so many.  Well known landmarks in the 1800’s aren’t the same as the ones we take note of now.  In some places, the original trail crisscrosses highways.  In others, it runs through privately owned land.  Is every single step along the way to Portland vital to the story?  Yes, and no.  Sure, I could have a character die by falling down a steep cliff into the river below.  Could it be the Green River, or would it best to use the Snake River?

 

This is Green River.

green_river_valley_wy

 

 

 

 

 

A bad place for a cliff death. That might be a good thing.  So, the victim will have to wait until the Snake River.  Even then, the banks aren’t steep the entire way.  Landscapes like this is why I study the topography of my settings.  It’s also fun to see what surprises the terrain and weather can bring to my characters as well.

Fun fact about the Oregon Trail!  You could have left Independence, Missouri, near where I live, and maybe reach Oregon before October.  If nothing tragic happened, other than a death or two, it would be possible.  But if you waited to leave next week?  It’d be a whole lot better if you just waited until next April.  Otherwise, you’d risk a catastrophe of Donner proportions.  Read here for more information.