Monday, January 14, 2019

New Year’s Resolutions & the Gimlet

You’re probably wondering right now what the heck a gimlet is? Well, if you’ve been reading lots of old noir detective novels, you probably already know. I read enough Chandler books to take his advice literally and found this old time drink needs to come back. Plymouth gin, rose’s lime juice, a touch of lime, and into the cocktail shaker it goes. What comes out is pure-tasting noir in a glass.

How does this relate to New Years? Well, there are a few things I wanted to tackle this year. Running a half marathon or marathon (I’m prepping by doing Bay to Breakers first this year). I also wanted to get better at exploring the wide world of drinks and authors. Yes, you heard that right. A lot of authors actually lace their novels with info about their favorite drinks. Hemingway made “Death in the Afternoon” - which tastes great, but is basically a bad hangover waiting to happen. For the gimlet, I have Chandler to thank. But there’s much more, and I intend to slowly explore more cocktail options via the writers of the past as I read more of their work this year.

So, other than marathons and drink mixing, what are some of your goals for the new year?

Monday, January 7, 2019

Doubt in Writing

As I continue to read about many of my favorite authors, I’m intrigued by the continual battles with doubt they each wrestled with during their entire lives. A few that come to mind include Herman Melville, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Mikhail Bulgakov just to name a few. Each of them, whether “successful” or not, nursed deep doubts regarding their writing abilities and many died with some of their most famous work unrecognized within their lifetimes.

Melville of course penned Moby Dick, one of my all time favorite novels. The book sold few copies and was out of print by the time Melville died. Both Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, despite the success of their noir novels, feared that their work was only considered pulp and anguished over every sequel they ever wrote. Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby was written off as a nostalgic period piece, and even fellow authors thought the book showed that he had lost his ability to write. As for Bulgakov, he never thought The Master and Margarita would ever see the light of day, the manuscript having been suppressed by Soviet authorities until well after his death.

To me, it is very human to doubt, and I find it very inspiring that many authors not only struggled with doubts, but used it to fuel their writing careers. They turned a very natural disadvantage into the grist for their mill, infusing their own characters with doubts that make them very human and relatable. So how do you deal with doubts in your daily life?

Friday, December 21, 2018

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Years to you all! I hope you’re all having a wonderful holiday season. Between all the shopping, people-seeing, and madness that can creep up, I hope that you have a magical, serene time as well.

May peace be with you and all those you love! Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 13, 2018

NaNoWriMo Update

I totally spaced on providing an update on my NaNoWriMo adventures from last month! It’s probably because I got so engrossed in writing, that I forgot the month was over. Seriously.

I must have churned out at least 35,000 words for November. It may not be anything super impressive, but I’ve kept the same pace well into December. In fact, I think I’m onto a solid first draft for a new novel. Fingers crossed.

The funny thing is that I believe that this manuscript will make a nice third novel to a series I’ve been working on. We’ll see. I’m just going to try to keep hashing it out and get it down on paper. I’ll report back after then.

In the meantime, I hope you’re all having a great December!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

My Book is on the Bestseller List!

My novel, Between Two Fires, has been on the Amazon bestseller list for medieval fiction for the last few weeks! Despite oscillating a bit in the rankings, it continues to keep rising. I’m definitely excited, but at the same time I’m also simply happy that people are enjoying my work.

This is also just the first book in my Queen Branwen Series via St. Martin’s Press. The sequel, Dark Winds Rising, is also benefiting from the increased interest in my first novel. I have several additional manuscripts in the works with my agent right now for another series, but it warms my heart to see my initial historical fiction books garnering some extra attention on Amazon.

Between Two Fires is now among the top 50 Amazon best sellers in medieval fiction, beside the likes of Bernard Cornwell, Elizabeth Chadwick, and Morgan Llywelyn, just to name a few. I definitely needed another cup of coffee today before I believed what I was seeing. Christmas definitely seems to have arrived early this year.

Thursday, November 8, 2018


It’s that time of year again! NaNoWriMo. I don’t usually make it official (nor do I intend to), but I often try and get some extra writing done on the side in an effort to get into the spirit of things each November.

That being said, I haven’t usually had very good luck with writing in November. Largely because it’s such a busy time of year. Thanksgiving, getting ready for the holidays. Plus we have lots of birthdays in my family during this month. Not exactly a lot of time to write.

That also being said, I think I’m going to go for it anyway this month. Yeah, never tell me the odds. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! It’s my favorite time of the year once more, and my favorite holiday no less. There’s just something magical about Halloween night that defies explanation.

The kids are dressed up and they have their parades today. Tonight we’ll be trick-or-treating in the neighborhood as well as handing out candy. We usually get a couple hundred kids on Halloween night, and last year they started blocking off the streets for cars because so many people started showing up in our neighborhood. I actually really enjoy it and the more people who come, the better the atmosphere.

So have a super awesome Halloween and enjoy the night!