Writing the First Draft During NaNoWriMo

Hands typing on keyboard with blank screen

Thinking of participating in NaNoWriMo? Below I share my experience of doing it for the first draft of The Stonemason’s Secret. What Is NaNoWriMo? NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. The goal is for participants to write 50,000 words on their novel during the 30 days of November. That averages out to 1667 words … Read moreWriting the First Draft During NaNoWriMo

Medieval Minstrel Carvings in Beverley Minster

Three carvings of medieval minstrels in Beverley Minster

The Stonemason’s Secret, my forthcoming novel, follows the adventures of art historian Sarah Walker. While doing research for her dissertation, she discovers mysterious symbols carved on several of the minstrel figures in Beverley Minster. She has to find the clues, figure out how to read them, and recover the powerful Cup of Jamshid before the … Read moreMedieval Minstrel Carvings in Beverley Minster

The Stonemason’s Secret – Beginning Idea

Medieval carving of minstrel playing drums

“I’ll never write fiction,” I said. “I have no interest in writing fiction and besides, I have no ideas for stories.” This is what I told myself when I started writing two years ago. At the time I was drawn to personal essays, to telling my stories. I wrote and I wrote, pages and pages … Read moreThe Stonemason’s Secret – Beginning Idea

The Stonemason’s Secret – First Revisions

After the thrill of printing off the first draft, I took a couple of days off then began a read-through. The idea was to sit back and catch the big things – where the plot didn’t make sense, information that needed to be added in, things like that. But I kept seeing, and marking, misspelled … Read moreThe Stonemason’s Secret – First Revisions

Homemade Vegetable Broth – Cooking With Scraps

Homemade Vegetable Broth Image of vegetable scraps in pot Cooking with scraps

Do you ever peel potatoes or carrots and think about how much for is being thrown away? When you cut off the ends of celery, do you wonder if there is a way to use it instead of just throwing it away? There is! Save your vegetable scraps and make homemade vegetable broth. Save Your … Read moreHomemade Vegetable Broth – Cooking With Scraps

Loquats – Using Local Food

Bowl filled with loquats

“The neighbor said to go pick some plums,” my husband told me a couple of weeks ago. “Plums?” I thought to myself. “I didn’t realize he had a plum tree.” I was thinking of something like the plum trees I had seen growing up. What I had seen was a tree next to his driveway … Read moreLoquats – Using Local Food

A Year In England – March

A Year In England - March black text on yellow background

I think of March as the beginning of Spring. Not the day of the spring equinox, but just the calendar turning to the month. Growing up in Arkansas, the weather definitely changed in March. While we would get cold fronts moving through, overall the weather was warmer and the days were growing longer. Daffodils appeared, … Read moreA Year In England – March

A Year In England – February

A Year in England - February

“Skiing? In Scotland? I had no idea you could.” That was my initial reaction to taking a skiing holiday in the country to the north. But the more I thought about it, the more intrigued I was. I had never been skiing, so this was a great opportunity to try something new. I also looked … Read moreA Year In England – February

A Year In England – January

A Year In England - January

January is not my favorite month. Never has been. After the holiday lights and decorations that brighten dark December evenings are put away, the cold, gray days of January seem to stretch on forever. Yet, January also begins a new year and the hope of a fresh start. In January 1989, nearly half-way through my … Read moreA Year In England – January

A Year In England – December – Lockerbie

A Year In England - December

December 1988 – The short days of winter, which have never been my favorite, made lighter by  Christmas decorations. After several years of having a four-foot tall artificial tree on my dining table, a live tree stood in the middle of the combination lounge/dining room. Decorated with borrowed lights and tinsel, some of my jewelry, … Read moreA Year In England – December – Lockerbie