Medieval Minstrel Carvings in Beverley Minster

Three carvings of medieval minstrels in Beverley Minster playing nakers, harp, and guitar.

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 more

The Stonemason’s Secret – Beginning Idea

The Stonemason's Secret Beginning Idea with image of medieval carving of man 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 more

The Stonemason’s Secret – First Revisions

The Stonemason's Secret First Revision with printed manuscript.

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 more

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 more

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 more

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 more

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 more

A Year In England – November: Beverley

A Year In England November: Beverley with images of medieval minstrel figures

November 1988 saw me more settled into the house, the village, and England. There were still plenty of new things going on. The first trip to Scotland was a visit to Edinburgh, St. Andrews and Aberdeen. Thanksgiving was the first holiday I celebrated outside the States. It was a bit surreal to realize that for … Read more

A Year In England – October

A Year In England October with tree on village green in Cranswick, East Yorkshire, England

The picture window in the lounge looked out on the village green and directly in my view was the large tree. It was one of the first things I saw each morning, whether collecting fresh milk by the front door or opening the curtains in the lounge. Daily I watched the leaves make their annual … Read more

A Year In England – September

A Year In England September

September 1988 – my first full month in England A lot of new things to experience: bottles of fresh milk on my doorstep in the morning, lighting a coal fire, turning on the boiler to heat water and warm the house (and turning it off to save the oil in the tank outside, and driving … Read more