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A Blogging Milestone: the 100th Post

Two years ago, the term “blogging milestone” seemed ridiculous—even pretentious. The last blogging milestone I made a post about was the 30th one, in February of 2020, which was more like an announcement of The Inquisitive Inkpot’s identity shift. I don’t think even after thirty weeks of blogging that I understood how challenging the long-haul…

Nature has Drama Too

Nature can be equally refreshing and entertaining—as I was recently reminded. Going for walks in nature is one of my go-to introvert activities, in which I can leave behind all technology, obligation, and mandatory sitting. (Side note: it perpetually frustrates me how sitting is the requirement for almost all social gatherings. The human body was…

Remembering on Memorial Day

Last Memorial Day gave me an experience I will never forget. It all began with a story I had recorded prior to Memorial Day for the national radio program Our American Stories. The piece featured my boss, an ex-marine, telling the incredible story of the war-torn WWII veteran who became his best friend. Last year,…

Unforgivable Character Flaws

Character flaws. We can’t deny them. Nor can we fix them in other people. Sure, we can work on tackling our own character flaws and mitigating their expressions, but we will never eradicate them this side of eternity. While we shouldn’t cherish our character flaws, we must recognize that we will always be at war…

The Lies Stories Make Us Believe

In life, we will believe many lies. Some of these lies originate with our own flawed perspectives. Some are pushed on us by others we trust. Others are sold to us through the vast web of media that comprises much of our life experience. Many of them we believe. If I can just reach this…

Finding your Focus

Focus is something many of us lack. There’s plenty of kinds of focus. Focus in the sense of your actual attention span, focus in your work ethic, focus in your monetary investments, and focus in where you direct your free time. We live in a world where all of these types of focus are challenged…

On the Fear of Change

The fear of change is a two-sided coin. As someone who has always had a fear of change, I often assumed that my reason for wanting things to stay the same was because the alternative must be worse. If I switch schools, I won’t make any friends there. If I move off campus, I’ll wind…

crop unrecognizable female feet lying in cozy bed

Confessions of a Covid-stricken Writer

I thought covid would give me an unparalleled chance to keep writing. How wrong I was. Days before I received my positive covid test results, I had struck a gold mine of creative energy. My second children’s book has been progressing toward publication, and only a week ago I had an incredible surge of progress…

Mental Exercises to Keep You Sharp

Mental exercises aren’t just for mathematicians or professional chess players: they’re for creative types, too. I say this as someone who often neglects mental exercises because they take time. Why use the precious minutes of my day on something completely unrelated to my all-consuming projects? Books and scripts get written by writing… not by fiddling…

Evaluating Illustration Thumbnails

Easter, Sunshine, and Thumbnails: who could ask for anything more? This beautiful, sunny Easter weekend was made even more enthralling when my illustrator sent me the complete set of thumbnails for Bertrand the Bashful Bumblebee—my next children’s book, on track to be released this late spring. Many of you are already familiar with the phenomenon…

Stop Looking for Shortcuts

Shortcuts: we are always on the hunt for them. Shortcuts sell. They hook us with promises of overnight success, instant weight-loss, and rapidly acquired riches. They convince us of radical new formulas that invert the traditional (or even natural) order of things, and guarantee they can get us where we want to go faster than…

The Writer’s Creative Conscience: staying Accountable

Every writer has a creative conscience. By “creative conscience,” I don’t mean a moral compass that dictates what we do and don’t create. I mean a still, small voice that haunts us when we aren’t creating and hounds us for not achieving milestones. The creative conscience is like an internal secretary: it dictates goals and…

New Discoveries this National Reading Month

Although National Reading Month is nearly over, I wanted to share with you a gem I’ve discovered. While kids and adults all over find their noses stuck in picture books and novels during National Reading Month, my nose has been stuck in something different: a stageplay script. I give you A Man for All Seasons….

Career Advice that Transformed my Thinking

Writers need career advice too. The problem is that there are too many sources out there that trumpet the same theory—regardless of how many times that theory fails. How many of us have heard career advice that goes like this? “Follow your passion and success will follow.” “Just follow your heart.” “Your passion will lead…

The Secret Character Arc

Every good story needs a character arc. Plot arc and character arc—those are the two essential ingredients in any story. Without those two, you have something less than quality storytelling. What I’ve noticed, though, is that not all characters see their own arc. Now there’s a difference between character development and a character arc, although…

An Upcoming Illustrator Interview!

It is my pleasure to announce an upcoming illustrator interview with my very own illustrator, Lauren Fisher. Lauren was the mind behind the memorable drawings in The Misadventures of Melvin the Missing Sock, and she will fill the same role in my next children’s book Bertrand the Bashful Bumblebee. For those of you who have…

A Writer Interview by Pooja

Every writer interview is a unique opportunity to field interesting questions. Recently, Pooja from Lifesfinewhine interviewed me about my work as a writer and blogger. What I love about the experience of every writer interview is that each interviewer brings their own flavor of questions to the table. As the master of her own blogging…

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Empowering a Young Author

It’s not every day an author contacts you asking you to write a commentary for the inside of their book. It’s even less frequent that the author is sixteen. Well, I have the privilege of introducing to you a young author whose book is going to hit the international presses this July: I give you…

The Power of the Pitch

Have you ever had to pitch an idea to someone? Of course you have. We pitch ideas to other people all the time, whether we realize it or not. Whether you get what you want out of it is a whole separate question. Authors know this as the “querying” process. You write up a compelling…

YouTube and Inkpots: what they have in common

Starting a YouTube channel can be one of the most motivating or deflating experiences in a writer’s career. Just like writing your first couple of blog posts and waiting for things to happen, you can post your first YouTube video and then… why doesn’t anyone watch it? Your audience’s response (or lack thereof) can give…

Developing New Skills and Defeating Demons

Before developing new skills this year, it’s helpful to take stock of your existing inventory. Basically, before moving forward, you need to know where you are now. Taking a personal inventory is helpful for more than just skill development. Examining our minds and hearts is just as important as examining our habits—in fact, our habits…

bee on a yellow flower

An Unexpected Children’s Book Series

It’s official: what I had thought would be a one-off project has turned into a franchise. I am creating a children’s book series! No, this is not a continuation of Melvin the Missing Sock—it’s a collection of stories dedicated to teaching kids vocabulary and valuable lessons from the quirky perspectives of critters and inanimate objects….

Creative Projects: the more, the merrier?

Creative projects are like children: the more there are, the harder it is to keep track of them all. For artists, this often leads to a physical mess, where the materials for their various creative projects get all mixed up or scattered around the house. But for writers, the mess often remains inside. All of…

A New Year, a New You?

The beginning of a new year always brings an onslaught of resolutions, goals, and promises. It’s as if people think that the new year is somehow going to be “the one” in which they actualize their potential and fulfill their wildest dreams (or create a five-step plan to make that happen). It’s true that 2020…

Humility: Sharing the Stage of Life

Humility is not in vogue. It’s not chic. It’s not on fleak. Everyone wants to talk about pride, but no one wants to talk about humility. This is nothing new. I think part of this is because many have a flawed definition of humility. So let’s start there first. “Humility is not thinking less of…

WWII and Humanity at its Worst

It seems every filmmaker wants a crack at WWII. Considering its historical significance and high moral stakes, it makes sense that people still have a taste for dramas centered on its events. The challenge for writers is to find a fresh angle on such an already well-covered topic. I used to think the topic of…

Parents aren’t that Stupid

As someone whose parents usually knew best, I have to wonder why cinema often depicts parents as stupid. In fact, this bothered my parents quite a bit. I remember many a movie that my dad paused in order to explain to six-year-old Shiloh and her brother that we should never do what the youngsters in…

The Rodeo I Won

Good thing this rodeo was for writers and not for cowboys, because I would have died! Several weeks ago, I was browsing one of my favorite blogs, The Daily Flabbergast, and happened upon an announcement for a “flash-fiction” rodeo contest. So, naturally, at 11:30 pm on a Tuesday night, I decided to saddle up! The…

Readers: it’s your turn!

Readers are everything. I don’t mean that readers inherently make something good—no, there are plenty of things out there with a much larger audience than they deserve. What I do mean is that readers are the reason for writing. Or at least, they should be. As such, I want to dedicate an entire post to…

Charity through a Children’s Book

Charity comes in many forms– so here’s what authors can do to give underprivileged kids their best Christmas yet. Every Christmas, millions of families facing poverty struggle to provide gifts for their children. Millions of children struggle to feel valued and find joy during the holidays. I think it’s easy for those of us who…

Attractive Actors and Asinine Plots

Actors can get away with a lot in life. Attractive actors can get away with even more. We’ve all heard of celebrities who get let off the hook for traffic violations and other petty offenses, but they can get away with more than crime if they’re good-looking. How many attractive performers with unremarkable talent have…

brown colour dawn environment

Stepping toward the Sequel

For those of you who have already read The Exile, I have some perhaps long-awaited news: a sequel is underway. I’ll admit that this decision came with some difficulty, largely because of my own fondness of open endings. The beauty of open endings is that the ambiguity leaves so much more room for the reader’s…

The Exile: a Golden Review

I always feel a mix of anxiety and excitement when another writer leaves a review for one of my books. Every review counts, of course, but those left by other writers are the ones that carry the most weight. Just like every golfer feels more self-conscious about his swing when playing alongside seasoned golfers, every…

The Romance that should (never) have been

Are you tired of romance? No, I don’t mean tired of your spouse or significant other. I mean tired of seeing romance in book after book, movie after movie, show after show, as if every writer thinks he or she invented the thing. No? That’s fine, too. Let me clarify: I love a good romance….

The Trope that Romantic Comedies can’t live without

Do you ever see real-life romantic comedies playing out? Think of all the romantic comedies you’ve seen and read. Do you see situations in your life that reflect those events? Most of us have probably had at least one sitcom experience, in which we feel that we’re a character in some cheap drama unfolding around…

When Does a Signature become an Autograph?

Autographs: we worship them. We cut in line for them. We spend money for them. Everyone has that person whose autograph they would do most anything for. And yet, what makes an autograph so special? Isn’t it just a glorified signature? Yes, basically. But what is it that makes the signature glorious? Is it the…

Of Saplings and Stories: What We can Learn

When I’m not writing stories, I work with trees. Let’s be clear: I’m not the one cutting trees down or doctoring them up—no, no, you will not see me wielding a chainsaw or fertilizer. Instead, I run the marketing and communications department for a top-notch tree company in West Michigan, Treeworks, Inc. More specifically, I…

When Political and Social Ideas are Born

As much as I enjoy historical fiction, I weary of seeing modern political agendas pasted into historical settings. We’ve all seen it: a character in a book or movie openly shares a fully developed opinion that never would have been expressed during that period of history. It’s a form of anachronism. I find myself thinking,…

Reading Aloud to Young Listeners

When I found myself reading aloud to twelve hungry-eyed elementary students, I suddenly realized why I had written a children’s book. Well, “suddenly” is perhaps incorrect, since parents had already been sending me pictures of their kids reading my children’s book. That’s pretty fulfilling. But here, now, in this moment, as I looked into those…

crib room toy bed

If My Book were a Child

If my book were a child, I would think it most darling for nudging me with ideas while only half-conceived. “I hope you look like me,” I would tell it with fondness. For this unborn book would carry my name. And if my book were a child, I would think it most naughty for exerting…

abundance bank banking banknotes

Publishing: When an Author gets down to Business

Any aspiring author will one day come face-to-face with a formidable opponent: that opponent is called logistics. All right, you’ve written your book. You’ve revised the heck out of it. Maybe you’ve even found an illustrator. And now…? If the honeymoon phase with your book didn’t wear off during the revision process, it sure will…

handshake with young writer

What Young Writers can Teach Us

When I first met an 11-year-old writer who runs his own newspaper, I felt seriously behind on life. Those who know me have heard me complain about how old I feel at 22. In fact, one of my father’s friends tried to console me by assuring me I will have a “long shelf life.” Actual…

Illustrations that Breathe a Children’s Book to Life

I will never forget the first pictures I saw of my children’s book—pictures I didn’t draw. Oh, I’d storyboarded and thrown together some third-grade quality sketches, but I had yet to meet my own character face-to-face on a page. Or should I say, face-to-foot? You see, my main character was a sock. A missing sock,…

girls on desk looking at notebook

Storyboarding a Children’s Book

When was the last time you picked up a children’s book to study the pictures? I’ll admit, I hadn’t even touched a children’s book for a long time when I decided to write one of my own. This meant I had a lot to catch up on before starting. As mentioned before, words are one…

The First Audience for a Children’s Book

When it comes to writing a children’s book, feedback is priceless. Most projects turn out better when they’ve been critiqued, but this is especially true of stories. Even more so of stories that are meant to be read aloud—which is precisely the purpose of most children’s books. Like most writers new to the scene of…

Choosing the Words for a Children’s Book

Every writer knows that word choice is essential—but this holds especially true when writing a children’s book. Before The Misadventures of Melvin the Missing Sock, I had never written a children’s book. In fact, I don’t even have that many kids in my life to remind me how children think. In a way, this put…

Writing a Children’s Book: What no one told me

When I sat down to write my first-ever children’s book, I was actually a bit scared. Anyone who’s ever tried something completely new knows this anxiety. And anyone who’s ever written something for publication knows the self-conscious dread… What if it doesn’t turn out well? This fear applies to everyone, not just writers. Failing to…

Children’s Stories: the Unexpected (Mis)Adventure

There’s a reason they say to try new things—I never thought I would author a children’s book, yet here we are. How did that happen? Well, let me tell you… Once upon a time, there was a young woman who wrote stories. But not stories like the one you are reading now. She spent hours…

The Subtle Power of Dog stories

Every time I read a book or watch a movie that’s a “dog story,” I am 90% more likely to cry. Can you relate? Maybe it’s that the dog almost invariably dies. Or maybe it’s that the dog reminds me of my dog. Or maybe it’s a combination of these, along with a little anthropology…

Transported: When Historical Fiction comes off the Page

Bringing a character to life is a challenge of its own, but bringing an entire era to life—that takes another kind of artistry. My most recent experience of historical fiction reminded me once again of why I love the genre: when done right, it simultaneously immerses you in and humanizes the past. This is what…

The Healing Power of Stories

“Stories are wild creatures. When you let them loose, who knows what havoc they may wreak?” Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls If you are at all familiar with Ness’s beautiful tale, however, you will know that the primary aspect of stories it explores is their power to heal, not to wreak havoc. Something many people…

A Comedy of Subtitles

Unless you’re used to watching foreign films or you have a hearing impairment, you probably don’t find much use for subtitles. Neither do I—unless, of course, I’m watching a historical drama set in 1800s lower-class England, where everyone has a thick Cockney accent. Then I need subtitles. (More on this specific drama to come in…

The Power of Short Stories

For all the bite-sized TV dramas, music videos, and social media posts out there, it seems people often overlook the common thread that these share: they are all short stories. And while plenty of psychologists and social scientists argue that our attention span is shrinking due to the A.D.D nature of modern media, our human…

The Spectacular Hack that Recently Revolutionized my Writing

You can’t buy talent, but you can buy migraine-free writing. In case you missed my post bemoaning the woes of the contemporary writer, I can bring you up to speed in one sentence: screens hurt my eyes. Not just my eyes, but plenty of people’s eyes. And not just our eyes, but our ability to…

Finding the Freedom to Laugh at Life

When my friend told me my life was material for a 4-star sitcom, I couldn’t decide whether that was flattering or insulting. “I would watch that show,” he said emphatically. “It sure would be better than some of the stuff out there.” On the upside, that meant my life’s recent events were interesting. On the…

Networking: Making Friends in all Places

You can’t grow up today without having the importance of “networking” drilled into you. We’ve all heard the pro-networking adages: “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” “You scratch their back, and they scratch yours.” “It helps to have friends in high places.” Now all of the above are true—I’m not here to…

The Exile: The Story behind the Story

Recently a contact from my alma mater reached out to interview me about The Exile, my first published novel. Fellow Hillsdale College alumna Gianna Marchese, the Editor in Chief of the Student Stories Blog and the college’s Social Media Coordinator, took the time to ask the following questions. You can find her full article here….

Hatfields, McCoys, and Mental Issues

For all the attention that political and social issues receive in historical dramas, it seems mental issues are rarely addressed. That being said, when I started the History Channel miniseries “Hatfields and McCoys,” I had no inkling that this topic would even surface—and was wholly unprepared for what followed. The series itself features Kevin Costner…

The Secret Recipe to Great Blog Posts

WARNING: If you have no palate for satire, read no further. What you are about to read is a collection of the four unspoken, yet ubiquitous, components that are essential for writing unrivaled, mind-blowing blog posts. As someone who has been blogging for a little under a year, I wish the experts had told me…

When We are History

Today I was caught in a hailstorm. Well, not by the time you read this—the storm happened on April 7. And obviously I survived it. In fact, within two minutes of making it in through the back door, I looked out the window and saw that the pebble-sized chunks falling had turned to rain, and…

The Reluctant Screen-Writer

Whether we like it or not, most of us today are screen-writers. Not that we all compose scripts, no, not that kind of writing. What I’m talking about is the fact that, regardless of what medium we are writing for, we have been compelled to do it through a screen. Personal diaries aside, I would…

A Curious Perspective on Coronavirus

“How can I avoid the coronavirus?” “How will this virus affect the economy?” “How many people will die?” These are the questions we are deluged by on every side during this pandemic. Countless mavens and prophets are spouting off their opinions and predictions via every imaginable outlet. They may be right, they may not. Some…

A Writer's List of Virtues

Everyone has a theory of what it takes to be a successful writer. That’s all well and good, but first we have to define “success,” don’t we? I mean, one person may churn out melodramatic teenage vampire novels, while another compiles decades of life experience into one heartfelt story. Two very different ideas of success….

Perfectionism and Publishing

If any writer knows that revision is necessary, then he also knows the final product will be imperfect. “Final” draft does not mean “perfect” draft. This becomes especially (nay, painfully) clear when you see one of your works in print. Take it from me—I published a novel last summer, later to find that there were…

Worth Your Salt?

If there’s one thing writers know, it’s that adjustments are inevitable. In reality, this goes for everyone, not just writers. But what’s interesting is that there’s a special term for this in writing—revising. Okay, that’s not the interesting part. The interesting part is that we view change in writing as a given—as something that is…

Closing the Deal (and the Book)

If a writer can sell a lead character to an audience for the entirety of a story, he’d better not give them what they expect at the close. Sounds counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? What buyer wants to walk out of a store dissatisfied? While this little series has previously explored the parallels between storytelling and business…

How to Sell a Lead

Unlike most types of sales, this one involves no transaction. The agreement is unspoken, and is measured only by the customer’s insatiable desire for more. It’s the sale of a lead character. Last week we talked about the two different strategies to hooking readers, and how many classic works build interest gradually through a character-focused…

close up of human hand

Sales and Storytelling: the Hook

We’re all familiar with the cut-to-the-chase sales tactics that seem necessary in order for businesses to survive. But what can we learn from the business world if our mission isn’t to close a deal? Lots. It seems that two vastly different types of writers have emerged over the centuries, and only one of them gets…

The Case of the Vanishing Character

Do you find it unsettling when people vanish from your life? “Depends on the person,” you say. Fair enough. But in general, when people who formerly played some semi-notable or even regular role in your life leave it, you usually have a sense of why. I find it interesting that media does not always abide…

Identity Crisis: the Point of Re-inquiring

Identity Crises come in many forms. And with any luck, they lead to positive changes. This one is no exception. On The Inquisitive Inkpot’s 30th birthday, it has come face-to-face with the reality it can no longer deny: it is something different from what it set out to be. Not because it hasn’t grown or…

Cancer, Monsters, and Catharsis

Have you ever found yourself emotionally unprepared for a book or movie? You know, when you finish it and feel like the wind was just knocked out of you—and not in a good way. There’s a number of ways this can happen: Scenario 1: You’re already feeling miserable and you want a distraction, so you…

The Aeronauts: What the Skies Teach us about Humanity

Found: a fine specimen of historical fiction and an epic ride. It’s Director Tom Harper’s latest, The Aeronauts. Admittedly I was mostly interested in seeing Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones starring opposite one another again (after first seeing their acting chemistry in The Theory of Everything, I couldn’t pass this one by). But within the…

pile of books

Sequels: when Part II just isn’t a good idea…

Sequels sound great, but when does too much of a good thing become a bad thing? I mean, let’s be honest: any time you read a great book or finish a great movie, somewhere in the back of your mind you wonder if there will be more –unless, of course, the author is dead (and…

Inception, emotions, and Identity

Whether or not you buy into the theory that the entirety of the movie Inception takes place as a dream, we can all agree on one thing: the importance of emotional memory in the story. The first time I saw the film, I struggled simply to keep up with the plot twists—as any normal human…

Ambiguity: the Emotional effect of Memory in La La Land

First, let me ask: have you seen La La Land? If not, do NOT read any further or you will forever rue the day that you let me spoil it for you. Last week we talked about the role of “reflecting” or “recalling” in storytelling—how it illustrates something that we all experience as humans: the…

Triggered: the Power of Memory in Stories

Do you ever think about how much of our lives we spend reflecting? I don’t mean staring into a mirror. And I don’t necessarily mean long, soul-searching contemplations on our inner being. I simply mean pausing to acknowledge or recall the past and its events. This could lead to a deeper thought process of comparing…

How Many Faces Can One Figure Have?

Have you ever seen multiple iterations of the same historical figure? I don’t mean simply multiple appearances of said person in a variety of different hist-fic books, shows, or movies. I mean different works both devoted to that person, whose portrayals clash in some significant way. Take for example the legendary King Arthur and Guinevere….

What the Author Hoped You Wouldn’t Notice

It’s funny how much of an author’s character we read into his works. We’ve all done it, and often with good reason. Knowing Mark Twain believed in racial equality helps us understand The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as a satire. Knowing Arthur Miller’s purpose in writing The Crucible enables us to view the play primarily…

Sailing on Against All Obstacles: Lessons from a Historical Figure

“Only a weakling gives up when he’s becalmed! A strong man sails by ash breeze.” Admittedly a funny-sounding inspirational quote. What on earth is “sailing by ash breeze?” I wondered this when I first read the line in Carry on Mr. Bowditch— the true story of Nathaniel Bowditch, one of the lesser-known-but-crucial figures during the…

The Story I Distilled With

When I pulled the two notebooks off my shelf and folded back the cover of each, what I saw surprised me. Even though it’s only been a handful of years since I filled them, the penciled handwriting is already fading. Yep. Pencil. I was not the most resourceful writer when I started The Exile. Somehow…

The Package that took Six and a Half Years

Here, at the end of a six and a half year long process, the developed, revised, completed product of my mind had been delivered to my doorstep by a person I never got to thank—enclosed neatly between a two-sided cover.

From Grilled Cheese to Paninis: a Literary Journey

Are stories with morals antiquated? I mean, think about it: when was the last time you read a story or watched a movie with a clear “moral” and didn’t inwardly yawn? But we’ve been born and raised on such stories. Everything from Beatrix Potter to Aesop’s Fables to The Children’s Book of Virtues. Sure, there…

We are all Characters…

If someone were to write a book based on your life… what kind of character would you be? This is probably an odd question, but it occurred to me the other day after finishing a journal entry. I haven’t journaled regularly in a long time. But when I paged through the spiral-bound, indigo-bluish notebook that…

How to Cope with a Trope

Imagine you’re sitting on the edge of your seat, engrossed in a movie or show. The characters are unique, the plot is gripping, the tension is building, and then suddenly your worst subconscious fear comes true— It falls into a trope. NO! Where did the originality go? The fresh energy? No matter how interesting the…

Less than Friends, More than Rivals

I’ve spent the past three weeks unpacking the character foils found in the TV series The Last Kingdom, and I promise next week we’ll move on to something else. 🙂 But I couldn’t help spending one more post on perhaps the most central foil relationship in the whole series: the relationship between Uhtred of Bebbanburg…

Good guys, bad guys: what’s the real difference?

Do you ever stop and think about what exactly it is that makes one character a hero and another a villain? It’s easy to chock it up to a good vs. evil conrast, but it seems that the more complex and realistic the characters are, the less purely good or bad they are. Last week…

Saints and Prudes: what do they show us?

You probably don’t sit down to watch a show with the intent of analyzing and breaking down its elements. Most people don’t. And to be honest, I didn’t plan to when I first started The Last Kingdom, but by the time I finished season 3, I couldn’t help looking back and asking what it was…

Wait… What did I just see?

Do you ever finish watching a series and then just need some time to mentally process everything? Four weeks after finishing Season 3 of “The Last Kingdom,” I am still formulating my opinions on the series as a whole. I will say that as the show progressed, it became clear that the intended audience is…

What Makes the Cut?

We’ve all had that experience of watching one of our favorite books turned into a movie, and finding the movie version vastly disappointing. Hopefully you’ve also had the satisfaction of seeing a good film rendition of a favorite book, but it seems that experience is less common. Why is that? I’ve often wondered why it…

Literary Osmosis

When you hang around people, you usually start to adopt their mannerisms, turns of phrase, and attitudes. Or at least, theirs begin to influence your own. I’ll let the social scientists give us the details on how that works, but it seems this principle holds true in a number of areas—not just in real life….

Can You Hear the Story?

Let’s face it: whether you’re a reader, writer, or both, having the right background music can work wonders to get you and your imagination in the mood. A number of scientists, bloggers, and authors have studied the connection between what you listen to and what happens in your brain—and let me say, there is more…

Verbal Flab: when can a novel afford to lose weight?

I tend to think of a novel as a cut of meat. A lean novel is one whose words center on the story— the muscle, if you will, composed of characters and their actions. The details that do not directly impact the muscle (if excessive) add “verbal flab”—something that could be trimmed off without detracting…

Slavery in the Clans: an Over-dramatized Image?

I noticed when we arrived at the longhouse kitchen that there were some men tarrying around, eyeing the women at work. I happened to glance and see Clare stirring a pot that hung over a rod in the nearest fireplace. A tall young warrior was standing against the wall, his eyes fixed on Clare. I…

The Female Warrior: a Figment of the Modern Imagination?

Dodging past some battle-ready men, I glided into one of the lodges and threw the door shut behind me. Fairly ripping off my dress, I pulled on the men’s leggings and tunic that warriors wore, strapping the leather belt about my waist. For a moment I was stricken dumb with the familiar pleasure of being…

It’s About Time!… Or is it?

“You don’t look like the rest,” Clare said, her eyes traveling over the scars on my skin. “I was a warrior,” I told her. “But I can tell you’re not from any clan at all.” She lowered her eyes and glanced at her sister briefly. “It’s true,” she admitted. “We did not come from these…

Says Who?

Her name was Clare. She came on a dark day when my body was still sore from its latest beating two nights ago. They brought her into camp with her sister, both of them quiet and skittish. When I first saw her I could tell by her countenance that she was different. She carried herself…

What makes it Timeless?

Meet The Exile “When the Scandinavian princess Clare finds herself and her sisters sold into slavery to the ruthless clans inhabiting the unsettled mainland, she meets Delta—a hardened slave girl with a history of her own. Although their morals and perspectives clash initially, each recognizes the other as her chance to escape captivity: for Clare,…

What? Why?

At this point, you might be wondering two things: What is the point of this blog? What’s up with the name? It’s really quite simple: I tell stories set in the past. Chances are, if you landed on this site, you are also either a storyteller or a history geek—or better yet, both. Or maybe…

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