My daughter and I took a few days off and went to Salem, Mass. I worked out some plot problems and researched a sequel for GHOST OF A CHANCE. We also got to visit the Peabody Essex Museum where they had an exibit called XYZT: The Fourth Dimension. Basically, it was a number of light-based exhibits where your interaction in one way or another (movement, breath, sound) created new patterns of light. Here’s what two of those exhibits looked like!
I’m back! I’ve been busy doing some research for the new Bridesmaids series, now tentatively titled The Jersey Girl Bridesmaids, and getting to some major chores that needed to get done.
Things are good otherwise and I hope they are good with you!
Since one of the things I’ve managed to sneak in is some Mets games on TV, today’s Man Candy choice is Sam Fuld who is currently an outfielder for the Oakland Athletics. Sam is known for his acrobatic catches and for also being a full-time player with Type 1 diabetes. Sam was also a high school and college All-American who married his high school sweetheart.
By Keith Allison from Owings Mills, USA (Sam Fuld Uploaded by Detredwings1139) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
I can’t believe it’s been nearly five years since I visited London! It was awesome to walk around and see the sights that I wanted to include in a number of books I was writing. Two have been published, but the other one, which had a story revolving around the Knights of Templar, might never see the light of day. Sigh. Too many books to write and too little time.
This is a photo of me, my daughter, and my husband in front of Big Ben. We love to walk around and explore the city and we really had a wonderful time doing just that. I can’t even imagine how many miles we clocked since we spent most of the day walking. One of our most fun adventures on this trip was a Jack the Ripper Tour. Very informative and interesting to walk the same streets as where the crimes had occurred. Now that’s one thing I will definitely fit in a book in the future. Maybe Diana and Ryder will have to take a trip there to help out Scotland Yard with a copycat killer or maybe even a vamped out Jack the Ripper!
In 2010 I was working on a series involving ancient relics and it was set primarily in London. I also had another book to write with more scenes in London and since my daughter was doing a study abroad there, it seemed like the perfect time to go and do some research. Just a few problems. It was Easter time and little did we know that there were a lot of “bank holidays” which meant some of the train lines weren’t working. Also, the Queen wasn’t in residence at Buckingham Palace but at Windsor Castle which meant we could walk the grounds, but not see the inside of the castle. 🙁
Still, we had an amazing time and I got to take lots of pictures of prospective locations and visit some of the places I wanted to include in the books.
Here is a photo of me, my daughter and my hubby outside Windsor Castle.
If you’d like to see more photos, you can check out this album! There are nearly 200 photos there.
Today’s Tuesday is some more photos from my trip to London. This time I’m taking you to Buckingham Palace and the Mews where the Royal horses, carriages and the like are stored.
First thing — the Queen’s Apartments in the Palace are only open in August and September when the Royal Family retires to Scotland for the summer months. During the winter you have to content yourself with views of the exterior, the changing of the guard and the museums at the Palace.
We watched the changing of the guard (some of the last slides you’ll see), but it was packed. We clearly had to get there a lot earlier than we did, but despite the crowd, we were able to see the nearly 45 minute long ceremony as the one group of guards is replaced. Mind you, it’s not just the guards, but their band and everything that is changed. So, there’s a lot of pomp with all the turnover.
We also had an opportunity to visit the Royal Mews and it was really interesting. We got to see some of the horses (huge huge animals) that pull the carriages as well as various carriages, limos, carts, etc. The most interesting one — a golden carriage made for Richard III. It was stunning and the artwork on the doors, etc. was amazing.
It was interesting to see all the different carriages as well as learn how some are postillion driven (riders are on the horses pulling the carriages) versus being driven by a driver on the wagon. A bit of trivia I know I’ll put to use in one of those historical flashbacks in a future novel!
I hope you’ll enjoy today’s behind the scenes look into a writer’s brain!
As I mentioned, I needed to do some research and spark story ideas for the new book that I’ve been plotting in my brain, hence the cashing in the frequent flyer and hotel rewards for a trip to London.
The book is contemporary and revolves around some secret orders of knights, mystical relics and the need to save the world from demonic forces. But there are scenes set in ancient London and other interesting spots in both the United Kingdom and elsewhere, including New York City.
One of the places I could envision doing some flashback scenes was the Tower of London. It was a fascinating place to visit and some of the things we saw already inspired ideas – like the “Entry to the Traitor’s Gate” that can be seen from boats on the Thames (see below).
View of the Gate from within the Tower of London
I could so picture one of my heroes being rowed through the gate on the way to some punishment in order to get information from them. The guide on the boat trip we took mentioned that the last man to be rowed through the gates was William Wallace (of Braveheart fame).
While we were in the Tower there was an amazing exhibition of armor as well as the Crown Jewels. Unfortunately, you’re not allowed to snap pictures of the jewels. Bummer. I had hoped I could use one of them, or maybe one of the stones in them, as part of the collection of mystical relics in the story. I guess that will require additional thought on my part as well as more research.
I’ll be posting more Tower of London photos to my Facebook page shortly (something wonky is going on with uploading!). As soon as I have the link to those photos, I’ll post it here.
This Thoughtful Thursday is about a question I am frequently asked? What do you in-between books? The answer is that you hope you’ve got something else contracted!
But seriously, what I do is start research on the next book and work on other proposals to be sent out by my agent. I’m always working on a new idea because for every book I am lucky enough to sell, there are at least one or two that end up gathering dust at my desk. Sometimes even though I think it’s a rocking book (like UNDEAD UPRISING!).
So the first answer to the question is: Always be preparing another project for consideration. Even if you’re in the middle of working on books that are contracted, keep your creative mind going, even if it’s to just to jot down some story ideas that you can flesh out later.
The second answer is: Get to work on the next book you need to write.
This spring and summer was blessedly busy for me. I had to finish two more book in THE CALLING vampire novels – ARDOR CALLS and VENGEANCE CALLS. Also had to do copy edits and galley proofs for SINS OF THE FLESH. And in the midst of all that, I was busy writing the next book in the SINS series – STRONGER THAN SIN – as well as researching that book.
Third answer: Spend some time researching your next novel.
For me, researching STRONGER THAN SIN meant long walks through some of the shore towns where I planned to set the novel. Snapping photos of places where I might be putting the hero and heroine so that I could get a real feel for the places. I’ve always thought that it’s important to really let you get a sense of the place and am always delighted to hear from someone who visits one of those towns that they felt like they knew it because of something I put in a novel.
So far in STRONGER THAN SIN, my ability to move them around has been limited, but I’m working up to allowing more and more scenes where the hero and heroine will be walking along the same streets that I visited and sharing their views of some of New Jersey’s delightful shore towns.
In STRONGER THAN SIN, most of the action will be taking place in Bradley Beach, Asbury Park, Ocean Grove and Spring Lake. For today, I’m sharing with you some pictures of Ocean Grove and Asbury Park. I’ve got to head down the shore again this weekend and work on adding some shots of Spring Lake and also, the wonderful tent city area close to the Ocean Grove auditorium.