Happy New 2017: on revision, a great classic on Audible, my next newsletter

Happy New 2017: on revision, a great classic on Audible, my next newsletter

The image above is Fireworks for the Entry of Louis XIII and Anne of Austria: The Lion, in “Reception de Louis XIII,” Lyons, 1623.


Happy New 2017!

I like the feel of this year already. I’ve weaned myself — to some extent — from toxic international news and immersed myself in finishing the eighth draft of Moonsick, my YA novel about Josephine’s daughter Hortense. (Yikes! Due this month.)

The funny side of revision

This is what revision sometimes feels like … 

A New Yorker cartoon.

Newsletter coming

I’m also getting ready to send out a newsletter. Sign up here if you haven’t done so already. I will post links to it when it’s ready, but one advantage of signing up is that a subscriber wins one of my books with each newsletter.

A great audible edition of Middlemarch

When I’m not revising, or enjoying one of the many wonderful restaurants here in San Miguel de Allende with my husband, or puzzling over my latest watercolour, I’m listening to an absolutely outstanding audible edition of Middlemarch by George Eliot. This classic novel was destined to be forever on my Novels I’m Embarrassed to Admit I’ve Never Read List — in part because I just couldn’t cope with the pace and prose — but the narration by Juliet Stevenson really makes it come alive. Highly recommended!

Again, Happy New Year! You readers are the absolute best.

What audible recordings are your favourite? I’m always looking for recommendations.


Procrastination (and procrastination avoidance)

Procrastination (and procrastination avoidance)

I haven’t posted here for some time. It’s not that I don’t have a lot to share — I do! — but, rather, whenever I think to post to my blog I realize that I really should be writing … or revising … or researching …

You get the picture.

For all of the above reasons, this wonderful cartoon on procrastination by Debbie Ridpath Ohi really resonated with me:


Perfect, don’t you think?

More anon … although not likely until the end of April. I’m on a tight deadline to reign in this MS. It’s not due until July 1, but May is going to be taken up with moving-back-to-Canada turmoil, and as for June … our daughter is having a baby! So, given all that, I want to have most of the challenging parts of Draft 6 blocked out before we head north, with only the little fiddly parts left to smooth out.

I hope you have a wonderful spring!

(Back to revising the outline my outline. ;-)

Hello world! On the drowsy, wandering, somewhat lost feeling one gets after sending off a draft

Stack of drafts

Day before yesterday, I sent the 4th draft of The Game of Hope (working title) to my editor at Penguin—3 days before the due date. Yay!

I woke the next morning with 1) a slight hangover  (Ha! The result of opting for the wine paring at a fantastic 4-course Thanksgiving dinner), 2) the novel feeling that I could poke around at most any number of things: my blogs, my newsletter, on-line shopping for the holidays coming up. My bookkeeping. (Scratch that idea.) Tidy my desk. Add the last scribbled-up pages to the draft stack (see above).

Curiously, I’m still rewriting in my mind … and thinking about the next novel, the second Young Adult about Hortense.


I plan to send out a newsletter soon. If you’re not on the mailing list, sign up here.

Shadow Queen

For this next newsletter, one of the subscribers (randomly selected) will win a personally inscribed, autographed hardcover edition of The Shadow Queen.

The Paying Guests

Reading: I’ve been reading many, many research books, but curiously—no doubt because I’ve been so immersed getting The Game of Hope ready to send outI’ve had a hard time reading fiction just now. The last novel I got completely absorbed in was The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters—and yes, completely absorbed!

Watching: After watching Pride & Prejudice (2005, with Keira Knightly) three times, I branched out to The Young Victoria, and now I’m re-watching the 3rd season of Downton Abbey.


Listening: to Serial (the podcast). I’m almost finished listening to Washington, a Life, by Rob Chernow. This is an epic work.

Recent blog posts over on my research blog:

An old hat, a necklace, and a letter likely rescued from the trash sell for close to 6 million

Lost and found in France’s on-line library archives

Quarantine: How the spread of deadly diseases were dealt with in late 18th century France

I will have more and more there on the ever-absorbing Bonapartes.

Embarking on draft 4


Revision is daunting, and each revision is daunting in it’s own way. It always feels like a strange and unwieldy process. How to begin? Where to begin?

I began by making a list:

  • easy changes
  • harder changes
  • hard changes

When starting out, it’s best to begin with easy changes, and work up to the more challenging ones.

I was stopped in my tracks at the first heading. What was the name of Hortense’s school? What was it called at the time?

This simple question plummeted me into Google-land research, which, in the way of the Net, opened up wondrous worlds.

Then, of course, I was compelled to post to my research blog, Baroque Explorations:

Handwriting samples: Napoleon’s, Josephine’s, and that of Christophe Duroc. 

On-line research: subscription publication—an 18th century method of fund-raising?

Yes, a form of procrastination, I know.


It just now occurred to me that my deadline is five weeks off, and that I am travelling for most of it.

Full stop.

I believe it time for me to make a list of essential changes, never mind easy, harder and hard.

As Napoleon would say: Basta! Get to work!