When I wrote Walks in Stardust I knew that literature, myths, and legends were full of magical swords and daggers, especially ones made from “something that fell from the sky.” Those that were forged from meteoric iron usually had magical, good, or evil properties. The blade in Walks in Stardust would also need to be special. I couldn’t help but wonder what ancients thought when a meteor crossed the night heavens and fell to Earth. It must have been a mix of terror and awe. I still am mesmerized when I see a falling star. (I probably saw more at drive-in movies or parked by the water amid a long, passionate smooch than anywhere else on the planet).At the time of weaving the strings of the story together, I talked about it with friends…other amateur archaeologists who loved to spin scenarios around artifacts we found on sites. One happened to be an artist, and he rendered an image of the knife I created in my imagination. Besides the picture below, he also had a labeled diagram of how it went together. I continue to find it fascinating.
Brain Left Town
Why is it we don’t see our own writing errors as easily as we pick up on mistakes in the others’ writings? I mean silly, stupid stuff. Obvious mistakes! I am working on a novel of suspense, and the other day was reading a part with my critique group, and I didn’t even hear, much less catch, my goof. Thank heaven for critique groups! Here is what I wrote. “Guilty—by reason of insanity.” Duh! A member of the group asked me if I meant not guilty. Oh, heck yes! It should have been, “Not guilty—by reason of insanity.” What a jackass! I suppose my brain decided to take a stroll. Maybe it even left town.
True Angel Story
This is a true angel story taken from my life that ended up in a modified version in my first thriller, coauthored with Joe Moore, THE GRAIL CONSPIRACY.
When my daughter, my little angel, Alexis, was a wee one, she had an imaginary playmate, or so we thought. Ever since she could speak, she talked about Motnees, her friend who would fly into her room at night. She pointed to a corner in the ceiling and told us that’s where Motnees would stay. We thought her stories were adorable. One day we were driving with her grandparents and her grandmother asked what Motnees looked like. Alexis spun her hand in circles above her head and said, “She has hair like this.” We thought maybe she meant her “playmate” had curly hair or bed head hair. We didn’t pay much attention.——
99 Scorpions Preferred Beer in THE TOMB
When writing THE TOMB, we wanted Maxine and Kenny to have a special beer—something different and memorable. I did some research on craft beers and came up with this one from The Unknown Brewery in Charlotte, NC. They actually sent me a bottle to sample! The full name of the beer is “La Jordana del Escorpion en Fuego Hacia la Casa del Chupacabra Muerto,” which roughly translates to “The Path of the Fiery Scorpion through the House of the Dead Chupacabra.” Quite a mouthful and makes me wonder what kind of mind could make this up? So crazy that I loved it! This unique beer is a 10.1 percent ABV Mexican imperial lager brewed with agave nectar, serrano peppers and 99 REAL scorpions—Honest! How they ended up using scorpions is a story in itself. This wild brew was perfect for our characters. Max and Kenny have that kind of fiery relationship. Passionate, estranged, tender, forceful, trusting, angry—an intriguing mix. What else then would be their choice of beer? 99 Scorpions. I want to take a road trip for a visit to this brewery! If you want to read more about the beer, why the scorpions, how it was brewed, and the brewery here is a link: http://www.charlottebeer.com/2014/09/08/the-unknown-brewing-co-brews-beer-with-99-scorpions/
What if an Alligator Attacks? What to do.
Since alligator mating season is here, thought some of you might be interested in this. Or maybe you are just curious. I had an alligator attack on my character in one of my historical books.
In another historical, SPIRIT OF THE TURTLE WOMAN, about the people of the Everglades about 2,500 years ago, the story began with a party of warriors returning to their village. Many were injured or dead. Well, my guy came back in a coma–the deep sleep as they called it. I was halfway into the book when I realized the man’s name was Acoma. Hmm. Acoma was in a coma. Changed his name to AKoma so it wasn’t so noticeable unless you said it out loud. Should have changed it completely to something like Flub or maybe Bill.
Swiss Cheese Brain Syndrome
I wrote down an important date, so important that I put it on a sticky note and stuck it to my computer monitor. I looked at that thing every day for at least a month. The problem is, the date came, but I couldn’t remember why it was important. I wonder what I was supposed to do on that date. Still don’t know, and it was a couple of months ago. I finally threw the note away. Can anybody relate to that?
Brought Back to Life?
You gotta laugh at yourself!
While writing my second book in the historical series, Edge of the New World, (about 2500 years ago in the Florida Everglades) I had a friend of mine become a beta reader—not after the book was completed, but almost. I watched her reading the manuscript (though I pretended not to) one evening when we were attending a teachers’ conference. She was most of the way through it when she looked over at me with a puzzled look on her face. (Yes, Merrill, it was you.)
Her: “Didn’t Wagahi die?”
Me: “Uh, I think so.”
Welcome to Behind the Keys
Behind the Keys is a spot where you will find out all kinds of hysterical, sad, and amazing coincidences that occurred while writing the books. These are like outtakes from a movie. Sometimes I’ll be embarrassing myself, but what the heck. Let the good times roll! Hope to see you here!