Tag Archives: author

Define Yourself as a Writer

My passion and enthusiasm leads me astray. It will get to a point, though, that I must rein it in and tie it down, despite the ‘no fences’ rule. I wear several hats, of late, and it is no wonder that confusion plays it course upon my condition. I love my company and I love the people who have discovered the amazing way collaboration works. Supporting one another is truly the way to become better at what we do – it is the way to widen your perspective, cultivate new interests, define your goals – all of which allows us to plant sign posts with remarkable achievements along our writing life journey. But, if I do not write, I begin to feel discouraged, frustrated, sad… I need to write. It is as vital as air and as soothing a sunshine upon my face.

I read a great post shared by someone who walks the talk – she supports and encourages and I am so lucky to call her friend and confidant. The Writer’s Digest article talked about the October Platform Challenge… we all know how I love a challenge! So what better way to get myself out of a rut than to revisit the deepest part of my creativity. I am going to rediscover my muse and drag him/her screaming to the surface.

Day 1 Challenge – Define Yourself as a Writer 

This exercise is to identify and lay claim to all the things that make you a writer. Own it.

Name (as used in byline): Linda J. Pedley

Position(s): Owner/President of Dream Write Publishing Ltd * Co-founder/Director/Treasurer/Member/Volunteer of the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County * Business Management Coordinator for my day job at the Alberta Federation of REAs * Freelance Writer/Editor * Published Author * Artist & Illustrator * Truck Window Photographer

Skill(s): Creative writing * non-fiction writing * poetry * editing * book design * blogging and web site content writing * social media promotion and platform building * newsletters * business document writing including business plans, reports, business case proposals, government position papers * individual-team-community builder * teaching and mentoring * color and design * photography * art composition and basic lesson plans * computer use

Social media platforms (active): Facebook * LinkedIn * Google+ * Twitter

URL(s): wildhorse33.wordpress.com  / dreamwrite10.wordpress.com  / dreamwritepublishing.com  / strathconaconnect.com 

Accomplishments: BA General – Sociology Major/Political Science Minor from the University of Alberta * Author of several published novels: YA adventure series – A Journey of Brothers/A Journey of Truths/ A Journey of Desires, Power Struggle, Ode to the Bard – My Writing Life, and An Elizabethan Affair * Co-Author of Your Lifetime of Stories and From a Solitary Drop * Contributing Author to several compilations and/or anthologies including Christmas Chaos and Writing Prompt Journey * Awarded the Pride of Strathcona community award in Arts, Culture & History for our writers group, The Writers Foundation of Strathcona County, in 2011 * Awarded the Pride of Strathcona community award in Arts, Culture & History in 2012 for personal work in this category * Certificate in Article and Short Story Writing from Long Ridge Writers Group in the US  * Certificate of Participation in Writer’s Camp at Humber College, Toronto in 2004 * Effective Communications Certificate from Grant MacEwan College * Publisher of over 60 books and 5 years in business with Dream Write Publishing – a creative option for today’s writers to see their work in print.

Interests: Writing – all genres * art appreciation * travelling Alberta and driving in the mountains in my “Sunshine” Toyota FJ Cruiser * truck window photography * all things Shakespeare * coffee with close family members * sharing interests and good times with good friends * horses * spending time with my daughter watching favorite TV shows, drinking wine, or collaborating on work projects * drawing * computers * reading and having lots of books *

In one sentence, who am I? Linda J. Pedley is a writer who works her day job to pay the rent while dreaming of the things she could do if only she could just focus on the passion of creating and working page-deep in books every day.

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2014 comes to a close…

The end of another year… it seems to be the place to look for new beginnings. The year ahead may hold major change, needed adjustments, or an unknown future. In this moment, we may just be looking forward to an evening with friends or one in quiet contemplation… no matter which way you decide to usher in the New Year, I encourage you to look back over the last 12 months with positive reflection. Take note of the good things that happened, these are the memories that will carry you through into 2015 and beyond. To all my writing friends and readers of my blog, I thank you for your never-ending support and appreciation. I look forward to the New Year with a renewed commitment to my writing and creativity. Happy New Year everyone and here’s to another awesome year in this amazing journey!

2014 personal recap for FB

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From Where Does Inspiration Come?

Thank you to Spiritual Echoes Community FB page for this image. Check out their page for more inspiration.

 

As with many writers, I am often overwhelmed and overtaken by everyday life. We get caught up in the passage of time doing what we need to do to make a living, all the while in our hearts we desire, dream, demand something totally different for our lives. We become complacent and comfortable with that which is around us while our very soul needs another place, another time, another focus… The picture above spoke to me – as most with the magnificent horse do… but the sentiment by Faulkner hit home as I profess to be “freeing the creative spirit” in mantra, yet let myself get so wrapped up in stress and situation that my spirit is literally penned (or un-penned if one is referring to the writer in me… pardon the play). And too often I find myself confined by my desire to help others that I cannot help myself – I support while ignoring my own inner desires all the while they are screaming to be free. So, in all this… from where does inspiration come?

I confess I do not have to look far to find it as I have a huge supply of creativity ready to burst forth – old ideas needing revamping, fresh ideas needing growth, new ideas needing encouragement, interaction with groups, and association with loving friends… some ideas spring forth and take over coming to fruition in record-breaking time – see our new calendar for the WFSC 10 year fundraising efforts! For me “freeing the creative spirit” IS freedom. And in that freedom inspiration grows. My journeys and retreats this year – to visit words, mountains, lakes, wild horses, and loved ones – those were freeing and inspirational, and… oh, for an endless supply of money and time to do them continuously! Realistically, I am pleased with what I did this year and it gave me many good memories (and photos). If given to heeding my own advice, I would say, “stop being so hard on me,” as I managed to explore and achieve and produce and create…

I guess the serious nature of my contemplation recently is due to a change in my current situation, and there are several things in the works. The liberal freedom part of me wants to “get the hell outta Dodge…” while the conservative weighted “stick to what I know” part of me is timid and partially stressed over the impending transition. It’s not bad – not bad, at all. It’s change. It’s something different. And it’s not just because I want to pick up and run… it’s because there is someone in my life with whom to make this move, to share this change. We both want less, which to us equals more – less stress, less confinement, less congestion, less interference… and all this equals more. “Living the freedom” is how we see our future. Still it’s an easy thing to say, but in all honesty, hard to perceive. Why not go for your dream, when given our limited time upon this earth? Inspiration comes from the freedom of doing what you love. Freedom comes from living the way you dream. Giving meaning to both is by being true to yourself and by loving someone who rounds out your life with happiness and pleasure.

That’s where inspiration comes from – from inside, while taking note of your surroundings and appreciating what you have. Be happy with the life you make for yourself.

blogging wordle

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”

~William Wordsworth

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Remember, Remember

November… is all about the “remember.” It’s about remembering it’s still fall although winter sometimes imposes its icy cold hand over our land and our windshields. It’s a nice rhyme for those given to poetic urges when golden mantle is now carpet and barren branches reach toward a still blue Alberta sky. It’s about remembering to tune up and retread and retire… all those things that you might not have gotten to by the end of October. While the weather holds you batten down the hatches and stack the wood in preparation for what’s inevitably next…

Yes, there is the infamous “Remember, remember the 5th of November… of gunpowder, treason, and plot…” Guido Fawkes’ notoriety is forever in our history with his attachment to the foiled Gunpowder Plot of blowing up British parliament and all who were in attendance. Who knows what effect the successful completion of such a plan would have had on the day, let alone what might have transpired and what effects might have filtered down through history.

We have also always honored Remembrance Day on November 11th “…lest we forget.” To celebrate those with eternal gratefulness for their service to our country, to protect and defend us, most often with the biggest sacrifice one can offer – their lives. A day in honor is the least we can do. I do not remember it having to ever be a holiday, though, while growing up. I recall school tributes and moments of silence on the 11th hour, the 11th day, the 11th month while in the classroom. Now, as an employee, we receive the day off as a statutory holiday – not sure when it was instigated, but it is something we all just accept now, as the norm.

My own remembrance in November includes the passing of my mother in 2012 and I’ve stated several places… time has its way of moving on, yet all wounds do not heal completely. I will always pay tribute to this day, November 3rd, as I move forward to celebrate my own life in memory of hers.

And, of course, last but not the very least, considering my desire to write in any fashion – National Novel Writing Month – NaNoWriMo, to those in the know… I remember with overwhelming contentment my connection to words and writing and the craziness that transpires as we heap the attempt upon our already full plates. I remember my love for this obsession and I remember my decision to narrow my focus to be a writer, become a published author, and help others by being a publisher.

Remember, remember…

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny, but in ourselves.”

~ William Shakespeare

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Reflection

I will premise this blog with a short note to readers: I am fine. I will be okay. I am doing what I need to do in order to deal with things. YOU are the reason I will be okay for I am blessed and lucky to be part of such an amazing group of people – family, friends, co-workers, fellow writers, lovers of life, dreamers, believers… there have been many developments since last year, some good, some not so good – all are part of my journey.

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The traffic is light but increasing as the dawn creeps into another day. I am awake and the coffee is brewing. It’s a cool mid-fall -8 and the snow from yesterday is still on the ground. It makes me wonder if it will stay again … like it did last year. By Wednesday this week last year we had a storm that dropped several inches and it was cold – winter stayed this week last year.

There is no reason to be up this early as I begin a vacation week. Days that are mine, time taken to allow me to get done some stuff yet undone, to do some things abandoned, to deal with emotions still alive and raw and welling inside. This week will mean to each of us something different, yet for our family it also means something so common – the pain of loss.

This day started early after an uncomfortable sleep, if I could call it that. This day begins, promising to be productive, but not without discomfort. My memories do not rest easy in my mind nor do they soothe my heart. For I – this day, last year – called an ambulance to take my mom to the hospital. It was to be a one way trip.

I have written only a few things about her over the past year – I feel I have neglected my words in many ways yet have continued my journey as a writer in others. So much has happened – many good things, even though they are tinged with sorrow. Dealing with the loss has been a rollercoaster and I know people deal with death in different ways. I have no presumptions of its glory and where we end up; who really knows? I don’t believe in things that some people turn to during these times – it was a choice made long ago. But, I honor my mother and her beliefs; those give me comfort, small as they may seem at times… it allows me to think she is okay and with her own mother again.

My mom’s picture stands on my shelf at my bedroom doorway where I can see her every day. I talk to her and visit her grave. Those physical things I clutch in a desperate attempt to hold her close. The thought that makes me cry, every time, is how I miss her hugs – I always got one when arriving and another when I left. That emptiness – that hollow in my heart – will never be filled. Others in my life – family and friends – will surround it and make it better so I can go on, but no matter how much time passes, that deep wound will not heal. They say time does that but I don’t believe it for one second.

WP_001513

Photo by Linda J. Pedley (c) October 27, 2013

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Creative Injection

Deep within my soul there is a flurry of residual emotional activity that takes some time to settle down after a particularly uplifting evening; the build-up of excitement leading up to the day and the “caught up in the moment” preparatory stage propels me to the planned happening. If it all turns out beyond my wildest expectations, those positive thoughts pull the terminating inevitability toward me to hold me and caress me with the blush of accomplishment. I am uplifted and inspired. That is where I sit in the aftermath of it all, and for the moment I reflect until the momentum subsides, calmness and completion then produce an opposite effect in me. It is at this point I tend to feel the slow melting disparage of “it’s over” and it becomes not about reliving the memories, nor relief in it’s done… it is all about the regret of no more – like the grounding crash from an emotional high when bliss is over too soon.

This confusing effect I have experienced all my life although when I was younger the aftermath would have me bawling my eyes out or wailing the unfairness of the world in which I lived – it most often had to do with a party or a guy or an argument with life. The poet in me would emerge and words would bleed onto the page “oh, woe is me…” bemoaning aloneness and cursing the solitary life.  As I matured, still alone but comfortable with myself, the let down doesn’t last long and I get over myself to climb back on board my journey onto the next exciting thing.

The author reading last night at Summerwood Second Cup brought friends with a passion for words and commitment together to share their work with one another exhibiting a sense of community. It demonstrated what creativity and caring can do when it meshes together to salute a cause worthy of mention. The writer in me embraces such an event for the sharing creates spark enough to ignite smouldering embers – a writer’s inner light never goes out even though it might not shine as bright sometimes. The memory of this sits in my heart and sings to me about how good it feels and this creative injection is just what the doctor ordered for a suppressed spirit and a depressed mood. It confirms that you need to do what you love and when you work that in with what you can do for others, you have a volatile mix.

My dear writing friends keep doing what you do so well. Dear readers and supporters of the literary arts – keep doing what you do as it gives us an outlet for what we do. In the spirit of International Women’s Day and celebrating “we’ve come a long way” the reading guided us along an emotional roller coaster of happiness and sadness, laughter and tears, but was thought provoking – we have yet so far to go.

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I Read a Quote

“There is nothing like a dream to create the future.” ~ Victor Hugo

Several days have passed since my last blog, in fact, several days have lapsed again without a journal entry. It is not that words do not live within me and it is not that I do not long to let them go – it is the reality of life, at times, that prevents me from releasing them all too soon. I can go off all crazed like, writing and writing and writing, but in the act I set goals for myself I cannot keep – at least not right now. Lately, my creative self can be found wrapped up in emotional blankets, too content and warm and afraid to throw them aside. I have lots to share, to say, to write, to do… and it is in that confusion of everything there lies the desire to do nothing. The overwhelming all-consuming wish that it all didn’t exist as it has turned out. I am not a defeatist; I don’t wallow in pity and beg for another chance; but I do just keep scraping it all in a pile until that pile is so high it offends me and it has the nerve to eventually fall over smothering me with guilt and shame and sadness. These moments are a part of me and how things happen and how I deal. Thankfully they don’t last long and I am not destined to be someone who succumbs to their self-inflicted wounds. The moods seem to dissipate into the mist that is life. When I come across a quote, such as the one above by Victor Hugo – I pull myself up and go forward. Because in all the emotion and turmoil, I am a dreamer and I am a writer. I know I design my own future by following my dreams and achieving my goals.

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Words and Eventually… A Movie Review

“We all make our choices in life; the hard thing to do is live with them.”
~ The Old Man (The Words, 2012)

I arrived home late afternoon with the winter sun already low enough to darken the January sky. It had been a beautiful day with sunshine and clear roads; I endeavored to complete the tasks I set out for myself. Later, as I parked the car and walked the course of the parking lot to my apartment, I focused on the reality of the day and how its eventual outcomes affected my own writing. I thought about how the day intertwined with my writing life, even though I was out and not at my key board writing. I thought about how others have an influence on me and how my journey is unique because it is mine.

The morning began by meeting with Dream Write Publishing author, George Campbell. Since publishing his book, Good Night Old Man, in late fall 2011, we have met several times to discuss the success of getting his words out there for others to read. George is not interested in the hype of book signings or extravagant parties or making large sums of money, although I am most certain he would not refuse the interview or a large cheque had I handed it to him. George will be 86 this year and his mind full of stories that would be lost if he did not commit them to paper. Sure, some of the facts may have been written before, but his story, the personalized George Campbell story, has not. He shared the idea for his next book and I am so looking forward to reading the anecdotes that go along with learning about a history I know nothing about.

WP_000528The next part of my day involved a peaceful drive along the Anthony Henday (it wasn’t rush hour, hence, peaceful) to highway 14 and then across the country roads to my mom’s property. I spend time on Saturdays going through old receipts and paperwork, shredding things I know she would like disposed of properly. I found a small diary today recording daily tasks from 1966 and 1967, the time we lived out on the farm near St. Albert up to and including the move to the house in Riverdale. Her entries encompassed the busy life of mother and wife, shopping, visiting family, and even recording times we were ill – apparently three of us kids got the chicken pox within the span of 2 weeks! I was 10 at the time. Her words shared her reality and although she did not outwardly aspire to be a writer, I am most grateful I inherited my creativity from her. She wrote profusely at times, but more so as a cathartic release than to humor an imaginative muse.

The evening proved quiet as I reflected upon my day. I knew I would write something but just what angle I hadn’t decided. Ideas shuffled back and forth through my mind ~ perhaps my novel, perhaps my kid’s book idea, perhaps…

I checked out the TV listings to see what was on – I am always swayed by Criminal Minds or a Special Victims Unit episode; my choice between NFL Playoffs and the Shaw Cable fireplace sent me to the VOD to check out the movies. Scrolling through I recognized some recent releases although none attracted until I read “The Words.” Yup, you’re a writer when this entices you! The synopsis caught my attention right quick: “A writer at the peak of his literary success discovers the steep price he must pay for stealing another man’s work.”

Talk about a writer’s reality! Really?

The movie begins with the introduction to the characters – middle-aged author telling his story about a young writer who steals, and rewrites word for word, another man’s story. He doesn’t really steal the words as in taking them from him, physically – but he chances upon them quite by accident. At the moment, I thought, what a wonderful find!  Something for an aspiring author to treasure and find inspiration in… The deception happens when he fails to right an obvious wrong when given the chance. You are drawn to the struggling writer and his inner turmoil as a scribe who has never quite measured up to the standards he believed should be his. You can see the emotion on his face as he receives accolades from his wife and we know he struggles with his own identity and what his journey as a writer really means.

The complication quickly sucks you into the life of each; flashing between the timelines and characters is a smooth transition. They are believable characters and the story grips you with true emotions of love, loss, anguish, indecision, and having to live with your choices and the inevitable consequences.

I would highly recommend this movie to anyone who has a passion for words. It was interesting to read afterward about some of the quirky inconsistencies in the filming of the movie; obviously, I was too absorbed in the plot to be distracted by them. Bradley Cooper and Jeremy Irons did an awesome job ~ I loved the conflict between the young writer and the old man.

The writer in the story deals with something we all seek – recognition for the words we write. Are they good enough? Will someone read them and feel as we do when we write them? When the old man says to Rory in the greenhouse scene that he should feel the pain associated with the words he chose to claim as his, it makes a bold statement of responsibility and truth. The story upon the page is inked in the creator’s blood.

Stealing someone’s words is, as the old man suggested, stealing someone’s life. The price of fame is not worth the lie but we all make our choices – living with them is the hard part.

"The Words" (2012) Movie Poster

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Starting the New Year Out “Write”

As I watch the sun go down in the southwestern Alberta sky, a beautiful first day of January slowly succumbs to dusk. The sky is still clear here and is an unseasonal -2 degrees which allows me to open my window a crack to let in the fresh holiday air. I am multitasking as I play a game and monitor the posts coming through my Facebook page, reposting those interesting tidbits that build a newsworthy feed (and “liking” every horse picture, too). Creativity hits so fast, words are just a blur

I take my time today as I ponder the direction of my first blog of the New Year. My mind is a blur with the possibilities. I could also work on one of the numerous projects I have on the go – personal and publishing. My own resolutions are clear: to do what’s “write”, simply stated. Over the past couple of years, my focus has been diverted from my own work to that of my clients and colleagues; this is not a bad thing, for it is what I am destined to do. It is how you keep learning, promote the craft, and progress on your own writing journey. It is also the mandate of my publishing company as we head into the second half of my third part-time year in business. Things are going well but it is not without its own self-inflicted wounds. I have several works of my own awaiting attention and there always exists the underlying desire to do more and submit more for outside consideration. My commitment to my blog is an ongoing passion because this is where I connect with all of you out there, my fellow writers. Here, it is more than just the ramblings I commit to my journal, things I don’t share out in public, things I provide a disclaimer for in case anyone reads those words post-mortem – “please be kind and don’t judge until you walk a mile in my shoes.” Certainly, these fertile emotional fields are the breeding ground for words to be shared with some revision. It has borne many an article, many a verse, many a line. My blog is my public journal that endeavors to share my writing life and how life affects it. My easy-going day is a treat but it is now dark as I still contemplate. My window is closed but the year of opportunity lies open ahead.

We are all given the same amount of time in a day - the difference is what we choose to do with it...

We are all given the same amount of time in a day – the difference is what we choose to do with it…

It is not that I don’t have anything to write; in fact, just the opposite – I have so many words I would like to express and so many directions my sharing could venture. My first blog of the year often holds promise for what lies ahead with encouragement to keep on writing while reflecting on the things that matter most – memories. Looking back over 2012, it brings those bittersweet extremes life is known to throw at you just because you live it, into high focus. It is a conundrum best described in the immortal lyrics of country singer, Garth Brooks “Our lives are better left to chance, I could have missed the pain but I’d of had to miss the dance.”

Life hands us the experiences of loss and gain, hope and failure, happiness and sadness. It can appear to be in larger helpings for some, almost never to others, or an ongoing thing with this and that so much so we beg “enough already.” I can speak for no one but myself when I recount the past year and the effects events have had on my writing and my life, in general. I received great accolades and suffered great loss. I accomplished goals yet dealt with frustration. I felt the elation of happiness, yet spiralled to the emotional depths of despair. There is no going back for a do over so it is something I need to embrace when I recall 2012 – what can I do better? What can I treat with greater compassion? What can I change and what has changed forever?

Through this social media family and my own, I have connections with great minds who prophesize their own 2013 future in as many ways as there are numbers. I like the suggestion that we take little bites off the months as we chew through this year. It makes swallowing what life has in store for us so much easier. Little goals, little steps, little by little we move forward. Keep the big dream in mind but focus on each and every day. To look too far ahead you miss the chance to experience everything along the way. I have lofty goals, oh yes – I recently proposed to a friend that we plan the trip to Italy we have talked of so fondly for some time now. And 2014 it will happen, with a short stay in Stratford Upon Avon to visit my hero.

The BardThis post is not without its underlying desire to encourage a bright writing year ahead. It is necessary to keep your writing goals posted close to your heart, for only another writer knows how vital they are to your journey. We write because we must. We write because it is an inborn, innate, inherited passion that will not go away even if you ignore it. Oh, you can waylay your desires if you are easily distracted but your muse will not allow you to miss out on your true calling in this life. Seek the support of those who share this passion; be true to your own creativity and be strong enough to stand against those who would disarm you of your pen. In time, your own mettle will prevail, your ink will flow, and those around you will see you for who you are meant to be – a writer.

In this proclamation I take with me my most cherished memories. I hold them close to my heart so I can remember what it is that is most important. I have the support of so many friends and family, colleagues and clients. I claim this right through the words channelled by my muse, through my admiration of others who share my love, and my mother, who watches over me now from beyond. Despite my pain, there is hope as I dream big and move forward. Deep down I know it will still never be the same but in my heart I know I am doing what I am supposed to do with my life.

New 2013 writer wish

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Book Review – The Shakespeare Stealer by Gary Blackwood

The Shakespeare Stealer by Gary Blackwood (1998) did not sit long idle before I devoured the words. But those who know me well would know it would not be one to gather dust given my propensity and love for life of William Shakespeare’s late 1500s. It was also not so overpowering and involved an investment given the things happening in my life right now. True, this book by American children’s author, Gary Blackwood, is a young adult chap book – but the subject is one that calls to me in any form. It was an easy read and I’m assuming it to be geared toward the junior high reading crowd. The author did not simplify it by changing language or situation. Instead, he peppered it with the flavor of the time using words and actions. He uses the characters to explain uncertainties and one comes to identify meaning by reading through the work and understanding their relation to the roles of the time period.

Widge, is a young teen orphan who comes to the theatre under command of his current master. He is supposed to steal the play Hamlet by transcribing it in its entirety using a specialized shorthand he masters over his young years. His initial attempt is incomplete because he gets caught up in the roles rather than concentrating on the words. His next attempt is better but the notebook is stolen and under fear of reprisal he becomes engulfed in the world of the theatre. At first, it is a way to escape punishment from his master and fulfill his duty. He knows what he’s doing is a deception but this was common at the time with competing theatre troupes stealing plays and revisiting them on their own stage. The coveted Shakespearean works were well guarded but not immune to pilfering. Widge’s attempt to comply leaves him loving the theatre and he even becomes a player while on ever alert for his mysterious, fearful pursuer, Falconer. His growth is in discovering loyalty and friendship. The story is well written and follows the guidelines for historical writing by not overdoing the language. A few words in dialect by the main character add to his charm, setting him apart from his London proper counterparts.

According to my research of the time period, the work rings true to what I have encountered with only one blaring inconsistency ringing in my head. William Shakespeare’s son is said to have died from an accidental drowning in 1596 – the author, using a brief dialogue between players, reveals that William is possibly disheartened and distracted by the death of his son by disease. The book is set in 1587 which would only be two years after the twins’ birth. As with all work based on such remote times, it is impossible to get things exactly right – who really knows? In our creation of fiction we are given that liberty to stretch the truth somewhat as long as it is loosely based on our researched conception of it. I am in the process of writing a novel involving this time period and I would expect there may be variations that might draw the comment and insight from others working in the same genre and style.  We have our imagination and creativity –the rest is history.

This wonderful book was found on the local library discard rack – it makes me wonder why.

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