A Present While I’m Gone

Today’s post is being cross-listed on Taste Life Twice.

So did anyone come up with a guess as to the Remnants storyline, based on the research topics?

Drop me a line, and if you’re close, you just might get a free book!

But if you don’t have a clue, don’t worry. I’m running a sale next week on Dulci’s Legacy that will make it almost free!

woman happy with money

While I’m off gallivanting, I would like to give all you lovely followers a little prize: a discount on my newest book! Next week, I’ll be running an Amazon Countdown Deal, and I’ll post the link to my Amazon ebook version of Dulci’s Legacy. I hope you’ll take advantage of the opportunity to share Dulci with young readers you know!

In the meantime, check out some of my favorite bookstores (find the list halfway down on this Works page), if you’re in the Portland area, or my favorite sayings and styles, if you’re a Pinterest pinner.

Can’t stand waiting? I know! Sign up for the newsletter (going out later today!) to get a reminder in your inbox.


Image via NerdWallet

A Sleuth on the Trail

new sherlock holmes by allegator deviantart

I’m excited today because I will very soon be able to reprise a favorite role: the sleuth on the trail of history!

Right at this moment, I am editing my third book, working title: Remnants, which is a historical fiction novel. Not a mystery. Not a romance. I’m leaving my cheaper thrills behind and really trying to dig down deep into this period of history: the 1820s in the western islands of Scotland.

colorized pictures hebrides 1800s

That’s right, it means a really awful journey back to Scotland to tour museums, feel the light at dawn, hike over the machair beaches and bear witness to empty blackhouses from centuries past. A real hardship assignment, traveling through places like this…

outer hebrides machair beach

I picked up this one thread–the repeal of the barilla tax after the Napoleonic Wars–and it has led me to explore many intricate details of this bygone time, sandwiched between Jane Austen’s era and Charlotte Bronte’s space and time.

Some of the topics I am in the midst of researching:

  • seasonal peat-cutting practices in western Scottish isles
  • Presbyterian religious calendar
  • duties of a parish church vicar
  • New Year celebrations in 1820s in the Isles and in Glasgow
  • Scottish rural swear words of the 1820s
  • date of highland clearances in argyll
  • cost of foodstuffs and ship transport
  • home loom construction

…So whaddya think? Can you tell what the story’s going to be about??

Ooh, but that’s where yer wrong!

Images via DeviantartHebridesToday, & Allwomenstalk

How to Get Your Writing Questions Answered

Have A Question

Do you have questions about the writing process?

About how to choose whom to work with, from book cover designers to editors to blog tour organizers?

About the dreaded editing gauntlet?

About formatting!

About self-publishing with Amazon?

woman at podium

Well, you’re in luck…I’ve got something to say on all these topics! So if you don’t want to trawl through the archives (although that is definitely encouraged!)… Ask me your question on Goodreads!

Goodreads has a special service called Ask the Author, where you visit my author profile and type in anything you are wondering about. Don’t be shy!

I’ll be rounding up any questions I see for a post on May 21st, so submit yours today!


Image via AlwaysImages & IndieBookMarketing


Taste Life Twice Milestones

As you may know, Taste Life Twice is my publishing company. There are a lot of ways I try to keep people apprised of my writing progress and interested in the work to come (more coming soon on that!)

For example, working on the 3rd book, many random historical titbits I find are often released through Twitter.

500 twitter followers!

I also serve up an entertaining newsletter about upcoming plans and events, which goes out at the end of each month.

70 letter subscribers!

if you don’t have a blog-following tool like feedly, and you’re a facebook user, you could like TLT on FB and get notification of new posts that way too.


For the very bookish, and those who might be wishing for better reading recommendations, try Goodreads, a sort of facebook for readers. It’s invaluable to me in its capacity as a record of books read. I go through them so fast, it’s hard to recall titles or authors sometimes, but this helps me keep it all straight!

And I’m not sure what stats are the most revealing on goodreads, so here’s a snapshot of all of them! 😉

goodreads stats


 What milestones have you hit lately, whether in your business or your personal life?

Accents, Shortcuts, Injustices

So, the other day, I was wondering about accents.

hagrid in costume harry potter

Specifically, about what type of accent Hagrid sports in the Harry Potter movie series. And whether the voice for Baloo in The Jungle Book was the same as Little John in Robin Hood. (It is.)

This led me down a hidey-hole of interesting articles about accents in media. For example, why the always-mystifying choice of a British accent for villains in American cartoons?

In this brief college paper, Eric Wenke of UPenn states that it is a shortcut. Giving a villain a British accent not only distinguishes him as different and noteworthy, but also:

bestows an immediate sense of superiority in culture and intellect

Fascinating! Two good examples he refers to are Scar in The Lion King and Jaffar in Aladdin. More worrisome is the author’s agreement with Lippi-Green’s language subordination model, in which:

Disney features can teach children to ethnocentrically discriminate based on character accents

This dovetails with a Guardian article about modern animated movies being full of racist stereotypes, which looks to be pretty hard to deny, especially with their examples of portrayals of dark-skinned and Hispanic characters, no matter whether in America or elsewhere. Again, it comes down to shortcuts:

[Family animation] consciously and subconsciously weighs financial against moral obligations, then unconsciously opts for the ‘safe’ representational defaults – stereotypes.

Okay, the plot is getting thicker here. Another article uses similar examples, but puts another spin on it: translation of the accent into a different language. For this author at Lexiophiles, the choices made for the characters in The Aristocats are revealing:

Thomas O’Malley, in the original Aristocats a street cat with a labourer’s accent, is a Flemish cat in the Dutch version. In my opinion that gives his character an almost exotic touch and an extra bit of swag.

This makes me think immediately of the class tags that would be associated, which the author hinted at with “a labourer’s accent.” We in America can usually only identify a Cockney accent as one that would be considered ‘working-class’ in the UK. A similar one for Brits might be a Southern US accent, often used to connote slowness, lack of education, or a rural backwater type of setting.

Once again, fascinating! Back to British accents, though. A final article, on the fascinating site TV Tropes, makes the connection I was just trying to make:

their … accents are used to reflect their characters’ positions in the social hierarchy

By which the author is referring to characters in the TV series Rome having a range of British accents, since “regional British accents are used to reflect a character’s class or social status by playing up to stereotypes in the collective British psyche.” Again, a shortcut.

Writers should be aware of these shortcuts/injustices as well. What do you think?

And Hagrid? West Country (e.g. Cornwall), says Wikipedia.

lands end jason theaker

Images via Pixgood and Jason Theaker’s Flickr