My Writing Process

The lovely and supportive writer S.J. Maylee tagged me in a writing process blog hop.  I have four questions to answer, so let’s get started!

What am I working on?

My day job involves a fair amount of writing, but I won’t go into that.  The work closest to my heart is a novel set in 14th century France about the struggles of a young widow who runs a publishing concern.

A few days ago, I set this novel aside because I am so dissatisfied with my fiction writing. I have a novella simmering about a British WWII war bride, but I’m having trouble breathing her in right now.  I have therefore returned to a memoir I started writing as a NaNo rebel last November, but shelved in December.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My narrative non-fiction is more poetic or evocative than most, since I am allowed some of the little darlings that are edited out of fiction when they do not advance the plot or character arc.

My historical fiction is heavier on history, and tends more toward literary fiction, than that which leans to historical romance.

Why do I write what I do?

What else am I going to do with my graduate degrees in medieval literature? Seriously, I enjoy exploring the lives of strong women in a culture that was legally and socially set against them.

How does my writing process work?

I’m a plotter, although I often have characters who decide to take over, so I leave some flexibility in the outline.

I’m also an inveterate editor, so it’s hard to chain my infernal internal editor in the closet to let me write.  I often write a zero draft, then run through it, editing lightly as well as expanding and contracting where needed.  Then come the substantive edits.

In other words, lots of wash, rinse, repeat.

Thank you, S.J., for tagging me.  Who wants to carry on the torch?  If you want to post these questions and answers, let me know, and I’ll be happy to link to you.


British bride WIP excerpt, playing with POV

Part of my playing about with this story involves writing a scene from each of the two main characters’ points of view.  

He watched her enter the restaurant, savoring the few seconds that he could observe her before she saw him. Although not surprised, he was briefly dismayed at his immediate physical reaction to seeing her. What a beautiful woman she was, certainly attractive in the conventional sense, but so vibrant. There was nothing pastel about her—her dark hair and eyes such a contrast to her flawless ivory skin, the deep red lipstick accentuating her mouth, whose strength balanced her face perfectly. She caught sight of him and the faint smile she wore blossomed into a full, warm one that started his heart pounding. She walked toward him, poised and graceful. He couldn’t take his eyes away from her. He reached down to kiss her lightly on the cheek, which he had to admit to himself was a male territorial thing, as he noticed the eyes of every man in the place devouring her much as he had just done


She had to admit that she had put a lot into her appearance before meeting him—he would certainly say that she got “gussied up.” She was more nervous than she expected to be, which she found somewhat surprising. Not to boast, but she was rather used to men’s attentions, and usually gloried in it. But then, there was something different about him-it was important that he like her.

When she went in the door, she didn’t see him at first; looking around, it was only a second or two before she saw him, resplendent in his uniform, his eyes sparkling, mirroring the smile on his absolutely handsome face. He walked over to her, leaned over, and kissed her briefly on the cheek. The kiss was soft, but had an impact all the way down to her stomach. She wanted to remember the touch of his lips forever.


Excerpt British bride novella

The sun was high before she woke up, but she had nowhere to be, so lay in bed lazily thinking about the previous evening and her handsome American GI, remembering seeing him across the room. To be honest, she first noticed him because he was tall and handsome, though not dark like in the romance novels, but with curly blond hair. As he came closer to her, it was his eyes that drew her gaze; they were a shade shimmering on the blue-green divide without committing one way or the other. After he disposed of the bothersome drunk, he spoke to her for the first time; his voice was a nice rich baritone with a not unpleasant American accent, neither too drawled nor too clipped. But as he took her hand into his to lead her to the dance floor, it was his smile that reached into her chest and wrapped itself around her heart. It was a smile that opened up the windows to his heart and aired out any dark corners he might have—genuine and freely given, she somehow knew that it was not unthinkingly bestowed, but was a gift to her, and only to her.