Character Sketches: Your Input

For a while I’ve been thinking about the best way to put together character sketches for characters in all of the Wilderness novels and GH. Not a small undertaking, I know, but I think of it as a long-term project.  

There are many websites/wikis devoted to book series and movies that do a good job of this.  Examples include Katniss Everdeen (Hunger Games) has a character sketch which is exhaustive and very carefully put together and  Debra Morgan (Dexter) is another example of a very intense and detailed character breakdown. Wikipedia has character pages for fictional characters across time and space (here’s the Wikipedia very elegant approach to Katniss Everdeen). Game playing sites go to great lengths and make very complicated character infoboxes.  Wikia provides an example character template which would not work for fictional characters, but could be adapted. It’s interesting to see what they throw in, at any rate:

{{Character Infobox
| name =
| image =
| alternate name =
| aka =
| d.o.b. =
| age =
| birthplace [...]

Saturday 10. October 2015|Gilded Hour, research / resources, technology, wilderness|12 Comments

Fictional Hiccups, as I use them

Over on the forum there was an interesting question from CBigbee, which I answered there, but am duplicating here because links aren’t showing up over there properly.

The question:

First, I read the Wilderness series a few years back.  When I completed the final book I thought that I could never read another book again….So sad to see it end.  When I started Gilded Hour it took me a while to catch on to the connections back to Wilderness, and I was delighted! My burning (& odd) question is about hiccups.  I remember them from Wilderness.  Please help me understand what those are.  Do they sound like an actual hiccup, as in when one has the hiccups?  Because that doesn’t seem to work for me.  Is it a gasp?  What are those hiccups?  You are a brilliant writer and your novels complete me!

My answer:

Hi CBigbee —

First, thanks for stopping by.

When I use ‘hiccup’ metaphorically I’m thinking of the way people pull in a short breath in a noisy way. It’s heard a lot in European languages (Scandinavians tend to think of it as a feature of their languages alone, but it’s heard in languages across the world). You’ll hear it a lot of Scots English and less in American English, where you’ll most likely hear it as a sound of surprise.

Technically, in linguistics, this is called ingressive phonation. That sounds weird, but once you hear it you’ll know what I’m talking about. And thanks to the magic of the internet, you can hear it, right now, if you care to.

Eklund JIPA 2008 Figure 7b Eklund JIPA 2008 Figure 7b

There’s an article on Wikipedia with a pretty good […]

Monday 5. October 2015|Gilded Hour, language & linguistics, reader mail|0 Comments

Conversations & Comfort

After experimenting with a spoiler-full discussion board on the GH website and asking various people for feedback about that, it is clear to me that I haven’t yet found a configuration that works. I’m trying to decide whether to scrap the idea all together, or to try something new. 

Just another pole. Just another pole.

I would like to have a place where people would feel comfortable asking questions about GH and my other novels, and more important still, where people might actually discuss the work. This is pretty self-serving, I’m happy to admit: it’s both useful and interesting to see how readers interpret what I write, what confuses them or works for them.  Of course the fact that it is a board that I set up means that some people won’t be comfortable voicing their opinions, no matter how clearly I say that I do not take offense at constructive criticism offered in a mutually respectful setting.  

So you see my dilemma.  Thus we have yet another poll (a double one, this time) that I hope people will take a few moments to respond to. It would be a great help to me. You are welcome to make additional remarks in the comments, but that is by no means necessary. 


If you chose the first answer in this first poll, you’re finished — and thank you. If you chose the second or third, please go on to the next poll.


Sunday 4. October 2015|GH website/forum, technology|4 Comments

Planned Parenthood and The Gilded Hour

If you’ve read The Gilded Hour or have read anything about it, you know that the 19th century fight for access to information about birth control is a major theme. In fact, reproductive health was a major issue at the time. Doctors did sometimes end up in jail (and prison) for providing patients with information on how to prevent conception.  This subject is apparently still open to debate, as indicated by the current congressional inquiry on Planned Parenthood. 

From the day I first starting thinking about the plot and backstory for TGH, I wondered if people might dislike the novel or object to it because of the way contraception and abortion are handled.1 Though no one has come out to say it openly, on occasion I have got that impression.  So there are multiple questions: do some people dislike the novel for that reason, and if that’s the case,  will they say so, openly? And if not, why not?

Now I’m curious if anybody will speak up here. I won’t be surprised if no one is willing to grab this hot potato, but I’d sure sure be interested in your thoughts.


  1. I would say, for the record, that the issue in The Gilded Hour is not so much one of abortion as it is violence toward and control of women.
Saturday 3. October 2015|Gilded Hour, reviews & reviewing, theme|22 Comments

We Have a Winner

winnerIt took me a while to get a complete list of people who entered the $100 giveaway (and how many times they entered, because you could do that, in case you didn’t realize), but I think I managed after combing through Twitter, Facebook, this weblog and the Gilded Hour forum. Then I went through my usual procedure: the next person I spoke to (this time on the phone, about an appointment) I asked to pick a number between 1 and 175.  Finally I took that number and counted down from the top. Last time I did this I counted up from the bottom. 

The winner is: butterfliesrfun 

So Butterflies, you need to contact me directly to say where you’d like your $100 to come from. Your wish in my command.  Here’s the thing: If I don’t hear from you by next Wednesday at midnight, I’ll pull another name.  

Now, is there anybody else out there who is still waiting for something from me? Because I haven’t heard back from people, and I’m starting to wonder if I hallucinated the whole shebang. 

Finally: thanks to everybody who jumped in to help celebrate the publication of The Gilded Hour. 

Wednesday 30. September 2015|Drawings & Giveaways|2 Comments