Top 20 — almost top 10 for Sara Donati

M.K. Tod has put up a survey on favorite writers of historical fiction — and I made the number eleven slot in some really excellent company. I didn’t know this survey was running and I didn’t send anybody over to vote, so I can feel good about this without reservation.

It’s a lovely boost when I’m trying to pin down information on the Staten Island railroad circa 1880. Very exciting chapters I’m working on, despite how that sounds.

Unravelled, M.K. Tod

M.K. Tod’s primary interests are WWI and WWII — an interest we have in common (ala Homestead, in particular). She’s got a novel out (Unravelled) that I just ordered for my Kindle. The description:

In October 1935, Edward Jamieson’s memories of war and a passionate love affair resurface when an invitation to a WWI memorial ceremony arrives. Though reluctant to visit the scenes of horror he has spent years trying to forget, Edward succumbs to the unlikely possibility of discovering what happened to Helene Noisette, the woman he once pledged to marry. Travelling through the French countryside with his wife Ann, Edward sees nothing but reminders of war. After a chance encounter with Helene at the dedication ceremony, Edward’s past puts his present life in jeopardy.

prompt: who lives here?

creepy stairs
Creative Commons License photo credit: i eated a cookie

As I see it:

Mr. Bertie Saunders was born  in  1911 in this house where he still lives. He was the last of six healthy children in a noisy and congenial family.  He was sickly as an infant and the doctor told his parents he was unlikely to live to his first birthday.

In his ninety-some years Bertie has lived to bury one great grandfather, four grandparents, his father, his mother, his stepfather, three brothers, two sisters, three wives, four children, two step-children, six children-in-law,  one grandchild, and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.

He has no living relatives.

Mr. Saunders spends all his time drafting and redrafting his will, in which he leaves all his worldly goods (the house and all its contents and a coin collection worth an estimated $1.3 million) to different charities.

Bertie is ready to go as soon as Jasper, his fifteen year old cocker spaniel, makes the first move.

writing prompts. and chocolate.

A friend just sent me a care package full of interesting books and movies and bits and pieces. Among them: a book of writing prompts. I’m trying to think of a way to describe what this is like, for somebody who writes for a living, but nothing fits. A box of truffles? Maybe. Some of the prompts just don’t strike you as interesting (orange cream, not something I seek out in a box of chocolate). Some you want to devour immediately. Others you think about for a while.

(Aside: today in a shop I saw chocolate flavored with absinthe. Really. I asked about it and the shop owner said the FDA was always trying to put that particular chocolatier out of business, but hadn’t yet succeeded. I have no interest in trying chocolate with absinthe. None.)

Here’s a writing prompt from the book that made me think. That I’m still thinking about:

A phone sex worker is ten minutes into a call when she realizes she’s talking to her teenage son.

This doesn’t work for me for a couple reasons. First and foremost — I can’t buy the idea that it takes her ten minutes to recognize her son’s voice. But it is interesting. So now I’m playing with the premise, trying to tweak it to something more viable.

A phone sex worker is ten minutes into a call when she realizes she’s talking to

…her adult daughter’s new boyfriend.
…the professor whose lectures on medieval romance she’s been attending two afternoons a week
…her neighbor’s ex-husband

I’m not going to write this scene or story, but it does pose interesting possibilities.

Any possibilities occur to you?