• Friday Info,  Twisting the Border

    Visiting Historic Places

    History is everywhere. This morning? History. Yesterday? History. The older a place is, the more unusual, and/or the more connected with someone famous (or infamous), the greater the odds it might survive in some form as a historic place to visit. Might. Most don’t. But some do, and that’s the subject for today’s ramblings. Because these are places for inspiration, education, entertainment, and connection. Sometimes all at the same time and sometimes . . . not. I believe in visiting historic sites (granted, not all–there are some I’m never setting foot in, not no way not no how) and I’ve visited a lot. I don’t have a complete list of…

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  • Tuesday Sites,  Twisting the Border

    Many Missions

    A week or two ago, I discussed the Alamo (and camels!). It started life as a mission (Mission San Antonio de Valero)–long before it became a fortress, army outpost, or museum. And it wasn’t the only one built, used (worshipped in), abandoned or passed by, and then rediscovered or reconsecrated at a later date. There are many throughout the Southwest. Indeed, there are many around San Antonio. I’ve enjoyed incorporating references to them in a recent Twisting the Border story (probably set for release in December). The National Park Service keeps a number of San Antonio missions open for visitation and exploration. There’s Mission Concepción, (more formally known as Mission…

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  • Friday Info,  Twisting the Border

    Research, research, always research

    I do a lot of research. I don’t always read books all the way through–I’ll flip through, focus on particular chapters, consult the index, and/or other techniques. And I readily admit to regularly consulting web sites as well. I prefer books and websites that offer some measure of research transparency–i.e. they show their work and how they came to certain conclusions (in other words they note which primary and secondary sources they consulted … or they are primary sources). So with that in mind, here are a few of the sources used for my upcoming Twisting the Border installment, which is set on a steamboat headed down the Mississippi River.…

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  • Friday Info,  Twisting the Border

    Drinking Unhappiness

    The riverboat Illinois Queen‘s passengers form a microcosm of humanity. Gamblers. Settlers. Scientists. For a spinster headed into self-imposed exile, homesickness turns into seasickness. A fellow passenger offers a cure. But one sip too many lays bare the sorrows, sins, and secrets the riverboat holds. Board the Queen as powerful, believable characters face the loss of all they cherish. Available 19 July!

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  • Friday Info,  Twisting the Border

    Historical Research

    Let’s start with a simple proposition: there is no one right way to do historical research. Then again, there are a lot of wrong ways. But I’m not here to talk about those (at least not today). If you want to discuss wrong ways, chat up just about anyone who teaches history courses. One thing about doing history research is that it’s highly idiosyncratic, or peculiar to each individual person. In short, how you research–your choices of where to search (assuming you have choices), how to search, and how you navigate results–will all affect what you find. There are a lot of good books and websites out there on how…

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  • Tuesday Sites,  Twisting the Border

    Camels and The Alamo

    While in San Antonio for a convention, I visited several historic sites, although nowhere near as many as I had originally planned. (Then again, my visit got cut short so I could fly off to interview for the job I’m currently in, so things worked out just different than planned.) And, of course, I visited the Alamo. I didn’t spend that long there (see above for why I was short on time) — but what time I had I spent soaking up atmosphere and looking for elements to use in story-writing. Well, I’ve got to the point where I’m writing a story (for the Twisting the Border sequence) set in…

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  • Friday Info,  Twisting the Border

    Enter the Twisting world

    The first installment of Twisting the Border will be available on June 21st. I’ll reveal the cover on the 7th. For now, however, here’s the back copy / blurb: True ladies never acknowledge the presence of ghosts, even in a city suffering a plague of them. Spinster painter Lavinia once considered herself a lady.
 Then she snuck out at midnight. Searched for a ghost. Found it.
 Only to discover the high cost of freeing herself from ghosts.
 Compelling and complex, Hollow Ghosts starts Lavinia on the path from acknowledged lady to heroism—or infamy. The characters will go far, but this story begins in an alternate 1850s Chicago. I’m looking forward…

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  • Friday Info,  Twisting the Border

    It all started with a dream…

    A couple of years ago, I woke from a dream with a particular moment in history in mind, and a couple of characters watching in expectation of something rather different than happened in our world. Alternate history–historical fantasy–whichever or whatever, the characters persisted in forcing me to start telling their tales. Twisting the Border is a serial novel–or a sequence of linked short stories. The first installment/story will be available on Friday 21 June, with other installments/stories to follow the third Friday of every month. I’ll reveal the covers two weeks before each installment launches, both here and on my Fb page. Plus, I’ll share a few key moments/passages for…

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