The “Establishing Shot”–and 9 More Ways to Strengthen Your Story’s Beginning

Just for the record: I hate beginnings. The first fifty pages of my novels are inevitably torture to write. I’m always sure I’ve lost my touch, convinced that every successful story in the past was a fluke, absolutely certain I’ll never make these opening scenes gripping enough to hook a reader. And it’s no wonder. […]

Winning Wednesday: Mug

This week’s Winning Wednesday winner is Benjamin Farnum. In order to win Loreena McKennitt’s CD The Book of Secrets, he answered the question “In medieval times, what was the role of the bailiff?” Bailiffs in the Middle Ages The term bailiff originated in England, where it was used to denigrate certain of the king’s officers, […]

Winning Wednesday: The Book of Secrets by Loreena McKennitt

This week’s Winning Wednesday winner is Hannah Covington. In order to win the Behold the Dawn T-shirt, she answered the question “The Crusaders shortened the name of their opponent, the famed Turkish sultan, to Saladin. What was his full name?” Saladin in the Middle Ages Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb was one of few Moslems […]

Here Are 5 Methods That Are Helping Writers Stay Healthy

Here Are 5 Methods That Are Helping Writers Stay Healthy

Writing isn’t the kind of job you’d expect to be hazardous. When all you do all day long is sit in a comfy chair at your desk and poke some keys from time to time, you’d think your body would respond beautifully to all this pampering. But, as any desk jockey of longstanding knows, desk […]

Learn to Write Dynamic Characters Like Christopher Nolan

You know what they say, “If your character can be himself, he should always be himself. Otherwise, he should be Batman.” But, seriously, tongue-in-check aside, if you want to writing amazing, dynamic characters, there’s actually one very important lesson you need to learn from the Dark Knight. In the 2005 blockbuster hit Batman Begins, Bruce […]

Behold the Dawn Trailer

As those of you who follow me on Twitter or listen to my podcast probably already know, I’ve been busy this week supervising the production of  the  trailer for my upcoming historical novel Behold the Dawn. Today, I’m very pleased to share the Behold the Dawn trailer!

Winning Wednesday: T-Shirt

This week’s Winning Wednesday winner is Jacob Glenn. In order to win the double prize of the Behold the Dawn keychain and the Wordplay pen, he answered the question “At the time of the Third Crusade (1189-1192), was the use of plate armor prevalent?” Plate armor was not developed until the 14th century and did […]

Why Genre Writing Could Kill Your Career

Why Genre Writing Could Kill Your Career

The title of this week’s post is easily a very controversial, debatable, and in some respects downright wrong statement. After all, we have only to look at the latest copy of the New York Times to see that the fiction categories in its bestseller lists are inevitably headed by established genre writers. Very obviously, genre […]

Winning Wednesday: Keychain and Pen

This week’s Winning Wednesday winner is Adrie Ashford. In order to win the prize of the Behold the Dawn mouse pad, she answered the multiple choice question “Which of the following was not a common medical practice in the Middle Ages?” The correct answer is D “Anesthetics.” Health in the Middle Ages Bleeding, visits to […]

Backstory: The Importance of What Isn’t Told

Backstory: The Importance of What Isn’t Told

When Ernest Hemingway spoke about the dignity of an iceberg being “due to only one-eighth of it being above water,” he was speaking about the importance of the part of the story that isn’t told. Those seven-eighths underwater are the ballast for the tiny bit that juts up to glisten in the sun. And, more […]