In which I Dance and Grab an Expert

Dear Reader,

I’m gathering resources for The Rebel’s Hero for research. I talked with my resident Civil War expert, a friend from undergrad who majored in Civil War history, and he gave me the best worst news ever: my plot is implausible in the location I chose. He threw a ton of websites, books, and notable names I need to research. He upped my work level, but also inspired me with his knowledge, so even though this project is temporarily on hold, it’s for the best.

So far, I know that the story will be moving from Western Virginia (before it became a state) to Kentucky, with more emphasis on the Ohio side of things because Ohio was such a big player in the Underground Railroad. Go Ohio! O-H!

Abolitionism was huge in Ohio by the time the Civil War began, by the way. With so many Quakers around who felt slavery was against God’s will, it makes sense. This was something I touched upon briefly in Catching the Rose, something I always wanted to really delve into. This rewrite with The Rebel’s Hero is giving me just that chance. Beyond excited about it, though intimidated at the idea of trying to encapsulate so many poignant topics in one book. I know I’m going to fail, on a certain level. I won’t ever be completely accurate, since it is a work of fiction.

But hey, I’m pretty sure I won’t have readers accusing me of being racist with this book! Or maybe they will. If they do, I hope it causes notoriety so more people pick up the book! Haha. Oh the life of a self-made author…

I’m working on a non-fiction book under a different name. Non-fiction, I’m finding, is difficult to write, especially when attempting to write a how-to. It’s a fun challenge. I’m trying to get it out by the time schools start up again.

I had a breakthrough brainstorm at lunch last week for the new Victorian book, My Unwitting Heiress. The ideas exploded in my brain so that I hardly had time to grab pen and paper to write them down. This plot just became much funnier, more plausible, and its beginning will overlap with the ending of Haunting Miss Trentwood.

I’m still unsure as to whether the characters in the books will know each other. I’m guessing not. I’m waiting for them to tell me. I had this image of the heroine, Edith, from My Unwitting Heiress, sharing the train with Mary, from Haunting Miss Trentwood. They don’t know one another, but they’re both going to London for the queen’s golden jubilee. It’s one of those subtle nods that always make me chuckle when I read other authors doing it.

In other news, Suzy Turner, author of the young adult fantasy Raven, interviewed me over the weekend. She asked awesome questions, such as which actors would play the characters in Haunting Miss Trentwood. I had never thought of it before, but as soon as she asked, I knew right away. Check out the interview at Suzy’s blog for my answers!

Unrelated to writing, I’ve been dancing more than ever. Once a week I attend the local swing dance and becoming more deeply involved in the dance community. It’s great exercise and an excuse to socialize. I bought some dresses just because the skirts swirl around my legs like crazy, and I’m pretty sure my leads were trying crazier stunts with me just to see that skirt move. So much fun.

If you have never swing danced before, I encourage you to give it a try. Every city I’ve ever swing danced in has been super welcoming and supportive. We don’t care how well you dance, only that you’re interested in dancing, and you’re coming to the event with a smile. If you’re ever in Columbus, OH, make a point to attend the swing dance. In fact, ask me to dance. I promise I will. And if you don’t know how to dance, I’ll teach you the mashed potato and we’ll have a blast.

I think that’s it on the home front. I’m keeping to my ROW80 goals of writing 750 words a week. It’s a low goal, but since the point is to make sure I’m writing, I’m ok with it. I finished the second round of ROW80, even though I was an awful sponsor this time! I wonder how everyone else is doing?

Best,
Belinda

13 thoughts on “In which I Dance and Grab an Expert

  1. Good luck on your current projects!

    You said you set a low goal of 750 words a week. But if that's the goal that's doable for you, then that's where it needs to be. I think a lot of writers get themselves in trouble by setting goals that are too high, and then they feel like they've failed. It's better to set lower goals and go higher than set goals too high and not meet them.

    Will I see you in round three? I'll be there!

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    1. You're so right. During Round One of ROW80 I was insane… I thought I could write The Rebel's Hero and a book of short stories. Instead, I maybe edited one short story, and wrote maybe eight chapters of The Rebel's Hero before realizing I needed to do more research and get guidance.

      I'm so glad I made a goal that ensures I write at least one day a week. Sure, 750 words per week sounds low, but it's doable, like you said. And I feel accomplished when I meet me goal, which leaves me energized for the next time! Usually I end up writing multiple times a week after I've hit that first 750.

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  2. I didn't have a word count goal! I just made sure I wrote everyday 🙂 So I applaud your dedication!

    Swing dancing sounds fun. When I got married we got a swing band and everyone had a blast.

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  3. Good thing your friend helped you out. Better to fix it now than have a reader correct you later.

    Swing dancing DOES look like a lot of fun and your description of the dance community makes it way more inviting.

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    1. If you get a chance to take a beginner swing dance class (one that's coupled with an open dance where the regulars come), do it. It's so much fun.

      Yes, I'm so glad my friend steered me in a better direction. I was feeling really stuck with the book until he pointed out some major historical gaffs on my part. I've been scouring articles and books and filling my mind with some great ideas.

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  4. 750 words is 750 words! If the goal keeps you writing, it's all good.

    I've always wanted to try swing dancing. Now, if I could convince my husband…

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    1. The great thing about swing dancing is that it's a social dance. This means you run around the entire night asking different people to dance, trying your best not to dance with the same person more than two or three times. As awesome as it would be to have your husband along for the ride, it isn't necessary to bring a partner with you. I mean, make sure it's cool with him first, of course, but swing dancing is a great way to socialize without expecting anything other than a dance.

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  5. well done – look foward to seeing you next round – not sure i could manage swing dancing but am hoping to get back to some of dancing this summer

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    1. Thanks! I just adore dancing. I don't just swing dance, I also do lindy hop, charleston, balboa, waltz, polka, and foxtrot. The last three I don't get to practice as often because they aren't as popular in my area. What sort of dancing do you like to do?

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