Julie Lence's Blog - Posts Tagged "library"

For me, summer is a short season, because I base it on the school year. There are about two and a half months of vacation, depending on when the current year ends in May and the next one begins in August. Usually, at the beginning of May, I'm counting the weeks until school ends and scrambling for time to finish my current story. Between the endless school trips, field days and assemblies, I worry I won't finish the story and settle into a comfort zone for the summer months. This year is different. I'm ready for the school year to end.

I've finished the story. I've done the first round of editing and will complete the second round next week. I'm fulfilling promotion opportunities, and unlike the past few years, I'm not chaperoning school trips this year; the hubby is. (Signed him up early for that.) I find myself with some spare time on my hands, which translates to a bit of restless anxiety. It's time for me to set summer goals.

We all want summer to be fun. Days at the park, children playing in the back yard, picnics at the lake, the family vacation; but what about your summer writing? I usually take the month of June to work on other aspects of writing; planning promotional events for the remainder of the year, updating my website, discovering another internet outlet to connect with readers and writers. By July, I'm ready to begin work on a new story. I tell myself to wait until August when the kids are back at school, but this never happens. My muse is ready to get back to work, and when the muse calls, I don't ignore it. I take my laptop out onto the deck, and while the kids are in the pool, I get started on the first chapter. Sometimes, depending on where we go on vacation, I'll write then, too.

So what about you? Have you thought about summer goals? They don't have to be big ones. They don't have to take up too much of your time. Writing a paragraph a day, networking with old and new friends, outlining chapters or fleshing out characters over the course of a few weeks will keep your muse alive and reduce your risk of falling out of a writing routine. So will prowling around the library. Discover a new author, re-read an old favorite, find out the current trends; reading can and will keep you connected to your craft. Reading broadens your vocabulary and imagination and is a great learning tool. I've learned many techniques from my favorite authors, not to mention they inspire and motivate me.

Set your goals. Accomplish them as best you can, and enjoy the summer and your kids. Before you know it, we'll be hitting the malls and shopping for Christmas gifts.
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Published on May 06, 2010 08:05 • 78 views • Tags: author, characters, goals, library, muse, school-year, story, summer, writing
Interviewers often ask if I do any research for my books. The answer is yes. I'm always looking for ways to add authenticity to my stories. Whether it's a town, an article of clothing or a stagecoach route, I want my work to reflect the true flavor and setting of the old west.

In Lady Luck, I researched the layout of the streets in San Francisco back in 1860. I wanted Missy's gaming hall located along the Barbary Coast, so I had to know for sure if that was possible. I also researched the color of the uniforms the policemen wore and how folks traveled up the bay to reach San Francisco. For my soon to be released novel, No Luck At All, the story opens with the hero marrying a Boston socialite after having earned his medical degree from a Boston college. Placing him in Boston was important because it related to his past, but before I could actually do so, I had to ensure Boston did have medical colleges back in 1874.

While researching both of these books, I found one common denominator; trying to prove one particular thing leads to the discovery of more interesting things. For example, with Boston, I happened upon some inventions related to the medical field during the 1870's. One was the use of ether, which I was able to incorporate into my story. I also enjoyed reading about two colleges in Boston banding together to become one large campus. In Lady Luck, I thoroughly enjoyed researching the Barbary Coast. One particular thing I learned was how some ships had sailed into the bay and damage they either had or undertook during docking caused them to become permanently dry docked; thus Missy's gaming hall went from a building to one of those ships.

The library and the internet are both great sources of information. I used a combination of both for San Francisco and the internet for Boston. Once I had the material I needed, I wrote down the books and the sites I used in individual notebooks I keep for all my stories. I do caution you; if you use the internet, make sure you verify your facts with a few sites. Don't rely on just one. And if you can't find the exact detail(s) you're searching for, (I had this problem when trying to find what the inside of a particular prison looked like) it's okay to add a little of your own imagination.

Happy researching. May one interesting discovery lead to another.
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Published on January 27, 2011 09:17 • 72 views • Tags: barbary-coast, books, boston, information, internet, julie-lence, library, medical, research, san-francisco, ship, story