Where to buy Traci Robison's books

Buy The Taking at:

Buy Tangled at:

Buy Gates the Hours Keep at:

February 19, 2010

Black Ships

I've recently begun reading Black Ships by Jo Graham and am loving it so far.  I'm drawn in both by her characters and the historical setting she has created.  The novel is a re-telling of the Aeneid through the point of view of Gull, a girl who is born into slavery after the fall of Troy and becomes an oracle.  Interweaving a sense of magic with the pragmatism of decision making, Gull's development as a prophetess reveals her ordinary nature as well as her potential for greatness.  I can't wait to see what lies ahead! 

I always enjoy learning how other writers come up with their ideas and wondered about Graham's inspiration for Black Ships.  Here's her response to a reader.

February 3, 2010

Laws under Henry I

Much of my writing requires historical research.  I try to learn enough to recreate the daily life and culture of a particular period as well as a physical setting and general mindset for my characters. Lately, I've been researching English laws regarding murder, the role of the coroner, and fair courts during the reign of Henry I.  From what I've found, it seems a great deal of law enforcement took place on a local level in baronial and county courts.  Here are some links to sources I've found especially useful: 

Jurisdictions and court structure of the law in England before 1176

Medieval Sourcebook: The "Laws of Henry I": The Murder Fine

Medieval Sourcebook: Charter of Liberties of Henry I, 1100

The ‘Law Merchant’ and the Fair Court of St. Ives,

Miniature from illuminated Chronicle of Matthew Paris (1236-1259), British Library, MS Royal 14 CVII, f.8v

February 1, 2010

Fresh cookies

When I started editing my first novel, I progressed like a hippo in quicksand.  Editing lacked the freedom and joy of writing, and though both require discipline, editing, unlike writing, unleashed the mean-spirited critic inside me.  One day I would hate every word; the next, I would cling to everything I'd written in awkward self-defense. 

Since I was getting nowhere, I put the manuscript aside and began a new project.  In the meantime, my husband read the manuscript and added his comments to mine and those of my writing buddy, Holly.  After a few months, I returned to the novel and was able to consider my work critcally without all the emotional ruckus.  Like cookies fresh from the oven, my manuscripts need a cooling off period.  Otherwise, I get burned and they fall apart in my hands.

I've edited that first novel through three drafts.  I've taken the whole thing apart, separated it into "scenes" and "summaries", and pieced it back together.  Now I'm letting it rest before one final pass.

Have I learned to like editing?  Maybe, a little, now that the critic is under control.