Tuesday, September 29, 2009

My Latest Research Obsession

...but to what end? I'm still trying to figure that out.

For the last five years, on and off, I have been obsessed with Tudor England. The Tudor Monarchs, especially. I've gobbled up Philippa Gregory's novels, and ordered research book after research book online. I've found them in bookstores, too. I have two entire shelves devoted to sixteenth-century England, and I am compling TONS of information. My heroes are David Starkey, Alison Weir, and Antonia Fraser. I would give my left ear to have a peek at their accumulated research!

Why? I have no idea. I am just obsessed with history. Always have been. It was Edwardian history in college. Victorian and Tudor in my early married years. Book of Mormon and Medieval history a few years back, and now, I'm back to Tudor era. Even before Showtime's THE TUDORS aired (which I won't watch, because it is factually way off, and it annoys me). I love/hate the ELIZABETH movies too (with Cate Blanchett) because although they are fun, they are woefully incorrect in the fact department. (Robert Dudley wasn't even IN the second movie! WTHeck???)

I have been online gathering facts, gathering pictures, gathering everything I can. Yet I don't have story brewing. I have ZERO ideas. I just happen to want to educate myself about this time period in England's history. Yes, I am an anglophile (sad I'm not this obsessed with American history!) but I find it strange that after all this, I don't even have a glimmer of story idea.

Interesting. Which begs the question again: To what end???

Friday, September 25, 2009

Writing Doldrums

as in...I haven't been writing!!! I thought things would slow down when school started.

Um, no.

I haven't even been querying! I must get with the program!!!

I know, I'm rolling my eyes, too.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Could This Be Mary Newman Drake???

For those who know me, they will know I am OBSESSED, with finding information about Mary Newman Drake, Francis Drake's first wife.
I'm naive. I'd like to think there is something out there about her, but alas, nothing has turned up. As historians before me have claimed. "Nothing is known about her." She has dates of marriage and death, and that's it. She was a nobody when she married Francis, and she died just shortly after he became a "somebody."

I've written a novel that has to do with Mary, and the possibility of lost Spanish gold...and where she might have hidden it. For research, I thought to myself "Okay, so, Nicholas Hilliard painted a miniature of Francis Drake in 1581 shortly after he was knighted and had become very rich, wouldn't Francis have wanted a miniature done of Mary, his then wife? If anything, to have with him when he went to sea?" Perhaps Hilliard painted it, but Mary was dead before Francis could claim it?
I went on a hunt: "Unknown Ladies" painted by Hilliard, circa 1580's. And I found this gem:

It could be her. The background has faded, but it is a similar color to the Francis Drake miniature. The lady is decked out in heavy finery (almost to the point of "over doing it") as perhaps the newly minted "Lady" Drake might have done? She's very pretty (as Mary was reputed to be) and it would be AWESOME if this was her.
No one knows. I'd like to think it IS her. I've put this picture in my ever-growing binder of Mary Newman research. I'll never tire of research. It's like going on a treasure hunt--in the comfort of your own home!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Agonizing Decision

After much thought, I've decided to skip Nano this year. I did it last year for the first time, and I loved the rush, the determination, and of course the elation of finishing successfully. In fact, I have the fruits of last year's NaNo on submission, currently.

Good times. But now, I've had to make a hard choice. I need to write the sequel to the story, and I've already written 20K on it. So, I wouldn't be completely honest if I started writing the story for NaNo. In fact, it would be cheating.

I loved my NaNo experience, and would do it again in a heartbeat, but at this point I need to get the sequel written, and that is my primary focus. So, I've given myself a December 1st deadline to get the story's bare bones written out, and that seems to be a good starting point.

Don't hate me because I'm not NaNoing!

Friday, September 4, 2009

The CARDINAL Sin of Querying...

Was googling my dream agent yesterday (I like to be educated) and I found a little tidbit from a blogger/fellow writer that made me cringe:

She posted her rejection letter, in its entirety, ON HER BLOG, with the names and everything!

Granted, it was a nice-ish rejection letter, but a form one. And I can bet this agent will not appreciate having such a thing posted ONLINE.

Quickest way to writing career suicide: posting your rejections for all to see, with names included. This poor writer is clearly young and clueless, but even *I* know something like that is a major no-no.

I even cringe when I read blogs where writers post about their agents--naming them and talking about them--unless they're doing some sort of feature, I think that info should be kept private--UNTIL you are published. But that's just me.

The wicked part of me will admit --seeing that rejection letter online DID give me some insight! (I know, I know--bad Lara!)

I find rejections, and the way agents handle them, interesting. (Well, the rejections are usually devastating, depending on the amount of emotional investment already had in said agent, but interesting all the same.)

Hopefully I won't rack up so many I have to start cataloging them...