Current #wip: The History of War On An Island (Working Title)

About the occupation of a Philippine island during World War II:

Honorato was sent to the mountains. He had just turned 18. His father worried because he was tall, because he was good-looking, because he was the eldest and bore the hopes of his parents on his narrow shoulders. So, hide, his father told him. Hide as far away from the city as you can.

Originally, this was even longer than my other historical novel, Blue Water, Distant Shores. But, a month ago, I broke it apart and it’s now very fleet: just under 250 pages.

Stay tuned.

#amwritinghistoricalfiction: Manila, 1757

Self making this up as she goes along. From her novel-in-progress, Blue Water, Distant Shores, p. 135:

“Manila is a city of 50,000 souls,” Saturnino says, with an air of pride. “It is one of the largest cities in the Orient. A river, the Pasig, empties into the bay just below the Fort. Both sides of this river are built up with industry. You will find no want of commerce here.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amwritinghistoricalfiction: Blue Water, Distant Shores

The language may be a bit portentous. Nevertheless, here is from p. 7:

So the story begins. It is a story of churning oceans, ships, dragon’s breath, siren calls. A story of leviathans and faith, about islands and the building of ships. About Hell and Paradise. About blood and fever. And greed, of course. That, above all.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


nth Draft, Novel-in-Progress

Mebbe this novel will never see the light of day? Mebbe it was ever meant to be a long short story? Like, 50 pages long?

Here’s a conversation that was in the very first draft, three years ago. And survived today’s mad pruning. So, this is the kernel. The nut. The Ground Zero:

“Describe it,” the Archbishop says. “Did it descend from the heavens? Or was it walking along the street? Was its countenance clearly visible? Did it seem expressive?”

The Archbishop’s deep-set, green eyes focus intently on Matias’s face. He presses one slender forefinger against the side of his aquiline nose and waits for Matias to answer.

“It was a creature. Earthy. Very like a cow.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


#amwritinghistoricalfiction: p. 101

A conversation between the Archbishop of Madrid and Matias, the MC of self’s (set in the 18th century) novel, Blue Water, Distant Shores:

“Are there testimonies of his cruelty?”

“There are,” says the Archbishop. “And yet, without the cruelty of Juan de Salcedo, none of this would have been possible.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amwritinghistoricalfiction: The English Arrive on Isla del Fuego

p. 243 of self’s novel-in-progress:

An English officer stands on the beach, waiting at attention. Matias gapes.

“England has attacked Spain, sir,” the man announces. “We have 5,000 soldiers in Manila. Colonel Chisholm.”

#amwriting: 18th Century What-Not

The following is an excerpt from an Archbishop ‘s conversation with self’s main character Matias, who is being assigned to one of Spain’s farthest colonies, the Philippines:

“There are a handful of civil servants married to native women who have taken to land management. I would not go so far as to call their efforts industrious. They are respectable but not artistic. It would be tedious to describe them.”

Whenever self re-reads this passage, she just has to go


Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


So Long, NaNoWriMo2017, #stillwriting

Today self spent the whole day writing. Well, she spent all of yesterday writing as well. And the day before that. And the day before that. And . . .

Actually, the only times she hasn’t been writing in November are when she’s been on an airport or an airplane (pretty often, actually, in November, and lest she forget to mention — Aer Lingus sent her from Dublin to Cork, in a three-hour taxi ride because of a cancelled flight from Heathrow, on Nov. 2)

She did not, of course, do 50k words. But she never expected to anyway.

What she has as of today are 282 pages of a novel-in-progress, and she knows pretty much how she wants it to end.

She even thought of a cool-sounding title for her manuscript, a few days ago:

Blue Water, Distant Shores

Sooo fan-ta-ma-tas-tic. She got the idea yesterday. She likes to think she wouldn’t have gotten there if she hadn’t spent so much time working up to 282 pages. Two years ago, this idea was 60 pages which she forced up to 80 pages so she could go to Banff Writers Studio. And she’s had such problems with confidence (because it’s 18th century, and she’s never written a novel before, and she set it in Spain, which she’s only been to once in her whole life). But, slow and steady, and BIG BIG thanks to the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig for giving her that space and that peace and that determination to finish her book.

And she is so happy right now. Incredible.

Stay tuned.


#amwritinghistoricalfiction: Hope to Get to 266 pp. Today

Spent five hours writing this morning. Produced seven pages.

That is blisteringly slow.

Setting: 18th century Spain

Dorotea bites her lip and shakes her head. “Many have given their lives in the service of the faith. And you wish to be in their company. I know your ambition. It was ever large.”

Self sincerely  hopes that dialogue sounds 18th century enough.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Self’s Main Character Reads Don Quijote

Self is just one page shy of her quota for the day!

The following conversation takes place on p. 64 of her novel-in-progress:

“You call it courage to bear ridicule?”

“Indeed I do. To bear ridicule without feeling bitterness is very hard.”

“And how does the knight fare? What is his fate?”

“His fate is to be misunderstood, his entire life.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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