INSPIRATION: Rejection letter saved

Did you save your first rejection letter? Jack London saved his — one of several hundred he received over his career. I took a picture of the rejection, scribbled at the bottom of his query, when I visited the busy Jack London State Park in California’s Sonoma Valley. “Interest in Alaska has subsided,” said the editor…

RESEARCH: Serendipity strikes again

I had to have the video. I was sure this little item was going to clear up questions I had about life in post-Revolution Annapolis. If nothing else, it would clear up a question about clothing. I knew it was an old video, so old even the original TV station that aired it didn’t have…

A STORY: Courage before the enemy

Doors were left ajar. Porch chairs were tipped over. Shutters were pulled tightly across shop windows. There were bullet holes in Johnson’s store and an artillery shell had left a crater next to Delaney’s tavern. The pale yellow steeple at St. Paul’s was pockmarked and cracked. A few Confederate soldiers, exhausted and dirty, lounged on…

WRITING: I won. Even if I didn’t win the contest

When the email with my writing contest score sheets came recently, I closed it, put my phone down and sat perfectly still. This was the first time I had entered a writing contest. So, I worried: How bad was it? I waited half a day to read what the three judges had to say. I fortified myself…

WRITING: Maureen’s world

Writers create their own little worlds when they envision their stories. This is especially true for fantasies, fairy tales and those wonderful small town stories we have always loved. My Civil War novel takes place in and around a real town. With serious liberties that would probably drive a Civil War historian insane. But I kept…

INSPIRATION: Charlotte Bronte cannot help it

I had to have this little magnet the minute I saw it. If Charlotte Bronte had resisted the urge to write — lady writers weren’t well regarded in her day — I never would have met Jane Eyre. I can’t imagine going through life without the courageous heroine of this beloved novel. My mother gave me Jane…