Google, Landscape, et al.

Cat_243_dover I love Google Earth.  I’m sure some of you are familiar with it, since the service has been around for several years, but I only recently downloaded the small bit of software necessary to run it.  Given how hugely graphic Google Earth is, I think you need broadband to make it work.  But it’s one of those things that makes broadband worth paying for!  You can zoom into the globe, turn the world with your trackball, and click on dots that give photographs of particular places.  Very, very addictive.

I suspect that most people, when they first sign on to Google Earth, go directly to looking at their own homes.  Not me.  I looked at the map of a globe and swung over to Northern England, zeroing in of the Cumbrian coast site of the book I recently finished, and the beginning of the book I’m working on now.

Zoooooooom!  Closer and closer, till I could look at the buildings in a small town near where I’d placed my fictional village of Hartley.  Then inland, following a route that might be taken by the kidnappers of my heroine.  Hills and sheep, oh, my!  (Well, to some extent my imagination was kicking in, but that’s part of the fun.)

Black_house I have lots of maps, old and new, some of them contour maps that show elevations.  I’ve also had the advantage of visiting most parts of Great Britain, from Land’s End in Cornwall to the coast of East Anglia and the wild islands of the Outer Hebrides.  (I visited a collapsed old village of stone cottages—“black houses”—on Harris and Lewis many years ago, and thought that the ruins would make a great site for a romantic suspense chase.  Years later, I acted on that memory with a scene in Shattered Rainbows.)

Certainly visiting a place in the flesh is the best way to get a sense of it, but that isn’t always possible.  (I still haven’t made it to Uzbekistan or India or China or Indonesia, places where I’ve set stories.)  A good writer learns to fake it, through reading or asking questions.  It’s not unusual on my Novelists, Inc. loop to have someone ask for help with a setting.  (“Is West Texas really that flat?  What’s an upscale neighborhood in Charlotte?”) 

Landscape is an important aspect of setting, both for itself and for how it affects the characters.  Jayne Ann Krentz’s sun-baked Arizona books have a very different underlying feel from her green, moist Pacific Northwest settings.  Barbara Samuel’s wonderful Western settings make me want to book a Booksmadame ticket for Colorado right now.  (Indeed, I ate at a restaurant that was the inspiration for the heroine’s workplace in Madame Mirabou’s School of Love.  The food was great, and it was a Colorado/mountain state experience, different from eating by the sea in Santorini or in a funky Greenwich village basement restaurant in  New York City. 

Of course, landscape facts can also be treacherous, especially when writing historical novels.  It isn’t just the spread of cities and highways, but the presence of plant and animal species we take for granted might not always be accurate.  I remember when an American author of Regency historicals got criticized for putting bullfrogs in England.  Sorry, that’s an American sort of amphibian.  800pxbullfrog__natures_pics

When I researched my one and only medieval, I found that rabbits weren’t native to Britain.  Hares, their larger, longer earred cousins were, but your basic bunny was European_hare introduced by the Normans because rabbits were good huntin’ and good eatin.’  (’m guessing, knowing what rabbits are famous for, that introducing them wasn’t too difficult.  Just a matter of bringing over a few pairs and letting nature take her course. <g>

Chelsea_physic_garden Trees and plants also get around.  The Chelsea Physic Garden ( http://www.chelseaphysicgarden.co.uk/ ) in London was founded in 1673 by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries to study plants, including specimens collected abroad.  To this day, they research the nature and properties of plants from around the world. 

The copper beech, one of the most lovely and distinctive trees in the English countryside, with dark reddish/bronze leaves, wasn’t introduced until the 18th century.  (I think that’s when.)  Many of the garden flowers we take for granted were brought for other lands.  For example, chrysanthemums were Copper_beech_2 introduced from China in 1790.  And woe betide the sloppy writer who gives medieval characters a plate of that fine North American vegetable, the potato. 

One of the skills that most seasoned historical writers develop is to question the dates and origins of everything: plants, animals, words.  In a quote credited to various people (but probably belonging to Josh Billings), “It ain’t so much the things we don’t know that get us into trouble.  It’s the things we know that just ain’t so.” It’s the questions we don’t think to ask that get writers into trouble!

800pxrabbit_2 As as a reader, how much attention to you pay to landscape?  How do you feel about settings? Are there some you love?  Some you hate?  Tell me what appeals and what doesn’t!

Mary Jo

65 thoughts on “Google, Landscape, et al.”

  1. I think that landscape does affect how people live. For example in warmer climates it is often customary to take an afternoon siesta because it’s too hot to be vigorous outside. And when we went to Israel the countryside was referred to as “the fifth gospel”. It was thrilling to walk in some of the very places that Jesus walked, though probably some feet above due to build up of soil layers over time.
    I read a historical recently about a gardener in the restoration period and his search for exotic plants, especially tulips, that I enjoyed very much. Forgive me if one of you ladies was the author, but I can’t remember who wrote it just off the top of my head.
    However, I’m not knowledgable about plants enough to recognize when something is anachronistic, so it doesn’t disturb me. However, put something medically inaccurate and I’m like a duck on a june bug.

    Reply
  2. I think that landscape does affect how people live. For example in warmer climates it is often customary to take an afternoon siesta because it’s too hot to be vigorous outside. And when we went to Israel the countryside was referred to as “the fifth gospel”. It was thrilling to walk in some of the very places that Jesus walked, though probably some feet above due to build up of soil layers over time.
    I read a historical recently about a gardener in the restoration period and his search for exotic plants, especially tulips, that I enjoyed very much. Forgive me if one of you ladies was the author, but I can’t remember who wrote it just off the top of my head.
    However, I’m not knowledgable about plants enough to recognize when something is anachronistic, so it doesn’t disturb me. However, put something medically inaccurate and I’m like a duck on a june bug.

    Reply
  3. I think that landscape does affect how people live. For example in warmer climates it is often customary to take an afternoon siesta because it’s too hot to be vigorous outside. And when we went to Israel the countryside was referred to as “the fifth gospel”. It was thrilling to walk in some of the very places that Jesus walked, though probably some feet above due to build up of soil layers over time.
    I read a historical recently about a gardener in the restoration period and his search for exotic plants, especially tulips, that I enjoyed very much. Forgive me if one of you ladies was the author, but I can’t remember who wrote it just off the top of my head.
    However, I’m not knowledgable about plants enough to recognize when something is anachronistic, so it doesn’t disturb me. However, put something medically inaccurate and I’m like a duck on a june bug.

    Reply
  4. I think that landscape does affect how people live. For example in warmer climates it is often customary to take an afternoon siesta because it’s too hot to be vigorous outside. And when we went to Israel the countryside was referred to as “the fifth gospel”. It was thrilling to walk in some of the very places that Jesus walked, though probably some feet above due to build up of soil layers over time.
    I read a historical recently about a gardener in the restoration period and his search for exotic plants, especially tulips, that I enjoyed very much. Forgive me if one of you ladies was the author, but I can’t remember who wrote it just off the top of my head.
    However, I’m not knowledgable about plants enough to recognize when something is anachronistic, so it doesn’t disturb me. However, put something medically inaccurate and I’m like a duck on a june bug.

    Reply
  5. I think that landscape does affect how people live. For example in warmer climates it is often customary to take an afternoon siesta because it’s too hot to be vigorous outside. And when we went to Israel the countryside was referred to as “the fifth gospel”. It was thrilling to walk in some of the very places that Jesus walked, though probably some feet above due to build up of soil layers over time.
    I read a historical recently about a gardener in the restoration period and his search for exotic plants, especially tulips, that I enjoyed very much. Forgive me if one of you ladies was the author, but I can’t remember who wrote it just off the top of my head.
    However, I’m not knowledgable about plants enough to recognize when something is anachronistic, so it doesn’t disturb me. However, put something medically inaccurate and I’m like a duck on a june bug.

    Reply
  6. Yes, I think most of us just cruise along, enjoying the ride, until we hit a mistake in something that we’re personally aware of. Maybe it’s in our field of knowledge or it’s a place we’re familiar with, we hit that speedbump and it jolts us out of the story.
    For example, I’ve read books where characters are sitting on the porch, watching the kids chase fireflies – in Montana. Sadly, there are no fireflies west of the Rockies. Oh, and to that one author (whoever you were) who had a character fly into Salt Lake City – that big white building on the hill is the State Capitol Building, not the Mormon temple!

    Reply
  7. Yes, I think most of us just cruise along, enjoying the ride, until we hit a mistake in something that we’re personally aware of. Maybe it’s in our field of knowledge or it’s a place we’re familiar with, we hit that speedbump and it jolts us out of the story.
    For example, I’ve read books where characters are sitting on the porch, watching the kids chase fireflies – in Montana. Sadly, there are no fireflies west of the Rockies. Oh, and to that one author (whoever you were) who had a character fly into Salt Lake City – that big white building on the hill is the State Capitol Building, not the Mormon temple!

    Reply
  8. Yes, I think most of us just cruise along, enjoying the ride, until we hit a mistake in something that we’re personally aware of. Maybe it’s in our field of knowledge or it’s a place we’re familiar with, we hit that speedbump and it jolts us out of the story.
    For example, I’ve read books where characters are sitting on the porch, watching the kids chase fireflies – in Montana. Sadly, there are no fireflies west of the Rockies. Oh, and to that one author (whoever you were) who had a character fly into Salt Lake City – that big white building on the hill is the State Capitol Building, not the Mormon temple!

    Reply
  9. Yes, I think most of us just cruise along, enjoying the ride, until we hit a mistake in something that we’re personally aware of. Maybe it’s in our field of knowledge or it’s a place we’re familiar with, we hit that speedbump and it jolts us out of the story.
    For example, I’ve read books where characters are sitting on the porch, watching the kids chase fireflies – in Montana. Sadly, there are no fireflies west of the Rockies. Oh, and to that one author (whoever you were) who had a character fly into Salt Lake City – that big white building on the hill is the State Capitol Building, not the Mormon temple!

    Reply
  10. Yes, I think most of us just cruise along, enjoying the ride, until we hit a mistake in something that we’re personally aware of. Maybe it’s in our field of knowledge or it’s a place we’re familiar with, we hit that speedbump and it jolts us out of the story.
    For example, I’ve read books where characters are sitting on the porch, watching the kids chase fireflies – in Montana. Sadly, there are no fireflies west of the Rockies. Oh, and to that one author (whoever you were) who had a character fly into Salt Lake City – that big white building on the hill is the State Capitol Building, not the Mormon temple!

    Reply
  11. It’s not something I seek out, but I do enjoy it when an author has a great sense of place. Like you, I enjoy Barbara Samuel’s western-set stories. I also enjoy Barbara Delinsky’s New England novels.
    In some ways, it’s easier for me to come up with contemporaries with a good sense of place than historicals. I think I look for such a world building experience in a historical that I can’t narrow it down to just a sense of place. Does that make sense?

    Reply
  12. It’s not something I seek out, but I do enjoy it when an author has a great sense of place. Like you, I enjoy Barbara Samuel’s western-set stories. I also enjoy Barbara Delinsky’s New England novels.
    In some ways, it’s easier for me to come up with contemporaries with a good sense of place than historicals. I think I look for such a world building experience in a historical that I can’t narrow it down to just a sense of place. Does that make sense?

    Reply
  13. It’s not something I seek out, but I do enjoy it when an author has a great sense of place. Like you, I enjoy Barbara Samuel’s western-set stories. I also enjoy Barbara Delinsky’s New England novels.
    In some ways, it’s easier for me to come up with contemporaries with a good sense of place than historicals. I think I look for such a world building experience in a historical that I can’t narrow it down to just a sense of place. Does that make sense?

    Reply
  14. It’s not something I seek out, but I do enjoy it when an author has a great sense of place. Like you, I enjoy Barbara Samuel’s western-set stories. I also enjoy Barbara Delinsky’s New England novels.
    In some ways, it’s easier for me to come up with contemporaries with a good sense of place than historicals. I think I look for such a world building experience in a historical that I can’t narrow it down to just a sense of place. Does that make sense?

    Reply
  15. It’s not something I seek out, but I do enjoy it when an author has a great sense of place. Like you, I enjoy Barbara Samuel’s western-set stories. I also enjoy Barbara Delinsky’s New England novels.
    In some ways, it’s easier for me to come up with contemporaries with a good sense of place than historicals. I think I look for such a world building experience in a historical that I can’t narrow it down to just a sense of place. Does that make sense?

    Reply
  16. I think for me, the treasure journey is in the research. I’ve learned so much since I started writing that I never would have for any other reason. And I find myself looking for one thing and hopping down rabbit trails of various kinds until three or four hours have gone by and I haven’t found the answer to the thing I was researching but I’ve learned dozens of little tidbits I file away for later.
    Sometimes, when I least expect it, one of those tidbits will play a central part in a story and I’m thrilled that I remembered it and even knew it in the first place.
    So one plant leads to another, leads to a certain grass that leads to a tree and the list goes on and on and I just keep soaking it up, knowing that whether I use it someday or not, I’m all the richer for the knowledge I now possess and am able to accurately describe for my readers. 🙂

    Reply
  17. I think for me, the treasure journey is in the research. I’ve learned so much since I started writing that I never would have for any other reason. And I find myself looking for one thing and hopping down rabbit trails of various kinds until three or four hours have gone by and I haven’t found the answer to the thing I was researching but I’ve learned dozens of little tidbits I file away for later.
    Sometimes, when I least expect it, one of those tidbits will play a central part in a story and I’m thrilled that I remembered it and even knew it in the first place.
    So one plant leads to another, leads to a certain grass that leads to a tree and the list goes on and on and I just keep soaking it up, knowing that whether I use it someday or not, I’m all the richer for the knowledge I now possess and am able to accurately describe for my readers. 🙂

    Reply
  18. I think for me, the treasure journey is in the research. I’ve learned so much since I started writing that I never would have for any other reason. And I find myself looking for one thing and hopping down rabbit trails of various kinds until three or four hours have gone by and I haven’t found the answer to the thing I was researching but I’ve learned dozens of little tidbits I file away for later.
    Sometimes, when I least expect it, one of those tidbits will play a central part in a story and I’m thrilled that I remembered it and even knew it in the first place.
    So one plant leads to another, leads to a certain grass that leads to a tree and the list goes on and on and I just keep soaking it up, knowing that whether I use it someday or not, I’m all the richer for the knowledge I now possess and am able to accurately describe for my readers. 🙂

    Reply
  19. I think for me, the treasure journey is in the research. I’ve learned so much since I started writing that I never would have for any other reason. And I find myself looking for one thing and hopping down rabbit trails of various kinds until three or four hours have gone by and I haven’t found the answer to the thing I was researching but I’ve learned dozens of little tidbits I file away for later.
    Sometimes, when I least expect it, one of those tidbits will play a central part in a story and I’m thrilled that I remembered it and even knew it in the first place.
    So one plant leads to another, leads to a certain grass that leads to a tree and the list goes on and on and I just keep soaking it up, knowing that whether I use it someday or not, I’m all the richer for the knowledge I now possess and am able to accurately describe for my readers. 🙂

    Reply
  20. I think for me, the treasure journey is in the research. I’ve learned so much since I started writing that I never would have for any other reason. And I find myself looking for one thing and hopping down rabbit trails of various kinds until three or four hours have gone by and I haven’t found the answer to the thing I was researching but I’ve learned dozens of little tidbits I file away for later.
    Sometimes, when I least expect it, one of those tidbits will play a central part in a story and I’m thrilled that I remembered it and even knew it in the first place.
    So one plant leads to another, leads to a certain grass that leads to a tree and the list goes on and on and I just keep soaking it up, knowing that whether I use it someday or not, I’m all the richer for the knowledge I now possess and am able to accurately describe for my readers. 🙂

    Reply
  21. I love to hear about the scenery, landscape, buildings, clothes, etc. I imagine I’m there!! Usually, I don’t notice mistakes, unless they are typos!!

    Reply
  22. I love to hear about the scenery, landscape, buildings, clothes, etc. I imagine I’m there!! Usually, I don’t notice mistakes, unless they are typos!!

    Reply
  23. I love to hear about the scenery, landscape, buildings, clothes, etc. I imagine I’m there!! Usually, I don’t notice mistakes, unless they are typos!!

    Reply
  24. I love to hear about the scenery, landscape, buildings, clothes, etc. I imagine I’m there!! Usually, I don’t notice mistakes, unless they are typos!!

    Reply
  25. I love to hear about the scenery, landscape, buildings, clothes, etc. I imagine I’m there!! Usually, I don’t notice mistakes, unless they are typos!!

    Reply
  26. From MJP:
    Looks like a great book, Talpianna! Simon Schama always does a great job, and what a wonderful topic. I need to go hunting for it.
    I agree that when an author screws up things we know well, it seriously hurts our enjoyment of the book. Being a farm girl myself, I may have a stronger sense of nature than some more urban writers. Some people never even seem to think about basics like sunset times changing throughout the year. There’s a lot of nature out there to pay attention to. 🙂
    Michelle, I think you’re right–in historicals, landscape is just one aspect of the worldbuilding, so it’s less obvious. It’s the world as a whole that strikes us, I think.
    Theo, you are SO right about the treasure hunts and rabbit trails of research! Enjoying that is one of the things that makes a historical writer.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  27. From MJP:
    Looks like a great book, Talpianna! Simon Schama always does a great job, and what a wonderful topic. I need to go hunting for it.
    I agree that when an author screws up things we know well, it seriously hurts our enjoyment of the book. Being a farm girl myself, I may have a stronger sense of nature than some more urban writers. Some people never even seem to think about basics like sunset times changing throughout the year. There’s a lot of nature out there to pay attention to. 🙂
    Michelle, I think you’re right–in historicals, landscape is just one aspect of the worldbuilding, so it’s less obvious. It’s the world as a whole that strikes us, I think.
    Theo, you are SO right about the treasure hunts and rabbit trails of research! Enjoying that is one of the things that makes a historical writer.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  28. From MJP:
    Looks like a great book, Talpianna! Simon Schama always does a great job, and what a wonderful topic. I need to go hunting for it.
    I agree that when an author screws up things we know well, it seriously hurts our enjoyment of the book. Being a farm girl myself, I may have a stronger sense of nature than some more urban writers. Some people never even seem to think about basics like sunset times changing throughout the year. There’s a lot of nature out there to pay attention to. 🙂
    Michelle, I think you’re right–in historicals, landscape is just one aspect of the worldbuilding, so it’s less obvious. It’s the world as a whole that strikes us, I think.
    Theo, you are SO right about the treasure hunts and rabbit trails of research! Enjoying that is one of the things that makes a historical writer.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  29. From MJP:
    Looks like a great book, Talpianna! Simon Schama always does a great job, and what a wonderful topic. I need to go hunting for it.
    I agree that when an author screws up things we know well, it seriously hurts our enjoyment of the book. Being a farm girl myself, I may have a stronger sense of nature than some more urban writers. Some people never even seem to think about basics like sunset times changing throughout the year. There’s a lot of nature out there to pay attention to. 🙂
    Michelle, I think you’re right–in historicals, landscape is just one aspect of the worldbuilding, so it’s less obvious. It’s the world as a whole that strikes us, I think.
    Theo, you are SO right about the treasure hunts and rabbit trails of research! Enjoying that is one of the things that makes a historical writer.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  30. From MJP:
    Looks like a great book, Talpianna! Simon Schama always does a great job, and what a wonderful topic. I need to go hunting for it.
    I agree that when an author screws up things we know well, it seriously hurts our enjoyment of the book. Being a farm girl myself, I may have a stronger sense of nature than some more urban writers. Some people never even seem to think about basics like sunset times changing throughout the year. There’s a lot of nature out there to pay attention to. 🙂
    Michelle, I think you’re right–in historicals, landscape is just one aspect of the worldbuilding, so it’s less obvious. It’s the world as a whole that strikes us, I think.
    Theo, you are SO right about the treasure hunts and rabbit trails of research! Enjoying that is one of the things that makes a historical writer.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  31. Ah, rabbits.
    I have several cottontails that hop down the bank and onto the patch of lawn that I see out the window behind the computer screen….and promptly chomp away at keeping the grass mowed.
    Louis

    Reply
  32. Ah, rabbits.
    I have several cottontails that hop down the bank and onto the patch of lawn that I see out the window behind the computer screen….and promptly chomp away at keeping the grass mowed.
    Louis

    Reply
  33. Ah, rabbits.
    I have several cottontails that hop down the bank and onto the patch of lawn that I see out the window behind the computer screen….and promptly chomp away at keeping the grass mowed.
    Louis

    Reply
  34. Ah, rabbits.
    I have several cottontails that hop down the bank and onto the patch of lawn that I see out the window behind the computer screen….and promptly chomp away at keeping the grass mowed.
    Louis

    Reply
  35. Ah, rabbits.
    I have several cottontails that hop down the bank and onto the patch of lawn that I see out the window behind the computer screen….and promptly chomp away at keeping the grass mowed.
    Louis

    Reply
  36. I don’t know if the scenery/landscape is that important or not. I’d love to think that I pay more attention in books, but I sometimes wonder if I skim over it all. I certainly love to hear about stone walls, but I think we all make certain assumptions about the landscape based on our own experiences, so probably think the landscape is what we are used to, unless our attention is drawn to it.
    Certainly, if I were to give you directions in my terms – and I mentioned a “big clump of trees”, if you were from Eastern Canada, you wouldn’t give the clump of 6 poplars a second glance. If you were from around here though, you’d see that clump of poplars and think “wow!! that’s a big clump of trees, those must be the one’s she meant!” And of course those are them, since they are the only trees for miles!
    Did I make a point, probably not, except that unless told otherwise I tend to assume that the hero/heroine are in a nice pastoral setting – without many trees

    Reply
  37. I don’t know if the scenery/landscape is that important or not. I’d love to think that I pay more attention in books, but I sometimes wonder if I skim over it all. I certainly love to hear about stone walls, but I think we all make certain assumptions about the landscape based on our own experiences, so probably think the landscape is what we are used to, unless our attention is drawn to it.
    Certainly, if I were to give you directions in my terms – and I mentioned a “big clump of trees”, if you were from Eastern Canada, you wouldn’t give the clump of 6 poplars a second glance. If you were from around here though, you’d see that clump of poplars and think “wow!! that’s a big clump of trees, those must be the one’s she meant!” And of course those are them, since they are the only trees for miles!
    Did I make a point, probably not, except that unless told otherwise I tend to assume that the hero/heroine are in a nice pastoral setting – without many trees

    Reply
  38. I don’t know if the scenery/landscape is that important or not. I’d love to think that I pay more attention in books, but I sometimes wonder if I skim over it all. I certainly love to hear about stone walls, but I think we all make certain assumptions about the landscape based on our own experiences, so probably think the landscape is what we are used to, unless our attention is drawn to it.
    Certainly, if I were to give you directions in my terms – and I mentioned a “big clump of trees”, if you were from Eastern Canada, you wouldn’t give the clump of 6 poplars a second glance. If you were from around here though, you’d see that clump of poplars and think “wow!! that’s a big clump of trees, those must be the one’s she meant!” And of course those are them, since they are the only trees for miles!
    Did I make a point, probably not, except that unless told otherwise I tend to assume that the hero/heroine are in a nice pastoral setting – without many trees

    Reply
  39. I don’t know if the scenery/landscape is that important or not. I’d love to think that I pay more attention in books, but I sometimes wonder if I skim over it all. I certainly love to hear about stone walls, but I think we all make certain assumptions about the landscape based on our own experiences, so probably think the landscape is what we are used to, unless our attention is drawn to it.
    Certainly, if I were to give you directions in my terms – and I mentioned a “big clump of trees”, if you were from Eastern Canada, you wouldn’t give the clump of 6 poplars a second glance. If you were from around here though, you’d see that clump of poplars and think “wow!! that’s a big clump of trees, those must be the one’s she meant!” And of course those are them, since they are the only trees for miles!
    Did I make a point, probably not, except that unless told otherwise I tend to assume that the hero/heroine are in a nice pastoral setting – without many trees

    Reply
  40. I don’t know if the scenery/landscape is that important or not. I’d love to think that I pay more attention in books, but I sometimes wonder if I skim over it all. I certainly love to hear about stone walls, but I think we all make certain assumptions about the landscape based on our own experiences, so probably think the landscape is what we are used to, unless our attention is drawn to it.
    Certainly, if I were to give you directions in my terms – and I mentioned a “big clump of trees”, if you were from Eastern Canada, you wouldn’t give the clump of 6 poplars a second glance. If you were from around here though, you’d see that clump of poplars and think “wow!! that’s a big clump of trees, those must be the one’s she meant!” And of course those are them, since they are the only trees for miles!
    Did I make a point, probably not, except that unless told otherwise I tend to assume that the hero/heroine are in a nice pastoral setting – without many trees

    Reply
  41. I like context with the stories I read. Just as I don’t usually care for books in which the heroine and hero are not rooted in one or more communities of family, friends, and/or colleagues, I don’t generally like books that have some generic backdrop. I want to see and hear and feel the place where the characters are. Maybe its the southern in me. 🙂

    Reply
  42. I like context with the stories I read. Just as I don’t usually care for books in which the heroine and hero are not rooted in one or more communities of family, friends, and/or colleagues, I don’t generally like books that have some generic backdrop. I want to see and hear and feel the place where the characters are. Maybe its the southern in me. 🙂

    Reply
  43. I like context with the stories I read. Just as I don’t usually care for books in which the heroine and hero are not rooted in one or more communities of family, friends, and/or colleagues, I don’t generally like books that have some generic backdrop. I want to see and hear and feel the place where the characters are. Maybe its the southern in me. 🙂

    Reply
  44. I like context with the stories I read. Just as I don’t usually care for books in which the heroine and hero are not rooted in one or more communities of family, friends, and/or colleagues, I don’t generally like books that have some generic backdrop. I want to see and hear and feel the place where the characters are. Maybe its the southern in me. 🙂

    Reply
  45. I like context with the stories I read. Just as I don’t usually care for books in which the heroine and hero are not rooted in one or more communities of family, friends, and/or colleagues, I don’t generally like books that have some generic backdrop. I want to see and hear and feel the place where the characters are. Maybe its the southern in me. 🙂

    Reply
  46. Mary Jo, that book is actually on my TBR tectonic plate. The only part I’ve read is an excerpt in a magazine (which prompted me to buy it) on how Lithuania in the past was the “Wild West” of the Polish imagination.
    I think both D.E. Stevenson and Mary Stewart were excellent at conveying a sense of place.
    Incidentally, April 23rd is the Molar Equinox–halfway between Mole Days. So don’t forget to wear taupe and give lavish presents to your favorite Mole!

    Reply
  47. Mary Jo, that book is actually on my TBR tectonic plate. The only part I’ve read is an excerpt in a magazine (which prompted me to buy it) on how Lithuania in the past was the “Wild West” of the Polish imagination.
    I think both D.E. Stevenson and Mary Stewart were excellent at conveying a sense of place.
    Incidentally, April 23rd is the Molar Equinox–halfway between Mole Days. So don’t forget to wear taupe and give lavish presents to your favorite Mole!

    Reply
  48. Mary Jo, that book is actually on my TBR tectonic plate. The only part I’ve read is an excerpt in a magazine (which prompted me to buy it) on how Lithuania in the past was the “Wild West” of the Polish imagination.
    I think both D.E. Stevenson and Mary Stewart were excellent at conveying a sense of place.
    Incidentally, April 23rd is the Molar Equinox–halfway between Mole Days. So don’t forget to wear taupe and give lavish presents to your favorite Mole!

    Reply
  49. Mary Jo, that book is actually on my TBR tectonic plate. The only part I’ve read is an excerpt in a magazine (which prompted me to buy it) on how Lithuania in the past was the “Wild West” of the Polish imagination.
    I think both D.E. Stevenson and Mary Stewart were excellent at conveying a sense of place.
    Incidentally, April 23rd is the Molar Equinox–halfway between Mole Days. So don’t forget to wear taupe and give lavish presents to your favorite Mole!

    Reply
  50. Mary Jo, that book is actually on my TBR tectonic plate. The only part I’ve read is an excerpt in a magazine (which prompted me to buy it) on how Lithuania in the past was the “Wild West” of the Polish imagination.
    I think both D.E. Stevenson and Mary Stewart were excellent at conveying a sense of place.
    Incidentally, April 23rd is the Molar Equinox–halfway between Mole Days. So don’t forget to wear taupe and give lavish presents to your favorite Mole!

    Reply
  51. Mary Jo!
    I have been off for a week and missed your comment to me.
    Yes, the rabbit trails…I was doing research for an author friend of mine who is internet illiterate when it comes to finding those tiny bits of information you need just the right phrasing for when you’re searching. Through all the rabbit trails, I came across a very interesting, obscure, 18th century article on leeches and poisons. I was working on a 19th century paranormal at the time and needed something near the end of the book to explain the death of a minor character and it fit perfectly! It was just gruesome enough to fit without turning off the reader with too much detail which, I have to admit, can sometimes make my eyes glaze….
    It’s finding that balance between all of the research you’ve done, which can be pages and pages, and condensing it down to one paragraph that imparts the feel you’re trying to give to your readers without putting them to sleep that I think is sometimes, so very hard to do.

    Reply
  52. Mary Jo!
    I have been off for a week and missed your comment to me.
    Yes, the rabbit trails…I was doing research for an author friend of mine who is internet illiterate when it comes to finding those tiny bits of information you need just the right phrasing for when you’re searching. Through all the rabbit trails, I came across a very interesting, obscure, 18th century article on leeches and poisons. I was working on a 19th century paranormal at the time and needed something near the end of the book to explain the death of a minor character and it fit perfectly! It was just gruesome enough to fit without turning off the reader with too much detail which, I have to admit, can sometimes make my eyes glaze….
    It’s finding that balance between all of the research you’ve done, which can be pages and pages, and condensing it down to one paragraph that imparts the feel you’re trying to give to your readers without putting them to sleep that I think is sometimes, so very hard to do.

    Reply
  53. Mary Jo!
    I have been off for a week and missed your comment to me.
    Yes, the rabbit trails…I was doing research for an author friend of mine who is internet illiterate when it comes to finding those tiny bits of information you need just the right phrasing for when you’re searching. Through all the rabbit trails, I came across a very interesting, obscure, 18th century article on leeches and poisons. I was working on a 19th century paranormal at the time and needed something near the end of the book to explain the death of a minor character and it fit perfectly! It was just gruesome enough to fit without turning off the reader with too much detail which, I have to admit, can sometimes make my eyes glaze….
    It’s finding that balance between all of the research you’ve done, which can be pages and pages, and condensing it down to one paragraph that imparts the feel you’re trying to give to your readers without putting them to sleep that I think is sometimes, so very hard to do.

    Reply
  54. Mary Jo!
    I have been off for a week and missed your comment to me.
    Yes, the rabbit trails…I was doing research for an author friend of mine who is internet illiterate when it comes to finding those tiny bits of information you need just the right phrasing for when you’re searching. Through all the rabbit trails, I came across a very interesting, obscure, 18th century article on leeches and poisons. I was working on a 19th century paranormal at the time and needed something near the end of the book to explain the death of a minor character and it fit perfectly! It was just gruesome enough to fit without turning off the reader with too much detail which, I have to admit, can sometimes make my eyes glaze….
    It’s finding that balance between all of the research you’ve done, which can be pages and pages, and condensing it down to one paragraph that imparts the feel you’re trying to give to your readers without putting them to sleep that I think is sometimes, so very hard to do.

    Reply
  55. Mary Jo!
    I have been off for a week and missed your comment to me.
    Yes, the rabbit trails…I was doing research for an author friend of mine who is internet illiterate when it comes to finding those tiny bits of information you need just the right phrasing for when you’re searching. Through all the rabbit trails, I came across a very interesting, obscure, 18th century article on leeches and poisons. I was working on a 19th century paranormal at the time and needed something near the end of the book to explain the death of a minor character and it fit perfectly! It was just gruesome enough to fit without turning off the reader with too much detail which, I have to admit, can sometimes make my eyes glaze….
    It’s finding that balance between all of the research you’ve done, which can be pages and pages, and condensing it down to one paragraph that imparts the feel you’re trying to give to your readers without putting them to sleep that I think is sometimes, so very hard to do.

    Reply

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