I get by with a little help from my friends

Cat 243 Dover by Mary Jo

Historical authors tend to be research geeks—if you’re a regular reader at Word Wenches, you’ve probably noticed that.  <g>  We collect research libraries, and when another writer talks about a great research book, we lust after it.  A main reason I bought my present house was because I ran out of space to put books in the old house (and now I’m running out of space again, but that’s a tale for another day. 

But wonderful as books are, they are no substitute for actual experience.  Susan King has flown falcons, I’ve worn an eye patch when I wrote a hero who’d lost an Route 66 eye, Pat Rice and her husband drove the remnants of Route 66 when she was researching  a contemporary road romance—the list goes on. 

And then there is the other form of harvesting direct experience:  Talking to people who have lived what we need to know. Besides wearing an eye patch, I talked to an NAL copywriter who had lost an eye in an accident.  She Veils of Silk described her experience and put me in touch with the Texan who made her glass eyes (“the finest gentleman on earth.”)  He was terrific—he got into the business after losing an eye in Vietnam, and he took exquisite care to match the subtle patterns of the glass eye to the healthy eye.  He also told me how losing an eye made him a better shot, a talent my hero got to use when he needed it the most.  (This was in Veils of Silk.)

I started thinking of these kinds of research connections when Anne Gracie talked in her blog last week about the joy of walking a real labyrinth, a subject she’d learned about by reading my book, The Spiral Path.  I was delighted that the book had introduced her to something so new and interesting.

But I had to learn about labyrinths in the first place, and it was my writer friend Ciji Ware (www.cijiware.com ) who introduced me.  We were visiting Ciji and her husband in San Francisco when she told me about labyrinths and how they were a wonderful tool for introspection and meditation.

So after dinner on Nob Hill, we walked a few blocks up the street to the magnificent Grace Cathedral, an Anglican cathedral with a breath taking view over San Francisco.  It was a female cleric at the church who began the modern Frontpicture American interest in labyrinths.  Grace Cathedral had an inside labyrinth, and also an outside one in their garden that could be walked by anyone at any hour of the day or night.  So we walked the labyrinth (the meditative experience was somewhat inhibited by several noisy young walkers), and I knew this was something that had to be part of my next book. 

Persian Carpet 2 There are many, many cases where information from friends has enriched my stories.   When I wrote Silk and Secrets, which is set in Central Asia, I was referred to an American woman whose husband is an Afghan whose family had left the country during the Soviet invasion.  The two of them were great, and I sat on piles of oriental carpets and sipped tea while asking questions about life in Central Asia.  As a young man, Qadir had played bozkashi, a sort of horseback riot where men fight over possession of a headless goat.  I’d read about the game and seen pictures, but some of the most vivid details came when he talked abut his experiences playing the game.

It’s a writerly gift to absorb the experience of other and turn it into words.  (This is why it’s dangerous to mess with writers!)  Qadir and his wife very generously read the manuscript to see if I got things right.  She told me her husband had asked, “How does she know these things?” as he read about the bozkashi match. 
 “Because you told her,” his wife replied.  And she was right. 

One of my most useful examples of getting information was when I was writing The China Bride.  While planning and writing the book, every time I got a reader e-mail from a woman with a Chinese surname, I would said, “Thank you, and would you mind reading this manuscript to check it when I’m done?” 

They all very generously said yes—and not only did they read the manuscripts, every _element_symbols_fire one of them copyedited my typos.  <G>  One woman even wrote Chinese ideograms for different words down the edge of the page where the heroine was showing the English hero Chinese writing.  Lovely!

Another of this group of fact-checkers lived in Malaysia, and was able to help with information about information about the East Indies when I wrote the last book in the series, The Bartered Bride

Do you sense a theme here?  It can be dangerous to contact a writer. <G>  When an Indian American writer I knew slightly from the New Jersey Romance Writers asked me if I could read and perhaps quote on her upcoming book, I not only accepted with alacrity (she’s a fine writer and has a new book out in a few days, www.shobwanbantwal.com), but asked her if she would read the ms. of Loving a Lost Lord, which features a half-Hindu hero.  She did, and I used her comments about the scents of a Hindu temple, among other things. 

Justice Writers are fortunate that so many people are happy to share their expertise with us.  I consulted several lawyers and a retired federal judge when writing my wrongful conviction contemporary, Twist of Fate.  One, a public defender, wrote a mesmerizing e-mail monologue about the need to defend the accused and keep authority honest.  With his permission, I incorporated a fair amount of it into my story. 

Honorary Word Wench Laurie Kingery, an ER nurse of vast experience, features regularly in the acknowledgements of my books as I bang up my characters in various gruesome ways.  Australian writer Fiona McArthur, a midwife, helped me with a critical scene in the second Lost Lords book.

Have I mention how much fun it to talk to such people?  Not only do I get information, but a different worldview, which enriches my life as well as my books. 

Of course, it isn’t only writers who benefit from this kind of interaction.  Who have you met that had knowledge that enlarged and enriched your life, even if it was only a fascinating conversation with a seatmate on an airplane?  How often have you learned of something from a friend or acquaintance and thought, “I have to know more about this!" 

Books! And how often have people learned something fascinating from you?  I’d love to hear—and to remember for future reference! 

Mary Jo

85 thoughts on “I get by with a little help from my friends”

  1. I love talking with people. You never know what you will learn. Have learned a lot about the early life in the mountains of TN since moving here and starting work in a small county library.
    When I was in college, I joined the International Relations Club (I think that was the name, it was a while ago -as in 1960’s). Many of the foreign students belonged and I could sit all day and talk with them about their life at home. When Isreal invaded Jordan in the mid 60’s, I was sitting in the student lounge with a Jordanian graduate student. They showed a village that had been bombed. It was his home and he had no idea what had happened to his wife and children. It was the first he had heard of the attack. What a terrible way to find out.
    I was in the Peace Corps in the Philippines and talking with the older teachers, gave me a very good idea what it was like to be there and be a young woman during the Japanese occupation. When I was working at a lodge during one summer in college, THE PAWNBROKER with Rod Steiger came to the theater. We attended with some of the people staying at the lodge who were all jewish. About 4 or 5 were concentration camp survivors. It was very upsetting for them and one died of a heart attack that night.
    In history methods class in college, the teacher said the best way to learn history is to learn how it is researched and written and to do it. I am always looking for information and those little details that make life and history interesting and real.

    Reply
  2. I love talking with people. You never know what you will learn. Have learned a lot about the early life in the mountains of TN since moving here and starting work in a small county library.
    When I was in college, I joined the International Relations Club (I think that was the name, it was a while ago -as in 1960’s). Many of the foreign students belonged and I could sit all day and talk with them about their life at home. When Isreal invaded Jordan in the mid 60’s, I was sitting in the student lounge with a Jordanian graduate student. They showed a village that had been bombed. It was his home and he had no idea what had happened to his wife and children. It was the first he had heard of the attack. What a terrible way to find out.
    I was in the Peace Corps in the Philippines and talking with the older teachers, gave me a very good idea what it was like to be there and be a young woman during the Japanese occupation. When I was working at a lodge during one summer in college, THE PAWNBROKER with Rod Steiger came to the theater. We attended with some of the people staying at the lodge who were all jewish. About 4 or 5 were concentration camp survivors. It was very upsetting for them and one died of a heart attack that night.
    In history methods class in college, the teacher said the best way to learn history is to learn how it is researched and written and to do it. I am always looking for information and those little details that make life and history interesting and real.

    Reply
  3. I love talking with people. You never know what you will learn. Have learned a lot about the early life in the mountains of TN since moving here and starting work in a small county library.
    When I was in college, I joined the International Relations Club (I think that was the name, it was a while ago -as in 1960’s). Many of the foreign students belonged and I could sit all day and talk with them about their life at home. When Isreal invaded Jordan in the mid 60’s, I was sitting in the student lounge with a Jordanian graduate student. They showed a village that had been bombed. It was his home and he had no idea what had happened to his wife and children. It was the first he had heard of the attack. What a terrible way to find out.
    I was in the Peace Corps in the Philippines and talking with the older teachers, gave me a very good idea what it was like to be there and be a young woman during the Japanese occupation. When I was working at a lodge during one summer in college, THE PAWNBROKER with Rod Steiger came to the theater. We attended with some of the people staying at the lodge who were all jewish. About 4 or 5 were concentration camp survivors. It was very upsetting for them and one died of a heart attack that night.
    In history methods class in college, the teacher said the best way to learn history is to learn how it is researched and written and to do it. I am always looking for information and those little details that make life and history interesting and real.

    Reply
  4. I love talking with people. You never know what you will learn. Have learned a lot about the early life in the mountains of TN since moving here and starting work in a small county library.
    When I was in college, I joined the International Relations Club (I think that was the name, it was a while ago -as in 1960’s). Many of the foreign students belonged and I could sit all day and talk with them about their life at home. When Isreal invaded Jordan in the mid 60’s, I was sitting in the student lounge with a Jordanian graduate student. They showed a village that had been bombed. It was his home and he had no idea what had happened to his wife and children. It was the first he had heard of the attack. What a terrible way to find out.
    I was in the Peace Corps in the Philippines and talking with the older teachers, gave me a very good idea what it was like to be there and be a young woman during the Japanese occupation. When I was working at a lodge during one summer in college, THE PAWNBROKER with Rod Steiger came to the theater. We attended with some of the people staying at the lodge who were all jewish. About 4 or 5 were concentration camp survivors. It was very upsetting for them and one died of a heart attack that night.
    In history methods class in college, the teacher said the best way to learn history is to learn how it is researched and written and to do it. I am always looking for information and those little details that make life and history interesting and real.

    Reply
  5. I love talking with people. You never know what you will learn. Have learned a lot about the early life in the mountains of TN since moving here and starting work in a small county library.
    When I was in college, I joined the International Relations Club (I think that was the name, it was a while ago -as in 1960’s). Many of the foreign students belonged and I could sit all day and talk with them about their life at home. When Isreal invaded Jordan in the mid 60’s, I was sitting in the student lounge with a Jordanian graduate student. They showed a village that had been bombed. It was his home and he had no idea what had happened to his wife and children. It was the first he had heard of the attack. What a terrible way to find out.
    I was in the Peace Corps in the Philippines and talking with the older teachers, gave me a very good idea what it was like to be there and be a young woman during the Japanese occupation. When I was working at a lodge during one summer in college, THE PAWNBROKER with Rod Steiger came to the theater. We attended with some of the people staying at the lodge who were all jewish. About 4 or 5 were concentration camp survivors. It was very upsetting for them and one died of a heart attack that night.
    In history methods class in college, the teacher said the best way to learn history is to learn how it is researched and written and to do it. I am always looking for information and those little details that make life and history interesting and real.

    Reply
  6. We have a labyrinth at our church patterned after the one at Grace Cathedral. I have not yet had a time of peace and quiet to walk it. One day.

    Reply
  7. We have a labyrinth at our church patterned after the one at Grace Cathedral. I have not yet had a time of peace and quiet to walk it. One day.

    Reply
  8. We have a labyrinth at our church patterned after the one at Grace Cathedral. I have not yet had a time of peace and quiet to walk it. One day.

    Reply
  9. We have a labyrinth at our church patterned after the one at Grace Cathedral. I have not yet had a time of peace and quiet to walk it. One day.

    Reply
  10. We have a labyrinth at our church patterned after the one at Grace Cathedral. I have not yet had a time of peace and quiet to walk it. One day.

    Reply
  11. Just read in the sidebar that you have a YA historical fantasy trilogy coming out. When is it due to be released and can you give us any details? I am the children’s person at a small county library.
    Sorry I took up three posts. Just kept finding stuff.

    Reply
  12. Just read in the sidebar that you have a YA historical fantasy trilogy coming out. When is it due to be released and can you give us any details? I am the children’s person at a small county library.
    Sorry I took up three posts. Just kept finding stuff.

    Reply
  13. Just read in the sidebar that you have a YA historical fantasy trilogy coming out. When is it due to be released and can you give us any details? I am the children’s person at a small county library.
    Sorry I took up three posts. Just kept finding stuff.

    Reply
  14. Just read in the sidebar that you have a YA historical fantasy trilogy coming out. When is it due to be released and can you give us any details? I am the children’s person at a small county library.
    Sorry I took up three posts. Just kept finding stuff.

    Reply
  15. Just read in the sidebar that you have a YA historical fantasy trilogy coming out. When is it due to be released and can you give us any details? I am the children’s person at a small county library.
    Sorry I took up three posts. Just kept finding stuff.

    Reply
  16. Sherrie here. Patricia, I’m glad to know someone actually reads the sidebars! I’ll let Mary Jo answer your question about her YA trilogy, but in the meantime, if you aren’t already a subscriber of the monthly Word Wenches newsletter, you might want to subscribe. All the news from the sidebars, and much more, goes in the newsletters. It comes out the first week of every month.
    End of Public Service Announcement. *g*

    Reply
  17. Sherrie here. Patricia, I’m glad to know someone actually reads the sidebars! I’ll let Mary Jo answer your question about her YA trilogy, but in the meantime, if you aren’t already a subscriber of the monthly Word Wenches newsletter, you might want to subscribe. All the news from the sidebars, and much more, goes in the newsletters. It comes out the first week of every month.
    End of Public Service Announcement. *g*

    Reply
  18. Sherrie here. Patricia, I’m glad to know someone actually reads the sidebars! I’ll let Mary Jo answer your question about her YA trilogy, but in the meantime, if you aren’t already a subscriber of the monthly Word Wenches newsletter, you might want to subscribe. All the news from the sidebars, and much more, goes in the newsletters. It comes out the first week of every month.
    End of Public Service Announcement. *g*

    Reply
  19. Sherrie here. Patricia, I’m glad to know someone actually reads the sidebars! I’ll let Mary Jo answer your question about her YA trilogy, but in the meantime, if you aren’t already a subscriber of the monthly Word Wenches newsletter, you might want to subscribe. All the news from the sidebars, and much more, goes in the newsletters. It comes out the first week of every month.
    End of Public Service Announcement. *g*

    Reply
  20. Sherrie here. Patricia, I’m glad to know someone actually reads the sidebars! I’ll let Mary Jo answer your question about her YA trilogy, but in the meantime, if you aren’t already a subscriber of the monthly Word Wenches newsletter, you might want to subscribe. All the news from the sidebars, and much more, goes in the newsletters. It comes out the first week of every month.
    End of Public Service Announcement. *g*

    Reply
  21. Sherrie again. Mary Jo, I’ve been consulted by numerous writers with horse-related questions. I’m always happy to oblige. It’s especially gratifying when an off-hand comment by me sparks interest and more questions.
    I’ve found that most people are thrilled to share their knowledge when asked by writers. I remember the pharmacist I consulted about venomous snakebites. He was so enthusiastic that he kept contacting me with more information over a period of several weeks. By the time he was finished, we were both experts on old-time treatments for snakebites, the most interesting being to get the snakebite victim roaring drunk.
    He also educated me on the difference between “venomous” and “poisonous.” Venomous is animal-related, the venom being delivered through a sting or bite. Poisonous can be animal- or plant-related, the poison being delivered by ingesting, such as eating a poisonous mushroom, or by touching, such as poison oak or the deadly box jellyfish.

    Reply
  22. Sherrie again. Mary Jo, I’ve been consulted by numerous writers with horse-related questions. I’m always happy to oblige. It’s especially gratifying when an off-hand comment by me sparks interest and more questions.
    I’ve found that most people are thrilled to share their knowledge when asked by writers. I remember the pharmacist I consulted about venomous snakebites. He was so enthusiastic that he kept contacting me with more information over a period of several weeks. By the time he was finished, we were both experts on old-time treatments for snakebites, the most interesting being to get the snakebite victim roaring drunk.
    He also educated me on the difference between “venomous” and “poisonous.” Venomous is animal-related, the venom being delivered through a sting or bite. Poisonous can be animal- or plant-related, the poison being delivered by ingesting, such as eating a poisonous mushroom, or by touching, such as poison oak or the deadly box jellyfish.

    Reply
  23. Sherrie again. Mary Jo, I’ve been consulted by numerous writers with horse-related questions. I’m always happy to oblige. It’s especially gratifying when an off-hand comment by me sparks interest and more questions.
    I’ve found that most people are thrilled to share their knowledge when asked by writers. I remember the pharmacist I consulted about venomous snakebites. He was so enthusiastic that he kept contacting me with more information over a period of several weeks. By the time he was finished, we were both experts on old-time treatments for snakebites, the most interesting being to get the snakebite victim roaring drunk.
    He also educated me on the difference between “venomous” and “poisonous.” Venomous is animal-related, the venom being delivered through a sting or bite. Poisonous can be animal- or plant-related, the poison being delivered by ingesting, such as eating a poisonous mushroom, or by touching, such as poison oak or the deadly box jellyfish.

    Reply
  24. Sherrie again. Mary Jo, I’ve been consulted by numerous writers with horse-related questions. I’m always happy to oblige. It’s especially gratifying when an off-hand comment by me sparks interest and more questions.
    I’ve found that most people are thrilled to share their knowledge when asked by writers. I remember the pharmacist I consulted about venomous snakebites. He was so enthusiastic that he kept contacting me with more information over a period of several weeks. By the time he was finished, we were both experts on old-time treatments for snakebites, the most interesting being to get the snakebite victim roaring drunk.
    He also educated me on the difference between “venomous” and “poisonous.” Venomous is animal-related, the venom being delivered through a sting or bite. Poisonous can be animal- or plant-related, the poison being delivered by ingesting, such as eating a poisonous mushroom, or by touching, such as poison oak or the deadly box jellyfish.

    Reply
  25. Sherrie again. Mary Jo, I’ve been consulted by numerous writers with horse-related questions. I’m always happy to oblige. It’s especially gratifying when an off-hand comment by me sparks interest and more questions.
    I’ve found that most people are thrilled to share their knowledge when asked by writers. I remember the pharmacist I consulted about venomous snakebites. He was so enthusiastic that he kept contacting me with more information over a period of several weeks. By the time he was finished, we were both experts on old-time treatments for snakebites, the most interesting being to get the snakebite victim roaring drunk.
    He also educated me on the difference between “venomous” and “poisonous.” Venomous is animal-related, the venom being delivered through a sting or bite. Poisonous can be animal- or plant-related, the poison being delivered by ingesting, such as eating a poisonous mushroom, or by touching, such as poison oak or the deadly box jellyfish.

    Reply
  26. Once, I met a woman at an auction who was sporting a sweatshirt that said, “Be careful what you say, you might end up in my book.” Of course, when I found out she wrote M/M erotica, I realized I was in no real danger. But I might have to rethink our next luncheon, Mary Jo. 😉
    All kidding aside, KUDOS to you on your most-excellent portrayal of returning memories in Loving A Lost Lord. Nothing like having good memories re-arrange/ruin/end the life you’ve finally fallen in love with. The first thing out of most people’s mouths is “What’s wrong? You should be happy!” Thank you for not blowing by that stage.
    Nina, looking forward to MJ’s next book.

    Reply
  27. Once, I met a woman at an auction who was sporting a sweatshirt that said, “Be careful what you say, you might end up in my book.” Of course, when I found out she wrote M/M erotica, I realized I was in no real danger. But I might have to rethink our next luncheon, Mary Jo. 😉
    All kidding aside, KUDOS to you on your most-excellent portrayal of returning memories in Loving A Lost Lord. Nothing like having good memories re-arrange/ruin/end the life you’ve finally fallen in love with. The first thing out of most people’s mouths is “What’s wrong? You should be happy!” Thank you for not blowing by that stage.
    Nina, looking forward to MJ’s next book.

    Reply
  28. Once, I met a woman at an auction who was sporting a sweatshirt that said, “Be careful what you say, you might end up in my book.” Of course, when I found out she wrote M/M erotica, I realized I was in no real danger. But I might have to rethink our next luncheon, Mary Jo. 😉
    All kidding aside, KUDOS to you on your most-excellent portrayal of returning memories in Loving A Lost Lord. Nothing like having good memories re-arrange/ruin/end the life you’ve finally fallen in love with. The first thing out of most people’s mouths is “What’s wrong? You should be happy!” Thank you for not blowing by that stage.
    Nina, looking forward to MJ’s next book.

    Reply
  29. Once, I met a woman at an auction who was sporting a sweatshirt that said, “Be careful what you say, you might end up in my book.” Of course, when I found out she wrote M/M erotica, I realized I was in no real danger. But I might have to rethink our next luncheon, Mary Jo. 😉
    All kidding aside, KUDOS to you on your most-excellent portrayal of returning memories in Loving A Lost Lord. Nothing like having good memories re-arrange/ruin/end the life you’ve finally fallen in love with. The first thing out of most people’s mouths is “What’s wrong? You should be happy!” Thank you for not blowing by that stage.
    Nina, looking forward to MJ’s next book.

    Reply
  30. Once, I met a woman at an auction who was sporting a sweatshirt that said, “Be careful what you say, you might end up in my book.” Of course, when I found out she wrote M/M erotica, I realized I was in no real danger. But I might have to rethink our next luncheon, Mary Jo. 😉
    All kidding aside, KUDOS to you on your most-excellent portrayal of returning memories in Loving A Lost Lord. Nothing like having good memories re-arrange/ruin/end the life you’ve finally fallen in love with. The first thing out of most people’s mouths is “What’s wrong? You should be happy!” Thank you for not blowing by that stage.
    Nina, looking forward to MJ’s next book.

    Reply
  31. From MJP:
    You have some amazing–and sobering–interactions, LibraryPat! Do you know if the Jordanian’s family survived the bombing? I hope so. What a horrible way to find out!
    The YA series is a long way from publication–I’m working on the first book, and they don’t want to schedule it until the second is well on its way to completion so the books can come out somewhat close together. My guess is 2011. We’ll see. You’ll have plenty of warning. *g*
    And seriously–find the time to walk that labyrinth! You’ll probably feel yourself winding down.
    Sherrie, as someone who has benefited by your horse knowledge, I can only be grateful! I’ve used specific pieces of it, too.
    >KUDOS to you on your most-excellent portrayal of returning memories in Loving A Lost Lord. Nothing like having good memories re-arrange/ruin/end the life you’ve finally fallen in love with. The first thing out of most people’s mouths is “What’s wrong? You should be happy!>>
    You put that so well! I was working from instinct there, but I’m glad that it rang true. (I probably shouldn’t ask if you’ve had amnesia…)
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  32. From MJP:
    You have some amazing–and sobering–interactions, LibraryPat! Do you know if the Jordanian’s family survived the bombing? I hope so. What a horrible way to find out!
    The YA series is a long way from publication–I’m working on the first book, and they don’t want to schedule it until the second is well on its way to completion so the books can come out somewhat close together. My guess is 2011. We’ll see. You’ll have plenty of warning. *g*
    And seriously–find the time to walk that labyrinth! You’ll probably feel yourself winding down.
    Sherrie, as someone who has benefited by your horse knowledge, I can only be grateful! I’ve used specific pieces of it, too.
    >KUDOS to you on your most-excellent portrayal of returning memories in Loving A Lost Lord. Nothing like having good memories re-arrange/ruin/end the life you’ve finally fallen in love with. The first thing out of most people’s mouths is “What’s wrong? You should be happy!>>
    You put that so well! I was working from instinct there, but I’m glad that it rang true. (I probably shouldn’t ask if you’ve had amnesia…)
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  33. From MJP:
    You have some amazing–and sobering–interactions, LibraryPat! Do you know if the Jordanian’s family survived the bombing? I hope so. What a horrible way to find out!
    The YA series is a long way from publication–I’m working on the first book, and they don’t want to schedule it until the second is well on its way to completion so the books can come out somewhat close together. My guess is 2011. We’ll see. You’ll have plenty of warning. *g*
    And seriously–find the time to walk that labyrinth! You’ll probably feel yourself winding down.
    Sherrie, as someone who has benefited by your horse knowledge, I can only be grateful! I’ve used specific pieces of it, too.
    >KUDOS to you on your most-excellent portrayal of returning memories in Loving A Lost Lord. Nothing like having good memories re-arrange/ruin/end the life you’ve finally fallen in love with. The first thing out of most people’s mouths is “What’s wrong? You should be happy!>>
    You put that so well! I was working from instinct there, but I’m glad that it rang true. (I probably shouldn’t ask if you’ve had amnesia…)
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  34. From MJP:
    You have some amazing–and sobering–interactions, LibraryPat! Do you know if the Jordanian’s family survived the bombing? I hope so. What a horrible way to find out!
    The YA series is a long way from publication–I’m working on the first book, and they don’t want to schedule it until the second is well on its way to completion so the books can come out somewhat close together. My guess is 2011. We’ll see. You’ll have plenty of warning. *g*
    And seriously–find the time to walk that labyrinth! You’ll probably feel yourself winding down.
    Sherrie, as someone who has benefited by your horse knowledge, I can only be grateful! I’ve used specific pieces of it, too.
    >KUDOS to you on your most-excellent portrayal of returning memories in Loving A Lost Lord. Nothing like having good memories re-arrange/ruin/end the life you’ve finally fallen in love with. The first thing out of most people’s mouths is “What’s wrong? You should be happy!>>
    You put that so well! I was working from instinct there, but I’m glad that it rang true. (I probably shouldn’t ask if you’ve had amnesia…)
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  35. From MJP:
    You have some amazing–and sobering–interactions, LibraryPat! Do you know if the Jordanian’s family survived the bombing? I hope so. What a horrible way to find out!
    The YA series is a long way from publication–I’m working on the first book, and they don’t want to schedule it until the second is well on its way to completion so the books can come out somewhat close together. My guess is 2011. We’ll see. You’ll have plenty of warning. *g*
    And seriously–find the time to walk that labyrinth! You’ll probably feel yourself winding down.
    Sherrie, as someone who has benefited by your horse knowledge, I can only be grateful! I’ve used specific pieces of it, too.
    >KUDOS to you on your most-excellent portrayal of returning memories in Loving A Lost Lord. Nothing like having good memories re-arrange/ruin/end the life you’ve finally fallen in love with. The first thing out of most people’s mouths is “What’s wrong? You should be happy!>>
    You put that so well! I was working from instinct there, but I’m glad that it rang true. (I probably shouldn’t ask if you’ve had amnesia…)
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  36. This is pretty timely – this morning someone asked me how I have come to know so many diverse people and I said I’m curious. People tell me things. I ask (almost) any question that comes into my head and I find out things other people might miss. No one has a checklist of their life on their chest that shows all their experiences, without the questions how do you know who you know?
    I can be tenacious about threads too. Ten years ago a stray comment by one of Spouse’s relatives a bout the only black man in her town led me down numerous trails until last year I found someone who had been a friend of his in life. I had to respect that they didn’t want to discuss him, but the journey there compelling. And honestly, if I didn’t understand their natural fear (why do I want to know about him, what would I do with the info, what about the racism issues it links to) I’d probably not have given up.
    Because he still interests me. I should unlock a post I made about him.

    Reply
  37. This is pretty timely – this morning someone asked me how I have come to know so many diverse people and I said I’m curious. People tell me things. I ask (almost) any question that comes into my head and I find out things other people might miss. No one has a checklist of their life on their chest that shows all their experiences, without the questions how do you know who you know?
    I can be tenacious about threads too. Ten years ago a stray comment by one of Spouse’s relatives a bout the only black man in her town led me down numerous trails until last year I found someone who had been a friend of his in life. I had to respect that they didn’t want to discuss him, but the journey there compelling. And honestly, if I didn’t understand their natural fear (why do I want to know about him, what would I do with the info, what about the racism issues it links to) I’d probably not have given up.
    Because he still interests me. I should unlock a post I made about him.

    Reply
  38. This is pretty timely – this morning someone asked me how I have come to know so many diverse people and I said I’m curious. People tell me things. I ask (almost) any question that comes into my head and I find out things other people might miss. No one has a checklist of their life on their chest that shows all their experiences, without the questions how do you know who you know?
    I can be tenacious about threads too. Ten years ago a stray comment by one of Spouse’s relatives a bout the only black man in her town led me down numerous trails until last year I found someone who had been a friend of his in life. I had to respect that they didn’t want to discuss him, but the journey there compelling. And honestly, if I didn’t understand their natural fear (why do I want to know about him, what would I do with the info, what about the racism issues it links to) I’d probably not have given up.
    Because he still interests me. I should unlock a post I made about him.

    Reply
  39. This is pretty timely – this morning someone asked me how I have come to know so many diverse people and I said I’m curious. People tell me things. I ask (almost) any question that comes into my head and I find out things other people might miss. No one has a checklist of their life on their chest that shows all their experiences, without the questions how do you know who you know?
    I can be tenacious about threads too. Ten years ago a stray comment by one of Spouse’s relatives a bout the only black man in her town led me down numerous trails until last year I found someone who had been a friend of his in life. I had to respect that they didn’t want to discuss him, but the journey there compelling. And honestly, if I didn’t understand their natural fear (why do I want to know about him, what would I do with the info, what about the racism issues it links to) I’d probably not have given up.
    Because he still interests me. I should unlock a post I made about him.

    Reply
  40. This is pretty timely – this morning someone asked me how I have come to know so many diverse people and I said I’m curious. People tell me things. I ask (almost) any question that comes into my head and I find out things other people might miss. No one has a checklist of their life on their chest that shows all their experiences, without the questions how do you know who you know?
    I can be tenacious about threads too. Ten years ago a stray comment by one of Spouse’s relatives a bout the only black man in her town led me down numerous trails until last year I found someone who had been a friend of his in life. I had to respect that they didn’t want to discuss him, but the journey there compelling. And honestly, if I didn’t understand their natural fear (why do I want to know about him, what would I do with the info, what about the racism issues it links to) I’d probably not have given up.
    Because he still interests me. I should unlock a post I made about him.

    Reply
  41. I unlocked a few for a while.
    http://meopta.livejournal.com/71055.html is the one that explains where it starts, and I unlocked the most informative of where my research led.
    But I’ve abandoned the whole project / interest because I don’t want to be yet another person to exploit him and his friend is the only person that can speak for him now. So, their silence after saying they’d consider it has to be my answer.

    Reply
  42. I unlocked a few for a while.
    http://meopta.livejournal.com/71055.html is the one that explains where it starts, and I unlocked the most informative of where my research led.
    But I’ve abandoned the whole project / interest because I don’t want to be yet another person to exploit him and his friend is the only person that can speak for him now. So, their silence after saying they’d consider it has to be my answer.

    Reply
  43. I unlocked a few for a while.
    http://meopta.livejournal.com/71055.html is the one that explains where it starts, and I unlocked the most informative of where my research led.
    But I’ve abandoned the whole project / interest because I don’t want to be yet another person to exploit him and his friend is the only person that can speak for him now. So, their silence after saying they’d consider it has to be my answer.

    Reply
  44. I unlocked a few for a while.
    http://meopta.livejournal.com/71055.html is the one that explains where it starts, and I unlocked the most informative of where my research led.
    But I’ve abandoned the whole project / interest because I don’t want to be yet another person to exploit him and his friend is the only person that can speak for him now. So, their silence after saying they’d consider it has to be my answer.

    Reply
  45. I unlocked a few for a while.
    http://meopta.livejournal.com/71055.html is the one that explains where it starts, and I unlocked the most informative of where my research led.
    But I’ve abandoned the whole project / interest because I don’t want to be yet another person to exploit him and his friend is the only person that can speak for him now. So, their silence after saying they’d consider it has to be my answer.

    Reply
  46. …I probably shouldn’t ask if you’ve had amnesia…
    You could ask, Mary Jo, but I’m not likely to remember. 🙂
    Actually, mine is more of the functional variety rather than the traumatic version Lord Ashton experienced. Talking about it helps, sometimes. Allows memories to come (if they feel like it) in a more controlled fashion as opposed to being suddenly ignited by something simple/stupid. Defiantly keeps life (especially my writing life) interesting.

    Reply
  47. …I probably shouldn’t ask if you’ve had amnesia…
    You could ask, Mary Jo, but I’m not likely to remember. 🙂
    Actually, mine is more of the functional variety rather than the traumatic version Lord Ashton experienced. Talking about it helps, sometimes. Allows memories to come (if they feel like it) in a more controlled fashion as opposed to being suddenly ignited by something simple/stupid. Defiantly keeps life (especially my writing life) interesting.

    Reply
  48. …I probably shouldn’t ask if you’ve had amnesia…
    You could ask, Mary Jo, but I’m not likely to remember. 🙂
    Actually, mine is more of the functional variety rather than the traumatic version Lord Ashton experienced. Talking about it helps, sometimes. Allows memories to come (if they feel like it) in a more controlled fashion as opposed to being suddenly ignited by something simple/stupid. Defiantly keeps life (especially my writing life) interesting.

    Reply
  49. …I probably shouldn’t ask if you’ve had amnesia…
    You could ask, Mary Jo, but I’m not likely to remember. 🙂
    Actually, mine is more of the functional variety rather than the traumatic version Lord Ashton experienced. Talking about it helps, sometimes. Allows memories to come (if they feel like it) in a more controlled fashion as opposed to being suddenly ignited by something simple/stupid. Defiantly keeps life (especially my writing life) interesting.

    Reply
  50. …I probably shouldn’t ask if you’ve had amnesia…
    You could ask, Mary Jo, but I’m not likely to remember. 🙂
    Actually, mine is more of the functional variety rather than the traumatic version Lord Ashton experienced. Talking about it helps, sometimes. Allows memories to come (if they feel like it) in a more controlled fashion as opposed to being suddenly ignited by something simple/stupid. Defiantly keeps life (especially my writing life) interesting.

    Reply
  51. I have completely relied on others’ expertise in writing my new tattoo shop mysteries. Because I just can’t bring myself to get a tattoo myself, mainly because of the pain factor and the fact that I have absolutely no idea what I’d get tattooed on my person. So I seek out those I know who are tattooed, and they tell me their stories.

    Reply
  52. I have completely relied on others’ expertise in writing my new tattoo shop mysteries. Because I just can’t bring myself to get a tattoo myself, mainly because of the pain factor and the fact that I have absolutely no idea what I’d get tattooed on my person. So I seek out those I know who are tattooed, and they tell me their stories.

    Reply
  53. I have completely relied on others’ expertise in writing my new tattoo shop mysteries. Because I just can’t bring myself to get a tattoo myself, mainly because of the pain factor and the fact that I have absolutely no idea what I’d get tattooed on my person. So I seek out those I know who are tattooed, and they tell me their stories.

    Reply
  54. I have completely relied on others’ expertise in writing my new tattoo shop mysteries. Because I just can’t bring myself to get a tattoo myself, mainly because of the pain factor and the fact that I have absolutely no idea what I’d get tattooed on my person. So I seek out those I know who are tattooed, and they tell me their stories.

    Reply
  55. I have completely relied on others’ expertise in writing my new tattoo shop mysteries. Because I just can’t bring myself to get a tattoo myself, mainly because of the pain factor and the fact that I have absolutely no idea what I’d get tattooed on my person. So I seek out those I know who are tattooed, and they tell me their stories.

    Reply
  56. Liz, I read your blog and that’s an utterly fascinating story. Curiosity can be a dangerous thing! But listening to the tales of other elderly relatives, I think it may be hard for us to relate to those worlds in our terms. Life was often harsh back then, and people accepted things that would cause us great rage today. And I’m not just talking gender or color. The things that were done to children cause me to turn purple…
    LOL, Karen! Getting a tattoo for the sake of research would really be pushing the research box–this said from the POV of someone who can’t even bear to mutilate her ears by piercing!

    Reply
  57. Liz, I read your blog and that’s an utterly fascinating story. Curiosity can be a dangerous thing! But listening to the tales of other elderly relatives, I think it may be hard for us to relate to those worlds in our terms. Life was often harsh back then, and people accepted things that would cause us great rage today. And I’m not just talking gender or color. The things that were done to children cause me to turn purple…
    LOL, Karen! Getting a tattoo for the sake of research would really be pushing the research box–this said from the POV of someone who can’t even bear to mutilate her ears by piercing!

    Reply
  58. Liz, I read your blog and that’s an utterly fascinating story. Curiosity can be a dangerous thing! But listening to the tales of other elderly relatives, I think it may be hard for us to relate to those worlds in our terms. Life was often harsh back then, and people accepted things that would cause us great rage today. And I’m not just talking gender or color. The things that were done to children cause me to turn purple…
    LOL, Karen! Getting a tattoo for the sake of research would really be pushing the research box–this said from the POV of someone who can’t even bear to mutilate her ears by piercing!

    Reply
  59. Liz, I read your blog and that’s an utterly fascinating story. Curiosity can be a dangerous thing! But listening to the tales of other elderly relatives, I think it may be hard for us to relate to those worlds in our terms. Life was often harsh back then, and people accepted things that would cause us great rage today. And I’m not just talking gender or color. The things that were done to children cause me to turn purple…
    LOL, Karen! Getting a tattoo for the sake of research would really be pushing the research box–this said from the POV of someone who can’t even bear to mutilate her ears by piercing!

    Reply
  60. Liz, I read your blog and that’s an utterly fascinating story. Curiosity can be a dangerous thing! But listening to the tales of other elderly relatives, I think it may be hard for us to relate to those worlds in our terms. Life was often harsh back then, and people accepted things that would cause us great rage today. And I’m not just talking gender or color. The things that were done to children cause me to turn purple…
    LOL, Karen! Getting a tattoo for the sake of research would really be pushing the research box–this said from the POV of someone who can’t even bear to mutilate her ears by piercing!

    Reply
  61. From MJP:
    Liz M, that’s a haunting tale, one we’re unlikely to ever know more of. It sounds like Henry Fields found a comfortable niche for himself, but his life in Buhl was surely only the tip of his personal iceberg.
    Nina–sometimes one can wish that life isn’t -quite- so interesting!
    Karen, I’m with you–having a tattoo put on my hide is way beyond the kind of research I’m willing to do. Like Pat, I was even dubious about pierced ears–for decades!–though I did finally get them done.
    People who turn their bodies into living canvases need an audience to appreciate them, so I claim the role of appreciator. *g*
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  62. From MJP:
    Liz M, that’s a haunting tale, one we’re unlikely to ever know more of. It sounds like Henry Fields found a comfortable niche for himself, but his life in Buhl was surely only the tip of his personal iceberg.
    Nina–sometimes one can wish that life isn’t -quite- so interesting!
    Karen, I’m with you–having a tattoo put on my hide is way beyond the kind of research I’m willing to do. Like Pat, I was even dubious about pierced ears–for decades!–though I did finally get them done.
    People who turn their bodies into living canvases need an audience to appreciate them, so I claim the role of appreciator. *g*
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  63. From MJP:
    Liz M, that’s a haunting tale, one we’re unlikely to ever know more of. It sounds like Henry Fields found a comfortable niche for himself, but his life in Buhl was surely only the tip of his personal iceberg.
    Nina–sometimes one can wish that life isn’t -quite- so interesting!
    Karen, I’m with you–having a tattoo put on my hide is way beyond the kind of research I’m willing to do. Like Pat, I was even dubious about pierced ears–for decades!–though I did finally get them done.
    People who turn their bodies into living canvases need an audience to appreciate them, so I claim the role of appreciator. *g*
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  64. From MJP:
    Liz M, that’s a haunting tale, one we’re unlikely to ever know more of. It sounds like Henry Fields found a comfortable niche for himself, but his life in Buhl was surely only the tip of his personal iceberg.
    Nina–sometimes one can wish that life isn’t -quite- so interesting!
    Karen, I’m with you–having a tattoo put on my hide is way beyond the kind of research I’m willing to do. Like Pat, I was even dubious about pierced ears–for decades!–though I did finally get them done.
    People who turn their bodies into living canvases need an audience to appreciate them, so I claim the role of appreciator. *g*
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  65. From MJP:
    Liz M, that’s a haunting tale, one we’re unlikely to ever know more of. It sounds like Henry Fields found a comfortable niche for himself, but his life in Buhl was surely only the tip of his personal iceberg.
    Nina–sometimes one can wish that life isn’t -quite- so interesting!
    Karen, I’m with you–having a tattoo put on my hide is way beyond the kind of research I’m willing to do. Like Pat, I was even dubious about pierced ears–for decades!–though I did finally get them done.
    People who turn their bodies into living canvases need an audience to appreciate them, so I claim the role of appreciator. *g*
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  66. Pat – I know exactly what you mean. My great great grandmother was locked in a cabinet until she agreed to leave her fiance and marry her sister’s widower in order to raise his kids. But they never told the widower any of that – he found out after the ceremony. History is fascinating and repellent and makes me realize how much of what we do today is likely going to repel future generations. I’m not a ‘good old days’ kind of girl.
    MJP – Actually, this has made me decide to pick the project back up. I’m going to send one last request to the family friends and then approach the story from a less direct angle. My sibling illustrator is pretty pleased, he never wanted to walk away from it. Mr. Fields still calls to me, so I’m not done with him yet.

    Reply
  67. Pat – I know exactly what you mean. My great great grandmother was locked in a cabinet until she agreed to leave her fiance and marry her sister’s widower in order to raise his kids. But they never told the widower any of that – he found out after the ceremony. History is fascinating and repellent and makes me realize how much of what we do today is likely going to repel future generations. I’m not a ‘good old days’ kind of girl.
    MJP – Actually, this has made me decide to pick the project back up. I’m going to send one last request to the family friends and then approach the story from a less direct angle. My sibling illustrator is pretty pleased, he never wanted to walk away from it. Mr. Fields still calls to me, so I’m not done with him yet.

    Reply
  68. Pat – I know exactly what you mean. My great great grandmother was locked in a cabinet until she agreed to leave her fiance and marry her sister’s widower in order to raise his kids. But they never told the widower any of that – he found out after the ceremony. History is fascinating and repellent and makes me realize how much of what we do today is likely going to repel future generations. I’m not a ‘good old days’ kind of girl.
    MJP – Actually, this has made me decide to pick the project back up. I’m going to send one last request to the family friends and then approach the story from a less direct angle. My sibling illustrator is pretty pleased, he never wanted to walk away from it. Mr. Fields still calls to me, so I’m not done with him yet.

    Reply
  69. Pat – I know exactly what you mean. My great great grandmother was locked in a cabinet until she agreed to leave her fiance and marry her sister’s widower in order to raise his kids. But they never told the widower any of that – he found out after the ceremony. History is fascinating and repellent and makes me realize how much of what we do today is likely going to repel future generations. I’m not a ‘good old days’ kind of girl.
    MJP – Actually, this has made me decide to pick the project back up. I’m going to send one last request to the family friends and then approach the story from a less direct angle. My sibling illustrator is pretty pleased, he never wanted to walk away from it. Mr. Fields still calls to me, so I’m not done with him yet.

    Reply
  70. Pat – I know exactly what you mean. My great great grandmother was locked in a cabinet until she agreed to leave her fiance and marry her sister’s widower in order to raise his kids. But they never told the widower any of that – he found out after the ceremony. History is fascinating and repellent and makes me realize how much of what we do today is likely going to repel future generations. I’m not a ‘good old days’ kind of girl.
    MJP – Actually, this has made me decide to pick the project back up. I’m going to send one last request to the family friends and then approach the story from a less direct angle. My sibling illustrator is pretty pleased, he never wanted to walk away from it. Mr. Fields still calls to me, so I’m not done with him yet.

    Reply
  71. I never did find out about the Jordanian’s family. There was no way for him to get word from his family and there was no way for him to find out anything. He certainly tried hard enough. The semester finished and he left, still without news. In the 1960’s the instant communication that is possible today just didn’t exist. Now that I have my own family, I realize how frantic he must have been. Can you imagine not being able to find out what happened to those you love for weeks. We all take the ease of our lives and communication so much for granted.

    Reply
  72. I never did find out about the Jordanian’s family. There was no way for him to get word from his family and there was no way for him to find out anything. He certainly tried hard enough. The semester finished and he left, still without news. In the 1960’s the instant communication that is possible today just didn’t exist. Now that I have my own family, I realize how frantic he must have been. Can you imagine not being able to find out what happened to those you love for weeks. We all take the ease of our lives and communication so much for granted.

    Reply
  73. I never did find out about the Jordanian’s family. There was no way for him to get word from his family and there was no way for him to find out anything. He certainly tried hard enough. The semester finished and he left, still without news. In the 1960’s the instant communication that is possible today just didn’t exist. Now that I have my own family, I realize how frantic he must have been. Can you imagine not being able to find out what happened to those you love for weeks. We all take the ease of our lives and communication so much for granted.

    Reply
  74. I never did find out about the Jordanian’s family. There was no way for him to get word from his family and there was no way for him to find out anything. He certainly tried hard enough. The semester finished and he left, still without news. In the 1960’s the instant communication that is possible today just didn’t exist. Now that I have my own family, I realize how frantic he must have been. Can you imagine not being able to find out what happened to those you love for weeks. We all take the ease of our lives and communication so much for granted.

    Reply
  75. I never did find out about the Jordanian’s family. There was no way for him to get word from his family and there was no way for him to find out anything. He certainly tried hard enough. The semester finished and he left, still without news. In the 1960’s the instant communication that is possible today just didn’t exist. Now that I have my own family, I realize how frantic he must have been. Can you imagine not being able to find out what happened to those you love for weeks. We all take the ease of our lives and communication so much for granted.

    Reply
  76. Once I acted as a source for a writer who was doing a futuristic story about super-resistant germs and their effect on a family. This writer wanted to know what kind of damage might occur from a strep infection that wasn’t properly treated and I was able to help. I never got to read the finished story, but it was supposed to be published in “Omni” magazine. I love discussing medical/nursing issues especially because there is a lot of misinformation in the literature. Of course, this website has access to the very accurate Dr. Josh King, so my services are not required by the wenches. I still offer them freely, however.

    Reply
  77. Once I acted as a source for a writer who was doing a futuristic story about super-resistant germs and their effect on a family. This writer wanted to know what kind of damage might occur from a strep infection that wasn’t properly treated and I was able to help. I never got to read the finished story, but it was supposed to be published in “Omni” magazine. I love discussing medical/nursing issues especially because there is a lot of misinformation in the literature. Of course, this website has access to the very accurate Dr. Josh King, so my services are not required by the wenches. I still offer them freely, however.

    Reply
  78. Once I acted as a source for a writer who was doing a futuristic story about super-resistant germs and their effect on a family. This writer wanted to know what kind of damage might occur from a strep infection that wasn’t properly treated and I was able to help. I never got to read the finished story, but it was supposed to be published in “Omni” magazine. I love discussing medical/nursing issues especially because there is a lot of misinformation in the literature. Of course, this website has access to the very accurate Dr. Josh King, so my services are not required by the wenches. I still offer them freely, however.

    Reply
  79. Once I acted as a source for a writer who was doing a futuristic story about super-resistant germs and their effect on a family. This writer wanted to know what kind of damage might occur from a strep infection that wasn’t properly treated and I was able to help. I never got to read the finished story, but it was supposed to be published in “Omni” magazine. I love discussing medical/nursing issues especially because there is a lot of misinformation in the literature. Of course, this website has access to the very accurate Dr. Josh King, so my services are not required by the wenches. I still offer them freely, however.

    Reply
  80. Once I acted as a source for a writer who was doing a futuristic story about super-resistant germs and their effect on a family. This writer wanted to know what kind of damage might occur from a strep infection that wasn’t properly treated and I was able to help. I never got to read the finished story, but it was supposed to be published in “Omni” magazine. I love discussing medical/nursing issues especially because there is a lot of misinformation in the literature. Of course, this website has access to the very accurate Dr. Josh King, so my services are not required by the wenches. I still offer them freely, however.

    Reply

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