Posts tagged ‘Red Mirror Series’

Standing up to write The Black Scroll

Here's where I'm writing The Black Scroll. Notice my makeshift high desk so I can stand?

Here’s where I’m writing The Black Scroll. Notice my makeshift high desk so I can stand?

Doesn’t look very glamorous, and not my greatest photography, but here’s a shot of my workstation for writing The Black Scroll.

Hope you’ll notice the height and no chair. After some back problems from sitting in front of a computer all day, I elected to write standing up.

I’ll admit it took a little getting used to, but I seem to have come over the hump. My brain’s working; the Muses are singing.

The screen on the left is the book itself as I write in InDesign. The laptop screen has my Excel spreadsheet with research including the 500+ quotes I’ve collected. I also do frequent Google searches to research details and fact check.

The eyes of the woman on the screen are Elektra, protagonist of Book Three. The pink towel between the two banker boxes is for my cat who sometimes sleeps there while I write.

Stack of books? Hadrian, The Roman Cavalry, Atlas of Classical Archaeology (for city plan of Leptis Magna) and Sex and Society in Greco-Roman Egypt. Under it all is a binder containing pages of notes.

Hanging above the work station is a photo I took on the Nile, a movie poster from ‘The Eagle’, a map of the Ancient Nile Delta and a map of the Mediterranean. To the left is a printout of an email from my friend Ann Calhoun with much appreciated (and always needed) words of encouragement.

On the far left, taped to a book shelf, is a printout of my favorite cover – but one I’m not using. It’s the Red Mirror with Isis’ eye. I opted for another cover to make the series more identifiable and the covers more cohesive. Could never repeat, no matter how hard I tried, the power of that Eye.

In case you have trouble making out details, standing on the shelf above my head are two sailing ship models, a bust of Aphrodite, Nefertiti’s head, a statuette of Athena my daughter brought me from Greece, a sitting Japanese sage, a carved wooden “Old Salt,” and a bronze figure of Shiva. Oh! don’t want to forget the brass falcon head of a shoehorn.

Here I am working on this very blog post.

Here I am working on this very blog post.

On the desk always my cup of black tea with milk – or my snifter of brandy or scotch depending on time of day.

The Black Scroll – 84,433 words as of yesterday. 38 Chapters. 261 pages.

March 26, 2013 at 5:47 pm 5 comments

And at last I arrive in Egypt

For those of you interested in my progress with The Black Scroll, let me say that I’m advancing at a rapid clip. 59,967 words. 185 pages. Ready to start Chapter 29. Ready to visit Alexandria, 130 AD, 15 years after the Great Jewish Revolt that almost burnt the city to the ground.

You might ask how I know the page numbers with such precision.

I gather that I’m an odd duck among writers, as my preferred technique for channeling the story is to manifest the visual form as I create. I write directly into Adobe InDesign. As the words flow onto the page, they look exactly as they will look in final published form. That’s the print version I’m talking about.

Before putting the first word on the first page, I set up the layout, which in the case of The Black Scroll is the same as The Red Mirror and The Emerald Tablet – the first two novels of the Red Mirror Series. I’ve got the header at the top of the 6×9 facing pages with my name or title, book-specific Egyptian hieroglyph, and page number. The margins are there. The title page has been created.

note: As a reminder – or for those who haven’t seen the print versions – the glyph for The Red Mirror is a snake, typically Pharaonic Egyptian to my mind. The glyph for The Emerald Tablet is the owl – for Athena, the wisest of Greek Goddesses.  The one I have chosen for The Black Scroll is the lion – Rome – Africa.

The print version must be re-formatted for export into Kindle, so thinking logically, I decided to write The Black Scroll directly into the layout I use for the ebook version. It’s the biggest market, after all.

It didn’t work for me. All those lovely graphic details of layout disappear. The process is no longer visual.

After a chapter or two, I gave up and allowed myself the crutch. Didn’t authors of old write with a favorite pen? Or typewriter? I need my print version InDesign layout for the Muses to sing. And so be it.

I’ve got an art degree. What’s wrong with painting with words?

February 11 was the Monday I started – day after Chinese New Year. Today is March 12. Three days from the Ides. Five days from St. Patrick’s Day. Eight days from my 38th wedding anniversary and the spring equinox.

Goodbye Libya. It was quite a ride. Hello Egypt. I can’t wait to see what happens.

March 12, 2013 at 7:46 pm 6 comments

New titles and new covers for the Red Mirror Series

If you’ve ever wanted to follow the twists and turns of a crazy author’s mind, you can scroll through my blog and see for yourself the evolution of my Isis story. After working with a marketing person, I decided that the series needed re-titling. As fond as I am of my three women, their eyes and their names, I never felt I achieved the sense of romantic adventure that I wished to convey. I  never created a cover for Athena (now The Emerald Tablet) that quite matched the power of Isis (now The Red Mirror.)

It was a hard decision to dump the eyes, harder than changing the title. But I am content now with the change and hope you are, too.

Ancient Greek gold bracelet showing snakes, first half of the 2nd century BC, Profzheim, Schmuckmuseum

Ancient Greek gold bracelet showing snakes, first half of the 2nd century BC, Profzheim, Schmuckmuseum

And, as if the Universe wished to convey its pleasure at my decision, I immediately found this marvelous image of a 2nd century BC Greek snake bracelet from Pforzheim, Schmuckmuseum – more or less the time period of Athena and The Emerald Tablet.

What is truly extraordinary, I had never seen the image before, yet I described it exactly as the bracelet Hektor gives Athena the morning after the symposion in Korinth. I even placed the garnet in the Herakles knot where the tails of the two snakes entwine.

Now I am the first to admit that this is a common enough motif, and that I most probably have seen something quite similar elsewhere. But I’d like to imagine that Athena spoke to me as I wrote, describing the details as she was telling me her story.

February 7, 2013 at 9:08 pm 2 comments

Ancient Egyptian novels in Red Mirror Series 4 Kindle & iPad

ancient Egyptian novels Isis cover for Kindle and iPad

Isis cover for Kindle & iPad

ancient Egyptian novels Athena of Korinth cover for Kindle and iPad

Athena of Korinth cover for Kindle & iPad

ancient Egyptian novels Elektra cover for Kindle and iPad

Elektra cover for Kindle & iPad

After a several month hiatus from writing as I helped fight the Libyan Revolution through twitter, I’ve finally gotten back to editing my ancient Egyptian novels for the Red Mirror Series. Isis has been shortened and made tighter and more fast-paced. I changed some characters names to make it easier to follow in the past life and the present, dropped a character or two, and refer to Amasis, Psamtik and Setne as Pharaoh, Crown Prince and the Scribe.

I also shifted my focus from educating to entertaining. There will still plenty of meat for history buffs in the Red Mirror Series, but I’ve tried to avoid reader anxiety that there might be a test. 😉

I’ve got Isis ready for Kindle and iPad and have been working on the promotion copy, which I find more challenging than writing novels. Is it because we authors don’t have enough distance from our story? Or is it because it’s another style of writing that takes different skills? Probably a mix of both.

Next I tackle Athena of Korinth. I’ll be doing some simplifying in that novel as well, but I’ll especially be working on making it “stand alone.” My goal is for the reader to be able to pick up Athena – or any future novels in the Red Mirror Series – and enjoy reading the ancient Egyptian novels for themselves without having to have read Isis first.

Of course, I would love for the reader to want to go back to the beginning to understand fully the evolution of party girl to powerhouse that takes place over the three novels.

Don’t want to forget to mention that I redesigned the covers of the Red Mirror Series for better viewing on Kindle and iPad. You see those above. Also have to confess that Elektra is not written yet, but she is playing out scenes in my mind. My goal is to get Athena edited and then get to work on bringing Elektra to life!

January 10, 2012 at 5:26 pm 2 comments

Who do you write like?

A friend sent me this link: http://iwl.me/. (you can link from here.) The site analyzes your writing and supposedly tells you who you write like. I tried it by pasting in the 1st chapter of Athena, the second novel in the Red Mirror Series that I’ve just started.

It came back in microseconds with Chuck Palahnuik. I don’t know his work at all, except that Amazon lists Fight Club. It doesn’t seem like me from the titles listed, but I’d have to read one to see. I suppose content has nothing to do with it – so I could write like Palahnuik, but our content would be completely different.

I would like to know more about how the program works – or if it is a scam. It says it analyzes word choice and writing style. It seems unlikely something so complex as writing style could be analyzed that quickly. Word choice could, of course, be linked to keywords.

Maybe I’ll plug in some different excerpts and see what the results are…

Okay, I did it. I pasted Chapter 2 of Isis and it came back Dan Brown. Now we’re talkin’! Would I ever love to be the female Dan Brown.

I do write with two styles and that’s on purpose. One is modern, in Las Vegas – the other is in the distant past, more archaic. Interesting that I write like a man in both instances.  I’m betting I’d get a different answer every time…

OKAY -PROMISE I’m done now, but I couldn’t resist seeing the answer to my favorite sex scene in Isis – Chapter 11. Apparently I wrote it in the style of Vladimir Nabokov. Maybe the program IS looking at content!

I think I may be looking at the wrong agents – none of these comparisons speak romance novel.

July 17, 2010 at 7:17 pm 3 comments

Athena of Corinth and Alexandria is born

I can’t help myself. I love to have a cover up on my second screen that keeps me in touch with my characters.

My husband and I created the character Athena over the weekend. She’s the new woman for the second book of the Red Mirror Series. Elektra for one day, the name Athena better fits her intelligence and spirituality. She’s plenty sexy though, but different than Isis – less party girl and more ancient world woman executive.

Elektra will likely be the the third book which of the Egypt trilogy and set in Rome and Egypt and revolve around Antinous, the lover of Hadrian.

Athena is head priestess at the Temple of Aphrodite in Corinth and runs a sacred prostitution cult of 1,000 women. (That part is NOT fiction!)   Athena will travel to Alexandria Egypt during the Ptolemaic Period – exact year soon to be determined. My research is opening some new doors and I haven’t yet decided which one to enter. And so the next adventure has begun!

May 26, 2010 at 4:14 pm 2 comments


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