If you saw Thursday’s premature post, there is new content here. WordPress, could you add an “Are You Sure?” pop-up when we hit “Publish”? I know I’m not the only one who’s hit Publish instead of Preview!
No single topic came to mind for today. Instead, I’ve been flitting between ideas and decided to go with a few random thoughts in magazine style. My apologies to the real journalists among you.
Envisioning A Novel’s Setting
In several comments on Tuesday’s post, I mentioned adding some photos to give you a sense of place for my novels. We start with a few photos for Death Out of Time. Much of the action takes place in our time in the northern Virginia suburbs. The book opens with archaeologist Madeleine O’Brien and detective Jack Trainer excavating an 18th century cemetery in an old, overgrown pasture. The pasture looks something like this one, although it has fewer trees.
Can you find the cemetery in this photo? Madeleine faced a similar setting in Loudoun County. This is what she encountered when the project began in the spring.
Are you stumped? That’s okay. It’s a trick question. None of the headstones are still standing. They all fell over and were buried through the years or were removed by farmers to make more room for crops. Madeleine knew the cemetery existed only because it was marked on old maps.
One of the headstones she finds looks something like this. (Please bear with me. I’m not very good with my graphics software.) Who would have guessed it would lead to an unimaginable experience?
In the book, Madeleine also spends time in her lab. It looks similar to many other archaeology labs in universities and in the business world. There, you’ll find an artifact drying rack much like this one. Very basic and inexpensive, but it does the trick. Budgets are usually tight in archaeology. Madeleine saves money where she can, just as my colleagues and I do.
In one scene, Madeleine focuses on that drying rack, struggling to maintain her composure in front of her crew. She can’t let on about what’s happening upstairs. Madeleine never thought she would need a good poker face. Jack’s much better at that sort of thing. But when a time traveler drops into her world, an archaeologist has to adapt.
And there you have a brief view of some of the scenery in the book. If this experiment gets favorable reviews, we’ll see more of the story’s settings in the upcoming weeks and months. I’m thinking of adding these photos (and others) to the introductory page for the book here on the blog.
Tuesday’s post was meant to be tongue-in-cheek. I’m not depressed about my stats or contemplating a summer vacation from blogging. Subtle humor doesn’t always translate well to social networking or the written word. I think that happened here. Rest assured, I will stick to my twice a week posts unless extreme circumstances require changes.
And Finally—The Importance of Editing
I realize budgets are tight for small newspapers. And proof readers are a rare luxury in today’s world. But I think this photo caption from our local paper shows the downside of such cost-cutting measures. It’s worth clicking on the image if you need to in order to read the original caption.