Novel “inspiration” file: There’s a creepiness factor to this

I make my business Civil War trivia. I’m just that weird. Because, seriously, knowing things like AP Hill may have been suffering from both gonorrhea and prostatitis at Gettysburg or lead soldering in early tin cans gave people lead poisoning is interesting. Fun tidbits.

But look, I’m also forgetful. Really forgetful. Case in point, I’m the kid who has to check the time on my cell phone three times because the first two checks didn’t quite make it into my subconscious. It’s because my subconscious is too busy remembering normal range of motion in a knee is 135 degrees. I dreamed that the other night. And I was right.

Here’s an example of my writing nook, also known as the floor beside my bed:


Got my books on Civil War medicine. Gettysburg. Laptop. Notebooks because I’m an old timey writer and note taker. Random index card with a recipe for sloppy joe casserole (not writing related but delicious nonetheless).

I usually Google pictures that I can’t quite recall from memory, like LeMat pistols, Victorian carriages, military saddlebags. I also spent an obscene amount of time googling Francis Barlow and his brutal hotness. There’s forty-five minutes I’ll never get back.

But I digress.

A writer friend of mine suggested keeping a file on my laptop of reference pictures. I use my Pinterest board for this, to a certain extent. I have a board for my novel with pictures of gowns, shoes, corsets, cage crinolines; that kind of thing.

My computer planning file….yeah, makes me a total creeper.

As a child, I used to download pictures of singers I found cute. Like NSync. Backstreet Boys. The Monkees (I go through these periodic obsessions with the 1960s). Ink is expensive. I get my cheapness honest and wasn’t allowed to print out lots of pictures, thus my junior high addiction to Bop and Tiger Beat.


I downloaded a few pictures of celebrities that, to me, are good representations of what I imagine my characters look like. It really did help when describing facial structure or how Jeb Stuart looked riding a horse.

But…I can’t deny the creepiness factor.

Even The Hubs gave me The Side Eye and said, “That’s weird. Even for you.”

Point. Taken.

In the end, it’s helped. A little. Probably not enough to ever do it again, but there you go. I shop in Juniors. I drop it like it’s hot to “Call Me Maybe” but I draw the line at downloading pictures of celebrities. It’s a slippery slope being an adult. I manage the best I can and eat cupcakes to forget the rest.

Despite all this and our mailbox recently getting smashed by either a snow plow or a hooligan–the verdict is still out on that disaster–I think my book is just about done. I think, with a fair degree of certainty, if I follow three easy steps, it could be finished by next weekend:

1. Stop ogling pictures of Jeb Stuart and Francis Barlow and write
2. Drink lots of coffee to make it past 9pm and
3. Stay away from wine

The wine in question was purchased in, where else, but Gettysburg and is being saved for the celebratory “I just finished my novel, everybody drink!” party. When I drink too much wine, I get all giggly, talk too much about the sex scenes in my book (!) and start demanding tacos.

Which explains why my book wasn’t done, like, two weeks ago.



  1. Forgive me for asking – I’m sure the answer must be located somewhere in your blog – but is your book about the Civil War? You have such a strong (and humorous) contemporary writing voice it will be interesting to see how you adapt your style to something historical. Best of luck in reaching the finish line on the book!

    1. Thanks Darlene! Yes, this book is about the Civil War. I have tried writing contemporary (paranormal romance) in the past, but have a harder time with it. I don’t know why, though! I think it’s my dialogue that’s the worst in my contemporary! Go figure.

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