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ladybladechap1coverHi Everyone,

I’m trying to forget the fact that two publishers have agreed to read my novel. I hope that by telling you I can put it out of my mind for a while. We’ll see if it works.

First off, many thanks to my amazing agent Frank for unleashing Lady Blade upon those unsuspecting publishers – who will remain nameless in the hopes of not jinxing it.

I am, of course, grateful for the opportunity – but it is also agonizing. I’ve had a low-grade headache for days now since Frank told me. You know, the little annoying ache brought on from a slight tightness in the shoulders and jaw from knowing at this very moment someone might be reading your work and either  sighing or smiling. The feeling that your future rests in others’ hands our of your control.

I know that’s not true. If they say “no” life will go on. Frank and I will find other publishers to try, and failing that, I will self-publish. I even like the control that self-publishing offers these days, though I know that I could use the marketing help a large publisher could provide. So I tell myself it’s no big deal either way. But the headache continues.

Part of it is the waiting. I’m not good at it. I know it’s part of the job and comes with the territory, but I don’t have to like it. One major publisher debated for six months, going back and forth and giving it to more people to read before they finally said no. I’m hoping we’ll get quicker replies either way this time, but who knows.

Anyway, I’m done bellyaching about my good fortune. I’m such an ingrate. Thanks for listening.

If you’d like to read the first chapter it is free to read on Wattpad: Lady Blade – Chapter One

Now I’m forgetting all about it and getting back to work.

C. J.

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Read the first chapter on wattpad

Read the first chapter on wattpad

Hi Everyone,

Some good news.

First, my short story/prologue, My Brave Girl now has over 100 reads on Wattpad. I’m gratified to see that so many people are enjoying it.

My short story, Francesca and the Baron’s Son has 44 reads and the first chapter of Lady Blade, which I just put up 6 days ago is already at 36 reads.

They are free to read so check them out if you haven’t already:

My Brave Girl

Francesca and the Baron’s Son

Lady Blade – Chapter One

Second, and I don’t want to jinx it here, but I’ve got a publisher reading Lady Blade as we speak. Fingers crossed.

Thanks everyone!

C. J.

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Blue Train Books Historical Fiction Section

Blue Train Books Historical Fiction Section (Photo credit: Blue Train Books)

I found a disturbing article today about writing historical fiction.  The Ugliest Word in Historical Fiction: Anachronism

So apparently after pouring your heart and soul into writing a book for years, then struggling years more to find an agent and publisher, its likely some historical fiction aficionado will pick up some detail inappropriate for your historical period that you missed in your exhaustive research and shout “Anachronism! Anachronism!” to the social media world.

Yikes! As if this job wasn’t hard enough already.

I’m sure there are anachronisms in my writing despite my years of research. Unless you have a time machine and can check things out personally there are bound to be errors. Even if you do have a time machine, how good are your powers of observation? And even if you get thing right, they might well seem wrong to our ears.

So to anyone who has a burning desire to wheedle out errors and shout them to the world, please don’t read Lady Blade when I finally get it published. It’s meant to be enjoyed. It’s meant to introduce you to characters that I love and a world I find fascinating. It’s meant to explore concepts of honor and right and wrong. My intent was never to accurately display my knowledge of a certain historical period – although I tried to do that as well. And if there is anyone out there with a time machine who has recently visited the 1720s, I’d love to buy you dinner and pick your brain.

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A tuscan Villa

A tuscan Villa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As a historical fiction writer, it is enormously annoying when history does not cooperate with my story.

At the moment I’m contemplating writing a prequel to my yet-to-be-published novel LADY BLADE. I’m thinking of serializing the prequel and using it as a lead in to the novel. LADY BLADE begins when my main character Francesca DiCesare is eighteen, so the prequel would start when she is a few years younger.

The setting is one of my favorite places in  the world, a hilltop villa in Tuscany in the early 1700s. This particular villa serves as the world-famous fencing school, Salle DiCesare, where Francesca’s father teaches the art and science of the sword to young noblemen.

Now, I was hoping that history would provide at least a bit of a tumultuous background for Francesca’s formative years. After all, the Spanish War of Succession was going on and the Italian Inquisition was still around. But the Italian battles in the Spanish War all happened a few hundred miles north of Salle DiCesare  or off the coast, and the Italian Inquisition for the most part was giving people a slap on the wrists. Darn it.

Really, I should give history a break. It was enormously helpful when I decided to write about Francesca’s birth, supplying corsairs from Algiers to harass her family and kill her mother. But now history is being stingy. Oh well, you can’t get corsairs all the time. I guess the tumult with have to be a bit more local.

BTW, I’m looking for a floor plan of a Tuscan Villa from the 1700s to serve as a basis for Salle DiCesare.  If anyone has seen such a thing, give me a holler!

Happy writing,

C. J. Thrush

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Hi Friends,

Map of Italy showing the Tuscany region in red

Map of Italy showing the Tuscany region in red (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I just found a great new app for historical fiction writers that I had to share. It’s called Google Books Ngram Viewer and it allows you to find out if a particular word was used in the time frame that you’re writing about. It does this by searching a database of books from that time period and letting you know if, and how often the word was used.

I learned about it in an article titled Historical Fiction: Get the Correct Words for the Era  in the Historical Fiction Daily. The author of the article had lots of good uses for the app.

For me, it has partially answered a long-standing question. My yet-to-be-published novel, Lady Blade, begins in Tuscany, Italy in the 1720s. Historically speaking, Italy was not a unified country until the 1800s. Before that time it was a collection of autonomous city-states. So, would someone from Tuscany refer to themselves as a Tuscan or an Italian? Did people have the concept of “Italy” before it became a nation?

The app has told me two things.

First, that English speakers tended to think of Italy as a whole. English books from that era referred to Italy.oo48 percent of the time whereas they referred to Tuscany only about .0001 percent of the time.

Second, in Italian books they were much more likely to mention Tuscany than Italy.

So what does that mean for my writing? That my main character would think of herself as a Tuscan, while her English crewmates would think of her as an Italian. A subtle difference perhaps, but interesting and valuable.

I’m sure I’ll find many more uses for this app!

Happy writing,

C. J.

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