Melaynie’s Masquerade

EDITING – CRUCIAL TO THE BIRTH OF A BOOK

EditedBooks

For a time I called myself a Forest Guide, it was a way of explaining editing to new, usually first-time, authors. I would guide them through their forest of words, especially when they had gotten to that place where they couldn’t see the forest for the trees, as the old saying goes. Lately, I’m conceiving of myself as a midwife, who helps in the sometimes torturous process of giving birth. The birthing pains involved in creating a book and then sending it out into the world is a lot like having and raising a child. You’ll always feel attached, much like the author does. But you inevitably must let go of your book (child) to make its way in the world.

Before I started editing books, I spent years editing newspapers and magazines. Working with words—twisting them around, rearranging, deleting, finding a more concise, more understandable way of saying something was a wonderful challenge. I’ve always loved editing and the more I’ve done it, the faster and more accurate I’ve gotten. I was an early and avid reader, from Nancy Drew stories to fairy tales and then on to the gods and goddesses of ancient Athens and Rome. I remember accompanying my mother to libraries wherever our military family was stationed. I became an early enthusiast of historical fiction.

In high school and college, English (an outdated word for the subject) was my favorite subject. I majored in English in college but managed to take a variety of history courses, a never-ending passion that would lead me to writing Melaynie’s Masquerade when I got older. As a high school freshman, I became serious about writing and I wrote for the school newspaper. In college I continued my reporting for William and Mary’s “Flat Hat” newspaper and was delighted at one of the school reunions years later when I saw a couple of my articles in a scrapbook on display.

Journalism has been a great teacher. It requires precise, easily understood truthful writing to explain: who, what, when, where, how and why to a reader. And the information is provided in a descending order—the most important facts are given in the beginning. Books are usually not written that way, but a foundation in journalism has stood me in good stead for many years.

I’ve edited over 100 books in the past 15 years and each one has been a special journey. No matter how much I’d read of each book in advance, there were always surprises. A book develops a life of its own, which proves the baby analogy I mentioned in the beginning. Because many of my clients were “newbies” to the world of writing, I became a co-writer in many instances.

I have edited almost every genre of book from how to save for retirement to what a young man experiencing the singles scene learns about sexual success and failure. Needless to say, I’ve learned a great deal in the process since my clients have experienced amazing things in all areas of the world.

A few recent books include: Once Upon a Man by Debra Pauli (dating tips for the single woman), Beyond Time by Carey Jones (simplifying some of the ideas in A Course in Miracles), The Gods Who Fell from African Skies by Dick Mawson (memoir of growing up and living in Rhodesia and South Africa), Parents Take Charge by Dr. Sandy Gluckman (alternative solutions for children with ADHD and the like), and A Nation of Refugees by Tim Gurung (fictional story of a couple passionate about finding solutions for the worldwide problem of refugees). Most recently, I was editing a book about Hitler and Eva Braun, and I’m currently editing a biography about character actor Strother Martin.

 

THE RENAISSANCE – A PLEASURE FAIRE in CALIF

All the world’s a stage said Shakespeare. Couldn’t be truer than at a Renaissance Faire! Renaissance Faires are held all over the US these days, but the idea originated in Southern California and was created by an LA schoolteacher, Phyllis Patterson, and her husband Ron in 1963. Phyllis Patterson, alas, departed the Earthly Realm on May 18, and traveled to the Spirit Faire in another dimension. There was a lovely obituary in the LA Times today.

The Faire was first held in her Laurel Canyon backyard as a weekend fundraiser. Because it attracted so many people, the Patterson’s soon found a larger venue and it eventually became a thriving yearly enterprise.

I spent many entertaining Spring Saturdays at the Faire when it was set up in the Santa Monica Mountains on the Paramount Ranch, a popular movie and TV location (lots of Westerns and “Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman” TV series). Rolling hills, streams and old oak trees provided the perfect country setting; thousands of participants (both hired entertainment and paying customers) in 16th century costume escaped the 20th century for a day or two. Years afterward I would remember the Faire and be inspired to write my historical novel of the 16th century, Melaynie’s Masquerade.

Eat, drink and be merry was never more evident than at the Faire. We would wander the dirt pathways among the hills; it wasn’t difficult to imagine an English village of long ago. Visitors got in a party mood quickly: tents sold hundreds of paper cups filled with wine and beer, and food stands that resembled English shops offered turkey legs, toad-in-the-hole, corn on the cob, sausage and cheese, and some California treats like artichokes, and strawberry crepes. There were a variety of beautifully made crafts to buy, like pottery, jewelry, leather goods and Renaissance costumes. I held onto my purple cotton Renaissance blouse and long full skirt for years (it had been dyed and hung to dry right at the Faire), and I still have a few pieces of artisan-made pottery.

Entertainers, all appropriately dressed in colorful costumes (lots of cleavage displayed in women’s garb), wandered through the crowd performing skits here and there, and a variety of stages were set up for Shakespearean drama and outrageous comedy. Bales of dry hay provided the seating. I heard many a man say, “There’s plenty of boobs and beer here!” The humor and entertainment was not designed for prudery; it was as bawdy as the Renaissance had been. With easy access to beer and wine, how could anyone stay sober, or polite?

Sir Francis Drake & Faire Guests

Sir Francis Drake, a yearly participant  & Faire Guest

I took this photo at the wine/beer stand of the actor portraying Sir Francis Drake long before I wrote a screenplay and novel about his historic exploits. My friend Ray isn’t interested in history, it seems, he just wants to know how much longer he has to endure the Faire! Or perhaps he’s wondering where his wife was since he’s holding two cups of wine.

Actors portraying lords and ladies of the era in all their finery would assemble in a special area of the Faire and visitors could listen in on their jokes and clever conversation, all in 16th century jargon. At 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Queen Elizabeth’s Royal Progress, with musical accompaniment, and the Queen’s lords and ladies, would wind its way through the Faire with the Queen carried in a litter. The actress would wave to her subjects until the entire party would end up in the Royal Court or at the Royal Stage for some kind of appropriate presentation.

I was lucky: for several years I had free admission. I took my camera and covered the Faire for the Acorn, the newspaper for which I was the editor.

Fare thee well, Phyllis Patterson, I bid ye a fond adieu.

 

BOOKS MAKE GREAT CHRISTMAS GIFTS

Dear Blog Readers, now that it’s holiday season, let me remind you that besides writing this blog twice a week and editing all sorts of books, I’m also an author. The link to my Victoria Giraud author page on Amazon is on the top right of this blog page. All six books are available as E-books at amazingly low prices. Nowadays you don’t even need a Kindle or something similar, they are easily downloaded onto a computer after you get the right app. All my books are based on true stories, even Melaynie’s Masquerade. I’m including a synopsis of each book below. You also might enjoy the comments from readers on the Amazon page.  I got a good chuckle from a reader who enjoyed Weird Dates and Strange Mates— “Interesting read because I’m a cross dresser,” he said. I didn’t post the covers of Colonels Don’t Apologize and Angels in Uniform this time but you can check them out on Amazon.

Mel book cover #1

Melaynie’s Masquerade

What’s a girl going to do when she wants adventure in her life, and men have all the fun? Melaynie Morgan is an independent-minded young woman in Plymouth, England, but it’s the 16th century, and women are expected to dress elaborately and attend to womanly duties. Forget about doublets, swords and sailing ships.

Melaynie refuses to let her conventional background deter her. She disguises herself as a captain’s boy and signs on with privateer Francis Drake to plunder Spanish treasure in the exotic Caribbean. In the chess game of Renaissance politics it’s an undeclared war of opposing religions, but Queen Elizabeth’s Protestant England and King Philip’s Catholic Spain are maintaining a guarded peace. Into that mix comes Plymouth’s Drake, waging his own private war with Spain.

Melaynie finds more than she bargained for during her year in the tropics serving Drake – from disease, death and danger to a romance with a Spaniard and a friendship with an ex-slave. She returns to England wiser but secretly pregnant. In volume 2, Melaynie’s daughter Joan grows up unaware of her true parentage until the Spanish Armada brings a bittersweet and surprising reunion.

An Army Brat in Libya  is a memoir chronicling the adventures of living in Tripoli in the 1950s. World War II was over and the world could breathe again for a while. Libya was ruled by King Idris, and the US Military held sway at strategic Wheelus Air Force Base. Attending high school amidst sand and palm trees, camels and donkeys, in a small cosmopolitan city along the Mediterranean was about as unique and full of contrasts as an American teen could get in the mid 1950s. American teenagers sported jeans while Libyan women were covered from head to foot. Americans brought their cars; most Libyans rode bicycles. Despite the differences, East and West cohabited peacefully for the most part. It’s a new century today, but the American military still has a presence in these exotic areas of the world.

AnArmyBratLibya Cover#A1

Weird Dates and Strange Fates features two unusual but true short stories. Sandy’s blind date serves her brunch while wearing a French maid’s costume, a blond wig and 4-inch heels in A Single Girl’s Guide to Cross-Dressing. She’s even more puzzled when he changes to a G-string and a lacy negligee. In The Dark Side, Barbara meets her perfect man, but one day he disappears from his apartment, leaving a downloaded computer and all his business attire behind. She could hardly believe the secret he was hiding.

Weird Dates and Strange Fates#1

 

Colonels Don’t Apologize  is the story of an American military family in the mid to late 20th century. As a military brat, Giraud didn’t have to look far for inspiration and source material. Soldiers, both officers and enlisted men, returned from World War II and Korea with emotional and mental wounds besides the physical ones. Families–the wives and children–suffered from the resulting abusive behavior of veterans returning from war. This story reveals how one daughter made the best peace she could with her stepfather, considering her own feelings and emotional wounds.

ANGELS IN UNIFORM  — Samantha’s ambition was to work in Hollywood and meet the rich and famous. She attracted a powerful film producer, but just when her life seemed to be working, she got cancer. She flees Los Angeles, ready to end her life, but her persistent lover and an angel in uniform had other ideas. Was the angel imagined or real? Make your own decision about this true story.

Pink Glasses#2dup

PINK GLASSES – The divorcees in the chic Los Angeles bar/restaurant were attracted to Will’s spirited zaniness, which mixed well with his gentle nature. They had no idea what mental turmoil it masked. He was a Viet Nam vet, a Navy pilot, and far from rich. Will had to rent a room from one of his new friends, yet he bought a brand new Porsche and kept his old one. What was he concealing?

MESSAGES FROM BEYOND By Victoria Giraud

I believe the creative process is a mystical/magical one.  I often wonder where ideas come from. Common advice for writers: Write about what you know. But you don’t always know what you know until you sit in front of a computer or a pad of paper. Or take a walk, go for a swim or perhaps even clean your home to stir up ideas and inspirations.

I’ve noticed when I’m in the process of editing books, or writing blog posts, I’m open to connections/coincidences/synchronicity, call it what you want. While I was editing the book, the Religion of Money—a light-hearted history of economics by Frederick (a pen name)—I experienced a momentary synchronicity as I was reading over the story of the De Medici family of Florence, Italy. Giovanni De Medici was mentioned in the book; not two seconds later my favorite classical music station announced the opera “Don Giovanni” was scheduled in L.A.

If I’m casually watching TV while browsing through a magazine or newspaper, the same kind of thing happens. I’ll read about a certain subject and have it verbalized in some manner on a TV show immediately after, or vice versa. My daughter and I keep in close touch by phone and Email. If I’m thinking about her, there’s a good chance the phone will ring. I know it’s her before I even check the number. From what I’ve heard from friends, that’s quite ordinary for many of us.

My mother passed on 39 years ago. That morning I was reading a biography of Thomas Jefferson (coincidentally an alum of my alma mater, William & Mary), and had just read about the death of Jefferson’s wife, Martha, Sally Hemings’ older half-sister. I was absorbing that sad historical news when my dad called to say my mother had died during a kidney dialysis treatment.  I’ve always felt my reading gave me a sort of preview and helped me deal with my mother’s devastating death just a little better. Jefferson, my mother and I are all Virginia natives, ironically enough.

Books dealing with metaphysical subjects are a definite attraction for me, and I’m lucky to have edited several of them. High Holy Adventure by R. Alan Fuller is a true story about his mystical experiences with shamans, spirits and mediums, especially in the Andes. Euphoria Zone by Alan Lee Breslow weaves innovative healing techniques into his spiritual adventure. Pat Sendejas wrote Letting Go to Create a Magical Life, which discusses life’s synchronicities and invisible messages. Working with all three authors was enlightening and exciting.

Was my book predicted?

In the mid 80s I had a psychic reading with a woman named Terry, who was supposed to be quite intuitive and knowledgeable in her field. I asked her if I were going to write a book, figuring it might be an emotional story about my divorce, which had recently happened.  Terry said her spiritual “guides” had told her I would write something about voyages. She didn’t know what that meant, she told me; perhaps it had to do with my “voyage” through life.

I forgot about the reading until the late 90s when I was finishing up my novel. It was, indeed, about a voyage. My fictional heroine, Melaynie, masquerades as a captain’s boy, and sails with English hero Francis Drake to the Caribbean!

And then there’s Karen, my intuitively psychic friend with lots of talents. She’s predicted some incredible things for me, some I’ve lived or am living through. Where does the information come from? That’s another long story.

To check out my books on Amazon, follow the link AMAZON PUBLICATIONS by VICTORIA GIRAUD at the top of this blog.

 

AN ARMY BRAT IN LIBYA AND OTHER STORIES by Victoria Giraud

Tripoli keeps coming up in my life. Last Sunday Khadija Teri, an American who lives in Tripoli and writes a blog, http://khadijateri.blogspot.com/  and I traded blogs about Tripoli. It was a wonderful exercise in sharing memories from different times. A new magazine published in Tripoli and aimed at young Libyans has been in touch with me and wants to do a story based on my Tripoli blogs. They’ve even done a layout of “Memories of Tripoli” for their December issue, which is published online and distributed to colleges and cafes, etc. The story looks terrific and I will post more details as the time draws near.

In the meantime, I am reminding my readers that I wrote an Ebook about my Tripoli adventures in the 1950s in one small book.  It’s available on Amazon in Ebook format. Download it onto a Kindle or download the Kindle format to your Mac or PC and read it there. It’s a simple process and the price can’t be beat.

Look up VICTORIA GIRAUD  on AMAZON and also find my other books: Melaynie’s Masquerade, Weird Dates and Strange Fates,  Pink Glasses, Angels in Uniform, Discovering the Victor in Victoria, and Colonels Don’t Apologize. One of the stories in Weird Dates is unusual, to say the least. I call it: A Single Gal’s Guide to Cross-Dressing.  Stay tuned.

An Army Brat in Libya

MY “Melaynie” ANSWER TO 50 SHADES OF GREY By Victoria Giraud

Sex makes the world go round… Songs, books, movies, art, advertising, the media, not to mention all our imaginative minds and built-in hormones. Women can’t seem to get enough the fairly recent novel, Fifty Shades of Grey. I haven’t read it yet, but I want to remind my blog readers in search of some erotica and romance/adventure that I’ve published Melaynie’s Masquerade as an e-book on Amazon  http://amazon.com/author/victoriagiraud

Read my sample teaser below and see if it entices you to read more by ordering my book. It’s also in softcover.

With Drake’s humorous admonition to be careful with their guest, Melaynie carried a lantern to show Bernardino to his private tent at evening’s end. In the light of a bright moon, whose rays poured through the wide opening of the small quarters, Bernardino found and immediately sat down on the portable cot. Tired from the day’s excitement and mellowed to the point of sleepiness by the wine, he languidly watched as the young captain’s boy placed the lantern on an empty cask, thinking as he watched of his young sister.  Why was he thinking of his sister; was it the way this young boy moved, or simply the beauty of youth?  He leaned back and began to remove his doublet, welcoming the cooler night air on his skin.  Remembering the music and the caress of the night breeze, he felt relaxed and sensual.

Melaynie’s body and face were profiled in the moonlight.  What a lovely young boy, Bernardino reflected  as he studied the fine facial features and golden hair. He lazily watched the lantern’s flickering light, his feelings of arousal fanned by its glow. How agreeable it would have been to have a woman to love, an appropriate climax to a congenial evening.  Framed by the moonlight, the boy continued to stand, leaning toward the lantern, like a moth to the flame, his eyes mesmerized by the flame.

From his angle lounging on the cot, Bernardino noticed the boy’s cream-colored shirt had flared outward as he stood there. The material was diaphanous enough that the lantern’s light revealed his naked chest. Bernardino smiled at the pretty picture it made, and then narrowed his eyes, looking again closely, as he sat up slowly, uncertain that what he saw was true.  The lantern had highlighted a pair of delicate breasts, whose outline was clear enough through the linen shirt.

This was no boy; he saw the evidence. The breasts were small, but they were present. Had no one else in this English company noticed?  Men could be dense; he had seen how she had been treated as her costume defined her.  A turmoil of feelings assaulted him at this revelation, the excitement of the mystery of her only heightening his stimulated senses. He struggled to compose himself, to dampen his growing ardor, to quiet his racing mind. Had he been intrigued because some instinct told him of her true gender?  Whatever the mystical reasons, she must not guess he had seen her secret.

Searching his mind for clues, he quickly surmised her subterfuge had been well hidden until now and that she was probably older than he had supposed. What had caused this young woman to carry off this masquerade; was she possessed by some unusual traits, a woman who felt herself truly a man? Or was it simply an adventure she sought, a desire to break from the traditional female role in her society?  Did she feel he was a threat; was that why she had spilled the wine earlier? These turbulent thoughts raced through his mind in mere seconds.

WORDS ON MY MIND – 1st ANNIVERSARY

At my desk, contemplating, with the globe behind me.

 

I began this blog, WORDS ON MY MIND, on May 13, 2010. Since then I’ve written  123  blogs on all sorts of subjects, from life as an Army brat, especially in Tripoli, Libya, to adventures living in Southern California. Since I’m considered a senior citizen now and have worked/created as a writer and an editor for 33 years, there have been lots of events to write about. Over the years I’ve interviewed many fascinating people, edited over 80 books of all types, written a screenplay, Drake,  an historical novel, Melaynie’s Masquerade, and co-written a memoir with Wendy Wong, When the Phoenix Rises.

Starting a blog can be daunting, even though I’ve been writing all my life. When I was ten, I sat down in front of an old portable typewriter to write a story about a dog, a story I have long forgotten. If memory serves, my family was on vacation in Jacksonville Beach, Florida at the time. That’s my memory, at any rate, but I’ve recently learned you can’t completely trust your memory! You change it, someone else may add their two cents, which revises the story, etc. As is touted all the time, the only thing in life that’s constant is change…

My life has been one of many changes; perhaps that’s a reason I wanted to write: it was a way I could create some kind of base, a form of security. I’ve kept a diary off and on since high school and have saved the notebooks. I’m even one of those people who composes a yearly Christmas letter to friends. I work on keeping it balanced: describing highlights as well as the lowlights from the past year. Currently, I write on my computer. Who will be interested in what I’ve said once I’ve gone on to non-physical pastures? What difference does it make? Probably none, but I’ve pleased myself. Conclusion: it’s the reason I’m now blogging. I want to share my thoughts with more people.

Born in Danville, VA, I was raised an Army brat—on my way by age four to Murnau, Germany. I learned to speak Deutsche—it’s easy when you’re young. My family moved many times: after Germany came New Jersey, Ft. Leonard Wood, MO; Jacksonville Beach, FL while dad fought in Korea, the Bronx, Ft. Knox, KY; Tripoli, Libya; and Alexandria, VA. During my years in college at William and Mary, in Williamsburg, VA, my family went briefly to Carlisle, PA before landing once again in Germany (Mannheim and Frankfurt). The wanderlust was still with me when I graduated, and I ended up working as a secretary at Heidelberg Officers Club in Germany. Marriage brought me to Los Angeles and I’ve been here ever since. At last count so far, I’ve lived in about 27 different homes in my lifetime.

Los Angeles, which I love, is a microcosm of the world—we’ve got nearly 4 million people from every culture here and we come in various colors, shapes and sizes. In my apartment building, I can visit with neighbors from Romania, Israel, Turkey, El Salvador, New York City, and all over the US.   Some who have grown up here have families that have come from: the Philippines, Armenia, China and various Latin American countries.

I believe we’re all connected as humans, no matter what the country, religion or political view. Writing is communication…connection…about everything. To remember the wonderful connections, the uplifting or sad experiences, the oddities and synchronicities, I write to share my experiences.

 

 

 

 

 

What’s Real? What’s Not?

Did a psychic predict I'd write this book?

I believe the creative process is a mystical/magical one. Many times I wonder where the ideas come from, both for myself and other writers. Common advice for writers: Write about what you know. But you don’t always know what you know until you sit in front of a computer or a pad of paper. Or take a walk, go for a swim or perhaps even clean your home.

I’ve noticed that when I’m the process of editing books, I’m open to connections/coincidences/synchronicity, call it what you want. I was editing a book, the Religion of Money—a light-hearted history of economics by Frederick—and was reading over the story of the De Medici family of Florence, Italy. The book mentioned Giovanni De Medici, and not two seconds later my favorite classical music station was announcing the opera “Don Giovanni” was scheduled in L.A.

I could be watching TV in the background and have a magazine I’m browsing. I’ll read about a certain subject and have it verbalized in some manner on a TV show immediately after, or vice versa. My daughter and I are very close and keep in touch by phone and Email. I might be thinking about her and the phone rings. From what I’ve heard, that’s quite ordinary for many of us.

My mother passed on 36 years ago. That morning I was reading a biography of Thomas Jefferson (coincidentally an alum of my college: William & Mary), and had just read about the death of Jefferson’s wife Martha, Sally Hemings older half-sister. I was absorbing that sad news when my dad called to say my mother had died during a kidney dialysis treatment.  I’ve always felt the reading helped me deal with her death just a little better. Jefferson, my mother and I are all Virginia natives.

Books dealing with metaphysical subjects are a definite attraction for me, and I’m lucky to have edited several of them. High Holy Adventure by R. Alan Fuller is a true story about his mystical experiences with shamans, spirits and mediums, especially in the Andes. Euphoria Zone by Alan Lee Breslow weaves innovative healing techniques into his spiritual adventure. Pat Sendejas wrote Letting Go to Create a Magical Life, which discusses life’s synchronicities and invisible messages. Working with all three authors was enlightening and exciting.

In the mid 80s I had a psychic reading with a woman named Terry, who was supposed to be quite knowledgeable in her field. I wanted to know if I was going to write a book. I figured it might be a story about my divorce, which had recently happened.  Terry said her spiritual “guides” had told her I would write something about voyages. She didn’t know what that meant, she told me; perhaps it had to do with my “voyage” through life.

I forgot about the reading until the late 90s when I was finishing up my novel. It was, indeed, about a voyage. My heroine, Melaynie, masquerading as a captain’s boy, was sailing with Drake to the Caribbean!

And then there’s Karen, my intuitively psychic friend with lots of talents. But that’s another story.

SPIRITUAL CONNECTIONS

I believe the creative process is a mystical/magical one.  I often wonder where ideas come from. Common advice for writers: Write about what you know. But you don’t always know what you know until you sit in front of a computer or a pad of paper. Or take a walk, go for a swim or perhaps even clean your home.

I’ve noticed when I’m the process of editing books, or writing blog posts, I’m open to connections/coincidences/synchronicity, call it what you want. While I was editing the book, the Religion of Money—a light-hearted history of economics by Frederick (a pen name)—I experienced a momentary synchronicity as I was reading over the story of the De Medici family of Florence, Italy. Giovanni De Medici was mentioned in the book; not two seconds later my favorite classical music station announced the opera “Don Giovanni” was scheduled in L.A.

If I’m casually watching TV while browsing through a magazine or newspaper, the same kind of thing happens. I’ll read about a certain subject and have it verbalized in some manner on a TV show immediately after, or vice versa. My daughter and I keep in close touch by phone and Email. If I’m thinking about her, there’s a good chance the phone will ring. I know it’s her before I even check the number. From what I’ve heard from friends, that’s quite ordinary for many of us.

My mother passed on 36 years ago. That morning I was reading a biography of Thomas Jefferson (coincidentally an alum of my alma mater, William & Mary), and had just read about the death of Jefferson’s wife, Martha, Sally Hemings’ older half-sister. I was absorbing that sad historical news when my dad called to say my mother had died during a kidney dialysis treatment.  I’ve always felt my reading gave me a sort of preview and helped me deal with my mother’s devastating death just a little better. Jefferson, my mother and I are all Virginia natives, ironically enough.

Books dealing with metaphysical subjects are a definite attraction for me, and I’m lucky to have edited several of them. High Holy Adventure by R. Alan Fuller is a true story about his mystical experiences with shamans, spirits and mediums, especially in the Andes. Euphoria Zone by Alan Lee Breslow weaves innovative healing techniques into his spiritual adventure. Pat Sendejas wrote Letting Go to Create a Magical Life, which discusses life’s synchronicities and invisible messages. Working with all three authors was enlightening and exciting.

Was my book predicted?

In the mid 80s I had a psychic reading with a woman named Terry, who was supposed to be quite intuitive and knowledgeable in her field. I asked her if I were going to write a book, figuring it might be an emotional story about my divorce, which had recently happened.  Terry said her spiritual “guides” had told her I would write something about voyages. She didn’t know what that meant, she told me; perhaps it had to do with my “voyage” through life.

I forgot about the reading until the late 90s when I was finishing up my novel. It was, indeed, about a voyage. My fictional heroine, Melaynie, masquerades as a captain’s boy, and sails with English hero Francis Drake to the Caribbean!

And then there’s Karen, my intuitively psychic friend with lots of talents. She’s predicted some incredible things for me, some I’ve lived or am living through. Where does the information come from? That’s another long story.

The “How-To” on Melaynie’s Masquerade

The cover of my historical fiction novel

Writing a book is a fascinating process, a great deal of it unconscious. While you’re in the act of creation, you’re thinking about the story, planning how you’re going to do it, making notes, maybe using index cards for the various scenes. In my case, since I wrote an historical fiction novel, I needed to do lots of research into the 16th century, which I loved. The Internet wasn’t the effective tool it is today and I used libraries for most of my research.

When I needed to describe a 16th century ship or the variety of clothing worn then, I headed for the children’s section of bookstores or libraries. Picture books were just the thing. I had to know how my heroine was going to accomplish her daring feat, how she would look, and what would her family home looked like. The various Time-Life historical series were also a great help; they always had lots of graphics. I’ve always been a history buff and had attended many a Renaissance Faire where I’d seen Queen Elizabeth and Sir Francis Drake in action, not to mention all the hired characters and faire-goers in costume.

It doesn’t take long before the story and its characters take control. You’re living with them in your head, so no wonder. Many authors verify that oddity. Behind-the-scenes, your subconscious and your own past mingles together in the ethers, at least that’s how I explain it. I did a lot of creating while I was swimming in a pool. Water was the best element to get my “flow” going, especially since I was devising a sea adventure.

I finished the book, after five years of creating, letting it lie dormant and then recreating. During one of my last readings/proofing of the book, I began to realize why many of my feelings had come forward, unconsciously, in the book. I had given my heroine a kindly, generous father and three brothers who spoiled her. She needed one brother’s help to fulfill her dream adventure of sailing with Francis Drake on one of his early voyages to the Caribbean.

My stepfather, the US Army officer who raised me, was a very thrifty taskmaster. He saved his charm for others, his strong sense of discipline for the  family. How clever and comforting for me to create an imaginary father I would have completely enjoyed!  What fun to be the heroine who succeeds in her adventure! Plus, interestingly enough, actual history made it easy to manipulate and blend real facts with my imagination.

I’ve always been an adventurer, but certainly not as daring as my heroine, Melaynie. Of course, she has many of my traits—how could she not! Her feminist ideas were mostly mine, but I wasn’t consciously creating them. All these factors snuck up on me! Or did they?

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