Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Novel Number Two: Progress Update

Novel Number Two is progressing fairly well. I've been doing a lot of renewed research into the culture and the history of the medieval county of Toulouse, the birthplace of the novel's main character. I've found in my research that there existed a degree of political and religious betrayal, intrigue, plotting, and subterfuge far greater than what I had imagined. It's mind-boggling to contemplate what it must have been like to live in those treacherous times.

The experience brings to mind some of the freedoms we've come to expect that simply did not exist in the past repression of political and religious authorities. We scoff openly - and most often rightly - at our contemporary politicians and their drive to manipulate and control us. We blithely ignore the edicts and admonitions of the religious leaders who in times past inspired the deepest and most abject fears in the hearts of their congregants. In Novel Number Two, the starkness of medieval religious and political domination will come to life and frame the story of one man's journey through the gauntlet of its driving force.

One of the great challenges of writing historical fiction is to escape our contemporary attitudes and try to accurately capture those of the people of the time. I'm sure I failed to do that as well as I could have in the story of The Pict, and that will be improved in the expanded version of that novel. For now I'm immersing myself in the mores and the mindset that reigned in the days of our tormented but undaunted protagonist.

I'd welcome discussion of medieval society, culture, and politics on this blog

Friday, August 8, 2008


Today is the six-month anniversary of Karen's passing. I can almost hear her bugging me to get back to writing. She was always such an encouragement to me, and she made it clear that she didn't want me laid low for too long. I feel like the hiatus is coming to an end. I don't know what it'll be like writing without Karen's constant encouragement. Perhaps I'll still feel it, but differently.

My focus has slowly shifted back toward writing, and creativity has begun to resurface. While readers of The Pict have expressed a desire for an in-depth expansion of the story, I'm intent on completing Novel Number Two before I return to The Pict - Rising of the Last Free Men. The expansion won't be long in coming after Number Two, though. I need only polish most of what I'd originally cut out of The Pict (to focus on our more pressing personal concerns), and put it back in, and expound upon some things that readers have asked me to expound upon.

Number Two
is a 13th Century piece packed with conflict, drama, intrigue, and, well, history. Anyone with a penchant for Crusades, Inquisitions, and the shifting sands of 13th Century alliances and betrayals will undoubtedly find this one an enjoyable and compelling read. And will be far, far longer than was my first go with The Pict. I hope you will look forward next year to a gratifying summer read.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


On February 8, 2008 my new and indescribably wonderful wife, Karen Luggi-Dixon, passed away after a valiant thirteen month fight against a terribly aggressive and ultimately terminal cancer. She was 43. We fought the cancer together with every fiber of our being, with every ounce of strength and optimism we could muster, and with a deep and abiding love and commitment to one another.

Karen taught me things about love that I didn't even know were there to be learned. I showed her that she was more than worthy of my deepest, most loyal and unquenchable love, and that I would never leave her for anything, ever. She was my angel, and I was her rock. We clung together, inseparable to the end. I miss her too badly for words to adequately describe. My grief is pervasive and profound, and it is impossible for me to return to my focus on writing, at least for now.

I know there is much yet for me to write. Karen said I have much work to do, and none of the stories have left me. But they're in hibernation until I am somehow able to return to some semblance of 'normal' and rediscover a purpose in writing. Karen was my Purpose, and without her all else seems pointless. I'll work each day to move closer to the day I can write again, because that's what Karen told me she wanted me to do - sooner rather than later.

I'll do what I can to accomplish that. And one day, perhaps soon, Novel Number Two will hit the market, as will my significant expansion of The Pict. I hope my readers will wait with patient understanding until then.

If you're inclined to do so, drop by and read the prayer that Karen wrote for her own funeral service. It will give you some insight into the beauty of her soul, and the strength with which she faced her adversity.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Mary Lydon Simonsen's "Pemberley Remembered"

Mary Lydon Simonsen is the author of Pemberley Remembered, a love story that takes place in post-WWII London, but whose main thread is the timeless tale of Jane Austen's Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy and Miss Elizabeth Bennet. Visit Mary Lydon Simonsen's blog for more information, and to discuss this fine author's work.