Come see me at Fort Knox on July 30th! I'm uber-thrilled to be part of their Civil War encampment event and even more thrilled to be making my first author appearance. It's a huge milestone and one that means so much to me.
Thank you to my husband, Erik, for his unending support, to Alexa, my amazing publicist for her jaw-dropping fearlessness, and to Leon Seymour, the Fort director, for taking a chance to have an unknown come and chat and sign. Also thank you to my readers and commenters, for sticking by me for a long time while I've been on the long road to getting this going. It's amazing.
Oh, and happy 150th anniversary of First Bull Run/First Manassas! Today was the day the VMI cadets showed their stuff, Stonewall Jackson got his famous nickname, and the North realized they probably shouldn't picnic near a battlefield! :)
Please come visit me at my new location at Meg North.com! Thanks and see you over there.
Thursday, July 21
Tuesday, July 12
Allie posted her top ten authors she'd love to meet. I got so inspired and thought I would, too!
1. Louisa May Alcott - Oh, we'd have a jolly good time. Sharing stories about sisters, growing up in New England, money struggles, the Civil War, the whole thing. She got a bit grumpy towards her fans at the end, but I know I'd bring out her funny side. We'd be great friends, kindred spirits and keep each other laughing.
2. Jane Austen - Similarly funny, but in a different way. She was a bit more zingy and ironic, with a sparkle in her eyes as she gossiped about the ladies and gents in her life. Would love to have a cup of tea and tell her how much I admire her for making parlor conversations page-turning.
3. Mark Twain - Can you tell I love Sagittarius authors? Oh, he would be so funny, too. We'd swap travel stories, since he was restless and went everywhere, and chat about boyish pranks and his amazingly gorgeous house in Hartford, Connecticut.
4. Henry David Thoreau - One of the most influential writers I've encountered, and quite off the beaten path. He'd be spiritual and practical at the same time, so fascinating and so quirky. We'd talk about the modern environmental movement, both scorn materialism, and I'd tell him how much nature has taught me personally. A fascinating man.
5. John Keats - the poetic soul, so young and so gifted. Just to be in the same room with him would be extraordinary, let alone hear him talk about ... anything, really. I'd go all fangirl, blushing and doing my best to be quiet and let his observations guide the conversation.
6. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow - I feel as if we're old pals anyway, since I've been giving tours at his childhood home for several years. Much to chat about, including his big family, his teaching days at Bowdoin or Harvard, and his amazing circle of friends. He was a genuinely nice guy, too, and would be pleasant to converse with.
7. Charles Dickens - I was thinking about him the other day, wondering if Scrooge was based on a real person. Of all the writers, his brain is the one I wish was in my own head. To create such characters, to weave their lives in and out of each other, is such an amazing gift. I'd tell him how his stories are still popular today, and I think he'd love Harry Potter!
8. Charlotte Bronte - An interesting woman to talk to, and I suspect quite strong. I'd want to ask about Monsieur Heger, the real-life inspiration for Mr. Rochester, and her sisters, too. Of course, I'd ask about Jane Eyre - how she wrote it, where she would go, if she liked to write at night or in the morning.
9. Lewis Carroll - A fellow Aquarius, and quite the oddball but such an amazing guy to chat with. We'd go off on silly adventures looking for dodos, nasty queens and white rabbits, then trade wacky poetic verses. He would definitely bring out the little kid in me, encouraging me to let my imagination run wild!
10. L. Frank Baum - I wanted to be a writer after reading Baum's many Oz books, so I'd be over the moon to meet him. He created so many amazing creatures and the Land of Oz itself. So much fun swapping stories about fantastical places, fairy tales and keeping adventure alive. His books had so much influence on me, and he was a big theatrical kind of guy. It would be a wonderful conversation.
Saturday, July 9
So, this blog is a free one through Blogger,, while my official site is a paid blog hosted using a WordPress platform. I thought I'd write a little bit about the pros and cons of each, since I've been using both platforms for well over two years now.
- So easy to use and FREE. Just login to Blogger.com with your Google account information and away you go.
- Get started right away. EVERY WRITER SHOULD HAVE AT LEAST A FREE BLOG. If you don't, then how can editors and potential agents find you? Get one!
- Plenty of templates. There are free ones offered through Blogger or try another. My Blogger template is from Our Blogger Templates and looks great.
- Great introduction to learning about CSS and HTML. I've uploaded my own header, fixed my own fonts, customized all the colors and made this blog my own. Understanding CSS and HTML basics is pretty important.
- Blogger Dashboard is easy to use. I change my site a lot and the Dashboard is simple and straight-forward enough for beginners.
- Can buy domain through Google domains. If you want, you can change your http://yourname.blogspot.com address to your own domain. I think it's $10 for the domain, too.
- One of the few Blogger drawbacks is the number of pages. I wish I could have more than ten!
- Blogger blogs LOOK like a blog. Not as easy to get that professionally designed look.
- The free WordPress.org blogs you get are a good intro to WordPress. Set one up and see if you like the Dashboard layout.
- Unfortunately, WordPress free blogs are NOT customizeable the same way free Blogger blogs are. This was a big drawback before I bought my name as a domain.
- BUT ... once you buy your domain and your hosting, WordPress is absurdly simple to set up through your hosting.
- Extremely professional look without doing any funky coding.
- The SEO options through some WordPress themes are extraordinary. Definitely for the professional author who needs to be known.
- Sky's the limit as far as designing your own templates and themes. WordPress themes just look better than Blogger themes, too.
- WordPress Dashboard layout is not as easy to follow as Blogger, but it's usable and fairly friendly.
- You can have as many pages as you want and put them in any order.
- WordPress sites can function as your main website. You can code them to look like a website, too. I removed tags and comments on my main site to make it look more like a website.
So, it's up to you whether you'd like to have a Blogger blog or a WordPress blog/site. I wish I could merge Blogger's fantastically easy Dashboard layout with WordPress's professional look and SEO capabilities. Put the Blogger back end with the WordPress front end! Sort of like a blog centaur. :)
As you can see, I use both. I like Blogger as my play-around site, featuring lots of silly images and a few pages. But WordPress is my professional site I have listed on business cards, show to potential book buyers and such. You may prefer to have both, as I do!
Good luck. :)
Saturday, July 2
I came across a fascinating online collection as part of the Library of Congress Civil War archives. The Lijenquist Family Collection has some of the best antique ambrotypes, daguerreotypes and tintypes of soldiers I've ever seen.
I love browsing through old photos, since it gives me a great visual when constructing characters. I found one that pretty much nails Daniel Stuart, my main character from Daniel's Garden. Take a look:
He's not in the correct uniform, since this is a daguerreotype of a sailor, but the face is darn near perfect.
Gotta love that. :)
Friday, July 1
I was playing around on a funny avatar website last night and created some silly cartoonish depictions of both myself and my hubby, Erik. So, here we are! :)
And here we are in real life, enjoying a fantastic time in Ireland on the sunny Dingle Peninsula. Click on the pic to see a larger view.