Category Archives: history

The A to Z Blog Challenge Theme Reveal!


by Lillian Csernica on March 21, 2017

thmrevel

Once again I shall be celebrating the arrival of Spring by participating in the A to Z Blog Challenge. This will be my fourth year, and I look forward to even more fun and meeting new friends.

In past years, my themes have included Travel Adventures, Unusual Items Made of Chocolate, and Bad Sword & Sorcery Movies.

This year I will be bringing you eye candy taken from another one of my secret passions:

sm2bart2bnouveau2bheading-min

Jewelry, housewares, and a few other surprises, at least one for every letter of the alphabet! I’ll be looking forward to your comments!

erte1

Save

9 Comments

Filed under artists, Blog challenges, chocolate, creativity, fantasy, Goals, history, Lillian Csernica, romance, travel, Writing

Reblog: Tabula Candida


And that’s why I need my morning tea: I’m looking for my brain.

via Brain — Tabula Candida

1 Comment

Filed under classics, editing, Food, frustration, historical fiction, history, Humor, Lillian Csernica, research, Writing

NaNoWriMo 2016: VICTORY!


by Lillian Csernica on November 30, 2016

nanowrimo_2016_webbanner_winner

 

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Bouquet of Rivals, Book 3 of The Flower Maiden Saga, weighs in at 50,064 words.

 

stock-vector-japanese-summer-festival-romance-vector-graphic-102024409

3 Comments

Filed under Awards, creativity, dreams, editing, fantasy, Fiction, Goals, historical fiction, history, Japan, Kyoto, Lillian Csernica, love, research, romance, travel, Writing

News from NaNo Land


by Lillian Csernica on November 13th, 2016

canstock2309186

It’s a good thing women are neurologically wired for multitasking. Without that advantage, I would be a smoking pile of rubble right now.

e5eedc8379c859f4f73fb3bc0ba53915

In addition to cranking out seven pages of fresh writing every day on my NaNo novel, I’ve had to edit and polish two short stories. The first weighed in at 3300 words, the second at 5300. Both were due today. I sent them to my editor last night. Go, me!

As if all that wasn’t enough fun, I’ve had brainstorms for at least two new short stories.

creative-ideas-clipart-1

This is all good, but it feels like Finals Week. I’ve been downing so much caffeine I’m surprised my arrhythmia hasn’t started up again. The only cure for mental fatigue is getting away from reading and writing for a little while. (I never really thought of grocery shopping as being therapeutic, but today’s trip to the market qualified!)

il_340x270-1034019449_doy5

So this is what the Big Names do all the time. Wow. Let’s hope I can keep this up after the formal end of NaNoWriMo. It’s good to be preoccupied with my writing. That really keeps the depression under control.

Capere keyboard!

1 Comment

Filed under creativity, Depression, editing, fantasy, Fiction, frustration, Goals, historical fiction, history, Japan, Kyoto, Lillian Csernica, neurodiversity, publication, steampunk, therapy, travel, Writing

The Age of Monsters


by Lillian Csernica on September 28, 2016

sphinx2016_1800x840
I hope to see lots of you folks during Con-Volution this weekend at the Hyatt Regency SFO  in Burlingame, CA. With Halloween just around the corner, I’ve been working on some fun freebies. See me at a panel, catch me roaming around the hotel, and you will walk away with some fun, useful, and downright eye-catching items.
And yes, I do sign body parts, provided the Medical Examiner is already done with them!

My panel schedule:

It’s Shirley Been 100 Years

Friday 17:00 – 18:30, Boardroom V (Hyatt Regency SFO)

In December of this year, Shirley Jackson turns 100. Best known for her story “The Lottery” (1948), Jackson has been read by teenagers across the world. But her novels The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle endure almost as strongly. What is Jackson’s legacy to modern horror? What women are carrying her torch in today’s horror market?

Carrie Sessarego, Lillian Csernica (M)

Kaiju, As Far as the Eye Could See!

Saturday 12:00 – 13:30, Boardroom IV (Hyatt Regency SFO)

Kaiju are a special breed of monster, and deserve a panel all their own to spotlight their talents in thrilling us!

Lillian Csernica, Colin Fisk, BuddhaBabe (M), Xander Kent

Fear of The Other

Saturday 20:00 – 21:30, SandPebble B (Hyatt Regency SFO)

Horror from previous generations draws much of its power from the fear of the Other. In some cases the other is an unknowable being, a cosmic terror, but just as often it’s not, referencing instead more mundane distinctions between us and them. How problematic is the use of the Other to engender fear? Has fear of the Other led to some of the challenges genre faces today relative to inclusiveness and equality?

Lillian Csernica, Juliette Wade (M), Garrett Calcaterra, Gregg Castro t’rowt’raahl Salinan/rumsien Ohlone, Sumiko Saulson


cropped-2016convoageofmonsters_withdates-100px

2 Comments

Filed under bad movies, classics, creativity, fairy tales, fantasy, Fiction, Halloween, history, Horror, Japan, Lillian Csernica, publication, research, science fiction, Writing

Reblog: Cunning as a Serpent, Innocent as a Dove


by Lillian Csernica on September 10, 2016

Many thanks to Sarah Zama at The Old Shelter for sharing an excerpt of my short story included in And All Our Yesterdays.

514zffgjyvl-_sy346_

Thursday Quotables – Cunning as a Serpent, Innocent as a Dove

1 Comment

Filed under Family, Fiction, historical fiction, history, Lillian Csernica, parenting, research, Writing

Where Will Your Writing Take You?


by Lillian Csernica on July 6, 2016

Word Destination On Keyboard

I am at work on a new short story. In order to build the plot, know the characters properly, and create a climax that is both satisfying and plausible, I have had to learn about these subjects:

Concrete screws

What a hammer drill is and does

What machinery CalTrans uses to resurface the freeways

How strong a welder’s mask really is

The auction price of three small gold coins from medieval Norway

Why the California Highway Patrol doesn’t handle a crime scene the way the Sheriff’s Dept. or the local police would.

Who owned the land grant that encompasses a large portion of Los Angeles County back when Charles V of Spain was handing those out.

Sure, research is part of a writer’s daily life. Sure, I’m already drawing on a lot of knowledge I already have when it comes to the fantasy elements in the story. No surprises there, right?

It’s one thing to have a good idea. It’s quite another to convince your readers it will work.

The deeper I’ve gone into this story, the more I’ve needed to learn. All the details matter, even the peripheral details that could be taken for granted. My two main characters have to join forces to accomplish something almost impossible in a very tight time frame against staggering odds. One knows enough about power tools and where to get them. The other knows enough about the Bad Guys and how to fight them.

The most exciting part about this story is what each of the main characters must learn about the other character and about himself. Is each of them willing to risk everything? How much does each of them stand to lose? And if they succeed, what do they do next, knowing what they now know?

That laundry list of research subjects has taken me to areas of science, history, law enforcement, and construction that are all new to me. I had to look all of that information up because I need it all to build the goals and obstacles for each character, my heroes and my Bad Guys. In discovering so much about the contexts in which my characters function, I’ve developed new insights into their motivations, loyalties, prejudices, etc.

This might sound really obvious, but it isn’t. There’s no thrill like the thrill of sudden inspiration, realization, understanding. Pieces of related information link up and present themselves as an idea or a solution or a complication.

Let your writing take you to places where you’ve never been. Don’t try to steer. Just go where your characters have come from, then take them and your readers somewhere none of you ever expected to go!

500_f_115039379_ut0zxptskwmarr4gsxgdluhiphsuvdef

2 Comments

Filed under creativity, editing, fairy tales, Family, Fiction, Goals, historical fiction, history, Lillian Csernica, nature, research, travel, Writing

Playing the Writer’s Accordion


by Lillian Csernica on June 22, 2016

6193974_orig

First you expand by writing.  Then you compress by editing.  Expand, compress.  Expand, compress.

The trouble is, right now I’m compressing the synopsis for Sword Master, Flower Maiden while also expanding a short story that needs to get out to market.

Playing two separate accordions at once is no simple task. Just when I’ve settled into the mindset to murder my darlings in the synopsis, it’s time to switch gears and open the taps for the short story’s new scenes.

marche-manufacturing-castelfidardo-accordion-cp5fak

Can I work on one project at a time?  Can I finish it and then move on to the other?  I could, but that would slow down my productivity even more.  I have to work on multiple projects at once. The satisfaction of completing a short story and getting it out to market helps me endure the day after day grind of writing a 100,000 word historical romance.

There are days when I do get tired of being neck deep in the details of Japan under the Tokugawa.  I want to run away to modern day and drop some creature of folklore into a situation that causes havoc for all concerned.  I like blowing things up.  It’s very therapeutic.

Sex scenes aren’t as much fun as non-writers seem to think.  Those scenes take a lot more work and attention to detail.  This is why my favorite scenes in Ship of Dreams are the sea battles.  I just loved figuring out how the Black Angel would disable Vasquez’s galleon so he could rescue Rosalind before sinking the ship.

stock-photo-20744432-accordion-player-dressed-in-traditional-costume-montmartre-paris-france

 

So I’m back to my daily 1000 word quota.  And I’m pushing forward on the support documents, so to speak.  And I’m hauling short stories out of inventory, ripping out the seams, adding panels, and freshening the trim.

Whoops.  Just mixed my metaphors.  Oh well.  Tell me you’ve never heard an accordion hit a wrong note!

acca5

2 Comments

Filed under creativity, editing, fairy tales, Family, fantasy, Fiction, frustration, Goals, historical fiction, history, Humor, Japan, Lillian Csernica, love, pirates, publication, research, romance, therapy, Writing

The Hazards of Writing What You Know


I wrote this post two and a half years ago. In the wake of the Orlando shootings and the discussions about issues related to that horrible event, I feel it’s relevant to make these points again.

Hopes and Dreams: My Writing and My Sons

by Lillian Csernica on February 16, 2014There seems to be more and more talk these days about the importance of diversity, inclusive viewpoints, and using language that carefully avoids triggers and hostile buzzwords.

What we have here is a mine field.

Let’s consider the Bogeyman of our times, the Straight White Male (SWM).  How is a SWM supposed to write about characters with whom he has absolutely nothing in common, no points of cultural similarity or emotional resonance?  As a drastic example, just to make the point, imagine a single, childless SWM attempting to write a story from the viewpoint of an African-American lesbian who has two children from a relationship that occurred when she was a teenager.  Even if the SWM knows a woman who fits this description and goes to her for research and feedback on his manuscript, he’s still in the position of a deaf person…

View original post 509 more words

2 Comments

Filed under editing, Family, Fiction, Goals, historical fiction, history, Lillian Csernica, neurodiversity, perspective, publication, research, Writing

How to Avoid Cheating on Yourself


by Lillian Csernica on June 11, 2016

can-stock-photo_csp28104922

We’d been together for years.  It’s hard to remember a time when we haven’t been together.  I knew it would be a big commitment.  What we’ve built together is strong.  There are good days.  There are bad days.  In the end, we’ve always ended up working at it together again.

Then it happened.

I didn’t see it coming.  I really didn’t.  One minute I was trudging along in my happy little rut, taking care of that day’s To Do list.  The next….

Nothing equals the excitement of a new beginning.  A fresh start, full of all the possibilities, the starry-eyed joy that you feel before any of the mistakes start happening.

I wanted to stay up all night.  I wanted it to last forever.  That feeling.  That sense of power, of fulfillment.  It’s addictive.  It’s also a trap.

The fast fix.  The one night stand.  Getting it all in one quick and dirty burst.

Short stories are such sluts.  They’ll let anybody write them.

I’d betrayed my novel.  It sat there at home, waiting for me, while I was off having a fling with A New Idea.

It’s so difficult.  At times the temptation is intense.  I just want a project I can finish!  I love typing “END.”  Is that so wrong?

My novel has to come first.  Oh, I can have my little stories on the side, but I have to do the day’s work on my novel first.  Then, if I have any energy left, any lingering “unmet needs,” only then can I go run off and play with some trollop of a short story.

They call it “career management,” but it feels a lot more like couples therapy.

500_f_104200141_lgtq0imj0p4yr7yrtuipxtiyj7w2lagx

 

 

 

6 Comments

Filed under creativity, Depression, editing, fairy tales, Family, fantasy, Fiction, frustration, Goals, historical fiction, history, Humor, Lillian Csernica, love, marriage, perspective, publication, research, romance, therapy, Writing