Checking in…

rule-bookcoverpreview-2It’s been much too long since I posted here. Christmas has passed, then January, then the inevitable flu, and then Valentine’s Day. I’m still working on Rule!, but am nearly done.  What a project this has become!

I got the story-telling component done on time by December’s end, but then hit a snag. Two of my beta readers, bless them, who read for content and continuity, gave me an additional assignment. They sent back notes that they like the stories (thank heavens!) but want to know more about the historical setting or family situation behind each story. I like that idea too, so have written/am writing an information intro for each tale. Now, those of us with “‘satiable curtiosity” (like Kipling’s “The Elephant’s Child,”  O best beloved) – we who like to know more about causes and outcomes – can do so, and those of us who just feel like reading good stories can get right to it. It’s taken a while, but I think the additions will be worth it.

I’m framing out and writing the last info page this weekend. Then there are the final edits to make, and off the book goes for uploading and sending to print. It’s exciting and is getting very real.

Rule! consists of nine stories from our family history, set in the British empire or Europe between 783 and 1896. Each recounts a documented event viewed from a personal perspective. The only fiction in the stories is the interpretation needed to turn historical facts into human experiences.

Keep watching the skies – Rule! will appear very soon.

What Fun!

The Local Author Extravaganza was terrific! We had about 30 authors there who gave great talks about their work, and lots of friendly visitors. The writing community in the asrea of Virginia centering on Culpeper area is clearly blooming. Thank you to the Culpeper Library for a wonderful event!

Ready for the Local Author Extravaganza in Culpeper Tomorrow!

On Saturday, October 29th from 1-4:00 pm, at the Culpeper Library, a group of local authors will assemble and you are invited! Admission is free. This event, sponsored by the Culpeper Library, will have door prizes, more than 20 authors to talk with, books available to buy (and get signed!), and brief presentations by authors about whatever it is we talk about. I’m going to spend about 3 minutes a little bit after 3:30 with a few thoughts on developing personal perspectives of history, which I love to do. Other writers will have other things to say. This is a casual, enjoyable event. Come, join the fun!

On Sept 30, 6-8 pm, I’ll Be in Warrenton at Great Writers, Right Here!

Friday, Sept. 30, 6–8 p.m. Family Life Center First Baptist Church 39 Alexandria Pike, Warrenton Fauquier County Public Library is pleased to present a local author fair — Great Writers, Right Here. This event will bring together a wide range of talented local authors under one roof. Please drop in, meet the writers and discuss their works. Books will be available for purchase and signing. Door prize drawings will be held every 30 minutes. Great Writers, Right Here is made possible by the generous support of the Friends of the Fauquier Library.

Two Neat Things Today!

One is that I have a book signing in Winchester VA on this coming Saturday, August 27th from 11 am to 1 pm at


the Winchester Book Gallery! It’s such a fine store – I’m   really excited!

The other is that today I put the finishing touches on my story about Charlemagne (probably your ancestor and, yes, mine). It took a lot of digging around to accomplish the research I needed, but I think I’ve got a good story in hand. Charlemagne is a controversial character, but love him or hate him, he certainly had a lot of impact on Western history. Personalizing him was a bit tricky at first, but it ‘got legs and ran’ after a while.

Charlemagne is one of a varied cast of characters in Rule! – a set of family stories that tracks the origin and growth of the British Empire through personal experiences. Rule! is set to publish in January, so I need to keep writing!



How can a dedicated British career military officer in Victorian times deal after the fact with the stresses and losses of a five-month siege?  In the winter of 1857, Robert Patrick Anderson struggled mightily to get past physical depletion, personal loss and emotional trauma from enduring the Siege of Lucknow. He had to, before he could rebuild his family and and resume his career.

“Lucknow”reconstructs the personal struggle of  one man among the many, Indian and British, who suffered during the Indian Rebellion of 1857. This is a true story about one of the sons of John and Mary Alison Anderson, of the story “St. Helena”. You’ll find an excerpt of “St. Helena” on the Rule! page of this site.

Writing this story involved a lot of research into the Sieges of Lucknow and Cawnpore, Sikh religious and philosophical tenets,  the Rebellion of 1857, London in 1858 and much more. It was fascinating to research, but very hard to write! Personalizing human responses in the “stiff upper lip” culture that typified Victorian times was hard to do. But we know that war is a nasty business and it always has been, and those who suffer through it pay on many levels.

“Lucknow” is in first draft now, and will be part of Rule!, Vol II of Helena’s Stories, which is coming out in January, 2017.

Photo of Helena


My scanner and computer have finally decided to reconcile!  I’m happy for them, and much happier for me. Now, I’m able to get this photo of my mom, Helena, into a file. That is something I’ve wanted  to do for a long time.  Here it is!

Mom was responsible for all the stories I’m working on these days, which is why I started my ‘serious’ writing  with the novel A Perfect Plan. We both liked Catherine Nelson and George Matcham, and saw a story there. The next book, working title Rule!, will be short stories of the 10th through 19th Century in England, Europe and ‘the East’. All are connected in some way with Great Britain and its development. If you go to the Menu button in the upper right hand corner of this page, you’ll find more about Helena’s Stories, and more about the books of the Britannia series.