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The Surprising Secondary Characters in Blackhorse Road—Time

Old Letters and Diaries

Tony Hoagland, author and poet, writes that "The glory of the protagonist is always paid for by a lot of secondary characters."

 

In Blackhorse Road, time is not an add on or a placeholder. Instead, it is a secondary character that adds depth and perspective to the protagonist, antagonist, and other secondary characters. 

 

Stories are about relationships with people, but people also have a relationship with the eras.  I wanted to make those relationships come alive in Blackhorse Road, whether it was a treacherous immigration period, a turbulent social justice era, or a time when many people lost all hope.

 

Readers tell me that they connect with the different time periods represented in the story in Blackhorse Road. Just as they form relationships with secondary characters that are people, they also form connections with different eras in the story.  For some, the association is most acute surrounding the Irish immigration to Canada between the 1830s and mid-nineteenth century. For others, it is the mid-1960s or even a sliver of time, such as the street dance scene.

 

Readers might ask, "How do you turn an era into a secondary character?"  I connect people to eras by reading old letters, diaries, or other firsthand accounts of the period. These documents reveal a relationship between a person and an inanimate object, and through this relationship, it becomes easy to turn an era into a secondary character.

  

It's my hope that that as readers connect with Luci, the protagonist, and Sam, Barry, Shelia, Chris, and the other secondary "people" characters in Blackhorse Road that they also feel a bond with the time eras in which the people in the story lived as well.

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The Vision for Blackhorse Road

As soon as I saw this article, I had to share with the readers of Blackhorse Road. "A novel changed the life of Francesca Lo Basso—and there's scientific evidence that she's not alone."

 

This is exactly what I hoped for Blackhorse Road.  Read the article from The Greater Good Magazine--Science-based Insights for a Meaningful Life

 

How Reading Fiction Can Shape Our Real Lives

 

 

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Use Writer’s Block to Recharge Your Creativity

I recently answered a question on Goodreads, "How do you deal with writer's block?"

 

There are myriad definitions of writer's block, but Merriam-Webster probably has it right—a psychological inhibition preventing a writer from proceeding with a piece.  I think we all have experienced writer's block one time or another that invokes irritation, frustration, exasperation, and even conjures up an inner critic who is ready to heap tons of self-blame on us.

 

When I get writer's block, I see it as an opportunity to clear my mind, and I push that frustration and inner critic to the side and take a minute.  Writer's block is my brain telling me it is overloaded—it needs a rest; it needs a small retreat.  I call it the mindful minute. 

 

The mindful minute can take various forms.  Sometimes it is just sitting, taking a deep breath, closing my eyes, and being with myself and just listening!  Listening to the sounds around me, being curious about them, and not judging whether they are good or bad.  When extraneous thoughts come to mind, I acknowledge them and then gently push them away and go back to listening.  Other times, it is sitting, taking a breath, closing my eyes, and focusing on my emotions.

 

So, when I hit a writer's block, I look at it as an opportunity to recharge my creativity. I take a mindful minute (or maybe two or three).  Afterward, I write down my feelings about the experience in my writer's journal, and my creativity is awakened its flow breaks through the writer's block.  Here are examples of my "in the minute" journal entries:

 

9/13/2020:  In the minute listening:  Although I cannot see them, I can hear and visualize the piano keys in deliberate slowness moving up and down, producing the clearest of sounds.  What beat is that, I ask? Whole notes, half notes?  What does it feel like to be a piano key moving in that purposeful order?

 

9/14/2020:  In the minute smiling:  Feel what happens when you smile:  I smiled, and tranquility came over me, and I felt I as if I were floating on air.  I felt at peace.  I felt that nothing else mattered except being in this moment of calm.

 

See writer's block as an opportunity to recharge creativity!

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Over the Moon

Blackhorse Road just got its first Amazon review--5 stars!  Check it out on Amazon.

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Authors Write About What They Know

Fort Malden, Amherstburg, Ontario, Canada
Fort Malden - Amherstburg, Ontario, Canada 
Creative Commons Photo by John Stanton
Retrieved: http://www.fortwiki.com/File:Fort_Malden_-_15.jpg

It is said that authors write about what they know—I guess that might be true. In my novel, Blackhorse Road, I've included a place that resonates with history, memories, and spirits, and some of my own memories, too!. After reading the excerpt below from Blackhorse Road, click on the link and view the pictures to see why Luci loves Fort Malden so—I promise, you will feel its energy and vibration, and maybe even feel the spirits of long ago.


"Nevertheless, the manicuring and modernization could not destroy the resilience of the old fort's spirit. The fortification's life force emanated as strong as ever and rose from the earth and battlements like a quivering earthquake. The power of General Brock and Tecumseh, the soldiers, the French settlers, and the First Peoples, still cried out demanding acknowledgment. They will not be denied, Luci comforted herself. Time marches on and changes things, but it cannot eradicate the imprint of energy stamped on a place. Energy does not die. Its vibration, perhaps redistributed, continues. Memories are similar. They do not die; they are the waves that flow throughout a lifetime."

 

For more photos see the link here https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g793524-d1861821-Reviews-Fort_Malden_National_Historic_Site-Amherstburg_Ontario.html

 

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Searching for Merry-Go-Rounds

Carousels play a significant scene between two sets of lovers, separated by sixty years, in my novel Blackhorse Road. One of the things I love about writing a novel is where the research takes me in tracking down specific facts—one of these journeys was locating an old carousel that existed on Bob-Lo Island in 1900 and one that existed in Fairmont Park, Riverside CA in 1966. Here is a picture of Mountain Dancer that Luci rode in Fairmont Park—a ride that changes her life. https://carousels.org/psp/CrossroadsVillage/LeafHorseRow.html   

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How Luci, Sam, Barry, and the Gang of Nerds are Helping Me Cope with the COVID-19 Crisis.

As most of my friends know, I began writing a novel back in the late winter of 2018.  Writing fiction was always a dream—to use my creativity in imagining and writing about regular people and how they faced and overcame challenges. However, it wasn't until meeting and overcoming a significant medical challenge myself that I put a computer keyboard to a digital screen and started writing my first story, Blackhorse Road.  Writing this novel has been a journey of fulfillment, personal introspection, insight, and, yes, a stress reducer.

 

During this chaotic and uncertain time, polishing off my novel during its last round of copyediting has given me a quiet place to hang out with the book's characters. And my characters, in turn, have provided me with a therapeutic escape and the energy to come back and face the real world.

 

I think all people have a gift of story-telling—after all, we share stories every day with our family and friends!  Give yourself a gift of time to put the computer keyboard to a digital screen and write a story, creating characters that will give you a therapeutic escape and a quiet place to hang out for a while.

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Pre-Publication Reviews of Blackhorse Road Coming In!

Book Reviews for my novel Blackhorse Road are coming in, and I'm over the moon! 

 

Midwest Book Review's Senior Reviewer Diane Donavan has given the novel high praise.  The full review will appear on the Midwest Book Review's website in March, but here's a peek at one part of the review:  "Blackhorse Road, a story of romance, coming of age, betrayal, and recovery that moves from personal transformation to personal disaster in the blink of an eye….Novel readers seeking a tale that closely considers deception and forgiveness, love gained and lost, and family ties will welcome the multifaceted Blackhorse Road's ability to come full circle in a satisfyingly unexpected way." 

 

The full review will be posted to the Midwest Book Review webpage in early March.....wait for more to come.

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