I hope you have a wonderful 2019! I have two new hardback Heather Redmond mysteries out this year, and we’ll see what else the year brings. I hope you follow me on Instagram if you haven’t already. It’s my favorite social media site at the moment and I post lots of art pieces and journal entries.
Category Archives: helpful tips
I’m Dreaming of…a Newly Furnished Living Room
I'm Dreaming of...a Newly Furnished Living Room
|Father: Unspecified||Mother: Unspecified|
Do you dream of the perfect reading nook?
Last year’s holiday season brought a drum kit into my living room of eleven years. This prompted a historic reimagining of where our Christmas tree would live this year. All of which, coupled with the fact that I’m working on a Charles Dickens Christmas mystery right now, made me think of my living room past, present, and future.
Once upon a time, I had a blue corduroy high-end recliner in one corner of the bow window. Next to it was an antique piecrust table with two levels, that I’d purchased or inherited somewhere along the way. I framed a photo of a gorgeous bouquet of flowers in a white wood frame, so I always had a touch of spring, and placed it on the bottom level of the table. Intermixed were candles and family photos, nicely framed. A tall lamp added illumination.
It was my happy place.
On to the present. Someone rearranged my living room. The chair broke. The table broke. The lamp broke. I had a toddler so no more candles in the living room. The flowers disappeared. Now, in another part of this large room, I own a brown corduroy chair, not nearly as plush (but made in America), a cheap lamp from Target, and an unfinished wooden table with a big pile of middle grade books perched there. The sense of peace and pretty are gone.
What might my future reading and writing nook look like? I’m going to dream, using www.arhaus.com. Come imagine your new favorite spot with me!
First of all, I must have the Easton 33″ Upholstered Tufted Recliner in Elmont Ink-. It’s so elegant. It would probably be the nicest piece of furniture I ever owned, and bonus – it’s made in America!
I’ve written a trilogy set in the 1920s, so I think I need this table along the wall behind my recliner. I love the mirror finish. It can hold a nice stack of my research books for Christmas Carol Murdered, with a side of mushroom books for my next Krinar story.
I need a table to the left of my chair. It will hold my water (I’m drinking lots these days), a kid book or two, my bullet journal, my phone… I don’t think I can resist the iron console table, even if it is probably too large. I’m researching trains for…reasons…and this will remind me about that project.
Of course I need a nice lamp, preferably one my father isn’t afraid will explode on me one of these days. I always buy floor lamps, but my console table will have room for a table lamp if I want to go that route for once. Here are some prime options. The Marla floor lamp has a lovely period feel, and I like lamps with a “hang” to them that I can turn around to refocus on whatever I’m doing. The Domino table lamp is a good fit for me. It reminds me of both the geometry of 1920s designs, and Native American baskets. It’s nice to put hints of both my hobby (basket weaving) and my heritage (Delaware/Cherokee tribes among many other ethnicities) into my home décor. Arhaus has many unique lighting pieces to accent a reading nook.
This basket is nicer than I’m capable of making, and it might look nice on one of my new tables. It harkens back to the table lamp.
On the other side of the room, I might hang this Rain at Sea framed print. It would be a nice way to let my eyes relax after long hours at the computer, and looks appropriately Pacific Northwest.
What do I think? Did I build myself the perfect space for creative work and relaxation? What do you need in your special space?
Here is my Pinterest board! https://www.pinterest.com/heatherhiestand/dream-living-room/
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When Historical Fiction Gets Real: Finding Emotional Truth
The terrorist attacks in Belgium today settle on me uneasily as an author of historical fiction. As I blithely changed the timeline on my work in progress , I wondered what historical events I might be missing that might distract the characters in my novel, or even affect them. Characters live in larger worlds than our plots. For instance, my current hero is from Sicily. What might have been happening in his hometown during that week I just added to my story because I realized my plot timeline was too tight?
The other issue that concerns me is how I write about circumstances like what happened in Belgium today. My upcoming series (debuts 9/27/16), The Grand Russe Hotel, is concerned with Russian immigrants in England. Most of them are solid citizens trying to restart their lives after the Russian revolution, but some are Bolsheviks hoping to disrupt the British government. There are bombers and bomb threats and even actual bombs. Danger for all, a very real situation. As I writer, I need to make sure to keep the emotion tangible. It’s not just a plot. My characters need to feel the fear that is present in Europe today in the midst of so much sorrow, uncertainty, and despair. I must remember to keep my world of 1925 London three-dimensional. The terrorists of 2016 are different than those of 1925, but the emotions of those living through the experience are the same as those suffering today.
If we want readers to bond with our characters, understanding the mindset of people in crisis is very important. And if we can give our characters happy endings despite the traumas they live through, hopefully it can give readers a feeling of closure and hope that all is not lost, no matter how dark the sky that day.
Sophisticated Amazon Searches
To help make books more discoverable on Amazon (despite them hiding “adult content” books and redirecting search results to other books), here is a tip for *how* to search for the books you want to buy.
Have a shortcut to take you to Amazon advanced search page, rather than just opening the Amazon site and using the default search box.
In the fields on the Advanced Search page, you can enter one item or any combination of author, title, ISBN, publisher, etc. When you do a search this way, adult content will come up. And the search results seem, from our experience, to be more in sync with the search terms entered.
For example, if you search on author Jaid Black in advanced search, the 12 items on the first results page are all books by Jaid Black. But if you search by that author name in the default All Departments search box at the top of any page, five of the items (including the top one) displayed on the first results page are by other authors and have nothing to do with Jaid Black.
I did a search for “Heather Hiestand” and “historical romance” and the list was pretty accurate. Only one of my contemporary romances showed up. So this is a great way to search for authors who have long backlists like I do!