Map Making 101

November 14th. 2017

Not that I’ve found one, but I could really use a Dummy’s Guide to Making a Map. My novel, The Big Inch, is a WWII historical fiction and it utilizes real places in the city of Longview, Texas. Imaginary characters climb the stairs, stare off the rooftops, and gaze over lake surfaces in the very places that actual people walk every day. As I write the sequel to The Big Inch, called Harmon General, I’ve decided to add a map to the front of the new book–just as a reference for those who are curious about the context of the plot and locations mentioned. So, here are my questions. How much detail should go on the map? How accurate to mileage and longitudinal details does it need to be? And, if buildings sited in the 1940s no longer exist, how do I place them on the map? Do I create a walking map for readers to go to actual addresses, or just a loose approximation of location so that folks reading the book can visualize a general area?

You can see I have a problem that needs noodling, so if you have a suggestion for map creation, feel free to let me know.

History Has Warts

October 24th. 2017

I’m a bit confused by those who wish to sanitize history. Not confused really, this has been happening since the earliest days of ink and papyrus–those scribes with their hieroglyphics documented events as they were told to by their kings and priests. History had a spin even along the Nile. But the mad rush today to pick and choose model figures based on how they appeal to us, if their message resonates with our worldview, and if it’s politically palatable feels, well, false. There’s not much from world history that can hold up to the scrutiny of a modern age that allows the whims and rage of a technology-connected population to dictate what is worthy. And it’s not just the liberals that have reduced our historical context to a sound bite, the right does it too. We don’t talk about the Founding Fathers, Biblical characters, or military victors unless their stance and outcome validates our point of view. So, what’s a thinker supposed to do? Sift.

Truth is truth whether we like it or not. History has warts. People have had a mean-streak for a very long time. And the irony is, not much–short of our sophistication, travel and technology–has changed.

I want everyone to unplug from technology for a long while. Walk in nature, unwind. Breathe clean air, and then once we’ve all had a good sleep, come back together and remember that we don’t get to write our history either. The folks who come behind us will do that, and how they choose to remember us will be through their filter. God be with us. We may get a dose of our own medicine.

A Peek into the Writer’s Life

September 22nd. 2017

Turn away, and look elsewhere. I’m warning you, it’s a mess in here. My desk is divided with stacks of real life work (I’m freelance writer with clients that want their work turned around when they want it, despite my desire to be sitting there writing fiction,) and stacks of whatever tidbits of research I’ve found that will help in developing authenticity for the novel I’m writing. Like every other writer on the planet, I wish I could spend all day with my characters and plot developments, augmented by copious amounts of chocolate. But reality is complicated. Still, all those papers, all those scribbled notes, and those snippets of conversation between characters in my head (always at the most unfortunate time,) are an important thread in my life. They’re pulling me to the dream I’ve always longed to fulfill, and Praise God!, I do get to have time to write fiction. And the craziest thing of all, is that readers are opening my books and staying with my stories. I’ve met people in the grocery store, church, civic meetings, and restaurants who’ve told me they liked the Big Inch and when was the sequel coming out.This is like throwing gasoline on a fire. I’m so excited about what’s to come with this writer’s life, and I hope you’ll stick with me for the journey.

The clatter of keyboarding

September 14th. 2017

I’ve been holed up in my favorite hermit spot for a few weeks now, busily attacking the second draft of the work-in-progress, okay, it’s really called Harmon General. Gosh, it’s hard to keep a secret these days. As it is, my fingers fly so fast that I then have to spend a few hours re-reading and editing what plot elements have been brought on by copious amounts of dark chocolate, goldfish crackers, and Dr Pepper–not necessarily in that order, and sometime all at once. I’m looking forward to releasing some snippets from the story, once I feel they’re show-off worthy, to help build the momentum for the book release in 2018.

Hope you’ll stay with me for the ride, and that you’ll be pleased when you reconnect with familiar characters from The Big Inch. 

Working on a Series Notebook

July 25th. 2017

I’ve spent the better part of the last few days organizing old notes, photos, interviews, articles, maps, trinkets, and character sketches into a 4″ binder to become the brain of the series, Misfits and Millionaires–the first book was released in winter 2017, The Big Inch. This notebook became necessary because as I’m currently at work on the sequel, Harmon General, I realized my memory was a tad unreliable for coming up with critical details and all those folders and loose pages on my shelves were no help when I was tracking down what kind of car someone droves in the original novel. And if readers of books are like me, they notice those mis-steps in a series. It might turn off a reader who thinks if the author doesn’t do a better job at research, why stick with the series?  I don’t want that to happen, so a concise notebook seemed critical. To make matters even better, I contacted my number one assistant, my mother, and asked her to re-read The Big Inch and make notes any time I referenced a detail–like what color someone’s eyes were, or if there was tattered carpeting in a room. Betty Lou will come through for me.

I was talking about this idea with another writer, Jill Haymaker, and she turned me towards a YouTube video about creating “series bible.” I took my inspiration from there and began with a binder, multiple divider pages, and a box of clear sleeves. I’ll be going back to the store for more supplies next week. Details are what give the story and characters texture, something I never appreciated as I was writing my first draft. But now that I realize this is going to become a series, I want to be authentic to the world I created the first go around and not disappoint myself, or readers, by being slap-dashy with room details or locations. If you’d like to know more about this notebook process, let me know and I’ll film a little tour through the book to post later. Until then, know I’m wearing a few hats while I write–the creative beret and the book administrative hardhat. Ridiculous, but sadly accurate.

Packing my bags for a blog tour!

July 21st. 2017

Hello, friends. Hope you’re in an armchair traveling mood. One of the reasons I write is to take mental vacations to places I want to explore and experience. (And buying a book is a lot cheaper than an airline ticket!) I hope that’s one of the reasons you read too.

Bloggers with Lone Star Literary are ready to take my latest book, Comfort Plans, on a tour and share their thoughts, insights, and reviews of the plot with their readers across Texas and assorted state lines. I’ve never met these bloggers in person, but I read their reviews of other books and hope they enjoy spending time between the pages of this Hill Country contemporary novel, uncovering the backstory of house that was ready to spill it’s beans about the past. I’ll be watching from afar, because I discover their reviews the same time you do.

I’ll be in Jackson Hole, Wyoming when the blogs debut on social media those first few weeks of August, so my bags are going to high country and I’ll end days of hiking and exploring with time around the computer, touching base with readers and friends who are starting or ending their days with Comfort Plans. I’m thinking of these blogs like a “trip advisor” for mental vacation spots! If you enjoyed your time in Comfort, please leave a review on the Amazon page or at GoodReads so others can know what other vacationers have experienced.

Expanding my presence on Face Book

July 6th. 2017

I created an author page for folks who are “hooked on Kimberly Fish books” and it’s where I’ll post videos, author events, bookish news, scoop in my works-in-progress and any other tidbits that will interest readers of book with a dash of Texas history and flair for all things good. Facebook friends can find me a Kimberly Fish, Author to “like” the page and drop me a line.

Comfort Plans, at the Kendall County Courthouse in Boerne, Texas

June 26th. 2017

Surprise! It’s the house from the cover of Comfort Plans

June 26th. 2017

Old Letters and the novel, Comfort Plans

June 26th. 2017