The Death of a Castle, the Birth of a Book

I was saddened to learn today that Castle Miranda (also known as Château de Noisy) in Belgium was slated to be torn down this month. Back in 2012 I stumbled across the gorgeous pictures from PROJ3CT M4YH3M of this heart-breaking, beautiful, decaying castle. The ceilings especially inspired me to put pen to paper and write the scene in my novel Glimmer of Steel where Jennica comes to terms with her fate while staring up at her bedroom’s ceiling.

Since I don’t own any of the copyrights for the images I saw back in 2012, nor have I paid for licensing rights, I have the next best thing… links to the owners’ sites so you can hop over a view them yourself.

The first link is for a website (in German) with historical photos/drawings of the Castle in its original state.

The second link is from Ian Moone’s and PROJ3CT M4YH3M’s website page that covered their first visit to Castle Miranda in 2012: 

Urbex: Castle Miranda aka Château de Noisy Belgium – December 2012 (Part 1)

The third link is from Ian Moone’s and PROJ3CT M4YH3M’s second visit in 2014:

Urbex: Castle Miranda aka Château de Noisy Belgium – May 2014 (revisit)

So just as I’m getting ready to release Glimmer of Steel to Kindle Scout this month, and I’m looking for Castle Miranda pictures to share as an important visual inspiration for my writing, I learned the castle is being dismantled. Pascal Dermien recently photographed the start of the demolition and shared his photos on YouTube. You can see former turrets cast upon the ground, including the weather vane that used to spin atop the highest peak. Only the blogs, and photographs, memories, videos, and the occasional book will live on.

Editing Magic

First Try Perfection © Mihail Orlov

First Try Perfection © Mihail Orlov

If only I could spin a perfect yarn as quickly and efficiently as Miss Spider spins her web. Now don’t get me wrong. I can crank out a few thousand words a day just like any other red-blooded writer. Maybe not as many as Rachel Aaron. I still have my day job. But on a good Saturday when The Spouse takes on chauffeur duty and I’m left with My Muse, a cup of tea, and a quiet house, I can hit 3,500- 5,000 words easy.

Mr. Kitty, Writing Muse

Mr. Kitty, Writing Muse

Quantity is easy. Quality is hard work.

One of my recent editing endeavors involved rewriting a Young Adult Sci-Fantasy novel from third-person past point-of-view to first-person present and back again. I honestly don’t know which version I like better now, but I can tell you the “new” third-person version is far more intimate and thoughtful simply from going through the process. So painstakingly, for the last few months, I’ve taken a Middle-Grade Dystopian that I wrote a couple years back and I have edited and re-edited, written, revised, and re-written, gutted and reassembled, stacked, unstacked, and re-stacked, until this,

The mess before the magic

The mess before the magic

Became this,

The middle is looking a little light.

The middle is looking a little light.

Became this.

The beauty of organization.

The beauty of organization.

First try perfection is definitely not my thing. Revising and editing? That’s when the magic happens. Now enough writing about editing. Time to get the job done.


Secret to Share: I Write Longhand





There, I’ve said it. I struggle to compose on the keyboard. I cannot plot on the keyboard. I spend more time deleting than creating on the keyboard. Staring at a blank page on a computer screen = no. Staring at a lined legal notepad = YES! Call it what you will, “strange quirky writer refuses to get with the times.” Old-fashioned, and change-adverse. Like a baseball pitcher who refuses to change his underwear or else spoil his winning streak. Well, maybe not quite like that.


I write with a pen, on legal pads, usually in bed, and always in cursive (I know, a dying art I’ve read). It’s the way my brain has always worked. Studying for exams in school, I would rewrite my notes, heck I’d rewrite the textbook if I found the time. My brain has a connection to my hand, my hand to the pen, the pen to the paper.


I judge my progress not by a word count at the bottom of the screen but by how many pens run out of ink (one so far on BAD MOJO, four on CHOSEN SOUL, three on HOPELIGHT) and how many notepads I can fill (lots).


If it matters, I do appreciate the trees that have been felled in pursuit of my dreams of a college education and a career as a writer.


Don’t get me wrong, I love my Macbook. Truly I do. But my computer is all about work: creating syllabi and grading electronic assignments and checking e-mail (couple hundred per day) and oh yes, editing. Let’s not forget editing. My scrawled notes have to end up in the computer some time, so the first round of edits happens while I’m typing them in, making the second round easier. In theory anyway.


And lets not forget that Macbook is also a gateway to the greatest time-suck of the universe: the internet. The glowing apple beckons me to Facebook, blog links of the world, Ebay, Twitter, Goodreads, and yes, Wikipedia. I also have an IPad now, which I can use to kill a good hour throwing a diverse array of birds at snorting green pig heads.


Hiding my electronic devices so I can compose on paper works for me. Maybe it will work for you. Give it a try some time. All you need is a good pen . . . some lined paper . . . a quiet room. Cat curled at your feet is optional.