Tracking Characters

Posted Sat, 01/09/21

People often ask me how I keep track of storylines and characters in different books as I'm writing them. To me, it's easy. If an author has created a story purely from their imagination, it's rather simple to keep track of the characters. They become like bona fide family members, so I have no trouble in remembering them or their purpose in the story. Jumping from one novel to another has always been somewhat easy for me because of this. The characters are family, in a way, and not easy to forget where they belong.

However, I keep a spreadsheet for each book in order to reference individual character quirks and their relationship to others.

Sample of the "Glinhaven" spreadsheet. Click on image to view larger size in a new window.

(Above): Sample of the spreadsheet for Glinhaven. Click to view larger image.

Sample of the "Glinhaven" spreadsheet. Click on image to view larger size in a new window.

(Above): Sample of the spreadsheet for Glinhaven. Click to view larger image.

The spreadsheets are compiled in table format, which includes all of the central and non-incidental characters and locations in a fiction story. They centralize information pertinent to the story so I don't have to keep paging back to remember eye color and other bits about characters as I write.

The spreadsheets are a lot of work to assemble, but save time in the long run.

Irish Eyes: Writing

Tags: Writing & Editing

"Mind Sweeper" Released

Posted Thu, 01/07/21

Mind Sweeper was released by Club Lighthouse Publishing today. The novel is available in multiple e-book formats from Club Lighthouse, and in Kindle format from Amazon.

Newly-widowed Beth Mills accepts an outpouring of sympathy from her community after a freak mining accident takes the life of her husband, Aaron. Unbeknownst to anyone, she is secretly delighted that her cruel husband is lost to her, but never expects his vicious ghost to return and haunt her in more ways than one.

"Mind Sweeper" by Deborah O'Toole

The paperback edition of Mind Sweeper will follow in a few weeks. :)

Irish Eyes: Mind Sweeper

Tags: Mind Sweeper

New Year Mishmash

Posted Sun, 01/03/21

New Year's Eve was nice and peaceful, just how we planned it. We drank Ryan's Irish Cream and Long Island iced teas, ate Chinese food (egg rolls, pot stickers, beef & broccoli, sweet-n-sour chicken, ham-fried rice) and watched The Twilight Zone marathon on the Sci-Fi channel. To be honest, we were in bed by eleven o'clock, missing the ringing in of the new year entirely.

I've spent the last several weeks catching up on website updates and other sundry, such as extensive research. Little writing has been done, a fact I hope to rectify in short order. I'm determined to finish Blood & Soul by springtime. However, it will likely take me more than a year to complete In the Shadow of the King. As it stands now, I have roughly 80 pages of the book written. The storyline - which has injections of fictional characters with real figures from history - requires copious research and will probably take me into 2022.

Every time new books arrive in the mail, Jerry claims they will soon become kindling if more follow in their wake. And yet they keep coming. Four more "research" books arrived over the holidays. One of the characters in Blood & Soul will live at the Dakota in NYC (thus getting Life at the Dakota was imperative), while the second tome (Among the Wolves of Court) sheds more light on the father and brother of Anne Boleyn (in reference to In the Shadow of the King). Debrett's Peerage came next (more reference material for In the Shadow of the King). The University of Oxford: A History by L.W.B. Brockliss is my latest bit of reading material (again, for research purposes, re: In the Shadow of the King).

I usually write my name and date received in each book I purchase, but recently broke down and ordered pre-printed labels for the task.

Book labels. Click on image to view larger size in a new window.

I've been obsessed with Tudor history since I was around ten years of age, when I first saw the original PBS/Masterpiece Theatre series The Six Wives of Henry VIII, which starred the late actor Keith Michell as King Henry. Subsequently, I also became a huge fan of Elizabeth R (also debuting on PBS decades ago), featuring Glenda Jackson as the Queen. For the longest time, Michell and Jackson were synonymous in my mind as the father-son characters they portrayed, and still are to some extent. By the way, I have both shows on DVD now.

The Six Wives of Henry VIII. Click on image to view larger size in a new window.Elizabeth R. Click on image to view larger size in a new window.

When I need a break from writing and life in general, I often dabble with web design. This is a possible layout for the upcoming In the Shadow of the King. I'm sure it will change many times before finally coming to fruition.

Future website for "In the Shadow of the King." Click on image to view larger size in a new window.

I was waiting until the Presidential election was over before updating my article/e-book U.S. Political Parties. I added more information, such as the five occasions in history when candidates who won the Electoral College but not the popular vote went on to become President anyway. Anyone notice a pattern here? I think it's time we did away with the Electoral College, once and for all.

Electoral college snippet from "U.S. Political Parties." Click on image to view larger size in a new window.

Over the past year, Jerry and I have become fans of various shows on television, including Britannia, His Dark Materials, Outlander, Pennyworth, Perry Mason, and The Undoing.  We currently have our eye on Resident Alien, which is scheduled to begin at the end of January. 

The following are personal images created and/or snapped during the holiday season:

Happy Holidays from Deb, Jerry and Hissy. Click on image to view larger size in a new window.

Hissy none too pleased about her Santa get-up. Click on image to view larger size in a new window.

My new cat mask. Click on image to view larger size in a new window.

Wearing my new cat mask. Click on image to view larger size in a new window.

Jerry's subtle way of reminding me to get a flu shot. Click on image to view larger size in a new window.

New bookmarks (with a cat theme). Click on image to view larger size in a new window.

New bookmarks (with a Poe theme). Click on image to view larger size in a new window.

Happy New year, to one and all!

Blog Tags: Photos & Other Images

Tags: Photos & Other Images; Writing & Editing

Happy Holidays

Posted Thu, 12/24/20

Future Books

Posted Sun, 11/29/20

I'm a list-maker. If writing hadn't grabbed me at an early age, I would have likely become a statistician.

Every so often, I sit down and map-out my writing future with a list of books and articles I'm currently working on, and of those looming in the distance.

Future Books by Deborah O'Toole. Click on image to view larger size in a new window.

My current list might seem daunting, but will probably only cover the next four years.

Irish Eyes: Writing

Tags: Writing & Editing

Soul & Shadow

Posted Sat, 11/21/20

I was going to try to take a break from writing until January 2021, but it's not working out that way. In fact, I'm pecking away on two books now: Blood & Soul, and In the Shadow of the King.

 So much for a restful holiday season.

While I hope to finish Blood & Soul in April 2021, it will likely take me more than a year to complete In the Shadow of the King. As it stands now, I have roughly 80 pages of the book written.

Current manuscript for "In the Shadow of the King" by Deborah O'Toole. Click on image to view larger size in a new window.

However, the storyline - which has injections of fictional characters with real figures from history - requires copious research and will probably take me into 2022.

A new excerpt from In the Shadow of the King:

The grave next to that of old Thomas Bryan had been there for some time, but attentive care of the marker had left it visible and standing erect. Not large by any means, it was impressive nonetheless with its faded carvings of the Bryan coat of arms.

The design had been intricate in its day, but the many years had worn the surface smooth, leaving a telltale visual of the original workmanship. The arms held three upright swords which were fairly visible but the carvings of the Lion of Judah had faded somewhat with the weather of time. The misty rain now swept across the marker like a fine sheen, sending rivulets running along the carving and off onto the ground. The drops also swirled in the name carved in the stone, which was still visible as well.

It was a simple headstone in truth, but enhanced by the exquisite carving of the coat of arms. The marker read:

Sir Francis Bryan 1490-1550

The fine mist of rain had become a torrent, creating small rivers of water that scurried around the two graves side by side, joining the patterns of earth as if they were one.

"In the Shadow of the King" by Deborah O'Toole. Click on image to view larger size in a new window.

ESTIMATED RELEASE: Christmas 2022. Storyline and estimated release date may be subject to change. Check back for updates.

Irish Eyes: In the Shadow of the King

Tags: Bloodline Trilogy; In the Shadow of the King

Mind Sweeper Peek

Posted Sun, 11/15/20

A little "bird" has told me Mind Sweeper will be released at the end of November, so I've been preparing for the event.

Once the book is released, a re-vamped website for the novel will go live. Here is a sneak peek (click on images to view larger sizes in a new window):

MIND SWEEPER website. Click on image to view larger size in a new window.

MIND SWEEPER website. Click on image to view larger size in a new window.

Several "bonus" documents will also be available once Mind Sweeper is released, including a full cast of characters.

MIND SWEEPER: Cast of Characters. Click on image to view larger size in a new window.

Mind Sweeper has been a long time in coming, so I'm looking forward to it's release. :)

Irish Eyes: Mind Sweeper

Tags: Mind Sweeper

Author Spotlight

Posted Sat, 11/14/20

Thanks to Scott and Book Lemur for the recent Author Spotlight!

Author Spotlight @ Book Lemur

Book Lemur features hundreds of author bios and related book links. I'm very happy to join all of them.

Irish Eyes: Book Promotions

Tags: Book Promotions

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