Journaling – How important is it to the writing process?

Call it what you will: your diary, morning pages—whatever … as long as you write something. Even if you don’t aspire to be an author, doing this helps you track where you’ve been and where you’re going. It reminds you to focus on what’s important. But, as a writer, my journal is indispensable.

First of all, if I’m not currently working on a specific writing project, I sit down to make a brief note about the previous day. That note often morphs into a description of how I feel about what happened and what I observed around me, and, if time allows, into some of the infinite offshoots and implications. Even if I don’t have time to elaborate further, the notes are there for later review. Since story ideas can come as flashes at any time, I also carry a tiny note pad, where I jot them down. The next morning I add those to my journal notes. If I don’t write them down, later, when I have time to write seriously, a nagging feeling might tell me that I had something, some spark of an idea. But it’s gone. Don’t let your creative ideas vanish. Write them down, even if at the moment you don’t have time to deal with them. Immortal Venus, began as imagery for one scene. I used the imagery in a short story, which, over time, evolved into the full-fledged novel.

I kept a separate dream journal for years; now I do everything in one place, as a single journal. Dreams have always been a source of inspiration for me. I love the struggle to interpret them—always keeping in mind that everything in the dream reflects some part of me—but interpretation isn’t necessary. The theme of the dream, or just one specific image from the dream, may be enough to inspire a story far-removed from anything I could consciously devise. Or it may be just what’s needed to add a unique twist to what I’m currently working on. But I think the main importance of a journal is the act itself—the writing. The more you write, the better your writing becomes.

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Celebrate with a Book

At the Regency Square Book Fair







To see the other authors:


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Booksigning at Caffespresso

Friday and Saturday, November 16 & 17 – from 12:30 to 3:30 pm. Gaskins Place, 1127 Gaskins Road, Richmond, Virginia.

Meet the author and get your signed copy of Immortal Venus.

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The monastery ruins

The ruined monastery featured in Immortal Venus, Monte Malsano, was based on actual ruins located northeast of the town of Bagno a Ripoli, near Florence, Italy. Its history as reported in Immortal Venus is pure fiction.

The real ruins, a deteriorated structure half-hidden by the woods,

was called simply Il Palazzaccio by the local population —The Ugly Old Palace —a name that reflected its massive structure and ominous appearance.






The ruined building was later called Il Palazzaccio di Marcignano, for it’s location. Historical references found on the internet at give its name as Castello dei Da Gavignano, or Castle of the Da Gavignano family. It was constructed in the 12th Century. Architectural details and the actual history of the ruins can be found on the above link.

I first saw the ruins when we were on a family excursion gathering chestnuts. As we climbed further into the chestnut woods we came across fallen brickwork and occasional holes where worn pavement had collapsed, suggesting hidden underground spaces.






We came out through a doorway






into a pasture and turned around for this view. In Immortal Venus my awed protagonist, Megan Eston, follows in our footsteps, and this is the view of the façade that inspires her drawing.






The locals at the time of our discovery were unable to give us a history of the ruined structure; they seemed to believe it had been either a monastery, or a fortress.They told us a local rumor … that a tunnel might lead from there to a tower in the neighboring village of Quarate.

I’ve recently been informed that the owners have fenced in the entire property and have razed the structure and the chestnut woods. Where the ruins stood there is now only flat lawn and a few benches.

What a shame that such a well-loved local monument couldn’t be saved, even in its ruined state! Especially in its ruined state. There’s something about a ruin that makes our imaginations run wild. Immortal Venus would have been different if I hadn’t had the good fortune to experience my aha-moment of discovery. ===================================================

The photo of the tower of Quarate is by Tommaso Baldini. All other photos were taken by Mauro Salvadori, painter and author of La Polvere e il Tempo. Here Mauro stands below the facade of Il Palazzaccio.

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Birth of Venus, by Alessandro Botticelli – Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy

Birth of Venus by Alessandro Botticelli - Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy

In an early scene from Immortal Venus, while viewing this painting, my protagonist, Megan, receives her first hint that mysterious undercurrents may be about to disrupt her life. Throughout the story, the Goddess of Love is used as a reflection of Megan’s own love life. Her husband of twenty years has been unfaithful and her foundation is shaken. Megan’s focus on the goddess, beginning with discovering her roots as the Greek goddess Aphrodite, shifts and parallels her metamorphosis and her understanding of love and life.

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Immortal Venus – a riveting story of romance, reincarnation, and the world of Renaissance art

Immortal Venus - a riveting story of romance, reincarnation, and the world of Renaissance art


The PAPERBACK is now available at, at, and at

Soon to be announced – availability of the E-BOOK, and the schedule for BOOK SIGNINGS in Richmond, Virginia.



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Immortal Venus

A riveting story of romance, reincarnation and the world of Renaissance art.



Available now!

Posted in Birth of Venus, Botticelli, Death of Venus, Florence, Florence Italy, Florentine Renaissance, Italy, Metaphysical fiction, mystery, new age, new age literature, novel, paranormal fiction, past lifes, past-life, reincarnation, Renaissance, romance, self-publishing, Tuscany, Venus, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Another view of the Torre di Quarate

This tower is an important landmark of the village of Quarate, near Florence. Italy. For more information, follow this link.

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I finally finished my novel, Immortal Venus! It’s a paranormal romance that takes place in Florence, Italy, and the surrounding countryside. Excerpts can be read here. The book should be available by the end of September, or mid-October. It will appeal to everyone who enjoys a mystery, anyone who has found themselves floundering in self-doubt, and lovers of art and Tuscany. More to come …

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Eventually – this poem explores one of those moments when life changes unexpected. When an unknown future looms ahead it can be frightening, but unpredictabilty can force us to examine ourselves, can lead to recognition of a supressed spark within which, when nurtured, can lead to a more fulfilling life.


I’m wildly volatile

wildly untamed.


your eternal rebel.

Down with left-brained order!

Rightmindedly I cling to chaos

whose wholeness

doesn’t dissolve my freedom.

Don’t define me

and lose my ambiguity.

Don’t desert me; don’t diffuse me.

Choose me use me.

Whose benefit is served

by systemizing your life?

Where does it lead if you go

only where you already know?

My maze of perplexity asks the questions

that answer your needs.

My disorientation shakes smugness

from your tree of complacency

into the foggy puddle of volition.

I give you a choice in who you are.

Apprehension’s not my friend.

Uncertainly is not my enemy.

Discretion’s not one of my virtues;

it requires limitation.

Unbounded acceptance leads infinite

impossibilities into the realm of realists

who shake their heads and cry, “Sorcery!”

Don’t divorce me from your life –

you’ll endlessly follow

the same blind alley

into oblivion.

Follow me.

You may not know where I’m leading,

but it will always be

somewhere that you’ll need to be.




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