Quinning | March 2018

Time to wrap up February and lay out the battle plan for March.

February 2018

  • Finish edit of Star of Fire – I finished my edit notes months ago (color me embarrassed) but still have to go through and make the actual edits. I also have to write at least three new scenes and add an entire secondary plot. So, no biggie. 😮 I’ve already booked a spot with the editor for March and I’d love to have this to him by 3/1. Head down and get to work time I suppose.

Done. Didn’t finish by 3/1, but that was a self-imposed goal. Instead, I wrapped it up on 3/2 and sent it off for beta reading. Hoping for those notes back on Monday and then time to make changes and send it out for edits. Still on track for an April release.

  • In the course of scrapping my sweet Christmas romance, I had a brainstorm for a different book. I can’t help it! So I went ahead and started it. It’s a secondary project now and only gets work when/if I have time after working on SOF. Thankfully it avoids all the pitfalls I discovered with the first book and seems to be holding up better. If nothing else, it’s good practice for writing out of my home genre!

Sad story. Editing and writing don’t mix well for me. If I progressed in one I stalled on the other. So, the romance got shoved firmly to the back burner. I am crossing my fingers that I can work on it and The Star of Storms at the same time, maybe one in the morning and one in the evening, but the reality is that Storms takes priority. 

  • Sketch plot for book three – The Star of Storms. That’s right – that’s the title! I have the major plot points in my head, I just need to get them down on paper and start filling in the little twists and turns and figure out the motivations for the not-so-tiny cast of characters. Very exciting stuff! If all goes to plan (which it won’t, just sayin’) I should start drafting this book on 3/1. Fingers crossed!

I have a sketched-in plot, but not much more. I prefer to work with a beefier plot outline, so I am taking a few days to build that up, then I’ll be jumping into the story with both feet. 

Not writing related, but still goals for February:

  • My parents are going to be moving in temporarily. They’re building a tiny house, but aren’t quite ready to retire and my Dad was laid off work. So they’re in this weird holding pattern and don’t want to make a house payment on one salary. We’re returning the favor – we lived with them for a year while we built our house. Anyway, all that to say, I need to declutter and make some space. It’s amazing the debris that can build up in just 5 years.

Filled the recycle bin and trash can and took two loads to the charity resale shop. Still chipping away at this, hitting the clutter zones mostly on weekends when I feel okay taking time away from writing and schooling the little people. 

  • Get tax stuff together for the accountant. I stopped doing our taxes years ago (actually, I put my foot down and told Mr. Quinn that it was getting too complicated and I didn’t want to be responsible for a major mistake). I just need to make sure all the papers are present and accounted for so I can drop them off. My writing won’t affect our taxes for 2017, so there’s that. 2018 will be a different story!

This is D.O.N.E. Dropped off the paperwork last week! Yay!


March 2018

March is all about writing.

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  • My production schedule actually calls for this The Star of Storms to be done on May 4th, but we’ve had a couple of conflicts come up that are going to put me away from my computer for several days during that time. It’s going to be a test of my ability to hold a schedule, that’s for sure. There will be some writing ahead and probably some wailing and gnashing of teeth as well. Check back in a month.
  • Work on the romance. Back-burner, but hope to get some more words in on this one if I can.

That’s it! Like I said, all about the writing this month!

What Phoebe Saw in 1871 Chicago

The best thing about the research for a historical novel is finding out that you’ve finally entered the age of photography.

Man, pictures really do tell a story and while each picture may not really be worth a thousand words, they’re pretty close. I know it helped me as I was looking around to really picture what late 19th century Chicago looked like.

Phoebe, who has never been out of Alexandria and surrounding areas before landing in 1776 Baltimore, really has no information about Chicago, except that it exists and a vague recollection that it burned at some point. For her, it was a minor blip on the historical timeline. For the people that lived there, it was the greatest disaster ever known.


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South Water Wholesale District – Late 1860’s

The streets were muddy, but notice the wooden sidewalks (and actually I think that some of the streets were stone and/or wood even if this one was not), and the wooden buildings. Even the brick facades were all wood inside. And the summer of 1871 was brutally dry.


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Washington Street, looking west from Wabash


This one’s a little earlier – still dirt streets and wooden sidewalks. A couple blocks west of here, you’d find Al Smith’s Gambling house and a block further you’d be near the top of Gambler’s Row (on South Clark). On the left, just out of frame, you’d have found the First National Bank.


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Field, Leiter, & Co. – 1871


Field, Leiter, and Co. was located on Randolph between Wabash and State Street. This was the new building, complete with gas lamps inside and a state-of-the-art elevator powered by steam. I think this was one of, if not the most beautiful building in Chicago.


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The Palmer Hotel – 1871


The Palmer Hotel, located on Monroe and State Streets, was a wedding gift from Potter Palmer to his new wife, Bertha Honoré. It opened September 26, 1871. It burned to the ground 13 days later.


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Rush Street Bridge – 1869


The bridges in Chicago were (are) an engineering marvel. They would open for 10 minutes every hour to allow river traffic to pass. Sometimes (a lot) the ships would block the bridge, keeping it open longer, much to the irritation of people trying to cross.

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And finally, Old St. Patrick’s Church. I’ve only ever driven past this church, but it’s a goal to go visit it in particular someday. It plays a rather central role in my book and I have fallen in love with it all over again. Phoebe certainly loved it and the people there.

While not all of these places play an important role in the story I’m trying to tell, the pictures did help me to set the stage in a manner of speaking. Chicago in 1871 was a bustling post-war city, full of life and opportunity. And disaster loomed.