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So I’ve been buried deep in the rewrite of the first book in my new mystery series for what seems like an eternity, but has really only been several months.  I’m so close to being done I can taste it… but I’ve become so sick of the flavor of red pen and dusty keyboard that when fellow writer EJ McFall challenged me to commit to CampNano in April, I jumped at the chance to create new words.

But I had no story… until inspiration hit while sitting on the parking lot that is the Jane Addams during rush hour.  I had a character – a reformed Conquistador, who abandons Gonzalo Pizzaro after the sack of Cusco, and struck out into the mountains, where he finds a shaman who sends him through a portal to another world to heal his soul.

All good.  After a couple of days, I now have the rest of the cast, my female protag (an ex-hippie from the summer of love), a pirate, a museologist from Chicago, a lord of the local constabulary (think Hugh Beringar from Cadfael) and a cocaine sniffing monk.  It’s all coming together in a complicated tapestry that I could not have predicted in a million years.  And I’m LOVING it.  I don’t think I’ve been this excited about a project in… donkey’s years.

But I needed research.  I know very little about the 1400s or the conquest and destruction of the Incas.  So I let myself fall down the rabbit hole and made a couple of really cool incidental discoveries that I thought I’d share here.

First, fellow author and history nut, JM Aucoin, who writes a fab series of pirate stories set in the 17th century. All the swashbuckling you could ask for, fun plots and really great characters to rally round (and maybe even fall a little in love with).  Check out his blog here:


and definitely pick up the first story in his Jake Hawking series, it’s available here on Amazon. Well worth the read.


Second is a new Spanish Television series about a 17th century swashbuckler called Alatriste, starring the very yummy Aitor Luna (not to be confused with the movie version, starring the not-too-shabby-himself Viggo Mortensen).  Like the movie, the show is based on the series of books by Arturo Perez-Reverte and it airs sometime this spring in Spain. The trailer makes it one of those “have to see” shows.  Hopefully, we’ll be able to stream it or get it on DVD, because it would a shame to miss this much swashbuckling action, romance and derring-do.  Check out the preview here.  I might just have to learn Spanish…

Don’t you just love falling down the rabbit hole? Cheers, folks!