Not the start I had hoped for


Let’s just say I’m off to a slow start. Two days in France and I accomplished driving to Limoges. In a minivan. Diesel, manual transmission, but where I was hoping for a small car I got “upgraded” to the minivan. European-sized mini van, but still.

I stopped one place for pictures near St Emilion but by the time I got there it was closed for their lunch break. Given the time of day, I decided to drive straight to Limoges and not stop in St Emilion itself.

Seriously, I’ve spent most of yesterday getting to the hotel in Bordeaux and most of today looking for a SIM card. As it was, I ended up just adding International travel on to the plan I have and I just have to hope it doesn’t cost me that much more. 19,000 steps, much of it in the rain, looking for an Orange store in either of two cities. When I finally did find it, they told me the SIM I’d shopped for was at the “other” Orange. wha?

Too late now for anything but eating. I’ll find something and then tomorrow will be another day, one that, I hope, will be the actual start to the research part of the trip.

A Failure of Google-Fu


I’m running into an issue with my research for the medieval murder mystery. Not everything I want to know is online! Or, if it is, it isn’t in English! I know … shocking.

I’m working on the language aspect. My French reading skills are getting better so, if I can find documentation in French, I may even be able to read it. Someday. Soon. I hope.

More worrisome, my google-fu is failing me. I’m just not discovering important things, like where the heir to Burgundy was to be found in 1418 (he wasn’t lost. I just can’t find him). I have no idea of the name of the mistress of Chateau Montbrun in 1427, or the list of convents and/or monasteries to be found in Guyenne, Provence, or Burgundy in the fifteenth century. How hard should that be, really?

One of the benefits to writing historical fiction is that I can use my imagination to fill in the blanks. But when do I decide that the information is not out there and it isn’t just that I’ve failed to find it?

Not surprised


I’ve been posting, on Facebook and elsewhere, the fact that what is going on at a national, political level, is just not normal! And yet? I’ve already lost my surprise. I’m no longer shocked that the party in power is making the changes it is, making the demands that it is, proposing the laws that it is. None of these are right, none of them are helpful, so many of them are, at root, simply mean, shortsighted, and wrong.

But surprised? Nope. They have no shame and I expect nothing more from them.

And so do these atrocities become normal.

Je lirai


At my French class last week, I was asked why I’m studying the language. I used to have a good answer: a short version, a long version, a self-deprecating one. But when I was asked the question last week, I realized that my answer had changed.

I had begun my language learning journey mostly because it’s something that I’ve tried several times before and had not succeeded at. It’s not the only thing I’ve failed at in my life (poker was an especially humbling and costly lesson) but this one seemed like something that would be challenging while being both interesting and intellectually satisfying.

It’s been all of those things, but now it might be useful as well. My past interests suggested that I set my current novel-in-progress in the Medieval era. My current language studies suggested I set the novel in France. As I do more and more research it will surprise no one that much of the research that I want is not available in English.

It seems that I’ll need to focuse more of my language studies on reading, and academic reading at that!