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Behind The Words

A journal by Barbara Wood

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Soup Anyone?

by Barbara Wood last modified Jul 31, 2019 08:04

For those of you who have read my novels, you know that I have delved into the early adventures of humankind with stories set at the dawn of civilization going forward. It is fascinating to write about ancient people, because while there is research available, imagination must play a huge part in a story like this. I recently read about a pot of soup that was 45 years old. This fascinated me for a couple of reasons: firstly this would have been an ancient womankind culinar<span class=" />y delight that any of my characters would have created and enjoyed and secondly, oooh, Gross!! So, what is the soup all about? Also known as “Perpetual Stew” or “Hunter’s Pot”, the idea is that you reserve a little of the soup broth from the first day, keep it overnight and use it the next day, adding ingredients to it, and so on and so on. This is not a knew idea by any means, and there are claims that a soup in Normandy called “pot-au-feu” has been burning for 300 years! I wonder what you would serve with a 300 year old soup!



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Happy Father's Day

by Barbara Wood last modified Jun 16, 2019 16:42

(image of cartoon woman with head open

Happy Father's Day to all the Dads, Grandpas, Father figures and the difference you make in the world. And also remembering those who no longer have their Dad's.

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School's Out!

by Barbara Wood last modified Jun 14, 2019 17:20

(image of cartoon woman with head open

I was running errands earlier this week and the outside temperature indicator in my car read 104 Fahrenheit. School is out for the year in my school district too and I guess Summer is truly here!

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Rainy Days

by Barbara Wood last modified May 23, 2019 14:24

(image of cartoon woman with head open

It's late May and it's raining . . . again.

I'm not complaining. It's just unusually fabulous for the season where I live in southern California.

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Happy Mother's Day

by Barbara Wood last modified May 13, 2019 13:12

(image of pink birthday cake with feathers on top

Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful Moms out there!

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Snail Mail

by Barbara Wood last modified Apr 05, 2019 07:56

(image of pink birthday cake with feathers on top

We live in a fast moving world. We receive our news, coffee, movies, information, communication, do our shopping at the touch of a button. It's great! This past week, however, I received some lovely mail from readers. By mail I mean a hand written note on stationery with a stamp on the envelope which took a few days to reach me. It was like opening a little gift. Do you still receive such mail? (and I don't mean bills)!

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April Fools' Day

by Barbara Wood last modified Apr 01, 2019 08:07

Happy April Fools' Day. Hope you are pulling off some good pranks today!

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Happy Spring!

by Barbara Wood last modified Mar 22, 2019 14:47

Spring has sprung officially.

Does it feel like Spring where you are? In my neck of the woods I see blossom buds on the trees and flowers abound.

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Happy Pi Day !

by Barbara Wood last modified Mar 14, 2019 14:33

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Read Across America

by Barbara Wood last modified Mar 06, 2019 08:31

(image of cartoon woman with head open

March 2 was Dr. Seuss’ birthday and Read Across America – a day dedicated to promoting reading in schools, public libraries, and community groups.

My friend, Sharon, (any of you have come to my book signing events, you will have met her there), took a collection of my books to her son’s classroom yesterday (unbeknownst to me), and set up this lovely display. She spoke to the children about the life of an author. Maybe there’s a budding writer in the group? I hope so!

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Characters Are Real

by Barbara Wood last modified Mar 14, 2019 14:38

When I'm writing characters and fleshing them out with all kinds of traits, a back story, what motivates them, I do consider them to be real people. I'm very attached to them. I have to be, to make sure they are authentic and behave in real ways. I have heard from so many readers over the years that they too are deeply attached to the characters. Some of my close friends have been quite upset with me when I've killed a character and they have let me know about it! I'm pleased to know that during the time a reader immerses herself/himself into a story that they too are in the story. That makes my day!

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by Barbara Wood last modified Mar 14, 2019 14:44

Who doesn't like a deal? BOGOF or a twofer or a dos-à-dos as in a dos-à-dos book, (from the French, "back to back") - a method of book binding introduced in the 16th Century. What a deal! Two books bound together in one cosy, although somewhat cumbersome package. My thought is, which two books would you put side by side? Two similar, two opposites? What would be the perfect pairing? Then I thought how I would pair my books. Butterfly and Stars are an obvious pair as one is the sequel to the other, as are Soul Flame and The Divining. Magdalene Scrolls and Sacred Ground seem to have a similar type theme of discovery. Green City in the Sun and Domina - both about female doctors but set in two decades: 1920's and 1960's and set in different continents. I might put two opposite novels together: What would you suggest?

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Happy New Year!!

by Barbara Wood last modified Mar 14, 2019 14:55

Happy New Year Everyone! I hope that in the new year you do whatever makes you happy!

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Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays

by Barbara Wood last modified Mar 14, 2019 14:58

A friend was telling me of a movie she recently watched, "The Man Who Invented Christmas", the story behind Charles Dickens', "A Christmas Carol". By all accounts it sounds like a fascinating movie. The movie shows Dickens' inspiration for many of the beloved characters featured in this classic story. The characters become "alive" and Dickens has conversations with them as he struggles to develop their characters within the plot. I plan on watching this over the holidays. I must confess that my characters are real people to me while I'm in the process of writing their stories and I care very deeply about them, as if they were my actual friends, so I related enormously to this rather unique spin on "A Christmas Carol".

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Christmas Card Observations

by Barbara Wood last modified Mar 14, 2019 15:04


I've noticed that more and more people are sending personalized Christmas cards than just buying them by the box. Usually, it’s a photograph of the family with the caption, “Holiday Greetings from the Smiths.” I received one yesterday in which they included all their pets. In fact, you could barely see the humans for the cats and dogs, tortoise and parakeets. The dogs smiled for the camera. The cats look bored. It reminds me of the observation that comedian George Carlin once made about the reason humans think dogs have personalities and cats don’t: it’s because dogs have eyebrows while cats do not. Supposedly this makes dogs smarter than cats, but have you ever seen eight cats pulling a sled through the snow?

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Favorite Reads

by Barbara Wood last modified Dec 03, 2018 08:12

I am often asked, as a writer what do I Like to read. Well, I’m all over the map on that one. I love science-fiction, romance, westerns, murder mysteries, big historicals – it all depends on my mood. As to favorite authors (those whom we read over and over and never get tired of their tales) I’m fond of Maeve Binchy, the humorous Irish writer, and Scottish mystery writer Alanna Knight. I’m a big fan of Victoria Holt (having recently re-read “Mistress of Mellyn”). I love Larry McMurtry of “Lonesome Dove” fame, and Ray Bradbury for his fabulous Martian stories. Joseph Wambaugh for his outrageous and hilarious cop stories. And let’s not forget the classics: I have been in love with “Jane Eyre” since I was twelve years old. And Hemmingway – “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” blows me away every time. Well, the list goes on. I’m sure a lot of you out there have favorites whom you read over and over. What could be better than sitting beside a nice warm fire, cup of tea nearby, and curled up with one of your favorite books?

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by Barbara Wood last modified Nov 21, 2018 16:31

I was at the nail salon yesterday - I wasn't getting a manicure or pedicure as I'm extremely fidgety and ticklish. I met one of my friends there at the end of her pedicure. As I took a seat and waited, I couldn't help but hear some of the conversations that were swirling around the small salon. The chatter was mainly centered around Thanksgiving. The salon was packed. All the ladies (and two gentlemen) were getting ready for the big day. The manicurists were not native to America. I'm going to take guess at this, but I suspect, Vietnam. I wondered what their Thanksgiving table looked like - did it incorporate American traditional fare? Was it infused with delicious dishes from their country?

One customer caught my attention: an elderly woman. She looked maybe 80+. She was beautifully dressed in black and cream, with jewelry to match. Very elegant. The manicurist asked her if her family was going to join her for Thanksgiving. The lady said, "No, they're all gone". The manicurist, whose face I couldn't see must have looked confused, because the woman continued, "My children are not here, they are dead!

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Books Vs T.V.

by Barbara Wood last modified Nov 19, 2018 11:42

"I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book." -- Groucho Marx

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Words Are Fun!

by Barbara Wood last modified Nov 08, 2018 07:41

I was reading a story last night and a character referred to “cambozola.” Having no idea what it was, I looked it up. Apparently it is a German cheese similar to camembert and gorgonzola, and so its name derived from parts of those two words. In my search for the meaning of cambozola, I was directed to other words that came from putting other words together. I had had no idea, for instance, that “moped” – the little scooter with pedals – is a word invented in Sweden in the 1950’s, a combination of “motor” and “pedal.” Another pleasant find was “hassle” (an irritating inconvenience). The word came from putting together “haggle” and “tussle.” Words are great fun, there are so many things you can do with them. Best of all, you can invent new words from old words when you need a way to express an emotion or event or object for which there is not yet a word. I’m going to get to work on that. When I come up with new words, I’ll let you know!

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Happy Halloween :)

by Barbara Wood last modified Oct 31, 2018 07:04

Happy Halloween! Have a fun, safe night tonight. And if you're trick or treating I hope you get the candy you really like. Apparently, for many trick or treaters this is a real problem and they resort to trading their candy after. I asked my friend's 9 year old (who is my nearest reliable source about this problem), and he readily agreed and told me that the best part of the night for him is the trading that happens afterwards. He and his friends dump their enormous buckets of candy on the floor and they all trade like crazy. Well, apparently Reeses candy is way ahead of the candy crowd and has come up with a solution. They are rolling out the Reese Candy Trading machine. You can dump your unwanted candy and the machine will spit out Reeses peanut butter cups. It seems like a good idea if you like peanut butter. However, I'm old school and I think part of the fun of trick or treating is that you "get what you get and don't make a fuss"!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m89djlGgzIQ

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Soup Anyone?


Happy Father's Day


School's Out!

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Aug 08, 2018

New Book in Germany: Das Goldene Tal

May 12, 2018

Hippokratova přísaha

Nov 27, 2017

My Next Book - The Far River

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Copyright © 2007 by Barbara Wood. All rights reserved.