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Behind The Words

A journal by Barbara Wood

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Polish Connection

by Barbara Wood last modified Apr 10, 2017 12:11

I was recently interviewed for a blog.  The blog is about literature and movies with an emphasis on Polish literature.

Read about it here and find out my Polish connection.

Thank you Agnes :)




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Weird Grammar

by Barbara Wood last modified Apr 04, 2017 09:49

In English we have a rule in spelling that says "i" before "e" except after "c".  A good rule I suppose, but then how do you explain the following sentence: "Neither of the scientists seized upon that weird species of leisure."

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Far River

by Barbara Wood last modified Mar 30, 2017 10:49

I'm just putting the finishing touches on the final version of my next book, FAR RIVER, which takes place in a Southern California Winery. Feeling excited! Can't wait to share this one with you all. This is not the artwork, but it's certainly inspirational.


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Sage Advice

by Barbara Wood last modified Mar 27, 2017 08:05

This is so true.

If I did not follow this advice I probably wouldn't be able to write one page. There are a lot of great writers out there. But never forget, you're a great writer too!

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How Do You Know When You're Done?

by Barbara Wood last modified Mar 13, 2017 11:59

A reader who is writing her first novel (about feudal Japan) asked me how a writer knows when she’s done enough research and it’s time to start writing. The rule of thumb on research is, if you aren’t learning anything new, you’re done.

Several years ago I visited Cancun as a tourist, and while visiting the ruins at Chichen Itza, I wondered who had built this amazing pyramid. Even more intriguing was why, and how? A little research led me to a new interest, and out of that sprang the inspiration for my novel, “Woman Of A Thousand Secrets.”

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Ahhhhh . . .

by Barbara Wood last modified Feb 23, 2017 14:20

"As soon as coffee is in your stomach, there is a general commotion. Ideas begin to move...similes arise, the paper is covered. Coffee is your ally and writing ceases to be a struggle." -- Honore de Balzac

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Happy Valentine's Day!

by Barbara Wood last modified Feb 14, 2017 12:30

In honor of Valentine's Day, let me share some chocolatey research that I did a few years ago.

While Cleopatra might have been the richest woman in the world in her time, there were a few luxuries that her vast wealth simply could not buy. Even had she craved chocolates, she could not have had any. Or if she had had a hankering to smoke a cigarette. Or maybe she had the late night munchies for an order of fries. All the gold-laden barges in the world could not have bought these treats for her. Why? Because they did not exist in her world.

While I was conducting research for “Woman Of A Thousand Secrets” I made some delightful discoveries. I had not known, for example, that Europeans had not even heard of a tomato or a potato before the discovery of the Americas. Imagine, Italians eating spaghetti without tomato sauce! Englishmen eating fish without chips!

And these tasty discoveries were not a one-way street, either. Before the Spaniards arrived in Mexico, to find avocados, cocoa and vanilla awaiting them, the Indians had never tasted pork chops, peaches or pears. What an exchange it was! Animals, too: the Indians gave us turkeys, and the Spaniards gave them horses.

It is amazing to me to think how that pivotal voyage in 1492 altered dining menus and forms of transportation around the world. No longer were the New World indigenous people walking everywhere and carrying all their goods on their own backs, but riding horses and using them as pack animals. And on the other side of the world, tables were groaning with potatoes, pineapples, pumpkins and cranberries.

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One Way To Enjoy A Book

by Barbara Wood last modified Feb 12, 2017 09:24











Here's one way to enjoy a book. With all the rain that we've had in my area and the chilly nights, this is quite a realistic scene for a Southern California evening :)

(artwork by Deborah DeWit)

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First Hand Experience

by Barbara Wood last modified Feb 07, 2017 14:41

I've mentioned before that we're having some very welcome rain in my neck of the woods. As well as enjoying wonderful views of the snow capped mountains in the distance and emerald grass at my feet that is normally donkey brown, I have deliberately taken walks in the rain. I do this so that I can experience something I may want to include in a scene. How does it feel to walk in the rain? Actually, I've forgotten due to our four year long drought. So, I walked in the rain, with an umbrella and without an umbrella and took notes which will be filed away until I need them. This is a first hand experience of course. I can't do this type of exercise with every experience that I want to include in a book. I may want to write a story that includes a scene where skiing is the perfect solution. I don't ski and I don't particularly want to take up the sport either. For this, I will watch videos and imagine what this sensation feels like.

My next book, which I'm currently editing, is set in a winery. For those of you who know me, that's a pretty easy experience to write about!

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Be Obsessed!

by Barbara Wood last modified Feb 02, 2017 09:10

I could not have said this any better I always have a pen and paper handy whenever I'm away from desk.

I never know when I'm going to hear an awesome phrase, opinion, joke, argument, or debate. And sometimes they are worth jotting down

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A Nice Cup Of Tea

by Barbara Wood last modified Jan 24, 2017 09:01

A few days ago, some rather remarkable material began to fall from the skies over Southern California. We all rushed outside, of course, to discover what this wondrous stuff might be, and we later learned on the news that it is something called “rain.” Marvelous invention, rain! Overnight, those brown hills out there have turned green.

Rain comes from clouds and when I see those dark shapes rolling along up there, I am put in the mood for a nice cup of tea. I am a Bigelow fan – “Constant Comment” and “Lemon Lift.” Aaaaaah. With a dash of milk to be sure (as Donald Pleasence says in The Great Escape: “Tea without milk is uncivilized.”)

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Unique View

by Barbara Wood last modified Jan 17, 2017 12:41










I live in a unique part of the world. If we receive sufficient rain during the winter, it means snow in our local mountains. That's not the unique part. What makes my neck of the woods (southern California), so surprising is that we can see the beautiful snow capped mountains AND palm trees in the foreground. Framed in one perfect shot. It's breathtaking! This is a photo I took a couple of days ago from my car while running errands. Views can be a source of inspiration and my mind did wonder to log cabins, snow storms, ice fishing and hot chocolate. What's your view? Can it be an inspiration for a book that you've always wanted to write? If not, then find a view that is. It's as close as your nearest digital device or book at your local library. I should point out - I'm a much better writer than I am a photographer!

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New Year. Chapter One.

by Barbara Wood last modified Jan 09, 2017 11:12

(image of writer's block

People frequently say to me, "I want to write a novel, but I don't know where to begin." Surprisingly, the answer is not always, "Start on the first page." There are no rules in writing. Whatever works for you is what you should do. If you can't muster up on Page One, then start in the middle, or start with a description, or dialogue and build upon it. You might even start at the end. The idea for my book, "Virgins of Paradise," came to me while I was in Egypt visiting friends (I was there for a wedding, actually) and it was during the boisterous celebration that I scribbled down a description of the party, the guests, the happy couple. As I wrote this, the idea for a book came to me, and I knew it would culminate in a wedding. This very one that I was describing. When I got home I started writing "Virgins of Paradise" and the whole time, I was writing toward that initial final paragraph. Six hundred pages later, I had my book, and I had not changed a single word of that final paragraph, written two years prior.

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Happy New Year!

by Barbara Wood last modified Dec 31, 2016 17:53

Wishing you a wonderful new year!





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Happy Holidays!

by Barbara Wood last modified Dec 23, 2016 07:02

Wishing you a cozy season :)

Happy Holidays!

Happy Reading!





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California Rain

by Barbara Wood last modified Dec 21, 2016 17:09

Officially the first day of Winter today and it actually feels like Winter in my neck of the woods. Usually I'm complaining that it's too warm and sunny and Christmas songs about White Christmases and silver bells just don't make sense. But today, I used my umbrella which has been gathering dust, and put on my wellies!

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Sweet Surprises!

by Barbara Wood last modified Dec 18, 2016 11:32

If you have visited my FB pages recently, you will have noticed that I changed my cover photo.  I've done this for a few years now on the first day of December.

The photo is my homage to the traditional Advent Calendar - it shows 24 thin books (of course, books) of various heights covered in red, shiny wrapping paper. Each one with a luggage label on it numbered 1-24 and with the string cut short so that it resembles a candle wick. All over them lined up on a magnificent mantel. The effect is quite stunning!



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Back In Print

by Barbara Wood last modified Nov 23, 2016 13:05

      I can’t tell you how excited and deeply moved I am to have my first novel being re-issued in the English language after having been out of print for years. THE MAGDALENE SCROLLS was my very first novel. Forty years ago this month, I had just ended my work shift at Santa Monica Hospital and my husband came to pick me up. As we were driving down Wilshire Boulevard, he handed me the mail. He said, “You got a letter from that agent.” A few months earlier, I had timidly submitted a manuscript to an agent in New York and had been anxiously awaiting news. The novel was about some ancient scrolls being discovered in the ruins of Magdala on the Sea of Galilee and the astonishing message they deliver to the modern world. (click "read more" for the rest of the story")

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Reading Nook

by Barbara Wood last modified Nov 18, 2016 05:30

I saw this enchanting photo of a reading nook. What a wonderful place to cozy up and read a book. This seems like a magical place with its bird next chair and circular library. Hmm, wonder if I could order this online. For now, I'll settle for my comfy chair and cat for a cushion.

Visit my Facebook page for another enchanting reading nook image.

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Lovely Inspiration

by Barbara Wood last modified Nov 08, 2016 05:32

This lovely piece of inspiration came my way today and I'd like to share it.

"You know great things are coming when everything seems to be going wrong. Old energy is clearing out for new energy to enter".

As a writer, I often get "stuck". A paragraph isn't working. A character needs to move in a certain direction and I'm not sure how to get there. Or sometimes, one word just won't do, and I can labor on that for an hour!

So, I need to remind myself to . . . just breathe.

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Happy New Year!!!




Happy Valentine's Day!!

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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.