Jean Marie Ward

fiction, nonfiction and all points in between

Old Town Synchronicity

Monday, August 20th, 2012 | Author: jmward14 | Blog | Comments Off

You just can’t make this stuff up.
Last week, Diane Whiteside received a letter from a fan of her novel, The Shadow Guard. The fan was seeking the grave of Col. John Fitzgerald, aide-de-camp to George Washington at Valley Forge and prominent Alexandria cit mentioned in Diane’s book. When the usual sources (Wiki, Google, etc.) came up empty, Diane asked me if any of my friends at Alexandria’s historic Carlyle House might know. I promised to ask the next time I volunteer (sometime after Dragon*Con). In the meantime, I started rooting around in my local library.
Fitzgerald was the driving force behind Old Town Alexandria’s first Catholic Church, St. Mary’s, so I started with the records for St. Mary’s Cemetery, copies which are conveniently located in every Alexandria branch library. From there I went to compilations of The Alexandria Gazette obituaries and the records of the Hustings Court. (Fitzgerald was a big wheeler dealer on the local real estate front.) I confirmed his town home was located on the corner of King and Fairfax Streets, where the main branch of Burke and Herbert Bank now stands, but hey, that’s a no brainer. They’ve even got a plaque to that effect on the bank.
Today Diane and I met for lunch. By some odd quirk of timing, we drove into the Market Square parking garage in Old Town at the same time. We planned to lunch at O’Connell’s but power was off on that side of the street, so I asked, “Would you like to eat Italian? There’s Landini Brothers and Il Porto across the street. Which one would you prefer?”
“Landini Brothers–you mentioned it first.”
After lunch we headed for the Queen Street branch of the Alexandria library, home of the local history collection. Julia, the librarian on duty, wasn’t quite sure where to look. I’d already searched the St. Mary’s records. So we rooted around in the transcriptions of Alexandria tombstones. Nada.
Then Julia pulled out Ethelyn Cox’s Historic Alexandria Virginia Street by Street. It contained a page on Fitzgerald’s King Street warehouse which noted his burial site as Warburton Plantation, the present site of Fort Washington.
Oh, and the warehouse? It’s the same building where we ate lunch.
I love Alexandria.

Posted 5 years, 3 months ago at 7:21 pm.

Add a comment

Of Anthologies & Podcasts

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011 | Author: jmward14 | Blog | Comments Off

I knew from reading my co-contributors’ stories, that I lucked out placing “Personal Demons” (aka The Little Story That Could) in Hellebore & Rue. But I didn’t realize all the fascinating stories behind the anthology until I sat in on an interview with Catherine Lundoff and fellow writer Lisa Nohealani Morton this Sunday. Host Julia Rios plans to post the interview this weekend. I’ll share the link as soon as it goes live. In the meantime, I think you’ll enjoy Tracy S. Morris’s interview with Catherine and co-editor JoSelle Vanderhooft.

You’ll also enjoy Tracy’s Tranquility Series which really is The Beverly Hillbillies meets The X-Files, but that’s a different blog entirely.

On the podcasting front, it was my privilege to host the March edition of the Broad Pod, a monthly selection of short readings from the members of Broad Universe. Broad Universe is an international organization dedicated to promoting, celebrating and honoring women writers of science fiction, fantasy and horror. March is Women’s History Month. In honor of the occasion, the selections of this month’s five featured authors focus on the many aspects of Woman Power:

- Charged with treason, Gail Z. Martin’s pregnant queen Kiera must wage a war of words to save herself, her friends and her unborn child.

- In Larissa N. Niec’s selection, the goddess Rhianna’s high priestess embarks on a dangerous spirit quest to seek help for her dying land.

- Theresa Crater introduces her heroine—and us—to the legendary Morgan le Fey in the land beneath the hallowed hill.

- Then journey with Diane Whiteside to present-day Virginia, where a psychically gifted homicide detective learns just how powerful a woman working for the FBI can be.

- Finally, soar into the future with Danielle Ackley-McPhail and a squadron of hell-raising women fighter pilots led by the infamous Scarlet Jay.

And this is only the beginning of the week’s entertainments. If I’ve been quiet on the blogosphere of late, it’s only because so much will be happening this week. There will be blogs at Beyond the Veil and Samhain, as well as Julia’s interview for Outer Alliance.

To say nothing of lots of green beer. Cheers!

Posted 6 years, 8 months ago at 9:46 pm.

Add a comment

News, News, News, News

Sunday, February 13th, 2011 | Author: jmward14 | writing | Comments Off

No sooner did I finish the story that kept me hunkered down in the writing cave all January, when another New! Shiny! request landed in my email box. So I’m going to play prairie dog and head back to the burrow until sometime this spring. But before I do, I wanted to catch everyone up on all the good stuff.

First, if you want to get a taste of the story that occupied my January, head over to Beyond the Veil, the Samhain Publishing paranormal writers blog, for a discussion of how I developed one of the names for that story, aka “Fixed”. Yes, there is a cat involved, and a shelter, and the cat winces a lot.

The next two items are personal appearances that might be of special interest to folks in the Washington DC area. On March 5, from 10 a.m. to about noon, I’ll be moderating a panel of comprising noted science fiction and fantasy authors Catherine Asaro, Mindy Klasky, Pamela Palmer, Diana Peterfreund, Rebecca York and special guest Colleen Gleason. The panel is part of an all-day seminar hosted by Washington Romance Writers at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Service Center, Bethesda, MD. It will continue after lunch with Colleen’s workshops on the hero’s journey and world-building. Click here for more information (including links to driving directions). This event is free and open to the public, and I know from personal experience, WRW always offers prizes, including books signed by the participating authors.

The spiffy logo belongs to SynDCon II, the Washington DC area’s premiere gaming convention, set for the Rockville Hilton (former home of Capclave), April 1-3. The convention will feature board games, role-playing games, miniature war games and a host of special events, including a writing workshop and panels targeted to the needs of gamer writers and developers. The cast of characters will include Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Vonnie Winslow Crist, Kelly A. Harmon, Diane Whiteside and me. I’ll post more details on the program as they become available.

Finally, I’m celebrating the release of “Person Demons”, my short story about a Tibetan-American sorceress practising her craft in America’s most romantic city, Alexandria, VA. The story appears in Hellebore & Rue, an anthology celebrating queer women magic users. It was was a big stretch for me on a number of levels. I’m one of those writers who follows characters around taking dictation, and I was very worried about getting it right when the lead character was so different from me. But some things are universal: love, hope–and devils manipulating people’s emotions for their own ends. I hope you’ll check out the anthology, if only for the cover, which is as lovely as any I’ve ever seen.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Posted 6 years, 9 months ago at 1:21 pm.

Add a comment

Blogging at History Hoydens today

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010 | Author: jmward14 | Blog | Comments Off

Thanks to the kindness of Diane Whiteside, I’m blogging at History Hoydens today. The article covers the joys and frustrations of building a fantasy world set in Ming Dynasty China. If you’re working in that period, too, maybe the links will help–or maybe you have better ones to share. ;-)

Posted 7 years, 1 month ago at 10:02 am.

Add a comment

My 2010 Dragon*Con Schedule of Dooooom

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010 | Author: jmward14 | Blog | Comments Off

Diana Gabaldon! Peter David! Elizabeth Moon! Jeanne C. Stein! Jody Lynn Nye! Eric Flint! Not only are they all at Dragon*Con, they’re all on panels with moi. Not to mention all the other fabulous people on my twelve panels. Yes, twelve. Now you know where the Dooooom comes from.

FRIDAY 1 p.m.
Collaborations: Are Two Heads Better Than One?
See title. Is a good collaboration as good or better than a solo author’s work? Why or why not?
Eric Flint, C. Robin (Moderator), Jean Marie Ward
Location: Hyatt – Greenbriar (SF/Fantasy Literature Track)

FRIDAY 2:30 p.m.
To Tell the Truth
For the non-fiction writer. Blogs, articles and books about the speculative fiction markets, including books, short stories, movies and television.
Dr. Bob Blackwood, John Flynn, Rosemary Ellen Guiley, Anya Martin, Jennifer Ouellette, Jean Marie Ward
Location: Hyatt – Manila/Singapore/Hong Kong (Writer’s Track)

FRIDAY 4 p.m.
Broad Universe Rapid Fire Readings: Time Travel
The women of Broad Universe take you on a time-traveling trip-tic of storytelling featuring visions of the past, present and future.
Kathryn Hinds, Racheline Maltese, Gail Z. Martin, Jody Lynn Nye, Jean Marie Ward
Location: Westin – International C – Westin (Alternate History Track)

FRIDAY 7 p.m.
True Blood – From Page to Screen
Like the changes to Sookie’s world? Hate them? Come by and share your thoughts!
J.F. Lewis, Carol Malcolm (Moderator), Jeanne C. Stein, Jean Marie Ward
Location: Hyatt – Montreal/Vancouver (Dark Fantasy Track)

FRIDAY 10 p.m.
Sexy Science Fiction
What makes a book sexy? Naked women and actual sex scenes? Or are there other literary pheromones at work?
Diana Gabaldon, Gail Z. Martin, G. Mitchell (Moderator), Jean Marie Ward, Diane Whiteside
Location: Hyatt – Fairlie (SF/Fantasy Literature Track)

SATURDAY 10 a.m.
Turning Stellar Rejections into Sales
According to the rejection letter, your book just misses being bought. What can you do to turn a rejection into a sale?
Lynn Abbey, Peter David, Christopher Golden, Lee Martindale, Josepha Sherman, Anne Sowards, Jean Marie Ward
Location: Hyatt – Manila/Singapore/Hong Kong (Writer’s Track)

SATURDAY 11:30 a.m.
Broad Universe Reading
Discover new writers, rediscover ones you know! Up-and-coming women writers read from their own works and others. (2 ½ hours)
Kathryn Hinds, Mary Robinette Kowal, Racheline Maltese, Gail Z. Martin, Jody Lynn Nye, Jean Marie Ward, Diane Whiteside, Trisha Wooldridge
Location: Hyatt – Greenbriar (SF/Fantasy Literature Track)

SATURDAY 7 p.m.
The Worlds of Tim Burton
A fan panel about the works of Tim Burton. What did you think of Alice in Wonderland? Do you ever think he’ll ever make that Dark Shadows movie?
Leanna Renee Hieber, DJ Ichabod (Moderator), Mari Mancusi, Jean Marie Ward
Location: Hyatt – Cairo (Dark Fantasy Track)

SATURDAY 8:30 p.m.
Gray Areas: Polymoral Characters
Sometimes bad people do good things and vice versa. Does this make the bad good or the good bad?
Larry Davis (Moderator), Van Plexico, Jean Marie Ward
Location: Hyatt – Greenbriar (SF/Fantasy Literature Track)

SATURDAY 10 p.m.
Love Rots
Zombies in erotica and romance.
Elizabeth Donald, John Everson, Stacia Kane, Mari Mancusi, M. Miller (Moderator), Jean Marie Ward
Location: Hyatt – Montreal/Vancouver (Dark Fantasy Track)

MONDAY 11:30 am.
The New Amazons
Women kick bad guy butt in urban fantasy, young adult fiction, television and real life. How are they doing in epic fantasy?
Lynn Abbey, Gail Z. Martin, Elizabeth Moon, Jean Marie Ward (Moderator)
Location: Hyatt – Greenbriar (SF/Fantasy Literature Track)

MONDAY 2:30 p.m.
Win, Lose or Draw – SF style
Use your drawing skills to win books and prizes in our version of the old game.
Jean Marie Ward (Moderator)
Location: Hyatt – Greenbriar (SF/Fantasy Literature Track)

Yeah, I’m going to be a gibbering ball of goo by the time it’s all over. But dang, what a way to go!

Posted 7 years, 2 months ago at 12:59 am.

Add a comment

RavenCon, Retreat and Library of Congress–with links to photos!

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010 | Author: jmward14 | Blog | Comments Off

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the more fun I’m having away from the keyboard, the less likely I am to blog. Guess who’s been having way too much fun this month. We’ll draw a veil over the household’s Easter/Oster celebrations. Suffice it to say much chocolate was consumed—necessary fuel for what was to follow.

Next came RavenCon, which this year featured two of my favorite people, Rachel Caine and her husband R. Cat, as Writer and Artist Guests of Honor, respectively. And that’s not even counting the great people who run the convention. If you’re interested in a visual tour of the fun, my April 9 and 10 photos can be found here. Sunday, April 11, I was too busy to shoot. Honest!

The very next day, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Sarah Avery, Christine Norris and I upheld the honor of Broad Universe at the Library of Congress. We didn’t get any photos of the Rapid Fire Reading itself, but if you want to see the unusual suspects, click here.

On April 16, it was off to Turn the Page Bookstore Café in Boonsboro, Maryland, for the annual mega-signing with Nora Roberts and the featured guests of the Washington Romance Writers annual conference, “In the Company of Writers”, then the conference itself. The Retreat, as it’s called, is always a highlight of my year. I just wish the love came through in the photos. The subjects are so much lovelier than their photos.

I’ll write a longer report for my monthly Beyond the Veil blog on May 8. But until then, I leave you with this. Enjoy!


(Left to right) authors Charlaine Harris, Diane Whiteside and Ginjer Buchanan, Ace/Roc editor-in-chief at the WRW Retreat, April 17.

Jean Marie

Posted 7 years, 6 months ago at 7:06 pm.

Add a comment

It’s All Diane’s Fault

Thursday, September 27th, 2007 | Author: jmward14 | Blog | Comments Off

Diane Whiteside’s, that is.  I’m back in Rewrite Hell.  Oh well, anything for a better book.  (She says through gritted teeth.  LOL)  I wrote about the issue for my bimonthly blog at Fantasy & Enchantment.  Check it out if you want to see the source of my woe.  You know, at times like these, I really wish I could figure out how to make the books write themselves.
Hugs and grins,
Jean Marie
*the blogging delinquent*

Posted 10 years, 1 month ago at 5:57 pm.

Add a comment