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Behind The Words

A journal by Barbara Wood

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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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Pumpkin Spice Everything :)

by Barbara Wood last modified Oct 24, 2018 06:44

Well, it's Fall, but it doesn't quite feel Fall enough for me. Going to hit 90 degrees today! Some kind of Fall. Looking forward to roasting pumpkin seeds, the sounds of trick or treat at my door, pumpkin spiced coffee and the changing of the leaves. Happy Fall everyone.

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Benefits Of Research

by Barbara Wood last modified Oct 08, 2018 06:39

(image of cartoon woman with head open

One of the most pleasant phases of writing a novel (for me at least) is doing the research.  For instance, I never write about a place I haven’t visited.  Therefore it has been my joy to have traveled the world and explored places like Egypt, East Africa, Australia. 

Although my latest novel, “The Far River,’ takes place right here in my own California and does not offer exotic travel, nonetheless the book had its research rewards.  The story is about three generations of two families who came to California from Germany to establish a winery.  So naturally, before
I could write about a winery, I had to visit one – several of them, in fact.  I need to give the book that authentic flavor, don’t I?  And of course, visiting wineries one must always sample the products (we have many wineries in California and tour companies that provide buses or limousines that allow visitors to go from one winery to the next without worrying about driving – aaaahhhh, beautiful).

In fact, I so thoroughly enjoyed my research into wineries and
wines, that I am now looking to my next novel and the extensive research
it will require.  My thoughts are running along the lines of a
manufacturer of fine chocolates.  What do you think?

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Treasure Hunting

by Barbara Wood last modified Sep 20, 2018 07:42

A friend of mine enjoys going to estate sales in and around her neighborhood. She works at a school and often times finds interesting and useful items for her classroom, as well as books. Books seem to be a typical find at these kinds of sales. Books of all kinds and she tells me that you really get an insight into the owners of the home by the books that once graced their bookshelves.

Yesterday was such a trip for my friend. She found an assortment of nick nacks for her classroom plus enough books to fill a large box. Books ranging from American history to science and classic novels.

The last half-an-hour of the estate sale it was announced that you could fill a long plastic bag for $5 a bag. So, my friend added a few more items, some Christmas paraphernalia, and 3 ring binders that were in abundance in this particular home – the owner had been an engineer and there was binder after binder filled with technical papers.

As she was telling me her tale I thought to myself, “at the end of the day, the stuff of life comes down to $5 a bag”. Very sobering. Things you’ve bought, things you’ve displayed in your home, things in unopened packets are worth just a few cents.

As my friend perused the enormous amount of books that were for sale, she saw something familiar lying on top of a pile: Domina by yours truly! A first edition no less. My friend couldn’t leave it behind baking in the sun, so she bought it. I must say, the owner had good taste!

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What Happended To Her Shoes?

by Barbara Wood last modified Sep 03, 2018 09:38

(image of cartoon woman with head open


I really like this painting by Vladimir Volegov. The woman looks so serene - head buried in a book, letting the world pass her by. Her shoes are off - she's care-free. I am imagining that there is a gentle breeze that lifts the tendrils of her hair and that the sun feels warm, but not hot, on her back. Ahhhh . . . such a lovely place to read a book.

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Cats Are Best!

by Barbara Wood last modified Aug 20, 2018 12:21

(image of pink birthday cake with feathers on top

I am a dog lover. No doubt about it. Big dogs especially. German shepherds, Rottweilers, Huskies. Big guys.

However, I am also a cat lover. Dogs are fun and smart and inter-active and pretty much read-able. Cats on the other hand are mysterious and independent. And no, you have no idea what they are thinking. I have had dogs all my life, I have also had cats. The cats have always ruled the dogs. I once had a 120lb Akita named Mongo who was totally intimidated by a seven pound cat. He literally quivered in Pyewacket’s presence.

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Das Goldene Tal

by Barbara Wood last modified Aug 08, 2018 11:46

(image of pen and paper)

Hello Readers in Germany,

I'm happy to let you know that my next book will be available in September 2018!

Die Schaller-Weingüter sind legendär im Weinland Kalifornien. Aber jetzt steht Nicole, Urenkelin der Gründer, finanziell unter Druck. Als dann noch in einem Weinkeller ein Skelett entdeckt wird, droht sie alles zu verlieren. Sie macht sich auf Spurensuche in die Vergangenheit...
Ein Jahrhundert zuvor: 1912 bauen die Schallers, Winzer aus Deutschland, ihr neues Leben in Kalifornien auf. Schnell sind die Brüder Wilhelm und Johann erfolgreich. Doch als klar wird, dass Wilhelms junge Frau Clara eigentlich Johann liebt, entzweien sich die Brüder in tödlichem Hass. Der Riss, der durch die Familie geht, wird das Schicksal dreier Generationen bestimmen.
Ein mitreißender Roman über einen schicksalhaften Familienzwist und die Liebe, die Versöhnung bringt.

You can order it here.


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New Discoveries for Inspiration

by Barbara Wood last modified Aug 07, 2018 16:11

(image of pen and paper)

I've had fun creating characters from another time and place: Post WW II, Cairo Egypt, "Virgins of Paradise". Two thousand years ago to the land of the Anasazi Indians of Chaco Canyon, New Mexico with "Daughter of the Sun," and in "The Blessing Stone", I travelled all the way back to the beginninng of time! So it was with particular interest that I read that new discoveries have been made about Stonehenge. Archaeologists have made new discoveries about the orgins of the 25 cremated remains that were unearthered there. At least 10 of the humans weren't from the monument site. Possibly 140 miles away. Facts like this can get the writer's mind racing. Where were they from? Why were they making the trip to Stonehenge? What was the journey like? It would make a great story!

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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.