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Behind The Words

A journal by Barbara Wood

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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 Halloween

by Barbara Wood last modified Oct 31, 2016 11:26

Happy Halloween to those of you who are trick or treating wiith your children or attending a costume party. Stay safe and have fun!





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Rain, Rain, Come Again!

by Barbara Wood last modified Oct 17, 2016 09:08

I woke up to a soft, gentle rain this morning. A rare treat in my neck of the woods :)






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Tha Magdalene Scrolls - Back In Print!

by Barbara Wood last modified Oct 11, 2016 10:13

My first novel, The Magdalene Scrolls, was published in 1978.  Turner Publishing has brought it back to life and is now available for pre-order at amazon.

When the first of the Magdalene Scrolls arrives, Professor Ben Messer is puzzled, intrigued, excited. What scholar of ancient languages wouldn’t be, when he held in his hands something even more astonishing than the Dead Sea Scrolls?a scroll just discovered to contain the life story and last confession of a man who had lived in Jerusalem just after the death of Christ.

By the time the second scroll arrives, Ben’s interest has begun to be more than professional. For it seems that David, the writer of the ancient scrolls, is in many ways very much like Ben?and he seems to be speaking directly to Ben, across nearly 2,000 years of history. Before long, the terrifying transformation has begun, and there can be no turning back.

What do the words of a Jew who lived 2,000 years ago have to do with today, and with Ben Messer, a man who had forsaken his Jewish identity years ago?or thought he had. And why does David’s life suddenly seem so much more real?and powerful?than Ben’s own? Why does Ben suddenly shut himself off from the beautiful woman he intends to marry and become involved with Judy Golden, a very different kind of woman? And what will happen if Ben surrenders completely to the power of the scrolls?

Before long, the terrifying transformation has begun, and there can be no turning back . . .

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Fall Reading

by Barbara Wood last modified Oct 06, 2016 10:43

Whatever you are reading this Fall, i hope that it's taking you to a magical place.

And if it's one of my books, I'd like to hear about it.  Drop me a line on my FB page.






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Food For Thought

by Barbara Wood last modified Sep 28, 2016 09:22

1. Is it good if a vacuum really sucks?

2. Why is the third hand on the watch called the second hand?

3. If a word is misspelled in the dictionary, how would we know?

4. If Webster wrote the first dictionary, where did he find the words?

5. Why do we say something is out of whack? What is a "whack?"

6. Why does "slow down" and "slow up" mean the same thing?

7. Why does "fat chance" and "slim chance" mean the same thing?

8. Why do "tug" boats push their barges?

 . . .

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50 Shades Of Blue

by Barbara Wood last modified Sep 20, 2016 09:10

It was with great interest that I read recently that the oldest indigo-dyed fabric ever found was just discovered in Peru. Scientists have dated it to around $6,200 years ago. Prior to this discovery, the oldest sample was dated around 4,400 years ago in Egypt.

You may wonder why this kind of information delights me. Many of my books are set in ancient times(The Blessing Stone, Woman of a Thousand Secrets are perfect examples), and require an abundance of research. So, I tuck these discoveries away for possible use in future novels. Now, if I choose to write a novel set in the Americas around 6,200 years ago, you bet my heroine will be rockin' a blue dress!

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Quote To Inspire

by Barbara Wood last modified Sep 12, 2016 09:12

"Be Yourself -- everyone else is already taken." Oscar Wilde.

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How Was Your Weekend?

by Barbara Wood last modified Sep 02, 2016 08:44

I read an article recently, the title of which I found intriguing, The secret meanings in 'how was your weekend?'.

Basically how you ask this simple question reveals a lot about you.  There are 4 possible ways of asking this question:

#1 "Good weekend?"

#2 "Did you have a good weekend?"

#3 "Did you do anything interesting this weekend?"

#4 "What did you do this weekend?"

The questions are listed in order of how much you care about the other person.

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The Benefits Of Research

by Barbara Wood last modified Aug 29, 2016 04:08

Doing research is one of the stages of writing a novel that I particularly love. Research gives me ideas, inspiration, guides my characters and points my plot it in the right direction. I do all my research myself, I never have help. In writing my current novel about a German wine making family in California, I have naturally had to do research on wines. While I am a wine drinker, I am no expert. I buy my wine in jugs at the supermarket. So naturally I had to familiarize myself with all the different varieties, how they are grown, processed, etc. In so doing, I have tasted many lovely wines over the past months. Last night for example, I treated myself to a particularly delightful Gew├╝rtztraminer.

Needless to say, I have been very happy while doing this research

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Plan B

by Barbara Wood last modified Aug 24, 2016 08:53

I was fascinated with Roman and Egyptian history as a girl, so much so that I wanted to be an archeologist. This passion to unearth treasures did influence several of my books. Star of Babylon, The Blessing Stone, Sacred Ground, The Prophetess, The Watch Gods Hounds & Jackals, The Magdalene Scrolls.  I never became an archeologist, but I get to write about it :)

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A Writer's Sense Of Humor

by Barbara Wood last modified Aug 10, 2016 14:12

(image of audio book icon

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Past Leads To The Present

by Barbara Wood last modified Aug 02, 2016 13:05

(image of audio book icon

This quote could easily apply to so many of the female characters I create. They usually have a past they are trying to escape or overcome or a secret that is consuming them. Inevitably a bright future is where they are heading (although it usually takes them about 400 pages to get there) - writer's prerogative.

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The Far River


A Real Taste of History


Happy Easter

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Nov 27, 2017

My Next Book - The Far River

Nov 20, 2017

Audio Book - Woman Of A Thousand Secrets

Jul 18, 2017

Audio book: The Serpent & the Staff

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Copyright © 2007 by Barbara Wood. All rights reserved.