Category Archives: Reading

Engaging the Senses (re-blog)

After reading this great advice, I revisited my posts about examples of sensory-input writing and found 17, including a recipe and a survey for the literary foodies among us. I write long-form fiction that has plenty of room for comprehensive sensory involvement, but as phantomwriter143 suggests, every story can benefit from sense-appeal: “Which one would draw you in the most as a reader?”


The Nose Knows.

More Olfactory Observations.

Don’t Give Me the Stink Eye, But…



A Sight for Sore Eyes.

The Eyes Have It!



Hath Music Charms…

The Sound of Muzak.

We Write The Songs

Eh? What’s That, You Say?

The Sounds of Silence.


Fire Burne, and Cauldron Bubble.

Novel Nibbles & Celtic Connections.

Survey: Recipes from Irish Firebrands.


All You Need Is Love.

Touching You, Touching Me.





Writers draw readers in to their imaginary worlds, their characters’ lives, and the driving story that ultimately leaves the reader wanting more.

And one way successful writers do this is by including every single one of the senses in their writing.

We all know the five senses: sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell.


While there is debate over other non-traditional senses including balance, proprioception and kinesthetic awareness, heat detection, and pain, I’m gong to talk about the big five today.

Too often, writers focus on the sights and sounds in their creative works, but they miss out on the touch, taste, and smell aspects.

Sight and sounds are crucial, of course. We need to see what the characters see, but the other senses get left behind too often.


For example, did you know that smell evokes more forgotten memories than any other sense?

neon free smells MGD©

Yep. It’s true. I use this very…

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Inconvenient Facts: Reading Current Events.

One of the main characters in Irish Firebrands is a political journalist, who writes newspaper columns, and reports on television, too. The story doesn’t go into his writing, but the Muses left hints about his career that make me wonder about their plans for yet another book in the saga. I guess the Muses want job security, too! Knowing how to read current events may help novelists to write plausibly about fictional reporters on their beats….

The Passions of Patriots: A Novel ~ Christine Plouvier, Indie Author

2005_Spanish_Levantine_warfare_in_Parker-Pearson 3 Click on the page image to read article.

“Never let the facts get in the way of a good story” has been variously attributed (Twain? Hemingway?), but it accurately describes the dilemma of reading about current events, especially during wartime. Apparently artists have been among army camp followers ever since cave walls served as the Neolithic hunter-gatherer’s news feed, pictured at left.

Napoleon’s motives for carrying a printing press on campaign may have included not only a need to control scuttlebutt amongst the troops, but also to help manage the spin that local rags might have put on his image.

Battle of Waterloo A contemporary sketch of the Battle of Waterloo, 1815.

The American Civil War was documented extensively in battlefield reporting art, but it was also the conflict during which photojournalism got its start: even the battlefield artist had his picture taken. (Click on images to enlarge.)


The advent of battlefield…

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Birthdays and Irish Firebrands.

Characters of Irish Firebrands

Main Characters:

Tomorrow, May 8th, is the birthday of main character Dillon Carroll. The year and some of the circumstances of his advent are found in Chapter 3 of Irish Firebrands. Other details are not revealed until Chapter 30.

Lana’s birth date is not given, but she admits to being “over 50,” and not long after meeting Dillon, she estimates that he’s about ten years older than she is.

Secondary Characters:

Frank’s birthday is September 1, which we learn in Chapter 16. In Chapter 8, Lana estimates that Dillon may be about five years older than Frank.

Medb tells Lana, in Chapter 8, that her birthday is at the “end of December.” When she turns 18, she makes it her excuse to misbehave, as she reports to Lana in Chapter 26.

The Book:

I began writing Irish Firebrands sometime in mid-February, 2009. The last plot hole zipped shut at 11:28 pm on January 27, 2012. The current edition was released on May 19, 2013.

In honor of Dillon’s birthday and the publication of Irish Firebrands, for a limited time curious readers can sample the first half of the book in PDF, available on the dropdown menu under SAMPLE CHAPTERS, on the main menu, above. After May 19th, the 50% preview will revert to Chapter 1, matching or approximating most of the other samples now available online.


Irish Firebrands
is available in digital and paper
through  libraries and booksellers, worldwide. 

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