25 January 2017


It's been a few years since I wrote Art of Love, which is set in the 12th century abbey schools that eventually became the University of Paris. But the recent debate on "facts" brought this passage to mind.

“The Pharisees did not write the Gospels, so we do not really know what they thought, only what they did.” Alain rose as he spoke. If he had drawn a sword he could not have commandeered more attention. “The apostles wrote the Gospels, and you could argue they were setting doctrine, not history.”  
“Master Alain.” Orleans’ voice was cold even as he squinted in Alain’s general direction. “I was wondering when you would speak up.”  
“This is my argument,” Abigail said. Both men ignored her.
“Continue,” Orleans ordered.  
Alain nodded. “I am not saying the Gospels are fallible. That would indeed be heresy. However, the answer to your question is more complicated than it would appear. Fact and truth are not interchangeable. Like faith and reason, fact and truth are twins, each incomplete without the other and incomplete in our definition.”  
Despite being furious that Alain jumped to her defense, Abigail was impressed.  
“In the beginning was the word and the word was of God and the word was God, and then God said, let there be light,” he continued, his voice like medicine laced with honey. “God spoke the universe into existence, and Saint John describes our Redemptor as the word. We reason with words. We dispute with words. We pray with words. We write words, read words and hold our thoughts, our memories and our observations in words. Whether it is Abelard and his logic or Herodotus and his histories, we cannot go beyond words. Fact and truth have the same symbiotic relationship. Our words are our facts; however, the truth is dependent upon our viewpoint.”  
“Are you suggesting truth is subjective?” The question staggered out of the master’s mouth. Orleans looked confused and his dim eyes missed Alain’s predatory smile.  
“Plato said it was comparative.” 
“You are on the verge of heresy, Scotsman, take care with your next words.”  
Abigail waited, holding her breath. Heresy could turn on something as precise as tense.  
“Our argument is not about truth, but facts. Plato’s good man was based on comparison with other men because he had no access to the ultimate good. Saint Paul wrote that we see through a glass darkly. Even now, we do not know the truth, only where to find it. God alone has all the facts, and therefore, the truth. Anything written by man contains neither all the facts nor the truth. We are right to question Herodotus and Abelard both. We err when we judge them by different standards.”  
“That is what I said!” Abigail cried. Again, both men ignored her.  
“And Abelard was right to question God?” Orleans exclaimed. 
Alain shook his head in exaggerated exasperation. “Job questioned God and was not condemned for it. Abelard questioned accepted practices, not God. It is not the questions, but the conclusion that leads us astray. Therefore, we best serve the present and the future by discussing only what we know to be fact. Otherwise, innocent men might be falsely accused of pederasty or heresy or treason because of half truths.”  
Abigail looked up in time to see pure hatred flash across Orleans’s face. She turned and saw Alain meet the hatred head on. 

16 January 2017

Silver-lining Monday: Wallpaper nightmare

When I bought the house, I knew it needed a new roof. I also was more than unimpressed with the interior paint.

Everything had been painted a dirty beige, and I mean everything--walls, trim, baseboards, doors. Clearly the paint had been on sale that day.

What I didn't know was that all that dirty beige hid a desperate secret: the former owners had painted over wallpaper.

I discovered this only after the roof was fixed, the HACV repaired, and insulation put down. I couldn't figure out why the paint was bubbling and peeling until I could see the lines where sections met up.

So now I am scraping off layers of painted wall paper and thinking unkind thoughts of the person--or people--who took the short cut.

On the other hand, it does give me plenty of time to think about the next sentence, next crisis, next turning point in my books. So that is today's silver-lining.

15 December 2016

Oops…that’s not what I sat down to write

I’ve been asked dozens of times if I’m a plotter or a pantser (which means I write by the seat of my pants). I’ve often described myself as a plotzer. I try to plot but end up winging the words.
The truth is, my muse is just out-and-out insane, and I’m at his mercy. Sometimes he tells me what’s coming. Other times he prefers to surprise me. A couple of months ago, Mr. Muse shocked me by telling me about this average, contemporary hero named Boone.
Now my muse and I don’t write contemporaries. As a life-long medievalist with interests solidly fixed in the 12th century, a contemporary was never a blip on my radar, much less an option. So, I said no.
He kept whispering.
I ignored him.
He woke me at 3 a.m.
I threatened to eunuch him. He promised me the key to the five-book historical series I’ve been struggling to write for a few years now.
He won. I following his crooked path and found a contemporary novella at the end of it. 
In Something Promised, Boone Robertson and Eden Rivers have to confront injury, greed, and ghosts before finding a future. Even then, a future together isn’t guaranteed. The story is still in development and I haven’t even looked for a publisher but it’s interesting to write about people who aren’t trying to save the kingdom—or the world—they are just trying to find what we all want: someone to love and laugh with.
I find myself excited and challenged by the story’s very normalness (but I’m still holding Mr. Muse to his promise for the historical series).

Mom is naked again.” 
Eden Rivers tripped up the old step, dropping her walking pole in the stumble. She grabbed the rail. Splinters dug into her palm. Balancing on one foot, she caught her breath and waited for the pain to fade. 
“No need to be so dramatic,” her sister said as she snatched up the walking stick. "Did you hear what I said?"
Eden tentatively shifted her weight. No pain. Well, no more than usual.  
“Mom is weeding the yard au natural.” Savannah Rivers-Knott slipped the iPhone into her back pocket. “She is getting more ridiculous as she gets older, not less.” 
“Front or back?” Eden asked. 
“Is she gardening in the front or back yard?” 
Savannah wrinkled her upper lip. “Does it matter?” 
“If she’s in the front yard, we tell her to stop before she causes an accident on 68. In the back, we tell Old Lady Pratt to mind her own business.”

Keena Kincaid is the author of four, full-length romance novels set in 12th century England, as well as several novellas in the same period. Her books are available from Amazon and other online outlets. You also can fan or friend her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.