Writing historic fiction can be smooth and yet not. When the wind is in our metaphoric sails, we can dash out thousands of words until we come to a hiccup.

Tanith Lee spoke of this in an interview some years ago. She might write a hundred or two hundred pages … and then … in the plot of a story, a human becomes immortal! And she stops for six months to ponder what that would mean. (I believe she was speaking about her wonderful Flat Earth series.)

Recently, as I was working on the opening of the third young Yamabuki book, Cold Trail, as stopped when I had to address the problem: what would Yamabuki wear when she crosses the passes where there is snow? It is said a samurai of the 12th century wore fur boots made of bear skin and lined with silk, but I think that might not be all that good as the snow piles up. Going outside, a mile high here in the Rockies, reminds me of the weather conditions the samurai in an earlier age had to overcome.

Like Lee, I stopped writing and started researching. Not six months, but still…

I found a photograph of the kind of boots that might have been worn by Yamabuki.

With the research done, back to the desperate chase and maybe a few thousand more words. You never know when the flow will come or go.