Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Library Smut

Not what you think!
But here's a library they didn't use:

The Osler Library of Medicine at McGill University

How Do You Decide What To Read Next?

Another great thread over on Compuserve (I hope the link works!)...

I tend to buy books at a faster rate than I can read them, even while reading ten or more at a time - that To Be Read pile just won't stop growing!

In a way, though, the pile acts as a kind of "buffer zone"; when I've finished a few books at once, or want to escape some of the more "serious" books I'm reading, and if I don't start rereading an old favourite, then I can scan the TBR pile and wait for a new book to strike me.

Odd things happen sometimes, with this method. I was straightening a bookshelf one time when Dickens' The Chimes - a very tiny hardcover copy published practically 100 years ago - caught my eye. I sat down on the floor right then and there and read the whole thing. It was lovely :-)

Tag Lines

Jenny has a recent post about Tag Lines for one's novel.

I've been thinking about this all day and have come up with three for The Face of A Lion:

Meeting the cat was only the beginning... (This might be better as: Meeting a talking cat was only the beginning...)

Can Austin prevent history from being erased?

What if Rome had never invaded England?

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Montreal Canadiens!

Check out this knitting pattern, courtesy of Jeloca (pattern for sale here):

And now, some scenes from downtown Montreal:

Monday, 21 April 2008

Spring has Sprung!

The geese are flying north - I've been seeing them every morning on my way to the train station. Somehow they never fail to lift up my heart. My camera's not equal to taking still shots of them so high up, so I've borrowed a public domain image:


Tag! I'm it! I've been tagged by Carol!

The rules:

a. Link to the person who tagged you.
b. Post the rules on your blog.
c. Write six random things about yourself.
d. Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
e. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment at their blog.
f. Let your tagger know when your entry is up.

The six random facts:

1. I can count to 5 in eight languages (English, French, German, Turkish, Spanish, Russian, Welsh and Swedish)

2. My dreams are mostly like video games – lots of running, jumping, chasing, car crashes, wild animals, near-escapes... lots of fun!

3. I’ve never eaten at: Burger King; Kentucky Fried Chicken; or Quiznos. I’ve only ever eaten at Taco Bell once, and Denny’s once. Denny’s was the worst! I haven’t eaten anything but ice cream at McDonald’s in about ten years.

4. I once almost bought a Dali statuette at the Dali Museum in Paris – it was of Alice, skipping, and only cost 1000$, which was all the money I had in the world at the time. I just couldn’t believe it was an original Dali, being sold for so little, and I was too frightened of the snooty saleswoman to ask about it (I was 17). So I bought two prints instead. Here’s one:

I just Googled now and the staue’s worth about 10,000$ Rats!

5. I’ve never had the same job for longer than four and a half years.

6. I’ve never taken the SATs but we did the PSATs at my school – I got 53/100 in Math and 97/100 in English...

The tags (I was going to tag Sarah and Nina but was beaten to it!):


Um, I haven't really *got* anyone else, except for people who don't update their blogs...

Sunday, 20 April 2008


The blog of unnecessary quotation marks, here.
How about unnecessary apostrophes? I still remember my boss at Dairy Queen, who once wrote up a grocery list for me that included banana's [sic]. Shudder!
Why is it that people who can't spell/write coherently always add items? You'd think more ignorant would equal more simple, yet that never seems to be the case. They should teach kids early on: when in doubt, leave it out!

Friday, 18 April 2008


Two full chapters edited! Only one brief paragraph missing, left for another day. Should I celebrate with a snip? Why not!
(parts of this snip have previosuly appeared in draft form on the Compuserve Books and Writers Community)

From The Face of A Lion, copyright Deniz Bevan:

A landing opened up before him and he saw that there was a kind of private terrace, with benches and tables, and a low railing along the ledge, beyond which –

“Oh, wow!”

Austin turned his head this way and that, unsure where to look first. All four sides of the amphitheatre were visible below them. A hooded crowd was seething in to the arena from the doors on the other side of the hill from the apothecary’s shop, to join the mass of people already crowded in on the dusty floor and slowly climbing the tiered seats on all sides. Everywhere torches and lanterns flickered, and sticks and clubs were brandished. A jumble of shouted cries rent the still night air. The crowd now entering was loudest, and had soon drowned out all other voices with its chant. Those in the arena picked up the new cry and the voice of the entire assembly swelled until it became one awful high-pitched whine. “Great is Diana! Diana of the Ephesians! All who oppose her shall die!”

Austin thought the words sounded familiar. He watched the red lights of the torches moving snakelike around the arena, as hooded figures wound along the lowest tier of seats and slowly rose through the ranks, to encircle the rest of the mob, chanting all the while. “Great is Diana! Diana of the Ephesians! All who oppose her shall die!" The rest of the crowd waved their arms and shifted in an agitated fashion, but the hooded men moved slowly, in one long ordered line, and there was no end to them; more and more figures in hoods and cloaks came in through the gates, like a line of sheep following a shepherd – a shepherd who carried a blood red torch and a tall crook.

And Austin knew, suddenly, where he had heard the phrase before. In the Temple of Artemis, on his second day, during the ceremony were Lady Porphyry’s brother had sacrificed one hundred sheep to the chanted repetition of the same awful words.

He was afraid, then, and had a swift, passing yearning to be back with his parents, reading comic books in the den, surrounded by the four walls of home.

But his parents were not at home. Going back now would mean going to the house in Kuşadası, and he would be no closer to the comfort of his childhood.

As he continued to watch the aweful procession below, the first shaking quiver of his fear passed, and he was aware once again of his nearer surroundings. Theseus stood beside him, leaning as far out over the parapet as he dared, bouncing on the balls of his feet.

“Isn’t this exciting? I wonder what they’re going to do to that group?”

“Which group?”

Theseus pointed to the furthest end of the arena.

Austin’s head swam, but now the last of his fear ebbed, and was replaced by a soaring sensation in his chest, as if he was about to leap off the hill’s edge and go flying over the abominable crowd, to the succour of the tiny group of people in the distance. He couldn’t see their faces, or tell whether Pliny – or even Miss Julia – was among them, but there were the rest of his friends, sure enough. He saw now that the orderly snakelike procession had moved all along to block off the crowd, and that the hooded figures had surrounded the little group completely. The followers of Artemis were now strategically placed so as to control both the mob and have sole access to the object of their fury. But what could he do, one boy against thousands of purposeful sinister men, who nevertheless hid beneath hoods and cloaks?

He swivelled around to look for Kedi and try to talk to him undisturbed, when his eyes fell on Althea. He had forgotten that she was with them. She stood at the top of the stairs, and he could not tell if she had come to the edge and seen what was taking place in the arena, then moved back in fear, or not stepped away from the stairs at all since they had first arrived.

Theseus was cheering and calling along with the crowd now, though he did not use the chant of the hooded ones. Austin slipped away from him and made his way over to Althea. Kedi was there, he saw, watching from his own perch atop an overturned urn on the wall.

She had been crying. She looked up at his approach, dabbed a handkerchief at red and swollen eyes, and suddenly curved her body, reaching out a hand and running it along his arm.

“You’re very brave, aren’t you?”

“What – what do you mean?”

“On the ledge just now. You raised your arm, in the direction of those miserable huddled people, as though you would scoop them up and rescue them.”

“I did?” So she had seen them. And, unable to bear it, had retreated.

“Yes. It was a noble thought.”

He was looking at the Althea from the arbour again, the one who batted her eyelashes, and kept running light fingers up his arm, over the cloak on his shoulders. The fingers of her other hand came up and stroked his cheek. This close, he could see even more the redness that rimmed her eyes, making a strange contrast to the line of black shadow on her lids. She had said she wanted to be friends – what had she really meant?

“Augustine,” she whispered, close in his ear. There was a smudge below her mouth where her lip colour had run. He stood frozen, looking at it. She kissed him. The shouts from below mingled with Theseus’ calls and the croak of a late night bird in the hills above them. Her lips were soft, but cold. There was a faint taste of wine. This wasn’t what he had imagined at all. Althea’s hand moved slowly down his chest. Her fingers tightened on his thighs. He kissed her back, concentrating, wondering if he was doing it right. Her hands were flushing parts of his body he had never had reactions from, but still there was a voice in his head that kept yelling, louder than all the outer noises, “stop! stop!”

“Althea, stop.” He pulled away. She stared at him for a moment, hands slipping to her sides, mouth bruised with colour. And burst into tears again. Perhaps he should have let her keep kissing him – anything but floods of emotions he did not know how to handle. But no, Theseus was there, and Kedi too.

He glanced at Kedi, who blinked once, slowly, to show he understood Austin’s thoughts. And Pliny and Miss Julia would need his help – if they weren’t already in that sad huddle below.

A new resolve stole over and eased his awkwardness. He knew what to say to her now. “Althea, we have to go and help. We can’t just think of ourselves.”

“We’ll go to your house.” Theseus was beside him, staring at Althea as she wept and hiccoughed into her handkerchief.

“Okay. Come on.” Austin put an arm around her shoulders and Theseus hesitated, then stood on her other side, passing a hand around her waist. *He* probably wouldn’t have stopped her kissing him, Austin thought, making a face. Together they led her down the stairs, Kedi stepping softly behind them, and waited at the bottom as she straightened her hair and her tunic. Theseus led them once more through the streets, keeping as far away from crowds as possible.


Linda Gerber's holding a contest!
Jenny's got a surprise coming!

Two Weeks of Editing Begins Today!

As part of my attempt to revive my lacklustre performance in the latest round of 70 Days of Sweat, I have cleared my lunch hours for the next two weeks and plan to get some serious work done! Especially now that I've finished rereading the Chronicles of Narnia and, besides more Diana Gabaldon and Anthony Horowitz books, don't have any other books started at the moment (one of those strangep hases I sometimes go through).
The idea is to get the entire novel forward from First Draft to Semi-Okay-Wouldn't-Mind-Passing-It-To-Friends (Maybe!) Stage, with at least one chapter of excellence that can be used for querying.
And then I'll begin drafting a query letter... Ick.

P.S. Isn't the photo great?
P.P.S. I promise not to waste too much time playing Srabulous.

Friday, 11 April 2008

A Photo of Austin

Here he is! I found this photo in the August/September 2007 special Family issue of Real Simple. I've contacted the magazine for permission to use the photo but haven't received a response, so I'm crediting them here, and anyone who has any additional info about the photographer or owner of the photo, please contact me!

To Err is Human to Spell Correctly is Divine

Or as near as. I'm a stickler for correct spelling because I think the more logical your writing is, the clearer and better-expressed your thoughts are bound to be. Conversely, I love the way the English language is so fluid and bendy-stretchy, and enjoy reading about the myriad ways it has developed over the last c.1500 years (Great Vowel Shift, anyone?).
Offices that concentrate on writing and editorial matters - not just magazines, newspapers or publishing houses, either - tend to create mountains out of molehills in the search for a standard in-house style. I love the kinds of discussions that centre on apostrophe and comma use, as long as everyone also has an eye on the big picture of course - there's no sense splitting sides about split infinitives if the end-user (pc speak!) of your document couldn't care less and probably won't read half of what you're sending anyway. Better to make sure the overall writing is sound and that the document is delivered on time, rather than worrying about too many dangling hyphens.
However, I don't think incorrect grammar should be used in the quest for expediency. Case in point - a couple of years ago at my office, when we started expanding our production of reports and got a few more assistants to help with the editing of the different language versions, we ran into a problem with "check in". The hyphen goes in when it's used as an adjective (check-in counter) and comes out when it's used as a verb (the passengers check in). D'uh, right? Well, the powers that be decided that this was too difficult to remember, and now we hyphenate every time. Grr...

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

April Fool Digression

Flying penguins! Narrated by Terry Jones!
And the Snail's Tales post about how gullible the Turkish media are...


I'm going to have a little fun. Instead of making the usual lists about tasks, to do chores, goals, books (being) read, etc. I've decided to make a list of my main character's attributes. I believe Claire (tag!) has also done this sort of thing before for her characters, right down to their blood type, eh? :-)
Age: 12
Height: 4'11"
Weight: 75 lbs.
Hair: Blond
Eyes: Blue (dark)
Hobbies: Football (i.e. soccer), Fishing
Likes: ice cream, jam, walking in the woods
Dislikes: powdered sugar, sand between his toes, really hot days
Pets: none at the moment

I'm going to think some more about his musical/reading/etc. tastes - what sorts of posters he might have on his walls...

Books I'm Reading and Finished Books

  • The Making of Outlander by Tara Bennett
  • Testament of Experience by Vera Brittain
  • Zoom sur Plainpalais by Corinne Jaquet
  • beta read! (JB)
  • ***Reading At Intervals***
  • Sophie's Choice by William Styron
  • The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • The Young Lions by Irwin Shaw
  • Burning Sky by Lori Benton
  • 12 Anne and Avonlea books by L. M. Montgomery (skimming/reread (this was free on Kindle!))
  • Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford
  • Istanbul Noir (Akashic Books anthology)
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien manuscripts edited by J. D. Rateliff
  • The Jerusalem Bible
  • ***Finished Books***
  • The Children of Men by P. D. James
  • A Daughter's A Daughter by Mary Westmacott (Agatha Christie)
  • A Girl From Yamhill by Beverly Cleary
  • Sunlight by Margaret Rucker (poem; floating in a cocktail glass)
  • Save the Cat by Blake Snyder
  • Preface to The Hobbit, by Christopher Tolkien
  • Ilk Defa... by Beste Barki (essays)
  • Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers (essay)
  • The Moon and I by Betsy Byars
  • The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson
  • Rogue Warrior by Regan Walker
  • Beauty and the Beast by Villeneuve
  • Black (what was this? I don't remember!)
  • Dance of the Jakaranda by Peter Kimani
  • Thomas the Tank Engine by Rev. Awry (26 book collection)
  • beta read (Born to Run by RB)
  • The Little Turtle by Vachel Lindsay (poem; reread)
  • The Kraken by Alfred Lord Tennyson (poem)
  • Android's Dream by John Scalzi
  • The Mysterious Tadpole by Stephen Kellogg (reread)
  • Yashim Cooks Istanbul by Jason Goodwin
  • Miniatures by John Scalzi
  • Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain
  • Kitty-in-Boots by Beatrix Potter (illustrated by Quentin Blake)
  • All or Nothing by Rose Lerner (short story)
  • Merry Christmas, Emily (board book)
  • Extra Yarn by __ and Jan Klassen
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • The Outlandish Companion II by Diana Gabaldon
  • The Outlandish Companion I, Revised by Diana Gabaldon
  • MacHinery and the Cauliflowers by Alistair MacLean (short story)
  • The Dileas by Alistair MacLean (short story)
  • The Gold Watch by Alistair MacLean (short story)
  • betty, butter, sun by Monica Byrne (short story)
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them screenplay by J.K. Rowling
  • The Very Cranky Bear (Scholastic)
  • various haiku by R. Wodaski
  • ongoing rereads of most board books listed last year!
  • see the 2016 list and statistics at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ch/2016/12/annual-books-read-statistics-2016.html
  • see the 2015 list and statistics at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ch/2015/12/annual-books-read-statistics.html
  • see the 2014 list and statistics at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ch/2014/12/books-read-in-2014-review.html
  • see the 2013 list and statistics at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2014/01/toast-to-professor-books-read-in-2013.html
  • see the 2012 list and statistics here http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2012/12/the-hobbit-review-and-year-end-books.html
  • see the 2011 statistics on http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2012/01/books-read-in-2011-statistics-fourth.html
  • see the 2011 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2012/01/books-read-in-2011.html
  • see the 2010 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2010/12/books-read-in-2010-listed-here.html
  • see the 2009 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2009/12/books-read-in-2009-part-ii.html
  • also in 2009 at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2009/12/books-read-in-2009-part-iv.html
  • see the 2008 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2008/12/books-read-in-2008-part-ii.html
  • also in 2008 at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2008/12/books-read-in-2008-part-vi.html
  • also in 2008 at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2008/12/books-read-in-2008-part-iv.html