Friday, 27 November 2009

What's the Date Today?

Yes, that’s right, it’s the 27th of November. There are three days left in the month. And what happens at the end of the month?

Drum roll in the distance...

NaNoWriMo comes to an end! Now, guess who completely forgot about NaNo in the last few days?

That’s right! Me!

Having pushed myself through Jen’s marathon (with perhaps not the highest number of words I could have obtained, but at least I was writing everyday and getting entire scenes on paper) I then accepted an editing task at work, for overtime pay, and devoted the next few nights to that, with a resulting sleep deprived headache occasioning an early night last night. Which brings me to today, three days before the end of NaNo, with only c. 30000 words; it’s hardly worth bothering to have anyone verify my handwritten word count (see Luddite clause in the post below).

My loftiest goal was to have the SFD completed by the end of the year. This may or may not happen, but what I really need to do now is head for the library. With 30000 words in, it’s about time I researched the heck out of my time and location.

Greeting Card Giveaway!

I discovered this giveaway in roundabout fashion. Here are the steps to follow:

1. Go to the giveaways blog to find out which bloggers are hosting contests and giveaways.

2. Follow the link to Audrey's Giveaway Blog, where she's featuring a draw to win greeting cards courtesy of Stacey, whose a crafter on Etsy.

3. Check out Stacey's own blog and her Etsy site as part of the giveaway.

Here's a cute snail magnet for Snail's Tales!

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Marathon Wrap-up and Award!

Writing marathons, where would I be without them? Jen's marathon on the forum wrapped up today; without it I wouldn't have had a word written all week, between our trip to New York City to see Blue Rodeo (as the border guard asked, "what's a blue rodeo?") - where we met Jim Cuddy! - friends visiting from out of town, and family and friends hosting parties for my birthday.

But when Jen cracks that whip, you'd better get writing, and I did!

Is there a provision in NaNo for a notebook full of handwritten scenes? Perhaps I can scan them and add them to my total word count... Only one week left and I've got lots of overtime coming up at work in the next few days. Not to mention more bread to bake.
Hey look - I just found out, there's a Luddite clause!

"Invoke the Luddite Clause!
What you do is write your 50,000 words, then have someone you trust verify that it is, indeed, 50,000 words. Then using something like the Lorem Ipsum generator, submit a file of the exact number of words of your handwritten manuscript to our word count validator."

Who will vouch for me?

As for the award - Marsha's given me a Superior Scribbler Award! Thank you Marsha!
I in turn will pass it on to...

Joanna Bourne, for the wit, wisdom, advice and humour
Kait Nolan, for posting every day!
Pamela Patchet, for the gorgeous photos and laugh out loud stories
Jenny, as she enters the final push for the Golden Heart Awards
Jennifer Hendren, Rachel Walsh, Kristen Callihan and Claire Gregory, the four awesome ladies at All the World's Our Page, who're starting a serial story this week - don't miss it!

Here are the rules:

"Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass The Award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy Friends.
Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author & the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award.
Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog, and link to This Post, which explains The Award.
Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit this post and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, we'll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives This Prestigious Honor!
Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog."


Friday, 20 November 2009

Born of Hope

Very excited!

Born of Hope, the story of Aragorn's parents, is coming on the first of December!

Thursday, 19 November 2009

My List of Research, So Far

Here're some of the items for which I need to hie me to the library:

The Inquisition - hierarchy, major dates, etc.

The Ottoman Empire and its welcome of Jews during the Inquisition

Travel in 1492 - overland? ships on the Meditteranean? passports, papers, etc. between countries?

Foods readily available when travelling on foot across Spain - loquats? oranges? berries? fish?

Flora and fauna in Spain in 1492

Columbus' journey - ports and dates

Judaism in 1492

(other) Major events in 1492 - art, books, etc.

Cistercians vs Benedictines (I've got a monk, and don't know what order he belongs to yet)

Daily schedule in a monastery

Holy days in Judaism and Catholicism throughout the year

If I have the energy, I might even look up moon phases. I was pleasantly surprised to see that, after I had written it as taking place on a Tuesday, I found out that Columbus really did sail on a Tuesday!

Tuesday, 17 November 2009


Victoria's hosting her first contest.

Featuring a vlog about her bookshelves.

Win a free book!

Thanks to kcdyer for the drop caps!

Ready... Set... Write!

Jen's hosting a writing marathon on the forum, starting today and running past my birthday, into Sunday. As if NaNo wasn't enough of a push - I'll take all the nudges I can get. Rose's story is moving along but I'm still missing the crux of the tale, the point of the major scenes; I know her reasons for doing the things she does, but the eucatastrophe and the denouement are still lost in the haze. Writing every chance I get, every day, will, I hope, reveal more about Rose's future.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

"It Was Twenty Years Ago Today..."

Roughly speaking, at any rate.
Yes, twenty years or so ago, I read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings for the first time, and the direction of a lot of things in my life changed. As far as I remember, I'd already read The Chronicles of Narnia as well, and with that introduction to the Inklings, I never looked back.
Since then, I've read all of Tolkien's works, most of C S Lewis', as well as some of the writings of Charles Williams, Owen Barfield, Dorothy Sayers, George MacDonald, and many others revered or reviled by, or otherwise connected with, the denizens of The Eagle and Child (aka Bird and Baby) pub.
Many of my other interests - the history of the British Isles, love of Welsh, the time In Between Wars, etc. - were solidified by or heightened after my discovery of Tolkien's writings. I had started writing my own stories long before that, but I wonder if I would have kept it up, without such masterful examples to follow?
Embarking today on what I guess to be my twenty-first reread of The Lord of the Rings. Can't wait to see what I discover this time around!

Monday, 9 November 2009

Because There's Really Only Today

I'm meme-ing myself from Cindy's Because There's Really Only Today post:

Today I will write a new scene for the WiP

Today I will eat a healthy supper to help fight my cold

Today I will not forget to add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk to my Amish Friendship Bread starter

Today I will not stay on the computer past 8 pm

Today I will try my darndest to catch up on the Forum snippet thread and Part B of the October X

Yet... Today I will not stay on the computer past 8 pm

Today I will sort out all my knitting projects

Today I will search very diligently to find the ring that I lost yesterday

Sunday, 8 November 2009

National Bookstore Day

The official Publishers Weekly National Bookstore Day was yesterday, but the Facebook group Buy a Book, Save the World!'s 2nd Annual International Holiday Bookstore Bookpush is on until the end of the year!

Pledge to visit your local bookstore and purchase a book to give as a gift. That's the easy part! But they do ask that you try to give preference to independent stores if you can.

Happy shopping!

Writing Tips

Scott Westerfeld's first NaNo-related post for this year's NaNo offers a great suggestion:

"Many writers use the so-called “dialog spine” as a way of mapping out a scene. As a sort of “zero draft,” they write just dialog, with no setting, action, or even attribution. It’s a quick once-over of conflict and resolution in a scene, without any tricky bits to slow you down. This, of course, assumes that you find dialog easy. For some people, writing the action/description/whatever first might make more sense. In any case, you don’t have to make your dialog (or whatever) perfect. It’s just a way of mapping out the main beats in a scene. But there’s another trick that I use the dialog spine for: blowing out the cobwebs. And by cobwebs, I mean “writer’s block,” “general ennui,” or “an idea that just needs to be written down, but I don’t have time.”"

NaNo tip number 7 lists some craft-related ideas from Raymond Chandler (who used the word Google way back when, albeit as a name). Chandler's not my favourite author by far - his cut and dry method doesn't impress me - but his advice to lock one's self away and write is sound!

NaNo first week update: I'm keeping up! Except for yesterday, when we were up north, I've managed to stick to a write-every-day-and-type-on-the-days-you-don't-write schedule. I have about five scenes left to type up, after which everything that comes will be new words. Where's my coffee/single malt again?

Author Round Up

Jen and I were recently discussing why we write YA, and now Susan's weighed in as well.

Click here for Marsha's links to my 24 Hours in Istanbul and Montreal posts, and take a look at the other contributions for 24 Hours in Tuzla, Horsham, etc.

Not that it applies to me yet, as I'm not published, but this post on the Google Partners Program was an eye-opener; here's the relevant bit:

"Some publishers, however, are doing the Partners Program with Google, with the ad links turned on, and are receiving income from Google but none of this income is reported on statements and therefore not being shared with the authors."

This is why authors need agents!

Tuesday, 3 November 2009


A sampling from Istanbul!

Please note that directions are not provided for these items, as they are either really obvious (the Grand Bazaar) or really obscure, and would involve a paragraph to describe (how to find the Crazy Lady’s Place inside the Grand Bazaar).

8 am – Find a bakery, any bakery, and enjoy a poğaça (pastry filled with white cheese) and tea for breakfast.

9 am – Stroll seaside in the Ortaköy district and check out the booths and stalls selling local handmade items.

10 am – Visit Deli Kızın Yeri (the Crazy Lady’s Place) in the Grand Bazaar, run by expat American Linda, and featuring gifts, housewares, and more from across Turkey.

11 am – Browse the well-stocked Pandora bookstore in Taksim for titles in English, French, German, Turkish... If they don’t have what you’re looking for in-store, it’s bound to be on their website!

12 pm – Take a ferry up the Bosphorus to the Sakıp Sabancı Museum.

1 pm – Take in Ottoman culture at the Pera Museum.

2 pm – Spend a day on car-free Büyük Ada, one of the Princes’ Islands.

3 pm – Explore history at Kariye Cami Museum, the former Byzantine Church of Saint Saviour in Chora.

4 pm – Travel further back in time at Yerebatan Sarnıcı, an underground Roman cistern – there might even be a classical concert on, amongst the pillars and columns and Medusa heads!

5 pm – Follow the winding roads, spotting stray cats, down to Arnavutköy by the Bosphorus, for an ice cream.

6 pm – Feast yourself on Ottoman cooking for very little liras at Otantik Restaurant in Taksim.

7 pm – Visit the residential Levent district and treat yourself to köfte or a yarım puf (meat filled pastry) in the market square.

8 pm – Sample the bouquets at Viktor Levi’s wine bar at Tünel

Monday, 2 November 2009

24 Hours - London, Montreal, Istanbul - and Marsha's Book Launch

24 Hours London by Marsha Moore is out on Wednesday!

A fellow Canadian, writing a brand new guide book about one of my favourite cities, with a twist: this guide covers London 'round the clock!

Marsha's hosting a contest prior to launch day, and a 24 hour Twitter marathon (look, I mentioned Twitter twice in two posts in a row and I'm not even on it!) on the day itself.

My first entry for the 24 hours in your neck of the woods contest (win a copy of the book and a t-shirt!) covers a few hours in Montreal. Enjoy!

7 am – breakfast at l’Avenue – show up early as the lines grow quickly! (922, Mont-Royal East, Plateau, Phone: 514-523-8780, Metro Mont Royal)

8 am – stock up at Jean Talon Market, in the geographic centre of the city. (7075 Casgrain Avenue, Little Italy, Phone: 514-277-1379, Metro De Castelnau/Jean-Talon)

9 am – stroll along Monkland Avenue, visiting chocolate shops, bakeries and pubs. (Monkland Avenue, Notre Dame de Grace, Metro Villa Maria)

10 am – pick up an ice cream (summer only) or a hot chocolate and more at the art deco building of the Atwater Market and stroll along the Lachine Canal. (Atwater Market and Lachine Canal, St-Henri, Metro Lionel-Groulx)

11 am – take a guided tour of Maison St Gabriel, dating from 1668, where les filles de roi, or king's wards, lived upon arrival from France and were taught by Marguerite Bourgeoys. (2146 place Dublin, Pointe-Saint-Charles, Phone: 514-935-8136, Metro Charlevoix (plus a ten minute walk))

12 pm – river surf in the Saint Lawrence! Private lessons are offered through Imagine Surf Shop. (Imagine Surf Shop 01320 Charlevoix, Pointe-Saint-Charles, Phone: 514-504-5522 or 697-0366, Metro Charlevoix)

1 pm – choose your own blend at David’s Tea, or sample some of their top sellers, including Coco Chai Rooibos, Turkish Delight and Organic Pu’erh Ginger. (1207 Mont-Royal East, Plateau, Phone: 514-527-1117, Metro Mont Royal)

2 pm – indulge in cheesecake – or any other cake – at the flagship restaurant of Kilo, purveyors to the Second Cup chain. (1495 Ste-Catherine East, Papineau, Phone: 514-596-3933, Metro Papineau)

3 pm – visit the Sun Life Insurance Company tower, the largest building in the British Empire at the time of its construction in the 1930s, featuring secret vaults where British bonds and stocks – and maybe even the Crown Jewels – were stored, Fort Knox-style, during World War II. (corner of Rene-Levesque and Metcalfe, Metro Bonaventure)

4 pm – stuff yourself with rotis and jerk chicken at Montreal Caribbean. (5155 deMaisonneuve West, Notre Dame de Grace, Phone: 514-486-1857, Metro Vendome (across the street!))

5 pm – indulge in hockey memorabilia and a Buck Burger at Dilallo's. (2851 Allard, Ville-Emard, LaSalle, Phone: 514-767-9921, Metro Angrignon)

6 pm – view a scale model of Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome: Mary Queen of the World Cathedral-Basilica, at the centre of downtown. (corner of Rene-Levesque and Metcalfe, Metro Bonaventure)

7 pm – round off the evening with homemade ice cream, sorbets and other treats at Bilboquet. (1311 Bernard Avenue, Outremont, Phone: 514-278-4217, Metro Outremont)

My next entry is Istanbul, look for it tomorrow!

Book Contest!

In celebration of Susan's 500+ Twitter followers, she's giving away one of the following:

EVERMORE, Alyson Noel
BLUE MOON, Alyson Noel
THE HUNGER GAMES, Suzanne Collins

Wanna win? Enter here.

Not sure which one I'd take, but I've already "got" a copy of Looking For Alaska! Thanks girls!

Sunday, 1 November 2009

NaNoWriMo Starts Today!

As part of NaNoWriMo and in solidarity with Cindy's nail-on-the-head post about building better writing habits (and Jen too), I managed to steal ten minutes out of a family filled day and wrote about 300 words. Yay, me!
NaNo, of course, calls for 1,667 per day, but for me, the month is more about developing consistent habits; we'll see if I manage even 1,200 (my usual one-sitting highest amount) per day. More importantly, I finally started typing up all my longhand scenes last week; another task I need to keep up.
Kait's wrapped up the Novel Push Initiative! Here's how I did:
"Deniz Bevan: A pal of mine from Mission:Accountability, Deniz was shooting for 250 words a day. She had a little difficulty with the daily writing thing, but she still turned in a total of 6979 words! That works out to a daily total of 225 words a day. Goal not quite met, but she still wrote, so go Deniz!"

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
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  • see the 2012 list and statistics here
  • see the 2011 statistics on
  • see the 2011 list at
  • see the 2010 list at
  • see the 2009 list at
  • also in 2009 at
  • see the 2008 list at
  • also in 2008 at
  • also in 2008 at