Showing posts from October, 2010

Hallowe'en Haunts and Giveaways



Creepy contests galore:

Win a copy of Deborah Kerbel's ghost story Lure and Marina Cohen's Ghost Ride, here.

Join Theresa's Hallowe'en Haunting here.

Don't forget my less-creepy middle grade giveaway, here.

And the latest instalment of Kait Nolan's Forsaken by Shadow is out.

Inspiration and Neighbourhood Authors!

y best time to write is usually when I'm meant to be doing something else - working or falling asleep or in the car and on the way to meet people. Have you ever stopped in the middle of a group of friends or family and said "excuse me, I just need to write for a moment?"

Perhaps that sort of thing is easier to pull off nowadays, as most people won't question you if you whip out your phone and start tapping away.

The other day, Jessica asked:

"You know those moments when you get a sudden wave of "Oh my God I need to write! Now!" and your skin goes all tingly? What triggers those for you?"
Reading does this to me every time. A snatch of lyricism, a deftly turned phrase, the sort of word you can roll on your tongue (like my favourite, wariangle); all of these can spark an idea.

Sometimes it's an image; Austin's story began when I had a vision of a boy walking the dusty road from Kusadasi to Ephesus, the sea following behind. What would make th…

Gearing up for NaNoWriMo

ook how many whip hands it takes!

Back in 2007, I took November off. I'd already done the 70 Days of Sweat. In 2008, I was back to following Sven. All of that to finish one novel, The Face of A Lion.

Last year was my first National Novel Writing Month year, and I told myself it was more about "developing consistent writing habits" given that I failed abysmally at meeting the 50,000 word goal. Even more hilarious, I thought I'd have my SFD finished by the end of 2009 - ridiculous, considering everything that's happened to my protagonist since then, which I hadn't foreseen at all.

And how things change! Now that I've finally cracked my comfort zone (read: gone back to my first love, romance), NaNo seems like a piece of cake. After all, I wrote 39,400 (in less than two weeks) for the Cherry Hill Writers Houseparty in July, over 40,000 words for the novel in August-September, and 44,682 words (in two weeks) for the Constantinople Houseparty.

I keep telling my…

Dear Lucky Agent Contest for YA Writers and Who's Your Literary BFF?

ust for writers of YA, the seventh Dear Lucky Agent contest is here!

"The first 150-200 words of your unpublished, book-length work of young adult fiction. You must include a contact e-mail address with your entry and use your real name. Also, submit the title of the work and a logline (one-sentence description of the work) with your entry."

Further submission guidelines and the e-mail address to mail your entry to are here.

Rachel Bertsche had a guest post on Nathan Bransford's blog asking which literary character would you like to be best friends with?

I agree with her on the members of The Babysitter's Club girls, Hermione and Jo March; I'd also love to be friends with Anne Shirley, Prince Caspian, and Anna Solden of Jean Little's From Anna. I'd like to know Luthien as well, not to mention Lord John Grey and Peter Wimsey. Then there's Calvin and Meg from A Wrinkle in Time, James Qwilleran of the Cat Who books... It seems that rather than a best frie…

Middle Grade Contest!

ucky me! I've won three contests in the past month or so:

An Advance Reader's Copy of Trance by Linda Gerber (review here)
An autographed copy of Facing Fire by kc dyer (main character Darby is visiting Diana Gabaldon's blog today)
A copy of Getting the Words Right, by Theodore A. Rees Cheney from Andrea - and a box of chocolate!

In honour of this I'm having a mini middle grade contest featuring two books by one of my favourite Canadian authors, Jean Little.

It's easy - all you have to do is be a follower and leave a comment!

It's international - as long as you have an address that FedEx, UPS or TNT deliver to, then you can enter! So, no Antarctican research stations, I'm afraid...

Here are the two books up for grabs:

Spring Begins in March


One To Grow On

Good luck!

Here're two links, just for fun:

Word of the day: mooreeffoc

Advice of the day: "Do take care that every guest room is supplied with writing materials, a reading lamp and a few carefu…

Event! - Canadian Society of Children's Authors, Illustrators and Performers

ere's an exciting new event for anyone who's in and around Montreal next week:

Yes Oui CANSCAIP hosts "A Harvest of New Books"
Wednesday, 27 October, 7 p.m.
Montreal West Town Hall (50 Westminster South in Montreal West)
Local children's book authors Nancy Gow, Jennifer Lloyd, P.J. Bracegirdle, Jill Murray, Alan Silberberg and local children's book illustrators Susan Mitchell and Yayo (Diego Herrera) will speak about their latest books. Their titles will be on sale at the event and attendees will be able to have them autographed.

This event is free and open to the public.

RSVP to Carol-Ann Hoyte, Yes Oui CANSCAIP co-representative, at

Yes Oui CANSCAIP is the Quebec chapter of the Canadian Society of Children's Authors, Illustrators and Performers.


Nancy Gow is a picture book author whose first book, Ten Big Toes and A Prince's Nose, just came out this month.

Jennifer Lloyd has written three pic…

Constantinople Houseparty - in Figures

rum roll, please!

The writers' houseparty on the Compuserve Books and Writers Forum - the ninth such party to date - is wrapping up as we speak.

With only an epilogue or two left to be written, the facts and figures are as follows:

Setting: Constantinople, 12 June 1493

Here is the house:

Unofficial Warmup Party:

Authors: 4

Characters: 20

Days: 5

Word Count: 31,900
Official Houseparty:

Days: 9

Authors: 16

Characters: 50 (plus at least 5-10 others by name and a raft of servants, djinn, etc.)

Word Count: 172,000
My total word count across two weeks is 44,000! Somewhere in between I also managed to type up all of the handwritten scenes for the novel, which now stands at 85,000 words.

I feel like taking a long break - maybe reading another The Cat Who... book - and am worried about going back to the wip. Houseparties are so fast and exciting and fun; what if the novel seems dull after this?

Thank you to Adderbury, Claire, Susan, Helen, Jenny, Shaylin, Zan Marie, Jill, Tara, ennubi, Cathy, …

Characters' Faces


It's always exciting to unexpectedly come across an image and realise, that's him! And look, there she is!

I've been fortunate to find photos that match most of my characters.

From The Face of A Lion, here's Kedi:

Again from The Face of A Lion, here's Austin Alan Cunnick, first portrayed back in the day:

From Out of the Water, here's the mc, Rosa Magdalena Romero de Toledo, from The Orientalist Gallery:

Painting: The Marriage Market by Edwin Long (1829-91).

Her clothing is all wrong, of course, and Rosa doesn't carry baskets like that, but the face is hers.

From Out of the Water, Brother Arcturus the Cistercian:

Painting: Portrait of the Sculptor Duquesnoy by Anthony Van Dyck (1627-29).

Arcturus doesn't walk around with a sculpted head, of course, but again, it's the face that grabbed me.

From Out of the Water, Rosa's love:

I originally posted an altered version of this photo a few days ago, but I think Tara's right (thanks Tara!); a…

A Short Post - I'm in Constantinople!

hy I haven't posted in a couple of days...

I'm knee deep in thousands of brand new words. No, not for the current novel or as part of edits, but for the houseparty at the Compuserve Books and Writers Community!

This is the ninth party to date; the parties are always intense, and perfect playing grounds for insights into your characters. The current party has been even more hectic for me, as I - well, my characters Rosa, Arcturus and Santiago - have been the hosts.

The party is set in 1493, in Constantinople. Yesterday and today, for instance, we were madly running around the Covered Bazaar, collecting items for an alchemical potion, rescuing those who were kidnapped, having love affairs, dealing with paranormal doppelgangers...

Check out all the fun, here.

And the fabulous Tahereh is hosting a super easy super free contest; no work involved, just a reward if you win. Sign up now!

Continuing on from the Masters post, here are some poets - Tennyson, Thomas and others - reading t…

Fifteen Minutes of Fame for My Novel!

t's confetti time!

The Face of A Lion - my middle grade novel about Austin and his adventures through time with a talking cat - has gotten its fifteen minutes of fame:

I've won this month's Middle Grade/Young Adult category of OUT OF THE SLUSHPILE, Novel Journey's Fifteen Minutes of Fame Contest!
Visit the site here and read the intro to the novel.

In this case, fifteen minutes equals six months that my first page will be up for all to see!

At the same time, my query letter for The Face of A Lion is on critique over at Disgruntled Bear's site.

Querying, Round 2, may now officially begin!

Meanwhile, the Writers' Houseparty - set in Constantinople 1493 - is in full swing; come by and read, or drop your characters in.

And in other novel news, Darby Christopher, heroine of kc dyer's A Walk Through a Window and the latest story Facing Fire, is visiting with Hélène Boudreau - author of Acadian Star and Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings - today.

Contests Contests Contests - and Review of Trance by Linda Gerber

Contests! Freebies! How can you go wrong?

You've still got lots of time to enter the Tarot, Sex, Writing and Neil Gaiman Giveaway!

I've won two contests in the past month! First Andrea's - thanks Andrea! - then Linda Gerber's Trance giveaway - thanks Linda!

Prizes are still up for grabs during Linda's final countdown party to the release of Trance, featuring a blog hop with 35 authors.

I got my prize ARC of Trance only a couple of days ago and breathlessly read it cover to cover. The story takes place over only a few days, and features Ashlyn Greenfield, an otherwise normal teenager, who just happens to have visions. When the trance comes over her, she only sees parts and pieces of an event that will take place - but she knows that someone will die, someone she's recently become very close to; a boy named Jake. Without her sister, though, who left home a few months ago and is determined not to be found by Ashlyn, she is missing half the clues she needs to warn …

Would You Like To Travel - In Time -To Constantinople?

hy, of course! you reply...

Well, then, grab your heros and heroines and villains and hangers-on by the hand and bring them to the Constantinople Houseparty on the Compuserve Books and Writers Community!

The first post features links to the Invitations and Character Introductions thread, the thread providing descriptions of the setting, and the 'warm-up' party, featuring the adventures that certain characters had on the way to Constantinople, as well as the original announcement, featuring guidelines and links to previous parties.

Don't worry if you haven't read any of this stuff, just jump right in!

All you really need to know to play is that the party is set in a villa type house (called a yalı) in Constantinople on 12 June 1493 - the summer solstice - and is hosted by Rosa (age 18) and Brother Arcturus (age 28), as well as Rosa's father Santiago (c. 40). The house overlooks the Bosphorus, and the party - a masquerade - begins around 5 pm, at the time of the even…

Learning From the Masters

might have mentioned this before, but the BBC have put up archival footage of interviews with authors, including Tolkien, Maugham, Wodehouse, Graves and a host of others. The Tolkien one is full of university kids blabbing but in between there are some lovely snips of Tolkien talking about languages, allegory vs application and kicking the sponge out of his bath when he got an idea, as well as the theory that all stories are about death - here he quotes Simone de Beauvoir and says that these lines are the "keystring" of The Lord of the Rings:

There is no such thing as a natural death: nothing that happens to a man is ever natural, since his presence calls the world into question. All men must die: but for every man his death is an accident and, even if he knows it and consents to it, an unjustifiable violation.
Maugham discusses his top ten novels:
Tom Jones by Henry Fielding (the most "entertaining" author)
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (the most "admirable…

Party Like It's 1493!

ear ye, hear ye!

Invitations are up for the Constantinople Houseparty over at the forum, which I first blogged about over at Kait's last week.

Come, bring your characters, and play! As we speak, Rosa is preparing for her influx of guests, King Charles II is in a caravan, on his way from Damascus, Klara and George have arrived early from 1915, and Kedi the Cat has brought Austin in from 2010, in time to meet Horus, the King's messenger falcon...

Also, only a few days left before Linda Gerber's Trance is released. Join her and all her guest authors at the blog party.

Plus, Darby Christopher's story continues! If you enjoyed kc dyer's first book in the Darby series, A Walk Through A Window, enter the contest to win a copy of the next book, Facing Fire.

And another instalment of Forsaken by Shadowis out.

How Has Your Writing Changed Over the Years?

ejectionist over the years, here! That is, the Rejectionist is hosting a blogfest about uncovering some of the funniest, most embarrassing excerpts from writers' old diaries and journals. As all my diaries are in bins in the garage, I thought I'd show how my poetry and prose writing has changed (evolved?) over the years:

Deniz, Age 5: A story about a cow, which went something like this: "Where was All? He did not know where All was. Aldo could not find All the cow. He searched and searched. He went up with a jet and All was with the moon."

Deniz, Age 10: The Kitchen Mystery

Deniz, Age 15: Trying too hard to be an adult, I started a story about two handcuffed convicts and a sheriff travelling through the California desert. Never mind the two long romances I had, featuring scenes like the one where the hero and heroine have a food fight... at the supermarket...

Deniz, Age 20: Depressing stories about girls going out at night and failed relationships. I had a lovely one…