Showing posts from December, 2010

Books Read in 2010 Statistics In All Their Glory

aveat! This is a longer post than usual - but it's all about books. Chime in with your own opinions - I'd love to hear what everyone else has been reading.

Here's the list of Books Read in 2010, and for reference, there's also the Books Read in 2009 list, the addendum to the 2009 list, the Books Read in 2008 list, and addendum A and addendum B to the 2008 list (I must have had more days off during the holidays that year, and kept reading).

Note - Thank You Contest still running! Only five new followers needed - to enter, please leave your comments on the original contest post.
Books read: 92, compared to 131 in 2009 and 101 in 2008. Though if you count three writers' houseparties over at the Compuserve Books and Writers Forum - the best writers' hangout on the web! - that ran to hundreds of thousands of words (each story read through twice), plus the beta reads, other forum writings, and so on, the number rises a little. I won't gripe, since I think the numbe…

Books Read in 2010 Listed Here

ooks read in 2010!

Here's the full list, with all my original comments:

Rainy Days With Bear by Maureen Hull (reread)
A Christmas Walk by Zan Marie Steadham
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling (reread before I see the movie!)
The Tales of Beedle the Bard by JK Rowling (reread)
Break on Through by Jill Murray
Writing Great Books for Young Adults by Regina Brooks (for review)
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by CS Lewis (reread, of course)
Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings by Helene Boudreau
Songs of Love & Death (anthology, featuring a new short story by Diana Gabaldon)
Milo - Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze by Alan Silberberg (brilliant!)
Facing Fire by kc dyer
Clouds of Witness by Dorothy L Sayers
50 Uses For Your Cat
Constantinople, City of the World's Desire by Philip Mansel
The Hating Game by Talli Roland
The Joy of Spooking Book One - Fiendish Deeds by PJ Bracegirdle
The Cat Who Tailed a Thief by Lilian Jackson Braun
Our houseparty story (set in Consta…

Woo for Wednesday Contest, New Releases and Recommendations

post on Books Read in 2010 is coming soon!

Until then, Woo for Wednesday! presents... Contests, New Releases and Recommendations!

1. Three fellow bloggers are hosting contests to win copies of Helene Boudreau's Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings - a new Middle Grade novel that'll have you laughing out loud.

2. Marte Brengle has just published her grandmother Evelyn Eaton's collection of autobiographical short storiesEvery Month Was May. Don't forget to check out Brengle's own novel, Closed Circuit.

3. Ev Bishop has three new short stories out!

4. I've finished reading Zan Marie Steadham's A Christmas Walk and highly recommend it. You've still got lots of time to order her first devotional, An Easter Walk.

5. Don't forget to order a copy of Legacy by Kate Kaynak, third in the Ganzfield series. I've just started and if I don't watch it, will be pulling another all nighter - I just can't put it down!

Anyone else have recommendations or…

Year End Writing Wrapup

ix days left to the end of the year on St Stephen's Day. Let's see... What have I actually done this year, writing-wise?

January - At the start of the year I wrote a post called Where I'm At; looking at it now, it's obvious how little I'd written of the novel. I didn't even have a title! And Rosa was still all mixed up with a boy called Joseph. A little later on I was excited to have written 1,000 words in one day.

More importantly, January was when Baha came into the picture, thanks to an amazing exercise that Claire posted on the Compuserve Books and Writers Forum. The story was still meant to be Young Adult (YA), but the idea of Baha dying was there from the start. Ah, if only I'd known what was coming...

February - A Post About Posts to Come. I'm impressed to see that I was actually getting up early and writing, as well as doing some research. Looking at my writing diary though, I see it was a matter of a mere hundreds of words per day. I'd beg…

Chocolate and 100 Followers Contest

ingle bells! It's Christmas Eve Eve, and I haven't written a new word in days (though over the past week I have typed up half the 10,000 words of The End that I wrote last Saturday). On the other hand, I just discovered something fun:

Did you know that chocolate can be used to cure a cough?

This may simply be anecdotal. However, it was precisely the sort of historical fact I was seeking. I needed something that my heroine's father might have obtained during his voyage with Christopher Columbus, something that only he could provide to help cure her husband's illness, and something which he eventually does offer, once he accepts her marriage. And now I know exactly what he brought back - cocoa beans!

Rather appropriate for holiday time, no?

Speaking of holidays, if you have a day off and would like to see a brilliant movie, I recommend The King's Speech. Don't think I've ever plugged a movie on this blog before, but this one is certainly worth it. Found a pen…

Review of Regina Brooks and a Love Letter to Lord Rochester

nly a little while ago, I entered the Dear Lucky Agent Contest.

While I didn't win, I was one of the first 100 entries, and won a copy of Regina Brooks' Writing Great Books for Young Adults. Came home one day to find it on my doorstep!

I don't normally read writing advice books; I can count all the ones I've read on one hand: Stephen King's On Writing, White and Strunk's The Elements of Style and Donald Maass' The Career Novelist.

Yet Brooks was a pleasure to read, and would make a great gift for the beginning writer in your life; basic enough not to scare them, while covering all the essential points so that they feel well-armed and not daunted to start writing. Her style is clear and straightforward, and the book even features exercises, to help kick start your ideas.

Having just completed my first/second draft, I found the sections dealing with story arcs and conclusions the most helpful. Brooks has fired me up to finish my synopsis and start storyboardi…

Break on Through by Jill Murray and Contests

uestion number two: when was the last time you read a book straight through without stopping?

(Question number one was a few days ago, on The Lord of the Rings)

I did today, when I read Jill Murray's Break on Through, a fast-paced tale about six months in the life of Nadine 'Lady Six Sky' Durant, who just happens to be a breakdancer. Talk about reading outside of my comfort zone, but Jill's writing is so smooth and Nadine's voice so true, that I couldn't step away from her world for even a minute. I can't wait to read the next book, Rhythm and Blues.

It felt even better doing this - that is, the guilt factor was very low - as I wrote over 10,000 words of my own yesterday. Yes, I even wrote The End. Squee! Of course, now I have to turn right around and rewrite it.

The last time I read a book straight through was Alan Silberberg's Milo: Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze, and before that, PJ Bracegirdle's first book in The Joy of Spooking Series.

What can …

Why Tahereh Should Read The Lord of The Rings

y favourite question!

Tahereh asks"YAY OR NAY on Lord of the Rings?" and who better to answer than someone who named her blog after a J. R. R. Tolkien reference? Well, of course there are Tolkien scholars that may be more qualified - and I hope to join their ranks someday if I start my Master's degree - but for now, I'm the most Tolkien-obsessed person I know, so...

Here are my top ten reasons to read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings:

1. They are, in no particular order, exciting, scary, funny, lyrical, sad and satisfying all at once. And so much more.

2. Authenticity! The languages, landscapes, histories and so on were each painstakingly created and checked for continuity by the author himself (and sometimes by his son) and form a seamless whole.

3. "Most modern fantasy just rearranges the furniture in Tolkien's attic." It's true! Heck, even dumbledore - as a word not a name - was used by Tolkien before Rowling (others used it before Tolkien, bu…

Some Early Resolutions - Thank You Contest Still Ongoing

ot much left to the year, is there?

Perhaps it's time for some resolutions - writing related ones, of course!

Let's see if I can break this down month by month for Out of the Water:

January - a relaxed month for edits, but more research is needed

February - tying up loose ends; finding missing names, filling in square brackets, lots more research

March - ramped up edits; checking the themes, imagery, character arcs, and so on

April - possibly another houseparty on the forum! A good time to put the MS aside a little and let it breathe.

May - pick up Out of the Water again. Panic a little. Edit some more. Polish some more.

June - am I ready for betas? Or shall I really put the book aside? Maybe, gasp, start work on the three or four other ideas swilling about in my brain?

July - time to decide. Betas or bust!

August - possible feedback from betas. Good or bad, it'll mean more edits and rewrites, no doubt.

...and I think I'll stop there. Doesn't do to think too far ahead, for…

Thank You Contest for Followers!

ecember is shaping up to be a month of conclusions. I'm this close *pinches thumb and forefinger* to finishing Out of the Water (before I start the final round of edits) and I'm only 11 followers away from 100.

Thank you to all of you that have followed me since... looks back... 2007, when I'd started my YA, The Face of A Lion. Two complete novels and a short story later, here we are. And that's just me - all the novels and query letters and stories you've all written... NaNo or no, between us all we must have close to a billion words by now.

Jessica's hosting a roundup of what everyone's up to this month and I thought it was high time I held a contest for everyone, just to say thank you!

It's very simple - because I know we're all busy. Just leave a comment on this post, and as soon as I hit 100 followers, I'll hold a random draw (yes, Frodo will likely be roped in again for drawing duty) for a prize of your choice:

10$ at or…

For Your Reading Pleasure - A Snip!

osa dictated a few scenes to me this morning; I woke up thinking I knew exactly which scene I wanted to explore (The Ending Scene. The Last One.) but she - and her husband and father - had other ideas. I also figured out where Arcturus went when he disappeared inside the Imperial Palace.

But I digress. I can't share any of those scenes as they're freshly handwritten but, inspired by Al who has a new snip on his blog, here's a piece from Out of the Water where Santiago tells Rosa how he met her mother, near London, c. 1472:

"The first thing I did was befriend her father. He was as interested in me as I was in him. I spoke enough English, at least, for the two of us to ask each other questions about our homelands and the ships that came in and out of the ports every day. He had a longing in his face, I remember, listening to my adventures, of storms and tides, of new towns...
"I'm not ashamed to say I played on his feelings. I added what romance I could to my st…

Ten for Tuesday: Introduce Your Characters

ere we have over 10 centimetres of snow and the blizzard isn't over yet!

It's the perfect weather to stay indoors, wrap up in a blanket, have some cocoa... and think about your novel. More specifically, think about the story, and the characters (not the other kinds of thoughts, the when-am-I-going-to-find-an-agent and let's-see-what-Tahereh-has-to-say-today procrastinatory thoughts. She has a new website, by the way).

Here are ten of my characters from Out of the Water, a historical romance that takes place in 1492-93 (credits for the photographs are here, along with a discussion on anachronisms):

Rosa Magdalena: The heroine; bold, daring, outspoken yet demure. She leaves Spain with her family, becomes separated from them by misadventure, and then learns the truth of her parentage. Captured by the Inquisition, she manages to escape, only to run straight into the arms of another man. Does she have a flaw? She's slightly head strong, and doesn't take advice very well.

A Ramble

y thoughts seem to be everywhere today and this blog post will probably be a reflection of that. Actually, what better way to sort it all out than to write a list?

1. Congratulations to Talli! Here's her run down of the blog splash for her amazing debut novel The Hating Game.

2. Agatha Christie answers the question, where do you get your ideas from?

3. Over on the forum we're discussing why we like or dislike certain characters in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series and holding a wrap up of what we all learned from NaNo - including snips.
Here's a teeny one that I shared:

"I will not be beholden to my father. I'm not sure what [style of living] you are accustomed to –" He glanced at her over his shoulder, mouth quirking in a smile. "You never complain, my love, or ask for anything."
He paced across the room and indicated the trunk with an open palm. "This is nearly empty; it came with the house. As did the bedding, the few candles, the single …

Congratulations to Talli!

ongratulations Talli!

If you missed her blogsplash yesterday, you can of course still get a copy of The Hating Game, in the United Kingdom or North America. She came in at Number 24 on the Amazon UK listings and 460 on the Amazon US listings - way to go Talli!

In other book news Hélène Boudreau is having a super easy contest and giving away copies of her latest Middle Grade Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings. I've been laughing out loud as I read this book - don't miss your chance to win a copy!

Or, if you prefer to give, why not give to Heifer International? If you donate through the link on Worldbuilders, they'll match 50 per cent of your donation until 13 December. And you know what? You can win stuff through there too - including signed books from Diana Gabaldon, Neil Gaiman, Sam Sykes (through whom I found out about this) and many other authors. There are lots and lots of other prizes to be won, as well.

Now then. Who doesn't need a good laugh and a post-NaNo …