Friday, 29 January 2010

Intuition, or When The Muse Pays A Visit

Xtraordinary blogging agent Nathan asks, how did you come up for the idea for your work in progress?

My stories always seem to arrive the same way - either a phrase or an image sparks a scene, and from there, with a faint sense of the characters and location, I start feeling my way in by writing in chunks.
The Face of A Lion all started with the image of a boy walking down a road, with the sea following him as he went.
Rose's story also started with the image of a journey, but was more about an idea; it came about when I re-learned that the expulsion of the Jews from Spain occurred in the same year as Columbus' first voyage. I still find fascinating the dichotomy of discovery and exploration versus fear and anger.
How about you?

Thursday, 28 January 2010

J. D. Salinger

M ay he rest in peace. Here's the New York Times obituary.

Naked in Knightsbridge

Everyone appreciates a free book!

Thanks to Marsha, Nicky Schmidt sent me a copy of her new novel, Naked in Knightsbridge. I received my copy on Tuesday and have been gleefully following Jools Grand’s adventures ever since. Look for my promised review here and on soon. Meanwhile, here’s a link to my review of Marsha's own 24 Hours London, featured in Bizim Anadolu.

Off to another pub quiz tonight – anyone want to test me?

Monday, 25 January 2010

Back in the Saddle

Yahoo! One thousand words this morning! Rose is in France; from here she sails to Constantinople...

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Vote for These Blogs!

Hop on over to the Blogger's Choice '10 Awards and vote for All The World's Our Page in the Best Pop Culture Blog, Best Blog About Stuff, Best Hobby Blog and Best Blog of All Time categories. Then vote for Sophie's Journey in the Best Health Blog and Best Parenting Blog categories.
I think Yogrum should be nominated in the Best Foreign Language blog.
Which one should I go for?

Friday, 15 January 2010

Blog Roll!

New on The Girdle of Melian... Blog roll!

Here's what's going on in the writing world this week (if I've missed you, let me know):

All The World's Our Page features Part 7 of their serial story A Kill in Time - A Jack the Ripper tale with a time traveling twist

Linda Gerber has a new contest (win a new YA!), and Karen features another Outlander Challenge

If you haven't yet visited How To Write Badly Well and need a refresher course in what not to do with your novel, visit now!

Cross posting on the knitting side, check out India Drummond's series of adorable critters and read Pam Patchet's yarn about spinning (then scroll down and take a gander at her lovely scarf!)

Marsha Moore tells a story featuring a lost coffee bag, and the kindness of strangers

Have you ever seen snow in Georgia? Visit ZanMarie for some photos!

2009 end-of-year book posts from Nina and Jen

Back on the writing side, Kait Nolan talks about finding time to write and taking productivity seriously. That being said, I have to stop thinking about Rose and Joseph and the others, and start writing about them!

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Where I'm At

Noughties or Uh-ohs, whatever they're being called; my decade wrap-up hasn't been written yet.

But it's been a while since I detailed where I'm at with Rose's story, which takes place in 1492, the year that Jews were exiled from Spain. I'm about 25,000 words in and have a ways to go, plus all my research to start. Not to mention, I need a proper title!

Besides Rose, a young Jewish girl living in southern Spain, I have a monk, who may be a Benedictine or Cistercian, a distant cousin of hers by marriage that she's falling for - who's Jewish but enamoured by knights and the ideals of chivalry - and a new addition, a Muslim artist, returning from studying art in Italy, to Constantinople, to the family that disowned him. Rose's "uncle", a friend of her parents', is sailing with Christopher Columbus; before he leaves, he reveals that he's actually Rose's father - which makes her Catholic not Jewish.

There are a lot of journeys in the story, as Rose becomes separated from her family and embarks across Spain, France and the Mediterranean, on the long sea voyage to Constantinople. I'd like to credit Adderbury for giving me the jump to start the next series of scenes, as Rose's ship docks on the Golden Horn...

For anyone who's further along in their drafts, here's a great list of items to look for in revisions. And congratulations to Jenny, winner of Nathan's contest!

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Another Nathan Contest!

YA novels are celebrated in this contest, and there couldn't be a better time for it, coming on the heels of Jen's celebration of YA on All The World's Our Page and her *hush hush* plans for world domination.
I entered a diary entry based on Rose's thoughts as she's sailing toward Constantinople, thinking of her family, and her "Uncle" Santiago's revelation that he's actually her father. A couple of weeks ago I was worried that taking Rose to Constantinople would make the novel longer and unwieldy, but I typed up 3/4 of my handwritten scenes (only 5 scenes left to type!) over the holidays, and I'm only at 25,000 words, which means I've got lots of room to expand on her tale and take her to all sorts of places!

Monday, 4 January 2010

A Toast to The Professor -

J. R. R. Tolkien, whose birthday was yesterday. The toast is hosted by the Tolkien Society.
Meanwhile, today is Isaac Newton's birthday. Their birth dates were separated by 249 years.

Books I'm Reading and Finished Books

  • Be Careful, It's My Heart by Kait Nolan
  • The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien (annual reread)
  • The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne (reread)
  • ***Reading At Intervals***
  • Moranology by Caitlin Moran
  • Sauron Defeated - Book 9 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • Lonely Planet guide to Switzerland
  • Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford
  • A Woman in Arabia: The Writings of the Queen of the Desert by Gertrude Bell
  • 12 Anne and Avonlea books by L. M. Montgomery (skimming/reread (this was free on Kindle!))
  • Journal of Inklings Studies
  • 11 Doctors 11 Stories by various authors (including Neil Gaiman)
  • Creed or Chaos? by Dorothy Sayers
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien manuscripts edited by J. D. Rateliff
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • The Jerusalem Bible
  • ***Finished Books***
  • Mr. Garden by Eleanor Farjeon
  • Untitled by Claire G (poem)
  • Possum Magic by... (read by Claire)
  • The Listeners by Walter de la Mare (poem)
  • Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
  • Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne (reread)
  • Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith
  • Dark Sonnet by Neil Gaiman
  • "Birds of Passage" by Peter McArthur (poem)
  • Marilynne Robinson and Barack Obama in the New York Review of Books (conversation)
  • "Fear"by Marilynne Robinson (essay)
  • A Simple Act of Kindness by Carol Drinkwater (short story)
  • An Imperial Affliction by Peter van Houten (short piece) (already added this?)
  • Sparkling Cyanide (Remembered Death) by Agatha Christie (reread)
  • Les dernieres jours de nos peres by Joel Dicker
  • Spun by Catherine McKenzie
  • Jamadu: Pippa et le crocodile (a Coop storybook)
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (reread)
  • Hide and Seek Pig: A Lift-the-flap Book by Julia Donaldson
  • Postman Bear: A Lift-the-flap Book by Julia Donaldson
  • Fox's Socks: A Lift-the-flap Book by Julia Donaldson
  • Christmas at Cranberry Cottage by Talli Roland (short story)
  • Tolkien's Gedling by __ and Andrew Morton
  • A Winter Wedding by Brenda Novak
  • Le livre des Baltimore by Joel Dicker
  • Paddington Bear All Day by Michael Bond
  • Beowulf and Sellic Spell by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Mrs Whippy by Cecelia Ahern
  • The Story of Kullervo by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Going Back by T. L. Watson
  • The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper (abridged, darn it)
  • Emily's House
  • The Hockey Song
  • The End of All Things by John Scalzi
  • A Christmas Story by Richard Burton
  • Histoire de Founex by Josiane Ferrari-Clément (skimmed)
  • Rabbit's Nap: A Lift-the-flap Book by Julia Donaldson
  • Each Peach Pear Plum by Allan Ahlberg and Janet Ahlberg
  • La Verite sur l'affair Harry Quebert by Joel Dicker (loving this!)
  • How To Be A Man (and other illusions) by Duff McKagan
  • The War of the Ring - Book 8 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • Pop-up Peekaboo: Farm (DK publishing) (board book) (duh)
  • Paddington Bear Goes to Market by Michael Bond (board book)
  • Emily's Balloon by Komako Sakai
  • Bible stories and puzzles (in French) (board book)
  • The Last Chance Ball (a Word Wenches christmas anthology featuring Jo Bourne, Jo Beverley, etc.)
  • Farmer Giles of Ham by J. R. R. Tolkien (reread but new edition)
  • CassaFire by Alex Cavanaugh
  • First and Second Things by C. S. Lewis
  • Smith of Wootton Major by J. R. R. Tolkien (reread but new edition)
  • So Anyway... by John Cleese
  • The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl
  • Slowly, silently now the moon by Walter de la Mare (poem)
  • I can't work like this by Neil Gaiman (poem)
  • CassaStar by Alex Cavanaugh
  • Death of A Century: A Novel of the Lost Generation by Daniel Robinson
  • The Fly by William Blake (poem, reread)
  • Tyger, Tyger by William Blake (poem, reread)
  • The Christie Notebooks by John Curran
  • The Perfect Son by Barbara Claypole White
  • What to Expect in Baby's First Year
  • Baby's First Year for Dummies
  • secret beta 2!
  • The Secret Sister by Brenda Novak
  • Chu's Day at the Beach by Neil Gaiman (reread, many times)
  • Sacred Inwardness by Marilynne Robinson (essay)
  • New Statesman issue guest edited by Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman (I don't usually include magazines in this list but I read this one cover to cover)
  • The North Star is Nearer by Evelyn Eaton
  • Nightmares and Dreamscapes by Stephen King (loved My Pretty Pony)
  • Every Month Was May by Evelyn Eaton
  • Occasional Soulmates by Kevin Brennan
  • secret beta!
  • Smoke by Catherine McKenzie
  • In Two Aeroplanes Over the Sea by Amanda Palmer (poem)
  • Jim at the Corner by Eleanor Farjeon
  • Finding Fraser by kc dyer
  • Mother Tongue -- The Story of the English Language by Bill Bryson
  • The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan
  • The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
  • Absent in the Spring by Mary Westmacott (Agatha Christie)
  • Come, Tell Me How You Live by Agatha Christie
  • The Lord Fish by Walter de la Mare
  • The Going To Bed Book by S Boynton
  • The Nursery Rhyme Book by Andrew Lang
  • In Dubious Battle by John Steinbeck
  • Subterranean Scalzi Super featuring To Sue the World (an original, very short Redshirts story available nowhere else) Muse of Fire Mallet of Loving Correction Lock In, Lost Chapters (available nowhere else) How I Proposed To My Wife: An Alien Sex Story An Election Judge Sn Goes Golfing Questions for a Soldier The Sagan Diary The Tale of the Wicked The God Engines You’re Not Fooling Anyone When You Take Your Laptop to a Coffee Shop by John Scalzi
  • Emily Goes to Market by William Mayne
  • Many Moons by James Thurber, illustrated by Louis Slobodkin
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (reread)
  • Colours Are Nice (Little Golden Book)
  • Corduroy by Don Freeman
  • The One in the Middle is the Green Kangaroo by Judy Blume
  • The Wars by Timothy Findley (reread)
  • The Captive Diary of Catherine Logan by Mary Pope Osborne (Dear America)
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (reread)
  • Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson (reread)
  • The Poky Puppy (Little Golden Book) (abridged)
  • The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf (reread)
  • Heidi by Johanna Spyri
  • secret beta read 2
  • Pre-Fix: A Ciel Halligan Short Story by Linda Grimes
  • Hidden by Catherine Mackenzie
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • Moo, Baa, La La La by Sandra Boynton
  • But Not the Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton
  • Oh, Whistle, And I'll Come To You, My Lad by M. R. James (short story) (1904)
  • Chu's Day by Neil Gaiman (reread)
  • My Uncle Oswald by Roald Dahl
  • Usborne board books
  • Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
  • Lila by Marilynne Robinson (so lovely)
  • Flowers for Mrs Harris by Paul Gallico
  • secret beta read!
  • The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year by Sue Townsend
  • HELP! Food Allergies Coming To Dinner by Kait Nolan
  • This Heart of Mine by Brenda Novak
  • The Owl Service by Alan Garner
  • Two Caravans by Monica Lewycka
  • Aunt Sass by P. L. Travers
  • An Imperial Affliction by Peter Van Houten (actually a few pages of the story, written by John Green for the film of his novel The Fault In Our Stars)
  • January Brings the Snow by Sara Coleridge (poem)
  • Kissing song by Neil Gaiman (poem)
  • The Mother by Nettie Palmer (poem)
  • William Tell Told Again by P. G. Wodehouse
  • Her Ladyship's Companion by Joanna Bourne
  • The Long Way Home by Louise Penny
  • How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny
  • Mes P'tits Contes, legends of Swiss cantons
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  • 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