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 amazon.co.uk 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

  • The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien (annual reread)
  • Brenda Novak
  • Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford
  • Beowulf and Sellic Spell by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • ***Reading At Intervals***
  • What to Expect in Baby's First Year
  • Baby's First Year for Dummies
  • secret beta read!
  • 11 Doctors 11 Stories by various authors (including Neil Gaiman)
  • Nightmares and Dreamscapes by Stephen King
  • Creed or Chaos? by Dorothy Sayers
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien manuscripts edited by J. D. Rateliff
  • The War of the Ring - Book 8 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • Lessons for a Sunday Father by Claire Calman
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • The Jerusalem Bible
  • ***Finished Books***
  • The Heart of Christmas by Brenda Novak
  • Deadly Contact by Lara Lacombe
  • Carry On, Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse
  • Brief Lives, Sandman 8 by Neil Gaiman
  • Liza of Lambeth by Somerset Maugham
  • The Mapmaker's Daughter by Laurel Corona (I give up on finishing this; skimmed to the end)
  • Childe Harold by Lord Byron (listened to the parts of it set in Switzerland read aloud)
  • Written in My Own Heart's Blood by Diana Gabaldon
  • My Dancing Bear by Helene de Klerk
  • The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
  • The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier
  • Jane of Lantern Hill by L. M. Montgomery
  • Tu Vas Naitre by Sylvia Kitzinger
  • Goodbye To All That by Robert Graves
  • secret beta read 2!
  • Trust Your Eyes by Linwood Barclay
  • The Caliph's Vacation by Goscinny (Iznogoud series; Canadian translation) (reread)
  • Neither Here Nor There by Bill Bryson
  • Le Tresor de Rackham le Rouge by Herge (Tintin series) (reread)
  • Le Secret de la Licorne by Herge (Tintin series) (reread)
  • L'Affaire Tournesol by Herge (Tintin series) (reread)
  • The Bum by Somerset Maugham (short story)
  • The Colour of Magic, Discworld 1 by Terry Pratchett
  • Fables and Reflections Sandman 6 by Neil Gaiman
  • Doctor Fischer of Geneva or The Bomb Party by Graham Greene
  • Once Upon an Heirloom by Kait Nolan (novella)
  • The No-Kids Club by Talli Roland
  • Snip, Snip Revenge by Medeia Sharif
  • Journey to an 800 Number by E. L. Konigsburg
  • various Neil Gaiman short stories on the An Evening With Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer album (reread (well, this time in audio))
  • And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (reread; actually this was an older edition, published under the original title of Ten Little N******)
  • Dumb Witness by Agatha Christie (reread)
  • Never Saw It Coming by Linwood Barclay
  • How To Fall In Love by Cecelia Ahern
  • biographical note on Lord Peter Wimsey in reissue of Clouds of Witness by Dorothy Sayers (on Gutenberg)
  • One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern
  • Notwithstanding by Louis de Bernieres
  • The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King
  • Temptation by Sandy Loyd
  • The Incorrigible Mr. Lumley by Aileen Fish
  • Effie's Outlaw by Karen Lopp
  • Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler
  • The Christmas Crossing by Bev Petterson (short story)
  • secret beta read!
  • An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield
  • Forgotten by Catherine McKenzie
  • Arranged by Catherine McKenzie
  • Emil In the Soup Tureen by Astrid Lindgren
  • Whales by Jacques Cousteau (excerpt essay from his book)
  • Tutankhamen's Tomb by Howard Carter (excerpt essay from his book)
  • Ice Dogs by Terry Lynn Johnson
  • Everything's Eventual by Stephen King
  • Go the F*^$ To Sleep (board book)
  • Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss (reread) (brought to you by Neil Gaiman: http://www.worldbuilders.org/our-next-stretch-goal-unlocks-at/neil-gaiman-reads-green-eggs-and-ham)
  • The Sagan Diary by John Scalzi
  • mini Twitter stories by Talli Roland (available here: http://advice.uk.match.com/dating-advice/enjoy-valentine%E2%80%99s-day-and-get-mentallydating?utm_expid=55691082-15.2L0G0ictTcSJ4BI9Srh77A.0&utm_referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fadvice.uk.match.com%2Fdating-advice)
  • The Book of Jane by Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt
  • Chicken Soup for the Soul: O Canada The Wonders of Winter
  • Beloved Demons by Anthony Martignetti
  • Hands-on Therapy by T L Watson
  • Let Me Make Myself Plain by Catherine Cookson
  • The Razor's Edge by Somerset Maugham
  • Mystery of the Fat Cat by Frank Bonham
  • Spin by Catherine Mckenzie
  • Virgins by Diana Gabaldon
  • The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen (reread)
  • The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
  • The Ghost in the Window by Betty Ren Wright
  • The Progress of Love by Alice Munro
  • The Treason of Isengard - Book 7 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J. K. Rowling (reread)
  • Behind the Lines (poems) by A. A. Milne
  • the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling (reread)
  • Chicken Soup for the Expectant Mother's Soul
  • 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