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

  • Arthur and George by Julian Barnes
  • ***Reading At Intervals***
  • The Peoples of Middle-earth - Book 12 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • Edmund Campion by Evelyn Waugh
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • 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!))
  • Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford
  • 11 Doctors 11 Stories by various authors (including Neil Gaiman)
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien manuscripts edited by J. D. Rateliff
  • Creed or Chaos? by Dorothy Sayers
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • The Jerusalem Bible
  • ***Finished Books***
  • Career by Yevtushenko (poem)
  • Human life in this century by Yevtushenko (poem)
  • Willow by Anna Akhmatova (poem)
  • Sonnet LXVI by Shakespeare
  • Sir Walter Raleigh to His Son (poem)
  • Fair Jenny by Robbie Burns (poem)
  • MacPherson's Farewell by Robbie Burns (poem)
  • World's End, the collected Sandman No. 8 by Neil Gaiman
  • O Wert Thou In The Cauld Blast by Robbie Burns (poem)
  • The War of the Jewels - Book 11 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • The Rolling English Road by G. K. Chesterton (poem)
  • The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes
  • A Tradition of Eighteen Hundred and Four by Thomas Hardy
  • The Hierophant by Lee-Ann Dalton (short story)
  • The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street by Helene Hanff
  • 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff (reread)
  • Lonely Planet guide to Switzerland
  • Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen
  • beta read!
  • Ode on Venice by Lord Byron (poem)
  • Little Miss Scatterbrain by Roger Hargreaves (reread)
  • Little Miss Lucky by Roger Hargreaves (reread)
  • Little Miss Trouble by Roger Hargreaves (reread)
  • Homage to Switzerland by Ernest Hemingway (short story; reread but I really don't remember it after 20 years)
  • The Hockey Sweater by Roch Carrier (reread)
  • Sing a Long Children's Songs
  • Emily's First Christmas
  • Up At the Villa by Somerset Maugham (novella)
  • Telling Stories by Tim Burgess
  • The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • The Marble Collector by Cecilia Ahern
  • Sophie's Throughway by Jules Smith
  • Baby Animals (Little Golden Books)
  • The House That Jack Built (Little Golden Books)
  • Scuffy the Tugboat (Little Golden Books)
  • The Saggy Baggy Elephant (Little Golden Books)
  • Morgoth's Ring - Book 10 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Who's A Pest by Crosby Bonsall
  • Mine's the Best by Crosby Bonsall (reread)
  • The Case of the Hungry Stranger by Crosby Bonsall (reread)
  • extracts from the diary of John Evelyn (Volume 1 of 2)
  • extracts from Lord Byron's letters about Villa Diodati
  • Pippin the Christmas Pig by Jean Little
  • Ite Missa Est by Anthony Martignetti
  • The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis (reread)
  • The Silver Chair by C. S. Lewis (reread)
  • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis (reread)
  • Prince Caspian by C. S. Lewis (reread)
  • The Red Angel by G. K. Chesterton (essay)
  • Emily's Runaway Imagination by Beverly Cleary
  • The Boy Who Set Out to Learn What Fear Was by the Brothers Grimm
  • The Horse and His Boy by C. S. Lewis (reread)
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis (reread)
  • secret beta read!
  • Preludes by Wordsworth (extracts read aloud)
  • Little Miss Scatterbrain by Roger Hargreaves
  • Dance Me A Dream by Kait Nolan (ARC)
  • Once Upon A Coffee by Kait Nolan
  • England and Switzerland, 1802 by William Wordsworth (poem)
  • Once Upon A New Year's Eve by Kait Nolan
  • short story by Becky Morgan (http://forums.compuserve.com/discussions/Books_and_Writers_Community/Writers_Exercises/Becky_Morgans_December_X/ws-books/85291.1?nav=messages)
  • Blood In Blood Out by Brenda Novak (short story)
  • That Hell-Bound Train by Robert Bloch (short story)
  • Distraction by J. L. Campbell
  • Humble Bundle Peanuts collection (strips by Charles Schulz)
  • Peanuts Volumes I to VI (bought via Humble Bundle; very disappointing as it's mostly new strips -- how is that even allowed?!)
  • Sandals and Sangria by Talli Roland (short story)
  • Over the Hump by Talli Roland (short story)
  • issues of Journal of Inklings Studies and Amon Hen and Mallorn (Tolkien Society)
  • Z is for Zamboni: A Hockey Alphabet by Matt Napier
  • Babar and his Family by Laurent de Brunhoff
  • Illusions Lost by Byron A. Maddox (short story)
  • ongoing rereads of most board books listed last year!
  • Lost My Name book for Emily (https://www.lostmy.name/)
  • Now We Are Six by A. A. Milne
  • When We Were Very Young by A. A. Milne (reread)
  • Neil Gaiman comics on Sequential app
  • Moranology by Caitlin Moran
  • see the 2015 list and statistics at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ch/2015/12/annual-books-read-statistics.html
  • see the 2014 list and statistics at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ch/2014/12/books-read-in-2014-review.html
  • 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