Saturday, 30 October 2010

Hallowe'en Haunts and Giveaways

Happy

Hallowe'en!

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.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Inspiration and Neighbourhood Authors!

My 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 the sea rise like that? I wondered. I knew that the sea was much further inland many years ago. So if the boy was walking backward through time...

Which means that - work aside - during NaNo, I've got to keep reading as much as possible, to keep those exciting words swimming arond in my head.

What better way to do that than by discovering new authors, right in my own backyard?

The local chapter of CANSCAIP featured a meet-the-author event at their monthly meeting last night and we were fortunate to have not one but seven authors and illustrators there, including Jill Murray (featured in my postcards! post), Alan Silberberg and PJ Bracegirdle.

I picked up Bracegirdle's first book in The Joy of Spooking series and am already halfway through. Love the omniscient voice, the eerie atmosphere, and especially the word choices. Very Dahl-ish and evocative.

Just the sort of thing to spark my own creativity on the last weekend before NaNo! I've overhauled all the scenes in Out of the Water and realised exactly how much is missing, and not only the ones I listed in the previous post. The entire beginning needs a rewrite, though this morning I was too busy sending Rosa to see the Sultan...

Monday, 25 October 2010

Gearing up for NaNoWriMo

Look 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 myself I only need 10 scenes to finish Out of the Water. Only 15 scenes. Okay, 25. Well, 25 scenes at about 2,000 words each is the NaNo challenge!


Compared to last year, I'm this close to finishing the first draft. Here, in no particular order, are the scenes I need:
Rosa's post-earthquake rounds with Brother Arcturus

stumbling across the slave market and rescuing a young girl

Rosa preparing to dress as a boy and petition the Sultan

Rosa's audience with the Sultan

the wedding

more details about Rosa and Senora Isabela (an antagonist)

post-meeting with French knights

conversation with her Jewish family re their settling in France

Rosa and B discussing their pasts

backstory/flashback re Santiago

burial of Tia Rita

visiting the hamam for the first time

visiting the hamam on her own for the first time (hears of how anyone might petition the Sultan)

assisting Brother Arcturus at almsgiving (at the monastery)

further details on Santiago's voyage with Columbus, when he returns

proper descriptions of first impressions of Constantinople
how they find a ship at Marseille
That's only 17, but I know that nearly half the scenes I've already written have a "need end" tacked on to them! And then there's the matter of The End itself - whether Rosa's lover/husband passes away or not...

Maybe by the end of NaNoWriMo I'll have an answer to that!

Don't forget to enter my Middle Grade Contest - just leave a comment here.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

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

Just 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 friend, I'd like an entire group!

Two notes:

Part 13 of Kait Nolan's Forsaken By Shadow is here.

Don't forget to enter my middle grade contest - just a leave a comment and win free books!

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Middle Grade Contest!

Lucky 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


and

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 carefully selected books." (courtesy of How To Be A Good Wife from the turn of last century; also featuring suggestions on How To Be A Good Husband)

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

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

Here'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 carol_ann_hoyte@hotmail.com.

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

MORE ABOUT THE PRESENTERS:

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 picture books. Her latest book is Ella's Umbrellas.

P.J. Bracegirdle has written two middle-grade novels for children. His latest book is Unearthly Asylum, the second book in The Joy of Spooking trilogy. The first book in the series is Fiendish Deeds. He also wrote the picture book, Comet Can't Wait for Christmas, which his wife, Susan Mitchell, illustrated.

Jill Murray has written two novels for teens. Her latest book is Rhythm and Blues. Bring It On was her first book.

Alan Silberberg has written two middle-grade novels for children. His latest book is Milo: Brain Freeze and Sticky Notes. Pond Scum was his first book.

Susan Mitchell has illustrated several books. Her latest titles include Too Many Fairies, Paula Deen's Cookbook for the Lunchbox Set, Paula Deen's My First Cookbook, My Mom and Me, and My Dad and Me.

Yayo (Diego Herrera) has illustrated several books. His latest titles include The Hug and The King Who Barked.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Constantinople Houseparty - in Figures

Drum 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, Marilyn, Jenn, Anne-Marie, and Esme for a magical time - see you in a few months on Legend!

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Characters' Faces

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!); anachronisms aside, the original photo shows more of his personality somehow. The photo was taken by Ara Güler.

The only one I'm missing to date is Rosa's father, Santiago.

(Don't forget, Part 12 of 24 of Forsaken by Shadow is up!)

Thursday, 14 October 2010

A Short Post - I'm in Constantinople!

Why 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 their poetry.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Fifteen Minutes of Fame for My Novel!

It'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.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

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 Jake and try to prevent the accident. How will she warn him, though, when he might not want to speak to her ever again once he finds out about her visions?

A paranormal, a romance, a thriller, Trance has it all! If you enjoyed Death By Bikini, Death by Latte, and Death By Denim, Linda Gerber has done it again in Trance, with entirely new characters; fast paced and exciting, you just can't put this one down.

Don't forget the Constantinople Houseparty - there's still time to join!

Friday, 8 October 2010

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

Why, 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 evening call to prayer.

As we begin play... there are nine characters currently at the yalı, and six in the desert, on a caravan route to Constantinople, as well as two lost on a ship in the Marmara or Aegean. We join those at the yalı first...

In other news, the latest installment of Forsaken by Shadow is here. Thanks to Nathan Bransford for pointing me to the hilarious if Hogwarts had Facebook/Twitter/Foursquare/YouTube...

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Learning From the Masters

I 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" author)
Le Rouge et le Noir by Stendhal
Le Père Goriot by Honoré de Balzac
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky (the most "odious" author)
War and Peace by Tolstoy

Malcolm Muggeridge says he would have left out Moby Dick, which he found a bit of a bore; Maugham says that unless it's a very very short novel there's usually always some part that is a bore.
Oddly enough, he says there's no connection between what people like and what they write; which is the opposite of C S Lewis' assertion. Then they discuss whether the novel is dead or not; this interview is from 1954! Plus ca change...

Of the above novels I've only read Wuthering Heights, and didn't enjoy it. I've read other works by Flaubert and Dickens, Austen and Dostoevsky. I haven't read La Recherche du Temps Perdu by Proust either, which Maugham says is the best novel of their time; he couldn't include Proust instead of Fielding due to copyright issues.

Wodehouse, meanwhile, talks about sex. Also, I hadn't known that he'd been interred by the Germans during the war. Also, he thinks there are fewer comedy authors because humour only comes through in times that are stable; how was the world of 1958 less stable than wartime, I wonder?
He compares writing to solving a crossword puzzle and says he doesn't believe in letting his authors take charge - he's a plotter!

Graves says it's his Scotch ancestry that keeps him steady, and talks about homosexuality at boys' boarding schools and how it's not an experience that has blighted him. He also says he wrote I, Claudius because they offered him 4000$ and he needed the money!?!? And he compares writing a poem to a cloud that descends on you, and a problem that needs to be solved.
He and Muggeridge mention how the population will explode by 2036 and then laugh, saying "that won't affect us, then". Meanwhile the "chap" who owned all his copyrights was in prison in Switzerland! Finally, near the end of the interview, Graves says he writes poems because he "damn well must".

I could listen to these elderly British men speak all day... And they're all pipe or roll-your-own smokers! In that I like pipes, though I don't smoke one myself.

On the other hand, here's a female British poet, Sadie Smith, talking about her writing process and reading her painful poem Not Waving But Drowning. And here's Elif Safak, talking about storytelling.

On my own writing front, the other day I found this photo by Ara Guler; this is what my male protagonist looks like, after I've erased the anachronistic cigarette from his lips:


Here's the story of how he came to leave home (Constantinople) in 1480:

I was taught to read and write as a child. The ulema of the mosque to which my school was attached came to inspect our class one day. They saw my written work and praised my penmanship, sent their words of acclaim to my father.
My father was proud, and encouraged me in calligraphy. I was only too pleased to have impressed him. I worked diligently at transcribing and perfected the shapes of my letters; with ink, with lead, with chalk, anything I could lay my hands on. Soon I progressed to miniatures.
One day, some years later, I heard something fascinating. Two of the masters at school were discussing a foreigner, a man named Bellini. It seems the Sultan – praise his name – had commissioned something called a portrait. I gathered from the conversation that this was an image, a likeness of the Padisah, and was bewildered as to why the Shadow of God upon Earth should deliberately flout the word of Allah by having an icon made of himself. Only the infidels worshipped icons, so I had been taught. Yet my masters related the event as though it was an everyday occurrence. I dared not ask them about it for fear I’d be reprimanded for eavesdropping.
Yet the idea stayed with me, and one day, I used my paints to sketch a portrait of my father. I was surprised at how easy it was to effect his likeness, down to the very expression on his face when pleased about something.
Unfortunately, he entered the room at the very moment when I was standing back, admiring my work. His face looked nothing like the portrait I had made. He tore the parchment in half and flayed me then and there.
Yet I did not cease to paint. I hid my experiments from then on, but was eager to study as much of the art as I could.
I left home.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Party Like It's 1493!

Hear 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 Shadow is out.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

How Has Your Writing Changed Over the Years?

Rejectionist 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-page story called Eyes of the Sky but can't for the life of me find an electronic copy at the moment. This was the tail end of the thesaurus era, where I'd write a line like "the red sun sank into the dark blue sea" and then translate it into: "The crimson orb was lowered beneath the indigo billows" (blogged about here).

Deniz, Age 25: A lot of 'tell' and barely enough 'show' in my half-finished novel An Arnavutkoy Spring. Not to mention that I did no research whatsoever; for a story set in Istanbul in the 1910s I had hairdos from the 60s, clothing from the 50s and language from the 80s. I even threw in a reference to The Beatles! Come to think of it, perhaps I meant it to be set in the 60s after all. Only what does this line mean: "He eyed her easily, but without malice"?

Deniz, Age 30: A snip from Out of the Water, featuring Rosa, a Spanish girl and her lover, an Ottoman man, who's ill with consumption. On one of his better days, they've taken a walk above the neighbourhood of Galata, in Constantinople, 1493:

"Let's sit down a little before we return," he suggested. "I'd like to look out, for a while, over the city."

She held him up as they climbed a short rise, and he sank to the foot of the nearest tree, his breath wheezing in and out of his lungs. 'It was too much, we should have stayed at home,' she meant to say, but checked herself. He was tired of her nagging, he'd said as much that morning. Their last days needn't be filled with an endless string of meaningless words.

"Don't cry, Rosa." He took her hand as she sat next to him, leaning back against the ridged trunk of the pine behind them. "You'll cloud up your vision and I want to show you the city."

She took a deep breath and wiped her eyes. A boat sculled out from the walls of the palace, ferrying across to Kadikoy. At this distance, all she could see was the turbans on the heads of the men seated inside.

"You've never seen Konstantinye in the spring or summer," he continued softly. "Just wait. It'll be even more beautiful than it is now. There'll be birds in every tree, flowers in all the orchards. The sea turns crystal clear, no longer choppy and grey, and dolphins come to play in the strait."

"I know," she said. "I have seen it - in your painting, the one you gave away to the vezir."

"You remember that one?" He fell silent, but he was smiling, and she knew she'd pleased him.

"I saw Leander's Tower first, with you, before we even came here," she said. Far ahead, across the hills and water, the Tower gleamed in the sunlight, a stalwart grey rock with its tiny flag at its height. Like the ship's flags, fluttering in the breeze, as she had stood by him on deck, watching him paint the tower from memory, telling her the story of the maiden trapped inside and the lover that had died, battling the waves and currents to reach her.

"I swam the distance once." His cheek was laid against hers. "From Lighthouse Point to the tower. Not at night, or in a storm of course, but at dawn. The sun came out behind me as I reached the tower and I thought I saw a figure moving in the highest window."

"The maiden?"

"It might have been; I didn't want to look too closely, and find that it was only a seagull." His fingers trailed along her arm, up and down, up and down. Now it was she who trembled. "Look over there, Rosa." He cupped her cheek with his hand, turned her head inland. "Beyond the last walls, d'you see that haze over the trees?"

"Yes." She was warmed through and through, by sunlight, by his breath on her neck. How close they were, as though they'd become one low hung branch, springing out of the pine at their backs.

"There's a spring there that they call the Life-giving Spring in Greek. In Turkish it's Balikli, after the fishes in the water. There's some old story, connected with the Emperor Justinian, which I never found out. But we used to picnic there, my family and I, when I was a child."

"I can't picture you as a child," she said and he laughed.

His laughter turned to coughing and he pulled away, tugging his handkerchief out of his sleeve, averting his face.

She waited, watching the boat come nearer and nearer to Leander's Tower, until her vision blurred and she no longer saw anything.

"I told you not to cry, Rosa," he whispered, face next to hers once more. "We're not finished yet." He wiped her eyes with his thumbs and she could see into his eyes, his forehead on hers. "I haven't shown you the fortress, or told you about the hills." His hands came up, into her hair, and his lips touched hers.

Books I'm Reading and Finished Books

  • ***Reading At Intervals***
  • Nightmares and Dreamscapes by Stephen King
  • Beowulf and Sellic Spell by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford
  • The War of the Ring - Book 8 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • What to Expect in Baby's First Year
  • Baby's First Year for Dummies
  • 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***
  • Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny
  • The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny
  • The Murder Stone (A Rule Against Murder) by Louise Penny
  • Emily's Quest by L.M.Montgomery
  • Emily Climbs by L.M.Montgomery
  • Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery
  • The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer
  • A Rose for the ANZAC Boys by Jackie French
  • The Adventures of Tom Bombadil by J.R.R. Tolkien (expanded edition; reread of some)
  • Married by Midnight by Talli Roland
  • Hansel and Gretel by Neil Gaiman
  • The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman
  • The Cruellest Month by Louise Penny
  • Dead Cold by Louise Penny
  • The Banks of Certain Rivers by Jon Harrison
  • Lessons for a Sunday Father by Claire Calman
  • The Magician by Somerset Maugham
  • Rogue Spy by Joanna Bourne
  • The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien (annual reread)
  • The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving (skimmed last third)
  • A Matter of Grave Concern by Brenda Novak
  • Fatal Fallout by Lara Lacombe
  • secret beta read!
  • The Heart of Christmas by Brenda Novak
  • Deadly Contact by Lara Lacombe
  • Carry On, Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse
  • The Floating Admiral by the Detection Club, including Christie, Sayers, Chesterton, etc.
  • 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