Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Talli Roland's Take on Amazon Web Splash - The Hating Game

Help Talli Roland's debut novel THE HATING GAME hit the Kindle bestseller list at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk by spreading the word today. Even a few sales in a short period of time on Amazon helps push the book up the rankings, making it more visible to other readers.

Amazon.co.uk readers go here, and Amazon.com readers here.

No Kindle? Download a free app at Amazon for Mac, iPhone, PC, Android and more.

Coming soon in paperback. Keep up with the latest at www.talliroland.com.

About THE HATING GAME: When man-eater Mattie Johns agrees to star on a dating game show to save her ailing recruitment business, she's confident she'll sail through to the end without letting down the perma-guard she's perfected from years of her love 'em and leave 'em dating strategy. After all, what can go wrong with dating a few losers and hanging out long enough to pick up a juicy £200,000 prize? Plenty, Mattie discovers, when it's revealed that the contestants are four of her very unhappy exes. Can Mattie confront her past to get the prize money she so desperately needs, or will her exes finally wreak their long-awaited revenge? And what about the ambitious TV producer whose career depends on stopping her from making it to the end?

Talli Roland's debut is a rollicking can't-put-it-down read. The characters are well-developed and believable; you find yourself rooting for nearly all of them by the end. The dialogue rings true and it was fun to see both sides of the story, from Mattie's point of view and that of the producers 'backstage'. I stayed up way past my bedtime turning the pages as I couldn't wait to find out how Mattie would extract herself from her latest scrape – and which man she would ultimately choose.

If you happen to catch my name in there... Let's just say I had no idea that was coming. Thanks Talli!

Monday, 29 November 2010

Back to Reading, Happy Sigh


Writing full on for NaNo - especially given my writing habits, which involve pen and paper, and typing it all up later - cut into all of my reading time, so that I was reduced to reading only during my commute to and from work, and one very late night, when I had to keep reading The Hating Game (look for Talli Roland's Take on Amazon blog splash, coming Wednesday!).

This past weekend, I returned to reading with a vengeance, finishing Dorothy Sayers' Clouds of Witness, kc dyer's Facing Fire, the Songs of Love & Death Anthology (featuring a new short story by Diana Gabaldon), starting A Christmas Walk by Zan Marie Steadham, Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings by Hélène Boudreau and The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan (thanks again Jenny!), and starting and finishing Alan Silberberg's Milo - Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze, the second of the local author MG/YA books I picked up at the CANSCAIP meeting last month.

Milo is a great character, and his story is sad and sweet, charming and silly all at once. And that's not even mentioning all the funny and poignant illustrations. The tale made me cry any number of times - both happy and sad - and other times I kept thinking "note to self - now that's what an original metaphor looks like!"

Very inspiring, as I've leapt directly into editing my own novel. I've moved around a lot of scenes, have the hero and heroine meeting much earlier, and have cut out almost as many words as I wrote during NaNo. With still more scenes to write, I can't wait for Kait's A Round of Words in 80 Days challenge.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

This Is Your Brain. This Is Your Brain on NaNo.

I did nothing yesterday. Nothing.

Well, I wrote and plotted in the morning, then went to work, came home and did some chores. But after that? I read three days' worth of newspapers, a magazine, a couple of short stories and kc dyer's Facing Fire.

Imagine! Reading, for pleasure! Not for research and not while wracked with guilt for not writing.

On the other hand, this is exactly how the slippery slope starts. Now that NaNo is winding down, and I don't have the push of other Forum writers barrelling or crawling through the process with me, it's easy to fall back into old habits of "I'll just read a bit tonight. I can get more editing done tomorrow, if I get home from work early and we order take out."

That kind of talk leads to two years or more and no finished novel in sight.

What are your tips for nipping laziness in the bud? For corralling yourself back to that chair in front of your notebook/laptop?

Blogsplash for Talli Roland's The Hating Game is on Wednesday! Stay tuned...

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Got You NaNo!


51,300 words all typed and organized into the master file.

Now, if only I could say the draft was complete. Not yet, by a long shot. The beginning is undergoing a major overhaul, the ending has yet to be written, and I just hope the middle doesn't fall out like the inside of a cake as I sit there holding up the sides.

Happy Thanksgiving to those of you in the States. If you're feeling slightly overwhelmed by family and food, skip over to Margaret and Helen's and read their Thanksgiving letter to the family. First bit of advice: "If it jiggles, slap a girdle on it or leave it at home."

Solvang and TerryLynn have both won the Middle Grade Giveaway! Please send me your addresses.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Beer Bread and Character Names

Weekends are slow during NaNo, at least for me. I typed up all my words but haven't written any new ones, either yesterday or today. Distractions abound as well - for instance, would you like to play Mad Libs with your characters? Do so here!

I did wake up with a Brilliant Idea for shaking up the beginning of the novel, but the lack of words was getting me down - I'm only 3,000 away from completing NaNo early after all - so in order to feel like I'd accomplished at least one thing today, I baked Kait's yogourt beer muffins (meanwhile, part 17 of Forsaken by Shadow is up!), which turned out very yummy, and was the easiest recipe I've followed in a long time.

Also, I've been thinking of character names again. I originally blogged about this back in 2008, where I was discussing the characters in my middle grade story The Face of A Lion.

Even after all that, however, I'd never found a surname for the main character Austin. A couple of months ago, however, he was knighted by Charles II during one of our Writers' Forum Houseparties, and I 'discovered' his full name, seeking a Welsh name that was old enough and related in some way to his family - Austin Alan Cunnick. Sir Austin to you!

As for the current wip Out of the Water, Rosa has had her name from the start, but I've had to hunt for her middle name and surnames, from both her adoptive family and her real parents. This site, of 15th Century Spanish names, has been invaluable. Her middle name is Magdalena, after her real mother; her surname from her real father is Romero - meaning pilgrim, very apt when you consider all her journeys - and her surname from her adoptive family is de Toledo, since the family is from that city.

I took Brother Arcturus' name from the novel Voyage to Arcturus, but then I had to define why he chose that name when he entered the monastery - and I still haven't quite found out what his real name is.

And then there's Rosa's lover and husband... I needed a Turkish name that wasn't difficult to pronounce, that was short and matched Rosa's name, in terms of sounds and syllables. So I took one from my own family, and only later did I realise I'd taken the name of a relative who'd married someone named Rose.

Some of the other names come from my research books, others haven't been chosen at all. I still have a Captain X and a Senora Y wandering the pages of the novel.

Where do your characters' names come from?

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Ceci n'est pas un NaNo post

Veering away from word counts...

There I was fretting about how to frame my blog post for the day – how many NaNo blog updates can a NaNo blogger write before NaNo readers get NaNoed out? – when my trusty sidekicks/whip hands/inspirational writing friends on The Forum came through once again!

Here's Sheena's post for the day, wherein she quotes yours truly. Where else but on the Forum can you segue from NaNo to lycanthropy to Doctor Who to VCRs to Medieval Europe, and survive another day, to talk about Thanksgiving and seven league boot spells? In re Doctor Who, visit the BBC page for links to archival footage featuring the Second Doctor, Patrick Troughton, and Frazer Hines, here and here.

How To Write Badly Well mentions Istanbul! Middle Grade Giveaway is still up for grabs! Don't forget to save a word!

Must dash... got an appointment with my notebook.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Bleary-eyed and Droopy Tailed - but My Novel Is Nearing The End

Ah, NaNo.

Still going strong!

My schedules have gotten a bit topsy turvy, so that I'm still writing every day, but with lots of family and friend (and, oh yea, work) commitments, haven't been typing up my words nearly every day. Cracked 30,000 over the weekend but have another 6,000 to type up tonight, to bring the novel itself to c. 120,000 - the longest I've ever had.

Just look at my notebook!

Frodo did:

Here are my 15 Authors Who've Influenced Me (per the Facebook meme, off the top of my head, without overthinking it):

1. L M Montgomery

2. Jean Little

3. J R R Tolkien

4. C S Lewis

5. John Bellairs

6. Diana Gabaldon

7. Walter de la Mare

8. Agatha Christie

9. Dorothy L Sayers

10. Marchette Chute

11. Madeleine l'Engle

12. E L Konigsburg

13. Fyodor Dostoyevksy

14. Charles Bukowski

15. James Herriott
Then I added in the comments that I'd forgotten Ted Keneally, Beatrix Potter, Louisa May Alcott, Kit Pearson, Margaret Buffie - and poets! I'd forgotten all the poets! Eliot, Keats, Graves, Dorothy Parker, Vachel Lindsay, Blake, Rochester, cummings, Emily Carr, and on and on... And Dahl and Vonnegut and - where does it end?

Saturday, 13 November 2010

NaNo and Rugby and Authors!


Words, words and more words and haka!

Yes, I know it's Saturday but I was up at 5.30 this morning, writing - bare minimum of NaNo words for the day. Then I typed up at least 3,000, but had to stop because I went out with friends to watch Scotland vs the All Blacks. If you haven't seen the haka yet, here's a taste.

Also had a pep talk from John Green, author of the amazing Looking for Alaska, in my email - and just discovered that the brilliant Katherine Paterson has done one before as well.

And what does Mr. Green say? "Go spit in the face of our inevitable obsolescence and finish your @#$&ng novel."

So there you go. But if you're not writing - or watching large men on a field - head over to Kait's and read the next part of Forsaken by Shadow. And watch this space for a Talli Roland related blogsplash soon! And... enter the middle grade giveaway here.

Off to type some more before my friend's party...

Thursday, 11 November 2010

NaNoStupids Make for Silly Stories

In Flanders Fields the poppies grow, between the crosses, row on row...
Today is Remembrance Day, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

It's also Day 11 of NaNo... Writing at this pace sometimes produces what Claire calls NaNoStupids - those phrases or words that you know you'll edit after but which seem to crop up more than usual as you write without second-guessing yourself.

This morning I wrote a story based on many of those oft-repeated phrases:

He looked at her.
She looked at him.
He frowned.
She raised her brows.
He turned away.
She put a hand on his arm.
He scowled.
She rolled her eyes.
He shrugged.
She set her hands on her hips.
He grinned.
She quirked a smile.
He leaned forward.
She rested her fingers on his chest.
He kissed her.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Fly By Post!

Whisking by to report on progress.

NaNo is going superbly! At least 3000 words per day and most of the time I manage to have them all typed in the evenings.

On the other hand, work has heated up, with all sorts of overtime and extra projects; isn't that always the way?

I hope everyone else who's doing NaNo is also having a great time. Some that aren't have exciting news to report, like Jessica, who's going to be published - congratulations Jessica! Help her choose a title!

Thank you to everyone on the Forum for keeping me on my toes, especially the ladies of All The World's Our Page.

And if you'd care to read a long snip from Out of the Water, featuring a lover's spat, please go here.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Statistics and Story Writing Fun

Statistics on Day 6:

Words typed in last five hours: 5,000

Number of times checked Facebook: 1

Number of times felt like checking Gmail/Facebook/Writer'sForum/etc. and did not: 5, and counting

Days worth of newspapers caught up on in one sitting: 4

Today's discovery: while I love listening to music while writing, the set up works better if I listen to non-English music (such as Runrig, in Gaelic, or the Super Furry Animals, in Welsh) as it leaves me free to concentrate on my own words

Original research for the day: listening to nightingales

And so on. Total word count for week one: 12,650

In other news, the next installment of Kait Nolan's Forsaken By Shadow is up - here.

And Alliterative Allomorph 'as an adventurous 'andout! By which I mean, she's hosting a contest; enter here.

Meanwhile, here's a wee NaNo snip from Out of the Water, in the point of view of Rosa's love:

He followed the others to the kitchen and stood by the hearth as Lorenzo and Ricardo pulled out chairs and flopped onto them, throwing their arms across the table. He busied himself with lighting a fire, as Lorenzo had done in the sitting room, but the brothers were silent behind him and he knew they’d fallen asleep even before he turned and saw them, cheeks pillowed on their sleeves.

He could hear Rosa moving back and forth in the pantry and stepped up to the door. It was unnerving how much he needed to see her. His heart darkened when she was away from him, and every morning when he saw her it was as though he was meeting her for the first time; her diffidence, her ducked head, always brought a smile to his face. Anyone would think him ridiculous, falling in love with a maiden he hardly knew, and he’d certainly never planned – well, how could you plan anything when a woman ran toward you out of the trees, in need of rescue? You rescued her, booked her a ship, and suddenly found yourself spending every hour of every day with her.

Now here she was, oblivious to his presence, breaking pieces off a loaf of bread and dipping them into the jar of olive paste they’d had at the supper table, her head in profile as she ate. His fingers ached to sketch her, the line of her hair, falling behind her ear; her shawl across her shoulders; the way her dress moulded to her body. It was ragged and stained by travel, hanging so limp that it hugged her features, her arms, her chest, her –

He must have moved, for she turned then, and saw him, covering her mouth with a hand that held yet another piece of olive covered bread. Two steps forward, and he took the bread from her hand, tossing it into his own mouth. Her eyes bored into his as they chewed together and swallowed in unison. He saw her throat move and had to bring a hand up, to touch her there, and his lips could only follow, resting on the hollow of her throat, hungry, moving up her neck to find hers. His hands roamed in her hair, pulled her ever closer, even as his body pressed against her, pushing her back against the counter. He did not have enough fingers to explore her face, clutch her to him, knead her shoulders, all at the same time.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Out of the Water Chapter Critique at Clarissa's! and More NaNo

Day 3!

Kristi did a fun NaNo list over on the forum, and I've created one for myself:

Spanish classes skipped: 1
Lattes: 1
Cups of coffee: upwards of 10 (but that mostly because there's a symposium on at work and I get free coffee)
Dinners made by me: 0
Pauses on the stairwell in the office to scribble ideas: at least 2 per day
Replies given to friends and colleagues in character: 2
Dreams about writing while walking down the street: 1
Silent panic attacks: 1
Said panic attack calmed by coffee refill: 1
Scenes written that are required by the wip: 0
Scenes written that take the wip in new directions: 4
I could go on, but I'm too busy writing.

Clarissa Draper has done a brilliant Chapter Critique (in her ongoing series) of a scene from Out of the Water! Thank you Clarissa. Check it out, here.

Don't forget to enter my Jean Little giveaway - and vote in Disgruntled Bear's Query Contest!

Also, How To Write Badly Well features Old Istanbul...

And finally... drum roll... Talli Roland's The Hating Game is coming soon! And it's definitely worth the wait. Details to come, she added, teasingly...

Monday, 1 November 2010

NaNo Update, Because It's The First Day - and Query Contest

Another NaNo post...

I'll probably only do these once a week or so, as they'll simply be word count updates. NaNo is a lot more exciting this year now that more of the Compuserve Books and Writers Community members are participating. The fact that I'm not editing but still working on the first draft of my novel might also have something to do with it, of course.

However, what with work and all, I only wrote the bare NaNo minimum today, plus two words (1,669). Though I've got at least three scenes percolating in my head that I might start working on tonight!

My progress is slightly hampered by my working method - I wrote all my words this morning, then typed them up as soon as I got home. Composing on the computer still doesn't work for me.

I debated what else to include here. A link to a fun contest, like Terry Lynn Johnson's book giveaway or my own Jean Little giveaway? Summer's fun Show Your Workspace Blogfest? (I can't really show mine as it's my notebook and pen and all the research printouts and library books and currently reading books that travel around with me in my massive purse - and then the laptop on the sofa when I get home. Wonder what it's like to have a desk at home and work?)

Then I realised that today is the beginning of round two of Disgruntled Bear's Great Query Contest - and my query for The Face of A Lion is the first one on the list! There are lots of other great queries in there too, please head over and vote for your favourite/the best one. The link is here.

Books I'm Reading and Finished Books

  • The Making of Outlander by Tara Bennett
  • Testament of Experience by Vera Brittain
  • Zoom sur Plainpalais by Corinne Jaquet
  • beta read! (JB)
  • ***Reading At Intervals***
  • Sophie's Choice by William Styron
  • The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • The Young Lions by Irwin Shaw
  • Burning Sky by Lori Benton
  • 12 Anne and Avonlea books by L. M. Montgomery (skimming/reread (this was free on Kindle!))
  • Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford
  • Istanbul Noir (Akashic Books anthology)
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien manuscripts edited by J. D. Rateliff
  • The Jerusalem Bible
  • ***Finished Books***
  • The Children of Men by P. D. James
  • A Daughter's A Daughter by Mary Westmacott (Agatha Christie)
  • A Girl From Yamhill by Beverly Cleary
  • Sunlight by Margaret Rucker (poem; floating in a cocktail glass)
  • Save the Cat by Blake Snyder
  • Preface to The Hobbit, by Christopher Tolkien
  • Ilk Defa... by Beste Barki (essays)
  • Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers (essay)
  • The Moon and I by Betsy Byars
  • The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson
  • Rogue Warrior by Regan Walker
  • Beauty and the Beast by Villeneuve
  • Black (what was this? I don't remember!)
  • Dance of the Jakaranda by Peter Kimani
  • Thomas the Tank Engine by Rev. Awry (26 book collection)
  • beta read (Born to Run by RB)
  • The Little Turtle by Vachel Lindsay (poem; reread)
  • The Kraken by Alfred Lord Tennyson (poem)
  • Android's Dream by John Scalzi
  • The Mysterious Tadpole by Stephen Kellogg (reread)
  • Yashim Cooks Istanbul by Jason Goodwin
  • Miniatures by John Scalzi
  • Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain
  • Kitty-in-Boots by Beatrix Potter (illustrated by Quentin Blake)
  • All or Nothing by Rose Lerner (short story)
  • Merry Christmas, Emily (board book)
  • Extra Yarn by __ and Jan Klassen
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • The Outlandish Companion II by Diana Gabaldon
  • The Outlandish Companion I, Revised by Diana Gabaldon
  • MacHinery and the Cauliflowers by Alistair MacLean (short story)
  • The Dileas by Alistair MacLean (short story)
  • The Gold Watch by Alistair MacLean (short story)
  • betty, butter, sun by Monica Byrne (short story)
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them screenplay by J.K. Rowling
  • The Very Cranky Bear (Scholastic)
  • various haiku by R. Wodaski
  • ongoing rereads of most board books listed last year!
  • see the 2016 list and statistics at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ch/2016/12/annual-books-read-statistics-2016.html
  • 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