Showing posts from June, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge and Houseparty Hijinks

ne month can go by really really quickly when you're doing one of those 30 day challenges. It's also been a long time since I actually knew the date each day, without having to hem and haw before coming up with the answer.

Very busy over at the Mall at the End of Time writers' houseparty - where we've knocked five lives from a Ginger Tom, had some interludes in the kinky shop and at the edge of the planet under the stars, met and detonated a little bomb family, healed broken legs and more in a Japanese garden, and so on - so here's a rundown off Facebook of...

The 30 Day Song Challenge

Day 1 - Your favourite song
One song? How does anyone pick one song? Let's ignore the regular stuff altogether and go with Bilbo's Bath Song by J R R Tolkien: "Sing hey! for the bath at close of day / that washes the weary mud away!... A loon is he that will not sing: / O! Water Hot is a noble thing!"

Day 2 - Your least favourite song
Least favourite? Or hated? In th…

The Mall At The End Of Time and Poetry

ay Three of the Houseparty!

Pay a visit to the Mall at the End of Time, created by Ron Wodaski, where there's a cragon running around - along with rats-that-aren't-rats, time travellers, veterans of three different wars, a couple of cats-that-aren't-cats and a scruffy kitten named Snack - in between shops like Rake's Art Gallery ("Art for Evil's sake is the motto here. Would you like to crawl into a painting and wreak havoc? We also have a selection of come-alive sculptures (just rub the appropriate part), as well as enchanted lamps and a wide variety of cursed items suitable for instigating chaos on a moment's notice. A great place for evildoers and criminals to find that extra-special treat") and Psychic Solutions, Inc. ("The neighborhood computer store of the 21st century has evolved to suit the needs of the End of Time traveler. Did your ego get busted during a teleport? Are you feeling depressed about the end of everything? Need someone to p…

Round Up of A Round of Words in 80 Days

h oh. I haven't quite been keeping track of my daily progress on editing Out of the Water. The only thing I can tell is that compared to 80 days ago, I've actually got less square brackets. They're actually down to a finite number - all highlighted in purple.

Some statistics:

Total pages: 180

Current word count: 140,380 (way too high for a historical romance, apparently)

First 60 pages: CLEAN. No highlights, no brackets, no question marks! Even passed out to a couple of readers!

First 120 pages: relatively clean. Just a few more linking scenes needed.

Last 60 pages: a MESS. Total rewrite necessary.

Additional: c. 150 words looked up in the OED Online so far. So many anachronistic words I can't use...

Something I was thinking about yesterday: This year is the 560th or so anniversary of Gutenberg's printing press. I still haven't succumbed to e-books; I print everything.
There was a guest post recently on Nathan Bransford's blog, exploring the relation betwee…

Liz Fichera's Craving Perfect, Houseparty and I've Got A Tumblr Page

umblr. I caved, I got a page. Still not completely sure how to do what I'd like to do - how do I link my blog to it? How do I find images and videos I'd like to share without losing hours out of my life? How do I keep it writing-related and not filled with cats and Tolkien's art? That's where the background came from; this drawing from 1915:

Read Liz Fichera's upcoming release, Craving Perfect last week! Take a peek at the trailer.

"Grace Mills craves being perfect almost as much as she craves raspberry scones. In fact, her life would be perfect if only she could lose ten more pounds, if only the pastry café she co-owns with her sister would turn a profit, if only the hottest guy at the gym would look her way...

And then "if only" comes true. Grace is suddenly straddling two lives: an alternate reality where she's a size two, weathergirl celebrity and being chased by the hot guy. Only Mr. Gorgeous isn't very nice, and she…

ROW80 and A Snip from Out of the Water

weekend of editing! Does it get any better than that? Well, unless you're drafting for a shiny new idea, of course.

I haven't posted a snip in a while (and I lost a follower, I think. I'm sorry, whoever you were!), so here's a wee peek at Out of the Water:

Brother Arcturus and Baha appeared together soon after, while the men were still out in the grounds, and led them further into the woods. Once they had left the fields and the river behind, and the calls and shouts of the fire fighters had receded, Arcturus and Baha lit torches and spaced themselves along the line. Rosa, finding her footing behind Arcturus with Tía Mira following in her steps, wished they had stayed in darkness. Torchlight was misleading, creating shadows, leading her to step high over obstacles that were not there, and not highlighting stray rocks and branches that littered the path.

After stubbing her toes for the tenth time, and stumbling backward into her aunt, Rosa waited for the group to pass, …

Fun for Friday Featuring Montreal, Glass Beaches, Inner Critics and Tolkien

ottermore! I can't wait to find out what it is.

Onto Friday's Fun Five:

1. Did you know that we have a piece of the Berlin Wall here in Montreal?

2. A couple of weeks ago I went to the McGill University library exhibit on nursery rhymes, fairy tales and fables.

Andrew Lang!

An historical description of the cat appended to an edition of Cinderella:

3. Susan at All The World's Our Page has written a beautiful metaphor on glass beaches and writers. It made me feel like grabbing pen and paper and letting words wash over me in ceaseless waves. I love language!

4. The other day, Zan Marie had tea with her inner critic, and recorded their conversation. Watch out for the reference to Old Wilmington's Lord John Grey! I'm having a cup right now.

5. I've been a Tolkien fan for so very long that I thought I'd seen it all, whether his writing or art, photos or videos of interviews, what-have-you.

Then, suddenly, thanks to Glynis Smy, who linked to the British Library Arc…

Kait Nolan's Blindsight, ROW80 and Free for All Awards!

ham! A teaser!

Actually, it's a short story by Kait Nolan called Blindsight.

"Isla's ability as a Seer has made her a life-long captive of a paranormal crime lord. Fae assassin, Ransom, offers her a chance at escape, but when she touches his hand she sees only blood, horror, apocalypse. What reason can Ransom have for wanting to rescue her, and can she possibly trust a man who deals in death?"
Not only is Blindsight a riveting tale with just the right touch of romance (love it when the sensuality hits the perfect note) but it's a great introduction to her Mirus world, if you haven't read any of her other stories yet. And if you have... You'll just have to wait for autumn for the next full-length installment. Blindsight is available here.

On the ROW80 front, I've found a failsafe method of dealing with square brackets - delete the sentence! I used to cringe at all the yellow-highlighted square brackets on a page. Oh no, more research, word choices and p…

Short and Sweet ROW80 Check In


That was the sound of me flying by. I've been eradicating square brackets all day, which involves, at times, Googling such random things as "ledger vs journal vs ship's log", "Spanish medieval units of length", "canonical hours", "indolent vs impudent", "mithridate" and so on.

Please to say I only got distracted twice, once to join the latest thread on the Compuserve Books and Writers Community about possible titles for Diana Gabaldon's next book in the Outlander series (octopi, anyone?), and now to distill what I did today into a check in for A Round of Words in 80 Days.

It occurs to me that I've been assuming in the last few check ins that everyone coming by knows what ROW80 is, but there may be many of you that don't, so here's a brief recap:

"A challenge that happens 4 times a year with a break between sessions. [Round 2 started April 4 and Round 3 starts in two weeks.]

You have 80 days for your Ro…

Second Summer in the City Blogfest and Literary Resolutions

e're past the first week of June, so time to revisit the Literary Challenges 2011! I found out about this through Theresa Milstein. Last month was all about rereading my old work, and this month is:

Get an anthology of poetry and read the same poem twice every day—once in the morning, and once at night. Does coming back to it in the evening change it? Take June to think about language—what draws you in, what bores you?I haven't been doing this quite as faithfully; I've been reading lots of poetry, as I've nearly completed Stephen Fry's The Ode Less Travelled, but only a few of them are poems I've read before. I hope it's helping my own writing to be immersed in the rhythmical flow of words that the best poetry swings into your mind. I love words.

Along the lines of goals, I missed the main date for Bess Weatherby's Second Summer in the City Blogfest, so I'll do it right now. My goals for the summer are...

1) Participate to my utmost in Barbara Rogan&…

Lilian Jackson Braun

willeran, Merlin James. Kao K'o Kung (Koko). Yum Yum.

I was all set to do a post on my knitting blog about the latest Lilian Jackson Braun book I've finished - The Cat Who Saw Stars - since it features an older Scottish gentleman in full regalia piping at the head of a parade that includes Qwilleran's oldest friend knitting a sock with four needles on the Friends of Wool float; and this coming Saturday is World Wide Knit in Public Day. But.

Found out this afternoon that Ms. Braun passed away last Saturday, at the age of 97, two weeks shy of her 98th birthday (condolences may be sent to the family here).

What's that you say? Never read a Cat Who... book? Well, I hadn't either, until I started writing my middle grade a few years ago. Every time I told someone there was a talking cat in it, they asked me if I'd read the Cat Who... books. So I finally picked up a couple at a second-hand bookstore. Well, Koko and Yum Yum are nothing like my Kedi - obviously those pe…

Tag! I'm it!

meme! I was tagged by Medeia Sharif and l'Aussie Denise. Here goes:

1. Do you think you're hot? Never! I'm always freezing cold and asking whether we can't turn the heat up in the office.

2. Upload a picture or wallpaper you're using at the moment. Ooh, I love this one. It's a collage I made a while ago of all the images in my head as I write Out of the Water:

3. When was the last time you ate chicken meat? A couple of days ago. Why?

4. A song you listened to recently:Nightingale, by the Whisky Trench Riders (e-mail me if you'd like to buy the album!)

5. What were you thinking as you were doing this? Of eating and drinking. I'd really like a coffee.

6. Do you have nicknames? What are they? D, Deni, Den Den...

7. Tag eight bloggers:


Zan Marie







8. A few questions about your tagged friends...

Who's listed as number one?
Karen, who does a great job collecting and commenting on all things Outlander-related.

Say something about …

Linda Gerber's The Finnish Line

inland, Finland, Finland, it's the country where I want to be" (Monty Python).

I won a copy of Linda Gerber's The Finnish Line the other day and barrelled through it in one - very late - night.

"When Nordic ski jumper Maureen 'Mo' Clark sets off to study abroad in Finland, her goal is simple; to jump in the famous Lahti Ski Games and prove to her family and friends what she's made of. But simple turns complicated when her grades start to slip, her jumps don't measure up, and a good-looking gypsy-blood teammate offers his assistance—for a price. Amid the saunas and snow castles, the ice swimming and Northern lights, Mo discovers strength inside herself—her own Finnish sisu—that she never knew existed."I'm always awed by authors that, even within one genre, can switch between all sorts of different points of view and settings. From the lush island in the first book of her Death By... series, to the regular city and mall setting of Trance, to the…

A Recipe, An Interview, A Book Review and A Check In

ink happy! (Someday I might have time to go through all the drop caps I've used and tally which letter I use the most, which one I use the least, and which designs I've missed using. But I digress.)

I've got a yummy recipe coming up on Pots and Plots.

I've been interviewed as part of J. C. Martin's Writer Wednesday Feature!

My review of The Kraken's Mirror by Maureen O. Betita is up on the One Hundred Romances Project. By the way, if you'd like to become a reviewer, send an email to J. M. Kelley at

As for Out of the Water - third round of edits is done! I printed the colour coded version yesterday... blue for n dashes, green for ellipses (since I use too many of both), pink for all the missing scene links and yellow for square brackets enclosing research-requiring bits. There's a rainbow of work to be done!

I can't believe how many scenes are still missing. And I'm at 148,000 words - need to cull at least 20,000 from…