Showing posts from November, 2011

I Survived NaNo - Or Did I?

ou know when you're in a language class and the teacher asks you a question that you simply don't have the vocabulary for?

You fill the air with words, so that instead of saying something as brief as "my grandfather lived in France" you start blabbing.

"My relatives on my father's side two generations back used to reside in France." You use 'backside' instead of 'back' and the wrong conjugation of the verb reside. And if you don't cut yourself off, you sink into even deeper mires of wordiness.

That's what the last week of NaNoWriMo felt like for me. There were certain scenes I knew I needed, but every time I drafted them they came out shorter than intended. I know the book will grow when I go back to add everything that's missing from the drafts (namely any and all description and dialogue tags - the thing looks like an overblown screenplay at the moment), but for now I feel like I've staggered across the finish line, and…

Talli Roland's Build A Man

ound of Words check in - I had a dry Friday and got a few hundred words yesterday. Trying to write as much as I can in order to devote the last few days of NaNo to typing them all up.

Meanwhile, though, I've been reading - finally got around to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series, and I've also just read Talli Roland's Build A Man, out now on Kindle.

(cover image by India Drummond!)
"How far would you go to create the perfect partner?

Slave to the rich, rude and deluded, cosmetic surgery receptionist Serenity Holland longs for the day she's a high-flying tabloid reporter. Unfortunately, every pitch she sends out disappears like her clients' liposuctioned fat, never to be seen again. Then she meets Jeremy Ritchie -- the hang-dog man determined to be Britain's Most Eligible Bachelor by making himself over from head to toe and everything in between -- giving Serenity a story no editor could resist.

With London's biggest tabloid on board and her very ow…

Ioan Gruffudd and Character Photos, and Sharing Old Snips

he other day, Joshua posted a snip from an old work, and then asked me to do the same.

I've already shared my kitchen mystery story, and the strange circus poem I wrote in high school, but here's something else:

First half of an untitled very short story I wrote in 1995:
"gary had a sweetheart, my sweetheart, he called her. she was years younger, it was almost like a father and a daughter; she called him daddy, cos he made her feel happy in a way pops never had. gary was a drunkard like her father but not a bottle-throwing, window-smashing
drunkard, simply a nice chap who grew calm and happy as a child when he was drunk. they had some good times, gary and his sweetheart, lola. other days, it wasn't so tranquil.

but on the nice days, people would come by their flat, people of all kinds. once, they had a circus clown come for dinner, he laughed at odd moments, yet had these long periods of serious silence, when he looked like a chess champion considering his next move. hi…

Wednesday Link Happy - and Giveaways!


Jon Paul's given me this gift:

I'd like to pass it on to... all of you! Your comments always put a smile on my face. Whoever comes by that doesn't have this award yet, feel free to snap it up.

I came across Jon Paul's blog through his NaNoWriMo Video Songfest. If you haven't signed on yet, you still have a week to do it! My post was up last week and featured the Whisky Trench Riders.

Two celebrations!
Michael's having a giveaway and a party for his one year blogiversary and for reaching 500 followers.
Congratulations, Michael!

Len's hosting a thanksgiving and friendship celebration, with a giveaway!
Very glad to be your blogging friend, Len.

Meanwhile, the folks at Random Acts of Reading are hosting a series called Books in the Wild, showing books in their natural habitat, with kids, booksellers, animals, or just proudly on display. Snap some photos of your own novels, and your favourite books, and send them over.

Here's one from me, back in 2008 or …

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

esterday was my birthday, which explains the NaNo-fail this weekend.

Way back when, Michael at In Time hosted a What I Did On My Summer Vacation blogfest. I didn't get a chance to play then, but since it's finally starting to snow around here, I'm thinking back to heat and sunshine.

There were a couple of weddings, the Bleu Lavande lavender fields, a concert or two and the Cirque du Soleil... Then came the trip to England and Turkey:

England from the sky
Dorothy Sayers' house in Witham, Essex
Windsor Castle, looking across from Datchet village
Kadınlar Denizi Beach
Kuşadası Marina
The water. Ah, the water
Olive trees
A kervansaray, or Ottoman inn
A 14th Century mosque
Kystros, a river god
A road in the ancient town of Ephesus
A statue of Artemis
Istanbul, looking across the Golden Horn toward Topkapı Palace
The Maiden's Tower (or Leander's Tower) in the distance.
What do you remember from your summer vacation?

Who Is Frances Rain? and P. G. Wodehouse

oing to talk about two things today, a great book and writing styles.

Has anyone else read Who Is Frances Rain? by Margaret Buffie? Apparently it's also known in the United States as Someone Else's Ghost. I don't remember how I first came across this book. Must have been a choice from the Scholastic catalogue.

"It's going to be a long, hot summer for 15-year-old Lizzie. Normally a vacation at her grandmother's northern Manitoba cottage is the highlight of the year, but this summer the whole family is going along, including her new stepfather whom she detests.

To escape the family's bickering, Lizzie explores a nearby island, where she finds the remains of an old cabin and uncovers a pair of spectacles. When she tries on the old glasses she is surprised to find herself watching a woman and girl from the past. Lizzie is determined to find out who these ghosts are, and why they are appearing to her. Enlisting the help of her grandmother's teenage neighbour…

Your Typical Day As A Writer

our typical day as a writer...

Sara's just done a post detailing her usual daytime routine. Now here's mine.
(Read on, three bits of really exciting news will follow!)

6 am - alarm goes off. I don't leap out of bed. Cat lands on belly and purrs. Other cat sits on the floor and stares up at me.

6.10 - get up, write for an hour (this is a NaNo- or Drafting-Stage-only routine. Otherwise, sleep wins out).

7.10 - shower, dress, head out the door. Read for beta reviews or book reviews on commute, run errands before work.

8.30 - 4.30 - work. Work work work work work.
At lunch:
run errands,
lunch with friends or family (especially if I'm starving from having skipped breakfast),
work on Alfred Russel Wallace transcripts,
work on translations if I've received any
OR (not 'and'. You didn't think I was going to write 'and', did you?)
clear emails (saving blog comments and emails that require longer than one line for later).
Sometimes I drop everyt…

The Dreaded Middle: NaNo, ROW80 and Literary Resolutions

oe is me.

It's here, the dreaded middle of the novel. Except that, because I'm a pantster/chunkster, the middle is not quite the middle.

Instead, I'm 30,000 words into the latest novel (while waiting on beta reviews for Rosa's story, Out of the Water, whose own middle needs editing before I start thinking of querying again) - which was called Verse, Venice and Viziers - a nicely convenient and alliterative name - until I discovered that for historical accuracy, the characters need to be in Rome, not Venice - and I don't know if I've got any more words to add.

I feel as if I've written all the pivotal scenes (even though only half of them are typed up) and I'm starting to wonder if this is more novella than novel. On the other hand, I had this same trouble with Rosa's story and ended up with 140,000 words. I'm at 120,000 now and still trying to cut down.

I seem to go through the same ups and downs with every novel. Do we all have patterns as writers?…

Jessica Bell's Amazon Chart Rush, Take Your Child To A Bookstore, and Whisky Trench Riders

uthor's helping authors! And all you lovely readers out there:

Help author Jessica Bell top the Amazon charts today with her debut novel String Bridge, and receive the soundtrack, Melody Hill: On the Other Side, for free!

Here're the links:

eBook on Amazon US and on Amazon UK.

Paperback on Amazon US and on Amazon UK.

In other book news, author Jenny Milchman has organized an annual Take your Child to a Bookstore Day for 3 December, and you can help spread the word!

Print the poster of the event and take it to your local bookstore, library or school - or any other place where children and books come together. Or simply spread the word about the event on your blog or other social media sites.

By the way, I just discovered an interview on PBS with Katherine Paterson.
And I'm finally posting as part of the NaNoWriMo Video Songfest!
In honour of NaNo, and to wish all writers good luck, here's a song called The Perfect Ending, by the Whisky Trench Riders, as featured on UK sta…

Jennifer Hendren and By The Pale Moonlight


Jennifer Hendren's By The Pale Moonlight is out now (get it from Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Smashwords)!

"Makenna Wilhelm knows all of her friends have their quirks, but when Ty shows up naked in her yard one morning, she finds it beyond weird. Stranger still are the deep gashes across Ty's chest and his sudden ability to hear and smell things that no human should.

During a moonlit night, Ty's secret is revealed. He's no longer the boy she's crushed on forever, but rather a werewolf with one serious aversion for all things silver.

Makenna is left wondering if he's to blame for the recent death of one of their classmates, the apparent victim of an animal attack. With the help of Melanie, the dead girl's friend, they manage to shed doubt on Ty's guilt -- only to discover Makenna was the intended prey. Even worse, she's still a target.

In a race against the full moon, the trio struggles to find who murdered the young woman. However, with…

Theresa Milstein in... Fangtales


Sounds delicious, no?

Fangtales, edited by Berni Stevens, is the third YA anthology by Wyvern Publications, after Dragontales, published in 2009, and Mertales, published in 2010.

Fangtales visits the terrifying realms of the most popular creature ever to grace the pages of fantasy fiction. The vampire. The tales are fresh, original and scary enough to send delicious shivers down the spine of every reader. Lose yourself in the blood-soaked pages of Fangtales, where a best friend mysteriously disappears, a small child roams the woods alone at midnight, and a terrified girl seeks help when her house is surrounded by hungry vampires.

Theresa Milstein's Allured features in Fangtales, and I'm lucky enough to have her stopping by today to answer a few questions about the story - and more.

Which is the most embarrassing book, movie or TV show that you love?

Where to begin. I watch too much reality TV. I've watched LA Ink, NY Ink (I have two tattoos, maybe that's why). The…

String Bridge Blog Tour and Other New Releases


No, no, what am I saying?

I mean, yes, I'm doing NaNo and writing like a fiend in the mornings and trying to type it all up at nights, but that's neither here nor there.

Jessica Bell's String Bridge comes out this month!

"Greek cuisine, smog and domestic drudgery was not the life Australian musician, Melody, was expecting when she married a Greek music promoter and settled in Athens, Greece. Keen to play in her new shoes, though, Melody trades her guitar for a 'proper' career and her music for motherhood. That is, until she can bear it no longer and plots a return to the stage -- and the person she used to be. However, the obstacles she faces along the way are nothing compared to the tragedy that awaits..."
There's no way to read an intense book like this and not take sides. Jessica does an amazing job of luring the reader in and, even though the story is told from Melody's point of view, every character's background comes through.

First yo…

Lynne Sears Williams' The Comrades and Insecure Writers

aNo Day Two.

Insecure enough yet?

Actually, there's no reason to be insecure when writing during NaNo - turn off that inner editor and get scribbling!

I think fears never leave us - c.f. Joanna Bourne's first comment in her latest blog post - but we can learn and relearn ways to quiet those fears and work past them. On of the best ways is to arm yourself. You've got your pen, paper, computer, research books, library card, and so on. But what about the words? What about the grammar? In a recent interview, Grammar Girl talked about new approaches to teaching grammar, and how important it is to know the basics for clear thinking and writing.

So, fellow insecure writers, stockpile your arsenal and you'll feel braver. If it's the writing itself that's got you blocked, take a look at the 30 Questions Writers' Exercise that Ron Wodaski set up last September on the Forum. It's the quickest springboard to getting to know your story and your characters.

Speaking …