Showing posts from June, 2012

Research Weirdness Again - and Cthulhu


I've been doing a lot of it the past couple of years, for Out of the Water and Rome, Rhymes and Risk, both set c. 1492 in the Mediterranean. (And also quite a bit this past week, as I'm still in the midst of tying up loose ends in Ayten's story.)

I love researching historicals, and learning new things about the time periods my characters happen to be in. Bring on the square brackets!

And keep reading - you never know when something you read, even if it's not directly for research, will lead to an important fact that's relevant for your story. You might also come across weird information. I've listed some of my odd searches before, for Rosa's story and for The Face of A Lion, Austin's story.

Now, here's some what I've Googled or read about in primary and secondary sources for Ayten's story and for my shiny new idea:

Rome, Rhymes and Risk (15th Century):
metalwork and trading
marriage and burial rites
more parts of ships and nautical t…

Favourite Children's Books: Vince Ditrich's Picks, and ROW80

(reposted from 2010. Hope you enjoy!)

hildren's books these days are divided into so many genres and categories that it almost seems funny to recommend, for instance, The Lord of the Rings, to a youngster. Yet I was 10 when I first read that and The Hobbit. Given the title of this blog, for one, it's arguably the book that touched me as a child, and I've reread it every year since then. But there are so many other authors that I'd also list as my favourites, which I won't repeat here; we've had discussions on this topic before on the Compuserve Books and Writers Forum, last year and the year before, as well as a discussion on what we learned from kids' books.

Which book touched you that you still remember? Was it a series, a specific genre, or a single story?

Many of the authors that have made a difference to me are Canadian, and sometimes I wonder if I would have discovered them at all if I'd grown up elsewhere. A number of authors and readers responded…

Book Reviews and More UK Photographs

ots of review sites and articles up!

I've got another new article at Bizim Anadolu, this one about Pâté Chômeur, a yummy Québecois dessert.

We're still seeking reviewers over at the One Hundred Romances Project - come join the fun. I've got reviews of Carol Spradling's The Night Lamp and Nina Jade Singer's Secrets of the Knight up right now.

Song of the Sea also features romance book reviews - I'm hoping to contribute a few someday soon.

And Forumite Betty Navta has a new blog titled Books Uncaged, "for readers and writers with a passion for books." The blog is a joint one with her friend author Michelle Yd Frost.

"We're stepping out from being rather insular about our processes, experiences and efforts at writing, editing, cover-designing, self-publishing, e-book publishing, etc. Both of us have written for other venues - magazines, newspapers and blogs, of course. And both of us are avid readers. It's something new and different for both…

New Linda Gerber!, Writing Chain, and Book Award

inda Gerber has a new book out:
Hacked, the third episode in the Lights, Camera, Cassidy series.

To celebrate, she's running a giveaway for the next two months! Spread the word (tweet-ready!):

"Lights, Camera, Cassidy Charmed Summer Giveaway! Win charms, one-of-a-kind charm necklaces, even a chance at an iPhone 4!"
Someday I hope I get to celebrate a book launch (future ROW80 goal!)...

Meanwhile, I've made a list of all the missing scenes in Ayten's story, as well as the names I still need, including a couple of priests, a handful of Castilian brigands, a kitten... Any suggestions?

The other thing I've been doing really well for two weeks now - surprise! surprise! - is keeping up a writing chain each morning. Love me that shiny new story!

I got the chain idea from Jenny Maloney's blog:
Step 1: Get a big calendar. Step 2: Draw an X on each day you write. (After a few days, you'll have a chain of Xes) Step 3: Don't br…

I've Finished Editing!, Author Tips, Matilda Cat, and Talli Roland's Latest


I've finished editing on paper (ROW80)!

Rome, Rhymes and Risk (Ayten's story) is a mass of scribbles at the moment. I don't think I've ever had a story that needed this much scene-moving before. On the other hand, I've never done a substantial edit like this so early on in a story's life; even with Out of the Water (Rosa's story) I went through at least three drafts, if not more, before I printed it all out and tackled it en masse. But I'm trying to develop a quicker pace.

I have all these lofty story goals now:

June: make list of missing scenes for Rome, Rhymes and Risk and write them; continue with shiny new idea drafting in the mornings

July: type up all new scenes and edits for Rome, Rhymes and Risk; continue with shiny new idea drafting in the mornings

August: rereadRome, Rhymes and Risk one last time; continue with shiny new idea drafting in the mornings

September: enter changes for Rome, Rhymes and Risk and send it to betas; type up draft for sh…

Recent Reads, Bradbury and George, and Hedwig!

olkien Conference! Celebrating 75 years of The Hobbit. And Surrey Writers' Conference!

I wish I was attending both, especially Surrey; it would be so exciting to pitch a story 'live' for the first time. Scary, but exciting.

I've been doing well with my schedule - only ten pages of editing left (ROW80)! And don't forget my Show me the Words! contest. I'm adding another feature to the contest - for an extra entry, head over and watch the Whisky Trench Riders' single Driftin'. You can like it or share it, too, if you wish, but the important thing is the views - the band is trying to hit 1000 views before the end of the month.

We've lost two authors and inspirations this week, Ray Bradbury and Jean Craighead George. Neil Gaiman has some touching tributes to Bradbury, and here's the New York Times on George. I have to admit I've only read one of her books, My Side of the Mountain - she has 99 others that I haven't read yet! The film version o…

Contest!, Book Reviews, ROW80 and Insecure Writers


What better way to celebrate the Insecure Writer's Support Group than by running a writers' contest?

It all started with my new schedule. Everything's going swimmingly, especially the Monday and Wednesday editing nights. Observe!:

That last shot is mainly because I felt badly for Frodo, since all the other photos featured Sam (and yes, that's the cap off a beer bottle on his head).

So that's me editing. Meanwhile, though, I keep having all these shinynewideas. What to do? If I don't start exploring them right away, they'll disappear or become less sparkly; if I take notes and try to come to them later on, that would make me *gasp* a plotter.

Which is why I've added to the schedule, a la ROW80 (change your goals each week to suit you!): I normally read on the train to and from work, but I'm so excited by this latest shiny new idea (a little tweak on the old beauty and the beast story, involving Druids, a minotaur's labyrinth, an archaeo…

Oreos, Choughs, Research, and Letters of Note (with many photos!)

lthough I meant to talk about editing and my crazy new ideas today, this post has been OBE.

Yes, it's Jubilee weekend, but no, there's no knighthood forthcoming (not even an agent! Though I'm still querying, and blogging about it at Misha's). I just like using the phrase OBE - Overtaken By Events.

All silliness aside, what I mean is, I was going to post about editing and a contest I'm going to run (speaking of which, Claire Legrand is running an awesome Cavendishlicious giveaway) but I can't figure out why my new phone won't let me email myself the photos that I need, and my chip reader is in my desk at work (I also haven't figured out where in the phone the chip is, yet).

On top of that, I was going to talk about the amazing Letters of Note website, but I seem to have lost the email in which I saved all the links to the best letters, by Tolkien and Lewis and Hemingway, and so on. So instead, I've got lots of random images and ideas to share.

To st…