Wednesday, 14 November 2012

False Start Snips, Mistletoe in Manhattan, and Defending Bands You Like

Today's post is brought to you by the letters P and J.

By which I mean, Pearl Jam.

Yes, if this post seems short, it's because blogging time was interrupted by emphasising-how-great-Pearl-Jam-are time, as I came face to face with a reluctant fan.

Also, in keeping with my last post, I forgot to link to Claire Gregory's other blog, The Road to War and Back.

I distracted myself from NaNo the other day by reading Talli Roland's latest, Mistletoe in Manhattan:

"As Little Missington's first Christmas baby in fifty years and the daughter of Christmas When You Like It party-planners, Holly West has been surrounded by the holiday spirit since birth. Trouble is, she's not exactly filled with festive cheer. In fact, Holly can't wait to ditch the tinsel and Santa suits for champagne and celebs, and become a party-planner to the stars.
When British TV star Dean Layton hires her parents' company to throw his holiday bash in Manhattan, Holly jumps at the chance to help, confident she can handle a little Christmas in exchange for access to Dean's exclusive world.
But New York and Dean's over-the-top demands are more than Holly bargained for. Can Holly deck the halls and make it a party to be proud of, or will this Christmas be one she'll never forget . . . even if she wants to?"
Such a sweet story! There's a fine line between sweetness and so sugary your teeth hurt, and Talli's story definitely falls on the not cloying side. I read this novella in one sitting, unable to tear myself away from Holly's journey, wondering what choices she'd make and rooting for her to find love. I kept smiling to myself so many times at Holly's turns of phrase. Hope we get to see her in a sequel! And Alex, oh yes... Talli, if you come by, could you let us know who you might cast for Alex if he was ever portrayed on screen? Now there's a perfect guy.

I found out about False Starts Friday from Sara: Post the beginning snip of a piece of writing that didn't go anywhere.

I've got quite a few of these! Actually, the one I'm about to share is a story I still hope to return to someday, as it's intended for Scholastic's Dear Canada series, an awesome collection of stories from Canada's history, all told in the form of diary entries, each written by a different author.

In this story, set in the 1930s, main character Willa runs off to New York City to meet a famous singer. Instead, she meets his son, Sam, and they are instantly attracted to one another. This scene shows their second rendezvous.
Willa waited under the awning of the front door. She hadn't been able to eat for excitement, and felt rather nauseated, from hunger and nervousness. She tapped a foot on the marble step, acting preoccupied, pretending that she belonged there and trying to ignore the throwing-up sensation in her stomach.
The building didn't look at all like what she'd imagined a recording studio to be – no celebrities streaming in and out, calling each other by stage names, no sounds of tuning instruments coming from the upper floor windows.
Instead, from what she could see through the plate glass window, the lobby was empty, save for a woman dressed much the same as she was, in a grey two-piece, with pinned hair, and seated behind a typewriter on a massive mahogany desk. A bank of elevators stood silent behind her. Willa waited to see if they opened and Sam came out, but for five minutes, during which she must have checked her watch and peered up and down the street at least fifty times, no one came in or went out.
Finally, having caught the receptionist's eye on her again, Willa shuffled through the revolving door and clattered across the marble floor, her high-heeled steps echoing back at her from the walls. She did have a reason to be here; why should she feel nervous?
The woman at the desk held her fingers poised in the air over the typewriter, ready to start tapping away at any moment, and glared at Willa.
Willa pulled herself up straight, resisting the urge to snatch her hat off and twist it in her fingers. "Hello. I'm here to meet – see – Mr. Springsteen."
"Not gonna work, honey. Think you're the first? We get about ten of you a day." The woman's words were chatty but her tone was dry as sand.
"No, I meant Mr. Sam Springsteen; not –"
"Yeah, I've heard that one, too. Come on, honey, don't waste my time, okay?" And she really did lower her hands and start pounding the keys, ignoring Willa completely.
At that moment, a loud voice sang from down the corridor, "that's good, baby. Oh yeah. Oh-h-h-h yeah" and then a door slammed.
The thought flashed through Willa's mind, "I just want to go home," but she didn't, not really. Wasn't this part of what she had run to New York City for? To be with musicians and catch a glimpse of their lifestyle?
The receptionist stopped tapping and glared again when she saw that Willa had made no move to leave. A great clanking came from the metal grilles of the elevator directly behind her, and Sam stepped through the doors.
"Ah, you found our offices?" he called to Willa over the woman's head. "Let's go, I'll give you a tour." He beamed at her, coming around the desk.
Willa felt generous now that she had been vindicated before the receptionist. She cast her friendliest smile at the stunned woman and gleefully slipped her arm through Sam's proffered elbow.
"May we go through there first?" She pointed at the corridor down which the lewd lyrics had floated.
Sam laughed. "Not now. Van Zandt's very picky about his surroundings; he doesn't appreciate strangers coming upon him while he's recording."
In the end, she saw only the cafeteria on the first floor. As Sam towed her back along the corridor, pointing out the awards along the walls, a boy Friday came running toward them. He looked frightened yet thrilled to be approaching Sam.
"Mr. Springsteen, sir! There's a telegram for you at the front desk!"
Willa wondered if the boy's fear was at speaking to a superior or what the telegram might say.
"Stay here," Sam told them both, and skidded off to the lobby.
"But Sam –"
"Don't move!" he called back, not turning.
She shared a look of surprise with the boy at Sam's curt tone. The kid clapped a hand over his mouth, remembering his place, and nodded at her before scurrying away in the opposite direction.
Willa certainly didn't feel like being stuck in the corridor all by herself, with only an irascible singer in a room nearby, and hurried to the lobby after Sam.
"Are you sure you can handle it?" the receptionist was asking in a low voice.
"Shut up! You want somebody to hear us?" Sam hissed.
Willa's heels echoed again as she stepped onto the marble flooring, and Sam and the woman lifted their heads as one. At least I don't feel like throwing up anymore, she thought.
Now she was angry.
As you can see, a lot of the names were place-fillers (among other things that need fixing. Sigh.).

If NaNo goes on the way it does, I might be returning to this story sooner than I expected; I'm worried that Captive of the Sea is fast turning into a novella and might be complete before I reach 50,000 words.

That said, I should get on with my other mini-ROW80 goals; I haven't sent a query in weeks.

Hope everyone's writing - whether you're attempting NaNo or not - is going smoothly!

Here's one of the songs I was attempting to sway my friend with:


Which bands or books have you defended lately?


Angela Brown said...

I'm going to take a wild guess, just a conjecture here, that you are a Pearl Jam fan :-)

I haven't done much in the way of defending music s I've not had any conversations about it in a while. However, I can certainly tell that my taste in music as evolved and changed over the years.

Enjoyed the snippet you shared. Kept my attention all the way through.

I'm glad you enjoyed Talli's novella. I've got to move that one up my reading list :-)

Talli Roland said...

Oh, thanks so much, Deniz! So pleased you enjoyed it! Hmm, Alex. Someone dark and smouldering but also quite earnest... eep! Maybe that French guy from L'Auberge Espagnole? But with an American accent?

S.P. Bowers said...

It's so different to see you writing about the 1930s.

Neurotic Workaholic said...

It sounds like an interesting story, and it made me wonder what Sam was hiding! Hmmm...
I have to defend songs all the time, because most people don't like my taste in music. I've liked pop music ever since I was a teenager, and I don't see myself not liking it anytime soon. :)

Joshua said...

1930's? Sounds interesting. Now get back to NaNoing! ;o)

The Golden Eagle said...

That's an interesting time period! I'm actually reading a book set in the 1930s right now.

Haven't done a lot of defending lately, though I did recently try to explain to someone how Asimov's Foundation series wasn't like Star Wars.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Been years since I heard Pearl Jam.
Talli is just an awesome writer!

Denise Covey said...

Hi Deniz. Popped in to see how your NaNo was going and you seem to be chugging along fine. Halfway now! I'm a bit under but not worried. I'll catch up. I also bought Mistletoe in Manhattan and read the first chapter and love it. Can't wait to finish it.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Deniz .. can't say I'm a P & J fan ... but I am listening!!!

Talli's book - yup on my to buy list ... and love the review - just what I need right now ... well December I shall enjoy too.

Cheers - good luck with finishing NaNo .. Hilary

Romance Reader - Nas said...

Hi Deniz!

Talli's novella sound such a lovely story. I need to get this as I keep forgetting.

Good luck with your Nano!


Deniz Bevan said...

Hope you like the novella, too, Angela!

Had to look him up, Talli. Love the way his imdb page starts by calling him an "appealing actor" - I can't disagree!

It feels very strange, Sara. Wait till I try 1913!

Hee hee, did you see Amanda Palmer's round up of pop songs live at NME studios, Neurotic?

Aye aye, Captain Joshua!

Eek! That sounds like a good thing to be defending, Eagle.

I haven't listened to them in a while either, Alex, but it was fun to remember.

I was by yours, Denise, but felt badly that I can't participate in the Holiday blogfest - seems like such an amazing idea.

Hope you enjoy the novella, Hilary and Nas!

Jemi Fraser said...

Sounds like your Nano is going well - sometimes those stories just don't want to be the length you want them to be!! Good luck with it!

Deniz Bevan said...

Thanks Jemi! Maybe I could write two novellas during NaNo...

Theresa Milstein said...

Oh, how nice to see Talli featured her. She's one prolific writer. I've read a few of her books.

You set the scene really well here. I'm impressed that you write in such varying times and places.

Deniz Bevan said...

Thanks so much, Theresa!

nutschell said...

i haven't had me some pearl jam in awhile:) Thanks for sharing the snippet! i'll have to check out Talli's book.

Deniz Bevan said...

Hope you like the book, nutschell!

Books I'm Reading and Finished Books

  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • ***Reading At Intervals***
  • 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
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  • The Fellowship of the Ring: J.R.R. Tolkien, Catholicism and the Use of Allegory by David Lord Alton (essay)
  • The Oxen by Thomas Hardy
  • The Casuarina Tree by Somerset Maugham
  • The Rose and the Yew Tree by Agatha Christie (Mary Westmacott)
  • The Wedding Night by Ida Craddock
  • No Safe House by Linwood Barclay
  • The Cybil War by Betsy Byars
  • No Time for Goodbye by Linwood Barclay
  • SOS by Agatha Christie (short story)
  • The Summer of the Swans by Betsy Byars
  • Lyrebird by Cecilia Ahern
  • The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Black Mischief by Evelyn Waugh
  • 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love by Rachel Aaron
  • The Story Toolkit: Your Step-by-Step Guide To Stories That Sell by Susan Bischoff
  • The Devil and Miss Jones by Kate Walker
  • SIWC contest winner (short story)
  • Wish I Might by Kait Nolan
  • Bells by Edgar Allan Poe (poem)
  • The Skye Boat Song
  • Unfinished Tales by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Long Run by Neil Gaiman (poem)
  • secret beta read! (JM)
  • If I Didn't Care by Kait Nolan
  • The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien (annual reread)
  • Wedding Days: Letters from Ethiopia, India, and the South Pacific by Monica Byrne
  • Strange Street by Ann Powell (reread)
  • The Hangman by Louise Penny (short story; reread)
  • A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny (reread)
  • The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny (reread)
  • The Long Way Home by Louise Penny (reread)
  • How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny (reread)
  • The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny (reread)
  • A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny (reread)
  • Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny (reread)
  • The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny (reread)
  • The Murder Stone by Louise Penny (reread)
  • The Cruellest Month by Louise Penny (reread)
  • Dead Cold by Louise Penny (reread)
  • Still Life by Louise Penny (reread)
  • A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny
  • Mrs McGinty's Dead by Agatha Christie (reread)
  • Still Into You by Roni Loren
  • Partners in Crime by Agatha Christie (reread)
  • Remember Me (beta read of short story)
  • Palace Pets busy book
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  • The Murder Game by Julie Apple
  • To Get Me To You by Kait Nolan
  • Know Me Well by Kait Nolan
  • Smurfs storybook in playmat/figurine collection
  • The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie (reread)
  • Creed or Chaos? by Dorothy Sayers
  • Cat Among the Pigeons by Agatha Christie (reread)
  • A Dangerous Alphabet by Neil Gaiman (reread)
  • Robert Munsch Mini-Treasury One: The Paper Bag Princess, Angela's Airplane, 50 Below Zero, A Promise Is A Promise, and Pigs (reread first two)
  • On Fairy Stories by J.R.R. Tolkien (reread except for all the expanded edition bits)
  • Elephant and Piggie - Elephants Can't Dance by Mo Willems
  • Elephant and Piggie - Let's Go For A Drive by Mo Willems
  • Elephant and Piggie - There is a Bird on Your Head by Mo Willems
  • Overdose of Death/The Patriotic Murders by Agatha Christie (reread)
  • Once Upon A Coffee by Kait Nolan
  • Turn My World Around by Kait Nolan
  • Hickory Dickory Dock by Agatha Christie (reread)
  • Ordeal by Innocence by Agatha Christie (reread)
  • "I Give You My Body...": How I Write Sex Scenes by Diana Gabaldon
  • Fractured by Catherine McKenzie
  • The View from the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman
  • Maigret Chez les Flamands by Georges Simenon
  • Prince Wild-fire by G. K. Chesterton
  • Birthday Girls by Monica Byrne (short story)
  • Who We Were Before by Leah Mercer
  • The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain
  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J. K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany
  • No Man's Land by Simon Tolkien
  • BOSS: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band - The Illustrated History, by Gillian G. Gaar
  • Age of Consent by Marti Leimbach
  • The Secrets She Kept by Brenda Novak
  • Lethal Lies by Lara Lacombe
  • The Mansfield Rescue by Beth Cornelison (skimmed)
  • beta read!
  • Killer Exposure by Lara Lacombe
  • What Makes My Cat Purr (board book)
  • Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand (love this!)
  • Things That Go (board book)
  • Peppa Pig Visits the Hospital
  • Peppa Pig and Friends
  • Ox-Tales anthology
  • Colton Baby Homecoming by Lara Lacombe
  • Traumphysik by Monica Byrne (short story)
  • The Cookie Jar by Stephen King (short story)
  • short story by R. W. (unpublished)
  • The Rose on the Ash-Heap by Owen Barfield
  • English People by Owen Barfield
  • "Come Sing ye Light Fairy Things Tripping so Gay": Victorian Fairies and the Early Work of J.R.R. Tolkien by Dimitra Fimi (essay)
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  • Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
  • Blue Nowruz by Monica Byrne (short story)
  • Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie
  • secret beta read!
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  • The Mewlips by J. R. R. Tolkien (poem; reread)
  • Just for This Moment by Kait Nolan
  • To Err is Human -- To Float, Divine by Woody Allen (short story)
  • the collected works of Beatrix Potter (Folio Society edition, over 30 books)
  • 11 Doctors 11 Stories by various authors (including Neil Gaiman) (only half read)
  • At Home by Bill Bryson
  • Millions of Cats by W Gag
  • Travels in the Scriptorium by Paul Auster
  • Discovering You by Brenda Novak
  • Notes from a Big Country by Bill Bryson
  • Report from the Interior by Paul Auster
  • Dream Days by Kenneth Grahame
  • Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman
  • The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien (reread)
  • They Do It With Mirrors by Agatha Christie
  • The Creatures of Number 37 by John Watts
  • The Inklings by Humphrey Carpenter (reread)
  • A Mother's Confession by Amanda Palmer (lyrics and liner notes)
  • Where Eagles Dare by Alistair MacLean
  • Guide to the Names in the Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien, in A Tolkien Compass
  • Dirge Without Music by Edna St. Vincent Millay (poem)
  • For my Wife, Navid by Monica Byrne (short story)
  • An Evening in Tavrobel by J. R. R. Tolkien (poem; reread)
  • The Lonely Isle by J. R. R. Tolkien (poem; reread)
  • Bilbo's Last Song by J. R. R. Tolkien (poem)
  • Ancrene Riwle, preface, by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Adonais: An Elegy on the Death of John Keats by Percy Bysshe Shelley (poem)
  • Absence of Mind by Marilynne Robinson
  • The Peoples of Middle-earth - Book 12 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • The Tale of Jemima Puddleduck by Beatrix Potter (reread)
  • The Tale of Mr Jeremy Fisher by Beatrix Potter (reread)
  • The Tale of Tom Kitten by Beatrix Potter (reread)
  • The Young Magicians edited by Lin Carter (anthology; includes two poems by J. R. R. Tolkien and all of rumble rumble rumble rumble drum belaboured by C. S. Lewis, referred to in The Last Battle)
  • Black and White Ogre Country by Hilary Tolkien
  • The Devil's Coach Horses by J. R. R. Tolkien (essay)
  • Guido's Gondola by Renee Riva and Steve Bjorkman
  • Save Our Public Universities by Marilynne Robinson (essay in Harper's Magazine)
  • Edmund Campion by Evelyn Waugh
  • Arthur and George by Julian Barnes
  • Career by Yevtushenko (poem)
  • Human life in this century by Yevtushenko (poem)
  • Willow by Anna Akhmatova (poem)
  • Sonnet LXVI by Shakespeare
  • Sir Walter Raleigh to His Son (poem)
  • Fair Jenny by Robbie Burns (poem)
  • MacPherson's Farewell by Robbie Burns (poem)
  • World's End, the collected Sandman No. 8 by Neil Gaiman
  • O Wert Thou In The Cauld Blast by Robbie Burns (poem)
  • The War of the Jewels - Book 11 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • The Rolling English Road by G. K. Chesterton (poem)
  • The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes
  • A Tradition of Eighteen Hundred and Four by Thomas Hardy
  • The Hierophant by Lee-Ann Dalton (short story)
  • The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street by Helene Hanff
  • 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff (reread)
  • Lonely Planet guide to Switzerland
  • Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen
  • beta read!
  • Ode on Venice by Lord Byron (poem)
  • Little Miss Scatterbrain by Roger Hargreaves (reread)
  • Little Miss Lucky by Roger Hargreaves (reread)
  • Little Miss Trouble by Roger Hargreaves (reread)
  • Homage to Switzerland by Ernest Hemingway (short story; reread but I really don't remember it after 20 years)
  • The Hockey Sweater by Roch Carrier (reread)
  • Sing a Long Children's Songs
  • Emily's First Christmas
  • Up At the Villa by Somerset Maugham (novella)
  • Telling Stories by Tim Burgess
  • The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • The Marble Collector by Cecilia Ahern
  • Sophie's Throughway by Jules Smith
  • Baby Animals (Little Golden Books)
  • The House That Jack Built (Little Golden Books)
  • Scuffy the Tugboat (Little Golden Books)
  • The Saggy Baggy Elephant (Little Golden Books)
  • Morgoth's Ring - Book 10 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Who's A Pest by Crosby Bonsall
  • Mine's the Best by Crosby Bonsall (reread)
  • The Case of the Hungry Stranger by Crosby Bonsall (reread)
  • extracts from the diary of John Evelyn (Volume 1 of 2)
  • extracts from Lord Byron's letters about Villa Diodati
  • Pippin the Christmas Pig by Jean Little
  • Ite Missa Est by Anthony Martignetti
  • The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis (reread)
  • The Silver Chair by C. S. Lewis (reread)
  • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis (reread)
  • Prince Caspian by C. S. Lewis (reread)
  • The Red Angel by G. K. Chesterton (essay)
  • Emily's Runaway Imagination by Beverly Cleary
  • The Boy Who Set Out to Learn What Fear Was by the Brothers Grimm
  • The Horse and His Boy by C. S. Lewis (reread)
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis (reread)
  • secret beta read!
  • Preludes by Wordsworth (extracts read aloud)
  • Little Miss Scatterbrain by Roger Hargreaves
  • Dance Me A Dream by Kait Nolan (ARC)
  • Once Upon A Coffee by Kait Nolan
  • England and Switzerland, 1802 by William Wordsworth (poem)
  • Once Upon A New Year's Eve by Kait Nolan
  • short story by Becky Morgan (
  • Blood In Blood Out by Brenda Novak (short story)
  • That Hell-Bound Train by Robert Bloch (short story)
  • Distraction by J. L. Campbell
  • Humble Bundle Peanuts collection (strips by Charles Schulz)
  • Peanuts Volumes I to VI (bought via Humble Bundle; very disappointing as it's mostly new strips -- how is that even allowed?!)
  • Sandals and Sangria by Talli Roland (short story)
  • Over the Hump by Talli Roland (short story)
  • issues of Journal of Inklings Studies and Amon Hen and Mallorn (Tolkien Society)
  • Z is for Zamboni: A Hockey Alphabet by Matt Napier
  • Babar and his Family by Laurent de Brunhoff
  • Illusions Lost by Byron A. Maddox (short story)
  • ongoing rereads of most board books listed last year!
  • Lost My Name book for Emily (
  • Now We Are Six by A. A. Milne
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  • Neil Gaiman comics on Sequential app
  • Moranology by Caitlin Moran
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