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Showing posts from January, 2012

Top Writing Blogs, Missing Scenes and Stephen King

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ollege Finder have come out with their shortlist for the Top Writing Blogs Award, and you can vote! I'm on there, but so are many others, like Alex Cavanaugh, Adam Heine, Glynis Smy, Michael di Gesu, Medeia Sharif, Denise Covey, Melissa - well, you get the idea. Vote for some or all of us, there's no limit to voting.
And to the 15 people who voted before I put my vote in or even mentioned it on this blog: wow! thank you!

I've finished all my edits on paper and discovered that: a) I have 25 gaping holes that require lots more writing; and b) penultimate scenes are hardest for me to write. Endings, no problem. But all that high-octane action and emotion leading up to the final sweet resolution? Let's make no bones about it, I suck.


You'd think I'd have learned something after all these years of writing, and of reading the best. Which reminds me, I'm rereading Stephen King's It for the first time in 20 years. I wondered if I'd be affected the same way …

Interview with a Character: Secrets, Lies, Hidden Love, and Bloodshed

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ve! And welcome to Interview with a Character.

Anne Gallagher interviewed her Lady Olivia the other day, and she's inspired me to seek an audience with one of my characters.

Devran is the hero of Rome, Rhymes and Risk. He's the son of the Grand Vizier, who is the highest official of the Ottoman Court under the Sultan himself. An exalted position, to be sure. Yet Devran's been exiled, for a crime he did not commit, and now he's forced to sail the length of the Mediterranean.

He kinda sorta looks like this:
(snapshot from my Tumblr page)
Devran's also got one secret - but I'll let him explain.

Thank you for joining us, Devran Bey. Please, have some wine.

It is my pleasure. Thank you. [Takes cup]

Many of our readers are not familiar with your story. Can you tell us where you're travelling from and why?

[Frown] I'd rather not discuss the why, actually. I have left the Ottoman Empire and am on my way to Cadíz in the Kingdom of Castile. I'm told the Admiral Co…

Burns Night and New Releases, Including a Banshee!

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onight is Burns night - anyone out there having a Burns supper? If I can get some in time, I'll raise a dram of Laphroaig (what Neil Gaiman calls body-in-the-bog whisky in American Gods). Allan Scott-Douglas, actor, played Robert Burns in Ae Fond Kiss: The Life and Loves of Robert Burns, and sings the voice of Jamie Fraser on the Outlander CD and will play Jamie in Outlander: The Musical.

(I was trying to find a photo to share with you, of Diana Gabaldon and Allan Scott-Douglas together. For some reason, when I search on Google Images, Page 2 gives me a picture of my cat lying on my "I Love Big Books" Diana Gabaldon tote bag, from my knitting blog. I don't think I have the new 'include my entire social media life' setting turned on, but you never know.)

You'll have to settle for Allan as Jamie:

Tiffany Allee's Banshee Charmer is available!

"When she's sent to a crime scene and finds her second dead woman in as many weeks, half-banshee detective …

I Want to be Neil Gaiman's Copy Editor, Whisky Trench Riders, and A Wrinkle in Time

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ery exciting when you discover a new author and a whole new world of fandom. New for me, I mean. Yes I'm still gushing over Neil Gaiman. What can I say? He's been creating since around the time I was born, and I'm only just exploring his works now. Time is a funny thing. He should know; he's been in the TARDIS:

Have you?
Oh yes, about the copy editing. It's one thing I really enjoy. Neil says (I expect the blog will be full of that for the next little while. Neil says. Yes.):

"...And on, and on, for six hundred and fifty pages. And if all this seems pedantic, on the copy editor's part or on mine... well, yes. That's the point. He's paid not to see the wood for the trees. Actually he's paid to look up at the wood now and again, but mostly to keep track of all the leaves, and especially to make sure that Missy Gunther on page 253 isn't Missie Gunther when she returns on page 400."

Well, I'm a she, but we'll make do. I love keeping…

An Unexpected Post About Neil Gaiman

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eil Gaiman.

Here's how it began.

Some years ago, I heard about him, probably through the Compuserve Books and Writers Community (of which, if I'm not mistaken, he used to be a member), and found some of his free short stories on his website (they're still there). They were interesting but not earth-shattering, so I let it go.

A couple of years ago, I borrowed Anansi Boys off a friend, but when I read the back, I realised American Gods came first (sort of), and I didn't own that. So Anansi Boys sat on that 180 books to read by 2015 list (down the side of the blog) for ages.

Until two weeks ago, when I went to pick up my mother at the airport, forgot to check the flight before I left the house, and discovered, once there, that the flight was delayed and that I'd have an hour to spend in the bookstore. Was looking (drooling) at all the books I wanted (I tallied up - if I'd bought them all, I'd have spent 150$ on about ten books), when I suddenly saw that they&…

ROW80, Link Happy and Susan Mitchell Drawings

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ere goes... another ROW80 check in.

I can't believe how many holes there are in my story - I'm going to be busy next month writing more to fill up all those gaps. I knew I didn't have to worry about only having 70,000 for the first draft, at the end of NaNo. There's always more description, more dialogue and more motivation that can go in there!

This Wednesday is Link Happy Day! Or so say I. Here are a few blogs I've enjoyed this past week:

Outlander Kitchen is dedicated to all things Outlander and food related. Here's Jamie and Frank playing whisky checkers!

Alberta asked, what would you do if it was the end of the world?

The Write Dreams charity auction is on now! All proceeds to benefit Donna's Dream House: "Donna's Dream House is a holiday home for children and teenagers with life-threatening or terminal illnesses, situated in the heart of Blackpool. The Dream House is run completely by volunteers and encourages and sparks the imagination. It'…

ROW80 and What Makes You Stop Reading A Book?

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ounds! It's another ROW80 check in!

Rather slow going this week. I edited a short story I'd written over ten years ago, found it was a lot less lyrical and lovely than I'd imagined all these years, and then I played card toss with five scenes in Rome, Rhymes and Risk - I tossed the scenes in the air and hoped they would land in the right order. I think they might have done, but the entire chapter that follows is a wash.

It's time I chased one of the characters up a tree and brandished a stick at him - or her. Failing that, I'm considering a near-drowning. Especially as I've just found out (thank you Neil Gaiman!) that an old sailors' cure for near-drowning in cold water is a hot bath. Writing a romance after all...

Which brings me to Kristen Callihan's Ember, a short story set before the time of Firelight (coming next month!). Read an excerpt of Ember on Kristen's blog!


Seeing as how I got discouraged by my own writing, now's a good time to answ…

Photograph Links, Fictional Feasts, and An Award

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orgeous images of seasons in Kirazlı village, in Turkey - head over to Being Koy. I love the idea of doing a year-end summary in photos - I'm always so focused on word counts and such that I forget to explore the lighter sides of what I've accomplished or pontificated on during the year (such as trying to decide whether actor Tom Ellis looks like my character Devran).

In other fun images and ideas, Jamie from Mithril Wisdom (who's lucky enough to live in Wales), posted a link to the Feast of Fiction project: "Each week he takes a dish from the realms of fantasy, science fiction and video games and recreates them in real life as close to their original intended recipe."

They've already done butterbeer! I wonder if they'll try cram, or lembas, or miruvor, or... I'd love it if they recreated entire feasts, such as the meals the hobbits have at Tom Bombadil's, or all the pub food or, from other novels, the tea that Lucy has at Mr Tumnus' home, or …

O! To Be In Wales, and Vachel Lindsay

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lfred R. Wallace, naturalist, wrote in 1858:

"This makes me hope I may soon realize enough to live upon and carry out my long cherished plans of a Country life in Old England."

I like his dream quite a lot. One of the first places I would is visit Hay-on-Wye in Wales, to spend a day in Bookbarn International. They have this new technology called a BOOK:

"The "BOOK" is a revolutionary breakthrough in technology: no wires, no electric circuits, no batteries, nothing to be connected or switched on. It's so easy to use even a child can operate it. Just lift its cover! Compact and portable, it can be used anywhere, even sitting in an armchair by the fire yet it is powerful enough to hold as much information as a CD-ROM disc.

Each BOOK is constructed of sequentially numbered sheets of paper (recyclable), each capable of holding thousands of bits of information.

These pages are locked together with a custom-fit device called a binder which keeps the sheets in thei…

A Kiss Snip! Also, Queries and Titles and New Releases

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uery! Yes, it's query time...

I've sent out one. Only one... But I did participate in Mindy's Saturday Slash and I'll be tweaking my letter based on her super-helpful comments. Hope over and slash - er, comment - if you like.

Also, Adam Heine's query, with which he got his agent, is up for your viewing pleasure over at Matthew's, along with some great background info and discussion.

Medeia participated in a fun blogfest the other day -the almost kiss. I've got just such a scene in Rosa's story, Out of the Water, which I shared a draft of on Carol Riggs' blog. Here's the final version of the scene:
Rosa put a hand to the wreath in her hair, intending to pull it off, but Baha's hand came over hers.

"Don't remove it for their sake," he said quietly. Once out of earshot, below decks, he raised his voice. "You look like a peri."

They stood before his cabin, his hand still holding hers at her side. The door was open; Arcturus h…

Insecure Writer, New Release and 2012 Challenge

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heck it out!

Roni's Crash Into You is available!


"Brynn LeBreck has dedicated herself to helping women in crisis, but she never imagined how personal her work would get, or where it would take her. Her younger sister is missing, suspected to be hiding from cops and criminals alike at a highly secretive BDSM retreat—a place where the elite escape to play out their most extreme sexual fantasies. To find her Brynn must go undercover as a sexual submissive. Unfortunately, The Ranch is invitation only. And the one Master who can get her in is from the darkest corner of Brynn’s past.

Brynn knows what attorney Reid Jamison is like once stripped of his conservative suit and tie. Years ago she left herself vulnerable only to have him crush her heart. Now she needs him again. Back on top. And he’s all too willing to engage. But as their primal desires and old wounds are exposed, the sexual games escalate—and so does the danger. Their hearts aren’t the only things at risk. Someone else i…

Books Read in 2011 – Statistics – The Fourth Year

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ear with me! A longer post, as I go through statistics of books read in the past year...

The full list of books is in the post below this.

Here's the list of Books Read in 2010, Books Read in 2009, the addendum to the 2009 list, Books Read in 2008, and addendum A and addendum B to the 2008 list (the statistics posts come after those posts).

Books read: 101, plus 6 that I skimmed, 16 short stories, and 1 PhD thesis, as well as 24 poems and all the poems on this list, for a total of 124 plus the poetry.
This is compared to 92 in 2010, 131 in 2009 and 101 in 2008. As usual, there was another batch of writers' houseparties over at the Compuserve Books and Writers Forum – the best writers' hangout on the web! – that ran to hundreds of thousands of words, plus other forum writings and magazines and so on.

My average over 50 weeks, not counting the poems, is about the same as the year before last, 2.5 books per week (or two books and two short stories).


Authors read: 89, plus a few…

Books Read in 2011

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ere's the full, unedited, list!

Nicholas St North and the Battle of the Nightmare King by William Joyce and Laura Geringer
The Long Weekend by Robert Graves and Alan Hodge
Lord Johnnie by Leslie T. White
The Cat Who Went Up the Creek by Lilian Jackson Braun
Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy L. Sayers
The Scent of Shadows by Vicki Pettersson (skimmed)
The Cat Who Robbed a Bank by Lilian Jackson Braun
Rowing in Eden by Barbara Rogan
A Christmas Walk by Zan Marie Steadham (reread)
The Inheritance by Simon Tolkien
The Only Alien on the Planet by Kristen Randle
The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon
When Harriet Came Home by Coleen Kwan
The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets' Nest by Stieg Larsson
Dogsled Dreams by Terry Lynn Johnson
The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
secret beta read!
Samuel Johnson's Lives of the Poets, the Rochester chapter
Allured, short story by Theresa Milstein in Fangtales, a new YA anthology
short st…

Toast the Professor and ROW80 Starts Again

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uesday is the 120th anniversary of J. R. R. Tolkien's birth.

Join us in a toast, hosted by the Tolkien Society!

"To celebrate this event, on this day each year Tolkien fans around the world [are] invited to raise a glass and toast the birthday of this much loved author 21:00 (9 pm) your local time.

The toast is "The Professor".

For those unfamiliar with British toast-drinking ceremonies:

To make the Birthday Toast, you stand, raise a glass of your choice of drink (not necessarily alcoholic), and say the words 'The Professor' before taking a sip (or swig, if that's more appropriate for your drink). Sit and enjoy the rest of your drink."
If I can obtain some, I'll be sipping Lagavulin or The Glenlivet.

Don't forget, the second year of A Round of Words in 80 Days starts today with round 1 of 2012! Set your goals now! And don't worry, you can always change them as you go along.

Mine are as follows:

send out queries for Out of the Water

print o…