Sunday, 29 January 2012

Top Writing Blogs, Missing Scenes and Stephen King

College 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 as I was when I was 13 and read It and The Stand in one week - I was. There may be some so-called rules -- such as: don't have characters with similar sounding names, don't introduce too many characters early on, don't use flashbacks too often, and all that sort of dribble -- but King breaks them all so easily that you wonder why anyone ever though such tricks were wrong. His world, and characters, are terribly real; you don't just want to be friends with them, you're afraid they won't like you. Here's an essay that explores King's legacy and worth.

My latest review, of Leigh D'Ansey's The Duke's Blackmailed Bride, is up at One Hundred Romances.

And now, more Neil Gaiman. In Fragile Things, he mentions writing to the author R. A. Lafferty, and I've printed a few of Lafferty's stories to read. Apparently, after Lafferty died, they sold the rights to all his works, for about 70,000$. I wonder who bought them? Does anyone know? I discovered this quote about Lafferty which I quite like:
"He always admitted he had a drink problem, and magically appeared at the head of the queue whenever the bar opened. Smiling, enigmatic, uncommunicative, he showed few signs of the inspired blarney in his fiction. A French publisher nervously asked whether Lafferty minded being compared to G.K. Chesterton (another Catholic author), and there was a terrifying silence that went on and on. Was the great man hideously offended? Eventually, very slowly, he said: 'You're on the right track, kid,' and wandered away."
I asked Neil Gaiman a question on his Tumblr feed. Let's see if I get a response. Oh, and Jenny's got some more awesome posts on Gaiman. And Lynda's hosting a BBQ for Australia Day!

Friday, 27 January 2012

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

Ave! 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 Columbus will be sailing from there in some months' time, and I propose to join his expedition.

How exciting! This will be the Admiral's second journey, I believe?

So I'm told.

And who are you travelling with?

Ah. [Smile] Some others were exiled along with me, for entirely different reasons. A man named Baha, whom I knew in my childhood. His wife, Rosa, who actually hails from Castile, and her guardian, Brother Arcturus. Her father, Santiago, who is Sailing Master under Admiral Columbus.

Is that all?

Er, no. Rosa has a maid - well, they call her a maid, but she's more of a companion. Her name is Ayten. She has... quite an interesting background.

Is that so? Are you at liberty to tell us about it?

It's not my secret to reveal, exactly. She was kidnapped by slave traders some months ago. I was very pleased to find that Baha and Rosa had rescued her.

And how has the journey been? I hope you've had good weather.

We haven't, as a matter of fact. There was a terrible storm, which cracked the bowsprit, and we've been forced to remain in Rome for many days. They promise to have the ship ready to sail the day after tomorrow.

That doesn't sound so bad! I hear you were guests of the Sultan's brother, Cem.

Hmmph. [Crosses arms]

He is not a gracious host?

Oh, he's gracious, all right. Has a way with the women, that one.

Does he, now?

Yes. He began making love to Ayten almost from the moment we arrived. And I can't say anything because -

Because?

Never mind.

[At this point Devran stands up and makes to leave. In his agitation, he knocks over his cup, which shatters and drives a splinter into his palm. He falls back into his chair, sucking the cut.]

Well? What do you want to know?

Nothing you're not willing to tell us, of course. How's your hand?

I'll do. Listen, Cem is a swindler and a cad. He's flattered Ayten no end, and I guess she's swayed by the opulence of his court. She... She likes fine things, Ayten. Pretty dresses and gilt tableware and all that sort of thing. I had enough of that growing up, myself. I can do without it. Still, she deserves the best. And I guess she thought...

Look. I'll tell you. Before Ayten was kidnapped by those slave traders, her father had arranged a marriage for her. All that fell apart when she was kidnapped. Everyone in town spent weeks searching for her, and it was only much later that the truth of the matter was discovered. But by then it was too late.

How so?

She never saw the face or knew the name of the man she was betrothed to.

Do you mean -

Yes. It was me. Her father had arranged for her to marry me. But she didn't - doesn't - know that. She came on board my ship having heard all the rumours of the terrible deeds I'd been accused of. She thinks me an exile, a penniless rake. How can I blame her for considering the Sultan's brother? How can I tell her that she's betrothed to me? She thinks I'm a liar, a criminal. She'd never believe me.

I cannot force her. I want her to come to me willingly. How can I prove my worth to her?

[There is a silence. A maid comes in and clears up the spilt wine. Devran stares out the window at the bright winter's day outside. The maid leaves.]

Can you give us an idea where you'll be travelling to next?

We're still bound for Cadíz. I hope we leave Rome soon. I hope I can give Ayten reason enough to forget the awful - and untrue! - rumours about me. Her eyes glow when she's pleased, and I - I want that glow turned to me. Anyway, I've gone on long enough. I'm sure you have other interviews to get through today.

Thank you very much, Devran Bey, for answering our questions so patiently. I do apologise about the blood. [Turning to audience] If anyone has any questions for Devran Bey, I'm sure he'll be pleased to answer them. Send them on through the comments page, please.

Sweet Lovin' Man by the Magnetic Fields

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Burns Night and New Releases, Including a Banshee!

Tonight 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 Kiera 'Mac' McLoughlin is convinced a serial killer is on the loose. Incubi are extinct, her boss insists. But what else can kill a woman in the throes of pleasure? When her partner is murdered after using witchcraft to locate the killer and Mac is thrown off the case, her frustration turns to desperation.

Certain the killer is an incubus, Mac works behind her department's back to chase down slim, sometimes perilous leads. While the killer eludes her, she does discover handsome Aidan Byrne, an investigative counterpart from the enigmatic Otherworlder Enforcement Agency. Mac typically runs her investigations fast and hard, but with Aidan at her side, she's running this one 'hot' as well. But Aidan knows more than he's letting on -- something that could shatter their blazing romance and add Mac to the killer's growing body count..."

Later, March will see two new releases (squee!): When I Was a Child I Read Books: Essays (awesome title) by Marilynne Robinson and Wrecking Ball by Bruce Springsteen.

And in a new-old release, the final volume of Patrick Leigh Fermor's story of his travels, beginning in 1933 (!), from the Netherlands to Constantinople (!!), on foot (!!!), will be published for the first time in September 2013.

As for ROW80... I've completed the paper edits! But the list of missing scenes is endless. So that's what I'll be working on for at least the next month.

How's everyone else doing?

Sunday, 22 January 2012

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

Very 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 track of the leaves. In fact, it's more than that. It's an instinct to keep track of the leaves. Other people hear symphonies in their heads. I notice misplaced apostrophes and character eye colour changes.

A penultimate Neil thing. I hearby announce and proclaim and declaim that should Neil Gaiman ever embark on a tour for anything and he or his publishers or publicists overlook Montreal (as so many often do. We are cooler than Toronto, you know), then I will... I will do as Neil says:

"If there's anyone else out there who wants to hold a "The bastard isn't coming to [Anchorage/KansasCity/Orlando/NewOrleans etc] -- but we're going to have a party anyway" event, drop a line to Jack Womack."

I will host this thing. I'll find someplace, don't worry. A bookstore or a pub. Or a park or a sushi place. There will be books and drinks and Neil. (No promises on the latter.)

A final Neil thing: If you have read American Gods, but want one more paragraph, "about a garage in San Clemente with box after box of rare, strange and beautiful books in it rotting away" hie thee to Neil's journal.

The other day I mentioned Feast of Fiction, which I found out about from Jamie (aka Mithril Wisdom), and we were all blabbing about lembas - not only have they done lembas, but they brought in Montreal's own Epic Meal Time for the recipe! Which explains, completely, the bacon strips.

It's not food, but another literary thing I've always wanted is... well, I've always wanted to be able to kythe. 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of A Wrinkle In Time.


"When she completed the book in early 1960, it was rejected by at least 26 publishers, because it was, in L'Engle's words, 'too different', and 'because it deals overtly with the problem of evil, and it was too difficult for children, and was it a children's or an adults' book, anyhow?'" (wikipedia)

ROW80 news: I'm about two chapters away from finishing all the paper edits on Rome, Rhymes and Risk. Then I've got to make a list of all the missing scenes/bridges and draft them. Very excited - here's an excuse to buy a new notebook and have lattes in the mornings!

Also got my second rejection for Out of the Water. Two out of Five. Will send out another five queries this week...

Inspiration comes from the Whisky Trench Riders' second album, Underneath the Tavern Sign, which is available for FREE download. First album still for sale at only 10$. Ask me!

Friday, 20 January 2012

An Unexpected Post About Neil Gaiman

Neil 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'd put American Gods on sale for 15$.

And that's when the current obsession started. I've already barrelled through American Gods and half of Anansi Boys. Unplanned, but timely, Jenny happens to be featuring Gaiman as mentor of the month, and has some thought-provoking posts on Why to Read Widely and Chapters In Which Something Happens.

On top of all that, Gaiman's got me listening to The Magnetic Fields again. Here're some linked sounds and images and words one after the other:


"The book of love is long and boring / No one can lift the damn thing up."

"daniel handler, who's the accordion player from the magnetic fields, was magically on hand to play us 'the book of love'" - Amanda Palmer, on marrying Neil Gaiman.

Amanda Palmer singing Radiohead's No Surprises:


Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer together in the bath:



I think that's sound advice.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

ROW80, Link Happy and Susan Mitchell Drawings

Here 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's how any child would imagine the perfect holiday to be. It's full of light and laughter, fun and - most importantly - life."

Hop over to the Celery Tree blog tour and celebrate indie authors!

The masterful Joanna Bourne has a new technical topics post - this one's all about what to do and what not to do in the opening of your novel.

Susan Mitchell is still posting daily drawings! Here are a few of my recent favourites:





Sunday, 15 January 2012

ROW80 and What Makes You Stop Reading A Book?

Zounds! 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 answer Heather's question from my Books Read in 2011 post:

"I'm interested in what makes you stop reading.
I can only think of a few books that I stopped reading in the past few years, and both were highly acclaimed favorites of a few good writers I know.
It's really so subjective!! :)"

It is subjective! I've had a few books I've stopped reading - either the writing was bad (and this in a hugely popular, bestselling romance author!) that I couldn't slog through and had to skim; or the writing was good but the story never latched hold, such as with Dorothy Dunnett's Niccolo Rising. She's a very detailed, very well-researched author, but the story just hasn't struck a chord with me; overall, it's just a little too omniscient for my taste.

On the other hand, I expect I'll return to Dunnett someday. The same reaction took place, after all, with Orhan Pamuk's My Name Is Red, and I not only returned to it a couple of weeks ago, after a gap of some years, but devoured it within a week.

On the third hand, there are some books I return to simply to see if my initial reaction of this sucks! was accurate, or whether I missed something the first time around. I remember doing this with Shane by Jack Schaefer. And yes, it was just as awful the second time. If I have to hear about that tree stump ever again, I'll...

Well. I'll do something. What books have you stopped reading?

Meanwhile, here are two sets of Royal Mail stamps I want, one new, one old:

Roald Dahl (illustrations by Quentin Blake):

(image taken from The Guardian)

J. R. R. Tolkien:

(image taken off Ebay)

Friday, 13 January 2012

Photograph Links, Fictional Feasts, and An Award

Gorgeous 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 Christmas feasts from some of Jean Little's stories, or the cordial that Anne and Diana drink or... I know, I know! The island breakfasts that Margaret's uncle loves in Bernice Thurman Hunter's Margaret in the Middle. Well, okay, I guess they won't be doing YA for a while.

One more photo link - there's a new interview with Diana Gabaldon at Skip Prichard's. Hope over, if nothing else, to see her bookshelves and one of the resident pugs.

And now, an actual photo from me! Thank you to Carol Riggs, who awarded me this:


It's for those who make regular and great comments! So let's see... I'll pass it onto everyone that commented on my last week's blog posts. Thanks for the support on my snip and my query-sending!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

O! To Be In Wales, and Vachel Lindsay

Alfred 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 their correct sequence.

Opaque Paper Technology (OPT) allows manufacturers to use both sides of the sheet, doubling the information density and cutting costs in half.

Experts are divided on the prospects for further increases in information density; for now BOOKs with more information simply use more pages. This makes them thicker and harder to carry, and has drawn some criticism from the mobile computing crowd.

Each sheet is scanned optically, registering information directly into your brain.

A flick of the finger takes you to the next sheet.

The BOOK may be taken up at any time and used by merely opening it.

The BOOK never crashes and never needs rebooting, though like other display devices it can become unusable if dropped in water.

The "browse" feature allows you to move instantly to any sheet, and move forward or backward as you wish.

Many come with an "index" feature, which pinpoints the exact location of any selected information for instant retrieval."

Later on, they tell you how you can "make personal notes next to BOOK text entries with an optional programming tool, the Portable Erasable Nib Cryptic Intercommunication Language Stylus (Pencils)."

Thanks to Jayne for the sneak peek at this bookstore! Visit her post for a glimpse at the bounties of Bookbarn.

Speaking of books, don't forget to visit Susan Kaye Quinn's Indie Book Fair. "Did you find a new Kindle, Nook, or iPad under the Christmas tree? Browse the Indie Book Fair and find a new ebook to break in that reader!"

So far, off that list, I've read and enjoyed Build A Man by Talli Roland and String Bridge by Jessica Bell. Looking forward to exploring the others!

Meanwhile, though, I've inching forward on my ROW80 goals. I'm 1/3 of the way through editing Rome, Rhymes and Risk (do you like the new title?) and I've started drawing up a list of research items for which I need to head to the library:

Rome
Cem Sultan
What items do you need in your ship's cabin?
Jade, silver, brass and other items of trade in the Aegean
Summertime storms on the Tyrrhenian Sea
Horses and mules and carts - how much weight can they carry?
Travel by donkey when kidnapped

Ayak was asking the other day how other bloggers come up with ideas for posts. One of my new favourite ways to discover stuff is by reading Malcolm's Book Bits and Notions, a daily (!) wrap up of interesting writing- and book-related links.

The other day, for instance, he linked to a Slate article on Vachel Lindsay: "The Mystery of Vachel Lindsay - How did the most visible poet in America—and a father of the Beats—become nearly forgotten?"

I read my first Vachel Lindsay poem in fifth grade, and I've never forgotten it. Here it is:

The Little Turtle
by Vachel Lindsay

A Recitation for Martha Wakefield, Three Years Old

There was a little turtle.
He lived in a box.
He swam in a puddle.
He climbed on the rocks.

He snapped at a mosquito.
He snapped at a flea.
He snapped at a minnow.
And he snapped at me.

He caught the mosquito.
He caught the flea.
He caught the minnow.
But he didn't catch me.




[caretta caretta, an endangered species; images taken from Google]

Sunday, 8 January 2012

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

Query! 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 had not returned.

"What's a peri?"

"I think you'd know them as hada. Spirits of good or evil, from fairytales and legends." His thumb brushed the back of her knuckles. "Will you visit the dragon in his cave, beautiful Peri?"

She nodded, not trusting her voice, and went in, intending to take a seat on the stool. But his hand had not left hers, and he pulled her beside him to sit on the berth. She kept her eyes on her hands, clasped together on her lap. Was it because the ceiling was so low that he leaned in close to her, and rested his chin on her shoulder?

She cast about for something to say. Her mind was full of images from the carnival; the jugglers, jesters and fortune tellers; the cakes they hadn't stopped eating; the ladies and their expensive clothing. The drums tattooed in her ears.

"What are you dreaming of?" he asked quietly.

"Colours," she whispered. "All the women had such pretty gowns today. I can't remember the last time I –"

His arms came about her, and his lips rested on the nape of her neck. "You're beautiful in your own colours, Peri," he murmured. "But we'll find a gown for you at the next port, if you like." His fingers pushed aside her shawl and kisses moved along her collarbone.

"What are you doing?" she asked, again in a whisper. His lips lingered on her skin, for a moment, and then the kisses resumed.

"You've cast a spell on me, Peri. The dragon has turned into a man."

She let the fingers of her right hand move, slowly, and land on his knee. His breath had quickened; hers as well. She shifted, ever so slightly, so that his lips approached hers, grazing along her cheek.

Footsteps pounded on the deck above their heads. Loud cries echoed from bow to stern. The others had returned.

She pulled away and rose, shakily, to her feet. Her wreath had fallen over one ear. She slipped it off and met his gaze. He had one hand outstretched still, as though he would tug her back to him, keep her in his cave. Yet he said, "fly away, Peri, fly away. The dragon won't try to keep you."

She held herself steady until she was back in her own cabin, then collapsed on the berth, shaking, clutching her wreath.

"I wanted to stay," she said aloud into her pillow.


No, no, I'm not avoiding my ROW80 goals. I have been editing!

At the moment, I'm editing Ayten's story, which for now I'm calling Rome, Rhymes and Risk (thank you, Zan Marie! I wish I could use raspberries, Sara - I love the flow of a tri-syllabic word at the end).

I've still got two short stories to edit as well, one of which I hope to submit to Vine Leaves Literary Journal. The first issue is out now!

And, you can preorder Kristen Callihan's Ember, the prequel short story to Firelight!

Meanwhile, according to The Guardian: "Tolkien was nominated [for the Nobel prize] by CS Lewis, that was the first thing I saw ... Lewis was a professor of literature, and hence qualified to nominate. However, the short commentary from Anders Österling, the dominant literature critic in the academy, was fairly sour. He basically just said about the [Lord of the Rings] trilogy: 'the result has not in any way measured up to storytelling of the highest quality'."


But I won't repeat myself here. Instead, here's a shot of the night sky on 5 April 1493, when Rosa and Brother Arcturus sat on a rooftop and worried about what to do if her husband Baha did not recover from his illness. This is from the Planetarium app that you can get on Google Chrome.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Insecure Writer, New Release and 2012 Challenge

Check 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 is watching, playing by his own rules. And his game could be murder."

Read an excerpt of Crash Into You here.

I missed Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group day on Wednesday. Not to say that I'm over confident, far from it. Now that reading break is over, I've got to start editing Ayten's story, Rome, Rhymes and R...

See what I mean? I don't even have a third R for my title. And so, I bring you plot bunny:


In order to keep my strength and inspiration up, I've signed on for the 100 Books in 2012 Challenge. Here are the rules:

"1. The goal is to read 100 or more books. Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate. --Non-Bloggers: Post your list of books in the comment section of the wrap-up post.

2. Audio, re-reads, eBooks, YA, manga, graphic novels, library books, novellas, young reader, nonfiction – as long as the book has an ISBN or equivalent or can be purchased as such, the book counts.

3. No need to list your books in advance. You may select books as you go. Even if you list them now, you can change the list if needed.

4. Crossovers from other reading challenges count.

5. Challenge begins January 1st and continues through the end of December 2012.

6. When you sign up under Mr. Linky, put the direct link to your post where your books will be listed. Include the URL to this post so that other viewers can find this fun challenge. If you'd prefer to put your list in the sidebar of your blog, please leave your viewers the link to the sign up page. Again, so viewers can join the challenge too."
My list grows throughout the year, at the bottom of this blog. Got a few books on there already... Now to get back to editing my own.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Books Read in 2011 – Statistics – The Fourth Year

Bear 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 compendiums and all the short story authors; much more varied, compared to 63 in 2010, 57 in 2009 and 69 in 2008 (not counting anthologies). I read fewer series this year, but the higher number might also have something to do with the fact that I was reviewing books for the One Hundred Romances blog.


Most by one author: Lilian Jackson Braun, with 5 Cat Who... books. There are over 30 books in this series, and I've still only read half of them!

Last year I reread L. M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables series, including The Road To Yesterday. In 2009 it was Janet Evanovich, followed by rereads of J. K. Rowling, Diana Gabaldon and Agatha Christie; 2008 was Anthony Horowitz's Alex Rider series, Emily Carr and Dorothy L. Sayers.

As usual I reread Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and The Tales of Beedle the Bard before seeing the last movie; I was too busy again this year to reread the entire series.


Oldest book: Easily the 14th Century Book of Good Love by Archpriest Juan Ruiz, though the translation is only a hundred years old.

After that, it's the chapter on the Earl of Rochester from Samuel Johnson's Lives of the Poets, and Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy L. Sayers, as well as P. G. Wodehouse. Last year it was the Earl of Rochester as well (and Perreault's fairy tales).

Oldest published is the Turkish novella Tireli Hafsa Hatun: Yildirim Han Zevcesi by Mahmut Ozay and the swashbuckling romance Lord Johnnie by Leslie T. White, but neither are even close to 100 years old.

In 2010 it was Hours at the Glasgow Art Galleries by T. C. F. Brotchie, An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott and When the Going Was Good by Evelyn Waugh; in 2009, there was Shakespeare and a handful of books from pre-1950; in 2008, the oldest authors were Aesop and Pliny, but the oldest original book was by Dorothy L. Sayers, followed by John Fante and John Steinbeck.

Thanks to Google Books and Gutenberg and reprints, I just don't have very many original copies of books published from before 1850. Unfortunately.


Newest book: In 2010 I had 13, plus 10 new books by Forumites. In 2008 I had only two books, by Joanna Bourne and Marilynne Robinson. Many more in 2009, including books by kc dyer, Hélène Boudreau, Linda Gerber and Diana Gabaldon - Forumites all!

This year, Forumites have done it once again:
The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon
Outlander (20th Anniversary edition) (reread)
Down These Strange Streets (anthology) edited by George R. R. Martin and G. Dozois (featuring a new Lord John story by Diana Gabaldon)

3 other forumites' books that I read this year:
Pirate's Price by Darlene Marshall
The Scent of Shadows by Vicki Pettersson (skimmed)
Rowing in Eden by Barbara Rogan

New books by blogging buddies (links are to reviews):
Blindsight by Kait Nolan
Devil's Eye by Kait Nolan (novella)
Red by Kait Nolan
Build A Man by Talli Roland
Watching Willow Watts by Talli Roland
Dogsled Dreams by Terry Lynn Johnson
Byzantine Provocateur by Melissa Bradley
Legacy by Kate Kaynak
Life, Liberty and Pursuit by Susan Kaye Quinn
String Bridge by Jessica Bell
Heroes 'Til Curfew by Susan Bischoff
The Toilet Business by Stacey Wallace Benefiel
Immortal Champion by Lisa Hendrix
Craving Perfect by Liz Fichera
Maddie's Marine by Lynne Raye Harris

New books reviewed on the One Hundred Romances blog:
When Harriet Came Home by Coleen Kwan
The Girl Most Likely by Jana Richards
Flawless by Jana Richards
Maybe This Time by Jannine Gallant
Hearts in Darkness by Laura Kaye
Don't Quote Me by Charlie Kramer
The Kraken's Mirror by Maureen O. Betita
Double Take by Kerri Nelson
The Wrong Target by Sherry Gloag
Fairies Forever by Ellen Margret

A Wing and A Prayer by Ginger Simpson (short story)
Pilgrim For Love by Anna Austen Leigh


Other new books:
The Darling Strumpet: A Novel of Nell Gwynn, Who Captured the Heart of England and King Charles II by Gillian Bagwell
The Day of the Pelican by Katherine Paterson
The Inheritance by Simon Tolkien
Nicholas St North and the Battle of the Nightmare King by William Joyce and Laura Geringer
Unearthly Asylum by PJ Bracegirdle
Pandaemonium by Christopher Brookmyre
The Summer of Skinny Dipping by Amanda Howells
An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin


Rereads: Diana Gabaldon's Outlander, Zan Marie Steadham's An Easter Walk and A Christmas Walk, J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and The Tales of Beedle the Bard, Kait Nolan's Blindsight, J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings (yearly reread) and The Silmarillion, and Mad's Maddest Artist Don Martin Bounces Back.

My tastes definitely don't change much. Lots of YA, Tolkien, Gabaldon, Christie... Fewer rereads this year, though.


Stories/Authors I didn't like: The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen (too much tell and no sympathetic characters), The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory (a strange jumpy writing style), and The Darling Strumpet: A Novel of Nell Gwynn, Who Captured the Heart of England and King Charles II by Gillian Bagwell (too many vignettes and not enough real story).

Last year there were two authors, Libba Bray and Thomas Cobb (the film version of Crazy Heart was much better). One author in 2009 (Ilyas Halil) and three authors (Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Ian McEwan and Ian Rankin) and one story ("Hairball" by Margaret Atwood) in 2008.

Otherwise, I was very moved by many of the books I read this year (including The Restoration by Rose Tremain, The Finnish Line by Linda Gerber, The Book of Tomorrow by Cecilia Ahern, Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson, and Lure by Deborah Kerbel), so much so that I've added a new category:

Books that made me cry:
The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon
Outlander (20th Anniversary edition) by Diana Gabaldon (reread, except for the new bits)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling (reread)
The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien (yearly reread)
Rowing in Eden by Barbara Rogan
The Only Alien on the Planet by Kristen Randle
This and That by Emily Carr
The Summer of Skinny Dipping by Amanda Howells
Dancing Through the Snow by Jean Little
Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
The Day of the Pelican by Katherine Paterson
Fifteen by Beverly Cleary


Youngest books: The Frog Wedding by Maggy L., Les Oiseaux by Germano Zullo and Albertine, and The Little Golden Book About Cats. As usual I got at least one toddler book in there. And there were quite a few Middle Grade books, just as in the last three years.


Fluff but Fun books: Andy Capp, MAD, and an Archie. Seems to be fewer than the past three years.


Books/Authors I'd recommend: All the Forumites listed above! And, of course, my old favourites, if you haven't read them yet - Tolkien, Lewis, Sayers, etc. - and all the authors I reread, as well as all the Middle Grade and Young Adult books. The last two years I said I'd recommend the entire list, but this year... not so much.


Shortest book: Besides the short stories, the youngest books, Andy Capp, Archie, and MAD, I suppose the shortest would be The Tales of Beedle the Bard, same as in 2008 and 2010, and The Object Lesson by Edward Gorey.


Longest book: Not counting anthologies, or research books (loved Graves' The Long Weekend), the longest are the same as last year, Tolkien and Sayers, as well as Gabaldon, The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan, and the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series. Our houseparties come close, as usual, and in 2009 and 2008 it was Tolkien and Gabaldon.


Research books:
The Long Weekend by Robert Graves and Alan Hodge - about England between the wars. I couldn't resist reading this, as it's part of my favourite era, and counts as research to the story I hope to wrote after the next one.
The Ode Less Travelled by Stephen Fry - poetry! I wrote a gazel for Rosa's story, Out of the Water.
Tireli Hafsa Hatun: Yildirim Han Zevcesi by Mahmut Ozay - a Turkish novella; a romance. Slightly later than my era, but I picked up a few tips on old-fashioned Ottoman treatment of disease.
Wildflowers of Turkey by Nazan Ozturk - not half so useful as:
The Natural History of the Mediterranean by Tegwyn Harris - I'm still constantly referring to this book for information on plants and animals.
Cultures in Conflict by Bernard Lewis - an exploration of Islam meeting Christianity.
The Book of Good Love - this is the book that Rosa reads during her voyage to Constantinople.
A Panorama of the Renaissance - A Folio Society edition, full of colour photographs and illustrations, kind of like a hardcover Wikipedia.
The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory - I didn't really like Gregory's style of writing (this was the first book of hers I'd read), so I kept reading for research purposes, since the novel takes place just a few years after my story's time.


Books from the 19th Century: None! This is dismal, compared to the past few years. I'd better read some more Dickens and Stevenson, at least.


Books from 1900-1960: Only 12 novels and two short stories. There were 27 such books in 2010, 17 in 2009, and in 2008 this time period made up 1/4 of my list. This is the first year in a while I've read a lot of new books - odd, for me.

Honourable mention goes to The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson, which is all about growing up in a small midwestern US town in the 50s.


I also had four beta reads this year! Very exciting. And, finally, here's the list of poems, besides the handwritten list of poems read:

Winter Has Waned by Nahum
Writer and The Pen by Shem Tov Ardutiel
The Lord Is Good and So I'm Tormented by Todros Abulafia
London by William Blake
The Brook by Alfred Lord Tennyson
At the Round Earth's Imagined Corners by John Donne
A First Attempt in Rhyme by Thomas Hood
Talking Turkey by Benjamin Zephaniah
Lesson for A Boy by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Red Beauty by Gerard Manley Hopkins
The Oak by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
I think that I shall never see by Ron Wodaski
Some keep the Sabbath going to Church by Emily Dickinson
As kingfishers catch fire... by Gerard Manley Hopkins
The Writer's Bestiary by Zan Marie Steadham
The Sparrow's Nest by Wordsworth
Der Erkolnig by Goethe
Philosophy 34 by Irving Layton (reread)
The Mother Mourns by Thomas Hardy
Lullaby by W. H. Auden
Composed Upon Westminster Bridge by William Wordsworth
Shakespeare's Eighteenth Sonnet (shall I compare thee...) (reread)
The West's Awake by Thomas Osborne Davis


Last year I stopped reading the following and I still haven't finished them:
An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon (first reread)
Journey to the Alhambra by Washington Irving
A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway (reread)
Warriors (anthology, featuring a new short story by Diana Gabaldon)
An Acceptable Time by Madeleine l'Engle
All My Life Before Me, the diary of C. S. Lewis
"Parma Eldalamberon" 14 and 18: Tengwesta Qenderinwa and Pre-Fëanorian Alphabets by J. R. R. Tolkien
Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan

This year we have the following to add, though I hope to finish the first three this week:
Poems from the Edge of Spring by Elise Skidmore
Unfinished Tales by J. R. R. Tolkien (reread)
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
The Great Explorers
Niccolo Rising by Dorothy Dunnett

Whew! There you have it! Hope everyone else had a fun year of reading!


If you'd like, you can visit Theresa and check out her list, or hop over to Raelyn's and peruse hers.


What were some of your favourite books?

Books Read in 2011

Here'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 story in Fangtales, a new YA anthology
short story by Brian Doyle in Hoping For Home, a Dear Canada collection
Build A Man by Talli Roland
By the Pale Moonlight by Jennifer Hendren
This and That by Emily Carr
The Comrades by Lynne Sears Williams
Fifteen by Beverly Cleary
Down These Strange Streets (anthology) edited by George R. R. Martin and G. Dozois (featuring a new Lord John story by Diana Gabaldon)
The Girl Most Likely by Jana Richards
The Silmarillion by J. R. R. Tolkien (reread)
String Bridge by Jessica Bell
The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien (yearly reread)
The Doll by J. C. Martin (short story)
Flawless by Jana Richards
Blindsight by Kait Nolan (reread)
Red by Kait Nolan
Unearthly Asylum by PJ Bracegirdle
The Black Hawk by Joanna Bourne
Impulse Control by Susan Bischoff (short story)
Heroes 'Til Curfew by Susan Bischoff
Watching Willow Watts by Talli Roland
The Cat Who Went Into the Closet by Lilian Jackson Braun
random articles from Reader's Digest back issues from 1964-1968
The Frog Wedding by Maggy L.
Birds That Streak the Sky by Corinne Stikeman (short story)
The Toilet Business by Stacey Wallace Benefiel
The Ransom of Red Chief by O. Henry (short story)
The Doll House by Katherine Mansfield (short story)
Pandaemonium by Christopher Brookmyre
Winter Has Waned by Nahum (poem)
Writer and The Pen by Shem Tov Ardutiel (2 poems)
The Lord Is Good and So I'm Tormented by Todros Abulafia (poem)
Life, Liberty and Pursuit by Susan Kaye Quinn
The Summer of Skinny Dipping by Amanda Howells (brilliant. I cried and cried)
The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J K Rowling (reread)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J K Rowling (reread)
Maybe This Time by Jannine Gallant
Outlander (20th Anniversary edition) (reread) (except for new material)
Hearts in Darkness by Laura Kaye
another secret beta!
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
List of poetry at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2011/06/mall-at-end-of-time-and-poetry.html
The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
The Ode Less Travelled by Stephen Fry
2 secret betas!
Maddie's Marine by Lynne Raye Harris
Les Oiseaux by Germano Zullo and Albertine
Blindsight by Kait Nolan
Craving Perfect by Liz Fichera
Dancing Through the Snow by Jean Little
The Brook by Alfred Lord Tennyson (poem)
The Cat Who Saw Stars by Lilian Jackson Braun
London by William Blake (poem)
The Organization MAD
The Invisible MAD
MAD's Don Martin Presents Captain Klutz II
None of Your Lip Andy Capp by Smythe
At the Round Earth's Imagined Corners by John Donne (poem)
A First Attempt in Rhyme by Thomas Hood (poem)
Talking Turkey by Benjamin Zephaniah (poem)
Lesson for A Boy by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (poem)
Red Beauty by Gerard Manley Hopkins (poem)
The Oak by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (poem)
I think that I shall never see by Ron Wodaski (poem)
Some keep the Sabbath going to Church by Emily Dickinson (poem)
As kingfishers catch fire... by Gerard Manley Hopkins (poem)
The Writer's Bestiary by Zan Marie Steadham (poem)
Don't Quote Me by Charlie Kramer
The Natural History of the Mediterranean by Tegwyn Harris (constant skimming for research)
Mad's Maddest Artist Don Martin Bounces Back (reread)
Help! I'm a Prisoner in the Library by Eth Clifford
Lost in the Post by Amelia Carr, The Day Aunt Edith Danced by Amanda Hodgkinson and Virtual Mum by Lucinda Riley - 3 short stories in the May/June 2011 issue of Woman's Own
The Cat Who Played Brahms by Lilian Jackson Braun
The Restoration by Rose Tremain
The Kraken's Mirror by Maureen O. Betita
The Finnish Line by Linda Gerber
Philosophy 34 by Irving Layton (poem) (reread)
The Book of General Ignorance by John Lloyd and John Mitchinson (foreword by Stephen Fry) (skimmed)
Tireli Hafsa Hatun Yildirim Han Zevcesi by Mahmut Ozay (novella)
Wildflowers of Turkey by Nazan Ozturk
My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
Shakespeare's Eighteenth Sonnet (shall I compare thee...) (reread)
The Book of Tomorrow by Cecilia Ahern
Archie Laugh comic from 1989
The Mother Mourns by Thomas Hardy 9poem)
Cultures in Conflict by Bernard Lewis
An Easter Walk by ZanMarie Steadham (reread)
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (Book Club #3)
Immortal Champion by Lisa Hendrix
Lullaby by W. H. Auden (poem)
The Book of Good Love
A Big Boy Did It And Ran Away by Christopher Brookmyre
Double Take by Kerri Nelson
The Man With Two Left Feet and other stories by P. G. Wodehouse (genius)
An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin (yes, that Steve Martin. Brilliant book. Read it now!)
The Sickness by Steve Fuller
The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson (brilliant!)
The Sparrow's Nest by Wordsworth (poem)
Der Erkolnig by Goethe (poem)
PhD thesis by Ryan Bevan
two essays and Connie Bronson (short story) by Marilynne Robinson
Byzantine Provocateur by Melissa Bradley
A Panorama of the Renaissance (Folio Society Edition)
Pirate's Price by Darlene Marshall
After the Night by Linda Howard (counts as research, right?) (skimmed last half)
Cursed Gold by Lois. D Brown (short story)
The Little Golden Book About Cats
The Wrong Target by Sherry Gloag
Dutchman's Puzzle by Marte Brengle
The West's Awake by Thomas Osborne Davis
The Darling Strumpet: A Novel of Nell Gwynn, Who Captured the Heart of England and King Charles II by Gillian Bagwell (too many vignettes and not enough real story)
Composed Upon Westminster Bridge by William Wordsworth
Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory (mainly for research. I don't like her style much...)
Fairies Forever by Ellen Margret
The Object Lesson by Edward Gorey
The Day of the Pelican by Katherine Paterson
The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
The Wedding by Julie Garwood (skimmed)
The Bride by Julie Garwood (skimmed - all the head hopping was driving me crazy)
Devil's Eye by Kait Nolan (novella)
Lure by Deborah Kerbel
Legacy by Kate Kaynak
A Wing and A Prayer by Ginger Simpson (short story)
Pilgrim For Love by Anna Austen Leigh

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Toast the Professor and ROW80 Starts Again

Tuesday 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 out Ayten's story and do a read through, writing any missing scenes (such as the, er, ending)

edit my plot bunny story

Happy new year to everyone!

And don't forget, the Whisky Trench Riders' second album, Underneath the Tavern Sign, is coming out soon! Listen to the first three tracks for free on ReverbNation.

Books I'm Reading and Finished Books

  • Beowulf and Sellic Spell by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford
  • ***Reading At Intervals***
  • What to Expect in Baby's First Year
  • Baby's First Year for Dummies
  • secret beta read!
  • 11 Doctors 11 Stories by various authors (including Neil Gaiman)
  • Nightmares and Dreamscapes by Stephen King
  • The Mapmaker's Daughter by Laurel Corona
  • Creed or Chaos? by Dorothy Sayers
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien manuscripts edited by J. D. Rateliff
  • The War of the Ring - Book 8 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • Lessons for a Sunday Father by Claire Calman
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • The Jerusalem Bible
  • ***Finished Books***
  • Written in My Own Heart's Blood by Diana Gabaldon
  • My Dancing Bear by Helene de Klerk
  • The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
  • The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier
  • Jane of Lantern Hill by L. M. Montgomery
  • Tu Vas Naitre by Sylvia Kitzinger
  • Goodbye To All That by Robert Graves
  • secret beta read 2!
  • Trust Your Eyes by Linwood Barclay
  • The Caliph's Vacation by Goscinny (Iznogoud series; Canadian translation) (reread)
  • Neither Here Nor There by Bill Bryson
  • Le Tresor de Rackham le Rouge by Herge (Tintin series) (reread)
  • Le Secret de la Licorne by Herge (Tintin series) (reread)
  • L'Affaire Tournesol by Herge (Tintin series) (reread)
  • The Bum by Somerset Maugham (short story)
  • The Colour of Magic, Discworld 1 by Terry Pratchett
  • Fables and Reflections Sandman 6 by Neil Gaiman
  • Doctor Fischer of Geneva or The Bomb Party by Graham Greene
  • Once Upon an Heirloom by Kait Nolan (novella)
  • The No-Kids Club by Talli Roland
  • Snip, Snip Revenge by Medeia Sharif
  • Journey to an 800 Number by E. L. Konigsburg
  • various Neil Gaiman short stories on the An Evening With Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer album (reread (well, this time in audio))
  • And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (reread; actually this was an older edition, published under the original title of Ten Little N******)
  • Dumb Witness by Agatha Christie (reread)
  • Never Saw It Coming by Linwood Barclay
  • How To Fall In Love by Cecelia Ahern
  • biographical note on Lord Peter Wimsey in reissue of Clouds of Witness by Dorothy Sayers (on Gutenberg)
  • One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern
  • Notwithstanding by Louis de Bernieres
  • The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King
  • Temptation by Sandy Loyd
  • The Incorrigible Mr. Lumley by Aileen Fish
  • Effie's Outlaw by Karen Lopp
  • Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler
  • The Christmas Crossing by Bev Petterson (short story)
  • secret beta read!
  • An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield
  • Forgotten by Catherine McKenzie
  • Arranged by Catherine McKenzie
  • Emil In the Soup Tureen by Astrid Lindgren
  • Whales by Jacques Cousteau (excerpt essay from his book)
  • Tutankhamen's Tomb by Howard Carter (excerpt essay from his book)
  • Ice Dogs by Terry Lynn Johnson
  • Everything's Eventual by Stephen King
  • Go the F*^$ To Sleep (board book)
  • Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss (reread) (brought to you by Neil Gaiman: http://www.worldbuilders.org/our-next-stretch-goal-unlocks-at/neil-gaiman-reads-green-eggs-and-ham)
  • The Sagan Diary by John Scalzi
  • mini Twitter stories by Talli Roland (available here: http://advice.uk.match.com/dating-advice/enjoy-valentine%E2%80%99s-day-and-get-mentallydating?utm_expid=55691082-15.2L0G0ictTcSJ4BI9Srh77A.0&utm_referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fadvice.uk.match.com%2Fdating-advice)
  • The Book of Jane by Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt
  • Chicken Soup for the Soul: O Canada The Wonders of Winter
  • Beloved Demons by Anthony Martignetti
  • Hands-on Therapy by T L Watson
  • Let Me Make Myself Plain by Catherine Cookson
  • The Razor's Edge by Somerset Maugham
  • Mystery of the Fat Cat by Frank Bonham
  • Spin by Catherine Mckenzie
  • Virgins by Diana Gabaldon
  • The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen (reread)
  • The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
  • The Ghost in the Window by Betty Ren Wright
  • The Progress of Love by Alice Munro
  • The Treason of Isengard - Book 7 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J. K. Rowling (reread)
  • Behind the Lines (poems) by A. A. Milne
  • the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling (reread)
  • Chicken Soup for the Expectant Mother's Soul
  • see the 2013 list and statistics at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2014/01/toast-to-professor-books-read-in-2013.html
  • see the 2012 list and statistics here http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2012/12/the-hobbit-review-and-year-end-books.html
  • see the 2011 statistics on http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2012/01/books-read-in-2011-statistics-fourth.html
  • see the 2011 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2012/01/books-read-in-2011.html
  • see the 2010 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2010/12/books-read-in-2010-listed-here.html
  • see the 2009 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2009/12/books-read-in-2009-part-ii.html
  • also in 2009 at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2009/12/books-read-in-2009-part-iv.html
  • see the 2008 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2008/12/books-read-in-2008-part-ii.html
  • also in 2008 at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2008/12/books-read-in-2008-part-vi.html
  • also in 2008 at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2008/12/books-read-in-2008-part-iv.html