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Showing posts from March, 2012

The Saga of the Kilt Hose

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[Cross posted from my knitting blog.
A-Z Challenge and the next round of ROW80 start this week. Look for me on Nutschell's blog on 4 April!]
ilt hose. Long stockings worn as part of full Highland regalia. Kilts, at least, have been around for hundreds of years.


Apparently, this is one of the earliest depictions of kilts, a German print showing Highlanders, from c. 1630.

Back in 2008, I was saying things like 'If I ever knit a sock...' Round about then, Helen and I started knitting at lunchtimes. I made a knitter's crossword! Yet when I referred to socks (and there's also one typo), I only mentioned double pointed needles.

I started my first pair of socks in September 2009, and it was on double pointed needles. It only took one sock for me to become discouraged. As I said in a follow-up post, "there's another major reason some of us - cough cough - don't like knitting socks: you have to make another one exactly the same directly after you've finished!…

Award!, Vacations, Afghanistan, Charles II, and Ditties from Grade School

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amie at Mithril Wisdom, who - like me - still plays with LEGO, tagged me with an award!

"Thank the person who gave you this award and link back to their blog. Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you've recently discovered or follow regularly. Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself."
1. My cousin, Fabrice Nadjari, and his friend, recently filmed a documentary - and more - in the Wakhan Corridor, Afghanistan.

2. I've got a trip to England and Scotland and Wales coming up! So much to see and do.

3. I'm still keeping an eye on the Decorah eagles cam. Eagle chicks!

4. Recently, I spent a weekend up north. It looked like this:


5. I'm not normally into zombie stories (with the exception of Lord John and the Plague of Zombies) but I've been reading World War Z by Max Brooks, and I can't put it down. Finally, an apocalyptic story that acknowledges the rest of the planet and how …

Tolkien Reading Day, Judy Blume Is *Not* Too Tame, and Lucky Seven

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es it's that time of year again: Tolkien Reading Day. I'm in the middle of rereading the second book of the History of Middle Earth, the Book of Lost Tales, Part Two. I love, especially, all the connections to Old English, which reminds me that these tales are part of the history of the British Isles. Well they are.

Our local paper featured an article the other day called "Does Judy Blume matter anymore? Today's kids find her stories too tame."

While I understand that kids these days are exposed to life's so-called realities a lot earlier than they used to be, I object to the idea that "life is infinitely more complicated for girls today." It is not. Sure we have more activities, less chores, more distractions - especially online - but I hope that for girls under the age of 12, there are still friendships to be made, lessons to be learned, and new discoveries to be made every day. Given all that, any guideposts along the road, any nuggets of wisdom …

End of Another ROW80 Round, Kedi's Paw Award, Stephen King, and LOTS of Blogger Love Links

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ere we are at the end of another round of A Round of Words in 80 Days. I did really well - at least, working steadily - until last week. Then I got derailed by kilt hose.

With one chapter left to go, I'm going to jump into the next round, and promise to finish editing Rome, Rhymes and Risk, and query a few more agents off my list, for Out of the Water.

But I've been neglecting the blogs. So I thought, in case I can't make it to all the commenters on my last handful of posts, I'd give all of you an award! Presented by Kedi! (And I'll leave this post up through Sunday, and skip a Friday post for once.)

Kedi is a... spirit who currently happens to be in cat form. Only those with whom he is in direct contact realise that he's more than just an ordinary cat - currently he lets his guard down only around Austin, the English boy he's befriended in my middle grade novel The Face of A Lion.

As a cat, he's a soft grey colour with a white underside and paws, and v…

Sunday Summary, ROW80 Fail, Nesting Eagles, and the Saint Patrick's Day Parade

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aking a leaf out of Kait Nolan's blog today and posting a summary:

Writing and editing: For one week now I've taken an unexpected, unplanned and unadulterated break from editing Rome, Rhymes and Risk. I did manage to revise the query for Out of the Water, thanks to everyone who offered insightful comments over at Matthew's, but I haven't sent out any new queries. A little scared...

Blogging: I've posted, and thanks to everyone for coming by - I will visit all your blogs soon!

But, and the reason I've been so slack with social media - though I did manage to vote for Jo Bourne and Kait Nolan and Darlene Marshall as they moved up the ranks in DABWAHA - is that I've been:

Knitting: Yes, it's The Saga of the Kilt Hose! I started this project two years ago, for a Scottish friend, and every time I dropped it and started again there was a new deadline. His next birthday. Robbie Burns' night. The Saint Patrick's Society of Montreal Annual Ball. His birthday …

DABWAHA, Britannica, Gabaldon and Pez Dispensers, St Patrick, and Me in Real Simple!

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appy Saint Patrick's Day tomorrow! Today it's breakfast at McKibbins Irish Pub, bright and early.

Why not listen to some Irish Rovers:

We're also drinking to the demise of the print edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, the reasons for which are succinctly explained in Wired. The one slant I disagree with is the assertion that "I suspect almost no one ever opened their Britannicas" and "Britannica's own market research showed that the typical encyclopedia owner opened his or her volumes less than once a year":

I guess I'm part of the minority that has an affinity for research books. I enjoy idly flipping through encyclopaedias, and I often pull out the (print!) Oxford English Dictionary for a good hunt/read.

DABWAHA is on right now! I know voting is confusing, but that's no excuse - just sign in every day (though I tried to vote in the first round while at the office and discovered that I was blocked from the site, as it somehow got registe…

Blackadder Status Update Day Is Tomorrow - What's Your Magnificent Octopus About?

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've had two Blackadder (one of the funniest shows in British TV history) related posts before: two of my favourite quotes, for last year's Blackadder Status Update Day ("so what was the chicken impression in aid of?" and "fortune vomits on my eiderdown once more"); and a post on Procrastinating with Rowan Atkinson.

Some of my other favourite quotes are:

"Sausage?!"
(Dr. Johnson, and the word he left out of his dictionary)
"Nathaniel sits on a spike. I sit on Nathaniel. Two spikes would be an extravagance."
(Blackadder's Puritan relatives)
"You shot my Speckled Jim!?"
(Colonel Melchett, on the loss of his passenger pigeon)
"Permission to jolly well speak right now sir, otherwise I might just burst like a bally balloon."
(George, as he's swindled by Blackadder)
"Some beans." (Baldrick's answer to 'what is two beans plus two beans?')
"Madam, without you, life is like a broken pencil... pointle…

Troll Fest - Remembering Your First Ever Blog Post

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roll fest!

Siv Maria has a lovely post about Norway and trolls and how she "can sit on [her] front steps, have a conversation with a moose and listen to a waterfall while drinking [her] morning coffee". To celebrate her Blogiversary, she's hosting a Troll Fest this month! All you have to do is share a story about your first blog post or post it again.

My first post looked like this:
Thursday, 30 August 2007
My First Post
Baby steps... Right off the bat, here's a to do list:
- decide on focus for blog
- write intro message
- email link to everyone
- add quotes, photos
- add music?
- link to Ryan's music page
- don't forget to edit!It's almost as though I didn't realise other people could see my posts... My second post was a little more focused:
Friday, 31 August 2007
What I Am Writing
This year I have finished a short story, begun a novel, and every once in a while I take out an older novel and tinker with it.
The finished novel is tentatively entitled An Ar…

Writers Events This Weekend, DABWAHA, and I Want to be Anthony Horowitz's Copy Editor

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riday! There's lots going on this weekend.

First we've got what would have been Douglas Adams' 60th birthday on Sunday. Neil Gaiman says (and you have to do what he says): "To celebrate this event, Douglas' family and friends, in association with 'Save The Rhino' (one of Douglas' favourite charities) are holding a very special birthday celebration in his honour at the Hammersmith Apollo in London. An evening's entertainment from some of the finest names in the world of science, comedy, entertainment and music, with a very special premiere performance of Douglas' material, this is one event that is definitely not to be missed."

That's if you're in London. If you're in Montreal, we have the annual Antiquarian Book Fair! I always go, just to drool over ancient books I'd love to own. Especially if there happen to be volumes of Tolkien.

And if you're in Regensburg, Germany, you might try to sneak a peek at one of the 500 new…

Insecure Writers, Flash Fiction for Özlem Yikici's Continuing Story and Books from Kait Nolan (it's ROW80 Check In Day!)

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ou'll have to forgive me. I'm feeling a bit insecure at the moment. I've hit a good stride in my edits for Rome, Rhymes and Risk but, you know, it's easy to hit a stride when you keep leaving blank spots in your wake. [insert scene] and [add more emotion to this] and so on; easy to discard so-called edited pages when you've still got square brackets littering the prose.

On top of that, the blasted alarm clock went off in the middle of such an exciting film/story of a dream this morning. I've been scribbling like mad, trying to get all the pieces down, but I missed the ending, and didn't even get to find out the hero's name - the heroine was just about to call out to him, as a wave took him under, when the furshlugginer alarm jangled me awake.

Even trying to relive the dream in the shower didn't help. What do you mean, I'll have to imagine and write the ending? Oh, right. I'm a writer.

An insecure writer. Thank you, Alex, for the support gro…

Second Challenge for the Fourth Campaign - Warning! Contains Nuances of Certain Activities - Also, an Award

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oo! This one's a doozy, Rach!

I won't copy out all the prompts/rules, but here are the one's I've followed:

"Write a short story/flash fiction piece of less than 200 words based on the prompts" - I've chosen prompt 5:


"For added difficulty/challenge: Ask Challenge entrants to critique your writing"

So, have at it!

This is a scene shortened from the original incident in Rome, Rhymes and Risk. Ayten and Devran escaped from their kidnappers that morning and have been walking/running/hiding all day. Tonight they've made camp, with a bit of fire...
The dark woods pressed close all around their camp.

Stirring the fire one last time, he tossed the fir twig onto the flames.

Ayten dozed in the crook of his arm. The blanket had slipped off her shoulder, but her skin was warm against his. They hardly needed the fire.

Her fingers had landed in his lap; if he shifted, they'd be close to - ah.

She hadn't stirred. One by one he raised her fingers, to…

Inviting You Over for May, and Desert Island Books (including Neil Gaiman with a chainsaw)

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hat does everyone think of guest blogging? It's lots of fun to hop around and catch authors and fellow bloggers on each other's blogs.

I've had a few wonderful guests here, including Ayak from Ayak's Turkish Delight, Talli Roland on What to Eat While Writing, and Sara, with a wine glass... I've been a guest myself, on Kait Nolan's blog and over at Turkish Muse. I even had a post featuring Vince Ditrich of the band Spirit of the West, listing his favourite children's books.

But it's not enough! I'd love more! If you've got an idea for a guest post and would like to visit my blog in May, please let me know.

To balance out the recent post where I discussed an article poking gentle fun at romance novel covers, here's an essay on The Awl that considers their place in the canon, and why Romance Novels are the Last Great Bastion of Underground Writing.

Speaking of books, which authors would you desperately need on a desert island?
I interviewed Barba…