Wednesday, 29 August 2012

New Releases and E. J. Wesley's Cover Reveal Party!

Many new books coming out!

J. C. Martin's hosting an Olympics for her new release, Oracle:

Talli Roland's Christmas story Mistletoe in Manhattan is up on Goodreads!

And... drum roll... E. J. Wesley's having a cover reveal party this week!

Blood Fugue, Moonsongs Book 1 by E.J. Wesley Cover Reveal Party

Author E.J. Wesley is throwing a blog party to celebrate the release of his new book cover and wants you to join in the fun. Jump over to his blog to learn about how you can win some awesome prizes, including $50 toward a cover of your own and advance reader copies of Blood Fugue.

The Rocking Cover!
Cover work by Sketcher Girl, LLC

What's the Story About?

"Some folks treated the past like an old friend. The memories warmed them with fondness for what was, and hope for what was to come. Not me. When I thought of long ago, my insides curdled, and I was left feeling sour and wasted."

Jenny Schmidt is a young woman with old heartaches. A small town Texas girl with big city attitude, she just doesn't fit in. Not that she has ever tried. She wears loneliness like a comfy sweatshirt. By the age of twenty-one, she was the last living member of her immediate family. Or so she thought…

"We found my 'grandfather' sitting at his dining room table. An entire scorched pot of coffee dangled from his shaky hand. His skin was the ashen gray shade of thunderclouds, not the rich mocha from the photo I'd seen. There were dark blue circles under each swollen red eye. A halo of white hair skirted his bald head, a crown of tangles and mats. Corpses had more life in them."

Suddenly, instead of burying her history with the dead, Jenny is forced to confront the past. Armed only with an ancient family journal, her rifle, and an Apache tomahawk, she must save her grandfather's life and embrace her dangerous heritage. Or be devoured by it.

Blood Fugue by E.J. Wesley is the first of the Moonsongs books, a series of paranormal-action novelettes. At fewer than 13k words, Blood Fugue is the perfect snack for adventurous readers who aren't afraid of stories with bite. Available wherever fine eBooks are sold September 2012.

Join the party at The Open Vein, E.J.'s blog, and on Twitter.

WRiTE CLUB is still going strong! Come by and see the latest entries.

Comic Con is coming to Montreal! I've never been to one, but this one features Captain Picard, Captain Kirk, Q, Data... and more! And Wil Wheaton!

As for ROW80... I'm struggling with the query. But I wrote an essay all about my first novel, The Strange Girl, written in Grade Four! I'll post a link as soon as it's live.

What was your first-ever story about?

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Virtual Writers' Conference and Other Titbits

Forgot to mention that my last post was my 700th blog post!

I've got a pile of writing-related stuff to take care of, not least revising my query, but I'm thinking of adding something more to my plate:

The Virtual Surrey International Writers' Conference!

Surrey screenshot!

It wouldn't be an official event, not affiliated with SIWC in any way. Just an informal hang out at the Compuserve Books and Writers Community for all those unable to attend the actual SIWC. I'm hoping to feature some Master Classes, Blue Pencil sessions, Q and A...

I've got to get cracking on the organization. What features would you like to see at such an event?

Have you tried going from The Shire to Mordor on Google Maps?

I won a first-five-pages critique from Susan Kaye Quinn! Hope she likes my story...

Meanwhile, it's late 80s/early 90s revival time! I'm going to a concert on Wednesday and I'm very excited. Guess who? Here's a hint:

Which 80s band is your favourite?

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Me on Author's Echo, and This Day in History

Going to be featured on Adam Heine's blog tomorrow! That's the exciting part.

He'll be dissecting my query.. That's the worrisome part...

I've been a bit slack since finishing the first draft of Fred and Lyne's story last week. I've written a book review and some vague plot notes, done a wee bit of editing, and read a few research books. Can you tell I feel guilty for not keeping up with my morning pages every day? That's not even the half of it...

The main thing I'm supposed to be doing is revamping the query. I can't wait to see what Adam thinks of it, but I already know the main flaw: it's got no voice. I can't seem to transfer my story-writing voice to blurb and pitch writing. But I can't send out another query until I fix the letter... This is going to take a few mornings of bribing myself with lattes to put right!

Every once in a while, when I'm looking up specific dates as part of my research (usually near the beginning, when I'm wading into a topic), I take a look at This Day In History lists. For instance...

Today's both the anniversary of the Battle of Bosworth Field and the start of the English Civil War:

Bridge that Cromwell and his troops crossed, near Hurst Green, Lancashire

Charles returns to England, landing at Dover

close-up, to avoid the light of the flash

house in Winchester, where Charles put up Nell Gwynn
(they were having a book sale on the day we visited!)

Kings, at the Queen's Hotel in Chester

We were in Queen Caroline's room

It's also Dorothy Parker's and Ray Bradbury's birthday (1893 and 1920). Tomorrow, meanwhile, is the anniversary of the publication of the Gutenberg Bible, and Keith Moon's and Shaun Ryder's birthday; Ryder of the Happy Mondays:

Also, this week is the anniversary of the lead-up rumbles, and then the eruption, of Vesuvius, during which Pliny the Elder died. And Friday is Stephen Fry's birthday! As well as, cough cough, Ron Weasley's. Er, I mean Rupert Grint. I've never listened to an audiobook before, except for All Creatures Great and Small narrated by Christopher Timothy, but the Harry Potter books are on my wishlist - they're narrated by Stephen Fry!

Which anniversaries are you celebrating this week?

Sunday, 19 August 2012

ROW80, Book Releases and Blog Tours, George Formby, and a Linkfest!

Linky links!

English Historical Fiction Authors!

Joanna Bourne on Regency era mayhem! She's also got lots of book giveaways happening on her blog.

Sad: the only remaining Pinta Island tortoise has died.

All Neil all the timeNeil Gaiman at the Penn Museum Mesopotamian storage rooms. Awesome old comics/cartoons featuring Neil Gaiman. And...

What's that line everyone uses in funny posters? "Your argument is invalid." Well, now I've got one:

Neil Gaiman references George Formby. Your argument is invalid.

And here's the video:

Speaking of cartoons: looking forward to NaNo with Will Write for Chocolate.

And speaking of fun, Pop Sensation is still going strong, with hilarious commentary on 1950s paperback covers.

Then there's Wil Wheaton on returning to books later in life, after school.

Exclamation point news items:

Jason Goodwin's The Gunpowder Gardens: Travels through India and China in Search of Tea, is free on Kindle today! In the US and the UK.

WRiTE Club is still on! Come vote for some fun stories.

My Show me the Words! contest is still going - and I've added a new book to the prize list: a copy of A Wrinkle in Time!

J. C. Martin's Oracle Olympics are still on for her book release!

More Outlander Fun Facts from Karen!

Joy Campbell is on a blog tour to celebrate her new release!

Golden Eagle has a list of how to come up with blog topics. I fancy the Rick rolling our readers idea!

Meanwhile, ROW80. Since I've finished the first draft of Fred and Lyne's story (!) I've got to revise my list, and it's a long one:

1. Continue with edits for Rome, Rhymes and Risk

2. Revise query (I've been told it's kinda flat. Sigh.) (We're featuring queries in this month's writers' exercises on the forum. Here's my query, and my exercise entry)

3. Edit latest short story

4. Type up Fred and Lyne's story (And, er, find a title)

5. Write two book reviews and another essay for Bizim Anadolu

I kinda only feel like doing the latter... Unless I get an unexpected few days off work and devote all the time to writing/editing. A writer can dream, no?

Hope everyone's having a good week. If you've got links, please share!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Fairy Tales, Editing, Poetry and 15th Century England

Just look: the Whisky Trench Riders' Driftin' has passed the 1000 viewers mark!
Wonder how soon they can crack 2000?

There's a fun blogfest going on, all about fairy tales. Oddly enough, the Word Wenches recently featured a post on fairytales as well.

The What If? Blogfest, hosted by Morgan, Leigh, Mark and Cassie Mae, asks you to:

"Think of your favorite 'well known' fairytale and ask 'What If...!' Then, pick one of these four categories (be sure to mention which category you're joining, during your blog post!):

Best Plot Twist

Best Love Story

Best Tragedy

Best Comic Relief

Finally, write a scene(s) illustrating a new detail of the fabled fairy tale that changes our perspective."

I'm not actually entering the blogfest - if it runs again next year I might be ready then. Because... drum roll...

I've just finished writing the first draft of my own Beauty and the Beast tale!

Now I've got to type it all up. And return to Rome, Rhymes and Risk and all the editing I left behind...

Not just in Ancient Greece, but even in the last century, there used to be poetry at the Olympics! Unfortunately: "Today, lovers of poetry and sports must be content to ponder the rare survivors, like the Finnish wordsmith Aale Maria Tynni's 'Laurel of Hellas,' which took the gold at the 1948 London Games:

 Laurel of Hellas noble-born, / most celebrated tree,
gazing to your lofty crown / the mind must dazzled be.

This proved the last gasp for official Olympic poetry. Organizers began to doubt the quality of the offerings, as the gulf between the sports-related entries and contemporary poetry grew ever wider. Apart from the niggling amateur question, one official speculated that 'there are not enough artists who find occasion to study the beauty of the human body in motion or have connection with the world of sport.' In 1952 at Helsinki, literature was quietly dropped, along with the other arts contests."

But The Poetry Society kept the competition alive. And they've brought in other crafts, like knitting!

As for the editing... I've been looking at some of the photos I took in England back in April/May, all set in or near the time frame of Rome, Rhymes and Risk, and the next story set in that time (1470s to 1490s), featuring Santiago and Mawdlen (Magdalena) - Rosa's parents. The best part is that this story will be set in London!


 Canterbury, along the river

 Panorama of Canterbury

 The church where Christopher Marlowe was baptised...

 ...and the plaque commemorating its bombing in 1942

 A Tudor building

 The oldest building in Winchester

 The Sun Hotel, 1503, later visited by Charles Dickens

 This gate is nearly a thousand years old. Look up at those windows... the 17th Century, a husband, wife, kids and hogs all lived up there together

Which fairy tale would you change the ending of?

Sunday, 12 August 2012

ROW80, Taliesin, Montreal Photos, and Summertime Lists

Discovered an awesome video the other day:

Ioan Gruffudd reading I Am Taliesin (from The Mabinogion) in Welsh

All in the name of research, right?

I've reached the last few scenes in Fred and Lyne's story - epic battles with legendary creatures are here! - so I've been playing around with research more often. It's been exciting writing a contemporary story for the first time in a long time; I've got far fewer square brackets than I do in historicals. And the only research I need involves Celtic myths and legends, which is lots of fun to read about. Actually, I also need to know a fair bit about archaeology. If you're an archaeologists and don't mind answering a few questions, please let me know!

Here're a few more Montreal-in-summer photos!

Statue in Old Montreal

Looking up from the statue - if it wasn't for the stop signs, you might think it was half a century ago...

Milk crate art (?)

View from a Pub St Paul window

Close-up of the view of Habitat 67

Neurotic Workaholic had her own version of Nora Ephron's What I Will and Won't Miss lists the other day, and inspired me to do the same, but with a twist:

What I Will Miss About Summer

Longer hours of daylight and being in the sun

Cool drinks

Constant festivals (gotta love Montreal!)

Heading out the door without a thousand layers of clothing


What I Won't Miss About Summer, Once Winter Comes


Feeling guilty for staying indoors on a sunny day

Ice-cold air conditioning at work

Strangers' non-cared-for feet in open-toe shoes... Ick!

Looking out the office window, wishing I was outdoors

What about you?

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Where Would You Go and Who Would You Be?

Now that it's August, I'm wishing I hadn't taken all my vacations earlier in the year.

I'm about 10,000 words away from completing the first draft of Fred and Lyne's story and I'd love to take a reading break somewhere.

So, inspired by a recent post of Joshua's, here are the top five places I want to vacation:

The Highlands and the Scottish Isles
(image from Wikimedia Commons)

Hay-on-Wye, Wales: So many bookshops, so small a baggage allowance on the flight home...
(screenshot from the Old Hay site)

Anywhere in the middle of Italy
(Valley by Fabrizio Conti from Public Domain Pictures)

Hobbiton. Er, I mean, New Zealand
(screenshot from Cool Pictures)

On the Orient Express, from London to Istanbul
(image from Wikimedia Commons)

Of course, none of this is likely to happen any time soon. Not to mention, I'm supposed to be editing

Meanwhile, Margo had a fun list the other day too: Top Ten Characters I'd Switch Places With

I agree with Margo on Lucy Pevensie, Eowyn and Hermione, and I can think of three more right off the bat:

Claire at the end of Voyager, when she's got a whole new world ahead of her with Jamie at her side (by the way, Karen's hosting an Outlander Photo Contest!)

The mother/author in The Railway Children

Anne Shirley, the year that she lives in her House of Dreams

Where would you go and who would you be?

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Jamie from Mithril Wisdom!, Book Blog Olympics, Brenda Novak, and ROW80

Jamie from Mithril Wisdom is here!

Hi Jamie! I've got a few questions for you...

Where do you do most of your writing? What do you need to help you write?

I don't really have a dedicated writing space, sadly. It's wherever I can sit with my laptop at the moment. I have to have a full mug of coffee though, that's a given. No coffee, no words on the page.

Which is the most embarrassing song, book, movie or TV show that you love?

Ooh, I've got plenty! Almost anything cheesy and made in the 80s hits my top list immediately. Right now though there's a kid's show in the UK called Horrible Histories that I think is amazing.

[I loved the mini history they did during the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant]

Favourite literary character not your own?

Sam Vimes from Terry Pratchett's Discworld. He's so grumpy but at the same time can't help but be the good guy.

Which scenes are hardest for you to write?

The beginning, middle and end ones! More specifically though, I suck at writing romantic scenes and I try to avoid them wherever possible.

[I'll gladly trade you for my action sequences!]

What's the weirdest thing you've researched?

Ancient Egyptian vampires and blood ritual. It was the topic for both my Bachelor's and Master's degrees. There's some 30,000 words on the subject if anyone cares to wade through it all.

What's your earliest memory related to writing?

Back when my parents got their first computer, an Amstrad Word Processor, I wrote a haunted house story that was the kind of ridiculous that only a child could create. It even ended with "and then I woke up. It was all a dream."

Tea or coffee?

Always coffee, but I am partial to a good old British cup of tea.

Who was the last person that haunted you?

I tend not to get haunted; I don't think my life is that interesting. I have a friend who has no concept of time and who calls me at insane hours of the day, if that counts.

Who is your favourite author? Who inspired you to write?

My favourite author would probably be Terry Pratchett; his world, his characters and hit wit are amazing. The person who inspired me to write was Christopher Paolini, though I've yet to read his books. As a kid I remember reading an article about a 15-year old who got a book deal and international success and I thought "you can do that at that age? I'm getting me a piece of that!" I've been writing for years before that, though I considered it doodling with words rather than 'writing'.

[Would you believe I haven't read any Pratchett yet? Guess I'd better move it up the wishlist pile...]

Do you have a favourite writing-related quote?

The best piece of advice I got was from Mark Twain: "Substitute 'damn' every time you're inclined to write 'very'; your editor will delete it and your writing will be just as it should be."

[I tried that with a find/replace once - it really helped!]

Where would you most like to travel?

I think Peru would be an awesome place to travel, especially walking through the ruins of older civilizations. That kind of stuff amazes me.

Thanks for having me!

Thank you, Jamie! If anyone else has questions, ask away!

Jamie's hosting a giveaway at the moment actually, to celebrate reaching 350 followers!

Who doesn't love a smooth, empty-page-filled notebook? And a Welsh potion (!), how can you go wrong?

Speaking of free, Brenda Novak's latest novella is free on her website!

And then there's me and my ROW80 update - the writing's going well, on Fred and Lyne's story. And I had some favourable responses and help, for Rosa and Baha's story, over at Flogging the Quill.

Hope everyone else had a great writing and reading week!

Don't forget to enter the Book Blog Olympics! The next entry is for "best alternate ending for a YA book" - a lot tougher than it sounds, at least for me.

How about messing with From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs Basil E. Frankweiler: "...and Claudia wrenched control of the Rolls Royce from the chauffeur, and embarked on a mad road trip across the States, staying at all sorts of museums along the way, until she got to the book depository and ran into a time travel who said 'Stephen King sent me here. So she went forward to the 21st Century and tweeted her adventures.'"

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

IWSG, ROW80, WRiTE CLUB, and Montreal Photos

Insecure Writer's Support Group day is here.

Thanks to Alex Cavanaugh for starting this group; I look forward to it every month.

On top of feeling insecure, there's also sad news - author Maeve Binchy and actor Geoffrey Hughes have passed away.

On the other hand, there's actually no time in August to be insecure:

There's my contest

There's DL Hammons' WRiTE CLUB (vote in Round One now!)

There's keeping up with ROW80 (I'm still writing every day!)

And... there's the Book Blog Olympics!

So far we've got the following categories: "funniest blog post, innovations in interviewing, speed reading or most books read in a 24 hour period, best flash fiction, and 'Twit-kwan-do', in which contenders would go head to head in 5-minute Twitter one-up contests."

If you have further suggestions for events, feel free! Funniest blog post ended last night, and I submitted a Nasreddin Hoca joke. Looking forward to that speed reading, of course.

I realised the other day that I keep sharing photos of travels, and hardly ever post any of Montreal! Michael has shared some of the skyline and architecture in his own gorgeous shots. Here're a handful I've taken in the past two months:

View of the downtown skyline from the Lachine Canal

John Cabot statue near Atwater Square, in Saughnessy Village

Close-up of Giovanni Caboto

I happened upon a filming of a Just for Laughs Festival Gags episode!
The little girl pretended to need help reading the map, and when an unsuspecting adult approached the map, a face appeared in it! Really just a little boy behind the booth. Notice the camerawoman/attendant in the back by the trees, with the headphones... (though I might have compressed the photograph too much for this to show up clearly)

Mural near the Burgundy Lion Pub

Old car in the same neighbourhood

I wish I could have ridden in it!

Tony the Sharpener!

Close-up of Tony Vecchiarelli's van. I always feel badly that I don't have any knives or scissors for him to sharpen; he's been in my neighbourhood since I was a kid, and I don't want him to go out of business!

Meanwhile, I leave you with a question... How would you take a snail to Constantinople?

Books I'm Reading and Finished Books

  • The Making of Outlander by Tara Bennett
  • Testament of Experience by Vera Brittain
  • Zoom sur Plainpalais by Corinne Jaquet
  • beta read! (JB)
  • ***Reading At Intervals***
  • Sophie's Choice by William Styron
  • The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • The Young Lions by Irwin Shaw
  • 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
  • ***Finished Books***
  • The Children of Men by P. D. James
  • A Daughter's A Daughter by Mary Westmacott (Agatha Christie)
  • A Girl From Yamhill by Beverly Cleary
  • Sunlight by Margaret Rucker (poem; floating in a cocktail glass)
  • Save the Cat by Blake Snyder
  • Preface to The Hobbit, by Christopher Tolkien
  • Ilk Defa... by Beste Barki (essays)
  • Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers (essay)
  • The Moon and I by Betsy Byars
  • The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson
  • Rogue Warrior by Regan Walker
  • Beauty and the Beast by Villeneuve
  • Black (what was this? I don't remember!)
  • Dance of the Jakaranda by Peter Kimani
  • Thomas the Tank Engine by Rev. Awry (26 book collection)
  • beta read (Born to Run by RB)
  • The Little Turtle by Vachel Lindsay (poem; reread)
  • The Kraken by Alfred Lord Tennyson (poem)
  • Android's Dream by John Scalzi
  • The Mysterious Tadpole by Stephen Kellogg (reread)
  • Yashim Cooks Istanbul by Jason Goodwin
  • Miniatures by John Scalzi
  • Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain
  • Kitty-in-Boots by Beatrix Potter (illustrated by Quentin Blake)
  • All or Nothing by Rose Lerner (short story)
  • Merry Christmas, Emily (board book)
  • Extra Yarn by __ and Jan Klassen
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • The Outlandish Companion II by Diana Gabaldon
  • The Outlandish Companion I, Revised by Diana Gabaldon
  • MacHinery and the Cauliflowers by Alistair MacLean (short story)
  • The Dileas by Alistair MacLean (short story)
  • The Gold Watch by Alistair MacLean (short story)
  • betty, butter, sun by Monica Byrne (short story)
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them screenplay by J.K. Rowling
  • The Very Cranky Bear (Scholastic)
  • various haiku by R. Wodaski
  • ongoing rereads of most board books listed last year!
  • see the 2016 list and statistics at
  • see the 2015 list and statistics at
  • see the 2014 list and statistics at
  • see the 2013 list and statistics at
  • see the 2012 list and statistics here
  • see the 2011 statistics on
  • see the 2011 list at
  • see the 2010 list at
  • see the 2009 list at
  • also in 2009 at
  • see the 2008 list at
  • also in 2008 at
  • also in 2008 at