Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Luddites, False Starts, Amazon Reviews, and Random Inspiration Sources

It's coming! It's coming!

The Attack of the End-of-NaNo jitters!

Two days to go, officially, but I'm hoping to finish tomorrow, to give me time to attempt the Luddite validation:

"How do I verify if I'm writing by hand?

Invoke the Luddite Clause! What you do is write your 50,000 words, then have someone you trust verify that it is, indeed, 50,000 words. Then using something like the Lorem Ipsum generator, submit a file of the exact number of words of your handwritten manuscript to our word count validator."

Be warned, I'll be posting some random photos of my three (!) messy notebooks. The thing with NaNo is that it provides the conditions I work best in: a prompt or two (in this case my original story idea), a deadline, competition from others, and limited time that requires writing spurts. I can get 600 words on the 10 minute train ride home, knowing I won't have time to write the rest of the evening.

I will certainly NOT vouch for the quality of any of these words. I also spent four days lingering in the bedroom/wedding night scene because I had no idea what would happen when the dawn came...

Somehow appropriately, the Grand Finale of Suze's False Start Fridays is in two days, and I've got two wee snips to share.

The first is from a story I hope to return to someday. But the last draft is from ten years ago, and I hope I've honed my craft since then:
"The house was a hundred years old. Klara's great-great-grandfather had built it, and hardly a plank of wood had been changed or replaced since then. Only the tiles on the roof had to be restored every two years or so, when the spring rains started seeping through.
Klara always knew when repairs were needed as the first drops would always hit her. The house was on an incline and her bed was placed right where the ceiling sloped down to the floor. A muddy splash would splatter on her forehead and she would instantly think back on all the things her father had said or done that day. His mood was the most important thing to consider."
You can catch more about Klara - written in slightly less stilted fashion - at a few of our Forum Writers' Houseparties.

The other snip is from my fan fiction, which was written back in high school, and is all about a favourite musician and what I thought his life was like. Note use of the word 'therefore' among other I-write-novels-like-essays fare. (I've changed the names to protect identities).
"Peter woke up out of a dream early Friday morning, realizing immediately that he had gone to bed too late the night before. Yet once he was awake, he could never go back to sleep, therefore he decided to go downstairs and get some coffee.
When Peter walked into his kitchen, fully dressed all in black, he took a packet of instant coffee out of a cupboard, emptied its contents into a mug then placed it in the microwave after filling it with water. Peter turned on the television and found himself watching a special program about the duo he had formed with one of his best friends, Mary.
As he took the coffee out of the microwave a feeling of longing washed over him. Peter was used to it, having experienced it many times before. In fact, he felt that way almost every time he saw Mary. Why had she married that bastard Michael with him around? It was something Peter never had -- and probably never would -- understand. He wondered if he should call her. Knowing Mary though, she would most likely still be in bed -- with Michael -- in his arms --
'I have to stop thinking about her,' he said to himself. 'It's depressing me.'"
Notice how I described the preparation of instant coffee? That was in case any of my readers (all two of them) were unclear as to the grossest possible method for the preparation of coffee.

I just discovered that I have 630 unreviewed Amazon purchases. And that's not counting How long have I been buying books and CDs from these sites? How on earth can I ever catch up on reviews? I feel guilty now, even though I barely have time to update my library catalogue, let alone rate everything. Do you review every book you read?

And now for something completely different. I have a dystopian speculative fiction story bubbling away in the back of my head, and the other day, at the train station, I saw some graffiti tags that fit the story completely:

Look closer...

"Beware... mind control... somebody is driving. They changed all my colours around."
Colours - sort of related to environment - will be featuring prominently in this story...

Where do you find inspiration?

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Shortest Neil Gaiman Story Ever? and Blogfests!

Kinda trying something nuts this weekend...

NaNo validations start tomorrow, so I've gotten it into my head to try to finish NaNo early.

The sooner I get the last few thousand words, the sooner I can tweak the opening pages of Out of the Water, based on feedback, and return to querying. Which was the other half of my ROW80 goal...

Is anyone else finding all sorts of unexpected twists in their stories as they barrel through NaNo? So far I've had a rival love interest, a merchant with busy hands, a ball and a moonlit boat ride, a duel, and a raid by soldiers, all on the path to trying to get my hero and heroine to the altar. I'm that close. If Santiago wins the duel, everything might be okay for him and Mawdlen...

By the way, if you care about libraries, help support the Save Newcastle Libraries campaign.

Hey, look at this! I stumbled on a super short Neil Gaiman story.

I have to confess, I can't quite follow the plot:

"Untitled by Neil Gaiman

It's lonely where I live, an old house a long way from anywhere. That's why I got a dog. He keeps me company.

Last night the moon was full, and it cast shadows. We took a short-cut through the woods, into the meadow beyond. I let him off-leash to run. He came back holding something.

"Drop it," I ordered, and he did. I felt sick.

Somebody behind me said, "That's mine. Don't turn around."

Then the shadow beside mine was gone, and my dog whimpered in the moonlight."

Listen to the story here, along with an interview, and stories by other authors.

Some fun events coming up!

First, on 2 and 3 December there's Trisha's Baby Faces Blogfest:

Post a photo of yourself as a baby; and/or

Tell us a story about when you were a baby (even if you can't remember it yourself, you've probably heard one or two from your family).

There's also the very exciting Cheers, Cavanaugh Blogfest from 10 to 12 December. Already raising a glass in a toast!

And then, of course, on 14 December there's Hobbitfest! Hosted by M. Pax and Tyrean Martinson:

Here're the questions I have to answer:

What is your favourite hobbit characteristic or the one that you think closely resembles you?

If you could choose between a scrumptious second breakfast and a perilous unexpected journey – which would you prefer?

Have you ever left behind something on a journey (expected or unexpected) and wished you could have it over and over again? (a pocket handkerchief?)

What is your favourite part or quote from the book that you hope will be in the movie?

I've already gotten my tickets to see the movie in the middle of the day on the Monday after the release. Assigned seats, thankfully!

Don't forget to sign up on the linky links! Anyone have other events they're participating in?

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Whole Lotta Books!

Ya gotta go see Nutschell's awesome post about stationery.

I love drooling over notebooks and pens and sticky paper supplies. I don't have a home office, but if I did, I'd have a massive corkboard, covered in inspirational images. For now, at least I've got Pinterest and tumblr.

And now on to books, which I also drool over... If you haven't yet, read Amanda Palmer's post about her friend Anthony. I got my copy of Anthony Martignetti's book Lunatic Heroes yesterday and started it this morning - already teary, and marking all kinds of quotes. The stick in that drop cap is for him and Amanda, and all of us.

I also just read Diana Gabaldon's The Space Between, available right now in her anthology A Trail of Fire:

"In LORD JOHN AND THE PLAGUE OF ZOMBIES, Lord John Grey is posted to Jamaica to assist the Governor as he faces a most unusual kind of uprising among the colony's slave population.

In THE SPACE BETWEEN, Jamie Fraser's step-daughter, Joan, is on her way to an abbey in Paris to become a nun - but when she meets the Comte St Germain, a wealthy French aristocrat rumoured to deal in the occult - she discovers her destiny lies on quite a different path.

In THE CUSTOM OF THE ARMY, Lord John Grey is summoned as a witness in a court martial in the wilds of Acadia, only to find himself playing a crucial role in the Battle of Quebec.

In A LEAF ON THE WIND OF ALL HALLOWS, a WW2 Spitfire pilot called Jerry MacKenzie crashes near a stone circle and wakes up in the eighteenth century. Can the strange man he meets - who impossibly seems to know him - help him return to his wife and baby son before a terrible fate overtakes them?"

I've also finished Mischief and Mistletoe! I don't want to be negative, but... the only story I really enjoyed was Joanna Bourne's Intrigue and Mistletoe. The others all had interesting concepts, but some of the dialogue felt a little hollow to me.

In other book news, I just discovered that I already have a book by Kate Pullinger, whom I've wanted to read for ages because she contributed a piece to Paint a Vulgar Picture: Fiction Inspired by the Smiths. My friend had leant me Pullinger's A Little Stranger ages ago.

And Simon Tolkien has a new book out! Orders from Berlin and its author were featured in a BBC Radio2 broadcast the other day, and listeners also got to live chat with Tolkien. I asked him a question (about Sherlock Holmes) and he answered, and I forgot to save a screenshot! Now I can't find it online. Argh. But the episode is still up for a week, if you'd like to listen.

I really do need a reading vacation. But, no, there's only a week or so left for NaNo. Must press on with Captive of the Sea! I'm so close to the end of the story (ROW80 goal!)... I can't wait to get to at least the wedding of the MCs, if not the sweet and lovely denouement. By the way, the girl in the latest nespresso ad looks like Mawdlen:

Finally, check out Alan Silberberg's cartoons of inspiration from writers, for writers. Featuring Neil Gaiman, natch.

What are you reading in between NaNo sprints?

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Classic Doctor, London Markets, and Laurel Garver's Never Gone Blog Ramble!


"No power in this universe can stop the Daleks!"

I've been reminiscing, watching the first ever Dalek episode.

"Don't act without thinking!" says Nicholas Courtney, and William Hartnell as the Doctor replies, "I never do and I never shall!"

Well, I won't keep quoting. Apparently, we've passed the halfway mark for NaNoWriMo! I'm still a mite worried that my story will end before the month is out, but the writing has been going smoothly (yay for ROW80 goals!), so I try to keep worries at the back of my mind. On the other hand, I have started to devolve into writing "easy" scenes again. Anyone have tips for upping the stakes and sending my characters into further trouble?

Okay, one more quote:
Courtney: "You're a very brave man."
Hartnell: "Rubbish. I'm only doing what needs to be done."

I also think it's funny that the Daleks used to say Eliminate! and Execute! before they settled on Exterminate!

Yesterday I discovered an awesome website for London markets:

And now the crux of today's post:

I'm hosting a stop on Laurel Garver's Blog Ramble celebrating the release of her debut novel, Never Gone. Read on to learn more about the book.

Days after her father’s death, fifteen-year-old Dani Deane begins seeing him all around New York — wading through discarded sketches in her room, roaming the halls at church, socializing at his post-funeral reception. Is grief making her crazy? Or could her dad really be lingering between this world and the next, trying to contact her?

Dani desperately longs for his help. Without him keeping the peace, Dani’s relationship with her mother is deteriorating fast. Soon Mum ships her off to rural England with Dad’s relatives for a visit that Dani fears will become a permanent stay. But she won’t let her arty, urban life slip away without a fight, especially when daily phone calls with her lab partner Theo become her lifeline.

To find her way home, Dani must somehow reconnect with Mum. But as she seeks advice from relatives and insights from old letters, she uncovers family secrets that shake her to the core. Convinced that Dad’s ghost alone can help her, she sets out on a dangerous journey to contact him one last time.

"Never Gone is a ghost story for a new generation – a twisty journey through a young girl's battle with death, grief, and the discovery of family secrets that threaten to undo her world. Garver tackles difficult subjects with depth and grace, weaving the complexities of faith with the complexities of growing up." --Heidi Willis, author of Some Kind of Normal

Add it on Goodreads. Read a sample chapter.

The e-book is available at, Amazon UK, Barnes and Noble, KoboSmashwords

The paperback is available at CreateSpace, Amazon, The Book Depository

Enter to win an e-book of Never Gone!

I love adding new books to my To Read pile!

One last quote:
Hartnell: "...that's why we're stranded here on this pimple of a planet... now you listen to me, young man, don't you start to criticise my TARDIS!"

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

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

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

By which I mean, Pearl Jam.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Which bands or books have you defended lately?

Friday, 9 November 2012

Short Check In, Belated IWSG Notes, and Some Plates

Forgot to post for Insecure Writers Support Group day!

Rather timely, actually, because NaNoWriMo has been on for a week already (and ROW80 Round 4 is about halfway through) and I think I hit the wall this past Friday. I pushed for more words than the daily average, to make up for fewer words the day before, and I could tell that by the end, even though I was still in a frenzy of drafting, the words were growing increasingly repetitive and silly. I hope the second week is better.

Anyone have interesting writing prompts/questions to share?

Today is Remembrance Day, so I'm going to link to two specific bloggers:

Claire Gregory, with a post on her family in WWI, and research she did about another family in WWI.

Private Lamin's experiences in WWI.

For WWII, I just discovered this site: A Dutch historian juxtaposes photographs taken during WWII with modern-day photos of the same places.

With this year's NaNo, I'm close to having, at least, drafts of all my major story ideas from the past few years, except for the big one - the Canadian story that's set before the First World War. It'll be my own exploration of the loss of the world's innocence, an homage to England and Canada and the greatest generation (and their children, who fought in the Second World War), and a tribute to authors like L. M. Montgomery, all told through the lens of the romance between two characters, Alice and George. Maybe all the stories I've been writing have been gearing up to this.

Meanwhile, though, I've set aside Druid's Moon as I write Santiago and Mawdlen's romance in Captive of the Sea for NaNo, but Fred and Lyne are still in the back of my mind. I saw these plates in Anthropologie the other day and thought of the monster behind my beast (Fred is the Beast, but there's a greater horror at the heart of the caverns):

Also, I read my first e-book as an e-book this week, Joe Hill's Heart-Shaped Box, on my phone. I think I could get used to this newfangled e-reading thing...

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Two New Releases, a Famous Cat, and Updates


ROW80: So so. I've been writing, but the editing front is not moving. And I haven't sent a query in a while.

NaNoWriMo: Awesome. I hope I can keep up the momentum. So many unexpected twists and turns happening in Captive of the Sea, Santiago and Mawdlen's story. And, I hope, the dreaded middle isn't so dreaded because I'm hoping there'll be some bedroom scenes round about then...

Life: Steady as it goes. I've been keeping up my schedule (having switched the Friday and Saturday tasks so that weekends are completely unplugged) through the first week of NaNo, and even managed not to get overly distracted by joining Twitter.

Exercise: I add this just to note that I've joined a gym for the first time in my life. No time like the present, right? Michael and Alex had some great exercise and health tips the other day. Anyone have gym advice for me?

Two new books out now-ish:

And the Crowd Goes Wild!, A Global Gathering of Sports Poems: an international anthology of 50 poems written by 50 writers from 10 countries
"From bowling to baseball, polo to ping-pong, and softball to soccer, And the Crowd Goes Wild is a unique anthology of 50 poems that pays joyous tribute to a wide spectrum of sports. Poets who hail from several nations, including Canada, the United States, New Zealand, and Ireland, share a mix of thoughtful and humorous perspectives on sports. Acclaimed poets Carol-Ann Hoyte and Heidi Bee Roemer have edited the anthology, and Kevin Sylvester's dynamic illustrations capture the highs and lows of the world of sports."

Win a signed Advance Reader Copy of Liz Fichera's Hooked!

And don't forget her pre-order promotion:
"Everyone who pre-orders Hooked by 31 December 31 2012 will receive a free music download. Listen to the original song, "Choose My Way," inspired by the novel.
You can purchase Hooked from any retailer, in any format, paperback or e-book. However, anyone who purchases from The Poisoned Pen will receive an autographed copy. They ship worldwide!
Everyone who pre-orders by 31 December 2012 will be entered to win a HarlequinTEEN gift basket. The gift basket will include an assortment of HarlequinTEEN young adult titles, two additional copies of Hooked for your friends, notepads, and other fun goodies."

Finally, I'm adding another item to my next-time-I'm-in-London list: visit Samuel Johnson's cat:

Where will you be travelling to next?

Sunday, 4 November 2012

A New Sherlock Holmes Collection!, YA Competition, Minimising to 100 Things

Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson are back!

Sort of. I read the original Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stories for the first time a few years ago and then last month I read Anthony Horowitz's The House of Silk, the first ever Holmes novel approved by the Doyle Estate.

And this week I got to read this:

The Perils of Sherlock Holmes by Loren D. Estleman
"The first single-author collection of Sherlock Holmes stories to appear since Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes in 1927, these thrilling stories and essays have been approved by the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle literary estate. "The Serpent's Egg," is revealed here for the very first time.
In this adventurous collection of Sherlock Holmes mysteries, you will find yourself right by the legendary detective's side as he investigates a whole new series of crimes. This entertaining book also includes three previously published essays, "Channeling Holmes", "On the Significance of Boswells", and "Was Sherlock Holmes The Shadow?" that delve deeper into the daring world of Sherlock Holmes and the imaginative mind of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The book concludes with a list of Sherlock Holmes-oriented publications recommended by the author."
I had a great time reading these stories. The voices are true to the original characters and the adventures are intriguing and exciting. Holmes in the old West with Wyatt Earp! A riddle from Holmes' apiculturist years! And "The Serpent's Egg", which was written as the first chapter in a round-robin Holmes novel. Other authors, including Isaac Asimov, were linked to the project, but unfortunately it was never completed. The chapter ends with a tantalising mystery involving druids.

I thought of my own Druid's Moon right away, and wondered if I could include a worthy Holmes reference.

Now I feel like reading Estleman's Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula, or The Adventure of the Sanguinary Count, as well as the stories written by Doyle's son and John Dickson Carr. And seeing the films, the new ones, which I haven't seen yet!

Ignoring my ever-expanding library for the moment, I found this idea intriguing: cutting back to 100 things. Although I've just read the blog post of a Guy Named Dave, who's hosting the latest 100 Thing Challenge, as featured in Time, and here are the items that are excluded:

Stuff that's shared between you and other family members; non-personal stuff, like dishes, cleaning supplies, etc.; books; and tools. Also, collections count as one item.

That's a relief but even so, 100 things? Counting furniture and mementoes and photograph albums and the bins full of all my drafts, not to mention every article of clothing? I'll have to think about it. First things first, buying more bins to sort out of the library and garage, so that everything looks tidy and there's no more stuff-behind-other-stuff and I can see exactly what we have. When I think of advanced minimalism like this, I'm always glad we live in a triplex and not a house.

Would you be able to declutter that far?

Young Adult Novel Discovery Competition! Hosted by the Serendipity Literary Agency, in collaboration with Sourcebooks and Gotham Writers' Workshop. Submit the title and first 250 words of your story for a chance to win "a one-on-one consultation with one of New York's leading YA literary agents."

Duff McKagan is in the UK apparently, and wrote a blog post the other day on English vocabulary. I liked his take on asking for directions in England:
"Now when you need directions in England, Wales, or Scotland, don't expect to hear anything close to "Just go down two blocks and make a right." No, the directions from a local in, say, Plymouth, England, will take the form of the more poetic (but way less informative) "Carry on down the road, and it's just there." That sounds nicer, but can leave an uninformed outsider like myself cold and lost in the rain."
I've got a mini rant: why is it that the use of vocabulary outside the norm earns you nasty looks? If I'm interested in something (in this it was singing in the round, which I really like to listen to), I like to find out more about it, and if there's a specific vocabulary associated with it (in this case, canon), well, why shouldn't I use it? If the person I'm talking to doesn't understand the word, why don't they just ask what it means or go look it up later, rather than giving me a dirty look and a rude "huh?" Rant over.

I remembered this Sendak book today. I used to reread it all the time when I was a kid:

And updates! This month, my ROW80 goals are my NaNo ones. So far I've been hitting or surpassing the daily NaNo requirement of 1667 words. I really hope I can keep up this momentum.

Are you having a good writing week? What have you read, reread or watched lately?

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