WiP it Good Blogfest, Blood Kiss, Latest Houseparty!, Chicago and St Lawrence Photos

Photos, and more photos!

But first, two exciting projects:

Blood Kiss, a vampire film noir by Michael Reaves, starring Neil Gaiman and Amber Benson, is now seeking funding!

Here are the stars, as sketched by Tom Mandrake, plus the evocative poster for the film:

The other project happily involves writing. Actually - finally, a proper ROW80 update! - I've started typing up my new short story (it's called Where's There's Life, and it all starts when the main character inherits a library card for the library at Alexandria), so I haven't been a complete slacker. This week, though, I'll be writing something different:

Houseparties are a great way to thrust your characters out of their familiar worlds and learn things about them that you may not have known before. Writing for a houseparty is just like writing your first draft – fast paced and fluid, with no second guessing; anything goes at a houseparty, from magic to skipping between time periods, to anachronistic events and language, to romantic interludes... here's a brief How To Play.

This one is called A Night At the Museum. Come join us and bring your characters!

P is also for Progress, as in the WiP it Good Blogfest!

The blogfest officially starts on Friday - still time to join up! Here are my answers to the prompts:

WiP title: Druid's Moon

Word count (projected/actual so far): Good question! I'm at about 45,000. I'll probably hover at 50,000 if I ever finish editing, but I'd like to leave myself wiggle room in case I'd like to tweak it for submission to certain imprints

Genre: Contemporary Romance with Paranormal elements. Er, it's a Beauty and the Beast tale

How long have you been working on it?: Exactly one year!

Elevator pitch (if you came across an agent in an elevator ride, what couple of lines would you use to summarize your book): A one thousand year old Druids' curse enslaves a Man, but what happens when Beauty refuses to help the Beast? (eep, it's not rhetorical, I swear! I have an answer!)

Brief synopsis (250 words or less): When Lyne, fresh out of graduate school, accepts a position at an archaeological dig at a seaside cave site in England, she might have signed up for more than she expected. The beast who guards the caverns gets too close for comfort, but rescues her during a disaster at sea.

She kisses him in gratitude -- and the beast turns into a man. Now he wants her to be Beauty to his Beast, but the evil force at the heart of the caverns is bent on revenge for the loss of its servant. Can Lyne work with the beast long enough to defeat the ancient horror of the caves? And what happens when she finds herself falling in love?

Are you looking for a critique partner?: Not at the moment

Are you looking for a beta reader?: Am I allowed to say maybe? I find it hard to answer the question since I've not finished editing. If you like, please indicate in the comments whether you're interested in reading - I can't promise reciprocal editing until I'm done with this round of edits. And now, the photos! I was in Chicago a couple of months ago for two days so, while I have some blurry photos of the sites, I wasn't there long enough to meet up with Melissa or Michael - that's the photo I wish I could have gotten!

The Magnificent Mile



Ray's Music Exchange from The Blues Brothers!
Now it's a Shelley's loan - which is funny, because that's my sister-in-law's name, and she's the one I went down to the Windy City with

Captain George, a neighbourhood character (sorry he's sideways)!

Love this 50sesque Skyway entrance

The famous theatre sign...

...featuring a Montrealer!

From a distance...


Lake Michigan


(Which reminds me: the best line from this trip was my three-year-old niece who, on her first glimpse of the city (after a 13-hour car ride in which she was repeatedly told that we were going to Chicago, would be in Chicago soon, were almost at Chicago), said: "look at that big Chicago over there"!)

Lego Lord of the Rings!

Perfect Strangers!
At least, that's what this sign reminded me of: the opening credits to the tv show

Look real close... there's a man rappelling down the side of the building in the centre!

Here he is (I thought I'd saved these photos right side up, but I guess not!)

St James Cathedral

St James Cathedral, visited by Lincoln!

St James Cathedral stained glass

The Tip Top Tap

The water tower, unfortunately on its side

Wrigley Field

Wrigley Field

Wrigley Field

And another Wrigley Field (you can tell some of these shots are from the car...)

This is Toronto, on the way back...

Help me!

I love truck stops

Wayne Gretzky highway, Ontario!

We went for another drive a couple of weekends ago, along the south shore of the St Lawrence River.

But before I get to that, here are some photos of me making mantı, a sort of Turkish ravioli. My sister and I used to make this with my grandmother and great aunt (with proper rolling pins, I must say, not a washed-inside-and-out wine bottle!), and I hadn't realised quite how much easier it is to make when you're working as a team. It took me three hours by myself just to make enough for three servings!

Rolling the dough...

Filling all the little pieces...

A serving of mantı!

And now back to Montreal, and the view from the south shore of the St Lawrence River...

The city from a distance



...with owl...

...and another owl!

I took a shot of the St Louis Falls back in 2009 from the same angle...


War memorial


A lovely tree

Are you participating in the WiP it blogfest? I'm looking forward to hearing about everyone's stories!

Where do you like to go that's in driving distance (for a weekend trip, say)?


Hi Deniz .. some lovely shots and it must have been a fun time if you had your niece along with you - at that age they make the most amazing comments .. lots of laughter, but 13 hours in a car ... no thank you!

Cheers Hilary
J.L. Murphey said…
Hi Deniz! No I'm not participating in WIP Blog Hop.

You've been working the (W)IP on Druid's Moon, that I feel I've read already from your blog. LOL You are so close to finishing. Another 6,000 words. I added in another 1000 for cuts and edits. You've probably written 100K words in this story already, but deleted or changed them.
S.P. Bowers said…
I've never been to Chicago but I'd love to go sometime. There was a landscape architect who designed many of the parks there and I'd really like to see his work.
Some great photos of Chicago! Sorry you didn't get to see Michael and Melissa.
You one line pitch is perfect.
M Pax said…
First, that Turkish dish looks yummy. And you took a lot of great photos. I'd forgotten about Perfect Strangers until you mentioned it. I was in Chicago a very long time ago.

Best on your WIP. It sounds wonderful.
Deniz Bevan said…
Thank you, Hilary, it was lots of fun - niece *and* nephew!

The writing's the easy part, Jo - I still have lots of editing to do...

Two days was *not* enough Sara - I didn't even get to see the Tolkien papers at Marquette University!

Thank you, Alex!

Thanks, M :-)
Sounds like a great premise for a story, especially since you've used a well-loved fairytale.

I was going to participate in WiP but changed my mind. I like how you changed days. If I hadn't been booked today for a different blogfest, I might have participated.
Lara Lacombe said…
Chicago is a great city--glad you had fun! :)
Trisha F said…
Awesome photos! I loved both Chicago and Toronto when I visited, but would love to go back to both. :)

Your WIP sounds like a really fun read! I know what you mean about betas/CPs - none of my novels are particularly ready for anyone but me to lay eyes on them.
Dana said…
Love the photos—especially the one of the guy rappelling. Yikes!

I probably won't participate in the blogfest, but I'm looking forward to reading about everyone's WIPs. :)

Have a great day!
Melissa Bradley said…
Gorgeous photos!! And the Skyway is right over my neighborhood. You probably looked down on my mom's house as you drove by. LOL

Congrats on all the writing!!
Shah Wharton said…
Hey Deniz. What great pictures! I do love holiday snaps, especially the panorama ones! :)

A for your WIP - it sounds great. Best of luck with it.

Shah X

DL Hammons said…
Druids Moon sounds like an interesting read. Thank you for taking part with our Blogfest today!! :)
Crystal Collier said…
I like your concept for Druids Moon. One year and counting, eh? Why does this writing process have to take so long? ;)
Carrie-Anne said…
I love your pictures! I think every culture has some variation on dumplings/ravioli/pirogi.

One of my dream jobs is archaeology, so I love the opening premise of your WIP. And I love the cave/cavern setting.
Nick Wilford said…
Ancient caves... evil force... sounds great to me! Nice pics too!
Tiana Smith said…
Your synopsis is great :) I loved your pictures too!
Kate Larkindale said…
I really like your synopsis. I've always had a soft spot for the Beauty and the Beast story.

Great photos too!
Adriana Dascalu said…
I love the idea. tricky, lots of potential. I think it'll be amazing!
"Where There's Life" sounds like it has an interesting premise. Is it paranormal? Contemporary fiction?

Also, I noticed that you said you "started typing [it] up." Do you write your stories by hand first?
Suzanne said…
Hi, popping in from the blog hop :) Sounds like lots of potential!
Suzanne @ Suzannes Tribe
Anonymous said…
Beauty and the Beast was my favorite Disney movie, so I'd probably like your WIP!
Old Kitty said…
All the best with Druid's Moon! Love the take on Beauty and the Beast! Boo to the evil force wanting to tear this two apart!!!

Yay for these pics - and your manti looks amazing!! I've never heard of it till now!! Yum!! Take care
Nas said…
Wow! Deniz! I loved all the photos. Seems you had a lovely time.

All the best!
Misha Gericke said…
Lovely pics! I love driving around, so anything within 5 hours' distance is fair game. ;-)

Your story sounds amazing.
Deniz Bevan said…
Thanks, Stina! It was the only way I could do it, since I only blog once a week now.

I can't wait to go back, Lara!

Thanks, Trisha!

Glad you came by, Dana :-)

Thanks Melissa and Shah!

It was a great idea, DL!

I wish I was more disciplined, Crystal... Sigh...

Thanks Carrie-Anne, Nick, Tiana, Kate, and Adriana!

It's contemporary, Sione, but with a sort of mystical element. I can't seem to draft on the computer - always have to start with pen and paper!

Thanks Suzanne and Milo!

Thanks so much Kitty!

Thank you Nas and Misha!
Tina said…
Hi! Nice to meet you! Love your twist on the Beauty and The Beast tale. I love the reluctant love stories...
Great photos, too. The sideways photo thing is one I haven't figured out yet either. If I TOUCH photo with Blogger, it will never turn sideways to be correct. If I just play with my photos, and then in a different computer session, put a photo up on my blog, THEN it will be the correct orientation. No idea why, but there's a work around, if you have a chance to try it.
Tina @ Life is Good
J.L. Campbell said…
Hi, Deniz,
Love the sound of that fairy tale retold.

Lots of nice pictures too. I like the pictures of the water and the sculptures.
Great photos! And if you ever do want a beta for your book from an archaeologist, just let me know! :)
Cathy Keaton said…
I do love Beauty and the Beast type stories! I hope the WIP goes over well. :)
nutschell said…
that is an evocative poster and I love these pictures!
Jack said…
Great pictures! looks like you had a lot of fun! And I love your book idea, it sounds really great. I'll be sure and buy myself a copy when it comes out. *Grin*
Aldrea Alien said…
Ah! You had me at Beauty and the Best. How could I resist a story inspired by my favourite fairytale?

Isn't it amazing how there can be so many and they all end up so vastly different from each other?
Pk Hrezo said…
Lots of great pics! And your story sounds great--unique twist. One of these days I'm gonna get back up to Chi-town and visit Michael. :)
Jocelyn Rish said…
I've never been to Chicago, so it was fun to visit vicariously through your photos. Your WIP sounds very intriguing - best of luck with the edits!
Susan Oloier said…
Druid's Moon sounds like my kind of read. I just finished a YA contemporary romance with paranormal elements.
Love the pics, too!
Deniz Bevan said…
Thank you, Tina! Luckily no sideways photos since then...

Thanks Joy!

Oh, wow, thanks Meradeth! I hope by the end of the summer...

Thanks Cathy, nutschell, and Jack!

It's fun finding new ways to retell them, Aldrea!

Thanks PK, Jocelyn, and Susan!

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