Wednesday, 29 May 2013

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)?

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Towel Day, Giveaway Winner!, and Interesting Links

Towel Day on Saturday!

I'm organizing a book fair at work this week and happened to see a copy of The Hitchihker's Guide to the Galaxy.

I've only ever read a borrowed copy before! So I picked it up, and will reread it on Saturday, towel in hand.

Actually, to be perfectly honest, I'm only rereading it so I can finally get Neil Gaiman's Don't Panic!...

I've been reading a lot, which is wonderful, but still procrastinating like there's a thousand tomorrows on the editing front (hello, ROW80 goals falling by the wayside).

Author Joe Hill has a morning To Do List of 5 Items. The same five items every morning:

Write 1000 words, "read a poem, take my Paxil, gobble down a New York Times article, walk the dog."

I like the idea of reading a poem a day, as well as the New York Times (I don't currently have a dog or a prescription). Writing 1000 words would be fun! But what I really need to do is EDIT that many words. Sigh. Back to reading!

Look, a tumblr-type site of what commuters in London are reading!

Speaking of the site, June is my two-year anniversary on tumblr! Here was my first month, and a few snapshots of other months:

Smiley face!

Pain au chocolat!


The Fault in our Stars!

Writers and their cats! Also, Zwack!

Three fun things:

Bricks in Montreal buildings, with cats' paws in them!

The Digital Public Library of America!

Dorothy Parker in From Writers at Work, the Paris Review interviews, published 1957 (yes, another book fair find!):

"And Harold Ross, the New Yorker editor. ... He had a profound ignorance. On one of Mr. Benchley's manuscripts he wrote in the margin opposite 'Andromache', 'Who he?'
Mr. Benchley wrote back, 'You keep out of this.'"

I love that 'who he?' line that editors used to use. Also love the author being snarky back to the editor.

And now... drum roll... The winner of the ebook of James Forrester's The Roots of Betrayal is:

Congratulations, Carole Anne!

Which authors' books would you look for at a book fair?
Anyone want anything special? I could keep an eye out!

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