Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Exciting News!

Funny thing about social media -- posting announcements across various platforms when a major event takes place. (Which makes me wonder, why do we say "change my status update" instead of "update my status"?)

Harking back to my Belated Announcement...A joyful development from last week!:



Not quite the usual A Round of Words in 80 Days update I suppose...

Hope everyone else has had an exciting week!

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Fun Blogfests Coming Up!

Blogfests!
There are two really good ones coming up, one in September and one in October.

September's is hosted by Ninja Captain Alex!


"Everyone has a favorite movie or band that no one else has ever heard about. For whatever reason, they remain undiscovered and underrated. Now is your chance to tell the world about this obscure treasure!

On Monday, September 22, post about your favorite unknown –-

MOVIE –- BAND/ARTIST –- TV SHOW –- BOOK

Post about one or all four – dealer's choice!"

I'm thinking I might not have time to do this blogfest on the day, so I'll quickly note four items today!

Movie: Waking Ned Devine


Band: Marion



TV Show: If you haven't started watching Outlander -- based on Diana Gabaldon's wonderful series of books -- what are you waiting for?



Book: I could pick so many! Anything by Somerset Maugham makes a fascinating read. Paul Gallico's The Snow Goose is absolutely lovely. And for 50s/60s nostalgic humour, playwright Jean Kerr's book about city-dwellers who move to the suburbs with a passel of kids is great fun!

There's even a free version online: Please Don't Eat the Daisies.


Visit Alex's blog to add your name to the linky list.


October's blogfest is hosted by the lovely Joy Campbell!


"In 2013, several writers shared some heart-warming posts in which they wrote about real-life heroes. If you participated last year, you're welcome to write about another person who has touched your life in some way or create a flash fiction or opinion piece.

It's easy to participate. On October 20, post approximately 300 words about someone who has encouraged or inspired you. Your hero may be a friend, spouse, teacher or writing buddy."

Visit Joy's blog to add your name to the linky list.

Looking forward to seeing everyone's blogfest entries in the coming months!

As part of my ROW80 goals, I did manage to type up all the Wallace transcriptions. They just need formatting and then I can send off this batch.

Hope the writing and editing is going well for those of you getting more work done than I am!
Do you have other fun blogfests to recommend?

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Tara Tyler's Beastly Survey, Save Your Writing!, Three Things I Write, Brenda Novak's Latest, and ROW80

Have you ever lost some of your writing?

Asking because I missed posting for the Insecure Writer's Support Group last week, and I happened to see this tumblr post by Neil Gaiman just now:


I haven't lost writing in a while, thankfully, except for last week's Wallace fiasco. I've heard horrible stories of authors changing the names of their Scrivener files and then being unable to locate them. Mine was two different things: text in PlainText on the iPad that didn't sync to Dropbox because the wifi was not on, but that also for some reason did not save in the PlainText app itself; and the next day myself highlighting all the text and trying to click on "copy" and then realising I'd pressed the letter n by accident, and then pressing two more buttons before I discovered where the "undo" button was (and undo on the iPad only goes back one step), thereby losing everything I'd typed in that session.

That was nothing, however, a mere loss of some transcription of an already-printed text. Losing actual writing hurts much more. One major incident I can remember is when I had a book stolen. Before I left the office for the day I went into the washroom and put my purse and book down on a chair in the entrance. When leaving, somehow I forgot to pick up the book, which was a crazy thing to do because it was stuffed with bits of paper with story scenes and ideas scribbled on them. I went back first thing the next morning, and my book was gone. Neither the cleaning service nor security was any help. Who steals a book with notes-to-self in it? I'll never get those scenes back!

The IWSG tip is therefore Save Your Work! And make sure you have backups. One thing I learned while visiting places with slower internet is to periodically highlight your text and copy it (this is especially useful for when blog comments go wonky). That way if you're in the middle of a heartfelt reply and the internet crashes, you won't lose your wording. Unless you have your Firefox settings set to not save copied text when the browser closes - another thing that happened to me last week!

In more exciting writerly titbits, Stephanie had an interesting post the other day on three things I write and three I don't.

Three things I write:

Historical romance - my mainstay. I love exploring historical eras I've always wanted to read about, and romance is what makes the writing most interesting, especially since I'm a pantster.

Middle grade/Young adult - I love reading these genres. So far I've only written one full length novel with a younger main character. It's mostly middle grade; I don't think I've tried a story yet that explores young adult themes.

Short stories - This isn't a real genre, of course. So far I've written a realist fantasy, a historical murder mystery, a historical literary piece, and others. Short stories, when they come, are always out of left field for me.

Three things I don't - yet:

Poetry - I used to write poems all the time but it's been years - at least since the last time I read Stephen Fry - that I've been able to express myself this way.

Dystopian - I haven't tried it yet. But I've got a story idea rattling around in the back of my head. The first ever snip from the story is up as part of the August writers' exercise on the Forum right now! Another ROW80 goal for this round met!

Fantasy - I've never tried this before. I've got one brief glimmer of a story idea. But it's not set in a world of my own creation, even, so this'll be a back burner idea for a long time.

Speaking of fantasy, I'm a Goblin Girl!



Take Tara Tyler's fun Beastly Survey, part of her promotion for Broken Branch Falls, book one in the Beast World series.

I got to read Brenda Novak's latest Whiskey Creek story, The Heart of Christmas, this week!


I really enjoy catching up with this town's residents with every new book. The circle of friends who hang out at the Black Gold coffee shop are a great group of characters, each with an interesting back story, and with intriguing circumstances in their lives. I'd been wondering about Eve, owner of the bed and breakfast, for a while, so it's been great to see her side of things (especially about her relationship with Ted, who ultimately was in love with Sophia not Eve).

The story builds really well, from the moment when Eve wakes up: "There was a naked man in her bed." From there it's a seamless set of actions and consequences, centred around stranger-in-town Rex's dark and dangerous past, which is determined to catch up with him.

Eve finds herself falling for Rex, and thinks she can overlook the troubles he's been facing -- but only if she can help him evade the danger once and for all. That is, if Rex can only trust her -- and his feelings for her -- long enough to let her help...


Any new books that you'd recommend?
Which genres are you more used to writing?

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

The Beach! Plus Blogging Ideas, WWI Centenary, and ROW80

For the first time in a long time I've... got nothing.

I've mentioned all the intriguing books on my wishlist and TBR piles... I've celebrated other bloggers (and I still owe so many visits!)... I've gotten a little further on my main ROW80 goal of typing up the Wallace letters (following another wrangle with losing text on the iPad, this time through my own fault)... I've mostly caught up with or at least minimised my daily life task lists (I still carry too much paper and too many to do lists and general stuff in my purse)... I'm starting to get the hang of things more and more at my new job (can't believe it's been four months already!)... and the weather has gone back to lovely dry warmth and sunshine after a weird two weeks of cloudiness and rain.

This is usually about the time I make the mistake of signing up for a blogfest, to give me a theme to focus on. But then I fall further behind in commenting!

There is one main event this week, of course, and that's the centenary of World War I. I think of Tolkien, in the prologue to The Lord of the Rings when he says "To be caught in youth by 1914 was no less hideous an experience than in 1939... by 1918 all but one of my close friends were dead."

Oddly enough, I'd never searched for Tolkien memes before. Found this neat one just now:



Here's a war memorial in Geneva:



And the post-war attempt at peace, with the founding of the League of Nations:



I've looked up blog post ideas before when stuck for something intriguing to say. Here are a few that sounded good:
"Make Something -- Show us how you make your lasagna in a video. Show us how you organize your files on your computer. Take us through in a way that WE can do the same when you're done.
Share Five Friends -- Show us five friends' blogs and give us a blurb on why you like them.
Talk Slowly -- Teach us a difficult tech concept, piece by piece, with analogies, and drawings made off napkins or Flickr pics.
Five Tools I Use -- Show us your web toolbox (add or subtract as needed).
My Mother, My Daughter -- Doesn't have to be exactly this, but the idea is to interview your parent and your child, and ask them five questions to compare their perspectives.
A Cause to Connect -- Share your social cause of choice, and give us a background, the challenge they face, and ways to connect and be helpful.
Without Words -- Can you post a story told completely in pictures? How about sounds?
Conversations With Past Masters -- Seek out a journalist or a radio veteran or a former TV personality and interview them on how producing media was in their day, and what they see coming out of this social media space.
Secret Experts -- You know lots about how to be a digital citizen. You just don't realize that others DON'T know it. Share some tips for people coming online and engaging in social networking."
Book and writing ideas:
Read a classic that has always been on your list.
Write for at least 15 minutes every day.
Reread your favorite book from childhood.
Attend author readings at your local bookstore, library, or literary centre.
Reread your old work.
Read a best-selling mystery. What can you learn from a well-paced page turner?
Find some of the best humor writing and see what makes you laugh out loud. Then give yourself a humor writing assignment.
Get an anthology of poetry and read the same poem twice every day -- once in the morning, and once at night. Does coming back to it in the evening change it?

Meanwhile, there are actual beaches in Geneva!

Some are along the Rhone river:




Swirling colours where the Rhone river meets the Arve river

And some are right on the lake:



We also discovered a temporary Canadian-Quebecois food stall, complete with smoked meat sandwiches and poutine:



What other blog post ideas do you have? What's your go-to post theme?
Hope everyone's having a sunny week!

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 http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ch/2016/12/annual-books-read-statistics-2016.html
  • see the 2015 list and statistics at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ch/2015/12/annual-books-read-statistics.html
  • see the 2014 list and statistics at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ch/2014/12/books-read-in-2014-review.html
  • see the 2013 list and statistics at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2014/01/toast-to-professor-books-read-in-2013.html
  • see the 2012 list and statistics here http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2012/12/the-hobbit-review-and-year-end-books.html
  • see the 2011 statistics on http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2012/01/books-read-in-2011-statistics-fourth.html
  • see the 2011 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2012/01/books-read-in-2011.html
  • see the 2010 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2010/12/books-read-in-2010-listed-here.html
  • see the 2009 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2009/12/books-read-in-2009-part-ii.html
  • also in 2009 at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2009/12/books-read-in-2009-part-iv.html
  • see the 2008 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2008/12/books-read-in-2008-part-ii.html
  • also in 2008 at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2008/12/books-read-in-2008-part-vi.html
  • also in 2008 at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2008/12/books-read-in-2008-part-iv.html