Wednesday, 28 January 2015

A Quick Jaunt Round the Blogosphere!

Very quick post today as I'm going to be on my rounds, trying to catch up with all of your blogs!

I'm doing well on my main A Round of Words in 80 Days goal, which is to complete the Alfred Russel Wallace transcriptions: I've typed up the current batch and simply need to format them. I also finished knitting an Outlander-inspired cowl! But that's for a later post...

I thought I'd share links to some of the fellow bloggers I'll be visiting, including - still! - some lovely bloggers who came by when I was blog blitzed!:


Trisha at Word and Stuff


Joan of Dark - who has a new book of Geek Knits patterns coming soon!


The Word Wenches, a gaggle of romance authors

Al Diaz or Father Dragon - haven't visited in ages!

Joy Campbell - another blogger I miss visiting!

Fellow Forumite Jo Murphey

Jamie at Mithril Wisdom

Nick at Scattergun Scribblings


...and so many more! Including author Jo Bourne, who always has awesomesauce helpful posts on technical topics. Also Forgotten Bookmarks, featuring images of the many varied items readers leave behind in books, and Pop Sensation, a hilarious send-up of vintage paperback novels.



I think I've also come up with an idea for a theme for this year's A to Z Challenge (sorry, Gary, I can't resist the A to Z!). Having a theme always helps, because if I get organized I can plan posts in advance and maybe - just maybe! - keep up with comments. It'll be another book-related challenge for me, I think.

Are you joining the A to Z Challenge?

Which other bloggers should I visit?

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Year-End Writing Recap and Full Set of Characters' Faces Images

And the winner of my 900-posts contest is...Theresa!

I've previously employed my cats to choose winners, because it's easy to toss rolled up bits of paper in the air and have them choose one to bat around. This time, though, I used a new method. I asked this little girl to choose from a range of items on the windowsill:


A foolproof method! Except when she launched her chosen item on the floor...

For today's post and ROW80 check in I'd planned to do a year-end review of my writing in 2014. Yet I'm afraid to look, as I don't think I've accomplished very much. Let's see:

January 2014 – I was wise last January. I recapped my knitting as well as my writing, and I only entered one vague goal: edit Druid's Moon. Unfortunately, I'm still stuck on that project. It's a great little novella. It just needs a bit of tension-adding tweaking...
February – Not much writing, again. But I updated my characters' faces file! This is very exciting. For handy reference, and fun, I'm going to repost that portion at the end of this post.
March – I made it over to the Forum for an exercise on flashbacks.
April – The A to Z Challenge!
May – I participated in another Forum exercise, kept up with Alfred Russel Wallace transcriptions, and met Irvine Welsh!
June – Well, I read the latest Outlander book...
July – Let's call it filling the well; I was certainly reading a lot.
August – Book reviews count as writing! I wrote more of them in August, and also completed the Forum exercise.
September – Another Forum exercise, on similes and metaphors, plus I started typing up the longhand draft of Larksong.
October – More book reviews, more typing, and I started thinking about my NaNo story.
November – NaNoWriMo! Plus book reviews.
December – Filling the well again. Recap of books read in 2014. I typed a few more hundred words of Larksong; I've got half a notebook to go! Also submitted a short story to a contest.
January 2015 – Almost completed a new batch of Wallace letters. Also, I've found out about a few new agents I'd love to submit Out of the Water to. Here, then, are my goals for 2015:

Keep up with blogging and the Wallace transcriptions, and maybe the Forum (no pressure on the latter).
Get going on the Druid's Moon revamp. I can start by printing it again and reading it on the way to and from work.
Submit Out of the Water to new agents.
Find homes for the vignette and short story I haven't submitted anywhere yet.
Finish typing Larksong in plain text on the iPad and enter it in Scrivener.

What I really need to do is revise my schedule and draw up a plan that carves out writing time in my day-to-day (which I used to have either in the evenings or at 5 a.m.). I'd like to get that done this week.

Characters' Faces!

The Face of A Lion

Austin
(I have been trying to track the source of this photo, discovered in Real Simple magazine, for years.)

Kedi


Out of the Water

Baha
(this photo was taken by Ara Güler.
The surroundings are completely anachronistic (picture Baha carrying an easel, not a mattress!)
but the pose and expression are just right.)

Rosa
(this is actually Edwin Long's The Marriage Market, 19th Century.
I discovered the image on The Orientalist Gallery.)

Brother Arcturus
(this is actually Anthony Van Dyck's Portrait of the Sculptor Duquesnoy, 1627-29)

Rosa's father is in there too, but he also has a story of his own:

Captive of the Sea

Santiago
(ahem. Some of you might recognise him as Mike Wolfe from American Pickers.
What can I say? It's that expression on his face, it's pure Santiago.)

Mawdlen/Magdalena
(this is from the Elegance series by Rob Hefferan)

Rome, Rhymes, and Risk

Devran
(um, yes, that is Canadiens defenceman Tomas Plekanec. Why?)
(actually, Devran also looks a bit like actor Tom Ellis.)

Ayten
(another image from The Orientalist Gallery)

They also look like this when they're together:
(Solomon and Gaenor is one of my favourite films.)

Druid's Moon

Frederick
(this guy is French Formula 1 racer Romain Grosjean.
I saw his photo in the paper and thought, "Frederick! Since when do you race cars?")

Lyne
(this is a screenshot from some survey that I took.
I was halfway through when this image appeared on my screen. I was very excited!)

Larksong

George
This is completely the wrong face, but the outfit and stance feel right. I still haven't quite located a photo of George's face. I came close yesterday though, when I noticed some of the faces in a link someone posted to a Karl Lagerfeld shoot on dandies for Numero Homme magazine.

Alice
I don't have a picture of Alice! Well, I do. I have a gorgeous shot of a couple on the beach that looks exactly like Alice and George once they've openly admitted to their love for each other, but unfortunately it was a photo that an author shared of her parents (from close to Alice and George's time period) and I haven't yet asked permission to share it here. Sorry, Alice!

And finally, there's this image, which makes me feel like I'm inside a story every time I look at it.
It's Daniel Ridgway Knight's Rural Courtship, but when I saved it on my desktop, I called it "nothing changes, huh?"

I hope you all had a great writing and reading year in 2014!
Which images have inspired you to write?

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Contest to Celebrate My 900th Post!

This is my 900th post!

The last milestone was my 800th post, which featured the first sentence of a story, milking a cow, and lots more.

Prior to that, I celebrated my 500th post with a week-long contest and a recap of all the posts that had gone before, including a very handy list of all the books I'd reviewed, plus blog awards and writing snips and author interviews and writers' houseparties and Charles II and so on. I'd really like to do that for today's post. Unfortunately, I don't have time to go through 400 posts one by one. Maybe when I hit 1,000 I can make the effort, especially since going through the list of posts has gotten me intrigued about all the authors I've reviewed or interviewed.

Instead, I'm going to share a few random ones from the last 400 posts that leap out at me based on their titles:

30-day Song Challenge

HEAP

Reading a Book is Like the Star Trek Revolving Door

Speaking of Star Trek -- Wil Wheaton!

30 Things I Want To Do

How do you read?

I'd forgotten I'd appeared in Real Simple magazine!

For the 2012 A to Z Challenge, I listed my favourite books.

For the 2013 A to Z Challenge, I had no theme! I started with A is for Astronaut.

The 2014 A to Z Challenge was based on our move to Geneva, Switzerland. There were lots of photos!

I hosted a virtual writers' conference, for everyone missing out on the Surrey Conference that year.

Research weirdness!

My favourite coffee mug

If I was doing a proper summary of all the posts, I would have an entire group called ...And Then There Was Neil. It all started with An Unexpected Post About Neil Gaiman. Things have been very exciting since then!


I missed the Insecure Writer's Support Group day last week and didn't have a chance to introduce myself. For the benefit of an ROW80 update then, here's what I'm working on:

Larksong, a romance set in the summer of 1914 in Canada. First draft being typed up into second draft.

Druid's Moon, a paranormal romance set in Cornwall. Final draft, needs editing based on agent and beta feedback.

Three historical romances with interconnected characters, set in 1470-1493 London and Barcelona and Constantinople: Captive of the Sea, Out of the Water, and Rome, Rhymes, and Risk. The second novel was written first and is out on queries. The other two are in various stages of editing.

There are others, including my recent NaNo draft and short stories, but those are the main projects. Currently I'm focusing on completing the typed draft of Larksong -- and getting back into the Alfred Russel Wallace transcriptions. The goal for this week is to print the latest batch and start typing them.

And now, let's break up all that text with some fireworks!


(from the Living in Geneva blog)

900 posts! Contest! Woo!

Very simple really --
anyone commenting on this post over the next week is eligible to win a 20$ gift card for books.
Your choice!
Amazon, Indigo, BookDepository, AbeBooks, whoever does online gift cards.

Thank you all for reading and for being such a great blogging community.
Here's to another seven years and 900 posts!

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

One Winter's Day and Escalade Photos

Winter's day...

Mulled wine cart

Pikemen

Wool!

Not sure what this was. Preserved plants in jars...but I missed the young lady's explanation.

Songs of the Escalade. All of these photos are of the commemoration festivities of the Escalade, an event that took place in 1602 -- enemies of the city were beaten off the walls and their invasion foiled. Boiling soup was poured on their heads!

Marching band

Drummers

Men preparing to head for battle

City walls

The Alps in winter





Every day, in every light, they look different. Save for the fact that they always look like something out of an ancient story. I'm always taking photographs!

The current run of ROW80 has ended and a new round has begun, to run until 26 March. Eighty days of writing and other goals. For now I'm going to stay vague. I'd like to get some editing done, and maybe send a few more submissions to agents. I'd also like to finish the current crop of Alfred Russel Wallace correspondence transcriptions!

What are your newest goals?

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