Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Visit to Lakeside Town of Rolle, ROW80, and Ambient Mixer

Part two of Lac Leman photos!

We visited Rolle at the end of September:



I only have one ROW80 goal this week: decide what to do during NaNoWriMo! Do I edit Larksong and Druid's Moon? Do I type up the WWI story from last year's NaNo? Do I start a new story? Or do I continue the story I started during Camp NaNo in August? Must choose...

I've been listening to something interesting while I work. I discovered the Ambient Mixer website through Kait Nolan, and am enjoying it more than I thought I would! You can listen to all sorts of background sounds, from a quiet library (scratching quill pens!) to a ship at sea (waves on the hull! ship's bell!) to zombies attacking (this would be a great background sound for a Hallowe'en party) and much more.

You can also create your own!

I've made a pub by the seashore, with a fireplace and a train in the distance. And a bit of medieval music...

Which sounds would you love to have in the background?

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Visit to Lakeside Town of Morges, ROW80, and the Latest IWSG Project

New anthology!

The Insecure Writer's Support Group hosts are holding a contest!



"A short story competition with the top ten stories getting published in an anthology. (Authors will also receive royalties on sales.)
Eligibility: Any member of the Insecure Writer's Support Group is encouraged to enter – blogging or Facebook member. The story must be previously unpublished. Entry is free.
Word count: 5000-6000
Theme: Alternate History/Parallel Universe. That’s right, we’ve decided to go the speculative route. This theme has plenty of scope and we’re open to pretty much anything along these lines, except erotica or graphic violence.
Story deadline: November 1st 2015
How to enter: Send your polished, formatted, previously unpublished story to TheIWSG at gmail dot com before the deadline passes. Make sure to include your contact details.
Judging: The IWSG admins will create a shortlist of the best stories. The shortlist will then be sent to our official judges."


I've entered a new short story... As for other ROW80 goals, I've set aside some of my stuff, though I'm still knitting, to edit a project of my mother's.

And I've got more photos! This post marks a series of four posts in which I'll share photos of our trips to villages along the western shore of Lake Geneva.

We visited Morges in August:

Love this Passage du Loup (Alley of the Wolf)

Are you looking back fondly on summertime already?

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Talli Roland's Latest, and a Knitting ROW80 Update

More holiday tales!

Talli Roland has a new story out:

Christmas at Cranberry Cottage



"With a whirlwind lifestyle travelling the world, the one thing Jess Millward relies on is Christmas with her gran in cosy Cranberry Cottage. When her grandmother reveals the house is directly in the path of a new high-speed railway, Jess is determined to fight.
Can Jess save the cottage from demolition, or will she have no home to come to this Christmas?"

I read this last weekend, and recommend it! It's just the right blend of heartwarming but not sappy, and was all the more poignant as it made me think of my maternal grandmother, who passed away last spring. Thanks for the warm and fuzzy feelings, Talli!

I'm cross posting to the knitting blog today, because my ROW80 goals have gotten somewhat skewed. I've got some notes and those five pages of Larksong still to type, Druid's Moon notes to check and editing to do, and NaNo to plan for, but instead I've been reading and knitting!

One project started, and one done:

Baby blanket (for a cousin due in January):




Coincidentally, the pattern for this blanket is taken from a pattern book I bought at the Knit n Purl shop in Myrtle Beach, the same book I used a pattern from when knitting a gift for Talli when she was expecting!

Baby tuque!



Came across this fun Wondermark a while ago:



I've also become a patron of Knitty, the longest-running online knitting magazine!



Have you supported any projects on Patreon? Or maybe on Kickstarter or another similar site?

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Eurovision, A New Brenda Novak!, Insecure Writer's Support Group Day, and ROW80

Eurovision!

The annual song contest is now accepting entries in one of the very preliminary rounds: selection of the national song that will go on to the official contest.

Switzerland has a brilliant option this year: Meant to Be by Swiss Army. Click on the link to have a listen, add it to your favourites (no need to log in! Clicking on "favourite" simply helps keep it at the top of the list on the songs page) and stay tuned for updates regarding voting!

http://esc.srf.ch/en-ch/swiss-army?sorting=created





When are we not insecure? I was drawing up a weekly schedule for myself as part of the latest round of ROW80, and after work and family time, it looks like I have one hour each night (between 9 and 10, if I go to sleep at 10, and I should, to keep up my energy and get a proper rest!) to Do Things. Things = writing, editing, reading, blogging, knitting, the Compuserve Forum, Twitter, etc. The same hour on weekends, plus anywhere from 1 to 4 hours during the day while baby naps. This is Not Enough Time. If I edit during my commute, that means I lose reading time, unless I read between 9 and 10, in which case I lose Twitter and personal email time (hello, overseas family and friends!).

For instance, this weekend I gave up reading and writing to knit!

 Winter tuque for baby

All of which leads me to say that IWSG Day is a good day to remember to stop feeling guilty! We can't add hours to the day or survive on no sleep. Best to appreciate each project as it comes!

Speaking of projects, our IWSG hosts are holding a contest:



"The IWSG Short Story Contest 2015
After the success of last year's IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond, we decided to create another book. This time it's a short story competition with the top ten stories getting published in an anthology. (Authors will also receive royalties on sales.)
Eligibility: Any member of the Insecure Writer's Support Group is encouraged to enter – blogging or Facebook member. The story must be previously unpublished. Entry is free.
Word count: 5000-6000
Theme: Alternate History/Parallel Universe. That's right, we've decided to go the speculative route. This theme has plenty of scope and we're open to pretty much anything along these lines, except erotica or graphic violence.
Story deadline: November 1st 2015
How to enter: Send your polished, formatted, previously unpublished story to TheIWSG at gmail dot com before the deadline passes. Make sure to include your contact details.
Judging: The IWSG admins will create a shortlist of the best stories. The shortlist will then be sent to our official judges."


And speaking of reading during my commute, this week I read Brenda Novak's A Winter Wedding!

A Winter Wedding (Book 9: Whiskey Creek Series)


One Christmas can change your life...
Kyle Houseman believes he'll never find anyone he could love as much as Olivia Arnold, who's now married to his stepbrother. Not only did he lose her, he's been through one divorce and has no desire to go through another. He's determined to be extra careful about the next woman he gets involved with -- which is why he fights his attraction to the beautiful stranger who rents his extra house for the Christmas holiday.
Lourdes Bennett is a country music artist. She's only planning to stay in Whiskey Creek long enough to write the songs for her next album -- the album that's going to put her back on top. Her dreams don't include settling in a town even smaller than the one she escaped. But as she comes to know Kyle, she begins to wonder if she'd be making a terrible mistake to leave him behind...

I think this is the most...gradual...romance I've ever read. I mean that as a compliment! The story moves very smoothly, and the build up is both believable and realistic. Really, though, my word choices are doing nothing to help me praise the flow of A Winter Wedding. In a way, I think it's because commenting on Kyle and Lourdes' thoughts and emotions would be like commenting on those of friends; not just because I've read all the Whiskey Creek books and know the main residents of the town quite well, but because Kyle and Lourdes are both well-drawn. Their backgrounds, their motivations, their reactions to each other, all make their love-at-first-sight not just possible but inevitable.

Of course, there's the unavoidable tension and obstacles. The inner tensions are described really well, with a great balance of show and tell. As for the obstacles, in the form of a vengeful ex on one side and a conniving ex on the other...I don't want to reveal too much. But the resolution is very satisfying.

Oddly enough, if I had to recommend a Whiskey Creek book for those who don't want to read them in order, I think I'd recommend this one. Though Ted and Sophia's story and Phoenix and Riley's... Who am I kidding, the latest one is always the one that gets recommended. Start in order and read them all! Or read the holiday ones over the winter, maybe...

And, finally, speaking of the holidays, look what's coming!

Christmas at Cranberry Cottage by Talli Roland



What are you reading at the moment?
Would you rather read winter holiday or summer holiday stories?
What're you dressing up as for Hallowe'en?

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