Showing posts from 2007

Happy Hogmanay!

Resolutions that may or may not be achieved:
finish Lobster Press query
and get it in the mail (not for The Face of A Lion, not yet!)
go to the library and do more research for The Face of A Lion
write last 3-4 scenes and finish The Face of A Lion!
select photos/art to have framed with gift certificate!
work even harder for the January exercise since I missed December
and only did half of November
learn how to spell excercise

More resolutions to come; these are for the next two weeks!

Our Library

I have finally completed one major part of my TO DO list, and it only took me a year to do it! I started using LibraryThing last January and thought I would be finished cataloguing the library within a fortnight or so. Well, 12 months later, I've finally done it! - adding a pile of books to the library even as I tried to catalogue the ones we've already got. It seems when I started it, I didn't realise how quickly it would become such a boring job - it's too quick a task to be chatting at the same time and yet too slow for me, who's used to doing at least two things on the computer at once, if not ten. But kudos to the folks at LibraryThing for putting together such an easy to use template. You're only allowed up to 200 books before you have to pay for your account, so I had to get eight different accounts before I managed to put all our books in. Should I do our CDs/videos/DVDs/LPs as well? I started that once so I would only have to add everything purchased s…

The Face of a Lion

The more I look at it, the more it fits - what else could one want in a title?
Alright, let's see. The lion part refers to both Kedi (especially in one scene) and the lion/lamb dichotomy, as well as the Roman entertainment of lions in the arenas. Kedi has the face of a lion since he is obviously not a lion, but a cat, who can behave like a lion if he so chooses. One of the characters also gets a tattoo that features a lion, though he prefers it to be an antagonistic image, whereas Kedi's lion is more of a defender. Then, of course, the lion is king of the beasts. In a roundabout way, as well, I suppose the title could also refer to lions coming up out of the desert to assail the woods of Britain, and though that is certainly the context of the story, I don't want to imply that the Celts were wiped out entirely. The Roman invasion was necessary for the spread of certain ideals, but the Celts, and later the Anglo-Saxons, certainly had some ideas of their own. The quote from w…

The Face of a Lion

Ta da!!!! That's it! That's the title! Whew! More info later when I pause to catch a breath.

What? What?

In Ancient Time
An Anchor in the Waters
From the Sea
The Light on the Hills

Still trying to think of a title...

Title Contest

Let me accomplish one thing by the end of this month.
Five-day contest begins at midnight tonight; by December 1st I'd like to have a title for the Austin and Kedi story. The winner will have a ten dollar gift card from any store mailed to their home. Sure, why not, it's the first Sunday of Advent this weekend, and that means it's almost Christmas!
So far I've been thinking along these lines, but not one captures the right spirit of the story:
The Sea Rises
Out of the Shadow of Artemis
When Rome Was... (fill in the blank)
Kedi's Tales: The Roman Invasion of Britain
There and Back Again (thief! Bevan! We hates it forever!)
Kedi's Tail: A Journey in Time
The Rising Sea
Austin in Ephesus
How Austin Travelled to Ephesus and What He Did There
"Light and shadow by turns, but always love"
Walking Backward Through Time
The Rising Sea series, Volume I: Kedi's Tales, Book I: The Cat, the Boy and the Lady

Give Me An A...

I've tagged myself off Pam's Blog, but I'm missing the letters G, H, J, L, Q, V, W, Y and Z. Even when I procrastinate I can't get it right!
A) At a friend’s house, playing tag, ran smack into a glass door and bled profusely from the wrist – still have three scars.
B) Burned a hole in a friend’s sweater with a Bunsen burner.
C) Corners of desks. Chairs. Coffee Tables. Anything sharp aimed directly at my legs.
D) Dentist horrors: Fillings back when they still used The Ring and, on the way to (not from!) having a root canal treatment, during a snowstorm, fell in the middle of the street and tore up nylons and legs. Still had to go to the appointment.
E) Egged on boy who said “I can eat all the ice cream off my cone in one lick.” Called lunch monitor for assistance when he started choking.
F) Flu caused me to spew from every orifice. ‘Nuff said.
I) I was two years old... My mom was supposed to be cutting my nails but she was on the phone, so I thought I’d do it myself... Y…

Can't Resist A Tag

A) Four jobs I have had in my lifetime:
1. Second Cup Conseillere en Cafe
2. Assistant to airline magazine Editor
3. Translator, etc. at security company
4. Administrative Assistant in aviation security section at ICAO (all my jobs seem to have melded into this one. But where does the coffee fit in?)

B) Four movies I would watch over and over:
1. Waking Ned Devine
2. Solomon and Gaenor
3. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
4. Miracle on 34th Street (the original)

C) Four places I have lived:
1. Istanbul, Turkey
2. London, Ontario, Canada
3. Montreal, Quebec, Canada
4. my head

D) Four TV shows that I watch:
1. reruns of British comedy shows
2. Last of the Summer Wine
3. Doctor Who
4. Hockey Night in Canada

E) Four places I have been:
1. Holmfirth, England
2. Edinburgh, Scotland
3. Aberdovey, Wales
4. Foca, Turkey

F) Four people who e-mail me regularly:
1. Nina
2. my mom
3. Sim
4. Jenny

G) Four of my favorite foods:
1. Turkish pide
2. my mom's/grandmother's puddings
3. lasagna
4. eclairs

H) Four places I would …

Why Doesn't *My* Newspaper Report on the Important Things?

Yes I know I'm not supposed to be on the internet, but this started out as a research project, I swear! I found a photo of Austin in a magazine, so I went on the magazine's website to find out if they could tell me where they got the photo from, and while reading the editor's blog ( I found out that Peg Bracken has died.
Unfortunately (having just learned that her books are mostly out of print), I own only the I Hate to Cook Almanac, and will have to scrounge Abebooks and Alibris for the others.
I think these books are even funnier to me as someone who enjoys cooking, and even though I don't value much of anything that came out of the 60s, I do like the women authors of that decade (and the 50s as well): Peg Bracken, Jean Kerr, Bel Kaufmann, Joyce Kissock Lubold; they seem to have had such a gung-ho attitude about life - husbands, children, cooking,…

Checking In

I should have thousands of words to show for my silence, but I don't. Merely a few hundred words in the past week and tidbits of semi-weird semi-familiar information about life in the Roman Republic. Would you like a lamp in your house shaped like a sandalled foot?
On the other hand I: have almost finished a scarf, done a third of my Christmas shopping, went for a drive in the country today and am eagerly anticipating writing my bit for the group novel!

Following the Herd

November will be offline month. Jenny, Claire, Jen, I'm taking my tip from you guys. I had my computer screen at work turned around so that most of what I did (facebook, anyone?) was hidden. Well, I've turned it right around. And you know that voice in your head that tells you every fifteen minutes "check your email! check the forum! there's bound to be something new!"? Well, I'm trying my durndest to clamp down on him. From now on the only voices in my head should come from my characters. I'll go out on a limb if need be, pretend I'm at a house party and start writing whole scenes from Theseus' or Althea's point of view. Anything to shake things up and move closer to the end. Not that I'm all that eager to enter the revision nether regions, but...
Of course, cold turkey won't work. For now I'll start with: check gmail, yahoo, facebook and the forum ONCE in the morning and ONCE at home at night. Actually, I think I'll start by c…

Update on Austin

I've been busy with the Hallowe'en House Party on the Compuserve Forum and have been a little slow with the "real" writing lately. It's strange how when something is in fun only, I can knock off 1045 words without breaking a sweat, but getting even 700 words out for the Austin and Kedi story involves much griping and hair-pulling. Then again, there are no deadlines or goals, beyond the daily suggestion, for the house party, whereas for the novel I've got to get at least 700 words written each day as part of the 70 Day Challenge. Of course, this makes writing sound like a chore - far from it. I *like* having these deadlines to force me to dedicate myself. If I sat around waiting for inspiration to strike... what was that about a cold day in hell?
Anyway, back to Austin. I've got a new goal, which actually won't take into effect until January. Seeing as the To Be Read pile has now reached the breaking point (four, count 'em, four piles of twenty book…

Another Tag Off Snail's Tales

A list of five statements for each of which a Google search returns my blog as the number one hit. The first three statements, according to Google, exist only in a post on my blog, but nowhere else on the entire Internet.
Another photo-worthy lovefest by Frodo and Sam...
A young Greek girl in pre-WWI Istanbul who falls in love with a dashing travelling musician from Brittany.
Gece otobüsüyle Cuma gecesi Kusadasi'na git, Pazartesi sabahi dön (Take the night bus to Kusadasi on Friday night and come back for Monday morning).
The "flavour" of life in Ephesus in the middle of the first century
Learning about mitochondria starts with Madeleine l'Engle's A Wind in the Door
Orhan Pastanesinden Tatli alip ye (Get some dessert from the Orhan Bakery and eat it).

Seems I'll have to find an original sentence about Austin and Kedi :-)

Evil Editor

I'm listed for Novel Deviations 3
Sounds exciting, once I figure out what it is...

Sven Says Sweat!

Yup, it's now day 2 of round 2 of the 70 Day Writing Challenge. My goal is easier this time: finish the book! Easier, since to do I only have to complete about 750 words per day instead of 900. Now, off to write!
Austin is in Rome now, though lots more needs to be told of their journey across the Mediterranean. Besides the political/literary/etc. timeline, I also need to keep a list of all the books/articles I have consulted, and will need to consult, for research, as well as a list of names and their meanings. Right now I give characters names based on what little knowledge I have and certain intuitive feelings if I come across a name on the internet. Later, though, these names may changed based on historical accuracy and any connotations associated with those names. To date I have:
Austin, main character
Kedi, friend and guide
Theseus, friend
Althea, friend
Pliny the Elder (yes, *the* Pliny the Elder)
Miss Julia
Lady Porphyry
Antonius, Theseus' brother
Constantine, a classmate
and so o…

Seven Random Facts About Me

Just for fun, while on Jo's website, I tagged myself with this. If you haven't filled it out, you may tag yourself also! Seven random facts about me:

1) I yawn when I'm thirsty.

2) Sometimes my dreams predict the future.

3) I'm usually reading about ten books at once.

4) The whole time we lived in Turkey I ate the same thing everyday for breakfast and lunch: borek with cheese and coffee for breakfast, a pide and a salad followed by rice pudding for lunch. Only once in a while when I wanted something different, did I have eggplant and rice for lunch instead of pide. But I never skimped on that rice pudding.

5) I can knit but I haven't made socks yet. Even Jamie and Ian can make socks!

6) I've read the Lord of the Rings at least once a year since I was ten.

7) I like skunk smell (admittedly, I've never been near one when it sprayed).

Write What You Know

One of the more spurious bits of advice given to writers is "write what you know" - as if to be a writer you can elaborate only on your morning commute to the office and the dimwitted things your colleagues say, not to mention your evenings spent doing chores and preparing supper/eating supper/clearing up after supper. Of course not! If Tolkien had followed this kind of lame advice... well, here's what Jo Bourne ( has to say (quoted verbatim from the Compuserve Books and Writers Forum):
#11 of 15 Posted Oct-8 10:01 PM
From jo bourne Posts 1312 Last 7:43 PM
To Diana Gabaldon [Msg # 57558.11 57558.10 ]

Hi Diana --

Whenever I see the 'write what you know' advice, I have this picture of nice Professor Tolkien interviewing an ork.

"So tell me, Urlurk Orklag ... did you always want to grow up to be a souless servant of evil?"


I'm on Evil Editor!

I'm New Beginning 381 on and happy to say that I received a couple of positive comments, one "continuation" in the style of Princess Bride (yay!) and a few confirmations of things I already knew I needed to fine tune - Austin's voice and the length of time between his trip to the bazaar in the morning and his meeting with Kedi in the late afternoon. Whew!

Research Randomness

Jenny over at jenny/' target=_blank>">Jenny Does the Write Thing (testing link-writing here) has a nice idea - creating a political/historical timeline for the length of time that one's character is in the past. So far all the research I've been doing has been merely to try and understand the "flavour" of life in Ephesus in the middle of the first century, especially day-to-day tools, habits and surroundings that are completely new (old?) to me: pottery bowls and lamps; open gutters in the streets; animals everywhere; smells of bread, fruit and unwashed bodies instead of cars, tar and air conditioner vents (yes, those are the kinds of gross smells I encounter each day on the way to work); travelling as a slow time-consuming process involving many people and animals and much packing of supplies, rather than airport security delays and flight delays (and whining about the length of a seven hour flight to Europe; how ea…

"If You Have Come This Far...

...and haven't already done this meme, consider yourself tagged." From, that's me tagged then, is it? Here you go:

An Interesting Animal I've Had
My sister and I raised a snail. I forget why we had him, I think he was a Turkish snail that showed up in our baggage when we came home. We kept him in a jar and fed him on carrots and lettuce. There was some dirt and twigs in the jar too. He would outgrow his jars and have to be transferred to other, bigger jars. Our mom did most of the work. Then one day he escaped! We searched for him, but he was gone. A few months later the cleaning lady came up to my mom and said, "is this yours?" holding out the snail. He had been living on the dining room carpet. My mom released him into the wild after that... Too bad we don't have any photos of him.

An Interesting Animal I Ate
It seems I've never eaten anything wacky or weird. For about five months, …

I'm Back!

A month it's been, of thinking and not writing, of planning and not creating. But I've written 659 words so far tonight and still have another scene in my head. Goal was 1000, just to get myself going, and then hopefully I can pick up the pace. October looks set to be a really busy writing month:

1. October goal of an even higher word count
2. Hallowe'en house party at Jen's!
3. Group novel
4. October exercise on dialogue
5. Posting He Ain't Heavy for critique while everyone else is at Surrey (
6. Possibly joining round 2 of Sven's 70 Day Challenge


Listening to Tolkien

"...with the leg of the shin of my father's kin... so hand the old bone over... as well set your boot to the mountain's root for the seat of a troll don't feel it!"

I wish I could write like this and I hope I can read like this to my kids!

That's all for tonight... we'll see if I get a few hundred words in...

First Cat Post

Sam (aka shmuzz, aka pepsi, aka smismar, senor, rotisserie, etc.) loves to drink from the bathroom faucet. About five times a day. Well, he'd probably drink from the kitchen faucet too, but he’s not allowed. He comes in after my morning shower, and we spend ten minutes together. I fussle him, he rubs himself on the shelf below the mirror, and slowly, gradually, he works his way into the bowl of the sink and starts lapping the water around the drain hole.
A few days ago, Saturday I think, he was in there while I was cleaning the bathroom, and I wasn’t letting him drink because I’d just sprayed cleaner all over the bowl. I rinsed it all with hot water and then – Sam jumped off and ran away. Considering it now, he must have gotten a splash of very hot water in his face, maybe even in his eye. He hasn’t drunk from the faucet since. I didn’t think too much of it until this morning, when I brought him into the bathroom, closed the door and tried to “acclimatise” him back to the faucet. H…

Extended Reply to Jenny

Jenny ( was talking about downtime...
We seem to be sort of on the same wavelength - maybe it's an autumn, bunking down for winter thing. I haven't written more than a couple hundred words in the past couple of weeks, only done sporadic resarch and plot-lining. The story's always there in my head, but it seems to have reached a plateau. I need to get rolling downhill!
I also haven't even been reading as much (which means finishing only one book a week instead of working through four or five), which is strange for me, but it does happen. Just feels weird when it does - like I'm sort of disembodied.
I've been reading Emily Carr's (search at books since Monday; she has a wonderfully evocative way with language - perhaps the flavour will rub off on me a little, bring back the spark...
Here's hoping the October excerices will galvanise me... I hope you've got a doozy up your sleeve, Claire!

While Sorting Through Old Emails...

...I found this, my oldest email on the web. From my uncle (, whose cat Temi just turned 19!) I've got emails from the mid-90s, but those have been printed and long since deleted. The original was mostly in Turkish, translations are in brackets.

----- Forwarded Message ----
From: "Bdelloid1"
To: denizb33
Sent: Friday, 23 August, 2002 11:15:13 PM
Subject: Re: hafta sonu [weekend]
In a message dated 08/23/02 14:06:26 Eastern Daylight Time, denizb33 writes:
>Hafta sonu tek basina insan Istanbul'da ne yapabilir? Isden bir kiz ile çikabilirim, telefonlastik filan, ama ondan
> baska ne var? [what can one do all alone on a weekend in Istanbul? I can go out with a girl from work, we've
> already talked on the phone, but is there anything else?]

1. Kitapçi gez. [Go around the bookstores.]
2. Mete'yi ara ve yalnizliktan sikayet et. Belki yemege davet ederler. [Call your uncle and complain about being lonely. Maybe they'll invite you t…

Why Published Authors Always Tell Aspiring Authors to READ

I agree with Diana that if you want to write, what you have to do is 1. Read and 2. Write (not necessarily in that order). There are endless good reasons for this, but I came across one today, while reading Dorothy L Sayers' translation of Dante's Divine Comedy. Being a product of the 20th Century, it never occurred to me that roads, paths, trails, etc. were not always divided in two, for traffic coming and traffic going. Apparently, in the good old days, people walked wherever they wanted on the road! If I had thought about it, of course, I might have realised the truth of this. But how much more fun to be reading something entirely different from the focus of your own story, and come across a small detail that counts as research. Back in ancient Ephesus, then, the mixing of crowds passing in all directions on the street would be something Austin might notice and comment on, especially if he's running away from one place and trying to reach another.
(Dante referred to this…

70 Day Writing Challenge

This is the tail end of the 70 Day writing challenge. Sven says sweat! but I haven't accomplished anything since the exciting 1500-word burst on Monday. With about 5 days left to go, my goal now is to at least type up ALL the 10,000 or so words I've got in my little notebook. Then I'll need courage to Read It All Once Through. On Paper. With A Red Pen. Oh dear oh dear... Maybe in avoiding that, I can finally finish the library cataloguing I've been doing (on - the catalogue's at 1300 books and I still have two large bins of books to add before it's done.
As for this evening, I hope to type up the index information I've got for Chapters 4 to 6 of Outlander. And maybe finish the scarf/shawl I'm knitting.
So many hobbies, so few evenings :-)

At the Half-way Point...

Yesterday was the last day of the five-day writing marathon over on the CompuServe Books And Writers Community. I wrote 1000 words per day and 1590 words yesterday – a one-day record for the Austin and Kedi story! My total hovers at 40,000 words; it’s hard to achieve an exact count because the WIP is interlarded (Hi Claire! ) with research notes and quotes.
I’m considering joining National Novel Writing Month in November ( The rules stipulate that you must begin a new novel; if I consider the Ephesus scenes as Act I (Hi Jenny! ), then I can start a brand new “novel” with Austin’s arrival in Rome. Since I always need some sort of outside willpower and enforced deadline, this may help me achieve the 80,000 word-goal for the finished novel. Although 50,000 words in one month is a bit of a stretch, given that I’m on the last week of the 70-Day challenge (Sven says sweat!) ( and barely squeaked together 900 words per day.
And yet…

Character Origins

My uncle (of Snail's Tales fame) was asking about the Klara story (An Arnavutköy Spring), and as I clarified the origins of the characters - Klara a Greek Ottoman, Servan from Brittany - it occured to me that for all my 20-year-long (and counting!) obsessiveness about England/Ireland/Scotland/Wales, I haven't yet managed to have a single plotline or character from that part of the world! I've got Greeks, Turks, Romans, Swedes... But no Scotch, Welsh, Irish or English men, women or children. I wonder why that is?Edited to add: Even Austin was born in England to Canadian/Turkish parents.

What I Have Done Today

This post was inspired by the What I Have Accomplished Today post at Snail's Tales.

1. Wrote 100 words before I started work.
2. Wrote 1400 words and commented on a few September exercises, and posted my own X, in between my 8.30 to 4.30 job
3. Met quite a few of my goals for the writing marathon!*
4. Cleared up some old emails from my inboxes
5. Had a lovely dinner with a few friends and attended Miss Sugarpuss' burlesque show!

Hoping tomorrow is just as fun and productive...

* here are the goals:
1. Do not sleep
2. Write 15K (ha ha ha ha)
3. Post September X
4. Post all comments to other Xs
5. Print story
6. Start editing DH's story for submission


Claire has an interesting post, to which I commented, about how much criticism a writer can take. I dole out much unwanted and unasked for copy editing advice, but I tend to receive other kinds of criticism (such as using too many -ing endings or my dialogue not ringing true). I could put up with copy editing corrections, but negative comments on style hurt quite a bit more. Still, as I commented on Claire's page, there's only one thing you can do - learn and move on... The best part is, if you're like me, sans editor and contract, you get the final say in your MS! We'll see what happens later, come query time...

Brotherhood of the Blade by Diana Gabaldon

I finally got my copy from Amazon yesterday. There's a feeling that Jamie Fraser gets at times, a sort of griping in the wame; well, I just hope that at least one book that I write gives a reader that sort of thrill/worry/anticipation/joy that I feel when delving into the life of Jamie, Claire or Lord John. This is also the first time I've read a book where I've already seen bits and pieces of it out of context (on the writers' forum), but it's much nicer to read it as a whole.
So as you can see, no writing accomplished this weekend. But I did manage to type up one already-written scene, and pick up a few facts, plot developments, research tips along the way. Note to self: too much red wine stains the lips purple; Austin should notice this.
I'll probably be heavily into the September exercise this week, yay to Claire for coming up with so many questions!
On a side note, being up this late (lovely housewarming Nina and Robin!) means I finally get to watch some good…

Things I Am Excited About This Weekend

1. I got my copy of Brotherhood of the Blade by Diana Gabaldon today! But I promised I wouldn't start it until I wrote at least a few hundred words.

2. Wrote 900 words, and did another tally - I'm at c. 46K! Which means only c. 15K to go by the end of the month (or before, since Sven's 70 Day challenge ends on the 20th). I've gotten more organized on the timeline as well, and figured out a few more threads in the spiderweb, such as where exactly Althea fits in. I'm blaming/lauding Claire for this completely, since her announcement that September's exercise would be about sex got Austin his first kiss!

3. McGill is clearing out the Education Library, which means our library is growing - 40 new LPs to listen to! Free!

4. Roasted chicken a la Jamie Oliver in the oven right now, sending delicious scents over to where I sit...

5. Another photo-worthy lovefest by Frodo and Sam...

6. Still having good weather, and no work on Monday! We took a nice walk in the sun today.

7. …

What I Am Writing

This year I have finished a short story, begun a novel, and every once in a while I take out an older novel and tinker with it.

The finished novel is tentatively entitled An Arnavutköy Spring, and is about a young Greek girl in pre-WWI Istanbul who falls in love with a dashing travelling musician from Brittany.

The work in progress does not have a title yet (watch for a contest - with prizes! - coming soon) but for daily purposes, is referred to as Austin and Kedi. Austin travels two millenia back in time to Ephesus in 41 AD, and helps to ensure that the Roman invasion of Britain actually takes place. His friend on this journey is a grey cat named Kedi. I am halfway to my goal of 80,000 words - woo hoo!

My First Post

Baby steps... Right off the bat, here's a to do list:

- decide on focus for blog
- write intro message
- email link to everyone
- add quotes, photos
- add music?
- link to Ryan's music page
- don't forget to edit!