Tolkien Birthday Toast, ROW80, and IWSG

Today is the day to toast Tolkien!

Here's the info from the Tolkien Society:

"To celebrate Tolkien’s twelfty-sixth (126th) birthday on 3 January 2018, The Tolkien Society invites all Tolkien fans to raise a toast to the Professor.

Let everyone know what you’ll be drinking and where in the comments below, and share your pictures on social media using #TolkienBirthdayToast.

The Toast

After Bilbo left the Shire on his eleventy-first birthday in The Lord of the Rings, Frodo toasted his uncle’s birthday each year on 22 September.

J.R.R. Tolkien was born in Bloemfontein on 3 January 1892, and we invite you to celebrate the birthday of this much loved author by raising a glass at 9pm your local time.

The toast is simply:

The Professor!

All you need to do is stand, raise a glass of your choice of drink (not necessarily alcoholic), and say the words “The Professor” before taking a sip (or swig, if that’s more appropriate for your drink). Sit and enjoy the rest of your drink."

Today is also Insecure Writer's Support Group Day!

And maybe a time for some year-end recaps and reflections, and new resolutions. JL Campbell has a great set of Year-End Questions for Writers on the IWSG blog. John Scalzi has some basic resolutions -- basic because they're ground-level resolutions always good to keep on top of

Last year I was busy with two novel drafts and a novel publication, along with writing a massive pile of words as part of two writers' houseparties on the former Compuserve Books and Writers Community (now and, and a new novel for NaNoWriMo2017.

Here's how I summarised it all in an early reflections post that also featured a recap of the first party, in 19th century San Francisco:

"Druid's Moon
Enter all handwritten changes: Done
Send to betas: Done
Incorporate beta notes: Done, except for overarching character motivation changes. For this I need...
...One more reread of the novel: To do
Possibly some more research: To do
Epilogue: To write"

Happy to report that all of the latter is done. I simply have to start submitting this one to possible agents...

"The Charm of Time
Enter all handwritten changes: Done
Some research: To do
Three missing scenes: To write
Epilogue: To write
Send to betas: To do"

Also all done! I've gotten some great beta feedback and incorporated as much as I could. Now to write the query letter...

Then in September, I started graduate school! That kept me busy enough for a while.

In between, I was preparing another novel for publication with Carina Press! One round of edits from the editor, one round of copy edits, and this gorgeous cover from the art department: my cover reveal!

Summer Fire, on sale now!
"'You know how it is with Canadians. We come alive in the summer.'

Ayse had resigned herself to an interesting—but in the end unromantic—trip visiting family in Istanbul. Great-aunts, touristy sites and endless meals…until she meets fellow doctor Hakan.
All tanned skin and defined muscle under his polo shirt, his kisses cut off her breath, making her dizzy. His every touch is a thrill.
Ayse wants all of Hakan at once. His sweet mouth, the heat of his body against hers, their heartbeats slowing together.
A holiday romance might give her some blazing memories come the lonely winter, but maybe, just maybe, the fire between them doesn’t have to be as fleeting as the summer.

For those times when size does matter. The Dirty Bits from Carina Press: quick and dirty, just the way we like it.

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!"

Look out for my blog post on the Carina Press blog, featuring photos from the Istanbul that Ayse and Hakan know... And here's a lovely shot of Heybeliada, one of the Princes Islands, which features in part of the story.

I made some story playlists on YouTube, for Summer Fire, The Charm of Time, the San Francisco houseparty, and the Grand Finale houseparty (which has some lovely Christmas music).

Then came publication day! Here are the Summer Fire book links:

If you read it, please consider leaving a review!

Today's optional IWSG Day question is: What steps have you taken to put a schedule in place for your writing and publishing?

A great question, as I haven't shared my goals for the new round of A Round of Words in 80 Days yet. Here goes, along with a few overarching goals for the year:

ROW80 Round 1, which ends near Tolkien Reading Day at the end of March:
enter handwritten edits to The Handful of Time (working title) and reread
query Druid's Moon
query The Charm of Time
keep editing Mystery at Bertram's Hotel (working title) on paper
back to school!

Round 2:
enter handwritten edits to The Handful of Time
enter handwritten edits to Mystery at Bertram's Hotel
do required research for both and come up with proper titles
keep querying
think about short story anthology
essays for school!

Round 3:
reread both stories, enter final edits, and send to betas
keep querying
figure out this short story anthology idea (I'll stop being mysterious if I actually decide to do it!)

Round 4:
back to school!
get some knitting in?

Short answer to the IWSG Day question is: always be busy!

I don't feel right if I don't have projects on the go. And if I want to throw it all aside and have a reading day, I feel less guilty. I'm not sure if it's because I've started school, or because ever since I started writing Christianne and Rory's stories (The Charm of Time and The Handful of Time) I don't actually cringe at my own writing, but I have noticed that I'm less likely to slack off nowadays than in all the years I've been recording my writing schedule on the blog. I tried YA, I tried historical romance, but maybe I was always meant to be contemporary? Although Mystery at Bertram's Hotel is set in 1943. Maybe I'm finally getting the hang of this editing thing, and no longer losing the excitement once the mad rush of the first draft is over.

I've even got a new I'm a Writer mug (gift from a friend!):

Happy New Year!
What goals, if any, have you set?


Mike said…
Looks like a good balance of goals for 2018. Sounds like you may have found your genre too, with contemporary romance. Lots of competition there, but that's what editing is for, right? I still struggle with my own editing, to keep the excitement going.
Wow, you've planned it out so well. Probably why you are hitting those goals. Keep at it. And Hobbit on!
Chrys Fey said…
I am so going to toast Tolkien later before dinner. :)

Hi Deniz - I thought I might see a post ... wishing Tolkien a happy birthday ... it's great to see the noting of his awesome writing skills. Congratulations on all you do - and your book ... good luck with that ... and then the other projects - take care and all the best for 2018 = Hilary

PS after everyone else has gone to bed ... I'll raise my glass to Tolkien! Cheers H
Denise Covey said…
Ah, good, another reason to drink, LOL!
Congrats on your publication. Due to extreme busyness, I haven't gotten far, but unlike a lot of kindle books, I plan to finish it and post a review. HNY Deniz!
Have to figure out WHAT I will toast the Professor with, but... yeah, this can be my first Instagram post even. Thanks for mentioning it, Deniz.

Love your goals, love how organized you are... Here's to another great year (and great ROWnd)
Wendy Jane said…
Sounds like you have things in line and ready to go. Great to see. Nice goals set up and I love the variety of the post.
dolorah said…
Congrats on the publication. Always awesome to when that happens. Looks like you are all set for 2018 :)

I'll toast "The Professor" with a glass of wine.
S.P. Bowers said…
Good luck with Grad school. That's quite the commitment. I'm glad you seemed to find some sort of writing nitch. I don't have a schedule other than write when I can. and take the day off when I need.
Crystal Collier said…
Yay for the publication and I'm wishing you the best with school! Whew! Slow down life, eh? ;)
Deniz Bevan said…
Belated thank you to all of you!

Mike, your profile doesn't show a blog post! How can I find you?