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Showing posts from March, 2011

Welcoming Steve O'Brien to my blog again

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I'm delighted to welcome Steve O'Brien, author of Elijah's Coin and Bullet Work, to my blog again today. Steve is answering the question:

How Long Did It Take To Write?

Definitely an interesting question, and I really enjoyed reading his answer. Over to you Steve.

One of my favorite remarks comes from violin virtuoso, Itzhak Perlman. And it was only two words.

Perlman is regarded as the preeminent violinist of the 20th Century--at his craft, a man without peers. Following a performance in Vienna, an adoring fan came up to Itzhak and gushed about how fantastic the performance had been. Then the fan said to Perlman “I would give my whole life to be able to play the violin like you did tonight.”
Perlman smiled and said, “I have.”

The remark is so true. Despite the enormous natural talent he possesses, Perlman practices and rehearses at a frenetic pace. To get to where he is artistically took total dedication and “his entire life.”

I won’t pretend to have near the writing ability on …

How long does it take to write a book?

"But how?" "But when?" "But why?" I'd ask my Gran.
She'd answer me, "'Cause y's not zed."
So I'd ask my Grandfather instead, "How big?" "How long?" "How wide?"
He'd throw the questions back and ask, "How long's a piece of string?"

But seriously, how long does it really take to write a book? Is the editing (and re-editing, and re-editing over again) a part of writing? What about querying and waiting for replies? What about that startled jump for joy when someone says yes, followed by, "We'll assign you an editor later. Please continue to work on your manuscript?"

"When's later?" I want to ask. And how long will it take?

I started my first post-childhood novel about six years ago. It's still seeking a home. I took it out last week to polish it and found my dreams were slipping through the holes. Much editing later I'm letting it rest. Suffice it to sa…

Book reviews while the rain falls

It's not raining, much. Drizzling. Mizzling. Something like that. It's amazing the number of different words for rain in a rainy place. But it raining books, and the number of "red" lines in my Excel file keeps growing--they're the ones I've labeled overdue. Still, I did read quite a few books last week, and there's one that I read a long while ago and would happily re-read--I just posted the review on Amazon, having failed to post it before, so it's worth adding here:

If you click on the links, you can read my reviews on gather (or elsewhere). And if you click here you'll be reminded what the coffee cups mean.

Mysteries:
Mazurka, by Aaron Lazar: I was trying to describe Aaron Lazar's books to a friend recently. Definitely mysteries. Not cozy, but not dark and violent. Somewhere in between perhaps. Then I heard someone else's mysteries described as "soft-boiled" so perhaps that's it. They have wonderful characters, there's m…

What a lovely surprise

Have you visited Summit Book Reviews? It's a really nice-looking book review site, and over the weekend my Easter book was reviewed by Gail Lewis there. We're still only in the first week of Lent, so, as Gail says, "there's still time to participate in this thought provoking daily devotional." I hope you'll give it a look, and there's lots more interesting books to read about on the same page. Hope to see you there!

More Book Reviews

As promised, here's some more book reviews, and I'll see if I can remember to rate them by coffee. Don't forget to click the links for reviews on Gather.

Twilight's Ashes, by Auler Ivis: This one has a really interesting premise, but it's a long slow read--instant coffee brewed a little strong? The futuristic world post-global warming is really well-imagined, and there's a rich mixture of ancient and modern belief, symbolism, etc.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows: This has to one of the longest titles ever, but it's perfectly chosen. The book's written in the form of letters between strangers and friends, and it's truly delightful--a family drama, a post-WWII mystery, love, romance, the kindness of strangers, the strangeness of friends... It's just a really good read--and for coffee, I'll try balanced, smooth, full-flavored.

Changes, by Jim Butcher: Okay, I'm hooked on the series. Pre…

Blogging with Style?

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I just got a Stylish Blogger Award from Jean Henry Mead (mysterious writer and murderous muse)! I'm not sure what I did to deserve it, but I must admit, it's a very stylish award, received with thanks. Apparently I have to list seven things about myself on my blog, then pass the award on to a friend... So, seven things???

I recently released a book of poetry called Mongrel Christian Mathematician. The title does kind of describe me, and author Mary Russel reviewed it on her blog recently.Lulu's offering downloads of my Easter ebook at 75% off the regular price, just for Lent (oh, and Lent starts today). I guess that tells you I ought to be doing something for Lent. This year, I'm trying to give up snacking to stay awake and take up walking instead (a much more prayer-inspiring, though frequently wet, way of not falling asleep).I just finished my first-pass through editing my first real novel--assuming you think being accepted for publication makes a novel "real.&q…

Coffee--bold, dark and intense

I had coffee in Borders last week with a friend and we noticed the "star" levels for different sorts of coffee. It was kind of neat--
Mild, light, crispBright, lively, easy drinkingBalanced, smooth, full-flavoredRich, elegant, complex, andBold, dark, intense.I wonder if we could use a similar system in rating books, except everyone would think 5 stars meant best and 1 star meant worst. I suppose we could use the sun or moon...
Short and sharp. A quick read.Easy reading, relaxed.Nice mix of show and tell. Interesting plot.Complex characters and plot.Bold, dark, intense.I dunno. How would you split up the levels? How would you define your most recent reads? I'll post reviews of Jim Butcher's Changes (5), The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (3), and The Little Known (4) soon, and they'll all get plenty of stars to go with those suns--it's been a good weekend for reading. But first I'll need some more bold, dark, intense coffee, with just a dash o…

I've been reading some more...

More books, and as usual, you can follow the links to the full reviews on Gather.

The best two books I've read this week:

The Ringer, by Jenny Shank: You can tell there's baseball in this story from the cover, and I don't even like baseball. But there's police, race relations, loss on both sides of the line, and some truly memorable, flawed and human characters who try to pick up the pieces when their worlds fall apart. And there's hope. Like a baseball well-thrown, this book definitely hits its target.

The Pig's Slaughter, by Florin Grancea: How long does it take to kill a pig, or topple a dictator? How long will it take to forget how to make sausages or watch Christmas cakes rise? How easily will hungry people be deceived by the promise of freedom on TV? And what was it like to be fourteen years old in Romania, those five days in December?

On a lighter note, two scary books for a cold dark evening while the wind howls all around:

Hide'n Go Coffin, and Monster…