Showing posts from December, 2010

New Year. New Plans. New Resolutions?

I just copied my "got-to-review" folder of pdf files from the computer to the Kindle. Maybe that will help me review them faster, since I can carry them around the house with me. I also learned I can write notes while I read on the kindle--that should make it easier to write reviews too, though I'll need the computer to post them. New Year Resolution: Be more organized about reviews--make lists of books and deadlines and sources and try not to overcommit. I'm hoping to finish reading Sage Cohen's The Productive Writer ready to review before she visits my blog (Jan 3rd). I'm really enjoying her writing and her ideas, and mentally preparing challenges for our writers' group's next meeting. New Year Resolution: Be more pro-active leading the writing group. Then I'll have to apply the ideas to my own writing life and plans. New Year Resolution: Be a more productive writer. Maybe I'll make this year the one where I actually keep my reso


I'm feeling old. Youngest son has gone home and I miss him, of course, but it's not just that. It's the way he seems so very grown-up; the way he's changed into someone responsible, respectable, and really really nice. It's the way I look at him and see my brother... Once upon a time I "produced" a baby boy. He was a pretty unfinished, unpolished production, and I'd never in my wildest dreams have imagined I could bring into being a man. But I worked with him, and he with me. We pushed and pulled, argued and agreed, approached too close and drew too far away. And now--yes, I know; it's far more to his credit than mine--now he's a handsome, happy young gentleman, pleasant to talk to, comfortable to be around, and steadily ready with his own plans and dreams for a future that's all his. Meanwhile I'm reading Sage Cohen's The Productive Writer . And I'm editing Divide by Zero . And I'm wondering which of my wildest dreams s

Planning to be Productive

I finished the book I was meant to review before Christmas. It's called Homecoming , by Sue Ann Bowling, and I'll be posting reviews soon. The characters were great and the storyline's really quite intriguing, with fascinating touches of science and ESP. Now I'm reading the book I was meant to review before New Year. It's called The Productive Writer and it's written by the very productive Sage Cohen, who'll visit my blog on Jan 3rd to offer her advice. I'm looking forward to sharing Sage's post, and meanwhile I'd better work on productively reading, in hopes that I might productively write in the New Year. I did send a couple of letters to the paper. Does that count as productive? Does it count if they don't get published?

The Christmas gifts

My "sense of time and place" (see previous post) is all confused. Our oldest son went back to Texas this morning--another early alarm to get to the airport. But it's Boxing Day, still part of Christmas; it feels all wrong to think he's gone away. Meanwhile youngest and middle sons play computer games, which reminds me of bygone times when they all lived with us. Then there's the board games--an essential ingredient of Christmas since the offspring learned to spring. Once upon a time I would play with them and say, "No, don't do that." Then I'd show how the move they'd planned was missing some vital point, and I didn't want them to lose just because of a mistake. So this afternoon we played and they said, "Mum, don't do that." Then they showed how the move I'd planned was missing some vital point, and they didn't want me to lose just because of a mistake... I lost anyway. Meanwhile there's all those books I got

A Sense of Time and Place 2

I love to read, and I read almost any genre I come across. I love the sense of different worlds and ideas in historical novels. I love the feeling of "I've been there" in books set in England or the Pacific Northwest. And I love the wild imagination of science fiction. I'd love to write in all these genres too, but I don't suppose I shall. I haven't the patience or attention to detail that history would require. I don't have the confidence to trust my memories of places that really exist. Which leaves sci-fi I guess. My family used to watch movies together on TV when I was growing up. Later I watched with husband and sons. But they're all such perfectionists. Every detail that's wrong must be noted, preferably in triplicate... Which leaves sci-fi... So now I've had a novel accepted and it's definitely NOT sci-fi. I'm editing it, and I'm still not sure I want to tie it down to a time and place. It's just a story. It's a

A Sense of Time and Place

Our book group read " Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet " last week. We all seemed to like it, but some members found the dialog distracted from the story and didn't ring true to their memories of time and place. Our writing group listened to an excellent talk from Myrna Oakley yesterday. She told us how our story-telling plans should start with a location plus characters. And my critique group read and critiqued my newly added sections from my novel, Divide by Zero, also yesterday. I was trying to create a better sense of the main character but the first question everyone asked was "Where and when is this set?" Wherein lies my problem: Can anyone tell me if it's possible to write a successfully rootless novel? I know the local time and place of my story; I think I give a good enough feel for the world the characters inhabit. But I've not paid any attention to the larger world: Is this small town in England or America (or even Australia)? Ar

Recognized from my book cover!

A dear friend asked me to mail some books to her. Since I only had one copy at home, I took it to the post office and asked, "How much would it cost to send five of these?" The assistant picked up the book to weigh it, turned it over, and said, "Now that face looks familiar, but your hair was longer then." Recognized from my picture on the back of the book! I think I glowed. (And at least she didn't say "but your hair was less gray then"!) Still glowing, I'm writing this post with thanks to the dear friend--a real book order, for books by me! Lulu says they've already shipped them, so I'll mail the parcel soon. And it looks like sending them in a priority mail envelope is the cheapest method, just in case you were wondering.

I love New Seasons!

Mum likes to shop at New Seasons on a Wednesday. They give you a discount if you're "better than 65," and, as she says, she's much much better. They also sell great gluten-free foods, and Mum loves to buy me treats when she visits here. Today I'd told Mum about my Thanksgiving cornbread, made from a packet, with added cheese and salsa. It was my first ever cornbread success, so we thought we'd try to repeat it. But we couldn't find g-f cornbread mixes anywhere. An assistant came to our aid but found nothing either, so we continued on our way, guessing we were out of luck. Ten minutes later the assistant chased us down in another aisle. "I've found one," she declared. Not only that; she'd found us! So now I can share my gluten-free cornbread with Mum, and we can share our love for New Seasons with anyone reading this. I wonder if there's a message there for my writing--best make sure my story runs after my readers whenever I'

Pizza for breakfast

My Mum had pizza and ice-cream for breakfast, or perhaps it was lunch, or dinner, or tea instead. It's hard to keep them straight in your head when you're flying around the world. I gave her a cheese sandwich. My Mum's head's nodding. She'll fall asleep soon, probably not in her bed. It must be time for dinner. My Mum's flown half-way round the world with Christmas in her cases and love in her eyes. Life is good. She's over there resting in her chair, and me, I'm typing, blogging, over the moon.

Heard at the Christmas Bazaar

"This lady's selling jewelry. This one's selling scarves. And this one's selling cards and paper things," (otherwise known as books). "Why do they call it a bazaar. Doesn't that mean something weird?" "Let's have some real Christmas music--Grandma got run over by a reindeer and all that." "My children don't read." "Don't eat the beads." "I didn't bring money of course." Many thanks to all the friends and strangers who stopped by my stall and encouraged me, especially to those who encouraged my family too by buying books :) It's been a fun two days.

Black Widow now on sale!

I just checked on Gypsy Shadow and my new ebook, Black Widow, is on sale. December 1st seems like perfect timing for Christmas! So if you're looking for a historical read, set in England, with mystical overtones, why not head over there? There's even a sample excerpt so you can see what the story's like.  Black Widow: When Boudicca's sister meets the mysterious wizard, it seems like all will go well for the little British kingdom. But Roman peace demands a high price, and the people are starting to follow a foreign priest. Refracted: The story of a young man lost in the fields of time, trying to remember what he thought he was looking for.