Saturday, November 28, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Newfoundland novelist Tina Chaulk (listed with other local authors on my sidebar) posted a video by Kristina Horner. A cute look at the NaNoWriMo dilemma. Or was it a conundrum...
I typed some real shite at 6:30 this morning in an effort to pad the word count. I shall attach an excerpt from that for your reading *cough* enjoyment. Please don't think any less of me...
Anatoly was even more dejected than the previous night. He left the radio station, having barely spoken to Big Ben Murphy. He caught the number 17 bus downtown, to work another four hour shift at the diner.
His shift went well, as the harbour seemed quiet tonight and there weren’t many sailors or longshoremen dropping in for their gourmet offerings. They had enough time for Donovan to show him how to make ‘Toad in the Hole’. They fried up some sausages and wrapped them in bacon strips and then poured on the mixture of flour, milk and eggs. They baked this in the oven and could cut it up into eight portions. They reworked some of the thick, brown gravy made earlier in the day for hot turkey sandwiches by scraping off the hardened skin and adding chopped onions to the mix.
Donovan noted that they used to eat this back in England. Except that it came in a Yorkshire Pudding format where the sausage stuck out of the muffin like a greasy, brown phallus. Miller wanted these added to the breakfast menu to try to bring in some new customers.
Donovan also showed Anatoly something his mother used to make for him when he was a boy. He called it the ‘Golden Eye’ and it was very simply a slice of bread fried in oil with an egg in a pan. All he had to do was cut a hole in the centre of the bread and drop the egg into it space and let them fry up together, flipping it once to cook the other side. He would have to make this for David at breakfast time one day.
They sat down at a booth and ate their creations, getting up occasionally to collect money at the cash register or to pour more coffee for customers.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
We're off to visit my parents late this afternoon to take them out to dinner and then to a Senior Men's hockey game in the nearby town of Harbour Grace (the home of Dan Cleary of the Detroit Red Wings, for anyone hockey inclined). It's their birthday today so nothing says Happy Birthday in Canada more than dinner out and hockey. Yes, you read that correctly...both of them celebrate their birthday today. Dad is 68 and mum is 65. True pensioners now, the pair of them.
The next chance I'll have to type up anything into Word will be tomorrow night. So I'll have to rely on the old fashioned pen-to-paper for any progress for a while. I don't quite know, at the current rate of progress, how I'm going to squeeze out 20K words in just 8 days...yikes, let the crap flow (which is sort of a local joke regarding the state of the harbour at times). There's not enough character description going on, not enough conflict, almost no symbolism and generally not enough exposition. So I should be serving up a lot of fluff and nonsense for the next few days...thanks all, for the continued kind words of support (and yet you still return to endure my whining!)
As I look back on the post I notice that I have uses a lot of brackets. Apologies for that (it's kind of how my brain has been working the past 21 days)...and a lot of those dot thingies as well.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
I have enlisted the help of my three friends, below, because the say if you put enough monkeys in a room with keyboards, one will produce a Shakespeare work (and I mention the bard in my NaNo story). I think the smart money should be bet on monkey #1, he's showing a good dramatic element and he's following the NaNo mantra about never using the backspace key. Well done, Bubbles!
Why Can’t We Change Our Process?A Unique Look at ‘Why Things are Done the Way they Are’
Monday, November 16, 2009
To cheer myself up over the weekend I broke out the plastic to order a couple of books from our Amazon friends. The books were only about $18, but the shipping was an additional $12 something. That sucked, but I'm sort of used to it now due to the fact we live on an island. I recall that when we ordered a couple of love seats shortly after moving into the house, we had to wait over 2 months for manufacturing and shipping. I could understand that if they were like hand crafted by the Amish, or the fabric had golden strands woven into it...
...sorry, back to the books. I have been wanting a copy of Stephen King's "On Writing" for some time, after it was highly recommended by all of you kind folk. My second pick was anthology of fine horror stories by the fine authors of 52 Stitches. I am looking forward to the arrival of volume one any time now.
My current word count is 23,400. That is 51 pages, single spaced (I opted for the single space as it would speed up the scrolling back that I knew that I would have to do to refer to facts that I were already 'out there'. God forbid I should contradict myself.
My sister emailed me a video (which is kind of odd considering that she's living with us at the moment) that I found hilarious. It's for a product called Kiwi Bacon...and I apologise (I am Canadian, after all) to any vegetarians or New Zealanders I may have offended.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Perhaps I should be wearing my reading glasses. The object at Indie's feet looks like a brown paper lunch back as opposed to a golden idol. I must be something mighty tasty for him to be protecting it with a whip and revolver.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
The word count, as of now, is 13660. I'd like to get another 5oo done before going to bed. It's after 10pm here, so bed will be soon as I'll be getting up at 5:45am to start it again. I'm really impressed at some of my 'buddies' word counts...they set a challenging pace. I bet that Danielle Ferries, in particular, will have this thing rapped up with a bow by the 25th of the month!
In other news...I'm please to announce that my flash story "Thor's Hammer" has been accepted at 52 Stitches as part of this year's line up. It's I thrill to be presented with talented writers such as: Catherine Gardner, Mercedes M. Yardley, Brenton Tomlinson and Laura Eno. If you haven't done so before, drop in to 52 Stitches for a tasty, dark story each Sunday. With Aaron Polson carefully applying the stitches, you know you won't be dissappointed...
Saturday, November 7, 2009
The cover illustrations of your books, especially the latest, Frostbitten, are beautiful. I'd like to know if you have any input into their design or are given a choice of covers. Or is it out of your hands?
I don't choose the art. In fact, with most of the covers, I don't see them until they're done. This is common with the "big" publishers. It's only with small publishers (or really big names) that the author gets a significant say in the cover art. It's a marketing decision, and I leave it to the pros.
Was there any commercial reason to start writing conventional crime fiction, as opposed to your established modern fantasy books? Did you pull your existing fans along to the new series or have you had to establish a new fan base?
I started Exit Strategy after my third Otherworld book was written and there was some concern because the first two hadn't sold as well as the publisher hoped. I was about halfway done the book when I sold Dime Store Magic and everything took off. A few years ago, my agent asked if I wanted to finish Exit Strategy, and I did. I read a lot of crime thrillers, so it would be my second choice of genre to write in and makes a nice change of pace.
I would like to know how easy it was for you to find a publisher for your werewolf series. Were you already published when you wrote them?
In my twenties I started working on novels, and would sporadically send out query letters and sample chapters, but never got anything more than a form letter rejection. So I gave up and concentrated on improving.
When I finished Bitten, I had an instructor look at it, to see how well I was progressing. He offered to recommend an agent, and things happened very quickly from there. Within a couple of months I went from being unpublished to having multiple book contracts. So it was a long empty road, with a very quick stop at the end!
What techniques do you use as an adult to capture the teen mind when writing YA fiction such as the Darkest Power Trilogy?
I don't simplify the story lines or the characterizations at all. I think that's important. Teens understand and enjoy complex characters, dark themes, etc. I do tweak the language, not for the audience, but to suit the younger narrators. In my first trilogy, there's no sexual content. Again, though, that's a reflection of the main character, who hasn't even dated yet, so it's not an issue. In short, then, to write for young adults, I just use a young adult main character and make sure she really is a teen--in her language, in her way of thinking, in the issues that concern her and the tools she has at her disposal.
The biggest challenge was that I'm a whole lot older than my main character. As a teen, I hated it when adults tried to write in a teen voice and it was painfully obvious that they were on the wrong side of thirty. Having a daughter in the right age group made that easier--I had a living subject to study and a built-in focus group.
When you were doing your degrees, were you writing? What did you put in place to give you the time to write?
Growing up, I never thought 'writer' was a valid career choice, probably because my parents didn't. They fully supported it as a hobby, but didn't think it was something you should plan to make a living at. So I went to university for psychology. As I was preparing for graduate school, though, I realized I was heading into a career that would leave me no time to pursue a dream of publication. So I switched gears and went into computer programming, which gave me a 9-to-5 job that paid the bills while I took writing courses, joined writing groups, and worked at improving my craft. I sold my first novel in 1999 (it came out in 2001) and started full-time writing in 2002.
Everyone talks about needing to have a web presence as an emerging writer. It seems to me that the most successful writers worked on their writing, got the book deal, and then worried about a web presence. What do you think?
For promotion, I'd urge them to find what they enjoy and do that, rather than taking everyone's advice on "what works" and spending a lot of money. Other than having a decent website (which is always worth the cost) nothing has been proven to absolutely increase your sales. So you do what you enjoy. Most of all, though, you work on the next novel. That's what will advance your career far more than any promotional efforts.
I would like to thank Kelley for taking time away from her busy schedule to provide in-depth answer to some really insightful questions. For more information about Kelley Armstrong, or her novels, please visit her website here. If you're interested in reading a PDF version of her Fall, 2009 newsletter available on her website, you can click here.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
- Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall arrived in St. John's Monday afternoon to begin their cross-Canada tour. Sadly, I missed the official welcome as I was playing basketball with the geezers. And my invite to dine with them must have gotten lost in the mail.
- NaNo is going well. I've fallen behind a bit as I haven't met my daily quota I set for myself on weekdays. I'm sure that I'll have some catching up to do this weekend. With the few words from this morning, I'm at 4265 words. It's sure slow going at the start as most of it has been conversation setting things up. I'll be glad when it moves along and 'stuff' happens.
- I'd like to officially announce that I will be posting the Q & A with author Kelley Armstrong this Saturday morning (November 7) for those who want to read her insights. For those new to my blog, I posted here requesting questions from my readers to send on to Kelley, author of more than a dozen books of horror, YA urban fantasy and mystery.
Frostbitten, the 10th book in her Women of the Otherworld series is now available. Please invite others who may be interested to drop in Saturday and hear from Ms. Armstrong.
Monday, November 2, 2009
The Shah Faisal Mosque in Islamabad, Pakistan can accommodate 300,000 worshipers
Market along the main street in Murree, Pakistan (one of the locations in the book "A Thousand Splendid Suns," by Khaled Hosseini)
Along the Grand Trunk Road en route to Peshawar, Pakistan.
A little girl in the Jhelum Market. Her father motioned to me while we were driving slowly through the market and wanted me to take her photo. So I did.