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Showing posts from October, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Sunday Salon: October Wrap Up

October has been an interesting reading month.   I discovered Nalini Singh Guild Hunter series and explored 17th century England in Iain Pears An Instance of the Fingerpost.  Dipped my toes into Christine Feehan's Dark Series and the world of the Carpathians and thought the characters were way over the top emotional until I read Bram Stoker's Dracula and saw the connection between the two.   I hung out with Eleanor Brown's The Weird Sisters in the town of Barnwell and visited again with Eve Dallas in J.D. Robb's 33rd book in the In Death Series New York to Dallas.   And I chewed my fingernails to the quick as angel Jim in J.R. Ward's Fallen Angel series 3rd book Envy battled evil Devina for yet another soul.    I seem to be on an angel versus demons kick lately.
Plus I finally learned how to properly outline with K.M. Weiland's Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success.Wonderful, wonderful, book with great advice that really hit home and made so much sense a…

Monarch by Michelle Davidson Argyle Giveaway Winner

Have you been waiting with bated breath for the winner of Michelle Davidson Argyle's book Monarch.  Sorry it took me so long.  Distractions don't you know.   Without further ado - Drumroll please! 

The winner is: 
Melanie Leeson of Beauty and the Armegeddon


Row80 Mid Week Check in - A bouquet of sharpened pencils!

Shiny Pencils: In the midst of prepping for Nanowrimo 2011 and getting all my duck in a row which includes a nice new shiny notebook and sharpened pencils. I discovered my creativity flows best writing it all out rather than staring at a computer screen. Just have to make sure not to write too fast and my writing's legible so when I go back can actually read what I wrote. Have had a few head scratching moments in the past trying to decipher cryptic sentences. *grin*

30 days - 30 scenes
: Have a simple outline of 30 scenes and then got to a point where wasn't sure which direction I was going to go in, so stopped and turned to researching characters. It'll either become clear as I think about it or will come to me by the time I get there.

Nesting:  Between researching and planning, have been cleaning and decluttering. Feel like I'm nesting.   Blogging will probably sporadic during November so may be doing quickie row80 check-in's on group facebook page.

Check in …

Sunday Salon: Reading and Planning

I finished reading Dracula by Bram Stoker today. I think I know why it took me so long to get around to reading the story.  Age.  As I get older and learn more about writing, the more I appreciate the classics.  It was interesting finally getting to know Jonathan Harker, Van Helsing, Lucy, Mina, and Dr. Seward. It was written back in 1887 and in a unique format - in a series of letters, diary entries and telegrams. Makes for an interesting read. Since it is the Victorian age, the dialogue is long, flowing, pretty at times just to say the simplest thing. I enjoyed it.
I'm still working my way through K.M. Weiland's Outlining Your Novel.  I now have pages and pages of notes and now need to organize a bit.  I came up with my premise sentence or in other words - elevator pitch.  I read it to Father and he started talking about run on sentences and grammar, etc.   Not the point, dear.  He's a stickler for that stuff.  After he got past it, he said he liked it.  He's b…

An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears

An Instance of the Fingerpost
Iain Pears

Back Cover: "It is 1663 and England is wracked with intrigue and civil strife.  When an Oxford don is murdered, it seems at first that the incident can have nothing to do with great matters of church and state.  Who poured the arsenic into the victim's brandy?  The evidence points to Sarah Blundy, a servant girl...She confesses to the crime and is sentenced to be hanged."
An Instance of the Fingerpost is a standalone novel by Iain Pears, author of the Flavia di Stefano Mystery Series.  I was introduced to Pears books a couple years back when was asked to review Stone's Fall.  I enjoyed it and have since acquired several of his Stefano mysteries, plus this book.  I finally decided to dive in and read it for Fall Reading Challenge.
It is an intriguing historical fiction novel,  a bit long winded at 752 pages, but it's that long for a reason. The story takes place in 1663 in Oxford, England and is told in 4 different stages, …

ROW80 Mid Week Check in

Thanks to K.M. Weiland's Outlining Your Novel, I've spent the past few days 'what iffing' ideas about my upcoming Nano story, Blue Steel. I'm currently on Chapter 5 and taking scads of notes.  Much seems like common sense, but I'd never thought about doing the 'what if's' before.  It has lead to some interesting scenarios and a plausible sub plot.  Last night I sprang it on Father and he liked my ideas which made me feel good.  He also came up with some interesting input which may make it into the story.  We'll see - sometimes he goes over my head with electronic jargon and leaves me with my brain about to explode from trying to absorb it all.

I know there are only a couple weeks left before Nano but I'm going to try and plot as much as I can this time.  Something I've discovered about myself is I can't read craft books while in the midst of writing a first draft.  I start thinking more about the mechanics then the story and there …

ROW80 check in: Brainstorming

Happy Sunday my darlings! It's an absolutely gorgeous day and listening to the birds singing outside my patio window is always delightful.  ROW80 wise, I've done pretty well this week.

1)  complete character study on Layla - incomplete. The character clinic is giving me insight into her so hopefully will get there soon.
2)  Start Section one of Character Clinic - worked through 1/2 of the section completing writes up on character need, idea of work and play, wants from past, present and future.  Had an epiphany about Layla which will help with plot of story.
3)  Read Chapter one of Outlining Your Novel - Actually read three chapters so far and  completely sold on the aspects of outlining. I love the idea of brainstorming.  Something my father taught me long ago.  K.M. suggests brainstorming what if's, don't censor, focus on the senses and listen to your gut instinct and write it all out in longhand so you aren't tempted to edit.  I love this quote from K.M. 

The Botticelli Affair by Traci L. Slatton

The Botticelli Affair
Traci L. Slatton

Back Cover:  "She's a high-spirited woman with a sordid past, trying to go straight. Enter gorgeous John Bolingbroke, a half-vampire with special powers and news of her beloved missing father. From New York through Paris, Amsterdam, and Rome, while fleeing ruthless vampires, Laila searches desperately for her father and a lost Botticelli painting that holds a coveted secret."
When I was asked if I wanted to read The Botticelli Affair by Traci Slatton, I jumped at the chance because it had all the things I enjoy in a story - vampires, art history and romance.  The story was interesting and highly entertaining -  all the makings of a B movie with the cheesy dialogue and non stop acting.  Laila is definitely a high spirited young woman and shouted, cried, chirped, panted, whispered and raced across the pages. I've never seen so many exclamation marks in one story before.  It was a good cozy paranormal mystery with all the elem…

Row80 Mid Week Check in -- Eating my words

I lied.  
I swore up, down, right, left and till almost blue in the face I wasn't going to do it again.

But then....I saw her

Yes, it's just a wig mannequin, but that hair, that face, those cheek bones just yelled at me to tell a story.    Tough, leather jacket, smart spoken. Then a name came to me - Jersey Lee. So I gave in and spent yesterday looking at pictures, coming up with names, finding the guy, thinking of a story.  Couldn't stand the thought of not doing it.   I'm free this classes to distract.     I just love the idea of locking up my pesky internal editor and just letting it flow.  So......  Yes!  I'm doing NaNoWriMo again. I'm not going to kill myself to win by stressing about the numbers and adding filler.  Just going to go with it and see what happens.  If I win, great. If I don't.  At least I'll have the beginnings of another interesting story.  My handle is mytwoblessings if you want to add me as a writing buddy on the site.

A to Z title Challenge: L is for Lawless through Out of time

Mini reviews of the books I've read for the A to Z Title Challenge

InL is for Lawless Sue Grafton put her favorite PI Kinsey Milhone through the ringer.  Her landlord asks her for a simple favor - to help his neighbor find the evidence proving his grandfather served in the military so he can be buried with honors.  Sounds easy except Kinsey finds herself flying cross country following a young pregnant woman who took something from the neighbors home.  A fun adventure considering takes place during the 1980's before the advent of internet and cell phones.

Murder in the Marais is Cara Black's debut novel  and the first in a series of now 11 books following the exploits of Private investigator Aimee Leduc in Paris, France.   I discovered Aimee is a feisty chick who jumps into situations fearlessly, throws herself body (literally) and soul into her investigations. Sound like another private eye we know (hint - see above book) *grin*   She isn't afraid of a few bruises…

Sunday Salon: What a character!

My mind has been on characters lately especially since my son is on a Pirates of the Caribbean kick and we've been watching the first three movies over and over again.   Thankfully the movies are interesting so the repetition lends itself to studying the characters, noticing different things each time.  Makes me wish I could draw faces better because I get a picture in my mind's eye of what my characters should look like and makes me want to see them since I'm a very visual person.  Their looks gives me insight into their character.  KWIM.  Which is why love the internet and all the wonderful professional model and talent agency sites out there.  Have always been able to find a picture to match the idea I have in my mind's eye of the character.  I found my Layla and Paul.

Aren't they cute.  Now I can start working on their profiles.  Plus, a couple years back I downloaded Holly Lisle's Create a Character Clinic but never did anything with it. Guess I needed a c…

Anno Dracula by Kim Newman

Anno Dracula
Kim Newman

Back cover: "It is 1888 and Queen Victoria has remarried, taking as her new consort the Wallachian Prince infamously known as Count Dracula.  His polluted bloodline spreads through London as its citizens increasingly choose to become vampires.  In the grim backstreets of Whitechapel, a killer known as 'Silver Knife' is cutting down vampire girls.  The eternally young vampire Genevieve Diedudonne and Charles Beauregard of the Diogenes Club are drawn together as they both hunt the sadistic killer, bringing them ever closer to England's most bloodthirsty ruler yet." My father in law called the other day and has recently gotten a kindle.  He is enjoying reading the classics and loves to discuss what he is reading with me.  The last time he called he asked what I was reading.  I explained I was reading a vampire novel in which Count Dracula has married Queen Victoria and taken over England.  It has made being a vampire fashionable and there are…

Row80 Round 4 Check in #1 - contemplating

I haven't accomplished much in the past two days.  I got a bit distracted online while checking out the goals for the other participants. I didn't get very far because you never quite know when you check out someone's blog where it is going to take you.  As I came to the end of my studies for my Bachelor degree earlier in the year, thoughts of going on for my Master's degree rolled through my brain.  Did I want to go on to get a Master's in Liberal Arts, Literature or perhaps creative writing. Which lead to researching MFA's and discovering there are a lot of folks who have strong feelings about them - pro and con.  Just today I came across an excellent post by Eric Wyatt - To MFA or not and  asks the question:  “What do you want to do with the degree?".  Contemplating the answer.
Which lead to thinking about perhaps just dipping my toes in the water and taking some online creative writing courses before committing to a Master's program. Plus why couldn…

Round 4 of A Round of Words in 80 Days

It's October already and only 15 more weeks left to the year and the last round ofA Round of Words in 80 Days is beginning.  I finished the first draft of Red Thief during the last round which I'm quite happy about.   I'm going to let it rest while I get back into another story I started last year.  A bit too long to let it sit and fester on the shelf, leaving my poor characters in a state of limbo.  This round is going to be all about world building, getting to know my characters better, outlining the story and as Lazette Gifford suggests in  rewriting the beast look at the big problems first before getting into the minutia of the story.  I've decided not to do NaNoWriMo this year, even though I have a Detective by the name of Donovan knocking about in my head asking me to tell his story.  Don't know where he came from - he just sort of popped into my head, wandering down a dark, dank, hallway looking for a murderer.  Hmm!

My goal for this week will be to set up …