Monday, October 31, 2011

A Hallowe'en Post

It's Hallowe'en!

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin...

It's the day (and night) for scary stories...


I could talk about the battle of getting an agent...

Or whether it's the right decision to self-publish...

Or how to fix a price in the whole e-book world...and which e-reader is going to stay around and which will go the way of your old VCR...


We could look at fun pictures of jack-o-lanterns.

Guess which option I'm voting for.

Oh...happy Eat All Your Kids' Candy Night (ahem, I meant Hallow'een)!

Here's a few inspired by movies...

Oooh, love it, I do! (I actually can do a great Yoda voice)

This is phenomenal.

The Death Star...

Heeeeere's Johnny!

I love my Mac...

And a few for all you dog-lovers out there...

Friday, October 28, 2011

Fun Friday

I wish I could claim authorship of this, but I can't. It was sent to me in an email back in September.

Enjoy, everyone. Happy weekend to all and to all a good night.

Let's face it - English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France . Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig..

And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thirties Thursday

Here's a list of the #1 Fiction Bestsellers in the US during the 1930s.

  • 1930 - Cimarron - Edna Ferber
  • 1931 - The Good Earth - Pearl S. Buck
  • 1932 - The Good Earth - Pearl S. Buck
  • 1933 - Anthony Adverse - Hervey Allen
  • 1934 - Anthony Adverse - Hervey Allen
  • 1935 - Green Light - Lloyd C. Douglas
  • 1936 - Gone with the Wind - Margaret Mitchell
  • 1937 - Gone with the Wind - Margaret Mitchell
  • 1938 - The Yearling - Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
  • 1939 - The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck

I refuse to divulge how many I've read. Are you brave?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fishing for Ideas

For today...

I'm thinking of a this...

as a this.

We all have days like this...

and days like this...

and some days we catch one the size of this...

and then there are the days when we catch one the size of this.

I wish all of you many, many days of catching at least this...

But remember...

You'll need a really good this.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

10 Things I Learned at the Surrey International Writers Conference

First,  5 Serious Things

5. There's a difference between taking a workshop you need and taking one you don't need, but you admire the presenter. I'm not saying the latter is a bad thing, just a different thing.

4. Take notes. You will get so overwhelmed with information that your brain stops processing.

3. Take advantage of the opportunity to meet other writers and to actually talk out loud to real people.

2. Take every bit of advice with a grain of salt. Remember, what works for one person, doesn't necessarily work for another.

1. Enjoy. Open yourself up to new ideas and new processes.

Now (because this is me writing and what else did you expect?) 5 Funny Things:

5. Know where the bathrooms are. Actually know where all the bathrooms are. They get crowded.

4. Diana Gaboldon is absolutely beautiful with a wonderful sense of fashion. And she's really tiny. And friendly!

3. Being a bestselling author seems to be like an exclusive club where they all know each other.

2. There are more genres and subgenres, Horatio, that are dreamt of in your philosophy. I swear, by the end of the conference if someone had told me they wrote "Urban Paranormal Historical Creative Non-Fiction Fantasy" I'd have nodded my head and said "How interesting."

1. I can now say "I know Margaret George."

Monday, October 24, 2011

More as the Story Develops...

This is going to be quick...

Let me say my time at the Surrey International Writers Conference was --- what shall I say ---


The writer that went into that conference on Friday morning no longer exists.

As the conference continued I found myself getting more and more focused; so much so that I noticed on Sunday I was no longer taking notes that read as general writing advice and was, instead, making notes like:
Raise character name's stakes by doing this.
Give character name a ticking clock.
Lose character name's backstory and give vital info through dialogue with character name.

Yes, I met and shared conversations and meals with authors I truly admire. I took workshops from many authors, editors and agents who are not only gifted at their jobs, but can teach.

And --- one more thing...

The agent I pitched to was intrigued by my novel's title (and wanted the story behind it), said "You'd be a perfect fit for...and named a publishing house", loved that it's the potential beginning of a series,  and wants me to send her the first 50 pages.

As I said to someone over the weekend, I haven't won the race, but I'm off the warm up track and the door opened on the starting gate. (I may have read too many Dick Francis in my life -- sorry, I digress)


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

So Long, Farewell (for now)

I'm drawing up this...

and doing this...

because I do my best work when it's this...


Monday, October 3, 2011

Help! Advice Wanted!

I'm attending my first writers' conference in three weeks where I have an appointment with an agent. I'm asking for advice.

What do I need? Business cards? And what do they say?

I know I have to prepare a pitch, but what else to I need to do?

I'm attending workshops for three days - does one take notes, or will I be an object of scorn?

Needless to say, any and all advice is welcome.  Links to helpful advice would be welcome.

I don't know how much (if any) I'll be posting in the next three weeks. Social networking is important, but actually getting the job done is more important.  Sooner or later, you've got to step out of the wings and on to the stage.

It's the Mother of all Auditions.

Wish me luck. I've never liked auditions.