Friday, January 23, 2015

Celebrate The Small Things - 23 January #CTST

It's Friday and time to Celebrate The Small Things (or big things) that happened this week.

Finished the editing process for On the Altar, my thriller novella scheduled for sometime this spring with MuseItUp Publishing. I returned the text and forms several days ahead of schedule. I'm sure my editor found that shocking.

Finished another chapter on my creepy, crazy cat lady project and outlined the next two chapters. Still don't know what to call it. Received some great reviews for Give Me Your Teeth this week, and last week the story was featured on Pretty Little Pages.

Do any of you like audio books? Want to give one a try? I have promo codes from Audible that will get you a free copy of Last Request. Leave a note in the comments or use the contact form if you're interested.

Keep writing and keep hoping. What are you celebrating this week?

Want to join in the fun that is Celebrate The Small Things, sign up here.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Word of the Week: Fast

“David and Emily from Charles Dickens' David Copperfield
by Frank Reynolds.
What comes to mind when you hear the word fast? Do you think of something locked firmly in place? The lock held fast on the treasure chest lid. A loyal friend? We became fast friends after enduring months of captivity in the pirate ship's hold. Someone pledging to not eat for some period? We fasted for days while aboard the pirate ship. Someone or something that moves quickly? The pirate sloop was incredibly fast when running before the wind. How can a word that describes something firmly fixed also describe something that moves quickly? Sounds like one of those contradictions that makes English so much fun but gives anyone trying to learn it fits.

Fast is used as an adjective, adverb, and verb. These three uses are also present in Old English: fæst (adjective), fæste (adverb), and fæstan (verb). All three uses had the sense of making or describing something as firm, secure, or fixed. The Old English words derive from Proto-Germanic *fastu-, *fasto, and *fasten. There are many cognates in other Germanic languages. The sense of abstaining from food is also present in Old English. The original meaning of holding firmly evolved to mean firm hold of oneself or firm control of one's appetites and urges. The verb fasten comes from the same root. Old English fæstnian—meaning to fix, make firm, or secure—derives from Proto-Germanic *fastinon. Now that all those meanings are firmly fixed and secure, how do we get to something that moves with great speed?

Sometime before 1200, fast added quickly and rapidly to it's litany of meanings. It's not certain when this addition occurred. It may have been one of the Old English meanings. One theory, citing the influence of Old Norse, attributes the new sense to associating the adverb fast (meaning firmly or vigorously) with run. He runs hard. He runs fast. Another theory, citing the influence of Old Danish, suggests that a fast runner is one who stays close to what he is chasing. The Old Danish adjective fast includes the meanings near to and almost. The Old Norse theory makes more sense to me but I like the imagery of the Old Danish one with the warrior fast on the heels of his fleeing foe.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Celebrate The Small Things - 9 January #CTST

It's Friday and time to Celebrate The Small Things (or big things) that happened this week.

I'm celebrating a white new year. After all the snow from November, you would think a white Christmas was in the bag, or stocking, but Christmas this year was not white. Now I have lots of snow. It's snowing as I type. If only it wasn't so cold.

Big News! (So big I mentioned it in my January IWSG post, too.) The fabulous group of writers that is Untethered Realms invited me to join them. Actually I begged them to let me in.

Do any of you like audio books? Want to give one a try? I have promo codes from Audible that will get you a free copy of Last Request. Leave a note in the comments or use the contact form if you're interested.

Keep writing and keep hoping. What are you celebrating this week?

Want to join in the fun that is Celebrate The Small Things, sign up here.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Rereading Crime and Punishment

A view of Nevsky Prospekt in St Petersburg (1876)
by Petr Petrovich Vereshchagin.
Does the weather ever put you in the mood for certain books? Winter always makes me think I should be reading some Russian novel or something by Kafka. I've been thinking for years I should reread Crime and Punishment. I first read it long ago when I was in high school. (Yes, it was assigned reading.) Was it the setting or the characters that so grabbed my attention? I don't know, but it was one of those books that fueled my lifelong love of reading. A sense of place is important to me in a book. I like to be transported somewhere alien and lose myself in the sights and sounds of a foreign place. Dostoyevsky's St. Petersburg feels very real to me, like I've lived in those cramped garrets. And somehow Dostoyevsky makes me feel compassion for characters that I would find reprehensible if I ever met them.

So, I started rereading it a few days ago. It was as good as I remembered and I let the story envelop me, like curling up under warm blankets on a winter night, which is an odd metaphor because the story opens during the hottest part of the summer. Many readers don't like the long (we're talking page-length) sections of dialogue. It's a far cry from modern novels. I'm amazed that Dostoyevsky can pull it off. I like to think of that style not as characters talking in monologues but of multiple narrators, each one telling a story in their particular voice.

I'm taking a leisurely stroll through the novel as I read other books and stories on the side. I already know what's going to happen. I saw The Castle on my bookshelf the other day. I plan to dive into Kafka's world after I finish with Dostoyevsky's.

Anyone else planning to reread a favorite book or two this year?

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

IWSG and Writing Goals for 2015

It's the first Wednesday of the month again. Time for another IWSG post.

I had planned to do a goals post on January 1st. Yes, I didn't make it which is indicative of my writerly insecurities. 2014 wasn't a bad year. I published a couple good books (Last Request and Give Me Your Teeth); published a couple stories in anthologies; released an audio version of Last Request; surpassed my previous record for blog posts; and met my Goodreads reading goal. But, I didn't complete many stories. My pile of in-progress works continues to grow while my finished pile remains woefully small. Distractions? Lack of discipline? Am I like that rider in the painting stopping to look at the mermaids when he should be pressing forward on his journey? I don't know.

Siegfried and the Rhine Maidens
by Albert Pinkham Ryder.
There's not much to do but write every day. The plan this year is to publish five new titles and at least one of them has to be a novel. I also want to release another audio book and surpass my blog post count. I already have a novella with a publisher in the final stages of editing, so that leaves me with four books to finish. I feel better already.

And here's some more good news. I joined the fabulous group of specfic writers at Untethered Realms. I've been watching the group develop for the past year. If you're unfamiliar with their work, check out their boxed sets Fantasy Uprising: Untethered Realms Boxed Set and Twisted Earths (Elements of Untethered Realms Book 1). I'm overjoyed and surprised they let me join. (Too much nog in the holiday eggnog I suspect. Timing is everything.)

Did you set writing goals for 2015? Until next month, keep writing.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

Give Me Your Teeth: A Fae TaleMerry Christmas and Happy New Year to all my readers. 'Tis the season of giving, so I have a gift for you. Give Me Your Teeth: A Fae Tale is available for free on Amazon from Christmas day through December 27. Grab it for free while you can, and if you like it, please leave a review. It's a story about the Tooth Fairy like you've never seen her before.
Like most children, ten-year old Jimmy wonders where the Tooth Fairy keeps all those teeth. It's a silly question to laugh about. He plays along to get some coins, confident there's no such person. As he and his friends know, their mothers play the role of the Tooth Fairy, but in the middle of the night, Jimmy's world turns upside down. He learns there's more to his mother than he ever imagined, and the Tooth Fairy isn't so harmless.
Happy reading.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Stories and Resources

If you've spent all your cash spreading good cheer, here are a couple opportunities to get something for yourself. I contributed to both projects, but the best news is they're free. First up is the IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond from the Insecure Writers Support Group.
Tapping into the expertise of over a hundred talented authors from around the globe, The IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond contains something for every writer. Whether you are starting out and need tips on the craft of writing, looking for encouragement as an already established author, taking the plunge into self-publishing, or seeking innovative ways to market and promote your work, this guide is a useful tool. Compiled into three key areas of writing, publishing, and marketing, this valuable resource offers inspirational articles, helpful anecdotes, and excellent advice on dos and don'ts that we all wish we knew when we first started out on this writing journey.
The IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond is free for download from Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Smashwords.

Next up is Drunk On Writing--The Best of Write1Sub1. This fine collection features stories and poems from members of the Write1Sub1 community. The title comes from Ray Bradbury, who once said “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”

Here's what you'll find inside:

A Shard Grows in Brooklyn by Alex Shvartsman
Jen-6 by Erin Cole
Scraps by Michael Haynes
Captain Clone by Deborah Walker
Taking the Winds by Folly Blaine
The Chronicles of Zer by Simon Kewin
Broken by Rhonda Parrish
The Dryad, on Marrying the Oak by Alicia Cole
Counting Stones by Alicia Cole
An Herbalist's Loves by Alicia Cole
Minutemen by Milo James Fowler
Infested by Stephen Ramey
The Oni by Heather Whittington
The Ungreat Escape by Siobhan Gallagher
Toil and Trouble by Michelle King
Shafts to Hell by Jeff Chapman
Dying Again by Devin Miller
Pretending by Anna Andrews
Insomnia by Anna Carpenter
Taking Care of Ma by Lee Hallison
A Contract Between Thieves by Stephanie Lorée

Drunk On Writing is available in these formats: PDF | MOBI | EPUB.