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.