March 20, 2017 • No Comments
Cross-posted from the Corsair’s Cove Series bog here.
This happened to the composer Franz Josef Haydn. Lucky for him, the cake was filled with gold coins! I’d really like to know why this happened, and if it had anything to do with his famous sense of humor. If anyone knows, please tell me!
This curious tidbit was just one of the anecdotes offered by the conductor of this afternoon’s concert by the VSO. The program featured Haydn and Mozart, who were friends in life despite the fact that Haydn was established and Mozart the new kid on the block. Along with a couple of other composers, they had their own string quartet, so putting the two together in a programme is a natural fit.
I was at the concert because it was a Christmas present for my mother. This has become something of a tradition—rather than giving her things, I give her tickets and we enjoy them over a matter of months, usually on Sunday afternoons. It’s good mother-daughter time and she doesn’t have another object to store, wash, or otherwise take care of.
Both my parents were musicians, Mom a professional and my father an amateur. As a result, I grew up listening to orchestras. It’s interesting to see how much more the performers speak to the audience, even in the most formal settings. Conductors have always been personalities, but now they need some storytelling skills to keep the audience engaged. Since classical music is filled with love stories, bitter feuds, and—apparently—cake, I can’t think of a more delightful way to make an enjoyable experience even better.
I wonder whether the cake was chocolate?
March 5, 2017 • 1 Comment
Congrats to Susan J. for winning my newsletter prize, which is now winging its way to her mailbox. Here is a look at the earrings, which are tiny books. The actual color is a little more blue-green that it shows here. And, since she requested a copy of A Study in Silks as her free book, here is the whole prize pack shebang:
March 1, 2017 • No Comments
Well, my first winner did not respond by the deadline, so I’ve sent out another email to a commenter. Check your email for a message promising to reveal what’s inside the Celtic treasure box!
February 27, 2017 • No Comments
It’s rare that I go to a movie and think about it the next day and then the day after that–most box office material doesn’t demand that level of engagement. Arrival did, and I’m ever so grateful to be intrigued.
I know there was some grumbling about the authenticity of the linguistic methods used to decode the alien communications. I don’t know enough to weigh in, but the story did make me think about the minimal linguistics I took in university and how very unprepared I would be should heptapod aliens invade and the translation app on my iPhone fail to provide adequate interpretation. Great science fiction asks these questions.
So what specifically did I like about Arrival? The characters. It’s great to see such a meaty female lead role in a sci-fi film, and to see it so well done. Amy Adams handles the many layers of her character beautifully, coming across as deeply ordinary and exceptional at once. Jeremy Renner is endearing. Both have an air of vulnerability and honesty that gave the storytelling weight. Without giving too much away, everything in the movie–the close camera work, the acting, the way the story is put together–draws the viewer into an enormously intimate relationship with the protagonists and their fates.
This is sci-fi, and there is the odd explosion and nifty effects, but this isn’t a movie for those looking for ray guns and a high body count. It’s the kind that makes you go “Waaaaaiiit just a minute” as the penny drops and everything changes.
What did I not like about Arrival? There were a couple of moments when the characters seemed unobservant one moment and capable of superhuman leaps of logic the next, but given everything the film got right, these were small issues.
The story is based on a piece of short fiction by Ted Chiang. I haven’t read it (yet), but going by the fact that the structure of the movie held together, the adaptation was well done.
February 13, 2017 • 63 Comments
This contest ran in my latest newsletter, but it’s open to anyone who finds this. There’s something mysterious in this lovely treasure chest – Jewelry? Gift card? A tiny hellhound of your very own?
You could win whatever is hiding inside this box PLUS a signed backlist title of your choice! International entries welcome.
Leave a comment on this blog post and tell me what you think might be inside the box! I’ll pick a winner on February 19, 2017.
(Treasure chest not included. I had to battle multiple fairies to get this one.)
February 6, 2017 • No Comments
It’s been snowing like crazy, which isn’t usual for February in Victoria. I don’t mind the weather shaking it up. The unexpected makes one look up and take notice of the world, even if it’s just the snow globe beauty of this morning, or the specter of shoveling my way around a corner lot.
It’s a timely departure from my usual rut. I’m in that pause between writing books, if only for a few days. Last week I turned in the final edits on Royal Enchantment, and I have the next thing, a novella, already loaded and ready to hit the page. I need a breather to check the to-do list, shop groceries, make a few social calls, etcetera. More importantly, I need to erase my mental chalkboard and rearrange the furniture inside my head. One set of characters have left, and I need to vacuum before the next arrive.
But I can’t stay away from the keyboard long – I’m wired to work. February is dedicated to drafting the novella, which I expect to be around 25,000 words or basically 10 or 11 chapters. It’s part of a group project, the 4th of a set of 4 pieces. I don’t do these often, mostly because I’ve learned the hard way to look before I leap. This project is different and better, with hand-picked writers and a LOT of discussion and coordination. Which means, I suppose, that I should get started!
January 22, 2017 • 4 Comments
Three – count ’em – three proposals are now out there in the universe. For me, that’s a bunch. Since I rarely restrict myself to one series at a go, that doesn’t mean only one of these three proposals I just finished will go forward at the expense of everything else. There’s the next Camelot Reborn book, which will happen one way or another. The other two are for brand new series more in the vein of the Baskerville Affair – adventure stories with a nod to romance rather than vice versa. I’ve been waiting for an A+ idea for the Emma Jane Holloway stable, and the muse finally delivered two. I have now sent them to my agent. The second absorbed a chunk of my Christmas holidays, but I can’t think of a better way for a writer to celebrate than with a whole new universe to play in!
For those that don’t know, a book proposal is about the first three chapters plus an outline, plus some other supporting materials. Mine generally run around fifty pages or so if it’s for a new series, mostly because I want to be sure to get my idea across. There’s an art to writing these things, and most of what people say about synopsis construction isn’t that helpful (at least to me). I struggle every time, and the events I talk about in the outline may well be lies. I’m a plotter, but quite happy to change course at the drop of a hat. What really matters is digging deep enough to come up with the core themes and conflicts and making them shine. I always imagine my future editor reading the proposal in some far-off place, maybe on a subway with no sleep and a squalling kid across the aisle. I ask myself if the ideas are good enough to overcome the background noise and make him/her keep listening and keep wanting more.
Anyway, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the spark I see in my mind’s eye translates to the page.
December 30, 2016 • No Comments
I’m test driving this new blog while on Christmas holidays. For those wondering what happened to the old sites, and why they are combined here, it’s fairly simple. For a long time, the conventional advice to authors was to separate pseudonyms because readers would become confused by one person writing different genres under different names.
This doesn’t make much sense now, but maybe it was true at some point. At any rate, readers turned out to be both adaptable and accepting, so authors began amalgamating their various social media and blog properties to minimize the time they spend thinking up posts and maximize the time they spend writing. It’s a win-win because authors can reach all their readers with less effort and readers get more contact and, because of time saved, more books.
October 13, 2016 • No Comments
I realize that I haven’t posted here for a bit. I have a very good excuse – this website is getting rebuilt and will be merged with my other website. The prototype looks fabulous and this project will result in a single blog, all my publications under one virtual roof, and more effective communication all around. I’m on a campaign to simplify things so there may be other redirects and tweaks about the place, but this will result in more news getting to the right places and less of the author running from site to site like a headless chicken. Frankly, when I think “oh, I should write a post,” I get stalled when I have to decide where to put it, and then I think I should write more so that every site gets one, and I end up doing nothing. Not good, so I’m renovating.
August 1, 2016 • 1 Comment
The draw for a 5 copies of POSSESSED BY A WARRIOR have been made and I’ve had 3 responses. Congrats to Chris, Sharon, and Karen–your books are on the way. The two remaining winners have until August 5 to reply or I’m drawing two more names. If you’re reading this and entered the draw, check your email!