Monday, March 31, 2008

Mostly Unstuck

My brain, that is. We haven't had THAT much snow!

The last few months--all of 2008, till recently--I've had things to focus on that pulled my attention away from the revisions of Quest to Be Queen, most notably workshop facilitating and contest things--prepping to submit and then helping to judge a category. I'd made a little progress around all that, outlining the section that needed a total rewrite, but never having time to just dive in and DO IT.

But this past week Forward Motion hosted our annual March Madness event. Entries returned, I finally had the time to focus and write. I've written a little over eight thousand words this past week and am now back into revision mode for the final chapter of the novel. Hopefully by the end of the week I can boot it out to critiquers.

Methinks it is time to write again. I've been revising for way too long now. Two novels, 14 months (shuddering).

Time for the creative juices to flow again. I hope I can remember where I put them.

Oh yeah. That's for next week. I still have a few thousand words left to run the editing eyeballs over.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Weather is something we love to hate

Who's with me on that? Last weekend (Easter), Friday was cold and windy and rainy. Saturday was sunny and fairly warm (8 degrees Celcius) which was a good thing as Hanna was taking outdoor photos at her cousin's wedding. We woke up Easter Sunday to slushy snow, but it mostly melted as it hit the ground.

The whole week has been kind of chilly for late March, but I still wasn't prepared to wake up to about three inches of the white stuff this morning. It kept coming for a few more hours, mostly melted in the afternoon, then started snowing again later.

I've heard rumors of all manner of white stuff sightings across the continent in the last week. Now really, I know *somebody* reads this blog, so if you have white stuff to report, would you pop a note in comments? Just give us a general geographic area. As for me, it's south-eastern British Columbia reporting in.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Book Tour--Betrayed!

Once upon a time a very long time ago now, I attended Prairie Bible College in Three Hills, Alberta, Canada. And in my class was a girl named Jeanette Archer, a missionary kid from Colombia, South America. At the time, she was dating a fellow by the name of Marty Windle, and I later heard that they married and went to Bolivia as missionaries in their own right.

Fast forward a whole bunch of years. My mother-in-law handed me Crossfire, a novel about a naive American girl caught up in the cocaine trade in Bolivia, and I noticed the author's name was Jeanette Windle. "Hey, I used to know this gal!" And being as I'd visited Bolivia for several months in 1980, I also 'knew' the country a little.

Jeanette writes a very tight novel. She's well acquainted with Latin America and did such a good job of writing about the Drug Enforcement Agency's work in the southern hemisphere that she's been questioned about who leaked sensitive information to her (not true). When her most recent novel, Betrayed, this time listed as by J. M. Windle, became available to the book tour, I jumped at the chance to be transported back to the jungle.

Betrayed takes place in Guatemala and deals with the coverup of the American funding of the revolution there since the second world war. Vicki Andrews' parents, photographers and journalists, were massacred along with a Guatemalan village when Vicki was just a young child. Now an adult working with children at risk, Vicki finds her way back to Guatemala just in time to meet her sister before Holly is found dead in the middle of the refuse dump. Trying to determine if Holly's death was an accident leads Vicki down the path towards her own childhood and the memories that had been buried all these years by trauma. Can she figure out what happened? And is her future linked to the country of her birth?

If you like a fast-paced suspense novel about foreign lands, you'll enjoy Jeanette Windle's deep love for Latin America and her sharp writing style.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Book Tour--On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness--Day 2

Not too many folks I know have their own page on Wikipedia. Andrew Peterson does.

Besides being the author of the featured science fiction or fantasy book for this month's tour, Andrew Peterson is a career musician living in Nashville, being both a singer and a songwriter. One of his claims to fame is that of singing several of the songs on one of the Veggie Tales videos, The Wonderful Wizard of Ha's. Knowing that Andrew is...shall we say sympathetic? Veggie Tales helps me understand his middle grade novel better!

Okay, so let's talk about novel openings. By now, if you've been with me for long, you know I'm not keen on prologues. What do you do when the prologue isn't one, but three? At least I knew what these prologues were about. The first was entitled A Brief Introduction to the World of Aerwiar (one page). This was followed by A Slightly Less Brief Introduction to the Land of Skree (a page and a half). And finally, An Introduction to the Igiby Cottage (Very Brief) (one page, with sketch). You wouldn't actually need any of the information found in these introductions, but they were mildly amusing.

The first chapter is entitled The Carriage Comes, the Carriage Black:
Janner Igiby lay trembling on his bed with his eyes shut tight, listening to the dreadful sound of the Black Carriage rattling along in the moonlight. His younger brother Tink was snoring in the bunk above him, and he could tell from his little sister Leeli's breathing that she was asleep too. Janner dared to open his eyes and saw the moon, as white as a skull, grinning down on him through the window. As hard as he tried not to think about it, the nursery rhyme that had terrified children in the land of Skree for years sang in his head, and he lay there in the pale moonlight, his lips barely moving.

Lo, beyond the River Blapp
The carriage comes, the Carriage Black
By shadowed steed with shadowed tack
And shadowed driver driving.

Child, pray the Maker let you sleep
When comes the Carriage down the street
Lest all your dreams be dreams of teeth
And Carriages arriving.

To wrest you from your berth and bower
In deepest night and darkest hour
Across the sea to frozen tower
Where Gnag the Nameless pounds you

At Castle Throg across the span,
A world away from kith and clan
You'll weep at how your woes began
The night the shadows bound you

Away, beyond the River Blapp,
The Carriage came, the Carriage Black
By shadowed steed with shadowed tack
The night the Carriage found you

It's no wonder that Janner had a hard time sleeping once he heard the faint thud of hooves and the jangle of chains. (etc)

As you can see, this is a tale made for reading aloud. I don't have anyone to read aloud to these days, but I can feel the rhythm in the nursery rhyme even so. But don't read it to too young a child, or one prone to nightmares!

I'm curious: what do you think of this opening? Is it something that makes you want to read more? If it does, the Amazon link for ordering On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness is here.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Book Tour--On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness is a fantasy novel that I believe to be targeted at middle-grade readers. The story follows the Igiby siblings, Janner, Tink, and Leeli, as they try to stay out of the grasp of the venom-dripping Fangs of Dang. The Fangs doesn't refer to their teeth, either. It's the name of the lizard-like people who have taken over the land of Skree and desperately seek the lost jewels of Anniera. For some reason the Igiby adults (their mama, Nia, and her father, Podo) seem to have something to do with these jewels, but the children are getting rather afraid. They don't think it's worth hanging onto the jewels anymore. Maybe if the Fangs of Dang get what they want, they'll leave the family alone.

Or maybe not.

Andrew Peterson has written a tale filled with strange creatures, but nothing is stranger than the Fangs themselves. They love the grossest things; in fact, Nia bribes the Fang Commander with a promise of delicious maggotloaf. Mmmm, just what we all want for dinner.

Tomorrow we'll have a look at the opening hook of the story, and see if it works or doesn't. Meanwhile, check out what the others are saying: Sally Apokedak, Brandon Barr, Jim Black, Justin Boyer, Jackie Castle, CSFF Blog Tour, Gene Curtis , D. G. D. Davidson, Janey DeMeo, Jeff Draper , April Erwin, Beth Goddard , Marcus Goodyear, Todd Green, Jill Hart, Katie Hart, Michael Heald, Timothy Hicks, Christopher Hopper, Jason Joyner, Kait, Carol Keen, Mike Lynch, Margaret, Rachel Marks, Shannon McNear, Rebecca LuElla Miller, Pamela Morrisson, John W. Otte, Deena Peterson, Rachelle, Steve Rice, Cheryl Russel, Ashley Rutherford, Chawna Schroeder, James Somers, Donna Swanson, Steve Trower, Speculative Faith, Robert Treskillard, Jason Waguespac, Laura Williams, Timothy Wise

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Geocaching with Jim

LOL, I've sucked my husband onto Blogger! He bought himself a GPS unit a few weeks ago and has started geocaching. He decided that it would be fun to start a blog (all his own idea, really!) to keep track of the geocaches he's located. We found our first on March 16, and he posted up about it tonight to his new blog, Geocaching with Jim. He put up several photos of the area we located it as well.

He'll be posting up his second find sometime soon, because we've already found it!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Book Tour next week

I've been cutting way back on the books I've been accepting to tour, but next week we'll be having a brief look at a middle-grade fantasy novel, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness.

Meanwhile, I've been keeping busy with helping judge a contest, participating in a Submission Package Workshop at Forward Motion. I'm running Quest to Be Queen through the process there, and actually making progress in finishing off the last task in the story. A few more solid days and I'll be back into revising the wrap-up. (If you remember, I had to completely rewrite one of the seven tasks in the novel).

In other news, while I have a four-day weekend coming up for Easter, it will be rather busy. Hanna and Craig will be home and there will be a family wedding and therefore lots of out-of-province relatives. Monday it looks like it would be a good time to go visit my mom, being as hubby is back to work that day. Also because the sister that leaves near my mom is in Vancouver, and Mom is getting lonely. So it won't be precisely relaxing.

Joel and Jen called last night from El Bolson, Argentina, and we talked for about an hour. What a treat! They'll be back in BC in about a month and hopefully we'll get to see them a bit before they're back into the swing of their regular life in Victoria the beginning of May.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Kitchen Backsplash!

We've been working on the kitchen renovation again lately. The main things that have gotten done are some electrical work and the tiled backsplash.

We started on the back wall here with a 2x2 mosaic. I really love how mellow it looks, and the undercabinet light provides plenty of lighting under there. This upper cabinet is where baking supplies live, with bowls and mixer (etc) in the drawers below. So having plug-ins and good lighting here will be a big treat!

Then around the corner we got a little more elaborate above the stove by insetting a decorative focus. Originally I'd planned a 2x2 copper tile to use as a border, but it was discontinued before I could order it. This gorgeous piece of slate, cut into strips, makes a lovely accent. At least I think so! This backsplash was hubby's first ever tiling project, and I think he did a great job.

There are still a couple things to do at that end of the kitchen, such as the light rail. But we'll turn our focus to the other end next, I think. More photos someday when we get another chunk done.

Oh, do note my FlyLady style shiny kitchen sink! :) I consider it clean if the only visible dishes are clean and in the dishrack.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

1-2-3 Book Meme

Found this over at Tina's blog and decided to play so you'd know I'm still alive! :P

Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more. (No cheating!)
Got it - Betrayed by J. M. Windle

Find page 123 (ooh, that's a few pages ahead of where I am not...)

Find the first 5 sentences.
That’s done

Post the next 3 sentences.
Despite a card catalog whose contents were as dusty and dog-eared as the bundles, Vicki could not see how any effective research could be done. Fortunately, several of the larger and more enduring periodicals had been transferred to microfiche. In minutes the clerk had pulled up a front-page spread dated twenty years earlier.

(Hmm, I think I know what she's looking up. I'm on page 110, after all, and have a few clues in place!)

Tag 5 people. Heh. I've seen this one around a bit, so feel free to play along if you want, or pop a pointer into comments to where you already did.