Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Closing this blog!

I'm still writing, but I'm closing this blog. I've decided I need to focus on and from now on--not to mention getting real writing done!

Thank you for all those who have read and commented here; I deeply appreciate it.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

I should be writing, but . . .

I took this quiz instead, and it pegged me exactly. I'm from North Jersey, in the Greater New York City area:

What American accent do you have?
Created by Xavier on
You're probably from somewhere near New York City, possibly north Jersey, or Connecticut or Rhode Island. If you are from New York City you may be one of the types who people never believe when you say you're from New York.

If you are not from here, you are probably one of the following:
(a) A Philadelphian who can't stand the way other Philadelphians say "on";
(b) A Yat from New Orleans; or
(c) Someone from England, Australia, or New Zealand, in which case why are you doing this quiz in the first place?
Take this quiz now - it's easy!
We're going to start with "cot" and "caught." When you say those words do they sound the same or different?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Heres to a Sweet Passover!

Matzah for the Seder
Last night I hosted a first night Seder for fifteen people. It was marvelous! We were a mixture of Jews and gentiles, religious folk and atheists. We had knowledgeable Seder veterans and one 'Seder virgin.' (I think the singing, thought-provoking discussions and occasional arguments won him over.)

Good news: I have enough kosher-for-Passover leftovers to see me through the holiday.

Bad news: I've been remiss in my writing. My goal is 500 words per day. I've skipped some days getting ready for Passover, so I have some catching up to do.

More bad news: I'm not done cleaning up from the Seder. Oh well. It was worth it!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I've moved all my book reviews . . .

To a new blog called Blue Rat Book Reviews. I decided that I didn't want my reviews taking over what is meant to be a writing blog. So I've moved all the fiction reviews; the only books I'll review here are the ones on writing.

If you enjoy book reviews from a mish-mash of genres, head on over to my Blue Rat blog! Meanwhile, I'll keep the focus of this blog on my writing struggles, my Tarot-writing feature, and the joys and struggles of working with a writing partner.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

All my Craig & David Stories are up!

All the ones I've written so far, that is. You can read them in PDF form here at my new story site:

Fair & Appropriate: Craig can't believe his ex, David, thought it was a good idea to let himself into his house and 'borrow' his car . . .

West, West Manhattan: David is more attached to the home he grew up in than he thought . . .

On Bees and Octopuses: This time, Craig has to answer to David.

Aftermath: Is Craig getting cold feet?

Warning: these stories include mild D/s, sexual situations, and consensual spankings between adults. So eighteen and over only, please. But if you are at least eighteen, enjoy!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Day One of Script Frenzy

Signing up for Script Frenzy was a last minute decision for me. I have some lingering distaste from last year--I finished my 100 pages way ahead of time, and went through what I thought was the verification process. But, apparently, it wasn't the 'official' verification. So I never got my winner's badge. (Grrr . . .)

But I decided to set my bitterness aside and try again. I had a great time last year, despite the badge mishap. And I've got an idea I love: Craig & David will be making their first Seder together. (The Seder is the ritual meal held on the first and sometimes second nights of Passover. Hosting the Seder is an experience full of both joys and headaches.)

My only problem is that I'm not used to writing in play format. But that's ok. Besides, I can always 'novelize' it later.

Are you taking part in Script Frenzy? I'd love to hear about your script and experiences!

Let's Go Mets!

Best of luck to the Mets on opening day!

Edit: Sigh. My good luck wishes didn't get the Mets too far. Final: 6-2 Marlins.

Monday, March 28, 2011

I showed my first chapter to a crit group . . .

My first chapter of my fantasy novel Sons of Obsidian, that is. I had posted it here, but I removed it because the crit group made it clear that it needs work! I'm telling, not showing. One character seemed inconsistent. Oh, and the issue of slavery in my world building bothered one reader--but it's supposed to be troublesome, so I'm keeping that.

So, ow! And yet, I'm so grateful for these critiques. I talked over the chapter with my writing partner, Alexandra. I rethought the parts where I was telling instead of showing. I rethought the characters and their motivations. And you know what? The chapter is much stronger now.

One question remains: whether I'm going to keep going solo with Sons of Obsidian, or whether Alexandra will be writing and revising with me. (I've written a good deal of this book already. But I see so much room for improvement and I've already asked her to write certain scenes . . .) Well, we'll see how it goes. But I think she's going to end up as co-writer.

Meanwhile, I'll just thank G-d for the perceptive critiques!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Purim Sameach!

Happy Purim to all who are celebrating!

Pssst! Want to know a secret?

Tomorrow I'm meeting up with my friend Alexandra to talk about working together on various writing projects. (I chose that picture of Frances Marion and Mary Pickford to represent our partnership. Not ideal, because only Frances Marion was a writer. But they combined Marion's talent for writing with Pickford's talent for acting, so they still made a great team.)

I'm so excited! I've never been a co-author before, and I'm thrilled to be working with Alex. Our writing styles, I think, are complimentary. Dialogue and world building are strengths for both of us. Alexandra is a master at creating tension and emotional depth; I know how to lighten the mood and find some humor even in really awful situations. Between the two of us, we should strike just the right note!

I'll be posting more soon about the joys and headaches of working with a partner . . .

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011

Article Recs

Happy Presidents Day, Arkhamites! Since I have the day off, I got up at the crack of noon and caught up on some blog posts and articles. Here are three of my favorites:

1. 20 Tips for Writing the Cozy or Traditional Mystery

Josh Lanyon's tips are an entertaining review of the rules of the genre. I especially like that Josh admits that some rules only apply if you want a mainstream publisher:

17 - Bad words are a no-no. Cozy readers take a dim view of potty mouths. The F-word is verboten, and taking the Lord's name in vain will send you straight to publishing Hell. Obviously I’m talking to those of you with an eye on a mainstream publisher. The rest of us can do whatever the fuck we like.

2. A Life in Books: C. J. Sansom

I found this googling for more information on C. J. Sansom.  It's an indepth-interview with the man, focusing on his Matthew Shardlake mysteries.  I liked reading about how he knew he would have to get rid of sidekick Mark from Dissolution in favor of the "meatier" Jack Barak for the rest of the series.

3. Bankrupt!

Oy--Borders has filed Chapter 11. This post explains what that will mean to authors.

Enjoy the posts--and feel free to share your thoughts on them!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Series Rec: C. J. Sansom's Matthew Shardlake Mysteries

I'm partway through C.J. Sansom's Matthew Shardlake Mysteries. They're set in England during Henry VIII's reign, and feature historical characters like Thomas Cromwell.

I'm loving these so far. Matthew Shardlake is a London lawyer who begins as an ardent Reformer but starts going through a crisis of faith as he sees that Cromwell is just as corrupt (and spilling just as much blood) as the Catholics in power before him.

Matthew solves murders with a loyal but uncouth rogue named Jack Barak, a patralineal descendant of converso Jews. Jack isn't much religious, but he has a sentimental (and potentially dangerous) attachment to his Jewish heritage.

I adore Jack and his relationship with Matthew. (Is it a bromantic friendship? More father-son? Maybe it's a bit of both.) Sadly, Jack doesn't come in till the second book, but the first one is worth reading anyway.

I love mysteries, history and religious issues, so these books are perfect for me. Overall, I think Sansom does a brilliant job of bringing the Tudor period to life. The mysteries themselves are so-so, but since I love the characters and setting, I'm ok with that.

My Goodreads Review of Dissolution: short and to the point!

My Goodreads Review of Dark Fire: more in depth!

My Goodreads Review of Sovereign: also in depth!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

How not to promote your book!

Check out Josh Lanyon's article on Reviews by Jessewave to avoid dirty--not to mention pathetic--tricks: Nice Guys Finish Last

Saturday, February 5, 2011

My First Blog Award!

Sticky Notes Stories honored this blog with the "I'm Sticking Around!" award. Read about it here.

Friday, February 4, 2011

February Writing Goals

I'm carrying two of my goals over from January--but since I didn't make the 2,000 words per day, I'm changing it to a more modest 500 words per day:

1. Write a minimum of 500 words per day.
2. Finish first draft of Not So Safe.
3. Finish one Halcrest Fantasy story.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

First Paragraph Contest!

Nathan Bransford is hosting The Fourth Sort-of-Annual Stupendously Ultimate First Paragraph Challenge.The idea is to submit the opening paragraph of one of your works-in-progress. It closes tomorrow (Thursday) at 4 PM Pacific Time. Check the post for information on the prizes and rules.

I just submitted my entry, from a WIP that still doesn't have an official title:

The only thing worse than visiting a graveyard is paying your respects to the man you put there. No, I didn’t murder Cam—I’m not that far gone—but it was my fault his bones were rotting beneath that dull, gray slab. 

Good luck to everyone who enters!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Good Reason for my Absence

I haven't been on the blog of late--but that's partly due to the fact that I've been writing my ass off! I've been working alternately on Not So Safe and a fantasy story. So I'm pausing to pat myself on the back before watching the Jets take on the Steelers--and I fully intend to break out the keyboard during half-time!

Monday, January 17, 2011

For Martin Luther King Jr. Day

I've always loved this song, Abraham, Martin & John, by Dion. It's about the deaths of Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy. It seems especially appropriate today. 

Youtube also has the full version of King's I Have a Dream speech available.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Joyce on Writing

"Writing in English is the most ingenious torture ever devised for sins committed in previous lives. The English reading public explains the reason why."

(Thanks to T.N. Tobias's post, in which I found this quote!)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Inspiring Interview with M. R. Mathias

M. R. Mathias
I just found this interview with M.R. Mathias, who wrote his first books while serving time in prison. I've never read Mr. Mathias's books--in fact, this is the first time I've heard of him--but I have to tip my hat to someone who made such excellent use of such a rough period in his life.

He talks about his books, his writing style, his learning curve and his success as a self-published author in this interview. Definitely worth a read, and I'll be adding one of his books to my TBR list.

Meanwhile, many thanks to the James Mason Community Book Club at Goodreads for finding this interview and pointing it out!

Friday, January 7, 2011

More on Self-Publishing Controversies

I'll admit this up front: I'm attracted to the idea of self-publishing. This article in Writer Beware contains some caveats, but it's worth reading. Better yet, there are comments on both sides of the argument.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Josh Lanyon Interviews Jake Riordan

So this is what a character interview should look like! Josh Lanyon captures the agony of Jake's conflicted feelings about Adrien and about his marriage in just a few understated lines.

Monday, January 3, 2011


I've just re-written the same scene of Not So Safe eleven times. Oy. (Thank heavens for a patient writing buddy! I've lost track of how many times she's read the scene now . . .)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Books I've Read in 2011

Here's a place for me to keep track of all the books I start and finish reading this year. Each title links to my review of the book on my book review blog or on Goodreads.

Ok, here's my list:

1. Convincing Arthur by Ava March (4 out of 5 stars)
2. The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner (4 out of 5 stars)
3. Adrien English Mystery #3: The Hell You Say by Josh Lanyon (5 out of 5 stars)
4. Adrien English Mystery #4: Death of a Pirate King by Josh Lanyon (5 out of 5 stars)
5. Adrien English Mystery#5 The Dark Tide by Josh Lanyon (5 out of 5 stars)
6. The Good Thief by James Buchanan (4 out of 5 stars)
7. Duck by Kim Dare (3 out of 5 stars)
8. The Help by Kathryn Stockett (5 out of 5 stars)
9. I Spy Something Bloody by Josh Lanyon (5 out of 5 stars)
10. (Matthew Shardlake Mystery #1) Dissolution by C. J. Sansom (4 out of 5 stars)
11. In a Dark Wood by Josh Lanyon (5 out of 5 stars)
12. A Limited Engagement by Josh Lanyon (4 out of 5 stars)
13. (Matthew Shardlake Mystery #2) Dark Fire by C. J. Sansom (4 out of 5 stars)
14. (Matthew Shardlake Mystery #3) Sovereign by C. J. Sansom (4 out of 5 stars)
15. The Gentleman and the Rogue by Bonnie Dee and Summer Devon (3 out of 5 stars)
16. The French Have a Word for It by Josh Lanyon (4 out of 5 stars)
17. I Spy Something Wicked by Josh Lanyon (5 out of 5 stars)
18. Love Ahead: Expect Delays (4 out of 5 stars)
19. Saviour by Jade Falconer (3 out of 5 stars)
20. Strapless by Honoria Ravena (2 out of 5 stars)
21. Special Delivery by Heidi Cullinan (5 out of 5 stars)

My January Writing Goals

1. Finish the first draft of Not So Safe
2. Finish the next Craig and David short story: Aftermath
3. Average a minimum of 2,000 words a day--that means 62,000 words in total for the month!

Friday, December 31, 2010

Creative Draw of the Day: The Hanged Man

The Hanged Man seems perfect for New Years Eve, when the old year dies and the new year is born. It's a Major Arcana card, so it carries extra weight for a character. Better yet, it represents a period of intense withdrawal from the every-day world, when the character undergoes an ordeal that leads her to re-evaluate her life, emerging with more insight and wisdom than before.

I've always thought this ordeal should be voluntary--but I changed my mind after seeing The Fighter. Dicky is forced to undergo a withdrawal from the world, and the subsequent re-evaluation seems to work for him.

This card conjures up the mythology of Odin--the Norse deity who hung from the branches of Yggdrasil, the world tree, to learn the secrets of the Runes. Take a look at this post, which gives a Pagan perspective of  Odin's story and how it relates to this card.

Whatever a character's religion or mythos, the ordeal represented by The Hanged Man may leave her shaken or even shattered--but it will leave her stronger too.

Christian Bale as Dicky in The Fighter

Wednesday, December 29, 2010