“Watch this” Wednesday: Gay Talese

Have you seen the New Yorker’s wonderful profile of journalist Gay Talese and his “underground think tank?” I loved hearing about his writing process and seeing how he collects and collages the memories of a lifetime.


Friday Five

Five random things that helped make this a good week . . .

Jordan DaneAuthor Jordan Dane posted yesterday at The Kill Zone authors blog on five key ways to make your  characters memorable. It came at the perfect time for me (or the girls in the basement, at least) as I struggle with a flat opening to my latest WIP (a revision of last year’s Nanowrimo novel). The comments are just as valuable as her post, and she was kind enough to follow-up with more advice on Twitter. That’s some good author karma there, and you know she just made my TBR pile.

I watched this and laughed my ass off:

I love P!nk and I love you, Mr. Hart. Here’s to another 24 years!

Grooms see their brides for the first time...hanky required. (Photo Album - Imgur)And then I saw this photo album of grooms (thanks to a Twitter-tip from author Barbara O’Neal) at the first moment they see their brides. Awwww. That’s enough to crack even my hard shell. I think I’ll make Mr. Hart something that doesn’t come out of a box tonight in honor of our anniversary two weeks ago.

Reached new levels of cooperation with the wonderful Ms. G who teaches my equally wonderful six-year-old son, who has Asperger’s syndrome. Nice to have an ally in the endless battles with the school bureaucrats and policy-makers who grow further out of touch every day with the needs of kids and those trying to teach them.

One or two . . .  or three . . .  of these are in my near future. Tonight, after the little demons ones are nestled snug in their beds,  it’ll be me in my basement office, marg in hand, spilling ink and having fun. Ah, the zany life of a writer.

TGIF, my friends.

Bad-ass ninjas can save your town

I curl up every night with picture books and early reader tales, thanks to the offspring. But I’m one of the seemingly tiny minority of people on the planet who hasn’t been swept up in the YA fiction craze. Never read the Twilight saga or Hunger Games or . . . even (gasp) past the first 50 pages of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Author Amy KingA few YA titles have made it to my TBR pile, mostly after being recommended by other writers I admire, but until today I confess I’d never heard of A.S. King.

You must go and read her guest post at Writer Unboxed. It’ll only take a few minutes and will put a big smile on your face. You won’t believe me when you see the headline. Another indie bookstore post… yawn, right?

Wrong. Amy King is funny, engaging, and has a ton of wisdom to share about bad-ass ninjas saving your town, why indie bookstores are all about Power to the People, and why you should never pass a solo greens purveyor in Ireland to buy Spanish iceberg lettuce at the big box grocery. (You’ll have to watch the video to find out why that’s funny.)

After reading a string of e-books, I’ve been longing to hold a real book in my hand again. King’s book Please Ignore Vera Dietz will be just the ticket.

I’ll look for it at Pulp Fiction, my local indie bookstore/bad-ass ninja lair. If you’re also in BC and looking for an independent bookseller in your community, check this great list from The Tyee.

12 steps to better blog promotion

I was doing a little surfing this Sunday morning and discovered these terrific blog promotion tips from DivvyHQ. Their visual checklist is offered up freely for sharing. Head over to DivvyHQ’s website to download the file and printing instructions.

“Watch this” Wednesday: Revenge of the Rejected

Rejection letters are one of the soul-crushing realities of life as a writer.

Per all the wisdom of the interwebs, we’re to take them with a grain of salt. It’s only one person’s opinion, after all. A proper writer doesn’t wallow in despair.

A proper writer is grateful for the rejection. It has freed us to find that one agent or publisher out there who really gets us and will fight passionately for our story. Our book’s soul mate.  And look, this reject-er was kind enough to bullet everything wrong with our story, so that we might rewrite it in a way more pleasing to them and potential marketing departments. So many blessings in one short email or letter.

Yeah, right. Here’s what we really want to do:

This great clip, featuring Dylan Moran as Bernard Black, is from the British TV show Black Books that ran a few years back in the U.K. Very funny.



Must-read words for writing moms

Photo: Wikipedia

Confession: I have a girl crush on Maggie Stiefvater. And not just for the mad writing skills that put her books on the NYT bestseller list. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

At only 31, she’s also an accomplished musician, and an award-winning, internationally-collected artist. She can do this with a Sharpie in a little more than an hour.

Yeah, I’m feeling kind of inadequate right now, too.

She’s also a mom and a wise woman, which she proved with her latest blog post that made me fall for her all over again, despite my crippling jealousy. Here’s a snippet.

Women. There is a lot of guilt associated with taking time for your career versus spending time nurturing children. Every time you leave the house and the kids have a babysitter or a substandard dinner or no bedtime story, our culture screams at us for being bad mothers. But guess what. Working mothers are not bad mothers. Women who have a sense of self-identity, either through a career or through a home-based activity, are women that kids respect. My father was on an air craft carrier for six months out of the year when I was a kid. I adored him and still do, and what’s more — I’m pretty much just like him. So it’s not the amount of time you spend sitting in the presence of your kids. It’s how you use that time.

You can read the full post on her blog. Scroll down a few paragraphs, past the drumming display (sigh) to get to her advice for working moms.

See Maggie’s art on her Flickr stream.

Definitely girl crush material.

Writers’ workspaces

Maggie Gee's writing room. Photo by Eamonn McCabe.

If you’ve read this post, then you know I’m a home decorating/design junkie. I do more than my share to keep the shelter magazine business viable.

I’m particularly interested in other writers’ workspaces and what they surround themselves with to spark their creativity.

Author Ian's Rankin's office

The UK newspaper The Guardian used to run a fabulous series in the Books section on writers rooms, though sadly it hasn’t been updated recently.  The photographs, almost all by Eamonn McCabe, are wonderful and each is accompanied by the writer’s own description of their spaces and the totems and mementos that inspire them.

Check it out.