Showing posts from 2014

A Year in Blog: 2014

2014 was quite an exciting year, writing-wise.

I finished draft four of The Keegans of Banner's Edge and began querying it, thereby receiving my first rejection letters. But still, I finished a book, queried it, and the rejections weren't that terrible, so better luck next time!

Some of my blogging buddies and I formed a loose writing group called The Consonants. Although we haven't had a regular chat in a  while, we do email each other asking for input and advice and a bit of critique. Yay writing friends :-)!

I challenged myself to read 40 books not of the research variety in 2014 and succeeded, surpassing 40 and making it to 46 books read for the challenge and maybe more like 50 total for the year, counting books I'm reading for fiction research purposes. I might go for 42 books in 2015.

I took a tiny step in making some of my fiction more public by posting fan fiction on Granted, I haven't finished the last story I was posting on there and prob…

American Girl

I came across this image on Tumblr tonight and immediately, my childhood reading experiences came back to mind because I read all of these books. These are the original American Girl books--historical fiction stories for children, about a ten-year-old girl living in different historical periods. 
These books are probably the reason for my historical-seeking reading behavior now. I think I started with Addy's stories, then read Samantha and Kirsten's in school. In about third grade. Then I definitely remember reading Molly's stories and then, later reading Felicity and Josefina's books. I had most of the books at home--and they were such gorgeous books and the historical notes at the end were the bomb. 
So. Yeah. Slice of childhood.

Orphan Black and Outlander

Before, during, and after NaNo, I binged-watched Season Two of Orphan Black, which was twister than Season One, with more mysteries revealed and more clones in on the action.

One of the things I love about Orphan Black is Tatiana Maslany's incredible performances. She plays all of the clones. All. Of. Them. And it's incredible because in scenes where there are two or three or four clones (four clone dance party, anyone?), I don't think, "Oh, it's Tatiana Maslany acting opposite herself." I go, "Oh, it's Cosima talking to Sarah while Alison is doing something in the background."

Each of the clones has a distinct personality, appearance, reactions, just as if they were really different people who had grown up in different environments with different beliefs, despite being played by the same actress. I think it's exciting to see so many different types of women portrayed in one show. It's certainly opened up my mind to different ways I can …

NaNo Update: A Question for Performers

So, wee update on the NaNo project here:

1. I have 400 words of a re-written beginning and I think I'm getting a sense of Nicole's voice. There's a little more meat to her plot, too, but I haven't figured out how that's going to wind through yet.

2. I'm reading some research on the Victorian era, in particular The Glitter and The Gold by Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan, which is a really lovely book. Her descriptions are going to be so helpful when I go back to revise the Victorian portions of the book. I've also bookmarked other books that might help; will wait for after Christmas to get those.

3. Found some fiction from that era, too: Edith Wharton to start and then maybe I'll read Henry James and then scrounge up some time to watch the movie of The Importance of Being Earnest.

4. I've also been thinking a lot about what makes Victoria tick, exactly. She chooses to become an actress in a time when girls like her did not go on the stage, so she has to h…

One New Yorker's Reaction to the Eric Garner Case

This is a rant. You have been warned.

When I was a four or five-year-old, my (white, Irish-American) father used to tell me to duck if we were in the car and a police car drove by. This is not a normal reaction to cops. In kindergarten, we were asked to draw "our heroes." The other kids drew firemen and policemen. I drew the gas station attendant. My dad has never been a person who trusted the police--shades of the Irish dislike of authority here, despite so many Irish-Americans being policemen--and so, I ducked in the car.

IWSG: The Next Plateau

It's IWSG Wednesday! The Insecure Writer's Support Group is an awesome group of writers who post every first Wednesday of the month to share their ideas, struggles, and insecurities. Check out the group here! Thanks to the co-hosts for December: Heather Gardner, T. Drecker, Eve E. Solar, and Patsy Collins.

Also: pick up The Insecure Writer's Support Group Guide to Publishing and Beyond e-book wherever  you get your e-books. I have an essay, "Writing Vivid Characters," in the volume. #shamelessplug

So, this month: I won NaNoWriMo, which left me with a 50,000-word mess of a first draft. Leaving aside the mess, the things I learned about my characters, the list of reading for research--all of them are typical for me after finishing a first draft--I feel like I'm poised on a threshold to a new plateau of writing.

"Show not tell" has always been a bit difficult for me, not being the naturally descriptive type. It's not quite right to judge a first d…

NaNo '14: Day 30

I won. I validated. I ordered my winner's shirt. I may have found my modern girl's character conflict (finally) and holy crap, this draft is a mess.

But that's okay, because I squeaked by and won NaNo. As you can see from the screenshot of the NaNo word count calendar below, this was not an easy NaNo.

This yellow boxes were days where I put something down, but didn't hit the daily 1667 words. The orange days were days when I wrote something, but yeah, even less words than the yellow day ones. 
I've never done a NaNo where I was down to the very last day of the month to get it to 50K. But I did it.

NaNo '14: Day 28/ I Survived Black Friday

Current Word Count: 47, 141 (Y'all, that's about 2800 words left, yay!!)

It's the last weekend of NaNo. I have completely given up trying to write connective narrative and have instead been writing scenes, dialogue runs, whatever comes to me. It keeps me chugging along, at least. I'll be writing tonight and definitely over Sunday to hit the 50K.

So close, so close...

The (Re)Discovery of the Printed Ongoing Saga

Current NaNo word count: 40,008. (That's 9,992 words until I hit 50K! Yay!)
As many of you know, I was a Writing major in college. What this essentially meant was that I spent my college years buried in paper--books, articles, pieces I needed to read for workshop, pieces I needed to revise, the various bits and pieces you end up writing as homework...
Yesterday, as I sat down to eat on my lunch hour at work, I received a text from Katie, aka The Eternal Roomie, my old college roommate. 
Katie: So I found this folder full of your stuff from college. I think it's a portfolio. Don't know why I have it. Do you want it? *sends me picture of stuff*
Me: Huh? What is it? *stuffing food into my mouth with one hand, enlarging picture with other*
Katie: It's from Emerson. It looks like pitch letters and essays...I have no idea why I have it.
Me: Not fiction? Is it good stuff?
Katie: Oh! Wait! I just turned it over! It's our saga!
I should probably explain. Before I fell into…

NaNo '14: Day 21

Current Word Count: 35, 621

It's been a wee bit of a struggle this week, what with strange work hours and my body wanting to hibernate. Hello, Seasonal Affective! I already know that the Victorian half of the story is much stronger then the modern day one and I'm trying not to mind. After all, I don't know Nicole as well as I do Victoria because Victoria's been in my head longer.

At some point, I realized that I really, really wanted to write a scene that was out of sequence. Normally I wouldn't, being a linear-type writer. But because I'm all up in the Outlander books--it's gone to obsessive levels, people--in addition to YouTube stalking some events from when the TV show started airing, I was also doing a little reading and listening to the author, Diana Gabaldon, who apparently writes "with no outline and not in a straight line." Which is kind of amazing, considering how long the books are.

Anyway, I feel like it gave me permission to write wha…

Cool (or Weird) Things about the Victorian Era: Post-Mortem Photography

Current NaNo word count: 29,441

So, today, the word count is coming in pretty smoothly. I think I may have found a way to preserve my modern MC-is-getting-a-fortune storyline and in 1894, Victoria is about to leave home and become an actress.

In reading news, I just started Drums of Autumn, book 4 in the Outlander series.

I think my characters are beginning to click for me. Cast in point, today's Cool (Or Just Plain Weird or Creepy) Thing About the Victorian Era.

Post-Mortem Photography.

Oh, yes.

In 1894, Victoria is recounting some family history (which, of course, is also part of Nicole's family history). Her grandfather was the Earl of Malden and when he died and her uncle became the next Earl, a photographer came before the funeral to photograph the dead Earl.

I read about this somewhere not long ago and since it was regurgitated into my story, here are some...interesting photos.

From what I've read about this, it started because of the high infant mortality rate. If t…

NaNo '14: Day 14

Current Word Count: 24,401

I'm actually writing this on Day 13, so I may or may not come back to tell you how Day 14 actually goes. I expect to hit 25K though.

It is Week Two of NaNo, which is traditionally Hell Week for NaNo. The excitement of beginning the novel has worn off and you keep looking at the stats chart and calendar and go, "Oh, God, how many more days do I have to do this for?"

For me, it's been an interesting week in that I'm totally getting that Week Two vibe of seeing a lot of what's wrong with my story, namely that Nicole, my modern day MC, isn't as well-written as the Victoria chapters are. But maybe because I'm now into parts of the story I haven't spent as much time with as the beginning of the story, I find myself more summarizing a lot of narrative and scenes rather than really taking the care of getting really into them. I'm not too worried, knowing that this is all going to be revised and rewritten and better researche…

7 Deadly Literary Sins Blog Hop!

Krystal tagged me in this blog hop. I like the graphic :-)

Greed--What is your most inexpensive book?
Either The Conquest by Elizabeth Chadwick, which I got at Brookline Booksmith for pretty cheap. Or one of the masses of mass market paperback romance novels I own, a few of which I've gotten for free. Or, you know, the $1.99 Kindle version of The Nazi Officer's Wife.

Wrath – Who’s the author with whom you have a love/hate relationship with?
Er...I don't know. I think in the past it might've been Philippa Gregory, but now, I'm not really sure.

Gluttony – What book have you devoured over and over again with no shame?
The Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson. A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith, too. Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase. Sloth – Which book have you neglected reading due to laziness?
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. It's staring at me right now.  Pride – What books do you talk about most in order to sound like an intellectual reader? Well, there's Atone…

NaNo '14: Day 7

Current Word Count: 11, 670

Hey guys--Just a little update on my 2014 NaNo experience.

Last year, I was racing through the word count. This year, not so much. I'm ahead by about a day's worth of word count, but I'm not exactly galloping through. It felt rusty and awkward the first few chapters, but now that I've written some really cool stuff, I feel a little more relaxed with these characters and this plot.

I'm alternating chapters between my two timelines: odd chapters present day, narrated in first person by Nicole; even chapters in the 1890s, third person to Victoria. I'm not so worried about research, actually. Karla sent me a book called Daily Life in a Victorian House a while back (thank you so much!) and I've picked it up to spot-check stuff like "Did men wear top hats then?" and "What was a leg o' mutton sleeve?" and "What was meal time like?"

Also, I've outsourced a little bit of research--Nicole is a quasi-de…

IWSG: November

This post is for the November IWSG. We post every first Wednesday of the month! Thanks to Alex J. Cavanagh for creating the group. Check out the IWSG here. Super thanks to the co-hosts this month: LG Keltner, Donna Hole, Lisa Buie-Collard and SL Hennessy

So, I'm doing NaNoWriMo. On the one hand, I'm getting back into the habit of writing everyday, after a month or so of querying and outlining and researching. I always feel rusty at the beginning of a new writing project and I have to tell myself to have patience. My first drafts have never, ever, ever come out perfect on the first writing and that's not going to change now.

But there is that pernicious voice in the back of my head that asks me if I think I'm a good writer, in general. Am I a good writer? Do I make people feel or think or relate to my work? I mean, I enjoy writing--it's beyond enjoyment now, it's downright compulsive. It's one of the few things I'm definitely good at. I've been tol…

The Ballad of a Halfie

Today I am Asian: small eyes, dark hair
In an hour, I am white: strong hooked nose, pale skin
When I speak a foreign language you don't know, you gape.
But when I wear green on St. Pat's Day, you chuckle,
"Irish? You're not Irish."

You say I must speak Spanish--I look Spanish.
Whatever that means.
Or, no, I really don't know Mandarin? Cantonese?
What kind of a Chinese-American am I?
Well, that's easy--I'm not.
Surely I understand Yiddish?
Only as much as most New Yorkers do, ma'am.
But Russian? You don't speak Russian?
Nyet. I am not Russian.

I am a mirror
Of whatever mesh of cultures and features you want to see.
I can drink Guinness with aplomb and sing "Carrickfergus" 'til you weep.
I can make mochi and drink sake and belt-sing "Kawa No Narage."
So which am I? Irish-American? Irish from four generations ago?
Or Japanese? No, not really Japanese though--

And I say, "I am both. At the same time."
And your mi…

2014 Reading Challenge: A Breakdown

As you guys know, I recently hit my 40 book goal in the 2014 Goodreads reading challenge, which I assigned myself.

It's really the first time I've kept track of what I read over the course of a year and it has been an interesting exercise. A college friend had posted about her 52-book reading challenge on Facebook and I grew interested. I felt like I hadn't been reading as much in the past few years or at least, the reading I was doing was research for my book.

Part of the reason I wanted to track what I read was that I suspected my reading tastes had stagnated into a pool of historical fiction and historical romance. I love those genres, but when you read too much of one thing, everything gets kind of samey. When things get too samey-samey (or I'm not reading much), it shows in my writing. I wasn't being as descriptive in my prose or inventive with plots and characters or going in depth as I wanted to.

On top of that, in reading the same genres often, I was missi…

2014 Reading Challenge: 40 Books Read!

Early this year, I joined Goodreads and decided to challenge myself to read more. I initially gave myself a 30-book challenge, then upped it to 40.

I closed book 40 a few minutes ago! Woohoo! I'll do a more comprehensive roundup of what I read in my challenge this year, but for now, books 31 to 40:

31. The Steady Running of the Hour by Justin Go--Historical fiction, literary fiction, dual narratives, WWI, 1920s--2 stars--review

32. The Silmarillion by JRR Tolkien--High Fantasy--3 stars--review

33. The Hidden Blade by Sherry Thomas--Young Adult, Historical Romance, China, England--4 stars

34. Blameless by Gail Carriger--Fantasy, Supernatural, Steampunk--3 stars--review

35. My Beautiful Enemy by Sherry Thomas--Historical Romance, Victorian--3 stars--review

36. The Pieces We Keep by Kristina McMorris--Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction, WWII, dual narratives--3 stars

37. Heartless by Gail Carriger--Fantasy, Supernatural, Steampunk--3 stars

38. Timeless by Gail Carriger--Fantasy…

NaNoWriMo Is Upon Us

I had my first Guinness tonight and it was good. Clearly half Irish.
— Michelle A (@SunflowerRei) October 17, 2014

It's mid-October, which means November will be here soon and November, for many writers, means NaNoWriMo time.

This would be my fourth NaNo. My first was in 2010 with the Tudor-set Iggy, the second was with the first draft of what became The Keegans of Banner's Edge, the third (last year) was a contemporary New Adult story that was so much fun to write, but I never had any intention of continuing it on. I've won with all three, though last year's was the earliest and probably the easiest win.

This year, I'm doing NaNo for the first draft of my next novel, which doesn't have a title yet. But it's half historical and half contemporary and I'm really excited. It's hard to write as much as NaNo requires and do the research necessary for a historical fiction book, so I think NaNo will help me get scenes and ideas …

Random Poetry

A while back, Krystal was talking about a writer's conference she attended. There was talk of poetry there. And then just a few days ago, Michelle Tran posted a poem on her blog.

I was sitting, listening to music and reading through an awesome source on Project Gutenberg for my story (seriously, seriously awesome source) while also turning around some ideas for the story.

Instead, this came out. I've never been able to write "serious" poetry, by the way.

Poem #1
Your activity is out of doors The noise frightens me Dear neighbor, take the vacuum inside--vacuum your floors! Because no sane person sucks leaves off an outdoor patio during a wind storm.

Ode to a Snooze Button
You squawk I groan You insist I glare But that's no matter. You herald that I must awake I must rise, open my eyes Leave dreamland--where I am a princess, a rock star, a witch, a wizard, a wife, a blonde For the smooth touchscreen of existence But another few minutes beckons.

A New Idea for the New Idea

I've been mostly lying around these past few days, with this annoying dry cough--it's allergy season, the only time of year my lungs remember that they're technically asthmatic--and I've been reading. And listening to The Script a lot. And watching stuff on YouTube. I've also been thinking about the new story.

I've read a few historical novels this year that had dual timelines--in a couple of cases, the timelines went in between two different historical periods, but others went from modern day and period. I like those kinds of stories. The ones with a modern day/historical storyline also, incidentally, seem more marketable--they could be considered historical fiction or women's fiction, if the characters are female, or even literary.

I've had some ideas going toward that--the historical portion being, obviously, the Victorian idea I've had and a modern story connecting to the Victorian one. On the one hand, I think it might be cool. Only half the st…

The Script--No Sound Without Silence

The Script is one of my favorite bands--and a band that two of my best friends also like. They're basically an auto-buy for me. I've now been to four Script shows (one for each album). For whatever reason, The Script always seem to be in New York when their albums are released.

Well tonight (that is, October 1st), Jess, Meta the Beta, and I went to Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan to see The Script, the day after their fourth album No Sound Without Silence was released.

The opening band was good (they played Steve Earle's "Galway Girl," which was pretty sweet), the bathroom line was short, the people who sat in our seats while we went to the bathroom left as soon as Jess glared at them, and The Script were amazing, as usual. They started with "Paint The Town Green," which will probably be my new St. Patrick's Day song.

IWSG: Queryland

This post is for October's Insecure Writer's Support Group, a group which posts their insecurities and releases them out to the world every first Wednesday of the month. Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for creating IWSG. If you haven't already, don't forget to send in/link to your articles for the IWSG anthology. I already sent in mine. Also, happy one year anniversary to the website!

So, this month: I'm not actually writing. I'm in a post-story state, but it's a different post-story state because I'm querying The Keegans of Banner's Edge. It's the first time I've gone through the query trenches--and I'm not expecting anything. But I did strongly feel that, after years of writing and rewriting that novel, it was time to dip my toe out there. Usually, the last story has been shelved or is being read by someone while I work on the next one. Right now, Queryland feels like a strange sort of limbo because while I'm mentally trying to shape …

Of Central Perk and Rejection

I feel like I haven't blogged about any recent adventures in the past few months. I have no writing/life balance, so whatever I've posted in the past few weeks and months is what I've been up to. Well, my friend Jess wanted to know if I'd come with her to SoHo to the pop-up Central Perk on Lafayette Street.

Central Perk, you say? Yup. It's a small exhibition pop-up shop celebrating the 20th anniversary of the TV show Friends. 

There was a line to get in. It took a while, but Jess and I amused ourselves by taking pictures.

This building was in front of us for a good portion of our wait to get in.  It has a dome, columns, moldings, carvings, a clock, and sculptures upon it. It looks very grand--and very old New York, which doesn't really exist anymore. I Googled it. It used to be the headquarters of the New York Police. It's now luxury apartments.

While we waited, Jess was interviewed about Friends from somebody from MySpace.

And then we finally got to the f…

Introducing the Ponsonby-Courtneys

I originally started this story as a few play scenes--don't remember when--probably not long after I saw The Heiress on Broadway. I put it away after three or four scenes, because it was time for another revision on the WIP. 
Between The HeiressDownton Abbey, and The Buccaneers, I've been inspired to write a story that takes place in the 1890s. It's historical fiction again, but it's women's historical fiction, maybe even New Adult historical fiction, if such a thing exists. The story only has one POV so far and that POV is Victoria Elizabeth Matilda Ponsonby-Courtney.

As you may have guessed from that list of inspirations, this story has: an English country manor (yes, again), but this time it's falling apart. I think the Ponsonby-Courtneys live in a house that looks like this:

Entering the Query Trenches

This blog started with me posting up a novella--my first finished book-length piece of writing, the first book-length thing I didn't abandon. Since then, I have done three NaNoWriMos (winning all three), wrote a supernatural contemporary (shelved), a Regency historical romance (shelved, but reshaped into something else), a Tudor historical (not quite finished/shelved), wrote a light, sweet New Adult story (last year's NaNo; finished, if not quite polished), and then four drafts of a historical fiction.

Today, I entered the query trenches with that historical fiction. I sent off five queries to various agents today and hope to find more agents to query this work to. I think I'm being fairly realistic about this; the chances of gaining representation are not high in only the first round. But then I'm reminded that, only a few years ago, the idea of actually sending a submission out to an agent was both inevitable and terrifying.

So now I've done it. I've gotten a…

Top Ten Books That Affected Me

Krystal tagged me (as usual lol) to list the Top 10 books that have influenced/affected me. As y'all know, periodically, I'll post about a book that I really like on the blog. But a top ten list? First of all, I'm sorry to all the books I like that aren't going to make this list. And second, I'm not sure that this will necessarily be in order because how do you compare books like that?

My List.

10. The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
If you were a historical fiction reader in the early 2000s, you'd be hard-pressed to avoid Tudor-mania, led by The Other Boleyn Girl. As a 15-year-old, I loved the intrigue, drama, politics, and, well, softcore porn contained in this book. I didn't know about Mary Boleyn before. Last time I read it (in my early 20s), I was wondering why Anne Boleyn was such a shrew, why the dialogue was getting on my nerves so much, and why it was so soap opera.

9. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
A lot of people seem to think this book …

Editing Is Done

I just finished my edit of The Keegans of Banner's Edge. I'm actually, for now, kind of at peace with this story. I'm ready to attack my query, figure out a synopsis, and get cracking on the queries! Maybe, if all works out, by next week!

The edit has come out to:

365 pages
50 Chapters
96,551 words

The unedited finished fourth draft was:

358 pages (but those pages weren't formatted correctly...i.e, when I write, I tend to let the chapters run together instead of separating them onto new pages kind of thing)
55 chapters (I combined several chapters in the edit. Getting rid of a character will allow you to do that.)
100,173 words.

100,173-96, 551=3,622 words gone.

Here's an excerpt below.

Protagonist, Antagonist, Plot

I don't naturally spring forth with plots.

And because I don't naturally spring forth with a plot, there has been a sad lack of antagonists in my stories. I don't know if it's a literary fiction leaning or just that I find antagonists hard to write, but...I don't know that I've ever really written one.

Although The Keegans of Banner's Edge has three antagonists; well, maybe four. They're not antagonists in a Voldemort/Sauron/Henry VIII/Wicked Witch of the West kind of way. The Keegans are definitely a Man vs. Himself or Man vs. Society kind of conflict.

Basic story structure is like this:

Protagonist wants something. Protagonist strives to get that something. Antagonist(s) stands in Protag's way. Protag maneuvers to either get or not get the goal.

Why my brain doesn't spout Protag vs. Antag plots is beyond me. It's a lot easier than illustrating an entire society being against one's main character!

Antagonists aren't merely enemies …

IWSG: Editing and Writing Friends

This post is for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, which posts every first Wednesday of the month!

I have finished the fourth and last draft of my WIP, The Keegans of Banner's Edge. I have a query draft that was read by my writing group and is now ripe for a revision. I have several literary agents in mind and am putting my list together.

But first, I am editing up my manuscript. Making sure things are as tight as I want them to be. Making sure things make sense (see Translating from the Rei for the truly wacko things I found in a past revision). Formatting so that each chapter begins on a new page.

Also, I'm cutting out a character. It probably seems like I'm cutting out this darling awfully late in the process, but--well--I mean, it's not gone out into the world yet, so it's not late at all. He's a minor character who has been in the story since at least draft two and he's one of my MC's few true friends, which seemed like a reason to keep him…

End of Part Five (and Draft 4)

Y'all--the writing/revising of draft 4 is finished.

To keep it uniform with the other posts related to this draft, here are the numbers:

Words: 100, 173
Pages: 358
Chapters: 55

First line of Part 5:
Once at home, Miles called the girls to him.
Last line (of the entire novel):
For this moment, Miles took a lungful of clean country air, nary a flame in sight, feeling peaceful.
If you're curious ('cause I was), the draft previous, number three, was 116,653 words. So I managed to lose 16,000 words from one draft to the next, which, for me, never happens. If I can trim this down to about 98K, I'll be happy. 

So, my list of post-draft Things To Do:
1. Sleep. It's legit 3:30 am here.
2. Commence editing: run Spellcheck, check grammar, cut extraneous lines, that sort of thing. 
3. Debate on whether to cut out this one character, which could shorten the word count, which is good. Possibly try to tighten up a few things that are bothering me.
4. Polish up that query! 
5. Get my lit ag…

Cool Things About the Victorian Era, Part 3

I was re-watching some episodes of this British TV series, Cranford, based on the novels of Elizabeth Gaskell the other day--as a break from the WIP, which is slowly circling the drain toward the end.

And by "the end," I mean, like, another a couple of scenes. This one may actually come in shorter than the last draft.

But anyway, Cranford takes place in the 1840s, in a small village in the north of England. The 1840s are very early Victorian times and the show really does have a superb cast; I feel like every British actor ever was in this show.

On my last Cool Things About the Victorian Era post, writing buddy Karla wondered how the Victorians would have felt about all their new technology.

There was a scene in Cranford that definitely expressed the feelings towards new modes of transportation.

Some background: a local landowner has decided not to sell his land to the railway company, thus ending the railroad five miles away from Cranford. The older people, including the la…

Downton Abbey Season 5 photo

Every year, there's a Downton Abbey cast photo and every year, I have combed said cast photo for any clues as to what's going to happen this season.

Here's season 5. Click to make it bigger.

So Molesley's in the picture this year, as is the dog. The kids have certainly grown!

I wonder what's in store for this year?

Cool Things About the Victorian Era, Part Two

Here are some more, super basic Internet researched Cool Things from the Victorian Era:

Benz had the first patent for an automobile design by 1879. Horseless carriage, much?
In 1896, Benz patented the first internal-combustion engine. The diesel engine was invented in 1897. Still, cars were rare in the early twentieth century. Only the very rich could afford them until Ford started mass-producing the Model T.

Motion Pictures
In 1888, Louis Le Prince was granted a patent on a motion film camera/projector.  He also tried to patent a single-lens camera, but was denied, although Edison later patented such a camera. (Patent wars, y'all). The Lumiere brothers patented a cinematograph, also a camera/projector device, in 1895. Unlike Edison's kinetoscope, which only allowed one viewer, the cinematograph allowed many viewers.

Anesthesia: ether and chloroform

Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) was a hip thing to do for young rich men even as far back as 1799, but in 1846, an American d…

End of Part Four...Almost Done!

Two seconds ago, I finished the end of Part Four, which means I have one part (the denouement) left on this here revision. I have five outline pages to get through, which is, like, another twenty or thirty pages, manuscript wise, maybe? I've been cutting scenes in outline in order to streamline as I go, so it might be even shorter.

In addition, I wrote a draft query letter for The Keegans of Banner's Edge today. This was mostly spurred by (a) needing to have a query done before I finish editing the WIP, so that I have time to get that query right before I want to send it out and (b) because a few of my writing friends and I are exchanging queries and first chapters---some in preparation for the query trenches, others in preparation for #PitchWars and #PitMad.

Oddly enough, as I wrote the pitch portion of my query, which is a torture device designed for overly verbose writers, I realized that my next, as-yet-to-be-written story, the one I'm referring to as The Buccaneers-me…

IWSG: Literary Snobs

This is my post for the August Insecure Writer's Support Group, posting every first Wednesday of the month and organized by Alex J. Cavanaugh.

Every so often, writers encounter those who are, simply put, snobs. You know the type. Writers who claim to not need outlines or notes. Writers who say they only write one draft. Writers who often reiterate how long they've been writing (I started writing as a hobby when I was 9 and decided I wanted to be a writer at 12, which is 16 years ago). Writers who don't ever (ever) need betas. Writers who say that if you catch the affliction known as writer's block, can't concentrate on your work for whatever reason, procrastinate, or don't write every day...

You're Not a Real Writer.

Luckily, I went to a college rife with various arts majors, all of whom spent a lot of time sneering at one another, proclaiming that so-and-so is a "poser" and that dude isn't "a real actor." This kind of attitude isn&#…

Cool Things About the Victorian Era

So, I did sort of promise a post on the cool things of the Victorian era, right? The Victorian Era is not completely frightening
I've done some preliminary, Wikipedia-level research for my next story idea and thought I'd share some of the cool gadgets that may make an appearance in my story. The Victorian Era--which officially started in 1837, when Queen Victoria ascended the throne, and ended in 1901, when she died--is a large span of time. So, as one can imagine, a lot happened! That's why this is going to be multiple posts.

The railroad grew across Britain. The first steam railway, the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, was built in 1830. By the 1850s, Britain had 7,000 miles of railways. By 1900, there were 18,860 rail miles.

The London Underground
The Tube was built from 1854 and opened in January 1863, with gas-lit wooden carriages led by a steam locomotive.


Steamships actually pre-date Victoria's reign; the first sea-going steamboat traveled…

End of Part Three

After some crossing out, reshuffling, and changing the ending of part three into the beginning of part four, I am done with part three of my fourth draft of my WIP.

Yessss. *fist pump*

So, as always, full doc stats first:

Full doc:
Words: 73,718
Pages: 263

Part Three stats:
Chapters: 23 to 40, so 17 chapters
Words: 33,994
Pages: 122

First line:
When Mr. Hogwood of Banner's Edge died childless in December of 1799, the villagers' main topic of conversation revolved around the estate's future. 

Last line:

"Mr. Keegan, I'd like to try to write it myself," Pearl replied, straightening her shoulders. "I have things I want to say. Miss Gresham can help me."