Sunday, February 26, 2012

Out and About

For those who have been offline for a few weeks (or purposely avoiding me), you may not know that my first novel, The Qualities of Wood, was published at the end of January. Since then, I've been out and about, not literally, but figuratively speaking because in reality, I've spent most of the time since then in pajamas. Here's a brief recap of some articles I've written this month, and some interviews I've given. If you've already seen them, or read them, or have been purposely avoiding them, my apologies. It's all about me, me, ME!

Roz Harris asked me to write a piece on the influence of music while writing my novel. It's a weekly series, and well worth a look, and can be found here:  Undercover Soundtrack.

Authonomy let me ramble on their blog about my experience on the site and the often lonely writing life:  Writing into the Void.

My publisher, Scott Pack, said some very nice things on his blog, Me and My Big Mouth, although I was disappointed there wasn't cursing.

The multi-talented Rena Rossner asked me very insightful questions on My Baby Loves a Bunch of Authors. Jot her name down; you'll be hearing about her writing in the near future.

Deb at the Book Stop wrote a lovely review and with great magnanimousness (yes, that's a word--I looked it up), had me back for an interview about some of my motivations and intentions for the book. Visit the Book Stop, whether you want to read the stuff about me or not. It's a great blog.

So my first month as a published author has been fabulous. If you haven't secured your copy of The Qualities of Wood (my book, which you may or may not have heard about), be warned that the low, introductory price will soon be gone. Just a few more days to get it at the bargain price of $1.99 or whatever the equivalent is wherever you live.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


(Play video for ambiance)

Conversation at my book club last night veered into other-worldly matters. Specifically, ghosts in our midst, karma, superstitions. I’ve always found it very strange that so many superstitions are accepted even in our advanced society. You’d be hard-pressed to find a thirteenth floor in many buildings (heck, they even make scary movies about it), and most people will go out of their way to avoid walking under a ladder. We all know the main superstitions, things like the good luck that accompanies a rabbit’s foot or a four-leaf clover, or the bad luck you’ll tempt if you break your mirror or share the road with a black cat. But have you heard of these?

-          You can break a bad luck spell by turning seven times in a clockwise circle (would come in handy after encounter with said cat)
-          Clothes worn inside out will bring good luck (who knew my 9-year-old was so superstitious?!?)
-          It is bad luck to sing at the table
-          It is bad luck to sleep on a table (?)
-          After receiving a container of food, the container should never be returned empty.
-          An acorn at the window can keep lightning out of the house
-          It is bad luck to chase someone with a broom (scratch that parenting technique off the list)
-          A sailor wearing an earring cannot drown (he’s WAY too popular in the barracks—ha)
-          To drop a fork means a woman will visit
-          To drop a knife means a man will visit (or you'll need a bandaid)
-          To drop a spoon means a child will visit
-          Evil spirits cannot harm you when you are standing in a circle
-          It is unlucky to rock an empty rocking chair (and sort of creepy)
-          Wearing an opal when it is not your birthstone is bad luck

Oh, I could go on and on. These all made me think of a simpler time, mundane existences livened up a bit with these tales and beliefs. They didn’t have the internet then to read about all the really freaky stuff that actually does happen. Within certain families, superstitions are passed down. What beliefs do you hold true; what superstitions do you respect, just in case?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Under the Same Sky

I met Genevieve Graham on some time ago, where we both had posted portions of our novels. The first lines of hers always stayed with me ("He has always been there. That fact is as important to me as my own heartbeat."), and her elegant prose stood out and made the book one of my early favorites. Aside from her considerable writing talent, Genevieve is also a capable editor and a lovely person. I've been anxiously awaiting the release of her novel.

I read most of Under the Same Sky in one day, one of those rare days when you shirk responsibility and hole away with a book, but not just any book—one you’re having a hard time putting down. Genevieve's debut novel is just that. It’s the love story of Maggie and Andrew, a young couple divided by an ocean and many obstacles; it’s historical fiction that spans war-torn Scotland of the 1700s and the violent collision of settlers and Indians in the colonies of early America. But above all, I think it’s an adventure story, with acts of brutality and salvation, with families torn apart and new families formed. Maggie and Andrew have spent their entire lives with shared visions, dreaming of each other and drawing strength from the knowledge of the other’s existence. As they navigate the turbulent events and tragedies of their lives, they remain connected through this gift of “the Sight.” The reader is pulled along, hoping as they do, for their eventual union and a better life. There is an engaging and compelling plot, but this novel is also beautifully written, with striking observances and wonderful descriptions. Genevieve has crafted a very satisfying story and done so with the panache of a true wordsmith. I highly recommend this novel—perfect for taking a day off and losing yourself in a fabulous story.

Read more about Genevieve and her book here. Order it here. Also available as an ebook!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

It's a shame the way she makes me scrub the floor...

This week, I was invited to do a piece for Roz Harris's The Undercover Soundtrack, in which she asks writers to explore the influence of music on their craft. I really enjoyed thinking about the ways other art forms affect my creative process. You can read my entry here, and also read a bit about Roz's own book, which looks fascinating and now sits on my To-Read pile.

Because it's been a busy, mentally taxing week, I took a break today and listened to a lot of music, which for me, invariably leads to Mr. Dylan. I give you "Maggie's Farm," which most critics read as Dylan's rebellion against the protest folk movement but which I prefer to interpret as the artist's battle cry in a world of philistines (except for Maggie's ma, who seems pretty okay).

"As soon as we express something, we devalue it strangely. We believe ourselves to have dived down into the depths of the abyss, and when we once again reach the surface, the drops of water on our pale fingertips no longer resemble the ocean from which they came...Nevertheless, the treasure shimmers in the darkness unchanged." ---Franz Kafka