Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Process, Random

Friday Fare: Links from the around the ‘Net

FridayFare On Fridays, I post a round up of the various posts and articles that have been of interest to me during the week:

I loved this headline:  Mansion for sale.  Not cheap.  The Pillsbury mansion is up for sale – if you have north of $4 million lying around, you could be the next owner.  I sent the link to my mom (who is also a kick ass real estate agent) and she was amazed how small the bedrooms were.

This has nothing to do with writing, per se – but I love Cary Elwes.  And although I thought that the writer was kind of lame to bring her niece to the interview, it made me swoon a little bit to think of him fawning over a baby.

And wait … this is a writing blog?  OK – this has nothing really to do with the writing craft, but does have everything to do with the genre that I like to write in the best … crime.  And again – another good headline:  Chopping up a body takes a special type of depravity.

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Listening to: Don’t ask me to explain why, but I am kind of obsessed with Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’s “Uptown Funk.”

Reading:  As I noted earlier this week, I went to the Fair Trade Books bookstore in Red Wing to see William Kent Krueger.  What’s neat about Fair Trade Books (other than the fact that it’s an indie), is that it’s a hybrid of used books and new books.  I picked up a couple of books while I was there.  One of them was Skellig by David Almond.  This is a kid’s book and I’m breezing through it, but I gotta be honest – it’s a gripping story.  And honestly, I don’t know if I care that I’m reading a “children’s” book.  It still has all of the elements of a good story.

Fiction update:  Edits!  I’ve taken a couple of evenings and I’ve been sketching out story arcs to make sure that all of my characters are getting all of the “love” that they need and that I’m not leaving any loose threads undone or narratives unresolved.  I’m still on target to have a draft to beta readers by April 1.  EEEEEEEK.  I am about to let my baby out into the universe.

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Fiction, Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Process, Random

Friday Fare: Links from the around the ‘Net

FridayFare On Fridays, I post a round up of the various posts and articles that have been of interest to me during the week:

I loved this article about Nora Roberts from the New York Times’ “By the Book” feature.  I’ve wrote down many of the suggestions and have added them to my Goodreads.

Sometimes I add recipes of things that I plan to make on this blog, since cooking is one of my other creative outlets.  I made this soup from my writing hero J.T. Ellison this past weekend.  Since my kiddos don’t touch it, it makes a ton of leftovers.  Which means I don’t have to cook for most of the rest of the week.  (WINNING.)  And I got a kick out of this post regarding Joan Didion’s cookbook.

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Listening to:  I wrote a blog post awhile back about listening to music while I write.  To that end, I made a Spotify playlist of the songs that have inspired me / contributed to the muse for After Life.  The songs are a little all over the place (Bowie!  Off-Broadway!), but they all have a spot in the canon.  (Let me know if the link doesn’t work … I’m new at this Spotify thing.)

Reading:  Still on Deborah Harkness.  Took a (very) quick detour to the first Pendergast novel “Relic” by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.  A boyfriend of mine from high school had loaned me that book during my senior year and it was an absolute joy to rediscover it.  It also reminded me how important pacing is in novels.  I am a fast reader by nature (and necessity – I’m the mother of two toddlers) and I slammed that book in four hours.  It was exhilarating.  I’m going to have to visit the library and read the rest of them as well.

Fiction update:  Editing, editing, editing.  I’m past the “this is shit” phase from last week and I remain cautiously optimistic.  The deadline I have set for myself is pages in hands of beta readers by April 1.  I can do this.

Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Process, Random

Friday Fare: Links from the around the ‘Net

FridayFare On Fridays, I post a round up of the various posts and articles that have been of interest to me during the week:

How to Create a Social Media Posting Schedule from Constant Contact.  This was very interesting … I’m a prolific Facebook user (to a fault).  I just started using Pinterest regularly (although, it’s more to corral recipes that I’ve bookmarked on my browser than anything else).   I like Twitter and I just recently joined Tumblr (although I have no clue what the hell I’m doing.).  This is something to keep in the back of my head for the future.

When am I going to break through?  According to the Telegraph in the UK, it will be while I’m in middle age.  So … whee!  That should be shortly then.  (With lots of hard work and some good luck.)

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Listening to: I just discovered Kacey Musgraves.  (Yes, I spend most of my days under a rock.  Well, in my basement, but you get the point …)  This version of the classic Elvis song just kills me.

Reading:  I’m rereading Deborah Harkness starting at the beginning with “A Discovery of Witches.”  (And I’m celebrating the news that the BBC will be adapting the All Souls Trilogy!  I think they will do the series justice.)

Fiction update:  Editing, editing, editing.  I’ve run into the scary part of my WIP and see that I need to do some structural work.  So I’ve been reading some fascinating stuff regarding the three-act structure and trying to sketch out what my story needs to work and proceed in a forward motion.  I also got some good advice from a mentor of mine. 🙂

Friday Fare, Internet Articles, Process, Random

Friday Fare: Links from the around the ‘Net

FridayFareConfession:  I love the Internet (affectionately known in my household as “the Interwebs.”).  On Fridays, I’m going to post a round up of the various posts and articles that have been of interest to me during the week:

Over the past year, I’ve been intentionally seeking out the mystery writing community.  I’ve joined a couple of writing associations (Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers Association) and follow various listservs and blogs that are devoted to the craft, research, etc.  D.P. Lyle’s blog has become one of my favorites and there are times where I just feel so incredibly lucky and blessed to have a legitimate reason to read these things. 🙂  This recent Q&A blog is no exception to this rule.

I’m a huge Deborah Harkness fan – these articles were a delight to read.  And timely too since the first book of the All Souls Trilogy and its intro is set during this time of year. (Also – I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Harkness earlier this year.  If she is at a book signing in a community near you – go.  She is a wonderful speaker and just a warm person.)

And this has nothing to do with writing, but it’s soup season.  Here are a couple of recipes that will be making their appearance in my kitchen very, very soon!

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Listening to: Busted … a conference call.  I’m multitasking.  In terms of music, I’ve been digging playlists on YouTube lately – listening to old favorites and discovering bands that are new to me.

Reading:  I am a proud owner of a Kindle, but I also love physical copies of books.  And thus far, the only duplicates that I have in electronic and physical form have been strategic buys.  (i.e. – I love Deborah Harkness’s books.  But dragging around my hardcover versions of her books around my house with two toddlers is akin to throwing a plugged in toaster into a bathtub.  Not the smartest idea that I’ve ever had.  So when her books have been on sale in the electronic format, I’ve bought them.)  But earlier this week as I picked up the “latest” Sam Owens novel from J.T. Ellison, I kept thinking to myself … “why do I feel like I’ve read this before?”  And not intentionally, I had purchased a paperback version and the ebook.  Sigh!

Fiction update: Plugging along.  I’m getting to a scary part of my WIP that I know is not well written, so … let’s hope that the luck and muse that have been with me so far don’t abandon me in this crucial part of the journey!

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Finally … Happy Halloween!   My husband and I are going to be escorting a mini-Batman and a garden gnome (sans hat and faux beard) for trick-or-treating tonight.

Process, Random

Novel Playlists

When I was a kid, my brother and I would regularly climb up on the bench seat of my parents’ stone fireplace and entertain the masses (eh-herm, my parents and maybe the dog) with our performance of Kenny Rogers / Dottie West songs. Another early musical memory that I have is cranking up my parents’ 8-track player and blasting Eddie Rabbit’s “I Love a Rainy Night” and then go hide under the couch. Because – you know, after the second or third time that this happened, I’m sure that my parents had no clue who the perpetrator was.

OK – so I’ve established that I was a goofy kid. The other thing? While I didn’t turn out to be a virtuoso musician, music is something that’s really important in my life and to my creative presence as a writer.

In September, Sisters in Crime had an interesting group of questions for its blog hop and since I’m apparently immune to deadlines – I figured I’d respond to one of the blog prompts: Do you listen to music while writing?

Oh absolutely, I listen to music while I’m writing. I currently have over 130 hours of music saved up in Windows Media Player and if I’m working on my day job or if I’m writing fiction, there is always music playing. I also have a little mp3 player that has a mix of music on it – that’s for airplane rides, gym trips, and writing evenings at Panera Bread when I’m not feeling the easy listening that pipes through their speakers or I want to tune out the noise that’s around me.

What’s on your playlist?

Before I delve into my personal playlists that I’ve constructed from my Works in Progress (WIPs), there’s one author who really does playlists well: Deborah Harkness. In fact, when I met her at a book signing – I stuttered my thanks for introducing me to the music of Florence + the Machine. “Of course!” she replied.

Ms. Harkness is the author of the “All Souls Trilogy” that chronicles the journey of Diana Bishop, a thoroughly American witch, and Matthew Clairmont, a mysterious and prestigious biochemist who also happens to be a vampire.

Harkness’s playlists are stunning and chronicle her inspiration for her individual characters, as well as the books themselves. As someone who is an avid reader and as someone who really loves music, Deb Harkness’s Spotify playlists are a little piece of heaven. (Find Ms. Harkness here on Spotify.)

Two of my WIPs have their own playlists. The music therein serves a couple of purposes – one is to evoke a certain feeling in me while I write. It’s not unheard of for me to play a certain song over and over again while I’m writing a certain scene or trying to get into a character’s head. The other purpose is to mentally transport myself to a certain time and place that inspired me in the first place. My novel “Afterlife” is set in 2002-03. No, I’m not going through and finding the “NOW” CD compilations from that time, but I remember what CDs I was obsessed with when I was 25 years old. Listening to Moby’s “Play” album transports me back to the tiny house that I rented when I was a broke journalist. U2’s “All That You Can’t Leave Behind” had been out for a couple years at that point, but I had just discovered that album – the song “In A Little While” in particular.

There is a tricky father-daughter relationship that weaves its way through my story. One day I was scrolling through my mp3 player and came across Cat Stevens’ “Father and Son.” That was like a visceral punch to the gut. The anguish in Stevens’ voice helps me understand some of my characters’ misunderstandings. Pearl Jam’s “Man of the Hour” also helps.

So yes – music is a constant of days and of my work.

What about the rest of you? Anyone else out there who builds playlists for their writing lives?