Friday, October 31, 2014

Wishing You

Thursday, October 30, 2014

More Waverley!

I've finally received some gotta-preorder SPAM from B& that made me very happy, and since I've bullied encouraged some of you to read this author, I thought I'd pass along the news:

Since Garden Spells remains my #1 favorite novel by Sarah Addison Allen, obviously I cannot wait to read this one.

What new releases are you looking forward to this Fall and Winter? Share the love in comments.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

My NaNo Novel Plan

As you've probably noticed I've posted on the blog my word count widget and unofficial badges for NaNoWriMo 2014. This week I'll be putting together my novel notebook and doing the last bit of prepwork I need so I can begin writing straightaway on November 1st. I'm also available as a writing buddy on the NaNoWriMo web site; if you want to send a buddy request my user name is Lynn Viehl.

The idea I've decided to go with for my November novel is the first book in a historical romance trilogy that I've always wanted to write. The primary setting for the entire trilogy is Netherfield, one of the great estates from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice (you might remember it as Bingley's home.) I've always thought Netherfield had great potential as a magical place for romance, mystery and adventures, and I want to tell some new stories about it with new characters and conflicts of my own creation.

Here's the cover art I worked up and the beginning of the synopsis:

The Novels of Netherfield
Book One Working Title: Lord of Midnight (Yeah, I know, uber generic, which is why it's a working title)

Rumors sweep through the village of Meryton as Netherfield Park is let at last to Colonel Julian Greville, a retired soldier recently returned from India. No one knows any real details about the colonel except that he is rich, reclusive and never seems to sleep. His residence soon causes much displeasure among Meryton's finer families, particularly those with unmarried daughters. Local legend maintains that anyone who spends a night at Netherfield will fall in love -- but the colonel refuses to accept calls from anyone.

A carriage mishap strands Miss Anne Maycott at Netherfield, where she is obliged to spend the night. Colonel Greville is kind and attentive, but he also puzzles her, for he takes no pride in his heroic past. Greville is exqually perplexed by Anne, who seems too good-humored and is far too lovely to be on the verge of becoming a spinster. He's also disturbed by the accidents that have regularly plagued Anne's life; far too many to be mere coincidence or, as she believes, bad luck . . .

So what are you planning to write for NaNoWriMo 2014? Let us know in comments.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

LT Job Op (and Ribbet)

Library Thing is looking for a programmer:

LibraryThing, the company behind and LibraryThing for Libraries, is looking to hire a top-notch developer/programmer.

We like to think we make “products that don’t suck,” as opposed to much of what’s developed for libraries. We’ve got new ideas and not enough developers to make them. That’s where you come in.

Technical Skills required:

LibraryThing is mostly non-OO PHP. You need to be a solid PHP programmer or show us you can become one quickly. You should be experienced in HTML, JavaScript, CSS and SQL. We welcome experience with design and UX, Python, Solr, and mobile development.

There's a link to an online quiz in the job post that you should take to see if you're technically qualified, or send in your resume, whichever works best for you. See the job listing on Library Thing for more details. Also, if you apply and do get the job, mention I referred you, and I'll win a bunch of books. :)

Now, if you were a Muppet, exactly which one would you be? Take the quiz here and find out.

My results:

I don't know if I'm any of that description, but all the same I'm happy to be Kermit (okay, I was secretly hoping to be Mr. Snuffleupagus. No one but Big Bird ever saw him. Which would make Shiloh Walker Big Bird.)

So which Muppet are you? Let us know in comments.

(Test link swiped from Gerard at The Presurfer)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Boo Ten

Ten Things to Help with Halloween

Cooking Light magazine has some fun recipes here for your Halloween festivities.

DKTK has an entire page of Halloween Crafts and Activities for Kids here.

Food Network has a cool page here with ideas on how to turn your carved pumpkins into "snack-o-lanterns".

Good Housekeeping has 11 Enchanting Halloween Decorating Ideas here.

My favorite and most popular Halloween recipe is this delicious spinach dip, which I serve in a hollowed-out pumperknickel bread bowl surrounded with bread chunks, crackers and raw veggie bites.

For spooky reading material, one of the scariest stories I've ever read is an oldie -- The Lottery by Shirley Jackson.

Halloween parties can be torture for those of us who can't have sugar, unless you get inventive with your snacks. Look for fun recipes that don't involve sweets, like these witch brooms made from pretzels and string cheese.

Going trick or treating but have nothing to wear? Real Simple magazine has 10 last-Minute Halloween costume ideas here.

Martha Stewart always has some interesting Halloween recipes on her site; this year I might make her Rice Krispie treats that are colored and shaped like candy-corn.

Need helping carving your pumpkin? Wikihow has instructions with steo-by-step photos here.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

In the Leaves

I've uploaded the final edited edition of In the Leaves as a .pdf file on Google Docs, and the story can be read online, downloaded, printed out and shared for free by anyone. To go to the e-book, click on the cover art:

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Prep Talk

In one week National Novel Writing Month begins, and I as well as thousands of writers around the globe will be spending the next thirty days writing to reach the 50,000 words finish line. This is also the time when I generally try to come up with a fun, motivational post to encourage writers who are on the fence to dive in with the rest of us.

Thing is, at the moment I'm not feeling especially inspiring. I landed a job so I'm going back to work (hooray!), only it's ghost-writing so I can't tell anyone about it (ho-hum). I'm still recovering from my surgeries, which was going well until an unexpected infection set in last week. Every time I blinked felt like someone was stabbing me in the eye with a toothpick. Which meant going back on the steroid eyedrops, which burn almost as bad. Just as that started to clear up, I got my hand caught between two grocery carts I was trying to separate at the market. Yes, I am that kind of idiot. Freeing myself resulted in bruises + a nice big gash on said hand, which given my wimpy immune system will probably not heal until NaNo is over.

Did I mention I have a new job I have to start like immediately?

I know, whine, whine, whine. No one can do it better than writers. Honestly, I am grateful for the work, and the infection is gone, and I have plenty of Band-Aids. It's just dealing with the eyedrops and sore hand and depression over being so banged up while trying to do my best for the new job, all I really want to do is give up on NaNo, unplug and hide until January.

I could, quite easily. You would understand, wouldn't you? I mean, look at my excuses. They're pretty good, aren't they?

Still, as of November 1st, come Hell, come high water, come whatever, I'm writing a novel in thirty days. Why? We already know how mule-headed I can be, yes? But it's not just stubborness. It's joy to go with the job. It's laughing at wretched eye infections. It's kicking all the stuck-together grocery carts in the world to the moon. It's a bridge across the abyss.

Why? It's writing. I'm a writer. This is what I do, and I'm doing this for me.

So those are my pom poms, and while they're not especially pretty, fun or motivational this year, I'm shaking them for me and you. I know for every trouble I have many of you have at least as many, if not more. A lot of you are swamped, dealing with your own day jobs and financial worries and health issues and family dramas, and there simply is not enough time to do anything except put out fires and hope you don't go crazy in the process. Or maybe you're just tired and not in the mood. I get it, really, I do. I absolutely believe that your excuses are as good as if not better than mine.

But you're a writer, and this is what we do. So write with me this November. Write your novel. Do it for you.