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NaNoWriMo Madness

26 Oct

Again, I’m leaping off into the insane . . . at my busiest time of year with the holidays looming and a general sense of malaise filling my days (many teachers feel this way in late October), I’m plunging into madness and signing up to do NaNoWriMo again.

NaNoWriMo participant 2010

The thing is . . . if I don’t do it, I’ll never do it.   I’ve always known I’d be a writer . . . but it’s sort of like winning the lottery . . . you gotta play to win.

So, I’m playing.  This means I’ll be online WAY less — mostly in the evenings for my decompress time.  In the mornings, it’s going to be novel writing time.

I’ll be posting my progress, but not here.  I’ll start using my NaNoWriMo blog again.  You can find it here, assuming your interested, of course.  I’ll try to keep my creative juices flowing here with birds and poems.

Wish me luck.


A Chat with Fiona Robyn

5 Mar

As part of her Blog Tour ’09, Fiona Robyn, author of the newly released novel, The Letters was kind enough to share her thoughts on writing, pets, her hobbies, and, of course, birds!  Of course, I’d find a novelist who’s a birder.  At the end of the interview, I’m putting in links to her book and her blogs.  I hope you enjoy reading her thoughts and that you’ll consider reading her blogs and, even better, buying her book!

My review of the book is up at Amazon where I gave it 4 stars.  I really enjoyed reading it — it captivated me and I really did stay up until 1:40am on a school night reading it.

Fiona Robyn’s debut novel, The Letters, is a great read. We start out with Violet, a grumpy, difficult retired professor. She’s fleeing from a fight with her lover, Tom and heading into goodness knows what. Through the course of the story, we learn to love Violet and watch her growth with pleasure and a little pain for her awkward journey through change and through dealing with her adult children. Meanwhile, Violet finds letters on her doorstep that take us to another place and time. The Letters were written by a young mother-to-be years ago in another part of England. Who wrote them? Why are they showing up on Violet’s doorstep? and how does it all come together. Well, that’s why I stayed up until 1:40 on a work night reading it. Enjoy!

Tell us about your daily routine as a writer, all the good “I write in my jammies and never see anyone but the postman” bits.

It’s not very exciting – I just force myself to sit at my desk first thing and don’t let myself do anything else until I’ve done my writing for the day!  Once I open my email or Facebook, I’m doomed.  I write novels on my lovely blue laptop, and poems get written in notebooks.  small stones often turn up when I’m driving, and so I have to hold them in my head until I can get to a piece of paper and write them down.  How long I spend writing depends on what stage of the book I’m at – at first draft stage, it’ll be an hour-ish – at later drafts, it’ll be several hours or all day.

Do you have pets?  If so, what kind?  Do you find they help or hinder your writing process?

I have a very pretty tabby called Silver, and a very fluffy black cat called Fatty (his real name is Salem but noone calls him that any more).  Fatty hinders it when I’m typing and he wants my attention and bats and my hands with his paw until I stroke him, but he does mostly leave me alone and sleeps on the rug behind me in the office.  Cats seem to sneak into most of my books…

Do you have any hobbies?  Do you find they help or hinder your writing process?

I have been teaching myself Russian, as I thought (as a writer) it’d be helpful to know another language – I haven’t got my books out for a while, but I’m sure I will again.  I’ve been reading a lot about Zen Buddhism over the past few years, and I think this does help me to pay attention – a pretty vital skill for us writers.  I also have a vegetable patch and there are probably parallels with writing here too – learning to be patient, staying connected…

What role does nature play in your writing life?

I’m lucky enough to live in the country now, and so whenever I go and make a cup of tea I’ll pause and watch the birds on the bird feeder for a few minutes – it feels like just what I need after all those words.  Writing can be solitary and I also have a tendency to start disappearing into my laptop… being outside in the fresh air can help to counterbalance that claustrophobic feeling.  My next novel ‘The Blue Handbag’ is about a gardener, and it is full of green stuff.

What is your favorite bird?

Ooh, that’s tricky.  Since moving to the country I’ve become a bit of a twitcher… I think I’ll go for goldfinches – we always have several at our niger seed feeder, and they are so colourful. I like the way they peck at the seeds, like mechanical rocking birds, and I like their feisty little air-born fights – they always seem to be scrapping!  I also love wrens, goldcrests, robins, green woodpeckers, blue-tits…

So, there you have it.  Fiona Robyn, writer, cat-lover, speaker of Russian, twitcher.  Buy her book.  Visit her blogs.  Enjoy.  Participating in the Blog Tour was a gift to me, from myself, for my birthday!

Happy 45th Birthday to me.

Blog Tour: Fiona Robyn and The Letters

4 Mar

For my birthday present to myself, I’ve invited an author here as part of her Blog TourFiona Robyn has written several books and her debut novel, The Letters, has been released recently. I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to read it weeks ago.  I thoroughly enjoyed it — staying up to the wee hours on a school night to finish it.

Fiona’s books:

  • The Letters (March 2009)
  • small stones:  a year of moments (2008)
  • A Year of Questions:  How to slow down and fall in love with live (2007)
  • Living Things  – poetry collection (2007)

To be released books:

  • The Blue Handbag (August 2009)
  • Thaw (February 2010)

I first met Fiona (in the Internet-ish way that means I started reading her blogs) through following links on poetry blogs I read.  I’m almost positive that it was Crafty Green Poet that led me there.  (Thanks, Juliet!)  I enjoy all three of her blogs — Planting Words (wherein she writes about being a writer), a small stone (wherein she shares moments from her day)  and a handful of stones (where she publishes other people’s “small stones” in her literary blogzine).  She has been kind enough to publish two of my poetic efforts in her blogzine.

So, tomorrow, on my birthday, I’ll be sharing an interview with Fiona here.  Happy birthday to me!

National Novel Writing Month

1 Nov


I may be insane but then again I may be merely crazy.

I’ll let you decide . . . check my progress at This Writing Life.


8 May

Sweet Violet flower

Several kind souls have asked me what I intend on writing now that I am having my bluff called! I don’t have a good answer to that. In one way or another, I have always been a writer. I have not, however, always taken it seriously. I write a lot of poetry. Poetry makes me happy and gives me a creative outlet. I have, in the past, written a lot of short stories as well.

But, let’s be honest, the type of writing I’m talking about doing has a goal and that goal is to write something that someone might pay me for the privelege of reading — something that could be would be read beyond my family. So, what to write . . .

I have had a novel swimming around in my head for a long time — it’s a fantasy story set in another world — a tolkein-mccaffrey-jordan type of world. That is the one swimming around the most right now. But, I am also considering something more romantic — I used to read romance novels by the bazillions so that has its appeal as well.

My son has become a published author — as his sister did before him when she was in 2nd grade. (More on this in a future post after I figure out how to solve my picture problem with the new computer!) He sees himself as a writer now (I love you, Mrs Jackson!!!). He knows that Greg bought me this computer to further my writing career and he wants to help. “Let’s talk about what sort of book you are going to write, Mom.”

He wants me to write a children’s book with really good illustrations.

Looks like I’m going to be a busy writer, if nothing else.

I hope to share excerpts here in the future but I’m not feeling brave enough yet. Too scary just yet.