01.31.11

Editing is Scary!

Posted in Writing at 8:08 am by Amber

This month I’ve been busy taking an editing workshop.  It’s been a wonderful experience and has forced me outside my comfort zone. 

For the past few years I’ve done NaNoWriMo and I’ve “won” more often than not. It’s given me confidence in completing a long writing endeavor and  it’s given me the courage to write and submit shorter pieces.  But something has been missing. 

I look back at some old works and know they don’t seem polished enough for publication but I haven’t been able to figure out what was wrong.  This workshop has been a great exercise in looking at my work as a reader and an editor.  Unfortunately, it’s made me rewrite this particular novel three times but it’s getting closer to a finished product.  I estimate it will need to be rewritten or revised 2 more times before it’s ready.

Did you do anything recently that was outside your comfort zone?  Did you learn anything from it?

01.24.11

Mailbox Monday – January 24th

Posted in Event at 11:41 pm by Amber

Mailbox Monday

A big thank you to Rose City Reader for hosting Mailbox Monday this January.  Next month’s host is Laura at Library of Clean Reads.

On Toby’s Terms by Charmaine Hammond – Yes, you know I’m a sucker for dog books – especially when they’re about a dog that isn’t a model citizen until something happens to make the relationship better.  I look forward to reading about Toby and his family.
On Toby's Terms by Charmaine Hammond
What arrived in your mailbox this week?

01.15.11

The Outlander by Gil Adamson

Posted in Review at 12:27 pm by Amber

Title: The Outlander
Author:Gil Adamson
Publisher: Anansi
Source: My personal library

The Outlander by Gil Adamson

My husband makes an annual trip to Toronto, Canada and he always returns with uniquely Canadian books for me.  One year he returned with The Outlander. It’s written by a Canadian and takes place in the Canadian wilderness in 1903.

A widow by her own hand, the title character is pursued so she can be brought to justice for her crime.  She wasn’t raised to be an outlaw so living off the land isn’t easy.  The widow meets some rough characters and eventually she begins to adapt to her new life.

One thing I liked which I know bugged others is the main character’s name.  For several chapters she is only referred to as the widow.  It made me feel as though her old identities no longer mattered; this was her new identity and it would overshadow anything she’d ever been and anything she’d ever become.

01.12.11

Little Bee by Chris Cleave

Posted in Review at 11:44 pm by Amber

Title: Little Bee: A Novel
Author: Chris Cleave
Publisher:Simon and Schuster
Source: My personal library

Little Bee by Chris CleaveMy husband prefers to know as little about a movie’s plot before he sees it as possible while I’m the opposite.  I like to know how I might be investing the next two hours of my life.

Little Bee is one of those books where it’s best to know hardly anything before you read it.  It is such a fine piece of work that for a week I didn’t pick up anything else to read.  I only started reading again because I had a review due.  It’s funny, heartbreaking, and shows how complicated people can be.  This is bound to be a book club favorite for a long time.

01.11.11

Writing Goals for 2011

Posted in Event, Writing at 1:37 pm by Amber

Normally I don’t make goals or resolutions.  For several years I’ve been writing and submitting fiction but not much is getting published.  I’m ready to move on to the next step to get more of my work into the hands of readers.  That means editing and learning from others who have more expertise than I.

  1. Edit one of my (many) NaNoWriMo novels.
  2. Take the second Flash Fiction class taught by Jim Harrington.
  3. Write at least 6 new short stories/flash fiction items this year.
  4. Participate in the 2nd A Round of Words in 80 Days (this will help with goal #3).
  5. Keep Submitting.

On Christmas Eve, one of the gifts I opened was a book.  My Dad asked, “When do we get to read one of yours?”  With some extra work on my part, maybe it won’t be long before he’ll have one of my books in his hands.

Do you have any writing or reading goals this year?

01.10.11

My Favorite Reads of 2010

Posted in Review, Tally at 11:55 am by Amber

Last year I read over 60 books and surprisingly, my top five favorites were read mostly at the beginning of the year.

Not surprisingly, I didn’t write reviews of all of them.  For the ones that don’t have reviews, I’ll be writing those later this week.  Not all of my favorite reads were released in 2010.  My husband will be surprised Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy didn’t make the list and I’m a little surprised too.  They weren’t books I wanted to force into people’s hands to read although they certainly have tweaked my perspective about Sweden a bit.

Here they are in the order I read them:

  1. The Outlander by Gil Adamson
  2. Spellbent by Lucy A. Snyder
  3. One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson
  4. Little Bee: A Novel by Chris Cleave
  5. When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson

I didn’t set out to do any challenges this year but I did want to read Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose.  It’s been sitting on my TBR pile since December 2008.  I failed but will definitely read it this year.  How can I write that with confidence?  Because I started reading it two weeks ago.

What were your favorite reads this year?

01.03.11

December 2010

Posted in Status Report, Writing at 11:36 pm by Amber

These statistics are all for short stories, poems, or contest entries. Book reviews are not included.

  1. Sales in December: 0
  2. Rejections in December: 0
  3. Submissions sent out in December: 0
  4. Total stories/poems/contests pending responses: 0

Another quiet month on the writing front. 

I did learn about some new (to me) flash fiction markets during the Flash Fiction/Winter Solstice Celebration.  Some of them are being added to my list of possible markets.

One of my rewards for finishing NaNoWriMo this year was a premium Savvy Authors membership.  They also had an EditPalooza event scheduled for January to help work a manuscript into shape.  I registered for the workshop so I can get some work done beyond the crappy first draft.

Lastly, I and some others in my flash fiction group gave flash fiction contest entries critiques before they were handed in to the judge.  It (I hope) gave them a leg up on the competition and was fun to do.