The Healer and the Pirate

The Healer and the Pirate is available now on Kindle and Nook, and in print at Lulu and Amazon!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Media Monday - Tucson Festival of Books

If you live within a 3-hour drive of Tucson and you like books or writing at ALL, then you really need to go to the Tucson Festival of Books, taking place March 11-12, 2011!

It's FREE and is one of the largest book festivals in the country, taking place on the University of Arizona campus. Last year they estimated 70,000-80,000 attendees, and I know there were literally hundreds of authors as well, with dozens, maybe over 100, panels/workshops/presentations on Saturday, and maybe just a few less on Sunday, all scheduled in blocks (like classes!) with 30 minute intervals in-between. It's so big, the GUIDEBOOK they hand out for free (which is the size of one of those large insert booklets they put in newspapers) is 64 pages long.

The panels themselves are inside (air-conditioned) buildings on campus--many underground in the "Integrated Learning Center," an area they built after I graduated, that takes up a good portion of the formerly-all-grass central mall... There are "panels" where a group of authors discuss things, and then "workshops" which for the most part seem to be one author...discussing things that are usually somewhat more directly related to writing. There were a TON of "workshops" last year, and they were almost all packed, but I don't see as many this year, or at least not as many that are relevant to me.

Then above-ground are tents with exhibitors, many (but not all) book-related. Even The Jane Austen Society of North America was there.

And in the center, they had a kind of food court.

There is a McDonalds on campus and they handed out McCafe mocha samples last year (there was quite a line sometimes!). I think this year they'll have real fruit smoothies. Since I don't like strawberries, I reckon I'd better just bring a lot of water.

They also sold lots of umbrellas last year--the sun was hot!

Well worth the $5. The parasol and food were my only expenses.

This year, I found at least 9 different panels/workshops I'm interested in attending! Well, actually 11, but 2 timeslots are double-booked.....

Which should I choose? "Self-Editing for Fiction Writers" or "Electronic Publishing - More Than an Alternative"? Both sound useful. The self-editing is categorized under "literature/fiction" and I don't really write literature, plus I've heard tons of things about editing. (The challenge is putting them into practice.) But on the other hand, I've heard a lot about eBooks/etc. already, too, even though that's probably how Maggie and I are going to end up publishing The Pirate and the Healer. (You can make good money publishing eBooks, and I only saw one remotely reputable publisher that looked willing to even consider an unagented Christian fantasy romance with pirates.)

OK. Electronic publishing it is!

I'd also like to attend "Creating Biography from Diaries and Letters" but as far as I know, I'm not actually going to WRITE a biography, and "How to Write and Publish a Book in the Next Three Months!" sounds infinitely more tempting.

Anyway, it's definitely worth attending, whether to learn, get motivated, or just hear some free talking and maybe pick up a smoothie.

Tucson Festival of Books--one more reason why Arizona is awesome (from January-March)!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Bonus - Jonah and God's will

The last 4 weeks at Corona After Hours the sermon was on Jonah. Spoiler alert! As Bryan noted, it's very ironic that Jonah had prayed for God's mercy, and then was super-ticked that God had shown mercy to Nineveh.

God says:
Jonah 4:11 (NASB) "Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand, as well as many animals?"

First off, pretty cool that God even cared about the animals in Nineveh.

Second, Jonah was likely proud because he was one of God's chosen people. But Bryan said (and I reckon he was right) that Jonah was also trusting in his own righteousness. Which is interesting considering that God literally spoke to Jonah right at the start of the book:

Jonah 1:1-2 (NASB) The word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying,

"Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me."

And what did Jonah do? He RAN AWAY. He basically said to himself, "Nah, I'm not going to do what God told me to do." Later, he as much as says, "God, You're wrong. Just shoot me now."

Do you ever do that? I've never asked God to take my life from me like Jonah did, and I pray I never will. And as awesome as ships are, I've never got on a boat to try to flee from God.

But at times I sure have said, "No, I don't want to do this...." And more often I delay obedience until God presses on my heart that yes, really I'd better do this. (I've heard it said that "obedience delayed is disobedience.")

I'm trying to get better at just acting when I feel the Spirit lead, but it's something I sometimes struggle with.

Confessions aside, my point was, which do you think is worse? Disobeying God's direct call, like Jonah did, or not knowing right from wrong, like Nineveh?

Luke 12:47-48 (NASB) "And that slave who knew his master's will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will receive many lashes, but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few. From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.

Ouch for Jonah. Ouch for us. Thank God for His grace through Jesus' sacrifice, and I pray I more readily do our Master's will.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Saturday Bonus - Flashback - Casa Grande Bulletin - February 19 and 26, 1921

I got so caught up in New York stories last week, I was rather remiss in missing the one actual piece of news I've seen in the Casa Grande Bulletin since I started skimming it for articles. From the typos, it appears this story may have been put together in a rush. I don't know when the Bulletin went to press each week; I'd guess Thursday, maybe Friday--the paper's publication date is Saturday, but the full article does mention something occurring Thursday morning.

Sudden Death of Supervisor Chas. Howard Davis Shocks Community

Tuesday morning about 8 o'clock the unconscious body of Dr. Chas Howard Davis, supervisor of Pinal county, was found in the road a short distance from the Jemison ranch by the Kennedy boys, who were on their way to Casa Grande after oil. They took the body to Jemison's and a check book with a card bearing the Doctor's name was found thus identifying him.

As soon as his identity had been definitely established Mr. Jemison drove over to the Davis ranch for Mrs. Davis and took her to the Doctor's bedside where she remained until the last.

Messengers were sent to this city for physicians and Dr. Gungle responded. Upon arriving, he stated that in his opinion the Doctor was suffering from appoplexy. Every effort was made to restore him to consciousness but without avail as he died about 11 o'clock that night....

As a mark of respect all stores and business houses closed from from (sic) 2:30 to 4 p.m....

At first it was thoght (sic) the Doctor had been held up and robbed and Deputy Sherrifs Cates and Mills were soon on the ground. On examining the ground four silver dollars were found near the Ford car which had been found with the lights on and the clutch in high at the foot of an elevation in the road. A five dollar bill had been in his pockets. These combined led to the belief that the Doctor had had a stroke of apploplexy (sic).

The Doctor's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Amos Davis, who reside in Los Angeles, arrived here Thursday morning.

Dr. Davis was born in Indiana, June 26, 1868.

Besides his wife and 20 months old daughter, the Doctor left to mourn his loss, mother, father and sister, Mrs. J. P. Chantry, who lives near Eloy.

Dr. Davis had for a number of years been located on the west coast Mexico being chief oculist for the Southern Pacific R.R. He came to this valley about eight years ago and bought a ranch a few mile (sic) east of here. In 1918 he was elected supervisor for Pinal county and was re-elected in 1920, which term he was serving at the time of his death.

--The Casa Grande Bulletin, February 19, 1921

It appears by "appoplexy" they mean either a sudden loss of consciousness or a stroke. I did a quick Google search on both "Chas" and Charles Howard Davis, but couldn't find any references.

So between yesterday's New York Times saga and that sad story, I found the Casa Grande Bulletin adorable for February 26, 1921. All from February 26, 1921.

Remember The Man About Town complaining about punctuality last week?

The Man About Town Says:

There is little use of trying to keep up with the Jones. Why not be yourself and try to keep up with your best self?

The Woman's club concert started promptly on time. Keep the good work up.

I heard a stranger say, "He never saw such hopeful people in his life as the citizens of Casa Grande."

While there is life there is hope. The diversion dam is coming and so is the new Bond issue. Be sure to vote a big YES for it.

--Casa Grande Bulletin, February 26, 1921

And front page story, "above the fold":

The Sunday School of the Baptist church attended the morning service last Sunday after which seven autos took a party of fifty to the Casa Grande mountains for a basket lunch. After the spread a number of the party climbed to the top. An hour or so later they all returned to their homes well pleased with their outing."

--Casa Grande Bulletin, February 26, 1921

--All stories believed to be in public domain per US Law.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Flashback Friday - Charles Gilpin - February 20, 1921 - March 6, 1921

So here's a mini-saga involving probably the first really big African-American stage star, Charles Gilpin. I think it's a reminder that, whatever horrible societal problems we have now, some things are SO much better today than they used to be.


'Emperor Jones' Star is Included Among Those to Be Guests at Annual Dinner.

--The New York Times, February 21, 1921

Charles Gilpin was to be honored at the Drama League's annual dinner, but people weren't sure if he should be invited, given his race. Some people said he should get a "nice letter" instead of an invitation.

Just wow. My stomach hurts.

Then it looked like Gilpin was indeed going to decline as gracefully as he could:


Negro Star Has Other Invitations for Night of Dinner--Does Not Want to Socialize.

--The New York Times, February 22, 1921

IMDB doesn't show any movies under Charles Gilpin, however, and a quick Google search didn't find anything. Might have to track down a biography to see how truthful his excuses were.

Several days later, this rather diplomatic article followed, where he agrees to attend the dinner.

Gilpin to Attend Dinner.

--The New York Times, February 28, 1921

Thankfully, a somewhat happy ending...though it's sad that it was ever any issue at all:


Forced Twice to Respond to Plaudits of Drama League Diners.

--The New York Times, March 7, 1921

You can read a bit more about Charles Gilpin at and Find a Grave

I'll post a few updates from the Casa Grande Bulletin tomorrow.

*All articles believed to be in public domain per US law.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Writing Wednesday - Too Busy

So I've made distressingly little progress on my snowflake. Like, about 2 hours' work in a week. Granted, I did a LITTLE more thinking in my head on top of that, but still. That's IT??? Still on Step 3 (quick telling of the story from each major characters' POV). But I'm planning to go through what I wrote on Step 3 one more time and then move on to Step 4 (expanding the paragraph summary you wrote of your novel into 5 paragraphs).

While I don't like writing down plans, I DO like thinking about problems, and I haven't even been doing much of that lately. I think most of the problem is my own human nature, to get caught up in distractions. I taught Children's Church last Sunday and the lesson was on Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42). The lesson itself was about putting God first (something I'm not particularly good at). And that made me think the lesson was to do MORE for God--spend more time reading the Bible, praying, etc. Which is a good thing, of course. But in this day and age I do wonder if Satan loves to see us so caught up on Facebook, in Internet rabbit holes, etc., that both our quiet time with God, and our quiet time to think, all get pushed by the wayside. Statistically I've read that we have MORE leisure time today than any generation before us. (I'm not sure that's entirely true; farmers would be completely busy during the harvest and planting, but when the snow came there wouldn't be that much to do. But most women, excepting the ones who had a ton of servants, probably do have a lot more time to themselves. Every time I get annoyed at having to do a load of laundry, I imagine how angry my great-grandmothers would probably be to know their descendant was whining about having to move clothes from the washer to the dryer....

I do think just sitting down and THINKING was a lot more fun before I became a grown-up, and also before the Internet. I still remember when I was on the school bus or even sometimes in class, I'd daydream adventures that I could later write down. (Too bad many of those would qualify as Rescue Rangers fanfiction and thus could never be salable!)

Then in high school I'd sketch on the top margins of my notes and by college the sketches had even turned into comics. (Speaking of which, I was just thinking of that very comic lately...maybe someday I'll turn it into a novel. Hmmm.)

Anyway, now between my busy job (and there's always work I can be doing there) and the millions of rabbit holes that are the Internet (and the wonderful people who populate it), I just haven't been taking as much time to be creative. I think I need to try to carve out more time to just sit and think and listen. Easier said than done, but I'd better try.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Arizona Renaissance Festival (at dusk!)

Honestly, I've had a busy weekend and have another busy weekend coming. So I'll just share some pictures from the Arizona Renaissance Festival. If you haven't been, you should go! All the fun of Merrie Olde England without the plague, social injustice, back-breaking labor, death rate, and (usually) rain. It's running through the first weekend in April.

Here are some pictures, some at dusk, since you just plain can't get those pictures most of the season.

3 members of Clan Tynker juggling near the entrance:

I like to get shots early in the morning, when Faire is empty (though the first weekend, when we went, it wasn't very crowded, and it was raining all this most recent weekend...).

My favorite act, the London Broil. They make me laugh.

The joust used to have 4 knights; this year (or at least when we went), there were only 2. Aside from the fact that it seemed like cost-cutting, I can't say I minded too much...the joust usually has silly dialogue and a ridiculous plot, so it was kind of nice to just get it over and done in a span of maybe 18 minutes.

Here's a (very) video I took of Clan Tynker with Dextre Tripp.

"Look! There are Christmas lights on that RV!" I said. Words that probably have never been uttered inside a Ren Faire before.

And I bought this DVD from the London Broil. It's a SIGN! Must work on The Healer and the Pirate with Maggie...

Yes, I go probably twice a year. Yes, I like to dress up. No, no pictures of that yet. :)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Flashback Friday - Women, Heels, Moral Gown and Equality - February 15-19, 1921

Again, these are stories from 1921.

So the keywords I used today were "women" and "suffrage," inspired by the National Woman's Party convention that took place this weekend 90 years ago. And here I had thought that the "equality" movement started in the 1960s! I was also interested to see the President's daughter speaking at what sounds like it would have been a somewhat revolutionary gathering...


It captures the convention of the National Woman's Party.


Mrs. Nora Blatch Barney's Proposal to That Effect Is Received With Cheers

Special to The New York Times.

--The New York Times, February 17, 1921


Women Unveil Memorial of Pioneer Leaders in Rotunda of the Capitol.

--The New York Times, February 16, 1921

I find the statue a bit homely, particularly as it has a big uncarved portion! There are some good pictures and a summary at this page--the site claims that the statue was unveiled February 15, 1921 (which is correct per the article)...and that it was placed in the basement one day later!

OK, now that we've been mildly educated, on to fashion! I do hate heels, but it appears the human race has survived them nonetheless. (Yes, the article says due to high heels we are "dying physically" and that 87% of women's problems are cuased by them!)


Massachusetts Shoe Men Oppose Law Banning Them.

--The New York Times, February 15, 1921

It is amazing the changes that occurred in fashion in just 10 years or so, if you imagine Victorian and Edwardian clothes, versus 1920s wear...


Lady Randolph Churchill and Dr. Chesser Assail Proposal.

Copyright, 1921, by The New York Times Company.

Special Cable to THE NEW YORK TIMES.

--The New York Times, February 16, 1921

Chapter 5 of "Only Yesterday" describes the "moral gown" as being "very loose-fitting" with "sleeves...just below the elbows" and a "hem...within seven and a half inches of the floor." Times sure have changed.

STATE GETS $37,354,865.

140,000 Women Paid $6,500,000 in First Year's Income Tax

--The New York Times, February 18, 1921

One more for equality! :/


Get Jobs as Servants and Help Husbands Gather the Loot.

Special to The New York Times.

--The New York Times, February 17, 1921

And I think that dear fellow at the Casa Grande Bulletin had a rough week (as well as the continual encouragement to pass the bond issue, which seems a bit biased!).

The Man About Town Says:

If you have faith in the Casa Grande that is to be, be sure and vote for the new light and water bond issue.

Don't you think it would be a good thing to organize a "Be On Time" club.

What is the use of announcing an affair for a given hour and then start it from one-half to three quarters of an hour later.

Announce a time; begin on time. Thus be fair to all.

--Casa Grande Bulletin, February 19, 1921

All articles believed to be in public domain per United States law

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Writing Wednesday - Snowflake in Phoenix

No writing this week, but some planning. I'm slowly working on that snowflake for my new (OK, rewritten) novel. The idea behind the Snowflake Method is to start with a one-sentence description of the story, and work from there. My current step 1 of the snowflake says:

Brought to a world of magic, a high school girl battles the god who wants her for his priestess.

That's subject to change (i.e. get phrased better).

I have a paragraph-long summary of the plot (Step 2) and now I'm working on Step 3, which is where you explain the characters' storylines.

The Snowflake Method itself states that you should spend 1 hour on Step 1, 1 hour on Step 2, and then 1 hour for EACH character's storyline in Step 3. I spent over an hour on Step 1 (still not satisfied), and something in the ballpark of an hour on Step 2. But for Step 3, I just can't sit down and think about one character's story for a full hour, at least not since I already know 2/3 of the story quite well (it's just the last third that I'm really fuzzy on). For myself, I think it's better to run through that stage fairly quickly, and then double back once all the characters' stories are established. After all, I'm likely to come up with some ideas as I write each storyline, and what affects Bunfa may affect Kelar, and so forth.

The novel is young adult and was called "Chosen: Bonnie of Sheshack." Now I'm wondering if "Bonnie Greenfield, Priestess of Plants" might be better? Or maybe I just like the "P" noise since it sounds like "pirates...."

I also went to the VNSA Book Sale and got a (tiny) book on trees and an (equally tiny) book on flowers. I was born and raised in the desert so I know mesquites and palo verde and saguaros agave and ocotillo...but very, very little about plants that require larger amounts of water to survive.

So I'm (slowly) working!

AND, I ordered Charles Denson's Coney Island Lost and Found. I had a Groupon for Barnes and Noble, which I bought using the referral credit I got when my mom signed up. So my out-of-pocket cost, including tax, was less than $8. Not too bad! I'm hoping to eventually plot and write another novel with Maggie, set on, you guessed it, Coney Island.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Monday - A New View INSIDE the Sailing Ship Columbia - Part 2

Happy Arizona Statehood day! 99 years!

So last week I showed off some pretty spiffy shots from inside the Sailing Ship Columbia. And I noted that the spindles in the windows of the displays seem to hinder getting a good shot........

......unless your camera (and wrists!) are thin enough! I discovered my Panasonic Lumix would fit through the bars fine, so I put my camera wriststrap on, put my thin wrists between some spindles, and got to shooting!

I believe this is a little cupboard for silverware/etc.

Doctor or mate's cabin?

I think this is from the next cabin:

No, the head is not accessible to guests.

And of course the place I'd love to live! Captain's quarters!

Here you can see the spindles, and how little I could see.

And, a few more cabins, I believe on the other (starboard?) side of the ship.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

VNSA Book Sale - Phoenix, AZ - And gingerbread!

We arrived at the annual VNSA Book Sale in Phoenix at the fairgrounds (by the Coliseum) maybe a bit after 9 AM. It opened at 8, but there's a substantial line to get in until maybe 11 or later (the line was gone when we left at 12:30).

Yes, this is meant to be artistic, yeah....

As recently as 2009, maybe even 2010, they had two lines feeding in. This year they had one, which is fairer but takes away the chance to get in earlier by picking the right line! Was in line behind some of the SAME PEOPLE I'd been behind 2 years ago (my brother's friend's family). The line can be slow; the fire marshal makes sure the place doesn't get dangerously overcrowded. A great way to pass the time is to make conversation; we ended up spending about 30 minutes or more talking to a nice couple behind us! And we finally got in at maybe 10:20.

Inside there are something like 500,000 books, DVDs, etc. I initially gravitate toward what they're now calling "Treasures," which has historic books (my favorite!). Rare & Unusual is also tends to be more expensive, but sometimes they have some deals. I got an old tour book of either England or Scotland (I forget which) for I think $8 one year. And in that section, once I even got one of the better Dance Dance Revolution games (DDR Max 2) for $3! At that price I couldn't pass it up for a friend, even though I already had it. It was scratched but played fine.

This year I went looking for stuff published before 1923 (public domain!). 2 years ago I got a ton of tiny books (just the right size for dolls) at 80 cents to a dollar! Paperbacks are $1.50 and the money goes to charity! I tend to buy stuff that looks like it might be good, figuring it's for a good cause.

A view inside.

Once you're (finally) inside, you can easily spend a couple hours browsing. People bring backpacks, suitcases, handtrucks and crates--anything you can use to carry books. They do have some plastic bags for you but they were in short supply this year, and get awful heavy. Sundays are half-price but I find Saturday is plenty cheap. Highly recommended if you like books at all!

$31.60, baby! They had some...interesting little books that were the right size for dolls and looked almost like mini textbooks, so if you see a peculiar tiny book in there, that's why! :)

And to top that out, my mom met me later with her Valentine's present to me!

Yes, those ARE gingerbread unicorns. :)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Flashback Friday - "Perfect Girl"? Valentine's Day 1921

Hey, everyone!

So the New York Times archives only list 8 articles with the word "valentine" in the headline from February 10 - February 16, 1921. Makes my work easy.

Here's one that made my jaw drop a bit.


Miss Betsy Buell, Selected by Smithsonian Institution, Marries Frank R. Valentine....

--The New York Times, February 15, 1921

Yes. America's most "perfect girl" married Mr. Valentine, on Valentine's Day. I wonder what ever became of them.

Pretty much the rest of the stories are about charity benefits and the like.


Stage Favorite of Long Ago Takes a Benefit in Costume Ball.

--The New York Times, February 15, 1921

Though the article makes her sound like a rather old lady (and she WAS over 60 at the time), Ms. Bailey lived to 1953, and appeared in a few films in the mid-1920s. You can see a picture of her legs at Find a Grave.


Society Bids at Biltmore for Boxes and Seats for Gala Performance of 'Carmen.'


His Wit and Antics Stimulate Sales--Clock Ticks off $134,736 as New Yorks' Gift Since Saturday.

--The New York Times, February 15, 1921

I gotta say, Ms. Bailey's benefit sounds like more fun to me.

I would have thought that the Casa Grande Bulletin would have had something about Arizona statehood--February 14, 1921, Arizona was having its ninth (!) birthday. Nothing there, though.

But for the sports fans, they did have a story about the big game that happened the prior Sunday:

Local Fans Enjoy Game
Notwithstanding a cold wind that blew from the souhtwest (sic), quite a good-sized crowd gathered last Sunday to watch the scrub game between the local players of the North and South Side. There was quite an interesting game, which see-sawed until the end of the eighth inning, when the game was called with the score 8 to 8. There were some new players, some of whom gave promise of becoming a fixture on the regular team. A game has been arranged for tomorrow afternoon. The fans should all turn out and get a line on the new material. Game will be called about 3 o'clock...

--Casa Grande Dispatch, February 12, 1921

Jana Bommersbach's post gets a bit political but it's worth skimming just for the description of celebrations back on February 14, 1912, when Arizona became a state. I do wish that we had more planned for our centennial but I haven't heard anything.

Sharlot Hall, Arizona historian, wore this copper dress to deliver Arizona's electoral votes to Washington D.C., circa 1924, per The Prescott Victorian Society site.

AND, if you want some thoughts of the true meaning of Valentine's Day, Nadine had some intriguing thoughts on her blog.

If not, happy Arizona Statehood Day, a few days early. :)

(From the Sharlot Hall Museum, 2008--not actually a Valentine, but I thought it was sweet :) )

*All newspaper articles believed to be in the public domain per US law

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Writing Wednesday - Just Do It


The last chapter and epilogue were very, very difficult to write, because I had to close up a huge mess of plotlines as well as I could. It's a very complicated story that I'm just not a good enough writer to pull off at this point. Someday I'll revisit it, but I'm SO grateful that day won't be any time soon! You can read a little about it at my About Me and My Writing page.

So I have a co-worker who would like to write a novel, but he worries that he wants his novel to be GOOD. (One cure for that problem is NaNoWriMo. It's a great way to see that yes, you can write something if you take the pressure off.)

For most people, it seems, the first draft is really rough, and the edits come later. In other words, the art of writing is really the art of RE-writing. Even if you have a solid outline and a solid plot, you can always polish your writing to make it sparkle. But first you have to have something to polish!

Animation is the same way:

Even rough/imperfect drafts can be really beautiful, as in this line test for Beauty and the Beast. And if those rough drawings hadn't been done, the movie couldn't have been made.

I hate to see anyone not write just because they're worried it won't be good enough. Frankly, some authors have become fabulously wealthy with novels that critics (and fellow authors!) don't consider to be remotely well-written. And I think the best way to learn to write is to just do it (and once you're strong enough, solicit feedback). I learned more about writing for publication from six months of giving and receiving critiques on Critique Circle than I did from my Creative Writing degree. And Critique Circle currently costs as little as $0 a year (free membership; $49.00 a year for some excellent perks; $89.00 a year for no ads).

Now, all that said, it's easy to give advice and much harder to follow it. I struggled with those last two chapters because I was afraid they wouldn't tie up the story satisfactorily. Yup; I fear they're not good enough!

Still, the best advice is, just do it.

If you write, you will eventually have a manuscript. 500 words a day for about 7 months will give you 100,000 words (the very HIGHEST word count most beginning authors should strive for). Unless you have exceptionally short chapters, one chapter a week will give you a novel in well under a year.

Of course, as I found out through NaNoWriMo, if you just start writing with NO plan, you may end up with a story that's incredibly hard to edit. (Especially if time travel always creeps in to your stories, like it does into mine.)

One brilliant idea for conceiving a book is the Snowflake Method. The basic concept is, start with a little kernel of a story idea, and then build on it until you have a coherent storyline. Eventually you'll get a detailed plan to write your novel! As a bonus, you'll end up with an outline you can use when pitching your work to editors and agents. From the site:

There is no reason to spend 500 hours writing a wandering first draft of your novel when you can write a solid one in 150. Counting the 100 hours it takes to do the design documents, you come out way ahead in time.

I actually attempted to use the Snowflake Method before I started "Flight from Endwood" in 2006. It didn't work so well, but I was pressed for time and didn't pause to actually think through how the story would actually work. I ended up plotting a romance for two characters (Edwin and Miss Liang) and they had absolutely no attraction. Had I actually considered my Snowflake more critically before I started, though, I might have saved myself literally years of edits, and might have a pitch-able novel right now.

But I'm going to try the Snowflake thing with my next project (Chosen: Bonnie of Sheshack). That's another novel that I wrote and substantially edited about a third of...but I'm going to get working on it in earnest presently, and get something out there. Still, I'm not going to rush it before I get a very solid outline in place.

Anyway! I think I'll celebrate the completion of my manuscript by the adding of chocolate to milk. :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Monday - A New View INSIDE the Sailing Ship Columbia - Part 1

So one of my great loves is Disneyland, and I also love (the fantasy ideal of) pirates and privateers.

Sail boldly forth into the wilderness on a full-scale replica of a majestic 3-masted ship from the 18th century. Sailing Ship Columbia recreates the grand pioneering adventures of the famous vessel that discovered the Columbia River and became the first American ship to circumnavigate the globe.

--Disneyland website

How could I not love this?

At one point in time they had sails (not sure if they ever let them down)--but they got in the way and I reckon weren't helpful for Fantasmic! (a nighttime show that re-dresses the Columbia as a pirate ship!). Now, the masts are bare, which aids visibility, but makes the Columbia move a bit like a ghost ship...

The top of the ship is where most people hang out, as the ship floats past Frontierland, New Orleans Square, and Critter Country. (Also lets me try out my zoom lens.)

But, you can go below deck to what is supposed to be a recreation of what the real Columbia would have looked like back when it was doing fur trading.

Either the stair lighting is not exactly historical, or those mean 1700s fur traders kidnapped a lot of tiny pixies.

Looking up above from below deck. Good reason to be careful when wearing a skirt...

The displays in the center of the ship are gently roped off to keep them undisturbed. (Being a ship AND at Disneyland, of course everything is glued down.)

Easy to get a good view of the galley:

But for some reason, Disney seems concerned about people climbing in the bunks, so they're rather aggressively roped off, making a good picture near impossible.

From the shadows, it appears I put my camera through the ropes here?

And even worse, the beautiful (tiny!) cabins and such around the ship are blocked by doors with large wooden spindles to block your view.

They look fairly historically-accurate, but they're also view-blockers...

Or are they? Check back next Monday and we'll see!

Close up on the map on the desk