Wednesday, February 28, 2007

TT#6 Thirteen things about the great American Novelist - James Fenimore Cooper

  1. James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851) was a seaman until he retired to become a country gentleman and write.
  2. Didn't start writing until his early 30's in answer to a challenge from his wife when he claimed he could write a better novel than the one he was reading.
  3. The following year (1820) he wrote Precaution which critics said was no better than other English fiction.
  4. Challenged once again he wrote two fully American books - The Spy (1821)(a tale of the American revolution) and The Pilot (1823)
  5. The Pioneers (1823) a tale of the frontier, became an instant best seller.
  6. The Pioneers sold over 3,500 copies on the morning of its first day in print
  7. He wrote the first American adventure story
  8. The first American novel of manners
  9. The first American novel of the sea
  10. The first successful American novelist
  11. Fenimore's fame rested on The Leatherstocking Tales featuring Natty Bumpoo, which consisted of a series of five novels about Natty Bumpoo.
  12. He went on to write 28 novels over the next 30 years.
  13. Other novels include, The Last of the Mohicans (1826), The Red Rover (1927), The Water Witch (1830), The Deerslayer (1841)His last novel - The Ways of the Hour was written in 1850. He died in 1851

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Novel Novel.

We all know about the western, YA, chicklit, historicals etc... but have you heard of Bildungsroman or trangressive fiction? If you haven't, neither did I until a short time ago and it intrigued me enough to go looking for other unusual novels. I found them in The Complete Idiots Guide to Creative Writing.
Bildungsroman - is German for "novel of development' - a fictional form of a hero's journey from his dysfunctional childhood, through his growing awareness of himself and how he changes the way he relates to the world around him - usually in a positive way. Examples - Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain, Samuel Butler's The Way of All Flesh, and of course James Joyce's A Portrait of a Young Man.
Epistolary Novel - this novel uses correspondence between characters to advance the story, or diary entries, or as in the case of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein a one-way letter.
Picaresque Novel - Spanish in genre - this is a novel that reads like a travelogue with a twist describing the exploits of a rogue. e.g. Henry Fielding's Tom Jones, and Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Roman a clef - uses contemporary historical figures with fictitious names. eg Joe Klein's Primary Colors thinly veiled fiction about the CLinton Administration.
Transgressive Fiction - is a relatively new term for fiction that graphically deals with aberrant sexual practice, urban violence, dysfunctinal family relationship, and drug use. Described as 'subversive, avant-garde, bleak, and pornographic" with bizarre art covers, lots of italics and undersized formats. William Burroughs and the Marquis de Sade were the forefathers of this genre.
All These examples were found in Idiots Guide to Creative Writing. (1997)

As a side note here, In the IGCW there is a little box which says " To figure out what pseudonym you should use if you decide to write a romance novel, take the name of your first pet plus your mother's maiden name."

So I sign off today as the mysteriously known - Kidney Lee.

Monday, February 26, 2007

It's the turn of the apostrophe.

Contraction, possessive, omission, non-standard English, all use the apostrophe. Lynne Truss in 'Eats, Shoots & Leaves' claims that the apostrophe is the frantically multi-tasking female of the punctuation world, while the full stop is the lumpen male.
The placement of this little lick has caused much debate, and humor, over the centuries.
Let's look at examples:
In speaking we run words together and these are known as contractions e.g.
aren't - are not
can't - can not
won't - will not
let's - let us
I'd - I would
don't - do not
Then there's the trickier and often abused it's, they're, and you're.
It's - is a contraction to replace the 'i' of is. It's only used for this no other. If you're unsure put the 'is' after the 'it' and you'll soon find out if it makes sense or not .e.g. The dog bit it's tail. should read - The dog bit its tail.
The same goes for they're, which only stands for they are. Not to be confused with their(possession), and there (place).
And you're, which stands only for you are. Not to be confused with your (possessive).

Possessive Apostrophes
These fall into two categories. - Singular possessive and plural possessive.
Singular possessive
You simply add- 's to the singular noun e.g. boy's hat = a hat belonging to one boy; the baby's bib
If the singular noun ends in an 's' - modern usage add's the apostrophe alone but no - s's - e.g.
H.G. Wells = H.G.Wells' books. ( older usage is H.G.Wells's books)
Plural Possessive
You add - 's - to the plural noun e.g. The children's coats. The men's ideas made us laugh.
If the plural noun ends with an 's' then just add the apostrophe e.g.The girls' hats.
In general in writing it is acceptable to show the possessive case of inanimate objects e.g. the cuff of my pants ( not my pant's cuff); the seat of my pants (not my pant's seat)
But there are exceptions that indicate time and quantity:
thirty days' notice
a week's pay
an hour's walk
for pity's sake
a day's travel
a month's travel
three pounds' worth

And the less common- 's - after the silent 's' at the end of a word e.g. Arkansas's capital city is Little Rock.
Nowadays the - ' - is usually omitted in corporate names e.g. Barclays Bank, or Chambers English Dictionary
In abbreviations it is becoming more common to omit the possessive apostrophe (and points) e.g.V.I.P.'s vs VIPs; M.P.'s vs MPs
An apostrophe is used to indicate the plural of single letters e.g. Mind your p's and q's. He was one to dot the i's and cross the t's.
They are also used to indicate the plural of a word when they are not used to signify their normal meaning e.g. His speech was full of if's and but's. The manuscript was edited to take out all the got's.
Possessive determiners and pronouns DO NOT HAVE APOSTROPHES
determiners are: my/our, your/your, his/their, her/their, its/their
pronouns are: mine/ours,yours/yours, his/theirs, hers/theirs,its/theirs

Apostrophes of omission
These occur when significant letters of a word are left out and is often used in idiom e.g.
We can't go to Jo'burg today. "It was 'im that got the cat-o'-nine-tails, and he'd be dead if we 'adn't stopped 'im."
Words like fridge, phone, telly,pram, cello, nuke, photo, etc. no longer need the apostrophe to signify the letters absent.

Non-standard English apostrophe.
When writing old English and classical names the apostrophe is used with out a following s.
e.g. Xerxes' battles, Socrates' ideas, Achilles' heel, Archimedes' bath
The same goes for place names in modern usage e.g.Barbados' capital city is Bridgetown.
Names ending in an 'iz' sound e.g. Bridges' score, Moses' tablets and lastly Jesus' disciples.
Still, there would be little complaint if you added the 's' after the apostrophe for any of these, with the exception of Jesus.

Hope these help your apostrophe dilemma... my references were Rudolf Flesch and A.H. Lass - The Classic Guide to Better Writing; Write On by Richard Bell and Pauline Bently; Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss.

Sunday, February 25, 2007


Views of Japanese Teahouses in the beautiful Ukai-Toriyama, Tokyo, Japan.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Thoughts on writing

Yesterday I began clearing out our storeroom, all because my heroine wants me to write her story, but something holds me back. Is it my muse, or the instinct that comes from being a pantser, that tells me I'm not ready to commit her to paper just yet?
All I know is that for me to write, I ponder shift and sort ideas floating in my head until they gel and form a pattern.
As I shifted one of the boxes in the storeroom I came across an unopened box. It has been sealed shut for over twenty years.... Okay I hear you, so the cleaning out is long overdue. Curious, I opened a box that has traveled the world in our many moves - and came across a treasure trove. It contained my earlies attempts at writing... mostly short stories... so you know what I spent the rest of the yesterday doing... reading.
It was an odd experience getting a glimpse of the ideals and thoughts of my younger self. It made me realize that not only have I grown as a person in the past twenty-two years but even though I have only focused on my writing in a serious nature for the last four years, I have been flirting with writing a lot longer and have improved my craft considerably since then - proving the writer's adage - that the more you write the better you get.
Today I am still clearing out the storeroom, and thanks to my find yesterday, my heroine has taken more solid shape and become grounded. As I shift boxes, and add to the growing pile of rubbish, the story grows in my mind.
Tomorrow, I write.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Monday, February 19, 2007

Maimi Boat Show...

These give you an idea of what was there, and how many.... there were three boat show areas - all huge!
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Bingeing, Boo-ing and Boats.

I have had an interesting few days. Well they were for me, so let me bore you with them.
Thursday - A friend and I who have birthdays close together went out to lunch... it ended up as a drive in the country and a stop at Lowville and the Lowville Bistro. It was scrummy, I even had wine and dessert and of course dreaded getting on the scales the next morning but knock me down with a feather - I lost 0.6 of a lb.... go figure. (Loss since Feb 1, -4.6lbs, is sooo slow, but at least heading in the right direction - torture gym tonight)
On Friday - Hubby and I went to the local theatre's production of "Old Time Music Hall' and despite being some of the youngest in the audience had a great time,. well done Drury Lane of Burlington.
Then on Saturday - hubby and I were up at 4 am to get to the airport for a day trip to Miami to attend the Miami Boat Show.... WHOOOOOOOOW! It is the second largest in the world, behind Fort Lauderdale, and let me tell those of you who have never been to a boat show... this is one to try to aim for... my eyes are still out on stalks... Mega Millions $$$ of beautiful boat, gleaming and polished, sitting at their owners convenience decked out in every luxury you can imagine... one boat had crews quarters for 8 crew including a chef, and the Captain's quarters were separate. (I would post a photo but for a cyber glitch.)
After I finish this I'm off to brush up on my haute cuisine skills as I think we wont buy a boat in our retirement, hubby can crew and I'll cook, and get hired on as crew and see the world that way. Think of the stories I could write in my spare time... I understand that a lot of these boats get used for a max of three months a year but are crewed full time.....(often including a helicopter pilot. One boat had an 8 seater helicopter.) How the other half lives!
Sunday - back to reality and penance for all that indulgence, I started cleaning out my bookcase.... Does anyone else find it hard to throw/give away books? I put them aside with strong resolution yet somehow they end up back on the shelf.
I'm currently listening to Eric Burdon singing House of the Rising Sun . Next up is Meat Loaf - Bat Out of Hell album and You took the Words Right Out of My Mouth. Oh Yeah!!!! should help get the rest of the housework done ...
Have a great Monday.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

TT#4 - Aphrodisiacs

I'm a romance writer and this comes under research!!!!! According to the Oxford English Dictionary and aphrodisiac is something arousing sexual desire. So with Valentines Day an' all, I asked a group of people, male and female, aged from 6 - 91 what attracted them to a person, and the older ones what 'turned them on'.
  1. Physical features - this was unanimous male and female the first thing that they noticed about a person was something to do with appearance mostly about the head (one person it was leg length and another feet) and covers broader statements such as six yo male -" coz she's pretty", and 9y.o. female "he's sooo cool" to 23 y.o. male 'she's one hot ....". This includes hair colour/texture/length, smile, eye color, laugh, to the way a person moved.
  2. Physical attributes - close second slightly different to #1 in that it was more personal and mostly unprintable but involved breasts, butts, shoulders, height.
  3. Smell - once again 6 yo. male ("she smells nice) and all others agreed. This may be something applied like perfume or after shave. (FYI it is a known fact that each person gives off pheromones that are like a finger print of personal body odour (as opposed to BO), individual to that person that trigger a response from an interested partner. For females this is dominant at certain times of the month when conception is most likely to occur and when they are most receptive to sexual advances).
  4. Attire - ranged from high heels, short leather skirts, tuxedos, leather anything, underwear, sweaty gym clothes, unbuttoned jeans (female), tight jeans(male and female), wet t-shirts, fishnet stockings, slinky dresses etc....comments degenerated into the unprintable
  5. Candlelight
  6. Moonlight - especially moonlight in summer, and moonlight on water
  7. Food - chocolate came top closely followed by champagne. One guy thought pot roast was pretty cool.
  8. Music - the range was as eclectic as the people asked, obviously songs and music is an individual/couple thing. Slower R&B, Jazz and classical being considered most romantic by most.
  9. Warmth/Heat - ranged from tropical holidays and warm summer nights to snuggling under the is a known fact that warmth encourages intimacy (the guys had their own spin on this involving cold showers)
  10. Firelight - relates to above, but creates it's own romantic ambiance
  11. Satin sheets - turned into satin/silk anything
  12. Steamy showers - I'll let your imagination do the rest with this one
  13. The look - or as 91 y.o. said "He was such a rogue with a sparkle in his eye that I couldn't resist".
Shared sense of humor came next. Also in the top twenty were communication, shared interests, snuggling and erogenous zones -and at that spot this post is done.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Shoveling is exercise, right?

God I hope so, as I can hardly lift my arms above my head and to think I have torture gym tonight. I think the weather channel has a weird sense of humor... Some drifts in our driveway are waist deep and as LOL needed to get out guess what I was doing at 6 this morning. So along with the 20cm I shoveled yesterday I feel I have exercised. I live in Burlington ON and I gather it is in the part of Southern Ontario that is getting dumped on. - I can confirm it. The novelty of snow shoveling is wearing thin - and it's still snowing.

My writing yesterday went surprisingly well. Finished my last twenty pages and even did a draft of my cover letter. Got the results of a comp back and came in 7th in my group for my paranormal,it is in the top 10 of 50 so I guess that's okay. At least its not in the sucky, indistinguishable middle. If its really bad you can always do something with it, like light a fire.

FYI I'm not an exercise freak but I want to be fit and active for my old age and to enjoy my grandchildren. Writing is so sedentary so I have to shift some of my blubber. If I was a whale I could sell it - maybe they could turn it into 'Hip Gloss'.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


I have done my three miles on the treadmill, and in my mind I have read over what I wrote yesterday, and am sitting here pouring over words in the last section of my WIP so I can put it aside for a week then re read it. But that is not happening, why?
It's snowing... nothing new in that as I am in Canada and its winter, but I happen to one of the freaky few who love the white stuff. I love the way if falls silently and looks like marshmallow or Cool Whip. I love the way it changes the landscape and hides the sleeping plants insulating them so that they will surprise me in spring. I look at the fire crackling behind me and think of curling up in front of it with hot chocolate and that book that is saying 'read me next' (An American Childhood FYI). Or that scrapbook I need to finish of that holiday we went on three years ago....
Instead -
I'm itching to get out the door with my shovel waiting for 3 cm so I can start shoveling... maybe it comes from growing up in temperate and hot climates where Christmas is a tinsel tree stuck in the sand and yelling at the kids to come in from waves for cold seafood and rum and fruit icecream cake before it get too hot or melts!
They say we're going to get hit by maybe 20 -50 cms... I wonder if I will feel the same about shoveling snow tomorrow?

Monday, February 12, 2007

A Writer's Library

With the internet on hand you may wonder - "Why have a library, when everything you want is right at your finger tips?" While I would hate to be without all the wonderful information available to me on line, I often find that when I'm writing, accessing the internet is more of a distraction than a help. If you are like me and love books, you will already have a substantial library reflecting your taste. However, when it comes to books on the craft of writing I find that I am easily persuaded to look at 'so and so's' book on editing, grammar, etc.. So listed below is the general consensus of my many books on the craft of writing, and what they feel a writer should have in their library.

  • A Comprehensive Style Dictionary - such as an Oxford's Writer's Dictionary which provides an authoritative guide on numerous issues of style and usage such as, spelling dilemmas, names of people and places, foreign words and phrases, when to italicize, abbreviations, acronyms, capitalization and punctuation.
  • A General Dictionary - If you have an interest in the historical development of English Words you will also need an etymological dictionary which gives examples of historical and archaic usage , dates of first usage and obsolescence e.g. Shorter Oxford Dictionary. Collins also puts out dictionaries of current word usage for both American and English e.g. Idioms, Phrasal Verbs, Slang, in Collin's Cobuild English Dictionary series.
  • A Thesaurus - provides lists of antonyms and synonyms of words
  • A Glossary of Literary Terms - to assist in identifying figures of speech, genres, types of poems, different rhyming schemes etc.
  • A Guide to Writing - this should be in your chosen area and the selection is limitless. Go to your library, borrow books from friends, see which author resonates with you or it will sit on your shelf and gather dust.
  • Style Manual for Authors, Editors and Printers - usually available through a government publishing service, and gives the nationally accepted ways of writing and present certain words, phrases and names on the page. From my perspective as a romance writer I have found that most Publishing Houses have very definite criteria on their submissions sites. If not read the genre and published books to get the feel for it.
  • Grammar Reference Book - again there are many to choose from. Lynne Truss - 'Eats, Shoots & Leaves'; Strunk and White - 'The Elements of Style' are two that are very good.
  • Spelling - for faulty spellers a book on spelling is a must, such as 'Spelling Made Easy' by Barbara Dykes and Constance Thomas
  • Writer's Marketplace - This covers every area of writing -and is published in most countries around the world and sets out the different Publishing Houses in that country, what they publish, and how to contact them. The only problem is that it needs to be updated annually and you need to check before sending things off as details can change from date of detail submission to the date the book becomes available.
  • Atlas -
  • Almanac - can be handy for pinning down that date in history - such a Pears Encyclopedia or accessing something similar on line.
These are just a few of the basics others you can include would be books on: Book of Quotations (Times); Who Wrote That (Oxford); Brewers Phrases and Fables (Cassell); Baby Names; Random Houses - Websters Word Menu - to name a few.
On Line, the options are limitless - I personally find Ask Jeeves, and Wicopedia are the best places to start. Hope this helps.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

TT # 3 Chocolate - Food-of-the-Gods

Over 200 years ago the Swedish botanist, Carolus Linnaeus, name a tree with ugly rough, seed and pulp filled pods growing from its trunk - Theobroma cacao which translates as Food-of-the-gods cacao, something chocolate lovers would agree with. So having looked at the history of tea and coffee on the last two Thursday Thirteens, I thought with Valentines Day coming up I would stay with the theme and look at how that sinfully delicious, melt-in-your-mouth, chocolate heart arrived in its foil wrapper.

Firstly let me state that there are many varieties of Theobroma growing in the the warm tropical climates it thrives in... all are linked, but I am focusing on the Theobroma genus responsible for chocolate, namely Criollo, Forastero and Trinitario.
  1. Contrary to popular belief, the Aztecs did not discover chocolate. They lived to high for it to grow. Cacao only came into their lives when they conquered large parts of Mexico in the 14C. But they were certainly involved with its evolution to what we know today. Cacao is a native plant of Latin America, namely The Amazon Basin and south of Lake Maracaibo in the foot hills of the Venezuelan and Colombian Andes. By the end of the first millenniumBC the plant had migrated to the tropical forests of Mexico and its other Central American neighbors.
  2. The flavour and promise of the cacao seed (bean) in the delicious gooey white interior was discovered by Mesoamericans through their systematic, logical approach to most of their food, in preparation and preservation. In other words, they dried the seeds, ground them and discovered the powder left tasted different to the fresh fruit, and that grinding roasted cacao seeds they released oils, and a fragrance as the brown powder became a paste. This they formed into cakes or balls and dried for future use. It is thought that the Gulf Coast Olmecs or the Mayans mastered this technique, including the addition of chilies and other spices, even the red coloring agent, achiote - all still used today.
  3. This ancient drink was frothy and highly prized and used as a sacred offering and is still retains this ceremonial aura today. You may have had them in Venezuela as 'popo' or in Oaxaca, Mexico as 'tejate'. This froth is said to represent a gift of personal vigor,or essential force from the one presenting the gift to its recipient (like giving chocolate to a loved one today). There were foods associated with chocolate which is still available today, such as the Mexican 'champurrado' a rich chocolate corn gruel, or the 'chorote' from Tabasco and Venezuela, or Ecuador's, 'chocolate con machica' chocolate blended with barley flour.
  4. Cacao beans became so prized that they took on the status of legal tender, and it was in this form that in 1502 that Christopher Columbus and his teenage son, Ferdinand, came across cacao during his 4th New World Voyage. They came across a canoe party of Indians off HOnduras and noted that the Indians made such a fuss of the nuts they carried with them stooping to get any that fell into the water. Since neither spoke the others language the reason for their care remained a mystery for the next 17 years until Cortez's armies marched into Mexico.
  5. It was only when Cortez and his companions saw Emperor Moctezuma offer them a frothy brown drink with great ceremony, that their desire to grab anything that alluded to wealth made them look at the brown paste, and beans more closely. For the Aztecs ranked certain cacao beans with the same value as gold and gems and used a an offering to the dead.
  6. Cacao beans were specific units of money and commodities from turkey, grains to sex had their known price in cacao.
  7. The Spaniards noticed shoppers at the Aztec markets were very knowledgeable when choosing their beans and knew where they came from and its locale, and what quality to look for. For like all produce its environment affects it. They soon discovered cacao dulce (sweet cacao) and cacao blanca (white cacao), forestero and criollo. It was criollo that endured and went back to Spain.
  8. Spanish Aristocrats adopted drinking chocolate and within 50-60 years the custom had spread to France, Italy, England and most of Europe. C17 fine porcelain cups were made especially for drinking chocolate. In Mexico it was still drunk in a decorated gourd, and in Caracas drinking chocolate was all the rage resulting in mid-afternoon soirees called agasajos. It was the Spanish who married chocolate with sugar. Prehispanic Mexicans used honey or the sap from the heart of the maguey plant.
  9. It was only in the late C17 that chocolate was used as a spice or flavoring in savory dishes such as the Sicilian caponata, the Cataliam estofados and hybridized Spanish-Indian moles of Mexico. But chocolate through the C17 and C18 was a beverage. The preparation was complex, and costly so only the wealthy could afford it. Some household even employed metates skilled chocolate drink makers their name taken from the grinding stones they used.
  10. It is only after 1890 -1900 that recipe books contained recipes using chocolate. The powder would not break down enough for baking prior to this and was unpalatable.
  11. In the late C17 blight hit the cacao crops and the crops in Trinadad were nearly wiped out. In order to replant they took seeds from the mainland and this would give rise to a new genus of cacao trinitario. This was less bitter than farestero, and more hardy than the criollo. Because of the cross pollinations it is farestero that is what we know of as chocolate today.
  12. 1828 Conrad Van Houten of the Netherlands developed a way to mechanically extract the fat from the cacao resulting in cocao butter - this was used in soaps and suppositories, the solid mass left was sold as 'rock cocoa' which was then ground to a powder. By recombining the cocoa butter with the left over liqour confectioners developed 'eating chocolate'.
  13. 1879 Swiss Rodolphe Lindt took the cocoa sugar mix and put it in a 'conche' machine which sloshed it back and forth for hours ( a process known as conching based on the metate) which led to the silky melting confection we now consider normal for chocolate.
Through the developments of these two men the price of chocolate dropped and it became the beverage of the masses. Companies used smiling children to advertise their product to sell it, such as Fry and Cadbury in England, Menier and Poulain in France,Lindt or Suchard in Switzerland, and Hershey in North America.

SO there you have your Valentine Chocolate Heart.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Renovations that last!

The Mermaid Hotel, Rye, East Sussex, England.
The perfect smugglers get-away.
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Tuesday, February 6, 2007

One word,- several meanings

Having had the opportunity to live in several countries over the last 20 years it has never ceased to amaze me the way people view the same word. You have the widely known differences such as the word rubber - Down Under- it is something produced from a tree,or, something used to eradicate a pencil error; to an American - a rubber is a condom. So II took the words from my blog title to find out all the different meanings for them.

  • a small firearm with a short barrel, and a stock to fit the hand, that can be fired with one hand. This can an include any of the following 'pistols' - automatic, repeating, six shooter, gat, rod, Saturday night special, cannon, six-gun, pepper pot, barker, pill shooter, iron, forty-five, thirty-eight, seven-shooter, Derringer, pocket, .22 calibre, .32 calibre, .45 calibre, Colt, Webley, Smith and Wesson, Mauser, Nagant, Steyr, Browning, modele d'ordonnance (Fr), Luger (Ger), Parabellum(Ger).
  • an informal adjective to describe a spunky person, usually female, with a fiery temperament and a go get 'em attitude.
  • ardent desire, especially sexual
  • any strongly felt, overpowering emotion can be loving, fervent, inspiring, moving, poignant,enthusiastic, tragic, thrilling, burning heated,melodramatic, wistful
  • suffering esp that of Christ
  • an intense fit of furious anger; rage
  • any transport of excited feeling; violent agitation
  • a strong impulse tending to physical indulgence
  • inordinate appetites; sexual desires
  • the state or condition of being acted upon; subjecting to external force, as opposed to acting or doing ; the philosophical sense
  • the endurance of some painful endurance; suffering
  • (obs) some painful disease
  • a liquid dose of medicine, or poison ( something remember when reaching in to the medicine cabinet!)
  • a liquid substance used in magic
  • a blended combination rubbed, inhaled, or ingested to bring about a desire result.
  • a drink, nip , dram, elixir, draft, liquor, tonic, dose, cordial, stimulant, libation, restorative, philter, spirit, aromatic, remedy
Hope your Tuesday is going well Be sure to look in tomorrow for my 'Wordless Wednesday".

Monday, February 5, 2007

Voices in my head - Interior Monologue

As a writer I'm told we have the advantage over, say a movie, in that you can put the reader inside your characters head. You are able to take the reader from action to thought and back to action again, giving the reader vital information of unexpressed thoughts as to how, or why the person is reacting that way. Interior monologue allows:
  1. disclosure of information that doesn't fitdialogue
  2. gives the reader a feel for who the characters are
  3. it is an intimate and powerful way to establish a characters voice and personality
So with this handy tool at my disposal what are the pitfalls?
  • Be cautious of IM interrupting flow of story/dialogue - constant interruptions are irritating
  • Use dialogue to good effect don't use IM to reinforce a feeling that dialogue has/can make clear. eg (IM)She felt herself getting angry at his intrusion and the sooner he left the better. Now in dialogue... She slammed the book down on the desk. "Get to the point and go."
  • Don't put IM in quotes. IM are thoughts, not spoken and should be unobtrusive and should have no speaker attributions. eg: (in quotes) "I'm about done here," he said, then mumbled under his breath, "or will be, if I'm not interrupted." Now with speaker attributions. Am I done here? I would be if you didn't interrupt me, he thought. Now without speaker attrbutions - Am I done here? Only if you stop interrupting me.
  • As you write a scene in one POV the reader knows whose head they are in so speaker attribution in IM is unnecessary.
  • A long passage of IM can have its own paragraph. If written well the reader will just slide into the persons head unaware they are doing it as they are already with that character, the seams blur.
  • some writers use italics to set out IM that would be hard to work in otherwise.
As a self-editing tool, Rennie Brown and Dave King suggest the following for bringing IM in your manuscript to your attention.
  • How much do you have? - go through and highlight the passages that occur in a person's head.
  • Look at it - Is it dialogue descriptions in disguise? Are you using IM to show things that should be told? Should some of your longer passages be turned into scenes?
  • Do you use speaker attributions that could be dropped and the speaker still remain clear?
  • Can you convert IM from first to third person? Give it its own paragraph? Convert it to a question? Or italicing it?
  • How close are your narrative and character's voice? Is the distance between your characters and your readers as much as you intended? or as much as your reader needs?
Hope this helps move your story along....

The answers to the Sunday snap photos were - The Battle of Hastings - 1066; the Norman, William the Conqueror won the battle and spoke French; the saxon, King Harold got an arrow in his eye and died on the battle field.
To those who sent emails asking where the photo of the garden was taken, it was at Rosemoor, the Royal Horticultural Society's Garden, in Devon.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Snapshot Sunday Quiz

Here are the photos for todays Where/What and Who? The clues are:
We are in England
On this field one of the defining battles of history was fought.
Battle Castle and an exclusive Public School overlook this field today. When the battle was fought an old monastery overlooked the blood shed.
The battle and it's date is recorded in history books.
The 'conqueror' did not speak English.
This grave supposedly 'arrow' marks the spot of the defeated's death.

What was the battle ? Who was the 'conqueror'? Who was defeated?
Extra cyber pats on the back if you can state the date of the battle and the language the conqueror spoke.Posted by Picasa

Friday, February 2, 2007

Friday Feast #1

What was one of the fashion fads when you were a teenager?
Wearing a jumper/sweater you had knitted with 1 inch thick needles.
Name one thing you think people assume about you when they first meet you?
Weird accent!
On a scale of 1 -10 with 10 being the highest, how hard to you work?

If it's grey and snowing 8-9, if its sunny mmmm probably 1 unless I take my computer outside... then it is probably 3-5. I mean who wants to sit in front of a computer on a lovely sunny day when the birds are singing, the water fountain is bubbling over rocks, and the sweet smell of flowers just make you want to lie on the grass and look at the sky and watch the clouds roll by.
Main Course:
If you were given 30 second free commercial time during Superbowl to sell anything you currently own, what would you advertise?
My yet to be published book!!!
Fill in the blanks. I love to------------when it is-----------.
I love to snuggle up to my honey in front of the fire with wine and our fave music playing when it is dark and snowing outside.

What is your Friday Feast?

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Thirteen Thurday - 13 things about the history of coffee

Coffee's origins are surrounded in legend and history. It has only been a beverage in the world for just on five centuries. Cafes, as institutions have survived monarchies, republics, governments, parliaments and wars, and have been the hotbed of plots, assignations, and socializing for centuries - but how did it all start?

1. Coffee originally came from Ethiopia, where it grows wild. It was first brewed by Abyssinian shepherds and is now the world's second most consumed beverage after water.

2. Coffee was thought to be introduced to Yemen from Ethiopia in the C15 by Ali be Omar al-Shadili - the grandmaster of the mystical Sufi sect in a tiny Red Sea port of Mocha (then known as Muza). He came to be known as the 'Saint of Mocha'.

3. An ancient legend and a tale of "A Thousand and One Tales" tells of Kaldi, a Yemenite goatherd, who couldn't sleep because the goats were frolicking about. A local monk followed the goats to discover they were eating red berries off a wild bush common in the area when they were suddenly overcome by a surge of energy. At the monastery the monks chewed the berries to keep them awake during long hours of prayer. So, coffee's power to stimulate the nervous system entered history - and legend.

4. It is rumored that Omar's monastery gave a cup of monastery coffee to a visiting Indian sea captain who had complained of drowsiness. So taken with the power of the brew, the captain took it with him to the Near and Middle East. Thus beginning the coffee trade with India.

5. The practice of steeping coffee beans in hot water began in the late C15 in the holy city of Mecca where it was used in ceremonies and rituals. This soon spread to outside the mosques and gave rise to coffee houses.

6. The first coffee houses were thought to have originated in Mecca in the mid - late C15, then spread to Medina then on to Cairo in the early C16. The first coffee houses in Constantinople were opened by two Syrians in 1554. It had taken less than half a century for coffee to spread through the Middle East.

7. C16 camel drivers in caravans from Yemen and Egypt: sailors such as Simbad and Levant, and Turkish and Syrian merchants, were the first bring the beverage 'coffee' to the notice of the world.

8. The tiny city port of Mocha (Muza) is situated on the Bab el-Mandeb Strait on the Red Sea and the Ottoman's who controlled its exports guarded their trading monopoly. The port traded in incense, myrrh, and alabaster. No coffee had been grown successfully outside of Ethiopia or Yemen so it was coffee, which would bring great wealth to the city, but like everything it could not last.

9. In early C17 European botanists began to bring back tales of coffee leading to European Trading Companies taking an interest in the mercantile routes of the East. The London East India Company founded in 1600 was the first to send trade ships on the IndianTrade Route and stopped in the tiny port of Mocha and were not welcomed. In 1610 a company trader, Sir Henry Middleton, was thrown in jail only to escape and blockade the tiny port.

10. It was Pieter Van der Broecke in 1616 of the Dutch East India Company who gained the Ottoman's favor and while purchasing coffee beans was able to make off with some bushes. The beans from these bushes were planted in Amsterdam's Botannical Gardens where they thrived. This event however, received little publicity but was to have a major impact on coffee history as they were the first coffee bushes to be grown outside of Ethiopia and Yemen.

11. Van de Broecke's coffee bushes produced vigorous healthy bushes and were named Coffea arabia by Swedish Botanist Carolus Linnaeus giving rise to the commonly known 'arabica' coffee we know today. In 1658 the Dutch used them to begin coffee plantations in Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) and later southern India. In 1696 Dutch Commander Adrian Van Ommeren took berries from Cannanore, India to Jakarta and thus began the vast Dutch coffee plantations of Indonesia and the later influx of Asian coffee to the until then, Yemenese dominated, European market.

12. It was a Frenchman, Jean de La Roque, (son of the Pierre de La Roque who introduced coffee to the elite in Marseilles) who wrote about his voyages to the Port of Mocha and other lands which became hugely popular so that they inspired readers to visit exotic, faraway places, and was instrumental in triggering the vogue in France for all things "oriental". Thus began the French coffee plantation industry in the West Indies and later South America.

13. Mocha's golden age lasted until 1750 when the Dutch Indonesian and French West Indian plantations began to lure traders away from Arabia. By 1760 only one East India Trading Company ships was landing in Mocha every two years to trade in coffee. While the Egyptian, Arabs and Turks preferred to load Yemen coffee at Hodeida, they were also acquiring a taste for the new coffee from the West Indies, it was also less expensive. So the city that gave it's name to coffee, is now a sleepy, sand swept tiny desert port and the "Saint of Mocha"- patron of coffee planters and drinkers, rests in peace and is honored with a spring, a gate and a mosque built over his grave all inscribed with his name and the only truly certain thing known about him - his death, 1418.

I hope you found this little snippet of the history of coffee interesting.... I welcome your comments.
May your Thursday be full of interesting snippets of knowledge... Robyn