Some Christmas Presents

Wishing you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukha, Winter Solstice, Joyful Shopping Frenzy - whatever you might be celebrating at this time of year. Hopefully it's a time that you can share with friends and family, reflecting on the year that's past and the year that's coming, as the sun returns.

I've prepared a selection of gifts for you for the season:

  • My first Flash Fiction, Christmas in a Strange Place
  • A secret tourtiere recipe. I use this for our family's annual food exchange. 
  • A coupon for 50% off my first book, Kirk's Landing, via Smashwords. Code CD99R, good until Boxing Day. Here's a link to my author page too, where you can read the first chapter and find out where to buy paperback copies too - whether online, or in local bookstores. I also have copies with me as I visit my local cafes and pubs, discounted and signed. If you already have a copy, here are some places where you can leave a review.
  • A recipe that makes a lot of Moose Milk


Reading for creativity - a non-fiction book list

I'm building myself a non-fiction reading list.

I've always had catholic tastes (I love that phrase), been interested in a wide variety of subjects, following a variety of blogs and newsletters, easily distracted by sparkly things. Some might see that all as just showing a lack of focus and fear of commitment and/or failure, I prefer to see it as a healthy exploration of all the world has to offer.

I was encouraged when Chuck Wendig, in a post about 25 ways to more creativity, told us (#10) that reading more non-fiction is a good thing. Yes, reading fiction can show us examples of how to write, and should be part of a writer's day. However, the creative process itself - that quirky way we blend different ideas and cultures together, the examination of everyday life with a 'what-if' twist thrown in - that process needs something to be creative with. So it follows that the more ideas and concepts we throw into the jumble between our ears, the more we have to be creative with.

I've avoided non-fiction books in the past - too much work to read, no exciting chases and murders, no heaving bosoms of damsels in distress, no bug-eyed monsters or ray guns, etc etc. But a recent book idea, a 'what if' idea involving a change in very early First Nations culture, had me heading to non-fiction. I found a good resource to start with - Guns, Germs, and Steel - but will likley expand to more once I finish it. Time to expand my non-fiction universe. I subscribe to New Scientist and Smithsonian newsletters, and follow several speculative blogs, but have as one ROW80 objective to read from more non-fiction books each day.

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NaNoWriMo winner

I "won" this year, as I did last year. Meaning I wrote at least 50,000 words in the 30 days of November. It's hard to explain to people the concept,the idea that that's "all" I had to do to win. They ask where can they buy it, or when will it be published. Tiny steps, I tell them, as the aim of this is to provide the focus and encouragement to get writers, or would-be writers, to shutup  and write.

But it was harder this year to finish. Before I started last year I was worried that I'd never get it done, as it was my first major writing project ever. So, to prepare, I had planned like mad, developing a plot, major plot points, and a full list of scenes from beginning to end. And that worked, I did pretty well at sitting down every morning and writing for a couple of hours, basically filling in the blanks. The characters did come up with the occasional twist, and I added and deleted some scenes along the way, but chugged along and finished the story two days early, at about 51,000 words.

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Sci-fi Book Club

I'm in a small but keen science fiction/fantasy book club. We've been meeting for about a year now, sharing new - or re-discovered - books with each other. We also discuss politics, economics, food, music, Occupations, retirement, ABCP, families - whatever we are all interested in. The books we choose can be pretty well anything - just not so old we can't find a copy, or so new we need to wait at the publisher's door. We do a writeup for our newsletter, I'll copy it below, and keep in adding every session.

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