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>To-dos May 20, 2010

Posted by Elizabeth Schechter in to-dos, writing.
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>Did you know that when you finish a to-do, if becomes a ta-da?


I just now finished Haunts, the Shadow Unit story I’ve been working on,  and I posted it to the SU forums. And if you haven’t started reading Shadow Unit yet, what is keeping you???

To Write:

* House of Sable Locks (novel, in progress)
* Wanderer’s Moon (next book in the Midnight Moon series. Currently on hold.)
* Drum Mage
* Professional virgin story (no title as of yet)
* Wandering star story

To Revise

* Prince of Air

To Outline

* Sea Prince (outline in progress)
* Coral Throne
* Hidden Things

To Sell

* Nomad’s Moon
* Exile’s Moon
* Infernal Machine

>Book Reviews: _The Plot Chickens_ and _Do Not Open This Book!_ May 10, 2010

Posted by Elizabeth Schechter in book reviews.
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>I don’t know if I’m going to do this often, but these two books caught my eye the last time I took my son to the library. I find it very amusing to find children’s books about the writing process.

The Plot Chickens by Mary Jane and Herm Auch. (Holliday House)

The story of Henrietta, a chicken who loves books and loves to read. She decides to write her own story on her trusty “Hunt and Peck” typewriter, and has to deal with the joys and tribulations of writing the story, rejections, publishing and bad reviews. This book is written by a couple who have a series of chicken-pun kid’s book (Bantam of the Opera, anyone?), and it’s a good, if simplified look at the publishing world. Just right (write?) for the child of a writer, who may not understand just yet why Mommy is pounding her forehead on her laptop keyboard. The illustrations are oil painting (by Mary Jane), that were digitally enhanced by Herm, and are nice and sharp, and very amusing.

Do Not Open This Book by Michaela Muntean. Illustrated by Pascal Lemaire. (Scholastic Press).

The story of a young pig author, who is working hard at getting the words set up in the blank book. There is no fourth wall in this book — the reader is interacting directly with the ‘author’, who is angry that the reader is interrupting him while he’s trying to write the book you are reading. There are one or two places where this book reminds me strongly of The Monster at the End of this Book, but the authorial pig is not nearly as endearing as Grover (then again, who is?). The tone is fiercely antagonistic, even though the pig admits at the end that the reader helped him write a good book. The art is spare, which fits the ‘unfinished book’ theme.

On the whole, I’ll be looking for more from the Auchs. The Plot Chickens was cute, and actually informative about the process that writers go through. Do Not Open This Book was a bit too angry for my tastes.

>I don’t listen to Disney music like other people do…. May 4, 2010

Posted by Elizabeth Schechter in inspiration, writing.
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>Inspiration can strike in the strangest places. For example, yesterday, I was in the car with my toddler, and I had Disney music playing on the IPod. Here comes Dick Van Dyke singing “Chim Chim Cheree” from Mary Poppins. There’s a section of that song that is done in an almost melancholy air, in a minor key, and the lyrics talk about the chimney sweep’s world:

“Up where the smoke is all billered and curled
‘Tween pavement and stars is the chimney sweep world
When there’s ‘ardly no day nor ‘ardly no night
There’s things ‘alf in shadow and ‘alfway in light
On the rooftops of London coo, what a sight!”

And my mind seized on that second to last line… things half in shadows and half in the light. WHAT things half in shadows?

Now, I have this gaslight erotic fantasy series in planning mode, with the outline for first book percolating, waiting for the right time (and for me to be able to do the research. Won’t take much, I have all the books already.) So this little idea has been files as something for that particular series, with a working title of Ashes and Light.

My Genius is a little perverse. And if this is news to you, then you haven’t been paying attention.