2012: My Year in Review

img_2877Lots of things this year, just like last year.

I finished a novella (The Artist’s Muse) and it’s now on submission.

I just (under the wire) finished my 1920s gangster novel, The Orpheus.

I went to Chicago in May for fun and research, including a day at the Newberry Library, taking a gangster tour and sailing the tall ship Windy, and enjoyed some great times with my parents and aunt and uncle, especially eating at some great restaurants.

In other writing news, I learned novel plotting from Michael Hauge, released my novella Prohibited Passion, and took several great courses. My story ‘Vee’ was a part of the Felt Tips: Office-Supply erotica anthology. I also attended the When Words Collide convention and spoke on a panel about historical romance.

I began working with The Author’s Red Room as an editor, and I’m so glad I’ve been able to work with so many great clients this year.

I also made a point of reading a lot of books (over 140, according to Goodreads), and watched many films. I reviewed some films on my blog: Tomboy, Shame, The Artist, In a Lonely PlaceCaché, and De rouille et d’os (Rust & Bone).

And, last but not least, I met James Marsters at the Calgary Comic Expo.

I have several goals for the coming year, including writing another novel and travelling to London and Paris. I’m sure 2013 will be as great as this year.

A tasty little snippet in time for Thanksgiving…

Here’s a little snippet from the first draft of my 1920s gangster novel, The Orpheus:

Finally, she felt his hands on her hips, his fingers dipping beneath the lace of her underwear, finding the hollows of her hipbones. She opened her eyes as his hot breath brushed her stomach. He kissed her there, just above her bellybutton, and she carded her fingers through his dark hair.

“Please,” she whispered.

And I’m going to leave you with that. Happy Thanksgiving! (for my Canadian friends)

The Three Rs. (Reading, ‘Riting, and Researching)

The editor in me cringes at that title, but I’m amused enough at the riff on ‘reading, writing, and arithmetic’ to let it stay. And it’s what I’ve been up to lately, if you’re wondering where I’ve been.

Reading:

  • Lots of beta reading for friends (including Scarlett Parrish’s upcoming book ‘Bring Me to Life’, which is excellent!)
  • Scarlett Parrish’s ‘Burn’
  • Tiffany Reisz’s ‘The Angel’
  • Heidi Cullinan & Marie Sexton’s ‘Second Hand’
  • The Paris Lawyer, by Sylvie Granotier
  • Collected Poems, by Edna St. Vincent Millay
  • Simone de Beauvoir: A Biography, by Deirdre Bair

Writing:

  • Finishing a novella (‘The Artist’s Muse’)
  • Finishing the first draft of ‘The Orpheus’
  • Starting a new novella

Researching:

  • Lots of articles on Paris during the Nazi occupation in WWII.
  • Suite Francaise, by Irene Nemirovsky
  • And the Show Went On: Cultural Life in Nazi-Occupied Paris, by Alan Riding

So that’s what I’ve been up to, mostly. It’s been a productive few weeks, though I feel a bit like a magpie as I flit between books, reading a chapter here in one, a chapter there in another… trying to balance out research reading with fun reading. With a few exceptions, I’ve stuck to novellas for my fun reading, if only because I can finish those in one or two sittings, and they don’t linger on for days as I try to fit them in between everything else. I think that’s partly why I love ereaders and ebooks so much: those shorter works of fiction wouldn’t ever have been published before, or only within a collection of stories. I love short fiction as much as nice big novels, and ebooks let me indulge.

Upcoming: more on Scarlett Parrish’s release; a review of ‘The Angel'; and little snippets from my work-in-progress.

A few lines on a Sunday….

A few lines from my work in progress, THE ORPHEUS:

“Do you always rough people up when you can’t get your way?”
…..
“Ask the lovely Miss Prescott to explain it to you.”
“I will ask her,” she replied. “But I don’t see why you couldn’t just tell me.”
He strode the few steps till he was next to her again. His finger raised her chin and she stared up at him, into his dark blue eyes.
“It’s power,” he said bluntly. “It’s how men like me survive. Now get your coat and I’ll take you to see your mother.”

A teaser…

A little snippet for you from my WIP…

Chicago, 1925

     “Just a prostitute,” the young beat cop said, taking in the drowned woman’s attire. The remnants of a thin, dark dress clung to her waterlogged form, making her skin paler still in the light from the patrol car’s headlights.

Detective Lang lit a cigarette and stepped closer, staring down at the body. The girl’s throat was mottled with bruises and her head sat at an awkward angle. The beat cop began to shift the body onto the sheet laying nearby on the bank, so that they could shift the body up the slope to where the morgue van waited. The girl’s head turned toward him, and though her face was puffy and her eyes closed, he recognized her.

She should have been dancing the night away at The Orpheus. Just last week, she had been, but now she was dead.

“Hurry it up, Jones,” he snapped to the beat cop. He paced back to his sedan and left them to deal with the corpse. How had she ended up in the river, so obviously murdered? She’d been on top of the world, popular and successful, and beautiful.

He stubbed out his cigarette and lit another. Important people would have to be told, and he didn’t want to be the bearer of bad news.

That’s all for now!