Friday 23 November 2012

Breaking my NaNo hiatus for Bryce Courtney, author, who died last night.

Hi my friends!
Bryce Courtney

Bryce Courtney was one of my favourite authors. He was born and lived in South Africa for 17 years, then he moved to Australia where he lived for 57 years, so he always thought of himself as an Aussie and wrote so many fictional accounts of early Australian history.

Bryce started his career as an advertising high flyer, but always had stories inside him demanding to be written. He published his first book at age 55 - the inspirational saga, Power of One, one of my all-time favourites. (I was thrilled to pick up an autographed copy recently). It is a great authentic-sounding story, has breathtaking settings in the African landscape and prisons, also authentic, great themes, a chilling view of hatred and apartheid  - in other words, great power in words!

The Power of One, his debut novel, sold 12 million copies, was published in 28 languages, and was made into a movie. I don't usually like movies made from books overmuch, but even though the movie added romantic elements and some of its focus was different - that Zulu singing, Morgan Freeman's role as the boxing coach, and the beautifully-wrought characterisation of young Peekay, made it a memorable movie. I asked a friend at the time who'd escaped Zimbabwe during the civil war, whether the violence shown in the film, especially in the black settlements, was exaggerated. She replied, that no, they were understated. God help us!

Bryce went on to write 20 more books. He wrote 12 hours a day as a general rule. Not bad for a dyslexic! He was a storyteller always terrified of running out of time, but he believed strongly that we all have a use by date. Bryce's was last night.

RIP Bryce. I'm glad you got that last book published just a week ago - Jack of Diamonds. How did you do it? A new book every November just in time for Christmas! Your timing was spot on as always!

Your grateful reader,

  • We don't celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia, but I am very thankful for Bryce Courtney and the words and worlds he created.
  • Happy Thanksgiving to those who are celebrating!

Wednesday 14 November 2012

Holiday Spirit Blogfest - Please join us! Total Eclipse of the Sun at Palm Cove.

Memoir, Fiction, Recipes, Traditions...and more

How are the holidays celebrated at your home? The blogsphere includes a multitude of countries, cultures, and citizenry of the world. There are as many ways to celebrate as there are cultures -- Thanksgiving, Christmas, Yom Kipper, Hanuka or any variety of holidays of the “giving spirit” during the same season.

In my home we celebrate Christmas as do most Australians. It is an annual celebration to mark Christ's birth (we are well aware this is not the actual time He was born), to celebrate the summer holidays, to celebrate our families and friends who may fly many kilometres to join together again, to just relax by the beach or the pool and read a book (in between eating, drinking and sharing gifts), forgetting about the demands of work -- just for a few days or weeks..

For this Holiday Spirit blogfest (open to the whole blogosphere as are all RFW blogfests), RFW is looking for excerpts of up to 800 words of fiction or non-fiction stories of family tradition, favorite/unique recipes, inspirational articles, etc.; that involve the essence of the holiday spirit.  (Recipes and news articles do not have to adhere to the 800 word limit.) In other words, we would like you to post whatever passes for the Holiday Spirit in your neck of the world. Maybe you would like to post pictures of your decorated home!

Because of the special nature of this Holiday Spirit blogfest, we are allowing up to two submissions; however, they must be in two separate categories. Meaning, you could post your favorite recipe AND an inspirational 800 word excerpt; or a link to an inspirational news/magazine article and a recipe or true story; but not two of each (two recipes, two memoir posts, two articles). If you are posting two separate submissions, please add your blog link twice and add to your name/link what it contains - eg - Donna Hole, 1, Recipe, so participants know to look for two separate posts.

The linky will open on December 12 and remain open thru December 21 to encourage linking to the direct post. However, if you decide to link then schedule a post (or two) later, just leave a comment to let everyone know when your excerpt will be available. The RFW hosts will be checking the comments and links, and if a direct link is available, we will edit your link(s) if you haven't done so. (RFW uses Inlinkz which allows you to delete your own link and add a new one.)

Please join us in celebrating life, love, presents, good food, and of course Family Traditions of all types within diverse cultures.

This is not a competition - it is a sharing. We hope we'll all get to know each other better!

Happy Holidays everyone; and best wishes for your NaNoWriMo projects. Let us know how you go.

Total Eclipse of the Sun (love that song, but we had the real thing yesterday.) Palm Cove, north of Cairns in Northern Queensland, was the best spot in the world to see it, and thousands of people arrived from all over the world to this usually empty stretch of beach to gaze at nature's wonder. Many weddings and engagements took place.

They came from all over the world to experience the total eclipse which was awesome!

Go here to experience glorious professional pictures of the eclipse which shows the wonder of it.
  • Do you know a holiday celebration that is not mentioned above? Please share in the comments.
  • Are you going to join us for this blogfest? The more the merrier.
  • If you're doing NaNo, how is it going? The halfway mark - 25,000 words yet? I'm lagging a bit...
  • Please watch for the linky announcement on December 12.

Wednesday 7 November 2012

Thirty Days and Thirty Nights of Literary Abandon

Click for list...
Hello there!

Today is the day to post for Alex J Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group. This group consists of a ton of bloggers who blog about what they're struggling with, what they've learnt, what they'd like to share, or...what...ever.

I was going to miss posting today but decided to post about what I'm doing - NaNoWriMo. Not everyone agrees with the idea of whipping yourself into a writing frenzy for 30 days, and of course there are negatives as well as positives. I choose to paddle my own canoe and think it's a brilliant idea, gives me the excuse to say 'no' to many onerous commitments etc, so I'll be participating for the fifth time.

Like most things I do, I abide by my own rules. Last NaNo I spent most of the month researching the issues surrounding the Afghanistan Wars. I probably wouldn't have a fraction of that research completed except for the motivation of the month. By the end of November I had what was mainly a 50,000 word knowledge dump, but hey, that's important when you choose to write a novel with big issues that you need to get right, even if you'll never use most of it. I know Alex used a NaNo month in 2010 to work on his second Cassa novel and managed to get the words down on the page. 

And I probably never would have started my first novel, a Harlequin-style category romance, except for NaNo four years ago. I can't just concentrate on one thing at a time, so I have been busy finishing all my NaNo novels. Recently I decided to take the plunge and submit my first novel to HarlequinEscape. A few tweaks to go (which I will be doing in conjunction with writing my new novel, Fijian Princess, which I AM VERY EXCITED ABOUT!) This time I have outlined, researched (well, I had to do something writerly during my 6 weeks in Fiji, lol!) and am going to start with the final chapter, work backwards, (I know how it begins and ends, but the middle will be a surprise) and hope it all comes together.

So I won't be posting often during NaNoWriMo unless something comes up that just can't wait for December. I'll be displaying my Word Meter so you can check on my progress. Failing floods, famines or pestilence (whoops, I shouldn't say that. I live in Australia, the land of natural disasters!), I will write 50,000 words of Fijian Princess and finally complete my first NaNo novel, Ruby, because, you know what--it may not seem so, but I am one very determined cookie when it comes to my writing.

Here is a link to a great list of resources to help you write a novel, courtesy of Nathan Bransford. It'll take a month to get through if you follow all the excellent links, but well worth it, especially for a debut novelist.

As Donna Hole (my co-host) and many of our members are also participating in NaNoWriMo, RomanticFridayWriters will be on hiatus as always during November. We kick off December with a Holiday Spirit blogfest. I hope some of you will join us and tell us what the holiday period means to you - traditions, recipes, celebrations...Click on the badge to learn more...the Linky will be going up soon...

I wish all participants well. I'm 'parisden' if you want to buddy up. 

Now if you have time, click the IWSG badge and read some more posts...