Entries in A Metaphor is like a simile (79)


ZF-360: The Playlist

I just this minute finished red pen revisions of my latest manuscript. Long-time readers of this blog will remember ZF-360, my retelling of Mozart's Magic Flute, set in modern-day Manhattan and Kashkawan among the Irish Travellers

Well, I've entirely rewritten it, and I'm very happy with it now. Irish folk music figures heavily in the story; my male lead plays in a Celtic fusion band and receives an Abell ZF-360 pennywhistle as a gift.

As I went through the printed manuscript today, catching tiny errors on virtually every page, I also made a list of all the songs I mention in the story. Most are Irish folk songs, but some are not. Here's the playlist, with links where available:

"Katie Campbell's Rambles"

"The Green Gates"

"Bold Doherty"

"Summer is Coming"

"The Water is Wide"

"My Funny Valentine

"Clohinne Winds"

"As I Roved Out"

"Strange Fruit"

"Body and Soul"

"Stella By Starlight"

"Ships Are Sailing"

"The Lakes of Coolfin"

"Horo Johnny"

"I's the B'y"

"The Creggan White Hare"

"The Dawning of the Day"

"The Flower of Magherally"

"Green Grow the Rushes

"An Paistin Fionn"

"Rant and Roar"

"Blackbirds and Thrushes"

"The Waxies' Dargle"

"The Wind that Shakes the Barley"

"The Lark Ascending"




I wrote a post about writing and the loss of my father at Mommy Authors. I'd love to know what you think.



I'm pleased to announce three awards for which Dispirited has been nominated:

1) Best Adult Speculative Novel -- Whitney Awards -- Finalists will be announced February 7th!

2) Dispirited's cover is a finalist for LDS Publisher's annual Best Cover Award -- go vote now! The deadline is midnight on January 30th and the winner will be announced on January 31st. 

3) Best YA Fiction -- AML's annual awards -- The winner will be announced at AML's banquet sometime in March!

Keep your fingers crossed! 


Retreat and Advance


I spent last Friday and Saturday in a Huntington Beach condo that was four blocks from the ocean. I did not surf; I did not sunbathe, even though the weather was sunny and warm. Nope--I sat in a quiet, empty room, all alone, and wrote like a madwoman. 

How does a madwoman write, you ask? 

  • She leaves her extremely supportive family behind in order to spend two days at an internet-free Writers' Retreat.
  • She uses an extremely detailed outline, turns on Write or Die, and cranks out between two and three thousand words per hour.
  • She laughs, she frowns, and she cries as she types.
  • She kills off a beloved character and knows it's exactly the right thing to do.
  • She texts her accountability partner at regular intervals--either to crow or to vent.
  • She eats a good amount of high-quality chocolate.
  • She also takes a few breaks with her partner in crime, who sits in the adjoining room and does virtually the same thing. 
  • And at the end of the weekend, she does the math and finds she has met her goal: she's finished her draft and written 35,000 new words. (Right now, the entire manuscript is roughly 95,000 words long.)

Impossible? Not when you've trained for it. It was the equivalent of competing in an Ironman: death and despair for a newbie, but totally doable for someone who has conditioned and worked consistently over a considerable amount of time. 

I couldn't have done it without Rachel Aaron's help. Over a year ago, I read her blog posts that led to her ebook on writing faster and more efficiently, and I've been working ever since to improve both the quality and quantity of my writing. (Get the book! It's worth way more than the 99 cents you'll spend. Get Rachel's other books, too.)

I don't write this to brag; I write this to tell you what's possible when you do the daily work that Steven Pressfield and so many other pros prescribe.  

And now? I had thought I'd jump into revisions right after the holiday weekend, but, like a post-Ironman athlete, I found I've needed a couple of extra days off to recover. But today, a week after my marathon, I'm ready to tackle the rewrites to make the story I love much, much better. 

Last weekend was my first Writers' Retreat. Would I do another? Absolutely. But I'm glad I was prepared to make it worth every minute away from my family. All the writing I do when I'm at home in the thick of my life--that's where I make the real advances. 


Interview and Giveaway! 

The lovely ladies at Writing4Two asked me if they could interview me for their Feature Friday event, and I gladly agreed. Go over and read our conversation, then enter to win a copy of Dispirited. Tell your friends!