The Writers’ Trust Workshop Blog: Madman, Architect, Carpenter, Judge

The Writers’ Trust Workshop Blog: Madman, Architect, Carpenter, Judge.

Interesting thoughts on the writing process.


The Chicago Manual of Style Online: Chicago-Style Citation Quick Guide

How to cite a book if it’s electronic (Kindle, etc.) – about to come in handy for my paper!

Book published electronically

If a book is available in more than one format, cite the version you consulted. For books consulted online, list a URL; include an access date only if one is required by your publisher or discipline. If no fixed page numbers are available, you can include a section title or a chapter or other number.

1. Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (New York: Penguin Classics, 2007), Kindle edition.

2. Philip B. Kurland and Ralph Lerner, eds., The Founders’ Constitution (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987), accessed February 28, 2010,

3. Austen, Pride and Prejudice.

4. Kurland and Lerner, Founder’s Constitution, chap. 10, doc. 19.

Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. New York: Penguin Classics, 2007. Kindle edition.

Kurland, Philip B., and Ralph Lerner, eds. The Founders’ Constitution. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987. Accessed February 28, 2010.

via The Chicago Manual of Style Online: Chicago-Style Citation Quick Guide.

The obligatory New Year’s Resolutions entry

New Year’s Resolutions? Last year I had all kinds of resolutions. Get in shape. Get healthy. Lose weight. Read 100 books in a year. That was not the best one, given that I managed to read 60 last year. Not bad, really. I’ve made a new resolution, which is to read 70 books in 2012. This is definitely a resolution that I can keep.

My second resolution is to write something every day. Starting with should help, I think. I’ve got a challenge to meet – write 750 words every day. that’s actually a lot of writing, but I think I should probably be able to do it. I will count any writing I do for class, as well as anything else that I decide to do. I think that getting into the habit of writing will be good for me, and I really enjoy writing, and have been wanting to do it, so I might as well just….well, do it. Ha ha! Let’s see. Check in on me in a few weeks.

So, reading and writing, easy peasey. I’d like to add a blogging resolution – I’d like to be sure to post once a week. If I’m writing every day, weekly postings to my blog should be easy too, right? We’ll see what happens once work and school start back up again. Again, check up on me.

So far I’ve got reading 70 books in a year. I’ve got writing 750 words a day. I’m going to post weekly. What about music? I’d like to play more music, if possible. I’ve got a new quartet starting up, and it looks like we’ll try to meet on a semi-regular basis, and they want to play Beethoven, so that’s seriously exciting. It would be really good to get to know those quartets better, and get them better under my fingers. Speaking of, I’d better practice a bit tomorrow! I’m playing next weekend!!

That leaves health. I think I’d like to do what the Zen Habits blog talked about – change a habit, rather than talk about losing weight. So my first habit to work on, the one I’m going to work on for the month of January, is to start exercising again. So I will be adding a new habit this year. Several, actually. I’m adding a writing habit and a walking habit. I already have a reading and music playing habit, so those won’t be new ones. I’ll be walking a bit every day. Today I walked for about 40 minutes. I walked for about 20 minutes yesterday and 15 on the day before. My goal for this month is to walk at least 20 minutes a day and try to walk for longer on Saturdays and Sundays. I’d like to walk outside as much as possible with a goal of walking in a particular route with a stopping and starting point. For example, walking around Roosevelt island today was easy and it went really quickly. It was pretty, and I was listening to an audio book, which made the time go pretty fast. I don’t remember where I read about that idea as a way to help out the exercise habit, but it is definitely a good one. Outside is nice too because the walking can be more challenging in some ways than on a treadmill. Plus more interesting. However, if it’s nasty out, then I’ve got the gym to go back to. And I’m sure we’ll have some days that are just nasty, since we haven’t had much in the way of snow yet, and it’s got to be coming, it just has to. (Do I hear snow day, anyone?!)

So instead of resolutions, I’ve got habits. I think these new habits will be good. I think that I will be able to start and keep these new habits. And if not, well…as I said, check up on me.

Does size matter?

Not in THAT sense, silly.

I was just trying to wade my way through the 600 plus posts in my Google Reader, and I came across one particularly loooooong entry. And while I was interested in what the blogger had to say (no, I won’t say who), my attention wandered rather quickly.

My question to you, dear reader is what is the ideal blog entry length? 100 words? 250 words? 500? To give you an idea, this post is about 100 words (give or take). My post from yesterday was about 350 words.

In which our heroine asks a question

Recently, I have had the phrase “In which…” running through my mind.  I mean this phrase to be used as part of a chapter title.  “In which much is said about a tea party”  “In which a man buys a hat”  “In which a secret is revealed” or some other such thing.  I am not entirely certain why this particular phrase is running through my head (and I do wish that it would at least take a bit of a rest, as it can be tiring), but I do know that I would like to know from whence it came.  Or, more particularly, from which time period one would have seen these kinds of chapter titles.  Is this Victorian?  18th century?  Where might I have seen these kinds of titles?

Let me tell you about this book…

Actually, I will let my friend Ann Simon tell you.  She and I taught together a few years ago, and I loved working with her – she is definitely a kindred spirit!  Alas, she took off a year to travel with her husband, which turned into retirement.  However, her time has not been wasted!  She wrote a book and has published it as an e-book.  I am so excited for her!!!  It’s an awesome achievement.  Below are her thoughts on the book, as well as a link to Amazon if you wished to purchase it.  (Go! Purchase it! Now!)  Take it away, Ann!


Jaguar Sees:  The Lacquer Box by Ann Simon is available at the Amazon Kindle store for electronic readers, Windows 7 phone, i-pads and other i-products.  The Kindle app is currently free.

We’d been living in Moscow for a year and a half for my husband’s work, and we had long established the custom of sipping on an after-dinner vodka.  One evening we were so engaged, chatting about this and that, when my husband pronounced, “I had an idea for a thriller.”

“What is it?” I asked, amazed.  Steve is a scientist and his interest in creative writing was last demonstrated, well, never in the 35 years I’d known him.

“This guy goes to the craft market and buys a lacquer box. Part of the painting on the box is the key to a nuclear weapons smuggling operation.”

Hold the horses!  “That’s a great idea!  What happens next?  How does the box lead to the smugglers?”

“Oh, I don’t know; that idea’s the only part I thought up.  You should write it.”

So I did.

It wasn’t that easy, of course, but Russian winter afternoons are as long and dark and cold as they are described in Russian novels.  That makes plenty of time for writing.  By the time we returned to the States six months later, I had the better portion of a completed manuscript.

The “guy” morphed into a young woman (Claire) living in Moscow with her scientist husband (Jack).  If this sounds familiar, I can only describe Jack and Claire as Steve and I but younger, prettier, and faster.  Claire innocently buys the lacquer box and subsequently gets herself and Jack into more trouble than any two people can handle.  I gave them help in the form of Claire’s Shamanic power animal, a spirit jaguar.  The fun for me became marrying the two worlds:  the most up-to-date technology of tactical nuclear weapons with the most ancient of spiritual belief, Shamanism.  (Shamanism is fitting in a Russian story as some of the earliest evidence of Shamanism has been found in the Altai Mountains of Siberia).  The enigmatic title of the book reflects its intertwining concepts:  a fast paced thriller about tactical nuclear weapons smuggling with a paranormal overlay in an exotic setting that jumps from Moscow to a pine forest in Siberia:   a little something for everyone.  Unsurprisingly, my book is a lot like me:   unique, fun, and maybe little weird.  I prefer to think of it as cutting edge.

The book is categorized as a cross-genre novel because it is neither a straight thriller nor conventional paranormal fantasy.  Additionally, while the spirit animals in the book are not of this world, paranormal fiction is generally about vampires, werewolves or other dark creatures.  Those in Jaguar are more metaphysical, which meant that even the agents and publishers who praised my writing wouldn’t, in this economy, risk something that didn’t market as traditional genre.

Jaguar wouldn’t leave me alone, however.  She sat reproaching me from my computer desktop.  She wanted out!  She wanted to prowl the light of day, and Claire and Jack were equally eager to roam.  Fortunately, we live in the magical world of the Internet.  E-publishing beckoned me.

I hired a talented young woman to convert Jaguar to HTML format.  She created the cover from a photo I took from the window of our Moscow apartment.   I followed Kindle’s instructions and uploaded the novel.  There have been a few glitches (most notably with readers receiving the cover image), but the people at Kindle are very responsive and helpful.  So there it is, my OWN novel, actually selling with actual people buying it.

People ask me, “How does it feel to have your book available for everyone to read?”  It feels great, not least of all because jaguar, in all her spirit animal glory isn’t growling anymore.  The only problem now is there’s a red hummingbird tapping at the screen, buzzing, “Sequel!  Sequel!”

Who’s afraid of the big blank screen?

Well, I’d be lyin’ if I said not I, but it’s a heck of a lot less scarier than it used to be.

Huh? I hear you say.  “Whatchoo talkin’ about, Ms. H?”

Well, I would like to point out that as of this writing, it is December 1, 2010.  That means that NaNoWriMo ended yesterday.  And I won.  Barely.  I eked it out.  And I think that they have a grace period for verifying your word count (Shh! Don’t tell them!), because I verified at five past 12am, and was still declared a winner.  I don’t feel like I cheated, mind you.  Because I didn’t.  At midnight, I had 49,700 some odd words.  Five minutes later I was at the magic number.

Which is not at all the point.  (“Would you get to the point?!” I hear you cry.)  Apologies.  I got fewer than five hours of sleep last night, and then went and taught 10th graders for most of the day.  You’re lucky I’m even this coherent (which isn’t very, I know).

So here’s my point.

When I woke up this morning, I was convinced that I would not want to do ANY writing today.  None.  Nada.  Zip.  Zilch. Niente.

But here I am.  Moments ago, I sat down to my computer with an irresistible urge to write.  Something.  Anything.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the whole point of NaNoWriMo (in this writer’s opinion).  Just get out there and WRITE.  All the writers say it – it’s not just about talent, it’s about seat time.

So if NaNoWriMo can get me to write my butt off for a month (well, ok, the bulk of it was a “hail Mary” pass over the last week) and then I still want to write, then I would say that’s a good thing, wouldn’t you?

Thank you to the wonderful people at NaNoWriMo for hosting this wild ride, and I look forward to doing it again next year.

But could someone please hit me over the head with something heavy and remind me that the whole 1667 words a day is MUCH MUCH MUCH more fun and doable than 30,000 words in the final week?  Please?  Thanks in advance.

Don’t forget to check out my winner badge!  It’s over there! →