Snow Days!

Hope everyone that celebrated had a wonderful Christmas! If you're celebrating Kwanza, Happy Kwanza!

NYC got hit with a major blizzard over the weekend and Husband had an extra day home from work. We spent it throwing snowballs at each other and the kids (Big A totally betrayed me and teamed up with Dad, but Little M was loyal and threw a great many powdery puffs at the both of them! Huzzah!), and chucking each other into snow banks. Much fun.

Until we had to be grown-ups and actually shovel the driveway and dig out the car.

I am back to the writing grind today and cleaning up my house in between line edits, so I will probably disappear on you again for a few days. At Sisters in Scribe we are still taking entries for our December Giveaway (international, ends Dec 31st) and over at Tangled Fiction we have our first public round table discussion, so hop over there to see wtf we were thinking when we started our tangles and to chime in with what you thought might have happened!

Happy New Year!

Holiday Giveaway and a New Short!

Over at Sisters in Scribe, my scribe sisters and I are giving away 3 autographed YA books to 3 winners, ends Dec. 31st! Hop over there for the details and if you know of any other contests around the web, feel free to post it in our Mr. Linky meme.

In other news! Part 1 of BETHLEHEM, by me, is up on the TF blog! Here's a sneak peek! Hope you enjoy!

The last winter that time recorded started just like today, with a sky so bleak that you couldn’t tell where the earth ended and it began. It was the last winter I spent with my family in this same apartment, staring out this same window watching fat snowflakes fall. The last winter that would ever matter.

But it doesn’t matter today. Today I need food and things to burn. It’s light enough to start looking, but without the sun I can’t even guess the time. The sky is so thick and so gray, the city street so empty and muffled by snow, that it feels like I’m stuck in someplace in between. 

Books on Writing

I'm knee deep in revisions, so I thought I'd pick up a couple of books on writing this week, and both of them (so far) are excellent. Here they are.

Stephen King's On Writing
Part memoir, part cheerleader. Not so much a how-to book on writing, but more of an empowering and entertaining read from one of America's most beloved writers.

Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell
This is the first book in this series that I've read. So far I'm really enjoying it. Some of the steps in this book might seem like a no-brainer to you, but some of us need it spelled out. If you're part of the former, it never hurts to have a good reminder.

There are a lot of great examples in here on scene structure, building suspense in dialog, creating a bond with your reader via your main character, character arc, plotting, revising, etc. There are different activities you can try out on your own to see what works and why.

I've been told this is a great series to go with and so far, I'd have to agree.

I'd like to hear your recommendations. Read any great books on writing recently? Have you read either of these two books?


Hanukkah begins tonight at sundown!

The following comes from

The Story

The story of Chanukkah begins in the reign of Alexander the Great. Alexander conquered Syria, Egypt and Palestine, but allowed the lands under his control to continue observing their own religions and retain a certain degree of autonomy. Under this relatively benevolent rule, many Jews assimilated much of Hellenistic culture, adopting the language, the customs and the dress of the Greeks, in much the same way that Jews in America today blend into the secular American society.

More than a century later, a successor of Alexander, Antiochus IV was in control of the region. He began to oppress the Jews severely, placing a Hellenistic priest in the Temple, massacring Jews, prohibiting the practice of the Jewish religion, and desecrating the Temple by requiring the sacrifice of pigs (a non-kosher animal) on the altar. Two groups opposed Antiochus: a basically nationalistic group led by Mattathias the Hasmonean and his son Judah Maccabee, and a religious traditionalist group known as the Chasidim, the forerunners of the Pharisees (no direct connection to the modern movement known as Chasidism). They joined forces in a revolt against both the assimilation of the Hellenistic Jews and oppression by the Seleucid Greek government. The revolution succeeded and the Temple was rededicated.

According to tradition as recorded in the Talmud, at the time of the rededication, there was very little oil left that had not been defiled by the Greeks. Oil was needed for the menorah (candelabrum) in the Temple, which was supposed to burn throughout the night every night. There was only enough oil to burn for one day, yet miraculously, it burned for eight days, the time needed to prepare a fresh supply of oil for the menorah. An eight day festival was declared to commemorate this miracle. Note that the holiday commemorates the miracle of the oil, not the military victory: Jews do not glorify war.


Happy Hanukkah to all those celebrating! A freilichin Chanukah! Chag Urim Sameach! And enjoy those latkes!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...