Weekly writing check-in: the one with a finished novelette

So, I finished my coffee/ghost story this week. It has words! And an ending! And a title! Giving up the Ghosts came in at 8,948 words. I also think this is the first time I’ve written an honest-to-goodness sequel for something. I think it worked. At least, I hope it did. I’ll know in a few weeks when I read over the draft.

I also worked a bit on some flash fiction. And if you take a gander below, you’ll see a link to a post I did up yesterday on five books about WWI.

Writing Work:

Submissions:

  • Knight in the Royal Arms
  • Five to Freedom

Rejections:

  • None

Acceptances:

  • None

Publications:

Just a matter of timeYes, on Kindle only. For short stories, this seems to be my best option. As tempting as the 58 cent payouts from Kobo are … okay, they’re not tempting at all. I’m better off, for the time being, placing my short work in KDP Select and the Kindle Unlimited program.

For now. It might not always be that way. And I’m not locked into anything. At least, I’m only locked in for 90 days. 90 days? In publishing? That’s a blink of an eye.

So … it’s available for 99 cents, or you can borrow it for free if you are an Amazon Prime and/or Kindle Unlimited member.

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So … you want to read a bit about World War I?

So, I scanned my LibraryThing collection to see what I have read about World War I. It’s an eclectic mix. I did a fair amount of reading about World War I for the War Through the Generations challenge a few years back, and I’ve continued to read as books capture my interest.

Below are five of the nonfiction titles that I really enjoyed and recommend.

historyWWIhourWorld War One: History in an Hour (my short review here)

The title says it all. World War I, in about an hour, so you’re not getting a lot of detail.

But it’s a good starter book if you’re dipping your toes back into the events of this time.

 

toendTo End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918 (my review here) by Adam Hochschild

This was one of my favorites from the World War I reading challenge. The author uses one of my favorite techniques for presenting history: providing an overview and then showing us the individual lives of the pairs he follows in the narrative. This makes for both effective and riveting reading.

WWIwomenheroesWomen Heroes of World War I: 16 Remarkable Resisters, Soldiers, Spies, and Medics

Yes, I just reviewed this one, which you can read here. I won’t say a whole lot about it, except that I highly recommend it.

 

ArabiaLawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East by Scott Anderson.

What Hochschild does for the Western front, Anderson does in the Middle East. Want to understand what happened during WWI in the Middle East? Want to understand what the heck is going on there today? This is your book. Anderson employs a similar style as Hochschild by following four principal figures (T.E. Lawrence among them, naturally) through the war years in the Middle East. Again, highly recommended.

RussiaThe Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia by Candace Fleming.

A few years back, my son was fascinated by the end of the Romanov dynasty, the Russian Revolution, and in particular, if any of the Romanov children survived. I wish this book existed back then. This is young adult nonfiction, but it’s so engaging and informative, I recommend it to anyone who’d like to know more about the above.

For those in the crowd who have read extensively about the revolution and the Romanovs, you probably won’t pick up anything new. However, if you’re like me, and can read about these events over and over (and over) again, then I think you may enjoy this book as well. I know I did. Actually, it reminded me of all the topics I wanted to read more about that had simply slipped off my mental to-be-researched list.

There you go. Five books for the WWI centennial.

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Weekly writing check-in: the one with an Eagle Scout

EagleWell, it’s official, hardware and all. My son is now an Eagle Scout. He worked so hard for this, and the process had its ups and downs, to be sure. We’ll probably have a court of honor in a few months or so. But for now, we simply gaze upon the medal and pins–and that’s enough.

In other news, I managed about 3,000 words on the coffee ghost story. I worked through all the audio files for The Fine Art of Keeping Quiet. The Maze is done, and according to my dashboard, headed for retail (!).

Also, I wrote up a book review this week (see link below). And I may do another post in a bit to recap all the WWI books I’ve read in the past few years.

Writing Work:

Submissions:

  • Like Bread Loves Salt

Rejections:

  • Like Bread Loves Salt

Acceptances:

  • None

Publications:

  • None

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Review: Women Heroes of World War I: 16 Remarkable Resisters, Soldiers, Spies, and Medics

Women Heroes of World War I: 16 Remarkable Resisters, Soldiers, Spies, and Medics

By Kathryn J. Atwood
Publisher: Chicago Review Press

Summary from the publisher: 

WWIwomenheroesA commemoration of brave yet largely forgotten women who served in the First World War

In time for the 2014 centennial of the start of the Great War, this book brings to life the brave and often surprising exploits of 16 fascinating women from around the world who served their countries at a time when most of them didn’t even have the right to vote.

Readers meet 17-year-old Frenchwoman Emilienne Moreau, who assisted the Allies as a guide and set up a first-aid post in her home to attend to the wounded;

Russian peasant Maria Bochkareva, who joined the Imperial Russian Army by securing the personal permission of Tsar Nicholas II, was twice wounded in battle and decorated for bravery, and created and led the all-women combat unit the “Women’s Battalion of Death” on the eastern front; and American journalist Madeleine Zabriskie Doty, who risked her life to travel twice to Germany during the war in order to report back the truth, whatever the cost.

These and other suspense-filled stories of brave girls and women are told through the use of engaging narrative, dialogue, direct quotes, and document and diary excerpts to lend authenticity and immediacy.

Introductory material opens each section to provide solid historical context, and each profile includes informative sidebars and “Learn More” lists of relevant books and websites, making this a fabulous resource for students, teachers, parents, libraries, and homeschoolers.

Back in 2011, I read and reviewed Women Heroes of World War II: 26 stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance. A few months ago, the publisher contacted me and offered a copy of Women Heroes of World War I: 16 Remarkable Resisters, Soldiers, Spies, and Medics. My only regret in saying yes is it’s taken me so long to post my review of this terrific book.

Like its counterpart, this book contains several true stories, all centering around women during World War I in the European theater. Its structure is similar. The book begins with an overview of the war and how it began. For the seasoned history buff, you won’t find anything new. However, the overview is easy to follow and will help anyone not familiar with why World War I started.

Also scattered throughout the women’s stories are sidebars of extra information that help put the stories and the era into perspective. World War I really represents the crumbling of an old era into our modern one. Sometimes that’s difficult for younger readers to understand (witness the outrage when my daughter learned how long it took for women to get the vote). One thing I appreciated about this book was how varied the women’s stories were. There were a few I was unfamiliar with, and I’ve done a fair amount of reading about WWI.

As with the WWII volume, each woman only gets a few pages, but like the first book, there’s an extensive bibliography and lists of resources for the budding historian. This book is a great starting place for your history report or possibly that historical fiction story you’ve been planning to write. (You have been planning to write one, haven’t you?)

These two books are part of the Women of Action series from Chicago Review Press, which I plan on reading through during the next several months. If you’re looking for accessible and meaty nonfiction about women’s involvement in World War I, I highly recommend this book.

Thanks to Chicago Review Press for providing a review copy of this book.

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Weekly writing check-in: the one with a sad week

Sparky

It was a sad week around here. We said goodbye to our sweet girl Sparky on Tuesday. It was hard to let go, but also, it was time.

I did manage a little writing this week. Got a notion for a second installment (episode? story? I don’t know what to call it) featuring Katy, Malcolm, coffee, and ghosts from Ghost in the Coffee Machine. I’m hoping this will end up as both a standalone story but add to an overall story/character arc (because I have a notion for a third as well). This might be a tad ambitious.

I also reviewed audio files this week for The Maze. To say I’m excited about this would be an understatement. But it doesn’t leave much time for anything else–so, no submissions this week. Of course, the upside is no rejections.

Writing Work:

  • Ghosts and coffee ~ 2,000 words
  • The Maze: audio file review

Submissions:

  • None

Rejections:

  • None

Acceptances:

  • None

Publications:

  • None

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Weekly writing check-in: the one with a finished novel

dorm5So apparently you can send your son off to college and finish a novel all in the same week. Because that’s what I did this week. Those 11,000 words? Yeah, I have no idea when I wrote them. I just grabbed pockets of time here and there, and the next thing I knew, I was closing in on the last few scenes.

Once you get there, it’s hard to stop writing. So while that looks like a lot of words, it didn’t feel that way. As far as the total goes, the novel came in at ~ 80,000 words, which is a nice size for a novel.

And also, in other big news, my son went off to college this week! It’s not every day these two things happen, right? As you can see, he’s busy doing schoolwork already. Actually, he’s filling out the check-in form so he isn’t charged for damage to his dorm room later on.

So … that was my week. How was yours?

Writing Work:

  • Pansy 2.0 ~ 11,650 words

Submissions:

  • March Madness

Rejections:

  • Five to Freedom

Acceptances:

  • None

Publications:

  • None

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Weekly writing check-in: the one with not much to say

goldySo, our new pup, Mattie, is adjusting well. The cat is getting sneaky and finding ways to be in the same room as said pup without Mattie noticing. Of course, when she does, the cat zips back downstairs.

Summer is ending, we’re getting my son ready to head off to college (the image is your clue as to where he’s going) and my daughter to Jr. High (milestones, we have them). Not quite as much writing this week as last, but I’m heading into the home stretch of Pansy 2.0 and can see the whole way in front of me. While it’s a re-draft, many pieces are significantly different: new scenes, new characters, new twists. It’s been a lot of fun to write.

Nice rejection this week for a story that’s long enough that I might put it in Kindle Unlimited and call it done. But I still have a few more I can submit when I hit a little downtime.

Writing Work:

  • Pansy 2.0 ~ 6,011 words
  • World Building class

Submissions:

  • The Life Expectancy of Fireflies

Rejections:

  • A Knight in the Royal Arms

Acceptances:

  • None

Publications:

  • None

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