Welcome to the Dragon's Pen, the blog of an aspiring kiwi author ... chatting about reading, writing, querying and publishing

Monday, June 28, 2010

How's it going over there?

I'm still editing!

I've been picking away at my MS and I'm making slow but steady progress.

I think I've finally managed to get over my frustration at how long the editing process takes. Now I'm simply trying to knuckle down, do it and enjoy the journey.

I've discovered I still have the odd small scene that needs to go in around page 120, to help the flow of the story and flesh out some of the characters that get introduced at this point. But I'm okay with that - now that I've got my head around how those scenes should look.

Today was my first day off work, after a three day straight stint, since I was admitted to hospital. It really did me in. I'm pretty worn out and a little uncomfortable.

So I gave myself permission to take it easy today. I sent my kids off to school and went back to bed for the rest of the morning!! Terribly lazy, I know, but I'm feeling much better for the rest.

This afternoon I curled up on the couch with a copy of the first half of my friend's manuscript. I promised her I'd read it though completely before I attack it with my red pen - I do love a good paper and pen edit! So other than the odd note here and there, I've keep my word.

I finished reading it just before I had to get up to make tea and will begin red-pen edits on it tomorrow. It is a great read. The story is strong and flows well and had me in tears a few times, which is a good thing. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of it when she has finished part two.

So how's it going in your neck of the woods? Where are you at with your WIP?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Picture of Inspiration

I'm feeling inspired. Yay! I've have had a few weeks off and enjoyed a much needed break, but we are back into the edits and the creative juices are flowing once more.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

While I've been resting up after my stint in hospital I've been doing a fair bit of reading. I generally read a lot, but it has been a while since I've felt compelled to share my excitement about a new find.

Yesterday I started reading (and finished this afternoon) Jacqueline Kelly's debut novel The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate. A physician and a lawyer (and a writer! - where does she find the time?) Kelly was born in New Zealand and raised in Canada. She now lives in Texas - no doubt this inspired the setting of her novel which is set in Texas at the turn of the century (1899).

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate is an YA historical novel, written in the first person and narrated by Calpurnia herself. I loved this book!

I was instantly drawn to this quirky and delightful "almost twelve-year-old" girl with her avid curiosity and her fascination in the natural world. There are many episodes in this story that brought a smile to my face and a few that had me laughing out loud.

One of my favourite episodes involves a grand moment of truth ... with hilarious results.
It is time to sample Granddaddy's attempt to distill alcohol from pecans:

"Ah." he said, "here comes the the real test." He saluted me with the glass and said, "To your good health, Calpurnia, my companion in sailing uncharted waters." He took a good mouthful.
I still remember the look on his face as if it were yesterday. The spasm of surprise. Followed by a long, contemplative gaze fixed somewhere in the middle distance. Then, a slow smile.
"Well," he said at last. "I have done an amazing thing."
"What, Granddaddy, what?" I breathed.
"I doubt that any other man alive can make this claim."
"Oh, what?" I wailed.
Calmly, Granddaddy said, "I have managed to take perfectly good pecans and ferment them into something approximating cat piss."
"Should I write it in the log?" I said. "Cat piss, I mean."
He chortled. "A good idea. We must be honest in our observations. Take up the pen and kindly do the honors, my girl."

As Callie (Calpurnia) explores the world around her, she develops a close relationship with her notoriously cantankerous grandfather, an avid naturalist, navigates the dangers of living with six brothers, and learns just what it means to be a girl at the turn of the century.

This is a truly delightful story about a girl on the verge of becoming a woman in turn of the century Texas. I highly recommend it. 5 Stars from me!

Friday, June 11, 2010


Dear Dragons Pen Readers,

It has been pretty quiet here for a wee while.

I have not been well and had a short stint in hospital. Thankfully I'm home now, but I'm taking things relatively easy at present.

I'm taking a couple of weeks off work and off writing - shock horror! In the mean time I'm enjoying putting my feet up and catching up with some reading.

Keep an eye on the blog. I hope to be posting as normal in a week or so.