Mastodon The Writing Desk: April 2014

30 April 2014

Beauty’s Curse by Jodi Woody

‘Perfect love casts out fear.’

Beauty is only skin deep. I always thought this was a quote from Shakespeare but when I looked it up I found the first use of the phrase is attributed to English poet and essayist Sir Thomas Overbury, in 1613: ‘All the carnall beauty of my wife, is but skin deep.’  (What his wife thought of that is not recorded.)  I also found that the saying ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ is credited to Irish author Margaret Wolfe Hungerford, who wrote popular fiction under the pseudonym of 'The Duchess'.

Beauty – and perceptions of it - is the subject of Beauty’s Curse, an engaging modern fantasy by Jodi Woody.  Four people each live with a curse that can never be broken. Can the scarred and orphaned Hope show that beauty really is in the eye of the beholder? Will they ever learn that true love can break the chains that bind them?

Beauty’s Curse is a thought provoking fairy tale of life and death, love and trust. Find out if it has a happy ending.

Beauty’s Curse is available on Amazon US and Amazon UK

About the Author

Jodi Woody lives in Wisconsin with her husband Eddie. She has seven grandchildren and a Jack Russel called Buddy. Her writing goal is to make some characters come alive and to provide a small place of escape for my readers.  She says ‘I’ve always loved the written word and enjoy writing almost as much as reading.  My tastes run from science fiction and fantasy, steampunk and westerns, to historical and romance. My all-time favourite stories are fairy tales, especially ones that have been re-written for adults.’ Jodi has a website at and is on Twitter @JodiWoody

25 April 2014

Review: Thief's Magic by Trudi Canavan @TrudiCanavan

There is something special about reading the first book in a new series. From the first page you know there are going to be more questions than answers, yet there is also the promise of a huge canvas and much more to come. Fans of best-selling fantasy author Trudi Canavan will not be disappointed with her new book Thief's Magic, the first in the Millennium's Rule series.

There are two stories intertwined in Thief's Magic which combine to create very convincing worlds. Switching from one to the next and back again makes for a fast pace. There are plenty of well-crafted characters and I found I was looking forward to returning to the other narrative – always a good test. Original and thought provoking, Trudi Canavan definitely leaves you wanting more!

About the author

Trudi Canavan published her first story in 1999 and it received an Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Short Story. Her debut series, The Black Magician Trilogy, made her an international success and her last five novels have been Sunday Times bestsellers in the UK. 

Trudi lives with her partner in Melbourne, Australia. You can find her on Twitter @TrudiCanavan and Facebook as well as her author website 

Thief's Magic is available for preview on Amazon UK and Amazon US

9 April 2014

Ernest Hemingway's Writing Habits

Ernest Hemingway in 1939
Ernest Hemingway won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954 yet in his lifetime only published seven novels, some collections of short stories and two non-fiction works.

His writing started in Paris in the 1920’s, where he worked as a foreign correspondent. He carried a notebook and pencil in his pocket and liked to write in cafés, drafting his famous novel The Sun Also Rises

Later at his home in Key West, Florida, Hemingway did most of his writing in his bedroom, which was cluttered with books on and heaps of newspapers. His typewriter was permanently set up on top a cluttered bookcase, which he called his ‘work desk’. 

He liked to start early, sometimes not even bothering to dress and once said, ‘By writing in the mornings, you make sure that writing does get done. There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write. You read what you have written and, as you always stop when you know what is going to happen next, you go on from there. You write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and know what will happen next.

His initial drafts were usually made with pencils and written on onionskin typewriter paper, kept on a clipboard to the left side of his typewriter. His handwriting has been described as ‘boyish’, without much concern for punctuation or capital letters and he had a habit of marking an X at the end of sentences. He kept half a dozen sharp pencils and said, ‘Wearing down seven number-two pencils is a good day’s work.’  .

When he was content with the draft, Hemingway liked to type it standing up, often for several hours without a break, with his typewriter at chest height. He used several different typewriters over the years, including Coronas and an Underwood Noiseless Portable, as well as Royal and Halda portables. (See video below.) At the end of the day’s writing, Hemingway would count the number of words he had written and record his progress on a chart made from the side of a cardboard box pinned permanently to the bedroom wall. He considered he’d done well if he could average five-hundred words a day.

Other posts about the habits of famous writers:

4 April 2014

Book Launch Guest Post ~ SUMMONED by Rainy Kaye

SUMMONED was supposed to remain a dark little secret hidden away on my hard drive. A few years prior, coffee-fueled curiosity found me reading up on genie folklore. There’s a lot more to it than just Aladdin or demons, but I didn’t intend to actually do anything with the information. Just a late night romp around Wikipedia.

A while later, I was bemoaning the fact I had to get out of bed. Probably from staying up too late reading Wikipedia again. Anyway, I conceded that I didn’t actually have to get up. It was just the responsible thing to do if I intended to be productive that day.

But what if someone had to actually go out and do things against their will (besides going to the office)? The thought must have collided with the genie stories still floating around in the brain space.

Over the summer last year, I decided to take a break from writing a series I have been working for longer than I care to admit and try something else. The other series is high-concept, set in a fictional world. I wanted to work on something closer to home, but with a little paranormal twist.

I wrote the first scene with Dimitri kidnapping the nine-year old girl, sent it off to some friends who were curious why I was pre-occupied, and called it a night. They asked for more. I knew that Dimitri’s story was centered on how the genie-bond kept him from having the one thing he wanted in life—Syd—so I added a few more words.

When Syd stepped into the scene, it was on. My beta-readers loved the characters—and so did I. So I wrote a high-level outline, and then went back and created a sixty scene outline. A trip to the store for a case of Mountain Dew, and I was ready to go. I wrote approximately five thousand words a night, despite having to fake being coherent at the day job. The draft was complete in sixteen days.

After I detoxed from consuming more Mountain Dew than any mortal should, I set to work revising and editing. Oddly enough, it didn’t need any major revisions, just a good brushing. Some beta readers had read it twice by then and were telling others about it who also wanted to read it.

So I sent it off for editing. When it reached Rebecca Hamilton, she tweeted her excitement over it, and within a couple of weeks, I had signed with an agent.

Turns out, I was way more productive that day I didn’t want to get out of bed than I had realized. That being said, there’s a long “thank you” page in the beginning of SUMMONED, and for good reason. Even though the process didn’t take that long, an enormous amount of work went into it and all of those people played a significant role in getting it off my hard drive.

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About the Author

Rainy Kaye is an aspiring overlord. In the mean time, she blogs at  and writes paranormal novels from her lair somewhere in Phoenix, Arizona. When not plotting world domination, she enjoys getting lost around the globe, studying music so she can sing along with symphonic metal bands, and becoming distracted by Twitter @rainyofthedark. She is represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA.

1 April 2014

New Book Launch ~ The Truth Will Out by Jane Isaac

Available on Amazon UK and Amazon US 

“Everything’s going to be okay.”

“What if it’s not?”

Suddenly, she turned. For a split second she halted, her head inclined.

“Naomi, what is it?”

She whisked back to face Eva. “There’s somebody in the house... ”

Eva is horrified when she witnesses an attack on her best friend. She calls an ambulance and forces herself to flee Hampton, fearing for her own safety. DCI Helen Lavery leads the investigation into the murder. With no leads, no further witnesses and no sign of forced entry, the murder enquiry begins.
Slowly, the pieces of the puzzle start to come together. But as Helen inches towards solving the case, her past becomes caught up in her present.

Someone is after them both. Someone who will stop at nothing to get what they want. And as the net starts to close around them, can Helen escape her own demons as well as helping Eva to escape hers?

What reviewers on Goodreads are saying:

“…a beautifully flowing book, highly enjoyable especially for mystery lovers.” LizLovesBooks
“Absolutely recommended. An exciting, well written read that makes you slightly scared of using Skype!!!” Christine

About the author

Jane Isaac studied creative writing, and later specialist fiction with the London School of Journalism. Her non-fiction articles have appeared in newspapers, magazines and online. Jane lives in rural Northants, UK with her husband, daughter and dog, Bollo. When she is not writing she loves to travel, is an avid reader and enjoys spending time with her family. She believes life should be an adventure! 

Contact Jane at her website at where she is always happy to hear from readers and writers. You can follow Jane on Twitter: @JaneIsaacAuthor  and on Facebook: Jane Isaac Author.