Friday, July 27, 2012

Write Club

I'm vacationing in the Poconos now, so this will be a short post.  I'd just like to announce that I've signed up for Write Club, and though I'm not sure if I'll be submitting a 500-word sample, I'll definitely vote.  Essentially it's a contest:  Two pieces of writing matched up against each other, and the readers vote for their favorites.

Just so you know, I made a dumb mistake.  I didn't read the Q&A section before I signed up, so I accidentally put my pen name as my real name.  So on the list, I'm Sydney London.  Which means that can't be my pen name anymore.  Oh well.  My bad.  That's what you get for not reading everything before you click.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Oh, I've been such a misbehaved writer.  Yet another weekend away from work.

This past week marked the 100th birthday of the Deal Fire Company, so I attended their celebratory banquet for firefighters, friends, and family.  It was just off the beach, so if you snuck along the dunes and squeezed through a hole in the fence, you could reach the ocean.  Baked clams, oldies music, the rhythm of the waves...What's not to love?

The Triangle Factory fire, 1911.
When a good friend invited me to come, I was absolutely thrilled.  It sounded like a good time, sure, but  the fact that it was in honor of the Fire Company made it that much more enticing.  Fires and firefighting have always intrigued me.

But don't worry, I'm not a pyro.  Far from it.  Fire is perhaps my greatest fear.  Not candles or bonfires, but inescapable infernos.  The kind that turn homes to ash or destroy miles of forest.

And then there's this one.  New York, 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory.  I can't think of an event in all history that intrigues me more, which is odd, since I usually prefer maritime history.  Who knows?  Maybe, in a past life, I died trying to escape these flames.

Now, to link back to writing...

Writing is one of the ways I confront my fears; that's probably why fire often makes an appearance in my work.  Especially the Triangle Factory fire.  I'm not sure why it's therapeutic, but if I had to guess, I'd say that when I'm writing about it, I have control over it.

But fears aren't all that pop up repeatedly.  Thinking of the stories I've written, as well as those I plan to write, I can easily pick out common images and themes.  Of course they don't appear in every work, but still, they show up in quite a few:

Fire.  Time.  Golden Retrievers.  A cemetery next to my elementary school.  South Jersey.  Sailing.

Do you find that common themes pop up in your work?  What are they?  What about fears?  Does writing help you face your fears?  How so?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Just got back from a weekend getaway at the Jersey Shore!  Not exactly the Bahamas, but as long as I've got sand under my toes and an ocean in which to cool off, I'm happy.

Angel figurehead on the prow of a ship.
Normally I'm very productive when I go to the shore.  I spend the day tearing through beach books, and then, late at night, I open up my computer and work.  But not this weekend...

Which means I have a lot of catch-up work to do.

But in the meantime, I thought I'd stick with a beach theme and post the first 500 words of THE LOST FIGUREHEAD, my middle grade fantasy which features pirates and, of course, beaches.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Reverting to Childhood

I finished the first draft several months ago, and since then it's been marinating in my desk drawer.  Stewing so that when I finally came back to it, I'd be able to see it with fresh eyes.
So now that I've finished Revisions #37 (Okay, hyperbole, but whatever...) and The Refugee is off to some wonderful beta readers, it's time to move on to the next project--a middle-grade fantasy called The Lost Figurehead.

The Thief Lord, by Cornelia Funke.
Because thieves fascinate me...
And now the time has come.  Sort of.  First I have to do what I should have done before I even started, and that's read.  Read, read, read!  It's been ages since I last read a middle grade book, but now that I want to write one, it's time to crack a few open.  Okay, not a few.  A lot.

So, after raiding my family's bookshelves, here's what I've got on my reading list so far:

  • The Thief Lord, by Cornelia Funke
  • Holes, by Louis Sachar
  • Hidden Talents, by David Lubar
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events, by Lemony Snicket
  • Harry Potter, by J.K. Rowling
  • Percy Jackson, by Rick Riordan
  • Inkheart, by Cornelia Funke
  • Dogs Don't Tell Jokes, by Louis Sachar
Any suggestions?  I need a lot more!