Tag Archives: JK Rowling

Don’t besmirch my scrumdiddlyumptious nerd redoux…

Hiddey-ho Scribblers!  J Monkeys here.  Before all else, let me take a moment to apologize for missing you last Saturday.  I experienced severe technical difficulty.  In fact, I wrote this butter-lovin post three times because it disappeared into the ether the first couple of times I wrote it.  I thought it posted correctly the third time, but alas, no.  So, in the immortal words of Whitesnake: here I go again.

Other than my undying love of Mr. Alexander Skarsgard, I’m not terribly likely to post pictures of hotties these days, but check out this scrumdiddlyumptious nerd:

matthew gray gubbler

Now, before you besmirch my scrumdiddlyumptious nerd by wondering what he has to do with writing, did you know that authors make up new words all the time?  It’s a perk we enjoy.

In fact, Mr. Will.I.am Shakespeare invented the word ‘besmirch’ along with 1700 other words we still use today.  (J’s favorite Will.I.am song) Check out this cool list.  If you click on the word in that list you will go to a notation of where he first used it – what play.  God I love the internet!

Scrumdiddlyumptious comes to us care of Roald Dahl – he coined that term to describe one of Mr. Wonka’s chocolate bars back in 1964.

And of course, nerd is an Anglo-Saxon word coming to us from William the Conqueror’s Doomsday book.  Okay, okay – I’m kidding.  Dr. Seuss invented “nerd” in If I ran the Zoo, published in 1950.   I was trolling YouTube for a Dr. Seussish link here and found this HYSTERICAL Epic Rap Battle Shakespeare vs. Dr. Seuss – watch if you dare.  It’s PG-13 esque.

JK Rowling brought us Voldemort, Muggle and Dementor, just to name a few.

Whether it’s a new word all together or a new meaning for an existing word, or even just making a verb out of a noun (see John Pinnette’s rant on the verb “to juice”) authors do this all the time and you can, too.  Pull your diva-ness around you like an invisibility cloak, proclaim your new word to the world and own it.

Today’s Secret: You can be an inventor – maybe of something that will last long after you are gone.  We aren’t all Billy the Shake, but we can all leave our mark.  That’s one of the great things about English – it’s vibrant and there is always room for more.

Today’s Question: Do you have a favorite word?  Do you know where it comes from?  Who invented it?

PS: In case you don’t recognize the scrumdiddlyumptious nerd, that’s Matthew Gray Gubler.  If Shemar Moore wasn’t enough – he’s a second reason to feast your peepers on CBS’s gritty crime drama Criminal Minds.

Don’t besmirch my scrumdiddlyumptious nerd

Hiddey-ho Scribblers!  J Monkeys here.  Before all else, let me take a moment to apologize for missing you last Saturday.  I experienced severe technical difficulty.  In fact, I wrote this butter-lovin post three times because it disappeared into the ether the first couple of times I wrote it.  I thought it posted correctly the third time, but alas, no.  So, in the immortal words of Whitesnake: here I go again.

Other than my undying love of Mr. Alexander Skarsgard, I’m not terribly likely to post pictures of hotties these days, but check out this scrumdiddlyumptious nerd:

matthew gray gubbler

Now, before you besmirch my scrumdiddlyumptious nerd by wondering what he has to do with writing, did you know that authors make up new words all the time?  It’s a perk we enjoy.  

In fact, Mr. Will.I.am Shakespeare invented the word ‘besmirch’ along with 1700 other words we still use today.  (J’s favorite Will.I.am song) Check out this cool list If you click on the word in that list you will go to a notation of where he first used it – what play.  God I love the internet!

Scrumdiddlyumptious comes to us care of Roald Dahl – he coined that term to describe one of Mr. Wonka’s chocolate bars back in 1964. 

And of course, nerd is an Anglo-Saxon word coming to us from William the Conqueror’s Doomsday book.  Okay, okay – I’m kidding.  Dr. Seuss invented “nerd” in If I ran the Zoo, published in 1950.   I was trolling YouTube for a Dr. Seussish link here and found this HYSTERICAL Epic Rap Battle Shakespeare vs. Dr. Seuss – watch if you dare.  It’s PG-13 esque.

JK Rowling brought us Voldemort, Muggle and Dementor, just to name a few. 

Whether it’s a new word all together or a new meaning for an existing word, or even just making a verb out of a noun (see John Pinnette’s rant on the verb “to juice”) authors do this all the time and you can, too.  Pull your diva-ness around you like an invisibility cloak, proclaim your new word to the world and own it.

Today’s Secret: You can be an inventor – maybe of something that will last long after you are gone.  We aren’t all Billy the Shake, but we can all leave our mark.  That’s one of the great things about English – it’s vibrant and there is always room for more.

Today’s Question: Do you have a favorite word?  Do you know where it comes from?  Who invented it?

PS: In case you don’t recognize the scrumdiddlyumptious nerd, that’s Matthew Gray Gubler.  If Shemar Moore wasn’t enough – he’s a second reason to feast your peepers on CBS’s gritty crime drama Criminal Minds

I’ve Read Every Book By…

My TBR list.

Been a busy girl lately. My edits are due to my editor by October 29. My second book was due today and I still need to write another book before April.

Sigh… I love being this kind of busy. And I love deadlines because I work surprisingly well under pressure but, with my head stuck in writing land I haven’t had time to think of any juicy blog topics. All week I have been wondering what the hell I was going to write about. But yesterday inspiration struck me right in the middle of Walmart. I saw JK Rowling’s A CASUAL VACANCY. It’s one of the many, many books in my TO BE READ pile. I ordered it not knowing much of what it’s about simply because I have read everything else Ms. Rowling has written.

As writers I think we all hope that we will someday have those types of readers, the ones who MUST read everything we have written. That got me thinking about other authors who books I have devoured. There aren’t many of them, but there is something about these ladies that cause me to buy all their books no matter what.

1. Susan Elizabeth Phillips. She was the author of first contemporary romance I had ever read. This Heart of Mine. Molly and Kevin… sigh. Over ten years later and that love story still moves me. The day I finished that book I went to my local BN and bought every book they had by SEP and now I as soon as I hear that she’s got another book coming out I preorder it.

2. Sherry Thomas. A friend of mine actually gave me Sherry’s first book. Private Arrangements. It was different. It was amazing. I was pulled so deep in that world I lost all track of time and when I finished that book I went right to Amazon to order more of her books only to find that it was Ms. Thomas’ first and that I would have to wait in order to read another. I survived the wait and now have every book Sherry Thomas has written gracing my over crowded book shelves. (Next one comes out on Tuesday!!!)

3. Elizabeth Hoyt.  Another historical writer, another author I have been with since the start of her career. Can hardly wait for the next book in the Maiden Lane series to come out.

4. Mary Balogh. Again I blame my friend Stephanie for getting me hooked on her. She gave me More Than a Mistress and No Man’s Mistress and I was hooked. I have read all five of the Huxtable Books. All four of the Simply books and all six of the slightly books, plus everything else that is still in print. I’m like a junkie with her books, just passing the time until my next fix. Check out her website and you’ll see how bad my problem really is.

There are other authors whose writing can almost claim this honor. I love Rachel Gibson, Eloisa James, Jennifer Ashley, Lisa Kleypas and Christina Dodd. To me these women are like rock stars and I will gladly keep reading their books.

Your turn! What about you? Whose books can’t you get enough of.

 

I Heart Sci Fi

The Scribes would like to welcome guest blogger, Jael Wye!  Thanks for being with us today, Jael.  I’m guessing from your title, that you are going to talk about the world of Sci Fi.  Take it away…

It’s tough being a science fiction author these days.  The golden age of slimy aliens and tinfoil brassiere-clad spacebabes is long gone, at least in literary form.  Over the last decades, the undeniably kick-ass visuals in scifi movies and videogames have lured the scifi fanboys and girls away from their books.  (Kids these days, I tell ya.) 

So right now the popular audience for novels set in outer space is pretty small.  Imagine, then, the miniscule sliver of interest there is in romance novels set in outer space.

At first glance, the two genres seem completely incompatible.  Romance is focused on relationships, while scifi is focused on concepts.  Romance fans might not cotton to the notion of a hero with a light saber instead of fangs or knee-breeches, while scifi fans might fear getting girl cooties.  However, there are, in fact, several good examples of the fusion of scifi and romance out there, like the novels of Linnea Sinclair, Jane Castle (Jane Ann Krentz), and Sara Creasy.

Still, there’s no getting around the fact that writing romances set in space is not for the faint of heart or the empty of pocket.  I do it because I love it, and I think (hope) there are a few others out there among the seven billion people on this planet (or others) who will also love it if given the chance.

That’s not to say I’m eager to sacrifice a potential paycheck on the altar of my art.  No, I have faith that the future holds endless possibilities for drawing some decent royalties.  Right now scifi is going through a down period of popular interest, but, like Spock in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, it will eventually resurrect itself and continue to boldly go etc. etc. 

So, I write what I love, and I wait for the golden moment to become the JK Rowling of scifi/romance novels.  Meanwhile, I buck myself up with the knowledge that people will get bored with the freakin’ earls and vampires eventually, right?

Here’s my question of the day—what is your favorite scifi romance?  I vote for Mulder/Scully, though Han Solo/Princess Leia was also pretty hot.


 

 

 

Thanks Jael!

 

How to Make (insert your name here) Stew

Hi there ~ J here.  I was chatting with another writer the other day about how to develop your own authorial schtick.  You know schtick – that thing that makes your writing identifiable as yours.  I think it’s more than voice, it’s more than tone, more than topic.  It’s all those things, plus. 

Over the last 18 months or so, I’ve been re-reading many of my favorite books looking for those nuggets of style that make the book/author one of my favorites.  Are they things that I can incorporate into my own writing style to improve it?  And what are the aspects of my own writing that are strong (keepers) and those that are weak (TBD – to be ditched!)

It took me a-few-minutes-short-of-forever to finish writing my first book, The Cordovan Vault.  By the time I published it last March, I had been through no less than 14 drafts!  FOURTEEN!  Yikes.  But much of that was learning through error.  For example, did you realize that the paragraphs that are visually lovely on a 8.5×11 page are James Joyce long when the paper size is reduced to 5×8 or whatever?  I had to go back through and fix that.

But one of the other problems I had with The Cordovan Vault was POV – point of view.  I had head-hopped (jumped from the POV of one character to another, fast and often) which is a major no-no unless you are a famous-set-in-your-ways-bagillion-time-over-best-selling-author.  Which I’m not.  Yet. 

So I had to fix this head-hopping problem. Seriously, if I couldn’t figure out who was speaking/thinking then how would my audience?!  I solved that problem by borrowing a style nugget from one of my favorite authors: Lynn Kurland.  At least in her more recent romances, each chapter is one person’s POV and she tends bounce back and forth between main characters, one chapter at a time.  I’ve noticed that other writers do this too.  Rick Riordan‘s Kane Chronicles, for example, does something similar, although some times we’ll go several chapters in on POV then switch it up. 

It was hard to fix the POV in The Cordovan Vault entirely, because it had already been written (and rewritten, and rewritten…) but it turned out. When I started writing The Peacock Tale (available October 18th) though, I learned from that experience and each chapter starts out with the name of the person whose POV we are experiencing. 

There are lots of other nuggets of style out there, too.  I love how JK Rowling names things, and she created a wonderful slang language for her magic folk.  And I love how things that seem unimportant in book 1 suddenly become important in book 4 and you don’t see it coming, but later you are like WOW!  How did I miss that?!   I love how Rick Riordan makes mythology alive.  If Percy Jackson had been around when I was trying (unsuccessfully) to memorize that boring yellow book on mythology, it would have made so much more sense!

Today’s Secret: It’s okay to find those aspects of style that you love and incorporate then into your writing.  Eventually, (hopefully!) they’ll develop into a writing style that is all your own.  J Monkey Stew, if you will.

Today’s Question: What are some of the things about your favorite books that make them your favorite?