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I wrote my first novel, Smudge's Mark, in a closet. No joke.
Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Where Canada and Germany Meet

I am having the time of my life writing for the Chinese Whisperings Yin Book Anthology!

As I mentioned in a previous post, there are 20 writers and two editors from across the globe participating in this venture. And further to that: There is one premise and two strands that branch out from that premise: one is the Yang Book that is being written by the male writers, and the other is the Yin Book that is being written by the female writers. The idea is that your story must at least begin or end in the original setting and you are to take a secondary character from ANY preceding story and make them the main character of your story. And then we see how all the stories link up. How awesome is that?

One Yin author and one Yang author write at a time with a two week limit to complete the first draft. We write separate stories, yet if there's an opportunity to link them someway, somehow, that's even better. My writing Yang opposite is Dan Powell from - get this, I just realized this today - Germany! It's been great collaborating with him and it's amazing how our stories have linked together at a couple points so effortlessly. Very cool indeed.

If you haven't already, check out the Chinese Whisperings website. You can't read the stories there, but you can find out about the editors, authors, anthologies, and other awesome writing stuff!
Sunday, March 28, 2010

Chinese Whisperings

Today is the day I start writing my part of the connected stories of the Chinese Whisperings Anthology, The Yin Book. This is the second Anthology put out by Chinese Whisperings, the brainchild of both Jodi Cleghorn of Australia and Paul Anderson of the U.K.

Last year, I met Jodi through Twitter (where else would you meet another writer from Australia?) and she told me about a project that she was working on with a guy from across the pond. She kept me updated throughout most of their journey toward publication and this year, she and Paul asked me to be a contributing author for their next Anthology. I'm so excited to be part of this project! They've got a team of 20 authors from literally all around the globe collaborating together. A huge feat in itself!

Visit the Chinese Whisperings website for information on Jodi, Paul, and their team of authors and see how this unique Anthology is structured. It's a very cool concept! You can also purchase a copy of their first Anthology, The Red Book.

And so now I must bid you adieu as I've only got 2 (two!) weeks to get this story written!
Monday, March 22, 2010

Just because I love giving stuff away...

Just a quick reminder about the SMUDGE'S MARK giveaway over at The Novel Emporium.

And as a little something extra - just because I love giving stuff away - for the next few weeks I'll send you a personalized, signed card that you can attach to the inside cover of your own copy of SMUDGE'S MARK, should you already have one. (It's already got adhesive strips on it and everything so all you have to do is peel and stick! How convenient!)

This is a little thank you from me to you for buying SMUDGE, since I can't necessarily thank you all in person. You don't even have to enter the contest to receive one of these personalized cards. Heck, you don't even really have to own a copy of SMUDGE to receive a card, although I don't know why you'd want to stick a personalized SMUDGE card inside a different book... But hey, people have done stranger things :0)

So, for a chance to win a signed, hardcover copy of SMUDGE'S MARK, enter the contest. It ends April 2, 2010. And if you want a personalized, signed card email your address to claudia@smudgesmark.com . (Don't forget to include the name that you want on the card!)

Spread the word!
Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Yeah, you.

There's a brand new SMUDGE'S MARK giveaway up, over here, at The Novel Emporium!
Thursday, March 4, 2010

Torkidlit is Simply the Best!

I want to do a little promo for some local talent, today, if that's okay with you.

I'm a part of a group of Toronto area writers who meet on a monthly basis purely for the enjoyment and encouragement of hanging out together. I really love my writer's group. Many of them are published and soon-to-be published authors and I'd like to give you the chance to get to know them, too.

On a grand scale, you can check out this link. It leads to our Toronto Middle-Grade and Young Adult Authors Facebook page where you can familiarize yourself with the amazing authors who live right here, in the Toronto area. Some names may already be familiar to you and you'll be like, "Hey! I didn't know that author is from Toronto!" And other names may not be familiar to you, but I can assure you it's worth it to find out who they are and what they're writing. Toronto's writing talent runs deep! And we're just beginning to scratch the surface!

Most of the authors on the Facebook page are fully accessible via Facebook and Twitter and the published authors all have websites as well. On Twitter our hashtag is #torkidlit and you're welcome to join the conversation!

Another link that is actually still under construction is the Torkidlit website. Debbie Ohi has courageously taken on this enormous task and is doing a fantastic job of it. Here, you will (eventually) be able to read about individual Toronto area authors, their work, and any events they may be involved in. You will also be able to link to author websites via Torkidlit.com as well.

When you've got some time, please do check out the links. I know I'm always excited to find a new local author and I love supporting local talent. If you're looking for your next good read, Torkidlit author books are available through most bookstores and, of course, online. If you want a few recommendations you can visit The Novel Emporium, a brand new book review blog that supports and promotes Toronto area authors, along with many others.

I truly hope you find your next favorite book from right here in Toronto! Chances are, you will! :0)
Wednesday, March 3, 2010

True Words From the Not-too-distant Past

My husband showed me a quote this morning and I want to share it with you.

This is for you, for me, for all those who dare greatly by stepping into the arena.

"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat."

- Theodore Roosevelt, 1910
Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Two Posts in One Day, Oh My!

Yes, I know, I already wrote a post this morning; one about SMUDGE and the giveaways and the lucky winner who was conceived in a patch of four-leaf clovers. (Actually, I discovered there was some truth in that. Well, the four-leaf clover part - but it had to do with an oak log on a driveway, not where she was conceived. At least I don't think--)

Aaaanyway, I didn't want to let the entire day to go by without pausing a moment to pay tribute to a man who was very influential to my writing career:

You see, Dr. Seuss is my most beloved author hero. I've always adored his books; their silliness, the way they make me laugh (and stare), the way rules are broken to make up brand new words no one's ever used before, and the way the illustrations magically transform those fantastic words into real, living, breathing, creatures. Dr. Seuss was the one who sparked my love of letters and words.

When I was young, I read his books over and over again, committing them to memory and even tape recording myself reading them. (Yes, tape recording myself – that was the extent of technology back then! What can I say?) A few years ago, I accidentally threw out my only live recording of reading Mr. Brown can Moo… Can You? and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. When I realized what I’d done, I cried. It still makes me so sad to think about it.

So, here's to you, Dr. Seuss, on your birthday. Your forever fan, Claudia.

Into the Wilds of the World

What a great day yesterday was! SMUDGE is now in the wilds of the world.

You know, when SMUDGE was released into Canada it was a bittersweet moment: kind of like seeing your first child off to kindergarten. So proud that you've worked so hard to help prepare them to be launched into the real world, yet deep down you wish you could hold onto them for just a little while longer.

This time around, however, the release feels more like seeing an adolescent, who's been living in their parents' basement playing video games for the last 10 years, decide they're going to college. Yes! Finally!!

Whew! Raising a book is hard work! It certainly isn't a predictable industry nor is it an easy job, but along the way there are rewards and little boosts that help keep you going. And sometimes you just have to give yourself that little boost!

Which is what I did by holding two book giveaways: one on Goodreads and one on this blog/Facebook. I love giving stuff away! On Goodreads, 3 winners were randomly chosen out of 781 entries. And here, because I had such a hard time picking the winners, I did a totally random "shout out a number" draw via Twitter and came up with my winners that way. And wouldn't you know it, the same person won twice! She won a copy here AND on Goodreads! Out of 781 people! What are the chances of that happening?? She must have been born (or conceived) in a patch of four-leaf clovers!

So, off to the post office I go, books in hand. And just like paying tuition for the kid who's moving out of the basement, now that the moment has finally arrived, I think I'll just close my eyes and hand over my bank card.