Friday, October 09, 2009

On Savvy Reading; winning spots in books and killer goats

Happy Thanksgiving bloggosphere!

So, here are a couple of bookish things that are filling my brain this beautiful (rainy) Friday morning.

  • First off, I am mentioned at the Savvy Reader: TWICE (Score. This is like fame to me so let me have my moment) here and here

  • Take this contest where you can create a character to feature in a book. Why do authors do this to themselves? This is certainly not the first time. You can buy a spot for your name or the name of someone you love for a price ( like buying a star), you can create characters ---you can even ( let's all look at Dan Brown with a wiltering eye) purchase an ad spot in a popular best-selling book. As a writer ( and I don't use that term so seriously when in conjunction with my amateurish efforts), I enjoy creating stories and characters that are wholly mine. When I outline and plot and plan and complete the arduous task of spade work ( see LM Montgomery for reference), I know exactly what fits where in my elaborate puzzle. Why then, would I allow the grand order of things to be upset by the inclusion of someone else's thought process? Now, I am sure that our friend Mr. Slade is not going to re-write the entire plot of his subsequent novel; nor will anything earth shattering come about ( lest he is oddly inspired by a contest entry), but for me it feels tainted. Like someone else's thumbprint ( even some random eight year old's) would be in a work of fiction already well-crafted. An oddity in an established fictional world.

(Disclaimer: we all know I love Arthur Slade's books, right? So I am allowed to have this opinion without people going all "tsk, tsk, Rachel. How could you! So mean to nice author.Nice author who connects with reading public. And he's From Saskatchewan, you heartless fiend, for shame! From Saskatchewan!" Ok? As long as we're good).

Great Expectations and Killer Goats

My name is Philip Pirrip but everyone calls me Pip. Here are my parent’s conjoined burial sites. Hi Dad! Hi Mum! ( Also Georgiana, Wife of the Above). I was on the marshes today and it is chilly. I better be getting home to the forge before my sister, the blacksmith’s wife, beats me.
Wait! Ugly, snively man is grabbing me.
“I am a convict,” he snarled, “bring me wittles.”
I shuddered and scurried home.
My brother-in-law, the kind blacksmith, stroked his flaxen curls while sitting with his great leg up to the fire pondering things.
“What larks, Pip ol’ Chap!”
“Joe! I ran into a convict! He told me to come back at midnight and bring him wittles!”
“They’re like vittles, methinks,” said Joe, looking perplexed and child-like. I looked up to him in my heart.
Mrs. Joe came home then on the rampage with a worn cane called tickler brandished in her right hand. She shook it at me and I cowered.
“Where have you been? You useless mangy orphan! Honour those who brought you up by hand.”
Joe and I had our tea and bread and butter in silence. I think he wondered if I was going to go on my wittle mission. I slid the heel of the loaf of bread down my trouser leg and when the house was quiet, I stole into the pantry and replaced the brandy jar with tar water and packed the brandy for the convict.
I stepped into the blustery cold; my breath dotting the sleek, black dark; the wind creaking and moaning against the forge door and over the barren marsh.
I felt a hand on my shoulder.
“Joe!” I exclaimed.
“C’mon, Pip ol’ Chap!” he grabbed the packet with the food and brandy from me and we drudged across the soggy mass.
The convict was filing away at his chains under a leafless tree.
He looked up at us: his eyes listless pools just catching a sliver of moonlight.
“Beware!” he sniffed. “Beware the killer goats!”
Joe and I exchanged a look and I felt Joe’s hand close tightly on my shoulder with unexpected warmth. Joe and I turned away from the convict: heard him grunt and slurp and demolish his food behind us. The wind howled and I neared into Joe. Suddenly, from the great beyond a large shadow appeared in our path. Silhouetted against the darkish grass was the outline of a black body with pointy horns.
“A killer goat!” yelped Joe, throwing his large frame in front of me and steadying me behind him with a calloused hand.
“Just hold on, ol’ chap!”
I shivered in my boots. The goat bleated: a terrifyingly haunted bleat.
“Baaaaaaaaah!” said the goat, like the bellows of the forge just when spark meets flint.
Fortunately, Joe and I escaped. The next night, bringing the poor convict vittles under the vapid tree, Joe and I encountered the killer goat again. This time as its shape rose affront us, Joe grabbed his long poker; still heated from the gulping fires of the forge and stabbed the beast as it towered over me. We hauled the killer goat’s carcass back to town and an eccentric old lady with crazy hair and a stained and yellowing wedding dress named Miss Havisham and her man-eating ward gave us a reward.

It also turned out I had Great Expectations! Money kept pouring in as I was set up as a gentleman in London. I thought for sure it must be Miss Havisham. My roommate Herbert Pocket who called me Handel thought so too!

But we were wrong.

Later I found out it was the convict who was giving me money after moving to Australia and tending sheep and the man-eating ward was just a ruthless witch and so was her guardian.

Joe married my tutor and I lived happily ever after.

(Though I became a bit of a snob.)


Monie Garcia said...

As part of the and team I am looking for bloggers interested in hosting tours or reviewing books in many different genres. If you're interested in being a part of our blogger directory please email me at

Thank you,
Monie Garcia

Aarti said...

I agree completely about authors inviting people to put themselves into their books. If you want to see even more of a travesty...

Unknown said...

Dear Dear Rachel,

It's obvious that this contest is a sign that my career has "jumped the shark." : )

Actually I understand your concern but I see it differently (otherwise I wouldn't do it). To me it's a way to continue "outreach" to fans. And I don't see the creation process as being sacrosanct. I'm really curious about how this new character will influence the story. There are many thumbprints on all my novels (my agent, my three editors, friends), so this is just one more small thumbprint. The book wouldn't come out if it wasn't something I was happy with

Uh. I don't plot. Nor do I plan. I just follow my "knack." : )


rachel said...

@Monie: emailed you! thanks!

@Aarti: ha! interesting stuff. Not my cup of tea

@Arthur Slade as long as you read your disclaimer.

Lizamo said...

Have you read the HarperCollins book Rampant yet? It's about killer unicorns and the virgin descendants of Alexander the Great who are trained to kill these unicorns!

Now that Art has mentioned "jumping the shark" I'm picturing him dressed like the Fonz.

Rachel said...

@liza--- Rampant was HILARIOUS! so funny. With a healthy dose of snark!

Anonymous said...

You really should read Pip and the Zombies.