Archives for posts with tag: Books

Alhamdulillah. So ten years ago, around this time, I tinkered with the idea of beginning a blog. It was my way of working myself back to writer-me.

And writer-me wanted to publish a book.

You know how they say persistence pays off? Well it’s true. Here’s proof on goodreads: (The blurb still needs fixing so ignore that) Saints, Misfits, Monster and Mayhem, Simon & Schuster/Salaam Reads – Summer 2017. (And, yes, that review is by my daughter.)

If you’re on goodreads and you’re so inclined to support the publishing of narratives not often seen in the industry, please click the green [Want to Read] button.

What brings tears to my eyes: it will be the first North American YA novel featuring a main character in hijab published by a mainstream publisher. 2017, guys.

It’s seems like a whirlwind of a publishing journey – from query to agent to book deal =  just a bit over 3 months – but I know it actually took ten years.

Because my book deal would not have happened without this blog and its readers. Thank you so much. And, alhamdulillah, truly.



As a micro writer, I’m not used to revising in the way it’s understood to mean: re-working a draft to get to the story. This inexperience is due to the fact that I’m constantly chipping as I write; continuously re-reading, re-arranging, re-envisioning my words as I lay them down. Each time I open scrivener* to write a new chapter, I re-read my whole or most of my manuscript and cut/re-arrange as needed. (It can take hours to get to the actual writing part.) Each time I pick up from where I left off when my last complete thought finished, I have to back up and read every sentence before it. (Like the sentences in this paragraph were played around with quite a few times. Okay, maybe SEVERAL times.)

I’m not going to lament that all they teach you in creative writing/mfa programs at universities is how to write a tidy, lyrical short story and how different that is than writing an entire book with a PLOT. I think I’ve ranted on that enough in another blog. And anyways Ann Patchett does the lamenting way more brilliantly and with way more logical sense in her writing memoir, The Getaway Car – a must for every aspiring writer to read.

Short stories need a different sort of revising. Micro writers will find no discomfort in doing that sort of revising because essentially it’s what we already do: check the flow.

But a book now. That is one big unwieldy thing to keep still enough to check the flow on. Check the flow in all directions and with all threads.  Just thinking of all the times I’ve grappled with this makes me weary.

So I gathered my saved bookmarks of great revision tips and printed them out and bindered them up and they have become my personal coaches.


Here are some links if you are so inclined (mostly or maybe all from writers of Young Adult books):

Laurie Halse Anderson’s Revision Roadmap

Veronica Roth’s Revision Day One, Day Two and Day Three

Mary Beth Lundgren’s PDF of collected final revision checklist

Darcy Pattison’s 2 Amazing Ways to Revise Your Novel (And When to Use Them)

Maggie Stiefvater’s From Rough to Final: A Dissection of Revision

Janice Hardy’s The Spit Shine: Things to Check Before You Submit

Hope this helps other aspiring authors out there.

*and, psss, if you don’t have scrivener, get it! It’s a must for writing big things.

Every Monday I get to tote around two fresh teen (just entering teenhood, refuses to be called tween) librarophiles around town, tasting the delights of a new Toronto library.  Some time ago, while picking up my daughter and niece from school, I threw out a wistful thought, in that absented-minded way of mine that always means more work is coming into my life: Imagine, just imagine, if we visited EVERY single library in Toronto. Wouldn’t that be great? 

The idea stewed for a couple of years. We attempted it here and there and then I moved abroad for a year and now we are back and ready. Ready to take on Librarython T.O. Edition, where we visit and then blog about the library in question.

We started at our home branch of Port Union Library, port-union-library-03but that, we agreed, was just to figure out what this whole discreet critiquing thing entailed. (I.e., we’re not too impressed with our home library but too loyal to start bringing up its negative qualities.)

First, a brief background on the two critics and their credentials.

Sherlocka Critique, future graduate of Oxford, lives at 221B Baker Street, London, England. She wants to tell everyone who’s not too bright that she’s a huge fan of the “bloody brilliant” BBC T.V. series, Sherlock. (Commonplacer: stop swearing in British!) (Sherlocka: By the way, I’m not a FRESH teen. Quite aged actually.)

Hermione Pendragon, future graduate of Hogwarts, lives in Tajikstan. (Commonplacer: remember my intro –  these are FRESH teens.) (Hermione: Please note, this is being edited by Commonplacer.)

So, moving on, to Cedarbrae Library. 


(They decided to take the Good Cop/Bad Cop Review Route; they’ll be alternating roles for each library they review.)

Sherlocka: Cedarbrae Public Library is a ruddy brilliant library for young folks, I mean, aged-folks, like myself. This is due to the adorable seating areas and modern furniture. (I ought to buy some myself!)

Hermione: Really, I believe that all of these “adorable seating areas” are all good and well, but they tend to make the patrons feel as though they are in a living room, and behave as such. Quite rowdily and noisily, if I do say so myself.

Sherlocka: Now now, you must ignore my mate here, she really is adorable, but she likes to critique, hence the job. Cederbrae is very well lit, mostly because of the floor to ceiling windows. They also have these quaint study areas, along with computers. And when I say computers, I mean lots and lots! This just adds more to the modern feel.

Hermione: In my opinion, those lights were much too bright. Quite blinding, in fact. And as for the computers, they were all occupied by youngsters playing a particular popular pixellated program (excuse the alliteration) which I shall not name. This is fine, but there really should be a higher limit on time.

Sherlocka: Continuing on, I must say I was rather impressed by the enormous selection of non-fiction books. And might I say, non-fic really is all the hype these days. The fiction section was also quite grandiose. Don’t get me started on the checkout system. Bloody brilliant. They had a bunch of these little self checkout machines, which everyone knows makes you feel independent and all the rest! 🙂

Hermione: I concur, they do have a rather large selection of books, which is lovely, but really, this makes their twisted organizing system even WORSE. Is it not a sad display of the state of the library system when one has to grub, yes, actually, physically, literally, spiritually, metaphysically, zoologically, whatever, BURROW beneath the Teen section shelf, just to reach some good old-fashioned science fiction?

Sherlocka: I must say, the organization in my opinion was great. Hermione was just upset because the science fiction had a section at the bottom of the shelf. (She must be a hard-core fan!) It was a fabulously organized library! The adult fiction was large indeed. And is it just me, or is this turning into a row (fight for you Americans)?

Next up: Agincourt Library

*And to think, these two, Sherlocka and Hermione, used to call themselves Ruby Garnet and Emeraldine Amethyst in another time…sigh, how they grow.*

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