Friday, December 30, 2005

This and that

Christmas we survived. I'm in a constant state of "Oh my God I'm full". The house is getting back to normal, when suddenly up goes the cry: "I need a bucket."

Please. I thought we'd passed all this 2 weeks ago after both girls got sick. I'm thinking it's got to be something she ate (that we all ate). We really haven't gone ANYWHERE since school let out. Drove to Banff 2 days ago and had lunch, but people contact was at a severe minimum.

SO for the third grocery day in a row, my husband is getting groceries. I haven't bought groceries since sometime around the first of November. And I'm always the one that gets SICK duty.

Anyway happy new year, and I'll check back in next week.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Jumping the Gun and Day 12

Ah, potlucks. Good food....and someone's contribution was Corona, which was yummy. I ate, drank, walked home in the fresh air, laid down on the floor and promptly fell asleep for a few minutes, LOL.

I give you day 12 a day early, partly because I'm covering my butt in case tomorrow is just too hectic, and partly because he's just so scrumptious that you can look at him for two days and not get tired.

I've heard older heroes are completely acceptable, and this guy....well, he gets better and better. I fully expect to use him as a "prototype" for an upcoming manuscript.

Without further ado, I give you the twelfth day of Christmas.....Special Agent Gibbs.


Day 11!

I've picked a special BT for today. He's an athlete, a gentleman and one of the bravest guys I know of. And to top it off, he's modest, and blushes.

Lance Armstrong

So, about my day yesterday. I helped lead carols at the school which was a blast, and my daughter and I played a piano duet - Silent Night. She did such a great job, I was so proud. All through the day we both got so many compliments I'm surprised our heads could fit through the door. I was happy for her though since she was so nervous. At the end of the assembly we had a memorial for the little girl that died last week. It was very emotional and several of us cried. It was touching though and I am so impressed with how the principal handled the whole crisis. She was a complete rock.

I volunteered for an hour in my eldest's class, then went to do lunch room.

That, my friends, was another story. My vcr didn't work- no movie. My own daughter left to go to the bathroom without asking and I couldn't find her. I was mad AND mortified. THEN I had a sick girl who had to go home, so I was in and out trying to make arrangements. My kids were wound up and every time I came back in it was bedlam. At the end they missed some of their outdoor time since I was waiting to talk to them. It was the lunchroom day from hell, but oh well.

Another elementary school provided lunch for us yesterday so after classes were back in, all the lunch supervisors went to the staff room and we had a nice, QUIET lunch together. Then I volunteered in the afternoon Kindergarten class while my youngest was invited to watch the Polar Express with her sister's grade 2 class.

The other nice thing that happened was that the principal paid me some very nice compliments, saying she was so happy I was on staff, etc. that just made me feel so good. I have never worked anywhere before where the atmosphere was so supportive. It is great.

So now I've got my casserole in the oven for the potluck today and then....it's housecleaning and enjoying the season. I helped with caroling again this morning and it was a blast, but put me WAY behind.

I hope to post day 12 tomorrow, if I'm late I hope all of you have a fantabulous holiday with lots of rest, friends and goodness.

Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me....

Valium. LOL

Yesterday was better, but the concert went longer than anticipated. SO the agenda for today is crazy again....must cut 60 rice krispie squares within the next hour, as well as getting the three of us ready for school. Make sure craft kits are organized for each classroom. Lead caroling at opening assembly this morning. Deliver craft kits to classrooms. Forgot this is the last day of lunchroom, and have no treats, so have to run (literally, on my feet) to grocery store and grab treats, come back, volunteer until 11:30, work lunchroom, volunteer until 3:15, come home, babysit, make dinner, fold laundry, do mending.

Thank God tomorrow's day is like this...take eldest to school. Make spanish rice. Go to potluck at noon. I may try to give the house its Christmas cleaning. Who knows.

I haven't been deterred though, from finding a hottie for today. Who needs an elf when you've got A King!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The 9th BT of Christmas

Busy day again, but I went to bed at 9 last night and got a good night's rest, only disturbed by the sound of water dripping at 1:30. Since I couldn't find any faucets in the house that were drippy, I can only assume that the chinook finally melted any ice in our eaves and that's what the dripping noise was.

For today's most delicious selection, The Doctor is IN.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Eight Maids a Milking

I'm not milking, but it IS day 8.

Life continues to be busy. Husband and I seem to have escaped the bug but several of my lunchroom kids have been ill and so I know I'm not out of the woods. Still washing my hands fanatically, sucking on echinacea drops and taking my b vitamins! This week I thought things were going to settle down....ha ha ha ha! Yesterday I decided I was NOT going to write until after Christmas. I'd just get started and have to stop anyway and I am giving myself PERMISSION to take a break. I haven't taken one really since July, so perhaps I'm due.

Last night I had to run out to pick up last minute items like lightbulbs and dv tapes. Yesterday I spent most of my day at the school. We had an emergency council meeting and we are also putting together 510 craft kits- one for every kid in the school. Brought some home and lovely husband cut out I don't know how many foam shapes for snowmen. However things being what they are I'm planning on spending the whole day at school today working on them. Tonight is finishing laundry and wrapping 3 items. Tomorrow we put all the kits together for the teachers and tomorrow night I'm supposed to be singing in the high school christmas concert along with some fellow choir members. Thursday I'm at the school all day volunteering in addition to working. And Friday is the staff potluck at noon. Hubby took the afternoon off to watch the kids since school is out at lunchtime and I have the potluck after that.

I didn't mention looking after a friend's son because he is so good you hardly notice he's here.

Oh and 2 friends are "popping" by to pick up gifts.

Me, stressed? Hah.

Ok. So for all that I need a hot man to rescue me. I'm going to venture into Soap territory for this one.... Rick Hearst.

Monday, December 19, 2005

And for seven.....

A magazine posed the question, "who's the next George Clooney?" A further clue: Riddle me this, riddle me that...who's in lust with a big, black Bat.....

The Best Batman.

Merry Christmas. ;-)

On the Sixth Day of Christmas....

I missed yesterday as I wasn't online, so I'll get right to day 6 and post 7 in an hour or two.

You know men are hot. But what makes men REALLY hot? Takes them to the next level?

For me there are 2 qualities of a truly HOT man. One is a sense of humour. The ability to laugh at himself and a sharp wit. A second quality that can never be overrated is intelligence. Give me a beefcake with brains and I'm in heaven. I believe that truly smart people don't know everything but realize how very little they actually know and are always learning. And wouldn't you know that when this guy was asked recently on Oprah about why people call him "smart" and he said he doesn't consider himself that smart he just asks a lot of questions.

The man is handsome, funny, brilliant. That's why he gets my vote as the next president...(ok so I'm Canadian and can't vote but still...)

Friday, December 16, 2005

And an early fifth....

I forgot, I'm not going to be online tomorrow at all, so I think I'll post tomorrow's selection.....and this one is linked. He plays on Battlestar too - as Karl Agathon, call sign Helo....and I really like his height and build. YUM.

Hallo, Tahmoh.....

On the Fourth Day of Christmas.....

Ah, on to number four!

Before that though, the plague has struck again, LOL. Our youngest got sick at her Christmas concert. Thankfully her class had performed and were waiting in the classroom. Her teacher is AWESOME and changed her clothes before coming to get us from our seats. We came right home, but I had a heck of a night, following the horrible day. Daughter is now on the couch watching cartoons and slowly feeling better. But I had to take the day off work. Which I feel disproportionately guilty about.

Now, how long before husband or I get sick???? Just in time for Sunday, when I have more musical things happening?????

Ok. So back to the hot men....I've decided not to link today's to Damian Lewis, so today is: Hail to the Chief! Aaron Douglas, good Canadian boy who has a thing for the Vancouver Canucks and a marshmallow heart, and who plays Chief Tyrol on Battlestar Galactica.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Death doesn't stop for Christmas

I'm going through lots of Kleenex right now.

One of my students was killed this morning along with her sister. They were 6 and 4 years old and victims of a housefire.

She was cute and energetic and a little mischevious. Even when I had to be hard on her one day in class, she always had a smile and hug for me and told me she wanted to get me a nice present for Christmas.

Firefighters found their bodies while going through the house. My prayer is that the smoke got to them first and that they didn't suffer. The thought of those little girls......the problem is I can imagine how it would feel to lose my own and I'm just devastated for that family. It just seems so very wrong somehow. I cannot reconcile that happy, bouncy little girl with death. She's supposed to be at school today practicing for her concert tonight.

An older boy upstairs survived, a classmate of my dd2. The parents didn't appear to be home, it looks like they were in the care of an older relative but I don't have those details yet.

I have to try to get myself together because I have to be at work at 11:30 and don't want to scare the kids. I'm sure we'll all have a good cry at our after-lunch meeting. And I'll get better details then. The police were in the office with admin when I left this morning. I'm sure counsellors will be on hand for staff and students. But it's going to be a hard day.

On the Third Day of Christmas.....a Proud Mom

First things first- the eye candy. I've decided to try to link all my bt's. First day was Ioan Gruffudd, who is linked to Jamie Bamber as costars in Hornblower. Today's bt is the talented Damian Lewis, star of Band of Brothers (in which Jamie also appeared, making the link). I had never seen him before and didn't even realize he was English until watching the bonus materials. He WAS Dick Winters. Since then I've seen him in both Forsyte Sagas and in Dreamcatcher. I'd really like to see Keane too.

So, without further ado, here's My Favorite Redhead .

I am a proud mom today. My oldest missed her Christmas Concert last night. She went to school yesterday for the dress rehearsal as she was feeling better, but we got there 5 min too late and she missed her class. I figured she'd be in tears but she did ok. She made it through the day ok but after school came home and threw up all over the living room. We cleaned up (yuck) and put her in the tub, and after a bit I went in to talk to her. We both said the timing of being sick just sucked. I told her if she was feeling better after she got out we could probably go to the concert, since her class was first she could do her bit and we could come right home. She had one of 6 speaking parts in her class. But she said no, it wouldn't be fair to the others if she took her germs in and made other kids sick. She was positive on that.

Later I said it was a good thing she'd missed the dress rehearsal because it gave her classmate a chance to practice and now he was ready to do the part in the performance. Her response? That she was glad he would get a chance to do it since he didn't get chosen for a speaking part.

I was surprised and so pleased at how she made such a mature decision. It was unselfish of her and she didn't do it with a lot of drama either. It hurt to see her so disappointed. If she hadn't handled it so well I wouldn't have felt so bad.

My other daughter also said if she had one wish it would have been to make her sister feel better.

I know I'm bragging about my kids, but so many times I blog about my parental complaints and not the times that they really do me proud.

Here's hoping that we remain vomit free because my youngest's concert is tonight and it would be nice to make ONE of them. :-)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Hallelujah, The Second Day of Christmas and ICK!

Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Yes, that's me singing the Hallelujah Chorus because last night I finally mailed my full ms to Avalon! It is what my CP calls a pineapple book. Writing it feels like crapping a pineapple. :-) It was so hard to write but I enjoyed reading it during the polishing stage so perhaps it isn't all drivel after all. Regardless, I gave it to the mail lady with a huge smile last night and now feel like I am ready for Christmas and all that goes with it!

Which brings me to the 2nd Day of Christmas! IN keeping with my celebratory mood, I've chosen my very FAVORITE BT. But I couldn't decide which look I liked best so I give you all three: Who knew Shakespeare could be this hot, A Wee bit o' Kennedy, and a little pic that has inspired me to write Ode to the Towel.

On to the ICK portion of the post....my eldest woke me at 2:21 with the words, "Mom, I threw up!" In her bed. Husband got up and helped me clean bed, while we tidied her up and got her a bucket. She was up twice more and I kept her home today, but we're going in soon as she's kept down breakfast and had a shower and is fine. It's dress rehearsal day and her concert is tonight. But there's been lots of handwashing going on. :-)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

On the first day of Christmas....

In keeping with the boy toy extravaganza on e-harlequin in the Mouse and Pen and in Tanya's Spa, I thought I'd hold my own 12 Days of Christmas pic-fest right here.

So, in honour of Liz Fielding, here's a lovely Welshman to get things started.

I have the paper lined up for the printer....here's hoping this ms makes it INTO the envelope today! At least I'm getting REALLY close. I'm not thinking about the synopsis. Do you suppose they'd miss it if I didn't put it in? It can't be any worse than reading and thinking "What the...."

My husband is SO sabotaging my waistline. Last night he made orange spice shortbread. Oh. My. Christmas treats are DEADLY!

Monday, December 12, 2005

A Spectacular Wipeout

I fell today, hit some ice and wham! Complete with airtime. Landed on my hip and elbow and had the breath knocked out of me. Really quite funny now but at the time my daughter was quite worried. It was my own fault of course. After I got home I called my husband and he laughed, then said, "Oh, I mean are you OK?" Cheeky bugger.

Had a great weekend though. Did all sorts of crafty-stuff with the kids, got some SLEEP, watched a Christmas movie with the girls last night....now I'm ready to tackle my week.

With a hobble, of course. Stupid Ice.

On the way home I also had a line jump out at me. "It's a proven fact that bad boys get all the action." I've been throwing the idea of a biker-type hero around for the Modern Extra ms I'm planning.....and that's a perfect first line. I have a basic premise all worked out.....with thanks to Biddy for an idea several months ago and also to Jamie Bamber for the gorgeous pic from Peak Practice. I only have to mail this full and finish the other before I can start it. But it's nice to have ideas in the hopper.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

10 Things

Thanks to Biddy for this.

A) List ten things you want to say to people but know you never will. (Note: this might be something you'd say to one person, but you mean it to someone else)
B) Don't say who they are. (They don't have to be anyone who would read this.)


1)You only get one body. You want to run it into the ground, go ahead.
2)It pisses me off that you don't care enough about yourself to want to live.
3)There's more to life than work.
4)You stupid shmuck. You're a great guy. Why do you keep marrying the wrong women?
5)Life's too short to go through it grumpy. Lighten up and enjoy it!
6)Smarten up and realize you're alienating everyone around you.
7)I love you but sometimes I don't particularly like you.
8)Dig your head out of your ass and show some common courtesy.
9)Same as above but intended for different person. Aren't I crabby?
10)If this were a different lifetime, would you marry me?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A Wee Peeve

A few weeks ago there was an article in a weekly feature to our newspaper. It was on our local RWA chapter and included huge pictures of the founder and a couple of the published authors.

I do not belong to this group. I went to one of the first meetings and while I enjoyed it, it was a long drive, the dues were A LOT for a SAHM, and I was worried that I'd get so wrapped up in chapter business that it would distract me from actual WRITING. I knew of others in the group who dribbled out a manuscript every year or two, but always had time for articles, workshops, etc....I didn't want to use that sort of distraction as a procrastination technique. Not only that, but the meetings were not in my area of town and the first one took me 45 min to get to in horrible weather. I did not want another evening taken away from my kids and husband.

When I called the then president to tell her I wasn't joining, she said I should consider it again when "I got serious about my writing."

It pissed me off. I did not think, then or now, that she should make such a judgement. Then in her interview in this paper she made the comment about dues and how much they are, saying that they "weed out the wannabees".

I am not a wannabe. I am a writer who is serious about her writing. I have been working, writing and submitting manuscripts for 4 1/2 years. I have two published critique partners to keep me on my toes. I have other support systems in place and I firmly believe that when the time is right I WILL be published. Just because I do not belong to the local RWA chapter does NOT mean I am not serious.

I am on my school council. We are constantly trying to get parents out to meetings. I wouldn't be very effective if in my newsletter article I said, "If you don't come you must not be much of a parent." People wouldn't come just out of spite! But that's just what this woman has done.

OK. My wee peeve is over and I have to get back to my frivolous, un-serious edits, so I can mail my third requested full this year.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Phew!

Finally, I'm updating my blog!

I finished my full time job and have now started my part time gig and I know already I'm going to like it much better. The highlight of my day though was when one of the students in my old class came right in the kitchen to give me a hug. He is a special little boy who deserves all the hugs he can get, so I hugged him right back.

It was bloody cold here today with blizzard conditions and I was happy to have a vehicle to drive back and forth. That doesn't happen often so I was glad to have it! THe remote starter was a nice touch too. Glad hubby managed to get it installed!

AND, I did all my christmas baking yesterday, and was up until 11 Friday night wrapping. I mailed my last parcel on Saturday, the house is clean and laundry is caught up. Which is a good thing, because now I really have to focus on finishing up this manuscript and mailing it off. With the husband home so much I haven't had much computer time, but this week is ALL ABOUT THE BOOK.

Stay tuned for writer-angst-filled postings. :-)

Friday, November 25, 2005

Writing, Schmiting

A morning of writing indeed.

I spent my morning speaking on the phone to school principal and making daycare arrangements and also my husband.

I spent my morning doing all the banking and getting terribly excited about finding $50 in my wallet. I am thinking I had it earmarked for something but cannot remember WHAT! Will not spend until significant time has passed and I'm sure I don't need it for something else. LOL.

I spent my morning catching up on e-mails and other messages, and writing the school council minutes from last Tuesday's meeting and also writing up the article for the school newsletter, due today.

I made my kids chocolate chip pancakes and got dressed at 11:45. Just when the pile of "stuff" was abating, my employment package came from the school board and there are so many forms to fill out that I thought it was a manuscript being returned. Swear to God.

I am working probably another 2 days at the full time hours, and was approached yesterday about working a lunchroom on a permanent basis. It would start next Thursday probably and is 2 hours a day. Much more in line with my schedule - as I would still have my mornings to write.

Ok. So once my forms are filled out, it's back to this manuscript. My schedule has been too crazy for long enough. Time to get serious.

I'll do that right after I pick up milk, mail letters, fold laundry, go to school on day off to photocopy.....

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A day without speech....

Saturday night my voice started to go, got worse Sunday and yesterday I woke up to none at all. It was a whisper or a squeak.

Now, working with 35 6 year olds requires speech. Sometimes at a substantial volume. So before class started, I told everyone that they'd have to raise their hand and listen VERY CAREFULLY if they wanted my attention yesterday. The one student that takes the most "verbal instruction" was absent so that helped. By mid-afternoon I was improving to a hoarse but understandable croak. Today I just sound like I have a chest cold, so it's getting better. I've never had laryngitis before and it is quite interesting. Of course all the staff made great fun of me, especially when I went to call out after a student and sounded like a 14 year old boy in the throes of puberty. Ha, ha.

Talking is like breathing to me as those on here who know me can attest. So only being able to whisper, or refraining from making conversation was difficult!

Three days left this week - no school Friday because of Parent/Teacher conferences, and I'm doing mine with the teachers today and Thursday. I am looking forward to a morning of writing!!!!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

My first week

I survived my first week, although there is a whole other set of challenges to the position that I wasn't prepared for. By the end of the week though I seemed to get a handle on the routine and did fine.

The teachers I'm working with have asked me to stay but I don't think I'm taking the contract. I miss my time with my daughter, and this is the last 8 months I've got with her as next year she's in school full days. Also my writing time has suffered severely, my weekend, which is normally odd jobs and fun stuff with the kids, has been nothing but grocery shopping and housework. And I'm TIRED! LOL I am in awe of working moms out there and how they manage to do everything.

It's a matter of lifestyle and priorities. I try to keep my life uncluttered, and my kids always always come first. Not only would my youngest have daycare, but both of them miss out on cool fun time with mom. And my husband gets what's left of me at the end of the day. Our conversations this week consisted of "zzzzzzzzzzz".

Even if I don't take the contract I'll be on the list to sub as lunchroom supervisor, which could bring in some fun $$$ occasionally, and wouldn't take away time from writing OR with the kids. That was the original intention.

I am also in awe of teachers right now. Being in the classroom day in and day out is HARD WORK. And whoever said teachers only work 5 hours a day is WRONG. I saw this when volunteering as well....those people who crap on teachers should spend a couple of days in the classroom to see how hard they really work and also see the volume of work that goes home at night.

Ok. So next week I'll be back, if not sooner. I'm finishing up my first round of edits this afternoon.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Behavioral Interviews

Survived the mandatory interview. Have decided to hate the phrases "What would you do if..." and "tell me about a time when...". LOL Still, one step closer to getting on the payroll.

Even if the contract doesn't go to me, I'll have an employee number and can get other short term jobs as they come up, so I'm happy with that.

And day care isn't looking as expensive as I thought. Especially since it's only a little over three hours.

I took the weekend off from revisions, but the laptop will be coming out again tonight.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Is it really like riding a bike?

I'm deep in revisions, but that's not the topic of today's entry.

It looks as I'll be returning to the world of the working next week - for the first time in 8 years! It's only a temporary position for 2-3 weeks but could turn into more if I decide I want to pursue it.

I am pretty nervous, and a little guilty of putting my youngest in daycare for 4 hours a day - her school day is only 1/2 day. She's much happier with it than I am. LOL I think it's because I've always been home that it just feels wrong.

Anyway updates as they come - and I'll post on how I'm finding revisions, working and a family all mashed together!

Monday, November 07, 2005

I can see the finish line....

I am in the homestretch. I have the last chapter done, the proposal I wanted and an epilogue left to write. I'll still be short words, but the layering will take care of a lot of that. But I'm determined not to THINK of how hard the revisions and edits are going to be.

In other news....

No other news. My life is boring. Oh and my husband got a raise. LOL

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Christmas

It's too early for Christmas.

Don't get me wrong it's my favorite holiday and I DO have a lot of my shopping done, at least for all the out of town people which is just about everyone in our families!

But yesterday we woke up to an inch or so of snow, and when I went to the school this morning, our next door neighbour had a wreath on her front door.

It's just too early for that. I'm still recovering from Halloween!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Would you have regrets?

I was in the middle of my run yesterday which is always a great time for thinking. And I got a little profound on myself.

If any of you died tomorrow, would you have regrets?

Then I got to thinking, there are two kinds of regrets. Regrets that you didn't do some of the things you really wanted to do, and regrets that you didn't live the life you wanted to live.

I don't have many regrets on the last. Sure, there are things I want to do. I want to travel, for one. I want to see my kids graduate, get married, have babies. That's all stuff I can't control and that are based on time. But am I living the life I want to live? You betcha.

I'm not published, but I'm happy working towards that goal. I can't make a publisher buy my work, but I can strive each day to write something that they may buy. I am doing the "job" that I want to do, that makes me happy. My calling, if you will. I am also a stay at home mom which is the best and worst job in the world! But I wouldn't have it any other way. I have absolutely NO regrets about staying home with my girls. It was the right decision and I'm happy that I get to be involved in their school and do all the things that working moms wish they could. My life is where I want it to be (without the publishing contract, but again, not something I can control).

If I died tomorrow I'd miss things that I was looking forward to, and I'd hate leaving my kids without a mother, but I wouldn't wish I'd done something different with my life. There's a whole load of comfort in that!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Tagged By Biddy

Ok, Bids, here's my version:

Three screen names that you've had: Canadian Cook, Gorilla, gorillelegs.

Three things you like about yourself: My voice, my smile, my optimism.

Three things you don't like about yourself: my anxiety, my impatience, my jelly belly

Three parts of your heritage: welsh, dutch and god knows what else.

Three things that scare you: Heights. Flu pandemics. Being so attached to my children.

Three of your everyday essentials: Music. Words. Kisses.

Three things you are wearing right now: A long black skirt. Old white underwear. Diamond earrings.

Three of your favorite songs: That I cannot pick. There are just too many.

Three things you want in a relationship: Passion, Humour, Brains. Who could ask for more than that?

Two truths and a lie: I love to knit and bake. I am smart. I am a size six.

Three things you can't live without: Books. Music. Peace.

Three places you want to go on vacation: England, France and Italy

Three things you just can't do: The lotus position, speak swahili, eat liver.

Three kids' names: Kate, Ash and Ryan.

Three things you want to do before you die: be published. Sing on stage. Visit Europe.

Three celeb crushes: Jamie Bamber. Damian Lewis. George Clooney.

Three of your favorite musicians: Josh Groban. Michael Buble. Bruce Hornsby.

Three physical things about the opposite sex that appeals to you: Hands, sculpted features, sexy feet.

Three of your favorite hobbies: Music, working out, reading.

Three things you really want to do badly right now: Write on my ms. Snap my fingers and have halloween over with. Meet Jamie Bamber.

Three careers you're considering/you've considered: Writer, pilot, musician.

Three ways that you are stereotypically a boy: interest in the military. enjoy sports. Spend Saturday night watching hockey.

Three ways that you are stereotypically a girl: Expensive jewelry, spa days and pretty clothes.

Three people that I would like to see post this meme: Michelle, Kris Starr and Anna.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

ACK!

I can't believe I haven't posted since Monday. Oops! In my defence it has been a crazy week, complete with volunteering at the school and a revolving to-do list. I've scrapped the to-do list- it never ends and it just WAYYYY too depressing.

The WIP has stalled. I was feeling so very blah about it. Nothing seemed to be happening. My tension had disappeared. Some of that is due to me needing to reevaluate character arcs and some is due to the fact that I'm just run ragged and unable to get into it. So in the short term, I figured if all I was writing was total crap, I should try to jump-start my creativity. I wrote 3 - yes 3! BSG fanfictions. They were fun and quite dirty and I enjoyed it. If I don't enjoy writing then my writing sucks. In the midst of writing the explicit stuff, I've been thinking I may try my hand at a more spicy story - once this one and the other WIP are finished, of course. Which translates into sometime in January. :-)

In the long term, things should even out again by Tuesday, once Halloween is over and done. Here's hoping for a banner week next week in terms of word count - I want to have this first draft done in 2 weeks!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Birthdate

Thanks to Kris Starr for getting me on this:

Your Birthdate: August 14

With a birthday on the 14th of the month (5 energy) you are inclined to work well with people and enjoy them.
You are talented and versatile, very good at presenting ideas, and you are also very good at organization and systematizing.
You may have a tendency to get itchy feet at times and need change and travel.

You tend to be very progressive, imaginative and adaptable.
Your mind is quick, clever and analytical.
A restlessness in your nature may make you a bit impatient and easily bored with routine, and rebel against it.
You have a tendency to shirk responsibility.


It's all pretty true except for the shirking responsibility bit. I can thank my mother for that. Sometimes I'm so responsible I'm boring.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Into The West

I taped a miniseries a month or so ago called INTO THE WEST, and just got around to watching the first 2 episodes last night. It was broadcast on TNT in the US earlier, and the CBC broadcast it in Canada, but honestly if I hadn't been scrolling through listings I would have missed it. I didn't even see any trailers or promo spots. And missing it would have been a shame.

I'll admit to taping it simply because Matthew Settle's name jumped out at me. He was in Spielberg's Band Of Brothers and that series changed the way I watched television. Another night I noticed Tyler Christopher's name as it was starting to tape, and Keri Russell. There are a number of well known names in this production including Beau Bridges, Irene Bedard, Graham Green, Gordon Tootoosis, Josh Brolin, Gary Busey, Skeet Ulrich - the list goes on and on.

The settling of the western US and the treck through to California is not a period of history that particularly interests me, but I find myself completely invested in the characters already. It switches between the point of view of the Wheeler family of Virginia, the main character Jacob Wheeler, and the POV of a village of Lakota Indians. Later we see some Cheyenne, and I still have 4 more episodes to watch so it will be interesting to see what develops. These 2 pov's are intertwined as Jacob marries a Lakota woman he rescues, and his cousin Naomi marries her captor, a Cheyenne Chief.

Spielberg has done a marvelous job of taking a period of history I always found boring and bloody and making it come alive, very spiritual. The incidents during the wagon train from Independence, Missouri to California is very true to actual occurences - storms, deaths during fording, disease, etc. But from Spielberg I would expect nothing less. I am looking forward to the next 4 episodes....if I can keep my eyes open. That's 8 more hours!

Friday, October 21, 2005

My Zen-like Calm

The title of this entry is dedicated to Julie C - thanks for letting me steal it, Feckless!

I conclude I must have achieved, at some point, Zen-like Calm. Yesterday I received confirmation that an e-mail I sent 4 1/2 months ago arrived. And I laughed. Today I got a rejection from Kensington and I'm not even fizzed about it. When I look at it, I realize I got a personal response from the editor, on a book that was a long shot for them anyway, she told me why she was rejecting it. She also expressed regret at having to reject it because I "do write well".

I want to have my current WIP in the mail by December 1. I am waiting on 2 fulls. And I am calm. Relaxed. Not a stressed bone in my body.

As with most of my moods, this too shall pass and I'm sure I'll panic at some point about the ms or submissions or whatever, but for now, yin and yang are balanced.

I think now I'll go do some yoga. :-)

Thursday, October 20, 2005

My partial has arrived

This is kinda funny, actually.

According to my data, I e-mailed my partial to Cerridwen on May 31.

Today I got an e-mail acknowledging receipt of my submission. They say not to inquire after submissions until after five months has passed.

I wonder if that means 5 months from May 31 or five months from today????

LOL

WIP - THE SOUNDTRACK

I often write with a soundtrack.

There's a song, or a cd, or just a genre that will speak to me, that seems to match my characters, their feelings, struggles, their pain. One ms I listened to the Band of Brothers cd for the entire three months plus. Another was Josh Groban's second album. My hero was fluent in Italian, and there's lots of that thanks to Mr. Groban. For the WIP I have been working on, I have a playlist with a mix of country.

I didn't, however, have one for the WIP I'm trying to finish up for Avalon.

When I sat down to write today, I wanted music. So I went through the cd cabinet to see if anything jumped out at me. What I landed on was Richard Marx's album "Flesh and Bone". Yes, I listen to just about everything, which is kinda cool, I think. Like my characters, I listen to whatever seems to speak to me. I found the perfect track for my character's conflict. It's entitled "Surrender to Me" and is a duet with Laura Fabian. My characters are old lovers, forced into a situation where they have to face their past and scared to try again.

I am inspired.

Do any of you write with a "soundtrack"? Do your characters have their own song?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Yesterday's post and a good cause

Yesterday I meant to post about my weekend, but the Avalon news took precedence. On Saturday my girls and I took part in a benefit for a local hospice. It was a good time, even dh came and taped our performances which made me quite nervous. I had a lot to do in this one. My daughters sang together and I accompanied them, and they were just super. Not a missed note. My eldest (7) sang with another girl (14) and I didn't butcher the accompaniment too much. I had a flute solo that went ok, played for another song that a bunch of us did together as a comedy number, and then had a vocal solo of my own which went ok for me but apparently the mic level was a bit low. All in all though my nervousness of last week, that resulted in hours of practice, paid off and things went fairly smoothly. We raised a good amount of money for the cause, which was the whole reason for being there.

Seriously though, I'm not one of those moms that thinks their kids are perfect because they are not, but on Saturday I was nearly bursting my buttons with pride. I realized my children have poise. Not sure where they got it from, but they have it none the less. My youngest (5) said to her sister, "Just ignore your stage fright. I have stage fright and I'm not thinking about it." I couldn't help but smile.

Monday, October 17, 2005

6 days to PANIC

Response times are getting faster. October 6 I mailed the new partial to Avalon. October 12 they mailed out a response. Asking for the full. So the focus is now changing. The WIP will be set aside...there is no rush to finish it. And I shall finish the other ms first. If I do this right, I'll get this one off to Avalon and get the first draft of the other done by Christmas.

Which means a lot more focus and hard work. Check out Michelle Styles' Blog to see what I SHOULD be doing. LOL

I had another blog entry in mind today but it'll have to wait for now. I need to get crackin'!

Friday, October 14, 2005

Loss of Momentum

I couldn't expect it to last forever. That frantic, euphoric feeling of words rushing out from my fingertips into my word file. I went crazy this week. Lots and lots of writing.

Then....a stall.

I let it all come out and now have to go back and re-align things, for lack of a better term. Fix the focus. Cut for pace. Tension on every page. I could go on about all the other things that need to be fixed, but I won't. I blame Feckless for this. Her silly crows of doubt are visiting me now. I am the Queen of Sagging Middles. It is just....blah. And I need to fix it before I go on. I am one of those who must know where she's been before she can know where she's going. I could dash out a rough draft, but the thought of going back and having to fix the major things just makes me ill. So I fix the majors now, and worry about the minors when I get to the editing stage.

None of this will happen until Monday though. I'm headachy and tired and must get up some enthusiasm for our 10th anniversary today. I am supposed to be cooking a special dinner, etc., sharing some wine later with the object of my devotion, and right now I'm in yoga pants trying to keep my eyes open. This is a milestone anniversary and deserves a celebration! At least I have surprise gift waiting in the wings!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Is anybody out there?

When I was writing the above line I could actually hear Pink Floyd in my head. But then again, I'm comfortably numb most of the time.

Since there's no "counter" here, I'm not even sure if anyone is reading my blog. Either that or my posts are so supernaturally boring no one feels compelled to a) comment or b) come back! So if you stop by, leave a little message and say Hi, OK? It's kinda lonely here all by myself!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Thanksgiving and a crazy week

This past weekend was Thanksgiving here in Canada. I did no writing. I did tons of housework. And I ate wayyyyy too much, but it was just SO GOOD!

This is gearing up to be a crazy week though. I have 4+ chapters to critique, 2 chapters of my own to go over, I would like to write a new chapter on my WIP, and I have to practice for the variety night I'm in for a local charity. I love music so it was easy to say yes to a lot of stuff, but now I'm sort of wishing I hadn't. I will be glad when next weekend is over. After that things should stay pretty even until Advent.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

A laugh from Jaci Burton's blog

A little exercise courtesy of Jaci Burton:

Delve into your blog archive.

2. Find your 23rd post (or closest to).

3. Find the fifth sentence (or closest to).

4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions. Ponder it for meaning, subtext or hidden agendas...

5. Tag five people to do the same.

My fifth sentence:

I LOVE dogs but we live in the city and I number one hate scooping poop (as you'll see in a minute) and number two I honestly think dogs need to have space to run around and be, well, dogs.


My interpretation: I am anal about many things, this being one and I hate living in the city. :-)

Tag you're it.

Why I love (and hate) soap operas

I will admit it - I am a General Hospital Junkie. And before that, it was Another World. I hated it when it went off the air.

Why do I watch soaps? There's something about that bloom of excitement of a new relationship that is addictive. And some of the greatest lines come from soaps. A few weeks ago, Jason, who's lost his memory, listened to his girlfriend Sam talk about when her baby died and he said: "I don't remember you, but now I know why I'd do anything for you."

I live for moments like that.

The flip side of that is the thing I hate about soaps. Soap watchers will forgive almost anything if you give them enough time. Whereas we, as romance writers, have to stay true to our character type, soap writers can take characters and actually change who they are, having them do things that go against all that is true about that character development. I hate that. When they take characters and put them in places that just wouldn't go, it makes me mad.

I wrote a whole chapter today. Unusual for me to produce nearly 15 pages in one sitting, but I'm not going to complain!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Manuscript in Richmond

I heard back from M&B this morning and my ms is safe and sound on the editor's desk. So perhaps it's my confirmation letter that got lost! LOL Now I can stop obsessing and get on with the waiting. :-)

THANK YOU HUGH KENNEDY

I was visiting the web page of an old classmate yesterday and he has a section where every month he thanks someone who has helped him along in his career. I think this is a great idea. His shout out this month is to our high school band teacher, Hugh Kennedy. Which really got me traveling the nostalgia train! So many good memories.

Mr. K, if you're out there, this is for you.

Thank you for the time you spent on us, in and out of the classroom. THe music department became home for many of us and we enjoyed it because of you....your goofy sense of humour, your enthusiasm, your understanding. You always made me feel special and important. In particular I remember a day when I came down the hall and you started singing a silly rendition of "Me and Mrs. Jones". And I also remember when I moved into an apartment in grade 12 and we had a long chat in your office. Your job was always more than standing in front of us conducting, and I love you for that.

You taught me to really love music and let it be a part of me. You opened my mind and always told us that we could do it. You made us want to work hard for you and for ourselves. I didn't end up making it my vocation, but music is still a huge part of my life.

I know there are more out there that remember and admire you...just think what an influence you have had on hundreds of lives...and we're better people for it.

Thanks, Mr. K. Miss you.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Avalon Update

I just read my last post and OMG I AM anal! LOL

I called Avalon this morning about the full ms they have had since last September - the actual subject of my first real blog entry now that I think of it! Anyway I found out that it has been passed up for a second read which is good news. Also it was recommended that I send anything else I might have now instead of waiting to hear back on the first. Since I have a partial ready to go, it's a matter of putting a synopsis and letter together.

In my mailbox was also a thick envelope. It was from Sierra Donovan, Avalon author. Sierra, if you're reading this, you're great. Thanks a million. She sent me M&B notes from RWA Nationals. I love how generous the romance writing community is. Authors, other writers, all ready and willing to share information, resources, opinions. What a great business!

Speaking of, can I say how much I love my job? I spent an evening at the school doing Council stuff and could already sense politics. The only coworker I have is my computer....and we have no personality clashes to worry about!

On replies

One of the things that annoy me most is when people leave me in limbo.

And yes, perhaps I'm a wee bit anal, but not knowing drives me bananas. I am becoming great friends with the "requested reply" button on my e-mail.

I get annoyed when I leave messages for people and they don't return my call. Or when I send e-mails and they don't get replied to. And I'm not talking my "hey, how are ya" e-mails but ones that actually have a relevant purpose.

For example, I had a newsletter article due on Friday at the school. It's my first one, so I e-mailed it. I had talked to the secretary about the content, etc. so in my e-mail I said to please advise me if it wasn't what they were looking for or if she wanted changes. I heard nothing. Which is fine, but I'm a doubting person. Did she actually get it? A quick one line e-mail with "Hey, thanks for being so prompt and it looks fine" would have put me at ease. I have at least 3 other outstanding issues right now that I'm waiting for answers to and have heard NOTHING. Did my messages actually even arrive????

I admit I am an organized person. If not I would not get anything accomplished. Ask my cp - one of the things I LOVE about her is that when I send her a chapter, she'll send me a quickie note saying "I got this. I'll get to it..." and give me an estimated time period. If she's going to be out of town, she'll say next week. But at least I know and I'm not waiting. Michelle you are amazing. I'll say it until you get sick of hearing it.

And I wish these people would get back to me so I'd stop obsessing and be able to concentrate on the WIP a little more!

Friday, September 30, 2005

And the beat goes on....

I got my anniversary present a few weeks early.

This year it's our tenth and we wanted to actually give gifts, but money is tight. We were at Costco one day and they had student model flutes for under $200. I haven't played flute for 15 years, but there was a time back in the day that I was getting ready for auditions on that instrument for entering university. It has been so long since I played, I got really excited about the chance to do it again, and I didn't care if it wasn't a great instrument.

I mentioned it to our Music Director at church, whose husband just happens to be a musician and music director at a local high school. He happened to have a lovely instrument, just sitting around. So the deal was made - he tuned it up, and sold it to us for $100.

I got it last night at choir practice. We also had a flute and piano book there as I am accompanying our director's daughter in a few weeks. So I put it together, had the director play a bit of a song, and remembered wayyyy more than I thought I would.
It brings back lots of great memories. This morning I even recorded a track on my piano, for accompaniment, and played a bit.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Big Debate - Tom vs. Brooke

Much has been made on the news lately of the Brooke Shields/Tom Cruise war on the use of psychiatric drugs and I feel compelled to put in my 2 cents.

Funny enough I don't really take either side even though Tom is REALLY annoying me. The fact is I had post partum depression - badly. When Brooke appeared on Oprah for the first time to talk about it, I could really relate to many of her feelings. After a few months of treatment (therapy, exercise, taking time for myself, etc.) my psychiatrist decided meds might be a good idea. So I did take them. The side effects were awful. But they did their job. Six months later I weaned off of them and I know they helped me get over the hump. I wasn't 100% better, but what I was doing clearly wasn't working.

I also believe that as a society we are over-medicated. We are constantly taking medication for this and that. And just throwing a pill at a problem isn't the answer either.

I'm a middle of the road kind of girl. I don't believe in just prescribing something and problem solved. But I don't believe that you should across the board condemn something either.

Look at diabetes. A responsible doctor wouldn't just give you insulin and say, "here you go, now you're all better". He'd talk to you about the importance of diet, exercise, etc. working in conjunction with the insulin. Bear in mind that diabetes is a chemical imbalance.

So why, WHY would we just throw an SSRI at someone telling them their anxiety/depression will disappear? I believe the first line of defense should be perhaps cognitive therapy, importance of diet, benefits of exercise, and perhaps vitamins. But if you're doing all that and still sick, maybe it's time to consider medication. Most of the time anxiety and depression - the chronic kind - is caused by a chemical imbalance of serotonin.

I know because I still have an anxiety disorder. And I'm not on meds. I am trying to manage it with exercise, cutting out caffeinek, getting sufficient sunshine and taking specific vitamins.

In the end I truly believe what it comes down to is what course of treatment works for that individual, and it is irresponsible for Mr. Cruise to take it upon himself to impose his opinions on those who are suffering from this disease.

Perhaps if he lived with someone who suffered from it or suffered from it himself he'd be more understanding and tolerant.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Manuscript Who? and boats

It is true that working on a new project is the best way to get over all the neuroses that accompany sending a manuscript to a publisher.

I am still waiting rather anxiously to find out if my ms actually arrived in Richmond and will breathe a sigh of relief when I get that confirmation letter. And if it doesn't arrive this week then I'll e-mail on Monday. I am hoping the mail is just unusually slow. For one I worked so hard to get this ms out the door and into the requesting editor's hands. And secondly I don't want to have to cough up the international postage AGAIN. :-)

When I was writing it I put a lot of pressure on myself and it was quite nerve wracking. I sent it out the door with all my hopes and dreams for it living quite vividly in my mind. But I'm fickle. What can I say. I'm in love with my new hero and love my heroine, and surprised myself by actually tearing up yesterday as I was writing - and it's only chapter four! I am so excited about the new project that I'm quite blase about the whole "will I get asked for revisions or get the big R" thing. I'm sure that will change as the weeks go by and I know a response is imminent...and it'll fly right out the window when I'm holding the letter in my hands.

But for now, the new WIP sure makes waiting a WHOLE lot easier!

Bamber Droolfest update: watched Bastille Day yesterday. Mmmmm mmmm! Is there anything hotter than a gorgeous, well built fly-boy with principles????

As well I spent last evening helping my kid build a boat. We made it out of a gallon milk jug. Does that make it a gallon galleon? Anyway we have a huge sail and dh built a rudder for her, there's a flag at the top of the mast and cargo (I had buttons that look like silver coins and others with gold anchors on them). This morning I was tempted to write "Indy" on the back. LOL I can reference Hornblower in almost any context! (Incidentally, Hornblower was also the first program I ever watched starring...you got it...Jamie Bamber).

Monday, September 26, 2005

Romancing the Blog post

Julie Cohen has a remarkable post on Romancing the Blog today. I have copied and pasted it into Word, for those days that words just won't come and I wonder why in the hell I'm doing this. For 9 great reasons why we love writing romance, click http://www.romancingtheblog.com/blog/?p=381

Jamie Bamber Droolfest - underway

My season one dvd's arrived. The first night I watched the sci-fi special, "The Lowdown", sort of a behind-the-scenes show. What's so great about that? Jamie with slightly longer hair, speaking in his native accent. Call me silly but that public school brit accent just turns me to jelly. Next, I watched the deleted scenes while I was ironing.

Saturday night dh wasn't in the mood for Jamie (I can't imagine why not) so we watched a movie - The Upside of Anger- which we both liked A LOT. But last night I was back and we watched the first two episodes of season one: "33" and "Water".

All Bambering aside, I am not a sci-fi genre fan but I love this series, and just about everything about it. I discovered it because I knew Jamie was in the mini series, but after the first ten minutes I was hooked (And he hadn't even appeared yet). If you get a chance, watch this amazing drama.

And if you're wondering who in the world Jamie Bamber is, then visit www.jamiebamber.co.uk.

In other news, my critique partners met each other at the M&B authors lunch last Friday. I have to say how weird that makes me feel. LOL It just seems funny that they met each other, when I haven't actually met EITHER of them. However it did not make me nervous as I'm sure they had much more interesting things to talk about than me. I spent the weekend insanely jealous and fantasizing about attending in the future. :-)

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Your chance to weigh in!

First of all the mail has arrived. No confirmation letter and no dvd's. Grrrr. I could really use a Bamber fix right now (for those of you who don't already know, I have a serious thing for actor Jamie Bamber).

But back to business. I am in a quandary and am looking for YOUR opinion.

Now not that editors are banging down my door asking to publish my brilliant works, but I honestly believe that the day will come when I WILL sell. I am in the midst of developing my website. And dh and I have been having discussions about pen names.

The original plan was to write as myself, under my own name. But we both tend to be cautious people. I try not to give out a lot of personal information....you might know my favorite colour is red but you won't know exactly where I live or the names of my children. In this day and age information is power and I don't want to give someone out there MY power. It would be nice to think that everyone visiting my site was a nice, moral person but that would be naive. So we were thinking perhaps a pen name might work.

I know several people who write under pseudonyms and many that don't. Dh, bless him, said last night, "Just keep your own name. Then when you're famous I can say 'Hey, that's my wife'." It's nice that he's proud of my persistence and dedication, but that wasn't enough to convince me.

The next issue is what SORT of pen name to consider. At first I only thought of a complete departure, a fabrication. Then I thought perhaps an alternative spelling of my existing name. That one in particular I find fascinating. There is one spelling of my last name that I really quite like. But there are several spellings. My last name can be traced back to 11th century England. That's a lot of time for variations.

Anyway this is your chance to tell me what you think. Do you use a pen name? Why or why not?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

A good day

Today my youngest is playing at a friend's after school, which means I have until 3 p.m. ALL TO MYSELF.

This, people, is unprecedented.

I have so far finished up my third chapter of my WIP. Hooray for me! I have dabbled in a little more design work for my upcoming website. So lots accomplished this morning.

Unfortunately, I still have to scrub the floors and clean the bathtub. Ah, the glamour of it all!

The only thing that would make it better for me at this point is if the door bell rings and it's the postman bringing me my Battlestar Galactica First Season dvd's. Stay tuned for my Jamie Bamber droolfest schedule.

But first....polishing porcelain!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

More Prayers

Needing more prayers today, but for a different family.

The mom of my daughter's friend just lost her first cousin. Which is sad enough in itself, but the circumstances are what make this story so sad.

Her cousin was 18. She went missing almost 2 weeks ago and they found her body. She was murdered.

Understandably the family is in shock, completely horrified and because of the investigation, short on details. They are also spread out over the country, so any prayers you have for them in this terrible time would be appreciated.

Give your kids a hug today and thank God that they're ok, too.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Postmen and Pets

How sad is it that I'm hounding the postman, hovering over the mailbox? And I'm not even thinking of rejections or requests right now. I'm thinking about the confirmation letter from Richmond with the handy-dandy file number on it, telling me that my ms reached its destination safely.

And after last week's rant about the cat crap, I've rarely seen said cat out and about....just a few times. However walking by their house this morning you won't believe what I saw in the window....a NEW KITTEN.

I can't imagine having another when they don't even take care of the first.

Friday, September 16, 2005

The Good News and the Bad News

The good news is one of my cp's thinks that the new ms I've started is better than the last....and she really likes my characters and how I've handled things so far.

The bad news is one of my cp's thinks that the new ms I've started is better than the last....and the last is sitting in Richmond as we speak.

It is good to know what I'm working on is going well....but darn it, I can't help but feel that the full at M&B is destined for a big R.

Ah well. The important thing to do is make this next one the best yet, the best I can, so that IF The Book That Shall Not Be Named gets rejected, I have another one ready to go.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Pet Peeve

OK, so this isn't actually a Pet peeve, it's more about their owners.

I should add a disclaimer that I don't dislike pets. I always had pets growing up and have been negotiating with the husband to get one for the kids. Just not a dog. I LOVE dogs but we live in the city and I number one hate scooping poop (as you'll see in a minute) and number two I honestly think dogs need to have space to run around and be, well, dogs.

Back to the peeve. As of late (all summer) I have been finding cat poop in my backyard. We do not own a cat and if we did it would do its business in the litter box. Anyway there have been countless times I've been out with a shovel and bag, cleaning up the mess. This is a city lot. Our space is 33ft by 100ft and we have a bungalow and garage on that small space, and the kids don't play in the front yard much because of the busy traffic on our street. So the backyard is their one place to play. Added to that we spent a lot of time and effort finally getting our backyard up to scratch this year. I didn't do that so the neighbour's cat could use it as a litter box.

Of course in HOT weather, if you don't notice it right away, it really gets nasty. And wet weather is actually worse. There is nothing solid to clean up. It's just a nice, watery mound of gag-ness.

Twice this summer I went to the neighbour and politely asked them to keep their cat inside as we were having issues in our backyard. I've run out of repellent and the damn stuff is $13 a bottle. Day before yesterday I went to mow the grass. I thought perhaps I should have a look for any recent "presents". Well I missed one and squish!

That did it. I was cranked. Seriously evil. I marched next door, rang the bell and said through the screen, "You either keep your cat inside or I'm calling animal control." The response I got? "Thank you."

Marched back to yard, cleaned up THREE PILES of it (and we'd had 3 inches of rain which means to get all of it you have to take off the top layer of grass, oh my poor beautiful lawn!).

Guess who was out walking the fence first thing yesterday morning? You got it. The cat. What bothers me is that they obviously don't care about their pet. It's against the law here to let your cat run at large. That should be enough. When someone threatens to call animal control, it should be more than enough. Not only that, wouldn't you make an effort NOT to piss your neighbour off? You may want something from them someday. But nope, don't care.

What this whole long irritating post boils down to is that the one thing that really, really annoys me are people devoid of common courtesy. If my animal did that to someone's yard I'd be appalled. I'd be back there cleaning it up and promising it wouldn't happen again. That's the way I was brought up. Responsible. I just don't get it!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Something new

I have started on something new. One of my cp's told me to write what was calling to me. My other cp said, "hey, I'm starting something new, should we make it a challenge?" It was enough for me to brainstorm a bit, and get a little over a thousand words on paper today...as well as some basic research.

I am excited. And this might sound like a little thing, but I've come up with a title I like and with buzzwords in it...it's sounding very M&B-ish. Yay me!

It is about time I sunk my teeth into something new, so I won't focus so much on waiting to hear on my full.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Send a prayer

This deserved a separate post.

I found out recently that a family friend has been diagnosed with lymphoma and acute leukemia. Things are looking pretty grim for him and for his family - his wife and two young children.

It especially makes me think since he is only 2 years older than my husband. So if you can, please take the time to send out a little prayer for my friend and his family. They need all the blessings they can get right now.

What to write angsty stuff

My week of craziness behind me, I'm now faced with a new challenge...deciding what to write next.

There's the 1/3 finished ms I *should* finish for Avalon. There's a previous ms with a great premise I can rewrite....those characters never have truly left me alone, and I can see scads of emotional potential. Then there are two whole new ideas playing with my mind.

I need to pick one and commit to it. I am not on a deadline of any sort, since I don't expect to hear from M&B on my full for at least three more months. But I need to get cracking at something.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

This and That

It has been a busy week. Everyone was home on Monday for the Labour Day long weekend, Tuesday I spent volunteering in my eldest's class, Wednesday I volunteered in my youngest's class, and today I am simply getting caught up.

The first day of volunteering consisted of huge amounts of prep work, also the school received 25 new students since other local schools were full. So much for our "reduced" class sizes. However there may be a chance of some part time work opening up over the next few years...just my cup of tea, really. A bit of fun money, no worries about school schedules vs. work schedules, and still have my writing time. Fingers crossed it works out! So that was a profitable morning spent.

Yesterday I was in the kindergarten class. The teacher was ill so we had a sub. There are 27 kids in that class, some with little or no english. It was a challenging morning but with some bright moments.

My daughter has made a friend of a rather shy, timid girl. They get along famously. But yesterday my girl was playing with someone else, so I got her friend paired up with a new girl who was at loose ends. My daughter apparently got upset when I was down the hall. She thought her friend wasn't her friend anymore because she was playing with the new girl. When I got back things were fine, until the other girl started crying! I finally got her to tell me what was wrong: She thought my daughter thought that they weren't friends anymore and her little heart was broken. So I reassured her that everyone was still friends, emphasized that it's a good thing to have more than one friend, and she gave my daughter a hug, saying she was still her friend. My daughter's answer: "That's OK. I was just feeling a little left out." It was sweet. I really didn't expect this sort of conversation to take place so soon, though! Gosh, 5 yrs old and friend angst already!

Then the same girl called my daughter that afternoon. It is the first time she's had a friend telephone. She takes the cordless, and very politely says, "Hello?" Her response to her friend: "Oh! I was wondering when you'd call!" I tried very hard not to laugh as she took the phone to her room for some privacy.

The other cute thing... we're walking home from Kindergarten and for the life of me I can't remember what we were discussing...but my little darling said, "And Mama, it just filled me with joy."

I stopped and had to kiss her right there in the middle of the sidewalk. It's those little moments that make parenthood so wonderful.

Tomorrow is grocery day. Scouring the fridge today, I think I have the makings of tandoori chicken. The day before groceries is always sort of slim pickings.




Thursday, September 01, 2005

Vacation Schmacation

I have to laugh at myself.

"Oh," I said, "I'm going to take this week and next off to get caught up on things around the house and just take a needed break from writing."

It lasted two days.

Ok, so I'm not totally to blame. It's not my fault that Mark Harmon has such stunning baby blues. I mean gosh, the guy gets better looking as he gets older. In his role on NCIS he's seriously alpha-licious. Inspiring, really.

Then of course I'm minding my own business and Trish Wylie shows up online. Now I think I'll just sign in and say HI and what happens but we chat for over an hour and my mind is going crazy. We're chatting about the biz and then about books and characters and suddenly things are playing out in my head....yep, less than 48 hours later, vacation is over and I have a blurb saved in a word file. Shame on you Trish! lol

So today I'm back in the saddle so to speak. And for the first time, I'm considering working on multiple projects. Basically getting proposals ready to have my bases covered if/when I hear back on submissions already in the works. The previous Tender reject being re-tooled for Avalon - that's first. I'll get that partial tuned up. Then probably the new story since it's driving me insane in my head (and, more excuse to google pictures of Mr. Harmon, heck, I might even have to make a trip to the video store in the name of research!). And then, I've been pondering a linked story to the full I just subbed. Standalone but with characters mentioned in the ms. So I can get that partial ready. And then we'll see which one gets finished first. :-)

Does this constitute being a workaholic?

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Stay at Home Mom rant

You know I've been thinking I should start up a "pet peeve of the week column" thing here on my blog. Then once a week I can pick something that annoys me and write about it. Then I thought perhaps my pet peeve of the week column might become someone else's pet peeve. :-)

Anyway today's is about people who think that SAHM's do nothing but sit around watching soaps. First of all let me say I'm not fond of my neighbour. In fact I think she's quite odd and lately I have gotten sick of her comments so don't take any shit off her any more.

Yesterday I'm mowing the lawn and as I shut off the mower, she comes out. Says now I've done that, I should trim the hedge, it's a mess.

My answer: Like hell. LOL In May a friend of hers trimmed it and I've done it twice since, and was planning on waiting another week or two and then giving it its fall haircut. And I told her that too. Of course she didn't move on so it was mentioned that my kids were already back to school (hers start on Tuesday). And she says how now I should have all this free time!

My answer: Bullshit.

I've talked to other SAHM's about this and find we are mostly all victim to the "you stay home and don't do anything all day" syndrome. Do people really think we all sit around watching soaps and eating chocolate all day? We're constantly being asked to babysit other people's kids, asked to take our kids, or worse, host, a playdate. Personally I write on average two to three manuscripts a year, I volunteer at my kid's school 2 mornings a month, I am involved in the music program at my church, I give my daughter piano lessons. I walk to and from the school 3 times a day. I make many of my christmas presents and donate to the craft bazaar at church every year. Added to that I make dinner that doesn't come out of a box or a frozen tray, actually iron our clothes, and really do "spring clean" every year. I try to do things with my kids, and we all read together every night. My day starts at 6 a.m. and ends at 8 p.m. once the kids are in bed.

I am blessed to be able to stay at home with my family, but if anyone WANTS to be lazy, they can be. Just because I have time, doesn't mean I don't use it. And because my writing isn't making money YET doesn't mean I don't consider it work. I do, even though others don't. SAHM's do a lot of the things that working moms wish they could. We donate our time; volunteer, help out at schools and churches and in communities. If we didn't do that, we would surely be missed.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Off with a wing and a prayer - and my own rant

It is finished. Yesterday I finished the polishing, printed my manuscript, drove to the post office and sent it off with a wing and a prayer. I have to be honest, I have high hopes for this ms. If a rejection comes, I will be crushed. Right now I'm trying to remain rational and hope for the opportunity for revisions. It would be progress. Anything but a form rejection!

I think something most writers do is think that the latest thing they've written is the best they've ever done. And for the most part that is probably true, especially for aspiring authors. I know I improve with each ms in some way. Truthfully though I really feel this ms made a jump for me. It may not get published. But I know without a doubt that this is the best manuscript I've ever written. And there's a lot of satisfaction in that.

I am taking a week and a half off from writing. Honestly my brain needs a break and I need to get caught up on some chores that I've let slide over the last 6 weeks. My spring cleaning isn't even done! LOL I plan on recharging my batteries so to speak and coming back to the computer fresh and ready to go. I have some school things to take care of, some music/choir things to get on the ball, and movies I want to watch that I've put off. The days will go fast and before I know it I'll be eyeball deep in a new project. And I'd like to try a new fanfic just for fun. They are great creativity boosters!

Michelle Styles recently posted a "slight rant" on her blog about historical inaccuracies in a book she'd read. It reminded me of a backlist Harlequin Romance I read a few weeks ago. Twenty pages in I felt like throwing it against a wall. The story began with several pages of passive language, an info dump of backstory. It broke every rule about openings that I know and didn't even do it well. If you are going to break rules you should at least do it so effectively we don't notice! It was full of telling and not showing and one of the worst I've read. And it was written by an established author in the line. This was no first book.

If my critique partners sent me that sort of an opening, I would have immediately suggested they rework it, make the info dump into a prologue (since the backstory was crucial), and make it an active scene, not reflective. SHOW her in her previous life. Show how demonic her husband was and why she knew she had to get out. Don't tell me after the fact that she'd married a monster. YAWN. For the next 90% of the book, she remained a victim. I really wanted her to stand up for herself and show some backbone.

Like Michelle said, it makes you determined not to buy anything from that author ever again.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Reading Sessions

Last night the church music director and I attended reading sessions. Basically you go, sing your little heart out for three hours, looking for potential arrangements for your choir, then order based on your selections and budget. (Which we will do after taking our "free" copies back to the choir and giving a few a test run!)

I was in heaven. We were handed a bag of arrangements - somewhere around the number of 60 I think. It's put on by a local business and their pianist is phenomenal - sight reads and gets it all right. Pepper Choplin, a leading composer in sacred choral arrangements, was our director and he was funny and simply amazing. I would guess there were maybe 150 of us, and even just sight reading it was like singing in this great, full, capable choir! You have to understand that our choir, when full, numbers about twelve. And I'm the only one who can read music. When faced with our limitations, we don't do half bad. Unfortunately it means it's hard for us to find music because we have to keep it pretty simple. Some of the arrangements last night were stunning but took some pretty intense sight reading. HARD.

Today I have another session. It's for more Junior Choir music, which we sometimes pick for our senior choir if it's easier and appropriate. I'm excited because I actually have a small budget to consider- I'm the pianist for the Jr. Choir too, so if I find something that excites me and the director approves I might actually be able to order it! My voice is a bit tired after last night's gymnastics, though, so I'm only slightly relieved the session is only an hour and a half.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

It's still me

This is still me, but I wanted a different template. Once I get this dratted ms in the mail, I'm going to see if I can't conquer the demon known as settings and html and do some funky stuff.

Monday, August 22, 2005

School's In!

The first week is over and school hours are finally consistent. What did I do this morning? Dropped my daughter off at Kindergarten, took a longer route and ran home, then for just over 2 hours buried myself in edits. No tv. No kids. Just...quiet. It was heaven.

Walked in the sunshine to pick up daughter from school, and she had a marvelous time. And I'll make the trek a third time to pick up eldest in...oh, less than 3 hours. Hard to mind the walk in gorgeous weather.

Should I feel guilty for being glad the kids are out of the house? No way. They are much happier in school - lots of friends, cool activities, strange toys, and time away from each other. They come home tired and happy to see each other. School is a miracle!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

What's new at the Zoo?

I've been writing, steam cleaning my carpets, and getting my kids off to school. My youngest had her first day ever today, and settled right in. Not surprising.

I have finally "really" finished my first draft - I got my last chapter back from my CP today and revised that chapter. Now it's on to the edits and polishing and oh yes, that dreaded thing we call the suckopsis.

I did a word count and found out I'm just over the minimum, which gives me about 5,000 words to play with for a scene I must add in, along with some bits of emotion and clarity. All told I'm guessing it'll come in at about 54K.

I am also looking forward to getting back into a regular routine again. I am a very regimented person, so despite the fact that I'll be making several trips to and from school (kindergarten's only half-day), the walks will do me good and I will have a set schedule.

Plans are already formulating for my next project- revising half of a book I've completed and sending it to Avalon.

And THAT is what's new at the zoo.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

How do you spell RELIEF?

THE END.

I have done it. I have completed the first draft of the ms. My CP has to tear apart the last chapter, I'll work on it plus the previous one over the next two days, and then Monday, right on schedule, I'll start the edits.

I am so relieved to at least know that I have reached the end, even though there is work to be done. It has been a hard week. Monday it seemed as though all I wrote was complete crap, the self-doubt demons had a party in my head and I was sure that I was just wasting everyone's time by subjecting them to this horrible attempt at storytelling. Convinced I would never get beyond mediocre to a story that stands out. (I'm still not convinced otherwise, but at least I'm not panicking about it now!)

Then, out of the blue, someone from e-harlequin offered to look at my ms and give me an overall impression. About an hour after that, I got an e-mail from an author in the line, asking if I'd like a second set of eyes to take a look - she'd spotted my first chapter in the Romance Junkies contest and liked the look of it a lot. I took her up on her offer and am very pleased with the results. I fixed the chapter where I'd gone wrong, feeling much better about it and my ability to actually revise something completely based on someone else's suggestions while still keeping true to the story I wanted to tell. Confidence somewhat restored. It's always a precarious thing, isn't it!

Which brings me to the subject of critiques. I have had some that raved and some that made me cry. LOL And by no means do I think anyone should enter into a critique relationship where the person looking at your work does nothing but tear it down and make it malicious. But harsh critiques are necessary...even, dare I say, GOOD.

Critique partners are there to make your work better, and as my regular CP said on Monday, sometimes it's "Time for tough love". What you will learn from having someone critique your work is up to you and how willing you are to open yourself up to it. You may learn that you need to grow a thicker skin, like I did at first. You may learn where your greatest strengths and weaknesses are, how to play to one and work on the other. And like I did Monday, sometimes you learn where taking constructive criticism ends and your own confidence and instincts take over. The chapter I revised is very much a blend of the two. The end result is that you will be a better writer...and in probably much less time than it would take you if you took the journey alone.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Nostalgia

Are there songs that take you back to a certain time in your life? Are the memories warm, passionate, painful?

I put on my headphones and a playlist during my writing time this morning. I was eyeball deep in characters until I heard the opening chords of a song I haven't listened to in ages. All it took was a few bars and I was instantly taken to a time fifteen years ago. It was summer. I had my first true boyfriend. And sometime in August, we broke up.

I played this song over and over that summer. And just by listening to it again, all this time later, all the feelings of that period came back. And not just feelings, but impressions. Of working outside in the intense heat of summer, feeling the sun soak into my bare shoulders during the day as I worked in the orchards. The coolness of dew in the wee hours of the morning (don't ask what I was doing out in the wee hours, OK?). The seductive feel of water on my skin as I swam in the purple twilight.

I use my senses to evoke memories. Sometimes it's a song; sometimes it's a smell. Like the scent of fallen leaves in October, or the damp earth after a rain in a drought. The feel of snowflakes fluttering on your face - the big ones the size of your thumb. It's the only way to truly experience life instead of just going through it.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Distractions and other procrastination techniques

I am finding writing pretty difficult these days.

I am also very ready for school to start again. I'm not sure if it's boredom on the part of my oldest, but we've had attitude issues and sisterly fights the past few weeks. I've delivered various sermons and imposed several punishments.

The latest comes in the middle of injecting a scene with emotion and conflict. Here I am, trying to get the heroine's feelings across - she's torn, she loves the Hero but knows he is about to hurt her...and enter bickering children.

Deliver ultimatum: stop fighting and play nice or it's off to your rooms and taking the toy in question away. Said in very loud scary voice.

Look back at document at screen and realize I've completely lost my train of thought, not to mention the "feeling" of the moment. Smack forehead with frustration.

Other procrastination techniques: updating blog. LOL

Next up - checking e-mail. I really do better when I work on the laptop, not hooked up to internet. (Chants: discipline, discipline!)

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

You CAN fix a blank page!

I think I jinxed myself with my last post, LOL. Things sort of ground to a halt over the weekend.

I wrote 8 pages of a "black moment" kind of scene....and revised it three times. And it STILL wasn't working the way I wanted. Didn't matter how much I tried, I knew I was being way too easy on my characters. I had to make it more emotional, more angry, more desperate.

While trying to fall asleep Saturday, I said to my dh, "I think I need to delete it."

So I did - saved it to another file, of course, but re-wrote those 8 pages and it's going better. For a very long time I've been terrified of the delete key....but really it is your friend! I am not afraid to use it now. I would rather delete something and make it fresher, more vibrant, than revise until I say, "That's as good as it gets, it'll have to do."

Nora Roberts is famous for the quote "You can't fix a blank page" (actually, she's famous for a lot of things and this is pretty minor in comparison!). I challenge that in my own warped sort of way. Because revising that scene didn't inject the life or conflict I needed. What it really needed was a nice, clean, white space in which to start over.

But, um, guess what's next on my agenda? You got it. Revising that scene. :-)

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Chugging Along

I'm doing a fairly good impression of the little engine that could these days.

It's a good thing my CP is such a good influence...I've followed her example and buckled down the last few days, with fairly good results. Chapter 8 got revised, chapter nine got finished and "fixed" and I'm eight pages into chapter 10. Not bad work for three days. So the ms is chugging along nicely, we've got a long weekend coming up, and I've got everything on a disk so I can work on the laptop this weekend while my dh plays on the pc.

Of course, tomorrow we have birthday celebrations for our youngest. And we're heading out for dinner Saturday - the dinner that dh owes me for getting the request in the first place.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Positive Vibes

I'm not sure whether to sigh with relief, jump for joy, or panic.

I just received a full request from M&B Tender - 6 weeks from the date of mailing.

And, it's only 2/3 of the way finished.

Hard to be sad about that, though. And now the husband owes me dinner.

Now THAT's nice to come back to.

Bliss

I'm stealing the title of Julie C's blog a week or so ago.

I just returned from vacation. I took along a notebook and my Donald Maass book and a backlist Harlequin Romance as "work". I got half way through the HR but never cracked the cover of my others. I was having too much fun relaxing. And I did a fabulous job of it!

We went to Salmon Arm, British Columbia and camped on the Shuswap Lake. It was so beautiful! The campground was packed but beyond the trains that ran directly behind us (I mean less than 200 yards!) it was so quiet. After the first night we never even noticed the trains! We pitched our tent and spent the majority of our time on the beach. I thought of Julie as there were lots of weeds this year after the pile of rain they've had. The kids loved swimming though and my husband and I had a blast rolling each other off of our air mattresses as we floated in the sun. If this works right, I'm putting in a picture of the view from my chair on the beach when we went for our evening swim on Wednesday.


We played minigolf and took out a canoe, and spent a morning visiting a family-run cheese maker (to-die-for gouda) and then on to a local vineyard. The scenery was spectacular. They opened up just for us and I tasted probably a half dozen wines before choosing three.


So now I'm back, trying to catch up on e-mails, banking, and laundry - and oh yeah, that pesky chapter. But I don't regret taking a whole week to think about nothing but sunscreen, premium ice cream and what to barbeque for supper.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Stuck

I'm stuck on chapter eight.

Got a critique back and man, she offers very valid questions...just ones I didn't want to hear! LOL Now I'm torn...YES, I've been nice to my characters! And I know I'm supposed to make them suffer....but I did it because I'm totally setting them up for disaster in the next. Now I am not sure which road to take...so I've been avoiding the WIP like the plague.

Any and all comments welcome. I didn't just set up this blog for MY thoughts - I love it when discussions spark up! Have you had a similar problem? What did YOU do?

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

So This Is Me - Gone Global


Being the techno idiot I am, I wanted to put this on my main page....but just getting it into a post was hard enough.

After all the grief I went through, it turned out being so stupidly simple I blushed with embarrassment.

Now for the "gone global" part of the post: had a very interesting "conversation" today with a woman I've never met. A multipublished author, she offered me FANTASTIC advice on a few topics....free of charge, of course!

I don't think I've mentioned that I've never met my critique partner in person either - yet she's probably the most important person in my writing sphere. In fact, my whole writing world is based in this 8' x 8' square I loosely call my "office" (technically it's a dining room, but it has a desk, credenza, filing cabinet, kid's table and chairs and a piano in it, LOL).

What's really amazing is the willingness, even enthusiasm, of the writing community to embrace and assist other writers with the journey to publication (and beyond). Quite often as writers we're isolated...I mean really, how many of us can go to a company party and talk about what we REALLY do without either raising eyebrows or putting people to sleep? No one understands writing and submitting and WAITING (yep, back to that again) like other writers. I have "friends" from just about every corner of the world, but can only put faces to a handful. That's the power of the www. That's the power of technology.

I can't imagine doing this without it. Even if I am a little slow figuring things out. :-)

Saturday, July 09, 2005

It's all relative, according to Einstein

"The special theory of relativity was based on two main postulates: first, that the speed of light is constant for all observers; and second, that observers moving at constant speeds should be subject to the same physical laws. Following this logic, Einstein theorized that time must change according to the speed of a moving object relative to the frame of reference of an observer. Scientists have tested this theory through experimentation - proving, for example, that an atomic clock ticks more slowly when traveling at a high speed than it does when it is not moving. The essence of Einstein's paper was that both space and time are relative (rather than absolute), which was said to hold true in a special case, the absence of a gravitational field."

OK, so I sucked at physics. In fact, I never even took it in high school. I took a year of biology, a year of chemistry and fulfilled my science requirements. Physics was too much like math.

But time IS relative. Especially when you're waiting on submissions that take MONTHS.

Look at this: time must change according to the speed of a moving object (my manuscript in an editor's pile) relative to the frame of reference of an observer (me).

Why is it when faced with an unpalatable task like weekly cleaning day, time flies. But when you're waiting for something REALLY important like "yes Ms. Alward we'd love to buy your manuscript and do you have any more" or "no Ms. Alward we're passing this time but please put this behind you and work on something new", time drags. Interminably.

By now you've probably gathered that there's more to this story than general whinging, so I'll elaborate.

I sent a partial to Avalon last August. Within 12 days, it traveled from Alberta to NYC, was read, requested, and I had the hot little letter in my hands.

With all due haste I polished the full, encased it in tyvek and sent it off September 9.

This spring I e-mailed - twice - to check on it. Waiting I was fine with. It being lost was another story, and I simply wanted to know one way or another. Or so I thought.

Then, I heard the dreaded word.

SOON.

Soon. Of course. It's near the top of the queue, Ms. Alward, and should be read quickly. You'll hear from us very soon.

That was over a month ago.

When my daughter wants cereal for breakfast, "soon" means probably within the next fifteen minutes. After all, her morning is really only 4 hours long from rising until noon. But when your manuscript has been sitting on an editor's desk for 10 months, "soon" doesn't really have a timeline. It could be two days or it could be 2 months. Or more. In publishing all bets are off and "soon", I've discovered, is really quite an ambiguous word.

So for now, I guess I'll just sit back, and um, wait.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Inaugural Blog

Well, I'm doing it. I'm finally setting up my own blog. Bear with me as I work out the kinks, will you?

I'm relatively new to this whole thing, but I've been thinking about it for a long time. It occurs to me that as writers we all have different perspectives and processes, and I'm taking the leap to documenting mine here.

Cheers.