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!