Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Music!

This past year I discovered several new-to-me artists.  I also used my standing desk more often than not.You put the two elements together and voila - happy writer. Or productive writer.But if one of those elements is missing, I struggle to put words on the page.

I let a lot of stuff get in my own way.  My responsibilities and obligations are more than some people's and less than others. It was more a matter of putting it all first. Now my stuff is a priority as well.  (You'll get the hang of it, Susan, I slowly am)

Music is a distraction for some but it motivates me.  Right now, I'm listening to Hozier while typing at my standing desk. I'm further into the current scene than I have been in weeks.  Partly because I remembered to just let the story out instead of worrying about how it all fits together. But also because I can lose myself in the music.  It keeps one part of my brain busy while another part creates.
May you find the things in life that bring you pleasure.  There's always something that will block that if you allow it but it's okay to put yourself and your needs first once in a while. Crank up the music and dance or turn it on low and let it mellow you out. Whatever suits your current mood and need.

Happy New Year, Friends!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas

I don't send cards, I wrap with gift bags and I find that I buy less and less stuff every year. I bake. A lot. And I share enough of it to feel like I'm not overindulging. It's good to have illusions this time of year.

My favourite gift - to give as well as receive - is the gift of presence.  The nieces and nephew get to pick one day out of the year that is devoted to them and them alone. We eat what they want to eat, spend the time however they most wish to spend it. They don't have to share with their siblings or parents. The day is theirs and we build memories. It's difficult to wrap so I occasionally hand out gift certificates or make a little toy or item of clothing.

I had tea with a dear friend yesterday and neither one of us could remember the presents from our childhood, apart some big earth-shattering gifts, but we remember family, goofy moments and food.

Boy, do we ever remember food. Oranges, apples, Toblerone and those sticky ribbon candies. Shortbread, Hello Dollys, and fudge. Tortieres, stuffing, and turkey basted with scotch. Cooking disasters like gravy made with baking soda instead of corn starch, scorched potatoes, raw turkey because the oven died on Christmas Day (the only time we grilled a turkey on the BBQ) .

What's your favourite Christmas memory?


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Surprise!

I'd love to say that I finished the rough draft of the wip but that would be a lie. It's close though.

I've just been overwhelmed with a restless feeling for the last five or six weeks. I've scrubbed my house, finished up lots of little projects, started some others and focused on purging stuff.

A lot of it was mental. Somewhere over the last few years my self-image had eroded. Chipped at by other people's needs, it lost all semblance of familiarity.  My identity had been reduced to that of other people's context.  I let go of the things important to me in order to do what desperately needed to be done for those I love. My time was spent on their stuff instead of my own. I saw myself in terms of other people instead of myself (except for when I was feeling sorry for myself)

About two weeks ago, I ran face first into my past and the life I thought I always wanted. It hurt. Holy smokes, the pain reverberated throughout my body.  A giant Toblerone and smaller chocolate cake later, I took a good hard look at what I'd done to myself. I was fixated on what I didn't achieve instead of all that I have accomplished.

I like who I am now, at the life I've built for myself over the years. Yeah, there are some things that need tweaking and my self-image was terribly skewed.

As I've rebuilt it, I've been reminded how much I like my own company. Odd, that. I won't list all the things that are admirable or amazing about me. Some of you have been telling me those things for years and I've ignored you.  Suffice it to say that I do like who I am and the choices I've made.  Some of them were shaky but made for the right reasons and that's important.

Intent counts.

All the reflection and re-evaluating has made me a better writer. I looked at my characters, at my scenes and realized that they were all moving towards a goal they didn't really want but thought they should.  That breakthrough is a game changer for this story and the reason I can say I'm close to the end of the rough draft.

Art and life are interconnected. You can have one without the other but it is so much better when you have both.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Little things

Because there have been so many overwhelming things demanding my attention, I've focused on little things.

Emptying the sewing basket of items in need of mending



Reclaiming a cast iron pan




Replacing the clasp on my bracelet



And adding sentences one or three at a time to the wip.



How do you cope with large demands?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

come hither

I've been problem solving some serious RL issues. There wasn't anything left in my brain between that and work. Yesterday, I got some excellent solutions in place. And last night, my brain played with the penultimate scene in my story. I have some heavy commitments over the next two days but my notebook will be with me. The imagination beckons. What a relief!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Dufferin Islands

I was sitting in the sun, waiting for a good friend and her wonderful husband to stroll through the Autumn leaves. This tiny flower was beneath my hand.




This was my view.



Breathe deep, my friends, the air is restorative.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

George

This is a piece of fleece I brought home from Rotmell Farm where Granny was born almost 150 years ago.



He got a bit felted in my luggage so I put him on top of Granny's cabinet filled with yarn. The pictures over him are from the Visitor Center in Dunkeld, just down the road from the farm.


Monday, October 13, 2014

cutwork

I've enjoyed seeing things anew in my home. They're all there because I like them but I don't always see them.

This is one of the end tables. The photo is one of Jon Gustafsson's, the rock is from Iceland and the cloth reminds me of Grandma Fenton's lace work. It isn't hers but I do like it.



I'm a big fan of cutwork.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Whats the story?

My great-uncle (he really was great) made these two boxes. He used them in his workshop. The top one has hinges to hold pages down so they don't get caught when you close the drawers.


Yet, with all the care and precision  that went into the chests, the handles are slapdash. That's not like him at all and I really want to hear that story.





Saturday, October 11, 2014

sheep

This arrangement sits on my vanity. The rocks and thistle are from Dunfermline, the sheep is from Edinburgh. He was supposed to be a souvenir toy for Ky but I like him.



Look at that face


Friday, October 10, 2014

Horseman

I've had this guy sitting on my dresser for years. Sadly, his head won't stay on not matter what kind of glue I use. He really is the headless horseman. Ba dum bum.

Imagine my surprise when I went to Scotland, to the home where my great-grandmother was born, and saw a headed copy of my horseman. Freaked me out, but tickled me too.

More often than not he has one of my bracelets  draped around his neck.


Thursday, October 09, 2014

Houses

I've kept this picture in my kitchen for years. I used to want to live here.


Now I want to live here



Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Kyanite

I walk by these three specimens repeatedly throughout the day. This stone is how my dog got his name. His legs reminded me of the black kyanite in the front. The blue is easier to find. The big piece was from a good friend. A Welcome Puppy gift. His grey had a hint of blue when he was young so it was appropriate.


Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Pretty blue

I walk past this weed every day. It lurks at the edge of the garden and brushes everyone on the sidewalk.  I think it actually helped the tomatoes grow so I don't pull it. It's very pretty. Chickory?


Monday, October 06, 2014

Right in front of our eyes

The biggest note I have on the wip is DETAILS.  All those little things involving the senses that flesh out a story and give insight to a character's emotional, physical, mental state are vital.

It occurred to me this morning that there are hundreds of details right at hand, part of my everyday life, that I ignore or take little notice of.  Every day this week, I'm going to post a picture of something that I either walk by, sit beside, use every day that gets next to no thought from me.  It's my way of remembering to include the details and small touches in the story.

This is the sleeve I put on my cup of tea every morning at work.  I bought it in Whistler in 2010 a few weeks after the Winter Olympics left town.  I likely paid a third of the peak season asking price. It's pretty and I love the swirls of ice from one activity to another.





Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Change of pace

Two and a half weeks since I lasted posted.  Hard to believe that much time has gone by.  Nothing weird or exciting happened but nothing bad either so that's good.

I spent one long afternoon walking along the Niagara Parkway from Dufferin Islands to the Tesla statue by the Victoria restaurant (or whatever it is called these days).  It was a week day so the tourists were minimal.  The air was crisp and clear, little wind to blow the mist around and the bright sun to dry out the clothes.  There were a few spots I stood where the rush of the river was so loud it drowned out all thoughts.  That alone made the day perfect.



I sat under the tree right here, my favourite tree, and actually wrote for a while.  There were lots of problems with the story but that day I remembered some key elements about my characters.  I let the fresh air and scent of the water fill my soul while my brain absorbed everything around me. I made two pages of notes on the setting.  Silly, really, because this story never goes near the falls but the connection to nature is very strong, elemental.

It is good to take yourself out of the routine, hie off to a change of scenery.  While it might be familiar, you never know what you might find. I found peace, the germ of an idea, and wild yarrow growing at the edge of the falls.



Sunday, September 14, 2014

One GREAT thing

Another rough week. Ky ate grapes which are incredibly toxic to dogs.  48 ours on IV to flush his kidneys, lots of drugs and time spent running between the emergency vet clinic and his regular vet.  Honestly, it's been a rough four weeks for pets around here.  The great news is that he not only survived but seems fully recovered. He also got over his aversion to being crated. As he typically destroys every crate/cage he's entered, this is a very good thing.  All of the human food has now been hung from the ceiling or cupboards like we're cacheing for bears.Whatever works.

I have a great reason for low word count this week. There wasn't a lot of sleep happening here until Friday.

Today, I printed off the document, settled on the couch with Ky under one hand and Eliot on the other.  With the race on in the background I fleshed out two scenes, about eight pages.  More importantly, I was able to see, and fix, the problem that's been staring me in the face for the last couple of weeks. Let's hope the solution lasts.  As the distraction is gone, I imagine productivity will return.

I've had to cancel my vacation and next week's kayaking tour of the harbor but listening to Ky breathe, feeling his soft fur beneath my fingers, even smelling the clinic smell on him makes it all worth it.  One look at the shaved forearms and I know how blessed I am to still have him in my life.

Grapes bad.
Emergency vet clinics very good.
End of story.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Sports writing

I'm not sure why I'm surprised to see my Twitter full of authors watching sports.  My first year of college, we were required to cover the local hockey team for the cable station.  First year students were cable runners.  I argued that I knew more about the sport than the guy on camera two.  He didn't know where the blue line was or why it was important. Aside from the fact that it's a giant line of blue painted right onto the ice, I was offended.  It took months for me to convince anyone that my point was valid. I showed up, pulled cables and discussed team strategy in the pre-game meeting. Because I had paid that much attention to the game, I was pretty good at anticipating what certain players would do with the puck once they got it.

Eventually, I challenged the guy on camera two (who went on to be a brilliant cameraman in LA so it was only hockey that failed him) to a quiz about the game. I managed to convince the teacher that IF I was  the winner, I could take over camera two. I won. Hands down. Then I set my sights on colour commentary.  Part of it was the challenge, part of it was true interest.  Of course, I ended up in the booth.  Feedback to the station was remarkably positive.  I say remarkable because my voice is not suited to on-air.  There was no disputing my knowledge.

None of that would be necessary today. Women have come a long way when it comes to sports broadcasts.  It was always ridiculous to assume gender had anything to do with knowledge in any field.

So why does it surprise me that so many romance authors love sports?  Few of them write them.  The bias still exists in publishing.  But I've been tweeting back and forth with a NASCAR team during the races lately and my head is spinning with a story idea as a result.That tends to happen no matter what subject I'm interested in - stories are everywhere. It doesn't mean that I'll do anything with that idea. Although...I do have NASCAR story started in the older files on my computer.

How do you feel about sports in romance novels?
Cars going through inspection at Indy 2013


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Hiccups

I got stuck a lot longer than I expected. For every two words I threw on the page, I erased three.  It was ridiculous.  I knew it was temporary but something really hasn't worked the past couple of weeks.  Some of it has been external, some of it has been medication but some of it was internal.  Every night I lie in bed and think about my characters. I think about where they're going and how they're getting there.  I'm not stuck in that regard.

Two things trigger writing for me.  Music and water.  Water in a glass to drink or water outside my window for me to stare at.  Water clears my mind. Music fills it with other stuff so that I can focus on the scenes I need to write.

Today, I realized that my solution for the external story conflict was really good but possibly not the best one.  The other thing is the isolation in which both characters live. It''s important in the beginning but as the story and characters progress they are getting out more, interacting more and the external conflict would be a lot stronger if they pulled on all their new connections to defeat the antagonist. They are not the only ones affected by it.

The good news is that writing happens - even when words don't reach the page every day.

In other news, I've been watching a live feed from Iceland.  I tend to check it out to get a feel for the country but have been fascinated by the view of the volcano.  Bardarbunga2 shows the magma and ash plumes.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Creativity

It seems I'm always doing something creative.  I'm not a big rule follower so that hampers my productivity at times.  I write in layers. I sew by hand.  I mesh patterns together to knit a sweater.  I use multiple media when painting. I mess around with depth of field when out with my camera.  I'm not sure any of that creativity would support me (hence the library job that I love) but for the most part they make me happy.  

I'm struggling with layers of writing right now. Yes, I do put butt in the chair every day.  I throw a lot of words on the page but I'm most effective when I step away from the story and work at something else. My brain often needs the distraction of other colours and textures in order to work through sticking points.  

One good thing about feeling sub-par is that I've spent a lot of time reading and watching television.  Storytelling is storytelling regardless of medium.  The best way to become better at one's own craft is to study the best.  I've recognized the emotional punch that facial expressions can convey.  Those are easier to pull off in picture but the right words in a specific order can make me cry.  I'm a big fan of great dialogue.

Right now, I'm stuck on "The first face this face saw."  I'm up to date on Doctor Who thanks to a dress that needed to be finished for my niece's birthday party tomorrow. I hope she likes it. (it's scrunched for photography purposes)



What's your favourite dialogue?


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Imaginary friends

Eight years ago, two writers got together to write outside their genres. They wrote a blog every day for a year talking about creating a fictional world that gave equal weight to romance as well as adventure. He wrote military thrillers. She wrote romantic comedy.  Their collaboration was fascinating. People followed their journey, commented on it all  - even the accidental blank post. Great friendships were born in those odd little comment blocks.

It started benign enough.  "Oh, my dad was in the armed forces too."  Moved up to "I'll be at the conference the week the book drops" and culminated in "Want to all meet at a hotel before the book signing?"  It's not that unusual.  People meet through the Internet all the time.  Blogs, forums, Facebook and Twitter all unite people over a common theme. Sometimes, despite the kid's fear of you meeting people who would harvest your kidneys, they meet in person.

It's not a good idea to tell the border guards that's where you met your friend. It's inconceivable to them that Americans and Canadians can be friends. I'm not lying when I say I met them at a writer's conference.  But I knew them all well long before we met.  Now they are some of my closest friends.  In fact, those friendships weren't without precedence.  I met Elen through Joann Ross' writing group on Yahoo.  And that turned out beautifully.

All of these wonderful people have enriched my life immeasurably.  In the beginning, we were relentlessly silly. Then real life encroached and we shared all that entailed.  When one of us bought her first house, twenty of us flew west, drove north (or south) and threw a big housewarming party.  We even hung a picture over the fireplace, identified trees in the yard, bought a grill and cleaned up after ourselves before we left.  We've attended funerals, cheered grandbabies, told silly stories and awful jokes as we took turnings by the bedside of one who had fallen ill.  When one of us didn't show up virtually long past the usual routine, one of us even called the police from her home in the South to check on the friend in California.  And that's how we found out one of our family had been rushed by ambulance to hospital.  We made sure she didn't go home to an empty house but ensured she had food for her and the critters throughout her convalescence.

But the group is more than doing nice things for each other. Like any family we have our differences. We have agreed to disagree on many things but I love the amount of respect we have for each other's opinions.  One of our big gatherings was around the time of a presidential election.  There were some generalizations about opposing candidates and their supporters. But then we realized we had a microcosm of that in the room and the generalizations fell away. No one switched allegiance but understanding the why of choices and decisions went a long way towards working together on issues.  It never ceases to amaze me how much common ground there is between all that opposition.

When we first met, we ranged from a high school student to an octogenarian.  Our social spectrum has always been broad.  Children grew up, went to school in foreign lands, got married, had babies of their own.  New people still find us.  We're not exclusive though it takes a bit of time to understand some of the jokes and how most of us got our call signs (or whatever you call your Internet name).  A lot of our shorthand dates back to the early days from the original site.

As a group, we've moved twice.  The authors disbanded their collaboration, their website no longer exists.  Then we lost the ability to comment on the new home.  It's also no longer online.  Somehow the spam monkeys still managed.  We gave them a band and found our current home. It suits us well. We built it ourselves with rooms for all the private conversations, the ones about meeting places, passages and plans.  We have a barn for the menagerie filled with critters that have become part of our folklore. We have everything you could need to decorate a blog or throw a party.  We are silly, kind and supportive.

They know how much I appreciate each and every one of them.  I know that it is mutual. People have wandered off over the years but most of them come back.  We're just too entertaining to leave behind forever.  Those who have left through no choice of their own wrench a little piece of me.  They leave a hole in our family.

One of the beauty's of the Internet is that things are rarely lost in cyberspace.  So they live on not just in our hearts and minds but also the comments.  We are left with her smile, his silliness, her recipe, his poetry.  And the knowledge that they touched someone far outside their usual circle of friends. We may not have all met in person but their friendship was far from imaginary. It was real, tangible and treasured.

I know that most of you reading this have imaginary friends, people you've met on the Internet. People who fill your life with wisdom, gladness, advice, criticism, challenges, support and celebration.

Today I raise my glass in a toast to the people who created the Internet and those of us who have filled it with life.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The importance of good things

This past week has highlighted to me the value of taking stock of good things. It's not that they magically make the pain go away or alter the course of life. But they give me something else to focus on when the challenges feel like too much to bear.

Most of you know that I lost Milo on Thursday. It was a long day and I'm still not used to the silence when I enter my bedroom. He'd been living there for the past year as Eliot was keen to challenge him at every turn.  He always greeted me with a quiet little meow.  My niece came over and helped me rearrange the bedroom.  It's weird.  My room has looked like that for seven years. Milo just had his nineteenth birthday.  We had a good run together.  No matter how badly he wanted to eat Yoda he never did because he knew how much it would upset me. His body quivered with the effort of subduing his natural extent but he did it - for me.  One minute he'd be purring and the next moment I would pull back a bloody stump because he'd had enough touching.  He chewed his own nails rather than let me cut them.  I've been cleaning out drawers and boxes looking for my favourite photo of him.  He's sitting beside the pond watching the fish.  He often sat out in the garden but only if I was there with him.  He wasn't interested in roaming.

Milo was a stray who lived at the shelter for several months. I was in there one Saturday after hours counting money from a charity car wash I'd organized.  My neighbour had killed my cat a couple weeks previously and the staff was determined to send someone home with me. I was resistant.  I wasn't ready. But Milo had stopped eating and drinking, was curled up at the back of the cage just waiting for the Big Needle he was scheduled to receive on the Monday. When I went to meet him, he ran from the back of the cage and flung himself onto me.  Both paws went around my neck.  When I went back to get the dog, the two of them fell asleep side by side. All of my objections were pointless. We never looked back. 


While the news has been full of sadness, there have been some great moments of people reaching out to each other sharing good memories, funny anecdotes and ensuring their friends are okay.  The kids and I have shared our favourite movie clips, belted out the soundtrack from Guardians of the Galaxy and eaten too much popcorn for dinner.

I have no great words of wisdom, no insight or advice.  I'm doing my best to focus on the good in my life. That's what works for me.  That, and belly rubs with the dogs.  If you don't have a dog, I will share my pup.  He's wonderful.  If you're allergic, find a warm body you adore and engage in full body hugs.  It won't fix everything but it sure doesn't hurt.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Interview with Brenda Harlen

Full disclosure - I've been friends with Brenda Harlen for a long time. Our friendship predates her writing success. She is one of my critique partners and a brilliant motivator.  The woman's production and ability to focus is incredible. Whenever I flounder I picture her hunched over her laptop and get back to the process. We may root for opposing hockey teams but our friendship is definitely a good thing.

Whether you've been a fan of hers for years, or are just new to the wit and romance that Brenda writes, I hope you enjoy the following interview to promote her latest offering in the Engaging Garretts series.

You've written thirty books for Harlequin.  There have been a lot of changes over the years.  What's had the most impact on your career?
I’m not even sure I can answer that question. The publishing industry has changed so much in the past ten years with more and bigger changes coming, including the recent acquisition of Harlequin by HarperCollins Publishers. However, I’ve been fortunate in that, despite all of the changes, I’ve been able to work with the same fabulous editor (Susan Litman) for each one of those thirty books, the first five under the “Silhouette Intimate Moments” imprint before I started writing for Special Edition.

How does writing continuity series like the Montana Mavericks affect writing your own series? 
Sometimes participating in a continuity can pull me out of the flow of another story, because the deadlines for writing a continuity are much more inflexible. Also, there is regular communication between the authors and editors, particularly in the beginning when we’re trying to polish our story ideas and development of characters. On the other hand, it’s sometimes a nice break to focus on something completely different and outside the parameters of my own fictional world. Either way, I absolutely love participating in continuity series and “meeting” and working with other authors. This year, Montana Mavericks is celebrating “20 Years in the Saddle” and I’m thrilled to be part of it. (My book—THE MAVERICK’S THANKSGIVING BABY—is 5th in the series, coming in November.)

There was a really good interview with you at The Reading Frenzy recently about the witty dialogue you write.  It's something you do well.  Does it come naturally to you or is dialogue something you struggle with?
 It’s always flattering to hear that something about my writing resonates with a reader/reviewer, and I guess I’m lucky that dialogue does come fairly naturally to me—the rest of the writing, not always so much J

What's your typical writing day like?  Do you have routines that need to be met in order to produce words?
I’m not sure any writing day is typical . . . however, my usual routine is morning coffee, checking email, Facebook, Twitter, more coffee, then settling down to write. Working from home can be distracting (and often non-writer friends and family don’t think of writing as work), but I’ve learned to treat it as a job and assign myself daily deadlines to ensure that I stay on track toward my real deadlines.

You've created these wonderful little towns like Pinehurt, NY and Charisma, NC where the characters have formed real communities that interact and overlap.  It's wonderful to see previous characters living out their happily ever afters.  What prompted the move to NC? 
The answer to this question is a little embarrassing, because the truth is that it was a lack of planning that prompted the move. When I wrote ONCE AND AGAIN, my very first Special Edition, I made up the fictional town of Pinehurst, New York. The next few books had some connected characters, so I stayed in Pinehurst. But by the time I wrote the first three “Those Engaging Garretts!” books, I found that I had to go back through all of the previous books set in Pinehurst to remember the location of the hardware store or the name of the street that a character lived on. For my own sanity, I needed to move on—and this time, I started with a town map.

In A WIFE FOR ONE YEAR, Daniel marries his best friend in order to access his trust fund to buy into a stock car racing team.  Your Facebook followers know you're a big hockey fan, is the same true for motorsports?  What kind of research did you do to prepare for Daniel's career as a car owner?
 When I was a kid, my family used to go to Merrittville Speedway every Saturday night to watch my cousin race his stock car, but I was never a fan of professional racing. However, when I decided to set the new Garrett stories in North Carolina, I knew that stock car racing could not be ignored, so I decided to do some research. I started with books and websites, but a friend of mine (thank you, Keziah!) suggested that I should do primary research and, when we were in North Carolina recently, we visited the front office and shop of an actual NASCAR team. It was an amazing and informative experience—and a ton of fun. (Thank you, Becky, for the tour and the answers to so many questions!)  

Is that a world we'll see again?
 For sure! Now that my editors have approve an extension of the series, I can assure you that Josh Slater (Daniel Garrett’s partner in Garrett/Slater Racing) will have his own story with the stock car racing world as an integral part of the background.

Wife for One Year is available now at the bookseller of your choice. Or you can post a comment to win your own autographed copy


Sunday, August 03, 2014

Lots of good things

Milo is still around. Just when I think he's done, he perks up, starts eating and drinking again. He and Eliot have managed to tolerate each other. Ky doesn't care care as long as he gets his belly rubbed.

Writing has been a slog but I've stuck with it. I figured out how to trick my printer so it's all printed out. It's been easier to work with that way. The words are less pedestrian.

Creativity is flowing fast and free around the house. We scored a great deal on spray paint today. My car will look fantastic when it's done.

What's your week been like?

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Another weekend of house/dog sitting

I prowl the house when I'm writing.  I always thought I was hungry and often snacked when doing so.  Now that I'm paying more attention to my eating habits, I realize I'm ravenous for ideas.  I'm looking for words, for scenes and emotions to move the plot along in a way that will entertain readers.  Chocolate, chips and raspberries fresh from the garden don't help much, especially when one of the characters doesn't eat.

The other thing I've noticed is that the horror story came out of me in full scenes. Dialogue, setting, emotion, action and plot were all there from the first word to the last. Romance is disjointed.  I write it in layers. No scene is complete and I hop all over the chronology of the story.  I have no idea what that says about me but I'm making peace with the process.

This is another weekend where I'm holed up without Internet - or gasp, chocolate - so the word count is higher. I'm working in layers but the change in surroundings has helped me settle down to the task at hand.

Here's one of my writing spots today.




Yes, the dogs were happy. They are so easy to please.  Their prowling usually is food-related though.  The only words they care about are ball, food, treats.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Mental wanderings

My daily writing goal has doubled in the last week.  It's been easy enough to meet - once I stop whining and just sit down to do it.

That sums up my life well.  Cleaning, cooking, shopping, exercise - stop whining and do it.Most the whining is internal, "I don't want to".  That takes up a ridiculous amount of time and energy so I've been focusing on why I like to do things. For the most part, simply meeting my goal provides a great deal of satisfaction.  That motivates me.

It turns out I've lost 30 pounds in the last five or six years.  It still doesn't feel like it. A lot of my clothes are tight but it is gratifying to know that I'm headed in the right direction. I don't weigh myself. That often ends badly - with me dunking cookies in a vat of ice cream. Not really, but the visual is how I perceive it.

I'm downsizing stuff in the house.  Letting stuff go mentally. And allowing myself to appreciate how much more valuable people are to me than things.  I've made the effort every couple of days to interact with friends and family at least three times a week. It requires me to think past my own circle of bull.

I'd rather have a hippopotamus.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Pets and writing, oh my

Over the weekend, I managed to write seven words shy of 5300 words.  That was impressive. Then I didn't write again until today.  As it was, I had to force myself to turn the computer back on.  I'm glad I did, another 2180 words appeared.  Like magic!  Okay, not really but they were good words for the most part. I'm building something. That takes a lot of work.

It's not fair to blame the Supermoon but a lot of people I love and adore had a rough time of it the last few days.  Lots of feeling unworthy.  Lots of beating up on ourselves.  And everywhere I looked people reminded each other of at least one good thing in their lives. Coincidentally someone sent me the results of a study in which people with pets were proven to be happier and healthier.  I'm continually surprised that there's a whole world of human beings who doesn't know that as gospel.  Sheesh, they need a cat. Or a llama.  But not an elephant.  They don't make great pets.

I read a great book by an author I really enjoy but she had the vet heroine heal an injured wild turtle. The turtle went back into the wildness of the heroine's front yard but showed up at her porch every night for fresh strawberries.  I enjoyed their interaction - until the heroine brought the turtle inside and stuck him in an aquarium.  Yes, she was definitely following the above philosophy of pets making one's life richer but turtles aren't domesticated. It pulled me right out.

What takes you out of a story?

Saturday, July 12, 2014

writing retreat

Ky and I are house/dog sitting. We were promised wifi but no one can remember the password. This means I will have to write to amuse myself. And maybe play in the yard with the dogs. It's a deep yard. The ball travels a good distance.

I couldn't find the kettle but a pot of boiling water did the job. I left the story abruptly the other day because I had to go to work. I usually leave a note about the scene's purpose. I didn't have time and I can't quite remember. But my characters are sitting on a lovely verandah and getting to know each other while they wait for me.

My co-worker, at the library!, was shocked that one person could write so many books. I think she was shelving James Patterson. Even when I said it was his job she was still surprised. What amazes me is that she doesn't read. It's a good world that has room for both of us.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Personal identity

I remember being eight years old and boring the ever-loving hell out of my parents by reading aloud my ongoing revisions on a short story.  One of them begged me to wait until the final version before reading to them again. 

I have written for as long as I can remember. I was always off-the-wall and out of synch with the rest of the world.  I wrote in a Doctor Who universe decades before I watched a single program.  I liked fantasy, mystical and the unexplained. My art work rarely used the colour wheel appropriately.  The worlds of my imagination made utter sense to me.

I am continually amazed that my family is impressed/shocked/amazed that I'm writing. Except for the two years when I believed someone who said my writing was dull, I have written every day of my life.  Every. single. day. Not because I'm dedicated or disciplined but because there are stories in my head and the only chance I have for rest is to write them down.While I do care that others are entertained, my primary focus has been to satisfy my own curiosity. I am consumed by it. 

Why haven't we cured cancer when there are so many cures for lab rats?  Why are some cultures shocked by certain behaviours but not others?  What is society?  Why do we tell stories?  Why do we believe in religion, deity and science?  How do emotions works?  Why are some people wired one way but not another?  Which wiring is right?  Why did that lady have tribal art all over her face? Who was the soldier waiting for?  If love is the answer, why does hate often win?  Are the animals laughing at us?

There is a reason I consider my personal symbol a question mark.  Answers lead to more questions but tell them to me well and I will be satisfied.  That is a very good thing.



Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Writing plan

I spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to figure out why the pond is leaking - again.  I couldn't find the source so I ran some algae all over the waterline then filled the pond up. It's still holding seven hours later so touch wood that it continues to do so.  That time using my brain in one way helped me use it creatively in another way later in the day.

Only 800 words written today BUT I figured out some very important plot stuff. One of the reasons it takes me so long to write is that I have very complicated plots with lots of science.  I love science. I was never good at it in school because of all the math. My brain doesn't naturally mesh with math. Not because I'm a girl but because I'm dyslexic with numbers. The more numbers involved in anything the far more confused I become and the higher the probability that I will fail in that task. 

Things are moving along. I'm figuring things out, letting the science lead me to some good conclusions.  Once I'm done the rough draft of this, I'll begin implementing the career plan. I have a Plan A and a Plan B.  It's taken months of conversations with experienced author friends to come up with these two plans.  I'll let you know what they are when the time comes.  We live in interesting times as far as the publishing industry goes.  There are so many options.  At times, I've been overwhelmed with the options.

Here's another spot from which I wrote while in North Carolina.  It was almost the perfect height, similar to my standing desk at home.


Sunday, July 06, 2014

I've run out of good titles

It took all week to write 1200 words.  I got lost in a few things like a cold, definitions and botany.  One of my favourite bands actually helped me figure out everything but the cold.  Rest and honey tea are taking care of that.

One good thing about a cough is the core workout you get. Hey, little things.  They make all the difference.

The security guard at the hospital yesterday was wearing an orange Netherlands tee-shirt. He's Italian but says his neighbours and in-laws are Dutch so now that his team is out of the World Cup he is orange.  Then the pharmacy was showing the game so that security guard brought me up to speed on what I'd missed.  You know, humour goes a long way to helping people through less than pleasant experiences.  Granted, I wasn't in distress to begin with, but they did make my day a lot more pleasant. 

Friday, July 04, 2014

Hidden blessings

One good thing about someone using all of my store brand vapor rub was that I was forced to make my own. I mixed some coconut oil with camphor rub. That stuff usually burns my skin. The coconut oil prevented that.

Summer colds suck but it was a light work week. I've watched lots of sports and finished the back of the sweater I started during the Winter Olympics.

I've had a lot of quiet time this year. I guess I've needed it.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Diversity

I am incredibly grateful to live in this wonderful country that celebrates diversity in all forms.

I am more grateful to have a Thundershirt and Rescue Remedy to help Ky through the fireworks others shoot off in celebration of the national birthday (or Tuesday, cause really some people don't need a reason)

I'm grateful for honey harvested by the bees at a winery. It's kept my throat coated, and tasted delicious. I picture all the happy bees dancing their way up and down the vines.  Sometimes I suspect they're intoxicated, their wiggle dance is so much more erratic than usual.

I have a great imagination. That holds me in good stead most of the time.

Last night I dreamt about what it was like for Indigenous People to celebrate the anniversary of the end of their true way of life.  It was an interesting perspective and I need to talk to my friends who would know so much more about it than I do.

Diversity is for everyone. We need to figure out how to hold true to that philosophy without overriding anyone else's beliefs.

Vineyard honey, anyone?

Saturday, June 28, 2014

little things

I just can't seem to catch up on my sleep. Fortunately, I wasn't needed anywhere today. I noodled around with some research. I went off on a tangent that led to a dead end. It was actually a good thing as I know have a much better sense of my characters' character ;)

I came home to several bars of Icelandic chocolate. That was a pleasant and completely unexpected surprise. Of course, that's what surprise means.

A nice low-key day today leaves me in good stead for a really busy day tomorrow. I'm sure it will be interesting.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Exhausted

One good thing about such a long day is I am tired and will sleep well as a result. That's is all. Today, that is enough

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Lots of good things

1,679 words were good today. It took a significant portion of the day to amass them but most of them are worth keeping. I put out a few personal fires while writing today so those words are even more precious. 

It is possible to think of at least one good thing a day. It's easier in summer when the mulberry, strawberry and gooseberry all bear fruit. It's easier when the rain barrel is full, the weeds are under control and the pond fish are self-sustaining. 

I'm working on walking or using the elliptical every day.  I have a plan for when I run out of Doctor Who episodes.  I've indulged in too much chocolate since I came home from last week's writing retreat slash vacation. 

I'm appreciating every moment I have with Milo. He is too thin to bear, and eating little, but seems content to spend time with me.  He has been my little panther for too many years to count.  I've made the effort to enjoy him now rather than obsess about how much longer we have.

There are a great many deep thoughts running the maze of my brain. Most of them are good. I'm contemplating which open doors to walk through now that one has closed. I am blessed to have options. I am blessed to have people I love and who love me.  I am blessed.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Natural good things

Today's 1, 228 words were hard won. It not only took a long time to get back into the writing groove now that I'm home from North Carolina (even the smells are different) but the laptop was acting up after its little dive off the buffet yesterday. However, it seems fine now. Phew.

Another good thing was the last walk we had yesterday.  There was a very tall tree laden with yellow flowers on the last corner.  Because we had lost our companions, we stopped beside it.  I heard this hum and looked up.  The tree was dancing beneath the weight of thousands of bees.  We moved under the drip line and closed our eyes to listen more closely.  The hum rose and dipped in waves like a song. I wish I'd had my camera so that I could have recorded it.  Far better than a good thing, it was and experience.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Fantastic

We hit the motherlode for research today.  The people we met were helpful in unexpected and generous ways. Our entire day was spent driving across state to visit a NASCAR race garage.  Then we spent two and half hours soaking up information, taking photos and learning so much.

I promised to keep the photos I took private so here's one from the Botanical Gardens.

 I have no idea what it is other than beautiful.

We got home to more people, very short delightful grandchildren.  They just filled the evening with joy, awe, games, stretches and a unique vision of everything with which they came in contact. 

Great day. It's going to be hard to go home and back into the normal routine.  But I have a great foundation for this story, even if I did only write 599 words today.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Photos to come

 We spent most of the hot humid day indoors writing. I had a lot of research to do.  If I don't understand how the science is going to work then I can't do it justice.  I've been writing around the lack of knowledge but today was the day I had to do something about it. 

I'm not sure why all that information: research, medical studies, chemistry and botany made sense but today is the day if finally gelled. And it gelled beautifully. I have come up with a fictional cure for cancer that actually makes sense. I had to create a strain of fern that doesn't actually exist - but that's the beauty of imagination. 

Then my hero ran off to meet some characters I didn't know existed until he went to the North Carolina Botanical Gardens.  I was there the last time I visited North Carolina but couldn't remember which trees grew near the ferns. So we went on a field trip.

Only a bunch of writers and their generous, accommodating hostess would venture out in 102 degree heat to walk through a garden. I took hundreds of photos.  It will be some time before I make it back there and wanted to be sure to capture as much of the terrain as possible. I haven't even looked at them.  We went out for dinner at the Carolina Club.  That's the first time in years that a young man has given me flowers, let alone a red rose, over dinner.  It was a nice gesture. 

Another lovely day with great people, good conversation and productive writing. Today's final word count was 2,012.  Not too shabby, all things considered.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Daily word count

2,356 words today.  My critique partner(cp) counts her productivity by pages.  That's just under nine and a half pages for me.  Not too shabby considering how much time I spent avoiding the one scene.  Nymphs are tricky to write. They don't live by a code that is necessarily understandable by human standards but heck, I wrote a sympathetic demon. I'm up to the task.  I did a lot of research.

It was 98 degrees outside today but I was writing in the basement (it was the most private space in the house).  I froze.  I actually had to take a small walk around outside in order to equalize my body temperature.  It was a good day.

I wrote for a bit this morning in my notebook then hopped out of bed when my other cp knocked on my door to go for a walk. 7am and the air was already oppressive but we enjoyed ourselves.  We got to pet a golden retriever and its hound companion.  Great start to the day even if it wasn't Ky.

We had grilled salmon, baked potatoes and a salad for dinner. I am being spoiled here in North Carolina.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Writing progress

2,000 words and 1,122 today.  I'm pleased. Not only am I getting some words on the page but I'm falling in love with these characters. 

We've had lots of fun, too.  Shopping, good meals, taste-testing gin and wine (not together!) and great conversations. It was 97degrees here with which this sheltered Canadian struggled. 

This was my view yesterday
 And this was today's


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Good things

I found all my notes for the NC story including the conflict - and its resolution. Then I wrote close to 1,000 words before dinner.

Dinner was a group effort with amazing women, one husband  grilled squash and two types of steak. We ate the food, drank the wine and enjoyed the human company. I may have edited a friend's email for awkward sentence structure.

Father's Day with my dad and I in separate countries was weird but he k.ows I love him no matter the geography. He's never cared much about Hallmark Holidays. Still, it's nice to be told you're appreciated. He really is.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Outdoor goodness

Full moon on Friday the 13th. It is beautiful. The rain stopped and the clouds cleared in time to see the gorgeous astronomical event.

My wild rosebush is in full bloom filling the night air with its fragrance. Instead of snapping photos, I just tipped my head back and drank it all in.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Ripple effect

Politics and controversy aside, I love Fifa World Cup. Not only do I like sports, particularly soccer, I like the crazy fans who make Canadians appear disinterested in hockey. Soccer is incredibly colourful in many ways.

The Opening Ceremony today made me smile. So many aspects of Brazilian culture and heritage on display alongside its incredible nature. From the first distinctive drumbeat to the last, Yoda was dancing on his perch, literally shaking his tail feathers. It's the same reaction he has to the animated feature, Rio. I thought it was all the birds, his people, but now I suspect it's Brazil.  His joy is contagious.

Then the entire stadium sang the Brazilian national anthem and I was moved to tears.

Pride is a good thing. Joy even better. Though neither were mine today I basked in the emotions of others and was better for it.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Sparkly good things

This is my friend's jewelry page. She does beautiful work that makes both of us happy. She loves making it and I love looking at it, touching it and trying it on.

These are the earrings that came in the mail today.



I won them at Nancy Herkness' Launch party for her latest book. Aren't they pretty?  Nancy's books always make me smile.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Productive

I've been blog absent for the last few days. Not because there weren't good things happening but more because I couldn't think of them at the end of the day when so much less than appreciated stuff occurred.

Today though was much better. Ky's vet appointment not only cost less than I had budgeted but more importantly the vet suggested we hold off surgery until the Fall. The lumps are growing quickly but they're most likely benign.  We can leave them so that Ky can enjoy the summer. He does like to swim down at the lake.  So we're going to do that.

My mom is doing better now that she's in the hospital and getting IV antibiotics.  It's much less of a worry.

On the writing front, I finished the edits on Casey's story.  Wheee. I also looked at a ridiculous number of photos from five years ago. The more things change the more they stay the same.

I rewrote a scene for the horror story.  There was a good suggestion to flip that scene around so I did while I picked up milk and bananas.  It will be even better once I put it onto paper.

AND - I found the outline for the North Carolina nymph romance.  What a relief.  I'll have no excuse when I'm at the writers retreat next week.  Every day will be filled with good things. I'll be surrounded by amazing women (and a husband or two) who write, support writers, read books.  I anticipate a significant amount of laughter to go with the profound thoughts, brilliant stories and wine.

Tonight it will storm so I don't have to water the garden.  I'm charging all the electronic devices now so we're good to unplug everything.  It's nice to have fairly reliable weather forecasts.

Now if only I could stop stress eating.  At least the cookies and squares are gone.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

I am Canadian

Can't talk. Watching hockey. I don't care who wins. This is fast-paced end-to-end hockey at its finest.

Friday, June 06, 2014

Reading

I've been so tired the last couple of days that after work all I did was read. I didn't write, I didn't cook. I did a spot of cleaning, a load of laundry and binged on Doctor Who. I made the transition from Ten (goodbye David Tennant) to Eleven (hello Matt Smith). I also caught up on Brenda Harlen's back list. We're critique partners and working four books ahead of the one that just came out this month. I forget what happens, yet she sucks me right back in to the stories and in love with the characters. That's good writing.



E

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Romance

Today was one of those days. I did manage to spend most of the day with writing buddies. That can never be a bad thing. It not only makes me a better writer but a better person as well.

A quick stop at Chapters Indigo was a treat. All of the sales associates were enthusiastic about books, romance in particular. That's a refreshing change. I've never understood the bad rap that genre gets. Far more people fall in love than commit murder.

Then I came home and watched a sweet movie About Time. It had just the right tone to counter balance the disappointment of part of my day.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Pleasant day

Today was great. I finished the penultimate draft of the horror story and sent it off.

The shower was caulked, the leak sealed.

I made plans for our writers meeting tomorrow - and some brownies.

I won earrings at a book launch. The place I belong is the last in Nancy Herkness's Whisper Horse trilogy. Not only does she have the most beautiful covers but her characters are engaging.

Hope your day was pleasantly filled with good things.


Monday, June 02, 2014

Gardens, writing and dogs - oh my

It was so hot and humid outside today. The wind is strong so I've got all the windows open.  Eliot has lain on all of the windowsills. Ky and I played ball while the rain barrel filled the watering cans.  We have 7 tomatoes coming!  The gooseberry bush is laden with berries, the strawberries and raspberries are covered in blossoms.  And for the first time in seven years, the peony is going to bloom.

I have one last run through to do on the horror story in the morning before I send it off to be critiqued by a horror writer.  Then I must resize all of Casey's photos so I can format his story while I'm in North Carolina in two weeks. After that, back to writing romance I go. I'm a happier person when I write Happily Ever After. I suspect the lack of romance, hope and the belief in the goodness of humanity are wearing on the global psyche.

Either that or everyone needs to toss a ball for their dog.  Such joy is contagious.




Sunday, June 01, 2014

change of plans

Two yards of mulch were spread in the garden and play areas. I don't feel the least bit guilty about popcorn at the movie this afternoon. Because Mom wasn't feeling well, we skipped the book festival. That freed me up to meet my friend early.

X-Men. Worth it. That is all.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Yards

The day started with more fantastic customer service at Telus. I need to send them a letter praising the efforts of Eric and Erica(I know). They weren't able to transfer my contacts but did retrieve and print them for me.

I spent the afternoon spreading mulch. Then I watered the garden from the rain barrel. It's great to see the vegetables growing tall and lush.

Tonight, I helped friends with their new fire pit. My entire yard would fit on their patio. At one point there were five pockets of people gathered in five distinct and separate areas of the yard. The stars and mosquitoes were out in full force. It was fabulous to reconnect with a friend I haven't seen in almost ten years.









Friday, May 30, 2014

Great things

In a day fraught with nightmares, headaches (literal and metaphorical) and sideways solutions, I've managed to stay in a surprisingly good mood.

I'm not sure why other than the fact that I'm able to look around me and see that those nightmares weren't real(no one is trying to kill me accidentally or on purpose), there are drugs for some of the headaches and technical support for the others. Sure, I'll have to make another trip to the store, and I bought coconut water instead of coconut milk for the brownies but those things are fixable. I have several recipes that call for coconut water. It won't go to waste.

Getting back to acknowledging One Good Thing has been a great thing. It's helped me retain some perspective on life. 

Also, someone brought chocolate into work. That helped.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Nature

So many good things today.  I loaded Emile Sande (you might remember this song from the closing ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics).  With her on my playlist I inputted twice what I had planned to accomplish today.

Then I went outside and played in the garden by the pond.  I spent two hours weeding, moving plants around and it doesn't look like I did a thing. At one point, I climbed into the pond and scooped out all the rocks that had slide in over the winter. Ky took that opportunity to wash his ball.  He made me laugh so hard.  I wouldn't throw it for him so he dropped it in various plants.  I tossed it out of my way.  It landed in the composter. He's afraid of that thing.  Eventually he climbed onto the window boxes stacked beside it and gingerly reached down to pluck it out of the black beast.He's quite the problem solver when his ball is part of the equation.

I watched a video today of a man playing Blackbird on his guitar in the backyard. A crow came to land on the neck of the instrument.  Crows fascinate me.  They are so bright, so inquisitive. And they don't require a ball in order to reason out the best course of action.  Most people associate crows with death, a group is called a murder, but I associate them with intelligence and personality.  They're brilliant.

So nature was my wonderful thing today.  No doubt about it.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Good thoughts to understand

We had an Internet problem last night. One good thing about my virus concerns is that I ran a scan, cleaned up some other issues and now that the modem has been fixed, the computer runs better than ever.

Because I was afraid the system was compromised, I didn't write today. Instead, I read while the computer ran the scans. I pet the dog and cat, chatted with the bird and used the elliptical a bit longer than is normal for me.

I also poked around in the garden by the pond and shared overgrowth with a friend. In return, she shared some of her pond plants with me. We had a good visit, some supportive conversations and shared chocolate. I've been eating too much of it.

Another good thing was the realization that I'm not eating as poorly as I think. I'm not happy with the quantity for overall the quality is actually pretty good. So, cutting myself some slack here. Also realizing I'm so tired because I'm taking my medication a bit late in the day was another good thing.

The breeze has been cool today - and lifted the scent of lilacs straight up over the porch and into the office. A very good thing indeed.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Girls

Today was Ride your bike to work Day so I did. While Miss Gulch managed to ride her bicycle in long skirts I managed to tangle mine in the chain on the last turn home. I'm sure I was quite the sight wriggling out of my dress from beneath a caftan. Once we took the guard off we pedaled the dress off the chain.  There was minimal damage to the lovely summer gown.

I shrugged back into and set out for a garden center. Such a delight to traipse around there with my nieces. Their mother wanted to fill planters around the pool, I wanted some vegetables and the girls didn't want snapdragons. They thought I was silly for liking such a strange flower.

All in all,  a good day

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Exploration

I've had company this weekend. There was wine, great conversation and a couple of hikes. We've explored rockslides and waterfalls, philosophical and metaphysical topics and talked into the weekend hours. He is as dear to me as my own nephew. His family and mine are as connected as two families can be without being related.

It has been a good weekend. The wine was tasty too.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Fragrant blessings

It was pouring rain this morning as we headed out to the nursery. As we unloaded the wheelchair in the nursery parking lot, the sun came out and dried up the ground.   We tooled around the yard and greenhouses making our choices. Dad hates hostas, Mom loves them. We didn't get any but they bickered all the while. It was good-natured and amusing. In the end,  we packed around the wheelchair and filled the back of the van with flowering fragrant flora.

It was fun. Now our front flowerbeds are weeded and home to our bounty.

Then the rain returned and saved me from watering.

A good day all around.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Rewarding

I'm happy with all the feedback on the horror story.  It's tooling along grossing people out. Now I have a horror writer who is willing to read it with a critical eye. He'll get it next week and I'll go back to writing romance.

I've been researching different phone options for house and mobile. By the end of the summer the landline will be gone so I needed a really good cell plan. The only service provider I've ever had is Telus. Today, they rewarded my loyalty by giving me the plan I wanted within my price range. That is good customer service.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Artistic goodness

One good thing about chauffeuring DNe to a mutual friend was getting to hang out with that friend for an hour or so. Even better,  mutual friend showed us some amazing original art he just inherited. A.Y Jackson, Will Ogilvie and group of Seven contemporary Charles Comfort. Google them. They are incredible Canadian artists and to see original artwork was indescribable.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Holiday Monday

One Good Thing about making today my day to stay home(gotta love long weekends) was the fact that I spent some quality time testing the futon mattress. It's under the window by the mulberry tree. A squirrel and Eliot had a tail twitching contest.  That never fails to make me laugh.  I know it's a lot more serious than it appears but there's a screen between them and Eliot always checks my reaction. Just like he still jumps on the bird cage, hangs then then falls back to the floor even if I don't yell his name immediately. He's posturing. I'm still a cat. You can't take that away from me by keeping me safely indoors.  I wouldn't dream of it Eliot.

Fireworks are stressful for Ky. I wasn't home last night but I dosed him with Rescue Remedy and cinched him into his Thundershirt Thanks, Stashaholic for the info.  Apparently, he tried to burrow beneath my mom.  I stayed home tonight and he lay at my feet(doused in Rescue Remedy and the Thundershirt). I think the squeaky cable of the elliptical helped dim the sound of the fireworks.

Lots of writing this afternoon. I struggled through a good portion of the day but once I put on the music I associate with that section of the story words came to me.

Enjoy.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Bittersweet

It's been a busy few days. I've sorted through some bins in the attic, picked up the futon and paired some fabrics to make new covers. I'll keep the current cover but like to have backup for wash day.  Eliot was hilarious while I put the wooden frame back together. He lay beneath it with his legs wrapped around the bottom rungs. As I spun the bolts one way, he tried to spin them the other.

Yoda had a bad case of Tourettes tonight. He kept screaming out various phrases. His "I love you" was guttural and grudging. Something set him off. He kept repeating "it's okay". He didn't sound convinced.

Tonight we had the final bonfire on the property that has hosted a good portion of my adult life. There were fireworks in the distance and an owl hunting close by. There was laughter and the bittersweet sharing of memories. There was a strong sense of peace as well as the certainty that it was time to move on to the next adventure.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Dance in the rain

Another rainy day - another three hours spent hacking at weeds and stuffing branches into brown paper bags. We're having a bonfire this weekend and I want to take all of that with me.

For some odd reason - not that I'm complaining - the dogs and I were quite silly today.  We played ball outside in the mud.  I scooped either thousands of tadpoles or millions of mosquito larvae (I suspect a combination unless it was just different ages) out of the pond. I should go see what my good fried Goo-gell has to say about which it was. Casey likes to chew on the rose bush branches, unmindful of thorns. Ky just wants to play ball.  Why not?  It's just mud and water.  I was going to have to wipe their paws anyway.

A friend poked me repeatedly on Facebook. She poked. I poked and so it went until one of us called Uncle.  Clearly, neither one of us had anything better to do.  Still, it made me laugh.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Garden lesson

Good things have happened but so have storms that made me disconnect everything that plugged in, including the router.

One good thing about the rain is that I haven't had to water the plants. It's also made it easier to weed the beds. That said, I did break the hoe this afternoon. Apparently dirt had migrated to the stone border so I hit a rock, ot three.

I dug up the rose bush that has been dead for three years. I noticed the roots weren't pulling out of the ground, or off the wood, easily. They were still alive. And just at the base, a couple of leaves the size of my fingernail had sprouted. I cleared away the weeds, dug a deeper hole and gave it a few encouraging pats.

Later I told my cousin who is recovering from a horrible accident in the winter. I suggested she be like the rose, lie dormant and allow her body to heal. Then I smacked myself for not taking my own advice. In the time since I was told to put my elbow back in a sling and stop using it,  I have weeded two garden beds, pruned three rose bushes, the mulberry tree, cleaned the pond, baked a carrot cake, oatmeal cookies and turtle brownies. I have not worn the sling, nor have I rested the elbow. I'm afraid of being dug up and thrown in the compost bin.

That didn't happen to the rose bush. It won't happen to me.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mothers

There's a lot more to mothering than giving birth. Society tends to ignore that and place emphasis on the physical. There have been a lot of years when I felt like I was lacking in my contribution to the world because I'm not a mother. I did not bear children.

Now that I'm at the age where my friends are becoming grandparents, it's easier to ignore that attitude,
and the false sympathy,from other people. One good thing about aging is the ability to stop caring what other people think about you and your choices.

I wrote a really long blog in my head about mothers and the various forms they take, about love being a vital component but common sense shouldn't be forgotten either. It was witty and wise, full of profound observations. I'm ditching it to say this -

Happy Mother's Day to everyone who has ever shared fully of themselves, their hearts and homes to give shelter, protection and life lessons to a vulnerable being who needed safety and acceptance. Who cares if you gave them life? You've helped them live.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Quiet

One good thing about being sick all day is that baking the carrot cake for dessert tomorrow night didn't tempt me in the least. It's iced and in the fridge.

It's been a quiet day settling my stomach. Ky has stood guard over me all day. He's a good dog.

Friday, May 09, 2014

Eureka

My green yellow confusion was clarified tonight when I was talking about cucumbers and lemons. I need less citrus and more soothing cukes.

We went to the homemade market. So many pretties.  We left just in time to avoid the intense rain storm. The clouds moved quickly and dumped tons of water. It was exhilarating. I love a good storm provided everyone stays safe.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Contrast

I just spent an hour brushing out the side of Ky that faced me. He hates it but sat fairly still while I did it. It's a soothing process for me which is a good thing as the day has been stressful.

I think the appeal of  Game of Thrones is the satisfaction that comes from yelling at the screen.  They're all a bunch of nasty work. I promised someone I would give it the first season to grow on me. I'm not sure rooting for characters to die a horrible death is the best way to spend my time.  But then, I've done just that in my own story. Rocks. Glass house.

So that's a good thing - realizing that no matter how bad my day has been,  it's divine compared to the Starks'.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Flowing with the tide

I got some housecleaning done - had to make room for all of the plants.

Plans to dye my hair were postponed when we couldn't find any. That turned out alright as my friend's fiance wanted to take her out for dinner. I ended up playing chauffeur.

The rain held off. The rain barrel is back in position and one small section of the yard has been tidied.

For some reason I'm thinking yellow but seeing green. I should pay attention to that. I like green.

I'm halfway through edits on the horror story. Phew, though it's only going to get nastier as I progress. Still no Reader volunteers. I don't blame you.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Synchronicity

In the attempt to cut back on expenses, I've been shopping around for the best (for me ) cell phone plan.  To that end, I called a friend of mine who uses Wind. He says it blows then admitted to going for the joke over accuracy. He said coverage was limited as they don't have a lot of towers but they're expanding all the time.

From there we talked about his downsizing at home. I'm going to take some of the plants as it was always my job to turn them in the window. He asked if I needed any furniture which I don't. In the course of his list of things headed to kijiji, he mentioned the futon couch. He has that as well as a futon mattress. I have a frame and have been looking for a mattress - very difficult to find sold separately.

About an hour later, I mentioned to a mutual friend that he was moving at the end of the month. She asked if he was selling any of his vehicles. Oddly, yes he was. Her daughter's car died today, irreparable.

One phone call, three happy people. Pretty cool,eh.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Family

One good thing about waking up two hours before the alarm was the quality time spent with DNe. Yoda was screaming his head off,  Milo repeatedly pawed me in the face and I was cranky as hell. Then DNe put Eliot in the bathroom alone, took Yoda out of the cage and calmed everyone down.  That's usually my job and I was glad to have someone else take care of things.

This afternoon was full of good words that moved through the first two sections of the horror story. I'm going to need a reader who likes horror to run this story past. Volunteers?  Yeah,  I don't know anyone in that demographic either.

The evening involved some serious movie time with my nieces. Lilo and Stitch for the third time in the last year. It's no Frozen, thank the gods. It appeals to the idea of making our own family. That resonates deeply with the little ones. Plus Stitch is fluffy. And Elvis. The girls LOVE Elvis.

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Right words

One good thing about being unable to sleep is that I got some editing done on the horror story. Things were happening too fast. I need to slow down the action while maintaining the tension. With all that time staring at the ceiling in was able to put some ideas together.

I can't say I like this story - it's psychologically disturbing - but I do like how it has revitalized my writing. I'm back in a schedule filled with enthusiasm for finding the exact turn of phrase. Painting with words using broad brushes and fine details as the story warrants.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Woman's best friend

I had a good afternoon with my mom. We went to a dog show. There were puppies, fluffy dogs and great Danes, hounds,spaniel and Bouviers. There was even a Dogue design Bordeaux pup (think Turner and Hooch).   Apparently, Leroy was a foxhound. They are known for their noses leading them astray.

Oddly, there was also jewelry. Mom bought a lovely green necklace and earring set.

It was nice to come home to our own slavering beasts.  They are spoiled rotten, listen when they feel like it and both are in dire need of grooming but I adore them.  They are wonderful companions. End of story.

Friday, May 02, 2014

Laughter

I was feeling sad - watched a Paul Walker movie and he was fantastic and my heart broke all over again - then I watched Big Bang Theory. It always makes me laugh (this was Howard and Raj internet kissing ).

Funny thing about This One Good Thing Blog. Life sucks. There's disappointment. Heartbreak. Horror. That doesn’t change or disappear just because something made me laugh. But it does give me a boost so that I carry on.  And laughter is rejuvenating.  Even - dare I say it? - better than chocolate. Nah, that would be pushing it

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Hidden blessings

I am resourceful and kind. I am aware of my flaws but also my attributes.

The first day of May,filled with promise. I didn't see any fish when I was cleaning the pond but I suspect they're down at the bottom, breeding and waiting for true Spring.

Being outside in the fresh air, clearing away winter's debris, was a good reminder that not only do the seasons turn but so do our lives. Things may feel dark and full of despair but there are delightful surprises hidden if you're able to look past the shadows. Mushrooms grow in the dark. I like mushrooms. Mmmmm, stuffed mushroom caps.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Sunshine

Someone I adore gave me a magnet that says Instead of waiting for the storm to pass, learn to dance in the rain.  Oh great goddess, it is raining but the good thing is how much I do love to dance.

Yellow is such a cheery colours. Rain-splashed daffodils are not diminished by the gray clouds. Beauty can be found anywhere if you're willing to look - even in your own reflection.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Odd connections

It rained most of the day. I had planned to go out and work on the yard but it was nice to lie in bed and listen to the rainfall. Eventually, I migrated to the living room and the couch to finish reading my book.

From there, it was the office, Dr Who and the elliptical.  Funny thing about that is how my brain is using that time to work on my own story. The first draft is done and now the fleshing out part commences.  I'm still fiddling with a change my critique partner suggested for the ending. That makes it difficult to work on the beginning - except it gives me some excellent foreshadowing opportunities.    Once I've settled on the end, in my head at least, then I can weave some of those hints into the beginning. 

Apparently the elliptical sounds like a washing machine. Perhaps some oil is in order.  Or not. It sounds productive to me.

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