Category Archives: other

Camp Nano… where are the cookies?

I’m joining camp Nano this year because I work best under a deadline and I want to finish Ring of Earth. And draft 2 of Nets to catch the wind, but that’s a different month.
I should be finished my currently un-named but sold short story by April 1st, so it’s good timing.  I am 1200 words shy of finishing the first draft of the steampunk-romance-mystery, and have about 6 days left in the month to make it make sense before sending it to my editor. So, I’m golden! Or silver. Or at least, I should be fine.

And I’ll be rested from what promises to be an awesome trip to Hawaii the last week of March. A wedding, a sunset cruise, a luau and fire dancing show…. and gazillions of photos!

Then May equals editing the short story and Ad Astra in Toronto. SO looking forward to 3 days of writing experts, book releases and panels panels panels!

June is hopefully draft 2 of Nets to Catch the Wind, July is the month of 1000 birthdays and maybe pitching myself to agents. August and September are getting A Ring of Earth edited to perfection so I can show it off at Can-Con in October. August is also Romancing the Capital, a romance genre writing/ reading weekend. With yes, book releases, panels and SWAG!

I feel like my grandmother; It’s March 10th, next is April, May,  June… it’s almost October, the whole year gone and nothing done!

2 steps forward and 5 back

I started transferring my website from one overpriced, gouging hack to what I hoped was a better site on Dec 11th. On Jan 3rd I finally got the new site to stop screwing me around and moved to a third site recommended by a close friend.  Fingers crossed.

Right now one site has been moved, but it’s set up to email me at my author’s mailbox. Which isn’t working because the 1st host no longer has the website, and I can’t get the 3rd site to change the email address they use without clicking on the verification email which is not working because….   round and round we go.

Good news!  I just got another review for A Test of Loyalty and Alone in the Night, my 2 NA gritty urban books.  At least, I think it’s a good review.

“I hate you, I hate you! I was up most of the night!
I could not stop reading your books… LOVE them! Love your books;”A Test of Loyalty” and “Alone at Night”. Read them real fast just couldn’t get enough… extremely well written! Seriously I’m happy I had both books … I would have been really dead not to be able to read the second one right away.”

So, next time on my struggles with tech… maybe I’ll have email because right now it’s really annoying not to. I had a book signing last weekend and another next weekend with NO WEBSITE!!

I also have books to review, and you guessed it… no website to post them to!

Nano killed me this year

I have officially given up on Nano for the first time in years. I had a good streak, 4 straight years, but this year it was not working. It was closer to pulling teeth from a live, awake and pissed off bobcat, than writing.

It didn’t help that we had a long, warm Fall which encouraged mold growth up the wazoo. Usually we have had several days of hard freeze by now, which kills off the mold. Mold of pretty much any kind, but especially cellulose mold, gives me migraines. Bold, visual, pounding, nauseating migraines. Guess what the moldy leaves and grass are made of?

Staring at a computer screen trying to force out a set number of words didn’t help either.

Neither did the pressure of a deadline, trying to get 2 books up on every imaginable platform, a sinus infection thing that may be mold related since I’ve had it for a month (same length of time as the migraine, more or less)

Now, I can hear a few fellow migrainers questioning the month long migraine and my still being able to function at all. And in most cases, you would be right. But I’ve been living on antihistamines, migraine meds, tylenol, etc. And I’ve had them for 42 years. (OMG does that make me sound old!) I started them the year before puberty hit. (That’s a bit better)

And since I have always been allergic to mold and cigarette smoke, although undiagnosed until 2003, I am accustomed to being able to function. Not brilliantly, witness my 500 word days on Nano, but enough to eat, dress, wash dishes, go to my Dr for more meds…

I end up with a “migrainey”. Flashy lights, but no real hallucinations, some light sensitivity, but not crippling. (except making coffee before 9am because the sun bounces off our neighbour’s barn’s tin roof right into my kitchen by the… you guessed, coffeepot.)

Other things are difficulty focusing; both eyes and attention, slight nausea so I munch salty things constantly, short temper and other migrainey things, just in smaller amounts.

But don’t worry about A Ring of Earth. I will still write it, just without that kind of pressure. I have someone who wants the complete, perfect manuscript next fall. So… deadline, but reasonable. Hopefully, it will be the first in a series of five books. I’m hoping to pitch it to an agent and/or publisher next year.

To celebrate my freedom to be migrainey, I will be posting a free coupon code in a few days for last year’s Nano winner, Alone in the Night. It’s a gritty, realistic look at teens from diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds fighting to survive in the worst neighbourhood in Ottawa. There are elements of sexual/ physical abuse, drugs, homelessness, and street gangs. Recommended for 14+ years

If you have not read the first in the series, A Test of Loyalty, comment and I can send you a coupon for that, too.  My goal is to get 25+ reviews up on Amazon so they’ll put me on the “People who looked at this book, also looked at this one” list.

So, see you in a few days with the codes!

Weathering the unexpected.

I woke up this morning to a prepper’s nightmare, or a dystopian writer’s wet dream. I’m not sure which part of me is dominant right now.

But both parts are shocked that Trump won! How could this inarticulate, rage-filled, spoiled baby of a man, this racist, misogynist, hate-spewing wanna-be Hitler WIN?

I am scared for the future, worried about friends in the US, and generally nervous. It has long been an axiom that “Where the States go, so goes the rest of the world.”

I love reading dystopian stories, I don’t want to live in one.

Based on the Nasdaq falling 10+ points last night, and DND having fire drills this morning (coincidence?) I am a bit skeptical of the Sunny Ways right now.

Nasdaq -10.75  /  -0.22%
Level 4,791.50
Fair Value 4,800.14
Difference -8.64

But I have strong, wise, and hopeful friends, who make me feel better about our nation.  (for those who never noticed, I am Canadian, living near our capital city. In nuclear blast range, now that I think about it.) *shiftyeyes*

Anyway, one of those friends is JD Hobbes, professional storyteller and bard, a gentle, loving and wise man.  This was his Facebook post this morning.

“Canada needs to be the strong, united nation now. The world will be looking to us for strength, for guidance, for leadership. We need to be The Beacon on the Hill.

Our leaders need to be strong and hold true to Canadian values. They need to protect us and to inspire us, and in turn, we need to support our country and keep it on the right path.

We the people also need to strong. We need to not give in to fear or hatred or intolerance. It is 15+ years of fear, hatred, and intolerance that have led to this moment.

As Canadians, we need to rise above these base emotions and work towards better solutions. We need to let compassion guide us, rather than fear. We need to consider our second impulse rather than acting blindly on our first impulse.

This is Canada’s moment to shine, to provide the example, and to offer shelter and compassion to those who need it. We have a long history of doing that and we cannot afford to be less now.

We need to be more. We can be more. We will be more.”

Hobbes inspires me to be better, to live on hope rather than fear.

AS the Late Jack Layton, beloved leader of Canada’s Opposition at his death , said “My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.”— Jack Layton

So I am going to drink my coffee, hug my ginormous white cat, and believe that the niggling fear in the back of my brain is a story fighting to get out, not a premonition.

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A writer’s best friends!

When I write, I immerse myself completely in my story. I call myself a “method writer”, Similar to a “method actor” but less annoying. (Why is my hubby laughing?)

I surround myself with tokens of that world; an intricate ring, a photo of a misty mountain, a particular scent… Then I disappear completely. Not always good for something on the stove, but great for imagery in the book.

It’s the burned offerings for supper that annoy me. I know better than to ignore something on the stove. But it happens, rarely, but always the most expensive meals.

So I have decided that these two things are my best friends in the kitchen. A crockpot and an Instant Pot. These two are programmable, useful for more than one thing, and holy guacamole, do they make supper easy!

*I get a small percentage of sales off these 2 items if you purchase them through this page. The crockpot is an incredible price! And if you buy through this page, Amazon won’t close my acct for inactivity.

Both are programmable, so you can pile everything into the pot in the morning, set the timer and ignore it all day! My kinda cooking. The Instant Pot also has 7 functions, including slowcooker. So technically, you only need the one.

I have made chicken and veggie curry in 25 minutes (from frozen) in the Instant Pot. I’ve also made broth so strong it gels in the fridge in 2 hours. THat usually takes at least 24 hours in the crockpot.

I also use them both for making stuff to can; jams, leftovers, stews…. The Instant Pot even lets you pressure can up to 4 500ml jars. Like leftover 20 minute chili?

 

Desks and writerly rituals

A friend (also an author) posted a photo on Facecrack of his new writing space. It’s the spare bedroom in their apartment, now with a Murphy bed and his desk, bookcases, laptop, etc. It’s gorgeous. It’s pristine and decorated, and the exact opposite of mine.

The left one is mine.  Jamieson‘s looks like something from a magazine.  I tell myself I’d never get anything done there, too clean, where would I put my notes? The cat says I’m just jealous. Yeah, but where are his Crabbies? Where is his ingredients for a Gimlet (and if I used the gin made in Canada, would it be a Gimli?)

I’m thinking that we could make this comparison of desks/ writing space a thing. Karen Marie Moning recently posted a photo of her incredibly beautiful writing space on Facecrack. I was overcome with the greenies. And decided to try traditional publishing for my novels, and self publish or sell to anthologies, the short stories. Like my writing hero, Gail Z Martin, (I’d love to see her writing space)! She self publishes short stories on Amazon, based on her traditionally published novels. She is also incredibly prolific!

As for rituals, well… I get up 8ish, as I have a big insomnia problem and it takes hours to fall asleep. Then I feed cats, get coffee, do email and FB until about noon, then write until my hubby comes home. Some days, if it’s really flowing, I chase him out of the living room, and continue to write.

What do you do to tell the muse it’s time to show up? Other than shower, weed the garden or try to sleep?

I’ve rearranged my living room to make an “author’s photo booth” so I can get a proper author’s book cover photo. The cookbook cover photo is fun, but not appropriate to all things.

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In fact, it’s barely appropriate for any cookbook other than the Asian one. But I like it and it’s big enough to pass the sniff test on a printer’s upload program.

BTW, both the Asian and Indian cookbooks have gone into a second printing!  Go, me! And they will soon be reviewed by a professional chef and caterer. Not sure if I’m excited or scared witless.

 

My dear hubby and I are renewing our passports, decided to go for the 10 year one, as I’m not going to get any younger.  lol

Although I must say, 55 (my birthday was the 6th) has been pretty awesome. One short story in an anthology, a publisher ASKED ME to submit another story for a feminist fantasy anthology. And the writing is coming so easy! If only the garden could weed itself.

So, that’s a view into my warped brain for this Monday. Stay tuned…

Orlando shootings, another voice

It’s been ages since I posted, I’ve been crazy busy, and the world has just gone crazy.

After my mom’s wedding a little less than a month ago, I worked a book fair, dealt with pain levels that would make a grown man sob hysterically, attended two milestone birthday parties, started a garden, had three doctor appointments, wrote a 7 page outline, adopted a stray cat, had friends over for dinner….

For most of you, that might not sound crazy busy. But I do most of it hunched over from pain, barely able to walk. I am on morphine from the pain, and some days it doesn’t even make a dent.

I got to feeling sorry for myself. I cleared 4 garden beds (well, I cleared one, my niece cleared three) and could barely move for two days. I worked at the kitchen table because it was so much closer to the coffee machine.

Then the mass shooting in Orlando put things into perspective. I live my life in pain. Some live their lives in fear. Fear of things like that slimy little turd in Orlando.

And their fear is as real as my pain, but a lot harder to fix. Morphine wouldn’t touch it on its best day.

Most of you don’t know this, but I had a foster child in the late 80’s, early 90’s. He was high school age, failing, depressed, suicidal, and GAY. Also a gorgeous person of colour.

He was being bullied so badly at school that he’d been moved from foster home to foster home because of his anger and depression. (Way to really help these kids, Asshats!)

So I got him. I adored him at first sight. By the time he aged out of the system, he was happy, creative, and had a scholarship to university. What did I do that was so incredibly different?

I accepted him.  After all, who he loves is none of my concern as long as I show him it’s safe to love. Where he puts his dick is none of my business EVER.  (Unless his partner is abusive, in which case I try to help him get the strength to leave, but that story is none of your business.)

He’s now a strong, loving, beautiful man. He supports himself, owns his own home, has a wonderful partner, acts and sings on stage, and probably still lives in fear.

It breaks my heart. And terrifies me.  My son used to go to bars all the time when he was in his 20’s. He rocked that dance floor! And any of those fun-loving people out for a few drinks could have been him.

None of them were a threat to to anybody, none of them were doing anything but enjoying a night out. I look at their eager, happy photos and cry for the loss of so many lights. So many shining ones snuffed out, into darkness.

I’ve seen a couple of people celebrating their deaths. Do that anywhere I can see you and blocked will be the nicest thing to happen to you. Excuse me while I go write an execution or something, pretending it’s one of those small-minded, foul-mouthed cretins.

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My beautiful, happy boy.