Category Archives: Uncategorized

Can-Con and Canning

So, it’s the first of September. I sat down to look at Facebook, and WHOOSH! The summer’s over. I may have ignored the garden way too much, I still need to weed the bloody sweet potatoes, but a lot of writing has been done.

I sold a Halloween shifter story to Endera Press, a women oriented anthology publisher. I’ve been asked to submit a Christmas story, as well. I pitched a cookbook to an awesome publishing group, and am twitchy waiting to hear back. I got a scary short accepted for a private anthology, Ottawa Independent Writers 30th anniversary edition; 30 at 30! But, I turned 55 this summer, can I still be in it?  LOL

And this month looks to be lining up for more craziness!

canning and zombies

This week I am canning 150lbs of tomatoes, blue plums, and hopefully beets, carrots and caramelized onions.It’ll likely take a couple friends, and a sale at No Frills (in Fall they usually sell carrots, beets, onions and potatoes at $2/10lbs.) If my sweet potatoes are doing well, I may can puree.

Next weekend, I’m giving a presentation at Can-Con on Authorpreneurship; those receipts are worth money! I’ll be talking about whether you are an employee or an indie writer, what is deductible and when, why you are throwing money away if you don’t keep receipts, why you should incorporate, when to start filing as a business (it’s earlier than you think) and more.

I love Can-Con, my local SFF convention for readers and writers. I get workshops and seminars and panels by some of Canada’s greatest SFF writers! And if you buy your tickets early, it’s only about $50 for the full three days! I have met wonderful people, like Tanya Huff (she’s back this year!), Julie Czerneda (so is she!), Marie Bilodeau (she’s now an organizer) as well as Linda Poitvin, Robert Sawyer, SM Carriere, and more.

This is my result from one of those FB quizzes. This explains why I have a diploma in Small Business Accounting, and am a painter and writer. I am renaissance woman, hear me scribble.

rightbrain vs left

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Nightmare at the airport, sorta…

This weekend was my 15th wedding anniversary and my mother in law’s 80th birthday. So my darling hubby and I were flying to Winnipeg. We expected to arrive about midnight.

Not exactly….

The first plane was delayed by an hour. So we got to Toronto with about 20 minutes to make our connecting flight. We raced through the airport, luggage piled on my lap, hubby pushing my wheelchair at top speed. We need not have rushed. Second plane was also delayed by an hour or more.

We finally get to the runway, despite the woman demanding special treatment and the old guy losing his ticket. We’re  on our way.

Oh. No we’re not.  The flight computer is dead. So we sit for half an hour while they try rebooting and trying to figure out the error messages.  Finally they decide to use a new plane. We taxi back to the airport. Well, better the waste of time than finding the computer doesn’t work at 30k feet.

We had eaten at 430pm to get to the airport in time. It was now after 11pm. I was getting both tired and hungry. And cranky.

But we get on the new plane. They’re going to have snacks. Both planes had only pretzels. Sigh.

Got to Winnipeg around 4am Ontario time. Almost 12 hours since my last meal, all of it awake and annoyed.

The airport in Winnipeg had only one wheelchair. One. There were 3 people on the plane who needed one to deboard.

430am. Finally got off the plane. Bed by 530am, 24 hours after getting up. Tired doesn’t begin to cover it.

When I’m tired and cranky I’m downright antisocial.  I’m an introvert to start with, and get peopled out really easily.

Darling hubby is one of 7 children, they pretty much all have kids, those kids are now getting married and having kids.

Did I mention the antisocial? And the tired. And the jonesing to work on my novel. Or the yule short story for an anthology.

But at least there’s wine and ice cream cake.

Adventures with Jules Verne

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Jules “Underfoot” Verne, my new cat. The underfoot is a great description of her favourite place while I’m walking. Jules is often a nickname for Juliette, and since Warehouse 13 had a female HG Wells….

Poor Jules Verne, she’s had a hard life up to now.  I am something of a cat whisperer, so I was able to figure out her short history.

From my Facebook page “I have figured out most of Jules’ back story. She is less than 6 months old, got pregnant in her first heat. She was dumped on the road near the barn 1-2 weeks ago. She had her litter but they were either stillborn or died soon after.
How did I know? She’s clearly a house cat. Litter trained, very friendly and ok with other cats. She’s skinny but not starved looking. She eats every scrap of cat food the second you put the dish down. So out on her own long enough to be seriously hungry but not quite starving. She’s deliriously happy to have found people. Definitely a tame cat who misses her home. If she was lost, she could track her way back.

It took 2 days for her dugs to fill with milk. So she’s not currently feeding kittens but was less than a week ago. She also shows zero desire to be outside. When my dad took my cat’s kittens away when I was a teenager, the cat destroyed the screen door trying to get to them.

Whoever dumped a pregnant teenage cat by the side of the road to fend for herself is deserving of the worst curse I know. May my Goddess give them everything they deserve.

FYI; I am pledged to the Morrighan, a goddess of battle, death and rebirth. I hope they come back as helpless females.

These same *unsubs taught her two very bad habits; jumping on the counter, and begging for food off my plate. I won’t stand for these, any cat I’ve had from 6-8 weeks old never does either of these. So, we started training the first day. Nothing rough, but a strong NO in my best “mom voice”, and a firm shove off of my lap.  I hope it doesn’t escalate to the spray bottle.

She seems pretty smart, leaped off of the counter at my first NO. But snuck back into the kitchen and stole the fatty back of the ham we had. Sigh, her eyes were bigger than her stomach, she left a greasy mess all over the floor.  Yeti knew better, he just stayed far away from the kitchen until it was cleaned.

One good thing, I’ll need to be sure to put everything away right away now. My kitchen will be so clean! I’m hoping she’s a good mouser, Yeti is too lazy to do more that stare at the little buggers. I may have to teach her a bit though, I tried a squeaky mouse and a ball, both times she just stared at me.

She’s got a very sweet and affectionate nature, and they’re barely hissing at each other any more, it seems more habit than actual enmity. She loves to be up high, her current fave place is on top of the video camera case, piled on top of a table in my office. From this high (3ft) ledge she surveys her queendom. And sleeps.  A lot.

She does 3 things a lot; sleep, eat and poop. I can’t wait until the chemical warfare part of the cats juggling for supremacy is over, and they both go back to covering their poop. I seem to be scooping every 20 minutes.

Speaking of which, I must go…

 

*unknown subjects, from FBI profilers manual

So, shit happens….

So, yesterday was interesting, today was frustrating.

I had a 9am appointment for a full physical. With bloodwork, so no breakfast, not even coffee or tea. I sat at a restaurant drinking herbal tea to wait for the appt.

Somewhere between the restaurant, the Dr’s office and the bloodwork, my phone got stolen. We called the only 3 places it could be, then visited in person, just in case, and then called again later in case someone working there just didn’t tell everyone they’d found it.

No luck, it is gone. We tried calling it first of course, in case it was in the bottom of my backpack, or had fallen out in the car. It rang the first 2 times, but not where we could hear it. Then it was powered down, when it should have been at 90% power. Shit a brick!

So today, in between mourning my photos, my winning streak at solitaire and my phone numbers… I called Bell to report it stolen.

Well, okay, first I tried to use their “award winning user friendly website”.  ROFLAO

The only way to report your phone stolen from Canada is… wait for it…. to call them on your cell.  Seriously.  The “talk to a representative” gets you sales, who can do nothing. Searching on “stolen phone” gets you the advice about calling from your cell. AND  the 1-800 number is not working today.

L Stewart

Eventually, I just call the sales rep and play the “get me a manager” game until I reach someone to report this fiasco to. She disables my phone, adds it to the local cop’s watch list, adds it to the nationwide Bell watch list, so no-one can change the phone # and use it. The Bell phones don’t have sim cards to swap out, they just have internal thingies. So it’s trackable. (unless it’s powered down)  Which mine still is.

But, she says it was powered on yesterday at 4:20pm. about 7 hours after it was stolen. And that my lock screen kept them from using it; calling Japan, buying a small country, etc.  Yay!

Now… I bought insurance when I bought the phone… replace it!

Nope, too easy. The reason I’ve been getting texts from Bell urging me to upgrade, is that my contract ended a couple months ago, so did my insurance.

New Note 5 phone $369.  Nope, it’s $274 at Rogers, cancel my account, and maybe my satellite TV too, I’ve been looking at Shaw direct lately. They have Crave AND Shomi!

New Note 5, $250.  Includes unlimited nationwide calling, video and chat.

Go me!   But… I have a show on Saturday, I need my Square to sell books. But this is a whole new frustration with a different company.

Square is linked to the device, not the account. I can’t switch it to my hubby’s phone until mine arrives, may not be able to switch it to the new phone.  Another email sent to customer support…

Vikings and sexy stuff

So… yesterday we went to the last day of the Viking exhibit at the Canadian Museum of Civiliza… History. (stoopid politicians changing the name to leave a footprint on history)

I went with several members of my Kindred; Norse reconstructionists and sword brothers, it’s an old religion: the prechristian faith of my northern European & Scottish/ Pictish ancestors.

It was both interesting and vaguely disappointing. I already knew most of the history and religion, but the notes on social structure and ritual were interesting. I took photos, especially of the two skulls and the burial pot. They could be ancestors of mine, we’ll never know.
skull 2

We also bought a penannular broach at the gift shop, which my darling man will be trying to copy in his forge. (see example above)

And it’s all research for my fantasy novel series! I learned new words. their own words… like viking is a verb not a noun. It’s traveling in a ship to raid or trade. People went aviking, they were not a viking.  Cool!

Also, the average age at death was 23-30 for men, slightly younger for women, likely because of poor childbirth conditions, and multiple pregnancies causing anemia and nutrition deficiencies. 60 was considered doddering old age.  Not so cool. And no wonder they married at 14, between the infant mortality rate and dying young, it’s a wonder they survived as a race.

broach and beads

1000+ year old beads and broaches set from a wealthy Noreaenner woman. (grave goods)

 

A Week of extremes…

From +17C to -20C, from grass to 2 feet of snow, from unable to walk pain to… well, less pain. All in a week.

Needless to say, my writing time has suffered greatly.  But I have new boxes of chocolate and caramel coffee, so I hope this week will be better.

Even though it’s half over.

Good news is, working in small bursts, I’ve managed to get two cookbooks ready for print proofs, and in ebooks all over the place. Except Pronoun.  For some reason Pronoun isn’t accepting my Word Headings, so I’m waiting on a response to a puzzled email.

Now Smashwords can’t find my bookmarks. Maybe doing this with a migraine is just causing extra work?

Breakdown over, we now return you to your “normal” reading…

Last week, I had a major 4 day migraine from the storm that dumped nearly 52 centimeters of snow on us in 24 hours. Then kept snowing off and on all week. That’s about 2 feet for my American cousins.

Part of the migraine was my eyes not quite focusing and my head hurting every time I concentrated. (I also smelled dead mice and dirty feet, but that’s not relevant to the story) What this meant in practical, getting shit done terms was that… well. I couldn’t.

The computer hurt my head, concentrating hurt my head, turning on the light hurt my head…. so of course, I tried to design my cookbook covers.

And utterly failed.  So. Much. Fail.

Fortunately, I have amazing and talented friends, who rode to my rescue with new covers, and adjusted them to the formats needed by Createspace, Kindle, Smashwords, etc…

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These awesome covers were designed by Fiona at BeyondtheRealm.ca.  She’s easy to work with, fast and really, really good at making sense of my artistic blathering! I cannot recommend her enough.  (book covers, posters, business cards… bookmarks?)

I’m definitely getting her to do the covers for the next 3 cookbooks; African, Celtic and for large gatherings.  (anybody know a good word for that?) And maybe crockpot specific recipes….

Little does she know, that I know she makes maps! My epic fantasy novel will have a map of the 13 territories…..  Guess who’s going to be made to read the book and help draw the stupid thing?

In the meantime, with another big storm in the forecast, I’m hunkering down with a new Anne Bishop book, and my recipe files for the Indian cookbook.  It must all match the earlier Asian cookbook in look, style, format….  But oddly, it takes little concentration.