Thursday, March 31, 2005

Report on yesterday's work...
So I spent yesterday afternoon editing and surfing the Louvre website. Why the Louvre, you ask? Because my heroine (late 18th century, French) looks at the hero with his wet shirt molded to his torso and compares him to a statue she's seen *g*. Now I just have to FIND the right statue! I did find a couple and had a great time travelling through the various sculpture rooms at the Louvre. Much cheaper than a flight to Paris, though I'd still love to visit it in person some day.

The editing isn't going as quickly as I'd like *sigh*. I keep getting stuck for words - there are quite a few that need changing. When doing my first draft, if I can't find the exact word I need, I just use whatever comes to mind, put square brackets around it to remind me it needs tweaking, then keep going. That process works well for actually getting the story out and completing the ms, but it's a bit more of a pain when I have to revise. I spend a lot of time at Etymonline and

Last night I went off to my local writers group meeting. It's been going for well over a decade now - I joined about five years ago and it's a nice complement to my RWA chapter. The writers in my local group represent all spectrums - poetry, non-fiction, novels (literary and commercial) and short stories. Last night we heard a short story, a piece of satire, the first chapter of a literary novel and more from a family history. I read my 1pg synopsis + 1st page of my ms (for the Pro-Retreat entry). Also, I passed around my copy of FDin30D :-)

Oh and on Tuesday night, quite by accident, I found a little detail for my ms about how streets were lit in Paris in the late eighteenth century!!! Was so excited. The book I found this tidbit in is The Making of Revolutionary Paris - doncha just love when info falls into your lap like that?

Enough blogging - back to the editing!


Look how much snow disappeared since yesterday! Yay - almost ALL gone. Now we just have to hope for no more snowstorms (it does happen here in April with alarming regularity.) Posted by Hello

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Assorted Wednesday Thoughts....
First - hope you enjoyed the photos I posted earlier this morning :-) I LOVE my digital camera!!! And how easy it is to post to Blogger via Picasa. Everything outside will look so much nicer in another month, but even so, it's wonderful to be able to see the grass and my plants. Most of them seem to have made it through the winter. The ones up front are doing even better. Now I just have to hope the snowdrop bulbs didn't get moved by the squirrels. Should know that in another two weeks or so.

Remember I mentioned the other day about not wanting to look at my first three chapters because they were entered in a contest? Well, I finally had to break down and do it yesterday. Arrrrgggghhhh - I found one typo, some repeated phrases and the same verb used twice in the first three paragraphs on page 1. *pout* Oh well, just have to hope the judges are somewhat forgiving, at least about the typo. As for the rest, well, not much I can do about it now. Except correct it in the final version.

Have been doing more work this morning on forms for FDin30D. Gives me lots to thin about. But this afternoon I have to turn my attention to the editing process proper - as in making changes to grammar etc. Have been neglecting that since finding FDin30D and if I expect to have this ms ready for Reno, must spend at least a couple of hours a day working on the nitty gritty elements as well as the overall story stuff.

Am glad to see Blogger is back up and working today. It was frustrating not being able to comment yesterday. Now if my allergies would just let up a bit, I'd be a totally happy camper :-)

On with the editing!

George checking out the herb garden - his first trip outside downstairs since last autumn. He was thrilled :-) Posted by Hello
View of the century old school house nearby (now a community centre). It looks even prettier once the trees are in leaf :-) Posted by Hello
View from the upper deck - March 30, 2005. Not quite time to plant the veggies yet *g*. But at least the snow is almost gone!! Posted by Hello

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Is anyone else...
having problems with Blogger's comments feature today? I've been trying to leave comments for both Màili and Lynn, but blogger just won't let me do it *sigh*. Guess I'll try again tomorrow - maybe this is a sign to stop blog-hopping and get back to work!!
One more Lindt bunnies...
Kate - no gold bells :-( Just little brown ribbons, labelled unsuitable as toys for children below three! Not that we have to worry, though I won't be giving the ribbons to the cat either - LOL!
Short blog post today...
I'm exhausted - didn't sleep at all well last night and am barely functioning. Found out about the special offer for RWA Pro members attending the PRO Retreat in Reno, so am using what energy I do have on my submission for that.

Got some work done on forms yesterday and found that even as I was typing in questions from them, my mind started whirring with answers. That ol' coffeepot again *g*.

Am not sure any if this is even coherent at this point, so I'll be quiet now.


Monday, March 28, 2005

I'm not the only one blogging on FDin30D....
First there's Lynn at Road to Writing, who led me to the book in the first place (thanks yet again, Lynn), then there's Sheri, and Florence. Anyone else out there? I'd love to hear from you :-)
Slow to blog today....
Not sure why - I think it's because after weeks of sunshine here, it's very dreary this morning - cloudy and drizzly. Not that it stopped George the cat from demanding his breakfast be served out on the deck *g*. Crazy kitty. He's definitely feeling all better :-) Hope y'all enjoyed the photos of him!

Yesterday I tagged and traced my synopsis for my current ms. Interesting exercise. I found I have a lot of subplots (well, I KNEW that, just didn't realize HOW many) and lots of romantic tension - good thing as it's a romance novel =:-O I definitely discovered a couple of spots where I needed to make things more clear.

Of course what I'm avoiding doing is looking at the first three chapters, as the first 30 pages have been entered into a contest. Am worried I'll find typos/missed words and obsess about the judges thinking I'm an idiot. Which is mostly stupid as _I_ don't do that when I'm judging, but there are judges out there who do seem to pick on the stupidest things. Maybe I can convince my dh to read those pages and let me know if I can print them with impunity and send them off to the agent along with the synopsis. Hmmmmm. I might have to offer him some of my Easter chocolate *g*!

Other than tha, I think today I'm going to spend some time entering more stuff from the book into WriteWayPro - forms and such. And those forms I can't recreate in WWP (it doesn't do tables) I'll do in WordPerfect.

Teresa (munching on the dark chocolate Lindt bunny given to her by her loving husband - he knows what keeps me happy!)

Sunday, March 27, 2005

More exploring! He's CERTAIN someone has been encroaching on his territory!!! Posted by Hello
George exploring to see who visited the deck overnight! Posted by Hello
George on the bed with his wiggle mouse (it vibrates when you pull its tail!) Posted by Hello
More things I like about First Draft in 30 Days
#1: The Creative Coffeepot
Karen talks about this in Chapter One and puts into words something I discovered years ago while taking piano lessons - that the subconscious mind is a powerful thing, working on something when you don't even realize it. This all falls under the first step of an outline - brainstorming. I LOVE to brainstorm, so, needless to say, was thrilled to see it given so much prominence in this book *g*.

#2: The variety of books she uses to illustrate her points. From Tracy Chevalier to Colleen McCullough, William Goldman to Michael Crichton, Emily Brontë to Sharon Sala and Agatha Christie to Scott Turow - she finds ways to draw on a multitude of sources so as to maximize her point that this method can be useful for writers of any genre as well as ensure that those new to writing will instantly recognize and relate to at least some of the books. Does that make sense? I hope so *g*.

#3: She provides lists of helpful questions and/or tips to ask/consider throughout the writing process - for example, on page 87 you'll find things to consider when incorporating character sketch info into your outline.

#4: The worksheets provided are both detailed enough to be truly useful, yet also adaptable to any genre AND easy to reproduce on your own computer, using either your wordprocessor or even a spreadsheet programme.

Still not sure? Don't forget to check out the website - the FAQ is a great place to start :-)

Kitty feeling better!!!
Yep, he seems much more like himself today. What a relief. He's normally so healthy that it was really scary to see him walking so slowly and barely able to jump. But today he's almost normal again. Ran up the stairs from the basement, trotted around on the deck and tried to get out the front door. His late brother was sick a lot, so it never surprised me, but George has rarely been ill, so I was really concerned at the sudden change. But whatever it was, it seems to have run its course. Phew.
Thanks to Emma, Larissa and Lydia for pointing the way:

You are .ogg Even though many people consider you cool and happening, a lot still find that you're a bit too weird to hang out with.
Which File Extension are You?

The above pretty much describes me. Emma's right - the accuracy is amazing!! Though I prefer "eclectic" to "weird" *vbg*.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

If only animals could speak.
So, my afternoon went differently than I'd planned. Instead of writing, I was taking care of my kitty. He seems to have a little virus - the vet said to keep an eye on him, but not to worry too much as long as he kept eating (which he did). We have a great clinic - they are very helpful even over the phone. He seems a little perkier since I gave him tonic lax, a little Iams, then lay beside him while he slept. And he purred when my dh got home (he'd not purred before that which had me worried too). If only he could have told me how he was feeling. And if he's feeling a bit allergic too, as he has a bit of goop coming from his eye. Just hope he's ok - he doesn't like the car, so we don't want to have to take him to the emergency vet, which is even further to drive to than his regular one :-(
And finally today, thanks to Karen Wiesner for including my blog on her First Draft in 30 Days website, along with Lynn's.

Unfortunately I didn't end up quite getting done yesterday what I'd hoped. After going to the gym I decided to take a walk as it was such a gorgeous day, then was busy with some critiquing for a friend.

Maybe today, once I'm done listening to Jesus Christ Superstar (I play it every year at Easter and sing along while my dh is out) I'll do some more writing work. Any other JCS fans out there? I've known it by heart since I was a little girl - my mum was a big fan of it as well and I'm pretty certain over the years we must have worn down the grooves on that old record album *vbg*. Not only is my dh not fond of musicals, but I'm not blessed with a great singing voice, so figure it's always safer to sing along when I'm by myself =:-O

Report on blog Buddy

So far, I'm really liking this programme now I'm used to it. Only thing I don't like is that there's no "Save" feature, so I always worry that if my computer freezes (which does happen from time to time when I overtax its resources *g*) that I'll lose my blog. I thought I'd made bB itself freeze the other day without having copied and pasted my very long post into another programme for safekeeping. So if its developers happen upon this page, I hope they take note *g*.

Other than that, it's really a great way to blog, as long as I don't want to post photos, which normally I don't. And I really like that I can edit previous posts from bB, that's really convenient.

So if anyone out there is looking for a basic programme that allows them to post directly to their blog, I recommend blogBuddy - visit the website for more information on which blog services it supports.


Responding to Màili re TdvC

In response to my blog about The Real da Vinci Code the other day, Màili posted a longish comment. I'm quoting it below, and will respond to it in parts. Màili's comments are in italics.

" [...] the author's insistence that all of the history is based on fact. And it's not. As an author of fiction, it is just asking for trouble."

I must be a freak because I don't see it that way at all. I see it as a part of an old storytelling tradition, e.g. fireplace stories. As in, "I have a story for you, and what I'm about to tell you is the truth ... "


Hmm, well, not the quote that I saw. He was shown saying that ALL the historical societies etc were based on fact. It has been known for years that the Priory of Sion is a hoax.

It demands your attention, belief and faith, while the fact that he or she says that opening line tells you you have to understand the story is a mixture of creative lies, half-truths, twisted interpretations, and facts. It's down to you - as a listener [or in Brown's case, reader] - to determine which bits are true and which aren't.

So, with that in mind, Dan Brown did his job. And did it well.


Well, except that a lot of people just took it ALL as fact, believeing his revelations to be true. As a historian, I hate to see people misled in this way, but I guess, in the end, it's up to them what they want to believe *g*.

In actual fact, IMO, he did the Church a *huge* favour. He's the best thing that has happened to the Church in decades [I'm Catholic, fwiw. OK, lapsed, but still! :)]. Free publicity, a surge in re-affirming faith, and such. Likewise with art, history, museums, and so much more. I think it's a shame that people are not realising that this novel is fabulous for motivating its readers to do their own research.

Now, this I agree with entirely. Which is why I wonder about some of the really negative reaction by some church represenatatives. They should be happy people are so interested in learning about Christ and His life. And welcome the opportunity to debate the issues Brown raises. Certainly, the question of the suppression of Mary Magdalen and her portrayal as a prostitute by the Church for centuries is worth discussing. I've always maintained the for the various Christian denominations to continue, they will have to move with the times and be willing to accept that people can interpret the bible and its teachings in their own way, yet remain followers of the faith.

Plus, he did what filmmakers did for THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, which is also a huge success in its own right. Yet, in both cases, I was shocked to see so many people taking that statement [and the film] so literally. It's a shame that many people today seem to have forgetton this old storytelling tradition. Heck, it's up there with 'Once upon a time ...'

Or used to be. :D Sorry about the long ramble. :)


No worries about the ramble - I enjoyed reading it!

Yes, it is shocking to see how easily some people will believe something they read in a book or see on a screen to be true. A little scepticism is always a good thing!

What I liked about Tony Robinson's approach was that he did explore each of the facts presented by Brown quite seriously, only to find that most weren't based in fact.

Interestingly enough, yesterday afternoon there was a discussion on the radio here about The da Vinci Code, on a programme called Talking Books, hosted by Ian Brown. He was joined by three people, including a minister and their approach to the book was serious and the ensuing discussion very enlightening. They agreed that as well as raising interest in reading for adults, much like Harry Potter did for children, The dvC also brought religious issues to the fore.

I only wish Brown had avoided making that statement about EVERYTHING being historically accurate when it wasn't. And I'm pretty sure he knew it. Oh well, I still want a copy of the illustrated version (gave mine away for a book raffle).


Friday, March 25, 2005

Follow-up to my post re: The Real da Vinci Code.

Màili made some good points in response. I'll address those in tomorrow's post. Not only because I want to let her remarks float around in my head a little longer, but because we're heading off to the gym soon, then I need to get some writing work done when we get home.

À demain!

More on First Draft in 30 Days.

I finished reading the book yesterday, with the chapter on Career Planning. As with the rest of the book, it was really helpful. I also created some more templates in WWP, though some of them don't work as well as others - WWP doesn't really allow for tables. But that's ok - I can work around that *g*.

In going over my synopsis again I identified several scenes that need to either be expanded or included, so I will apply the FD method to them. Should be fun! I'm also going to go through my synopsis and "tag" my plot threads. Not quite the same as doing it in the formatted outline, but still a useful exercise.

I'd like to mention one other thing today. Karen herself. Since first learning about this book, I've been emailing with her. She has generously answered my questions and given me pointers. Now some cynics will say she's just trying to sell the book. Phooey, I say. I'd already ordered it when I wrote to her the first time. Like so many writers, she's eager to share something that has worked for her with her fellow writers. I have to say I was concerned when I read in her updated FAQ that someone has posted a review at Amazon claiming the title of the book is misleading. Karen's answer addresses each point, but I would like to add my .02 to this.

Never, while reading the book, did I EVER think I would come out with a FULL first draft of the novel. The term is used loosely, I admit, but there is no way you can read this book withOUT understanding how Karen is defining "first draft". I also admit I've not yet put the method to work in its full sense, but even without doing so I can see how a complete outline such as her method helps a writer to build will be of immense use and speed up the writing process. Last year while writing the ms I'm currently editing, I found that just by planning several scenes ahead (using WriteWayPro's scene templates), I completed it far more quickly than either of my previous mss. There is no doubt in my mind that if this method appeals to you and you work through it, you will have something that may not be a traditional first draft, but something that serves a similar process. In fact, looking back at the first draft of my first completed ms, it was almost useless as I'd written it in almost complete ignorance - it had been a release for the tension I felt while working at a job I hated and because I read a great deal, I wrote on instinct, not knowledge of all the complexities that go into a work of commercial fiction.

The negative review also says that Karen all but ignores any genre but the crime/suspense one. Again, this is rubbish (IMHO). Yes, she does mention that genre more, but makes it clear that all aspects of the method and its worksheets can be applied to any form of fiction. And mentions the romance one specifically. Though as historical writer, I did get a giggle out of asking my female characters about their jobs and how they felt about cigarettes and drugs, but when I really THOUGHT about it, there's no reason that I couldn't. After all, people did smoke tobacco in the 18th century! In fact, I'm pretty certain Maria Thins in Girl with a Pearl Earring smokes.

Throughout the book, Karen emphasizes the fact that this system is fully adaptable - NOTHING is written in stone. She is merely providing a framework for you and it's up to you how rigidly you want to adhere to it. The introduction includes all the information you need about how she defines a "first draft". Interested, but still not certain you want to commit to the book? You don't have to, because Karen has included the intro on her website as a FREE download in the very safe .pdf format. As a result, I KNEW what I was getting when I ordered the book, because I took the time to download and READ this introduction.

In fact, I would recommend everyone do this, because from it you should be (note I'm not saying will be) able to tell if this method is something that will work for you. As with any how-to book in the writing genre, it won't appeal to everyone, but I'm betting it will be helpful to many, many writers like me who plot and plan their mss.

That's it for today. I'll let you know how tagging my plot threads goes :-)


Thursday, March 24, 2005

Aaarrggh - flare-up of RSI!
Yep, about 10:30 yesterday morning, my right forearm decided to tell me it had had enough of mousing (even with a rollerball apparently) and washing of dishes (well, heavy woks in particular, I imagine), so I spent much of yesterday sitting and keep my arm as unstressed as possible. Instead of doing those final revisions on my synopsis. It's sooooo frustrating, but hardly a surprise, considering how much stress I put on my hands/arms, sitting at the computer day after day. For years now I've been plagued with CTS, its equivalent in my forearm, arthritis in my thumbs and a ganglion on my left wrist. Not much I can do, except remember to rest and take Advil when the pain flares. I use a split keyboard, rollerball mouse and try to remember to walk away from the keyboard at least once an hour.

It always seems to get worse right when I'm in the middle of something important. At least yesterday I could take the time off and still feel productive by finishing off FDin30D. But then I just wanted to start working on my ms right away. So I designed a few forms in WWP, but stopped when the pain got really bad. I've learned to listen to my body when it tells me things like this. If I don't, it gets far worse, then I have to take more time off.

And I'm now trying out blogBuddy for my blogging. So far it seems ok, though it took a couple of tries to get my first entry posted. And acknowledged. Will be interested to see if this one has the same issue.

Anyone else use blogBuddy? I considered WordPress, but it looked way too complicated for me to learn. And even though I'm a self-confessed software slut, I decided that now is not the time to try to teach myself something that looks like it would be great for blogging, but would eat up a lot of valuable writing/editing time. We'll see how this works over the next week or so *g*.

Ok - on with that synopsis. My arm is still tender (even after sleeping with my wrist brace on last night), so I'd best not spend too much more time on blogging!
History and The da Vinci Code
Last night my dh and I watched "The Real da Vinci Code" with Tony Robinson (of Time Team and Blackadder fame) on History Television. Not that we needed to watch it to know that much of the book was bunkum, but as we're fans of Tony, we decided to watch. It was really good! He approached each aspect quite serioiusly and did the research, talking to people from both sides. Well, all but Mr. Brown himself, who only appeared on tape from what appeared to be another programme.

I think the reason so many people have reacted negatively to the history in The da Vinci Code is because of the author's insistence that all of the history is based on fact. And it's not. As an author of fiction, it is just asking for trouble.

Yes, I write historical romance fiction. And yes, I include historical figures when necessary. And I try to be as accurate as possible. But I would NEVER claim absolutely everything historical in my book is true and accurate. I'm not perfect. And history is an ongoing process, with new theories being advance, new conclusions being drawn and even new discoveries being made.

Is it any wonder, then, that as word of mouth spread about this book, that the historians would take it on? And, ultimately IMHO, win? But in the end, I doubt Mr. Brown is worried. The book continues to sell and he's at work on his next one. In then end, it's true, even bad publicity can be good.


Wednesday, March 23, 2005

My first thoughts on First Draft in 30 Days

Spent much of yesterday afternoon reading through Chapters 1-5 of First Draft in 30 Days, but Karen Wiesner. Wow, is all I can say. So far I've found it really interesting and I'm even more eager now to start a new ms so I can try it out. BUT, I must finish editing my current one first *sigh*. So I'm looking forward to getting to Chapter 8 which covers applying the method to a complete or stalled ms. I read Ch 6 during commercials last night while in front of the TV. Just couldn't stay away from it.

Also spent some time creating new templates in WriteWayPro, based on the worksheets in the book. This will make it easier when I start the new ms to do a formatted outline, as I'll be able to use this book as the template for my new one (those of you who use WWP will understand what I mean). I'm thinking that between this method and the software, I'll be far more productive.

So far what has impressed me the most about the book is the emphasis by the author on the fact this is a method that can be adapted to an individual writer's needs. NOTHING is set in stone. She's giving you tools to work with, not a set of iron-clad rules on how to write a first draft. Its very flexibility is what makes it so appealing. I can see myself using it and making it work.

Granted, it also appears that I'm already doing some of what the author recommends - our writing processes are already similar. But I definitely need focus and direction at times and I'm hoping the ideas, tips, techniques and worksheets presented will help me with that.

I'll keep reporting back here as I continue my work with FDi30D. But for now, I'd best get on with that synopsis!

Thanks again Lynn for mentioning FDi30D and directing me to Karen's website!!!


Tuesday, March 22, 2005


Ok, so I'm back. My dh called to discuss a couple of things (he's picking up my book for me - yay!) and reminded me to check out We're fans of Crossing Jordan and at least twice in the last few weeks the character Nigel has mentioned this blog. So I typed it in and there it is. Very cool. So I'm adding it to my Blogroll *g*.

From what I've been able to gather, the blog centres around solving an old case, with new evidence posted. Readers are encouraged to post tips or name the murderer.

I like CJ because of the mystery aspect, but also because of the romance. Yep, as with most detective style shows, there's an ongoing on/off relationship between Jordan and Woody, the police officer (played by Jerry Connell of Sliders fame). They've been teasing us for several years now, and though in some ways it's annoying, there's enough in Jordan's background to make it believable that she'd be reluctant to get romantically involved. Good example of a story arc.

See, I even managed to bring this post round to writing *vbg*, which IS supposed to be one of the two focusses of this blog.


Playing catch-up

I was going to post yesterday, but was waaaaay too tired. Had a bout of insomnia that left me really spacey, so while I did my daily hop of the blogs, I couldn't come up with anything to contribute.

Last night I got a call from my indie - First Draft in 30 Days is in! Have to go over at lunch to pick it up. Had I not been so sleepy this morning I'd have volunteered to drop the dh off at the office and kept the car so I could get the book earlier, but I just couldn't get out of bed. So I'll have to wait a little longer. I'm really jazzed about reading this book and will report back soon.

On another topic entirely, while helping out a student who sent me an email (I get these from time to time via my website), I found this cool history site run by a university student in Denmark. It's called margin notes for the World Wide Web. He has pages on History, Language, Futurism and Nations, States and Politics. Haven't explored it fully, yet, but it looks like it might be a good place to do basic research. He has a cool links section on The Black Death.

Today Màili is asking which romance novel covers her visitors like best. I had to go with two of them - both appealed equally. Interesting the variety of answers.

Ok - really have to get on with my work, now. Play time is over. I wrote an article for my newsletter about blogging and mentioned the need to know when to stop blog-hopping. Guess I should take my own advice. Have to make changes to my synopsis and then continue with my editing.


Sunday, March 20, 2005

On being both reviewer and writer....

We had our first BBQ of the season yesterday! Yep, I convinced the dh to clean the bbq and fire it up. Ok, so it WAS only 3ºC, but definitely worth it. Spring is definitely here *g*.

I have to write a tough review this morning. Am not going to like doing it, but it must be done. As a reviewer I much prefer to write a positive review, but I can't lie if I there are elements of a book that didn't appeal to me. My aim is always to explain what didn't work clearly and unemotionally. Never will I trash an author or say the book should be used to line the bottom of a bird cage. That's just not my style.

But I still worry what the author will think. And, of course, the publisher. As a writer as well I often wonder if I'm shooting myself in the foot by doing both jobs. But I know my reviewing also makes me a stronger writer because it forces me to analyse what does and doesn't work in a book. And reading different types of books (I try to choose from different historical genres - mysteries, romances and mainstream) set in different periods (I try to choose those I'm not so familiar with) helps broaden my vocabulary and general knowledge.

So, for now, I'll keep doing both. And that means posting this to blogger and getting on with writing that review!

Have a good Sunday.


Saturday, March 19, 2005

Mindless rambling....

No U2 tickets for us :-( I tried for an hour and couldn't get through. And strongly suspect the show was sold out within a half hour. Oh well - c'est la vie. Would have loved to have gone, but am not going to get bent out of shape over it. Will just have to buy the DVD of the tour when it comes out :-)

Don't have much else to say this morning. Not sure why - think it's cause I'm in a bit of a funk. Spring starts on Monday, but there's still a ton of snow here. Then again, I've just spied my first cardinal of the season! Can see it right now, perching in the bush at the bottom of the garden. The cat hasn't seen it cause he's facing me - stretched out on the desk under the heater *g*. He's pretty clingy right now after we were out so much for the last three days. Poor baby. Since his brother's death last November he's definitely needed more of our attention and company. They were together for 15 years, so it's not really a surprise.

What do you do when you're in a funk? I'm thinking of going for a walk. The dh has to work late on his morning shift this morning, leaving me without the car to get to the gym. Figure I should at least get some fresh air and exercise and it looks nice enough out there. And there's no windchill today - so it should be pretty comfortable as it's close to 0º Celsius out there.

Now I could stay inside and waste time on some internet sites, but figure I've spent enough time sitting in front of a computer this week.

Ta ta for now :-)


Friday, March 18, 2005

Blog hopping and U2 tickets

A busy morning today - I was rebuilding our company's website. It hadn't been updated in a while and really was in need of it, so I pulled the whole thing down, revamped it and now just have to let the dh check it over before posting it back up there. I always forget how much work a website is. Then again, I LOVE that kind of work, so it was no big deal.

Except it meant I didn't get around to my blog hopping till much later *g*. But, better late than never! This week I've really enjoyed Larissa's blog - she's brought up lots of interesting topics and garnered lots of response. As has Alison Kent, over at her Blah Blog. And Emma, Lydia, Lynne and Màili.

Tomorrow morning I might be delayed because I'm going to be trying to get U2 tickets!!!!! Yep, there' coming to my home town later this year and both the dh and I are big fans. Sooooo, I'll have to start dialing at 10am. Should be interesting! I've never tried for such a huge show before, so I've no idea if I'll be successful or not. Oh well, certainly worth a try :-)

I'm STILL waiting to get my copy of First Draft in 30 Days!!! Arrrggghhh. I knew it would take a while and it's really not been that long yet, but sheesh, I REALLY want to start working with this book. Have been reading Lynn's progress with the method and I'm even more intrigued. Ah well, I just have to keep reminding myself that patience really is a virtue. And being a little virtuous certainly won't hurt me *g*.

Hmm, well as I've not yet had a proper lunch break and it's warmed up considerably here, I think I'll head off for a walk soon :-) It's nice and sunny yet again - we haven't had any precip in days. Of course some rain would be nice to wash away the snow, but sunshine is a lot nicer to look at.


Thursday, March 17, 2005

This 'n that...

It's St. Patrick's Day - not something I think about celebrating much these days. But a happy day to those who do :-) I observe St. Joseph's Day - a tradition in our family as my dad was named Joseph and in Poland they marked their name saint's day. Since his death, it's been a little difficult as March 19 approaches.

Yesterday I did more work on my synopsis, then read it aloud at my local writers group (separate from my RWA chapter). Found a couple of things that I hadn't noticed just by reading it. So now I have to incorporate those changes *sigh*. But at some point I have to stop tweaking and just SEND it already! After playing with the synopsis, I did some more editing, but that turned into writing as I found a scene that needed a lot more depth. The characters took over (I love when they cooperate like that *g*) and the scene flowed. It kinda took me by surprise - am wondering if it's because I hadn't tensed up thinking "I have to add layers to this scene.", but happened upon it instead and just started writing. Interesting.

On another note, I found a link to Philippa Gregory's website today. Funny thing is, I've not actually read any of her books! Still, I enjoyed touring her site - it's got lots of extras, including background info for all her books, a short bibliography on Tudor England and a travel article on the Alhambra. Fans of Anya Seton will also enjoy her review of Katherine. Maybe I'll try one of her books during the summer.



Wednesday, March 16, 2005

And speaking of doing stupid things...

Yep - I'm late posting today. Am here at the office and really busy. Had to get shipments out, invoice etc plus catch up on accounting entries. Made myself get it all finished FIRST before blogging. A great incentive to behave :-) And a great reward.

Earlier this week, Emma asked about stupid things we've done. I just found out about something stupid I did LAST week and now have to fix *deep sigh*. Turns out I forgot to sign receipts I sent out for memberships I manage. Figured I'd SAVE time by printing them on the computer rather than writing them all out by hand. Well, I might as well have done the latter as at least then I'd have REMEMBERED to sign them!!! Oh well. Live and learn.

I have to get on with my ms now everything else is done. I COULD stay here and keep chattering away, but I believe that would procrastination. Fun, but procrastination for sure.

Ok - one more thing. A pet peeve. People and their cell phones/mobiles. Twice in the last few days I've seen incredibly rude behaviour on the part of those who seem unable to be separated from their phone for more than a moment. First - while at the gym the other day, a guy came in with one of the personal trainers, talking on his cell phone. I though, as he approached the stair climber that he'd hang up before getting on. But, no, he climbed up and continued to talk into his phone. While the trainer was standing RIGHT THERE, waiting to get on with the session. After a couple of minutes of waiting around while buddy chatted away, he motioned him down and they disappeared to the other room. I'm assuming buddy finished his conversation elsewhere. Then yesterday while I was buying my copy of RT (with a great review of Lydia's debut book), I watched as someone else approached the cashier to buy something with the phone plastered against his ear. He continued to chat through the entire transaction, as though the cashier wasn't even there. Arrrgggghhh. Would it really have hurt him to ASK the person on the other end to hang on for the minute it took him to make the purchase?

Ok, ok - I don't deny that important calls come in at inopportune moments, but if it's the case, excuse yourself, step aside and finish before doing anything else. Don't treat the person you're with as though they're invisible and less important. It's just so rude.

Now - I really must get on with my editing.


Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Books, books, books...

The other day, Lydia gave us a tour of her bookcases. I enjoyed it so much, I thought I'd do the same :-) I've built a separate blog for them, so as not to clog this one.

Enjoy :-)



Friendship is the topic of today's post. Internet friendship, to be exact. Yesterday, when Màili posted to her blog about misplacing her wedding band the response was incredible. People gave her support, made suggestions and cheered with her when she found it. Chances are, none of us have met face to face, yet the depth of care she encountered was genuine.

It's a phenomenon I've encountered since I first got on the net about 10 years ago (has it really been that long?!). I joined the Prodigy Writers Group first and found a wonderful group of women, some of whom I'm STILL friends with to this day - we're always so happy to meet in person when attending the same conferences.

My husband was suspicious at first, having heard stories of predators pretending to be one thing when actually stalking women in cyberspace. For some reason, though, I never worried. Not sure why - I'm normally rather neurotic about stuff. But something in the conversations we had told me these people were exactly who they said they were. And I'm betting that everyone I've met in blogland is as well.

Funny how many of us share confidences, rant about things that mean so much to us and offer support when someone is troubled or just feeling down. What is it about cyberspace that breeds such a special form of friendship?



Monday, March 14, 2005

It's Monday morning and ....

I'm having a hard time getting started today. Have spent time blog-hopping, reading email and staring blindly at the monitor. Just realized I have the write three book reviews today as well. And my sinuses are screaming at me again *sigh*.

Found a couple of interesting blog entries, though.

Via Emily's Ramblings, I found a rant by Diana, with whom I agree completely. She sums up many of my own pet peeves about a small number of my fellow-writers.

Had to chuckle of Amy Garvey's list of pet peeves of romance types the other day. I was nodding as I went along, then was brought up short by two of them:

* Anything, strangely, set in France. I don't know why. I'd like to go to France. Paris, for sure. It's romantic, there's lots of wine, good clothes. Maybe it's all those fake pseudo-French-sounding names that make it sound like you're choking when you try to pronounce them. And the Terror just isn't sexy, sorry.

* Most medievals. Call me strange (many have) but unless it's an author whose children I would agree to have, this era always makes me think of the Rutger Hauer movie Flesh and Blood, in which his mercenary Martin kidnaps Jennifer Jason Leigh's noble-born Agnes, and much bawdy buggering and barehanded eating of chicken drumsticks ensues. Also, they're never really clean in the movie. I know, I'm weird.

Then had to laugh. It really is true, what works for one person, totally turns another off.

You see, I write books set in France, during, yes, you guessed it - The Terror. Yep, that's right, I'm one of those strange people who can find romance during one of the most topsy turvy and violent periods of history. And I haven't even read A Tale of Two Cities - only Susanne Alleyn's wonderful retelling, A Far Better Rest (it's from Sydney Carton's pov). Anyway, I don't use pseudo-sounding names in any of my stories (though I've seen plenty, so I know of what Ms. Garvey speaks) and while the Terror itself is pretty horrible, the people who experienced it lead as normal a life as they could, under the circumstances. And that included finding love. I think that's the one of the things that keeps me going as a historian - knowing that, despite all horrible circumstances, people still fell in love. Not that their relationships all ended happily, but I do believe some of them did. Which is why I can write love stories set in France.

As for medievals, well, yep, I write during that period too. The Middle Ages are my favourite period. Absolutely. But this doesn't mean I love all books set there. And, sadly, I LOVE the nitty-gritty stuff - so here again, Amy and I part ways. I can't explain why I enjoy books with lots of the real stuff left in there - maybe it's the contrast that appeals. Or the fact that their difficult lives, fraught with the danger of death from pestilence or war, led them to love passionately. For there's no doubt that, just as today, despite arranged marriages, early deaths and separation due to war/crusade/occupation, couples then, as now, fell in love, married and remained devoted to each other. (I normally don't indulge in BSP - but you can find a prime example here:
Romantic Couples in History - Richard II and Anne of Bohemia and another here:
Romantic Couples in History - King Stephen and Matilda of Boulogne.)

There was far more to the period than bawdy buggering *g*, and more bathing took place than we imagine.

That said - I respect Amy's opinion and her reasoning. If we ALL liked the SAME thing, this world would be a boring place indeed.

And, as I said, the other "types" she lists, strike out with me too, especially this one:

* Historicals in which women must dress up as boys. For one, the hero often strikes up a relationship with her as a boy for a while before the Big Reveal, which just smacks of homoerotic pedophelia, since the heroine usually resembles an actual boy rather than a man. I'll take my homoerotic stories straight up, please, with two actual men.

I don't read books with this plot for the most part for precisely the reason above. It's just an "ick" thing for me. Only one of my heroines ever dresses up as a boy and the hero recognizes her right away - wasn't fooled for a moment. And she only did it because she was riding by herself. That ms, btw, is now permanently on the shelf. Not sure I'll ever be able to make it into anything but my practise ms.

On another topic entirely, please visit Maili's blog and send her good vibes. She needs them today. UPDATE - All the vibes worked - crisis over.

Now, before I get carried away, I'd best post this, then get on with my book reviews. I saw enough out there in blog land to keep me happily typing away for at least another hour or two, but those reviews won't write themselves.


Saturday, March 12, 2005

A new "how-to" book I REALLY want...

It's been quite a while since a "how-to" book on writing has caught my eye, but this morning, while surfing the net, I ended up at Karen Wiesner's site for her book First Draft in 30 Days. Now, I THINK it was mentioned on someone's blog, or maybe in an email. But I can't remember :-( If I find out who it was who directed me to it I'll amend this post. It's actually starting to drive me a little nuts - trying to remember how I found the page in the first place!!! Arrrgggghhhh.

UPDATE I found it!!! Yep, it was Lynn in Georgia who mentioned the book and got me curious. Thanks Lynn!

Anyway - I'm going to try to get this book. It looks really cool and as I HOPE to start working on a new ms within the next couple of months, it seems to make sense. I figure I can incorporate a lot of what I learn into my WWP templates. Unfortunately it's not available at my favourite online bookstore :-( So I will have to special order it through my local independent.

Why am I so excited about this book? From scanning through the material on the bonus website, I can see that the methodology outlined is already similar to what I do myself. BUT what really appeals is the structured approach to the outline. The ONE kink I can see is that something will happen that will prevent me from being able to do what I need to on one of the key days - the perils of writing part time and working part time. Especially the research week. However, I've learned that flexibility is extremely important for a writer and this case will be no different.

I really like the idea of dividing the planning process up into blocks. It's not that I'm not organized (ok, well, I'm not ALWAYS organized *g*), it's just that I can get distracted and easily go off on a tangent. I'm hoping that following this method will help me stay focussed.

What appeals the most, though, is the author's website and her generosity in including so much material there. Enough to let me see the details of the book, yet not so much that she's shooting herself in the foot as far as actually selling it goes. The bonus material and articles, rather than encouraging me to just browse the site and use what I can from there, whet my appetite. I REALLY want this book.

In her FAQ, she answers questions about the book and her writing process in great depth.

Here are a couple of other sites with some good craft articles:

Suzanne McMinn's 12 Easy Steps for Breaking In (thanks to Alison for reminding me about it)


Brenda Coulter's So You Want to Write Romance Novel? page - it has links to her advice on writing and selling a novel.

I think I'm done now. DH will be home soon from his early shift and has said he's interested in going to the gym. As we haven't darkened its doors in about two weeks and I've been eating chocolate a lot lately, I think we'll head in that direction. It's a beautiful day for a walk, but at this point I'm pretty certain I need the eliptical trainer and music pounding in my ears to burn off some of those calories *g*.

Enjoy your Saturday :-)


UPDATE We had a pretty good workout, but wouldn't you know it, my batteries died half a song in. There I was, bopping along on the eliptical trainer to U2, when "poof", silence. Grrrrr. So I made do with plugging into the gym's cardio theatre (thought my headphone plug didn't fit quite right so I had to hold it in there - my hand kept cramping). When I switched machines, I remembered I had spare batteries in my locker - yay!!!

Anyway - after finishing my review book, I picked up some of the stuff I'd printed off Karen's 30 Day Draft site and I'm even more jazzed than before. There's a chapter there about applying the method to a complete first draft!!! EXACTLY what I need. Now I just have to hold strong and still order it from the indie (will go there tomorrow), rather than giving in and ordering from the big box store's online division than can get it to me in two days. And at a discount. Grrrrrrrrrrr. Just hope the indie can get it quickly.

Ok - almost time to start dinner. Better go. DH is napping (he's been up since 4am and shovelled the deck after we got back from the gym) and if I don't get moving soon, I'll just give in and order pizza *g*. Thus undoing all the work at the gym!

Oh right - there's a new Battlestar Galactica episode on tonight. Then a new MI-5 (Brits reading this will know it as Spooks, but they've changed the name because it has a not so nice meaning on this side of the pond).

Right - dinner. Almost forgot - LOL!


Friday, March 11, 2005

Blog interrupted...

Well, this morning's post was going to be short and early. Well, it will still be short, but not as early as I'd hoped. I was in the middle of writing it when the power went out. Yep, just cut right out. Second time in about a month this has happened. And since the great blackout of August 03, my immediate response was to call my dh at the office to see if HE still had power. Which he did.

I was a little concerned about the cold, but the smart man I married reminded me the gas fire could still be turned on. So I flicked the switch, poured a cup of coffee (still warm in its thermal carafe) and curled up with a review book. After almost an hour, hydro was restored. So NOW I'll get on with my blog post then get to the ms.

Here are a couple of more research tidbits from Author sites. Isolde Martyn is one of my fave authors (her latest book, Fleur-de-Lis, is only available in Australis :-( ). At her site she provides a list of historical fabrics and a decent research bibliography on her Research Tips page. If you're just starting out on your first historical romance, why not surf on over to Jen Hollings' site and read her article on Researching the Historical, then check out her list of Useful Links, then move on to Tina St. John's home on the web. She has some great articles, including one on Setting Your Historical Romance. Fellow Canuck Margaret Moore also has a cool set of articles at her site, including one about Creating Characters.

That's it for today, folks. I know there's lots I could ramble on about, but with losing almost an hour already, I REALLY need to get on with editting that ms.

See you tomorrow.


Thursday, March 10, 2005

A really bad start to the day...

I discovered I've lost my memory key. And I've no idea HOW I managed it. It was with me at the office on Monday and I was certain I'd put it in the zipped pocket in my purse to bring home. But when I went to get it this morning.... it wasn't there. I dumped my purse and my briefcase, but still can't find it. Haven't even been anywhere that I'd have opened that particular pocket in my purse.

So now I'm totally bummed. I only got it a couple of weeks ago - it was a 500 MB one and now it's GONE. Arrrggghhhhh. With my mss on it, no less. Though mostly they're in WriteWayPro format, so pretty much unreadable for most people. Though I think the setup files might have been on there too *sigh*. Sometimes I HATE techonology.




Phew - talk about relief. I suddenly remembered I'd been wearing my burgundy fleece in the basement the other day, instead of the black one. So I checked the pockets and there it was.

Course now I wonder where my memory is going, cause I could have sworn I hadn't taken it out of my purse on Tuesday morning. But obviously I did.

Ok - now I can get on with the rest of my day. Poor dh took the brunt of this - the man is a saint for putting up with me!!!!


Wednesday, March 09, 2005

More authors with articles and historical background information

Regency author Nicola Cornick is one of my recent finds. I love both her work and her website, where she includes background info for many of her books.

Then there's Candice Hern, whose marvellous website is a treasure trove for those of us who love to look at period items. There she uploads photos of pieces from her Collections - including such things as quizzing glasses, purses, buckles etc.

Regina Scott is another author who likes to post articles at her site, related to material in her books. She has some cool stuff on Regency History.

UK author Claire Thornton writes about specific aspects related to her books - of particular interest is her article about Soldiers' Wives.

Some authors prefer to include small snippets of info, rather than full articles. And that's great too - especially if they do it with style, like Joanna Maitland who has a page of snippets and a research bibliography at her site.

Is the medieval period more your style? Then hop on over to Monica Burns' site for some info on swords. Or visit Madeline Hunter's historical background page

Looking for craft articles and writing tips? Check out those by Judith Stanton, Anne Gracie, and Kate Hardy.

That's all for today, folks :-)


Tuesday, March 08, 2005

What I like to see on Author websites

Màili pointed the way to Silly Bean's post on Website Content, which reminded me it was a topic I wanted to blog on. Though this will be a short post, and just the first on the topic.

What I love to see most on Author websites is articles and notes. The best kind are those related to their research. I was at Loretta Chase's website the other day and found she has a wonderful section there devoted to background info on her books.

Ms. Chase is by far not the only author to do this, I just hadn't run across her website before. Three of my other fave author sites with background info and articles include:

Jo Beverley - she has several pages on her site, so I'm linking to her site menu that lists the various resources available there under A Miscellany.

Lydia Joyce - her first book, Veil of Night, will be out in April, but she's already built an impressive website with tons of information and some great craft of writing articles.

and Tracy Chevalier - author of, among others, Girl With the Pearl Earring, The Virgin Blue and The Lady and the Unicorn. She includes background info on pages devoted to each book and in her FAQ.

But it's not just published authors who do this and earn my gratitude. Emma Gads has some cool notes on her site, background about her mss.

Ok - I'll stop now or get completely carried away. More on this later in the week!


Monday, March 07, 2005

An early post today, for a change...

because I have to finish my enotes article. Went to my chapter meeting yesterday, then to my mum's for dinner. Sunday is cleaning day, so I didn't have much time for bloghopping.

My dh was using my computer for a little while, so I was looking over my shelves of books and realized just HOW MANY of them I still haven't read.

Fatal Majesty - Reay Tannahill. Have loved her other books, especially The World, The Flesh and the Devil, but have read so many others on Mary, Queen of Scots that I've delayed this one for a long time. Can't change the sad ending.

A Song for Arbonne - Guy Gavriel Kay. Last year I read two of his novels plus his book of poetry for an interview I was doing with him. Loved his work and want to read more of it. This one especially appealed - hope I can get to it soon.

Beauchamp Beseiged and Fulk the Reluctant - Elaine Knighton. Set in the medieval period, they're lush historical romances with lots of action.

Fleur-de-Lis - Isolde Martyn. This one I'm purposely not reading right now as it's set at exactly the same time as my own ms. But having read her other books, I know I'll LOVE it when I do finally pick it up off the shelf.

That's just a smattering. There are so many more begging for my attention. But I should really get on with my column at this point. Might post again later once that's done. As always, I've lots to say :-)


Saturday, March 05, 2005

Report on my haul from today's book sale...

I found some really cool books!! Even thought it was quite a crush, as always. My mum and I were there by about quarter to nine and stood outside with the other early birds. At least the sun was warm and there wasn't much wind, so we were pretty comfortable for those few minutes.

Once inside, I headed for the history section and pulled out Royal Heritage: The Story of Britain's Royal Builders and Collectors, by JH Plumb and Huw Wheldon. Lovely hardback with lots of b/w piccies plus some gorgeous colour plates. And good information. No footnotes or bibliography, but a detailed lists of illustrations and comprehensive index - pretty good for $3.00!

The next find was a small book called The Companion Guide to London, by David Piper. A wonderful volume divided into chapters on the main areas of London, illustrated with b/w maps and photos. Though over 40 years old, it's still very useful - includes two indexes, one listing the people mentioned and one listing the places and subjects. There's also a brief biblography and a section for those travelling to London. The eateries etc will be out of date to an extent, but the list of city churches/galleries/museums likely is fairly accurate. I bought this book to add to my collection of books on London both for my fiction writing and my family history (my mum's parents were both born in London at the end of the Victorian period).

I then came across Romantic and Victorian Poetry, edited by William Frost.
Useful for setting a mood, checking vocabulary and just because I love this era in poetry :-)

After fighting my way round the end of the table (the sale is in a small room with books lined up on two sets of tables lined up lengthwise), I moved back up to the biography section and found Harriette Wilson's Memoirs: The Greatest Courtesan of her Age (Lesley Blanch editor). The illustration on the front told me it was roughly in my time period (Georgian) and I was right, though it's a tad later, having been written in the 1820s and covering the period from about 1801 and into Prinny's regency. Even though my own ms is set in 1793, I'm fairly certain most of the language will not be outrageously different and frankly, the book looks really interesting. There's an introduction (that strikes me as rather lacking in specific dates), reprints of some letters Harriette wrote to Lord Byron and a handy set of short bios of the main people featured in the book, as well as a good index. I'm looking forward to dipping into it.

Other finds include A Midwife's Tale: the Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812. It's American (and can be found online at, but I wanted it because a) I'm fairly certain midwifery in the US wasn't much different from midwifery in Europe (am willing to stand corrected on this if I'm wrong) and b) it looks really interesting, even if I don't end up using it directly in any fiction writing (though who knows, one day I may set a book over this side of the Atlantic!) Also - The Book of Women: 300 Notable Women History Passed By, The Island of Lost Maps, The Professor and the Madman, a photo book of the Isle of Wight and First Folks and Vile Voyageurs (Children's book about Canada in the Horrible Histories series). So - now I just have to find room for them on my bookshelves!!!

I catalogued them as soon as I arrived home, using a handy little programme called Book Collector. I can then integrate it into another piece of software, ListPro, which I then HotSync with my Palm, so I always have a list of my books with me at book sales. Why, you ask? Well, I'm famous for forgetting which books I already own, so have bought second copies on a number of occasions. I was thrilled when the latest update of BC added the Amazon CA feed - we have some books here in Canada that are pubbed with different ISBNs from the American and British versions (Elizabeth Hallam's books are a prime example of this), so it's nice to now have the correct info right off, rather than having to input it manually.

Well - I'm getting a tad peckish, so best go find something for lunch. Am off for a walk soon as it's a lovely day here and I figure a walk outside is better than a trip to the gym. Nice to take advantage of the good weather when it shows up at this time of year.


Another late post today...

I'm off to another book sale in a few minutes. My mum will be arriving soon. Will do a real post later :-) And report on my found treasures!


Friday, March 04, 2005

One more thing - Màili

Thanks for the compliment re my HNS reviews :-) Yes, I'm THAT Teresa *g*.

More research stuff

Ok - for those of you who LOVE research and history like I do, here are a few links for you.

First up is Roberta Gellis's wonderful research bibliography.

On a research list I'm on, someone posted about, a really comprehensive search engine. I'd forgotten its existence and was very grateful for the reminder.

Looking for who was born, married, did what and died on a certain date? There are several Today In History sites, but one of my favourites is Chambers Book of Days - from 1869. It has some good mini bios, including one of Manon Roland.

How about visiting Lydia Joyce's page of History Notes to learn about The Myth of the Extended Family or Emma Gads' notes on Boxing, background research for her ms.

I could keep going all day on this, but as I still have email to answer and work to get done on my synopsis, I'll sign off now. Hope you enjoy the links :-)

View from my office window this morning - George the cat insisted I open the blinds all the way so he could lounge under the heater and watch the world go by! Posted by Hello

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Last one today - really!

Just went to Celia's blog and found a cool thing:

You Belong in 1960


If you scored...

1950 - 1959: You're fun loving, romantic, and more than a little innocent. See you at the drive in!

1960 - 1969: You are a free spirit with a huge heart. Love, peace, and happiness rule - oh, and drugs too.

1970 - 1979: Bold and brash, you take life by the horns. Whether you're partying or protesting, you give it your all!

1980 - 1989: Wild, over the top, and just a little bit cheesy. You're colorful at night - and successful during the day.

1990 - 1999: With you anything goes! You're grunge one day, ghetto fabulous the next. It's all good!

so had to post it. Doesn't really surprise me at all. I WAS born in the 60s and love a lot of new stuff (read computer software), but also have a really soft spot for more classic things (not unusual, considering I'm a historian *g*.) Though I'm not so sure about the drugs thing *vbg*. Unless they mean Advil (and I highly doubt that!!)

Ok - this time I REALLY mean it. I'll be quiet now.


Another rant

Yeah, yeah I know - THREE posts in one day. But I just read something that made me really MAD:

Ok - now THIS is why reviewers get such a bad reputation. Because apparently some people like reading snarky reviews that do more to insult the author than to actually analyse the prose.

As a reviewer I have NO problems giving a negative review, but I keep a civil tongue in my head and don't try to entertain the reader with my remarks. I explain WHY a book didn't work for me and am quite up front about it. But I also keep a professional manner and don't make any remark that could remotely be interpreted as "snarky". At least I hope I don't.

But is it any wonder that authors don't even bother reading reviews at certain sites? I mean, imagine having someone out there waiting breathlessly for their story to be ripped apart and stomped on by some reviewer. All so someone out there in readerland can have a good laugh.

And I personally don't give a rat's a** that there are review sites for movies etc that rip other forms of entertainment apart.

As a reviewer I consider my job to be to read the book, assess it and deliver that assessment in a clear, concise manner - outlining for the reader the strengths and weaknesses of the author's work. Simple as that.

This may make me horribly unpopular, but again, I really don't care. I've never been afraid to state my opinions, even if they go against the grain. That's not going to change now.

Teresa (now climbing down carefully from her high horse)

My new collage!

I worked on it on Sunday afternoon, before we went to an Oscar Party. It went really well, except I discovered that for this story my hero and heroine will each have a collage to themselves. Did most of the hero's one the other day (will photograph it soon and post it) and hope to do the heroine's over the next couple of weeks - need to by another piece of bristol board.

This is all pre-writing for the next book and the collage sparked lots of ideas. But I still need some more pictures and I've exhausted all the magazines/catalogues we have. So now I have to make time to get to a used book store to find more pictures. Really don't want to have to start cutting things out of my history magazine collection. Hmm, wonder if my mother has any Past Times catalogues sitting round her house *g*. They're FANTASTIC sources for my collages.

Ok - really, I'm going to try to get some work done now. Well, after lunch - I know I'll just get going and the front door will open.

Teresa (still babbling)

Catching up and Getting Back to Work!

Arrgh - I LOVE vacations, but at the same time I think I hate them too. Even after only a couple of days, I feel so out of touch with everything. Have spent lots of time this morning reading through email, catching up on blogs and trying to convince myself that this afternoon I really WILL fire up WriteWayPro and start working on the changes to my synopsis.

But I'm also feeling incredibly lazy. Might be because I'm still tired after two days of skiing. I slept like the proverbial log last night, disturbed only by a purring kitty at one point. He REALLY missed us, poor baby.

But this doesn't help me get back to work. And I've tons to do. Am off to the Historical Novel Society conference in Salt Lake City in 6 weeks, then Reno in July for RWA National. I also need to take at least two days in the library to do a ton of research for the edits on my ms. Spent a lot of time inserting comments like [CHECK THIS] while writing the first draft and now actually have to check things!

I think I'm babbling *sigh*. And the dh will be home for lunch soon.

Anyone here have hints on how to knuckle down after a vacation?

I'm baaack!

We were off on a little ski vacation - had a great time. It snowed for some of the time, but that was fine. Of course, I'm rather sore now, having not skiied in a year. And stuffed full of good food.

Will go blog hopping now and see what's been happening while I've been gone :-)