Saturday, April 30, 2005

A drive by posting...
Arrgghh - too much to do!

At library yesterday looking up words. Pretty much done - then found French etymological dictionary. Must return to use that.

Contest entry due tomorrow. Critiquer had a great suggestion, now synopsis end needs changing thanks to hubby's brainstorming on critiquer's suggestion. He came up with the perfect solution! Bless him.

Had to use up all pay-per-view credits at before they expire tonight - spent all morning on said site. Found new leads on family history, but must resist urge to follow immediately.

Now starting on synopsis.

Imagine chicken with head cut off running around. Imagine Teresa - you get the picture.

Complete update Monday morning.

Teresa (who didn't final in the Hearts Through History Contest, but got really good scores and feedback)

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Yesterday's progress...
I did pretty well. Made it through the first 8 volumes of the OED. Plus found some useful info in some of the other reference books on the same bookcase. There are still some words/expressions I can't find. And I believe I unknowingly made up a word. Could have sworn it existed, but apparently it doesn't. What is this word, you ask? Clattertrap. Meaning, mindless nattering. Was certain I'd seen it somewhere before and that's why it came to mind. Now I have to decide whether to keep it in the ms or not. It's clear from the context what my hero means when he uses the word, but I'm no Shakespeare, to go making up words for the English language *g*.

Responding now to recent comments:

Lynn - yep, I find accountability is a really good form of motivation. At least for me. For that reason I've also told a ton of people I'm taking the motorcycle safety course in June - will keep me from chickening out!! And thanks for cheering my progress :-) It's nice to have support. Even if it comes with a ruler. And yes, permission granted to rap my knuckles (though I'm also reckoning it's a long way from Georgia to Ontario *vbg*)

Silma - I hear you on how it can drive one nuts to miss out on blogland for a couple of days. I dread my two week vacation this summer - I'll be at RWA National then with my in-laws, who have only one phone line and would likely not be amused should I choose to bloghop for two hours each morning *g*. Nor would I blame them!

My dh needed the car today, so I'm staying home and will continue to use my sources here for those words. Am also entering a contest on the weekend so need to polish my short synopsis just a little more. I HATE 5 pagers. I have a 1 pager I don't mind and a 10 pager, but HATE those 5 pagers. Oh well - I just keep telling myself it's making me a better writer :-)


Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Off to the library....
to use the OED. Means going half-way across town, but none of my local branches have the complete set. So it's the reference section for me! It's a rainy day here, so at least there's no temptation to get outside in the garden. So once I've finished my latte, I'm off.

I made some decent progress yesterday, so hopefully I'll manage to finish checking the words today. Have to stop by the office to take my sweetie a lunch - he forgot to take one with him and as the rain isn't too pleasant, I figured I'd make him a sandwich rather than force him to walk to the Tim Horton's. (I wish my blog had sound - older nephew Liam says the word Horton in the cutest way - in his half-Arizona/half-Canuck accent).

C Schaal - thanks for your comment :-) I know what you mean. And LOL re the limited vocab of a cat!


Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Some random thoughts on blogging...
I'm entering into dangerous territory as far as my blogging goes. Can see myself become more and more drawn into it, to the detriment of my fiction writing!! Warning bells are going off in my head. So, what does this mean?

I'm going to have to start limiting my blogging time. Both bloghopping and my own posts. At times I can write them in my head, then just type them in pretty quickly, but other times I get really caught up in long, complicated posts with lots of links. Not good - well, ok, not really bad, but as far as my fiction writng goes, not good. And I'm going to be busy over the next couple of months. Will be in the office full time starting next week. And some time in early June I'll be taking the motorcycle safety course, which means I'll have to study for my license first.

So, I'm going to do some goal setting.

1) by the end of April, I will have all the questionable words in my ms dated and, if necessary, changed (this morning this now means getting the cat OFF the notebook in which said words are recorded)

2) by the end of the first week of May, I will have all my FDin30D scene capsules done

3) by the end of the second week of May, I will have written all the additional scenes I need

Next week I'll post more goals. Hopefully by declaring them publicly, I'll be even more inclined to stick to them! Will report my progress here.

Now, if I can just figure out how to extract the notebook from under the sleeping cat....


Sunday, April 24, 2005

Book Hopping...(following Màili's directions)
It was on the eighteenth day of October of that year 1142 that Ridchard Ludel, hereditary tenant of the manor of Eaton, died of a debilitating weakness, left after wounds received at the battle of Lincoln, in the service of King Stephen. He was sweet to worry for her, Eastra thought. "Why did you not tell me where I am?" he gasped in Danish as she half-hauled him up the path. That Forbes stood at least a foot taller than him and that his arms were enormous didn't escape their prisoner's eyes. And that was a far, far better prize in the end.

Sources: The Hermit of Eyton Forest (Ellis Peters), The Dragon Prince (Mary Gilgannon), Danegeld (Susan Squires), A Time for Dreams (Jen Holling), The Heiress (Claire Delacroix).

Hmm, well, an interesting experiment *g*. Not sure even playing around would make much sense of it. Of course, each book is set in a different time period, with the first and last being closest (separated only by 30 years).

Lots to do today, so this might be my only post!


Saturday, April 23, 2005

Thanks to Cece...
for offering advice on my motivation problem. She was right - take it one day at a time. Just keep on working. In my case, what with checking all these words, it appears to be one word at a time *g*.

Congrats, Cece on finishing that novella! And hugs on the GH scores.

If you've never been to visit Cece at her blog, I recommend doing so :-) I just love her take on writing and on the world in general.

Why I didn't post yesterday...
Pretty simple, actually. I was in a really bad mood. Have no idea what was up - maybe too many decongestents (my allergies have been really bad this week) or maybe I'm still not quite caught up on all my sleep, but whatever the cause, I really wasn't fit company for man nor beast. Fortunately a walk with my sweetie and pizza for dinner cheered me up in time for last night's critique meeting.

So what did I do instead of blogging? Well, I did go blog hopping as per usual, then spent some time playing with the latest incarnation of my book review site, Thoughts on Books. I prefer the platform at myblogsite for reviews because I can have as many categories as I want, convenient for someone who reviews books in several different genres and subgenres of historical fiction.

Then, I returned to the task of looking up questionable words in my ms. Sometimes get the feeling I'm being obsessive, but then from what I've seen at Lydia and Emma's blogs, they too don't like to use words that are obviously anachronistic. And they're the two who come immediately to mind - have seen others comment on this too. Did you know the expression tongue-tied dates to the early 1500s? I didn't, till yesterday *g*. Funny how words/expressions we think of as modern often have been in common usage longer than we think.

We had a great critique session - did some brainstorming, some venting and shared our personal progress. As always, I left feeling inspired and relieved - the latter, because it's always nice to reaffirm I'm not crazy for having characters talk in my head or take over the story!

So this morning I feel much, much better. Despite the rain and cool temps. It was summer-like earlier in the week, but the garden can really use the rain as it continues to regenerate after the long winter. More on gardening and writing later.

A series of small posts today...
First - one of my fave authors, Nicola Cornick, has a new website. Fellow Anglophiles will want to go directly to her History page, from where you'll find links to background information on some of her books. And don't forget to visit her links page for more history places to visit. Have to admit I was glad to find her wonderful Day in the Life of a Tea Drinking Historical Romance Writer still part of the site - I too have a cat who steals my chair!

And, of course, don't forget to watch for the first book in her Bluestocking Brides trilogy, The Notorious Lord - coming to North America in July 2005. Nicola also has a sizeable backlist, for those readers who love to glom.

Teresa (who can hardly wait to get her hands on TNL)

Thursday, April 21, 2005

A wee bit o' progress...
An early, early post this morning as I have to go to the dentist in a little bit (bleh).

So I did get SOME FDin30D work done yesterday - well, if you consider reproducing more of the forms work *g*. Which I do. Some of them I had to do in WordPerfect as WriteWayPro can't really handle tables. But that's ok. I'm used to working in WP with tables and the work was pretty easy. So now I have pretty much all the forms I need, so I can really knuckle under.

Am hoping to get to the research libraries next week. Will be my last chance till late June as my dh is starting a 6 week early morning news run on May 2nd. He'll be up every morning at 2:45 and finish just before noon, so I'll be in the office most of those 6 weeks. Not that I get up at 2:45 *g*. Nope, I let my sweetie wake me up reading the 7:30 news (always nice to wake up to his voice). This also means I'll have to be very disciplined - no hours of bloghopping each morning - will have to do a quick blast around, post myself, then do any company related work before getting down to my ms.

Though I signed up for Sylvia's Word Challenge, I failed miserably *sigh*. And I hate failing. No more!

Now, better get ready to drive downtown, find a parking spot and face the dentist *deep sigh*.


Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Back to reality....
Well, I really can't put it off much longer. But it's not easy, I admit, getting back to work. Does anyone else find this? Though I came back inspired to work, I'm still having trouble actually putting my nose to that grindstone. Partly it's because I'm in the office this week, where it's harder to concentrate on writing as I have to pay attention to the office work first. But it's also hard to work after spending time talking to people and being so sociable :-) I love being sociable *g*.

Anyone have any tips for me? If so, I'd love to hear them!

And speaking of official work, there are accounting entries that need to be made, so I'd best stop procrastinating *g*.


Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Continuing my report on...
Historical Novel Society Conference, Salt Lake City, April 2005

But I'll do some general housekeeping first, responding to yesterday's comments :-)

Kate - it's amazing what resources you can find through the FHL. Interesting, I've rarely met a writer who isn't interested in family history as well. Hmmm.

Màili - you were close, loosely translated it means "until tomorrow"

Larissa - it's great to BE back :-) Have to admit it seemed weird to be so disconnected from blogland. Wonder how I'll survive at Reno :-O

Now, on with my report.

Day 3
Up early, again *groan*, shower, dress then wait for room service. And wait. Finally call the desk to ask where it is - within five mins it arrives. Order somewhat screwed up - I got my breakfast of choice, but my roomie didn't. They just doubled mine *sigh*, then we discovered there was no milk for the cereal, but there was no time to call down for some. So we ate the fruit and toast and had coffee. Fortunately all three were pretty good - the fruit was ripe, toast made from a yummy whole grain bread (the jam they included was really good too) and the coffee hot and strong. I found out we were luckier than others - some didn't get their breakfast at all!

Then we were off downstairs for the first session, Genre vs. Literary Historical Fiction featuring Stephanie Cowell, Louise Hawes, Clyde Linsley, Sharan Newman, and Rosemary Poole-Carter. Having reviewed books by the first two (one of which I LOVED and one I found so-so), I was eager to hear the discussion. Novelist and historian Albert Bell moderated and did a great job directing the very lively discourse. All the panelists had strong feelings on the topic, yet as the discussion progressed they found points of agreement.

The second session, Medieval Fiction, was equally spirited, with authors Mary Gillgannon, Kathleen Cunningham Guler, Judith Merkle Riley, Elsa Watson and Jack Whyte debating the period, its appeal and the various forms of fiction it inspires. Moderator Alan Gordon asked pointed and intuitive questions for the first half hour, then turned things over to the audience. I was particularly happy when Mary Gilgannon tood a strong stand for the validity of historical romance as a viable sub-genre of historical fiction, and not merely an excuse for bosoms to heave and bodices to rip.

Lunch followed. Rachel Kahan (editor with Crown books) spoke about how she's living her dream of making money by indulging in her passion for reading historical fiction! And mentioned that NYC is definitely seeing the monetary advantages in publishing stories about the past.

In the afternoon I went to see Shannon Donnelly and Patricia Wynn talk about romance vs literary historical fiction. Patricia had stepped in at the last moment when the scheduled speaker had to pull out. It was a small group so instead of doing a formal presentation, the two authors spoke about their writing and research methods and took questions from attendees. I really enjoyed listening to them and their take on the genre and industry.

Next I sat in on mystery novelist Rhys Bowen's lecture on Developing Realistic Historical Characters. She spoke about putting yourself in the character's skin and, if possible, visiting places they might have lived. Primary sources also figure prominently in her research method. I sat next to Mary Gilgannon and Denee Cody, and mentioned to Mary that I'd appreciated her defense of the romance genre. She was very gracious and chatted to me a bit about writing in general (this was before the talk began).

Last, and certainly not least, I went to a fun workshop with Judith Merkle Riley, talking about using primary sources for developing characters. Instead of talking about her sources, she'd actually made copies of several different ones, including extracts from Margery Kempe's Booke, Nostradamus's letters and the Paston letters. Her emphasis was on how you can use these sources to get an idea of the mindset of those writing them, and thus a glimpse into the way people saw themselves in the past. She's a wonderful speaker and kept the audience well entertained while informing them at the same time.

Needless to say, I did rather over-indulge in the bookroom! Bought two books for my mum, two for Sean (Jack Whyte's first two in his series and asked him to sign them) and several more for myself *evil grin*, including The Legacy by Ellen Ekström, Maid Marian by Elsa Watson and The Birth of Blue Satan by Patricia Wynn. Was disappointed when I went back to get one of Kathy Lynn Emerson's books for her to sign, only to find them all gone :-(

The other highlight for me was meeting Stephanie Cowell - I reviewed her book Marrying Mozart just over a year ago. Her publisher has blurbed it on the back cover of the paperback version. Needless to say I bought another copy and Stephanie signed it for me :-)

On Saturday evening Claire and I went out to dinner with some other HNS friends. Did I mention Claire did the programme for the conference, along with all the other promotion? I don't think I did. Her programme was lovely - well laid out and with all the info attendees needed.

Day 4
Up early, shower, pack and down for breakfast. We decided not to risk room service, but headed for the restaurant and did the buffet. Aside from a dearth of that yummy whole grain bread, we did manage to find enough food to feed us :-) Also sat with another conference attendee and chatted with her. Then it was off to finish my last minute packing before catching the second half of Elizabeth Shown Mills workshop on Breathing Life into Shadowy Women of the Past. Yet again, the emphasis was on primary sources - are you detecting a theme here? *g*

Have to admit, though, I found it a tad distressing when she stated categorically that unless you've actually been where your characters were and touched what they did, you can't portray the past realistically. Easy enough to say if you're writing a story set in North America where many of the locations are easy to get to and the buildings and everyday items are easily viewed. But for me, setting stories in England and France, it's not so easy. I DO rely on primary sources - that's all I CAN do for right now and believe I'm capable of creating a fair representation of the world my characters inhabit.

After that, I collected my luggage, said goodbye to Claire and went to wait for the shuttle. Didn't get to say goodbye to many others, though I did see Sarah and Mark again, which was nice. My ride to the airport was quick and I made it through check-in with no problems (was worried I might encounter another cancelled reservation!), hung out at the gate eating TCBY vanilla frozen yogurt with raspberries (yum) and reading. Flight to O'Hare was uneventful - I finished The Lady and the Unicorn, but I confess I did get a tad lost in O'Hare trying to change terminals. Being female, I did ASK for directions *g* from a very nice flight attendant who walked with me and gave me directions when we parted.

Just as I was about to board the Ottawa plane, I noticed someone I know waiting too! A teacher at my old school. We walked out to the plane together and caught up. Customs was a breeze (not always the case) and then I got to watch the drug dogs work while waiting for my luggage. They were both ADORABLE!! The first was a little beagle and the second a chocolate lab - beautiful dogs and so well behaved (guess that's why they're going what they do). Found it hard to resist petting them when they sniffed my carry-on, but knew better than to give in to my love of dogs. But the best part was seeing Sean waiting for me when I came out of the door (those arriving on international flights are kept separate from those waiting for them till they've cleared customs and baggage claim).

We got home by about 11:30. I greeted the kitty (who had woken Sean up every two hours by purring in his face each night I was gone), poured myself a small glass of wine and cut up some cheese then followed Sean upstairs. Said cat was thrilled I was eating cheese in bed! Of course I gave him a small piece *g*. Snuggled down with my sweetie when I was finished and drifted off to sleep listening to a documentary on Ghengis Khan (we set a sleep timer on our tv most nights).

So, that was my great SLC adventure :-) I'm so happy I went, even if I didn't get the agent appointment I wanted. It was worth it just to mingle with so many people who share my love of history and writing. They're planning another conference for 2007 - likely in Albany, NY. Am already looking forward to it :-)

Now, however, I have to start focussing on my writing again. I'm still pretty jetlagged, but can't use it as an excuse much longer. Must. Finish. Revisions. In. Time. For. Reno!!

Teresa :-)

Monday, April 18, 2005

I'm baaaack!!!
Totally exhausted, but I had an amazing time. Wow, so much to chronicle - will have to do it in stages, I think .

First, though, I was soooo happy this morning to open up my browser, point it to Màili's blog and find it updated!!!! Yay, Màili's back :-) Sorry to hear the "team-building" week was so tough :-(

Oh, and I finally got my little paws on a copy of Lydia's The Veil of Night!. Yep, found it in SLC (more on that later). It's now sitting amongst the pile of books I lugged home with me.

Historical Novel Society Conference, Salt Lake City, April 2005
Day 1
I arrived at the airport bright and early Thursday morning (5:45), only to discover that somehow my e-ticket had been cancelled. Yep, cancelled. Fortunately the flights weren't full and I was reticketed to both O'Hare then SLC. The flight to O'Hare was lovely - I've flown the smaller jets several times now and am no longer scared . And Chicago itself looked gorgeous in the morning sun. Have never been there before, but recognized it as we came in over the lake.

My flight to SLC was a little less fun - was stuck in a middle seat (had two seats to myself on the way to Chicago), but I managed. Read the latest RT then had a brainstorm for my next ms and pulled out a notebook to write everything down before I forgot! Have learned NOT to rely on my memory for things like that.

I LOVE the SLC airport - it's clean, bright, well laid out and aside from a bit of confusion about which shuttle service would get me to the hotel, I found my way around with no problem. Arrived at the hotel on the Univ of Utah campus around 1:30, checked in then called good friend of mine who had already arrived. Tamara and I have known each other online for years, but were meeting in person for the first time. We met at Starbucks in the lobby and talked for HOURS. It was so cool. Eventually we were joined by another online friend (and one of the conference organizers) Sarah, who had just finished stuffing 200 conference bags for registration!! I hadn't met Sarah in person before either - as always, I believe the topic of our cats surfaced pretty quickly .

Dinner that evening consisted of an ever-growing table down in the restaurant as pretty much everyone who came in was a writer attending the conference. Sure made the slow service much more bearable. Around 9 or so, my roomie arrived. We hadn't seen each other since last September. so of course we had to get all caught up while waiting for HER dinner to arrive. Eventually the party started to break up, so Claire and I retreated to the room, cracked a bottle of wine (we'd each brought one with us) and sat up talking till at least 1am.

Day 2

Up early. Had to shower and get ready for the planned day trip - a visit to the Family History Library. Now, for me, an amateur genealogist and unofficial family historian, this was a visit to what a friend and fellow family historian termed "the mother ship". And indeed it was. We went down by Trax - the really neat train SLC built for the '02 Olympics. It was a bright sunny day and the mountains looked gorgeous - some still with snow on them, others green. I even did the tourist thing, whipping out my camera to take a couple of photos while waiting for the train to arrive. On the ride down I ended up sitting opposite Patricia Wynn and Kathy Lynn Emerson and had a nice chat with them. Have heard of both of them, so it was fun to meet them and chat about family history stuff.

When we arrived at the Library, we were taken into the Orientation room and given a brief intro to the library and its resources along with a copy of the press packet. Then we were turned loose . I immediately took advantage of being able to access via the FHL's subscription (one of the many benefits of doing research there) and believe I found both my great-great grandfathers on my mother's side. We'd been searching for them for a while, but with direct access to the 1871 Census records I was able to pinpoint them and print off the info. The printing is another nice feature. For .60 you can buy a copy card, already loaded with .40 in credit. The copies themselves are .05, which is phenomenally low for any research library. As I'd forgotten my great-grandmother's information, I ended up printing off info on several possibly members of her family, quite happy to pay for what I might not need out of sheer gratitude!

By about 2:30 I realized I'd best extract myself or I'd be there till closing . As registration started at 4:00pm, I wanted to get back to the hotel. It was still sunny outside and had warmed up considerably, so when the train I wanted to catched went by before I could get to it, I kept walking - right to the Borders I'd seen while on the shuttle the day before. It was there I FINALLY found Lydia's book. Knowing there was a book room at the Conference, I decided not to spend any more time or money at Borders and headed back to wait for the train - met up with Kathy and Alice, another conference attendee. We made it back just as Registration opened. After collecting my bag, I headed to the room to rest for a bit and look through the conference material. Headed back downstairs about 45 mins later and met up with my roomie, chatted to her about her day, then trundled off to mingle a bit. NOT that I'm great at mingling. Despite my rather obvious ability to natter on endlessly online, like many writers I'm a tad introverted when meeting people for the first time, especially at conferences. But I soon found some people I knew online as well as a fellow Pro member of RWA and all was well :-)

Hmm - well I think that's all I can manage for today! I'm still jetlagged and my sinuses/ears haven't yet adjusted from all the flying and the return from mountain altitude. Stay tuned for more details.

À demain.


Wednesday, April 13, 2005

A very quick post
Am madly getting ready to leave for Salt Lake City tomorrow morning (very early), so have had no time today to do anything like post to the blog *g*. See y'all next week :-)

Larissa - glad you liked my Terry Fox piece!


Tuesday, April 12, 2005

A true Canadian Hero
Today's post is totally off topic, but seeing as each and every family I know has been touched by cancer, and given the importance of today for the battle against cancer in Canada, I know everyone will understand.

25 years ago today, a young Canadian man, who had recently lost his leg to cancer, began what he called his Marathon of Hope - a bid to run from Newfoundland to British Columbia. For several months he ran, with his distinctive hop-skip, the equivalent of a marathon EVERY day, gaining a bigger following from city to city. Today in Newfoundland, his family unveiled a monument commemorating this anniversary.

A few years ago I put together the following piece about him. Though it's sad in many ways, I hope you enjoy reading the story of one of Canada's most dedicated and selfless citizens.

A Tribute to Terry Fox

Below you'll find a speech I wrote back in April of 1983, when I had to lead the morning assembly at my school. In the last few months it's come to have even greater relevance to my life than ever before. I was going to edit it (as my writing has improved somewhat since then), but decided to leave it as is so as not to lose the essence of the feelings I was trying to convey.

I have, however, included a hyperlink to the entire text of the the letter of Terry Fox's that I quote as well as a hyperlink to the words he spoke when he learned his cancer had spread. At the bottom of the page you will find links for further information. My thanks to the Terry Fox Foundation site for making the quotations available. When I originally wrote the piece, I did not note down the exact source, never even thinking that in the future I might want to publish it. I was most relieved to find the website and the means to attribute credit.

Copyright Teresa Eckford, 1983/2001

Several weeks ago I went to see the movie "Gandhi". I previously had known little about him and I was amazed at how one small man could unite a nation of people to the extreme that he did. But then I started to think of how one man recently united Canada to the same extent, unselfishly giving himself so that others could live a longer life. Terry Fox.

This is a passage from his letter to the Canadian Cancer Society explaining his reasoning behind the idea of the cross country run which became known as the Marathon of Hope.
"...I was rudely awakened by the feelings that surrounded and coursed through the cancer clinic. There were the faces with brave smiles, and the ones who had given up smiling. There were the feelings of hopeful denial, and the feelings of despair. My quest would not be a selfish one. I could not leave knowing these faces and feelings would still exist, even though I would be set free from mine. Somewhere the hurting must stop ... and I was determined to take myself to the limit for this cause."
And this he did, exactly three years ago today, on April 12, 1980, Terry Fox started his Marathon of Hope, to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society. He dipped his artificial right leg (he had lost the real one to cancer three years before) in the Atlantic Ocean at St. John's, Newfoundland. He ran 26 miles or more a day and we laughed and cheered him all the way to Thunder Bay and there we stopped and cried with him when he discovered that the cancer had spread to his lungs. From then until his death in June, 1981, we prayed and hoped that God would spare his life. There were telethons and mini-marathons, danceathons and many other fund raising events held during the months before his death.

When it was announced that the cancer had spread to his lymph glands everyone knew that the end was not far off. But still we continued to blindly believe that Terry could not die. But he did. Many tears flowed that Sunday when it was announced "Terry Fox is dead." Even so the money continued to flow in. It is estimated that in just over a year, one brave young man managed to inspire a country to raise over $24,000,000.00.

Terry, who died exactly one month before his 23rd birthday, has done more for Canadian unity than the Constitution or the Montreal Expos. He once said "I just wish people would realize that anything is possible if they try, that dreams are made if people try."

Terry might be dead, but the feelings of unity, the faith and the love he brought into our hearts will remain forever.


Every September since his death Terry Fox Runs have been held across the Canada, as well as in many other countries around the world. The fundraising still continues. His legacy truly is one that will not die. If you want to learn more about Terry Fox, click on the links below:

The Terry Fox Foundation
The Terry Fox Humanitarian Award Program

A number of monuments have been erected to honour him:

Ottawa's Terry Fox statue is downtown, opposite Parliament Hill, while in Thunder Bay, the monument marks the spot where he was forced to end his Marathon of Hope.

And on the SFU campus in Burnaby, BC, there's a statue - part of a bigger website dedicated to Terry.
There is also a Terry Fox Memorial in Vancouver, outside BC Place Stadium and a library and high school are named after him in his hometown of Port Coquitlam, BC.

In September 1980, Terry was made a Companion of the Order of Canada, the youngest person to be so honoured, and is included in the National Library's Heroes of Lore and Yore.

UPDATE - In April 2005, the Royal Canadian Mint issued a special coin, commemorating the 25th anniversary of the start of Terry's Marathon of Hope.

You can read more about Terry Fox and his legacy at CBC Online.


Monday, April 11, 2005

More on Research...
Ok - I'm back. Now, as I was saying, Lydia and I aren't the only two writers who have strong feelings about research in historical romance. Writer and reviewer Anne Marble has a great article at Writing World - Research Flaws in Romance Novels. There are many passages I could pull from it to illustrate its value, but I think this one is one of the best:

Don't base your research on what you've read in other romance novels. Remember -- those novels might have gotten the facts wrong. Also, remember that research is more than just facts. Research is a great way to find information that can help you out of a tight plotting situation or give your characters a more detailed background.

Sonia Leger also appreciates a well-researched romance novel. In an article written for the Heart of Denver Romance Writers, Getting the Facts RIGHT--Historical Romance 101, she points out one of the biggest problems with inaccurate research:

While I did enjoy the book, I could not give it a five-star rating. Why? Because although the plot line and the characters were well thought out, the historical inaccuracies kept bringing me out of the story. The author had written a good contemporary story that, for some reason, she then decided to drop into the context of medieval times.

The conclusion of her article sums up my feelings on the topic:

I think that a good historical writer needs to have a grasp on the political, religious and social issues of the era in which she's setting her story-often the three are intertwined, and they always have a direct bearing on her plot. Whether the characters deviate from historical norms or go along with them, a writer needs to do her research all the same. Don't forget, people read historical romances because they are supposed to be just that-historicals.

The final sentence in the above quote is what I'd like to zero in on here. The majority of people who read historical romance do so because they WANT to be taken into the past. For some this means a very lightly coloured historical past - with just enough detail to give them a sense of the period. For others, those who study the period, read about the past, love historical movies and watch documentaries about times past, it means they want to read about characters who feel like they were born in the past. And want the verisimilitude provided by detailed, accurate research that's woven so tightly into the narrative it can't be seen, but without which the book wouldn't ring true.

Are you totally freaked out now? If so, I'm sorry. Don't mean to sounds so horribly pedantic. The above is achievable - if you take your time and really work hard to build your setting and characters based on learning as much as you can about the period in which your story takes place.

How? Never fear, there are lots of articles out there to help you. Tina St. John, for instance, has a really good article at her website - Research: Setting Your Historical Romance. Start there, and move on to Nancy Henderson's Writing the Historical Romance Novel, Cheryl Ferguson's Writing the Multicultural Historical Romance, Michelle Hoppe's Researching the British Historical, Charla Chin's Researching the Historical Romance and Deborah Hale's Walking the Historical Tightrope.

Other not-to-miss articles include Researching Historical Fact, by one of the grande dames of the genre, Roberta Gellis.

Looking for Research Links? Check out Lydia's list - scroll down on the page, past the Writing and Industry related links to her very comprehensive Research ones. Also, there's Deb's Historical Research Page and Charlotte Dillon's Research Links for Writers.

If you're writing a novel set in Britain, I also recommend stopping at Jo Beverley's website - there you'll find enough information to get you well and truly started on your way. Click on the various links under A Miscellany to access the site's resources. Then move on to Jaclyn Reding's Research Links for Writers, another of the best known sites on the web.

But you want to use books instead of the web? No problem - there are good bibliographies available online as well. One of my favourite places to find research books is at Literary Liaisons - each quarter a new book is highlighted, but Michelle also maintains a full Researching the Romance bibliography for writers. For the medieval period, the aforementioned Roberta Gellis provides a list of her research books.

That should be enough to get you started :-)


Sunday, April 10, 2005

On Research...
Ok - so I'm returning to this topic after reading Lydia's recent post about her encounter with a critical reader. One who assumed Lydia didn't know what she was talking about, then was rude after Lydia explained why she did what she did in her debut book, The Veil of Night. Now, I haven't read it yet, but based on what I've seen from the History Notes section of Lydia's website, along with her article on Romance and Accuracy I'm pretty darned certain who I'd be believing.

I too am pretty obsessed with getting things right. Will spend hours/days - even weeks, researching something, just to be certain I'm right. Granted, I'm not on deadline, so maybe I won't have the luxury of doing so in the future, if I get published. But I'd find a way, no matter what. I WILL NOT sacrifice accuracy in my historical detail. To me, it's all part of my world building and I cannot let go of it.

A big part of the problem, I believe, is that a lot of readers DO believe everything they read in a novel to be true. Yet there are a fair number of writers out there who do make historical mistakes - either because they depend on faulty research (which is why one confirms details with at least three independent sources) or because accuracy for them only goes so far. Which is fine - it's THEIR choice.

For that reason, however, I emphasize to anyone who asks me about research, NEVER use a work of fiction as a source for your own novel. Even those authors who pride themselves on getting the details right will tell you that.

Lest you think Lydia and I are the only two writers out there expounding on this, we're not! Carolyn Jewel has a great article on her website while Alicia Rasley is very clear in about the necessity to "err on the side of accuracy".

Will have to finish here. The kitchen still needs some attention after last night's yummy dinner. And as my dh did the first round while I was catching up on sleep (I had a bout of insomnia in the middle of the night), it's up to me to finish the rest :-)


Saturday, April 09, 2005

Assorted fun stuff...
So after rereading Kate Rothwell's blog yesterday, I noticed her link to Steph Smith's Writing Resources and remembered I hadn't visited there for a while. So off I went and found a link to The Romance Author's Page Research Index. There I discovered another useful online word resource - WordNet. Though it doesn't give dates, it will give synonyms for words. You can also download the software, but at this point, I figure I'll just use the online version. Not sure my computer needs any more software on it!!

I Found this at Diana Peterfund's Blog, Diana's Diversions - and thought it would be fun to try.

1. Name one song you hate to admit you like.
Rock Me Amadeus - Falco. ~ I'm just SUCH an 80s chick at times *g*. And it's such a catchy tune - fun to work out to :-)

2. Name two songs that always make you cry.
Well, no song ALWAYS makes me cry, but one that often brings tears to my eyes is All My Life, by Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville. And yes, it was the song Sean and I used as the first dance at our reception.

Also, Room for a Life by Kate Bush can make me choke up too.

3. Name three songs that turn you on.
Nights in White Satin - Moody Blues ~ No explanations needed here.
I Wanna Kiss You All Over - Exile ~ Did I also mention I'm a child of the 70s? I remember listening to this song while in England in 1978, way before I was able to partake in such activities - even THEN it certainly got my imagination going =:-O
I Think I Love You Too Much - Jeff Healey Band ~ Jeff has the most AMAZING voice, makes me melt every time.

4. Name four songs that always make you feel good.
Love Shack - B-52s ~See above remark re 80s chick *g*.
Eat the Music - Kate Bush ~ A fun tune with cool lyrics.
Forever Dancing - Rawlins Cross ~A love song - one of my faves by this band (which, sadly, is no longer together).
Stray Cat Strut - Stray Cats ~ Yep - another 80s song, one that always makes me want to dance :-)

5. Name five songs you couldn't ever do without.
All Because of You - U2 ~ My current fave U2 tune (it changes fairly frequently, but right now this is the one I hit Repeat on a lot *g*)
Saxophone Song - Kate Bush ~ One of her earlier songs - off her debut album, The Kick Inside. It's got beautiful atmosphere and wonderful lyrics.
Lost Together - Blue Rodeo ~ Quintessentially Canadian, Blue Rodeo is one of my fave bands of all time. They put on an amazing live show and consistently turn out great albums (Sean just bought me the new one the other day!! This song is gorgeous, as is their cover of the Bee Gees' To Love Somebody. Jim Cuddy puts so much emotion into their ballads.
You Make Lovin' Fun - Fleetwood Mac ~ See above remark about being a child of the 70s *g*. But seriously, Rumours has long been acknowledged as one of the best albums ever recorded - it's certainly stood the test of time.
Lost in Your Eyes - Jeff Healey Band ~Yes, more Jeff Healey. Ladies, if you've not heard of him and his band, see if you can find one of his CDs - he's Canadian and I've really no idea how big he made it outside my homeland, but his music is worth tracking down - start here at his website. He's been concentrating on his jazz for the last few years, so the most recent blues/rock release is from a few years ago.

There are so many others, but if FORCED to choose, I'd likely load the above onto my mp3 player and be happy :-)

Blogger Comments Feature
I've posted several comments recently, both in answer to ones on my blog and on other people's blogs, but they seem to have been eaten *sigh*. So if you commented and I didn't seem to reply, well, I did, they just didn't appear.

Larissa - yep, George is a helpful kitty - he helps us eat by showing us where the table is and sitting there beside us to make sure we finish, though sometimes I suspect it's more cause he's hoping food will fall to the floor *g*.

And, just in case blogger comments aren't working properly today - Sheri - you're welcome for the Timeline Maker link. Hope you enjoy the software! Nice to meet another Teutul fan :-)

Weekend Plans
Tonight we're having friends over for a BBQ. And what do you know, the weather is actually cooperating (furiously knocking on wood now). It's sunny and we're supposed to get to about 13ºCelsius (about 55ºF), so now we just have to hope the wind stays calm. The deck faces West, so we have the sun on it late in the day, but if the wind is up, it can still be chilly. Of course, with all the snow now gone (yay!!) I've noticed some gardening chores that need attending to before the guests arrive. So I'd best finish up here and get moving. And, depending on how late things go, I'm not sure when I'll get around to posting tomorrow *vbg*.

Hope everyone else has nice weather too. Happy Writing!


Friday, April 08, 2005

Is it Friday again already?...
Wow, this week just flew by. After witing up my Enotes column yesterday morning, I spent much of the rest of the day looking up words from my ms. One of my sources is receiving lots of coverage this week - so far both Emma Gads and Kate Rothwell (thanks to Emma for pointing the way to Kate's blog on the same topic) have mentioned Etymonline. I'm another fan of this amazing web resource. Used in conjunction with Brohaugh's English Through the Ages, Webster's 9th Collegiate Dictionary and the Oxford Dictionary of Word Histories, it provides a lot of detailed info about a huge variety of words.

Then last night I spent 2.5 hours reading through my dh's copy of A Sea of Words - a companion book to Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series. Sean is a big fan of P OB's books (ripping yarns of sea-faring adventure) and suggested looking through it to get an idea of some of the language from the period. I found a lot neat words and I'm only through the Cs!!

Had a horrible sinus headache this morning, so didn't get much work done. And am now at the office, then off to the gym for a workout. Will likely spend more time this evening looking up words *g*. Now this might sound obsessive, but I tend to be very careful about not using words that are quite obviously not "in period". Just one of my many little writer quirks!

Hopefully I'll be done that early next week so that when I return from SLC, I can go right into analyzing my scenes using the FDin30D method.

Teresa :-)

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Reporting in....
Yesterday I spent a lot of time working on my Enotes column, hence my absence from this blog. Then I was out on the deck (yes, it was warm enough to sit out there!) working on my ms. On Tuesday evening I divided it into scenes - took me a couple of hours while we watched Jeopardy, the new Dr. Who (which was pretty good) and American Chopper (yep, we're addicted to the Teutuls and their motorcyle adventures). My dh asked it I was making a puzzle *g*, but once I explained what I was doing, he agreed it sounded helpful.

So I was going over the first chapter out on the deck yesterday and George decided the best place to plop himself to sleep was on the rest of my ms!!! Yep, he was stretched across the pile of paper, purring away. Hmmm. Good thing - I was reading what I could see from under a mound of brown and orange fur and noticed I'd printed out the wrong version of chapter two. Guess I'd have noticed anyway, but the part I could see was something I'd rewritten recently and it stuck out as definitely not right.

Then my dh got home, we picked up our car from the dealership where it was in for some work (long story), returned home and went for a long walk followed by dinner out at a nice little fish restaurant in the neighbourhood. I finally got back to the computer to print out the correct versions of chapters two and three and cut them up. So NOW I can proceed. Though for today, after writing up my Enotes column, I'll be concentrating on looking up more of those words from my ms.

Karen has updated the FDin30D FAQ and added three more bloggers to her list on the main FD site.

Here ends today's report :-)


Tuesday, April 05, 2005

A late post today...
I've been busy here at the office, doing accounting entries, paying bills etc. :-) Just one more thing to do, then I'll be finished my official business for the day! Needless to say, I haven't had time to do much writing related stuff. However, I did manage to set my full ms to printing again so I can divide up the scenes à la FDin30D and start working on that. Maybe this evening, though I'm sure my dh will think I'm nuts. I cut down the line spacing to 1.5 to reduce the number of pages printed (save those trees!). And realized too late I hadn't included page numbers (slap hand to forehead), so just have to hope none of the pages got mixed up in the printing process!!

Ok - last entry made. Now I've got the hang of Simply Accounting, I'm usually pretty quick about things. But it did take me a while to learn it when I took over doing the accounting for our company. I just think of it as a new skillset :-)

Update on Larissa's Cat Geordie
She's feeling better :-) Yay!!!!! Still has some serious stuff to go through, but the vet figured out what was going on.

Not much else new to report. I'm leaving next Thursday am for the Historical Novel Society Conference in Salt Lake City - should be fun. I'll get to see one of my closest friends (who moved across the country a few years ago) and meet some of my online buddies for the first time :-) AND visit the Family History Library. Not to mention going to some great workshops.

That's about it for today :-) Hopefully I'll have more FDin30D news to report tomorrow or Thursday!

Teresa :-)

Monday, April 04, 2005

Monday morning thoughts...
First, everyone please send Larissa and her kitty positive thoughts. They really need them. It's such a tough thing to go through - we love our pets so much and it's always difficult to see them suffer. Pets become such an integral part of the family that dealing with their illness can be almost as heartwrenching as dealing with a person's illness. My late cat Scotty was sick a lot and it never got easier to deal with. So, please, please keep Larissa and her kitty in your thoughts today.

Dialogue Workshop
At my chapter meeting yesterday, Nonnie St. George gave a wonderful talk about dialogue, full of insight and lots of great tips. That's the kind of workshop I can get behind - not just information, but practical ways to apply it.

I also passed around my copy of FDin30D for people to see - it definitely generated some buzz!!! I think I'm going to reprint my ms (once I've reassembled it *g*) so I can divide up the scenes as described in Chapter 8 (Creating and Outline for a Project Already in Development or Re-Outlining a Stalled Project) on pages 122-124. Sheri did it last week and found it very helpful - even put her own distinctive twist on the process!

Not much else to report. I'm in the office at least two days this week as my dh is at his other job. But that's fine. I like being here too.


Sunday, April 03, 2005

A very quick blog today...
I have to go out grocery shopping before heading to my chapter meeting this afternoon. And as it's a grey, dismal morning here, the supermarket is likely to be really crowded. However, I'd still rather face the crowds than do housework - which is what my dh is doing now :-)

Spent yesterday morning working on my Enotes column, so got no real writing done. Oh well. Will be showing my copy of FDin30D round my chapter today - I figure there will be a few people there who are interested.

Happy Sunday!


Saturday, April 02, 2005

Marking five months today, since....
our beloved cat Scotty died. He got really sick at the end of October, so on November 2nd, we took him to the vet for the last time. Doesn't seem like five months already. Below I've posted some of my favourite photos of him. As you can see, like most cats, he spent a lot of time sleeping *g*. We still miss him a lot, but he was 17½ and had been diabetic for over two years. And had lived a full, happy, pampered life. The strange thing is, George, the other cat, seems to have taken up some of Scotty's habits. It really spooks me out at times, but I'm learning to live with it.

Thoughts on the Pope
I'm half Polish, so my tie with him is more through my ancestry and his underground work during WWII than as a religious figure (I'm Anglican). My late father's experience is something that still resonates through my life. Though Karol Wojtyla was not deported, he was involved in anti-Nazi activities in Warsaw during the war. Add to that his support for the Solidarnosz movement in the late 70s and early 80s, and it's hard to deny his role as a true Polish patriot.

I also vividly remember the day the Pope was shot. My babcia hadn't been watching television that day (she usually watched Edge of Night and Another World), so my dad had to tell her. I thought she was going to pass out, until my dad hastened to assure her that he was still alive and likely not mortally wounded.

So for me, keeping this vigil for the Pope is more about losing another tie to my childhood, to my father and grandmother, and a chance to reflect yet again on my family's history.

And here he is snoozing in his box in the front hall - another of his fave sleeping spots. He had boxes all over the house *g*. Can you tell we're indulgent cat owners? Posted by Hello
Here he is with his brother - napping out on the deck in the summer of 2003. Posted by Hello
Here he is on the chair pad from the lawn furniture. Guess he figured it didn't matter if the pad was on the chair or not - it was still a comfy place to sit :-) (And if you're wondering about his tail, he was a Manx - the kind with no tail at all) Posted by Hello
Scotty - Summer 2004. Here he is snoozing in my flower bed! He just loved the sun, but was smart enough to only sit in its full light for a few minutes before moving to the shade to cool off. Posted by Hello

Friday, April 01, 2005

Have you ever just wanted to toss your ms....
under a bus? That's how I felt yesterday. Totally overwhelmed and frustrated with it. I've been trying so hard to get the first three chapters and synopsis in shape to send to an agent, but then I panicked. What if I send it out and there's a request for the entire ms? What if it's not ready? Arrrggghh. So, I think I'm going to hang on a bit, rework things THEN send out that partial. Will cut down on my stress. My dh (God bless him) suggested I first go through and insert all the missing words, then the missing research, then go through and work on continuity etc. Additionally, I'll spend time each day working with the FDin3OD worksheets, just so I'm clear on everything that's happening in this ms.

See, the problem is, I started the book with one plotline, received some really helpful feedback that resulted in me CHANGING the storyline rather significantly. BUT I didn't go back and rewrite what I'd already done to reflect the change. Soooo, that all needs to be done now. Which is why I think FDin30D can really help me :-)

I'm feeling a little more in control now. It was pretty scary yesterday, though.

OTOH, if anyone can tell me exactly when the French people in general knew Marie-Antoinette was going to be tried, I'd really appreciate the info. I knew she was transferred to the Conciergerie in early August 1793 and that the order fromt the Convention specifically mentioned the transfer was in anticipation of her appearance before the Tribunal, but I need to know when that became common knowledge. At least common enough for the English spy network to pick up on it.


Teresa (too detail oriented for her own d*** good at times)