Friday, June 30, 2006

Claire Delacroix and the rules of writing

"You can break any so-called rule -- the trick is that the more you step beyond convention, the better your book has to be. Ironically, you can defy any so-called standard if you provide a greater emotional whallop to the reader, which is the ultimate reader expectation of a romance. Wring out your reader's heart, stomp that sucker flat, then make everything sunshine and roses by the end. She'll let you get away with anything, just for that emotional roller coaster ride." (1)

On Wednesday, Claire blogged about the rules. Above is one of her concluding paragraphs - a passage I intend to post near my computer. And I'll read it whenever I get down or have someone tell me I'm not doing things "the right way".

Claire is a font of great advice - scroll back in her blog for insight into both the craft and business of writing. You'll learn lots!

And speaking of writing, I spent some time yesterday typing some of my Wednesday musings into WWP. And discovered I'll have to go back and redo some of my FDin30D work - the Summary sheets etc, as I've changed the opening of the book drastically. A pain, but ultimately I'm pretty certain the revisions have made the story stronger.

Next week I really will dive back in fully, using the FD method. Have been floundering about this week and realized it's cause I'm not focussing. And that's what the FD method does for writers like me - forces me to FOCUS.

Yesterday's hike was fantastic. Hard work going up, but worth it for the views halfway:

and at the top:

Ok - now I really must go. Have more errands to run this morning, so need to get myself in gear :-)

Happy long weekend, everyone!!!


Currently Reading: Madame de Staël by Maria Fairweather
Also Currently Reading: Shopaholic Takes Manhattan by Sophie Kinsella
Link of the Day: Garden Bay Pub (where Sean and I may stop while out on the motorbike this weekend)

1) There are no rules. Blog post by Claire Delacroix, posted on Wednesday June 28, 2006 at Publishing is Funny, If You Think About It, hosted by RWAonline)

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Email programme meltdown...

yep - I tried something yesterday, The Bat! froze and when I reopened, ALL my folders and email appeared to be gone. Now, note my use of the word "appeared". Fortunately, despite the loss of my folder tree (a pain to reconstruct, but that's about it), all my messages were still stored on my hard drive. So I'm working on rebuilding my email today. Bit by bit. Importing messages to each individual folder. Tedious, but waaaaaaaaaay better than realizing everything is GONE! This is why I LOVE The Bat!

Have also reverted to good ol' wbloggar. The Qumana experiment pretty much flopped. It only posts to Blogger, doesn't publish automatically, so I still have to sign in. And it puts in TONS of extraneous code, yet when I entered the html code for the pic of Cleo yesterday as directed, it didn't upload it.

Wbloggar has proven to be remarkably stable and easy to use. Doubt I'll stray again :-)

In other news, I planned more scenes for my ms yesterday while gazing out at the lake. Seem to have made at least SOME progress with it and intend to enter those scenes into WWP today. Have pretty much given up on yWriter - it was just too much like hard work. Has great features, but isn't as logical as I'd like. Or, er, need *g*.

Oh, and re yesterday's question about finding out stuff you wrote is better than you thought, I'm glad I'm not alone. Should clarify, the TT novel is one I completed a few years back and set aside the marketing on for a while to work on my French Rev story. There are a couple of the smaller presses I may try the TT out on. Just a thought.

Am off on a hike with a friend later - it's the perfect day for it. Sunny and about mid-20s C. Should be fun. A great way to start an extended long weekend - it's Canada Day on Saturday, so I'm figuring my weekend starts pretty soon *g*.


Currently Reading: Madame de Staël by Maria Fairweather
Also Currently Reading: Shopaholic Takes Manhattan by Sophie Kinsella (Found it at the library yesterday!!)
Link of the Day: The Writing Life (one of my fave blogs to visit)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A sunny Wednesday morning...

It's a beautiful day here today - sunny and cool right now, but with promises of highs in the low 20s C. Just the kind of day to sit outside and work on my ms. I think I might just do that after running errands and other such stuff this morning.
I'm trying out a new blog editor today. Not sure I'll really abandon wbloggar, but I figured I'd give this one a try, just for fun. Cause, yanno I LOVE software :-)
Yesterday I ended up reading bits and pieces from my time travel ms. And have to admit I was pleasantly surprised. It's actually better than I remembered. Of course, I noticed lots of little things and started mentally editing. But what I didn't do was try to rip it up or stuff it far underneath the bed for the cats to sleep on.
Does this happen to you when you pull out something you haven't looked at in a while? Are you surprised by the quality of your own writing? Just curious.
And here's the latest in my series of cute cat photos. I walked into our bedroom/office yesterday afternoon to see this:

Isn't she adorable? She even stayed there while I grabbed the camera and snapped the shot.
Currently Reading: Madame de Staël: An Extraordinary Life
Powered By Qumana

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A cool link...

Found this via Kristin Nelson's Pub Rants blog:
Backspace's list of Literary Bloggers


I'm feeling blurry today because...

of my allergies. Woke up to itchy, burning eyes. Of course, if I was in still Ottawa, it wouldn't be any different at this time of year.

Margaret asked about my evening bag - I'd put it down inside the house during the reception to make it easier to balance food and drink *g*. But here's a pic of it:

And thanks for all the compliments on my dress :-) They're much appreciated! Those of you who at National next year or the year after will likely see it again *g*.

We're still trying to catch up with all the stuff we put aside doing wedding prep, so my wip work is going to have to wait another couple of days. I really want to get back to it, but putting the other stuff off really isn't such a good idea. And I just keep reminding myself that even while the actual work has been put on the backburner, my coffeepot is still percolating all kinds of story possibilities!

Ok - on with the day :-)


Currently Reading: Madame de Staël: An Extraordinary Life
Also Currently Reading: Book for review

Monday, June 26, 2006

We partied till dawn...

and walked down to the beach in time for sunrise:


Yep - the wedding was one big party - starting with the lovely outdoor ceremony and ending with a morning dip in the ocean for some (because of wardrobe issues, I didn't participate - but did take photos *g*).

The best part was seeing family - I met two of Sean's cousins I've missed meeting in all our visits to BC and reconnected with other members of the family.

We started the celebrations at the wedding venue, then moved to bride's parents' house - in limos! Talk about a great ride :-)

By 3 am, Sean and I were out on the dance floor, after spending much of our time out on the patio chatting with friends and family. I'm pretty certain that part was key to us making it through the night. Had I not started dancing, I'd have been tempted to find somewhere to curl up and have a nap *g*. But the music was great and before I knew it, the sky outside was starting to lighten.

So off we went to the beach - my feet, inside new shoes, weren't particularly thrilled, but there was no way I was missing out on the opportunity to see Vancouver by the light of dawn! Here's what it looked like:

Oh, right, I promised a photo of myself in my dress. Sean took this one around 1am, I believe. And if you're wondering why the champagne looks flat and dark in the glass, it's because it's whisky (Lagavulin) - there were no whisky glasses available by this point *g*. The dress went just to my knees and was super comfortable all day and night:

And here's one of Sean taken at the rehearsal dinner:

Well, I've errands to do, so must dash off now. Once the happy couple returns from their honeymoon, I'll ask their permission to post the wedding pics here. Won't do so until I hear from them.


Currently Reading: Madame de Staël: An Extraordinary Life by Maria Fairweather
Also Currently Reading: Book for review

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I found an evening bag...

and it will work perfectly! Holds the Epipen and my camera plus a lipstick. Not sure about a compact, but that's ok. I can survive if my nose gets a tad shiny *g*.

Found it at a cute little store in Gibsons called Candy-O. There was another really nice pink leather purse there, but I resisted the urge to buy it. Especially as I already have a pink summer purse!

The rehearsal is tonight, followed by dinner. Then the wedding is Friday. Hardly seems possible it's all about to happen! Should be fun.

Next week I intend to get back to work on my ms. I did do some work on it last week, using a little of what I learned from Barbara Kyle in her workshop on Storylining (she spoke at an ORWA meeting late last year). I figure there's still stuff percolating even while I'm caught up in the wedding whirlwind.

Hope everyone is keeping well :-)


Currently Reading: Madame de Staël: An Extraordinary Life by Maria Fairweather
Link of the Day: Marjorie's daughter found safe and sound

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Very quick post...

We're really busy here, doing last minute wedding shopping etc. Posts here will be hit and miss till the end of the coming weekend! I'm off in search of an evening purse later today. And a non-spill water bowl for the kitties.

Enjoy your week!


Currently Reading: Madame de Staël by Maria Fairweather

Friday, June 16, 2006


Do you multitask? I do. Am really bad for it, in fact. Right now I'm writing another review (ssshhhh - don't tell Sarah *g*), blogging and surfing the net. Oh, and every few minutes I hop over to The Bat! and check for new email. Plus I'm also doing laundry up at the big house *vbg*.

Somehow, though, I usually manage to get everything done that I need to. Most of the time. Like yesterday - I wrote one review (more on that later), cleaned up a bit here, did company related stuff, went shopping, made it to the Post Office in the nick of time to send a parcel, cooked dinner etc. That was after I bloghopped, blogged, checked/wrote email and attended to the cats.

Right, the review. I had a rough time with it - mostly cause of the word limit. And that's what I LOVE about reviewing books. Ok, so not when I'm actually struggling, but the challenge of condensing a novel into about 150 words, then using another 150 (or so) to analyse it is a great exercise for a writer. Especially one prone to going on a bit *g*. With some books, it happens with little effort, but, as in the case yesterday, some books are so complicated and have affected me both negatively and positively that I find it difficult at first to get everything I want into those 300 words.

So, I've learned to just forget about the wordcount and just write the summary followed by what I think about the book. Then I go back and cut extraneous words and phrases - this usually gets me close to the word count. After that I have to find different and more concise ways to encapusulate the plot and my assessment.

Hopefully I'll I have time this afternoon to do some more work on my ms. I'd hoped to get a rough synopsis done this week, but I don't see that happening now. Where does the time go?

This weekend, Sean's cousin and her husband arrive. They'll be spending time up here before we all head down for the wedding next week. Have to admit, I'm looking forward to the big event - especially the family time. And seeing our niece all dressed in her finery as flower girl :-)

Ok, back to my review. Really. I mean it.


Currently Reading: Confessions of a Shopaholic
Link of the Day: Reviews of Historical Fiction, Pt 1

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Happy Birthday, Melissa :-)

Yep, Melissa is 31 today!! Many happy returns - enjoy your day!

So, where have a been for the last couple of days? Well, Tuesday afternoon I ended up in Vancouver, searching for shoes. Neither my m-i-l nor I had any luck there. Sheesh, you'd think in a city the size of Vancouver we could find shoes, but nope. Either they weren't right for the outfits, or not our size.

Then yesterday I went back to a store up here I'd been in last week and actually found a pair that I really like. Better yet, they were on sale :-) Now I need a wrap and an evening bag. None of my current ones are quite right and most are in storage anyway.

When I got home, I did some ms work - though I'm still unsure about my opening scene. I have two choices and can't quite figure which one will work better. Very frustrating. Anyone here have tips on how they decide between two ideas for a story opening? One day I like one, the next I prefer the other.

And then there was the hockey game last night. A whole crowd of us watched as Edmonton pulled it out of the fire, with a short-handed goal no less, to stay alive in this season's Stanley Cup Final. Saturday's game will be big! Though I'm not sure how anything could be more exciting than last night's surprise victory in overtime.

So, that's me up to date for right now. Here's are some cute cat pics - taken this morning:

I turned around in my chair, and there they were - all snuggled together. Chloe gave Cleo and thorough washing before she too went to sleep. They're sooo adorable. At least I think so *g*.


Currently Reading: Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
Link of the Day: Missing Child Alert at Writer Unboxed

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Quick post...

Sorry - will have to leave you with just a link today:
Chloe and Cleo's updated blog

More later!!


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Library Thing...

Well, last week I finally went ahead and paid a lifetime membership at Library Thing. The Cdn dollar was doing really well and it's only $25 US, so I figured I'd go for it. Then I spent time on the weekend uploading a lot more of my catalogue - thank goodness for Book Collector! Makes it really easy, as I just export to text, then import at the LT site, where it searches online and gathers the info from the ISBNs. A few of my books couldn't be found online, so I'll have to input them manually, but that's no big deal.

Now why would I do this, you ask? Not only is it just cool *g*, but it's extra backup, especially now while my books are in storage. Not that I don't have my database backed up several different places already, but, this is another layer of insurance should something happen. Of course, I still don't have nearly ALL my books catalogued at this point, but most of my important research ones are now noted in LT.

Other than that, I had no luck in my wrap quest yesterday. Have to go into Gibsons today to pick up a package, so will try the shoe store first, then once I have shoes, I'll try to find a wrap. It was a beautiful day yesterday, but I spent much of it cleaning our cottage after discovering the cats have fleas. Not a major infestation, so I'm hoping the cleaning and the meds I picked up will help get rid of them quickly.

Needless to say, I got NO work done on my ms yesterday. What with the hockey game on in the evening, for what that was worth.

Anyway, I should get on with my busy day and let y'all do the same :-)


Currently Reading: Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
Also Currently Reading: Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married by Marian Keyes
Link of the Day: Links on the French Revolution

Monday, June 12, 2006

A busy weekend...

but lots of fun :-) Everyone arrived Friday evening, which is good, considering how crowded the ferries are coming up to the Coast on Fridays in the summer. On Saturday we started with a big family breakfast and ended with a campfire and roasted marshmallows, courtesy of our niece. She roasted those tasty morsels for anyone who wanted one :) In between, the weather cleared enough for us to get out on the lake, though I declined to take a dip in the still cold lake. *g* We also hosted a crowd for the hockey game (Edmonton won a game!!) and did nachos (my future sis-in-law made her famous guacomole - yum), while one of the neighbours bbqd chicken.

Yesterday was a bit quieter, with the others leaving around noon. Sean and I took a load of stuff back to our storage bin, then I powered through the rest of my review book before dinner. I'd managed to read most of it on Friday, took it out on the lake with me Saturday and read the last 40 pages yesterday. Will write the reviews tomorrow or Wednesday.

Sean and I were thrilled to discover last week that the new TVtropolis channel is showing old episodes of NewsRadio - one of our fave shows. Back to back, no less, on Sunday evenings. Though I still get sad watching Phil Hartman :-(

Anyway, today includes laundry, a trip for cat litter and food, and maybe a search for a wrap for my dress :-) So I'd best get moving!!


Currently Reading: Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella (I borrowed it from the library and it's due Saturday)
Also Currently Reading: Lucy Sullivan... (will finish it after Shopaholic)
Link of the Day: A bit of BSP here - my review of The Book of Blanche and Marie by Per Olov Enquist (an Editor's Pick in the May issue of The Historical Novels Review)

Friday, June 09, 2006

I think today I'll read...

my second review book. Yesterday I managed to get more planning work done on WTHB, but my review book is staring at me pretty constantly and as we'll have a busy weekend, I figure I should take the opportunity of a quiet, rainy Friday to get through as much of it as possible. My brother-in-law, his fiancée and our niece will be visiting - yay!!

As I said, I managed to get some story work done yesterday. The only glitch I found with yWriter is that when I print out the character list with the info, it doesn't word wrap - so info runs off the end of the page. Hmmm. I guess I'll just transfer anything I type in there over to WWP and print it out there :-)

Ok - on with the day.


Currently Reading: Book for review
Also Currently Reading: Lucy Sullivan...
Link of the Day: Claire Delacroix's Blog

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Ok, let's see what happens...

As those of you who use Blogger know, there has been some trouble with their server/software/whatever over the last couple of days. I'm hoping to get this post up!

First, Kelly mentioned not having heard of yWriter. It's a cool little piece of software that you can use to plan and/or write your manuscript. I'm still pretty devoted to WriteWayPro for my actual writing, but have discovered yWriter is fantastic as a planning tool. And you can export what you input so it can then be transferred to any other number of writing programmes.

With it you can plan scenes in detail (yes, you can do this with WWP too, but it's a little less flexible there), down to the Story Day, acutal day, time (hour, minute, second) etc. And you tell it from whose POV the scene is and it keeps track of that.

That said, it did kick out a bunch of stuff I'd typed in the other day - poof it was gone, when I opened a new project. Hmmm. That way annoying, but fortunately it was pretty much all stuff I had either in WWP or in my notebook, so it's just a matter of entering it again.

So, if you love noodling with software like me, you might want to give it a try :-)

In other news
I didn't post yesterday cause I was busy with other stuff in the morning, then went for a long walk in the afternoon. Well, two walks, broken up by a stop for a fruit smoothie and ginger cookie while I made some notes for my ms. It's an hour from where we are down to the little cafe that supplied me with my snack. The weather was perfect - about 22º and sunny. So I slathered on the sunscreen, plopped my floppy hat on my head and set off. While walking back I brainstormed another character for my ms, a confidante for my heroine. I'm going to input all that once I'm done blogging.

It's rainy here today - I just got back from grocery shopping as it started to come down seriously. Which is fine, with all the writing work I want to accomplish this afternoon.


Currently Reading: Lucy Sullivan... by Marian Keyes (still on hiatus with that)
Also Currently Reading: Review book #2
Link of the Day: Kanata Writers Group

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

It's Tuesday and...

I didn't get quite as much done yesterday as I hoped.

In fact, I decided, after running my errands, to just finish my review book instead of writing. Yep, I had to choose and finishing that book won out. However, it's done now. I still have one more to read (the first copy went missing in the post). Aaack.

But TODAY, I will work on my story, using yWriter. It's a great planning tool.

In shopping news, I discovered I'll have to take my dress with me while looking for shoes and a wrap. It's a distinct shade of blue and I don't want to waste time getting something that won't really go with it.

And, my photo of the day:

Isn't she adorable? I found her there this morning. And she even stayed while I took the photo. Such a good girl.


Currently Reading: Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married
Also Currently Reading: Review book #2
Link of the Day: Research Books I Have Loved - at WordWenches

Monday, June 05, 2006

What a weekend!

It was back into Vancouver for me on Saturday afternoon. Granted, I didn't have to go, but was curious to see the suits Sean and his Dad will wear at my brother-in-law's upcoming wedding. Traffic was crazy, but it was well worth it as our niece tagged along with her dad and his fiancé. She was totally jazzed about the new bike they'd just bought for her :-) And about seeing her grandad and uncle all gussied up.

Yesterday we spent from 9-2:30 at the storage facility, sorting things through and moving stuff into our second locker. Well, Sean did all the moving - including all my boxes of books + our filing cabinets. Poor guy - his arms were covered in scratches and bruises by the end of the day. But we managed to find most of what we were looking for plus make some room in the main storage room and get the weight off some of the furniture.

Things found include:
a) Starbucks coffee maker
b) KitchenAid mixer
c) WhirlyPop popcorn popper

d) my cookbooks, including Eat, Shrink and be Merry by the Podleski sisters.

Here are some pics I've taken over the last few weeks:

Elvira, Moonbeam and Stardust (their mum)

Moonbeam up close

The lake from our living room window

Grace, Gregory and their suriving goslings - these geese visit every spring. We think the two babies survived to move on with them. Guess we'll find out next spring!

Have errands to run, then it's back here to try to get some proper work done on my ms.


Currently Reading: Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married (have had to put it on hold for now)
Also Currently Reading: Review book (reason for above being on hold)
Link of the Day: History Carnival 32

Saturday, June 03, 2006

I found a dress!!!!

Yep, at last I found a dress I can wear to the upcoming family wedding. And it's one I can wear the next time I'm at National for the gala. Only thing is, I can't gain any weight or it won't fit. Guess that's good incentive to stay in shape :-)

My mother-in-law and I spent all day yesterday in Vancouver - she too had good luck. And considering how close the wedding is now, we're both very relieved things worked out. Now I just need to accessorize *evil grin*. I LOVE accessories. Sean hasn't seen the dress on me yet - we can't bring it anywhere near Cleo - I shudder to think of what her claws would do if she tried to jump up to see me, so we've left it with my in-laws. There's a small ruffle going down the front of the dress that might attract her attention.

Today I'm off to Vancouver again, this time with Sean to see him get fitted for his suit. He's in the wedding party. Tomorrow we get to move stuff around in storage as we take over our second locker. Which means I might actually find my KitchenAid mixer!!! Yay :-)

Needless to say, my trip into the city yesterday meant I got no work done on my story. Looks like that will have to wait now till Monday.

Enjoy your weekend :-)


Currently Reading: Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married
Also Currently Reading: Book for review

Thursday, June 01, 2006

You'll have to indulge me...

as I show off a photo of Sean taken in his newsroom :-)

In other news, I got some more planning done on the reworking of my opening scenes. Sitting in a funky little coffee shop in Wilson Creek.

That's about it for today. My wrists are sore, so I should rest them now. Been driving a lot lately, which is hard on them.