Thursday, June 28, 2007

Mid-week update...

Thanks for all the contest feedback :) Lots to think about. I still can't quite decide - I do like getting fresh feedback, but OTOH, the waiting period is often way too long. I still have time to make up my mind about the contest I'm thinking about.

On the writing front, I managed to finish entering all the handwritten pages from my contemp story and get everything organized in WriteWayPro (copying and pasting stuff I'd typed into PageFour Notebook ). And it turns out, I really did manage over 25,000 words during NaNo last November. Considering I wrote about half the number of days in the month I do know it's possible to write enough each day to achieve 50,000 words. And the story is actually hanging together, though it does need a lot of work.

With my historical, I've done more research and yesterday picked up one of the ILL books that has given me some more plot ideas. Very cool.

On the personal side, I'm going in for volunteer training tomorrow at the Sechelt Library. Been meaning to volunteer there for a while and finally made the arrangements. AND, the framing on our house is now complete (pics at this link)! Yay!!! Now we're waiting on the various sub-trades, so please everyone, keep your fingers crossed.

That's about it for now. Am off to Nia soon and need to get ready. We're having a big family weekend this weekend (Canada Day celebrations) with my brother/sister-in-law, niece and baby nephew, so don't be surprised if I don't surface again till next week some time.


Currently Reading: Dark Angels by Karleen Koen
Also Currently Reading: Revolutionary Britannia: Reflections on the threat of revolution in Britain, 1789-1848 by Edward Royle

Monday, June 25, 2007

So much going on...

it feels like I'm falling further and further behind here on my blog. Lots of detailed house decisions to make, research to do and general errands.

Last week I managed to start a flow chart for my latest ms, using the updated version of Freemind. Very cool. It got my creative juices going again, which is always good. Then I found some good info online and was able to order another couple of books through ILL - now I just have to wait for them to arrive :)

We spent much of Saturday on the property, working on various land related chores, clearing roots, trees etc. It was by turns, cloudy, rainy, sunny, hot, then cloudy again. By 7 in the evening, it was pouring rain. Fortunately we'd returned to our temp home by then so didn't get soaked.

I did start typing in my contemp story last week and sent a chapter off to my CPs for their comments. I'm also considering entering my TT opening in the upcoming Gateway to the Best contest. We'll have to see. I did edit it again last year after a good friend read and commented on it for me, so it's pretty much ready. I just still haven't decided about contests in general.

What do you think - do you still like entering contests? Feel it's a good thing?


Currently Reading: Dark Angels by Karleen Koen (yes, I'm finally going to finish it)
Link of the Day: Discovering Dickens - A Tale of Two Cities

Monday, June 18, 2007

Our weekend...

Yeah, I know, I'm late on posting this. Not too much exciting either, though we did spend Friday evening over at the site with take out pizza, some potent potables, books, a campfire and the ingredients for smores. The weather was pretty nice, though not as warm as a couple of weeks ago.

A view of the fire pit area from the house:

Sunset from the front door:

Sean reading by the fire - it stayed light enough to do so until past 9:30:

The house at dusk:

Me by the fire around 10:30 - there was still just a teensy bit of light - I love this time of year:

On Saturday the weather had closed in again, so we went into Vancouver to look at bathroom fixtures and find me replacement t-shirts for a couple of the ones Cleo has put holes in (baaaaad kitty). We found the pedestal sink we want, but it wasn't in stock. Oh well - at least now we know what to ask the plumber for.

Sunday we did chores then prepared a Father's Day feast for my f-i-l.

Today I started inputting the handwritten chapters of my contemp ms, the one I worked on during NaNoWriMo last year. I'm going to play with this story too, just to see if switching off helps keep my percolator going.

And now, Cleo (she of the sharp little claws) is whining so I'd best go find out what she wants before she wakes Sean up (he has to be up for work very early tomorrow morning).


Friday, June 15, 2007

Teresa sees a bear...

very close!!! We were walking back from the property, through the woods when Sean suddenly stopped and said "Whoa!" then "Quick, give me your camera." I rounded the same corner and saw what he did - a black bear. After ensuring there were no cubs, Sean snapped a quick pic before our furry friend lumbered on ahead of us:

It didn't work out quite as well as we'd hoped - I've used the soft focus feature to highlight where the bear is in the photo. Can you see him?


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Archive Recycle Meme

Kelly tagged me for the Archive Recycle Meme - very cool!

I looked back through my archives and this one shouted out to be repeated:

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Writing is Like Exercise

Ok, this really isn't news to me, but I was thinking about it again yesterday while at the gym. Why? Because it was the first time in almost two weeks since my dh and I had taken the time to go there. As each day had passed, we'd talked vaguely about going, then ceme up with a reason not to. Even yesterday, when my hubby was getting really insistent, I was still reluctant. Felt tired and cranky and just not interested. But as he was in the driver's seat and I wasn't *grin*, I went along, chanting under my breath "I really want to do this, I really want to do this."

Sure enough, within a minute of starting the treadmill AND my mp3 player, I felt tons better. And kept going for the full 55 minutes (25 mins on treadmill, 30 on eliptical trainer).

How is this related to writing, you ask? Well, I sometimes have the same thing happen with my wip - I'll be stuck somewhere and just avoid it. Every day I think about opening the file, then find something else to do. But when I FINALLY do take the plunge and go back to it, just like with the gym, I find myself lost in the story within five minutes.

For those of us who are writers, ones who KNOW how important our writing is to us and ultimately how good it is for us, we still have a habit (at least most of the writers I know) of avoiding it from time to time. Just like exercise - that feeling of being tired and cranky yesterday, well, likely much of that came BECAUSE I'd avoided the gym for so long. Yes, I'd done a lot of walking, but there's still nothing like getting the blood really going while listening to music. I've been exercising regularly for the last 15 years (since just after my engagement) and my body is used to it. Just like my writing.

Then my mind wandered off to the musical portion of my workout. Now, you might think I'm some kinda freak for doing 55 mins of cardio. Maybe. And there's only one reason I can manage it - the music. Without my mp3 player and earphones, I'd last maybe ten minutes. Ok - probably 30, but it would be tough.

Often when I'm writing I play music as well - for company and inspiration. Just like when I'm exercising. Sometimes with the writing I do need quiet, but when I'm on a real roll, I LOVE background music that revs up my heartrate - it really helps.

So what's in my mp3 player/RealPlayer right now?

Vertigo - U2
What I Like About You - The Romantics
Ocean Pearl - 54-40
Found Out About You - The Gin Blossoms
A Little Less Conversation - Elvis Presley
Love Shack - B-52s
Rockaway - Rawlins Cross
Hungry Eyes - Eric Carmen
Call Me - Blondie
I Was Made for Lovin' You - KISS
Only Happy When it Rains - Garbage
Stray Cat Strut - Stray Cats
Rubberband Girl - Kate Bush
Home for a Rest - Spirit of the West
She Moves in Mysterious Ways - U2

Looking at the list (far from complete, but gives you an idea), I've pretty much given my age away *grin*.

I also listen to more ethereal stuff while writing - Loreena McKennitt, Enya, Kate Bush, Gregorian Chant, Clannad etc - it all depends on my mood and at what point in the manuscript I'm at.

Anyone else out there need music to write and/or exercise?


So, there you go! Scary thing is, most of that music is STILL in my little Lyra *g*.

And speaking of exercise, I have to get going to Nia now.

But first I'll tag Jen, Annette, Rene, the Doubtful Muse and Katy.


Monday, June 11, 2007

8 Things I Like...

Rene listed her 8 things and asked others to do the same. Here are 8 things I like:

1) Riding on the back of my dh's motorcycle, especially along a quiet country road. It's so relaxing just to watch the world go by and you're so much closer to everything than when you're in a car.

2) Losing myself in a research library. I can totally forget about everything but gleaning as much info as I can from all the books, documents etc.

3) Walking through the woods - since I was a kid, I've loved walking on spongy ground strewn with branches, pine needles etc as trees soar above me. The longer the walk, the better. And it's always perfect when Sean joins me.

4) Knitting in front of a roaring fire. I did this a lot over the past winter and while it's a simple pleasure, it's one I can see myself indulging in a lot in the future.

5) The way my cats run to greet me when I get home - their enthusiasm is so infectious. Of course, they generally want food, but even so, they also want cuddles first.

6) Hanging out with my nephews and nieces. I don't see any of them as often as I like, but spending time with them is always fun.

7) Like Rene, I love to bake, but hate to clean up. Same goes for cooking - love the creating, loathe dealing with the huge mess I always make *g*.

8) Hot coffee first thing in the morning - even better when being sipped on a deck in the warm sun.

So, if you haven't already done this meme, what are some of the things you like?


Link of the Day: Viking Kittens

Friday, June 08, 2007

Snowflake Method...

Yes, I know I said I was going to focus on just writing rather than methods, but then I saw Katy Cooper's post about the Snowflake Method and decided to check it out again. This time it struck a chord in me, so I've started to work with it.

I like the building blocks approach, though I can also see myself using FDin30D forms as well. But what it did do was get me jump started again. Well, that and a couple of suggestions from Sean. Fitting my writing work in right now is a tad tricky as I'm super busy with house stuff, but finding the excitement again certainly has helped.

Writing for me has always been a form of escape, but sometimes I forget that because I put so much pressure on myself to produce a marketable ms. In the end, I need to remember why I write, and get back to that rather than worrying about how to sell it. Not that I'm aiming to write something that won't sell *g*, but at this early stage the story and characters are paramount.

I've been researching as well and had great luck this week emailing the British Museum for information, receiving back a detailed response with just the info I need. So for those of you who've hesitated about emailing a major institution, I urge you to give it a go - you may be pleasantly surprised :)


Link of the Day: Deborah Hale on Walking the Historical Tightrope: Giving Your Historical Romance 'Atmosphere' Without Making it Sound like a Doctoral Thesis

Bonus Link: Lord of Scandal by Nicola Cornick

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Weekend bliss...

We spent half the weekend with our camper over at the house site. By noon Saturday we were ensconced:

and after a bit of lunch, we headed out to build our official fire pit. Of course, it took me a while to figure out where to put it and after some input from Sean, we finally picked a nice spot. Fortunately, we have lots of rock over there, so it wasn't too difficult to find the raw materials.

After an hour or so of lifting and rolling, we had everything in place. Sean fetched some smaller stones to line the circle with and I arranged some smaller rocks between cracks to make sure none of the bigger ones would be dislodged. Then we moved our bench/picnic table (it folds and unfolds) and chairs into position. Here's the result:

We can see it from the living room too:

Now it was a warmish day, so we celebrated our hard work with a beer each and some salt and vinegar chips before heading back to the big house to watch the hockey game. The Sens showed what they're made of and came from behind to win the game :) Go Sens Go!!!

With that excitement behind us, we walked "home" and laid match to flame for our inaugural fire:

My in-laws joined us and we chatted, roasted marshmallows and listened to the birds and frogs. After they left, Sean and I stayed out for at least another hour:

This morning I was awake early and decided to document the way the sun moves across the property at this time of year - fortunately it was a perfect morning - warm and sunny.

The fire pit just past 6 am - it's the last place to lose the light in the evening and the first to get it back in the morning:

Here's the house, also just past 6 am:

This shot was taken just a few minutes later:

Sun on the basement stairs:

After all that hard work with the camera *g*, I fetched coffee and a chair before settling into the eating nook in the kitchen:

Talk about bliss - the birdsong was about the only sound I heard as I watched the sun continue its ascent - here's the driveway around 7:25 am:

Around 8:30 I discovered my woodland garden gets far more sun than I'd ever imagined - at least early in the morning at this time of the year:

Soon after that, I walked over to our little cabin to check on the cats and give them some food. As Sean wanted to putter on the site, I had a quiet walk, well, except for my little bear bell ringing in my hand *g*.

By the time I'd satisfied the needs of the beasts and retraced my steps, I found Sean had built a platform for the firewood and stacked it for me:

If you're planning a visit, know that early June in the sun is a good time - by around 10 am the deck will be just perfect to sit and sip coffee, tea or another beverage of your choice:

We puttered some more, then headed home so Sean could play in his regular ball hockey game. Hopefully within a couple of months, we'll be there permanently. But for now, we're enjoying our moments of bliss as our dream slowly takes shape.


Friday, June 01, 2007

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip...

I watched the latest episode last night and have to admit I'm still trying to figure out WHY this show is being cancelled. Honestly, it completely baffles me. The characters are fantastic, the writing witty and snappy and the storylines varied, from fun to romantic to gripping. Something for everyone. And yet somehow, it's never caught on and I just don't get it. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this show and am soooooo disappointed I'm watching the final episodes.

Has anyone else watched it? Do you agree with me? Disagree?

Will the same thing happen to Traveler? I hope not. I started watching it Tuesday night when ABC reran the pilot and watched episode 2 on Wednesday. It's fantastic. Fast-paced with lots of plot twists. The main characters are fairly typical yet with enough nuance to make them interesting. Yet I'm almost reluctant to get too involved with the story, lest it too suffer the same fate as Studio 60.

Have you watched this new show? What do you think of it?

As a writer, I find it particularly good for analysis where plot twists are concerned. So far, in just two episodes, there have been so many cool changes in direction - far-fetched, maybe, yet the way the story has been set up, I can totally believe them. Nothing has struck me as completely unbelievable. And, as we all know, truth can be stranger than fiction, so why can't fiction be a little strange? *g*



Further updates on The House.
Link of the Day: Writing Tips from Kate Mosse (courtesy Angela Booth's Writing Blog)

Cat pics: