Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Responding to comments!
Larissa - glad you liked the photos! Come visit any time :-)
Laurie - LOL re the cyberstalking. Love your blog.
Brenda - LOL re your dh and the Harley. I'm not sure it would be so easy to think on the back of something that loud *g*.
Melissa - You mentioned you like writing on rainy days. Normally I do too, but this month has been so grey and rainy I've grown tired of it. Need some sun. That seems to be happening now - yay!!

Other news:
For the next week or so I'll be busy with the lead-up to my motorcycle course. I have to go down to the DoT (DMV) to do my written tests. Yep - tests plural. Not only do I have to write and pass the one based on the motorcycle handbook (understandable, I've never driven one before), BUT I have to also write and pass the general one for regular drivers. The one I passed over 20 years ago! So my ms is on hold until I've memorized the books and passed the tests.

And with that, I'd best open up that the motorcycle book again and get back to work :-)

Brenda tagged me!
And because I can't just answer a question in a straightforward manner (ask my hubby), I've turned this exercise into a linkslut one :-)

Total Number Books I Own: Umm, probably at least couple of thousand. On my PALM I have a list of about 500 (research books and romanc fiction) I keep for when I go shopping, to make sure I don't double up. But I've got tons more on various bookcases round the house.

Last Book Read: In the Night by Kathryn Smith - a wonderful Regency romance, with appealing characters and a great love story.

Book Sitting On My Coffee Table I'm Planning To Read: Well, in my case, it's a book I'm planning on finishing - The Last Crossing, by Guy Vanderhaeghe - this book won the 2004 edition of Canada Reads. I started it and was enjoying it, but my review books had to take priority. But I really do want to finish it. Though the pacing is slow, the language is beautiful and the characters unique and compelling.

Five Books That Mean A Lot to Me:
1. The Sunne in Splendour, by Sharon Kay Penman - my intro to the world of Richard III
2. The Falcons of Montabard, by Elizabeth Chadwick - her best book yet. Romance, adventure and intrigue in the Holy Land, c. 1120
3. The Wheel of Fortune, by Susan Howatch - a masterpiece of character, plot and motivation - "Here I have my standards and here I draw the line."
4. The School at the Chalet, by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer - a childhood favourite that's still one of my fave comfort reads
5. The Endless Steppe, by Esther Hautzig - another book from my childhood. One that helped me understand what happened to my father during his childhood. Although our family wasn't Jewish, the experiences in Siberia were similar. I read this book over and over.

Ok - now I just need to tag some people, in alphabetical order:


Sunday, May 29, 2005

Writing from the back of a motorcycle
Sounds strange, I know. But even though there was no way I could actually write, just sitting and watching the scenery go by helped "fill the well" (those of you who've read Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way, know to what I'm referring).

We set out around 9 this morning, after rendezvousing with our friend and fellow motorcycle enthusiast. Sean had planned out a route and despite some early rain (nothing too serious) the ride was great. The sun came out and traffic wasn't too bad. I'd forgotten just how beautiful the scenery in that area is - rocky outcrops, streams, lakes and rivers, gorgeous trees in full leaf, ancient pines and fields of flowers. Not to mention geese, groundhogs and lots of birds.

As passenger I was able to enjoy all the glory of that area of Ontario on a spring day. And did I mention the trilliums? Never have I seen so many of those delicate flowers, massed as they were on the edge of the road where the shade and damp allow them to bloom.

So how does this help my writing? First, just relaxing and absorbing the scenery is enough to recharge me for the week. Second, I can let my mind go and allow random thoughts free rein (something I won't be able to do once I start actually piloting the bike myeslf!) - good for percolating ideas. And third, I have time to go over bits and pieces of my story without interruption. Sean and I don't talk much while he's in the driver's seat - especially on those roads with lots of corners.

Below are some photos we took over the course of the day. Along the way we ran across the village of Burnstown and its Affair of the Arts. Lots of cool stuff to see, especially in the antique shop. We'll have to go back sometime with the car *g*. We also went to a neat place called Foymount and had a yummy lunch at the Whip-Poor-Will Tea Room. The photo at the bottom of list is one taken from the highest point in this part of Ontario! Not that my little camera does it justice, but hopefully you'll get a sense of how pretty it is (imagine it in the fall, with the leaves changing colour).

All in all a great day - I"m now feeling mentally refreshed and ready to move on with the editing/polishing of my ms :-)


Sean in Burnstown. Posted by Hello
These funny looking things are called "barrel saunas". Cool, huh? Well, you know what I mean *g*. I especially like the one with the carriage lamp! Posted by Hello
Me beside two lovely medieval style dresses! Not sure the larger one was practical for me to wear while riding, though *g*. (In case you're wondering - my t-shirt says "Will write for food.") Posted by Hello
The corner of Burnstown Road and Calabogie Road. Posted by Hello
One of the funky displays in Burnstown - it's a lovely little village with tons of character. Posted by Hello
The Madrigala Singers, performing at the Burnstown Affair of the Arts. Posted by Hello
View over from Foymount - just near the Whip-Poor-Will Tea Room.Posted by Hello

Saturday, May 28, 2005

A busy morning...
We were up and out early today, helping at the Motorcycle Ride for Dad in our area. Having done the full ride three years ago (and not since because of Sean's schedule), we elected this year to help out at the first major stop. It mostly consisted of letting people know where to find restrooms, coffee, water and doughnuts! Or just give a friendly smile and say hello :-) It was lots of fun. Then it was off to my mum's to finish helping her with some computer stuff and now home to do planting and baking.

Not really much time to blog. Oh well. Tomorrow looks busy too, so don't be surprised if I don't check in again till Monday.

Happy Memorial Day to all my American friends!!

Teresa :-)

Mood: Chipper
Listening to: DNTO

Friday, May 27, 2005

Trying to get motivated!
It's really hard this morning. I'm feeling a little off and the weather is cloudy and cool, again *groan*. Very frustrating.

What do you do to get yourself motivated?

Maybe I'll go visit Larissa's blog and see what she's been up to!


Mood: Frustrated
Listening to: Sounds Like Canada on CBC Radio
Do you love writing software?
If so, check out Paperback Writer's comments> on WriteWayPro - my word processor of choice.

I've been using the software for almost two years and just LOVE it. It's fantastic - a great way to organize your writing and your mss. You can keep everything in the individual book files - including research links and images.

So if writing is your thing, and you love playing with new software, check out PBW's site and then check out WriteWayPro for yourself.

Tina St. John's hubby is the brains behind it - smart man!

Current Mood: Thoughtful
Currently Listening to: Sounds Like Canada on CBC Radio One

Thursday, May 26, 2005

George wondering when the next meal will fall from the sky! Posted by Hello
George lounging in the late afternoon sun (yes, that's my empty herb trench in the foreground - it's since been filled) Posted by Hello

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

My review of First Draft in 30 Days, by Karen S. Wiesner
I realized I should probably post this here as well as at my other sites :-)

First Draft in 30 Days is a wonderful resource for writers! This book guides fiction writers through a method for building a detailed outline of a manuscript. Ms. Wiesner makes it clear in her introduction that the outline itself is NOT a first draft, but that if her method has been followed, the resulting first draft will be more polished than one written without it.

"Beginning with brainstorming, Ms Wiesner leads the novelist through the various components required to create a work of fiction--from characters and research to plot and setting, she covers it all. Detailed worksheets are provided to record the results of the brainstorming and questions posed throughout the chapters.

For those who have completed an ms., but are a little stuck, she includes a chapter adapting her method that will help jumpstart the ms. By analysing what you've done, what works and what doesn't, you can move forward.

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

"I can see myself using it and making it work. Once I've had a chance to apply it to my upcoming new ms, I'll update my review. But overall, I'm EXTREMELY impressed. This book has inspired and energized me like no other how-to book for writers I've read before.

Reviewed April, 2005
© Teresa Eckford
Responding to comments...
First, Màili- no need to be gentle in correcting me! Feel free to deliver a ruler to my knuckles for mixing up the BBC and Channel 4! I'm always open to constructive criticism - even in my blog posts :-) And I hate posting inaccurate info!

Rene and Teresa - LOL re my organizational skills. My husband would be ROTFL if he read what you'd said. Well, maybe not quite, because I CAN be organized when necessary (you should see the file I kept when we moved 4 years ago), BUT, except for my writing, I'm very DISorganized. You should see my office! There are papers EVERYWHERE. I try hard to keep things in order and easy to find, but I swear the paper mates and produces many, many paper babies *g*.

As for my anal retentive habits related to my writing, it's the ONLY way I can do it. I HAVE to know what's going to happen. And have to be certain my characters don't travel too quickly (a pet peeve amongst many readers of historicals). This is why FDin30D speaks to me so clearly. I crave structure after years of writing papers at university by doing all the research, then hauling ALL the books with me to the computer room the day before or morning the essay was due and typing like a madwoman till it was done - editing on greenline paper several times before sending to the printer on the other side of campus (this was in the days before most of us had PCs and I used the wordprocessor on the university's mainframe system).

I swore when I began writing my MA thesis that I'd approach it differently and began to be more organized. Figured the method described above would NOT meet with my supervisor's approval *g* and might lead to difficulties! My thesis was, in effect, a book, so it makes sense that I learned a little in the process and applied it when I returned to my fiction writing after graduating.

I wrote much of my first complete romance ms (I'd started a YA one as a teenager, but never finished it), pretty much blind. Had no idea about internal/external conflict, GMC etc. Not consciously, anyway. I did outline before writing, but flew into the mist for many of the scenes.

My second ms, the time travel, was a little more organized - I knew what scenes I wanted a wrote them one by one. But still I found I did fly into that mist from time to time as the characters took over.

The same thing happened with this ms. However, by then I was using WriteWayPro, which included a scene template. I set myself a deadline at this time last year to complete the ms by September (it was actually October - I was off by a month) and knew the ONLY way I could do it was to really discipline myself and that meant having a pretty clear idea of the approximate number of scenes I'd write and the basics of what would happen in each one. Using those scene templates, I'd plan ahead a chapter or two, then let everything "percolate" (see Ch 1 of FDin30D) for a couple of days. Then I'd sit down and write - well, actually I mostly took dictation from my characters who didn't always follow along with the scene I'd planned for them *g*. It was actually kinda cool - finding out stuff about my characters as the scene evolved.

Now, had I not been a) working at the office most of last summer and b) gone away 3 times I likely would have finished the book a LOT faster. Which is why FDin30D appeals to me so much. I really CAN see, from my own experience, how preparing a complete outline can drastically increase the speed at which you complete an ms.

Hmm - I think I've blithered on enough and likely strayed from what I originally meant to say, which was, don't be fooled. I SOUND organized, but if it weren't for the tools I have at my disposal (WWP and FDin30D), I'd be far more lost.


Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Some Tuesday morning musings...
First, Màili's link slut post has generated a couple of thoughts.

a) Writers of historical romance would do well to check out this BBC4 History site (reached via Màili's link to reviews of historical films) - it's related to Tony Robinson's new series The Worst Jobs in History. The site gives summaries of a number of less than savoury but essential jobs from each major period - fodder for secondary characters.

b) At the same site, you can take a Quiz to find out for which yucky jobs you best qualify.

One of the other links Màili included was about Eastern Europe and WWII. The article is part of the Polish Culture site at Bella Online. For those who are of Polish ancestry or just interested in Polish history, the site's editor, Jagoda Urban-Klaehn has done a wonderful job. And there's a lot more at there, with in-depth articles on Education, Customs, Costume, Food etc. From the History section, I found a website about Stalin's Ethnic Cleansing - something my father and his family experienced first hand. I already knew about A Forgotten Odyssey, but wasn't aware of the other.

Ok - as for my manuscript, I did get some more work done on my timeline/daysheet last night. I spent some time entering more info into my timeline (I build it using a lovely programme called Timeline Maker), then transferred that info to two 1793 calendars (generated using a combo of MS Publisher and Legacy Family Tree) so I can visually get a sense of the flow of the story (and make sure I don't have people reaching certain places too quickly for realistic travel in that period). From all this I'll build the day sheet. Yep, it's a lot of work, but this way I can be certain when I'm polishing that all the time continuity errors have been eliminated and that the pacing of events isn't off. I've been working on this the last two evenings and have at times had to pause while cat George sits on the binder in my lap *g*.

Well, that's about it for this morning! Have an appointment to get my hair permed and should get going soon.


Monday, May 23, 2005

A morning of procrastination...
Bad, bad Teresa. Very bad. I had a morning to myself. Did I spend it entering more info for my daysheet? Did I write a new scene? Did I do some editing? Nope. No, I spent it noodling around on the web looking for History related blogs. Grrrr. Why, why do I do this to myself?

At least blogrolling is working again.

And all this after I told someone yesterday I couldn't do an article for them because I had too much work to do. And was too stressed (though that's still true, especially with my endometriosis flaring up again). Maybe THAT'S why I wasted the morning? Just too much to do? Thoughts?

Teresa (now Empress of Procrastination)

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Another quick post....
First - anyone know WTF is up with Blogrolling? I've noticed I'm not the only one for whom the list isn't appearing. This has been going on for a couple to days *sigh*.

Anyway - we got most of our first round of planting done yesterday. Much of it in the rain. Oh well, less chance of Sean developing a kidney stone (that happened on the May long weekend 2 years ago when it was hot and sunny and he didn't drink enough water). Just my herbs left to do - and they go in planters (my perennial herb bed is mostly cleaned up - did a lot of hacking yesterday *g*). Had to move my Bleeding Heart after finding out it's poisonous and in the bed where George's leash allows him to roam. Of course, we had it there all LAST summer and neither cat got sick from it, but once I KNEW it was poisonous, I just had to move it or worry all the time.

Responding to comments

Teresa - glad my progress is proving inspirational :-) Not that I've done much over the last couple of days *vbg*.

Rene - LOL re your dh and nurseries. I could spend waaaay more than I do, but curb myself.

Ok - off to bake cookies for Sean now. He's still on early shift (week 4), and I promised to do a batch of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies at least once during his six-week run. With the rainy cool weather, today seemed like a perfect day to do that.


Saturday, May 21, 2005

Quick Saturday morning post...
before we head off to the various nurseries for plants. As predicted, the weather forecast for this weekend has worsened somewhat (earlier in the week they were predicting brilliant sunshine all weekend), but even with the clouds and cooler temps, it's still nice enough to start planting. Sean has headed off first for soil etc, so when he gets back I'll have to haul the cat in from his spot in the grass under the deck (see photos), slap a ball cap on my head (no point showering before grubbing around at the nurseries) and head off to find some new and interesting flowers to brighten up the various flowerbeds :-) I always love to find something different for each season, along with the tried and true (purple/pink/white petunias).

On Thursday evening I did get the first 1/3 of my ms scenes dated, the first stage in constructing my Daysheet. Did it while watching the finales of CSI and ER. Unfortunately didn't get much done at all yesterday - am hoping to spend at least some of Monday working on it!!

Happy Weekend :-)

Closeup of George - something caught his attention!  Posted by Hello
George in his favourite outdoor spot - under the deck stairs. Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Finished my scene evaluations!!!!
Yay. Finished last night just before 11 - during the final commercial break for the L&O Season Finale. Now I have the daysheet to do, plus writing more scenes and rewriting/adding to many of the others. Seems a tad daunting right now, but I have to keep going.

LOL re all the pantsers who visit my site! You're in good company, though. Jo Beverley calls it Flying into the Mist - here's Alison Brideson's summary of Jo's talk on that topic in New Orleans in 2001. There are times I wish I COULD be a pantser, but it just doesn't work.

We have a busy weekend coming up, so don't be surprised if I disappear. Here in Canada, Monday is a holiday (though Sean still has to work) and as the weather looks good, I'll be planting my garden. That means battling crowds at the nurseries, then spending hours digging in the dirt. I've missed that a lot - have been doing bits and pieces since early April, but I never put in annuals till at least the Victoria Day weekend as we almost always have frost during May.

A few weeks ago we had guests coming over so I did go out to the front bed to pull out a couple of dead annuals we missed last fall. That was supposed to be it, but once I'd pulled them out, I noticed a plant that needed cutting back. Then another. And once those were tidier, the others looked messy...an hour and a half later I finally finished. And realized gardening is like writing and vice versa. Sometimes we put off doing it, then we go out/sit down at the computer with the intention of doing one little thing. Before we know it, we're sucked right in as one thing leads to another.

Well, I think that's enough of my blithering for today *g*.


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Alex just asked...
What's a pantser?

It's someone who doesn't outline or plot their story. Rather they just start writing and, in essence, "fly by the seat of their pants" - letting the story unfold as they write.

Not something I can do. Not that my scenes don't sometimes come out way differently than I expected when I did my plotting, but I have to at least have a structured outline before I start writing.

Teresa (who really has to do the bank reconciliation started now she's at the office)

Teresa mentioned in her comment...
on my post yesterday that she's tackling a new ms using the FDin30D method. I'm eager to hear how she does with it :-) She's only one of several writers who are blogging the FDin30D method.

Thanks for the "atta girl", Teresa :-) And good luck with your new ms!!

Teresa (the other one *g*)
Have to go to the office soon...
Am taking the bus today as Sean decided to take the car to work instead of the motorcycle. As luck would have it, it's a cool, cloudy morning. Not very inspiring for a walk, but I'm sure I'll survive.

Brenda asked about First Draft in 30 Days. I LOVE this book. It's AMAZING. The system Karen recommends is both flexible and practical. But, I'll be honest, I'm a true plotter, so pantsers may not be as enthusiastic. When I have more time, I'll elaborate, but since late March/early April I've been blogging about FDin30D, so a troll through my archives will reveal more of my thoughts.

I can say, however, that since I started using the FDin30D system and adapting it to the way I work, I've been far more focussed and have found myself working a lot harder.

Ok - I really HAVE to go finish getting ready (makeup on, but haven't quite finished choosing today's wardrobe).

Teresa (who evaluated another 6 scenes last night - really close to being done now!!)

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

A quick update today...
Last night I evaluated another seven scenes. Only FOUR chapters left!!!! Very exciting.

Re: FDin30D - I just recommended it to another of my critique partners. She's been really busy lately and wants to get back into her writing now things are calming down a bit. Figured this book is a good way to inspire her. And she's a plotter, like me, so the system should work for her.

Ok - that's about it. Have to get off line and do some more scenes as the office is very quiet this morning. Once I'm finished the scene evaluations I'm going to go through the ms again and mark down the days on which each scene takes place so I can build my Daysheet. Then I have to fix a bunch of continuity errors I found!!!

Oh Lynn - did you enjoy that ep of CJ?? Curious about your reaction :-)


Monday, May 16, 2005

Crossing Jordan Season Finale - arrggghhh!!!
Ok, not really. Just have to keep reminding myself that was the "black moment" last night! (Won't give details in case some people haven't watched it yet). Well, ok -



That should be enough room.

For those who did watch CJ last night - it was masterful storytelling. I got sucked in, really believing Woody would accept Jordan's declaration of love for what it was. But can you blame him for doubting her? Thinking maybe she said it JUST to keep him positive before surgery? OTOH, I still wanted to yell at him to think really hard about what he was doing. He just about died and life really is so short, it's not worth holding grudges or pushing away someone who loves you. Cause you gotta know that deep down he KNOWS Jordan loves him. But they don't call most season finales "cliffhangers" for nothing!

It's interesting, cause here in Canada we actually see double doses of Jill Hennessey on weeknights. One Bravo we get old L&O (now at the part where she's the ADA) and on A&E we get repeats of CJ. Even on L&O her character had an edge, but what I discovered I like so much about CJ is that Jordan has grown and changed over the series, still battling demons from her past. She's a great heroine - appealing yet also annoying, tough yet really vulnerable. And Woody is an amazing hero. I liked Jerry O'Connell on Sliders (something we really have to find on DVD), but think he's really come into his own over the last couple of seasons on CJ.

It's interesting, cause normally I don't like when shows keep obvious love interests apart, but just as with Scully and Mulder, the strained relationship between Woody and Jordan to me seems believable - they're so clearly attracted to each other, but each has baggage that's keep them apart.

So last night, when Jordan went in to see Woody after his surgery I held my breath, part of me so sure he'd tell her he loved her too yet part of me knowing this part of their story arc isn't quite yet over. And cried when he rejected her. Cried for him because it must have been so hard to say no to what he'd wanted and cried for her because it took almost losing Woody to force those words from her, only to have them thrown right back. Lots of "if onlys", that's for sure.

Other than that, I evaluated another 10 or so scenes over the weekend. Saturday afternoon my brother in law arrived so we spent time with him, went to see Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy (pretty cool), then out for dinner (Cambodian - yum). Up super early Sunday morning to get Jack to the airport for his flight home. I played with lots of different quizzes yesterday morning, weeded the front bed, evaluated more scenes then finally had to give in and go for a walk or risk falling asleep (no, the ms isn't THAT boring, but I hadn't slept well Friday or Saturday nights). My dh had returned from his motorcyle ride (a group one that saw him out of the house before 8 am) by the time I got back from my walk, so I didn't get back to my ms till after he'd gone to bed (he's still on the early shift). Am making steady progress - yay!!


Sunday, May 15, 2005

One more quiz and then I'll stop, I promise *g*...

Your Dominant Intelligence is Linguistic Intelligence

You are excellent with words and language. You explain yourself well.
An elegant speaker, you can converse well with anyone on the fly.
You are also good at remembering information and convicing someone of your point of view.
A master of creative phrasing and unique words, you enjoy expanding your vocabulary.

You would make a fantastic poet, journalist, writer, teacher, lawyer, politician, or translator.

This one didn't come as any surprise to me!

Hmm, seems like today is Quiz Day...
Not that this one doesn't tell me something I don't already know *vbg*, though I prefer the word eclectic - LOL!

You Are 35% Normal

(Occasionally Normal)

You sure do march to your own beat...

But you're so weird, people wonder if it's a beat at all

You think on a totally different wavelength

And it's often a chore to get people to understand you

Hmm, well considering I'm Canadian, this is interesting...
I got it from Monica Jackson.

Your Linguistic Profile:

50% General American English

30% Yankee

10% Dixie

5% Midwestern

5% Upper Midwestern

Much of my vocabulary/pronunciation is distinctly British. My mum is English and my dad learned it speak English in Britain after the war (he was born in Poland). But I'm also definitely a Canuck, though I don't say "eh" - THAT my parents definitely found a way to stop my sister and I from picking up.


Saturday, May 14, 2005

Ooops - I forgot...
to say thanks for the feedback and congrats on my progress :-) It felt good, getting all the work done.

Really must run now!

Ok - I think it's working now...
Well, actually I just created a new blog - Reading&Writing and added photos to the Gallery. I didn't quite get around to putting titles on them all - the one of me with sunglasses and a ski jacket, was taken last February at a nearby ski resort.

As for last night, well, we decided not to see a movie. The timing was awkward, so we picked up cheese, olives, wholegrain bread and a bottle of sparkling wine, then settled in to watch our tape from earlier this week of Dr. Who and House.

Must dash now - housework to be done. My brother-in-law gets back here in the early afternoon, so we want to be finished with chores by then!


Friday, May 13, 2005

Another 18 scenes evaluated...
this afternoon. I just forced myself to do it. Helped keep my mind off the pain.

Now Sean and I are trying to decide which movie to see tonight - Kingdom of Heaven or Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Hmmm. Either way, looks like popcorn for dinner!!! I'm so bad *g*.

Well, I already messed something up...
at ModBlog, so the link below won't likely work *deep sigh*. Waiting to hear from Support.

Best stick with evaluating scenes rather than playing with blogs (think there's a lesson in there somewhere!)

Thoughts on my blog...
I've been considering moving over to ModBlog. But as Blogger doesn't allow us to easily export our archives, I'm not certain if I should try reloading everything over there. Or just leave my posts here with one directing everyone over to ModBlog and start fresh. It's kinda a pain, but doing ALL that copying and pasting is a pain in the butt. Anyone have any thoughts on this? I like ModBlog cause I can sort posts by category, maintain a forum, gallery etc as well as a blog. All in one. And it looks cool - Thoughts from Lady Tess.

Teresa (trying to type with one hand while holding sleeping cat on shoulder)

Thursday, May 12, 2005

A quick post...
Things have been crazy here. I'm still not feeling 100%, either, so not so chatty.

Did manage to evalulate another 10 scenes of my ms the other day and hope to get more done later. Went out to my local writers group meeting last night. Had to go as I was chairing (unlike my RWA chapter, this group is very informal with members taking turns to chair). Glad I did - as always, came home inspired to work. But I was tired, so spent time instead reading up on cryptography/cryptology - research for my book. My heroine and her brother devised a code as children and as I know little about codes, ciphers etc, I have to do some reading.

Took the bus to the office this am, waiting for my dh to arrive so we can go get passport photos done. Keeping busy with office work and bloghopping (nothing like multi-tasking to keep the mind alive).

Best go now - still accounting entries to be done.


Tuesday, May 10, 2005

On missed appointments and eating bugs....
Ok - only the first pertains to me *g*. In the surreal crush for appointments on the RWA site yesterday morning I had then lost 3 :-( Oh well, such is life. Am hoping to find other ways to meet with the agent and/or get something at the cancellation desk. Hope others fared better!

As for the bugs, well, that's George the cat. Last night I kept hearing strange thuds from the upper deck. Turns out the idiot cat was jumping around trying to catch moths and other flying insects. Saw him smacking his lips at one point, so I guess he got lucky. Yet another sign of the impending summer season!! Without his brother he's finding new and interesting ways to amuse himself, though bug hunting has always been a fave activity of his. *g*

My writing, you ask? Right. Managed to squeeze in time yesterday to go over a few more scenes. Will get off line soon and do some more this morning before my hubby gets here along with our accounting software advisor.

Just a couple of quick links, though. Rene has some very pointed thoughts about the Historical Romance market, while Kelly Boyce (a fellow Canuck) was lucky enough to get appointments yesterday :-)

À demain.


Sunday, May 08, 2005

Taking a cue from Emma...
who found this at Màili's blog.

LOL - yep, I broke a few of these and, in fact, still am. But certainly not ALL of them at once *g*.
So, what AM I STILL doing?
a) my hero is spy BUT he lives in 1790s England (hence he's not a Regency spy). He is who he is - I can't change that.

b) my heroine's parents are dead (they were murdered before the story opened), but my hero's parents' are alive. There are issues, but they are still talking to each other and not twisted

c) it's both sunny and rainy in England, but hell, I've been to the area my story is set several times and have never encountered weather at the time of year I use EXCEPT sun or rain.

d) my hero is Georgian, but by the 1790s hair and costume was becoming a lot more simple. Have researched this.

OTOH, I'd NEVER name a heroine Mackenzie or a hero Devon, have all my medieval people say Aye or Nay, nickname my hero anything except a diminutive of his given names. And I know perfectly well that it can take a week or more, depending on weather/road conditions, to travel from London to York and am going through and correcting each time my hero/heroine address even THINK of each other by their first names for the first part of the book. As time goes on they do eventually become less formal, but I knew it was something I would have to scour my ms for - in the first draft it's just easier to go with the flow. And they DO address each other formally for much of the first draft.

I avoid Scotland and Regency/Victorian/Elizabethan England, focussing instead on the Middle Ages/late 18th century/Stuart period. And am doing considerable research on how to marry my Catholic heroine to my Anglican hero (I know it happened - Charles I was Anglican, his wife Henrietta Maria a Catholic).

Well, much as I'd love to stay here and ruminate on this topic, there's work to be done and I'd best get on with it before the day gets any later.

Happy Sunday!


Saturday, May 07, 2005

Well nose and grindstone met for a while yesterday...
I got my Enotes column done and submitted. Then worked on my ms for a while. Have realized doing scene capules for the completed ms is just going to be too time consuming at this point. Instead am concentrating on the evaluation process described in Chapter 8 of FDin30D. Added something from last week's workshop - Molly O'Keefe said she heard it from Kristen Hannah (IIRC) - Does the scene a) forward the plot b) reveal character and c) foreshadow/reveal backstory? If it does all three things, it's a keeper. Went through the first few chapters before my dh got home. Decided to spend some time with him as we haven't seen a lot of each other this week with his crazy schedule.
We went for a walk, had pizza for dinner and watched our tape of this week's episodes of Dr. Who and American Chopper. Then we watched a repeat of Corner Gas, though only fellow Canucks will have seen this show (which is so funny). Despite what the show's site says, it's also on Comedy several times a week, including Fridays at 8:30pm - last night's episode was the book club one *LOL*. After that I watched the final episode of Third Watch while Sean watched a war documentary upstairs (he's not a TW fan *g*).
Today it's housework, making custard and preparing the cake for tomorrow's trifle and picking up my brother-in-law at the airport. My mum's taking us all out for dinner tonight (Baton Rouge - yum).
Little time for bloghopping today!!!
Hope everyone else has a productive weekend :-) And that all you mother's out there have a nice day tomorrow!
Got this one from Lynn...

Your #1 Match: INFJ

The Protector

You live your life with integrity, originality, vision, and creativity.
Independent and stubborn, you rarely stray from your vision - no matter what it is.
You are an excellent listener, with almost infinite patience.
You have complex, deep feelings, and you take great care to express them.

You would make a great photographer, alternative medicine guru, or teacher.

Your #2 Match: INFP

The Idealist

You are creative with a great imagination, living in your own inner world.
Open minded and accepting, you strive for harmony in your important relationships.
It takes a long time for people to get to know you. You are hesitant to let people get close.
But once you care for someone, you do everything you can to help them grow and develop.

You would make an excellent writer, psychologist, or artist.

Your #3 Match: ISFJ

The Nurturer

You have a strong need to belong, and you very loyal.
A good listener, you excell at helping others in practical ways.
In your spare time, you enjoy engaging your senses through art, cooking, and music.
You find it easy to be devoted to one person, who you do special things for.

You would make a good interior designer, chef, or child psychologist.

It's actually pretty accurate. I first wanted to be a professor (but gave up on that after encountering way too much politics in the department), then turned towards writing :-) And I LOVE to cook (though hate cleaning up *g*).

Friday, May 06, 2005

So much for goals...
Yep, I'm way behind on this week's. Not yet used to my dh's early morning schedule AND I've had some health concerns. Nothing major (I hope), but enough to bother me. Will try to get caught up somewhat today, but only after I've done my Enotes column (due today!) It just needs writing up, but that often takes longer than I expect. The weekend will be busy - my brother-in-law arrives tomorrow and Sunday we're doing dinner for my mum. And we won't even talk about how badly the flowerbed up front needs weeding...

So no procrastination allowed today. Nose, meet grindstone.


Thursday, May 05, 2005

My friend Tina has a blog...
Tina St. John's blog. I just found it through RTB! Kewl.

Ok - NOW I'll get back to work *g*.


Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Responding to comments....
re: Tag
Lynn - so you mean you want to take my Princess of Procrastination tiara?! *vbg*
Sheri - LOL, yep, I too was tempted by the midget stripper, but couldn't quite come up with a witty enough entry for it.
Melissa - we have even more in common than you know - I too once applied for a community college prof position and didn't get it. Nice meeting you :-)
Kate - no problem. Different strokes and all that. Nice to know you dropped by my blog :-)

re: the HTH contest
Rene - glad my little retrospective helped. I'd definitely recommend entering the contest :-)

Well - this is it for my posting today. Must pay some bills here at the office, then get on with some FDin30D work as long as everything else stays quiet. No more procrastination!!!!

Snitched this from Màili....

Your Birthdate: November 7

Born on the 7th day of month gives you a tendency to be something of a perfectionist and makes you more individualistic in many ways.

Your mind is good at deep mental analysis and complicated reasoning.

You are very psychic and sensitive, and you should usually follow your hunches.

You may not take orders too well, so you may want to work alone or in a situation where you can be the boss.

This birthday gives a tendency to be somewhat self-centered and a little stubborn.

Wow, it's pretty accurate! Just ask my dh (who as President of our little company is technically my boss) about how well I take orders *g*. And I am psychic (so was my paternal grandmother) and more than a little stubborn.

Interestingly enough, I share my birthdate with Marie Sklodowska Curie and from what I know of her, it fits her as well. Ok, so I don't know if she was psychic or not, but she was definitely a perfectionist, individualistic and obviously, very good at "deep mental analysis and complicated reasoning".

Anyone else want to try their birthdate?


Tuesday, May 03, 2005

A late in the day post...
First, thanks to all for the congrats on my HTH scores :-) I've had fun celebrating with people both off and online.
Rene asked if I was happy with the HTH contest. Despite not finalling *g*, I still have to say yes. Most definitely happy. I got really good scores, but better than that, some really helpful feedback. And I chose the email entry option and it went super smooth - had my results back Saturday morning! The scoresheet is really detailed and definitely takes into account the unique aspects of a historical romance. And the coordinator I dealt with, Sonja Baker was super helpful - letting me know a) when my entry form and proof of payment arrived in the mail (I was nervous it wouldn't make it in time as it had to cross the border) and b) letting me know really quickly that my emailed entry was all tickety-boo, so I didn't have to bite my nails for long over doing something stupid with the formating.

Does that help?

Thanks to Larissa and Teresa....
for the congrats on my Hearts Through History scores :-) They're much appreciated.

I've been tagged too!!!
by Sheri :-)

If I could be a scientist...
If I could be a farmer...
If I could be a musician...
If I could be a doctor...
If I could be a painter...
If I could be a gardener...
If I could be a missionary...
If I could be a chef...
If I could be an architect...
If I could be a linguist...
If I could be a psychologist...
If I could be a librarian...
If I could be an athlete...
If I could be a lawyer...
If I could be an innkeeper...
If I could be a professor...
If I could be a writer...
If I could be a backup dancer...
If I could be a llama-rider...
If I could be a bonnie pirate...
If I could be a midget stripper...
If I could be a proctologist...
If I could be a TV-Chat Show host...
If I could be an actor...
If I could be a judge...
If I could be a Jedi...
If I could be a mob boss...
If I could be a backup singer...
If I could be a CEO...
If I could be a movie reviewer....

If I could be a librarian I'd work really hard at promoting the romance genre, spreading the word about the many wonderful books written by talented and dedicated writers.

If I could be an architect, I'd design sturdy and attractive buildings that are inexpensive to build and maintain so hopefully it would be easier for people to find somewhere to live. And cities wouldn't beg off saying it costs too much to offer affordable housing.

If I could be a scientiest, I'd work every waking moment to find a cure for cancer.

If I could be a professor, I'd find a way to make history as interesting as possible to all those who swear they hate it. Understanding where we came from is so very important.

and, if I could be a bonnie pirate, I'd sail the world with my dh as my first mate, visiting all those places we've read about since we were kids. And much like the Dread Pirate Robert, we'd not really do much in the way of real pirate stuff. Though Sean would be strictly forbidden from saving any princesses, especially those looking like Robin Wright Penn *vbg*.

Lynn was right - that IS fun!!

Ok, my turn to tag - I tag Màili, Cece, Kate and Alex. Ladies, choose a few from the list above, have some fun then play tag too :-)


Monday, May 02, 2005

Reporting in, as promised...
First, though - thanks to Larissa and Sheri for the support and also thanks to Alex for her help with "clattertrap" and Lynn, Sheri and Gina for their comments. Lynn - you just may need that extra long ruler - I'm the Princess of Procrastination *vbg*.

Ok - things are almost back to normal here. Got my contest entry done, used up most of my credits at Ancestry.co.uk and even managed to throw ingredients in the bread machine so my dh has sandwich bread for the week. He's on the early news shift for the next six weeks (meaning he's up at 2:45 each weekday morning). Sounds awful to most of us, but he thrives on it! Is even taking the motorcycle in rather than driving the car.

On Saturday morning I got my Hearts Through History entry back (gotta love contests that let you email the entry) and was thrilled with my scores and the comments. Was also shocked to figure out that my score of 92% wasn't anywhere close to high enough for finalling! Then again, I was a hard-ass TA at university and rarely give perfect marks to anything I judge *g*. No matter - though finalling would have been great (especially as the editor for my category was from NAL) and I'd entered with the hope of making the cut, I'm not really disappointed. My story is set in partially in France and contains some phrases in French, so I was curious to see what the judges would think. They were pretty impressed :-) Which made me breathe a sigh of relief. Also my story is pretty heavy on the action, at least at the beginning, so I lost marks on sexual tension. But apparently I've set it up well enough to convince the reader that will follow and to have either the hero or heroine thinking of anything sexual at that point in the story would be pretty unrealistic. He's just rescued her from prison - she hasn't had a bath in two months! But once she cleans up, he pays a little more attention *g*.

Anyway, I'm babbling at this point. My chapter hosted a great speaker yesterday - Molly O'Keefe, who presented her workshop The First Three Chapters - The Key to a Sale. It was fantastic. She broke things down into several elements and illustrated with sound examples. My fingers were flying over my AlphaSmart keys in an effort to keep up! And a lot of it ties into stuff I've learned through FDin30D.

And speaking of which, I have to get started on this week's goals - my scene capsules. Especially important are those for the scenes I've discovered I need to add to the book! Scenes I mentioned in my synopsis but discovered when revising I'd forgotten to write :-O Plus some others that have come about through story revisions.

That said, I'd best finish here for today and get on with accounting entries. Can't do my own work till I've finished office stuff first!