Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A change of direction...

After some careful thought, I've decided to try out my contemp story for NaNo. Yep, that's right - I'm pretty much going to fly into the mist with this one and see what happens! The story has been bugging me and I thought this might be a really good writing exercise/challenge. Being very much a planner when it comes to my writing, I'm going to start with just the basics of a character and situation, plus a few brainstorming notes about the story. Hmm, should be interesting :-)

However, I'm also going to start writing my other story too, just not for NaNo. There's a writing challenge going on over at A Villa in Tuscany, so maybe I'll report my historical wordcount over there.

Anyway, speaking of writing, I should get going. Went to the gym this morning, then ran some necessary errands, so must get my butt in gear and settle down to work for a couple of hours before getting started with dinner.

Happy Halloween, everyone. And for those of you who observe the Celtic year, I wish you a blessed and contemplative Samhain celebration.


Currently Reading: She's the One by Cathy Kelly
Also Currently Reading: Book for Review
Link of the Day: The History of Halloween

Monday, October 30, 2006

Halloween Hijinks and More...

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

As you've probably guessed from the photo, Sean and I went to a Halloween party the other night. I paired my dress with a cool Venetian style mask I found in Sechelt while Sean went as a disorganized secret agent - if you look close at him in the photo, you'll see a tag hanging off his toy gun, proclaiming it issue of the intelligence service. He had a couple of others on various pieces of his costume :-)

Yesterday a friend of mine came up from the city with her dog and we went for a long walk, then sat chatting and drinking tea. After a wild and rainy night on Saturday, the weather cleared - the sun was strong enough for us to sit outside after our trudge, while Wally and Tiva (family dog) made friends. They were very cute together.

Today it's back to my planning work. NaNo starts in two days *gulp*, but I'm trying not to get too nervous. Last Friday I went through some notes one of my CPs sent me and in clarifying a couple of things for her, I worked some stuff out for myself too. Then our group had an online meeting through MSN and they gave me more feedback that was helpful.

So, that's been my last few days! Hope everyone had a lovely weekend.


Currently Reading: Book for review
Currently Knitting: a scarf
Link of the Day: Miss Snark's Royal Flush post (cat lovers really MUST click on this link and follow the link there)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

A quick post...

I was going to post about complex characterization (using Tommy Gavin as my example), but I'm starting late today, so that will have to wait.

I'm late for a good reason, however. I went to a Nia class this morning with my mother-in-law. And had a fantastic time! I'm definitely going back :-)

Yesterday I managed to work out a couple of tricky plotting points and started a detailed timeline for Henri and Madeleine. That will definitely help when it comes to writing next month.

Thanks so much for all your support re NaNo!! I really appreciate it.

And Annette, I LOVED the original BG as well, but, as the song said, find this one somewhat better. Still, can't beat the old show for camp and fun :-)

The girls did pretty well at the vet, but both are a little subdued today after the vaccinations. Cleo has even had her meds to help, but she's still sleepy. Then again, that could just be because of the rainy, dark weather. They're snuggled together on Sean's lumberjack shirt.

Very cute!

See y'all tomorrow :-)


Currently Reading: Book for review
Currently Knitting: a scarf
Link of the Day: Regency Cate's Surrey Conference report

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

I'm here, honestly...

just been running around a lot lately. And feeling a tad squirrely about the whole NaNo thing. My planning is a little overwhelming right now - I'm trying to pull together a whole lot of story threads and one or two keep trying to escape. Even with my lovely flow chart.

I think starting to write really is going to be the best thing for me as far as this story goes, even though I won't have a complete FDin30D outline. I'd hoped it would all fall into place, but have accepted that having at least half the book planned at this stage is better than nothing. It's enough to get me started. It's not like the method doesn't allow for writing and planning simultaneously. Sometimes we actually have to experience the story with our characters before we can figure out precisely where they're going in detail. At least, that's how it seems to work for me.

In other news, the cats are off to the vet today for their vaccinations. Well, I'm taking them. Would be nice if I could just send them off by themselves to take care of it, but I've a feeling they'd get distracted along the way *g*.

Janie - sorry about the display problem. I had to make an adjustment so I can fit in the NaNo progress bar. Funny thing is, it doesn't seem to be affecting any of the browsers on my computer in the same way. Things will go back to normal on Dec 1.

And, if you're a sci-fi fan, check out my link of the day today. It comes courtesy of agent Jenny Rappaport, over at her LitSoup blog.


Currently Reading: Deceived by Nicola Cornick
Link of the Day: Fun with Battlestar Galactica

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Back up and running...

thanks to Sean!! I found the info, but he actually figured out a couple of other issues that kept me from fixing the problem myself. So by 8:30 this morning, my computer was back to its normal self and I began backing up everything I hadn't copied over during the last couple of weeks. Talk about a relief!! I also printed out the most important notes to add to my story binder, just in case something goes nuts with the computer again. I'll have to remember to do that from now on!

Later this afternoon we're going to walk over to our house site and take some measurements :-) It's a gorgeous day here, bright, sunny and about 14ยบ - perfect for a little hike.

Not much else new to report - I'll be back on track with my planning work for NaNo starting tomorrow.


Currently Reading: Deceived by Nicola Cornick
Link of the Day: Jann Arden's Website (not fully Firefox compatible)

Friday, October 20, 2006

Stupid computer...

yep, it crashed on me. And I hadn't backed up yesterday. It's all planning work, not actual writing and a lot of it I have in hard copy, but I'm still totally pissed, especially as it looks like I'll have to reinstall Windows to fix it. Sheesh. NOT the way I wanted to start my day. However, there's not much I can do now. At least my mss are backed up, though I'm now going to copy those files onto our office computer and Sean's laptop, just to be sure.

Arrrggggghhhh. I did manage to work off some of my frustration at the gym. Plus it's turned into a gorgeous day, so all is not lost.

Hope everyone has a good weekend.


Currently Reading: Deceived by Nicola Cornick
Link of the Day: Claire Delacroix's Slot Fodder Quiz

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Quick update...

I spent yesterday working on brainstorming, filling out a Story Threads worksheet I came up with myself - it separates the threads by main character.

Today I have to finish inputting stuff from yesterday + do so more work on my FDin30D sheets so I'm as prepared as I can be come Nov 1! It's less than two weeks away now!!!


Currently Reading: Deceived, by Nicola Cornick
Link of the Day: Warning, Densely Populated Bookshelves- a recent post at Word Wenches by Susan King/Sarah Gabriel

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Book meme...

from Rene:

1. One book that changed your life: The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman - the book that made me see how fiction can fan a spark a passion for history into a flame

2. One book that you've read more than once: The Wheel of Fortune by Susan Howatch - Awesome book - I highly recommend it

3. One book you'd want on a deserted island: The Prospect Before Her : A History of Women in Western Europe, 1500-1800 by Olwen Hufton

4. One book that made you laugh: Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella - I laughed in spite of the ridiculousness of the situation - Kinsella makes the character totally believable.

5. One book that made you cry: Here be Dragons
by Sharon Kay Penman - If you've read the book, you likely know which scene made me cry - mingled tears of sadness and joy)

6. One book you wish you'd written: The Falcons of Montabard by Elizabeth Chadwick - a masterpiece of historical fiction. I'd love to be able to write like she does!!

7. One book you wish had never been written: Anything with the words "by Margaret Atwood" on the book cover. As a Canadian, I'm not supposed to say that, but her books just hold no interest for me. Except maybe, Alias Grace.

8. One book you're currently reading: Deceived by Nicola Cornick - I only just started it, but already she's hooked me :-)

If you want to tag yourself, go for it :-)


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A long post...

covering many topics.

First - On to Plan B
We had to make a couple of decisions this weekend about our housebuilding plans. And ended up going with a smaller house (we had a back-up plan) and likely a different site (long story). But we're happy, nonetheless. The new site is across the lake, rather than down the end. Essentially, we'll be high up on the hill above the area you see on the far side of the lake:

Our new driveway:

The site itself (obviously trees will have to come down):

The driveway from the other end:

And the new house is a little more compact (no separate dining room), but other than that has all the elements of the other house, including a nice guest area. Longtime readers of my blog will remember this one from last year. If you're really curious, see the floorplans. The second ensuite upstairs won't be put in - instead the room will be an annex to my office. Plus, we have a plan with a walk-out basement that Sean has claimed for his workshop/office.

We hope to be in and settled at some point next summer. Seems like a long time right now, but I know only too well how quickly time passes :-)

Second - I Finally Saw THE Bear!!
Yep, at last, I saw the bear that's been on the property all summer. My m-i-l heard the llamas kicking up a fuss yesterday evening while I was cooking dinner. She went to check things out and came back to say the bear was below the llama field, under the apple tree there. So I turned off the stove, put on my boots and went down to see him. And he's GORGEOUS! The llamas were quiet once we were there, though mama and older sis kept Moonbeam in between them. I didn't have my camera, though, and figured if I went to retrieve it, he'd disappear. So I just watched him for about five minutes.

Third - My Flow Chart - a computer version
Glad y'all liked it! It was a cool exercise and, as I said, helped really clarify things in my mind, especially the connections between the various characters. I put it into FreeMind (thanks Nienke and Bren), exported it as a .jpg, imported it to Excel, then typed in the notes I'd made, printed it off and added the numbers by hand. Last, I scanned it - so here it is now:

Yes, it was a timely exercise, but spending the time doing it also reactivated my creative juices, so I spent time making more notes in PFN, in my FDin30D folder. I've had to rewrite some of my Miscellaneous and Closing Scene Notes. My critique partners also helped me with some ideas during our MSN meeting the other day. Have to continue with that today, as well as filling out more of the Story Evolution Worksheet and working on a couple of the other ones. Plus, I hope to take a walk as it's a lovely day here - crisp and cool, a perfect autumn day.

And, just for fun, here's a pic of the cats Sean took on Saturday afternoon. It was a gloomy, rainy day, so what else would you expect cats to do, but curl up, snuggle each other and sleep?


Currently Reading: Between books
Link of the Day: Eighteenth Century Women Painters in France (from The Met)
Bonus Link of the Day: PandaCam at the Atlanta Zoo (Sean sent me the link the other day)

First post of today...

I found this at Kelly's blog:

You Are Apple Cider

Smooth and comforting. But downright nasty when cold.

LOL - I guess I can get a tad testy when I'm not as warm as I want to be.

More later!


Friday, October 13, 2006

A sunny Friday...

Yes, it's beautiful here again today. And even the weekend forecast has improved, though actually, I'd love a day or two of rain.

Anyway, thanks for the advice re figuring out what Bob Mayer meant - yeah, sometimes gut instinct is best.

LOL, Melissa re the mouse. George used to deposit moles, though he left them intact. The most C&C can do is kill bugs, and they seem to eat them. Oh well.

While working on my plotting yesterday, I had a flash of brilliance. Part of my problem has been the plot my main characters from both WTHR and WTHB are involved in. I kept getting things mixed up and I think that was what was slowing me down. So I put together a flow chart! Yep, that's right, a good old-fashioned flow chart:

Cool, huh?

Now if I just had some software that I could use - didn't you have something, Nienke - Left Brain or something like that? I'll go through your blog and check!

I have other errands to run today, and maybe a visit to the gym. Though I did walk for over an hour yesterday. Here are a few pics - most I took didn't work cause it was too dark in the woods:


Currently Reading: The Sunshine Coast News by Kate Austin
Link of the Day: Houghton House/Ampthill - a place we visited 11 years ago this month

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Some slight progress...

Well, I figured out at least a little bit of what was wrong - I hadn't included my villain in the first few chapters and he really does help drive the plot. Need to work him and his GMC into the story earlier.

In trying to figure things out, I listened to Bob Mayer's workshop from National yesterday, on plotting and outlining. He helped some, but I was unclear from the way he was talking if the antagonist is always the bad guy? Or in the case of a romance, the second love interest - if the hero is the protag, then is the heroine the antag? Grrr. Very confusing. He did, however, make a couple of really good points that did get me going a little with the plotting. Will be working on it a little later today, after I've done some bookkeeping stuff.

And I'm off on another hike late this afternoon. Last week we went out and were about 3/4 of the way to our destination when the brakes on my friend's truck decided not to work any more!! Fortunately we were at a point where we weren't in much danger, so she was able to manoevre it to a safe spot. We were even luckier when another hiker came along and agreed to drive us back along the road and deposit us somewhere we could easily walk home. Not that the three hour hike back would have been a huge deal as the weather was good, but still - talk about our guardian angels watching out for us! Today we're going somewhere closer to home - LOL.

Re: the llamas - just to clarify, they're not mine. They're my mother-in-law's - I was just helping out and feeding them :-) They're gorgeous creatures, though.

And speaking of lovely animals, more cat pics from the last week:


Currently Reading: The Sunshine Coast News by Kate Austin
Link of the Day: History of Elstow Abbey

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Thinking deep thoughts...

Yep, that's what I'm doing today. Trying to figure out where my current wip is going. I just seem stuck with some of the plotting elements of this story and it's driving me nuts.

Henri and Madeleine

are staring at me from their spot on my desk, hoping I'll get on with things, yet I seem frozen, trying to figure out what's gone wrong. There are nagging little things that just don't seem to be working, yet I can't quite figure out a) what exactly is wrong and b) how to fix them.

I'm not sure if it's because I became so involved in my TT story, one that I adore, but just don't want to sell first and be locked into writing time travel. Or if there is some major flaw with the plot for Madeleine and Henri, one that I'll have to keep digging to find.

RIght now I'm involved in the KIA challenge over at RWA Online, and I don't want to let my fellow Historical Hussies down.

Maybe I should go watch the llamas for a while. Here's a photo of them from earlier today, taken just after I gave them some fresh hay:

They're such peaceful creatures - observing them might get my subconscious working and provide solutions. Hmmmmm.


Currently Reading: The Sunshine Coast News by Kate Austin
Link of the Day: The Louvre

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Post-Thanksgiving Report

Sorry I disappeared for so long - we had a busy few days up here on the Coast. No time (or inclination) to blog! We had a lovely family holiday and our Thanksgiving dinner was absolutely delicious.

In writing news, I finished the making the final revisions to Trust in Love and now need to decide what to do with it. Deep thinking required. As I'm still waiting to hear from my proofreaders about WTHR, I'm now going back to working on my wip, When the Heart Believes.

On tap for this morning, however, is a trip to Sechelt to find a b-day gift for our older nephew.


Currently Reading: The Sunshine Coast News by Kate Austin
Link of the Day: NetSERF's Medieval Glossary

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Drive-by post...

I'm off hiking in less than an hour and spent the morning running errands, so am squeezing editing work in now. Hence the quick post.

When I have a chance, I'll create a webpage for TIL, similar to that for WTHR and post the link here.

Has anyone else had probs with their Yahoo avatar? Despite my having changed the clothes/location of mine twice, she's stuck in the library!! Ok, not a horrible place to be stuck, but annoying, nonetheless.

And now Chloe is meowing pitifully, so I'd best go see what's up with her.


Currently Reading: The Sunshine Coast News by Kate Austin
Link of the Day: Picture This: Collage as Prewriting and Inspiration by Jenny Crusie

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Fuelled by chocolate and caffeine...

I'm entering revisions on my TT ms, Trust in Love.

Truly, I'd forgotten just how much I really love this story. And my hero, Rainald. He was so much fun to write. There were times when reading the ms I was taken aback by some of the details I had in there. Does this every happen to you? Do you forget the little things you found and managed to insert into your ms?

And speaking of the little things, I'm getting caught up yet again in the whole language thing. I remember now why I found setting a story in the 18th century to be so liberating - the English language had evolved considerably since then. Now, I know part of me is getting a bit pedantic, obsessed as I am with not using too many memorable words if they weren't from the fifteenth century (the basic ones I don't worry about). It never ceases to amaze me what words we probably associate with the Middle Ages, like hussy, trollop, escort, providential, cohort and crony, weren't actually in use then! So I'm using Thesauraus.com, the OED online and Etymonline to make changes.

Our run of beautiful weather here continues - it really has been the Sunshine Coast here recently! As a result, our kitties are LOVING their temp home. See pics below:





Currently Reading: The Sunshine Coast News by Kate Austin
Link of the Day: Romance Bloggers (Donna Caubarraux's roundup of romance writers who blog)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Thanks and thoughts on Falling Angels...

Awww, you guys are so sweet! Glad you liked the pics :-)

Now, onto Falling Angels. Though it's Tracy Chevalier's second book, I read the others (Girl with a Pearl Earring, The Virgin Blue and The Lady and the Unicorn) first. This one was totally different, but just as good. Set in turn of the century London (20th C), it follows the lives of two very different families, connected by the friendship of two girls. They first meet in the cemetary, where the family plots are side by side, on the day of Queen Victoria's death. While the main focus of the book is on their relationship, we meet a whole cast of characters, from the young grave-digger who befriends the girls, to a housemaid, to the matriarch of the Coleman family who disapproves of her daughter-in-law. Over the course of ten years we experience the ups and downs of Maude and Lavinia's lives, as seen through their eyes and those of the people around them.

What impressed me the most was Ms. Chevalier's ability to create distinct voices for each of her many narrators. Not many authors could pull off such a unique method of telling a story, but she did with aplomb. I also loved her historical detail and pacing, which might explain why I basically read the book in one sitting. Yes, I know I listed it as my current read for about a week, my evenings kept getting away from me, so I didn't settle down with it till Saturday afternoon and finished it that evening.

The author's next book, featuring William Blake, is due out in January and I can hardly wait!!


Currently Reading: The Sunshine Coast News by Kate Austin
Link of the Day: Legends

Monday, October 02, 2006

Anniversary pics...

These were taken in the dining room, after we'd finished eating the most lovely dinner (mine ended with a delicious ginger creme brulee). They were taken by our waiter, Sasha:





Today's post is over at...

my History Blog.

I created it using Blogger Beta, the updated system that eventually will allow us to merge our older blogs into the new, imroved interface.

Later on I'll post a pic from Friday. We had a great time :-) Thanks to everyone for their congrats and compliments on the wedding pics.

But for now, I must dash. I have some magazines to return to the library, a book to pick up and work to do on my ms when I get home.

I'll try to get round to everyone's blogs as time allows. And post my thoughts on Falling Angels, which I finished on Saturday.


Link of the Day: Librarian in Black talks about Google vs Ask.com. This link courtesy Marylaine Block's Neat New Stuff I Found This Week