Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Finished Round One Edits - WHOOT!

Round one of edits on Destiny By Design are complete! I spent the last three days hunched over the 'small print' making corrections, fixing incongruities (not that there were any ;) etc.
Then the hard part. I had to come up with a 200 word blurb. NOT EASY. How can you possibly sum up 95 pages of bloody hard work into TWO HUNDRED WORDS?? It took me an hour and a half and I still think it's cheesy as all get-out, but thankfully, some editor at EC will have final say, and I fully intend to defer to their wisdom.
And I got to write a little dedication for the front page. But that's a secret until the book debuts.

Happy to hear that the Thursday Thirteen has been taken over and will continue this week without interruption. Yay! One less day to ramble on endlessly without purpose!!

Picked up the next book in the Brotherhood of the Black Dagger series, Lover Awakened by JR Ward, because apparently, I now dig testosterone-dripping, uber-alpha-males who survive by drinking the blood of others. Who knew?

Where is everybody today? The whole blogosphere seems really quiet-- comment numbers are down all around, Christine's site isn't even coming up, lots of my 'regulars' didn't post, and TL let her cat, Chairman Mao do her daily blogging (wtf!?) ...
What? Has everyone got 'lives' all of a sudden :)

Guest Blogger - Uncle Mike's Reflections

I'm pleased to present the second installment of Uncle Michael's Reflections. He chose a novel 'close to home' rather than a standard best-seller, and I think he found a treasure. Once you read his report, I'm sure you'll agree that it's not the number of copies a book sells, but how it speaks to you, how it reflects the thoughts and emotions of a particular time in our lives.
What that says about me and uber-alpha vampires, I just don't know...

(remember... British accent! You can even imagine a smoking jacket and crystal tumbler of Brandy if that helps)

Reflection Notes & Review

Date: 15th February 2007

Subject: The Listeners by Monica Dickens, First published 1970

Exactly what happened and why in that way?

I discovered this novel on a shelf in the local Samaritans branch where I am listening volunteer. It is a somewhat scruffy, dark blue hardback without a dust jacket. A good 30 years old, it was a slightly foxed, probably ex-library, edition. As well as being well thumbed it had been used more than once as a coaster for coffee and tea mugs. I immediately noticed that it was dedicated to Chad Varah. He was the man who inspired and founded the Samaritan movement in 1953, that now provides a 24/7 emotional support helpline service to around 5 million callers in distress and despair in the UK every year. There are now 170 branches and just short of 20,000 volunteers. Our own branch has 120 volunteers taking around 2,000 calls and e-mails each month. So much for the context, so back to my reflection. I couldn’t resist taking the book home. It will be returned, trust me. It has some 300 pages, based around a fictional Samaritans branch, its callers, its visitors, and almost equally, the lives of the Centre’s volunteers. I eagerly consumed the book in three or four sittings and wrote this reflection note around a week after I finished it.

How did I behave, think and feel?

The novel traces the lives of the collection of callers, face to face and by phone, to the Samaritans centre. These included Jackie, a young man with learning difficulties and the, oh so vulnerable Tim, whose mental health problems led via a rescued suicide bid through hospitalisation to semi-independent living and the touchingly naïve loving relationship to a tragic ending. Another was a debt-ridden housewife, weighed down with the guilt of an opportunistically stolen wallet with a pathetically small sum of bills. Equally detailed and sensitive treatment was given to the listening Samaritan volunteers—an assortment of male and female, young and old and their interesting and somewhat tortured lives. The mechanics of listening are so well described, including the pulse quickening jangle of the phone, the desperation of the despairing callers, the volunteers desire to really help, and the bonds between volunteers who choose to spend all night together listening to and offering unconditional emotional support to their anonymous callers. And of course the volunteers own lives were by no means immune to the pains of the human condition that they heard described so painfully every hour.

One paragraph spoke straight to my heart, and captured uncannily accurately, the experience of a busy shared nightshift. “You know why you were there. Could even sometimes begin to grow towards an idea of who you were, as the pretence and defences fell away before the urgent truth of human contact”

Of course, there are seismic differences between the work of Samaritans and the social mores of the late Sixties and those of the early 21st century. That said much more was the same. I found myself frequently nodding in agreement and aching for the callers and the volunteers and recognising the emotional pain so deftly described.

What were the main Learning points?

I am conscious that this reflection says as much about me as it does about the book.

  • What were my motivations in reading this book? What was I looking for? Why would anyone do this work? Why do the volunteers in the novel put themselves through the challenges and disappointments of their chosen voluntary activity? Do I really know why I do it? When thinking about what I’ve taken from this book, I have ended up with many more questions than answers.

So what will I do differently, (is that a SMART goal)?

Now this is difficult. If all I’ve gained from the reading is questions, what to do next is really taxing me. I guess what this book has given to me is reinforcement of the enduring and priceless value of one human being, giving totally non-judgemental listening to another.


Thanks, Unc!

My own follow-up: Monica Dickens, the great granddaughter of Charles Dickens, was born in 1915 in London and died in 1992. A prolific author, she wrote for both adults and children. Check out the Wikipedia link to learn more about her humanitarian efforts.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Lover Eternal, Oscar Rant

What I said in my last post regarding vampire novels not my thing? Yeah,... never mind that. I just devoured JR Ward's Lover Eternal. DEVOURED.
I'll be honest, it started off shaky for me. I barely got through the first chapter: too many pop culture references, too much alpha-male testosterone, too many 'do you feel me, my brother's', a too many Wesley-Snipes-as-Blade images. But once I met Mary, the heroine facing another bout of leukemia, and vulnerable little John Matthew, a sub-sub-character whom I'm sure we'll be seeing much more of in sequels, I was hooked with a capital H.
I bought it thinking it was the first book in the Brotherhood of the Black Dagger series, but realized a few chapters in that I had picked up the second. This pissed me off to no end, because to know me is to know I despise starting in the middle. That alone would have made me put the book back on the shelf, but by the time I'd clued in, I was too far gone.

Watched the 79th Annual Academy Awards last night. I don't think I've missed a telecast since I was about 13 years old (that's a lot of Oscars!!) and I must say that last night's show was the most boring and disorganized show I ever witnessed. No fault of Ellen's,... but the director should be taken off the job. What was with all the lame camera angles, shots of Jack off-stage, and lingering closeups of Oscar on the floor? And to play off Jennifer Hudson while whe was being emotionally charming and letting the elderly Italian 'scorer' (Clint's word, not mine) babel on w/translation for 10 minutes after a 15 minute tribute was more than enough. The fact that Al Gore was THE HIGHLIGHT of the evening says plenty (with no disrespect to Mr. Gore -- but come on, it was a documentary!) And why does Jack ALWAYS get a front-row seat. ALWAYS. Tom Cruise presented, but wasn't in the audience and obviously didn't bring Katie (oops, I mean Kate). No Brangelina, no Matt :( or Dame Judi. George Clooney looked fab, and the ladies dresses were elegent and beautiful, but there were definitely a few 'big names' missing that I would have loved to see.
And one last rant. Who was the Vogue fool on the red carpet who kept referring to Jennifer Hudson as 'the people's princess'. Is he freaking mad?? How dare he dis Diana in that way!! Completely out of line, disrespectful and in very bad taste.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Rest Falls Away, Personality Test

I just teefed (as my Jamaican friend used to say) this personality quiz from TL's blog and Oh, what fun! Get a load of these results!!

You Are An ENTJ

The Executive

You are a natural leader - with confidence and strength that inspires others.
Driven to succeed, you are always looking for ways to gain, power, knowledge, and expertise.
Sometimes you aren't the most considerate person, especially to those who are a bit slow.
You are not easily intimidated - and you have a commanding, awe-inspiring presence.

You would make a great CEO, entrepreneur, or consultant.

The joke of it is -- I AM SO NOT!! Let's start at the top:
Natural Leader? Sure, if you can find me cowering in the stacks at the library.
Driven to succeed? Knowledge perhaps, but I couldn't give a toss about power. Seriously, you drive.
Sometimes not the most considerate person? Okay - you got me. I have no patience for those 'a bit slow' (and by this I mean ignorant, small-minded or just plain Paris-stoopid).
You are not easily intimidated. I am too!! I once got pulled over by a cop because my scooter tail-light was out and I started to cry. And my hubby was a cop at the time! How wussy is that?
You have a commanding awe-inspiring presence. Only to my 2 1/2 year old. Maybe not even.

In other more realistic news:
  1. I still have a cold, but it moved from my chest to my head. So instead of not being able to catch my breath because my lungs hurt, I can't even inhale through my nose.
  2. Since the frenzy that claimed life since pre-house-guests, I haven't done a bit of writing. NOT ONE WORD. This must change.
  3. Since the frenzy " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " ... or gone to the gym. This, too, must change. See item #1 for excuse. It's hard to get sweaty when you can't breathe.
  4. I just spent the last two hours catching up on my blog-reading. Boy, have a missed a lot since Wednesday night's TT post. Vicky has a CP, TL is an introvert and so are a dozen others, Christine has bad hair, and Amy is distracting me with eye candy. (Oh, Amy... Not the hologram dude again!) Megan wants to cut a groove at the gym but is thus-far controlling herself, Margaret reviewed the latest Grey's Anatomy trilogy, Abby is done with vamps and Jana is finished with Kelley Armstrong, for awhile. And many more...
  5. I finished the 11th book in my 50 BOOK CHALLENGE, The Rest Falls Away by Colleen Gleason. Enjoyable read, even though I'm not into vampires. I've tried, really, to embrace the world of paranormal and I can't fault the authors -- the stories are good, the writing excellent -- I have to admit that blood-sucking, shape-shifters and were-creatures just ain't my cuppa tea.
The next book I pick of the TBR shelf won't be a romance. I'm romanced out for the moment and would like to try something different. I'll let you know...
And now I'm off to medicate myself to sleep.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #8 - My Fave Writing Quotes

Final Thursday Thirteen?? I'm crushed! What will I stress about each Wednesday?

Memorable Writing Quotes

  1. I try to leave out the parts that people skip. ~Elmore Leonard
  2. What I like in a good author is not what he says, but what he whispers. ~Logan Pearsall Smith, "All Trivia," Afterthoughts, 1931
  3. Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn't wait to get to work in the morning: I wanted to know what I was going to say. ~Sharon O'Brien
  4. Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass. ~Anton Chekhov
  5. I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork. ~Peter De Vries
  6. Words - so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne
  7. A writer and nothing else: a man alone in a room with the English language, trying to get human feelings right. ~John K. Hutchens, New York Herald Tribune, 10 September 1961
  8. I am returning this otherwise good typing paper to you because someone has printed gibberish all over it and put your name at the top. ~English Professor (Name Unknown), Ohio University
  9. Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead. ~Gene Fowler
  10. Be obscure clearly. ~E.B. White
  11. Everywhere I go I'm asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them. There's many a bestseller that could have been prevented by a good teacher. ~Flannery O'Connor
  12. A synonym is a word you use when you can't spell the other one. ~Baltasar Gracián
  13. All my best thoughts were stolen by the ancients. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

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The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Sweetness (aka 2 1/2 yr old son) is in the bathtub singing:
Row row row my boat
gently down the stream
merry, merry, merry, merry
like a spider dream.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Edits: Round One

Laundry: 3 loads down, 3 loads to go (not including folding, grrrr!)

I didn't accomplish nearly what I set out to do yesterday. In fact, I only crossed three measly items of off the colossal TO DO list, all of which had to do with completing the lastest edition of romANTICS, the newsletter of the TRW. Lots of loose-end stuff once the issue is finished. The pain-in-the-butt, were's-my-damn-secretary kind of nonsense. I enjoy doing the newsletter, but it's taking more time than I intended it to. The articles, announcements, lastest-release covers, quotes, etc,... make putting it together like assemblying a 16 page jigsaw puzzle. I fiddle, re-place, re-align, fill, fight for white space, balance text vs pics, and most-likely make it more difficult than it should be! On the upside, I have access to every other article that goes into the RWA chapters newsletters all over Canada and the US. I can't read them ALL, but having access to the plethora of knowledge-based articles is like doing an on-line course, daily! I won't be giving up this volunteer job anytime soon!!

During the madness that was my weekend, I got the first round of edits for Destiny by Design from EC. I'm excited to begin work, but with this chest cold still plagueing me, the pages of information my editor gave me is making my head spin. I know that if I take it one step at a time, everything will flow smoothly, but I haven't had enough coffee yet this morning to cope with it all. Most of the info has to do with EC style and formatting -- rules, rules, rules! Of course, this is a good thing and their strict policies on form is what makes them the best in their field.
AND - this is childishly exciting - if you go the EC's website and do an author search, I'm in there!! Not my book, yet, but my bio!! Cool, eh?

Finally - an amusing note: Following TL's lead, I hooked up to sitemeter so I could track hits and find out how people stumble upon my blog. Seems the post about Bratz Dolls with the word 'feminism' in the title has brought me LOADS of visitors. The pic itself is often a searched item and my blog comes up high on the google search along with various big-named toy stores and Mattel. The reference to 'feminism' most often comes from educational isp's (if that's the correct word).
But the funniest reference came from a blogger with a, shall we say, religious agenda, who was ranting about Bratz Dolls looking like whores -- She did a search for a picture and found my rant. Church Lady went on to say that she found it head-shaking ironic that a 'writer of erotic fiction' should also find these dolls whorish.
I thought this hilarious!! Like I sell smutty literature to children!! *shrug* Whatever.


Monday, February 19, 2007

The Quiet House

The weekend of family, friends, and fun came to a sleepy halt this morning when I bid adieu to our last guests at 5:30am. My husband's family actually left Sunday morning (also at 5:30 am -- that dang Bermuda flight!!) but we got an unexpected and lovely surprise when our friends, also from Bermuda, missed their connection from Montreal and didn't make the Bermuda flight -- hence their overnight with us. One quick sheet & towel exchange, a take-out Thai dinner, a nice bottle of red later, the visit was done. My oldest son, Light, is knackered having entertained his cousin, then best buds (the twins) for 4 days of non-stop action, but we sent him off to school looking and feeling more energized than either hubby or I can comprehend! Ah, the resiliency of youth!!
I feel like a total hag-bag, and my TO DO list has grown to epic proportions, but I admit to being a tad sad to say goodbye to the chaos that ruled our lives since last Wednesday.
With Sweetness at the sitters and Light at school, the house is eerily quiet. I can hear the occassional thump as the cat jumps down from whatever piece of forbidden furniture he managed to gain access to when my back was turned, and hourly toilet flush indicating that Mr. Wylie has had yet another cup of coffee -- otherwise, for the moment, it's just me and my keyboard. Ahhhhh....
That said, in the next few minutes I must pop on a load of laundry, dash to post office, then the gym, then collect Sweetness, and make lunch for Light before he stumbles snow-covered through the front door yelling, "MOM, I'm home! What's for lunch?"
Let the chaos begin...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The way to my heart ...

Ahhhh,... hearts, roses, chocolate and lots of I Love You's.
But not in this house!
My husband knows that the way to my heart is with a Chapters gift certificate. Roses die, chocolate lasts minutes, and he's already generous with the I Love You's, so the only thing left to knock my socks off is books, beautiful books, wonderful books!
And what did Mr. Wylie get? (yes, I stole the hubby-nick from Kate Pearce) Mr. Wylie gets the opportunity to possibly become $1000 a month richer...
He got a stack of scratch and wins from me and the kiddies. And chocolate. White chocolate, to match the heaps of snow he's been shovelling.

The expected guests from Bermuda may or may not be coming today. With the storm here in Southern Ontario and the gale force winds on the island, the flight has already been delayed from a 1pm departure to a 7:30pm departure, which doesn't get them here until 10:00 tonight. *yawn*
Sadly, the kids won't be awake to greet their cousin, but gladly, I don't have to cook dinner :)
Maybe I can even squeeze a trip to ye olde bookstore in before they arrive!

Hope you all have a wonderful Valentine's Day, whether you're single, dating, married, or cuddling with you cat and a tub of Ben and Jerry's.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

And.... She's Back

So much for 'see you on Sunday'. I just Googled myself because apparently, I have too much time on my hands. Right under Bam's horroracious review, I found this post at Euroreviews:

Title: Belle Fiore
Author: Wylie Kinson
Publisher: Lady Aibell Buy in BeNeLux
Genre: Contemporary
Publication date: July 2006
Pages: 14

Heat Rating:
Reviewer: Chantay

This is a great story about a working mother who needs a different experience when it comes to sex. Belle Fiore is neat, simple, and the flow is very clear. There isn’t a moment when the story drops off or stales. Belle Fiore seems to help people make their fantasies come true, if only through the pages of a book. Also, I liked the little twist at the end of the story it added an extra kick! I love the three A’s of acceptance, affirmation and affection they sum up how most people want to feel! I most certainly recommend Belle Fiore to everyone!


See, all is really right in the world. They like me in Europe! Here's the link - http://euroreviews.eu.funpic.de/bookdetails.php?book_id=801
And that funky circle-star rating? - It means EXCELLENT. It's the HIGHEST SCORE. Thank you Chantay.

Life is pleasantly back to normal...

Things are right again with the world. My kitty is back, both parents and kids had a wonderful full night of sleep, I went to the gym last night and worked out all the built-up emotions that swamped me over the weekend, the weather forecasters are calling for a snowstorm, my in-laws arrive tomorrow ... (screeching halt)
Oh, crap!! I have visitors arriving tomorrow - FOUR visitors - and I haven't cleaned, grocery shopped, made the beds, caught up on laundry...
MollyMaid?? HELP!!!

I got the most perfect thank-you gift from a friend yesteday -- a gift certificate for Chapters. I picked up Colleen Gleason's The Rest Falls Away and a JR Ward. I was looking at Katie MacAllister (on Amy's recommendation) but it seemed to be a series and I had no clue which to get first so Amy, please advise! I began The Rest Falls... late late last night (with kitty purring next to me :) and so far, so excellent! The cover alone would have enticed me to buy it, even if the buzz hadn't been so hot. It's bee-ooo-ti-ful. I'll post it when I've finished reading it.

And speaking of great covers - take a look at the pic on Antonia's Bargain! This woman actually has hips. Isn't that a nice change? (Don't get me started on my rant about skinny models!) I must give a shout-out to fellow Black Lace & Ellora's Cave author, Kate Pearce. As I mentioned before, I'm not a book review site, blah blah,... other people do it so much better, blah blah, whole sites devoted to the romance/erotica genre, yada yada,...
But I read Kate's Antonia's Bargain a few weeks ago and must say -- It's hot. HOT! Gideon and Antonia burn up the pages with their escapades (or should I say sexcapeds? *g*)
I liked that it was a Regencybecause there's something about uninhibited premarital sex in a time and place where stringent rules were attached to the behaviour of young ladies that makes it somehow more shocking. Naughtier, if you will *g*. (I don't usually giggle in posts,... there was just sumthin sumthin about this little tale! Or should I say, tail!) Okay, okay... I'll stop!! But I can't help it! I crack myself up. I'm still on a high over finding my pussy. My cat, I mean, Mortimer!
Get ye to Ellora's Cave and download this hotness! And while you're there, get M.A. Everaux's The Claiming of Moira Shine, in-case you missed my earlier posting.

Probably won't be blogging much this coming week with the visitors here. And I must finish the Toronto Romance Writers newsletter, which will consume any extra time I have. So adios until Sunday!

Monday, February 12, 2007


He's baaaaaack!!!
After 52 hours M.I.A., Mortimer Tea Flash has found his way home!!! I'm ridiculously relieved. I haven't slept for two nights thinking of him lying injured and helpless, freezing into a kitty-popsicle in this way below freezing weather. I don't know where he's been, but this is what I deduce:
  • he's not groomed - which tells me he felt too distressed for the normal twice-daily licky baths
  • he's not cold (at all!) so he couldn't have even had a long walk home from where-ever he was because it's freaking windy, snowy and cold up here
  • he's not dehydrated, weak or sickly looking - so he must have had access to water at the very least
  • so I'm thinking that he was either trapped in someone's garage, or someone took him in thinking he was a stray (despite collar with phone number) and the posters made the 'someone' realize he's owned/missed/loved so they let him out to find his way home
Whatever... I have found peace! Thanks all for your encouraging words, positive thoughts and kitty-mom support.
Poor cat isn't going to see the outside again until summertime!

Pussycat update

Still no Moritimer Tea Flash. Hubby made up some posters and we drove around all morning attaching them to the post boxes in the neighbourhood.
I'm distraught to distraction.
How do I tell my kids?
Thanks for all the supportive words.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Have you seen him?

My kitty has been missing since early yesterday morning. It's so cold outside. I'm very very upset.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Tagged by Amy

I've been tagged by Amy! Once you have been tagged you can't be retagged. You have to write a blog about 10 odd, facts or habits about yourself. Then tag 10 people and visit there comments and tell them they've been tagged.

Here goes:
  1. I eat in even numbers. I'm not an obsessive counter, but I must have two timbits or four timbits, never three. Two rice cakes, not one ( or one broken in half). Bagels must be halved, then quartered. My mother used to creatively cut my sandwiches in three odd shapes and it MADE ME CRAZY!!
  2. I can't sit in the back seat of cars. I get panicky and woozy and feel like I'm going to be sick or pass out. This makes taxi rides very difficult!
  3. The touch of styrofoam gives me the heebies.
  4. I love the smell of freshly cut lumber. Ahhhhhh,... even more than the smell of baking bread or chocolate cake!
  5. I don't fasten my seatbelt until I come to the first stopsign or traffic light. Yes, I'm aware that this is stupid. It's a long story...
  6. I like winter. This in and of itself makes me completely certifiable to most people.
  7. I don't like hot, humid weather. See above for state of mind.
  8. Sometimes, when I look into the face of a cat and we sort of stare at each other, I feel like I can see a human soul. (N.U.T.S.)
  9. I remember multiple dreams a night. Most people can't remember any when they wake, some remember one when they wake, I feel like I was watching really weird movies most of the night.
  10. When I stay in a hotel, I have to sleep in the bed that has a clear view of the door or, if not visible, then the bed closest to the door.
It just occurred to me that I could probably go on for another 10. Yep, I'm a loon!

Friday, February 09, 2007

10 Books Down, 40 More To Go

Finished Linda L Miller's McKettirck's Luck the other night. Pretty good read, but I must say, I'm really turned off by the whole romance genre right now. This can't be a good thing, considering I write romance!! But honestly, the last few books I picked up, I couldn't get past the first three pages. Even this one,... there was so much narrative in the first chapter -- so much crammed-in backstory, that if I wasn't trapped in the little room where my son's speech therapy was taking place, I may not have continued. There were SOOOO many characters - cousins, dead relatives, etc... that I found it rather distracting. But the author had to set it up this way because it's the first of a series. Next up is McKettrick's Pride, then McKettrick's Heart. So in addition to getting to know about Jesse, the hero, we had to have the history of him and his cousins, Rance and Keegan, -- and their backstories! And Sienna, and Travis, and the crippled brother, and the romantic-at-heart mother, and Bronwyn, the waitress at the pub...
It's no wonder that main characters in romance novels are more-often-than-not orphans or only-children, otherwise the author has to bore the reader to death with every person in the immediate and extended family. I just read a similar observation in Abby Godwin's blog.

Again, I feel compelled to say that I enjoyed the book overall. And loathe that I am to say negative things since I'm still collecting rejections, there was one scene in the book that was so contrived it was painful to read. Here's the abridged version:
Heroine walks in to hero's house and finds another woman (who happens to be the hero's ex-wife that he didn't tell the heroine about) in his bedroom who just happens to be wearing hero's t-shirt and nothing else... but hero had NO IDEA she was there because he was so tired when he got home, he didn't notice her sleeping on the couch... and she only went into his bedroom because she was scared of his big old house in the country... and she was tired so she took off all her clothes... blah blah blah...
How did this get past the editor??
Oh, now I'm mad at myself for ranting. I'm sure the author did what she thought was right for the characters and to move the story in the direction it needed to go.
Oh, great. Now I'm being a pussy,... It was a total cop-out! A lazy scene!!

Time to change genre's for awhile. Maybe I'll try a paranormal. Or another Pulitzer.
Any suggestions??

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Two in one week. OUCH!

Ouch! Just received a SECOND rejection for the three bears story. Good thing for the uber-thick skin I've acquired. When I opened the letter, I hardly blinked.
Okay, well maybe a little blink. Then I ate the mini chocolate valentine hearts I bought for my kids. Pathetic. So very pathetic. And yet, I feel better...

Here's the scorecard so far:
Houghton Mifflin - rejection by blue postcard
Kids Can Press - rejection by form letter with name scribbled in by hand.
Boyds Mills - Anxiously waiting...
Henry Holt - Anxiously waiting...
Commence the crossing of fingers and toes.

Hey -- maybe I should track my rejections with the progress bar. Hee!!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #7 - Analogy 101

Thirteen Hilarious Analogies for Writers and Other Word Geeks

  1. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.
  2. He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.
  3. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.
  4. His thought tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.
  5. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.
  6. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you’re on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 instead of 7:30.
  7. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.
  8. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.
  9. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant, and she was the East River.
  10. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 pm traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19pm at a speed of 35 mph.
  11. Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.
  12. The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at the fire hydrant.
  13. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife’s infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM machine.
BTW - I can't take credit for writing these,... thank goodness!

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1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

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The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Sometimes I bask in my own ignorance. Today, not so much.

Could someone please explain why I have stripes in my progress bar????
I've fiddled endlessly with the table widths in the code, but to no avail. I'm so annoyed with them that I have avoided looking at my blog all day -- and this is so not like me.
I don't want to remove those nifty little progress bars, but damn it, if I can't figure out this little dilemma, I'm going to have to remove them :(
Or maybe I'll just shut down my blog...

Who said I'm prone to drama ;D

Monday, February 05, 2007

Shot down

Just received a rejection notice from Houghton Mifflin for the Three Bears story. Oh well... it's one of many and I'm sure it won't be the last! Despite the 'no simultaneous submissions', I have three more ms floating around in publisher slush-land and will continue running to my mailbox daily, through cold, snow and blowing wind. Such is the life of a writer!

I'm not crushed, - not even a little upset, - but please send virtual chocolate, anyway!

Progress Meter

Loving the progress meter, (thanks Christine & Vicky, for showing me the light) despite the fact that the Zokutou site is currently down and I can't update mine...

I've a visual person. When I write, I see scenes unfold before my eyes. I won't trade my diary for a Palm Pilot , Blackberry or whatever is the technical device du jour, because if I can't see it on paper, in 'context', it just doesn't make sense to me. Tell me directions, I'll get lost. Show me a map and it's forever etched in my brain. Tell me your name and chances are I won't be shouting it out, but if you're wearing a name tag - I'll never forget you.

This brings me back to the progress meters. I love that I can see clearly where I stand. When I hit 'word count' on my toolbar, the number 6,000 means very little to me, but when I SEE it, as 20% of the 30,000 goal, my mind clicks and I instantly understand how far I've come and how far I need to go. The abstract becomes the concrete. Weeeeeeeeeeeeee!!

I'm thinking of adding a progress meter to keep track of the 50 BOOK CHALLENGE, and, call me crazy, but also my workouts! If I aim to do 13 workout sessions per month (ave 3/week), I'll be able to SEE my progress. Whoopee!! And this is far more sane than trying to track my weight,...

Sunday, February 04, 2007


I just finished Christopher Moore's LAMB: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal. Veeery interesting. It's a witty fictional tale about the missing years of Christ's life from his birth in a manger to his reappearance as a 30 year old, narrated by his best friend Levi, also known as Biff.
The story is full of sarcasm, irony and LOL twists on biblical references. But a funny thing happens about 1/3 of the way in: the humour begins to ride a current of resounding depth. The comedy, present in practically every paragraph, serves to unmask an certain insightfulness as the son of God learns about humankind, God's will and his own tragic legacy. Biff is the perfect foil for the serious-minded Messiah, yet in some ways, because he is allowed to succumb to the wordly pleasures his best friend is denied, becomes the smarter, more savvy of the two.
I highly recommend this book, but be warned; it will make you laugh,... and think!

My confession? I just went through my bookshelf looking for the shortest, easiest read I could find! Though LAMB was only 430 odd pages (give or take), the printing was really small and it was the large kind of paperback (can't remember the correct name for those,... anyone??), and even though it was packaged as a comedy, I didn't find it 'light' reading. I mean, come-on... we all know how THAT story ends, don't we? Hardly a HEA!! (Well, for some, I guess it could be looked at that way...)
So now I seek a breezy bit of fluff that won't take anymore than 5-6 hours to a feel-good finish.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Guest Blogger - Welcome, Uncle Michael!

Got a bit of a surprise the other day when I rec'd an email from my Uncle Mike expressing interest in the FIFTY BOOK CHALLENGE.
*GULP* This means that despite my alias, someone from 'the family' knows about my blog.
Note to self: watch language and stop refering to XXXX as a crazy-bitch-from-hell. *DOUBLE GULP*

Uncle Mike, who hails from High Wycombe, just outside of London (England, not Ontario!) is technically not my uncle but my husband's---but he's saner than my relatives, so I've claimed him for my very own. He's very kindly agreed to be my guest blogger with regards to the BOOK CHALLENGE. This is very exciting because Unc's taste is reading is far superior to my own!

Here is his first post. Btw - when reading, the voice in your head must be that of a very sophisticated British gentleman (right, Unc?)...

Notes & Reflections
Date: February 1, 2007
Subject: Northern Lights by Philip Pullman, Scholastic Press. ISBN 0 -439 --99412 -8

Exactly what happened and why in that way?
Northern Lights is the first part of a story in three volumes. It was recommended to me by my personal trainer as a something of the spiritual tale told in a fantasy world, or more accurately worlds. After dropping hints with increasing gravity it duly arrived from Judy at Christmas, together with the second volume. I read the book in January in probably five or six sittings at home and on trains. I was travelling to York a fair amount in January. I decided after seeing Paula’s blog with her target of reading 50 books in 2007 to set myself a more modest target of 12 books in the year. I further decided to write reflection notes/reviews on each book. This particular reflection note I wrote some two weeks after finishing the book.

How did I behave, think and feel?
I approached the book with anticipation and a little trepidation as I have never read fantasy type books before, preferring the gritty realism of fast paced Special Forces novels, or the more ‘worthy’ writing of people who have something to say about life and the human condition. For example my last major read was the Sebastian Faulks Human Traces. A massive, weighty and densely written read and one that I really loved.
I enjoyed the slightly off-reality of the world in which the heroine young Lyra lived. There are the Oxford colleges and a faintly familiar London, except all with the fantastical elements added. For instance, everyone having a daemon, electricity appears to have been substituted with anbaric power, how great balloons and dirigibles appear to replace aircraft. I did engage with the plot and realise now that I accepted totally. The giant fighting bears from Scandinavia, who spoke English. I followed it all in, for me, a surprisingly accepting and understanding way. The adventures that Lyra and her daemon, with the priceless future telling alethiometer, the wicked child snatching Gobblers, led by the evil Mrs Coulter, the Gyptians and other various very interesting and assorted friends.
I sensed that there were many metaphors at work here than I could easily identify or interpret. To me the daemons represented the human soul, and there was something important for us all in the tearing asunder of the daemon and human that was somehow deeply sinister and disturbing. Was this linked to a feeling that we are all as a society or individuals losing our souls? Or somehow about us being disconnected from our souls in an increasingly materialistic and soulless society and lives. There was talk of very special dust I began to wonder if this was love.

What were the main learning points?

  • That I can enter other than explored and played with to add understanding

So what will I do differently, (is that a SMART goal?)

  • Read the second and third volumes, before end June 2007
  • Consider reading at least one more fantasy book as part of my chosen 12 books this year.


Thanks, Uncle Michael. We look forward to next month's installment.

~ Wylie

PS - apologies if the font sizes look whacky -- blogger is playing with patience today!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #6 - IF I RULED THE WORLD (mwa-ha-ha!)

13 Things I would do IF I RULED THE WORLD!

  1. Our motto would be “Live and Let Live”… as long as you’re not hurting anyone. Everyone else, just go about your business and don’t judge others.
  2. Everyone is welcomed to their own religion/belief system, as long as they keep it to themselves. No going door-to-door or other recruitment schemes unless someone calls your head office and specifically asks for literature. No religious holidays (exception – see item #3). If you want a day off for Easter, Chanukah, Eid, Ramadan, etc, take vacation time. (Of course – everyone would get 6 weeks vacation time per year in MY world!)
  3. On a similar note, we ALL celebrate a week of Peacemas, no matter our religion, as a time of year to share our wealth, spread some love, celebrate our cultural diversity, and help retailers stay in the black. (This would replace the commercialized version of Christmas. Real Christians can still have Dec 25th to celebrate the birth of Jesus, or whatever.)
  4. Nobody works on Wednesdays. This would become a weekly Hump-Day Holiday, since we’ve gone and ruined Sunday. All offices, malls, schools, gov’t buildings, etc would be under mandatory closure. I’m even thinking of cutting internet service on this day. Note: This is not to replace ‘the sabbath’ blah blah blah,… but everyone needs to spend a little time relaxing, enjoying family, friends and generally doing nothing. Go outside and play, read a book, take your mother on a picnic, exercise, have FUN! In fact, let’s fine people who are caught at the office. Yeah…
  5. Laws. Yes, there would many, but they’d make sense. Any person ‘in authority’ -- police, priests, teachers, doctors, -- folks who we trust with our lives and with our children, would automatically get DOUBLE the sentence for their crimes (like a crooked cop, or a priest who molests a kid). And in My World, anyone who victimizes a child is immediately sentenced to death (and you know I’m not talking about a spanking!). Rapists would get mandatory 20 years (after castration, of course), and have to pay for their victims psychological counseling as long as they need it, even if it means becoming their personal slave.
  6. In order to bring a child into this world, you’d need a license. Okay – this sounds a bit draconian, but seriously, you need a license to own a dog, drive a car, go fishing, but anyone with a womb can have a child? Not in my world! The license would be granted after the parent/s — married/cohabitating/same-sex – doesn’t matter -- pass a simple, common-sense test about the basics of parenting. Not just anyone should have children. Yes, you could argue that it’s our right,… yada yada yada, but it’s not your right to then mistreat, neglect, and abandon your child either. A simple ‘parenting skills’ test (followed by classes for those who score low) would solve a lot of social problems.
  7. Everyone would get a complimentary paid day-off on their birthday. Gosh, if you can’t celebrate the fact that you’re born, who the hell will!
  8. Teachers, nurses, ERT’s, and _______ (go ahead, fill in your occupation!) would get paid more than baseball players because they make a difference in the world. A man who hits a little white ball with a stick doesn’t.
  9. One person, one vote. BUT… all persons must qualify to vote. That means you must pass a simple test to prove you know the basic difference between Liberal/Democratic, Socialist, Communist, Conservative/Republican. It’s astounding how many don’t! Also – you have to point to the capital of your country on a map. It’s astounding how many can’t!
  10. A woman’s right to abortion would be decided by her and her doctor and NOBODY ELSE.
  11. Feminine hygiene products would be free. As would all choices of birth control available to both men and women.
  12. No wars. No more sending 18 year old kids to die ‘defending our great nation, our freedom, our liberty!’ If two old men want to fight over borders, land, resources, etc… let’s give them both sticks and let ‘em duke it out. Or, it will be decided by the board game, RISK.
  13. All that money saved by not having wars would go into education. Knowledge is the key to so many problems. Just think – a world full of smart people! We’d cure diseases, make intelligent choices to stop/fix global warming, celebrate the arts, … Sadly, there wouldn’t be anyone left to appear on, or watch, Jerry Springer!

Ahhh, if I ruled the world!!

What would YOU do?

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!