Friday, March 30, 2007

Thursday Thirteeners ROCK and New Books for the Pile

First off, I'd like to thank all of you who visited my TT this week and give a shout-out back to y'all for the FANtastic TT topics. Belly laughs galore, book recommendations, some great facts about sex (thanks Rose!) and a marvelous art survey (Candy - blogger at my response! I'm so sorry!! And it was really long so I'm not repeating it *grrrrrr*) I have been meaning to add my fave TTer's to my sidebar this week (sort of based on Shelley's idea of Love Links) but just haven't gotten around to it yet...
Why, you ask??

Potty training. Yes, my Sweetness (aka 2 3/4 yr old son) has finally deemed himself 'ready to be a big boy' -- (he's been fighting me for a while on this!) -- so the little white potty has taken up residence in our family room. Right next to the magazine rack. Like father, like son.

Went on a book buying spree at Costco the other day because apparently, I don't have enough books in my TBR pile (the sarcasm is practically pooling at my feet). My acquisitions:
Blue Shoes and Happiness by Andrew McCall Smith (part of the #1 Ladies Detective Agency series)
Promise Me by Harlen Coben
The Birth House by Ami McKay, and
The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory.
I've been looking for the first book in JR Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series and both Chapters and Coles were out, so today I dragged #1 son to the used bookstore and voila -- there it was. Of course, now I have to hurry and finish Blue Shoes... so I can get back to the uber-macho-vamps. I'm so pathetic...

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #12 - Feeding the Living

Following on from last weeks 13 People I'd Invite to Dinner in the Dead or Historical Category...
Here are the
13 LIVING People I'd Invite To Dinner

  1. Bono - musician turned humanitarian, he's got a passion for the less fortunate that is truly admirable. Of course, I'd also make him perform a few numbers from The Joshua Tree while I'm cooking.
  2. Jeff Bezos - the founder/owner/president of The guy responsible for having best-sellers delivered to my door at a reasonable price deserves to break bread at my place. And he just seems like a really nice, funny, normal guy.
  3. Steve Jobs - the founder/creator/god of Apple Computers. He's invited so Mr. Wylie has someone to talk to while I'm sandwiched between #8 and #12.
  4. Richard Branson - British entrepreneur best known for his Virgin empire, which consists of over 200 companies, including Virgin Records, Virgin Atlantic Airlines and Virgin Publishing (who's line Black Lace published my first short story). He's a risk-taker, innovator, family man and all-round cool cat.
  5. Angelina Jolie - makin' up for all the ugly at the table. I know people either love her or hate her, but she's doing a lot of good in the world so she's welcome in my kitchen. Her and Bono would serve as perfect reminders that we should all appreciate the bountiful, extravagant feast on the table. And we'd all be a couple bucks poorer for the massive checks to the ONE Foundation. Money well spent!
  6. Ann Coulter - the ONLY reason she's there is so I could bitch slap her and make her eat cold porridge at the kiddy table.
  7. Nelson DeMille - author. I've read every one of his books and I'd just like to get into his head for a view hours. It's not that his writing is brilliant in a literary sense, but his subject matter, plots and characters always hook me. I could easily have had 13 authors on this list, but am purposely limiting myself in order to make this a well-rounded group.
  8. Brad Pitt - yes, my reasons are completely shallow. He's only invited for his hotness and he'd have to stay late to help me with dishes. Wearing only his undies. During dinner, he'd be seated next to me while Ang sits at the other end of the table with Bono and Hugo.
  9. Margaret Atwood - multi-award winning Canadian author. It's been said she's 'difficult' (whatever that means), but hell, I love her books and maybe if I seat her close enough to me, some of her brilliance may rub off. And if she does get 'difficult' during dinner, I'll put her with Ann.
  10. Hugo Chavez - controversial president of Venezuela, he evokes both vehement criticism and adulation for reasons that are vast and complicated. If you're not familiar with President Chavez, it would behoove you to check him out. He's an important guy on the world stage. (I'd let him throw rice at Ann)
  11. Jon Stewart - hell, everyone needs a laugh and he can deliver. He can also bring us up to date on what's what in US politics in a mixed-company-appropriate way. This was a toughy as I'm equally fond of Stephen Colbert, for the same reasons. Or Canada's Rick Mercer who can easily hold court with these guys.
  12. Daniel Craig - 'nough said.
  13. Pinkus Zucherman - I don't know much about this fellow, except that he's a world-famous musician and conductor, originally from Israel. I had the pleasure of seeing him play solo violin and conduct a chamber orchestra at the Bermuda Music Festival back in the late 90's. He turned the much over-played "Four Seasons" by Vivaldi into something new, fresh and completely captivating. He'd be our after-dinner entertainment (while Brad and I are, ahem, 'doing the dishes').
My guest of honor (I know, I'm cheating) would be Nelson Mandella, who seriously, is in a different league than the others. Wouldn't he have some stories to tell...

Who would YOU add to the guest list? Please leave your suggestions in the comments!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

And the winner is...

Congrats to Thomma Lyn for her nomination in the Litty Award!!
Also must give a shout-out to my fellow Toronto Romance Writers whose novels are nominated in the prestigious Golden Heart Contest -- Anna Perrin, Kime Howe and Maureen McGowan. WAY TO GO, LADIES! Best of luck!!

I thieved this cool contest from TL's blog: Splat Designs will award one lucky winner with one of their awesome custom blog templates.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Another down in the 50 Book Challenge

The only good thing to come out of sitting around with a sick little boy this weekend was the chance to read -- albeit uncomfortably, with minimal light and a tingling arm from the pressure of little boy's head. I managed to gobble up a book that's been sitting in my TBR pile since last summer, but kept getting overlooked because of it's length.
(An erotic romance author intimidate by size? WTF?)

Turns out this is one of the best books I've ever read. Right up there with Middlesex by Jeffery Euginides, Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner, and The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields. On par with Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden and The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood.
Okay, -- now I'm just bragging ;)

Fall On Your Knees, Ann-Marie MacDonald's debut novel (this in and off itself BLOWS me away) is going on my keeper shelf. Her descriptions, characterizations and unique story-telling was nothing less than ... (searching for appropriate word... coming up empty...) beautiful. Just beautiful. Go ye all and buy this book.
And thank you, Mom, for giving it to me.

When I read books like this I end up questioning my own artistic ability. I could never write with such depth and beauty! It's just not in me. These folks are in a whole other league... I'm Sanjaya to their Fantasia. I'm karaoke to their Met.

But hey (I tells myself) there's room in the ocean for whale sharks and sardines, so I guess I'll just keep swimming.

BTW - just noticed that three of the six I books mentioned are by Canadian authors. It's funny -- I don't purposely seek out Canadian authors (though maybe I should?) but it seems a high-percentage of my 'amazing literature' collection are shrouded in the maple leaf. Hmm...

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Overheard, On tv, On writing, On kids

Overheard at the Wylie Kinson household:

"My saw a fox!" Sweetness (aka 2yr old boy) informs Light (aka 7 yr old boy) and I upon arriving home one evening.
"A fox? Where, on t.v.?" I ask.
"No, a real fox. It was this big." Sweetness has his hands stretch way out.
"You saw a real fox? Where?"
"On our back deck," Mr. Wylie answers.
"On our back deck." (I'm not bothering to mask my skepticism. Last year, he mistook a skunk for a cat.)
"Yeah. It came right up to the window and looked in."
"Really. And how big was it?" (I'm still not convinced)
"Bout yay big." Mr Wylie has palm 2 1/2 feet off the ground.
"And what did this fox look like?" (I'm thinking dog. Couldn't be a wolf, could it? In the middle of the 'burbs?) "Was it little and red with a bushy tail?"
"Well, it was more brown or gray. But it had a bushy tail." (OMG - a wolf? Wait a minute...)
Says me, "Did it have a black band across its eyes?"
"Yeah, now that you mention..."
"...and black rings around its bushy tail?"
"Well, it was dark,... but yeah, now that you mention, I think it did."
My Bermudian hubby, naive to the fauna of his new Canadian homeland, saw a raccoon, of course! But it couldn't be near the size he indicated!!
Oh, men and their size issues!! *LOL*

One week later: Me, alone, en route to the highway on-ramp, less than a mile from my house.
"Holy shit, look at the size of that gray dog! Looks like a wolf. But with bushy tail? WTF? It's **Loup-Raccoon!"

On television:
Nip/Tuck finally began showing again in Canada. The season wrapped up months ago on the FX network (which we don't get) -- and our national CBC is now showing it. At least they show it all in one go -- no reruns... -- but because of the press it received when Rosie O'Donnell, Brooke Sheilds, etc, made appearances, I feel a bit cheated to know what's coming.
Not sure how I feel about his envelope pushing series. Almost every single episode has me thinking Oh no, they are NOT going there,... they absolutely can't go there... OMG, they're going there! *CRINGE* For clarification, I'm not talking about the surgeries. They show very little blood and guts -- only one scene per show -- and it's tasteful BUT REAL. They edit in actual footage of plastic surgery procedures, fascinating, but g.r.o.s.s.
It never follows the usual story-arc we've become so familiar with in other Hollywood productions, and in terms of subject matter, nothing is sacred. Or taboo. Somehow, all this gives it a realness thats both fascinating and disturbing. Underlying the surface, the message is often so strong, it makes you feel guilty for trying to take the show at face value. The points are subtle, yet uncover the frailties of our society -- thriving on beauty that masks the ugliness beneath...

On kids:
Sweetness has been sick all weekend. I could go on a world cruise with the luggage I'm sporting under my eyes...
He's been hallucinating bugs. Crickets in his bed and spiders in his mouth. There's not. We checked. He's had a nasty head-cold since Friday, and today I was treated to 3 bouts of vomiting. My house smells wonderful (go on, close your eyes and imagine). But between bug sightings (we think he's got little floaters in his eyes due to the pressure of the cold) and vomiting (ewww- you can smell it, I know you can) he's a wonderfully happy little boy who, as I write this, is outside riding his bike with his older (and very protective) big brother. I can hear them giggling.

On writing:
Nothing. See above.

**In French Canada the legendary loup-garou is a lone werewolf in Quebec lore.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #11 - I see dead people

13 Dead People I'd Invite to Dinner If I Could...

  1. Joe Gadowski - my father, who died in 1968 when I was 20 months old. I have so many questions...
  2. Jesus - who was he? Son of God or rebel scholar who was hated for bringing to light the blasphemous actions being done in the name of God. Oh, and I'd make him bring the wine.
  3. Shakespeare - did he imagine that his tragedies, comedies and dramas would still be relevant, loved and studied 500 years later?
  4. Aristotle - yes, he was one of the great thinkers of the human age, but he had some wild and crazy theories about women. I'd love to set him straight...
  5. Princess Diana - someone needs to class up the table! But seriously, I would like her to know how her untimely death affected the entire world...
  6. Joan of Arc - Did God really speak to her? How did it feel to be so young leading an army?
  7. Marilyn Monroe - Did you really kill yourself, or were you offed?
  8. Michaelangelo Buonarotti - I'd have him come a couple of hours before dinner to paint my ceiling...
  9. Hitler - every good party needs a crazy lunatic. And I'd slap him upside the head really hard for being such a little shit. Then I'd poison his wine...
  10. John F. Kennedy Jr - did he intend to someday run for office? Then, I'd give him the opportunity to tell us what was really going on in his marriage. Was he happy? Was C really a druggie? If he could go back and begin all over again, would he choose me instead...
  11. Winston Churchill - his wisdom and witty one-liners would be welcomed. I'd seat him across from Hitler so he could kick the little dick's shins under the table and pretend he wasn't doing it.
  12. Gandhi - to keep everyone calm when I serve burnt soup. Then he could impart his patience, wisdom and faith in humanity while Jesus makes more wine.
  13. Siddhartha (aka Buddha) - same reason as Jesus. I want to know if these men were really qualified for their leadership roles in our spirituality. I want to sort out myth from reality, wisdom from dogma, sarcasm from stupidity.

Leave me a comment telling me who you would add to the guest list!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Beware -- read at your own risk

Warning: Negativity Ahead...

USUALLY, if I don't have anything nice to say, I try not to say it...
but I just read the worst book in the history of publishing!!! (and you know I'm not prone to exaggeration :)
I found jump-out-and-slap-you-across-the-face spelling errors, misplaced modifiers that would make a third grader cringe and formatting issues. The central characters were unlikeable, one-dimensional and contradicted themselves several times. The premise was ridiculously unbelievable, the sub-characters were stereo-typed caricatures, and don't even get me started on the groaningly bad sex scenes -- I skimmed the first few then was driven to skipping them completely!!
So why, you must be asking, did you bother finishing?
I had to! I was compelled to, if only to see if it could indeed get any worse. And you know what? IT DID! The ending was funny in a ha-ha way, it was funny in an 'I don't fucking believe it' way. (And I don't swear often...)

I know so many really good writers who are having a hell of a struggle getting published, then I read this crap and bang my head into the wall. How could any self-respecting publisher/editor accept this garbage, add it to their catalogue and faust it onto an unsuspecting reader?

Here's the thing -- I'm not going to name the book or author because I feel really bad for this person (whose own mother must be the head of the publishing company). But I am adding it to my 50 book challenge because I should get a freaking medal just for turning every pathetically written page.

And now I must find a really good book to help exorcise the 60,000 crappy words floating around in my brain.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Men in tights

Took my oldest boy to Medieval Times yesterday for their dinner show. Wow!

But let's begin with the negative, so I can get it out of my system and finish this post on a positive note: The food was meh, at best. In fact, I'm being generous with a meh. Perhaps bleh is better. They serve chicken, a rib (that's right, a singular rib), half a roasted potato, soup and a piece of garlic bread. No cutlery. All food must be eaten with fingers. I don't object to the gnawing on meat torn from the bone with my fingers, but it must be palatable. This food wasn't. But you know, who cares, because while I was licking my greasy fingers, I was treated to an amazing display...

The show was fabulous, magical and made you feel as if you were shuttled back in time 700 years. For those of you not familiar with this chain-across-US-and-Canada dinner theatre, Medieval Times recreates a good old fashioned tournament, complete with a king, princess, falconry, knights, horses and fighting - not to mention treachery and betrayal!

The horses are incredible. I'm not up on horsey-knowledge, but I believe they use Andalusians - beautiful, delicate looking animals who actually look like they're dancing in the arena. (Hmmm... dancing, prancing -- could it be? Yes!)

The guests (that's us) are assigned seating in color coded bleacher-like seats and you must cheer for the knight who wears those colors. We had the black and white priest/warrior knight -- see photo 1. The tournament begins and the knights prove their skill on horseback with jousting, (that's the only one I know the official name of, so bear with me), spearing a target, catching these ringie things with ribbons attached and flag tossing. There's also a good deal of hand-to-hand combat with two handed swords, short swords, axes, maces, etc... They use real, but dulled, weapons, so you can actually see sparks flying as their swords clang. We cheered, jeered and got totally sucked in! Of course, all the fight sequences are choreographed -- no blood or mortal wounds -- and the victor is pre-determined,...
but how sick am I that I wanted this to be real?

VERY enjoyable show. Initially, I balked at the ticket price (eek!), but having seen what goes into putting this production together, it was completely worth the price, even with the bleh meal.
And did I mention that horse-riding, long-haired muscular men in leather, faux armor, and heavy weaponry are a total turn-on?

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Test the Nation - fini

The CBC production of Test the Nation: Watch Your Language taped today and I'm happy to report that no 'ass-making' incidents occurred. Sadly, I can't divulge who won the event as we were asked (nicely) to keep it confidential until the airing. That said, I'll bet the winning team isn't keeping quiet!

It was a blast --- I met some great people, finally met Christine in person *waving* and even managed to get one or two correct answers. It was a very long day, but they gave us a lovely lunch and everything was extremely well organized. But once we were seated in the studio, no bathroom breaks and no beverages. After about 2 hours, I was so parched, my lips were sticking together,... and the more I thought about it, the thirstier I became.

Photo 1 - first view of the studio as we entered. There were 7 teams participating: Romance Writers (hello!), College students - fraternities and sororities, Word Puzzlers, English Teachers, Comedians, Ad Writers, and a small group of celebrities.

Photo 2 - fellow bloggers Amy and Christine.
Vicky had her eyes closed in this pic so I cropped her out (your welcome) and will post another of her at a later time.

Photo 3 - our team, seated and ready for the action to begin. That's me in the front row - the empty seat. All teams had props to wave around. We got fake roses...

More on this another day. I'm all TTN'd out after being at the studio from 11am until 6pm.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Countdown to Test the Nation -1

ONE day remains until Test the Nation...
As most of my team-mates are either en-route to The Big Smoke (aka Toronto), enjoying nibbles and drinks at the hotel, or like me, frantically looking over anything and everything to do with the English language, I'm not going to post any study-related information.

On latest purchase
- the laptop is my favorite new toy. I'm using it to type this very blog, despite the fact that I'm sitting in my office with my desktop(hey - I need practice on this keypad) but I have found other very useful places for it: at the breakfast table, at the lunch table, at the dinner table, as Sweetness & Light (aka the boys) watch even more telly, in the bathroom whilst giving Sweetness his bath (out of the splash zone!), on the dining room table whilst I flick a feather with my foot for the cat to chase, on Light's bed, whilst he reads to himself, ...
*excuse me -- I just got a call from Better Parent Society -- who is using the above information in their latest report on parental neglect*

On writing
- I've got another story playing itself out in my head and it's so much clearer than my pirate wip that I'm going to put Sebastian and The Hawk aside and see what these new people are up to. It's the perfect project for my new laptop -- which I have VOWED not to play games upon. Writing only. I'm not even going to bookmark my fave timewasting blogs **not u guys, TL, Amy, Christine, etc... I mean NO dlisted, TMZ, Bam and OTHERS of the time-wasting ilk**!

So this new story will have some paranormal elements and I've not done those before so I'm not at all sure what I'm getting into or how corny it will turn out. Whatever -- write and learn!

Right, time for a good night sleep so I won't embarrass myself too badly tomorrow during the taping of Test the Nation.

For some reason, I have an English accent in my head...

Thursday, March 15, 2007

We interrupt the TTN countdown for this special announcement...

My laptop arrived today! WOO HOO!!
I'm using it this very moment and must admit that althought thrilling, the keyboard is going to be hard to get used to. And that little control pad... meh.
Ah hell, I'm just so damned tickled to be sitting at the kitchen table on my new Gateway with 14" ultrabrite screen! I almost attacked the poor Fedex man (I've been waiting for him all day).
Of course, he picked the perfect moment to arrive -- I had just thrown a stack of dirty laundry down the stairs and it was resting in a big dirty heap in my front hall. Nothing like a mound of undies and an excited psycho housewife to turn the Fedex dude to another career! And I'm not going to even mention the dead mouse on our front stoop that mighty-ungara-hunter-puss brought home this morning as his offering to me, momma-domestic-goddess.
It's all good.

Now, see that -- I'm already used the keyboard!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Countdown to Test the Nation -3 and Thursday Thirteen

THREE days remain until Test the Nation!

What a coincidence that Canada has a total of 13 Provinces/Territories to coincide with my Thursday Thirteen Meme!

Thursday Thirteen
Provincial & Territorial Name Origins

  1. Alberta -named after Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, fourth daughter of Queen Victoria
  2. British Columbia - chosen by Queen Victoria, the name was proclaimed in 1858. Columbia refers to the Columbia River named by American Captain Robert Gray for his ship columbia.
  3. Manitoba - probably comes from the Ojibwa word "manito-bah" meaning "strait of spirit" in reference to The Narrows of Lake Manitoba. The roaring noise of pebbles on a beach on Manitoba Island in Lake Manitoba was the source of an Indian superstition that a "manito" or spirit was beating a drum.
  4. New Brunswick - named after the British Royal House of Brunswick.
  5. Newfoundland & Labrador - John Cabot first used the term "new found isle" in 1497. The name Labrador is from the Portuguese word "lavrador" or small land-holder, and is probably attributable to Joao Fernandes, a Portuguese explorer. The term was first applied to a section of the coast of Greenland. In 2001, an amendment to the Terms of Union officially approved a name change from the province of Newfoundland to the province of Newfoundland & Labrador.
  6. Nova Scotia - means new Scotland.
  7. Northwest Territories - this one speaks for itself
  8. Nunavut - means, in Inuktitut, "our land."
  9. Ontario - Iroquois word meaning beautiful lake or beautiful water and was first used for Lake Ontario.
  10. Prince Edward Island - named after Prince Edward Augustus, Duke of Kent and Strathern, the father of Queen Victoria
  11. Quebec - comes from the Algonquin word meaning narrow passage or strait. It originally referred to the area of Quebec City and the narrowing of the river at Cape Diamond.
  12. Saskatchewan - comes from the Cree, who called the Saskatchewan River "kisiskatchewani sipi", meaning swiftly flowing river.
  13. Yukon - from the Locheux native word "yuk-un-ah" which means great river. It refers to the Yukon River which flows across the Yukon Territory into Alaska.
Add your name here to link with other Thursday Thirteeners!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Countdown to Test the Nation -4

FOUR days remain until Test the Nation

Today's topic: Toponyms
A word that began as the name of a place, such as hamburger (from Hamburg, Germany)

amontillado wine - Montilla, Spain
baloney - Bologna, Italy
beaujolais wine - Beaujolais district, France
bedlam - St. Mary's of Bethlehem, a 16th century London hospital for the insane
bikini - Bikini Island, a Pacific atoll
blarney - Blarney Castle in County Cork, Ireland
brie - Brie district, France
brussels sprouts - Brussels, Begium
calico - Calicut, India
cashmere - Kashmir, India
cheddar cheese - Cheddar, England
chianti - region in Italy
damask - Damascus, Syria
denim - de Nimes, France
frankfurter - originally from Frankfurt, Germany
hamburger - from 'Hamburg steak', a German dish
java - Indonesian island of Java
laconic - Laconia, a city in ancient Greece whose residents were noted for saying a lot in a few words
limerick - verse form said to have originated in Limerick, Ireland
madras - Madras, India
marathon - Battle of Marathon in Athenia (a runner sped 26 miles to bring news of the victory to Athens)
mayonnaise - Mahon, Minorca
parmesan cheese - Parma, Italy
sardine - Sardinian coast
satin - Tzu-t'ing, China
shanghai - Chinese port (19th century sailors were sometimes forced into service on ship on the unpopular San Francisco-to-China route)
sleazy - meaning cheap and shoddy, comes from poor-quality cloth manufactured in Silesia, Germany
tuxedo - Tuxedo Park, New York

English language fun:
  1. What word contains all five vowels and a 'y'?
  2. What word contains all five vowels in order of a-e-i-o-u?
  3. What word contains all five vowels in reverse order u-o-i-e-a?
  4. What word has 16 letters, but only uses one vowel over and over again?
  5. What word has 9 letters but only 1 vowel?
  6. What word has 7 letters but only 1 vowel?
  7. What word has the letter 'i' 7 times?
  8. What word has three sets of twin letters, altogether?

  1. unquestionably, revolutionary
  2. abstemious, facetious
  3. uncomplimentary, subcontinental
  4. strengthlessness
  5. strengths
  6. rhythms
  7. indivisibilities
  8. bookkeeper

Monday, March 12, 2007

Countdown to Test the Nation -5

FIVE days remain until Test the Nation.

Today's topic: Demonyms
Place name-based label that describes a resident of a particular city, territory, or country.
In the interest of time (my own) I'm sticking to Canada.

By Province/City

Alberta - Albertan, Calgarian, Edmontonian
British Columbia - British Columbian, Vancouverite, Victorian
New Brunswick - New Brunswickan, New Brunswickian, Frederictonian
Manitoba - Manitoban, Winnipegger
Newfoundland and Labrador - Newfoundlander, Newfie, Labridorian
Northwest Territories - Northwesterner, Yellowknifer
Nova Scotia - Nova Scotian, Bluenoser, Haligonian (for Halifax)
Nunavut Territory - Nunavitian, Nunavut
Ontario - Ontarian, Torontonian, *Londoner, **Ottawanians
Prince Edward Island - Prince Edward Islander, Islander
Quebec - Quebecois, Quebecian, Quebecan, Quebecer, Montrealer, Montrealais
Saskatchewan - Saskatchewanian, Saskatchewanan, Moosejavian (for Moose Jaw), Reginaian
Yukon Territory - Yukoner, Yukonian, Yukonite, Dawsonite, Faroite

And on a totally unrelated note - I finally bought a laptop. I say 'finally' because if you've been reading my blog for awhile, you know I've been hemming and hawing about it for the past 3-4 months.
It's a refurbished Gateway model, should arrive in the next four or five days. Hopefully, this will facilitate my writing schedule! No more excuses...

*amended for Amy :)
** I had the darnest with Ottawa, but found an obsure site that referred to Ottawanians. Can anyone confirm this? Gah -- it's our nation's capital -- we need to know what to call them!!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Countdown to Test the Nation -6

SIX days until Test the Nation.

Today's topic: Collectives

Terms of venery are the special words and phrases applicable to the hunting world, specifically the hunting culture of feudal through modern times in Great Britain. It was an indication of good breeding and knowledge to know the special term for a company of animals. Here are some common and less-common collective nouns for animals:

Band of coyotes
Brood of hens
Caravan of camels
Cast of hawks
Cete of badgers
Charm of goldfinches
Chine of polecats
Clowder of cats
Clutch of eggs
Colony of ants
Colony of penguins
Colony of beavers
Congregation of alligators
Covey of partridges
Crash of rhinoceroses
Descent of woodpeckers
Gaze of raccoons
Herd of buffalo
Herd of moose
Kindle of kittens
Leap of leopards
Lounge of lizards
Murmuration of starlings
Ostentation of peacocks
Pace of asses
Parliament of Owls
Party of jays
Pod of seals
Pod of walruses
Rafter of turkeys
Rhumba of rattlesnakes (this one's for TL)
Romp of otters
Scurry of squirrels
Shrewdness of apes
Siege of herons
Shiver of sharks
Sloth of bears
Tribe of goats
Trogle of snakes
Troop of kangaroos
Unkindness of ravens
Wisdom of wombats
Zeal of Zebras

...just to name of few! I intended to list those mainly applicable to Canadiana but I couldn't resist listing the ones that gave me kicks and giggles. Shiver of sharks? Who knew!

Gearing up for Test the Nation (Canada)

It's down to one week until we tape Test the Nation so I'm going to try and keep this week's blog posts in theme.

Today'sTTN topic - words that end in -onym, which are names for a type of word.

Acronym: A name formed by combining the first letters or groups of letters from a phrase. Example - SCUBA comes from self contained underwater breathing apparatus

Anatonym: (not to be confused with antonym which basically means opposite) A verb based on a part of the body. Example - eye that gorgeous hunk, or foot the bill

Aptronym: A name that is suited to the profession of its owner. Example - Joe Speed the race car driver, or Brenda Baker the chef

Capitonym: A word that takes on new meaning when capitalized. Example polish becomes Polish

Eponym: A real or mythical person from whose name a place, a thing, or an event is taken. Example - from the Earl of Sandwich we get sandwich

Heteronym: Words with identical spellings but different meaning an pronunciation. Example - bow of a boat and bow and arrow, or tear in your eye and tear the paper.

Metonym: A word used to substitute for another word or phrase with which it is closely associated. Example - 'crown' to refer to the monarchy, 'sword' for military power, 'brass' for military officers.

Patronym: A family name based on the name of an ancestor. Example - Watkinson is the son of Watkin, McDonald the son of Donald, O'Connell the son of Connell

Pseudonym: lets hope you all know what this one means :)

Tautonym: Words composed of two identical parts. Example - tutu or tomtom

Toponym: A word that began as the name of a place. Example - hamburger is from Hamburg, Germany, or afghan, a soft blanket from Afghanistan.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

JR needs to write faster

Finished JR Ward's latest in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series and now I'm ticked because I have to wait (months!!) for the next book to be released. I wish she would write faster!
That's 15 in the 50 Book Challenge (yes!), but I'm going to take a reading break for the next two weeks and concentrate on amusing my kids (March break), the TRW newsletter, my next course assignment and revising the opening chapter of my pirate wip based on the excellent suggestions I received from the TRW critique session.
AND preparing for Test the Nation. In fact, all my blog readers are going to be treated to a bit of general knowledge this week.
Stay tuned...

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #9 - Pirate Slang

Thirteen Pirate Slang Words/Phrases

Since my current WIP is a pirate story, I thought I would share 13 slang words or phrases that I've picked up doing the research:

  1. Dance the Hempen Jig - a good old hanging.
  2. Avast Ye - stop and pay attention.
  3. All Hands Hoary - a call to action, like all hands on deck.
  4. Cackle Fruit - chicken eggs.
  5. Freebooter - from the Dutch words 'free' & 'plunder', this is another term for pirate.
  6. Jack Tar - sailor's coats or tarpaulins were infused with tar to shed water and, in the case of pirates, help deflect sword blows so this is a generic name (like John Doe or Joe Blow) used in reference to a sailor.
  7. Shiver Me Timbers - a familiar classic, it's an expression of shock or disbelief.
  8. Bumboo - a drink found in the West Indies, it was made of watered down rum flavored with nutmeg and sugar.
  9. Powder Monkey - name for a gunner's assistant.
  10. Holystone - the ship decks were scrubbed with bars of sandstone. The soft areas of the stone would wear away, leaving holes. Also, the act of kneeling to scrub looked much like praying.
  11. Go On Account - a tongue-in-cheek phrase pirates used that compared the act of becoming a pirate to going into business.
  12. Swing the Lead - a lead weight on a line was used to measure water depth when a ship was near shore. This being a rather easy job, the phrase later evolved into a term for slacking off.
  13. Black Jack - a large leather drinking vessel made stiffer with tar.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

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!

c'est moi, Test the Nation

You'll notice that I've posted my pic in the sidebar. I was having a good hair day and thought what-the-hell.
Normally I run from cameras at all costs for obvious reasons (the nesting birds don't appreciate the flash), but the producer for Test the Nation (see below) has been hounding me to send her one. I had my mop cut today, which meant it was a rare day that my hair was blow-dried straight, a nice change from the normal frizz I sport, so I had Mr. Wylie click me. Sadly, I don't have photoshop so I'm stuck with the multi-chin stunned look.
I don't like smiling in photos because the lines in my cheeks make me look like a puppet, but the alternative is the uncomfortable look of constipation. What do you think?

Test the Nation, for those who aren't familiar, is a quiz style of national IQ test. It's been done in 20+ other countries (here's a link to the Brit quiz) and now it's Canada's turn.
The studio audience is made up of teams who compete against each other in general knowledge categories -- folks at home can play along to the live show. At the end, scores are tallied and you can compare yours with, say - the team of brain surgeons, or college grads, etc.
The Toronto Romance Writers have a team for a second program in the series, which tests only language skills. I've very excited to be representing the TRW, along with Amy, Christine, Vicky and 25-ish others. What a fantastic opportunity to make complete asses of ourselves on national television! One of the teams we're up against is made up of English teachers -- eeeek!
Hell, we just may kick their academic butts!!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Warning: Self Promotion Ahead

Destiny By Design, coming MAY 18th, 2007 from Ellora's Cave

You have no idea how tickled, TICKLED PINK, BLUE, ORANGE AND SIDEWAYS, I am to announce that date. Didn't think it would be out until late summer so I was pleasantly surprised to get this news from my editor.
Just writing the words 'my editor' makes me get the squealies inside.
I have an ISBN! Only my fellow writers will understand the thrill this random 13 digit number brings.

Monday, March 05, 2007

How to Increase Traffic to Your Blog

If you'd like to increase international traffic to your blog, I've got a sure-fire tip for you. It's a big secret, though, so you must keep this to yourself. No telling. Promise?
Okay... get ready... here goes...


Yes, it really is that simple. A few weeks ago I signed up with sitemeter, a tracking program that allows me to see where my blog hits are originating from (yes, Tracey V - I know when you're lurking!), how long people are spending at my blog, what they're looking at, etc... Time and time again, my blog comes up when browzers google those crack-ho Barbie-knock-offs The Bling Dolls, or Bratz (I call them all Slutz!), and find an old post of mine lamenting the fact that our feminist fore-mothers would be turning over in their graves if they saw that crap we let our kids play with.

These are the originating countries I've tracked in the last 3 days alone: Colombia, Israel, India, UK, Belgium, Norway, Netherlands, Nepal, Turkey, Latvia, and of course numerous hits from the US and Canada. I think the fact that 'feminism' was in the original title accounts from so many views from .edu origins.
If you post it, they will come!

Hmmm -- what else can I post to generate hits? Anyone have suggestions?

I'm going to start with a yummy picture of Brad in a leather skirt, smeared with the blood of his enemy. Life just doesn't get any sweeter.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Did I really write that?

I have a deplorable memory. This sometimes works in my favor because I can read the same book or see a movie twice and be surprised both times...

As posted earlier, I completed the edits for Design by Destiny last week and when I was reviewing little bits here and there, I would get a real chuckle out of some of the dialogue, prompting me to think Did I write that, or did my editor change the original, cause that's good! Then I'd flip through my binder which housed the original manuscript and sure-'nuff, it was mine. But I don't remember writing it! I don't remember using that word, and I'm not even sure I know what it means!
And there wasn't just one instance, I'm embarrassed to say, there were no less than THREE.
There was one phrase in particular that had me stumped and if someone said, "You wrote this, Wylie Kinson" I would argue on my life that I hadn't.
There was a scene that I added in the revise and resubmit stage that I completely and entirely forgot was in there until I re-read it during edits.
Gah! - I just didn't think a spliff or two in college could do so much damage! ;)

Does anyone else experience this? Maybe I'm being possessed by another personality when I write? Then again, I do write as Wylie Kinson and edit as the read as the real me...

Ah - yet another reason I write under a pseudonym... so the white-coat people can't get me :)

Saturday, March 03, 2007

I've been gone awhile... was like a little vacation. Except it wasn't.
I've been sick. Head cold sick. Stuffy, achy, hot/cold shivery, coughy, sneezy sick. Poor Sweetness (aka youngest son) had to endure days on end of television while Mommy lay barely conscious on the couch.
I feel better now. Thanks for caring ;D

The only redeeming thing about not being able to sleep because your sinuses are in full impact implosion mode is the ability to get caught up on lots of reading. I put away two novels since Wednesday ~ Men in Kilts by Katie MacAlister (recommended by Amy) and Lover Awakened by JR Ward.

Now lets go back to a little post from a last week, where I eschewed anything vampirish, then had to eat my words after reading Lover Eternal. Well, I'm still munching!
JR Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series is my guilty pleasure. I shouldn't like them ~ as I said before ~ they're loaded with hokey dialogue, pop culture references which really date the series - I mean, 'The Swan' went off the air years ago, didn't it? - testosterone dripping uber-alpha males in black leather trenchcoats with ridiculous names like Tohrment, Rhage, Vishous and Phury. And have I mentioned their penchant for designer duds? When's the last time any man YOU know complimented another man on his Dolce & Gabbana suit? (please, don't answer that...)
There's also a squicky underlying tone of homoerotica...
Somehow, this author makes it work. Really work. Works so well that when the 4th book in the series, Lover Revealed, hits the shelves on Tuesday, March 6th, this little lady will be in line at Chapters. And that's just creeping me out a little sumpin. "You feel me, my brother?"

Men in Kilts, meanwhile, was a very funny, light-hearted read. The perfect book to bring me back to reality. It takes place in Scotland (no, really?) and having been there myself, I could picture the sheep dotting the country-side ... and maybe the yummy Scottish men in kilts, just a wee bit. And maybe I had Gerard Butler's voice in my head. Just odd times, usually between 3am - 11pm.
Oh bluidy hell, Amy! See what you've started...

50 Book Challenge Scorecard: 14 Books Down, 36 To Go... Whoop!

I have much blogging to catch up on... but this is it for tonight. Tomorrow I shall tackle the topics "Did I really write that?" and "Watch out Nation, here I come!"