Sunday, February 28, 2010

Out of Character Celebrations!

Wow! The Olympics are officially done and they were fabulous!!

We Canadians are mushy messes right now. Starting with Alexander Bilodeau, through so many terrific moments, to Joannie Rochette and finally to the Men's Hockey Team. It would have been a great Olympics if they'd won silver, but winning gold was icing on the cake. I think it was giddy relief that sent Candians in all cities into the streets to toot their car/truck horns and celebrate with their neighbours. Streets in at least 3 Canadian streets were closed due to celebrations! And then the humour of the opening ceremony - having the mime pull up the malfunctioning torch? Priceless :)

Some very unCanadian-like behaviour! And a lot of fun.

It's always interesting to see what pushes people/characters into uncharacteristic behaviour. In real life it doesn't have to work - it doesn't even have to make sense.

In our writing though, behaviour must always make sense. Our characters better have a good reason for doing something out of character. And it better be set up well! If it's not believable, our readers are going to give up on us and our story. We'd better be more believable than reality.

How do you handle it when one of your characters tries to act out of character? In the ms I've got marinating, the female MC has a major blow up moment that is totally out of character. She's under an enormous amount of stress at the time, and there's an event that triggers the blow. I think it's believable. I HOPE it's believable! Have you ever encountered a similar problem with your characters?

But, I've so enjoyed these out-of-character Canadian moments! The overload of red & white (including those mitts!) has filled us with joy & pride.

Congrats to the athletes, the organizations & the blue-suited volunteers! Thank you for so many moments to treasure. :)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Wonky Connections

It has been a frustrating few days. On Wednesday night, our Internet connection went down late at night. We figured it was just one of those things.

When I returned home from work on Thursday, still no Internet. Called the company, they couldn't do it from their end. Someone would come Friday after I got home from work. He came, but couldn't fix it properly because of the time frame. He's coming back Sunday. If it takes too long, he'll come again on Monday. He's put in a temporary fix, but it's sporadic.

Really hard. Really, really hard. I hadn't realized it would be this hard. But the guilt!! I check a lot of blogs. I couldn't read and respond to all of my regulars - so I apologize if I missed you. I was able to do a few at work after the kids left, but the filters block a LOT of blogs. There's no access to email there either.

So, if I don't respond to comments in a timely manner, sorry! I'll pick it up when it works again.

On another note, I've got a few more awards to accept :) You folks are truly the best!!

Helen Ginger over at Straight from Hel (which may be the best blog name ever!) awarded me the Circle of Friends Award. Love this award and the message it conveys - I've made so many friends through this forum :) Thanks so much Helen! Helen's blog is chock full of helpful and fun information for us writers. Pop on over to meet her.

Carolina Valdez Miller over at Carol's Prints awarded me the Quillfeather Award - isn't he cute! Carol's blog is hilarious and fun - if you haven't met her yet - pop on over quickly!! This award requires me to share the way I prefer my eggs (cheese & mushroom omelette thank you very much!) and to pass it along to seven Cool Chicks. I'm also to remind you to keep his hutch clean & tidy and to ensure he has enough grain and water! :) Thanks so much, Carol!

I'll save the rest for next time. So, without further ado, I'd like to pass these awards on to...

Anne Spollen at Anne Spollen Author's Blog
Nicole at One Significant Moment at a Time
Arlee Bird at Tossing it Out (I'm not calling you a Chick, Lee!!)
Laurel Gaver at Laurel's Leaves
Michelle Dennis Evans
Roxy at A Woman's Write
DL Hammons at Cruising Altitude (I know you're not a Chick either!!)
Lisa Gibson at Random Thoughts to String Together

As per usual, these are No Pressure Awards. Choose whichever you prefer, and pass along (or not) as you see fit! Just know that I appreciate you & your blogs.

Enjoy checking out these blogs everyone. You'll meet some really fabulous folks :)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I'm human. I don't even mind having to prove it. But when the word verifications start insulting me, it's all a little too much.

Today, as I checked through my blog roll, the word verification on one of the blogs was "hyper". Hmmm. Okay, mildy insulted, but I can live with it. Several blogs later, I get "unredy". One letter off from "unready". I'm getting close to finishing up my wip. Unready? Darn.

Move along a few blogs and a few nonsensical words, and I get "vizzelize". Normally I'd probably skip right over this, but now I'm looking for it. So, am I not visualizing enough in my wip? Should I be visualizing my success? What in the world am I supposed to be visualizing? Hoping for a hint in another blog, I trek onwards...

... I get nothing sensible for a few blogs. I'm lulled - it's been my vivid imagination at work again. Nothing to worry about. 

Right. Final blog I visit tonight? The word is... "unhot". Thanks. A bunch. Just what I needed.

So, have your word verifications been haunting you???

On another note (a much less insulting one), I've been blessed again with a few blog awards! You folks are the absolute greatest :)

L. Diane Wolfe at Spunk on a Stick and Arlee Bird at Tossing it Out both awarded me the springy Sunshine Award. We all need a little sunshine in our lives & this is just the ticket! Thank you :)

Roxy Haynie over at A Woman's Write also awarded my the Honest Scrap Award. Thank you Roxy!

I'll save the others for another post!

Today, I'll pass these along to some bloggers I've met recently. Select whichever award you prefer. Remember these are always No Pressure awards - do with them as you will! I hope you get time to check out some of these links. I know you'll feel welcome :)

Wayne over at Bo's Cafe Life - great cartoons!!
Julie over at The Climb
Karen Musings over at Musings of a Novelista
Lisa Rusczyk
Layinda at Layinda's Blog
Lindsey Brooks at Dangerous With a Pen

More next time. Enjoy the blogs that are new to you. And watch out for those insulting word verifications!!!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Thinking about Food


We need it, we eat it, we cook it. Well, I think most of us do anyway :)

So, do your characters cook?

My male MC is not a good cook, but he likes inventing - and eating - enough to give it a shot. My female MC isn't any better. They live in Steampunk England and mostly live off what they buy at the markets. They do take turns cooking the basics and doing the clean up, but they never graduate to anything fancy.

This happens for a few reasons. They're busy investigating murders, they're teens on their own, they don't have a lot of money, they don't have a kitchen -- just a few "appliances" they've created to cook. And ... they don't really like cooking.

Which is odd because I do like to cook. I enjoy trying something new, testing out new recipes in both cooking and baking. Nothing fancy, but I like the entire experience.

But these 2 characters don't share my interest. Hmmm.

So, do you and your characters share the same attitudes towards cooking? Towards food in general? Or do they even get to the kitchen at all?

On a related note, Calista Taylor - known to most of us from her blog A Steampunk Reverie - has started a new blog. It's all about food!! Calista's a great cook and her recipes are delicious. She cooks with food I have on hand and her directions are great - she is a writer after all! If you're looking for some great recipes - or just want to drool a little - check out A Writer Cooks!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thursday Thoughts

Um... how did it get to be Thursday? When I woke up, I'm pretty sure it was Monday. This week has whipped by me!

It's been crazy. Work didn't just demand my attention, it sucked me into some kind of scary vortex. It hasn't been negative - in fact it's been a really fun week - but it's been constant motion and constant craziness.

And then there's the Olympics. Sports crazy family here, so we're flipping between anywhere from 3 to 5 Canadian channels depending on the events. Because we have so many networks covering the Games, I haven't even flipped to see the US coverage. It's usually fun to see how commentators from different countries view the same event :)

On another note: A big thank you to the lovely Lorel Clayton over at I'm Blogging Drowning Here for presenting me the Over the Top Award. Click here to see the questions and my answers for this award.

Another big thank you to Cassandra over at Cassandra Jade in the Realm for giving me the From Me to You/Picasso Award.

These are both fabulous ladies with really interesting blogs. If they're not already on your list, check them out!

I'd like to send these awards along to a few more great bloggers! Once Again, select the award you'd like and enjoy it as you wish. These are no pressure awards :)

Medeia Sharif
Elizabeth Bradley at Elizabeth Bradley Fiction Bits & Bytes
Julie Nelson at Literary Jules
Elaine Smith at Still Writing

Okay - off to enjoy some figure skating, hockey, curling, half-pipe & skeleton  :) Have a great evening/day everyone!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Tragedy & Hope

The Olympics opened this weekend in an amazing ceremony out in Vancouver. Sadly, the day also marked the loss of a luger from Georgia in a tragic & horrific accident. His fellow Olympians decided to march in the ceremony anyway and received a standing ovation from the crowd. Such a sad, sad time. The silence of 60 000 people reached around the world and into many hearts. My thoughts and sympathies are with his family.

The rest of the ceremony produced many moments of beauty. Of course, as a Canadian, I'm a little biased. Just a little. :)

A few of my favourite moments: the whales in the floor, the amazing 1st Nations dancers, the angelic voice of KD Lang soaring through the stadium, the 8 fabulous people carrying in the Olympic flag and 5 amazing athletes lighting the cauldron.

Hope. That's the best part of the Olympics for me. Hope for people to get along, hope for a clean competition, hope for governments to follow the lead of the athletes, and hope for the future.

I've still got a couple of blog awards to accept and pass along, but I'll leave that for the next post. I'm playing around a bit with the blog. I've put all of the awards on another page. At this point Blogger won't let me add any more links to my blog roll or any more "Gadgets" to the side bar. I thought maybe the page was too long, so I moved the awards to another page. But so far it hasn't made any difference.

There are a few blogs I'm following that I haven't been able to add to the roll. My apologies to those people. I'm trying to remedy the situation, but it may take me a bit to figure out. Blogger doesn't seem to like me very much :( It took months before I could upgrade the blog and get it to give me a toolbar with a picture icon on it so I could add photos. Hopefully this doesn't take as long to fix or figure out! Does anyone know if there is a limit to the number of blogs you can add?

Did you have any favourite Olympic Opening Ceremony moments? Or any favourite comments from Twitter? @SmartBitches & a few others had me in stitches throughout the night.

And a happy Valentine's Day to you all :)

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Truth Will Out

Well, that was fun! Thanks for all the comments and guesses about my Bald Faced Liar Creative Writer post. It was fun to write. So to the truth...

I was kind of stumped on lies, so I decided to take a few outrageous truths from some family members and mix them in with my truth & other lies. They seemed to do the trick :)

My best friend when I was younger wrote for (and got) the Donny Osmond photo. Sadly, I was jealous!

My mom ate candles growing up - the doctor said she obviously needed something in them and to let her keep doing it. They weren't scented, but still... yuck!

I painted my sister and her boyfriend blue for a Halloween dance one year - they made great Smurfs!
And my truth was... I paid under $150 for my wedding outfit - shoes, dress, headpiece & all. Love Discount Stores :)

Now I'd like to thank a few more friends for some blog awards. Thanks to Michele Emrath over at Southern City Mysteries for awarding me the Blogger Purrfection Award. Michele's got a great blog with an awesome new template. Check it out!

Medeia Sharif awarded me the Silver Lining Award. Medeia has a great blog focussing on YA - lots of great stuff for you to check out :)

Wendy Morrell aka Quillfeather at her blog Musings from Down Under awarded me the From Me to You (aka the Picasso Award). Wendy's blog starts with an amazing photo and gets better from there. You'll enjoy it - trust me.

I'm going to break the rules and just pass along the awards without revealing anything else about myself. Hold the applause :)

I'll leave it up to each of you to choose which award you'd like - hopefully there's one here you haven't received yet! So I hereby pass along the awards to:
Simone at the Romantic Query Letter
Shelli at Market My Words
Shannon at Book Dreaming
Kristi at RAW - Random Acts of Writing
Indigo at Shattered Prose
Mason at Thoughts in Progress
VR at VR Barkowski: A Pre-Pub Writer's Blog
Suzette over at Shooting Stars

I hope everyone will check out the links of these fantastic people. You won't be disappointed!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Write Your @ss Off Weekend

Moonrat over at Editorial Ass writes an amazing blog. Every author and aspiring author out there should be reading it! She's got great information on all parts of the publishing process. And a rally monkey. Really. I heard about Write Your @ss Off Weekend through her great site.

JES over at Running After My Hat apparently sorta/kinda/maybe started the idea last year, and Moonrat suggested it for this past weekend. There's even a map at JES's site showing where all the crazy people enthusiastic writers live. Anyway, the aim was to write for 8 hours of one day this weekend.

Because I'm a crazy person enthusiastic writer, I signed myself up. And had a ball! It's fun knowing other people are squeezing the craziness and enthusiasm of NaNo into a weekend.

I succeeded in completing my 8 hours of writing, but it took me 2 days to do it. Not sure if it still counts, but I'm counting it anyway. I wrote 3 new chapters of my wip, revised the first 20 pages of the same wip, worked on the query, created an outline & wrote 2 blog posts! Fun stuff!

Did anyone else out there participate? If you did, did any of your 8 hours come in longer snatches than 30 minutes? If so, I'm very jealous!

On another note, I received a few more blog awards. I'll spread them out over the next few posts! Today, my thanks go to the wonderful Mason Canyon over at her great blog Thoughts in Progress. Mason has a great line up of guest bloggers, and she's always got something fun & interesting to say! Mason awarded me Lesa's Bald Faced Liar "Creative Writer" Award. :) For this one I'm to tell you 5 outrageous lies and 1 outrageous truth about myself. Hmmm....

1. I once spray painted myself completely blue in order to be a Smurf.
2. I snuck candles to eat as a child - apparently a vitamin deficiency.
3. I bought my entire wedding outfit for under $150.
4. I once wrote a fan letter to Donny Osmond & have a signed photo to prove it.
5. I have never owned a pet.
6. I have never visited the United States.

Any guesses? Is it too easy? This was HARD!! So, in the spirit of sharing pain, I'd like to pass this along to:

Simon over at Constant Revision
Nisa over at Swordplay! Wordplay!: The Magic of Writing
Mari Juniper at Mari's Randomities

I'm probably supposed to pass it along to more people, but I have 3 more awards to give, so I'm limiting myself :) Have fun!!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

I Think I Can!


We all need it. If you're a writer, I think you have it. No one can ever become published without it. If aspiring authors didn't have it, they'd give up within months. And we all know it can take much longer than that to bring a manuscript to the point where it is ready to query.

When do you need to kick-start your perseverance?

New ideas come pretty easily for me. I've got plenty of them keeping me awake at night. First drafts aren't too tough either. I'm pretty eager to do that first read through as well - to look for any gaping plot holes, to see if the ideas flow well, to see how my characters develop.

I'm good with the first couple of edit rounds too. I enjoy pulling out the sword and slashing away at "just", "that" & unnecessary adverbs.


When I realize the ms would be much better if I... You can fill in your own blank. With my previous ms, I realized (with a little help from my crit buddies) my story would work much better if only it started in a different place. This involved a loooong rewrite of the entire first half of the novel as it totally changed the timeline.

I needed my perseverance kick-start. It would have been so easy to toss it in. To give up. I was tempted. My little engine pushed me to rewrite, to finish, and the story is stronger. It's sitting on the virtual shelf now, waiting for me. I'm looking forward to when I can give it another read through - I know the flow needs some work. But I needed some distance to be able to "see" it again. Once I'm done with my Steampunk, I'll pull it out again.

So where does your perseverance engine kick in?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Over the Top Friends!

Okay, if you haven't seen this, it is a must see for each and every writer out there - whether aspiring or published. My great blog buddy Jenny Martin over at her blog Book Binge has written a fabulous spoof entitled Eye of the Agent. You can probably figure out the song that inspired it. Check it out. Really. You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll wish you had access to Jenny's brain. :)

On to other fun. Wow - it's been quite a few weeks! I've received another couple of awards from some amazing blog buddies. Karen Musings over at Musings of a Novelista was kind enough to bestow upon me the Over the Top Award! Thank you so much, Karen :) As part of the fun, I have to answer the following questions using only 1 or 2 words each time.

Where is your cell phone? Window ledge
Your hair? Blonde
Your mother? Peppy
Your father? Gone :(
Your favorite food? Raspberries
Your dream last night? SCARY!!
Your favorite drink? Tea (Earl Grey, Hot)
Your dream/goal? Published
What room are you in? Bedroom
Your hobby? Baking
Your fear? Snakes
Where do you want to be in 6 years? Home
Where were you last night? Birthday Party
Something that you aren’t? Tall
Muffins? Blueberry
Wish list item? Books
Where did you grow up? Ontario
Last thing you did? Worked
What are you wearing? Sweats
Your TV? Curling
Your pets? None
Friends? Best
Your life? Awesome
Your mood? Happy
Missing someone? Dad
Vehicle? Mustang (Didn't have to be real, did it?)
Something you’re not wearing? Socks
Your favorite store? Coles
Your favorite color? Purple
When was the last time you laughed? Today
Last time you cried? Today (at school - reading aloud!)
Your best friend? Sister
One place that I go to over and over? Imagination
One person who emails me regularly? Sister
Favorite place to eat? Giovanni's
Wow, that's a lot of questions!! Hope you didn't nod off in the middle :)
Carolyn Yalin at her blog, Thoughts from a One Armed Writer, also awarded me an award! This one is the Circle of Friends Award. Love the name of the award and love the concept! I've said it a time or two (okay, or twenty) -- the online community of writers is the BEST! Everyone is so willing to share, so ready to lend whatever help is needed. So glad I stumbled my way here :)
Please, do yourself a favour, and check out Karen's & Carolyn's blogs. You won't regret it!
I'm going to pass along these awards to 6 bloggers each. There are so many great blogs that I read regularly, I'd like to pass them along to you. If you want more great folks, just check out the blog roll :)
Over the Top Award:
2. Carolina Valdez Miller over at Carol's Prints
3. Debra L. Schubert over at Write on Target
4. Shannon Messenger over at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe
5. TK Richardson over at My Writing Masquerade
6. Lisa & Laura over at Lisa & Laura Write
Circle of Friends Award:
1. Stephanie Thornton over at Hatshepsut: The Writing of a Novel
5. Tricia J. O'Brien over at Talespinning
6. Elana Johnson over at Elana Johnson, Author
Of course, I believe in "no pressure" awards. If you'd like to change any of the usual rules, feel free :) I always do!
Hope you find some new links from this list! Have fun!!