Friday, April 30, 2010

5 Times the Fun

I recently got tagged by my good bloggy friend E Elle at The Writer's Funhouse. This is a fun game where I get to answer 5 questions 5 times.

Question 1 - Where were you five years ago?
1. Same house
2. Loving my day job
3. Watching my kids enter their teens
4. Writing some stories in my head
5. Not even considering attempting to publish any writing.

Question 2 - Where would you like to be five years from now?
1. Same house
2. Loving my day job
3. Watching my kids settle into their grown up jobs & lives
4. Writing stories on paper
5. Publishing those stories.

Question 3 - What is (was) on your to do list today?
1. Get students to understand surface area & volume of triangular prisms
2. Lit circle discussion in class: what makes a really good lead?
3. Hope to fit in lunch
4. Watch son play hockey
5. Revise 2 chapters

Question 4 - What 5 snacks do you enjoy?
1. Chocolate of course :)
2. Raspberries
3. Rolo ice cream
4. Strawberries
5. Popcorn

Question 5 - What would you do if you were a billionaire?
1. Give a couple million to cancer research
2. Create a really cool and fun and safe group home for kids needing foster care & pay the staff really well
3. Build a really awesome school for kids with learning differences - lots of hands on labs, workshops, kitchens, studios, computer labs...
4. Go on an African photo safari
5. Go whale watching in one of those teeny tiny boats

Thanks E for letting me dream a little! If you haven't checked out her blog, make sure you pop over. She's got a great place :) She also passed me the Blogger Buddie award when my laptop was down and out. Thanks E -- You're a great buddy to have!

I'm going to pass the tag game along to a few bloggers I've met recently. I'm looking forward to finding out more about you!
B. Miller at B. Miller Fiction
Melody Green at Melody's Musings
Laura Marcella at Wavy Lines
Lydia Kang at The Word is My Oyster

I've got a few more awards to accept. Susan Fields was kind enough to pass me the Sugar Doll award - most appropriate because she is a sweetie! Check out her blog for lots of great stuff!

Mary at the appropriately named Mary McDonald Has the Write Stuff passed the Most Excellent Blogger Award my way. This is an award Mary created with some help from her talented daughter. Thanks Mary! She's a true fan of Friday Night Lights and a lot of fun - make sure you look her blog up too!

Hope everyone enjoys a wonderul weekend - I do believe we've earned it :) Anyone have exciting plans?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Am I Stalking you Properly?

Seriously. Sort of :)

I have a few followers whose photos don't link to their blogs or websites. A few of these fine folks I can link to if they leave a comment. I have no idea why I can link to things from the name, but not link to things from the photo. *sigh* I do wonder sometimes how Blogger really feels about me.

I think I have most or all of your blogs on my blog roll. That's what I use to check out your blogs, so if I don't have you on my list, PLEASE let me know.

I'm also on Twitter as @jemifraser. Maybe not the most exciting @name in the Twitterverse, but I'm usually easy to find :) If we haven't linked up on there, please leave me your Twitty name. I'm not the most consistent Tweeter (Twit???) in the T'verse, but I do tend to pop on for a little bit most days.

I have a few more thank yous to catch up on.

VR Barkowski awarded me the Stylish Blogger Award. Love the graphic on this one! Makes me feel under-dressed in my comfy pjs & no socks.

Nicole Ducleroir at One Significant Moment at a Time and Shelley Sly at Stories in the Ordinary both awarded me the Awesome Sauce Award. Makes me want to go whip up a pot full of awesome!

If you haven't checked out these ladies and their wonderful blogs, do it as soon as you can. Hurry! The longer you wait, the more you're missing!

I wanted to do the whole Carbon-Neutral Blog thing on Earth Day, but without a computer, it was too hard. So as of now, I'm fulfilling the conditions. I chose the pretty pink leaf because it matches the blog :) Please check out this link to find out how to make your blog carbon neutral. These nice folks will plant a tree in order to combat the energy required to run your blog. We also planted several trees here on Earth Day. Hopefully you managed to do your thing to make this planet a little better and a little brighter. It's so important to make every effort we can. We have to make up for all of the destruction our species has caused. Education is the key - the more we know, the more we can do.

So, can you tell I'm in catch-up mode? That was a pretty eclectic blog post :) Don't forget to check the blog roll to see how my stalking is coming along! :) The easiest way to do this is to use the Edit button on your tool bar. Click on the Find on This Page link - then type in your blog name. If you don't show up, please let me know!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Celebrate Good Times - Come On!

Kool & the Gang's song isn't even on my iTunes, but it's perfectly appropriate right now. My laptop is back!!!! (Definitely !!!! worthy news I think)

Apparently the problem was the "RAM was broken". Surprised me (with my zero tech-knowledge). I thought RAM was memory and am surprised RAM being broken could prevent my laptop from powering up. But it's fixed now and I didn't lose any data at all! :)

The first thing I did was check my writing files and then email them to my multiple accounts. Next on the list is to buy an external hard-drive and figure out mozy backups.

I'm so glad I got an iPod Touch for Christmas. It may have been small and really, really hard on the eyes, but my kids were so busy with their assignments and studying it was a life-saver. Otherwise I think I'd have been able to get online twice. Yikes! Talk about stress :)

So - back to business...

I received several blog awards while I was out of touch. Linking on the iTouch was way beyond my capabilities, so I put it all of until now. Today I'd like to thank a few of those people.

Talli Roland passed the Blogger Buddy award my way. I love the graphic of this award. It's appropriate because that's the way I feel when I pop by Talli's. You've got to check her out if you haven't done so already.

Stephanie Thornton at Hatshepsut: The Writing of a Novel and Tara at Feel of Something New both passed the Prolific Blogger Award my way. I promise to be much better in this department now that the laptop is back. Both of these blogs are fun and informative. You won't regret visiting either one of these great ladies!

Lisa Gibson at Random Thoughts to String Together sent the Sweet Blog My Way. Lisa's another AQ buddy - her pretty in purple blog is another one I love to visit. Check it out!

That's all for now! I apologize for not passing any along today - it's too crazy of a day getting everything reorganized and catching up! I hope to do better when I pass along the rest :) In the meantime, check out these awesome bloggers and have a great weekend!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Time and Watched Pots

This has been a weird week! Trying to squeeze some computer time in between my kids' studying and assignment schedules is nuts. They're both busy & organized & hard-working - which is great, but it does mean I can't borrow their computer very often. It's only been a week since mine was sent to the laptop homeworld for repair, but it seems much longer :)

Time is elusive. The old adage about the watched pot taking longer to boil is so true. This week has flown by, but it's also been forever since I had my own computer!

Time can also be elusive in our writing. We decide how to make time pass for our characters. We obviously don't want to follow them each and every moment of their day, so we pick and choose which moments to highlight.

We want to have a few of those watched pots moments - building anticipation. We also want unwatched pot moments - where time flies by and the characters are taken by surprise by a sudden event.

Writing both of these types of scenes takes different kinds of skills. I like writing both. I love to slam a surprise into my characters when they least expect it, but I also like to build that tension - to make the waiting unbearable.

Do you have a favourite way of handling time? Do you prefer watching the pot boil or letting it surprise you?

(On another note, I've received a few blog awards from some great people. I'm going to hang on to them for a bit (another time issue!). I just can't hang on to a computer long enough to do the linking required. I'm doing a lot of my blogging on my iPod Touch. I'm glad to have it, but it takes me forever to do anything and my eyes just can't work on the small screen for very long! But I do appreciate the awards and I will do a proper thank you when the computer's back!)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Belly Up and Back Ups

Well, after my post on setbacks the other day, my laptop went belly up. When I turned it on, I got absolutely nothing, no reaction, other than a tiny light by the plug indicating power. The front light that indicates power said no. Internal conflict. Much better when it's in the book!

The laptop isn't very old - I bought it in the summer, so it's still under warranty. So I've sent it off to the laptop homeworld for some TLC. It appears the problem may be in the motherboard. Maybe it will come back looking like this.

My daughter has a laptop as well, but we don't have another household computer. I can use hers when it's available. Unfortunately she and my son both use it for assignments and studying - and this is the crazy month at school for them right now. So I don't know how much I'll be able to use it.

Long story short... I probably won't be visiting nearly as many blogs this month (or however long it is before the laptop returns from the homeworld). *sigh*

The other problem is I don't back up my stuff regularly. Probably every few weeks or so, but I don't think of it nearly often enough. Of course I haven't done it in a few weeks. The busier I am at school, the less time I have, and the less often I think of it. I have GOT to make it a habit!!

Do you remember to back up your stuff? If you don't, please do it now! I usually just email it to myself at a couple of email addresses and put all the info on a memory stick every once in a while. I've got too many songs to use the online storage. Any better tips? Anyone willing to slap me upside the head every few days and remind me to back everything up?

Okay - the laptop is required - I'll pop back at some point and see how everyone is doing. :)

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Well, we got slammed back into winter today. About 6 inches of snow. Wet snow. Slushy, wet, blowy, stinging snow.


My just-coming-up tulips and daffodils are probably toast.

On the plus side, we know it won't stay long! Right? Right. It's just a setback. (I had to Google whether this was 1 or 2 words, or if it had a hyphen. FYI if it's a noun, it's 1 word, the verb gets 2 words, no hyphen. Who knew?)

Setbacks may not be fun in real life, but they can be so much fun to throw at our characters. I feel a little guilty when I giggle as I throw them curve ball after curve ball. Is it fun because I know they're going to be all right by the end of the book? Or do I have an evil, dark side? Hmmm.

I think one of the more interesting setbacks in one ms involves a dead, mutilated rat. Another ms has a setback involving a very cool gun that fires fun & deadly blue light. :)

Do you enjoy throwing setbacks at your characters? What's the best curve ball you've thrown at them? You don't have to give away any secrets - just a snippet!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Blog Networking

Today I’m lucky enough to be guest blogging over at L. Diane Wolfe’s blog, Spunk on a Stick. Many of you already know Diane, but if you haven’t met her yet, you’re missing out! Diane is a professional speaker who also writes the fabulous YA series Circle of Friends. Her latest book - Heather - is the final one in the series and is available now. Make sure you check it out. Diane's got a fabulous blog and her Sunday Sillies are great for a smile!

I’m talking today about blog networking and how to generate comments. If I'm being totally honest, I'm not a huge number watcher, but I've been lucky enough to generate a lot of comments on this blog, so Diane asked me to post today.

Pop on over and join the conversation! I'd love to hear your thoughts on how to get people talking on your blogs. Just click on the link. See you there! :)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Slashing Repetition

As many of you know I'm revising my ms at the moment. I've come to realize I have a bad habit. I tend to repeat myself in first drafts - using different words of course. I've been slashing away with my editing sword, but my arm's getting tired!

Okay, it's not that bad, but it's a habit I want to break. The writing is so much stronger when I delete these additional phrases and sentences. I like writing to be tight, concise. (see - repeating!) Sometimes a repetition works for emphasis - but I like this technique to be used sparingly.

I've decided to blame a certain Geography teacher in high school for this habit. As a teacher, I feel a little guilty, but it's true! I remember getting back a short-answer test and being shocked at my low mark. I thought I'd done well. I checked out a friend's test, and she had the same ideas I had - but she'd repeated the same ideas in different ways 2 or 3 times. I tried it out next test, and sure enough - better marks.

So... Mr. M., thanks to you, my editing arm is getting a workout with this heavy sword. :)

Can you trace back any writerly 'bad habits' to a particular source? I'm hoping all the answers aren't teachers!!!

On another note, I'm sure you've probably come across a few posts in your bloggy travels already, but in case you haven't... my blog buddy Arlee Bird over at Tossing it Out is the host of a blog challenge in April. Skipping Sundays, the bloggers will be posting about A on the 1st, B on the 2nd and so on through the month.

This challenge is to celebrate Arlee's 200 folllowers. There are a ton of bloggers who have taken up the challenge. Check out Lee's sidebar to see the links. You'll also see a sidebar list of those of us who are cheering heartily from the sidelines! I only blog a couple of times a week - but this is a fun challenge to read about. Make sure you check it out!