Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Kiss

This is a great kiss. I'm not a massive Hugh Grant fan--but this is a great kiss.

Sorry I have been scarce. I have a cold. I have a car service bill that could feed a small African country for a year. I have temperatures that freeze the insides of your nostrils every time you take a breath. I have a dog on the edge of a nervous breakdown and a husband who's just given up smoking.

It's a good week :)



Monday, January 29, 2007

Syns of the fathers




Oh my. Don't you love research? I've been researching Harlequin Presents and Silhouette Desire. Great way to discover new authors :) These stories are packed with emotional love stories that really pulled me into the characters' world. I really enjoyed Susan Mallery's sense of humor, and Caroline Cross' and Nalini Singh's emotional depth. All the ones I read were well written and made me want to applaud. No crappy romances here! No cliches. Lots of passion. Well done ladies!!!!

I wrote my wip's synopsis today. It was kind of weird, I managed to write it mainly using my character arc crib notes for a guide and that's a first for me. I'm also a little punchy from cold medication, so if I've made some weird typos or said something odd (odder than usual) please forgive me :)

Sunday, January 28, 2007

You know you're in Canada...

...when there is a man in a kilt, line dancing!

I went to an excellent--if slightly strange--Burn's Supper last night. I love haggis, but I only got one teeny tiny icecream scoop serving, however it was supplimented by a MASSIVE slice of beef.

Very nice if you like food :)

The pipe-band was awesome. It always makes me feel like a bit of a traitor when my heart starts to pound to the beat of the drum and the bagpipes make me want to rise up and slaughter the English. Being English myself, I tend to restrain myself and keep my lips firmly closed over 'Flower of Scotland'.

It was good fun. But the line dancing in kilts was weird.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Nora Roberts is having four of her books made into TV movies to be shown on Lifetimetv starting Monday 29th January.

Can you imagine how cool that would be? Seeing your books made into movies? Very cool :)

Right now I don't have Lifetime TV. *sigh*

What do you think? Shall I get it or shan't I?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

I love this bar--Toby Keith


Anyone heard Toby Keith's song, 'I love this bar' ? I don't know why but it strikes a chord with me :) Have you ever had a place where 'everybody knows your name'? I have. Actually thinking about it I've had two or three, but one place really sticks in my mind.

Kates Bar. St Andrews. 1989-1991. It now belongs to some chain, Pickle Firkin or something awful, but when I first started my PhD it was Kates and all my friends went there and I knew every barman in the place. And if you're interested, it sat slam bang at the end of the street where Prince William stayed (the worst kept secret in the history of Fife secrets).

One of the barmen worked in my lab--six foot four of surfer muscle with the sort of attitude that used to make me want to kill him half the time. Another story. At least four of the other guys worked in the Gatty or the Bute Medical building--PhD students. All now leaders in their field--oh the tales I could tell :)

There was only one guy I didn't know well and he was my friend Allan's housemate, a taciturn fellow called Norrie who I eventually got a grunt out of. Another guy, I introduced to his wife--they got engaged after six weeks of meeting each other (in my bedroom no less). So needless to say I could walk into this bar and despite being five foot one I could get served over the heads of countless others and felt very much at home in this haven.

Unlike where DH worked...

Ever had a place like that? Ever felt a pub was a home away from home?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Practical Chemistry: Poison, Procedure, and Worst-Case Scenarios

I'm doing this online course in February with the Kiss of Death Chapter of the RWA. Getting ready to start my Romantic Mystery at the end February.

When I was a PhD student and researcher I could have gotten hold of any number of chemicals. Several of my friends shut down whole departments after accidentally mixing the wrong ingredients. Radiation. Acid. Formaldehyde. I remember a Chinese student who ended up being deported for fraud, throwing a class 5 chemical around the lab like it was icing sugar. I guess I should be glad my kids turned out okay in the end ;) Or maybe it explains a few things...

FEBRUARY
Valerie Robertson
Practical Chemistry: Poison, Procedure, and Worst-Case Scenarios

Week 1 - Poison 101
Theory, mechanisms and specifics about better dying through chemistry. Why
poison is the hardest way to kill someone, including biological defenses.

Week 2 - Meanwhile, Back at the Lab
What really happens in a forensic analytical laboratory, including chain
of custody, types of analyses (quantitative, qualitative, DNA,
instrumentation) and the role of the expert witness.

Week 3 - Sphagnum Moss, Willow Bark and Spiderweb: Herbal Medicine that
Works
The chemical basis of herbal medicine that might be available in a
worst-case or wilderness scenario, including pain relief, wound healing
and treatment of bacterial and viral infections.

Week 4 - Surburban Terrorism: Bombs from BisQuik
Includes bomb ingredients available at the supermarket and hardware store,
techniques to cripple a major city and wild reservoirs of potential
bioterrorism microbes in the US.


Looks good huh? Cut off for sign up is tomorrow. link



Word count
25,781/50,000 words and two sheep later

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Quack

Am I the only person to think is a little weird.... link

I mean, if you shot the damn duck, why would you take it to a vet just because it wasn't actually dead?

I remember finding an injured duck outside our house once, when we were on the way to school. I guess we were about 15 and full of BS. Anyway me and Deb walked into our form room excitedly explaining how we'd found a duck walking down the road bleeding and we'd had to rescue it. We'd made a nest for the poor thing in the downstairs bathroom, but the teacher didn't want to know. She'd pretty much had enough of us by then. Poor woman. I'd like to think I wasn't as bad as I know I was for Miss Williams, but deep down, I know I'm lying.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Goals

Does anybody else expect too much of themselves? Like you set goals but when you find you're actually achieving them, you start to expect more of yourself, rather than rewarding yourself for the things you've achieved?

OK--(I went back and checked)--My goal was to write half of a Harl Presents novel in January 2007.

91 pages or 25K.

My page numbers are off but I'm on about 21.5K and I have at least a week to go. But have I been nice to myself? Have I been patting myself on the back for a good job done? No. I've been berating myself for not getting more on paper and for not finding the writing of emotions easy.

I needed to work harder than I normally do, to stretch myself and also to read much more, digging deeper into the HS line. So I guess I know myself pretty well when I set myself much lower targets than normal :)

So--here's to being good to yourself when you deserve it!!!


(23,279/50,000 words)

Saturday, January 20, 2007

An Inconvenient Truth

Well we finally got to see this movie on VOD. All I can say is, if you haven't already, WATCH THIS NOW!!!!

Al Gore--what an incredible man. Now, even if you didn't like him as a politician before, I urge you to see this movie. It presents scientific FACT, rather than biased journalistic rubbish. And it isn't all doom and gloom because he empowers people to take action now--to do something for themselves to cut emissions, even if it is lobbying officials.

So get off your asses and watch this movie.

OK. Environmental week over :)



I'm off to bed now--dreaming of summer :)

Friday, January 19, 2007

Postman

I'm waiting for the postman.

oo hoo wait a minute Mr Postman...(think Diana Ross)

I have been told by one little bird to expect something nice :)
I'm still waiting for my Secret Santa.
I ordered Deb Dixon's Goal, Motivation & Conflict.
I have a bunch of queries out. (Nothing like receiving a self addressed envelope in the post to stir up your day.)

I'm also editing and will check out your blogs when I can look myself in the eye again. I hate to miss my goals :)

And I blogged on Killer Passion LOL.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

M&S

I see Marks and Spencers have made an ethical promise to go carbon neutral and become much more energy efficient over the next five years. They reckon it'll cost 200 million pounds and say that the consumer will not bear the brunt of this landmark decision.

The link to some of the stories is... M&S

I am so proud--feel my smile :) I can buy my knickers with a clear conscience.


On the other hand the Canadian Tories pledge $230 million over the next four years (just over half what M&S are spending) to develop clean energy technology. Guess who will pick up that bill? But Bravo--it is good news.

I have no political allegiances in Canada (I can't vote here yet) so this isn't a political post. And I do think companies should be responsible for making themselves environmentally friendly. But I believe governments have a responsibility to push companies in the right direction and have an ethical backbone with policy making. I haven't seen much evidence of that over here, yet.

So do you think I could fit my environmental views into a story? Maybe in the mystery I'm planning to write, I could include a lecturer who goes off on a Greenpeace ship and ends up on the front page of 'The Sun' having been wrestled to the ground and arrested by French Commandos...especially when they were supposed to be lecturing at the time? Would that be believable?

Unfortunately I might get sued for that storyline because that actually happened to one of the lecturers in the Gatty when I was a post-grad ;) French Commandos--can you image :)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Grey


Temperature is rising for one day!!! Tomorrow is back to being less than -30C Brrhh. Sick of winter. Roll on summer and heat. And green. I get awfully fed up of looking out the windows at white (snow) and grey (wood).

Some kids keep telling me trees are brown. Why is that? When the tree in front of you is patently grey? Anyway, it wasn't my kids ;) They are way too smart--LOL.




Word Count (RER)

20,336/50,000

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Golden Globes ;)

Did you watch the Golden Globes? What a night for the Brits. Helen Mirren (2), Hugh Laurie, Emily Blunt, Bill Nighy, Jeremy Irons, Peter Morgan.



And then my secret favourite :) I think we (Brits) are all secretly ashamed to have such a stupid sense of humor :)


"I saw some dark parts of America ... an ugly side of America ... a side of America that rarely sees the light of day. I refer, of course, to the anus and testicles of my costar Ken Davitian. Ken, when I was in that scene and I stared down at your two wrinkled Golden Globes on my chin, I thought to myself, I better win a bloody award for this."
Sacha Baron Cohen, accepting his best actor award for Borat

And I also love Ugly Betty. I watch it now I'm allowed out at night ;) Isn't America Ferrara a sweety?

Monday, January 15, 2007

Last time I was this much out of my comfort zone, I'm pretty sure I was naked.

Current WIP
17, 394/50,000 words.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Devil Wears Prada


Oh, I just saw this movie. I'm not into fashion so didn't expect it to be that good. But it was brilliant. All those little details of storytelling craft incorporated into the movie--making every detail count--it made me wonder if the book was even better? Anyone read it?

Glenn Close (oops I mean Meryl Streep) was amazing. Anne Hathaway was engaging. All the supporting cast were great. But I hate the fact thin is in!!! However, they're not normal in the fashion industry, so I won't worry about my butt being much larger than a 00 or 02. Yikes. We won't go there.

Friday, January 12, 2007

I heart Liberia

A little Environmental action... link

TAKE ACTION: HAVE A HEART FOR LIBERIA

Support immediate cancellation of Liberia’s debt so the country can curtail resource exploitation and support vital needs such as health, education and infrastructure.


WE HEART LIBERIA: Join us in this important, timely and fun push to cancel Liberia’s debt.

Make A Valentine

  1. Recycle your holiday greeting cards, scraps of pink construction paper or regular card board food boxes and paper to cut out a heart shape.

  2. On your heart write:

- “I Heart Liberia

- “Have a Heart Treasury!”

- “Treasury Secretary Paulson, Have a Heart and Cancel Liberia's Debt!”

- “I urge you, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, to have a heart and cancel Liberia’s debt!”

- “Please use your influence to cancel Liberia’s debt immediately.”

3. Then sign your heart with your name and town and mail it to us.

We will deliver the Valentines to the U.S. Treasury Department on February 6, to send a message prior to the February 13-14 Liberia donors conference in Washington. We will also hold a call-in day to US Treasury on February 6. Stay tuned for more details.

MAIL your heart and any hearts that you collect to:
Saif Rahman
Institute for Policy Studies
Liberia Valentines
1112 16th St. N.W.
Suite 600
Washington, D.C. 20036

Please be sure to mail them no later than January 31!

THE REASON WHY

Led by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Africa’s first democratically elected female president, Liberia is working to overcome the devastation caused by two decades of dictatorship and a civil war.

Much of Liberia's debts were incurred by the undemocratic regimes of dictators Samuel Doe and Charles Taylor between 1980 and 2003.

Currently, Liberia’s debt totals around $3.5 billion. Liberia's annual budget is less than one fortieth of that amount, and interest continues to accumulate.

President George W. Bush and the international community have repeatedly pledged their support and aid to help the country rebuild, but so far they have stopped short of cancelling Liberia's unjust and un-payable debt.

Rich country creditors are currently insisting that Liberia make $1.5 billion in back payments and accumulated interest or “arrears” before it can become eligible for any debt relief or cancellation.

At the current payment rate, this would take literally over a thousand years!

RESOURCES

Partners:

Friends of the Earth-U.S.

Jubilee USA Network

Institute for Policy Studies

International Labor Rights Fund

TransAfrica Forum

Afric

Thursday, January 11, 2007


Feck it is cold. Check out the windchill on the weather thingymajiggy.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Late for a very important date!!

Sorry I am late to blogdom.
I had a busy day. Received the line edits for Blade Hunter from my editor. Nothing that looks too tricky. And it was a writing day, so working on my HS submission and trying to throw myself into an unknown arena.

I spent 10 minutes looking up and printing out movie posters--great for looking at high concept ideas that fit. Had to be British. Had to be funny even though my story isn't a comedy. This is pretty much my concept (with a twist of gender and some other changes), but basically

Can the most famous filmstar in the world fall for just an ordinary guy(girl)?

Well duh--I'm writing a romance. Oh course he can ;)

So I'm breaking all those darned rules again...sigh.
Please help.



Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Monday, January 08, 2007

Creative Habit

A very good friend gave me this book for Christmas. I'd never heard of Twyla Tharp until then (thanks Kathy!).

I'm about a third of the way through and I have had one epiphany.

The chapter is on knowing yourself.

"I wonder how many people get sidetracked from their true calling by the fact that they have talent to excel at more than one artistic medium. This is a curse rather than a blessing. If you have only one option, you can't make a wrong choice. If you have two options, you have a fifty percent chance of being wrong."

And what if you excel at arts and science--that huge dicotomy in thinking that isn't so huge if you've lived in both worlds?

When I was small (I should rephrase that), when I first learned to write, I kept a tiny notebook (much like my daughter has just started to keep). I wrote down all sorts of rubbish. Poetry, the names of my chickens and all those tentative secret thoughts of the young and emotionally vulnerable. I can still keep a secret--some I've kept for so long I can't remember if they are even real anymore. But someone else read my notes and private thoughts and all my secrets weren't secret anymore (family, huh? Can't live with them, can't murder them in their beds).

I didn't write again until I was in my twenties.

Instead I read novels, studied art and science and could have gone in either direction. I chose science because the job opportunities seemed better (I also wanted to be a helicopter pilot, but that's a whole other story).

It took a forced break from my working environment (i.e. giving birth and motherhood) to give me the opportunity to start exploring that long abandoned drive to write fiction.

Maybe some people have it easy. Maybe some people simply know they are writers--nothing else, just writers. Unfortunately I still have nights where I go to bed wondering what the hell I'm doing with my life, why am I wasting my PhD? Like Twyla Tharp says it is a curse having so many directions to channel yourself--but it must be a very common curse because most people I know are good at more than one thing.

So despite the pressures that tear at me from inside, I'm a writer. I'm not getting distracted by how hard it is. Because, yes, it is stupid to live this way, it is stupid to pour yourself into a career that is more a lottery than a reasonable enterprize.

But I must be stupid. And a writer.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Dead


I nearly died last night.
Nothing dramatic. I bent over to put a log on the fire and inhaled saliva.

Now I am a woman of vast contrasts. I go all a twitter under stress. Driving tests turn me to jelly, social occasions make me want to run and hide and don't even think about me talking to an editor or agent like they are human. I don't think so. But give me something serious and I'm a different woman.

So there I am, unable to breath, DH is out, kids are in bed. And I'm planning. I need to get the phone, dial 911, write a note to clutch in my hands should the ambulance turn up and I'm unconscious saying, "kids upstairs." I take two steps and manage to inhale two of those liquid-through-a-straw death rattles, and finally, phone clutched in my hand, cough it out.

Lovely image huh?

I've been diving and things happen. The number one thing under any dangerous circumstances is not to panic.

Couldn't sleep last night and I told DH I was scared of dying. My husband, in his usual style said, "We all have to go one day." Thanks Hon.

I'm feeling pretty proud today. Hope to make it for a few more yet :)

Friday, January 05, 2007

Calendar Girls

I need a calendar!! Totally screwing up my schedule without one. Used to have a desktop one now I think about it, but a big pretty scrawly calendar is what I need before I lose the plot.

Oh--signed up to a pilates course today. Only once a week, but my first keep-fit course since I left Anstruther. Yikes. Two and a half years of slobdom :(

I'm going out FIRST thing to buy one (a calendar, pay attention)--do you think DH will let me get a sexy man calendar? And so who would it be? Brad Pitt? Robbie Williams? Orlando Bloom? **snort** I just know if I bought one he'd be home with Sports Illustrated the next day. It's a slippery slope after that ;)

Apologies for not getting around blogs much. I have had constant playdays (from hell) and tomorrow is just more of the same (sigh). I wasn't cut out for motherhood. At least I didn't beat to death the six year old girl who scrawled all over my son's bedroom walls and then didn't even apologise. Grrrh.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Teapot

Look at one of the things I got for Christmas. I am obsessed with tea (teabelly being one of my family nicknames). I am also obsessed by beautiful things--I can't help myself it is a Taurean/materialistic thing. Thankfully I am too poor to indulge in that shallow side too often ;)

My p-i-l bought DH and I a gorgeous teapot for Christmas. The paintings on it remind me so much of the fishing village where we lived in Fife, Scotland.

It makes me homesick--especially the lighthouse pictures. I am kind of obsessed by lighthouses and windmills. Did I ever tell you the story about chasing El Cid's windmills in Spain?

Oh my...


Thanks Mini and Pop!!!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

I liked this story. See how progressive we Brits are?

First female Beefeater or
the first female Yeoman Warder of Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress the Tower of London, and Members of the Sovereign's Body Guard of the Yeoman Guard Extraordinary, has just started her training. It only took 522 years :)

PS. I posted a published writers' contest information on the Triskelion blog here...

Monday, January 01, 2007

I LOVE NORA


Well the New Year celebrations are over for another year and Day 1 brought a lovely sledding expedition and good friends visiting.

My holiday has been filled with reading. Craft books (thank you, Kathy) and catching up with some Nora/JD Robb.

I think I love Nora. Again.

How many people here think Nora shold give up, move over and give the rest of us a chance? Or just take more holidays?
I don't. Not just covering my behind (oversized after the holidays thanks very much for asking) in case I ever bump into her at 5 am on a treadmill at some romance writers conference--honest ;) She has given so much to the romance genre, has pushed back so many boundaries, peeled away at so many markets and made the world fall in love with romance. It is OK to love Nora--unlike Danielle Steele, whom it is uncool to love. I don't know why. It's a fact.

I don't like all Nora's books and that is cool too. She writes light and fluffy and she writes dark and hard. I like the dark and hard stuff best. Angels Fall was an excellent read even though I guessed the bad guy straight away. To be honest I don't know the last time I didn't guess the villain in a book and that bothers me. Am I unusually perceptive (insert crazy giggle)? Or do I just understand the set up of a basic mystery? And if I intuitively understand the set up, can I work that to my advantage while writing, or will that decrease the eventual payoff for the reader?

All interesting questions that need to be investigated. Hoping to get some writing done tomorrow. DD home for another week so I might be deluding myself, but I'll certainly give it a go as she watches 'High School Musical' which she got for Christmas and practises her song routines :)