Wednesday, August 26, 2009


My dog has a mast-cell tumor. He's home and the kids are ecstatic because they think he's better. It's inoperable, and has grown to an enormous size since May which was when he had his last physical exam and the vet found nothing wrong.
Hard to think about it right now. He's on a bunch of steroids and antihistamines but...well. Not much hope. But he's home and he seems happy enough--and well, he's not dead yet. I'm not ready to mourn the best dog in the world just yet.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Still waiting to hear from vet....

This is Benn on Friday. On Saturday he wasn't doing much of anything and we put it down to arthritis and reaching the grand old age of 10. But by Saturday evening I knew he wasn't well, but he was still eating, drinking with the corresponding bodily functions so I wasn't panicking. Then on Sunday morning he didn't eat his breakfast and we knew he was sick. Also DH found a mass in Benn's tummy and the poor thing couldn't even get in and out of the car. So we rushed back from the lake and he's at the vets. They are treating it as an infection but can't find the site of infection--so he's on IV antibiotics. No evidence of tumor, or hernia (which he has had before). Now I'm waiting for them to phone after morning rounds.
Wish him luck. Don't know what I'd do without my dog.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Loreth's new book is out :)

Just finished KISS & TELL by Suzanne Brockmann (my signed copy thank you very much:) and found Loreth Anne White's new book in the store.
Excellent :) I can't wait to read it.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Summer and writing

Like the rest of the world we've had a weird summer. Usually the prairies are hot and dry, but this year it felt more like a (fairly good) British summer with lots of rain showers. It's been great writing weather, but now the temp's shot up to +30C with high humidity and lots of thunderstorms. Hot and sweaty and I'm grateful we have a fabulous neighbor with her own pool :)

The summer has flown by. We've filled it with trips (DH, to Scotland; me, to D.C.), walks, swims, library, play days, beach, reading, DS and Bear Grylls (we have just discovered MAN VS. WILD and love it). Oh--And I've done LOADS of writing and editing. Need to think about my future direction/plan over the next few days. To date, I have written 5 full length manuscripts and 2 category length stories, plus 2 partials, and, damn, I'd like to sell a couple more of them. It would be nice to start contributing to the family funds again.

We're going home (UK) for Christmas and plan to spend 3 months in France (I don't speak French but the kids do so I figure they will earn lots of brownie points with interpreting skills). Then we have 3 months of either Australia or Vancouver Island. So there's lots to organize for that. DH is on sabbatical. He's had a crap year with his workplace fire and he probably won't be back in his office/lab for at least another year. That whole situation sucks, but the sabbatical will be fantastic and brilliant inspiration for more stories (which won't get bought b/c of foreign setting (*rolls eyes at self* I'm not a cynic, honest :)).

Another 3 weeks and the kids will be back at school. But we've got a birthday party and a camping trip between now and then, lots of exciting things to explore :)

Have fun.X

PS. In that picture of the White House--if you zoom in--don't you think that could be Barack and Michelle striding to the black SUV?

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

RWA Conference D.C. 2009--my highlights

So, what else did I learn during the conference itself in D.C.?
I went to tonnes of workshops so it is very hard to distill all that information in a single post, but maybe I can recall a couple of highlights.

Susan Elizabeth Philips. I've seen SEP a few times now, and every time she says something that resonates with my writer self. This time I took away the 'timer' idea in a way that works for me. I had thought of a timer as a very fixed idea. i.e. set the timer and work until it beeps. But when the dog starts gagging, or the kids start bleeding, or the Jehovah's Witnesses come to the door (again), well, it screws up the whole thing. And I had one of those 'aha' moments. When you have to get up, answer the phone, whatever, TURN IT OFF. :) How stupid am I? Decide how many hours you want to be writing and then keep going until you've hit your target. And during the summer holidays when it is important to balance the kids' needs (and maybe the husband's, and definitely the dog's), maybe adjust your target so everyone gets quality time. This really took the pressure off me actually and allowed me to enjoy the children more, and gave me the freedom to finish working without that guilt that follows me everywhere when I'm not writing.
A second thing was simply 'protect the work'. That is, don't take on things that get in the way of your writing, whatever that may be (like too much blogging or blog hopping :). 'Protect the work'. Easy :) She had a couple of other pointers but suffice to say, she is amazing.

I saw Suzanne Brockmann and asked her about the reader response to DARK OF NIGHT. I love that woman. I saw a couple of agent panels, publisher spotlights (less useful this year as in the ones I went to everyone was buying everything, regardless of genre, 'as long as it was amazing'), but they all wanted agented material. Well, that helps :/

The highlight for me was probably my agent appointment which I completely screwed up, but I got a request for a partial anyway. That's what I've been working on since I got back because the request was for something I'd only finished in first draft (ARGH). If I hadn't got the request I think it might had flipped the whole conference experience for me (oh fickle heart), so this is why it was the highlight.

I spent 2 days seemingly stalking Tracy Farrell. Sorry Tracy, it was not intentional. We were just on parallel paths.
Maybe she was stalking me...

The keynote speakers were great. Janet Evanovich and Eloisa James both struck chords with me (yes, there were tears), Linda Howard is just bloody funny. And I met the nicest people over breakfast and lunch. And in line-ups. And in workshops. And in the lift. And in the loo. It was a plethora of niceness which is highly underrated in my book.

Everyone goes on about the GH/RITAs and they were fun. I was cheering for Rita Henuber, Cindy Gerard, and various chapter-mates, and for books I'd read and marked and liked (one book I marked poorly, finalled, which made the whole thing feel slightly ridiculous. But that is part of the nature of contests i.e. subjectivity and rules). Some of the acceptance speeches moved me to tears because when people have struggled, I can relate. To see them triumph is emotional and inspiring (and yes, I do want some of that). But generally, unless you're up for an award it isn't that big a deal. People get dressed up because they can...that's it really.

Oh, almost forgot :) A final highlight, which was interrupted by my premier highlight, was Donald Maass (pronounced Moss? How to confuse a Brit when Americans say 'Barb' for 'Bob'). Anyway. I have all his writing books and the latest one is a must-read for writers of any genre. His workshop was...thought provoking...amusing...mind rattling. You could hear the cogs turning in peoples' minds (mine, not so much, because I had an agent appointment to cowboy up for). And the messages in the book are all about taking your story deeper--but it is trying to apply those messages that requires the skill. But Donald was inspiring and that my friends is what a conference should be. Inspiring, motivating and educational. Well done, RWA 2009.