May 31, 2013

Random Ramblings

The Ellipsis and its Use

As an editor I've noticed a surprising rise in the use of the ellipsis in fiction writing and I decided it was time to address the issue. Besides, I've been having an ongoing (but good natured) argument with my friend Jamie DeBree about the best way to present them, and I was curious to see who's right. :-)

An ellipsis is a series of three periods that can be typed with spaces between them ( . . .) or no spaces between them (... )or inserted using an ellipsis symbol (…).

Most style guides call for a space between each dot but you want to make sure your ellipsis doesn't get spread over two lines. Typesetters and page designers will use something called a thin space or a non-breaking space to prevent this. To do this in Word, press Ctrl+Shift+spacebar at the same time where you want the non-breaking space.

If you prefer to have an ellipsis without spaces between the dots, rather than type the three dots and risk having one or two of them end up on the next line, you will find a ready-made ellipsis in the Symbols menu of Word.

There is usually a space on each side of an ellipsis. The ellipsis is normally standing in for a word or a sentence, so just imagine that it's a word itself, and then it's easy to remember to put a space on each side of it.

Although the main use of an ellipsis is to mark where you’re omitting a word, phrase, line, paragraph, or more from a quoted passage, it has become more and more popular as a device to indicate a pause or a break in the writer's (or character's) train of thought. Many style guides now say that ellipsis can be used to indicate a pause or hesitation in dialog, the passage of time, or that a speaker has trailed off in the middle of a sentence leaving something unsaid.

Anybody out there remember Barbara Cartland? She wrote over 700 romance novels, most of which were historical and featured very young, virginal heroines. And every one of those heroines spoke in . . . breathless . . . tones . . . of . . . voice. Barbara was truly the queen of the ellipsis.

The Chicago Manual of Style states, “Ellipsis points suggest faltering or fragmented speech accompanied by confusion, insecurity, distress, or uncertainty.”

Ellipsis and punctuation:

When placing an ellipsis in the middle of a quotation to indicate the omission of material, use three periods with spaces before and after the ellipsis.

To be or not . . . is the question. (correct)
To be or not. . .is the question. (incorrect)

When placing an ellipsis at the end of a quotation to indicate the omission of material, use four points – a three-point ellipsis and a period. The ellipsis should follow a blank space.

To be or not . . . . (correct)
To be or not . . . (incorrect)

Ellipsis with question marks

“What happened? I can't see over the crowd. Is that a fire?”
“What happened? . . . Is that a fire?” Information is removed from between the questions.

“Where are we going, are you sure this is the right way? Are we taking a detour?”
“Where are we going . . . ? Are we taking a detour?” Information is removed from the first question.

Ellipsis with exclamation points

“I don’t believe it! My luck just keeps getting worse and worse. These things always happen to me!”
“I don’t believe it! . . . These things always happen to me!” Information is removed from between the sentences.

“I don’t believe it, my luck just keeps getting worse and worse! These things always happen to me!”
“I don’t believe it . . . ! These things always happen to me!” Information is removed from the end of the first sentence.

Ellipsis with commas and semicolons

Penny went home, to her house in the country, and James decided to call her later.
Penny went home, . . . and James decided to call her later.
Penny went home . . . ; James decided to call her later.

Now we come to the confusing part. Because fiction uses ellipses for a different purpose, the format is also different. It is not subject to formal guidelines. Three dots followed by a space is usually appropriate.

“I don't know what to do. . .” he stammered” is a perfectly acceptable use of an ellipsis because it demonstrates the inability of the character to make up his mind. Pauses in text can be shown in the same way: “She was desolate. . . Her soul was barren, empty. . . The epitome of a broken heart.”

Notice that in the above examples there is no space between the last word and the first dot. And in the first example there is no space between the ellipsis and the quotation mark either.

“She wasn’t angry . . . she was just tired,” he told them. This case uses an ellipsis similar to what would be used in a piece of news writing, but it is understood that the character who is speaking is merely pausing for emphasis or thought. No words were omitted from the dialogue.

As much as you may love ellipses (ellipsis is singular, ellipses is plural), don’t allow the sweet lure of them to seduce you. Too much of anything is never a good thing and many readers find them annoying.

So, use an ellipsis to show hesitation or a trailing off of thoughts if you must, but use it sparingly, and whether you use spacing between the dots or not, the key to proper use of ellipsis is consistency.

May 29, 2013

Hump Day Hunk

This guy bears a striking resemblance to a character in one of my unfinished books. ;-)

May 28, 2013

Major Arcana of the Tarot - Part IV
The Empress

0 - The Fool, I - The Magician, II - The High Priestess

The Empress is the third card of the Major Arcana. The number three is thought to be the most perfect number. It is the number of the Holy Trinity. It symbolizes the coming together of a man and woman to create a child. The Empress is a creator, whether it be the creation of life or the creation of ideas.

In the earliest known Tarot decks, the Empress is The Imperatrix, a powerful woman. She wears a crown and holds a sceptre, and her shield is emblazoned with the imperial eagle, identifying her as the Empress of the Holy Roman Empire. In some decks she appears to have wings and she holds an imperial orb instead of the shield. By the early twentieth century the emphasis had turned from her power and authority and more towards her creativity and fertility.

The Empress sits on a well padded chair or throne in a forest clearing amidst a field of grain. Her long flowing gown has pomegranates covering it, symbols of her abundance and fertility. On her head is a crown with the twelve stars of the Zodiac. Seven pearls surround her neck, representing the seven planets of the ancients. In her hand she holds a sceptre that is capped with a globe, a symbol of her dominance over things born and unborn. Against the side of her chair there leans a heart-shaped shield with the symbol for the planet Venus, ruler of love, art and beauty.

The Empress represents all the pagan goddesses of nature and fertility. She helps to renew, nurture, and build on ideas or projects that have already begun. This is a card of love and emotional experiences beyond the everyday. This is also a card of creativity, whether it be a work of art, the written word, or a musical score.

In relationships, there will be a great deal of love and affection. Lovers will feel a renewal of their bond. Expressions of generosity and kindness will abound. Those unattached will discover a new love interest that will come to mean more to them than they could ever imagine.

Being a card of love, The Empress brings wonderful influences and benefits. No matter what your current situation is, it can only be helped by the appearance of this card in your spread. While she can represent pregnancy or the birth of a child, she can also represent the creation or birth of a creative project.

On the other hand, she can also indicate that you, or a woman in your life, is being overprotective and may even resort to emotional blackmail to get what she wants, and that you need to handle your finances more carefully. She may also signify infertility or an unwanted pregnancy.

In the past, The Empress shows you have experienced some diva-like behavior that's caused problems in your interpersonal relationships. It may also indicate that you're someone who likes being taken care of. In the present position, it indicates that you're probably in a great mood, maybe even so satisfied with your life that you're getting a little bored.

In the future, this is a very good card indeed. It represents both wealth and happiness; it may indicate you're on the verge of becoming wealthy, or finding that special someone. Here's your happily ever after.

May 27, 2013

Mucroniform Monday

mucroniform ~ like, having or resembling a sharp point

You know, we were supposed to get the bedding plants and plant them on the weekend, but the weather was very uncooperative. It is so cold we are still in the danger of getting frost. Frost! And while it probably wouldn't be a heavy enough frost to kill the plants, we didn't really want to take the chance.

I blame myself. We had one really nice day in a row last week and on a whim I broke out the nail polish and painted my toenails. You know, 'cause it was sandal weather and who doesn't like to paint their toenails in sandal weather? And for those inquiring minds, the colour I chose is called Plutonium Plum. ;-)

I have to tell you. I had a proud mother moment last week. My hubby took me to see Start Trek Into Darkness on Monday - the first time we've been to the movies in years. When we got home I found an email from our daughter asking if I wanted to see the Star Trek movie the following night. Being a big time Trekkie, of course I said yes. My daughter figured out who the villain really was before he revealed his name, just like I did. I've never been so proud. *wipes away a tear* LOL

I blew off the poetry group meeting so I could see Star Trek the second time. As I've mentioned before I've been struggling a bit with my poetry this year, and quite honestly the dynamic of the group has changed and I'm not getting the enjoyment out of it that I used to. I don't know if the two are connected - I guess only time will tell.

Again, other than blog posts, I got very little writing done last week. I didn't get much in the way of crocheting done either. I did spend a lot of time in the kitchen - baking and cleaning up mostly.

I gave the bread machine a try . . . It was stupidly easy to use and unfortunately I got really good results. I say unfortunately because I'm not supposed to have white bread. That's not going to stop me from making more though. ;-)

Then on Saturday I realized the bread machine couldn't stay on the stove forever, it needed a home of its own. I'm not sure why this lead to me emptying the lower cupboards in my kitchen - both the one that's hard to get into beside the stove that holds my bake-ware, serving trays and assorted crap, and the easier to get into one that holds my flour, sugar, rice, crackers, cookie cans and other assorted crap.

Anyway, I ended up with a large bag of garbage, another of recycling, and a box of stuff to be donated. And two very well organized cupboards, with the bake-ware easier to get at. As for the bread machine, it now has a place of honour on top of the refrigerator. :-)

Blog Stuff For the Week:

Tuesday: Part four in my series on the Major Arcana of the Tarot will be The Empress. And starting this week I'm adding back links to previous installments in this series.
A new Hump Day Hunk for your viewing pleasure.
Thursday: Chapter 68 of Water. Do I hear the sounds of an imminent volcanic eruption?
Friday: This week's Random Ramblings will a public service piece on the ellipsis and its use. :-)

Other Stuff For the Week

Didn't get my research on volcanoes done last week, so that moves up the priority list for this week. I'm hoping I'll finally get some use on that set of Geology books I bought from Reader's Digest years ago.

Still haven't caught up on Goodreads, but I did actually get some reading in. My daughter loaned me the last two books in the Sookie Stackhouse series so I read Deadlocked over the weekend. I have no idea why, but the book put me in a really, really bad mood so I'm hesitant to read Dead Ever After.

I also hesitate to make plans for writing this week because every time I do something comes along to upset the apple cart. So let's just say I'll be making a valiant effort to find my focus again.

And of course when I'm not writing or procrastinating, I will be working on the edits for Magical Misfire. Upon taking a more careful look at it I can see that after letting it sit for far too long, I rushed the rewrites. So there's lots to fix.


May 24, 2013

Random Ramblings

Of Snowflakes, Plants and Bread

I recently spent an afternoon with a group of ladies who needed a bit of help learning to crochet snowflakes with which they intend to use to decorate a Victorian Christmas tree. And when I say a bit of help, I mean a lot. Most of them had never crocheted before, and I have to applaud their eagerness to attempt something as intricate as a snowflake to learn with.

My friend who got me involved in this project has been struggling a bit with her snowflakes (quite frankly they look like they've started to melt) so she came over last week for a little one on one help. The pattern she chose was rather complicated, so I pulled out a big hook and some big wool to crochet along with her so she could get a better idea of what she should be doing:

I let her take the giant snowflake home with her to refer to, but I couldn't help thinking that a bunch of snowflakes that size would look really cool hanging in my front window at Christmas time. And then I'm thinking you could sew a bunch of them together to make a table cloth or a shawl or even an afghan. Oh the curse of being a crafter!

Last week I crocheted a bunch of snowflakes for the group. I figured if I did ten each of five different patterns it would give them a nice start. So far I've done four different patterns and I'll probably do at least two or three more because my snowflakes are small. You know, tree ornament sized. ;-)

They'll look much better once they've been stiffened.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Being an earth sign, I love being surrounded by greenery. So I have a lot of plants in my house. My oldest plant (it's lasted over thirty years) is a philodendron that's started taking over the corner cabinet in my dining room:

As you can see, the bamboo spiral thingies just aren't doing the job of keeping it under control. So I got the brilliant idea of using a trellis to try and tame it. So first I had to carefully unwind it from the unicorn statue on top of the corner cabinet, and get rid of the bamboo spirals. It's mostly just a single strand and this is what it looked like draped over the chairs in the dining room:

Please note the cats "helping". That's Julius (my husband's cat) in the foreground, and Dante under the table. Anyway, in spite of their help I tucked the vine in and around a bamboo trellis I found at the dollar store, and now my plant is not longer threatening to hang anyone who gets too close to the corner cabinet:

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

And last, but not least, for today, we come to the bread. A few weeks ago I was visiting a friend who lives out in the wilds of Roseneath, right on the shore of Rice Lake. She's been trying to downsize and as a result I came away with both a treadmill and a bread machine. Trust me, if you use a bread machine you need the treadmill!

Making bread seemed really intimidating to me. My mother made bread. She made all kinds of things but I remember the smell of her bread the most. I kept putting off trying out my bread machine until my friend decided to visit. So the night before she visited, I finally sucked it up and gave it a try.

Can we say easy peasy? Wow! Just throw the ingredients into the machine and it does all the work for you. My only mistake was setting it for a dark crust, which turned out to be a little too dark, but it was still awesome.

So then I decided to try something a little fancier, so I made an onion/cheese bread. OMG! Words fail when I try to describe the sheer awesomeness of this bread. My friend and I ate almost the entire thing. My husband doesn't realize how lucky he is we saved him any at all.

I like to think that Mom would be proud. :-)

May 21, 2013

Major Arcana of the Tarot - Part III
The High Priestess

The High Priestess has also be known as Artemis, Persephone, Isis, or the Corn Maiden. This is a very spiritual card, tied to the moon, femininity, and inspiration. It can also have sexual overtones, indicating a phase where one is going to be much more physically attractive to others. The High Priestess is a guide to all things mysterious and mystical.

In the earliest known Tarot decks, this card was called La Papessa, or the Popess. She was depicted wearing a triregnum, or papal tiara, holding a sceptre with a cross in her right hand and a closed book in her left. Some believe her to be patterned after legend of Pope Joan, who disguised herself as a man to become elected to the papacy. However, other variants of the card associated the High Priestess with the Virgin Mary or Isis. In the Swiss Troccas decks she is called Junon, which is the Roman goddess Juno.

The Waite-Colman Smith deck, designed in the early 1900s, made significant changes to the card. The book is replaced by a scroll with the word Torah, while the papal tiara is replaced by a crown. The sceptre is gone and the book is replaced by a scroll.

The most familiar depiction of the High Priest is from the Rider-Waite deck. It shows a woman in a blue robe seated between two pillars. There is a crown on her head and a crescent moon at her feet. On her chest is a cross and in her hands she holds a Torah scroll.

One of the pillars beside her is black, with the letter B on it; the other is white with the letter J on it. These pillars are from King Solomon's Temple. The letter B represents Boaz, or completion, while the letter J represents Jachin, or begin.

The crown on her head holds a pearl of wisdom and the cross and Torah show that this wisdom can only be found by using many traditions to guide you. The moon at the High Priestess's feet represents the unconscious mind as a primary influence.

Behind her is a tapestry with pomegranates on it. These link the High Priestess to the Greek goddess Persephone, who was forced to descend into the Underworld for six months of the year because she ate pomegranate seeds that were given her by Hades.

The High Priestess represents a link to the subconscious mind, which can only be accessed through dreams and symbols. She represents wisdom, serenity, knowledge, and understanding. She is telling you to trust your instincts and make sure you dig deep for all the information you need before making an important decision. She's here to urge you to talk to people whose experiences and beliefs are different from your own - time to move out of that comfort zone.

When the High Priestess appears in a Tarot reading, it means you need to pay more attention to your dreams. Listen to what your intuition is trying to tell you. There may be areas of your life that are out of balance and your intuitive sense is providing you with useful information. She will inspire you to be more creative, which makes this a good card for writers and poets.

When this card is reversed it can signify that you are not listening to your inner voice. Take some time for reflection or meditation. Listen to what your subconscious is trying to tell you. It suggests that you're normally an intuitive person, you've just lost your connection to your inner self.

In the past, the High Priestess indicates a time in your life when patience and understanding was needed. In the present, it's warning you to try and avoid conflict and don't believe everything you hear. In the future position the High Priestess is warning you of a coming confrontation involving a conspiracy.

May 20, 2013

Macropodine Monday

macropodine ~ of, like or pertaining to kangaroos

It's the 24th of May,
The Queen's birthday.
If we don't get a holiday
we'll all run away!

Okay, so it's the 20th of May, not the 24th, but this is still Victoria Day here in Canada, so we get the day off. And in honour of Queen Victoria's birthday, I, of course, decided to do a little research on this, the first long weekend of the summer season.

The most interesting thing I found out is that Victoria Day is not, and has never been, celebrated in England. It is a uniquely Canadian holiday. Apparently, Canada always had a special bond with Queen Victoria, and made her birthday a public holiday. You might even say that Queen Victoria meant more to us than she did to Britain.

When I was a kid this was the big fireworks holiday. I remember our family going to the next town over to the fairgrounds to watch the fireworks. Then somewhere along the line Victoria Day became just another long weekend and the really big fireworks were moved to Canada Day. I like to think it had something to do with my getting married on July 1. Now all of Canada celebrates my anniversary. :-)

Other than blog posts, I got very little writing done last week. I did, however, crochet 25 snowflakes (bringing my total up to 40) and I spent a lot of time in my kitchen - baked a cherry pie and lots of cookies; made soup; did some experimenting . . .

The weather was for the most part gloomy, if not downright rainy, but it did start to warm up a bit and the weekend was pretty decent - a mixture of sun and cloud, although not quite warm enough to have supper outside yet. But it was warm enough for me to have my office window open so I could enjoy the perfume from the sand cherries that were blooming in my front garden.

I did not catch up on my Goodreads. I did attend a poetry reading, which I think was only the first or second one this year. I did get to Peterborough and I can't believe for the amount of time we were there we only went to three stores. I spent a pleasant afternoon with my crochet buddy, and it reinforced my decision to crochet 50 snowflakes for her group. Trust me, you do not want to learn to crochet by trying snowflakes. :-)

Blog Stuff For the Week:

Tuesday: The third in my series on the Major Arcana of the Tarot will be The High Priestess.
A new Hump Day Hunk for your viewing pleasure.
Thursday: Chapter 67 of Water. Things are heating up for Ravi and Taja, and not in a good way.
Friday: This week's Random Ramblings will be about snowflakes and plants. And it will have pictures! :-)

Other Stuff For the Week

I have some serious research to do on volcanoes and caves. While setting Dr. Arjun's compound right up to a volcano seemed like a good idea in An Elemental Fire, it doesn't seem like such a great idea in Water. In fact, it ranks right down there with using journal entries to start chapters and having characters speak in Middle English.

I'm pretty sure there is a poetry meeting this week, which would be Tuesday night. Our poemwork was to write something frivolous, so I started a parody of Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven. I'm not sure I'll have it finished in time - Poe uses a funky rhyme scheme.

I've got a meeting with my writer's group on Wednesday. I'm supposed to have a short horror story finished for it and I haven't even started it, which is kind of ironic because it was my idea. I suggested we use the same prompt and each write in a different genre picked at random. I even provided the prompt.

Getting together with a friend on Thursday and I promised her bread, so I need to learn how to use my bread maker. LOL

And as if that weren't enough, one of my two betas returned a marked up copy of Magical Misfire to me. Oh, the comma splices and head hopping. And why on earth did I think having characters speak in Middle English was a good idea? I'm going to let you in on a little secret. This was my very first novel-length idea, and I started writing it more than twenty years ago. And it shows. :-)

May 17, 2013

Random Ramblings

So . . . a couple of weeks ago I had some time to kill on a Saturday morning, so I turned on the TV and I have just one question - where the heck did the Saturday morning cartoons go?? Other than the regular programming on the three kids networks, there was nothing animated to be had.

The Global network ran fishing shows. CITY TV ran a variety of ethnic programming. ABC offered Good Morning America, followed by several other news magazine shows. CBC had Weekend Wake Up! NBC had something called Today. And even FOX let me down - it was showing paid programming.

When I was a kid, the best part about the weekend was the Saturday morning cartoons. From 7 a.m. until almost noon, I'd be glued to the television set watching Thundaar the Barbarian, Space Ghost, Rocket Robin Hood, and Beanie and Cecil. There were the Flintstones and their counterparts the Jetsons; Top Cat and Johnny Quest; Casper the Friendly Ghost and Woody Woodpecker.

One of my all time favorites was Roger Ramjet

And who could forget Super Chicken?

Even on Sundays we had Rocky and Bullwinkle, Bugs Bunny, and the awesome Rocketship 7, with Commander Tom and Promo the Robot who showed us a variety of Warner Brothers cartoons along with such gems as Gumby, and Davy and Goliath. Rocky and Bullwinkle was unique in that it presented the adventures of the squirrel and moose (usually versus the villains Boris and Natasha) in a serialized form, with stories about Peabody & Sherman, Fractured Fairy Tales, and Dudley Do-Right slotted in between episodes.

Kids today are growing up without Felix the Cat, Huckleberry Hound, and Yogi Bear. Maybe that's what's wrong with kids today. They're not being allowed to take the time to be kids anymore. There's no more cartoons for them to watch on Saturday mornings. What a sad world we live in.

May 15, 2013

Hump Day Hunk

Today seems like a good day to just hang around in bed. What do you think? ;-)

May 14, 2013

Major Arcana of the Tarot - Part II
The Magician

The Magician's number is one, the number of new beginnings. He is the ultimate achiever and is all about making better use of one's power. Through sheer will he achieves what seem to be miracles, which make his abilities appear magical. Associated with the planet Mercury, the Magician is a bridge between the spirit world and the world of humanity.

In early Tarot decks, the Magician was actually called the Juggler and was represented by a street performer or stage magician, sometimes depicted as a fairground hustler performing slight of hand tricks and illusions. This card was associated with Mercury, Thoth, and Loki and represented the human will.

In the early 1800's, however, an occultist by the name of Eliphas Levi designed a card that showed the Juggler holding one of the symbols from the Minor Arcana of the Tarot, with the rest laid out on a table in front of him. Paul Christian, a disciple of Levi's, renamed the Juggler the Magus, or Magician.

The Magician's right hand holds a staff pointed towards the sky, while his left hand points to the earth to form a connection between the two. Above his head is the symbol for eternity, while around his waist is a snake biting its own tail. The table in front of him holds the symbols for all four suits of the Tarot - Cups, Wands, Pentacles and Swords - which also represent the four elements. His robe is white, denoting innocence, but his cloak is red, reminding us of his humble beginnings.

The Magician card typically appears in a Tarot spread to show you that you have the creative power and energy to begin a new cycle in your life. It suggests you will soon be presented with a situation which will manifest your desires and you will be inspired to apply your skills and initiative to accomplish your goals.

If you're having problems, the Magician indicates that you will find a creative way to solve them. It's a good omen if you have a specific wish, when you're about to begin a project, or you need to make a transformation in your life. It's telling you that at this time you need to be focused on a single goal or purpose and to channel your energy towards this goal, eliminating any distractions.

The Magician is a powerful card, and a very positive one in a reading. It implies that at this time we have the power to make a difference in our lives. It's the perfect time to tap into your creativity. In the position of the past, this card emphasizes the talent you have used to get to where you are. In the present, it indicates the urgency of a situation that you need to take advantage of. In the future, it is an indication that your wishes are being granted through your hard work.

The Magician believes in himself and is not afraid to put that belief on the line. He knows what he wants to do and why he wants to do it. There's no hesitation because he understands the situation he's in. He can focus with a single-minded determination to accomplish his goals.

May 13, 2013

Muscoid Monday

muscoid ~ of, like or pertaining to mosses; moss-like

So . . . how's the weather? Monday it was so nice out I walked downtown to meet a friend for coffee and I didn't even need a coat. Then as the week progressed it began to get colder, and then colder still, until finally, during a barbeque I was at yesterday, we had snow. That's right, you heard me. It wasn't a lot and it didn't stay, but it snowed for about 15-20 minutes.

It's supposed to start warming up again as the week goes on, but still - it's a little disconcerting to see it snowing when it's so green outside. And I really hate the thought of what it's going to mean to the fruit trees that are already starting to bloom.

I've been saying for a while now that I'm considering putting out an anthology this summer and I finally got around to checking my stock pile of stories. I'm in better shape than I realized, story-wise. Lots of them to choose from. I've got long and short, dark and light. The selection process will not be easy.

Last week was another one of those weeks where I was busy the whole week, but didn't really get much accomplished.

You might have noticed I was even late with my installment for Water . . . I started writing the scene and then decided it would work better later on in the story. Then I started another one that I decided needed to go earlier in the story. Then I went to bed and tried again in the morning. Sometimes the writing is like that.

I was pretty tired last week, especially in the evenings, so I ended up getting some crocheting done. Crocheting is much easier to do than writing when you're half asleep. :-) Specifically, I was crocheting snowflakes. Remember that crochet party I went to a couple of weeks ago? The ladies are crocheting snowflakes to decorate a Christmas tree for a fundraiser, and quite honestly, they're a little . . . um . . . okay, one of them actually knows how to crochet, but the rest . . . not so much. So I'm helping out.

I made up for my lack of accomplishment on Thursday. After getting the installment for Water written and posted, I got the next day's Random Rambling post done, and then got my link in the Absolute Write blog chain finished ahead of schedule. If you want to see it, just scroll down a bit. :-)

Blog Stuff For the Week:

Tuesday: The second in my series on the Major Arcana of the Tarot will be The Magician.
A new Hump Day Hunk for your viewing pleasure.
Thursday: Chapter 66 of Water. So . . . whose voice was that in Taja's head??
Friday: I have no idea at this point what this week's Random Ramblings will be about. That's what makes it Random. :-)

Other Stuff For the Week

I didn't catch up on my Goodreads last week, so maybe I'll get around to it this week. The problem is that it's one of those things that's easy to put off, and the longer you put it off the bigger it gets. *sigh*

I'll be going to Peterborough again on Tuesday. I can't remember exactly why, but I hope this doesn't become a habit.

For my writing break and general relaxation, I'll be crocheting more snowflakes. I picked out five different patterns and figure on doing ten of each. I'm not sure what the goal is for the Victorian Christmas tree, but considering I'm not even an official volunteer I figure fifty is a nice round number to contribute.

Writing-wise I've got lots to choose from: narrowing down my choices for the anthology; rework a few stories I'd like to include in the anthology; I have a frivolous poem to write for my poetry group which I may need to re-think; I'd like to write ahead in Water to see how long it's going to be, if I have to I'll start doubling up on installments to get the serial done by the end of November; and time to start working on finishing one of my NaNo novels.

May 12, 2013

May Blog Chain - Dialogue

Once again it's time for the Absolute Write Blog chain. This month's prompt: Make a post that is only back-and-forth dialogue, with no description or tags. As always, it may be fiction or nonfiction, prose or poetry, or any other form you care to use. If you want an additional prompt for your dialogue, you can use "Wrong Place, Right Time," but this is strictly optional.

Please read and comment on the other links in the chain that are listed at the end of my piece. You will be amazed at how much can be conveyed through conversation without dialogue tags.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

“Miss Saint James? I—You! You’re Alexis St. James?”

“That I am, and you are?”

“Alexis St. James the writer?”

“No, that would be me. My friends call me Lexi.”

“You wrote the Dungeon Mistress, and Come On Command?”

“That would be me. Why don’t you have a seat; you don’t look so good. Would you care for some iced tea?”

“You're really Alexis St. James?”

“I’m sorry if you’re disappointed . . . ”

“What? No! No, I’m not disappointed, just surprised, that’s all.”

“The truth is, I wrote those books a long time ago, when I was young, and stupid, and needed the money badly. It’s just the last few years there’s been a jump in the erotica market and my publisher decided to re-release my early work.”

“So the picture on the back cover wasn't changed with the new editions?”

“And in case you’re wondering, I am, or was, nothing like the women in those books, even in my younger days.”

“What? I mean, you’re not?”

“My sex life was never close to as interesting as my heroines. Ninety percent of the stuff in those books is all made up – I’ve never tried any of it. And some of it may not even be possible.”

“This is not good. This is not good at all.”

“Sorry to disappoint you son, but I’ve lived a pretty vanilla life.”

“I’m not disappointed. The truth is, I’m rather relieved. I’m just worried about how my employer is going to take it. The picture on the back of your books . . .”

“That was me, all right. About thirty years ago.”

“I’ve come a long way to meet you . . .”

“Is that a fact?”

“Yes ma’am. My employer—”

“I don’t care how far you’ve come. If you ‘ma’am’ me again I’ll be dumping this pitcher of iced tea over your head.”

“Sorry, Miss St. James. My employer—”

“You’d better call me Lexi.”

“Lexi . It suits you.”

“Thank you. And you are?”

“I’m sorry, my name is Benedict. I’m here on behalf of my employer who wishes to meet you and—”


“I beg your pardon?”

“Sweetie, you can beg anything you want, but the answer is still no.”

“How can you say no? I haven’t even asked you anything yet.”

“You don’t need to. I don’t do interviews and I don’t go off with strange men I don’t know, no matter how gorgeous they are, and I especially don’t go off with strange men to meet even stranger fans.”

“But I—You think I’m gorgeous?”

“You can wipe that grin right off your face. It was a slip of the tongue.”

“You feel it too, don’t you?”

“Don’t be ridiculous! I’m twice your age. I’m old enough to be your mother!”

“Look me in the eye. Tell me you don’t want this too and I’ll leave you alone.”

“This isn’t some kind of ploy to get me to agree to go meet your employer, is it?”

“No, this is just for me.”

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

The other links in the chain:

orion_mk3 - ~ link to post
Ralph Pines - ~ link to post
articshark - ~ link to post
Sudo_One - ~ link to post
Nissie - ~ link to post
Angyl78 - ~ link to post
Lady Cat - ~ you are here
U2Girl - ~ (link to post)
MsLaylaCakes - ~ (link to post)
SuzanneSeese - ~ (link to post)
LanaK - ~ (link to post)
in_one - ~ (link to post)

pushingfordream - ~ (link to post)
pyrosama - ~ (link to post)

May 10, 2013

Random Ramblings

This week I'm not so much rambling, as ranting. And specifically, I have two totally unrelated rants.

Although really, only the first one is a true rant, the second is more of an observance of my continuing bad luck. :-)

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Normally, one of the perks about going away to a bowling tournament with my husband is staying in a hotel. Notice the word normally. This might clue you into the subject of my rant.

Last weekend was the Year End Tournament for 5-Pin bowling, which ironically marks neither the end of league bowling for the season nor is it the last tournament of the season. It's just the name they give it. Anyway, the tournament is held in Hamilton and includes ten games of bowling over two days. This necessitates staying overnight in the city.

Okay, it doesn't really necessitate staying over, it's only a two hour drive, but at the price of gas these days you might as well spend the night . And besides, it's more fun that way - there's a banquet and dance and general merriment to be made.

It used to be that we stayed at the Sheridan, which is a really, really nice hotel. But some moron in the Bowler's Association decided it would make more sense if we had to drive over to Burlington (the next city over) and stay at the Holiday Inn.

Sheridan: downtown in Hamilton; pillow-top, queen sized beds; quiet and classy; heated bathroom floor; shopping mall underneath it; a wonderfully restful night's sleep.

Holiday Inn: next city over; double-sized, hard and uncomfortable beds; insanely noisy AC unit which has to be run because the rooms are so freaking hot and you can't open the windows because of the noise in the parking lot; worst night's sleep ever. And the toilet didn't work properly.

Colour me unimpressed.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

The observance of my continuing bad luck has to do with small appliances. They say that trouble comes in threes . . . Well guess what. They (whoever they are) lied.

It started with the electric can opener, which suddenly decided it wasn't really happy opening cans any more, so it started skipping along the lids of the can so you'd have to try two and three times to get a lid open. Then it added special effects in the form of a grinding noise. The noise grew louder, and louder. Then it refused to open any cans at all, but it would still make the grinding noise if you asked nicely.

A couple of days after the can opener gave up the ghost for good, the inner element of the toaster decided to quit. I suspect it was in sympathy for the plight of the can opener. At any rate, only the outer element of the toaster works, so you have to run your bread through twice. The bagel setting doesn't work at all, but I got around it this morning by turning the cut edge to the outside and turning up the heat. Ha! Take that Toaster!

A couple of days later I was processing away in my food processer and couldn't help but notice the small lake forming on my counter top. Perhaps I filled it too full and it was leaking out the top? So the next batch I made sure I only filled it half full, and the lake expanded. No doubt about it. I had a leak. *sigh*

Which brings us to this week. Specifically, Tuesday morning when I made myself bacon and eggs for breakfast. I have not fried bacon since I got spattered in the eye with grease when I was much younger. I broil my bacon, and because I'm usually only cooking bacon for one or two people, I use the toaster oven. I love my toaster oven, but apparently it no longer loves me. Instead of crispy bacon, it was more like bacon jerky - it was fully cooked (eventually), but really dried out.

So there you have it. Four of my small appliances, one right after another. It's a conspiracy I tell you! And it totally wouldn't surprise me if the microwave is next.

May 8, 2013

Hump Day Hunk

Now that the sunshine is here, time to get out the motorcycles. Anyone want a ride? ;-)

May 7, 2013

Major Arcana of the Tarot - Part I
The Fool

The origin of the Tarot is lost in the mists of time. They have been linked to the Hebrew Qubalah, there being twenty two letters in the Hebrew alphabet to correspond with the twenty two trump cards of the Major Arcana. It is also believed that a system of communication was based on this after the fall of Alexandria. Some believe the Tarot were invented by the Egyptians, others by the Chinese, and others still believe that the gypsies hold the first set of Tarot cards and they alone hold its secrets.

Whatever their origin, wherever they came from, Tarot cards are perhaps the most popular form of divination. It could have something to do with the air of mystery surrounding them, or it might just be the phenomenal success rate they have.

There are seventy-eight cards in a deck of Tarot cards, consisting of twenty-two Major Arcana cards and fifty-six cards in the Minor Arcana. The Minor Arcana, being divided into four suits of fourteen cards each, most closely resemble a regular deck of playing cards. The Major Arcana, however, predates the Minor, and is sometimes believed to be the true Tarot. This series will describe the Major Arcana only.

We begin with The Fool. The Fool is one of the most controversial cards in the Tarot deck. Traditionally, the Major Arcana in the Tarot are numbered with Roman numerals. The Fool, however, is numbered with the zero, the only card with Arabic numerals. Without the zero our system of mathematics cannot work. Once the Arabic system included the zero (sometime between 400 and 600 AD), the sciences of algebra and geometry were invented and put into practical application - measuring, trading, and building all experienced a rapid advancement.

The origin of The Fool is somewhat of a mystery. Some translations of the card believe it should be more properly labeled "The Idiot", while other research shows its origin to be that of "The Troubadour," an entertainer traveling to play at the court of a king in a far off land.

The Fool is normally depicted walking or dancing along the edge of an abyss, seemingly unaware of his danger, with the sun high in the sky behind him. On his shoulder rests a stick, from which hangs a bag that holds the tools of life. In his hand he carries a white rose, denoting his pure intentions. Often he is accompanied by an animal companion who is jumping beside him, but is this companion warning him away from the edge, or attempting to push him over?

The Fool represents new beginnings, new experiences and new choices. But as with anything new there's always an element of risk, which is why the Fool is shown not paying attention to where he is walking. He is the spirit in search of experience.

He is neither a positive nor a negative card, but holds the potential for both. He doesn't care what others may think or say about him because he has total faith in himself, he does what's right for him. Because of this, his approach to life is unconventional and he has the innocence of a child. With this innocence comes trust, fearlessness, and the ability to see the world with new eyes.

In a Tarot spread, The Fool is at its most powerful when it appears in the present position. You can literally move mountains with your will alone at this moment in time. The Fool is both the beginning and the end. The message being given you is the old catch phrase, carpe diem (seize the day).

May 6, 2013

Monolith Monday

monolith ~ large single stone in form of monument, obelisk or column

The hubby and I spent the weekend in Hamilton. While he participated in a two day bowling tournament, I spent two days in Lime Ridge Mall. Shopping. :-) I was actually quite restrained this year. The first day I bought nothing except lunch. That's right, nothing. Not even so much as a mug or a t-shirt from the Disney Store. Day two was a different story.

Now, every year I give myself a little reward for completing NaNo. One year it was a NaNo travel mug, one year a t-shirt, another year a hoodie . . . A couple of years ago I'd run out of official NaNo rewards and I decided what I needed was a hat. Not just any hat, a writing hat. Specifically, an Australian walker hat. I searched high and low and could only find them online, with outrageous shipping attached to them.

However, whilst shopping on the weekend, I stopped in a shoe repair store on an errand for my daughter, and low and behold there was my hat! Just sitting there, looking all leathery and perfect. So I bought it. :-)

Friday was the annual St. Peter's Book Sale. That's the really first sign of spring around here (although truthfully the weather's been so beautiful that I think we skipped spring and went right to summer). My daughter and I were pretty restrained this year - one bag of books each. My top picks this year were a hardback edition of The Stand, by Stephen King (to replace my paperback that's falling apart), and a book on herbal gardening. I picked up a couple of Maeve Binchy books for a friend, and one of my other "finds" was a children's non-fiction book on the middle ages which I thought might come in handy for research. There were a few regular novels as well, and a couple of older fairy tale books to add to my collection.

Out of necessity, I spent a lot of time organizing my electronic document files. Okay, I confess. It was mainly so I could find the file for the next book I'm going to work on. I found the file and read it . . . It's 75,000 words so far, which makes it longer that Magical Misfire. The first 150 pages will only need regular editing. The next 75 pages, however, are going to need a lot more than that. So then I pulled out another of my almost finished books and I'm currently reading it to see if perhaps I should work on it first.

Didn't get through my flash fiction like I said I was going to. Truth is, I plumb forgot all about it.

Poetry Month is over, which means it's time for something new on Tuesday. Do you remember my post for the AW blog chain on April Fools? I got some really nice feedback on that, and it's inspired me to start a series on the Major Arcana of the Tarot.

Blog Stuff For the Week:

Tuesday: The first post in my series on the Major Arcana of the Tarot will be a repeat of The Fool.
A new Hump Day Hunk for your viewing pleasure.
Thursday: Chapter 65 of Water - if Nereida's prediction is to be believed, things will be heating up very soon for the people in the compound.
Friday: Bad luck all around for this week's Random Ramblings. From small appliances to bad hotel rooms. :-)

Other Stuff For the Week

It has occurred to me that I haven't been keeping up my Goodreads this year. While I've kept track of some of the books I've read, I'll have to guess at a few. But it's definitely something I should get on top of. I have to say though, if I give any of them a review, it probably won't be much of one, and I apologize in advance to the writers.

Today I am meeting a writing buddy in one of the coffee shops down town. Over the next few weeks we're going to check several of them out to see which one is most welcoming for writers with lap tops.

Tuesday it looks like I'll be going to Peterborough for at least part of the day with the daughter, since I wasn't able to find what she needed in Hamilton. She also needs to return a couple of things to Costco, which she can't do without my membership.

Wednesday I have a writer's meeting in the afternoon. I think our topic for discussion is transitioning between scenes, which is kind of a continuation of our discussion on scenes themselves.

And Thursday and Friday hopefully I'll get a butt load of writing done. ;-)

May 3, 2013

Random Ramblings

Even I have to admit that I was scraping the bottom of the barrel with last week's story. I'd thought to start my random rambling last week, but it was late at night and I had to get up early the next morning, and, well, it was just easier to post something that was already written than to come up with something new.

So here we are. It's Friday and I'm ready to ramble. ;-)

But first - maybe a word of explanation. Last weekend I was procrastinating feeling nostalgic and I looked up my old blog. Not my first blog (I can remember neither the name nor the address of it) but the one I had before this one. And I started reading my first posts. They were short, they were pithy, they were a hodge podge of whatever popped into my head. And I thought to myself, "Self? Why not share some of my random thoughts in my Friday posts?" So me, myself, and I talked it over, and though I wasn't sure if I even had enough thoughts in my head to share in a post each week, me and myself overruled her and so . . . here I am.

On to my ramble. :-)

The weather has warmed up considerably in Southern Ontario (which is where I live). In fact, it's been so nice this week that I've had both the deck doors and the window in my office open late into the night. Spring is definitely here, and with spring comes the traditional putting away of the heavy winter clothing and breaking out the lighter clothes - skirts, shorts, capris . . . And you know what that means ladies. That's right, time to break out the razors.

I don't know about you, but I tend to slack off when it comes to shaving my legs in the winter time. I mean, who's going to see them under your thermal underwear and snow pants?

How old were you when you started shaving your legs? Do you even remember? Or maybe you don't shave. Maybe you wax, or use a depilatory cream, or you sprang for electrolysis . As I contemplated the razors I had let languish in my medicine cabinet, my mind drifted and I wondered how we ever developed the custom of shaving body hair ('cause let's face it, there are a lot of people who remove hair from more than just their legs). So I did what any other curious person who pays outrageous cable internet fees would do. I did a Google search.

What I discovered was pretty darned interesting. For instance, did you know that mankind has been removing its body hair since the time of the cave man? Back then it had nothing to do with appearance and everything to do with not wanting to give the enemy anything to hang onto (as well as discovering that less hair equalled less lice).

In ancient Egypt, where body hair was considered shameful and unclean, women removed all the hair from their bodies, except for their eyebrows. They would do this using knives made from flint or bronze, by plucking, or by the ancient method of sugaring, which is where a sticky paste is applied and then ripped off, much like waxing. Men had their body hair removed too. To remain unshaven was to be unbarbered, which is where the word barbarians came from.

Have you ever noticed that the ancient Greek statues of women show them without pubic hair? The Turks considered it shameful for women to have pubic hair - their public baths were equipped with rooms where women could have their hair removed. Many European castles had rooms where women could gather to shave. The paintings of the master Rubens depict women without pubic hair.

So time to participate in a long standing tradition. Ladies - choose your weapons. Time to get rid of those gorilla legs. :-)

May 1, 2013