Dec 26, 2011

Morosis Monday

morosis ~ pathological feeble-mindedness

So . . . how was everyone’s Christmas? Was Santa good to you? Yeah, me too. Of course the best gift is the fact that it’s all over. :-)

Can anyone tell me why is it that we can spend so much time cleaning the house for the holidays, only to have to clean house after the holidays as well?

Anyway, I’ve decided that as a holiday treat to myself, I’m taking this week off from blogging. I’ll see you again on January 2nd.

Happy Holidays!

Dec 22, 2011

Christmas Music

To get you into a Christmassy mood for the weekend, I'm sharing a few more of my favourite Christmas songs with you.

I love Celtic Woman, and the Carol of the Bells is one of my favourite carols, so I feel very lucky to have found a video of them singing it.

Even if you don't like Elvis, I'm sure you'll like hearing his rendition of this old favourite. The video only has his voice, not his image, but you can't have everything.

This is another all-time favourite, and I love the little lead-in to it at the beginning. :-)

For some more Christmas music, tomorrow you can check out my other blog Random Writings for some Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Dec 21, 2011

Hump Day Hunk

Ho ho ho! I think Santa has a present for you under that hat! ;-)

Dec 19, 2011

Miscellanarian Monday

miscellanarian ~ writer of miscellanies

Well, the tree is up and I even managed to decorate it. I’m finding it real hard to get into the Christmas spirit, what with all the rain we’ve been having lately. Twice last week I wore my spring coat for my morning walk. I’ve pretty much given up on a white Christmas this year.

Managed to get all of my out of town presents in the mail last week. I suspect a couple of them will be a tad late, but it couldn’t be helped. Anyway, better late than never, right?

Didn’t get nearly as much writing and editing done as I’d have liked to last week. It was just one of those weeks . . . Not only did the grey, dismal, rainy weather depress the hell out of me, I ended up with a series of migraines. ‘Tis the season. *sigh*

What’s On For This Week:

Tuesday: As I write this (late Sunday night) I’ve got nothing. If I figure something out by Tuesday, I’ll post it. If I don’t, I won’t. :-)

Wednesday: Another Christmasy hump day hunk for your viewing pleasure. ;-)

Thursday: Tis the season . . . for more Christmas music!

Friday: Chapter 54 of Fire. This is the end. However, the chapter ran a little long so part one is Friday and part two is Saturday.

Random Thoughts

Monday: Part 8 of the parts of speech. This final part is the Interjection.

Wednesday: Chapter 32 of Shades of Errol Flynn. Uh,oh. What did Jessica do now? :-)

Friday: More Christmas music to get you in the holiday spirit.

Also this week:

The new prompt is still up over at Rattles Flash Fiction. The deadline has been extended to January 13th so you have plenty of time to come up with your thousand words for The Old Sofa.

The previous two anthologies are now available in print as well as e-format. At the Water’s Edge is available through Brazen Snake Books, Amazon, , Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble. As well, you can find In A Dark Place at Brazen Snake Books, Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble. The electronic version is only .99 cents while the print version is only $5.99 (+1.25 shipping & handling). Pick up your copies today!

I have a poetry group meeting tomorrow night, and I’m determined not to miss it. If I get my gingerbread made today then I might even bring a little treat with me. If not, they’ll only get a poem. :-)

I really need to update my Goodreads soon. The books I’ve finished are starting to stack up.

I’m not doing a lot of baking for Christmas this year, just some gingerbread and the kid requested pinwheel cookies (which are a pain in the butt to make). And I’ll have to do peanut butter squares for my sister. And if I do them for her, I’ll have to do them for the hubby as well. Maybe I’ll give shortbread another try as well. I haven’t tried any since I got my new oven (several years ago) so maybe that will make a difference. I remember my mother’s shortbread – it was so white, and light and fluffy . . . Mine turn out flat and greasy, no matter how many recipes I try. And trust me, I’ve tried out just about every recipe there is.

I started catching up my journal on the weekend and I’d like to finish catching up and then start making entries on a regular basis. If nothing else, it makes it much easier to write snail mail letters to my sister.

On the 21st, I will have a guest post up on Writer Revealed. The lovely Dolly Garland has a really cool series on Bookshelf Snooping. In fact, you don’t have to wait until the 21st, check it out ahead of time to see what the other participants are reading. And you don’t want to miss her post on Blog Commenting either.

And that’s about all I can think of for my week. How about you? Are you ready for Christmas?

Dec 15, 2011

Spreading the Joy

You know, there are a lot of Christmas vidoes out there, but these are a few of my favourites.

Mistletoe and Holly – Frank Sinatra

O Tannenbaum – Nat King Cole

I was disappointed I couldn't find a video that shows Nat King Cole singing this, but at least you get to hear his angelic voice.

Where Are you Christmas - Faith Hill

Dec 13, 2011

A Christmas Parody

A Visit From the Computer Tech
by Carol R. Ward

’Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, just the optical mouse;
The cords were all strung to the PC with care
In hopes the technician soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of interwebs danced in their heads;
The wife couldn’t take any more of this crap
So she went to bed while I took a nap.
When there on the screen there arose such a clatter
I sprang from the chair to see what was the matter.
Away to the keyboard I flew like a flash,
Grabbed up the mouse and gave it a bash.
The monitor gleamed with a brilliant blue glow
The sight made my eyes tear as I shouted, “No!”
And what to my wondering eyes should appear
But a security warning that made my eyes tear.
With an attack on my drivers, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment my computer was sick.
More rapid than eagles the popups they came,
And I whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now Trojan, now Wormy, now BankerFox vixen!
A technician’s coming, my computer he’s fixin’.
By installing protection ,a blocker, a wall!
And then he’ll delete you, delete one and all!”
And then, in a twinkling, I heard it oncemore,
A van pulling up, then a knock on the door.
I opened the door with a feeling profound,
And into the house came the tech with a bound.
He was dressed all in blue from his head to his toe
And his jacket was covered with a sprinkling of snow.
A box full of tools was grasped in his hand
And he looked like an angel, come down to land.
His eyes, they were bloodshot, his face was unshaven
From his pocket he pulled a business card graven.
He was balding and old, and I think he had fleas,
And I said to him, “Sir, this way, if you please.”
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And in a few moments pulled the plug with a jerk.
“The mother board’s fried,” he said, shaking his head.
“And the rest of your hard drive looks like it’s dead.”
Then he packed up the tower and picked up his tools
“Gotta watch these old ‘puters, they’re stubborn as mules.”
He walked to his van, my computer in hand
And I had to admit, this did not go as planned.
And I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, no more surfing to-night.”

Dec 12, 2011

Maximalism Monday

maximalism ~ uncompromising adherence to extreme demands

The Super Mega Death Cold From Hell is still hanging in there, and the hubby’s got the cough part of it back, which means it’s setting up camp in his lungs. At least mine is only in the sinuses, but it’s still causing mega headaches.

We went Christmas shopping on Saturday and knocked off over half our list, including all of the kids. Go us! Then Sunday the hubby braved the wind and the cold to get the outdoor lights up and the (undecorated) tree is sitting in the living room.

I felt a little lost last week, with no NaNoing to do. Granted there were still a few holes that need to be filled in my NaNo novel, but it’s just not the same.

I’d like to thank Heidi Sutherlin and Jamie DeBree for allowing me to interview them last week. I guess I don’t suck at interviews quite as badly as I thought. This is something I’m considering for the New Year, starting to feature an author once or twice a month, but it will be over at Random Writings. Don’t worry, I’ll make announcements here and provide links for when it happens.

Yesterday I bulldozed shovelled cleaned off my desk again. It’s amazing how quickly “stuff” accumulates when you’re busy writing 55K words. Now my office is all nice and neat again. Okay, it’s dusty as all get out, but at least it’s neat. :-)

What’s On For This Week:

I really should have spaced out my two author interviews last week so I could feature one of them this week, but *shrugs* hind sight is always 20/20.

Tuesday: A Christmas poem. My parody of A Visit From St. Nicholas

Wednesday: Another Christmasy hump day hunk for your viewing pleasure. Maybe even two because I have an extra and I can’t decide which to use. ;-)

Thursday: Tis the season . . . for Christmas music!

Friday: Chapter 53 of Fire. Jeez, isn’t this thing ever going to end?

Random Thoughts

Monday: Part 7 of the parts of speech. This week it’s the Preposition.

Wednesday: Chapter 31of Shades of Errol Flynn. So what’s this Well of Power, and what’s with the pointed look Ewan gave Jessica? :-)

Friday: More Christmas music to get you in the holiday spirit.

Also this week:

The new prompt is still up over at Rattles Flash Fiction. The deadline has been extended to January 13th so you have plenty of time to come up with your thousand words for The Old Sofa.

The previous two anthologies are now available in print as well as e-format. At the Water’s Edge is available through Brazen Snake Books, Amazon, , Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble. As well, you can find In A Dark Place at Brazen Snake Books, Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble. The electronic version is only .99 cents while the print version is only $5.99 (+1.25 shipping & handling). Pick up your copies today if you’re looking for some inspiration or just a good read.

Yeah, so the schedule thing I keep talking about? I’m not going to worry about it until the New Year. Seriously? There’s too much other stuff going on with the coming holidays that I wouldn’t normally be doing, so trying to figure out a schedule is pretty useless.

Even though Fire’s not finished on my blog, I’m starting the edits for it this week. And there’s a lot of them. ;-)

As much as I hate the thought of it, I need to spend some time cleaning out the guest room and my work room, just in case my sister and her family make up their minds and come visit at Christmas. I suspect I won’t hear anything for sure until right before they arrive, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Speaking of sorry . . . my plants are a little sorry looking right now, so if I have time I’m going to try and give them a little TLC. I did water them on the weekend, so a couple of them are looking perkier, but my Wandering Jews need some clipping/repotting. I think this is my last chance with them. If I can’t take better care of the ones in the pots then I’m going to stop potting them. I’ve got a couple that are growing hydroponically, and they’re doing great.

And that’s pretty much my week ahead. How about you? Are you ready for Christmas?

Dec 8, 2011

Interview With Jamie DeBree

Sit back, relax, and have a cup of tea. This is going to be a long post, but the subject makes it well worth the reading. They say that variety is the spice of life. If this is true then my guest today must be spicy indeed! She’s a writer, a blogger, a wife, a web-mistress, a tea connoisseur, and she even makes her own dog food, and she does it all with long, beautifully made up nails. Her latest book, Angel Eyes, puts the 'thrill' back in thriller, and will keep you up nights, shivering in bed with the lights on.

When psychologist Jake Werner is called to the hospital in the middle of the night, he’s shocked to find that one of his interns has been attacked, and her eyes have been cut out. The closest thing she has to family at the time, Werner is automatically a suspect. After his alibi checks out, stone-cold Special Agent Kate Paige asks for his help in profiling the person responsible. The monster they eventually discover is far worse than they ever could have imagined...

Angel Eyes is available at Brazen Snake Books, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.

For those who aren’t familiar with my blog and haven’t heard me go on and on about how awesome you are, tell us a little about yourself.

Leave it to a writer to ask another writer to come up with a new/different bio on the spot. I mean, shouldn’t you be saving the torture for your characters? ;-)

Hmm…well, I live in south central Montana, which is the high plains side of the state, not the wild mountainous side that everyone wants to visit (Yes, we have an airport. No, I don’t own horses, and haven’t ridden one since high school.). I sleep around 4.5 hours per night because my brain likes to keep busy, and I have far too many interests for my own good. I read a plaque when I was in high school that “The best way to know life is to love many things.” (I forget who that’s attributed to). I took it to heart. My personality type is INTJ – that’s 100% introvert and one of the rarer personality types. Basically it means I think a lot, I don’t do well in large groups (prefer one-on-one interactions), and I’m very direct. I’m not right or left brained, but tend to use both halves equally, which also makes me an odd duck. Too analytical for many creative people to be comfortable with, and too creative for the purely analytical.

And that’s probably more than you actually wanted to know…

Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?

I’ve wanted to be a great many things – a fighter jet pilot, an astronaut a doctor, a lawyer, a professor, a librarian…you’ll note that none of those has anything to do with sports. The one thing I never wanted to do was to be a programmer like my dad. And that’s what I ended up doing for my day job, though I program web sites, which is vastly more entertaining than the kind of work he does.

I’ve wanted to be a writer since high school, but being the practical person I am, with parents who encouraged me to find a “real career” to support my “writing hobby”, I never dared to think I could someday make a living as a writer until just recently. Now I dare to dream…but we’ll see. I am glad to have a decent day job to pay the bills while I pursue the writing career.

Where do you get your ideas?

Everywhere. Watching people (anyone I don’t know – I can’t write about people I know, and they don’t even inspire me), a piece of art, a song, a photo…it doesn’t take much to plant the seed of a plot in my head.

Do you ever get writer’s block? If so, how do you get past it?

Nope – I don’t believe in writer’s block. If the story feels like it’s not working one way, I just look at where my characters are and where I’m trying to have them go, and then do the opposite. Normally they know better than I do what’s supposed to happen next, so I follow their lead. Basically it’s not me that’s blocked, it’s that I’m not trusting and following the characters closely enough.

How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?

That’s a very good question. Because I serialize most of my drafts, and because I publish my own work, I don’t hold myself to any specific word count. So I start writing with the general idea in mind, and when the story’s done, I stop. Some novel ideas I’ve had turned into novellas, some short story ideas I have run far longer than I’d planned. It takes as long as it takes – as much as I might want to rush it, I try to let it play out the way it needs to.

I write around 500-800 words per day 5 to 6 days per week…so if I were to work on one novel (50k words) every day, I’d have the draft finished in about 2 months. I never work on just one draft at a time though, so it takes several months to draft a novel/novella, and around 6 -8 weeks to write a novelette/short story.

Which of your books were easier/harder to write than the others?

I don’t know if I can say any of them were easier or harder – they are what they are, and every book is different. My last erotica novelette this year has been difficult, but it’s because I need to pin down some pretty interesting emotional motivations, and all the chaos in my personal and work life makes it tough for me to get into that mindset sometimes. Well, and Desert Heat, one of my romantic suspense novels was hard because the main character isn’t all that likable – but it’s who she is, and the way she needs to be, so I didn’t have any choice but to write her that way and hope that while most wouldn’t like her, some would empathize with her.

Do you have a favourite out of the books you have written? If so why is it your favourite?

Nope. The one I’m working on at any given time is always my favourite ... and then when it’s done, I’m tired of it and ready to move on to the next shiny new idea.

Do you have a favourite character from your books? Why is he/she your favourite?

Not really…though I am rather morbidly fascinated with the antagonists in my thriller stories. I think it’s the complexity…I’m most interested in characters with complex or dual personalities.

How much reading do you typically do?

At least a little every day on my lunch break. When I’m on a reading “binge”, I can read a book a day or even a couple. When I don’t get reading time in, I get pretty crabby. I normally have several books going at once, so I can choose according to my mood on any given day.

Which is better, ebooks or print books?

For me, it depends. I love collecting old hard cloth-bound books – antiques, normally of the classics. And the old etiquette books I have just wouldn’t be the same on screen. But for everyday reading? Ebooks, hands down. No need for storage, easy to read one-handed (important, since I’m normally eating or hanging onto a tea cup while I read), and far easier to carry around than paperbacks. I hate actually *reading* a hardcover…so I never buy modern books in that medium. If not for my husband who still reads print, I’d buy all my books in digital format. As it is, we buy thrillers in paperback so we can share.

What are you reading right now?

“Seized by the Sheik” by Anna Voss Peterson (Harlequin Intrigue)
“The Donzerly Light” by Ryne Douglas Pearson (suspense)
“The Big Sky, By and By” by Ed Kemmick (true local color stories by a local journalist)
“A Walk in the Snark” by Rachel Thompson (I can’t decide what it is…but might be a bit snarky for my personal taste, so aptly named)
“The Role of a Lifetime” by Jennifer Shirk (sweet romance)

How many blogs do you have?

Seriously? You’re going to make me count? *sigh*

Fine – total blogs (writing and not): 11 (though one of those is a Halloween blog only updated a few months of the year)

Aside from all those blogs to maintain, you also have a day job, a publishing business, a husband, two dogs, and a home to take care of. How do you manage to juggle all of that? Or have you mastered the art of cloning?

Not well, at the moment. LOL I’m drowning right now, but I can’t bear to give any of it up, so I’m working on finding that balance with several changes I’ll be making in the new year. I may not be able to have it all, but dang it, I’ll have as much of it as I possibly can…

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to an aspiring author?

Write what you want to write. Don’t worry about who’s going to read it, or how you’ll get it published, or any of those extraneous things until you have several pieces of work under your belt. Trust your characters to show you the story, and be open to wherever that happens to lead, even if it’s uncomfortable to you. That’s where the gold is.

What can we expect from you in the future?

In terms of books? More romantic suspense, more erotica, and more thrillers. I haven’t lined out next year’s publishing schedule yet, but it will be another busy one, for sure. I’m currently working on the second book in my Fantasy Ranch romantic suspense series, a stand alone romantic suspense, a really creepy thriller novella and I’ve got the theme for next year’s erotica collection and the first story all plotted out. I have enough ideas to last me well into the future.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

I think I’ve probably gone on long enough, don’t you? ;-)

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

I’d like to thank Jamie for taking the time to answer all my questions. Check out her website at Jamie DeBree or connect with her on Twitter or Facebook.

She currently has four serials she updates on a weekly basis. In order of update, they are:
The Fantasy Ranch series, updated on Tuesdays. The current novel here is the Minister’s Maid, a romantic suspense.
Writing as Alex Westhaven, check out Animal, updated on Wednesdays. This is a thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
If you’re looking for a Naughty Encounter, try her alter ego Trinity Marlow. The current story in the Working Stiffs collection is The Paramedic, updated on Thursdays. Caution, these stories will melt the ice off your mukluks, and are definitely NSFW!
Can't get enough romantic suspense? Have a peek at The Variety Pages. The story featured here is Falling in Public, and is updated every Friday.

And think I was lying about the tea and the nails I mentioned at the top of this page? Check out Tea on Tap and Nail Art Tuesday.

Dec 6, 2011

Interview With Heidi Sutherlin

Heidi Sutherlin is a woman who wears many hats. In her own words, she’s a: “Blogger, Graphic Designer, Cover Artist, Crafty Wench and general Girl About the Universe.” And as if that weren’t enough, she’s also a writer – and what a writer she is! Her debut novel, Brothers In Betrayal, is a fast paced, action packed, romantic suspense that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Elite Pacific Northwest software designer, Grace Mason is not the criminal that Special Agent Noah Jeffries expected to find.

Unaware that she's a suspected accomplice in an arms smuggling ring, Grace struggles to cope with the mysterious and disturbing changes in the company that she helped to build. When the danger begins to escalate she has no choice but to place her life in the hands of a man who threatens her control and makes her want what she promised herself she'd never take. Grace couldn't have known that falling for the sexy FBI agent would make her the focus of a dead man's vendetta.

Now Noah must uncover more than the details in a smuggling case as a betrayal from his past threatens the future of a woman he never meant to care for.

Get your copy now at Brazen Snake Books. It’s also available in e-book or print form at Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes and Noble.

You’re a graphic artist by trade, what got you started writing?

I've been writing...well...always. My mom is a wonderful writer and always encouraged me to write. I was a part of and later the editor of my high school newspaper, and started college as a journalism major. I may have changed my major to Graphic Design, but never stopped writing. I didn't seriously think of writing a novel until just a couple of years ago, and the rest is, as they say, history.

What kinds of things do you write?

I write fiction novels. Romantic suspense, paranormal romance and category romance are the genres that I'm currently working in. However, I have a deep and enduring love of classic scifi, cyberpunk and steam punk and plan to take the plunge into worlds of my own sometime soon.

Where do you get your ideas?

They sort of germinate on their own. Some come in snippets from personal situations or social vignettes that I witness. Others come at me all at once. For instance, while sitting in the stands at our local rodeo last year the idea for A PICKUP MAN FOR KATE just washed over me. I sat there as the entire story unfolded for me. By the time the dust had settled and we were packing up our stuff, I had an entire, ready to sit down and write book. True, it's evolved a bit, but that's how it was born.

Do you ever get writer’s block? If so, how do you get past it?

I don't, actually. I don't sit down to write religiously every day. I'm a binge and purge writer. So, if the build up of words isn't ready, I just don't attempt to write any. I've learned that if I do, I simply cause myself more grief in the end. I do all of my plotting and character building in my head and when its ready I sit down and write it out in one go. So, putting it off only costs actually writing time, but the work is still being done as the stories evolve on their own.

How much reading do you typically do?

I read every day. Every day. I don't sleep a lot and tend to read a book a day, sometimes more, sometimes less. I'm a fast reader and use it as my comfort, my therapy, my sanity saver and my endless supply of happy endings.

Which is better, ebooks or print books?

Tough question. I choose print books with ebooks as a close second. Personally, I see them both working in harmony. Neither one really replaces the other, as they each have their own uses and virtues.

What are you reading right now?

I just finished Nora Roberts' CHASING FIRE. It was excellent, by the way. I'm just starting to read Lisa Jackson's LOST SOULS.

You own your own business, tell us a little about it.

My Creative Pursuits, is the culmination of years of not taking orders well. I decided to start my own boutique graphic design business and while I handle all types of graphic design projects from print business (brochures, logos, business cards, etc) to web sites, my focus is cover art for independently published authors. I wanted to provide professional cover art to the indie author community that would compete with the bigger publishing houses on a budget that is small publishing friendly. I've had the opportunity to work with some amazing authors and make quite a few friends in the bargain.

Aside from running your business, you also have a four-year-old (and a black lab) to wrangle. How do you work writing into the mix?

I only write at night. As a night person and a mommy, this makes the most sense. Luckily, for all involved this works out well.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to an aspiring author?

Don't judge your writing midstream. Just as in art, stopping to pass judgement on a project before it's done is not only foolish but needlessly damaging. Just keep writing until the end and then remember that all projects are inherently liquid in nature. Ever changeable, always malleable, they shift and alter to what they need to be easily. If you can't look at something favourably, then put it away until you can. In other words: It's all good.

What can we expect from you in the future? More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?

With every genre I read I think to myself, "I want to write one of these." A dangerous thought, but it definitely implies that at some point I could write anything from regency, to sci fi, to the cyberpunk that I adore.

The near future, however holds the next book in the series I began with BROTHERS IN BETRAYAL, hopefully to be available this spring. I have five other books in process which include three romantic suspense, a category romance and a paranormal romance. So many words, so little time.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Only a very big thank you for having me, Carol. It's such an exciting time, the release of my first book as definitely held up to the hype. Thanks for helping me share it!

Thank you Heidi for agreeing to be my guinea pig first interview!

Look for Heidi on the net here:


Dec 5, 2011

Macroscian Monday

macroscian ~ one with a long shadow; one who inhabits polar regions

So . . . the big news for last week is that I won the NaNo challenge for the 4th year running. This means I now have four unedited NaNo drafts sitting on my hard drive. Or maybe that should be USB key – I don’t trust my lap top enough to leave the only copy on its hard drive. I think next year my NaNo should consist of 30 days of straight editing. :-)

Imagine my surprise when I look back over last month and realize that despite NaNo I got all my blog posts written and up in time. Of course I wasn’t doing my Tuesday non-fiction series, and the poetry’s on hiatus, but still . . . Okay, I was pretty late with last week’s instalment of Shades of Errol Flynn, but it did get up there eventually. And I was pretty much in a hermit’s cave as far as the social networks went so when it was time to emerge from the cave it was pretty much: “Where’d everybody go?” Hmm, maybe getting a handful of blog posts done wasn’t that great of an accomplishment after all.

I still have the Super Mega Death Cold From Hell. Doesn’t seem to matter whether or not I take cold medicine for it, so I only take it before bed now so I can sleep.

And I have no hat yet (you know, my reward for completing NaNo). I went shopping for one yesterday, but the only store to the East of where I live that might have had it, is gone now. *sigh* So this week my search will take me to the West. And if all else fails I can order my hat on-line.

What’s On For This Week:

Something different for this week, I’ve scheduled in a couple of author’s interviews.

Tuesday: Author’s interview with Heidi Sutherlin.

Wednesday: Another hump day hunk for your viewing pleasure. And in keeping with the spirit of the holidays, the next few hunks will be Christmas themed. ;-)

Thursday: Author’s interview with Jamie DeBree

Friday: Chapter 52 of Fire. You know, having Pyre blow up the planet is a legitimate option. Just sayin’. ;-)

Random Thoughts

Monday: Part 6 of the parts of speech. This week it’s the Conjunction.

Wednesday: Chapter 30 of Shades of Errol Flynn. Okay, Jessica made it onto the horse. The question is, will she be able to stay on it? :-)

Friday: NaNo’s over people, so no more excerpts. Instead I’ll be posting some of my favourite Christmas songs to show I’m not really the scrooge I pretend to be.

Also this week:

The new prompt is still up over at Rattles Flash Fiction. The deadline has been extended to January so you have plenty of time to come up with your thousand words for The Old Sofa. I finally got an idea for it myself so I’ll be working away on it this week.

The previous two anthologies are now available in print as well as e-format. At the Water’s Edge is available through Brazen Snake Books, Amazon, , Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble. As well, you can find In A Dark Place at Brazen Snake Books, Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble. The electronic version is only .99 cents while the print version is only $5.99 (+1.25 shipping & handling). Pick up your copies today if you’re looking for some inspiration or just a good read.

I still need to come up with some kind of schedule for myself. Now that it’s post NaNo I can start by writing down what I do all day, when I do it, and how long I spend doing it. Sort of like keeping a food diary when you’re dieting. Then on the weekend I can map out some kind of schedule and hopefully get more accomplished during the day so I can have my evenings free for social networking, reading, and maybe the odd craft or two.

There’s still a bit of work to do on my NaNo novel and I’d like to continue to plug away at it this week. I had to skip over a couple of parts because they weren’t coming to me fast enough and I’d really like to mark this story as finished (except for the editing).

And that’s pretty much my week ahead. How about you? What will you be up to?

Dec 1, 2011

NaNo Report - Wrap-up OR
Things I’ve Learned From NaNo

I don’t know what it was this year, but I just didn’t feel the same buzz. In the past, even when I joined reluctantly I eventually got caught up in the whole NaNo spirit of things, that pull that keeps you going no matter what. But this year I really had to force myself to get the words out. At least until I got sick near the end.

But, as usual, I still managed to learn a few things about myself and my writing. So here are my pearls of wisdom, in no particular order:

Just because you kill a character off in the beginning, doesn’t mean they can’t become part of the story.

Sometimes it pays to be stubborn, sometimes it doesn’t.

Writing a NaNo novel is NOT like writing a serialized novel.

I do not get inspired by staring out the window at the endless November rain. It should be snow, damn it!

No matter how far you fall behind, if the spirit is willing you can still catch up.

Next time I want a hat, I’m going to just go out and buy it, instead of torturing myself for it.

Star Wars marathons on the television are almost as good for background noise as Star Trek marathons.

If my characters want to have sex, I might as well let them or else they start doing really kinky things.

Stride “Spark” gum works better than coffee as a pick-me-up. And it’s cheaper, too!

Sometimes, 50,000 words is not worth putting your life on hold for.

It is possible to type from a reclined position when your sinuses won’t stop dripping.

I get more writing accomplished in my office than the living room – even when I’m sick.

Nov 28, 2011

Multivious Monday

multivious ~ leading in many directions; offering many different paths

Is any body else going to be as happy to see the end of November as I am?

I was just barely keeping a cold at bay all week, which means I didn’t get much accomplished other than my blog posts and words to the NaNo. I tried a new strategy for catching up . . . staying off the internet. It worked pretty good, too.

Missed both my Scribe’s meeting and my Poetry meeting, but did take a break and went out for coffee with a friend on Wednesday (well, she had coffee; I had tea).

After a mediocre week, I had a spectacular day on Friday. I wrote over 6,000 words on my NaNo, took care of a few things around the house I’d been putting off, and started reading a new book (as a reward).

Then Friday evening the cold starting getting the better of me. And Saturday morning I woke up with the Super Mega Death Cold From Hell. Which is really kicking my ass, no matter how much cold medication I take.

What’s On For This Week:

Tuesday: The NaNo report has been moved to Thursday, and in its place I have a couple of announcements.

Wednesday: Another hump day hunk for your viewing pleasure. ;-)

Thursday: My last NaNo report of the year – What I Learned From NaNo.

Friday: Chapter 51 of Fire. So what’s Pyre up to that has E.Z. so concerned?

Random Thoughts

Monday: Part 5 of the parts of speech. This week it’s the Pronoun.

Wednesday: Chapter 29 of Shades of Errol Flynn. So Jessica’s going horseback riding. This ought to be interesting. :-)

Friday: The last excerpt from my NaNo novel. If you missed the other ones, you can catch week one’s HERE, week two’s HERE, week three’s HERE, and week four’s HERE .

Also this week:

There’s a new prompt up over at Rattles Flash Fiction. The deadline has been extended to January so you have plenty of time to come up with your thousand words for The Old Sofa. At the Water’s Edge is available through Brazen Snake Books, Amazon, , Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble. As well, you can also find In A Dark Place at Brazen Snake Books, Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble if you’re looking for some inspiration or just a good read.

Anyone want to take bets on whether I’ll reach the finish line for NaNo or not? As I’m writing this (early Sunday evening) I still have about 10,000 words to go. The spirit’s willing but the body is achy, the sinuses are plugged up, and the head is fuzzy from cold medicine. It’s anyone’s guess at this point.

I seriously doubt if Twitter or Facebook will see much of me until I get ahead of this cold. Right now even checking my email seems like a lot of effort. But one thing I’d want to do once NaNo is finished is to start catching up with some of my favourite blogs. I’ve been sadly neglecting my blogging friends this month.

I need to come up with some kind of schedule for myself – X amount of time for blog surfing, X amount of time for writing, X amount of time for editing . . . Maybe I’ll start by keeping track of what I’m doing each day and for how long. I suspect I’m wasting far more time than I realize.

My husband suggested that I have only one goal for the week – Finish Nano, order hat. Works for me! :-)

So there you have it. My week ahead. What’s in store for you?

Nov 22, 2011

NaNoWriMo Report – Day 22

Well, my mental state has improved, but I’m not sure if it’s in time to save my NaNo. I’m still plugging away though.

At one point I was a whopping 7,000 words behind. I’ve been trying to make up for lost time, but I’m still around 5,000 words in the hole. I’ve had a few really good days, but they seem to be interspersed with a few not so good days.

I made some good progress on the weekend when a character I killed off at the very beginning came back as a ghost and is now firmly entrenched in the story, but then I got distracted by some reading.

It’s funny how things change over the years. I can remember my first NaNo win . . . I got most of my writing done late at night while watching Star Trek movies. Now I’m finding the television is too distracting. I get more writing progress done in my office.

To finish on time I need to write 2,300 words a day. Can I do it? I guess we’ll find out next week.

Nov 21, 2011

Misericord Monday

misericord ~ ledge in church to lean against while standing; forgiveness or mercy

I gotta tell you. November has really been kicking my ass.

I’m still behind in my NaNo, but the rest of my writing and whatnot is going well. In fact, I even got my serial posts done in a timely fashion last week. I just wish I knew why I couldn’t get that to happen the rest of the year.

I was so proud of myself for getting last week’s NaNo report written ahead of time that when it came time to posting it I forgot all about the NaNocats to illustrate it! I even had them all picked out and sitting in my folder. I’ll try not to forget them this week.

People all around me are enjoying colder temperatures and in some cases even snow! Here in my little corner of the world it’s been unseasonably mild. So mild, in fact, I noticed dandelions coming up in the park I cut across on my way home from the post office last week. They were also putting up Christmas lights in the town park that day, which seemed so wrong when I’m walking along carrying my spring coat because it was too warm to wear it.

Environment Canada has been promising a cold and nasty winter, so in anticipation of that I changed to flannel sheets on the bed. AND a warmer blanket. Now I’m way too warm at night, even with the window in the bedroom open. *sigh*

We went to a family Christmas dinner on Saturday. It was for my mother-in-law’s side of the family. Originally there were nine siblings, but now it’s down to only three of them. Representatives from each of the extended families were invited and I believe the total headcount was twenty-four.

I read a couple of more books during the week, trying to use the reward system to get more words out for my NaNo. I don’t know how effective it was for upping my word count, but I did enjoy the books immensely!

What’s On For This Week:

Tuesday: the NaNoWriMo report for Day Twenty-Two.

Wednesday: Another hump day hunk for your viewing pleasure. ;-)

Friday: Chapter 50 of Fire. Will the three elementals be able to stop the lava in time for the rescue?

Random Thoughts

Monday: Part 4 of the parts of speech. This week it’s the Adverb.

Wednesday: Chapter 28 of Shades of Errol Flynn. Yes, I know some of you aren’t happy with last week’s reveal about Alexandre’s sexual orientation, but it’s necessary to the plot. Trust me.

Friday: Another excerpt from my NaNo novel. If you missed the first three, you can catch week one’s HERE, week two’s HERE, and week three’s HERE.

Also this week:

There’s a new prompt up over at Rattles Flash Fiction. You have until midnight (mountain time) on November 30 to come up with your thousand words for The Old Sofa. Don't be shy, send in your stories today!

The latest Rattles anthology, At the Water’s Edge, is available through Brazen Snake Books, Amazon, , Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble. You can also still find In A Dark Place at Brazen Snake Books, Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble.

I have a Scribe’s meeting tonight, but I suspect I’m not going to make it. We’ll see how many words I get done for NaNo today. If the writing’s not going well, then I can’t justify the time spent away from writing. On the other hand, if the writing’s going well, I might not want to break my momentum.

There’s a poetry group meeting tomorrow night that has a better chance of seeing me, but again, it depends on how the NaNo is going. At one point last week I was behind by 7,000 words and although I’ve been catching up, I still have a ways to go.

Guess since I’ve been reading books I should think about updating my Goodreads before I forget which books I read and how awesome they were. :-)

There’s lots of little stuff to be done this week too, but I’m sure you don’t want to hear about it. :-)

So there you have it. My week ahead. What’s in store for you?

Nov 15, 2011

NaNoWriMo Report – Day 15

After catching up on my words last week, even leaping ahead by a whopping 250 words, I am once again behind in my NaNo. Seriously behind. This is what happens when you don’t write for three days in a row.

I have no one to blame but myself. I let myself fall into one of those funks where I’m doubting every word I write and wondering why I’m wasting my time. I know what should go in there, I just can’t seem to get it from my head to the keyboard. I’ve become seriously un-motivated.

Friday I just wasn’t “feeling” it, and let myself be distracted by other things. I tried working on something else for a while but although I got lots done on that project, I wasn’t any more stirred to get working on my NaNo.

Saturday I still couldn’t get into it, even though my friends Jamie and Heidi helped me come up with a name for a villain. I thought maybe a reading break was in order, so I read a romantic thriller, but afterwards I was no more motivated than I was before.

Sunday I started to have self-doubts about my story. I liked the beginning and the ending well enough, it’s just the stuff in the middle was turning out darker than I’d expected. So my characters stepped up and my MMC thought maybe he should tell the girl he’s an undercover agent, and my FMC decided to let me in on her back story as to why she got into writing erotica in the first place and her own sordid past. However, the bulk of my day was taken up by the Santa Claus parade and by the time dinner was over I remembered that I had posts to write for Monday.

Yesterday I finally started to hit my stride again, but I’m going to have to really lengthen that stride if I’m going to catch up.

Today is the halfway point of NaNo and I’m about 6,000 words behind.

I’ll keep plugging away and we’ll see what happens. Completing NaNo at this point is really more a question of concentration and motivation than anything else, and right now I’m seriously lacking in both. And boy doesn’t that line give me a sense of déjà vu.

Nov 14, 2011

Meiosis Monday

meiosis ~ understatement of size or importance for rhetorical effect

The big news for last week was that: I haz books! I had a nice big box of books delivered to me on Friday, and they all have my name on them. :-)

Last week started out strong, but kind of petered out by the end. In fact, starting on Friday I had the most unproductive weekend I’ve had in ages. There is serious question of me finishing NaNo this year.

Made it to the Scribes meeting on Monday and to be perfectly honest, my time would have been better spent at home writing. There were only five of us there, only four of whom actually participated (the moderator/leader never participates in the prompt writing). The reading of our flash pieces took maybe fifteen minutes. The rest of the time was spent discussing current news and a particular newspaper columnist.

Thursday several poets from my poetry group were invited to one of the local highschools to give a talk on poetry. This was the second time I’ve participated in this. It was a lot of fun, the kids are really great. I read my Blitz poem, which they enjoyed, and left handouts for the teacher so they could give it a try themselves.

Despite finally finding a name for my villain (thank you Jamie and Heidi!) I have fallen woefully behind in NaNo. More about that in tomorrow’s post.

I took a break on Saturday and read Holly Lisle’s romantic suspense Night Echoes. It was the perfect book to read on a grey and miserable day/evening.

What’s On For This Week:

Tuesday: the NaNoWriMo report for Day Fifteen.

Wednesday: Another hump day hunk for your viewing pleasure. ;-)

Friday: Chapter 49 of Fire. Looks like the mountain is about to blow and they’re cut off. Now what are they going to do?

Random Thoughts

Monday: Part 3 of the parts of speech. This week it’s the Adjective.

Wednesday: Chapter 27 of Shades of Errol Flynn. So, will Jessica be able to help Ewan?

Friday: A another excerpt from my NaNo novel. If you missed the first one, you can catch it HERE and the second one HERE.

Also this week:

There’s a new prompt up over at Rattles Flash Fiction. You have until midnight (mountain time) on November 30 to come up with your thousand words for The Old Sofa. At the Water’s Edge is available through Brazen Snake Books, Amazon, , Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble. You can also still find In A Dark Place at Brazen Snake Books, Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble.

At the top of my list for this week is finishing a letter to my sister. It’s a good thing she’s patient ‘cause I’ve owed it to her for a very long time. Yes, we do e-mail each other, but she made me promise when she first got her hotmail account that e-mail would never replace snail mail.

I need to come up with another form of exercise to supplement the walking. I freely admit I have been slacking off on the walking the last couple of weeks, and not just because the weather’s been bad. I have a couple of DVDs on yoga I might try, or there’s always working with weights. And no, I’m not talking about pumping iron! I’m talking about body sculpting with hand weights.

And there you have my week ahead. What about you? What will you be up to?

Nov 9, 2011

Hump Day Hunk

This one is for Trinity Marlow in honour of her current erotic serial, The Paramedic. If you're not already reading it, check it out HERE. She posts a new chapter twice a week . . . usually. ;-)

Nov 8, 2011

NaNoWriMo Report – Day 8

I sat up on October 31, waiting as the minutes ticked away. At the stroke of midnight I was poised, ready to start writing. After much internal debate, I had settled on an idea. I knew how it began and how it ended, and a lot of what was going to happen in between. What I did not know, were the names of the characters. So, I went to my favourite baby naming site and asked my husband to pick a letter at random. After finding my hero’s name, I went through the same procedure for my heroine’s name. My villain is still known only as X.

There were several different places to start this novel, and I dithered for quite a while over where would be best. Finally, I just picked one at random, knowing I could go back and change it at any time. Actually, I’ve got a few paragraphs bracketing the beginning that could be turned into alternate beginnings.

So, needless to say, I got off to a slow start. In fact, for the first few days I was falling further and further behind. The writing was coming in fits and starts. I was spending copious amounts of time just staring blankly at my screen. By about day four I was something like 2,900 words behind.

Then a miracle happened. My characters decided to have sex. I wasn’t going to let them do this until they were safely on the spaceship, but my FMC told me bluntly that if I thought she was going to have sex for the first time on a spaceship with a man who had kidnapped her, then I had another thing coming. She wanted to have sex with him for the first time in her own bed. So I agreed, and started catching up on my word count.

Then I remembered that this was NaNo, not a serial, and I didn’t have to write everything in a linear fashion. I could jump around if I wanted. So then I wrote a rather lengthy scene that takes place near the end and again, my word count continued to climb.

And then, I added in a scene towards the end where my MMC has himself put on trial for supposed crimes against the FMC and she goes into the courtroom and proves that he’s just being a noble jack ass. And now I’m pretty much caught up on my NaNo word count.

Next week, I probably be worrying that I’ll run out of story before I run out of words. :-)

Nov 7, 2011

Mazy Monday

mazy ~ dizzy; confused; labyrinthine; convoluted

Despite last week being the first week of NaNo, I still managed to get all my blog posts written and up in a timely fashion.

And . . . that’s about all I did last week. My regular stuff and NaNo, which I won’t discuss here because it gets a post of its own tomorrow.

Just so you know, it goes against my nature to leave an empty space here.

I feel like I need to fill it up with something.

Um . . . we had some really nice weather last week . . .

Looks like this week will be pretty good too . . .


I give up.

What’s On For This Week:

Tuesday: the NaNoWriMo report for Day Eight.

Wednesday: Another hump day hunk for your viewing pleasure. ;-)

Friday: Chapter 48 of Fire. Just how imminent is the eruption? Will they have time to get to the ship? And what about Taja and Ravi?

Random Thoughts

Monday: Part 2 of the parts of speech. This week it’s the Verb.

Wednesday: Chapter 26 of Shades of Errol Flynn. Think Jessica will take Howard’s advice and stay out of trouble?

Friday: A another excerpt from my NaNo novel. If you missed the first one, you can catch it HERE. The scene includes a prime example why amateurs should never attempt cover art. I make no excuses – have a laugh on me. :-)

Also this week:

There’s a new prompt up over at Rattles Flash Fiction. You have until November 30, midnight (mountain time), to come up with your thousand words for The Old Sofa. At the Water’s Edge will be available in e-format on November 12. I’ll post the links when they become available – and in the meantime you can still find In A Dark Place at Brazen Snake Books, Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble.

You know, this whole website thing is starting to be either a minor irritation or a joke. I’m not sure which. In any case, I’m tabling the websites until after NaNo.

I have a Scribes meeting tonight, and as per usual I don’t have my 150 words written yet. Would you believe me if I told you I find that measly 150 words harder to write than a longer piece?

I may have to check my records 'cause it's been changed so many times, but I believe this thursday is the day my poetry group is meeting with a group of local high school students for a seminar. We did this last year and had lots of fun, so I expect more of the same.

And there you have it, my week ahead. What are you going to be up to this week? How’s your NaNo going?

Nov 2, 2011

Hump Day Hunk

Maybe he should use both hands to shade his head. What do you think? ;-)

Nov 1, 2011

NaNoWriMo – Day One

What do you mean you’ve never heard of the National Novel Writing Month? Go HERE and sign up. Right now!

That’s okay, I can wait.

*musical interlude*

Tall and tan and young and lovely
The girl from Ipanema goes walking
And when she passes
Each one she passes
Goes – Ahhhh.

*end musical interlude*

When I worked in the call centre I used to sing this whenever I was on hold. Used to drive my co-workers crazy. ;-)

Okay, now that you’re signed up, find me and be my buddy. My NaNo name is Lady Cat. It’s a long story, but that’s the name I signed up with many years ago and if I try and change it then all my NaNo stats would disappear, so I’m stuck with it.

Yesterday I promised an explanation as to why I’m doing NaNo if I don’t expect to reach the finish line. It’s for the hat. Not just any hat, THE hat. Every year I have something to give me incentive to keep going – the official travel mug, the t-shirt, the hoodie . . . I have them all. This year there wasn’t any NaNo merchandise I wanted, but one thing I’ve always wanted is a hat. And not just any hat, an Australian leather outback hat.

So. Even though I’ve got two websites to get up and running, and even though I have lots of editing and writing to get done for myself, and even though I’ve got lots of editing/transcribing to get done for other people, I am doing NaNo this year.

It’s all about the hat.

Oct 31, 2011

Malvaceous Monday

malvaceous ~ of, like or pertaining to the mallow family of plants

I have been sadly neglectful of my blog friends these last few days, weeks, months, for which I apologize profusely, but I’m here to tell you that it’s probably not going to change any time soon. At least not until December. And why won’t it be changing any time soon? Because I’ve decided to throw my hat into the ole NaNo ring.

Am I crazy? Probably. Am I expecting to reach my 50,000 word goal by the end of November? Not really. So why am I doing this? I’ll tell you in tomorrow’s post. :-p

Let’s see . . . what did I do last week, aside from massive amounts of editing, that is. Maybe I’ll start with what I didn’t do :
I didn’t get my websites started
I didn’t get my cell phone situation straightened out
I didn’t even get my grammar post up on Saturday over on Random Writings.

I did make it to my poetry group; we had a huge turn out for a change.
I did get my submission written and sent to Rattles Flash Fiction.
I did have lunch with a friend
I did remember to go to my doctor’s appointment
I did get crap loads of editing done for myself and others.

I went with a friend to the dump last week, which might not seem real exciting, but as we were on our way home she asked, “Where does this road come out?” I replied, “I don’t know, it should hit the highway eventually.” So of course we decided to take it. It was a nice, scenic (if not long), drive, and yes, we did eventually reach the highway, way north of where I expected to.

What’s On For This Week:

Tuesday: Since the Natural Wonders of the World wrapped up last week, I think I’m going to use this space for my NaNo updates for the month of November which, coincidentally, starts on Tuesday. :-) The first post will be why I decided to do NaNo even though I have no expectation of succeeding.

Wednesday: Another hump day hunk for your viewing pleasure. ;-)

Friday: Chapter 46 of Fire. I guess Pyre’s control isn’t so perfect after all. Think Rayne will get out in time?

Random Thoughts

Monday: I’m moving Grappling With Grammar to this day and given it a new name, just because I can. :-)

Wednesday: Chapter 25 of Shades of Errol Flynn. Looks like Jessica isn’t as much in control as she hoped. I wonder what trouble she’ll get into next?

Friday: A scene from my as yet undecided NaNo novel. Hopefully I’ll decide on my idea by midnight tonight. :-)

Also this week:

There’s still time to get your story in to Rattles Flash Fiction. You have until midnight, mountain time. This month’s theme is At the Water’s Edge. And while you’re at it, check out the first edition of the Rattles monthly anthology, In A Dark Place. You can find it at Brazen Snake Books, Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble.

Despite the onset of NaNo, this week I’ll finally be getting to work on my websites – my business website and my author’s website. The cell phone situation will just have to wait for now.

No meetings this week. Technically the Scribes should have been meeting tonight, but it’s Halloween and most of the scribes preferred to stay home. Go figure. ;-)

Barring the unexpected, which I’ve learned now to always expect, that’s my week ahead. What are you going to be up to this week? Are you going to give NaNo a try?

Oct 25, 2011

Seven Wonders of the Natural World - Part Seven

Victoria Falls is one of the most spectacular sights of awe-inspiring beauty in the world. Known by the local tribes as ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’ – the Smoke that Thunders – it’s 1,708 metres (5,604 feet) wide and drops between 90 metres (295 feet) and 107 metres (351 feet) into the Zambezi Gorge and is considered to be the largest curtain of water in the world.

Located in southern Africa on the Zambezi River between the countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe, it’s believed to have been first sighted by Scottish missionary and explorer David Livingston. He named the falls after Queen Victoria.

The Zambezi’s course is broken up by numerous islands, increasing in number the closer to the falls the river gets. Upstream the river flows over a level sheet of basalt; there are no mountains or valleys, only a flat plateau extending for miles in all directions. The falls are formed as the full width of the river plummets in a single vertical drop into a crosswise chasm carved by its waters along a fracture zone in the basalt plateau.

The spray from the falls typically rises to a height of over 400 metres (1,300 feet), and sometimes even twice as high, and is visible from up to 50 kilometres (31 miles) away. During the full moon, a "moonbow" can be seen in the mist, much like the rainbow that is seen during the day.

The depth of the chasm, called the First Gorge, varies from 80 metres (260 ft) at its western end to 108 metres (354 ft) in the centre. The only outlet to the First Gorge is a 110 metres (360 ft) wide gap about two-thirds of the way across the width of the falls from the western end, through which the whole volume of the river pours into the Victoria Falls gorges.

There are two islands on the crest of the falls that are large enough to divide the curtain of water even at full flood: Boaruka Island (or Cataract Island) near the western bank, and Livingstone Island near the middle — the place that David Livingstone first saw the falls from in Zambia. At less than full flood, additional islets divide the curtain of water into separate parallel streams. The main streams are named, in order from Zimbabwe (west) to Zambia (east): Devil's Cataract (called Leaping Water by some), Main Falls, Rainbow Falls (the highest) and the Eastern Cataract. ~ Wikipedia

Over at least 100,000 years, the falls have been receding upstream through the Batoka Gorges, eroding the sandstone-filled cracks to form the gorges.
The river's course in the current vicinity of the falls is north to south, so it opens up the large east-west cracks across its full width, then it cuts back through a short north-south crack to the next east-west one. The river has fallen in different eras into different chasms which now form a series of sharply zig-zagging gorges downstream from the falls. ~ Wikipedia

A famous feature is a naturally formed pool known as the Devil's Pool, near the edge of the falls, accessed via Livingstone Island in Zambia. When the river flow is at a safe level, usually during the months of September to December, people can swim as close as possible to the edge of the falls within the pool without continuing over the edge and falling into the gorge; this is possible due to a natural rock wall just below the water and at the very edge of the falls that stops their progress despite the current. ~ Wikipedia

There are two unique and distinctive views of the falls, one through Livingstone, Zambia, the other through Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. The best way to view the falls is to take a helicopter tour, which provides a breathtaking and spectacular aerial view of the falls and surrounding area. Another and almost equally impressive view is from the foot path and foot bridge trail that follows alongside the falls. This unique trail allows visitors to see the falls at eye level, and from only 200 feet (60 metres) away.

Activities that gained popularity in the area include whitewater rafting in the gorges, bungee jumping from the bridge, game fishing, horse riding, kayaking, and flights over the falls.

Oct 24, 2011

Microtome Monday

microtome ~ instrument used to cut very small sections of something

Last week I not only made it to my Scribes meeting, with my 150 words written, but I made it to the poetry reading as well. I was down right sociable last week, which is amazing when you consider how miserable the weather was all week. Yesterday we got a faint hint of sun, and this week it’s supposed to be back to miserable again.

Summer is officially over. I know this because I finally removed the remnants of the bright nail polish from my toenails on the weekend. It made me sad, so I’m thinking about finding another cheerful colour to paint them again. Even if I have to wear socks and shoes this time of year, I can still smile at the thought that under those socks I have colour. :-)

Has anyone noticed the changes I made over on Random Writings? I like that it looks less messy now, but it makes my posts look short because the space is wider. Just no pleasing me I guess. I’m contemplating make some similar changes over here (not the colours, just the format) but it’s still just in the thinking stages.

I wish my weekends could be as productive as my week days. Unfortunately, weekends seem to get filled with errands, and housework, and family obligations . . . and let’s face it, I get struck down by an acute attack of laziness. Weekends are supposed to be for relaxing, right? My body seems to go into full relaxation mode whether I want it to or not.

What’s On For This Week:

Tuesday: Part seven of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World is Victoria Falls.

Wednesday: Another hump day hunk for your viewing pleasure. ;-)

Friday: Chapter 46 of Fire. Think the rescue will go off without a hitch?

Random Thoughts

Wednesday: Chapter 24 of Shades of Errol Flynn. Just how far is Jessica’s magic lesson going to go?

Saturday: I’ll be reviving my Grappling With Grammar series. I had some inspiration last week and some new motivation. :-)

I’ll probably do a little more tweeking to look of the blog, but I think it’s more or less the way I want it now.

This week I’ll also be busy with:

Once again I’d like to remind you that there’s a new prompt up at Rattles Flash Fiction. This month’s theme is At the Water’s Edge. Check it out and submit a story. I’m hoping to get my story finished this week. And if you’d like to check out the first edition of the Rattles monthly anthology, In A Dark Place, you can find it at Brazen Snake Books, Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble.

This week I’m finally hoping to get working on my websites – my business website and my author’s website. I might even see if I can do something about my cell phone situation, like take it to Telus and see if I can turn it in for something I can actually use. And if they’re as helpful as they’ve been thus far, I can always give Rogers or Bell a try.

There’s a meeting with my poetry group on Tuesday night, and I even have my ‘poemwork’ done already. I don’t have any new poems to read, but that happens some times.

Barring the unexpected, which I’ve learned now to always expect, that’s what will be filling up my week, along with the usual editing and writing. What are you going to be up to this week?

Oct 19, 2011

Hump Day Hunk

This one's for Jamie. Don't forget to get a little rest on your holidays. ;-)

Oct 18, 2011

Seven Wonders of the Natural World - Part Six


Although it’s not surprising to find a volcano listed under the Wonders of the Natural World, I had to do a little digging to find out why this particular volcano was listed:

The eruption of the Paricutin scoria cone from 1943 to 1952 marks the first time scientists were able to observe the complete life cycle of a volcano, from birth to extinction. Geologists from many parts of the world came to study this extraordinary volcanic event. The knowledge gained by these scientists greatly expanded our understanding of volcanism in general, and of scoria-cone formation in particular. ~ How Volcanoes Work

Paricutin is situated about 200 miles west of Mexico City, in the state of Michoacán, Mexico. It’s a cone volcano that grew out of a corn field. The type of eruption which happened at Paricutin is called a Strombolian eruption, which means it gushed basaltic lava, and exploded from a single vent. The worst of Paricutin's volcanic activity, took place in 1943, with its lava rising to about 50 feet below the crater's rim. Nearly 1000 people died following one of its last major eruptions in 1949.

“Strombolian pyroclastic activity began at the fissure on the day it was discovered by Dionisio Pulido. Within 24 hours the eruption had generated a 50-m-high scoria cone. Within a week, it had grown to a height of 100 m from the accumulation of bombs and lapilli, and finer fragments of ash were raining down on the village of Paricutin. The eruption became more powerful in March, generating eruptive columns several kilometers high. Occassionally, the volcano would exhibit vulcanian-type activity, with large canon-like explosions separated by short periods of silence. On June 12, a lobe of lava began to advance toward Paricutin village and people began to evacuate the village the following day. The larger village of San Juan Parangaricutiro was evacuated a few months later. By August 1944, most of the villages of Paricutin and San Juan were covered in lava and ash. All that remained of San Juan were two church towers that stood above a sea of rugged lava.

The Paricutin eruption was unusually long for a strombolian eruption, with several eruptive phases occurring over a 9-year period. After about two years of mostly pyroclastic activity the pyroclastic phase began to wane, and the outpouring of lava from the base of the cone became the dominant mode of eruption over the next 7 years. Although no people died directly from the eruption, three people died after being struck by lightning generated by the pyroclastic eruptions. The eruption ceased in 1952. The final height of the scoria cone was 424 m.” ~ From: How Volcanoes Work

Today the volcano stands 1,345 feet high, which is 9,210 feet above sea level. You can see Paricutin by taking the 12 mile round trip journey to the top of the volcano. Most people make the journey by hiking or on horseback. Along the way you will see the lava fields, buried homes, and the remains of the church of San Juan.

Oct 17, 2011

Meconomancy Monday

meconomancy ~ divination using sleep

Last week started out with the perfect fall weather, then quickly segued into Winnie the Pooh’s Blustery Day. Only our blustery day lasted three days. I actually like the wind. I love the sound of it when I’m warm and safe inside, I love falling asleep to the sound of it, and I even love being out in it – at least at this time of year. In another month it’ll be a whole different story. ;-)

After a slow start last week, things started to pick up speed rather quickly. And of course as I get busy with other things I tend not to spend so much time on the internet. Which in turn means I didn’t get to visit or comment on any blogs, I barely kept abreast of my email, and I flitted in and out of Facebook like a drunken butterfly. This week does not bode to be any better.

Got the first five transcripts for the Living History project spiffed up and sent to the archives. It would really help if I had Word 2007 to work with, but I’m having to make due with 2003. *sigh* Of course I could buy an upgrade, but the only one available now is Word 2010, which is a pain in the butt (not the program, the fact that I can’t get 2007).

Although I didn’t miss the struggle to get an example written, I did sort of miss doing the poetry post on Thursday. I’m toying with the idea of having guest poets fill in until I’m ready to resume my forms . . . what do you think? Maybe I’ll set up a poll since people seem to be too shy to actually comment. :-)

One thing about the overcast/windy/stormy weather – it may not be conducive to writing, but it’s great for editing. Got a major amount of editing done near the end of the week. Of course my weekend wasn’t nearly as productive as I would have liked, but then they seldom are.

What’s On For This Week:

Tuesday: Part six of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World is the Parícutin Volcano (Volcán de Parícutin).

Wednesday: Another hump day hunk for your viewing pleasure. ;-)

Friday: Chapter 45 of Fire. Looks like everyone’s in place – time for some action.

Random Thoughts

The only thing I can say for sure that will be going on over here this week is Chapter 23 of Shades of Errol Flynn.

I’m going to be making some changes – maybe a new template, maybe a couple of new features. A lot will depend on how much time I have to spend on it.

This week I’ll also be busy with:

Once again I’d like to remind you that there’s a new prompt up at Rattles Flash Fiction. This month’s theme is At the Water’s Edge. Check it out and submit a story. I’m hoping to get my story finished this week. And if you’d like to check out the first edition of the Rattles monthly anthology, In A Dark Place, you can find it at Brazen Snake Books, Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble. It's a real bargain - six stories for only 99 cents!

This week bodes to be insanely busy for me. I’m hoping to finish the edits on the book I’m currently editing (for someone else) today so I can sink my teeth into the edits for a really big book I’ve been waiting (and waiting, and WAITING) for. ;-)

I’ve got the changes I’d like to make to Random Writings, and maybe a change or two over here. I’m also going to get my business website up and running and apparently, because I’m an author now, it has been suggested I need an author’s site as well.

I also have a Scribe’s meeting tonight, and there’s a poetry reading Thursday night.

And let’s not forget I still have lots of transcribing to do for the Living History project.

As the saying goes, there’s no rest for the wicked. I must be very wicked indeed! ;-)

So, what have you got in store for yourself this week? Busy week? Slow week? Inquiring minds want to know!

Oct 11, 2011

Seven Wonders of the Natural World - Part Five

Aurora Borealis

The aurora borealis, also known as the Northern Lights, are naturally occurring lights that create spectacular displays in the night sky. Often it is nothing more than a diffused glow on the horizon, but it is truly amazing when it appears as waves across the sky. Though most frequently seen in the northern hemisphere, they have been known to appear in the south as well. The best chance to see the northern lights is between the months of March to April and September to October.

I have been lucky enough to have seen the aurora borealis twice in my life. Once when I was a teenager taking a night time walk on the beach I saw streaks of green in the sky over Lake Ontario. The second time I saw them from my backyard. It was such an impressive sight I even woke my daughter up to watch them with me.

But what exactly are the northern lights?
They’re much more than just a pretty light display in the sky. They’re actually caused by collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun entering the earth’s atmosphere. Variations in colour are due to the type of gas particles that are colliding; the rare, all-red aurora is caused by high-altitude oxygen. The displays may appear in many colours, although usually they’re green or pink.

More interesting (to me, anyway) are the many myths and legends surrounding the Northern Lights:
An aurora was thought to be a sign of good will from Nanahboozho by the Ottawas of Manitoulin Island (in Lake Huron).
Many native tries believed the northern lights to be dancing spirits.
In Siberia, the Chuvash believed it was their heaven god helping women in childbirth
The Inuits of Greenland, however, believed the lights to be the spirits of children who died at birth.
The Lakota Sioux believe just the opposite – that the lights were spirits waiting to be born.
The Fox Indians also believed the lights were spirits, however in this case it was the spirits of their slain enemies who wished revenge.
Many Eskimo groups believe the northern lights to be spirits playing ball with a walrus head or skull.
The Vikings believed the lights to be reflections from the shields of the Valkyrie as they left the battlefields, leading the honoured dead to Valhalla.
In China it was believed that the lights were made of the fiery breath of a dragon.
The Makah Indians believed the lights were the fires of a tribe of dwarfs in the far north.
In Scotland the lights are called “merry dancers”. It’s believed if the dancers moved slowly and gracefully you’d be in for good weather.

The best places to watch for the northern lights are areas that are not subject to 'light pollution'. Smaller communities in the north tend to be best. The display peaks almost every eleven years; the next peak should occur in 2013.

If you want to see more of this natural wonder, try the Aurora Webcam.