Monthly Archives: February 2013

Book Review- Bossypants

I would leave my husband for Tina Fey. I want to grow old with her.

That is all.

(OK, that’s not all. There’s also the fact that this book is effing hilarious- the introduction alone had me giggling in the store before I bought it, and the parts about birth and breastfeeding made me cry from the funny-because-it’s-true. I want the audiobook version now, please and thank you.)

Please feel free to nominate this post for any “worst and least insightful book reviews ever” awards you know. I know of none, but it would be an honour just to be nominated. For anything.


Quote o’ the Day

“Forget past mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you’re going to do now and do it.”

— William Durant


Confession: If I could choose a store to have a shopping spree in, a good stationery store just might top my wish list.

Further confession: Honestly, I would accept Staples/Business Depot.

I love notebooks. I try not to buy more than I will use, but they make me so happy. A nice pen is always a great mood-booster, too, but notebooks…  *sigh*. A new notebook is just a tiny world of infinite possibility, isn’t it?

This is me trying to cut down:


(AND wearing awesome argyle socks. Does that count as successful multitasking?)

I have more… my journal is in the bedroom, and the quotations notebook has gone off on a magical adventure someplace else. There’s another book for notes on things my friends like, and the one I keep in my purse in case inspiration (or a grocery-list related emergency) strikes. All we need is these, though, if we’re talking about writing.

I do all of my actual writing on the computer. My hands can’t keep up with my brain when I’m writing longhand, and there’s also the fact that I’m just going to have to type it up later, anyway.

For everything else, there’s notebooks.

I can’t make notes and plans on a computer. Tried it, hated it, couldn’t make my brain process the results. Something about having a pen in my hand opens my imagination up in a different way. I’m not saying that my method will work for anyone else, but I always like insights into how other people work, so I’m throwing mine out there. Ready?

Let’s start with the little purple one- it should be beside my bed for middle-of-the-night inspiration, so I don’t have to much up my journal with that stuff. Right now it’s blank. Moving on.

The big ones: The one with the green stripes on the left is for expanding on ideas that have been jotted down elsewhere- short stories get their outlines in there, and the back section has concept, plot, and character notes for another novel that I won’t be getting to for a while. I like to try to focus on one thing at a time (though short stories do make a nice break when other work is getting frustrating), so this is a place for the other ideas to rest and incubate, kept safe until need them. I would definitely forget them otherwise, even the good ones.

Next over is…  Oh, that’s my notes on Bound- plot notes, mostly, and random ideas that did or didn’t make it into the most recent draft. Brainstorming, notes I make while reading it over (AGAIN), notes I’ve had from my Beta readers, random doodles, and anything I just need to jot down while I’m working- wouldn’t want to forget that one horse’s name, or exactly how many mer-children there were running around that one night, would we?

The one with the orange stripes is very important, and needs to be replaced. It’s everything about my fictional world- geography, history, politics, laws and theories of the magic system, animals and plants that live there, geology, characters and their relationships, notes on names I might use some day, character arcs and plot planning, what’s going on elsewhere while my characters are living out their stories (but only if it might apply to future works. I’m not obsessive, guys, jeez). It’s useful, but it’s out-of-date. I started this book during the first draft of Bound, and so much has changed. Every main character has a different name from what he/she started with. Ditto for most towns, provinces, and one of the two principal countries involved. Rowan’s much more competent than she was in the beginning, Aren’s more eviler* at the beginning, especially if you factor in the prologue (which we’re not, of course…). It’s time for a do-over on this one.

The fancy blue one is for Torn what the zig-zaggy one was for Bound, which right now means plot notes, new characters, and notes from my read-through of what I got done during NaNoWriMo last November (which I don’t even count as a first draft, but it’s a fabulous outline/place to mess around and figure things out).

That’s it. That’s my system. For the actual writing I use my little acer netbook and Scrivener (which is a great writing program- anything that doesn’t organize in chapters and let me move scenes around drives me bonkers, now). Oh, but I use Yarny for short stories… I don’t know why, they’re just a whole different game.

As for this guy…


…I don’t know what that one’s for yet. It’s my new favourite notebook (and has unlined paper, wheeee!), which means that I refuse to mark it up with notes or drawings. We’ll have to wait and see; I just wanted to show it off. LOOK HOW ADORABLE THAT DRAGON IS!


*really? Spellcheck will accept “eviler” as a word? Huh.

Something Different

No Jack Attack this Monday. Instead, I’m going to share some pictures from a recent cold-but-lovely day. And I mean cold– a Canadian Botox kind of day. Face frozen.

But you all can just enjoy some pictures of Newfoundland in winter from the comfort of your own… Wherever you are. Yay!

Slob ice: (n) A floating mass of slushy or broken ice.


Our local-ish shipwreck:



More broken ice. This also happens to our roads every winter…


^Yes, that does appear to be part of a dock escaping on the ice, doesn’t it? Just like Buddy the Elf going to New York City. Aww.

And just so you don’t think it’s grey and depressing here every day, this was a few days earlier. Much bluer!


Happy Birthday to Me

Hey, look! I’m not dead! Good for me!

It’s 9:30 am here, and so far, so good. Got up, had a crappuccino (made to my own personal specifications, of course). My mom is visiting, which would make it an amazing day even if it wasn’t my birthday- I miss my family a lot, and it’s been over a year since our last visit. TOO LONG. I got birthday hugs from the boys (after their Grandy reminded them that it was my birthday), lots of happy birthdaying on Facebook from my night-owl and living-to-the-east-of-me friends, and I’ve had a little black cat climbing all over me. That last one has nothing to do with it being my birthday, but it’s always nice to be appreciated.

So what now? Well, there’s this, what I’m doing right now. This is always fun. Then… Well, my husband is on call today, so we’re not going out, but that’s fine by me. Maybe I’ll get a nap. Joy! Bliss! And I know for a fact that there are presents. PRESENTS!

I’m not too old to be excited about presents. Or about it being my birthday, actually. 32 is not old. In fact, it’s fantastic. This is going to be a great year for me (and I can safely say that now, what with me being not dead and all).  I’m still working out the details, but I’m going to make good things happen this year, one way or another. I’m leaning toward getting fitted for a superhero costume and taking things in that direction, professionally, but if that doesn’t work out I’ll find something. Maybe that writing thing, I don’t know. Someone told me earlier today that I rock, so I guess I’ll try to keep that up. I’ve also been told to have a smashing b’day, so I’ll have to find something to smash today. That should be fun. Might make a habit of that.

What was I saying? Oh, right. This is going to by my year!

(If you hear a loud crashing noise, that’s probably an ACME safe falling on my head. Because I just did it again, didn’t I? Yes, I did)


No big post today- you’ll get something wonderful and awe-inspiring (or half-assed and kind of crumbly, depending on how this headache goes) for my birthday tomorrow.

But I was thinking: I do blog posts in advance and schedule them. It allows me to spread out the writing-related posts and move things around, and leaves time for editing while giving me a deadline. Yes, I usually edit. Who knew, right?

How weird would it be if I died, and just kept posting from beyond the grave? Not really, of course, but it would look like that, wouldn’t it? And it would be extra creepy if it happened today, and then tomorrow’s semi-edited post came up talking about all of the things I’m going to do this year, when I’m all alive and breathing and stuff.

I’ve done it now, haven’t I? I am so dead.

Goodbye, cruel world, I’m going to spend the rest of the day huddled in my bed, waiting for death by irony*.

In conclusion, I’m just going to leave you with a drawing of a toaster and tell you to pay no attention to anything I say when there’s an invisible grizzly gnawing on my skull.


* I am fully aware that no matter how this word is used, someone will say that it’s wrong, but I think dying right before a blog post about the awesome aliveness of one’s future qualifies, even if dying AFTER a post about death does not. So there. I probably won’t be around to read those comments, anyway.

Attack of the Knock-Offs

I’m sure you’ll all be thrilled to know that I went back to Rossy last weekend (see also: this post). I didn’t have much time for photos (it was an emergency sock-finding mission), but I couldn’t leave without searching for a few more Engrish-tastic treats for you guys. Please, save your applause for the comments section.

First up: Wild Focus! I really don’t know how I left the store without this. Everlasting friendship(!) is good, but fashion smell? That’s something that’s REALLY hard to find.

Yeah, I know. That dress, right? Apparently this particular fashion smell is eau de wardrobe malfunction. Dolls Gone Wild (Focus)!
I actually found the dolls themselves more entertaining than the packaging this time. These two were particular favourites:

Say what you will about Rossy, but I’m willing to bet you can’t get a Drunken Floozie play set at Walmart. I’m not sure what’s most disturbing here: the trashy streaks in the hair, the stench of desperation coming off of the one with her boobs falling out, or the fact that the one on the left kind of looks like Paris Hilton (but less plastic). Also, it looks like Paris there is holding her BFF’s hair as she frantically searches for a gutter to puke in, but that’s more hilarious than disturbing.

OK, last up today we have the amusingly-named White-Collar OH DEAR LORD WHAT IS WRONG WITH HER CROTCH?!!

I’m going to be having nightmares about that for the next month. First grade product my ass.


Words for Wednesday (it… it is Wednesday, right?)

“Fall seven times, stand up eight”
-Japanese Proverb

Tip of the day: if you like Women’s Health magazine on Facebook, you’ll get a motivational quotation every day. Also articles about squats and whether condoms are really such a terrible thing, but you know. Whatever.


Shannon Thompson posted a while back showing her impeccably neat workspace (which she admits she’d just finished cleaning- I like that honesty), and asking to see other people’s. Mine was a big ol’ mess at the time, but now it’s… well, it’s as good as it ever gets.


Fancy, eh? I love the roll-top desk; my husband’s grandfather made it, and it’s brilliant for hiding the mess that’s usually all over the flat bit. The shelves, in theory, keep my stuff organized. The drawers stick a bit, but I blame that on the amount of crap I keep in them.

It’s not perfect, but it works.

But it’s not the desk itself that’s important, is it? It’s the other stuff. I know a lot of people like a clear space, free of distractions. I am not those people (or even just one of them, for that matter). My desk is covered in things I need and things that make me happy- things that inspire me, gifts from friends, pictures of people I love. It works for me. Wanna see?


That’s my zombie woodchuck there. He has nothing to do with anything in my work (not until book three, at least*)- he’s just hanging out because he makes me smile (mostly because whoever designed him didn’t mean for him to be a zombie, but he so obviously is). That lunch box there holds stickers, valentines, and other fun stuff I can send to people in the mail. The little guy on top was an early birthday present- adorable AND makes me think of friends. That amazing pen-holder is a mug that my mom painted for me. Let’s ignore the bills on the shelf and move on…

The kingdom of Mid-Desk! Wondering about the ponies? They remind me of a couple of my characters. Don’t ask why, they just do. No, my stories are not about horses. Above them you’ll see a pile of tiny notebooks. They’re for notes. Also headphones, because we all need to block the world out sometimes. I can write with music; for reading I use the White Noise Ambience app. Hand creams, absolutely essential in the winter… oh, hey, and dental floss! I was wondering where that went.


To the left, to the left… Less relevant stuff, mostly- thisspace isn’t just for writing. A doll head in progress and pony bodies, insert evil laugh here. That huge book is a Literature textbook I borrowed from my mother-in-law; the glass doorknob is from our last apartment. I love it- I might start collecting glass doorknobs some day. Ever held one? They feel great. Um… Oh, notecards, going back to sending stuff to friends. Also some outgoing mail, and a rock that a friend who I miss very much decorated for me.

Wondering where the books are? They have their own shelf right next to the desk.

Books about writing, my four larger notebooks (we’ll look at those another day, why not?),  novels I’ve read recently or will be reading soon- hey, there’s another whole post right there! Don’t mind the bottom shelf- that’s kids’ books and two Narnia DVDs… Which are totally for the kids. *ahem*

So there you go. No, I’m not opening the drawers for you; the contents have nothing to do with writing, and I’m afraid that if I open them they’ll never close. Also not going to show you my other workspaces- the kitchen table, my bed, and the couch- because they’re the next places I need to clean. Ugh.


Jack Attack- Valentine’s Edition

Here’s Jack celebrating Valentine’s day.

“Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Dogs don’t get valentines

(They do get hour-long walks even when the roads are gross and slushy, though. Don’t feel too badly for him!)

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