Monthly Archives: April 2013

Random Monday Giggle

So here I am, re-writing chapter one. Again. Trying to tighten everything up, killing my darlings, yadda yadda.

And someone in the story makes a cup of tea and drinks it before it’s cool.

And I realize that I just put a hipster in my Fantasy novel.

Go, me.

😉


Today was AWESOME!

Wow, good day today! I had a little headache thanks to the nice, sunny weather, but I’ll let that go. Because…

-the kids slept until 8:00 this morning.

-it was sunny and 12 degrees (Celsius) outside today. 

– AND… (redacted to preserve PG rating)

-I took Jack for a long and challenging (for me) walk. Got sweaty and a little sunburned BUT we had a good walk AND…

-a bald eagle flew right over us! So amazing.

-AND… I got to go to a Jamberry nails party on facebook. I realized that a party with no other actual people around is actually the perfect party for me. My mom also attended, so we kind of got to go shopping together from half a country away. Aww.

-AND I washed the car for the first time since the garden hose froze. I’d forgotten how very silver Tina Fe was under all of that dirt.

-AND I started editing another favourite part of Bound. OK, so I have too many favourites, but there’s feelings in this part, yo. Good feelings. Confusing feelings. Also children in ridiculous costumes punching each other, which can’t be a bad thing.

And with that, I go off to bed. The children are asleep, no one is coughing, this Tension Tamer tea is very delicious (and has a dragon the box, so hooray for that), the Advil will be working soon, the laundry is folded, and I’m going to go dream me some dreamy dreams.

Goodnight!


Happy Birthday, Jack!

Three years ago, we didn’t know that our life as a family was going to change. We had no idea that four months later my husband would find and fall in love with a big, white puppy with sad eyes and that weird knob on his skull that goes away when dogs grow up. Seriously, so sad.

(I think he's much better looking now!)

(I think he’s much better looking now!)

Was I keen on getting a puppy? Honestly, only because it made my husband so happy. I wasn’t looking forward to the poop in the yard (or in the house), the dog smell on the furniture, or any of the other less-pleasant aspects of having a dog.  Not that we didn’t bond quickly…

puppy jack and me

It’s just that I’m more of a cat person.

Three years later, I can’t imagine a more perfect dog for our family. He’s a Boxer, so he still acts like a big, goofy puppy a lot of the time. But he’s sweet and affectionate (to the point where I just roll my eyes when he cuddles his “dad” and pets his face with those huge paws), he’s gentle with the kids

Jack and Ike 2

loves the cats (especially Lucy, who adores him)

Jack and Lu 2Jack and Lu

and behaves himself beautifully on our walks. He runs like a cross between a greyhound and Phoebe Buffay (usually on the more graceful end of that spectrum)

Jack running

chases sticks like a boss, stalks like a lion

Jack Stalking

and lets food bounce off of his head when you throw him a treat. No simile for that one, he’s just a bit of a doofus.

And then there’s this face…

Poster child for Depression

Poster child for Depression

That’s about it, unless you want to hear the horror story of his neutering. No? Excellent choice.

Here’s hoping for many more years of joyful life and good health.

Happy Birthday, Jack!


Meanwhile, in my brain…


Know What ELSE is Great About Newfoundland?

The way people talk.

I was in the local book store a few weeks back, chatting to the owner, and he asked where I’m from. “I know it’s not Newfoundland!” he said, and laughed in a very friendly sort of way. Newfoundlanders are usually pretty good about not holding it against you when you say you’re a mainlander, even if you turn out to be from Ontario like I am.

No, I don’t have the accent. But then, my husband only does sometimes, and he grew up in St. John’s. The kids sometimes do, too, especially when they say things like “Jeez, b’y!” (which is really adorable, BTW), and they’ve only lived here a few years, total.

Want to hear a couple of great accents? Here we have Rick Mercer (oh, the videos I could show you) interviewing Allan Hawco, who is the writer, producer, and star of Republic of Doyle. Just listen to these guys.

(And look at that scenery. This makes my heart ache for St. John’s, and I’m only 4 hours away. I don’t know how the rest of you can bear it. And also, Allan Hawco with no shirt on, also lovely scenery, just saying,)

It just doesn’t get better than that, guys.

It’s not just the accents, either. The words and phrases people use, as I think I’ve mentioned before, are like nothing you’ll here anything else. Here’s Allan Hawco again (ain’t he adorable?) to teach us a few important terms:

Love it.

Know what? Here’s another little piece of the Rick Mercer Report. It wasn’t shot in NL, but come on, I found a video where they laugh about the world’s largest testes. This is my blog, I don’t need more reason than that. 🙂


WIPpet Wednesday 4/17- Cousins

Well, well, well! Welcome to wonderful WIPpet Wednesday, where we wish to… not bother you with nutty alliterations. Not familiar with the rules? Just post a passage from your progressively perfecting… wonderful writing… arrgh!

*sips coffee*

…that relates to the date in some way. Don’t forget to check out the other offerings for today and feel free to join in! It’s super fun. Thank you to K.L. Schwengel, as always, for hosting.

Seventeen lines (on my new, wider computer screen– whee!) from chapter 5, so much earlier in the story than some of the others I’ve posted. For those just joining us, Aquila is a rather unusual eagle.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to continue re-writes. Those horses ain’t going to steal themselves…

I was still asleep early on my fourth day at Stone Ridge when someone slammed open the door to my rooms, thundered across the wood floor into my bedroom and sailed through the air, landing on top of me with a loud cry of, “get up, get up, get up!”

I grabbed the heavy feather pillow from under my head and used it to whack the intruder several times before she shrieked and bounced back onto the floor. I groaned when she ripped the blankets off of the bed and flopped down beside me, out of breath and laughing. “Come on, sleepyface,” she said, grinning. “Aren’t you glad to see me?”

I glared at my cousin and tried to look angry. “’Lecia, I wouldn’t be happy to see Prince Charming himself if he woke me up by jumping on me.”

Felicia considered that for a moment, then started giggling. “That might not be so bad, you know.”

“Filth,” I muttered, and grinned back at her. That was the problem with Felicia; she was always so damned happy and funny that I couldn’t stay mad at her, even when I wanted to.

She rolled over and stared at me with a mock-serious expression. “We have much to discuss. But first, get thine self to a washing chamber and clean thy teeth. Thou art offending my delicate sensibilities.”

“Says the girl who smells like the horse that brought here here,” I replied, and rolled out of bed before she could smack me. I hurried through the sitting room, but saw no sign of Aquila. I couldn’t blame him for disappearing when that strange, noisy person burst in. I leaned out the window and came face-to-beak with him sitting in the cherry tree. “Sorry,” I whispered. He didn’t look impressed.

Felicia was looking at the books on my shelf when I returned. She took a seat in an armchair with her legs crossed under her, and I sat on the floor with my back to her. “I met Robert,” I said. “He seems nice.”

“I know. I’m not here to talk about him. Yet.” Felicia pulled a brush out of her bag and went to work on my hair. She’d treated me like a doll since the first time she came to visit me at Stone Ridge, and I almost never complained. It was relaxing.

“I thought not.” I’d known as soon as I saw her why she was there. I might have temporarily forgotten about the letters, but my mother hadn’t. She’d sent someone to remind me.


CPs and Protecting Your Work- How Do You Do It?

I recently had an experience that has the little gears in my brain a-whirling, and I’d love to know everyone’s thoughts on the subject.

I’ve been trying out a few critique partners (CPs), trading a few chapters to get a feel for each other’s work and critique styles, and to see how well we might work together. It’s a harder process than I anticipated, but necessary. I appreciate my friends who have read over Bound in its various stages of done-ness, who gave me gentle feedback when I needed it. But there comes a time when you can’t rely on friends and family to tell you what you need to hear, and you need an unbiased opinion. Enter the CP, a creature a step higher than the beta reader in the editorial chain.

The first one I worked with gave me good advice, but she seems to have disappeared. I’ve found a few other potentials through Ladies Who Critique, but for the most part we’re still feeling each other out. One, on advice from a friend of hers, asked me to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) before she sent her work over.

My first reaction was, “Well that’s odd, but whatever. Can’t hurt.”

Really, it’s a good idea. I tend to trust that other writers aren’t out to steal my work; I know I’ve got ideas (concepts, anyway) lined up out the door and down the street SHUT THE DOOR, IDEAS, YOU’RE LETTING THE HEAT OUT! Jeez, born in a barn much? What was I saying?

Oh, right. I don’t need to lift ideas, concepts, plot twists, or anything else from someone else’s work, and I tend to trust that other people will offer me the same respect. Couldn’t hurt to cover your ass though, right? Seriously, we hardly know these people.

Completely agreed. And for that reason I almost signed; after all, I had no plans to reproduce, distribute, or otherwise screw with anyone else’s work, let alone this person’s (who seems super nice, and I wanted to work with her).

And then it hit me, as these things tend to do. Slapped me right upside the head.

I need to watch my own ass, too. Legally speaking. Not literally, I’m not that bendy.

Her novel has nothing in common with Bound, which is my main focus right now, and what she’d be critiquing. But it’s not my only project. The Newfoundland Supernatural series (working title only, please check your torches, pitchforks, and/or flaming pitchforks* at the door) of short stories and novellas that I’m working on is still in early stages, but it keeps popping up, insisting that I work on it between other things. And for that one, there are surface similarities.

Some genres are just full to busting, this one in particular. In a crowded elevator you try not to step on anyone’s feet, but it’s kind of accepted that you’re going to bump into one another. Also, you’re stuck smelling other people’s farts, and all you can do is suffer through it and hope the stink doesn’t follow you out. But I digress.

To put it more clearly (and less disgustingly), when you’re using similar concepts/tropes, there’s a really good chance that you’re going to have some of the same ideas, even if you think they’re brilliantly original. Most of us will grumble about it but acknowledge that the idea wasn’t stolen, and in the end the stories come out completely different, anyway.

If I signed a NDA saying that I wouldn’t use any of the information in any way, I could be opening myself up to lawsuits over ideas that were mine to begin with, just because I read them in someone else’s work at a later date.

Is that being paranoid? Probably. I don’t think this person would sue me, and I hope she doesn’t think I’d steal her ideas.**

Fact is, you can’t copyright an idea. Stephanie Meyer can’t stop other people from writing a vampire-werewolf-dumbass girl love triangle, presumably because it’s an idea that people could have arrived at on their own. Can you imagine how busy the courts would be if there were lawsuits every time someone based a novel on a fairy tale? *shudder*  In essence, if I signed this particular NDA, I’d be saying that it was OK to sue me for having a similar idea/concept/setting/etc. I don’t know that the lawsuit would go anywhere, but I don’t want to have to worry about it.

It hurt to say no, mostly because I’m a people-pleaser who cares way too much what strangers think of me. My first thought was, “if I don’t sign, she’s going to think I’m an idea-sucking monster.” I’m sure I’m not giving her enough credit, but hey, I’m nuts like that.

Got me thinking, though. Am I doing too little to protect my own work? So far I’ve only showed the full manuscript to trusted friends, and the CP I hope to continue working with seems like a trustworthy sort (and in the same “why the heck would I steal YOUR idea when I have my own?” boat). I think my idea is good. I like it. I’m having fun with it. But I’m also aware that it’s not as special to other people as it is to me, and I don’t think I need a layer of legal documentation to protect my precious snowflake; I’d be happy with a casual agreement that the work won’t be reproduced or redistributed in any way. Maybe that’s the wrong attitude.

What I want to know is, where do you stand on this? Do you get people to sign something before they critique a work-in-progress or review an unpublished work? If not, do you worry that people will take advantage of your openness? Am I being unreasonable in not signing a 2-page document full of legal-speak that’s just protecting someone else’s hard work? Have you been in this situation on either side, or has someone reproduced your work without permission? Any other thoughts?

*Officially calling shotgun on “Flaming Pitchforks” for my band name.

**Actually, I know she doesn’t think that– she got back to me, and completely understands why I couldn’t sign. Darn it, I like her!


Clarity from Patton Oswalt (link)

When tragedy strikes, I don’t usually comment on facebook or anywhere else; I don’t feel like I have anything to add, and I assume that anyone who knows me understands without me saying it that my thoughts and prayers (and probably my tears) are with the victims and their families.

This deserves to be shared, though.

I’ve seen a few posts this morning in various places acknowledging what happened yesterday in Boston and offering ideas on positive things we can all do to make the world a better place. No, the blood you donate today won’t go to Boston (unless you live there), but it might save a life. The smiles you share on the street will remind people that there’s good in the world, and the support you give to someone who’s hurting or struggling– for any reason– adds to the flood of good that overcomes evil every time.

Happy thoughts don’t change what happened, but putting good out there in thought and deed makes the world a better place.

Wishing you all joy in difficult times. ❤

(click the link below for this thing that deserved to be shared)

Clarity from Patton Oswalt.


Update

Just finished revising/rewriting chapter nine, which means that the scene in the dragon cave is done. I didn’t change much there, but the scenes before that… whew. Full rewrites, they needed a tension boost. There’s a lot of talking there as characters feel each other out and try to gain each other’s trust (or to keep the other person at a distance, as the case may be). Dialogue can’t be a pleasant tea party of “hey, hi, where are you from?” Not in fiction. So we add subtext, we reveal the depth to which these people’s upbringings put them at odds with each other, we let them irritate the people who are trying to help them.

It’s fun when it works, but it’s not easy to do. I’m glad I have characters who are so naturally ill-suited for each other’s company. I mean, I had something to do with that, and I had to beat them severely to get them into the shapes I needed, but now that they’re there, it does make things easier than it would be if I had to inject false conflict into the story. Between the bad guys they’re running from, their internal conflicts and the way they push each other’s buttons, things should stay interesting.

Should. I just hope I’m not screwing it up for them. Between the injuries, the running, the horse thefts, the dragon and the stabbiness, they have enough to deal with right now without me getting in there and stupiding it all up. 😉

UNRELATED UPDATE: We’re up to 89 WordPress followers. What shall we do for our 100 party?


Grand Total…

Zero.

Yep, there was a Camp NaNo writing marathon yesterday, and my total word count for the weekend is nuthin’.

That’s OK. I can sacrifice for a chance to visit my favourite city.

St. John’s in April isn’t what it is in the summer– or in the winter for that matter. But I took a few pictures for you guys at Bowring Park, which is a place you simply must visit if you’re ever in the city. I’ll get more pics next time. For now: ducks n’ stuff!
Northern Pintail on a pretty pond

20130414-172959.jpg
Peter Pan

20130414-173153.jpg
Swan…

20130414-173225.jpg
Two-headed swan! 😀

20130414-173309.jpg
Sad, Sad Treeroy Brown, saddest tree in the whole damn town

20130414-173411.jpg
Spring won’t come until approximately June o’clock, but that’s never stopped a crocus. Such optimists!

20130414-233117.jpg
That concludes our tour of what I was doing on this weekend when I should have been writing.

Totally worth it. 😉


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