Monthly Archives: December 2013

Amy’s Adventures, December 14

“Saturdays. Saturdays are a SWELL day for some random adventures with a supposedly sentient ex-zombie doll!”
-Abraham Lincoln

“I should stop taking quotes off of Wikipedia.”
-Kate Sparkes

Amy Snow’s adventures continue below…

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My mother-in-law decorates her house so much more tastefully than I do mine.

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Zombie, meet corpse.

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Old friends and new clothes. Sweet!

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We put up the tree. Amy helped.

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AJ helped her find this hiding spot.

So… there you go. In the words of Marie Curie, “Th-th-th-that’s all, folks!” (citation needed)


Newsletter Sign-Ups!

Maybe. I hope.

Yesterday, I spent an afternoon struggling with getting this thing set up, trying two different services on for size (MailChimp and Mad Mimi), and digging the wrinkle-of-confusion between my eyebrows ever deeper. Technological stuff? Web design? HTML? I might as well be an amoeba trying to understand algebra. I can’t even format a manucript in Word.

Even with templates, MailChimp is beyond me. The site’s just too confusing for my poor, magic-addled brain.

It ain’t happening. We’re going with the more user-friendly Mad Mimi, at least until MailChimp becomes vastly more cost-effective.*

Why a newsletter, you ask, and why would you want to subscribe? Because I have fun stuff to share! Newsletter subscribers will be the first to receive news on upcoming releases, will have access to sneak-peeks not available anywhere else (even here, sorry!), price promotions, invites to cover reveals, contests, bonus content and more.

Newsletters will only come out three or four times a year, plus a bonus mailing a few weeks before a book launch featuring said previews, etc.  I don’t want to spam, I just want to connect and offer some extra value to friends, family and everyone else who’s been kind enough to show interest in my work.

So… shall we try this? I promise nothing. This link might not take you to a sign-up form at all.

Did I do it right? More importantly, did I spell my own name correctly?

If you want to find out, and join in on the fun, click here (or up there) and add your name and e-mail address. It’s that simple!

For you, anyway. *grumble grumble*

So tell me: What would you like to see in a newsletter? What would make you excited to open an e-mail? What would make you want to delete one without reading? 

*Cost footnote: This would happen around 10,000 subscribers. I have trouble imagining getting to that number, so it’s  not an issue for now.


What Ebenezer Scrooge Can Teach Us About Great Writing

A fantastic breakdown of A Christmas Carol, showing the deeper meaning of the story in a Christian context.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

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One of my all-time favorite movies for the holidays is The Muppets Christmas Carol. I believe I’ve seen this movie a few hundred times. I’ve worn out three VHS tapes and at least three DVDs. I play the movie over and over, mainly because, well, duh,  MUPPETS! I drive my husband nuts playing this movie over and over…and over. I’m worse than a three-year-old.

But, Muppets aside, also I can’t get enough of the music. Also, I love the story of A Christmas Carol no matter how many times I see it, no matter how many renditions, and I am certainly not alone. Charles Dickens’ story of a redeemed miser is a staple for holiday celebrations around the world and across the generations.

This story is virtually synonymous with “Christmas,” but why is it such a powerful story? Why has it spoken so deeply to so many? Why is…

View original post 1,809 more words


Oh, the Wednesdayness

SO much Wednesday.

I didn’t link my WIPpet Wednesday offering back to the linkie-poo last week, because I knew I wouldn’t have time to visit everyone, and it seemed unfair to link and run. I’m going to make time this week, though, even if it kills me.

Okay, maybe not if it kills me. But even if it kills my productivity. 😉

ROW80

Hey, speaking of productivity… I worked out a tentative schedule for next year, involving the release of two books, participating in two writing events (NaNoWriMo and JuNoWriMo), and drafting a third novel. I even colour-coded this plan so I could see what I’d be working on each month, and I scheduled in “read over edits, cry, regroup” at the end of February, just to be safe. I AM SO ORGANIZED.

It’s doable. It’s insane, but it’s possible. It’s also subject to change. If my TMJ is caused by stress, the next year won’t help, but what the heck. I said I was going to do this. I’m going to do it.

*hyperventilates*

I got nothing done this past weekend. I think December is going to be a month of rest, once I finish this draft of Torn (one scene to go!). There’s just too much else going on. And that’s okay. January is going to be nuts, what with revising and pre-editorial edits for Bound HOLY CRAP WHAT AM I DOING.

*breathes into paper bag*

I may have gone into the wrong business.

WIPpet Wednesday

Moving on…

Remember the character I (sort of) introduced a few weeks back? This week’s snippet is from her again. Nox has just gone for a sunset walk in the woods with a man she hardly knows, against her better judgement. She got a little weirded out when he said he wanted to go swimming…

…and got quite a surprise when he resurfaced and revealed that he’s not human. In his defense, this is not an easy thing to tell a woman you’re growing fond of.

I know it needs work yet, but I kind of love this moment. Nox is usually such a hard-ass.

11 paragraphs for the 11th, and two bonus paragraphs because… um… I like them?

Suddenly I felt shy. “Can I see it?”

Kel grinned, then pulled himself out of the water and onto the rock. He rested his chin on his crossed arms and flicked his tail. “Go ahead.”

He was unlike anything I had ever imagined when people spoke of the mer-folk. There was no clear place where man ended and mer began. My gaze moved over the greyish skin that stretched over sleek shoulder muscles, then along the valley of his spine to that incredible tail. It was longer than his legs had been, ending in a thick, notched fluke that he moved slowly, rippling the surface of the water where it touched.

“Can I-”

“Mm-hmm,” he said, and closed his eyes. I reached out, hesitant, and placed my hand flat against his hip. His skin was as smooth as it looked, as flawless as his face and the rest of his body, except for a scar that curved diagonally around the side half-way down his tail. I traced the scar with my finger, and found it just barely raised over the rest of the skin.

“That was a net,” he said. “I was young and didn’t know any better. I got tangled, and the rope dug in. It only scarred because I was stuck for so long. We’re quite hardy, usually.”

“That must have been frightening,” I whispered, not wanting to disturb the near perfect silence of the forest. I shifted myself toward the end of Kel’s tail and he lifted it out of the water. I ran my hand over the fluke, then back up the centre of the tail toward his back. I could feel the bones there, just under the skin. He shivered, and I pulled my hand away.

“No, don’t stop,” he said. “It’s nice. Odd to have a human touching me when I’m like this, but good.”

I put my hand back where it had been and continued up. Strange how his body became more human as it got closer to the middle. I’d seen pictures of something called a dolfin, and its tail looked like his, but it didn’t have the narrowing at the waist, above what would have been his-

I jerked my hand away. I just touched his butt.

Kel rolled onto his side, propped himself up on one arm and gave me a lazy grin. “Time to get back? You must be getting cold.”

“Um, yes.” I was actually feeling fairly warm, but he didn’t need to know that. “I’ll wait for you to get dressed.”

I sneaked one more look before I left. His front was more impressive than the back. Stomach muscles strong from swimming drew my gaze toward his tail, which was flat and a lighter grey on the underside.

I wonder how–

I cut that thought off before it could start, and walked back into the woods far enough to give him privacy to change and dress. I’d have to be careful with this one.

I know how. I don’t think that’s appropriate to discuss here and now, though. Jeez, think of the children, guys.

So, WIPpet Wednesday. Swing by to see our host, K.L. Schwengel here, and find the other WIPpeteers here, adding their lovely goodies as the day progresses. Check early, and check often. If you want to join in… well, most of you know the rules. I really need a post to link to every week. Post a snippet of your work in progress on your own blog, make sure it relates to today’s date (somehow… heh), and link back. Make sure you like and/or comment on other WIPpeteers’ posts, too! What goes around comes around and all of that. 🙂

In other news: Snow. Yay.

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Good Thing/Bad Thing

…sometimes, a thing is both.

Last night, we all (as in, my family, probably not you guys) went to the dentist. For many people this is a BAD THING, because they tend to imagine dentists as sadistic, pick-and-drill-wielding demons. The only thing that brings these fiends more delight than pain is causing frustration, and this they accomplish by asking you questions when they’ve got their be-latexed fingers jammed in your gob, making “Ungh, funghuh” the only possible answer, no matter whether the question is “How are the kids?” or “Do you mind if I remove all of your molars?”

I get that. I went to that dentist once.

But I enjoy going to the dentist. I don’t just mean I enjoy that sexyclean feeling my teeth get after it’s all done, though that’s pretty fantastic. I enjoy the cleaning. The scraping. The picking. The flossing.

I find it relaxing, even when it makes my gums bleed.

So really, that was a good thing in all respects. Even better: No cavities in any of us!*

However, I did learn that I have what they call TMJ, which stands for “Your Jaw Joint is F*%&ed, Yo.” This explains why I haven’t been able to open my mouth far for the past month, and why it hurts when I try. It means I need to wear something like a hockey mouth-guard at night to stop me grinding my teeth, which I will probably gag on, because that is a thing for me.

So that’s bad, right?

Not necessarily.

Yes, it stinks that I have this screwed up jaw. Yes, it’s probably going to be a hard adjustment for me to get used to the treatment, and yes, I wish I could go see my friend’s doctor who actually FIXED her jaw… but he’s in Ontario and I’m not, so that’s not going to happen. Yes, I’m told that I now need to cut up my apples and my sandwiches like a small child, which won’t feel AT ALL weird.

BUT… it’s a good thing that I got it checked out, and that there is a treatment for me, if not a cure for the problem. My jaw might start to feel better once this thing is in place. Even better, I might be able to start my days without headaches. Sure, I might still get the odd migraine, but maybe I won’t wake up every morning with the old “I have to get up for painkillers, but getting up hurts” dilemma.

So bad thing? Maybe. But I’m not going to feel sorry for myself. I’m going to be thankful that we have a good dental and health plan that allowed me to go to the dentist, that will cover my treatment (at least most of it), and that might even pay for part of massage treatments on my jaw (YAY!). I’m going to be SUPER thankful that the end might be in sight for my morning headaches, which continue even though I’ve had some success tackling the migraines lately.

I’m certainly not saying I can do this in all circumstances. I’m not Pollyanna, and a lot of the time is’s REALLY FRIGGING HARD to look on the bright side. Sometimes things happen that just suck, and there doesn’t seem to be much to be thankful for. But sometimes it’s possible to re-frame our way of looking at something, and see how much we have to be thankful for.

EDIT TO ADD: Bonus content! Here’s my friend Hayley describing her treatment, which is what I’d like. She’s the most adorable Bugs Bunny ever!

So tell me: Have you ever had a bad news or a bad situation turn into something you could be thankful for?

(I’m going to leave this here… if you’re offended by mild swearing or Monty Python’s Life of Brian, feel free to skip. For everyone who enjoys their trademark absurdity, enjoy.)

*This was a particular relief for my older son, who’s occasionally called “Bullet-Tooth” around our house because he has several metal teeth. Just one of those unlucky people who get ALL OF THE CAVITIES no matter how careful we are. He IS going to need spacers put in, but not until after Christmas.


Amy Snow’s Adventures, December 8

Amy Snow has had an interesting half- week. She and her friend Petunia the pony made a seasonally incongruous journey through a haunted forest (I may have forgotten to finish putting the Halloween stuff away. Thanks for pointing that out, AMY):

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She spent a day being none-too-pleased with the boys (again):

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…and she has followed us to my in-laws’ house to keep an eye on things (and hang out in a wreath, I guess. Why not?)

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I feel like I’m short a day… I’ll have to check the computer when we get home.

ROW80 Update:

Long story short, I have one scene left, and then Torn goes away for a while before I re-read and revise. Again. Yaaaay… I already have ideas for improvements. This could take a while.


One Day At The Garage: A Tale in Tweets

For anyone who missed it elsewhere, or who only got half of the story on Facebook, here’s what happened on Wednesday:

We’d known for a while that the Santa Fe (Tina) needed welding done on her front flex pipe. My husband finally got us booked in for that*, and we asked them to put our winter tires on at the same time. No problem.

Then last week, our rear brakes started grinding. We parked the car on the side lawn, as all the classy people do, and asked the garage if they’d look at those when we came in, too.

The morning of our appointment got off to a rough start. I’d had a migraine the day before, and was suffering from severe mental fuzziness, the kind that makes you feel like your brain is wrapped in a cozy-yet-incredibly-stupid angora sweater. Still, I got away in good time, made it half-way to Gander …

…and realized that the snow tires were still in the shed.

For a moment, I became this meme.

For a moment, I became this meme.

After slamming my head repeatedly into the steering wheel, I let AJ know and turned around. He and Ike met me part-way with the tires, and I made it to the garage just in time.

And AJ didn’t make me feel badly about it. Best husband EVER.

I dropped the car off at 10, and got to spend a few hours on my own.

Things were going well. I did some shopping, and even got some work done at the coffee shop.

At 2:15, they called to say the rear brakes were shot. Not just the pads, but the rotors, everything. Also, they couldn’t weld that flex pipe, so yeah, that’d be another $700 for a new one. We’re looking at $1400-1600 in work, how’s that for you?

Not great, but we had no choice about the brakes. I enjoy stopping. I said “go ahead with those,” they said “shouldn’t take too long,” I walked back.

And I waited.

And they told me that more brake parts were rusted out and needed to be replaced. They could get the parts, but yeah, more money, pls and thanx.

And so I waited. And waited. And it needed more parts, and they couldn’t get one part, so they cleaned it instead. And I waited.

…and that resolution didn’t last long, because I was, in fact, bored out of my be-sweatered skull. Here’s how the rest of my afternoon unfolded:

(tried to write, too distracted)

So then things got weird…

Oh, did I mention that AJ had to work at 4, and I didn’t get out of there until 4:30, and then had to drive the 45 minutes to get home?

#DecidedlyInconvenient

Would have been fine if not for that whole “leaving kids alone in the house is bad” thing.

Well, I won’t leave you all hanging. I did get home, driving in the dark and the rain, but on snow tires and with good brakes. AJ got to work, better late than never.

Our bank account was depleted by almost $700, with more to go ASAP, but we’ll be okay. Yes, things would be easier if I were making money, but that’s just not happening right now. My job is to juggle the books so we still get a very merry Christmas. It’s all good…

…assuming they don’t find more stuff to fix when we get that front flex pipe replaced.

*sigh*

*Some of you know that I suffer from a social anxiety/phobia relating to making phone calls. It’s horrible and inconvenient and screws up my life, and that’s all I’m going to say about it.


The Adventures of Amy Snow, December 5

Amy Snow continues to spread warmth, cheer and magic in our house, in spite of the fact that we’re not even a week into December and I’ve already forgotten to set her up twice. Almost three times, but a friend posted a pic of their Elf last night and it reminded me. WHEW!

It’s not always easy to come up with ideas. Many people post their pictures on facebook and Pinterest to ispire others, but most of those elves seem to be so NAUGHTY! They make messes, spread sugar on the counter to make a snow angel, rip up the toilet paper, pull books off of shelves… and that’s just not Amy. Partly because she’s nice and helpful, but also because WHY would I do that to myself? Call me crazy, but I think kids can have fun with magical toys without me having to wipe broken eggs off of the counter.

So what has Amy Snow been up to?

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On Monday she added a few new ornaments to our little potted tree. I’m sure she’ll have fun when we get a big one!

We had a BAD evening on Monday, though. AJ was away at an award ceremony at the Governor General’s house in Ottawa (la dee dah!), the kids were cranky and fighting with each other and not listening to me. I was not amused. Amy wasn’t, either, but she gave them a get out of jail free card of sorts on Tuesday morning.

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YOU ARE ON NOTICE, CHILDREN.

They were very grateful. 🙂

On Tuesday night I actually thought ahead and planned something for after the boys went to bed. Ike has his own Monster High doll. She used to be mine, but he loves her, and I share. Venus McFlytrap’s hair was a WRECK. As pretty as saran hair is for dolls, it gets tangled far more easily than the nylon you find on My Little Pony toys. Venus’s hair was almost felted into a solid mass. I told Ike there wasn’t much I could do about it.

Good thing Amy Snow had access to a comb, an hour of spare (ha!) time, and a bottle of conditioner. She set up a little salon on the bathroom and took care of Venus’s issue. It’s not perfect, but it’s an improvement. Even better was the boys’ faces when they saw THAT bit of magic the next morning, and Ike dancing around saying “Thank you, THANK YOU!”

They set a good example by folding Venus's clothes neatly on the counter and cleaning up after themselves. :)

They set a good example by folding Venus’s clothes neatly on the counter and cleaning up after themselves. 🙂

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In other news, I’m getting pretty good at balancing things in Amy’s hands. 🙂

Last night I had a plan, but the boys’ clean laundry proved too tempting for Miss Snow. I don’t know whether she wanted to help put it away, or she was on her way somewhere else when the laundry quicksand sucked her in. Good thing the boys rescued her this morning!

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Now, let’s all agree to never tell the boys that their underwear (clean, but still) was on the internet, and go about our days like this never happened. I know Amy Snow wants to. 😉

Any brilliant ideas for Amy Snow’s adventures? I have some things planned, but input is always appreciated!

 


WIPpet Wednesday: Sniplet

WIIIIIPpet Wednesday!

The group of WIPpeteers is growing these days, have you noticed? I highly recommend checking out the link at the end of the day, when everyone’s posted. Bring bananas or something when you visit our host, K.L. Schwengel… the flying monkeys seem to be rather unruly these days.

For anyone who’s new here (welcome!), WIPpet Wednesday is the day when we post a bit of a work in progress that corresponds to the day’s date. Any genre, any draft. It’s free to join, no obligation, no medical required, no salesperson will call. Just post your own excerpt on your blog and do the math: 4 paragraphs for the 4th, 12 lines for the 12th month… whatever. Link back, join the party. They’re a good group.

Just don’t drink the punch.

Today I offer a paragraph from the beginning of chapter 4 of Torn, aka this year’s NaNovel. This follows a previous WIPet snippet, conveniently linked here for anyone curious enough to venture back in time, but we’re switching from Aren’s POV to Rowan’s.

In the morning I found my roommate Celia seated on the edge of the bed. My exhausted muscles refused to obey orders to sit up, and I settled for rolling over onto my back. A heavy sadness to settled onto my chest like a contented cat, weighing me down.

If you have a cat, you know that feeling.

I also owe a…

ROW80 Update

Almost done the beta read that I’ve been horrifically slow about, so I should be able to cross that one off soon. I shouldn’t have offered to do that around NaNoWriMo time. I’m a bad person.

As for other reading, NaNoWriMo kind of took all of my time away from that, too, and until I finish the above… nothing else.

Writing’s going well, though. I’m going to try to get this draft of Torn finished up before Christmas. That should be easy– I just have one HUGE scene. Game changer. Massive character development, inner turmoil, action and death, and setting up the third book… easy.

Famous last words, right? At least my star stickers are keeping me motivated (I’m not even kidding).

COMING TOMORROW: The first few days of Amy Snow’s adventures for this year. It’s bad… December 4th and I’ve already forgotten to do it twice. At least the boys haven’t noticed.


And I Shall Draw Them In With My Stunning Good Looks…

I usually try to avoid taking “selfies” (and if selfie isn’t the most grating currently-popular word other than “twerk,” I don’t know what is). Why? For the same reason I don’t vlog.

Cameras hate me.

I know what I look like, and when I look in the mirror, I usually like what I see. I can attempt to take a picture of myself for my facebook profile, and everything looks fine until I press that button. Hair’s good, skin looks decent, nothing too gruesome.

And THEN.

Then I push the button, and my phone destroys my image like it’s not only stolen my soul, but mangled it and spit it out along with the abstract art it shoves at me, laughing.

Okay, I suppose it’s possible that I only think this because my face is asymmetrical (particularly my jaw and that one droopy eyelid), and though I’m used to seeing that in the mirror, a photo reverses these imperfections and makes me notice them. Possible, yes, but that doesn’t explain why dents and wrinkles and moronic expressions show up that weren’t there before. I still lean toward some sort of conspiracy, or a personal vendetta on the part of my phone.

I’M SORRY I DROPPED YOU, OKAY?

Ugh.

Anyway, video’s not much better. I keep a post-it note plastered over the camera on my laptop, just in case anyone can see my writing face, which I assume looks like this:

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It’s a public service.

All of this is to say that I did take a picture of myself yesterday after my shower.

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Um… there’s a slight possibility that I need a haircut. Annnnd I look a bit like Hagrid, with my full and lustrous beard.  And I look like I’m terrified that the hair is eating me alive. And it’s a bit washed out.

But guys, this is the best self-photo I’ve ever taken. I’m gonna use it everywhere. Probably as my author photo for like, books and stuff. THE READERS, THEY SHALL FLOCK TO ME.

*cough*

*crickets*

Dang.

So: Are you a big fan of “selfie” culture? Do you perceive people who take a lot of them as being self-centred (full disclosure: I do think that, but I’m still jealous of people who look good in them)? Do you find selfies taken at funerals and the sites of historical tragedies as asinine as I do? Do you understand why girls think duck lips look sexy, and can you explain it to me? Are you camera shy? Do cameras do horrible things to you, or are you so photogenic that we can’t be friends anymore? Discuss!

Correction: THIS is the best selfie I ever took. But it was 2 years ago, so I don’t think I should use it for anything now.

It's a long story involving me making fun of selfies and then laughing for about 10 minutes straight. You probably had to be there.

It’s a long story involving me making fun of selfies and then laughing for about 10 minutes straight. You probably had to be there.


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