Tag Archives: Newfoundland

Godawful Early Schedule Week 3 Results

Not my wordiest week. To be fair, though, I did lose two days.

We (my family) left home on Thursday evening to head in to St. John’s. Weird timing for a trip, I know. But when one of your favourite authors/a great friend/an amazing person is in town, you make the trip. I got to see Krista Walsh again, and this time I got to show her  a little bit of Newfoundland.

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Totally worth missing a day of work for.

Two, actually. I spent Thursday packing and checking little tasks off my to do list rather than writing. So that’s two days I didn’t add anything to my draft.

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Worth it.

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were split days. I drafted early in the morning, then did other work after the boys went to school.

Monday and Tuesday were all about the book that came back from my editor on the weekend. On Monday I did a quick pass accepting or rejecting the little changes my editor had made to fix sentence or paragraph flow (mostly accepting… she’s good at what she does) and dealing with minor fixes. On Tuesday I went through and did the bigger fixes that required deeper thought: looking at places where something had seemed wonky to her, where I needed to re-think blocking in a fight or bring a character in who had sort of disappeared from a group scene, questions about whether someone’s hand was inside or outside of someone else’s clothing.

And that was actually it. I usually plan on post-editor edits taking a lot longer than two days, but this time everything went smoothly.*

So on Wednesday I used my later-morning time to draft the back cover copy for that book, get the ball rolling on cover art, and format the book so I could send it to beta readers.

As for the early morning drafting, I had great mornings on Monday and Tuesday, even if it was hard to get started. Up at 5:30, writing by 6:00. More than 1,500 words Monday, almost 1,900 Tuesday. By Wednesday, though, I was already feeling burned out (after those big mornings and pushing myself to get through my edits). I slept in until 6:20 and only wrote for half an hour.

Strong starts to the week + burning out by the end seems to be a pattern for me. Actually, it’s the pattern of a lot of days, too. I think I’m scared of not using the energy when I have it because I don’t trust it (or the available time) will be there later if I try to pace myself early on. That might be something to look at in future weeks.

For now, the goal is to keep going with this early morning writing schedule. I’ll still be using early mornings for drafting, and then later mornings will be either for more drafting or for taking care of all the things I still need to do for pen name this month (post-beta fixes, cover art, proofreading in ebook and paperback, planning the next book for NaNoWriMo, figuring out promotional stuff).

I might be able to get this draft of my project (we’ll call it Phoenix here for clarity, though it doesn’t have a title) finished by the end of the week. I’m really hoping that boosts my motivation to keep going. I can feel myself getting lazy even though my deadlines are quite critical at this point.

Hours worked: 12 (3 writing, 5.5 editing, 3.5 other work-related tasks)

Words written: 4,000

Pages edited: two passes on 90K word book (no read-through, just editorial fixes)

Other stuff:

  • cover copy for Atonement written
  • cover art in progress
  • Atonement sent to beta readers
  • family stuff (trip to St. John’s, curriculum night at school, making salt crystals at home because that was a cool thing that happened at school)
  • exercised most days

Not too shabby, really.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, CANADA!

 


 

*The time it takes to do these edits and fixes also depends on what kind of edits I’m getting. My pen name Urban Fantasy stuff isn’t receiving the same kind of deep substantive edits that I’ll be getting on my current project when it goes to my other editor. That one could involve massive rewrites after I get the book back. Every book in the Bound trilogy needed big revisions and edits after that editor got his claws into them. Lots of work, but they’re far better books for it. And I learn a lot every time.

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No Squirrels Today

Actually, the squirrels are abundant. The biggest distraction I dealt with today was actually a TV show. One I watched the first season of last night (not hard when there are only eight episodes at 20 minutes each) and then had to watch most of  with my husband again today before he went to work.

Had to. Not optional. Had to.*

Anyway… We were going to be talking about my work habits today, but obviously I’m in no position to talk about those. And I’m a bit busy for it. In spite of all of the time I continue to waste and today’s flat-out failure, I am busy drafting book one for my pen name project series. And I really shouldn’t be taking too much time for blogging.

I mean, bless the handful of you who actually read these posts, but this site ain’t paying any bills, you know? 😉

But I can’t leave you with nothing. So here are a few photos from a recent autumn morning in Newfoundland. A magical morning of mist and fog and frost. Like… THE BEST morning. Pictures don’t do it justice. You can click the photos to enlarge.

No filters, of course.

Enjoy!

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*The show, for anyone who’s curious, is Galavant. I don’t enjoy TV most of the time, but this one is just delightful. Music and humor and anachronism and witty dialogue and more humor and beautiful people and more music. Love it.

It’s on Netflix. So good.


Landscapes

A friend who read Bound told me that the landscapes seemed familiar to her. I wasn’t surprised. She’s from Newfoundland.

This place inspires me. The ocean, the rugged beauty of the land, the untouched forests (and even the touched ones). There’s something wonderfully mysterious about a field strewn with boulders, looking like the aftermath of a battle between the rock-hurling giants in Narnia.

Actually, the real explanation for that one is pretty interesting. Those boulders were picked up by glaciers, carried here, and dropped as the glacier melted. They’re called erratics.

I thought I’d share here a few of the landscapes that remind me of Darmid and Tyrea. If you’re ever in the area and want to visit them, I’d be happy to point the way. 🙂

Sorry I don’t have a picture for this one taken on a clear day. It’s hard to stop for photos when you’re travelling with kids. Picture blue skies… I’ll get a better picture some day.

 

stunted trees

(from Bound, chapter 17)

 

Not all locations in the books correspond directly to places here. It’s more the feel. The roughness, that hard land (wait until you see [redacted]), the sparkling lakes and the foggy afternoons.

The forests, the fields, the harbour towns and the water were all influenced by this place.

forest

 

These mountains near Corner Brook (western Newfoundland) bear a striking resemblance to those worn-down old mountains that separate Tyrea from Darmid, though I didn’t discover them until after Bound was published.

They could be a little higher, but you get the idea. These mountains make the Rockies look like young punks.

mountains

 

Ever wonder how Glass Lake got its name? The landscape’s a little off, but the water is perfect.

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The seasons are inspiring, too.

(from Bound, chapter 4)

(from Bound, chapter 4)

Here are a few more pictures.

river

river 2

 

icebergs

 

Seriously, come visit. It’s super cool. 🙂


Friday Fun: The Petty Harbour Mini Aquarium

Hey, guys! I know, I said we’d do stuff this week, and I haven’t posted a whole lot. The good news is that things are going so well with actual writing (like, the book some of you are waiting for) that I’m worried the house will have a meltdown again. The bad news is that I’m not going to halt that momentum to write blog posts, so things might continue to be a bit sparse here next week.

Also, I’ve got kids at home full time. Writing time is limited, you know?

But speaking of those kids, I did take a week off for a family vacation. Stopping work cold turkey nearly drove me mad, but after a few days in my favourite city, a relaxing and fun weekend at a friend’s cabin, and lots of walking around beautiful landscapes, I started to relax.

One of our stops was the Petty Harbour Mini Aquarium in… well, it’s in Petty Harbour. You probably guessed that. Smarty pants. It truly is mini. I mean, they didn’t take a ray-gun and shrink a fish tank down (dangit), but they do have a lot of amazing exhibits packed into a TINY space.

I thought, since most of you won’t make it out there this summer, that I’d share some pictures and information (all facts and figures courtesy of the aquarium). Many of their exhibits are temporary, as they show off creatures brought in by local fishermen which are then set free after they’ve done their time. Nice, right? We missed the wolf fish by a few days, but I hope he’s very happy… um… doing whatever wolf fish do.

I would probably know this if I’d seen the exhibit.

TO THE PHOTO TOUR!

I’m a bad, bad promoter. I didn’t get an exterior shot of the building. *ducks away from flung flotsam and jetsam*

But inside…

Good to know!

Good to know!

 

This is Lady Blue, a temporary visitor to the aquarium. Blue lobsters are fairly rare: one in 2,000,000 has this lovely colouring.

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Casper the white snow crab is another oddity, if somewhat less pretty. I wasn’t as impressed with his colouring as I was with his astonishing fashion sense. Check out that escargot chapeau!

 

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“Leave me alone.”

 

Flounders are… um… interesting.

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The sea ravens were my favourite. Our fish might not be tropical-pretty, but we have some lovely sea monster inspiration!

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Here’s Pharaoh. He’s a golden lobster (1 in 35,000,000 are this colour, and this summer the aquarium has two of them!)

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There’s so much more to see, but I don’t want to take up all of your time with my fish pics– cod, sculpin, something called a lumpfish… aww, heck, here’s a picture of the lumpfish, because it’s kind of hilarious:

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The Mini Aquarium may be tiny, but it’s a lot of educational fun. They have daily puppet shows and story time through the summer, too, if you’re hauling kids around and they’re into that. Oh, and the touch tanks are MIGHTY COOL.

Cue touch tank pics:

"Hey, how's it going?"

“Hey, how’s it going?”

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I didn’t have the heart to tell this guy it’s too late to audition for back-up dancer in The Little Mermaid

So there you go. If you’re ever in the St John’s area, head on down! It’s on the way to Cape Spear, too, which could make for a fine day of fun.

Now, kiss the Pout, and we’ll all be on our way.

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A Beautiful Day to Visit the Edge of the World

According to the Flat Earth Society*, the four corners of the world are located in Hydra (Greece), Paupa New Guinea, the Bermuda Triangle, and Fogo, Newfoundland and Labrador (Canada).

The ferry to Fogo island is less than an hour’s drive from our home, so obviously we had to make the trip. What’s life without a little adventure? And what’s the point of living this close to the edge of the world if you can’t be bothered to visit and pay your respects?

This post is going to be pic heavy, but I hope you enjoy the journey.

The road to Farewell (where the ferry docks) is about half-way between the highways to Twillingate and to Gander, branching up off of the cross-bar in that drunken H-shape. It’s a pretty drive, with typical Newfoundland scenery (rugged landscapes, ponds, trees) and the typical Newfoundland need to watch for moose. There’s not a lot to do while you wait for the ferry, unless you like tossing rocks in the water or looking at seaweed.

In other words, my family was sitting pretty.

Oooooh!

Oooooh!

The ferry itself is… well, it’s a working ferry, not a cruise ship. There’s a non-functional cafeteria, a few snack machines, the party closet I mentioned yesterday, lots of room to get inside if it’s raining, washroom facilities, and a 360 degree view of beautiful ocean and islands.

And crazy people.

Rawr.

Rawr.

Fogo island is beautiful. It’s not what you’d call lush, though at this time of year the trees are leafy and the wildflowers beside the road are in full bloom. The landscape in Newfoundland tends toward rugged rockiness, with geological features popping up everywhere you look. My favourites are “erratics”: boulders left strewn across the landscape by retreating glaciers. Also big, rocky hills that were once much taller mountains.

"The landscapes tend toward a certain landscapiness." -Why I'm not a tour guide

“The landscapes tend toward a certain landscapiness.” -Why I’m not a tour guide

So, Brimstone head. The CORNER OF THE WORLD for some reason I can’t quite figure out. But whatever! Here’s our first glimpse of it:

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See those stairs? Thank goodness for those! There are several places where you still have to scramble over rocks, but the stairs are helpful.

And plentiful.

And plentiful.

The view from the bottom:

Told you there were wildflowers!

Told you there were wildflowers!

…and from half-way up:

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ICEBERGS

It’s a long walk, and not an easy one if you’re not used to climbing all the stairs. But the view from the top is definitely worth the effort.

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The walk back down is easier…

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…though the stairs are still a wee bit intimidating if you’re clumsy and your legs are feeling a little wobbly from the climb.

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So that’s it. That’s Brimstone head. Okay, one more look from the top:

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I have more to share from our day on Fogo, but that can wait. Thanks for joining us! Every time I took a picture, I couldn’t wait to share it with you guys. 🙂

(Those who follow me on Twitter got the live show, complete with ancient safety instructions, Big D’s jumbo sausages, and more fun. It’s all still here, at least until it gets shoved down by my ramblings.)

 

*I really have no idea how seriously they take this. But it looks like the answer is “pretty darned,” at least for some.


Memorial Day

I didn’t have time to prepare a Memorial Day post for this year, but everything I wrote last year still stands. We haven’t forgotten.

disregard the prologue

(Not to depress anyone on this lovely and otherwise-celebratory-in-Canada day, but history is important, guys…)

Happy Canada Day! Well, mostly… see, when you live in Newfoundland, July 1 is a bittersweet holiday (and not just because so many people still swear that joining Canada was a mistake– not today’s topic, don’t worry). No, it’s because in Newfoundland, July 1 is also Memorial Day, the day set aside to remember the lives lost at the battle of Beaumont-Hamel, France, on July 1, 1916.

It’s not an insignificant number. The Newfoundland Regiment (then hailing from a tiny dominion of the British empire, not from Canada) was destroyed: more than 650 casualties, most within 15-20 minutes of leaving the trenches. Anywhere you read about the Newfoundland Regiment and this battle, the terms “nearly annihilated,” “almost wiped out” or “decimated” are sure to appear.

War is awesome, isn’t it?

But Great Big Sea tells…

View original post 417 more words


Anticipation (ROW80 Update)

The sun came out yesterday. This isn’t big news, I guess. The sun tends to do that every once in a while, even during April showers season in Newfoundland. But blue skies still manage to take me by surprise sometimes, especially when I don’t get a headache to warn me that they’re coming. Yesterday was one of those times.

And what did the sun shine down on? Brown. Relentless, monotonous, winter-coloured brown. Dead grass. Bare branches. Dirt. Even the evergreens we have around here have a brownish tone to them, though they’re called black spruce. No flowers yet. No buds on the trees bursting into green life.

Oh, but the rocks are grey. Kind of brownish grey, but still. We have a lot of them to break up the scenery.

Honestly, it’s a depressing time of year. There’s no pretty snow anymore to cover up the bare earth and last year’s leaf litter, but life hasn’t caught up to the change in the seasons. It’s just… blah.

It’s hard to see the end. Though I know in my mind that spring (real spring, not calendar spring) will come eventually, it’s difficult to truly believe that. It seems like the aggressive brownness is eternal and inescapable. My facebook friends have pictures of green lawns and flowers. I have brown.

But yesterday I chose to look at it differently. There’s beauty in every season, even those that are difficult or dull as housework.

Yes, the world is brown. The plants look dead. In fact, most of them are dead.

But the world is waiting, isn’t it? This is the part where Nature holds her breath, waiting for just the right moment to explode back into life and growth and wonder. No, spring isn’t here like it is in other places. Our lawns are brown, it’s too early to plant gardens because of frost, and most of the birds haven’t returned. But it’s not an empty or useless time. It’s the season of anticipation and preparation for every amazing, beautiful thing that will be here.

It will start small, with fuzzy little buds on branches and an escalation of the twitterings in the trees that I only started to notice yesterday. Small patches of green will appear on lawns and spread, overtaking the brown.* We’ll have to watch out for mama and baby moosies on the roads– they’re still brown, but in a far less depressing way. Flowers will come, some day.

But for now, the world waits and prepares.

Yes, I’m procrastinating.

ROW80 Update

Speaking of preparation, I’m waist-deep in it, wading through edits, exercising the superpowers granted to all writers (time travel, the ability to change the past and alter the fabric of fictional people’s reality, that stuff). It’s going well, but there’s still plenty to do. Having my own space to work is doing wonders for my ability to focus, even if my office doesn’t have walls. I’m discovering new angles and moments in my story that are making it better and more delicious** than it was before. I still struggle with doubts, but who doesn’t? And at least I’m moving forward, slowly but surely.

If you want specifics, I’m on chapter 12, after massive struggles with re-writing chunks of chapters eight and eleven. Coming up on more revisions as I simplify a few things and complicate others, trying to balance tension with backstory, action with dialogue… y’know. FUN STUFF.

In other news, a new friend and I have decided that “backstory” should be a curse word. I say it now when I stub my toe or drop stuff. So every five minutes or so.

I’m also beta reading a fantastic book. I wish I had time to get through that more quickly, but I’m getting there.

So there we go. I’m enjoying this process. It’s a little like May at times– it’s a hard slog, kind of dull after I’ve read this one story dozens of times already, and at times it feels like I’m not moving forward at all thanks to the need to go back and change history (which takes ages). But I am making progress, just as spring is. The difference is that I can’t sit and wait for this to happen. I have to work, and every bit of hard work and every irritating detail I don’t let myself skip is building to something grand.

In other news, this is why anyone who’s ever said “I could write a better book than _____, EASY” should actually try it. This stuff’s hard, yo. Rewarding, beautiful, but oh so challenging.

So there you go. UPDATED.

OH– and in other news, I’m a super huge dork, a bad friendquaintance, and a fool. A FOOL, I SAY. I signed up for a cover reveal, got the post set up, scheduled it to go live on May 1… and forgot to make sure the post wasn’t set to draft. Thanks to my absence from the WordPress-ular area, I didn’t notice until this morning. So PLEASE, stop by and give Adrian J. Smith and her book For By Grace some love on the post which has now posted. Here. HERE. Please.

 

 

*Well… not on MY lawn, because it’s just dirt now. But elsewhere. 🙂

**Books are brain candy. You know they are.


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