Being an author is like being in charge of your own personal insane asylum.

- Graycie Harmon

Friday, February 26, 2010

A Lovely Plug

Good morning, Friday!

Despite having lost my bus pass, and requiring a gondola just to get to my bus stop, and deciding to walk to work only to find I'd have to swim, and arriving to work looking (and feeling) like a drowned cat, I'm in a terrific mood! Not quite sure why. Probably because I've had a great breakfast. Good food makes me happy.

In any case, some of you may remember a post I wrote a while back venting at the issue of why some mythologies (like Scandinavian or Indian) are acceptable for Fantasy literature, and others (like Judeo-Christian) are avoided like the plague. I still think it's dumb, but in any case, the man whose troubles inspired that post, Gerard de Marigny, has made a lovely contribution to my publicity efforts.

He has posted a little blurb about me on his website, with a link to this blog. So, if you're reading this blog already, I'm preaching to the choir. It doesn't matter, I'm chuffed. The blurb was very sweet and put a smile on my face. You can read it yourself here, but just in case you don't want to, here it is in full:

S.M. Carrière
"S&M" as I have dubbed her was one of the first friends I made in David Nicholls "Aspiring Writers" group. As I recall it, she was politely telling me off about one of my thoughts... lol! After I found out that she is a Kung Fu canuck who writes fantasy novels, I knew we were meant to be friends (I couldn't make up a more colorful character for one of my novels). There's a lot more to S.M. too - I tell you something - I've caught a lot of slack for proclaiming my Christian worldview - and I've been a little dissapointed with the lack of support from my so-called Christian brethren - but S&M stepped up to the plate (she's not Christian) and defended me and advocated giving my novels a chance. I will always remember that she did that before I even make my name in fiction! Check out site and if you like fantasy (I do) give her works a read!

Just a few notes on this.... yes, Gerard does call me S&M. No, it has nothing to do with any fetishes I may or may not possess. Don't ask, I won't tell anyway.

My favourite observation - he 'couldn't make up a more colourful character for a novel.' That made my smile turn into a grin.

As for that last point, I read Gerard's premise and it sounded bloody exciting. I still hold that it would make an incredible read, and it most definitely should be given a chance. I really wish people would look passed mythologies and focus on the stories, messages and writing that lie behind any given novel.

Right, that about covers it. I'd like to thank Gerard for thinking to post me up there. I really do appreciate it!

On to the next thing, there are a couple of hellos to say as of this morning. So, hello:

Visitor Location: Paris, France
Date: February 26, 2010
Time: 5:40 AM EST

Visitor Location: Paris, France
Date: February 26, 2010
Time: 6:13 AM EST

Visitor Location: Lunéville, France
Date: February 26, 2010
Time: 7:45 AM EST

There's a few horse-riding tours of France that my flatmate and I intend to embark on soon. I'll be there in person as early as next year. Le sigh... I can't wait!

Also, a big hello to:

Visitor Location: Münsingen, Switzerland
Date: February 26, 2010
Time: 7:33 AM EST

Right, that's it from me. Must get to writing. Must stay on track. Must finish this book next week.....

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Today I received a pleasant surprise. The number of people following my blog has climbed rather substantially in the past three odd days. I, for the longest time, had 12 followers, almost all of whom I knew personally. By the way, thanks for being there for me guys. Your support means the world to me.

As of this morning, there are now sixteen. I'm sure that in the blogging world, sixteen followers amounts to absolutely nothing. To a person who is yet to make it in her chosen profession and is a giant nobody, however, it means the world. There's something strangely gratifying about having people read your daily drivel... like what you're saying means something to people, like others can relate. In its own anonymous way, it's quite comforting.

Even though I don't have the hundreds of followers that some bloggers do, I would like to express my gratitude to those who are following me here. So to Coo, Lizzie, Sammy J, Cindy, Kimber Grey, Barbara Hart, David Ferretti III, Anna L, Carter, kgborland23, paigeray23, Rita Webb, Jenn to the t, Trixiekitten, Jon and Genevieve Hopkins, and to anyone else who may not be publicly following me, but is reading all the same, thank-you so much.

All the articles I read tell me that publishers and agents look at one's platform. Every follower I get increases my platform, which makes me look more enticing to those elusive agents and acquisition editors. So again, thank-you.

I'm now going to rant about the label "Follower." It struck as rather odd this morning, when I saw the number of "followers" I had. It has to be my least favourite label for people out there. It makes those who read blogs sound like mind-washed members of a cult, incapable of independent thought. It implies a certain sheepish quality about people. Surely people who subscribe to a certain blog ought to be called subscribers, shouldn't they? Readers would be another term one could use. Followers sounds so... odd. Well, to me at least!

On that note, I'm quickly falling behind in my writing... again! So I must dash and try to finish this darned story! Have a great Thursday everyone. I know I shall!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Hello World!

With little else to report, it's time to say hello to the world. So, courtesy of, hello:

Cote D'Ivoire
Visitor Location: Cote D'Ivoire
Date: February 19, 2010
Time: 3:53 AM EST

Visitor Location: Rognac, France
Date: February 21, 2010
Time: 6:41 AM EST

The U.K.
Visitor Location: Stockport, United Kingdom
Date: February 21, 2010
Time: 8:25 AM EST

Visitor Location: United Kingdom
Date: February 22, 2010
Time: 3:09 PM EST
(love the UK, by the way!)

The U.S.A.
Visitor Location: New York, NY
Date: February 21, 2010
Time: 12:56 PM EST
(I'm going to visit New York with my Kung Fu school in April, so see you soon New York!)

Visitor Location: Hudson, NH
Date: February 23, 2010
Time: 9:14 AM EST

and making a return this week, hello to:

No Freakin' Clue
Visitor Location: N/A
Date: February 19, 2010
Time: 11:46 PM EST

Right, I'm off to try and write some more. Have a great day all!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Why Am I Not Bitter?

Let me clear something up. I am a bitter person generally. I hate Valentine's Day (never mind that it's the stupidest day ever to be celebrated). I think dating is a pain in the arse and tend to avoid it. People are generally stupid. I think corporations are sick (not in that slag "awesome" kind of way). Governments even more so. It takes me years to learn to trust someone. I'm bitter.

Yet, in relation to my writing, I'm not bitter at all. Talking to other authors who are (rightfully) frustrated and angry with the world - their deserving work is still uncelebrated. Why am I not angry? I get angry about everything else. Why am I not angry about this?

I think perhaps that the reason I'm not embittered by my experience is largely due to the fact that I have no expectations. Sure it'd be lovely if an agent or acquisition editor wanted to take up my books. It would be phenomenal if the books were published and they became widely read. It would be beyond my wildest dreams if they were turned into films.

All of that would be incredibly wonderful and, in all seriousness, I'm working hard to perfect my books and get them under the eyes of agents and acquisition editors everywhere. I have an inexplicable drive to have these things published.

The big difference is, I don't have all my dreams pinned on these books. I am not expecting to get rich and famous over them. I don't hate my current job, or my life. I get paid enough to get by. Just. I have good friends. I'm involved in great extra-curricular activities. There are goals outside of writing that I have.

I would like a family. A house. A steady income. As it is now, my job gives me a steady income. The family and house thing will just have to wait, I suppose, until the right time. I have two series' and six books written (well, five and 4/5ths). I'm quite satisfied with where I am right now.

That said, I really, really want to be a published author. I'm certain that being a published author is the path I'm meant to walk and I will continue to work towards it.

Will I ever get there? I'm not sure. I think I will. I'm trusting that I will.

Perhaps in a few more years of fruitless submissions and a larger pile of rejection letters, I might be a little bitter. Alright, a lot bitter (knowing me). As it is now, I'm not, and I'm wondering if it's because I don't have any expectations, or if it's because I'm naively optimistic.

I will be published. I will be published. I will be published....

Monday, February 22, 2010

10 Rules

Welcome back to Monday, everyone.... anyone? Are you there?

Writing is such a lonely business.

Right, let's get on with it then. Some of you may know that I've been following Neil Gaiman's blog for a little while. His entries are always entertaining and often informative. On Saturday, he posted up a link or two for an article entitled 10 Rules for Writing Fiction.

The article is essentially a number of authors relaying the rules they try and follow in order to get a story done. Mr. Gaiman himself notes 8 rules. One of my favourites was Phillip Pullman's only rule. I giggled.

The rules that struck me the most, however, were written by Jeanette Wintersun. I'm relaying them to you here because I just had to share. Thus, with no more ado, here they are:

1 Turn up for work. Discipline allows creative freedom. No discipline equals no freedom.

2 Never stop when you are stuck. You may not be able to solve the problem, but turn aside and write something else. Do not stop altogether.

3 Love what you do.

4 Be honest with yourself. If you are no good, accept it. If the work you are ­doing is no good, accept it.

5 Don't hold on to poor work. If it was bad when it went in the drawer it will be just as bad when it comes out.

6 Take no notice of anyone you don't respect.

7 Take no notice of anyone with a ­gender agenda. A lot of men still think that women lack imagination of the fiery kind.

8 Be ambitious for the work and not for the reward.

9 Trust your creativity.

10 Enjoy this work!

I highlighted number eight because I think it is the single most important thing written in this list. Too many times I have read the blogs of authors who have great ambition, but not for the work itself. They talk about having the "lifestyle" after their book makes it big. They talk about the money, and the fame, and life as the author behind the next block-buster movie adaptation. They seem to care little for the worth of the work itself.

I'll be happy if my book gets published and is widely read and appreciated. Keep the fame - I don't particularly want it.

You can link to the article here. Have a happy Monday everyone!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Back Writing Again

Well, I'm back on track, by which I mean I have started writing The Seraphimè Saga again. I am, due to the extended break in writing I took to correct papers and judge short stories, 16 020 words behind target.

Looking at my little piece of paper in which I write the day of the week and where I should be up to on that day is currently a little depressing. I should be up to 85 000 words. I'm not. If I had remained on target, a week from yesterday I'd have hit my target and be finished. As it stands now, it'll be just under a fortnight before I finish this book.

With the ending so far away, yet so close, I've been trying to turn my mind to the dreaded 'what next?' question. Well, The Third Prince has gone out to Beta readers and I should be receiving back a copy or two marked up with red lines and words all over relatively soon. That means it will be major revision and editing time!

Can you hear how happy I sound? Please excuse me while I go into a corner and start weeping uncontrollably.

It's good for me... It's good for me.... It's good for me....

So, after editing The Third Prince, I'm definitely going to have to revise Lord of Horses before I send that off to the Beta Readers. Then I'll be trying hard to get The Third Prince under the noses of all the agents and publishers I can while waiting for my Beta readers to get back to me with Lord of Horses. Once The Third Prince is away and Lord of Horses is with the Beta readers, I can start writing an article for my sister's new business. That'll take me about a month, I think.

Then I can start on a new book. What that book will be, I have no idea. Last time it took me about a month to come up with a new story, and I'm expecting the same again this time around. In the meantime, I'll be as busy as hell!

Sounds like fun, doesn't it?

Oh, and while I'm here, some of you will know that every so often I get music obsessions. For a little while there, I was obsessed with Ghost of a Rose by Blackmore's Night. My most recent musical obsession is Lux Aeterna by Clint Mansell. Listen to this piece with your eyes closed and tell me you don't see epic battles unfolding before you. It is a phenomenal piece of composition. I'm thoroughly obsessed!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Give it Back

You @#&$ers!

Sorry, that was strong, but you deserve it and you know it. Yesterday, my friend in Australia arrived home to find that it had been broken in to. Her laptop and all her jewellery were stolen. Chances are that those thieves don't read this, ever, but I don't care. You jerks. Give it back. Amanda works damned hard, and doesn't deserve this.

No one deserves this, but this break and enter is a little close to my heart and I have to say something.

Oh, and as a completely selfish side-note, she was a BETA reader for my story, which means it's there on the hard drive of the stolen laptop. Now I'm paranoid that someone will read it and try to publish it themselves. Horribly unlikely, but I'm still paranoid.

It's stupid and selfish of me to even think that at a time like this... but there it is.

By the way Amanda, Karma will get them!

In other news, all the correcting for the Midterms and the judging of short stories is done for the month. Now I have to high tail it with The Seraphimé Saga to get as much done as possible before the next batch of marking/ judging comes through!

Luckily, I can. I've had a few ideas drift into my head while I took a little hiatus from writing. Yay me!

Since there is nothing new to report, I'd like to say 'hi' to my stalkers. So, hello to:

Saint Kitts and Nevis!
Visitor Location: Basseterre, Saint Kitts and Nevis
Date: January 30, 2010
Time: 9:26 PM EST
(I'm ashamed to say I had to look this one up... I had no idea where it was. West Indies, in case you were wondering. Hello Basseterre! One day I shall visit.)

Senegal (twice)
Visitor Location: Senegal
Date: February 01, 2010
Time: 11:32 AM EST

Visitor Location: Senegal
Date: February 01, 2010
Time: 3:09 PM EST

United States of America
Visitor Location: Miami, FL
Date: February 03, 2010
Time: 9:02 PM EST

Visitor Location: Tampa, FL
Date: February 04, 2010
Time: 5:15 AM EST

Visitor Location: Fullerton, CA
Date: February 15, 2010
Time: 2:20 AM EST

Visitor Location: Elsene, Belgium
Date: February 06, 2010
Time: 10:23 PM EST

Visitor Location: Braine-le-comte, Belgium
Date: February 08, 2010
Time: 6:26 PM EST

Visitor Location: Ottawa, ON (Canada)
Date: February 08, 2010
Time: 10:18 PM EST
(hello home town!)

Visitor Location: Dolbeau, QC (Canada)
Date: February 16, 2010
Time: 10:27 AM EST
(Bonjour, Quebec!)

Visitor Location: Moscow, Russian Federation
Date: February 12, 2010
Time: 8:35 AM EST

Visitor Location: Moscow, Russian Federation
Date: February 14, 2010
Time: 9:26 AM EST

Cote D'Ivoire

Visitor Location: Cote D'Ivoire
Date: February 18, 2010
Time: 6:45 AM EST

and a special hello to No frikkin' clue
Visitor Location: N/A
Date: February 06, 2010
Time: 2:21 AM EST

I'm sorry you had to sit through that, but it entertains me.... and for as long as people are accessing my profile (for however long I have it), I will give a shout out to them. If you're reading this and you're one, hi!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Just for Me

Last night instead of training, I went home and enjoyed a hot bath. I gave myself a mini-facial, a pedicure, and a foot massage. It was wonderful.

Then I got to thinking, why don't I do more "just for me" stuff? Yes, 'stuff' is the technical term.

Right then it hit me. I do tonnes of stuff just for me. I keep this blog and I write about whatever I want to write about, just for me. Frankly, and please don't take offence, I don't really care if you read the post through or not. I'm not that concerned whether or not you like what I write here. If you don't like it, don't read it. I don't have a huge following, and I'm not that bothered.

I do Martial Arts four nights a week (except last night... oh, and the night before because it was a public holiday and there was no class), just for me.

Most importantly, I write just for me. Sure I have this overwhelming drive to have my book published (albeit traditionally) and widely read (please universe), but the content, the characters, the themes, and yes, even the alliteration, I do just for me.

I was thinking about this very thing after a conversation with my sister (and then reminded of it again after reading fellow author Jenn's blog post). I was telling my sister how my latest series The Seraphimé Saga ends. She asked me if I could write something happy for a change (granted, I can get pretty morose in my writing).

I probably could, but it wouldn't be for me. It was be for her, and for everyone else that wants a happy ending. I'm sorry guys, 'happily ever after' just doesn't do it for me. It doesn't fit. It feels awkward and wrong when I attempt a happily-ever-after-type ending. Most usually because such an ending is forced, written over the ending that developed naturally in the back of my very twisted, melancholic mind.

Sure, if that's the way the story develops in my head, then that's the way I'll write it. If it doesn't, however, and another tragic ending develops, that's the one I'll write.

Is this foolish of me? Will publishers overlook me because I can get dark when I write? To answer my own question (sorry), I very much doubt it. Tor and Bantam Books both published Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen series, and if you want dark and twisted, he can get there. Bantam Books also published George R.R. Martin's Song of Fire and Ice series, and that can get really depressing (of course it can, it's George R.R. Martin).

That tells me publishers, some publishers at least, aren't afraid of stories that don't end with the hero overcoming all and getting the girl and everything else completely unrealistic and irrational. So, The Great Man series, which is an extremely dark, almost Shakespearian tragedy epic has a chance of being picked up. The Seraphimé Saga, slightly less dark, but no less epic also has a good chance of being published.

The question then is not my content, but the style of my writing, the flow and, perhaps most importantly, its saleability. My biggest challenge is not the fact that the material is dark, but that I am an unknown, without an established readership and, being as such, an enormous risk to take for publishers.

I can only hope that my writing style and my plots are enticing enough for publishers to want to take that risk.

Fingers crossed!

Now I'm off to judge short stories. Until next time, take care.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Castle AAAAARGH!

I might have watched Monthy Python and the Holy Grail on the weekend...

In any case, there is so much to relay. As it so happened, there was something that occurred on the weekend that I could not foresee. I was late for Lion Dance practice on Saturday. Not because I didn't leave the house on time, or even that the bus was late. Unusually, it wasn't. The bus was forcibly stopped halfway there because a young lady had a seizure. It was the scariest, most morbidly fascinating thing I have ever witnessed.

I had my iPod on, and I was daydreaming (nothing unusual there), so I didn't know anything was amiss until a man yelled at the bus driver to stop. I looked over, and a young lady in a very expensive-looking fur coat was stiff as a board against the seat vibrating and spasming like a malfunctioning energizer bunny. Fortunately there were people present who knew what to do and it wasn't long before the ambulance arrived, and another bus.

Poor girl.

In other news, I've had to give up writing the web content for my sister's business. I completely forgot that in addition to marking papers, I'm also judging a short story contest this month and with both deadlines fast approaching, adding something else over the top with a similar deadline was simply not doable. That said, I will still be helping her out by editing, and later on down the line I will be submitting articles for her site.

I feel really bad not being able to, but I simply couldn't. Not with everything else that is going on this month.

Now, because of the marking and the judging all happening at once, chances are, I won't be able to do any writing at all for at least a fortnight. Which takes out the month of February completely as the target month for the series' completion. ARGH!

Oh well, there isn't much I can do about it at this point. I'm taking this break from writing to recharge both my imagination and determination. Hopefully, by the time I get back to it, I'll be so full of ideas, it won't feel like pulling teeth to write!

That's it from me. Take care all.

Monday, February 15, 2010


Well, it's Monday, as you're all probably well aware. Monday is actually a holiday for me, some silly provincial holiday they decided to call Family Day. In any case, since it is a holiday, I'm not actually anywhere near a computer. That means this post was actually written Friday. That's right, Friday. Friday morning at 10:30am in fact. So, there might be some things that happened on the weekend that are missing from this post. It's not very likely, but there's the possibility.

In any case, I'm pretending that this was written this morning (Monday) and not three days ago (today). Follow me?


I didn't do any writing on Friday, so now I'm 6 000 words behind target. That means I have to pull some major overtime, and I intend to spend all of this coming Sunday at the computer catching up. I don't know what's come over me, but finishing this novel is killing me. Sometimes I want to gouge my own eyes out (though, I have to say, the final battle scene is really exciting)! But I must, I must finish!

Saturday was the same as every Saturday. I woke up, went to Lion Dance practice. I didn't teach Kung Fu in the afternoon though, as it was also Chinese New Years on Sunday and the academy had given the students the weekend off. That was refreshing.

I met Dad to see a movie and stayed over his place Saturday night. That is always lovely.

Valentine's Day/ Chinese New Years came and went, and I stayed in my house, in my pyjamas, and marked papers. I occasionally correct papers and exams for the Celtic Studies programme at the University of Ottawa. I went through there, taking all the available Celtic Studies classes except the language ones (I still want to learn Welsh, though). They've since turned Celtic Studies into a minor... and I'd love to take the extra classes that have arisen. Le sigh. All the same, marking the papers is just as good. It keeps me relatively up to date on my favourite academic subjects.

Due to the fact that I am now marking papers, and getting that done on schedule takes precedence over my hobby (since I'm getting paid for it), my word count target has been reduced to 1 500 a day. I will still strive for 3 000 a day, but being realistic, I probably won't get there, so I'm not going to stress about it. That does mean, however, that I won't be finishing The Seraphimé Saga this month as planned. Ugh.

Perhaps I'll take to writing on the weekends as well, just to keep up. As if life wasn't busy enough.

Last bit of news (which I saved for last because I'm finding it exciting), my sister, who has started a business called Green Cemeteries (it's a brilliant concept. Check out their Facebook page here), has asked me to help her write some of her web content for the site she's building, and also to continue to contribute to the website via freelance articles. The articles will be about burial practices across space and time (hello Anthropology and Archaeology degree finally coming into use!). I may also be employed by her to help her write an eBook on the subject of Green Cemeteries and burial practices. It's still in the planning stages, but I'm finally getting the opportunity to be paid to write! It's a very teeny tiny step, but hugely important for me.

Sure, I haven't received an offer on any of my novels, but this is the next best thing!

So, that was... uh... will be... uh... was my weekend.

Friday, February 12, 2010

V Day

Quite normally at this time of the year, I'd write out an extensive rant about Valentine's Day and how utterly stupid it is. Fortunately, I'm going to spare you my bitterness....

moar funny pictures

Well, almost.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Little Over the Top

I received this little gem from CC Chronicles (a fabulous blog you must check out) on Tuesday. The rules of the award are to answer the questions with one word answers, then to pass it on. Thus, will little else to report, here it is:

Your Hair?

Your Favourite Food?

Your Hobby?

Your Fear?

Your pets?

Something You Aren't?

Where Did You Grow Up?

Your Life?

Your Mood?

Your Favourite Colour?

And so I pass this on to Gerard de Marigny, simply because I think he needs more recognition! Take it away, g!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Take Off!

I have great news! My LinkedIn pal Lord David Nicholls has been holed away, designing a site where authors can simultaneously publish an eBook and submit it to agents. I've been through and had a look at it, and it is just brilliant. I like this idea so much, I'm plugging it everywhere. Including here.

So, without further ado, introducing

If you're an author trying to get your work out there (and want to make a little money at the same time), this is the site for you. If you're an agent curious about the fresh talent on offer, then this site is also for you.

Check it out. You'll thank me.

I'm planning on having an anthology of short stories (if I can keep my stories short!) and one of poems up for sale in the near future. I just need to finish The Seraphimé Saga first! Better hop to it then!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Blessing and a Curse

Anyone who has been gifted with a vivid imagination is, in my experience, both blessed and cursed in equal measure.

Let me be clear, I love my imagination. I love being able to disappear into secret worlds and be surrounded by fascinating, courageous and sometimes downright evil men and women. I love the thrill of witnessing a colossal battle, or a gentle moment in violent times, or a heart-warming love story. I love being moved by moments of profound brevity and joyous levity.

When reality gets to much, I vanish. I cease to be me, and suddenly I am thrust in a world where everyone's problems are so much greater than my own, and that makes whatever situation I am facing all the more bearable.

Yet there is a downside to all this wonder. Lack of sleep for one. I slept like a log almost all Sunday because, for the first time in a long time, my brain just shut off (until about 7:00 in the morning when I had a heart-stopping nightmare). Last night, I barely slept. My mind was a whirl and things and people and places and events kept me up the whole damned night.

There is an even greater curse. That is, none of it is real. In reality, people are never as brave, or as forthright, or as honest, or honourable. The truly good person is rarely found. Situations one might often imagine themselves in never occur. That man you imagine holding you is never there. That award you imagine winning is not even a real award. That career you've been dreaming of is impossible to acquire. There's no use for swords and armour any more. What code of honour? Real life is, for the most part, quite dull. People have forgotten the wonderment of being a child and looking at the world with fresh eyes; seeing the potential and magic therein (I am waging a personal battle against that - there is still magic and wonder to be had in the world! There is, dammit!).

Imagination can be a remedy for this. It is, really. If life gets me down, I imagine myself a different one. That is a double-edged blade, though. The return to reality something of a let-down. Goodbye adventure and wonder. Hello cold wind and unsmiling crowds.

I think I'm going insane. I'll disappear into the Sierran Tundra now....

Monday, February 8, 2010

A Wonderful Weekend

Well ladles and jellyspoons,

This weekend was quite lovely. I reconnected with a friend I haven't seen in months. Unforgiveable since she and I live in the same city, and easy bus ride away. In any case, we decided to take a tour of Confederation Park to view the ice sculptures that were being erected in honour of Winterlude.

Winterlude, for those who do not live in Canada's capital, is a festival dedicated to winter, to all things ice and snow. There's an ice hotel which you can stay at, ice sculptures to see, winter fun parks (slides and snow castles and so forth). It's a great time, and a good excuse to get out of the house on a cold winter's day.

Yes, it's cold, but as long as you dress for it, you should have a wonderful time, as indeed I did.

I tried Maple Taffy in the Snow for the first time. Basically, it hot maple syrup poured over snow and then rolled onto a popsicle stick. It's chewy and sweet and warm. Delicious!

If ever you're in Ottawa for Winterlude, I strongly suggest seeing the ice sculptures at night. There's something magical about it. It might be the lights....

Here are some photos of the event (all photos courtesy of my friend):

Urban art. This cute little guy was crafted with 100% recyclable plastics.

Fire and Ice. This ice sculpture of a Chinese dragon breathed fire.

Watching the sculptors work was fascinating. This sword-bearing mermaid is almost done, the artist was working on her other arm.

This beautiful pair of butterflies were sculpted by a man who came in from France. Aren't they gorgeous?

No, it's not the Loch Ness monster. This is Ogopogo, a mythical creature from British Columbia (on the west coast of Canada). It has existed in First Nation mythology for centuries, and its first reported sighting by Euopeans pre-dates the Loch Ness monster by some 80 years.
A dragon fan, this sculpture really caught my attention!

Still under construction, but this one was simply too beautiful not to capture.

A Faerie! Of course I love this one!

And one more dragon, because I'm such a dragon nut.

There are many more ice sculptures that my friend has photos of, but I can't rightly upload them all... there are so many! If ever you get the opportunity, go see the ice sculptures at Winterlude. My goodness they are gorgeous!

My friend and I retired at around 8:30ish for some pizza and wine, and thence to her place for some Wii Super Mario Brothers. That was a blast, though I have to say, I'm really not good with computer games! Sorry Tri!

Sunday I slept all day.

That was my wonderful weekend. How was yours?

P.S. - still no news from Tor, but that's alright as I've been so busy working on The Seraphimé Saga, time has whizzed passed and I've barely even cared. A word to the wise, while waiting for representation, keep writing!

Friday, February 5, 2010


Maps make me incredibly happy. As my Facebook pal, Chuck, said, there are so many stories in maps.

Yesterday afternoon, the landscape of my current project The Seraphimé Saga suddenly popped into my head. I had just made it past the target word count for the day (losing my 2 000 word lead... oh well), and I needed to get these maps on paper. So, I abandoned my writing and sketched out a map which included all the territories of the various tribes of the Greyls, the Clans of the Sierrans and the Yellow City of the Ottlans. That will make more sense to you if you read it.

Then I found this pretty awesome free download called AutoREALM. I forgot to copy the like, but if you google autoREALM, you'll find it. In any case, it's a programme that lets you build maps, just like the ones you see in published fantasy books.

So, today, I am going to finish mapping my world, and to hell with my word count. I'm still technically working on my book... and maps are just cool! Since I've already finished the general one and two of the more detailed ones (the Sierran Tundra and to Ottalan Desert), it shouldn't take me too long to do the Greyl Kingdoms and the Touan Federation.

Right, I'm off to pretend I'm a Baveii cartographer (obscure Seraphimé reference that no one will know except me... sorry about that). Have a lovely day.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Vet Vexations

Alright, you bloody-minded, lying prats, I have something to tell you. When you tell someone that you need only the first round of vaccinations before you spay/ neuter a cat, you should stick to that. Bald-faced bastards.

We spent a fair amount of money to vaccinate our cats (oh, Galahad was not a fan of that! Sephy took it like a woman, a hiss was about all. Apparently Galahad screamed and struggled and wept.... big baby. You should see my flatmate's arms!) because you said "you need to vaccinate your cats first. We only require the first vaccinations." Then you tell us that they need a second round of shots (which the vet who came to the house yesterday said were completely unnecessary), gotten a month from now, and only ten days after that will you render the cat sexless. We have appointments booked at Spay and Neuter Clinic which will come sooner than that - and they don't require any vaccinations of any kind.

So screw you veterinary hospital, you're not getting our money. You lying pack of scoundrels.

On a happier note, we have very healthy kitties who are now protected from a range of diseases they are likely to never come in contact with. Yay.

(Actually, I am kinda happy about the protection from diseases, but still REALLY miffed at the lying, money-grabbing vets of Ottawa. Honestly guys, you're unreasonable "protocol" is directly responsible for the litters that flood the Humane Society every week. Idiots). Alright, done now.

That's it from me. Have a lovely day.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Seduction, Intrigue and Adventure

Sounds like I'm plugging a book, doesn't it? Well, I'm not. This is home life at the moment.

The Seduction:
Persephone is in heat. Oh joy. Now I fully realise it's our fault for not taking her to get spayed sooner.... all the same, it's not a fun time at home. Persephone has, in the grasp of her heat, taken to seducing her own son. It's running like a Greek play! At first, Galahad was not all that interested, but a couple of days past five months, he's starting to pay attention. My poor flatmate is filled with horror stories about how she's had to run into the kitchen/living room/bathroom in order to separate them. Not happy at all, Persephone has taken to peeing on, well, everything.

The Intrigue:
To make matters even worse, none of the veterinary clinics will spade Persephone and neuter Galahad unless they've had all their shots. They do not adjust this policy for anyone or any circumstance. What the hell? Are they not aware that by refusing to take in cats that haven't had their shots, they are directly responsible for a large number of litters? Let's face it, if you find a stray, and you want to take it into the vet to have it spayed/neutered, and they refuse, then stray cat is going to be having kittens left right and centre. Guaranteed they'll be the first to complain about all the strays running around that no one cares for. Idiots!

Now, I'm hugely against unnecessary vaccinations, for people or for cats. For house cats that never go outside, shots are entirely unnecessary. The fact that vets require it is just stupid. There is one clinic specifically for spaying and neutering that does not require it, but they are so backlogged, we'd have to wait until April to have Persephone's tubes tied. No. Freaking. Way.

In order to get the shots required with these vets, they insisted that the cats get the first, then a month later the second, then a month later.... and so on. Right, 'cause the urgency of the situation was not made clear to them (though again, I fully take the blame for not booking a spaying appointment sooner). It's a money making schtick, that's all it is.

In any case, we are having both kitties vaccinated. Today, in fact. Jasmine was supremely lucky in finding a vet from Renfrew... Dunlop... Damn I've forgotten the name of it... county. He has a house call to attend in our neighbourhood this morning, and he very kindly agreed to check in on our kitties afterwards. He's wonderfully inexpensive compared to every single vet we've ever asked, and, blessed be, he will give all of the shots in one go. Then we can take that stupid bit of paper into the vet, and have Persephone spayed and Galahad neutered. Soon.

(In case you were wondering what we do if we're both not home to keep an eye on the cats, Persephone has found a new home in the bathroom, replete with food, water, her own litter, and a very tightly shut door! Hopefully that won't last very long, though she does seem to be quite comfortable, and even goes in there to sleep all of her own accord.)

And now for the adventure:
I have decided to, at the invitation of my dear friend T.H., partake in this year's Ottawa City Chase. It's a "follow the clues to the finish line" kind of race all through the city of Ottawa. You can read about it here. We're doing it to raise money for Right to Play, a charitable organisation that makes it possible for children to be children - to play sport and have fun - in some of the most disadvantaged places in the world. We're yet to name our team (or register), but will do soon. If you want to get involved, you can donate online... once we've registered and have everything set up. Keep an eye out for the link, coming to you soon!

Right, that's it from me. Have a great day!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Brave Shave

Nice rhyme in the title, huh? I'm right? Am I right? I'm right, huh?

Alright, done the silliness for the day. I have something so incredibly awesome to announce. It made my my week when I heard it!

My dear friend Amanda Jones, whom I hated in Grade 8, but by Grade 9 we were friends (it's just one of those things), is being an exceptionally brave woman all for the sake of finding a cure for Leukaemia. This year, my wonderbah friend is shaving her head. If you pay her enough, she'll get all her gorgeous brown hair saved right off.

Of course, it is a fund-raiser, so donations must be given. Hence today's blog. If you feel like doing something amazing, go here, and donate to the cause. You never know, you might just save lives.

On a much sadder note, you may remember (or not) a post I published a while back about a friend whose father was very ill. Well, I discovered last night that he passed away on Thursday.
So K, even though your probably not reading this, my thoughts are with you and your family. If you need anything, anything at all, just ask. Big hugs.

That's all. I'm feeling down today, so I'll just leave it here and start writing now.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Don't Judge a Book by its Mythology

I fell off my seat laughing, and just had to share!

Alright, today is officially Monday, and I did promise a friend of mine I'd highlight him today. Ladies and gentlemen, introducing to you a buddy of mine, Gerard de Marigny!

Gerard is, like myself, a first time author. Check out his website here. He is a Christian Author, as he will explain on his site. I'm not a Christian myself, but I hardly think that matters. A good story is a good story, no matter which world-view it is written from, and let me tell you, the premise of Gerard's début novel, (looking for representation to all you agents and publishers out there) and series is simply fantastic. I can't wait to read it myself. I'm not just saying that.

The story in his own words:

On September 11, 2020, Islamic extremists detonate a “suitcase” nuclear device in downtown Manhattan. In retaliation, the United States launches OPERATION WHITE HORSE, unknowingly opening the “FIRST SEAL” of the book of Revelation, beginning the Tribulation. Lead by a man named BIAN-ATHAR, God chooses four heroes to be His CHAMPIONS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. Like the biblical Samson, they are Nazirites endowed with special gifts. They are to protect God’s “first fruits,” people selected to survive the Tribulation. Meanwhile, Satan, in the human personage of the mysterious AMEN NEBTAWI, enlists the help of men to pursue and kill God's chosen. Bian-Athar and the Champions find themselves in a race against time to prevent an attack on the scale of the "2nd 9/11." Yet, they cannot stop the prophetic countdown of 2,520 days. As the White Horseman withdraws …the Red Horseman approaches from the East!

THE FIRST SEAL is book one of my SAGA OF THE SEVEN SEALS Christian fiction series. Each book in the series represents one of the seven seals of revelation and each chronicles one year of the last seven horrific years

How cool does that sound? I think it's going to make for an incredibly exciting story.

Now, most people in my immediate circle of friends would be entirely put off by the Christian narrative and it got me thinking. Why? Why is there this stigma against Christian Fiction? The Christian Mythos is a perfectly legitimate mythology, filled with all the same kinds of magic and wonder as other mythologies, yet it is somehow considered beneath inclusion in Fantasy of any kind. That's not fair! Why is Druidism fair game for Fantasy consumption, and Christianity not? It doesn't make sense.

Christianity has a pretty bad rap amongst non-Christians... even Western non-Christians (at least, my Western non-Christian friends) and, frankly, that's not fair. Sure there are the die-hard fanatics that scream and froth at the mouth, but you get that with almost every religion. Maybe Buddhism is a little more laid back (I've yet to meet a fanatical Buddhist), but I have met fanatical Jews, Muslims, Pagans (yes, fanatical Pagans) and Sikhs. All of them are just as bad as fanatical Christians. There are also wonderful Christians, who are a credit to humanity let alone their faith (M.K., I'm talking about you here).

So, don't discriminate on fiction because it draws on a mythology you disagree with (let's face it, how many of you believe that Orcs and Elves and Trolls actually did/do exist? If you do, you need a serious reality check!). Read the story for what it is - a story, and trust me when I say, Gerard de Marigny's story will definitely be worth the read.

Here's a new author I'm thoroughly excited about. Good luck g, and remember me when you're rich and famous!