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

- Graycie Harmon

Friday, July 30, 2010


Please excuse the title, but today is a most beautiful day. No, seriously.

The sun is shining, the air is cool and clear, and I was just told that I was extremely talented. After months and months of angsty doubt, those four words are absolutely precious.

I had asked the creator and C.E.O. of (where I intend to release The Dying God) to have a quick read through of the anthology and tell me if he thought it was good enough for his site.

Here is what he had to say:

I have now read your work (Not edited it) and think you are extremely talented. You have a unique style that really grabs your attention and I genuinely think this collection would be ideal for Lebrary... Great stuff.


Everything is now as official as it can be. The Dying God & Other Stories will be released on Hallowe'en and available through Now all I have to do is await the Beta Readers and edit/format the thing properly.

There won't be a blog post on Monday, as it is a holiday here in Canada, and I don't intend on going near a computer to do anything other than watch T.V. shows online. Have a wonderful three days, everyone. Mine will be spent floating on a cloud.


Thursday, July 29, 2010


Wow. Yesterday I was feeling all hopeful and energised. Today I feel so incredibly exhausted. I slept fitfully last night, had very bizarre dreams (which included a friend of mine getting bitten by a red-back spider... in Canada.... and his girlfriend meeting a girl who had the hots for him = very complicated and I just remember bits and pieces of it), and woke up idiotically early (4 something in the morning), and every half hour after that, feeling completely wiped.

AND I have so much work to do. I have to review the comments left by a Beta Reader(who got back to me super quick. Thanks so much, by the by!), and I have to physically divide The Osprey and the Crow into chapters (Thankfully I did most of the leg work yesterday).

AND I have to rewrite a considerable amount of the afore-mentioned novel. I read the first few pages and my heart sank. It was utter crap. It got better, but still, that first section needs a total rewrite, and some sections later on need rearranging.

I'm feeling a little overwhelmed at the moment!

O.K., instead of sitting here complaining about it, I'm going to get started. Hopefully I won't fall asleep on the keyboard....

Have a great Thursday all!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

One Step Closer

I'm sitting here this morning, eating my bowl of reduced sugar instant oatmeal, and smiling.

When I first decided that I wanted to write.... I call it a decision, but I don't fell like I really had a choice in the matter. Let me put it this way:

When writing found me, floundering and without direction, I got a feeling - a strange, this-is-it feeling. Suddenly all was right with the world. I stopped stressing out about life. It wasn't pointless any more.

It was as if I had found myself.

Countless rejections later, I began to question my new direction. Perhaps I wasn't supposed to be a writer after all. Perhaps the stories that were careening through my mind at break-neck speed, causing inconsistent bouts of insomnia and general turmoil were just a symptom of a sick mind and I would never amount to much. Maybe the best I could hope for in life was to remain a low-level administrator, bitter and alone, pining for dreams never realised.

Sounds dramatic, right? All the same, that was what was going through my head. By the time the last rejection for The Third Prince came through, I had pretty much given up. I was trying to resign myself to a life of mediocrity.

Then, one day, I went to a labyrinth walk. I had gone there to speak with Grandma, who had passed away January of last year. As I walked, I told her that I loved her and that I missed her (and at this point started crying), and that I'm sorry, but it doesn't look like my books would be published after all (Mum given her bits of The Great Man series to read as I sent them to her, and she loved them. She always pestered Mum for more). Then a little voice popped into my head and clear as day it said this:


No, it wasn't my Grandma's voice. It wasn't a voice I recognised at all. I also realise how incredibly crazy this sounds, what with hearing voices and what not. I swear, though, that's precisely what happened.

It was sudden. It was loud. It was thoroughly odd.

I had been toying with the idea already, having promised a friend of mine that I would put something up on his e-book distribution website. I just never thought I would do it for real.

After I won the chance to be published in Unlocked (Coming out August 13th, people. Don't miss it!), I decided that I could self publish after all. I could put some of my poetry out there, one or two of my short stories. That why why and how The Dying God & Other Stories came into being.

Now all the stories have been written. All the poems are in place. All that remains is having my Beta Readers send me feedback, final edits based on that, and scanning in my illustrations. Of the people I asked to be Beta Readers, four have generously given their time. Four pairs of eyes is a good amount for Beta Readers, so it should give the anthology the best possible shot at being close to perfect without hiring a professional editor (because I can't afford one). Hopefully, I'll publish it without seeing a single typo after the fact!

I have also asked my friend if he'll peruse the manuscript and give me the pre-approval for publishing through I'm fairly confident there aren't any major problems that will cause me to be turned aside.

I'm quite excited, though I know I am unlikely to sell very many copies - almost all of them will be to family and friends. It doesn't really matter at this point. I'm excited all the same.

That feeling I got when writing first found me? I have it again.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Beginning of the End

*cue dramatic music.

Alright, so this post isn't all that dramatic. I just needed something to liven it up.

I am thrilled to announce that The Dying God & Other Stories e-book now has an ISBN!

*cue party blowers

AND the release date has been decided. It's (are you ready for it?) Hallowe'en this year!

*cue ghost sounds

With a title like The Dying God, how could I not release it on Hallowe'en (no, there are no horror stories in there)? Of course that means that I have to scan in all the illustrations soon... which means that I have to find a scanner... which means I need to make friends with someone who has a scanner.

Do you have a scanner? Want to be friends?

I might also, thanks to a wizard of a flatmate, have a book trailer for it. MAY is the key word. She's really busy right now, and I don't want to bother her too much, so if she just doesn't have the time, there will be no book trailer.

Although I don't expect to sell to anyone but family and friends with this e-book, I'm stupidly excited about it. And, strangely, despite all the work, I'm having a blast making it.

I was stressed about having to change to format when inspiration for poems ran dry. I was beyond vexed that two of my drawings turned out soooo incredibly different from what I had wanted (one was supposed to be a horse, but turned out to be a dragon - don't ask. The other was supposed to be male, but in shading the features became really, really, REALLY feminine, so I just made it a girl). I was incredibly stressed that several of the short stories were utter crap (but thanks to a last-minute brain wave, I was able to replace the worst ones with alternative, not-so-crappy stories).

It was stressful, but now it's fun. Of course, as the deadline approaches, I'm going to be more stressed, but that's part of the game.

My one concern is that there isn't a professional editor on this one. I did enquire, and I found an editor I think I'd like very much, but I can't afford at the moment (and her prices were reasonable and quite flexible). I have self-edited as much as possible, and I hope that Beta Reader volunteers will catch the things I am sure to have missed.... but I'd feel more comfortable if there was a proper editor on board. Still, live and learn. If I self-publish again (which I plan on doing for all my anthologies, but not my novels), I will know to save up for a good editor before the project even starts.

Alright, I really do have to get to editing the very last story before I send it off to my Beta Readers. Have a great Tuesday everyone! I'll be celebrating tonight with a few glasses of wine and my own private happy dance.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Back From the Weekend

Hi everybody!

It was a great weekend for me. Was it for you?

I cleaned the kitchen. I watched Lord of the Rings - all three movies.... the extended editions. I even watched some InuYasha (my favourite anime) and had nothing to do with my writing at all except dream. A lot. I dreamt so much that I have a feeling that The Great Man series will be five books instead of four. Between Overlord (book III) and Prince of Darkness (Book IV), I'll likely be inserting another book entitled Puppet Master. I have some large scenes that won't fit anywhere else.

This isn't a promise mind. I told myself I was going to wrap things up after I enter this upcoming competition, and I'm still leaning towards doing so. Though, knowing the stories that run through my head, and the uncontrollable need (as a side note: this urge to write is really bizarre!) to write them, it's likely that I will end up writing this new book.

First, though, I have to finish editing the short stories. They'll be done soon and hopefully almost ready to publish. Next up would be fixing up The Osprey and the Crow (book I of The Seraphimé Saga) for this competition that's ending December 31st of this year. After that, probably Puppet Master, but I'm not sure.

Oh! And in other writing related, if not exciting news, in anticipation of the release of The Dying God & Other Stories in October of this year, I've built a teeny, tiny website using blogger. No, seriously. Technically it's a blog, but it works well as a website. Of course, being so far away from the release date, there isn't much to put on there. I've filled in what I can. Do check it out:

You don't have to "follow" it like you would a regular blog. There's really only going to be one post up as the main page.

Right, that's it from me. I have editing to get on with. Have a wonderful Monday everyone!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Freja's Day at Last

I'm taking today off editing... again....

It's not because I'm lazy this time. This time it's because I'm judging a short story competition for a group I belong to.

The theme for the competition was 'Paranormal' so this should prove to be a great set of stories! Last time it was romance. I didn't judge that one. I don't like romance....

Right, since there is nothing else to report other than my extensive bruising from training last night (I look like to poster-child for spousal abuse... if only I had a spouse.....), I'll leave it of here and get started. Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

All's Quiet

There is nothing new going on at all.

I'm sorry to say, but while I'm editing, it's going to be a boring, boring blog. Unless something tremendously exciting happens.

In the meantime, for your viewing pleasure, here's a couple of vids you should watch/listen to.

This first one is the first ever EP by my classmate. We both graduated from Blackheath and Thornburgh College together. She's got raw talent that will only get better with time:

And this one is a little short I discovered last weekend. It had me in stitches:

And of course, this one. An oldie, but a goodie:

I think that's enough for today. Have a great Thursday all!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Everything is Better

The kitty was found yesterday. She had managed to sneak into a closet Monday night without being spotted. The closet was then closed and the poor cat left inside overnight.

Thank heavens for flatmates who can rush home at lunch to check for said kitty. The poor thing. She seems very happy to be out again, of course, and is as affectionate as ever.

Everything is better again!

In writing news... nothing has changed. I have to edit like crazy, so I'd best get on that! Have a great Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

It's One of Those Days

I have some good news! I have finished all the illustrations for The Dying God and Other Stories. Yay me!

Now I just need to knuckle down and focus on the editing, something I fear I won't be able to do today. One of the cats, Sephy was missing this morning. She normally wakes me up at around 7 for food. She didn't.

She normally comes a-running if she hears anything like the food bowl moving. She didn't. Galahad ate alone this morning.

I called her name, I shook the treats bag... I ran around the house checking all her favourite spots. Nothing. I checked the windows. They all looked like they were in place. WTF? Did Sephy get abducted? She can't have left in the middle of the night - no one opened any doors.

Needless to say, I'll be spending the rest of the day worried and stress and distracted. I hope you all have a better Tuesday.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Value of Rest

Hi all!

My last post on Friday was brief (I'm sure you're all glad) and made a single point - I'm taking the day off.

Quite usually when I say that, my minds ceases for all of three seconds before it launches into overdrive and I find myself frenetically typing the latest scrap of an idea down... for six hours straight. Friday however was different.

I did indeed take the day off writing, or illustrating, or anything at all to do with The Dying God or any other work I have currently in 'the cycle.' I didn't even edit. All I did was rest. My mind remained quiet, my hands were still and suddenly I could breathe again.

The pace I had been keeping until Friday could only be described as 'break-neck.' I know a good number of you won't understand or appreciate the amount of work that writing, editing or illustrating can be. Some of you may see someone drawing and harken back to the age of three (or any really young age) and imagine it to be just fun. While drawing is fun, it takes a great deal of intense focus. Like writing, it is as frustrating as it is rewarding. And yes, it is hard work.

So, taking a break is sometimes necessary - even if the work seems like recreation to some.

I needed that break of Friday. It continued on into Saturday (the majority of which I was asleep - I don't know what came over me, but I slept a lot Saturday) and right through to Sunday. Sunday night, my brain switched back on, and the floodgates that held the ideas back burst open. I barely slept for everything whizzing through my mind.

That means today, it's business as usual. Working on The Dying God means that all the other ideas that raced through my head last night will have to wait. They've been parcelled off into little boxes in my mind. Right now, I have to do the last illustration for the anthology. I don't know what I'm going to draw yet, but it will come to me. Thus, without boring you about my sleepy weekend any further, I shall leave it here and get to work.

Have a wonderful Monday everyone!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Taking the Day Off

I am giving myself permission to relax and do nothing even remotely authorly today. If I feel like writing, I'll write. If I don't, I won't. I'm just going to relax today and take some time to rest.

Everything has been so hectic for so many months now that I've forgotten the importance of giving myself space to breathe. Today is a day for catching my breath.

I've edited on short story and locked it into the anthology template I created. I have eight more stories that require serious editing, but I'm not going to bother today.

On that relaxing note, have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Quiet Day

Well, life is quiet indeed. You know, apart from my mania...

Yesterday I finished the fourth (of five) illustration for my anthology The Dying God and Other Stories. It was supposed to be a man, but the face ended up being terribly effeminate, so I changed the body a little bit and now it's a woman. Apparently, I can't draw men. Grrr! Oh well, the end result was actually pretty good... as far as my skill level goes.

So, it looks like I'll be finished the basics of the anthology by the end of next week. Then I have to go through and edit my stories like crazy. I got a jump start on the story River Woman, which ought to be the first one to be edited properly and actually put into the the waiting template. It's kind of exciting, but as with the end of every project, also a little sad.

There was a novel I had started to write well before this anthology took over, but I'm afraid that will have to wait as I set about editing the first book of The Seraphimé Saga (The Osprey and the Crow) for entry into a competition. The deadline for that is fast approaching, and I need to get cracking!

So, it seems that even though I had made up my mind to give it a rest for now, I will be busy until the end of the year. I don't think I can do anything else but write! So, you know what? I don't care if I'm wildly successful. It would be nice, but it's not my imperative. I want to write. That is all. So, for however long it makes me happy, I will write, and to hell with the game. If I get in, great. If not, well, it won't matter.

Today, at least.

Right, I have to dream up some ideas for this last illustration. Have a wonderful Thursday everyone!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Awesomest (it is too a word) Flatmate in the World....

Ladles and Jellyspoons! Step up step up! Come and see the most amazing, most incredible flatmate in the woooooorld!

Ahem. I've had coffee. And chocolate. Can you tell?

In any case, my flatmate is incredibly awesome. She read my blog post yesterday and I depressed the hell out of her (I'm assuming many others too - sorry guys, that's how I was feeling). In any case, early in the afternoon, just after lunch, I returned to my computer and sat down. I just opened up the browser when my flatmate dashed in. She plonked a cup on my desk, said (so rapidly that I almost missed it), "Your blog made me sad, here's a hot chocolate, I've gotta go." and disappeared out the door again before I had a chance to thank her.

I sat in stunned silence for a moment before I called out a meek "thank-you" to the closed door.... and then I laughed. She told me later the look on my face was priceless.

It turns out that she stopped at the local Bridgehead (a fair-trade coffee house) on her way to work to buy me a hot chocolate because she felt badly for me. She was running a little late for work, so she didn't have much time to do anything else but drop the hot chocolate off and run away.

Is that not the most awesome thing ever? It really made my day yesterday!

Now about yesterday's post.... No, I am not suicidal, though I can reach incredible lows sometimes (like yesterday). Yes, I will continue to be candid about what the business of publishing is about and how it affects me. That's why I started this blog. Part of the reason I so candidly express everything I'm going through is for the benefit of others. It's so that they, meaning you, know that hurting is normal, and sometimes even generally cheerful people (which I am... despite my pretty depressing posts) feel the pinch. It more especially for the benefit of other struggling writers for two major reasons:

1. Continually being shot down by the publishing industry SUCKS!
2. At risk of stereotyping, creative people on the whole have that tendency to be a little more morose. It's true! I read a paper once that linked creativity and genius both to a higher concentration of depressant neurotransmitters in the brain. Go figure.

Wish I could find that article again, I'd post a link here. If you know that article, post a link!

Another reason I am candid is a little more selfish - that is, it provides something of a cathartic release. After I write about how I feel, I tend to feel better. Puts the pressure off, so to speak. A burden shared is a burden halved kind-of-thing.

I have received some incredibly powerful emails of survival from other people who have, like me, struggled with depression. There are some beautiful stories out there. Thank-you to everyone who has shared a little of themselves. You are all amazing, beautiful souls!

A report on my emotional state today - I feel great (still thinking I might be manic....)! I went to training last night, and that always helps. For the first time in three weeks I worked out. I'd just like to say that after three weeks of rest and relaxation, I am wickedly out of shape! For the first time ever, I felt like throwing up during exercise. Not good! I made it through without throwing up, but I did rest for the last hour.

I reconnected with my Kung Fu family, and being surrounded by such good people is the perfect anathema against misery! I also got very bruised on my right forearm, so much so that I can't put it on the chair's armrest without wincing. Though I am tired this morning, I feel great. Exercise... for more than just losing weight!

Right, there is a lot of work for me to do today. I hope everyone is well! Have a beautiful Wednesday!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My Emotional Roller-Coaster

Perhaps I have a severe chemical imbalance or something. Perhaps it's just the nature of the game. Whatever it is, it's dragging me through hell.

I don't mean a literal hell, of course. My bedroom has not turned into a cavern filled with fire and brimstone... or a world of ice, for that matter. There aren't actually daemons running around dismembering people left, right and centre.

The daemons that do exist are mine, running around in my head, sabotaging what took a very long time to build.

This is going to get personal, so if you don't want to know stop reading now.

I was not exactly the most stable youth. My Mum once tried to send me to therapy. I resisted, of course. I was weird enough (no, I didn't catch flies and pulled off their wings and then laughed as they tried to fly or anything like that. I was just odd... not like the others). People threw rocks at me. I didn't want everyone at school knowing I was seeing a shrink on top of it.

I barely survived High School.

Since then, however, I've grown into a fairly decent, relatively well-adjusted human being. It's just, every so often, that unstable, self-loathing youth makes a return. With this last rejection I received, and the knowledge that I would have to shelve the one story I cared most about, that unstable, weepy girl made another appearance.

Publishing is not for the faint of heart. I wonder why I tried for this mess. The staggering number of rejections, almost all of them form letters (with the exception of one kind agent whose words I still have taped to my computer), the waiting, the hoping, the hopelessness, the ache, the dejection, the soul-crushing loneliness and desolation... it gets a little much sometimes.

The really weird thing is, I'm not being that dramatic. It really is a horrible, horrible game, this publishing business. You can ask any writer struggling to find their way in, struggling to get published. It's hard.

It's hard work. It's hard emotionally. It's just plain hard.

Sometimes, I cope with it very well. I have great friends whom I love very much. I am involved in a number of extra-curricular (as it were) activities that I enjoy. I love to laugh, and do so often.

Other times, I cry myself to sleep. I cry at lunch hour at work. I cry on my way home. Sometimes I want to crawl into a hole and never move again. I can't eat. I don't sleep....

I feel manic.

You can probably see it reflected in my posts, now that I think of it. Some are happy, some are really miserable and depressing. Today is a weepy day, I guess.

Trying to get published has put me on an emotional roller-coaster. From what I've read, it does that to a lot of people. Knowing this, and talking to others who are going through the same sort of wreckage makes me feel a little better - not that they're hurting, but that I'm not alone in this. That others feel as I do means I'm not so abnormal after all.

I've come close to giving up several times. Each time something has happened to make me rethink. Today, I read this. I cried like an idiot at work, but I felt better.

So, despite being tossed around like a rag doll by the publishing game, I'm going to continue to work for what I want most. Today, at least.

Now, because I've depressed the hell out of everyone, I need to share some happier news (at least it makes me happy), despite the length of the post.

If you've been following the blog since it's inception, you'll know I love music. You'll also know that I made a plea to Two Steps From Hell (an appropriate title, actually) to release some of their music to us plebs (since they previously only wrote for the movie industry). I don't think they read the post, but they did release an album. YAY!

was released May of this year. Of course I bought it. Their songs are spectacular and though some of my favourites are not on that particular album, I do have two songs from the album that I adore:

It's called Protectors of the Earth. It's just brilliant.

This next on, Heart of Courage made me think of Edward, a character I'm particularly fond of from The Great Man series.

I also really like Freedom Fighters from the same album, but you're going to have to look that one up yourself!

Right, I have so much work to do, it's not funny, so toodles for now. Have a fabulous Tuesday everyone!

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Brilliant Weekend

Well, though I've all but given up hope on The Great Man series, I had a fabulous weekend. My flatmate bough D.D.R. for the Wii. Oh, sorry, for those who don't know D.D.R. is Dance Dance Revolution. Yes, I am that much of a geek.

In any case, we played it for close to three hours Friday night. It was ridiculous fun... largely because I am an uncoordinated goof who couldn't step right if my life depended on it. I have decided to make it a weekend tradition. At least once every weekend I will play D.D.R.

Of course, jumping around on a vinyl mat did nothing for my broken left foot. It was very irritated with me all weekend. That, and I gave myself a blister on the bottom of same said foot.

This weekend marked the first in a month where I had nothing much to do. I went to Lion Dance Saturday morning. I tried walking there, but after the aggravation my foot suffered the night before, it was an ill-advised thing to do. I ended up having to stop half-way and take the bus.

Luckily for my foot, we didn't do any Lion Dance. We all learned how to drum instead. Can I just say, I lurve the drumming part. You get to make noise!

Sunday saw a day when I was obligated to do absolutely nothing. All day. I had no idea what to do with myself! I watched some Bones and then, out of sheer boredom, I cleaned my room. It was no small feat - my room had gotten quite messy over the month my sister was here (no time to tidy!).

And that, ladies and gentlemen, marked the most restful weekend I've had in a long, long time. It was great. Now, I have reading to finish. Have a great Monday (and oxymoron, I know) everyone!

P.S. - my apologies for the late post. It's Monday and the computer has decided to go on strike.... again.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Friday At Last!

I don't know how a three day work week can seem so long, but it did. I'm glad it's over.

Some depressing news. The agent I had queried two weeks or so ago (and, I promised myself, the last one I'd query regarding The Great Man series) has rejected the book The Third Prince. Le sigh. Perhaps it's time to shelve that series for now.

Other than that, life is good; and by good I mean very, very, very busy. I have some Beta Reading to do, and I must get on that. So far I've only managed 30 pages a day.... Hopefully I'll be able to speed it up a bit so I can get back to my anthology.

On that note, I must dash and get to work. Have a great weekend all. I shall see you Monday.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Gone Home... sort of

Well, last night was the last night that my sister and her husband stayed in Ottawa. They're leaving on a jet plane, don't know when they'll be back again... ahem... sorry. They're off to Vancouver today. The plane leaves in about an hour.

To celebrate them being here at all, the entire Carrière gang headed out to a restaurant called BDT in Hull, Quebec. That's just across the river from Ottawa for all you non-Canadians. The food was great. The atmosphere was... sweltering! This must be the only restaurant in town that doesn't have air-conditioning... or even ceiling fans.

Already exhausted from lack of sleep the night before (the heat kept me awake), I was almost dying where I sat. Though, oddly, I was quite hungry. The food was really good. I had the lamb chops with couscous. Mmmm.... couscous. I also helped finish a plate of chips (fries) and the rest of my sister's salad.

That is why I'll never be small.

Afterwards, we all went to my aunt's place for desert. I had one coconut roll before I found a spot to sit and doze with my eyes open... barely. I scored an old vase of my aunt's that night. She didn't want it, so just handed it to me. It's awesome!

That night, G.H. and D.H. and I said our goodbyes. I'm pleased to announce there were no tears. I wish I could be at the aeroport with her today, but, alas, I must work.

In writing news, I had been asked a week ago to be a Beta Reader for a friend. I went to the cottages and thence Montréal the very next day, so didn't have a chance to even look at it until yesterday. Then yesterday, the worst possible day at the office in recorded history, I was so busy I didn't get a chance to look at it. With many cats away today, however, I just might have a few moments to spare.

Since I am reading, I've set aside my illustrating until it's done. That's why you see no progress on the bar on the right hand side of the screen. On that note, I'd best get cracking! Have a great Thursday everyone!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I'm Ba-aack!

Did you miss me?

Well, it's a sweltering day out there today, and I am mighty glad to be inside where there is air-conditioning. For those of you who have no idea where I've been for the past few days, the answer is: Montréal. Mostly. My weekend adventures ran a little like this:

Friday morning was a gorgeous morning. Bright, sunny, warm, but not too warm. It was a perfect day for a trip out to Lafleche Aerial Adventure Park for the second attempt at the tree-top obstacle course and ziplines (the first attempt saw the adventure park close due to torrential rain). It was so much fun I cannot even begin to describe it, but I'm a writer, so of course I'm going to try.

We started off with a basic safety course before our group headed off to the first obstacle course. Obstacle course number 1 was not difficult at all. As it turned out though, we were stuck behind a pretty slow-moving group. However, they were laughing and having a great time, so it was all good. Our small little group had stragglers of our own (ahem, G.H....).

All four obstacle courses ran pretty much the same. There were swings and bridges and tunnels and tight-rope walking, nets and hanging ropes and ziplines. My favourite had to be at the end of course number 3. There was a series of ziplines we had to race across in order to get to the fourth course. Man alive was that ever beautiful, gliding between and over trees, and over the lake there. It was like flying - only a little noisier.

Each obstacle course became progressively more difficult. By half-way through the fourth course, my forearms were burning like wildfire.

We were all a bit disappointed when it ended, but tired and very, very hungry. It took us roughly three hours to complete all four courses, and we were feeling fulfilled. It was a great way to spend the morning. We ate lunch in Wakefield, then headed home for a well-deserved nap.

Saturday saw the family gather at my Uncle's cottage at Danford Lake in Quebec. It was the annual 4th of July celebration (occurring on the 3rd for some reason....). No, the family is not American. They are very Canadian. The 4th of July happens to be my Grandpapa's birthday. Every year to celebrate, the family went out to the cottage. It's a tradition that has survived even though Grandpapa has passed away.

There is nothing to say about that party except this - I love my family. They are such warm, friendly, lovely people. I am so incredibly blessed to be a member of this family!

Oh, and an amusing side note, I almost fell out of the kayak when I got in for a trip around the lake. Clearly I am horribly out of practice. Must get down to the lake more often!

Sunday, G.H., her husband and I went on a roadtrip. Leaving straight from my Uncle's cottage at Lac des Iles (different uncle) where we had stayed the night, we drove (the long way around, might I add) to Montréal. The hotel my brother in law chose was perfectly situated. It was, basically, on the corner of everything. It also had an awesome shower.

That night, we headed out to check out the second last night of the 31st annual International Jazz Festival. We listened to two acts that night, before G.H. got ill and we returned to the hotel. The act I really liked was Amanda Martinez - a tri-lingual Latin-American singer. Her mother was from Mexico and her father was from South Africa. She had an amazing voice and was generally fun. My favourite part, she hates shoes... ahhhh... a girl after my own heart!

Day two in Montréal was late to start for us. We missed the free continental breakfast at the hotel (not a big deal, it wasn't a great breakfast), and so walked down to the Ports in Old Montréal for a bite. Then, we wandered around Old Montréal for the day. First stop: Rue des Artistes. I love, love, LOVE that little street. The cobblestones are beautiful. The buildings are beautiful. The artwork is beautiful. There was a small enclosed courtyard off that street that was full of teeny, tiny artisan stalls. It was just awesome!

It was a really hot day that day, so it wasn't long before we had to retreat to a fruit stand for some well-deserved smoothies. We then wandered around indoors for a bit to take advantage of the air-conditioning, and then found ourselves outside, sitting in the shade plotting our next move.

The next move was to go back to the hotel and call our cousin, C.C. who lives in Montréal. We arranged to pick her up, and then go out to dinner. Before the going out to dinner though, we had to check out her new apartment. It was just beautiful! Narrow, but really beautiful. The building was at least 100 years old, and had wooden pillars and beams and all that exposed wood was simply gorgeous! During the tour of the house, I stepped on a raised threshold with my left foot, and managed to aggravate the stress fracture I had acquired a few months ago. It didn't really start to hurt until after dinner (we went to Steak et Frites on the Plateau).

As a result of my stupid foot, I was unable to partake in the exploration of the Plateau that was planned for tomorrow. I did insist, however, that I meet my sister and her hubby for Dim Sum at he Ruby Rouge in Chinatown. They have good Dim Sum! (for all my non-North American friends and family, Dim Sum = Yum Cha)

Unfortunately, my sister and her hubby were still full from breakfast and so we didn't each much. Probably a good thing, considering how much I have eaten over the past few days!

Then it was back to the hotel for a rest before my sister and her hubby went out again. I stayed in and listened to music and daydreamed while simultaneously cursing my stupid foot. Try it. It's not easy. Then, all too soon, my sister returned and it was time to go.

We left the apartment at 6pm-ish and arrived at the train station at 6:05pm-ish. I bought my ticket home. No sooner had I done so than the train began boarding. I hugged G.H. and D.H. goodbye and jumped on the train. It was a short trip and I was home before 9pm-ish - to an incredibly hot and dark house (the lights were off to try and stop as much heat as humanly possible). It was so hot, that the cats were almost comatose. They kinda just flopped down in front of the oscillating fan and didn't move. No, really didn't move at all.

G.H. and D.H. return to Ottawa today for one last evening before flying out to Vancouver tomorrow. There will be a family dinner, and a lot of good-byes. Knowing G.H., there will also be a lot of tears.

Right, so that was the short version of my very brief holiday. I now have a tonne of catching up to do, then I have to get cracking on critical reading - I have been asked to be a Beta reader, but haven't had the time to even look at it until now. Have a great Wednesday everyone!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Happy Canada Day

Just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Canada Day! I hope that everyone is in good spirits. I'm supposed to be doing things with family today. I hope they let me know precisely what it is.... and more importantly, when.

There isn't much else to report on. I've got the day off and I'm going to start a bacon and egg breakfast for myself and my flatmate. Tomorrow morning, we're going ziplining.... or we're going to try. Hopefully the weather holds off until after we're done!

Then it's off to my uncle's cottage to celebrate my Grandfather (was born the 4th of July), and thence to Montreal for a few days. Then my sister flies home, and life returns to normal. Well, as normal as my life can.

So, I have to start on the bacon. Have a great few days everyone. I'll post again when I get back from Montreal.