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

- Graycie Harmon

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mild Panic Attack

Don't stress out. I'm alright. It was just a mild panic attack.

It happened yesterday, when the enormity of everything sort of just hit all at once... and then I stubbed my toe rather badly. It was the sharp pain of the door edge on my big toe that triggered the attack. Yes, my toe hurt. But it was all the other stuff flying around my head that caused a mild case of hyperventilation and then lots and lots of tears.

In short, I'm a bit overwhelmed.

There is so much I don't know about this business of being published, most especially the marketing part, and the more I find out, the more I realise I don't know. Then I read articles about reader backlash against authors on forum threads and the like, and I wonder if I'll ever actually get read at all. I mean, if your audience hates you, what are you supposed to do?

Will I be one of the hundreds, probably thousands, slaving away in obscurity for the rest of my life?

What's so important to me about being published anyway? I've thought long and hard about this, and am yet to come up with a satisfactory answer. The best I've managed is "because." What the hell kind of reason is that?

I love to write fiction. I want to make a living writing fiction.

It seems, however, the odds, and rejection letters, are stacked against me.

Still, I have absolutely no choice but to soldier on. "Because" isn't a very compelling reason for anything, yet that "because" is so damned powerful, it keeps pushing me on.

So today, I'm going to do more research on marketing. I despise self-marketing. Have I mentioned that?

Wish me luck!

And today's Forgotten English is:

Turn the Peats

A north country phrase equivalent to "change the subject." The allusion is to the square blocks of dried peat which are used for fuel and which, when they become red-hot underneath, are turned to allow the burning side to give out its warmth and glow.
- Basil Hargrave's Origins and Meanings of Popular Phrases, 1925

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Treading Water

Ever get that feeling like you're working like hell and getting absolutely nowhere?

I'm there right now.

I'm working like a maniac, but I seem to be going nowhere. Of course, in actual fact it isn't quite true. The Kindle Edition of The Dying God & Other Stories was updated yesterday, and is in the process of "publishing." I'll let you know when it's "live." As of this writing, it isn't.

The edition is still up in the air. The techies are trying to upload the updated version on their end. Hopefully it'll be up today sometime.

I'm still waiting for pay day (tomorrow), so I can order my 2nd proof of the paperback edition of The Dying God & Other Stories. That done, however, I'll be relatively in the clear... assuming I caught all the errors the first time around (and fixed them correctly).

Speaking of the paperback edition, $10.95 will be the fixed price. One person said it was reasonable, and that's enough for me!

Today, since I'm doing a whole lot of waiting about, I'll be researching press releases. Things I need to know include:
What they are.
How to write one.
What to include with one.
Who to send it to.
In short, absolutely everything. I'm such a noob at this self-publishing stuff.

Hello steep learning curve!

Before I move onto today's Forgotten English, I shall leave you with one of my favourite Thomas Bergersen pieces and a quick plug for his new album, Illusions, which is available on iTunes right now. Click HERE to buy it. You won't be sorry. That man is a musical genius (no, we don't know each other at all. I actually genuinely think he's a musical genius). Don't believe me? Play the music below. This song is on the album, I believe.

Now, today's Forgotten English is:

One who professes to foretell events by the aspects and situation of the stars. Formerly one who understood the motions of the planets without predicting.
- Rev. John Boag's Imperial Lexicon of the English Language, c. 1850

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Marvellous Music

1. Press play. 2. Press repeat. Follow instruction # 2.

I haven't done a post about music for a while. Most of you know I adore epic music scores. I always have. Yesterday I came across this piece (a shout out to KACSKA16 - the uploader who continually uploads amazing pieces). I haven't pressed the repeat button so many times in my life, I think.

I might have annoyed my neighbours yesterday.

In any case, this piece of music took me away and literally left me breathless. I do hope it's for sale on iTunes, because there is no way in hell I'm letting this one slide through my fingers. I loved it so much, I had to share.

Music is awesome.

It, for example, helped me immensely with the stress of trying to update my eBook files online. So far, the only successful update was on So if you're looking to buy an eBook version of The Dying God & Other Stories, head there. That is the Unillustrated Edition, but it's also less expensive. A fair trade, I think.

If you're looking for the Illustrated version of the eBook, I only have a Kindle Edition of that (so far), and there's an issue with Kindle Direct at the moment. I'm unable to access my book. It should hopefully be solved today sometime. Follow me on Twitter (@SMCarriere) or Facebook for at-the-minute news of when it's available.

The same has to be said for my (it's the same as the Kindle Edition, in case you were wondering) edition. It's just not loading. Or at least, it didn't yesterday. I'm trying again today. Hopefully everything will be sorted out.

As I struggled so much with the updating of my eBooks yesterday, I didn't even get any editing done. I am quickly falling behind. Grrr....

Well, I should get on with it! Much to do, as always. Here's today's Forgotten English:

(Just as an aside, a Neil Gaiman doppelganger just arrived ... he's a courier, but I could swear that he looks like a younger version of Neil Gaiman. Right down to the crazy hair. Anyway...)

Foot and Walker's Line
Person who cannot afford to ride are said to patronize this old-fashioned system of getting there.
- James Maitland's American Slang Dictionary, 1891

Monday, June 27, 2011

Still Working Frantically Away

The weekend was a welcome break from all the stress of the past week. Most of the stress was technology related. The .pdf converter was being... maniacal. I finally, it seems, figured it out and the .pdf copy has been approved by Now I have to order the second proof and cross my fingers that I caught everything the first time around.

A note on my self-editing abilities - I have none.

It's something I'm working furiously on improving, and there is some (a very little, but some) improvement there. The funny thing is, this anthology (you do know I'm talking of The Dying God & Other Stories, right?) had been through no less than four (count 'em - four) Beta Readers and I still found a spelling error and a whole bunch of formatting issues. Those, however, were likely a result of file corruption from the number of times I've saved the files as something else, copied and pasted the text into different applications etc.

Technology... shudder.

In any case, it should be all fixed now. It seems I'm more capable of seeing errors on paper than I am on the computer screen. I will order the proof on Thursday, since that is when I get paid and, unfortunately, I have to purchase the proof and pay for shipping etc. The costs of self-publishing.

Speaking of the costs of self-publishing, I'm struggling to fix a price for the book. I don't want to charge a whole lot, otherwise people just won't buy it, but I do want to charge a fair price. I've put a lot of work into this.

I have to book listed tentatively at $10.95. Does that seem reasonable to you? I could really use some help with this. Any thoughts from other authors who've gone the P.O.D. route?

Still on the subject of The Dying God & Other Stories, the second last part of my ten part serial at All Things Books is now up for reading. Just click HERE. Part nine is a rather sad section of story, but the best one in my opinion.

If you've only just realised that I've serialised the titular short story from the anthology soon to be released in paperback (boy, that was long-winded), never fear! I have gathered all the links to all the sections in one convenient place just for you. Click HERE for the links.

Of course, with all the new edits I've made to the proof of the paperback edition of my anthology, I'm now paranoid that those same mistakes are present in my eBook editions. So, I'm going to go through them today to make sure they aren't, and to fix them if they are.

That achieved, I'll be hopefully free to begin editing a new section of work a friend sent me to review for him.

Of course, my actual writing is once again on the back-burner. I'm giving myself permission for the rest of the week to work on the more immanent stuff before starting work on Puppet Master again. Next week, I should be back into the writing with all of this The Dying God stuff behind me.

This is a ridiculously long post. To make things even more absurd, today's Forgotten English is also ridiculously long:

A spurious word which by a remarkable series of blunders has gained a foothold in the dictionaries. It is usually defined as "a cap of state, wrought up into the shape of two crowns, worn formerly by English kings." Neither word nor thing has any real existence. In [Edward] Hall's "Chronicles" [1550] the word bicocket (Old Fr[ench] bicoquet, a sort of peaked cap or head-dress) happened to be printed abocket. Other writers copied the error. Then [in 1566] Holinshed improved the new word to abococke, and Abraham Fleming to abacot, and so it spun merrily along, a sort of rolling stone of philology ... until Spelman landed the prize in his "Glossarium," giving it the definition quoted above. So through [the dictionaries of] Bailey, Ash, and Todd it has been handed down to our time, - a standing example of the ... ponderous indolence which philologers repeat without examining the errors of their predecessors. Nay, the error has been amusingly accentuated by ... a rough wood-cut of the mythical abacot, which in its turn has been servilely reproduced.
- William Walsh's Handy-Book of Literary Curiosities, 1909

Saturday, June 25, 2011


A coat with false pockets; the better to facilitate thieving operations.
- John Farmer's Americanisms - Old and New, 1889

Friday, June 24, 2011

So Much Work!

Good morning!

What a gorgeous... uh... rainy day it is today... I'm just in a good mood because I'm almost recovered and I'm back at work and rearing to go.

There is SO much work to do. It's a brilliant kind of busy - on that, fuelled equally by adrenaline and caffeine, will make the day just fly by. The first order of business, trying to get the pdf converter I have to convert the document in the correct page size; chiefly, 6 in x 9 in. It's so far not working very well. Oh, but I can get you a sneak peak of what the cover for the paperback will look like when everything eventually works out:

Ta dah! Isn't it pretty? While I'd love to take credit for the simple, yet elegant, design, I'm afraid, alas, that it was created by's easy-as-pie cover creator. Granted, I did paint the image that graces the cover, so I'm pretty chuffed all in all. I think it looks lovely in any case.

I still have those short stories to judge, which I should do today, assuming I can get the correct page size for this stupid pdf. If not today, then I'll have to give over my Saturday to judging. I do so hate having to work on weekends....

I also have a short story still waiting to be Beta Read. Is that correct? Can I use "Beta Read" in this way? Oh well, I just did.

Then, as if that wasn't enough, I've just been offered a trial freelance editing job for a book that looks to be very interesting indeed. Not sure if I'm allowed to deliver the details, so I'll just leave it at that. I would very much like to at least make start on that today as well.

Perhaps I'm being a little too ambitious.

In any case, with all that going on, I won't have any time whatsoever for my own writing. That puts me officially 20 000 words behind my target for this date. There is no way I'll make that up, so I'm going to have to adjust my deadline.

That irks me. Oh well, it can't be helped.

This time away from my writing has given the chance for a few ideas to percolate in any case, so it's not totally a write-off. Pun only slightly intended.

I had best get on with it, if I'm to make any grounds today. Now, I believe I owe you 2 Forgotten English posts today as I was too ill to even make it to my desk yesterday. Thus, without further ado:

A gaudily dressed female, one whose chief pleasure consists of dress. Perhaps from flam, "an illusory pretext", and foye, what excites disgust. This term, however, seems to be the same with Old English flamefew, "the moonshine in the water." Any gaudy trapping in female dress; Ayershire.
- John Jamieson's Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language, 1879

Merry As A Grig
A grig is a grasshopper. In most countries the cricket and the grasshopper are types representing a careless, happy existence. We have the related saying "Merry as a cricket," and Tennyson in "The Brook" speaks of "high-elbowed grigs that leap in summer grass."
- Henry Reddall's Fact, Fancy, and Fable, 1889

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Automatically Generated Post

Good morning,

Your host has been struck down with some sort of summer cold and is, unfortunately, unable to post today.

Please feel free to imagine a blog post yourselves.

Normal programming will resume shortly. Thank-you for your patience.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Groan... sniffle... mumble... grumble, or, An Announcement That was Previously Half-Arsed

Dealing with the first half of today's obnoxiously long title - my sore throat has vanished, thankfully. Unfortunately, it has been replaced by an incredible feeling of fatigue, an occasional but very painful cough and a sinus headache that threatens to split my entire head open.

Well, now that the grumbling is out of the way, onto the announcement that I actually made yesterday, but sort of hid it beneath a bunch of other information and news.

I tend to do that. I suppose I'm trying to downplay the whole thing, feeling very foolish self-marketing and all. It's actually pretty big news, though. So, without further ado:

*cue fanfare

The Dying God & Other Stories is coming out in Paperback!

Did I shout that loud enough, do you think?

I'm not exactly sure of the publication date - that is to be announced. Hopefully it will be soon-ish (as in sometime in July), but perhaps I might delay it until October 31st as a sort of 1 year celebration of the anthology. I haven't decided yet.

Oh, and here's a bonus - illustrations will be included. I got a proof that included the illustrations, and they didn't look too shabby. I'm ordering the second proof (after having fixed the issues with the first one), but I nervous about this one because the conversion into .pdf format didn't seem to go quite as planned - even though I did everything the exact same this time around. Apparently the size of the document was too large for the publishing format (6 x 9), which is odd because I made damned sure that the paper size was 6 x 9 when trying to convert to .pdf.

According to (I got it right this time, Anonymous!), they can fix that themselves, but it might impact the font etc. So I suppose I'm going to have to spend the rest of today arguing with the file converter into making it convert in the correct size.

Before you ask, yes, the correct size is already designated in word, and yes, I created the printing preferences to print to .pdf in that size. I don't know what I'm doing wrong.

I hate technology.

If I manage to figure that out today, I still have to judge a short story contest, as well as start Beta Reading another short story for a friend.

There will be no writing today either, not least of all because I'm ill. I'm falling so far behind. Le sigh.

Right, I must get started. Here's today's Forgotten English, and then be about your business:

A sort of coif or cap with a double bottom, between which is enclosed a mixture of aromatic powders. It was formerly used as a powerful cephalic.
- Robley Dunglison's Dictionary of Medical Science, 1844

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Holy Catch-Up, Batman!

Well, I'm back!

This calls for an AC/DC song, doesn't it?

In any case, the Kung Fu workshop was fantastic. There are so many thank-you's I have to extend here it's not funny. If you don't particularly want to read them, then skip ahead a couple of paragraphs.

First of all, a massive thank-you to Sifu Jason Tsou for taking the time to come up from L.A. and train us. There is a wealth of knowledge that he continually and repeatedly shares openly. There are some instructors who jealously guard their knowledge. Sifu Tsou is not one.

Thank-you to my own Sifu, John Hum, for organising the trip - again.

A giant thank-you also to my Kung Fu brother K.C. for organising the room, to my roommates K.C., A.H. and P.B. for being awesome roommates. Seriously, thanks! Another giant thank-you to R.C. for the drive up and back.

To all my Kung Fu brothers and sisters, thank-you for making this a fun, informative and relaxing trip. You all rock the Casbah.

I left early Friday and came home late Sunday. I took Monday off to, uh, recover because, let's face it, Wutan Canada is a bit of a party crowd (though I remained tame). It's a good thing I did, as Monday morning I woke with a killer sore throat. I still have said killer sore throat, but I'm back at work anyway.

Answering the phone is interesting...

Of course, the problem with taking time off is that nothing gets done. With no work getting done whatsoever, one tends to fall behind. And so I have. I'm more than 10 000 words behind target right now, and with all the catching up I have to do, there's no way I'm going to be able to write at all today.


On the subject of writing, part 8 of the serialisation of The Dying God went up yesterday (I made damned sure I wasn't late with that!). You can read it HERE.

If this is the very first you've ever heard of my serial, you can do all the catch up reading by following the links I've posted HERE.

While I'm on the subject of The Dying God, I am super pleased to announce that I'm in the process of creating a paperback version - with the illustrations! I received the proof yesterday from It all looks good, except for a few errors that surprised the hell out of me. I can't tell you the number of times I've edited and re-edited this manuscript!

I'm in the process of reviewing said proof, then fixing the errors, then fighting with the computer - again - to turn the revised manuscript into a .pdf, to order another proof, to review again to ensure that it's as good as it can be before I approve for publication.

That was my big secret.

I kept it a secret because, well, I wasn't sure it would work out, and I was dubious about my technical ability (trust me, computers and I are not friends), and I was dubious about the quality of the finished product (a doubt that has been adequately assuaged now that I have the proof in hand).

So, reviewing The Dying God & Other Stories is what I will be doing for the remainder of the day. Then I have to somehow catch up on the word count of Puppet Master. Perhaps I'll be all caught up in a fortnight?

Wishful thinking, me thinks!

Wish me luck!
Oh, and before I forget - today's Forgotten English:


Freckles on the skin resembling the seeds of the fern, freckled with fern, quite like small ticks... Ferns are frequently the receptacle of ticks, of which tickles may be considered a diminutive.
- William Carr's Dialect of Craven, 1828.

These are popularly accounted for as the marks made by the spurting of milk from the mother's breast, inevitably occasioned, so that a face may be marred that is "over bonny."
- C. Clough Robinson's Glossary of Mid-Yorkshire, 1876.

Monday, June 20, 2011


It's Monday, and I've taken the day off to recover from this weekend. You'll get a report on the events of this weekend whenever I can muster up the strength to get out of bed.

So... tomorrow.

In the meantime, here's Monday's Forgotten English:


One who deserves hanging; a scamp, rascal; one who would fill a "widdy", or [hangman's] halter.

- Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary, 1928

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Good morning! I am currently in Belleville, having my arse handing to me. These workshops are great!

Here's the weekend editing of Forgotten English:


A low, mean, contemptible, base wretch; formerly the most opprobrious word that could be applied to any body.

- Charles Mackay's Lost Beauties of the English Language, 1874

Friday, June 17, 2011

Tippybob & Sneeze-Lurker

I am not here today. Not even a little bit. I'm en rout to Belleville, actually. There's a three day Kung Fu workshop what needs attending...

As promised here are yesterday's and today's Forgotten English:


The wealthy classes. Tippy, meaning fine, is in Brockett['s North Country Words, 1825].
- Gilber Tucker's American English, 1921


A thief working with snuff, pepper, and the like. To give on the sneeze racket, to does a man in the eyes, and then rob him.
- John Farmer's Slang and its Analogues, 1903.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

An Open Letter to the Government of Canada, Regarding the Upcoming UN Resolution to Protect LGBT Rights

To whom it may concern,

I understand that there is but slim chance of humanity being shown by this, our-not-quite-elected conservative government. However, this Friday, Canada has a chance to prove itself the humane, generous and ethical country it somehow acquired a reputation of being.

This Friday, the United Nations Human Rights Council will vote on a resolution on human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

I am asking Canada to endorse this historic resolution and pursue any diplomatic measures necessary to make sure it is adopted; because no human being should face violence, torture, stigmatisation and abuse, on any grounds.

I trust that the future will prove a brighter place, where people of all kinds will live free and happy and safe. Don't let Canada delay that future.

I remain hopeful,

S.M. Carrière
Author and Citizen of the World.

(Today's forgotten English will be reserved for tomorrow)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Thank Goodness for Fathers

... who are nearby to lend you money for breakfast ...

While I'm munching on breakfast (an oatmeal bran muffin, if you must know), let me fill you in on someone else's exciting early success with self-publishing:

I met this fellow online. I don't remember how, exactly, but it was probably via I seem to have met many lovely folks there. Marshall is one of the fortunate folk that manage to acquire an agent fairly soon after finishing his first book The Long Second. Now, I say "his" and will continue to do so, but there are actually two people behind the stories Marshall Buckley produces.

These two men work on either side of the Atlantic - the U.K. and Canada.

In any case, they acquired their agent fairly early on, but there were complications. Their story didn't quite fit a mould - the publishers perhaps didn't quite know how to market their almost Sci-Fi, but not quite story. The agent, having had several near misses gave her blessing to the team to self-publish The Long Second.

And that's precisely what they/he/it did.

Some initial success has Marshall Buckley swept of his four feet. You'll have to read his blog HERE to really get a gist of the exciting things happening. However, I'm unbelievably excited for him/them.

Look, just 'cause I'm not having any success doesn't mean I can't celebrate those who are! (Mostly my fault. My marketing isn't great at all.)

The Long Second looks to be a fabulous read. No I haven't read it yet, but I fully intend to. And you should too.

Currently available in eBook formats, the paperback should be out sometime next month. Check it out. Lots of people have loved it. I'm sure you will too.

And today's Forgotten English is:


Moon-Man signifies in English a madman because the moon hath greatest domination, above any other planet, over the bodies of frantic persons ... Their name they borrow from the moon because, as the moon is never in one shape two nights together, but wanders up and down heaven like an antic, so these companions never tarry one day in a place.
- Thomas Dekker's Lanthorn and Candle Light, 1608

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Book Review: The Princess Bride (Abridged) by William Goldman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is just one of those adorable reads that kept me giggling girlishly. Though not really a page-turner, it is still well worth the read.

If you've watched the movie, you know basically what happens, though I do have to point out that there is, as is typical of films, a lot that the movie missed.

To be frank, there's a lot that the abridger (is that even a word) missed as well. I'm tempted now to go back and read a translated version of the original to see just exactly what I did miss.

That said, where each cut was made, there were a few paragraphs explaining why and what happened before the action picked up again. Such little intrusions were often humorous and lively, and actually provided a few giggles in their own right.

All in all, a great, quick read. I recommend it.

And today's Forgotten English is:


A clapperdogeon is in English a beggar borne; Beggar's Bush.
- Rev. Alexander Dyce's Works of Beaumont and Fletcher, 1845

Probably derived from the [beggar's] custom of clapping a dish.
- Robert Nares' Glossary [of] the Works of English Authors, 1859

Monday, June 13, 2011

Clearly Needs a Title

A plethora of strange dreams had me up very early this morning. I should have written them down, but failed to and now have no record of them. I'm sure they'll pop up somehow in my writing via my already overloaded subconscious.

Writing today resumes as normal, though this computer has been so painfully slow, I doubt I'll get my 3 000 in today. It's already 10:45am and I'm just getting to my post now. To give you some idea, it turned on the computer to load at 8:43am.


There isn't much news from the weekend to state. I went to Lion Dance practice on Saturday, and had a great time, as usual. I'm currently hand-sewing a sleeveless surcoat which should be finished soon-ish and I spent much time on that on the weekend.

Other than that, nothing exciting has happened. Life goes on.

Oh, I should note that, for some reason, The Dying God & Other Stories is up on thrice. There should only be two versions (Unillustrated and Illustrated) so I'm going to have to take one down today... if I can figure out how. Perhaps I'll get even less writing down now, as I try to figure out how to remove the repeat version of a book.

I should start, so here's today's Forgotten English:


An inordinate desire to become the possessor or tenant of a small holding [of land]. Specifically, the intense feeling evinced by the Irish in favour of a peasant proprietary.
- Edward Lloyd's Encyclopaedic Dictionary, 1895.

Those silly Irish...

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Prudish, prim , and discreetly silent, applied only to women; of contemptuously to effeminate men, as in the phrase, " He's as mim as a maiden." In this sense the word is distinguished from mum, which means silent, or secret only, without reference to sex, as in the current slang, "mum's the word" ... The word mim has a meaning of its own, which should preserve it in the language. It is derived by some authorities from the Greek mimeo, to imitate by action without speaking; whence mimicry, mimic, and pantomime.

- Charles Mackay's Lost Beauties of the English Language, 1874.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Random Stuff

Stuff is, of course, the technical term.

Good news, the flatmate's back after a successful business trip to Toronto. She arrived a little worse for wear - a feat of her own making - but otherwise satisfied. Tomorrow she starts work on a movie being filmed here in Ottawa.

You wouldn't think there are many of those, but it's a steady enough business.

In writing news, I'm now 500 words behind my target, but that's alright. I technically have today off, meaning I can easily catch up. I'll write a quick 500 and then relax for the rest of the day... possibly catch up on The Game of Thrones. What wouldn't I do for the success of George R.R. Martin?

Quite a lot, as it turns out. I'm such a prude.

There isn't much really to say. Training went well last night. I learned the first line of a single stick form, and will probably tackle the applications of the moves next week. Next weekend, it's off to Belleville for a three day Kung Fu workshop. I'm quite excited about that. The night before, it's lesson 4 of Equestrian Archery, provided everyone's schedules line up.

And that's all the news I have. A dull day to be sure. Well, I have to get writing, so here's your almost daily Forgotten English:


Elevated in nature or character above what pertains to the earth or world; belonging to a region above the world. Humorously or ironically applied to what is ideal, fantastic, or chimerical. Situated above the earth. Adapted from Medieval Latin supramunda [by] Thomas Aquinas.
- Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary, 1919

Perhaps, in that supermundane region, we may be amused with seeing the fallacy of our own guesses.
- Thomas Jefferson's Writings, 1818

Thursday, June 9, 2011


I just adore thunderstorms. I don't know why that is, it just is. I've loved them ever since I can remember. I love the sound of rain pelting down on a tin roof. I love the flashes of light followed by deep rumbles or sudden, ear-splitting cracks.

One of my fondest memories of home is sitting out on the patio with a hot cup of tea, watching the lightening, and listening to the rain pelt down. It was calming and humbling.

Last night, shortly before I left work at 5pm, Ottawa was hit with a wicked thunderstorm. Lightning, thunder, torrents of rain and hail all rolled into one glorious score of minutes. It was so dark outside it honestly looked like night had fallen.

I adored it (of course, I was safe and sound in the thick concrete walls of the office, staring out the double layered kitchen window). It finished by the time I could get outside - there's nothing to match the smell of a storm; all watery and electric - and so I was a little disappointed.

The storm did, as they tend to do, wonders for the temperature, which soared to a record 42 C with the humidex. It didn't much help the humidity, though. It's very muggy out there this morning.

All of this to say simply that I absolutely adore thunderstorms.

Can you tell it's a slow news day? My raging emotions are now more in check, and I'm right on target with my writing (though sad that I lost my incredible lead).

On that note, I'm going to go now, and start on my next daily 3 000. Here's today's Forgotten English to keep you company while I disappear into the writing process:


A power which astrologers pretend that the planets possess over a person.
- William Toone's Etymological Dictionary of Obsolete Words, 1832

From Arab[ic] root farada, to define, decree, appoint a time for a thing, with the suffix aria.
- Walter Skeat's Glossary of Tudor and Stuart Words, 1914.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Gentle Kick in the Pants

I was almost ready to quit yesterday. I was so down, and upset, and discouraged, I was ready to throw in the towel and admit defeat.

Another rejection. Another person who thought my story/my abilities simply weren't good enough. Surely if so many people thought that, then this must be true:

I mustn't be able to write. My stories mustn't be much good at all.

I was, admittedly, not in the best frame of mind for rational thought, but the logic is nevertheless quite sound.

Then along came Gerard de Marigny, a friend and fellow author I met online at Apparently, I roused at him in a conversation. I have absolutely no recollection of that at all... but I don't doubt it. I have a tendency to voice my opinion rather definitely (not cruelly, just decidedly... definite).

He reviewed my anthology The Dying God & Other Stories for me... and I cried a little. It was such a lovely review. You can read it HERE.

It was also a just-in-the-nick-of-time rescue from my melancholic defeat.

Sometimes, I think the universe is trying to tell me something. Let's hope it's not just a cruel prank and I don't end up frustrated, disappointed and bitter...

Only time will tell, I suppose.

Here's today's Forgotten English (I must say, it looks awfully Welsh to me):

Bryn Mawryn

A woman who has been connected with Bryn Mawr College as an undergraduate.
- Howard Savage's Slang from Bryn Mawr College, 1922

Bryn Mawr looks like a Welsh name. I should know - in my story The Taming of Man I (from The Dying God & Other Stories), I have a character Cysgod Mawr. It is a Welsh name, meaning Great Shadow (as in large). Mawr means large/great. Do you think the founder of the college was a Welshman?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Have You Ever Felt...

Warning: I'm in a bad mood, and it will likely be reflected in today's post.

Yesterday afternoon, I received a rejection from what was, essentially, my last chance for a particular manuscript. It's official. I'm retiring that particular novel until further notice. This isn't an easy decision. I'm not doing this spur of the moment. This was a decision I came to before I sent off that last query.

I'm not happy about it, and I'm considering my options, but I'm not in the best frame of mind right now and I should probably withhold any decision-making until I cheer up a bit.

Have you ever felt utterly worthless?

You see, I don't have a lot of skills to my advantage. I'm pretty average actually. Average height, slightly higher than average weight, average intelligence, average physical ability (though less than average upper-body strength), average looks - not ugly, but not especially pretty either... just so incredibly average.

The only thing that set me apart was my imagination, and the ability to express it (albeit with typos and spelling errors) in writing. It was the one pride I carried with me throughout my life thus far.

Turns out, I'm pretty average at that too. My writing isn't good enough to sell.

As most of you know, I have no beef with self-publishing. I have an anthology of stories out there right now that I've self-published. I think the stigma around self-publishing is ebbing away. Let's face it, there are some absolute gems out there that traditional publishers had passed by (there's a lot of rubbish as well, but luckily, most books can be previewed).

That said, I just don't have the clout to market my self-published stuff very well. Anyone who has tried will know exactly what I'm talking about. It's high school all over again out there - one giant popularity contest.

I was never popular. In fact, I was so unpopular that I missed out on my debutante celebration because not a single guy would be caught dead taking me to the dance. Trust me. I asked everyone. One guy even said that he wasn't going, only to announce the next week that he had just acquired a date for the dance.

(For those of you unfamiliar with the debutante tradition, at 16 years old or so, a girl "comes of age" wears white and goes to a dance (it's a bit weird actually. It looks like a mass wedding...). It's ladies choice, which means the girl must do everything normally handled by the guy, including asking someone out. It's not like a Formal (in North America, you call a Formal a Prom), where you can go with a bunch of friends and screw the date. You must be accompanied to a Debutante Ball).

That's how popular I was in high school.

Nothing's changed.

When it comes to marketing, I cannot, for the life of me, be disingenuous. I can't do it. On twitter, I won't follow someone in the hopes that they'll follow me back. I follow people I'm genuinely interested in. I would hope that the people following me are genuinely interested in what I have to say, rather than just there because they're trying to appear like they have more friends than they actually do.

The same is true of blogs. I read the blogs of people I care enough to spend my precious time reading about. I follow friend's blogs, the blogs of members of my family, and the blogs of authors I very much admire (such as Neil Gaiman and George R.R. Marin). I don't have the time to read the blog posts of everyone in the whole world. I like to read and interact with the bloggers I follow. There are only so many hours in a day, and I can't do the same for everyone in the world. To even try would be a great injustice to everyone involved.

I would hope that the people who follow my blog do so because they enjoy reading it, not because they're begging for reciprocal attention.

Facebook and Goodreads are a little different. I'll friend just about anyone there (it's so easy to ignore people).

If I retweet/facebook/blog a link about a book, it's because I genuinely thought the book was worth something. I would hope that others would do the same for mine.

I'm also horribly shy around people I don't know. I close up and close off. I suppose people mistake this for snobbery, but it's not. I'm just terrible at being around new people. I can't speak in front of crowds without flushing furiously and desperately fighting back tears. The tears get stuck in my throat making it hard to speak. Just the thought makes me nauseous. Large crowds have me so tense I can barely breathe, even if I'm not speaking before them.

In short, marketing is not my forte. Being out and about, meeting and greeting... I can't do it; not well, in any case.

No one's going to read the books I self-publish because no one even knows I exist... well, other than friends and family, that is. And that's not going change any time soon. If I am to become a well-known author, I need help. When you self-publish, you do it all on your own.

And that is where I fall down.

In any case, why would I self-publish something that the industry has turned down? Clearly it's not good enough. I know that there are arguments about what will sell vs. what is actually good, but if an agent or a publisher gets really excited about a story, they'll take a chance. It's been done before, with much success.

In any case, I'll continue to self-publish my short-story collections, and anthologies of poetry, when I get around to consolidating them. My novels, however, I will write and save and perhaps one day, someone will think I do actually have a talent worth investing in.

Sorry to bring everyone down. I'm just feeling very disappointed right now, and more than a little upset. I'll get over it, of course, and press on as always. I just need some time to be upset, I think.

Well, now that I've thoroughly depressed everyone else, here's your Forgotten English word of the day:


Hard of hearing. Dunch is deaf in Gloucestershire and Somersetshire dialects; whence is derived the word dunce.
- G. Lewis' Glossary of Provincial Words Used in Herefordshire, 1839

Dunt, to confuse with noise; to deafen. From 15th-century dunt, a dull blow.
- Edward Gepp's Essex Dialect Dictionary, 1923

Funny, 'dunny' in Australia means toilet. I wonder if it's a reference to the toilet's other nick-name 'thunder-box.'

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Life of Learning

Edit to correct glaring typographical errors... because I'm a dolt.

Good morning!

This weekend, I learnt to sew. Not exactly accurate, actually. I already knew how to sew. This weekend, I learnt to use a sewing machine. I remember trying once in early High School, only to have my home economics teacher tell me I'd never make a good wife (but response was 'good,' but never mind about that).

I regret not learning, however, as I often watch my flatmate make awesome dresses in a matter of minutes. This weekend, I resolved to learn, if only because I've been dying to make a costume for Equestrian Archery.

Yes, I am that much of a dork.

I had hit upon a three-layer design - Long sleeved undershirt, T-Tunic, sleeveless long tunic - and I really, really wanted it done for the next lesson. The undershirt and T-tunic are finished. All that remains is the sleeveless long tunic, and that's going to take some time as it's a little more complicated than the T-Tunic. It's going to be epic.

Also, my flatmate and I have more or less formed our very own SCA (Society of Creative Anachronisms). We're not so dorky that we've taken on alternate names or call each other by title (except in a tongue-in-cheek fashion), but we have decided on sigils that best describe us. J.M-B., for example has taken as her sigil the polar bear. K.M-B. has chosen a falcon.

I, myself, have chosen a boar. I was thinking of something cooler at first, like a wolf or stag. However, I think boar suits me best. Let's face it, I have none of the grace of a stag, nor any of the sleek quality of a wolf.

And if I didn't prove I was geeky enough before, I think I just cinched it now! Whatever. What's life without a little whimsy?

All of that to say, I'm rather proud of myself for learning to use a sewing machine (even though the machine was temperamental as hell).

Onto some really rather wonderful news. I've decided to publish my short story anthology, The Dying God & Other Stories, to a broader readership. To that end, I spent much of last week preparing the document for publication via

Due to file size issues, and my inability to compress images in words as per later versions of word, I was unable to upload the illustrated version to Smashwords. However, I created a less expensive Unillustrated Edition, which you can purchase for $5.99. Click HERE if you would like to preview/download the eBook.

As Kindle Store didn't have such a restriction of the file size upload, I uploaded the illustrated version there. It is now officially live. Click HERE if you would like that one instead. There is a price difference, since this one has pictures....

Both versions are available for the same prices via Click HERE for the Illustrated version, and HERE for the Unillustrated version.

And of course, the original is still available via

After that exciting news, I just remembered that I forgot to prepare the weekend's Forgotten English. Complete human error this time. Luckily for you that translates into a two-for-one deal... or , at least, it would, if I could find Saturday's word. Um... hmmm...

You'll get it when I find it.

Today's Forgotten English is:


Abounding with nits, the eggs of a louse or other small insect.
- Rev. John Boag's Imperial Lexicon of the English Language, c. 1850

There's a fair amount of filing that needs to be done, so I'll not likely hit my word count target today. Oh well. Such is life.

Have a marvellous Monday everyone!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Shhhh... It's a Secret

Don't tell anyone, but I now have an unillustrated version of The Dying God & Other Stories up on

Who am I kidding? Tell everyone.

There are no illustrations, save the cover, because including them all made the file too large to upload to Smashwords. On the bright side, this means I can't rightfully charge as much, so this version is cheaper at $5.99 (USD).

I'm not one of those people who would price an eBook at $0.99 because I happen to think my time is more valuable than that, and I've spent a lot of time on this.

Warning though: There are some corruption issues - the text has decided to publish in the colour yellow, for some reason. I'm going to fix that (hopefully) today, so wait until this afternoon if you absolutely must buy yourself a copy. I'll be announcing on Twitter and Facebook when I fix it, so keep an eye out there for the news.

I spent so much time formatting the Smashwords version yesterday, that no writing was done whatsoever. I'm not bothered, I am still up 5 000 words on today's target. I'll be formatting again today, so again, no writing. Also, it's Friday, and I take those off. Mostly. Sometimes.

I even worked overtime. So much so, that it was too late for me to make it to training. I had every intention of going to training, but the formatting issue which I could not fix posed too great a challenge to complete on time. I went home instead, and then had a very long nap before having a dream about food and deciding that I needed to get up and eat.

Right, I must get on with it. Here's today's Forgotten English:


A name formerly given to common prostitutes from a garment somewhat resembling a waistcoat worn by them. "You you think you're here, Sir, among your waistcoateers, your bas wenches?" Beaumont and Fletcher's Wit Without Money (1639).
- William Toone's Etymological Dictionary of Obsolete Words, 1831.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Spreading the Word

Hi everyone!

Well, today I'm going to talk about a book by self-published author Davin Malasarn. I'd like to say we're friends, but we're not. I'm pretty sure that Davin has never even heard of me. However, I do follow the blog to which Davin contributes. Today I read a post about the upcoming collection Wild Grass and Other Stories that has been released on It sounds pretty awesome, actually.

Here's a list of some things in the book:
1. a Buddhist exorcism
2. a ghost chase
3. phallocrypts
6. pink dolphins
7. a stomach stapling brochure
8. characters with names like Kalaya and Subscription
9. a Brazilian gold mine

Now, in order to help spread the word about his book, he's holding a competition. Here's how it goes:

Davin's "Spread The Word" Contest

To enter the contest, tell a friend about my book and ask them to e-mail me at dmalasarn (at) gmail (dot) com with the following message pasted in the body of the e-mail:

Dear Davin Malasarn,

I heard about your collection The Wild Grass and Other Stories from S.M. Carrière on sale at Amazon ( ). I understand that this collection includes your most emotional work and will take readers to exotic locations all around the world.

(have them write THEIR name here)

Seems pretty straight forward, right?

This collection does sound really good, and I will be buying it as soon as funds allow (September probably).

Listen, don't just send Davin the email. Buy his book too. While your at it, buy mine.

On that note, here's today's Forgotten English.

Cheating the Devil

Softenings of very profane phrases, the mere euphemisms of hard swearing, as od's blood, dash it, see you blowed first, deuce take it, by gosh and like profane preludes such as boastswains and their mates are wont to use.
- Admiral William Smyth's Sailor's Word-Book, 1867

Dammy boy: an unruly person. In allusion to the habit of excessive use of the word "damn" and general swearing by the man-about town of 16th and 17th cent[urie]s.
- Albert Hyamson's Dictionary of English Phrases, 1922.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Recovering Still

Well, the sunburn has faded, but it still hurts like the dickens. J.M-B., having managed to burn herself while out cycling yesterday, bought some aloe vera gel designed specifically for sunburns. It is a lurid blue colour, and smells faintly of mouthwash, but it works. At least, it did until I picked up my bags...

I'm astounded that I can't really see the burn any more, but it still hurts. Why?

My bruise is now almost entirely brown and takes up much of my forearm. It looks like some demented birthmark. I really wish I could take a photo of it to prove it.

Writing yesterday went alright. I only wrote 1 500 words myself, but the nifty cut and paste function meant that the end daily count was actually 6 000. Stress about money cut my creativity completely, leaving me struggling to redo my budget and wail in despair.

I hate being poor.

I am, however, now 5000 words ahead of today's target, which is a good thing. I'm hoping to write another 3 000 today, but I'm pretty tired, so we'll see if I can manage it.

I should get started, so here's your Forgotten English:


Bent by heavy work such as wheeling loaded barrows.
- Alexander Gibson's Full-Speech of Cumberland, 1880.