Thursday, December 29, 2016

Quote #69 - Alfred Lord Tennyson

Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, 'It will be happier.'

- Alfred Lord Tennyson

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Wishing everyone the best for the holiday season, and hoping for the best in the new year!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Random #89 - The Holiday Spirit

All I feel is stress this year. I keep waiting for that happy, fun, exciting feeling to come, but it's missing. I don't know if it's because of the difficult year we have had, the way work at my day job is going, the stress of any number of other things I have been dealing with, but I'm pretty glum. I really don't want to be. I want to enjoy the decorations, the music, the movies and my beautiful children. I want to feel the love and inspiration this time of year can often bring. I keep thinking that if I dig deeper, somehow work harder, it will come. I've even been baking cookies. Gingersnaps and Chocloate Chip Shortbread. They were good and made the house smell Christmas-y. They're all gone though. The children, Hubby and coworkers ate them. I'll have to make more... Of the Gindersnaps at least. Maybe I just need to play more holiday music....

This makes me happy though, in a ridiculous way....

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Quote #68 - Winston Churchill

"We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give."
- Winston Churchill

Monday, December 5, 2016

Last Week #70 - Not Much

I didn't write much last week. I wanted to. I got all the stuff out, got myself ready, but I barely wrote a page.  In addition to not writing much, I didn't read much either. Not reading a lot is unusual for me, but when this happens I do find that my reading slumps and my writing slumps are related. Does my reading inspire my writing? A good book can energize me. If I'm not feeling energized, I guess I'm not writing. I'm hoping to do better this week though. I've given up on the book I was trying to read (something I rarely do). I've picked something I think is better. I only just started it yesterday. I'm hoping that the reading will pump up the writing and I can keep moving forward with my work-in-progress.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Random #88 - What's On Television?

Am I the only person who didn't watch Gilmore Girls, who wasn't super excited for the Netflix season? Of course I understand why Netflix produced another season, the same reason they produce Fuller House (which I also haven't watched yet) and even the Marvel shows (that I love). There was demand, a real desire from a lot of people to see what's been happening in the lives of Rory and Lorelai. I even watched some Gilmore Girls back when it was first on, mostly season one, some season two. I liked the show. I even watched it here and there throughout its run. I watched the last episode. I just don't feel the urge, the need some people seem to have, to watch it immediately.

What have I been looking forward to on television? The DC television universe crossover. I've seen the episode of Supergirl, that I thought would have a little more "stuff" in it and I've just watched Flash. The end of Flash was great and I can't wait for tomorrow's Arrow. There have definitely been some promos for the crossover event and some excitement, but nothing like Gilmore Girls, or is it I just talk to more "Gilmore Girls" people in real life. Is my geek life a little on the D.L.? I didn't think so. I wore a Doctor Who t-shirt today... Not that I'm saying you have to choose or anything, just that I've been more excited for once instead of the other, and that I'm feel a little like "am I the only one", you know what I mean? Oh well, I'm excited for tomorrow though.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Quote #67 - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"If you would hit the mark, you must aim a little above it; every arrow that flies feels the attraction of the earth."
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Quote #66 - Percy Bysshe Shelley

"Poetry lifts the veil from the hidden beauty of the world, and makes familiar objects be as if they were not familiar." 
- A Defence of Poetry, Percy Bysshe Shelley

Monday, November 7, 2016

Last Week #69 - Once Sentence At A Time

Last week was a good week, I think. I've been pushing myself to get more done. It's hard, with the children and work, but I'm squeezing out every minute I can. Though I prefer a chunk of time to myself, where I can get into the flow, I know that doesn't happen as often as I would like. So instead, anytime I get a few minutes, I'm going to write a sentence, two sentences, I'm going to move the action forward. I'm growing into the mindset of "I'll fix it later", meaning that evening if the prose isn't up to the standard I want, if I move the story forward, when I come back, I can pretty it up. I don't know if that's the right thing to do, but what I used to do was agonize over every sentence before they made it to the page. Now, I think I'm going to save the agony for later, when the story is complete.

Here's a little snippet of what I wrote this week:

The vision gone, Taryn stared at her sister, concern filling her eyes. What had she said? Something about the sight of him, the sight of the others. The trauma. Something about not getting involve. Something about not letting him romance her into getting involved.

Taryn sighed. "I was listening... sort of. It's hard to focus. To not thing of him, them."

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Last Week #68 - Busy Days

It has been a crazy busy couple of months. Between weddings, birthdays, children and work, I've barely had any time to myself. The good news is that I have managed to squeeze in some writing time. I mentioned a while ago that my main character is now reacting to the consequences of a traumatic event. The few lines below is from the first exchange she is having with her sister about what happened.

"Thanks." I tried to smile, but I could barely look at her. While she sat at the other end of the sofa, I stared down at my cup, bowling gently to cool the liquid. A hot sip burned down my throat.

"I still don't know what to say about what happened." She caught my eye before i looked away.

"Neither do I," I put down my tea and shut my eyes.

I'm slowly figuring out where they move on from here. I also feel like a chunk of this conversation will eventually be cut, but I am also trying not to think like that. What I'm trying to remember is that I need to keep moving my characters and the story forward.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Quote #63 - Aesop

"Beware that you do not lose the substance by grasping at the shadow."
- Aesop, Fables

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Random #87 - Thank You To...

Whoever handed in the money my Hubby forgot.

Last weekend, my Hubby went to the grocery store, picked up a few things and got $100 cash back for the weekend. He forgot the money. That night, as we were preparing to go to sleep and talking about what was happening the next day, he remembered. Naturally, he was freaking out. I calmed him as best I could, but still, it was something to freak out about. All we (he) could do was head to the store in the morning with the receipt and tell them he didn't receive the cash. Out on my errands, he texted me. The store had the money set aside. Someone had handed it in. A kind person, maybe the next person behind him in line, handed the money in to the service desk. I was set aside, waiting for a person with the right receipt to come in and claim it.  This person didn't have to do that.  It was a fair amount of money. They could have pocketed it. They didn't. They did the right thing, thankfully for us.

To whoever returned my husband's money, to anyone who has ever returned anyone's forgotten money, lost wallet, dropped phone, forgotten keys, misplaced jewelry, and the like, Thank You.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Random #86 - I'm A Little Lost

My life is out of balance. I had balance for a while. It was nice. My day job stuck to predictable hours. I was writing regularily. I spent time with the children. I spent time with my husband. I spent time with the rest of my friends and family. Now I am feeling all over the place. I'm losing momentum. I feel stuck. How do I get unstuck? Do I cut my losses with something? Do I reshuffle? Do I try something else? 

Since last winter, maybe even last November, this started. It was slow to go downhill. I only started to feel it maybe around the middle of spring, more so the middle of August. But if I really think about it, look at all the causes and effects, I can see that it's been building awhile. That of course, leads me to second-guess all sorts of decisions. Jobs, schools, trips, how I've spent my money, who I've shared my time with, everything is under scrutiny right now. I can't stop myself. It's how I'm processing what's happening. How do I change this feeling? I want to. I want to feel balanced again. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Random #85 - Paperbacks and Hardcovers

I'm thinking of switching to paperbacks for a certain author. This author's books are HUGE! I think they might be getting bigger too. In general, I'm a hardcover fan. I don't know why. I think it's partly an aesthetic thing. They're big and tall and sturdy. They just give me a feeling that I think a lot of book lovers, no matter their preference can relate to. As I've gotten older, my preference for hardcovers has grown.

However, they're not cheap. I'm a book lover who also likes a good price. I buy from sales, bargain bins and used bookstores. If there's a book I want and the paperback is significantly cheaper than the hardcover, I'll go for the paperback. (I do have moments where I want paperbacks too.)

Which brings me back to this particular author. A book has come out that I want. But it's HUGE! In hardcover, this book and future books by this author would take up a lot of space. Space that I don't have. Even though I'd have to wait, waiting for paperback might be a good idea. Also, the hardcovers from this author seem to be getting more expensive. I'm pretty sure all of the books I have from this author are hardcover, which makes the decision more difficult. It'd be switching formats. Do I want to do that? I think I do. The uniform-ness of that author's books, might look nice, but in general, I don't tend to need books to match, it's just because all of these do.

I know I could just get the book from the library, but I'm a book hoarder. I accept it. Though the library has been getting more appealing as I run out of space.

So, that's it, right? I'm waiting for the paperback?

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Random #84 -Screams In The NIght

So, I had a terrible night's sleep…. I heard a bloodcurdling scream. I woke up and thought it was one of the children, so I wake up panicking. I say something to Hubby (I may have hit him in my panic), as I get up and go check on the children. Of course they’re both totally, completely asleep. Did I have had a nightmare? Was it was someone outside? Did one of the children scream in there sleep? I don't know. I may never know for certain. I don't remember what I was dreaming about. I looked out the window after checking on the children and there was no one there. I hope that one of them wasn't screaming in their sleep. My daughter talks in her sleep sometimes, but has never let out a banshee scream before. So many possibilities, but let's hope it doesn't happen again. 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Quote #62 - Soren Kierkegaard

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.
- Soren Kierkegaard

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Random #83 - Behind In Blogging

I'm behind in blogging. Normally I don't worry about it. I think blogging should be fun, something that, though I might have people who read this and I'm sharing with them, I am doing for myself. I like blogging. I like talking about what I'm writing, the food I'm eating and the books I've read. But because I do it for myself, if I fall behind a bit, it doesn't bother me. 

It bothers me now. 

Between this blog and my other blog, I have at least 11 post drafts. Some of them on the other blog are posts about what I've read, but there are other posts too. 11 of them. How did I end up with so many bookish and writerly ideas? I want to write these posts. Some of them I should be able to write easily (with enough time), but a couple of them need a little research. Research is normally fine. I like reading about topics I'm interested in, but I don't feel like I have the time lately. Even writing this, I'm thinking, I really aught to be working on one of the other posts. Instead, I'm wondering if I'll find time to write them all. One of the drafts is for an idea I had in July.

Of course I've been busy lately. I've been more focused on writing, which I've mentioned here before. But my day job has also been really busy. I'm working earlier and later quite frequently now. By the time I'm done, I am exhausted, with time to choose either writing or blogging. Inspiration may have led me to note post ideas, but it has also pushed me forward with my work-in-progress. Now I'm wondering when these other posts will be completed.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Last Week #67 - The Beginning of Consequences

It has thankfully been another productive writing week. I can never be unhappy about that, though as usual, I wish I could have written more. I'm getting into the beginning of the consequences for my main character. This exploration should be interesting. 

Below is a bit of what I wrote this week. It's totally rough, unedited, and who knows if it will ever end up in the final version.

I cleaned myself up, washed my hair again, tried to get rid of the day. I dressed myself in comfort and slid into bed, putting the duvet up to my chin. I wanted to sleep. I wanted to slip away into darkness, let it take me. I wanted to dream of nothing. I stared at my dark ceiling, feeling cold, then warm in turn. I shifted. I turned. I force myself to lie still. I listened to the darks. There were no noises, I lived in a quiet neighbourhood. People were either already out or not going anywhere. I tried to empty my mind. I tried not to think of the blood that had been on the walls and floors, that had dried on my sleeves, that had soaked the clothes of my neighbours. I turned over again, squeezing my eyes shut.

My eyes popped open. I looked over at the curtained front window, lightly glowing from the moon light.  I slid out of bed and crawled along the floor to the window, the pale grey carpet soft against my hands. Seated, leaning against the wall, I peeled back the pewter coloured curtain and peered across the street. There was no one there. Why would there be? Some houses had lights, some didn’t. I couldn’t see my neighbour’s house form this angle and I was relieved. I rested my head against the cold wall and shut my eyes.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Quote #61 - Harper Lee

“I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.”
—Harper Lee, WD

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Last Week #66 - Point A to Point B

It's been a good week for writing, a good couple of weeks. I've made some progress, getting from point A to point B without too many distractions (ie: Real Life). When I'm writing so much, blogging often falls by the wayside. Such is life, I suppose. Also, I find it's hard when my job has me spending eight hours a day in front of the computer, to stay in front of the computer to compose a post (I'm writing mostly by hand at the moment). I thought this week I'd share a bit of what I wrote from my work-in-progress, totally rough and unedited... written maybe three days ago.

As I sat in the car, I felt an emptiness in my stomach. How had it gotten to be so close to dinner time? I had spent so much of my Saturday with Ben and Kaitlyn. I glanced over at Ben, his brow slightly creased as he weaved through traffic.  I looked back out the window at the cars speeding by, the shops along the street, the people on the sidewalk. Everything looked the same but didn’t. Any of them could be anyone. Any of them could have shot my nieghbours. Anything could happen, even in quiet downs light mine. What were their stories? Were they connected to Ben’s? Connected to mine? There was a plot twist out there, somewhere.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Last Week #65 - Vacation

My son didn't want to be left
behind looking for turtles.
My family and I have just gotten back from a trip to the American South. We were there primarily visiting my husband's family. It's been nine years since we made this trip; post-marriage, but pre-children. Driving 14 hours to his uncle's house is a lot different with two little ones than it is when you're young and childless. I could talk about the long drive and the visits and the swims, but one of things that has really stuck in my mind is all the differences between here (Canada) and there. I didn't expect there to be a lot. I watch American television and movies. I have American friends and family. It's not as though I had never been there, but it had been a while. My Hubby and I made a few comments regarding the differences, and I think this is the first time I really noticed them and took note. I thought I would share some of the differences I found.
Family swim time.

Tires - Hubby told me something I didn't know as I took the wheel for the first time in the States. The "tire regulations" were different. Apparently, you can dig deeper treads into tires, once they start to flatten, so he wanted me to be careful while driving next to big trucks.. While I didn't see any tire blowouts myself, I saw bits, pieces, chunks and almost entire tires lying at the side of the interstates. Sometimes not just on the shoulders, but in the middle of lanes. It was a little freaky.

Wobbly Tires on Trucks - Which was something else freaky. Nothing like driving behind that transport truck and the tires just don't look stable.

Speed Limits - 70 mph is unusual for me. Our major highways have a maximum speed of 100 km/h, approximately 62 mph. 70 mph converts to about 112 km/h. So, driving 70 felt like speeding, but fine. However, there were SO MANY people driving faster than 70. I was on parts of the interstate where 70 was basically slow.

Cars At The Side Of The Road - Why? Why are people pulling over at the side of the highway? A lot. There were just so many. The exits, whether for gas stations or Rest Areas, weren't far. You couldn't make it a couple more miles? Stopping where people are zooming by at 80+ mph just seemed extremely unsafe.

Tim Hortons - I know it's a very Canadian thing to notice, but I missed Tim Hortons. There were some near the border, when we crossed into Buffalo. On the way back in Ohio, we could tell we were getting closer because there was Tim's, and we had to stop at one. 

Starbucks - Does not have lactose free milk, at least not in the ones that we stopped at. After 2, we stopped trying. It's not for me, but for Hubby. I felt bad going to Starbucks when he couldn't get what he wanted. Soy milk just doesn't taste the same.

Our favourite pool.
Wine in Walmart - We picked up some wine in Walmart. It was where we were suggested to go. Which is great, I think. We can get wine in our grocery stores here, and recently beer, but not Walmart. Walmart seems super convenient.

The Heat - I know people complain about Canadian winters, but how about Southern summers. Too hot to be outside? There are ceiling fans on porches! Every other person has to have a pool. I sweat without moving, in areas where I don't usually sweat. I felt like I was on fire, like I might actually get a sunburn (I had one once.) Also, the air conditioning is always cranked. Yes, I would not be able to survive down south without the AC, but I'm also Canadian; if I want to put a sweater on, maybe it's too cold inside. I think it might just be where you grow up too. I'm used to our winters; everyone down there is probably used to their summers.

Olympic Coverage - This is probably one of the things I missed the most. What I didn't know is that Olympic events aren't always aired live in the States. A neighbour of Hubby's uncle explained that because a network laid down a whole lot of money, they make these stories about the athlete, then air them with the competition. What? I have 4 to 6 stations airing the games as they happen. One major network and then the rest are the sports channels. Sometimes a station will stop Olympic coverage to air the Blue Jays game or another sporting event, then go back to the Olympics. Was it just the station that was chosen (not by me)? Are there stations in the US that air all of the Olympics? Please let me know if I'm wrong. Though, I did have to experience the opening ceremonies in the US. I missed CBC when that happened.

I found the TARDIS!!
I have to say though, everyone was nice to me. I was a little nervous, being non-white, going to the American South with their current political climate. I don't talk politics here very often, if at all. But I have to say that to one of his aunts, my husband pointed out that if a certain candidate won their up-coming election, I might not be allowed to visit again for a while. I don't know if that made a difference to her or to his uncle, but he wanted to show them real life versus abstract consequences. Besides that one short conversation, it never came up. Everyone we interacted with was kind. I didn't feel terribly out of place and I was treated like everyone else. I don't know if that's because we were staying in nice areas, as both families we stayed with are well-off. We went to science centres, indoor play parks, and shopping malls and I didn't have any problems. I hope that I'm able to go back soon and continue to always have positive experiences.

I am glad to be home though. I missed this country. Though the trip was a lot of fun and I hope we can do it again sometime, but I'm happy to be back in Canada.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Quote #59 - Ray Bradbury

“Just write every day of your life. Read intensely. Then see what happens. Most of my friends who are put on that diet have very pleasant careers.”
—Ray Bradbury, WD

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Quote #58 - Virginia Woolf

“Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.”
—Virginia Woolf

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Random #82 - Book Clubs

I don't do book clubs. I never have. Do you?

I don't like being told what to read. Or to have a deadline to read it by. It feels too much like school. Not that I didn't like school. I was an English major and read some fantastic novels, short stories, poems and plays over those years. Some I've since re-read, because I didn't feel like I got to enjoy them the first time around. I'd also have to go out and see people, which is not always something I want to do.

I was talking with a few people recently and they were discussing their book clubs. I mentioned that I don't belong to one and they were surprised, as they know I'm an avid reader. I told them the reasons why. They nodded, but provided a few different, convincing arguments as to why they found their book clubs enjoyable: 

- They read books they normally wouldn't, which I appreciate, I love discovering new books. 

- By listening to others, they gain a new perspective on a book, sometimes making them like it more than they did previously. I can definitely see that, though I've had the opposite be true too.

- They don't always finish the book. While finishing is preferable, it's not always necessary and the people they meet with have never made them feel bad for not finishing. That's great, but I know I'd put pressure on myself and then feel guilty if it didn't get done (even if I didn't like it).

- There's [often] wine. Well, right there, might be the most convincing argument of all.

After we talked about the book clubs (among other things), it left me wondering, should I look at joining one? One of the women there, about my age, with children, maybe next time I see here, I'll ask about her book club. Maybe I could just ask other ladies I know? I'm sure I could look online. Then again, maybe I will just stick to blogging about books. I'd love to know what other people think of book clubs. I'm still undecided.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Quote #57 - Alice Munro

"When you're a writer, you're never quite like other people... You're always finding you're way in this secret world."
- Alice Munro

Happy 85th Birthday, Ms. Munro!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Last Week #64 - Summertime Madness

This week was the last meeting of my writing group until September. It's always a little sad when this happens. However, the organizers have pointed out that when they did hold the group in the summer, numbers were practically non-existent, as summer madness ensues. Vacation plans, barbecues, dinners, outdoor activities. They feel, and I agree, that the two month break is nice with all the summer obligations.

During the group, I wrote a bit for my novel, which was nice. We talked a bit about book clubs, which got me thinking, and that's always nice too.

Below is a bit a wrote in response to a prompt, a combination of drawing a tight spiral and a Rumi poem. As always, it is totally rough and unedited, except for maybe spelling.

I pressed my toes into the wet sand. Usually, I hate the feeling of something between my toes, but this, this was good. It was cool on the surface and warmer as my feet sank deeper. I wiggled and pushed, letting myself slip slowly beneath the surface. The wet sand glided up the top of my feet, touching my ankles as a soft wave rolled across the beach. I watched as it receded, back into the salty ocean.

The grains tickled, but I didn’t want to move. I stared out at the blue of the water, reflecting the perfect clear blue of the sky. Nothing in front of me except my shadow and the foam-tipped waves of the ocean. Everything was behind me. I could feel the heat of the sun on the back of my neck, the back of my legs. If I paid attention, I could hear the voices of the others. Not many, but a few people who said they were like me, who needed to come to the beach in the middle of the afternoon.

I didn’t want to think about why the beach wasn’t more crowded. It was a hot, cloudless afternoon. It was just me and a handful of people. I wished I was alone, but I also wished I wasn’t.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Last Week #63 - A Circle

I finally got back to work on my work-in-progress. I feel good that I moved forward, though I don't know how good the actually writing is. I was just staring at the papers, thinking how do I start? Then I picked them up, I read a couple pages back to recall where in the story this was, and I just started. I'm trying not to worry about creating beautiful prose right now, I'm just trying to get the story from point A to point B. The more I write, the more I feel good about writing, about what I'm creating. The more I write, the more I want to write. It's a circle and I hope to stay on track.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Last Week #62 - Nothing

I wanted to get so much done this week. Instead I feel like I've accomplished nothing. The routine things were done. I worked. Children went to school. Activities were attended. Food was cooked. But all the Other things I do, that I want to do, was left neglected. A week ago, I thought I felt that old energy coming back to me. I thought, Now, I will connect again. I didn't. 

Where I should I find my creativity, I feel only sadness, anger, even hate. I have second-guessed so many choices, so many thoughts and decisions. In the end, though I think I should have chosen something else, I didn't. This is what it is.

I don't mean to sound so dramatic. I don't want to. I want to find that energy I used to use, to write these posts, to think about my characters, to create new worlds.

I'm going to keep searching, because I have to, I must. I have decided on a path to help me and I hope it really will. What I think it means is that I not only have to dive deep, I have to dive apart.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Random #81 - Axe Throwing

I totally went axe-throwing last weekend and it was awesome. I had so much fun. I'm trying to come up with an occasion or reason for us to go again. Last weekend, it was a friend's birthday, the wife invites us and tells us about the axe-throwing surprise. It was almost all couples. I am reluctant to admit it, but like most of the women there, I was hesitant, not thinking I was strong enough to do it. (I honestly wasn't worried about aim, I've always been okay with that). 

The young men there split us into two groups and started training us. It was so fun. My first go was a bit awful. I could make it to the target, but I wasn't getting enough rotation to get my axe to stick into the target. By my second bit of training, I started to get the hang of it. I ended up getting pretty good at it. I was tied for 5th most points (out of 12, so above half), but the part that made me the most excited was that I tied with my Hubby! Then in the game we played against each other, I beat him. It shouldn't make me so happy, but it does. Not (just) because I beat him, but because I think of him as more active and athletic than me. I think of him as being better at sports and outdoor activities in general. That I could match him really boosted my confidence and my desire to try new things. Honestly, I really had fun doing it too. I don't know why. Because I got to throw an axe at a hunk of wood? Maybe. If you want something fun and different to do, go axe-throwing!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Last Week #61 - Last Night's Dress

Going to a writer's group was the best decision I ever made. I'm able to tap into ideas and creative energy that I didn't know I had. All the people there are so supportive and kind. We laugh, share stories from our lives, but most importantly, we write. We don't judge. We push each other to be creative, to write deeper. This week at the group, I wrote a piece I'm thinking of hiding away. It was harsh and raw. It was important and I'm glad I wrote it. But it will be a long time before it ever sees the light of day. After diving so deep down, I like to think the other pieces I wrote had something extra in them too. I didn't get to go as far as I would like too, because of time constraints. What I'm including below I think will be a turning point for the main character in the novel I'm working on. It's very rough and unedited, but I know the bones are there for what I want the novel to be after this scene.

I had put most of clothes back on. The light shawl and jewelry I was wearing the night before was bundled next to my purse. Gram them and go, that’s all I had to do. The sun was just rising over the city building, brightening the clear sky. It would be another warm day. I’d have to take a cab or call for a ride, wearing least night’s dress.

I glanced through the open bedroom doorway. Ben’s breathing was slow and even. His arm had flung out to where my sleeping form had been. If my restlessness hadn’t awakened me, that certainly would have. Unsure if I should make my escape or wake him to say good-bye, I crept around the apartment. Masculine in d├ęcor, it was not overly large, but it was not tiny either. Perfect for a man with some money, who didn’t want to show off. Though he paid easily foe absolutely everything when we were out. I hadn’t noticed this before.

This had to be the last time. This infatuation was getting old and every time I entered this apartment, something felt off.  Every time I woke up here, I felt worse. I walked back over to the window, the light growing, I moved to close the blinds. Then I saw him. He thankfully was not looking up, but I recognized him. The menacing eyes, the cartoonishly obvious goatee that creamed, ‘devil’. He had practically dragged Ben out of the restaurant to have a ‘chat’. He had shown up on a walk we had been taking. Now he was here, parked outside Ben’s apartment. Was he watching Ben? Why? My sister and best friend seemed more than right.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Random #80 - My To-Read List

Like a lot of readers, I have a "to-read/to-be-read" list. Actually, I have two. One, I started probably over a decade ago. It's a spreadsheet of all the books I own and highlighted are the books I haven't read yet. Some time ago, it stopped being my go-to list when I'm considering what to read next. What my spreadsheet lacks, are all the books I don't own, all the books I have yet to purchase, books I have yet to discover. A few years ago, I discovered Goodreads. At first it was just fun, the app scans the barcodes of the books and puts them on the shelves. Then I started getting more active on the site, exploring, discovering books without having to leave the comfort of my home. Often, if I'm not reading about books, I'm thinking about books and researching books. This caused a veritable explosion of titles being added to my to-read list.

One day, I looked over at the number, well, let's just say that it was over 1200. I thought to myself, no way, there is no way I can read all those books. How did I let it get so big? Well, the Recommendations tab is full of temptation. I love book browsing, so I browsed and added. Not long after I noticed my climbing to-read number, I read a blog post (I can't remember what blog though - sorry), where they blogger culled their Goodreads to-read list. Yes! That's exactly what I need to do. I didn't sit down and do it all at once. I picked away at it, when I had time; when I needed a break from work, I scrolled through some books and started deleting. I tried to have a system. If I owned the book, I kept it on the list. Though, I'm a little more willing than I used to be when it comes to giving away books I haven't read yet, but if it's here, it's on the list. If a book is by an author I've read (and liked), it stayed on the list too. Those are the easy choices. What about all the other (hundreds) of titles? I tried to apply a little logic to the situation. If I couldn't remember what the book was about/why I added it, it was gone (though sometimes if I liked the cover, I'd read the synopsis just to make sure, but most likely, it was deleted). I was also eyeing the "added" date. If it was a couple months ago, then I read the synopsis again and made a decision. If I added it in 2012 and hadn't at least purchased it yet, it was most likely removed. By just keeping these few points in mind, I was able to cut over 300 books from my list. It makes me feel lighter.

I've always said that there are more wonderful stories out there in the world for me to read than I have time for, and I know there are readers out there that feel the same. Even with 300 less books on that list, I know I'll never run out of stories to read. My problem is choosing what comes next.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Quote #56 - Ray Bradbury

“Let the world burn through you. Throw the prism light, white hot, on paper.”

—Ray Bradbury

Monday, May 16, 2016

Last Week #60 - If You Were Here

I have been pulling, reaching, trying to grab some momentum that I have somehow lost. One thing that helped last week was going to writer's group. One of our prompts was, "If you were here..." which spawned some really emotional pieces from the group. I thought I'd share a bit of what I wrote...

Would the sun be out, if you were here? I st in the wooden chair at the end of the dock, a mug of earl grey in my hand. The water ripples as the wind blows across the lake. I see the empty chair on my right, out of the corner of my eye, but I try not to look at it. Instead, I watch the sky grow darker. Grey clouds thicken with rain, the wind throws the hair across my face. I tuck it behind my ear and take a sip of my tea. I feel the warmth travel down my throat into my chest and deeper still. I continue to sit, the water movie more quickly. I glance down and see nothing.

I chance a look back at the cottage. Wooden and beautiful, classic and modern. We decided what to restore, mostly the outside, and what to update, mostly the inside. I grasp the mug more tightly in my hands as I drink and lean back in my chair. I consider returning indoors, but the rain hasn't started. It's not like I have far to go if it does. If you were here, would have have made me go in by now?

Monday, May 9, 2016

Last Week #59 - Not Much

Not much has happened in the last week. I thought I was getting more... energy, but it quickly fizzled. Is it weird that I look for energy in my words? I've thought of just getting them down, slapping down words of function to move the action along, but that doesn't feel right... Maybe I'm too focused on one thing. Maybe I need to move around the story, or work on another story. I'm also probably over-thinking the whole thing, which doesn't help. Here's hoping, starting today, I find whatever it is that I need.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Quote #55 - William S. Burroughs

I haven't even seen this movie yet (shh)
but she seems so magical!
“Cheat your landlord if you can and must, but do not try to shortchange the Muse. It cannot be done. You can’t fake quality any more than you can fake a good meal.”
—William S. Burroughs

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Random #79 - Day Job Distractions

I don't know what it is lately. I've just been distracted by everything. I blame my day job. I don't want to. I like my day job, but I don't want to blame anything else. Not my family, children, friends, responsibilities, my wandering mind... Hopefully I can focus and get more writing done soon. I miss my characters.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Random #78 - The Delayed Post

I was going to post something about why I haven't posted anything for the past little while. I was going to talk about the work I've done on my novel and the stopped work on my novel because of personal life issues. Honestly, I don't want to. It's too much, maybe too personal at this point. I know other bloggers do, but I just can't. Instead, I will leave you with a pretty book cover, of a book I'm hoping to pick up soon.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Random #77 - Ode To The Long Lost Roommate

I was having a hard time getting started when I was writing the other day, so I used a prompt as a warm up. I still had my work-in-progress on my mind, so the below is what I came up with.

I wanted you to be my story, but I couldn't quite fit you in.

At first you were a best friend, someone I could share my darkest secrets with. The person whom I could try to convince that B- was my hero. He saved R- and K-. He saved me. He made me feel warm and excited. I could come crying to you if I doubted his feelings for me. I could cry to you when I doubted my feelings for him. You were to be my sounding board, but I had a sister for that.

Then you could be my roommate. The woman who I let move into my house, paying rent, once my sister left. You would be conveniently absent the night of the shooting. You could observe my transformation. You could report on me to my sister, to my therapist. But the idea of you crowded my solitude. I needed to go a little nutty in my head. I would sleepovers from my sister. I also wouldn't always sleep at home.

The truth is, when I discovered I didn't need you, you became lost. It didn't matter that financially it made sense to have someone like you in my story. I could work around that, gloss over that, come up with something else. I needed to lose a person, and that person was you.

Goodbye friend. Goodbye roommate that never was. Maybe one day I will see you again. Maybe I'll meet you in another story, in the continuation of my life. But if I don't, it's OK. Because really, you were never here. 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Quote #53 - C.S. Lewis

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.
- C.S. Lewis

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Random #76 - On Giving Up

I’ve encountered two women in real life who have said to me “I used to write”. They tried make it as a writer, but it didn't work out, so they gave up. I don't know both their ages, but one, if not both, are under 40. What exactly did they do to try and "make it"? I don't know. I didn't pry because their statements (2 separate occasions) made me sad and I also don't know them that well. What it's left me with though is wondering, if you want to write, really want to write, do you ever give up? Because I don't think I could.

I'm not young, but I'm not that old either. I have two young children, a mortgage, a full-time job and all kinds of responsibilities. Though I may not have the opportunity to spend all day, every day, writing, I do what I can, when I can. Will that amount to something in the future? I hope so, but I know there are no guarantees. Thinking about all this, the idea that someone could give up writing really makes me think, I couldn't ever. I have so many stories in my head, so many ideas, that the only way I can get them out is to write them.

Maybe I can see giving up on the idea of getting published, one too many rejection letters or something like that. But the actual writing, it could get relegated to a hobby, but it wouldn't be gone entirely. To write for yourself, or even for friends and family, that couldn't go away. Plus, what about self-publishing? Just for fun, not expecting any return, just to have your stories out there. Amazon, Smashwords, there are so many options. As much as I (and many writers) long to be with a traditional publisher, there are other options.

So, why did they "used to write"?

If it's not about publishing, what could it be about?

Did they run out of ideas? Were they discouraged? Did someone tell them they were bad at it? If I had more than one person tell me I was bad at it, well, first I would work to improve. Join a group, take a course, something to figure out where I going wrong. Maybe they didn't have that option. Maybe they did. Maybe a lot of people discouraged them and they gave up. The idea of that, makes me sad.

Maybe it is about being published and I'm thinking too deeply about this. Maybe not.

I just know that I can't think of a reason, at least not right now, as to why I would ever give up.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Links n+1

I have posts about writing links all through the blog. I tried to make a regular thing, but sometimes, I just don't find anything that I want to link to and sometimes, I was too busy that week to look at the sites I follow. So, like some of the other stuff I post, I'll just start numbering them. I will try to stick to Fridays for these posts though. I do like some structure.

I also want to make some kind of list to make them easier to find. There are some I'd like to refer back to...

Anyway, here are some links I found recently that I'd like to share. Enjoy!

Hi! Could you give me some advice on how to lengthen chapters/scenes without making them boring? I always seem to struggle with length...:

I've heard a good advice that says 'Take the book you love and read it like writer.' I have this book now and I wanted to ask just how exactly do I take it apart? I want to have some kind of plan to tackle it and understand why exactly I loved it and why I still remember it as something great. I want to learn but I'm not sure how.:

10 Ways to Make Everyone Root for Your Amoral Protagonist:

Monday, March 28, 2016

Last Week #58 - Happy Easter!

Here's a bunny! Hope everyone had a 
great Easter weekend.
Easter took over my weekend. Visiting family and friends, hosting family and friend, while still managing to sneak away and see a movie (Batman V Superman). I spent a lot of time cooking. I made a turkey, which turned out really well. I also made a broccoli and cauliflower casserole, which tastes way better than it sounds. There was none left. There is never any left and I take it to almost every family dinner. It's gotten to the point where I am pretty much expected to make it. (The original recipe is from the Kraft website, but I've made a few changes. I'm not giving away all my secrets right now, but mine does not look like the picture on the site. I stick mine under the broiler to get a nice crust on the top.) So, I was busy.

When we went visiting on Sunday, however, I took some of my work-in-progress with me. It's difficult to write in the car, but it was a 2 hour drive, so I try to give it a go whenever I can. I ended up writing about a page, so not terrible, with the car and husband and kids to distract me. I'm also writing an awkward scene. It's supposed to be awkward between the characters, but that's also made it awkward to write. We'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Random #75 - On The Extra Stories In A Series

I read my fair share of Young Adult Fantasy and Science-Fiction series. They're fun, entertaining and some full of interesting ideas. I ready Adult Science-Fiction and Fantasy too, but I'm going to stick to YA right now. I'm thinking about all these series that have companion short stories. Some are prequels, some are re-tellings of scenes from another character's point of view, some are about what has happened in between novels. Not all series have them, The Hunger Games, for example. It's three novels, that's it, the end. Then there is a series like Delirium with so many extra tales, that though originally published as ebooks (as all these extra tales first are), they published a paperback edition too, though most leave their companion tales as ebooks, like the Grisha trilogy.

Though there are other series that leave out the extra bits (like Uglies from Scott Westerfeld), I feel like there are more who have at least one ebook tale (like Legend, by Marie Lu) and an increasing amount of others who are publishing their multiple ebook shorts in paperback form (Shatter Me, by Taherah Mafi). Why am I thinking about this?  Recently I read Red Queen. It was great, I thoroughly enjoyed it and I'm itching to read Glass Sword. I own both novels. I picked them up recently (at a very good price). However, Cruel Crown was not available to purchase. If it was there, would I have purchased it? Probably, yes. While I have skipped companion ebook short stories in the past, when there is more than one, I feel more of a pull to get them. What might they reveal about the characters I love, the ones I hate, the history of the world? With Red Queen a recent read, I'm left wondering if I should buy the paperback, the two ebooks separately (a cheaper deal) or just skip the stories.

As I type this, read what I've written, I think I might be feeling companion story burn-out. Why do the majority of series (at least the ones I've read lately) have these extra bits floating around? Some of the short stories I've read have been brilliant, like Leigh Bardugo's The Witch of Duva and Little Knife. Others I've been less fond of, like alternate perspectives, where I know what's going to happen (I like a little tension or mystery in my stories), especially if they don't tell me anything I didn't already know. I have a similar problem with prequels, a story is nice, but I want to learn something. The Assassin's Blade was a collection of prequel stories done right. They had their own plots and we learned a lot about the main character and even had hints about what could happen in future novels. I guess I am just wondering, why can't their be more series like The Hunger Games? A bunch of novels I loved. I'm not saying just trilogies either. Uglies is a series of 4 books. I just... I don't know... There are just so many... I want to be able to pick up the books and read them, without having to search online to see if any other stories exist. (I have to say, I do appreciate the ones that are free.) But why can't it be bam, bam, bam, done? If I hadn't joined Goodreads, I probably would have missed most of these stories (Thanks, Goodreads, for links on where to read them too.) It's just burn-out, that's all it is. Right? Bah! Whatever.