Sunday, December 23, 2007

Off the horse

Did not write much at all this week, and therefore I'm having a bit of trouble hitting my stride today. Never fear - I will be making my goal, and that's that.

Right now I'm thinking about what is truly scary, in case this turns out to be a suspense/thriller - which it is shaping up to be. What do you think is the most terrifying thing evah?

Have made my chocolate fudge and my nuts-n-bolts snack mix, and I'm debating going back to do a white chocolate fudge as well. Butter tarts and shortbreads are in the freezer.

Pebbles is up, must run.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Thoughts in passing

I'm managing to keep my promises to myself, so far this month - at least as far as writing goes. (There MAY be other things that are slipping, but this is not about that. (G)) Pebbles is teaching me to get up at 5 am, at which point she drinks her bottle and goes back to sleep, and I don't. It's good for writing, bad for my mood - I'm an eight-hours sort of girl.

Lindsay posted a bit about being brutal to one's characters, and this is something I've been thinking about lately. I think there is a bit in Robert McKee's STORY, where he talks about not letting up. In really good stories, the worst happens, the biggest mistakes get made, and we must really believe that it's going to end badly.

It's something to think about. So much fiction - dare I say women's fiction in particular? (hides under desk) - is very...what's the word? Bland. I'm thinking of writers I do like and read often - Mary Balough, Karen Marie Moning, that sort of book. It's not that the story isn't captivating, but it isn't exactly edge-of-your-seat. There is a demand for this kind of story, and we all like to climb in one occasionally. But I think I'd rather challenge the reader more, emotionally. Raise the stakes. Like Vicki Pettersson, and Diana Gabaldon. Barbara Kingsolver comes to mind, and there are many others.

I could list some more, but I really should be writing.

Cheers, and pop on over to The Food Whore's blog for a recipe for Hot Buttered Rum batter!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

And winter sets in

Came a sleepy little-girl voice in the dead of night:
And a sleepy mother-voice:

This is why I love having her in the Big Bed. It's these moments. On their own they're meaningless, just another moment in the life of a family. But there is such peace in my heart as I snuggle close to my littlest. And give her a hud. And a kiss.

BamBam's Christmas concert is today. I took Pebbles and attended the daytime showing this morning, Most Precious Man will go after work - and thus shall the famdamily be representin'.

The car did not want to come all the way up the driveway because the driveway is steep and snowy. I tried to put it back down at the bottom and now the car is in a snowbank. I'm glad the snowbank is there, because if it wasn't the car would be in the ditch. Oh well, MPM will fix that. It''s what he does. He can fix anything. (Tell your daughters: marry a man who can fix stuff. They will grow to love him later.)

So, Pebbles is napping. I'm getting the jitters from too much coffee, or maybe it's from my breakfast of white-chocolate covered Oreos and Jalapeno Pepper Havarti.

In any case, this is not writing. Not really.
Hud your loved ones.

Friday, December 07, 2007

More boring progress stuff

Work pressures have kept me from my keyboard this week - yes, again. It's all right, it only means I need to average 300 words a day from now until the end of the month in order to make my goal. It's supposed to be a challenge.

I'm like meany writers, I suppose, in that I find it hard to let go of my stresses in order to relax and be creative. It's not impossible, in fact, I'm almost positive that this is the reason they make Bailey's. For my coffee. Or my ice cubes, if it's later in the day. (G) Poor, lonely ice cubes.

The Christmas shopping has begun, we're making an effort not to be stupid with the amount of toys and crap we buy this year. Pebbles prefers the Wishbook to her actual toys (except her books - we read every blessed one four times a day), and BamBam has so many things that if I wrapped half of his stuff I'm betting he wouldn't recognize it. I'm not going to do that, I'm just sayin'.

So cheers to all you hard-working mother writers. May your shopping be easy, and your baths be long.

Saturday, December 01, 2007


I did not make my revised goal for November, and even though I was busy, I still know that the reason is that I didn't try hard enough. Have been a bit of a slacker this week.

So, now it's December - this most hellish, most wonderful month. I sat down to pick a "reasonable" goal, and bumped that up a notch. Now I'm aiming at reaching 22K by the end of the month, which is just under 300 words a day, which is perfect.

I have been restricting my words - not allowing all the imperfect flow of story to make it onto the page. My henpicking internal editor has been drinking too much coffee again, I think. She's very bossy, that one. I've sent her on an errand to buy some Lindt chocolates, so at least when she comes back, I'll be glad to see her.

Anyhew, the kids are abed, and I'm off to find out what Carrie is up to.

Friday, November 23, 2007

A day in the life

I think I've found a rhythm that works for me, or a system, at least. I deal with whatever is in my lap at any current moment – whether it be work, family, laundry or a cat that needs petting – and I'm developing stealth powers in order to sneak off to snatch moments in between for writing. It's not perfect, but it's working. Those few hundred words here and there add up, though of course there are still days I don't get anything down. And that's all right - for now and through the Christmas Season.

I'm very close to making my goal for November, so I'll bump that up another 1500 words. Lindsay's link to notes on the GSM – great sagging middle – was extremely timely. I have a big event planned for the end of the middle, and that gives me the focus I need for this next stretch.

My love interest has changed, and rightly so. I'm starting to see moments in his life and how he fits in, and so I'm feeling much better about him now.

Today's my day off, by which I mean I'll have much less time than I normally do. (BG) It's laundry and library, pot roast and blueberry pie. And somewhere in there, Pebbles will need a nap.

God, I love my life.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

True Story

I just hung up on a customer. I don't even know who he was.
And I did it on purpose.


The phone rang, and a guy wanted DDR2 RAM for his notebook. I told him what we had, and the price, and he said thank you, no.

Then he called me back.

Him: "Hello, did you say you had the 1 Gb sticks in stock?"
Me: "Yes. They're Kingston. $49.00."
Him: "Oh. Well. Are you flexible on that at all?"
Me: "What are you comparing to?"
Him: "Well, this other store has them for $38.00."
Me: "In stock?"
Him: "Yes."
Me: "Same brand?"
Him: "No. Supertalent."
Me: "That's not at all the same quality, you know."
Him: "Well, they both have lifetime warranties, so it doesn't really matter, does it?"
Me: "Well, if it corrupts your data, it'll matter."
Him: "That can't happen."
Me: "Yes, it can."
Him: (laughing) "RAM can not corrupt your data. Jesus!"
Me: (laughing) "All righty then. You have a nice day."

And I hung up. Then I stared at the phone, thinking "I can't believe I did that!"

And he called me back. Jeez.

Him: "You hung up on me!"
Me: "Hmmm. Did I? Sorry."

Yanno, I am not a bitch. I'm really a very nice person. I don't know what happened.

Him: "Yes, and you didn't answer my question. Is that your best price?"
Me: "Oh, lessay $45.00"
Him: "Four dollars. I'm afraid that doesn't work for me."
Me: "Oh."
Him: "And I must say, that was very unprofessional."
Me: "Yes, it was."
Him: "If I disagree with something, we can discuss it."
Me: (supressing a rude noise) "Mmmmm."
Him: "So enough with acting like a fourteen-year-old."
Me: "OK."
And polite goodbyes all around.

For whatever reason, I am still laughing about this, an hour later.

Which makes me think. A few years ago, I would have been upset by a confrontation like this. The very thought that someone might not like me would have ruined my day.

I must be growing up.

Or not.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

This week really bites. (Rant warning)

No new words in a few days, it's been a very bad week at work. Pain-in-the-ass things, like a city inspector dropping by to tell me that the sign I have out front (which has been there for thirteen years) now requires a $60 per month permit, and can only be out there for 60 days, and then it's supposed to be made to vanish, somehow, for 60 days, at which point they want another $120 for the next two months. That sucker weighs a couple hundred pounds, and I NEED IT.

It's a part of legislation they're threatening to put through, which it not bloody likely to happen, but in the meantime we have to seem to be complying, so whaddyagonnado? Probably I'll apply for this one permit, and then I'll never hear about it again. Sure won't be volunteering to pay again.

Similar bullshit legislation around here lately is the registration of all housecats. Yes, that's right. All housecats now are supposed to be registered. Because we have nothing else to worry about, like homeless families and school closures and the freaking waiting lists for important medical procedures.

Anywho. The week was not improved by my customers, lovely people most, who all seem to be on some kind of dissociative medication that inhibits input from the senses - particularly my favourite - the COMMON SENSE.


Tomorrow I'm off, and I would love to feel good about it, but I have a lot of residual stress stuck to me right now. Nothing an irish coffee and some Little People can't fix.

Better news, next time!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The love interest, and the sagging middle


The love interest in my story is not coming in quite clearly just yet. I think his name is Alexi, and I *thought* he was big, Russian, and had a shaved head. Now, though, I'm thinking I've got him wrong. He's not talking to me, not coming into focus. I think I'll spend some time tomorrow developing his character, and I'll see then what I can make of him.

Word count is coming along fine, but I'm having to remind myself that this is an SFD. It's all right if there are blank spaces between some of the scenes, and I don't have to know everything at this stage of the game. If a scene wanders and has no apparent purpose, I can fix it or nix it later on. Right now, I'm just telling the story, just getting it down.

This part is interesting for me, because I've arrived at a point where the "beginning" of the story is over and so, by definition anyway, this is the "middle." I have much more practice at beginnings than I do middles, and I'm starting to have a feeling that when I put my foot out for that next step, it might not be there. It's a weird confidence thing. I know where the story is headed, at least until I find out differently. (G) I'm still feeling very much in control. So what's this?

Meh, doesn't matter what it is. I'm going to keep writing anyway.

Friday, November 09, 2007

A day in the life - I'm off!

Today is busy.

Bambam is at school until 2, then it's portraits at 3:40, flu shots after that, and a stop for spare-ribs on the way home. We're having a pot luck Chinese night on Sunday, for my brother's b-day. Mmmm!

Which reminds me, I need to make a grocery list for DH, aka He Who Makes Me Eat Vegetables. As in, plain. Not just as a side to a nice piece of chicken or steak, or on a pizza, say. Straight up. Vegetables.

Didn't make my 10K yesterday, I'm hoping to get there when Pebbles is taking her nap. I'll aim at 10300, it's just that at the moment, I don't actually know what scene I'll be working on. Time to brainstorm.

I am pleased with my progress; I've got all the major scenes at least roughed in for the opening of the story. So I guess now I need to develop the tension/suspense, work on the romance thread and start laying down clues. Hmmm.

I love this.

Thursday, November 08, 2007


Well, we didn't blow away. It was windy - really windy - for 24 hours, the sound will get to you after a while. We're on the face of a hill, so we get it in the chin when it's from the south.

The writing is coming along. My goal for today is to cross the 10K point. I have some research I'm working on, and that should be enough to keep me busy.

Hope y'all are well!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

General Update

Hurricane Noel is screaming up the coast, and should make landfall late this afternoon. It will be (if it isn't already) downgraded to a tropical storm by then, but it'll be wet and windy all the same. Nothing like Juan, we're told. (which is good, because that was an unholy mess that shut most of the province down for a week, and we had no warning from the media.) I can see that they're moving the container ships into the harbour for shelter.

So it's a dreary Saturday at work, I'm hoping for some quiet time once I've finished my admin stuff. Now, if only the customers would behave - and by behave, I mean leave me alone. In a nice way, of course.

I've started taking Fridays off, and what a great day we had yesterday. Took the kids to the library and McDonalds. BamBam made us all some shepherd's pie for dinner, not bad for 6, eh? (Yes, I helped, but he did most of it)

Missed my goal of 8K in October, and I'm hoping to get there by the end of the day. I'm still pleased, 7K+ is an awesome month for me.

This WIP being contemporary, I feel much less helpless while writing. I think, subconsciously, I fell into a passive, "listening" role, uncertain how exactly to "make" my characters go from one scene to the next. This time, I feel more in control, I still find things out by accident:

+ + +

I toyed with the straw in my drink, frowning.
"Hmmm," said Alexi, glancing at me. Suddenly he slowed, swerved to the right, and pulled a u-turn so tight that I bumped my head on the window.
"What you need," he said, with a sideways grin, "is a beagle."

+ + +

...but for the most, part, I am more in charge, this time. I just sit down and brainstorm scenes once in a while, and that's working. And when it's working, that's what we do. (S)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

A feeble wave from the dark side

Pebbles has been sick. She threw up in my spaghetti. She hasn't been eating or drinking much at all, so we're nursing more. She's in my arms all the time, anyway, no matter what the hour, day or night.

You moms know how it is at times like this. Baby wants nothing to do with the Daddy, and if you want a bath, you're taking her with - or you'll listen to her screech - your choice. At least she's only 20 lbs, if she even weighs that any more, with the week she's had.

So I'm at work today, and glad to be here. She seems a little better today, Daddy says. We'll see what happens at suppertime. Anyway, I want to reach between 6000 and 6500 words today, so I'd best bust a move.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Progress of Women

Wonderful co-worker took a call yesterday, from a woman. The customer seemed to have a question, and had finally begun to say what it was, when she interrupted herself to say:

"I'm sorry, I'm just a little confused, I expected a man to answer. And you guys were highly recommended. But anyway…"

Raised eyebrows all around, lady. Geez.

Of course we get that around here, but usually from men. And even among the men, it's usually those of a certain age, or who come from cultures that value men above women. One of *those* men once asked me for lower pricing, and when I refused, insisted to speak with my Dad. (Who is a mechanical engineer, and cares not how much I charge for floppy diskettes in my computer store.) I have always regretted not putting him though, anyway.

"Ya, Dad? There's someone here who wants to talk to you."

The Corn Maiden

I like to play a little game, it;s a tarot-type thing where you pick a card or a series of cards, as a sort of horoscope/thought for the day. They're Shaman Wisdom Cards, by Leita Richesson, U.S Games Systems (and if that don't take the magic out of it, eh?)

Anyway, here is what my card this morning said:
I am CornPlanting Moon. I am a place of beginnings. I am the germination of ideas. The Corn-Maiden comes as a symbol of food and sustenance for "The People." Honor Her…Under my light you are called to begin anew, to sharpen your communication skills…Energy increases during this time; let your ideas germinate and grow, let yourself smile at the progress.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Riding the waves

It hasn't been a big word-count day, though I confess to having had some free time. I'm blaming it on lack of sleep and a headcold, in case you're interested. (S)

The way this WIP seems to work is that I get a few scenes that pop up, and while I'm writing them, I'm surfing. Then, when they're done, there's a short lull while I wait for the next inspiration, and the next wave. Good news is that the next wave always comes, at least so far. The key is to be in the work EVERY DAY.

My goal is to reach 8000 words by the end of the month.

The weather has been unseasonably warm. Last night we left one of the living room windows open all night, and the temp was still 21 degrees C (70 or so) when I got up in the morning. Very nice, but scary in a global warming kind of way.

Welcome back to our Surrey friends!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Coming along!

See the word count...

I'm having a lot of fun.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Voices of Me

Yes, yes, YES!

My MC is talking, and I've got down a major scene that opens the way through to the next scenes. I'm jumping back and forth through the beginning, still learning about Carrie and where she is right now, but I feel good about where it's going. I'm constantly amazed about how much I'm learning about this process.

I've stopped going over to the forum, I simply don't have the time. I love the company there, but feel more and more lately like I have nothing to contribute. I guess even lurking there makes me feel like a big faker, like a joiner, like I'm pretending to be a writer, when I'm not - not through any fault or laziness, but we do as circumstances must. Now, though, it's time to get back

My goal wasn't to hang around watching writers chat about craft. My goal wasn't to make lots of writer friends (even though I love the ones I have made!) My goal was to grow as a writer, a mother and a woman. To write, to become more. I don't feel like I've been doing that lately. I feel used up.

Where once I wanted - needed - to be in touch, now I feel more like I need to withdraw. I need to light a candle. I need to turn inward, to sit quietly, and listen to the sound of my own thoughts, the voices of me. Until I can do that, what could I possibly have to share?

Friday, September 28, 2007


I *heart* my new employee.

And I'm writing again!

(Go, ME!!!)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Forget everything you thought you knew about Windows

I have taken the Lord's name in vain.

It is indeed possible to delete a file off the network whilst it is in use. Or, at least, you can make its contents go 'kapoof!'. I know this, because yesterday, it happened to my accounting data file.

Yep. It did.

Sew. One emergency call to the accountant's office (thank dog we were so late getting our year end over there.) One rush courier. One very quiet nervous breakdown. A few rhetorical questions about who the heck has not been backing this shit up, because really, we both know the truth.

So, time warp back to...

June 26th.

S'Ok. I can handle that. It's just a matter of re-entering everything that's happened since then. (insert ever-so-bright smile here) I'm not so sure I can write a bestseller at the same time, but everybody's healthy, right???

Also hired a girl yesterday, I think that's going to be a good thing. I like her, she seems pretty smart, no facial piercings.

Both phone lines are ringing, and I'm starved.

Saturday, September 22, 2007


I'm so very glad you guys can't see what I'm writing right now. It's bad. It's very bad.

Well, there's only one cure, and y'all know what it is.



I come to the end of a paragraph, and there's no obvious direction to go from there. No momentum. Will Brian and Evelyn arrive on time for supper, or will they be late? Who can stand the tension???

The scene has a point, so I'm going to have to just grit my teeth and drag myself through it. One-sentence paragraphs, a list of who did what, and then who said what. It's as painful to write as it is to read. And then - magic! - a character does something unexpected. A part of the setting bursts suddenly into full color. Action, reaction, imagination, interest - a scent, a spark.

And finally, a decent paragraph.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Hey, um, are you, like, hiring?

So, a guy comes to the counter. He's wearing a ballcap, he hasn't shaved in a few days, and I'm pretty sure he's hiding a stubbed-out cigarette in the palm of his hand.

"Hey, um, I heard you guys were, like, hiring, so I skipped out of work early and came right down here."

Sure, dude. You're, um, like, on the very tippy-top of my list.

Like, not.

Repeat after me: It's OK to suck. (Renee)

I hope. 'Cause that's what I'm doing right now. It's been at least a few weeks since I wrote anything, so what was I expecting? I know, I know.

So, there's an idea that I'm playing with, and so far, so good. I wrote 1000 words the first day, 200 yesterday. This morning I woke up and realized (in the same moment, I love when that happens) that I'm starting in the wrong place - a year too soon. And so it flows from there. 500 new words today, and counting.

And to support my habit, I'm making some changes to my priorities.

I've been focused on my company, which needed to happen. I've been a really, really good computer girl. A super manager, an excellent clerk. A good mother when I'm actually home. A decent wife, though my husband did wonder out loud in my hearing whether he ought to buy some of that AXE body spray.(S)

But I haven't been any sort of writer at all, and that matters too. To be honest, I think the break has actually done me some good. It's true that all these other things are important, and I've been able, in the crunch, to preserve most of the things about me that I like. What I'm going to do is let the filing slide a bit, maybe let the office get a little (gasp!) messy. I can't help it if I have to stop and serve customers. But one thing I have learned is that you can't wait for perfect circumstances, that'll never happen. Cram it in, writers, wherever you can.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


My life has run away with me.

I get up, feed kids, get them dressed, get the big one to the bus. I wash my hair, go to work, get home at 6:30. Eat a hot meal lovingly prepared by my wonderful husband. Play with kids, take a shower, preside over baths, teeth-brushing, stories, get Big One in bed. Get Little One in bed. Sit on the couch, in the general vicinity of my husband, staring at the TV screen for half an hour, go settle Little One in bed again. Brush my teeth. Kiss my husband. Go to bed, read for twenty minutes. Pass out. Wake five or six times in the night with Little One, who is teething and might have a bladder infection. Get up. Start over.

This is dreary, I know, I'm sorry. Today I'm tired, I'm drained. I miss my writing, and having contact with my writer friends. I need some exercise. I need. Some time. To write.

I've been out of touch with my WIPS for a few months now. I'm out of touch with me. I'm doing what I have to do, I don't feel like a failure this time. But geez.

Today, anything that isn't an emergency is going to wait. Anyone I don't have to talk to, I won't. I'm going to write.

I don't have any idea *what*, but I'm going to brainstorm some ideas, and see if I can't shake these blues.

Friday, September 14, 2007

A slice.

More than my fair share of whackos this week, I must say, many of them applying for the dubious honor of occupying the chair next to mine. Too bad one can't run a help wanted ad like this:

Wanted: Somebody like me. Reasonably smart and moderately good-looking, non-smoker, must have some kind of personality and an excellent sense of humour.

Cause let's face it, that's all I really need. I can teach the rest.

From which you can go right ahead and assume that I haven't been having any luck with the hiring thing, and therefore am still missing The Beloved something awful. And my kitchen, too, I really miss cooking. I do, however, go home to a hot meal every day now, which is really nice.

Email from customer (I've omitted the screaming CAPS and added some punctuation)
My nephew's laptop doesn't work. I turn it on and the power light comes on but the screen is just black. It's only a few months old. What do you think is wrong, is it the mainboard or the hard drive?

My response(more or less):
Gorsh, I really can't tell without seeing it. Why don't you drop by and I'll take a quick look to see if I can narrow it down?

I can't come in because I live in Alberta. I just wanted some help. I'll take it to Calgary the next time I go.


Friday, August 31, 2007

The things I do to myself...

Hullo, my writer friends.

As you know, I've been working just a little over full time since May. Six days a week. Every morning I wave to the Beloved and I drive away in my Neon, wishing I could be home with them. It would all be better soon, I told myself. Soon my new employee would be able to handle things on her own for a day at a time, and I could have some days off with my kids before they, you know, grow up.

Except yesterday, I let my employee go.

It just wasn't going to work. She's a very sweet girl, just a little more clueless than I thought. Hint: when you take a job and agree to the offered (fair!) wage, you need to know ahead of time if that is enough money to pay your bills. When you discover that your obligations outstrip your income, don't expect your employer, who has spent thousands of dollars training you for an entire summer, to let you hang around while you look for a better job. Ain't happening, sweetheart. Bye.

So that leaves me where? Working my butt off, for one, with a hiring hangover that looks like it's going to last until, oh, Christmas. I don't even want to advertise, I feel like I just got out of a relationship - I need some time.

The icing on the cake? I just got off the phone with a woman. The conversation went like this:
Her: "Hello, to what time are you open this evening?"
Me: "Six o'clock."
Her: "Six o'clock, on a Friday before you close for a long weekend. That's just wonderful."
Me: Stunned pause, while I reel from the sarcasm.
Her: "Thank you so much."
Me: "Uh, thank you." For not shopping here. Ever.

Amazing. You know, I go out of my way for people. Just this morning I went outside without a coat in the pissing freaking rain to carry a computer to a woman's car. Every second day, I wait an extra few mintues so some poor overworked shmuck can make it here in time to pick up his machine. I follow up. I care. You won't get that kind of service anywhere else.

So thank YOU, lady-who-was-calling-from-home, who is probably watching Oprah right now. You suck.

Thank heavens for my real customers, the people who see and appreciate how long and hard I work.

Friday, August 17, 2007

It's not nice to laugh at people

So here am I, plugging away in my nifty little computer shop, when in comes a customer. No big deal, that happens all the time.

"Hello," says customer, "I need a USB extension cable."

(For those of you following along, a USB cable has both an "A" ending and a "B" ending. Extensions always plug into the "A" ending.)

"Oh yes," I say, just as pert and perky as can be, "those are right here. Six feet?"

"Mmmphm." (People say that around here, you know.) He's looking at the two ends of the cable, and looking mildly distressed. I showed him how his cable would plug right in to the end of the cable in the package. He's still not happy, I can tell.

"What's the matter?"

"Well," he says, "that's not the end of the cable I wanted to extend."


Blink blink.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Cha. Sure.

So, of course I'm run off my feet today. Of course these people are coming out of the woodwork, and taking all my stuff away so I have to order more stuff.

So that's ok, of course.

(stomp, stomp - disappears into stock room with a clipboard.)

Good Things

My little sister is coming for the weekend, and we're closing the shop for three whole days. Yay! We'll be taking the kids to an amusement park, where they have a petting zoo and rides and a waterslide and ice cream. BamBam is tall enough to go on all the rides now! We'll also be going to the Natal Day parade, because BamBam has never been to a parade, and hell, he's going to be six this month. (My bad.)

Today is going to be a stellar writing day, because Employee is away, and I can't imagine people will want to bother much about me when it's thirty degrees and sunny out there. And see, it's only 6:30 and I'm writing already, thanks to Pebbles, who woke Mummy at five o'clock and then went back to sleep.

Also very excited about Bambam's birthday party. When asked what sort of party he wanted, he said "A surprise party."

"Dude, you can't plan your own surprise party."

"No, but YOU can. Just...surprise me!"

All righty then. I think I can pull that off. So I told him it really wasn't quite the thing, and maybe we'd talk about his party later. In the meantime, any idea who he'd like to invite?

So, guess what we're doing?


With a hayride, blown-up bouncy jumper things, all-you-can-eat hotdogs, AND a pony ride. Not at the house, (blessing self) but at a facility that actually does that stuff. Provided you sign the waiver.

Sucker mom, to the rescue. Yes, it's maybe more than we ought to do, but once I saw the website I just couldn't help myself. You only turn six once.



How did this boy get to be six?

Friday, July 27, 2007

It's the little highs that sustain me

Guess what?

I'm alone, ALONE, I tell you, in my office. I'm at my computer, and I've been writing for a whole hour. I've finished a scene, at least the first draft of it, and I'm feeling good. And hey, I've earned it.

I have a talk-to-me face. I know I do, because people really do talk to me. Take today, for instance. I know about a father's cholesterol and leg difficulties. I know about a pregnancy scare. I know about a girl in Texas who has come through her surgery all right. I know about a private little beach someone found in our neighborhood. A malignant tumor, gone now, thank heavens, and aren't epidurals wonderful. (Yes!) $100 worth of impatiens that drowned in all that rain back in June. And it's what, 2 o'clock?

Edited at 2:40 to add:
I now have the Complete Scoop on the relationship between sleep apnea and high blood pressure. Apparently, there's a machine that hooks to oxygen tubes that go up your nose. It costs $1800, but insurance covers it. It's a noisy machine, and you might need a chin strap to keep your mouth closed.

I don't work in a hospital. For Chrissakes, I work in a computer shop.

I can see I'm going to have to work on my "I Like You, But I'd Rather Be Writing" expression.

Just for fun, and because I've never posted my writing yet, here's my scene. Is the hocus-pocus stuff tiresome? It's our first scene with this character.

From THE WITCH OF BADENOCH, copyright Cindy D, 2007

Gwynnedd drifted reluctantly back to herself, condensing slowly out of the ether, back into the warm dimensions of her waiting body. The plodding beat of her heart, the restricting rhythm of her breathing were at first strange to her, and her soul fluttered in panic and dismay. It took a few moments' deep concentration to will it back into the confines of her flesh. Gradually, she became accustomed, aware of the soft evening breeze on her hair, the light twittering of the birds in the forest canopy above, and the ache in her hips from sitting too long. Only when she could feel the shapes of her fingertips resting on her knees did she open her eyes.

The setting sun cast fire on the pool before her and she blinked, stretching. Her body was stiff, but her spirit was refreshed, renewed. She stripped off her clothes and waded into the cool, glittering water, whispering the words of a prayer to the Goddess as she bathed her long, pale body.

The sun was nearly set when she left the shelter of the forest, walking alone up the long slope to where the walls of Glamorgan Castle reared, glowing on the summit of the hill. The traffic that normally flowed to and from its main gate was mostly absent at this time of day, there were only a few people on foot headed toward the village, and a man with a handcart crossing beneath the ramparts.

Nobody spoke to her as she passed through the bailey into the great hall, and from there into the corridor beyond. The few people she met on the narrow, winding stair quickly cast their eyes away and shrank against the stones to let her pass. At the top, up where only servants and children dwelt, she followed the corridor to the west until it ended amidst chill and cobwebs, dusty things abandoned, and a faint whiff of decay.

She had disturbed the darkness with her passing and it spun slowly around her as she paused, curling damp musty fingers around her neck and shoulders. The recess before her was invisible without a light, less than the width of a man, set into an angle of the wall near a chimney. Only when she was certain there was nobody near did she slip through, silent feet finding each of the thirteen narrow steps that led to her room beneath the eaves.

Closing the door behind her and shedding her clothing again, she bent to build a fire in her tiny brazier. She rummaged in her kist, nimble fingers plucking up the things she would need. Sage, pennyroyal, a small tub of death-scented grease, and the powdered bark of an elm tree. Mixing the herbs, bark and grease into a paste with her fingers, she sank down before the fire, closing her eyes and filling her lungs with air.

Something was afoot. She could feel a displacement in the balance of power; it was drawn outward, stretched thinner. New forms were shifting, waking, just outside of her perception. Waiting, breathing, it came to her that there would be both an opportunity, and an adversary, though she knew not what, or who. Yet.

Tonight, she would perform the ritual to heighten her ability, to ready herself for the Coming.

The grease hissed over the fire, melting almost instantly. She pressed three fingers of each hand into the hot, fragrant oil, and made the sacred gestures, touching them to her temples, lips, the bottoms of her breasts, and between her legs. Turning toward where the rising moon was framed in her tiny window, she supplicated once, twice, three times. Then she dressed in fresh clothing and went to find the last thing she needed to complete the rite.

The stables were located at the back of the castle, built into the wall just inside the eastern gate. It was full night now, and nobody saw Gwynnedd where she paused in the deeper shadow cast by a towering woodpile. A curious piglet nosed about in the straw by her foot and she pushed it away with a soft hiss, careful not to make it squeal.

Across from her, the open half-doors of the horses' stalls were only just visible, but in a nearby room above an open window glowed. From it tumbled the rowdy laughter and jovial cursing of men at drink and cards. Once in a while, one of them would come down to piss, and she would lean out, hopeful, only to withdraw with a pout. Only one man would do, and it was nearly midnight before she saw him.

He paused at the bottom of the stair, blocking out the light with his height and broad shoulders. Gwynnedd whispered a spell and stepped out into the open.

He saw her immediately, with her blonde hair and light gown she would be an easy mark. He crossed toward her.

His voice came out of the darkness like a caress on her skin as the hulking shape of him drew near. "Can I be helpin' ye, Miss? Ye shouldna be aboot, the lads are deep in their cups, the night." He glanced over his shoulder to where the card game continued without him.

"Just taking the air," Gwynnedd replied. She saw him hesitate and stepped around him, trailing a fingertip as quick as lightning along the curve of his ribs. His expression was lost to the shadows, but she could feel his heat, and smell the sharp tang of his surprise mingling with the whisky on his breath. "Too bad I don't have an escort. You never know what harm might come to a girl, all alone out here at night." Coming round to the front of him again, she pressed close, smiling, and pressed her palm to the front of his breeks.

"Um," he said, stepping back and catching her by the wrist. He cleared his throat. "Where are your rooms, Miss, and I'll see ye safely there."

"No. I want you. I've been waiting."

For just a moment he hesitated, and she laughed softly. Rising on her toes, she wrapped one arm around his neck and whispered against his throat.

"Come with me to the forest. Now." Again, her hand closed over him, and he groaned softly. Her voice was silky moonlight. "Ye willna regret it, I promise."

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Still writing

I'm still here, still writing, though it's only a few words a day.

I'm trying to get to the bottom of an issue that's niggling somewhere in the back of my mind. It's one particular scene. The first half comes into focus very easily, I can see, I can hear, I'm there. But I'm trying to bring it in a particular direction, and it won't go. Tomorrow, I'm going to give it its head, and see what happens. Actually, I'm quite looking forward to it - you never know what happens at times like this.

Maybe tonight I'll fix myself an icy white russian and see what happens.

Maybe I'll have to fold the laundry.

Maybe I'll fix myself an icy white russian, and THEN fold the laundry.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


A short update, since I find myself alone in a house with two sleeping children.

it's very quiet

I'm really tired of blogging about how hard it is to find time to write, we know all that already.
I'm also tired of treading water with this book, needing to tell the story, yet unable, somehow, to figure out which way to swim for shore. Which way? I've taken a breath now, and I'm just swimming.

I've got some stuff written in one notebook, other stuff written in another notebook, and some scribbles on the back of an envelope somewhere. But I'm writing. It doesn't feel like progress yet, actually, I'm really struggling. I have to force myself not to give up, every day.

There are moments that make it worthwhile, single lines written three years ago that suddenly bloom into whole scenes. There are scenes I struggled with that I just *Plink!* deleted. Just like that, I hate this, it's gone. I am free.

Kind of.

I still have this feeling that I've failed, somewhere. How can that be? What it is, is the HUNDREDS of days over the past few years that I didn't write. Those days, I learned nothing. Those days, I didn't progress. Those days, I didn't build on my wordcount. Those days, I became so waterlogged with doubt that I was in danger of sinking.

Today, though, I did write. And tomorrow, I will too. I hope that as long as I keep going, I will find the me that really believed that I can do this. For now, it's one stroke after the other, just a little moment in my journey to the shore.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


I'm so excited!

Yesterday I had a few quiet moments to myself, the rare kind, when I was neither tired and sapped of all creativity, nor needed by one of The Beloved. I got out the cue cards I bought for a buck a pack, and started writing things down. Just stuff. Scenes I have. Scenes I need to write. Points I need to make at different parts of the story. Things I need to remember, lists of what makes each character tick - their motivations, fears, needs.

As I went along, I placed the cards in piles. One for administrative things, then scenes for each pov, ordered the way they will in the story. Then I separated the piles into Beginning, Middle and End.

I'm not very good at outlines, not the way they taught us to make them in school. I've seen the cue card idea on Kelley Armstrong's blog, and in a few different variations on the net, including the Forum. I tried it with a different WIP I was fiddling with, but this story called me back, impatient, before I got too far with that. 'Scuse me, it said, we're waiting here, if you please.

I didn't realize how confused I was about my own (somewhat convoluted) storyline until I did this. I can't wait to get back to the stack of cards, in a Ziplock bag in my purse, each one a stepping stone on the journey.

See ya!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Creativity, and peace of mind

I'm a creative person by nature. I love writing, of course, but I enjoy other kinds of creativity as well: cooking, scrapbooking, even colouring with BamBam, to name only a few. With my schedule lately, there's been little or no time for me to use this part of my mind, and THAT, my friends, is cranky-making.

This afternoon, though, the cloud cover has cleared, and I'm spending some time happily scribbling on cue cards and thinking about my story. It's quiet. People are leaving me alone, at least for the moment. It doesn't add to the wordcount, but it is a very effective mental anti-oxidant.


This is The Stuff.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Tag, I'm it!

Seven random things about me, hunh? Let's see..

1. I'm 34, I have two brothers, 31 and 25, and a sister who is 13.

2. I like my feet, and I hate my forehead.

3. I had a pony named Peggy, and then a horse named Mikie, when I was growing up.

4. Nobody likes me when I haven't been sleeping. Growl!

5. I'm very nice. You'd like me.

6. I believe in ghosts.

7. I have dreams of being a writer, but in the day-to-day I lack the drive it takes to be successful. Some days I forgive me, most days I don't.

Everyone I know has been tagged, except Carol.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Writing Mom

Some days I don't make it to my keyboard, and there's guilt about that. This poem helps me to remember what's really important.


My hands were busy through the day.
I didn’t have much time to play.
The little games you asked to do,
I didn’t have much time for you.
I’d wash your clothes. I’d sew and cook.
You’d ask and I’d read from your book.
I’d tuck you in all safe at night,
And hear your prayers; turn out the light.

Then tiptoe softly by your door,
I wish I’d stayed a minute more.
For life was short, the years rushed past,
A little boy grows up so fast.
No longer is he at my side,
His precious secrets to confide.
The picture books are put away.
There are no longer games to play.

No Teddy Bears or misplaced toys
No sleepovers with lots of boys.
No goodnight kiss, no prayers to hear.
That all belongs to yesteryear.
My hands, once busy, now are still.
The days are long and hard to fill.
I wish I could go back and do
The little things you asked me to do.


Monday, June 25, 2007


Ohmagod, it's a craft post. (G)

All right, you writers, help me out here. I've been struggling with this for a while, and I'm going to lay it all out. If I know me, by the time I finish writing it all down I'll have decided on a course of action, because that's how my little brain works, but I really want to know what you - YOU! -have to say about this.

I write paranormal historicals. The WIP I'm on right now, THE WITCH OF BADENOCH, is in first person, which I've chosen because I like the intimacy of being right inside my MC's head. However, when I made the change to first person I lost some other points of view - that of my Scottish-warrior-hunka-sexy-bod and my super-bitchy-sex-addict-witch antagonist. I really do feel that their perspectives add to the story, but I'm nervous about combining POVs.

One-two chapters in first person, then a few in third? Nnnn, there's something about that notion that puts me off a little. Would that annoy you, even supposing it was well done?

I've read enough, written enough and thought enough to know that indeed, there are no rules. You can do whatever you want - as long as you do it well. So, why the hesitation? Well, how about I tell ya?

One - crisis of confidence. This book is six years in vitro. When I started the latest re-write I vowed to Keep It Simple. A straight-forward novel, I said, that's what I need to write. Let's see if we can't finish something without getting all tangled up in our panties. Well, it's not turning out that way so far. (sigh) The question of whether or not I can pull it off will have to wait until I've tried.

Two - marketability. (Yes, I do know better. But.) Here I am, a new writer with my first MS. Will it be harder to sell this than a single-pov story, or even one in third? I know there are other books out there that use this method, but still, I can see it being an issue. I write to write, but I don't want to set myself up for failure. Still, the question of whether I can pull it off or not will have to wait until I've tried.

Pattern forming, here.

Ms. Vicki has what she calls the kitchen sink method. Throw it in there, she says, you can sort it out later. This is somewhat contrary to the KISS, method, methinks!

Many, many others remind me that it's MY book. It can't - and won't ever - exist without the force and input of my own creativity. That's partly because it needs the blood of my imagination to grow from embryo to infant, and why would I censor that? Wouldn't it be better to fill these pages with as much of the best me as I can?

Of course, it's also partly because I just won't write the damn thing if I'm not having fun.

Well, hell. It IS my book. And it's MY precious free time that goes into it. If I want to write it this way, I guess I can give myself permission to do that. No, scratch that.

I hereby ORDER me to do it my way!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Status update

BamBam goes in for day surgery next week, they're inserting tubes in his ears to clear up an ongoing issue we've had with his hearing. It'll be reasonably pain-free, but he's a cautious little person and so we'll be using the next few days to help him prepare for the ordeal. We've got a video from the library and I've been bringing up the topic now and again, gently, since I've noticed he really doesn't want to discuss it. Fingers crossed it all goes well, they do this dozens of times a week, in any case.

Pebbles can stand, but at fourteen months hasn't begun walking yet. She does, however, climb - and there have been a number of heart-stopping incidents when we've had to take her down from the top of a five-foot ladder, the end table, etc. Have I mentioned this already?

Writing-wise, no news. I've had to make my peace with being a hobby-writer for now. Stick with me writer-friends, I still need you!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

We have progress!

I wrote 1013 words today.

Yay, me!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Where did Cindy go?

It's been one of those weeks. Work, care for loved ones. Sleep. Work, care for loved ones, watch a TV show, sleep. I'm just doing what I have to do for now, and that's ok. That's motherhood.

But tomorrow...tomorrow is going to be a good writing day. I can tell! And that's good, because I really feel like this story is ready to go. I don't want it to slip away for lack of attention.

Monday, June 04, 2007


We've all got them. Some are very important, some are middling, some obviously come after everything else. For me, this week, I'm trying to figure out where writing fits, for me, in my life, right now.

It's been a bit of a mess, but the dust is settling. Hubby and I are getting the hang of this role-reversal thang. He's doing wonderfully, and it's gratifying for me to know that he's got a whole new idea of what it's like to manage a household. For me, my heart hurts when I drive away from the house every day, and I keep reminding myself that it's temporary, moms have to work sometimes too.

Being a mother taught me how to use time. Being a mother at work six days a week is going to force me to be brutal in uncluttering those few hours I get between supper and bed, between dawn on Sunday and that moment when I close my eyes. So what really matters?

- Time with the kids, reading, playing , and not looking at my watch and thinking about how I should put a load of laundry in.

- Time with hubby, who deserves more attention than he gets. He comes last too often.

- Time alone. I need - I'm starving for - time by myself, time when nobody needs anything from me, time when nobody is talking to me, time when I can do nothing, just read or soak or sit and watch tv.

- Time to write. I set this apart from alone time because they're not the same thing and I need both.

- Time to sleep. I'm an eight hours person. I don't always get that, of course, but I've learned that I need to do my best to get enough sleep because it affects my personality, and I owe it to my family to be the best Mom/wife I can. When I'm tired I'm impatient and I lose my temper too easily.

I know, welcome to motherhood, the rewards for which are not to be found on the list above. On Sunday I smelled Pebbles' neck a lot, you know the spot, just below her ear. I sat in the sun with my folks, spent some time feeling like I ought to clean something but not doing it. BamBam stayed overnight at his Nanny's, so I still miss him.

Hmmm. Time to clean the house didn't show up on the list.

Anyway, why blog about it? You writers know. Writing it helps me see it better, helps me see me better. I know it's all going to come together. When I get my days off back again I'll appreciate them more, and I'll have learned - again - not to put so many chores before puzzle time. Nothing changes faster than a child, and nothing more precious has ever gone unappreciated.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Postcards from the edge

Hello, writers and moms!

I just logged in quickly here at work, and I was astounded to see the difference in the colors on my PC here vs my laptop at home. Dude, this is ugly! So I'll have to fiddle with those sometime, sorry.

Work is long but not hard, I miss the kids, I miss being home. I miss writing time, but hey, it's only temporary. In the meantime, I'm writing when I can, and reading when I can't write. Also watching The Shield on DVD - it's really, really good.

I hope y'all are well, I'll make the rounds of the blogs soon.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!

Hello, fellow Mummies.

I hope you're all having a wonderful day. I did.


Sunday, May 06, 2007


A mini-progress report for my mini-progress. I have crossed the 10K mark!

Against all odds, in this house. The other morning I got up at 6 and turned on my notebook, put some water on to boil, and wrote:

"I dreamed of a hawk, soaring like an angel of death over the valley."

BamBam appeared, and turned on the TV. I reminded him to feed the cats, and he asked me for some breakfast. I toasted a bagel, and sat back down, hands poised over the keyboard. Pebbles called out from the bedroom. I got her up and convinced her to play with toys, then I made my coffee. I sat back down, and read what I'd written. I added:

"Its shadow"

and there was a tug on my leg, accompanied by the word "MumMUM!" and a rather strong, unpleasant odor. Diaper change. Then I made lunches, woke DH, and it was time to take BamBam to the bus stop. Word count for the day: 16.

However, I have added words every day this week. Not many, but my spreadsheet has an entry for every day, and that feels good.

Friday, May 04, 2007

And it hits the fan.


The girl we hired didn't work out. By "didn't work out," I mean she called in sick three times in three weeks, seriously, have you ever called in sick even once at a new job? With a cold? With a sore knee? I kid you not. So, we had a conversation about dedication and commitment, and I asked her what would happen on the day she called me to say she couldn't work because she had a cold, and I told her I had no childcare arrangements for that day, and anyway both my kids are sick too, and sorry, but she'd have to tough it out?

She decided she wasn't up to the job.

What this means is that for a while, probably a few months starting on the 20th of May, I'm going to be working six days a week, fifty hours. I'm not thinking about that and what it means for this household, I'm just going to deal. Today is Friday. Tomorrow is Saturday, and it's going to be okay.

Yesterday I was at work alone for a while. I tidied my desk, threw out seventy-five of the post-its that my (treacherous, abandoning, beloved) co-worker loves so much. I was surprised to find that I was at peace. Work is a familiar place to me, and I feel comfortable with my hands on the wheel, guiding the business through the ebb and flow of customers. And hey, it's one heck of a lot easier than looking after the kids.

So maybe say a little prayer for me, and cross your fingers that my DH will suddenly learn to cook.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Mummy's girl

Pebbles has discovered books. Well, she knew about books, but this past week she's become rather passionate about them. Just try to walk past her, where she sits in a puddle of cardboard, opening and closing the multicolored, multi-textured tomes, struggling to turn the pages, chattering happily to herself.

"UH!" She says, holding up her favourite, MOO,BAA,LA LA LA. "Read to me!"

And so, of course, we've been doing a lot of Mooing and Baaing, and very little laundry.

What joy! I watch her, and I imagine the places she'll go, the people she'll meet. The things she will see, safe here at home, and the things she'll learn. I hope that books are a respite and a joy to her, as they are to me.

She's just like her mum, I think happily (and secretly) to myself, hugging that little evidence of me - my legacy - close. And then hugging her close, instead, and settling into another round of GOODNIGHT MOON. I love to see myself in my kids, maybe we all do. I'm quick to ascribe traits to this little bundle of change: she's fearless like her Dad, because she climbs everywhere, up the stairs, on the back of the sofa. (Nevermind she hasn't any real experience with the downside of gravity and she doesn't know better.) DH says she's got my temper, and while I can't deny she has one, I tend to think it looks more like his.

What traits have you shared with your children, through nature or nurture?

Monday, April 16, 2007

The dog days of motherhood

Hello writers!

I can't believe it's been two weeks since I checked in. Wow, but anyway.

I'm in a phase right now when all my resources - diminshed by cold and sinus infection - are going to my family, work and home. We didn't hire the girl from Yemen, there was a whole government application process that was going to take weeks, if not months, and we were really running out of time. We did find someone, though, so all's well that ends well, except for the poor girl from Yemen. I do like her a lot.

I'm a really lousy housekeeper. Seems no matter how much time I spend cleaning, the place is always a wreck. It bothers me the most when I'm tired, which is not the best time for cleaning, but whatever. We're a happy, mostly healthy, loving family. So the place is messy. Clear a spot to sit and have a cookie and some tea.

*Yawn* Pebbles thinks cow's milk is revolting. She also spurns formula. She likes to nurse every hour or so through the night. Any suggestions? *Yawn* Might not be so bad if I could sleep between nursing, but nooooo, I use that time to do my very important worrying. And that's even after reading THE SECRET for half an hour before lights out. What's the matter with me?

On the bright side, I'm down 20 lbs. {G}

Writing, well hey. Maybe later. Right now I need to take an Advil and dry my hair.
Keep blogging, I'm leaning on y'all more than you know.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Monday Monday

Little Miss 4:30 am is asleep. Whew. I think she had some belly cramps, poor mite.

I've begun one of those chores that never seems to be completely done - I dragged out one of those plastic-drawer organizer thingies and emptied it. Why? Can't remember, now that the whole kitchen table is covered with crap I can't throw away but don't particularly want - and certainly don't need right at the moment. Oh,yeah, I thought it would make a good activity-chest. It now holds coloring/activity books and crayons, colored pencils, markers, construction paper, play-dough and accessories, paint and accessories, and craft stuff - felt, googly eyes, popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners. So that stuff is finally all in one place, and I'm not dealing with the rest until I've had some tea.

We've chosen someone to fill the soon-to-be-empty chair at work. She's from Yemen, she's bright and sweet and I'm happy.

My wee Pebbles is going to be one year old this weekend. I'm ecstatic, I'm bursting with love, I'm devastated. I'm making lasagne for fifteen - everybody has their way to deal, eh?

And in other news, guess what we did yesterday??? Hmmm??

We went to Chapters! I had gift certificates from Christmas, that's how long it's been. I bought:

Scent of Shadows - yeah, I have a copy, but nobody's allowed to touch that. (Thanks, Vicki!)
Taste of Night
Dead Witch Walking
The Virgin's Lover, Philippa Gregory
The Belly Button Book, Sandra Boynton
Franklin is Bossy
The Berenstain Bears and the Trouble with Chores
The Berenstain Bears - No Girls Allowed
Clap Your Hands! - an Elmo book with a puppet built in that Pebbles adores.

I accosted every salesperson who passed within ten feet of me to show them SOS and ask whether they've read it yet, and told them they absolutely must. They had a few in the stacks, and they were setting some more out on the tables by the checkout line.

Chapter three is coming along. I'm worldbuilding, (or Scottish village building, anyway) and enjoying it. My copy of A KINDLY PLACE? LIVING IN SIXTEENTH-CENTURY SCOTLAND is coming in very handy. Off to snatch a few moments now.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Run ragged but feelin' good

So, life trips along.

Interviewing is almost over, I've narrowed it down to a smallish handful and we're talking to people a second time this week in preparation for the Big Choice. Hmmmm. Who do I want to share a tiny office with for the next However Long? Who can take care of my business, my other baby, that which makes all other things (financially) possible? Who will my customers like the best? So many things to think about.

Many miles to go today, groceries, an interview, laundry, supper, homework, baths and hopefully a nod to personal hygeine in there somewhere. It's been like this.

But last night, at 9:45 I figured I had twenty minutes left in me, and I wrote. I nearly had to use a crowbar to get my butt (which is shrinking nicely, in case you're interested (G)) into this chair. But I did it! And I wrote 250 words. Yay, me! So it is possible, I *can* push a little harder.

For now though, maybe some makeup and a cuppa before I have to run.

Hope you're all well.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

I'm always learning

A chunk of banana the size of a baby's palm will almost - but not quite - stick to the side of a cat.

Cat fur does not impede the digestive system of an infant, nor does cat food.

A person can go in-freaking-sane trying to keep an infant from ingesting cat fur and cat food when said infant REALLY WANTS TO.

Beer helps.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Hoy. Is 11:30 am too early to start drinking???

The twins, my nieces are here today. I love them, I truly do, They're sweet. Their mother is Expecting shortly, and so as it is with many girls this age, they love All Things Baby. Which means they tell me everything she does:

"Aunt Cindy, she laughed!"
"Aunt Cindy, she burped!"
"Aunt Cindy, she likes when I do this!"
"Aunt Cindy, there's food on her shirt!"

They're also budding experts, so they like to let me know when it's time to check her diaper, feed her, give her a drink, put her down or pick her up. Did I mention they're twins? So there are two of them, which means there is a voice in my ear every moment of the day.

And this is the easy part of the day. When BamBam comes home, they'll all fight over toys.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Some much-needed encouragement

My husband noticed that I haven't been writing much lately. I was a little surprised that he brought it up, my writing is a part of our life that is relegated to the place where we put things that are seldom acknowledged. Tricky things, you know. Potential minefields of conflict.

He told me once that he doesn't bring it up because he doesn't want to put pressure on me. You see, we're facing a period of uncertainty just now, and to be honest, a book deal would be Just the Thing. But you know, that's not something to keep in your pocket when you're trying to be creative. (S)

So anyway, he noticed, and he asked me about it. "It's what you want to do," he reminded me, "you just need to keep doing it."

"I know," I said, "it's just that I'm failing at it and I'm frustrated."

"You're not failing," he replied, as he scrubbed around the kitchen tap, "you're doing it. You're a writer already. You just need to finish something, so you can either get it published or go on to the next one. Keep trying. I'm going to read your friend's book (Vicki's) and I'm going to read something of yours."

Dontcha love him?

So last night I sat down and I wrote. About 500 words. And I've decided that I'm going to keep up with Susan.

Things I'm grateful for today:
My husband
I don't have to work today
Baby's asleep, and the words are coming.

For supper:
Mediterranean Chicken and Sausage stew

Saturday, March 17, 2007

This way lies madness, Part II

Night before last, that Baby of mine woke up at 11:00 pm, and stayed up until 4:00 in the ever-loving morning.

We went downstairs and watched part of V FOR VENDETTA, (not bad) and played with toys. At 2:00 am DH offered to take her for a bit, so I napped until 2:30, when he brought her to me, sleeping. Of course she immediately woke up.
"All done, all done," she signed, with a whimper.
"Baby go to sleep," I said.
"All done."

I didn't actually break down until 3:30 or so; one of the few times that I have cried with this baby. I was a little bit off when I had my first, there were so many more tears back then. How different things are now.

As we finally drifted off at 4:00, I was thinking about how far I've come as a mother. These long, slow, empty nights when I feel like I'm the only person in the whole world don't have so much power over me as they once did. I know now that I'll be okay, that the sun will come up and I can still have a good day even if I'm really, really tired.

And I did. I had one interview and one no-show, (have you ever not shown up for a job interview???) I laughed and I played with my kids and my husband made me supper and I was okay. At about 10:00 I started to feel the pull of fatigue, the heavy melancholy, the vulnerability. So I cast aside A BLADE OF GRASS, it's a very good book, but I'm really starting to worry about the two MCs. No anxiety, not tonight. Instead, I found my copy of Outlander, and I went to bed.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

This way lies madness.

I've been eating a lot lately - a lot of crap, that is. Any kind of junk, all kinds of junk, and the more I eat crap, the more crap I want to eat.

I noticed it (again) after supper tonight, when I'd eaten my meal and my dessert and I still wanted Something. Something else. Something more.

"What is this?" I asked myself. "I'm not hungry."
"Ah," came that damnable inner voice, "But are you Full?"
"Damn you, inner voice," I replied, "and pass the cupcakes."

It's true. I'm not Full.

I have two beautiful kids, a wonderful husband, gainful employment, a comfortable home, and the best family and friends ever. For these things I am grateful, but still I want Something Else. Something More.

So I ate my extra cupcake (hey, they don't stay fresh forever, ya know)and I thought about it.

By and large, I don't get to decide how I spend my time. It's fine, it's exactly the gig I signed up for when I gave birth, but still. A little more time to sit on my butt reading a book or watching a movie would be nice. And I haven't gone out with friends in a loong time. I haven't been to a bookstore in ages. I haven't been exercising, or even getting much fresh air (it's winter, after all.) There's not a single thing planned that I'm looking forward to. Romance? Pah!

So I'm eating stuff that tastes good, as a consolation. Self-defeating, yes, and not awfully satisfying. I'm lucky I haven't been gaining any weight, praise be to the Creator, who in her/his wisdom invented breastfeeding. I cannot allow this to go on. It's a bad habit, for one thing, and unhealthy, and I'll get fat. Er. (G) I could take the same few dollars and buy a book, or some bubblebath. Some other treat for me.

So. I'm going to arrange a trip to Chapters, sans-offspring. It's my birthday soon, and I still have gift certificates from Christmas. There's my thing to look forward to. And just maybe I'll have a few drinks on Saturday night with that handsome fellow I married. In between, I'll keep trying to get writing time when I can. Baby steps, baby steps.

Now, where are the Bits-n-Bites??

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Baby Girl woke up at 4:45 a-freaking-m this morning, I kid you not. Bonus, though, she's asleep early. I'm intentionally not following this scenario through to tomorrow morning in my tired litle mind, I'll just enjoy the extra hour and plunk out some words.

yay, me!

Only two interviewees tomorrow, one of whom indicates on her resume that she knows a few things about computers. Handy, that, as I do have a COMPUTER STORE. I was surprised how many applicants actually just learned to turn on them blasted new-fangled thingies. S'okay, I have a paper shredder. (sigh)

Visited with Beloved Neighbour and her kids today, which did me some good. We were on mat leave together and I miss seeing her a few times a week. So cool to see how our four kids are growing, all so different from one another.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Taking a little breather

I've been taking a break - haha, I know - taking a break from NOT writing. No, this time I'm taking a break from thinking about writing and feeling guilty and icky for not writing.

I've had to do this before. The way my life works, much like your own, no doubt, there's lots of time when my hands are busy and my mind isn't. I tend to let it circle around writing and my feelings about writing while I'm folding laundry, cooking, whatever. End result - by the time I sit down I'm half worried and already feeling frustrated. So last week I decided to back off a little, and I'm already feeling fresher and more anxious to get to my keyboard.

March break is here and Little Boy is home.
Baby girl discovered how to climb stairs yesterday.
The big 34 is coming up next week, yoy. (sigh)
Have eight people coming for job interviews tomorrow.
Still on the hunt for more meatless recipes.

What I'm grateful for today:
It's sunny, and I'm already partway done the laundry.
I'm grateful for this computer, and the time I have to use it.
Will be seeing Adored Neighbour and her kids on Wednesday. We live so close, see each other so little.
I am learning to be more patient with Little Boy. Feeling good about that.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Scent of Shadows

Have you got $10? Oh, good. Take it to the bookstore, and Buy. This. Book.

Vicki Pettersson's breakout novel, The Scent of Shadows, is the fast-paced, no-holds-barred story of Joanna archer - onetime social outcast turned kickass superhero.

The term that kept coming to my mind as I read this book was "fully-realized." Ms. Pettersson takes no shortcuts and makes no excuses, she invokes all the senses to ensnare the reader and make the reading a complete experience. Whether it was the clinking of ice cubes in a glass, or the sensation of heels on pavement, I was present and engaged for every moment of Joanna's journey. Skilfully handled backstory - leaked most reluctantly throughout the action, strengthens the bond between Joanna and the reader as we hurt for her, suffer her shocks and sneer at her enemies. And she never lets us down - her reactions are unfailingly human (or superhuman), seldom predictable, and true to her, flawed as she is. Deliciously, completely, forgiveably flawed.

I finished reading a week ago now, and I miss Joanna. A trail of breadcrumbs already scattered awaits. Can't wait to find out what Ms. Pettersson has in store for us next.

Friday, March 02, 2007


I have one of those bad feelings today. Jittery, and a little nauseous. Probably it's nothing, here's hoping.

One time I got like this on the way to a party, I had to pull the car over and calm down. Later, at the party, some guy pulled out a knife and stabbed two people. There have been other times too, but that's by far the most ...dramatic. (S)

Do you ever have these feelings?

We're getting Sara's snow later today, it's supposed to make quite a mess.

So, our Miss Vicki goes off to San Fransisco today, I'm sure we're all thinking about her. I'm almost finished reading SOS, and it'll blow your mind. Go ye forth to the bookstore! Right now!

Monday, February 19, 2007

This is one pureeeetty dull blog. Sorry about that. I have lots of ideas for craft posts, idea posts, but the trick is in finding the time to articulate those in an intelligent manner.

I've not managed many words lately, I'll do a count later and update the progress meter. Some, not many.

You know, I really think too much. There are separate facets to writing, I know you'll agree. There's the marketing end (Is this a commercially viable novel?) The craft end (Does this scene do more than one thing? How can this dialogue be improved? etc etc etc!) and then there are the endless plot considerations. This is what I'm thinking about today.

Did you read those books when you were a kid, the ones with multiple endings and you chose the responses to various prompts in the story and sort of created your own destiny? I see that when I'm writing, the endless web of possibilities, a to b to c, or else e to f. Which is better? Which is the most interesting, or realistic, or imaginative? Which choices lead me forward to the best book I can write, which choices showcase my characters' strengths and weaknesses the best?

Obviously I can't write like this. Some consideration will be necessary - critical, in fact - but I'm trying to trust in my subconscious to untangle the threads and give me a whole story. The story I am meant to write. I don't know if I believe the notion that the stories already exist, whole and perfect, and we only need to channel them onto the page, but I am certain that I cannot browbeat one onto my hard drive. I've tried bullying already, and it didn't work. This time, I want only to listen, at least until I find my stride.

I've made my peace with Viggo, it's true he was a surprise, but I'm inclined to view him as a gift and not an obstacle. More of the same, really, learning to trust my own creative instincts and stay open.

So, BamBam wants me to play Lego.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Today will be my third consecutive day of work - that's work at work, not at home. Employee's siblings are visiting from AB, so in order for her to actually see them, she needs some time off. I like being at work, it's peaceful and fulfilling in a way that stay-at-home-motherhood isn't, but by the time the week is up I'll be glad. It's a lot of time away from Pebbles and BamBam, and the laundry, well, it's like Damomma says. I get it washed and dried fine, it's the folding and putting away that never seems to be finished.

Wrapping up another week of sick around here, we're down to a mild case of pinkeye in Pebbles, probably from rubbing snot into her eyes. (eeeeeew!) I had a fever for a few days, I just couldn't get warm unless I was in the tub. Thank heavens for my Most Wonderful Husband.

Valentines' Day with kids is much like any other day, at least for us, but we had some small presents and there were some roses and a pint of Ben & Jerry's. It's crazy sinful, that stuff.

Writing? I've been avoiding it in my mind, cautious that I don't get bored with it in my non-writing time. There has been quite a bit of non-writing time, what with everything. I'm getting flashes and ideas, and I'm looking forward to sitting down with my characters and getting some words done. I'm still around 3K, how sad is that? My progress meter just doesn't move like Sara's.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Whaddya mean, Viggo?

RIP, Anna Nicole. I hope you find yourself, now. I hope your baby gets a loving, stable home.

In writing news, there hasn't been much time in between blowing my nose, but I'm in a good place. I've written parts of Chapter One, Four and Seven, which is different for me. Right now the chapters are just sections containing a changing event, but it's as good a place as any to begin.

One thing I'm struggling with (and seem to be losing) is that my hero says he looks like Viggo Mortensen in LOTR but with the lighter hair. Here. I don't think so, but he keeps going back that way even when I try to make him look more like Josh Holloway. Probably best to let him have his way, he knows better than me what he looks like. Viggo is maybe more interesting, I just wouldn't really classify him as eye candy, you know?

Monday, February 05, 2007

Writing the SFD

You know, I've never actually finished an SFD. I've written 50K - actually much more - of written/rewritten/polished-to-the-best-of-my-ability words, but I have yet to produce a whole WIP. That's what I'm learning to do now.

I might spend fifteen minutes on a sentence like:
"Stubborn." He said, and placed a trencher of food near me on the floor.
There was a soft thud as he placed a trencher of food near me on the floor.
...a trencher of roasted hare...
...he remarked...
My cheeks puckered with longing as he...
WHATEVER! He gave me food. Move on.

Some of this is process, I know. SFD doesn't actually mean the first words that I typed, but I stumble in these potholes every half hour or so. For five years! I want to get the story down, and if it's studded with bright gems of clever phrase and glowing description, terrific. But I think I use it as a place to hide from those moments when the words aren't flowing, when I don't actually know what my characters do next. After struggling with JUNIPER for so long I've developed a deep fear of that impotence, so I learned the fiddling habit in order not to feel like I'm stuck.

This go, a new approach. Fingers poised featherlight over the keys, listening with an open mind for clues. And typing with no regard for where I'm going. Just get the words flowing, that's all, and enjoy the process. No white knuckles!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

New goals

So, now that I'm up and running, it's time to set some new goals.

February - 3000 words a week, which puts me at 12K by month's end. Sounds steep, but that's what I'm going to aim at. It's under 500 words per day. As of today, the 3rd, I have 1700. So far, so good!

These words, by the way, are unabashedly SFD. I'm not going to stress about nasty sentences, stuff that may not belong, I'm just going to hack it all out there and clean up later on.

I'm baaaaaack...

Hello my few friends who read this...

I have solved the computer access problem by getting a notebook, which my DH graciously rigged with wireless LAN, and all that other stuff he does to computers. So, yay! Now I can go on the internet and write (without a pen) even when Baby Girl is sleeping! (Or should I say, especially when she's sleeping!)

Today and tomorrow I'll be putting the handwritten words from my paper notebook into this one. Then I'll update the progress bar and look forward to many happy hours ticking away on this keyboard.

A good reminder for me that if you've forgotten to appreciate something, you should try going without for a while!!

Thursday, January 25, 2007


Little Boy got his first fillings today, three of them, and a cap as well. I feel like a bad Mum when I think about that, why the hell didn't I floss more? Anyway. When he smiles, I can see the cap, an ugly silver chunk tucked in the corner of his beautiful smile. I hate it. It makes me want to cry. His perfect smile, changed forever. Now we'll have pictures from Before and After today.

Usually, the children grow and change in such tiny ways, we're spared the shock of it. Other days we come face to face with these changes, the little trials and tolls exacted upon the perfect bodies of our once newborn babies. There are fillings, scars, and tiny freckles that appear where there were none before. We know, because we are the mothers, and the warm, solid flesh of our children is our holy land, the place where we worship whatever Creator we are grateful to.

And so I mourn a little today, and I feel a little silly, because it's just a filling. It's not an amputation. The tooth will fall out. And anyway, he does still smile, after all.

Uh oh.

My daughter is nine months old. If you tell her "no," she gets a little glint in her eye, and then she smacks your mouth. It's consistent. It doesn't matter who you are, even beloved Daddy and Nanny Kisses have been disciplined for this transgression.

And so it begins.

Friday, January 19, 2007


Took the kids to church last weekend, haven’t been to church in years, unless you count baptisms.

I’ve been debating whether to post on this, because I’m really not sure where I am with it in my own mind. But this is where I talk to myself when I’m hoping someone else will listen, and so here it is.

Little Boy thought God was the same sort of entity as Batman and Spiderman. I thought that was maybe not so bad. It wasn't as bad as when he used to think that Jesus lived way down in the toilet - I'll tell you that one another time. But at Christmas, and he asked me to take him to visit Jesus. I told him we could go to God’s house, and I explained that he can talk to Jesus whenever he wants, he only needs to pray. "But," I told him, "Jesus was born a long time ago, and then he grew into a boy and then a man and then he died."

“Jesus is DEAD???? WHAT????” Little Boy started to cry, and I was flabbergasted.

“Well,” I said, and I scratched my nose. “Yes, he’s in heaven with God.” But it was past bedtime and Little Boy had already begun to cry. That’s like rolling a ball downhill, so I scratched his back for a while and decided it was Time To Go To Church.

My Dad’s mum died when he was thirteen. As she lay dying she said to the boy my father, “Peter, raise your children in the Church.” And that is what he did, out of love for her, and for me.

The Catholic Church. It was a formal sort of place, you put on your Church Clothes and your Church Manners and you sat still until it was over. It was all pretty serious. There was a Childrens’ Liturgy so it was maybe not so stuffy as all that, but nonetheless, when I remember it is with a feeling of mild oppression. And yes, there is plenty wrong with the Catholic Church, but it is Mine. It is the faith given to me by my family, and my place in that community is as real a possession as my name.

But the Catholic church in my area has no Sunday school, and it’s a fifteen minute drive away.

At the bottom of my street there is an Anglican church. My neighbor (also Catholic) goes there and she said they have Sunday school and it’s a nice place. I don’t have to convert, she assured me. Nobody cares. So I bowed to the overwhelming convenience of it, and that’s where we went. I haven’t told my Dad, but I hope he’d rather we go to an Anglican church than not go to church at all.

Anyway, I put the kids in the car and steeled myself for the sort of Church experience I’m used to. I was all right with that, but it wasn’t much like what I remember at all.

Everybody in that building smiled at me at one time or another. The older people greeted my children, laying softly veined, arthritic hands upon their heads. A man, seeing me with Baby Girl in my arms, took our coats and hung them up. Someone gave me a prayer and a hymn book, and someone else asked my son’s name so he could have a name tag for Sunday School. A lady sitting behind us entertained Baby Girl with smiling and touching-fingers games throughout the service.

It was a little different from Mass, but not much. Many of the words and prayers were familiar, and honestly, I felt near to tears through much of it. I don’t know if it was the comfort of the ceremony itself or the feeling of welcome and community, but I was moved.

After the service, an older British lady - who incidentally had held Baby Girl in the grocery line a few weeks ago, something people don’t normally ask to do any more - came over to say what lovely children I had. She wasn’t the only one to say so.

There were cookies and juice, coffee and tea.

The lady behind me introduced us to Reverend Jane, who talked with me a few mintues before she pointed out that my children were welcome to receive the Eucharist. I was a little shocked. “But Little Boy hasn’t had his First Communion, maybe I should explain what it all means first…”

She was troubled by my response, I could see.

“Jesus didn’t say ‘Take this bread and understand,’” she told me softly. “He said, ‘Take this bread and eat it.”

Hmmm. That’s a very different sort of philosophy.

Throughout the week I’ve found myself thinking about the sense of peace and welcome that I felt there. I admit, there is a tiny voice that reminds me that my donation is as welcome as I, and of course they want new families to come. You can’t have a church without people.

Oh, shut up, I tell myself, you can’t have anything without money. If I’m going to enjoy the benefits of that community for myself and the kids, I should want to give back.

And I do want to go, for the kids. It’s not because I think God and Church are the same – they’re most patently not. If they have church when they’re little they’ll feel comfortable there when they’re grown. I think lot of people who have never gone to church have secret dark suspicions about what really goes on there, and when they’re forced to attend they look like they’d rather be at the dentist. From an educational standpoint, I want them to know what God and Jesus are all about. And who wouldn’t want a place for their children in the embrace of a community as warm as this?

But I also want to go for me – and I have no idea what to feel about that. I haven’t been a Churchgoer for so long it’s not a part of my self-definition any more. I know and respect lots of people who go to church, but I’m not comfortable with the label for me. I think that’s because when I was growing up, the church was a place where you didn’t show much of your real self. You were expected to act and be a certain way, and even as an adult part of me resists that. Can I have it both ways?

I guess we’ll see.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Life returns to that which we call normal.

Hokay. BamBam is back at school (touch wood) after a false start yesterday. He's ok, really more ok than I thought he could be sent home for, but whatever. I was only having brunch with my mother after two solid weeks housebound. I got it to go, and ate it with my fingers in the car en route.

So here I am with some time to think, and it's a strange sensation after the upheaval of the holidays. I'm cleaning out the house, filling bags for Value Village and whoever has a baby next. I think I need to do this in my mental space, as well.

THE WITCH OF BADENOCH is still alive, after six years of rewrites and bashing my forehead on the keyboard. I've learned a lot and changed even more, so I'm ready for a fresh start. I have a white-knuckle sort of approach sometimes, I try so hard it's like I'm holding my breath. I'm determined, and that's good, but you can't force this stuff. So maybe less thinking, more listening. I have the outline in my mind, and I'm not going to try to wrestle its flailing subplots and howling characters onto paper. For now, with so little time available, I'm going to put it all into the writing. And except for a bit of blogging, anything to do with writing that is not writing will have to go.

Do catch up with Damomma, if you haven't.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Name Change

I've decided to change the name of this blog. I'd rather use a phrase that reflects an outflowing of creativity, a passion for the written word, rather than a cognitive blockage or mild psychosis.

I don't know what just yet, but I'll keep you, uh, posted!

Quick family update - BamBam is still running a fever and he's still not eating, it's over a week now. Doctor says his urine is fine but for a little protein and traces of blood - what the heck is that supposed to mean, I ask you??? They've sent it on to the hospital and they'll let us know. He functions as long as we keep him on Tylenol and/or Motrin, but I'd like my boy back, please.

Pebbles is just fine. Delightful. She's made up one of her own Baby Signs - she holds out one arm straight, hand fisted with the thumb on top, and lays her head on her shoulder. It means pick me up, or give me to that person there.

DH is doing all the night shifts with BamBam, so he's tired. I myself get to make a turkey dinner today - delayed reaction, maybe? - so I'm happy. We'll invite someone to share it with us, maybe my folks. Dad turned 55 yesterday.

No writing just yet, but do see Vicki's post on whining, if you haven't!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The truth is...

Me first, then you!

The truth is I have an open box of Toffifee hidden in my underwear drawer. I just had four, for my lunch.

The truth is I vacuumed the counter today because I saw how dirty it was while I was vacuuming, so I just...did.

The truth is I was impatient with my sick little boy today at the grocery store because the Baby wouldn't let me put her down and I was trying to put the groceries on the belt with one hand and Little Boy was about to cry because I wouldn't let him crawl into the cart. Part 2 - I hate it when strangers, especially checkout girls, see my not-so-good parenting moments.

The truth is I just had a glass of Bailey's in milk because I felt overwhelmed. Now I feel much better, but the groceries aren't put away, still, and the tree is up, still, and the hamster is dead, still. (S)

The truth is both my kids are asleep, so I know there is a God. Off to write a bit!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Happy New Year, or not...


I wish you all the very best this year. I hope your life is full of love and all your dreams come true.

Baby Girl has a tooth, and Little Boy has stopped throwing up, I think. Both of them are fever-free at the moment, and that's the best I've had to report in over a week. The hamster is dead, and the cat is gloating. I'm actually sick of chocolate, but I didn't gain any weight over the holidays. That's because Baby Girl has forsaken solid food of any sort and reverted to being solely breast-fed, so I'm churning through a bazillion calories trying to keep us both fed. I'm Mommy, the food processor.

Writing? Maybe after I get the tree down, and convince Pebbles here to sleep in her crib. Someone needs to go to the grocery store, and it's getting really, really dusty in here. (cough) DH and I both really need to sleep.

These are the dark days, and if I didn't have them I wouldn't remember to be grateful for my truly, truly wonderful life.