Sunday, December 13, 2009

Awesome weekend

Celebrated my birthday in Quebec City - went xc skiing, followed by a swim plus an icy sprint across a snow-covered courtyard to an outdoor jacuzzi. It was -12C (that's 14 F).

Enjoyed wonderful food (rabbit, duck, lots of chocolate!) plus wine.

Quebec City is beautiful- we've got to go back.

Then as a bonus, when I got home I found out I won a box of books! I LOVE free books: )

I'm really happy. Thank you Cindy Procter-King

Wednesday, December 02, 2009


It got ugly by the final weekend - I had to crank out 5k per day but I did it. Thanks for the kudos Dodi (or 609b e3455...)

E kept himself entertained by going out drinking with ex-girlfriends from high school Saturday night and then "hunting" Sunday which again resulted in him coming home with nothing to show for it. On any other weekend I might have been suspicious and imagined all sorts of sordid scenarios, but all my imagination was focused on NaNo, so as long as he was keeping himself entertained without cutting the power to the house I didn't ask too many questions.

Now I'm taking a break from that project, reading some more how to books and devouring more YA lit for analysis.

And oh, right, it's December which means we'll be celebrating the birth of me, E, and Jesus soon. Need to get the house decked out, make some lists, bake some cookies.

Everyone wants books as gifts, right? I know that's my favorite gift : )

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Forget Firemen, Give me an IT Guy Any Day!

This isn't E, it's Moss from the IT Crowd. E doesn't wear ties.

After freaking out over my NaNoWriMo project and almost abandoning it, my writer friends talked me off the ledge at brunch Sunday so I buckled down Sunday afternoon and cranked out 5,000 more words to get back in the game.

Monday I lost everything I'd done Sunday.

And it was my fault.

I didn't follow the proper protocol for file naming on the laptop, there was a mixup with old folders with same names, and... *poof* all gone.

Distraught, I stumbled down to the robot lab in tears mumbling 'laptop' and 'all gone.'

After stabilizing me with a couple of hugs, E put down his chain saw or whatever he was doing, went upstairs and somehow managed to cobble together bits of files from the laptop and my memory key and was able to piece back together what I'd lost. I have no idea how he did it, but he's officially my hero!!!

So, I'm telling you, IT guys are the new firefighters. I mean what are the odds of you actually starting a 5-alarm blaze? The only accidental fire I ever started was when I tried to sterilize a sponge in the microwave (bad plan).

Having your IT guy sprint up the stairs, roll up his sleeves, tell you not to worry and retrieve your 5,000 words is priceless.

He doesn't do it for the glory or for the chicks, he does it for the Nanaimo bars. I owe him a big batch : )

Friday, November 20, 2009

Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Writer Scorned

Torstar, the parent company of Harlequin has started a SHITSTORM with Harlequin Horizons which is basically a vanity publisher that Harlequin will be 'mentioning' to all writers it rejects. Nice, huh?
As if it's not bad enough to receive a rejection letter, theirs will now say, "Oh, and by the way we'd also like to rip you off by selling you a bunch of crap (overpriced useless marketing tools, editing services, etc.) to cash in on your hopeless dream of becoming a published author, you talentless LOSER."
The RWA (Romance Writers of America) has responded by telling Harlequin it will no longer receive many privileges (free rooms, space at signing tables, etc.) at the RWA annual conference. RWA does not recognize vanity publishers, so Harlequin is now out. How RWA and Harlequin are going to manage without each other is a big question mark. I am not writing for Harlequin, but the situation is of great interest to me because the publishing industry IS changing, and I think this is just the beginning of what will definitely be a rough ride. I'm really happy that RWA told Torstar where to stick their vanity press.
I'm not saying there's no place for self publishing, where a writer basically pays to have his or her book printed, but then also makes 100% of the profit. Some successful writers started this way and it is a viable route for some people. That is not what Harlequin is doing in my opinion. They are tying to cash in on their slush pile by ripping off writers who don't know better or are desperate enough to do whatever it takes to get "published."
Here's an excellent explanation of the situation from author Jackie Kessler: Harlequin Horizons vs RWA, and an update The Day After: Harlequin Blinks.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


After a shaky start due to E giving me a horrific cold with a tuberculosis-like cough he has titled J74N1, I am finally on track NaNo wise.

Of course, I've completely changed one of the characters already, despite doing a LOT of pre-planning, pre-plotting and character development. Lesson learned from the last NaNoWriMo - no plot is a HUGE problem...

I've also been reading more YA:
The Year of Secret Assignments and Wintergirls.
Also read and really enjoyed Uglies - now need to finish the series. AND, bonus! Scott Westerfeld will be at our local bookstore tomorrow. I really want to go but I don't want to cough all over him so I'll have to wait and see how I feel.

In the words of the Godfather from GK,
3 words:

Monday, October 19, 2009

As if I Don't Have Enough Angst

I am re-entering the world of teen angst as I prepare a YA (young adult) plot for NaNoWriMo 2009. Yes! I am doing NaNo this year.

My writing peeps suggested I take a break from women's fiction and try something else. I toyed with the idea of romantic suspense, but the books I've been reading and enjoying most lately are all YA, so that's where I'm going.

Recently read:
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks by E. Lockhart
Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines and Paper Towns by John Green
Speak, Twisted and Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

I am in the process of coming up with my own story while analyzing what worked in my favourites above, while trying to quickly devour more current YA. Deadline: Nov 1. I need to have my character sheets done, my plot outline ready, a logline in place and ideally a complete scene by scene breakdown of the book.

Meanwhile, it turns out my teen angst novel match is : Looking for Alaska. nice!
Take the quiz here.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Because I Wanna be a Cowboy, Baby*

We're off to the rodeo this weekend - yee ha!

Of all the small world coincidences, the remote town where E's family is from is the site of the 2nd largest rodeo in the country after the Calgary Stampede.

Who knew?

So we're heading north instead of west so I can get my fill of cowboys. I have been begging and begging and begging to go to the rodeo. E has a 'been there/done that' attitude toward the whole thing (of COURSE he used to ride broncs - this is E we're talking about). I'm hoping I don't get freaked out by all the people, and that I can manage to soak up enough detail for possible future use. Writing is becoming my excuse for making all kinds of crazy requests, and so far it's working.

I even get a cool hat out of the deal. : )

*title reference to lyrics by Kid Rock (Trackrick style)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Why I'm just like Dan Brown

People either love or hate my writing.

I just received contest feedback ranging from a 61 to a 92 out of 100. Either I stink or I'm brilliant, depending on whose critique you read.

At first I thought "what the?" but then I realized it's the same with published novels. People either love them or hate them. I couldn't get through The Da Vinci Code, and to be honest, I didn't love The Time Traveler's Wife as much as I thought I would, but plenty of other people loved both of those books.

Instead of agonizing over why the low rankers hated my manuscript, I took what I could from their critiques and focused most of my attention on the feedback from the judges who liked my writing. Their suggestions for improvement carry more weight for me because I feel like they 'get' my writing style.

On the Kindle front, even though I can now store zillions (ok, lots) of e-books, I have still managed to accumulate so many print books that we now need to add two more floor to ceiling bookshelves in the guest room/library. How did this happen? There's my stash from the RWA conference, plus a shopping spree at Half Price books while on vacation, plus a $1 sale at Borders, plus books from my parents, plus picking up a few books from the sharing shelf at the family cottage. Is this normal?

Currently reading: Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella
Currently listening to (audio book in my car): Certain Girls by Jennifer Weiner

Monday, August 10, 2009

Guess What I Got?

A Kindle!!

An early birthday present from my parents.

Love it!

Can't use the whispernet feature in Canada, but I can transfer books from my computer to my Kindle here.

So much fun : )

Packing for my cycling trip just got a whole lot easier and less bulky. Instead of agonizing over which books to pack, just grab the Kindle and go.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Karen had a dream job working as a public relations specialist for a major cosmetics company. She wrote press releases about the latest makeup and skin creams and took home so many free samples she didn’t even have time to try them all. When layoffs were threatened at the company, Karen knew she’d never be able to find another job she liked so much, and asked herself the question, “If I could do anything, what would it be?”

The answer was write a novel.

Although Karen had been writing professionally for over fifteen years as a marketing, advertising, public relations and technical writer, novel writing was a new challenge.

Tired of waiting to be laid off, Karen left her full-time job to learn the craft of writing fiction. Her former employer hired her as a freelance writer, and as word spread that Karen was available, other former employers started calling, launching Karen’s freelance business. Karen’s work has been published in the Montreal Gazette, and her flexible freelance schedule allows her to reserve time for novel writing.

When she’s not reading or writing, Karen is learning or trying something new. Karen majored in chemistry and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Liberal Arts and Science from the University of Illinois. She’s an advanced open water scuba diver, a triathlete, a kayaker and she’s summited (fixed typo) Mount Kilimanjaro. She enjoys winter camping, and even attended an afternoon meeting of her Canadian RWA chapter last February after waking up that morning in a tent pitched in the snow.

Karen enjoys reading a variety of fiction genres and is currently working on a romantic suspense story.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

D.C. Action


My bag!

Look at it! I love the cover. I want to write a book with that scene in it just so I could have that cover on it.

Books, books and more books! I spent $110 at the literacy signing, and the rest were FREE! The publishers set up book signings for their authors, where they sign their books and give them to you for free. As you know, I LOVE meeting authors. Meeting so many of them was my version of Disneyland. : )

Speaking of the literacy signing, I was in line at Susan Elizabeth Phillips' table when a redhead in a walking cast cut me off. I thought I recognized that redhead, and sure enough, it was Janet Evanovich!

In JE's official talk, she made me cry when she described giving up, dragging her box of rejection letters to the curb and taking a normal job. She was out picking up her daughter from something when her husband and son showed up to tell her, "Your editor just called..."

All the keynote speakers were fantastic: Linda Howard (bless her heart) and Eloisa James "Art Garfunkel born into the Bach family"

TONS of great workshops. My favourites: Donald Maas explaining how to avoid creating a "MWOO HA HA" antagonist, Jenny Crusie explaining propping up the sagging middle with a clothesline analogy, and Robin Wells' Power of Significant Detail, complete with clips from Gone With the Wind, Office Space and It's a Wonderful Life.

I met the Smart Bitches AND got a signed copy of their book, Beyond Heaving Bosoms. I read it on the way home - hilarious, and filled with recommendations now on my TBR list.

Also met a bunch of people I formerly only knew on line from the Chick Lit loop and the From the Heart groups. Also got to spend some time with fellow Ottawa chapter-mates.

I stuck with my strategy of floating around solo instead of sticking with any one group, and the results proved that it's definitely the way to go. I met many people from across the US and Canada in various stages of their careers, each with an interesting story.

And, yes I did have a scheduled pitch and managed to do an impromptu pitch when a fellow writer introduced me to her agent. Both requested to see my work, so I have 2 submissions to polish. : )

As you can see, it was action-packed. In E's words, on the first night I sounded like I'd had 7 Red Bulls with an espresso chaser.

People were really dressed up, especially for the awards gala - see below.

No kitten sweatshirts!

I loved it - definitely worth every penny. : )

The only lowlight was non-RWA-related: at the airport something on me beeped and I got sent into the wave machine - a tube-like scary phone booth-ish contraption that looks like something out of Star Trek. grrrr. I had the exact same outfit on when I flew IN, why did it beep on the way OUT? After apparently seeing me NAKED grrr they decided I was NOT a security risk and I got to go. grrr grrr grrr
I'm beginning to really hate flying. Too bad I also hate driving. I need to find high-speed trains to take me to my destinations.

Apart from that, I am now trying to get caught up, unpacked and working on those submissions (that just means pulling together whatever the agent asked for: 2-pg synopsis, bio, 1st 10 pages, or whatever).

Next up: the reading pile!! Where to start? YA or ROM Suspense?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

En route to DC

Signed up for the BIG conference, described as 'exciting, motivating, and overwhelming.'

I can't wait. I'll get to meet a lot of people I know from online groups, learn from the pros in workshops, schmooze with agents, editors, and authors, and get piles of free books.

I am trying to control myself and not go berserk touring the DC area, even though it's tempting. Must have down time.

Looks like some cousin visits and even a zoo trip are coming together - nice!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Karen = revolutionary? Viva la revolution!

I seem to have knack for doing this... I jump into a new industry just as a revolution is taking place.

I did it with desktop publishing - I was one of the writers for [company's] first digitally produced (not typeset)catalog

Again with online help and then creating 1st generation websites - managing content and helping clients envision what their website could be - no, NOO - not a dumping ground for all your brochure text...

Here I am again: e-publishing.

I jumped into novel writing thinking strictly in terms of traditional print, with the only question being hardcover or paperback. Once again a revolution has broken out. E-publishing is here and no one knows what form it will ultimately take.

Am I somehow attracted to rapid change, or am I Forrest Gump, stumbling along and coincidentally getting caught up in these events?

Either way, I am thrilled to be here. Even better, I will be in the thick of things next week.

Kat of Quartet Press has summed up exactly my feelings about next week's RWA Conference (there's a whole big thing going on about RWA not embracing e-pubs, but I won't get into that here..)

In Kat's words:
"Mostly though, I’m thinking about RWA. I have attended plenty of conferences in my lifetime: [...] But RWA – this is the first time a conference has me feeling like I’m headed to my first school dance.

I’m excited, and nervous, and worrying way too much about what to wear. [KS note: I spent my lunch hour yesterday selecting the right shade of nail polish!]

I am looking forward to meeting all the authors, and publishers, and agents, and I can’t wait to attend some of the sessions. But, what really brought it all home to me was today’s announcement of the Rogue Digital Conference/ session. Taking place on Thursday, July 16 at 8:30 am in “The Harding Room,” this event is co-sponsored by Quartet Press, Books on Board, Red Sage Publishing, Samhain Publishing, and Smart Bitches.

This is cool stuff. There are a lot of wonderful people in romance publishing. People who are doing some very groundbreaking, collaborative and forward thinking things, and I get to hang out with them in DC next week."

: )

Who knew I was such a rabble-rouser? "Rogue" conference? I'm there. Can't wait!!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Living in the Land of No Excuses

Last night I got grumbly. My computer stopped working last week after several power outages, and my tech support guy (aka E) advised me to take the opportunity to upgrade with a new system and dedicated UPS, so upgrade I did. However, setting up the new system is taking a little while, and in the mean time, I've had no access to my NovelWriter software or my printers. boo hoo.

Jane Austen managed to pen a few classics without Microsoft. Why can't I whip out my quill pen and get on with it? I've been identifying plot holes and tightening the Action/Reaction scene objectives in my Marshall Plan, but not having a computer was becoming a handy excuse to not get a whole lot done.

After I whined about not making good progress because of my lack of computer last night, E slyly reset the alarm, got up freakishly early this morning and set up a laptop in my office with access to everything I need.

I swear, if I lost a leg and said I couldn't run he'd go build one for me and tell me to lace up my Reeboks.


So I have a computer. Now it's up to me to meet my productivity objectives.


What are you grumbling about, and putting off doing for some lame reason that could be fixed with a little E-like ingenuity? Do it.


E's tech support charge for all of this? one fresh batch of Nanaimo bars. I'm even going to make them with dark chocolate.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Summer Reading

Several of the blogs I follow have been talking about their reading lists, so I'm jumping in. My taste varies - my shelves are filled with a wide range of books.

Lately I've been enjoying YA, reading everything from John Green (favorite= Looking for Alaska), Laurie Halse Anderson (favorite = Speak, but Twisted a close second), recently finished and loved Out of Reach by VM Jones (a New Zealand author).

On my TBR pile are Generation Kill (because I loved the HBO series so much), The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Time Traveler's Wife and Practical Demonkeeping.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Konrath's e-book predictions make a lot of sense

Read JA Konrath's blog Should e-books be cheap?

He makes some excellent comparisons to the music industry and in my opinion he 'gets' piracy and how to avoid it.

If only I had a damn e-reader already...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

So far, so good!


Mon 6/8: +1035 xcellent
Tues 6/9: +1054
Wed 6/10 +996
Thurs 6/11 0 - in my defense, this was the day E got back from Ecuador
Fri 6/12 +2162
Sat 6/13 - spent day kayaking, then downtown for dinner. All work and no play...
Sun 6/14 +564
Mon 6/15 +2098 xcellent!
Tues 6/16 +1387

That jumping potato man is a bit much, so I'm using a plain meter:

Remember, this is misleading because I'm not starting from 0, and when I delete words in revision I then have to overcompensate to come out in the +, but still, it's an excellent way to track progress. So far, so good : )

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Up for a Challenge

Just got back from breakfast with my local writing group where as usual I got inspired and motivated. The trick is making that 'I can do it' attitude last...

While checking my favorite sites like inky girl's willwriteforchocolate I found out that inkygirl is promoting a 1000 words a day challenge.

I'm in!


This will also mean I'm going to have to post more often to check in... so that works with TrackRick's PoMoOftMo


Nice! Inkygirl provides a bunch of fun links to use for progress meters. I like this one from Writertopia:

For the record, I'm not really at 0, and my book is longer than 50,000, but for the purposes of this exercise, I'm tracking from 0 to 50,000.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

E-pubbed books=indie films

I admit to previously having a snob attitude toward e-published books; they're not printed so they're somehow sub-standard, right? Just a step above having the book in Word on your computer, right? Maybe that used to be the case (and is the case with some vanity publishers), but not any more.

I've decided that e-pubbed books are like indie films - yes they might lack the big budget of the blockbuster, but they have more room to play and produce interesting, quirky, non-mainstream ideas and explore themes that might scare off a big producer.

I'm also slowly waking up to the fact that since publishing is about to change dramatically, I am in a unique position to put myself ahead by anticipating the new rules and learning them quickly.
Does that mean I've abandoned my quest to see my book in print? No. Hell no - I'd love nothing more than to see a big fat hardcover with my name on it wheeled out in pallets. I just need to keep my eyes open, make sure my brains are on, and be smart enough to recognize the glint of opportunities that might pop up in unexpected places.

And I want a Kindle or e-Reader NOW - I'm predicting that I won't make it through the summer without one. It's a BUSINESS expense : )

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Part of the Process

Received a rejection today (see below post about celebra-vomiting). On the plus side, the agent responded quickly. Also on the plus side, the rejection was "nice" - addressed to me personally and encouraging - said I was a "writer of talent" and suggested I keep sending it out to others. Maybe this is what they tell everyone they reject, but from what I've heard, I don't think so.

Therefore, it is not bad news. Not great news, but not bad either. Next step: keep sending it out. I am making a list of 5 more agents and then I will send it out again.

For the record, this is book #1 which I finished 3 years ago and then shelved because I couldn't stand looking at it any more. I dusted it off and polished it when an agent was interested in the concept, and I discovered it was actually good - why did I shelve it? Sometimes I'm not so bright.

Got to go get back on the horse.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Lost art

I love the idea of e-books and I can't wait to have my own eReader or Kindle or whatever emerges as the affordable, workable front-runner. However, I will miss books. Not the yellowed, small print insides that make my eyes burn, but the covers. The covers! I grew up in a house piled with books, and I could tell at a glance who had just been in a room by the book lying there.

Was it a paperback with a picture of a flowered teapot behind a knife with blood dripping on it? One of my mom's mysteries. Was it a 4"thick tome with a photo of a rock crag or some long-dead historical figure? My dad's. Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High, Rosamund duJardin - mine. S.E. Hinton - my sister's. Now what will we see? Where's MY Kindle? No - that's MY Kindle. We won't be able to pick up books that 'look' interesting or make a mental note when we see someone laughing out loud or completely absorbed in a book. We'll have no idea what they're reading - could be a pdf instruction manual for a digital camera (strike that- no one ever reads those manuals, but you get my point).

I will miss the cover art. I still love the silhouette of Nancy Drew from her book covers. I haven't fully recovered from the loss of album cover art. I know we have CDs, but it's not the same. What is replacing this void? What are all of those artists producing? Even if I purchase paintings, my walls will fill up quickly, and E and I will both be constantly compromising. With books and albums, you were 'stuck' with the art and forced to look at it over and over, finding new depth and meaning in it. Covers that at first struck me as odd became interesting over time. I miss albums, and soon I will miss books. I can't be surrounded by grey appliances. I've already been putting stickers on our computers - E loves that, believe me.

Suggestions, ideas? Or am I a dinosaur, doomed to mumble about the good old days of art as I fade away?

Friday, April 17, 2009

If only I knew an interesting character

I'm a busy lady. Much as I adore E, when he leaves in the morning, I do not linger at the front door for twenty minutes reflecting on the hidden meaning behind his parting words - I go upstairs and get to work. This morning, for some reason, he waited just long enough for me to go upstairs and get settled before returning to the house, ringing the doorbell, and growing impatient while waiting for me to hike back downstairs andunlock the door. He got in through the garage and complained about being locked out. This prompted a discussion about door-locking etiquette, which admittedly I could have dropped, but I kept it alive until he sent me this e-mail:

General guidelines for proper use of front door security systems - Simplified Users guide.

The front door look is designed to prevent access to the house by unwanted persons or intruders which pose a threat to you, your loved ones, or your stash of fresh baked goods. Be sure you know who falls into this category and who is a family member.

- Securing the front door when leaving the premises:
1 - make sure the door is currently unlocked.
2 - arm the alarm system by entering the proper code.
3 - If the alarm system is in an "arming" state and you have forgotten something in the house, don't panic! You can disable the alarm, get what you need and re-arm the alarm by restarting the procedure at step 1.
4 - exit the house
5 - lock the front door (from the outside) using a copy of the key.
6 - Place the copy of the key in a secure place. It will be required later to interface with the door again.

- Securing the front door when remaining in the house:
1 - Approach the door and look out the window located in the center of the door. If there is a family member or other recognized person in visual range or in the driveway, stop now and do not proceed to step 2.
2 - apply gentle pressure to the door with the palm of your hand pushing outwards to ensure it is closed properly and latched.
3 - Insert a copy of the key in the inside lock and turn it clockwise until it will not turn anymore.
4 - Turn the key counter-clockwise until it becomes free of the lock and can be removed. Note that this should take at most 1/2 turn. Anything more may be considered an "unlock" operation. See user guide entitled "Front door unlock function - so you want to use the door" for more information on the "unlock" feature of the front door security system.
5 - Place the copy of the key in a secure place. It will be required later to interface with the door again.

Troubleshooting Tips:
- Door is locked and a family member or other recognized individual would like to open the door: Call 1-800-555-1212 and request brochure 12-167 entitled "getting more out of your front door".
- Door is unlocked and zombies or other threats are present at the perimeter: Simple apply procedure "Securing the front door when remaining in the house" noted above. Once this is complete, select your weapon of choice from the gun locker and "lock and load"!

We hope you will enjoy your model T67 lock for years to come. Just remember, when in doubt, don't bolt and bolt!

Is he funny or needing medication? This stuff is not even novel-fodder worthy - too unbelievable. What kind of lunatic would react to being locked out (although technically not, since he does actually have a key to his house) by writing a door locking procedure guide? I'm the one who needs meds.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I should be celebrating, but I feel like upchucking. On the table next to the front door sits a lovely book mailer stuffed with one partial and one full manuscript freshly-printed and ready to be mailed to the agent who requested them at the conference I recently attended.

So celebrate - woo hoo! Sending requested material is a good thing, and an essential step in the process - yahoo

But... I feel nauseous - the odds are I will see my SASE in the mailbox about 2 months from now. At that point it becomes a question of 1 - did I receive the dreaded 'dear aspiring novelist' or 2-a more personalized rejection? wait and see... and keep writing. And yes, I know - EVERYONE gets rejected.. Stephen King, J.K. Rowling... yes, I know. It still won't be fun.

E has been good (I think) throughout the psychotic process of polishing my pages before sending them. I have been up (I'm a GENIUS - this is BRILLIANT) and down (this SUCKS and makes no sense and will all go straight in the NYC recyling bin). He's been giving me a lot of time to myself while he works in his 'robot lab' which curiously still just looks like his workshop with the TV on. Whatever. He's been supportive, and even picked up a copy for me at the print shop on his way to get plywood or 4x4s or something.

If he finishes that freaking robot and then co-authors a best-seller with the robot I will lose my mind.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Stranger than Fiction

Title: Dangerous to Myself

Chieti Nickerson, a gorgeous, slim professional public relations specialist for a top cosmetics company starts to doubt her sanity after quitting her fantastic job to pursue a crazy dream.

Main plot: Chieti wants to write a book and make a living as a published author. Motivation: she wants to do something that makes her feel unique and irreplaceable.

Subplot: a fun-loving muscular, mountain climbing, scuba-diving, kayaking, cycling, running, surfing adventurous love interest promises to fulfill Chieti's hopes of finding true love. Oh, and he's a great cook and he fixes her car and computer, too. (Maybe that last bit is too much.... this guy needs a flaw: he HATES cats, and Chieti loves cats)

Secondary plot: Chieti has moved far away from her friends and family, and not speaking the language in her new home does not help her make friends with the majority of people she meets.

Secondary plot 2: Chieti has decided to not have children, and as more and more of her friends do have children, the friendships become strained as Chieti has less in common with her former friends.

Will Chieti ever manage to finish her freaking book? Will she find friends who have something in common with her? Will her seriously-flawed boyfriend ever let her have two striped tiger kittens? This action-packed drama is a non-stop emotional roller-coaster with plenty of comic relief.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

I'm going to murder E in his sleep

I've been agonizing over my book (again) so E decided to show me how easy it is by whipping off 8 pages during some down time last night.

His pages are good. Really good.

Apart from a slight point of view problem and a not-very-well-disguised influence from James Bond, his story is fast-paced, with believable dialogue and interesting characters.
The bastard! Do I sit around designing cool robots in my down time? I could kill him.

He claims that he was trying to make a point: I need to relax and just write. Stop trying to follow the rules. Write from ++here++ (pointing to my guts) not ++here++ (pointing to my head). The bastard.

I just read a book about writing from your white hot core (where original fresh ideas will come from) rather than from your brain (where cliched, overusued copies of other people's stuff will come from). Damn. I hate it when he's right and proves it. I am going to design a damn robot to smash the crap out of his robot.

Note: My title comes from the HBO show "John from Cincinnati" - Rebecca DeMornay used the line (without the E part) "I'll murder you in your sleep!" and the way she delivered the line was 100% believable.

Monday, March 02, 2009

I Want a Kindle 2!

I went to a workshop yesterday to learn about e-publishing, and I feel like I've been living under a rock while a revolution has been going on. Yes, I've heard of the Kindle and Sony wireless reading devices, but I didn't really 'get it.' I thought they were like mini computers.

Wireless reading devices are incredible, and the screen looks much better than a small paperback (which I don't even bother with any more - they kill my eyes) you can bump up the font size and there's no glare.
benefits of wireless reading vs traditional:

- carry multiple books, newspapers and magazines with you anywhere (limited selection of magazines and newspapers - no Canadian content)

- look up any words you don't know in an online dictionary

- mark passages, make annotations, and then download them

- buy books online and download them immediately! (with the Kindle in the US you can do this wirelessly)

+ no more stumbling around the bookstore trying to find something on the shelf
+ no more trying to remember where I put one of the 5 books I'm reading
+ no more piles of newspapers that I haven't had a chance to look at yet (at least once they get Canadian papers up and running)

wireless reading devices make a lot of sense from a paper-saving, space-saving and time-saving point of view.

e-publishers have online stores that make it easy to shop - you can go to a bookstore that's designed for your taste.

I think they're doing a terrible job marketing wireless reading devices and e-books. My friends and family are avid readers and NONE of us have wireless reading devices, or do you? speak up!

I want one! I'm leaning toward the Kindle 2 because it looks sleeker, claims to have a long battery life, and I think I'd rather support Amazon than Sony. Must... resist... urge... to buy now... Must.. do... more...research...


Friday, February 13, 2009

Critiques, Contests and uhhh Crud? Crap? Crying?

I just sent my first 2 scenes in to the critique group I joined 1 year ago. Hopefully I will get some constructive criticism. I am also preparing to enter the first 10 pages in a contest where the final 5 will be reviewed by an agent I have targeted. Either way, the feedback on the scoresheet should help.

Yesterday I loved my story; today I decided it stinks and is too slow. I need some objective feedback - not from friends and family.

As much of a nutcase as I seem to be, E is holding his own. I have received 2 e-mails alerting me to his GPS tracking status: I can click a link that shows me his GPS position on a map. This is his way of telling me he has left the office and is almost home. Why call when you can use satellites? Nutcase.

We're off to ski in what's left of the snow.

Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Google search meme

No one tagged me but as part of my growing obsession with John Green, I saw this meme on his blog and decided to try it. Note that I didn't always take the first result if it made no sense. I did stay on the first page of results.

Q: Type in "[your name] needs" in the Google search.
A: "Karen needs a lobotomy"
"Karen needs help. Karen needs feedback. Karen needs a lobotomy fund. ... Karen needs to start carrying a flask." (all true)

Q: Type in "[your name] looks like" in Google search.
A: "KAREN looks like she is on the verge of ..." (aagh - what? what? I couldn't find the rest of the sentence - the suspense is killing me)
"Karen Looks Like She'd Love The Outdoors" (what does that mean? is she wearing hiking boots?)
"Karen looks like a fun date" (yikes - due to her love of the outdoors?)

Q: Type in "[your name] says" in Google search.
A: Karen says "Wow! Cool ultra lite!" Tripp says "That is the biggest freakin' horsefly I have ever seen!" (I had to scroll way down on the page to find one that made any sense. Apparently Karens don't say much)

Q: Type in "[your name] wants" in Google search.
A: "Karen wants to be a dog (this is in reference to a YouTube video of some 'Karen' trying a dog shock collar. eeew!)
"Karen wants to pump up her car tyre her pump has a piston with an area of 7 cm sq Karen pushes the handle down with a force ?" (tyre?)
"Karen wants a "friendlier" injection." (?)

Q:Type in "[your name] does" in Google search.
A: "Karen Does Survival." (oh yes- every weekend with E)
"Karen Does Not Gamble." (true)

Q: Type in "[your name] hates" in Google search.
A: "Karen Hates Artwork" (what? not true)
"Karen hates Kate" (I can't think of any Kates other than Spade or Hudson, neither of whom I hate)

Q: Type in "[your name] asks" in Google search.
A: "Karen asks the CSS Guy about CSS tooltips without Javascript that show on click instead of hover." (zzz- what? Karen's web development days are behind her)
Karen asks, “The Ruse call or Networking.. which is more efficient?” (zzz)

Q: Type in "[your name] likes " in Google search.
A: "Karen likes the word hussy" (it's ok, I guess)
"Karen. likes. art." (How can I like art and hate artowrk? maybe Karen does need a lobotomy or friendlier injections)

Q: Type in "[your name] eats " in Google search.
A: "Karen Eats everything" (true)
"Karen, you may remember, gets bitten by the walking dead, dies, and rises again in her family's basement. Upon her re-animation, Karen eats her dad and ..." (apparently she will eat anything)

Q: Type in "[your name] wears " in Google search.
A: "Karen Wears the Red Shoes" (The obsessed ballerina red shoes?)

Q: Type in "[your name] was arrested for" in Google Search.
A: "Karen ---, arrested for fraud"
"Karen Women Arrested with Yaa Baa" (??)

Q: Type in "[your name] loves" in Google Search.
A. "Karen loves Kate" (good lord - apparently Karen doesn't know what she's doing)
"Hot teen babes Karen and Kate together in this erotic girl/girl photo gallery."
(eeew- well that's enough of that.)

I don't believe in tagging people - try it if you want, and link back to your results.

Monday, February 02, 2009


Saturday started crabby - not in my bed, friend "D" waiting for me to get up and go xc skiing, and all I wanted to do was roll over and sleep. Forced myself up, drank the big bowl of double latte D had ready for me, dressed in layers and headed out the door.

Arrived at the ski center to howling winds - Mt. Washington-esque. Misery. Pulled on my windstopper jacket, slapped my skis on and headed out, fumbling with my heart rate monitor and balaclava all while trying to keep moving so D wouldn't be delayed getting out of the wind into the shelter of the trees. Hate skiing. Why do I do this? I could be in bed. grrr. Why do I always say yes to these weekends away when I know I'd rather be at home?

Finally got moving, warmed up, getting in a groove. D made some form suggestions. I figured as long as I was out there, I may as well try what she said. Shifted my hips, changed my arm posture, and - whoa - I'm moving, MOVING! For the first time ever I felt an actual glide on my skis! I thought it was a myth - something athletic people lorded over me that I would never be able to do. Glide, glide - wow! It even works uphill! Genius. I love this!

If I had a point it would be something about pushing yourself through the rough patches, not lying in bed refusing to try to improve something you're bad at, and making an effort to listen to advice. I am rarely able to do this myself, and definitely would have stayed in bed Saturday morning, given the choice. I'm lucky to have friends who put up with grumpy, cranky, I don't wanna Karen and help me get through those patches. Why do they do it? I have no idea. E says it's because I sometimes make funny comments when I'm crabby, so apparently my misery is not so miserable to others.

What's my point? I am in another rough patch writing, getting frustrated, and trying to force myself through it. grrr. Where's the freaking *click* already??

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Good one

Saw this ad on the front page of today's paper:

: )

Veet is a hair removal product. I'm amazed that the powers that be at Veet approved this ad - it's the kind of thing people would create internally to make each other laugh, but it would never actually be used. The big cheese at Veet must really hate Bush.

Monday, January 19, 2009


I visualize five fluid moves: left hand, right hand, left foot, right foot, and the elusive reach. I let go of a long exhale, releasing tension while shaking my arms. I reach back to my chalk bag, dusting my already sweaty hands as I approach the overhang. My right hand grips the first hold, and I feel the rough stone scraping my skin. My left hand finds its hold and takes some weight off, and my feet have positioned themselves automatically.

Now I need to move. Just move.
Move my left arm.

My left hand won't let go.

Let go.
Now.... now....

I continue to cling to the wall with both hands, berating myself for not moving when I should have. Now I've already made this more difficult than it needs to be. The longer I wait, the more I deceive myself. Although I feel relatively stable, I am wasting energy and losing strength. I must move.
Now... now...
I don't move.

What am I afraid of?

Falling. Onto a two foot thick crash pad from three feet up? Ridiculous. I've jumped out of a plane at 13,000 feet for God's sakes.

Looking ridiculous. To the other climbers, it looks much worse to cling to the wall in fear than to commit to a move and then fall. They fall all the time.

So what is the problem?
Move... Move now.

I force myself to wrench my left hand loose, but instead of pushing up, my traitorous feet have pulled back into a safe fall position, plummeting me down to the mat with an unglorious "plop."

Why? Why can't I reach and move with full abandon, committing myself to either grasping the higher hold or falling spectacularly instead of making sure I land safely?

I am committed in theory, but in practice something primal, unconscious and powerful stops me. The fear is so deep and so well-protected that I can't find it. My enemy knows that as soon as I pull it out into the open I will smite it. Endless searching in the same places tires me. I'm not ready to give up so I keep turning over the same rocks.

I am blocked on the wall and on the page.

Friday, January 16, 2009

It's called sarcasm

Dancing Matt is really good at it.

Watch his follow-up in response to people who say he faked his video.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Exceptionally good service from Suunto

Yes, I'm one of those people who complains about the lack of good service 'these days.' I can't wait for the day when someone invents a cell phone that outlasts its contract and puts all the current cell phone companies out of business.

Let's focus instead on a company that is a pleasure to deal with: Suunto. I was a fanatic about my t6 heart rate monitor - it tracks quite a bit in addition to your heart rate, and it assigns a 'level' to your workout according your current fitness level and how hard you worked out. If you consistenly 'improve' your fitness, your overall fitness level will go up. I loved to watch my level go up and E and I competed to see who had the higher level - on the rare occasions when I could beat E's level, I would take advantage and lord it over him as much as possible.

Last spring my beloved t6 stopped working - it gave erratic readings or no readings at all. E insisted it was me since his t6 kept working. He blamed my female anatomy, my choice of wardrobe, my sudden inability to adjust the strap right, etc,etc, but the bttom line was me until... his started giving erratic readings. THEN it became a Suunto problem.

I called Suunto to get a return number, and now, less than 1 week later, I hold in my hands a sparkling new t6c. for FREE! Mine was miraculously still under warranty, but E had to pay a small upgrade fee. The fee was reasonable, and no doubt the result of all the bad karma E generated by falsely accusing me of not using my Suunto properly.

As soon as E gets his replacement Suunto, the games begin - we'll both be starting over with 0 data and we'll need to log workouts to gain fitness levels. We're competing for the official "Suunto athlete of the month" award complete with bragging rights, and picture on the refrigerator. Wish me luck, and if you don't already have your own Suunto, what are you waiting for?