Category Archives: Books and Writing

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner

Despite the heated scorn I can already feel from some of my friends, I’ve purchased and finished the new novella by Stephenie Meyer, “The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner

I enjoyed this story more than the original series. Mostly I think because Bree is a smart, capable character. Unlike Bella, who I kept wanting to hit up the side of the head and tell her to suck it up during “Twilight” and “New Moon“. (She’s shows enough improvement in the last two novels to avoid a head smacking from me.)

After I finished the novella, I re-read the scene in “Eclipse ” where Bree meets her demise. It’s a much more powerful scene now that I know her backstory and I’m left wondering about Fred. I think he deserves his own novella.

Editing

Today is/was back to back editing. I still have more to go.

I think I’ll hole up in my bedroom with my laptop for the evening to give myself a chance to get some work done. My brother, I’ve discovered (and probably mentioned several times already) becomes increasingly more distracting the more he tries not to be disctacting.

I shouldn’t complain too much. I will miss him when he’s gone, but right now I can’t afford to get behind. I want to write and I can’t until the editing is done.

Priorities suck! (remind me why I wanted to be a grown up again?)

We had a great session today going over Mike and Nirmal’s chapter. This one was only the 2nd draft so we commented more on story lines and characterization than punctuation and other nitty gritty stuff. Honestly, this is my favourite level of editing.

Speaking of which, I’d better get back to it or I’ll never be able to have time to write again.

The Making of Jake – pt 1

Where is White’s Bluff and why did I use it as a location for my story about Jake?
What’s the deal with the boat?

Well, White’s Bluff is a real place halfway up Long Reach on the Saint John River in New Brunswick Canada.

When I was 12, my Dad bought and old lobster boat. It was 40 feet long and 12.5 wide across the beam (it’s widest point). We cruised the Saint John and Kennebecasis Rivers until after I graduated from the University of New Brunswick.

Just like Kathryn, my heroine, I stopped spending weekends on the boat because I was working. When ever I could, I would drive upriver to meet my family where ever they were tied up for the night and go back to town the next day for another shift.

Unfortunately, there was no Long Reach Bed and Breakfast in the real White’s Bluff, so I took a bit of artistic licence with that and a few other landmarks. But the wharf itself is written exactly as I remember it. It was my favourite spot on the whole river.

I was back in New Brunswick this year for Christmas. It seemed rather fitting that as I flew into Saint John we came in over Long Reach. There, below me by only 10-15,000 feet, was the wharf at White’s Bluff. I took it as a good omen since my book was due to be published a few days later.

While at my parents house, I started flipping through Mom’s old photo albums and found pictures from our days on the river. I thought I’d share them with you. I’d hoped to take a drive up the river while I was home, but time and the weather worked against me.

Even though I didn’t fall from the upper edge of the wharf myself, I wonder if there is a Jake and if he’d mind that I told his story…twice.

If you’re interested in reading my stories about Jake please visit PaperBox Books

Our first trip on the boat.
Our first trip on the boat while it was still a lobster boat. We invited all our friends.

Pulling the boat out of the water to take it home for re-modeling.
Pulling the boat out of the water to take it home for re-modeling. The boat trailer was a de-constructed double decker car trailer.
The boat's new look.
By the next spring the boat had a whole new look. This happened almost every winter as Dad thought of new changes to make. I learned a lot about construction back then πŸ™‚
Our dog's favourite spot.
Back then we had a dog named Stanley. His perch was always on the point of the bow ready to warn us of danger.
White's Bluff during spring freshette.
You might recognize this picture as the one on the my book covers. I sort of erased our old car from the image (sorry Dad). This was taken during the spring freshette when the water was really high from all the melting ice.
The boats tied up to the wharf at White's Bluff.
There were a group of families we boated with. Here are most of us tied up to the wharf at White’s Bluff. Our boat is the back one, with yes, another different look.
The upper edge where Kathryn fell.
This is it. The famous upper edge of the wharf where Kathryn fell from. Happily, art in this case, didn’t imitate life, I didn’t fall from here.
The ferryboat at Westfield, back in the day.
The ferry has changed a lot since then, but here is the ferry at Westfield circa 1980.

Part 2 of the Making of Jake

Played Hooky From Writing

I’ve been writing like a mad woman all week, and editing too, so it’s no wonder my brain has turned to mush. So I took a well earned break.

Friday night we all went out to dinner to celebrate one of my best friend’s birthday. It was a semi-milestone (i.e. it ended in 5) Despite transit issues getting there, standing in the rain for 45 minutes in my party duds because the bus didn’t come, I had a blast.

Saturday was a trip out to Surrey to talk to my editors. Those awesome folks who are going over my novels with a fine tooth comb searching for flat wording and story inconsistencies, and alas still finding a few. the Then, I met up with post-birthday girl and we rode the wild rails of the skytrain in to Canada Place to see the Taboo, Naughty but Nice Show. I have to admit it is one of my favourite trade shows to attend πŸ™‚

I love watching people at this show. You have the jaded “show me something I don’t already know” crowd, the adventursome couples who eagerly explore each booth, the fact finders… want something but aren’t sure exactly what, the newbies couples who tee-hee-hee their way through the aisles and the single boys who are barely old enough to walk in the doors. They are the most fun. Their bravado turns to wide-eyed wonder at their first sight of tassled boobs, leather clad studs and half-naked, body-painted ladies.

I came back to my desk last night almost refreshed. Spent and evening writing a bit and chatting a lot. Woke up this morning with the next few chapters all plotted out and ready to write. So off I go to nail these suckers down before the illusive muse runs away again with that guy in the tight ass-less chaps.

We Rocked the Library

So during the month of November many of my friends, who are also writers, do Nanowrimo. It’s crazy, it’s fun, I’m 1/4 of the way through writing a new manuscript and I learned last night just how crazy writer’s are in general.

Last night we had a write-in at the library. Over 30 people were there. Many of whom had no idea really what NaNo was. We explained a bit, the got right into a word war. It amazes me how many people wrote even though they weren’t really sure why… and their word counts were good. Some folks who could type properly, had word count that were more than double mine.

Writers seriously are a crazy (in a good way) bunch.

My challenge for the day is not to let my word count suffer while I do chores and some baking. I’m out tonight at a birthday celebration. Tomorrow and Sunday I’m booked solid. I’m going to have to forgo sleep f I want to maintain my average and rise to the challenge a fellow writer friend has put up.

Ack – no more stalling – 1-2-3- GO!!!

I just hit 11,000 words.

I have never been so far ahead of a writing goal before in my life. Which is a good thing because tomorrow is going to be almost a complete wash.

All those chores I’ve been avoiding all week are ganging up on me. Dishes piled high on the counters (I swear I didn’t have that many dishes before NaNo started), clothes overflowing my laundry basket (ditto on the clothes – seriously how can I have so many and still never find a thing to wear?)

It’s windy and rainy outside now which makes me hesitate about venturing out to the write-in. I’ve been to three already this week so surely missing one isn’t a bad thing. But there’s the energy I get from being with other writers (and let’s not forget the gorgeous bus driver on the way home if I time it just right πŸ™‚ ). So off I trek downtown to the Library for the write-in.

Have a great – dark and stormy night!

Bright and shiny day 4

So it’s day 4 of Nano and I’m still slightly ahead of the game. I was hoping to get up to 9000 words last night, but only made it to 7000. Still way ahead of where I was last year and I’d barely started the year before. Progress for sure.

VancoWriMo, the Vancouver Chapter of NaNoWriMo, is having a word war with New Zealand. So far they are kicking our butts, but they also have a couple of word maniacs down there who are already hovering around 35,000. Serioiusly 35K in three days – INSANE!

This morning I signed onto the chat board and found out I could make a wordle of my story so far. So of course, I did. Here is what it looks like: (hint, you can click on the image to make it larger then hit the back button to return to this blog.

Wordle: Kiere

I love it!!

On my to-do list today. Finish editing a manuscript I have on my desk and write some communication templates for PaperBox Books. THEN and only then am I allowed to work on my word count.

I’d like to hit over 10,000 words today, so I’d better get cracking!!

Day 3 of NaNo

Yesterday I was rockin until around 8pm. I wanted to get safely past the daily goal because I have some stuff coming up the last three weeks of November that will take a lot of time.

I wanted to hit 5000 words, but failed. At 8pm I hit a wall. I got a few paragraphs out after that but I suspect I’lll have to re-word them this morning. I did manage to crest 4000. That’s a personal best for this early in the challenge. Usually I’m woefully behind by this point.

As usual though, my story has morphed from what I was originally intended. I was thinking the battle scene would be at the end, turns out it’s going to happen before the end of chapter two and the rest will be about survival and beating the bad guys.

I’ve never written anything that could be classified as adventure before. This could get interesting.

What a day

At the end of day one for NaNoWriMo I was already behind. Dang this social life of mine πŸ™‚

Sundays are always busy for me and this one was worse (or better) than usual. In fact I started writing this blog around midnight and was nearly falling asleep on the computer so here it is Monday morning and I’m finally finishing it.

I stayed up until midnight on Saturday with several of the local NaNoers and at the stroke of 12+1 we started writing. To celebrate the occasion I had a glass of chocolate eggnog (President’s Choice has it and it’s good) with a shot of kahlua. I highly recommend it (if you’re under 19 of course -21 in the States) try it without the kahlua.

At the end of day 1 I’m at 1400 words. Only 300 behind schedule if I was doing a static daily goal. But as previously discussed, I’m a pantser. I write by the seat of my pants. Some days are crazy busy, so I know whatever i write will be crap. Other days I wake up running. the ideas are pouring out of my brain before my feet hit the floor.

Luckily, today, day 2, is one of those days and because of my flexible schedule, I can spend the day writing. I’ll be beyond todays static goal before noon.

Good Luck to all participants and good writing (don’t worry about quality, that’s why we edit in March)

a slight hiccup

I’m pretty smart and am usually fairly understanding, but today I’m a bit baffled and a lot displeased.

For the NaNo kick-off, the organizers did a spectacular job of finding a venue. The Old Spaghetti Factory in New West is central amongst the participants, large and we’d been assured there would be no set menu. This was important because the attendees ranged from high school students to gainfully employed professionals to starving authors. The venue was booked from 1-4 to avoid the restaurant’s peak time.

The initial reservationwas for 45 people made a month in advance. Almost two weeks out, the organizers increased the reservation to 60 and again confirmed there would be no group menu. On Thursday, 2 days prior to the event the organizer onfirmed the numbers.

Last night, less than 24 hours before the event, the organizer received a voicemail from the restaurant that there would be a set menu… and worse, it would be the dinner menu even though the event took place at 1pm.

Now, I’m familiar with the restaurant industry, worked closely with it for over 11 years. I understand all about the need for set menus for large groups. What I don’t understand is the last minute change to force a set menuΒ  on a group that’s more organized than most. Not to mention foisting a more expensive dinner menu at mid-day. Seriously not cool.

I’ll go to the kick-off, wearing my special event Witches hat. Order food that I really can’t afford (I fall into the starving author category) and have a spectcular time.

I’m not so sure you’ll see me at the Old Spaghetti Factory again.

Update & Correction:

The Old Spaghetti Factory didn’t force the dinner menu on us, but the other menu was spaghetti, spaghetti or spaghetti, so really there was no choice.

I have to say, the wait staff were fantastic. There were 70 people in our group when I counted heads. It was a wonderful afternoon. Major props to Jennerosity and Mysterious Æges for a job well done.