Category Archives: Random Musings

Information overload in a good way

I have my hand in several pots. Web design, small business coaching for internet marketing, writing, teaching writing skills and publishing.

I don’t know whether I have a touch of ADD where I can’t keep focused for more than a few minutes or I’m conceited enough to think that nothing is good without me, or maybe I’m just afraid of being left out. Who knows and really, the why doesn’t matter. It’s all about the how, what and the results.

I’ve also been reading A LOT. I’m a huge fan of books that make you question your personal philosophy on life and guide you to make changes when you’re stumbling. Some books I’ve read and thought, well that doesn’t apply to me, only to come back to that same book years later and re-read it again and say “WOW.”

It’s interesting, even though my brain is screaming for me to stop and let it catch up.

The book I just finished is called ‘QBQ – The Question Behind the Question‘ by John G. Miller. In a nutshell it shows you how to stop being the victim of life’s circumstances by asking “Why Me” and focusing on what you can do about it.

I know this isn’t a writing book per se, but as authors our entire career is built on external circumstances. The attitude recommended in this book is helpful to keep us sane while life throws it’s dirty laundry at us. (I probably should have read it before my little rant yesterday, but I’ve also given myself permission to let things irritate me… for a few minutes before letting the angst go and forgetting about my irritation.)

Today is sunny, my friends are awesome, lunch was terrific and I feel great… time to crack open another book (next on my list is Mastery by George Leonard – sorry brain.)

Make it STOP!!

Today started off with me feeling extremely refreshed and relaxed… and then I looked at my clock and realized it was three hours past when I’d planned to wake-up. I set the time but forgot to turn the dang alarm on.

It’s not too bad, breakfast became brunch and lunch will be mid-afternoon. I was working away at my to do list and feeling pretty good when I decided I’d better print off the new lease for my house, sign it and get it sent to the property management company.

Start Rant Here

The agent had sent the lease as a PDF, but only page 1 and 3 came through. I sent a polite email back asking for the missing pages, one of which was the page I needed to sign and date. In reply, I receive a snarky response stating that he’d sent it as a 2-sided document.

So…. he means I should have looked at the back of my monitor to see the other pages… and how exactly would I sign that.

Normally I’m quite forgiving and let this sort of gaffe go by. But this guy is unreal. I love the management company that looks after the house we rent. We’ve have two other agents over the years and they’ve been wonderful. So I’m not going to name the company, because they don’t deserve to have their rep damaged.

But this Guy, holy crap. He’s in a customer service position which I can assume from his attitude that he considers it far beneath him.

When it’s time for him to do a house inspection (part of our lease to make sure we’re not operating a grow op), he complains that we live too far away… ummm it’s their house I’m renting, apparently his boss didn’t think it’s too far when he signed the contract with the owners to represent them.

I know I’m bubbly and cheerful (err well most of the time) but that doesn’t mean I’m not intelligent and have a decent amount of life experience to use as a knowledge base. I do resent being treated like a bimbo.

For example – last fall, a tree fell on our property onto one of the sheds. I let him know because with winter coming the weight of any snow on the fallen tree would cause damage to the shed. He argued with me for 10 minutes telling me that I had to contact the neighbour to get them to remove the tree. He refused to believe that the tree was on our lot, even after I sent him pictures… clearly labeled. I’ve owned property, I understand about property lines and I told him so.

Finally he came out to the house to see it for himself. He was poised to tell me I was wrong and seemed upset that I wasn’t.

It still took him a month to get the tree cutter guys out and that was a fiasco all in itself. They came unannounced when I wasn’t home and didn’t cut down the ‘still-falling’ tree that also needed to be removed. When I mentioned this, he said it must not be in bad enough shape… if there wasn’t an electrical wire in the way, I’d push it down myself!

Then, when I requested to have another 12 month lease, he scoffed and said the owner would never go for it. That landlords hated 12-month leases. (Seriously? I was a landlord back East and I loved the idea of a 12 month lease when I had good tenants) Then, in the same breath, he asked me if I’d mind a rent increase if the landlord agreed. WTH? Since when is it his job to pimp a rent increase to the tenants AND the landlord.

I was amused that he was so shocked and disappointed when the owner jumped at the chance to have us sign another year lease, with no rent increase… just like she did last year. Why? Because, we’re good tenants, we look after the house and the property for the owner. We let them know about problems when they’re small instead of waiting for them to become big and expensive (the house is 40 years old so there is a bit of work to be done now and again)

All I can hope is that this fellow finds a new job and we get another agent – preferably one with people skills.

Thus endeth the rant

The good news is that I’m off to Blenz to hang out and write – whee – my day is finally getting better.

Midnight

Twas the night before Sunday and all through the house,
the only thing stirring, was the click of my mouse.

Errr yeah, a poet I am not. I shall make no pretense otherwise.

I was just about to head off to bed for the night when I took a moment to listen to the silence. I miss midnight. Or rather I miss the mystery and mysticism of the witching hour, that brief moment between one day and the next when all the world was still.

Staying up until midnight used to be a privilege coveted by all siblings. Those who managed it were envied by those who fell asleep and didn’t make it. Midnight used to be special and now it’s either a signal that we should be heading home soon or a realization that dang I’m going to be tired tomorrow.

As I sit here in my silent house and listen to the creaks and groans as even the timbers settle in for the night, I’m reminded how much I love midnight, the hour of quiet and peace.

On that note I leave you to toddle off to my bed and let the magic of the moment lull me to sleep.

Goodnight All

Next on the Agenda

Short Stories

Over the years, I’ve written a number of short stories. Just little vignettes to get the scenes floating through my mine down on paper so I can concentrate on other things. You know, the important things like work and sleep.

I’ve amassed quite a few that have a definite beginning, middle and end. Alas, and many others, that are more like story starts. Great beginnings that can’t be wound up in a few pages. I’ve decided to take my complete stories, re-edit them and send them to Paperbox Books for publishing.

E-books are a great way for short-stories to be offered for sale. Without having to worry about printing costs there is no need to have a 5000 word story sell for the same amount as a 60,000 word novel just to recoup expenses.

Now the challenge will be finding an efficient way to market the stories and find readers. Not all the big distributors offer a section in their online stores for short stories, they’re lumped in with all the others. The should be interesting.

I survived

Last night was our editing group. I was a bit nervous because this was the first night the tables turned and I was to be edited by the writers I’ve been editing for PaperBox Books.

I have to say it was fun.

Not that I was expecting it to be boring or stressful, but new experiences can be tough, for everyone involved. I think we all passed the challenge with flying colours.

Even my voice held up – sort of. I sat down at the table armed with cough drops, gingerale and hot tea and some Kleenex… just in case I started stuffing up again… not because I was afraid they’d make me cry. No, really.

It was nice to see my theory validated. “Editing other people’s work makes it easier to spot errors in your own.” Ok, so maybe it’s just the first part that’s been validated so far. We shall see about the rest, but I have great faith. The force is strong with these two 🙂

*sighs* I have GOT to stop quoting Star Wars!

Monday again

I know it’s been said ‘time goes faster the older you get’ but sheesh, I’m not that old yet time seems to be whizzing by.

Unless of course I’m doing a tasks that I despise, then time crawls slower than cold molasses running uphill during a January deep freeze in the North Pole.

It doesn’t help that my cold is still lingering on. I woke up this morning being the snotty-nosed brat my father always accused me of being. The good news, my cold is breaking up, so tomorrow I’ll be fine. It still means I have to get through the rest of today first.

And… it won’t help me tonight. I have no voice and have to attend our editing group meeting. The good news is it’s my stuff we’re going over. So I won’t have to talk that much. The bad news is I won’t be able to defend my word choices unless I haul out some paper and a sharpie. (*makes a mental note to pack her sharpies*)

Colds and Thinking

I’ve been lucky this winter. I’ve dodged cold after cold and managed not to get sick. At least not completely. I still run through the symptoms, but they’re so mild, they can’t even be called a cold. Not really.

But on Wednesday night I started feeling cotton-heady, Thursday I was feeling quite blah. Not really sick, but not well either. While the other symptoms didn’t get bad, I started coughing. I get nasty coughs and this was no different. Apparently I don’t have a light version of coughing. It starts at heavy and boosts itself to bronchial. Whee – lucky me.

It is better today, so at least the duration is tolerable, but it’s hard to code or write or even think, when you keep losing your place every time you attempt to breathe and it becomes a coughing fit.

Apparently I become a whiny little girl when I’m sick too:) This is especially upsetting because as a little girl I was never whiny 🙁

Playing with video

I was downtown in Vancouver to watch the final men’s hockey game where Canada and the US were battling it out for the Gold Medal. When we won, I walked up to Robson square where there were approx 60,000 people gathered in the streets and even more pouring in from the different venues where they watched the game. It was mayhem.

I took my little Sony digital camera and recorded the impromptu choir that sang along with our national anthem as the medals were awarded. I don’t think there was a dry eye on the street.

I’ve finally had a chance to experiment with youtube.com and post the video – enjoy. (oh and sorry about the shaky camera work, there were people bumping in to me left right and center)

Editing

Editing seems to be what my entire world is made up of this week. I’d rather be writing, but I also want to have another book published, so the editing shall continue.

I’m very lucky. I have a group of amazing people around me who are supportive and encouraging. Some of them I’ve brought even closer and they’ve become part of my process. They not only keep me to task on my deadlines, they are active participants in my editing methods. They are the angels (or devils) on my shoulder as I go through my novel chapter my chapter polishing here and rewriting there.

I make it sound easy don’t I?

Being part of an editing group is perhaps the most stressful association I’ve ever had. Sure we laugh and joke and enjoy our time together, but it’s much harder to have someone you like and trust, point out your silly errors than a complete stranger, in a city far away, sitting at a huge editor’s desk, judging your work worthy… or not.

Line by line edits can be soul crushing.

Over the past months I’ve forgotten how hard it can be. The members of my group and I have grown used to each others styles and know how to give a critique without being rude or obnoxious or inadvertently push each other’s buttons. Over the past few years, other people have come and gone without much fanfare. They’ve been friends of the other members so for me, there’s been nothing personal at stake.

Now, I’m the one bringing in the friend. Suddenly I’m terrified, but in a good way.

It’s time for me to put my money where my mouth is, so to speak. Even though we’ve been writing pals for a few years and I’ve edited some of his stuff, this will be the first time he reads anything I’ve written. Not only will he read it, he will critique it as well.

I’m sure you can hear my knees knocking together in fright.

My pride hopes he doesn’t find anything really stupid mistakes in my prose. He’s more of an expert in sci-fi than I am. If some of my science doesn’t quite jive, I’ll be grateful for his correction. His background is very different from my other editing partners, which is a plus. My readers won’t be the same, so neither should my editors.

I know it’s illogical, but it will be harder to hit send on my submission this week. But what’s life without a few challenges along the way?

All a twitterin

In a good way.

Actually I just finished reading “All a Twitter” by Tee Morris. It was very good. I’ve been watching some of the supposed ‘gurus’ of social media and find heis definitely one of the better ones. He seems to be the one who gets it the best, or at least he shares my philosophy about how to best use Twitter, Facebook etc.

We’re really starting to ramp up our promotion of our books to sell (direct links to my novels are on the sidebar to the right). We were originally waiting for them to get listed with Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Chapters etc. But our distributor is still having technical difficulties. Sure we can do it ourselves, but the pay off once Smashwords gets us up and running will be far greater. So we’ll wait… somewhat patiently. The nice thing is that Smashwords is doing a pretty good job of keeping us informed, so we’re not left in the dark, wondering what the hell is going on.

Otherwise, life is pretty quiet today. I have almost all the work I need to do done, just a couple of web pages to program, then it’s back to writing. Now that I’ve set-up the novel in flashbacks, it’s flying. (Whew!)

Have a great day and don’t get too soggy once it finally starts raining.