Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and All That Good Stuff

Sunday, December 24, 2017

I'm cutting a little close here. Meant to post a longer catch up type message, but the most important point is to wish you all an Awesome Christmas and Happy New Year. I'll post the  longer  note in a week or so. In  the meantime, stay safe, enjoy and embrace love.   Merry Christmas guys!

Happy New Year!

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Boy I suck at this update stuff. :P  

Although, looking at the date stamp of my last post, it was just around the the time our busy season started to really ramp up at work. Plus add in a system glitch that resulted in me not getting document notifications for 2 weeks that I had to  play catch up on, a new hire I had to train, and then throw in some ongoing health concerns that required a number of doctor/dentist visits, tests, etc, (ie time off from work that I had to catch back up on) and before you know it, the rest of 2016 was gone.

But it's a new year(!). All my loved ones are whole and hardy. I'm still employed, able to pay my bills-- not small concern here: there were federal government changes to the mortgage industry that caused a number of layoffs. One of our sister companies laid off 6 people 3 wks before Xmas. And a competitor shut down a whole division. 60 people out of work weeks before Xmas. That competitor then outsourced that work to our company, which put an end to a couple of months of lowkey stress/uncertainty for us. :-P   I'm also going to be thankful for being in reasonably good heath, just dealing with the aches/pains of not being 20 anymore. ;) The international political landscape has me concerned, and very thankful for living in Canada (although I don't believe for a second we'll be fully insulated from the ensuing ramification of happens in our global village). But aside from that I'm staying positive!

If I have any 'resolutions' they are:

cut down on the sugar. On the whole, while I rarely pass up dessert,  I don't have a lot of sugary stuff/snacks on the regular, but when I do have too much sugar, or the wrong type (I'm looking at you fructuous/glucose) I end up feeling crappy. Almost hangover-ish. (Nope. Not diabetic. Not even borderline. So says the results of the multiple blood work I had done last year).

Also want to try to eat more vegetable/vegetarian meals. Partly because I think it'll be healthier, partly because I think large-scale commercial/conglomerate animal husbandry is an environmental concern. (but I'm going to admit to being a bit of hypocrite here because while I'm not a big meat eater, I not willing to forego it completely.

Round off my resolutions list with: exercise more regularly, drink more water, and less coffees,  get enough sleep, spend time with friends, be more disciplined about budgets/finances re long-term goals.

Also, read more 'quality' writing. Notice I didn't say 'quality books'.  Sometimes a book is really entertaining, or has a premise intriguing enough that you'll slog through to the end to find out what happens. Or it's a mindless fast/quick read and that's all your up for.  And sometimes that's all you need. Those books are all perfectly satisfactory for those needs.

Unfortunately, **my** experience has been that *a lot* of my readings in the last couple of years that fall under these categories do not really have strong writing.  That's probably why it's much easier to not finish a book or start it and put it down for weeks/months before picking it up again.  Or I'll finish that one book, but feel no particular urgency to go and check out the author's backlist/next release. 

More importantly, quality/good writing (being totally subjective here!) inspires me -- to write. I've not felt that fire in my belly for a good long while.  And I need it because, last item on my resolutions list, or maybe I should say first item, is that I'm going to try yet again to find the right balance for making writing (including this blog) a regular part of my life again.

So, I'll end this rambling first of the year post by hoping everyone out there is keeping safe, healthy and has some modicum of happiness and balance in their lives. :)

Here's to good eating, good reading, good lovin', good friends.  Here's to all of you.


A small excerpt

Sunday, May 22, 2016

 We’re pretty much knee deep into the busy season at the day job for the past month. And it’s only going to get busier June/July/August and start to slow in September/October. I’m easily doing 10 -12hr days now.  So progress on the wip is still slower than I’d like, but I’m still crawling forward in increments.

Came across a couple interesting surprises while doing some editing/revising.  Authors usually have a general feel for their characters before they start writing. Sometimes it’s really in depth and you know all about their childhood, etc., right on down the line to the present.  Sometimes it’s just basic bare bones stuff, like Character A is angry at Character B for this reason. Then after writing some of the story, you’ll realize that there are actually several reasons A is angry at B, and it may not be all B’s fault.  Sometimes a character’s dialogue/internal narrative runs away from you on the page and you learn a bunch of stuff you didn’t know/plan. Or it could be a single line that makes you think *that’s it! That’s the key to your character/motivation!* And the character comes alive for you in a way they hadn’t been before.

So there I was, cleaning up some of the writing and I came across a couple of throw away lines for my hero, that made me pause and chuckle and think *this is soo you. Such an arrogant asshole. lol*  But in the end, lines like the final one below, just help to make him a little more real.  .

My hero, Balthazar, is the dragon-shifter Alpha. In little snippet below he’s having a polite (coughcough) discussion with the heroine’s father, a powerful wizard.  Figured I’d throw in an eye candy pic of Jason M, because he’s the inspiration for Balthazar.

* * * * *


"I want your promise—”

"You want? Who the f**k are you to make demands of me? You're just the latest Wizard, in a long line of them. All of whom I've outlived. Or killed."

"I'm not demanding. I'm asking for your help."

"I don't like the way you ask. You need practice. Down on your knees."


What's New

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Not much. Lol.

Okay, not totally true.  I’m still working on the whole work life balance thing. Particularly establishing certain ways to function around the day job-- setting boundaries, developing habits, etc—that will allow me to have time with friends, to pursue interest, keep writing, manage my health; yanno, have a life!

This week I’ve been pretty good about writing on the phone (well more like editing a problem patch of story) on my phone every day during the commute. Not sure if I’ve gained words or not.  I have to download my notes into the actual manuscript to see.

I’ve also continued to be good exercise wise. Made it to the gym 2 Saturdays in a row (will be going today, also, so make that 3 Saturdays) and during the week I’ve been doing my 10K steps each day. I downloaded the Pacer ap to my phone and I check several times each day to make sure I hit my target. I walk in the mornings for at least 20 mins, at lunch, and again after work. Most days I’m closer to 12K steps (almost 5 miles).  So now I’m thinking if I can walk 5 miles each day, then surely I can do 5 miles on the elliptical trainer on Saturdays – normally I do around 2 miles in 30 mins. If I stay on for the full hour, I’ll do at least 4 miles.

There’s some other life stuff I’m working on but I won’t bore you with them, let’s talk a bit more about the writing.  Y’all may have heard by now but my publisher Samhain, is winding down business.  Even though I haven’t submitted anything to them in years, the option was always there. I think they are/were a great organization to work with and put out quality product.

Ofcourse that leaves me with getting the rights back to Felicity Stripped Bare and Hunter of the Heart at some point. I think Felicity I can get back without too much delay, but Hunter hasn’t official hit the date of reversion yet.   Honestly, I always knew I was going to ask for Felicity back, if for no other reason than I’ve never (Nay. Ver. Eh. Ver) loved the cover art or font/type-set used for the Title and my name. L LLL   But I was waiting until demands of the day job settled down,  aaand I wrote Robert’s book (hero’s best-friend and business partner), then I’ve have the time and energy to launch/market both books with matching covers, etc.  Now I’ll have to give a little more serious thought about Robert’s  book.  But I want to finish the Dragon shift book.  Also, I’m kinda toying with the idea of re-working and expanding Hunter of the Heart when I get the rights back, so it’s the same world-building as the Dragon book.  Lots to think about…

My local RWA chapter has their March critique meeting in 2 weeks, so today I much find time to polish up the sci-fi romance I want to bring, and also work on the Dragon shifter book.   I’ll post later today with an upate. ß see what I just did there? Made myself publicly accountable. :-P  See? Progress. Lol.



Monday, February 15, 2016

4 months later….
Yup. It’s been 4 months since my last blog post, and the reason for that is the same as before: day job. 
2015 was a total write-off shit-show for me. I pretty-much did nothing but work, easily racking up 14- 16hrs/per day and traipsing into work on most Saturdays to rack up another 8hrs.  I did not experience summer last year.  No patios with friends, no basking in the sun, barely any time in my own garden. Got into the office at 8:30am and left well after dark at 9:30-10:30pm. 
This post isn’t about looking for sympathy, just emphasizing why I haven’t been posting here and got precious little writing done in the last year.  Being stressed out/over-worked really puts the big suck on all your creative juices.
But I’m determined, as much as it is within my powers, not to have this year be like last year.  My job is going to always be crazy busy – hopefully not like last year—so I know I have to have a plan on how to do my job while having some sort of life.  I want to see friends, go to the movies or out for dinner, read, write, see Shakespeare in the park, go biking, etc.
I’ve been striving to have a work life balance, but in the last month something just *clicked* in place for me on a couple of fronts. I just hit a tipping point, where I wanted one thing more than something else. 
For instance, I wanted to save money more than I wanted to sleep-in in the mornings (I also have issues with insomnia).  I was easily spending $150 - $180 per month on buying just breakfast/coffee!  (never mind lunches/dinners). Now I make a point of getting up in time to make/eat breakfast, have coffee and pack a lunch before leaving the house.   No matter how much I want to sleep for just 5 more minutes, I haul ass out of bed to get those things done. 
I used to veg most of the day on Saturdays (if I didn’t go into the office). I needed that time to de-stress, before I used up the rest of the weekend doing the whole cook, laundry, grocery shopping thing. 
But you know what also helps with stress, besides vegetating? Exercise. Something I was getting less and less of. I’ve been dealing with a stubborn cold/bug for the past month or so, so that’s probably part of the reason I’m getting easily winded lately, but without a doubt I’m getting more and more out of shape, and not getting younger. This week-end, I figured, screw it.  If I’m going to veg on the sofa for hours on a Saturday, I can damn well spend those same hours at the gym. *click*(plus, there’s a sauna at the gym *clickclickclickityclickclick*)
And on the writing front something *clicked* there too. That click happened because the annual critique circle my local RWA chapter holds every March. I brought pages of my dragon-shifter book last March for critiquing, with every intention of finishing the book last year.  Obviously that didn’t happen...
A whole freakin’ year went by and, I hate to admit it, I barely finished a chapter’s worth of writing. #shamed.   
I couldn’t let another year go by without completing a manuscript. One thing that sort of worked for me in the past was writing on my phone during the rush hour commute into work, but more and more I just found myself too darn tired most mornings to think, much less write, and kinda gave up. 
For the last week, though, I’ve been pushing myself.  All I had to do was write 1 sentence, that’s the bargain I’ve made with myself. At the very least, it would be 1 sentence more than I had the day before.  Most mornings I do more than the 1 sentence, tho… J  
And if I’m writing more regularly, then it stands to reason that I can post here more often too, just to keep myself accountable, right? *click*  J

Long time no update....

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

So, uhm... yeah....  I'm so bad at this.  Well, not bad, just kinda don't have the time; or I've been too tired to make the time for blog updates.  Same excuse I've had all year...

Part of me says I shut this blog down but I don't wanna.  I love my blog, no matter how neglectful I've been posting updates.

Part of the issue is.... there's nothing to update. The day job has been bonkers this year -- 80% above target -- and I've easily been working 10 to 14hrs days, many weeks 6 days/week -- so there's really not been that much time to write... 

yeah, yeah, yeah, you've heard this all before, but it's the truth.

Anywho, things have slowed some this last month and *hopefully* will remain at a slower pace for the next few months, so *hopefully* some writing will get done.  Also I have this week off (which I desperately needed because I was/am perilously close to burn-out) so I *plan* to get some writing done!

In the long-term, instead of letting the blog go dormant when things get too busy at work, I think I might resort to something I used to do in the early days of this blog and talk books/writing craft.  Nothing official!  Given my work schedule/ work load, I don't want to be obligated to read/review anything.  If I read an awesome book or see a really great movie/TV show, I'll write about what aspects I found so well done.  And if I read something disappointing or problematic I'll also talk about it here also, but in general terms -- not naming names/titles, etc.

On the writing front, I'm still poking at my dragon shifter book. I've been mulling over the heroine's motivations. At first she was mostly powered by revenge/guilt, but that feels a little too easy. I'd rather peel back a few layers to get to the anger/guilt before getting her to move beyond that. Also, I have the fae in book. But it's my concept of the fae,-- which is admitted a bit fuzzy on what is the accepted cannon of fairies because I haven't read a lot of books with fae (or dragons for that matter), so there's a little voice in the back of my head saying I should bone-up on this, that my world-building will be all the richer for using and interweaving the *accepted* tenets of /dragons, and yet, I just want to do my own world-building.  *shrug*

Aside from the dragon book,  I've been meaning to do the short-story follow up to The Werewolf Who Stole Christmas with Jack Frost as the hero. It's kinda cutting it too close to get it out for this Xmas season, considering the book isn't even written but I may take a stab or 2 at it.

That's all I got for now.

More Progress

Thursday, January 08, 2015

This morning I woke up 10 mins after the latest time I should have left my house! And  there I was last night congratulating myself on seeming to manage my insomnia a bit better and getting to bed earlier.

I've started getting off the train 1 subway stop sooner and walking the rest of the way to work via the underground PATH, then taking a mid-day break for a 30min walk through **PATH. Started doing that because I had to figure out a way to squeeze some regular exercise into my day and take a mental break from work demands.  But figured the extra steady exercise was probably helping me sleep better also. as a side benefit.

While my current job is pretty flexible about start times-- they know we're all adults, hardworking, and can/will manage our work responsibly. (Unlike my old work/department that treated people like children and wanted you to arrive 15mins early so you could use the bathroom, grab a coffee and be at your desk ready to start promptly at 9am!) -- I still hate to show up late simply because I slept in. 

But something good came out of sleeping in, I was thrown off my regular routine enough that I did something new--I used the Note app on my phone to do some writing on the book. Didn't write tonnes, probably not much more than a couple of paragraphs, but going to start doing that from now on. It'll also encourage me to email the notes to myself in the evenings to add to the manuscript, so that'll give me the nudge to open the word file and do some writing  when I get home, no matter how stress my day has been and  tired I am. :)   For example, I haven’t opened my manuscript all week because I’ve been training a newbie and covering quite a bit for my underwriter who’s on vacation. I’m a shameless when it comes to tweaking/fiddling/revising what I’ve already written, so I know once I copy and paste the words from the cell phone notes into the document, I’ll end up doing work on the manuscript in the evenings. Voila! Problem solved.

I didn’t make New Year’s Resolutions, but I did have certain goals in mind for this year and so far I’m hitting a number of them: figure out how to incorporate regular/consistent exercise into my daily routine,, figure out how to manage my insomnia better and get more sleep, figure how to write consistently (and finish a manuscript this year), post more on my blog and FB author page.  So far, so not too bad. J

 (By the way, the PATH is 30 kilometers of underground shops, restaurants, subway stops, hotel access, City Hall, etc. that runs through Toronto's downtown financial district)
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