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Showing posts from February, 2016

Merry Monday: Weather

[caption id="attachment_4711" align="alignright" width="300"] Image created using Bit Strips.[/caption]

It's Monday and I have trouble getting going on Mondays. I thought I'd try something new. What if Monday sets the tone of the whole week? What if on Monday I decide to be appreciative in the face of the challenges ahead?

This Monday I'm going to talk about the weather.

Last night, freezing rain covered Ottawa. I was dreading driving to work this morning.

Guess what?

As I chipped away at the ice on my car this morning, braced to apply a ton of elbow grease, it broke apart with little force. This surprised and filled me with joy. It was actually almost fun to clean off my car today.

So, as we brace for another storm slated for tomorrow and Wednesday, remember that it might not be that bad. Besides, weather forecasting isn't an exact science. Remember last week when they told us it was going to do "something" possibly <insert list of…

A Full Plate

Life got extra busy last week.

I procured a Post Office Box, so I can get ISBNs without providing my home address. I felt it best to ensure I never have people showing up on my doorstep uninvited and I doubt I will live there forever anyway.

I requested 10 ISBNs to get rolling on putting up short stories on Amazon and Smashwords. Waiting to hear on those.

I'm working on a short story for an anthology one of my writing groups is putting together. It's a solar punk tale.

I'm making substantial changes to The Page & The Magician. At one point her powers came from her spirituality, now they will come from her connection to nature. Now I need to figure out what to have her do to find her animal form rather than a vision quest. Perhaps a nature hike of some sort. Perhaps in Gatineau Park? I really like the vision quest though... Maybe I can do something in between the two. I'm on chapter 7/24 for major editing.

I've suspended work on The Blood Waitress Club temporarily. I…

Plodding or is it Plotting Along?

Well, I'm about 30% through this round of editing on The Page & The Magician. I think I may do another round after that is a sentence by sentence run through where I'll try to make each the best it can be. I learned Anne Rice writes that way. She makes each sentence the best she can rather than rushing through to finish the draft.

If I did that, I think I'd be paralyzed with writer's block. I do wonder if it leads to much less revision later though.

I have more short stories planned for other contests and such. I submitted Purple Ribbons the other day to a newspaper one. I had to mail it in. They didn't provide an email address to send it to.

I have a new book I'm expecting tomorrow. It's an absolute beginners guide to drawing. I've always wanted to learn and if I get good, perhaps I can make my own book cover art and have other media to sell along with my books. Right now this is mostly a pipe dream, but so was writing at all at one time.

I was frust…

Ottawa Snowstorm - February 2016

Tuesday brought a nasty winter storm down upon Ottawa and surrounding areas. The snow began in the morning. Pixie started, which was a blessing as I'd been trying to get to the pharmacy for the past two days. The drive was a little messy. After stopping on my way to work, it was messier still.

About 20 minutes after arriving at work, my car looked as if I had never brushed it off. Around 11, the snow in the parking lot was up at knee height. Well, my knee height. It was high enough to cause difficulty opening car doors.

At noon, they sent us home. I was thankful that I had bought a shovel earlier this winter to keep in my car. I needed it to get Pixie out of the parking lot at work.

I slowly drove home. Despite having seen plows earlier in the day, the roads were as if none had been by.

When I got home, I got stuck twice. Pixie's front end was getting caught on the snow and so were her wheels. Because she's a little low to the ground, it was like the bumper was trying to plow …

Major Revising is Needed

My thoughts are on Comiccon lately. I'm going to buy my costume this year instead of making it. This will leave me more time to focus on my writing.

Speaking of my writing, despite the flu, I've revised the first five chapters of my novel again and am working on the sixth.

On this edit, I'm hacking and slashing any dialogue that doesn't add something to the story. Sometimes I'm replacing the dialogue with narration. It was suggested to me that dialogue should be 30% or less of the story. It's a lot of work, but I can see how much better my story is getting by reducing irrelevant information. I probably thought it was relevant when I first wrote it. Sometimes we need to write things out in order to find the story and get to know our characters.

I've also come to the realization that I need to rewrite large chunks of it. There's too much religion and spirituality in it. All has to go. It was cathartic for me to write, but not something people want to read.

Th…

A Challenging Month

I'm having quite a struggle lately. February is shaping up to be an awful month. I had several writing projects rejected during the first week. On Tuesday of the second week, I fell ill with flu, which I'm still fighting.

It looks like the theme of week three will be car trouble as Pixie won't start today. I've plugged her in, well as best as I could. The block heater's cord won't plug fully into my extension cord. I hope it's far enough to do something useful and that I don't need a boost. I had trouble with it last year before I started using gasline antifreeze regularly. I'm using it regularly this year, but I guess the last couple days of extreme cold (-43 with windchill) have upset her.

Still, I'm refusing to let any of this get me down.

I'm hitting revisions fairly hard. Chapter 5 will have a lot of cuts.

I'm also reading more and thoroughly enjoying it.

I spent most of Valentine's Day reading and it was fantastic. I'm mostly ha…

9 Tips on Respecting Others

I'm increasingly coming across preachy people. Whether it be the food I eat, what type of exercise I do, what religion I am, the fact that I drive rather than use public transportation, etc, someone has something to say about it.

I decided a post about tolerance and diversity was needed.

Here are nine things to ask yourself if you're not sure if you are respecting other people:

1. Are you about to name call? Lazy, murderer, evil/heathen, immoral, crazy, etc, are all about hurting a person who is different than you.

2. Do you believe your perception to be someone else's reality? Are you about to force your belief on someone else?

3. Do you think yourself to be the only person who researches before making life changes?

4. Are you are attempting to convert your "friend"? If so, you care more about the cause than accepting your loved ones for who they are.

5. Do you celebrate their diversity or want them to be more like you?

6. Do you think it is it possible that every huma…

When Bad Things Happen

I received some disheartening news today.

Someone I knew has been found guilty of having an inappropriate sexual relationship with one of their high school students.

It's possible this person is suffering from mental illness, but does that excuse any part of their behaviour?

Mature adults know better. Even if they have feelings for someone, they know not to pursue it. They don't act on those feelings.

But this person took action.

Those of us that know them are in shock.

I'm wondering if there were signs there that I should have seen.

I'm also wondering if anyone ever really knows anyone else.

Ciao,
R~

My Gratitude List

I found this blog post that highlighted exactly how I was feeling about the whole buzzword of gratitude. It helped me make a list that is real to me.

1. I am grateful for having the flu because I needed a break from work.

2. I am grateful for this sore throat because it's making me appreciate food despite the challenges I have with sensitivities. I'm also short on cash until pay day and was worried I wouldn't afford groceries.

3. I am grateful for the publisher rejecting my novel because I know it can be better and I felt I'd rather start out with another one and learn more about the process.

4. I am grateful for the anthology rejecting my short story because I didn't like the changes I made to try and fit it. I also learned I'm not a comedy writer.

5. I am grateful for this fever because it's forcing me to relax.

6. I am grateful for my spacebar malfunctioning because it's forcing me to type more carefully.

7. I'm grateful for having good benefits and OHI…

Gratefulness vs. Balance

I think the concept of gratefulness is lovely. I'm not sure people employ it in a realistic way.

I think one can be positive without ignoring the utter crappiness of a situation they are in. If one spends too much time only thinking optimistically, they'll be caught off guard when someone attacks them in the street. One doesn't want to be paranoid, but one should be prepared for a variety of possibilities.

The world has a lot of different kinds of people in it.

I don't think someone who gets stabbed by someone else should only be allowed to feel happy to be alive. Yes, that is part of what they should feel, of course. They should also be allowed to fully experience the range of human emotions. The grieving process is healthy and natural. Telling someone they should just be grateful because someone else has it worse ignores the person in front of you who is in pain.

I'm sick for the first time in a long time. I'm running a fever that is taking forever to go down. Kn…

Progress

I've been really frustrated today. I have written some short stories and they have all gotten rejected. The usual spiel is that it's not what they are looking for.

Looking around at the market for short story anthology or magazine entries and nothing fits any of my stories, plus most want to pay something like $10 for a story I have spent months writing and revising.

I thought about putting my own anthology together, but that costs a lot of money, especially with the Canadian dollar being low right now. Who knows how long that will last?

So then I thought that many writers sell their short stories on Amazon. I can do this!

Next I thought I need some sort of book cover though. I knew I didn't want to spend a ton of money on a cover for a short story when I might not make any money on it. I searched online for stock photos, but many were more than I wanted to pay. As I don't have skill in turning a stock photo into a cover, there would be a lot of work for me to learn that s…

Cleaning

Now that I've cleaned my website, it's time to look at other areas of my life.

It's no secret to anyone who knows me or has read this blog that I've been struggling for a couple of years now.

Between a haywire body and a lot of life changes there have been a lot of days where I barely managed to get myself out of bed and some where I just couldn't.

Simple things like doing some dishes can be painful on my ever dry hands, so my dishwasher is helpful.

Actually scrubbing anything for more than a couple of minutes can be downright exhausting.

I'm also really sensitive to toxic chemicals. Definitely ones found in building supplies like insulation and I'm unsure what others.

And spending a lot of time cleaning takes time away from things I care far more about like writing and socializing.

So I made a purchase the other day that will make it easier to clean my home without exposing myself to extra chemicals.

I got a steam cleaner that can be a stand up mop or a hand hel…

New Sections!

Not only did I add a new section for Poetry, but I've also added a section for Videos.

I'm publishing videos on YouTube as The Tiny Samurai.

The first one for Tom Sawyer was scripted. The second for A Test of Loyalty was not. I think I prefer not scripting.

It might take a bit for the gaming ones as I know nothing about editing videos, but more to come.

Ciao,
R~

Revamping

I'm revamping some things on the site.

I added a new section for Poetry. I have other poems to add sometime. Perhaps tomorrow for those.

There will be some other new sections in the coming months.

Ciao,
R~

Mid-Week Check-in

We're having some fun weather in Ontario today, but the drive to work was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. The worst part of the morning was getting the ice off of Pixie (my purple-blue Kia Rio5). One of her back doors was frozen shut and I couldn't get it open. I tried to reach the scraper from the front seat, but alas my short arms couldn't reach it, so I tried once again to open the door. Pulling hard, I freed it from its icy binding,  grabbed the scraper, and went to work after starting Pixie. I think it was just at the beginning of this winter that I figured out the spikes on the scraper are for freezing rain. I'm not sure why it took me that long given that I'm from Northern Ontario, but at least I figured it out.

Harry Potter

Yesterday, my friend Jen and I started an Ottawa-area Harry Potter Society on Facebook. The group grew to over twenty people on the first day! I'm really excited about this and looking forward to sharing our love of all thi…

Updates Galore

Writing

I submitted a horror story on Saturday. It's a wonderful tale *possibly* involving cannibalism. After looking at the critiques from my writing group on another story, I'm slightly worried it's riddled with grammar issues though.

I'm unsure why I'm having trouble with grammar lately. Passive voice is likely creeping into my work because I've been listening to classic novels. I'm a little worried about this grammar issue. I used to tutor others in English. Hopefully I'm just going through a growth period. In any case, Purple Ribbons will need more fixes before it goes out the door.

Writer's group was tonight. We have several new members who gave great feedback. It's really nice having some new perspectives and varied experience.

I haven't heard about my novel yet, but they're a small team and I know it takes me a long time to read one book let alone several. Of course I'm eager to hear from them, but I'm keeping the project ma…