Sunday, February 28, 2010

Amazing and wondering

Amazing was that Canada vs USA hockey game. Two great teams.

Amazing is that Canada won 14 gold medals. A record for any country at the winter games.

Amazing is that USA won 37. A record for any nation.

Amazing is that I'm not even jealous of that fact because we won 14 gold.

Amazing is that we had our own gold experience, with my son winning the city championship in basketball.

Amazing is that I played my first game of soccer in five months and scored the winning goal (and the only goal)

Amazing would be to find another girl who liked sports as much as me. That would be a kindred spirit indeed.

Amazing is that after reworking my book more times than I can remember, I've just figured out that it needs a new ending.

Wondering why it took so long to figure that out.

Wondering why I always get sick on my days off work.

Wondering if this week will finally be the week I finish painting.

Wondering if I can finish my rewritten ending by tomorrow.

Wondering if I can stop coughing long enough to sleep 8 hours straight.

Wondering if I can handle another Monday, especially now that the Olympics are over.

Wondering if I'll ever get to 100 followers.

Wondering if this post is getting a little annoying.

I think it might be.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Tell don't show

I know what you're thinking. I've gone completely mad. I'm about to talk about breaking one of the most fundamental rules of writing. You always show don't tell, or do you??

Back in my university days as a English major, I took a Shakespeare class, which I absolutely loved. My professor was big into dramatic plays, Henry the V, Lear, Hamlet etc. I on the other hand loved the comedies, especially The Taming of the Shrew. I remember for one essay question we had to take one play and compare different adaptations. I watched the Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton movie then I watched a stage production that someone had taped.

There were lots of differences, but one that has continually stuck out in my mind, is the wedding scene. In the movie they show Richard Burton arriving late to wed Ms. Taylor and in outlandish clothes. They show him acting badly during the ceremony. He pretends to fall asleep, has a coughing attack, and basically acts like a major louse.

In the play this all happens off stage. An actor comes in and recounts the events of the wedding to his companion. He describes Pertruchio's attire, and retells his horrible behavior. I have to say the actor who played, I think the character's name is Gremio, was fantastic. He had me laughing so hard I almost wept.

I know this is comparing movies to plays, which is something completely different than writing a novel, but do you think that there is ever a time when it is more advantageous to tell and not show.

What do you think? Or is this just one rule you should never break?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Heart Rate Monitor

Last Christmas my husband gave me a heart rate monitor for a gift. It took me a while to figure out how to use it. Actually, it took my husband setting it all up before I even put it on, but once I did, wow! Now I never exercise without it. I love being able to see how high my heart rate is. I can no longer say I think I'm working hard enough. I know just by looking at my watch whether I'm in my heart rate zone.

I love after I'm done being able to review my top heart rate, my low, and my average, but most of all I love seeing how many calories I've burned.

Today after I exercised I kept the watch on while I cleaned the house for 30 minutes and I burned an extra 200 calories. Tonight I played soccer for one hour and burned 1000 calories. (see why I missed it - easy way to stay in shape).

It's such a great motivator and it's easy to see my progress, now if I can just lay off the chocolate and danishes.

Last post I said how I thought I had improved in my writing. Words are coming a little bit easier, scenes are flowing better, and my idea seems to be working. Not to say that there isn't struggles. In fact, I'm in the middle right now and we all now how hard the middle can be.

Although it would be nice to have a watch that tells you how many sentences are awesome, how many scenes are great, and It would be nice to have an actual watch that determined your progress.

What do you do to gauge your progress?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I'm back and I hate to brag but..

I'm not sure I can say I got a lot accomplished last week, seeing as my kids were home, I worked two days and we had five basketball games on the weekend, but I didn't do too bad.

I wrote 4000 words on my current project bringing the grade total to 33,000 words. I almost have my basement painted and I even managed to color the grey out of my hair. Yes I'm going grey, as my daughter so loudly pointed out to everyone at the basketball games two weeks ago.

Now for the bragging part. I really believe that the first draft of my current project is way better than the first draft of my completed project, which could only mean one thing. I'm getting better. I no longer use adverbs at will. I try to stay away from the passive voice. I watch my dialogue tags by using more action than he said, she said. All in all it's been a good start. That's not to say that I still have to work on the story. I made a list of all the things I need to figure out before starting the draft. I take notes in between games. But all in all, I'm feeling really good about this new book.

In other good news, I've been given the go ahead to play soccer. The last doctor I went to didn't think the injury was as severe, so I went to practice last week. The knee was okay, but the rest of my body sure hurt.

Anyway it's good to be back, and I look forward to catching up with everyone.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

We interrupt this unplugged week...

for an important contest. Go check out Elana Johnson's blog for all the details. Major query critiques available.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

Valentine's would have been great this year. My husband had planned for us to go out for dinner on Saturday night, but I felt so sick that all we ended up doing was laying on the couch watching lame dunks in the All Star NBA weekend.

In fact I felt sick all weekend and didn't get much writing, painting or sleeping done. Thanks for everyone's advice on the type of floor to put in. I'm still afraid of tile, but have ruled out laminate. Now I'm looking into cork.

Tomorrow in Alberta Canada is family day. The Premier created the holiday around ten years ago and I think it's totally awesome. One day a year is put aside to spend with your family. Plus my kids are off school for the week, so I'm going to do something I've never done. I'm unplugging for the week.

I'll be lurking around, but I probably won't be posting until next week. I say probably because I'm kind of addicted.

Hope everyone has a good week.

PS: For a great signed book contest go pay Heidi a visit or just say hello because she's been housebound for 11 days.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I need some advice and randomness

So here's the problem. We're replacing our kitchen floor and we don't know what to put down. My husband wants tile, I'm leaning toward laminate.

My question is this: What kind of flooring do you have in your house and do you like it?

Now for the randomness:

There seems to be a lot of agents running contests. Do you ever enter these contests and what do you think of them?

Do you ever get so overwhelmed by all the advice out there that you just want to stop reading it?

Do you find that things sound a lot funnier in your head?

Don't you hate when the perfect word comes to you on like your tenth revision, making you wonder why you couldn't think of that word the first time?

Do ever get on a treadmill only to get off two minutes later because your so tired?

For the first time since Christmas none of our kids have games this weekend, and to be honest with you I'm a little disappointed. I guess I'll paint, write and sleep. That seems to be an ongoing theme for me. Maybe we'll go out on Saturday since it is the 19th anniversary of when me and my husband started dating.

I know it's not Friday, but since I usually don't post on Fridays, I hope you all have a good weekend.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

From the mouths of kids

The other day my daughter was telling me and her two brothers a story about her school assembly. Since it was kind of late at night and it had been a long day I was only half listening. The story consisted of a kid yelling out something during the assembly. I don't know what it was or in what context, but the next line out of my daughters mouth was too funny.

"And to make the story funnier - he was small."

It wasn't so much the second part that made me laugh, it was the "and to make the story funnier." Me and my sons just sort of stared at each other before chuckling, which made her very happier.

But that's really the key isn't it. You start off with a story, a first draft if you will, but then you needto make the story funnier, sadder, deeper, just better. Even if it means making the main character small.

Bonus - Real Teenage Boy Pick Up Lines
(courtesy of my 14 year old)

One of his friends collected hot sauce from taco bell and kept it in his pocket for a dance. He'd walk up to girls and say "I'd give you some hot sauce, but you're already hot."


"If you were a sandwich at McDonald's you'd be the McGorgeous.

I think my kids exist strictly for my entertainment or to test my patience.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Xbox vs Reading

I love to read. I almost love it too much.

When I start a good book I have a hard time doing something else. This week I opened up the book Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, which I had gotten for Christmas.

I took it to work and read during my lunch hour. Then I read it at the stop lights on my way home from work, which resulted in a few horns being honked. I continued to read it while I waited for my son's basketball practice to be over and before my son's basketball game to begin.

Friday was my day off and I was half way through the book. I had three things on my agenda before I had to take my son to his basketball tournament (Did I mention we do a lot of basketball). I wanted to exercise, paint a few walls, and do a little bit of editing. I started off good by riding the bike (bad knee remember). I even put a load of laundry in, but then the book began calling. I read while I ate breakfast and then just blew off the rest of the morning.

I told my family that I couldn't start any more books, because I just don't get anything done when I'm reading. And my son says yeah I know what you mean, it's just like Xbox.

I gulped, swallowed hard and bit my lip. I love my son, even though he doesn't like to read, but he has been known to be a little obsessed with a certain Xbox game.

So I guess in an obsessive kind of way, yes reading is just like xbox.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


For those who don't know I hurt my knee back in November and haven't been able to run or play soccer for three months. It's hard not being able to play with my teammates and slowly I'm feeling more disconnected with them because you bond through experience and right I'm not experiencing anything. Plus I've gained like ten pounds because I usually run to exercise and I can't run.

Well on Tuesday after getting on the scale I was determined to go work out. I went to the gym and rode the bike, which I hate. I did the eliptical, which I'm not sure was good for my knee, and I walked on the treadmill at a high elevation, but the need to run was too much. So I ran for two minutes then I went out to the track and tried sprinting, stopping short and turning the other way.

My knee felt fine on Tuesday night, but on Wednesday during the day I could feel it stiffening up. I was considering going to practice last night, but at the last moment decided it would be a good idea.

Because of being impatient, my knee now really hurts today.

Same can be said for writing. There are times during the writing process when impatience rears it's ugly head. I get tired of editing. I want to start experiencing the query process. I want to feel the excitement of what could be. But I did that once already (a few years ago) and when I look back on what I sent out. It was no wonder I got rejected. So I've waited, learned and edited my book.

Now I'm not saying that you need to edit forever. Eventually you need to put your name in the hat and see what happens. It's hard to know when you've reached that point. That's what I'm struggling with right now, having the confidence to push that send button. I can't help but second guess myself and I'm constantly re-reading chapters.

For those who have queried, how did you know you were ready?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

One word answers

Finally something I'm good at. Melissa over at Chasing the Dream gave the Over the Top Award. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad - being over the top.

Anyway here are my answers, turns out that a lot of them are the same as Melissa's:

Your cell phone: Rarely used
Your hair: Brown
Your mother: Compassinate
Your father: Protective
Your favorite food: Bread
Your dream last night: Frankensteinn and Soccer
Your favorite drink: Diet Coke with Lime
Your dream goal: Novelist
What room are you in: Office
Your hobby: Writing
Your fear: Failure
Where do you see yourself in 6 years: Published
Where were you last night: Basketball game
Something you aren't: Adventurous
Muffins: Banana Chocolate Chip
Wish list item: MacBook
Where did you grow up: Alberta
Last thing you did: Painted
What are you wearing: Cardigan
Your TV: Off
Your pets: Non-existent
Friends: Supportive
Your life: Chaotic
Your mood: Stressed
Missing someone: No
Vehicle: Rusted
Something you aren't wearing: Skirt
Your favorite store: Costco
Your favorite color: Brown
When was the last time you laughed: Yesterday
Last time you cried: Last Week
Your best friend: Sisters/mom/P
One place you go over and over: Bed
Facebooking: Sometimes
Favorite place to eat: Joey Tomatoes

I'll send this award to, drum roll please.

Kristen Torres-Toro
Catherine Denton
Carolyn V.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Another Contest - this time for Query letters

I love contests like these and it's so great that agents run them.

Here are the details.

Kathleen Ortiz, an Associate Agent and Foreign Rights Manager at Lowenstein Associates JUST started her blog, and she is hosting a query contest to garner followers. Go check it out.