Thursday, December 24, 2015

It's a Green Holiday....

Once again, the temperature here in my province is well above freezing, and it is looking like we are going to have another green December 25th.

I have no problem with that. It makes driving so much safer when the temperature is in the double digits Celsius.

Things have been busy here... We've been shopping like mad the last couple of months, and busy getting everything ready for Santa's arrival later tonight. We're finally ready for him too... The tree is up and lit, the presents are wrapped, and Son is bouncing off of the walls, he's so excited.

For the first year in ages, I am actually feeling festive, and feeling like we did a wonderful job all around with everything, from the tree to the preparations, the food and most of all, gifts to our son. The last couple of years haven't been the best, and now things are finally looking up, enough for me to spend a little extra on him and Husband.

It could be the fact I finally got to the theater to see "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" last night too.... Which was AWESOME by the way!! I'm not posting any spoilers - one of my close pals won't see it until it comes out on DVD/Blu-Ray and PPV in the spring or summertime - so please... NO SPOILERS IN THE COMMENTS, for her sake. She does read the blog...

However, I will say that seeing the original cast members and the Millennium Falcon again was like seeing old friends... I cried! It's making me want to watch the original trilogy - Episodes IV through VI - sometime soon... I do have the lot of them on DVD, and Son is now showing interest in Star Wars... Which I think is cool. He's a huge Trek fan, and although I love Star Trek too, it's more Hubby's thing... Star Wars is my thing. I'm going to enjoy introducing my son to a whole new realm of the sci-fi world... tee hee!

Work on the stories is slowly progressing. I've been working on TWO ideas, Thirteen and Fourteen, in between running around and getting ready for the holidays. It's all prelim work, researching, choosing character names, writing down scene ideas, and other general early work.

For the record, "Fourteen" is a spin off idea, a "What if THIS happened...?" kind of thing. I'm not saying where the idea came from either. That's between me, Bestie and maybe two other people, and will stay there for now..... *whistles innocently* I'm hoping to get into one of them, or another idea, sometime in the new year. I'm feeling a lot better now, and my health continues to improve... So, it's time to get off the fanny and get cracking!

In closing, I wish all of you joy, happiness, lucky, health, wealth, and love this holiday season.

Here is what my ideal celebration looks like: A warm blanket, the lights twinkling on the tree, a "crackling fire" (actually the holiday fire channel on our satellite dish), and a purring kitty on my lap. Pure heaven!

My ideal celebration of Christmas...
Merry Christmas from Amber and myself. Have a safe and fun weekend everyone!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Culling The Fat

Things with Untitled Thirteen are moving slowly. I'm getting a few ideas for it, but not moving a lot in it right now.

But, I am making progress elsewhere.

My best friend is starting to send me her revision suggestions for "Hearts Remembering", and the list is LONG. Four pages worth of stuff for ONE chapter alone, and reminders to take it easy with various things she's noticed I have a terrible habit of repeating. She's also noticed I missed a word here and there, or put the wrong word in - correctly spelled but one or two letters away from the word I was meaning to use.

That's good. I knew it needed work. A lot of work.

Overall, she liked the story. That's good. She likes my style, and has told me what I should be keeping, because it's so power packed with a description that gave her a really cool mental picture of the scene.

I don't care how much Bestie cracks the whip with the editing and revisions... I'm seeing a LOT of what she's saying, even before she brings it up during our chats in Facebook or on the phone (three or four hours minimum - we're on opposite coasts, thank heavens for great long distance plans!). She's worried she's being too picky, but I NEED to hear this kind of stuff, that way I know what *not* to do when I'm writing the next manuscript, and what I should look out for while editing and revising future works.

Something came up in our last couple of phone calls and our talks on the messenger... She read parts of the original version of this manuscript, and could not believe I had sent it out to publishers in *that* condition. It needed sooooooooo much work, yet I was convinced - by *what* is between me, her and my word processor - it was "perfect" as I was going to get it at that time. I know now that had I listened to my gut instead of outside influences, I may have been published by now.

Yes, I could have self published it the way it was after the rejections, BUT if I had done that, my career as an author would have been pretty much over.

One big thing I've learned in the last year and a half or so is that when you self publish, the story, the editing, *EVERYTHING* has to be PERFECT. The story concept has to be perfect, unique and attract the right readers, the editing has to be the epitome of perfection, and so does the writing itself. If any of those things, or pretty much anything else is even the tiniest bit "off", the majority of readers out there - that don't know you and couldn't care less about your feelings - will never buy or read another book of yours ever again, even if you publish the perfect book a week later. You will fall flat on your face and never recover from it.

It's sad, but that's what you get for being so impatient if you're not willing to learn and grow as a writer.

All I'm going to say is that I'm just glad I didn't listen to outside influences when it came to self publishing my stuff.

And yes, for the record, "Hearts Remembering" IS the revamp of what used to be "No Regrets"... I've culled the fat (removed all passive stuff), compressed descriptions, changed things around, and wrote it the ORIGINAL way I had planned to back in 2010 when this story was first conceived. It's not even half as long as the original version was - although I do include references to "before" - and to me, it's sooooooooooo much better. Anyone who has read the original version of it will be able to see huge changes in my style, and everything else in the rewrite.... If it ever comes out that is...

I do have a list of publishers in mind for its submission, but none of them will be seeing it for a while yet. It's far from ready, and I don't think it will go out until spring at the absolute earliest. I want this one to be perfect, from commas being in the correct place, and all of the dots on the Is to the crosses on the Ts.

I think between Bestie, myself and the rest of my beta readers, we can do it.

I also sent Bestie a copy of "Family Portraits", which had been written as a sequel to "No Regrets", before I learned what the market standards *REALLY* are and that bad writing and bad ideas are *not* welcome in the industry, especially in self published works...

I hope Peapod doesn't twitch TOO much. It STINKS.

It is soooooooooooooo rotten that I nicknamed it "The Abomination", and have it now classed as "The Worst Thing VJ Wrote, Even Worse Than Her Earliest Works".

Yeah. NOT going down that route again, and if I ever write a *real* sequel to "Hearts Remembering", it's going to be MY way, with MY ideas and NO influence from those who have no f@cking clue about anything writing wise.......................

I also have a video to share with all of my fellow writers out there. It's about why one needs a lot of writing pals, not just one, and how the real writing friends out there will help you improve as a writer, and a writing pal yourself.


I highly recommend that all writers and authors watch this. It's not only loaded with great information, Ms. Moreci is wonderful and entertaining as well.

And before anyone thinks of describing me as an "asshole writer", keep in mind I am the one who is willing to learn, grow and practice, and try writing new stuff if my old ideas are not to publisher's liking... My ORIGINAL ideas that I wrote completely BY MYSELF... Anyone who really knows me knows I am not a jealous writer and logic dictates had I been jealous for "that reason", I would have done the exact same thing when "No Regrets" was rejected and I was being pushed to self publish it "as is"...... 

Just saying.................

Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Endurance Training

Another week and more progress, both in real life and the story idea I've dubbed "Thirteen".

Bowling Saturday night was a blast. I did really well despite being rusty, it was the first time I went to any alley in about six or so months. Hubby and I bowled three strings each - Son was at his grandmother's so we could have "date night" - and although I was sore, it was worth it.

We do the "Candlepin" style of bowling, which is more prominent than the "duckpin" in my area. Candlepin is played mostly in the northern New England States and the Canadian Maritime Provinces, mostly in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. The pins are straight sided, the balls are smaller, and from what I understand, it's a somewhat more difficult game. No record of a perfect score of 300 has been recorded to my knowledge to this day in the game.

I have never played the duckpin version. We do not have an alley that has it in my county, and as far as I know, there is only ONE alley that has it in the entire province.

Anyway...................................................................................

Evidence I'm losing weight was really prominent that night. I shook my hand to alleviate some numbness from carpal tunnel syndrome, and my hematite ring flew off of my finger. Thankfully it didn't go far, and the alley wasn't crowded - Hubby and I were the only ones in there at the time.

My jeans kept wanting to slide down over my hips too. Yeah, that was really fun, trying to bowl and trying to keep the jeans up at the same time.

And what was my tightest pair of jeans that still fit me are now getting looser too... They were trying to fall down during Wednesday's walk.

I think it's time to invest in a belt...

My wedding ring is starting to get really loose too. If this keeps up, I'm going to have to wear that on the middle finger and get another ring for the ring finger. *blink*

Maybe it's all of the walking I'm doing, the healthier eating and the fact I do not each much processed food and NO fast food these days??? :)

Whatever. It's working so far, and I'm determined to keep rolling with this. Not too fast, because it'll come back a lot easier then.

In the last week, my energy level has improved by 100%. I feel like doing more and more each day, like heavy stuff around the house and lots of it, and I tend to be more "awake" now, on less sleep than I was getting before I snapped out of the fog I was in all summer.

Yeah, the walks are helping, a lot.

I am still going to the stream and back, and will continue to do just that short route until I'm so used to it that I'm barely winded when I reach my driveway. I did it three times this week, and even added a little extra to the route, so I am slowly getting there.

I just want to build up my endurance before going nuts with the walking.

I'm also retraining for writing endurance. I had three days this week and it was rough getting into the swing of things.

That said, I managed to get a full scene written in two days, after fighting not to write it up. It's a scene that happens later on in the story, and one I hadn't planned on writing up yet. I wanted to get more added to the main file before I did anything else.

Oh well, at least I was writing, right? ;)

My best friend helped me brainstorm that scene once she and I clued in that it was NOT going to leave me alone until I wrote it up. Thanks to her, I managed to figure out a lot of dynamics, and how to lead into it, as well as exactly *what* happens, etc.

She and I plan on brainstorming more when the time is right, and when Son isn't looking over my shoulder. He's getting more and more curious about what I'm writing about, and well, it's not fit for youngsters, if y'all know what I mean. ;)

The scene itself is about 1800 words, over 1000 of that was added today in only an hour.

Wish I would have been able to settle into it earlier than I had, I would have hit the 2K mark for today alone had my brain wanted to stop running around like a bloody squirrel on crack.... *SIGH*

Anyway, I hope all of my fellow Canadians had a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving...

It's hard to believe that Halloween, Samhain and the rest of the days of the dead are almost upon us. This summer went by so darn fast.

Have a great weekend everyone. :) 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Rock N Rolling With It

Fall is in the air, and today was proof of it. We had frost last night, and Son and I just about froze at the bus stop despite wearing our spring/fall jackets.

It was still rather crisp at 10 a.m., when I decided to get myself offline, get my favorite hoodie on, dig out the old MP3 player and get outside for a bit. I wanted to capture some of the fall foliage with the camera, so it turned into a walk down to the stream and back, about 10 minutes each way.

It's not very colorful down this way. Our summer came late, so did the warmer weather, and things have been thrown way off. We do have some colors this year, but things are either still green or going straight to brown for the most part.






Some of the plants growing alongside of the road are brighter than the trees this year so far...


But that's okay. I still got out of the house for a bit, reset my brain from "online mode" to "offline/relaxing mode" and enjoyed the crisp, sweet smelling air.

This gorgeous flower is in full bloom, down by the stream. I saw it and couldn't help taking photos of it...



I was so invigorated when I got into the house, that I opened up the windows, and booted up Word. I was planning on working on the rest of the supporting cast and other names today, but things got a little... weird....

It seems that I'm not completely burned out as an author after all. It took seven months of being ill, stressed out, and other things, but I'm finally over that hump and back into things.. I hope.

Yes, the drought seems to be over finally... "Thirteen" officially has a main manuscript file, and there is one complete scene in it, the opener.... And the second one was started.

I don't remember much about the time I was writing that first scene. It's a bit of a blur... But it looks okay for an ultra rough draft so far, and it is within what I wanted for it... I may add or remove stuff from it over time, but that's normal. I got its rough draft started and hopefully something will come out of this, I do not want this to be just a trickle and stop again... I want to keep writing.

It felt awesome to be writing again, even if it was only 600 words. It's better than nothing, right?

At this point, I think I have most of the main players picked out... I have a few other things to create and name, but I can do that once I'm a little more into this one. I just hope some of my pals are up to brainstorming names for different things with me when the time is right...

I did get a few things done with some of the character bios, notably the leading male and some of the supporting cast even though writing took over the research and setting personality traits and so forth.

If I can get 500 words once a week, I'm going to be happy... Anything is better than not writing!!

Have a great weekend everyone, and if you are celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving, have a wonderful and safe holiday and long weekend!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Afterglow: A Bridgewater Art Experience

Last night was a lot of fun.

Husband, Son and I attended Afterglow Art Show, which was held on King Street in Bridgewater this weekend.

I am not an art connoisseur by any means - I can't draw or paint to save my life - but I do know what I like, and boy, there was a lot of what I like floating around the festival last night.

Spray paint art. Unusual but cool, especially when you see the amount of planning and different techniques used in creating this sort of piece.

Our first stop was to watch Kyle, the artist behind KyleO's Spray Paint Art, at work. And work he did, completing several pieces in front of the crowd that had gathered around his booth.

Son was especially happy to meet his art idol and to watch him working. Son has a piece that Husband and I commissioned Kyle to create just for our son for his last birthday - one of a starship. He was given a mask so he could watch from a much closer distance than most of us - even outdoors, spray paint does tend to get into your lungs and such pretty quickly - and he was even giving a rundown on what Kyle was doing, for people who were behind him.

I was fascinated to see how Kyle did it. We had one piece of his so far, one of three planets and an alien landscape, and I wanted to see how this talented young man created such interesting work using only spray paint as a medium.

I'm not going to go into detail, I don't have permission to do that, but I will say it was really cool to see him produce a gorgeous piece of art in only a short time, once he got going.

He uses different techniques to create texture, depth, shadows, light and everything else, including blending different colors to create an almost nebula like background for some of his works.


It's not all about spray painting, some of it takes actual handwork instead of just layering spray paint....


Flaming adds another kind of texture, and it's a cool effect to show in front of a crowd, especially after the sun goes down... That's his fiancee smiling at the camera. She was tickled that I was going to be sharing photos of Kyle's work on my blog and my page.



The finished product: A fairy sitting on a branch.



We stuck around to watch Kyle create yet another work, this one of mountains and a moon or planet in the sky. I thought it was a pretty cool picture. Son thought it was awesome.


Other works included a show right across the street from Kyle's booth, over in the Parkade.

Industribe had an interesting show, with fire dancers and even someone dressed up as a monarch butterfly. I was hoping to catch their after dark show, but we were on the other end of King Street when they had it.



Another one was Chalkmaster Dave, who was drawing a picture right on the pavement of King Street.


I didn't get photos of other parts of the show, because I really didn't have permission from the artist to take them.

We did stop inside one of the inside exhibits, one that featured a lot of abstract art by a lady named Monika Wright. Her works included acrylic works that were interesting. Normally I do not like abstract art, but hers used a lot of different textures that made it interesting. Her choices of color were to my liking as well - purples in most of the paintings - so I was rather surprised and pleased with her exhibit.

We headed back toward Kyle O's area and well, I kind of talked Hubby into getting me not one but two of Kyle's pieces for me, one of a reptilian eye with a planet in its iris, and one of a star rising above a lake. Both are gorgeous and I can't wait to show them off once I get frames for them.

I did get some cool shots of downtown Bridgewater, as well as a few other things...

On King Street by the South Parkade. The lights are by the Old Bridge.


The Old Bridge, which crosses the Lahave River by the Bridgewater Mall.


Moon over the Bridgewater Mall.


The Lahave River fountain, between the two bridges. It changes colors at night... Here it's in blue.


A Halloween display in the Kitchen Witch store window.


The Veteran's Memorial Bridge, or "New Bridge" as it's known to locals. That's the fountain to the right.


For more information on Afterglow, check out their Facebook fan page.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

A New Season, A New Reason to Keep Believing....

The last couple of weeks have been interesting, to say the least..........

Schools have been open only three weeks and the germs are spreading faster than the speed of light. Son has already had 2 sick days, Monday and Tuesday of this week, and I guess there were a lot of students out sick the last couple of weeks from illness.

No surprise. This happens every year. What surprised me was that it was this long before Son got something. Normally it's within two weeks, not three...

Yesterday, I got some great news regarding my health.

Remember how I said I have been ill the last while? Well, one of the conditions I was diagnosed with is now GONE and I've been given a clean bill of health on that front.

HUGE RELIEF. It's now just a case of checking things every couple of years unless something seems off. Business as before things went nutso.

Even better, the lifelong condition I was diagnosed with this past spring is now under control.

It's not like I can just forget about it and go back to the unhealthy stuff I was doing though. This is a lifelong condition. Once you have it, it's there ALWAYS and you are constantly monitoring it, and doing what you can to stay healthy and keep it under control.

I guess I am doing something right. Four months, that's all it took, from diagnosis to this point.

WHEW. You see, the family member who was diagnosed with this same condition, the one I inherited it from, passed away within 6 months of finding out they had it. I think I had it in the back of my mind that it's an automatic death sentence, despite proof otherwise -other family members and friends with the exact same condition who are perfectly fine and have had it for years.

I'm now seeing it isn't. In fact, living a longer, healthier life is the perfect motivation to keep positive and stick around for a few more decades. :)

Kitty Zaniness alert.............

Monitor Kitteh has made her fall debut... No surprise, the weather is getting cooler, and since the monitor is warm, she likes to toast her bum on top of it......




Yes, those are two different monitors. My old one croaked last month. It didn't owe us anything. It was one I purchased second hand from a friend of ours about 8 years ago, and it was old then.

As you can see in the photo, the color was way off and there was a line of black going across part of the screen. The picture tube in it was giving out.

My old Philips monitor, on its last legs.

The new monitor is still the same huge, clunky picture tube style, but it's newer... And black. It matches the computer, mouse and keyboard perfectly. It was given to me by a friend of ours, she now has a laptop and doesn't need a monitor for a desktop.

Much better, eh?

The new Dell monitor. It's a flat screen. 

Hey, Amber approves of it! She's always sitting on top of it and watching the neighborhood.

Amber watching for her "boyfriend", the neighbor's cat Ringo.

Idiot cat.

*sigh*

Writing update......

My beta team members are still taking their time to go over Hearts Remembering. So that one isn't allowed to be touched until I hear back from all of them.

HOWEVER.......

I am finally feeling up to doing something new, writing wise. Or old, depending on how you look at it.

Last week, I had my usual Friday to work, and I actually did something. It's not a lot, no actual "writing" per se (although Heather calls it writing, I call it PRELIM WORK... PEAPOD *NYAH*) I started detailed character bios, did a preliminary/short summary and started jotting down both general and adult scene ideas for it.

I'm not sure if anything will come out of it, but hey, it's a start, right? :) We shall see how this one goes.

It felt SO GOOD to be back into it again...

Yeah, I'm definitely feeling more and more like myself again.

Talk about a great feeling.

*goofy grin*

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! :)

****************************************

AUTHOR'S EXTRA: 

To anyone who was hoping things would stay out of whack - with my health, writing and everything else about my life....

F**K you

I'm more than surviving this. I'm going to beat it all to hell and back, and keep going. I'm not going to let this keep me down.

Y'all know damn well that *I* am too damn sunny natured to let it.

Go ahead, keep wasting your energy on wishing and hoping and whatever else you're trying to do... Keep lurking at my areas, in hopes you catch something you can speculate on and hope it's something bad happening to me, out of spite for me seeing your true colors... And before you can say I am "one to talk", maybe if you actually *looked* at the REAL pattern of your sorry, hate filled, drama stirring, victim playing life, you'd grow up and shut up instead of blaming everyone else but the real cause of your "problems"...

YOU.

It's your life and your choice, after all. Not mine, or anyone else's.


YOUR CHOICE.

But narcissists don't see it that way unfortunately.

*tsk* My bad.

Me, I'm just going to keep going ahead, not look back at all, focus on REALITY instead of a fantasy life, keep writing, accept what I can't change, change what I can, and love life completely.

That is my life and my choice.

*smug grin*

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Where Did Summer Go? (And More)

Ten weeks can go by in the wink of an eyelash.


I can't believe summer is over already, and Son is in Grade 5. School started last Thursday, and Son is more than happy to be back amongst his friends and classmates, learning and having fun with everyone.

It's his last year in the elementary end of his school, and it's bittersweet. He's worked so hard to make it this far, and he loves it there... Yet he has to move on and grow, and go on to new adventures in new places.

I'm so proud of him.

This past weekend also saw me finally getting off my "tush" and opening "Hearts Remembering" for the first time in a few weeks. It needed one last full edit before my new team of critique readers got their paws on it.

It went into Critique Draft Mode on Friday, and later that evening, this one's team - two returning members from the Away to Me critique, and three new ones - got a copy of it for their enjoyment. The only one who may do some editing in it for me is my best friend Heather, because she just can't resist it. That said, my editing is improving and she's not seeing a lot of stuff in later drafts now, not like she was a few years ago.

I'm hoping to hear back from them in about a month's time. Once that's done and I make any suggested changes (that will work for this story), I guess it's off to a publisher, once I find one that will take a story like it.... I have a few in mind already.

Hearts Remembering turned out to be my saving grace this past weekend... The entire full edit was done in less than 12 hours, most of it on Friday.

You see, I had to have something to keep me busy. We found out early Friday morning that a close friend of ours (who was also one of Hubby's coworkers) was killed in a car crash about 3 hours before that.

I needed to focus on something other than what happened and all of the questions banging around in my skull. Those questions have been answered, but I'm not going to say what they were publicly. Those who were close to her know the truth, and that's all that matters.

We said goodbye to her yesterday. It was so hard to do that too. She was a sweet person, sunny natured like I am, and a lot of people loved her.

We're really going to miss her.

This one is for you KS. Soar with eagles, my dear friend. Universe Bless. ♥


Song: "Higher Planes" by Whom Gods Destroy

Sunday, July 26, 2015

A Night of Pure Talent

Troubled Waters hosted another live music event... It was last night, at the MSAC again. 

First we were treated to some of (Prosthetic) Friends' instrumental riffs.... They're currently looking for a lead singer, but so far, no one has gotten lucky enough to fit the bill yet. No, I didn't try out for it... I can't carry a tune to save my soul, and I think most bands would prefer a lead singer who can actually SING...

Their instrumentals were awesome. It was my first time seeing this group as a whole (I have seen Bill the drummer with another band), and really enjoyed their performance.

(Prosthetic) Friends


Next, we were pleasantly surprised when Dirt Stache make an appearance. They even had - in my opinion - the funniest intro to a song for the night. "Here's something I'd rather  have than watch a Fast and Furious Movie," says Bill, the drummer. "CATHETER!" he yells into the mic.

My husband, who attended the show with me, cracked up on the spot.

I don't think Hubby realized just how silly the guys in Dirt Stache truly are... I always look forward to seeing them because they bring a lot of laughs along with some great instrumental tunes.

Dirt Stache
Flesh Cauldron was next, and their set even included a recording of backup lyrics for one of their songs. Almost the entire crowd - about 20 people, our MSAC's bar is a VERY tiny venue - participated in screaming "FIGHT!" for the guys.


I didn't participate. Like I said to a friend of mine, I don't want the album committing suicide because I was on it.

And as always, Flesh Cauldron kicked ass... Even with a joke about the "f**king drummer" - which happens to be an iPod with the drum tracks recorded on to it. No, they haven't gotten another drummer yet... So it's kind of turned into a running joke about an "invisible drummer".

Flesh Cauldron
And finally, last but not least, Whom Gods Destroy were on for their set. They didn't play "Sea of Tears", "The Traveller" or "Whom Gods Destroy", but they did play "Higher Planes", so they live once again. (Tee hee)

It was the first time Hubby had seen his brothers and Tim play at a live gig, and he liked it.

Their set included "Devil on Your Shoulder", "Higher Planes", "Ready for the Bite", "Tears of My Immortal Soul", "She May Be Evil", and "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich".

Whom Gods Destroy
All in all, it was a great night.

Whom Gods Destroy and Dirt Stache will be playing a set each at RiverFest - Rock the Bush in Pine Grove next month, but I will not be attending. I'm just going to wait until they play at another Troubled Waters event, or somewhere else, that's easier to get to for me.

Have a great week everyone!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Milestone!

One year ago today was the first day of my new life.
July 18, 2014: After 2 weeks of being on Champix (Chantix in the States, it's a stop smoking prescription medication) I woke up and started my first smoke free day.

It was a lot of jitters, grouchiness, grumbling, panic attacks, soooooooooo many cravings including a few that had me in tears, and just pure HELL that first day.

It was tough and touch and go for that first bit, but I managed to get myself through the day and get into bed without begging my husband to buy me a pack of cigarettes.

That was my first smoke free day in over a decade. The last time I had tried to quit, I was pregnant with my son and lasted about 10 weeks before I caved in and started smoking again.

So this has really been the longest I was smoke free since my preteens. I had my first cigarette at the age of 12 years old, and smoked once in a while until I hit high school at 15, then it escalated to me being addicted and finally smoking constantly at the age of 18.

I smoked for the next 22 years. The last going off, I was up to 60 cigarettes or more a day. That's 3 twenty packs or as we east coast Canadians prefer, 2 1/2 packs of 25 cigs a day.

As of today, I reached my ONE YEAR SMOKE FREE anniversary.

Look, I never thought I'd last a week, let alone 52 weeks. I was seriously addicted. Everything took a back burner to my addiction, even my writing some days. Everything had to wait until *after* I had one more cigarette, one more drag.

A year later, I no longer have that problem. I'm not even using the nicotine free vapor sticks. I haven't had one of those in over 3 months.

I've even written a full manuscript draft in the last year, my first as a non smoker.

Speaking of which, "Hearts Remembering" is now back in stasis and will be sent to the beta team sometime next month. It's as done as I can get it, and now I'm just waiting for word that I can start sending it out to the gang. I'm now in the process of trying to come up with a great short and longer synopsis for it.

My health is slowly improving... I'm feeling more and more like my old self, even if things are not completely balanced yet. It's a slow process but I'm hoping to be more "normal" for me by the time the new year rolls around.

And lastly, new glasses!! My new condition requires me to see my optometrist every 2 years, and well, something amazingly weird happened to me last month. My eyes IMPROVED to almost what they were back in 2007. I was wearing the glasses from that time period for a while because my prescription from 2013 was too strong for me... I am happy that I always keep old glasses as a backup, cause I wouldn't have been able to drive myself to a local hospital for an information session/workshop if I had.

My new glasses are even similar to the 07 prescription... Silver half rims, but wider lenses this time.

Me in 2011, with the 2007 prescription.

Here's what the present glasses look like...

Current glasses, almost identical in looks and in strength.

All that's really different is the fact the new glasses are a little bigger in the lenses and it's slightly stronger.

Hubby likes them, and my best pal Heather helped me pick them out.

Yeah, I think I'm doing okay, considering.

Have a great weekend everyone! :)

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Summer 2015, Round One...

First of all, Congrats to the Chicago Blackhawks on winning the Stanley Cup again this year!

And before anyone asks, no, I'd rather NOT talk about my Leafs. Ugh. (Can I shoot their former GM now or later??? GAH!!)

Secondly, summer vacation is HERE and Son will be going into Grade 5 with flying colors. Again, his report card was all As and Bs... minus a C in French. He despises speaking or hearing any language other than our mother tongue of English.

I've been learning a few Mi'kMaq words and throwing them at him sometimes, just for something to do. I get screamed at and a huge "I SPEAK ENGLISH!" screamed in my ear.

The ringing it causes is worth it though, just to get Son going... *looks innocent*

Well, this summer, it's official: I have no stories in progress so I'm not going batty for that reason. "Hearts Remembering" is in stasis again, after a few runs through, and my (now smaller) beta team will be getting it sometime soon, preferably before August 1 if I can do it. I just haven't been up to working the last while, that's why....

I owe all of my followers, family, friends and fans a huge apology for not posting any entries for the last three months.

You see, I've been very ill the last while.

So ill that one of the trips to a specialist saw me in bed, flat on my back and in full body agony for two days.

I've been foggy, feeling nauseated, weak, and a whole lot of other things I won't mention publicly since April, and it's only starting to improve now. I'm still not there by a long shot but I will be, sometime before the end of the year, or so I'm hoping!

It started out with a bad round of anemia - which I'm happy to say is gone! - and led into me finding out I had turned a huge corner and now have a lifelong condition that needs constant monitoring. It's not anything like cancer or something that serious, it's a condition that I had a 50-50 chance of getting thanks to a parent having it, and I was the unlucky one out of the three to have it. It's not a really big deal, once I get things under control. Unlike my parent, mine was diagnosed within six months of it starting, so with a lot of work, I should have a good long life after my diagnosis. It's just a matter of time, getting things balanced just so, and keeping it that way.

So far, so good, although the balance hasn't been reached yet. I'm getting there though! One day at a time. I've lost 15 pounds already - maybe more, I will know for sure at my next visit with our family doctor (I love her!) - and I've noticed my jeans are really starting to hang on me. My feet are not as swollen as they were before my diagnosis, I'm not retaining a lot of water because I've cut out a lot of salt in my diet, both via cutting out processed foods as well as adding a lot of salt to my homemade stuff, and I'm feeling a little more brighter and not as likely to shoot someone.

I do have STRICT orders to cut anything that stresses me out of my life - temporary or permanently - because a lot of stress will aggravate my condition. Some stress is expected but in some cases, it's perfectly avoidable, especially when one is surrounded by narcissistic, stupid and sneaky jerks.

Let's just say if I don't have you blocked in FB or other spots, I still care and there's a chance I will talk to you again in time.

That said, if I have you blocked anywhere, I'm indifferent and done with you permanently... So please, get over yourself, stop pretending I'm "lurking, watching and reading" everything you do, and face the fact I'm DONE and couldn't care less what you're doing or if you've found something new to play the victim about.

Oh, wait, that's right, people I've blocked can't face the truth.

Their fragile little egos would have a breakdown if they saw it.

*tsk* My bad.

I'm now wondering what the reactions would have been if I still hung out in certain spots.

I'm betting I'd be treated like I was still perfectly healthy, despite all of the evidence proving otherwise... And I would have been expected to do things ALONE again like I was expected for three days last summer this time... except I'm thinking this time around, it would have been a much, MUCH longer duration, out of spite... All because I WAS SICK and the others couldn't handle it, just like they couldn't last year when things were screwy after that hurricane hit us last year... Not that I fell for it. They can deny it all they want but the timing was just too "conveeeeeenient" for it to be as they claimed it was.

I wish people would stop thinking I'm stupid or naive, cause I'm really not.

You can't fool someone who has already been fooled like that before, because they can smell it a thousand miles away.

Anyway................ Have a wonderful week everyone! I'll update when things start picking up here again, possibly halfway through summer vacation.

Only 8 1/2 weeks to go until school starts in my district. Son can't wait.

Me, I'm fine having him home! :)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

"Ch-Ch-Changes"

As the title suggests, there have been a lot changes in the last while.

Before I start, I would like to publicly congratulate ALL students who participated in the Mental Math Challenges and all other challenges held at the regional Knowledge Festival. All of you are winners just for being asked to represent your schools in my opinion.

Son did it again. He was in the Grade 4 division this year and cleaned house with getting first place, another perfect score of 40 correct answers for 40 questions! We were proud of the honor bestowed on him by his school by being asked to be a representative of his grade, and now even more so for his win. :) Congrats, Son!

CHANGES........

It's like someone flipped a switch... Things are FINALLY warming up here in my end of the province, and the amount of snow has went from over 2 feet in spots to barely a couple of inches in the last two weeks. The temperature is now going well above freezing too, and it's nice to open the windows or just go outside into the sunshine without freezing the toes off!

Our driveway, finally clear of snow and ice.

That photo was taken three days ago, and even more snow has disappeared in that short amount of time. I think the melt so far has been a record setting one, just like the amount of snow we got in February of this year!

Another change that's happening is related to something that happened in December.

After 45 years as a physician, our family doctor had to retire due to deteriorating health. We were sad to see him go. He was my son's doctor for Son's entire life, and mine since before I was born - he even delivered me.

He retired so unexpectedly that he didn't have time to get someone to take over his practice for him before he hung up his stethoscope.

Son wasn't happy going over to the one ER to get refills on his meds, which was what we've been doing for the last three months with him. It was at four hour wait at best, and he would get antsy and bored even if we brought snacks, books and toys with us for him.

I was hoping to get on with a doctor - local or otherwise - just for his sake. I didn't care if they didnt' take me on, as long as they took him on.

Well, we hit the jackpot. Back in March, I got a call that we had a new family doctor. She's a brand new one, just establishing her own practice, and started this month. All three of us were taken on.

I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOO relieved. There is a shortage of doctors - family docs and specialists alike - in the province and to get a new family doctor after only a three month wait is almost unheard of these days. I know people who were waiting for *years* to get someone else. Either the doctors were retiring or settling in another spot.

Her clinic is about an hour away by car, but that's okay. We have a family doctor again.

We love her. She's young, with a sunny personality and is very open to a lot of things.

It's one heck of a huge weight lifted off my mind.

It's also a darn good thing we found her. Our old doctor passed away in March.

Someone said what would have happened if he had died suddenly without retiring first?

That was something a lot of us do not want to think about.

I'm glad I don't have to now.

WRITING:

"Hearts Remembering" has been edited and gone over, and is now back into another perk cycle.

It may not be in there for long though.

I'm considering adding a couple of extra key scenes because it seems choppy and skips somewhat in spots. I'm hoping it'll smooth things out.

My best friend and I will probably be brainstorming those parts sometime soon. I'd like to get this one sent out to the rest of the gang ASAP, so I can get a move on with other things related to it and Away to Me, as well as get moving on a new story. I'm not sure if I'll be working on Ten or not. Gotta see how things go I guess!

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

It's April? Well, It Doesn't Feel (or Look) Like It!

It's one of those years when I am nauseated each time I look outside.

It's April 7, and we had another four inches of snow come down yesterday into this morning. Our driveway and the road had been finally clear of snow and ice -I saw gravel in our driveway for the first time since December! - and now we're back to the endless blanket of white crap everywhere.

It's sickening. The west coast  has not had a true winter at all, and we got theirs on top of our own, and then some.

I'm so ready for it to be over with until at least November. I just want to open my windows and change the air in my house. Is that too much to ask?

Anyway.............

I haven't had much of a chance to work on editing or anything else writing wise the last couple of weeks... I decided that "Hearts Remembering" could perk for a bit longer and I'm glad I did it that way. I'm starting to see a LOT of stuff that I wasn't seeing before March Break, and I think it's going to be much easier to edit it now.

My best friend got a sneak peek of the ultra rough draft of one of the scenes... And she edited it for me! She and I just click when it comes to something like that. She knows my style (and loves it) and knows what I will like and dislike for editing suggestions. Thank heavens she's only been sending me the ideas/suggestions I'll consider. lol

Except for a few left out commas and one or two parts where she left out a word or two, it's pretty much perfect and will be going into Draft 2 of the manuscript. It took me a while to do because well, she kind of forgot to put in the paragraph breaks and I had to compare her gigantic paragraph to the three pages that scene covered in the manuscript to see where things went. lol

This week, I'm hoping to do a full reread on "Hearts Remembering", while editing and formatting the current draft of it... In between chatting sessions with my best friend on the messengers that is!

As for the weather, I would just like to see my lawn again. I don't care if the grass turns green or not, I just want to see something *other* than a blanket of white in my yard and around the neighborhood.

Please.

*Kicks Old Man Winter in the "family jewels"*

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Knuckling Down...

It's been a wild March...

First of all, the week before March Break was a complete SNAFU. Son was sent home sick with a massive chest and head cold on the Tuesday before it started and was home the rest of the week. I had planned to use that Friday for preliminary work on another idea or to see what was salvageable from an older, unfinished manuscript to work on next.

It's okay. I didn't mind him being home and well, I kind of needed to bounce out of the shock that yes, I finished another manuscript draft, without knowing it.

Son rested and watched a lot of TV or movies while I started the process of switching gears to editing "Hearts Remembering" instead of writing it.

March Break went by too fast. Hubby caught Son's cold and he was resting a lot when he wasn't working, and the last going off, I had it too.

It wasn't the way we had planned to spend March Break. We were hoping to get up to the Valley to see my mom, my sister and my sister's family on one of Hubby's days off. Unfortunately that didn't happen between us being ill and the wild weather we had, so the trip is postponed AGAIN. *sigh* Hopefully some time in April, once the snow melts........

We had two very nasty storms during the Break... On March 15, we had an ice storm that made roads almost impassable and coated everything. Our power was out for over 7 hours, much to Son's disgust. Thankfully he was okay once he was set up with plenty of books and his MP3 player. I read that entire day in between doing the housework I could do without power. March 18th saw another storm, over a foot of snow came down. I could NOT see my back yard from the window above the sink. There was a six foot snow drift in between the dryer porch and the attached storage area on the back of the house. It was that bad!

I had hoped to see what was salvageable from one of the older, unfinished manuscripts this week, but I had strict orders to stay OUT of Word and take March Break off, all from my best friend.

It had been awfully tempting to fire up Word and sneak into an editing session, but the thought of her duct taping me to the roof with my son's help wasn't appealing. I do want her to visit sometime, but for more than a goofy prank... Hopefully next year or if I'm really lucky, later this year...

But now that March Break is over, I can get back to work - on editing/proofing/formatting "Hearts Remembering" Draft 2, preliminary work on another manuscript either a revamp or a completely new one, or even the longer synopses of "Away to Me" for publishers that want that kind of thing. Yesterday I started the long process of going over "Hearts Remembering" with a fine toothed comb and hope to continue doing that today in between things. My next "Writing Day" will see me either getting another publisher's package ready for "Away to Me" or trying to get into another first draft of something.

I'm also debating on who to send the manuscripts to when I'm ready... Soooooooo many wonderful and great publishing houses out there for the genres I write..... Decisions, decisions....

Have a great week, everyone! Hopefully your spring is going much better than ours. We still have snow banks around that tower over 20 feet, and in some spots, over 30! I can not wait until all of it is gone... I'm so sick of seeing a blank, white pallet... I need color, and soon, darnnit! *SIGH*

The snow drift blocking my view of the back yard.

Ice coating the branches of our ash tree.

Our backyard with everything covered in snow and ice.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

What? Well, I Guess The International Space Station Caught That One!

You ever have one of those times that you did something and didn't realize it until a week or so later?

That happened to me today.

Now before anyone thinks something bad happened, it didn't. What I did was a good thing, and I can hear my best friend (who lives in Washington State, too freaking far away for my taste!) laughing her ass off right now. She's probably thinking "Leave it to you to do that, Valerie!", which is making her laugh even harder. (Love ya H!)

You see, last week, I finished the grand finale in Twelve, and had things set up for an epilogue, but wasn't sure how to proceed. It was bus time anyway, so I let it go and decided to think about it on the days I couldn't write.

I've tried writing the epilogue for this rewrite several times, but haven't been able to get it going. I thought it was because I couldn't quite figure out how to get things set up for a certain thing to be done, or I was too tired. I was getting images for it here and there, but only fleeting ones.

An epilogue for this one isn't happening by the looks of it right now, and I know why.

Last week, I made the decision that Twelve's sequel isn't likely to be written up any time soon, if ever. I've tried coming up with a story for it but other than the romance end of things and that you would see the first couple in it here and there, I still have no bloody clue on how to go about it.

The epilogue of Twelve was supposed to introduce one of the sequel's main characters, and tie up things up very neatly. The decision not to write a sequel to it right now is what told me why an epilogue for it isn't coming to me at all.

So yeah, it looks like I finished Twelve without really knowing it. LOL Duh!

So, what's next, you ask?

I've already dug out Ten's files and started converting them over to Word 2013, and reread some of the parts of that manuscript. Since I'm going back to basics on that one - the original version of it was ultra complicated, just like Twelve's original version - I have to do a rewrite on how things are set up for the mains, like how they meet for the first time, and so forth.

Some things will be kept - like the one sex scene and teasers for example, as well as the build up of sexual tension.

These characters are a little different from Twelve's or those in Away to Me, so it's going to be interesting to see how well I can write them up.

I'm also considering stepping out of my comfort zone for a few things in this one. Not saying what though... And if it doesn't work according to my Beta Team, I'll just go back to something that does work!

Hey, a good part of being a writer is the rewrites, after all! *wink!*

I leave you with stats on what was code named "Twelve"...

TWELVE STATS (Draft One):

Name: "Hearts Remembering"
Length: 114 pages.
Word count: 60,626.
Start date: October 3, 2014.
Finish Date: February 28, 2015.



Saturday, February 28, 2015

Real Life Happens....

Sorry I haven't been posting a lot, things have been bananas here lately.

Winter has been unkind to my area. We have had at least another 2 storms on top of what I was showing in my last blog entry, along with rain and freezing rain... The temperature plummeted and everything on the ground but the roads are now covered in ice. Towns and cities were running out of places to put the snow that they removed from parking lots and other places, and in some spots around here, the snow banks were over 8 feet high, if not higher. I understand that in our provincial capital, Halifax, there were drifts and banks in the 15 to 20 foot range. It's been nuts!

Son's basketball team had to cancel a couple of more practices and one or two games due to weather, but that hasn't stopped them from winning!

So far their record for wins, losses and ties is currently 7-1-1, with two games left to go in the season, both against the same school - one away and the last game is at home.

Son's been scoring a few baskets too. One game that was at home - both Hubby and I were in the stands cheering on his school - Son managed to get THREE baskets! He was so happy, and everyone in the stands went nuts! It seems the other schools' teams know there's a child with autism on Son's team and do make some allowances for him, even the parents from the other schools cheer when he scores. It's one heck of a great feeling seeing them root for him too.

Twelve's first draft will be finished before Easter at the rate I'm going. I was stalled for a bit but manged to get over it, and I'm finally starting to see the light at the end of that writing tunnel.

If I do this before May 29, that will be two first drafts finished within a year. That's a first for me. LOL No complaints! Hopefully I'm starting to train my brain to be like some of my writing friends' brains, be able to draft three or more stories in a year. That would be rather cool if I could do it like that! We shall see... :)

My reading team has already been alerted they have about a month or so to wait after this one's draft is finished before they'll get their copies of it. The editing will be similar to what I did with Away to Me but within less time. They've already been warned it's going to be a lot faster this time, and I'll be working on something else while this one is in stasis.

What I'll be working on next is still up in the air. I'm not going to worry about things now, that can wait until after Twelve's draft is finished... And I recover for about a week. LOL

Have a great weekend folks, and only approximately 3 weeks to go until spring, although my area won't see anything until mid-May, when the mud and blackflies arrive. Yuck.

I leave you with some photos that were taken over the course of the last month or so...

I'm only 5'2 1/2" and the bank behind me is as tall as I am. I'm by the main road in front of my house.

That @#$%^& snow bank in front of the house.

Our flowering crab tree covered in snow and ice.

Snow banks around the Bridgewater Mall parking lot.

Our driveway after the last ice and rain storm.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Winter: GO AWAY!

It's been another one of those months where we seem to be getting clobbered with a major storm every week, sometimes two times or more in a single week. The last month saw at least four snow days for kids in my son's district, as well as days when the buses were going to be late or not going back the dirt roads. Son wasn't too happy about school being canceled on those days but what can you do? It IS winter and my province is in one of the years that we seem to be getting snow over the fence. I guess it's our payback for having such a warm December? Hard to say.

All I know is that I am ultra sick of this, and I'm ready for spring....

View of our road after the most recent major snowstorm last week.

Son has another reason to be ticked when school is canceled on certain days. This year, he's on the grade 4 & 5 basketball team, and it just happens to be that a couple of their practice days were canceled due to schools dismissing early or being canceled due to the weather being so rotten. He loves playing basketball - odd considering neither Hubby nor myself are fans of that sport, we are hockey fans - and when the team coach asked him if he wanted to participate this year, he jumped on it. So far they have only played two games - against the same team from another school - but they have won both of them. Hubby and I were able to make it to the most recent game last week, and we had fun. Son made two legal steals, forced two legal turn arounds, and even scored a two point basket for his team! The team they were facing is a good team too but had a bit of bad luck both times they faced Son's school. Hopefully this teaches all boys on all teams good sportsmanship, and that even if you do lose, you still did a great job and it's an honor to be chosen to be on the team.

Twelve is progressing nicely. I've been writing a lot when schools are open, and I'm slowly starting to see the story finally come together in its correct, original configuration. I had a part to splice in written up, and it was put into the main file two weeks ago. I've made more progress in the main file, and have started another file to splice in as well. It's been slow but steady by times.

As of right now, there are about 48K into the main file, along with another 2K in the file to be spliced in.

That means I'm about halfway to the goal of about 100K. That said, I'm probably about 5/8 finished this story. So it's probably going to be under 100K, which is the limit for most publishers.

As for other projects, I'm still unsure of what's going to nab me next. I'd like to write the sequel to Twelve before that one is sent out, but I'd also like to finish Ten too. I'll just have to see how things go after Twelve's first draft is done, that's all.

Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Starting off 2015 With Some Mad Ramblings on Video!

Happy new year everyone! My apologies for now updating things regularly, but.. Well, it's all explained in my first ever video blog outside of my personal Facebook page!

I will apologize for my accent, I know it's akin to something one would hear in New England, but not quite "exactly" like it. If you want to hear the stereotypical "Canadian" accent, "hosers" included, go west, eh? *nyah*  

"My 2014, and Other Junk"


Sorry it's so long but I had a lot of stuff to update all of you on! My next blog will be a text one, I promise.

I hope y'all had a wonderful holiday season and a great start to 2015! Enjoy. :)