Sunday, June 26, 2011


Wow, a week has slipped through my fingers since my last post! I finished the final, polished and shiny version of my urban fantasy, I HAD TO FALL, and decided to take a break from any real writing and just focus on fleshing out some new story ideas. I've got a lot of them rolling around in my head, so I've spent most of the last week sitting out in the backyard, vodka cooler in one hand and laptop in the other, soaking up the sun and pouring out notes on those different ideas. Hard life, eh?

And somehow—this is a bit of a mystery—I managed to catch a cold. I can feel it right now, that itchy feeling in the back of my throat, combined with the sniffles... in June! Well, if it means I have to miss a few days of work to recuperate * checks weather forecast of sunny skies and +25°C *  then so be it.

I'll be getting back into the writing tomorrow, but first I have to decide which of my ideas I want to push forward with. None of them are strictly urban fantasy, because I wanted to try something new. Of course, all these ideas have different pros and cons in my mind right now...

Adult fantasy. Different world, different species, not set on earth. Think Michelle Sagara. I really like this idea because the world is already pretty developed in my thoughts, and I like the idea of doing some more inventive and creative world-building. The problem: I can see that, in my head, the protagonist is a strong, silent woman with her own powers that slowly come to light. In this sense, she reminds me so much of Deyl Parker from my urban fantasy that I worry I'd get bored writing her.

YA dystopian. Or sort of dystopian. I loved DIVERGENT and have always been a huge fan of THE GIVER and NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR. Just added the HUNGER GAMES to my "Good Reads" list. Thing is, I always wonder what happened to make these dystopian worlds the way they are. If you assume they're set in a future version of our world... what went wrong? War seems to be a common theme, but I find my mind wandering off on tangents imagining where humans screwed up to end up like this. So my YA dystopian idea actually happens during the apocalypse, the great cataclysmic event that results in a new world order. And the characters won't have miraculous teenage powers that save the world from changing. Instead they'll have to learn to change with it, to salvage what they can and move on. I really, really, really like this idea. Also, I see it from the protagonist male point of view, which is totally different from what I've written before. The problem: I can't see the world as well as I'd like. I can't decide if the characters are straight-up human, or if they've got a little extra juice. I can see what's happening, but I'm not sure of the stakes. Still, with a bit more brainstorming I think I could give this one a go.

YA romance. I like this idea because I already know the characters, I've already interviewed them in my thoughts. I want to write it from both the girl and the guy's point of view, which will again be different from anything I've tried, but I love the way that works in Desrocher's PERSONAL DEMONS. This idea isn't really paranormal, more of a sci-fi I think. There is definitely a bit of a time travel thing. The problem: I feel like writing in this genre might be beating a dead horse. After the whole TWILIGHT extravaganza it seems like everyone has written a YA romance. Maybe that's no big deal, but I have reservations about writing mine.

Adult sci-fi romance. Time travelers. What did I just say about beating a dead horse? Ha! But seriously, this idea doesn't seem as overdone, at least in my head. It's not anything super tech-savvy, just that the characters, pros and ants, move through time a lot more than regular ol' humans do. It's a bit of a war-time scenario, except that war is happening way in the future. I see the story from the male protagonist's viewpoint, which I'd really like to write. He's also something of a sidekick to the story's hero, which I find kind of intriguing, centering the story around someone other than the hero. The problem: Honestly, I'm just nervous about trying to write a sci-fi. Time travel is complicated. Michael J. Fox can tell you that much. I'm nervous about trying to keep all my time threads neatly sorted while overlapping them enough to add some complications to the character's lives.

So that's it for now. I actually have a few other idea snippets I want to get down on paper (digital paper, of course) before the end of the day, and maybe one of those ideas will the one I go with...

For now, any thoughts on these ideas? What do you think I should write next?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Good Reads: The Hunger Games

I know, I know. That I'm only just getting around to reading The Hunger Games is pretty bad. I've heard so many good things about it, and it's been on my reading list forever—but then, my reading list is only about three miles long...

But I have finally read it, and I can tell why it came so highly recommended... It was great!

I would say Dystopian isn't normally my thing, but really, Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four is one of my favourite novels ever. I love Atwood's Handsmaid's Tale and Lowry's The Giver. I finished Veronica Roth's Divergent just a few weeks ago and I'm already impatient for the next installment, Insurgent. Maybe it's time to add some more Dystopian titles to my already-too-extensive reading list... 

Including the rest of the Hunger Games trilogy!

I found it a bit harder to connect with Katniss than, say, Tris, but I loved the premise. Collins' world is so well-built and the pace was perfect—a great balance of story-telling and action. I read it in one go, six hours straight, finally putting it down at four this morning... yikes! Good thing it's the weekend.

So, any other great new Dystopian novels to recommend for my list?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Epic Fail: Vancouver

I only have two things to say about the riot in Vancouver on Wednesday. First, the simple truth that Hockey + Beer = Canadian. It got ugly and embarrassing, but the reality is that most of us are more passionate about hockey than politics, religion or the environment. Add in more than a little beer and a few bad apples...

The second thing is this:
And if you don't get it, if you missed the YouTube video this parodies... consider yourself lucky. It was like the most epic fail of all time.

Which reminds me. I forgot to post this during our near-miss rapture in May, because my birthday was the next day and I was beginning to worry I wouldn't get to see my [deleted to obscure my age]th year. Well, not really. Raptures aren't my thing. They also fall into the #epicfail category:

"And lo, it came to pass that Macho Man Randy Savage did prevent the impending rapture. Amen."

On that note... I'm out. I hope your weekend, wherever you are, is epic!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Music to My Ears

I'm actually tossing around a blog idea in my head: Tuesday Tunes. I like the alliteration. Music is a huge part of my writing process, and I thought I would chat a bit about that - what inspires me, what I'm into at the moment, how different pieces play into certain parts of my writing. Why I own four iPods...

But wait, it's Wednesday.

The hell you say! Oh... Touché.

Well, this is kind of the unofficial start of Tuesday Tunes, because I'm not actually talking about any particular music yet. Today, I'm just excited to be finished the copy edit stage of my manuscript. That's right: I HAD TO FALL is all done. Complete. Fin. And I found (shockingly!) that music and copy editing don't go together. I read aloud during that stage, making sure everything sounds right. I kind of need absolute silence for that.

But now that it's done I can toss the headphones back on and bring music back into my writing time. Which is good, because I almost feel lost without it. Definitely less inspired.

Music simply draws me into another world, into a character's life right inside my head. You should see me out there cutting the grass. Get the old push mower out, plug in the iPod and lose myself in the monotonous task. I fall into the music and my imagination takes off. And then a great idea hits me upside the head, I drop the mower in the middle of the lawn and dash inside. I'm sure the neighbours all think I'm out of my mind.

Sanity is in the eye of the beholder...?

So you've been warned: next Tuesday, first installment of Tuesday Tunes!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Drum roll please...

Brilliant. I just (two minutes ago, not kidding) finished the copy edit on my novel, I HAD TO FALL. Now all that's left to do is a spell check and page formatting, and I'll have the manuscript completed.

If that doesn't earn me a few margaritas in the sun this weekend, I don't know what does.

Anyway, I'm keeping this post short because I've got my iPhone Kindle app all fired up and ready for me to keep reading Lauren Kate's PASSION.

Write, read, sleep. Good pattern.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Unexpected Side Effect

My throat is sore. My voice is all raspy and low. Why?

Copy editing.

The story is written. I've edited the plot and structure four or five times, until I'm perfectly happy with the result. I've given the draft a few months of shelf time so the writing and ideas could percolate in peace. I've triple-checked continuity, built a solid world around Deyl, and I've scrapped every useless datadump and every sequence that slowed down the plot.

All that's left is what I'm doing now: the copy edit.

I find (and I've heard other writers say the same thing) that reading the story out loud really helps ensure the words flow smoothly across the page. It's definitely working (IMHO) but unfortunately reading aloud all day means MY THROAT HURTS!

And that's my complaint for the day. I'm more than halfway through the novel so I'm still on track for getting this edit done by Tuesday. Yay!

Oh, and I just saw today the casting post for the Hollywood version of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. Then I saw the release date for the movie: 2012. Damn. I wish I was a more patient person. This wait is going to be brutal.

Off to read for a few hours... night all!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Just a snippet.

I'm running a bit short on time tonight, so here's a quick excerpt from my first Deyl Parker novel, I HAD TO FALL:

(Deyl, Josh and Alicia have stopped at a diner just outside of Chicago, midway through their journey to Minneapolis)

"So, what do you think? Should we drive through the night or stop at dark? My parent's house is only a few more hours from here," Alicia noted, speaking low and choosing her words carefully.

"Stop at dark, definitely," I said. I wasn't sure what to think about stopping at the Bowmyn's, but I was sure about stopping for the night. Humans didn't travel after dark unless they were Hunters.

We would be much too obvious on the road at night.

"We could be there by lunch tomorrow if we drive through…" Alicia pointed out hopefully.

"No, we couldn't, because we'd be dead before the sun came up again," I said in a flat whisper. "It's too dangerous.”

"I agree with Deyl," Josh murmured. "Too conspicuous to be out at night. We should stop."

Alicia snorted delicately, rolling her round, hazel eyes. She obviously thought Josh was just agreeing with me because it was me.

And unfortunately, there was a good chance she was right.

"Okay, okay. So then we’re crashing at my parents place?"

"I'm not sure," I hedged, thinking it made perfect sense to stay with her parents but worried about getting more people—more people I didn't know—involved in this catastrophe. Unfortunately, that was probably our best bet when it came to avoiding the Hunters, whether I liked it or not.

"So…" Alicia prodded, watching me expectantly.

"So we stay at the Bowmyn's. It's our safest option," I summarized, dropping my voice as a young couple sat down at the table two seats away. Josh looked like he was about to say something more, but Alicia cut him off.

"I'm sooooo happy you were both able to get the time off to come with me!" she chippered in a falsely bright voice. "My brother hasn't seen you in years, Josh, and his fiancée is dying to meet your sweetheart!" She tapped my hand with her tiny, pale fingers, clearly indicating me as the 'sweetheart'.


Without missing a beat, I joined her game. "I haven't been to a wedding in years, I'm really excited," I said with a wide smile. "Have they decided on the blue or the gold yet?"

This was the danger in mingling with humans. To sit together, unspeaking, would look suspicious. At the same time, we were so much more likely to let something slip, to reveal what we were, if we tried to carry on a normal conversation. It was a fine line to walk.

Josh's bewildered look threatened to ruin the whole thing, so I reached across the table and took his hands in mine while stepping on his toes in warning. I was distracted for a moment by how surprisingly soft and cool his hands were and the slight tingle in my fingertips as I gently wrapped them around his, trying to look like the sweetheart.

"When we get married I think I'd like everything in gold," I mused, blinking at him like a moron, trying to convey our cover to the clueless man. Idiot.

Finally, the bewilderment in his eyes cleared and his shoulders relaxed the tiniest bit.

"Oh, I think they've settled it," Alicia continued. "But I can't remember what they decided… darn it, I've completely forgotten!" She arranged her features in a slight frown, looking stumped.

Josh's gaze grew crafty and he smiled mischievously as he said, "You say married like I've already asked you," looking pointedly at my bare ring finger and giving my hands a tiny squeeze.

My quick grimace was very real. The look in his eyes suggested that he might be enjoying our game a bit too much.

I sighed dramatically, shifting my expression shifted to a false pout. "You know I'm still waiting patiently."

Alicia’s laugh was like silver chimes in the wind, and I got the distinct impression she wasn't faking it. I sighed again, also not faking it.

"I know," Josh griped, and then shocked me when he pulled our intertwined hands towards his lips and lightly kissed my fingertips.

Damn, I thought, as my heartbeat kicked into overdrive.

I tried to remember if magicians had better hearing than normal humans, hoping they didn’t.

Alicia laughed again, louder this time, at my very stunned expression. They were both enjoying the game far too much. I blinked as Josh gave me my hands back, making room for the food that had just arrived with our drab waitress.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sunshine, Vodka Coolers & Writing. Happy.

First, I was going to comment on how lovely it was to work on my final copy edit outside in the gazebo, under a brilliant blue sky with temperatures well above 20°C.

Then I looked back and realized how much, between here and twitter, I comment on the weather.

Is that a bad thing? Maybe. Boring? Probably. But I can't help it. You see, I'm Canadian. We talk about the weather. It's just what we do—a lot. 

So moving on. The copy edit is going really well, and really fast. I'm hoping to have it done before Tuesday, so that I can take the evening off and stay up all night reading PASSION by Lauren Kate. Let's face it: I'm going to do that anyway, thus it would be nice to have I HAD TO FALL all wrapped up so I can do the final spell check and formatting before I get lost in a new book.

On a side note, I've also made a lot of progress with my German lessons. I should be done Level II before I go on holidays at the end of July. I only wish I actually knew someone here who speaks German, because I could really use the practice. Maybe I should just book a flight to Deutschland... Ha, I wish.

And as for you New Yorkers sweating it out at 99°F (about 37°C) let me only add: I'm jealous.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Fine Tooth Comb

That's where my re-write for I HAD TO FALL is at: word-by-painstaking-word editing. Double-checking (or am I now at triple- or quadruple-checking? hm.) every paragraph, sentence and word to make sure that it reads with a nice, smooth flow. I hate being jarred by awkward sentences or poor word selection when I'm reading, so I'm being extra picky at this stage.

Though, being able to work outside under the sun makes it much more enjoyable...

It's slow going, but the end is so close I can taste it. After just over a year of outlining, writing, editing, resting, re-editing and copy editing... I'm excited!

But I gotta hit the pillow right away here. I know, I know... sleep is for the weak. Unfortunately, I stayed up until about 3AM last night (this morning? ugh.) finishing TORMENT by Lauren Kate. Getting ready for her new release next week. So I'm only running on a couple hours of ZZZs. And feeling it.

Night all!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Sleep is for the weak.

Napoleon is quoted as having said, "Six hours sleep for a man, seven for a woman and eight for a fool."

I don't like the special consideration for women, but hey, Napoleon was old school.

With forty hours of work in my week, plus another twenty of writing, a solid five for gardening, at least ten for reading, and then all the other miscellaneous crap... yeah. That short guy with indigestion was on to something.

I wish there were more hours in a day. Since that's not likely to happen any time soon, I'm working on developing a super-power: total sleeplessness. I'm not sure if I'll need a radioactive spider for that, or a mutant X gene... This might require some research. I'm down to only six hours a night. Be a believer:

Sleep is for the weak.

(and I apologize profusely to all suffering insomniacs out there...)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

the End is upon us!

Very excited tonight. I've got two or three small sections of chapter twenty-five to revise/rewrite tomorrow evening and I'll be finished the all the major changes I wanted to make to I HAD TO FALL. I'm working all day Saturday (setting up all those nice trade show displays I've been designing) but after that I've got a week scheduled for making a few last minor revisions to the story, and then another week for a line-by-line polish of the copy.

And then it's done. Like, really done.

To share in my excitement, I've got a nice little excerpt for you here. One of my biggest changes to the story was the relationship between Cal and Deyl. Their interactions and face time remained the same, but their opinions, treatment and feelings about each other changed significantly. This is from chapter twenty, a bit of Cal and Deyl working together towards a common goal. Not that they wanted to, but they didn't have much choice.

(Yeah, I know you have no context for this. Sorry. Hope you love it anyway.)

I turned slowly towards Cal, who was dropping the choked body to the ground. We just stared at each other, his breathing heavy against the steadiness of my own. In that moment I knew something between us had changed, our uneasy truce complicated by the bond that came only from fighting side by side together.
"We have to clear this," was all he said.
I nodded.
Blood would leave the most visible signs of our ambush so I grabbed the two bleeding men first, taking one by the arm in each hand and dragging them across the narrow road into the dark shade of the birch trees. Beside me, Cal carried two more. In a minute we had the road cleared of the bodies and all trace of the fight.
The last man dropped from my arms. It was the tall one with my knife still embedded in his chest. I pulled it out as he fell to the grass at my feet, wiping it clean on a nearby patch of moss before tucking it back into my shoulder strap.
"Nice toss," Cal remarked, his tone casual.
Gazing up at him, I tried to gauge his thoughts. His expression was carefully closed. It struck me that he meant it.
A broad grin lit up my face, the adrenaline crashing and making me feel a bit giddy.
"Thanks," I said smiling even wider. A distant, low boom echoed on the morning breeze. We both turned to look towards the sound.
The charge had blown.
Cal turned back to me and I met his gaze soberly, the giddiness evaporating. He snatched both shotguns up and tossed one to me.
"We need to move."
"Right." I fell into step behind him again.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Muse

Muse. Music.

Similar words. Coincidence?

I was thinking about the idea of the muse today, watching it trend on Twitter. I'm certainly not the only writer out there who finds inspiration in music. Haha, seems to me that most do.

But I need variety. I always find it interesting, when a writer blogs about the music they listen to while writing, to go and check out the band, or that specific song (thanks, YouTube). What kinda blows my mind is that a lot of what's listed is the same genre of music. Several different bands that a writer will listen to, but all with a similar sound or style.

Maybe it's just me. I'm constantly plugged into some source of music. My iPod alarm wakes me up in the morning. I turn on the stereo while I'm getting ready for work, though there is a half-hour break while I'm doing a German lesson. Then the iPod's plugged in for the drive to work, I play tunes all day at work (design needs a muse, too), and iPod again for the drive home. Once I'm home I've got my headphones for while I'm gardening or exercising, a stereo for the shower (not kidding) and then slap on the headphones again when I sit down to write. The hour of reading I cram in before I hit the pillow is usually music-free. Hm. Usually.

Added all up, that's probably about 15 hours of music each day. 100 hours a week. So you see, I get tired of the same old music really quickly. I need variety!

This is where you come in: Got any good suggestions? Someone new, or off the beaten track, that I might not have heard yet? Tell me about it. I'm always on the lookout for great new tunes!

Which begs the question, what do I already listen to? So here I go, following in the footsteps of all other writers that have come before me, listing my faves:

Nine Inch Nails
We Are the Fallen
She Wants Revenge
Foo Fighters
Iced Earth
Dresden Dolls
Smashing Pumpkins
The Fray
Rolling Stones
System of a Down

There. That's a nice little sampling of what I'm into. Just the tip of the iceberg, but please, make suggestions!