Thursday, February 27, 2014

A Short Pause

"Male Angel Pointing Up" by
I'm running a little late. Normally I have a post ready to go one or two days in advance. I hate procrastinating, and try to have my projects finished well before deadline.

Well, this week I'm distracted. I have a short story due tomorrow, and I just finished the requested edits for it. Yay me. It's been on my mind ever since I took the assignment, and I wish I could say I enjoyed it.

I did two things I never do as a writer.  #1, I wrote a short story. #2, I 'pantsed' it.

I haven't written a short story since highschool. Essays, sure. Short stories, no. My brain just doesn't work that way. I'm not accustomed to writing my fictional ideas in 5000 words or less. It feels...confining.

And I'm not a 'pantser'. For those of you who don't understand writer slang, a pantser is a writer who jots down their stories as they come along, without a solid plan about where it's going or how it will end. I know one who finds it exciting to work that way. She can't wait to see what happens next.

I can't work that way. I find that if I don't have an outline, and a clear idea of where I'm going, I'll probably never finish. In fact, I'm shocked that I DID finish.

Am I sorry I did it? NO. I did it because I wanted to try something different. I had to get out of my comfort zone, and exercise my brain. I wanted to challenge myself and learn new things. In fact, I'm proud of myself for doing it. I came up with a story idea off the top of my head, and executed it without knowing where I was going. I made it! Whew!

I also held a great contest to name it. Congratulations and thank you to Amanda Phillips for the great title "The Guardian's Angel". Love it!

The story is going to be part of a collection called 'Suppose' and is the brainchild of author Kathy Steinemann. I will keep you all posted about its publishing date and other information.

In the meantime, here's a link I found today that reminded me of how important writing exercises are, and how brilliant they can be. Number Two and Number Five are the scariest for me, but Number Nine will be the one I'm thinking of next time Spartacus Jones starts staring at me.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Why Writing Can Suck.

A couple weeks back you read reasons why it's great to be a writer. But there are downers and pitfalls. They happen to us all, but if you can't resurface from them eventually, you might want to reconsider your career choice for your own sanity.

1. You're your own boss--Yes, it's listed as a perk from last week, but to quote an effective cliche, it's a double edged sword. When you're your own boss, you have to be your own whip. No one else is going to tell you to get off your ass but you.

2. Idiot Mode--It couples up with Genius Mode like a hangover with a stranger in your bed. One night you're rolling in the glory of your personal genius and when you wake up and take a good look, you wish you didn't do any of it because you're sick and it's ugly.

3. The money is terrible.-- J.K. Rowling is the only billionaire author in history. Of all the writer friends I have met, I don't know a single one who can live off their royalties. Which brings me to point #4.

4. Pirates--They are the people who think it's perfectly okay to either give away our work or profit from them without our permission. It's a constant, draining war. I don't even understand 'why',

5.Writer's Block--It happens to all of us.It occurs for a long list of reasons. Maybe we're tired. stressed out, busy, worried, have family issues, whatever. It's normal, but completely frustrating. Thankfully, writer's of all kinds from around the world are sharing ways to fight Writer's Block. Strangely enough, this point gives me an idea for a blog.

6. Plot Bunnies, Insomnia, and rampant inspiration--Essentially this...PhotoEnough said.

7. Marketing--I HATE marketing. Between Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Storyfinds, Smashwords, Google+ etc. plus this blog, I'm always trying to find a way to present and sell my novels without sounding like a used car salesperson trying to put themselves through law school. (apologies to used car salespeople for the stereotype).

So ask yourself..."Do I want to be a writer?" If you still do, there's something fundamentally wrong with you. Welcome to the club.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

That's Not Love You Smell in the Air.

I almost forgot it's Valentine's Day tomorrow. Which is odd, because I have very specific plans for my beloved troll. Which I can't divulge here because he's on Twitter and he reads this blog.

I think the reason it slips my mind sometimes, is because I remember loathing that day a lot. More often than not, I was single, for many years.

And love is such a wacky thing too. Nothing else can make you so desperately unhappy or so absurdly joyful. And sometimes it's BOTH and it's the scariest thing ever.

I'm happy now...but it wasn't always that way. I remember being 19 years old, and I was in love with a man who loved me, but not enough to stay faithful. I believed I was going to marry him. He believed he should see other people, besides me. I was stupid and naive and I worked hard to change his mind. Yes, I stayed with a cheater...a BLATANT cheater.

I remember the day I made the decision to leave. I came home early from the graveyard shift and found a pair of women's shoes that weren't mine. Instead of confronting the boyfriend and his new girlfriend, I went for a very long walk and wrote a poem, which I'm going to share.

For those of you who are alone and lonely or heartbroken...This is for you.


I am alone with morning,
No one for miles but the silence and me.
I long for someone to share it with,
I am alone, but I am free.

The cold chill embraces me,
The wind kisses away my tears,
And I think of home.
I am free, I am alone.

The morning sun,
The blue sky,
A marriage of this beautiful perfection,
I'm so alone in awful freedom,

But the morning offers me protection.

Fast forward 4 years later...I'm sitting in the lounge after working as a pizza cook, talking to my friends who work as barmaids. A ridiculously handsome man sits beside me and strikes up a conversation. Or at least he tries to. We have nothing in common it seems. My favorite pick-up lines, which show off the fact that I can speak 'hockey' falls flat. He hates hockey. (In Canada, a woman who understands what a GAA means and who has the best one will NEVER lack for company or drinks in the bar. For the record, it was Domink Hasek at the time with a 1.95)

So for lack of a better subject, I mention that I entered a CBC poetry contest. Turns out he LOVES poetry, and wants to hear my favorite one that I wrote. I recited the one you just read, telling him the title is about grief and the poem is about coming to terms with a painful decision. He asks for a copy, and we get along much better after that. SO WELL, in fact, that I decide this man is my next boyfriend.

A week later, I not only give him a copy of 'Mourning', but I also wrote something called "If", It described my  feelings for him and asked him "If I fall in love with you...Will you catch me?" That was September 13th, 1997, and our first kiss.

Love is weird. Who knew that a poem about a nasty breakup would bring me a husband? The moral of the story is...Love Stinks, yeah, yeah. But there's always hope, because Love Lurks. In the oddest of places and it will find you, in the oddest ways.

Happy Valentine's Day. It won't always be terrible.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Another Year, Another Birthday, and a Good Attitude

Photo by:
I turned 42 yesterday. If you've followed my blog long enough, you'll notice that I have a tendency to reflect around my birthday. For the most part, I decided I'm much better off getting older, seeing as how there's only one way out of getting older...right?

I lsually compare myself to where I was twenty years ago. At twenty-two years of age, I lived at Panorama Resort, British Columbia. I was a housekeeper. It didn't pay shit, but there were perks. Like half-price ski rentals, and free lifts with your Panorama staff I.D. There were great staff functions and you could use the weight room, saunas, and hot tubs aaaaanytime you wanted. I met a lot of cool people, including Sonya and Blair, who I keep in contact with thanks to Facebook.

But when the ski season ended, my roommates left.  Blair went back to Manitoba, Cheryl to Saskatchewan, Lee and Dale to Edmonton. Even my friend Sonya went home to Calgary before joining her future husband, George--who drove snow making machines--back to Saskatchawan. (Great wedding, by the way!)

I stayed and I became unhappy. I was broke and alone. Housekeeping was delegated to Spring Cleaning, aka/Washing Walls. I didn't have a vehicle, so I could only get to Invermere--and the bank, and the grocery store or doctor--if someone else from the office was going down. IF they drove down...I ate the almighty staple of the poor...Ichiban.

I remember I went home to Fox Creek around October/November and decided I didn't want to go back...Not that living on my parent's acreage was any less isolating, but my mother was a little bit more willing to chauffeur me around AND feed me...Stuff like vegetables. Things not noodle orientated.

Sometimes, like this week, I look around and see how far I've come. I married my best friend, the beloved troll named Dan. I still remain happy with my choice to not have children. Instead I have cats I adore as my 'fur-children'. Yes, I'm that weird. We just learned that our house is over half-way paid off, and we can live within our means WITHOUT  me working full-time. And my husband doesn't see my work as a hobby or anything so trivial...he believes in me. (I'm a REALLY lucky woman.)
He gave me THIS!  He soooo GETS me!

I am living my fondest dream. I write novels. I write this blog. I WRITE, THEREFORE I AM. And I am proud.

I used to feel guilty...mostly because my life is actually pretty fabulous, and not everybody gets to be as spoiled as I am. But I paid my dues. No more long hours, no more scheduling conflicts due to working two jobs, no more starving in order to make ends meet--I'm not willing to be a size 9 again if it means not being able to afford to eat.

Yup, forty-two is just fine. Glad to be here, and I can't wait to see where this year takes me. Again...Wish. Me. Luck. <3