Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I won!

Spunk on a Stick blog held a book giveaway that I won! I'll be receiving this book in the mail shortly! Yeah! Thanks Diane!

And at Christy's Creative Space I also won a copy of this book! Thanks Christy Evers!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Thoughts on Ottawa Writing Conference

Well, after my first SCBWI conference experience, I can now say that going to a conference ROCKS!

I did learn quite a lot from the two guest speaker NY agents. Such as:

The whole process of how an agent picks you from the 1000 other submissions that week.

How two agents can be completely different but equally good at what they do.

And that I don't need to get all sweaty and tongue-tied if I find myself next to one.

I especially had an eye-opening experience at the Canadian-Idol-like anonymous query crit session. The agents sat like two mean judges and dissected the query letters that were read aloud. When that session began I was so hoping to have mine read. By the third one, I was wishing I could rescue my tender, virginal query and run far away with it. But there wasn't time for everyone's and so mine remained pure. Which is too bad.

But the main thing I took away from the day was NETWORKING. I met so many other writers. Published, unpublished, agented, un-agented, all working at their craft.

It reminded me of going to a Dogsled Race. One room full of other fanatical lovers of your chosen passion.

Where else could you have someone nod in silent understanding when you explain how your main character woke you up in the middle of the night and insisted you re-write the last chapter. Or see the recognition in someone's eyes of your gut-rot dismay when the book contract you thought you had was cancelled.

It was a very good place to be. Such energy and warmth. And if you think about it, we're all in competition with each other to gain the attention of the two lonely agents that were there. But there was nothing but encouragement in the air.

Let me much does a plane ticket to NY cost for the SCBWI conference in January...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

On writing, swimming and other uphill battles

This is a photo of me. (In my own little make believe mind.) Flickr cc

It’s that time of year. In preparing for the Provincial Masters Swimming Competition next spring, I’ve begun pool training again. It’s been a while and I’d forgotten how much I love to swim. And so I’ll be posting updates of my progress - though it’s not an outdoor adventure. (Since I live on a lake you are probably thinking, why isn’t it an outdoor adventure? That, my friends involves a tragic and embarrassing turtle phobia of which I may tell you about later)

While doing basic drills today, it occurred to me that swimming was a little like writing. So many techniques to remember. Body roll on the long axis. Relaxed, high elbow arm recovery. Kick from the hips. REACH for the catch. Stroke count. Streamline off the wall. If I try to remember them all swimming one length, my stroke becomes choppy, unpretty and fun-less.

When writing, if I concentrate too much on technique, it also becomes unpretty and fun-less. Show don’t tell. Move that plot with dialogue. Watch those tags. GOOD GOD my mc needs a disabling quirk!

The 400 meters of drills I did were certainly needed. But it was the 1000m of back and free style, slicing through the water like a dolphin, that was pure joy. It’s what ensures that I go back on Thursday to do it again. And sometimes, I begin a story with scene description. Just for fun. I’m that much of a rebel.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Happy Birthday Dad

Just giving a shout out to my awesome dad who is now...older than this time last year. In case you missed it, here's a little about him in my best thing about series.

Question of the Day

Monday's Question of the Day is hosted by Eleni at La Femme Readers.

Question: What book has made you look at life in a different light?

My Answer: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein.

"That which you manifest is before you." Enzo.

Narrated by the wise dog Enzo who wishes he had hands and watches the Discovery Channel. One of my favorite books.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Ready for the conference

My business cards came! The back does have a small picture of me in the corner and I think it works. I'm suddenly feeling quite professional! Thanks to everyone who took the time to vote.

To prepare for the 8 hour drive to the Ottawa conference, I've signed out a few audio books: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey (well, it can't hurt) and Plum Lovin' by Janet Evanovich. I've read her book, How I Write, which had some great tidbits in writing for YA, but I'd never read one of her novels.

I've also been trying to sign up for the Muse Online Writers Conference. So far, having some trouble with registering, but I'm hopeful I'll be able to join this FREE chance at pitch sessions and workshops.

One last thought: over at Absolute Write, there's a group of us middle grade writers. One new blog I've discovered there is
This is a great resource for any writer. Check it out.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ottawa writers' conference

Thanks to all for the great business card suggestions. I have now closed my eyes, poked at the keyboard and ordered my very own professional-ish cards. I hope they arrive in time for the conference I've signed up for. here

I've decided going to a conference may help the discouraging dark cloud that's hung over my head since my book contract was cancelled. I have also bravely sent my manuscript for a critique session because I want my life to be all about moving forward. I'll give the rundown on the whole event when I return.

Also helping with the cloud - my loving parents presented me and my awesome partner with this GEM as a way of recognizing our suicidal tendencies and need for reckless adventure...wait...I mean our accomplishment. Woohoo Mom and Dad - you rock!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Business cards

Need a little help deciding on a business card. Here's the front/back of my top picks. I've been reading too many rules of what to include and what absolutely not to include and now I'm frozen with indecision. Would appreciate any comments, good, bad or ugly.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Spanish River/North Channel Kayak Trip

Highlights of the trip:

Someone forgot the water filter. Possible giardia may result. Will know in a week or so.
Editor's note: It wasn't Terry that forgot it.

Compared to our last expedition when we circumnavigated Manitoulin Island and froze our butts off, we were warm - in fact, a little over-toasted, for this trip.
The Spanish River was rotten with Bald Eagles. Saw five in one day.

Despite 20 years of wilderness camping and burying it without incident, Terry may have accidentally stepped in her own... with her brand new awesome kayak shoes. Which, upon further inspection, apparently have soles with lots of crevices. Don't judge.
Click on photos to enlarge. You'll be able to see the Cormorants closely!
Now on to some sad news. My inbox was indeed full, but not in a good way. The book publisher that had mailed me a contract for my middle grade novel, Dogsled Dreams, has been diagnosed with something. She is shutting down her website and cancelling all current projects, including mine. Wouldn't a writer's life be boring without the emotional ride of trying to get published?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Next kayak expedition

And we're off again paddling headlong down the Spanish River out to the North Channel and on to Bay of Islands. Can't wait to slide into my kayak again. I'll update next week with tales of windless, glistening water, sun-kissed paddling muscles and a menagerie of wildlife sightings. Er... that's what I've ordered anyway.
Oh yes, and when I get back, my inbox will floweth over with book contract offers. Actually, I'm waiting on some major developments. More later - must paddle now and clear the mind.

Monday, September 7, 2009

campin' and fishin'

Back from our family camping weekend. Our annual Labour Day weekend excursion all the way over to the next lake. Actually it was a good thing it's not far since yours truly had to paddle back home all by herself to get the tent poles that someone forgot to pack.

I'm also still in shock that Denis didn't bring his usual four-pound first-aid kit. It's always with us, except for this time when Denis slices his finger to the bone on a dried fern. Sounds sort of benign, but it was a bloody gushing event with no band-aids. Denis spent the weekend with his hankie tied around his finger. He also broke his rod, and watched his prized new lure sail off on it's own after an enthusiastic cast. He also woke up in the tent covered in no-see-um bites - with the rest of us completely bite free. Sort of reminded me of the Polysporin commercial when Dad gets his a** kicked while camping.

It was Remmington's debut camping trip (the girl's little dog) and it took him a while to sort out what the frig was going on. While we paddled through the narrows, he decided to make a flying mad leap out of the canoe. He landed in the mud and quickly realized we weren't following. His eyeballs bugged out at me while he swam towards us, "pick me up, pick me up, pick me up!"

The weather was the nicest of the whole summer and we had a great time catching bass, roasting marshmallows (while trying to remember all those campfire songs when the girls were younger), and playing canasta in the tent. As Rebecca would say - good times, good times.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

hiking adventures

Thankfully, this is not my dog.
My dog, Tanzer and I, go for a hike around the lake nearly every morning. This morning I crested a hill to see Tanzer staring at an enormous porky in the middle of the trail. I yelled and the porcupine turned and waddled down the trail with my dog walking slowly behind him. I called Tanzer back and we waited for him to leave, since you really can't rush a porky. We continued over the next crest and he was still strolling along the trail. My very smart dog just walked behind him until he finally decided to climb a tree. Good dog...yes, you're such a gooood dog!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Dogs in Canada

Dogs in Canada Magazine is quickly becoming my favorite. I've just found out another of my articles, Summer Sled Dogs, has been accepted by them. Ya! They're also doing a contributor feature on me in November. Each month they do a feature with bio and picture of their writers such as a veterinarian, an award winning photographer or some other specialist. I just hope that my little paragraph won't look too much like Sesame Street's "One of these things doesn't belong here" song.

More contest news. The folks over at are giving away a writers notebook. Perfect for inspiring greatness.