Friday, March 26, 2010

What the heck is a shrunken manuscript?

Our lake opened up today! It's so exciting to see the water after months of ice cover. It makes me want to grab my kayak! My dog is hoping I grab the canoe instead so she can come.

My editor likes the final revisions on Dogsled Dreams! So that part is finally done. Now I work with the designer. Then it goes to PDF, then the senior editor takes a gander, then I approve that. Lots of steps. Now I understand why it takes so long! I'm still waiting for the cover, stay tuned for that.

I celebrated the end of revisions for all of 20 seconds, then I started on my wip ICE DOGS. An agent asked me for a rewrite several months ago, but I discovered I could not work on both projects at the same time.

Joanna introduced me to something called the shrunken manuscript technique. It involves smooshing your entire story together into 30 pages using itty-bitty font size. Then I marked the heart-pounding scenes. It's a very cool technique to take a look at the big picture. Now I know I need to cut some of the beginning to start more in the action. You can also see how much dialogue you have this way. I'm going to use colour markers to highlight scenes with different characters too.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

101 awesome followers giveaway

I want to scream out some news today.

photo of one of Karen's dogs.

  • Caroline has a book deal! YEAH Caroline! You have to go read the story of the three publishers all wanting her book! Awesome. I'm so thrilled for her!

  • I have 101 followers! YEAH me! I can't believe it! When I first started, I never would have thought I'd have anyone spending their precious time reading it. How wonderful.

  • To celebrate, I'm having another giveaway! YEAH books! For a chance to win these fabulous, gently read books (including the brilliance of Brenda Ueland) Please follow this short list of rules. I'll break out the very technical hat for the random draw on April 23.

1. be a follower
2. comment on what part of this blog you like to read about - a) writing, b) books, c) outdoor adventures, d) dogsledding

note: the abc's of kissing boys has a dedication by the author inside. I figure that won't stop you from enjoying the book, but if you don't want it, just let me know if you win and I'll swap it.

Monday, March 22, 2010


I'm back from my swim competition and thought I should post a quick follow-up on the awesome time I had. Actually, racing 60 lengths of the pool is not at all awesome while the swimming is taking place. But a few minutes after, I thought it was the BEST event to do. I received a BRONZE medal for my efforts.
Many thanks to my new friend, Karen, where we enjoyed her hospitality all weekend. Great food and conversation.
And I much enjoyed sleeping under her pool table (I must clarify here, there was no alcohol involved, it was just the darkest and most cozy place to pull up a sleeping bag.)
And then, to top off a great couple of days - I had these wonderful books waiting for me when I got home. They arrived in the mail all sparkly, fresh-smelling and waiting to be enjoyed. I think I deserve an afternoon on the couch with some sweet tea. Now, which one to read first...
Rampant by Diana Peterfreund
The Boy who Spoke Dog by Clay Morgan
Listen by Stephanie Tolan
The Earth, My Butt, and other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler
Gone by Michael Grant
Eternal by Cynthia Leitich Smith
Izzy and Lenore by Jon Katz
Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Mink screams and dogsled teams

A neat little story to share...

While on our morning hike, my dog found a mink. This is not unusual, but this one found itself trapped at the base of an aspen. I thought Tanzer was chasing a squirrel until I heard it scream. Like a shrill MEEEH!

The dog wanted nothing to do with a squirrel that sounds like that, so backed out of there with her hackles up. I could smell it before I got close - a distinctly musky odour like a mild skunk. Then it popped its head up from the brush, MEEH'ed at me and scrambled up the smooth trunk of the tree! I'm just sharing this since that's the first time I've ever seen them climb trees. Good info to tuck away for a scene in a book.

I've put it in my IDEAS file.


Karen of North Wapiti kennel has just left Rainy Pass - a checkpoint in the Iditarod race. Read about how one of her dogs slipped his collar, came looking for her in the musher's tent, and told her it was time to get on the trail. Too funny.

photo from flickrcc and NorthWapiti blog.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

way to go Beth Revis!

Have you heard? Beth Revis sold a 3-book deal to Razorbill with her debut novel Across the Universe coming out in spring 2011! What a dream come true! In fact, I did dream about it last night - it was the last thing I read before I went to bed.

Go check out her blog and brush against her greatness!
She's also having a fabulous giveaway contest! Packages for writers or for readers.

Seriously, her blog is a hoot - she quotes the things her class of high school students say and it's a crack up.
As a long time fan of her hilarious blog, I'm sort of proud, and so excited for her! Congratulations Beth! You deserve it.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Scary things

When I started this blog I wanted to always keep posts positive. I like positive. Forward moving. Optimism. However, in recent weeks, I've starting to feel slightly sneaky. Like I'm hiding secrets.


In the same brave spirit as bloggers such as PJ, Jon, Elana, Mary, I'm going to spill. Here are some things that scare the snickers out of me.

Turtles - you never know if they're swimming underneath you - coming to bite your toes. In fact, this fear is so strong, I cannot swim much farther than our raft. And we live on a flippin' lake. This depresses me.

Escalators - my heart quickens whenever I have to jump on or off one. Like I'm going to be sucked under to wherever those stairs disappear to. I've had people bump into me while I pause to try and time my approach.

The dark - whenever I'm alone at night in the house, I leave on a light. Not a night light. A honkin' bright, regular light. The irony is, I'm okay at night in the bush.

Any knife left on the counter with peanut butter on it - okay, maybe not a full-blown fear, but if I have to pick it up, I do so like it's a nuclear bomb covered in ebola virus and leaking pus.

And a very recent scary thing I have acquired since reading Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass - my release day for my debut novel.

  • Excitement can come disguised as fear.

Such as my fear of sailing, kayaking, dogsledding, hiking, canoe racing, and swim competitions.

Care to share one of your scary things?

picts from flickrCC.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Sailing adventure published

Sailing Magazine published another of my sailing adventures last month, Sail Shakedown. It's the story of the four of us crossing Lake Huron in our Tanzer. We met with 50 knot winds. Here's a short excerpt:

We were forced into a beam reach in six-foot seas. Vicky and Becca
woke up and sat in the cockpit in their pajamas and raincoats. Their pale, worried faces mirrored how Denis and I both felt. Every fourth wave the boat heeled over hard. The girls repeatedly slid off the seat, their legs not long enough to hold them. I passed the bucket between them.
"It's okay, Vick, we're almost there...nothing to worry about."
I shook my head at Denis, who had a distinctly green expression. Waves crashing over the deck almost drowned out the sounds of him losing his breakfast out the back.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Revisions coming along

"We swim because we are too sexy for a sport that requires clothes."

This is my friend Jackie, the powerhouse flyer, who has talked me into swimming with her at the Provincial Swim Competition in London. I thought that was a fine idea back in January. Now it's less than two weeks away and I'm wishing I had remembered that I'm not very fast. Which is why I'm doing the 1500 metre this year. (as well as all the backstroke races) Slow and steady.

I need to remember that when I get anxious about the time it takes to revise a manuscript. I've just sent off, I think, the last big round of edits for Dogsled Dreams.

How does Stephen King whip out those novels so fast?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

adventure plans

With the weather so warm, my mind is wandering ahead to when we can once again dip our blades into the smooth surface. Last year at this time, we began training for our circumnavigation of Manitoulin Island - the worlds largest freshwater island.

Check out our food prep here and our gear prep here.

Picture of me off Barrie Island 5:30am day 3 of Manitoulin Expedition.

This year our plans, (little less daunting, but just as exciting) include:
  • circumnavigate Cockburn Island
  • circumnavigate Phillip Edward Island
  • kayak with the iceburgs off Newfoundland
  • hike Gros Morne National Park
What adventures do you have planned?

Friday, March 5, 2010

My bookcase

I've recently bought Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass. It's a brilliant book, especially helpful while working on revisions. But it has sort of put me over the top in my ability to handle the clutter of books laying around the house.

It's a strange thing, but I've never owned a bookcase. And I've always wanted one. So here it is, my first ever bookcase.

I've had it for three days, and I'm still compulsively shifting books from shelf to shelf. Do I organize them by favorites? Genre? Author? Fiction/nonfiction? Which books do you have on your prime real estate shelf? (the one at eye level.)