Monday, April 28, 2008

Characters Do Not All Live In Books

As I travel through life the people I meet are often more interesting than the characters that populate my books. Today, on a twenty minute walk, I viewed some interesting vignettes and got a view of just a piece of someone else's life.

Act 1 - a line at the post office that was being delayed because a package was being paid for in carefully folded and refolded bills. The customer was tall, thin with hemp beads and long stringy hair and a placid baby face. He didn't seem to notice the consternation on the postal clerk's face as he carefully removed one carefully folded bill after another from a small pouch he carried. Five dollar bills were folded to one inch squares. He would place a carefully folded bill on the middle of the counter and wait. The clerk would painstakingly unfold the intricately folded bill and place it in a growing pile. Then the man would slowly reach for another similarly folded bill and set it on the counter, and the clerk would concentrate on unfolding that bill and placing it on the pile of unfolded bills. With the transaction appearing to cost close to one hundred dollars the whole performance was very slow. Neither he nor the postal clerk spoke, but their expressions told a story - I'm sure each of us in that line had a different tale to tell at the end of the day and not one of us knew the real story behind the man and those intricately folded five dollar bills.

Act 2 - As I walked away from the post office and down the street still smiling over the very different reactions of the postal clerk, the customer, and the people in line, I caught a flash of plaid. There, standing in front of a full length window at the main entrance of an apartment building stood a man in boxer shorts and under shirt. I blinked and looked again. Surely he would duck now that there was a woman on the sidewalk in front of him. He didn't and I walked faster, just in case he was in the mood to show a tad more than his boxers.

Just another interesting day on a cool spring day on the prairie.

And you - what strangers made an impression on you today?


Friday, April 25, 2008

A Journey through Time and Music

Why is it that music can reach out and touch our emotions through years and decades or in some instances, even centuries?
Take a Peek at - The Doors in Concert

Jim Morrison would be turning 65 this year, no longer that sexy hunk slinking around the stage singing provocative songs. Yet, by dying young we're forever left with that ageless image of raw, edgy youth.

Life is never easy and it's never fair - make the most of what you have.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

International Day of the Book

Today is International Day of the Book. On this day, April 23 in the year 1616, Cervantes and Shakespeare both died. And they weren't the only writers to enter or leave this world on April 23rd, there were other famous and not so famous writers. But the purpose of this post isn't to honor writers long dead. Their legacy doesn't need a day. Their work lives on. The literary greats are honored again and again every time we pick up a book, every time we write a line. No, today is about the books and their readers. About remembering, appreciating and giving the gift of books. Books mark the passage of time, guide the milestones in life and record our history for as long and longer than we can remember. So, readers and writers alike, spend some time alone in the good company of a book.

A good book can be found almost anywhere.

Books are a refuge, a sort of cloistral refuge, from the vulgarities of the actual
world. - Walter Pater

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. - Richard Steele, Tatler, 1710

Now be off with you and your book. I'll leave you two alone.


Sunday, April 20, 2008

From The Other Side Of The Looking Glass

I never travel without a book. Usually a book or two. As a reader I love to delve into history, romance, mystery, real life, made up life, I love it all. Although I do love romance best. As a writer, I write romance but within that genre my curiosity takes me in many directions.

But reader/writer that's two sides of a glass. And it's hard to know from the writer side what readers want. The industry gives statistics every year of what's popular and what's not according to what they think the readers want. But what do readers really want? Are readers all as eclectic as I am? Am I naive to think that if I love a story, and I love every story I write, that my readers will love it too? Do readers expect that if an author they enjoyed wrote one historical that another will follow? Or, like me, will they be willing to follow an author from a historical to paranormal to suspense and back again?

Every story I've read has taken me on a journey, as a reader that's all I've ever expected of an author. What about you? What do you like to read?

And, to a post with many questions - a virtual toast!


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Through the Shroud of a Bad Day

Some days are just off. You know the kind, doesn't matter where you're going, that shroud of yuck follows along behind. The other day began as one of those days. No good reason, nothing much different that morning except the gray mood but then things began to change. First I found the penny - bright, shiny new, lying in the middle of the street. I won't bend to pick one up if it's not shiny. I mean it's only a penny. But if it's shiny, call me superstitious, I'll pick it up - my good luck charm for the day.

And it was.

Morning coffee break was indeed a break. With a shiny new good luck charm in my pocket, my shroud of yuck was about to be bro
ken. My favorite coffee shop owner brought my latte over with a big smile and a special heart frothed on the top because just the other day they had learned I'm a romance author.

How incredibly special is
that! There's no way my shroud of yuck could contend with that and so it slid off into the drain from whence it came.

So if you're ever in Regina and in need of a mood booster or just some time around truly special people, or just for the great food and beverages, check out this little vegetarian cafe.
Green Spot Cafe

2012 12th Ave, Regina, Saskatchewan

What brings you out of the unexpected blahs?
hmmm - usage of the word, whence - me thinks I've been playing in medieval land a tad too long. Til later.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Is it Night or Pre-Dawn?

It is 4:38 a.m. and I am out walking the dog. Sleep alluded me somewhere around 4:00 a.m. So here I am taking a journey through the pre-dawn darkness. An eerie, lonely walk or so it seems. It's soon apparent that I and my dog are not the only ones awake at this hour of the morning.

Who said the birds sing when the sun comes up? Apparently they sing long before that as a group of feathered crooners chirp through one melody after the next. The houses are in darkness and not another living being in sight. Just us and the birds. It is rather strange listening to the birds
sing their cheerful little hearts out this early in the morning. It is also rather refreshing how between the song of the birds, there is silence. There is no sign of sun rise. The air still has the night time nip.

Twenty minutes later, life is slowly starting to arouse. A house light in the darkness, another further on. Then dawn begins the transition from darkness. Without warning a layer of night sky seems to peel back and
the sky is suddenly lighter. I'd stick around for sunrise but there's breakfast and a shower to think about, and of course the beginning of another routine day. Or maybe not.

A little lightness to start the day - Click here

What did you do today that was out of the norm - and was your day better for it?


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Yikes Roses! - Yes I should stop and smell them

Thanks Teresa - you reminded me to stop and smell the roses and today I not quite so literally, did. There aren't any roses blooming, not in the yard. But I still remember, not so very long ago, a special bunch sitting on my table after a book launch.

Roses are a great reminder to live in the moment. Their scent is rich, their beauty almost flamboyant, like a gorgeous, voluptuous woman in the midst of every day life, they are impossible to miss and make us pause even in the frantic hum of our lives. Often, without a slap you in the face reminder, we are so busy in our own lives that mundane errands eclipse the peace and beauty that is always around us if we only look. But every once in a while someone special reminds us to do just that - sometimes not just once but twice or even more.

Today a yearly milestone, a journey out of the final cobwebs of winter was the reminder. Today's journey involved literally dusting off the dust and webs on the lawn furniture and clipping the overgrown growth of fur that protected the family dog from the long harsh winter. The dog literally crawled under the newly placed deck chair to escape a moment of what he considered undue, and harsh treatment. His perception of undue and harsh is a little extreme. But ten minutes under the scissor was more than he wanted to endure.

My characters in "The One" experienced the same hair cut only much more extensive. The story is being pruned down to a sweet and solid core and that was my morning.

The end of the day, with drinks in hand on a unexpectedly warm day in early April, it was apparent who had the real zen in the family. Who really was most equipped to just enjoy the moment. But then, somehow we always knew that.

This moment is all we're ever promised. Live it!


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Literary Multi-tasking

Call me crazy but I'm hopping between medieval England and the Borneo rain forest. My heroines are scratching their well-organized heads and my heroes, well they're taking advantage of my frequent absences.

It's time to put an end to that. One story at a time. So for the next two weeks, I'm sorry Aidan - you're on your own in Borneo. But behave yourself, you're a gentleman - you told me so. Yes, I know - Garrett can be a bit forward. Sorry - a lot forward, you're just going to have to deal without me.

He's right you know, without assistance from the author's pen, Garrett might just have him dancing to every tune she can think of. My poor boy will be exhausted by the time I return from my medieval adventure.

But hopefully by then Giles will have it under control with his magic toting band of female renegades - or not. Giles is nothing if not optimistic.

And you - do you multi-task?


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Monday, April 7, 2008

Medieval Magic or...

Some stories call desperately to you and some just whisper haunting reminders that their time/destiny, whatever you want to call it, is upon them or is that you? "The One" has been resting for awhile. I like to do that with my stories. But now my only paranormal is being dusted off and the cobwebs swept away. Stand back, there may be some spiders with that web.So here we go, tread carefully - A little medieval magic goes a long way and in the village of Hafne they're stretching it to the limit. It's 1072 in Southern England and the village of Hafne is under siege. An ancient curse has hobbled them and now a Norman is at their gates. But Hafne is not just magical, here the women have the power. For our Norman warrior that's one battle he might want to do without.
I don't know how happy my hero Giles is with me. I think he mentioned once or twice that he never thought he'd battle a woman and lose. Not that there's any physical fighting going on, at least not with him and the women. Still, he's quickly learning that none of the rules he's ever learned will work with the people he now calls his or the keep that now bears his name.

And if he has any doubts that he might be in charge, just ask Vala.

"There are mysteries which men can only guess at, which age by age they may solve only in part." Bram Stoker


Friday, April 4, 2008

Celebrate the Small Things

What does it take to pull you out of a temporary funk? For me it was an unexpected blog rating that made day-job gloom, yesterday's news.

Today it's time to click and celebrate! rated this blog - 8.1 out of 10!!

Apparently my blog was rated on a range of things including; site design and writing style. I am assured this is no ordinary feat. I don't know whether it is or not but I'll take it!

A small victory, I know, but it sure puts a shine on a rather cloudy and gloomy day.

Whether it's climbing ancient relics or meeting up with old friends, what puts the shine in your day?


Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Passionate or the Obscure Life

Why is life so often not about what we want but what society expects? And what does this all have to do with either travel or writing?

Because writing is about life, about passion, about aching to get pen on paper and, really, about what few people in your life will understand. Writing is recording life's journey. And maybe all those emotions that call me to write are the reason why I'm sensitive about the mundane, the expected, and the necessary - drum roll please - the day job.

Today as I sat in my alter ego, my day job, in that boardroom, I watched the unanimated faces around the table and I realized that for all of us, this job, this meeting wasn't our dream. How did I know that? Because if it were, each of those faces, or a few, or even one, would have been animated. Instead, we looked, well not to be critical but night of the living dead under the glow of the flourescent lights, and although there was no mirror handy, I'm sure that included said writer.

Unfortunately we can't all live our passion. Some of us know what our dream is early on and some don't learn until much later in life, like Grandma Moses to name one of many. Some may never know and that is the saddest fact of all. But in the meantime, how do we allow ourselves to be herded to this place where our lives are dictated by the whims of others and our base nature is sanded and smoothed until it resembles nothing that we once saw in the mirror as a child? Maybe that's why I love writing stories, creating unique lives, emotion, purpose and determination when around me I see so much conformity.

Maybe I'm being overly bleak tonight. But are we heading into conformist obscurity? Get that bike helmet on and let me know what you think.

Once upon a time,