Friday, April 29, 2011

Romance - Wills and Kate Style

Wills and Kate, a royal romance that landed, as the Brits might say, on my tellie.  

I almost got up at 2:00 a.m. to watch the coverage of the royal wedding.  Almost... 

Instead I taped it and watched the event mid-stream at shortly after 6:00 a.m.  Still, a crazy hour to get up but it was a crazy event.  As they say, the event of the century. It was amazing the crowd that gathered - the crowd physically there and the crowd that gathered at a distance around the world.  This wasn't the usual media event.  Not at least what I'm used to hearing.  It seems to be mayhem of all kinds that attracts media attention lately, wars and civil unrest or natural disasters exploding in all corners of the globe.  Sometimes I think there is no good news out there.  And then this....

A future monarch gets married.  The breaking of ancient rules of blood and pomp and circumstance.  Or was it just a beautiful romance?

It was plain old-fashioned romance in high style and we all tuned in.  Okay, not all of us but you know where I'm going - many, many.   So many manies as to mean that whole networks in a variety of countries have been aflutter with the event for most of the week leading up to it and much of the hours after. 
Not to repeat myself - never mind, I will.  It was all about romance and I loved it.  Although I have to admit that as a romantic suspense author I was also fascinated by the security issues right down to securing the sewer caps - but that's another story.  Believe me, security is a many faceted endeavor.  As I learned from a monarch visit to the prairies, it's amazing what security personnel can hear with their listening devices!  Again, another story... 

But back to the wedding, loved the simplicity of the dress, the beauty of the choir, the Bishop of London's words to the couple, and who couldn't love the setting in the history steeped elegance of Westminster Abbey?  But what I was disappointed with...  the kiss on the balcony.  Now don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those that expects the bend her over his arm sort of go for it Hollywood kiss.  And I wasn't one of the ones waiting for "the kiss".   Because really, I didn't expect it to be much more than staged.  And I don't say that in a bad way.  But after all, this was a kiss that occurred eight years into a relationship, in front of millions of people, and over an hour after the completion of the nuptials.  The kiss wasn't spontaneous.  It was expected.  So as a staged event - I expected a smidgen of drama - where was the drama?  Just a wee tiny bit, maybe a kiss just a little longer than it was, something.  I know that sounds contradictory but somewhere between one brief kiss and the dip...  Sigh.  

I know - two kisses have to count for something.  Either way - it looks to me like a love match. 

And you - wasn't it romantic or....?


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Ferret Was Legendary

In a life that has been dotted with pets, the ferret seems to stand out.  Now I'm a little more conventional, at least in the pet department.  One dog, currently snoring on the couch.

But back to the purpose of this post and really, it's not the ferret.  But if you give me time I'll get there.  First off, the ferret has been gone for quite a few years.  He lived a good life before going off to ferret heaven.  So when he became the topic of conversation when a good friend came to town and I went for coffee with her and her daughter it was rather a surprise.  Especially when my friend's daughter told me that the ferret was legendary.  That made me stop.  This young lady had never met the ferret but she'd heard stories of his exploits - legendary stories.
Now I have to admit that Scooter (yes, he was not blessed with an original name) had some unique qualities.  One, he loved red licorice - absolutely manic for it, two he loved sleeping beneath the cushions of a hide-a-bed we had at the time.  When company would come he would emerge, sneak up on them and nip their ankles.  Then he'd dance backwards and chatter in a manner that couldn't be anything but ferret laughter.  No one forgot Scooter. 

But what makes something legendary?  And specifically what makes a story legendary?

We all know those stories.  The ones we will never forget.  Sometimes one author is blessed with every book they write and sometimes it's just one particular story.  I find of all the legendary stories that stick with me, many were ones read in my childhood; L.M. Montgomery's Jane of Lantern Hill, Johanna Spyri's Heidi, Jack London's The Call of the Wild - just to name a few.  Most recently I was impressed with Stieg Larsson's Millenium Trilogy.  They're stories I won't forget.  Of course there's others - Stephen King's The Stand, almost anything LaVryle Spencer wrote, Ken Follett's Fall of Giants.  I could go on but my feet are going numb - yes I'm still sitting on my feet in front of my tiny retro coffee table that now functions as slash office.  But I digress - legendary stories - they all have the ability to draw you into a world that you will remember long after you turn the last page.  They're stories whose bindings once became worn with wear and who now I often load onto my kindle so I can reread them without ruining my paper copy.  Yes - another reason I'm glad the e-book exists.

Have you read anything legendary recently?


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Poetry and Critics

Dreaming of summer...
And just because it's National Poetry Month another quote selected by Saskatchewan's Poet Laureate Don Kerr.  

 “All that the critic can do for the reader is to focus his gaze or attention.”       
                                                                                                                                ~ Ezra Pound
Ryshia Kennie

Saturday, April 9, 2011

I Wouldn't Fight Sharks But...

Some days I consider what bizarre genes I inherited that drive me to get up at ridiculous hours to punch letters on a keyboard and fill a blank screen with stories that evolve from, as my mother has asked, where exactly?  Renovations have taken over the house.  Considering the fact that my office is now off limits until painting is finished - shouldn't I take a break?  Wouldn't any sane human being?

Temporary - repeat - temporary office
Apparently not.  Even with my office reduced to an old style end table that is three steps from the dust bin and is barely wider than my laptop when the kitchen table is in use - I write.  Yes, the life of the displaced and apparently insanely determined writer.  Currently, I'm sitting on the floor with my feet tucked under me - guaranteed to cause circulation stoppage at some point.  A little pile of research books are teetering on the upper shelf of the retro piece of furniture that's now my desk.  I really should do something about them before they topple.

What drives one forward to write no matter what the conditions?  Even through all the frustrations and confusion of today's publishing industry.  I muddle through posts of self-publishing as opposed to mainstream publishing, the shelf life of paper books as opposed to e-reads and my head spins.  When I've determined one path there are others trumpeting another.  Some days it's easier to write than to step onto the constantly changing field that we now call the publishing industry.  But that's another post.

Publishing is frustrating.  There, I said it.  Published or not - getting published isn't easy.  Carving a career isn't easy.  A sane person would give up.  Wait, yes I did mention that sanity factor - a hereditary thing that I blame on some distant relative.  Possibly the miserable looking great great great something or other whose picture indicates that she might have fought sharks single-handedly to get to America.  The story goes that she was a United Empire Loyalist and that's what brought her to Canada.  I tend to think, from the look on her face, that the States might have thrown her out.  Any way you look at it - that woman's determined.  Maybe I get it from her. 

Still,  my resolve faltered a few times as the household turmoil continued. Then it happened!

I had a wow moment.  It came completely unexpectedly, as these things tend to do.  Someone acknowledged what I do every day - in a big way.  More on that later.  I was left with what I call the wow factor.  In fact, that's the only word that came to mind.  It certainly killed the 5:00 a.m. writing habit for 24 hours or so.  After all, there's only so many times you can write wow!

What keeps you going through life's distractions?


Friday, April 8, 2011

National Poetry Month

It's National Poetry month and our provincial Poet Laureate, Don Kerr has been providing the Saskatchewan Writers Guild with daily snippets of poetry.  It's been refreshing to look forward to those lines of verse that can be anything from inspirational to just plain humorous.  

From a man who has perfected the art of setting poetry to music:

My friends are gone and my hair is grey
               I ache in the places where I used to play”                                                                                                           ~Leonard Cohen, “The Tower of Song”
In SK it's still looking a little too much like this.

And yesterday's verse - another quick laugh to take you through the remainder of the day:
“You made us weep without suffering”                        

Pablo Neruda,Ode to the Onion


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Romance Studio - Stay At Home Party

If you haven't heard - The Romance Studio is hosting a Stay At Home Party.  If you're not one of the lucky ones going to Los Angelas than head over to The Romance Studio for your book fix.  There's authors, readers, books and prizes.  One of the prime prizes - a Nook, I heard rumour of two, not sure if that's true or not, you'll have to check that fact out for yourself.  The party dates are today and heading through the 10th with the exception of April 7.

A party that begins on hump day, Wednesday - not a bad bridge for mid-week. 
So check it out:  April 6, and April 8-10

You can start off if you want with my post today:  Books or Snow?  Or a Little of Both...  Or skip on ahead to the main party site.  Either way hop in, make a comment or two that enters you for a chance to win some great prizes and in the process maybe discover a new author or two.


Saturday, April 2, 2011

Bring It

 Originally published scheduled to post April 1 - how appropriate that it posted to other venues and not the blog - after all it was April Fool's Day.  So without further ado....
Margaritas on the table, supper a few hours away and the snow is beginning to slowly drain away.  What more can someone ask for?

Rourke's passion - stuffed animals and apparently, eyeshadow.  Insert shrug here.
In the lull between cocktails and supper - Chinese if anyone cared, my two fave cooks, hubbie and a good friend, are scouring a new online site on herbs.  I, having been relegated to the kitchen out of necessity, is relieved to finally release those duties to someone with a talent for culinary pursuits.  And listening to the exchange revolving around Vietnamese cinnamon and black sesame,  I can hear the passion in the possibilities.

Passion.  That gut wrenching, must do emotion that drives one forward and perseveres even through every obstacle, major or minor.  It's the reason you'll steal time anywhere you can even if five o'clock a.m. becomes a regular visual on the bedside alarm.  It's similar in every endeavor.  Passion is what drives us.

For me it's words.  But sometimes through the long hours of getting that first draft onto paper, something gets lost in the translation.  Whether you lose direction or suffer from verbiage - the result is a story needing an overhaul. 

An overwritten first draft is rather like an over-spiced dish.  Except, according to my resident chefs, maybe a tad easier to fix.  At least with a story you can scale back and strip it down to the bones to find the guts that first drove the idea into life.

The reality is that passion easily settles into the day to day mundane and ideas get lost in word counts and line edits.  But you would never have begun it in the first place if there hadn't been special in those first words.  There have been many words written in the history of mankind and many words to come.  Only twenty-six letters in the English alphabet and still the possibilities are endless.

As Randy says on American Idol - Bring It!  Be your best - show the exceptional that only you can bring.  And always that's what you have to do whether it takes one draft of twenty.  Remember the passion and the excitement that was the inception of the idea?  What made it special?  Go there even if you, and you probably will, have to edit your way back to that wonderful beginning.

Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony is playing in the background.  Now there was a master at passion - he brings it with every note.  Listening to that provides a whole lot of inspiration.

How are you planning to bring it this week?