Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Dog Sleds, Igloos and Books

I have a secret.  I hate to admit it, as a book junkie it's rather shameful, but here it is.  There are books that I have owned for years that I have never read.  Books as in plural - yes, I'm trying to catch up.  But there was a time when my collecting capabilities exceeded my reading speed.  Not that I was ever a slow reader - let's just say my fingertips had glue when it came to books.  I collected - admired - shelved and forgot to read.  Because, like a kid with too many toys, there was always that latest book.  Now, as a writer I'm hanging my head at that admission.

So this week I was going through shelves, pulling out books and dividing up keepers from those that aren't keepers and need to find new homes and new readers.  And I am discovering books that I have always meant to read but never have. 
Not exactly the Artic - A prairie winter.

Nunaga was one of those books.  I'm embarrassed to say I've had it for longer than I've had the current house.  Which, let me tell you is many years.  I never cracked the cover of the book.  So I picked it up and opened its well-worn cover and was pleasantly surprised.  It's the true life account of a young man's career move to the Canadian Artic in the 1950's.  There are great places in this book where you get a look at life as it was - at the Artic when the Inuit still built igloos and dogsleds were still the primary mode of transport, at a point when everything was on the brink of change - and it's fascinating.

But it gets even more so when I mention to my mother that I'm finally reading the book she passed on to me to read with the assurance I could keep it.  She then tells me that the book has an unusual connection.  The book arrived in my mother's hands because a friend of my grandmother's was related to the author.  Now only an author could be excited by the unique route a book may take to get into the hands of a reader.  Even years after publication - it's still fascinating stuff, really.

But back to the path of how this particular book made it's journey through the hands of one of the most unique individuals I have ever met to finally find its way to my bookshelf.  It originally belonged to a market gardener in the Qu'Appelle Valley.  He was a Scottish immigrant, a widower who had befriended my grandmother and visited her often.  I remembered that I loved his laid back easy style but I also remember my grandmother bemoaning the fact that he was really not the man of her dreams.  In fact sometimes I think she preferred not to have him sitting on her couch for fear he might get it dirty.

But what can you expect from a literally "down to earth" long-ago widowed market gardener who has been living alone on a prime piece of land in cottage country without a single modern amenity including water.  Water - well, he pumped the water from the lake.  What he used for washing, you know as a child I never thought about it and I never asked.  I know he had electricity but no television.  And I remember his furniture was that old-fashioned, over-stuffed, stiff cushioned variety with intricately carved but well worn wooden arms - from generations ago. But all that is a sidebar to the stories he would tell.  And he topped it all off with his stories of "coming over" as he called immigration.   I remember he ran that market garden until well into his nineties.

With that one book, I expected a journey into the past, and another culture - never did I expect to touch the edges of my childhood.   Any unexpected moments in your day?


Friday, November 25, 2011

Last Day of a Big GiveAways

Head on over to Small Blogs, Big GiveAways and check out the awesome contest going on there.  It's the last day to take part in a hop that has all sorts of bookish prizes including an e-copy of one of my books; From the Dust.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Drive Like You Stole It?

Today I was out on my usual walk - which, I have to say was a heck of a lot more tolerable than it's been the last few days.  The temperature has finally risen and the wind has kicked down a notch or two.  Looks like winter-like weather may ease off for the next few days.

So five minutes into the walk - I see this on someone's truck:

Drive Like You Stole It.

Moon cast in orange - a rare sight.
Okay, that's a phrase to make anyone stop and take notice.  Stole it?   My mind flashes forward to how I envision stolen vehicles are handled, never mind, that I've never driven one - stolen that is.  I imagine that if I did - and hey I could, in fiction that is - it would be wild, fast and crazy because, well - I'm assuming laws aren't really in the forefront of a car thief's mind.  So I assess said truck and think, odds are not stolen so driving your truck like a crazy person is just - crazy.  Yes, all those thoughts whipped through my head but then I settled down and yes, I got with the program.  Okay, I got it.  Be a little wild, break the rules, go for it - have some fun. 

Was I a little wild - not the last few days.  I've had some fun though and I did spring out of the box, for a while.  Does that count for something?

Wait, it seems in my writing I'm always doing that - springing out of the box that is.  I broke the rules and genre hopped a bit.  First I wrote a historical romance - which I loved writing and was my entry into the published world.  The research, well I almost never surfaced from that, I loved it so much, and I was sure I found my genre.  Than I headed to the second historical romance which somehow veered into the land of paranormal.  So I did it again.  Of course, I justify all this in that the paranormal has major historical elements in it.   But onward I trundled, or is that wrote - and followed it all up with romantic suspense or two.  I discovered I love writing suspense, love modern day and far away settings but one other thing - I love issues.  So in one "small' veer,  I recently headed into the land of Women's Fiction.  But that's a story for another post, somewhere down the road.

Then I thought, maybe all of that isn't so strange.  Because as a reader, my tastes are every bit as eclectic.  I'm reading "Hangman's Daughter" and "Nuanga" along with a Stephen King short story - all on the go.

Beck Valley Books Weekly Book Blog HopReally, I think in life as in writing - we have many interests.  Me, I have one constant, the stories are always primarily a woman's journey, throw in a bit of suspense, a bit of drama, mayhap a romance along the way and sometimes (insert a blank page here) - hey, I'm not giving it all away.  Not just in books but in life - drive like you stole it.

Into joining in the fun of a contest or two?  Check out Beck Valley Books, where they're holding the Weekly Book Blog Hop. 

And you - do your tastes in literature remain true to genre or...?


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Turn Your Day On Its Head? Why?

The snow and cold has settled in over the last week.  Heading out for my walk, the first thing I noticed was that there are still flowers blooming in the front flower bed.  How is it possible for petunias to still have blooms with snow pushing into their space and the temperature not cracking zero in many days?   I know, next year, get petunias - they might be zoned hardy but this is ridiculous.  They'll survive anything.

This morning I was up earlier than usual - headed for cereal rather than anything that added an extra five minutes preparation time and five minutes less away from my keyboard.  But the day began in a strange way.  I lost chapter nine.  Not even lost, more that it had never existed.  How is that possible to have a story with over thirty-nine chapter and no chapter nine?

And this is all before nine a.m.  

Kind of feels like the day my ad got punted from e-bay.  Did Chapter 9 suffer the same problem? 

Maybe, maybe not but - Yes, I had my only ever seller's ad punted from e-bay and here's how it happened.   Apparently, you can't sell three concert tickets and group them in a bundle that looks like they under the legal selling price - it wasn't but that's another story.  Suffice it to say - I am not in their black books.   But they were having no part in posting those particular tickets.

So since then I've skirted e-bay.  That, and I don't think I want to be shipping anything of any weight further than the outskirts of the city - clear across the continent, maybe not.  Anyway, since the basement has been renovated, all those forgotten items that were stored away in dark corners and cupboards have come to life.  And they have been the catalyst to scrounge elsewhere, like the corners of the garage.  Yesterday, I said goodbye to a set of tires that fit a car I no longer own and a collection of "antique" pictures.  It was kind of sad really, about the antiques (should I bracket antiques in quotes - were they really antiques?)  I'd saved them for years thinking they were special, maybe a find for the Antiques Road Show.  But alas, the other day I came to my senses and discovered that all they were really worth was a supper out, and not a fancy one either.  I wasn't going to buy the island of my dreams with my "yet to be discovered" antiques.

And on the upside to all that so-so news, one of my fave authors, Stephen King, is giving an interview on CBC radio's program Q this morning.   Stephen King is by far my favourite living author.  I read him back when I was a teenager.  Back then, after Nancy Drew horror was the natural progression.  He's the author in whose footsteps I so badly wanted to follow when I was seventeen - that was until I grew up and discovered the size of his feet - figuratively speaking, of course.  So there you go, that's why everything today begins early - I've got to be back from my walk with the dog and parked by my radio at ten this morning.   An interview with Stephen King in real time, that makes up for bad weather, missing chapters and maybe even that e-bay infraction.  If you miss the interview, I know there's the podcast, but there's just something about real time.

Anyone you'll never meet, that you'd rearrange your schedule for?

And before I close - happy graduation day to a good friend that just flew across the country to 
accept her well-earned diploma!


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Scream Autumn All You Want - It's Winter!

The first day of a snow dump is not what I'd call my favourite day of November.  But from the looks of things, the snow is here to stay.  I woke up to snow and it's still snowing.  There's something about being face to face with snow after months of absence that just makes you cold, even though the temperature inside hasn't fluctuated. 

No matter what the calendar says - for me, this is it.  Winter is here.  And between that and the weather, I'm thinking about escape and we've laid some tentative plans.  A road trip, south to begin with, far enough that the white stuff hasn't reached.  Not a long trip - just one that gets some new scenery and some better weather for a week or two.   After that, we'll see where the road takes us. 

Meantime - click here for a raft of giveaways to chase away any blues in your day. 

Any escape plans in your future?


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Spooktakular Blog Hop Update

The Spooktakular Blog Hop has ended.  I'm rather sorry to say that because then I also have to admit that Halloween is over and November has begun.

On the upside - there's still no snow.  At least not here on the prairies.  I know other parts of the continent have been subjected to some fairly wicked weather.  It's unusual here not to have had at least a smattering of the white stuff.  In fact when I was looking back I remembered one blog post that recorded a fall storm that actually was marked as a snow day.  That's not usual here where snow is the norm at least five months of the year.  I kind of wish I hadn't said that, snow.  Do you suppose I may have vexed the universe, hastened it's arrival, shaken the order of things?

Here's hoping not.

Meantime, there's some celebrating to do as the Spooktakular Blog Hop ends and a winner needs to be announced.  Congratulations to the winner of the prize (a copy of the books; Ring of Desire, Gerald's Game and Beatrice and Virgil) here at Once Upon a Time... is:


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