Thursday, May 29, 2008

Marketing Novels

In case you wanted to know how to promote your new novel, should any of us be so lucky--here is the latest wisdom out there.

Oh, did I forget to mention you shouldn't be eating or drinking while watching this? I found this over at Pub Rants.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

A May Hike!

Since hubby started geocaching a few months ago, we've gone on a few excursions and want to do more. The last couple caches were practically beside the parking lot, and we wanted to find places that required a hike-in. We sure found one of those today!

First we drove up the mountain near our house, a forestry road with many switchbacks. Finally we came to the trailhead and started climbing a 2.5 km very steep trail. Several places there were really good views of the valley below, though. Our farm is in this photo.

I took photos of a lot of flowers along the trail (an excuse to take a rest break a few times!) This is one of my favorites:

Hubby will be posting up photos of the geocaching itself, so check it out! But here is the proof we made it to the top:

And proof that he figured out how to use the timer on the camera!

Friday, May 23, 2008

On dragons...

I came to the realization yesterday that there is a reason dragons are over-done in fantasy literature. Sure we think they're cool, but there's more to it than that. Really, there are only so many mythological beasts that are willing to transport humans, so if the writer is looking for something beyond horses and sailing ships, most animals slink off into the distance, unwilling to do the job.

The current short list for this novel includes dragons, gryphons, hippogriffs, and centaurs. I'm not extremely wild about using any of them. But this world deserves something beyond horses. No offense to my friend Flicka.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

a bit of backstory...

I couldn't decide which was more stare-worthy--my brother Lann or the jewel he'd casually placed in my hand. The jewel won. I'd seen Lann before, though this might well have been the first thing he'd ever given me.

"Father wanted you to have it," Lann said, and I realized he'd said other things, too, that I hadn't paid attention to.

The deep purple stone glowed from its depths, every facet gleaming as I turned it. I'd always thought a jewel would feel cold to the touch--if I should ever have the opportunity to touch one, which had seemed unlikely, poor as we were. But not only was it not cold, but a pure warmth emanated from it, spreading down my fingers and up towards my elbow.

"Kaesa. Are you listening to a word I've said?"

I should be, I knew. I had no memories of my father, who had died when I was but a babe. But it was difficult to tear my attention from the jewel. I leaned closer, fancying I could smell the fragrance of a heady wine.

Lann's fingers closed over mine, blocking the gem from my sight. "Kaesa."

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Keeps on coming...

Been a busy week since we got home from Victoria. We've finally got Hanna and Craig moved home for the summer. They're hanging out in the folks' motorhome and using our spare bedroom as an office. Yesterday we got all the rest of their belongings moved into storage in their college town, ready for them to find a new abode in September. Craig's working at the local wildlife center for the summer and Hanna is taking time off from lifeguarding to develop her web and graphic design business. Need anything done? I have the gal for you!

We've also gotten the yard mowed--huge job. It was barely turning green when I left for Victoria and when we got home, it was 8-12 inches high. Even the riding lawn mower argued about the task, and the yard is large enough that it takes several hours. Hard on the neck too as the thing doesn't have power steering and a lot of maneuvering is required. (Whine, whine...I know). So we've all taken our turns at raking up the mounds of shorn grass and stacking it between the raspberry rows. Might as well get some good mulch out of the deal.

Much of the garden has now been planted--all the tomatoes and squashes are in. It was hot over the weekend but cooled off considerably yesterday and is raining today, which ought to make the little plants happy. We still have more planting to do, but it's a good start.

On the story front, I've tried to get back into the worldbuilding for the novel I was working on in April, Puppet Prince. I've been fighting with the story line on and off for a couple of years and apparently it still isn't composted enough to grow a decent plot. I don't know. It makes me yawn, which can't possibly be a good sign!

So I'm poking around with the matchmaking novel, which ought to get a name someday, I suppose. If this one pulls together, I can see several novels in this world. At any rate, this concept feels like it has some promise. Perhaps even a promise it would like to fulfill this year. However, it wasn't as far along as the Puppet Prince novel, so I'm further back on my timeline of getting something ready to start writing.

And when I'm this tired and my life is this busy--and I'm THIS out of practice at plotting and writing--it seems easier to take a nap than push myself to work on it. Not that I' at work or anything. Really.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Home Again

We got home late last night. Saturday morning my hubby and my son-in-law flew into Victoria and we all spent the afternoon at Beacon Hill Park and the waterfront. It was quite windy and cloudy, but not pouring rain so not a problem. We enjoyed wandering the shore and even saw a sea otter, as well as many kinds of birds.

This may have rated as one of my best Mother's Days ever. My daughter-in-law made a yummy breakfast for me (well, for all of us, but it was a Mother's Day brekkie!) Our big plan for the day had been a sailing trip for the whole family, but the weather was too poor. There had been gale force winds all night and it was still plenty windy all day Sunday, so that was rather disappointing.

However, we decided to go to the Royal BC Museum instead. Jim and I hadn't gone for over three years and enough exhibits had changed to make it worthwhile. The Victoria kids get to go relatively often, but Hanna hadn't been since she was little, and her hubby had never been to this one.

The special exhibit this time was War Brides: One Way Passage. Very cool.

We had a picnic at Beacon Hill Park, then returned to the museum for the IMax: Wild Oceans.

Later Jim cooked fresh scallops and halibut filets for us all.


We drove home Monday, long day, safe and sound. And back to work today. Time to settle into our spring routines.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Busy Days

It seems I should have more to say here. We've been keeping really busy. In fact, yesterday (Wednesday) was our only low key day thus far. It was Jen's first day of her summer co-op job, and Hanna and I did some laundry and cleaning, watched a movie, and dropped the car off to the VW dealership to get repaired.

Tuesday the girls and I went to Saltspring Island. That required a 45 minute bus ride to the ferry landing, then a 35 minute ferry ride. Once on the island, it was another half hour by bus to the main town where we hung out for about four hours (lots of walking! That day tallied up to 7.9 miles) before setting off on the return journey. Saltspring is a place of arts, crafts, and organics, and one of the main reasons we went was to buy organic heritage vegetable seeds. Sadly the rack was well picked over and we didn't come away with as many varieties as we'd hoped. Still, we plan to try some of these in the garden this summer.

The girls did a lot of shopping earlier in the week--clothes, fabrics, etc. It's been fun traipsing around with them, even while I am definitely not attracted to the same styles as they are!

Today looks like rain, and I think Hanna and I will be picking up the car after a bit, then wandering out to do some shopping ('cause we like need more stuff). Well, I guess we're in need of a bit of groceries at least. There are a few other things we'd been meaning to see/ do while here also. Tomorrow we are planning to see Butchart Gardens (supposed to be mostly sunny tomorrow). And then Saturday our hubbies arrive :) That will be nice.

Anyway, much randomness here. I'm still learning to use this machine and the thought of re-figuring out how to load up photos is a bit daunting. Guess I'd better get that firm in my head while we're still here, though, and Joel can walk me through it yet again. I have a fair investment now in saying *I can do this*!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Greetings from Victoria :)

So here I am, writing to you all from my brand new (happy) MacBook! :)'s hoping for a long, content relationship.

Friday we started out on the road beforae six am, me and my girls. The road trip was going along nicely, let the (sedated) kitty out for a walk at Osoyoos. She wasn't all that impressed with harness, leash, or the walk.

It was very pretty along the lakeshore there, though!

The trip become much more interesting after that. We heard a funny sound, like tearing rubber, maybe, shortly after Osoyoos. We pulled over but couldn't see anything wrong (we were thinking tires), so assumed we'd run over a stick or something that got tangled for a sec before being flung off. We went merrily on for another three hours. Jen was driving up the last summit (Hope Princeton) when she mentioned seeing a flashing light on the dash. I got her to pull over and leave the car running for a few minutes to cool down while I dug out the car manual to double-check what was wrong. Indeed, coolant light, which I had met before last year or so. We popped the hood. Yes, could see the coolant container low. Popped the trunk, yes, we had a jug of coolant. (Thanks, hon!)

The three of us stood by the car with the manual out making sure we were doing the right thing when a semi pulled over in front of us and a guy in a pickup did a u-ey and came back to see if he could help. The coolant issue was relatively quickly solved, but one of the guys noticed that we had belt problems. One belt (I'm forgetting the names here--water pump, I think) had come right off, and the alternator belt had torn--we were missing almost half of it (must've been that rubbery sound by Osoyoos! Oops...) The one guy went digging in my toolbox, then in his, came up with the tools to put the dislodged belt back in place and tightened it back up. The other belt was deemed *good enough* to get us the rest of the way down off the mountain and into the town of Hope. We took it easy and made it down.

Once there we were finally back in cell service and I called hubby to report our adventures and ask for advice. Should we try to have the parts replaced in Hope or did he think we were safe to carry on. He figured we were okay if we took it easy. So we started out on the last couple hours of the drive to the ferry landing. I must say taking it easy on the freeway is almost the same thing as a death wish. Some of those semis swerved around us with inches to spare. Nasty stuff.

Made the 7:00 ferry and on into Victoria in the evening. The car made it! Yay!

The next day I lost power steering while driving but made it back to the house alright. There it sits until further instructions from hubby, who will call Victoria Volkswagen and see if they can fix it this week. Otherwise he *gets* to fix it when he flies in on Saturday.

More adventures have followed those, but none so traumatic. More later!!

Thursday, May 01, 2008


Me? Excited? Not in the least! :P

Hubby's changed jobs a time or two too many to get significant vacation time this year, so I'm getting a week with my girls. Jen has been in our general neighborhood for the past week or so and has a summer co-op job that starts next week in Victoria. Her hubby (my son!) Joel is in Victoria right now, just landed himself his own co-op job. Hanna had her last working shift yesterday so we are stealing her to come along for a little vacation too. So Friday Jen, Hanna, Lelu-the-cat, and I head for Victoria. (I've got sedatives for the cat--it's a long drive, so hope it helps enough!)

I'll be checking in from time to time, no doubt. My hubby and Hanna's will be flying down on Saturday the tenth to have a couple days on the Island, and the four of us will drive back on the Monday.

Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to good times with my girls--and lots of walks by the ocean. Oh yeah.