the journey from writing a novel to ... what were we talking about again?

Month: January 2011 (page 1 of 2)

The Neurotic Dog – Daisy

While I’m not super-comfortable with sharing lots of stuff about my boys, I’m more than happy to talk about my dog, Daisy.

We picked her out from a litter of 8 (she was the runt) and as we went to pick her up, she promptly ate a  Daisy. Because she’s a purebred, we had to give her the fancy name of “McGovern’s Dancing Night”. Cheesy isn’t it?


She is now eight and a half years old and weighs about 55 pounds.  She’s a black lab (of which for some reason, men like to argue she’s not a real lab as she is too small etc which takes everything in me to ask them if they would like to see her papers and maybe the reason they can’t tell she’s real is because their hunting mutts are just that? Mutts?) and she grew a white beard the day I got pregnant. I have absolutely no idea how she figured that out, but she did. And from that day on, miss goofy slobbery turkey head became growling bark at everybody kind of dog.

We used to live in the country and she’d sit at the back patio door, looking for deer. We couldn’t afford the decking yet, so it was a good 5′ drop. She’d see one and her whole butt would start vibrating while her tail cleaned the floor and we’d open the door quietly and WHOOSH! off she went. She’d chase them for about a kilometer then come back terribly proud of herself.

She’s very good at finding anything dead and rolling in it completely (especially dead snakes). She can find any puddle with 5 kilometers and lie down in it (same for rivers).  She can catch a ball, food (any size) and she can lick peanut butter off your toes or anything else that falls on the floor.

She hates thunderstorms.  She will come up in the middle of the night, slam into our room (smashing the doors open) and stare at me until I wake up. Do you know what it’s like waking up to two black eyes looking at you?

If you are sitting in a chair, she will try to rub herself underneath your legs like a cat.

She eats everything but olives and blueberries.

And for some insane reason, she loves bubbles. Not bubbles you blow, but bubbles in the bath.  She knows when I’m having a bubble bath (maybe it’s the scent?) and will whine outside the bathroom door until I let her in.


 Staring at bubbles. To make a point.

"You weell geeeve me da bubblez


stupid doorknobs

Sometimes I’m Not Very Brave

Sometimes I have to tell myself to be brave.

Not very often, but it happens. And when it does happen, I look at myself and think, “I’m not brave at all”. It doesn’t matter what I have done or have accomplished, because when I look at myself I think, “that’s not me”.

I’m not feeling terribly brave today.

Or yesterday.

Or the day before that.

I’m feeling … like I’m done. Writing I mean. 

As a writer, you are encouraged to encourage other writers. It’s a very difficult field and when someone wins or someone gets another contract or someone writes something so amazing you shake your head and wonder what the hell you’re doing being published … it’s very difficult.  You need to encourage them. It’s not a competition.  And yet … sometimes when you’re not feeling very brave, you feel unimportant. And I think what’s worse is, as a writer, I think we are all moody. I think you need to have that trait to write well. You have to be able to think you’re amazing with one breath and in the next, think you suck.  Maybe to make you try harder? Maybe to make you dig down deep, down right into your toes and push it all out with the force of childbirth? And then when it’s born, you’re so pleased. So happy for yourself. So happy with what you created. But the process …

I find that writing magazines are somewhat helpful. They tell you how to find your creativity, how to market, what not to do, blah blah. But what about the magazine that tells you that you don’t suck? That tells you that it understands, that it knows it’s so hard?  Where’s that magazine?

I know a lot of people don’t read this website blog. And that’s ok. Friends do and that’s terribly supportive. I try not to feel crushed as my comments have reached only 41 and my spam comments are in the 800’s.  I don’t have a huge following. And that’s ok. No feeling sorry for me.

But what I want to say is, if you, sweet person who stopped by to say hello, or just to peek at who I am, if you happen to be a writer, I have this to say:

You can do it.

You can reach down deep and stir it up and pull it out.

You may be crying with frustration and sadness and fears because you can’t get an idea, your plot isn’t working, your characters are boring, you can’t find a simile for “said” without being pretentious. 

You may be neurotically tracing your sales and getting more depressed because the numbers go down weekly and you wonder when your book will be found in the bargain bin.

You wonder if you’ll ever get another contract because while the first book may be doing well, it is a cut-throat business and you, my dear writer friend, are worried you’ll never write again.

It’s ok.

Sometimes you don’t have to be brave. Sometimes you can feel sorry for yourself. But don’t let it linger too long. Because you have to remember:

You did it.

You are writing.

You have what it takes.

You can work harder.

The house will get clean later, the dog will be fed, the child will bathe at some point.

You will not feel guilty when wonderful hubby cleans the bathrooms and makes a burnt dinner because you didn’t have time.

And remember that you can’t be confident in your abilities, because God made it all happen, not you. And if He wants you to keep writing, you will. Let Him use you.


You will believe in you again.

I promise.


Sometimes I need to read my own words more often….

Eating: earl gray tea. sadly, it’s cold.

Watching: Despicable Me (for the third time in three days)

Listening to: the child cough. oh he’s so sick.

Reading: Matched by someone on my Kindle. May buy it.

The Weirdness of Publishing

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentionned that I don’t understand the publishing business at all? Well, just in case you weren’t listening? I don’t understand the publishing business at all.

The idea of book 3 of Jackson Jones is on hold.  Not by my choice.  I have to wait to see how the sales figures are for book 2.  Which I’m not sure means whether or not anyone is interested in it at the huge sales conference in February or whether I have to wait until August when the book comes out.  And this is the part that confuses me even more. Book 1 is doing well. Compared to the standards that were set against it.  Really well, actually. So why wait? I have honestly no idea.

So I’ve contacted Lancaster, Pennsylvania and guess what? You cannot live with an Amish family for a few days. Incase you were every wondering. You can live in an Amish B & B but that’s about it.  Which makes me a little crazy because I have so many questions and what-if scenarios for my book!  I may go anyway, to experience it, but I’m not sure now.  We’re (hubby and I) are supposed to keep our April/May somewhat flexible as we may be called out for Disaster Relief in Maine/New England area as they are usually flooded at that time of year. So what to do?

The book is giving me a bit of grief with just the plot. Am I thinking too much? Do I keep it as a lighter Fiction or do I go for all guts and glory? Decisions, decisions. Am tempted to harass agent, but given I’ve already sent him 6 emails last week, I should probably leave him alone for a bit. For now…

And can someone explain to me please how I’m supposed to leave the house when it’s -39C outside?

OLA Superconference

Aaaaand, it’s official.

I’ll be there on February 3-4th, mostly the 4th from 9:15-10:30am signing books, saying hi, having my best game face on (ie charming/witty/pleasant/nice breath) if you’re interested in meeting me! It’s the OLA Superconference and it’s being held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.  I’m very excited. I get to stay at a fancy hotel and maybe order a martini and have room service!!! Hubby is slightly jealous. Can’t say I blame him.  And did I mention that I get to take the train?!!!! Yay!

Allergic Rhinitis

Rhinitis:  (rhino – nose) (itis – inflammation)  … see? I remember some things from my Paramedic training! (Plasty is surgery, hence, rhinoplasty for ladies with big honkers)

I have an issue. Actually, I have many issues, but this one allowed me to see my doctor.

Every single night, just as I get into bed, my nose stuffs up.  We’re talking stuffy stuffy. Yes, yes I could sleep with my mouth open but when that happens I jolt awake, scaring the crap out of the dog (husband never moves – that man is dead when he sleeps) and drink a litre of water because my throat is so parched and crackly.  So instead, I flip from side to side, depending on which side of my  nose is stuffy and routinely wake up throughout the night to jam Vick’s up my nose or just sit up and shake my head for a few minutes until I clear up again.

So I asked my fabulous pharmacist friend (you really should get one, they are oh-so-valuable to have) and they mentionned to take Benadryll. It’s not addictive. Although I may enjoy my sleep more. So for the past few months I play on and off with Benadryll. And it works. Until about 2am and then I’m plugged up again, but not about to take more drugs as I have a hard enough time getting out of the bed in the morning as it is (I can’t do coffee).

So I saw Scuba Steve (family doctor) and he asked to look up my nose.

Do you know how weird that is? You have to tilt your head back and flare your nostrils. I am an excellent nostril flarer, but couldn’t stop giggling, wondering if he would find any ‘lurkers’ hiding up there. I asked if I could blow my nose first and he said no. And what’s even more weird is having this large thingy up your nose, while your head is tilted back and Scuba Steve has his serious face on (maybe to stop you from laughing?) and says very seriously, “huh”.


So apparently my nostrils are red and inflammed (aren’t you glad to be reading this?) and I have allergic rhinitis.  Which means I’m allergic to something at bedtime. Hubby is out of the question as I do not sleep on top of hubby. He’s too bumpy and muscle-y to be comfortable. Nor can I stand being touched while I sleep (ie Dog may NOT lay against me while sleeping and feeding baby in bed? Yah, right. No, I don’t have a baby now, just to clarify, I’m talking about 6 years ago).  So I have to wash my pillowcases and blanket (my snuggly one that must be tucked under my chin while sleeping) in Ivory Snow. Which I don’t mind. But if this doesn’t work, I have to start buying different pillows. Which is incredibly annoying. I have a love affair with my pillow. My pillow does not mind if I beat it in the middle of the night, if I drool on it or not wash my face for a few days. It does not mind if I cough into it or cry into it. I love my pillow. So I’m hoping I don’t need a new pillow.

So now I have to buy this prescription spray (yay excellent health care!) to spray up my nose every single night, for the rest of my life.

… yay…

(Incase you were wondering I did a semester of Paramedics at Algonquin way back when and absolutely loved it. I loved working on patients and taking control of the situtation (ie being bossy) and using my brain in quick action moments. However it was horrible on our marriage and I decided to give it up in order to be a great wife. See? See? And instead I’m an AUTHOR!!! Very happy about decision. Always have been. Although it would have been super cool to be a 911 operator. But we won’t get into that right now.)

eating: waiting for decaf soy pumpkin spice latte from hubby but he’s not home yet

listening to: some horrible Nickleback song on the downstairs radio. Ick. Oops. I’m supposed to like them, right? Being Canadian and all?

watching: Star Wars Lego wii. Well, not right now, I was last night. Playing I mean.

Reading: “Where the Heart Leads” (please don’t ask. It’s research) “The Riddle of Amish Culture”, Vanity Fair from June

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