Category: Things That Are Awesome Page 2 of 4

On Moving Mountains and Such

Thursday nights are usually my night out to write – I go to my favourite coffee shop, settle myself down with a chai latte and a salted caramel square and pound away at the keyboard for a few hours. I always get a lot done, even more than if I take the same amount of time at home. Home writing is not Higher Ground writing.

Tonight my husband had this work thing to go to, and so that meant no writing night out for me (besides the fact that we’re a single-car family, it’s frowned upon to leave the five-year-old in charge of the three-year-old for the evening, I’m told).

Instead, in a fit of genius, I brought the coffee shop to me.

The Home Cafe

The Home Cafe

Yes, I’m dorky enough to set up my little cafe table in front of the window, just like my favourite table at my place, make myself a mug of tea and work, just like I would if I was out. Instead of people, I can watch my cats, who are endlessly amusing, or the occasional car go around the cul-de-sac. And I don’t have to compete with others for the sole electrical outlet!

Happy writing, everyone 🙂

I’m Ridiculous.

I always get a little squeamish and silly when I’m writing the naughtier bits in my story, like “eeeee, I can’t believe this is happening! Oh my god did they really just do that?” It makes for slow going, and sometimes getting through a single page can take an hour or longer because I relish the experience so much. Due to the nature of my main female character’s phobia those scenes are few and far between, so it’s always exciting when I reach one, but it’s also like being back in junior high and being a bit embarrassed to watch two people make out in the Degrassi episode you’re watching in health class. I’ve been known to blush on behalf of my characters.

Go ahead and say it: I’m a dork. An adorable, 12-year-old dork who likes writing about kissing and boobs.

I hope this never changes about me. I hope that readers feel the same way when they get to that part, that my enthusiasm shows through on the page. I hope they cover their mouths in disbelief and squirm a little because it’s so awesome. That’s how I feel about it, even after the twentieth time I read it. Because OMG YOU GUYS, THEY JUST KISSED. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?

Tonight’s Beverage of Choice

My thing these days is tea. I drink it every day, usually with a bit of honey. I actually blame one of my characters for my tea obsession. Funny how that goes.

Before tea though, my thing used to be lattes, and I would drink one of those every day. Creamy goodness.

I give you now, THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS.

  • 1.5 c whole milk (not skim or 1% or 2%. WHOLE MILK WITH THE FAT. Yes it’s going to be a thousand calories but yes it’s going to be worth it)
  • 2 T hot chocolate powder (Cocoa Camino or similar quality. Keep your filthy Nesquik away from me)
  • 2 T coconut milk (the solid type from a can, not liquid)
  • 1 chai teabag

Put the teabag in the bottom of your oversize mug. Drop the dollop of coconut milk on top of it so it stays at the bottom. Add the hot chocolate powder and then fill the mug with steamed milk. DO NOT STIR. Walk away for five minutes and let it find its own path to oneness. When you return, the coconut milk should have melted into the rest of the liquid. Now you can give it a bit of a stir if it needs it. Leave the tea bag in the drink.

Experience Nirvana.

You’re welcome.


There’s a Temple Run 2 out now?

Forget all that shit I said about productivity and goals. I have monkeys to evade.


I had my fifteen-page critique today. My city is fortunate to have a writer in residence, who will kindly review samples by writers in the community. I was really nervous going into it (so much so that I got off the train at the wrong station and had to get on the next one!) but it was a really rewarding, valuable experience. I feel great about my chances at publication now. Of course there were some issues and fixes we talked about, but overall the feedback was very, very positive. I couldn’t be happier! High-fives all around.

When I told my mom on chat, she said, “BELIEVE IT!! We have always known that you had a gift for writing but you didn’t believe it. Now I think you are starting to!” and that’s totally the truth. And when those rejections start rolling in, as I have no doubt they will, I can go back and read that, as well as the letter Deborah included with my critique, for a little ‘atta girl, chin up’ when I need it.


This is actually what my life looks like.

By Dirk Verschure.

It’s why I’m always stubbing my toes on the sidewalk.

It’s why I’ve blacked my eye walking into a cupboard.

It’s why I can walk right past someone I’ve known for years without so much as a hello.

It’s why I can take hours to fall asleep, but don’t mind a bit.


NaNotQuiteANovel, Weeks 3-4

Success! I completed my 30 tasks. Here’s what I accomplished since my last post:

Nov 14 – Came up with a whole new opening premise for The Unravelling AND made an outline for it.
Nov 15 – Finished revised outline for chapters 1-5 AND started rewriting chapter 1.
Nov 16 – Continued rewriting chapter 1.
Nov 17 – Added more detail to revised outline AND started rewriting chapter 2.
Nov 18 – Outlined a bit of the end of book three, just for fun and because that’s where my head’s at right now.
Nov 19 – Zilch.
Nov 20 – Outline revision
Nov 21 – Nothing. Falling behind again.
Nov 22 – Sigh.
Nov 23 – Rewrote chapter 2 (counts for two, close to 4,000 words)
Nov 24 – Worked on chapter 2 some more AND wrote 1,800 words of a NEW BOOK AND made a really long but half-assed outline for it!
Nov 25 – Spent all damn day thinking about this new project. It counts.
Nov 26 – Added more to the outline for new story.
Nov 27 – Nothing.
Nov 28 – Added on to the outline for The Unseeing AND roughed out some more of book three.
Nov 29 – Pondered at length a giant plot hole AND began a character study for Callie.
Nov 30 – Finished Callie’s character study AND started Dane’s

Total tasks: 30 WINNER!

I’d say all told, even though I didn’t participate in NaNo the way it’s meant, the month was a success for me. And I actually wrote around 20,000 words, although only the 2,000ish I ended up with from the new book would count towards the goal if I was playing by the rules. But screw the rules! I feel good about my progress. NaNo is what you make it.

I’m giving myself a new set of challenges for next month which my next post will outline, but in the meantime, it’s Dressember! Time to bust out all my pretty frocks, which to be honest, are just an excuse to wear awesome tights. 😉


I’m working on my outline some more. So much fun! I’m enjoying seeing the basic structure unfold.

I don’t go into great detail, just bullet points describing key scenes in a short paragraph. Some of them are only a few words long.

My very favourite part is these two points, back-to-back:

  • Shower-stall time machine.
  • Major next-day awkwardness. Now Callie’s really confused.

It makes perfect sense when you read the rest of the outline, but out of context, all on its own like that, it’s more than a little ridiculous. Which is why it’s my favourite part. And for anyone who’s read The Unravelling, you’re probably scratching your head right now, thinking, what the hell? Which was my intention all along.

Also. ALSO! I scored an incredible find on Kijiji today. It’s 100% the best thing I’ve ever bought from there. Check it out:

It’s a Smith-Corona Super-5. I did a bunch of research on it today and from what I can gather it’s from 1956 and is one of the best manual typewriters ever made. It works pretty well, too! I only paid $20 but from what I’ve learned it could be worth a lot more. Like if I was on Storage Wars it would be the find of the day. Not that I’d consider selling it though. I’m totally in love with it, and it’s found a home on my bookshelf. I plan to pull it out from time to time to shake things up when I’m stuck for ideas. And post-2012/peak oil/comet strike/nuclear war/rapture/solar super-flare/your favourite apocalyptic end times scenario here, guess who’s still going to be able to write while the rest of you are trying to hack your Macbooks to take D-cells? This girl, that’s who.

Want to learn more about my typewriters? Check them out here.


I am so very lucky to have the support of friends and family in my writing. They make it possible for me to find the time to write, encourage me when I’m faltering and provide feedback as I go along. So, a few thanks:

My husband, who for the past seven months has left me completely alone in the only room with a TV even though I know lots of times he wanted to watch Jimmy Fallon, so that I could write on the comfy couch. Besides that, he never complained when I chose writing over housework or went on overnight writing retreats, and even took our kids camping for a weekend so I could have the house to myself. And while he hasn’t read it, he says he will even though I know it’s not his thing. I’m a lucky girl.

My three early readers, who have accepted my story a few chapters at a time and have provided valuable feedback. You catch the things I miss and point me in directions I would have never thought of.

My parents, who have encouraged me since I was a kid, and told me over and over again that I could do it if I tried, until I finally believed them. Knowing that my family believes in me has been so instrumental in overcoming the fear of starting.

All my other friends who’ve cheered me on along the way, and who don’t mind when I bug them with weird questions about aspects of their lives or interests that I want to include in my story.

I love you all.



I finished it. I finished the first draft of my book.

! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

I sat down this morning with the beginning of Chapter 21 blank and waiting, and about 45 minutes ago, after 4,600 words, I wrote THE END. And it really is THE END for a lot of things, for me. It’s the end of wondering if I could ever write a book. It’s the end of seven months of near-constant work, either at the computer or in my brain, to get to this day. And it’s the end of the first part of my journey with these people who have set up residence in my head.

It’s also a lot of firsts and starts. The start of the next step – revision. The first time I’ll offer up a copy to anyone I know in exchange for some critiques. And maybe even the start of planning out the next installment in the series, which I already can’t wait to jump into.

When I wrote the last sentence, after making sure that I really did want to write it, I stared it for a long time. And I had a whole bunch of conflicting emotions. First and foremost, I’m proud of myself. The first time someone told me that I should be an author was, I think, around the time I was ten years old. So this has been a long road. Secondly, I’m really, really happy to be done and moving on. It’s been a huge undertaking and a lot of times I wondered if I would end up giving up. Third, I’m bittersweet. I’ve been doing this since February and now it’s just over? In that respect, I’m glad there are still two more books to go in the series, because that means I don’t really have to say goodbye for a long time. Still, I had a bit of a cry. And fourth, I’m tired as hell. I stayed up late and wrote like crazy because I thought I could get it done, and I was right.

So that’s that. Onward and upward, as they say. Today’s a pretty big deal.

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