Archive for April, 2009

Reassessing the Scenery

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

I’m still working on finishing the WIP. Realized I had to go back a couple of chapters and insert another scene. Drat. Have now drafted that and am knee-deep in revisions. In the meantime, here are a couple of shots of beautiful B.C. scenery to keep you entertained.

“A Little Mountain”

bc_mountain

“A Bit ‘O Sea”

bc_pacific

Cat Paw, with Foot

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

Call me strange, but I love this picture:

cat_paw

(Call me strange, please!)

I received a new camera for Christmas, but because I’ve been so focused on the WIP, I haven’t had much time to play with it. “Cat Paw, with Foot” is the height of my creative abilities for the moment, I’m afraid. But isn’t it cute?

I took an extended long weekend over the past few days, leaving early Friday morning with My Liege to pick up Eldest Son from university. Drove back Sunday, fell into bed from exhaustion. Yesterday, more exhaustion, as E.S. and I had to drive again, this time to a closer university, to explore his options for after he earns his B.A. I’m getting back to the WIP today, but have realized it’s probably overly ambitious to announce that I expect to be finished this week. So I won’t. Announce it, that is. And I don’t expect it, either. I’ll be more than happy to finish next week.

So, Blog Lite will continue over the next several days. Luckily, Silhouette Special Editor author Mary J. Forbes is guest blogging next Tuesday, May 5th, to help me take up the slack. And I did take some nice photos of the ferry trip to pick up E.S. If I get time, I’ll try to post some here. They were point and shoot, unlike “Cat Paw, with Foot.” But the scenery is gorgeous all the same.

Old Truck, New Truck

Friday, April 24th, 2009

Red truck, brown truck. (To steal shamelessly from Dr. Seuss).

Actually, it’s more like goldy-beige truck.

Youngest Son finally bought a new (used) truck! This means I can stop trucking him all over tarnation. I have my car to myself again! Yipsee-doodle-mongers.

He sold the old truck, an ’83 Toyota, several weeks ago. It was a standard four-cylinder 4×4 with something like 280,000 kilometers (don’t ask me to translate into miles; I’ve lost the ability). Cost him, ahem, more in repairs than it cost My Liege and I to buy it for him two years ago.

Old Truck:

red_toyota0001

This week, after several weeks of searching, enduring a very frustrating situation that nearly resulted in him buying a different vehicle under false pretenses (not his false pretenses, the seller’s), he’s now the proud owner of a ’98 Mazda automatic extended cab V6 4×4 with less than 135,000 kilometers. Purchased with all his own money, I might add. Good money (as opposed to bad money, which you are required to spank).

New Truck:

new_truck

I do have a photo of Youngest Son with the new truck, but I haven’t asked his permission to post it, so I will refrain from doing so. Good mom.

Lessons Learned Buying New Truck:

  • Always check the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number). Always, always always! Running the VIN through your provincial insurance agency (or private insurer, whatever works in your area) can tell you if the vehicle’s ever been in an accident (the VIN is a long series of numbers located on the lower left front side of the windshield or imprinted inside the driver’s door). Check the VIN before you settle on a purchase price.
  • Just because the seller of the Truck you Nearly Bought (TNB) had a former career in law enforcement and lives in your neighborhood doesn’t mean he’s incapable of forgetting that his vehicle suffered over $6000 damage in an accident five years ago. He’s even capable of not recalling the event when you straight out ask him about accidents. Twice.
  • Check the VIN before insuring the vehicle for a day to drive it to a mechanic to get it checked out. Thank God the mechanic we took Truck Nearly Bought to pointed out the overspray indicating TNB had been painted, and we needed to find out why. That’s when we, dolts that we are, finally ran the VIN and discovered the forgotten accident.
  • Don’t expect that once you’ve discovered said accident, the seller will drop his price to compensate for the cash your son laid out to insure the TNB for a day and get a mechanic to it check out.
  • Turn your back on the bad deal. It doesn’t matter how rare the little V6s are to come by in your neck of the woods. Turn. Your. Back. On. The. Bad Deal.
  • You will find another, better deal! Yippee. You will find another truck of the same year that hasn’t been in an accident and has way, way, wayyyyy fewer kilometers—for the same price. Yes, patience pays off.

Anyone have any Buying Used Vehicle Horror Stories they want to share?

Thursday Thoughts

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

American Idol went my way last night. Phew. Was a bit stressed there that Allison Iruheta would get sent home, but in the end Anoop Desai and Lil Rounds got the boot. I must say, watching KC & The Sunshine Band perform made me feel very old! In my day, KC weren’t no grampa. 😉

How is it possible that Disco Week made me feel nostalgic for the Seventies? I didn’t like disco when it was popular. I couldn’t do any of the dance moves. Utterly uncoordinated was I. And let me just say it’s a blessing that most of the Idol contestants updated the arrangements of the songs this week. If all of them had sung the Seventies versions, I would have “Erked” my way through the entire episode.

In case you’re interested (of course you are), Adam Lambert, Danny Gokey and Allison Iruheta were my favorites this week. Even though Danny didn’t change up “September” a lot, his voice was amazing. Although, I have to ask, since when has “September” ever been considered disco? Seventies music, yes, but not disco. Disco didn’t consume the entire decade, after all. As for Adam’s performance, I felt he got a little teary-voiced for my tastes, but I still loved his song. Thought Allison was Da Bomb.

Didn’t get any writing done yesterday. Youngest Son and I had to take a journey to a neighboring town. Piccies tomorrow. Driving home alone (whatever happened to my child?), I believe I was listening to the CBC. YS is always changing my radio stations! What does it say about me that my 18-year-old listens to the CBC while I routinely tune in the Top 40? Erp. At any rate, I caught an interesting interview on Spark about a computer program called BumpTop, designed by Canadians, I believe. Anyone heard of BumpTop? Anyone use it? It’s a program that changes the way you use your PC’s desktop. Apparently makes it act more like a “real” desktop, arranging your documents in piles instead of structured filing systems. If you have a moment, check it out. I plan to, after I finish the WIP.

It’s motoring along—thanks for asking! I’m looking at a week, maybe two, until I type THE END. When I do, there’ll be much fanfare on the blog, believe me. I totally love this book, but it’s time to move on to new projects before my 2009 Goals List starts eating itself from the inside out.

What’s your news?

The Boring Parts

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

I talked about Southland yesterday, the new cop show on Thursday nights that’s replaced ER in the NBC line-up. Recently, someone mentioned to me that the problem with shows like Southland and ER is that they don’t show the boring parts, which could lead viewers to believe that cops and emergency room personnel spend their workdays consumed by adrenaline rushes. That these jobs are in fact 90% humdrum and 10% exciting, and those low points should be shown. Not just in the characters’ off-hours, but during their workdays as well.

This got me to thinking about the boring parts in fiction. One of the primary “rules” (okay, okay, guidelines) for writing novels is to leave out the boring parts (or strive to—I guess it’s a matter of perception). Readers’ eyes glaze over the boring parts, and when readers eyes glaze over, books get put down. We don’t want readers to fall asleep reading our books, so we skip writing the boring parts. Instead of “showing” (writing) the character eating, bathing, getting dressed, having a going-nowhere conversation with the grocery store bagger (hi, how are you, weather’s fine, don’t put the eggs on the bottom of my shopping cart. While you’re at it, don’t put my bread on the bottom, either. Are you listening? DON’T. PUT. EGGS. OR. BREAD. IN BOTTOMOFBLEEPINGCART and stackthreecasesofCoke on top. Never-freaking-ever. All right????)

Um, sorry.

You get what I’m saying, though? Unless the conversation furthers the story somehow (like sets the reader up for the possibilty that the bagger might wake up the next morning six feet under with cart wheels all over his face—and no one’s left him a little bell to ring to alert the gravediggers that he’s still alive either, heh heh), it doesn’t belong in the book. It’s boring.

Think of the movies that have put you to sleep. Likely, they’re packed with boring parts, too. The same holds true for TV. Showing the boring parts might be more realistic, but would viewers tune in? I think not.

(Quick quiz, how many people reading this are still awake?)

Castle, Yes or No?

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

Anyone watching Castle? I started watching it and liked it. But I don’t usually watch cop shows (okay, Castle’s a writer, but he works with a cop in this series), so the format—opening with the murder, then they solve it—grew a bit tiresome. Although, I must say, I love the characters, Castle and his mom in particular. Kate Beckett, the detective with whom he verbally spars, I’m not as sold on.

Two weeks ago, the DVR glitched and the episode didn’t record. I realized I didn’t miss it. Last week, the episode recorded, but I grew bored watching it and deleted halfway through. Then I discovered that Lee Lofland, a member of one of my writing lists and author of Police Procedure and Investigation (great reference book), is reviewing Castle each week on his blog, The Graveyard Shift. Okay, now I have a great reason to start watching again.

I’ve been meaning to plug Lee’s blog for some time now. If you write mysteries or romance mysteries or romantic suspense, check it out.

Lee watches Castle each week, then corrects the procedure mistakes in his blog. Here’s the entry for last night’s episode, and here’s the link for the Archived reviews of the previous episodes. (The review for last night’s episode is at the top of the Archive listing, last week’s is next, and then you’ll have to hit the Older Entries link to get reviews to earlier episodes).

If you read the reviews, you’ll quickly realize that Lee spots tons of errors in the writing of this show. An excellent resource and opportunity for learning.

Okay, how about Southland? Anyone watching that? I’ve watched the first two episodes and am intrigued enough to keep checking in. Yes, the episodes follow a pattern so far, just like Castle does. In the case of Southland, the first two episodes opened with a scene from the ending, then started from the beginning and worked their way back to the ending. I don’t mind this technique, but if done every time, again, it will grow tiresome for me. I have no idea if Southland portrays the police accurately or not. Wish that I could find a review of Southland each week on Lee’s blog (hint, hint, Lee). (P.S. If you’re already doing the reviews, let me know where to find them; my time is short these days).

Anyone remember Annie from Men in Trees? She’s in Southland. Totally different character. She’s great to watch.