this and that

Wordless Wednesday: Frankencarrots



The Apples and Oranges of Social Injustice

A very thoughtful and impassioned post by my writer friend, Kate M. Colby. She says it so very well, I just had to share it.

books Seventh Son writing

Book Birthday Party 4, the Wrap-up

Aaaand the party is over. It’s time to wave goodbye to the guests, drink up the dregs of the punch (cheers!), put the leftover chip dip in the fridge, collect the streamers, and sweep up the confetti. It was a great Book Birthday Party – one more time, Happy Birthday, Seventh Son!

IMG_20151026_094055I did promise to reveal the winner of our big draw today, didn’t I? Never let it be said I don’t make good on my promises. So, without further ado, here is the lucky person who won a free print copy of Seventh Son (DRRRRUMMMMM RRRRRROLLLLLL……):

It’s CANDY C.!!!

Congratulations, Candy! Your book will hit the Trusty Post Office ASAP.

And thank you so much to everyone else who entered the Rafflecopter Contest. It was fun – I’d never done one of those before, but now that I figured out how easy it is, we might have a draw more often. Parties are always good, no?

So, once we get over our junk food hangover, it’s time to get back to daily life. But actually, I’m winding up for the next big effort – NaNoWriMo is just around the corner! In a sense, that’s actually Seventh Son‘s real birthday: it was November 1st, 2011, that I first went into labour with – uh, sorry – started typing the first lines of the story.

I wonder how far we’ll get with Seventh Son‘s little brother, this year? Well, not little brother – Jamie is more like another kid, not a brother. He sort of just drops in on the family in Ruph, quite unexpectedly (for himself and them), after he’s had a few drinks (and then a few more), swallows the red pill his friend gives him, and then wishes on the star in the strange blue stone…

Got your attention? Good. You’ll find out all about Jamie… eventually, once I know what’s happening in his life myself.

That’s Life, the Universe, and A Book Birthday Party All Finished. Thanks for coming!

Seventh Son writing

Book Birthday Round 3, or: Adrenaline

Slowly, the adrenaline is ebbing out of my body. I’ve just come back from the local high school, where I gave a pep talk to the Creative Writing class on NaNoWriMo – which, of course, is coming up in just ten days. The youngest Offspring happens to be a student in that class, and I know the teacher because she used to be the elementary school librarian before moving to the high school; I helped out running Scholastic Book Fairs a time or two (being a book addict, that’s like peddling dope to kids, trying to get them hooked – muahahahah!). I’d been telling her about my books – Happy Birthday, Seventh Son! – and offered to talk to the class about self-publishing, but as it turns out, she’d just had an author in, doing that very thing. However, she was interested in getting the kids into NaNoWriMo. So off I went, armed with a copy each of Seventh Son and Cat and Mouse to show them what can come out of participating in NaNoWriMo, and I gave them that talk.

Steve on an adrenaline rush [Bzzzzzt!]. It made him stand on his head. On my book, no less.
My nerves are still jangling. They’re slowly settling down, but periodically I get a little jolt again – you know, like those cartoon characters being zapped by a live wire. [Bzzzzzzt! I sounded like a fool, didn’t I?] I don’t mind public speaking, not even in front of a class of high school students, if I know what I’m talking about [Bzzzzzt! I took far too long!], but it creates a massive adrenaline rush. [Bzzzzzt! I talked way too much about myself, and not nearly enough about NaNo!] And then my nerves have to settle down again afterwards. If it was suppertime, I’d just have a nice glass of wine [Bzzzzt! What’d I say that for?], that would do the trick, but seeing as it’s only 10:30 in the morning, an also-very-nice cup of tea will have to do (rooibos, not mintbrew, in this case). [Bzzzzt!]

Well, I hope I put the NaNo bug in some of the kids’ ears. If one or two of them go to the NaNo page to sign up, and it maybe gets a young novelist started on their path [Bzzzzzt! I never told them about last year’s grad who’d mentioned winning NaNo twice!], it’ll have been well worth the adrenaline zaps. Just think, how fitting that it took place during Seventh Son‘s birthday week!

And now my nerves are calming down, the zaps are getting fewer and farther apart [bzzt!], and it’s time to get on with the rest of my day. Incidentally, speaking of said Seventh Son‘s birthday week, you can still get the ebook on sale and enter the draw for a hardcopy. Go do that thing!

Life, the Universe, and [bzzt!] Adrenaline Zaps. Happy Birthday, Seventh Son!

Seventh Son The Septimus Series writing

Mintbrew, or: Book Birthday Bash, Round 2

IMG_20151017_165534Just thought I’d share a couple of pictures from yesterday’s Book Birthday Party. Apart from eating and drinking, we mostly spent it on the couch, reading – I mean, how else do you celebrate a book birthday?

IMG_20151018_125359Of course, the drink of choice was mintbrew, out of hand-thrown pottery mugs. What’s mintbrew, you ask? Here:

The beginning of Chapter 10:

‘When Cat came back out of the bathroom half an hour later, trying to untangle her hair with her fingers, the kitchen smelled deliciously of hot soup and something tangy and clean that got up into Cat’s nose in a rather pleasant way.

“Would you like a cup of mintbrew?” asked Ouska, gesturing at a round-bellied teapot sitting on the deal table.

“Mintbrew? Like tea, you mean? I’d love some!” Now Cat knew what that lovely sinus-clearing smell was.’

And here’s another bit from later in the book:IMG_20151018_125445

From Chapter 17:

‘The kettle in the fire was starting to make hissing and bubbling noises, and steam was rising from its spout. Guy took the poker and swung the fireplace crane outward with the hook on the end of the tool. One of his squat brown teapots was waiting on the hearth. He threw in a handful of dry crumbly green leaves from a round pottery jar and filled it up with boiling water. Sharp, fragrantly minty steam rose into the air. Cat sniffed.

“Hmm, that smells good.”

Bibby got a mug of milk from the pitcher on the shelf, and the two adults enjoyed their tea. (Mintbrew, Cat mentally corrected herself. Mintbrew, and hedge pig, and—and marriage chain. And wisewoman. She was beginning to speak the language of this place.)’

If you’re wondering what the deal is with a marriage chain or a wisewoman, you’ll just have to read the book. And you can do so all week by getting the ebook on discount – links to vendors are here – or, even better, entering the draw for a print copy! All you have to do for that is follow my blog and let me know about it, so if you subscribed a long time ago, that still qualifies.

I’d share a piece of cake with you, but there isn’t much left. It was buttercream with strawberry filling, I’m afraid – not much of a chance of that staying around long. And the book blew out the candle – honest, it did! I waved it at the candle and that blew out the flame. My family says I’m weird.

Life, the Universe, and a Book Birthday Bash. Would you care for another cup of mintbrew?

books Seventh Son The Septimus Series

Happy Birthday, SEVENTH SON!

seventh son
Happy Book Birthday, SEVENTH SON!

That’s right – it’s been a year since the publication of Seventh Son! I know, it’s hard to believe, isn’t it? But it’s true. And to celebrate, here’s two great things on offer [Drrrrrrum Rrrrrrrroll…]:

1.) In honour of its birthday, Seventh Son is on sale! Yes, the ebook is available for just 99 cents, for just one week! [flashes of fireworks, trumpet noises] If you haven’t got a copy yet, toddle on over to Amazon or your favourite other ebook vendor (such as Smashwords) and get yourself one.

2.) If you prefer reading the old-fashioned way, with a real-life paper-and-ink copy, here’s your chance to own one! I’m giving away one paper copy of Seventh Son, for FREE (as opposed to, you know, giving it away for large sums of money). All you have to do to enter the draw is sign up for getting my blog posts by email – at the top right of this window, just above the cover image of the book and below the picture of my bookshelf – and then enter the Rafflecopter draw, either here: Rafflecopter Draw for Free Copy of Seventh Son or on my Facebook page, here. Incidentally, if you win the draw and already have a copy (or don’t want one), I’ll send you an Amazon gift certificate for the value of the book, instead. And other incidentally, if you’ve previously signed up to follow this blog by email, go straight to the Rafflecopter Draw, and in the pertinent field tell me when you signed up so you can be in the draw. So go do that thing! The winner will be announced on October 26th!

And now we break out the birthday cake and light the candle. All together now:

Happy Birthday to yoooooou….

Life, the Universe, and a First Book Birthday! Pass the ice cream.

this and that

Wordless Wednesday – October Glories



The Stile

IMG_20151011_142536It’s a glorious Canadian Thanksgiving Sunday. The bird is roasting in the oven, the pies are baked, and there was nothing else to do but go for a walk. So we went – up the hill, all the way to the gate. Yes, that gate. And then – we skirted around it, and kept walking.

Yes, the saga of the cut-off walk has finally come to a satisfying conclusion. Let me back up a bit: you’ll remember that a couple of months ago I got all bent out of shape about the neighbour at the end of the road who had blocked off access to the forest road? Well, that wasn’t the end of it. It’s a bit of a long and convoluted story, involving a conversation with the lady who lives next door to that property (or next driveway, as it were), who gave me the phone number of the man who sort of looks after that place when the owner isn’t here (it’s recreational property; the owner lives in Alberta), who talked to said property owner, who…

Anyway, as it turns out, what for the last fifteen years I’d thought of as Crown Land is, in fact, private property. It’s still owned by the same person who’s had it for quite a lot of years now, and he hasn’t actually changed his tune on allowing people to go for walks there – he’s just waging an ongoing battle with dirt bikers, who like to chew up the forest paths with their rice rockets. Hence the gate. Then the “Keep Out” signs. Then the wooden bars on the side. Then a chunk of wire fence strung between the trees beside the bars.

IMG_20151013_085750But it was that same day the chunk of wire fence went up that I got an inkling that the lady-up-the-road was probably right about his attitude towards walkers. I wasn’t comfortable just pushing my way past the Ponderosa pine on the right-hand side of the gate like she was doing – not without express permission from Mr Property Owner. But that day, I noticed that the branch of the pine tree that was most in the way had been bent aside, and at the foot of that tree there was an arrangement of logs and boulders that looked like nothing so much as a stile. A nice little stile for friendly pedestrians to step over, but not nasty noisy dirt bikes to get through.

IMG_20151011_142217And a couple of days ago, I came home from running errands, and there was a note from my Man on my computer keyboard: “It’s ok to walk up the hill.” Huh? Oh!! The man-who-looks-after-the-property had finally called me back, and it’s official: Walkers Are Permitted.

IMG_20151011_142155So up the hill we went. And it was glorious. The sunshine glittering on the lake, the deep greens of the pines, gold and bright red of the turning leaves, brilliant blue of the October sky – such a gift to be grateful for on this Thanksgiving Day. And my gratefulness is that much more profound for having thought, for just a few weeks, that I was cut off from this pleasure. What a difference a little stile can make.

LIfe, the Universe, and The Stile. Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving Day!

this and that

Acts of Random Photography

Once again, my store of wit and erudition is a rather on the low side. So, without further ado, here are a few random pictures from my life over the last few days:

Pickled Beets and Quince Candy (aka Membrillo). Just when I thought I was done canning for this year, there were beets and quinces in the veg store. What was I supposed to do? They attacked me!
Logs by the roadside
Something that would like to become a log some decades in the future
I’ve taken to ingesting drugs. Yes, that’s coffee in that mug. The hard stuff. With caffeine and everything.
A Canada Post box looking decorative. They’re like that.

Seeing as a picture is worth a thousand words, that’s about 5k right there.

So that, for today, was Life, the Universe, and Random Acts of Photography. See you next time!