Wednesday, September 23, 2020

A Little Levity



Seeing as I wasn’t prepared to start my new non-fiction series, I was just going skip today’s post altogether. But then I got this in my email and decided to share. We could all use a laugh these days, right?

CANADIAN JOKE #1

After the North American Beer Festival, all the brewery presidents decided to go out for a beer. The guy from Corona sits down and says, 'Hey Senor, I would like the world's best beer, a Corona .' The bartender dusts off a bottle from the shelf and gives it to him.

The guy from Budweiser says, 'I'd like the best beer in the world, give me 'The King Of Beers', a Budweiser.' The bartender gives him one.

The guy from Coors says, 'I'd like the only beer made with Rocky Mountain spring water, give me a Coors.' He gets it.

The guy from Molson Canadian sits down and says, 'Give me a Coke.' The bartender is a little taken aback, but gives him what he ordered. The other brewery presidents look over at him and ask, 'Why aren't you drinking a Molson's?'

The Molson Canadian president replies, 'Well, I figured if you guys aren't drinking beer, neither would I.'

CANADIAN JOKE #2

A Canadian is walking down the street with a case of beer under his arm. His friend Doug stops him and asks, 'Hey Bob! Whacha get the case of beer for?'

'I got it for my wife, eh.' answers Bob.

'Oh!' exclaims Doug, 'Good trade.'

CANADIAN JOKE #3

An American, a Scot and a Canadian were in a terrible car accident. They were all brought to the same emergency room, but all three of them died before they arrived.. Just as they were about to put the toe tag on the American, he stirred and opened his eyes. Astonished, the doctors and nurses present asked him what happened.

'Well,' said the American, 'I remember the crash, and then there was a beautiful light, and then the Canadian and the Scot and I were standing at the gates of heaven. St. Peter approached us and said that we were all too young to die, and said that for a donation of $50, we could return to earth. So of course I pulled out my wallet and gave him the $50, and the next thing I knew I was back here'

'That's amazing!' said the one of the doctors, 'But what happened to the other two?'

'Last I saw them,' replied the American, 'the Scot was haggling over the price and the Canadian was waiting for the government to pay his.'

CANADIAN JOKE #4

Did you hear about the war between Newfoundland and Nova Scotia ?

The Newfies were lobbing hand grenades; the Nova Scotians were pulling the pins and throwing them back.

CANADIAN JOKE #5

In Canada , we have two seasons...six months of winter and six months of poor snowmobiling.

CANADIAN JOKE #6

One day an Englishman, an American, and a Canadian walked into a pub together. They proceeded to each buy a pint of Labatt Blue. Just as they were about to enjoy their beverages, three flies landed in each of their pints.

The Englishman pushed his beer away from him in disgust. The American fished the offending fly out of his beer and continued drinking it as if nothing happened. The Canadian picked the fly out of his drink and started shaking it over the pint, yelling, 'SPIT IT OUT, SPIT IT OUT!'

Sunday, September 20, 2020

This ‘N That



It’s late Saturday afternoon as I type this. I’ve been sitting here for the last half hour, staring at the half blank screen (the other half is filled with the actual wordage report) and I feel like I have nothing to say. We had a lot of grey/overcast weather this week which always drains my energy/brain power. But it was offset by the fact it’s turned cool enough for a jacket in the early morning, which I actually enjoy. Fall is my favourite time of year – the sun is still (mostly) shining, but the temperature is bearable.

Anyway, I still don’t feel like I have much to say. When I haven’t been writing I’ve mostly been reading. Nora Roberts has temporarily been replaced by Charles de Lint but you don’t want to read his books too fast or you might miss something so I’m not zipping along like I was.

Blogger pretty much forced me to start using their new version for my posts last week, but they made a couple of changes since the last time and while I’m still not enthusiastic about it, neither do I hate it like I did before. At least I can do what I need to on it.

Facebook, however . . . they keep forcing their new format on me and I keep opting for the old version for 48 hours, but to do that they want to know why I don’t want to embrace the new one so I tell them. In all caps. I know we’ll all be forced to use it eventually, but I’ll whine about it to the bitter end.

In other news . . . we’ve decided to redo the kitchen and the rec room. At the same time. So far the hubby has ripped up the carpet from the rec room and is arranging to have all the garbage/old furniture taken away. And we’ve met with a designer at Home Depot who is unable to use a shoehorn to give us more space in the kitchen, but he did have some good ideas of what/where the new cupboards will work.

It should make for some interesting times ahead, especially since the bulk of the work in the kitchen is slated for November. You know, during NaNo. God help us all.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Wordage Report

Editing – 0 hours, 0 pages
I accidentally exited the file without saving the changes I’d made, so I have no clue how much I did. Forgot to time myself too.

Research – 4.15 hours

Blood Ties – 2,712 words
Woot!

Blog Posts – includes the post for my regular blog, but not the prompt story.
450 (regular blog)+ 1,096 + 400 = 1,946 words total

Weekly Prompt – 514 words

Total Words – 5,172

New Prompt
Use this as your first line: He looked at his phone, turned pale, then quickly left the room. She watched him, smiling.

Goals From Last Week:
I set myself a goal last week that (starting Monday) I’d write a minimum of 500 words a day on Blood Ties. I didn’t add any words yesterday because I was busy doing other stuff, but I reached my goal the rest of the week. Which means, my friends, I’m over 2500 words closer to the end!

Once again I waited until Thursday to work on my prompt story and to be quite honest, I don’t know what I think about the story itself. It met all of the requirements from the prompt, other than being over by around 150 words, but it’s a weird little slice of life, even for me.

Man oh man I’m going to have to get my editing rear in gear if I’m going to get my book flood anthology done in time for Christmas and my two books edited by the end of the year. Especially if I’m doing NaNo this year. I hate to mess up my NaNo winning streak, but I didn’t like the changes they made to the website last year and I haven’t been back since so I don’t know what else they’ve done to it. Maybe I’ll do an editing version of NaNo on my own.

Most of the research I did last week was on stuff for the new non-fiction series I’ll be starting this week. It’s a toss-up between two different subjects, both of which I’ll be doing, I just can’t decide which one to do first. Guess you’ll have to come back Wednesday to see which one wins.

Goals For This Week:
1. Blood Ties, Blood Ties, Blood Ties! I’m on the verge of rescuing Howard – Jessica just has to implement her devious plan of action – and then there’s just the goodbyes and we’re done. I had a really good week words-wise last week (knock on wood), let’s see if I can make this one even better.
2. New prompt story. I wanted to get away from The Story Shack so I’m trying one from Writing Exercises and Prompts.
3. I think I might skip the editing this week because it’s time consuming and I want to focus on Blood Ties. Also, I just plain keep forgetting about editing.
4. Same goes for the research this week. I mean, I’ll probably have to do some anyway, but I’m not going to make it a priority.

And there’s what I’ll be up to this week. How about you?

Friday, September 18, 2020

All For Love



Prompt: Write a 300 word story in the epic genre. It's about an old man in love and should include a poster. Also use the sentence 'Thanks for nothing.' Bonus prompt: Civilization has come to an end.

“So then I tell him, I did, "Thanks for nothing." And you know what he did?” Warren didn’t wait for an answer as he picked his way carefully over the rubble, dragging the sled behind him. “He told me it was the least he could do. That’s when I slugged him with the pipe.”

He worked his way over to a likely looking pile of debris, poking at it with the steel rod that doubled as a cane. “I don’t know, Lizzie,” he said, shaking his head. “I’m thinking it might be time to start working a new section. It’s been pretty slim pickings lately.”

Using the rod as a poker, he moved some of the detritus aside. His eyes lit up. “Now that’s what I’m talking about!”

He grasped the aluminum sheet and worked it out from under the wreckage piled on top of it. It was easily three feet by three feet, and hardly dented at all. One side had a poster with the slogan, “Kindness Matters” stuck to it. Warren grinned, it would add a decorative touch to the shelter.

“Couple more like this and I can finish the shelter, Lizzie.”

He spent the rest of the day moving back and forth across the debris field and though he found several pieces worthy of collection, none was as good as his first find of the day.

“I tell you, Lizzie, this sure isn’t the way I expected to spend my retirement,” Warren said as he headed back to the shelter.

The shelter was a work in progress, the third such shelter he’d built since the end of the world. The first had been a pitiful attempt and simply fallen apart. The second had been much more solid, but hadn’t been able to withstand the hurricane force winds that had swept through what was left of the city.

“I promise you, Lizzie. This shelter will be built to last. And it’s only until you’re feeling better. Then we’ll try our luck in the farmlands, just like I promised.”

Warren unloaded the sled and swiped a hand across his forehead. “Looks like it’s going to be another hot one today, Lizzie. What do you say I scrounge us up something to eat?”

He rummaged through the old metal strong box they used for their valuables. “Look what I found,” he said, triumphantly holding up a chocolate bar. “It just happens to be your favourite too. Wanna share?”

Securing the lock again he chuckled. “I didn’t think so. Oh, the things I do for love.”

He tossed the bar to Lizzie where she lay under the half built shelter. It landed on her mummified chest where it teetered for a second before sliding off.

“Don’t eat it all at once,” he advised her, and imagined her smiling at him in return.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Astrology Part Twelve - Pisces



Quick facts for Pisces:
You were born between February 20 and March 20
Your sign is the fishes
Your planet is Neptune
Your element is water
Your metal is tin
Your birthstone is the aquamarine
Your flower is the water lily
Your color is dark purple
Your body part is the feet
Your Tarot card is the Moon.

Strengths:
Compassionate, artistic, intuitive, gentle, wise, musical

Weaknesses:
Fearful, overly trusting, sad, desire to escape reality, can be a victim or a martyr

Likes:
Being alone, sleeping, music, romance, visual media, swimming, spiritual themes

Dislikes:
Know-it-all, being criticized, the past coming back to haunt, cruelty of any kind

Your best matches are those born under the sign of Cancer or Scorpio and to a lesser degree those born to Capricorn and Taurus.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Like the fish that symbolizes them, Pisces dislikes making waves and often prefers to ‘go with the flow.’ They’re the most sensitive of the signs, selfless, spiritual, and intuitive. You’ll often find them helping others without thought of getting anything back. They’re very friendly and popular and get along well with all kinds of people. Compassionate and charitable, they need to watch out or they’ll be taken advantage of by others.

Pisces is symbolized by two fish swimming in opposite directions. This represents the constant division of their attention between what is real and what is not. They’re kind and good natured, often generous, but are also somewhat weak-willed. They’re capable of hard work and dedicated service, but they also often take the role of a martyr. Pisces is compassionate, faithful, and caring and make pleasant companions, but they also tend to be very fond of gossip which makes them indiscreet in their conversations.

With Neptune as their ruling planet, Pisces are often intuitive and have an artistic talent. Neptune is the planet that rules creativity and dreams, and it encourages Pisces to explore their boundless imagination. They have a genial, pleasure-loving disposition and often succeed as journalists or actors. But they also tend to wear rose-colored glasses instead of addressing their problems, which gives them a reputation for being flaky or delusional.

Famous Pisces include: Albert Einstein, Victor Hugo, Daniel Craig, Elizabeth Taylor, Sidney Poitier, Bruce Willis, Dr. Seuss, Jon Bon Jovi, Drew Barrymore, Rue McClanahan, Michael Cain, Liza Minnelli, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Looking Back and Moving Forward



It was about this time last year I was gearing up to go to the Kingston Writersfest. *sigh*

Man, what a great idea! It spans five seminar and class filled days, with a few evening events thrown in for good measure. With offerings from such luminaries as Jane Urquhart, Linwood Barclay, Catherine Bush, and Helen Humphreys (to name just a few), there’s something for everyone.

There were a couple package deals offered where you could stay for all five days, or just for the weekend, but they included not only your hotel stay but all the classes/seminars for those days. My friend and I picked the weekend package and went up for Friday evening through Sunday.

Kingston is a beautiful city, and the hotel was right on the waterfront. Most of the activities were either in our hotel or a short walk away. The classes were interesting and while I might not have taken as many notes as some, I still feel like I learned a lot.

The only downside of the experience was that I lost my friend – not literally, just when we started out we were friends but when we were done we were . . . not. To this day I have no idea what happened. In hindsight I suspect she’d been trying to end our friendship for a long time, I was just too dim to realize it.

But life goes on and I guess it’s just going to have to remain one of life’s mysteries. In any case, I was really, really looking forward to going for the whole five days this year. Five days in a cushy hotel while I immersed myself in the writing experience. Only I hadn’t counted on the pandemic.

Oh, you can still go to Kingston and stay in a hotel (not the one I was in last year) but the classes and seminars are through Zoom – the online video chat service. Sorry, not my cup of tea. Half the beauty of Writersfest was the energy of the group gathered to hear the speakers.

I’m getting a little fed up with COVID-19 and the way it’s messing with everything. Social distancing is one thing, but even Word on the Street (the annual street book festival) has gone virtual. I don’t do virtual and I don’t handle change well.

Yeah, I know. Take a deep breath. There’s no point in looking back, all we can do is look forward, and what I’m looking forward to is finishing Blood Ties so I can get back to work on Knightsong.

Knightsong is the novel I started, then abandoned several NaNos ago. It’s a little bit of a departure for me, being a romantic suspense – nothing paranormal or fantasy about it. This is the novel I was going to take to the Spring Thaw retreat to work on, only Covid-19 forced it to move to the fall and then again to next spring.

Oh, well. At least it gives me something to look forward to in 2021. And hey, maybe I’ll even have the novel finished by then and I can edit it during the retreat.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Wordage Report

Editing – 2 hours, -5 pages
Since it was just sitting there, I started editing An Elemental Spirit, and as you can see I started off with cutting. There’s a lot more to be cut before I can start adding words.

Research – 3.25 hours

Blood Ties – 2,055 words
Slightly under last week, but it was a short week.

Blog Posts – includes the post for my regular blog, but not the prompt story.
427 (regular blog)+ 883 + 403 = 1,713 words total

Weekly Prompt – 1044 words

Total Words – 4,812

New Prompt
Write a 300 word story in the epic genre. It's about an old man in love and should include a poster. Also use the sentence 'Thanks for nothing.' Bonus prompt: Civilization has come to an end.

Goals From Last Week:
I have to say, I’m pleased with the progress I’m making on Blood Ties. I’ve been switching back and forth between Jessica and Howard, and the Howard scenes aren’t as difficult to write as I thought they’d be. Despite last week being a short one, I still managed a goodly amount of words, plus I’ve been making notes of things I’ll have to change/add during revisions. I kind of wish I’d dedicated a notebook to the series when I first started but . . . hindsight.

I didn’t get the prompt story written as early as the one from the week before, but at least I had it up in time. I was only a few words over the limit set by the prompt, and that was after cutting 500 words from it. And you know what? I think it was a better story for the cuts.

Man oh man I’m going to have to get my editing rear in gear if I’m going to get my book flood anthology done in time for Christmas and my two books edited by the end of the year. Especially if I’m doing NaNo this year. I hate to mess up my NaNo winning streak, but I didn’t like the changes they made to the website last year and I haven’t been back since so I don’t know what else they’ve done to it. Maybe I’ll do an editing version of NaNo on my own.

That being said, I did do a little research on my NaNo idea, but it’s slow going and there’s a heck of a lot more to be done.

Goals For This Week:
1. As many words on Blood Ties as I can manage – I want it done so I can do something else without feeling guilty about it.
2. New prompt story. I’m not too sure about this week’s prompt, but we’ll see what comes of it.
3. If I’m not going to edit my book flood stories then I will edit Elemental Spirit. No reason I can’t switch back and forth between the two.
4. Continue the research for my NaNo idea. Even if I don’t do it this year there’s always next year.

And there’s what I’ll be up to this week. How about you?

Friday, September 11, 2020

Life On the Beach of Faery



Prompt: Write a 1,000 word story in the fairy tale genre. It’s about a penniless writer and should include expired food. Also, use the sentence ‘Life was better on the other side.’ Bonus prompt: Your character is shipwrecked.


A gentle rocking motion awakened George. He’d been having the most interesting dream. In it he’d won a free passage on a cruise ship into the land of Faery, all expenses paid. Of course he jumped at the chance. What writer wouldn’t? He was down to his last penny and had just been told again that his stories lacked originality. A trip into Faery would create enough fuel for stories to last a lifetime.

The rocking continued and with a frown he struggled to open his eyes, and immediately wished he hadn’t. It hadn’t been a dream at all. He was half in, half out of the water on some beach, clutching a white and red life preserver ring.

“In or out,” a squeaky voice told him.

George peered blearily around. “What?”

“Either go back into the water or come all the way out. You can’t just hang about like this.”

“Who—who are you?”

“I’m Tilly.” The owner of the voice stepped close enough for him to see her. She was tiny and green and naked, with gossamer wings fluttering behind her. “This is my section of beach and I don’t tolerate in-betweeners.”

“I apologize,” George told her. “I didn’t mean to trespass. I guess I’m shipwrecked.”

“Makes no difference,” Tilly said with a sniff. “You can’t stay here, go find your own section of beach.”

With a great effort of will, George managed to lever himself up out of the water. He stood, swaying slightly, and looked around.

The white sand beach stretched in both directions, sometimes wide sometimes narrow, sometimes strewn with black rock. It was bordered by the deep aqua ocean on one side, and a variety of trees on the other. Aware of Tilly’s glare as she stood, hands fisted on her hips, George stumbled away along the shore, leaving the ring behind.

“Humans!” she snorted derisively after him.

He passed a goblin, a troll, and two dwarves before he saw another human.

“Hey!” the man called, waving from the tree line. Dropping his armload of coconuts he started towards George.

George halted, too tired and discouraged to even meet him halfway. No amount of stories was worth what he was going through. All he wanted was a good cup of tea before he curled up for a nap.

“You must be new here,” the man said. He extended his hand. “I’m Tim.”

“George, George Beaumont.”

“It’s a real pleasure to meet you George,” Tim said as they shook hands. “C’mon up and join me for breakfast.”

With nothing better to do, George followed him into the trees to the camp set up there. They feasted on coconut meat washed down with coconut milk.

“How long have you been here?” George asked.

Tim shrugged. “A year, two maybe. I fell through a magic portal. How about you?”

“I won a cruise to Faery. We’d hardly passed through the barrier when the storm hit. I got swept overboard and ended up here. I’ve got a vague recollection of some mermaids . . .”

“You got lucky. I try and stay away from the merfolk – they’re as likely to drown you as to help you.”

George looked around, taking in the crude shelter, the canopy of trees sheltering them from the sun, the sound of water – a creek or a waterfall – coming from nearby.

“So this is it?” he asked. “Just find a place to hunker down and wait to be rescued?”

“Don’t hold your breath waiting for rescue,” Tim advised. “Getting into Faery is easy, getting out again? Not so much.”

George stared at him. “But the cruise…”

Tim shrugged. “Maybe if you’d stayed on the ship you might have had a chance, but they’re not going to search for a mere human.”

George had a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach but he didn’t think Tim was lying.

“I’m sorry,” Tim said sincerely. “You can stay here with me if you like, at least we’ll have each other to talk to.”

“Thank you,” George said numbly. “I appreciate it.”

“Life was better on the other side,” Tim told him, “A lot better. I can tell you that.”

Over the next few weeks Tim showed George the ins and outs of life on the beach of Faery. George learned how to tell a ripe coconut from an unripe one, and how to shimmy up a tree to knock them down. He learned how to avoid the nymphs when he went to fetch water from the small waterfall nearby. And he spent a great deal of time searching their small section of beach for useful flotsam.

One morning George wandered down to the beach in time to see one of the dwarves from the next section trying to drag a crate off.

“Hey! Get away from that!” George shouted, running towards him. “That’s ours!”

Dropping the end of the crate, the dwarf waddled away as fast as he could, muttering obscenities. The crate was unmarked, but heavy. George carried it up to the campsite and pried off the lid. Tim came up to find him staring worshipfully at the contents.

“Must have been another storm at sea,” Tim said. “What’ve you got there?”

“Food,” George said. “Glorious food!”

Tim was a little less excited. “I don’t want to burst your bubble, but if this food came from Faery there’s probably a price attached, or a trick to it. The Faery love to play pranks.”

“Just look at this,” George said, holding out a can of peaches.

Taking the can from him, Tim looked at the label and then sent George a pitying glance. “Did you read this?”

George shook his head.

“This can expired more than a year ago,” Tim said gently.

“I don’t care,” George said mutinously. “I’m willing to take a chance for a taste of something that’s not coconut!”

“Sure, buddy, sure. Just calm down. Only one problem,” Tim told him.

George just looked at him.

“We don’t have a can opener.”

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Astrology Part Eleven - Aquarius



Quick facts for Aquarius:
You were born between January 21 and February 19
Your sign is the water bearer
Your planet is Uranus
Your element is air
Your metal is lead
Your birthstone is the amethyst
Your flower is violet
Your color is light blue
Your body part is the calves
Your Tarot card is the Star

Strengths:
Progressive, original, independent, humanitarian

Weaknesses:
Runs from emotional expression, temperamental, uncompromising, aloof

Likes:
Fun with friends, helping others, fighting for causes, intellectual conversation, a good listener

Dislikes:
Limitations, broken promises, being lonely, dull or boring situations, people who disagree with them

Your best matches are those born under the sign of Libra or Gemini, and to a lesser degree those born to Aries and Sagittarius.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Those born under the sign of Aquarius often have many friends and acquaintances, and feel their best when surrounded by other people in a group or community. While they’re normally sympathetic and compassionate, they’re also rigid in their opinions and tend to exaggerate grievances. Being somewhat impatient and a little temperamental, they have difficulty expressing their appreciation which leads them to be often thought of as cold and uncaring.

Aquarius is ruled by Uranus, the planet governing innovation, technology, and unexpected events. It is the most humanitarian astrological sign, and is the sign of philanthropists. They’re deep thinkers, often scholarly, and are interested in making the world a better place by helping others. However, they can become so focused on their plans for helping others that they often neglect their family and friends, which gives them the reputation of being distant and unapproachable in relationships.

Although Aquarians are often shy and quiet, they can also be eccentric and energetic with more humor than most people realize. Often physically large and somewhat slow, they’re gentle rather than forceful, not inclined to insist or demand their own way. They hate to be criticized and can have a bit of a stubborn streak. Their most exasperating character trait is their inability to explain themselves, but the know what they want from the future and can visualize exactly what they want to be doing five or ten years from now.

Famous Aquarius include: Abraham Lincoln, Eddie Van Halen, Bob Marley, Lewis Carroll, James Dean, Alice Cooper, Sheryl Crow, Don Cherry, Neil Diamond, Jennifer Aniston, Ellen Degeneres, and Johnny Winter.