Sunday, November 18, 2007

East- West Home is best.

It has been over four weeks since I left for Europe and a combination business and pleasure trip. While we had a great time and the sights we have seen have blown my mind away, it is good to be home again...
I can't believe how productive everyone has been. What with Nanowrimo, and publishing successes - I've only written postcards and with Christmas around the corner I guess the next thing I write will be my yearly revenge-- the annual Christmas letter and cards. I wasn't going to send many but it is nice to receive one in the mail so decided to boost the annual earnings of Canadian Storage,... oops make that Post.
Drop a line if you have a mo.
Cheers Robyn

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Thursday Thirteen - 13 takes on Fall

They say English is hard to grasp for those for whom it is not their mother tongue... take the word 'fall' appropriate for this Autumnal season and you will understand why...

Fall for - be captivated or deceived by
Fall about - be helpless - usually with mirth
Fall out - quarrel; leave ranks; airborne radioactive substance from nuclear explosion
Fall through - fail to obtain or reach a goal; unplanned descent
Fall down - not stay upright, collapse
Fall Guy - easy victim, scapegoat
Fall on - fail; assault; come across hard times; get lucky; kill oneself
Fall in - take place in line; collaborate with others; begin a conversation;lapse or revert; a specified state
Fall foul of - come into collision with; quarrel with
Fall off the wagon - take up a bad habit/vice once again
Fall short - be shortof, or not have sufficient; not reach intended target/market/goal
Fall from grace - lose favor or popular status; act in a way that loses respect of others
Fall behind - lag, tarry to the rear; slip backwards; or... the expansion of the gluteous maximus from too much sitting around after Thanksgiving.....

Happy TT

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The passion found among the grief

You know the old saying that Fact is Stranger than Fiction.... Not so much as stranger in this case more a parallel to it.
On going through an old metal box(yep, black painted metal old file lock box) I came across some letters (no, they weren't tied up together with a faded ribbon).
One was a small note written to my maternal great grandmother by her eldest son, Jason, as he left New Zealand for the Boer War, to "The Mother of his heart"- a hard working mother who nursed her invalid miner husband and cared for their 13 (yep thirteen surviving) children. He returned, fought with my grandfather on the Somme and came back from that.
The other a card sent to my grandmother by my grandfather from the Somme. They really did say... "Tomorrow we go over the top again, Jason and Tom are with me." (Sadly, Tom didn't return from over the top. I can still remember the sadness in my grandfather's eyes when he spoke of Tom.)
There was also a poem written in copperplate writing to my paternal grandmother from an admirer on the announcement of her "intention to marry" to my grandfather.
" Oh, the heartfelt sorrow knowing I shall not gaze upon your face
As you sit across from me at morning grace
For no grace can find the words to honor your beauty
Or mirror the depths of despair within my soul"

Tissues anyone?

Monday, October 8, 2007

"Hello God? What have you done with my mother?"

Hi to those of you popping back to see if I am back and functioning. I am but on different levels at present as I am coping with being robbed of my mother.
Since I last blogged, my sister and I have been to Atlantic Canada and New Zealand.
Sadly our mother who four months ago was independent and fully functioning has had to be put into full hospital care. The cruel thing about all this is that she had no stroke, no heart attack, no debilitating illness, only a fall in which she broke her arm and fully recovered from.
So the laughing, loving mother I left in June, who at 86 was driving her own car, cooking, gardening, and caring for herself and taking an active interest in life is gone, leaving a little wizened, vague, fully dependent person in her place. After her fall it was like she folded her wings and surrendered her old life. Depression and mild dementia, and physical frailty are the medical diagnosis. Only one of which can be treated.

Sadly, another cruel twist that fate has in store for her are lucid moments. This is when her condition distresses her, panic attacks set in and she needs constant reassurance that we will leave her where she is and not make her go home. The up side here is that she loves where she is and the people caring for her. The down side, she gets upset that my brother (who lives in Australia) and I haven't been to see her. She doesn't recall either of us being there with her. Or the visit of one of my daughters and her great grandson. Luckily I had the forethought to take photos of us all with her and stuck them on her wardrobe door so she can see we were all there.

It is very distressing being told she will never return to any resemblence of her old life , then having to go into her lovely home and dismantle a life time of her memories.

My advice, for what it is worth, is make sure you enjoy what time you have with your parents. Ring them today and tell them you are thinking of them and how much you love them and appreciate what they have done for you. Tomorrow might be too late.

Friday, August 17, 2007

up and away one way or another

My sister, who lives in New Zealand, arrives tonight after being out in the wilderness tracking grizzly bears and riding the transcanadian rail across the country leading up to our first trip ever away together. We booked it over a year ago, planning times etc that suit our respective commitments, we were so looking forward to it, but I have just learned that our mother who has been unwell for a while is now in hospital for assessment. Our brother, who lives in Australia, is with her .... next post could be from down under or Quebec...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

PPP TT deals with Poisons

One of the things I enjoy most as a writer is learning about 'stuff' that isn't in my everyday existence. I'm working on a book where poisons play a big part.... so I'm going to bore...oops share with you some of my findings.
  1. Poisons are rated in terms of toxicity for the oral lethal dose for 150lb human.- 6 most lethal (less than 5mg, seven drops) to 1 the almost non toxic (requires 15 mg,1 quart or 2.2pounds of the stuff).
  2. Most poisons have a bitter taste -those that don't- have no survivors to tell us.
  3. Arsenic (5) is as toxic as rubbing alcohol containing Isopropanol (5)
  4. Strychnine and Cyanide (6) are as fatal as a sting from an Australian box jellyfish - death in minutes
  5. Snake and spider bite toxicity are exacerbated if the bite site is vascular.
  6. Age, health, lifestyle of victim affects uptake, and symptoms and time to die
  7. Tear Gas while toxic/harmful is not considered a poison (it only causes 2nd degree burns - lungs, eyes, etc painful, but it won't kill you.)
  8. New Zealand, Antarctica, Southern Chile and Southern Argentina are the only places in the world you wont find scorpions.
  9. First written records of poisoning are from the Roman Empire around the time of Christ - Summerians, Indians, Chinese, Greeks and Egyptians had already perfected the art of poisoning.
  10. Cleopatra didn't like using henbane, belladonna - it caused too much pain in her slaves and prisoners when she tried it out. Strychnine left convulsed victims grossly distorted so she settled on the cobra/asp - a serene prompt death.
  11. 2C B.C. Greek king Mithradates VI ingested a minute does of every poison hoping to build up an immunity - he died. This increased small doses to build immunity is not uncommon in many cultures and has been used in fiction by Dorothy L Sayers (Strong Poison). and Alexander Dumas (The Count of Monte Cristo)
  12. Macabre I know, but history's notorious poisoners and study of poisons gave birth to modern pharmacology - without it we wouldn't have digitalis, ouabain, atropine, aspirin.
  13. 'Venin de crapaud' is made by feeding arsenic to, say, toads and when they die the juices are distilled from their bodies.

Have a great day but maybe you should watch what you eat, drink, step on, inhale, rub upagainst, touch..... maybe just go back to bed with a good book!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Tangled Tuesday

Sadly my Mum is failing. You know how you dream of having a day in bed, writing, reading, sex...
Mum doesn't seem to want to do anything now but lie in bed and stare at the wall... Sort of makes a day in bed less appealing now.
Old age is a bummer.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Smoking Hot.

I'm going like a train at the moment and dread having to stop for mundane things like... life.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Brain Storm

Had a brainstorm for my Hero and Heroine in the wee small hours
No time for blog --- gotta go gotta write!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

TT - Thirteen Ways to detect a witch in 1486.

Okay - lets get this straight - these were used to identify witches during the Inquisition as set out in 1486's Malleus Malleficarum - the Witch Hunters Manual a book in three parts - one- explains who dangerous witches were, and how evil. The second - types of witches and what they did usually deviant sexual practices and luring men to have sex with them. Third part was ways to 'legally' convict them of witchcraft.
It heralded the beginning of the Inquisition at it most terrifying. The last English witch trial was held and repealed in 1736
Please note - no offense is intended to any Wiccans, Pagans or Religious groups.

  1. The Devil's Mark : scar, mole, birthmark. mole, wart, pimple, pockmark, cyst, liver spot, wen, insect bite, ulcer, blemish. If nothing is visible the witch was "pricked" (people were employed as Prickers) all over to search for an insensitive spot where the devil had given his blinding kiss.
  2. talking to oneself or animals or being overly attached to an animal.
  3. keeping a black animal - cat or lamb in particular
  4. spinning around
  5. freckles, red hair, odd eyes. Blue and brown you're a gonner.
  6. The Witch of Newberry was executed for surfing on a board in the river.according to Allan Maurer and Renne Wright -
  7. trail by fire - if you didn't burn holding red-hot irons you were innocent
  8. trail by water -"swimming the witch" the innocent sank
  9. physical impediment such as old, wrinkled, deformed, pale, too skinny, lame
  10. any unusual behaviour that followed in the wake of calamities, illness (like getting better or go mad with grief)
  11. "weighing the witch" - guilty if she weighed less than the massive tombs of the day
  12. healing - anything from a septic cut to something that would normally be fatal
  13. Money/religion - witnesses could be bribed to say an enemy was a witch and anyone who seemed to be a threat to the Church would soon be accused of witchcraft.
Basically anyone outside society's perception of normal for those times. It was easier to accuse someone of being a witch, than to prove you weren't. These people obviously hadn't heard of the Wiccan Crede in which it states: "For what you send out returns to thee times three. "

Sources: The Writer's Complete Fantasy Reference, Writers Digest Books 1998
Complete Idiot's Guide to Wicca and Witchcraft (2nd Ed) Denise Zimmerman & Katherine A. Gleason Alpha Books 2003

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


Went to my first ever baseball game yesterday - Blue Jays vs Yankees.... sitting up in the nosebleed seats (oops 500's) under the baking sun as the roof of the skydome was open, Wow! I am hooked, and want to go again, even if the Blue Jays lost 5-4 and hot dogs and soft drinks are way overpriced. I think that was my first hotdog this season too. Man they are so not good for the diet!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Success is hard work.

In Dallas at the RWA National, I was with a group of multi published author friends who were moaning about their work loads... yeah like I should be so lucky.... anyway they were envious (to a point) of my unpub status... Enjoy it they said, you can write what and when you feel like it, you have no constraints, no public ready to pounce on something that they feel should not be. If you are unpub and have finished a manuscript and started another, you have success. So many don't get to type - The End. That in itself is success...
It got me thinking about success and here is what a few others think of it.

  • (On being congratulated on a Competition win) It is always encouraging to receive a compliment - Brenda Novak (author)
  • I work really hard - Tiger Woods (golfer)
  • The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary - Vidal Sassoon (hairdresser)
  • Success can be wracking and reproachful, to you and those close to you. It can entangle you with legends that are consuming and all but impossible to live up to. - Gordon Parks (photographer film director)
  • What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work. - Stephen King (author)
  • In all things, success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure. - Confucius (Chinese philospher and ethics teacher)
  • '-be happy but not satisfied' - Sensei David Kovar (6th degree black belt)
  • Getting there is only part of the challenge, it is how you deal with it that determines whether success continues - Anon
  • (on how to write a successful novel) - There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are. - Somerset Maugham.
  • Success is counted sweetest, by those who ne'er succeed
  • To comprehend a nectar, requires sorest need. - Emily Dickinson (poet)

Guess it is back to the grind... and I'll take a leave out of Rita Mae Brown's book and - "pray for chance magnificence."

Thursday, August 2, 2007

13 Facts and Fallacies about health and diet!

1.Diet soft drinks can help you lose weight!
Only if you are substituting real sugar sodas for diet (save 100 cal approx)
NB: Rats fed artificial sweetners craved more calories than rats fed real sugar.

2. Eating late at night in unhealthy and makes you fat and lead to a poor nights sleep!
  • Fallacy it will only make you feel ill if you aren't used to it and consume more calories than you will burn off in the next 24 hours. Fallacy - There is no evidence to support that going to sleep on a full stomach, or the time of eating, leads to a worse nights sleep, unless of course you are not used to it.
3.Calories consumed after 6pm lead to sleepless nights and make you fat!
  • Fallacy - There is no evidence to support that calories consumed later in the day hang around. It is how often you consume these large amounts of calories not the time they are consumed that lead to fat deposits. Calories consumed late in the evening can have a beneficial affect on sleep - take hot chocolate for instance, or a glass of red wine.
4. Commercially prepared children's food are geared to their needs.
  • only 'beginner' baby foods like simple pureed fruits and vegetables that have no salt or sugar added.
  • Most commercial foods targeted to children are sweetened, contain artificial colors, flavors and bright appealing packaging. None of which are to do with the 'needs' of young children. Many 'regular adult foods containing less sugar and fewer additivies are far healthier.
5. When you go a long time with little food your stomach shrinks.
  • Fallacy. The stomach never shrinks it only enlarges to accommodate large portions of food then returns to its previous size. However the entire digestive tract can be overtaxed and overworked if it is only used to small portions and is suddenly called on to deal with a larger quantity. In stomach stapling for extreme obesity - the original (empty) size of the stomach is stapled so it wont accommodate as much food.
6. Adding salt to cooking vegetables keeps their colors bright.
  • Fallacy. Salt has no effect on the color of vegetables. Waters acidity and mineral content contribute to the molecular changes n vegetables and often affects their color. NB: Plunging vegetable into ice cold water after blanching will help them retain their color.
7. Searing meat seals in the juices.
  • Fallacy. Tests prove that seared meat and unseared meat have about the same amount of juice. Searing does however gives it better flavor due to the protein and sugar reaction to heat.
8. Cooking time for roast meat depends on its weight
  • Although weight is important the shape also affects the amount of time it takes the heat to reach the center of the roast thus affecting cooking time.
9. Alcohol evaporates during cooking.
  • It does evaporate faster than water but not all of it evaporates when cooked. e.g. something cooked in alcohol for 2 1/2 hrs will retain 5% alcohol, a flambe however retains 85%.
10. You can't deep fry in olive oil.
  • You can but it does smoke faster(375F/191C) than other oils. It works fine in a deep fryer and gives food flavor however it is a lot more expensive than other oils.
11. Water is better than milk in an omelet.
  • It might be healthier but tests have proved that an omelet made with milk is softer, fluffier and has more flavor.
12. The highest levels of Vitamin C are found in lemons.
  • Fallacy - per 100gms, the Barbados cherries are the highest with 3,ooomgs, then rosehips with 2,800mgs and sea buckthorn 1,200mgs. Fruits such as blackcurrants 190mgs, kiwi 100mgs; green cabbage 105mgs; and red peppers 100mgs. Oranges and lemons only contain 40-50 mgs.
13. The smell of strawberries is made from --well, strawberries.
  • Fallacy - the so-called fruit aromas are produced by bacteria and fungi.
Another load of useless info for you thanks the the Health and Diet section of: 1,000 Common Delusions and the real facts behind them by Christa Poppelmann, Firefly Books, 2006.

Monday, July 30, 2007

One BIG Start and 3 BIG finishes.

BIG START :- On this day 1954 - Elvis Presley made his professional debut as opening act for Slim Whitman. (Did you know that July -August are the biggest months for Elvis sightings since his death)
BIG FINISHES :- On this day 1968 - The Beatles closed their Apple Boutique on Baker Street, London UK, and gave away the contents.
1948 - UK bread rationing ended at 12 midnight (All food rationing ended in Britain on July 3 1954)
1974- Last day of presentation of the three articles of impeachment adopted by Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives against President Nixon

Okay, so I have a brain full of garbage....

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Did you know?

That today 29 July 1588 Sir Francis Drake looked up from a game of bowls to see the Spanish Armada in the English Channel and declared that he had enough time to finish the game before defeating the Spanish....
Also today in history poor tortured Van Gogh shot himself...

The Moon Swallowers is coming along in leaps and bounds after the Muskoka Novel Marathon up to page 180 now.
Gorgeous gorgeous day here so out on back deck making the most of it.. have great day.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Fact or Fallacy TT ###???

  1. The Human Body is completely renewed every 7 years. - fallacy while the body is always changing each part changes at a different pace, and the entire body doesn't change completely.
  2. Humans only have 5 senses - Fact now a fallacy - sight, touch, smell, taste and hearing are now part of the the basic list that is being expanded to include, balance, pain, hunger, thirst, temperature - all things we have no control over that contribute to our experience of our surroundings.
  3. Contortionists are doubled jointed - Fallacy - they have very loose ligaments and work hard to make then stretch to perform the way they want.
  4. On the side of you head are your ears - Fallacy they are called 'pinnas'. The ear is an internal organ made up of inner, middle and outer ear.- Pinnas are cartilage and do nothing if they were to enhance sound they would have to be a s big as the palm of your hand.
  5. The bosom is the female breast. - Fallacy - it refers to the breast, chest area of man woman or child. (it's use is oldfashioned)
  6. All babies are born with blue eyes. - Only Caucuasian babies because not much melanin pigment has accumulated giving the appearance of blue eyes, this increases over the first three months of life and the eye color changes. All colors are based on the same pigment and differ due to the number of pigment cells and how they refract light. Dark-skinned babies usually have dark eyes.
  7. Twins cannot have two different fathers. -Fallacy - 1996 a set of twins was born in England one light skinned the other dark and they were conceived many days apart. Several other cases have been reported and fraternal (two-egg) twins with different fathers. the interval between conception has amounted to as much as four weeks.
  8. Breathing through the skin is vital for life - Fallacy - we only breath 1% of our air through our skin, if you were to be covered in gold paint from head to foot - aka 1994's Gold finger you would develop a fever as the body wouldn't be able to cool itself because it wouldn't be able to sweat.
  9. Hair grays with age. - fallacy - there is no such thing as gray hair. It has a gray appearance due to it's lack of color pigment and reflection of light.
  10. After death nails and hair continue to grow. - Fallacy - when your dead, you are dead As moisture leaves the body, the body shrinks making nails and face stubble appear.
  11. A person's hair can turn white overnight - Fallacy - to do so it would have to contain nerves. Only newly grown hair can turn white.
  12. Yawning increases flow of oxygen to the brain - Fallacy - if anything it makes a person take in less.
  13. Charles Darwin (1809-1882) proposed the Theory of Evolution - Fallacy - He preferred to describe his theory as "descent with modification" of "natural selection". Victorians however liked to think of humans having a more orderly progression of development and over time it became known as The Theory of Evolution.
(Taken and adapted from: '1,000 Common Delusions and the real facts behind them - Christa Poppelmann, Firefly books, 2006)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Boggle Brain

Having spent 72 hours writing in the Muskoka Novel Marathon you would have thought I would be ready to sleep the next few days away... Wrong! Brain in overdrive, system coming down off caffeine overload, shoulders in spasm, and eyeballs resting on my keyboard I'm finding it hard to shut down. That is why I'm posting this at 3:15 am.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Thursday 13 #????

Okay so I've been slack! Here goes.
Thirteen things that happened on this day
  1. 1848 - Seneca Falls, Finger Lakes NY state - 250 women and 40 men met under the leadership of ELizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott to discuss women's grievances including the right for women to vote in the USA (women could stand for election since 1788)
  2. 1374 - Italian Poet Petrarch dies near Padua- famed for his poem To Laura. Said to be the scholar who paved the way for the Renaissance.
  3. 1799 - The Rosetta Stone was found by the French in Egypt. (takes its name from the harbor in which it was found)
  4. 1834 - French painter and sculptor Edgar Degas was born.
  5. 1870 - Napoleon III declares war to start the Franco-Prussian War (lasted into 1871)
  6. 1930 - Maurice Garin wins the first Tour De France
  7. 1817 - Readers of Jane Austen begin to mourn her death (the day before)
  8. 1861 - Confederate troops look about to secure victory at Bull Run dashing Federal hopes of an easy victory.
  9. 1942 - RAF continues it daylight raids on the Ruhr
  10. 1944 - Von Staffenberg makes bomb for 'Valkyrie' conspiracy, set for the following day to assasinate Hitler
  11. 1944 - The rumors begin about bread rationing in Britain ( goes into effect 22 July)
  12. 1954 - The second day of the Four-Power COnference in Geneva (Eisenhower, Eden, Faure, Bulganin) the first meeting of heads of power since Potsdam 1945)
  13. AD 64 - Nero watches Rome burn and orders his troops to fire on the city. He did not fiddle as it burned but watched from the Tower of Maecenas then put on an actors costume and sang his own composition 'The Sack of Ilium'.
(Thanks to W.B. Marsh & Bruce Carrick - Great stories from History 365 for everyday of the year, Pears Encyclopedia, 1977-1978, and my High School History teachers)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


I'm getting ready to head up to Huntsville to participate in their Muskoka Novel Writathon fundraiser for Literacy- goes for three days and writing non stop... It is part of the Muskoka Arts Fringe Festival.
I had the fortune to meet JR Ward over conference and have since being 'devouring', pardon the pun, her Black Dagger Brotherhood books... wow I love them! Anyone else a fan?

Monday, July 16, 2007

Back Home

Arrived back home last night and full of energy to write write write! Going to something like the Nationals does that to you. At the last Luncheon we were sitting at a table with two VERY new members (of two weeks) they were practically bouncing out of their skins with enthusiasm... so refreshing. Next year it is in San Fransisco and looks to be a biggie with most I spoke to planning to go so Book Early!
Now I must stop procrastinating and get words on ??? screen? Have a great day

Saturday, July 14, 2007

View of Dallas from top of Reunion Tower

Me and Lisa Jackson - luncheon speaker

View of the gathering for the Rita Awards

Sadly Kim, Maureen and Anne didn't get the Golden Heart, but they're winners just the same. Kim Howe has done well with Daphne DuMaurier 'Run Silent' winning first place in category and first place in mainstream with One Shot, Two Kills. That's it from RWA Nationals 2007 in Dallas. See y'all in San Fransisco next year.
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Friday, July 13, 2007

Dallas Report #4

Today it rained... not that it mattered as we were work-shopping from 8:30 - 8:30.... So I now know what temperature a body is incinerated at, that I'm not only a pantser but have a bit of linear, plotter and puzzler thrown in. I heard about the differences between the Luna, Nocturne and Mira Lines and what they are looking for . I know how to embalm a body and that two sentences pitches have to catch the attention with a catchy word and get the core of the story across without too much detail. People have finally stopped talking to themselves but now editors and agents are looking cross-eyed and frazzled and will just about say send it to me to anything. Suzanne Brockmann's workshop was packed to the rafters and hilarious. That the hotel can empty out quickly when the alarms go off after midnight - even if it is a false alarm.
Not bad for 24 hours..... Rita and GH Awards tomorrow. Good Luck TRW Nominees.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Dallas RWA REPOR T # 3

Authors Literacy - 450 RWA Authors and over 5000 fans... a circus but fun. The queues started forming at 3 in the afternoon. J.R. Ward, Sherrilyn Kenyon and Suzanne Brockmann having huge lines of fans and of course Nora Roberts.
As one of the supervisors of the event I was fortunate to meet many of our celebrated members and deal with the frustrations of lost books etc... Sadly too many this year... Note to self---- if EVER I get published and attend bring 6 of my own copies.

Sherrilyn K... yes that is a black swan on her head (duck as she called it.)

Next morning and breakfast with a group from TRW only thought to take photo when most had gone, Kelly Armstrong among them. Here I am with first time published TRW Member from Owens Sound - Kaenar Langord. (Elloras Cave)

Two of TRW CelebrityAuthors ... Eve Silver and Michelle Rowan caught between workshops in the lobby.
Yesterday was full and busy on my part as I am a volunteer for the Author's Literacy overseen by Angi Platt with me In charge of Author Liason and Books. I'm the one that supervises checking of books from publishing houses and getting them to the authors for signing. So I get complained to, sobbed over and ranted at when their books don't arrive. The authors were great this year even with many missing books. My heart went out to the first time authors and those who had come from overseas to find they had nothing to sign. I collapsed into bed at midnight up at 6 for TRW breakfast... this conference is no holiday.
Before I attended the PRO Retreat I looked in Robin D.Owens - Kill your inner critic workshop - it was based on Artists Way - Morning pages- it was very good.
Went to PRO Retreat - Editor Ellen Edwards NAL gave a great presentation of the life of a book from query letter to book shelf. She was followed by multi-published Author Jane Porter who gave a witty and concise presentation - the best yet. Had to take a break as my credit card and wallet was stolen. Luckily I got the wallet and card back but no moolah - c'est le vie. Card already canceled so no harm done just the annoyance of it all.
Back tomorrow with more from today...
PS: Isn't it sad to note that Kathleen E. Woodwiss passed away on Saturday. My sister gave me Ashes in the Wind one Christmas and I was hooked from then on.
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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Dallas Day two

People come from all over to attend! (Oops Long horn stare from a long horn steer)

OUr hotel

Elm St and building where JFK met his fate

Me with Author Jackie Ivie ( Knights Lady and others)

Me with two of TRWs GH FInalists - Anne Perry and Maureen McGowan

No hot gossip yet- unless you count that the Dixie Chicks have not been played on any radio station in Texas since thier faux pas, but certainly lots of complaints about the lack of other eating places and sightseeing/things to do around the hotel.
Dragged my poor roommate Deb, all over the city yesterday in the heat. Took in the Sixth Floor Museum where Lee Harvey Oswald shot JFK, then down to the Pioneer Park to view the Bronze cattle men and horses. Did you know that Neiman Marcus has its original store here, her one consolation is that she found Ben & Jerry icecream on a stick is cheap here!!!!
Registered... there are still places if anyone wants to come. Our book bags are black and Lime green and this year contained a much more manageable number of books Brushed shoulders with Nora Roberts, spoke with author friend Jackie Ivie, caught up with TRW GH finalists and then went to Bill Bates Ranch.... a bit of a fizzer as it poured with rain but lots of laughs, singing cowboy and a hayride on soggy hay in the dark.
AM involved in Authors Literacy today I'm one of the supervisors... more tomorrow Have a good one.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Day One in Dallas

Hi Y'all
Well finally arrived after a 2 1/4 hr delay in TO because of thunderstorms state side then in TO. Was met at the airport by delightful Angi Platt who is co-ordinator for Authors Literacy and she took me to some restaurant BIG RESTAURANT- that had War in the title and had my first taste of deep fried pickles.... let me tell you they are delicious. If I eat all the HUMUNGOUS servings I'll go home with more than books as excess baggage.
Arrived at hotel to find it quiet as yet though some small groups gathered at the bar giggling into their drinks and sharing arrival stories no doubt. There is a fashion convention on ( rumors of Mary Kaye are yet to be substantiated... will take photos of lobby activity today and post them tomorrow and any celebs I'll try to whip out my camera for a quick pic.
Deb arrived with less hassle and we are about to hit the gym Ha ha...... maybe tomorrow or the next day.
The view is from leaning over the balcony outside our tenth floor room looking down on the lobby area and the largest inlaid floor star in Texas.
Till next time

Monday, July 9, 2007

Off to Dallas

I've been busy getting ready for the RWA National Conference in Dallas and coping with my Mum who took a tumble and broke her arm. Good clean break and it is healing well but mentally the whole thing has shaken her. I don't want her to lose her confidence in walking again, nor do I want her to fall into clinical depression. She wont watch telly, read books, and resists exercising and wont go to the dining room for her meals, insisting they bring them to her on a tray -must be a lovely patient - not. At least we got a phone on in her room so she can ring people and we can ring her. So it is taking a great deal of telephone time and diplomacy balancing what is good for her, supporting the medical staff and my sister who is dealing with the brunt of her moods, as well as trying to cheer her out of her - woe-is-me, 'I wish you were closer' (she lives in New Zealand), and the clincher "I'm all right, don't you worry about me!". She's not alone, for as well as my sister, my son and his girlfriend live close by and pop in regularly - but she is my mother and is nearly 86. She is in care so every possible thing she could want is taken care of, but it is still a wrench even though I 'm aware that she is great at triggering 'guilt trips'. OMG, will I be like that one day? Scary thought.

I will be posting for the rest of this week from Dallas and will fill you in with snippets from my experience, workshops I've attended and the 'goss' on who I see and of course the latest - "RUMOURS". I'll try to post photos when I can. If you have a question fire away and I will try to find the answer.
Have a successful week and look in and say hi.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Honeymoon Period

That's what I'm calling it with Collab #1 , as we are striking sparks of each other and going great guns. Research reading and writing, full of ideas... I never realized it could be so much fun... but it is early days and I expect to hit a wall. I have taken note of everyones comments and when we next meet face to face we will go over them... everything out in the open. The other collaboration (C#2) is slower to start and is in a totally different area so there is no conflict of interest. I'm looking forward to the different dynamics - it makes interesting challenges. If you think of something I/we should watch out for or be aware of please let me know. Thanks

For those who asked, my solo writing seems to have slowed considerably, my current two major wip's follow on from two ms at present with publishers and I would like to know how they are being received before I progress.... fingers crossed. The waiting is driving me nuts. (6 months with two correspondence exchanges for one (Paranormal) and 3 months for the other (Category))

Monday, July 2, 2007


Isn't it odd how things tend to happen all at once. Within the space of three days I have been asked to co-write two books. Both are writers whose work I have read and liked their style and like me are as yet, unpublished. Never having done this before I wonder if any of you out there have hints, suggestions or advice on what to watch out for and some of the pitfalls.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Back from Down Under.

Windmills a common sight outback and the uncommon waterlogged countryside

grapevines, olive harvesting and a Mudgee Cellar- white ports, daughter and g.son

Views of Bushmans Hut and the Mudgee township and sunset beyond the black stump.
It is sooo hot back here in Canada and so hard to get my nose down to write again and that for me is a first. I usually have heaps to write and can type my fingers off all day and into the night other commitments permitting. Apart from soggy weather in Sydney, we went to a place called Mudgee which is further West of the Hunter Valley, the largest wine growing area north of Sydney which got dumped on and suffered huge crop and flood damage. In Mudgee we had one of our two fine days.
Mudgee is a wine, sheep, wheat and cattle area and had their first three inches of rain in 7 years a day or so before we got there making the countryside looked green and very pretty and some vines still held their autumnal colours. So we were making frequent libation stops... came back with some yummy reds, and not so so yummy ones but those we got at the end of the day so what do you expect. Also got to sample Aussie Olive Oil Oi! OI! OI! Because of the drought it is very flavoursome, okay pungent peppery and grassy to use the lingo.
For those of you who don't understand the rain and drought situation... most of the pop of Australia is on the SE coast - east of the Great Dividing Range, most of the huge stations are west of the GDR and sadly not in the rainfall area - so technically Australia still has a drought though the critical water levels of the dams supplying Sydney have improved slightly.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Down Under

G'day Possums,
Have been in Sydney, Australia for the past few weeks and enjoying???? very soggy weather. They say the drought hasn't broken down here because the rain has fallen in areas not affected by the drought for the most part - ironic eh? We are currently tying down furniture as another cyclone is about to hit us... we are at the southern end of Manly Ocean Beach and get the brunt of the Southerlies WHEN they blow - let me tell you they are blowing at present.
Writing has gone out the window though have told some fairy stories to my granddaughters and "Stellabella" has become a hit with them and now will have to commit them to paper with pictures... never thought I'd write childrens stories - lots of fun.
Hope your writing and other commitments have fallen into place for you.
Cheers Robyn

Monday, May 28, 2007

New Week

I woke early this morning my head full of what I have to get done this week before going away next Sunday, with so much to do of course I couldn't go back to sleep so decided to get up, update my blog and check my emails. I read the latest TRW Newsletter and Maureen McGowan's interview with Diana Peterfreund, what a fairytale ride she had to become a published author. Maybe there is some hope after all for one who also receives the positive reject letter but no brass ring.
Still no word on my paranormal MS Witch Hunter's Moon at LUNA Books, heard it was about to be rejected then heard someone else was going to take a look at it, all promising and unusual, I just hope they haven't forgotten me and I'm back in the slush pile.
Am trying to come up with a new idea for a MS to get ready for the Muskoka Writathon Weekend in July to help raise funds for literacy. It is the weekend after RWA National Conference and I'm away most of June so hopefully over that time I will come up with something - maybe a sequel to Twisted Vines which is currently with Harlequin. As I'm a pantser I need to have a concept of what I am going after before I start or I'll just stare at a blank screen.
In the movie Miss Potter the first words are wonderful and sum up how I feel about writing.
"There is something delicious about writing the first sentence to a story, you never know quite where the adventure will take you." or something to that effect. It is so true.
Have a great day and hope you get some lines down.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Weird Week

Saturday - Ontario, Canada doing Spring Planting before leaving for airport at 3pm to fly to New Zealand.
Sunday - lost day because we flew over international date line
Monday - Arrive Auckland, New Zealand. Lunch visit with son and meet girlfriend who moved with him to NZ a week and a half ago. Drop sons girlfriend at airport to go to London and Oslo. Dinner with sister and mother.
Tuesday - 8:30 Pick up son then drive 2.5hrs to Tauranga, Mt Maunganui for funeral of beloved Aunt and catch up with family, some we haven't seen in 20 odd years. (Did I age as much as they did???) Drive back to Auckland 9:PM arrive Auckland midnight.
Wednesday - Take mother shopping before flying out of New Zealand Wednesday night.
Wednesday - gain day back, arrive in LAX leave for YYZ same day Arrive Toronto 11:45pm
Thursday - Ontario, Canada - Back home 12:30 am, up 7am check on spring planting - no sign of rabbits and deer grazing. Sat and stared at computer and realized it was TT did post, usual washing etc after time away. Met friend for coffee and buy Wylie Kinson's newly released book and several others that just happened to jump into my arms.
Friday (today) - 7 am Weigh in for new diet - lost 1.4lbs......the tea and tiny sandwiches with home baking on the side didn't help - at least weight went in the right direction. But still got growled at - no fruit this weekend...sigh! I'm turning into a lettuce and will be fighting the rabbits for my hosta leaves soon.

This is one bizarre post at the end of a bizarre week. It's not even a full week!
Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

TT - 13 Things I hate about editing my work.

1. The comma you spent ages deliberating over becomes obsolete when you go back and change the sentence.
2. You think you have it right then look at it later and wonder if you had been in the twilight zone when you did the last edit.
3. Saying I'm just going to read this through and next thing, the pen is in your hand and your read through becomes a re-write.
4. No matter how many times you go over it you always find a mistake or something that could be changed.
5. Computer 'Spell check' is an editing help and a hazard.
6. Semi colon, colon, comma - no matter what the textbook tells you, Editors disagree on usage.
7. Printing it out in hard copy and then finding a mistake on the first page that jumps the all lines up a page.
8. Over editing
9. Over eating
10. Self doubt
11. Procrastination - e.g. I'll make a coffee then go through this - again!!!
12. I'll just go through this chapter - then four hours later the beds still need to be made.
13. Waking up at night and find yourself going over it and can't go back to sleep until you get up and fix it.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

TT - Victorian Guide to selecting the perfect mate.

"Better, a thousands times, the single, free, and independent maidenhood, than for a woman to trail her life in the dust, and bring poverty , shame, and disgrace on her children, by marrying a man addicted to dissipated habits." Heaven forbid!!!!!

I'm a sucker for this type of book and couldn't resist it. Here is how Professor Hill - The Essential Handbook of Victorian Etiquette (1994 - adapted from material Professor Thomas E. Hill wrote between 1873 -1890) suggests you go about selecting your mate!
  1. Marry someone of similar form, complexion and temperament to themselves.
  2. Bright red hair and florid complexions indicate excitable temperament and should marry the jet-black hair and the brunette type.
  3. Grey, blue, black or hazel eyes should not marry those of the same colour.
  4. Where eye color is very pronounced, the union should be with those of a decidedly different color.
  5. The corpulent should unite with the thin and spare,
  6. The thickset and short should choose someone with a different constitution.
  7. The irritable with the quiet and slow, the quick-motioned, rapid speaking with the calm and the deliberate.
  8. Impulsive with the stoical.
  9. Thin, bony, wiry, prominent featured, Roman-nosed, cold-blooded individual should marry the round-featured, warm-hearted, and emotional.
  10. Straight and fine haired should unite with curly.
  11. Flat-nosed should marry the 'full Roman';
  12. A woman who takes after her father should marry a man who takes after his mother.
  13. But in all these cases where the type is not pronounced, but is on the contrary, an average or medium, those forms, features and temperaments may marry either. (TG for that!)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Slacking off

I can't believe how fast the time goes, yet the date at the top of the last post tells me that I have been slacking. My excuse... heck I don't really have one. Gardening? Shifting soil? Working on my WIP and a travel article and finalising the last of our interior revamping... remember the wire cupboard... it is still there but not as bad TG. Still haven't received my reject letter from LUNA so fingers crossed that MT-H is looking at it - it did well in the GH even if it didn't final, boo hoo. Sent Twisted Vines off to B D-T at Harlequin so I have MS out there and hope to hear something positive in the next month or so. I never give up dreaming.
Day One of new Diet today, my stomach is rumbling maybe another glass of water will help! Hope your day is a good one. R

Friday, May 11, 2007

Florida and Back.

Palm Beach, Florida. It was as beautiful as the picture indicates.

Friday, May 4, 2007


For those of you who asked 'What is Malta like?" here are a couple of photos. Above the old city of Valletta, the fishing village of Marsaxlokk, and the famous Maltese balconies - sorry about that but I can't rotate the picture for some reason.
Have a great day!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

TT - 13 ways to develop your wine palette

First you have to understand why some people can enjoy wine tasting and others can't - it boils down to what is in your mouth.
Humans use only a small part of the brain to interpret messages from the nose area - a Dogfish a very large one... Dogfish should be wine tasters.
In 1901 DP Hanig drew up a map of the tongue designating areas where acid, sweet, bitter and salt were tasted. This is being proved to be more complex.
According to Shari Darling -(The Sophisticated Wino:Harmony on the Palate), the nerves in our tongue and the Chorda tympani branch of the facial nerve allow us to have taste and flavor sensations- sourness,sweetness, bitterness and saltiness. While the trigeminal nerves assists us to experience harmful stimuli e.g.pain, they also respond to positive stimuli, such as spiciness, and irritations such as effervescence and carbonation.
The retro-nasal olfaction perceives odours from within the mouth - "when we chew and swallow foods the odors produced are forced up the palate into the nasal cavity."
Put a clothes/diving peg on your nose and you wont tell milk chocolate from cheddar cheese.
The tongues taste buds allow us to experience tastes - and differ according to number (few- you want things spicier, lots- a little seasoning is enough), distribution, and the amount of saliva produced.
So as Janics Robinson says - No one other than you can know how exactly a wine will strike your senses.In other words taste and flavor is individual. A novice's opinion is just as valid as an experts.
Once you have consciously tasted a few wines you like, you can build on that experience and become aware of common characteristics of other wines you like. Putting that together with the profiles of different grape varieties help you pick out wines that appeal to your palette. (Me personally I prefer a crisp dry white Savignon Blanc over a Chardonnay; and a Pinot Noir over a Cab Sav - not my husband)

First make sure you haven't cleaned your teeth - toothpaste taints wine.
To begin you need: -
  • a glass (it's inert and allows for appreciation of appearance) even a tumbler will do as long as it is clear
  • a glass of water or plate of bread cubes (neutralises the mouth - doesn't stop you getting drunk if you swallow everything you taste.)
  • wine
Now to taste:
  • Pour 1/3 to 1/2 glass of wine
  • hold glass by base or stem - said to stop body heat affecting wine
  • look at the wine (least important but necessary if trying to identfy a wine).
  • tilt glass away from you against a white background if possible to expose different shades of color (more is better)
  • study the rim of the wine - this tends to reveal the age of the wine (the browner the older it is. Reds go from deep purple to tawny; whites a pale greenish yellow - deep gold
  • look for a sheen to the wine - good sign; commercial, treated wine tend to look dull
  • Swirl the wine then concentrate and smell it. (You swirl it to release the flavor molecules.) It should smell clean and attractive, note intensity and what it reminds you of.
  • Take a mouthful exposing all of the tongue to the wine. Note how sweet, sour/acid, bitter, tannic/astringent, alcoholic and gassy the wine is. Roll it over you tongue
  • While the wine is in the mouth take in a little air (done when taking sip)- this chewing allows' mouth feel' for you to note things such as rasping, gripping or satin smooth.
  • Now spit it out - yeah don't drink it, this tells the taster from the player
  • Now close your mouth an assess the balance of the wine as a whole compare the sweetness, acidity, alcohol and any bitterness, tannin and gassiness - they should be in balance or does one dominate. In young red tannin often dominates, young white often acidic. Lack of balance could mean the wine is too old.
  • Note how long did the impact of the wine last after you tasted/swallowed it. A mediocre wine may leave little or no trace, whereas a fine wine can still be tasted after 30 seconds of more.
So you tip, swirl, sniff, slurp, and spit... and look thoughtful for a minute - that's all there is to it. Cheers!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Cliche's and Explain.

I was listening to CBC yesterday to their Literary Segment and they were talking about cliches and the word explain. I found it quite interesting as we all talk in cliches without realizing we are using them... "You are driving me nuts/round the bend/crazy" , is a cliche I'm sure we have all said at one time or another.
Then they said that 'explain' means to 'lay something flat"??? Maybe I misunderstood so I decided to look up both words in my dictionaries....None of them mention the definition of explain given by the honorable gentlemen on the CBC program.
To save boring you with meanings - Websters, and Collins backed up Oxford
Cliche - n. Metal casting of stereotype of electrotype; hackneyed phrase or opinion. (Oxford )
Cliche - n. a phrase or idea that has been overused and has become uninteresting or stale. (Oxford Current English) And why writers should avoid them.
Explain - v.t. Make known in detail; make intelligible; etc. (Oxford)
Then at the end of Webster's numerous definitions of explain I found this :-
Explain means "to hammer into one's head."

Sort of cliche, don't you think? No wonder they (CBC) said that to explain means to lay out flat!
Have a great day!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Rhyme nor Reason.

I have just finished speaking to my mother(86) and she used a common expression - "There's no rhyme nor reason for it to happen". The saying got me thinking as to where it came from and its original meaning.

According to Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable -
If something is 'Neither rhyme nor reason' - it is fit neither for amusement nor instruction. It came into being when an author took his book to Sir Thomas More, Chancellor of Henry VIII and asked his opinion. Sir Thomas told the author to turn it into rhyme. He did so and submitted it again to the Chancellor who said : "Ay! ay! That will do, that will do. 'Tis rhyme now, but before it was neither rhyme nor reason."

I know now what mother meant you see,
Her phone was dead, why would that be?

( it turns out it she had pulled it out of the wall.)

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Thursday Thirteen - Wine Tasting Terms

Doing research for a novel set around the wine industry I came across some terms that intrigued me. They are used (accurately and inaccurately according to which expert you speak to or book you read) to describe the 'dimensions' of wine and its taste. I thought I'd share some with you. Beside some you will note a letter 'B' (negative) or 'G' (positive) - no letter is neither good nor bad. Just so as you know what the basic terms are Fruit defines the flavor and body that comes from the grape not the wine making process or aging. Body is an important characteristic determined mainly by the alcoholic strength and its extract (wine solids i.e what is left after boiling the wine). Tannic describes the tannins (phenolic preservative) found mainly in red wine and comes from the dark skins, seeds and stems and is a key management factor for the red wine maker.
  • Chewy - a wine contains some but not obtrusive tannins
  • Closed - not very aromatic - said to be due to its maturity
  • Dumb - no aroma/smell at all
  • Firm - the tannins are perceptible (G)
  • Flabby - too low in acid (B - no brainer here)
  • Hollow -lacking fruit (B)
  • Hard - too tannic (B)
  • Hot - too alcoholic (B)
  • Legs/Tears - colorless streams left on the inside of a glass after a relatively alcoholic wine has been swirled ( nothing to do with sugar/glycerol)
  • Lean - lacking fruit not acid (B)
  • Mature - aged to its full potential (G)
  • Horizontial Tasting - a comparative tasting of different but related wines of the same year
  • Vertical Tasting - comparative tasting of different vintages from the same provenance
  • Blind Tasting - an attempt to identify and assess wines with covered labels.
I find this wine firm, a little chewy, not too flabby but it has great legs! Go and impress your friends.
Next week - I'll post 13 steps to help develop your palate.

(Ref: Jancis Robinson's Wine Course, BBC Books, 1995)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Not so wordless I'm afraid.

I have to thank Shelly ( and who has just tagged me for the "Thinking Bloggers Award". I feel honored and unworthy knowing how many others do a wonderful job and are much more blog savvy than I am.
I was asked yesterday "How I was planning for my retirement?" It made me think - "Do housewives retire?"
OMG - I can see it.... knuckles swollen, eyes dimmed, chin on chest, stockings wrinkled about ankles, a walker and a retirement home.
I'm off to the gym!

Wordless Wednesday - Diving Lesson

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Rejected writer syndrome.

I'm sure RWS is a certifiable condition. Symptoms are a feeling of optimism, followed by deflation of spirit, a period of self-doubt, then 'put it down to experience. Many successful writer got rejected many times'; followed by reinforced determination and more blood, sweat and angst.
I have decided that my greatest writing success to date is that of the recipient of the 'good' rejection letter. Editors take time to write to me, make suggestions, or point out what they see as a weakness while encouraging me to continue submitting work to them. Then, today guess what.... Canada Post is sending me a cheque for the postage of a misplaced manuscript they cannot find and the publishing house has no record of receiving. Not the sort of payment for a manuscript one has in mind for writing 500 pages.
I take heart as I look out my window - the grass is turning green as I look at and my daffodils have popped open. If they can survive a winter buried under snow I too can push through this. One day the phone will ring and it won't be Canada Post saying we can't find your manuscript, and an envelope in the mail will have details of a contract.....
Well, back to my article about our trip to Sicily. The editor asked me to make some alterations and send it back to him. At least it is a step in the right direction..... R

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Monday, April 16, 2007

Mountains to Climb

I have had a busy morning racing around the house doing chores and thinking of what I still have to do, and the writing I want to get done when I logged on to the internet (a no-no if you want to get things done) and found that my query letter has been accepted and I have been asked to submit a travel article to the New Zealand Herald (a major newspaper down there) and now I'm wondering how I'm going to get everything done, when I realized - hey I climbed Mt. Etna Sunday a week ago, so I can do it!!! Here are the photos to prove it. Have a great day.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Jetlag gone and back in the saddle

The Temple of Segesta, in Segesta, Sicily.
Hi everyone I'm back having had a fabulous time in Malta and Sicily after celebrating hubby's 40 years with the German company he works for.
Being a bit of a history nut wandering around ruins like this, and history steeped Malta was a real treat. We even climbed to the highest point of access on Mt. Etna - nearly 10,000 feet and as it was still cold there most of it was in knee deep snow until you hit the steaming slopes then it is black warm volcanic rock, (in the summer it is yellow and black) and while the mountain was steaming it didn't erupt while we were on it.
So now I have to get my head out of the clouds and put it down to get things polished ready for pitching in Dallas.
Attending the TRW meeting yesterday and hearing how well everyone is doing with their writing and listening to Claire Delacroix's presentation of Writing the Synopsis was the perfect place to get inspired. It was also super to meet Amy and Paula.
Inspired and ready to attack the rewrite and synopsis....Cheers Robyn

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Tuesday Tutorial: Punctuation. Colon vs Semicolon

Did you know that in medieval times the semicolon was used to indicate abbreviations and a termination in a psalm, and that the Greeks still use them today to indicate a question?
A friend was at a critiquing session a while ago and there was comment made on her use of semicolons in her work. So this tutorial will try to unravel the correct placement of both.

A colon tells the reader that what follows is significant to the preceding clause. It adds the pay- off line, in other words the answer to the clause before it.
e.g. The machine was always breaking down: it was old.
The colon means/or acts as a substitute for as follows when introducing a long list.
e.g.There were six people at the meeting: Mary Knots, Joan Long, Lucy Browne, Anne Gordon, Penelope Court, and Harriet Puller.
The colon can be used to add a single word to a phrase to add dramatic significance
e.g. She only ate one thing: chocolate.
The colon can be used to add a word, clause, or phrase to act as a substitute for as a result.
e.g. The house burned down:the vagrants left.
Can be used after a salutation at the beginning of a letter
e.g. To Whom It May Concern:
To divide time
e.g. 1:45
Bible references
e.g. Matthew 12:3
To separate a title from a subtitle.
e.g. The Classic Guide to Better Writing: Step-by-Step Techniques and Exercises to Write, Simply, Clearly, and Correctly
According to Lynne Truss (Eats Shoots and Leaves): "The colon propels the reader forward along lines already subtly laid out. It usually follows a complete sentence and indicates what is to come. "
She elaborates on this more:
"Colons introduce the part of the sentence that exemplifies, restates, elaborates, undermines, explains or balances the preceding part. They also form an introductory role. They start lists (especially those containing semicolons). They set off book and film sub-titles from the main title. They separate dramatic characters from their dialogue. And, start off long quotations and introduce examples."

A semicolon ties ideas together. It is the dividing point in a compound sentence.
If used properly it helps the reader 'read' between the lines and adds more significance to the preceding clause than a comma. It adds a longer pause than a comma, yet a shorter pause than a full stop. It points out the connection between two ideas without using another word.
e.g. I like Mary; she loves cats.
(If you were to use a full stop, the reader is left draw their own conclusion. Using the semicolon leaves the reader wondering if you like Mary because she likes cats, or in spite of her loving cats. ) As Lynne Truss says: " ...the semicolon propels you in any direction related to the foregoing."
A semicolon should be used when joining two or more grammatically complete clauses without a conjunction to form a compound sentence. (you can make two sentences of it)
e.g. The meeting was well underway; it should finish on time.
If the second part of a clause begins with an adverb such as accordingly, then, besides, therefore, or thus and not by a conjunction a semicolon is required.
e.g. I have never gone near there before; besides, the rain made the ground muddy.
NB: An exception here is that when the phrases are short, a comma will suit it better.
e.g. Man proposes, God disposes.
A semicolon should be used in place of the connecting word 'while', which is often substituted for and, but and although.
e.g. The office staff work on the first floor; the mechanics use the ground floor.
NB. while - should really only be used to indicate it's literal sense of 'during that time'.
A semicolon can be used to separate a long list started by a colon.
e.g. The editor wanted to cover a range of lifestyle subjects: personality profiles, not necessarily of famous people; triumph over tragedy pieces, base on real life experience; review columns of books, films, music and theater; 'how I changed my life' stories.
( Note the omission of 'and' in the last itemized subject.)
Using the colon, then the semicolons allows you to add punctuation to the list of items.

Some people use a dash to replace a semicolon. This is not incorrect though use of the dash is better employed when the connection to the preceding words is less direct. The dash then acts as a bridged between fractured comments.
e.g. I love Fruit Acids -why did they call them Sour Drops? - reminds me I didn't get my allowance-Mom!"

Now I must get on with my day: I'm off to make a coffee; have a massage, for my neck strain; run some errands; start packing my suitcase for my trip tomorrow.
Happy writing.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Answer to Question.

Who lives at #10 Downing Street, London, England?

If you answered Tony Blair, the British Prime Minister, you are wrong. He lives nextdoor.
It is the Chancellor of the Exchequer - Gordon Brown who lives at #10.

The reason is this, Mr. Brown has no children, Mr. Blair has 5 and #10 is too small for Tony Blair and his family so he and Gordon Brown swapped residences. Mr. Blair still comes out of #10 every morning but does not live there.

A question.

Thanks to modern drugs and lots of TLC from hubby I'm on my feet again. Tomorrow I go for a massage and I'm told that should finish me off - mmm is that good or bad?
I have over committed myself - nothing new about that, but usually I can scramble to get things done... it ain't gonna happen this time. So I have decided to plod along and do as much as I can and not stress out about it. Must be the drugs.... I feel kinda spacey.
I have a question for you.
Who lives at #10 Downing Street, London, England? (Not my husband in pic)
I'll post the answer tonight.
Cheers Robyn

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Snapshot Sunday

Tuggerah Lake, New South Wales, Australia.

Tuggerah Lake is about an hour an half drive north of Sydney. There is a wonderful walk along the lakeshore with lake views, picnic areas, and playgrounds. The lake is large and is ideal for all water sports, windsurfing, kayaking, fishing, bird watching.

Thanks for all the messages of support - yesterday came and went for me in a haze of drugs - truly I slept the whole day and night away - I reckon I must have the most susceptible system to pain relief as it knocked me flat, for which my back is grateful as TG today I can move, and feel halfway human again.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Getting fit is a pain the ***!

Today I am sitting drugged and dopey as I type this., vowing never to do burpees with ten pound weights and chin ups again. Last night at torture gym I put out two cervical discs in my neck and strained all the muscles across one shoulder..... Oddly enough I felt it go but it didn't hurt until an hour later. I have scorched and ruined two towels in the microwave heating them up, and have enough pills sitting on my counter to make a pharmacist in a third world country cry. But it's not all bad... I can't feel anything at the moment... back, neck, fingers toes, - I wonder if I'll dribble when I eat.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #9 - Rue's Metaphsyical Powers

Yep, here you have it a TT about the common old Garden rue Rutaceae - Ruta graveolens. Bet you didn't know these thirteen things about it:
  1. Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo both claimed rue's metaphysical powers improved their eyesight and creative inner vision. (An infusion of leaves is still used to bathe tired eyes)
  2. Branches of rue were used to sprinkle holy water before high mass - hence it became known as the Herb of Grace.
  3. It was an important strewing herb and anti-plague plant
  4. Robbers who stripped plague victims protected themselves with 'Vinegar of the four thieves' of which rue was a key ingredient
  5. It was the main component of mithridate - a greek all-purpose poison antidote.
  6. Rue is shown on the heraldic Order of the Thistle. - when Ophelia, in Shakespeare's Hamlet, IV,v (1600) is distributing flowers says: 'O! you must wear your rue with a difference,' she is referring to rue in the heraldic sense.
  7. It inspired the suit of clubs in playing cards.
  8. It's seeds were first used in Roman cooking in 1 AD
  9. If you crush and sprinkle it's dried leaves they are a powerful insect repellent.
  10. By drinking an infusion of its leaves is said to induce perspiration, bring on menstruation, and stimulate bile secretion.
  11. Herbalists use it to treat hysteria, epilepsy, and abnormal blood pressure.
  12. Next time you have partridge for dinner, use the seeds in a marinade with lovage and mint.

(Main Source: The Complete Book of Herbs : A practical guide to growing and using herbs by Lesley Bremness (1988)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

I know it's supposed to be wordless - but....I thought you would like to see my cupboard AFTER the electrician's visit.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Tutorial Tuesday - Grammar : -izing words

Okay, I'm sorry I'm late posting today but here it is. The grammar Tut for Tuesday.
I was going to do something on when to use quotes over italics when I came across something interesting and will share it with you (whether you find it interesting or not- haha)

I was doing some research and came across this oxymoron in Strunk and White's Elements of Style (4th ed).
How often do you use the words 'prioritize, finalize, containerize' maybe not the last so much but the other two I know I use a lot... according to S & W they should not exist. By adding -ize to the nouns such as final, priority, and container you are trying to convert them to a verb and this is not correct. Words such as utilize ( a verb of noun utility) is according to S&W a 'pretentious abomination' when 'use' is more efficient and straightforward.

So I went hunting for the obnoxious - prioritize....
  • Oxford English Dictionary - no prioritize
  • Oxford Dic. of Current English - not only has prioritize but prioritise, prioritized, prioritizes, prioritizing - treat as important, arrange in order of importance
  • Oxford Colour Dic. & Thesaurus - prioritize - treat as a priority
  • Collins Australian Dictionary - no prioritize (or -ise)
  • Websters New World Thesaurus - no prioritize (or -ise)
  • The New International Websters Dictionary & Thesaurus of the English Language - prioritize v.t. (-tized,-tizing) - to arrange in order of priority: to prioritize one's goals
  • - prioritize - to list, arrange, or perform tasks in order of importance or priority
So there you have it even the experts disagree - ain't grammar wonderful

Now it is up to you to figure out how to utilize this list I finalized of the word prioritize!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Today's Insanity

Today I am a day older but no wiser! (Actually that is not true as I can actually understand hand signals of #2 below this. - who are currently outside in the snow, and it's snowing, replacing outdoor lights)
Today I am committed to write 20 pages of a new novel in Michelle's Write-on
Today I have two electricians in my house who don't speak a lot of English
Today I hope to find out what all the wires hanging out of a wall in a cupboard do... they have tags on them like 'not sure'; LHSOS; APDHU; and this one which cacks me up 'don't know!'
Today I have to finish reviewing chapters five- ten in WIP
Today I have to grocery shop or drink decaf tea instead of coffee
Today I have to finish the washing, beds etc etc
Today I have to go to bank and send money to son --- again!!! What does he spend it on? Food... books.... yeah yeah yeah.... maybe I don't want to know!
Today I must remember to ring daughter in Oz to wish her Happy 9th Wedding Anniversary (It's actually tomorrow but that will today here this afternoon... figure that out then put in daylight saving and winter time! My brain hurts!)
Today I have torture gym. (my body still hurts from the last time)
Today I lost another .6 of a pound..... 10.6lbs so far.

So what am I doing now... procrastinating!!!!!

Well done girls for CBC Test the Nation - Next time I hope to be able to join you.
OMG Elvis is on the radio.... day is looking up! (Do you really think he is dead?)
Sun is shining through the falling snow...
Hope your day is a good one.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Time Out

Good Luck to the girls from Toronto RWA in the CBC Canada's Test The Nation.