Friday, 26 October 2007

When Disaster Strikes

I have to admit I live in a place where nothing momentous happens (that is, if you don't count the escaped elephants, of course).

In the light of recent news reports of the wildfires in California, I'm astounded by the resilience and bravery of the human beast. People helping each other, firefighters bravely risking their lives, and some homeowners foolishly risking theirs when they refuse to leave their homes, fighting a gargantuan blaze with a garden hose.

I read about generous people like Lyn Price, who dropped off a load of books at a local high school so evacuees could hopefully take their minds off the looming disaster. I worry about on-line friends who have family in the area.

When I read about people displaced by disasters like fire, hurricanes, tornadoes and even volcanoes, I can't possibly imagine the stress and fear they go through. To be forced to take your family to an emergency shelter, wondering if your home will still be there when the authorities sound the all-clear... well, it boggles the mind.

At the same time it makes me wonder what writers do when faced with such a situation. Do they sit on their cots in the middle of a school gym and fret? Do they try to take their minds off their situation by observing the people around them? Do they feel the urge to ask questions in order to use the acquired knowledge for future works? Or do they simply find that their experiences stay with them after the horror is over, and unknowingly fuel their writing?

Image: The skeletal remains of the Okanagan blaze during the summer of 2003, a few miles from my father's house in Penticton. We got lost while driving to Kelowna (wrong side of the lake) and came upon this scene).

Saturday, 20 October 2007

CSI... The Literary Way

Lynn Price, a talented writer and editor, offers an amusing analysis of submissions. New writers make common errors and some can be fatal. But it's not too late to learn from our mistakes!

I got to know Lynn through the Absolute Write Water Cooler. She's cool.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Thursday Thirteen - HALLOWEEN!

Weeeelllll, it's that time of the week when we all try to think of thirteen somethings we like to something about. This week, I've been trying desperately to come up with an idea for a Halloween costume. It looks like it's gonna be down to the wire again. Last year I was Edith Prickley from SCTV. The year before that I was a kickass Jack Sparrow, and before that I was Boy George. Don't get me started on the Star Wars costumes.
I love Halloween, and all the trappings that come with it. Movies included, but not the gross slasher films most people are so fond of. I like to lean toward the quirky stuff, and sometimes the macabre with a little less blood.
We have a nice little collection of DVDs that bring us into the spirit of spookiness. Here are some of my favourites:
1. Young Frankenstein - (What knockers!)
2. Edward Scissorhands
3. It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
4. Bedknobs and Broomsticks
5. Murder By Death
6. The Shining (okay, that teeters on the edge of slasher)
7. Sleepy Hollow with good ol' Johnny Depp
8. Sleepy Hollow by good ol' Walt Disney
9. American Werewolf in London
10. The Mummy - either one.
11. Interview with the Vampire
12. Magic with Anthony Hopkins. Creepy.
13. Practical Magic
Now, back to the costume dilemma. Any suggestions? Keep in mind that my inner actress screams television or movies.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

It's Here! It's Here!

Actually... They're Here! On the same day, my contract for Bad Ice and my author copies of The Space Between arrived in the mail.

My book is shiny. It's petite yet not flimsy. The paper inside is bright, with easy to read type. If you look closely at the braided grass on the shark tooth necklace, you can't tell I drew the grass myself. Can you?

If you're in the mood for a plane crash, a hurricane, a crazy used car salesman and a bit of kissin', order it from or today. Also available in the States at Borders and Barnes & Noble.

If you're in the Newmarket or Toronto area and you want me to sign your book, I'll throw in a shark tooth necklace for free.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Tag, I'm It

Wordtryst has challenged me with a bookish meme. It took me a few minutes to figure out what a meme was, but I'm okay now. Just in case anyone out there is as clueless as me (doubtful) I'll explain what a meme is: A unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another.

It's sorta like that hair product commercial - You'll tell two friends, and they'll tell two friends, and so on, and so on...

Anyway, here it is:

Total Number of Books: They're all over the place. Let's see... ten in the dining room, five in the living room, ten paperbacks scattered in the bedroom and about fifty on the shelves in the rec room.

Last Book I Read: Mad River Road by Joy Fielding. I wanted to see how she handled romantic suspense and I enjoyed the book a lot.

Last Book I Bought: A Boy Scout handbbook printed in 1957 as a gift for my brother in law's fiftieth birthday.

5 Meaningful Books:

Lord of the Rings by You Know Who: Since I was a teen, I went back to this book (or books) every five or six years. Each time I read it I understood a little bit more of Tolkien's world. I like stories where I can trace the characters' ancestries back to the beginning. It satisfies my crazy imagination.

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy: Written in 1905 after the success of the stage play, Baroness Orczy wove a story of romance and adventure set during the French Revolution. It was the precursor of the 'super hero' story. I picked up my first copy when I was sixteen, and loved it so much I searched for another copy at the used book store. It's currently on my bedside table. Maybe I should read it again.

A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle: I felt like Meg Murry when I read this book. I often wished I could be swept up in an adventure on a faraway planet. I'm still trying to get my daughter to read it.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel: This novel touched something deep inside me, forcing me to rethink the foundations of religion and the role it plays in society today. It also made me think about how a human mind can alter reality when under duress. It's my favourite maritime tiger novel!

Anything by Dick Francis: It's like chips; I can't just read one. His books are a perfect mix of horses, adventure, a little romance and mystery. I'm so glad he's writing again, even if it's with the help of his son. Keep it going, Felix!

I enjoyed participating in this challenge, but I'll spare my fellow bloggers and let someone else spread the wealth.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Thursday Thirteen - Singles Ad

I'm sure everyone's seen a certain 'Companion Wanted' ad floating around the cyber world. Here's an ideal ad I'd like to see in the local paper. Of course, you know where this is going so there's no point in being coy:

1. I have thick platinum blond hair with no sign of oncoming baldness

2. I'm single, never married

3. I'll listen when you talk to me

4. I take instructions without arguing

5. I enjoy a nice stroll after dinner

6. I don't smoke

7. I don't drink beer (well, not much)

8. I won't go out with the boys but would rather spend time at home with you

9. I have no desire buy large screen televisions or motorcycles

10. I have no aversion to kissing your feet

11. I have no emotional baggage

12. I'll eat anything you put in front of me, and enjoy it

13. I'm willing to defend you from the bad guys with my life
Image: Yukon Jack