Monday, March 30, 2009

Loved my Weekend. You?

I've been immersed in writing this past weekend and I loved it. But, it wasn't all while sitting in my corner in the house.

Sat was the monthly mtg of the Sask Rom Writers (SRW) up in Saskatoon. Last time, I picked up a fellow member of our group blog Prairie Chicks Write Romance, and spent the trip talking about writing. This time, however, Karen couldn't make it so I was on my own. It's a 4 hr trip without stops, 4.5 to 5 with.

One of my recent purchases had been an FM receiver so I could listen to my iPod in my vehicle. Some cars/vans have a plug-in as part of the stereo system where you can plug your iPod in and the sound will come out through your vehicle's speakers, but my van isn't equipped with it. I needed to plug the FM receiver into the cigarette lighter which is normally just under the stereo system, around the air temperature controls. Not in the Chevy Uplander.

For whatever reason, the cigarette lighter is an inch above the floor, under the pull-out drink holder. So, it took me through several stores to find an FM receiver that contained a cord long enough to reach from the floor to mid-way up the control panel where I could hook the controls, and the connecting cord another 18 inches to reach my iPod stand on the dash. I'm saying this because many of the FM receivers are made with rigid arms to come straight out of the cigarette light and then curve up a bit to hold the iPod. If I'd had to buy one of those, the controls for the receiver would've been 8 inches off the floor and I would've had to bend down and take my eyes off the road just to adjust for static. Not good.

So, there I was driving the 4 hrs to Saskatoon while listening to podcasts about writing. Some of these are podcasts I download from iTunes. Others are workshops from the writing conference I attended last Sept in Minn. The workshops came on disks which I uploaded to my iPod.

The meeting started at one and once the business part of the mtg was over, we discussed Titles. How to write one, how to keep it (editors like to change it) and what titles are out there. Following this, we critiqued each other's 'first pages'. The latter had been posted on the SRW's private blog and mbrs had time to check them over before the mtg. At one point, someone looked at their watch and we realized it was almost 5 o'clock. And the afternoon had zipped by without thought of a clock.

Yes, it was around 9:30 pm when I pulled up in my yard. It would've been a bit earlier but a heavy layer of fog enshrouded the last half hour of my trip, I even had to pull out my GPS to find my way home. No, I didn't NEED it, but I was still listening to my podcasts, and as I drove the last bit of gravel road before turning onto our secondary road, I became disoriented in the fog. No idea whatsoever how close I was to my road. I thought it had been at least a mile since passing the last farm so I should be getting close - shouldn't I? I got out my Magellan and flicked it on. At least it still had battery power otherwise I would've had to pull over to unplug the FM receiver from the cigarette lighter near the floor and plug in the Magellen. And, I did not want to stop in that fog. The GPS showed I still had half a mile before our turn. The rest was easy as I followed the disembodied voice. "Turn right, now." etc until I heard, "You have arrived." No kidding. *smile*

This is very anti-climatic, but I spent Sunday working on my contest entry for the RWA's Faith, Hope and Love chapter's Touched by Love contest. My first time for that one.

My reward - hubby had rented the movie Australia. What a masterpiece! A perfect score if I was reviewing it.

And how was your weekend? Did you get any work done, writing or otherwise? Rest up for the busy week ahead? Go for to a sporting event or walk outside? Come on, I'd like to know...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Souris Treasures - Agates

This week, instead of getting more spring-like, the weather reverted back to winter. As I watched the snow fall, I thought back to last summer. In particular, my treasure hunt to the Rock Pit in Souris, Manitoba last July. The pit is a working gravel pit. After paying a daily fee, I drove the short distance to the pit and parked in a designated area. With a squirt bottle of water, a bucket and a digging tool, I scrounged the pit.

Click on any photo for a wonderful close-up showing the waxy texture that makes an agate easy to spot amongst all the other rocky material.










Pictured in this main photo are 4 agates I found while exploring the pit. Some were lying at the bottom of rock slides, and others I dug for in the soft walls surrounding the pit. Agate is a microcrystalline impure form of quartz (silica), chiefly chalcedony, characterized by its fineness of grain and brightness of color. The following photos are close-ups of the above agate













Top left in the main photo, this chunky agate has 2 indentations or holes on one side.













Top right in the main photo, this egg shaped agate looked like it had a small piece of moss or insect stuck in the middle.










Bottom left in the main photo, this is probably the clearest agate I found last summer. If you look on the photo at the top of this post, this agate is on the bottom left. It looks like it has a white spot. But when you hold it to the light, even the spot is translucent.











Bottom right in the main photo, the lines on this agate show it to be an agatized piece of petrified wood.



The indentation in this agate was formed by a steady drip of water over many years. We're talking hundreds of years here to carve a bowl shape like this out of the agate.













Do you like rockhounding? Do you go out for a walk and return with 'treasures' in your pocket?

Prairie Chick Takes a Stand on Floating Body Parts

I'm blogging about Floating Body Parts over at http://prairiechickswriteromance.blogspot.com/ today.

Floating body parts is one aspect of writing that I have a problem following the rules because I don't get them. I believe in this case, the rules interfere with creative license. Here's a small portion of my post:

Have we come so far from the old literary masters in our drive for perfection that we’re robbing our writing of it’s voice? Draining it of all those delightful phrases that immediately bring an image to mind? Peeling back the layers until a child could grasp the concept while the rest of us tire from boredom? Stripping the beauty of our words for the sake of a new set of rules?

What do you think? Do you use FBP’s or other metaphors? Should they be banned or glorified?


(btw - I know, I said I was going to work on a movie set today but the roads were so dangerous last night when hubby drove back from the city that he adivsed against it. Car, trucks and semi's littered the roads and ditches. So, I called in and cancelled. Hopefully, I'll be called back another day.)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Called Up for a Shoot

I'm hyped!

I've been called up to work as an extra on a new movie that's being shot in the city. This is my work other than writing, and since I haven't worked since last summer, I have to haul out my work bag and ensure all my clothes are clean and packed. And not just any clothes:
- solid colors (no prints or patterns)
- tops can't be black, white, red or yellow
- no logos or other identifiable markings including footwear

Then of course, it's the 3rd week of March. I need to be prepared for all types of weather. Oh, I sure hope we're not doing a summer scene. Brrr.

Tomorrow night (Wed) I'll receive a phone call and someone will tell me:
- my call time (start time)
- the location (I believe this one's in Regina)
- the season (I wore a parka in hot Aug weather once)
- the 3 changes of clothing minimum I'm expected to bring (business clothes, casual, jammies or swimwear) :)

Now this sounds like fun and sometimes it is, but usually, it's 3 hrs of sitting around waiting and then 20 mins on set. Still, I get paid from my call time until I'm done.

Last summer, I had to be in Rouleau, SK for a 0700 call time on a Corner Gas shoot which meant leaving home at 0430 which meant getting up at 0330 am. That's real early to someone who writes until 2 or 3 in the morning.

Money-wise, this is great. But, it's a full day out of my writing schedule.

However, considering that my acting paid for me to attend the 2008 ACFW conference in Minnesota, I think I'd better go check my clothes and quit whining.

Oh - and look for a book. Lots of time to read while I'm waiting to strut my stuff...

Have you ever worked on a movie or TV set? Which one? What was the weather like? Did you enjoy it?

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Deadline is Looming

With one week left before the deadline of the big Genesis contest of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), I should have my entries out.

I don't.

But, for a good reason - one of the lovely ladies who support my writing as a Critique Partner (CP) challenged me to improve my ms, An Outlaw for the Lady. While critting it, she saw where I could put the heroine in a position to make the hero more redeemable in the eyes of the reader. Obviously, it hadn't occurred to me but now that it has, I'm wondering how to do it for the best advantage in the small amount of space available. The Genesis contest is only 15 pages long. An additional scene at the beginning would mean re-adjusting the last pages entered so it ends on a hook. Yes, we want the judges to read the 15th page and say, 'Wow! I want to read the rest of this.'

Yet, I'm already on page 15 so now the question is this - once I've added my 'hero' scene, do I backup and find a new hook? Or do I spend more hours tightening the existing words to end on the same one?

My 2nd entry in this year's Genesis is Charley's Saint where I end with a hook on page 13. That gives me 2 whole pages to add a scene if I wish or if my CP's think I should. Thankfully, they don't. This is the entry which I've finaled with twice before so I'm praying 3rd time lucky.

Yes, it's 0520 Monday morning and I've started off with an oxymoron. The week can only get better from here. :)

Thanks to my CP's for doing such a great job.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Snap, Crackle and Awe

So there I was answering my email and I heard these noises outside as if someone or thing was running through the bushes on the other side of the wall. Last fall the neighbor's pigs escaped and were running amok in the same spot. I grabbed my camera, slipped into my boots and charged outside, still in my fleecy jammies. (yes, again)


And I stood there in awe. In a white world, a fog bank caused the world outside the yard to just disappear. No wind. The temp is sitting at -2C/28F causing the fluffy coating of overnight snow to melt and drop from the trees in small patches. As the snow dropped, the branches snapped back into place.


Snap. Crackle. All over the yard like an orchestra. And every once in awhile, the crack of a rifle shot.

As usual, I headed to my favorite viewing area along the driveway. As I stood near our farm sign and looked up to take a photo, the clouds slipped off the sun. Oh, the warm sun, gorgeous after our long, cold winter.


While I trudged back to the house, the sun glistened off a few last icicles hanging from the eavestrough. Melted snow dripped from the new green tin roof into the metal trough, tapping a steady beat like a lone drummer. I wanted to linger out there, listen to nature shed her winter apparel...


...but I have to get back to my Genesis contest entry. The deadline's approaching... time's running out... I just wanted to let you peek into my world if only for a minute.

Happy first day of Spring.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Draper's Acres Photo Fun

Welcome to Draper's Acres - our official farm name. You can see our farm in the middle of this photo - behind the shack. Yes, right in the middle of that copse of trees.


I took this photo yesterday - March 19th because it proves that there is grass beneath all that snow - can you see the grass in the foreground of the photo? It might be brownish colored at this time, but trust me, it is definitely grass.


During winters of heavy snow cover like this one, many farmers feed the wild deer population. You can see them in herds up to 40 strong just standing in the pastures munching. But as soon as the van stops, they take off running.


This is Chapters, a book store in Regina. I took this photo to show efriend Stephanie Newton where her new Love Inspired Suspense book - Perfect Target - was located. If you look close - real close - in the middle of the pic, you can see my daughter pointing to it. :)


Here's my daughter, Jessica pointing to Perfect Target among the rest of the Harlequin category books. By this time, there were only 2 of Steph's books left on the shelf in this huge book store. Yay!

I took this one around 7 pm last Sat as we were heading home from the city. I was trying to read and the sun kept glinting in my eyes and being a general nuisance until it dawned on me what a beautiful sight it was. If the pic looks streaky, it's because it is - from a whole lotta mud splattered up.

Prairie Chick and Pesky MRU's

It's Thurs so that means I'm blogging over at Prairie Chicks Write Romance.

Today's post is based on the Randy Ingermanson workshop I attended at the ACFW conference last fall where he delved into an explanation of his blog post, 'Those Pesky MRU's'.

MRU's stand for Motivation - Reaction Units and it's all about how every thing we do has a reaction. However, every reaction has 3 distinct parts and they all happen in sequence. When you're writing, you need to relay the sequence in the correct order or you'll lose points with the reader on the believability scale.

So, if you have time, head over to http://prairiechickswriteromance.blogspot.com and join our discussion on Randy's MRU's.

Read more on Randy's blog at: http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/blog/index.php.

Randy also has a free Advanced Fiction Writing e-zine which you can sign up for on his blog.

My questions for today are:
Do you write action scenes? Have you ever thought about the exact sequence of events involved? Have you checked Randy's blog prior to this? (It's always on my bloglist.)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Critting, Revising and Writing

If you don't see me out and about on the blogs, it's because I'm working on a deadline for the end of March. More specifically, I'm:

- critting my critique partner's work

- revising work that my critique partners crit for me, or

- writing.

And what have you been doing, lately?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Two eBook Reader Reviews

I have 2 applications downloaded onto my iPod Touch for reading eBooks. This is not a technical review - just my findings so far:

Stanza – This was the first ereader I downloaded. Once I figured out I needed to add a Stanza application to my desktop, it was easy to transfer eBooks to my Touch using WiFi which we have in our house.
- The text can be adjusted to your comfort level regarding size, font and line spacing. It was very bright when I brought it to bed and read in a dark room, but it was better than putting on a bigger light and waking hubby.
- I also didn’t realize until today that instead of having a bright white background, I could have changed it to black and changed the text color to white. That takes away the brightness. However, I found the letters give off a slight blur although I’m not sure why.
- To counteract this, I changed the background to dark green and the text to grey. I can now read it in daylight or in the night without it ‘glaring at me’.
- However, if I do want to switch from dark to light background during the day, I just have to go into the settings and tap the ‘reversal’ button.
- Paging is done by a slight tap to the left
- You can also use the ‘squeeze’ feature to change text size whereby you use your thumb and index finger to squeeze or pinch the screen and the text adjusts to your movement.
- text can be read in either the vertical or horizontal position
- cost of the Stanza appl’n at this time: FREE


eReader – I downloaded this appl’n because I needed it to take advantage of the 16 free eBooks eHarlequin is giving away here: http://www.eharlequin.com/

- the eReader doesn’t’ use your desktop at all.
- once the eReader is downloaded onto your Touch, simply tap ‘All Books’ and then the plus sign on the bottom right. This brings up a menu of 4 places to get books. Of these, 3 are on-line stores and the 4th simply says ‘Another Site’. To get my eHarlequin eBooks, I just tapped ‘Another Site’ and then added the eharl website address. When you get there, just click on this red ball in the upper left corner.
- A couple clicks later, I started my free downloads. (If you’re not an eharl member, you may need to register first but it’s free and they don’t hound you later on.)
- I was pleasantly surprised to find the eReader has a menu at the bottom of the screen which alleviates having to go to settings to reverse colors. One tap and it goes from day to night reading.
- the scroll feature really impressed me. Instead of having to tap or flick the screen to go to the next page, the eReader has this little motion thing going on so that just one tap on the bottom menu (the arrow with the curve at the end) will start the text scrolling up... by itself. There may be a way to increase or decrease the speed of the scrolling but I haven’t found it. It actually scrolls up at a comfortable pace for me and like everything with the Touch, a soft tap stops the motion.
- unlike the Stanza, you can’t ‘squeeze’ the screen to adjust the font size on the eReader. You have to go into Tools and pick your size.
- text can be read in either the vertical or horizontal position
- cost of the eReader appl’n at this time: FREE

So there you have it. Two really good eBook readers with just slight variations between them. I can’t really pick one that I like better at this time because I haven’t given the 2nd one a good workout – or would that be – readout, yet.

Did you benefit from this review? Have I convinced you to take advantage of eHarlequin's free full-size eBooks? Or are you sticking to your print books?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Let's Have a Photo Day

I had such positive response to my 'fog photos' and the other scenic ones I've posted that I'm thinking of using one day a week as a Photo Day and just posting some pics of what's happening here around the farm.

I noticed that Cheryl St John does the same thing over on her blog at http://cherylstjohn.blogspot.com/ and I don't want to look like I'm copying her, but I don't know exactly where the idea came from either. And, I am visiting her blog quite often. Cheryl is a fantastic photographer and some of her pics simply amaze me with her talent.

If you go look at hers, don't think you'll find the same calibre here, but at least my pics will give everyone an idea if I'm snowed under or flooded over, you know?

What do you think? Would you mind looking at pics while I write in the background?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Blogging Like a Male Prairie Chick


It's Thursday so I'm blogging over at Prairie Chicks Write Romance.

I thought I'd have a bit of fun today and show you what I learned at a writing workshop about how to write from a male's point of view (POV). In that vein, I've got all the do's and don'ts and think-abouts when it comes to being a male. At least as it was passsed on to me by a female under the direct tutelage of a male.

I've also included a list of books written by male romance writers who hid behind female pen names.

So, head on over and check it out. These are the questions I'm asking this time around:

Are there any names on the list that surprised you? Are there any character traits here that you don’t agree with? When was the last time you just sat there and watched a man – for research purposes, of coourse...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

On-Line To Do Lists

Most evenings, we all gather in the living room to watch a TV show together. I say most because if I’m on a deadline, I take my laptop down to my bedroom and write. Usually, though, I’ll just sit in my recliner with my laptop.

Since I live in a house filled with musicians, tonight’s TV show of choice was American Idol. So, while hubby and teen daughter critiqued the contestants, I settled down to do research, book reviews, etc.

Tonight while I sat there watching Idol, I was surfing the net looking for ‘To Do List’ gadgets. Or widgets. Or whatever they’re called. Right in the blogger layout, they listed 49 different kinds of ‘To Do Lists’. You’d think I’d be able to find one.
Nope.

All I want is a simple To Do List that I can adjust as the day or week goes on. You’d think it would be easy but it’s not. Every one I find is flawed in some way. But, I’ll keep looking. For now, Idol is over so I’ll post this then get back to work as everyone else heads to bed.

Have you found a nifty ‘To Do List’ you’d like to share? Let me know. I’ll be here...

Book Review: Holiday Illusion

Holiday Ilusion by Lynette Eason Love Inspired Suspense Nov 08

Another excellent book for my Top 10 list. What I really liked about this well written story was that the author pulled me in. Of course, I knew who the bad guy was but it still held my interest. Did I really know anything, though? A surprise twist hit me broadside. It was all so clear once I knew the complete picture. The author ensured not a single loose end from even the tiniest thread was left hanging.

I also loved the way the author weaved the salvation story, prayer and scripture into the story. A part of their lives, but never obtrusive.

Years ago, Anna Freeman ran for her life from her hometown but when she's asked to go back, she realizes she wants to stop running. She doesn’t have to, but a sick little boy needs someone to accompany him and Anna feels it’s time to face her fears. She’s accompanying Dr. Lucas and wonders if their 'just friends' relationship will change back on American soil. Not that she wants it to, but a woman can always dream.

Dr. Lucas Bennett is thrilled when Anna decides to accompany them to the States. He’s had his eye on her for awhile but he’s been hiding out in the Amazonian jungle and can’t change their relationship until he mends the rift he has with his father.

It’s just that as soon as Anna lands, she’s been pursued again and keeping her alive is foremost on his mind.

Heat Level: Affectionate

Excellent - 5 stars (one to re-read; Top 10 list)
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2009 Harlequin 100,000 Book Challenge: 19 books read

Harlequin Imprint: 19, Others: 0

Monday, March 9, 2009

Where Did Feb Go?

I know I did some writing in Feb, but it was mixed in with all this fun stuff:

I won 2 free books! It’s been a couple months since I won anything so this was a thrill:

1 – I won a copy of Perfect Target after leaving a comment on new Love Inspired Suspense author Stephanie Newton’s blog at http://stephanienewton.blogspot.com/. Since I already had the book in question (and my teen daughter is raving about it), Steph graciously decided to send me a free copy of her next release, Moving Target due out this summer.

2 – I rec’d an email from Becky Germany over at Barbour Books saying I’d won a copy of Desert Roses with the new cover designed Heartsong Presents repack collections. Apparently, I’d missed the announcement about me winning in all the Dec/Christmas stuff which included my 30th anniversary. I really appreciate Becky hanging onto the book for me and finally tracking me down to claim it. Look for the gorgeous new design here:
http://editcafe.blogspot.com/2008/12/act-fast-and-win.html

I read and reviewed 9 books in Feb – not as many as usual, but then it was a short month, too. If you notice that my books are kind of ‘racy’ these days, it’s because I’m involved with some challenges to work on my ‘to be read’ pile. Over at eharlequin where every book I read and review is a book for literacy, they’re having a huge celebration for Harlequin’s 60th year in business. Each month they’re spotlighting a different line. In Jan it was Desire so I had a few of those, and in Feb the spotlight was on Harlequin Romance and Kimani.

In March, the spotlight is on Blaze books which I don’t normally read unless I’m given them as a gift or to review. I have to admit, though, I do have 2 from Sam Hunter in my ‘To be read’ pile so there’ll be some ‘hot’ covers on this blog this month.

Writing-wise, I did a bit more writing on Translucent Trust and more plotting. I wanted to finish it by the end of March but I’m going to have to set it aside for now. I think I’ll leave the word meter up as a reminder to myself.

I’m setting Translucent Trust aside so I can put 3 entries in the big American Christian Fiction Writer’s Genesis Contest which is due at the end of this month. This is the biggie and it needs lots of my time to get it right.

I've also spent a lot of time working on my new group blog, Prairie Chicks Write Romance at http://prairiechickswriteromance.blogspot.com/ where I blog on Thursdays. We started on Jan 1st and now we're hosting guests every Sat, too. It taks time to contact potential guest bloggers, work out the details concerning dates and topics, and then get their posts on-line with the proper pics.

Plus, I'm still transcribing the Pastor's messages and posting them on my church blog at http://newsfromthepews.blogspot.com/.

Just thinking about all these things I did and am going to do is making me tired so I'll sign off for now.

So, what have you got planned for March?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

I Am So Blessed


Okay, for those of you who haven't heard my good news by now (hey Bon-nie...) I am blessed.

Not only has God blessed me with the ability to entertain with my writing and my photos, but now I've received an honor that even after a week, still boggles my mind.

I've actually been chosen as eHarlequin's Member of the Month!

Yup. Me. Wow.

Everytime I go over to http://community.eharlequin.com/ I see my own mugshot. It's weird in a good kind of way. And it'll be there until the end of March.

Writing-wise, the only thing better than receiving this blessing would be for my favorite Harlequin editor to phone me up saying she'd like to buy my manuscript.

This sure beats the rejection I rec'd at the end of Feb from an editor not wanting to buy my manuscript.

Like I said, I am so blessed.

Book Review: Sweet Surender

Sweet Surrender by Michelle Monkou Kimani Romance Sep 06

This my first Kimani Romance and as such, I’m having a hard time writing this review. Normally, I try to concentrate on the entertainment value of the story itself and ignore small writing problems. But this time I can’t do it.

I found this story to be filled with inconsistencies I’m going to call plot holes. At least if I had critiqued this prior to publication, I would have thrown up numerous red flags so the author could have changed things.

At the end of each chapter, the author wrote a hook about a pivotal part of the story to get me to eagerly turn the page. And, I did. But the new chapter started somewhere else. Usually, no mention was even made of how much time had passed between the chapter ending and the new scene. I’d read on, still eager to find out where the chapter ending hook story led. But the closest I came to closure was a mere paragraph or sentence of explantion. Yet a couple of these chapter endings should have had crucial consequences.

Although this story had the potential to be a truly great one, the plot holes left me very disappointed.

Heat Level: Yummy

My Rating: 3 stars
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2009 Harlequin 100,000 Book Challenge: 18 books read

Harlequin Imprint: 18, Others: 0

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Prairie Chicks to Prairie Junction

It's Thursday, so I'm blogging over at Prairie Chicks Write Romance today.

Last Thurs, I showed how Google Earth can help you research locations you can’t physically check out yourself. Today, I wanted to show you how I researched the location for my Prairie Junction series.

I went on a recce (reconnaissance mission) down to North Dakota, visited with the locals and took a few pics. I even walked into the Divide Country Sheriff's office and spent some time chatting with him. Yes, I have proof. :)

So, come on over and tell us your adventures. Again, thats: http://prairiechickswriteromance.blogspot.com/

How do you chose your locations?
Do you pick somewhere familiar and close?
Do you throw a dart at a map?
Do you think an author should have enough creative license to chose a known location then add a bunch of fictional elements?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Skunks, Fog and Coyotes

I’m supposed to be working on a newsletter right now but when I went to get my breakfast, I looked out my kitchen window and my writing faded into the fog I saw outside at the edge of the yard. Now you have to understand that although most people see fog as this dense impenetrable mist, I see it as another photographic opportunity. So, I grabbed my camera, slid my bare feet into my boots, my arms into my ‘walking coat’, and my hands into my gloves.

A smile was already on my face as I clasped the door knob and twisted. Just before I pulled it open, I glanced at the clock. Did I have time before the bus came? It wouldn’t do to be caught outside in my navy, pink and white striped velour jammies because well... you know... kids talk. And the bus driver ‘s our male neighbor. But, the school bus wouldn’t be rumbling up the driveway for another half hour. Good. I stepped outside and stopped smiling.

Now I can’t tell you the exact sequence of events, but I realized two things immediately. The fog had left. And the unmistakable odor of a skunk.

Although the fog had receded into the distance, it still hovered in the east below the rising sun. Like a horse drawn to the barn after a long trail ride, I walked towards the sun, aware of the snow cracking below my feet. Cracking? Usually it crunched. A look at my van revealed it covered in shiny ice. Ah.

And as I cracked along, a dog barked in the east. The nearest farm in that direction is 2 miles away. I could hear the dog because the wind was non-existent. We get maybe 3 days a year without wind and this was one of them. I started clicking pics of the sunrise, the fog, the snow. I even took one of the old shack across the field because it looks like the one we use for our group blog, Prairie Chicks Write Romance.

The temp was only -6C/19F but after awhile, the cold seeped through my skin. I pulled the mitt portion of my gloves over my exposed fingers and went inside the house. The kids were getting ready for school so our little porch was crowded but a few mins later, I stood in my kitchen window and stared.

The fog was back at the end of the yard! I told my kids about it and my 13 yo son said, ‘Maybe the window’s fogged up, Mom.’
Smart kid.
But it wasn’t.

As I got dressed again, my breathing came faster. What if I missed it again? Almost bowling the kids over, I dressed in record time and scooted outside, careful not to slip on the icy steps. There... the prairie disappeared beyond our yard. Again, I clicked. I took shot after shot from every angle, close and far as the sun slowly rose. Breathtaking.

When the sun seemed to stand still and there was nothing new to take, I started walking back to the house, mindful of the bus on its way. But halfway back, Anna, our dog, snapped upright, looked to the south and barked. A lot. I stopped to listen. Coyotes. In the fog-enshrouded hills that covered our fields, half a dozen voices yipped together. I closed my eyes. Cold brushed my cheeks. Skunk odor filled my nose. And coyotes sang in the hills.

It was as if God had reached down and personally touched me. What a beautiful day.

When you walk outside first thing in the morning, what little treasures puts a smile on your face? And I've lived in 3 cities so you can't tell me God's wonders are only in the country.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

How Far Would You Drive to a Meeting?

Just before 8 yesterday morning, I left home and drove to Regina to pick up Karen - another Prairie Chick . It was cold with the temps hovering at -30C/-20F.

With Karen for company and a cappuccino for comfort, I settled in for the 2.5 hr drive north to the city of Saskatoon where our writing group, the Saskatchewan Romance Writers was holding its monthly meeting.

I’m afraid poor Karen had to sit there and list to me go on and on as if I was starved for adult company. Well, it wasn’t the adult company I had craved but the interaction with another writer. And once she got in my van, I had a captive audience and wasn’t about to miss out on the opportunity.

So far, the only negative part of the day had been rushing out the door without checking http://www.prairiechickswriteromance.com/ and greeting Renee Ryan, our guest blogger. But when I arrived at the site for the SRW mtg, our hostess Myrene, booted up her computer and I was able to ensure the blog was fine without me. Renee was responding to questions and her awesome list to overcome rejections was accessible to all.

The mtg was fun and educational. After the business side was dealt with, we discussed the pros and cons of using a prologue and what was happening on the Prairie Chicks Write Romance blog. Other discussions included the SRW on Facebook and how we would handle critiques at our upcoming mtgs. And then we shared what we were working on and our upcoming goals.

Before I realized, it was 5 pm and the mtg was over. I quickly borrowed Myrene’s computer again to check the Chicks blog and send a comment that we were headed home.

Unfortunately for Karen, I talked all the way to her house, too. In fact, I even remember interrupting her a time or two to start off on another tangent when she hadn’t even finished what she was saying. Poor Karen. So patient with me. We stopped for supper along the way. I can’t even remember when I dropped her off but it was probably around 9:30 or so.

I still had over an hour to drive so I stopped at the 7-Eleven, got a cappuccino and a Bubblegum and Gatorade slushie, and drove home, arriving around 11:30, tired but happy.

Yes, it was a long day. And, a long drive to get to a meeting. But, it was such a thrill to sit with like-minded women and discuss writing and our works in progress. Last month it was too cold to make the drive up. Hopefully next month, we won’t have a late March blizzard because I’m already looking forward to my next meeting.

And you thought I was kidding when I said I lived in the middle of the prairie, eh?

How far would you drive to get to a mtg like this?
What’s the farthest you’ve driven in one day to get to a mtg that you didn’t have to attend?
Does anyone have any duct tape they can lend Karen for next month?