Friday, June 28, 2013

Coming Soon!

I'm very excited to announce that Ann Marie Meyers, author of the soon-to-be-released middle grade novel UP IN THE AIR, will be stopping by my blog on CANADA DAY for a quick interview!

Check back on July 1st to meet her and hear a little of her publishing journey.


Friday, June 21, 2013

My Wonderful MSP

(Most Supportive Person)

A loooooooong time ago, I met a guy in a flight suit. He had that flight suit swagger--you know the "I fly big fancy planes" walk that Tom Cruise perfected and many others have attempted in various
degrees of success. Well the guy I met was also named Tom and he was rather cute. Although I had sworn up and down I would NEVER end up with a military guy, let alone a PILOT...well, he swaggered his way right into my heart.

Sixteen years ago today, I said 'I do' to this uniformed man in a little church the little town where I grew up. Although times have occasionally been difficult and we've spent many, many months apart, I have never regretted it. He is a wonderful, loving, thoughtful father to our three amazing children, and the most supportive and caring husband. He is my best friend and my partner-in-crime. My sounding board and my life-line. He has read thousands of pages of my drivel and always finds just the right thing to say to make it better. He has worked endless hours on the phone and on the computer finding contacts and bookstore managers and newspaper reporters and connections to help my books find homes. And he never complains. He is always there when I need him, whether a million miles away or in the next room. I am so incredibly blessed to have him by my side.

Sixteen years seems like a long time and just a heartbeat. So many moves, so many changes, and so many exciting moments. The ride is just beginning, though.

Tom and I all gussied up.
I hope we have sixty more happy years

Happy Anniversary Thomas Dunne!.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tropical Tuesday: Tir na N'og

The beach at Tir na N'og
I have just come in from 10 minutes weeding in the front garden and I am SO COLD. It's 50 F out there and it's more than half way through JUNE. This is wrong. I have SOCKS on. And a sweater and long pants and I'm drinking a hot coffee (what else?) and I'm still freezing. And my son, God bless him, is off on a school field trip to an outdoor water park! Insanity.

In light of this unseasonably chilly Canadian weather, I feel the need to revisit Tropical Tuesday, so I thought I'd find somewhere warm and balmy that I could day dream about as I go about my daily adventures.


Seriously. Ten acres of Bahamian tropical paradise, separate guest houses, pink sand beaches, tennis courts and a name like Tir na N'og? Yeah. Sign me up. I think this is the place for my next writer's retreat. Or family retreat. Or ladies week away. Or launch party...

The 'Main House'
I can almost feel my toes in the sand now. Wait a minute. That's the cat. Sigh.

Anyway, it's a steal at $6k a week, don't you think? Maybe the owner would cut me a deal. Do you feel warmer already?

Have a great day,


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Throwback Thursday: What's in a name?

Getting To Know Your Characters...

I was reading through my Overdunne blog this morning and I came across THIS post. Yah, the title is lame, and I'm sounding a teensy bit unstable (life in deployment-land is always unstable), but what I LOVE is re-reading my little blurb about my Flower of Stone manuscript. I shelved that manuscript about six months later and haven't even touched it for at least two years. It sounds fun though (did I write that story?)...maybe I should dig through the piles of virtual files and rework it...

...I digress. So. I'm looking at the blurb and I realize Flower's  main character's name is Ellen. Yup, Ellen. Dependent's protagonist is named Ellen. Two Ellen's, two VERY different manuscripts. Why did I do this?

"Zeus"... named after the god of the Sky
Well, because when I'm writing my first draft I'm just getting to know my characters. I'm a pantser--I don't outline other than very basic, sketchy stuff--and generally when I start a new manuscript I haven't a clue who my characters are. I find out about them as I write. I throw a name down (I guess Ellen is a winner in this case) and keep writing. Sometimes I do little writing-course exercises, like writing a few hundred words on what my character is afraid of or what makes my character feel safe. But generally the story shapes them in my mind as it unfolds.

So my character starts as Ellen, and changes as she meets elves or evil military commanders.

What are some other ideas to define your character and find a name?

* Look at your character from another's point of view. Is she annoying? Helpful? Silly? Smart?
* What are your characters favourite activities?
* Does he or she have any quirks? Any bad habits? Odd or different habits bring a character to life.
* Think about the backstory you haven't written. Maybe a childhood nightmare, a favourite toy, a song or a place she lived a long time ago that influenced her personality.
* Is your character named after a relative? Is she happy about it?

Severus Snape
Names are directly linked to how your reader will perceive your character. (Think Severus Snape or Willy Wonka) so choose wisely! As your character comes to life and develops a personality, her name may become more clear. In my two manuscripts the names stuck, but in others I've changed characters names half way through, even during final edits!

Now...where was that Flower manuscript...?


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

And the Winner is...

And the winner is...
And the winner of a lovely copy of my little self-pub, signed by both myself and Kate (my beautiful daughter who just happens to have Type 1 diabetes) is...

Yelena C!!!

Thank you so much to those who took the time to support this great cause!
Team D4K raised over $2000 to support diabetes research through JDRF. We had a great day walking along the beautiful Rideau Canal in the sunshine, and the Ottawa JDRF chapter raised almost $235,000! Incredible!

Yelena if you could DM your mailing address via twitter/facebook, I'll get your copy (along with some JDRF Walk swag) off to you as soon as possible.

Team D4K at the walk.

Thanks again everyone! Now back to my edits...


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Throwback Thursday: The F Factor

Go team D4K!
Firstly, did you enter my little contest? See my contest post below. Contest closes on Monday the 10th, so hurry!

Also, did you see THIS fabulous press release at Jolly Fish Press? Yippee! I want to hug it. I want to print it off and laminate it and post it on lampposts and bus stations and send one to all of my friends. Seeing as I live in the boonies and there are no lampposts or bus stations to be found, I'm doing the next best thing...I'm blogging about it. :)

Me hanging out in a Griffin
Search and Rescue Helicopter
In honour of this momentous occasion, I thought I'll be linking you back to some of my This Mom is Overdunne (see tab above) blog posts over the next few weeks. My Overdunne blog started as a writing/military family blog, and I documented a lot of my thoughts and feelings about life as a 'dependent' during that time. One of my favourite posts was in the middle of a deployment--while my husband was in the Middle East on a six month tour. It's the tiniest bit controversial...but it really expresses how I felt during that time. I'm not generally a swear-er (is that even a word?) but there are some days where you just need to say something vile to get it out of your system. It also gives you a bit of background on why I wrote DEPENDENT. You can find the post HERE.

How is your F factor today?


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

JDRF Walk for a Cure (And a little contest...)

I support many causes and many charities for many reasons, and I don't generally hit up social media sites for bear with me just this once.

As you can see by the video above...there is one cause that hits very close to home. A cause that has been my constant companion for many years. From the time I get up until I go to sleep, even in the dark hours of the night (yes, even when I'm writing), I don't--I can't--forget.

On Dec 5, 2007 my youngest daughter Kate was rushed to hospital. Within an hour she was sitting in a hospital bed, diagnosed with Type 1 (Juvenile) Diabetes and receiving her first insulin shot. She was five years old. We were lucky--we caught the disease early and Kate recovered quickly on a daily regime of at least four needles a day. She now tests her blood via finger-prick blood test from 8-12 times a day. That's 15,000 finger-pricks in her little fingertips over five years. Tens of thousands of dollars spent on supplies. Thousands of needles. Hundreds of doctors visits.

Diabetes is not fun, but with constant vigilance it can be managed...and Kate lives a relatively normal life. If she wants to do it, we find a way. She looks so normal, sometimes it's easy to forget the dangers and the risks. Her insulin pump and test kit are ALWAYS with her. Insulin is not a cure, and without it she would get very sick. Without insulin she could go into a coma, maybe even die. Amazing how much you come to love and hate that little vial of clear fluid!

So that's my spiel. If you can, please give to whatever diabetes research foundation you wish. On June 9th, 2013 I will be walking with Kate and our team, Donate 4 Kate in the Telus Walk to Cure Diabetes in Ottawa, Ontario. JDRF is a world-wide organization that supports research towards a cure, and your donation could help us to throw that clear vial in the trash for good!

If you would like to donate to my Telus Walk to Cure Diabetes team, go HERE.

And now the CONTEST...

I will send a SIGNED paperback copy of my little self-published novel TREASURE IN THE FLAME to one lucky person!

To enter simply:
1) share this post on your twitter page, (follow me on twitter if you don't already...) and comment on this blog post below with the link so I can see it, AND
2) 'Like' my page on facebook- link HERE.

For an EXTRA entry, donate via the link above (any amount helps...even $5!) and let me know you've done so in the comments as well. I'll randomly select one lucky winner and contact you via  DM on your twitter. Contest closes on June 10th.

Easy? I think so!

THANK YOU! From me, from Kate, and from the millions of kids and adults who depend on that little clear vial every day.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Mom in the Middle Movies...After Earth

Caution: spoiler alert!

After Earth poster
So last night hubs and I took the kids to a movie. Nothing odd about this, because we see a lot of movies, especially now that the kids are old enough to see movies rated older than 'G'. Last night's adventure was After Earth--a PG sci fi adventure story starring Will Smith and his son Jaden as (surprise!) a father and son team who end up on a scary future Earth with all kinds of man-eating monsters waiting to gobble them up. It was opening night, and the theatre was not full, partially because the Disney extravaganza Epic was opening just down the hall, and partially because of bad reviews.

Anyway, about ten minutes into the movie, I was just happily munching away on my popcorn when my daughter (who is a Lord of the Rings FANATIC and a music maniac) starts up a running commentary on the similarities between this movie and LOTR. Kitai, the son, sets off on a quest and looks like Frodo climbing up a rocky slope. The nasty baboon creatures are like black riders and their chase ends in a river which he crosses to escape. A huge eagle swoops down and takes him off to her nest. Kitai dreams of a beautiful girl (his sister) telling him to wake up. A volcano that looks suspiciously like Mount Doom pops up in the distance... even the background music has a decidedly LOTR flare...with a few bars, according to my hyper-aware daughter, bordering on identical.

These comments were peppered with highly critical discussion on the scientific unlikelihood of the movie...How is it that Kitai and his super cool dad, Cypher were the only survivors when a spaceship crash lands on earth? How could Kitai adjust so fast and take off running in the increased gravity? Even my own medical background kicked in, curious how anyone, even super-cool ranger guys, could survive severe femoral artery damage for more than an hour...let alone a few days.

I'm a person who watches movies for entertainment, and I'll admit, sitting there sipping my huge Coke and getting popcorn stuck between my teeth, I just wanted to get lost in the story line. The comments from my lovely daughter are not a new thing, but it hit me how accurate they were. I actually liked the movie...But even I started to see the LOTR similarities. And the final scenes...well, you'll have to tell me what you think, but perhaps the Smiths could have been more original. The buzz on the movie is that it is based on Scientology teachings but I'm with my daughter. It's like a bad LOTR copycat.

I give it one thumb up and one thumb down.