Monthly Archives: April 2008

What I Read This April

Ragtime in Simla by Barbara Cleverly
Essay on the Art of ‘Cello Playing vol. 1 by Christopher Bunting
The Outlaw Demon Wails by Kim Harrison
The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen by Syrie James
Ophelia by Lisa Klein
Looking for Anne by Irene Gammel
Vivaldi’s Virgins by Barbara Quick
Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde (reread)
The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde (reread)
Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde (reread)
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (reread)
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman

From Good To Not So Good

Well, I’m glad I had a good morning.

I’ve just found out that the pagan pregnancy book was one of the two titles cut from my publisher’s fall list, because advance sales and pre-orders weren’t high enough. Two had to go, and mine was one of them. My editor is storming offices and tiger-taming magnificently, and has managed to get the sales and marketing department to agree to put it on hold instead. At the moment the most obvious option is to retitle it, making it more general and less specific to get it out from the niche-y complaint they had about it, which in turn may bolster sales to the big chains in the US. Sales and marketing suggested altering the content as well but neither my editor nor I think that necessary, as it’s already pretty broad.

I am strangely sanguine about this. I think that over the course of the hearthcraft book, what with all the struggling about the contract and the title (I haven’t gone into that battle here and won’t), I’ve finally accepted that these books are not really mine. I write them for the publisher under a work for hire contract, they pay me, and it’s theirs to do with as they will when I’m done. I regret that a solid book that can really help people in a certain position might not see the light of day, but it’s not the end of the world. If changing the title, the back cover copy, and maybe the introduction will help get it out there, then I’m all for it.

So if you were looking forward to buying it at the end of the summer, you’ll just have to wait a little longer until such time as they decide to reschedule the release. Unless something major is done in the next month, I can’t see any changes being applied in time to maintain the release date.

Health: Check

Had the annual checkup with the doctor today. Fifteen minutes of poking and listening and hurrah, I am in very good health. I also got an hour and a half of work done in the waiting room, thanks to the emergency cases the doctor had to handle this morning.

I know why you’re really here, though. You want more squirrel pictures.

You can really see how much she’s grown over five days when you compare these to last week’s pictures on the Flickr photostream.

Weekend Roundup

The weather was beautiful, which went a long way towards offsetting how ill I felt over the weekend. Going downtown on Friday really messed with my energy levels and I paid for it. This is one of the big reasons why I was reluctant to commit to a full-time in-house job: the commute alone would kill me, thanks to the FMS. And if I needed proof to demonstrate how much the medication I’m taking for it has been helping, skipping a night because my throat thing was making sleeping difficult what with the dry scratchy feeling I couldn’t shake no matter how much water or honeyed tea I drank and throat lozenges I sucked, because the meds dry me out and made the whole throat thing worse at night, illustrated precisely how much they take the edge off the pain. We had to cancel a dinner on Saturday because both Liam and I were sick, and HRH was at the tail end of a stomach thing. Then because I was still too wiped out we passed on the public Beltane ritual on Sunday as well. I slept badly all weekend too, but that’s a given when I have bad FMS days now.

Instead we took things nice and easy over the two days. I spent a lot of the weekend just kind of sitting down, mainly reading Christopher Bunting’s Essays on the Art of ‘Cello Playing Vol. 1 (which is brilliant) and Kim Harrison’s The Outlaw Demon Wails (which is also excellent, moving things in the series along, further developing characters and relationships, and addressing some very interesting issues) while HRH and the boy enthusiastically overhauled the garden and prepped it for planting vegetables and whatever new flowers we decide to add. Late Saturday afternoon we meandered down to Dorval for some ice cream at Wild Willy’s. Sunday we picked up grass seed and vegetable seeds in the morning, HRH laid the grass seed and raked in new earth with it, and when Liam woke up from his nap we packed the wagon with water bottles and an apple and ambled to the park so he could play. He is a mad slide fanatic. HRH fielded him as he threw himself down various slides while I sat in the sun and watched. When the boy had reached the clumsy stage from all the activity we trundled to the corner store to buy Freezies and ate them on the way home. I picked three wild violets just around the corner and drank in the sweetness the rest of the way to the house. The side garden along the path to the backyard is a windy happiness of tulips and daffodils too, which makes me very pleased.

Orphaned squirrel update: There was a second one rescued the day after the white one was brought inside. The new baby is a more usual grey colour. The white one’s eyes opened on Saturday (lovely brown eyes, so it’s not an albino) and the grey one’s opened on Sunday. They are both girls, and the white one does seem stronger than the grey. They both suck lots of formula from the syringe, though, and curl up so sweetly in a hand or under the chin once they’re done. They are remarkably good-natured and behave much like gerbils do. At the moment they’re about the size of a large gerbil, too, fitting very securely in the palm of my cupped hand. Liam has held them and petted them very carefully, has rubbed them gently against his cheek, and has decided that the white one is his favourite. He asked to sleep with it the other night and we explained that it was very very tiny and he might roll over on it and squish it. I’ve posted three of the pictures at Flickr taken last Thursday evening when we first found the white baby on the ground. I don’t have pictures of the little grey one yet, as when I’m with them now I’m usually handling them.

It’s cool and rainy today, which is a good thing because the gardens all needed a good soaking.

Beltane Bake Day!

I am late; I said I’d make this formal announcement last week. Well, last week was swallowed by post-book missing brain, small child, and angsting about a job interview. However, that’s all over now. On to the fun stuff!

It has come to my attention that there are a bunch of people around who like to bake. Breads, bread products, quick breads, yeast breads, sourdough, cakes, sweet loaves, more cakes, pies, tarts… you name it, someone bakes it. And every time we talk about it on-line, everyone else gets the baking bug.

So! On the heels of this realisation I have cobbled together a new holiday celebrating both the arrival of spring and the glory of baking! Ladies and gentlemen, I declare this coming May Day the first annual Beltane Bake Day!

Now technically speaking May Day, AKA Beltane (Beltaine, Bealtinne, Latha Bealltainn, Walpurgis Night, etc.) is the first of May, traditionally beginning at sundown on April 30 and carrying forward to sundown on May 1. This year it happens to fall on a Thursday, and so I am declaring the Beltane Bake Day a THREE-DAY HOLIDAY! Yes, it will begin on May 1 (however you want to determine when it begins) and end at midnight on May 3. This gives everyone a chance to bake with a relaxed schedule whether they work full-time outside the home or otherwise.

The rules:

1. Bake something.

2. Your baked item must be from scratch. No mixes, unless they are an ingredient in a multi-ingredient recipe. (Using a pudding mix in a cake recipe, for example.)

3. Brag about it in your on-line journal. This is your opportunity to wax poetic about your love of baking, and/or the specific product you have baked, and/or the process and your experience baking it. If it falls flat, share your woes with the rest of us and we will console you.

4. Brownie points to those who post a picture! (Seriously, what other kind of points belong in a baking holiday?) If you don’t have a camera, describe it as best you can. Or borrow one from a friend, bribing them with a taste of your baked item!

5. Because bragging inevitably engenders envy, people will likely ask for your recipe, so you can post it as well. Unless it’s a closely guarded secret, in which case you can gleefully withhold it and taunt us all.

That’s all there is to it! This event is simply to give us all a reason to bake something and talk about it, sharing it in the only way we can with people scattered all over the continents. Your baked item can be as simple or as fancy as you like.

I propose that we use this post as a home base, so to speak: when you’ve participated and posted about it in your journal, leave a note here with a link to your post so others can find it. Feel free to repost this link in your own journals to share the event with as many people as you like.

You have three days in which to plot, plan, and prepare. Have fun!


In a nutshell, here’s what’s going on:

I interviewed today for a writing-associated position on a game that expands upon the game I worked on last spring, and by the end of the interview the producer said, “Well as far as I’m concerned you’re on the team already, so let’s talk money and time.” In short, I have everything I was concerned about not having: the pay I’ve asked for, flex time, working at home, and the week off when my first round of edits come along, and being on tap for the next round of stuff that’s needed for the game. Plus I have the very excellent bonus of working on a game that will help people understand the art of conversation, how to think through a problem and achieve certain goals using dialogue, and other neat stuff. I am still moderately in a state of stun, as I was expecting to have to turn it down because I thought it would be another full-time in-house deal. Part of the coolness of the project is that it’s still at the development stage; they need content to work with before design goes any further, and that’s why I’m with them.

They laughed when I told them there were now two DS units and a Wii in the house, and that it was their fault.

The car we’d crawled all over and had taken for a test drive Monday evening… was sold last night, eighteen hours before HRH was scheduled to go in and begin negotiating for it. To me this means that this was not our car and we should ask them to keep an eye out for exactly the same thing — which they have already found for us. Go team us! The new one is a year younger, has less than half the kilometres, and is only about $1500 more.

We found a baby squirrel who had fallen out of its lofty nest yesterday afternoon, and after watching for the mama squirrel and fending off neighbourhood cats for a couple of hours, Scarlet took it in. I came home today to discover her at work trying to hold a second baby and draw formula up into a syringe with the other hand. Looks like their mama is history; this second one is skin and bones. I helped feed and deflea the second one, and it’s simply adorable. They’re so young their eyes aren’t even open yet. I’ll be going up to feed it again in half an hour so Scarlet can keep working on her paper.

While I was out there was another plumbing emergency, one that entailed someone getting into our apartment to go into the panel backing onto the bathroom pipes. Seems that when the bathtub was replaced the places that were supposed to be sealed weren’t. The landlord apologised and said it was his fault. What I want to know is why it took five years for this to start leaking downstairs. Anyhow it’s been handled (thank you, Scarlet, for using your keys to get the landlord in and being the Responsible Adult on the Premises while he fixed things), and the backyard plumbing thing was fixed on Wednesday.

I think that’s all at the moment. The boy and I are both still fighting colds. I can’t decide if he has an eye infection or not; sometimes I think he does, and then the symptoms vanish and I’m left suspecting he just has allergies. I’m still having difficulty with the throat/breathing thing myself, and part of that is a cold while the rest is my sensitivity to All Things Green, which just so happen to be going wild right now. The baby leaves out there are so soft and such a perfect green!.

Have an excellent weekend, everyone.