Tuesday, October 9, 2012

On finishing stuff...

Well, I have finally completed my first book, Hallows Realm (meaning the first draft has been edited and edited, and edited some more... till by eyeballs burned and nearly dropped onto the laptop's keyboard). It's currently undergoing a second eye (or two), then I will have to give it a final going over and decide what to do with the bloody thing! *shiver*

I have a feeling I've been rather over-ambitious for a first novel, mixing contemporary fiction (kids being forced to survive on the dangerous city streets) with high fantasy (being the race and civilization I created in the Underworld) in a supernatural adventure (when the two worlds collide; the one world housing the souls of humans who descend to the Underworld in their death), and dealing with a complex theme to boot—morality in the face of being homeless and forgotten, punishment, redemption. All of this told from the perspective (third person point-of-view, close; past tense) of an ancient dino-lizard boy.

Here's a sneak peek of the working sketch for Zorzum. He looks pretty happy here, but I assure you, Ligortheans can be quite frightening when they need to be. I was also trying to figure out how he'd wear a 'polymorphic cloak'. (I had to invent a crazy technology for getting him to the Surface and then appearing human).

The challenges encountered along this arduous story-writing journey, have at times caused me to consider abandoning writing altogether and apply for work at a chicken butchering facility instead. And it hasn't been easy for my husband either, facing a constant barrage of ludicrous questions and miniature brain explosions from me.

I'm sure there will be a few more brain explosions when I receive the next round of feedback, but for now: thank frig I made it this far.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Hares and Underwear

Today, my short story The Hare in Harry's Hair will be published to knowonder!'s free mobile app and featured on their website. Knowonder! is a "leading publisher" and an excellent resource for children, delivering a story a day to help drive literacy; and I'm just a little bit excited (gulp!) to have my story accepted by the knowonder! team.

If you get chance this week, please hop on over and take a peep. (Tut-tut!... that's hare for 'thank you!'.)

And now, a short and logical leap from hares to underwear: sharing the sights of Kinsmen Park in the town where I live...

 Only 'number ones' allowed in this porter potty.

And yes, underwear really does grow on trees in Tillsonburg. I'd prefer money, but underwear will do.

Have a great week, peeps.

Monday, September 24, 2012

YouCam, We All Cam

My laptop came equipped with a strange little program called 'CyberLink YouCam' which we stumbled upon a few weeks back; and then proceeded to spend the next two hours recording the most ridiculous faces contrivable.

It began quite pleasantly, with cute graphical touches like this...

And this...

But as the night progressed, quickly turned to this...


And even this...

I'm sure these special graphic features will come in very handy one day; I just haven't figured out why, what, how or when yet. Oh wait... I just figured it out. I'm going to host my first giveaway.

Make your own crazy-faced concoction and win this extra stylish Justin Bieber t-shirt (size 7/8).

You know you want it!

(I would post more details, but somehow, I think I'm going to be stuck with this bad boy.)

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Great Debate

Well, after years of attempting to rear our child as a “person” and not a gender role, I’m afraid our efforts have fallen by the wayside with school in the picture. I suppose we should have gone to live in the woods and home-schooled her, perhaps kept her in a dungeon until her eighteenth birthday; but too late now.

First, we came across the Halloween section at the grocery store, and though Roz wanted to be something scary this year, her eyes couldn’t help going towards those flippin’ frilly fairy costumes.

“What about this pirate costume?” asked Mom, trying her damndest to sway the kid’s decision. “This is pretty cool.”

“Nope. Too pirate-y.”

“This mummy costume looks scary. What about this?” Mom clutched the cheap white fabric and made her best “buy me” face.

“No. Too white.”

“This knight costume?”

“Too knight-y. Oooh, pretty,” said Roz, spotting a pink nightmare of a fairy costume. 

“Oh disgusting,” said Mom. “I mean, it’s not very scary is it?”

Meanwhile, Dad, who was keeping a safe distance between the shopping cart and the costumes some two aisles away, chimed in, “It’ll be way too cold for that. You’re not wearing that.”

“And it’s not scary. You wanted scary, right?” added Mom. Although, the fairy costumes did in fact look quite scary to her.

“I guess so,” agreed Roz. “But what can I pick? I need to have something!” Roz was beginning to get desperate. And October was still two weeks away.

“You have a perfectly good parrot costume,” said Dad. “That’ll keep you warm and it’s much better quality than all this cheap crap.” Forever the voice of reason.

“But I don’t want to be the parrot! Parrot’s aren’t scary!” cried Roz.

“Well, we’re not buying anything right now.” Dad had spoken.

“Maybe we can make you a costume,” offered Mom, contemplating the possibilities of duct tape.

“Today?” asked Roz.

“No, not today.”

Somehow Mom managed to drag Roz from the Halloween section and out of the grocery store.

Next stop: Canadian Tire. Mom and Roz waited in the car for Dad while he ran in to get Motor Oil; they would only have slowed him down. And so, the great Halloween debate continued inside the orange-red Yaris.

“Maybe I can cover your face in green makeup and make you into a scary monster.”

Roz pulled a face. “Green is a boy colour.”

“No it’s not. Green is a monster colour.”

“No, green is a boy colour. I hate boys.”

“You don’t hate boys. And green isn’t a boy colour, Roz. Anybody can wear green.”

“But boys don’t like pink. Arie says he hates pink. Boys hate pink. Girls love pink.”

“Some boys like pink, Roz. The kids at school are just listening to all those horrible brainwashing commercials that tell you what you should wear and what you should like. You don’t need a commercial to tell you what to like. Girls and boys can like anything they want to.”

Roz pulled another face. “Yeah... and?”

Mom bashed her head repeatedly against the glove compartment.

But... when they got home, Mom pulled out the parrot costume and pointed out that the claws and wings were like a dragon’s, and that it was a rather scary parrot. Dad suggested that Roz put a little pirate on the parrot’s shoulder; which is quite genius. Though Roz didn’t quite grasp the irony of this, she did draw a pirate on cardboard for Mom to cut out.

The great Halloween debate continues...

Monday, September 10, 2012

Bananas Gone Bad

The talker is asleep; I must write quickly before she wakes...

Last year when Rosaline started school, we were initiated into the whole ‘nut-free zone’ thing; and it’s a little bit of a pain, but you do get used to it. It helps that all the grocery stores have gotten up-to-speed with products and clearly-marked packaging. Nuts are now at the forefront of my mind—I’m just glad we didn’t do this in the 80’s ‘cause, basically, my entire diet as a kid consisted of some form of peanut-butter sandwich (plain, jelly, or banana).

Then, this year, Rozzy came home with another newsletter (incidentally, printed on yellow paper!) informing me of a banana allergy in school, and asking us all to do our part in creating a banana-free environment. There goes the remaining part of my 80’s diet—I would surely have starved to death back then! 

Which makes me wonder, where were all these kids with allergies back in the 80’s? Did they somehow manage to survive among us in secret, or were they all killed off? Or maybe they went to special nut-free schools on the outskirts of society? Very strange.

Which also makes me wonder: what would happen in the future if certain allergies forged in reproduction—say if Mr. No Nuts married Miss. Go Banana—would some sort of mutant food allergy child emerge?

I was shocked when I did supply work at a daycare to learn of all the allergies kids seem to have these days. One boy was allergic to three different fruits, though he could at least be in the same room as a grape or a tomato.

What all this means now, though, (for the rest of us, I mean) is lots more rules to follow. It can’t be easy being a care-provider/teacher these days. These are the rules Rosaline will now be subjected to in school:

  • - Wash hands in morning before entering classroom to remove possible traces of banana from hands;
  • - Eat snacks and lunch in the classroom under direct supervision;
  • - Refrain from having food in the school yard;
  • -   Do not share food, utensils, or containers.

Did I accidentally sign her up for military school?

My advice, is that people only marry and reproduce with others who suffer from exactly the same food allergy. So, Mr. No Nuts could marry Miss. No Nuts, Mr. Go Banana could marry Miss. Go Banana, and so on. Or find a partner with no food allergies, and that would be okay, too. But I really think we’d better get a handle on this before it’s too late—before there are no safe foods left to eat on Earth!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Fried Circuits To Go

This week we've been up to our eyeballs in paperwork and crayons, accumulated junk, and hand-me-down clothes... preparing for the upcoming school year.

This is only about half her cousin's clothes; I don't think the Queen even has this many outfits. It's hard work rooting through 1,000,000 bits and pieces, but there are some real gems in there. Like this...

Bagaaawk! But even Roz in a parrot costume does little to lift my spirits as of late; I am utterly overwhelmed and exhausted. Four-year-olds never stop talking and I'm with her ALL the time. My circuits are fried; and strangely enough, the PC's motherboard also gave up the ghost this week. When school resumes tomorrow, I intend to stare vacantly into space in absolute silence for six hours. So... I apologize for getting behind in blog land. Please bare (bear?) with me!

I leave you with some rather amusing photos of our dinner-time road trip last weekend, to my favourite little lake-side town, Port Bruce. (I know, do I go anywhere else? Not really.)

Brandon was kidding me this was a real baby. I think I believed him for a nano-second. I took a few "subtle" photos of the scene, but I think the gentleman on the left was onto me. He actually smiled at the camera in the third shot.

Here she is... here's the talker. "Blah blah blah blah blah... blah blah blah, infinity blah."

And here's a very nice spoon we met on the beach.

I want to live right here.

Fish-slapped: A lovely older couple had just caught a sheepshead fish and asked if Roz would like to see it. So she ran over and then the fish slapped her in the face. "That fish hit me!" And I just happened to be there with my camera and caught the after-effects of the slap. Okay, her expression still makes me laugh. (It's rather therapeutic this.)

The best part of a dinner-time road trip is being there to witness the sunset...  pink-highlighted windmills dot the man-made cliffs of Port Bruce.

And driving home at dusk through small towns and farmland, as the dipping sun peeks behind hilltops and trees, casting vibrant pink and orange hues that fade into night.