Source of Creativity

Hello to whomever may still drop by here. Sorry I haven’t been around much. It’s been quite a year. I’ve adjusted to having a full-time, out-of-the-home job again and finally learning to balance kid activities with trying to make time for myself, AND getting a good sleep every night (the last two items are reserved for whatever time is left over). Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I’m enjoying having a job to go to, contributing financially, being able to afford a few extra accessories for myself or my house, and doing some activities I would have had to pass on in the past due to a lack of funds. However, with the increase in funds comes a lack of energy. By the time the kids are in bed at 9 pm, I think of how i’d love to write but I’m just too damned tired…so I veg in front of the TV instead.

All the characters in my stories are caught in some horrible vortex of frozen action – some were left in very desperate situations for sure. I miss them and wish it was easier to pick up with them again. In a lot of ways blogging is a distraction from the writing I should be doing, but it’s easier and makes me feel like I haven’t completely abandoned the art – not that I’ve been doing much of that either…and yes, the guilt and frustration is getting to me a little. But I’m the only one who can fix that.

20160123_173817As you know, when it comes to creative activities, I have A LOT of them that I enjoy doing. One thing I picked up again recently was sewing. I’m not a great sewer…but I can sew well enough to make things fit and stay together. I decided to make an outfit (in the vein of Outlander) for Robbie Burns day back in January. I spent an hour or two every evening, after the kids were in bed, sewing away while watching one the many series I follow on Netflix (damn Netflix!). It was so relaxing and my outfit turned out much better than expected! I’m even going to wear it to Comiccon…yep…I’m doing it.

Anyway…

My sewing project did show me that if I chill out a little, I can be quite productive. I think I put a lot of pressure on myself to write. I got sucked into the whirlwind of “must write, must edit, must publish, must market” of the writing world – which is pretty easy if you look at writers’ social media, ROW, NANOWRIMO, etc. Writing became a must-do as opposed to a want-to-do and the creative juices just dried up. I’m trying to dump that attitude. I just want to write for the pure joy of writing. I think I’m slowly creeping back there but it may take me a while longer and then I have to build a routine – but even the thought of building a routine gives me some stress. So no…I just have to look forward to a little writing when I’m inspired.

All that, to say…I haven’t totally disappeared. I’m still here and hope to be back more often again…but no pressure. 🙂 The source of creativity comes from a calm mind and a willing heart.

 

Sunday Check-in: Friends Who Publish II

It’s Sunday AGAIN! Seems to me it was just Wednesday! It’s been an exciting week…not so much for anything related to my accomplishments but rather those of friends. And I’m very happy for them. Whenever friends publish books I like to announce it here. So, without further ado, these are the latest and greatest (that I know of) coming out of my Ottawa writer/friend pool.

spff

Rose D. Franklyn has published her second romance book in her series entitled Sex and the Seasons. The first book was Spring Fever and Black Chocolate, and the latest is Summer Passion and Forbidden Fruit. I’ve already downloaded Summer Passion on my kindle and am looking forward to digging into it. If it’s anything like Spring Fever, it’s sure to be a steamy treat. The book is available on Amazon.com in paperback or for the Kindle, and for the Kindle on Amazon.ca.

montecristo-travels-pisa-bookcover

Sonja Lishchynski has published her first children’s book called Montecristo Travels to Pisa. The inspiration for the story is Sonja’s little Chihuahua named…Montecristo…who travels everywhere with his “parents”. Sonja has created a very informative blog about traveling with pets (dogs in particular). From these numerous blog stories, I imagine, there is fodder for this beautifully illustrated book (illustrations by Allison MacAlister) to become a series of wonderful adventures sure to thrill young audiences. This book is available in English and French paperback from Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk, and Amazon.fr.

20150306_193623My daughter absolutely adores Monte and her very own signed version of the book. 🙂

Until next time…happy reading! ❤

Mid-week Check-in: Fallen by the Wayside

ROW80LogocopyWell, it’s Wednesday and time to check in with my Round of Words in 80 Days goals. Round 1 ends in 3 weeks on March 26th. By then I was to have added 30,000 words to my novel. According to my calculations I’ve only managed about 7,000 at this point which is not even half of what I wrote in the month of November for NaNoWriMo.

Sigh.

But I’ll tell you something. I need to walk away from this WIP for a while. It’s kind of fallen by the wayside and to be honest, I’m bored with it. That’s not to say I won’t finish it but I need a break. I need to get that distance so that I can see it clearly again. So, I’ve started a new project. It will be a short story of a completely different genre and I’m excited about it. It has been swimming around in my head for a while so why not have some fun with it now?

Winter-TeaHappily, after a few weeks of upheaval with the new job and trying to see how all the parts of my life would fit around the 9-5, I’ve settled into a routine that not only allows me to write but to exercise as well (something sorely needed after a long cold winter of hibernating). I’m enjoying my job. Lots of learning and new challenges but I find that refreshing. It’s nice to feel you have a purpose.

Until next time…have you tried mint tea? It’s really good. I recommend it. 🙂

Mid-week Check in: Attending a Reading

Andrew Pyper
Andrew Pyper introducing The Damned.

Last night I attended a reading for the first time in my life (as far as I can remember). It was the through what is called the ChiSeries (Chiaroscuro Reading and Workshop Series) Ottawa. The ChiSeries organisers brought in three highly acclaimed Canadian Horror writers who are currently doing a tour across Canada known as The Dark Side II: Highway of Horror (presented by Simon & Schuster Canada). Andrew Pyper, Rob Pobi, and Nick Cutter thrilled the audience (or perhaps horrified us) as they read passages from their new works. At the end of a fairly casual session, during which the audience had breaks to peruse the works for sale (and likely purchase), there was a wonderful panel discussion and the audience was invited to direct questions to the authors. This was really interesting and introduced the audience to the minds behind the works.

I have to say, I’m not someone who reads horror. In fact, I avoid horror at all costs and in every medium. When I was young and foolish, I would watch horror films or read authors like Stephen King and spend weeks cowering under my covers at night sweating through numerous bouts of nightmares. I had several reasons for going to this particular reading, though. First of all, I’ve been interested in attending more readings and I wanted to see how the ChiSeries ran their events (wonderfully!). Secondly, I happened to have gone to high school with one of the authors. Now, high school was a long time ago but even when your life has taken you somewhere completely different, it’s nice to reconnect with those you enjoyed talking to way back when and to see someone from your hometown excelling in their chosen field (especially since his “chosen field” is my passion). I’m not gonna name drop…but that’s him in the photo.

ROW80LogocopySo, although I still haven’t done any work on my WIP, I did purchase three books last night. Two are written by Andrew Pyper (The Damned and The Demonologist) and one called Town and Train by a local author, James Moran, who happened to be in the audience. The books will likely lie on my night table until I screw up the courage to read them. Although I’m eyeing them with some dread I’m happy to have supported these authors. Also, Andrew did assure me that his books are more psychological thrillers than horror…so I’m holding you to that, Andrew! I will continue reading The Cellist of Sarajevo for now and we’ll see where I go next when I’m done that one.

Until next time…BOO!!! (that’s the extent of my horror writing) 😉

Sunday Check-in: Reading and War

ROW80LogocopyI missed the last check-in…accidentally on purpose. I really didn’t have anything to report so I figured I’d just leave it. Today, although I don’t have any update on my WIP (work in progress), I do have a book I need to tell you about. Now, don’t get all excited that this is a newly published, cutting edge, bestseller. That’s not the way I roll with books. I tend to pick up whatever I hear about, that catches my attention, long after it’s been published (usually). For example…I read The Hobbit last year. 🙂 This new-to-me book was actually published in 2008 and was a national bestseller and nominated for several awards. You may have heard of it: The Cellist of Sarajevo.

Now, if you’ve noticed the types of books I normally read, the Cellist hardly falls within the same category. It takes you deep within the heart of the war in the former Yugoslavia. I actually borrowed this book from a friend and it took me a long time to pick it up because I was somewhat anxious about the content. I normally like to read and watch TV as an escape from reality and a book, about a war that happened within my lifetime, would hardly provide such an avenue for escape. HOWEVER, once I read the first chapter, I was hooked. It’s  not that I enjoy reading about suffering but the human aspect that the writer, Steven Galloway, so deftly brings to the forefront is extremely compelling.

He’s stopped talking to his friends, visits no one, avoids those who come to visit him…He can perhaps learn to bear the destruction of buildings, but the destruction of the living is too much for him. If people are going to be taken away from him, either through death or a transformation of their personality that makes them into strangers, then he’s better off without them.

The Cellist of SarajevoI have to tell you, though, it’s an emotional roller coaster. I think anyone who reads it would find this. I do, however, have several personal connections which make the story even more poignant. I have a dear friend who lived through this war in Sarajevo. She and I don’t talk about it very much. When she feels like talking, I listen, but I don’t bring it up because I know how much pain it caused her. She lost her parents to the war. Each was taken on separate occasions but both in horrifying ways. Living through that and having those memories and the ones of just trying to survive day-to-day with almost nothing, is more than you think any human should have to endure. I also have friends in war-torn Syria who are coping in a very similar situation to those described in the book. Each line, each hardship, each bullet and sadness riddled vignette, drives home the realities so many people have or do face in this world.

I know that as I get further into it, the book will get more and more difficult, but I hope there will be some light in it as well. More than likely it will have something to do with the triumph of the human spirit. That, I have already seen in my friends so I know, first hand, it exists. I really can’t put the book down, though, no matter where it takes me. I’m already bound by the characters and, in a weird way, need to walk next to them as long they’re there. Once I’m done, I’ll write a quick post-reading review as an appendix to this post.

Until next time…do enjoy whatever you’re reading and tell me about it in a comment, if you wish. 🙂

ROW80 Sunday Check-in and PiP Update

ROW80LogocopyOops! I missed the check-in yesterday. I don’t have any updates on my WIP. This was my last weekend before starting work again. I got all of my freezer meals done, saw my friends, and just generally got organised. I also managed to find some time to relax and I felt that writing could wait a bit.

One thing I did do this weekend, of importance, was to attend a meeting for the organising committee of the new-to-Ottawa event, Prose in the Park (PiP). It will be a literary festival and book fair which will take place in Parkdale Park on June 6th here in Ottawa. There will be panelists, story-tellers, music, and a variety of authors selling their books. I’m pleased to be a part of it and I’m looking forward to the event.PiPlogo

If you’re interested in finding out more about it, please see the PiP website or visit the Facebook page where you can follow the updates and join up as a volunteer, a vendor/panelist or as a participant.

Until next time…I hope you have something exciting and fun to look forward to! 🙂

The Injustice

It was dinnertime and I told her so in my usual fashion. It wasn’t like her not to have it ready for me on time. I’d been out most of the day and figured today would be like every other day. But it wasn’t. She looked at me as if she didn’t know what I was waiting for. To be honest, I think she was ignoring me. Not that I wasn’t used to that. I’m also used to being very persistent and it usually pays off. However, something was different today and I just couldn’t quite figure out what.

Being hungry doesn’t do my temperament any good. I suppose my blood sugar drops and I get a little nasty. The other two were driving me nuts. It’s very difficult to have a decent conversation with anyone with them around. One thinks she’s a princess and the other is dumb as a door nail. I think they were distracting her from what she needed to be doing.  Living with them is really my greatest challenge. Luckily, I have them scared into submission. They know who’s boss and I can send them fleeing when it suits my purposes.

She always gets very angry at me when I behave “like a bully”, she says. I don’t know what she expects when the only thing I ask for consistently EVERY SINGLE DAY isn’t there when it’s supposed to be. I decided to retreat for a while and return to the kitchen later when she wasn’t so busy with other things. I used to be her priority but somehow, over the years, that changed drastically. I sat by a window and looked out while contemplating my future but I really couldn’t see much past dinner time.

Like everyone else, I couldn’t wait for spring. The long winter days were quite trying. We were all cooped up inside and the boredom didn’t help our dispositions. Mine in particular. My daily sojourns out into the snow were most unpleasant but, I suppose, no more unpleasant than for anyone else. But damn it, how am I supposed to accomplish my usual tasks without a proper dinner? I began to pace in front of the window growing more and more annoyed. Perhaps, I thought, I needed to take a tougher stance with her and make her very aware of how her inaction was affecting me.

Upon returning to the kitchen I saw that food had been made but something that was quite unsuitable for my palette. What kind of injustice is this? Has she gone completely mad? She knows damn well that I can’t eat that crap! At that point my anger knew no bounds. I chased Princess and Stupid from the room and cornered her. Things are going to get really bad unless I get what I want. I hurt her. Intentionally. She absconded me but it didn’t matter. At least she couldn’t ignore me anymore!

“Sorry, love.” she said with a pat. “We’re out of cat food.”