Sunday, March 30, 2008

Winter Weekend in Niagara....

....and now its back to reality :-(

I have spent a wonderful weekend (a birthday present!) in Niagara Falls, Canada. Growing up within an easy drive of Niagara Falls, I have seen it numerous times, but this is the first ever winter visit and the scenery was amazing! The weather couldn't have been better, beautiful blue skies and brilliant sunshine. It was cold, but it actually felt good.

This was the view from our 11th floor - I love that the rainbow appears to be cut exactly in half! Later in the day, it shifted position and the end of the rainbow actually touched down in the roadway just in front of the hotel...from my vantage point, I could actually see people walking through the end of it, apparently unawares! (So I guess that pot of gold is unobtainable because it's invisible!)

It was good to get away from the regular routine of life for a brief respite - to be out in the extremely crisp and fresh air certainly helped blow away the winter-weary cobwebs.

Pam was right, we did have a lousy week at work, and while right now I feel somewhat energised to face Monday, I don't know if the battery boost will last any longer than that!

She has been busy and added to Madelaine and I have both stories to enlarge upon now. I sat here Friday night and stared at Body Perfect...no inspiration, no ideas, no nothing! Very frustrating. I turned instead to Madelaine, and with little to no effort, was able to contribute enough for Pam to carry on with.

Well I hope the enormous doses of fresh air over the past 24 hours will also translate into a better night sleep - something I could really do with. Not feeling well rested isn't great for the creative juices either I suppose.

I hope Pam is enjoying her dinner, and I know we are both so much looking forward to Monday morning! (hmmm...is the sarcasm coming through OK?)

Have a good evening!
Cheers!

Liz

Distractions and commitments!

This was an especially horrendous week at work for both Liz and I. When you take a vacation you have to pay for having a good time. Thats my excuse for not writing much this week but I did read quite a few chapters to familiarize myself again with the storyline.

Yesterday I sat down to write but I was distracted by too many things that needed doing. Housework is always there but every so often I get a mad urge to purge and yesterday was it. It may not happen again for a few more years so.. Then phone calls and grandchilren and some regular maintenance at my local beauty salon was in order. Since now having the freedom of white hair it slipped my mind about the eyebrows and needed to get a touch up before I faded away.

Today is a glorious sunny day and the snow is finally melting. We now need a good rain to clean it all up. I sat down this morning with Madelaine and was crying as she was giving a eulogy. Not telling you who it was for. Buy the book!!.

Off to have dinner at my son's home in Don Mills and a visit with my grandson Aidan. He is waiting on his Easter Egg.

Talk tomorrow.

Pam



So now I am waiting for Liz to get back with her part of Body and Madelaine. I will have to content myself with working on the summaries as I am behind.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The miracle of birth.

This is the last day of my 5 days away from work. I have been writing most of the day and I am well pleased with the pages I sent off to Liz. Eight pages of Body perfect. I was on a roll. Hope she feels the same.
Reflecting on my short vacation I just remembered a sight we saw as we were driving home yesterday. We were enroute from Goderich to St Mary's. The sun was brilliant on the icy fields and I was looking left and right as I like to see horses and looking for hawks that were very prevelant that day. And right before our eyes a cow gave birth to a calf. Peter slammed on the brakes and backed the car to where we could see what was happening. The calf was not moving as it lay on its snowy bed and we could see the umbical cord still attached to the mother. The rest of the herd stayed about 40 feet away to give her some privacy. We drove in to the farmyard as Peter thought he should let the farmer know he had some more livestock. He went off to tell the tale as I watched from the car as the mother nudged her offspring to its feet and the legs would buckle at least six or seven times before she managed to have it standing for more that 30 seconds. Eventually she got the calf turned around until the wee one managed to suckle and have its breakfast.
The farmer was not at home , just some very old guard dogs that wagged their tails and went back to sleep in the sun. Maybe he was at church that Easter Sunday and he would come home to "The miracle of birth". But it would be old hat to him but not to us city folk.

More from Madelaine tomorrow.
Pam

Sunday, March 23, 2008

My technology challenged weekend!

I took my laptop away on my supposed to be relaxing w/e to Kincardine as I was looking forward to being inspired by the ice at the harbour and the cold and crisp days to rev up my engines but...

Liz would say I am always challenged with the computer!! I could not hook up to a wireless server and when I did it only lasted for a few minutes. Now that should not have held me back as I still had Word and I did manage to write two pages of "Body" but I needed the Internet for some research. How dependent we have become. Where were you Liz when I needed you? My other half is worse than I am.

Watched movies, ate, had some wine, ate some more , slept and visited every bookstore within a 25 mile radius. I did pick up six books in a super used book store and I think tonight is a good night to get started with a good Murder Mystery.

Saturday we sat drinking our umpteenth cup of coffee as we watched the children in the town follow the Easter Bunny giving out eggs for their baskets.
The weather was quite cold and as we were at the lake it could be windy but the sun was shining and that makes everything fine.

Easter brings renewal for many things and the Jamie Tremain partners are no different as we get going again this week with more of the adventures of Madelaine and Brian and Dorothy and Paul.

Don't eat too much chocolate eggs and will post later when I have written some more.

Pam

Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday!

I hope you are enjoying this beautiful day! And what a glorious day it is, the sun is shining, the sky is blue, snow is receding and robins singing!

Went to a lovely Easter service this morning and now am just going to be lazy for the rest of the day. Pam is hopefully enjoying a few days R & R, and has one more day off work before returning on Tuesday. The writing has been on hold and we will have to get back to it this week!

I enjoyed my own few days break from work, but unfortunately Monday morning looms again :-(

We have another writing workshop with Brian Henry coming up later next month, which we are looking forward to, and inching ever closer to wrapping up Madelaine.

Be back to check in again soon.

Cheers!
Liz

Sunday, March 16, 2008

St Patrick's Day Eve

March 16

Also Sunday evening, which of course means its Monday morning just around the corner and back to work. What a difference in the weather this weekend from last! Definitely a hint of spring in the air and the warmer temperatures are helping the mounds of snow to recede.

As Pam mentioned, we have been basically out of touch for a few days. She has been away, helping her daughter move. And I’m still trying to get my voice back to normal, although today seems much better. The beginning last week saw me with little to no voice, and then when it returned, it plummeted to the basement and I could have done some moonlighting as a fog horn!

The change to daylight savings time didn’t help either!

Well, I shouldn’t really complain, I only have to work tomorrow, then have the rest of the week off. So I think I can suffer with getting up early for one day.

Another birthday party today, this time for Noah, who turned one year old on the 14th. Two of my grandchildren share the same birth month as me so I’m in good company!

By the sounds of things, I think Pam will be glad to get back to work tomorrow for a rest – I have to agree with her. Moving has to be one of the most stressful events in one’s life.

We have discussed trying to flesh out Brian a bit more. Many of our characters physical appearances are loosely based on people or (dare I say it) celebrities, we are familiar with. We find it helps us have an appearance in mind and makes them seem more real. But for some reason, we are having difficulty with Brian! I will tell her some of the ideas I came up with when we have a catch up session tomorrow.

But for now, its time to get the head geared to thinking about work…grrrrrr! And perhaps an early night to bed, with a good book.

Is the pot roast all done, Pam? Sounds very good to me!

"When law can stop the blades of grassfrom growin' as they grow,An' when the leaves in summer time their color dare not show,Then I will change the color, too,I wear in my caubeen;But till that day, plaise God, I'll stick to the Wearin' o' the Green.~Author Unknown"


Cheers & Happy St Patrick's Day!


Liz



Bone Weary!

Liz and I have been out of contact for a few days as I was in the far north ( Barrie) helping my daughter move. What with two cats under foot, a two year old boy , (who was actually very good)
and no running water, it was more than a nightmare. They say, I am not sure who said it , that moving is as stressful as a death in a family and I believe it. I am bone weary and even my fingers are hurting.
I am looking forward to having a few days away in Kincardine for the Easter week- end and now that the snow is melting and the sun is shining it will be a nice break for Peter and I.

Today after catching up at home and a big pot-roast simmering in the slow cooker, I have been busy doing three more summary chapters of Body Perfect. Tonight I have a choice of either Madelaine or Body, Decisions, decisions.
This will be a slow week with the writing as Liz goes on vacation Tuesday and I on Thursday for the Easter break so those of you waiting on chapters....

Oh, the smell of the Pot roast. Must take a break and go get some nice bread to sop up that lovely gravy. Anyone for dinner?

Pam

Monday, March 10, 2008

"That's the plan"

Today was brilliant sunshine and relatively mild. If it were not for the mountains of ice and snow one has to manouveour I would swear it was Spring!. Now we will have to cope with the big thaw and water everywhere. Montrealers laugh at us poor sods in the Toronto area as we seem to be always moaning about the weather while they get it far worse than we do.

I have been busy tonight with the summaries of "Body Perfect". Liz found out doing Madelaine that it takes forever and I only got to Chapter three . It is time consuming but is one of the things we should have done from the beginning, but once it is done we should be able to keep up after each chapter. It is tempting while you are reading each chapter to edit and revise but will wait until we do the final Edit.

Liz has larynjitus and had a very sexy voice today when I could hear her. What with me not hearing and Liz whispering our editorial meeting was very short . I am sure she will be back on track soon.

Writing tomorrow not just the summaries but a start on Chapter 18 of Maddy. I know I should never say exactly what I am doing but "That's the Plan"

Get well Liz. I miss your one-liners!

Pam

Sunday, March 9, 2008

My Three Pines!!


I have been trying to add a picture to the blog today as I can't be outdone by Mrs Lindsay and I am @#$%^&*( or frustrated. I finally got it on but could not add any words. Of course I never read directions and that could be the reason why, so this may be in two parts. Hey, I managed to fix it. Write before you add the picture!

These are the three magnificent pines that I look at from my bedroom window. The Three Pines that I am referring to are from Louise Penny's books as they all take place in a place called, yes "Three Pines" You will have gathered by now that we are both great admirers of her work.

This morning I revised chapter 17 and rewriting 18 is a work in progress. I also want to start doing the summary of "Body Perfect" That I am sure will take me the better part of the week.

I have been sitting by the fireplace all day writing . Thank goodness for laptops as it is very cosy sitting here looking out the window at the sun making shadows on the snow.

I had better make the most of the time I have left as my son and two boys that are careening down hills on a tobaggin as we speak, will be here soon for a bowl of Granma's potato and bacon soup. Dripping slush and wet mitts. Isn't winter grand?

Pam

There's Snow Business.....



.....like snow busy-ness!! The aftermath of a wolloping great storm that long over stayed its welcome!

The digging out has begun beneath brilliant blue skies and sparkling mounds of white. Up and down the street, showers of snow are seen from snowblowers and really energetic shovellers...oh to be a kid again and say "yippee" to all this!

We are soon to head out for Michael's birthday party, turning 5 is important not to be missed...hope he doesn't mind that I sing Happy Birthday in a whisper. And I hope we can find parking!

I've been seeing photos from others as well today, and hearing the reports of how this storm has impacted so many

My plan this morning had been to add to Body Perfect, but have so far, been reviewing parts of the story somewhat and of course, now that we are about to leave the house, I feel I could be ready to start!

Perhaps there will be time before bed. What joy it will be to pull myself awake one hour earlier tomorrow, as if 4 a.m. isn't early enough!!

Cheers!

Liz

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Where is human nature so weak as in a bookstore!

My overnight guests, in the form of two energetic grandsons ,except when they are competing
with a video game, was most enjoyable. Lovely to see them and waved fondly when they left to visit their Uncle for a couple of days.

I spend Saturday afternoon in a comfortable chair in the bay window of my bedroom reading the book that Liz is anxiously waiting to read. The book is called "Dead Cold" by Louise Penny. This is her first book. I always do things backwards as I have read two others she has written.Very appropriate reading for a day like today. I am fortunate to look out onto a ravine with towering trees and a pond. The first few hours of this morning the flakes of snow were the big fat fluffy kind and it just filled up all the nooks and crannies in the garden. By three o'clock the storm started in earnest and the wind whipped up a constant and relentless snow.
I did not read as much as I thought as the snow was fascinating to watch and I imagined my self transported back to Varykino in the Ural mountains of Russia where Julie Christie and Omar Sharif played out their love affair as Lara and Yuri. The book & the movie of " Dr Zhivago" by Boris Pasternak , is one of my all time favourites.
To be a good writer or at least to be any kind of writer one has to read. I find more and more I am reading as a writer and look for better ways to say or write a sentence or characterize my protagonist.
The title of this blog says it all. I spend a lot of time and money in bookstores. I don't go to libraries for two reasons. One I never get the books back on time and I like to keep my own library of my favourites.
Well this nattering is not getting the writing done. The plan is for the am if i don't start dreaming while I look out the window!

Keep warm,
Pam

What Else is There to Say - MORE SNOW!!!!!

March 8

We are in the midst of a very major winter storm!! Ho hum, what else is new? Apparently the phrase 'major winter storm' does not have as much punch as it did about 6 major winter storms ago!

But truly today, has to be the worst of this winter! Its blowing around now and I see no one is even bothering trying to shovel - no point! So grateful I am that it is a Saturday, although it would most likely have been a legitimate snow day from work - otherwise by this time of day, I'd be booking an overnight stay at a nearby hotel close to work.

So other than snow, what else is news? The beginnings of a cold that threatened me earlier this week seems to have morphed into laryngitis - I have an interesting cough that accompanies it, starts out with a very good bark and ends upward on a little squeak.

And what is new with the children? I refer to Body Perfect and Madelaine, of course! Today I find not much flowing creatively, so have been tidying and organizing. If too much clutter surrounds me, either mental or physical, it really bogs down the thought process. The tidying and organizing concerns mostly Madelaine, bringing the Chapter Summary up to date, and consulting Pam on some ideas at the beginning of Chapter 18. Then some file back ups were in order. It may be time to send out a couple of completed draft chapters to our reading distribution list as well.

Both Pam and I are great fans of Louise Penny and left comments on her blog, she was so kind to respond quickly, offering encouragement to us both. Pam, have you finished reading Dead Cold yet?? (Is that a subtle enough hint that I am anxious to read it as well!)

So perhaps something to eat for dinner and then I will set myself back down here and see what words will flow -not "and if" either!

Oh and something else to remember - Daylight Savings Time comes into effect this weekend.

Cheers
Liz

Friday, March 7, 2008

Daylight!

Glory be, I drove to work in daylight this morning. I hate driving in the dark and when I leave for work at 6:30am the street lights are usually on. Not today, and as this is the w/e we loose an hours sleep that must mean that Spring is around the corner, or so one would think... But no, mother nature has the biggest storm of the winter heading our way. The snow started again about the time I left work at 3pm and has tapered off for the moment. Most of the snow will be happening tomorrow with accumulations of 30-50cm in the Niagara region.

Tonight, the start of the March break, I have two of my favourite fellows camped out in my TV room with blankets and pillows and one of those computer games that I don't understand. Whatever happened to Ludo or Snakes and Ladders? Showing my age aren't I?

When I left work today Liz was cursing under her breath as she had lost a spreadsheet she desperately needed for the bosses so.. not sure when she got home as she has a longer distance to drive than me and Highway driving to boot.

As I am waiting on Liz to update her part of the stories I am having some down time and doing a bit of research and rereading of the stories. One has to know where one has been to know where one is going!!Not sure who wrote that!!

Will keep you posted regarding the weather if not the stories as they will happen when they happen and not before.
Drive safely everyone.

Pam

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Fighting a Cold

March 6

It would be lovely to crawl back into bed this morning. Yesterday I felt the beginnings of an ominous tickle at the back of the throat and by bed time it had blossomed into a nasty sore throat, the kind where it hurts to even speak. I was out with my daughter in law last night, she also wasn't feeling great. So it was a late night (for me!) and I wasn't in bed till 10:30. I've been taking my ColdFX (I swear by it - wonderful stuff!) to hopefully ward off or lessen whatever is brewing. This morning the throat feels better, but I slept fitfully and am slowly progressing into a semi-comatose mode! If it weren't for month end reports due at work, I'd be sorely tempted to call in sick.

My reward at the end of the day will be sleep!!

I see my partner has been busy, I haven't yet read her newest addition, but I'm sure it will be ready for review later this morning at coffee break!!!

The drive in yesterday was nasty - transport trucks barrelling along in the passing lane of the 401 made for some harrowing moments as their nearly fish-tailing trailers swerved dangerously close to my car!

Fortunately, here in Guelph, we were spared the freezing rain and it was only blowing and heavy snow to contend with - more than enough to deal with. But by the time the commute home rolled around, all the roads were once again clear and dry.

And now more snow in the forecast for tomorrow and into next week...will this winter never end! Canada, got to love it, eh?

Time to take another dose of ColdFX and hope for the best!

Cheers

Liz

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Love is in the air.....

More than love is in the air and that is snow ,sleet and freezing rain. Bad morning rush hour but ended up lovely and sunny and melted the horrible white stuff but... Friday has another storm on it's way just in time for the March break. The kids will be out of school and if you are traveling,look out. My husband is traveling up north to pick up our oldest grandson for a few days holiday. Any chance the 400 highway will be clear?

I have managed to write 3 pages tonight and sent it off to Liz for her to continue. Unless we come to another stumbling block in the story we should have no more revisions for a while,hopefully not until we are finished.

I left Liz to continue with George and Gina's romance and an invitation from Dane to Brian to meet him in his Washington office?? What's that all about?
Stay tuned for JT from Guelph.

Pam

Monday, March 3, 2008

"Hold your horses"

Not a day goes by that we don't mention the weather and today is no exception. I arrived home tonight with the temp. at 11degrees and positively balmy. It is now 7pm and its cold and freezing rain and we are expecting another 5-10cm tomorrow and more freezing rain and pellets. Enough already!!
Today Liz and I had our usual Monday conference and read what I had written. We pulled it apart and rearranged and generally mucked about with it. It has become increasingly obvious that endings are harder than beginnings, or so it seems at present. Getting facts and dates correct are crucial to the integrity of the story, so a lot of back and forth is necessary at the moment.
So that is what I am doing tonight with a notebook in hand.

Those of you who are waiting on some new chapters will have to "hold your horses".

I am a lover of magazines and Writing magazines are now my diet of choice. I read the headlines on '16 easy ways to get published" or "editors advice on how to shape your book". I like the one about Writer's retreats. Thats for me. A week in a cabin or lodge doing nothing but be creative and write to my hearts content sounds good to me. Liz can come too!!
So if anyone wants to send me on a retreat to finish the books , speak up now or forever hold your peace. You will be in the acknowledgments and we will sign you a copy.!!!
No? Good try Pam.

Later,
Pam

Another Monday

Mar 3

Yesterday I had a treat, my youngest son and his family stopped by unexpectedly. My oldest grandson, Michael, came running through the door, "Nana! I missed you!" and gave me a big hug. He will be 5 this week and is so excited about the big event. A family birthday party is planned for Sunday and then the following Sunday another birthday party for his little brother, Noah, who will be turning one. They grow so fast, and now that Michael is in school, you can see the influences of others already - a new expression, "Well! Hello-oh - I already told you that!" was used at least half a dozen times in their two hour visit. And Noah has finally started cutting teeth and is almost walking.

Their mother, Taushau returns back to full time work in a couple of weeks, and needless to say, is not looking forward to it. Not something I had to contend with when my kids were little. I managed to stay home with them - even though it meant I provided neighbourhood day care to help with the bills. But what a struggle, juggling little ones with work, dealing with emergencies and sickness.

At any rate, the unexpected visit postponed my planned Sunday afternoon writing until later in the evening. Then I was able to get back to Madelaine - some gaps in the most recent chapter were bothering me, so that was my focus. And it took me more time that I thought, but just as Pam noted she felt good about her weekend writing progress, so I felt that the story in this chapter was now a little more complete.

I still have to pick it up though where Pam left off, and now I also have Body Perfect to carry on with.....looks like Pam will have time on her hands for a few nights!! I've only glanced quickly at it, was just about to read it when my Michael arrived, and have just now had a look.

Pam caught a name slip up, which will get corrected - two sets of eyes are good at doing that!

Well I see time is moving forward and I must finish up and get ready to start the 401 trek shortly - month end reporting awaits!

Glad to see the freezing rain didn't materialize, and not even sure if its raining yet!

Enjoy your day!
Cheers

Liz

Sunday, March 2, 2008

A Mystery and Shenanigans....

I am well pleased with my writing this w/e. At least the amount I managed to write. Updates to both Madelaine and Body were accomplished and have been fwd to Liz for her edification. We like to read out loud what has been written to see if it flows and we have many a laugh at what we say.Fortunately we are on the same page when it comes to editing.
Madelaine chapter 17 is now finished and Liz will start 18 with a new angle and story line. It appears that George and Gina have become very close and it is a mystery to everyone when this came about. I left her with this.

"I know someone who is anxious hear how George and I became acquainted and I will tell you all once we are at dinner," said Gina cryptically. "Now where is my wrap?"

Body Perfect is also on Chapter17 but is not finished yet. Without giving an integral part of the story away , suffice to say Dorothy and Paul have been interrupted once more in what they affectionately call "Shenanigans" and are called back to Bamboo Fine Imports for an amazing discovery. After some time with Jim Addison and making plans for the next day I left Liz with this.

Fatigue took hold as Dorothy and Paul drove back to the houseboat. They were consumed with their own thoughts and both agreed not to discuss the case anymore tonight. They crashed on the sofa where Paul, with a mischevous grin said to Dorothy..
"Now where were we?

We have found that it is usually Liz that gets them into bed and I am left to get them out but the tables have turned. See what you can do with that Mrs Lindsay.
The weather update is , clear roads but still cold . Unfortunately it will be fine to drive to work in the morning as I would like to be snowed in and keep writing. Lets see what the week will bring.

Pam

Saturday, March 1, 2008

March has arrived....

March 1

Good afternoon!

Our latest deposit of snow seems to have finally tapered off, the sun is shining and the temperature climbing. Does this mean March has come in like a lamb and will roar out like a lion in 4 weeks? No matter, I'm just always glad to see the end of March, however it decides to leave!

Saturdays always bring conflict - whether to have a lazy day, or try and catch up on all those chores that get bypassed during the work week. So far I think the lazy day is winning. Although I did manage to get caught up on laundry and turf 2 bags of clothing bound for Value Village - so not a total loss.

Pam forwarded me a newsletter from Louise Penny (one of our favourite authors!), which was quite a good read - yes I've now subscribed myself!

Since our writing endeavours began, and we have progressed ever more strongly with our writing, and desire to be published, I fear I have become somewhat shameless in promoting Jamie Tremain! Just this week I was at the dentist for a cleaning, and the hygienist inquired what I had been doing to occupy myself over the winter. Well, give me an open door and I'm walking right through! Even with a mouth crowded with dental implements, I told her about Jamie Tremain, and she genuinely seemed quite excited and interested. Thanks, Karen!

And today, I've gone a step further - leaving a comment on Louise Penny's own blog, congratulating her on her success and telling her how much I enjoy her books, but also plugging Jamie Tremain!

I've never considered myself a sales person - believing that you can only truly sell that which you believe in. The realization is slowly dawning - I do believe in Jamie Tremain!!

I hope Pam is enjoying a productive day, she has some research to do on poisons (shhhhh...don't tell anyone!).

And as Pam noted in her last comment, we sincerely do appreciate any comments, and are grateful for a loyal group of friends and family who critique our work on an ongoing basis and offer encouragement when it is much needed!

Come back again won't you?
Cheers
Liz