Friday, December 31, 2010

Out with the Old and In with the New!


I promised myself I would slow down this Christmas, not spend so much money, relax and enjoy the season, but I have found it was the usual race against time to get everything done I felt was important . On reflection, most of the things I thought were important were not, I had no need to spend quite as much money and it is hard to enjoy yourself when you are tired and run ragged. I think I am speaking for a lot of women as men do not seem to have this frantic need that women do.

Now that I have seen all my five boys, (grandsons) and watched them open their presents I can relax and prepare for the New Year. Not having to go to work every day has been a bonus as being on vacation at Christmas time is a new experience for me. Just before I left work last Thursday I pressed the send button with my letter of intent to HR. Gasp! Gasp! July 31st 2011 I will officially retire. I have talked of this for a long time but now that it is round the corner well...... I know I need to stop and smell the roses or coffee and do some of the things I have not had time to do, but to be on a permanent vacation......


2010 was a year of many changes around the world. The newspapers and online reports have lists of the good, the bad and the ugly. The publishing world is changing also as more and more people use Kindle or their phone app to get their fix of the latest best seller. I have not bought into this yet but may have to. It is always another avenue for Liz and I to explore when we are ready to start querying agents again.

On a positive note lots of good stories come to mind to end the year. Twins were born to a colleague on Dec 20th. Everyone is healthy and happy.
The weather here in my neck of the woods has been great. We appear to be in a sweet spot with snow all around us. I should bite my tongue!!.
My daughter Courtney’s health is on the mend and she has a new position she is excited about.
Leanne, my daughter in-law has been promoted to a position she really deserves.
Most of all, I am so grateful my family is safe and healthy is these uncertain times. I wish for all of you the same in 2011.
When I have a quiet dinner tonight with friends this Hognamey night I will raise my glass and wish you all a very Happy New Year. Thanks for sticking with us this past year.


Slainte,
Pam

Monday, December 27, 2010

One Down and One to Go

Amazingly, Christmas has now come and gone – and so quickly!  We rush forward to the day so much at times and then its here and gone.  Hopefully wherever you are, you’ve enjoyed good times with family and friends and have stayed safe and healthy.   My daughter and her boyfriend flew south to Cuba on December 24 so we had our family Christmas the night before. Lots of laughs and time to spend with family.  It’s always a joy to see the excitement on the young ones’ faces.  They now range in age from almost 8 to three and Santa anticipation is still alive and well.

Amid the debris of coloured paper and gift bags, were some amazing toys and goodies for them.  But the best form of entertainment ensued when it was discovered that some computer-cleaning gook in a plastic jar made lovely (indelicate) noises when shoved back into its container.  I’m not saying who encouraged this activity.  Oh yes I am..it was me!  Long live Leslie Nielson and his whoopee cushion!

 On duty to feed my daughter’s  cats and water her plants (I hope that’s the right order) for the next few days, I’ve just returned from making sure Cujo and Ginger are all set for the next 24 hours.  And no, that’s not the name of her plants. No doubt they will be glad to see her return New Year’s Day.

Pam managed to book these days between Christmas and New Year as the last of her 2010 vacation days, but yours truly will remain at my post and keep things under control.  At least we are closed until Wednesday, so to enjoy a 4 day break is a treat in itself.  And the more staff who are taking the time off, the less problems (theoretically) there should be.

Today I’m enjoying some down time with writing and laundry, but as the afternoon wears on, I suspect a nap will be on the agenda as well.  The perfect time to curl up with a book and doze off if that happens.  Currently I’m reading Dan Brown’s Digital Fortress and am nearly at the end.  Next on tap will be the latest Louise Penny instalment – Bury Your Dead - which I’m most anxious to start.  My plan tomorrow is to be working on Body Perfect as well.  Hence the blog and laundry today, so that tomorrow will hopefully be a clean slate.

2010 is fast winding down – what will 2011 bring us?  I didn’t get the crystal ball for Christmas so I have no answer, but really, I don’t think I’d want to know.  Sometimes ignorance is truly bliss.

So with one last holiday to go for the year, I wish you all a very Happy New Year – may your troubles be small, your successes recognized and above all – lets be kind to one another.

Cheers!
Liz

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Another blast from the past!


I am on a roll. This is my week for Christmas/New Year cleaning. I know,I know, some of you do that all the time but I have never been accused of being a "housewife" or a domestic goddess. My mother always did the house from top to bottom the weeks before the New Year to clean out all the cobwebs. We could not have a mucky house, so we swept out the old and ushered in the new.

Now take Liz...... She has all her shopping done. And the baking is all in tins ready for consumption. I am sure she has polished the candlesticks and the tree and the house are decorated. Cards have been mailed and her grocery list is just waiting for her to use at the right time.

Now take Pam....... She has no shopping done. Who wants to bake when Cadbury's makes yummy chocolate shortbread and it is much better than mine. I have written some cards but whether anyone will receive them is another matter. It is a hit and miss affair. I prefer to call them New Year cards as that is when everyone will receive them.
The house is not decorated yet as the boxes I asked my husband to bring up from the basement have not appeared. My grocery list is still in the planning stages as one can't rush these things. I have scanned the ads for specials and looked at the discounted wine at the liquor store. You have to have your priorities straight!!

While I searched for the boxes in the basement I found another treasure. Well a treasure to me.
If you were wondering what the picture at the top of the page is all about, wonder no longer.
Does anyone remember going away suits????? No. It goes with the word trousseau. Oh, never heard of that one either. That is when brides would save up clothes for the honeymoon and a going away suit was for changing into after the wedding. Well, I found mine.CIRCA 1966. Imagine, Audrey Hepburn in an orange suit. ( or so I thought myself) Black patent pumps with a grograin bow and a small black patent pill box hat perched on her head. I never had my picture taken with that suit and I am having a hard time imagining myself with a 26inch waist but that is what it was.
Let me know if you are tired of my trip down memory lane. I am having fun with it but you are probably bored to death. I will see if I can dig out a few more treasures from the dark ages.
Liz just emailed to say she has finished chapter four of the ..we hope... final revision of Body Perfect. While I have been doodling around on here she has been working away. When the book is published she probably wants 60-40. Hmm we will see about that.
Talk soon,
Slainte,
Pam



isions

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas Thoughts

Well, we are but two weeks away from the big day and the momentum to get everything done is growing.

Kudos to the Leons Furniture company, for actually saying “Merry Christmas Canada” in its advertising. Its almost like a breath of fresh air to hear a major retail company utter those words which too often are seen as politically incorrect.  And another bright spot was the Eaton Centre in Toronto allowing the Salvation Army kettle stands to rings those wonderful bells once again.  They had been silent for several years because the sound was annoying!   Really -  guess it must have been drowning out the electronic bells of cash registers. 

Thursday morning saw me arrive at our local WalMart store for 8:30, Christmas shopping list in hand.  Ninety minutes later I was able to leave knowing that more than two thirds of my list was crossed off!  And no, I wasn’t playing hooky from work, but had the foresight to take Thursday and yesterday as my last remaining vacation days.  The goal was shopping (including groceries) and to get some baking done.  Two tick marks on my ‘to do’ list are now gratefully in place. Of course the wrapping is yet to be done, but that’s another story.  One or two more gifts are still required and hopefully those will be taken care of before Friday.

A white Christmas may materialize this year as well.  We have a light dusting on the ground right now, with more forecast over the next twenty four hours.  I haven’t checked the long range details yet to see if the temperatures will cooperate and let whatever snow falls over the next few days stay with us. 

Yesterday I glanced out the window in the kitchen and was tickled to see a living Christmas card.  It was lightly snowing, and the fence had a slight covering of snow. Perched atop it was a grey squirrel, industriously working to remove a candy cane from its wrapper.  He made short work of the cellophane and was soon nibbling at the candy.  A great picture, if only my camera had been handy.

Mall parking lots are crammed to their outer edges and must-have items are fast disappearing from retailer’s shelves. Stress levels rise as we remember yet another gift that hadn’t been thought about, or another social invitation is extended with obligations to attend.  Every year we seem to fall into the familiar routine of rush rush, spend spend, and arrive at Christmas Day exhausted – physically and monetarily!   And believe me, I’m no different than anyone else.  Our lives seem to go by at a dizzying pace as it is, and that just seems intensified at this time of year.

However, no advice will be given, because its all been heard before.  And do I pay attention to it?  You probably know the answer to that one!

I’ve promised myself tomorrow to spend some time with Body Perfect, because some momentum needs to be built for its completion.  Amid all the seasonal activities, I can’t lose sight of that!

Cheers!

Liz

Sunday, December 5, 2010






The sweater on the left, taken this morning is the same one I wore in June 1965.
Must be some kind of record as it is good as new and no moth holes. A little bit tight around my pleasingly plump rump but other than that its good to go. Mohair is not to my liking now as it's a little scratchy.


I mentioned to Liz as she left work on Friday that I had enough agnst... It is used in English to describe an intense feeling of strife. to choke a horse or to at least write a decent blog.It was the week from hell and Friday was the worst. I am not multitasking as I used to and feel a little overwhelmed. I depend on Liz to bail me out of my techie problems. Very unfair of me as she has her own responsibilites. I must have asked her the same question three times!! One time I saw the steam coming out of her ears and as she percolated away she continued to help me out. It's great to have such a supportive friend and co-author.

One of the reasons for my strife...isn't that a lovely word.. is the fact that I must make the decision to retire next year and for some reason I have mixed feelings about it. I started working in March of 1961 so.....50 years should be enough. No?So what's my problem? You tell me. I will have plenty of time to write and not be quite so tired all the time. See my grandchildren when I want and maybe travel a bit. Maybe it is just thinking that another segment of my life is over. There was the growing up years with four siblings, then the early married years before the children came along. The next twenty or so bringing up the kids and I worked right through it all.

I think what brought this nostalgia and reminiscing about the past was a Christmas card I received from my Scottish friends, Glynis and Alistair. We have been friends since 1961 when Glynis and I worked together. She sent me a picture taken when I was nineteen, the year before I married. See above**
Before you get the impression that I must be a hoarder, that is not the case. I do have a few items that I have hung on to and that sweater is one of them. I looked up the makers name and a wonderful story and a life was in that sweater. The name was Bernat Klein, a wonderful textile designer from Serbia(formely Yugoslavia) who settled in Scotland. He is in his 80's now but was renowned for his Haute Couture designs in the 60's. Who knew I had a Haute Couture sweater in my closet!! Maybe there is a Bernat Klein museum and I can donate it.

Liz was so correct in her last blog about the eating and spending . Especially the eating. I have four lunches this week and numerous buffets will be spread out in the centre. As I walk through numerous times a day I will do my best not to graze. Spread out is the operative word. As for the spending...... Do you think if I told the kids and grandkids that granma is going on a pension, I will now be a senior.......that will make a difference. Of course, then I won't have the pleasure of hunting down the must have gift or seeing the joy of the wee ones opening their presents.

There.... I have said it. Pensioner.. senior. Must look on the positive side and make a list of all the benifits.. If you know of any let me know. Must be hundreds!!!!

The writing has slowed down but will be in high gear come January. A calendar and a plan is in the making.

Supposed to snow today but nothing so far. Hope it clears up by morning as this senior to be does not like driving on slippery roads.

Talk soon,

Slainte,
Pam




Tuesday, November 30, 2010

December is Arriving....


…and so is the eating and the buying and the eating and the socializing.  Did I mention the eating?

I’m just home from a  very nice get together with two long time girlfriends; this was our annual Christmas dinner.  We get together every couple of months, but always ensure we see each other for a good meal just before Christmas.  This time we agreed to abstain from buying gifts and instead just enjoy each other’s company.  We chose Moxie’s as our restaurant and the food was quite good.  I was smart and just stuck to a salad..good choice because it was quite filling!

But, oh the eating!  Today we had a pizza lunch to celebrate some team birthdays; next week will be our team Christmas luncheon and then the following week yet another big lunch for our whole centre.  Then we have the always available candies and treats, of which I am a guilty party.  So what’s my point?   We eat too much!  And then we sit at our desks and in our cars for most of the day.  Anyone see a problem with this?   I haven’t even mentioned the family get togethers over the holidays!  Even as I write this I have a container of chocolate covered almonds at the ready.   I think enough is enough and a change, for myself, needs to be implemented.

Well enough of that topic for now. Also on my list is trying to do something about my procrastination.

November is leaving us on  a wet and dreary note.  We had a brief taste of winter over the weekend, and flurries are in the forecast for tomorrow.  Although I’m not a winter person, I do like to see a good covering of the white stuff for the Christmas season..but after that…be gone!  My apologies to those who love to ski and snowmobile.  I’ll take a compromise if it could be arranged that it snows everywhere but on the roads.  Sounds reasonable, don’t you think?  Well I suppose the weather will be what it will be and we just have to adapt.

And so tomorrow is the first of December and the end of 2010 won’t be far behind.  A time for resolutions perhaps (see above re the eating),  and wondering what 2011 will bring.  I’m sure there will be more contemplation on that the closer we get to New Year’s Eve.

And on top of everything else, all the holiday activities cut into quality writing time!  And you thought I wasn’t going to even mention anything Jamie Tremain related.  Pam and I talked this morning about how difficult it seems to be of late, and how when the New Year starts we must  make a concerted effort to get into a productive routine.  So now  the implied commitment is here in writing for all to see and any motivation or encouragement from our followers would be greatly appreciated!

This has been a bit of a ramble..no apologies.  Now that my dinner has digested somewhat, I think I can say goodnight and

Cheers!

Liz

Sunday, November 14, 2010

FOG VS MIST

I promised not to write about the weather again but it is impossible not to mention. The weather affects my life in so many ways. My moods, what I am going to wear and even what direction I am going for any given day. Let me explain....

Friday night and I was looking forward to an evening with my girlfriends. Changed out of work clothes and glammed up a bit. Nothing fancy. Ignoring the warning.... "It's bad out there" from the resident pessimist I drove off. I had only gone about 400 yards when I realized it was not my implanted cataracts failing me but white tendrils of thick as pea soup FOG. I am terrified of fog. I had heard the weather forcasts but was thinking maybe heavy mist, but no, this was the stuff where you can't see 10 feet in front of you and only see traffic lights when you arrive at them. I made it to my left hand turn onto the main hwy and proceeded to travel at a snails pace. Needless to say lots of cars whizzed by on either side of me.

Usually an optimist and sometimes foolhardy, I decided to head for home instead of 30minutes of nerve wracking, nail biting tension. It took another 20 minutes to find my way but was very glad to make it home. I heard later that I missed a lovely evening. How did they all make it? Must be no fog in their part of the world.

Saturday fared a little better. A planned day in Guelph revising with Liz. It started off with more fog. I dropped my husband off at the local College where he takes an Art class.He was full of dire warnings about the weather. I told you I was foolhardy. It was daylight so...... Well, it took 25 minutes to drive to the 401 hwy that usually takes ten minutes. I could not see to turn around so I decided to go on the hwy and come off at the next exit and try to head for home.

Halleluia, as I drove onto the 401 the sun broke through and no more fog. The rest of the journey was bathed in sunlight and blue skies. Not much traffic.. (they all stayed home because of the fog no doubt). I made good time and arrived at ten when I said I would.

Lovely day in Guelph and very productive. We worked steady for nearly six hours with a break for a lovely omlette lunch. We managed to revise another three chapters and were really on a roll. Cutting and adding and rearranging a few details and when we finished we were well pleased. Liz has her work cut out for her with the rewrite while I will continue with a different synopsis adding a few more details.

We have not given ourselves a deadline but if we can get together every few weeks we can make better progress.

My reading these last few weeks has been mainly magazines such as "The Writer" and "Poets and Writers" looking for contests that we could enter. Lots out there so I will follow up with those. Hope to pick up a couple of books this week. Mary Jane Maffini , a delighful and funny lady I met at Bloody Words is very prolific and has three series in print. Fiona Silk, Camilla MacPhee and Charlotte Adams. Check her website http://www.maryjanemaffini.ca/ for more details.
Another is R.J.Harlick http://www.rjharlick.ca/index.htm with her Meg Harris mysteries. R.J's latest is "Artic Blue Death" and she has a new one in the spring of 2011 called "A Green Place for Dying" Check them out.

Busy week ahead at work but plan on writing at least two or three evenings.
Weather today is typical November weather. Dreich as they say in Scotland. It says it all but as long as there is no fog I will take dreich any day.

Talk soon,
Slainte,
Pam

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

True Crime

Phew!  I’ve just finished reading “True Crime” by Andrew Klavan and I can’t remember the last time I read a book with such a mixture of dread and anticipation as the ending drew near.  As one of the reviewers stated…”a harrowing portrait of a killer’s final hours.”.   If you’re familiar with Dead Man Walking you’ll get my drift.  I don’t want to give away the ending, but if you enjoy a book that keeps you riveted this is a story for you.   At more than one point in the story I debated whether to just stop reading it because I didn’t want to face the outcome.  However my sense of “obligation” to finish reading what I started won out, and with a sense of relief I can now put it to rest! 

And now for something completely different!

Thursday marks Remembrance Day; a day which I hold in very high esteem. War is always such a huge tragedy on so many fronts (no pun intended) and affecting so many lives. We who are privileged to live in this amazing country of Canada owe a tremendous debt to those of our veterans who sacrificed so much in order for us to enjoy the freedoms we have today.  Please wear a poppy and take some time on November 11 to reflect upon the meaning of Remembrance Day.  How very different our lives might be today if the outcome of past conflicts had gone another route.

November, so far, has provided some glorious autumn days.  Rather than the gloom and dampness so typical of this time of year, one could almost  imagine its Spring on the way and not old man Winter.

Pam and I are hoping for another day of writing this coming Saturday, although she has been fighting a miserable cold this week and I’m getting over a cough.  So we’ll see.

The new addition to the household, Winston, had discovered its much easier to pee in the bathtub than head down two flights of stairs to the basement where he should be going! Hopefully once he is neutered later this month this new habit will be curtailed.  Still it could be worse I suppose, at least it’s the tub and not one of the new dining room chairs.

Well that’s about all the thoughts I have for today…so from True Crime to almost bedtime….I’ll just say

Cheers!

Liz

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween

Halloween

Tis that time of year once again, and while I’m not a fan of the occasion, I like seeing the small children (under the age of 10) get excited about their costumes and forthcoming treats to anticipate.  Too often though the night is used as an excuse for those with too much time on their hands to be destructive and downright mean.  This evening will find me once again behind darkened windows waiting for the event to be done.  And hoping that my vulnerable car will survive unscathed.

I was able to enjoy an unexpected sleep-over with 2 of my grandsons last night so that their parents could attend a costume party.  Before they left I was able to provide them with some early candy treats as I won’t be seeing them dressed up this evening.

Every year at work it seems that people get more and more creative with the decorating theme of Halloween; it certainly has become a huge commercial venture.  The team where Pam and I work  did a spook-tacular  job of decorating, even winning the Best Decorated department contest held on Friday.  Personally I’m much more looking forward to decorating for Christmas!

A few rebel snow flurries made their appearance this morning, and the furnace is getting more of a workout as the days grow shorter and colder.  November has never been a favourite month.  Its an in-between time,  with naked tree branches scratching against  leaden skies, and often rainy, dreary days fill in the time before a blanket of white makes things seem fresh and clean once again.

Weekend chores are done, so now I hope to turn to some more Body Perfect revising.   We revamped the opening pages of the story and will revise the opening excerpt here on the blog shortly.

I see a pot of tea and shortbread cookies have arrived – a lovely treat to enjoy on a Sunday afternoon, whether its Halloween or not.

Cheers!

Liz

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Back to the First Five Pages!

I decided to skip the IFOA at Harbour Front ( International Festival of Authors)this year as Liz and I needed to concentrate on our own writing. I usually go religiously to see my favourites, i.e. Louise Penny, Giles Blunt and Peter Robinson to name but a few excellent mystery/crime writers, especially since this genre is getting more and more exposure. Maybe next year.

Instead I arrived in Guelph to spend the day with Liz. I was greeted by two enormous cats, one middle size and later by the new kitten. I am not particulary a cat lover so we said hullo and left it at that. Settling with a pot of tea we made good progress over the next six hours with just a stop for a lovely lunch.

It was like starting all over again as we were on page one and made quite a few revisions at the beginning. After a while it started to flow, taking some words out here and adding others. We managed three chapters and I left it in Liz's capable hands to do the revisions on Word. (She types faster than me). It was fun acting it out and putting yourself in the place of the characters. We will be watching for the domino effect. When we meet again in two weeks time we will accelerate the rest of the revisions and work on the ending chapter that may or may not need some changes. After that there will be a polishing read through and then we can start sending out queries.

We can't do a blog without mentioning the weather and I enjoyed the drive to Liz's home yesterday. After a frost and much rain recently all the trees are in their glory. I have a Linden tree outside my office window and it is all yellow and gold. Beautiful! I know... along with all this it is dark in the mornings and will soon be dark on the way home from work as well. Time for the fireplace and cosy undershirts.

Only nine weeks until Christmas!! Oops, sorry, we have Halloween first.

Okay, time for the fire and a read of Louise Penny's latest in the Armand Gamache series. "Bury your Dead" . http://louisepenny.blogspot.com/
I am in the home stretch and have to get back to it. Not going to tell you a thing about it but just to say it's her best yet. Go buy it!

Just read John Moss's blog, http://johnmossmysteryblog.blogspot about the Thousand Islands Writers Festival he just attended. Might check that out for next year. Read his Quinn & Morgan mystery series. R.J. Harlick was also there. I like her Meg Harris series. http://rjharlick.blogspot.com/

Talk soon,
Slainte,
Pam

Friday, October 15, 2010

October - And the Frost is on the Pumpkins

How did it get to be the middle of October already?  Is there someone I can complain to about time speeding by?

And this comes as a week off work draws to a close.  Beautiful weather for the most part, chilly and frost heavy mornings leading to pleasant afternoons.  The evenings draw dark so much earlier now and when I struggle to awake on a darkened morning I can endorse the ancestors’ view of sleeping when it is dark and working in the light!  At times that sounds mighty civilized to me.

The First draft of Body Perfect is basically done.  The last chapter has now revealed gaps  made apparent with some recent changes made along the way.  Pam and I have tentatively booked a Saturday to see how much revising Draft One will need.  I’d like to be optimistic and say none, but realistically I’m pretty sure that won’t be the case. However it will be good to start from page one and see how the story, and characters, have grown.

A new member of the family  has been welcomed into the household since I last wrote – Winston is a 10 week old rescue kitten.  Really, it was only a stop for cat food at PetSmart!




His cage labelled him as being very shy and needing time to get used to humans.  He had been there about 3 weeks along with his brother, whom he hid behind until he was adopted.  Shy he is, but he is making progress and likes to sleep next to me.  The challenge is getting him to the vet for a checkup.  Yesterday’s appointment came and went as he wouldn’t cooperate with being rounded up and put in the pet carrier.  Can’t imagine why not!  So another appointment is booked for two hours from now; needless to say the first opportunity presented to catch him will not be wasted!

And some kudos to the Brick Furniture company as well are in order.  Recently a dining set was ordered – table and 6 chairs, all needing assembly.  The chairs were fine, but when the table was unpacked a good sized gouge was discovered along the table top edge.  Dreading to make a call to complain (after recent battles with Bell Canada) I spoke to a representative.  No hesitation on replacement, and I was even told that I could go ahead and finish assembling the table and use it until the replacement arrived.  They would even deliver straight to the house; normally items are delivered to the local outlet and customers go and pick up their purchases to take home.   The replacement arrived when promised and the driver even took the time to assemble it!    I’m still waiting on a dresser to arrive, and once that’s here and set up, I intend to let the Brick know that they do have a very happy customer.  So easy to complain, and easy to not bother commenting when something does go right.

So aside from an oil change, and installation of snow tires on my vehicle, it hasn’t been a very exciting week off work.  But it has been a rest from work and that is the main purpose I suppose.  Managed to finish reading Linwood Barclay’s “Never Look Away”.  Wow…what a thriller, so many twists and turns.  I hated putting it down and stayed awake till midnight last night to finish.  Excellent story and keeps you turning the pages!

Well kitten catching time approaches, and as the sun rises higher the frost is melting away.  I’m thinking it’s time to find the ice scraper for the car before Monday arrives.

Have a great weekend.

Cheers!

Liz

Sunday, September 26, 2010











My to-do list was very long and I was not sure I had the energy or the inclination to get much or any of it done. I answered a few emails, threw on some laundry and took some pork chops out of the freezer for dinner. Now I could do what I really wanted to do. Every year I attend the "Word on the Street" It takes place all across the country and every Fall I take the train to Toronto to meet up with and listen to some of my favourite Authors. It's a nice relaxing way to get some inspiration and motivation of which I am in dire need of.

I decided to go to Kitchener instead of Toronto as I don't mind driving and I like to see the colours in the country. I Googled the directions..... but I still got lost when I arrived in Kitchener.
I have not been there for 40 years or so and I forgot how large a city it is. It should have taken me an hour but it was more like 2hours and 20 mins. I did stop for lunch as I had to get directions. Then I needed gas so I asked a taxi driver where the park was and I finally made it.

It was worth the struggle to get there. GPS system is on my list for Christmas.

Victoria park is a stunning area of winding trails and small bridges over the Grand river. The tents were set up all along the river's edge and as I parked the car quite some distance to the tents I was able to enjoy the nature in the area. Small islands of trees were populated with nests of ducks , swans and of course Canada geese. Much to my suprise a Blue heron was fishing for his afternoon snack. Only the one and he did manage a large fish that soon went down the gullet.

When I made it over to the tents I was just in time to listen to the end of Louise Penny discuss her latest novel and read from it. It is called "Bury your Dead" . Set in Quebec City it still has my favourite gumshoe. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. Lovely man. I can't wait to get started on this latest from Louise.
I bought a book and stood in line for her to sign it and say a few words. We had a hug and she signed my book but by this time she was a little frazzled as the lineup was long. Just what every author wants. Lots of sales. I will let you know how this one turns out.

I would like to tell you that I made it home in a hour but...well I was cruising along nicely on the 401 hwy when I spied Guelph Line and thought I would head home that way but I seemed to be off in the wrong direction again. But I did get to see some wonderful colours in the trees and not just your usual sheep and cows but LLamas and Alpaca's and directions to a Bison farm where you could partake of a ride on one if you so choose!!! Must take a note of that for the next time I am bored.

I do have some pictures of my adventures today but as usual I will have to spend some time trying to figure out how to put them on here.
Well it has finally taken me almost as long to put these two pictures on here as it took me to drive to Kitchener. Not my forte.
I enjoyed the rest of the event and hopefully Liz and I will be there soon to sell you our wee baby.
Talk later,
Slainte,
Pam

Friday, September 17, 2010

Cooler Temperatures + Time Off = Writing Productivity

I've been enjoying a few days away from work. How nice not to have to obey the alarm clock at 4:30!  Getting up by seven instead is wonderful.

Yesterday was a typical rainy fall day.  Damp (have to admit to firing up the furnace to take the chill off!) and grey all the day long.  However for me, that’s a bonus for writing. A mug of coffee and the patter of rain outside leads to an amazing spurt of activity in writing.

Since being home, I’ve revised three whole chapters of Body Perfect and am well into Chapter 19.  It’s flowing amazingly well and I have to admit I really do like these characters and love the storyline – can’t wait to finish Draft One and then Pam and I will have a day to review it from scratch together.  We’ve learned much from our numerous drafts with Madelaine and hope that translates into a more streamlined process with Body.

But I’m not going to be able to enjoy a full day at writing today unfortunately.   Several weeks ago, during my usual highway commute, another chip occurred in my windshield which has now grown to a very long crack.  So off to the glass repair shop I go in about an hour.  My daughter in law will drive me back home and then I’ll have to get back up there before 5 this afternoon to pick it up.  And yet another claim which won’t be going through insurance.  With the amount of highway driving I do, this is becoming a too often thing and its less costly in the long run to pay for it myself.

The weekend approaches – nothing really planned so hopefully I might be able to fit in some more writing.  Perhaps even finishing off the first draft before returning to work on Monday, who knows?  If the equation fits the result will be summed up in the next blog!

Enjoy the day.

Cheers!

Liz

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Summer's End

How quickly summer passed this year, but I am not sad to say goodbye to the heat and humidity which dominated July and August ; causing sleepless nights and grumpy days!

Yesterday was as if someone flipped a switch!  Friday had been another very warm day, but by Saturday morning the temperature had dipped to about 11 degrees Celsius and jackets or hoodies were the order of the day if you were outside.  And they had better have been waterproof too!   Bands of heavy showers swept through most of the day.    A planned outing to a local Fall Fair was abandoned due to the weather.

This morning I awoke, after the best night sleep in weeks, to sunshine and crisp air – my favourite type of weather!

Kids will be heading back to school on Monday and even though it has been MANY years since I have been part of that academic ritual, the start of school continues to signify a fresh beginning for me.  Not even January 1 carries the same weight in that regard.

A new (or clean and re-organzied) desk, unspoiled notebooks and a fresh assortment of writing utensils; whatever the age it can be a great motivator to work toward those goals we writers have.

Pam has enjoyed a week away from work and hopefully it has helped recharge her batteries after an extremely busy summer for her at work.   We do need to have a good day together to go over Body Perfect as its first official draft is nearing completion.  I have a few days vacation this month as well and that will be a “no excuse” time for ensuring it is complete .

Wherever you are, I hope the weather is to your liking, because I’m certainly enjoying mine. And if this is a long weekend for you – enjoy and be safe.

Cheers!
Liz

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Grow old with me,the best is yet to come. quote by, Robert Browning

September is more a new beginning than the New Year or Spring to me. Out with the old and in with the new. I love the weather.. cool nights, no humidity and the colours in nature, wonderful. And of course fall fashions, fall fairs and a harvest of yummy thanksgiving veggies.

It is also the start of the yearly book launches. Those who were fortunate enough to publish their books go on tour to sell and promote. I would like to say Liz and I are amongst them but alas we have been stagnant this past six months and on a bit of a hiatus.

Trying to keep cool on my vacation this week during the "extreme heat alert" these past few days was hard but I managed that by hanging out at the local shopping mall to drool over the fall outfits . I was supposed to be buying clothes for Riley, my 15 year old grandson and I did manage to fill his quota from a list of must haves. We cleaned out a closet of clothes that no longer fitted and I can believe it as he is now 6ft 2inches. Must be in our water! Is that the reason why I have put on weight??.... better stop drinking our water!I think I shrunk but went outwards!

I have kept up with the blogs I follow of different Canadian authors and if they are going on tour with a new book it is well deserved. The amount of work they put into their craft is essential. To be prolific in this field is not something that just happens, you have to work at it.

So where does that leave Jamie Tremain?

The hot weather is almost behind us... Liz is now settled in her new place... I have gone through a period of adjustment with Riley and we have settled down. I am moving my office to have some peace and quiet with no distractions so I won't have an excuse for not churning out the next Canadian masterpiece.
I will get together with Liz soon to play catch up and finalize Body Perfect before sending out our query letters.

I have a good feeling about 2011 so wish us well.

Talk soon,

Slainte,
Pam

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Canadian wimps!

If Liz and I had any followers of this blog then they must be long gone. I would like to say that we have been busy writing , revising and getting our books published but I would be telling a huge fib.
To tell you the truth neither Liz nor I can take the warm weather and it leaves both of us drained. Liz is having a harder time than I as she has no air conditioning. Now those of you that live in countries where air conditioning is not the norm must be laughing at the wimps here in Canada. But the humid index today was at 40 degrees and I just ran from my office through the underground parking and the first thing I did was turn on the air. It takes a couple of minutes to reach me and ...bliss. Without it, it feels like sitting in a tin can or an oven. Arriving at home about 30 minutes later, nicely cooled, no sweat, I darted from the car into my airconditioned house. No oven for dinner. that is why we barbecue so much here.

Enough about the weather. It appears to be a Canadian pastime, predicting the weather that is. I think the weather reporters should stop telling us how hot it is and then we would not notice. Maybe.

I have finished reading all the books and more that I brought back from the Bloody Words conference. Nearly all Canadian authors and each book quite different apart from the fact they all had dead bodies in them. I made notes on most of them to learn a few secrets on pacing and decription. Watching dialogue and plotting. A problem I have is how to end a story and they were as varied as having a good beginning to keep the reader interested.

All is not lost as Liz and I still meet for a confab at lunch time (in our air-conditioned cafeteria) where we discuss the merits of books we have read and where we will take ours to...Just as soon as our mushy brains cool down and we can think again.

Talk soon,

Slainte,
Pam

Saturday, July 17, 2010

More of The Same!

Almost three weeks since Pam wrote, and it’s STILL hot, humid and uncomfortable.  So draining.  Intermittent thunderstorms have not really cleared the air as hoped for and so we continue to swelter.  There is no little envy on my part for those of you who have air conditioning.

But enough of the weather!    And I won't even mention problems that have been ongoing with the internet connection at this new address....

July has been a busy month at work and at home.  Here at home I continue to try and get organized after moving at the end of June.  The weather plays a big part in hampering efforts to get to those remaining boxes. Just thinking about unpacking is enough to start the sticky uncomfortableness the humidity brings. Pictures still need to be hung and bookshelves need organizing, but at least my library is unpacked.  I always think it feels like home once familiar authors and favourite tales have once again taken up residence around me.

Progress today though has come in the assembly of a much needed kitchen pantry unit.  Never believe those three little words on the exterior packaging….”Easy to assemble”.  Need I say more?  However after several hours of hard work, the unit now stands ready to be filled with the contents of some of those yet-to-be-unpacked boxes.


Pam has been literally run off her feet at work with one event (charity or social) after another. Hopefully she is enjoying a restful weekend as I write!  So many people at work have come to depend on her for everything from coffee runs to organizing day long company events.  And all with a smile – most of the time.

I am determined to take some time tomorrow to turn my creativity back to Body Perfect.  It has been too long away from this fun adventure and I am missing Paul and Dorothy!

This evening though I will be attending a gathering of family and friends as we celebrate my son and his wife’s 30th birthdays.  Hmmmm…the hall will be air conditioned, won’t it?

Enjoy the rest of the weekend and stay cool.
Cheers!
Liz

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Crazy,Lazy days of summer!

It's hot , humid and uncomfortable. This is not my kind of weather at all. I have moved from the comfort of my lounger in the shade all day as I can't find a nice breeze to keep me there. So I sit in the living room with airconditioning blasting and an overhead fan blowing. Talk about consumer consumption in overdrive! Then when I start to shiver I move back to my spot in the shade where I at least have some chipmunks to keep me company as I read my third book this week that was on my list.

Two Canadians and one South African. I enjoyed all of them. I read Giles Blunt's new book in two days and as it is not going to be published until next month I don't want to give anything away. It is called "Crime Machine" Look for it in August.John Cardinal is back and better than ever. If you are a fan you will love it.

Linwood Barclay can do no wrong in my book. The suspense builts until I have to say enough already, I really have to get to sleep and then I read another chapter.... His latest is called "Never look away". Super. Could not put it down.

I have not read any Deon Meyer and know nothing about South Africa. I met him at Bloody Words and we were all given one of his books. This one is called "Blood Safari" I was determined not to like it. I don't know why. One of those predudices coming to the fore. What can I say!!!
Superlatives seem meaningless as the writing was beautiful and insightful and the way he brought in the back-story was brilliant. It is surely a troubled country but I would still like to make a journey there some day.

Neeedless to say I did not do much else on my weeks vacation. I did manage to revise from chapter 14-21 of Body Perfect. I cut a few words or sentences and added a few others. Nothing drastic as we both feel the story line is as we want it to be but there is always room for improvement. Now that Liz has settled into her new home we should be able to get moving and say we are done-then try to get an agent to pick it up.

Lots going on in this part of the world with the G20 and G8 on our doorsteps. I don't want to get into the politics of it all in this blog but I was saddened by what happened downtown Toronto. No longer feels like Toronto the good. The World Cup Soccer & Wimbledon are very prominent in our house at the moment and I for one will be glad when it is all over. Have I mentioned I am not a sports fan?

Liz has been covering for me at work and I thank her for that. I don't have another break until the end of August and then I have 10 days leading up to Labour Day. Thank goodness the office is air-conditioned. And the car. I sound very spoiled but it's what I am used to and come unglued without it.

I will let you know how we fare finishing up the revisions.

Talk soon,

Slainte,
Pam

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Well done Pam!

Great photos Pam!   And a super write up on your time spent at Bloody Words this year…here’s looking forward to 2011 in Victoria!  I'm so glad you represented Jamie Tremain at this year's venue and networked enough for the both of us.

Pam has also been honing her interview skills lately.  As may have been mentioned before, I edit a newsletter for our department each month.  The usual social information of birthdays and anniversaries, plus some health or computer tips.  Last month Pam took it upon herself to interview two of our staff and submitted very nice write ups for those interviewed.  Many positive compliments have been received and those chosen for next month’s interviews seem quite flattered by the attention. It’s a wonderful way for us to get to know each other – we number about two hundred – and perhaps see others in a different, non-work related, light.

Hard to believe we are now into the month of June, accompanied by thunderstorms and far too frequent humidity.  Although the rain today seems to have lowered the temperature some…perhaps a better night’s sleep may be in store for yours truly.

Right now amidst packing and organizing for my upcoming move, I am reading “Burden of Memory” by Vicki Delany.  This is the second book I've read by this author and I am really enjoying the tale; its hard to put down.   I’ve had to keep out one or two books to tide me over until the unpacking can begin later this month.  And not in small part due to the fact that (horror of horrors!) I will be offline for just over a week.  I look forward very much to organizing a new office space and feel confident it will be a good motivator to wrap up the first draft of Body Perfect.

As well this is a busy social month, my granddaughter’s 5th birthday; my daughter’s birthday (just a little older than five!); some good friends as well.  Not to mention Father’s Day on the 20th!  Get your shares in those greeting card companies asap.

Time to call it a night and return to “Burden of Memory” for a chapter or two before lights out.

Good night and cheers.

Liz

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Images from Bloody Words

Giles Blunt was the Canadian Guest of Honour
This picture was taken at the "Sisters in Crime Luncheon". Deon Meyers from South Africa reads from his latest thriller "Thirteen Hours".
Ross Pennie an Infectious Disease Doctor who has written his first medical mystery, "Tainted". He also has a memior of Papau New Guinea. " The Unforgiving Tide"
Pam and Anthony Bidulka author of the Russell Quant Series
Pam & Robert Landori the author of "Fatal Greed". His new book is coming out shortly. Sorry, name escapes me.
Vicki Delaney sporting her Victorian hat to promote her Klondike series. This is an example of my bad photography. Sorry Vicki.
Pam & R.J. Harlick at the banquet. Robin is the author of the Meg Harris series.

This is a picture of Caro Soles and her friend Boney Pete. Caro started Bloody Words in 1999. I attended a three hour class on Sunday morning with her. Planning and plotting. Excellent.






This is just a few of the images from the convention. Photography is not my forte, so lets hope my writing is better.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Bloody Words X

Since last I wrote the weather has taken a change for the better here in Southern Ontario. Dry, sunny, hot and temperatures in the high 20's. My five day vacation from my work at the bank was spent at the Hilton Hotel enjoying the Bloody Words conference in Toronto. Not to give the wrong impression, I have to tell you I did not stay at the hotel as I am not making the big bucks yet!!!

What a well run conference this was and very exciting to meet many of my favourite authors and listen to them in panel discussions and classes where I could learn some more about the craft of mystery and crime writing. It was lovely to meet others Liz and I had chatted with last year in Ottawa and have them remember us and give encouragement. Many of the attendees do not write but are avid readers and of course without them who would buy the books. They run book clubs and work in libraries and reccomend books they themselves like.

Lots of networking with the passing of cards and book marks. Mystery writers are a friendly group and I talked to journalists and short story writers as well as script writers and film makers. This was the tenth anniversary of the conference so there was a party on the Friday evening and of course the banquet on the Saturday night with Linwood Barclay as MC. He was his usual humourous self and had us all in stiches.

www.linwoodbarclay.com/about.html . I can't wait to read his latest thriller- Never Look Away.


The Canadian guest of honour was the incomparible Giles Blunt. I was very fortunate that the dealers room gave me an uncorrected proof of his latest novel to come out in August called Crime Machine. Those of you who know his work will be glad that John Cardinal is back. http://www.gilesblunt.com/

Deon Meyer was the International guest of honour and he hails from South Africa. He also writes thrillers and the Guardian says "A hell of a thriller" to one of his books called "Blood Safari". That is also on my list. www.deonmeyer.com/bio/bio.html -

I am reading Vicki Delaney's Klondike series at the moment and attended a tea she had recently here in Oakville to promote the books. Very enjoyable.http://klondikeandtrafalgar.blogspot.com/


John Moss has finished his latest Quin and Morgan Mystery. Sorry John I have forgotten the name. Please check his blog for word of a launch date and the name.http://johnmossmysteryblog.blogspot.com/

I had a wonderful dinner companion in R.J.Harlick ( Robin)who writes the Meg Harris mysteries. She was a recent nominee for the Arthur Ellis award for best novel. Her recent book takes place in the Artic and she visited the wondrous Artic to do her research. It is called... "Artic Blue Death". http://rjharlick.blogspot.com/

There were many more authors that deserved to be mentioned like Pamela Callow and Rick Moffina. Rick Bletcha and a young fellow by the name of Stephen Legault who is launching his second book "The Darkening Archipelago" next month. www.coleblackwater.com

I would be remiss if I did not mention my friend Anthony Bidulka who has just brought out his seventh book in the Russell Quant Mystery Series. His books are highly entertaining. Check out "Date with a Sheesha". I know you will enjoy reading them.
www.anthonybidulka.com/home.htm

Now when am I going to find the time to write myself if I have all this reading to do?I usually don't look forward to the first day back at work but I am looking forward to bringing Liz up to date on the happening with the Bloody gang.

I will chat later in the week.

Slainte,
Pam

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mothering Sunday

Mothering Sunday is what this day is called in Britain, but they celebrate mothers in March. To all you lovely mummies old and new, have a good day and I hope you are pampered and cossetted and your children make a fuss over over you.

My husband bought me a bottle of my favourite fragrance after I left an empty bottle on the dresser. Nothing subtle about me. I know, I am not his mummy but I did carry his three children for nine months!!! Whine, whine.Still to hear from the children!!

On the writing front I have been polishing the first three chapters of "Body Perfect" and just a few minutes ago received back from Liz her changes and agreement to mine. I will take those to the Bloody Words conference at the end of this month. Liz is not joining me as she is moving to a townhouse a few weeks after, so with the expense and all that moving entails she has decided to stay home and pack boxes. It won't be the same as Liz takes better notes than I do so it is up to me to schmooze and talk my fool head off to everyone, especially agents and publishers.

The is the tenth Anniversary of Bloody Words and there is a party on the Friday night . Saturday wil be very busy with workshops and classes all day and then a banquet at night where they give out the "Boney Pete" award. Sunday after a workshop I have booked a place at the luncheon for "Sisters in Crime" get together.

Cold but sunny day although they are calling for a snowfall!! Hail and heavy rain yesterday. It's early days yet for a summer. That's my excuse to stay out of the garden. Don't want the poor plants to die in a frost.

Talk soon,

Slainte,

Pam



Saturday, April 24, 2010

Printers ink and black hands!

The volcano in Iceland has stopped spewing ash and the travellers are back on track. The devastation in Haiti continues with families still living in tents and looking for their next meal. Local politicians are up to no good and the Mayoral race is heating up. And I get all this news before my breakfast.

I have always read the morning newspaper with my breakfast and there is nothing like reading the weekend paper before everyone wakes up. My first pot o’ tea of the day would not be the same without the smell of printers ink and my black hands marking everything in my wake. Even when it makes me late for work most mornings!

Maybe it is a generational thing. My colleagues at work, some a few decades younger and born into the age of computers and the Internet find it hard to understand why I don’t click on to my newspaper of choice and read all the news and weather, catch a short video of real time, 24 hours a day.

I feel the same way about books.

Discussing the publishing industry with a friend who has just finished her third book (in the paranormal genre,) she is trying to decide to publish her latest as an e –book. Well I am not quite ready for that yet. I know, I know, times are a-changing but I still see books as something tangible. My friend whipped out her I-phone and showed me what she was reading. Well, I will work on that but don’t look for Madelaine on line yet.

Today was a beautiful day and I spent it at a fashion show that was different from the norm. Put on by the Multiple Sclerosis Society they had a designer demonstrate clothes that were specifically made for women in wheelchairs. My friend Sandra, who has had MS for 42 years, was the model. The majority at the luncheon were either in wheelchairs or had walkers or canes and the crowd were made up of friends or relatives. I was with a party of seven very with it ladies. Ages were from 55-93 and such a well put together bunch. They had all been in the fashion business at one time or another, from retail women’s wear, direct selling of a major brand to company buyer of ladies wear. They were most impressed by the quality of the designs and the ingenuity behind them. It is enterprising women like this designer that makes living with MS just a little bit easier. Very enjoyable day.

Tomorrow the plan is to proof read the chapters Liz has been sending me. No decision has been made yet regarding the Bloody Words Conference but will decide this week as we have to book if we are going. Sounds like a great lineup.

Talk soon,
Slainte,
Pam

Friday, April 16, 2010

Happy Endings

Pam has written a great wrap up for Body Perfect.  As things stand now, we both really like the ending of this particular tale.  Now its up to me to continue with the in between bits – I’m up to revising Chapter 12 and Pam has finished at Chapter 21, so you can do the math!

Awoke feeling pretty lousy this morning, so for the first time in a long while, took a sick day.  Went back to bed after calling and leaving messages at work; the next four hours were probably the best sleep I’ve had all week.

So its nice to have this bonus of a day to relax.  When the batteries get low, sometimes you have no choice but to recharge.  And by clearing some chores out of the way today, I hope to have a good chunk of time tomorrow for Body Perfect.

Ideas are percolating for the next adventure of Paul and Dorothy, but before we start book number three, Pam and I both feel we need to definitely be more aware of plotting and research.  The past three years (already!!) have given us lots of practice and brought us into contact with a wealth of connections, resources, and well rounded advice.  None of which is to be taken lightly, but rather to be viewed as building more on the foundation we started with.  With optimistic enthusiasm,  Jamie Tremain will succeed. 

Remember, you read it here first.

Thanks again to our loyal readers and followers – don’t ever underestimate the value of your input and encouragement to both Pam and myself.

Enjoy your weekend and happy reading.

Cheers!
Liz

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Advances!!

Easter Saturday was cooler than it had been so Liz and I spent the day together at my place.It had been some time since we sat down and worked through issues regarding the stories and hashed out a plan of action. Action being the operative word ,just what is needed to finish "Body Perfect". Inaction on both our parts so.... we needed to focus and have a plan.

We settled in with the requisite pot of coffee and a bowl of chocolate easter eggs. The weather had been wonderful all week so we were glad it was cooler and great working weather.

"Madelaine" is finished but it is necessary to go back to the drawing board and work on the dialogue. An agent who read the manuscript enjoyed the story and the characters but the dialogue needs some work. A work in progress and we will get back to it shortly.

We decided to charge ahead with Body and finish the first draft . As much as we like Madelaine we just love our characters in "Body Perfect". They are so much fun to work with. The plan is to make this into a series so we need to plant enough information in the book to whet your appetite for more.

We worked out the name of a new business for our protagonists. Can't tell you yet! Managed 1000 words and could have done 2000 but Liz was having a problem with my laptop. She is a fast keyboarder and not used to the small keyboard. Frustrating for her but a productive day.
I am working on the ending chapter that has to lead into the beginning of the new book. Liz is busy with dialogue and cutting and adding to the first chapters.

I read recently that all writers should take an acting class. It s the best way to bring your characters to life. I was into amateur theatricals in my teens but I was always relegated to the prop or makeup department. Now Liz can tell a joke like no one else I know and she gets into character easily. It'sa little hard to do our acting out in the work cafeteria though.

I read today of the advance that Yann Martel received for his new book. $ 1 million.!!!He is the author of "The life of Pi" also Louise Penny just received the advances for her next two books.

Girls can dream can't they? Well I can't earn any money blethering away here so upward and onward and I will let you know when they send me the big cheque!.

Talk soon,

Slainte,
Pam