31 January 2011

Brains it is?

I'm writing a story for an anthology at the moment, and thought I would use a random word picker to mess about with the themes. I would roll the die a few times and see what combination of the themes I should use. It came out:

First roll - undead
Second roll - punk
Third roll - undead

Looks like the gods of randomness want a zombie story really badly. I have to decide now whether ignoring them would mean I wake up tomorrow as a zombie and have to propitiate them with an offering of brains. If my butcher can't get them I would have to give them the Old Git's, and nobody gets his brain until he's finished repairing the central heating. After that, we can talk.

25 January 2011

How kickass are you?

There is a subject close to my heart, that I rant about often in real life, but which I have never blogged about. Don’t know why, but here it is.

It’s a question for the girls: How kickass are you? Really?

I mean really really. Physically.

I’m not talking about how you don’t take crap from anyone in your personal life or how gutsy you are in business, or how you manage your life. I’m talking serious, physical fighting. How strong are you?

Have you uncovered fightin’ skills you never knew you had, donned leather pants and gone out to take the world on?

How many times have you even been put in a situation where you had to discover how kickass you really are?

I have.

And that’s why I love urban fantasy, heck I write it, but I'm tired of reading about kickass women, and I doubt I will ever write one into a story.

Once upon a time, I was an environmental health officer. Probably not the best one out there by a very long way, but I cared a whole lot about the people whose problems the council employed me to solve. Neighbour making your life a misery with noise? I was your woman (if I had some evidence to prove it, which is a *whole* other story).

So, when I went out a-gathering evidence for noise nuisance and sat in someone’s flat listening to thumping bass downstairs, and read his diary of recent noise events and saw the exhaustion on his face and the anti-depressants on his table to match it, I was on the job. Go downstairs, talk to the budding home DJ, warn him that the music level had to come down or he’d be getting a piece of paper from me that said in flowery legal words, shut up or we’ll see you in court.

Rosie saves the day, right?

Except my budding DJ, who was oh so friendly at the door, had a little anger management problem as well as some other psychiatric issues. My budding DJ lost the plot when our friendly conversation didn’t lead to permission to play his music as loud as he wanted because his decks ‘are really important to him’.

And my budding DJ, who was about a head shorter than me and weighed a damn sight less, managed to overpower me, stop me leaving even though I was right next to the door, and lock me in while he threw his decks out of the window in a rage.

I, the council enforcer who was paid to take no crap and had received two days of self defence training from my employer a few years before, could do nothing but stand at the doorway and say, “Please let me out, you’re frightening me,” until he calmed down and opened the door.

Bad, bad day at work. He was prosecuted for false imprisonment. I quit the profession and went on to do something that doesn’t make me nauseous with stress in the mornings. All over. Happy ending.

But I occasionally get comments, friendly ones, about my female characters being weak. They hide instead of fight. They don’t come out slugging. That’s because I *know* that a lot of ordinary women just won’t have the strength, pound for pound, to physically take on an angry man, and won’t discover some secret reservoir of physical kick-assity to make up for it.

Discovering the reality led to a change in the way I look at life and people. To me, kickassity (if it isn't a word, it should be) is another impossible standard, like beauty, that makes me feel diminished in comparison.

21 January 2011

Paw down time

A couple of weeks ago our dog numbers doubled overnight to four as we looked after some of our friend's dogs while they went to the States for a funeral. They were beautifully behaved, but I had forgotten the wading motion you use in the kitchen when you have four dogs milling around your feet. Not going back to four dogs again, no sirree.

What tickled me was the way that our two boys sat back and let the girl visitors take over their beds and special spots, such as next to my bed while I use my laptop. Youngest girl visitor welded herself to my side and my dog, Buzzy, just let her get on with it.

For a while.

After the first week, the boys decided that clearly the girls were permanent additions to the household, and things had to change. Suddenly, Buzzy was in the spot next to my bed even if he had to sit on youngest girl visitor to get there, and he reclaimed his bed. Youngest girl visitor whinged all night, but had to find somewhere else to sleep. The Old Git's dog, Buddy, decided he had to sleep in the bedroom when he's normally happy downstairs. The paw was put down. Hard.

The girls just went home. The boys are celebrating.

19 January 2011

TBR Challenge 2011 - January

Paperback, Arrow Books, 2007

Dr Temperance Brennan is on an archeological dig on Dewees Island when her students find a set of remains a lot fresher than the rest. She finds herself the de facto coroner for the investigation as she covers for her friend, Emma, who is fighting a life-threatening illness. Just to complicate matters, her ex-husband and her current lover turn up to share the house she is staying at in an uncomfortable triangle. One body becomes two, then three, and her suspicions turn to the local free health clinic and the doctor there. When her ex-husband is shot, the threats come close to home.

I like the older and wiser Tempe much more than her youthful TV counterpart, Bones. She is engaged with the world, with her grown up daughter and her endearing but unfaithful ex-husband, and with her tentative new relationship with a Montreal detective. Kathy Reichs kept the mystery cracking along while still giving plenty of time to Tempe's personal life and her struggle to put aside the affection she still feels for her husband despite the end of their marriage. The characters were interesting, although Boyd the dog stole every scene he was in, and I remained interested to the end.

I have read one other book by Reichs, Fatal Voyage, and I had a slight problem with the book in that I had a nagging suspicion through the first third that I might already have read it, when in fact it was Fatal Voyage I had read. I don't think I would want to read the whole series, because forensics only hold a certain amount of interest for me. I hope that Tempe and Ryan can make their relationship work, but I don't plan to buy more books to find out.

I give it a 3.5/5.

First one down. For February, release the Kraken.


13 January 2011

The Further Adventures of Freddy and Jason

Last year, The Boy and I wrote a story together. Freddy's Itchy Bottom was a riot to write, and one of the best things we have ever done together. I am no education expert but seriously, try it with your kids. It brought his literacy back from the grave of lost small boy interest. I printed and bound a couple of copies and he is sooo proud of them.

He wants to do another one, and since the second draft of my solo endeavour is out for critique at the moment, tonight seemed a good time to start.

He has blown me away. We plotted out the first section tonight in lieu of a bedtime story, and only stopped because it's a school night. It is going to be a wild adventure of secret treasure, a race to find it and pranks. Many, many pranks.

I can't wait.

08 January 2011


Image courtesy of Mark du Toit

Good day today. Really good day.

1. The second draft of the novel is finished and out for crit. Unless you count the rewrite which happens in between pen and paper and the keyboard, in which case it's the third. No matter. Point is, time for a few days off and that thing called life. First step, render the house fit for human habitation again. That deadline led to some serious lifestyle collateral damage.

2. Unexpected pressie arrived from bestest writing buddy in the post. I'll be reading Magical Words and reviewing in due course.

3. The Old Git has just installed me an in-the-wall vacuum cleaner. I have wanted one of these for years. Just plug the hose in the wall and away I go. I have been using his builder's cleaner, Henry, for five years since the Vax died from dog hair abuse.

4. The Boy ate spinach tonight for the first time and loved it. Small Boy + Leafy Green Vegetable = Major Maternal Score. I have a foolproof recipe for Spinach Pie that can convert the most die-hard green vegetable hater. It is bundled up with bacon, egg, onions and lots and lots of cheese (cottage and cheddar)  in a puff pasty case. It is yummy. And probably horrendously fattening, but the spinach cancels that out. In my humble opinion.

5. Big glass of madeira wine and China Mieville's Kraken next to me. I have been hoarding it as a reward for finishing the book, and it will be my February review for the TBR 2011 Challenge. January will be Break No Bones by Kathy Reichs, which I just finished.

On with the reading.

04 January 2011

So what kind of a blog am I?

Image courtesy of Mark du Toit

Last night I read an entry on Rachelle Gardner's blog about what she doesn't like to see on writer's blogs, to the extent that it might give her second thoughts about representing them, and it made me wonder what the purpose of this blog was. I wondered because of the last two categories:

- a writer whose blog has irregular and infrequent posts
- a blog that is really unfocused and doesn't know what it's about.

Um. Guilty. Of the first, definitely, and probably the second too.

I'm not seeking representation, because there's that whole pesky write a great book thing you have to do first, so first of all I guess it isn't a shop window. In six months I'll start sweating about that one, maybe.

I'm the last person in the world who should be dispensing writerly advice to people. I figure getting a clue is a necessary precursor before you start trying to influence other people, so that rules that one out too.

Links to useful advice and interesting things by other people? That would be cool. If I could find them. I'm usually the last to any given party. On a side note, it is a great tragedy that my good buddy En doesn't blog. She finds the best, most mind boggling links on the internet, ever. Maybe I could just pass them along and take the credit? Nah. Not cool.

I have many things I would love to blog about, but I think a measure of respect for your workplace and the people you encounter day to day is important. I have so many health inspector stories that go untold unless I'm with other health inspectors. Or tipsy. A table of health inspectors can clear a circle around them in a restaurant once they get going, especially if there's wine on the table.  

Nope, I think most of all, it's a way to keep up with friends I've made on posting boards that I drifted away from. People who liked my stories and encouraged me to keep going. I like to let them know what's going on, and to ramble on about The Old Git and The Boy, because I love them and find them endlessly interesting.

In the end it's not a writer's blog, just Rosie's blog, who may be a writer but is a lot of other things first. I can live with that.

03 January 2011

Coming out to play

I have built up a rather alarming to-be-read pile over the last year or so. Books that were given to me and books that I bought and forgot about are scattered all around the house, and I have promised myself a catch up session for a long time.

Then I found Wendy the Super Librarian's blog. She is hosting the TBR challenge this year, where you pick a book a month from your to-be-read pile and review it on your blog. Awesome idea. I am so in. I will be dipping into my hotch-potch of books, which are a mixture of SFF, chick-lit and thrillers, and jumping into the fray.

On a side note, Wendy has a list of librarian romances on her site. Who knew there were so many? Since my current WIP has a love affair with a librarian in it, I really had to come out and play. I consider it serendipity.

First review is due on the 19th. Time to pick over the pile and find somethhing to read.

01 January 2011

A year in Rosieland

There were high points and low points in Rosieland this year. Pictures feel like the way to go:


Goodnight Ted. We miss you.

Proud mother is proud.

Who says you can't make great friends on the internet?

13m drop + 41 year old mother = audible abject terror.

It snowed, and it snowed, and it snowed some more.

And finally, there was the labour of love and horror that morphed from a flash piece to a novel under the gentle whip hand of Hurricane Cathy. I didn't enter it in the competition in the end. Too many words in too short a time, and I wanted the time to polish it and make it as good as it can possibly be.      

58000 / 80000 words. 73% done!

2011 is the Year of Finish the Damn Book.