Welcome to the place where I rant, rave and discuss books, writing, the town of Cobourg Ontario and anything else that strikes my fancy.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Writing Prompt-and-Share #11

Time to get your rage on! Today's Prompt-and-Share On the theme of yesterday’s get-to-know-you post, have you or one of your characters vent, rant and rave about a pet peeve. Or describe a specific event involving your pet peeve. Either in your first person voice or in your character’s first person voice please. No more than 200 words for this piece please. (If you want a prompt with more leeway word-wise, check yesterday’s prompt)

My Submission: - It was a bright and sunny day as my good friend Ryan sat on my couch chatting to me as I stared out the window. We were discussing some random topic, exhausting the subject ad nauseum, when I noticed a man walking down the sidewalk.
I watched as he turned the corner, looked side to side and tossed a coke can on the green space lining a building. Anger welled up inside of me and escaped through a voice I did not recognize. “Pick that up” raged from my throat like a bear’s roar and carried out my window to the man’s ears. He looked around, he looked up. He walked back to his litter, probably 15 steps or so and picked up his can. He stopped and looked around again,and then carried on his way with his trash in his hand.
Did he think it was the voice of God speaking? Some random voice inside his head? Big Bother (or in this case, sister) watching? Regardless, I felt powerful, strong and just a little narcissistic. Maybe there is something to this assertive attitude everyone keeps talking about.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tara Tyler's Party Blogfest

It's Tara Tyler Talks anniversary, and to celebrate she's having a party styled blog fest. We each have to bring a dish, and it's recipe.

Now I'm a girl who does not cook. I can dial take-out like nobody else, but I loathe cooking. That said, I actually CAN cook, and quite well at that. When it comes to potlucks, parties and cook-outs, my dishes have been known to be licked clean. My pulled pork (which I actually use beef for), my score bars and my southwest pasta salad are always big hits. So for Tara's party I'm gonna serve up the salad. I wish I had a picture to share... but alas, the recipe will have to do.

Southwest BBQ Pasta Salad

1/2 cup Rancher's dressing
3 tbsp Bullseye BBQ sauce
4 cups pasta (the recipe originally called for macaroni, but I prefer to use the small short tubed pasta, like Ditalini.)
1 can black beans rinsed
2 tomatoes chopped (optional, but if you use it, add tomatoes just prior to serving)
1 orange, red or yellow pepper (I always use red)finely chopped
4 green onions finely chopped, or shallots, or onions
*can add grilled chicken or chapped ham, but I do not.

Mix dressing and bbq sauce in large bowl
Add remaining ingredients and mix lightly
Refrigerate for a few hours (if you leave it over night, the tastes mingle better and become more potent.)
Toss again before serving


Happy Anniversary Tara Tyler Talks - I just HAVE to mention, Tara's blog is one of my favorites to visit regularly.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Writing Prompt-and-Share #10

Prompt-and-Share: It is Monday so it’s time to start the week off write, err I mean right. Get your muses ready for a nice long look into yourselves or your characters. I’ll go a little easier on you folks tomorrow, but for today we are looking for pieces that range between 300 and 600 words. That’s right, room to get detailed! Here’s the prompt, dig deep my friends.
You or your character has been betrayed. Write out a scene of the betrayal from the Point-Of-View of the betrayer.

My Submission:

I knock on her door, and he answers it. Her sisters murderer, sleeping on her couch and she doesn’t even know. I can’t tell her. I want to tell her. I can’t tell her. She’s so sad, she’s beautiful when she’s sad. She’s always beautiful. Why did she leave me? How did I get myself into this?

I walk past him and his girlfriend in the hallway and enter the living room where she’s standing. She sees the blood dripping from my arms. He won’t leave. He thinks I’m going to tell her. He won’t leave.

“Oh my God, Bob what happened?” she asks reaching for my clawed-up arms. Her soft fingers touch me and I cringe at my betrayal.

“The cats, they didn’t go willingly.” I tell her about bringing the animals from the farmhouse to the shelter. My babies, my companions, abandoned. Her eyes are full of concern, she touches me, she wants to heal me. Her fingers are so soft. I pull back, I don’t deserve her compassion.

I start to cry. I want to yell out that I’m not a monster. I want her to cradle my head in her chest and console me like she used to. I want her to be mine again. I’ve lost so much. So much.

She sees the tears and urges the kid to leave, she’s all about manners and it’s rude to stare at a grown man cry. He shoots a dirty look at both of us before he leaves with his girl. I look at her, hoping for a sign. She’s hardened to me a little and I don’t know why. She thinks I’m crying for the animals, she doesn’t know.

Her face softens and a lost look takes over, “where’s my sister?” she asks in the sweetest saddest voice. It’s then that I notice the deep dark circles under her eyes, the pain in her face, and the suffering pallor of her skin. A wave of nausea runs through me as the horror she must be suffering from the last 10 days of searching for her sister hits me. My legs weaken and I almost collapse.

The tears are falling freely now, I put out my hands, pleading with her to read my mind, to just know so I don’t have to say it. She’ll forgive me won’t she? How could she forgive me for burying her sister, and lying about it all this time? Because she’s Nina, she is love and trust personified. She’ll understand. She’ll help me. I didn’t kill her sister after all, I just did the clean-up. Her sister was a bitch, she was crazy, Nina will understand. She’ll take care of it, she always took care of everything. I love you Nina.

I try to speak, “Nina, please,” I beg. “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.”

“Bob, I can’t help you right now. I’m at my wits end, I’m exhausted. I can’t console you, I can’t even console myself.” She said with anger.

It was like a smack of cold water hitting my face. In the 11 years we were together, she never showed anger. She’s never done this before. She’s never put herself or her feelings before mine. Is that why she left me in the first place, to learn to take care of herself before me? Well she’s learned something that’s for sure.

I straighten up and wipe away my tears. She looks ashamed and so tired.

“Okay, umm, okay, I gotta go,” I say and run for the door.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Writing Prompt-and-Share #9

Today's Prompt-and-Share: Pick an immediate family member (brother, sister, mother or father) and write from their Point-of-View how they feel about you as a person right now. This prompt can be used by a relative of one of your characters and how they feel about your character (this is a great character development and back story exercise).
Here's a song to get you in the mood for this prompt if you are choosing a family member that has passed away.

My Submission:

For my WIP. From my main character's father's POV

I stand beside her though she doesn’t see me. I smell her hair and she doesn’t feel me. I watch her tears and I can’t wipe them away. I speak but she can’t hear…

“My dearest Caroline, it’s torture for me to stand idly by and behold what you are doing to yourself, sweet child. You knew this was coming. You knew that death was hovering, anxious to relieve me of my pain and suffering. I fought him only for you, but I couldn’t fight forever.”

I want to hold her in my arms and soothe her splintered heart, rock her as I did when she was a babe, but alas I am no longer… I am no longer…

“You must stop obsessing, my darling child. Death is no place for the living to spend their days. You must stop Caroline, for when you look too deeply into the abyss, the abyss looks back into you. I can’t protect you on this path sweet girl. Watching your soul suffer, helpless to father you along the way, is a Hell beyond any nightmare I had imagined.”

Writing Prompt-and-Share #8

I forgot to post the Prompt-and-Share yesterday. Here it is - looking forward to seeing your submissions!

You or your character (or both) arrive in the proverbial Heaven and have the opportunity to ask "God" one question. In as many words as you like (or as little) what would you ask God? (Even if you aren't spiritual, or you are an atheist, play along)
Happy Saturday!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Trina's loss and my ramble

As I was bopping around on google+ today, I ran across a message of love for dogs and had to comment. It wasn't until I followed the link to Trina's blog that I realized the suffering she was going through. My heart bled tears of pain. This was my response to her post, if you could pop by and offer her some sort of condolences or words of comfort that would be very much appreciated. The post can be found on her blog here.

Dear Trina,

I'm so sorry Trina. I read the first line of loving your puppy forever and posted my reply before reading the blog. Now that I've read it, I'm ashamed of sharing my happy exuberance of puppy-life with you when your 4-legged loved one is suffering. I can imagine your heart breaking, your pain, your suffering, the ache in your soul, but I can't know exactly how you feel. Regardless, let me bore you with my own dog story and perhaps show you the light at the end of the tunnel. I wish I could be more linguistically prudent, but sadly I'm long-winded so bare with me.
Over a decade ago, my significant other and I decided not to have children, we would get a puppy. We will call the significant other Bob for now. I wanted a big dog so I could walk him on the city streets at night and not be afraid. I found my baby, loved him and named him Tiberius, Bear for short. He was my life, my love, my child.
Bob and I moved out into a farmhouse in the country and Bear was super-happy. Acres to run around on. He snuggled me at night and often would stretch his 160pound self and kick me out of the bed. He thought he was a lap dog and would try to sit like a human on the couch. I was convinced nobody had ever loved a dog more than I, except for Bob.
As life in the country went on, Bear got happier, and I got sadder. This was not the life for me, Bob wasn't the life for me, and I left our home. I moved to a small apartment that didn't allow dogs in a beautiful town. I would visit my baby regularly to clean his beautiful floppy ears and trim his toenails and get my lovins. I also visited the farmhouse because Bob and I were still close, and my sister and her son had moved into a section of the large house to help with the mortgage and get out of the city they were living in.
Now to make a long story, much less longer than it could be, 9 months after I left, my sister was murdered by Bob and my sister's son and buried in the backyard of my farmhouse. There was nowhere for Bear to go. He couldn't come with me, so he went to Bob's uncle's farm. I convinced myself this was the best thing for Bear, he would have room to run and other animals to play with. It broke my heart.
About a year later, Bob's uncle showed up at the courthouse during one of the trials with Bear. Bear didn't recognize me. I cried. I wept on the courthouse stairs in to my Best Friend's arms. Pulling myself together, I continued to try to remind Bear of who I was, when recognition finally clicked in his big brown eyes, he kissed me all over with his big sloppy tongue. It was during this lovefest that I noticed nobody had cleaned his ears. His toenails were too long. He wasn't the spoiled little prince I had raised him to be and my already shattered heart broke a little more.
Fast forward a year later. Without going into more detail about my role in the murder investigation and the events following it, let's just say my life had flipped upside down and my world was torn apart. No amount of therapy or medication was helping me. The only thing that pulled me out of these episodes of sorrow and horror was my mom's dog Cara. A small little fluffy shi-poo who loves to give kisses and cuddle and does the cutest things. My "babysitting" and visiting time spent with Cara became known as Carapy as oppose to Therapy. It worked better. My other sister and my mom and my therapist kept pushing me to get a dog of my own, because it seemed to be the one thing that cheered me up, made me smile, and forced me out of the house. I couldn't do it. The guilt over Bear was overwhelming. I felt I didn't deserve another puppy. I would forever punish myself for not being there for him at the end, for not following through my promise of "As long as I'm living my puppy you'll be."
Finally, about 4 months ago I pushed past the guilt, or pushed it to a far corner of my mind, forcing myself not to go there anymore. I started to look for my own puppy. It took a long time, a lot of effort from my sister, my mother and my friends - but finally I found a sweetheart who "fit". I had to run it by my landlord, and part of me hoped he would say no. He's a sweet guy though, and knows what I've been through and said as long as it was small and quiet, it was cool with him. Damn, I thought. Now what will the excuse be? Because even I knew my guilt was slightly misplaced - I was looking for reasons not to get a puppy at every twist and turn without admitting aloud that Bear was the real cause of my delay.
Regardless, two weeks ago I met Princess Trixie. A 6.8 pound pile of Pomeranian love and cuteness. I smiled so much that first day I had her in my arms, that my cheeks ached. So far, she is the ultimate form of therapy.
Now Trina, I know loss. I know loss in a way nobody should ever know loss. To love and lose is horrendous. To love and know eventually that you will watch your love suffer and die takes a special kind of courage. We all get a pet knowing somewhere deep inside that we will outlive them. The point is to love them while we have them, for they are truly special creatures.
When your heart heals a little, and the crisis passes, remember the good times with Maddie, the love and happiness she brought to you, and more importantly, the love and happiness you brought to her life.
It may not seem like it right now, but it's worth it.
Rant over.
My deepest regrets and biggest hugs to you and yours, plus a kiss on the nose for Maddie,
Nina Pelletier

Friday, August 26, 2011

Writing Prompt-and-Share #7

Today's Prompt -and -Share: In 200 words or less, describe something you or your character is passionate about. Feel free to submit two entries, one for you and one for your character. Your goal is to try to make us feel the passion your character or self feels about the topic you choose. Dig deep and good luck all:)

My Submission:

Beautiful, syllabled, amazing words.
Tell me something,
Make me feel
Take me to places unreal.
Fuel me, buzz me, make me high
Laugh, surrender and sometimes cry
Bold and strong and never shy.
Teach me, reach me,
Flow free.
Build worlds just for me.

By: Nina Pelletier

For more information on the Prompt-and-Share click here.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Writing Prompt-and-Share #6

Your Character shuffles loose the mortal coil for two minutes. (Let’s just assume they can be resuscitated after that). In 150 words or less, describe what your character sees or experiences during those two minutes. 1st person point of view please. Click here

for tips, tricks and rules on the Prompt-and-Share

It’s so quiet, too quiet. I’ve been in a sound proof room before, but it wasn’t this quiet. Something is missing. Something important is missing. It’s way too quiet. Don’t panic. Think. Breathe. Wait! That’s it. Oh my God. I’m not breathing. There’s no blood rushing to my head. There’s no heartbeat. There’s too much quiet.

Ok now is the time to panic. Go ahead Carrie, panic. Why aren’t I panicking? I don’t feel anything. Nothing at all. Am I sitting or standing or lying down? I can’t feel a surface. Am I floating? Dammit, why can’t I panic?

Yeah my character Carrie is a bit of a spaz.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Call For Submissions!

Call for submissions:
This letter was compiled by Drew Nicholson. Feel free to email him at drewishdrewid@gmail.com or myself at ninapower155@gmail.com for further information. To learn more about Prompt-and-Share click here.

To all writers, poets, parents, and people who are over ten years of age:

+Nina Pelletier and I are starting a new project, and we want your help! Every day, Nina posts a writing prompt for interested people, and today's was particularly evocative. You can see some examples in the comments of the post shared below, and here:


What are You Doing? Accepting Submissions for a free e-Chapbook

What areYou Looking For? 300 word or less letters to your ten year old self. Or stories about people writing a letter to their ten year old self. Or stories in reaction to the letters that others have written to their ten year old selves. Also, we're looking for art that can be used for breaking up pages, or being related to the subject.

When do You Want It? Ideally, as soon as possible. However, we will accept submissions till September 23rd.

How do We Do It? Go here: https://spreadsheets.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Ag53sJnzF2itdGhCUUNfaHZPN21ieHhSVDFhWGY3Z0E&hl=en_US and put in your information. Nina and I will circle you, and update you regularly with information on how, specifically, to submit. Since some people will choose to write stories about other people's letters, we'll be sharing a select group of said letters with the entire group.

What Will You Do With It? When submissions are complete, Nina and I will edit everything. We'll collate everything together into a nice PDF, with a nice cover, and put it up on the internets somewhere for free. People will be encouraged to make a donation, and the money that THEY donate will be donated to a literacy advocacy group. We're taking suggestions on what that group should be.

What if I Have More Questions? Reply to this post, or email us under our profiles!

Let's get started! This could be another really cool collaborative effort made on G+, the only social network that has such quality artists and writer

Writing Prompt-and-Share #5

Today's writing prompt was inspired by +Ayoub Khote 's "getting to know you" post. So today's prompt is going to be personal, I mean REALLY personal. We are going to get to know you a little (or a lot) by this one, and I have a feeling only the brave and courageous will join in (that wasn't me calling you chicken to make you do it)
Prompt and Share: In 300 words or less, write a letter to your 10 year old self.
For tips and tricks and rules on the Prompt-and-Share, visit http://bit.ly/rcsGtF

Dear Little Nina

There’s so much coming your way. First, give your dad a big hug, he will be gone before you know it. You’ll think you will know how to handle his death but trust me, you have no idea. Don’t start smoking, you won’t stop. Don’t go out with that Darren guy from English class, he’s not your friend and the night turns out very badly. Read a lot. Start writing journals today, trust me on this. Pay attention in English class.

Exercise your legs, get the muscles nice and strong so you don’t fall down and wind up in a wheelchair for 2 years. Love your sisters, one of them is going to leave you in a most horrendous way. Be extra kind to your nephew, it might make a difference, it might not, but it’s worth a try. Your mom is still the most amazing and strongest woman you’ll ever have the pleasure of knowing. You’ll meet a girl named Sibyl in grade 9 – make sure to keep her as a friend, she’s a good one and will stand by you through everything.

Actually Nina, ignore everything I told you not to do. Your life doesn’t turn out as you expect it would. You are not rich or famous, you aren’t super happy. Your soul hurts and your heart aches, but for good reasons. By the time you’re 34, you will have experienced more horror than any human should ever suffer, yet through your sorrow, you still find joy in the smallest things. You’ll need those experiences to make you who you are today. There’s a lot to be said for your character and the woman you’ve become. All in all, I’d say you turn out okay, and the ride is not over yet.

I wanted to add a little more, like telling my parents to invest in google and microsoft, but I already had to trim things up to stay within the word count.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Writing Prompt and Share #4

Yesterday’s prompt encouraged some really fun stories. Tara and Chris were fantastic. Today’s prompt is going to be quite different. We’ve all heard of how important the first sentence is to our piece. With that in mind, today’s prompt borrows the first line from bestselling novel “The Pillars of the Earth” by Ken Follett. In 200 words or less, tell a story with the opening line “The small boys came early to the hanging.”

My Submission:

The small boys came early to the hanging. Luc watched them from the cover of the oak tree while chewing on a piece of yellow grass. The children didn’t bother with anything in their surroundings save for the gallows which held their fascinated stares. He felt safe and hidden from view.

The square filled with people in intervals. The peasants were the first to join the small boys, followed by the wives of the merchants and finally the nobility. A hanging passed for entertainment in these parts, and through lack of other means, nobody wanted to miss out.

Leaning against the tree, Luc checked his matching blue kerchief and scarf, guaranteeing nothing was awry. He waited until the prisoner was brought out before standing upright. He watched as the boys scurried under the steps of the church to hide from their parents and still catch the show. Alert, he stayed hidden in the shadows as his kin was brought to the noose. He wondered with a smirk how his brother would get himself out of this mess.

Please remember to submit your story below, or the link to your story below in the comments section. And don't forget to add feedback folks! For rules, tips and tricks on the Prompt-and-Share click here.

About Writing Prompt-and-Share

As most of you have probably noticed, the writing Prompt-and-Share has picked up quite a few readers, not just on this blog but on other platforms as well. The Prompt-and-Share consists of me providing a prompt, and then you submitting a flash fiction/ short story related to that prompt. So here are a few tips and ideas regarding the Prompt-and-Share:

 Don’t dwell. This is not for perfection. Of course you should edit your work, but there is no need to dwell on it. There are new prompts coming up several times a week – so this is not a situation where you put your work aside for a month and then edit it.

 These prompts are for creativity purposes, for feedback and most importantly, for entertainment purposes. Please follow the guidelines, they are there for a reason (word count etc..)

 Keep a record of all your writing. Seriously, trust me on this. Whether it be in a folder on your computer, or printed out in a binder, you’ll want to keep these submissions. A suggestion from the ever-amazing Christine Gossnar, is to not only save your pieces, but also save the feedback you get for each of them. This could be of great value to yourself in the future.

 Want to help yourself get to know your characters for your WIP? Use the same character or characters for each prompt. Knowing what your character would do in different situations helps you to get to know them better. (And who knows, you might get a following on your character before your WIP is even published.)

 Give feedback! Everyone wants feedback. I was in a writing course where everyone was too nice to say anything critical about the writing of others. Let us not have that be the case here. Constructive Criticism is the key. If you like the work, be avid about sharing your likes. If something doesn’t work for you, explain why, but please be kind.

 If you like the Prompt, please +1 it. It's a small thing, but it's nice to see :)

 We will be exploring many different tips and tricks of writing through these prompts, which is a nice way to learn, practice and have fun.

 This is called Prompt-and-Share and was invented by yours truly. Please remember to be respectful of that. Pretty please.

 Prompt-and-Share means to SHARE! Even if you are shy, share, share, share! We WANT to see your work. We WANT to see what others do with the prompts. So pretty please SHARE! Share your stories, share the link, share it by posting the story on your own blog, share it with twitter, facebook etc. Share! Share! Share!

 Last and most importantly, HAVE FUN!!! Be crazy! Go all out! Whatever the means, have fun your way! Write on!

I’m loving how much this idea has caught on. A big special thanks to Tara for suggesting I add the prompts on here. Another special thanks to Chris for his contribution. And a very special thanks to all my google+ friends who’ve made this idea so much fun. Now get writing!!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Writing Prompt and Share

You can check out old prompts to the left under The Pages Within. Today's Writing Prompt: 200 words or less - You're a thief who just got caught breaking and entering in someone's home. Explain your side of the story in hopes of getting yourself out of the situation. (1st person narrative)

If you attempt this writing prompt, please leave your submission in the comments below. If you choose to post this writing prompt and your piece to your blog, please leave your link below se we can read your work. Don’t forget to comment on your fellow writer’s work. Have fun and Write On!

My Story:

“Mr. Stoneworth, please explain again what you saw when you entered the kitchen”, the officer inquired, pencil and pad in hand.

“When I entered the kitchen, I spotted this…” he eyed me from head to toe with a malicious glare, “vagrant, scouring through my refrigerator. I aimed my pistol at him and advised him not to make a move. I have three small children to protect here.”

The officer jotted down his notes while nodding, giving the odd appearance of a bobble head doll. “And you Sir? Do you have anything to say for yourself?” He asked without looking at me.

“W-w-we were cold sir. We were hungry. We didn’t think anyone was home. It being the holidays and all. We’re sorry…” I tried to look humble.


Shit. I had to think fast. “Me and my dog Sir,” I said pulling out a stuffed toy from my pocket. “We were just so cold and hungry…”

Sympathy appeared in their eyes and I knew I wouldn’t be seeing any jail time this Christmas. I silently cursed Pedophile Pete for leaving me here. Where was he? Upstairs with one of the children? Or had he heard the commotion and fled?

Google+ and Writing Prompts

Dear Crew of Inspiration,

I've been having a blast with Google+. There are some amazing people on there, writers, authors and artists of all shapes, sizes and levels of experience. Lately I've been posting writing prompts for google+ members to join in and expand their writing inspiration.

My last prompt went close to viral. As close to viral as anything I've ever posted has become. The outcome was amazing. I swear, the creativity amongst fellow writers never ceases to amaze me. You can check the prompts over on the right side bar.

The first prompt I put up was pretty fun. Here's the prompt and my submission for it.

Flash fiction, 150 words no more, no less. The first line of your flash fiction should start with the first line of one of your favorite songs:

My story: Artist: Poison. Song: Fallen Angel.

She stepped off the bus out into the city streets. Melanie breathed deeply as she took in the hustle and bustle of New York City. At first glance, it was everything she expected it to be, a myriad of people rushed around her. Horns honked and engines revved. Melanie hadn’t imagined the smell would be so different from the country air at the farm.
The photograph in her hand took flight and landed in a puddle near a dirty sewer grate. Without thinking, she rushed to retrieve her precious token. She reached down into the nasty cesspool to rescue her treasure, smiling at the face of her son looking back at her, the son she had never met, the son she had come to New York to find.
Melanie gasped and spun around as a horn blared. She saw a flash of yellow. Tires screeched before the world went black.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

10 Things to Tell Yourself to Avoid Writer’s Procrastination Guilt

10 Things to Tell Yourself to Avoid Writer’s Procrastination Guilt

By: Nina Pelletier

1. Going out and having fun will give me something to write about.

2. Tweeting involves writing and self-publishing, and therefore counts as writing.

3. Google+ing involves writing and self-publishing, and therefore counts as writing.

4. Leaving comments on blogs involves writing and self-publishing, and therefore counts as writing.

5. All authors must read, therefore reading tweets, google+ posts, and blogs count as reading and are making me a better writer.

6. I’m not surfing the net, I’m researching.

7. I’m not hanging out with friends, I’m doing character studies.

8. I’m not napping, I’m brainstorming.

9. My muse is on vacation.

10. I’m not socializing online, I’m networking.

By: Nina Pelletier

Monday, August 15, 2011

An Alternative Form of Therapy

Life Changing Miracle

As most of you know, I’ve had a hard few years copping with my sister’s murder. When times got really tough, I would borrow my mom’s dog Cara to provide me with what we lovingly called “Carapy”. She beats any other form of therapy I’ve tried. There’s nothing like a little snuggle-muffin, covering your face with kisses to brighten even the bluest of moods.

Alas, I always had to return her, after all, my mother needs that particular type of therapy as well. Everyone in my life suggested I get my very own puppy, and I made excuses not to: My landlord won’t allow it, I don’t have the space, I can’t afford it, yada yada yada. Truth be told, the main reason was guilt. I won’t get into the details, but let’s just say there was a particularly loved dog that was lost to me because of the earlier mentioned tragedy and I never quite got over it… or him.

Well my friends, I suppose the healing process has kicked in because I now have my very own snuggle-muffin. A new addition to the family, a family that has shrunk significantly over the last few years, is here to stay. To say I’m smitten with my new little love-muffin would be an understatement.

She’s cute, small, sweet, and gives lots of kisses and snuggles, something my often-aching heart needs. I can guarantee she will be THE most spoiled puppy ever. So please raise your glasses, or coffee mugs, and let us have a toast to a little bit of soul healing, Cheers!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Seagulls – The Cockroaches of Cobourg

It’s been a very busy week. My BFF is going through a divorce that started only last Sunday, and it would appear the beach is the most therapeutic place to be. So I’ve been at the beach quite a bit over the last few days, and though it’s beautiful and mesmerizing, it does have one major flaw. Seagulls. Dirty, scavenging, get-in-your-face seagulls.

As we walked towards the water, on the beautiful soft and silky sand, my BFF noticed that the beach surface was covered with little seagull footprints. They were actually quite cute and foreign in a way. They resembled miniature dinosaur prints, or infantile drawings of shooting stars. We made that “awww” sound that women make when they see a puppy or a baby. On their own, they aren’t so bad. One is not so bad. Actually, if you take the time to look at an individual seagull, it can be kind of pretty. But they don’t come alone. They circle in flocks. Seagulls also have no sense of personal space and will fight you for a piece of food.

Example: Below is a picture of what happened when a family left their beach-spot unattended. All of their clothes, towels, shoes and personal items where left on their beach blankets. Since Cobourg is a fairly safe and friendly town, the owners had no worries as to the safety of their belongings. Even if someone tried to steal something, the good people of Cobourg would quickly aide the victim by scaring away the perpetrator. Don’t believe me? This picture represents a good samaritan of Cobourg rushing to scare off a gang of hoodlums trying to steal some wrapped up chicken from the abandoned beach spot.

The second picture shows the victim of the onslaught also rushing to shoo away the gang, while thanking the good samaritan. It is unfortunate that I didn’t get a pic of the situation moments before, when all that could be seen was the gang of winged hoodlums swarming and fighting amongst themselves for a morsel.

Now let’s look at this more clinically by asking the important questions.

What are these beasts looking for? Food.
Where are these beasts usually found, or where should they be other than the beautiful Cobourg Waterfront? The garbage dump.
Who are these beasts? These seagulls are scavengers.
When do they attack? They are only seen when the weather is nice, and only during the daytime hours.
Why are they sticking around? Food food food and more food – with the combination of a law penalizing anyone who harms a seagull with a hefty fine.
Finally HOW can they be stopped? As per the answer above, my first suggestion is not legal so... though I don’t think they will ever leave the beach completely, if people were to stop feeding them, they wouldn’t cluster around quite so much. Nothing grates my nerves more (except irresponsible cell phone users) than people throwing scraps of food, encouraging these pesky monsters to plague the good citizens and visitors of Cobourg.

Please do your part to stop the insanity and the layer of excrement assaulting our sands. Help increase the general happiness of mankind: DON’T FEED THE SEAGULLS!

That’s the end of my rant for the day,


Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Girls - A Story of Sisters

The Girls

Please excuse the repetitiveness of this statement, I know I’ve said it before, but it’s my opinion that a novel, or movie, or song for that matter, has a different impact on a person depending on the moment in their lives when they are exposed to those art forms.

That said, I just finished reading the novel The Girls by Lori Lansens. I was reading it at the same time as I was reading The Gargoyle, (which you can read about approximately 10 posts back). Two very different books with curious similarities (that I will get into a little later), but first, I want to discuss the impact that The Girls had on me.

My sister leant me this book, and I groaned. Why would I want to read about conjoined twins? What interest could I possibly have in such a story? How could I relate to this extreme? Well, I should have known better than to question my sister’s judgment on this one, because it was far closer to home than I could ever have imagined.

Rose and Ruby Darlen, the stars of the novel, are as unique and quirky as any one individual could be. Rose is a writer, the thinker, the main author of this mock-biography. (I’m not the first to say that it’s hard to remember this novel is not a true story.) Ruby, always childlike, chimes in her two cents as the secondary author of the novel. Together they weave a tale that’s entertaining, funny, sad, heartwarming and heartbreaking, but most of all, a story about sisters. Sisters. What a word. I suppose trying to explain to an only child what it’s like to have a sister, is like trying to explain to someone without children what it’s like to be a parent. But if you ever wanted to know what having a sister means, this novel is the closest thing to a decent explanation I’ve encountered. To steal a saying from my sister, “through think and thin, through sick and sin” sisters we will always be. I’m not a mother, but I have no doubt it’s the most rewarding, heart wrenching, scary, selfish, selfless, character building and character breaking role in the world. A close second would be being a sister.

Enough with the heavy, on to the lighter stuff. The Girls wasn’t all deep and meaningful, it was fun too. Rose is similar to all of us aspiring authors. She goes through the same pains and sorrows, highs and lows and self-doubt that we all do. There is one quote in the book that I would like to share with you all:

“If Heaven is tolerant and writers are allowed (bunch of liars though we are) I wonder if they gather for coffee to ponder the prose they should have written instead.” Thank you Rose Darlen, that one made me laugh out loud.

Now for the critical part of our journey… I am aware that I’m almost always praising the books I’ve read (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo being the exception). As a writer, we tend to read books a little differently, n’est pas? So I’m gonna be a little harsh on the two books I’ve recently read. Don’t get me wrong, I loved them both immensely, but there is one thing they have in common that kind of seems like… hmm… a cop out? They are both written in the first person, and both are written with the clear understanding that this is the antagonist’s first attempt at a novel. They both ask forgiveness of the reader if they aren’t doing a good job, because hey, it’s their first time. Is this the lazy way out or a genius way to get in? How many novels have YOU read that take this path?

If you made it to the end of this VERY long-winded post, thank you for sticking around.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Passing around the Love

Oooh! I got an award! Yay me! Thanks Tara!

So here’s the dealio with the award:

The rules of the award are:

1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
4. Have faith that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers.
5. And most of all - have bloggity-blog fun!

Now I will pass it along to some more blog friends with less than 200 followers, but well on their way to blog history! I’d like to pass it back to Tara, because really, I love her blog. But thems the breaks!

#1 -My very first pick is Diego over at Demolishing the Block -he’s witty sharp and real. What more could you ask for in a blogger?

#2 –How Beverly Diehl doesn’t have more followers is completely beyond me. The only explanation I can come up with is people haven’t been exposed to her site. Once you’ve been there, you’ll jump to the follow button. Writing in Flow

#3 – Really, how can you not like a blog called The Leaky Pencil? Chris is a ton of fun, and insightful. Follow him, trust me.

#4 – Mark gets props for simply putting up my first view of the new batman trailer on his site. I’m so excited for it! Plus he’s fun! Everyone deserves a little time at the Madhouse.

#5 – Though she’s probably the least likely to follow this contest, check out Lisa’s blog on Doin’ it For Me. She’s got a great voice and some hilarious posts, you’ll be rushing to her site to cheer on her personal successes.

There are so many more blogs I want to rant and rave about. Some with over 200 followers who didn't qualify for this award. :(

Novel Films Blogfest

How many works of fiction have you seen BOTH the film/TV drama and read the original book, play or comic story? That's the question (blogfest) that Madeleine is asking! It's not too late to hop on over to her blog and join in the fun. I'm sure I missed a bunch here, but this is my list nonetheless:

Alice in Wonderland
(Book was great, Cartoon was great, Recent movie was great – what can I say, it’s hard to screw up a great story)
Angels and Demons (Good book, Good movie)
Bless the Child (My all time favorite book ever! Worst movie in the world! Actually, had I seen the movie first I may have liked it, but it shouldn’t have even associated itself with the novel, one had nothing to do with the other.)
Hamlet (Meh to both the movie and the book)
Interview with a Vampire (Ok this is tough… so much eye candy in the movie, but it just didn’t measure up to the depth of the book. But let’s face it, there was way too much detail to fit into two hours.)
MacBeth (Meh to both the movie and the book)
Marley and Me (Yeah umm… I watched the movie and read the book during a very rough time… so no comment, except I won’t be watching or reading this again)
Memoirs of a Geisha (Good movie, better as a book.)
Nancy Drew? (read a ton of the books as a kid, watched the movie as an adult.)
Romeo and Juliet (Book has far exceeded any of the movies, and it was my least favorite Shakespeare story)
That was Then, This is Now (Don’t really remember, but I think I loved both)
The Da Vinci Code (One of my favorite books, the movie was really good too, though it lacked the power of the novel)
The Five People You Meet in Heaven (Book was better, but movie was quite good)
The Green Mile (Read the books, then the script, and then watched the movie. All were fantastic!)
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galazy/Universe (Book/s rocked! Movie was crap.)
The Hobbit (Umm… cartoon movie, I liked the book better)
The Lovely Bones (Movie and book both confused the hell out of me, though I read it shortly after my sister’s murder, and I think I was looking for answers that couldn’t be found. So I’m a little biased on this one)
The Outsiders (Both were excellent, but I did read and watched this when I was quite young)
The Secret Garden (Great book, good movie)
The Secret Life of Bees (Good book, decent movie)
The Twilight Series (Enjoyed both books and movies immensely, yes I’m THAT girl)
To Kill a Mockingbird (I was too young for both to remember)
True Blood / The Sookie Stackhouse Series (Awesome book series, LOVE the show even more… MMmmm Eric…)

Currently reading The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, I know the movie almost by heart.
On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but I haven’t seen the movie yet. (I didn’t like the book, so not much gusto to watch the movie)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Whole Lotta Stuff!

Happy Birthday to Me! That cup to the left was a prezzie from my BFF - Does she know me or what?
I'll have a caffe mocha vodka valium latte to go please
In case you can't read it, it says "I'll have a caffe mocha vodka valium latte to go please"

This weekend was my birthday weekend. Yes I said birthday WEEKEND. We don’t do this birthday stuff half-assed in my family, well we didn’t use to anyways. The last few years have been a little stressed in the celebration department for obvious reasons. (Those who don’t see the obvious, just peek over at my profile and some older posts.)

My birthday was on the 31st, which for those who are calendar-challenged, was Sunday. But since it was my Birthday WEEKEND we begin our story on Friday. My dear sweet sister came from Toronto to the small town of Cobourg to take me for a day at the spa. A few hours, laughs, and a new cut and color later, we emerged as fresh women! See there below, that’s me with my new ‘do.

Nina' new 'do

After the spa, we all went to the city of Oshawa to indulge at the Mandarin. There were eight of us all together, and we had a blast. All you can eat crab legs, shrimp and salads, nomnomnom. There is Chinese food there too, since it is a Chinese food buffet and all, but who cares about that stuff when there is seafood on the menu? My loved ones embarrassed me 3 times by loudly singing Happy Birthday, twice in English, once in French and then once, which I am not counting, in a vain attempt at singing it in Chinese. (My BFF who was sitting beside me got a fortune cookie that explained how to say Happy Birthday in Chinese, hence the attempt). No photos of that fun time because my niece hasn’t posted them yet, she’s having a busy summer.

Saturday required lots of rest and didn’t see much in the way of Birthday celebrations. Sunday I went to lunch with my mommy who made me a fabulous new purse. She’s a genius when it comes to sewing. Between my mom, my niece and my brother-in-law I am more than topped off with enough gift certificates to load my bookshelves, but more on that later.

It’s a long weekend here in Canada, which adds an extra day to my birthday weekend. How cool is that? My honey and I decided to venture out to a far away Indian Reserve to buy our cheapy cigarettes. It just so happens that the Sandbanks Provincial Park is right near the reserve, so off we went. For those of you who don’t know what the Sandbanks are, allow me to explain. To steal from their website: “Giant sand dunes and golden beaches form two of the largest freshwater baymouth sandbars in the world here, on the shores of Lake Ontario.” What does that actually mean? You can walk for miles in the lake and still be only waste deep in water. The shifts in the sand cause constant flowing foaming waves. The sand gives the feeling of walking on shifting golden silk and stays that way far into the water. Here’s a couple of pictures to give you the idea, but doesn’t even begin to capture the glory of this place.

Sandbanks Provincial Park 1

Sandbanks Provincial Park 2

If you look closely at the 2nd picture, you can see to people in the lake, they are only up to their calves in water.

And now finally… on to the books. Ya know, because this is a site about writing and such.

So here’s what I bought with my lovely gift certificates!

Electronic versions:

I got The Great Lenore by JM Tohline

and Between by Cyndi Tefft.

I’m super stoked about reading each book, especially because both authors are in my social network.

As for the hard copy books, I got:

For these four, I'll have to wait until they arrive in the mail...

Have you read any of these? Any comments before I begin? Here’s hoping your weekend was as fun as mine!