Monday, 6 October 2014

Blog or Puppy - Is there a choice?

There are several reasons my blog has lain dormant for two months:
Karma born ~27 June 2014

1. I got really busy with [paid] editing jobs.

2. We went away on vacation.

3. Our basement was destroyed by a blocked septic pipe while we were away. The workers just arrived this morning to pack everything and put it in our garage. Insurance is covering - whew!

4. I was depressed about #3 - lost a good friend of 28 years. She wouldn't admit she knew what happened. Let's leave it at that. This after losing my best friend in the spring. Loss of trust is a deal breaker for me.

5. We adopted a gorgeous puppy who is full of energy and keeps us both hopping from about 5 a.m. until bedtime (around 9 p.m. now).

Life with Karma is very different from life with Mikka, who passed away in June at 10.5 years. Karma is the incredible growing puppy from a native community on Hudson Bay. She was brought south by a nurse who works in the community part-time. Nurse Karine has rescued several puppies and is bringing two more to Quebec City this week. Jacques may have already found homes for both.

Mikka (2003 - 2014)
Karma is completely different from Mikka. Mikka was a 125-pound alpha female Canadian Eskimo dog. She didn't tolerate other dogs and was a major handful to train and control. If you've ever owned an alpha dog, you'll know what that means.

Karma is most definitely not alpha. She plops onto her back for other dogs or if I 'bark' at her for nipping too hard. She's getting many tummy rubs and learning to nibble more gently. She will likely top out at 50-70 pounds of Husky mix.

Karma has brought puppy joy into our home. Since we brought her home from Montreal on Sept. 14 weighing a grand 12.2 pounds, she has doubled her weight to 24 pounds. At 13 weeks she loves all her squeaky toys (although we don't at 5 a.m.), soup bones and home-cooked dog food. Her favourite food is canned tuna. That's probably what her ancestors lived on. She also eats twigs, leaves, pebbles, cat poo (we're working on that) and just about anything a young pup can fit in its mouth, which is just about everything.
Sushi, Taco and Cleo

Our three cats tolerate her now but she still doesn't realize cats don't play with dogs no matter how many toys you offer them. And there was frequent hissing for the first week or so. We didn't even know Cleo could growl ... she was definitely not amused. But, things have settled down.

I try to work in some recreational reading every day. Karma has decided she is a lap dog. Karma and Kindle - interesting combo. Definite logistics managing both on one lap.

So, there you have it. We are puppy parents. I'll try to get back to the blog when life settles down a bit!

Friday, 1 August 2014

Reinventing Yourself: It's Never Too Late!

Claire Cook is a hybrid author: she's been published by legacy (mainstream) publishers and is also self-published. She is a member of a new and growing club among authors: she's given up her legacy publishing and is now thriving as an Indie author. Her current title - Never Too Late: Your Roadmap to Reinvention - is selling briskly on Amazon with 3.9/4 rating by reader reviewers.
Claire is the bestselling author of Must Love Dogs, which was turned into a movie starring Diane Lane and John Cusack. Claire was forty-five when she penned her first novel and fifty when she walked the Red Carpet at the movie premiere of her second. Talk about reinvention!
But, let's let her tell her story in her own words with an excerpt from Never Too Late:

I love happy endings, so nothing would give me more pleasure than to tell you that once you finally arrive at your reinvention destination, all your dreams will come true and you'll be living on easy street, set for life. Because that's where I am now, on the other side of that magical finish line. Boyohboy is my life perfect, and I can't wait for you to join me here in reinvention paradise. We'll have drinks! We'll chat about our stellar lives!
But I owe you the truth, and the truth is it doesn't work that way. There will always be challenges and, likely as not, they'll get even bigger. As the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, "The only thing constant is change." Just when you're getting comfortable, the destination you've happily arrived at can suddenly start shifting under your feet.
That's what happened to me. I was cruising along, represented by a powerful literary agent from a mighty agency that I both liked and respected, published by a series of big New York publishers that believed in my books and helped me make them better, and receiving advances for my novels that were substantial enough to live well on.
And then the publishing world began to get rocky, just like the music world and the newspaper world and so many others had before it.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Make your dialogue deliver a one-two punch

For many writers, figuring out how to punch up their dialogue is a bit of a challenge. As one literary agent says, “good dialogue illuminates your characters, moves your plot forward and develops relationships.” She goes on to write, “If you find that your dialogue does need explanation, then frankly, something is wrong with your dialogue.”

Dialogue performs four functions:

  1. Reveals character
  2. Advances the plot
  3. Provides information
  4. Entertains
You want to aim for two minimum and aspire to incorporate all four in each line of dialogue.

There are some basic conventions that quickly identify the novice from the practiced.