Saturday, December 26, 2009

We'll be back after these brief messages....

I took a brief, unexpected hiatus from my computer this month. Firstly, to get ready for Christmas and secondly, to show my dad the sights, sounds, and people that I write with. He was impressed. He wishes he had a similar group in Alberta to work with but says no one seems interested. Yet he tells me about people he records and works with in the music industry.

Sometimes it seems like we sail through life alone in a little wooden boat full of termites. Once in a while we find others just like us who are sailing through life in other little boats that seem to be made of sturdier stuff. They've just learned how to have a harder shell and endure the storms. Criticism can be a hard thing to take. I've heard it my entire life. So has everyone else. Sometimes criticism can shipwreck us.
Most of the time we weather the storm and sail on.

I plan to make 2010 a year of sailing on and weathering the storms.
I've joined the local Art Group. I'm still with the writing group.
And I'm making my novels stronger than ever. I'm also working on my dad's memoirs.
All I have to do is get them out of his hands!
All the best to you in 2010. May you be strong and weather the storms as never before.

Diane

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Romantic Life

I always find Christmas to be a dreamy, romantic time of year. Put aside the hustle and bustle and what you have left are moony eyed children making dreams and counting on magic to make the season bright. Friends and loved ones draw closer through force of nature and good will. We all try to be a little nicer to each other this time of year. Well, some of us do.

Romance is not for the faint of heart. Granted, I speak not of the heart-pounding, pulse-racing lust of a new relationship. I think of Romance as fulfilling your dreams and following your life's quest with Passion. Many of us have a less "practical" side that allows us to be dreamers and moony eyed children all year long. The Romantics are those of us who pursue their dreams with fervor.

I consider myself to be a Romantic. I am an artist, a lyricist, and a writer and I do each of these with passion. Passion ebbs and flows like the tides. It's easy to either ride the waves or get caught in the undertow. Lately, I've been in the undertow. Actually, that's were I was for many years. Denying my creative side and shoving the moony eyed child in the closet for safe keeping so she didn't get hurt by criticism and disappointment.

My moony eyed child is stronger than that. She fought back and developed a tougher shell. She smacked me across the head when I whine about not having time, energy, or focus.

Just write. Just paint. Just create. The Passion will follow.

Monday, December 7, 2009

When it rains it pours.

Okay, so December didn't roar into town with cold and snow. It blew into town bearing colds, pneumonia, and cabin fever. It was bad enough one of my little Creative Blocks got pneumonia now I have it. The world comes to a stand still in our house when Mom is sick. The good news is all the laundry and cleaning can wait until I'm well. Except for the matter of my Art Show this weekend.

I still have to clean like a madwoman for that. I figure if I do it one bit at a time and only do what I NEED to do I can get it done. Of course, there is something to be said for slowing down and not being able to run around. I got Christmas cards written, gifts wrapped (well, the ones I've already bought), and a gift painted. All from the comfort of my couch. As you can guess, I'm not the kind of person who sits still a lot except to read.

I have a follow-up x-ray tomorrow so I'll have a better idea if I need to cancel my show or not. I'm going with NOT! I've been looking forward to this for too long!
I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Let it snow, let it snow . . .

We woke up to a blanket of snow and more barking from up the hall. Another day, another sick kid. Seems our family is notorious for the barking coughs around here. I can think of much better things to be famous for!

I had a sudden abundance of broccoli today. No, it didn't appear out of the snowbank, it was from the snack program at school. Can you believe they were going to throw it in the compost? Yikes! I used my creative skills to create two masterpieces: Broccoli Soup and Potato-Carrot Soup. Oh, and some biscotti for my party. I was going to bake buns tonight but my energy is waning. Cooking certainly is a creative endeavor - especially looking at the mess I make of it. At least it turns out edible 99% of the time!

Still doing some edits on Take The Money and Run, my first novel, so that I can start to submit it all over the place again. My lovely editor Laura has both my other books to edit, critique, tear to shreds, etc. Hope she goes easy on me, it is nearly Christmas after all.

Had a lovely evening last night at a book launch for a fellow Headwaters Writers' Guild writer named Clare McCarthy. He published his novel The Hurleyville Taxi: Two thousand pounds of Bacon and Bone. Book Lore hosted a book signing and the place was packed! Congratulations, Clare! You can find out more at www.northwordbound.ca.

We also discovered another of our writers Harry Posner's book Word Bird. Harry graciously showed us his book and posed for pictures. It's on my list for Christmas!

Friday, November 27, 2009

My LIttle Creative Blocks...

No word of a lie. I have been creatively blocked for two weeks now. First one block came down with pneumonia and had to see a doctor. (Can you say clingy?) Just as he is getting over it, the second one came down with a cough that sounds like a cross between a trained seal and a vacuum cleaner. Makes it hard to concentrate on much of anything. But I am making a comeback!

Glad to report though I am hosting a Christmas Tea and Art Show for my nearest and dearest friends on Dec 11. They will be subjected to all of the paintings I can hang on my walls as well as my decadent Christmas treats. I'm looking forward to it. I hope they are as well!

Monday, November 16, 2009

What Colour is your Palette Part Three

Not many art workshops will wring you out like a sponge then fill you back up to bursting. I found that to be the case with Claudia's. A lot of us had more than one afternoon filled with frustration only to be elated to hear the rest of the class ooh and aah over some amazing masterpiece that fled our brushes to appear magically on canvas.

The most common comment about the whole week was the fact that we learned to mix colours we'd only ever seen before in bottles or tubes. My favourite color for the week became a warm black (black mixed with magenta). You can see it on most of my paintings which I will post later. I've had some issues with getting good lighting to take pictures in!

I'm very excited this week for three friends of mine who all have new books released.
Clare McCarthy with The Hurleyville Taxi: Two Thousand Pounds of Bacon and Bone
Anouska Fry with Sebastian and the Spider King
Alyxandra Harvey with Hearts at Stake
Congratulations to you all!

Now that the week of painting and fun has ended, what is next for me? A little Christmas tea and show for friends and more work on writing and submitting novels. And maybe a bit more painting. Christmas is coming after all....

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What Colour is Your Palette Day 3

I have to say it's been an exhausting week! I'm not even sure how many canvases I've created but the colours I've learned to make this week are astounding! I have to say I never thought I'd be painting on a black canvas. I have worked from different backgrounds but never black. What an eye popper I made today but you can't see it. Sorry. It's going to be a gift for someone who might see it!

It's so easy to get frustrated when you try to force something to appear on your canvas that just isn't meant to be there. I should know that lesson from writing and from previous paintings but sometimes . . . sometimes you just want something to be perfect that isn't meant to be. Its funny how many incredible paintings have occured when we're not even trying! Many thanks to Claudia for having a great sense of humour and compassion!

Our wonderful Chef Monti is keeping us fed well and a gem to point out all the items on the menu with wheat so I don't make myself ill without intention! Kudos to his gluten free chocolate cake.

Two more days to go. I will really miss this when it is done.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What colour is your Palette? Workshop

This week I am in an abstract acrylic workshop led by the energetic Claudia Mccabe. Who was brought to us by Emilia at Maggiolly Art Supplies. www.maggiollyart.com. Five full days of painting until I collapse. What a dream come true! Day One covered the basics. Colour, mixing colour, and painting until quittin' time. Came home feeling drained yet exhilarated all at the same time!

Today is Day Two. I'm already itching to get back to the studio and start puttering. This time I'll remember to take pictures!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Whew!

I have been diligent this past couple weeks about getting a first draft of my new novel Padded Walls completed. Not due to some wonderful deadline and publishing date - I wish! - but due to my taking a week off. I'm dropping out of the rat race and attending a painting workshop for an entire week! Since I've never done anything like this before I'm VERY excited!

One whole week with no work, no writing (Yeah, right!), and no kids.
Just me slapping around lots of paint which sounds kind of naughty actually.
Hope I don't end up sticking paint brushes in my coffee again, that tastes so bad . . .

So, for the rest of this week I'll be editing, cleaning house, submitting my novels, and getting the rest of the toys I need for my workshop. Well, the order of that might change a bit here and there. Shopping is a lot more fun than working! But it will get done!

Thanks again to Brian Henry who taught a fun class for the Headwaters Writers' Guild on plotting short stories and novels. It's a good sign when you can walk away from a workshop and be totally inspired to write or paint!
Ciao!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Brian Henry Workshop

Ah, nothing is better than spending a post-Halloween day in a writing workshop learning how to craft short stories and plot novels. The fun part is that everyone's minds were still in morbid mode. Crows, murders, and mayhem topped the list of prompts we all devised. We all came away with a few more things to write about and places to submit our musings to.

I stayed up late Halloween night working on my third novel - Padded Walls. I am glad to say the first rough copy is done. That will now be followed by another hundred or so edits, readings, and re-readings until the can't squeeze out another drop of blood. In the meantime, I plan to revise a little on my first two novels and submit, submit, submit.

Stay tuned. I'll keep you up to date on how it's going...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Computers, the bane of my existence...

Okay, so computers have their uses. It makes life easier to be able to research agents, make submissions and even keep in touch with my friends via the Internet. BUT...my problem is with the constant little glitches in the systems. Anyone stuck with VISTA will understand. My computer stalls, has to be rebooted and lately has had to have a complete overhaul thanks to competing programs which were uploaded without my full awareness of the damage they would do.

On the upside, now that I am back on the information highway I am back in touch with the rest of the world. I have to say, I did enjoy my week away from technology and did actually run about 4 pens out of ink! My typing skills were rusty this weekend when I did get back on but most of my correspondence has been caught up. (Bet you were worried!) And all of the writing I did in long hand is now digitized and has been added to my book. Only a matter of time before that one is done and I can torture more agents.

Tonight, I research, drink and be merry for tomorrow...I submit. Look out agents, here I come!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Night of Unrest

My creativity has been thrown off the last couple of days with sick kids. There's just nothing like a midnight wakeup call from a child screaming in pain from an ear infection. Thankfully, the worse is over for now. A few doses of antibiotics and he'll be feeling normal again.

In the meantime, I'm puttering with the things I keep avoiding - revamping query letters, tidying up workspaces, sorting through my closet which seems bottomless - those things that get pushed aside when the muse takes hold. So for today I am lowering my expectations. No great works of art are expected to emerge. I'll be amazed if I get through the day without a nap!

Of course, sometimes when your body and brain are at their weariest the creative mind can still be inspired by the oddest things. As I clean today, I'll be sure to leave a door open so the muse can creep inside.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Glorious October Colours

It was a sunny albeit cold day yesterday so we decided to take a hike in one of our local parks Mono Cliffs. We had a fun time taking pictures, collecting leaves for one son's school project, and watching the snow drift down around us. The snow wasn't supposed to be part of the deal but it was better than rain.

We hiked for a couple hours before I realized I'd seen particular landmarks before. Recently. Somehow we'd managed to make a complete circle and missed the path to the the exit. We all did an about-face and headed back in the right direction. The kids were cold and miserable. We were...well, the same. Luckily, there's are several great coffee shops that sell great hot chocolate. The kids were appeased. We still had to go grocery shopping...

We have one more thing to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. It stopped snowing! At least for today. We decided not to go hiking today - well, not for 2 1/2 hours anyway - instead, I think we'll have a lazy day full of turkey, potatoes, gravy, and pumpkin pie.

Tomorrow it's back to work....

Saturday, October 3, 2009

So many contests...

So many contests, so little time. I've been involved with Wynterblue Publishing's Murder in Ink contest. Recently - yesterday! - it went from being a chapter by chapter murder mystery to being a full novella. Big change but that means I can get into it full steam and submit it when I'm done. No more waiting for the last chapter so I can move on.

Also signed up for a local art class. I'm looking forward to one whole afternoon of painting every week. It gets me away from the computer now and then. I just have to pick a theme for the paintings I'll create over the next 8 weeks. Hmmm... an obvious one would be anything to do with the beach. Warmth. I like being warm. Maybe even something about autumn. It still have a week to decide. I'll keep you posted.

Hubby's gone to karate camp this week. The kids and I will play! More fodder for my writing. Padded Walls is nearly half done now. I've had a lot of cancellations this week that has let me get a lot of writing done. That and I have these characters haunting me and forcing me to write this story. I already know how it ends though. Bummer. It's more fun when I don't know the end until the end. As you can tell, I don't always plan my books out. Sometimes I think I know what's going to happen but some character decides that's not going to happen.

Sounds crazy right? This lady's gone off the deep end? I know I'm not alone. There are others like me out there. They're all in my writing group too! LOL

Have a great weekend! I'll be busy collecting leaves, stories, and anything else that blows my way!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Free Time

I'm supposed to be working part time as well as volunteering. All that has been pulled out from under my feet lately. No shifts at work this month. My volunteer post taken away... It's all a bit unsettling at first but then I realized that I have more free time to finish my novel and do some painting.

My current project is a short story for the CBC Radio contest. Deadline is Nov 1, 2009. I'm halfway there. I'm also looking into posting one of my books on Authonomy.com. Interesting site and I've heard lots of great things about it. I need to get attention to my writing somehow!
In the meantime, I'll be working on short stories, Padded Walls, and magazine articles.

Giving up is not an option.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Padded Walls

Some days I feel like I really do need padded walls. The ones I'm referring to though belong to my new book. The one that I'm working on constantly in my head until it drives me crazy. There's a lot of that going around these days. A lot of my friends in the HWG are working on books, submitting books, or researching their next book. We tend to get so absorbed in our work that we forget there are other people in the world.

Tuesday I had the pleasure of hanging out in the hot tub with one of my best girlfriends J. We talked and soaked for an entire hour that went by in a blink. God love our girlfriends. They are the Padded Walls that keep us sane, which is actually a major part of my new books. I guess the whole hot tub thing I can chalk up as research! LOL

Off to spend the morning with a cup of amazing coffee and writing. There's a surprise.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Rain Rain...

It rained this morning. First day in 21 days. I just had to go for a long walk and get soaked. I'm taking a brief break for lunch and blogging. I've been working on my new book now for just over a month. Progress is beginning to show. It grows by 20-30 pages at a time. Now if I could just get someone interested in my other two books! Even a glimmer of interest would be encouraging! Oh well, as I read in Janet and Isaac Asimov's book How to Enjoy Writing - "Writers write."
Now that I am dry and fed, I'd better get back to it. I have been so productive lately that it makes my head spin! Nothing like being creative to loosen up creativity.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Back to School = Back to work

The kids are off to school and I'm back at the grind. Submissions to agents can be easy going some days or, like today, a tedious endeavor that makes you want to thump your head on the wall. You know the days. You've printed off fifty pages to find out page 4 has an entire line missing or smudged. C'est la vie. Or worse, you've sent off an email to discover you've called one agent by another agent's name. Been there, done that.

Today I am submitting. Tomorrow I am mailing very precious, expensive yellow envelopes. They go with tears and best wishes...goodbye my babies, bring me back some good news!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Cuppa Joe painting


This is the painting I did that appeared on the cover of my dad's new album called Cuppa Joe. I'm entering it on the FWJ contest seeking a new photo for their website. Never hurts to try. Helps that I'm a caffeine addict!
I'll post other paintings once in a while. I'm not the greatest but I love to paint. And write. You can check out some of my writing on the Headwaters Writers Guild website. www.owg.netfirms.com

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Welcome to my World!

Welcome! I'm a blogging virgin but no stranger to writing! I've been a writer/artist forever. Eventually, this will become a link from my world to the real world (wherever that is) and you'll be able to find out more and more as I pubish more and more.

I am a member of the Headwaters Writers Guild who is seeking an agent and publisher for my novels. I am also a songwriter and have my lyrics on several CDs by an Alberta musician...my dad!

Hope you come back and visit me as I get my stuff together!