I took a couple weeks off, but it’s good to be back in the regular routine with the Romance Writers Weekly Blog Hop! This week, A.S. Fenichel says:
September 11 is my birthday. Yes, I know...it got messed up, but it’s still my birthday. I’m sure thousands of people were born on D-day and Pearl Harbor day. So, either tell me where you were on 9-11 or tell me what you do to celebrate your birthday... Hey, if you feel frisky, tell us both.
First off – happy birthday, A.S!
There are few dates seared into people's memory the way September 11, 2001 is. I can remember coming into our family room just as the TV showed the first tower collapsing. Since my children were very young at the time, I changed the channel, and had to learn the details later. At work, we were preparing for a huge sales presentation, and while we did so we were glued to the TV, learning along with the rest of the world the true devastation of that day. It didn’t matter that I was on the other side of the continent and in a different country – the World Trade Centre attacks were a tsunami that no one could escape.
As for birthdays, we keep things pretty low key around here. A dinner with family, a few smaller gifts. Well, that’s the usual way. For milestones we sometimes ramp things up. For example, for my 50th birthday last year, my husband arranged a bucket list trip for us – to see Billy Joel live at Madison Square Gardens. It was a truly amazing concert experience, one I’m so glad we shared!
Do you share your birthday with an historical event or special holiday? Let me know in the comments, then be sure to head over to Leslie Hachtel for the next step in the Blog Hop!
Oooh! Dani Jace has a great topic this week!
Love Letters: Have you received any or written any? Has any of your characters written or received any? Share if you dare or make up one to a special someone.
In this world of text messages and emails, I’m not sure if love letters are even a “thing” anymore. But if they aren’t, the younger generation is missing out on something very romantic.
I have written and received a few love letters in my life. I went away to school for a couple of years, and while there met someone. He got a job in a different part of the province and I went home when my school year was done, and for a few months we exchanged letters. That was also the summer I wrote my only “Dear John” letter (although in this case, it was “Dear Bill”).
The most mysterious letter I ever received happened this way:
My future husband and I had just started dating, and one day at work a bouquet of roses and a letter were delivered to me. The letter said (among other things that I can no longer remember) that he would be waiting for me at our special place at a certain date and time. The thing was, Mr. C denied sending the letter or the flowers, and continues to deny it to this day. Since I had no idea who else it could have been, I didn’t know where I was supposed to meet him, so the date and time passed and I never heard from him again.
I have a couple thoughts about this. One, that if it was Mr. C that sent it, he may have denied it when I admitted I didn’t know where our special place was (my bad). And, two, that even if I had known who had sent it and knew where to meet him, I wouldn’t have gone, because I knew Mr. C was the one already.
What about you? Any love letters in your past? Let me know in the comments, and then hop over to Jenna Da Sie to see what she has to say!
On Romance Writers Weekly today, A.S. Fenichel says:
It’s HOT! What’s your favorite way to keep cool during the Dog Days of Summer? It can be anything...
Well, it might be hot where Andrea is, but right now where I am, it is just pleasantly cool. We’ve had some hot days this summer, though, so I can totally understand where she is coming from!
Here’s my favourite way to keep cool on a hot day:
There’s nothing better than a swim in a cool, clear Northern British Columbia lake when the temperature is at its hottest. I particularly love swimming right off the boat. No weeds, no leeches, no mucky bottoms or sharp rocks underfoot to worry about it. It’s lovely to drift along with a cold drink in hand, and when the sun gets too intense, drop like a rock into the dark depths and feel the chill wash the heat from your skin.
Of course, if we can’t get to a lake, air conditioning is always a great way to get out of the heat. Not that we have it in our home—most summers that isn’t a necessity in my part of the world. :)
How do you cool off? Are you a water person? Let me know in the comments, then head over to Jenna Da Sie to see how that California resident cools off!
This week on Romance Writers Weekly, I set the topic!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given? Could be in writing, in life, for your career. What’s the one thing that has stuck with you through the years?
I had a specific piece of advice in mind when I suggested this topic for our hop. It was something my father said to me, and I’ve found it particularly useful many times: “Give it a month.”
He said it to me the first time in Grade Five. I had been assigned to the classroom of a teacher known to put fear into the heart of the most hardened reprobate (which I was not). This was a in the late 1970’s, when Catholic schools such as the one I attended still allowed the strap as punishment. He was known to mete it out for transgressions such as not doing your homework, and while I was always a good, consciousness student, I was terrified about being in his classroom. There were, however, two Grade Five classes in my school at the time, so my dad said, “Give it a month, and if after that you can’t bear it we’ll ask to move you.”
After four weeks, I can’t say I had a complete reversal of opinion, but I had learned he was certainly strict, but he was fair. I settled in, and while I can't say he became my favourite teacher, he wasn’t the worst I had, either. Giving it a month had taught me I could deal with it.
My dad offered the same advice when I went away to the BC Institute of Technology to study radio broadcasting after graduation. I was SO homesick the first few days. “Give it a month,” he said. Luckily, it didn’t even take that long, as after about two weeks something clicked and I suddenly felt at ease.
I’ve used the same advice at work, whether it was new duties or a new boss or a new corporate policy. “Giving it a month” is long enough to avoid the kneejerk reaction we often have to new situations, and yet isn't so long that you can't bear it even if a change does need to be made. I’ve offered it to my children, too. In most cases, something we think will be unbearable, after a few days becomes manageable, and at some point in time, possibly even enjoyable.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever had? I’d love to hear about it in the comments – I’ll be sure to reply. And then hop on over to Leslie Hachtel and see what she has to offer!
This week on Romance Writers Weekly, Jenna Da Sie asks:
Have you seen any good movies this summer? Write a review of one you saw. If you haven’t seen one, tell which one you want to see.
If you joined me from Dani Jace, welcome!
While I do love movies, Mr. C and I never seem to have an evening free when the ones we want to see in the theatre are in town. We only have one movie theatre (with six screens), but unless it’s a blockbuster most movies don’t spend too long here. That being said, we do watch them at home, of course (although that’s not really the same thing).
Eldest Daughter and I had planned to go see Incredibles Two when it came out, but that hasn’t happened yet. We’ll probably have to watch that on demand as well. Aargh.
In lieu of a movie, I’ll share some thoughts on The Handmaids Tale. We watched Season One late, so could slip right into Season Two. The book is one of my favourites – scarily plausible and almost prophetic. The TV series continues with that feeling. It’s wonderfully shot (although very dark) and has a tautness you can’t ignore. I have a bit of a beef with the flashbacks – while they do give us a view into “what came before” I think the book was stronger without them, and think the show might be, too. The screenwriters have done a great job of changing the story just enough to give Offred even more motivation and angst, without being disrespectful of the original work, even though Margaret Atwood has no say in the production. While definitely worthwhile to watch it, it is an extremely depressing tale, however, so we tend to spread out the episodes in order to cleanse our palate.
What about you? What are you watching this summer?
Let me know in the comments, then hop over to the poser of this topic, Jenna Da Sie!
This week on Romance Writers Weekly, Leslie Hachtel asks:
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
This is a really tough one for me. Mr. C and I love to travel, and we’ve been lucky enough to go to some amazing places already – many in our own backyard (check out my latest travel pics here on my Facebook Page). So I’m taking Leslie’s challenge from this angle – if this was the last trip I would ever be able to take, where would I go?
To be fair, she said “travel anywhere in the world,” which does imply one place, but I’m going to cheat a little. How about I pick just one country? In that case, my choice is a three-month drive across Canada. Do you think that is breaking the rules? I hope not!
My country is so huge you can barely scratch the surface in three-months. But it would give us time to get all the way across, ocean to ocean. My dad’s family is from Nova Scotia, and I’ve never been there, so would like to visit that area for sure. And it wouldn’t be complete without a stop in Prince Edward Island, the home of the red-headed girl, Anne Shirley. Then there’s Quebec City, Canada’s oldest, Ottawa, our capital, and so many others.
Where is your dream vacation? Do you prefer a hot, sunny beach or upbeat, urban streets? I’d love to hear from you! Then be sure to hop on over to Jenna Da Sie and see what she chose!
This week, I set the topic for my Romance Writers Weekly colleagues:
Our oldest daughter is getting married this summer, and our second daughter next year, which has me thinking about how people meet and fall in love. Share your favourite story. It could be you and your spouse, your parents, friends or family.
I’ve mentioned in previous posts that one of the reasons I started writing romance was because I love to hear how people met. If you can dream it, it probably happened!
My husband and I met at work. This isn’t exactly the most unlikely of places, of course. What some of you will be surprised to learn, though, is that we are still working together more than 30 years later. Our jobs have changed over the years, but we are both with the same company, and we have worked very closely that whole time. We were joking recently that, when we retire, we’ll probably end up spending LESS time together!
My second daughter met her fiancé through mutual friends, and our first daughter met hers in—get this—kindergarten. That was in the days when school’s had morning and afternoon classes for kindergarten, and they weren’t in the same session, but the groups did get together once in a while. But from Grade One on they were together throughout school, and started dating on Prom Night of their Grade Twelve year.
My parents-in-law are from the same tiny village on the Portuguese island of São Miguel. They knew of each other, of course, but my favourite story of their courtship is that my father-in-law would show off by throwing rocks at chickens as my mother-in-law walked past. I guess he was displaying his hunter/gatherer skills!
In the writing world, when two characters first interact, especially in a romantic comedy, it is called a “meet-cute.” One of my favourite meet-cutes is Sheldon and Amy from The Big Bang Theory. It was a blind date, and things were not going well until they both ordered “tepid water” at the coffee shop. Obviously a match made in heaven!
Do you have a favourite story about two people meeting—in real life or fiction? I’d love to hear it! Then be sure to hop over to Leslie Hachtel for her take on this topic!
This week on Romance Writers Weekly, Dani Jace says:
This is 4th of July week for those in the US, but most countries have an Independence Day of similar celebration. What was your tradition growing up? Fireworks? Trip to the beach? Cookout? As an adult, what’s your favorite Independence Day activity or what would you love to do?
It is July 1st as I write this, which means Canada is celebrating its 151st Birthday!
The biggest celebration in our city takes place at our biggest park, on the banks of the Fraser River. It’s hosted by the Immigrant and Multicultural Services Society, which I’ve always thought was a true reflection of how our country has embraced—and been embraced by—those who choose to live here. There will be performances by groups representing First Nations as well as those ethnicities who have more recently come to Canada. And the food! All sorts of food from all around the world!
My family doesn’t have any hard and fast traditions when it comes to Canada Day. Sometimes we go to the park, sometimes we stay home. Other years we’ve gone camping. No matter what, it’s always been a day to spend with family and friends.
Next on the hop is Jenna Da Sie. Jenna has ties to both the US and Canada, so this must be a busy week for her! Check out what she as say here!
This week on Romance Writer’s Weekly, I set the topic for my fellow bloggers.
It may seem obvious, but writers love words. And most of us have our favourites. Give examples of your favourite words (the more unusual the better). Have you ever made up a word because there just isn’t one that describes exactly what you want to say?
If you joined me from Leslie Hachtel, welcome!
I love playing with words. “Different words have different meanings” may seem like a ridiculous statement, but if you’ve ever used a Thesaurus you’ll understand what I mean. Each of the words listed as a synonym of the word you are searching has a slightly different meaning and can change the entire tone of a sentence or paragraph.
I’m a big fan of multisyllable words that are easy to understand when taken in context. Discombobulate and rambunctious are two of my favourites. For example: I was very discombobulated by the rambunctiousness of my nephews.
Then there’s words that are softer, gentler. Limn is one I like to use. It means “to represent in drawing or painting.” Her profile was limned with light by the sun behind her.
If you have read Anne of Green Gables you might remember the scene where Anne laments about the word alabaster. She always envisioned it as a rich purple, so is disappointed to learn it is actually white. I have felt the same on occasion when I’ve heard a word spoken aloud and realized it is one I have pronounced in my head in a completely different way. In fact, my daughter and I came up with our own word to describe a word you’ve only seen and not heard – voxilliomatic. It draws on Latin (which my daughter studied) and is pronounced voks-ill-ee-oh-mah-tik (so it is not voxilliomatic to you).
Another word I distinctly remember creating while I was writing MOUNTAIN FIRE is loppeting. I wanted to describe a rabbit hopping in a unique way, and for some reason this arrangement of syllables really spoke to me.
I’d love to hear about your favourite words – drop me a line in the comments below! Then be sure to hop on over to Jenna Da Sie for the next stop in the tour this week!
This week on Romance Writers Weekly, we’re back to an old favourite. Dani Jace set this week’s topic:
Flash Fiction: 500 words or less using dog, fire & rain
If you joined me from Leslie Hachtel, welcome! Here is my contribution this week.
The smell of wet dog permeates the cab of the truck.
“Get back,” I say as a cold, damp muzzle is thrust in my face. Argos whimpers and wags his tail. “I know you don’t like storms, but stop being such a big baby.”
I sit behind the steering wheel, Argos taking up the remainder of the bench seat beside me. He’s fifty percent Bernese Mountain Dog, fifty percent Newfoundland and one hundred percent yellow coward. A few minutes ago, we’d been sitting around the campfire, both of us quiet and content after sharing a steak dinner, when he’d bolted to his feet and attempted to leap into my lap. Moments later I heard the deep rumbling roll of thunder, and before I could even think to react, slashing wind and pelting rain assaulted us. Leaving the fire to fend for itself, we dove for the truck, a much more secure refuge than the tiny two-man tent I’d erected earlier that day.
Argos is too nervous to lay down. He stands on the seat, switching positions constantly. One minute I have a sopping wet tail slapping me in the face, the next I am battling dog breath and drool. Through the windshield I keep a wary eye on my tent. Its fragile fabric is billowing and collapsing violently in the wind, and I pray that the pegs hold.
The rain bulleting on the roof is so loud I can barely hear myself think. When I see headlights appear in my rearview mirror I am not surprised I didn’t hear the vehicle approach. I am surprised when someone jumps out of the cab and dashes to my window.
The figure is tall and broad and his—I assume his from the way he moves and his size—his face is shrouded by the hood of the dark slicker he is wearing. He taps on the window and motions for me to roll it down. Argus starts barking, just about blowing out my eardrums. “Quiet,” I command, and he stops, but a rolling growl continues to escape.
Surreptitiously I press the lock button, barricading Argus and myself in the truck. I’ve set up camp in a forestry site just off a well-used logging road. There is no one else here, which is its main appeal. But its isolation is also the reason there’s no way in hell I’m opening my window to a stranger.
When I don’t do as he asks, he gestures again. One hand holds the brim of his hood so it doesn’t whip off in the wind. I don’t know how well he can see me, but I shake my head and shout through the cacophony of rain. “What do you want?”
He either hears me or figures out what I want on his own. With no regard for how drenched he will get—the rain is driving down so hard it is rolling in sheets down the windshield—he pushes back his hood.
Using the torch on my cell phone, I illuminate his face.
Well, that’s just over 500 words, so I guess I have to stop there. What do you think happens next? Does she (I know the narrator is a woman, not that I gave you any clues to that) recognize the man outside her window? Is he really a stranger? Does she open her window? Let me know in the comments, then be sure to hop on over to Jenna Da Sie and see what she came up with!