Back but exhausted

Yup, this is the same place as last Friday’s photo, just three years later, and at night. Cool how the Eternal Flame suddenly has color, isn’t it?

I have a lot to blog about – tons of pictures, though not many of them from the conference itself, dang it all.

Why?

Unfortunately, I decided to take Gizmo Guy’s ‘spare’ digital camera with me, instead of the one I usually use. I THOUGHT it would be better since it’s smaller than mine – actually fits inside my purse – and has a higher pixel count. BIG BIG mistake. I took lots of pictures but most of the ones at the conference did not turn out well. They’re grainy and awful even though the flash went off. My pictures of Molly O’Keefe and Kelley Armstrong? If either lady are looking for pictures of themselves that make them look like they belong in a paranormal world, they can contact me. Poor Kelley’s photo makes her look like a … well, I’m not sure, but her eyes sure are freaky. Almost vampirish.

See what I mean? Grainy. Orange. Yuck. Unfortunately most of my pictures of the speakers turned out that way. And the other ones I took of Ottawa itself? Most of them are blurry because the danged camera is so small, the slightest breath shakes the camera and blurs the image. Lesson learned, I’m never taking Gizmo Guy’s spare camera again.

Anyway, I promised Julia I’d get some pictures of Jo Beverly for her. The one below is of Jo giving the key note speech during the luncheon on Saturday. Ms. Beverly is witty and droll, just like I’d always pictured her. Guess it’s that English sensibility that I’m used to.


Here’s a better one for you, Julia, since you asked. And yes, I told her all about you.

I’m still ploughing through my email – the hotel charged $10 + tax a day for internet connection. And caused me a huge panic when my laptop decided to keep rebooting. I’d been worrying all week about having to pitch and decided to get up at 4 a.m. Saturday morning to prepare. Naturally enough that’s when my laptop decided to ‘f-up’. So I panicked and whined from 4 a.m. until 7:30 a.m. when Gizmo Guy finally realized the wireless thingy was screwing up looking for a wireless connection that didn’t exist. Once I flipped off the wireless button, it was okay.

So I’ll post more photos tomorrow (of the ones that turned out) Some that I took at the conference, and some that Gizmo Guy took of Ottawa itself. Yesterday we saw a Mountie Wedding on the steps of Parliament Hill – lots of hunky guys in red uniforms surrounding a beautiful bride. Today GG took photos of the 31st annual National Police Officers and Peace Officers Memorial Day.

And I’ll also post pictures of our two favorite places to eat. That are at total opposite ends of the spectrum.

Canadian talent …

Today I took a run up to Peterborough on a secret mission that was accomplished in about forty minutes, but since I drove in with Gizmo Guy who was there on business I had to hang around the rest of the day. So I picked up a copy of No Humans Involved by TRW’s own Kelley Armstrong.

Jaime, who knows a thing or two about showbiz, is on a television shoot in Los Angeles when weird things start to happen. As a woman whose special talent is raising the dead, her threshold for weirdness is pretty high: she’s used to not only seeing dead people but hearing them speak to her in very emphatic terms. But for the first time in her life – as invisible hands brush her skin, unintelligible fragments of words are whispered into her ears, and beings move just at the corner of her eye – she knows what humans mean when they talk about being haunted.

She is determined to get to the bottom of these manifestations, but as she sets out to solve the mystery she has no idea how scary her investigation will get. As she digs into the dark underside of Los Angeles, she’ll need as much Otherworld help as she can get in order to survive, calling on her personal angel, Eve, and Hope, the well-meaning chaos demon. Jeremy, the alpha werewolf, is also by her side offering protection. And, Jaime hopes, maybe a little more than that.

Once I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down. Necromancers, werewolves, ghosts – and frauds as well. It was one of those lovely reading experiences where the world went on around me unnoticed while I immersed myself in Kelley’s world. My favorite type of read. Now I’ll have to re-read it and dissect how she did it and hopefully be able to learn something from this New York Times bestselling author.

A few days ago, I’d pre-ordered JR Ward’s upcoming Black Dagger Brotherhood and in order to take advantage of free shipping I also ordered an oldie of Lynsay Sands’ Love Bites, and her newest in the Argeneau series Vampire Interrupted. They both arrived in the mail yesterday. Which meant I immediately sat down in my lazy-boy and curled up with a cup of tea and devoured both books. The latest in the Argeneau series, Vampire Interrupted is about the matriarch of the Argeneau family – Marguerite – who at the age of 700 and some odd years has embarked on a new career .

After seven hundred years of life, Marguerite Argeneau finally has a career. Well, the start of one, anyway. She’s training to be a private investigator, and her first assignment is to find an immortal’s mother. It seemed simple enough, until Marguerite wakes up one evening to find herself at the wrong end of a sword. Now she realizes she’s in way over her head.

Julius Notte wants to protect Marguerite, and not because someone just tried to take her head off. She doesn’t know it yet, but she’s his lifemate and he’s determined to woo her. It’s been over five hundred years since he last courted a woman, but surely the techniques haven’t changed. Now if only he can keep her alive – so to speak – so they can have that happily-ever-after.

The identity of the mother turns out to be a neat twist, though it does take a certain amount of suspension of belief – but I love books that make me stop and say “Whoa – I wasn’t expecting that!”

But all this reading means I’ve done no writing since … um … Thursday. I really need to get back to that query letter and synopsis of Private Property. Which are drafted out but still …

Will winter NEVER end?

As are most Canadians this year (and probably a lot from the northern US as well), I am sick to death of snow. We seem to have had a standard pattern of a day of snow, a day of recovery, a day of melting, then the whole thing repeats itself. The picture to the right is Gizmo Guy shovelling last November. The banks on either side of the car are now as high as the cars. They’d probably be to the top of the first roof if we hadn’t had those melting periods.

Is anyone else fed up of seeing these notices?

A STORM IS CURRENTLY OVER ALABAMA AND WILL PUSH NORTHWARD TODAY GIVING SIGNIFICANT SNOW TO MOST OF SOUTHERN ONTARIO. IT APPEARS THAT THE SNOW WILL COME IN TWO DOSES. THE FIRST ROUND WILL BEGIN AS EARLY AS THIS AFTERNOON FOR SOUTHWESTERN ONTARIO AND NIAGARA THEN LATER TODAY IN EASTERN ONTARIO. WE MAY HAVE A BRIEF REPRIEVE OVERNIGHT INTO SATURDAY MORNING WHERE SNOW MAY BECOME LIGHT AND MORE INTERMITTENT. .(some snipped).

Is anyone else ready to shake their fist at the sky and say “Hey, Mother Nature – We are freakin’ fed up with snow!”

Oh, sure, it looks pretty. Yes, I know, it is needed to fill up the lakes and rivers and wells and reservoirs. But, two nights ago, Gizmo Guy stomped into the house – growling. Yes, growling! Gizmo Guy never growls. Thanks to the huge pile of snow left by the plough, he couldn’t get into the driveway. I pleaded illness and managed to squirm my way out of shovelling, so he grabbed the boys to help him shovel. And thanks to constantly bottoming out on the drifts up at Mom’s place, my car has lost part of its exhaust system. So the mechanic who will have to repair my car is smiling, as is any one in the drug industry profiting from the aching muscles caused by moving all that frickin’ white stuff.

So come on, Mother Nature! Enough is enough!

THE HEAVIEST SNOWFALL IS THEN EXPECTED IN THE SECOND ROUND BEGINNING MIDDAY SATURDAY IN THE SOUTHWEST AND IN THE AFTERNOON OVER EASTERN ONTARIO.THE HEAVIEST SNOW WILL BE SATURDAY AFTERNOON INTO THE EVENING.WILL LIKELY BE UPGRADED TO A WINTER STORM WARNING DUE TO ADDITIONAL SNOWFALL AND BLOWING SNOW AS THE SECOND ROUND APPROACHES. STORM TOTALS MAY BE 20 TO 30 CENTIMETRES ALONG AND EAST OF A LINE FROM LONG POINT TO THE GOLDEN HORSESHOE THEN TO PETAWAWA. THERE IS POTENTIAL FOR 30 TO 50 CENTIMETRES OF SNOW OVER THE NIAGARA PENINSULA AND PARTS OF EASTERN ONTARIO.

I missed last month’s TRW meeting because of snow. Now tomorrow’s annual critique session where my first five pages are supposed to be critiqued by Kelley Armstrong is under threat of a double system moving in. They’re calling for at least 25 centimeters of snow (that’s about a foot for those metrically challenged.) The meeting will go on for those able to attend, but already I’m seeing emails from those of us outside of TO cancelling out.

BEHIND THIS SYSTEM STRONG NORTHERLY WINDS TO 70 KM/H ARE POSSIBLE. ON SATURDAY STRONG WINDS COMBINED WITH FRESH SNOW WILL CAUSE BLOWING SNOW TO LOWER VISIBILITIES AND CREATE DANGEROUS DRIVING CONDITIONS. WHITEOUT CONDITIONS FROM HEAVY SNOW AND BLOWING SNOW ARE POSSIBLE SO TRAVELLERS SHOULD BE PREPARED TO CHANGE THEIR PLANS ACCORDINGLY. (snipped the rest)

I’ve been working hard all week editing those first five pages. In fact what I now have barely resembles that I started with. Oh, it’s better. It’s got visceral emotion, more showing, less telling. I’m happy with it and I needed it to get done anyway but now I may not get to yet another meeting because of another freakin’ snowstorm. Come on, Mother Nature, cut us some slack! How often do you get to have your work critiqued by a NY Times best selling author?