Monday, July 31, 2006


I have no idea why my Blog won't upload pictures anymore - but the important thing is that you visit to see all of the pictures and information on the Sunday July 30th abduction of ZACHARY MILLER from Whitewood, Saskatchewan.

PLEASE visit this website and take down the information for this little 10 year old boy who is in danger from this 35 yr old pedophile. If this is the only good my Blog does for anyone, it will be worth it! ZACHARY needs our help and prayers. I only wish my Blog was working for a picture of him: he's 4'6" tall, white/blonde hair, slim build.

I'll be visiting Blogger Help to see if I can get my Image Maker restored. Thanks for checking the link.

EDIT: I have no idea why that link won't work, or why I can't upload Zachary's picture. My Images just isn't moving whenever I go to upload a pic so I'll have to present my problem to Blogger. I'll check for another link today. Sorry folks!

Friday, July 28, 2006


This week has been my very own "Summer Holiday". Both our kids have been gone since Sunday to a local camp - it's the first time they've both been gone this long overnight and so far away, so it's been a new emotional experience for all of us. It's a regular camp and they generously provided one-on-one staff for each of the kids at no extra charge. I (being a slightly nervous mom) have phoned down twice to see how they've been making out.

My DD has been horseback riding every day, around the paddock and being led by a staff member. On Tuesday she was trotting, and had her arms out horizontally because she "loved the feel of it", according to the camp director. On Wednesday, she rode bareback, because the other teens were doing it, even though she was scared to do it - she did it. Now, that's my DD for you. :) She's scared of needles, doctors, hospitals - but not of anything else. If someone's doing it, she will do it too. She's always been my little "Xena" - does anyone remember that TV show with Lucy Lawless? DD wore that Halloween costume for three years. My DS was down at the stables every day too, but the camp director couldn't tell me if he'd been riding or not. He has been breakdancing at their evening concerts, and both have enjoyed the campfires before bedtime.

And for my holiday, I've been writing the finishing touches on my new WIP's partial - now called COLD JUSTICE. I've also decided to rework my last MS, called BLACK ANGEL and put to use the rejection letter from the editor who *nearly* bought it, and see if I can place it elsewhere. When you have the house to yourself, it's amazing how much thinking you can get done! The time has flown by and now I have to pick the kids up tonight at the camps' Family BarBQ.

I've also enjoyed reading "The Devil Wears Prada" over the course of the week. Hilarious. I can't wait to see the movie, which I'm sure won't be as good as the book, as Anne Hathaway has been panned. With my DH working till 9 p.m. every night this week, it's been wonderful to have the house to myself to read, read, read.

It's not a glamourous vacation, but it's been fun discovering agent/editor blogs, writing when I want and actually getting words down on paper, and brainstorming with my long distance critique partner Robie Madison. Her new book Love Partner came out last week; if you feel like something futuristic in erotica check out her link at the right.

Here's to a week off, any way you can get it! :)

Friday, July 21, 2006


I've skipped a week or two of recipes for backyard summer sipping - or computer sipping, if that's where you'd rather meet your Muse and tell her to hurry up and get something done!

I've fallen in love with Lipton's Green Tea in the can, so I'm sharing two of their Cocktail recipes that you may have already seen in their advertising literature. If not, this is a great way to zip up your Green Tea for company or for yourself when you need a breezer on a hot day.

The Lipton Tea Cosmo
1/4 cup Lipton Green Tea with Citrus
2 tbsp vodka
1 tbsp orange liqueur
1 tbsp fresh lime juice (the bottled stuff works just as well!)
1 tbsp cranberry juice cocktail
Place all ingredients into a shaker filled with ice. Shake well, then strain into a well-chilled martini glass. (Or a normal tumbler, lol, we're not all 007 are we?) Garnish, if desired with a slice of lime. Serves 1.

The Lipton Green Tea Mojito
Juice of half a lime
6 large mint leaves
1/3 cup Lipton Green Tea with Citrus
2 tbsp white rum (or to taste)
Pour the lime juice into a highball glass. Add the mint and crush with a spoon. Fill the glass with ice and add the tea and rum. Stir well and garnish with a mint leaf, if desired.
(you may want to finely chop your mint leaves, puree them, experiment a little to make this more palatable. Crushing the leaves lets out the flavour, but isn't too great in the drink.)

Hope everyone has a great summer weekend. I'm off with my migraine to get groceries and clean house for our 10 dinner guests this evening. No rum cocktails for me tonight! And good luck with getting those pages done. Now that I've managed to create a "fictional" city, town, and reservation for my settings, my WIP is coming along much better. Soon I'll be able to post page progress like Toni Anderson does. =)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

A Mystery

Curtis Allan Dagenais appeared in North Batteford, Saskatchewan this morning for a bail hearing. He turned himself in at his home of Spiritwood's RCMP Detachment after being at large for 12 days. He's been charged with murder for the deaths of Cst. Robin Cameron and Cst. Marc Bourdages, and attempted murder for the other nameless officer who backed them up.

When the judge asked him if he understood the charges he answered "no". When she read them out again, he answered "yeah". It took barely five minutes to remand him and whisk him back to a solitary cell to await his next court date. He's a chip off the old block of his father, Arthur Dagenais, who's charged with "obstructing justice". He refused to leave the area the RCMP were searching for his son - the police got a court order to get him out of the area. Arthur's court date is Dec. 5th and he'll be in custody till then.

Both father and son allegedly hate police and have had numerous run-ins with them all of their lives. Both have police records for charges of assault - the father for domestic violence, and the son for assaulting a highway traffic officer. Curtis has had five violent charges against him, and was nearly named a "dangerous offender" by a whisker except that he hasn't done enough jail time to be considered a "dangerous offender".

There were interviews done by The Globe and Mail, Canada's national Newspaper, calling for stricter sentences from judges in handing out even the minimum sentences allowed for assault. While Canada has been much stricter on domestic violence in past years, simple assault is usually passed over with probation and a fine for a first offense, and perhaps a short 30 days and higher fine for a second offence.

I believe I said in another post that criminals are "career" in their behaviour, they are very often narcisstic in personality, not just sociopathic, and aggressive towards those in authority. Paranoid and often loners, they are often unstable mentally which leads them to substance abuse which leads to more crime.

What caused Dagenais to turn himself in, instead of committing suicide as the killer of four Mounties did last March, will be interesting to find out. It's a mystery right now, but points to a self-involved, narcisstic personality disorder. Narcissists don't kill themselves. The world revolves around them. He won't feel any remorse - no doubt he's still thinking he can get his father to change his mind about his will and deeding half of his farm to his mother - after all, that's what started his murderous rampage in the first place.

No doubt his mother Elsie, and sister Grace, are very glad that both husband/father and son/brother are in jail for what will be a number of months.

And if the judges who had had Dagenais in their courtrooms five times previously had been a bit bolder in their sentencing - had paid attention to him, he wouldn't have been out on July 7th in Spiritwood to kill Cst. Cameron and Cst. Bourdages. He would have been behind bars indefinitely as a dangerous offender, a menace to society, and safe in his cell - never to hurt his family or community again.

If you want to know how this ties in with writing - other than my being an ex-police officer - I say take a look at a real killer and follow the story of how this all unfolds.

EDIT: despite my attempts to include a photo of Dagenais in this post, neither would upload properly. Either there's a problem with Blogger or the pictures were protected for copyright, although I have used copyrighted pictures before and given them the proper credit. So I'm sorry that you couldn't have seen his face - it might have inspired some of you for a character sketch.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


On July 7th, RCMP Cst.'s Robin Cameron, above, and Marc Bourdages, responded to a familiar house across from their RCMP Detachment for another domestic call. It was fine summer evening in Spiritwood, Saskatchewan. The town troublemaker had just found out that his mother was going to inherit half of his father's farm, which he had thought he was going to inherit in full. He and his sister, Grace, were going at it full tilt in the house and Grace was trying to protect her divorced mom from her brother.

The domestic resulted in an armed Curtis Dagenais leading these two officers on a 27 km chase into a swampy, brush-filled area. A third officer pursued them as back-up. The chase ended, so the RCMP say, at 9:15 p.m. with both officers shot in the head, the back-up officer returning fire with Dagenais, and Dagenais making it away into the woods - woods that he apparently knows better than his own living room. He was well-known in town for his hatred of authority, particularly police.

This past weekend, both officers succumbed to their injuries. Cst. Bourdages leaves behind a nine-month-old son, and a widow who is also a Cst. in that Detachment. Spiritwood is a small farming community north of Saskatoon. Cst. Cameron was a single mother of an eleven year old daughter. Her father and uncle are both RCMP officers as well.

In Canada, we tend to recognize our police deaths with large funerals in the same way that we do our fallen soldiers. The shock we feel at their deaths is in large part because of our strict gun control. Also, when they fall in the line of duty in such small towns it seems surreal that the officer you see everyday in the same coffee shop - off duty in the same grocery store, should suddenly be taken from you by the same freak you've known since high school. It doesn't seem right, it's not fair, and nothing can bring them back. Sudden death, graphic death, in real life leaves deep, ravaging holes in the fabric of a community. And it takes time to mourn the dead.

Our RCMP are a Canadian icon. They are seen as the elite among our police forces, although every man and woman who wears any police uniform does the same job, day in and day out.

Curtis Dagenais is wanted on a Canada Wide Warrant. His father thinks he's committed suicide. I think perhaps that's true because no picture has been shown of him on any news station despite of talk of the warrant. If I find a picture of him I'll post it here on my blog.

Robin and Marc, thank you for all the good you've done, for the respected officers you've been, and for the wonderful memories you have given your children. You leave a great legacy.

Friday, July 14, 2006


Has anyone ever tried one of the many types of writing software out there? Did it help or hinder your creative process? Did you find it helped you write faster, if you're the "outliner" type of writer?

If you bought software, which kind did you pick? Dramatica Pro? Story Writer? Any other kind?

Janet Evanovich is selling her non-fiction book, "How I Write", which is coming out with "Twelve on Top". Anybody going to buy it because a) they love Evanovich and buy everything she writes anyway, or b) they want to know how she writes.

Inquiring minds want to know!


We all have a hard time (at least I do) keeping at our writing when the kids are out of school, there're visitors who need attention, the husband has to work regardless of how many other people drop in, etc. Here are some suggestions I've come up with that might help you stay on course with your writing (even a page a day, Bailey!):

1) Keep a large pitcher of California Iced Tea laced with vodka in the fridge at all times. Mix up a new pitcher every night before bed. (Ok, kidding about the vodka - but one can dream!)
2) Do laundry at 10 p.m. at night - it's cooler then - and let the kiddo's take their clean clothes out of the baskets. Who needs to put clothes away? Waste of time! If they need to be put away, kiddo's or dad can do it. :)
3) Do groceries maximum of once a week. Buy for two weeks IF you can get away with it, and DH doesn't faint at the sight of the bill. By this I mean; buy more more food than you need, and you'll make less trips to the store, meaning more time in chair in front of computer.
4) Keep staples on hand such as: LARGE jars of peanut butter and jam, cold meats and cheese, 12 packs of buns, frozen juices, popsicles, at least 3 kinds of pop, pickles, bags of chips, pretzels, cheesies, frozen hamburgers, frozen pizzas, and pre-packaged salads that come with their own salad dressings. Also, pre-prepped stir fry veggies. Slice up 3 chicken breasts and you're done.
5) Hire a teen-age boy to cut your grass. No more nagging DH and you don't have to do it Saturdays when you should be fighting with DS about getting off your computer. :)
6) Back to iced tea laced with vodka :) - it goes well with blueberry pie (or flavour of your choice) so make sure you keep pie or good snacking material on hand for when you're flagging in the afternoon and that scene just won't come out right.
7) Encourage your visitors to nap after lunch when you get just the right inspiration for that love scene in the cemetary, when your H/H finally realize they just *have* to have each other!
8) Take a pad of paper with you to write notes while squiring visitors around town on sight-seeing tours - ok, your butt isn't in the chair right now, but it will be when you get home. :)
9) Get up at 5 a.m. when the sun is climbing over the horizon and you can bang out at least 2 pages before DH goes to work and DS starts bugging you to play Spiderman on computer.
10) If all inspiration fails, go cyberblogging until it's time to replace that great iced tea. Your friends are all creative and are bound to spark something off in your head. Or the iced tea will.
11)Watch reruns of "Comedy Now!" or "Just For Laughs!" to get the right side of your brain working. Tell yourself it's research.
12)Read another Linda Howard book and tell yourself THAT's for research!

I can't believe I still don't have a title for this WIP. Can anybody tell me how titles come to them? I've never had this problem before - this is my fourth novel. And it's not that I'm not enjoying it either.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

FEMINISM AND THE '20-somthings

I did blog about Kathy Reich's book CROSS BONES, but it seems to have been lost in the ether, so I'm sorry to have been so long between posts. Summer, with it's blue-bowled skies over the prairies has been a siren call to us, whenever the heat hasn't been 33 degrees. Then the kids and I stay in with movies and the window air conditioner blowing full blast. I just dropped off our golden retriever to get shaved down so she doesn't suffer so much in the heat.

I read a very good article in CHATELAINE magazine by a 22yr old university student about being a feminist, how it affects her girlfriends ("I'm not a feminist but..."), and how she was smart enough to dump a loutish boyfriend who guffawed at her and her friends discussing "women's studies" as the best class they took that semester. He batted her on the behind, called her "wench" and told her to go get him a beer. At least the girl has a sense of self-esteem, never mind being a feminist.

So, why do so many women of all ages, go around saying "I'm not a feminist but..."? She's right; we didn't even get the vote till after the First WW, weren't recognized as persons till (I think - this wasn't in her article) sometime in the Depression, still weren't making a living wage even when we all went to work in factories in the Second WW, weren't on TV as anchors till Diane Sawyer and that's within my living memory when I went to college hoping to break into television in 1977 - told I wasn't good looking enough because I wore glasses - that was Greek for I wouldn't sleep with the Producer who was interviewing, I kid you not, it was 1977 after all and before sexual harrassment was a big thing. When I finally got "a job in TV" I was hired in the Film Department for $7500.00 per year and basically ran the department AND the Newsrooms cameraman/reporter schedule - when I left two years later after complaining of sexual harrassment I was making $8300.00 and got one months wages as a severance. Because this idiot wouldn't leave me alone.

I'd say feminism has brought us a long, long, way from suffragettes, and 1997. If I had a boss who tried that with me now, I'd end up with a nice, fat, settlement. I knew an OPP cop who did, and she went back to work until she got pregnant, took her maternity leave, came back just long enough to rack up the time to get pregnant again, took her maternity leave, and then got out. She told me, "All the joy of police work was lost once he did that too me, and I had to fight so hard for my settlement. So, I just used the system to my advantage. If they didn't like it that I got desk duty for all that time, too bad."

Aside from my basic interest in police work, I swore I'd never earn $8300.00 a year again. I did government work that took me up to $23,000.00 a year but I hit a ceiling when I wasn't bilingual, which in Canada means you have to be French and speak passable English. If you're English and can speak passable French, fuggadaboutit. My sisters were married and had a bright future with double incomes and I wanted a bright future too. Feminism got me that, in an environment where they had to pay me the exact same wages for the exact same job, much as the other cops might not like it.

And it's the "old pioneers" like me and Diane Sawyer who paved the way for the proliferation of female news reporters/anchorwomen on TV, and the 50 policewomen back on my hometown force, when I was the only one in 1984/85 till they hired a second one.

Bravo for that 22 yrs old girl who already knows that a political mind-set, ambition, and willpower will take you a long way in life. Self-actualization is a goal to be reached and some of us never get there. Feminism isn't a bad thing - it doesn't make you a bra-burning, card-carrying lesbian. (unless you already are one, and then, that's ok). It means you're a woman who can take care of herself, believes in herself, can protect herself from scavengers and predators of the male species, and contributes all that's beautiful about being a woman to the world around her.

And doesn't that sound like the heroines we're all trying to write about?

Monday, July 03, 2006


Bailey Stewart left an interesting comment about my last post. She mentioned a father on an Oprah show, who blamed a Spike Lee movie that his 16 yr old kept watching, for the crime this kid committed. Now, who was letting his son watch the Spike Lee movie, in his house? He was, that's who. Of course, Bailey and Sandra are both right about their comments that in our society these days, most people don't take responsibility for their actions. I was merely pointing out the reasons criminals don't take responsibility and where their mind-set is coming from re their actions.

In the two generations since the two WW's, we all know that social mores and attitudes have changed dramatically. The baby boomers were raised by parents who knew the horrors of war, of doing "without", and were only too happy to live in a better world and give everything they could to their children. Then *that* generation gave everything they could to my generation. We are now raising up this generation of youngsters that we complain about the most - no one is responsible for anything and we blame everyone but ourselves.

I'm going to suggest that we can blame two sets of people for this problem (and I'll be ducking tomatoes here, I know it!). First, we can blame ourselves as parents, and second, we can blame lawyers/judges. Whoohoo! There goes the first tomatoe whizzing by now! Parents and lawyers/judges??? What two sub-sets could be more different?

Let's start with the lawyers/judges first. Judges interpret our laws, and lawyers bring ridiculous lawsuits to court. Such as one that happened a few years ago in my home province, where a woman got completely intoxicated at her company Christmas party, had an acccident while driving drunk, and then suied her employer for letting her get that intoxicated. Did her bosses throw that booze down her throat? Of course not. But, she was no disabled and unable to work, so that judge decided her former employer could cough up a chunk of money to take care of her, rather than the government having to take care of her for the rest of her life. No personal responsibility - like having disability insurance, or being smart enough to call a cab, or just not get drunk in the first place.

Judges will make these kinds of rulings against tobacco companies, drug companies, or McDonalds because they will have to pick up the tab, not the government. Lawyers love making money from these kinds of lawsuits. It's at least three years of mortgage payments for them.

Now, parents. (there goes another tomatoe! no I mean really, my DH just came home and found another scratch on the truck, which apparently is my fault). Parents have a four year window with their kids to try and build a foundation of self-esteem, self-sufficiency, a conscientious, and values such as kindness, tolerance, integrity, truth-telling, etc. And I mean this starts from about birth to just around their 5th birthday. After the age of 5 going into kindergarten, they're pretty well set as to what they're going to be like as an adult. Any kindergarten teacher can tell you what kind of parenting a child has had.

When I was Executive Director of a Crisis Shelter for street youth, I really got my eyes opened as to the kind of parenting these kids had and why they were on the street in the first place. The common adage I fought constently in the media was "they could go home if they wanted to - they're welfare bums - they should get a job". The truth was, they had parents who shouldn't have owned a dog, never mind have had a child. These kids were more handicapped then most "special needs" kids I already knew; they were mentally/emotionally crippled, had already been into crime and substance abuse, and were usually so socially damaged it would take years of therapy to get them working again - therapy they weren't going to get.

And there are normal-everyday-parents out there, working, trying-hard parents, who miss that 4 yr window, or parts of it, without meaning to. Somehow their kids miss parts of the wholeness that makes up the total package of a functioning; person who takes responsibility for themselves and their fellow human beings and contributes meaningfully to society. And if these parents have been raised permissively themselves, they'll pass that on to their kids. They take away consequences and don't discipline their kids because it's too much work. So all of a sudden, they have a 16 or 17 yr. old who doesn't listen to them (because they've never had to before), or do anything around the house (because they weren't required to before), and the parents go ballistic. It's like the parents suddenly wake up from some daydream they've been in for the past 15 or 16 yrs and now try to make the kid into something he or she isn't, and fail misterably. So, the tensions mount and the family will break apart.

If you've never taught little Johnny to clean his room at 5, he won't do it when he's 15. Ditto his laundry, washing the car, doing the dishes, or vacuuming. If he's never done chores for an allowance, he won't be motivated to find work for extra money, he'll be hanging out at the mall. If your home was "child-free" all through elementary school to keep it "clutter-free" because you were too tired after work - it'll be "teen-free" now and you'll never know who he's hanging out with.

Parents who let their kid watch Spike Lee movies and then blame their 16 yr old kid's crimes on them, have no one to blame but themselves. It would be nice if the judge would take the kid's pre-court evaluation report into consideration and put some onus on that dad to be part of the reparation for whatever the crime was, because dad was part of the responsibility too. Spike Lee movies are restricted, so technically the kid shouldn't have been watching it, am I right? And, as I said in my last post, watching these things repeatedly is what brings out the need to duplicate something in realitiy to goes beyond the fantasy. So, kid and dad are both to blame.

These are just my opinions on child-rearing from what I saw at the crisis center and on cases I saw in court. Any psychologist will tell you children are highly impressionable and any interaction you have with a young child will leave marks on him/her for good or ill. Something else to think about when we're writing our characters. Not to mention those powerful or dorky lawyers and judges.