Thursday, February 22, 2007


This CBC Marketplace story is self-explanatory. Check out COFFEE PLACE "We found rats leaping out of things on the floor"

It would be a funny story if it weren't also disgusting. I've often wondered what goes on behind those swinging doors at Tim Horton's, Robin's Donuts, Starbucks, Timothy's Coffees. How fresh is that creamer? How clean are those hands making your donut holes? What DO the midnight shift do for fun, anyway?

What does this have to do with writing? Well, nothing, except most of us drink alot of coffee (apologies to my friends Toni and Robin who drink gallons of tea!), and some of us drink it in coffee shops while we write on laptops. Sounds like it would pay to get to know your favourite coffee shop manager *very well*, so that you know you're getting healthy caffeine into your system while you're finishing Chapter Ten. JMHO of course! ;)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Girls-Only Blogthings - What Famous Movie Kiss Are You?

Girls-Only Blogthings - What Famous Movie Kiss Are You?: "
Your Famous Movie Kiss is from Gone With The Wind

'Great balls of fire. Don't bother me anymore, and don't call me sugar.'


Here's hoping your loved one has remembered this special day for you! Chocolates, flowers, diamonds, jewelery, thongs, perfume, dinner out, movies in, breakfast in bed - what did you get for Valentine's Day? Hopefully, something to inspire your next love scene between your hero and heroine!


I'm excited to still be in Round Five of author Karin Tabke's First Line Contest. We're down to 45 contestants from the first 75, and will continue until there's only 10 semi-finalists. Then Karin will have her judges pick their five favourites (by now, opening paragraphs)and the five with the most votes will be the finalists. All five finalists will have to get the first 10 pages of their MS's in to Karin asap so she can forward them to Hilary Sares, who will pick the final winner.

You can find the contest at KARIN TABKE BLOG. My entry is #27 if you scroll down the page. If you click on the "51 Comments" icon, I'm #39 on that page. There's some great competition and I'm biting my fingernails to see if I make the cut again for next Monday.

Question of the Day: What kinds of contests do you like to enter, and why?

Sunday, February 11, 2007


You probably haven't seen this on the news because most of you are Americans. Saskatchewan is a beautiful Prairie farming province, in between Manitoba which is a mixture of Prairie and treed/Canadian Shield, and Alberta which is a mixture of Prairie, oil fields, and the start of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Saskatchewan is the "Bread Basket" of Canada, producing nearly 100% of our own and exported wheat, canola, and smaller crops of rye, and barley. Up north we have lakes, rivers, and forests for hunting that are so dense you have to fly in in bush planes in the fall. Up north it's big tourist country, where Canadians, Americans, and some rich Aussies etc. pay big bucks to fly up there for a couple of weeks to hunt enormous Elk, Bear, and Moose. Not to mention the incredible fishing.

The City of Saskatoon, one of our largest cities, is hosting the Junos this year. The Junos are the Canadian version of the Grammy's and have become a Very Big Deal. Saskatoon came up with a prize package for Two, including two nights stay at their best hotel (sorry, forget the name), all meals, flight, and tickets to the Juno. They asked a radio station in Vancouver BC to help promote the contest and all listeners had to do was send in the ending to the sentence: "You know you're in Saskatchewan when..."

They got answers such as: "You know you're in Saskatchewan when...

"your prenup has chickens in it."
"you can reason with a barnyard animal"
"when you fill up your pick-up with gas and it doubles in value"

The radio host who did the promotion in Vancouver said in an interview, "Well, in BC we have the Rockies, the valleys, the vineyards!" (in an indignant, we're-so-much-better-than-you-guys type of voice)

Well, that's geography, buddy. We have a booming economy with 10 consecutive months of increasing oil and gas revenues and job growth. And we know how to take a joke. As one person who called into a REGINA, Saskatchewan radio station put it: "You know you're in Saskatchewan when you live near a Co-op. You know you're in BC when you live near a grow-op."

Right on. And personally, I'd kill to win a trip for two to Saskatoon to see the Junos. Problem is, I already live in this wonderful Province!


I'm going to borrow this title from Ian Brown, of the Globe & Mail, because it's perfect for the domestic drama that's been going on in our house over the past month or so.

Mr. Brown's article centres primarily on throwing out books, and how men especially find they cannot, when push comes to shove, while women can trash an entire library in a day and come up with clean shelves. (I'm paraphrasing here) He uses examples such as Edgar Johnsons's Charles Dickens: His Tragedy and Triumph which you've had for 25 years, but are unable to part with because Charles Dickens was the subject of your Masters in English or something.

I've already cleaned out my paperback 6 shelf-deep, nearly floor to ceiling bookshelves, and ended up with a clear plastic grocery bag for the Sally Ann. I parted with several collections of Highland historicals I know I'll never read again, collections of authors I'll never read again because I've outgrown them, and ancient research books. I purged a 2-shelf cart full of books too.

This, alas, is not enough for my dh! He wants us to go through every "box" we have in our basement and garage that we haven't opened in the past year and either pitch, purge, or Sally Ann it. We likely won't have a garage when we move to Winnipeg at the end of summer, and he's already scoped out an 8'x6' collapsible shed with a floor we can buy. (I know we'll have a bigger house, therefore bigger basement, but Winnipeg's built on a flood plain and we've been told the house will flood every spring, thus the need to put everything up on pallets). SO, the necessity for a PURGE.

Mr. Ian Brown states that a four drawer filing cabinet holds 18,000 pieces of paper. Also, statistically speaking, that once people "get organized" with totes, bins, and files, nothing in them is ever looked at again. (I can attest to 2 x Rubbermaid totes per child in the garage that are filled with toys we couldn't part with on our last move, that have never made it into the house)

My DH wants me to go through 10 boxes in the basement, and I've already told him the baby clothes, silver chasing dishes, sterling silver-anything, wedding gifts (ok, we've been married 19 yrs, I guess if we havent used them by now we should re-gift them or Sally Ann them, or something!), my spinning wheel, and all my scrapbooking stuff - the final items do NOT count as boxes - are staying. Personally, I think all his boxes of college papers & textbooks could disappear, along with at least 50% of our kids videos that they never watch, maybe 75%, and most of his "mug collection". Okay, that's sacrosanct!

Is it true that if you haven't opened a box in a year, or worn a piece of clothing in a year, it's time to dump it/purge it/give it away? I disagree heartily. Ridiculous. Those baby clothes are going to fall apart at the seams before they get thrown out or Sally Ann'd. And I kept the dress that I wore on my first date with my DH for 12 years, until I knew *for sure* that I'd never, ever fit into it ever again.

Proving that you can write about murder and mayhem, and still have a few sentimental bones in your body after all.