Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Contest Alert!

I have the link to this blog on the right, but here it is again: Bookends Literary Agency. I highly recommend checking out their last week of posts. Jessica and Kim ran a contest for the first 100 words of paranormal romances. They revealed the Honorable Mentions today, and the reasons why they picked them are educational. Not to mention, the entries themselves are fabulous!

If you scroll down, you'll find book promo tips from one of their new authors. Again, very educational and encouraging to see a "newbie" starting her publishing career.

They've started a 100 word entry contest for erotica - and all of you know I'm not an erotica fan, but again, check them out regularly because Jessica as an agent lays it all out for you as to what they want and don't want. They're a hard agency to get into with a query letter, but you can learn alot from their blog.

Just passing it along! :)

Robert Latimer Paroled

Most of you in the US have probably never heard of Robert Latimer. He was convicted in 1997 of the 1993 murder of his severely disabled daughter. He originally received a second-degree murder conviction: to serve 10 years to life before parole. This week, he'll be paroled after serving only 7 years.

Robert Latimer gassed his 12 yr. old daughter who suffered from severe cerebral palsy, in his truck in a garage or shed on his farm while his wife took their other children to church. His defence was that he had to end her suffering and this seemed to be the most humane way to do it.

Originally, his bid for parole was rejected by the National Parole Board, but he's won an appeal of that decision, based on the theory that "he poses no risk to reoffend". Well, la de da. Of course he doesn't pose any risk to reoffend. He has no other handicapped children to gas in his shed. He's been ordered to "stay away from any handicapped children". If ever I've lost faith in our justice system, this is the time. How frivolous! How ridiculous! He poses no risk to "reoffend". Gag.

We've let murdering rapists out on parole...why not child killers? Because that's what he is, whether you want to get wrapped in the debate on mercy killing or not. He murdered his own child, and he knew what he was doing at the time. He planned it, his wife knew about it, and heaven only knows how they explained it to their other children.

I'm ashamed of the Canadian justice system in this case. His lawyer is looking for a "bed" in an Ottawa half-way house. I wonder how his housemates will view him?

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Look of Love....

This certainly beats the "key" parties of the 1960's, where the man would put his car keys in a bowl provided by the hostess, and the wives would pull out a key chain she knew didn't belong to her husband. The newly paired duo was then expected to enjoy "open sex" to "free" their marriages from boredom, rigidity, and endow them with new experiences.

I think there's something to this eye-gazing idea. Eye-gazing is one of human's most intimate behaviours. It ranks after: a) a quick peek at the other sexual party, b) flipping hair or the man raking his hair back denotes some interest in the person looking at you, c) coming in to the other person's body space, and THEN d), gazing deeply in to their eyes. In a regular bar setting: a), b), and c) allow either party to break off the contact - no harm, no foul. But at these eye-gazing parties, you're allowing a stranger to have access to your full face, and therefore vulnerability, right at the beginning.

A recent Canadian Press survey says that 55% of Canadians believe in "love at first sight". Of course, it may be that men are more prone to "lust at first sight", but still, that's a pretty high figure to be relying on looking at someone and "knowing" that you're in love with them.

Trust San Francisco to come up with such a cool idea for singles! I wonder how long it'll take to cross to the east side of the continent so we can all enjoy gazing into a stranger's eyes - and hoping they're not the eyes of a con artist or worse!
(yes, I always take the worst possible twist on something, I know!)

Try gazing into your spouse or significant other's eyes for as long as possible, and see what happens. Go on, I dare you! Let us know what happens (following Blogger's terms of propriety, of course!)

Monday, February 11, 2008


The website for the book THE BIRTH HOUSE is THE BIRTH HOUSE. Sorry for the confusion! :)

Inching Along

When pain is one's constant companion, you find out things about yourself - like how bitchy you can be, how little things your kids do never used to bother you but now they seem like mountains to be overcome, how you HATE to be dependent on others and not just jump into the car and head off to do whatever...

However, it also makes you pesevere and if I'm anything, perseverance is my middle name (to anyone who really knows me, that is!). I can now lift two coffee mugs out of the dishwasher at a time, but I can't raise a full coffee mug to my lips. I can balance myself again with my right arm, but I can't carry anything of much weight. I can get dressed myself again, but can't quite reach across my body to scratch my left arm. These are small victories! It makes me realize that as a writer, I should've been keeping some kind of computer journal all along, as I can't think of the words to describe the initial pain and experience. When you're IN the experience, it's far easier to put in to words that are visceral and evocative.

As you can imagine, I've had lots of time for reading! My SIL sent me two books, my MIL sent me one, and another SIL lent me the above book, THE BIRTH HOUSE. It's available on and you can read all about it at it's website THE BIRTH HOUSE.

I couldn't put this novel down, and if you're looking for a change from romance or genre reading, this book is for you. It's about the turn of the century village of Scots Bay in Nova Scotia (Canada), which still exists today. The heroine is Dora Rare, who becomes a midwife by default, and the story deals with all facets of her life; her reluctant midwifery, failed marriage, family relationships. The history of the change in obstetrics from women having babies at home as a matter of course, to being "made" to have them in hospitals via a patriarchal medical profession is dealt with through various women's eyes.

The book recounts the use of home remedies mixed with some superstition, as well as the real worth of herbal medicine. McKay even includes some of the herbal recipes at the back of the book, as well as the recipe for "Groaning Cake" which was traditionally made by a woman's friends during her labour. It's part of the story, and when you read the ingredients you can see how it would benefit a woman after childbirth - lots of sugar and carbs to rebuild your strengh!

The book is set against the backdrop of WWI, the suffragette movement, and the Halifax Explosion disaster, as seen through Dora's eyes and as a part of her life. McKay uses just enough historical references to let you know where you are, but they never take over Dora's story.

I highly recommend it for anyone who's had children, wants to have children, or like myself and Dora - can't have children. It's a universal story of women caught up in giving life and living with whatever dice life has thrown them. It's bigger than "women's fiction". McKay's nearly finished her second book, and is now writing a novel based on her grandmother's experiences as a female doctor at the turn of the century. I can't wait for them, and will be trolling her website above for more news
of their availability.

Hope all of you who're busy writing can take some time to grab this book. Written in "scrapbook" fashion, with the judicious use of the magical and superstitious, it's a treat to see how an author can create a straight-forward story with these techniques. Let me know if you do read it, and what you think!