12/31/10

Christmas Update!

Christmas has been really good to me, even though prep was really stressful!

I was very sick before I left, even needing hospitalization. Then we took the greyhound, hubby and baby too, for 20 hours down to my husband's hometown. Christmas with the In-Laws went well, but there was a lot of bouncing around. It's going great now because I'm in my hometown and I will be for about a month. Having the extra family around leaves me a lot of support and flexibility to write and relax.

It's New Year's eve and I wish everyone a fun one!

So, to recap.. I'm out of Whitehorse and really enjoying myself!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!

12/8/10

Writer's Group

Well, I must say that I had a great time at a friend's writer's group. The storytelling was all wonderful and a fellow writer I only recently met, is a very good writer indeed! I won't name her here because I haven't her permission-- but what a short I read by her last night. It's very Canadian and I'm sure it could go on to win prizes in short story competitions!

Also, as a group of all gals I had fun just sharing and shooting the you-know-what, with gals that were of all age groups but we all had writing in common. The more we spoke, the more we found there were other avenues of our lives that we had in common! It was phenomenal! I had a blast!

This post is for those ladies, you know who you are! I look forward to meeting with you all again in the new year! Happy Holidays!

12/7/10

12 Blogs for Writers/Freelancers

Much like the 12 days of Christmas, I have gathered some of what I consider to be the best blogs for writers or freelancers.

Remember, this is my biased opinion- but they're in no particular order.

The Renegade Writer, by Linda Formichelli
She's really active and her blog posts are all relevant to writers everywhere. If you're looking for advice on getting past the fear of querying,how to compose a follow up email, etc. You better believe that she's got a blog post to cover it!

The Urban Muse by Susan Johnston

She's on twitter, facebook and has an amazing blog. She seems to be very interactive with her readership as well, recently giving readership a competitive opportunity to be a guest blogger on her own blog!

Make a Living Writing by Carol Tice

She's got really down-to-earth tips about writing as a business. Keep an eye on her she's got posts that are jewels!

The Creative Penn by Joanna Penn

The archives alone are worth the visit! She's very knowledgeable!

Writer Beware Blogs by several authors

Great for getting information about questionable websites, writer's job engines, etc. Really great for those times when you want to educate yourself but don't want to commit to anything timely.

About Freelance Writing by Anne Wayman

Very thorough, covers just about any topic. Varying degrees of information make this site a best in my opinion because it benefits not only the new freelance writer but also the more experienced ones as well.

Freelance Switch by multiple authors and a cartoonist!

Freelance Switch is not just for writers, but all freelancers. They host people advertising for freelancers and you can have your own information posted on their site. While I wouldn't (and didn't) post to the business side of the website, I love the blog. It's a refreshing blog feed that has a lot of random, but related blog entries. Since there are a handful of writers and a cartoonist, the feed is up to date and never stagnant.

Freelance Copywriter's Blog by Sally Ormond

A great blog for the nuts and bolts. She checks you back into reality and gives it to you straight about the grammar, punctuation and even the why of what you're writing. While new wrtiers definitely benefit from her, even more so do experienced writers, reason? Some, not all-but some experienced writers tend to get into writing ruts, or write well for business and forget the details. Here, Sally gives you the reminder to slow down and think about what you're writing!

Business Writing Blog by Lynn Gaertner-Johnson

Business writing can be tricky business since there are some pretty strict formats out there. Lynn gives you the fine details right down to whether or not you should be placing that comma where you did.

The Writer's Manifesto by Monika Mundell

Not only blog entries by Monika but also by a plethora of writers. Check it out if you have the time!

Daily Writing Tips by a team of writers

Constant sources of help for your writing. From grammar to punctuation they cover it all... and if you like them check out the Daily Blogging Tips

Bad Language by Matthew Stibbe

An absolutely hilarious writer who keeps his readers up to date with new technology and interesting concepts.

Finally, Tips for Freelance Writers by Chris and Eric Brantner

Really easy going, based on the premise that all writers start somewhere... and it's usually around their 9-5!

Well, that's my 12 Blogs for Writers! I invite comments or feedback. Don't like my list? Tell me, or suggest a blog you think should have made it on this list!

12/6/10

Winter and Values.

It's winter time and I do not like snow one bit! Well, I like the looks of it and I like the smell of a winter day... but I distain the cold weather and the harsh winds that come with it. Yes, that's right-- I said distain!

Originally I come from a coastal city that has mountains and a beautiful protected harbour. We had hurricane warnings, but the winds were never THIS cold. This cold Yukon wind, the kind that raises the hairs all over your body, making you feel as if you were made solely out of cold hard bone; the brittle kind that rarely gets calcium. How awful.

The weather has warmed up recently, but there are residual effects both physical and psycological, that have me scarred until such time as the warmer weather becomes prominent...snow, and the month of the year, make that highly unlikely. It's December afterall, and what kind of December would warm up, bring out the sunshine, and give you a tan... not the Yukon kind.

Some say that I'll get used to it, and once I have-- I'll be a sourdough. Well, I may one day become a sourdough, but I don't think I'll ever get used to this weather. If I did it might just change my outlook on life and my entire value system.

How so?

My values are based on what I percieve to be good, bad and neutral. Usually you learn these things based on experiences of pain (all kinds) and joy or enjoyment. For me, healthfood is good for the body but bad for the tastebuds. The ocean is good all around; it gives me seafood, a calm feeling and inspiration as an artist. I also love to go sailing every now and again.

So you see, I feel that winter and snow are very, very bad. I don't think that's bound to change. Reason being that I do not like downhill skiing, do not like walking in snow with the frigid wind finding its way down my jacket collar, nor the effects it has upon my skin. The weather I do love is that pounding of rain on my roof, the light sprinkling of rain during a summer jog, or the moist and fresh smells from the forest after a rain. I like the look of a sheet of rain on lake water, the way you can track the cloud's movement by watching the pattern on the water.

You see, I like water. I don't just like water, I like that I like water. I like how that influences and calms me. It's also a part of where I grew up and who I've become over my lifetime.

So, I suppose the message is--while most people who live up north eventually "get used" to the nothern weather and the changes it brings, I won't. I won't, and that's okay with me. So long as I can continue to travel to the coast once a year and see the ocean, so long as I can enjoy the rain when it comes, I will; that's who I am.

But when you wish me luck and that I get used to the weather, you're wishing away the person you see in front of you. Just so you know. If you want to help, wish for more rain in the spring or fall... that would make the winter months more bearable.

11/25/10

Okay, maybe to you...

I woke up this morning at 6:30. It is now 7:25 and the majority of things I wanted to get done are done. It's a great morning because I have a ton of things to do today that include interviewing someone for an article I'm working on and a Doctor's appointment, and I actually feel kind of ready.

I woke at 6:30 because we have to be out the door by 8 when my husband has to be at work. My husband works at 8:30, but he only wakes up at quarter after 7...if not 7:30. So, if I lay in bed waiting for him to wake me, or to wake at the same time as him, I barely have time to get dressed and do my hair let alone get my daughter ready to go out the door.

I have to concede that my husband has been very supportive of the days that I need the car. On days where I do, and I know my daughter and I need more sleep--he's even taken the bus so that we don't have to go to sleep. Because let's face it-- the baby only falls asleep at midnight! So, by 7 o'clock she hasn't gotten nearly enough sleep for a baby her age!

Well, like I said; I woke this morning at 6:30am. I thought it was going to be hard, and when the alarm went off I really didn't want to get out of bed. But, I found myself fully alert and unable to comfortably keep my eyes closed for any length of time. By 6:33 I was out of bed and ready to tackle the frigid air of a winter settled home after a long night!

Now I'm thinking... What ever happened to my idea of getting up early to write? In the past I've wanted to but found no conviction to get up, or rather, no energy.

Perhaps it's because of those long nights that add up after a week. Or perhaps it's my need to have "restful" time alone without baby. Well, whatever it is... it's been hard. Because maybe to some of you 6:30 isn't early, but to a Mom with a Baby... it's the middle of the night.

11/23/10

My new business...

So, I have a lot to write about, but I've got a restless, but lightly-sleeping baby in my arms. This means I am typing with one hand... so instead I just want to do a quick blerb about my business, what it offers and the prices. Then, that's it! I hope to be blogging more regularly in the next week...

Amanda McDonald, Wordsmith.

Comprehensive Serivces
Editing levels include: Baseline editing, Developmental editing, or Basic Proofreading.

I also provide Document Consultation and Manuscript Assessment for academics, business start up, business plans, funding letters and more.*

Other services include: ghostwriting, business writing, fact checking, translating, indexing and editing to style.*

Editing Definitions
Baseline: Basic spelling, grammar, punctuation and indexing and cross-reference checks. This form of editing is also called Line editing because the document is edited right down to the simple sentence line.

Developmental Editing: Any more complex element that may require editing including structure, prose, etc. We will also work within a specific Manual Style if required, but pricing will vary: Chicago Manual of Style, MLA, and so forth. Does not usually include Baseline editing.

Basic Proofreading: is when the document is checked for spelling and grammar alone. This is the most final form of editing. If you are confidant in your project but require a second look through by someone else, this is where we would come in.

Help with editing or formatting is available via word processing documents however, services do not include digital formatting.

Pricing:
**Per page unless otherwise stated.

• $4.95 Basic Proofreading
• $7.95 Baseline Editing, Fact Checking and Manuscript Assessment.
• $9.95 Developmental Editing, Translation Services (French to English only) and Indexing.

Online Document standards: Every 500 words constitutes one page.

Document Consultation: $50.00/hour***

Writing: includes ghost writing, fiction or non-fiction and advertising (print and radio) is $0.25 per word unless otherwise negotiated.**


Prices subject to change without notice, depending on age of brochure Nov. 2010. Please call with pricing questions.


*Alternate pricing than listed
**All prices include a 72 hour turn-around time, if you would like your document to be done sooner, prices will change. Writing does not include 72 hour turn-around time but is subject to the contract.
***Does not include any work required prior to consultation.

11/12/10

Business!

Well, I'm going into business. I just have to pick up my business licence from the Public Works department today and I'm set! I've made some contacts and told others about me and we'll see how it goes. It seems there's no one doing what I am doing in Whitehorse so I'm super excited!

I can't put too many details up until I pick up that awesome document that tells the word, OPEN FOR BUSINESS!

Don't worry, it's a side business. So if business is slow I still have my regular job lined up! I plan on doing both, Whew, huge commitment hey??

Well, I'll tell you more in a bit! ;)

11/10/10

Brave New Words

I will be featured for the Nov 22nd Brave New Words as their writer for the evening.

Details:

Monday Nov. 22nd 2010
7-9pm, by donation.

At Baked Cafe!
I will be the featured writer and the featured musician will be Brenda Berezan.
There will also be an open Mic for anyone who'd like to read or perform.

Thanks to the sponsors! Copper Moon Gallery, Baked Cafe and MAP Communications.

See you there!

11/5/10

Business theory

I recently noticed that there are very few days left until Christmas. I walked into my favourite coffee chain, Starbucks, and noticed that my favourite drink is available. I pulled the breaks on.

Wait, my favourite beverage isn't available until the Christmas season! WTH? (My take on the WTF phenomenon.) Is it truly Christmas already? No. We haven't even had Remembrance Day yet,what's going on?

Yes, many people speak and write and podcast, etc., about the early advertising and planning in the business world and how it's quite ridiculous. It is, but I wonder if there's more to that. Is it even a good business decision? To devote an entire quarter's sales and business to the Christmas holiday? I mean, wouldn't there be more demand if you kept it shorter and closer to the actual holiday season? I wonder, If people typically buy more items when they are brand new, and on sale-then take the holiday sales and shorten the period. Have some other special/seasonal sales plan and keep the holidays' sales short and sweet. You'll garner more sales if you keep to the holidays and then place everything on sale shortly afterwards. It also gives you a whole new series of merchandise and goods to sell... isn't this philosophy called the "limited edition?" sales theory? I'm just guessing. I'm not up on business theory, but if you know of any suggestions or would like to share, let me know.

And what's my favourite drink, you ask? Triple Grande Caramel Non-fat Brule latte..

10/30/10

Gotta Run...

So, I have never been the type to listen to classical music. I've heard all the "Latest info" on how listening to classical makes you smart, grow a sixth sense and sends your kids to an Ivy League school later on down the road. What I always thought was: unless I'm sitting at a live orchestral presentation or show: it's just music without lyrics... BOR-ING!

Well, I clicked on my many classical music pieces stored in my iTunes. What I found out was that I really enjoyed it, and it's often cheap to buy on iTunes. The mix of classical music to Ocean sounds, however is very enjoyable. The best times of my life have been spent in ocean-side communities called Prince Rupert, Comox and Victoria. These times have been a mix of emotions, but the thing that strings them all together? Although there are times of sorrow, loneliness and even fear, I look back at my time there as joyful and worthwhile.

A new age friend of mine told me that since my star sign is Leo, a fire sign, living near water naturally balances me. The jury is still out on whether I believe in astrology, or any other new or old-age philosophies, but it rang true. The ocean does balance me out. It keeps me sane and reminds me of something I believe with all my heart.

It visually demonstrates that I am a small part of this earth, something I tend to forget when I am up in the north or in the middle of BC. I need to be reminded that I am small, sometimes on a daily basis to truly understand that. Sure- I could be great, but is it comparable to the greatness of God? Or if you lean this way, the gods? What about the ocean gives me this understanding that the forest does not? I've felt small in the forest, but it's not the same. I feel small physically because of the trees, and terrified at the animals who go bump in the night. But, it doesn't remind me of God, it reminds me instead of this life force that keeps beating back human advances, not God.

Sure Global warming is around and Humans are ruining nature... but if anything, it's just trying to kill us off. Because the earth and nature survived that period of danger and atmospheric distress around the time of the Dinos. So, when we're gone-it'll regenerate and start the long-winded evolutionary process all over again... I think.

But, recovering from that aside... the ocean is like a promise when I look at it. A promise that something large is out there, tempting me forward. Like a seaman or a Fisherman, the ocean tempts and seduces me in a way nothing else ever has-or will.

So while I bask in the sounds of the ocean, rivers and Mozart's Piano Sonata in F, K.332, 2nd movement... Just remember, if you listen to music with the sound of the Ocean for too long- you'll have to run to the bathroom a little more often than usual...

:D

10/28/10

How to read a book

Something has to be done.

I've read a lot of books and collected considerably more. The thing is, I don't keep them in pristine condition, I don't even treat them well.

I watch some people who read books like they're trying to keep them in mint condition like they'll be worth more someday... they won't. A used book is a used book unless it was in a limited print or in a certain age category. Besides, a book is only worth as much as someone felt when they read the book.

I will tell you what I mean.

My edition of the Memoirs of Cleopatra by Margaret Lawrence is in absolute tatters. The binding fell completely apart because I lugged that thing to and from Timbuktu. It's literally being held together with an elastic wrapped around the entire text, a chunk of the cover cut out where the library bar-code used to be, the title page has 'discard' stamped across it in garish red: and I wouldn't have it any other way. My Dead until Dark by Charlaine Harris has A Grande Non-fat Salted Caramel Mocha spilled all over the cover and side pages because I put a half-full to-go mug in the same bag. Voyager by Dianna Gabaldon? Well, that was a Decaf Single Venti Cinnamon Dulce Cappuccinno. You get the point that way... but let me be super clear. I don't just spill stuff on them, I wear them thin. They get notes scribbled on them and accidentally dumped into bathtubs, re-dried by hand with a hair dryer and then used to prop up the restaurant table on a date with my husband. After all, if you were a writer how would you want your books to look like when someone was done with them?

Here's what my stained and dog-eared books say: I enjoyed your book so much that I couldn't live without it for a single moment of my day, just in case I was stuck waiting in someone's office, my kid fell to sleep or I found myself randomly bored out of my skull. I loved it so much It stayed with me through my morning coffee, my afternoon melt down and when I ran into that old friend at the store and needed paper for her new number.

Those who keep their books supremely clean don't love their books, they cage them. If you truly love your book- it should go everywhere with you.

What's that funky smell? Oh, nothing- just my copy of Anne Rice's Interview with a Vampire.

10/21/10

A reply to a post on the broadside blog.

I agree.
Personally, I think any time a man wears something that isn’t his size/cut or who wears something that’s warped (either by age or tugging) it’s just a turn off. I usually don’t care what a man wears style-wise, but if it’s not cut/sized right, it’s a libido killer.

My husband has this shirt that’s too large in the frame so it bags around the sides, but it’s also too short in the front and in the arms. So, if he reaches up I see his belly button and when his arms relax I see part of his forearm. The colour is an old blue that’s faded and the neck is stretched out. Worst yet? He’s got this fantastic athletic body, and this shirt hides it! Needless to say, anytime he wears it- he doesn’t get laid.

So, here’s the truth. Your clothes should flaunt what you have. No, I don’t mean show skin! If the clothing is cut well it should show off your best physical traits and attributes. Keep it fitted well through the shoulders and hips and be sure your shirt's only the width of a finger from your body. If you can fit your hand up your shirt and it doesn’t even show, the shirt’s too big. Hats are unprofessional and us women know they are your comfort crutch- just like a woman’s “fat pants”-we’re onto you! So, don’t wear a hat in someone else’s home or on dates. Hats are meant for sports or to cover up un-showered hair...

If you want to know what’s flattering, find out what your skin tone is and be sure to wear items on the same side of the colour wheel. Want you eyes to pop? Wear the colour that’s direct opposite on the colour wheel. Ex: Green eyes? Wear red or a tuned down brick colour. It’ll make your eyes pop and hide blotchiness or redness from acne. If you have very pale skin, opt for a cooler shade of red with purple undertones. If you have blue eyes, I don’t suggest wearing yellow-few can pull it off, but instead wear beige or light browns. In the end wear something you feel comfortable in- it’ll show in your confidence and women need to see confidence to really be swept off their feet!

So, keep it simple!

10/19/10

Yes, lots of blogging today!

I forgot to mention. I sent off my short story for the CBC literary Awards... Wish me luck. I can't publish it until they've reviewed them and created a short list... If you haven't already sent one in... Hurry! You still can. They have to be postmarked by November 1st... You can do it, aim high!

Hint....Hint...

So a lot of people have been asking me lately, what kind of book are you writing. To which I reply, a political thriller based on a fantasy premise.

Yes, vague-- I know!

However, I think there's much to be said about guarding your work on the Internet. I really don't think the Internet is the greatest place to be talking about concepts and projects that you hope to have published one day. In general, all I can say is that it'll have politics, military, and yes-it'll have Vampires! Not the lame teen-heart-throb vampire, nor the viciously gruesome vampire of the 'Stoker's' age. No, it will have a very human-esque vampire who is much like you and I... the twist to his being is another closely guarded secret until I get published.

Want a hint though? Go to the following site: http://amzn.to/cQlxVC This is a book I'm using for my research... Happy guessing!

Quick Blerb

I just wanted to get on with something I read the other day in What's Up Yukon. While the quote is taken from an article on a play called The Boys, the following is true of anything you pay attention to, spend money on, or otherwise engage in by participating.

"We have choices of what we want to endure because a play or a movie makes an unspoken agreement with the audience. It says, “Stay right there and pay attention. I’m going to say something interesting, important, entertaining.'"

Written by Jerome Stueart of What's Up Yukon, he shares some light on what viewers are really looking for in a play. Sure there's the odd person who goes out because it's better than staying in, but beyond that why work at something unless you've got something to tell?

I'm a writer, if I didn't have something to tell I wouldn't write. But it's not just in the telling, it's in the ability to hook and engage the audience so that they're not merely flies on the wall or observers. It's to get them emotionally involved...

10/9/10

Research

Well,
I've decided that I need to do a little more research for my book at this point. To me, it's starting to feel a little less genuine because there are certain things about intelligence gathering I don't know. So I'll have to teach myself.

My eldest brother referred the book Silent Warfare: Understanding the World of Intelligence by Abram N. Shulsky and Gary J. Schmitt, to me a little while ago since I myself was aiming for a job in intelligence with the RCAF. I never got around to reading it. It wasn't until after I moved to the Yukon that I thought of the story I'm writing now, so the book never crossed my mind again... until yesterday!

Yesterday night I was unpacking one of the many boxes that are stored in our spare bedroom closet and I found it, at the bottom of the box. It looked at me (With those eyes on the cover) and said "Read Me!"

So, I shall read and then continue. I read a couple pages last night out of curiosity and in those few words I found a better way to distinguish the characters and the plot of my novel. My book will be the better for this research. Wish me speedy reading!

10/7/10

Some Comments From Crazi Ivan!

The following were critiques of Crazi_Ivan's on my two short stories that were previously mentioned in another post of mine. The first is a critique of his on my short story I'll be submitting to the CBC Literary Awards:

"Has lots of heavy thick mood. Excellently placed tension. Maybe consider removing the protagonist's nae and keep the third person perspective witnessing and that last little bit in the end. It didn't feel like the judge was supposed to put out a ruling right at that moment. Maybe consider holding the shindig as a pre trial hearing. I like the idea. Very unique and wasn't expecting it till half-way. I'm sure some political cartoonist or editorial writer will take ideas from this in some way shape or form. That's the truest form of flattery, haha."

The second is a critique of a story I'll be submitting to Edge for the Tesseracts 15 anthology.

"Good job so far, e-five!!!"

Both comments have been edited in order to protect the subject and content of these stories until these pieces are submitted.

Thanks Evan, I appreciate all the help and am taking quite a few of your suggestions into consideration for the next draft!

10/6/10

Breaking that Scene

That scene, you know the one. It's the scene in that last post about procrastination... Anyways, I blew that scene out of the water. Problem was, I had a four millenia vampire that was intimidating me. How do you write about a being that's lived 4000 years? It was terrifying it seized me completely. I'd stare at the blinking line that makes letters come out of it and talk to it in my brain: please just let letters come.. please.. I don't have to type every time, do I?

Well, today is a great day. Besides losing some weight, nearly getting my pre-pregnancy sized engagement ring on, and joining Urban Yukon (Little button at the bottom of the blog) I got to that scene and I began it in a way that leaves the writing easy to come.

How, do you say, I did it?

Well, tonight I went to the Cramped Hand Writer's group here in the Yukon hosted by Jessica Simon and we sat and wrote. For 25 minutes we wrote without interruption... and then shared. After correcting a short I'm working on I was really able to hunker down and write out the flesh of the beginning of the scene. Plus, the actual reveal I was going to have (I realized) didn't work, so I knew I had to change it up- and I found something even more believable to reveal...

So all in all, it's a great day. Time for bed.

CTV Screen Writing Competition

For more details, please go to the following website:

http://www.wgc.ca/files/CTV-WGC%20programFinal.pdf

An internship is offered, and for anyone out of Toronto that is selected they will pay for your travel and accomodations while you are participating! What an opportunity!

I'll be taking a stab at the Dec 1st deadline myself!

10/5/10

Procrastination

While I sit here knowing I need to get to work on my novel, my little comrade procrastination is keeping me company. Just now I very nearly began a blog entry about libraries... wow, that would have been interesting... right.

So while I thought about what would be more interesting to write I realised just how much I was procrastinating in order to avoid this really hard scene I was working on. It's a scene between my two main characters and a third less known character who reveals something to my heroine that rocks her world! It leads her to figure out something about her predicament that makes her certain that the choice she makes at the end of the novel is the right one for her. It's a part of her drive, but I'm not feeling it. I'm sick and tired this day because I was up all night with my newborn and I can't really care about my poor protagonist right now even though she's in complete limbo until I fix her up...

Well, I need to actually get to work on her or I'll never finish this book. And I must finish this book. It shall not make another file in the "really great stories that I just couldn't finish," pile...

I Shall FINISH!!!!!!

(Imagine Queen playing as you read this last line.... seriously, go back and re-read with "We Are The Champions" playing in your head....)

10/4/10

Itah Sadu: PHENOMENAL!!!!

Yesterday I went to a two hour workshop held by my local library and presented by Itah Sadu. It was a workshop on storytelling, and throughout Itah held everyone's attention! You couldn't look away, and I'll never forget how wonderful she was at including everyone in the process.

If you ever get the chance to meet her, hear her or go to her bookstore in Toronto, please do. You'd regret not going if you had ever met her. Below will be two links. One to her bookstore (A Different Booklist) and another to a Youtube of her speaking about her sense of belonging in Canada.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvOIrPwqZiU
http://www.adifferentbooklist.com/

10/2/10

Evolve: Vampire Stories of the New Undead

Review, Evolve: Vampire Stories of the New Undead

Well this is my first review, so thanks for reading. Today's book is listed above and is edited by Nancy Kilpatrick. Published by Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing based out of Calgary, Alberta. There is a quick blerb, can't even really call it a forward, by Dacre Stoker; Great Grand Nephew of Bram Stoker. For those who aren't up in the Fantasy genre: Bram Stoker wrote the Massive book Dracula.

The goal of this anthology was to include Canadian Writers writing about the Vampire, in a new and different way. A great Introduction by Nancy Kilpatrick introduces the genre and many of the great movies and books in the genre. She goes on to argue, however, that the vampire has changed several times since the earliest vampires in entertainment. With this anthology of great short stories, she proves that indeed the vampire has changed in literature. Nancy states, "...in Evolve you will find kindly vampires, vicious vampires, helpful and hurtful vamps." She proves quite right.

From shorts about a vampire taunting a vampire hunter "trainee" to a group of medical doctors who are cleansing the blood of the diseased, Evolve has many shorts that will tickle your fancy if you like the vampire sub-genre.

I'd like to also include a review of a short that a fellow Yukon writer had published within this anthology. "How Magnificent is the Universal Donor" by Jerome Stueart is a quick and fun read. Jerome has created a character that keeps us on the edge of our seats while we're wondering when he'll slip up. And, when we finally meet his husband at the end of the piece we're really enthralled at the challenge he faces while his husband is drugged and hilarious. Jerome has not only changed the vampire genre with his interesting twist on vampire as saviour (but are they really?), but also on the presence of homosexuality within literature. His writing is effortless and while the relationship centres on a homosexual couple, he's not preachy about homosexual rights. It was refreshing to see a very well groomed and personable man go through what any husband would call: terrifying.

Congrats again Jerome on your short! It was a pleasure to read, and thank you Edge for giving me an enjoyable way to spend those handful of times I found myself waiting in the car, at home or even in the library!

For those wishing to get more information on Edge, please copy and paste this address in your browser:http://www.edgewebsite.com

Announcement and Great Loot!

So I thought I would share the great loot I got today at a garage sale down my street. I went on a nice walk around my neighbourhood and saw a garage sale so I stopped and took a look. What I saw surprised me!

I bought for a total of $5.50:
-A guilded, leather-bound copy of Darwin's On the Origin of Species
-The Joy of Writing by Pierre Burton
-VHS movies (yes, I still have a VHS player:
*The Wedding Singer
*Mrs. Doubtfire
*The original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
*Die Hard, and
*Die Hard 2: Die Harder

Plus a little plushy for my daughter that sings and rocks out! It's a little stuffed platapus that sings "Splish, Splash."

I had a great walk after that since my daughter slept the rest of the walk and I was able to stop and eat my oatmeal and blueberries when I wanted a break. Yes, I know 2.7 Kilometers isn't that far... but YOU haven't recently given birth... :P (Unless of course you have...)

So, I thought I'd share my great loot on that. I also wanted to share with everyone that I will be doing book reviews and author reviews soon. Today I will review the book Evolve: Vampire Stories of the New Undead Edited by Nancy Kilpatrick. An anthology about evolved or the "new" vampire. Stay tuned!

9/30/10

Serendipity.

Yesterday I was in the public library writing away when I ran into someone. She asked me about the chance of helping her. She is French Canadian and is writing a Feasibility Study for a Bookkeeping business that she would like to start. Some funding options would open for her if she does well on her feasibility study. Because she is still learning English, she would like me to do some proof reading and editing of the document, and she's willing to pay. It's really exciting because I would love to begin really working with the written word. Obviously I have a job to go back to after my maternity leave, so I think I've found myself a part-time job to have on the side :D

In any case, because she would be a business client I would be able to put that work on my resume for future reference. :D Yay!

Lately I've been making more and more contacts abroad. I've been going to Mother Goose program and I'm a part of a program called Mothering your Baby. Both are excellent programs funded by the United Way, and it's been great to be able to run into other moms. At the grocery store on Wednesday I ran into a mom who I took prenatal classes with. It felt great to catch up and find someone with similar daily issues and interests.

Right now I am in a great state of mind. So, that's it for now! :D Gotta get writing!

9/29/10

Malachy...

So, today is an interesting one to note since I have not had more than an hour's worth of sleep. It's made me caffeine starved, jealous of my now-asleep child, and a little wacky. So please excuse me should anything not make sense to you, it will have definitely made sense to me at one point. :D

To clarify on one of my previous posts, someone asked "Your husband is demanding?" :O To which I replied: No, and yes. By my post two days ago about finding the time I was simply using basic language to say that every relationship demands time and effort. Sometimes it feels like that time and effort you put into your relationship with everyone else far outweighs the time you put into your relationship with yourself. So, as far as my husband- I love him, he's sweet and my best friend; however, to foster that relationship takes time. We both have needs and in order for both of us to be okay, we need to foster and meet each other's needs- which takes time. So, in essence I was only talking about the time that everyone demands of you in your personal life, because everyone does. For example, I call my mom probably every two days or so and put a huge demand on her time...(Sorry Mom, Love you though!) But she handles it well and lets me know when she doesn't have the time for our usual chat.

Moving on, I know that I mentioned needs. There's something I've wanted to get off my chest since I was a child. It's something I instinctively knew but couldn't put into words. It came to a head when I was a teen and it was a volatile time in my life, but more or less I just want to clarify something about me, and others like me.

As most people know there are two categories that most people fit into; most likely you're a mix of both but lean to one side. I am talking about introverted people and extroverted people. The basics: introverted people are those at parties who have a harder time mingling, they're the shy kind. They're also the kind who enjoy being alone and can really feed off of quiet solitude. They can be alone in their heads and they need their time to really figure stuff out. If a personal crisis occurs then they need to be alone and think through things. On the other hand it can be hard for them to communicate what they need, they feel too shy to ask people to leave them alone and they can often take on personal responsibility for communication or relationships gone bad. (Often, unnecessarily.)Also, while they make good listeners they would rather not share at all because they don't enjoy sharing or being extroverted, they fail to understand why others might need to be. This group, surprisingly, is also the group most likely to gossip since they do not care to share their own personal feelings and emotions, they would rather share something that is not scary to share. For these individuals, to share is to reveal something very private and personal and it takes energy to share. Whereas they get energy from being alone.

On the flip side is the extroverted person. They enjoy being around other people, BUT, and this is important, they NEED other people. Being around other people gives them energy, spunk and a skip in their step. They also need to verbalize or share in another way (Art perhaps, etc.) what they are going through and who they are. These people enjoy new experiences and find ruts infuriating. When they are alone, in a new place, or meeting a new person at first they over compensate by telling them a lot about themselves. They look like the person you can't talk to or that's only concerned about themselves, but they're not. They adore listening, they think it's a great mutual exchange and they see it as a growth in the relationship and meaningful communication. When given the opportunity to listen they gladly do. They also seek out relationships with others but don't know how to go about doing so, and can often scare others away by sharing too much.

While these are very broad definitions about those extreme personality types, they fit within certain characters. And even if you're a mix of the two, there is usually a side that wins out over the other. If you're not sure which category you fit into, go to a party. When you open the door and the noise hits you, how do you feel? Anxious about the people and the mingling? Anxious about the energy you're going to have to expend? Then you're more introverted. If you feel hesitant because of the new people, but excited to meet them and dance and get your groove on; then you're more extroverted.

Why Amanda are you sharing this?

I am sharing this because unlike many others, I am almost completely in the extroverted pile of people. Some who know me would say "Well, that's an understatement!" But it isn't.

You see, as a teen I grew up mostly with Mom who's an introvert for the most part. She enjoys more personal company, one on one visits and less people and less noise. My extroverted Dad could usually coax her out to functions with promise of a good time and leaving whenever she wanted. But, it took her a long time to be comfortable enough to drink and really let lose at functions, and to share with some of those people what she was thinking. For her, sharing her opinion was risky business....
Then she has a daughter like me. Her and I had a rocky couple of teen years because, like other introverts she didn't understand. I need people.

As teens girls like me get pegged off as any of the following:
-wanna-be's
-attention whores
-flirts
-teases
-loud mouths
-and it goes on.
Some of the things I've been called are not pretty, but they all undermined who I am. I am an extrovert, and while some people may not understand this, if I am cooped up at home or in a place where I don't know anyone I'm not just lonely- I'm claustrophobic. I become depressed easily and begin to mentally talk myself down because I do all of my thinking while I am talking. I need to have background noise and people around me. If I live with a room mate or a husband, I need them to check in on me daily and chat with me. Just have usual chatter, could be about anything or nothing, but something. I need to have meaningful exchanges with others or I begin to suffocate in my location.

For a long time here in the north I've felt like that. I came up here, got a brand new job where I was a supervisor and (at the time) the only people who I felt like I clicked with were people I supervised. Needless to say I couldn't do much personally with those people. I felt it would be inappropriate. Also, the two coworkers I had at the time were the following: Someone who was awesome but had a personal lifestyle I didn't understand, and a person who I just didn't mesh well with at all. Then, onto sick leave and maternity leave I went... Alone, at home. I began to write and it was good, but I couldn't share anything about myself in my fictional work that left me feeling like I had a meaningful exchange.

Yesterday I posted my blog onto my facebook and people responded "Thanks for sharing." I say honestly, Thank you for reading. You've made sure I felt heard. To me it's like needing air to breathe, I need to communicate, for me it's verbally or written.... I paint, sure... but I don't feel like it defines me the way words do...

So, if I ever come across as big headed, talkative, attention grabbing, etc. Please know that I'm probably really nervous. You see the less I'm around people, the more it feels like I'm drowning... and what does a drowning person do to their lifeguard? They stand on top of them to try and get air, because they panic. They need that promise the lifeguard represents....

So for today I will leave you with the second verse and refrain to a song I adore called Malachy by the Irish Descendants:

Malachy stood behind the bar dressed in his apron white
A philosopher of sort, he claimed, and sometimes he was right
A curious combination of poet and of sage
Yet he had a healthy outlook you won't find on any page

''Chorus''
''He said, "Sit down, what's your hurry? No need to move so fast.''
''Life will offer you many things, and some that may not last.''
''The things that we ought to cherish and search for till the end,''
''are the moments we chance upon, like the beauty of the setting sun''
''and I haven't met a man yet I cannot call my friend."''

9/28/10

Second time's the charm...

Yes, I know- I already posted today. Do I have a life? No.

I've finally gotten organized enough to sit at my desk and write. I found out that my child doesn't just adore her high chair in the kitchen watching mom cook, but also adores it in mom's office while mom types away. I shall give this a shot so that I can write... I really need to find a way to integrate taking care of my daughter and finding the time to write my book, or it'll never get done.

BTW, in previous post I mentioned that the Baby was crying all night long? Well, turns out she had some major gas. I'm talking gassier than the gassiest adult. :S It's actually kind of cool. I like to sit her next to my husband when she's like that and blame it on him. He gets all red in the face and tries to convince me it's her, when it is. Yet I insist on saying; "Really, you're blaming it on the baby? Clearly that's a loud fart- she can't possibly fart like that, that was an adult fart." Then I shake my head at him and tsk away! It's quite a great game, worth having a kid just to do that to someone. Or how about on public transportation? It's really a fun game! No one thinks it's you, because everyone knows it's the baby or the person beside them. How about your local library, I spend a lot of time there. :D Okay, enough of that I guess. There's the gross factor to my blog. While I am a writer and I hope to be professional about it, I find that I still need an outlet for all the baby stuff in my life, and Mom's heard it all before... so you, my readers must endure! Muah ha ha ha ha!

Well, moving along. The snow up here has come and gone several times and it has caused a little bit of inner turmoil for me here. You see, I am allergic to wood smoke. Since natural gas does not exist up here for us Yukoners, a huge portion of the population uses either propane, wood heat or both to heat their homes. Problem is, wood's cheaper. So while I adore the Yukon, it's geography and it's inhabitants.... I look like I'm constantly sick! Ugh.

It's no coincidence that my migraines, sore throat and watery,itchy eyes all started when the cold weather did. Usually I only feel that way if I missed my morning coffee, but I swear I had two cups this morning and still- symptoms persist. So, I am writing through the fog that is so eloquently advertised on the Claritin commercials. I'll let you know how far I get!

Children...

Remember that last post where I determined to get up earlier to write before my daughter got up for the day?

Well, that didn't work so well. My daughter woke up about four times through the night and then my alarm didn't go off, but my daughter did. But I got a lot done last night. God I love Starbucks! You can do anything there... plus, usually I wouldn't leave my laptop unattended but around the time I'm there the RCMP shift change must occur because at least six of them pile into the store...which means I can go pee without having to pack up!

Yes, I take advantage of them... but they take advantage of the fact that I speed to meet their weekly quota for tickets. Karma balances it out!

Yesterday while writing I tackled a story that's been evading me for a couple months now. Wasn't sure about how to structure the plot or the POV. Got it down last night, it's a short thriller and I'm pretty proud of the quality on first draft. (Usually that means I did well, because I rarely enjoy my own writing, but others seem to.

Need to get going, but tomorrow I will tell you what Crazi_Ivan said about my recent shorts... ttfn

9/27/10

Getting the Time

Last night as my daughter lay in my lap, I read LK Hamilton's Blog entry titled: Invaders from Porlock: part III It was really an eye opener. She speaks in this entry about the difficulty of having a baby and finding the time to write, but still she managed. Plus, during her time as a new mother she published my favourite book of hers, and the one I think is the most well written of all her works: Obsidian Butterfly.
So I sat there wondering: How can I make this work. I have it a little harder in that I am yet unpublished and a new mom. How can I deign to find the time?
She also tweeted (days and days ago) that she sat, at her desk to write one morning and it was dark outside. That got me thinking, since it was late at night.
As I lay my head on the pillow and my daughter in her Bassinet I realized that I was burning the candle in a pot; rather than from both ends. I was staying up super late and waking a little later than I'd like in the mornings which makes me even more tired. What balance would it take for me to feel good?
I remembered a time when I felt most rested and organized. It was a time of numerous dark mornings, a time when I could focus on me and a time where there was nothing I didn't do well.
So, I decided to take this evening to go to bed early and wake early tomorrow morning. It would give me the time I need to write while Babe is still asleep and time away from the demands my husband puts on me. I would also have that much needed time to absorb my morning cup of Joe... I might even be nice that first morning when both of my family members wake up and I'm already bushy tailed, bright eyed and caffeine loaded.
I also want to make an honourable mention. My brother Evan Ramsay, a very fine artist, has agreed to evaluate my current short story projects and keep me informed about his opinion... Well, he texted me yesterday and gave me a little bit of a mood lift, Thanks Evan!

9/26/10

Current projects underway...

Hello All,
It's been awhile since I last posted but I'm still working on the novel. I also have two smaller projects on the go. One is a submission for the CBC Literary Awards and another is for the Tesseracts 15 Book that Edge Publishing is working on right now. The CBC one is due November 1st. The Tesseracts one is open between Sept 1st through the 30th of November. Wish me luck for both. I'm really hoping I get the Tesseracts one too because it would mean publication in a Canadian book. Gawd, wouldn't that be great!

I think in this day and age it's really important for people to stay true to who they are but it's equally important that your work support you. So, reality time: My novel is mostly aimed at the American Fantasy/Thriller markets but that doesn't mean I can't write shorts for the Canadian Markets... Anyone knows that Canada's genre markets are TINY! Which means that any genre writers out there should either work at getting an agent or publication in the USA, or both. So, good luck to all Canadian Genre writers out there- I wish you luck.

Also, I'm on twitter now so check it out! All the literary agents and editors are on twitter now. It's also been suggested as the best way to market yourself as a writer because readers can keep up with your current projects... my name on Twitter is: @writeramcdonald. Have a good one.

3/25/10

What's Up Yukon

My piece in response to the call for articles on "Why Europe is a great place to visit" was published today and I have to say I'm proud of it-but I should have given them a title. I think the title they picked gives too much away.

Look for it at this address (copy and paste into your browser.) http://whatsupyukon.com/index.php/2010-03-24-17-59-04.html

I focus primarily on the sensation I had when I stood in front of the Vimy Ridge War Memorial in France. It blew my mind, imagining the horrors of the War and yet seeing that beautiful and peaceful place- it didn't match!

In any case, feedback is welcome! Take a look.

~Amanda

3/16/10

In What's Up Yukon

The publication 'What's up Yukon' has been running a contest for a writer to write a piece about why Europe is a great place to visit.

I submitted a piece and it will be published on March 25th 2010. Look for it in that edition!

3/10/10

Amanda McDonald: Fernie Writer's Conference

http://ferniewriters.org/

SENT!

I've been working on a small project for a little over a week, a children's picture book.

The picture book is one that sprang to mind immediately ready and just needed to be written. The manuscript is ready and I've written an excellent cover letter and it's in the mail! Woot woot. The publishers I am sending to have a period of about twelve weeks to wait for reply. WISH ME LUCK! I should know by aprox. May 26th if my book is approved. If not, I'll post here and pitch elsewhere!

Yay!

Fernie Writer's Conference

For any interested writers there is a writer's conference in Fernie, southern BC this summer. I hope to go, and they also have scholarships for applicants that are interested. It's a great opportunity as they will have the workshops, a festival and they will also have the opportunity for writers to meet publishers.

If you want more details, email me and I will pass on what I know. Their program is still under development, but I'll tell you what I know.

Amanda

Here's the website....

http://ferniewriters.org

Here are the workshop details....

Sunday, July 18
5:00 pm Conference Registration Begins
Fernie Heritage Library
6:30 – 8:30 pm Opening Reception and Readings
Library Garden
Monday, July 19
8:00 am Conference Registration
9:00 am – 1:00 pm Screenwriting Workshop
9:00 am – 1:00 pm Crafting Fiction with Peter Oliva
9:00 am – 1:00 pm Fiction Writing with Steven Heighton
9:00 am – 1:00 pm Writing Compelling Non-Fiction
with Sid Marty
9:00 am – 1:00 pm Songwriting from Scratch with Mae Moore
1:00 pm – Creative Time
7:00 – 9:00 pm Wine and Cheese Reception
Polar Peek Books
Tuesday, July 20
9:00 am – 1:00 pm Screenwriting Workshop
9:00 am – 1:00 pm Crafting Fiction with Peter Oliva
9:00 am – 1:00 pm Fiction Writing with Steven Heighton
9:00 am – 1:00 pm Writing Compelling Non-Fiction
with Sid Marty
9:00 am – 1:00 pm Songwriting from Scratch with Mae Moore
1:00 pm – Creative Time
2:30 pm – 4:00 pm Moderated Panel – Freshies
8:00 pm – 9:30 pm The Brickhouse Readings The Brickhouse
Wednesday, July 21
9:00 am – 1:00 pm Screenwriting Workshop
9:00 am – 1:00 pm Crafting Fiction with Peter Oliva
9:00 am – 1:00 pm Fiction Writing with Steven Heighton
9:00 am – 1:00 pm Writing Compelling Non-Fiction
with Sid Marty
9:00 am – 1:00 pm Songwriting from Scratch with Mae Moore
1:00 pm – Creative Time
8:00 – 10:00 pm Songwriting Performance
The Brickhouse
Thursday, July 22
9:00 am – 1:00 pm Screenwriting Workshop
9:00 am – 1:00 pm Crafting Fiction with Peter Oliva
9:00 am – 1:00 pm Fiction Writing with Steven Heighton
9:00 am – 1:00 pm Writing Compelling Non-Fiction
with Sid Marty
2:30 pm – 4:00 pm Moderated Panel
Freshies
4:30 pm – 8:00 pm Registration – 3 Day Sessions
5:30 pm – 7:30 pm Southern Interior BBQ & Panel Bear’s Den
Friday, July 23
8:00 am – 9:00 am Registration – 3 Day Sessions
9:00 am – 1:00 pm Screenwriting Workshop
9:00 am – 1:00 pm Crafting Fiction with Peter Oliva
9:00 am – 1:00 pm Fiction Writing with Steven Heighton
9:00 am – 1:00 pm Writing Compelling Non-Fiction
with Sid Marty
9:00 am – 1:00 pm Writing in Place Poetry with Alison Calder
9:00 am – 1:00 pm Finding the Want, Defining Desire
with Betty Jane Hegerat
9:00 am – 1:00 pm Youth Writing Workshop
with Kim McCullough
9:00 am – 4:00 pm Three Day Letterpress Workshop
1:00 pm – Creative Time
3:00 pm – 4:30 pm Moderated Panel – Poetry
Island Lake Lodge
7:00 pm – 7:45 pm Youth Reading
Knox United Church
8:00 pm – 9:30 pm Keynote Address
Knox United Church
Saturday, July 24
9:00 am – 1:00 pm Writing in Place Poetry with Alison Calder
9:00 am – 1:00 pm Finding the Want, Defining Desire
with Betty Jane Hegerat
9:00 am – 1:00 pm Youth Writing Workshop
with Kim McCullough
9:00 am – 4:00 pm Three Day Letterpress Workshop
10:00 – 11:30 am Readings
2:00 pm – 3:30 pm Panel – Writers on Writing
Robert Kroetsch, Peter Oliva & Bill New
6:30 pm – 9:30 pm Conference Banquet TBD
Sunday, July 25
9:00 am – 4:00 pm Three Day Letterpress Workshop
9:00 am – 1:00 pm Writing in Place Poetry with Alison Calder
9:00 am – 1:00 pm Finding the Want, Defining Desire
with Betty Jane Hegerat
9:00 am – 1:00 pm Youth Writing Workshop
with Kim McCullough
10:00 am – 3:30 pm Professional Sessions

3/5/10

An exercise I'm doing...

I was reading a great article trying to get focused on finding theme-based conflicts for my main character that tied to the over-arching project's conflict.

The following exercise I found in 'The Writer,' Magazine, March 2010 edition on page 35.

"Part One: Ask yourself what the character most desires, substituting your own desires.

-What does she care about? What strongly motivates her?
-What is she actively moving toward or trying to get? If you know she's involved in something, be aware of that and create an actual measurable goal around it.
-What keeps her going-focused and committed- when the going gets rough?
-What needs to be done that only she can do? Or what needs to be saved, protected, solved or figured out that only she can do? What is her plan for doing this?

Part Two: Make a list of antagonists who trip up your character on her way to achieving her goals. Think beyond one key antagonist-the villain. To keep the conflict realistic, create as many antagonists as you can. Try for one or more of each of the basic antagonists as you can. Try for one or more of each of the basic antagonists, such as: other people, nature, societal demands and expectations, religious or spiritual beliefs, internal flaws, fears and prejudices."


Hope this two part exercise works well for everyone. Give it a shot... I'm going to do it, and if it doesn't reveal too much about my plot and story then I will post it...

Take care fellow writers or passionate readers!
Am

3/4/10

Update for 2010...

So, right now I have started a new and exciting project based in Canada and fits into both "Political Thriller" and "Sci-Fi" genres. I think it's a really fun project so far.

As of yesterday I was really stuck on some stuff. In my mind I kep thinking "plot, plot, plot..." but what was really missing was that in the week I took to tie things up at work I'd lost sight of the THEME! So, I've got it back and I'm writing with a vengeance!

If you've noticed the small changes I've made to the website, I salute you because you've visited more than once! ;) Also, I've put a list of websites that I think are helpful for writers either as resources or places to submit short stories or articles. Another thing I've added is a list of books on Writing that I think are super helpful. So far I've read all of them and then some. If I find a truly awesome book, it'll be on there. I promise that each of these books are worth your time and money, and that the websites will offer great insight.

Take Care and Happy 2010 people!
YAY for Canada in the Olympics!