Thursday, February 28, 2013

Thursday Thirteen - 268 - 13 Things About My Latest Adventures With My Bad Knee

1 – Anyone with a knee injury involving torn ligaments and cartilage has likely discovered over the years that it will make a return engagement from time to time. The photo above is from 2008, when I re-injured my bad knee and had to use my late Gram's cane to get around.

If anyone has seen me slowly making my way around with Gram's cane this week, you'll know that I'm in another season of re-injury. 

2 – The original injury happened twenty years ago. I was captain of a team doing a scavenger hunt through downtown Toronto in support of The Children's Aid Society, and I'd just turned to make sure everyone was all together before we arrived at one of the call-in stations. A homeless man who'd been sitting over by the Salvation Army building had moved and when I turned around, I tripped over him. I tried really hard to stop myself from falling and ended up looking like I was doing a snazzy Broadway move, but eventually I went down hard on the cement sidewalk.

3 – My knee took decades' worth of wear and tear in one instant, my second physiotherapist explained to me. So in my late 20s, I was the proud owner of the knee of a pensioner.

4 – Over the years, I've had a special brace made for it, I've had physiotherapy twice, surgery once, and for the past three-and-a-half years, acupuncture treatment.

5 – I'm definitely hanging onto Gram's cane. I never know when it's going to come in handy again, and this week it's been worth its weight in diamonds.

6 – All had been going well in the past little while with my knee, until my husband and I were out last Friday for his doctor's appointment, then a stop at the bookstore and a movie. When I headed into the bookstore, I forgot to push the seat back when I got out of the car. Climbing back into the car, I whacked my knee hard on a corner of the dashboard. My whole body went weak inside and I felt nauseous. When I got back to my feet, my knee was rubbery and weak, as it has been in the past.  

7 – Basically, walking down the street and getting into a car are all it takes for me to do some serious damage to myself. No spectacular ski falls for me, no sir.

8 – Thankfully, Gram's cane is never far from reach. I've hobbled my way through the week so far and have a few more days to go.

9 – It's amazing how exhausted it makes me to hobble around. I suppose it's the re-injury. Basically, I've gone to work, come home and slept. 

10 - Luckily, my day job is a sit-down job. I've been able to get a lot of work done there, although my book revisions in the evening have given way to sleep.

11 – Sending a huge shout-out to my friend Tara for getting me home after a long day, all week long.

12 – Sending another shout-out to my husband for putting me back together again for another day. 

13 – Looking forward to my next acupuncture treatment. Gram's cane will be tucked away again until the next time.

Friday, February 22, 2013

5 on Friday Set 159

Travis at Trav's Thoughts invites everyone to lay down a short set of music that takes their fancies for his 5 on Friday meme.

Happy February Birthdays to these birthday girls!

1 - There Are Worse Things I Could Do - Stockard Channing - Grease soundtrack

2 - The Closer I Get to You - Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway

3 - This Will Be Natalie Cole

4 -Vissi D'arte - from Tosca composed by Puccini - Leontyne Price

An aria from my favorite opera.

5 - Oh, Johnny The Andrews Sisters featuring birthday girl Patty Andrews

This promo piece for Miami City Ballet's production of Company B begins with the song that was my favorite from this contemporary ballet, which I was thrilled to watch when I worked at the theatre in the 90s.

Here's the whole song - can't get enough of it!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

I'm blogging at The Popculturedivas today

Join me at The Popculturedivas today for 13 Things to Keep in Mind During the Revision Process.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

The Next Big Thing is a blog hop, where a published author or unpublished writer is given the opportunity to answer ten questions about their current WIP. They then tag four more writers, who will post about their respective WIPs the following week and pass this invitation on to four more writers to keep The Next Big Thing going.

In November 2012 I was tagged by sci-fi suspense author Charlene L. Roberts for the blog hop, but at that point I was just finishing up NaNoWriMo. So I thought, I'll get to that in December.

In December, I was tagged by contemporary romantic suspense-with-a-humorous-twist writer Janet Corcoran. Hmm, I thought. Christmas. No one will be able to do this one right now. I'll wait on that.

January sped by as my day job made the diplomatic use of staffing challenges stretch to the breaking point. No extra energy left to do much blogging. All my energy was flowing into my work in progress, where blissfully my infatuation stage continues, sweeping me up into the story so that I can't wait to get back to it.

This month, Kate Robbins tagged me and I'm ready to introduce you all to my next big thing.       
1) What is the working title of your next book?
It has an actual title so I'm only going to refer to it as Scorpius Book 2. The title will be revealed once I start doing the promo for the book, late this spring/early summer.

As the working title suggests, it follows the further adventures of Scorpius, the falconer's apprentice turned lord's man from my dark fantasy Dragonsfyre series.
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
This is going to sound rather sinister, but those who know me are familiar with the manner in which stories generally come to me: in vision-like bursts of emotional scenes deep in the heart of the main character's black moment.

Unfortunately for Scorpius, the scene that burst forth took place in a shadowy dungeon with screams ricocheting off the stone walls.

Because I was heading into series territory for the first time, this pantser had to map out the plot according to my favorite framework, Save the Cat Goes to the Movies. It was important to figure out what kind of story I was telling.

Strangely enough, once I broke down the story elements of BOUND BY DRAGONSFYRE (Scorpius Book 1) I surprised myself by discovering I was writing a Whodunit. I don't even read or watch mysteries/thrillers/suspense. Not too often, anyway.

I do love BBC's Spooks/MI-5. And The Prisoner.

Once I began work on mapping out Book 2, it wasn't too long before I realized I was writing a Monster in the House story.
3) What genre does your book fall under?
The Dragonsfyre series is in the dark fantasy genre, long a favorite of mine. It's also a political intrigue series, with court intrigues of the Eighth Dominion providing the backdrop to Scorpius' journey.   
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

There are a few new characters in Book 2, including this captain of the guard whom we first meet as a young cadet at a military school. To be truthful, this character made two brief appearances in Book 1, but he takes center stage in Book 2 alongside the woman whose fate is intimately entwined with his. The actor who would play the guard captain with secrets that must be kept hidden for the sake of the dominion is Daniil Strakhov, a Russian stage, television and film actor.

In a realm where magic was outlawed by a religious order generations ago, this noblewoman's powers as an adept would lead to her execution if they were ever revealed. Not even her powerful family would be able to save her. Not even when her powers might be the only way to save the dominion from the ravages of dragon's fire. This noble adept would be played by Indian actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan 

The noble adept is cousin to Lord Thibault, second son of the Duke of Pruzhnino, and Scorpius' master and best friend. A radical choice of bride ignites his world in political upheaval, leading to grim consequences for his bodyguard when he is put to The Question. Will Thibault's loyalty to his wife's people be paid by Scorpius' screams? Lord Thibault would be played by English stage, television and film actor David Oakes. 

Once raised to be a noble though never claimed from the nursery, apprenticed out to a falconer and then trained to serve Thibault as his lord's man, Scorpius learns to stay beyond reach of blades and of corrupt noble schemes. His vow to serve his young master descends into a brutal ordeal when Thibault's enemies use any means possible to get what they want. To protect him, Thibault spirits Scorpius to his cousin's Keep, only to embroil Scorpius in a fight for which he has no defense--a fight for his heart, one in which the guard captain becomes a dangerous and unpredictable rival. Scorpius would be played by English stage, television and film actor Richard Armitage.    

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
In the Eighth Dominion, the sacred powder known as dragonsfyre burns away lies, bringing terror to a stout heart when the fate of a kingdom comes down to one man, one secret, one pledge to serve even unto death.
6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I'm a self-published author who puts together a creative team including a professional editor, graphic designer and formatter when I bring my books to readers.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I wrote it in several disconnected sections. I first began writing this adult character of Scorpius several years ago following a writers' retreat, spurred by exercises given by Renee Field and Lilly Cain. I set that aside to begin the boyhood back story for Scorpius, which then became serialized fiction featured weekly on my blog. When that in turn became BOUND BY DRAGONSFYRE, I returned to the adult story line and ran with it during NaNoWriMo. I'm now revising Book 2.  
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
It's a thrill to say I've been compared to George R R Martin by several reviewers. Mercedes Lackey fans would enjoy this series, as well as anyone who enjoys watching The Borgias
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
When I saw Richard Armitage's performance in North and South, I knew he would come to me as a character inspiration at some point. When it turned out to be Scorpius, I was ecstatic. I adore Scorpius.
10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Once the book is released, there will be a book trailer which I directed--produced by Charlie Mac Productions --to go along with it.

Here's a sneak peek of the Scorpius Book 2 costume which my costume mistress mom created:

Here's how the book trailer for Book 1 turned out:

And now:

A-tagging I will go, a-tagging I will go...

Come on down! You're tagged for The Next Big Thing on your blog, next Wed the 27th.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

5 on Friday - Set 158

Travis at Trav's Thoughts invites everyone to lay down a short set of music that takes their fancies for his 5 on Friday meme.

This week's set features songstresses who are also dancers.  

1 - Try - P!nk

This pas de deux is amazing. Truly.

Slight caution: it does include dance vocabulary that is very aggressive.

2 - Running Up That Hill - Kate Bush

3 - Hung Up Madonna

4 -Hollaback Girl - Gwen Stefani

5 - Candyman Christina Aguilera

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Thursday Thirteen - 266 - 13 Ways to Say I Love You All Year Long

Happy Valentine's Day!

Here are thirteen ways to say 'I love you' after the flowers and heart-shaped chocolates:

1 – Call your honey from work, then say, "I'm going to keep calling you every half hour to say 'I love you.'"

Then make sure you call in a half hour. 

2 – Try new things together. Remember when you first met, and everything was fresh and exciting? Change it up and you'll feel that breath of fresh air. 

3 – Does your partner love Japanese horror flicks? Do you love Russian historical costume dramas? Take turns watching one another's tastes in flicks. You'll probably be pleasantly surprised.

4 – If you're really keen on doing something but you can feel your sweetheart is really forcing participation, maybe it's best to fly solo. Just enjoy what you love and don't rain on both of your parades.

5 – When you're so cranky you could spit, but you can see your honey's nerves are just as frayed, just back away slowly. Why get into things when the only problem is that you're both too hungry/tired/frustrated/not feeling well?

6 – If backing away is already too late, force yourself to listen. Don't insist that your partner hear your side of it. You may be amazed by what you learn, when you really listen. And most people quickly feel soothed by the feeling of being heard.

7 – Interrupt your sweetie by planting an unexpected big ole kiss. Generally leads to wide grins.

8 – Turn grocery shopping into a date. Dancing to favorite piped-in music while in the pasta aisle recommended.

9 – Use favorite in-jokes liberally. Especially the really old ones. They're usually attached to good times.

10 - Foot and leg rubs. No explanation necessary.

11 – When your honey feels sick or needs pain reliever, if you get the cold remedy or Tylenol, it works better than if he or she has to get it. 50 % more powerful.

12 – Give your sweetheart the last cookie/chocolate/french fry. Then melt a little at the look of pure delight as he or she enjoys it. When your honey then gives you the last cookie/chocolate/french fry, don't protest. Just enjoy.

13  Hold hands. So simple. So intimate.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

I'm Celebrating Amore @ Cate Masters' blog

Join me for an interview over at Cate Masters' blog, all about amore!

Leave a comment over there for a chance to win a copy of BOUND BY DRAGONSFYRE. Good luck!

Friday, February 8, 2013

5 on Friday - Set 157

Travis at Trav's Thoughts invites everyone to lay down a short set of music that takes their fancies for his 5 on Friday meme.

That's my anniversary rose bush which is currently dormant beneath the snow at the edge of the woodland garden. Brad gave it to me instead of a bouquet of roses for one of our anniversaries, knowing how much joy it would give me. Can't wait to see the first buds in a few months!

As Valentine's Day approaches, this is for all of you lovers out there - especially you, Brad.

1 - Vechnaya Lyubov (Eternal Love) - Anton Makarsky

This is a favorite from one of my Russian playlists on You Tube. The clips are from Admiral, a favorite film about the Russian Revolution. The song is a Russian version of Une vie d'amour by Charles Aznavour, sung here in Russian by Anton Markovsky, whom I discovered as an actor in the Russian historical series Bednaya Nastya which I feel in love with last spring.

2 -The Wonder of You - Elvis Presley

3 - Love Cats The Cure

4 -All Through the Night - Cyndi Lauper

5 - Pretty World Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66

I have to end this set with Brad's and my song. It's just how we roll.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

I'm blogging at The Popculturedivas today

Join me at The Popculturedivas today for 13 Romances by Atlantic Canadian Authors

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Happy 6th Blogiversary to A Piece of My Mind

This milestone crept up on me as I date stamped 'Feb. 5th, Feb. 5th' on documents at my day job.

I kept thinking, what's with Feb. 5th?


Six years ago I stepped up to the podium and added my voice to the Blogosphere.

A Piece of My Mind quickly became one of the most joyous parts of my life. Thank you to everyone who stops here for awhile, reads, posts comments and has become a long-distance friend of mine over the years.

Six years ago, I was still dreaming about the sort of column in which I was profiled today:

Romance writers spice it up

I did dream.

I also wrote blog posts, wrote manuscripts, reached out around the world, discovered kindred spirits, spun my Friday tunes, posted photography, shared poetry, made lists and lists and lists of thirteen things, took up challenges, profiled the arts, interviewed authors, shared my journey to publication, hosted guest bloggers, went on blog tours, reviewed books and made A Piece of My Mind a 2nd place winner of Creative Writing Blogs.

*blowing kisses*

My thanks to all of you. Can't wait to see what this year will bring!

Friday, February 1, 2013

5 on Friday - Set 156 and Book Cover Reveal for Shawna Romkey's SPEAK OF THE DEVIL

Travis at Trav's Thoughts invites everyone to lay down a short set of music that takes their fancies for his 5 on Friday meme.

Today's tunes set the scene for SPEAK OF THE DEVIL, a Young Adult paranormal romance by brainstorming buddy Shawna Romkey. It releases on March 15th. I'll be reviewing her book on March 14th - 13 Reasons to Read SPEAK OF THE DEVIL.

Today marks the cover reveal for her debut novel - a pretty exciting moment for an author!

Cover design by Taria Reed 




All my favorite things!

1 - Breakin Up the Girl - Garbage

2 -Why' - Annie Lennox

3 - Earth Angel The Penguins

4 -Run Devil Run / The Big Guns - Jenny Lewis and The Watson Twins

5 - Until the End of the World U2