2 Books on Writing and more revision

A gorgeous winter morning here in the Kawartha Lakes. Yes, I know it’s spring but somehow the weather forgot and sent us -20C temperatures(with the windchill) and 5 cm of snow, but a lovely day, none-the-less.

March, 2015


Lately I’ve been reading books on writing again, besides continuing to follow Janice Hardy’s 31 day novel revision. Today, her topic was “Sharpening the hooks and tightening the pacing. http://blog.janicehardy.com. Lots of useful information on her website. I recommend it.

Noah Lukeman’s respected The First Five Pages has a chapter on the sound of prose. I had one of those “oh no” moments after reading it last night and I’ve been struggling with the first 6 sentences of the 1st paragraph of my work-in-progress all morning as a consequence. It’s difficult to evaluate the sound of prose without reading it aloud. My computer will read the work to me, but what I need is a computer that will listen while I read to it. Or a patient friend.

I’ve started Margaret Atwood’s book on writing Negotiating with the Dead. I love her conversational, funny style.

My preferred writing programme is Scrivener, which is great, and during revision allows me to move scenes around. However, that can lead to further problems especially with the time line. Today, it meant dissecting, dismembering, destroying a favourite scene. There, alliteration again!

Back to work…





Tree peony 2012

About 15 years ago I found a tree peony at Loblaw’s  for an incredible price, $17 at a time when the nurseries were selling them for $40-$50. I doubted it would be hardy but I planted it where a stone wall would protect it from the North winds and it would get morning sun. Later I had to move it, not far, and in the same bed, but it took at least two years to recover. This winter we had too little snow to cover it, and there was die-back on the stems.
But today, all those years later, its blooming again.

8 Gifts for Photographers(amateur variety)

I’ve been roaming around, looking at sites with gifts for photographers. Some cost megadollars and some under ten. Here’s a list of a few, not too expensive items that I found.

1) The phone is a great carry-around-every-day camera,always in the pocket. Make room for these little items. The cost is great and  the company ships internationally. Fisheye, Macro, Wide Angle and Telephoto Phone Lenses Telephoto: $20 (US) Wide/Macro: $20 (US) Fisheye: $25 (US)  These lenses work with any camera phone and attach using a magnetic ring that sticks to your cell, allowing you to easily change lenses. http://photojojo.com/store/awesomeness/cell-phone-lenses









2) Hate taking photos in the cold? Check these out. http://www.freehands.com/categories/Collections/




3)A tiny tripod to wrap around whatever is handy to keep the camera steady. These are available at Black’s and on-line. http://joby.com/gorillapod





4)I haven’t tried it, looks great. Costs about 180$ http://www.thinktankphoto.com/products/retrospective-10-black-shoulder-bag.aspx

5)But these are for the women photographers. http://www.kellymoorebag.com/ Click on the link to check them out.










6)Just a lens clip, but so svelte!



7) A diffuser to give your pop-up flash photos a softer look.









8) White balance in a lens cap. I have to have one!



Today I’m bringing the blog up to date on writing, photography and gardening, especially gardening.

This month I finished the revisions of the galley proofs for the print on demand edition of The Facepainter Murders. Revisiting work is always tough, because the errors are glaring, the ability to change it minimal, and the time consumed to check each period and comma and tense exorbitant. Especially the tenses!

I’m also working on my as yet untitled sequel which takes Anne McPhail to Bermuda. About three-quarters finished as of today, but still a draft or maybe two to go. This time Anne is a suspect when she witnesses a murder and can’t convince the investigating detective of her innocence.

I’m still learning how to use my new camera, and yearning for a telephoto lens. We left our birdfeeder up for the summer and have had many species that are new to us arrive. The vivid orange variety of house finch and his cousin the purple finch and families are currently in residence, replacing the delightful rose-breasted grosbeak of last month. They are all easily startled so I’ve been trying photograph from inside the house. Recently my brother and I went up to the Ottawa Valley. On a bush road near Barrett Chute we came upon this deer, having lunch in the ditch.

Gardening has  become a joint venture, and this summer has been busy with a new retaining wall to build, or rather supervise.

Victoria Lister Carley, landscape architect

Rosepark Landscaping.

We are delighted with the result, and I have a brand-new garden to plant!

So that’s about it: writing, gardening, taking pictures, and oh yes, still trying to learn Italian.

Pictures from Seville

One Saturday, we walked into the Plaza Nueva, Sevilla Spain. On one side a basketball tournament, on the other wedding parties lining up to attend the civil ceremony in the city hall that formed on side of the square. The music, oddly, a piper, a busker, playing Scottish airs interrupted occasionally by “Here comes the Bride.”

The plaza in Spain, like the piazza in Italy, is the centre of civic life. It is our loss that we have nothing like it.

Photographic Gem

21 Settings, Techniques and Rules All New Camera Owners Should Know.

The Digital Photography School is a terrific resource for photographers, especially those like me who are making the switch from SLR to DSLR. The link above will take you to answers to the many questions I had, everything from white balance to cleaning.

Thanks to Darren Rouse for all the tips and article and links.

It’s been a hectic month with visitors from Florida to Paris to Elora in Ontario. The new year promises to be quieter, except for a visit to the surgeon for a colonoscopy(preventative maintenance).

I have 20,000 words of the new book and hope to finish by Easter.

Happy New Year and best wishes for health and well-being in 2011.

Gardening gifts, Christmas photo tips

45 gift ideas for gardeners – Fun and fabulous gifts – Gardening Gifts – Garden Gear – Canadian Gardening. This article from Canadian Living offers help to the last-minute gift buyer with a gardener on her list. My favourite, not counting the trip to England to visit fabulous gardens, is a truck-load of triple mix. If that is too much, check out the page at http://www.worldvision.ca/give-a-gift/Pages/GiveaGift.aspx, and donate trees to an African family.

If you’re the person with the camera at the Christmas festivities, read the advice at the Digital Photography School at http://www.digital-photography-school.com/16-christmas-photography-tips?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+DigitalPhotographySchool+%28Digital+Photography+School%29&utm_content=Google+International

The Digital Photography School is a terrific site to visit, or, as I do, have on your home page. The e-mailed tips are great too. I like the opportunity to see other people’s work, and to submit some of mine. I’ve been struggling with learning the finer points of my Canon Rebel T1i, and the site has been a great help.

Finches at the Winters' cafe

Malaga, Spain

We left Ronda, taking one of the major highways to the coast. Fabulous views opened at every switchback curve–and there were many. At one point it was possible to see four widely separated white towns shining against the background of granite crags and olive trees. Further south we came across forests of pine. I have no pictures from this drive because, although the highway was modern, in good condition and wide enough, there was no possibility of pulling off.

We found our small hotel, single story, set behind walls, with an inner courtyard and pool, in a residential neighbourhood. It was also a ten-minute walk from the sea. We walked along the sea, in sunshine, watching children playing on the stony beach, and men fishing. Further along was a seaside restaurant, a man behind grilling sardines in the old-fashioned way with an open fire.