Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Nerd Music Goes Bluegrass!

I've always wanted to watch Game of Thrones, but there's only so many hours in a day, you know? So I thought I'd get the book. Well, I read, a LOT, but when Mr. Martin introduced the tenth character in the first chapter, I had to put it down. Maybe I'll try again when the GoT fandom is not so fierce and everyone is telling me I must love it. Or else. I want to love it. Really.
The snippets of commercials I've seen sure do look intriguing, and that music....I do love that!

So I was over the moon when I found out there was a bluegrass band that's done a cover of the Game of Thrones theme music. Being a lover of bluegrass, I clicked over and immediately fell in love.

Listen, and tell me what you think!

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Ways To Reduce Your Energy Consumption This Summer

I've just come inside from a chilly, slightly icy world coated in white. It's April, where the hell is spring? While I was trying to warm up with coffee and the dog, who is also chilly from being outside, I came across an interesting post, 36 Ways to Lower Your Energy Use This Summer over at Just Plain Living.
The woman who keeps the blog is a trailblazer in my humble opinion. She and her family live in the wilds in Nova Scotia, off grid and as self reliant as they can be. Her blog can you teach you a lot if that's what you're into.

But even if you aren't, have you really looked at your latest power bill? It went up, didn't it? Power rates are forever rising, and they never seem to come down. And we keep paying it, because far too many of us have no choice.

But you do. Lower your energy use. Marie will you give you great places to start over at her blog (which will open in another window)

  • plant climbing flowers and plants beneath your windows, which will cool the air coming into your house
  • use window and floor fans instead of the air conditioner (we've decided not to use ours this year!)
  • if you have a ceiling fan, make sure it's blowing down, not up
  • the ever obvious turn out lights when you aren't using them. Unless of course you live in a basement apartment. if you do, I feel your pain, but you'll be cooler than me this summer!
There are a lot more tips over on Marie's blog. Head over there and read her suggestions. You might find something you never thought of!

How do you plan on lowering your use of expensive energy? Let me know in the comments!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Disfigured By Hatred, Redeemed By Love

Today, I'd like to offer an exclusive peek into my novel-in-progress, "Lies We Tell". LWT is about the struggles of two women who are both scarred by their past, physically and emotionally. Here's the tagline from the novel, 'Disfigured by hatred, but redeemed by love…'
This is a special deleted scene between the two main characters, Honour Elliot and Bree Donovan.
Bree looked down at her boots and then directly at Honour. “On occasion, my right leg becomes nearly useless. The doctors are unable to explain why. I have resigned myself to it. However, it is increasingly difficult to hide the condition. When the weakness strikes, I am unable to do little more than shuffle to use the facilities.”
“Why do you hide it?”
Bree looked out at the mausoleum as she answered. “I am a proud woman, Miss Elliot. You must realize there are many who would exploit my weakness. I cannot be seen as weak.”
“I’m sure you wouldn’t have anyone on staff who would take advantage of you. From what I hear, they are all extremely loyal to you.”
“I believe Mrs. Vaughan suspects. When I am laid up and unable to take my meals in the dining room, she has brought trays up to me, but she never speaks of those times. Nor have I.”
“I see.” Honour nodded. “You needed someone to not only trust with your estate but also with your secret.”
“You have proven to be as astute as you are reputed to be. Discretion was also assured.”
“Your secret is as safe with me as my own, Miss Donovan.”
Bree studied Honour carefully and nodded once again. “My condition has been known to creep up on me some days, and on occasion slam into me suddenly. It’s duration is also unpredictable. I’m afraid I can tell you no more than that.”
So there's your exclusive peek! Intrigued? Want to see more? Drop me a line at dragonquillca@gmail.com or in the comments section on this post!

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Ambassador

(This is an excerpt from a longer work in progress)

When I went downstairs with a load of laundry, the last thing I expected to find was a dragon with a book between it’s front feet. It was startling to say the least.
“Listen, do you think you could fix that door so it doesn’t squeal so much?” The dragon asked in a rumbling voice.
“Um, sure.” I replied eloquently as I stood and gawked.
“What are you staring for?” It asked me before gesturing to the piles of boxes marked ‘books’. “You have all this knowledge on my kind, I would think you’d be thrilled to see me.”
“I never expected to actually meet one of you, let alone have a conversation with you.” I stammered. “I’m…”
“I know who you are,” he interrupted me in a deep voice. “I’ve been down here long enough that I know all about you.”
“Why have I never seen you before today?” I asked.
“I didn’t want you to.” He replied. “Your clothes won’t get clean if you stand there holding them. But leave the door open, will you? It hurts my ears every time you open and close it. My name is Barroth.” He said as I stood there a moment longer. He was a classic example of a western dragon. He was the size of a large SUV, with back ridges, large head, dark red scales and a long tail. He was laying on the floor with a book clasped in the claws of his front feet.
I finally remembered my manners. “I’m honored to meet you, Barroth.” I gestured toward the washing machine. “Will that bother you?”
“No, it’s just the door, really.”
With some difficulty, I turned away from him and loaded the machine, added detergent and gently closed the lid.
“You must have questions.” He said from the other side of the room.

“Quite a few in fact, but I didn’t want to be rude.” I turned toward him and leaned on the washing machine.
“I suppose I can answer a few.”
“Obviously this is a bit of a shock to me, but I’m thrilled to find you. I thought the only living things down here were rodents.” A shudder raced through me.
“You don’t like them?”
“They terrify me.” I admitted.
“But you’re fine with talking to a large fire-breathing creature.” There was an undercurrent of humor in his statement.
“Yeah, ironic, I know. Can I ask, why my basement?”
“At first, when I was smaller, I needed shelter and the door had been left open. I got bored waiting for the storm to pass and started reading. Long after the storm moved on, I stayed. I read, ate the occasional rodent and got to know you. You intrigued me. I’ve decided you’ll do.”

“An ambassador, of course.”

(As I said, this is an excerpt, and not complete yet. I'd love to know what you think of it. You can either leave a comment here or email me at dragonquillca@gmail.com)

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

A Hunter...

“A hunter who chases two rabbits catches neither one.” 
Chinese Proverb

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Change And Growth

There are many reasons why I've been away from the blog so long, and I don't see any of them as excuses, per say. None of our lives are simple and uncomplicated, and sometimes, priorities rear their heads and something has to give.
In my case, that was the blog.
But for the past few weeks, I've felt a nagging feeling drawing me back...so here I am.

I don't make resolutions so much as set goals, and the beginning of this year was no exception. I'm determined to sell two short stories this year. This sounds simple, and I only wish it were. But it seems that what I write cannot be easily classified. At first, I thought it was lesbian fiction. But what I write is more than that. My favoured pieces of my own creation seem to lean toward the 'speculative fiction' genre, but upon careful study of the markets, what I write is not dark enough for the paying spec fic markets. Apparently dark and demented sells.

Something else that I've been working on is building my platform. The non-writers among you are likely scratching your heads in puzzlement. Essentially, platform is a way of getting an author's name out into the world and building a following in a (hopefully) authentic way. This takes time. Even more so when the novel isn't finished yet! So I've been learning, researching and trying to build my platform one brick at a time.

At the same time, I've been knitting. Some of you may remember that I enjoy knitting socks. I enjoy the peaceful repetition of the cuff and leg, and the challenge of turning the heel. The whole process allows me some sort of creative space to mentally work out plot lines and character flaws. So no matter what my writing is doing, I'm still being creative. And even if I don't write a word for days, my characters are never far from my thoughts.

I've also been dealing with a medical issue. It's not life-threatening, but it will be life-changing, if only for a little while. I'll talk more about it another time, but I will tell you that pain is far more crippling than I thought. Honestly, pain is a bitch. The good part of this medical stuff though, is that it's made me aware of my own limitations, which has in turn, prompted growth and change in our youngest. In a good way.

I guess the take away of this post is that everything in life can either hinder us, or help us. It's a lesson I've had to learn over the past few weeks, and while I used to say I hated change, I can honestly say that the Universe doesn't care what I like or not.
Change is inevitable, and all we can do is react to it in a way that we hopefully come out the other side as better people. 

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Warm Hands Equals A Warm Heart

As cold as we get sometimes here in the bush, it's good to remember that there are others who get colder than us. Over the last couple of years, I've done some charity knitting for women's shelters, preemies who have to start their lives in hospital, homeless folks here in the north, and for local folks struggling through chemo treatments.
Last year my charity knitting went to two groups; scarves for our local homeless and chemo caps for folks in Sault Ste. Marie.
This year, I'm going to add knitting for folks in the FAR north. Like Rankin Inlet and Resolute.

I stumbled across Warms Hands Network, a group that collects, packages, ships and distributes knitted and crocheted items that communities in the north have expressed a need for. Sweaters, socks, vests, blankets, hats, shawls, mittens and neck-warmers are just some of the items commonly made and donated. I think this is a great idea, so I'm in! Mom has decided she's going to donate as well, I think it will be interesting to see what we can come up with between the two of us.
WHN also has a Ravelry group, which is how I found them. The group has been going for a few years now and is an inspiration with conversations about donations, photos, where the items are shipped and sometimes even responses from the receiving community.

If you knit or crochet, take a look at the Warm Hands Network website, and/or their Ravelry group and consider jumping in with us. It's a great feeling to do something nice for our fellow human beings.