Saturday, November 30, 2002

What a glorious day today! Mild, sunny days like today almost make up for Victoria's notoriously rainy winters. Took Breezy out for a ride through the Hunt Valley, making mental notes (for future StableMates books) about the way the leaves have suddenly all dropped, the teeny birds flitting from branch to branch, the cyclists, the pigs, the gurgling seasonal streams, Breezy deciding to have a MAJOR spook on Dooley Road because someone had put two killer garbage bags out beside the road... She was convinced said monsters were going to eat her. We entertained a cyclist who slowed down to watch the show and make comments as we maneuvered, backwards, past the ferocious Glad bags. Why it would be acceptable to travel past the bags in reverse is beyond me - would it not make more sense to keep the enemy in full view rather than sidling past with your head turned away? If Breezy could speak I'm guessing she might have been saying something like, "I'm not looking! I'm not looking! At least I'm pointing back toward the barn, even if I'm moving in the wrong direction..." Once safely past, she wheeled around and smartly marched off, none the worse for wear.

Continue to work on Carnillo - sorry if it gets boring to keep hearing that. Just imagine what it's like to keep rewriting!

Thursday, November 28, 2002

And by the way... if you have been reading this blog and wondering if we ever needed any anti-venom in Nevada, the answer is "No". In fact, the only snake I saw during the whole trip was a rather small and very dead rattler in the middle of the small dirt road leading up into Egan Canyon (for more on the ride, photos, etc., visit the StableMates website). According to locals, the snakes were shedding their skins in preparation for winter hibernation, an activity the snakes prefer to do in private.
Strangely enough, today I was back at GNS again, this time to do a storytelling performance at the Junior Girls campus for the grade 6's and 7's. I told two of my favourites - Patience and the Underpants (a great story set in Japan for which I have completely lost the original reference - if anyone out there knows of the collection in which this story appears, please, please write to me ( so I can give proper credit when I tell this tale again...) as well as my version of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (told from the perspective of Mary Elizabeth May Cotter, Camelot's finest chambermaid). We had lots of fun and the hour we spent together seemed to fly past (a good sign that I wasn't desperately longing for the clock hands to move along a little faster...) If you are interested in learning more about good old Sir Gawain, check out Gawain's website.

Continue to work away at revisions to Carnillo, the book that will not stop growing. Currently sitting at 62,000 words and still counting. Yikes! If the last couple of editing go-rounds have been all about adding and fleshing out, I suspect the next one will be all about cutting and hacking away some of the excess verbiage I've been labouring over for so long!

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Yesterday, in a torrential downpour, took Breezy into town to deliver mail to two local schools. The expedition was like a strange flashback to all those Nevada mail deliveries - except, of course, for the weather! Thank goodness for my long Australian coat! Students at Sir James Douglas School and Glenlyon-Norfolk School made brief trips outside to greet us as we rode up. Carried the mail in hand-made saddlebags borrowed from cowboy poet, Ron Lambert. Dani took lots of photos that may some day be posted over on the old website (the frequency of my website updates is almost as poor as the frequency of my blogging!). It was very cool to visit with the kids after such a long time - it feels like I have been lugging all that mail around for months... which, actually, is completely true!

Update on the Annick story... after another couple of drafts, we have a contract on the table! Expect to see GRANDPARENTS' DAY (title may change) in the spring of 2004! I'm very curious to see who Annick has in mind for an illustrator... Will post links to potential illustrator web pages when I hear rumours of who is being considered...

Sunday, November 10, 2002

Well, for a writer, I am pathetic, absolutely pathetic about keeping this here BLOG up to date. I'm tempted to just give up and delete everything rather than annoy those readers who might stumble by here and wonder, 'Hey - did she ever make it to Nevada?' And, how would you know? The single entry I was able to write at the library in Winnemucca was written but, for some reason, never published online so it appeared for weeks that I had never actually gone beyond writing lists!

We did, of course, make it all the way to Nevada and, once there, had an absolutely MARVELOUS time! I could, I suppose, just post all the press releases Jan wrote - which would at least be a start - but that seems like cheating. Or, I could start with the news of the day and work backwards... The news of the day is varied - Dani's injured ankle was finally well enough today that she was able to play for about 20 minutes in the second half of the soccer game against Coquitlam... Took Breezy (the half-Arab mare we bought down in Nevada and brought home with us) out for a ride this morning. She was, as usual, under-impressed with the rain. It seems she is unused to the following things: rain, trees, leaves, and umbrellas - all of which we have in abundance at the moment. This evening took the old girl a bran mash with carrots and her dose of Bute - her arthritic hock is acting up with all the dampness.

In most excellent publishing news, Annick Press is interested in taking on a picture book inspired by my Omi - stay tuned for details. Am back at work with what I hope (we all hope) is a last major revision to the Battle of Carnillo and raring to go on the next Tarragon Island book (working title: Another Tree Falls). It's safe to say that title will be chopped before we go to press. I'm highly motivated to get cracking on the book because we are still negotiating the sale of the TV/film rights to the series and the production company is expecting a four book package.

Had a wonderful time at the Women Writing the West conference in Denver a couple of weeks ago - Met some fabulous writers and attended some great workshop sessions. Can't wait to go to next year's conference in Arizona.

Recent reads:

Lucky: A Memoir

by Alice Sebold

A Rhinestone Button

by Gail Anderson-Dargatz