Sunday, November 28, 2010

suite 101 again

This is the article I published today: .  Hope you enjoy it.

What categories?

The category idea didn't last long.  But I still think it's a good one, it's just that I'm not that organized, I guess.  However, I remember that category 1 had to do with my Rule of Life, and I think I wrote something about the Eucharist--or I was going to.  Today I thought I'd write about that, even if I had written on the subject before.  For Franciscans, the Eucharist is the heart of our prayer life.  Today, at our Franciscan fellowship meeting, I was reminded of some visitors we had a few months ago.  They were here from North Carolina.  The wife, Amy, is Franciscan but her husband isn't.  Nevertheless, the two were together every time we saw them.  We saw them exactly three times during their visit.  On the first day, they came to St. Thomas Church to meet us.  It's a small Anglican church, and we had Eucharist in the Lady Chapel at the side altar.  After that, we went to lunch at the home of one of the parishioners. The second time we met it was at our home.  The Fellowship meeting was being held there, and, as we always do, we celebrated the Eucharist again. After that, Amy and her hubby and I and mine went to lunch in a restaurant.  The third and last time we saw these new friends (whom we had never met before the morning at St. Thomas) they worshipped with us at Christ Church Cathedral.  Eucharist again.  It occurred to me that these visitors to Vancouver had a very good view of how we Vancouverites celebrate Communion--in small churches, in private homes and in big cathedrals.  If it seems excessive to you that we celebrate the Lord's Supper so often, just think of it this way: Don't you like to spend as much time as you can with someone you love?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

suite 101

I'm still writing articles and publishing them on Suite 101.  I've earned almost $4 so far.  Don't scoff.  This is apparently par for the course, with only 14 articles up and about 700 or so page views.  Things don't get profitable until you have about 50 articles and over 1000 PVs. But, for those of you who are interested, I'll post the link to my current article (published today), and you can seek out the other articles by clicking on my name at the top of the article.  That will take you to my profile, and there you'll find a list of all fourteen of my articles.  So, click away and I hope you'll enjoy them.
This article, by the way, has pictures of my visit to Bethlehem, one of which you've already seen in this blog.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Some News is Bad/Good News

The bad news is that Lorimer rejected my historical novel, Angels in the Flames.  First off, it's news because I had been told that Lorimer would respond only to accept a book, so I had just assumed that they were not interested and I should not expect to hear from them.  A long time had passed.  So, the good news is that they did indeed respond, even after all this time.  It's also not all bad news because, despite the rejection, the editor that while the novel did not fit their current needs, she "very much enjoyed (your) work".  Also, she encouraged me to look at their current editorial guidelines on their website,, for details on their current series.  They want contemporary young adult fiction that addresses "tough issues faced by real Canadian teens."  I have some stories floating around in my head and partially written, so I should get on with it.  I had planned to write a novel for Delacorte's competition.  As the work went on, I realized there's not much chance of having it done by the December 31st deadline.  However, it seems that Lorimer wants something similar to what I was working on, so that's a good start.  If I don't get it to Delacorte by the New Year, I'll keep at it and send it to Lorimer as soon as possible.  If they don't want it, it can go to Delacorte next year.  Meanwhile, Angels in the Flames is still at Coteau.  I hope they, too, will enjoy reading it.  But that they will also publish it!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

music at the cathedral

Taking a day off from the category thing.  (I just wrote a long entry and suddenly the computer bumped me off and the whole thing got lost.  I think.  So if this comes up twice, it's because I've had to write it twice.)  Anyway, as I was saying before I got bumped:  We started attending Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver on the first Sunday in September.  One of the most remarkable features I loved about the place was the wonderful music.  Each week I thought, "This is as good as it gets.  They could never top today's music."  Yet each week, it seems to get better and better.  Today, the music was by the Vancouver Children's Choir and the Women of the Cathedral Choir.  There was so much I could comment on, but the most amazing piece was by a boy soprano (who reached top notes effortlessly, like a chiming bell), singing "Pie Jesu" from Requiem by Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber.  During the Eucharist, the children sang "In Flanders Fields".  It was in no way like a concert.  The children were heard but not seen, up in the choir loft behind the congregation, with the organ.  The women's voices came from the chancel behind the free standing altar.  Surely, they'll never top this!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Category # 4 Fact & Fiction

Back to the story outline for Angels in the Flames:  We left Grace leaping from the safety of the rescuing canoe, and in the waters of Burrard Inlet with the goal of finding her brother in the burning city.  I'll leave the historical facts of the city for the category of "Fire & Floods", where it will be posted eventually.  Here, the story continues with Grace wading with difficulty to the shore.  Her brother is nowhere in sight, however her neighbour, May, the little Chinese girl Grace had been charged with taking to Sunday School, is on the shore crying for her mother.  When Grace reaches the shore, May clings to her, crying.  Grace has pity on the younger girl and decides that they should go together to find their mothers, as her brother Eddie is not there.  She hopes he has been taken in one of the canoes, or maybe he too will be looking for their mother.  Their father, a volunteer fireman, will no doubt be busy doing his duty.  So, now we leave Grace again as she heads through the hot cinders and blowing ashes up the hill with a little girl holding her hand.  The book alternates chapters between Grace's point of view, and her brother Eddie's.  So, next time I should tell something about what Eddie is up to in this crisis.

Friday, November 12, 2010

category #3 Fire & Flood

I'm still catching on to these category things, so I'm giving each entry a "category" number and trying to remember what that means. Today's category means I'm supposed to give some of the background related to my research for novels, articles, etc. 
Today, however, I'm going to cheat again.  Instead of starting with the Vancouver fire of 1886, which is the setting for my juvenile historical novel, I'm going to mention an idea I've had for many years.  It relates to the last subheading for this category, first aid.
Several years ago, I took an industrial first aid course, and renewed my certificate the following year but have done nothing with it since then.  Actually, I'm very squeamish, and hope with all my heart that I never have to use the things I learned in those two courses.  I am, however, really glad I have that know-how and wish just as fervently that everyone had it.  My idea is, that if I were queen of the world, everyone would have first aid classes in school from kindergarten through grade twelve.  Start with the simple stuff, of course, but by the time high schoolers were ready to graduate they'd be "almost-a-doctor".  I think I heard, once upon a time, that there is an international competition for professional first aiders.  Something like an Olympiad of first responders.  I'd like to write the text books for some of these dream-courses, especially for the little kids.  I'll leave it to professionals to write the top levels.  And it's always changing--for example the new technique for giving CPR, which is better than the method I learned.  Except, the old way is the right way (still) for infants, children, and drowning victims.  Watch this category for more of this as I get into it.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

category #2 travel

In category 2, the topic is Family & Friends.  The subheadings are travel, kids' activities, and school visits/volunteering.  I'm tempted to repeat "kids' activities" today, as I did last time I wrote in this category, but I'll resist.  The reason I want to write about that is that I've just finished "publishing" a book review of Compost Stew, by Mary McKenna Siddals in suite 101.  Instead, though, I'll stick to the idea of not overdoing any one topic by moving on to "Travel". 
Maybe this is the time to return to my blogs about my trip to Israel.  In a couple of weeks, we'll be into Advent, the time to prepare for the celebration of the birth of Jesus.  We aren't quite there yet, so I don't want to steal all the Advent material in this advent to Advent.  Anyway, I'll just point out that one of the first places we visited, right after Hebron, was Bethlehem.  It is a sad place, surrounded by big ugly walls, isolating the Palestinians from the rest of Israel.  We even had to show our passports to go from Israel to Palestine.  I'll post the pictures of the wall here, and save the religious pictures of Bethlehem for later.

category #1 b

Back to category #1, Faith & Franciscans, and tab b is, I guess, the second part of my Rule of Life, personal prayer.  (Don't worry about the categories and tabs; it's just a way I'm trying out to keep from blogging the same stuff all the time, and yet having some sort of continuity.)  Anyway, about personal prayer--obviously, it's personal.  But, it has some elements that must (according to the Franciscans) be included.  For one thing, every day I must say the daily office--either Morning Prayer (aka "Matins") or Evening Prayer (aka "Evensong").  Also, my personal prayers must include intercessions (praying for other people, especially those who have asked for my prayers) and meditation.  I'm okay with all of this, except meditation.  I really have trouble sitting quietly just "meditating".  I begin to think of other things.  Like, how I could be writing an article for suite 101 now.  Or I should be revising my novel to get it ready to send to that contest by December 31st, or I wonder if the mail has arrived yet.  I have trouble meditating.  So, I try to say the Rosary at least once a week.  The Rosary takes me 20 minutes.  That's all.  Really, why do I have so much trouble finding 20 minutes a week to meditate on the Rosary?  So, personal prayer has its challenges, too.  For me, at least.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Major category #4 and a tag

This is "Fact & Fiction", actually about my writing.  With these blog entries I hope to remind myself of what I'm writing.  Sometimes there are so many ideas floating around in my head that they tend to attach themselves where they don't belong.  Spin-offs?  Anyway, today's blog is under the heading of tag "a", which is story outlines.  So, what is the story in Angels in the Flames
It starts out with Grace Andrews in the kitchen, preparing breakfast.  The day is Sunday, June 13, 1886, and Grace is only eleven years old.  However she has her chores, and so does her younger brother, Eddie.  He hasn't done his job (filling the wood box for the stove) so Grace has to leave her post at the stove.  The grease in the bacon pan catches fire, and Grace screams for help.  We meet her family over breakfast, then go with her to Sunday School.  Eddie runs off rather than stick with his sister and the little girl, May, whom Grace is obliged to take with them. 
They no sooner arrive at church when suddenly there is panic in the streets.  A fire is fast approaching, roaring down the street like a train.  Everyone runs for the waterfront to escape.  Grace is scooped into a canoe and on her way to safety.  But, unable to see her brother, she jumps from the canoe and heads back to the burning city.  (to be continued)

Major category #3 and a tag

Today I was supposed to blog about something in category #3.  That's floods and fires, I think.  I intended that this blog should indicate my research and background information that I did for my middle grade historical novel, Angels in the Flames.  At some point I'll dig all that stuff out.  I know I spent many hours in the special collections of the Vancouver Public Library and at the Vancouver Archives and at the Vancouver Maritime Museum.  (That last one was to research the "ship that saved Vancouver", the Robert Bell.)  For the fire, though, it was mostly in the special collections section that I read folders and folders of articles, watched reems and reems of microfiche films as well as read every book I could find on the subject of the Vancouver Fire of June 13, 1886.  My novel is set in Vancouver on that day.  I even interviewed a Squamish woman whose grandmother was one of the Natives who paddled across Burrard Inlet to rescue some of the people wading into the water to escape the flames.  The Squamish people have a song to commemorate that day. 

facebook page

Here's the link to  my facebook page . I don't really know what I'm doing with it yet, so be kind when you go there.  I hope you'll "like" it!! Even if there isn't really anything there to like or dislike.  Unlike??

Monday, November 8, 2010

Category # 2 Friends & Families

Today I'll start with tag "b", kids' activities.  It sort of overlaps a bit with tag "c", volunteering with kids sometimes, but not today.  How about a simple recipe?  This one is for after Halloween:  Pumpkin Soup. 
One child with the help of one adult can do most of the preparation, but if there are 2 or 3 children, the tasks can be divided among them.
Take a pumpkin that had the face painted on, not carved--or the contents of a jack-o-lantern that was scooped out before the candle went in.  Either way, you need fresh pumpkin flesh.  The adult gets it started:  Cook the pumpkin.  If it's still in its shell, an adult can cut off the top and scoop out all the seeds, and bake it in the oven at 375 degrees (fahrenheit) for between 30 to 45 minutes depending on the size of the pumpkin. The child (or Kid #1) can plop the pulp into a big pot, about 2 cups of pulp.  Then, Kid #2 should add 3 cups of milk, about a quarter teaspoonful each of ginger and cinnamon, 3 tablespoons of brown sugar (or 2 tablespoons of white sugar), and 2 tablespoons of butter.  Kid #3 uses a potato masher to mush it all together.  The adult has to supervise the cooking of the soup, because it should just be brought to the boil and not actually boil.  Kids can take turns stirring, though.  Big kids, with adult supervision, can pull out stray seeds or stringy pulp using a big spoon.  You can serve it right away, or put it in the fridge and heat it in the microwave later.  It'll smell like pumpkin pie, and taste a bit like it too.  (If you don't have fresh pumpkin, you can use canned pumpkin without having to do any cooking before you heat up the soup.)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

category #1 Faith & Franciscans

It's Sunday evening, and it seems appropriate to start this new style of blogging with category #1, tag "a".  As that would be the first part of my Rule, then it's Eucharist.  Today I did something quite unAnglican: I took communion twice.  I guess it's all right, though, because it was two different communities.  An Anglican priest once told me that it was okay as long as the two communities were distinct.  So, this morning it was with the regular congregation of the Cathedral, my new parish.  Then this afternoon, although it was again in the Cathedral, and many of the people were the same as in the morning, most of the people were from other parishes.  It was an induction ceremony for the Order of New Westminster, a new honour that the Anglican Church in this diocese can bestow on extraordinary people who have given outstanding service to the Church and Community.  Several of the honorees were in their nineties!  I knew about half a dozen of them, out of a total of 45 people. 
Some of you will remember that I left my previous parish at the end of August for very painful reasons.  Now I have to say that the Cathedral is the best possible cushion to land on.  The services are all beautiful, the music is uplifting, the surroundings are bright and cheerful, and the people are very welcoming and friendly.  It doesn't get any better than this.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Category #4 and its tags

Category 4 "Fact & Fiction" is more about my writing.  Tags include: a) story outlines; b) character back-stories; c) settings; d) biographies; e) history and geography; f) bibliographies & other references; g) markets; h) book reviews.  This could even be two categories, with f, g & h being tags in the fifth category.

Major category #2 & 3 and their tags

Category #2 is Family & Friends.  The tags would include a) travel, languages & culture notes; b) Kids' activities: observation, growing things, cooking; c) school visits & volunteering with kids. 
Category #3 is Fire and Flood:  This would be research notes about the Vancouver fire, also London 1666 and Chicago whenever, and California every year; & forest fires; also floods like Noah's Ark, Nile Delta, other floods both good and bad; d) other natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsumamis, volcanoes, etc.  and e) First Aid; Red Cross/Crescent; St. John's Ambulance, etc.

Major category #1 and its tags

At the web presence workshop on Thursday night, we worked on categories and tags.  I thought I'd work on four categories and give each one some tags.  I'm not entirely sure what that is supposed to look like on a blog, and blogging was the topic of this part of the workshop.  I may need a whole new blog to do this right.  For now, I'll just make notes as I usually do.  I can straighten it all up later.  Something like the way I do (or don't do) housework!
Okay:  Category #1 = Faith & Franciscans; tags would follow my Franciscan Rule of Life, most likely.  There are 9 headings in the Rule: Eucharist, Personal Prayer, Penitence, Retreat, Simplicity, Self-denial, Work, Study & Obedience.  If I blog in one section of one category each day, it should work out that I'm not always blogging on the same topic.  It's supposed to be a fifteen-minute effort per day.  We'll see.  For now, I'll add what the other categories are, and suggest what tags there might be in each.


I've tried.  I know I have an account because people are "following" me on twitter.  But I can't get in.  I have no idea what this thing is for.  Lots of people use it, so I guess it must have some value, but whatever value it has eludes me altogether. I guess I just won't tweet.

New Facebook Page

I've just started a facebook page, and I'm afraid it'll be lost in space forever if I don't record for myself the URL that connects me with it.  I never go on "regular" facebook unless I get an email saying someone has posted something.  I just don't think about it much.  This page, however, is about my writing, and I'll have to maintain it more professionally.  So, here's the link: 
Check it out.  A "like" click would be appreciated, too. :) 
Any suggestios as to what should be added? 

Friday, November 5, 2010

web presence workshop

Last night I attended a workshop on developing a web presence.  When I started this blog a year or two back, I had the idea that this would be a good step towards that.  Well, maybe it was a baby-step.  I knew I didn't dare attempt a web page.  I'd done that a few times years ago, but they were never very great.  So, here is what I learned last night:
I'm on the right track with a blog, but I could be doing this a lot better than I am.  No surprise there.  I just might start another blog and set it up properly, although that might not be necessary.  I'm going to practise here. 
One of the things I'm doing right is writing for suite 101.  So far, I've heard nothing bad about that site.  Some writers complain that the money is slow coming in, but I never saw it as get rich quick.  I don't believe in get rich quick.  Suite 101 is a slow growing garden that will yield results in proportion to the effort, patience and perseverence a person puts into it. 
Facebook is another thing that is useful, but I'm not sure that I'm using that to the best advantage either.  "Shameless self promotion" doesn't come easily to Franciscans who are sworn to humility!  A bit of a conflict here, eh?  Anyway, similar to Facebook is Twitter.  I apparently have an account with Twitter.  I know that because some people have emailed me that they're following me on Twitter.  Hmm.  Must be hard to do that, and really boring, because I don't even know how to get started there, never mind be leading some sort of parade.
The workshop has a followup coming soon--maybe in January.  I'll have to go to that.  We've got homework!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

writing hits and misses

The short story deadline has passed, and it never got written much less submitted.  I did a fair amount of research for it, but every time I started and restarted the story, it always came out more of the beginning of a novel with no place to go (plot-wise, that is).  Just as well I've abandoned it.  Maybe I can use some of the research one of these days.  Hate to waste it altogether. 
I've decided not to do nanowrimo this year.  It was fun last year, but "been there, done that" now, so I'll move on.  After all, I did accomplish the goal of writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.  What I want to do now is rework that same novel into a YA novel and maybe, if it's done in time, send it to Delacorte for the YA contest.  That's due by December 31st.  We'll see if I can rewrite the novel in 60 days (minus almost a week, as it's already Nov. 4th). 
I'm still doing suite 101 articles.  I've got 9 published there, and have several more in mind--some more on language learning of course, and a couple of book reviews.  I can see this is an endless project, and that's a very good thing.
If I haven't heard from Coteau Books by the end of January, I'll email them to say that the historical juvenile novel will no longer be theirs exclusively.  Then I can send it on to someone else.  The only way it'll ever get published is if I keep it going.
This evening I'm going to a workshop to learn about internet presence for writers--websites, etc.  So far, my only internet presence is this blog and my suite 101 articles.