Life in progress


Tuesday Use It In A Sentence – Nuance

I love the word “nuance.” It depicts subtlety and refinement, not necessarily to make something elite, but rather to cause one to pay attention to detail. Which makes it rather funny to me that in my thesaurus, one of the synonyms for “nuance” is “shade.”

“Fifty Nuances of Grey.”

Do you think E.L. James would understand the irony?

The Tuesday Use It In A Sentence prompt is brought to you this week by Kelli at Forty, c’est Fantastique! Please click the link and join in today!


Guest Post – Shades of Gray

I’m honoured to have the wonderful and talented Cordelia’s Mom guest post for me today! Thanks, CM!
Please enjoy!!

Shades of Gray



… and gray window blinds.

You know, you folks have dirty minds. Unless, of course, you immediately thought of windows when you saw the title of this post.

Personally, I’ve never understood the preoccupation with sex. Sure it’s fun, especially with a partner who knows what he or she is doing. But let’s face it – sex has been around for a very long time, and basically it consists of the same basic action: one person’s body part interacting with the body part of another person.

Each generation has become a little more sophisticated in its knowledge of sex. I grew up in the 1950’s/1960’s, when television sitcoms couldn’t even show a married couple in the same bed. I turned 18 in 1970 – just at the time that David R. Reuben, M.D. published his book, “Everything You Want to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask.”

Believe me, that book was as much of a blockbuster as the current Shades of Grey – maybe even more so, because “Everything …” was not fiction.

At 18, I was still a virgin – in fact, I had never even had a date (remember – this was back when women were still supposed to remain pure until marriage). Wanting to enlighten myself, I managed to get a copy of “Everything …” and snuck it into my mother’s house, where I would read it in the privacy of my own room late at night.

Imagine my chagrin one day, when my mother asked me if I was reading that book. It was bad enough admitting to possessing that book, but imagine my absolute horror when my mother proceeded to ask me questions about it.

I mean, really? My mother had been married for many years and had four kids! At some point, she and my dad must have figured out how to do it.

But it wasn’t marital sex she was confused about. I’ll never forget our conversation wherein she said, “I can understand how homosexuals do it,” [hand gestures of pointer finger of one hand poking into the circle formed by the thumb and pointer finger of the other hand] “but how do lesbians do it?” [hand gestures of two palms flat against each other]. “I mean, girls don’t have that part. (Had she said penis, I really would have died. I knew my brothers had them – I had even diapered my baby brother – but I sure didn’t want my mother talking about them!)

I was way too embarrassed to explain about same-sex relationships (and I only knew from things I had read), so finally I just handed over the book. I don’t know if my mother became enlightened as to those issues, but she never asked me any sex questions after that (thank God in Heaven).

These days, there is no mystery surrounding sex. It finds it way not only into books, but into sitcoms, movies and advertising. I’m not sure that’s better than it was in my mother’s day.

My mother’s generation watched Jimmy Stewart trying to catch the moon for his girl, and Clark Gable carrying Scarlett up the staircase. The current generation has Shades of Grey – is that really better? I don’t think so. Although people are flocking to the movie, Shades of Grey, for the perceived sensationalism, I still think most of us would prefer a good, old-fashioned romance – even one that ends with those famous words, “Frankly, Scarlett, I don’t give a damn.”

Which, by the way, was considered pretty risqué at the time. We’ve come a long way, haven’t we? I’ll leave it to you to decide whether it’s been an improvement.

I love to hear from my readers. You may comment on this post, comment on my Facebook or Twitter pages, or email me at or

Images by: Colt Group
and Cordelia’s Mom
POSTSCRIPT: Thank you, Linda, for giving me this opportunity to guest post for you. I am truly honored!

You’re welcome CM!
A note for my readers: please click on over to Cordelia’s Mom’s site and read my guest post too! Thanks!!


A Single Gal’s Guide for this Valentine’s Weekend

Image courtesy of [farconville] at

Image courtesy of [farconville] at

(For ladies only. Men; don’t read.) This Saturday is Valentine’s Day – a perfect opportunity for a date with that great guy. But what if, like me, you’re single and dateless? Here’s what you can do instead:

7. Take yourself out for a nice dinner!
Spend Sunday reconciling how you managed to spend less on a filet mignon, a lobster tail and a bottle of fine wine than you spent at Desserts R’ Us.

6. Stay home with an expensive bottle of wine and your favourite flavour of Haagen Dazs!
Spend Sunday figuring out which one you regret the most. (Hint: it’s the combination of the two.)

5. Knit a sweater!
Realize Sunday morning that it’s never going to fit you – it’s for that fabulous guy you don’t have. Spend the rest of the day undoing it and knitting yourself a blankie to cry into.

4. Watch The Notebook!
Spend Sunday convincing yourself that it’s better not to have a romantic partner – you won’t have to worry about remembering who he is in 50 years.

3. Watch Magic Mike!
Spend Sunday shopping for replacement batteries. (You know what I’m talking about, ladies.)

2. Get yourself dolled up and go to the theatre to watch 50 Shades of Grey!
Spend Sunday inventing excuses for your family to explain why the fire department showed up at your house at midnight. Anything but the truth – that you somehow managed to handcuff yourself to the bed posts in your sexiest lingerie and then dropped the key but managed to hang on to the phone. Oh myyy!!

1. Spend Saturday night curled up with a nice glass of your favourite beverage and a great book!
Sunday, repeat.

I don’t know about you gals, but I think I might stick with #1. 😉


Random Update

I spent a fun-filled day playing Scribblenauts Unlimited on the WiiU with Alex, John, and John’s youngest daughter. That’s only slightly sarcastic – I could do without playing the game again, but we did have a few laughs. Alex is generally glad to be back home. He enjoys playing with his half-brother at his dad’s but routine is routine.

On the Camp NaNo front, I was within 1,600 words of completing my goal of 25,000 and there are still ten days left so I upped my goal to 30,000 words. I know I’m not going to be able to stop writing this one until I’m finished but I am forcing myself to take a break occasionally and edit the first one.

However, I’m having a bit of a difficult time with genre issues – or at least theme. The issue is with my new villain. She’s oversexed so of course the topic of sex keeps coming up. Where the first novel has its erotic moments, (and okay, a couple of decent sex scenes) this one is beginning to compete with 50 Shades of Grey, if not with the constant porn then at least the mention of body parts and, let’s say, warmer feelings. I may be able to tone it down but I can’t cut it out and keep my character in character. You can see my dilemma, right? What would you do? Have you ever read a sequel that strayed far away from the tone of the first… and did you like the second one? Or is this just a recipe for failure?

On that note, and in the spirit of randomness, here’s a picture of the sun setting over Boston Pizza.





The future of publishing crap

This probably won’t be a very popular post but here I go with it anyway. With the invention of e-publishing new writers are coming out of the woodwork. These days anyone can publish their own work without having to pay money to do so. ANYONE. Who can be held accountable for what goes out there? It used to be that when you bought a book there was at least someone out there who believed in it. Sure, there was still a lot of crappy writing, but at least if you didn’t like a book you could sell it at a garage sale and get some of your money back.

I may not be in a position myself to say what I write is good, or that I won’t eventually go the route of self-publishing, but I’ve been reading long enough to distinguish what’s good and what is crap and I am appalled at how unbalanced it has become in the wrong direction. Up until last year I had never failed to finish reading a novel, no matter how bad it was. This year alone I have thrown up my hands in disgust at no less than three novels on my e-reader. Nowadays everyone thinks they can write. Many of the people self-publishing have long forgotten what they learned in Grade 3 grammar, and I hate to think what novels would look like without spellcheck.

For me it came to the forefront with ’50 Shades of Grey’. The author, E.L. James, actually said in an interview she understands that people who read her books are people who don’t normally read. I can easily believe it. When I read it I thought to myself, great! If this can get published anything can. By God was I right. Everybody and their sister said the same thing! I’m sure editorial slush piles have never been bigger, making it that much harder for talented writers to get noticed.

Will we get to the point eventually where there are more writers than there are readers? The way it’s going now I wouldn’t be surprised. I copied and pasted the following from Kindle’s website. I think I can keep my tongue firmly planted in cheek and let this speak for itself:

Do I need any special skills to publish with Kindle Direct Publishing?
Kindle Direct Publishing does the basic work for you, but if your content contains a lot of special formatting, a bit of knowledge in HTML may come in handy.

In closing, if you’re serious about writing a novel and you want to publish it, take a class or two. Brush up on your skills first. Make more than the effort to learn HTML and learn how to write! Hold yourself accountable for putting out a good product. Perhaps we can keep future of publishing out of the crapper after all.