Life in progress


Random to the Ninth Degree

It’s been a while since I just rambled about my life in progress. Some of what I have to share has to do with my blog as well, since what is life without the Internet? Seriously.

  1. Yesterday I spent an hour trying to change the size of Alex’s Youtube movie on his screen, because he said it was too small. I tried the settings in his account, I tried the settings on the computer, I switched computers, I switched browsers … I even downloaded a new browser onto his laptop, all the while with him screaming in my ear and signing “fix it! It’s too small!” For an hour. All to discover he wasn’t having a meltdown over the size of the movie, but rather the brand new Youtube logo on the top left corner of the screen. Ah, the joys of living with a kid with OCD.
  2. Alex goes back to school on Tuesday!!! (To understand my excitement, see above.)
  3. I’m so busy with my new freelance editing business, I need a schedule to fit everyone in.
  4.  It cost me $73 the other day for the dentist to look at my sore gums and tell me I need to rinse my mouth with salt water for a week. I suppose it could have been worse.
  5. I have a book signing at Chapters on October 1st in Kingston, where my novel is set!! Equally nervous and excited!!!
  6. As of tomorrow, there’s a change coming to this blog. I’ve started scheduling my fiction series, “Scenes from the Second Seat on the Right.” The scenes will appear once a day for the next year (there are 365 of them). Some are funny, some serious, some downright sick, most are realistic, yet some are pure fantasy. If you want to learn more about them, see the link in the menu at the top of my blog page. I’m happy to be posting them here, but at the same time I’m a bit worried that I’ll lose followers over them. We’ll see.
  7. The internal battery in my laptop is almost dead. It gives me a warning every time I turn it on. Is this important?
  8. Alex goes back to school on Tuesday!!!
  9.  I need a vacation.

So, what’s new with you?



#SoCS – Setting a Ceiling

When we’re kids, we think we can do anything. Sky’s the limit. As we get older we realize that reality dictates differently. There are some things we thought we could do that we can’t. Flying by flapping our arms, for instance.

Putting on a cape and being a superhero may be one of the other things we might think we can’t do, but is that true? We might not be able to save the world, but I believe we limit ourselves to what we are conditioned to “know” of the world and how much we can change it. Sure, we may not be able to singlehandedly solve world hunger, but good deeds tend to roll downhill and gain momentum as they do. What we do today might have much farther-reaching effects than we can ever know. And if not, at least we tried.

It’s the same with personal goals. We humans tend to sabotage ourselves with our ideas that we can only go so far and do so much with our lives. I have a friend who was complaining (and with good reason) that he was stuck in a place of poverty, unable to fight his way out. Therefore, he is unhappy. I can fully understand that. Yet there are avenues – ones completely free of monetary cost – that he could pursue if he chooses to. I suppose that also depends on the depth of his unhappiness… I know what it is to feel completely unmotivated.

But I’ve learned one thing over the course of my life. The sky is the ceiling if you never go out. And the breadth of my imagination make the walls of my dreams. My belief that I can do just about anything I set out to do is only limited by my health and my ability to find ways around the barriers that inevitably come up. Yes, some barriers take years to navigate. But it’s only in those moments when I give up that the sky drops to eight feet above the floor.

… if this is what vertigo does to me, maybe it’s not such a bad thing …

This wildly philosophical post is brought to you by Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Click the link and join in today!



JusJoJan 19 – Travel Plans

Right on the heels of my trip to Japan, I’ve already started planning my next adventure. No, not London, or Paris, or even Beijing. I’m going to beautiful Kingston, Ontario. Less than an hour’s drive away. In July.

Call me crazy, but I wanted to make sure I get a good, cheap room close enough to downtown that I’ll be able to walk to where all the action is – to the Busker’s Festival and on my annual pilgrimage to the setting of my novel, The Great Dagmaru. This will be my third year in a row if you count the hospital-ridden disaster last year was. Which brings me to my next point. I decided to try them out last year, taking them at their word that if I booked a hotel with them I could cancel any time. Well, last year I had to cancel. At the very last second. And it didn’t cost me a cent for the hotel. So I thought great – I’ll take a chance and book with them again for my trip to Tokyo. Again, smooth as silk. All my bookings were exactly as planned, no upfront fees.

And that’s why I already have a B & B booked for July 9th at $140/night and two nights at the Queen’s University campus in a two bedroom suite for $99/night.

Welcome to Queens

What kills me? The most I paid in one of the biggest cities in the world – Tokyo – was less than $90/night. The cheapest, and it was a nice hotel, came to $66 for the night.

Canada is damned expensive. Even if you book half a year in advance.

This jot is part of Just Jot It January. Click on the link and join in! Maybe you’ll meet some new friends!

JJJ 2015


Inspirational Settings

There was nothing particularly appealing about Kingston, Ontario, when I first started writing my novel, The Great Dagmaru. At the time, I was traveling there weekly to attend doctor’s appointments at either Kingston General or Hotel Dieu Hospital. Two things inspired me to set my story there: one, I was familiar with the geography of the city, and two, this place:


Kingston’s Grand Trunk Railway Station – source –

I started writing my novel about a teenaged girl named Herman, who runs away from home and meets a tall dark stranger on a train. She never makes it where she is going. My initial idea for the tale included the stranger taking her to this train station – hollowed out as it is by a devastating fire – and keeping her there to serve him and his wicked magic. However, as I wrote, the character of the tall dark stranger morphed into Stephen Dagmar, a rich, gorgeous, and talented magician with a dark secret, who lives in a grand Victorian house with a turret:


Hochelaga Inn, Kingston, Ontario

which I wrote about in this post back in July:

I was lucky to be able to stay in the house I had envisioned my character living in, and as you’ll see if you read my July account, I even had the thrill of being allowed to sleep two nights in the turret room.

As I said at the beginning of this post, Kingston had no real attraction for me until my characters were born. Gradually as I traveled there for appointments I found myself enthralled with the city.  I could see the places I imagined my characters would visit, and the things they would see with their own eyes. Eventually, the place began to inspire me, like a painting of a narrow pathway curving through a lush forest.

My story had a world.

Here are some pictures I took while I was there: here is the world where Stephen and Herman exist.

Next door to the Hochelaga Inn

Next door to the Hochelaga Inn

Cross, Lake Ontario

Cross, Lake Ontario

girl reading

Girl, reading by the water

Kingston Harbour

Kingston Harbour


Inside the turret, Hochelaga Inn, Kingston

I have been back to Kingston since this trip to do further research. I found the spot where Stephen’s house will be situated in the story (I expropriated land from the government which currently houses the local airport – I doubt they’ll notice) and I have measured distances from there to various places my characters will visit. I’ve sat in restaurants, sipping wine with the ghosts of Stephen’s and Herman’s characters, and I’ve strolled with them along the shoreline.

One of the first things I ever read about writing fiction was that it is necessary to create a world in which your characters will live.  I consider myself lucky to have found this amazing, inspirational setting for mine.


Research successful

Well, I’m back from doing research for my novel in Kingston. I took this picture of the Inn I stayed in, at dusk, after I turned the lights on in the turret where my room was situated.



It was a long way up. 41 steps to be exact, not counting the stairs outside to get to the front door and the ladder to get to the top part of the turret.


But my biggest find in all of Kingston?

Can you find him?

Can you find him?