Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Green Man Challenge

During the recent VCON (Vancouver Science Fiction Convention) a group of writers decided to accept the challenge of writing a short story for The Green Man short story anthology.

I had to do research to refresh my memory about this ancient myth. It’s not a theme I would normally write about, hence the point of the publication. NO STEAMPUNK! the guidelines said.

I furiously whipped up an outline.

The deadline is looming ever nearer. This week I must finish my short story piece and send it to my Critters for review.

Next will be the revision and then my final goal is to submit it for possible publication.

Wish me luck!

Monday, October 29, 2012

History Re-imagined: The Victorian Conservatory

Both structures may be identical, but a greenhouse is for plants, while a conservatory is for human habitation. Originally designed around the 17th century, this structure was composed of stone columns and thin glass panes. It housed all the delicate plants the English brought back from exotic travels.
Closer to Victorian times the English adopted the word 'conservatory' to mean an external sitting room adjacent to the main house. Generally today a greenhouse is extant from the main house, while a conservatory is connected to the main house or building, such as a hotel, via a narrow or short walkway.
Conservatories gained popularity around the mid-19th century as the glass tax was lifted and wrought iron and steel became cheaper to source. The walls traditionally were composed of glass with metal reinforcements, but modern structures can be made of shatter-resistant plastic and cedar.
Shortly after spring cleaning commenced, the glass windows were polished, the floor scrubbed clean, and the tea service would be set up. A conservatory allowed the Victorian a sanctuary to get away from it all, without ever stepping foot in the street. The conservatory was generally closed up in the winter, the sumptous pillows and wicker furniture being cleaned and stored away until the next warm season arrived.
Queen Victoria's favourite conservatory was located at Chatsworth House, London. It took five years to build and covered over three quarters of an acre. It featured a tent-like shape, and was centrally heated and lit with twelve thousand lamps. The Queen declared, "It's the most stupendous and extraordinary creation imaginable". Queen Victoria wasn't around in 1920 to save it from being demolished. Costs were used for the war efforts, with its costly upkeep no longer justified.
If you don't have the space in your backyard to build a conservatory, the best place to see one is right in Victoria, BC. The Empress Hotel is home to one large connected conservatory, and was built with the hotel from 1904 to 1908. Take a lovely stroll in their English garden and forget about modern contrivances.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Smart Things That Cats Say

Any cat lover will tell you how they have seamless communication with their cat. The slightest twitch of the ear, the shape of the tail, a quick glance all tell us what our cats want and what they are thinking.

Here are some quotes about our fabulous felines, because if cats really spoke, this is what they would say.

"It doesn't do to be sentimental about cats; the best ones don't respect you for it." - Susan Howatch

Every dog has his day, but the nights are reserved for cats.

"We have a theory that cats are taking over the world... just try to look them straight in the eye... yup, they're hiding something!" - Dog Fancy

Cat Law: If you're not receiving enough attention, try knocking over several expensive antique lamps.

"Cats pride themselves on their ability to do nothing." - John R.F. Breen

"The trouble with sharing one's bed with cats is that they'd rather sleep on you than beside you." - Pam Brown

"Cats come and go without ever leaving." - Martha Curtis

"I pet her, and she pays me back in purrs." - Star Rich├ęs

Dogs have owners, cats have staff.

Aren't these quotes catastic? It's no wonder that cats have a special way of commicating with their humans.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

HISTORY REIMAGINED: The Victorians Were the First to Invent Hidden Hearing Aids!

The 21st century may have invented a hearing aid the size of a pea, but the concept of an unseen hearing aid is not original to our time.

Hidden hearing aids cleverly disguised as something else, so as not to embarrass the user, were invented during the Victorian age.

Certain objects such as vases, horns, and walking sticks were repurposed as hearing aids. The object would be set in place, while a long flexible hose would be cleverly concealed under a chair or table, leading up to a small horn hidden inside the end of a walking stick or even an item of jewellery. The end of the hearing aid would be casually held up to the ear. The user appeared to be pondering thoughtfully, rather than using a device to hear better.

No more need to be embarrassed by asking over and over again what your cohort has said. You can hear it the first time round! Appear intelligent with great intellect as you engage in fine conversation.

Queen Victorian had her own silver horn version but didn't think to have it concealed, as she was the queen after all.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Free Royal City Walking Tours

A popular treat for avid walkers is taking one of the free walking tours put on by the New Westminster Historical Society.

Due to the success of past years, there are several more walks to choose from this year. One of my favourites is the cross town walk from the Cemetary to Hume Park. Your guide Archie will provide informative information about the park and many notable grave sites.

You will leave the tour ready to research many of the topics that come up.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Meanderings about the 3-Day Novel Contest for Writers

Win a home! Win a car! No, wait, that's the P.N.E., not the 3-Day Novel Writing Contest and Challenge.

About a month ago I was on the Plush blog and one thing led to another, and I found the 3-Day Novel Writing Contest, headquartered in Canada. Last year had about 550 entrants, with three-quarters of that amount actually completing and submitting their novel to the contest. There are 3 top prizes, plus innumerable honourable mentions. The odds sounded good, considering that the average fiction publisher receives 200 submissions a day in email or snail mail. I'd only be competing against 400 others, with a good chance of an honourable mention, plus the first draft of my Young Adult Novel entitled, "Aqua Marine".

We were allowed to outline, research and set up character development in advance. I set up my outline of twenty chapters, with each chapter appromimating 2500 words.

The Labour Day weekend slowly drew nearer. Could I do this? My writing habits are sporadic at best. Could I write for an entire long weekend? I filled in everyone, and I even gave my boyfriend a schedule of the times that I would be able to visit with him. He scarcely bat an eyelash, after all I'd done weirder things in his presence beforehand.

The long weekend loomed nearer. I cleaned my house, bought healthy snacks, and set up a beverage and snack station on my counter. The cat's scratchy post was moved beside my dining room table, so I could pet her and write at the same time.

The contest commenced at Friday, midnight. The cat went to sleep and didn't bother me. I wrote two chapters that night, errr, morning, and called it a day. 

I set my alarm for the next three days at 8 am. I didn't even both bathing, I'd grab the laptop and bring it back to bed with me. I averaged about three chapters each morning. 

While it wasn't too bad to write two chapters in a row with a fiften minute break in-between, by the time of the third chapter I felt exhausted.

I scheduled four-hour breaks with my boyfriend each afternoon. Mostly we hung out at home and watched DVDs or we went out to eat meals, as I certainly wasn't cooking that weekend.

After the break, I was able to get back to writing three more chapters. Unfortunately there was no way I could take two - four-hour breaks each day, so I only had about fifteen minutes before I had to write three more for the evening. 

I wrote each chapter, then read through it and edited once. That's all the editing my book got, was the one editing run-through. 

Over all I'm happy with how I outlined it. I changed the main climax around a bit. I simplified it. After all, if I win the contest, I'll have the chance to do ten more drafts if I choose.

I have a few issues with my book. One is while I did elaborate descriptions of two of my main characters, none of the other characters had any background explained. They need to be rounded out more. My second love interest is two-dimensional and since he becomes a major player, that's not good. After three-quarters of the way through my book I changed the evil character. I decided that I despised one of the male love-interests and the one who was supposed to be evil was just doing his job, and far more likeable. 

The cat character in my book needed a bigger role to play, than just being a distraction for my main female character. There's a few cute scenes. Perhaps the cat gives mental breaks to my reader, as bad things are happening.

I'd like to go back and lengthen the action scenes, particularly the climax. I felt that I really rushed it. This chapter needed more than 2500 words to complete.

The week following the challenge I was back at my real workplace and I was exhausted. After staying up late for four days in a row, getting up early in the morning and sitting at a computer for twenty hour days, I didn't want to be at work at all. Every muscle in my body ached and I had a headache. Fortunately I had a good sleep last weekend, so I am fully recovered now.

At the end of the three-day challenge I decided I didn't ever want to do it again! I think writing one chapter a week is a far manageable chunk of my time, but it was an incredible experience and I wrote an awesome book that should be published in one form or another some time in 2013.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Save the Taiji Dolphins Day!

Friendly protesters in major cities are gathering in front of Japanese consulates in protest of the annual dolphin cull. Can we prevent the slaughter of 13,000 dolphins before tomorrow? Will the message be forwarded to the government? We love Japan but not this horrendous holocaust of these intelligent mammals. This issue was first brought to light with the Academy award-winning documentary The Cove.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Reintroduction to My Blog In Case You're New!

Hello residents and vistors. Welcome to my new blog about the Royal City of New Westminster, BC.

Some of my meanderings may be focused outside the city, but one thing's for sure, all these activities can be enjoyed by the whole family!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

An Interview with Mel Dawn... by Mel Dawn

What kind of writing do you do?
I currently have a variety of writing projects on the go. I write for my own blog, which keeps the writing side of my brain functioning, plus I have a few pro-blogging pieces on the go, plus the occasional fictional piece. I probably write about one fictional piece for every fifty non-fictional pieces however. 

What's in your writing portfolio?
I first was published in the fan fiction magazines for DWIN (Doctor Who Information Network) and James Bow's Mythmakers which is still being sporadically published by the Doctor Who TV show writers now. I've had articles in Business Examiner Newspaper, The British Link, Associated Content, Yahoo Canada, Canada Credit Cards.com, Yahoo Voices, and various blogs around the USA. I'm still finding some of my articles online. Sometimes when you get an order and you get paid, they don't tell you where the article is going, especially after the 200th one. It's funny though, there are a few out there with my name, actually someone else's on them, but I didn't write those. I'm hoping that writer won't write anything too embarrassing!

Do you suggest writers have a formal education in journalism?
I believe it would definitely help in terms of grammar and punctuation. Plus, I know many pro-writers have been successful. It's all their lives have been about, unlike the rest of us who have to fit writing into our daily lives. I'm lucky I have two writing certificates, though the programs I took aren't really recognized in the writing world.

Can you tell me about your future writing projects?
No, I can't sorry, I keep them secret, even from myself. Actually, I'm working on a few fictional steampunk pieces that I'm submiting to professional publications. I've also decided to do a 3-day book writing challenge.

You've mentioned pro-writing or professional publications. What does that mean? 
It means that some form of payment has been exchanged for my writing talents. In other words, I have not written for free. I will also do trades for product, in fact I prefer them, as income tax just gobbles up any writing income.

Do you write full-time, if not, do you desire to?
I'm having a hard time wrapping my brain around that. Perhaps if I didn't have to work at an outside job, I would have copious amounts of time at home to spend writing eight hours a day. I really don't know, it hasn't happened yet.

Is there anything else you'd like your fans to know?
Yes, if you'd like me to write a piece for your company, please comment below with your information and I'll contact you in less then a day. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Loves Labour Lost by Shakespeare is Adapted to a Steampunk Play

Loves Labour Lost is a play directed by Sharon Malone. This Shakespearean Steampunk romance took place over two weekends in Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge. We took in the play on July 29, 2012 at the Memorial Peace Park Maple Ridge, BC. It was an entertaing visual and musical treat in the sun. Stagecraft, belly dancers, Shakepearean actors and a choir made for a fun afternoon for the whole family. Please peruse my photos. It's not a Steampunk event without a giant chess set (at left).

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

History Reimagined: Devices and Contraptions That Never Faded Away

Did you know the Victorians used vacuum cleaners and hearing aids? No, I didn't either. We often picture Victorians living on a farm or socializing in a bar, like in the western movies, but we don't realize that the Victorians lived a civilized life. If there was a device or contraption to improve their lives, they would purchase it from the latest catalogue.

Please check out my new column in the Home Section of Victoria and Vancouver Lifestyle Online Magazines. 

My first article of the series is more of a construction, than a contraption, The Victorian Conservatory. A home away from home, a wonderful abode full of the comforts of home.

The next one to be posted will be about Victorian hearing aids, and at the beginning of next month, we'll focus on the vacuum cleaner. 

Please check out these fantastic new websites full of content for the whole family. I've really enjoyed browsing their topics.

Further reading:

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Tarnished Past: My Article in the Steampunk Issue of Dark Beauty Magazine

Here's a brief excerpt of my article, "A Tarnished Past" published in the second annual Steampunk Issue of Dark Beauty Magazine.

I wasn't sure what to except when I sent in my article. Each monthly issue of Dark Beauty Magazine can either be downloaded or a print copy may be ordered. Since there were few samples online, I didn't know how small or large the issue was going to be. Would it be better than Gothic Beauty Magazine?

I was pleasantly surprised to receive the Steampunk Issue. Actually I said, "WOW!" when I opened it up. It's over 170 full colour pages, which explains the vast price tag. Or a download can be obtained for a mere $9.99. The entire issue is devoted to Steampunk fashion, photos, contraptions, Victoriana, and devices. If you're into Steampunk or science fiction, this is the definitive issue for you!

I've included a short sample to my article here. Please buy a copy of this fabulous ephemera at Dark Beauty Magazine so a third annual Steampunk will be possible in 2013.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Mel's Quote on the Writing Life

Tonight I decided to give up on this whole writing thing and start my own Cream Puff Bakery called Furballs.

Idea stolen from Sean Chandler, for starting the big movement on giving up the writing life for the sweet life.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Odds Are Against You Being Born a Human in Canada

Happy Canada Day to my readers! Have you ever thought about the astronomical odds being in your favour when you were born as a human baby in Canada, rather than as an ant, plant or even a human in another country?

There are nearly seven billion people on the planet Earth and approximately 196 countries in the world. Have you ever wondered why you were born here and not in China, Kenya, Australia, or Fuji? Many other countries in the world are lovely, but there is an equal amount where there are no human rights, people don't know if they'll see the light of day when they wake up in the morning, or even where their next meal will come from.

There are 34,000,000 people living in Canada. Of that amount, about 30,000,000 people were born here.

What were the odds that you were lucky enough to be born in Canada? I'm not a mathematician, but my calculations work out to a 0.04% chance of a baby being born at a Canadian hospital tonight.

Now think about how many animals are living on the planet Earth. When I tried to so some research, there wasn't even a number that could describe that amount. The highest number is about a centillion, which I believe has 600 zeros after it. However, scientists believe there are many more living beings in the animal kingdom than that. 

What if we also included plants? Do plants have awareness like humans and animals? No one really knows.

Since there are 2 billion cats in the world, odds are greater that you will be born a human than a cat. I personally wouldn't have minded being born a cat, particularly a cat in Canada. 

It is estimated that there are 10 quadrillion ants in the world, so, odds are greater that you would be born an ant, than a human. Unless you committed wrong doings in your past life, your odds are greatly increased in being a human the next time round.

These statistics are sobering. How did we get so lucky? Why weren't we born ants, spiders, etc? Is there truly a higher being who has classified our spot on the Earlh?

With these thoughts in mind, please enjoy the remainder of your Canada Day!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Steampunk History Imagined: Trethewey House Event Review

Trethewey Heritage House in Abbotsford, BC hosted a fabulous Steampunk History Imagined event last Victoria Day long weekend for all neo-Victorian, steampunk and sci-fi fans.

We donned our clockwork couture fashions and spent an enjoyable afternoon socializing and taking in some fine events. Almost all the attendees wore their finest gear.

The afternoon started off with a swordplay demonstration complete with polite fighting tips. I held a sword for my first time ever. 

There were a wonderful selection of vegan and vegetarian treats, as well as tea. There were book writers and artists pitching their ware, as well as a yummy candy shoppe selections. 

We wandered the grounds and took in a quick game of croquet. We found a life-size chess set, a small lake, and an art gallery. The other visitors were quite dismayed that they forgot their costumes, hence they felt out-of-place, or is that out-of-space?

Trethewey House is a protected heritage landmark. Please peruse my photograph collection and keep them in mind for a wedding, Christmas party, or special event.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Definitive Guide to Making a Milestones Bellini or a Melstone's Mellini!

Milestones has the best Bellini ever. When I searched online for a recipe I found a list of ingredients, but not on how to actually make the drink. I searched far and wide and no one really knew the proper way to make a Bellini. I've decided to make up instructions so now everyone knows the proper way to make a Bellini. This drink must be the most difficult and expensive drink ever, but the final resuts are worth it. 

I’m guessing on some of the liquid amounts so you can adjust after you make the first few drinks and see if you want more or less of each type of alcohol. Plus you’ll have all your mixes pre-made, so there will be minimal work near the end.

9 cups 7-Up (not diet and not Sprite!) mixed with peach crystals (Save On Foods has the good brand, read instructions for quantity of drink cyrstals) in pitcher, place in freezer for 3 hours so it gets a bit slushy. When it’s ready continue onto the next step:

Mix first three ingredients together in pitcher:

Slushy mix from above, break it up a bit so you can mix it with champagne and rum

12 cups champagne (don’t use the light alcohol brand like Baby Duck, buy a decent brand, perhaps Segura Viudas)

4 cups white rum (use white rum, dark might not taste right)

Make the “Sangria” topping (half bottle red wine, half bottle brandy, 1 cup peach juice) in pitcher, keep in fridge. 

Note: Make sure you buy 7-Up and not Sprite or it won’t taste right, it wll be sour. I buy peach crystals from Save On foods, the brand at Safeway is lousy and doesn't taste like peach at all. Ideally you can buy ripe peaches and juice them, but I'll leave that up to you.

Put one cup of the slushy champagne mix in a large Magic Bullet container with about 1/3 of ice. Let the bullet smash the ice for about twenty seconds. Once it’s all slushy, I pour into a big glass and make a volcano as pictured above. Then I pour about a half cup of the sangria around the inside edge of the glass and add a straw. If you made it correctly, the red slushy mix should stay around the sides. Feel free to adorn the drink with a small toy.

Now your friends will be really impressed, especially since this drink tastes exactly like a Milestone's Bellini. I've renamed mine a "Milestones Mellini". 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Five Survival Tips When Your Blog Article is Due Today and You Haven't Started Yet!

5. Listen to your pet tell you off. Mine does this on a regular basis. Who am I to say that she isn't mouthing off about a lack of food in her dish?
4. Cancel all appointments and socializing. If you'd planned in advance you could have partied but no more.
3. Write a silly little post on five tips for surviving whatever.
2. Have a guest write today's post. Guest blogging is all the rage now. Get with the times.
And my number one tip for when your blog is due:
1. Just write it already! Why are you procrastinating?!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Let's Have a Chat About Adopting a Cat

Today is three years since the death of my cat Cristobel. This will not be a fun post, it's more of a rant. I'll be discussing the travails of pet ownership, namely cat ownership. This post is not for those who have adopted cats who are in their forever homes. This is for all those nameless people you hear about in the news who have dumped or abandoned their cats, or worse. They're the ones who buy a kitten from a pet shop, soon tire of it, and discard him or her like she's just a fluffy stuffed toy. Perhaps If I can discourage one person from thoughtlessly adopting an animal that they don't really want, or even if a lightbulb goes on in their head that yes, this is a lifelong commitment, then I will have done my job. 

Move along if you value your possessions more than fur people. Thinking of adopting a cat? Think again. For every human who has kicked a cat outside or dumped a cat at the SPCA it's a kick in the heart for those of us who have spent hours tending to and cleaning up after a sick kitty, only to have her succumb to cancer. What I wouldn't give for the chance to clean cat vomit off the silk comforter again, or be subjected to a sneezing fit! If you want easy pet ownership, snag-free furniture, a germ-free counter and floors, and asthma-free children then get a damn stuffed animal toy instead. 

Easy is for losers and cat ownership can be a discouraging lifelong term but only if you let it be. I've always spent each day tending to my cat's needs. Never had I had what I would call a problem child. Cats misbehave when they are neglected and ignored just like your neighbour's miscreant child. But would they dump their kid at the dump? Nope they deal with it as a mature responsible adult would do. Most people who end up with a high-maintenance pet just deal with the paw that they were dealt. Most love their cats unconditionally. But a few bad apples in the bunch spoil the pie. Sure I've had my cat get sick but you know what so do humans and human mess is far nastier to clean out of the bedspread than a small pet mess. 

I don't want to hear the stories about you dumping a cat because she scratched your couch. You know what? Spend a few hours training her! She has a tiny brain and doesn't know any better. Yes that's right cats can be trained. Who thunk it. You can even call in an expert if your ass is too lazy to do it. Cats can be surprisingly easy to train. 

What it all comes down to is that if you think you can't do it or maybe the timing isn't quite right for cat ownership then wait. When only you alone is ready for a life sentence then welcome into your arms that furry critter. Now you can brag about your cat, rather than being a donkey's behind.

PS, Yes I did eventually adopt another kitty after Cristobel died. You can read her story here.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Clock Moth: A Steampunk Play Review

On the Victorian Day Monday we travelled by airship to Vancouver, BC, to take in a fabulous play entitled "The Clock Moth A Steampunk Play".

We weren't quite sure what to expect, and since they only accepted a $5 bribe for entrance, we felt we couldn't go wronger, unless we pilfered some cogs and gears from the local clockwork shop. Would the play be entertaining, would it be one of those crazy artistic renderings, and most of all, would it be steamy?

The play was in two acts, replete with an amazing cast of characters. It took me a bit of time to determine that a man was playing Lady Britannia. By that I don't mean he fooled me into the character, I meant I thought at first he was a man having a cuppa at the table! Characters also included Primrose as the clever little girl (is this name becoming popular after the Hunger Games?!); two adorable couples who pair up at the end, a butler who is really a woman, and the enigmatic clock moth!

We wore our goggles and aviators caps and journeyed to the farthest reaches of the jungle while they searched for the clock moth, who tells the time in a special way that only a moth can. By the end of time the moth had eluded them, so they determined that they could just use their watches from now on.

We had to pay attention to Virginia during the play and list her quotations on a form for a chance to win a prize! I was the first one to have all three answers correct. I won a lovely steampunk goggles sleep mask and a CD entitled "Catch the Cloth Moth" by Leo St. Mark. I really enjoyed the CD; the lyrics were based on the storyline of the play.

We enjoyed our playful journey and I do hope they come back for a reprise, as I do think that more adventurers should see it!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Blogger Interruptus

Starting June 13th I'll be taking a short ten day break from blogging in order to work on my steampunk stories, as part of my vacation.

I'll still be working on my professional blogging, so if I have promised anyone an article over the next month, those will still be forthcoming.

I do love to tease, so stay tuned for my secret writing locations! Right now I'm a bit worried about the weather though. We've had an entire hot weekend in Vancouver, and now we're back to our chilly humid season.

I recently submitted a fictional short story and have been promised a response by August. If not, I'm reworking the story a bit and have a list of publications, so I will NOT be giving up on having fiction professionally published!

The non-fiction writing is progressing well. Earlier I posted about my guest blog article entitled "A Victorian Perfume Adventure". I'll be guest blogging at the Perfume Shoppe for the next three months. Stay tuned for my Father's Day Perfume Adventure!

I've also had a jewellery article, plus photos of my work accepted to Dark Beauty Magazine. Stay tuned for their July 1st release. July's issue has a Steampunk theme! You know I'll be all over that!

I've also been greatly saddened by the cat murders in Maple Ridge. Next week is the third anniversary of Cristobel's death by cancer. I have a hard-hitting piece for that day. While it's not aimed at cat abuse, it is aimed at losers who dump their pets at a shelter or worse, into a park. Oh wait, that IS abuse!

I thank everyone who has faithfully been reading my blog articles each day. I'm heading towards 2000 visits in a little over a month. This has exceeded the readership I had when I wrote articles for Yahoo and Associated Content!

I know I have inspired at least one woman to get back to her writing and make her dreams come true. I'll have to get her permission first before I post her blog link, but you know who you are! Please comment below if you have been inspired to work on a blog and possibly try your hand at fiction.

I still have a few more blog entries this month, but don't despair if there is nothing to read for ten days, you can scroll down and read the ones you missed! 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Adventures in Non-TV Land

Take my boring cable, take my old tv, you can’t take the sky from me, since I’ve found Serenity.

Lately I’ve been finding myself with an extra hour or two of spare time in the evenings. It’s not like I haven’t been doing anything after work, all my chores are getting done, the cat is happy with her purr time, my daily blog entry is posted, and my sci-fi short stories are in progress.

Where has all this free time sprung from?

Earlier this year I finally decided to cancel my Shaw cable service. I wasn’t intentionally trying to find time for anything, Shaw Cable had taken me to my breaking point with their worst customer service issues ever. I mostly follow the sci-fi/fantasy genres and there’s not a whole lot on TV that I did watch. Even Space Channel has its fair share of crappy programs.

After I cancelled my Shaw Cable service I figured it would give me a little extra time for writing projects but I hadn’t expected an excess!

Now that I no longer have cable service I won’t watch a program unless it has a fairly long run and ends properly. TV Networks are notorious for cancelling quality TV programs, leaving us at a cliffhanger, with no hopes of a happily ever after. Take Sanctuary for instance, that had a 4 season run and had a proper ending. I have bought all the CDs now. What the CDs cost me was worth one month of cable service. Take that Shaw Cable and... oh wait, I already told them that.

As I have adjusted to my new schedule I’m discovering just how much time I spent watching TV.

This TV-free life is proving to be quite rewarding! Let’s hope I don’t get bored with my crafty writing projects or I may have to take up drinking to occupy my hours!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Queen Victoria's Wisdom on Writing

Queen Victoria wrote a minimum 6000 words in her journal each day. She received her first journal in 1882, when she was a young girl of thirteen years old. It is unclear where her journals were stored as she finished each one, but a staff member of the royal household deemed them valuable enough to store away in the archive of her life.

This year HM Queen Elizabeth the II is presenting Queen Victoria's entire journal collection online at the Queen Victoria's Journals website. 

Women have extremely busy lives with work and famiy but Queen Victoria fitted a week into one day. She had the time to pen 6000 words each day, so I do believe that I can find the time to do the same, minus a zero or two!

As my vacation looms, I have promised myself to work on my steampunk writing projects at least 5 days in a row. It's been discussed whether I'll go into hiding, perhaps at a seedy hotel, or will I inhabit the local coffee shop and pretend to be JK Rowling? 

Ironically I was heading home one day when I nearly had to smack myself on top of the head! It's so true that we don't pay attention to our surroundings after the first few months. Stay tuned for my further writing adventures. I do know that the Queen did not stress about where to write, she just set pen to paper and wrote it.

If anyone here should finish reading Queen Vic's journals in their lifetime or write 6000 words a day, do come round for tea.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

From the Spyglass of an Adventurer: Victoria Steam Exposition Part Three

I’ve greatly delayed in posting about the third day of the Victoria Steam Exposition.

We did some wandering around Victoria on this day, so we missed a few things at the show.

We started with a Steampunk Roundtable panel with writers Ann & Jeff Vandermeer; The Airship Ambassador from the Airship Ambassador website; Captain Robert from the band Abney Park promoting his book; and Kaja Foglio writer from Girl Genius fame. At the end of the panel they each answered a few questions on their respective projects.
Captain Robert, Kristina and Mel Dawn

We then had a lovely walk around Victoria's downtown area. Many passersby were dismayed that they had forgotten to wear their steampunk gear this weekend. 

We found numerous comic books stores, as well as a bookshop in a heritage building. At "Munro's" I found a large selection of steampunk books. I was able to acquire KW Jeter’s “Infernal Devices” for a book club event.

When we returned to the hotel we took a few group photos in the Empress Hotel's courtyard.

Next up was the best event of the day, a steampunk-themed fashion show. Jordan, one of the event organisers told us that this was their third attempt at holding a fashion show and this year they succeeded! 

That being the final event of the Exposition, there was nothing left to do but head to the ferries.

Please check out my blog entries from Friday night and Saturday, if you missed them earlier.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Victorian Perfume Adventure: Guest Blogging Along

About a year ago I discovered the Perfume Shoppe tucked away in the lovely Sinclair Centre, in downtown Vancouver, BC. Here you can sample scrumptious French perfumes made from the finest natural ingredients.

If you're seeking designer perfumes, made with their allergenic synthetic formulas, you won't find any here. This Shoppe only stocks the finest perfumes that royalty and celebrities really wear. What, you thought they wore their own name brand perfumes? Highly unlikely, those are formulated from cheap ingredients with the goal of earning a celebrity an easy million dollars. Real French perfumes are designed out of sheer olfactory love and not mass-marketed schemes.

I tend to favour the gourmand type and have discovered that they don’t trigger my allergies like the department store brands do. When I choose to wear blends with coconut, hazelnut, licorice, violet, and rose, I am assured that the ingredients are actually made from flowers and food stuffs. As a guest writer, I’ve written a post entitled A Victorian Perfume Adventure for their blog. Please join us on a trip around the perfume world!

Monday, May 21, 2012

BC Government Asks: Citizen, are you ready for the Zombie Apocalypse?

Today, for your amusement let’s chat about the Zombie Apocalypse. You won’t need a job after December 21st, right?!

Apparently the BC (British Columbia) government has decided that a Zombie Apocalypse is a real threat and has set up a website and blog with coping strategies. Click here to check it out.

While it’s not new to post online tips about the Apocalypse, the American CDC did the same last year, but it is unusual for a government hopping on the bandwagon. In a few week's time I won't be surprised to see a website telling us that the threat is imaginary and for no need to panic!

I don’t see a specific date mentioned, though it is claimed that the Mayan’s calendar ends on December 21st. But then they found a new calendar going into the 2040s, so now I won't have to worry about an Apocalypse until I’m old and grey. I need not worry about what I have to save up for retirement as I can just plunder what I want from Safeway in 2040ish and/or the neighbours. They leave their door open so the zombies will get them first.

With the recent NDP haranguing the Conservative government on every issue from cuts in education, health and federal employees, I’m pleasantly surprised to see this new website. It offers some great tips on survival strategies and what to store in your supplies kit.

Apparently the goverment felt their citizens weren't taking earthquake preparedness serious enough, so they set up this wonderful new website. Their hope is to reach a segment of the population, approximately 95%, that generally ignores what they have to say.

Check out the Government BC website for helpful on planning strategies for the Zombie Apocalypse. Because if you are prepared for zombies, you are prepared for a disaster!