Monday, March 31, 2008

Foolish Behavior

Get out the squirting calculator, the whoopie cushion and those tiny rubber bugs you've been saving. It's that time of year again. Yup. April Fool's Day. My kids have pulled off some classics: bugs in the ice cubes, hot peppers in your sandwich, money glued to the floor. Of course these are all jokes they've pulled on their father, not me.

Admittedly there are times when I even encourage playing pranks on good ol' dad. Not sure why, but they find it infinitely less funny to pull jokes on mom. Perhaps it's because I'm in charge of the food they just no payback would be not so much fun. However, my coffee maker decided to pour coffee (the last I have in the house) all over the counter and floor instead of the pot. Then my computer decided to do some weird icon hiding game that I still haven't figured out. I get the distinct impression the electronic devices in my life have decided to make a fool of me.

So on this day of fools, are you the fooler or the fooled? Any classic pranks in your past?

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Were You in the Dark?

Did you participate in Earth Hour 2008 and turn out your lights on Saturday evening for one hour? We did. I played the Fear Factor board game with my kids by candlelight.

I've tried to take the leap to be more energy conscience but it's a work in progress. For example, I've tried those energy efficient CFL light bulbs but I haven't been able to totally make the switch because I just don't find them bright enough. Living in the Pacific Northwest means it's quite dark for a lot of the year and I really get frustrated with low lighting.

I'm also big on recycling but had to give up composting because it attracted too many rats to our yard. How about you? What steps have you made to help out our planet?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Danke Vielmals! (translation: Many Thanks!)

My current big news is that Random House in Germany (Goldmann Verlag) has bought German rights for Remains of the Dead! Woo Hoo ... not sure how to say that in German, um, maybe begeistert?

The book won't be out in Germany for over a year but it'll be cool to see what kind of cover they come up with.

In other news, I've decided to go ahead and get the Lasik eye surgery done and I'll be setting my appointment today.
UPDATE: I scheduled my eye surgery for Apr. 16th. The countdown has begun!

I'm in the Mood for Murder

Yesterday I struggled with a love scene. Even though most of my romantic stuff happens 'off the page' there's still a lot that has to show up in writing. I always find it difficult and I tend to become like a frightened teen out on a date.

I'm happy my characters want to have a little hanky panky but truly I'd rather be killing someone. I have writing friends like Nancy Warren who write fabulous love scenes and romantic tension but for me the words always feel awkward. Now, insert Tab A into Slot B ...

So in order to get in the mood to write those kinds of scenes I have to do a little work. I light a fragrant candle and pour a nice glass of Australian Shiraz. The advantage of the wine is that even if the scene is really bad, I don't seem to care until the next morning LOL.

So it's back to the drawing board on this scene. I'll have to drag my characters back to bed even though now, of course, they're more interested in catching a killer.

Are you struggling with anything this week?

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Easter, um, Pig

We added a new member to the Roberts household this Easter weekend and it wasn't an Easter Bunny (although plenty of the chocolate variety of those are missing ears today). Child #3 has wanted a Guinea Pig for a looong time so, finally, we made the trip to the SPCA and he connected with the rodent pictured above now to be known as Nibbles.

With the kids on spring break and busily adding sleep-overs and mall time to their social calendars, I'm scrambling to guard my writing time. I have a deadline looming for the proposal of book 3 but I'm on top of that and only need to tweak. However, there's another story that is blooming in my head just aching to be told. I talked to my fab agent, Miriam Kriss, about it on Friday and she helped me focus on areas of that story that were feeling weak. Now that story is rolling in like thunder and filling my brain but, of course, I'll finish the prop for book 3 before I give it the attention it is demanding.

So between kids, deadlines and new stories I'm feeling pulled in many directions at once. What's making you feel divided this week?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Thanks for all the birthday wishes! Well, my biscotti and writing plans fell apart yesterday because child # 4 stayed home with a tummy ache. That means that today, the last day the kids are at school before spring break, is going to be a big writing day and I'll be off-line.

Here in British Columbia, most offices have both Good Friday and Easter Monday off making it an extra long weekend. Do you have the same? Any exciting Easter plans for your weekend?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Today I plan to go to Starbucks and dip chocolate biscotti into my tall triple latte while typing away at Book 3. I'll also count my blessings that I have a job that I love sooo much.

I am not a person who likes a big hullabaloo on my birthday. How about you? Do you hullabaloo on your special day?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Mining for Gold

Yesterday I spent the day mining. More accurately, I road in a school bus for 90 minutes each way with a bunch of crazy fifth graders to visit the BC Museum of Mining. If you've seen the movies Scooby Two, Double Jeopardy, or Dead Zone you've probably seen the place. It's old and spooky so it can be great fodder for a mystery writer's mind.

This was my third time making the trip because this was my third child to visit the mine. As usual, it was cold (we're talking a hole in a damp mountain in March) and it was noisy (we're talking 30 fifth graders) and it was long (we're talking hours in Vancouver construction traffic). At the end of our time at the mine, we were rewarded by being allowed to go panning for gold. This mine was actually an old copper mine. Although there have been many gold strikes here in BC, there weren't any in this location. However, the museum imports these little vials of gold flakes mixed with sand and pours them into each little miner's pan so they can swish it around in freezing cold water and 'discover' gold. I can't help but find it utterly ridiculous but the kids LOVE it.

It was a lo-o-o-ong bus ride home. Fifth graders can apparently sing dozens of rounds of Ninety-nine Bottles of Pop on the Wall without EVER growing tired of the song. However, I took myself away by thinking about my current work in progress (book # 3) and specifically about a plot question I'd been trying to sort through. I realized that I'd just been scuffing the surface of my characters with this story. I needed to go deeper. To mine for those golden scenes that were beneath the surface. I also needed to look deeper into the cold, icy heart of my villain. Sometimes you gotta mine for the evil too. The minute I started to think that way, I realized the direction I needed to take the story.

Are you digging for good or evil these days?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Paperback Originals

I was thrilled to discover that this month's Mystery Scene magazine gave me a shout under Very Original Paperbacks. It's on page 58. By the way, if you're into mysteries this is THE mag to pick up.

In addition to a picture of yours truly it says:

Delightful Debuts:
Sadie Novak can see ghosts, an ability which comes up often in her work as a professional crime scene cleaner. Meet her in a smart debut, The Remains of the Dead by Wendy Roberts where something's amiss at the scene of a murder/suicide.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Target Practice

I have a confession. I listen to motivational tapes. Not often. But once in a while when I need a kick in the butt.

Lately I've been listening to cd's I have on goal setting (by Zig Ziglar). I love how he says it’s tough to hit a target you don’t even have. Ain't that the truth?

So this month, being the month I celebrate being on this earth for another year, I’ve been working on my long-range and short-term goals. I take all the goals I have for the different aspects of my life; spiritual, mental, physical and, of course, my writing goals and I chart them and give myself deadlines.

Are you a goal setter?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Like Watching a Train Wreck

I'm not going to get all political, but I've been hearing so much about the Spitzer scandal that it's hard not to discuss it.

What Gov. Spitzer did was wrong and there's no debate about that. However, there's an awful lot of discussion on my various loops about his wife. Overall, the consensus seems to be that women wish Silda Spitzer had refused to stand up beside her husband at the podium. He should've been forced to deal with the press on his own and she didn't need the public humiliation.
I'm not going to criticize Silda because I don't know her. However, I'd like to think that when the above photo was taken Silda wasn't exactly thinking "Oh Eliot I'll stand by you no matter what 'cause you da man!"

Instead, here are some of things I'm guessing she was really thinking:
- I hope it was worth it because you're never having sex again.
- You are a pig and an a$$hole!
- You're gonna have to sleep with one eye open for the rest of your life.
- When this is all said and done I'm taking every cent you have and pouring it into therapy for our daughters.
- This morning I used your toothbrush to scrub the toilet.
- I'm having lunch later with Lorena Bobbit and I'm hoping to learn a thing or two. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Anyone else have ideas about what Silda Spitzer was really thinking?

Friday, March 07, 2008

If I Had a Million Dollars

This morning I was listening to one of my all time favorite songs, If I had a Million Dollars, by the Barenaked Ladies Band. In my opinion the best part of the song is:

If I had a million dollars
We wouldn't have to eat Kraft Dinner
But we would eat Kraft Dinner. Of course we would, we'd just eat more.
And buy really expensive ketchups with it. That's right, all the fanciest Dijon ketchups!

As usual, after listening to the song I was thinking about what my life might be like if I really did have a million dollars. Besides paying bills, helping out loved ones financially and taking some expensive trips, what kind of everyday things might change? Would my eating habits change? Surely my kids would still like Kraft Dinner sometimes. I know I'd still enjoy homemade vegetarian lasagna but, yeah, maybe I’d try the more expensive cheeses.

How about you? After paying bills and buying a few luxuries, what would you change with a million dollars? Would your eating habits change?

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Meet Henry

Henry the hexapus. That's right. He's an octopus with only six legs. Henry lives in the Blackpool Sea Life Centre where he happily eats fish and crabs and whatever else it is that six-legged hexapuses eat. Except there's never been a six-legged hexapus until now. If an octopus loses a leg it'll grow back but Henry didn't lose a couple legs, he suffers from a birth defect. Does he have three hearts and blue blood like other octopods? Probably. Is the gift shop at the Blackpool Sea Life Centre selling six-legged stuffed Henry's for triple the price of other stuffed animals? Most likely.

I worry about Henry because when octopods are stressed they'll sometimes eat their own arms. Sort of like extreme nail biting.

When I'm stressed I don't bite my nails or eat my own arms LOL but I am a stress eater preferring a massive bowl of corn chips and an equally huge bowl of salsa. I'm trying to break that habit and I'm looking for healthier substitutes. Carrots just don't cut it.

Do you nibble when you're stressed?

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Do you see what I see?

My tired ol' green eyes aren't what they used to be. They've never been 20/20. At least not since well before I can remember. But contacts have served me well all of my adult life and I hardly ever think about my poor vision. Until now. Until my optometrist joked that my problem was that my arms were no longer long enough to properly hold a book. Yup. Not only has my farsighted vision become drastically worse, I can no longer see close up either. Biofocal time.

I was given some multifocal contacts to try and they weren't too bad but mostly they made me feel a little wonky. And not in a good way.

So now I've made a consultation appointment to discuss Lasic surgery. Truth of the matter is that even if I get the laser surgery, I'll most likely need reading glasses so I'm wondering if it's worth it.

Anyone out there had corrective eye surgery done, or have you considered it?