Snow and Twilight

Sharon Ashwood
December 15, 2008  •  No Comments

I can’t say that it never snows on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, but usually it’s a half-hearted affair that melts in a few hours.  Not this time. It’s cold, it’s windy, it’s icy and nipping at your nose. It snowed enough that it took me over an hour to shovel the sidewalks (times when corner lots aren’t so cool) and there’s more promised. And here I was complaining that I couldn’t find the Yuletide spirit.
On the other hand, the timing for the start of the cold weather was pretty good. I went to a movie and dinner with a friend on Saturday and the snow held off until I was driving home. I beat the worst of it by about a half hour.
The movie was Twilight. I was pleasantly surprised, since adaptations are tricky. I liked the actors they chose for most of the cast, especially Jacob. I think they cut out quite a bit (especially the werewolf story), but I might be forgetting what was in which book. The interplay between the characters was sensitively done for a Hollywood film.  My one quibble was the vampire make-up, which didn’t work for me, but that was a fairly minor thing compared to what went well. I really liked the portrayal of Bella and her dad. Fabulous scenery—they really capture the magnificence of the rural northwest and it’s always cool to think – wait, I know that place …
So I’m glad I had my night out before getting grounded by the ice. The main roads are okay, but the sidestreets will be like glass for a few days and no place for a car without snow tyres.
My favourite vignette this morning was watching a peacock trying to cross the ice in the park.  It looked like an Ice Capades skater in full regalia, coasting along and using its tail like a rudder.

 


Fog

Sharon Ashwood
December 4, 2008  •  No Comments

Here’s some of the photos I took out in the fog:

IMGP0142.jpg Fog at Brentwood Bay 4 image by Sharonashwood     
IMGP0145.jpg Fog at Brentwood Bay 1 image by Sharonashwood

 

IMGP0144.jpg Fog at Brentwood Bay 3 image by Sharonashwood

Libraries and fog

Sharon Ashwood
December 2, 2008  •  No Comments

Okay, so this weekend was The Great Holiday Shopping Adventure, Part Two. That went pretty much as one would imagine. 
The more interesting bit was rattling around the north part of the peninsula with my resident expert on the library system. I’m planning to write a book proposal that involves a library, so I wanted to get the mechanics of their daily chores right.  I thought I’d start by looking at a bunch of branches and, yup, they’re all a little bit different.  They all have their own “feel.” The staff members were very gracious. Being shepherded by one of their own helped, I’m sure, but just the same they let me poke around the back and ask dumb questions and stuff. Much appreciated.
It was a beautifully foggy day. The atmosphere prompted us to talk about some of the supposedly haunted places in town. I say supposedly because I’ve never checked into most of them … I’m always a bit cautious about what’s been inflated for the sake of the tourist brochures.
I do believe in hauntings—though what they are, exactly, I won’t venture to say beyond “energy that once in a while seems to want to interact”.  As an old town in and around a lot of water, we seem to get more than our fair share of spooky. Truth be told, though, after a while it’s just part of the landscape. If you look for stuff, you’ll find it, but most of the time it’s easily ignored, kind of like sparrows or squirrels.


Mr. H.

Sharon Ashwood
November 27, 2008  •  2 Comments

I had an enormously sad day yesterday.

Mr. H., the tabby who thought he was James Dean, was sent to join his brother in the great kitty playground in the sky.

I was one of his “moms” for five years, from kittenhood to his prime. He went on to other adventures, but always allowed my adoration with good grace. He was one of those chunky cats who tried all the Siamese acrobatics and ended up crashing around like a little striped bulldozer, ornaments scattering in his wake. He liked chewing buttons, hiding under scatter rugs and never met a piece of kibble he didn’t like.  More a good-time boy than a scholar, he was always affectionate and ready to play.

I was sorry to see his passing, but it was as good and loving as humans could make it. It’s a hard call to know when enough is enough, and I was grateful that this time the decision was not mine to make. He could have gone on, but there was a lot of discomfort. I think a final, quiet afternoon nap was the right choice.
Cats deal with these occasions better than people. They do what they have to do and move on. We did the best we could to honour his contribution to our happiness, with single malt and a viewing of the Fellowship of the Ring.

Miss ya, little guy.


And then it was … Christmas?

Sharon Ashwood
November 23, 2008  •  No Comments

So, while I had my head buried in a manuscript, the world of commerce evidently marched along to the Christmas season.  This little trick of the calendar struck me over the head as I emerged from my cave, blinking at the bright, tinselly world like a grumpy grizzly.

How did the year fast-forward like this?

Anyway, spent the weekend wading the rapids of rampant consumerism. Went to a craft fair. Went to a few malls. Got a few things off the shopping list as well as mundane tasks like buying a new watch band. I’m not caught up, but at least I’m less far behind!


Touchdown

Sharon Ashwood
November 21, 2008  •  1 Comment

Wow.

The initial production on the sequel to RAVENOUS is complete.  That is, the author has proposed, and now the editor will dispose.  There bound to be some changes. There always are.

I’m sad, because I really enjoyed spending time with my characters, particularly my sarcastic hero.  It’s an emotional wrench when the manuscript leaves. Of course, it’s going to come back forty thousand times until I’m heartily sick of it but, for now, I feel all empty nesty and woebegone.

The book is (at least in this point of time) called SCORCHED. As both my editor and I like the title, I’m hoping it stays.

Tonight I’m going out for dinner.  Tomorrow—I have to look at the list that starts “when the book is done …”


Deadlines

Sharon Ashwood
November 11, 2008  •  No Comments

I’ve been quiet lately, but in a good cause.  It’s deadline time! Yup, the initial round of manuscript fun for book two is happening right now. The rush to the finish line. The pile of candy wrappers. The endless cups of coffee. The thousand-yard stare at the flickering screen. No more “I’ll fix it later” because the later is now.

Yeah, we’ll get to the finish line on time. It’s never pretty, but it’s a necessary part of the process.

 


Santa he isn’t

Sharon Ashwood
October 28, 2008  •  No Comments

There is a recent trend with men in chimneys.  Not long ago, I wrote about a would-be spy stuck in the ducting of an art museum.  Now here’s a naked guy wedged in the chimney of a supermarket in England.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/manchester/7683826.stm

Is this a trend?  Has the myth of chimney-borne happiness impacted an entire generation of cat burglars? Is there some deep-seated need to act out the Santa psychodrama (in the buff!) in the midst of their nefarious crimes?

I just hope all Santa’s elves received counseling.


Don’t try this with the Demon Lord of Kitty Badness

Sharon Ashwood
October 21, 2008  •  No Comments

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/picturegalleries/howaboutthat/3229125/Swimming-with-tigers.html

I thought this was just too cool. After dancing with wolves, we can now swim with tigers ….


Yee-haw – product endorsements!

Sharon Ashwood
October 17, 2008  •  No Comments

This week brought early Hallowe’en presents from the universe.  RAVENOUS has cover quotes! It’s impossible to describe how much this is valued by an author, especially one like me who is launching a debut. Let it be known that these fine ladies have bestowed an act of kindness–and they’re darned fine writers, too!

A multilayered plot, a fascinating take on paranormal creatures living among us, plus a sexy vampire, a sassy witch and a mystery for them to solve. . . RAVENOUS leaves me hungry for more!

 –  Jessica Anderson, author of The Final Prophecy series

 Sexy, suspenseful fun. Ashwood really knows how to tell a story.

 – NYT best-selling author Kelley Armstrong


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