So that was winter …

Sharon Ashwood
February 11, 2009  •  No Comments

First of all, another guest blog announcement – Thursday, Feb 12, I’m at and there will be another copy of RAVENOUS up for grabs.

I’ve finally managed to catch my breath.  I feel like I spent October/November racing for a book deadline, then there was snow storms and Christmas, then I spent January and up to last Saturday polishing off a course.  Last week was the exam plus the launch of RAVENOUS. Somewhere in there I changed agents. Life has been full.

One might ask why the heck I’ve been doing courses as well as writing and working full-time. Well, before I had any idea that I would actually get published, I was in a job I didn’t like much. There was an opportunity through my work to take upgrading on their dime. I grabbed the chance and started stuffing my head with finance courses.  I got a job I like much better, and I only have one more course to go before I get my certificate. It’s all good, except for the fact that going back to school–even part time–looks very different when one has been out in the real world for a while.

Rant warning:

I think the biggest thing I notice is how impatient I am. I want the facts, I want them now, and I want to know exactly what’s expected of me. I expect my tutors to be quick, courteous, and accurate. I want value for money, engaged instructors, and the means to make what I learn relevant to my job.

Apparently, I am dreaming. I don’t remember my old university being this sadly out to lunch, but this one is on a downhill slide. I’m doing correspondence, so the materials we’re provided are key to to the learning experience.  What started as a few typos in the answer key has degenerated to things like scrambled answers on the multiple-choice mid-term, references to audio-visual aids that simply aren’t there, and waiting up to a month for some basic assistance from the tutor. I’m starting to feel like I’m learning in spite of the course.

End rant.

Of course, sometimes what one learns has nothing to do with the class at hand. I recall a former music teacher who listened to my grumblings about how I was scrambling from  commitment to commitment. She said, quite calmly, “So you’re busy. That means you’re interested in things. After all, what else would you be doing with your life?”

I think about her a lot.

Just a bloggin’ fool

Sharon Ashwood
February 5, 2009  •  2 Comments

Today I’m over at To Be Read ( and tomorrow at Yankee Romance Reviews (  Copies of RAVENOUS are up for grabs, so come on down ….

More strange science

Sharon Ashwood
January 29, 2009  •  No Comments

Okay, so we’ve all seen Jurassic Park and know that no good can ever come of hatching dinosaur eggs.

 Nevertheless, like the nightie-clad heroine in a horror film, somebody just HAS to go into the dark basement of science and see what extinct critters they can conjure up out of archeological DNA.

 So, the exotic pet market can stay tuned. Want a woolly mammoth? There’s apparently a mammoth genome project with a genetic map on the way. I just hope they simultaneously recreate woolly mammoth food. I doubt our modern plants are quite the same.

 Not so much of a problem for the proposed saber-toothed tiger, who could have a tasty scientist to go if kitty kibble doesn’t turn his crank. Apparently lions are close enough relatives that one could serve as a surrogate mom.

 Speaking of which, one of us could be an incubator for a brand-new Neanderthal baby, though I’m not sure they’ll get a whole lot of volunteers. Some might even claim to already have a few teenaged models living in the basement.

 Other interesting possibilities include the short-faced bear (a third taller than a polar bear), the Tasmanian tiger (actually a marsupial), a glyptodon (armadillo as large as a car), a woolly rhino, the dodo, the giant ground sloth, the moa (ostrich-type bird), the gigantic Irish elk, the giant beaver (why?), and the gorilla. Yup, the gorilla’s populations have dwindled to the point that they’re collecting DNA just in case.

 There are problems with the quality of extant DNA and in finding suitable surrogate mothers. The odds aren’t great for successful resurrection in some cases, but the idea of seeing some of these beasts on the hoof is admittedly intriguing. Ethical questions aside, there’s a little kid inside that really, really wants to see a saber-toothed tiger. From a safe distance.

Novelists Inc.

Sharon Ashwood
January 20, 2009  •  No Comments

Today is my first time blogging at Novelists Inc.! The link is here: and the topic is Novels: More than clever devices for trapping and holding house dust.

Please come visit!

The Demon Lord Speaks

Sharon Ashwood
January 13, 2009  •  No Comments

Check out the interview with the Demon Lord of Kitty Badness at the Chatty Cat Cafe here: and enter to win a copy of RAVENOUS

Back to–um–reality

Sharon Ashwood
January 12, 2009  •  No Comments

Okay, so the decorations are down, the new calendars up, the fridge cleaned out, and today was back to the day job. Here’s the holiday in review:

Most boring task over holidays:  cleaned closets and caught up on schoolwork.
Most time spent:  online sorting out book promotion and/or shovelling driveway
Best present:  Grind and brew coffeemaker from mom

Best unexpected treat:  Demon kitty consented to sleep in my lap
Worst moment:  Outlook going spazz and mailing multiple copies of newsletter
Best social:  New Year’s Eve
Best food discovery: olive tapenade
Main writing accomplishment:  drafted two book outlines
Main writing surprise:  one outline for a book I didn’t expect
Best read: Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl
Biggest disappointment:  having $, going to the mall, and finding nothing to buy
Biggest relief: Car repair half of what I expected
Best warm fuzzy:  5-ribbon review from Romance Junkies

And let’s just say that back at work there was plenty to keep me from getting bored …

Holy New Year’s Resolution, Batman!

Sharon Ashwood
January 8, 2009  •  1 Comment

First of all, we have special guest Jessica Andersen at the Silk and Shadows blog today (  Drop by to leave a comment and you’ll be automatically entered for a prize in our weekly draw!

Second, I was cleaning up the mountains of paper in my personal batcave and discovered an article I’d saved:

The gist is that a University of Victoria professor, Paul Zehr, has written a book called The Possibility of a Superhero. Zehr is a prof of kinesiology and neuroscience. He’s examining the ability of the human body to achieve the kind of strength, agility, and endurance needed to do the caped crusader schtick. Batman doesn’t have superpowers per se (just lots of R&D cash), so it would be theoretically possible to pull off the things he does. Of course, one’s body would wear out very quickly, just like a pro athlete’s.

Interesting stuff, but I’d be happy if I could just make it to the gym on a regular basis! Instead, I’m drinking coffee and watching the rain.

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.



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.