Friday, 20 January 2017

Sunshine in January

I once had a poet friend ask me if the poems in my book Defacing Poetry were meant to be well-written.  Hahaha.  I can only assume this means they aren't great.  Even though I'm no poet, I can't help but indulge myself in a poem once in a while.  This sunny, warm day in January demanded verse.  This one is illustrated with photos to help those who dare to read on.

Sword ferns spreading tentacles

Rainwater streams glucking a refreshing refrain

Hemlocks holding steady
Hello the jolly holly

Arbutus spreading arms to heavenly views

Warm winds boxing with cold

A little video as well:

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Once Upon a Book Club: Part Three

It was February, 2010.  The doorbell rang.  Hurray!  My new book club arrived with their books and winter coats.  A couple of brave souls tried the Negus.  "It's wicked!" said Christine, although she turned down a second cup.

We gathered in the living room on mismatched couches with the propane fire glowing.  It wasn't exactly Regency, but it was the best I could do.  We found the rose water in the Little Iced Cakes a surprising (and not necessarily nice) taste on our modern Canadian palates.

Usually our gatherings begin with sharing personal stories and troubles, although I don't recall what we discussed that night.  I remember that we turned the talk toward the book sooner than we usually did.  Perhaps we all wanted to get it over with.

I asked the questions I'd prepared about my book Expectations (See Once Upon a Book Club: Part Two).  Here's what I remember of the answers:

"The language was easy to follow."
"I hated Lydia.  She was horrible."  (This made me laugh.  I loved writing Lydia, but I may have gone too far.)
"Some parts were so well written while others weren't.  I'm not sure why."  (I was grateful for the honesty, but I wish I had asked which scenes I should fix.)
"I liked the part with the pig." (See chapter XII).

All in all, my friends were extremely kind in their reviews, but the night was all a bit awkward.  I'm grateful they were willing to try the book club experiment, but I haven't repeated it since.  I'd love to hear if any other writers have tried this!  

For a great story about the good, the bad and the ugly in book clubs, I highly recommend a Morley's Book Club by Stuart McLean

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Once Upon a Book Club: Part Two

Once I baked my Little Ice Cakes and placed my Negus in the crockpot (See Once Upon a Book

Club: Part One
 for details), I settled the kids into bed and began to worry that having my own book as the book club that month was a mistake.  What if no one came?  What if they all hated the book?

Like the book nerd I am, I prepared some questions for our book discussion.


1. What was your experience with Pride and Prejudice before reading Expectations? (ie movie, book, heresay etc.)

2. Did you find the language difficult and if so, did it become easier at some point?

3. Did you find the Austen characters I used stayed true to Pride and Prejudice?

4. Which character could you best relate to? Least relate to?

5. Was there a particular scene you found especially humorous?

6. Were you disappointed with any of the occurrences in the novel?

7. Were you surprised by any of the customs? If so, which ones?

Did anyone show up?  Follow my blog and find out!

Friday, 6 January 2017

Once Upon a Book Club: Part One

I've been very lucky in book clubs.  Three times, I've found a group of women who share a love of books, but more importantly the desire to encourage and support one another.

When I was fairly new to our Alberta home, I published my first book, Expectations: A Continuation of Pride and Prejudice.  I had a long list of ways to promote and distribute my book.  I couldn't wait to share it.  I dreamed of book signings and readings and I wanted it to be part of my newfound book club.  The women were willing to try it out and buy their own copies of my creation.
I checked out The Jane Austen Cookbook from JASNA Calgary and imagined making each of the strange recipes.  In the end, I settled on Negus and Little Iced Cakes.  Here are the ingredients for Negus:

1 pint port wine
1 lemon
12 sugar lumps
5 cups boiling water
Grated nutmeg

I followed the directions which included rubbing the lemon with the sugar lumps, and kept the concoction warm in my modern crock pot.

The Little Iced Cakes required rose flavouring which I'd never heard of and couldn't find in our little rural town.  After searching the internet, I found a small convenience store in Calgary which sold the ingredient.  I stepped into the culinary wonderland with my then two-year-old son in tow.  We found the pretty clear bottle along the shelves and waited in line to pay.  Ahead of us was a man with a long white beard.  My little guy said "Look mummy.  It's Moses!"  A memorable experience, indeed.

Follow my blog to read the rest of the story!