Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Yes, the Hobbit Shire Soup was good. If you remember two months ago, I wrote a post where I was sipping oolong tea and contemplating Hobbit Shire Soup. It was delicious. I plan to make it tonight mainly because my significant other has not got the cheque that he has been promised and we are down to the last dime in the bank, if that. No one ever said that writers automatically become rich and famous. Hobbit Shire Soup is quick, easy and, most importantly, cheap to make out of pasta, tomatoes,onions, and chickpeas. You have the basic food groups: grain, fruit, vegie, and protein. It's good if you have bay leaf and parsley at hand. A writer's feast.

Oh hell. I am so depressed. I have a manuscript that I would like to get out but the synopsis is just not gelling for me. I know the cheque is in the mail. Isn't it always? That doesn't matter when the mail slot is empty. I understand at these times Chaucer's Complaint to His Purse:"To you, my purse, and to none other wight /Complain I, for you be my lady dear!/ I am so sorry, now that you be light;" The physical container for money is flat and also the bank of imagination. The only things that keep me going are the neighbour kids that occasionally drop by to see my youngest. Some of those children don't get breakfast. I feed them but lately worry if my family is going to make it through the week or to the end of the month with our sparse larder. However, I can't refuse children who say that they are hungry with their being pale thin creatures on my doorstep, and Canadian winters cold and without regard. Mine is just a temporary bump until the cheque arrives. I know that some of these children live in households of seven where there is just enough apartment space for four people.

Perhaps writing is not just for money. Whenever there is a setback or crisis, writing is a lifeline that the neighbour children do not have. I'm holding on tight to the last thread.


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Monday, December 17, 2007


There was a question on one of the Facebook groups when a high school student asked if he should pursue a career in writing. This is my reply with additional comments since the wall post only allowed 1,000 characters.

The post starts with "I don't mean to be sarcastic but have you ever heard of the term 'struggling writer'?" I then address the high school student's other concerns. Find a job that pays the bills first especially if you plan to go to college because that leaves most people enough in hock to busy them for quite a while.
Secondly, being a writer is a difficult career. The market is saturated with people wanting to get their novels published. Hell, even Jane Austen would have a hard time selling a novel in this market. I wrote an editorial in one of my blogs about a man who passed off Austen's novels as one of his own.

So why write? Because you have a story that pulses through your blood and won't leave you until its ink dries on the page.

However, for the money, there's always commercial writing work. You develop that by making contacts. Facebook is one way to do that. Of the Social Network Services, Facebook is the most useful. LinkedIn is a good tool also. MySpace, LiveJournal, and Orkut are useless because they are not well-organized and cater to a less literate crowd. Bebo and Friendster are the same in the lack of content. Twitter is useless unless you are terribly vain and want those who would rather not know about your latest hernia operation. Also try Sunoasis and Debbie Ng's freelance writing blog. Good luck!

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Friday, December 14, 2007


Please support the writers' strike in Hollywood. One way that you can support the writers' strike is to boycott any scab activity that takes place online. Recently, I found this ad. The spelling errors are not mine:

"Freelance TV Writers - (US-CA-Hollywood - 90078)

Min Education:
Job Type:

Everyone knows it is a rough time here in Hollywood with the strike and with the holidays coming up it couldn't have come at a worse time. I was starting to wonder how I would be able to make it an enjoyable Christmas for my twin 12-year old daughters. That is why I decided to come up with an alternative.

I, and some marketing folks, producers, and other interested parties had some private disucssions on how to get some writers back to work while this strike works itself out. I've worked out deals to get scripts written on a couple of CBS shows and I'm working on a deal with Fox. We will be privately and discretely writing scripts for these shows. We will ensure your privacy and confidentiality and are willing to pay top dollar for talented writers. We are currently working on bring other shows into the mix, but the producers want to see if we can make this work for a few shows first before giving us many more.

Together we can make this a happy holiday season for our families, contact if you have any questions.

William Kinkade
Kinkade Creative Solutions"

I've excised the contact information for the company. Why help them?

Help these people instead.
Here is the web page for the Writers' Guild of America.

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Sunday, December 9, 2007


The early sun dissolves the mist
that has covered the mountain.
All night I have listened to the wise,
yet failed to learn.
Dimly, darkly, the eternal pines
rise without effort from the vanishing fog.

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I was ambitious to have a new poem every week but my life circumvented that (off-line writing, family concerns et cetera). So without further introduction, please enjoy the new format.


Thursday, November 22, 2007


Here I go again... I have started my second unpublished novel in a series. I have written one hundred and eight pages into it.

No one ever said writing is a rational occupation. It is a profession that lives on hope, little sleep, and less praise. One has to be a master of dreams to push on through the most dreary of situations. The bills, sick kids, ill self, lonely nights typing at the computer, the blank screen that does not cheer with its stare uncomprehending as a government form that asks "Well, what is your work?"

Let me think... I am the tender of imagination, the midwife of new beings in print, a guardian of a world.

Doesn't get one very far in the "real world". I usually scrawl "homemaker" on a form. "Writer" means, at least to the bureaucratic people that I know, 'unemployed person with an English degree'. Not very prestigious.

So what keeps me going and persisting and hoping to be published? Because my characters, those mischievous struggling (almost) human creatures I've known for all these years, make my life reflective and intellectually alive. If they died unwept, so would the part of my life that budges the humane in me. This keeps me going as a writer.
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Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Borders bookstore chain is installing televisions. The bookstore chain has partnered with Ripple, a national provider of in-store content to deliver information to "upper class" customers. Ripple also delivers content to such chic businesses as Jiffy-Lube and Jack-in-The-Box.

I don't know about the majority of the readers of this blog, but I'm old-fashioned. When I go to a bookstore, I expect to find books and periodicals. I like bookstores because I can escape the yak-yak of television. Bookstores are supposed to help people think not leave them hanging with their mouths wide open and drooling like eejits on the carpet. Or have I missed some crucial lesson in modern publishing?

Once upon a time, books were actually conveyors of knowledge not units to move out the door. When I was a child, too many years ago, I fell absolutely in love with the warm pencil colours of D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths. The sweet face of Aphrodite arising from the sea or the poignant reunion of Demeter and Persephone in the grain fields kicked a hole in my tidy go-to-churchy view of life. My world was suddenly aflame with ideas. Books aren't meant to be a marketing tool alongside television. Books are intended to open up new venues for the mind to explore.

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Sunday, October 28, 2007


The regular cook was sick so my sous chef (represented here) graciously pitched in to cook for someone (me) who was sick onto death. Well, at least in no shape to cook. Unfortunately, we have different ideas on what constitute condiments for the food. Seasoning salt, in my opinion, is not a fit taste to use liberally in food preparation. We since have had IM conversations about the (in my opinion) proper way to cook Egg Mess.

All this makes me wonder about ghostwriters and their clients. Yes, there is a writing angle! Are the clients satisfied or do they complain about the seasoning? Is it the client's true story or the hired writer's tale? I wonder this as I am thankful for my sous chef pitching in at the last minute when I was not cogent enough to deliver one of my favourite dishes. It is something to ponder on those windy Canadian days when I'm imbibing a hot cup of Oolong tea and perusing my recipe books. Hmmm... Hobbit Shire Soup doesn't look that bad.

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Friday, October 26, 2007


The Vegetable Stirfry with Tofu Croquettes was delicious. My sous chef says that I put in too much corn and carrots but what does he know? I'm a better cook than him.

Tomorrow: Egg Mess and Toast! Yum.... My food critics adore this hardy staple of very few ingredients and non-meat protein. For the vegans out there who think of eggs as meat, pffft. You aren't getting enough B12 for your brains so you can't appreciate the value of eggs.

All this cooking has me jazzed. I'm currently revising a children's picture book about Canadian animal life. I figure if deer can eat eggs (and sometimes birds), then nothing should prevent me from eating chicken eggs. Will post how the cooking (and writing) progresses.

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Monday, October 22, 2007


I have been taking a hiatus from the blog to work on culinary skills. I find that if I can't work with writer's block, then a little innovation in other areas helps.

Canadian Thanksgiving was superb. I made vegan gluten free dressing with brown rice bread with almond and cashew nut butter gravy. My sous chef made homemade chips. There was a bowl of canned cranberry jelly, and pears for the sides.

Tonight I made Bean without Bacon soup, a vegan spin on a classic fall comfort food. Served again with more cranberry jelly, and potatoes, it was a comforting rustic meal.

Tomorrow, I make my standby Vegie Stirfry with Tofu Croquettes.

All this has inspired me to send out an article on Plains Native American tribes to a history magazine geared toward middle school grades. Will let my readers know if my conquests as a culinarian translate to the published page.

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Thursday, October 4, 2007

ça m'amuse

A struggling author, David Lassman, recently proved how difficult it was get published as a first time author. He submitted chapters of Jane Austen novels to various literary agents and publishers (including some very big names) and all but one rejected the manuscripts.

Well, who wouldn't reject a manuscript from Jane Austen? Despite the Beeb's television series, the various and sundry movies of her novels and about her, Jane Austen is dull. She is overly mannerly and correct. There are no surprises or major conflicts in Austen novels, just irritating lapses in etiquette. Charlotte Brontë described Austen's petit point screeds in accurate terms.

Letter of April 12th 1850 to W.S. Williams:

"I have likewise read one of Miss Austen's works,Emma -- read it with interest and with just the degree of admiration which Miss Austen herself would have thought sensible and suitable -- anything like warmth or enthusiasm, anything energetic, poignant, or heartfelt, is utterly out of place in commending these works: all such demonstrations the authoress would have met with a well bred sneer, would have calmly scorned as outré and extravagant. She does her business of delineating the surface of the lives of genteel English people curiously well; there is a Chinese fidelity, a miniature delicacy in the painting: she ruffles her reader by nothing vehement, disturbs him by nothing profound: the Passions are perfectly unknown to her; she rejects even a speaking acquaintance with that stormy Sisterhood; even to the Feelings she vouchsafes no more than an occasional graceful but distant recognition; too frequent converse with them would ruffle the smooth elegance of her progress."

Charlotte, be it noted, grew up with a kickass younger sister. Emily could shoot a pistol. The more youthful Brontë also made a tidy livelihood from railroad stocks. None of your mincing, faint-of-heart Austen mollycoddles for the Brontë clan when they wrote of their heroines. The sisters gave literature Catherine Earnshaw and Jane Eyre. Both characters had more spirit than, well, I can't recall any of Austen's lead women. They are not memorable as the plain Jane with her mysterious Rochester or Catherine with the brooding Heathcliff. Perhaps, someone ought to try the same experiment with a Brontë novel and see if publishers recognize such.

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If my words, like leaves,
should scatter through the world,
would that I might leave behind
the name that was mine
in the unforgettable days of old.

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Sunday, September 23, 2007


As chronicled in YUM!, I have been trying to perfect the art of drying tomatoes in the oven. Well, they were delicious! Roma tomatoes with parsley, rosemary, and thyme with a bay leaf (for scent) under the metal cooling rack that I used for the dryer. I have been inspired. I had the dreaded writers' block. My brain was lint fuzz. I already finished writing a 105,010 word manuscript and my mind went blank. I spent most of a day tending the tomatoes and had my reward. Sweet, although I prefer black tomatoes. When I first had this type of tomato, my first thought was "pasta sauce". A subtle flavour, smooth without the harsh citric taste.

Um, okay, where was I? This is supposed to be on a blog about writing. I'm working on the sequel to my missive and I've broken through my writer's block. Hmm... something about my affinity for the nightshade family may have helped. I have also been indulging in my favourite nosh, chips and mayo. Good food always helps. I can think straight if I have a bowl of hot freshly dished popcorn. Be that as it may, I'm plonking through novel #2 and am happy, almost, to have the confidence to send out the first manuscript to a publisher again. Until then, bon appetit!
UPDATE: This has turned out to be, with revisions, a 140,950 word manuscript.
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Saturday, September 22, 2007


I Am

I am! The ages on the ages roll:
And what I am, I was, and I shall be:
by slow growth filling higher Destiny,
And Widening, ever, to the widening Goal.
I am the Stone that slept; down deep in me
That old, old sleep has left its centurine trace;
I am the plant that dreamed; and lo! still see
That dream-life dwelling on the Human Face.
I slept, I dreamed, I wakened: I am Man!
The hut grows Palaces; the depths breed light;
Still on! Forms pass; but Form yields kinglier
The singer, dying where his song began,
In Me yet lives; and yet again shall he
Unseal the lips of greater songs To Be;
For mine the thousand tongues of Immortality.

- Voltaraine De Cleyre

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Friday, September 7, 2007


Like many people, I have comfort foods for when times are difficult. When I've received a rejection letter or have had to visit with pesky relatives who make me feel like I'm a burying beetle in a clatch of mice. My last two weeks of summer vacation. We won't go there for the tale would be too long in woe. And I want to get to the truly good part. Comfort food.

For some, comfort food means a chocolate bar or a sub sandwich, or a simmering macaroni and cheese casserole.


I crave homemade British style chips with mayonnaise. I made some, recently (Friday last) with red potatoes simmered in canola oil. I did not have my favourite brand of olive oil so had to content with what was available. Oh, and how content it was for my palate.

British style chips with mayonnaise, hard boiled eggs with mustard, and green and red tomato slices fried in the red potato oil. My taste buds were happy. The simple meal was a great success.

Not so proud were my attempts yesterday to make oven dried tomatoes. I rushed the drying by turning up the oven heat too high. However, those that survived being crisped, were sweet to the taste on a homemade pizza with red porcini mushroom sauce, fake soy cheese (can't have dairy),and olives. The meal ended up to be edible and that is all I could have hoped for with my experiment.

I was a little bit disappointed in my culinary prowess but ,as a writer, you learn to take the lumps. Even if the bumps are the charred remains of once plump tomatoes.

Ever the optimist, I later consumed pretzels and nuts for a snack. Okay, and the four vanilla cookies and some decaf white tea. I won't keep track if you don't. And I'm thinking of topping it all with some hot almond milk before I go to bed.

'til then,


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Thursday, June 14, 2007


Who will read it?
Who will live forever
In this world?
A letter left behind
In her undying memory.

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Saturday, May 19, 2007


Frail the white rose and frail are
Her hands that gave
Whose soul is sere and paler
Than time's wan wave.

Rosefrail and fair-- yet frailest
A wonder wild
In gentle eyes thou veilest,
My blueveined child.

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This living hand, now warm and capable

Of earnest grasping, would, if it were cold

And in the icy silence of the tomb,

So haunt thy days and chill thy dreaming nights

That thou wouldst wish thine own heart dry of blood

So in my veins red life might stream again,

And thou be conscience-calmed—see here it is—

I hold it towards you.

John Keats

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Monday, May 14, 2007


They change,
though you don't see it
in the color of their faces---
these blossoms that are the hearts
of the people of this world.

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Saturday, May 12, 2007


After many frustrating tries, I am pulling down the audio portion of my blog. It was difficult to balance between Firefox and IE specs.

I'm not giving up. I need a break, and a brush-up on my skills, before I will tackle this again.

Until then...

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Tuesday, May 8, 2007


In my Performancing (now called ScribeFire) review, I was enthusiastic about the Firefox extension but now have come to see it as a nuisance. It puts tags in my Technorati code that disables links to Technorati. I have found now that any Firefox extension web editor that I use with Blogger completely messes up Blogger's editing capabilities.

CoolIris is okay but it does not work with some image search engines such as Imagery and the window popping up can be a nuisance while one is trying to work. However, it is useful when I am searching for images on Google because I can see the images more clearly in the CoolIris window.

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Monday, May 7, 2007



I and Pangur Ban my cat

'Tis like a task we are at
Hunting mice is his delight
Hunting words I sit all night

Better far than praise of men
'Tis to sit with book and pen;
Pangur bears me no ill will
He too plies his simple skill.

When a mouse darts from its den
O how glad is Pangur then!
O what gladness do I prove
When I solve the doubts I love!

Practice every day has made
Pangur perfect in his trade
I get wisdom day and night
Turning darkness into light.

---9th Century Monastic Poem

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Sunday, May 6, 2007


Last month, I wrote about my trials and tribulations with a green tea blog that I will not name. Essentially, I quit because my former employers were upset because I did not follow their propaganda that green tea was superior to water in terms of hydration. I have evidence that my aversion to green tea is justified.

Scientists at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, have studied that the polyphenols in green tea can lead to liver damage if green tea is drunk to excess or is used with supplements with polyphenols. The liver problems associated with green tea are not surprising because green tea is also good for industrial purposes, for polishing the magnetic heads in computer hard drives during manufacture. Yuck...

Furthermore, Great Britain is introducing a hydration program for the elderly so they do not become dizzy and fall with thirst. Instead of tea, which is insufficient to meet the hydration needs of the elderly to prevent dizziness and falls, the Royal Institute of Public Health plans to install water coolers.

As a writer, I trust my research skills and my judgment.
Writers need to have this type of confidence in themselves to go forward in their career. My former employers acted toward me like someone who was stupid and didn't know what she wrote or edited. I am pleased at this correction of their disbelief and vindicated about what I write.

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Sunday, April 29, 2007


My candle burns at both ends

It will not last the night;

But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends -

It gives a lovely light.

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Monday, April 23, 2007


I found some interesting tools when I was using Stumble Upon (I'll review that separately). The first is a site that checks Google Page Rank. Simply type in your URL and press the submit button and the website will return a Google page rank. The Writer's Home is at zero but my other blog, Radio Free Canada,has a page rank of five out of ten. WebSiteGrader is a more useful tool that looks at a site and judges ways that the site can be enhanced. The site judges such categories as Google Page Rank, Web Page Structure, Technorati Ratings, and Reading Level. The site offers suggestions on how to improve the site ratings with such tools as metatags and RSS feeds.

I was curious about the two blogs that I write and so submitted the URLs for this site and for Radio Free Canada. The Writer's Home had a reading level of high school plus one year of college whereas my other site, Radio Free Canada, is at the first year of graduate school. I think the difference is due to the fact I have content, such as Poem of the Week,that is not of my origin on The Writer's Home site.

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Sunday, April 22, 2007


So intense is this grief,
nothing I have ever felt before comes near it.
Yet by its means I stay alive.

I would be dead by now --
but for this heavy strong pain lying on my heart:
it won't give way to death,

I can't increase nor diminish these wounds.

Pitiless hurt.
Can I defend a heart and soul
so full of anguish?
My heart, my burning soul cannot breathe
outside this fire.
I live on despite myself

And what is my crown of thorns?
I am not able to grieve over my real grief.

Friday, April 20, 2007


There are some people who are requesting that there be a silent vigil in cyberspace for those dead in the Virginia Tech shootings. Those who wish to participate will not blog for that day. The date is April 30th, 2007. Please send the originator of the idea feedback, via the link at The Golden Pencil.

Thanks. ----Anne

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NOTE: I usually separate the content of my two blogs (the other is a political blog) but a writer is more than mechanics and word tricks. Words without passion and sorrow are flat and inhumane.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


If you have come to this site and have not seen any graphics, Blogger temporarily ate my Picasa album. Grrrr! Things seem to be working and will go on as usual.

NOTE: I didn't put any graphics on this blog. Your eyes aren't getting old.

Monday, April 16, 2007


About a month ago, I was working for a tea blog which will not be named. I was not being paid but saw this as a chance for bigger and better things. Initially, I was all jazzed to go on the deal because I am very knowledgeable about herbs et cetera and felt that I had a lot to contribute with my information. So I patiently learned WordPress, a content management system. Even with the organization's s-l-o-w satellite uplink, this did not deter me.

The trouble started when I asked the publishers if they were going to accept herbal teas, excuse me, tisanes . This did not go well with my employers. Green tea, and only green tea, they dictated. I had also naively wrote in my biography that I enjoy rooibos tea and white tea with lots of honey. This was immediately nixed because they saw sweeteners as unhealthy. Despite my knowledge of honey as having anti-bacterial properties and as safe to use except for infants and those with depressed immune systems for some incidents of botulism poisoning, I agreed with my employers' wishes. I didn't mention stevia as a possibility. Honey bad, plain green tea good. Hookay.... I could accept that. White tea was on the edge. I'm living dangerously now to have sweeteners in my leaves. On my side of the Internet, I started to rebel. I shamelessly drank rooibos with globs of honey. I put away a plastic bearful in a month.

Meanwhile, as an editor, my photo reporter was less than present. I basically was editing, proofreading, posting, and doing photo editing for the whole site. And getting rather cranky. I one day asked one of the publishers if I could participate in a tea tasting. My employer said that if there was leftovers, I could have some. Ouch. I was hurt that, especially since I was the blog's editor, I should participate in the site's activities.

I was further injured when the same employer asked at what times I posted and edited comments. I replied that I had, before the e-mail to me, edited and created several articles for future posting and already had them in WordPress' queue. The employer insisted on knowing the times but I could not give the publisher a single answer because I was up at the wee hours of the morning fighting the blog's (on their end) snail-paced uplink. While that was a legitimate question, the employer did not acknowledge that I had edited twenty-five comments for error that day and was ahead on the posts. Still, I was willing to keep at the job.

Then, I made a fatal mistake or perhaps the publishers did. One of the people on the board had asked about hydration and whether or not tea was a good drink to take on a hike. Innocently, I looked for data for the person who made the query and I posted my findings. One of the publishers sent me a flaming e-mail to ream me out that I did not know what I was talking about when I discussed hydration. I had favoured water. The publisher was very upset that unintentionally on my part, but with my intent in the view of the employer, gone against that person in a comment on the blog. I had posted before the employer, not after.

I had to take a several deep breaths before I could write a very polite resignation letter. I was running the whole site with accurate edits and posts. I was not illiterate about green tea as my employers thought. I had been an, admittedly hobbyist, herbalist for about twenty years. I know enough to realize what flora is dangerous or illegal. Never take pennyroyal. Green tea is no different in having knowledge about it because it is just a medicinal plant. I trusted my knowledge and my smarts and I quit. When I accept another job or offer, it damn well better come with respect.And lots of honey.

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Saturday, April 14, 2007


Queen of battle
the Moon God's oldest child
Maiden Inanna
I worship you
here is my song.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007



CoolIris is a web page preview tool for Firefox 2.0. With CoolIris, a person can preview a page without clicking through to the page. This is very useful so that one gets an initial sense of a site without doing a lot of mouse work.

Let's take CoolIris for a spin. I decided to preview a site, Dictionary of Victorian London, from one of my blog links. I placed my mouse next to the link and up popped an icon consisting of two green and blue boxes. I budged my mouse over the link and up popped a preview of the site. There are various choices that you can make for the preview. Go Back will take you to back to the starting page when you click within the preview, Open The Current Link In A New Tab will open the preview in another window, the E-Mail tab will let you, after you register with CoolIris, e-mail sites to friends. There is an Exit button, and a lock icon to Stick The Frame or keep the preview open so that one does not have re-open the frame.
Now the fun stuff begins. When you come to a link, you can highlight it and right click to get various choices to research the intended subject. Let's choose the ever handsome Alan Rickman in my Labels for a trial run (sigh, it was a toss-up between him, Andrew Vachss, Andrei Codrescu, and the Bronte sisters...the Brontes lost). Now, run the mouse cursor over the highlighted word and right click. One has the choices of the freedictionary,Google Images, and Wikipedia. Clicking on Google Images takes you to a page of Alan Rickman images and you can place the mouse over any of the images and it will give a CoolIris preview. Magnificent!

This is definitely a tool that is necessary for Firefox. Be sure to add it to your browser.

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Friday, April 6, 2007



With the blossoms gone
I look for no special color
as I gaze afar
and then from the empty sky
spring rains begin to fall.

Princess Shikishi

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Wednesday, April 4, 2007


Zotero is a bibliography tool for Firefox. Ordinarily, I would not do two tool reviews in a week but this is a very useful tool for citations.

In Zotero, a person can save annotations in various forms for both online and offline use. You can import and export libraries of citations to Zotero, create standard citations for book, book sections,documents, journal and magazine articles,and many more citation forms including podcasts. There is the ability to create new items from the current page as well as saving a link to a current page. There are also standalone notes that one can write.

Let's take Zotero for a spin. I decided to note a wikipedia article about Alan Rickman. I clicked on the Zotero icon in my browser and the interface for the tool popped up. Next, I clicked on the Save Link to Current Page. This gave me an interface that saved the link and also timestamped it. Underneath the timestamp is a blank white area to make a note. I wrote "This is an article about the handsome actor Alan Rickman, second only to the late Jeremy Brett as one of the greatest British actors." (Note: You can copy or cut, then paste from Zotero to Blogger or anything else like e-mail). Next there is a Related link that shows what might be related in one's library and a tagging function.
Zotero saves not only the citation but when you open Zotero again, you can click on the web link and go directly to the cited article.

Right-clicking on an item brings up several more options to create a bibliography in various formats such as IEEE, Chicago, Vancouver et cetera. This can be exported to RTF, HTML, Printed, or to the computer's Clipboard. Zotero also can generate a report in the browser if you choose to click the option Generate Report.
Zotero can be added as a plugin in some versions of Open Office and in Microsoft Word. Check the compatibility table for more information.

This is definitely a tool that is necessary for Firefox. Be sure to add it to your browser.

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Monday, April 2, 2007


Leafletter is a tool that you should avoid. Basically, it is a tool for placing small websites into blogs and social sites. The application did not work in Blogger. The application had scripting errors and crashed my browser (Firefox).
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Friday, March 30, 2007


Sleep, Darling

Sleep, darling
I have a small
daughter called
Cleis, who is

like a golden
I wouldn't
take all Croesus'
kingdom with love
thrown in, for her.

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Sunday, March 25, 2007


I read that Ray Ozzie has called Google "the command line of the Internet" in comparison to Microsoft's Live.com. As a reviewer of tools for writers,I decided to take each for a spin.

Using the key word "fairy", Google came up with 31,200,000 entries for a search and 718,000 for images with a strict safe search. Live.com came up with 16,536,053 results in search and 510,604 in images. In terms of flexibility, Google has easier search perimeters if one wants to search for black and white, or colour, or grayscale images. Live.com does not have the same focused search. Furthermore, Live.com has a scrolling bar that is clunky to use. There is a feature of dragging and saving to a scratch board but I usually save the images to my hard drive and use Picasa web albums or copy and e-mail the images.

In Live.com results for fairy related books, I obtained 9,353 results. In Google,3073. I still had to deal with the scrolling bar which is annoying.

In the final analysis, Google gets the thumbs up. For Live.com:Ctrl, Alt, Delete.

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Thursday, March 22, 2007


Lines Composed in a Wood on a Windy Day

My soul is awakened, my spirit is soaring
And carried aloft on the wings of the breeze;
For above and around me the wild wind is roaring,
Arousing to rapture the earth and the seas.
The long withered grass in the sunshine is glancing,
The bare trees are tossing their branches on high;
The dead leaves, beneath them, are merrily dancing,
The white clouds are scudding across the blue sky.

I wish I could see how the ocean is lashing
The foam of its billows to whirlwinds of spray;
I wish I could see how its proud waves are dashing,
And hear the wild roar of their thunder today!

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Monday, March 19, 2007



I have a new web tool that I am testing to write this blog. It's called Performancing and is available at the Mozilla Add-On Site.

Excellent! It's a simple WYSIWYG blog editor and works like a charm. Much better than anything that I have done with WordPress which can be a pain.

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Sunday, March 18, 2007


This is one of the organizations necessary to our survival as writers. We may write but the words are in limbo if no one may read our novels, our essays, our poetry, or our plays.

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Friday, March 16, 2007


On occasion,I'll share what I am reading off-line. More fodder for my book diary.

The Original Jesus: The Buddhist Sources of Christianity by Elmar R. Gruber and Holger Kersten.

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The Pillow Book

On occasion,I'll share what I have read off-line from my book diary, sometimes with additional commentary.

Sei Shonagon's The Pillow Book/Penguin Books 1967. I found this in an old books store in Vancouver BC. Had been looking for this for AGES.

Original Commentary: "The Pillow Book is an interesting bit of Heian court life, albeit not representing the larger culture of the time".

Additional: In other words,The Pillow Book was basically like when I went to an exhibit of Hermitage art at the Frye Gallery a few years ago. I went there to see the Vigee Le Brun paintings but was very disappointed. It was patronage art which was stilted in its composition, stuffy in its muted stately colours of ermine and regal blue, and altogether soulless in the attitude of the era's pre-revolutionary smugness. I much preferred the work of Zhi Lin an artist who painted life under early Communist China. He captured on the canvas the horrible atrocities that still happen in China today. The work was alive and realistic in its pain and blood, not posed and sanitary like the Hermitage paintings or The Pillow Book

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Monday, March 12, 2007


LinkedIn is a business networking site that offers job searches and international networking.

I use this site frequently to make employment and business connections, to keep up with present clients, to find employment, and to exchange knowledge within my specialties of freelance writing and education.

LinkedIn is a must for business owners and prospective employees.

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I decided to pull a post, Diary of a Young Girl, because when I began to read latter portions of the book, I found passages that were anti-Semitic. I could have left the link as a historical artifact, but I do not feel comfortable in promoting even historical hatred. I will find a substitute in the following weeks.

NOTE: DATED JULY 2, 2008: The book was written by a Viennese psychologist, Hermine von Hug-Hellmuth not by a teenager.

A French Wiki entry definitely states that the book is a fake.


Saturday, March 10, 2007


Harvestfield.ca is one of my favourite sites for clip art.

I must admit that I am addicted to this site. It is very useful for black and white clip art. I use some of the graphics on this blog and highly recommend it for design use.

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Friday, March 9, 2007


Freelance Writing.com is a great site for many links to a variety of freelance work opportunities. Sign up for their Tuesday Morning Coffee which is a digest of current jobs.

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Thursday, March 8, 2007


Wise Moves In The Profession

Recently, I turned down a gig to translate a lifestyle entrepreneur's fifteen page manuscript from English into French. I am not having much of a go with the translation business. Sigh... It was one of those dubious health and wealth peddlers whom I do not trust to have my best interests at heart. Especially after I did a little research and the person's website was down. Yeah.

Part of writing is giving oneself a good pace. It is also important to reflect on what creates moral value and what does not. Is it more important to push a dubious product or to create something poetic? In the long view, poetry or a finely crafted novel is of more ethical value than a get-rich-immediate scheme.

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Thursday, February 22, 2007


Tillie Olson

(January 14,1912–

January 1, 2007)

I read Tillie Olson in college but her message of how hard it is to be a writer and a parent did not resonate until I had a family of my own. It is difficult whether you are a father or a mother to get to the keyboard or the pad of paper when the laundry is piling up, the bathtub leaks down into the second floor,or the youngest has the tummy bug and has spewed once again all over the last bedsheets.Writing is not a leisure sport for parents. Instead, it is a sprint between disasters and bills (which are the same evils). It is the lonely feeling that you get late at night when the wind howls outside and the words refuse to make their stubborn appearance. You wonder at these times whether or not you should have got the MBA instead of an English degree in medieval to Victorian literature and you have doubt about one's self-worth that haunts inside like a lurking windigo. There are no easy answers to the question of being a writer. Why?

It is a sometimes an unreasonable job that, like a forest demon, can be either a blessing or curse to those possessed with ink in their blood.

Tillie Olson articulated this solitude that a writer has when there seems to be only the black box of one's mind among the day to day of housecleaning, penny budgeting, and stretching the self outside of the safe realm of one's imagination to nurture the children that surround you. She will be greatly missed as an author.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007


If I Knew The Answer

Someone recently asked me how one gets started as a writer. Fools rush in where Seraphim fear to tread. I know this from my experience as a not yet published author who got her first rejection letter not long ago. Writing seems to be the easy part but getting published is the greater hurdle. I sent in a plot synopsis but didn't fit in with the publisher's list.

I have since been more successful in the commercial markets as an editor. I have updated my initial advice.

I think what is most important to me as a writer is to find something from your own experience. Don't go chasing the latest literary fad. No more chick lit, please. Fads in publication come and go or get stale to publishers very quickly. Boy wizards are out.

Write from your heart. When I write, the words are a culmination of life experiences.

Research the publisher's catalog of books before you inquire on a manuscript. It makes no sense to send a non-fiction tome on the molecular structure of carbon to a literary publisher.

Read books like eating potato chips. Read about everything from nineteenth century violins, for example, to herbs of the Middle Ages and every topic beyond. Make notes if the reading sparks an idea. See the advice below.

Always carry a notebook and several pens to jot down your thoughts. I feel dishabille without at least two pens, the other for emergency ink shortage, and the same quantity of notebooks with the addition of a day planner. Ideas strike with a rain shower's immediacy and fade to dust as soon.Capture these ephemeral tangents while you may.

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Saturday, February 10, 2007


From time to time, I will post useful sites for writers.Ralan's Webstravaganza is a useful site for freelancers and those hoping to be published.

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Friday, February 9, 2007


Being Paid What You Are Worth

I recently turned down a French transcription offer. It was my first job offer since getting my plot synopsis for a novel rejected. At first, I was happy that someone would try to hire me but then I started reading the fine print. The company, out of India, wanted to hire me for seven cents a line for 15 hours of French transcription. HA! La conversation a été placée dans la corbeille. Generally,fifty cents to two dollars a word is standard in the writing business. The Professional Writer's Association of Canada has a fairly good assessment of rates for professional writers.

I told the company very politely that I did translation services, editing, and proofreading for the standard rates. I
figure if I can handcode in my own blog and read French fluently, I don't have to take sweatshop work. It is essential to your career as as writer to know what your value is for the labour that you put into your jobs.Otherwise, if you sell yourself cheap, you will never know your worth.

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