Escaping the Snow

From four steps to a slide!
I am buried. I normally like snow. I never felt cramped by it or like I was gonna go berserk at any moment. But! The snow has piled up, inspiring depression and kicking all hopes of sunshine into the plow. I know there is a road out there, and hopefully beyond that-- life.

At least one of us enjoys this
And so I snooped in my photos for an escape. Something to remind me that it will end. That I don't have to pull out my tuque fuzz or break my shovel in half. Maybe a fun trip we took last year would remind me of the joys of this country...

I came up with a field trip to Lower Fort Garry in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

It was warm. It was fun. It was educational... and it inspired a story. What more can I ask for? Sounds like the perfect escape so I filed through the photos and decided to share a few.

So here I was, on a field trip with my daughter's class... just walking Lower Fort Garry, learning about Canadian History, actually explaining a few things we were seeing to the students since I did enough research on some of these time periods, I actually had my own stories to share when... a new story hits me. No clue where it came from.
I was standing here when the voices in my head took over.

 I actually heard the voice of the girl talking to a young man. She was looking out the the window to the right on the second floor. Her dress had lace that crept up her neck and her hair was half done in a braid. The young man, a hunter, stood in my shoes, a dead rabbit in his left hand, his bow gripped tightly in his right. He wipes at the dirt on his face, wishing he'd taken a moment to clean up. They are at that telltale point where they both know to look away. Yet... she leans further out the window and he steps toward her. I see her father through the window underneath her and he gets up to see what's going on. The story is so clear in my mind, I'm moments from breaking into a writing binge to get it all out.

That might be a fun escape from all this snow.
We even learnt how to make a bed.
The attention to detail make it a very life-like experience.
Even the detail in the yard added to the magic.
We learnt how to make a nail. But what was really interesting is that this guy was making the best pay in the entire fort. At about 40 bucks a year.
How do you survive the long winters like this one?
Have you ever found inspiration for a story when you didn't expect it?

Captain Underpants Changed my Life. You got a Problem with That?

Here's the challenge set to me by Teresa at Dreamers, lovers, and Star Voyagers ; I must pick my FIVE favourite reads and ask 5 friends to do so also.

As if right? I'll never do it. I know that before I begin. I always avoid this question. But! This was a challenge and I like to prove that I can do anything if I try really hard. So I scribbled down a list. Around twenty-five titles I just knew it was impossible. I would never cut this list back. In fact, I kept adding to it throughout the day. So then I thought, maybe I could do this by genre and pick my faves by genre. Still impossible, I like too many genres. And the reasons I like a certain historical are very different than the reasons I like a certain sci-fi. 

By author? Too many. Even picking one author I really like, I couldn't bring it down to five. There is a lot of good writing out there. I even tried by era. Not at all helpful, in fact it added to my list since I'd forgotten lots.

So then I asked myself, well, WHY do I like this book and want it in my pile? The whys were a little different and 5 jumped out at me.

So. Here it is. The 5 books that changed my life and my writing (both) in some way so significant that I just have to share them with you. 

The Haunting of Hill House By Shirley Jackson

I was probably in grade 7 when my wonderful English teacher pulled this one off the shelf of meager selection for me to try. (SHOUT OUT TO ALL THOSE WONDERFUL LANGUAGE TEACHERS.) I was already an avid reader and enjoyed a variety of books but this one hooked me in a very different way. I remember looking at storytelling with new eyes.

I keep thinking I should reread it now that I'm slightly older, but I'm scared to. What if it doesn't affect me the same way it did over twenty years ago? I'd hate to ruin the magic. I mean, when I put this book down my only thought was that one day, I'd be a storyteller, too.


Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself Into Print by Renni Browne, Dave King

This book is one of many that gave me the confidence I needed to turn my quantity into quality. I chose this one because I found it pulled me from my closet and made me think, "I can."

This is my motivation. It is written in easy to follow English. It is fun to read. It works. And it means I can story tell in a way that doesn't make my wonderful English teacher cringe.


Reincarnation by Suzanne Weyn

There were actually LOTS of books that fit this slot. But I picked this one out of the bunch cause it is a shining example of the type of storyteller I want to be. It makes writing look easy. It breaks the rules. It had me so invested I was furious, breathless, frustrated, happy AND THEN.... it left me satisfied.

I don't actually remember putting it down until it was done which is what made me select it over a few others that I consider the best rule breaking fiction out there. It made me think, "Why am I following the rules? Just... tell the story the way it needs to be told."

You Can't Lie to Me by Janine Driver
This one changed how I write. It changed how people talk to me. It changed the way I look at people around me. (potential characters... um right?) I don't always like what I see or learn, but the truth hurts and this is a new element that I brought into my writing that adds flavour and nasty evilness

Anyone who was in my life while I read this book must have found me annoying, cause it was all I talked about. I use it all the time. I use it in my writing, in my business, in my life, with my kids. To start conversations... and to end them.

 Captain Underpants- the entire collection by Dav Pilkey 

Is there a child in you life? Heck with the age, the gender, just grab a copy of any of the Captain Underpants and snuggle up to read for a few minutes...

Magic will happen.

I was shocked. I still am. These books changed everything. They reminded me that the audience is the boss who every storyteller must please. WHO do we write for? Now I look at each word I write and ask myself if this is the right word for my target audience. Is it the magical one that will make them giggle, cry, cringe, keep reading. 

 But... it did so much more.
It added laughter in my life. Two giggling kids rolling off the bed means we will read this again and again. So far, we read the entire series twice. A book takes us two to three nights to devour. Next time they get to read it to me. We have voices that I can't get wrong. My oldest one quite often added in her two cents, reminding me that she is young enough to enjoy a goofy book, but old enough to know I should have used a much more boring tone when reading that Blah blah blah part. Come on, Mom! 

It brought us together as a family. It got my son to pick up other books in hopes they are THAT good. It got my daughter reading a series she likes to her brother. It made me take a look at what works in a book. It might be a silly book, but it changed my life, my writing, and left a wonderful scar on my children.

So now I'm supposed to pick 5 who I challenge to share 5 of their faves with us.Since I know how hard this is, I'm not going to point the finger. I challenge everyone. Dare you to try and find books that are your favourite and tell us why. Link back to me so I can read your list. Can't wait to see who wins this challenge.

Everyone else, who just isn't up for the challenge, well, what book changed your life and why?