August 15, 2015

Published Works

My website has been down for a long while and I have been lax in getting this blog into a shape that it can fill that role. Here, in a post I can 'pin' are my current published works:

July 7, 2015

Mermaid 51

Vera scooped up Levi, pulling him away from Cordelia. “You are a troublemaker,” she told him affectionately. “You can stay longer than the night. We have enough for Levi when he grows, we can support you for a week at least.”
“Really?” Dylan asked. “How big is this lake?”
“Why don’t you go and see,” Neville suggested, motioning for them to swim around. “There are a lot of very pretty places in it. Perfect for a couple.”
Dylan and Cordelia looked at each other in confusion. “We aren’t a couple,” Dylan told them.
“Of course not,” Vera agreed with a knowing smile.
“Let’s look around,” Cordelia said pulling him away before the merfolk said anything else.

July 3, 2015

Mermaid 50

"Where are you going?”
“Upstream,” Cordelia said, feeling better. “I’m looking for my mother and Dylan told me that all of your folk meet in the mountains in the spring.”
“That’s true, but we won’t be up there for another month at least,” Vera said. “There is still damming upriver. The floods are coming.”
“Flood,” Cordelia said, again it was a new word to her.
“When the water rises over the banks,” Neville explained.
“High tide?” she answered and they all looked at her funny. “Never mind, I understand. Thank you, for letting us stay. We won’t stay long.”

June 30, 2015

Mermaid 49

“She’s telling the truth. She’s definitely not from a lake. She didn’t know they freeze over.”
“Not all of them do,” Neville pointed out. “Looking at her though, she is rather green, isn’t she?”
Cordelia looked down at herself. Was there something wrong with her color?”
“Not terribly, but yet. Chara was green.” Now they were really eyeing her up.
“Look. I just want to find my mother. May I stay the night, to rest, and then I’ll go.”
Levi swam over to her, making circles around her neck the way she had done with her father when she was tiny. “I like her, Mom. Don’t make her go. She’s… salty.”
“She is,” Dylan agreed. “Especially when she gets upset like this.”
“I’m not upset,” she snapped back, but there were tears in her eyes.
The two merfolk came closer, sniffing the water. “That is so strange,” Vera murmured.
“Dylan, can you promise she doesn’t bring a sickness?” Neville asked.
“I haven’t gotten sick,” he told them.
“Very well, then you can rest here."

June 26, 2015

Mermaid 48

“Hello. Are your parents here?” Cordelia asked.
“A baby? We almost never have them, he told Cordelia. “It’s hard to find a place large enough for a family. I’m one of the youngest… well, I was.”
“Mom! Dad! Over here.” The tiny merman was very excited and kept circling to be sure they were following.
“Levi, what are you getting into?” a mermaid asked, swimming toward them. “Oh, visitors.” She turned and called down the lake. “Neville, we have guests.” She came closer and touched her tail to Dylan’s and Cordelia’s. “I’m Vera. Who are you?”
“I’m Dylan. I’m in the lake downstream from Chara.”
The merman who approached frowned. “Chara is gone.”
Vera clarified. “Her lake has corrupted her.”
“We know,” Cordelia said. “I put her into the river so she didn’t stay any longer in her lake.”
“And who are you to kill one of us?” Neville asked.
“I’m from the saltwater. I’m looking for my mother, Lita.”
“No one lives in the saltwater,” Vera said.
“I do,” she said in defiance. No one believed her. “My father lives in the ocean and my mother in the mountain water. I can swim in both.”

June 23, 2015

Mermaid 47

Cordelia tried very hard to understand what Dylan was telling her. The ice would cover the surface and stop it from mixing with the rest of the lake.
She twitched as realization struck. “The ice covers the entire surface?” Nothing like that happened in the ocean. There was too much surface. A lake was smaller, so maybe that was possible. And she thought the banks were closing in on her before. Imagine if there was no surface either.
“Yep. Sometimes it gets so hard to breathe that we kill some of our fish.”
Cordelia didn’t say anything else, just kept pace with Dylan, heading to the reeds. She didn’t know she was hungry until she saw him munching. She grabbed the first plant at hand, chewing mechanically.
“Who’s there? Who’s there?” A tiny figure came darting toward them. Cordelia thought it was a fish until he got close enough for her to make out his tiny arms and face.

June 19, 2015

Mermaid 46

Cordelia grabbed his hands, swinging him in a circle. “So you’ll come with me? My mother will be at this gathering, right?”
“Yeah, probably. We’ll have to be careful though.”
“Some of the lakes are still frozen. We can’t stop at those ones.”
“Why not?”
“What do you mean, why not? We’ll run out of oxygen.”
Cordelia’s brow furrowed. She didn’t understand that word, but it was like the word for breathing. “Oxygen,” she echoed.
“Yeah, from the surface. The ice means the water doesn’t mix.”
“Ice.” She knew that word though she’d only seen it once when her father took her with him up the coast. That was where she had first seen walruses. The whitish substance was hard, but melted away.

June 16, 2015

Mermaid 45

“No wonder we stick to our own lakes.”
Cordelia floated above him, laughing. “That was nothing. I swam a lot longer to find your lake, and I didn’t have… whatever it was that we ate.”
“Arum,” he told her. “Well, I guess you’re a better swimmer than me. Maybe you don’t need my help.”
Cordelia immediately regretted teasing him. “No! I need you. You’re the first merman I’ve seen in days.”
He shrugged. “It’s been months since I saw Chara last. What’s wrong with that?”
Cordelia gaped. She knew they kept to their own lakes but, “You’re always alone?”
“Unless you have a mate and a big enough lake.” He stirred from the bottom. “This one might have a pair.”
“But how do you find mates if you never see one another?”
“It’s not that we never meet. Every spring we follow the salmon and meet in the mountains to celebrate the thaw.” He turned thoughtful. “I actually won’t be long now until folk start making their way. The river is high and the bears are awake. You might be saving me a trip.”
Cordelia didn’t understand, watching Dylan swim in slow circles. “Well, I’m going upriver soon anyway. Why not go now?”

June 12, 2015

Mermaid 44

“What did you do? She’ll die in the salt water.”
“Isn’t that better than living in that?” She pointed to the poisoned lake. “I don’t know what the humans dumped, but no merfolk can live here anymore.”
Dylan’s blue eyes were still angry. “You killed her.”
“Maybe not,” Cordelia said, trying to find some hope. “Maybe she’ll recover before she gets that far.”
“Dylan shook his head. “I’m going back to my lake.”
“Wait!” she shouted, twisting to block the lake’s outlet. “I need to find my mother. Take me to the next lake? Please?” she begged, grabbing his shoulders.
“One more,” he said. “Let’s go. I don’t want to eat or sleep here.”
Cordelia agreed whole-heartedly. Together they continued upstream.
Dylan also found the next lake outlet. He darted in and she circled to follow. The lake was deep and dark blue. The only plants were found around the edges. Dylan dropped like a stone, stretching out on the lake bed.

June 9, 2015

Mermaid 43

Although the reeds were thick, their smooth tails didn’t catch in them. Cordelia’s hair got pulled, but that didn’t really slow her down. So when something grabbed her, she screamed.
He whipped around. “Get off her!” he shouted, swinging at the creature that held her. Dylan and the mermaid tumbled through the reeds.
Cordelia followed them and grabbed the mermaid by her waist, trying to pull her off Dylan.
“Food!” she shrieked, her voice painful to their ears. “Food!”
Cordelia wrestled her out of the reeds where they could see her properly. Her tail and skin were mottled blue, but green and black splotches marred both. Her hair wasn’t blue or brown but a sickly yellow-green.
“Pollution,” Cordelia said with scorn.
“Chara?” Dylan asked, approaching
Cordelia hadn’t let go, which was good when Chara tried to lunge at Dylan and bite.
Cordelia didn’t give her another chance. She pulled Chara into the river and let the current wash her away.

June 5, 2015

Mermaid 42

As soon as they were in the lake, both Dylan and Cordelia sand, resting after the hard push to get here. Cordelia didn’t rest long.
“Something’s wrong.”
Dylan continued to flick his tail, stretching it. “Salt?” he asked, fearful.
Cordelia took a big gulp of water. “No, not salt. Something else.”
“We should find Chara,” Dylan said, restless.
“You feel it too, don’t you?” she asked.
“Yeah, there’s something…” He swam toward the opposite side of the lake. In no time, they were winding through reeds.
“Her lake is a lot smaller than yours,” Cordelia said.
“No, it’s not,” Dylan argued. “At least, it wasn’t. There weren’t this many reeds the last time I was here.”

June 2, 2015

Mermaid 41

Cordelia swam in circles, waiting for Dylan. He was working through the reeds at this end of the lake.
“Here,” he said, passing her yellow-green leaves.
“Uh, thanks.” He hadn’t told her what he was doing.
He crammed on in his mouth, so she copied. The leaves tasted strange and were fleshier than she expected. It popped and squished in her mouth.

As soon as she swallowed, her whole body woke up. The lingering ache in her tail from fighting the current day after day melted away. She felt like she could swim forever.
“There,” Dylan said. “Let’s go.”
They swam the length of his lake in no time and the fish swimming upstream led her. “Up!”
“Stupid salmon,” Dylan complained as several bumped him on their way. “Chara’s lake isn’t far.” He swam straight into the current as she had in the beginning. It was still very strong and Cordelia used Drake’s style of navigating through dips and rises to avoid the worst of the rapids.
She shot past Dylan in no time and he followed her. She swam a little ways, but when Dylan didn’t pass, she ducked into one of the pockets on the bank to let him lead again.
He tried to stop with her, but there wasn’t enough room. He put his head into the current and pushed upstream. He had started dodging, though and Cordelia did as well, though she was better at it.
She passed Dylan twice more, letting herself be dragged back. When he darted to the right, Cordelia almost missed the turn.

May 29, 2015

Mermaid 40

Dylan turned back. “Don’t cry. It’s just the way it is.” He trailed off as he swam right up to Cordelia, their noses almost touching. “You are salty.”
She nodded covering her face to hide her tears. “I’m never going to find her.”
Dylan blew bubbles at her again, but he was so close that they tickled her fingers, cheeks and nose. “Who is your mother?” he asked, sounding tired or annoyed.
Dylan shrugged. “Nope, don’t know her, but we keep to ourselves, meeting only once in a while.”
Cordelia nodded in understanding. “You stay in your own lake.”
“Exactly.” He wrinkled his nose, blowing bubbles again. Cordelia wanted to tell him it was rude, but it felt so nice and friendly that she couldn’t. “I’ll help you as far as the next lake. Maybe Chara will help you from there.”
“You’ll help me?”
“Only through the rapids, then you’re on your own.”
Cordelia smiled and nodded, brushing her tail along his. “Thank you.”
“You are weird, Cordelia, not like anyone I’ve met.”
Cordelia stretched out on the lake bottom to sleep. “You are like my brother, Dallas. You want to get rid of me.”
“Yep,” he said. “We go in the morning.”

May 26, 2015

Mermaid 39

“You are lying,” Dylan accused. “There are salty lakes and they do kill.”
Cordelia looked at her tail. “Yes, I suppose it would, just as mountain water is difficult for my folk to breathe.”
“Then how can you be here?”
“My mother,” she said. “My mother lives in a lake and my father lives in the ocean.”
“How did that happen?”
“I only know what my father told me about meeting my mother at the mouth of the river where the waters mix. I was born in her lake, but I didn’t grow in the mountain water.”
Dylan flicked his tail to swim away. “I don’t believe you.”
Cordelia didn’t expect his words to hurt the way they did. She should be angry, like she was when Dylan ignored her or teased her. That wasn’t it. She was lonely and her fear rose with a wave of despair. She was never going to find her mother.

May 22, 2015

Mermaid 38

Mountain water sounded so strange in his way of speaking. So much that she thought he might never have used it. That wouldn’t surprise Cordelia. Most of the merfolk she knew didn’t pay the mountain water any mind. There were even a few misguided folk that thought there was nothing but the ocean. They had never seen the shore.
“Mountain water,” he said again.
“Yes. I came from the ocean, saltwater.”
Dylan’s blue eyes widened and his tail twitched. “Saltwater? I thought that was just a story. My mother told me that if I let the stream claim me, I would die in the saltwater.”
Cordelia chuckled. “We have stories about mountain water too. Not that it will kill us, but that there was mountain water long ago, before the creator salted it all.”
“You are lying,” Dylan accused. “There are salty lakes and they do kill.”

May 19, 2015

Mermaid 37

“Please, let me rest? I don’t know where I’ll be able to stop next.” May he was protective of the plants. “I won’t eat anything.”
Dylan huffed and a stream of bubbles came from his mouth. “You can eat, but you can’t stay.”
“Not even a little while?”
He blew another stream of bubbles at her. “Yes, a little while. In the morning, you go.”
“Thank you,” she said, relief relaxing her and sending her to the lake bottom.
Dylan sank beside her. “Who are you?”
“Oh, I’m Cordelia,” she said, touching her tail to his in friendship. As she did, she saw that hers was both greener and lighter than his. “You’re the first mountain water merman I have met.”
“Which lake is-“ he started to say over her but stopped. “Mountain water? Where are you from?”

May 15, 2015

Mermaid 36

“Who are you?”
Cordelia flipped in the water to face the merman. He couldn’t be much older than she was. He also had a blue tail and dark grey-brown hair that would blend into the lake bottom.
“This is my lake,” he told her. His voice was strange and he used words without clicks.
“I’m looking for someone.” Her words were conducted through the denser water, bouncing and rebounding off fish, the shore, the bottom, even particles in the water. Cordelia covered her ears.
The merman cringed but didn’t life his hands to his head. “There is only enough room for one in a lake. You must go.”
Cordelia chose her words carefully and spoke them softly. “My mother-“
“Isn’t here,” he interrupted. He circled her so he flick his tail and push her back toward the river. “Now go.”

May 12, 2015

Mermaid 35

Cordelia had seen that bright flash many times. The unintelligent fish darted toward it thinking it was the sun on the scales of a friend. It wasn’t; it was metal. It would shine until the water turned it brown or green.
She should ignore it, swim away, but she was so angry that was impossible. She swam under the cylinder and flicked her tail up, out of the water.
From just below the surface, she could see it fly through the air toward the boat. Cordelia had heard humans speak before. They communicated the same way merfolk did, but it sounded strange, nothing like the merfolk language. She couldn’t hear their words clearly under the water, but she did know it was louder and sharper than before. She laughed at how she had scared them and swam away.
Where was the other end of this break? The farther she went, the more certain she became that this was a lake. A lake like the one her mother lived in.

May 8, 2015

Mermaid 34

She was so fascinated that she almost missed the humans approaching. They were quiet, their vessel lacking a noisy engine. However, it also lacked the height she was used to seeing. Nothing towered over the mens’ head and they didn’t have rope in their hands but large branches from a tree that they swept through the water, not so different from the hairy black one.
There was one thing familiar about the humans. When they put the wood down inside the boat, they dropped lines into the water.
Cordelia watched the fish swim toward the bright objects dancing in the water like small fish.
“Silly fish. They will catch you and eat you.”
As with the black hairy one, eating fish was not the reason she hated men. She started to swim away after their first catch. Something splashed in the water, making her turn back.

May 5, 2015

Mermaid 33

Cordelia popped through the surface, curious. She spun to make sure no humans were on the water. Once it was safe, she stared at the black creature walking on all four limbs. A fish hung from its mouth, tail still flapping. The killing didn’t bother the mermaid. In the water, everything was eaten by something else. NO, she had seen sea lions and walrus that were shaped like this creature, but nothing quite like it.
The black animal shook itself, water spraying in all directions.
Cordelia’s mouth dropped open. It had hair, like she did. No, this was different, shorter and covering limbs, face and tail, not just the head.
The longer she watched, the more furred creatures she saw. Some, with long front teeth, swam through the water as she did, but the surfaced more often than the sea creatures she was familiar with.
There were also ones with long, graceful limbs that waded in the shallow water. They nibbled and tore at the plants growing around the edge like she did.

May 1, 2015

Mermaid 32

She was relieved to find a new break. It was different from the others, though. The nearness of the shores had frightened her, pressed on her, when she started up the river, but they had been so consistent that not being able to see the other side of the break was strange. This place was also deeper from the other breaks. A current ran through it, but a soft one, like the neap tide.
The strange fish abounded here, and these didn’t speak. They swam lazily in circles and Cordelia joined them, eager for a rest.
She screamed when a black creature reached into the water, swiping through the water like the dolphins swept through air. It was there long enough to be seen and was gone again.
Cordelia swam away from the shore with the fist, scattering. When they actually gathered again, she found the group was smaller.

April 28, 2015

Mermaid 31

“Will you lead me to my mother?” she wondered.
They didn’t answer, didn’t really look at her, pushing against the current toward the mountain.
Cordelia felt like crying. She’d been swimming so long, and now, when she found proof she was in the right place, she found no clues where to go next.
Drifting downstream, she let the current toss and turn her. There was no point in fighting. She had found the fish but still couldn’t find her mother. The fish parted so her passing wouldn’t interrupt them. They were completely focused on their destination unlike Cordelia who wasn’t sure what her destination was any more.”
“Up, up, up,” she thought she heard them say. She couldn’t be sure amid the rushing water and they didn’t answer her calls, just kept saying the same, “Up.”
Up. Up was where her mother was. Fighting exhaustion, wrestling with the current that threatened to wash her away completely, she fought her way up. She couldn’t quit now. She had to find her mother.

April 24, 2015

Mermaid 30

The current made her fight to gain ground. The farther she went, the stronger the current became. The only grace came as the violent water carved out pockets in the shore, small place Cordelia could tuck herself into to rest.
Breaks weren’t abundant and she couldn’t sleep in the pockets of swirling water, so she rested until her tail no longer burned, only ached, and pressed on.
Where was her mother? It seemed she’d been swimming forever. One thing was certain, when she returned to the ocean, she would be able to outswim Dallas and all his friends.
She took a deep breath before exiting her latest alcove to find fish, the same fish Meri had found. Unlike the others she passed, these were only swimming against the current.
“Will you lead me to my mother?” she wondered.

April 21, 2015

Mermaid 29

Cordelia woke to find herself surrounded by a school of tiny fish. Their silver sides sparkled as they darted one way and another. If they could speak, she could neither hear them nor understand, but she loved the way they swirled around her.
Sitting up, she stared at her tail in shock. It had always been a bluer green than the other merfolk, but now it was definitely blue. There might be a tinge of green, but there was no doubt the color had changed. Cordelia had to find her mother. Hopefully she would know what was happening and why.
Perhaps she was sick. Older merfolk became paler, silvery, but those who spent too much time close to the humans turned yellow and brown. They became twisted creatures that no other merfolk would approach.
She wasn’t turning yellow or brown, though. She was turning blue. Grabbing one quick stem to eat, she flicked her oddly colored tail and returned to the river.

April 19, 2015

R is for Realty

Not Reality, though of course, that does start with r as well. No, we are in a bit of a financial crunch at the moment as a result of the way we made the down payment for our house five years ago, increased with the extra expenses from a trip to England and Wales that we do not regret, and complicated by my drop in pay over the last two years. The bottom line is, we are only barely making enough to cover expenses and debt maintenance.

Enter realty. As I said, we made our down payment five years ago. We are able to remortgage any time now, but our mortgage broker recommends we wait until maturity in September. That means keeping our belt very tight for several more months. It's difficult, but we can do it. And we do have a small pocket of savings still if we need to dip into that.

The good news? As soon as we do remortgage, our biweekly payments will be cut almost in half, letting us put all that extra onto our debts each month. That's our light at the end of the tunnel, and we will make it there, but if you wonder why I'm not splurging on copies of my books or hotel rooms at conferences, that's it.

See you on the other side!

April 17, 2015

Q is for Quiet

Do you ever need background noise? I often do. My house is very quiet when I'm home alone and I find a radio or IPod playing in another room gives me just enough sense of company that I don't feel quite so alone or isolated. On the other hand, when something has really grabbed my attention, I often don't notice the quiet. I also need music not speaking. I'm an auditory learner, so if someone is talking to me, I can't keep doing whatever else I was doing (writing, reading, etc.) Even the commercials on the radio, which I am definitely NOT listening to, can interrupt my train of thought and derail it.
The exact opposite of quiet is when two people try to talk to me at the same time. That doesn't work at all for me.

What do you do to fill the empty silence? Are you comfortable in the quiet?

Mermaid 28

Cordelia tasted what she had brought, not finishing any of it. The plants growing in the break were different from those in the river. They tasted different too.
She was used to the tang of seaweed, but the river plants were even sharper, spicier. Those in the break were sweet, sweeter than anything she had tasted. Pink and yellow flowers topped some of the emerging stems. Cordelia pulled the under and discovered what sunshine tasted like, bursting on her tongue.
She wished Meri were here. Her friend would be just as excited to taste something new. There was no point in collecting plants now, but she must remember to take some back with her.
With her belly full and her tongue remembering the taste of flowers, she sank to the bottom and slept.

April 16, 2015

P is for Purpose

Purpose and intention make everything more meaningful. When I do something thinking, this is going to help my family, I pay more attention and do it better. When I do something that is intended to improve my career and work relations, I go the extra mile, knowing it will benefit me and my colleagues in the end.
My writing isn't always with purpose. Some days, like today's blog for example, I just slap something down on paper because if I wait for a great idea, I might never write anything. Usually that writing as some purpose. It is working out ideas that aren't fully formed, meeting commitments I have made to fellow writers, or just plain fun. However, when I lack a purpose, the writing always seems to lack as well.
What is your purpose for day to day activities? Are there any chores that are easier to do when you think about the purpose behind them?

April 15, 2015

O is for Optimism

Optimism is something I have in short supply. I had a great rush of it over the last month, but it is tapering and waning quickly. Today I lost a little more and I'm looking at the piece I'm writing for a submission call and thinking I'm going to trash it. I'm not optimistic. I'm not exactly realistic either. I expect the worst in the hope that the world will surprise me. It does from time to time, but my view isn't that far from the mark. This should mean I'm not pessimistic either, but I don't know if I can agree with that. By expecting the worst, am I not by definition a pessimist?
I'm so glad spring is really here. The sun is ideal for having a bright outlook, and I need that again.

April 14, 2015

N is for Nuts

I'm going to go into mom mode for a minute. My daughter's school has a 'no nut' policy, which I'm not really against, but it is damn inconvenient. She has two favourite sandwiches, peanut butter and jam or Nutella. Both have nuts. If it was just peanuts, then I could send Nutella, but as it is, she doesn't really have any protein in her lunch because anything I put in (sausage, sandwich meat, yogurt or cheese) just comes home again. Instead she has some goldfish crackers, lots of fruit and a pudding snack (which I make rather than buy, much cheaper and I can make small enough portions that next to none comes home.
I completely understand the need to avoid nuts with pre-school kids who may not know what is in their friends' lunch, but it is really a nuisance
in my life.

Mermaid 27

Cordelia swam out into the river’s current. She swam upstream, looking for Drake. She didn’t find him again before she felt the water change again.
The tingling from the switch to mountain water had faded in time, and now she felt the weight of the water instead. She still had the current to fight, but now she also had to work harder if she didn’t want to swim along the bottom.
One benefit of moving into the fresher water was the increase in plants, those that floated up to the surface and those that grew along the shores. In the ocean, most of her food was algae, but here she had a wider variety of food, from straw-like reeds to the large flat lily pads. She didn’t eat while fighting the current, but had two handfuls by the time she found another break to rest in. Even more plants grew in the break.
Cordelia tasted what she had brought, not finishing any of it. The plants growing in the break were different from those in the river. They tasted different too.

April 13, 2015

M is for Momentum

I have been having a hard time building and maintaining momentum. I have several submission calls that I'm looking to write for, but the ideas have not been forthcoming. Well, that's not entirely true. I have ideas, I don't have plots. I can't seem to find the story in my ideas. It's a bit off putting. I also need to regain momentum on existing WIPs. Although there are posts for Mermaid from now until June, I haven't written anything new for that story in a while.
Momentum is mass times velocity. I'm used to having more mass and not enough speed to really get going. This is the opposite. I have a lot of velocity, my ideas and mind racing on ahead, but not enough mass to get a ball rolling. I need to flesh these idea, give them weight, and then I will really be pulling myself along.
Today, I'm going to the University to access their library and hopefully get a couple of this 3-7K word ideas fleshed into outlines. From there, it's easy.

April 12, 2015

L is for Leisure

I have too much free time at the moment. With the drop in contracts, we don't have enough work to keep us occupied. I'm trying to pick up little side jobs that won't preclude me returning to work when the contracts are back in place. This is Alberta, the situation is always changing. This drop can't last forever, but it could last a few years. It leaves me in a bit of an awkward position.
I've been devoting a lot more time to writing. I don't know that it will ever pay off, but it is fulfilling and interesting. Technically, it should be rewarding financially as well, but we will have to wait (maybe a few years) to know for certain.
I try not to waste my days with unproductive activities, like computer games, but it is very difficult. Especially when I have a concepts for stories rather than plots. I am trying to make the most of my extra leisure time. We will see how successful I am.

April 11, 2015

K is for Kim

That was obvious, wasn't it? So who am I? I am a lot of things to a lot of people. I'm a mother, sister and daughter. I'm an aunt. I'm an environmental scientist, botanist and naturalist. I'm a writer, reader and lover of TV and movies. I'm the housekeeper and cook. I'm the one who hugs, who get hugs, who kisses and is kissed. I'm the one who curls up on her bed when she wants the world to go away and stays there until a friend or family comes to pull me out again. I am uncertain, indecisive and often lost. I am eager to help and ready to give.
I am Kimberly Donn Gould. It's a pleasure to meet you.

April 10, 2015

J is for Juxtaposition

What a word! In my mind it really fits its definition. It sounds like to different words being laid over one another. Like a clash between the hard Jux and the soft tion. It is also a great tool for a writer and a scientist. As a scientist, I need to put facts together, overlay them, to determine what pattern they present. Are these probably random occurrences or a trend? Does this happen exclusively with the other, or only most of the time? Which species are most often found in the same niche?

As a writer, it is a fantastic tool for making a story resonate with readers. Being able to take an emotion or reaction and paint it with something vivid and familiar can really suck a reader in. It makes for powerful messages that are blunt force trauma.

I still like the way it sounds. Juxtaposition.

Mermaid 26

The goby sank, resting level with her eyes. “As I said, no one stays here. It is fine. We understand and the mollies are happy to listen and follow.”
Cordelia smiled at the school entering the off-shoot from the river.
“Yes, yes. I will come,” he muttered. “Excuse me, mermaid. They want my help with a dumping.
Cordelia stuck out her tongue. “If you need more help, come for me. If not, though…”
Cordelia stretched out again, yawning.
“I’m sure we can handle it, mermaid.”
“My name is Cordelia,” she said, closing her eyes.
“It is a pleasure to meet you, Cordelia. I am Drake.”
“Drake,” she murmured before falling asleep.

April 9, 2015

I is for Independence

My 8 yo is taking on a new set of responsibilities and privileges. She is going to the park by herself, asking friends to come over or going to their house essentially all on her own. She checks with us that she can go (or they can come) but she's taking the initiative. It's going to be a fantastic summer. She's always spent a limited amount of time outside because she didn't have anyone to play with. Now, that's not holding her back. Not only is she able to do things on her own outside, her friends have also reached the age where they are riding bikes or scooters, so we've found out that there are a LOT of kids her age in the neighbourhood (most attending her school). I'm happy for her. Independence can be scary and overwhelming, but it is also invigorating! I can't wait to see how she grows next.

April 7, 2015

G is for Grace

Grace is something I have in short supply. Surprising since I was born on a Tuesday (Tuesday's child is full of Grace). No, I'm klutzy, I am constantly mucking things up and I don't seem to give myself any slack. Amazing Grace, is not for me.

Mermaid 25

“Thank you.”
“You are very welcome. How did you come to be here? I see merfolk upstream and down, but no one comes here. They don’t linger in the place between.”
Cordelia thought she might fall asleep, but she didn’t want to be rude to her new-found guide. “I am looking for my mother in the mountain water.
“Ah, you will pass beyond the saltwater soon.”
“Oh good. Tell me, how did dragon gobbies learn to talk?”
“We have always talked. You are the first merfolk to listen.”
Cordelia sat up. “That can’t be.”
The goby sank, resting level with her eyes. “As I said, no one stays here. It is fine. We understand and the mollies are happy to listen and follow.”
Cordelia smiled at the school entering the off-shoot from the river.

April 6, 2015

F is for Fraud

And today, that fraud is me. I pass myself off as a professional, but I'm never able to back that up. I'm too irresponsible, too scattered, too emotional to be a 'real' writer. I'm not even a 'real' scientist. I'm just someone who gets by, and puts on a brave face to fool the world. Except I don't think my face is on right. I think everyone sees right through me. They all know I'm nothing but a fraud.

April 5, 2015

E is for Earth

I am an environmental scientist after all. My focus is on plants, which grow in earth, soil. I am keenly aware of the interface between the atmosphere and soil and water, right where plants and associated microscopic animals and fungi interact. Earth (soil) takes centuries to make. A soil has form, peds. There are clumps of certain sizes and shapes created by the animals and roots within. My work in the oil sands involves proto-soils. This is an amalgamation of the overburden, or mineral layer beneath the active soil, and peat, or decomposed plant matter. It isn't soil. It has the makings of soil, if the plants, animals and fungi mix in a functioning system, eventually, it will be soil again. I won't live to see it, but I leave my work behind knowing the legacy is there. There will be earth again.

April 4, 2015

D is for Despair

Despair comes over me from the bottom up. It starts low in my stomach as a churning, twisting. It evolves into a hollow, emptiness that spread up into my chest. Before my mind has even embraced it, it claims most of my body, only then invading my head and saying, You can't, You won't, Never. Despair is sticky and hard to shake off. Despair makes everything dark. Despair has too much room in my life, but for every inch I take back, it claims another in a day, an hour, a blink.

April 3, 2015

C is for Challenge

Keeping a regular even micro blog is a challenge for me. I'm dealing with a lot of psychological trouble that would be helped by keeping a journal, but I have never managed to make it a daily habit. I find I don't have anything to say. It's a bit ridiculous, but I love my boring life where very little changes from day-to-day. I have things that have changed in the last week or the last month, maybe even since the new year, but today compared to yesterday? Not much change, nothing that is pressing to talk about.
Perhaps I need to pay more attention to current events and let them guide my thoughts. Whatever the reason, daily blogging is a challenge. One I will continue to try to meet for this month.

Mermaid 24

Cordelia did her best, but it was hard to stay focused on such a small target, especially when it was amid so many others that looked the same. He called when she fell behind or swerved the wrong way.
Cordelia had thought the only way to get to her mother’s lake was to swim directly into the river’s current. The dragon goby sunk, surfaced, hugged one bank, then another. They hadn’t gone far, although there had been many turns to find paths that were less difficult, until there was a split in the river. The one path was obviously shallower, murkier, but that was the direction her guide went.
“This was once part of the river, but it flows this way no longer. It is in places like these that you can rest.”
He was right. The ceaseless tug of the current was absent here. Cordelia sank to the muddy bottom and stretched out.
“Thank you.”

April 2, 2015

B is for Balls

Wikimedia Dliff
Snowballs! Yes, we have been had, thinking we could have spring. Pshaw. So now there is lovely layer of stick white stuff that is perfect for making snowmen, snowballs and snowforts. Not so good for snowangels because you're pretty much lying in mud and snow mold under that. Yuck.

Forecast says it should be gone by tomorrow and we can have our spring back again. Who knows if we'll get to keep it this time or not.

April 1, 2015

A to Z challenge - April Fool

So, I heard there is this challenge to bloggers. I don't have details and I'm not part of a group, but I thought I'd join in anyway. Get into the habit of posting more often.

I am feeling like an April fool today. Mother Nature gave us a gorgeous spring day yesterday, with a warm sunny afternoon. Then the clouds came in, and a little rain. This morning, there's a blizzard outside and they say we'll get 5-10 cm of snow.

Really? Seriously? Yes. I've been had. I am definitely a fool today.

The good news is, the snow won't last. The majority of it is still melting when it lands and although some might accumulate, the sun will return soon and melt it all away.

I'm really envious of my friend Ann in Victoria. I bet it's warmer there.

April fools, every last one of us.

March 31, 2015

Mermaid 23

Cordelia let go of her tail and began drifting downstream. She grabbed for the beam, preventing her from drifting far. She flicked her tail, working out the cramps that had settled in while she rested.
“How do you stand it?” she asked the little fish around her, not expecting an answer.
“You learn where the breaks are.
Cordelia released the beam, swimming in circles looking for the merfolk that must be near. She saw no one and began her trek upstream again.
“You weren’t far from one,” the voice said again.
“Where are you?” she asked, searching.
“Hold still. I’m right here.” One of the gobbie swam into her shoulder, butting her.
“You?” she asked, cradling the fish while she fought the current. “How can you speak?”
“Dragon gobbies aren’t like other,” he explained. “Follow me.”

March 28, 2015

Mermaid 22

Worse, she occasionally crossed paths with humans on the water's surface. She flet crushed from above and let herself sink while still fighting the current. Once on the seafloor, rather the riverbed, she found a large beam of wood lodged with smaller debris caught on it. She flicked enough away for her to cling. Wrapping herself in a circle and holding her own green tail, she could rest without being washed away.
More fish swam by, upstream and down. Exhausted, Cordelia simply watched them. When she was rested she would approach them and try to get directions, a sense of distance.
The water still tingled, but she was becoming used to that. In fact, she barely noticed any more. Soon she would breathe mountain water as easily as salty seawater. She was a child of mountain water and soon she would prove that by finding her mother.

March 24, 2015

The Para-Portage of Emily by Muffy Wilson (Review)

The Para-Portage of Emily is an interesting title for an eerie and otherworldly romance. The scene is set on a small island in the winter, where ice fog and snow make everything a little less familiar, a little more magical. Emily takes to her new surrounding with gusto, tracking down the pieces she needs to put her Uncle’s affairs in order and uncover the mysteries behind his estate.
Muffy Wilson does a fantastic job of setting the mood in this novel. We always feel like we have one foot in reality and one in dream. And these dreams are far more vivid than real life is sometimes. It is easy to fall into the setting.
I did have a few hiccups with it. I found the prologue unnecessary, which isn’t an issue normally, but I also found it didn’t have the tone of the book and was very sterile. It worked against everything that came after.
I had a few characters and repetitious scenes/actions that had me skipping passages to get to the next meaty bit.
I love the furry companions that come along. They are used to pace the book – oh, it’s time to let the dog out – as well as ground home reality when the dream seems to take over.
I am not a romance reader normally, but I have been enjoying Muffy’s writings in other venues and decided to try my feet in their pond. I’m still not a romance reader, but that doesn’t negate the fact that the Para-Portage of Emily is a good read.

Mermaid 21

Almost immediately, her tail began ache on top of the tickling in her gills. Fish swam back at her, gobies and mollies, most swimming with the ceaseless current.
The river had narrowed to the point that, emerging on the surface, she could see both sides. Staring in shock, she was washed downstream almost back to the delta. She'd never been in such a small body of water. For a moment, she felt that the banks were closing in, but it passed as the current pushed her back.
When she realized how far she was being washed, she struggled forward again. This time the banks didn't surprise her, but she felt them closing, felt like there wasn't enough water.

March 21, 2015

Mermaid 20

Cordelia swam slowly around the wide delta, following the edge. Careful to avoid humans, she often had to stay a long way from the beach. The shallow water threatened to beach her. At times, it was hard to tell where the shore was at all, but she managed. Sometimes she surfaced briefly, but always she kept the beach on her left.
The farther she went, the more the water changed. It tingled on her scales, in her gills. It wasn't painful, but it wasn't comfortable either. It felt weird and she flicked her tail harder, trying to shake off something, but she would shake off her skin or the water. The tingling was a part of her. Even so, she wasn't getting used to it, and then it got worse.
Cordelia had followed trade winds and ocean streams that swept her away. She'd felt an undertow pull her tail from under her. All of these were easily avoided and escaped by slipping out of the way. She'd never had to fight one like this pushing her back to the ocean. If she wanted to follow the narrowing banks, she had to swim against that current.

March 17, 2015

Mermaid 19

Her father lead her to the delta. "I wish I had something to give you, something to help you. I will miss you and worry the entire time you are gone. I know you will want to spend time with your mother, but once you've found the way, you can return, right? Come back so I know you're safe."
Cordelia hugged her father tight. She didn't want to admit how scared she was, how much she would miss him. Instead she said, "I will." Before she was ready, her father let go of her, turning back to the depths of the ocean. "Goodbye, Cordelia, and good luck."
"I love you, Dad," she said, but it was too quiet and he was too far away to hear. Then she was alone where the salt water began to mix with fresh. Alone at the edge of a new world. Taking a deep gulp of water, she flicked her tail, swimming into the mouth of the river.

March 14, 2015

Mermaid 18

It was another two week before the high tide she needed. There was plenty of time to pepper her father with questions.
"What do I do if the river splits?"
He shook his head, he didn't know.
"What sorts of dangers are there? Do they have sharks?"
He shook his head.
"Can you tell me anything?" she cried, exasperated.
"Very little. The fish you found is a special kind that swims up into the mountains. When you find them, follow."
Cordelia had lost the dead fish but remembered it very clearly. She remembered almost everything about that day, everything she knew about her mother.

March 10, 2015

Mermaid 17

It was more than a week before Cordelia was sure she wanted to try finding her mother. A week of Meri needling her with questions. A week of Dallas and his obnoxious friends driving her from the house. A week of her father stopping to watch her when they happened to have a moment together. He hadn't said anything more about her mother or the possibility of her leaving. She knew he was thinking about it, and after a week, she couldn't take any more.
"Dad? I want to find my mother. Will you help me?"
He smiled and nodded. "As far as I can."

March 7, 2015

Mermaid 16

"Father says she won't come to the ocean anymore."
That led to more questions and answers about Cordelia's birth and how she could find her mother.
"Your father will help you? That's awesome. You have to go. How cool would it be to find meet her?"
"And scary," Cordelia added.
"Scary? Why?"
"We don't know what mountain water is like. Here we know about the sharks and killer whales and avoid them, but what lives in the rivers and lakes of mountain water?"
Meri didn't answer immediately, but when she did, it was supportive. "I'm sure you'll know what's dangerous." Her smile grew. "It's probably in your scales," she teased, flicking her tail against Cordelia's. There was a difference between them, Cordelia's being very slightly bluer.
Maybe Meri was right.

March 3, 2015

Mermaid 15

Neither was the case.
"No way! Your mom lives in mountain water? That is so cool!" She swum in circles around Cordelia, drilling her with questions. "What does she look ike? How did you find out? Can you live in mountain water?"
Cordelia relaxed. Meri's response wasn't a whole lot different from her own.
"That fish you found is from mountain water. My father recognized it and told me about her."
"Have you seen her?"
Cordelia shook her head and turned toward home, knowing Meri would follow. "Father says she won't come to the ocean any more."

February 28, 2015

Mermaid 14

"Take all the time you like to decide."
Dallas and his friends dove through then, distracting both father and daughter.
"I'm going to Meri's," she shouted, fleeing the exuberant boys.
It took a long time and a good bit of courage to tell Meri what she had learned. They'd swum a long way, following a pod of whales and spinning in the debris stirred up by their passing. The tiny brush of plankton and other microscopic creatures tickled, making the girls giggle from time to time. It was after one ticklish pass that Cordelia told her friend about her mother. Cordelia was afraid Meri would be frightened of her, or worse, angry.
Neither was the case.

February 24, 2015

Mermaid 13

"Promise me, Cordelia?"
She blinked, looking at the dead fish floating away from her open hand. She let it go.
"I promise, though I'm not sure I want to go. I think I do." She was so confused, flooded with so much new information. She had gone from knowing nothing about her mother to considering seeking her upstream in just a few minutes.
"You don't have to go." Her father sunk to her side and squeezed her shoulder. "Never have to go. And take all the time you like to decide."

February 21, 2015

Mermaid 12

"I'll never see her."
"I don't know about that," her father said. "Although you needed salt water to thrive, unlike me, the river didn't hurt you. If you wanted to find your mother, I would help you as far as the delta. But you must promise, if it hurts you, turn around and come home."
Cordelia was still in shock from the prior statement, so she didn't answer her father.
"Promise me, Cordelia?"

February 17, 2015

Mermaid 11

"Why?" Cordelia asked in alarm. "She didn't want to see me again?"
Her father wrapped his strong arms around Cordelia, hugging her tightly. "She never said, but yes, I think she knew it would be terrible to see you and not take you home with her."
Cordelia blew out the aid she held, sinking to the broken deck boards of their home. "I'll never see her," Cordelia said, embarrassed at how close she was to tears.

February 14, 2015

Mermaid 10

"She just swam away?"
"Yes," her father said, and Cordelia could tell he missed the mermaid of mountain water.
"Then how did I get here?" she asked, very confused.
"Your egg was laid in her lake, and when the tide was high again, I went looking for your mother. She held you on her back, tiny and green. She told me that you had recently hatched but weren't growing the way you should. Based on your colour, we assumed you need saltwater. I had to say goodbye to your mother one more time. I wanted to see her again, meet her there every tide, but she said she wouldn't come again."

February 10, 2015

Mermaid 9

"No, they didn't catch me, but as I followed them I caught her. It was along the delta, where the mountain water flows out of the river into the ocean."
Cordelia knew she was gaping, but she had never been anywhere near mountain water. "Did it hurt?" she asked.
"Not really. In fact it made me a bit dizzy at first."
Cordelia tried to imagine it but couldn't come up with anything. Maybe it was like when she dove into deep pressures?
Next she tried to imagine her mother and father swimming together. That was much easier. "Then she came home with you."
"No. She wasn't able to come here and I couldn't follow her up the river.The water was wrong, burning. So we said goodbye."
That left Cordelia frowning. "I don't understand."