Waiting for Inspiration

Garden Inspiration - Guenette photo

The days slip by since my last post and my blog views fall into the basement of the stats page as I wait for inspiration to come a calling. Lest it seem I sit still and attempt to drag that inspiration out of the air, nothing could be further from the truth. My hours and mind have been active with many things.

The rain has come to our corner of the earth. Yesterday, I was out on my recumbent, stationary bicycle making my way towards Sayward on my imaginary journey across Canada and the rain was coming down so hard beyond the covered deck, I simply couldn’t believe I was staying dry. Recovery on my injured knee is going well. I can now ride thirty minutes at a stretch virtually pain free.

Proofreading - google imageI’m proofreading Maelstrom and making incredibly important though picky changes while ensuring that I don’t mess something else up. The mistake in the little Google graphic to the left says it all about what one is up against at this stage of book production. The process is time consuming and draining. Bruce reminds me once again that cement is an ingredient in concrete and thus there is no such thing as a cement dam. Thanks … really … I mean it.


Home preserving is going on at a steady clip. An abundance of tomatoes and a large gift bag of apples turned into five-alarm chutney and the most amazing Yellow Tomato Marmalade. If you are a marmalade fan, give this recipe a try. And don’t be limited by not having yellow tomatoes. I chose a selection of not-quite-ripe, on their way from green to red tomatoes and they worked out perfectly. Bruce says he’s not a big marmalade fan but this stuff is definitely bringing him into the fold.

Yellow Tomato Marmalade - Guenette photo

Yellow Tomato Marmalade

· 4 cups peeled and chopped tomatoes (I sieved mine to make sure they weren’t too juicy)

· Rind and juice of one large lemon (I added the juice and rind of a small lime to make things interesting)

· 6 cups of sugar

· 1 bottle or package of Certo ( I used crystals rather than liquid and it worked fine)

· Optional: I added some chopped crystallized ginger in one batch and it added a nice flavour.

Cook tomatoes, covered, for ten minutes without water. Add lemon rind, juice and sugar. Bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring constantly. Boil hard for one minute. Turn off the heat. Add Certo and stir vigorously for 5 minutes. Bottle in sterile jars. Makes 3 pints.

Now, as to that chutney – next time I will not follow exactly a recipe that calls for 1 tablespoon of dry mustard and 1 teaspoon of cayenne. But on a lentil daal with sour cream, this chutney is going to rock.

Grouse in the Apple Tree - Guenette photo

On alternative days from stationary bike riding, I get out around the place for walks. Greta the Grouse has been a constant companion. In the picture above, I caught her up in the apple tree. She’s great company except for those times we startle each other. Then she fluffs herself up like a stuffed version of a grouse and makes a racket that has me thinking I’m about to be run over by a bear. It is easy to see in the picture below how one could almost walk right over a grouse and not see it. They blend into the background like one of those crazy Waldo pictures.

Grouse - Guenette photo

A recent purchaser of the Crater Lake Series checked in the other day to say that she couldn’t put the books down once she had started reading. She went right through the whole series and said the stories were addictive. I love the feedback. What writer worth her salt wouldn’t enjoy knowing someone couldn’t put her books down?

Well, there you have it. Inspiration decided to show up this fine Sunday morning. As Milton Berle is quoted as saying,

If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.

I wish each of you the best of luck with all your September projects and endeavours. And may inspiration crawl through a window if you can’t knock out a door.

Falling in Love

Kindle Paperwhite - Guenette photo

I have fallen madly in love with my new Kindle Paperwhite! Okay, I was more than ready for the plunge. Having been without an e-reader for several days, I may have been slightly desperate. But all kidding aside, this Paperwhite is truly the cat’s meow.

Let me tell you why. It has cured me of my extreme fear of touching an electronic screen. The ease with which I can manoeuvre through the functions is amazing. I was able to create collections and file almost all of my books in next to no time. That type of thing took forever with my old Kindle. Watch out Emma, Subway Surfer here I come.

But here is the real kicker. This new version has its own email address. I can send Word documents to my own Kindle via email and when I open them up they are almost perfectly formatted for reading. Wow! At first this may not seem like such a ground shaking thing but let me elaborate. While traveling, if I would like to review a manuscript, I can’t always whip my laptop out everywhere I go. But a jazzy-looking Kindle is ideal. It is truly no bigger than a small paperback and barely a quarter of an inch thick.

And there’s more! (Oh my goodness – I’m starting to sound like a late-night info commercial for Kinsu knifes.) I have discovered that reading on this new e-reader is the perfect way to do my final proofreading. Two weeks ago, my editor and I finished line-by-line edits for Maelstrom. I let it sit for a week, emailed the Word document over to the new Paperwhite and started doing my final proofread. I see things on the Kindle screen that I would never pick up on my laptop or even on a hardcopy. There is something about such a different way of looking at this material that makes typos, extra words and even little bits of strange spacing jump out at me.

I’m glad I live in a semi-isolated area. If I was spotted yesterday, strolling up and down my deck with my e-reader in hand, reading aloud, suffice to say observers may have thought I had lost my marbles. But no! I was proofreading. And why sit when one can be in motion?

I am now busy with formatting and looking forward to a fall publication date for Maelstrom.

Bear in the Mountain Ash - Guenette photo

I’ll leave you today with a photo I snapped from the deck last week when our drop-in bear decided to scoot his way up the Mountain Ash tree. As branches cracked and snapped around him, he merrily chomped away on the bright red berries. That is, until Bruce pitched a well-aimed rock at him, shouting all the while, “Get out of that tree you crazy bear.” We were both amazed at the easy leap said clumsy-looking bear took from that tree to the ground, ambling away as if he had not just suffered the indignity of being beaned by a rock in the hindquarters. Not even five minutes later, he was back harvesting salal berries right behind the kitchen. It takes a lot to deter a bear from eating at this time of year.

Bear behind the kitchen - Bruce Witzel photo

Reminds me of this photo I snapped of a squirrel right outside the back door. He was far more interested in eating than in running for safety. Getting a full belly is currently the prime directive in the animal world.

Squirrel - Guenette photo