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Mousie Me

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This is the last photo for the January photo a day challenge. Me again. Here’s the girl and I as we headed out to Disney’s Magic Kingdom. I should have posted it last night but it had been a LONG day. LOL

A couple quick tips for anyone going to magic kingdom: avoid Stitch’s Great Escape. It’s a terrible “ride”. And if you feel you must do it, sit in the back row. Ten minutes of smoke blown directly into your face is more than anyone should be strapped in and forced to endure. It’s a special kind of torture. Tip two: bring tissue. Seriously. I cried through the first half of the fireworks show. LMAO

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TJ Bown, Summerset Abbey, and Water.

In the brief teaser I tacked onto yesterdays blog post I let you know there would be a special interview today, and I’m not going to disappoint!  I had the chance to ask author TJ Brown a few questions in regards to her new release Summerset Abbey and the series it kicks off.  So, let’s jump right in!

TD:  Was there a certain event or idea that inspired the book?

TJ:  I have always loved the Edwardian period, but after Downton Abbey aired, I really wanted to write something in that period. I told my agent, we should pitch an Edwardian and she asked me what I had in mind. 5 weeks later I had a contract for a three book Edwardian series!

TD:  I know this is your first foray into historical fiction, did this pose any particular challenges or did you find it was a natural fit for you?

TJ:  It actually isn’t my first foray into historical fiction. Six months prior to getting the Summerset Abbey contract, I got a contract for a young adult series set in the 1920’s. So even though it won’t be out until June (Born of Illusion, June 15th!), I wrote it before the Summerset Series.

I honestly never thought I would be a historical writer, even though I love history and reading historicals. I just thought I had a more modern voice and the research intimidated me. But I had this idea that wouldn’t go away and once I wrote Born of Illusion I was hooked. Of course, Summerset is in a different time period, but before I started writing it, I figured that I had done so much research for the twenties, surely ten years prior couldn’t be that big of a difference could it? Was I ever wrong. 1914 England was a whole different world than 1924 New York. I had to start the research all over again! And I love it!

TD:  Can you tell me a little about your process?

TJ:  Usually, I start with a concept for a plot. Just a sketchy idea. Then the characters’ come. It’s rather like putting together a puzzle. And then my plot constantly changes and develops as I write. I’m not quite a seat of my pants writer, but the Summerset books have been unusually organic for me.

TD:  How many books do you foresee in this series?

TJ:  I am contracted for three but I have an idea for a fourth that my editor likes. Nothing is set in stone yet, and it may not happen, but I do have a fourth Summerset book in mind. We’ll see! But four for sure.

TD:  Do you have a favourite character or is there one who resonates more with you than the others?

TJ:  Victoria. In all of my books I have at least one over the top character and in Summerset Abbey, Victoria is the one. She is smart and imaginative and she says almost everything that comes into her mind. I adore her. Even though all girls are featured, Bloom in Winter is her book, and I had such an awesome time working on it!

So there you have it folks!  TJ Brown on her new book, Summerset Abbey, her process, and on writing historical fiction.  Now all that’s left is to drop a few details.  😉

Summerset Abbey is available at:

Book Blurb:

  • Summerset Abbey
    1913: In a sprawling manor on the outskirts of London, three young women
    seek to fulfill their destinies and desires amidst the unspoken rules of
    society and the distant rumblings of war. . . .
    Rowena Buxton
    Sir Philip Buxton raised three girls into beautiful and capable young women
    in a bohemian household that defied Edwardian tradition. Eldest sister
    Rowena was taught to value people, not wealth or status. But everything she
    believes will be tested when Sir Philip dies, and the girls must live under
    their uncle's guardianship at the vast family estate, Summerset Abbey.
    Standing up for a beloved family member sequestered to the "under class" in
    this privileged new world, and drawn into the Cunning Coterie, an exclusive
    social circle of aristocratic "rebels," Rowena must decide where her true
    passions-and loyalties-lie.
    Victoria Buxton
    Frail in body but filled with an audacious spirit, Victoria secretly dreams
    of attending university to become a botanist like her father. But this most
    unladylike wish is not her only secret. Now, Victoria has stumbled upon a
    family scandal that, if revealed, has the potential to change lives forever.
    Prudence Tate
    Prudence was lovingly brought up alongside Victoria and Rowena, and their
    bond is as strong as blood. But by birth she is a governess's daughter, and
    to the lord of Summerset Abbey, that makes her a commoner who must take her
    true place in society-as ladies maid to her beloved "sisters." But Pru
    doesn't belong in the downstairs world of the household staff any more than
    she belongs upstairs with the Buxton girls.  And when a young lord catches
    her eye, she begins to wonder if she'll ever truly carve out a place for
    herself at Summerset Abbey.

For more check out TJ at http://tjbrownbooks.com/

TJ Brown, author headshot

Author TJ Brown – Hooray for MomWriters!


Now, as if that alone doesn’t make one heck of a blog post, I still have more for you!  That’s right… we’re still in the middle of the January Photo Challenge – and I’m not one to give up on a challenge.  So here we are.  😉

The challenge today was to photograph water.  Easy peasy, right?  Yep.  Here’s the girl, immersed in the stuff:

kid in the bathtub

My little bathing beauty.

Let’s hope tomorrow is a LITTLE more of an actual challenge…

photo a day challenge for january

Something I’ve bought?  Well…  I guess there’s at least a little bit of thought to go into that one.  😉

 

My bag, a glimpse into my life.

Rogers, who we are registering as Aes Sidhe Captain America, left us to go live with his forever family.  Of course, they have a thirty day trial period to ensure things work out first, but I’m confident in this placement.  I really do think he’s a perfect fit for them…  and the picture they sent me earlier this evening – of him all snuggled in for a snooze under his new Daddy’s chin, the two of them laying together on the couch – just further cemented it.

It’s always a weird few days after someone leaves.  Whether it’s a puppy going to their forever home, or a client dog who is returning home after being a part of our pack for several months…  when someone leaves the entire dynamic of the house shifts.  And that’s happening here now.

So…  onto today’s challenge:  “in your bag”.

My bag used to be a purse.  Because I used to be a girl.  Now I’m a mom, and more fierce than any girl…  Grrrl, gurl, or Woman works for me.  And my bag is not a purse…  it really is a bag.  And instead of a compact, lip colour, and moisturizer I carry a spare pair of pajamas for the kid, snacks, reusable bags, cloth pads, and cute princess and fairy bandages.

A person’s bag (if they carry one) can reveal a lot about that person.  You really do get a real quick glimpse into their life and the things that are important to them.  Amidst the papers and bits of “stuff” one just naturally accumulates (that needs to be cleared out every so often) are bits of treasure and parts of a life well lived, or wasted, depending on your point of view.

pjs, strawberry bags, dog paw wallet, treats, cloth pads in a plastic baggy... all the momcentials.

…all the essentials in one place.

Tomorrow?  “Something you’re reading”.  After that?  “Happiness”.  Something that having all the right things in your bag can help ensure… at least when you have a little one about.  😉

photo a day challenge for january

Friday and Saturday – January Challenge

Friday’s challenge was “where you sleep”, and before Lily-Ann goes off to school it looks less like a place to sleep and more like some crazy play space.  Some days we read, craft, play, eat, etc on the bed in the morning – generally just on a lazy morning.  And we happened to have just such a morning on Friday.  So here is my bed, after I got home from walking the girl to school, before I cleaned it back up and returned it to a place actually suitable for sleeping:

jan11

Today the challenge was “close-up”.  Now, I had taken a picture of a book I had sitting on my desk… one I really enjoy…  but Damon thought it might be nicer to grab a snapshot of one of the ornaments on our tree (and yes, it’s still up…  we haven’t found a storage box for the ornaments yet – first year with a full size tree, remember?).  And after doing just that, I think he was right.  Much more fun and colourful:

jan12

Let’s see what we can expect to see tomorrow:

photo a day challenge for january

A glittering sparkling sea of tulle

I had full intention of sharing a little of our daily routine today, just as the January photo a day challenge demands…  however, our routine wasn’t routine.  In fact, our routine simply WASN’T.

Early this morning I got a phone call from my sister.  She wanted to take Lily-Ann out for breakfast and then for a walk down by the river.  The girl has been aching for some time with her auntie, and I was more than happy to make things work.  So the girl and I jumped out of bed, she picked out some clothes (I sent her back to pick out something different – a summer dress just doesn’t work for a walk in the snow), got dressed, threw on her outerwear, and she was ready to go!

So what did I do with my kid-free morning?  I worked on a tutu her pre-k EA had commissioned.  🙂

Last year I made a purple, plum, and black tutu for Rhonda’s Halloween costume.  She was a wicked fairy.  It turned out wonderfully.  I made it extra long and super wild.  It ended up being such a big hit that she keeps it at school to wear every so often, just for fun (and has even lent it to some of the other staff – both male and female).  Well, last month she asked me to make another one for her… this one with a water theme.  And I have to say, it’s turned out beautifully!

It was the most complex tutu I’ve done to date, with five different colours of tulle.  All various shades of blue, including one earthy blue that was covered in sparkle.  I alternated lights and darks so that while Rhonda walks it will look like ocean waves, cresting and flowing – light to dark.  It’s a very elegant tutu.

Lily-Ann and I dropped it off for her at school on our way to Lily-Ann’s classroom.  Rhonda was just thrilled, and I’m sooo glad.  Damon even overheard her raving about her tutus when he went to pick the girl up after school – which made me feel pretty good.

tulle, elegantly flowing from dark to light and back again

the tulle elegantly flows from dark to light and back again, like the ebbing of the ocean tide kissed by the glittering moon.

I really do love working with tulle.  Tutus are one of my very favourite things to sew.

I really do love working with tulle. Tutus are one of my very favourite things to sew.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll be a little more successful with the challenge topic.  After all, with such an open topic I’m sure the bigger problem with be narrowing it down.  😉

photo a day challenge for january

Breaking the Silence is Fast Approaching

Though our sky was dark and dreary for much of the day today, my heart was happy as I look forward.  We are coming into crunch time for planning this years Breaking the Silence conference.  This conference is something that is very near and dear to my heart and I am so blessed to be on the board.  And while our key theme this year is a sporting one (focusing on issues in the locker room and beyond) it will deal with the same truths we all care so much about, bullying and living as our authentic selves.  I’m looking forward to another highly successful conference this March.

The website still contains information from 2012, but it should be updated shortly with information on our keynote and registration for 2013:  http://www.usask.ca/education/breaking-the-silence/

Grey skies are gonna clear up, put on a happy face...

Things are looking up! 🙂 The view from my front walk.

And join me tomorrow as we take a look at my “daily routine” in another exciting photo a day challenge post:

photo a day challenge for january

A hat and scarf kinda day.

I’m exhausted.  My sister in law, Tabatha, and my niece Eliana and nephew Leandro just left.  I got the girl ready for bed, and Damon is in there reading to her.  Normally I’m in there too, but this is a book he picked out and is reading to her – and I don’t want to interfere.  While it’s not the first time he’s read to her (he had to take over when my TMJ got so bad that it forced me to stop reading out loud) but this is the first book he picked out and bought for her, so it’s kinda special.  🙂

Yesterday’s challenge photo was “letterbox”, which I’m assuming is the same as a “mailbox”.  😉  So here’s ours.  It’s dirty, dusty, and dinged up…  but it’s cute and charming just like the rest of our new house.  And hey!  It even had some mail in it when I snapped this picture:

our little blue mailbox, hanging on the side of our blue and white house

Today’s challenge was to photograph something I wore.  Well…  I didn’t have to give this one much thought.  With my hair badly needing to be washed (it’s super flat and greasy right now, just ask my SiL – whom I’m sure was amazed I’d be seen with it like this) I threw my hat on before heading outside earlier today.  I really love my hat.  And with the weather unseasonably warm for January (try -10 or -15 when it’s usually -30 or -40) I haven’t been having to wear a super heavy scarf.  So I threw on the one my sister Riki and her girlfriend Kate bought me for Christmas, it’s right up my alley and I just love it.  Here they are:

my hat and scarf, sitting on our couch

Just found your way here and have no idea why I’m sharing pictures of such unusual items?  Check out the January challenge list below:

photo a day challenge for january

Sharing something you love…

I thought of a few things I could take pictures of today; “something you adore” is a pretty broad challenge.  What I ended up choosing is this:

something you adore

I know I’ve said it here many times before, and it’s likely to be said many times in the future too, but there really is NOTHING like sharing something you love with someone you love.  And for me?  That something is My Little Pony and that someone is my daughter.  I adore seeing her filled with the same joy and creative enthusiasm that filled me as a child playing with my little plastic horses.  Sure, My Little Ponies have changed a lot over the years, but that delight they bring?  It hasn’t changed one iota.  And the idea that I can give that to kid kid?  It’s pretty freakin’ awesome.  So yeah…  While there were a lot of things I could have picked for today’s photo, this won out.

photo a day challenge for january

Breakfast; the most important meal of the day

I know, just as you do, how important a good hearty breakfast is.  It really can make all the difference to your day.  I know the days when I take a little extra time to have a half waffle with berries, OJ, and a sausage link are often some of my best.

A good breakfast gives fuels your day.  It keeps you energized and helps your creative juices flow.  It helps you feel your best and helps you be your best, thusly spreading to those around you too.

However…

Is it odd that while I was typing the “…” I was saying, in my head of course, “dun, dun, dun” slowly stepping down from note to note in a ominous minor key?  😉  Nah, I didn’t think so.

…we don’t always have time to set aside for this all important meal.  So sue me.  It just doesn’t happen.  Heck yeah I love days where I can lounge about leisurely in the morning until I begin to feel sunshiny.  At which point I can saunter into the kitchen and pull out all the many implements required to make said fabulous breakfast.  Then bake, fry, and slice up my very favourite morning foods.  Afterwards savoring every succulent satisfying bite.

Great.  Now I’m craving maple syrup drenched bacon and buttermilk pancakes slathered in butter with a pulpy fresh orange juice.  Nice.

Today though, like most.  Just wasn’t one of those days.  So I hopped in the shower (thankfully Damon was home today so he fed the kid while I washed my greasy mess of hair), grabbed a banana, the girl, and my bag and jumped in the car with my Mom and sister for a trip to the Warman thrift shop.

Ta da!  My breakfast:

a banana

…and yes, I am still on the lookout for some pretty pink placemats.

Want to join in on the photo a day challenge for January?  Here’s the shot list:

photo a day challenge for january

January Photo Challenge

Okay, so this thing was floating around for January 2012…  but lets face it, many of us didn’t see it until the second, or third, or fourth, or maybe you were even more out of touch with the memes of the day and didn’t see it until a week or two into January last year or heck!  Maybe you didn’t even see it at all.  LOL  The point (and yes, I do have one) is that by the time you’d seen it, the thing had already started and, well… who wants to jump in late.  So when fellow MomWriter friend of mine posted it on her FB wall today, a bunch of us figured “what the hell”, and have decided to do it this year.

photo a day challenge for january

 

So, here’s to Gina Cook-Maggard, Kimber Bush Schmahl, Sharon Wren, Jessica Ferguson Pearce (yes, I’m holding you to it too), Pam Kock, and anyone else who wants to join us this January.  I’ll be taking crappy iPhone photos – because while I’m a photographer, totally corny, crappy, iAnything can be super fun.

And because I’m all about honesty, here I am.  Badly in need of a shower, greasy hair, and make-up done by my five year old – and totally rocking the look I might add.  LMFAO  That’s right, chin out, totally bad in all the right ways.  LOL

jan1a

Wow, you can really see my freckles in that dog awful fluorescent light.  LMAO  Oh well.  Blotchy or not, I’m still awesome.  😛

 

And then me, looking slightly cuter, less “center stage”.  LOL Figured I’d snap a shot with a sketch app I’ve got on my phone.  I downloaded the update today so figured I’d check out the changes.  🙂  I like this new feature where it uses the actual colours from the photo.  Usually it’s all rainbow or all one colour, so that’s a nice upgrade.

jan1b

 

Now, you’ve seen mine, let’s see yours!  😀

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