Wednesday, 12 February 2014

What's Up Wednesday!

In case you’re new to WUW, it’s a blog hop created by my sister Jaime and me, intended to help writers keep in touch with one another. If you’d like to participate, please sign up on the linky below, and be sure to spread some writerly encouragement around to at least a few other people taking part.

What I’m Reading:

This week I finished Rush by Eve Silver and then read Roar and Liv by Veronica Rossi. I was already a fan of Roar, but this novella made me love his character even more. My copy of Into the Still Blue just arrived in the mail, and now I’m primed to read it!

What I’m Writing:

I finished the first draft of my WIP on Friday! It’s messy and wordy and requires some rewriting and a whole lot of polishing, but it’s done. This one was a long haul, so it was a relief to pour out that last 5000 words. Now I’m excited to get revising and also doing some heavier planning on the third book in my trilogy. Yep, I’m going with the momentum.

What Inspires Me Right Now:

Canada’s Olympic athletes.  Am I watching the Olympics despite the issues with Russia’s politics? You bet. My opinion (for what it’s worth) is that boycotting is counterproductive. It makes no sense to withhold my support, because the athletes would be the ones who’d suffer for it, not some Russian politicians. They’ve trained hard and put everything they have into this, not just for the last four years but, in many cases, for a lifetime. And when some of those athletes have had to fight for equal treatment, I think refusing to watch them undermines their right to compete.  I also think a lot of sponsors and athletes (at least in Canada) are doing their part to speak out against the political situation in Russia and in doing so are setting a positive example. Ultimately, the Olympics are supposed to promote peace and diversity (even though that purpose sometimes gets lost in the competition) and I think that’s been a large focus in Sochi regardless of any background politics. That’s just my opinion. Feel free to disagree. I will still be your friend. Promise.

Anyway, the hard work and determination of the athletes is incredibly inspiring. It’s a lesson in discipline to all of us writers, even if no one will hand us a medal when we finish. They might hand us a lovely book, however, and I think that’s just as good.

The picture above is of Alexandre Bilodeau and his brother Frederic. Alexandre won his second Olympic gold medal in the moguls on Monday. Frederic became a Canadian cheering icon at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010. If you want to feel inspired (regardless of where you're from), you can read about them here.

What Else I’ve Been Up To:

Seeing as my son spent most of the weekend with his grandparents and cousins, the husband and I had some extra time to ourselves. On Saturday we tried out a little restaurant called The Honeybun Café. They serve these buns stuffed with all sorts of delicious things. Mine was filled with balsamic vegetables and goat cheese. We spent a little time reading there as well before heading off to do some book shopping.

On Sunday, we went to our favourite pub, Winston’s, for lunch. The bread pudding in the picture has Jameson’s Irish Whiskey caramel sauce on it. Yum. After that, we went to see Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, which we both enjoyed. I thought Chris Pine was great in the title role.

I also got a little surprise in the mail from my sister. She sent me an awesome parcel with a very cool typewriter t-shirt and some other goodies. It was the perfect motivation for jumping into revisions! Have I mentioned before that my sister rocks?


Okay, so that was kind of long-winded. Also, how did I not notice the punctuation error in my WUW intro until now? Duh. Anyway, what’s up with you this week?

43 comments:

  1. Hiya

    Yay congrats on finishing your first draft. Are you going to let your manuscript rest for a bit before editing it. I find that working on something else for a week or two and coming back to it gives me fresh eyes. What do you do?

    You have one cool sister.

    Angel

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    1. Thanks! I'm actually jumping right into revisions because I have some ideas on scenes I want to change already. I left myself a lot of notes throughout my first draft, so I'll address some of those issues asap seeing as I already know what they are. In the past, I've sometimes taken a step back between rounds of revisions, and I imagine I might do that this time before digging into the nitty-gritty stuff. We'll see, I guess.

      And yes, my sister is very cool. Couldn't do without her!

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  2. Congratulations on finishing your first draft! That's brilliant!
    It looks like you had an amazing weekend, those food pictures are making me hungry!
    Have a great week.

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    1. Thanks, Alexa! And yes, we did have an amazing weekend. It was nice to get out despite the cold weather! :)

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  3. Argh, I think Blogger ate my comment :( If not, you'll have two times of me drooling over the Honeybun Cafe - the food sounds soooo good.

    Also, YAY to finishing your first draft!

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    1. Blogger has been incredibly dumb lately. For some reason it likes to post my replies at the end of the comments now. Sigh. The Honeybun Cafe was a great little lunch spot and I'm sure we'll go back again. Not a ton on the menu, but the food was simple and delicious.

      And thanks! I'm pretty psyched to be through my first draft! :)

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  4. Congrats on finishing the first draft! :)

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  5. Yay, congrats on finishing the first draft!
    Oh, looks like you had an awesome weekend there. Nice ;)

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    1. Thanks, Juliana! I feel both exhausted and happy now that I'm through draft number one. And yep, we had an awesome weekend despite the insanely cold weather. :)

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  6. Congrats on finishing your WIP! It's such a great feeling!

    I honestly didn't know people were boycotting the Olympics. I've been watching and enjoying. It's about the athletes, nothing else. Go Team Canada!

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    1. Thanks! It's definitely a great feeling and also a tired one! I agree about the Olympics. It should be about the athletes and their achievements. It isn't fair to let political issues steal their big opportunity. And I'll echo your Go Team Canada! Few things make me feel as patriotic as the Olympics. :)

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  7. Congratulations on finishing your first draft! Best of luck with your revisions :)

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  8. When the whole question of politics and the Olympics comes up, I can't help but think of Jesse Owens and the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. Hitler was touting the supremacy of the German Aryan race... and along comes African-American Jesse Owens and wins 4 gold medals. That sent a message louder than any boycott, I think.

    Congrats on finishing the first draft, Erin! All the best with revisions. :)

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    1. Yes, Jesse Owens came to mind for me too. Such a great story. I agree that the athletes' achievements are more effective than a boycott, which is why my efforts are going into cheering them on. I think boycotts too often make the situation worse rather than better, and unfortunately they hurt more than just the parties being targeted by the boycott. Too bad people couldn't just get along.

      And thank you! I'm glad to finally be done and eager to get into revising. I rewrote one scene last night, so that's a start! :)

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  9. So much to comment on... I meant to add something to my post about the Olympics and my problems with boycotting, but I didn't get home from band until after midnight last night. O_o Bottom line, check your politics at the door because like or not, the Olympics have nothing to do with that. It's all about the athletes and their sports, period. I followed the link to the article about the Bilodeau boys and I was sorry to read that Frederic's condition was worsening. :( Those two inspire me so much.

    I'm glad you had such a good weekend. That food is making me drool all over my laptop. I should whip up some bread pudding with Writers' Tears Irish Whiskey caramel sauce. Sounds tasty! As do the bun thingys. That DavidsTea box I sent the parcel in was kind of the perfect box. It was fun to find stuff to stick in the side that didn't have the t-shirt.

    Well, I hope you have an equally awesome week this week. With any luck I'll be writing again and you'll be in the thick of revisions, and we'll have another Skype convo under our belts. ;-)

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    1. Exactly. I'm not sure how people think withdrawing their support from the athletes accomplishes anything. Or from the sponsors that fund the athletes. It just seems so pointless to me. If you want to speak out, at least do it in an effective way, and I think some patriotic cheering is the best way in this circumstance. I was sorry to hear that Frederic's health is deteriorating as well. When I think of Vancouver 2010, seeing him cheer on his brother so enthusiastically was such a highlight for me. I love hearing about the families behind the athletes. And seriously, Alex Bilodeau's final ski was amazing! We knew he'd nabbed the gold again as soon as he cross the finish line!

      The Honeybun Cafe didn't have a lot on its menu, but the food was good. I can see a lot of people in the downtown buying those buns for lunch. What a great idea for a business. As for the David's Tea box, it's a keeper. I was trying to think last night what I'll store in it. And it's pretty. :)

      Looking forward to our next writing chat!

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  10. Congratulations on finishing the first draft!

    I'm not one to talk, since I'm boycotting Turkish goods and travel till their government finally admits what it did to the Armenians, but I agree that boycotting the Olympics over politics is stupid and short-sighted. It's not an event about government, but the ordinary citizens.

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    1. Thanks! And I think in some circumstances boycotts might be necessary, just not this one. I agree that it's short-sighted. It won't bring about the desired result and it hurts the wrong parties.

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  11. I like your attitude towards the boycotting. In the ancient games, the competing city states were actually *at war* with each other--so when they were declaring peace time for the Olympics, they were pausing multiple, bloody, in-progress wars. Not that it didn't probably get very political anyway, but...making the Olympics about fighting a battle against another culture is destructive of the spirit of the whole thing.

    CONGRATS on finishing a draft!!! And that's so great that you got to spend some time with your husband. :)

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    1. I'm glad you agree, and I love the point you made about the historical context of the Olympics. It's great to hear stories about athletes from different countries enjoying a friendly rivalry and supporting one another in a sportsmanlike way (although I'm not naive enough to think that's always the case, obviously) so it's a shame to think other people want to ruin that opportunity. It really does destroy the spirit of it, as you said.

      Thanks so much! This WIP took much longer to write than I'd hoped, so I'm relieved that first draft is out of the way. :)

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  12. congrats on finishing the first draft! That's amazing! I feel inspired to get mine done, so thanks for that :) Glad you're enjoying the Olympics, such an exciting time! Glad you and your hubby got some time for yourselves, that's always nice.

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    1. Thank you! I'm relieved to be done and eager to move on to revisions now. I'm glad you're feeling inspired about your WIP as well! I agree that the Olympics are exciting. I've loved them since I was a kid and even more as an adult seeing as my hubby was a torchbearer for the Vancouver 2010 torch relay. It was really nice for us to have almost a whole weekend to ourselves. I felt spoiled! :)

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  13. Congratulations on finishing the draft! How exciting :D Ooooh that food looks amazing.

    Have an amazing week!

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    1. Thank you! I'm pretty excited about it. We'll see how excited I am once I'm neck deep in revisions though lol. And the food was delicious. I'm craving another one of those stuffed buns right now. Have an amazing week yourself! :)

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  14. Yay for finishing your first draft! What an amazing feeling! I'm reading INTO THE STILL BLUE now and loving it. Such a consistently amazing trilogy. Have a great week, Erin!

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    1. Yay and a big sigh of relief too. This one took me longer to get done than I'd hoped, but it presented some unique challenges, being a sequel. I'm so glad you're loving INTO THE STILL BLUE. Jaime assured me that I'll enjoy it. I'm always worried when the last book in a favourite trilogy comes out. I've read too many unsatisfying endings. I feel pretty confident about this one though, especially since THROUGH THE EVER NIGHT was even better than the first book. You're right. Veronica Rossi's writing is very consistent. Hope your week is great too!

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  15. Congrats on finishing your first draft! That is so, so awesome. :) And I love that Jaime sent you a revisions-worthy packet of goodies. What a sweetie. :) Your weekend sounds like it was absolutely lovely (and delicious!). Have a great week, Erin!

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    1. Thanks so much! I rewrote a scene last night while indulging in the chocolate Jaime sent me. She kept my Pitch Wars revisions fueled with Christmas candy in December too. And yes, the weekend was lovely! Hope you have a great week as well! :)

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  16. It's a tough call on the boycott issue; I agree with you in that a boycott hurts all the athletes who've trained for so long. I don't know what the right answer is. People in Russia are being beaten for their lifestyle, and sometimes even if they support others who are gay and not gay themselves. The condition of the Olympic village exposes how far Russia has yet to go. Even the opening ceremonies celebrating Russian history had to skip over a LOT (like half of the last century). And then there's sexual abuse within their elite ballet academies... a lot of really ugly stuff. I hope people in power who can make a difference do end up speaking out because it's important. I get chills when I think about the Nazi Olympics. The whole world was there, watching, and no one knew just a few years later what was about to go down (though different now because of our age of media, I feel we have fewer excuses of ignorance).

    All that to say, I am watching the Olympics. I look forward this for so long and I love hearing the background stories of the athletes.

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    1. OK I know this is nerdy but I ended up looking up more on the 1936 Olympics (Berlin under the Nazi regime) and found this gem on Wikipedia:

      "Most African-American newspapers supported [U.S.] participation in the Olympics. The Philadelphia Tribune and the Chicago Defender both agreed that black victories would undermine Nazi views of Aryan supremacy and spark renewed African-American pride. American Jewish organizations, meanwhile, largely opposed the Olympics."

      Interesting the take on African-American victories as undermining discrimination; I wondered something similar when the Olympic broadcast cut to Putin at a figure skating event, a sport with a number of gay athletes.

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    2. My first instinct was to think Canada shouldn't participate, mainly because of the safety issue for the athletes, but the idea of those same athletes being robbed of the chance to compete for their Olympic dream is terrible. If I was to support my country boycotting, fear for the athletes would be the deciding factor. Since they're participating though, I think the best personal course of action is to show my support for all of them. Like you said, what's happening in Russia is unacceptable, and it's unfortunate that it takes an international event like the Olympics to put those human rights violations in the spotlight. It makes you wonder why on earth (literally) Sochi was chosen as the Olympic venue.

      I must be nerdy too then because after I responded to Colin's comment about Jesse Owens I was reading more about the Berlin Olympics as well lol. The quote you pointed out pretty much hits the nail on the head. Acceptance of gay athletes has been a big issue even outside of the Olympics this year, for example the NHL partnered with the "You Can Play" program to combat discrimination based on sexual orientation. The fact that programs like this exist shows that it's a challenge for gay athletes to participate in sports. So not only do they have to train hard to make it to the Olympics, but they've probably been fighting for acceptance for a long time too. When there are governments and organizations (not to mention individuals) that would willingly prevent them from participating, it seems backward to take a stand on gay rights by doing just that--taking away their chance to participate by boycotting. Like that quote says, it seems more effective to let the athletes' performances undermine the prejudice aimed at them.

      I've heard of people boycotting Olympic sponsors too, which does't make sense to me either since they're endorsing the athletes, not the views of the Russian government. I'm not sure what's happening in other countries, but I've seen some commercials from Canadian sponsors that are quite openly supporting gay rights.

      Anyway, I normally steer clear of talking politics on my blog, but I felt strongly about this issue. And as you've pointed out, it isn't an easy issue. I'm glad to hear you're watching the Olympics as well. I'm really hoping it's a safe and positive experience for all the athletes, and that the concerns with human rights won't get swept under the carpet once the Olympics are done.

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  17. Boycotting the Olympics is a poor choice. It should be about the athletes, not politics.

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    1. Agreed. Unless entire countries are boycotting based on keeping the athletes safe, I don't think it serves much purpose.

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  18. That cafe sounds amazing! Congrats on finishing your draft!

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    1. It was very good and we'll definitely go back for lunch again some time. And thanks! I'm relieved to be through this draft and eager to jump into revisions. :)

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  19. Congrats on finishing your first draft! That's always a fantastic feeling. Also, the food looks DELICIOUS (and is making me so hungry now).

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    1. Thank you! I feel both fantastic and exhausted. The food was awesome and I'm kind of craving another one of those stuffed buns right now. :)

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  20. I absolutely love Alexandre Bilodeau. I was so, so, so happy to see him do well. His story is so touching. I loved watching his brother cheer him on :)

    And a big congrats on finishing your WIP! I love getting those done. First drafts hurt, but revising is when the real beauty of writing happens in my opinion.

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    1. Nice to hear you're a fan too! We were thrilled to see him win the gold again, especially since his final ski was incredible. Frederic's enthusiasm and support of his brother is so inspirational.

      And thank you! I'm relieved to have this first draft out of the way. I think you're right that the real beauty of writing happens during revisions. That's when things really take shape and the story becomes your own. :)

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  21. I wish that my sister wrote, or even liked to read books. She likes house decorating and Real Housewives. ;/ Fail. I am glad you got to eat all that yummy stuff. Sounds so fun and delicious.

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    1. That's too bad. Jaime and I have a lot in common even besides writing, so I'm pretty lucky. And yes, it was quite the delicious weekend! :)

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