Saturday, March 27, 2010

An update from my garden.

Spring is here, I think, and it's almost time to start planting outside. In anticipation of this, I've started some new seeds today. This year, my main goal is going to be growing an edible melon.

For the past three years, I've tried growing melons, both honeydew (my favorite) and cantaloupe. Two years ago, I did succeeded in producing one cantaloupe but when I went to pick it out of the garden, to my great dismay, it had been feasted upon by several slugs and had a gaping hole on it's belly.

So this year I've started 12 jiffy pots of cantaloupe and 12 more of honeydew. What's that you say? What are jiffy pots? I had the pleasure of introducing them to my neighbour, who is sort of a fly-by-night gardener, the kind of person who delights on finding a rose bush randomly sprouting in the back corner of their yard. Jiffy pots are amazing peat coins at first, when you pull them out of the bag, and when you cover them with water they expand to 6 times their original coin shape. The best thing about the pots is that once the seeds have sprouted and you're ready to plant them outside, you just make your hole and plop the whole thing in! No need to traumatize your plants or yank their roots around. Very handy.

I've also got my standard heirloom brandywine tomatoes, lettuce-leaf basil, pumpkins, and another new addition: corn. In the non-food category (it's sort of food) I have sunflowers which I planted outside this morning. They grew so quickly! I can't wait to see what happens with them. I'm hoping for several handfuls of home-grown seeds to munch on while out on the patio.

Happy gardening.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Fists of the night is over. I'm changing the story, as I've been thinking about this for a very long time (as evidenced by the fact that I haven't posted anything in over 2 years) and think that I'd like to skew the story to a younger audience. hey, I'm a struggling author trying to make a buck and think that jumping on band-wagons can't be all that dangerous. So I'm taking my main character, here to for unnamed, and transforming her into something perhaps a bit more relate-able. I still want her to have the main voice of the story - for example, I'd like to keep the conceit that she is never named and only serves as the voice of the story, even though things happen around and to her.

Writing is good for me now, especially after what's happened in the last three months. i have a lot of stuff in my head that needs to come out and only hope that my hands last long enough to type it all out, if you know what I mean. Since started my new RA treatment I've been struggling with the pain in the small joints of my fingers. Perhaps some typing exercise will help? Who knows. I can only try.

So. I will endeavor to create fantastical works of fiction for you, gentle reader, in the hopes that you will find it entertaining and interesting. I do this in the vein and spirit of the original novelist renegade, Diana Gabaldon.

And so, onward.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

From my own life, I would like to share with all of you an event that happened yesterday.

23 July 2007

It was a muggy day. Not cold, but the kind of day where the air just hangs like a soggy curtain, choking the freshness and leaving you gasping for a breeze. As miserable as it was though, the chill of anticipation was high - a meeting was about to occur! A meeting of minds, of souls, of a community built on sharing and genuine care for fellow human beings. It was the day four babblers met for the first time. We're not talking about an earth summit though, just four friends meeting for tea. I finished work at 2pm and we had arranged to meet at Murchies, a tea house in downtown Victoria long known for it's distinctive tea blends.

I drove into town and despite the weather, it was packed with tourists. My anxiety was high - I would never find a parking spot. After searching for a few moments, I was able to locate a spot, fed the meter some coins and made my way into the restaurant. I knew her right away - Stid is a genuine beauty, her warm eyes and smile put me instantly at ease. Hetty and Jillibus were there as well and the Stid Kids looked up happily from their lunches. We said hello to each other and immediately launched into a typical babbler's conversation: how was everyone's health? How was Mr.P? Did anyone check the log this morning? It was wonderful to talk to these people, to look into their eyes, to be animated with them. Strange too, since our usual form of communication had been a keyboard or, more recently, a telephone. Hetty and Jillibus are fascinating people and shared with me pictures of the other SSI babblers, including the lovely and talented Flosey.

Our meeting was hours too short though and before I knew it, we were running to the parking meters to save our cars. I walked with Hetty, Jillibus, Stid and her children to Hetty's car and we took some pictures. An obliging commissionaire took a group shot then told Hetty that her car was parked illegally. Suddenly reminded of my own car, I took off running to get it and save myself a parking ticket and drove back to where Hetty had parked. I wished them all well, not knowing that Hetty and Jilli were off on their own trip home.

Looking back, I wish I had had the energy to play tourguide for Stid and her family - and I hope that she does not think I abandoned her - I had invited the entire Stid family to stay at my house the next time they decided to come to the island and I hope she'll take me up on the offer. If Stid is reading this, we have a lovely set of rooms in the lower section of the house where all our guests stay and she is more than welcome.

Babble-land is truly a wonderful community and getting to know the people behind the nicknames makes our friendship so much more special. Thank you so much to Hetty, Jillibus and Stid (and her boys) for such a wonderful meeting. I really enjoyed it - and now I have a piece of Stid's art to call my own.

What a day!!!

Monday, July 16, 2007

"It's been nearly six months: where have you been!?!?"

I shook my head and opened my eyes. I was lying on the main deck of The Sea Hag and everyone was standing around me, looking concerned. I lifted my hand to my head, felt the throbbing on my forehead. I did not know what had happened to me. I could not speak, I could only look up, into Annie's concerned eyes. Nutty and Ren were holding water and crackers, they looked very worried. I finally sat up and gestured for Annie to help me to one of the lounge chairs on the deck. I took a sip of water from Ren's offered glass and felt a little better. I looked around me and could see nothing but open ocean. I had no idea what had happened. I gave Annie a questioning look and she smiled. She told me that I had disappeared in the night, that they had been looking for me for months and were worried they would never find me. Then one day,that day, I just landed flat on my back in the middle of the main deck of The Sea Hag. It was as though I had fallen from a great distance as Annie, Nut and Ren had been in the galley enjoying pineapple daiquiris and cherry upside down cake when they heard the crash of my body landing on the deck. They had run outside and found me, completely passed out.

I opened my mouth to speak but could not, so I gestured to Annie about what had happened with Salty Pepper??!?? She told me that after I had disappeared, she had searched the island frantically, going to all the spots where I might have gone, but knowing deep down that I was not even on the island. Annie frowned deeply at this and told me that she and I had gone to the arranged place to meet with Salty, but that he was dodgy about the topic and that Tempo had been there - with her back-pack, that she had flown off, and why did I not remember this? We had been on the way back to the Divine Sea Hag when I decided to stop somewhere for some shave-ice and then disappeared. Annie could not think of a reason why she had not come with me. She looked upset.

Ooh, but my head hurt so much just thinking about FoN. It seemed that every time my thoughts drifted to FoN my head started to pound. I opened my mouth to speak again, but no sounds came out. What was wrong with me? Annie sensed my frustration and put her hand on my arm. She started to tell me about what she, Nut and Ren had been doing in the last six months.

Once Annie had returned to The Sea Hag and told Nut and Ren of my disappearance, the three put together a plan to try and find me. They had to somehow contact the sea psychic, Tempo, and find out if she might be able to locate me. Using some high tech locating equipment, otherwise known as a telescope, Nutty located Peri, the beautiful mermaid, and asked her if Tempo could help in locating me. Peri was very helpful, running down to visit Tempo who told her that I would be found, but that I was not on land or sea. Annie told me that Peri and Ren had been searching the skies for me for months, and had not had any luck. Losing hope quickly, Nut and Ren decided to through a party, knowing that I would have to attend because they knew I loved pineapple daiquiris. Annie had been suspicious, but joined in the fun, and they were about to come up to the deck when they heard me crashing into it - so now Annie was very anxious to hear about where I had been.

I looked down at my toes. I did not know what to say, I could not remember where I had been. All I could see were flashes of light - they resonated in the back of my mind. They were in brilliant colours. Why couldn't I speak? I wanted to tell Annie how much I had missed her and how grateful I was to Nut and Ren for being so adamant in trying to find me. I looked up and stared at the star in the sky. I knew they were so far away but their light seemed so close. Ren brought me a pineapple daiquiri and everyone sat around me, waiting for me to speak. I took a sip of my drink and felt a little better. I nodded and smiled and told Nutty how great the drink was. Everything stopped. Everyone stared at me. I had spoken! I tried a few more words and sure enough, they came out loud and true. I smiled and Annie came over to give me a hug. I told the crew that I was so sorry for being gone so long and that I really couldn't remember anything that had happened. Nut asked is it had something to do with Salty Pepper. I stirred my drink with my straw and thought for a moment. I did not think this had anything to do with him, but could not be sure. I told them that I did not know if this had anything to do with Salty, but that we should try and see if there was anyone out there who could help me regain my memory. Ren nodded. She told us that maybe Tempo could help but that I would need to go underwater with Peri to get to the castle. Annie looked cross, and said that she did not think it was best so soon after my ordeal. Annie wanted me to stay on The Sea Hag until I felt better, that maybe my memory would come back on it's own.

I shook my head slowly. I knew of someone who could help.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Salty Pepper met us at the club a few hours later. Annie and I had not bothered to change and were waiting for him at an empty craps table. Salty nodded at the security guards as he walked past. He was wearing a black shirt over dark blue denim with black square-toe shoes. His hair was combed back off his face making his eyes seem large. He flicked his eyes around the room as if searching for something, all the while striding towards Annie and I. I could sense Annie's muscles tensing. I knew she did not trust this stranger and that she was extremely on edge about even talking to him.

Salty extended his hand to Annie but she quickly turned her head. Salty shrugged and nodded at me. I asked him why he wanted to see us and he replied by clearing his throat. Annie glared at him. Salty shrugged then and told us that he knew all about the sister pirates Nut and Ren, the Divine Sea Hag, Atalante, and Peri the sea mystic. I asked him why that made any difference at all and that we were all searching for the Disco Ninja together. Salty's eyes shifted at the mention of Fists of the Night, his hands went into the pockets of his jeans. He told us that the reason we had come to Las Vegas was to find FoN but that we would never find him here, or anywhere for that matter. He told us the FoN wasn't just one person. I considered this for a minute as Annie continued to glare at Salty Pepper. We had never actually seen FoN's face: only the mask he wore. He could potentially be several people. Why this stranger would tell us that information was odd though. What could he gain from our confusion? Salty went on to say that FoN was actually a gang, a group of hoods that was organized from an unknown location in order to avenge the leader of the group. I interrupted Salty there - saying that there was a Disco Ninja then, that he was a real person. Salty shook his head. He told us that the leader was not at all a ninja but a shadowy form that could not leave the place where he lived. Salty would not tell us anymore after that. We could not even ask him another question because he simply turned his back and walked out of the club.

Annie and I looked at each other. Perhaps this shadowy leader was the person who had murdered my parents? We needed to find out where to find it - and also where all the disco ninjas were coming from. We decided to go back to the Divine Sea Hag and consult with the sister pirates. We stood to leave and as I flattened the front of my pants I heard a whisper in the air. It was incredibly faint but Annie's sharp ears picked up the words clearly. Annie looked around then slowly made her way around the table, checking under the skirt. She gestured me to come around to where she was hunched over and as I came around, I saw the most amazing thing. It was a very small woman! She was sitting under the craps table, apparently listening to our conversation with Salty Pepper. She told us her name was Tempo and that she was following Salty Pepper for her Master. Annie took Tempo's hand and helped her out from under the table. In the light of the casino, Tempo's eyes glowed an unearthly golden hue. Her skin was lightly coloured, almost Italian, and her hair was kissed with strands of what looked like actually gold. It was a chestnut colour that flowed over her delicate shoulders and ended in curls. She looked as though she would float away in the breeze but after hearing her talk, I knew she could withstand any tempest mother nature could conjure up. Tempo seemed to know me and would shift her eyes to mine while Annie questioned her. I hung back, watching Tempo speak. She almost seemed to float and I could see she was wearing a large back pack. It looked heavy.

Annie turned to me and told me that we needed to leave. She told me that Tempo wanted to meet the sister pirates but had to return to her Master first. Annie had told Tempo to meet us in Hawaii when she could. We would be waiting. We all walked outside together and after wishing us luck, Tempo turned away, her backpack unfurled into two beautiful wings and she flew away, much to the crowd around the entrance of the club's surprise. Annie put her hand on my should and steered me away. We had to get back to the Divine Sea Hag!

Friday, January 26, 2007

I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself to all the people who read this story. My name is Jennifer and I live on the west coast of Canada, on an island. It's a beautiful place to live and I have never felt more at home than I do here. I spent my childhood moving around the country with my parents and my younger brother. I've live in the prairies and in the big city of the east, Montreal. I've been across this great continent of ours six times, four of them by car. In 2004 I got to visit Hawaii which was one of the most wonderful times I have ever had.

I went to the University of Victoria and received a Bachelor of Arts in English then went on to get an honours diploma in Pharmaceutical Technology. I worked for three years as a tech at a local pharmacy where I learned more that I ever thought possible. After a massive flare up of Lupus I decided that it was time to move on from my stressful job and now I work for an internet company where my primary job is to write things of a medical nature but I have always dabbled in fiction. I do enjoy a sort of "common" science fiction, where fantasy meets our modern world so you'll find my stories a little wild but very normal.

I invite you to read and comment on anything you like. And as I've mentioned, if you'd like to be included in this story, please let me know either through the comments section or by email or while playing babble.

Fists of the Night

Chapter 6

Rennie looked up at us from the floorboards of her pirate ship. Her sister helped her to stand up and in the background, we could hear the splashing tail and cries of “is she ok?” from Atalante. Rennie proceeded to tell us what Peri, the mystic of the Java Sea had told her. She then told us that Atalante could be trusted but not why. I was immediately suspicious and stole a glance over the railing of the ship. Atalante was there, swimming back and forth, waiting to be updated about the situation. One thing was clear after the ordeal; the crab shell of destiny could be found when Fists of the Night was found. The two were interconnected. Upon speaking in depth about our encounters with the disco ninja, we decided that he always seemed to appear when there were lots of glamorous people around. FoN seemed to like the bright lights and the big sounds of night clubs. Annie and I decided that it would be best to go to the best night club in the world to see if we could track him down. Nut and Ren checked their map and told us that the greatest night club in the world was located in, where else? Las Vegas, Nevada.

Nut and Ren dropped Annie and I off in San Francisco. We promised to keep in touch with the pirates and contact them using our matching rhinestone satellite phones as soon as we had more information. Annie and I then made our way to Las Vegas.

The pink pirates had told us that they had tracked the disco ninja’s dry cleaning bills to one particular club in Las Vegas called the Whippersnapper. As night fell, Annie and I planned our attack. We would go into the club, find a quiet corner and wait for FoN to arrive. We dressed in our sparkliest outfits and made our way to the Whippersnapper.

As the doors of the club swung open, Annie and I were met with the shock of a lifetime. Everyone in the room was dressed as the disco ninja. We were the only ones there without a Rhinestone Ninja Gi. I looked over my shoulder and caught the eye of the coat check girl. I asked her if there were some extra suits we could have and she told me that this was an exclusive party. Not only that, but we could only make it as far as the coat check because of the party. I frowned and tried to think of what to do while Annie started to look around for something – she seemed intrigued by the walls and ceiling of the lobby. She was looking intently at them and actually started to float up through the air at them! I looked up at Annie, stunned. She was floating and did not seem to notice. She glanced down at me and my stunned expression then continued to examine the ceiling. She came back down to the floor, grabbed my arm and walked me outside. Annie looked me right in the eye and told me something I never expected to hear.

Listen to me, she said, this is very important. Annie then told me the story of my childhood, which I had always had a hard time remembering – I had always pegged my amnesia on excessive drinking. She told me that I was the heir to the throne of my homeland and that Annie had been specially chosen and trained to protect me and the throne from evil. When I was 3 my parents had been killed and the kingdom overthrown by a rhinestone covered menace. Annie had made it her life’s mission to restore the throne and protect me.

Naturally, I was stunned by this. Standing outside an exclusive club filled with rhinestone covered ninjas. In downtown Las Vegas. I looked at Annie and swallowed hard. I asked her why she could float and what she was looking for in the ceiling at the Whippersnapper lobby. Annie said that as protector of the throne she was given amazing powers and one of them was the ability to fly. She told me that the ceiling of the club was covered in shells. Crab shells. Suddenly, Annie stiffened. Seconds later I could hear footsteps running towards us. I looked over Annie’s shoulder --- it was Fists of the Night!! Running towards us! I couldn’t move, so paralyzed with shock, and Annie took a breath and waited. The ninja stopped in front of us and stood there. He looked around quickly then said he needed to speak to us in a private setting. Annie immediately said no but I put my hand on her arm and told the disco ninja he could talk to us right there on the street. Then, to Annie’s and my utter amazement, he removed his mask. He told us that he was a pirate on the lookout for Fists of the Night as well and that his name was Salty. Salty Pepper. Salty had critical information for Annie and me and had been waiting at the Whippersnapper for us to arrive. I was cautious about the man, Annie even more so. Salty told us to meet him at the casino “Treasure Island” in one hour and turned to run off. Annie and I knew what we had to do…..

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Here are the Fists of the Night stories for your entertainment. Please email or leave me a comment if you would like to be written into the story. Should you wish for this, please include what you would like your name to be and what you would like to be (mermaid, deckhand, intinerate man-o-war)

The first few chapters will be posted next week.

Fists of the Night

Chapter 4

~the wreckoning~

As I sat on my silk cushion pondering the ways of the world, it occurred to me that the books I had read as a child had contained another bit of information. The crab shell of destiny could only be found in one place; the underwater nation of Aquaria. This place was deep beneath the waves of the Pacific and could only be accessed by the people who lived in the city – the mer people. I looked at Annie for a moment and then told her this. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath and told me that she had once encountered a mer person while on the end of the dock in San Francisco. She had tossed a silver dollar into the ocean and made a wish that one day she would find the ultimate purpose in her life and low and behold the coin was flung out of the water back at her. Annie looked at the water in surprise and then realized she saw a face! It was a mer person, a maid, by the name of Atalante. She had a beautiful red and gold tail with long, flowing amber hair and luminescent purple eyes. Annie smiled as she remembered and finished her story by telling me that Atalante had warned her be careful what she wished for – and that Annakin was Luke and Leia’s father. I gave Annie a puzzled look and Annie just smiled. She put her hand on mine and told me that she could call up Atalante at any time just by playing the theme music to Star Wars. I looked at the Pink Pirates and asked them if their ship had underwater speakers. Ren and Nut consulted each other for a moment before ringing a tiny bell. A man appeared and they whispered something to him. The ship began to rattle (and hum) and suddenly there was slashing off the port bow. We all ran to the side of the ship and sure enough, there was a beautiful mermaid there. Atalante waved at Annie, who nodded her head.

The mermaid asked Annie why she had called her after all this time. Annie told her that no, there wasn’t a sale on at Barney’s but that we needed her to help us get the crab shell of destiny. Nut started to tell the story about the disco ninja, “Fists of the Night” but Atalante stopped her. Atalante already knew about FoN and the shell. The mermaid told us that one of us would have to go to the bottom of the ocean to help get the crab shell of destiny as Atalante could not possibly do it on her own. Immediately, Nut volunteered, as she wanted to show off her fabulous rhinestone studded pink bathing suit with matching SCUBA gear. I couldn’t help but gasp- she looked like a mermaid herself! Nut quickly jumped off the ship and into the water where Atalante told her to stay close. Atalante flicked her tail and we saw Nut’s mask come off her face. Nut tried to grab her throat but was being dragged down by Atalante! I screamed and Annie leapt into the air. But it was too late….Nut had disappeared below the surface. Ren looked stern, she told us she had a psychic connection to her sister and that she could feel Ren almost breathing but wasn’t sure how. We would just have to wait.

Chapter 5 – The Wreckoning Part the Second

Rennie and Atalante swam rapidly to the bottom of the ocean. Rennie knew that she would have to go quickly with the mermaid or else face her death. Luckily, Rennie had learned to carry Gillie weed with her at all times and had taken a mouthful of it the moment she had felt Atalante’s hand on her neck. Rennie tried to act as limp as possible but readied herself mentally for the attack she knew might be coming. Soon, Atalante and Rennie had landed in a small sea cave and Atalante used her tail to cover the entrance, making the surroundings seem very dark. Atalante then told Rennie that she had been forced to do take Rennie hostage but that she secretly wanted to help, since Fists of the Night had kidnapped her very own sister and was holding her for ransom. Atalante went on to say that the crab shell of destiny could only be found by consulting the mystic of the Java sea and that she would take Rennie there immediately, but Rennie had to promise not to tell anyone about the kidnapping or the Disco Ninja’s involvement.

Rennie shook hands with the mermid and they made their way out of the cave and across the sea floor. Soon, they came to an expansive castle where they found, in the main hall, a giant clam shell made of the most beautiful pearl. It sparkled in the filtered sunlight and with a flash of bubbles opened to reveal a beautiful mermaid. Her skin was a delicate shade of light blue and she hd flowing purple hair and vivid, sparkling green eyes. Her tail was long and the fins at the bottom elongated and flowing, like silk, they were blue and green and pink. She truly looked like a mystic. The mermaid bowed her head and told Rennie and Atalante and she was indeed the mystic of the Java sea and that her name was Peri. Atalante nudged Rennie, how bowed quickly and asked where she might find the crab shell of destiny. Peri laughed, it sounded like tinkles in the water, a lightness bouncing off the waves, the two instantly felt relaxed and happy. Peri looked at them and Rennie was so relaxed she did not notice the tiny crab that had appeared in the shell of Peri’s throne. Peri told them it was the crab of destiny who had just shed it’s magical shell. She told them that the shell had not so much as been shed but stolen from the crab. Atalante blanched at the news, and Rennie put a hand on her shoulder. Now they would never find Atalante’s lost sister…or Fists of the Night. Peri held up her hand though and told the travelers not to lose hope. There was an even greater power than the crab shell of destiny and it was waiting for them on the surface in the heart of a warrior and a guardian. Only the warrior and a bad of intrepid adventurers could break the spell of Fists of the Night. Rennie thought for a moment, perplexed. She would need to speak with her sister, Nut about this. Rennie could feel the Gillie weed wearing off and instinctively put a hand to her throat. Peri smiled and lifted her hand, sending Rennie up onto the deck of the pirate ship, much to everyone’s shock. Atalante followed quicklyafte her, leaving Peri, her shell, and the tiny crab alone, for now.

On the deck of the pirate ship, Rennie looked up at all of us and said that we needed to have a group meeting, as quickly as possible. She had news of great importance to share.