Oh my, oh my!

{{For the love of Pete!  I totally forgot to hit publish, distracted as I was by the Canadian election results.  Here you go. *laughs*}}

 November first is in TWELVE days!

That’s right, dear readers, NaNoWriMo is coming up quick!  Don’t know what it is?  Check it out here.

I was drawn to the website this morning.  There is information I need.  I am not quite sure what it is that I need, it being 5:37 in the morning, but it’s there.  I know it is.  

I went there, I think, because I need a title and a synopsis, even a bare minimum one, from which to build a plot.

Or is it that I need a plot built in order to create a synopsis?

Either way, I found myself in my NaNoMail.  I’ve been overlooking that just a tad – there were 32 emails in there.  That’s quite a lot for such a place.  Buried in there, in the folder labeled “Pep Talks” I found a wonderfully amusing pep talk from Jim Butcher.  I haven’t read a lot of his work but I’ve come across personal essays and things like this pep talk of his before.  I quite like the man.  If ever I was to have a writing mentor, he’d be one of my top three choices.

(Of course, I’d better read his work first, eh?)

He reminded me, in this pep talk, that I’m not going to get anything done next month if I’m not writing every day now. I have been writing some.  I finished the background of my villain.  His name is Robert (always Robert, never Bob) Churchward and he is ex-military.  He’s a nasty piece of work but it’s not entirely his fault.  I will share him with you later.  

My goal over the next few days is to develop the plot, find a title (actually, that’s partly the goal for today), get all my research done, and get to the point where I can put fingers to keyboard and begin.  

Here’s hoping!

Well, actually, here’s planning.  If I look at it as a plan, act as if it’s a plan, (and isn’t it?), then it will get done.  If I look at it as a dream, it’s much less likely to.

And with that bastardized random nugget of Universe wisdom, I leave you.


P.S.  I am considering fundraising for the Office of Light and Letters again this year.  I haven’t done it for a few years and I really do think that literacy is a vital part of the world today.  Nearly everything we do is connected to the written word and I despair of the way those words are being written.  Funding to teach our children to enjoy reading and writing seems, to me, critical to ensuring their future is bright and productive.  

I haven’t decided, as yet, (and I’d better SOON), because The Boyfriend reminded me that the world is inundated with fundraisers for this and that and one more may just be the straw that breaks the camels back.  

However, this is literacy we’re talking about.  

I will let you know.  

Have a wonderful day!




Fiction Friday Week 32

I know, I know!  It’s Saturday.   Yesterday kind of got away from me (chores, moving my air conditioner out of the window…recovering from moving the air conditioner *laughs*).  However, I am here now! 

The last couple of weeks have seen a serious lack of focus that has made it difficult to complete the mini character profiles of the people in Ted’s life.  A thriller requires peripheral characters that the protagonist can rely on and, potentially, be betrayed by so I have been trying to add people to Ted’s life.  

So far, I have Carlos, whom I shared already, and I have Anthea, Ted’s mother, his sister (barely), Ted’s overseers, some ranch hands, and the people in his lab.  The last two groups are pretty much in name only though.  

Now, finally, I get to develop the villain.  *cackles*

For now, I am going to get dressed, feed my Man and get set to try to help him move today.  

I will probably end up doing more work on my computer than lifting and shifting boxes. 😉

Have a great day and for all you Canucks:

Happy Thanksgiving!  Don’t forget to count your blessings and enjoy your friends and family around you.  I, for one, am grateful for everything and everyone that allows me to keep writing and for those who love me and support me. 



Other Characters

 Mother:  Anthea Terwilliger

  • Widow of five years, lost husband to a drunk hunter
  • A rancher’s wife, involved in every aspect of the business from the very beginning, from their first mare
  • She raised Ted and 3 sisters, two younger and one older, with her husband doing almost as much of the work. Children are 45 (Clarissa), 43 (Ted), 41 (Abigail), 39 (Stephanie)
  • Ranch started small and grew as the breed’s reputation, and that of their feed, grew
  • Ranch started as 15 acres, two for living and their first small stable, 5 for pasture and ten to grow feed. It is now 500 acres at 3 sites (250, 100, 150), the original 15 is still the homestead, 400 acres is devoted to growing the best
  • They have a dozen brood mares in 3 breeds (4 per breed), two studs per breed
  • One location has a lab to help with genetics of both horses and feed
  • Involved in the lives of all her children, though she doesn’t quite understand her son
  • Youngest daughter (Stephanie) lives at home, her and her son, Trevor, who is the oldest grandchild of five grandchildren
  • Heads the state fundraising chapter for MS research, got involved when her oldest daughter was diagnosed with MS at 20


Anthea is 5’6”, trim and with definite curves.  Her hair is a steel grey and falls just past her shoulder blade.  It’s usually in a French braid so that it’s out of the way and still fits under her hat.  She has nearly flawless skin, despite decades working in the sun, it is the colour of cream.  She has brown eyes I can only describe as warm maple syrup.    Every time I’ve met her, she’s in denim and a soft shirt.  She dresses with practicality, works hard, often doing what is traditionally described as “man’s work” – riding, roping, breaking.  She toils in the fields, mucks out stalls and delivers her horses’ babies.  But she never fails to be feminine in her manner or her appearance. 


Anthea was a high school cheerleader who fell in love with the quiet boy in the 4H program.  Luke was from a small ranch.  His mother died when he was small and his father was a drunk.  They had one horse and a few sheep left when he started high school.  It was his efforts, before and after school, that kept the ranch moderately solvent.  And it was luck – a lottery ticket purchased by Anthea for his 18th birthday – that helped them purchase the ranch out from under his father.  

At 17 years old, after Luke’s father gleefully took the money and took off, Anthea married the love of her life.  Together they took stock of the ranch and took a risk, sinking almost all of the lottery winnings into improving the barn and the stock.  They laid in the best feed seed they could buy and hired an experienced hand. 

It took them years to build a reputation as the breeders of the best work horses in the U.S.  The ranch expanded along with their family. 

Arguments, screaming matches, family dinners, love, constant affection and encouragement made a family that was strong, loyal and devoted to one another.  Luke’s tragic death shook them to the core but made them tighter. 

Luke was out riding the range, checking on the fences, during hunting season.  According to the ranch hand that was with him it was over in seconds.  Second one:  Luke was astride his horse, laughing at a joke.  Second two: an arrow was protruding from his chest.  Second three: he was on the ground. 

For almost three months, Anthea had all four grown children and their families in her home.  One by one she kicked them out.  Stephanie and Trevor remained behind when Anthea discovered that Steph’s husband was abusing both.  Anthea used her not inconsiderable wealth to make sure the man was left with nothing of Steph and Trevor, including parental rights. 

Anthea is the only one in the family aware that Ted did not die in the fire.  She thinks it is cruel to let his sisters grieve for him but understands the need for secrecy. 

Horse Breeds:

Horses.xlsx  (this links to a file about various breeds of work horse like the Ardennais)


Constance “Connie” Vargas


  • Large animal veterinarian
  • Conversely, a collector of anything related to pygmy animals – art, books, statuettes when she can find them
  • Met Ted when one of his horses tore a ligament (a Type II Lesion in the Superficial Digital Flexor Tendon) and he needed a vet in a hurry
  • The ranch was still being established, the injury occurred during transport from Tennessee
  • She was insulted when he did a full background check not only of her credentials but of her (she finds out when he mentions something she thought buried in her past. What?  “well, I had to know my new vet was actually as good as you appear.”)
  • Invites her to dinner to make up for upsetting her
  • One thing leads to another
  • “That first night was… rough. It was Ted’s first time with a woman.



Curvy, apple-bottomed with generous hips, breasts and broad shoulders with a narrow waist

Near waist-length auburn hair, somewhat sharp features, long nose.  Not beautiful but prety

Half Dutch (mother), half Portuguese (father), takes after her father mainly in appearance. 

 Rayna and James Morin


Ranch overseers.   Rayna looks after the barns and ranch hands, James looks after the house and grounds around it.  They came to Ted when they learned that someone was buying up land and looking for an overseer.  They were bold enough to tell him they were a team – ranch and house – and that they were damn good. 

He asked them why they’d left their previous position – a place in Alberta – to come to Ontario.   Then he checked out their story.  (they lost their children in an accident and, knowing that their children’s memories lived with them no matter where they were, they sought a new start, trying to repair and rejuvenate their marriage)  He hired them on the spot and then checked them out, totally anti-Ted. 

Rayna is 5’11”, all lean muscle with a gentle curve in at the waist.  Long arms, long legs, far stronger than she looks.  Dark blonde hair is kept chin length for practicality.  Blue eyes, thin upper lip, full lower, strong jaw and chin.  She was raised with horses, riding before she could walk, knows everything about them.   And she knows how to handle the most chauvinistic of ranch hands.

James, never Jim, never anything but James, is 6 feet tall, green eyes, kissable mouth, strong jaw, long aquiline nose, dark hair, usually scruffy looking – always a 5 o’clock shadow, hair slightly unkempt like he’s been running his fingers through it – and yet it serves only to make him look sexy.  He is lanky.  Like his wife, he is long and lean, though not quite as muscular, long arms, long legs.   He was an executive chef and operations manager at their previous position.

Previous position:

The large ranch in the central-western Alberta butted up against the foothills of the Rockies.  The Triple Star Ranch raised and trained horses for movies.  It contained a full wild west town and a large herd of horses.  There were two main buildings – the very large barn and a very exclusive hotel.  The hotel was James’ domain.  It contained four large, well-appointed suites (bedroom, ensuite, sitting room), and two separate cottages.  Their jobs were both glamorous and extremely taxing; they loved them. 

The incident:

Their children – both boys, Thompson and Bryant, 12 and 10, totally fearless – snuck out very early one late October morning, near their mother’s birthday, saddled horses and went for a ride.  They got lost, too deep in the foothills.  Investigators speculate that the boys were on the ground, possible with reins in hand, trying to find their way back (James says they’d have been looking for tracks) when the rockslide happened.  Rocks and boulders from the size of a soccer ball to a 60s VW Bug were found around the boys’ bodies.   Thompson had a broken leg.  Horses bolted, boys couldn’t move, they froze to death overnight.   Evidence of Thompson trying to keep Bryant warm.  Two days before they were found, snowed  (show police report?)

Other Ranch hands:

Mahdi Hussein, Derek Evans (co-op student), Robert Guilfoyle, Claire Keating, Kevin Hindley, Alan Jones

Lab techs:

Dr. Doreen Barrell (Supervisor), Stephen Coons, Eric Dowling, Alishia Moore, Tami Bedford