We cleaned out our fridge last weekend.  You know how it is. There are a million half-empty bottles in the back, just taking up space. I like to think we’ll eat whatever it is that’s congealed/grown fur/liquified, but let’s be honest, I’d rather suck down a handful of squirming cockroaches than use the last of the spaghetti sauce (when did we even eat spaghetti recently?). So, we opened all the bottles, chucked out what was left, and deposited the clean empties in the recycling bin.

 

 

And then we needed mayonnaise.

 

 

We hardly ever say that anymore, after adopting our “let’s eat vegetables all the time” program. But we decided to have a bit of a blowout, and we bought burgers and fries…and hey, where’s the mayonnaise? What’s a girl to do? Hop in the car and go to the store to buy a bottle of mayo we’ll only use once and end up throwing out in six months?  Nope. I went all Martha while my husband was out BBQ’ing…and I MADE mayonnaise. Yep. Made. It.

 

 

(Shhh….if you’ve made it before, don’t let on how completely simple it is. Work with me here, please.)  After consulting many cooking gurus, famous chefs I have on speed dial, and several cookbooks, I got out the eggs and numerous other ingredients (all three), and went to town. Sure, my wrist was sore after all that whisking, but the result was a gorgeous, creamy concoction that looked fabulously time-consuming. And it tasted pretty good, too.

 

 

It’s the little things in life that make the most impact. I swear, I’m going to be thinking about homemade mayo for weeks. Yeah. I need a hobby, I know.

 

 

So, along with the great mayo accomplishment, it was another great week for my team of Bootcampers.  We’re all still hanging in there, moving forward. Yay to Amy, Kristen, Megan and Katrina for making some BIG strides this week. Lois, Cynthia, Sonja and I are still plugging away. Good thing we have some great teammates to give us encouragement!

 

 

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Where will we be next week as we enter into the last month of the YAB Spring Writing Bootcamp? Only time will tell……

 

 

Heidi Sinnett

Posted in Spring Writing Bootcamp, YA Buccaneers | Tagged 2 Comments

I’m a BIG Coronation Street fan. Many of you will not have a clue what I’m talking about, and that’s okay. It’s a Canadian thing. And a British thing. And probably an Australian thing. Whatever. But for the last 14 years, my husband and I have watched this show every Sunday morning and immersed ourselves in the tales of the people from Weatherfield.

 

 

Recently, we had the opportunity to see a few of the characters at a special event in nearby Ottawa, and meet them afterward. I couldn’t believe how star-struck I was and how nervous I felt having a simple photo taken with them afterward. Can you imagine if it had been an author? :-)

 

 

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Anyway, it was a wonderful event to attend, and I can’t believe how lucky we were to get to see them.  Okay, enough fangirling….

 

 

This week was pretty good for Team Denali. We did a lot of reading, quite a bit of writing, and lots of fun things, as well. I continued with my major revision on an older work, but really got into the swing of it this week. How did the rest of my team do on their Spring Writing Bootcamp goals?

 

 

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I’m so proud of them! Yay, Team!  Here’s hoping this coming week will be full of words, surprises and fun! I’m behind you 1000000000000%!

 

 

Heidi Sinnett

Posted in My Life, Spring Writing Bootcamp | Tagged 4 Comments

I am so lucky, I want to have it tattooed across my forehead. I feel like I’ve been walking around in a state of bliss for days, and it all has to do with writing.

 

 

As I’ve mentioned in a few recent posts, I’m leading a group of writers through their first Camp NaNoWriMo event. When I began this project, it was partly because I wanted to do something at the library that would relate to my love of writing, and partly because I thought it might be fun. I wasn’t prepared for the wonderful people that would put themselves out there and work their butts off for this project. I don’t think any of us at the library were ready for this. But it’s AMAZING.

 

 

I’ve been sending daily emails to my group of 11 writers, trying to give them some inspiration to reach word count goals etc., and also a few helpful tips to make their first novels a bit easier to get out. And each day, I hear back from at least one of them with some sort of wonderful breakthrough or idea they’d like to discuss. I want to SHOUT these emails into the office when I get them, they’re so wonderful. Our writers are putting everything they have into this, and I can’t believe it. We’re a wonky, mis-matched little team, but somehow, it all works.

 

 

And yesterday, we met as a group for the first time since everyone began writing, and boy, did we have a LOT to talk about! It was scary and thrilling and hilarious all at once. I can’t wait until next weekend. I’m planning a fun write-in at the library on Sunday afternoon.     And on the other side of my world, I have a fabulous team of writers on Team Denali, part of the YAB Spring Writing Bootcamp. These wonderful people have been inspiring me each and every day with their progress and their words of encouragement for each other. We’re doing well, team!  We ARE the GREAT ONES! :-)

 

 

With that in mind, here’s what happened this week:

 

 

Me:  I managed to start some serious revision on my 2nd book. This is my main goal, that I’ll continue with for the duration of the Bootcamp, I think. If there’s a miracle and I finish revisions before then, I’m all about plotting out the next one.

 

 

I earned one heart this week.

 

 

Sonja:  She had hoped to write every day, get BINGO on her card and edit her opening. We almost had a twitter writing party together this week, so I’m pretty sure she’s writing, although I don’t know if she managed a BINGO.

 

 

She earned one heart this week, too.

 

 

Kristen: This woman had BIG goals! She was going to begin Camp NaNoWriMo on Tuesday, but made a major breakthrough in her writing goals and FINISHED her third book! She can now say she’s written a trilogy! YAY, Kristen! So, with that, she’s decided to finish up some revision on Book 2 before starting NaNo.  I think we can forgive that, right?

 

 

 

 

She earned    three hearts this week, just because.

 

 

Amy:  This girl did LOTS of writing this week. How do I know? Did you see all her stars?? Congratulations, Amy! Plus, she even had time to send out a little love to her teammates this week.

 

 

She earned    two hearts this week!

 

 

Lois:  Lois really stepped out of her comfort zone this week and tried to be more active on Twitter. And it was fabulous to hear from her! More, Lois, More! (Although, don’t get sucked into the Twitter Time Trap.) Hope tho editing went well this week!

 

 

She earned  one heart this week.

 

 

Cynthia: She took advantage of some rainy weather to really get down to work this week on her writing. Way to go, Cynthia! Almost makes you wish for more, doesn’t it? Because no one wants to be stuck inside when it’s beeee-ooootiful out!

 

 

She earned  one heart this week, too.

 

 

Megan:  I love this girl. She’s a constant source of amusement for me. Witty little tweets and great blog posts are what I’ve come to expect from Megan. And she’s working hard on a sort of synopsis–although not quite so detailed—for her Manor Maude WIP.  I can’t wait to read this one! She says it’ll be ready today. Yay, Monday!

 

 

She earned  one heart this week along with most of us.

 

 

Katrina:  Katrina has a blog, everyone! Go look at it here! She also managed to add 1500 words to her WIP, and revised two chapters!  She was a force of nature this week! YAY, Katrina!

 

 

She earned    three hearts this week, too!

 

 

That’s it for Team Denali this week. How did YOUR team do? If you’re interested in joining the YA Buccaneers Spring Writing Bootcamp, it’s not too late. There are two more months to go. Just hop on over to the blog to find out more details and sign up. We’d love to have you along!

Heidi Sinnett

Posted in Ridiculousness, Writing, YA Buccaneers, Young Adult | Tagged , 3 Comments

This is the end. All right, it’s only the end of the month, but it’s still pretty significant. It’s the end of the first month of the YAB Spring Writing Bootcamp! YAY!  My entire team made it through without anyone falling off a cliff or breaking an ankle! It also means we’re tougher, stronger and a little bit wiser. Well, maybe just tougher.

 

 

This week was kind of horrific/epic for me. It was the first real clash of both worlds I live in…my writing world, and my library world. Some of you might think this would be an easy transition, but for me, it hasn’t. It has nothing to do with the people I work with, and everything to do with my own expectations. Honestly, I’d be perfectly happy to just walk into work one day and plop a copy of my published book down onto their desks and say, “Oh, I wrote this.”  But, until there actually IS a copy of an actual book, I’m working on keeping it under wraps.

 

 

Except for last week.  As part of a great initiative to do more things at the library (all because of a new Head of Library Services), I decided it might be fun to have Camp NaNoWriMo writers at our library. Did I know of anyone in my small town of 9500 people who was actually DOING Camp NaNoWriMo? No. Did I think anyone even knew what NaNoWriMo was? Again, no.  But like all my crazy endeavors, I just went ahead and pulled it together, hoping someone…..anyone….would show up.

 

 

And they did! :-)

 

 

I have eight…8….people writing in April as part of the project!  EIGHT!  There were two teenagers, a man in his seventies, a few retirees, and several other community members I’d never met before.  It’s certainly a diverse group, but they all wanted to be there, and they all promised to give it a shot. YAY!  We’ll see what happens.

 

 

Oh, and I did an interview on the local radio station. I somehow managed not to pass out from nervousness. That’s all I’ll say about it.

 

 

So, how did my team do this week?

 

♥  Three out of eight of us saw DIVERGENT at the theatres this week. The verdict? Two thumbs up! (Okay, three, technically. Or six, if they put both thumbs up, barring any accidental thumb removals. Let’s just go with three thumbs up.)

 

Somebody had a birthday and got a free donut and hot chocolate and bought lots of books and took a dare. Oh, and something about playing Bingo a lot, which I guess isn’t YAB Bootcamp Bingo.  Whatever, Megan….

 

♥ Two people did LOTS of writing and revisions and participated in Word Sprints and tweeted about it and made the rest of us feel like schmucks, but hey, good going! At least some of us are taking this all seriously. (Thanks Katrina and Amy.)

 

♥  One of us is preparing to write short stories during Camp NaNoWriMo in April. I expect we won’t see much of her next month, but at least we’ll know she’s working hard! You go for it, Kristen!

 

♥  One of us should have been sending out inspiring emails and rounding up the team to participate in Word Sprints and posting her accomplishment tweet onf Friday, and not Saturday afternoon. One of us should have been throwing together amazing Twitter parties and cheering on everyone in the bootcamp. One of us should have been working on her synopsis for the last half hour just now, but instead, was taking pictures of her new plant.

 

 

Succulent

 

 

Most of us will probably do better in April. Good luck, everyone!

 

 

Heidi Sinnett

Posted in Spring Writing Bootcamp, YA Buccaneers | Tagged , 8 Comments

I’ve been on a space kick. I don’t read a lot of science fiction, but recently, I’ve been devouring space-themed books. After Chris Hadfield’s memoir AN ASTRONAUT’S GUIDE TO LIFE ON EARTH, and Lily Koppel’s THE ASTRONAUT WIVES CLUB, naturally, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Andy Weir’s THE MARTIAN.

 

 

 

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This book has a fabulous premise….after a terrible dust storm forces the crew of Ares 3 to evacuate Mars, the world is shocked to learn an astronaut has been left behind, thought to be dead. But he isn’t. And now Mark Watney is alone on the Red Planet with no way to contact Earth, no hope of rescue, and very few provisions.

 

 

I couldn’t imagine a better hook and was excited to see what was in store for this poor space hero. Much of the book is written as log entries as Watney goes about trying to suvive on Mars one day at a time. I must admit, I’m one of those people who will give up on a book after about 30 pages if it doesn’t capture me, and I almost gave up on this one. If you love science, this will probably keep you reading without a problem.  But I got stuck on page after page of this type of entry, when he was trying to figure out how to make an indoor garden:

 

“To be viable, soil needs 40 litres of water per cubic meter. My overall plan calls for 9.2 cubic meters of soil. So I’ll eventually need 368 litres of water to feed it.”

 

“I’m willing to dedicate all but an emergency 50 litres to the cause. That means I can feed 62.5 square meters at a depth of 10 centimeters. ”

 

 

And a few entries later, his problem-solving switched to potatoes:

 

“My best bet for making calories is potatoes. They grow prolifically and have a reasonable caloric content (770 calories per kilogram). I’m pretty sure the ones I have will germinate. Problem is, I can’t grow enough of them. In 62 square meters, I could grow maybe 150 kilograms of potatoes in 400 days (the time I have before running out of food). That’s a grand total of 115,500 calories, a sustainable average of 288 calories per day.”

 

 

Don’t even get me started on his soil calculations. For a while, I felt like I was reading an entire book of math problems (if two trains traveling from opposite sides of the country are planning to meet in twelve days, and one train is going 120km/hour, the other 100km/hour, the first train stopping midway to let off passengers and causing a 20 minute delay, etc., etc.). You get the picture. Mind you, Weir interjects some fun into the mix with these entries, but it was tough slogging.

 

 

And then I hit page 49.

 

 

If you can persevere, you’ll be rewarded at page 49! The entire book takes a turn and switches between Watney’s log entries and a seriously freaked out bunch of people at NASA. From that point on, I couldn’t put this book down.

 

 

There are so many exciting twists and turns here, and you’ll start to cheer for Watney to overcome obstacle after obstacle. He’s one plucky dude!

 

 

From an accuracy standpoint, I know the log entries were probably very realistic. Watney had no choice but to figure out what he needed to survive, and I’m sure a trained engineer would spend much of his time on calculations. He’d treat the logs the way any other scientist would. They weren’t diary entries where he would talk about his feelings.  I get that. I just found it difficult to enjoy. I wanted a little more fear, and a little less chatter, I guess.

 

 

But I really, really enjoyed this book once it got going, and I’ve been talking it up to everyone I know. Watney is a great character, and for one character to carry most of the book on his own, it says a lot for Weir’s writing. It’s got the same feel as GRAVITY, but with more action.

 

 

Looking for the next great read.  In the meantime, back to listening to the audio version of ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK. (Fabulous!  Who knew???)

 

 

Heidi Sinnett

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