Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Rejection letter number two, from The Wild Rose Press:

April 30, 2008

Dear Vicki,

I'm sorry it has taken me the whole month of April to read All in the Details...(edit)....

Vicki, you have many good writing skills. Your mechanics (grammar, spelling, punctuation) are all excellent. That certainly makes an editor's job so much easier. You do not need to underline anything in italics though. Your italics were used properly; you just need to remove the underlines.

As for the story, I find that All in the Details gets off to a very slow start. I expected the story to develop faster than it did. It seems you have a very good story towards the end of the manuscript—about Lilah's family history. I would like to see that moved forward so you can grasp the reader's interest sooner. I suggest that when Lilah and Kent have their "fling", they become intimate emotionally enough for her to share that part of her life with him.

I'd like to see a stronger hero, too. Because of his mother's treatment of him, he seems to be a wimp in her realm, but a tiger in Lilah's presence. I would like to see a little more strength with Diana and a little more vulnerability with Lilah. This will make his personality more believable, if he doesn't waffle so between the two women. Does this make sense?

When Lilah meets Diana in her office near the end of the story, I find it hard to believe Lilah will get away with telling Diana how she needs to run her life, especially since the women hardly know each other. Perhaps you could have them meet and tussle a couple of times before this, so that it seems more plausible for Lilah to speak her mind in this instance.

Your writing is very descriptive, which is imperative in fiction. Your characterizations are good, too. The settings are minimal in effect so that in the future you might want to weigh in heavier in describing the surroundings.

Your writing has a lot of potential, and if you would be willing to consider some of my recommendations and would like to re-work your manuscript and re-submit it, I would be glad to take another look at it. Whatever you decide to do, I wish you much success in your writing endeavors. You do have a lot of talent, I just think you need to hone it some.

Please let me know if I can be of any further help to you.



Like my first rejection letter, it's not as bad as it could be: that said, there are obviously some flaws in the characters and storyline that I could address--all things I was aware of, but decided to let slide, just to see if anyone else would notice.

Also, I was really trying to go for a more believable non-Alpha hero, but apparently, it doesn't really work.

Next steps: right now, I'm focusing on some other works, plowing on with book number two, Star Attraction, which could conceivably stand alone without All in the Details (I'd envisioned them as part of a miniseries). Still working on that short story, which is absolutely killing me; and fanfic, which is still my first true love.

As it is, though, I am completely burnt out. I took a couple of days off, but it only recharged my creativity juices to about 1/5 full.

I think I need to do something else for a NOT read or write romance. Thank God TV is back....

Saturday, April 26, 2008

One of the many reasons why I love John...

Check out the second praise quote.

That's my boy!

The most hilarious thing about this story is that John was actually reading this book for the past few days and only noticed his quote on the back cover today. The publisher didn't notify him or anything!

I have a dream...of a TTC that works

Pretty much everyone and their dog has something to say about the TTC strike. Torontonians are mad. Some were stranded after a night of partying, others stuck for the weekend in whatever remote place they live in the city, plans canceled because there's no way to get to where they need to go. Some resent the broken promise of a 48-hour notice; others are just plain resentful.

Now, I've had my moments of pure anger at public transit, of course, but I consider myself pretty levelheaded about it. I mean, let me put it this way: I need their services, and as long as they continue to provide that service, however flawed, at a lower economic and environmental cost than owning a car, then it is a service I will continue using because I really don't have any other choice.

Yes, I'm already aware of the facts on both sides of the support/hate arguments. I understand the anger and frustration of riders who pay higher and higher fares for what appears to be turning into slower and less comfortable service. But I also have an inkling, as someone who has worked with the public, of the shit drivers, ticket collectors and other workers probably have to deal with on a regular basis.

Admittedly, they don't do the same kind of work that other workers like police, firefighters, EMT workers, teachers, librarians and other unionized workers do, but let's face it, unless you've worked for the TTC yourself, you can't fully understand what they have to put up with regularly. And that only gets the snowball of resentment and frustration rolling down the hill towards violence a lot faster.

Guys, anger doesn't solve anything. And neither will boycotting what is an essential service in a large metropolitan city like Toronto.

Let's respect unions for what they do: they exist so that the workers are not abused by the agencies that employ them. They are there to (hopefully) represent the wider interests of the people in the union. But that doesn't mean every single driver is an asshole. It doesn't mean that the kid behind the ticket collection booth voted to turn down the contract because he thought he deserved more money. Yesterday, sixty-five percent of TTC workers voted to strike: that means 1 in 3 voted not to.

We don't need angry people stomping around exacerbating the situation by spitting on anyone in a maroon uniform. We don't need more frustrated riders on the commute muttering and yelling and developing what I can only term "bus rage." We don't need bus drivers fearing for their lives and safety and jeopardizing service overall. And we certainly don't need more drivers on the road making the overall situation even worse.

We need public transit. Moreover, we need better public transit. And we need to start opening up honest, useful communication between the riders who use public transit and the people who run it so that we can actually solve what is amounting to a crisis in our growing city. What will service be like in five years? Ten? Will we ever get more subway lines? What will a project like this cost?

The only way to open up the floor to discussion is to actually open it up.

Think the ticket collector is useless? Then write a letter asking why we don't replace them with machines or an automated fare system.

Think the platforms are overcrowded? Then write a letter asking for expansion.

Think your train is too slow? Then write a letter asking why we haven't dug more subway tunnels.

We need answers, not anger. And the only way we can get an explanation is if we ask for it. No spin, no PR. It's time to put all the differences aside and simply ask a forward moving question: Why can't we have better public transit in Canada's largest city?

My friends, let's move forward and ask hard questions. Let's work to meet the needs of the people without bringing in prejudices and resentment and accusations and finger-pointing.

We need public transit, and they need us. It's time we worked together.

Thursday, April 24, 2008



Okay, WTF is this????

And in case that link doesn't work: posted this stupid piece of shit on Yahoo! reporting on how the rising prices of gasoline are affecting Americans' way of much so, apparently, that NBC is reporting they are picking gas over food.


Now, I try not to stand on my soap box if I can help it, because, inevitably, someone will throw something at my head and call me a sanctimonious hypocrite since I live in North America (Canada) and must, therefore, somehow be living the same lifestyle I am criticizing. Let me go on to say I do not own a car; I also live in a big city, and bring my own reusable bags to the grocery store. I eat meat, and exhale carbon dioxide. And true, sometimes, I like to buy shoes I'll only wear maybe I'm not the paragon of virtue worthy of ranting....

But I digress. And this report still makes me mad.

Roughly, the story is this: coverage of rising gas prices has elicited e-mails from dumbshit viewers who are angry about the things they have to give up so they can fill their SUVs and pickup trucks.

"You can imagine the sacrifices Americans are having to make to afford gas at that price," says the reporter, who leads with an interview from November 2007 with one man who claims he has had to cut down on the number of times he takes his family to church services--at a church 35 to 40 miles away--because of the rise in fuel prices. The reporter's summation was that rising gas prices had affected his family's relationship with God.

Okay, 1) what the hell is he doing driving 40 miles to church? I am sure you can find a place of worship much closer. God won't punish you for it. And there is nothing wrong with taking the bus!

2) If your faith is being affected by something as worldly and mundane as gas prices, you need to revisit your religion and ask yourself what the real deal is, because as forgiving as deities are, I'm pretty sure "I'm too cheap to pray and believe at home" is not an excuse.

The most ironic things about this one interview? The man is driving an SUV.


But the WTFery doesn't end there:

"I have had to cut back on after-school activities because I cannot afford to take them or pay for the activities anymore," writes V. Smith.

Now, this may not be a case of dumbshitedness on behalf of a viewer--I blame an utter lack of context for this quote if it has been misinterpreted by the reporter, who seemed to go out of her way to not ask any questions or do any interviews.

In fact, extracurricular activities do cost money sometimes...and time and gas, both of which are in short supply and high in cost for the modern American these days.

But doesn't that just point to the fact that the education system and the government is failing to provide enough funding and resources to schools so that children can expand their life experiences in simple things like soccer games, field trips, art classes and music lessons? What happened to giving our kids the best start in life?

The report gets even better...

"Some people even say that they are changing their diets, cutting down on costly prescription drugs, or walking instead of driving to their local grocery store. All in hopes of saving money on gasoline."

1) Changing their diets, huh? You mean, no more scarfing down Big Macs from the drive-thru every night? Dude, what does a change in diet even mean? Are they changing for the better? Eating more fruits and veggies, say? Or are they being forced to eat more fast food? Or are they eating their own kin now? This is just bad reporting--a non sequitur, at best.

2) Cutting down on prescription drugs: I'm sure someone more educated than I could go on about how a complete and utter lack of national health care has basically generated this problem. But I'm not that smart. I am, however, just perceptive enough to see gas prices are not the reason why prescription drugs are expensive: it's the pharmaceutical companies who make the prices for life-saving drugs stupidly high. I might also add that choosing to fill up your car's gas tank over, say, getting your next hit of insulin to control your diabetes...probably a bad choice to make.

3) Walking to your local grocery store? THE HORROR!!! How else will I get to show off my phallic status symbol, if not to the SUV-driving soccer moms who can barely afford to take their kids to practice?

But let's move on from this WTFery, shall we?

"It's a burden for many of families, but especially for the little ones...."


"...As Barabara Hatfield writes: 'It's not fair to have to tell your children that we have to eat a much smaller meal this evening or skip breakfast because we had to buy gas.'"

Seriously. SERIOUSLY???
"Sorry, Billy, no second helping for you--Mommy needs to drive to work."
Lady, your priorities are totally messed up. LET YOUR KIDS EAT. What does an apple cost these days? Certainly not $4.00 a gallon.

Okay, just to be fair and not some liberal elitist neophyte pundit who obviously doesn't know what she's talking about and knows nothing about the working class, maybe this woman is in dire straits: maybe she can't get to her job because she lives on the outskirts of town and makes less than minimum wage. Maybe she drives a cab for a living. Maybe public transit is so bad, only the truly desperate would use it. Maybe everyone she knows hates her and won't let her carpool. Maybe her bicycle got stolen. Maybe her EV1 was taken away. Who knows?

What I'm winding down to is that all of this is a part of a larger systemic problem rooted in the American standard-of-living mindset:

Big houses. Big cars. Sprawling suburban residential neighborhoods that are not pedestrian friendly, include no local small businesses to supplement regular household necessities, thus making a car not a luxury, but a necessity unto itself.

People, this is wrong.

It's not a crime to not own a car, or live in denser cities, or have jobs and places of recreation you can walk to. It's not a crime to want to have a lifestyle that doesn't include driving everywhere you go; or even driving a smaller, more efficient and, dare I say, eco-friendly alternative energy vehicles.

What is a crime is thinking we have some god-given right to have everything we have without sacrificing something. And I'm not just talking about the out-of-pocket costs that make us decide to buy KD for dinner instead of fresh vegetables to make a salad because KD fills you up better and is a cheaper deal than perishable foods. There are economic, political and environmental costs. Costs that, though they may not seem evident at first, will come to kick you hard in the ass, and even harder in the wallet at a later date.

Now ask yourself: What are the REAL sacrifices Americans are making so they can afford gas?

Disclaimer: this is not a reflection of my views on all Americans--just the stupid ones. I might add there are plenty of equally stupid Canadians and others around the world.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


New episodes of Avatar don't start until
July 14th!!!!!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

I *heart* Georges St. Pierre

Mmm. Beefcake.

Now, I'm not normally one to drool over athletes in any sport.

Still, after watching GSP pound the crap out of Matt Serra in a pay per view match of UFC 83, I gotta say, yowza.

I mean, this guy's legs are model-perfect. He's totally hairless. And his complexion brings to mind the soft tones of a mocha latte.

And he's French-Canadian!

What's hotter than that?

...Oh, wait, I know: his match against Matt Hughes (more beef, less cake, but a real UFC sweetheart...with a twin brother, no less.)

I think I've found my spectator sport of choice....


From the New York Comicon Avatar panels!


Trailer for the rest of Book 3: Fire (oh so damned good)

The first seven minutes of "Chapter 17: The Ember Island Players"

Friday, April 18, 2008

Obligatory Author's Update


Among the klassy postings of penis size charts and clips of Avatar-related YouTube videos, I'm trying to strive some professionalism in my "writing career". Ergo, here be the obligatory update on my works in progress, since people seem to be asking:

All in the Details--my first book, completed in 2007, was rejected in January by Harlequin Silhouette Special Edition, as you probably already know. It is, however, under consideration with The Wild Rose Press, a much smaller publisher that's been accepting a lot more submissions. I should hear back by the end of the month. (Crossing fingers.)

Star Attraction--I recently completed my second book, part of a series with two common characters from All in the Details. Members of my lovely critique group, who I met just recently for lunch, are reading the first three chapters and hopefully tearing it to shreads (because only from the ashes can a phoenix rise, or some such Iroh-esque proverb). From there I'll be editing, and then panning for beta readers. (Takers? Takers? Anyone?)

Untitled short story--Samhain Publishing has a call for submissions for a humorous fantasy/supernatural anthology of short stories. Being a bit of an old hand at churning out Avatar laughs over at, I figure, meh, let's try writing on a tight deadline and submitting. I've been skipping lunchtime pilates sessions, churning out what I can on my lil' Eee PC and getting eyestrain doing so. My goal is simply to finish and submit. If I'm funny enough...well, we'll just have to see....

Fanfiction--Still working on In the Family Way, and publishing about one chapter per week. I actually write a whole bunch of drabbles, connecting the story threads as I go, until I have a cohesive story...with as many punches as I can throw in, just to keep it interesting.

Other...?--I have two other novels on the go, but haven't touched them for about 2 months now since I've been working to finish the short story and the seventh draft of Star Attraction.

On the pseudonym front, I haven't chosen one yet, but I've had quite a few suggestions, which will someday go into a post of its own.

So, yeah, busy, busy, busy. If you ever wondered what I do in my spare time, this is pretty much it. Yup. My life summed up in one blog post....

Avatararded, part n + 1

The Boiling Rock Portuguese.


Because it's airing in Latin America tonight.

I hate you, Nickelodeon.

But on the bright side, GanXingba has another gem for the NYC Comicon.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Lovebot 9000 pens RITA winner, destroys all humans

Gleaned from the fantastic annals (*titter*) of Smart Bitches:

Meet Philip Parker: author of 200,000 books, written mostly by computers.

The skinny: Dude apparently writes computer algorithms to generate books and prints them on demand for things like medical libraries. An excerpt from the NYTimes article, if you will:

If this sounds like cheating to the layman’s ear, it does not to Mr. Parker, who holds some provocative — and apparently profitable — ideas on what constitutes a book. While the most popular of his books may sell hundreds of copies, he said, many have sales in the dozens, often to medical libraries collecting nearly everything he produces. He has extended his technique to crossword puzzles, rudimentary poetry and even to scripts for animated game shows.

And he is laying the groundwork for romance novels generated by new algorithms. “I’ve already set it up,” he said. “There are only so many body parts.”

Now, not to be an elitist snob, but, um, isn't that cheating? Furthermore, hasn't it already been done?

Not that I have anything against our robot masters or those who wrongly think they can control them. Not when we have Autocrit, an editing wizard you can use to read through your work to check for overused words, sentence length variation, repeated phrases, homonyms, and more. Or Kuka (pictured above), which generates copies of the Martin Luther Bible in a lovely calligraphic script, giving thousands of monks time to kick back and chant. Oh, and let's not forget Margaret Atwood's LongPen telautograph machine. How many author's arms have we saved with that?

At this point, I'm supposed to go into some long but quirky diatribe about the value of a good writer and the words they put to paper. I'm supposed to say something intelligent about how the Hollywood writers' strike should have aptly demonstrated the need for good writers in a broad spectrum of media.

Unfortunately, my BlogBot 2000 decided to cack out on me and come up with some word salad instead. And I'm just too damn lazy to write anything smarter than that.

P.S. By this standard, John at Dymaxion World MUST be a robot.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Food Court: The Musical

Following the great musical traditions of Buffy The Vampire Slayer's Once More With Feeling, comes Improv Everywhere's spontaneously performed Food Court: The Musical.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Korean WTFery

And you thought only the Japanese had weird s#it going for them.

It turns out the number one thing Koreans like, according to this Walrus blog, is something called The Shit Needle, a game in which you steeple your index fingers and poke someone in the butt.

One of Korean school kids’ favourite games is 똥침, or “ddong ch’im,” which translates roughly as “shit needle.” It’s not complicated; all you do is run around with your two index fingers in the steeple position, find vulnerable anuses and jam your “needle” up them as hard as you can.
--Joel McConvey

And, just so you, too, can play without getting poop on your fingers, play this.

That's right, folks, the klass doesn't end here at Of No Import....

N.B.: Thanks to Sean McGrady for pointing me to this scatological find.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Your Sexy Word of the Day

the quality or state of being tumescent; especially : readiness for
sexual activity marked especially by vascular congestion of the sex organs.
--(from Webster's 11th)

"It took only seconds to slip the latex over his tumescence."

Monday, April 07, 2008

Avatarded, part n + 1: Music Night

Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall...

Check out this neato interview with The Track Team, the guys who do the soundtrack for Avatar.

Plus, there are a bunch of sound clips and music bits you can download.

You can also get more sound files at I particularly like the Agni Kai music. I also can't help getting teary at Little Soldier Boy (reprise), sung by the late, great Mako, voice of Uncle Iroh.

Okay, I've got my fix in for the week.

*twiddles thumbs*
*checks watch*
*eyes bug out as she grabs the nearest Viacom employee by the collar*


On the scale of useful things to have posted in the bathroom...

...I think this ranks among the top.

Download, print, slip into a plastic binder cover protector, and slide it between the pages of the bra section in that Sears catalogue stashed in your bathroom.

And check out this link, too. Because you might want to print this out:

I am soooooo klassy....

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Avatarded...part n....

Like a cokehead waiting for her next hit, I've been biting my nails waiting for the second half of the third and final season of Avatar to begin...

Someone made this stupendous fan trailer, and now I'm all tingly and squeeing and jonesing for more. DAMN YOU, NICKELODEON, WHY ARE YOU HOLDING OUT ON ME????

Tuesday, April 01, 2008



That's the word I'm using for all the Internet resources burying me as a wannabe romance writer.

The thing is, there are SO many romance writers, it's hard not to trip on one along the Information Superhighway (does anyone even use that term anymore?)

And yet, I feel obligated to take a peek at each and every web site, blog, forum, chat and thread. After all, these are my people--struggling writers who all have the dream of getting the call...

Since joining the RWA and starting my "serious" writer's journey, I've had to get an additional account just to accommodate additional memberships and web accounts. I now have three e-mail addresses (four, if you count my work), a blog, a MySpace page (which I absolutely hate), and a community account on

In addition, I've started collecting RSS feeds, none of which I can read on a regular basis; and I'm a member of the Toronto Romance Writer's Yahoo group, for which I get periodic e-mails. I try to check out The Romantic Times web site when I have the chance, but that, too, is lagging.

Of course, I'm not even counting Facebook, the TWO Live Journal accounts I possess, or the countless other personal web sites and blogs I browse. My days are spent almost entirely in front of the computer now....

It's a funny thing, this electronic system of tubes. You'd have thought with this much information flowing at next-to-instantaneous speeds, that we'd have more time in our lives for the things that matter. If only someone could sell you time with the Internet....