The Platinum Ticket by David Beynon

The Platinum Ticket by David Beynon
Shortlisted for The Terry Pratchett Anywhere But Here, Anywhen But Now First Novel Prize

Sunday, 30 December 2012

2012 End of the Year.

And here we are.  2012 is drawing to a close.

It was a good year.  Most of it was preoccupied with building this:

Here's what it looks like today:

And inside it is a place where I can get work done:

My coffee service centre - essential fuel station for the ambitious writer.

And the desk.  Lots has been happening here lately.

And, of course, The Thinking Couch.  No writing office is complete without one of these.

I call it my office, but really it belongs to Willow.  The in-floor heating transports her to heaven as soon as we come out here each morning.

It has been a productive space -

These are just some of the short stories I've written this year.  But here's the biggie:

That's Herne.   Finished, edited and sent off yesterday.  This novel, like The Platinum Ticket, is being entered into the Terry Pratchett Anywhere But Here, Anywhen But Now First Novel Prize.

What else?  What else?   Oh...I helped out the local library and the big guy himself just before Christmas:

As always, it was a joy and honour.

Willow celebrated her 11th birthday at the beginning of the month.  She's lovely and wonderful.  Here's a picture from this morning's walk:

We had another birthday - my daughter's and it was a significant one.  No - not a teenager yet - that's next year.  Here in Ontario, when you turn 12 you need not sit in the back seat of a car anymore.  That's right:


She looks pretty pleased about it.

I even had an excuse to make a Red Velvet Cake:

It spent just a minute or two too long in the oven.  Slightly dry but delicious.

Speaking of delicious, this Christmas we went with Cornish hens:

Stellar meal courtesy of my wife.

And here's my Christmas present.  Books are always under the tree in this house and always will be.  Here's the treasure I unwrapped on Christmas morning:

Now that's something to keep me busy until the New Year....

Friday, 2 November 2012

My Hallowe'en includes the apostrophe

This is the time of year I usually rant and rave about how every spell-checker on the planet decides that Hallowe'en, spelled properly, deserves a little squiggly line underneath.  I won't do that this year.  In a world of lol's and rotflmao and emoticons (which, by the way, survives the spell-checker just fine) I suppose it is kind of selfish of me to expect people to add that cumbersome apostrophe every time each year someone types out Hallowe'en.

Moving on...

This year I wasn't as prepared for my favourite holiday.  Lots has been going on and Hallowe'en snuck up on us.  Although preparations were mostly last minute, we were able to put on a pretty good show.

I was an accident victim, my daughter was Zombie of Green Gables ("Zombie with an 'E'").  Her friend was a broken doll and my son was scariest of all.  He was a door to door salesman!

For a rushed job, we decorated in style.  The boy wanted a puking pumpkin, so there was that...

Note the Pumpkin Ale to the left.

There was the unearthed grave, right on our front lawn:

We had a pumpkin that I was still carving as children came to the door:

I also managed to gouge a goodly chunck of my finger in the process, but what's Hallowe'en without a little blood?

  Tricksie the Hallowe'en Cat made her annual appearance:

And this was new - A lovely Dr. Seuss Tree full of skulls:

The best part...

They're all infant-sized skulls.

Happy Hallowe'en

Friday, 5 October 2012

Into the workspace

It's been a month since I started using the new office in earnest.  I must say, I'm pleased with the results.  Since the kids went back to school I've written two longish short stories, plunged ahead with about six thousand words on Herne, a Heritage Matters article for the local paper and  have been revisiting Loremaster with an edit.

The office is slowly growing into an ideal work space.   The shelves are filling with reference material and some favorite novels.  The table by the window currently holds a stack of library books and papers from the County  Archives - research for a story on local haunted houses for the Heritage column.  And the couch - now called my "Thinking Couch" has been used a couple times for thinking and only, I'm glad to say, for two actual naps (but what naps they were...).

All things considered it has been a very good month.

Friday, 31 August 2012

Let's catch up

With the end of summer looming, let's see what's been going on...
My cousin from Britain came to visit and brought her bunch across the Atlantic.  That's here and her gang with my wife and kids.  

If the view behind everyone looks pretty fine, it should.  The photo was taken in the bulgy part of this building behind them:

We decided that this was about the most Canadian/ Toronto picture we could get.  There were a beaver, a moose and a bear standing next to them but they moved before I could get the camera out.

We went on a bit of a nature hike and came across these fungis.

And we discovered a field full of these fun guys, too.

The office in the garage is a heartbeat from being done:

Here's how it looks to someone stalking me from the backyard:

All in all, it's a wonderful space.  The office gnomes seem right at home:

Yesterday, the boy and I went golfing.  The highlight of the day was his amazing 30-40 foot putt.

He put it in the hole from there!  And we met this little guy:

That little snapping turtle is just a little bigger than a two dollar coin.

Posts on this blog have been few and far between this summer.  As the kids head back to school I'll be checking in a little more frequently but most of my writing needs to be fiction.

I need to make this grand new office pay for itself.

Friday, 3 August 2012

The great evaporating summer

I looked at the calendar today and was shock to see that it's August.  Summer dashes by at a breakneck pace, doubly so when you're busy.

We spent a week up north just in time for War of 1812 celebrations at Fort St Joseph.  This fancy American tall ship stopped by to exchange cannon fire with the for while we were there.  Unfortunately the Fort was behind schedule, did not fire its cannon at the appointed time and the ship tacked back across the bay without firing a shot.

We spent some time on two lakes.  Lake Huron and Big Basswood Lake.  Here the kids are enjoying a cool dip on a very hot day.

The lovely Willow was content to spend her day looking beautiful on the dock.

The boy decided it was time for his first round of golf.

He did quite well and now it looks like the most economical plan for next year might be a membership at a nearby club.

The building project nears completion.

The upstairs, now insulated and drywalled, was a beautiful exercise in builder's geometry.  Look at those angles.

The exterior is almost done...

And the office now has a floor.

Good thing, too.  My office gnomes are getting a little antsy for the move...

Thursday, 28 June 2012

...and moving on...

Lots going on so let's get right into it.

Here we are on the last day of school.  This afternoon my two kids will climb off the bus with sadness in their eyes and the bitter realization that their dad is unprepared to do anything at all interesting with them this summer.  No doubt their old man will figure something out.

The building project - continues...

When last we left the garage/office project it looked like this:

A simple, albeit expensive, slab of concrete in the side yard. In a short span of time walls were constructed and piled on top of each other like an elaborate 3D puzzle:

On a day where I left the house to supervise my daughter's class poetry reading at a local shopping mall (a story in itself) with the walls exactly as above, I returned to this:

Walls - glorious walls.  Things were beginning to take shape.  A splash of the first coat of paint didn't hurt, either:

Then the humble start of the second floor:

Rafters and dormers came next:

As I type today, I hear the sound of hammers as shingles are added to the structure.  Here's a shot from yesterday:

But the building project is only one of many events this month.  Sadly, the Tinkmobile is no more...

You DO remember the Tinkmobile - that horrible two-toned car we bought to see us through a season or two?

After many seasons and one too many repairs, the Tinkmobile has gone to the auto wreckers just down the road.  We discussed replacements and decided that the missus really needs a commuter car with excellent gas mileage.  We test drove a few vehicles but settled with this:

Yes, that's a smartcar.  And what fun it is to drive.  I had my doubts at first.  In fact, at first, I thought the damn little car couldn't be much longer than my bicycle.  It is, but not by much:

We've had it a week and a half and we have already realized significant gas savings.

I spent three days last week at my daughter's grade 6 camp experience as, for lack of a better term, a chaperone.  I had far too much fun to have been a chaperone.  It was hot and tiring and everything was uphill both ways, but so enjoyable.  I even got the opportunity to do this:

Yeah - that's me scurrying up those staples to that swing bridge about 35 feet above the ground.

Our annual Doors Open event came and went and our Heritage Centre Wellington booth was well visited.  Before my turn to man the booth, we took the kids to some venues they wanted to see.

We went to the local radio station (The Grand 92.9) where they were asked to go on the air:

Then on to the local cable station where they got to play on the green screen set:

All together it has been a busy month.  And I haven't even talked about writing.

I'll do that next time.