Basically a Giraffe-Cat: the Banded Linsang

Pretty cute, eh?  Ooooh gurl and dat neck!

The rarest of the civets, it’s sometimes known as the tiger-civet.  It eats squirrels, rats, birds, lizards- if it can catch it, it will eat it.

Here’s where it lives (Borneo, Sumatra, Java…):

There’s not a ton in the wikipedia article, but here you go!  More extensive is the entry on Civets.

Thought you might like to know that this crazy awesome looking animal exists.  That’s all for now folks!

Thanks for stopping by.

Heidi out.

Good News Everyone! Zombies Galore- Featuring “Monday Matinee Madness” by Yours Truly!

Hello wonderful readers!

It has been a lovely summer.  Still waiting on queries to trickle back to me.  I sent out a few snail mail queries to some really stellar agents.  I imagine the volume of queries an agent receives is far less if they ONLY accept snail mail queries.  Maybe I will be one of dozens instead of one of hundreds!

On to GOOD NEWS EVERYONE!

I have a story appearing in a zombie anthology- Zombies Galore will feature my story, “Monday Matinee Madness” as well as many others which are sure to add up to one horrific anthology of the undead!

The cover art, by Stephen Cooney.

It is edited by T.M. McLean, and some of the other stories to look forward to are:

There are some others as well!  I am so glad that this anthology finally is going to print- it’s been quite a process.  A big thanks to Theresa Derwin for getting it back off the ground!

In other news, that audio-project I mentioned earlier is starting to take shape.  Several episodes are recorded, and now I’m working on mixing them.  Soon my pretties, soon.  I can’t wait to share them with you (you’ll see them here first of course, my dear, dear readers).

As always, thanks for reading.

Heidi out.

For when bets get serious: Supreme Poker Plaques

My husband’s latest Kickstarter just went live, and I wanted to share it with you.  He had great success with his first project, Wild Gears, and now he’s delving into the world of poker.

He plays in a regular game with some friends, and as the game goes on, they cut low value chips out of the pool, and are left with only the large chips.

But he found that sliding huge stacks to bet was cumbersome and inelegant.  He searched around and found that the thing he was looking for already existed; you have seen them too, in Casino Royale.  Like, how cool are these?!

But the only ones he could find were not nearly so cool as that.  They were light and made of cheap plastic.  So, my husband being my husband, the only logical thing to do was to design and make his own.

He spent a long time designing graphics to put on them, using the four card suits as inspiration, and came up with some pretty slick designs.

The plaques will be stamped metal, like a coin, with the designs in enamel on them.

Each one will weigh about 50 grams; that is a heavy plaque.

He got a render done that shows what he’s going for, though I imaging that the real product will be far cooler, due to the weight and the feel of them being made of frickin’ metal.

And naturally, if he was bumping up against this problem, other dedicated poker players must also have had these ideas too.  So he has made a Kickstarter, and if anyone else is tired of lame piddly chips, and want to instead make serious bets like a pro, they can get in on it too.

If you are so inclined, the Kickstarter is here: Supreme Poker Plaques.

I’ll be sure to post photos when we get prototypes; these are going to be sweet.

Here are a few of the designs up close:


So there’s that!  If we see something that should exist but doesn’t, we can’t really help ourselves but try and get it made.  😉

Cheers dear readers.

Heidi out.

Checking In While Waiting for Good News

Just wanted to say Hey.

Whatcha thinking bout.

Me?  Oh not much.  I haven’t written anything for a few weeks.  A strange feeling.  I’ve trained myself so well that it feels really odd to not be writing.  Like petting a cat the wrong way.  But I needed a break.  And it’s good.

My manuscript is out with several agents now.  It’s a wonderful feeling.  “Waiting while hopeful” is a different sort of anticipation than the previous bouts of waiting.  Not that I wasn’t hopeful those other times, it’s just… several full manuscript requests.  From amazing agents.  I just… it feels like I’m really close here.  I hope I catch one of them by the heartstrings enough to go to bat for it.

There’s a few funny things below, and after, some Original Content of my trip to the Vancouver Aquarium!

Tales From IT, part one and part two.  A good and terrifying read.

Someone has been waiting literally 20 years for me to get this joke:

And a good ol’ knee slapper:

Also, last night I went to a preview performance of The Tempest with my friends. It was great! The Tempest holds a special place in my heart, because it was the first Shakespeare that I studied. I was worried my opinion of it would be tainted by nostalgia, but this latest viewing of it proved that it stands the test of time. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and would recommend it. Bard on the Beach never ceases to amaze.

The portrayal of the sisters Stephana and Trincula absolutely slayed me. I was in stitches. You ladies nailed it!

And now, some pictures from my recent trip to the Vancouver Aquarium!

The Octopus came out to say hello!

It’s MEGA big. Like, I got Deep One vibes off of him.

Coelacanth!  I made a post in /r/Dinosaurs about this specimen, with more pictures.  

And, one more of the Octopus.  He was the highlight of the trip!  More photos of the octopus can be found in this album, right here.  

Aaand, a kitten picture.  Lemon sleeps with her leg splayed out weirdly sometimes.  

That’s all for now folks!  While I play the waiting game, I’m playing Minecraft again, the Apocalypse Server of course.  I’ve only been senselessly killed half a dozen times so far!  My little farms are going well, and I’m digging a *huge* inverted pyramid, which I will name something like “Monument to Waiting”.

Just didn’t want you to think I’d forgotten about you.  Hopefully good news soon.  😉

Thanks for sticking around.

Heidi out.

Days Off, Tourism in Vancouver, and Botanical Gardens

This round of major revisions is done, and it went really well.  I got caught up on one of the chapters for a few days and went through several drafts of it until I got one that worked.  But it’s done and it’s off to a spectacular agent.  Here’s hoping they dig the draft!

So I’m taking a few days off.  My brain is mega tired from the past 3 weeks of work; 3 weeks of injecting jeopardy, pain, peril, and raising the emotional stakes for every character in my novel.  It’s been a good exercise, but a long time to be mentally sprinting.

Time to do something else and have a break!  Like do a critique on my friend’s screenplay!  And write a blog entry!  (NO!  Bad Heidi!  Go watch some cartoons or eat some ice cream or something non-writing related!  okay okay okay.)

Speaking of my yearly Tourism Passport Challenge…

Every year, anyone that works in the tourism industry in Vancouver has a chance to participate in a wonderful program, aimed at getting everyone in the industry familiarized with everything there is to do in Vancouver.  The idea is that then we can tell people where to go after they visit us at our tourist destination.

So the month of May is when we spend time going from destination to destination, getting to know museums, galleries, and attractions of every kind imaginable.

Here’s my passport, a little worse for wear:

And a typical page (the stamps need to be collected as proof of visit):

15 stamps gets you a Privilege Pass, which is basically a key to the city as far as tourism goes.  I picked mine up on the first day I could.  It gets me into anything in the passport, plus a guest.  Man it’s awesome!

The attractions I visited to earn this privilege are below.  It’s all clickable, in case you’re interested in going to any of them!

The Vancouver Lookout (a must-visit for someone arriving in Vancouver for the first time; an incredible view of the city, and a great way to get your bearings!)

The Vancouver Art Gallery (and I’ll be going back soon to see their Douglas Copland exhibit!)

Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Gardens (absolutely beautiful- I go to the free portion of the gardens all the time, just to sit and relax and look at the lilies and turtles and koi.  Their tour (paid admission to a private part of the gardens) is well worth it, and is quite informative.)

Science World (a landmark of the Vancouver skyline.  Be sure to check out a film at the OMNIMAX theatre inside that awesome dome!  wink wink)

The Bill Reid Gallery (probably Canada’s best known First Nations artist- my favourite piece is his “Galaxy” necklace)

FlyOver Canada (a ride- I haven’t been on it yet but I went to scope it out so I knew what it was all about)

Canada Place (walked the Walk and looked at all the place names- my goodness we have some weird town names in this country!)

False Creek Ferries (boating around false creek, delivering people from downtown to Granville Island, from several docks)

Museum Of Vancouver (oh man that place is awesome!  I love learning about Vancouver, and MOV sure was a treat)

H.R.MacMillan Space Centre (AKA The Planetarium!  With some of our astronauts achieving rock-star status it’s no wonder that space exploration is seeing a resurgence in the public awareness.  To the future!)

Vancouver Maritime Museum (I love me some nautical history, and this was an interesting visit.)

VanDusen Botanical Gardens (absolutely gorgeous- photos below)

I also visited the Vancouver Convention Centre, and Tourism Vancouver.  (And just in case you’re counting and noticed this only accounts for 14 stamps: I got two stamps from Science World, an extra one for visiting the magnificent OMNIMAX Theatre.)

So that’s what’s up with me lately.  Feels good to have a break.  Hope all is well with you, dear readers.  In finishing, here are some photos of my day at VanDusen Botanical Gardens.  Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Full album here, if you want to see a TON more flowers!
 
Or, if you just want to see some more of that nifty BLOND Canada Goose! I’ve never seen one like that before.

It’s a Lovely, Lovely Spring!

Spring is finally here!  Thank goodness.  The warm sun on my skin felt lovely as I walked to the supermarket today, after a morning of editing.

I’ve had some interest in Sleep Over, so I’m just going through to make sure I’ve caught all the mistakes, fixing a few wording choices, some phrasing made better, before I send it out.  Reading it, even in “editing mode” is rather brutal… Found myself tearing up in a few section.  The hits just keep on coming.  It’s hard to know if I’ve crafted the arc well enough that it won’t be just *too* brutal.  :<

Something cheered me up on my break:

😀

That’s all for now folks.

Enjoy the nice weather!

Heidi out.

Heidi’s Mystical Grab Bag Extravaganza!

Just for the sake of sharing.  Like a hug, but with internet things.  For fun.  🙂

Check out the footage in this food ad… don’t watch it if you’re hungry, because you will want to eat the world.

I don’t like Jazz.  At least, I don’t like Jazz *yet*.  I’m working on it.  I think I found the subgenre I want to explore- this is the smothest thing I’ve ever heard.  Whatever it is, I will find more, and I will melt into a puddle of saxophone and noir detectives.

Maybe play it and keep scrolling.

And now, images.

Rare mutation causing the “King Cheetah”:

Me after too much coffee (husband putting up with me):

How I feel when I’m querying agents:

Check out this trilobite!

The study hall at the National Library of China:

Check out this amazing mural in Montreal:

This is an orangutan hand:

Simosuchus: what a cute dinosaur, eh?

How the sawfish catches its prey:

And lastly, hum, let’s see… Ah yes, of course. This.

Thanks for stopping by!

Heidi out.

How I Stopped My Cat From Scratching My Couch by Doing This ONE WEIRD THING!

Thanks a lot, internet ads.  It’s hard to espouse a single-action fix now because it sounds so hokey.

But seriously, I managed to get my cat to stop scratching my couch by doing, literally, one thing.

This one thing after a string of failed one things, of course, but if you keep looking for something after you’ve found it, things wouldn’t be in the last place you looked.

I’ve had this cat, Echo, for years.  She’s been a real fixer-upper of a cat.  Lots of bad habits, lots of strange behaviour.  My husband and I have worked patiently and gently with her, and she’s turning into a lovely little kitty.

One thing she just hasn’t been able to get, is do not scratch the couch.  Or this chair.  Or anything that is not your scratching post.  

Her thought patterns were this:

Can I scratch this?  —->  Do I want to scratch it?  —->  Scratch it!

But no no no, I have only just now, in the past week, realized that this is wrong.

I tried all the solutions of course.  Cat treats (she has a messed up stomach, and won’t touch anything that isn’t her brand of dry cat food.  Right?  What kind of cat doesn’t like cat treats!), three different kinds of scratching posts, natural wood, changing locations and heights, cat nip, tin-foil deterrent (seriously, our home started to look like bad sci-fi from the 70’s; half of the surfaces from the hip down were covered in tin foil).

ETC ETC ETC.

Basically nothing worked.

Until I had (another) go at reading up on cat psychology.

I read a passing remark about how cats are territorial, and that scratching is an act of claiming something for oneself.

*Palm smack on forehead here*

Because what had I been doing was stopping her when she scratched something ‘bad’ and moving her to her scratching post.  Sometimes I would scratch it to show her.

Basically, I was claiming her scratching post as MINE all the time.

The ONE thing I changed was this: I scratch everything she’s not allowed to scratch.

It started simply; stopping her from scratching the couch, and then myself scratching the couch, while maintaining eye contact and saying firmly “This is mine.” over and over again.  I swear I’m not crazy.  Know how I know?  Because in ONE day, she began scratching her scratching post, and only her scratching post.

I don’t ever touch her scratching post.  That’s hers.  But I make a show of scratching the things “that are mine” so she knows not to scratch them.

Hahaha, as I am penning this, she just had a go of scratching my computer chair, so we’re not 100% there yet, but I did the thing, scratching it myself, and now she’s sleeping on it across the living room.  I think she wants the chair as her own and that was a go at ‘claiming’ it.  This will be ongoing, but we’ve had a breakthrough, for sure.

She has nice, good, long scratches at her post.  She’s done this most when other people are in our home, and I seem ultra-crazy at how happy I am that she’s doing it.

“OH YOU GUYS SH SH LOOK look at her scratching her post!  Isn’t it wonderful!  Oh Echo you are the best kitty in the world!”  Haha and then she’ll scratch it later and be like “I am the best kitty in the world, look at this awesome thing that only I am allowed to scratch.”

OK but seriously, I am super happy.

If you’ve tried everything and nothing is working, try scratching your things.  Don’t touch the kitty’s scratch-thing, but make a show of scratching your furniture.  Be calm and stern, and be consistent.  I would say ignore them when they scratch their post, or coo at them softly if they like that sort of thing and it doesn’t disrupt them.

I hope it works as well for you as it did for me!

Writing is going well.  Writing retreat coming up for the first two weeks of February.

Until next time, dear readers, thanks for stopping by.

-Heidi

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Hello dear readers,

Just a quick post to say that I hope you are well this Christmas, and wish you all the best for the coming New Year.

Posts have been postponed for a few weeks, as I and my husband are moving house.

It’s a busy time.  Not only are *we* moving, but we helped his mom move.  Actually, this was the December of moving- our best friend Matt just moved away for (hopefully) a few months, to teach.  My brother-in-law just moved in with his amazing girlfriend.  My sister just moved.  And with us and Aaron’s mom moving, it’s basically most of our immediate people-group moving house and home.

Whew!  Busy times!

(And also the Apocalypse server I play Minecraft on just reset… sooo…)

My next posts will be writing heavy; I got a great book on writing for Christmas, and I will be combining my notes from it with some older notes, to share with you.  🙂

Happy New Year!

Back soon.

Heidi out.

My Experiment Without Sleep

Well, my no sleep experiment was a success.  I’m bummed I couldn’t go longer, but really glad I held out as long as I did.  Long enough to get sick, physically sick from staying up so long.

I made it 48 hours.  Two full nights.

It’s not really that long.  I feel like a bit of a wimp.

7AM Saturday to 7AM Monday.

By the end of it, I was destroyed.  In every sense of the word.  I’m not being melodramatic either.  I know it *sounds* melodramatic.  But damn, I was a wreck.  Falling asleep if I stayed still, and just as bad when I went for a walk to try and stave off the inevitable.

I woke up after a five hour sleep (nap) and got up to get some food.  I made breakfast.  And then I saw the (victory) pie that I had bought in the last hour of my walk this morning.  I’d completely forgotten about it until I saw it.  I cast aside my other (inferior) breakfast and ate some of that sweet sweet pie.

I was able to keep notes.  It was pretty difficult near the end there.  At about 5AM I hit a wall, a wall that twisted my stomach into knots and made my eyes start to do stupid things.

It was fun.  It was educational.  And there’s no way in hell I think things would go as I had thought they would (in my book) before I did this exercise.  I’ll have to write some changes with this knew knowledge.

And in the end, that’s what I wanted.  To better understand what happens when we go without sleep.

We go insane.  We become shambling simulacrums, mindless automatons.

Or at least, I do.

Thanks for reading.

Heidi exhaustedly out.

P.S.: Thank you Minecraft and Sons of Anarchy for helping keep me occupied while I tried this madness.  Both are good.

(I started a new world in Minecraft, one in which I vowed never to make a bed and sleep in.  It was hard.  It was fun.  I think my stained glass windows ended up looking a bit like eyes, bloodshot and wide, a subconscious act on my part.)