Monday, January 24, 2011

Found Them

I found out what happened to all those little Google Earth (GE) cameras... they morphed the photos into the landscape. Somehow the GE geniuses have integrated those millions of photos they took at street level with the actual GE program.

If you look in the top right corner of your GE screen, you'll see a yellow image of a man below your compass. That's the 'street view' indicator. What you do is just drag that icon over to wherever you want to get a closer look and wait a few seconds. If GE ever took a photo of that spot, your satellite image will soon morph into an actual street view.

I tried this with my home town. I moved the yellow 'man' icon to the main street Montmartre and waited. Soon the street emerged--as well as a guy getting out of his pickup at the local store. As I moved closer to the 30' replica Eiffel tower at the end of the street, the guy got out of his truck and looked at me. Well, he wasn't actually looking at me, he was looking at the GE vehicle with the camera mounted on top. And he wasn't actually moving, but the camera takes photos approx every 75 feet so it looked like he was moving. Very neat. And weird.

So, mystery solved. I guess when I looked last week, I put the street view icon on an area where a GE vehicle hadn't taken a photo. :( This isn't strange considering my hero and heroine are on a wagon trip on the old Carlton trail which is in the middle of someone's field now.

Today's photos were taken yesterday on a beautiful day where the temperature hovered at 0c.

Except as you can see, the wind was blowing up such a ruckus it tried to obliterate the western horizon. Immediately after taking this shot, I turned around and took the next...

This photo is looking east down our driveway. Now those snow drifts don't look too big, but they were made with hubby's 4wheel drive truck. He advised me not to take the kids to church today because those drifts are so high, my 2wheel drive van would've got hung up on them.

So now that you know about the street view icon on Google Earth, why don't you go try it out and then come back and tell me what you think.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Where are all the Google Earth Cameras?

Monday was a horrible day for me because I lost my Google Earth (GE) cameras. If you've followed along my writing journey, you know I rely on those GE cameras for research. I've done a couple posts here and other places showing how much I rely on those GE vehicle mounted cameras which roam the streets all over the world to bring us photos of what it really looks like.

That GE camera vehicle was even in my hometown taking a photo of our 30' tall Eiffel Tower. I especially liked seeing that on GE.

However on Monday, I was using the cameras like I usually do, which is to look around at the landscape, then go to another one a few hundred yards up the road and look through that one. Then suddenly, the GE cameras all disappeared! I spent 2 hrs of writing time looking for them on 2 different computers in case it was a glitch but nope, they're gone.

Now, I know there were issues where people complained the cameras were an invasion of privacy, but for a research tool to people who didn't have time and money to visit the actual locations, those street view cameras were the next-best thing. :(

Today's photo is of Canada's famous military aerobatic team the Snowbirds. At least I think it's the Snowbirds' jetstreams. While I was looking for the GE cameras, I heard a noise outside as if a jet was passing over the farm, but it was so much louder than normal. I went outside and saw 5 jetstreams and took a photo of them. They were travelling from the direction of their home base at CFB Moose Jaw which is a couple hours away.

Then my  brain kicked in gear and I turned to see the actual jets, but this is all I got. I'm not sure where the 5th one went. Looks like they decided to play a bit since by that time they would've been over an area with scattered farms and very sporadic towns and villages.

And if you're wondering about the difference in the sky colour, the sky was cloudy to the left (SE) of the sun.

Anyway, if anyone knows what happened to those GE cameras, can you fill me in? It sure would be nice if I discovered it was a glitch after all.

Friday, January 14, 2011

What is a sundog, you ask?

I received a comment from Josi yesterday on my Bunkering Down post. Josi wanted to know what a sundog was so here's my answer:

Sundogs (also called mock suns) are a phenomena we see several times a winter. They are caused by light refracting through ice crystals and are usually in very cold weather, or in not-so cold weather but where there's lots of ice crystals in the air - you know, the kind that turn the trees white. Although the twin mock suns on either side are the actual sundogs, the whole thing is commonly called a sundog in these parts much like a ring around the moon is called a moondog.

Usually a sundog is close to the horizon, like in the photo I showed yesterday or in some of my previous sunrise pics. However last year, I took several photos of one at noon on our way back from church. I wouldn't even have noticed it except for the bright light at ground level which peaked my curiosity so I followed it upwards.

Taken Feb 7, 2010

What made this sundog special was that it had twin sundogs on each side. In other words, it had a double ring around it. So in my posts, I've referred to it as a double sundog:

Double ring Sundog Feb 7, 2010

For more of my sundog photos, check the LABELS on the right side of this blog.

I've even turned some of my sundog photos into  jigsaw puzzles.

Next time it's a cold morning, see if you can see a sundog.

Thanks for asking, Josi. :)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Bunkering Down

I'll be bunkering down for Book in a Week with the Sask Romance Writers starting Jan 15. Yes, I've almost reached the mid-point of NovelTrack with the ACFW but this is when my writing intensifies.

You see, during Aug-Nov of 2010, I basically stayed in my cave all day and evening, only coming out for pit stops while completing Emma's Outlaw. The family took care of me. They made meals and called me when it was time to eat. They did the dishes, laundry, etc.

In return, I gave them an old-fashioned Christmas complete with lots of homemade baking from scratch. I made the meals and did the dishes, etc. I've continued that in January.

However, as of this Saturday morning, all that stops. Last night one of the boys even asked when it's their turn to do the dishes again and I reminded them about this weekend. He nodded and left.

The main problem is that it's now too cold to work in my office in our converted garage until April so my current cave is in a corner of the living room. The boys want to have a friend over this weekend - from after Youth Group Friday night until we bring him to church Sunday morning. I said okay but reminded them they have to stay downstairs in the basement where the XBox lives (now that we cleaned the area) and be quiet because I'll be working. I ignored the look of horror on their faces. I like to think it was more of a respectful nature. LOL

Meanwhile, here's a photo taken the last week of Dec 2010 with my new iPhone. It was taken about a mile from our farm, which is when I was able to convince Nelson to stop and allow me to roll down the window. Once that man gets going, he doesn't like stopping until he gets there. And if he stopped every time I wanted to take a photo, we'd never get anywhere. :)

Final Sundog of 2010.

So far I've seen one sundog in 2011. Have you?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Author Marie Bostwick at Inkwell Today

Today I'm hosting New York Times Best Selling author Marie Bostwick at Inkwell Inspirations.

Marie's latest release is A Thread So Thin, Book 3 in the Cobbled Court Quilt Shop series from Kensington Books. The books are set in the fictional town of New Bern, Connecticut and they all have a quilting theme.

An avid quilter, Marie has an online quilting group at her website where anyone can join and receive a free quilt pattern. Along with quilting , her website has information for both readers and writers.

So come on over to the Inkwell to meet Marie and see her work. There's bound to be a discussion going on that you can jump into.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Seekerville Historical Dress-Up Party

I'm alone in the house and should be working but those gals at Seekerville are having a Historical Dress-Up party and keep distracting me. The celebration is in honour of Steeple Hill releasing four new Love Inspired Historicals every month instead of just two. Senior Editor Tina James is the guest of honour and the party is brimming with all sorts of people in their historical finery. I do believe the sagging food tables will soon cave in from their burdens as well.

Jecoliah Endicott, c 1888
As you can see from my photograph, I've taken on the persona of Jecoliah Endicott - known as Liah to her friends - the heroine of my current work-in-progress. Although she doesn't understand how, Liah has travelled from 1888 over to the world of today on Unpubbed Island and is quite amazed by the whole experience.
I would have been here earlier to tell you of the whole affair but Liah has kept dashing off at the sight of anything red in the hopes of catching the handsome North West Mounted Police officer, Corporal Patrice Bisset. Of course she'll tell you she's only interested in enquiring about his young son, but I know better from the gleam in her eyes.

Well, I'm off to check on the party once more. If you are interested in writing historicals, this is your chance to talk to the editor who is looking for new authors.

Perhaps I'll see you there. :)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Book Review: Second Chance Brides

Second Chance Brides (Book 2 Texas Boardinghouse Brides series) by Vickie McDonough, Barbour Books, 2010

Last May I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing The Anonymous Bride which was Book 1 in Vickie McDonough's Texas Boardinghouse Brides series.

Well, Vickie's second book of that same series is every bit as good as the first. Second Chance Brides is a stand-alone, yet numerous mentions are made to The Anonymous Bride so I'll give you a bit of background in case you haven't read the first...

Two Corbett brothers named Mark and Garrett invite a mail-order bride to town for their cousin whom they feel ought to get married. But to enhance the odds, they invite three women figuring only one will actually show up. Surprise! Four women answer the call. By the end Book 1, their cousin is married but the town has too many unattached brides on the loose.

Enter Book 2 aptly named Second Chance Brides which is the story of two of the remaining brides:

- Shannon O'Neil, the petite Irish immigrant who's all alone in the world.


- Leah Bennett, the oldest of eleven siblings who's running from any responsibility that includes wet diapers and leaking noses.

Both mail-order brides still live at Rachel's boardinghouse and there is much interaction between the three women. There is also many scenes with the men who are involved with them:

- Mark Corbett is one of the brothers who invited the mail-order brides to town. He likes Shannon's quiet fire but something in his past grips him in fear of being found out. He knows he's destined to walk his path alone and it's going to be far away in the city.

- Mark's brother, Garrett wants to marry the women off as soon as possible so he doesn't have to keep paying their boardinghouse bill. There's no way he's ready to settle into marriage at this stage, but maybe he can arrange socials to bring the area's single people together.

- Rand Kessler is the rich rancher who wooed Rachel in the first book but lost out to Marshal Davis. Rand is still on the lookout for a wife. And he has his eyes on Shannon.

- Dan Howard is the local livery owner who lives in a small house with his mother. He may be the tallest man in town but he smells like the horses he cares for every day.

And to round out the activities, Rachel's daughter Jack/Jacqueline continues to steal scenes as she dances her way in and out of trouble with her 2 male cronies and 1 arch nemesis.

Because of all the subplots and interactions, there isn't room in this book to deeply delve into the storylines of Shannon and Leah. But in the space available, the author does a creditable job of portraying the women's dreams and fears. We know why they react the way they do and can commiserate with their decisions.

Second Chance Brides is an enjoyable read about western life in the late 1800's. The individual characters stay true to their beliefs and I really liked following their stories.

I was delighted to discover that Jacqueline - older and perhaps wiser - will be one of the main characters in Book 3 of this series due out in Apr 2011. I can't wait for Jacqueline's book.

Books in The Texas Boardinghouse Brides series:

Book 1 - The Anonymous Bride (2010)
Book 2 - Second Chance Brides (2010)
Book 3 - Finally a Bride (2011)

Vickie McDonough came be found at

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Blogging at the Inkwell: Second Chance Brides

After a flurry of activity at the beginning of this week with the arrival of my sister and her husband, the house is quiet once again. They left on Tues and then we drove daughter Jessie to the city on Thurs night for her flight back to Calgary where she attends Bible College. Today the boys when to school and Nelson went to work and finally I got back to writing.

I worked for a couple hours on my Mountie story but also had to write a book review for tomorrow's Inkie post.

For my post, I chose Vickie McDonough's Second Chance Brides which is Book 2 in her Texas Boardinghouse Brides series. I'll be posting the review here in a couple days but if you want to get in on the book discussion, pop on over to the Inkwell.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011 Goals

This past year I crossed a big goal off my list when I submitted my Emma’s Outlaw manuscript to a literary agent as well as the editor of a publishing house. I accomplished this goal in mid-Nov and now it’s a waiting game.

My immediate goal is use the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) NovelTrack to finish my current project by the end of January. Much like National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and Book-in-a-Month (BIAW), NovelTrack is an on-line community where writers keep of track with their word count totals and get encouragement from other writers. It makes me accountable.

My goal for NovelTrack is to write 2,000 words of my Mountie story each day for a total of 60,000 words by the end of January.

My writing goals/resolutions for the year 2011 are to:

- Submit my Mountie story to Love Inspired Historical

- Actively seek a literary agent

- Apply the requested revisions to my Marry Me Ma’am manuscript and re-submit to The Wild Rose Press

- Write Book 2 (about Emma’s brother) in my Wild Wyoming series

This year I won’t be entering any contests unless there’s a specific final judge I wish to get my work in front of and that’s the only way to catch his/her attention.

Another goal I’d like to accomplish is to finish my website as a companion to this blog. I’ve had the website in place for a year now and other than offering daily horse wisdom (which I have linked in), I haven’t done anything with it. I’d really like to change that.

I’m hoping to attend the ACFW conference in St Louis this Sept. I’d also like to attend the Romance Writers of America (RWA) conference in New York at the end of June but at this point it’s a long shot.

Those are my writing goals for this coming year. Personally, I’m going to continue my weight loss. I managed to lose 53 lbs in 2010 by making lifestyle changes such as healthier eating. This year I’m going to add an exercise routine to my schedule to continue my weight loss program.

Happy 2011. May God bless you in the coming year.

And what about you? What would you like to accomplish in 2011?