It seems as though it is world news that Calgary flooded. And it did, Many people are now suffering the loss of their most precious memories. I can't imagine and don't want to. If I lost Rich's stuff and memories of parents I would be devastated also.
But, from experience, although items are precious, they aren't the memories we hold in our hearts, so if you do lose photos and mementos, no, it isn't the end of the world. As it says of Rich's stone and I quote often, "To Live in the hearts of others, is never to die". And while it hurts to lose those items, they are just that *things*, which will never replace your memories. The rest? Pah, it is just stuff. it hurts because you paid for it, but you have your life and that is the most precious thing ever. *Stuff*. I've moved countries and given or dumped loads of stuff. You feel a pang for so many moments and then - poof - it is gone, and instead you get a wonderful sense of freedom.
The reason I've been absent lately is because we are contemplating moving house. So, yes, I get the *stuff* business. As I am supposed to make my house into a show home, I am forced to discard or pack numerous items. I go through it and ask, have I touched this in a year, six months - several years. Things I have hung onto for - what reason? It is liberating, believe me.
I just read a devastating news report where a guy and his gal were camping and they got washed away. he lost her. Nothing else mattered. Fortunately there were very few deaths in this flooding. At least human ones. I tend to worry more about the animals, not because I am cold-hearted but simply because we have the amenities to escape and many animals don't. I WOULD NOT leave mine. Capitals because that is the way I am. I would swim with the horse towing an irish wolfhound behind with a cat on the horse's back before I left any - just sayin'. Because the family would have the smarts (one hopes) to get to safety. And they would be waiting for me on high ground. We'd survive, not relying on modern society to help us. because that is the way we are.
We have been fortunate. We have a sump pump which has worked and we haven't lost anything, but I am not complacent. I lost a son to a raging river, and you never forget that. I lost something more precious than any *things* or *stuff*, and most of Calgary, High River, Can more and other places which have flooded have been exactly the same spirit. Stuff doesn't matter, not where lives are concerned. You have your life, you go on.
On a final note. Don't denigrate Calgary Stampede for the show must go on. Applaud them, because when people are down they need something to lift their spirits, and while people have been simply amazing with help and charity, the stampede said, let the show go on and they didn't ask for help, they've done it themselves, because, when it comes around, that is Albertan spirit. Their electronics are waterlogged, their whole ground is covered in silt, but the spirits of Calgary is there and I agree with them - the show must
As anyone knows, moving house is a PIA. Especially the preparation, which entails cleaning everything within an inch of its life and... basement hell. But the worst thing is throwing out all those things you collected while living in a place for fifteen years. Those boxes you kept in case you had to take something back. Those things you kept just because they might come in useful 'one; day.
One of those things were toys. I've kept them for the grandkids but who knows if they will want to play with them. I've kept some but I had a chest full of lego and Kinnects and various other items I thought could go. I asked my neighbour across the road if her kids would be interested. It seems today that most kids have 'everything' and toys get thrown away or given to Value village or similar or the local kindergarten, but small lego bricks weren't really suitable. Also, to be partisan it is mostly boy stuff, although with lego you can pretty well do as you please even if it was originally a space shuttle. To my surprise she said yes. I am not sure she knew how much but T and I toted it across the road in several boxes.
However, the thing which made me smile? The children last night came over with two cards they'd meticulously penned in thanks. Beautifully decorated and thoughtful. And told me how much fun they'd had with the 'stuff' already. I had a huge smile on my face. I was so thrilled that someone else will get the pleasure of what my kids had.

In other more bookish thoughts. I have noticed that some of my reviews for "Games of Adversaries" say words like - I was surprised by the content - therefore I think I should come up with another blurb. I will attempt to write one over the next few days, but if anyone can sum up for me in a paragraph how 'they' saw the novel then I would be incredibly grateful. If I can get opinions first then it would help me to see what truly stood out. I will look through the reviews and go from there, but if you have any thoughts I would appreciate them.
 Games  of Adversaries (Kindle
13, 2013 
By P.  Kater

Games of Adversaries was quite a surprise for me. In the  beginning it seemed to jump from one type of reality to something so completely  different that I wondered if I had missed something. Not in the least though, as  reading on showed me.

This story deals with a coming together of cultures  so different that it's amazing. I don't want to spoil anything for you but that  is difficult. There are two main characters, one from each world, and they need  to work out a mutual problem, but before they are ready to do that they first  need to find a commonplace where they understand each other's background. This,  of course, goes with plenty of problems.

The story flows well, moves  along swiftly and yet brings enough information and
background to understand the  implications of most actions. I appreciated this
book very much.

One of the other loves of my life, is my horse Merlin. He's a complicated fellow, as most horses are. He is quite typically herdbound, in that he hates to be away from his herd and goes into panic mode if he's in a pasture alone. That's pure instinct, because in a horse's mind that is danger. There are some horses this doesn't bother too much, but mine isn't one of them. He doesn't really like being ridden alone either, but he's brave enough to do it. This usually means long conversations on my part because he listens to every word I say.
I am quite horrified by how fat he's got this year. He doesn't normally, but then I haven't had much time to ride. I don't want him to founder so I thought I'd take him a bit further than usual today. His idea of rebelliousness when away from the herd is to toss his head. Annoying but relatively harmless. I just try to get his focus back on me and get him to pay attention. Not always easy since Merlin thinks himself superior at times. Goes back, I think to when he was a five minute stallion and while he's not particularly studdy or has a mean bone in his body, he can decide that what Merlin thinks is best. But today he happily plowed through extremely muddy ponds and around a huge plowed field. At bit ansty at the very far corner where he definitely couldn't see the herd, and he grumbled a bit at the teeny tiny hills where, OMG work! But he was pretty relaxed most of the way and while I want him to lose weight, because of his back prob I'm not going to push it. Had one short trot and that was it. The rest, a nice steady walk.

In lieu of Judith Tarr's article on BVC (book view café) about the League of Shattered Authors, a few things the lady said struck a chord or two.
A few years back I was a member of the OWW - Online writing workshop for science fiction and fantasy. That time was vibrant with expectancy. People had real hope of being traditionally published and were. Because most times people were honest in their critiques and enthusiastic about one another's work. We literally waited with bated breath for the next installment/chapter of our fellows' novels. Didn't matter if they were first draft or third. People like Carlos Cortes, Ilona Andrews, Elizabeth Bear, to name but a few. But, goddammit, we had fun! OWW was the first site I'd click on to to see if I had a fresh review, good or bad or indifferent. You longed and dreaded to get picked for the 'editors choice'. You strived for that recognition.
It began to change gradually with the advent of folk who, didn't truly want their work critiqued, they wanted 'five stars' to get noticed, never mind the quality. Which is a reflection of today's Amazon market. In some cases honesty has gone out the window because of 'marketing'.
In BVCs case a band of writers got together and created their own site and own company. They stuck together. Some good names there like Sherwood Smith, Judith Tarr, Katherine Kerr, Linda Nagata etc. People who are wonderful writers, who because of number crunchers can't always make a go of it in 'traditional'.
Practically, of course numbers make money, and publishing is a business like any other. But not all writers want to be in the spotlight. Not all writers want to stand from the crowd and wave their banners. 
There is a great camaraderie between writers. They write because there is something within them that must be written, and really they don't care about the format as long as they are read. We all like to make money, of course! But mostly that is so we can stay home and write instead of having to have super powers to work, run a home and family as well as write. Very, very few can give up the day job, believe me. But we still do it. We wake up early or sleep late. We snatch moments between mowing the lawn and changing diapers. We balance what is within our heads and the very real characters there and those we love who truly are real. And unless you write yourself, very few understand. I'm not sure I always do. Ego rarely comes into it except, naturally, I adore it when people enjoy what I write.
So we do it and we jump through all these blessed hoops to get our work out there as the whole publishing industry changes around us. And we still do it. While we are not exactly in the same league as 'Band of Brothers', we stick together through thick and thin. I can name six people without even thinking - Elizabeth Hull (CN Lesley), Crash Froelich, Jeanne Haskin, Michael Merriam, Patty Jansen, Linda Steele, Moi, who still write, who are published, even if it is not 'traditional' and we still support one another even if it is with a simple 'like', and those are but a few of the wonderful people I have met through writing. A community for sure.
Some days we feel like we are banging our heads against the proverbial wall, but we still do it, and no doubt we will do it as long as we can. Because really there isn't much choice.

So thrilled with this review.

K.L. Schwengel
's review         
Jun 02, 13                     

               4 of 5 stars           
              Read in May, 2013           

           I admit, when I first started reading Games of Adversaries, a
sci-fi/fantasy blend, I thought, "Uh-oh, Aliens vs Cowboys." Trust me, that
movie has nothing on this book.

Curnow does a superb job of storytelling as she explores a culture clash so immense there were times I wondered how she was going to overcome the gaps. One culture is advanced enough to move among the stars. The other so medieval that food and water are their primary concerns.  Well, that and dealing with the threat of an unknown enemy possessing powers the like of which they've never seen and have no way to fight against.

The author moves seamlessly between voices, drawing her characters and their
cultures with vivid, distinct, and fearless brush strokes. She pulls no punches,
doesn't sugar-coat the imperfections of either group, and keeps tugging you
along to the conclusion.

I only have one small gripe, which in no way detracted from my enjoyment of the book as a whole, but did cause it to lose a star: I felt the main character was a bit too accepting of some things.

Overall this is a fantastic read that I devoured in one day.
Whether you stand in the SF camp or the Fantasy camp, I'd suggest giving this
book a chance. The blend is handled with skill and I don't think you'll be disappointed.

How can you not have a great weekend when a fellow writer comes to visit? Talking about books, especially your own, is always a pleasure. Thrashing out mile-wide plot holes, which include discovering just where lead comes from is all the greatest of fun. As well as discussing books in general and the quality thereof and what makes one sparkle above the rest.
Then, the relevance of the picture. I've had an obsession with shiny rocks ever since I wrote "The Crystal Gate" and had to research and have slowly been building up a collection. Fortunately we have two wonderful crystal stores in the area, so I took friend Elizabeth to one, where we could ooh and aah over all the shinies. I knew there was a 'spiritual' farmer's market on today but didn't think we would have time to go. As happens we did, and dragged the men along, too. I wanted to go as well because there was an author there promoting her book and I wanted to see if it would be worth me doing something similar. I think it would and I'd enjoy the ambience anyway with all those shinies around me. I might just ask since the crystal store owner is having these markets throughout the summer. Perhaps I can persuade Elizabeth to come too?
Certainly gave me some inspiration, as did Elizabeth's visit. I have been too tired lately to really get down to writing but now I am not losing so much blood and I am getting used to the working hours, although they are still too long at times, perhaps I can get back into the swing of things.