Archive for May, 2016

I had signed up for a romance novel convention six months ago or more, registering to teach workshops and sit on panels. Since it was my first romance book convention, I just assumed I’d register my interest and then sit back and wait to hear back.

Weeks and months went by and not a word. I kind of forgot about it for a while then, when talking with my friend Romana, the goddess of social media, I realized time was fast approaching and I had not heard a thing.

I went back on the website to explore and saw that I had in fact filled out the correct sections to register for teaching.

Then last Friday I received an email confirming the event’s ‘change in venue’. I was to follow the link provided and re-book at a new hotel in Vegas, off the strip. OMG! They were still expecting me.

I returned to the website and started playing around. There was no phone number for me to call so I emailed and sure enough I got a response. Apparently, amidst the confusion of the site (it’s very busy in its seductive display, and difficult to navigate), I had not completed the entire registration – not even close. Yikes.

So there I was, registered to teach workshops and sit on panels but not registered for the convention or signed up for a table to sell and sign books or booked in a hotel or a flight! Gah. What to do.

Well, I did what anyone would do when not expecting – I kicked into high gear and made it happen. Actually, I can’t say I would have always done that because it’s much easier to say ‘oh well’ and let it pass. But here was an opportunity and I wasn’t going to miss out.

It was no easy feat but I did manage, bit by bit, to complete the many online registration forms and sign-up sheets. I’ve written up my lesson plans, packed books and other paraphernalia, loaded my suitcase with jewellery, heels, make-up and a casual sexy wardrobe to fit the bill for a romance novel convention. Ha! I feel like I’m going to a costume ball. It’ll be fun.

I’ll be sharing my day-to-day with you on social media so feel free to follow along, comment, and share with your friends.

I’m Going To Vegas, Baby.

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Music Monday

Posted on: May 30th, 2016 by Madison Lake 1 Comment

Hope you all had a great weekend. I did – a little bit of rain and a bit of sun. Mixing it up is fine. So mix it up for yourself. Dance. It’s Monday.

The History of Sex – Part 205 – Queen Victoria

Posted on: May 26th, 2016 by Madison Lake No Comments

This week all over Canada people are celebrating a short work week thanks to the three day weekend that is “May Long Weekend” or more casually referred to (with a can of beer in your hand) as “May Two-Four”.  What many Canadians don’t know (or care!?) is why they have the extra day off to drink, eat, be merry and often sit in slow moving traffic on Monday evening.  This long weekend celebrates the birthday of Queen Victoria whose birthday falls on May Two-Four 1819.queen 2

Alexandrina Victoria was the only child of the Duke & Duchess of Kent and was given her name by her Godfather, Alexander I of Russia, and her mother, Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld.  Her father died when she was only 8 months old and her three uncles had no children so Victoria was crowned the Queen of the United Kingdom on June 20th 1837 at the young age of 18.  Over 400, 000 people attended her London coronation and she became the first monarch to live in the now famous Buckingham Palace. 

marriageQueen Victoria was popular, prudent and passionate.  She proposed to her husband, her first cousin Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, when she was only 16 years old.  And how she adored her Albert, an excerpt from her diary reads:  “His beauty, his sweetness & gentleness – really how can I ever be thankful enough to have such a Husband! … to be called by names of tenderness, I have never yet heard used to me before – was bliss beyond belief! Oh! This was the happiest day of my life!”queen + albert

They married in 1840 and had and impressive nine children. This is especially impressive because she is said to have not enjoyed being pregnant or delivering the children. Victoria called the whole process the “shadow-side of marriage”.  Our column mentioned Victoria back in Part 188 “Eve of Creation” as she was the first to use chloroform during childbirth against the strict wishes of the clergy.  She is also said to have suffered from post-natal depression as seen in her many letters to and from her devoted husband.

Unfortunately Prince Albert died of typhoid fever in 1861 leaving Victoria as a single mother of nine (with an unlimited amount of nannies and maids of course).  Queen Victoria was devastated by her husbands death and went into mourning for the rest of her life, nicknamed “The Widow of Windsor”.  This is why she is queenoften portrayed wearing all black and looking rather dour, though those close to her have said that she smiled a lot in private.  It is rumoured that Victoria was the first women to wear white to her wedding, before that brides just wore whatever colour they preferred.  It is also rumoured that she may have married her Scottish manservant, John Brown later in life.  In 1884 when she published her second book “More Leaves from a Journal of a Life in the Highlands” she dedicated it to the recently deceased Mr. Brown her “devoted personal attendant and faithful friend.”

Starting in 1840 there were six recorded assassination attempts on the Queen, mostly while she was riding in her royal carriage.  Of course, all this publicity led to more empress_1sympathy for her which led to her popularity soaring yet again.  Victoria reigned for 63 years, the longest of any monarch until the current Queen Elizabeth.  Many international hotelmonuments still stand in her name, one of the most famous being The Empress hotel in Victoria, BC.  A word famous hotel named after her position as the Empress to India in a capital city named after her.

Today is like a Monday here in Canada. That’s because yesterday was Victoria Day, or as we call it, the May long weekend.

It almost always rains on the May long weekend. That’s because a lot of people camp. I can’t even remember how many camping trips I got rained on over May long weekends past. This year the weather forecast was for rain (surprise!) so some people prepared by packing extra rain gear (because in BC you always pack rain gear), or they changed their plans and booked a hotel or they canceled their trip altogether. All weekend it threatened rain but by noon every day the sun appeared. It didn’t rain once. Murphy’s law.

Generally I stay home for the May long weekend choosing a quiet, less busy city over traffic and ferry line-ups. This year, a lot of people who would have gone out of town (and should have) stayed behind making the seawall where I love to walk my dog almost as busy as Highway 1 during Friday rush hour.

Instead I opted for hikes in the woods and then the quiet of my own home, where (drumroll…) I drafted three new poems and revisited my new Madison Lake book! Does this mean the spell is broken? Does this mean my writing slump has been slumped? (that’s like a double trump for those card sharks out there). Could my block be freed?069e47cc1ed73ef7d7914605c6853b6a

Honestly, this hiccup in my generally prolific writing routine has lasted all of three months – a length of time I can handle (just barely), but enough time to regroup.

I feel like I’m back in the land of the living. My land, my life, where carefully chosen words begin to fill pages; poems like minimalist paintings, stories filled with complex characters, compelling plots, language rich and textured as midwest farmland in the spring.

Only the framework of book seven is in place but the cast thus far has been chosen and are ready to play out their story. My poetry seems to be angling toward the strife and triumphs of women as we age – our bodies, our spirits, our (must have) sense of humour, our sexual desire and needs, men, women, families. 

Ah, to be home again.   

Startup Stock Photos

 

 

This week’s History of Sex delves into the recent sexist backlash against the all-female reboot of the Ghostbusters franchise.  This phenomenon has been all over the internet since the cast was announced (all women, gasp!) and on-set photos were released (they’re wearing pants? the horror!).Melissa McCarthy;Kristen Wiig;Kate McKinnon;Leslie Jones

The cast and crew have been shocked by the negative reactions especially because they have done their darndest to honour the look and feel of the original 1984 film even including the three living Ghostbusters in the film.  What is so holy about the Ghostbusters franchise that has led to such harsh reactions online?

The film’s controversial cast includes comedy all-stars Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy who are joined by Saturday Night Live’s current scene stealing cast members Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon.  In the directors chair is Paul Feig, a man whose resume includes tons of hilarity: Freaks & Geeks, Bridesmaids, The Heat and most recently the Golden Globe nominated Spy.  naked costume

This week, an online movie reviewer who aptly calls himself “Angry Video Game Nerd” recorded a six and a half minute video titled “No Review. I Refuse” listing the reasons that he will neither watch nor review the new film.  His list ranges from “Harold Ramis is dead” to “It looks stupid” and he conveniently fails to mention casting as a reason at all.  But if (Fanboy favourites) Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen starred as a couple of new Ghostbusters I’m sure he wouldn’t be boycotting it.  Maybe his opinion would differ if the women wore sexier costumes instead of the classic gender neutral engineer suits.  He’s probably thinking, “Every time I’ve seen a female Ghostbuster on Halloween she’s been scantily clad, why are these women so covered up?”  Oh right, they are wrangling ghosts in those outfits, not just drinking coolers and wrangling men.

gbaf2016This sexist backlash is the online equivalent to a “No Girls Allowed” sign outside a little boys clubhouse and the cast and crew can’t help but respond.  A few months ago the director asked the media, “…why is a movie starring women considered a gimmick and a movie starring men is just a normal movie?”  The latest preview even addresses to controversy head on, with one clip of a newscaster asking the public, “What do we think of these ghostbusters, are they to be taken seriously?”  That is the big question here, can women be taken seriously as comedians and/or superheroes?

In a genre that literally objectifies it’s characters by making action figures out of them, do all these superheroes and crime fighters need to be objectified sexually as well?  What the online (proportionately white male) nerds fails to recognize is that this movie isn’t for them or for die hard feminists.  Chris-Hemsworth-Ghostbusters-2016It’s for the 5 year old kid that they were when the original was released and I don’t know many 5-year old kids who are too loyal to appreciate a reboot.  These youngsters may not appreciate the irony of having Chris Hemsworth as the Ghostbusters secretary but they’ll probably be pretty excited to see Thor in this cool and funny new ghost movie!

This is simply a summer action movie, a comedy no less, and people need to calm their tits and appreciate it for what it is.  As Melissa McCarthy’s character warns in the latest trailer for the film, “We don’t want mass hysteria!”