Monthly Archives: June 2011

Completion of a Cycle

6 months ago I started upon a new adventure.

I decided to learn how to make my own honey wine, a.k.a. mead.  This weekend was the completion of this adventure.  Well, the ending of the first round as I will certainly do it again!

After waiting and waiting and, yes, more waiting, it was finally time to put all that lovely liquid into their own individual bottles.  There they will rest and age for probably another three months before the drinking starts but I can tell you now that the flavors turned out better than I had expected!

I had four batches on the go, two 1-gallon jugs (beet & rose) and two 2.5 gallon carbuoys (raspberry/pomegranate and mild orange spice).

Isn’t it great when something turns out better than you hoped for?  Talk about some feel good moments.  And tasty sippings.  Not to mention all the future drinking.  After bottling, this is what my wine rack looks like:

As all good endings contain the seed of a new beginning, this ending has brought the opportunity to get some new meads started.  Yay, more mead!

Pumpkin pie is bubbling away in one bucket (primary fermentation) and mango in another.  Can I wait another six months before getting to enjoy them?  Absolutely.  Because I don’t have a choice.  😉

May you enjoy your favourite beverage this week.



Murder Most Marvelous

The lights were strong, illuminating my work area.

The day was at its brightest point despite the overcast sky.

My intentions were of pure darkness.

My hand was steady, strong and certain, reaching out to pick up the chemicals.  The drugs that would bring death.

1/8th of a teaspoon to kill them all.

The thrill!  The joy!  I’d waited so long for this day.  Hard to believe I was finally living it.  I savoured each moment, ignored the effort that was required because all that mattered was the outcome.  Death.  Final and complete.

My mead was dead.  Murdered.  By my own hand.  The entire colony of yeast slaughtered by the proper application of potassium metabisulphate and potassium sorbate.

That picture is the view through the batch of rose mead.  And yes, that is my kitchen sink you can see behind it.  You hope for the day your mead clarifies, long for it, and I was blessed for that day had arrived.

Now that it’s dead, in about a week I’ll be bottling it all.

We are told murder is wrong.  It’s one of our most basic laws.

As a writer, it is my duty to violate this law, frequently and with flair.  My protagonists need mysteries to solve, opponents to combat, obstacles to overcome.

Murder is one of the tools life gives us.

There is the murder that starts the mystery.

The murder that twists the plot into a whole new arena.

And what of the threat of murder?  Lurking, dark and foreboding over the protagonist.  Or better yet, a loved one, someone the protagonist needs to protect but may not be able to.

Murder of the body, of their career, of their soul.  So many types of murder.  So many reasons to do it.

Do you like murder in your stories?  When and where and what type do you prefer?  What’s the best story murder you’ve read or written?  Would love to hear your comments.

Plotting Blitz-Krieg

Did you know that blitzkrieg literally translated (from German) is lightening war?

Last night I had one of those special nights.  You know the type.  Or I hope you do so that I’m not alone.  I was mad at the world, mad at myself, vibrating from an unexpected trigger into an old emotional wound.  Okay, it’s not a wound, it’s a bog of emotional putrescence.

It was an unexpected emotional explosion and after having a lovely little meltdown I grabbed my whiteboard, two markers and the eraser.  (Thankfully I had already taken a picture of the whiteboard and printed it out – the joys of modern technology where my temporary canvas can be permanently captured.)

I erased all my previous work on this plot.  I haven’t been satisfied with my work on it to date but also haven’t been able to work through to a place I am proud of.  So whoosh, all of it was gone and I started just listing the bones of the story out, point form, down the left side of the board.

And since my emotions were burning high, in particular rage, I was willing to change anything in the plot.  This scene seem too easy?  Yes it does, so let’s kill someone, attack someone, or have chaos bite the protagonist in the arse.

I kept going until the very bare bones of the ending.  It still needs work; I’ll need to go through and pace the character development through it and further flesh out some sections.  Possibly even contemplate greater tortures to the characters.

I think I’ll also need to make sure there are some down moments.  Too much intensity for too long isn’t good either.  But I’m happy that I now err on the side of intensity.  A definite improvement.

And the added bonus?  I got to vent my emotions in an unusual and productive way.