Monthly Archives: July 2008

Thursday 13— 13 Facts about Hedgehogs

. 1. In the world, there are 14 species of Hedgehogs but the main ones are: the European hedgehog, the African white-bellied hedgehog, the desert hedgehog and the long eared hedgehog.
2. The fall under the class of mammalian, order insectivore
3. They all have sharp, narrow snouts, small eyes, and short legs. They are covered on the back and sides with smooth spines. Males can have up to 500 spines on their backs (Kind of makes you wonder who took the time to count all those quills. LOL). The face, legs, tail, and belly are covered with fur. Quills are modified hairs, they are not very sharp and do not have barbs (not like the porcupine, in fact, they aren’t even related!).
4. They have a very good sense of smell and hearing.
5. They are nocturnal so they come out at night to eat and run around and during the day, they sleep. Mine enjoys running around in her wheel at night. Some of the species hibernate during the months of november to march, but more domestic ones like the African pygmy hedgehog do not. If they do, they can easily succumb to sickness and die.
6. The hedgehog protects itself by rolling up into a ball, from which spikes stand out in every direction. The average hedgehog has 5,000 -7,000 quills.
7. In the wild they will sleep either curled in a ball or stretched out. They will sleep under fallen logs and tree roots, under heaps of leaves, among rocks, or in burrows. Mine, loves to sleep under a t-shirt, sprawled out over my lap.
8. Hedgehogs can make sounds which vary from sneezing to snorting to clicking. When they are frightened they squeal (I’ve never heard mine squeal but she has made little sounds in her sleep as though she’s having a nightmare). They make a purring sound when something interests them or they are happy (mine does this when sprawled out over my lap).
9. The hedgehog is an omnivore which means it eats both plants and animals (Although she may eat cat food as a staple, I often give her cooked egg, mashed potatoes, chicken, turkey, carrots, etc).
10. Hedgehogs have very long tongues. They use their tongues to spread saliva over their spines. This action is brought on by the hedgehog smelling agreeable odors, which causes the hedgehog to salivate and then spread the saliva. This is called self-anointing. The exact purpose of anointing is unknown.
11. 91 different colour of hedgehogs are recognized! That’s a lot of variety!
12. Hedgehogs have many common ailments such as cancer which they are really prone to getting and WHS (wobbly hedgehog syndrome) which is a genetic disorder that causes progressive paralysis similar to the human form of MS. There is no cure and the afflicted hedgehogs slowly and eventually become totally paralyzed.
13. The average lifespan of a hedgehog is approximately 4-6 years.


A prostitute, a drunken John and a Burger flipper walk into Country Style… sounds like a bad joke

UGH! I’m so pissed off… and I’m still shaken. I don’t understand how the boss thinks it is safe to have ONE person working 6pm-12am. Seriously???? I understand that he’s going under and trying to save money. I understand that we’re not busy. I really do. But what gives him the right to put that person’s life at risk? Yes, nothing serious has happened but it could have. The Country Style I work for is in South Oshawa. Most of you won’t know where that is but some of you who live by Toronto would. It’s by GM… and isn’t the safest of areas, known for it’s prostitutes, druggies/alcoholics, some murders. Like the 19 yr old that stabbed his brother to death right down the road from where I live. Fine, I deal with it, I stay in at night. But 4 or 5 days a week I work the 6pm-12am shift. Alone.

Tonight was actually quite busy after 9pm. I was constantly running around. At 10:40ish or something, a woman comes stumbling in and immediately asks me to call her a cab. Ok… not an odd request so I go do it. I come out to see her sitting across from a regular, elbows bleeding as she tells them about how some guy tried to rob her and all she got out of it was cuts and scratches on her elbows. So I go get some napkins and bandaids. I’m trying to be nice when we all know she’s a call girl. At this point it was just me and the two regulars (Paul and Wayne). No one else in the store.

Now, you have to realize that the Country Style I work at is next door pretty much to Mr Burger, ok?

So it isn’t long after this woman stumbles in and sits in front of Wayne at his booth (Paul standing by the swinging door to get behind the counter, behind Wayne), when two men come storming in, one heading straight for the phone, the other instantly grabbing this woman, screaming that she stole his money. I don’t find out til later that the guy at the phone was a burger flipper at Mr Burger where this all began in his parkinglot apparently. So here I am, wondering what the heck to do.

Do I intervene? Do I tell them to calm down? What if he has a weapon?

I’m terrified. I won’t lie. I’m a country small town girl. He’s yelling and she’s yelling that she doesn’t have his money. He grabs her by the hair and she’s hitting him to get him off her. I don’t know what to do. He won’t let her go, blocking her way completely, pushing her back into the booth when she tries to leave.

What does she do?

She undoes her pants. Yes… her pants where she wasn’t wearing a stitch and pulls out a five dollar bill and tells him that’s all she has. Yeah… right. I don’t know who to believe or care. But sticking money up there doesn’t impress me. SO what does HE do? Pins her and sticks HIS hand down her pants. Finds a balled up pair of underwear and throws it to the ground. What was he wearing you might ask? No shirt… pants undone with nothing on either under.


I’m freaking out and just about to yell at him to get his hands off her. Wayne looks over at me with wide eyes and shakes his head, telling me not to say anything. They were both bigger than me. I’m small. 5’3, 103lbs. I couldn’t have taken them if he freaked and went at me (which is why I’m glad Wayne and Paul were there). Again, he could have had a knife. I didn’t know.

At this point, the cab shows up. He’s yelling that she isn’t going anywhere. Somehow, she pushes past him and rushes out the door. He’s following after and the cab driver knows better. He doesn’t let her in. Not when she’s knocking at the windows and trying all doors. He drives up and turns around, parks at a stop light. Not sure if the guy gives up or what but somehow she gets in and the cab takes off.

Well he’s pissed. He comes back and his friend tells him to talk to the cops on the phone. There’s blood on the table. Underwear on the ground. It’s over. I hope.

Well they go outside, the two pair, where I guess they began to argue. I was trying to regain my senses and figure out what the hell to do. It happened fast. I didn’t even think about calling 911 and maybe I should have. If I’m alone I would have. But I also would have had to deal with it alone.

Anyway, the two take off in a van because they are annoyed that the cops aren’t there yet. 10 minutes later, the cops show up and who has to tell them everything? Me. And I don’t even understand it. Two cop cars. They show up for maybe 5 minutes then take off.


I was shaking. And I guess I looked terrified because Wayne made the comment about how it’s over and to relax. Um… when it’s all locked up I will. Because they could come back. I didn’t know. I just know I’m so angry because there’s only one person on this shift. There should be two. But no. So I wrote him saying if he doesn’t change things, we’re going to call the labour board because the cameras as he tells us, will NOT protect us. Is he sitting at the screen all night, watching from home the cameras? No. So how can it protect us?

Plot holes…

Par For The Course by Jenna Bayley-Burke

Magazine columnist Jillian Welch has one assignment to show her readers the golf course is the news single’s bar, and show an old flame all the ways she’s changed. Unless she hasn’t changed at all…

Warning: Fore! This title contains explicit sex, and a love story hazardous to your hankie supply. Oh, and exploding toads.

by Jenna Bayley-Burke

Uh duh… dunce cap please!

“Hello, Country Style… Melanie speaking…”

That one sentence may not seem amusing to you.  Now put it in this context… you’re calling McGraw-Hill, looking for a person and you hear that.  Yes… yes I so did.  At my day job at McGraw and what do I do?  I answer the phone like I would if I were at Country Style. *face palm*

The Twitterbug and the publishing business

The world is changing with all of the new networking strategies going around.  Whether it’s Facebook or Twitter or any other of the others, it’s also changing the way in which authors promote their books.  Twitter has become not just a way for publishers to talk to the readers, but a way to hook them and gain readership. Imagine coming to Twitter to watch the interaction among characters of your favourite author?  Though it may not be ideal for some, others, those dedicated fans who can’t wait until the next book comes out, may enjoy reading these tantalizing snippets from characters themselves.

Take YA author Jennifer Banash, for instance has created 3 microblogs on Twitter for three of her characters.  These characters interact with one another, even making reference to the read world.  Not only from authors, publishers are also finding use for Twitter by highlighting their frontlists.  Among these publishers are Bantam, Random House and even Thompson Nelson.  It’s a great way for those in the publishing world to get out there and interact with the readers, talking about the books and the writers.

Would you do it?  What other ways do you promote your book and characters?  Writing groups?  Character based blogs?  Do you create facebook accounts for your characters?  What line is too far?

Are you a twittering?


13 things I enjoy doing in my spare time…

Although I haven’t done much of these things lately, these are the things that I do to unwind when I need a break from work or stress…

1. Write. I think this is a total duh. It may frustrate me at time with characters changing plots and putting up roadblocks but I love it and I couldn’t imagine not doing it.

2. Read. Another duh. Last week alone I bought $70 worth of books. I’ve been on a book buying binge I suppose. Most of the time I can only read whil waiting for the bus, on the bus… or at Country Style when I’m not busy and I’m caught up with what I have to do.

3. Paint. I love to paint. I’m not all that bad at it, but it’s def something I miss doing. I’ve even bought paint and canvases not too long ago but I just haven’t been able to find the time to do it. I mostly paint fantasy.

4. Horseback ride. Another thing I haven’t done since schedules have changed everywhere, not just mine. I just started to learn last summer so I’m not that bad at it but I enjoy it. It’s peaceful when you go on trail rides. I’m a bit nervous when the horse first decides to take off at a trot but I’m doing better at it and the whole feeling as though I’m going to fall off.

5. Watch movies. Romance chick flicks. Action. Thrillers. Even the occasional horror now and then. Whether it’s at home or at the movies, I enjoy losing myself in the storyline and the characters. When I move, there’s going to be a lot of movie nights with my friend Miranda. We’re already making lists of our movie night marathons… from Halloween, both for kid and adult, Xmas, Dexter (ok not a movie but still), girls night, both kid and adult…etc.

6. Spend time with friends. Ok I’ve been bad at this with everything going on. It’s hard when you don’t have much time to do something. 3-4 nights a week I don’t get home til after midnight.

7. Go for walks. Long… hikes in the country. I grew up on a 400 acre farm so I had a lot of land to wander and bush to explore. Loved it and when I have money I want to live out in the countryside. Just buy a house and eventually raise my kids on it because I don’t want them to grow up in the city.

8. Go to romancedivas forum of course! Where else would I get fantastic info and support? Only a writer can understand another writer’s frustrations and needs. Nonwriters just look at you. They don’t understand what it’s like to have characters in your head that won’t go away. They don’t understand what it’s like when one of those characters decide to change the plot. They think that you control the character. That you write the plot but it isn’t always so and to tell a nonwriter means that they look at you like you’re crazy.

9. Browse the net. Whether it’s exploring blogs or surfing the net for articles that would help me later on with characters and plots, I’m not picky. I particularly love anthro and biology articles but my interests are all over the map, including the paranormal.

10. Spend time with animals… whether it’s my hedgehog or whatever.

11. Roadtrips. I love them. Long roadtrips, whether we get lost or not. Some of my favourite memories are of getting lost with friends. I have a tendency of daydreaming/fantasizing when I’m in a vehicle. I just look out the window and let my imagination get away with me, much to the annoyance sometimes of friends because I’m so quiet.

12. Games. Especially card games with friends. Drinking games are often fun.

13. And how can I forget hanging out with family? Everyone knows that family is important. I love them… so I can’t wait to go home to visit in a few weeks.

A small rant…

I’m tired. Tired of work. Tired of the cold shoulders of friends. Tired of writing. Tired of everything.

I just want a day off. A full day. A day where I don’t need to run around like a chicken with its head cut off. A day where I can relax and sleep in if I want. A day where I don’t feel guilty or hurt about something. I want to rewind the clock, to go back to a time when I thought I had everything I needed– a guy I loved, a best friend who was interested in what I was up to and wanted to hang out with me and talk, a job that I only worked maybe 20 hours a week because I didn’t have to worry about money yet.

Not anymore. Gone are those days. Gone with the boyfriend and the 20 hours has now turned into 65-71 (71 this week). I haven’t been -home- for a full day in… months. Which has made my friend think I’ve abandoned her and all that. I’m tired. I’ve gained new friends. Got back my writing muse. Even have been getting out a bit more but it’s still a s.t.r.e.s.s. headache. All of this. I just fell asleep at my desk for almost an hour… and I don’t just do that occasionally. It’s all the fricking time. I get up for 7ish, get to work for 8:30-4:30, catch the bus to start work at other job 6-12am (5 times a week). I get 6 1/2- 7 hours of sleep. That should be sufficient, right? But it’s not. I think it has something to do with being on my feet for the last 6 hours of the day and running around. I’m wearing thin.

Today, I was supposed to be off in the evening. Did that happen? No. I got called in. Oh sure I could have ignored the red blinking light of my boss calling (within an hour he’d already called 3 times and left two messages) and said I’d forgotten my cell, but he wouldn’t have bought that. Seriously. So I said sure. Why? Because I have to make money. I don’t get paid right now for the internship. Not til mid august. I have to move. My roommates have decided they are going to move into their parent’s house where rent is cheaper so it was either move or pay rent that was more than I could afford. So I found a place that was cheaper but that doesn’t mean I have the money either. Not yet. The new landlords have the first month’s rent but that is only because I borrowed from my parents. So here I am, busting my butt off to not only ensure I get a job out of this internship (I was offered a position but it’s til Dec), and to make enough to pay rent and bills.

I’m trying to hang in. But things are getting bad because I’m losing my friend because of all this. Because of hurt feelings and closing off of feelings and the whole shebang. And an email isn’t enough to discuss it all. She wants it done face to face. So I have to do it tomorrow, my only evening off while I do laundry. So on top of being tired tomorrow, I’m going to be a nervous wreck worrying. I hate all of this.


This has been the crappiest couple of months.

Thirteen Things I love to bake…

1. Banana bread.  OMG I love it.  Can’t get enough of it.

2. Muffins. Blueberry.  Banana. Peach/grape/blueberry (weird combo but so good), etc.

3. Cake.  Love cake… lemon, marble, yellow.  I’ll say cheesecake falls in this category as well.  Blueberry…or triple berry as I made.

4. Cinnamon buns. ‘nough said.

5. Cookies.  Triple chocolate, peanutbutter/chocolate, Ranger Rick…

6. Apple Crisp.  Especially if it’s over vanilla ice cream.

7. Donuts. Plain glazed.

8. Pie. 

9. Buttertarts.  Plain- no raisins or pecans.

10. Peppermint bark.  So easy and fast to make.  So good to eat.

11. Brownies.

12. Turnovers… raspberries… Yummm

13. Chocolate fudge balls.

A re-intro of sorts…

I haven’t written here in awhile. In fact, it was first designed as a school project in my Mags 2.0 class. You may still see ancient remnants from those school days that have long passed. Ok, maybe not quite so long ago. In mid May, I was officially finished the Book and Magazine Publishing post-grad course complete with a 6 week internship. An internship that turned into a summer student position and which (in mid Aug) will turn either into an editorial assistant or developmental editor position. So… things are really starting to shake up.

But, that’s not why I started this up again. You may ask why I have. I am wondering that myself, to be honest but it’s more than just a place to get myself out there in a safe exposure kind of way. It’s a place to talk about those things that are important to me, whether it is writing related, work related, or just plain randomness. I’ve learned a lot this past year– good and bad. I’ve changed. That’s the basis of all this.

I’ve always been into books and the process of them. Even before I began writing, I could remember spending hours designing book covers for what I thought at the time would be future books of mine. It wasn’t much, but mere pieces of paper that I had placed over a Goosebump’s book and traced to get the general shape. I loved dreaming up ideas for back blurbs and creating covers. Like so many other writers, writing is my life- each character, each world. And like so many others, I could not just shove aside the keyboard and not write their story. And sometimes, I have to wonder if I’m not just a little bit crazy… although I never have claimed to be sane… it’s more fun that way. <g>


Many people hear voices when no-one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stare at the walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing.” -Margaret Chittenden