For those of us, who love books and reading, we celebrated Book Lovers Day (National Book Lovers day in USA) on 9th August. It is an unofficial holiday, unfortunately – wouldn’t it be marvelous to have a day off work to read? The aim is, of course, to encourage bibliophiles and non-bibliophiles (is that actually a word?) to celebrate reading and literature.
The idea is to discard your smartphone, social media and technology for a while and immerse yourself in a story. The day is widely recognized on global scale, however its origin and creator remain unknown to date. Whoever it was, I say thank you!
How did you celebrate the day?
What book did you read?
Other Book News
I received the first images for my steampunk novel cover, which of course, is very exciting. With collaboration between my artist and I, we will create an image of the characters, Owena and Galen that is in my head.
Apart from that, I have to decide if I am putting in a dedication in the front of the book and updating my biography.
Also this week, I was pleasantly surprised to receive a couple of messages, requesting copies of my speculative fiction novel, Life in slake Patch. One copy was picked up directly and another purchased through Amazon. It is always a delight to know my stories are being read.
My household has begun a monthly creative day. Before COVID19, I used to host a ladies group, where we went on outings, enjoyed potlucks and craft days. So this is a welcome addition to keep my creativity inspired. This past Saturday, we learnt acrylic pours. There are a lot of techniques and various ways to use the paints and make effects.This was my first foray into this medium. I love learning new things. How did I do?
I finished Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs:
A fabulous fantasy of tension, extraordinary events, friendship and excitement. Can’t wait to read the next one. Ransom has created a fantastical world you become immersed into with such ease it is a delight.
My new read is a debut novel, One Step Closer by Sophie Pollard.
Other books news.
I have commissioned an artist to create the book cover for my steampunk novel, The Commodore’s Gift. It is always exciting to begin the process of determining what the cover should look like. Sometimes there is a vision in your head, which you have to describe (or illustrate in some way) to your chosen artist. This gives them the concept you are wanting. There is always a to and fro with images and adjustments. It is a fun project. This particular artist has created a cover for me previously. I love how she can make my vision come to life.
A dream. Most of my ideas start with dreams. I am a vivid dreamer. I tweak them to make sense. My current work involves steampunk pirates and I’m collaborating with my 16-year-old daughter. She invented one of the characters so she decides what they say and do. It makes for an adventure we can share together and twists in the plot that even I didn’t see coming.
How did you come up with the title?
First it was called Evelyn of the Sea because I wanted to write about a woman disguised as a man on a sailing vessel. I want a female hero who isn’t judged because of her gender. However, I soon realized that I couldn’t write a historical novel so I made it steampunk, put Evelyn in an airship, and called it Evelyn of the Air instead. I also set the story on a different planet so I could mess around with technology, laws of physics and mythos. Airships don’t work very well on earth and I didn’t want to be limited. The best way to break rules is either off planet or magic. I do both.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I want readers to find validation, sympathy and inclusion. I want to shine a light to people underrepresented, marginalized or odd in any way. We are all a family and we should fight for our place in the world. But I don’t want to preach.
How much of the book is realistic?
My goals are to escape and entertain. I don’t want them burdened with the same problems they face in real life. I want my readers to work with their imagination. Get those brain cogs turning. Of course, the mystery of the human condition is very real. Just because the obstacles are fantastic, our reactions, emotions and instincts are still the same. So, I sneak in some sympathetic elements while battling monsters and hope the parallels and symbols are subtle but noticeable.
Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Authors can’t help but draw on their own experience but I try to keep my own words out of my characters minds. I ask myself what I would do in the situation and is it the same thing my character would do? If it is, I run the risk of having all my characters sound the same. I do want my characters to get into worlds I could never visit or adventures I wish I could have. So, would I want to be a pirate on an airship? Of course!
Where can readers find you on social media and do you have a blog?
Do you have plans or ideas for your next book? Is it a sequel or a stand alone?
I really enjoy writing short stories for anthologies. I like themes on monsters. Maybe soon I’ll have enough monster stories to make my own collection. I am also an artist so I want to do an art book but I need a grant for that project. I also want to write a play. I want to see my characters interpreted by others.
Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?
I am a feminist so I really push the female hero who is smart, invaluable and saves the day. I also have male characters who are sensitive and respectful.
Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?
I can’t sit still so I am always starting new projects. I want to try everything. Monsters and ghosts are my favourite in horror, fantasy or sci-fi. Sometimes those monsters are the good guys or even the love interest.
Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?
I totally understand the advantage to planning and plotting but I cannot force it out. And I’m too impatient. If a scene is rattling around in my brain, I have to put it on paper. And it morphs as I go, so I deviate from any plan I had. If I get stuck, I leave it for a few days and let my subconscious mull it over until the idea snaps into focus.
What is your best marketing tip?
Be friendly. Go to your readers for book signings, school visits and conferences. The people you associate with will be your best promoters and collaborators.
Do you find social media a great tool or a hindrance?
Social media is a two-edged sword. It can kind of work, but usually it slows me down. It’s best for keeping in contact with associates and hearing about submission calls. I don’t spam people, I invite them to book signings then talk to them in person.
Do you read for pleasure or research or both?
Reading anything is always research. It can’t not be. Even if I’m just researching an author to see if I like their style to determine if I want to read more. If it’s not a good fit, I’ll stop reading. It’s simple. Everything I read gets stored away for future reference.
Do you see writing as a career?
No. It is a lifestyle. If I wanted it to be a career, I would have got my bachelors of English or journalism and applied myself to these professional labels, deadlines and salaries. A writing career involves writing for other people. I haven’t done that since school assignments. I want to let my creative side out when it suites me without worrying about paying the rent with my words. Depending on a writer’s income is hazardous. I won’t quit my day job but I will write during my lunchbreak.
Do you nibble as you write? If so what’s your favorite snack food?
No. I realized early on that I binge and it’s not healthy so I stopped. I will only drink water or tea. Some of my binge worthy treats are praline trail mix, and popcorn. I try and save those things for parties.
What reward do you give yourself for making a deadline?
Netflix! It’s time to purge the brain. Maybe cheesecake.
Halli Lilburn was born in Edmonton, Alberta. Her first story at age nine was about unicorns and fairies. Over the years she has explored other genres including poetry, science fiction, paranormal and horror. She has works published with Tesseracts 18: Wrestling with Gods, Spirited by Leap Books, Carte Blanche, Vine Leaves, Renaissance Press and many others. She teaches workshops on creative writing and art journaling. She is a certified structural editor with essentialedits.ca and is an editor for The Dame Was Trouble, with Coffin Hop Press. Her education includes Library Operations, Art History, Creative Writing, Music and Fashion Design. She is a librarian, artist and mother of three.
Tuesday is my Writers Foundation AGM – so as secretary I am compiling the agenda, and will take the minutes.
Wednesday I am excited to join several other great authors for a book signing and reading. Audreys Books, 10702 Jasper Ave, Edmonton, AB T5J 3J5 Please come down for hot & spicy and romantic readings and lots of treats!
Thursday evening I will have my President hat on for the Arts & Culture Council Board meeting and on Friday another meeting with my freelance client for the ghost writing project.
In all a super busy week but fun all the same.
What are you up to this week?
In Calgary, AB, Wordfest takes place from October 9–15, with Canadian authors including Michael Redhill, Linda Spalding, Nick Cutter, Lindan MacIntyre, Claire Cameron, Heather O’Neill, Ron Sexsmith, and many others.
The Knowlton Literary Festival runs October 12–15 in Brome Lake in Quebec’s Eastern Townships, with featured authors including Douglas Gibson, Ian Hamilton, Donna Morrissey, Heather O’Neill, and Kathy Stinson.
The Whistler Writers Festival runs October 12–15 in Whistler, BC, with Caroline Anderson, Gail Anderson-Dargatz, Gurjinder Basran, David Chariandy, Barbara Gowdy, Jane Eaton Hamilton, Teva Harrison, Helen Humphreys, Lee Maracle, Suzette Mayr, Lenore Rowntree, Doug Saunders, Michael Redhill, and more.
October 12–22, the non-fiction festival Litfest takes over Edmonton, AB, with Janice MacDonald, Kit Dobson, Merilyn Simonds, Scaachi Koul, Britt Wray, Chris Turner, Kamal Al-Solaylee, Jen Agg, Jessica Kluthe, and more.
Family festival Celebrating Stories is back in Milton, ON, on October 15, with Sharon Jennings, Patricia Storms, and Vikki VanSickle.
Well what can I say I am still floating with happiness with the spectacular response to my romance novel, The Twesome Loop on Saturday! Seven books purchased and the prize draw basket won, and the recipient messaged me on Sunday to say they were half way through the book, and enjoying the wine and pasta.
I was certainly happy with how my table display worked out – but am thinking I will need to investigate some sort of shelving system soon. I can’t have three tables!! B the way the artwork is by the owner of Spark Gallery – Glen Roland. His work is spectacular.
With over 30 authors, 9 artisans, musicians, dancers, a clown, a great food truck and more it was a special day all round. It was a great way to celebrate 10 years of Words in the Park.
My next event is this Saturday I will do a presentation/speech for a local company, Pinebox Funerals at their annual event. This falls under my other writing hat – freelance writer.
WGA Open Mic Night – Read Like the Pros(e) – Edmonton