Many of us are finding the lock downs, social distancing and isolation difficult to cope with. Logically we know it is the best possible way to curb the spread of this horrid disease but humans are social animals. The most basic interactions are forgone as we protect our loved ones, whether family or friends. We miss the hugs, the physical closeness – over tea or coffee, a lunch or dinner date, groups we normally attend, family visits and more.
However, we are in an era of excellent technology that allows us to connect – if not physically – as least visually. All social media sites are open for us to message or video with each other. There are many video conferencing apps for group chats, we can even have watch parties. So it is not so bad.
Imagine this change happening in the 1960’s or 1970’s when a rotary phones or letters were your main options for connection. At least we have instant options now.
We endeavour to ‘busy’ ourselves with a multitude of activities available to us within our homes. There is an increase in books sales (happy author here for one!) gardens are being tended, DIY projects completed, spring cleaning finished, increased book reading, board & card games played, jigsaw puzzles completed. ‘Old’ toys are seized from closets, basements and attics and dusted off and enjoyed.
Maybe look on the positive side – it is more ‘family’ time instead of ‘screen’ time. Embrace the new and be creative.
Take care #stayhome and #stayhealthy
Keep #reading #books! And remember to review each one.
As many of you know I love prompts, as they inspire and refresh the Muse. At my last writing meeting our prompt was: you find a box underneath your seat on a train. This was my response.
Box of Resource
My ankle struck a sharp edge and I let out a cry. Rubbing my bruised skin I noticed the brass hinge of a box wedged underneath the train carriage seat. After a couple of tugs to free the object, it was revealed as an old wooden box with elaborate brass hinges and decoration on all sides as well as the top. It was a woodland scene with an inset of silver representing the moon through an arch of gnarly trees. I tried the clasp but it was locked. I looked under the seat again hoping to find a key but only found a discarded piece of chewing gum and several wrappers sticky with candy.
I place the box on the tabletop and turned it this way and that admiring the workmanship. When I lifted it and shook it there was a gentle knocking sound. Something heavy was inside, but what? The guard came walking towards me and asked for my ticket, I produced it and he clipped a hole into it.
“That’s a beautiful box; a lot of work went into that I’m sure.”
“Yes it is lovely isn’t it?”
Once he left I wondered why I hadn’t revealed that the box was not actually mine. Pushing the box to one side I organized my space, backpack beside me, a novel on the table with a bottle of juice and a sandwich. Traveling at night is much more relaxed and not so crowded.
I read for a while and must have dozed off because a gentle shaking of my shoulder woke me.
“You have the box.”
I looked at the man confused at his words as my sleepy mind tried to become fully awake.
“I’m sorry, what?”
“The box of resource, there in front of you, I was not expecting a messenger.”
The man’s words did not make sense but he smiled kindly at me. He lifted the box and put it into a large canvas bag. As he turned away I asked
“What is the box of resource? I found it underneath this seat. I’m not a messenger.”
“Ah, I see that explains your confusion. It contains an ancient scroll that must be returned to the Vatican. It holds the…well I must not delay you.”
He looked up alarmed, turned and exited the train at a run along the platform. I so wanted to follow him but by the time I had packed my backpack he was nowhere in sight. My only clue -he was going to the Vatican. Well Rome is the city I will be living in for the next four years so maybe I will find him again and he will tell me what the box contains.
Why not write a short story using this prompt and share in the comments?
Books: I am enjoying this narrative as it is set in two time periods, like my novel, The Twesome Loop. The characters are well rounded and the ‘discoveries’ are intriguing.
Break writing rules with intention.
As Pablo Picasso so wisely said, “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break the rules like an artist.”
There are times to stick to the rules, and there’s those times to think beyond them … in any kind of writing.
I did manage to increase the word count on my new YA novella to just over 18,000 and will further increase it tonight as I have a couple of hours in the library prior to a Board meeting. The story took a surprising turn so I am following it, wondering where it will end. I am toying with the idea of a new title – Bubble the Gruggle – is good but maybe too childish for a YA. We will see.
With two events coming in the next couple of weeks I need to be prepared for displays and readings. Choosing excerpts of a book can be problematic but I have found that if you gauge them to your known audience at the event it is slightly easier.
How do you choose an excerpt to read?
One event – Word on the Street is in Lethbridge which will entail a road trip – always a favorite past time and will allow more writing time, never a bad thing.
My review: I had to finish this book last night so into the midnight hour I went… Jamie has created a world of intrigue, mystery and suspense in this novel. The relationship between Moira and Keenan had me guessing and hoping. A world of empaths and blockers, and strict social distinctions is beautifully weaved within and around the story. Great world building by Jamie. This is a novel I highly recommend and can’t wait to read to next installment.
I’m already entranced by this novel’s story set in two time periods.
Always get an outside edit.
Whether it’s a novel or a blog post, sometimes we get trapped in our own ideas, and the grand vision clouds our ability to see the actual words on the page.
So work your vision and polish it up as much as you can … but then, get feedback from someone else whose editorial judgment you respect.
As this past weekend was a long weekend here in Alberta I made good use of the time to mock-up my display for Words in the Park. As I now have five books to promote I had to decide on how best to give each one a ‘showcase spot’ without making my tables too crowded. The first table is for my two children’s books, Rumble’s First Scare and Ockleberries to the Rescue and my YA novella, Clickety Click. I do have ‘props’ for these books so reduced the displays a little. I have other promotional items as well but will keep them to a minimum. This is the kid’s table.
I bought coloured card to stick summaries of each book to reflecting the book cover colours, I think it gives them a more professional look? For Ockleberries I am using a handmade ‘door’ I found in an artisan store and have animal figurines reflecting some of the creatures in the narrative. For Clickety Click I found a couple of ‘claws’ in the Halloween section and stuck them to a card above the book. And lastly, for Rumble’s First Scare the soft toy I made of Rumble. He is always very popular with the kids and adults alike!
Promotional items include Rumble pins, toques, T-shirts and bookmarks, Ockleberries has animal quizzes for the kids and Click has specially made toques and ‘monster’ colouring pages.
For the adult books I found a really nice tablecloth, which is gold in colour. This reflects the golden beast in The Rython Kingdom and the golden light of Italy for The Twesome Loop. The Rython has bookmarks and a glowing orb, which is in the narrative. For The Twesome Loop as it is my book launch I purchased a table easel and have made a larger summary page for it. I will make bookmarks as well. My next task is to make up a draw basket, which will include a signed copy. As the narrative is set in England and Italy I will have to select items carefully. I will probably use a couple of balloons to attract people to my table as well.
The display still needs work but this is the mock-up. I have to wait for the physical books of The Twesome Loop but should have them soon.
Books: I have been rather busy so have not finished this novel although should do this week. I’m really enjoying the characters and the author keeps me guessing who is the perpetrator.
My friend, Marilyn gave me a lovely book, which is next on my TBR pile.
What are you reading?
Do you have a particular genre you enjoy?
Keep it simple.
It’s easy for your message to get buried in the language. So speaking of revisions, one of the best tools in your review toolbox is always the question, “Can this sentence be simplified?”
If it can be simpler, make it simpler.
Use adjectives and adverbs sparingly.
Regardless of what you’re writing, verbs are your power words. Make them do your heavy lifting, and keep the lightweight descriptors like adjectives and adverbs scarce.
I succeeded in increasing the word count on my new YA story – Bubble the Gruggle to 17,715. It is a fun story set on another planet. The message within the tale is to care for your environment no matter which planet you live on.
I’m impatiently waiting on the go-ahead from my publisher to begin my cover reveal and teasers for The Twesome Loop. The official launch is set for 30th September at Words in the Park. Although I have two tables for this event I’m having to plan how to set them up to showcase the new novel but also give my other books, fair representation as well. This newest novel is number five in my published works!
Rumble’s First Scare, The Rython Kingdom, Ockleberries to the Rescue, Clickety Click.
It is amazing that I have this number of books when I only began writing when I immigrated to Canada and joined my writing group in 2009. (8 years 14 weeks to be precise). I am making up for lost time.
I have been asked where I get my titles and character names. Well mostly it is a word that pops into my head or a combination of a title/word/name I have heard or seen. Some, like Rumble, just seemed right for the character and the mischief he performed and for my magical woodland sprites, Crispin and Tansy were reflections of their personalities. (Ockleberries to the Rescue). Clickety Click was easy as it is the sound Alice hears in the story. Rython was a made up word for the griffon within the tale Guillem relays to the King’s court. As for the ‘Twesome Loop’ I wanted something mystical/intriguing as the loop is the means by which a link is made.
I try not to have a ‘common’ novel title to avoid confusion for my readers when buying my books. The internet gives us an easy way to check we are not duplicating a title.
How long have you been writing?
When was your first book published?
How many books do you have published to date?
How do you choose your titles and character names?
Books: Beautifully engaging characters and a mystery that propels me to continue reading.
Next on my TBR pile are:
A Desperate Fortune by Susanne Kearsely and 11/22/63 by Stephen King
What are you reading at the moment?
How many books are on your TBR pile?
Don’t judge the first draft.
No matter what you’re writing, the first draft should be about getting the ideas on the page—never let your inner editor hold you down at this stage. That’s what revisions are for.