What’s the Book About?

One of the toughest questions for any author to answer is , “What’ your book about?” Whenever that question gets asked we struggle to sum up our writing in a few words. Don’t ask me why. We’re used to writing synposes for our books so you’d think we’d be able to rattle off a brief summary as soon as that question is asked.

So, what’s “Flying with a Broken Wing” about? I’ll let the Nimbus fall catalogue tell you. (I’m on page 20 BTW.) Sorry, the qualityof the photo isn’t so good, but it’s better than a finger in the eye as they say.

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So there you have it. A quick peek into my book and what it’s about. Guess it’s  happening after all! Yippee!

Rug Hooker Extraordinaire

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The lampshades below were also hooked by Syr!

I’m always amazed at those people who have more than one exceptional talent. Maybe that’s because I don’t venture very far from writing myself, and I forget that many others do. While I’ve known author, Syr Ruus (Love Songs of Emmanuel Taggart) for several years now, I’ve only recently discovered her talent for rug hooking. Imagine my delight when I discovered that she was having a show of her hooked rugs!

Yesterday, we drove to Petite Reviere to attend Syr’s opening at the River House Gallery. We were totally amazed by Syr’s work. Here are a few snaps I took to share with my blog readers.

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Syr’s work will be on display at the River House Gallery during the month of April. If you get a chance , I suggest you drop in and take a look at the work from this local artist. There are many more rugs on display for your enjoyment. There are also copies of her book, “Love Songs of Emmanuel Taggart” for sale at the gallery if you’re interested in supporting a local author. You can check out Syr’s Facebook page as well to learn more about this talented writer/rug hooker.

Syr Ruus, Author

DSC03498  Congratulations, Syr, on the success of your rug hooking exhibition. We had a lovely time!

Finally, A Little Book News

Comparing your first born to your second child is sometimes a bit difficult not to do. When that second little one comes along we start right away by comparing their sleeping patterns. At least I know I did. Often times your first-born is more advanced when it comes to language because they have more of your undivided attention. But that doesn’t mean your second child is any less special. All children bring their own special gifts to the planet. It is what makes all of us unique. The fact that we sometimes compare the development of our children doesn’t make it right, but it doesn’t make it any less so.

I know, what does this have to do with my upcoming book? Nothing. Well, maybe something. Maybe just the fact that it’s difficult not to compare my first book to this next one, and even the whole process of publishing. For instance, Bitter, Sweet was relatively short even though, during the editing process, 5,000 words were added to the story. My upcoming book is a tad too long which means I have to make cuts this time. When my editor told me I had to add 5,000 words to Bitter, Sweet I cringed. I thought it was nearly impossible. However, editors don’t get to be editors by not knowing their stuff. Caitlin made suggestions as to where scenes could be added and slowly but surely the word count came up to where it needed to be. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d originally thought.

But cuts feel like, I don’t know, like an amputation of sorts. I’m mulling the idea of getting rid of a few very minor characters as well as a few small scenes. Writers often refer to it as “Killing off your darlings.” Might sound a bit extreme, but this late in the game it does feel extreme. I blame myself for being too wordy during the first edits. (I had an inkling this might be the case.) But laying blame doesn’t change what is. I still need to decide what can go and what can stay. Luckily, I’m not talking about 5,000 words this time, but still….

Work on the fall Nimbus catalogue is about to start. That means I’ll soon have a cover for my book. Contrary to what many people think, I’m not responsible for coming up with a cover, and thank goodness for that! You really wouldn’t want to see what I’d come up with. This doesn’t mean I won’t have any input. Once they come up with a cover, it’ll be sent my way for approval. If I hate it they’ll keep working at it. The day Caitlin sent me the cover for Bitter, Sweet I was afraid to open the file, wondering what I’d do if I absolutely hated it. Luckily, that wasn’t a problem. I loved it right away. I can’t imagine it being any different.

As for the title.

The title of “Bitter, Sweet,” was originally, “Bittersweet.” I remember when the comma was suggested. I immediately thought it looked weird. The concern with the title was there were so many other books on the market with bittersweet in them, and they wanted this one to stand out. They also thought the comma gave the book a more literary feel. The comma certainly seemed to do that. I mulled the idea over for a few days and then decided that the compromise didn’t feel that horrible, and really wasn’t all that different from the original. Of course, now I couldn’t imagine the title without a comma.

So what about the title of this book? During discussions with my editor, we’ve decided to make a slight adjustment to the title. Instead of “To Fly With a Broken Wing,” We’ve decided to change it to “Flying With a Broken Wing.” Just a small change, but I’d originally titled it, “Fly With a Broken Wing,” until it was pointed out that images of “a fly” were difficult to get past. Hadn’t thought of that when I originally titled it. Now it makes me giggle.

So yes, the book is making progress. We’re working toward publication. I know it feels really slow, and a lot of people have been telling me they’re getting anxious. I’m sure you can appreciate how I feel being the author and all. But patience is something all writers learn. In fact, it’s a must. As soon as I have a cover I’ll post.

So I’m off now to start making some cuts. Wish me luck!

Who Are You Sleeping With?

DSC03197I posted this pic on Facebook some weeks ago. It’s actually a plaque I got for Christmas this year and thought it was kind of neat. But the truth comes out when I say I can’t remember ever taking a book to bed with me. While, I sometimes stay up late to read I don’t do it from beneath the covers. Not even once!

I know a lot of people read in bed almost every night. It’s part of their bedtime ritual. After a long day it’s a great way for them to unwind as they curl up in bed with one of their favourite authors. For some, it’s the only quiet time in the day when they can enter an imaginary world and become a part of it. And we all know how important it is to lose ourselves into the world of imagination, right?

These days I tend to read while using the treadmill. In fact, some days it’s the only time I find to read.(Ah the busy, busy life of an author!) Let’s face it, a treadmill can be pretty darn boring, aimlessly walking until you work up a sweat with no true destination in mind, not even a change in scenery. So, I decided to combine the two. I thought, why not?  I’ve got such a list of books waiting for me I try to cram in reading time anywhere I can.

I’m also one of those lucky people who can read while driving in a car and not lose their lunch in the process. FYI, I’m not the one doing the driving. (Wouldn’t want to scare any of you readers out there. ) Living 45 minutes out of town does sometimes have its advantages, and on shopping day I can squeeze in some reading as well. I’m also known to take reading material with me to work, and read on breaks or at lunch time. Hey, who says you can’t find time to read?

Reading is important to writers. It’s not an option, it’s a must. I know many people don’t get that, and that’s alright. I’ve been accused by some of  “always” reading or writing, like it’s a bad thing. But the truth is, if you’re serious about being a writer, you’ve also got to read. Writers are often inspired by reading the words of others. I can’t begin to say how many times a particular book has inspired me with my own writing even if that book doesn’t resemble what I’m writing at all. It’s kind of a strange and wonderfully weird thing that happens to many writers when we read a book we really love. It makes us want to rush out and write our own story. We are sometimes struck by a moment of clarity that brings everything into focus for us, and we have other writers to thank for that.

Okay, so I got a little side-tracked from my original post. I was talking about reading in bed, which I mentioned I don’t do. But how many of you read in bed— once in awhile, never, or almost always?

Busy, Busy Beaver

On the property across from ours, the beavers have been extremely busy as you can see from the photo. It’s rather amazing to know that these small creatures aren’t afraid to tackle something so large. This urge to chop down trees is something that comes natural to them. Funny, how they don’t shy away from such a big undertaking. We see plenty of evidence of the beaver’s work, but we’ve never caught them in the act. I think much of their work is done at night.

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Writing a novel is also a big undertaking. One that writers enter into willingly, regardless of the work involved. Rarely can an author say they whipped a novel up in a matter of a few weeks or months…(Yes, I know, some can, but many can’t.) For many authors it may take many months, maybe even years until their book is ready to be read by an editor. But once a book has been accepted for publication it doesn’t mean a writer can sit back and wait for those royalties to start rolling in. For those not involved in the industry, it’s difficult to understand what takes so long for a book to come out. I hear from people all the time, anxiously wondering why, if I’m working on edits for the book now, it isn’t coming out until next fall.

The whole idea behind the edits is to help make that story shine as much as possible. A writer often becomes immune to seeing the flaws in our stories and it takes another set of eyes to point out the imperfections and make suggestions as to how the story can be improved. We all want that book to be the best it can be, right?

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So this is where I am at the moment. No, I don’t mean I’m cutting down trees….The edits are going well and I’m pleased with how the story is evolving even further. It’s always exciting to discover something new in your work, something you overlooked while you were getting the story down the first time around. Did I say the first time? I guess I should say the first several drafts.

Christmas might be creeping up on me, but I’m very hopeful that I’ll have the manuscript sent back before then. What is it about Christmas that makes us want to accomplish certain goals? I can remember, as a child, that rooms were painted before Christmas or new flooring laid.—always before Christmas, regardless of how close to the big day that it happened. So long as it was done by then everyone was happy. Anyway, I’ll use Christmas as a deadline to have this round of edits completed. I’m pretty sure that I won’t get a whole lot of writing done once a certain little someone arrives anyway.

How about you, is there anything you’d like to accomplish before Christmas comes?

Books, Books & More Books

When my daughter phoned to say the local library was having a book sale on Saturday my little heart went pitter-pat. As the previous year, books went for 5 bucks a bag– all you can stog. (Ah, the word “stog”. Isn’t it a dandy word? I think I discussed the word “stog” once before on this blog.) Used book sales are kind of like an all you can eat buffet for book-lovers. Don’t you think?

So while I was looking through the titles my hand stopped suddenly when I spied a copy of Bitter, Sweet. Talk about a surreal moment. I mean, I expected one day to come across a copy of my own book at one of these sales, but when it’s there on the table the reality of it kind of hits you.

A friend asked if I signed the book but I can tell you right now, that thought never crossed my mind. I was too busy stogging books into my bag, I guess. So here’s the silly part, I grabbed up my book and stogged it in the bag too. I mean, it was my book. Not taking it felt wrong in a twisted sort of authorish way. But have no fear; it’s not going to sit on my bookshelf. I’ll have you know I’m not THAT lame!  I’m actually planning to give it away, which is silly in itself because someone was bound to take it home. Yet I didn’t want to stalk my book to find out who.

So here’s the plan:  I’ll go off in search of someone to give the book to, someone deserving, someone kind, and trustworthy…Perhaps I shall scour the land for said person, over mountains and dry deserts.

Okay, so that’s way over the top and totally ridiculous, but sometimes ridiculous is kind of fun. Seriously, when the time is right, I’ll know exactly who to give the book to, unless one of you have a suggestion.

So the really big news on Saturday was meeting author Lesley Crewe at Coles in the Bridgewater Mall. Lesley was there to sign copies of her new book, “Kin” and I wanted to pick up a copy for my mum, who is a big fan, and meet Lesley. Lesley is a Nimbus author, like me, so that in itself gave us mutual ground, but she’s so down to earth and friendly we had no problem chatting it up. Best of all she made me laugh. I could have stalked spent the whole afternoon with her—that’s if she would have let me.  LOL!

So I’m an author groupie. I’ve met my share of authors over the years since my book came out. I can honestly say I’ve never met an author I didn’t like. It’s a strange business I find myself  part of, and as different as our lives are, all writers share our love for the written word. Through the writing journey I’m on I’ve met some truly wonderful people, some whom I consider close friends.

This weekend was all about writers and books. Sunday, was the annual Word on the Street event in Halifax, and I was glad to have made it in. I’ll be posting about it next time and sharing a few photos.

Do you go to book signing events or writing festivals in your area? Have you met an author who left a lasting impression?

Why I Ditched the Author

Some of you may have already noticed I ditched the “Author” off my blog. Now, that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped writing– goodness no. As I live and breathe I’d never be able to do that. When you’re a writer, writing is part of your life—a BIG part. Big to the point where we sometimes bore our non-writing friends to tears. (Sorry about that guys!)  Even when we can’t make time to write, or don’t feel inspired to write, we are writers and the truth is, if you’re not a writer yourself, you probably don’t find that stuff interesting to read about. I’m also not sure if non-writers understand how much time we writers spend in our heads, having conversations with our characters, (as we work through believable dialogue) thinking about our characters, or working through plot ideas. Yup, and just when you thought that stunned look I sometimes sport is natural, admit it!

What I found with attaching the “author” to my blog, I felt a certain obligation to blog about writing, and I don’t want to do that all the time. I’m no one to be giving writing advice because, contrary to what some of you think, I don’t know what I’m doing half the time. I write. I put down words. I read them back. I listen. If a sentence doesn’t sound right, I keep working at it until it does. I don’t consider myself an expert, nor do I want to.  So, while writing is a big part of my life, there are other things going on in the world, things I’m also interested in. This doesn’t mean I won’t have an occasional writing post thrown into the mix. Writing is a big part of who I am, remember? Who knows, I may write about writing more that I plan, but I’m not trying to turn this blog into a place for writers to come looking for writing advice. Of course I’ll still blog about any publication news, especially with the impending release of my next YA novel! Can’t forget that..

Anyway, that’s the big news here. I’m going to blog about anything that interests me at the moment. I hope you’ll stick around.

At the moment I found a carving in to be interesting. Here’s a sneak peek. I’ll be blogging about exactly where I found this carving and reveal who the artist is next time.  Isn’t it lovely?

Did You Buy My Book?

For any author who has only recently published a book there’s that awkwardness in the beginning as we wait to see if our family and friends are actually going to buy our book. I mean, it’s out there, we have friends and family, so…..shouldn’t they buy our book? How’s an author to make a living if we can’t expect all our family and friends to support us? So come on, people, we authors want you all to pony up the dough for our books, right?

Wrong.

Realistically, not everyone we know has money in their budget to buy books. Hey, I’ve been there myself, with a mortgage to pay and three kids living at home. It’s not always easy to find the extra cash for such indulgences, let alone go spending it on ourselves instead of the kids. Sometimes a person’s financial situation has them in a headlock and they just can’t squeeze that piggy bank any harder.

But where there’s a will there’s a way. Maybe you don’t have the money to purchase books at this time, but you most surely can put in a request to the library, and sign that book out. Big deal you might be saying! How’s that supposed to help an author in any way?

Don’t forget, not only are you showing your support by reading our work but, authors do make royalties on library sales. It adds up. Putting in a request at a library for a book can prompt them to add it to their shelves. Making sure our books are stocked in as many libraries as possible is a good thing. But there’s more.

Have you heard of the Public Lending Rights? No. I bet many of the authors out there have.

Now I’m not sure if there’s an equivalent to this in the US so I can only speak to what applies here in Canada. If there are any US authors reading this perhaps you know.

Traditionally published authors can register their news titles with the PLR, and each year, I believe it’s eight, libraries are randomly checked for your titles. If it’s found in any of these libraries the author receives a payment. So if it’s found in all eight libraries, then the author receives 8X, seven libraries it’s 7X…and so on. The more libraries a book is in the larger the payment for the author. If it’s in all eight libraries, that adds up to a nice little bundle especially if an author has more than one title. Now, I know it’s not all about the money, but realistically, authors have to make a living too.

As the old saying goes, there’s more than one way to skin a cat, well there’s more than one way to help support an author without actually buying their book.

I can tell you right now, that for any author, we’re tickled pink to have others reading our work. Whether it’s a library rental or a purchase from a book store, we love to share what we’ve written with others.

Have you ever felt guilty about signing a book out from the library instead of purchasing it? Have you ever thought of putting in a request for a friend’s book so the library would get it in?

Facebook Update

Since I blogged about facebook a few posts ago, I just thought I’d let you all know that I decided to go with an author’s page. Right or wrong, the decision’s been made. I know some of you are already aware of this because you’re on my personal facebook account. If in time I realize it’s a pain to keep up and serves no purpose, I’m sure it won’t be the first page that’s fallen to the wayside.

Truthfully, it was a difficult decision to make. I wrestled with feelings of: are people sick of me at this point and would just roll their eyes? (I’m sure some have. For goodness sake I have a time or two or three…lol!) What I’m planning now is to eventually stop posting anything writing related on my personal account unless it’s something important that I’ll then share from my author page. I’m sure it’ll take time to figure this all out. Eventually I’ll come up with a system that works well and one I’m comfortable with. For a time I’ll likely post my blog updates (although I never post every blog update on facebook anyway.) Truthfully, I struggle with this as well and feel that people who aren’t familiar with the blogging scene probably aren’t interested in reading blog posts unless I have some news to share. I’m sure it seems self-indulgent to them. Maybe that’s just me being self-conscious, but it’s kind of how I feel at the moment.

On another note some of you have already seen the new theme on my blog. A session of high speed over the weekend at my daughter’s house enabled me to check out some of the new themes that wordpress is offering. When I came across this one, it caught my eye. I don’t, as a rule, think of myself as a “pink person” but I told you a few posts back that I was looking forward to some changes.

On the drive to New Brunswick this weekend I finished reading The Hunger Games even though Goodreads said I’d already read it. (Guess I need to learn a bit more about updating on Goodreads too.) I wouldn’t as a rule choose a book like this, but I’m glad my son-in-law passed it along for me to read. I really enjoyed it, which goes to show, we should never enter a book with any preconceived ideas. Not only is it not fair to the book, but it’s not fair to us.  It pays to have an open mind.

I also want to say to those of you who were brave enough to write a few lines to accompany the photo I posted in the last post, you all amazed me with your creativity.  Thanks for taking part.  :)

So now I’m wondering, for those of you who have facebook accounts do you share any or every blog post with your friends? Are you ever afraid that your non-blogging friends will get tired of you if you do? If you’re reading this and you’re a non-blogger do you get a bit tired of seeing blog updates on facebook? Be honest. I’ll still love you if you say yes.  :)

Hello Facebook –I’m Dumping You

This post was prompted by a facebook friend’s status update a while ago that said something to the effect that she was purging her friend’s list and if we were reading her post we hadn’t been dumped. People seemed genuinely SO happy not to have been dumped. You’d have thought their life had suddenly been saved. Seriously.

I’m willing to bet that some of you have been dumped at one time or another. What I never understood were the people who initiate the friend request then end up dumping you, but later send another friend request….No explanation. A change of heart perhaps? I was more amazing than they originally thought? Or could it possible be they delete their account for whatever reason and later start another one

What I’ve noticed is that authors tend to friend other authors and people in the industry. For the most part it feels much like getting to know other bloggers. We’re a community. We tend to support one another much the same way we support one another as bloggers.

This particular friend who decided to whittle down her friends list did so because she realized that she had people on her list that she never spoke to her in high school. So why would she choose to keep them on her friend’s list now?  I can understand her reasoning. While some people thrive on their building their friend’s list others keep theirs to a bare minimum. It’s a personal thing really.

I have quite a few authors on my friend’s list. And while I know you can create pages, most of them haven’t. There are actually very few who do. (At least of the ones I know.) When someone sends a friend request they accept. It’s tricky when you’re an author and you don’t have a separate facebook page. You certainly don’t want to offend any fans. When people read your book they often look you up on facebook.

So what’s an author to do? I’ve considered creating a page but I’m not certain if it’s something I would give much attention to. It might end up being one more time suck.

So what’s everyone opinion on this. Have you ever dumped people on your friend’s list because you started to wonder why you ever added them I the first place? If you’re a writer do you have a separate page?