Cammie Takes Flight: One Step Closer

“You’ve signed a contract months ago so what’s taking SOOO long?”

As a writer with a new- to- be published book I get asked that a lot, which I suppose isn’t a bad thing. Means there’s interest, right?

A published book comes about in baby steps. This is once the book has been written (not to mention all those hours of thinking and plotting, writing and revising, a writer does before it’s even sent it off to a publisher.)

While each of these steps might be little over time they begin to add up.

Here’s where the books is now:

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the aim for “Cammie Takes Flight” (Yes, that’s the name we’re sticking with!) is to have the Advanced Reading Copies or ARCs  ready to be sent out in early winter. These go to reviewers etc. before the book is actually released. At this point I’ve already made revisions to the manuscript plus a few rounds of edits, smoothing out the wrinkles and straightening out any problems with the plot, etc.

Late this week, I received the design ARC galleys. This shows me what the interior of the book will look like, such as what fonts have been used and the little birds at the start of each chapter that I absolutely love! So with the file now created, the words, fonts and birds all in place you might think we’re all set to go, right?

But wait.

I still have some tweaking to do.

Crazy, isn’t it?

Not really. I’ve got a bit more work to do to the galleys, plus a decision to make, before the ARCs are ready to go to print.

Okay, so there’s no cover yet. Sorry. But trust me on this, there will be a cover before it goes to print. I mean, whoever heard of a book with no covers, right?

So once the ARCs are printed that’s it, right?

Wrong.

Believe it or not I’ll have the opportunity to make slight changes before it goes to the final print which should be late February, ready for the book’s release in April. Yay, it will finally be a book!

Whew!

So, the important thing is the book is getting closer to publication. Baby steps, but it’ll get there. I promise. And one of these days, very soon, I’ll have a cover reveal on my blog.

It’s all very exciting each time a writer brings a new book into the world. It’s our way of sharing what we’ve created with the rest of the world. Well, at least with our readers. 😉

That’s it for now. I hope you’re having an enjoyable fall and that you’re making steps towards  completing your own project whatever that might be.

Don’t Die With Your Story Still in You

Many years ago I was sitting in a doctor’s waiting room waiting on my mum who had an appointment to have her eyes checked. There was an older gentleman there, a retired teacher, who struck up a conversation with me. He asked where I was from and I told him. From there he asked what it was I did in East Dalhousie. I replied that I was a writer. He admitted to me that he’d always wanted to write, that his stories were “up here,” he said, tapping his forehead. I encouraged him to take the plunge and start writing his stories out. What did he have to lose?

“Don’t die with your music still inside you. Listen to your intuitive inner voice and find what passion stirs your soul. When you do this, you’re also tapping into another face of intention: love.” – Dr. Wayne Dyer

I love this quote. Whenever I read it, it reminds me of why I started writing in the first place. It wasn’t to DSC00753prove I could do it or to rack up a bunch of publishing credits that I could wave like a victory flag. I started writing as a matter of survival, that little voice that one day reminded me of how important writing had been to me in my younger years. Back then I didn’t care about publication, I only cared about writing a story and expressing whatever it was inside me what needed to be said. Growing up as a middle child sometimes left me feeling stifled. It was difficult for me to communicate my feelings verbally. I was often shushed. But the written word offered me a safe place to fall, a way to communicate without making too much noise. Plus it felt right.

My mother bought me a diary when I was nine. I hadn’t a clue what to write and I’m sure I didn’t update it with any regularity. I was young, words hadn’t yet found their way to me in the way they do a writer today. That would come a bit later. Yet, I was the only one in family who ever had a diary. Perhaps my mother saw something, or sensed something in me even then. I’ll admit I did love to write stories. I wrote plays in elementary school at an early age. My friends indulged me by playing along. We did it because it was fun. As the years went by, I discovered a great sense of contentment upon the page and writing stories felt so right, so natural, so good—like music to my soul. But what if I had resisted that urge to write? What if I had said, I don’t have anything important to say,  I won’t be good enough, or  People will only laugh at me?

I wonder sometimes how many of us ignore the nudges we receive for fear that we won’t be good enough. Good enough for what? How good do you have to be to write? All you need is an idea and some words. Now, being good enough to publish—that’s a little different. But we don’t all need to be THAT good. If writing fulfills some longing in you, if it brings you joy, that’s what counts. If in time you decide that your work is good enough to be published take it further. But nothing, nothing, should stand in the way of you writing if that’s what you want. I used to think that everyone who writes should do so for publication, that it would ultimately be the goal for anyone who writes. But I’ve since changed my mind about that. Writing can free us by allowing us to express the things that make us happy, angry or sad. Sometimes we don’t even know how we feel about a particular thing and can discover new truths about ourselves.

The people I write about might be fictitious but inside each and every one of them comes a sliver of truth, a small piece of someone I know, something I heard, everything I’ve every experienced either directly or indirectly.

Not everyone is a writer, but I’m willing to bet that most of us have something we do, some way of expressing ourselves. I’m sure there are people right now saying, “No, no, you don’t understand. I’m not creative in ANY way.”   You know what I say to that? Fuddle-duddle. Maybe you don’t write or paint, but what about crafting, card-making, sewing, gardening, baking, or twiddling your thumbs? Maybe you’re the best thumb-twiddler on the planet. And if that’s so, that’s wonderful. But seriously, we all have something. Maybe you’re a good listener, someone who volunteers their time, someone who makes time for someone else who’s lonely or in despair. We all have/do something of value.

It doesn’t matter what your story is because maybe your story isn’t a story at all, but something you’ve been called to do yet you chose to ignore. Wayne Dyer said, “don’t die with your music still in you” which is really the same as saying don’t die with your story still in you. If, at the end of you life, you had to write an essay about yourself would you end it all by saying you followed your heart, your inner guidance, or would you end the story by saying there was more you would have liked to have done?

I sometimes wonder about that older gentleman in the doctor’s waiting room, if he finally got up the courage to write down all the stories he’d been keeping in his mind for years. I hope, I pray, he did not come to the end of his life still thinking of those stories he wanted to write, that he did not die with his story still in him.

A Book—How Long Does It Take?

DSC07192The other day someone asked when I’d last written a book. I quickly replied last year. But that’s not really accurate. Yes, I finished a book last year, but I worked on it for several years before declaring it completed. Even then, I only ever refer to it as a manuscript. (Not a book until it’s published.)  I have several manuscripts in various stages of completion, ones that go back many, many, many years. It’s the nature of writing, I think; the ability to simply pick up and start or stop or even change directions. I don’t wear blinders when I write. Sometimes my eye wonders. I see a potential story some place else and I quickly jot things down—a paragraph, a sentence, a page—for a later date.

I’m not an organized writer. And I have periods when I’m not nearly as productive as others. I get in slumps. I procrastinate and often wonder what’s stopping me from writing more. Exactly why do I procrastinate when writing is something I absolutely love doing, something that’s a part of me? I’ve asked myself that question a time or two. But then I remind myself that creativity isn’t something that can be rushed. It comes in its own good time, the same way a story idea or character suddenly arrives right out of the blue when I’m washing dishes or stirring pots.

I don’t produce outlines or write character sketches. I don’t decide what my characters likes or dislikes are before heading into a story. In fact, it’s more like they tell me. This is the place where some people start looking at me a little strange. Characters tell you things? They might even suggest an evaluation of sorts—just to make sure everything’s okay. They might even pat me on the head. But yes, with every book I’ve written, every short story, I feel a connection to a character who then leads me through their story. Occasionally I have a certain topic I want to write about, even then I have to wait for some character to show up and guide me through to the end.

I know one author who wrote a book in eighteen days. I’m still in awe of that feat although she told me she wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. I’m willing to bet she didn’t get a whole lot of sleep during those eighteen days. While I’m not expecting to write a novel in anywhere near that time I’ve learned to never rule anything out because, really, who am I to say what will and won’t happen. I don’t like putting restriction on life. I like to stay open to any possibility. Who knows, a character might show up one day, a character so strong and insistent and impossible to ignore and I’ll be at their mercy to write, write, write. I’m sure this certain author didn’t decide she’d write a novel in a few weeks, it probably just happened. When you’re open to all possibilities anything is possible.

So, how long does it take to write a book? It takes as long as it takes—at least for me.

What kind of writer are you? Do you write with an outline or simply fly by the seat of your pants? How long does it take you to write a book?

Reflection

The sudden passing of a friend in February kind of threw me for a loop. For a few days I withdrew into my thoughts to contemplate the things I would miss with this friend no longer here, and to honour the memories I had of her. Whenever we lose someone in our life it causes us to reflect upon so many things—the frailty of life being one of them, our own mortality as well as the mortality of those closest to us, the things we haven’t yet accomplished that we’d like to, the relationships we forge and so, so much more.

When we get to a certain age, we begin to understand that life doesn’t always make sense. Good things happen, bad things happen, and we have no idea why. We can become angry and bitter over the things we deem senseless in this world and yet delight when good things happen that also don’t make sense. (If that makes sense!)

I’m not sure that life is supposed to make sense. If it did make sense all the time, I think we’d lose a little of the wonder and the magic that exists in the world. And without the wonder and the magic what would that do to our hopes and dreams and wishes? Without magic I’m almost certain all those things wouldn’t exist. Why would we ever wish for something or allow our hopes to propel us into some crazy new direction, why would set our dreams on anything other than the reality we now have if there wasn’t some force out there capable of making our hopes, dreams and wishes come true? Wouldn’t we simply go through our days and wait for life to happen? How drab, how utterly mundane and ordinary, how sad.

Truthfully, I’m glad to live in a world that doesn’t always make sense, where strange, out of the ordinary things sometimes happen, where people overcome insurmountable odds, a world that fills us with delight and yes, sometimes, sorrow. My friend once sent me a link to a site about fairy homes. There are those who might say that a site like that doesn’t make any sense, and maybe it doesn’t, but so what?

If I was looking for things to always make sense I might have said a long time ago there’s no sense in trying to get published. I might have said it’s too hard to a thing to accomplish. I might have looked at the stats from some of the literary magazines I submitted to (we receive over 1200 submissions a year and publish 5%) and said the odds are not in my favour. I might have said, I have no one to show me the way. I might have counted the rejections (I had a few file folders filled) and said it isn’t meant to be. I might have said I’ve never once taken a writing course. I might have said I don’t know one single solitary writer in the entire world. But I didn’t say those things. I kept doing what I was doing even though there were times that it didn’t make sense to be doing it. (Seriously, some of my friends worried about the postage I was spending and if it was actually “paying off”) I kept wishing and hoping and dreaming…and writing.

And for those people who think life makes perfect sense, that if we dig deep enough we’ll find out exactly why things happen, I feel a little sad. I might be a Pollyanna, I might set my sights on things that seem an impossibility, but I’d rather live in a world of magic and wonder than a world that just is.

R.I.P my friend–the next time I find a fairy house in the woods I’ll think of you.

Do you believe in magic and wonder or in a world that always makes sense?
(Please drop in next time when author Heather Wright will be a guest on my blog. Heather will be telling us about her new book : Writing Fiction: A Guide for Preteens.”

PUBLISH BEFORE YOU PERISH or The Little Red Hen

Today, it is pleasure to welcome author Syr Ruus to my blog. As both a traditionally and self-published author, Syr has kindly agreed to share her thoughts on this with us.

37816_135253859838486_2745956_nSyr Ruus was born in Tallinn, Estonia during the Second World War. As a small child, she escaped with her mother to Germany and
subsequently immigrated to the United States. She has an MA in English and MS in Education and taught in the English Department of Illinois State University. She has lived in Crescent Beach, Nova Scotia since 1970, formerly working as an elementary school teacher while raising her three children and currently devoting herself full-time to writing. Her short fiction has appeared in anthologies and journals and in 2009 her novel “Lovesongs of Emmanuel Taggart” was published by Newfoundland’s Breakwater Press.

PUBLISH BEFORE YOU PERISH or The Little Red Hen

I have always loved books. I became a reader at three. More than thirty years later, I became a writer. Why did it take so long, you might ask? Perhaps because English is my second language, or maybe I felt that I didn’t have anything worthwhile to say. Once I started, however, I never stopped.

Publishing, of course, is another matter. People say it’s extremely hard to find a publisher these days with things being as they are. I know from personal experience that it has always been hard. It’s even difficult to find places to send a manuscript. Only small publishers accept unsolicited queries. If anyone does offer to take a closer look, it takes many months, even years, before a decision is reached. Often you hear nothing at all.

Not that this is altogether bad. It gives a writer a chance to reflect. After the first flush of enthusiasm, one can make some meaningful revisions. Sometimes, along with a rejection, there is feedback. I have read in a manual for writers that when you finish a novel, it should sit in a drawer for at least two years before you begin working on it again. A bit extreme, maybe. Yet often it sits that long in a slush pile on some junior editor’s desk. There does come a time, however, when a work is definitely ready. Finished. Done. Only a few final perks and tweaks could make it any better. Or perhaps not. Still no one has offered to publish it.

The wonderful news is that it has become more acceptable than ever to do it yourself. Even the Writers’ Union of Canada has recently voted to accept self-published writers.

321214_269317809765423_1682562519_nI was lucky. A smattering of my short stories appeared in Journals and anthologies. After my novel Lovesongs of Emmanuel Taggart received first prize in the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia annual competition, it was published by Breakwater Press in 2009. This gave me a much needed boost and sufficient confidence to actually begin referring to myself as an author.

But what of the two books I had written earlier? In 1999, Devil’s Hump was being seriously considered by a well-regarded publisher before being rejected. A few years ago, a new editor at the same company found the same novel (revised edition) “transporting, enchanting, strange, unsentimental, vivid,” but not fitting in with “what we’re trying to do with the fiction list at present.”

“I do think you should be able to find a publisher for this,” she added.

So, like The Little Red Hen, I did it myself. Devil’s Hump was published in 2013 by etc. Press, Halifax, N.S.10569081_810453168985215_2058664649597654044_n

The first novel I ever wrote also received an award from WFNS. In 1994, Edgar was the winner in the juvenile novel category. After some years, I decided to incorporate the original story which concerned a pet crow within an adult novel about the family which raised it. As such it was shortlisted for the Ken Klonsky Novella Award, yet despite positive comments from various publishers, no one was prepared to take it on. Just a few months ago, The Little Red Hen did it again. The Story of Gar was published in December, 2014.

Each of our voices is important to our collective humanity. Those that have spoken to me in the books I have read over the years have enriched me beyond measure. Our writing preserves a personal vision of a world which is constantly changing. The characters we have created with such loving care deserve a chance to sit on a bookshelf and perhaps come to life in someone else’s mind also. It’s every writer’s dream to be published, but you can’t wait around forever. Sometimes you have to do it yourself.

It’s exciting to prepare one’s work for print: to choose the paper, to select the font, to format the pages, to decide on a cover, to be in full control from beginning to end.
This includes promotion, of course, which these days is increasingly left up to the author, but which publishers certainly facilitate. Lovesongs of Emmanuel Taggart is available in bookstores all over the world (as I see when I Google myself). It was also reviewed in 10247462_880235172007014_1772275323027241970_nvarious newspapers and was submitted to contests which I cannot access as a self-published author. Since both of my independently published novels have a regional content (as does In Pleasantry, a collection of connected short stories, which I plan to publish next), shops in the area are willing to take a few copies on consignment. The books are printed in limited editions; the cost goes down as the number goes up. Being a diffident self-promoter, I am mainly depending on word-of-mouth for any future sales, and with luck, I may get back what I spent.

But as writers, we know that we don’t do it for the money—we do it for love.

Thanks so much, Syr, for sharing your thoughts and your wisdom. I hope that In Pleasantries will find the same success as your other novels. I am looking forward to reading your next literary offering.

To learn more about Syr, check out her WFNS page here. And her Facebook page. Her books are available locally at Coles in Bridgewater, The RiverHouse  and Lahave Bakery or by contacting the author directly: syr@eastlink.ca

It’s Not Always About Me

Long before I ever had a book published it seemed important to me to support other authors. So you can imagine my glee when little by little I began to meet and get to know some of them! I’ll admit that many moons ago it didn’t seem so important to me, even way back when I was writing and publishing some of my stories in literary magazine. But then something changed and I don’t exactly know what. I started to realize that celebrating the success of other authors is also a way of celebrating my own success. Once I figured that out I  really started to feel like an author. And when I started to feel like an author, more and more opportunities came my way. I began to have work published in those literary magazines that, in the beginning, seemed so far out of reach as I wondered if I’d ever write to their standards. Things were looking up.

I’ve got to tell you, life can’t be all about me…me…me. And it shouldn’t be. No one likes a self-centred author no more than a self-centred human being. And so, because it’s not all about me, nor should it be, it’s time for me to give a shout-out for some books I’ve either read or plan to read in the near future. It’s a combination of kids and adult books from authors I’ve met in real life or from the blogging community.  Hopefully, a little something for everyone.. Enjoy!

Rain Shadow - CoverRain Shadow by Valerie Sherrard
Bethany knows that she is special. She doesn’t learn things as easily as her classmates do and that sometimes makes them mean to her. They call her names — including the really “bad” name. Even her mom and her sister Mira say unkind things at times. But Bethany has friends like her neighbour Mrs. Goldsborough as well as happy times with Daddy when he gets home from work. And now, Mira has promised to protect her from the bullies when the new school year begins. Then tragedy strikes, tearing Bethany’s world apart in way she could never have imagined, and she starts to wonder if there will ever be a place that feels like home again. For fans of The Gory Wing , this book is set in the fictitious town of Junction, Manitoba (setting for The Glory Wind) in this story.

I love the cover of this book! To find out more about Valerie and her many book, check out her blog. Here.

 

tumblr_ndsrj3YMpD1rzzbp4o1_500Gertrude at the Beach by Starr Dobson

Everyone’s favourite goat, Gertrude Allawishes, is back! School is out for the summer, and Starr and her family—even Gertrude—are heading to the cottage. Starr’s mom is worried Gertrude will get into trouble. But it isn’t long before Gertrude proves she is one loyal goat and saves the day.

Many of you know Starr Dobson, co-host of Live at Five for a number of years. This is a follow up to her popular picture book, My Goat Gertrude. The illustrations for this picture book are beautiful. To find out more about the artist , Dayle  Dodwell check out her site Here

 

9781771082570MacLean by  Allan Donaldson

This book is a reprinting and was originally published a few years back. It’s on my TBR list simply because I enjoyed his book, “The Case Against Owen Williams” so much.

Twenty-five years after the Great War, John Maclean is still struggling to carve out a meaningful existence in his small New Brunswick hometown.

One late summer day he embarks on a seemingly prosaic search for a little money, a little booze, and a birthday gift for his mother. But he’s haunted by memories—of war, of his cruel father, of opportunities wasted and lost—and each moment is shadowed by his bleak history. Shell-shocked and alcoholic, Maclean is divided between a lonely present and a violent past.

 

FC COVER--smFollowing Chelsea by Shari Green

Walking in the footsteps of a dead girl isn’t easy.

After her social life flatlines, seventeen-year-old Anna Richards wants nothing more than to lie low at her new school. But it seems Anna looks an awful lot like Chelsea, the sweet and popular girl who recently died, and Anna finds herself stepping into the void created by Chelsea’s absence.

Anna is determined to make the awkward situation work in her favor, because Chelsea didn’t just leave a spot open with the in-crowd; she also left a gorgeous—and now available—boyfriend. But it turns out that following Chelsea might be a lot more complicated than Anna expected.

I met Shari a few years back through WordPress and am so excited for publication of her first book. You can check out her site here.

 

evbishop_biggerthings_200pxBigger Things by Ev Bishop.

Best friends since childhood, Jen, Chelsea and Kyra know everything about each other. Or think they do.

Jen should be celebrating her whopping 121-pound weight loss. Instead she feels like she’s betrayed fat girls everywhere. Will anyone love her for who she is inside, fat or thin? More importantly, will she?

Chelsea appears to have it all—a husband, a family, a beautiful home—but plaguing memories threaten to destroy everything. In her desperation to maintain control, will she succumb to a compulsion that costs her life?

Kyra is sick of the superficial persona she’s worn for so long. It’s exhausting to pretend to be an airhead while running a successful business. But if she sheds her life-of-the-party façade, will she ever find the boyfriend she thinks she needs?

When a nervous breakdown leaves one of them fighting to survive, all their secrets are laid bare. To stay friends, they need to battle personal dragons, confront the past, and embrace change. But can they break free from the roles they’ve played so long? Or must they leave one another behind in order to move forward?

Click here to find out more about Ev and how to order Bigger Things.

alongthewayhome-christicorbett-453x680Along the Way Home by Christi Corbett

Kate Davis is intrigued when her father reveals his dream of starting a horse ranch in Oregon Territory. Settlers out west value a strong woman, and though she manages the financials of her father’s mercantile her competence earns her ridicule, not respect, from Virginia’s elite society. 

Jake Fitzpatrick, an experienced trail guide, wants land out west to raise cattle and crops. But dreams require money and he’s eating dandelion greens for dinner. So when a wealthy businessman offers double wages to guide his family across the Oregon Trail, Jake accepts with one stipulation—he is in complete control.

Departure day finds Kate clinging to her possessions as Jake demands she abandon all he deems frivolous, including her deceased mother’s heirlooms. Jake stands firm, refusing to let the whims of a headstrong woman jeopardize the wages he so desperately needs—even a beautiful one with fiery green eyes and a temper to match.

Trail life is a battle of wills between them until tragedy strikes, leaving Jake with an honor-bound promise to protect her from harm and Kate with a monumental choice—go back to everything she’s ever known or toward everything she’s ever wanted? Christi is also a blogging friend. Check out Christi’s WordPress site Here

downloadRocket Man by Jan Coates

If only Bob could go back to being the Mr. Invisible of his superhero days. Back when he wasn’t always being compared to his super-talented hardcore basketball god brother and perfect little sister. Back when Roy and Kyle didn’t know he existed. To make matters even worse, his dad is really sick and getting sicker.

When Bob begins planning a fundraiser basketball game in support of cancer research, things start to look up. With Roy being temporarily out of the picture after terrorizing some little kids, Bob finally gets a chance to play on the D1 basketball team and ends up helping Roy complete his community service. Maria seems to be becoming more than a friend, and even big brother James starts paying more attention to him, and gives Bob some pointers on how to become The Rocket Man. But cancer rears its ugly head again when a bad fall lands Dad in a wheelchair. Will he be strong enough to make it to the Hoop Heroes 4 Health game?

You can find out all about Jan  and her books by visiting her blog here.

buddyfordavidlargefront2Buddy For David by Carol Ann Hoel

I had the privileged of reading Carol’s book before it was published. Carol is another friend I met on WordPress. I’ve added a link to her blog here.

If you like Christian fiction you may want to give this a read.

Young David disappeared. The only clue was trapped inside the mind of his little sister Rachel. Experience the panic David felt, kidnapped and locked inside a cage. Delight in a Great White Pyrenees dog and a woodpecker playing their roles incidentally turning tragedy to good. If you have ever felt overwhelmed by grief or oppressed by a general sense of hopelessness, or discouraged by the trials of life, you will discover in the pages of this book a living, loving, and powerful God. Incidentally, you will be entertained. Read about this sweet family, the kind all of us might wish to call our own. Find out, immediately, that their lives are about to be molested by a tragic event. Meet the family, father, mother, children, and grandmother. Walk in the shoes of the sheriff and his staff, as they struggle to find and rescue David from his captors. Meet Buddy, a Great White Pyrenees dog, just a dog, not an angel, but a big, white, fluffy dog, that plays an integral part in this saga…

I hope you enjoy this  eclectic list of books. I wish each and every author all the best. Thank you for doing what you do. You’re awesome!

Why Do You Write?

The question as to why I write comes up from time to time in conversation. People want to know why? Why writing?

For me, it’s not an easy question to answer. It’s kind of like asking why someone prefers the colour blue over green or why they play a musical instrument or sing. No one seems to know. It’s just something that is, something that stems from inside us, makes us who we are.

Words fascinated me early on, even before I knew they fascinated me. I’ve always had this feeling that I had something to say. Mind you, I didn’t know anyone would ever read what I had to say.

Last weekend I had the chance to hear Wayne Dyer speak. I was in awe to learn how many millions of copies of his books are circulating around the world. It sure put the few thousand copies that my book sold to shame. But I wasn’t really comparing my writing to Wayne’s, nor was there even a slight twinge of jealousy. I went away wondering what it would be like to have my words touch the lives of so many people around the world. Yet, this man was as humble as you and I.

As a beginning writer, I used to wonder when or if I’d ever be good enough to have my work published. Back then publications felt like a pipe dream. Was I wasting my time and effort. Why was I even writing, subjecting myself to rejection after rejection?

For me, it wasn’t simply enough to write, I wanted my words to be read by others. That meant I had to grit my teeth, swallow my appointment,  keep my head up, my brain focused, and write on, many, many occasions.  Even when I felt like quitting.

Thank goodness the world is filled with many more doers than quitters. Imagine what would have happened if many of our great writers (who also faced their share of rejections BTW) would have given up because they weren’t up to the challenge.

This business of writing and published is filled with hurt feelings. If someone tells you they’ve never, ever felt hurt when their work was turned down, take what they say with a grain of salt. They’re obviously out of touch with their feelings. No one likes rejection. It stings. Mind you, over the years, I developed a somewhat thick skin. I was able to look past the rejections  on many occasions and keep sending my work out again and again. But every now and then a certain rejection would get to me and I’d be pulled down into the pit of despair. Yep, I got down, but more importantly, I didn’t allow myself to stay down. I became my own cheerleader. I had to if I wanted to become published. The truth is, all the good words from others won’t keep us going if we don’t believe it ourselves.

Have a great weekend, and for my Canadian readers Happy Canada Day!

 

I’ll leave you with a photo that I tried posting on Facebook, but my dial-up connection just wasn’t co-operating. It was one of several I took at the Cunard Centre the day Wayne Dyer was there.

Not so easy to get a clear photo of Wayne Dyer when he was in Halifax. Too many heads in the way and he moved around a lot on stage. He spoke for nearly three hours (not bad for a man who turned 73) and the audience hung on every word. This photo is sort of the best of the worst.

DSC03802

New on the Horizon

Our grandchildren accept us for ourselves, without rebuke or effort to change us, as no one in our entire lives has ever done, not our parents, siblings, spouses, friends – and hardly ever our own grown children. ~Ruth Goode

Isn’t this the greatest quote for grandparents? All the grandparents out there are nodding their heads I’m sure. I can honestly say that being a nanny is totally awesome even though it has already been established on this blog that I’m far too young for this.  😉

A few days ago, we noticed the tulips Miss Charlotte helped to plant last year are coming up through the ground. Miraculous, considering they were beneath three inches of snow just last week. When Mother Nature gets her spring up there’s just no stopping her. What a gal! While we’ve been having more than seasonal temperatures, in fact the last few days have felt more like late May than March, other parts of the country have been totally opposite. Go figure! But for now, I’ll take this beautiful weather with a great big thank you!

Next week is bound to fly by as Miss Charlotte and Momma are coming for a weeklong visit. If the weather cooperates, which I think it will, we should have a great visit. Heck, even if the weather is crappy the visit will be terrific. I heard Miss C is quite excited to visit Guppy B’s house.

I’ll still be around blogland next week, and will try to get caught up on some of the blogs I hadn’t been able to get to last week while I was working. The next three weeks are mine, though. Maybe I’ll finish up a short story I’m hoping to have in shipshape to submit to an upcoming anthology. The deadline is June 1, but I hate letting things go to the very end. I have to say, it’s been awhile since I submitted a short story. This is one I wrote a few years back but didn’t submit.  The theme for the anthology is social justice. It shouldn’t take too much tweaking to bring it closer to the theme. It was very close to begin with. I find when a theme is so broad, it’s often tricky to know what a particular editor is looking. Perhaps they aren’t sure themselves. Maybe it’s one of those, I’ll-know-it-when-I-read- it deals. I can go along with that. As editor Penny Ferguson once said on this blog sometimes”it is just a matter of connecting with the /right/ editor in the /right/ mood on the /right/ day!the right editor on the right day.” You can read the rest of Penny’s post here. Penny was the editor of the Amethyst Review, the very first literary magazine I was published in. Even though the review folded some years back we kept in touch.

While on the subject of publishing for those of you who like good news, I’ll have some to share with you all very soon!  

Is there anything new and exciting on your horizon?

Enjoy your weekend!

The Three Hundred Club

“May the raindrops fall lightly on your brow. May the soft winds freshen your spirit. May the sunshine brighten your heart. May the burdens of the day rest lightly upon you, and may God enfold you in the mantle of His love.” ~~Irish Blessings

Don’t you just love that Irish Blessing?

WordPress tells me this is post number 300.  Set off the fireworks! Am I remarkable or what? (That’s a bit of sarcasm in case you missed it.)

Well, technically the post before was number 300, but you’ll have to excuse me, I was off dreaming you see. But all you dreamers out there understand. Sometimes our dreams get in the way of reality, but we do eventually come back down to earth.

On Monday, author Joylene Nowell Butler, will be guest blogging here at Laura Best, Author. Having self published her first novel,  Dead Witness, Joylene’s latest novel, Broken but not Dead, is with a traditional publisher this time around. Read what advice Joylene gives to aspiring authors who are seeking publication. Hope to see you back on Monday.

Happy Friday, and enjoy your weekend to the fullest!

A Letter to you dear Mannie

Dear Mannie,

It has been two years, two months and fifteen sixteen days since you left me, wrapped up in a manila envelope, your destination clearly marked. I fretted over your departure. Were you heading out too soon into the cruel, cruel world of publishing? Two years, two months and fifteen sixteen days ago, you were but a query, a synopsis, and a few sample chapters. You weren’t all there, but most of us aren’t. I wasn’t about to hold that against you. I hoped the publisher wouldn’t either.

It was a start, and we all must start some place.

If things went well, you made me promise to send you off in your entirety when the time was right. I kissed you farewell, secretly cringing at the thought of you being gone. But like most things, I talked myself into believing that your leaving was well timed, and a necessity. You needed to spread your wings, dear Mannie. It was your rite of passage.

I’ll be honest.

There was a time when you disappeared from my mind. Shocking, yet still it is the truth…I began working on something new, something fresh, something that gave me new purpose and a reason to get up in the morning.

What could you expect?

I heard not a peep, not even one little word, no phones call, email or notes, to let me know that you were doing fine. Surely I deserved that much.

Finally, I could stand your silence no longer. I prodded you, gently so, but still…. I sent an email saying, remember me? Ah and you did!! I jumped for joy!

You, of course, had an explanation, you’d been busy checking out the publishing world, picking up useful information, marketing strategies — for when you become a book—oh, and let’s not forget editing tips. At least that was your story, although I choose to believe that you spent a great deal of time lounging around instead. But let’s not go there.

If my gentle nudge accomplished anything, it made you feel incomplete.
You hadn’t thought to ask me to send the rest of your pages. I might have thought you would have felt a bit naked before then, but that obviously wasn’t the case. So I slipped your remaining pages into another manila envelope, affixed the postage, sent them off with a kiss and a prayer. I waved goodbye as the mail driver drove away

We were making progress.

I tried not to second guess you, really I did. But one day I peeked into your file. I didn’t like what I saw. I knew right then and there I had to do something.

The revisions were painless for you, but oh so necessary for me.

I even screamed once, “What the heck was I thinking?” letting you go off into the cruel, cruel world of publishing like this. I took away words. I gave you more words. I changed your point of view— first, then back to third. I gave you a whole new chapter of your very own, something I should have thought to do before you went away. I took full responsibility.

And so, Mannie, I hope you are not angry, sulking away in some corner. You’ve been gone so long that I won’t be the least bit upset if you decide to come running home. In fact, I’ll throw a party for you. I’ll write, “Welcome back, Dear Mannie, some things were not meant to be.”

But until that time comes, I shall wait……

  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 239 other followers

  • Follow Laura Best on WordPress.com
  • Laura Best

  • Blog Stats

    • 80,877 hits