The First Day

Why, the first day of spring that is. Sun is shining here in Nova Scotia and the temperature this morning is rising quickly. But there have been signs of spring here before the official arrival of spring. Crocuses are blooming, we have taken notice of crows pairing up, the sighting of robins and maple trees with sap kettles hanging from them. I have yet to see any pussy willows but I’m willing to bet there are out there. An elderly aunt of mine informed us earlier today when you see your first robin, you’re supposed to make a wish. It’s the first time I’d heard that!

Spring brings hope, hope for warmer temperatures and sunnier times ahead. But March can also be fickle, teasing us into thinking that spring weather is here to stay and then suddenly, it’s back to wind and snow and cold. But the cold and snow never last long and that is the wonderful part of it all.

I have been working on a manuscript this winter, that is getting closer to completion with each passing day. It is a good thing, as I have some other projects that are vying for my attention and it is been a bit tempting by times to ditched the one I’m presently working on just to write a few paragraphs. However, I know better than to give into temptation. A few paragraphs can lead into a few pages and then a few chapters. But I am determined not to give in to temptation. Those other projects will have to simmer along as I continue to practise patience in this matter. I can still allow the story to flow through my mind, as I consider my characters and the possible twists and turns in the plotline. That’s it for today!

Happy first day of spring to the readers out there. What signs means “spring is here” to you?

Facebook Hiatus

I’m soon heading into the first month of my Facebook hiatus and decided to let you all know how it’s been going. I am still on messenger, as I mentioned I would be, since I do want to stay in touch with family members and friends. (I’m not becoming a hermit. Please don’t worry!) And of course, I welcome any messages at this time, especially if there’s something you feel I just need to know!

So, how has the month been, you might ask?

Truthfully, it felt a bit strange in the beginning but the longer I’m away, I find I think about it less and less.

An added bonus is that I’m not being bombarded with Facebook ads filling my newsfeed and I’m not seeing the negativity that is out there. For the time being, I’m kind of in my own little world and I find it quite pleasant.

I do miss some of the silliness and I do know there are some awesome posts I’m not seeing. But for the moment, that is kind of balancing out for me. I’m looking for more peace in my life and it seems to be working!

I thought I’d spend hours writing during this time, but I’m surprised by how little time I’m presently putting into my creative work. However, that is not a bad thing. Honest.

Ideally, I’d like to write every day, but I’ve changed my routine to include some other activities that I feel are equally important to me, and it’s leaving me less time in my day for writing. I do expect that to change going forward as I’m often struck by a strong urge to create, that could strike at any time. Inspiration is like that for me and while I did set a daily writing goal last summer and stuck with it until I’d completed the first draft to a novel, I haven’t yet revisited said novel. I want to give myself a good long break from that first draft until I’m ready to tackle revisions. Coming back to a story with fresh eyes often lends itself to some pleasant surprises along the way? Did I really write that? Yes, sometimes we writers surprise even ourselves.

So, with one month into my self-imposed hiatus, I’m in no hurry to return. I have no idea when that will change as I continue to follow the ebb and flow of life. I’m busy learning how to settle into the changes that have come my way over the past few years. It hasn’t always been easy but I’m getting there slowly.

In my last post I wrote about a writer evolving over the course of time, in much the same way that we change and evolve on a personal level.

I think of these days, for me, as a personal evolution and I expect there will be others periods of evolution along the way.

So, the break has been good but I’ll be back at some point. Hopefully, I will be welcomed back into the Facebook community with open arms, but for now, I’m enjoying this hiatus.

Have you ever taken an extended break from social media? I’d like to hear how the experience was for you?

The Evolution of a Writer

Life is constantly evolving. Things change and morph as time goes by. That’s nothing new. Few people would argue that we are living at a time in history where the planet seems to be evolving on so many different levels and at a speed we’ve never experienced before. The Internet has played a huge role in that. Suddenly, thoughts and ideas can be shared in seconds, instead of what once took days or even weeks. Does anyone write letters these days or does it take too much time for them to arrive?

As a writer of historical fiction, I find myself even more aware of how much faster life is then in years gone by.

I was thinking, the other day, how just as writers evolve, we are all constantly evolving on a personal level as well. The person we were a decade ago, for instance, is not the same person we are today. It doesn’t mean we changed dramatically, although that change could be dramatic. Sometimes change happens so slowly we’re not aware of it until we have reason to reflect back and think “Hmm, I never would have done this or that a few years ago.” I’m sure we’ve all experienced these moments.

A writer evolves as well. It’s made clear in the stories we write and themes we choose to tackle. Over time our style evolves as we work toward finding our true voice. Sometimes, in the beginning, self-consciousness can prevent us from exploring a certain theme or character, stifling our creative flow. We’re not sure what others will think. and so we might shrink into the background, opting for a safer route, the one most expected of us.

There are also those critics out there who’s opinions might matter much more to us than they should. Writer or not–we all have these critics in our lives who never seem to tire of trying to force us into following the path they’ve deemed more appropriate. They are the people who often think they know what’s best for others.

There is also our own “inner critic” who has absolutely no problem crushing our dreams and demanding we be more realistic.

Me? A Writer? Who would read something I wrote? Who would pay money to read something that came from my imagination?

Sound familiar?

Putting work out there for others to scrutinize can be scary, no doubt about it.

For a writer, the stories we create are often very personal for many different reasons. But I would argue that we are the only ones who can write these particular stories because we view life from our own unique perspective and wouldn’t it be a shame if we gave that all up because of own fear? There is nothing more satisfying for a writer than having someone connect with one of our stories. Or maybe we shed a different light on a particular subject for someone or maybe even give them a new concept to consider.

So, if you’re a writer and if you choose to look at life as a means of evolution, perhaps you’ll be more gentle with yourself and come to the understanding that just as life continues to evolve, all writers evolve. This means, your writing will change, as will the themes and the complexity of your characters. And perhaps as your writing evolves you will learn to trust in the knowledge that you’re included in that evolution and simply allow your creativity to flow.

Maybe what you write won’t find a publisher immediately, maybe it never will. But f you stick with it, your writing will evolve over time and you’ll eventually find a place where you are comfortable with the act of creation.

Kicking off the New Year

The new year has always filled me with hope, from the time I was young. I’m not sure why. Turning a calendar page seems like a simple act. We do it twelve times a year. But starting out with a whole new calendar feels special.

I know not everyone shares this feeling with me and it will certainly be lost to those of us in the future who have no use for such things as calendars or even wrist watches, for that matter—things that keep track of time. Personally, I’d be lost without a watch on my wrist. I’ve always worn one. And as well, I’m sure I will always have a calendar in my house.

I picked up a monthly planner for 2023 the other day while in town and I’ve been jotting down little things, like the weather and temperature. It’s been fun and will hopefully, give me something to look back on and compare when another year rolls around.

So far, the weather here in Nova Scotia has been exceptional with temperatures mostly above freezing. We’ve leaves on the ground instead of snow. That changed today, however, as we’re experiencing some ice pellets and a bit of snow. While the ground is now white, there really isn’t much at all. I am not complaining. The weather will be what it is regardless. And with so many places in Canada and the US being bogged down with snow at the moment, I consider us lucky.

I’ve been spending some time writing, as was the plan, and trying to settle into one story to work on. I think I mentioned earlier that I have several on the go at the moment. When the story finally speaks to me, I will know which one to dedicate my time to.

Edits for my next book will get underway sometime this year. I have no idea when. It’ll be interesting to see how this one is received as it is very different from all my others. The young protagonist, a boy, is fourteen and this book has a contemporary setting.

I’m happy to report that I’ve been taking those baby steps I mentioned in a previous post, taking some time for myself each day in a number of little ways that might seem insignificant to others but kind of important to me. Part of this is being consistent, not skipping a day because I run out of time, but making these little things a priority. Carving out, even small amounts of time for ourselves each day can be very challenging but not impossible.

So, this is me kicking off the New Year in fine fashion. I’m filled with optimism and hope and back to singing every day. 🙂 While a song makes no promises, (as I once wrote in a short story) it can sure help keep your spirits up.

I hope your New Year is starting off on a good foot as well. Here’s hoping 2023 turns into a much nicer year than we’ve experienced for awhile.

Farewell and Happy New Year

I am going away…

where you won’t see me.

No big deal, really. I’m not leaving town.

I’m just taking a break from Facebook and Twitter for awhile. I’m not sure for how long. I guess I’ll figure that out along the way.

And that is good news! I’ve several writing projects I want to concentrate on and I need don’t need the added distract– as entertaining as what social media can sometimes be. Along with writing, there are also a few other places where I’d like to focus my attention as well. I will still sign into messenger from time to time, checking email, answering my phone and actually speaking to people I know when I meet up with them!

I’m actually a bit excited about taking this little break and hoping to see what all I’ll accomplish during that time.

So I’m wishing you all a safe and prosperous new year and I’ll catch up with you a bit later in the year. I intend to keep updating my blog from time to time and you can even subscribe and receive an email notification whenever I write a new post if you’d like, or just pop onto my blog from time to time—or not.

In the words of C.S. Lewis—You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.

Happy New Year!

A Rainy November Day

The soft sound of rain reaches me on this November morning as I sit working at the kitchen table on another novel while waiting for Mum to wake. It is within these quite early morning moments that I often block out the noise from the radio and turn my thoughts toward my computer screen. But today, the rain persists, competing with the music coming over the airwaves, both of which I am able to block out while writing. I know, I know, it seems weird to be able to create in a noisy room. I am not one of those writers who must have silence in order to write. I learned to block out sounds when my kids were small.

November is a rainy month and, for me, a good time to spend in quiet reflection. November skies have always me interested me, their yellows and grays merging with the textures and shapes of the clouds.

It seems that I spend much more time these days reflecting upon my life, and the direction it is presently taking, than I ever have in the past. Perhaps it is my changing role from working five days a week to now being a fulltime caregiver.

There have been some challenging times over the past three years, but so too, have I had many moments of gratitude for all the good things that found their way to me–spending time with my kids and grandkids, completing a YA novel and signing a contract for publication, the publication of my latest middle grade novel, a morning spent discussing my writing with a book club recently, the thoughtfulness of the friends who continue to keep in touch , moments sitting by the lake, quiet midnight conversations with my husband and so much more.

Life is not perfect. We all go through challenging times that may last a short time or a very long time. It is one of the many things we have in common with others. While we will all face hard times, those challenges will be different for all of us. I have learned a lot about myself these past few years and the people who support and love me, and even the ones who don’t. I have no doubt that some aspect of these experiences will be integrated into my writing in one form or another. It is what we writers do, how we make a story our own.

One of the themes my current WIP explores is friendship (an important topic in MG novels) and I’ve been reflecting upon some of the friendships I’ve had over the years. Some of which I continue to value to this day. I’ve had friends I could count on, friends who counted on me, friends who lifted me up when I needed, friends who listened, friends who never listened and the list goes on. I expect that, in the writing of this story, I will learn more about human behaviour, about forgiveness and caring and loyalty and what friendship is all about.

I will leave you with these thoughts and head back into my work in progress. Although I have not heard a weather forecast, I am hopeful that we will be back to having sunny skies tomorrow. There is always that hope.

Enjoy your weekend.

Fall into Perfection

In the quiet of a late September day, the lake welcomed us into her waters, lapping against the sides of our boat in anticipation of our visit.

Sun and wind against our faces, we trolled along the shoreline marvelling at the beauty of this perfect autumn day. Trees are succumbing to the season; their leaves changing into subtle reds, oranges and yellows and slowly blending into the landscape. And I thought, what a difference a week can make. Last week we were bracing for Fiona and then enduring the wind, rain and power outages. So sorry to hear that there are people in the province heading into a second week without power. My heart goes out to them.

Now heading into October, we had our first frost overnight as the temperature dipped to -3 c at our location. It is time, something that can’t be denied, although we try and pretend that this year might be different. September seemed to be an unusually warm month. Seasons change as they are meant to, just as life changes, sometimes so subtly we barely take notice, other times that change can come in the blink of an eye. I welcome autumn with an open heart. It’s my favourite season.

I have been spending much time reflecting lately and deciding what is truly important in life as well as trying to put some of these beliefs into practise. I’m anxious to explore some different themes in my writing and recently finished the first draft of a short story, the idea for which I’d been thinking about for quite some time.

My next middle grade novel is due to be released around the first part of November. Hopefully, it will be back from the printer on time! It is a simple story but one I’m so happy to be sharing. I’ve been going through my library of photos, looking for possible images to use for another book trailer as well as finding the words to condense a novel into a few short sentences–all challenging. But I do so enjoy that kind of challenge.

May we allow these pleasant autumn days to fill our hearts with joy. May we look out at the world each day and see the beauty that surrounds us moment by moment. And may the season fill our hearts with a sense of joy and peace, something our world is in desperate need of. Happy fall!

Those Old Ads

The old magazine ads had plenty of panache, unlike what we see today. I once inherited some old magazines from decades back.

I love flipping through the pages from time to time and catching a glimpse of what life might have been like. I find the colours, the imagines inspiring. The world is changing rapidly. We now rely on tv ads and the ads that appear in our social media feeds, the ones the powers-that-be decide we should see!

The ads I’ve posted have a lot going on and I enjoy taking notice of the details. They just don’t make ’em like they used to.

I am taking some time out from novel writing to work on a short story that suddenly edged its way to the surface, demanding that I do something about it and, quiet honestly, I’ve been enjoying the process.

As we head further into September, may you enjoy your weekend and the hint of fall that is in the air.

Publishing News–Change is a Coming

I just wanted to share this exciting news with all of you. I’ve just signed a contract for my next book with Nimbus Publishing, due out in Spring 2024. Yes, I know that’s a bit in the future and I expect many of you will forget this news until that time comes, but that is okay. I will keep you up on what’s going on, sharing covers, etc. Publishing is not known for it’s speediness. In the meantime, I’ve been working on a few other projects and am feeling so good to be back writing on a regular basis after floundering for the past few years, due to a plethora of obligations that has taken my attention away from writing, the way life does for all of us.

This new book will be different from what you’ve been used to seeing from me in the past in that it is young adult novel with a contemporary setting and explores some heavy topics. I’d share the title but it could change before now and the publication date so I’ll wait until that has been established. The main character is also a young guy who loves hockey. With that said, it’s not a hockey story although hockey does make up one element in the book. I was so fortunate to have a friend read over the hockey bits and set me on the right track. It made such a difference to the chapter. Her suggestions were so helpful and insightful and there is nothing better than constructive criticism. In fact, I welcome it.

So that is my exciting publishing news for now and I hope none of you will be disappointed with the changes. I’m sure I won’t stop writing historic fiction, as I do have some ideas brewing, but I also have a few ideas for more contemporary stories as well. Time will tell.

So, it is back to the keyboard for me as I wait for the publication of my new book in November!

Is It Really Worth It? $$$$

I recently had a conversation with someone about all the work that is involved in my being an author. It was a short conversation. This person asked me if it was worth it, meaning was I actually getting rich from my efforts. My reply was that we all put effort into things that we enjoy doing and not because we plan to get rich. In fact, most people I know with a “regular” job aren’t rich. Her reply was, “That’s one way to look at it.”

I think she felt sorry for me, the poor lonely author, slaving away in some tiny room, cut off from the rest of the world.

What I find interesting about being an author is that people often inquire about your book sales, those same people who certainly wouldn’t ask how much money your office job pays per hour. And if you think about it, there’s really no difference. You’re still inquiring about the money someone makes. What many people don’t understand is that authors don’t know about every book sale as it happens. We receive royalty payments two times a year.

Not About the Money.

Life is not about the accumulation of money. Many of us think that when we’re young and our whole purpose revolves around accumulating stuff. As we get older, we begin to see that stuff is something that just weighs us down and there is a huge big difference between a need and a want.

All that aside, I didn’t begin writing with the notion that I would one day retire from my efforts. It began as a means of self-expression, something inside seemed to be calling me to write, to say something. Any money that happens along is an added bonus, seriously.

Needless to say, this person does not see the value in what I do–books, big deal. Pfffff. Not that I expect people to fall all over themselves when I walk into a room, because I don’t. I’m the same person I’d be if I didn’t write. But publishing books is nothing to sneeze at. It’s an accomplishment, something that at the end of the day you can hold in your hands and feel proud of. People who do it, deserve some credit.

This person looks at the effort I put into my writing versus the monetary gains in the end. I don’t drive a fancy car or own a huge big house by the sea, I don’t travel the world. And I’m busy a lot, not only writing, but revising and editing the same story many times over. Sometimes I’m unavailable. Writers need their alone time. There are some who just don’t get that. But writers do find time for the important things in life. For us, writing happens to be one of those things.

So, if I were to define “worth it” it would mean something different for all of us for we are all as individual as the very things we think about and value the most.

Is writing worth it to me–absolutely.

The sun is shining here in Nova Scotia this morning and we’ve been promised a lovely weekend. If you are spending time with your family this weekend, consider yourself blessed.

Happy Mother’s Day weekend to all the mothers out there!

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