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Showing posts from 2012

Merry Christmas

I realize I have been remiss about posting anything here in a few weeks. Life has been a little crazy with sick children, work, Christmas shopping and the crazy ideas that keep popping into my head for a novel I've been working on for a long time. Not that I don't have other projects that should take priority, but this one is part of my Wild Blue Series and is special. It takes place over Christmas, the 12 Days of Christmas to be exact.

I don't know about the rest of you, but this year is a difficult one for me to find even an iota of Christmas spirit. Partly, the weather is to blame. We have had skiffs of snow that are gone before I get the camera out. Partly, the flu that has hit our house and left us all nauseous and achy, but not flat out sick. How annoying is that?

It's interesting to note now that my kids are teenagers (and one on the brink!) how little excitement there is for anything other than cookies and gifts. We did get to take in a great concert Wednesda…

A New Fan

What an interesting day today.
My husband got a phone call yesterday from a friend of ours named Tim who wanted two copies of Murder on Manitou. He said he would stop by today to pick them up. When he showed up, he had a woman with him, his mom. She had seen my book advertised in In The Hills magazine (http://www.inthehills.ca/2012/11/current/theyear-in-books-2012/) and really wanted to read it. She searched Chapters website, Amazon.ca and other sites hoping to come across it.
No luck.
She showed the magazine to her son who started to laugh and said, "Hey! I know her!"
Today, he brought his mom over to meet me and get her two copies of my book. How fun to meet someone I didn't know who bought my book just because she wanted to buy it. Not because she was a friend or relative. (No disrespect to anyone else!)
I have to say, it really made my day!

What else made my day?

Hanging out with friends for the last meeting of the Headwaters Writers' Guild this afternoon an…

National Novel Writing Month

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This month I decided to give NaNoWriMo a shot. I'm a first timer and got hooked into a crazy story called The Dance of Women, involving pirates and gypsies and a case of revenge. The goal of NaNo, for those who don't know, is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I completed my 50,000 as of November 18th and am still going. A little slower for the moment, this week has been busy so far, but I do plan to finish my novel and tuck it aside to edit later.

What else am I up to? Editing The Bookstore Lady for my agent and working on a karate manual for work.

HWG Author Day on Nov 17 was a lot of fun. We had local media and many friends in attendance. I enjoyed getting to read Chapter 2 of Murder on Manitou to the crowd and answer many questions. One of which was whether I planned to write a collection of short stories. YES, I've been working on one for ages, but have to spend some time pulling it all together and arranging for it to be printed. I'll let you know when it become…

Author's Day at BookLore

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BookLore's HWG Author Day

On November 17th, I will have the pleasure of joining some fellow writers from my writing group in promoting our works at BookLore, our local indie bookstore. If you live in the Orangeville area, please come out to join us in our celebration! Included in the list of writers who will be showcasing our works are:

Diane Bator
Murder on Manitou penspaintsandpaper.com/index.html
David Chesterton My Caravan's a Rainbow: A Mystical Life in Colour 
Ruth Cunningham Mystical Verses: The Poetry of Self-to-self Philosophy http://www.Self-to-self.com/
Kelli Curtis Amber and the Fallen Bridge
Joseph Gilbey Langsdorff of the Graf Spee: Prince of Honor Kriegsmarine: Admiral Raeder's Navy: A Broken Dream www.grafspee.com
Marilyn Kleiber Short Tales From a Tall Person makani.mjk@gmail.com
Gloria Nye Dragonfly One: The Beginning www.spiralpress.ca
Harry Posner Charivari
Jayne E. Self Death of a Highland Heavyweight: A Seaglass Mystery Author Harbourlight's Seaglass Mysteries www.jayneself.com www.christianswhowrite…

Pausing for a deep breath...a tribute to Oscar.

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The past week in our household have been busy with manning a booth at the local Home & Lifestyle Show, work, school and then we had to pause in the middle of it all. The photo above is of our two cats Oscar and Jazz. Early this past Saturday morning, Oscar passed away peacefully at home on his favourite chair with my husband at his side. One last breath and he left us. Needless to say, we were all devasted even though we had him for years longer than we expected. He seemed immortal. Ageless despite his nearly 19 human years. His "little brother" Jazz is 6 years old. Like the rest of us, he's been out of sorts and roams the house looking for Oscar. He has benefitted from having me to himself in the mornings and extra snuggles with everyone. For a cat, Oscar had an interesting life. He's moved with us from Calgary to Edmonton then flew out with us to Southern Ontario. When we moved homes several times over the past 18 years, he came with us for the ride. He has b…

A book with MY name on the cover!

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Here it is!
After nine months of watching the e-novella reach over 575 downloads, I now have print copies of Murder on Manitou published by Wynterblue Publishing!

The box arrived via courier yesterday at noon and I sold my first copies at lunch with friends. After I did the happy dance all around the living room, scared three lives out of the cats with my shrieking and texted my husband who was in meetings.

The photo above was my first glimpse of the lovely books that I can't believe bear my name. The Murder in Ink contest took place in 2010 and now I have something to show for winning it. I paid for 100 copies to be printed and, after putting a few blurbs on facebook, I've already sold 30. Not to mention the handful I'm giving to family. My kids think it's cool that they can lie in their own beds and read the same book at the same time - and it was dedicated to THEM! My youngest even brought a copy to school today so he could brag!

Still can't believe that it…

Getting back into routine.

Inevitably, September brings school. My New Year. New routines, new writing supplies - they're not just for the kids! - and new challenges.

In two more days, I'll grade for my yellow belt in karate. It hasn't been an easy road but definitely an enjoyable one. I've made new friends and overcome some of the pain I've dealt with for the past two years.

My writing was put on hold for the summer due to company, kids underfoot 24-7 and me wanting to spend time with them. This fall, the excuses are gone. My agent is reading two of my novels and I'm working on a third one now. Several more lurk in the closet waiting for the first in the series, The Bookstore Lady, to find a home.

I am in "hurry up and wait mode." Some days it seems like I'll never get another book published even though my desk drawers are bursting at the seams with them. Other days, I get small incentives to keep going. My e-novella, Murder on Manitou, has had 576 downloads at last cou…

Taking time to breathe

"When you notice that you are pushing yourself to complete a task, soften and be merciful with yourself. Inhale quietly and exhale gently, extending the very same kindness to yourself that you would to another in the same situation. Begin again."  --Judith Lasater, Ph.D., P.T. "Living Your Yoga"

I had the pleasure of attending a yoga class last Sunday that was supposed to run for 2 hours. It ended up going for 4pm and taking me, both physically and mentally, into places I never thought I would go. Who knew I could spread my legs apart and be able to lean forward and touch my belly to the floor? I certainly didn't. Our instuctor Charles Shiva Shankara certainly did. He and his lovely wife Ananda pushed us all past our limits and do things we thought were impossible.

I actually did a headstand - assisted - but now have the overwhelming urge to do one alone. To "prove" that I can. I tried poses that defied gravity yet were done by other members of the g…

Vacation's Nearly Over

Wow, this summer has gone by fast.
The kids have been home for vacation, my inlaws were here for 2 1/2 weeks and I've been at work. There have been some fun things going on: working out with my kids, karate training, walking around town finding the weird and wonderful. I even bought myself a sandcastle candle holder the other day. Something that reminds me of our trip to Florida a couple years ago.

The one thing I really haven't done this summer is write. Funny how that's starting to affect me. The dam that has held my creativity in check has finally burst. After a long walk today, I sat and did some editing and reading and...soon, writing. Once I get back on top of what I've already done. I have to say I'm looking forward to it.

I'm gearing up to grade in karate. I'm seriously trying not to let things that other people do or have done interfere with my own training and determination. Despite some people's stupidity, I haven't given up. The combi…

My Favourite Place to Write

In the summer, the place I write most often is out on my deck early in the morning with a cup of coffee in my right hand and a pen in my left. Back deck if it's cool, front deck if the sun is already at 36C like this morning! Today the sky is so blue I want to dive in and go for a swim. The sun so warm, my coffee stays hot. Birds twitter, coo and chirp and make sounds that have no words. Silvery spider zip lines, flimsy yet strong enough to stop a grown man in his tracks to brush them off, zigzag between benches, chairs and the barbecue.
It is a lovely place to lose one's mind. To delve into creativity and forget time and appointments.
It is a great place to wait.
     For books to find homes with publishers.
     For my new print copies of Murder on Manitou and the bookrack cards that go with them.
     For karate class.
     For lunch.
     For another cup of coffee.

But, as every other day, there is no time to sit and wait. Time to write. Time to soak in the peace.
Time…

I'm mellltttinnnngggggg.....

What a crazy hot summer this year and it's only the fifth of July! Friends in the US were without power for days, we're trying to stay out of the sun because it's been around 40C for the past few days. Great reason to hunker down in a little coffee shop and write - if only!

This next two weeks we have company from out of province. Where we should be wandering the province and sightseeing, everyone prefers to lie low and keep cool. Fine for me, I still have to be at work early in the afternoon anyway. And there's air-conditioning!

I did get Deja Vu finished and off to my agent. Just when I thought I'd take some time off from writing, along comes a whole new story. A story about samurai and poison and greed. If that doesn't get you, the protagonist washes her hands of the whole situation only to be dragged back in kicking and screaming. At least I have something to dabble with while I sit in a coffee shop to write. Still waiting for that chance.


I've enjoyed g…
Got an interesting opportunity yesterday:  To be a reader for my agent and check out other people's queries and first three chapters! The good news is, it was a real eye opener. For anyone worried about me stealing their ideas, have no fear. I have too many ideas of my own rolling around in my head!! I am, however, looking forward to reading for her again one day.

Aside from that, I am busy as always. Deja Vu is in its final edits. Just printed off a copy today so I can go over it with my fine toothed comb. I'm a lot more excited about Deja Vu than I am about The Bookstore Lady even, that's how much I've learned in my last year with my agent!

I had lunch with two great writing friends yesterday. One of them asked what I planned to do once Deja Vu was out the door. I told her I'd keep working on the next book. She said I should slow down and work on short stories or something different. Trust me, the next book IS different. Still a murder, actually two so far, but…
Even though Deja Vu was only 3/4 done, I took a chance to query it with my agent.
Signed the papers today! She's going to represent it!
Yeah!
Now I'm editing and writing like crazy to get it done and edited before I send it off to her this summer.

This, my dears, is only the beginning...
Today started off as a quiet, unassuming day.
I got up early, chipper and ready to go.
My two younger kids - not so much. One took over the bathroom to shower. The other attached to my arm, stomach upset and throat sore. So much for my plans for this morning. He did dig up enough energy to come pick my oldest son up from the lake. My oldest, a rower, got to row in a single boat for the first time in three years. Obligatory photos and video are stored in my camera.

The two older kids off to school and the youngest in the shower, I sat down to check emails and discovered my interview on the Blue Ridge Literary Agency website today!http://blueridgelitagency.blogspot.ca/2012/05/welcome-murdermystery-author-diane.html

I know I've been bad about keeping up the blog lately but not because I've slacked off on the dream. In the past month, I've finished edits for The Bookstore Lady and queried Deja Vu to my agent. I don't have time to hold my breath waiting for a response, ho…

In the Face of Adversity

We never know how strong we are or how much drive we have until we are up against a wall.

As human beings, we face many walls in our lifetimes, walls put up by publishers, by family, by other people who think they are better than us. Some are. Some just wish they were.

Being a writer, adversity is a daily occurance. Rejection letters by agents and publishers. Critiques by friends or family. Yet another edit or rewrite of a novel or short story we thought was "as good as it gets." In the face of adversity, we shed a few tears, find our happy place, steel our resolve and fight. We do that next rewrite or take a second look at that query letter or synopsis and make sure we are doing the best we can.

In my other life, away from the keyboard, I am now a martial artist (3 whole weeks into training!) I have recently looked into the Face of adversity and come away with a stronger resolve. The knowledge that I will be the best I can be. That renewed strength -- mostly of character …

Writers of our own demise

Somewhere after toys and make-believe friends (Do people ever stop pretending in private?), we all become writers of our own demise. "But I'm not a writer," you might say. In a sense, we all are.

We all create the stories of our lives. As events unfold before us, it is up to each one of us to make a choice and take one of the paths that open up to us. The more choices we make, the more colourful our lives become until soon we may become overwhelmed by everything we wanted - or thought we wanted at the time. Good, bad or ugly.

In taking on too many activities, too many jobs, too many hobbies, we start to feel like a boat with no oars bobbing on the water. Out of control and heading toward the waterfall.

If anyone had told me 20 years ago that at 43 I'd be juggling three kids, a husband, a job, a house, a writing career, a writing group and trying to keep fit and sane, I would have offered to buy the next round of drinks.
Yet, here I am.

Do I regret any of it?
Not f…

The Snowball Effect

We've all seen the cartoons. A character builds a small snowball and rolls it down the hill. As it rolls, it grows and becomes bigger and bigger until it becomes enormous and either crushes something or becomes a part of something even larger. Writing is a lot like that.

First, a writer is struck by a phrase, an idea or even a sight.
Second, a story is spawned. It may take hours or even years, but something grows from that little snowball and soon a novel is born.
For me, my latest work in progress (WIP) was all started from a comment someone made about a girl in a truck. That has escalated into a draft for Deja Vu. Another book of mine, The Bookstore Lady (now in the capable hands of my agent) started from a dream about a cat.

All it takes is one snowball. Or a grain of sand if you're an oyster.

There are other snowballs in our lives as well: new jobs, new loves, children, can all start out as something smaller than what they eventually become. We can let them consume or c…

More Paperwork

I got an interesting e-mail from one of the other writers my agent Dawn Dowdle at Blue Ridge Literary represents. It's an interview. In order for all the writers to get to know each other, and our fans to learn more, Rachel Brimble has sent everyone an interview for each of us to tell others what we write, how we write and why.

I wasn't expecting any revellations out of the deal. Just the usual who, what, where, when types of questions. What I received was a list of questions about my goals, what I read and what I like and dislike about writing. One of those questions was "What is the book you wish you'd written?"

As writers, we all wish we'd been the ones to write Harry Potter and the Anything, or Twilight or The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo novels. But do we wish that for the fame, the money or the desire to write something that will capture the imaginations of a broad audience? What surprised me when I answered that question was that I chose "On Writi…

Scraping the bottom of the Barrel

There are many times in life that we fall. Not always physically, although physical pain can cause our spirits to sag, but mentally when things don't go the way we plan. This past week has been one of those weeks in my life. Things that I thought (and prayed) would come to pass dissipated like video game pixels. Compounded by a fall while skiing with my son and damaging my tailbone, I was left in a bad place mentally.

"Nothing is going my way." I ranted and raved to the powers that be. The things that I wanted, counted on, to happen, I now have to wait for. Again. What have I done wrong? Why is the universe plotting against me?

It's nothing I've done. I've done my due diligence. I've edited and outlined. I've plotted and submitted. I've waited patiently and done all I can do. For now my future lies in someone else's hands--not always a great feeling. So what do I do in the meantime?

I write. I take care of myself. I heal (after regular doses …

Amazing Things

It's amazing the things that can happen when we ask. Whether it's for health, for a new career or just for a great story idea. All we need to do is ask and our wish, in some form, will be granted. It's not always a perfect theory. We do have to assist the Divine. As writers, for example, we still have to sit and take pen in hand. We have to still our minds from the every day nonsense and allow the muse to flow.

Over the past 13 weeks, I've been part of an Artist's Way group. I have to say I've learned many things about myself and the women I worked with. I've learned I'm much stronger than I thought and can stand up for myself and others when I have to. I've learned that I am a talented writer and have the ability to clear my mind and receive the muse. I can take success just as well as I can take failure.

The ability to "roll with the punches," or being flexible, is something we all need in life. Not everything goes the way we expect whe…

The Value of Stepping Back

I haven't added anything to my blog in the past couple of week. I've been a bit overwhelmed to say the least. Between editing The Bookstore Lady and learning that Murder on Manitou had been published as an e-book, I was caught in a loop of "what do I do next?"

So I did nothing.

I took a beading class with a friend, went to a movie with another friend, hung out with my kids and broke free from my computer for a little while.
Was I blocked? Nope.
Was I procrastinating? Nope.
Sometimes in life, no matter what path you take, you have to take a step back and breathe.
I revelled in the fact my first book, a novella, was now a published book, I handed out some great bookmarks to promote it and I took a break from some of my regular duties. A minivacation if you will.

Next week, I'll be back at the compute and I'm dabbling with details for The Mystery Lady (Book #2 in a series called Wild Blue Mysteries). In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy the little things …

Lucky Friday the Thirteenth

"I'm having a hard time editing your book," my publisher told me today.
My heart leaped into my throat. "What do you mean?"
"It's so good I keep getting caught up reading and forget to edit."
And so began our conversation about the final edits and info gathering for Murder on Manitou (Wynterblue Publishing, 2012), due to appear on Amazon as an e-book next week. I've sent my headshot, my bio and received a copy of the cover art. Very exciting!
It's hard to believe this book has been in the works--writing to publishing--for two years.
As exciting as it all is, I can't wait to see it online, available to readers for $2.99.

My kids and I watched television for a few minutes before school today. We saw an add for "Double Cash for Life" the new scratch lottery tickets. I joked how I should go out and buy one. I didn't, but when the boys came home after school, my youngest found one on the coffee table. I knew my husband proba…

Another year, more goals

On Friday a group of friends were at my house listening to music and slashing magazines. As part of our journey through The Artist's Way, we worked on finding images for Vision Boards. While Julie Cameron told us to create boards that reflect our lives, I used mine to create the life I want to settle into over the coming year. I have lots of images of yoga, reiki, writing and of bringing great things into my life that I've been striving for.

Actually, my Vision Board hasn't changed much over the past 5 years. I still want to write. I still want to paint. I want to learn more about yoga and get back in shape after barely being able to walk over the past year now that my back and legs are getting stronger. It's amazing what pinched nerves and a minor slip can do to one's back.

This year, I also have writing goals. I have already submitted a short story for one contest. I am working hard on getting The Bookstore Lady ready for my agent by the end of January (sooner …