Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Awaking like Sleeping Beauty

        Those close to me will know the struggles I've been through over the past few years with health, marriage, work, etc. I'm not going to dwell on those. They are water under the bridge at the moment. Live does, unbelievably, go on!

Over the summer my youngest and I moved into a basement apartment, which was a bit depressing at first after living in a much larger home. I bought some paint. Had a friend create some colorful throw pillows. Set up cozy bedrooms, a real office space, and a living room that's become a multipurpose space where pretty much anything goes - video games, movie nights, dinner, friends hanging out, a guest room, and so on. Our new home has gone from a dungeon of sorts, to a comfortable retreat.

I've been working at Tim Horton's part time since last December and recently started full time. Yes, it's been hard on my physically some days, but it's also made me stronger both mentally and physically. I can leave my stress behind. I have made many new friends. The regulars miss me when I have a day off. I get to see the best and the worst of my fellow human beings. I've witnessed so many random acts of kindness it's rare to come home without a story to tell!

And I'm proud of what I do. Anyone who talks down someone in the service industry has no idea the thoughtlessness we endure - or the appreciation we receive when we make it through a snowstorm to get to work just so you and others can get your morning cup of coffee to make you a better person. I have always loved to make people happy with both my writing and my presence and find a great peace when I can make a difference in someone's day just by being thoughtful and doing my job.

I'm also taking on a second job. Crazy, I know.
I've taken a part-time job working in the box office of our local theatre and I'm so excited! More people to help and meet, more fun to be had. And I get free tickets to every show. What a treat!

My writing is still very important to me. I'm working on a new book called Steeped in Trouble which I hope to send to my agent in another month or so. With any luck, it should come out in 2017.

This book, and one other not-so-secret project I've been working on, are the start of my reawakening.

Yes, my life looks very different to what it was only 14 months ago.
But so do I. Inside and out.
As things calm down and I find my energy returning, I am back to working on my Life Coach training and plan to hand in my next assignment soon. I want to be a presence to help other women regain control of their lives and be an inspiration.

I have a  great quote in a frame that I've kept by my bed for years. It now sits on the desk in my office.

Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others
cannot keep it from themselves.

This has been my inspiration for the past two years.
This is the concept that keeps me going on the darkest days as I put one foot in front of the other and move on.

Watch for more inspiration and writing news!


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Round Robin Blog Fest June 25 2016

Welcome back, dear readers! 
I've been away from the Round Robin Fest as well as from blogging for a little while now due to life's misadventures, but I'm back and writing again!

This month's Round Robin question is:  How emotionally involved are you in reading or writing some scenes?

Yesterday I had a friend, who is also a fan!, tell me how much she loved my books except for one thing - they're too short! An avid reader, she went on to say how she got so caught up in my characters and the story that she couldn't put the book down and was disappointed when it ended.
Way back in a high school psychology class, I had to write a paper on the central nervous system versus the peripheral nervous system and used writing as an example of how to describe each. I use my brain, a part of the central nervous system, to create the work. When I re-read and edit, I use my peripheral nervous system since my hands sweat, my heart beats faster, and my body twitches in response to what I have read. This allows me to build a scene as though I am the character I've written and make the story more real to my readers.
As a writer, I also get caught up in the emotions of my scenes and characters. My palms would sweat when I wrote about Lucy and her ex-husband's relationship in The Mystery Lady as well about Katie's life with Maddox in The Bookstore Lady:

She’d never awakened in a motel room alone and naked before. Someone had always taken her home. Usually Maddox. She pushed that thought out of her head and splashed water on her face. In the mirror, her skin seemed almost green in the bad lighting. Someone had beaten her, probably Maddox, judging from the bruise on her cheek and the cut on her lower lip. Probably from the diamond he wore on his pinky.
Beside the toilet, bright blue fabric speckled with purple spots along the hem hung over the shower rod. Her favorite dress. The one she wore yesterday. At least she thought it was yesterday. She fingered the spots and fought off a wave of dizziness.
Blood stains. Whose blood?
 (click on photo to order!)

In The Mystery Lady, Lucy becomes paranoid when she spots a car parked on her street for several days then strange men in her neighbourhood. Her concern for the well-being of she and her children actually left me a bit on edge and I found myself peering out the window a few times as well!

Roger always said she’d make a good writer because she was such a drama queen, but maybe she was a drama queen because she was a writer. In truth, her mood was more about Roger and her deep down reluctance to let her kids go with him for the week. Normally, she’d probably have a hard time staying mad at someone like Clancy.
“Look, sweetheart.” He chuckled. “You go back to whatever it is you do all day and have fun with your kids. I’ll pad my tools with bubble wrap so you can relax.”
 “You are such a jerk.” She snapped.
“That’s quite an observation considering you just met me. Maybe you should give me a chance to actually be a jerk before you accuse me of such a heinous crime.” He toyed with a wrench.
Fondled? Stroked? Darn her writer’s brain. What was wrong with her? Lucy blew out a frustrated breath then rolled her eyes and stomped away. “Men.”

 (click on photo to order!)

One of my favourite characters in the Wild Blue Mysteries series is Leo Blue. I find it easy to put myself in his place to see what he sees and think what he thinks. Leo looks at life a little differently than most, which makes him a lot of fun to write and  great foil for Danny since he will say and do pretty much whatever he wants.
The scenes with Leo and Christina in The Bakery Lady were some of my favourite (and steamiest!) to write. I allowed my emotions to run wild and tried to take inventory as I wrote to capture the moment as realistically as I could. In fact, one of the best ways for me to develop a scene, is to write a rough draft then go back and "feel" the emotions and "live" the scene in my head. Here's one example:

Leo clenched his hands at his sides to keep from reaching out to push back the damp hairs off her neck for a better view of the butterfly. “You’re right, she is cute. And funny.”
She spun around and knocked a steel bowl full of cookie cutters off the counter. The bowl clanged on the painted concrete floor and rolled toward the oven while the cookie cutters clattered to the white tile floor. Her freckled elfin face was dusted with flour, some of which rose off her lips as she huffed. When she glared at Clancy, her eyes reminded Leo of the slate gray-green Himalayan Mountains at sunset. Her red lips shone like the juicy flesh of a watermelon. He’d forgotten how much he liked watermelon.
 (click on photo to order!)

 I find that the more I write, the more emotional my writing becomes as I become more connected to my characters and learn more about them. Currently, I am working on a new book in the series, The Painted Lady, which should be ready for release in 2017.

 All three of my Wild Blue Mysteries are available through Amazon & BWL as well as at Coles/Chapters/Indigo in Canada by special order!

On that note, let's move along to Beverley Bateman  and see how emotionally involved she gets in her writing!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Just a quick update...

After all that's happened in my life lately, I've decided it's high time I get back into my real work: Writing. I can't say I've actually had writer's block. I've had more like life block. Between work and illness, I tucked myself away into a cave and only came out to eat and go to work. Lately, however, the medications have made a huge difference and I've decided there has to be more and better.
So here I am again.

This spring I've sold my house and plan to move at then end of July with only one kid in tow. my youngest who is still in high school. My oldest is on his own. My middle son is going away to college. I'm downsizing and setting up the little office space I'd dreamed of for so long! 
I won't have to feel like I'm hiding in a closet or unable to hang my book covers on my walls. 
I won't feel like I have to give up my dream.
I will push forward no matter how much money I make or how many books I sell.
I won't stop writing or doing what I love to do.

After writing 6 books, none of which have become bestsellers, I'm still determined to write because I LOVE TO WRITE and because I have stories to tell and a gift to share. Recently the people I now work with discovered I'm a writer so now I have a whole new group of fans and they have reignited my enthusiasm. No more hiding. No more shame.

6 Books??? Wow. 
Wild Blue Mysteries:  The Bookstore Lady, The Mystery Lady & The Bakery Lady
Gilda Wright Mysteries:  Can't Keep a Brunette Down, Hardheaded Brunette, & Life is Better Brunette -- as well as a short Gilda story in Killer Beach Reads!

Stay tuned, fellow readers - and writers - big things are in store!
As I get back into doing what I love, I will be starting a newsletter. I will be doing more blogging. I will be writing more novels. 
All of this while I raise my kids, work crazy hours, move, and keep trying to regain my health after being diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Writing has been a huge part of that recovery. I journal, I'm studying to become an empowerment coach, and I am working on a new novel, or two, or three....

Either way, I'm NOT GIVING UP!

Watch for new blog posts:
June 25:  Round Robin Blog Fest, right here!!
July 3:     BWL Blog post @ Books We Love 
And for photos of my new office space coming in August!!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Becoming Real

“Real isn't how you are made,' said the Skin Horse. 'It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.'
'Does it hurt?' asked the Rabbit.
'Sometimes,' said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. 'When you are Real you don't mind being hurt.'
'Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,' he asked, 'or bit by bit?'
'It doesn't happen all at once,' said the Skin Horse. 'You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.”

   For such a long time, I didn't feel real. 
   I felt like I was here simply to make everyone else happy and then I'd fade back into the wallpaper.
Even when each new book came out, it was a hollow celebration simply because I had someone in my life constantly telling me to give up. Why couldn't they be happy for me? 
  Why couldn't I be happy for me?
  Being a writer is in my blood. I have relatives who are writers, musician/songwriters, and storytellers. Why should I be any different?
  I have been a writer since as long as I can remember. Even as a child, I'd both write and tell stories.    As I grew up, I'd write short stories and poems (many of which my dad has turned into songs over the years!) I even started to write a novel about a rock band that I still have in my closet but have never tried to publish. I also still have some of my childhood stories, written in pencil, in a filing cabinet.
  It wasn't until I had three kids and joined a writing group that I became serious about writing and felt like I was on the right path in my life. A writing career was something I could work on while the kids grew up and I could be there for them, writing while they were in karate or at school.
  I won a writing contest and published my very first novella:  Murder on Manitou. Then, through a critique partner, I found and agent then a publisher (Books We Love Inc, a Canadian publisher) who turned my book The Bookstore Lady into reality. Once that was out of my system, the pressure to get a full-time job was on once more. Then I published book numbers three and four, The Mystery Lady and The Bakery Lady, with two more being planned.
  I was happy, but the more books I wrote and released, the more hollow the celebrations.
Then I started a whole new series and published two Gilda Wright Mysteries with Gemma Halliday Publishing, a US publisher. Can't Keep a Brunette Down and Hardheaded Brunette will soon be joined by the third in the series, Life is Better Brunette. On top of that, I am currently at work on a new book for Gemma Halliday called Steeped in Trouble.
  A friend recently told me I needed to find my self worth. 
  My self worth is in my creativity. My passion for the written word. Hoarding words on my book shelves and computer. Telling my stories to the world.
  Sharing the very thing that helps me to feel real. The one thing I refuse to give up, even when life is at its busiest and at its lowest low. My own little piece of happy.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Round Robin Blog Fest January 2016

Welcome to another installment of the Round Robin Blog Fest!

This month's topic: What are one (or two) writing projects you  want to accomplish this year? What will be any obstacles you might encounter?

This year I have two books on my schedule. The first is for a new book in the Danger Cove series by Gemma Halliday Publishing. My book is called Steeped in Trouble about a quaint tea house in Danger Cove and a woman who has recently divorced her philandering husband and battled cancer. She's looking for a fresh start and ends up with so much more.

The second book is the fourth in my Wild Blue Mystery series from Books We Love Ltd., The Painted Lady. I've had to set this series aside for a while to focus on another series, but Katie, Lucy and the gang will be back for another mystery set in Packham.

Obstacles? Yup, there are a few right now!

2015 was a long, crazy year for me. Between health issues, losing the job I enjoyed, and my marriage breaking down until hubby and I separated and he moved to the southern US right after Christmas for a new job. My writing suffered. My sanity suffered. My health suffered. I took a temporary job to make some money while I figure out what I want to do with my life now that things have flipped over completely. Since I still have 2 teenagers at home and an older son who lives away from home, life is extra busy with activities and their jobs. Just keeping track of our schedules is a full-time job!

January is my time for a deep breath and getting back on track.

Health:  I am looking for answers as to why I am in constant pain and what will give me relief - besides a big glass of wine now and then!  While I can no longer go on long walks in the woods, I can do easy yoga and aquafit. I can find ways to relax and declutter my environment as well as cleaning up my diet and losing a few pounds.

Job: I took a temporary job at a fast food place just because they're the only people who called me back when I applied all over the place. If I'd been smart, I would have taken a month or so off to just screw my head back on straight, but I was pushed by outside forces to "get a real job" and "take care of things." Unfortunately, those things didn't include ME. Mentally and physically, I need a job that has far less stress and I don't have to be on my feet moving and lifting for 8 hours a day. I'm off to the employment center to narrow down my search criteria and do what I want to do.

Romance:  I have a new love. ME. I need to take care of me the way I want to be taken care of. Making time to write, hang out with friends, and exercise are all a part of that. There's a great song right now called "Cheerleader" by Omi. My favorite lyrics from the song are the chorus:
Oh I think that I found myself a cheerleader
She is always right there when I need her

I used to think I needed someone else to be my cheerleader. Now I realize, I have to be my own cheerleader. I am the only one right there when I need someone.  Including with my writing. I need to clean up my work environment, bring my books and manuscripts out of the closet (literally) and into the open, and be my own cheerleader and manager.

No matter what direction my life takes in this New Year, I need to be my own best friend and take care of me.
And I need to get to work on those books!


Please drop by to find out what obstacles my fellow Round Robin writers are dealing with!