Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Suspect Witness - It's Been a Journey

Since I learned earlier this year that Suspect Witness was accepted for publication with Harlequin Intrigue there's been the proverbial "learning curve."  While setting up an author profile I learned that after making DH take numerous pictures before I was finally satisfied - the picture may and would be rejected.   My photo rejected?  Yes, for lack of acceptable resolution.   I've rejected many photos of moi in my day but for very different reasons!  But seriously, there's much to learn and yes - another photo to be taken.

Suspect Witness left my hands, for the last time, earlier this month.  It didn't leave easily.  When I received that last copy and heard that this was it - last chance to make changes, I had a hard time letting it go.  In fact I held on to it right until D day or deadline day.  And then I had to pry off all ten fingers that clung to cyber space hoping for another hour, minute, second.  But the truth was the story was ready, scanned by many eyes, researched written and pampered in the planing stages and polished long after that.  I let go.

In a way it feels like my book has become a communal project.  But I'm grateful for that community who with sharp eyes and sharper grammar skills have pulled out a few misplaced phrases.  I've never had this many eyes on a manuscript and it was both supportive and in a way intimidating.  Being from Canada there were a few twists of grammar that left me stumped.  I thought I had all the cheque/check or neighbour/neighbor etc. etc., covered.  But there were some I hadn't anticipated and that I admit I looked it up to be sure that I was right - and I was, as long as I kept my foot on the north side of the border.

But all of that aside, that isn't the exciting news.  What is is that while Suspect Witness still doesn't have a cover, it has a date - February 1, 2016.  Check it out on Amazon where you can pre order.

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Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Must Reads of Summer

I'm not sure why in the middle of a gorgeous summer day with the temperature sitting at a beautiful
26 Celsius that I'm sitting in the house.  Maybe it's because yesterday I attended the "family" barbecue, which means I got my quota of outdoors.  It was a day of being outside and catching up with an interesting mix of people that included my brother's in-laws as well as his side of the family, which was how I ended up outside enjoying the sun at a party at his house.  It's only once a year that we get to do this but it's always a fun time.

Saskatchewan prairie
Now, with the summer half over it's time to get serious about summer reads.  And today I've come across a dilemma.  The problems comes in the form of Harper Lee and her new book.  I want to read it but I can't read it.

Why...  ?

Because of "To Kill a Mockingbird".

"To Kill a Mockingbird" was a grade school compulsory read.  Why we would have read it then, I don't know but the result is that it was so long ago that I can't remember much of anything about the book.  So, I've pulled out a copy I got at a garage sale, like a batch of other books I've picked up along the way just just because I thought one day I might read it again.  One day in this case turned into a year and then two, and my book collection of one day I might read expanded with silent precision in my bookcase downstairs.

My curiosity has me wanting to read the"Go Set a Watchman" but practicality tells me I need a brush up on history first.  So "To Kill a Mockingbird" has moved upstairs where I promise myself it will be read just as soon as I finish a non-fiction that promises to motivate me to hit the treadmill - we'll see.

What are you reading this summer?


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A Bio? - Even the Dog is Stressed

Okay, so the dog wasn't too stressed except that his lunch was delayed.  Me on the other hand, there was just a little sweat.  It's not that this was the first bio I've ever written, or even the second.   But there I was poised with the publish button on my new website that had been out of commission for over a week, before I even hit the publish button, but that's another story.

All the drama was exhausting.
I hesitated.


Couldn't do it.


I made the mistake of reading the bio.  No good, I told self.  Why?  It's all true.  It's me, it really happened.  Maybe it needs more reality...

But really, does anyone care that I'll devour chocolate chip cookies and can't keep a full package in the house.  Is letting them know that I once killed an influx of spiders with a can of hairspray relevant?  Seriously, none of that was there but what was, well it just wasn't grabbing me.  Maybe there's only so many times you can read about your own life - or at least skim the surface of it.

So back to square one and the original bio.  You know I think I agonized too much.  I love reading biographies, what was so hard about writing a brief bit about myself?  Once I sharpened and shortened, it's not bad.  I think it's interesting and well, it's all true.  It's my life, short form, the relevant parts... the bits that hopefully really matter to me as a writer - and the rest, well I'm not filling in the blanks at least not this go around...

Cheers to Canada Day!
 and to the upcoming Fourth of July!


Friday, May 22, 2015

Stories of Prairie People

I am fortunate to still have some of my family elders around with stories of past days on the prairie.  So when I heard a local publisher was putting together an anthology of stories from the depression on cream money and it's importance to local farmers - I had just the story to include.

It's hard to imagine what life would be like in a tiny town in the middle of the prairies circa nineteen-forty.  It's definitely another world and I'm so lucky to have someone whose been there entertain me with how it was.  Barefoot, windblown kids running free, racing trains and doing their part in supporting the family by wrestling those cans onto a train - a train that might still be moving.    Unbelievable now but reality then.

That was the story I was told and wrote for the anthology, Cream Money, which will be debuting this Saturday.

There are other fantastic stories by other authors, in fact a whole collection of true tales of another world on the prairies - long ago.  It's better than fiction because it's real and just as unimaginable.  Imagine digging a hole in the ground to live for a prairie winter.  Imagine temperatures that can go double digit below zero and be accompanied by harsh winds.  There are tales of survival, and if talking to our many pioneers is any indication, more tales of fun and adventure.  All of it is wrapped around the theme of cream money and how it helped those hardy pioneers survive the nineteen-thirties depression.  Check it out, there's lots of stories from other authors all compacted into one great book.

I'll be giving a copy or two of Cream Money away in the month of June - sign up for my newsletter to learn more.  E-mail and just put newsletter in the re line.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Jim's Weight Training & Bodybuilding Workout Plan

It's been busy lately and I've slowed down on the books I occasionally review but some books you can't say no to.   Besides with a love of books and a passion for writing, I'm spending too much time in a chair.  Not only that but I discovered that the treadmill desk might not be for me - seems I get motion sick!

Moving on...

Jim Atkinson is a bodybuilder and fitness trainer who has written more than his share of workout and "get fit" books and each one that I've read has been fantastic and motivational.  Don't let the bodybuilding put you off - Jim's latest book will get you off the couch and keep you there.

Here's my review of his latest:

"If this book doesn't motivate and keep you on track to get in shape, bodybuilder or not, nothing will!  Written by a qualified fitness instructor and personal trainer, it is written in an upbeat, logical, and easy to read manner and gets right to the heart of bodybuilding addressing all aspects including health and nutrition.  The bodybuilding regime is explained and laid out with a full year's training plan, great reference guides for the various movements and an accountability chart to keep you on track.  I've read other great fitness books from this author and again I was not disappointed by either the easy to follow instructions, well-written prose or his knowledge on the topic of fitness.  While this book addresses bodybuilding and a more intense regime than some of his other books that I've read, it's every bit as motivational no matter what level you're at.  If you're looking for motivation combined with common sense advise on how to body build this book is for you.  If you're looking for motivation to get fit, this books for you too.  A great reference!

Check it out here.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Hello World - Google Maps!

Yesterday we had one of those sweeping winds, the kind of prairie winds that rattle the bare trees and clear the dust off the sidewalks.  I'm not a fan of those winds but I suppose they have their purpose.   So it was into one of those hairstyle destroying winds that I found myself and where I soon wished that I'd at least worn a touque.  Why?  Because I discovered that a touque has more than one purpose:  A)  It keeps your head warm and B) It hides a bad hair day

The day began well enough, very early as it does when I'm wrapping up a story.  It means long hours and often many cups of coffee.  The day began just before five and, as I mostly do, I listened to a playlist again and again because -  I'm not really hearing it.  Instead I'm hearing the voices of my characters and the pulse of the story as it barrels to the end.

But finishing that last chapter is only the beginning of having a final story ready to head off anywhere.  The end takes me right back to the beginning and going through the story to pick out the obvious problems, clean it up and in a way, sew it up.  Then off it goes to my beta reader.  And then... well, that's anther post.

Yesterday, after I'd been in the world of fantasy for too long and I'd run out of people to annihilate...  Okay, it wasn't quite that bad but I needed a little fresh air.  Now at this point I've been in my basement office for most of the day but it was time to emerge and see what was going on.  So, without pulling a comb through my hair, and without a stitch of makeup, and still looking basement pale, and story sapped, I threw on a jacket, sunglasses - grabbed the dog and went.

Half way through my walk I see at a distance this little car with bright green sides and some sort of red contraption on its roof.  I think to myself that it's some pretty fine advertising and I continue on with my walk.

Routing around the neighbourhood and returning home, I come face to face with the little car and as it slowly drives by I turn to look at it and see what it's advertising.  It's one of those freeze frame moments as I realized that this isn't an advertisement, well maybe it is, there is Google on the side of the car.  But the thing on top is a camera and I'm looking straight at it.  It's the Google street view car.  It was a moment of horror when even the driver looked ominous.

At that point there was nothing to do but keep on walking and resign myself to the fact that I'd been  google mapped.

My only hope now is that they photoshop.