Tag Archives: novel

Thinking About 2013

This is it. My last blog of the year – 365 blogs, one for every day (not always published on the day, but I did always catch up). Was it worth it? Absolutely. I’ve become more observant from all my walks with Princess Ralphie on Vancouver Island…

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…more creative (I’ve written over fifty flower haiku which I’m now putting into an ebook)…

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… I’ve taken up photography (thank you Tootsie for all the photography books for Christmas!).

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I’ve lived in two countries (Canada…

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… and Britain)…

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…and travelled around Morocco with my dearest Berberman.

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…I have put out my novel to agents, had many rejections and some near misses, and it’s now on the “To Read” pile on a wonderful New York agent’s desk, having jumped the hurdle of her reader. So, that’s good. 🙂

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…I’ve eaten some fabulous meals out and about…

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…and in the company of good friends and relatives (thank you Jamjarjude, Tootsie, Wineguy, Hankenstein, Drumguy, Winehippie, Designergirl, Modman, Brewgirl, Socky, Magman, Cousin K,  Tangogirl, Fieldpoppy, Spicegirl, Prince T, Craftgirl, Marky Mark and Berber Angel…

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…and played (a lot) with my nephew Hankenstein.

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I’ve met some animal friends…

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I went back to my Newfoundland roots…

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… and did some interior design…

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…and started jogging…

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…and dusted off my tango shoes.

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A new year looms ahead, and I’m packing (again) to move into a new place in January, away from the lovely swans…

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…and cheerful canal boats of the River Lea…

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… to a flat in Hammersmith or Brighton…we’ll see how it all pans out. Then, who knows? I’m ready for new places, new adventures, new experiences and making new friends (human and otherwise). I’ll keep writing, and photographing, and tangoing, and I’ll put it all in my blog, maybe not every day but pretty often, even if my dog is in BC with Jamjarjude…

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… and my good shoes have now seen better days.

Keep moving, keep growing, keep curious and be kind.

Happy New Year to all my fantastic blog followers! Thank you for sharing the journey with me.

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Precious Thing

My friend Colette McBeth has written a fabulous book. A mystery, a thriller, a story full of twists, turns and gripping characters. A smart book. A psychological thriller, you might call it.

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Precious Thing. Don’t believe a word she says.

Elevator Pitch

I’ve just finished writing a novel. Today I’ve been working on the elevator pitch. The genre is upmarket contemporary women’s fiction, and the working title is “Turquoise”.

Here’s the pitch:

“When forty-something cancer survivor Addy Quinn meets the young tour guide Omar Bouchtat on a Moroccan holiday, their passionate love affair sets off events which unmask the underlying prejudices in their cultures, and threaten not only their love, but their very survival.”

What do you think?

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And in The End

I just typed The End at the end of a two-month edit and re-write of my novel. 510 pages; 143,899 words. Phew.

There was only one thing to be done. I poked through the cupboard and found what I was looking for, and made chocolate chip cookies. From scratch (of course).

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I ate three. Of course I did. Two was never going to cut it. With milk.

And then I patted myself on the back.

One of These Days…

As you may or may not know, I’ve been writing a novel in the moments between Ralphie’s walks and Jamjarjude’s visits to ensure I interact with a human from time to time. I finished the first draft in February and am now well into the editing and rewriting. There are days, though, that I close down the computer, trundle over to Chapters, and visualise….

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…and visualise some more.

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One of these days….

Red Letter Day

You’ve probably heard the saying, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. It was written over 2500 years ago by the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu (and isn’t it amazing to still be read after 2500 years? Do you figure Dan Brown and Stephanie Meyers will still be read in 4513? Hmm, food for thought.).

The day I sat down at my laptop last August to outline my novel, that quotation hovered around my cerebral cortex. Just focus on the steps, I kept saying to myself every day. No, not the steps. The step. Just focus on the step. Somehow the jogging seemed to help me. Because that was all about focusing on putting one foot in front of the other to achieve a goal (the goal being to make it through the daily 3 kilometers without staggering to a halt and falling on the ground shouting “Uncle!”).

Somedays it was hard not to flip through the ten single-spaced pages of my outline to the end. Always a mistake. How would I ever get to the end? That last chapter hung out there in the air like a butterfly evading my net. On those days I’d surrender to a Tim Hortons sour cream glazed donut and a coffee and sit in front of the TV anaesthesizing myself with reruns of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”. Yes, I know. You can feel my pain. I have suffered for my art.

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But then, the next day, I’d take another step. And the next day I’d take another. And the next day I’d have another donut. But I never fell to my knees, slapping the ground and shouting “Uncle!”. Then last night I made it to the end of the last chapter. It came up on me unexpectedly, like the end of journeys often do. I sat back and there it was on the computer screen, 424 pages, 118,251 words. Six months of taking one step at a time.

But I know this isn’t the end. It’s only the end of the beginning. There are another thousand steps in front of me — the re-writing and editing, the synopsis, the query letters, the sending chapters to agents, the filing of rejection letters, the trips to Chapters to visualize my book on the best seller self, the waiting for the phone call or the email that says “Yes, I’ll be your agent”, then the additional re-writes, and more re-writes, and the hoping for the phone call or email that says “Great news! I’ve got two major publishers fighting over your book!”…..

But now I just need to focus on the next step.

Which is, obviously, a glass of champagne.

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What I Think About When I Think About Jogging

I got up this morning and pulled on my sweats and my running shoes and an old baseball hat and some mittens and headed out to undo some of the damage I’d inflicted on my body after a week of hedonistic indulgence in American junk food and Canadian cocktails. I must say I don’t regret a moment of it, but all things must pass and it was time to make attonement to my body. So, hit the road I did, my hair stuffed under a baseball hat and my glasses fogging up in the fresh morning air.

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I’m writing a novel, as you may know from some of my earlier posts, and jogging (and I do mean jogging…slowly — running is quite beyond me even after a year) has become 45 minutes of de-grumping and thinking about how to write the next five pages. There’s something about focussing on putting one foot in front of the other, skirting potholes and road cracks, dog poo and deer poo, gopher holes and various other colourful unmentionables, that stimulates my characters to talk to me.

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So, I listen to the characters arguing their corners while I head down a sidewalk…

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…and I remember I need some more coffee as I turn the corner down the path to the park….

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…and I totally rethink the next scene as the leaves crunch beneath my feet because one of my characters is JUST NOT HAPPY with my plan…

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…and I circle the park, remembering I need to fill up the car with gas as I strip off my mittens…

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…and I circle the park again as I listen to another character elbow their way into the scene, discarding my hat….

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…and I head out to the road and admire the water marks on the pavement…

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…and wonder who else is working out the next five pages of their novel.