Friday, 30 December 2011

Happy New Year

As 2012 hurtles ever closer, I can't help looking back on 2011.  It's been a watershed year for our family.  Our oldest granddaughter went off to University this fall with high marks and renewable scholarships and we couldn't help but be proud.  Our son, who lived in New York city for the past fourteen years (research/taught at Columbia University) was seduced back to Canada this September (oddly enough by an American enviromental company).  He's in another province but we see him more frequently now although he's in New York over the holidays as that is where his significant other lives.

Our daughter has ventured into her own fashion design business and we are hoping she gets it up and off the ground as she is very talented.  Our second youngest granddaughter is travelling to Guatemala in February in class trip.  We are excited for her and a bit apprehensive as well.

And myself, I took the plunge this year and wrote a book.  I had written short stories for the kids over the years (great fans) but was caught up in career, family life and the like.  It was only on retirement that I turned my focus to writing.

Coming to this profession in the last half of my life is a blessing for I'm past the qualms that go with it is good or not?  I trust readers to tell me that although I have yet to be reviewed and am trying to be patient. 

So dear friends, that's been my life over the past year.  I hope all the best for you in the New Year, may the goddess of good fortune sprinkle on you. 

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Cracklin' Rosie

I haven't been able to post for awhile and am happy to be able to do so this morning as I couldn't wait to share the good news with all of you.

Our daughter bought a surprise gift for her youngest daughter, Caroline, who this past summer was crushed when their twelve year old Golden Retriever, Jack, died of cancer.  She asked for a blue picture frame for Christmas.  'It has to be blue, Mom, because it's for Jack's picture and he was a boy'. 

I wish I convey to you in words the expression on Caroline's face when she opened a box and out peeked the beautiful, black button eyes, of a female Havernese who Caroline promptly named 'Rosie'.  Havernese dogs were originally bred in Havana, Cuba as circus dogs.  They are small, agile dogs with a personality as large as an elephant. 

Rosie jumps, runs, throws her toys in the air, hides under the chair where no one can reach her when she's naughty, curls up in your lap and falls alseep faster than you can wink, and loves to kiss!  The breed doesn't 'yip' a lot like some other small dogs but it's hard to gauge as Rosie was the runt of the litter but you should see her now.  One of my fellow blogger friends says they resemble the Bichon Frish.

Rosie has given great joy to all of us this Christmas and I just had to share it with you. 

I hope your holidays were happy and healthy.  What gave you the most joy this Christmas.  Drop by and let us know.  Cheers, Hank.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Writing Sprint

I'm going to do a mini writing marathon today - due to start in twenty minutes.  I haven't posted on the blog for a bit so thought I'd warm up with this post.  I'm getting close to finishing my book, however, the closer I get, the further away the finish seems.  Little things start to niggle.  Is my time line accurate, are the character's names consistent, will the plot stand up under the reader's scrutiny?

My subconscious starts throwing up hints that all may not be well with the manuscript and it usually throws these hints up in the middle of the night.  I lay there thinking about the few changes I should make, fall back to sleep, and forget them in the morning.  I know its fruitless to keep a notepad on the nightstand for jotting the ideas.  I tried that and what made sense in the middle of the night lost its glow in the cold light of day.

So today I've decided to write to the finish, not edit, not fret (yeah, okay maybe that's a bit unrealistic) and push on to the end.  I'm hopeful of finishing but what do I know, it's my first time out of the gate!  Anyone know the secret to getting your muse to share your writing chair?

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Lights Please!

It's no joke when people say on January 1st, only 364 days left before Christmas.  We need to pay attention for snowy (for some of us) December, Christmas elves, wrapping papers and presents will arrive before we know what hit us. 

For me, this month of the year requires more than one daily dose of vitamins, protein drinks, blood pressure pills and eggnog.  There's the shopping blitz, usually reserved for the last week before Christmas followed by the wrapping frenzy accompanied by the hunt for Christmas music to play while slapping bows on gifts.  It's the week of picking up the Christmas tree, letting it stand outside for a day which seems to attract murderous dark clouds filled rain.  And always, the next day is dry and sunny but we can't leave it outside, too much to do, it has to go up today.

So I drag it through the mud room, kitchen, down the hallway to the family room leaving behind me a trail of needles that makes our ancient vacuum shudder.  Sweating to get the tree stand to grip the trunk while our son who is supposed to be holding the tree steady, starts rocking to the sound coming out of his ear plugs. 

And then the worst - the lights.  The tangled, twisted heap of lights that takes an hour to unravel before the plugging in begins.  A trip to a jam packed drug store for replacement bulbs follows.  Finally, not being allowed to participate, I plop in the recliner and watch as the family takes over and begins to decorate in earnest and then it happens, a tingle of pleasure tickles my spine.  Christmas is almost here.  Life is good.  Until next year this time. 

I didn't mention the outdoor lighting as I like to keep my blogs clean, free of profanity.  So readers, how about you?  How do you get into the Christmas spirit?

Thursday, 24 November 2011

The Importance of Connections

I recently had a simple, but important, 'aha moment' when I went south of the border into Maine with a friend on our annual Christmas shopping trip.  We don't save any money but that's not the point.  We have fun, the people of Maine are friendly, inviting, and of course, the selection in the stores out wows ours here in Eastern Canada.  It's possible to find those uniquely different gifts!

Anyway, to the 'aha' moment.  I had finished shopping before my friend so decided to join the line up at one of those little cafes set up in the mall that sold mochas, lattes, java of all sorts.  I was at the back of the line and had time to watch the young people (three of them all in their teens) waiting on the customers.  They were a joy to watch, busy, but not stressed, bouncing the teamwork ball beautifully, taking the time to smile at each other and the customers.

When I finally made it to the counter, I started seperating my Canadian coins from the American.  The young man asked why I had so much Canadian money and the conversation began.  We talked about Canada, shopping in America, and the like, then I took my bottle of water (don't take caffeine after a certain hour), sat at the table and took a peek inside the book I had bought.  I was interrupted by the young man passing me a piece of complementary pumkin loaf.  Surprised, delighted, to say the least.

I thought about the connections the small team at the mall made in their daily lives with the people they encountered and how much I admired it.  It is important to make connections with others even in the routine of our daily lives, not just in disasters or the like, when usually the best in everyone comes out. 

The realization of the simple, daily small connections with other members of the human family was my 'aha' moment.  The sheer importance of it and the difference it makes in our lives.  These small beginnings are the steps, I believe, towards interacting with others of different creeds, cultures, abilities, and the like.  For underneath it all, we belong to the human family.

Just had to share it. 

Friday, 18 November 2011

Christmas Music/Decorations in Early November Rant

I'm being an ugly bear this morning and rant against the early promotion of Christmas.  I realize the worldwide economy is in a tailspin, that retail outlets have been hit hard but really, is it necessary to start barraging shopping customers with Christmas music two days after Halloween going to help.

It aggravates me to no end, inudates and dulls my senses to beautiful music and all the other trimmings that accompany this wonderful season.  By the time I'm ready to start shopping, I'm immune to all the hype and try to conjure of feelings of good will - doesn't happen.

Our brilliant neighbours to the south kick off their Christmas shopping on their Thanksgiving weekend, a heartwarming tradition that I expect sets the tone for December.  Its not an option here in Canada with our October Thanksgiving weekends but surely there is something we can do to discourage the shopkeepers from bombarding us with enticements on TV, in the malls, on our streets, and yes, our libraries - our local one is fully decked out. 

I support consumerism.  I love to buy gifts for family and friends; love to receive them as well.  But, scrooge like as I may sound, please don't bother me with any of the trappings before the middle of November.  What about you?  Am I alone in this?  Weight in with your opinion, perhaps you can help me to see the benefit of these early enticements.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Get Behind Me...

I'm ready to move on from my first WIP.  I don't want to do another edit or polish.  It is time it is finished.  I have other ideas percolating around in my head.

Why I and other writers put ourselves through the grind of writing is a mystery.  Its a challenging, frustrating, rewarding, disappointing venture and, like so much else in life, in the end, there are no guarantees.  I confess to being a bit nostalgic.  My thoughts meander back more often than I like to what were 'the days when things were much more simple'.  When an author told a good story, didn't have to be concerned about marketing, a good story sells itself.  Now I know this is not true and never was, but its a favourite fantasy of mine, a return to what never was.  Doesn't make a lot of sense does it?  Neither does being a writer.

End of writer's rant and back to subject.  Letting go of my first WIP is scary.  Will readers like it?  Will it crash into the ashes of the rejected.  And if it does, is it really deserved?  I've thought and re-thought these questions to the point that I know its time to move on.  Get behind me WIP.

Has you ever felt this way about a project you've undertaken, doesn't have to be writing, I suspect there are more similarities than disimilarities in our human undertakings?


Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Risk Taking - Yea or Nay - What's Your Story?

I haven't had a chance to post in awhile because I've been hard at work putting final polish on my WIP.  Hoping to upload and go live on Amazon by end of November - scary business.  I could play it safe and not take the risk but I believe my work will bring pleasure to readers, and as a reader for many, many years, I know the value of a good read. 

And then there's the whole social media business.   I found the learning curve to be a steep, sometimes frustrating one (and still do, haven't managed how to add Follow me buttons on my blog yet!) The extent of my communication skills:  an expert of sending e-mails.  But, I'm not giving up  yet.  I know how to retweet on Twitter now and proud of it!

But back to the book, going live is a bit of a crap shoot. Readers amy dis it, and I respect that as a reader, I too have my preferences.  But, I'm going to take the plunge, one toe in the water when I post my book cover for comment next week.

Other risk I've taken:  relocating to new town in new job, selling home, enrolling in University as a mature student, travelling alone to Europe.  All of them scary at the time and even though some didn't go as I had hoped, I found taking on the challenge of change to be a true growth experience.

I'd love to hear your risk stories, for life experience is the greatest teacher!

Saturday, 12 November 2011

The Storm

Huge wind and rain storm here on the east coast yesterday.  Biblical rains!  Had I known, when I threw half of the winter's woodpile in the basement, I wouldn't have been so ambitious and left more for the building of an ark.

The wind stripped the leaves that have hung around this fall for the longest time I can remember.  Unfortunately, the leaves all flew into my neighbour's yard.  His lot happens to be treeless, hope he's strong into community life.

Sleep was interrupted by the fierce winds.  This was a real storm not a pretend drop and blow but one that I remember from when I was young.  Storms that raise the hairs on the back of your neck.  Now I wouldn't be talking about the power of storms so light heartedly except for the fact that there was no loss of life, no horrible flooding, tree limbs down, garbage cans and leaves blown around. 

Today,t he sun is hwoing, water is flowing in the front gutter and the temperature has plummeted.  Not a bad thing for I'm a bit old fashioned, I'm used to seasonal changes and cold in the fall is good.  Some supersition hanging around on that one. 

The storm is over and now its time to get down to the serious business of writing, editing and polishing.  Its the only way I know to get closer to sharing my work with others. 

Stay well. 

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Farmers' Fields - Murderous Plots

Yesterday morning, sun shining bright, two friends and I went across the basin and onto back roads to the farmers' fields where thousands (literally tens of thousands) of migrating geese from Greenland join up with the Canadian geese to rest after their transatlantic flight, eat, and do whatever else geese do - who'd of thought they fly at night!  At the first sight of snow, they head south. 

And speaking of snow, I had the wonderful luck to see two snow geese - dazzling white in the sunshine.  This is all new to me and I was glad my friends told me just how lucky I was.  And so are the geese, for the farmers forbid hunters on their fields. 

Exciting to watch them in their V formations.  The leader takes the brunt of the wind, the ones toward the back coast and then the change up.  One from the back comes to the front, and so on, until they cross the North Atlantic.  That's teamwork!

Now I'm not sure I will become a professional birdwatcher but I was grateful to the friends who invited me along yesterday where another unforeseen event happened. 

Writer's instinct never leaves and the sight of the empty fields in the countryside spawned two murderous plots.  I wrote them down as soon as I got back to the house.  Now that was the luckiest day I had in a long while.

What about you?  Anyone out their a bird watcher? Ever have plots evolve when you were in a different enviroment?

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Facebook or Not?

Every day consists of making some sort of decision and today I'm faced with deciding whether or not to go on facebook.

I have my blog, I'm on Twitter @writersangst but have avoided facebook because of negative views from others. 

So, I'm seeking other opinions this morning.  What is your take on Facebook.  Do you find it intrusive, too invasive, concerned about privacy issues. 

I'm trying to get all my ducks in line for when my book goes live and hence this morning's question.

Hope you will share your opinion or point me elsewhere to reliable info.  Thanks.

Monday, 7 November 2011

A Helping Hand

I started to write a little over two years ago.  My first WIP is 'stored away in the cupboard' until I have the time or the inclination to revisit and rewrite.  I don't mourn the fact that it is unpubishable in its current state, rather I celebrate the fact that I did it.  Actually finished it!  And I cherish how much it taught me.

I have a lot more confidence in my second WIP and I'm others will like it and share my confidence.  Others have had a lot to do with my writing journey and I'd be a jerk if I didn't take the time to give my thanks to them in today's post.

Writers have to be the most generous professionals I've ever met.  I have come across so many that have offered encouragement, extended a helping hand, referred me to excellent resources, and offered to read and critique. 

Some of the writers were published and busy working on their next project, some were like me, just starting out, and some were very 'long in the tooth'.  No matter, and I don't believe it was a matter of luck, I've never come across those involved in the gruelling, taxing, draining, uplifting, eagle soaring process of writing who weren't willing to share their time, attention, tips, and advice.

That hasn't been my experience in other fields.  So, as my WIP goes through its final polish, hats off to all those who have been so gracious to a newbie.

Have you had the good fortune to be on the receiving end of gracious giving?

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Melt Down

Drawing close to the time to load my first novel on Amazon/Kindle and I'm scared out of my wits.

What if readers won't like it?  Is it really ready to be e-published?  Heard so many disaster stories, how poor edits destroy a reputation before its even built.  Is my protagonist believable?  Does the plot hold together?  Should I query literary agents and wait? 

Never did I consider these things when I started to write.  Fingers flew across the keyboard, characters, plot, and surprise endings - simple stuff.  Confidence crumbled at first draft reading.  Put the next blockbuster to rest.  Five weeks later, opened it up and began to revise.  Three drafts later and it still didn't gel.

Now its ready.  Right?  Maybe not?  The circle of self-doubt fires up once more.

So, you wonderful writers out there, how did you cope with the jitters?  Did you experience a mini melt down?  And if so, how did you get past it? 

Friday, 4 November 2011

The Writer's Room

Solitutude, quiet, the closed door, keep out sign, don't disturb, out of my face, picture of the family, picture of the cat or dog, cat or dog lying at your feet, cat or dog whining or meowing at the door, nature calling you and your pets, cell vibrating, tweets popping up on your empty screen.  Any of this sound familiar?  Does this happen in your writing place?

It happens in mine more often than nought.  Then I begin to long for the isolation of a log cabin, deep in the woods, wood stove blasting heat in the winter, screen doors and windows letting in light and fresh air in the summer, spring rain beating a hynotic tattoo on the rough. And, the brilliant autumn leaves glimpsed through the window igniting the writer's passion within. 

Ideal, yes.  Reality, no, sigh.  We writers to do the best with what we have, try to let go of our sentimental, environmental trappings.  In my writing place, lots of things go on.  Interruptions - love them on a bad writing day - coffee, tea, juice, water drinking until nectar time, one eye on the page, one eye on the clock.  When I enter my writing place - a small room crammed with books, laptop, and dictionary - don't trust spell check - humiliated too many times. 

Like an old dog that turns around three times before sitting down, I have my superstitious rituals before opening the page - the unmentionables.  And sometimes, not often enough, to this rather pathetic little hovel, magic comes, fingers fly trying to keep up with the evolving story.  Muses dancing around in the head and around the room.

But, reality quickly returns, distractions happen - usually my own - and so on.

What about your writing place?  Is it magical, dreary, inspiring, or a retreat?  How do you liven up your creative space?

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Staying Power!

Commitment requires discipline and staying power, something I find myself ignoring from time to time.  Any excuse will do:  doctor's appt., lunch with friends, drinks with friends, getting drunk with friends - that sort of thing plus to many others to mention.

Way back in my school days I had the same type of problem.  Ignored daily study for:  favourite TV program, talking with friends, reading, reading, and reading all my favourite books in my room with door shut - parent and siblings not welcome.

And then came the exams.  Door shut, none welcome, and then, the brain cram, walking into the classroom slowly, oh so carefully, so all the crammed stuff didn't jar loose then back home to cram again.

So, as you can see, I lacked discipline (except for rounders and handball - no fooling around, reputation was at stake) and that lack has now affected by writing life.  It's a love/hate relationship.  I spend my considerably lowered energy reserves immersed in the do I or don't I write today? 

However, I think I'm starting to learn.  Not to my credit but by following writers who are dedicated, determined, dynamic and dexterious!  Feelings of guilt surface from somewhere, and it happens, I want to be a professional.  I want staying power!

Any other writers or readers out there experience the same?

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Social Networking - a time drain or an indispensable tool?

Being new to the writing gain and hoping to launch my new WIP soon, I took the plunge, created a blog, added the blogs of wonderful writers to my favourites, and became a member of Twitter.  The only plunge left for me to take is Facebook.  I have reservations so hence the wait. 

Easy, right?  Yes.  I'm better informed than I ever have been.  I've dialogued with writers who have enriched my writing life by their own experiences, wit, and energy - a more generous bunch I've never encountered.

The problem - time!  I'm spending way too much following all the tweets, blogs, and spin offs into books, films, non-fiction.  I have spent countless hours social networking at the expense of not revising my WIP (convenient excuse or am I a victim of communication?).

So readers/writers, how do you handle the time consuming business of social networking.  Do you see it as a curse, blessing, or a tool to be managed with care?

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Would you like a side of Moose with that?

Arrived home yesterday from a 7 day visit to the Rock!  Now there aren't enough adjectives to describe the majesty, beauty, and vibrancy of this province and its people.

My writer's atena was vibrating, working overtime.  Places, people, settings, artists, museums, Mardi Gras on the downtown streets of St. John's, the food, dialect, ie: everything I would love to put in a WIP.  A writer's treasure trove.  Oh, and did I mention the stories, the folklore? 

The sense of joy, laughter, and kindness of the Newfoundlander's surrounded me with comfort, a sense of well being, and stirred the creative juices.  I mean where else would you find a hired delivery man offer a piece of moose meat with the newly purchased barbecue!

This is just the tip of the iceberg (none floating in the harbour yet).  I couldn't wait to get home to blog and share. 

So, anyone of you been to the Rock?  If so, give us your take!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

The Creative Connection

Avid readers have all experienced the words of a story coming alive, saturating our senses, dancing off the page, becoming visual.  We see them, hear their voices, feel their tension.  And we have those gifted writers to thank for our experience.

Creative artists have the power to influence and infuse us with all the intensity of our first love.  No matter the art form, we are priveleged and owe a vote of thanks to those who allow us, even for a brief moment, to see the world, others, and ourselves, a bit differently.

And this morning, I think of those who work in film who have brought written works to visual life on the screen.  A team of dedicated, talented artists whose combined gifts see us leave the theatre, richer, wiser people.  The screenwriters, producers, directors - forgive my ignorance in not being able to mention all - know the power of harnessing their talent, together as a team, to wow us.

And I'm not talking just about the gifted 'Ingmar Bergman' types, but all those who have so delightfully entertained us from the classic movies of Spencer/Hepburn to the chiller thrillers of today that infuse our imaginations to the point of leaving us shaking in our beds. 

What's your favourite film?  What film has so inspired you that you are able to see connections between our our lives, the world around us; the world that wouldn't rotate so beautifully without the vision of artists? 

Friday, 21 October 2011

Speared, Run Through, and Loving It!

And readers, what about you?  Have you ever been speared?  By a writer whose opening line lets you know you're in good hands.

You know yourself to be in the sacred place; you are, without a doubt, in the presence of creation.  You see, hear, smell, the texture of the writing.  You bond, form a trusting relationship with the author.  You journey to the end not wanting to reach it. 

You run the gamut of emotions, perhaps some intense enough you have to put the book down and pace.  And at other times, the prose is like your favourite soft pillow, a place to rest, to let go of your own reader awareness.

If you've experienced just a few of these, then the tip of the spear has penetrated.  If you've experienced all of these and more, then you too, reader, have been speared, nailed to the wall, run through.

And what book, what writer has speared your heart?

Wednesday, 19 October 2011


and, wow, oh my, yikes, who'd of thought, what a strange world we live in, and proud of it.

Now it will take me awhile to find my way around, get my feet on the ground, before I can start just having fun!!!!!

I don't think I'll be disappointed as I saw familiar names of those who I respect and would give most of the hours of my day to if I could.

And now I'm proud to say:  I can be found on twitter @ writers angst

Now that's my id, but maybe I need to add something else, but I, for one at am a loss to say. 

Oh my, if only those beloved members of my family who have passed on could have lived to see this.


Tuesday, 11 October 2011


One of my favourite things about reading mysteries is trying to figure out the culprit.  To me, looking for the hidden, and sometimes not so hidden clues, and trying to outwit the writer by seizing on the killer's identity before the end of the book, is fun and exhilirating.  It whets my appetite and stimulates my curiosity button into overdrive.

If my 'killer deduction' method works, I pat, thump, and preen my reader ego until my right hand tires.  That's how it always was until my detecting skills collided with the ingenious plotting of those writers who can outwit me with one hand behind their back.

I'll only mention two - yes, there are many more.  Agatha Christie's novel, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, knocked me down a notch or two and, more recently, Hakan Nesser's, Borkmanns Point, stimulated my curiousity button to the nth, however, I had the culprit.  And then, an intelligent single, devious sentence, made me doubt myself.  It was a clever gottcha and I loved it!

How about you?  Ever been fooled? 

Sunday, 9 October 2011

The Hum in the Heart

The fall is my favourite time of year and judging by fellow writers and readers, I'm not alone.  What's not to like about the visual landscapes this time of year - brilliant colours - orange, however reigns supreme.  All those pumpkins - saw some pumpkin people early this morning pushing a lawn mower, a wheelbarrow, and one jumping in a pile of leaves.

Writers are not the only creative ones.

And speaking of writers, how many of you out there feel the creative juices begin to flow at the sight of such colourful imagery?  I, for one, at this time of year, know that my creativity knows no bounds, there are countless stories bouncing around deep within just waiting to be told.

I hum in time with the beat of my, oh so, creative heart.  Sadly, it passes, as always, but for today, I rejoice in being a writer.

How about you?

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Sweat, Blood, and Tears

I'm on the brink of starting my third WIP and once again, I'm being sabotaged by those nasties pop up from the dark, hidden until I'm ready to write, recess of my mind - not again, who do you think you are? - didn't you learn anything from your last two failures - go back to being an obsessive reader and leave writing alone - where is your sense of dignity? - masochist!-  and so on, and so on, and scooby, dooby do!

Never mind the support I have received from readers of my manuscripts, the enjoyment my kids took in the short stories I wrote for them when I could squeeze out time from a packed, working full time for a living schedule.  And the newsletters I wrote for various organizations I belonged to over the years and reaching way back, the scary stories I would tell my friends in the middle of the night, the prize I won for the best essay on returning to school.  In fact, I was so thrilled I still remember the title - Come September

No, I can't take any encouragement or confidence from what happened in the past, doesn't work, not a bit.  And I can take any encouragement or confidence from the present, doesn't work, not a bit, and the future, well now that is a differerent kettle of fish!  It's filled with images of my name on the NY Times best sellers list, a legion of adoring fans, and last but not least, money enough to pay the bills and keep writing. 

So fellow writers, what do you do to get beyond these horrid nasties to write what you know is going to be the 'I can't put it down, didn't want it to end' book.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Books into Films - What are Your Favourites?

Who doesn't love a good movie.  We all have our favourites, the ones we make a point to watch again and again.  A good film, like a good book, is deceptive in its simplicity.  It takes great artistry and skill to layer a novel or film with underlying themes so subtly that the reader or viewer needs to revisit the work in order to dsicover its complexities. 

The book that goes 'Hollywood' has been derided by many readers and there's no doubt some movies bear no resemblance to the book. But then, there are those that are done extremely well while remaining faithful to the author's vision. 

I have my all time favourites - Jane Austen's works have been handled brilliantly, in my opinion, and no doubt have attracted readers who would never have thought of giving her a try.This is one of my favourites.  What are some of yours? 

Monday, 30 May 2011

What Are You Reading?

There are so many genres, so many wonderful authors, that sometimes its hard to choose.  Do you read more than one book at a time, more than one author?  And if so, why?

Do you finish reading a book once you start it or are you able to close its cover and move on to something else?  What do you think of the books offered at the bookstores or on line?  Are there fewer and fewer good ones to select from?

I'd love to hear your opinion.  I've been a reader far longer than a writer and I have noticed a difference in the quality and quantity of books being offered these days.  Or is it just me?  I'd love to hear your opinions.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Writers are Wonderful - Don't You Think?

And, as a newbie to the writing game, I'm not saying I'm one of the wonderful ones who work so hard - yet, in this morning in this post.  I'm speaking of those dedicated, professional writers who have thrilled, inspired, and motivated us with their books and speak, post, sometimes travel great distances to  book signings to promote their works..

The publishing industry today is a confusing one.  Whether a writer goes the traditional route - agents, publisher, print book, or e-book or self-publishing (according to the latest stats - sales of e-books are phenomenal) the road facing the writer is still a long, arduous, frustrating, but hopefully, when all is said and done, a rewarding one.

Writers today work hard at promotion - social networking on facebook, twitter, blogs and e-mail - as well as public appearances at libraries, book signings and the like. 

I live in Nova Scotia, Canada, our country stretches, like the U.S., from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans (unlike our wonderful neighbours to the south, we don't border on those warm southern waters) however, are population is much smaller and spread out. 

This morning I would like to mention three Canadian authors who are taking the time after the writer's conference to make for book signing at a local mall in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  They are Barbara Fradkin (Inspector Green series), Thomas Rendall Curran (Inspector Eric Stride series) and Mary Jane Maffini (Sleuth Charlotte Adams). 

Hats off to them and all hard-working authors who know the toil of promoting their products. 

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

The Hook

Ask someone who sews about hooks and you will get a discourse on the different types, styles, strength and overall visibility.  Ask someone who fishes about hooks and you will get a discourse that could go on for days.  Ask a writer or reader about hooks and this is where the discourse moves from concrete to subjective.  The conversation takes on a very personal flavour.

In the submission process, writers put out the hook and hope a publisher or an agent takes the bait.  But like food and drink, the response varies according to taste.  The writer may choose to go the e-book route and hook the readers directly.  Again, it's a matter of taste.  In these cases, there's no right or wrong hook just preferences.

So, as a reader or writer, what is your all time favourite hook?  Why did it draw you into the story?  What made you want to know more? 

Monday, 16 May 2011

How Much Time Is Too Much Time

As a writer, I struggle with parcling out my day while trying to set aside time for writing.  I'm not always in balance.  If the truth be known, more times than nought, I'm out of balance.

We all live busy lives but when writing is added to the mix, priorities get shuffled, stress comes calling, and exhaustion works into our minds and bodies.  Commitments to family, friends, work, exercise, meals, leisure time all compete for our attention.  As a writer, the time I set aside tugs hard.  And, when I'm in the zone, balance is lost and chaos reigns. 

I would love to hear from fellow writers and readers (reading can be quite as absorbing and time consuming as writing) on how you find the struggle for balance.  And those enlightened souls who manage to do so, please share your secrets with the rest of us.   

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Let's Talk The Twist

A surprise ending in a mystery novel gives me one of my greatest reading joys.  I love to be outwitted by an author who plays fair, scatters clues throughout the book, and still manages to knock my socks off.  I take great pleasure in going back to the beginning and searching out the clues I missed. 

And when I find them, it's - of course, I should have seen it.  Nothing better!  As the years go by, I seem to be more adept at figuring out who the culprit is (sigh), although some of my favourite authors still manage to bewilder me.

How about you?  Who blew you out of the mystery waters? 

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Welcome Mystery Book Lovers

I haven been a fan of mystery books since I was very young and am still smitten.  I would love to dialogue with other mystery readers and writers.  I have made the transition from reader to mystery writer with the completion of my first short story The Potting Shed Murder which I recently uploaded on Amazon's Kindle.  I am excited about the transition but in my heart of hearts, I am and will always be a reader of mysteries. 

If you too have piles of TBR's all over the place, follow mystery blogs, are always on the alert for new mystery writers and re-read your favourites, it's safe to say you have been bitten by the mystery bug as well. 

Question:  Who is your favourite mystery writer and why?