Thursday, May 31, 2012

my #writing retreat


 One of my dreams—which I now realize (thanks to Joanna Penn) is a goal—is to establish a writer’s retreat on beautiful Mayne Island. I plan to offer your writer’s dream—an isolate cottage in which to work, a comfortable bed in which to sleep and a supportive community in which to promote your work.



Yes, its true Mayne Islanders enjoy and want more author readings. This I learned after reading the 2012 Mayne Island Library survey. Of the 25% islanders who responded 61.3% reported that they wanted the library to offer author readings.



My writer’s retreat is a beautiful goal I’m working towards. But  until it becomes reality I will continue to practice.

Each summer, it’s my habit to take a hiatus from my volunteer, social and physical pursuits to devote my days to my true passion—my hus…um, er…my writing.

After breakfast, with notebook in tow, I head out to the backyard. There, content, I write.

It’s an exciting journey of discovery that I’m looking forward to embarking on once again. And I’d like you to come along. In fact, I need you to join me.

Every Thursday, on this blog, I will report my word count. Being accountable to you will keep me focused on my goal. With your help I was able to complete A Long Way From Her. I hope you will help me again, this time with The Sweater Curse—a novel. We set out on this journey on Thursday, June 7th. Will you accompany me?
***
Next post:  Please welcome Author Peter Carroll

Sunday, May 27, 2012

A study in lilac

It's so much fun to re-read old posts (articles) and realize that not much has actually changed--substitute writing for knitting and understand that my deadlines are now mostly self-imposed, and press update. (grin) Although, I'm pleased to report that there are a lot fewer tears.

You:  So how's the knitting coming, Leanne. Are you finished all the knitting you're doing for the ArtCraft gallery?
Me:  (silently sobbing) Fine. Just fine. No really I'll be okay. Please let's think about something else...





Me:  I promise I'll give you an update next Monday when I should be reaching completion. Oh, please, let it be over soon.
No, really, I'm fine. : )
***
Oh, yes, and I got this really nice note arrived in my email inbox...
I finished your book (The Sweater Curse) today and enjoyed the narrative nature of the first person presentation as well as the references to Icelandic terms and sayings.The story took a few unexpected turns and twists as it unwound.
Regards 
Ron

***

Next post (Thursday, May 31):  My writing retreat

Friday, May 25, 2012

Please welcome author Colleen Cross



Colleen Cross lives and writes in New Westminster, BC.  She is currently at work on book two in the Katerina Carter suspense series, Game Theory. Visit her blog at www.colleencross.com or follow her on www.goodreads.com and twitter: @colleenxcross. 

Find her books on Amazon and other online retailers:

Amazon.ca

Amazon.com

How/why did you start to write?
How did you become an author?

I have an overactive imagination and constantly have stories percolating in my head. I started writing them down a few years ago.  Many revisions, workshops and critiques  later, my book was born!


What was your first published piece?
Exit Strategy is my first book and my first published work. It’s also the first in the Katerina Carter suspense series, set in Greater Vancouver and Argentina.
Katerina Carter is a flat broke forensic accountant and fraud investigator. She’s down to her last few pennies when she’s hired to investigate a multi-billion dollar fraud at Liberty Diamond Mines. Then two insiders are murdered, and she could be next – unless she solves the crime. Exit Strategy is all about blood diamonds, organized crime, and murder.
Who is your favourite character?
Kat is definitely my favourite. She’s smart, not always street legal, but she follows her heart and does what’s ethically and morally right. She’s also a bit of an underdog. A surprising other favourite to me is Clara, even if she isn’t a nice person. At first, I saw her only as a spoiled cartel boss’s daughter, but in a way she’s similar to Kat. She isn’t taken seriously. She does some terrible things, but it’s understandable due to her upbringing. I can’t tell you any more because it would be a spoiler, but there is a plot twist!
Where can we find your book?

Exit Strategy is available at Amazon, Kobo, Sony and other retailers in ebook ($5.99) and paperback ($12.99).  You can link to any of these on my website at www.colleencross.com

What did you do before embarking on your writing career? Was it an asset to your writing? How?

Like Kat Carter, I work in finance as an accountant. I’ve witnessed fraud first hand, and it’s a never-ending source of ideas for my books.  Fraud is everywhere, whether it’s a multi-billion dollar heist like the one in Exit Strategy, or smaller, everyday ones like auto insurance fraud. It impacts each of us financially, though we may not be aware of it.  Fraud is conservatively estimated to cost our economy about 5% of our national GDP. That’s huge. Think of the good we could do with that money.

Human nature also fascinates me. Greed is only one motivator for fraud. Fraudsters are often looking to satisfy for some unmet psychological need, such as admiration or respect.  Fortunately, forensic accountants have an arsenal of tools to catch these criminals.  Just like any other crime scene, there are clues obvious only to a trained eye.  Last but not least, fraud is one of the most common motives for murder.


What inspires you?

Everything, everyday.  I have no shortage of ideas. The trick is forming them into an interesting, well-plotted story.  I always start with the question “what if?”  There’s nothing better than making up stories in your head!


Please share one of your successful marketing techniques

Books might be an inexpensive form of entertainment, but I know readers are investing valuable time in reading my story.  I want to make their time worthwhile, and write the best book I possibly can. My goal is to entertain and temporarily transport them into another world.  If I succeed, it will generate positive reader reviews and word of mouth referrals. These are by far the most effective marketing a writer can have.

Aside from writing the best book possible, a social media presence is helpful. I am on Goodreads, Twitter (@colleenxcross), Facebook, and I blog at www.colleencross.com.   I love getting feedback and interacting with readers—what readers think is very important to me.

What, in your opinion are the essential qualities of a good story?

Interesting characters in imminent danger, good conflict, pace and overall, an intriguing and fresh story. For me, a good story will entertain me and teach me something new at the same time.
Have you written any other books?

I am currently writing book two in the Katerina Carter series, called Game Theory.
Where can people learn more?

On my website:
www.colleencross.com, I blog about fraud, books and other things. You can also find out more about my upcoming books.  

Parting words

Thanks for hosting me, Leanne!


You're most welcome, Colleen. And I hope that you can re-visit this blog when Game Theory is released.



Exit Strategy

Should justice be pursued at all costs? 
That’s what Katerina Carter thinks when she’s hired to recover Liberty Diamond Mines missing billions and the CFO who stole it.  Trouble is, CEO Susan Sullivan expects her to find the money and the CFO, without reporting the crime.   
Kat’s fraud investigation uncovers much more than missing money: a massive blood diamond laundering scheme is underway at Liberty’s Mystic Lake Mine.  Then two key Liberty insiders are murdered and it appears Kat is next in line. Unless she steers the investigation in another direction.  One that allows the real criminals to walk free.
Just when Kat makes the connection to organized crime she is framed for the murders, and must find the killer to clear her name and get the money back.  Her career and Liberty’s survival depend on it.  So does her life. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

#Writing About #Knitting


Todays post is a labyrinth—circles within circles. But please bear with me.

Thanks to the Mayne Island library book sale, my collection of books recently grew. And thanks to a friend’s keen eyes and fine taste in literature, one of the books I captured was Jane Urquhart’ s The Underpainter. Jane Urquhart is one of my favourite authors. Away, a book she wrote prior to The Underpainter, is one of my favourite books. 

Last Monday Ms. Urquhart was a guest on The Next Chapter. On the show, she disclosed that she crawled from book to book under a dark cloud of self-doubt. I was surprised when I heard this prolific author say that she consistently doubted her ability to produce a book—a doubt I share about my own writing.

Ms. Urquhart also confessed that she never re-read past work. 

There is danger there—as I recently learnt when I re-read some stories of my own. Will the old work measure up to my present standards? Will it exceed it?



I’ve been writing since I was a pre-teen. I’ve been writing about knitting since 2005.



It all started when my knitting pattern designer website went live in 2002. My web designer, Monica Hogg, was a font of knowledge regarding this new venture. Monica explained that I needed to create new content for my site. Failing to do so would mean that my site would be buried by the suffocating mass of sites that exist on the Internet, she told me.



Fearful of this outcome, I asked Monica to add a blog to my site. On this blog I posted tutorials, personal essays and short stories. To my surprise you did find me. Encouraged by your support, I continued to write.



Last February, overcome by the fear that I wouldn’t be able produce another book, I was hit by an idea which felt like a semi trailer.  I’ve already written another book



I unearthed and steeled myself as I prepared to re-read my collection of writing about knitting. Separating the cream from the milk took courage; polishing the writing required work but I persevered. Then I surveyed my collection of patterns—I choose the most popular and my favourites to accompany my other writing. (Photos of some of these I’ve scattered throughout this post).



In January 2011, upon the publication of The Sweater Curse, I closed my knitwear design business.           



Recently, I’ve received emails from knitters interested in purchasing my patterns. Unfortunately, I was forced to tell them that the patterns were no longer available because I’d closed my business.



I view Writing About Knitting as a way to continue to share my patterns with knitters and to celebrate my years as a knitwear designer.
***
Next post:  Please welcome Author Colleen Cross

Friday, May 18, 2012

Please welcome Author Chuck Barrett


How/why did you start to write?

 I started writing fiction in 1998 at the encouragement of a friend. Prior to that I more or less despised it. I had written labor agreements and contracts but I felt I had a story to tell or, at lest, I felt like I wanted to tell a story. I was an avid reader of thrillers and decided that was what I wanted to write. And not just stand-alone thrillers but character-series where the protagonist moves from book to book. So I started writing what ultimately became The Savannah Project. From beginning to end, with many rewrites, revisions, and edits along the way, it took nearly 12 years. But in those 12 years I learned a lot about writing and realized just how much I enjoyed storytelling and knew I wanted to do more of it.

Tell me about your first published piece?


The Savannah Project was my first thriller, finished in 2009 and published in 2010 by Wyatt-McKenzie Publishing located in Oregon. WyMac has been great to work with for my two thrillers, The Savannah Project and The Toymaker.

Speaking of The Toymaker, that story was so much fun writing, mostly I believe, because the story is based around a real person. I met this man on vacation and as we got to know each other I realized that I had met a man who actually lived in the same espionage world that I read and write about. Using my main cast of characters, I built a story around this man, using his occupation, mannerism, etc. Just as the tagline read: "He's been in the business for 50 years…he makes 'toys' for spies." An interesting hook from the onset.

What did you do before embarking on your writing career? Was it an asset to your writing?

As my bio reads, prior to writing I have been a commercial pilot, flight instructor, and (for nearly 27 years) and air traffic controller. Those experiences have been invaluable in the creation of the first two thrillers. I called from my past to encapsulate some harrowing flying adventures, a little air traffic control, and a wide array of personality traits to choose from.

What inspires you?

Good question. I typically find story inspiration from the obscure news tidbit from the newspaper. Usually those little two-inch sidebar stories that, on the surface, seem almost like they aren't news at all and the media just needed to fill space—those are the little stories that set up the stage for my stories. For example, unexplained deaths in Ireland or a break-in in a laboratory in Belgium. The big stories aren't the ones that get my mind reeling, it's the little ones that still leave so many unanswered questions. I grab a few of those stories, find a way to link them together, and before you know it, I have a conspiracy to intrigue you with.
  

Please share one of your successful marketing techniques

Marketing is such hard work and time consuming. If you aren't careful, it can consume your day, ultimately keeping you from writing—which is bad. Personally I have found Twitter to be a big boost in exposure. Even as popular as facebook is, Twitter reaches more people, faster. And because of Twitter's nature, you have to get your point across (or your pitch) in 140 characters or less. Twitter is easier to build a solid following, but like anything else, it requires some routine maintenance or it can become ineffective. It also requires diligence. Those posts are important and you have to be willing to devote some time and attention to your followers. There are thousands among thousands of readers on Twitter who like to talk with authors. Treat each and every one of them with respect and dignity and you'll be surprised how many you win over. And winning readers is increasing sales!

Parting words

Writing is hard work and your day is always full of potential distractions so it is important to stay focused. Allocate you time well and stick to your schedule. Anything that takes time—takes time away from writing. And that can become a bad thing if it gets out of control. Self-control and discipline are required or you'll never get that project written.

It is important to an author to have support from other authors whom they admire. I have been honored to have several authors that I admire endorse my books, including two New York Times bestselling authors…

"The Toymaker is a fun, fast moving thriller with plenty of gadgets and a lot of action."
—Phillip Margolin

   New York Times bestselling author of Capitol Murder

The Savannah Project signals the arrival of a new member to the thriller genre. Chuck Barrett. The tale contains all of the danger, treachery, and action a reader could wish for. The intrigue comes from all directions, slicing and stitching with precision. A worthy debut from an exciting talent.”
—Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling author

“From the tree-lined streets of Savannah to the mossy stones of an ancient Irish castle, The Savannah Project weaves a fast moving tale of murder, mystery and suspense. Chuck Barrett has written a winner here. A must-read novel for thriller lovers.”
—William Rawlings, bestselling author of The Mile High Club

These types of endorsements make it all worthwhile.

Thanks for taking the time to read this interview. I invite you to explore my website:

http://chuckbarrettbooks.com

While you're there you can about The Savannah Project and The Toymaker. Go to my blog and learn about my main characters. If you're interested you'll find links to get the books…paperback and ebook. On the main page are button links to facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Please check those out as well.

Lastly I'd like to say that I love hearing from you, the reader. Good, bad, or indifferent, unless it's spam, I'll respond personally. Just click the "Contact" tab on my website. I look forward to hearing from you.

Happy reading and writing!

Chuck Barrett


http://chuckbarrettbooks.com
chuck@chuckbarrettbooks.com

Thursday, May 17, 2012

#writing: Wisdom author to author



'You can't depend on (writing) going smoothly day after day. It won't be that way... See the big picture. You are committed to writing... Continue under all circumstances. Don't be rigid, though... Always stay friendly toward it. It's easier to come back to a good friend than an enemy.'  from Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg


'When an author feels passionate about a subject, that enthusiasm will come across in the quality of the story...
New writers need to pay attention to their originality. There's only one you, and if you want to succeed, write out of that unique you.'
-Ann Whitford Paul (Writer Magazine June 2012)
***
Next post:  Please welcome Author Chuck Barrett

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Second Wedding of Doctor Geneva Song by Robert N. Friedland

Doctor Geneva Song’s Chinese wedding ceremony is traditional, but she marries outside of her race and culture.  This ancient ritual sets in motion a fateful journey from the light to the dark for Geneva, her Spirit Sister, and the men who love them.
A beautiful family physician, Geneva Song is pious, religious, highly educated, independent, dangerous, unforgiving, sexually expressive, adulterous, and strong-willed. 
Sister Deri, Geneva’s Spirit Sister, her living incarnation, starts life as a country bumpkin in the remote countryside of Northeast China, becomes a deeply committed and ordained Buddhist nun, a sexual concubine, and the most powerful woman of finance in Canada.
Along the way, the man who loved Geneva first is murdered, and her first husband is betrayed.   Discover why one critic says that Doctor Geneva Song is destined to become one of fiction's legendary women.





“I love this novel.  Robert Friedland knows so much about Chinese culture.  Reading this novel is like reading the writer's heart, and entering the world where Chinese women become intertwined with the West.  Doctor Geneva Song is clearly destined become one of fiction's legendary women, but in truth, it is because she is a real woman of flesh and blood and passion.  Bravo!”

Zhou Wen, Editor, China Business Magazine


“The Second Wedding of Doctor Geneva Song is like a fine red wine: complex, surprising, satisfying, leaving you wanting for more. Friedland’s prose is quietly poetic and his narrative voice subtle and hypnotic. The story is at once otherworldly yet as familiar your own image in the mirror.”

Reed Farrel Coleman, three-time Shamus Award-winning author of Innocent Monster


"In the eight years that we have been inviting Canadians to contribute their stories to The Vinyl Cafe Story Exchange only three authors have had more than one story selected to read on the radio. Robert Friedland is one of those authors, and it is easy to see why: his writing is clean and elegant and he has an eye for subtle detail that makes him stand out."

Jess Milton, producer, The Vinyl Café, CBC-Radio Canada


"I know of only one male, Western author able to both tellingly capture the Asian zeitgeist, and write with eloquent empathy of women. His name is Robert Friedland, and he does both in spare, elegantly understated style in his latest work, The Second Wedding of Doctor Geneva Song. This book is an absolute delight -- I heartily recommend it."

R.G. Morse, The Dark at the End of the Tunnel


“As a lawyer who has been a human rights advisor and a city councilor, not to mention a sheriff and a cowboy, among other professions, Robert Friedland writes with candor, humor and an intimate knowledge of the world - but also with a perhaps surprising tenderness and understanding of the human spirit.”

Cynthia Ramsay
Publisher, Jewish Independent


"Reading Friedland is like eating in a gourmet restaurant in a frontier town--robust language and tough characters capable of the most delicate insights and the tenderest feelings - at the same time, surprising and satisfying."

Thomas Friedmann, Damaged Goods

Link

Friday, May 11, 2012

Please welcome Author Robert N. Friedland

Richmond lawyer Robert Friedland was born in Brooklyn in 1947. According to his publisher, "Friedland has been the Sheriff of a Judicial District; an investigator for the United States Treasury Department; a Regional Director of the Alberta Human Rights Commission; Human Rights Advisor for Malaspina University-College; a two-term City Councillor in Victoria, British Columbia; and, Chief Lawyer for a group of seven First Nations in the Interior of British Columbia. He currently practices human rights and administrative law in Vancouver, British Columbia. He is a widely published commentator on the international, Canadian, and British Columbian political scene. His stories and short fiction have been published in the United States, Canada, England, and Japan in: The Fiddlehead (Canada); NeWest Review (Canada); CBC Radio,(Alberta Anthology, Edmonton On Stage, Vinyl Cafe); Raw Fiction (Canada); Stand (United Kingdom); The Petroleum Independent (U.S.A.); Entre Nous (U.S.A.); The Casper Journal (U.S.A.); The Abiko Literary Quarterly (Japan); CITR FM, the University of British Columbia's FM radio station (Canada); and, The Broadkill Review (U.S.A.).

BOOKS:

Faded Love (Libros Libertad 2010)
The Second Wedding of Doctor Geneva Song (Libros Libertad 2011)





How/why did you start to write?

I think writers write because they feel something so deeply, for better or worse, that they want to, or must, externalize that feeling for the world.  I started writing as a child. I wrote a children’s story about a Texas Longhorn at a bullfight.    

How did you become an author?

I prefer, “writer”, to author.  I think that my skills of expression were verbal and written word, and not painting, acting, singing.  As a teenager in the 1960’s in New York City, writing was a way of expressing the youthful madness that had seemed to affect and infect an entire generation.  In adult life, writing was a means of solving unresolved issues and conflicts, (internal, external, relationships, work).

Why I Write

It only sounds like a question.

Let’s assume for a moment that there is a choice: to write; or, not to write.

I write to express my self. 

In 1992, in the Cariboo-Chilcotin, I thought I had lost a Sabre pocketknife that I had found more than a decade before on the banks of the North Platte in Wyoming.

The sense of loss seemed overwhelming and disproportionate to all of the other loss I had experienced in life.  I sat down at the keyboard and wrote, “The Lost Knife”, my best story, in a white rush.  If I had not, what then?

What was your first published piece? Where was it published? How long ago?

As an adult, my first published piece was, “The Ride Back”, a short story published by the Petroleum Independent in Washington, DC, in 1976, when I was working around the Oil Patch in Wyoming.  I submitted the story on a dare from a lawyer I knew.  They paid me $200.00, a princely sum in those days, and bought and published a few more stories.

What did you do before embarking on your writing career? Was it an asset to your writing? How?

I think that everything a writer does and everyone he/she meets in life helps fill the well.  You can’t make something out of nothing.  I had great opportunities to meet people and see life lived in many different ways.

I’ve been the Sheriff of a Judicial District; an investigator for the United States Treasury Department; a Regional Director of the Alberta Human Rights Commission; Human Rights Advisor for Malaspina University‑College; a two-term City Councillor in Victoria, British Columbia; and, Chief Lawyer for a group of seven First Nations in the Interior of British Columbia.  I currently practice human rights and administrative law in Vancouver, British Columbia.

I am also a widely published commentator on the international, Canadian, and British Columbian political scene.

My fiction has been published in Canada, the United States, England, and Japan.


What inspires you?

Big feelings, the wonder in little things, the sands of time running through the glass, my appetites, my needs, people, places, ocean, mountain, windblown papers, the secret life of small mammals, and the inevitable and wrenching loss of each and every one of these things over time.

Please share one of your successful marketing techniques

Please share one of yours! (Okay, sure. Let's see I've found it very effective to offer readings for the target readers.) For me, this is the toughest part of the job.  When you start writing, you think it is the writing that is tough.  Then you think finding a publisher is the tough part.  It isn’t until you’ve done both that you realize they were cake, and that the really hard part is selling a damned copy of your book.  Sorry, no easy answers here. (I agree marketing is a challenge. You just have to keep trying things until you hit on some thing(s) that work.)

Parting words

Don’t bullshit yourself.  You have to write to be a writer.  And you have to submit your work to publishers if you want to be a published writer.  Keep at it.  Don’t make excuses.

Author link http://www.bobfriedland.com/



Thursday, May 10, 2012

Reviewing the Crime Writers of Canada event


Saturday, May 5th writers gathered at the Victoria Public library. This free annual event is organzied and funded through the Crime Writers of Canada



Offering you a small taste of the discussion…


Character Building From the Ground Up

Moderator asks:  Do your characters have to be likable?

Panellist answers:  That depends on genre. If you’re writing a cozy mystery, readers want to read about a likable character. However, in noir it depends. You have the freedom to develop a more complex character. My own characters are likable but they do have flaws.


How to Avoid Plotting Problems

Moderator asks:  How do you avoid information dumps?

Panellist answers:  You have to read your manuscript carefully—or better still have someone else read it. Know the difference between fiction and non-fiction. If your story is sounding more and more like non-fiction then you have a problem. A way to avoid information dumps and still convey the information you need to convey is to introduce a character that needs to acquire the information.


 How to Sustain a Series

Moderator asks:  If given a choice, what would a publisher be more interested in—a stand-alone or a series?

Panellist answers:  A series. If it’s your first book, publishers like shorter novels (65, 000 words).


Interactive Workshop

Points made:
-Reverse your reading so that you know it well.
-Use index cards and have no more than 20 words per card
-Read from the book. This way the listener will get to associate the words with the cover.


 
Inside the mind of a panellist

How soon should I go and sit down? What about now? Oh, I’m so excited. Boy things sure look different from up here. There sure are a lot of people here. They’ve all come to receive information and inspiration. I can deliver. I hope I don’t disappoint them. Why was I the first one to sit down? I look like such an eager beaver. Is there anything wrong with that? Yes. No. Maybe. Yes. No.  (Others find their seats). I did pick a good spot. (The moderator is to the far left. My fellow panellists flank me—on both sides). I’m in the middle. Is this really a good spot? Who remembers what the person in the middle said? Would I rather be first? Gosh, no. Would I rather be last? Gosh, no. So be happy that I am where I am. I wonder what questions the moderator will ask us? Will I be able to answer them? I hope so. I hope I don’t look like a clown. I hope everyone laughs at my jokes. I hope the research I’ve done and the notes I’ve taken have prepared me. What if I freeze and I can’t think of anything to say—not a thing. Will the moderator just sit there staring at me—for what feels like hours of awkward silence? Boy, I hope not. I’ve got to be ready. I have to prove to everyone—including me—that I have a right to sit up here. I’ve got to be ready. (The moderator asks a question) That’s a good question. I never even thought of that question. I-never-even-thought-of-that-question. What do I say? Think. Quickly. Oh. Yes. That’s brilliant. (The first panellist answers the question. She says exactly what I was about to say and then adds a point, I didn’t even consider.) Wow, that was good. I’m so impressed by her. But now what do I do? What do I say? (I say, “ditto.” Everyone laughs. Their response makes this far less scary. I add a point and watch people take notes.) Well done, Leanne. I’m so proud of you! You did it. Yes, but just because I feel that way doesn’t mean it’s a law. Writing is so subjective. I hope they know that. I hope they know that they can do, think, act differently—and that it’s not wrong. I mean who am I? I’m just another writer. (The last panellist answers. His answer is polar opposite than mine.) Oh, good that’s prefect. Now they know there’s no one right answer. But wait, he’s been writing a lot longer than I have and he’s written more books. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I need to change my ways. Maybe… (The moderator asks me the question—first.) Hey, that’s not fair. I sat down in the middle for a reason—to give me time to think. She can’t ask me the question first. But she just did. And now what do I do? Everyone’s waiting. The crickets are creeping. Everyone’s staring at me. My palms are sweating. Come on. You can do this. Think. Oh, yes. Of course. (“That’s a good question,” I say. “I think…” Pens click. Notes are taken.) I’m so brilliant. But wait. Did I actually answer the question I was asked? I hope so. (The moderator asks another question.) What a great question. I really feel strong about that. (I dive in and answer.) Oh, no, it wasn’t my turn. (My face turns a bright shade of red.) That’s okay. It just meant that I’m human, that I’m engaged, that I’m an eager beaver. Is there anything wrong with that? Yes. No. Maybe. Oh, I don’t know. (The moderator thanks everyone for participating.) Wait, it can’t be over—not yet. I mean we barely sat down. I have lots more to…

***
Next post (Friday):  Please welcome Author Bob Friedland

Monday, May 7, 2012

A word of thanks to BC #ferries from this Mayne Islander


BC Ferries deserves my praise. Here’s what happened…

I left the island early on Saturday—7:05 AM. I had a full day (which I’ll tell you more about on Thursday). At the end of the day, my husband and I stopped at our favourite fish n’ chip shop and then headed for the ferry. We climbed out of the truck, our take-out food in tow—we planned to eat at the BC Ferries café. My head throbbed with information and inspiration. I set my purse down on the windowsill beside my seat. You can probably guess what happened—it remained there as I boarded the ferry. As the ramp rose and the ferry prepared to depart, I felt more than thought that something was missing. “Where’s my purse?”

“I don’t know? Where did you leave it?” my husband exhaled.

Slowly I realized. “At…the…café.” What do I do now? How do I get it back? I scanned the ferry—looking for assistance.

“I have a problem,” I said, ringing my hands.

They listened, delayed the ferry, searched the spot I directed them to and retrieved my purse. As the BC ferry van neared the ferry, I saw my purse dangling out the window—clutched firmly in the hand of the BC ferry worker.

“How could you loose something this big?” the BC ferries worker asked, handing it to me.

Um, yeah, exactly. I smiled. What can I do to say thank you. “I have a popular blog and I’ll write a post of thanks,” I promised.

Now, I ask you, have you hugged a ferry worker today?

***
A new session of seven Yoga classes starts this Wednesday at 9 AM. Sign up for all seven classes ($65 to $90) or drop in ($10 to $15). I promise you'll enjoy it. Dove is an excellent instructor.
***
Next post (Thursday):  Reviewing The Crime Writers of Canada event with photos

Friday, May 4, 2012

Please welcome Poet, Author Daisy Hickman

Published author and poet, M.S., Iowa State University (sociology), founder: SunnyRoomStudio
Winds of Time
Words are vehicles for understanding.  Like all artistic forms, they offer avenues of expression that are varied and dynamic.  From poetry to prose, from blogs to novels, words are links between individuals, family systems, organizations, and countries.  I’ve been drawn to them for a lifetime it seems.
Lately, though, poetry is getting much of my attention.  Even a few beautiful lines can nearly stop one’s breath with its perfection: its urgency. 
In addition to my work in SunnyRoomStudio, a creative, sunny space for kindred spirits launched in early 2010, I enjoy writing and editing poetry each day.  Maybe only for a few moments, but maybe for a few hours.  I trust my intuition in this regard.
I listen closely for the ideas, the observations, the feelings, that are edging their way into my awareness.  Silence is the great conductor when it comes to writing poetry.   
Beauty is also something that inspires a great deal of poetry.  By nurturing our souls, beauty inspires us to address the mysteries of the cosmos.  Nature.  Artwork.  A beautiful spring sky.  The smallest bud on a birch tree or a rose bush can lead the way.
The gentle winds of time have guided my interests and goals as a writer.  Always fluctuating.  Always open to that creative stirring – to that moment when an intriguing idea grabs me unexpectedly. 
You can find more of my work in SunnyRoomStudio—poetry pages, blog, book information from ’99—and even some of my quotes – kindred spirit quotes.  But for my guest post, I’d love to leave you with a poem I wrote this morning. 
“Only a Light”
Nothing catches my eye like a hint of dawn,
that ribbon of pinkish-white
against a landscape of reassuring blue, 
yet, swiftly, it’s high noon, then evening,
and the deep black of nightfall, and
I sense I’m moving with the light,
letting it carry me along, letting it point the way,
a laser of ever-changing shades,
a bouquet of color. 

~ D.A. Hickman, May, 2012

Thanks, Leanne, for the kind invitation to share a few thoughts on your blog. 

Links
http://sunnyroomstudio.com/
Twitter:  @DazyDayWriter & @DHwrites
Facebook:  SunnyRoomStudio

Thursday, May 3, 2012

#reading: discussing Sleeping Tigers; #writersworkshop


Jordan O’Malley, a breast cancer survivor, is far less concerned about her own future and much more interested in cleaning up the mess her little brother, Cam, has left in his wake. Cam has checked out of life—shrugging all responsibilities, including his baby daughter.

Why?

Jordan seems less interested in answering this question then in having him check back in. Unexpectedly, Jordan discovers that this desire takes her from San Francisco to Nepal.

Author Holly Robinson is especially gifted in writing locales. I haven’t visited San Francisco or Nepal—and now I want to.

Favourite quote…
‘If we examine the objects that we desire, we inevitably find out there’s nothing to become attached to… You can only reach Nirvana, the end of this cycle of wanting and being disappointed, through the cessation of such craving.’ (p. 226)

Buy Link

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Please attend…

Getting Away with Murder—or How to Make a Living as a Crime Writer
Presented by the Crime Writers of Canada
Saturday, May 5th
9:30 AM to 3:15 PM
Greater Victoria Public Library
735 Broughton, Victoria, BC

There are four hour-long workshops
Character Building From the Ground up
How to Avoid Plotting Problems
How to Sustain a Series
And an interactive workshop on how to improve your author reading

You have an opportunity to receive Blue Pencil feedback from two published authors
(Blue Pencil feedback is gentle critiquing)

Seven authors are involved and interested in giving you the benefit of their knowledge and experiences.


More about the Interactive Workshop
This workshop begins with a panel discussion on what makes a great reading. Following this discussion, a volunteer presents a three-minute reading. Then the group gives the reader a Toastmasters-style evaluation of how to improve their public reading skills.

This event is FREE

See you Saturday

If you can’t make it, don’t worry. I will give you a review. However, I must stress there is nothing like being there and participating. It’s validating, inspiring and fun.

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Next post:  (Friday) Please welcome poet, author Daisy Hickman