Sunday, December 27, 2020

2020: My List of Accomplishments by Leanne Dyck

So much about 2020 sucked but still, as I look back on the year, I'm smiling. Here's why...



photo by ldyck

Virtual Author Readings

Last July, I was invited--by a company called Allears--to record my short stories for my blog. It was a generous offer but I was reluctant to accept. I'm dyslexic and so doing recordings of me reading... I'm not computer savvy and so learning to do something new on my computer... 

But I'm so glad that I did try because I've been having so much fun, challenging myself, and learning a lot.

So far, your most favourite reading has been...

A Stone Heart

The complete (so far) list of my virtual author readings.

Writing

Ever since I heard about The Fold Festival I've wanted to attend, but it's held in Brampton, Ontario--and I'm all the way over here on the west coast. So I... 

But in 2020--like many literary events--The Fold was held online. (Very good news for me!) I was especially interested in participating in a pitch session. For a fee of thirty dollars, participating authors sent excerpts from their manuscripts in hopes of--if selected--having their words read by either a literary agent or book publisher. 

You did read that I wasn't computer savvy, right? Well... I had some trouble completing the application form. Fortunately, thanks to the help I received from one of the members of The Fold team (much thanks to you, Ardo) my application was accepted.

On August 26, Fold sent me an email of congratulations--I had been chosen to participate. Well, I was over the moon.  Even better news, the fee of thirty dollars had been waived. 

I waited to be contacted by an agent or a publisher. 

On September 1, I was sent an email from one of the biggest publishing houses. I was blown away--and, of course, nervous. But it does help to know that a publisher has liked your work enough to want to speak with you about it. 

The publisher was warm and helpful. She gave me tons of notes regarding my manuscript. As it turns out, the manuscript I sent her was too short but... I mentioned another manuscript that I was thinking of starting to write and she expressed an interest in reading it.  That's the manuscript I've been working on ever since. 


 Blog

At 10:59 a.m. on Sunday, September 13, 2020, this blog received its 500,000-page view. 

Thank you for your continued support. Without you, these words would simply be sent into the atmosphere. A story isn't a story without a reader to read it.

And regarding next year, I have big plans...



'Abby taking her human for a walk' photo by ldyck

2021 on this blog...

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Office Party (short story) by Leanne Dyck

Sometimes wonderful things can happen when you step out of your comfort zone.


photo by ldyck

I've never worked in an office. But... My husband's office parties are always so much fun. This one year they planned a night full of sketches. I was asked to participate by writing and performing a short skit.

The banquet hall was full--some people I knew in passing, others I didn't. I took a few sips of something strong left my husband at our table and went backstage. 

I came onto the stage wearing a red cow print robe with a hand-knit Santa hat.

Backstage voices:  "Is that my husband?"

"Is that my wife?"

On stage, I addressed the audience:  "It is I, the spirit of your better half. And I'm here to say... God bless you, each and every one!"

I'm pleased to write that there was much laughter. And I learned, once again, that night, that sometimes it's fun to step out of your comfort zone. 

photo by ldyck

Join me here on Sunday, December 27 and we'll be a bow on 2020 with...

2020:  My List of Accomplishments



"Snowdog" made by bdyck on Monday, December 21, 2020

photo by ldyck


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Very seldom do we on Mayne Island, BC get to enjoy the typical 

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Ice Angel (short story) by Leanne Dyck

A short story of hope in times of darkness.


                                                                             photo by ldcyk

Ice Angel


Tears trickled down my cheeks. The cold air froze my damp skin, and it hurt like knives. Words had been said that I couldn't take back--and neither could he. I walked on in the only direction I could--away. The snow crushed under my boots as I grew closer to the lights surrounding the outdoor rink.

I'd left all I knew behind to follow him to this province where I didn't know anyone and barely understood the language. And now... And now...

You aren't alone. You are my precious child. I love you; I always have; I always will. When you need me, I will always be here for you. The voice was coming from inside of me--deep inside, near my heart. I have a plan for everything, for everyone. I have a plan for you. You can't see the "whys" or the "whats" or the "wheres", but there is such beauty and much joy there. Just believe. Dark times will come, but I will carry you through them. I will. For you are my precious child

I wanted so badly to believe the words, but with my whole life in pieces, I wondered how I could. 

Boots replaced by skates, I walked through the snow to the ice. Two skates on the ice, I pushed myself forward and fell hard onto my knees. I didn't belong there. All I wanted to do was leave but... 

Something floated over the ice. She sparkled. Was she an angel? She spun and leapt was she a ballerina? She could have been my little sister. All I wanted to do was watch her but she skated over to me. She said something in French and stretched out her hands to me.

I shook my head. "Non."

But she was determined. And she gave me such a sweet smile that I knew I had to try. So I held her hands and she slowly skated backward, pulling me along. I couldn't believe it, I was skating. Sailing over the ice. Capturing sunlight on that dark night.

"Sylvie," a woman's voice called from somewhere beyond the snowbanks.

"Ici, Mamma," Sylvie replied.

The moment was over and I knew I had to leave. "Merci." I waved good-bye to Sylvie, scrambled to the snow, tore off my skates, and walked out of the ring of lights before Sylvie's mom could see me. 

But the memory of that magical moment remained with me, buoyed me up. The joy I felt skating with Sylvie gave me hope that tomorrow could be a brighter day.

Next Sunday...
December 27

2020:  My List of Accomplishments

Facing the challenges of 2020, many turned to the Internet for solutions. This presented unique opportunities for many--including me. Log on next Sunday and I'll tell you more about my year.


Next Thursday...
December 24


Happy Holidays!
From Me
To You

Log on this coming Thursday to receive your special holiday present. It's a...a...

Office Party (short story)
by Leanne Dyck

I hope you like it.

photo by bdyck


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Sharing my author journey...


I watched a helpful podcast on editing this week...

While working on my manuscript, I've found it helpful to ask myself--how does (character) know this?

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Book Review: The Mystery of Black Hollow Lane (MG) by Julia Nobel

 Emmeline "Emmy" Willick is happy kicking balls and scoring goals on the soccer field in Connecticut until her mother sends her away to Wellsworth--a boarding school in England. 

'making friends had never been [Emmy's] strength. That would involve talking to people.' (p. 4)

How will a timid introvert like Emmy survive living with her peers?

Emmy's life is one big question mark. Why did her mother choose to send her to Wellsworth? Does it have anything to do with her father? Emmy's father left when she was three-years-old. One of the only things she knows about him is that he meet Emmy's mom in England. She doesn't know if he's alive or dead. So if he's alive, she wonders where he is? If he's dead, how did he die? 

The mystery is like a frayed thread the more she pulls on it the longer it gets. 




Buy this book

Published by Sourcebooks Young Readers

Published in 2020

Won the Silver Birch Fiction Award



I choose to read The Mystery of Black Hollow Lane because I'm currently writing a novel for readers of middle grade fiction and wanted to learn more about the genre. I was rewarded with not only an intriguing mystery but also with an enduring, relatable character--Emmy--who grew through the course of the novel.


Next Sunday...
December 20
at approximately 5...um...er...4:30ish PM PT


Ice Angel
Leanne Dyck

...Something floated over the ice. She sparkled. Was she an angel?...
 


photo by Terrill Welch

Wednesday, December 9
Virtual Author Reading
by Leanne Dyck

This short story was inspired by the Christmas--several years ago--when I forced to throw all my seasonal traditions out the window--much like this year. Ah, but, I learned... Well, to say more would spoil it. I'll just read it, shall I...?

photo by bdyck


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Sharing my author journey...


word count:  19,221 words
goal:  40,000+ words

Sometimes when the words lie lifeless on the page and the story has 

Sunday, December 6, 2020

The End (short story) by Leanne Dyck

Many things can go wrong with a manuscript. It's a miracle really when you reach the end.


photo by ldyck

The End

She holds a stack of paper--the collection of a year's worth of work. "Would you like to read it?"

I remember hearing the clicking of keys, all those late nights, I can't say no.

She hands me her manuscript and just stands there waiting.

"I will," I tell her, "just not right now and not in front of you."

She gives me an understanding smile.

I do find the time. I flip the title page over and begin--. But...?Flipping through the stack of paper all I find are two words repeating and repeating--The End.

Next Sunday...
December 13
at approximately 5...um...er...4:30ish PM PT


The Mystery of Black Hollow Lane
Julia Nobel
is a mystery for readers of middle grade ficion

The mystery is like a frayed thread the more she pulls on it the longer it gets. 


photo by Terrill Welch

Wednesday, December 9
Virtual Author Reading
by Leanne Dyck

Christmas from Mrs. Clause's point-of-view

photo by bdyck


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Sharing my author journey...

Have you heard? Audible has made a collection of audiobooks free to enjoy. 

Also...


included my review of MASH in their collection of articles--and included a link to this blog. 


word count: 17,629 words
goal:  40,000+

I love to (just a second, my husband is telling me something)...