writing

Writing away from an early age…

I had help cleaning out and de-cluttering part of the house last week with Bronwyn, my roommate.

Guess what I found?

Here’s a clue of what it looked like when I was thirteen and a huge Elfquest fan.

 

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This little blue binder was my lunch time escape ticket.  I hated the private school I was at and was frustrated that the people I knew since grade four were still there in grade seven.  Nothing had changed.  We were stuck in our patterns of conversation and social norms.  So, I would write in the library by myself.

 

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It even had a side pocket for notes from my bff and scribbles of revelations while I listened to the teacher talk during class.

 

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I love how it’s labeled “VOLUME 1″ as if I was Victor Hugo creating tombs of writing material in this new world.  Today, we call this fan fiction.  Elfquest was a comic that combined elves with wolves naming them Wolfriders and as the “volumes” continued they discovered more about their world and other elves in it.  I dreamed of elves paired with panthers that eventually met these Wolfriders.

“Things didn’t go so good at Blue Mountain…”  I wrote.  Unaware of writing principles and rules.  I was explaining the backstory instead of letting the reader discover it.  I was also thirteen.   LOL.

So, now, as I head into my revisions of a contemporary romance I keep this on my writing desk.  Just in case I want to explore the entire binder again which is full of elves and panthers uniting against evil in their world.

Thank you, Elfquest.

The Next Big Thing: Blog Hop

The amazing Debbie Robbins tagged me for this Blog Hop so here I am posting away secrets on my WIP.

And, guess what.  It’s a contemporary.

I’m frantically writing away as my New Jersey RWA group heads towards the finish line for Jerowrimo 2013 at the end of Feb.  So far, so good re: results!  However, this writing challenge I am working on book 2 of the fishermen characters.  These three brothers are getting into all kinds of trouble!

 

1) What is the working title of your next book?

Working title of my next book is Depth.  This is the story of Riley and his past that only Molly can help heal.

 

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
Idea for the book came from the Deadliest Catch tv show and from reading a lot of contemporary stories out there.  While the perception of fishermen can be that they are “rough and tough” I thought I’d expose a softer side and a reality check for how dangerous this job really is.  The fishermen in my books live and breathe just like everyone else in their village but as it’s a small community they have wounds now that only these two new characters (the minister and his daughter Molly) can heal.

 

3) What genre does your book fall under?
Book is contemporary which is a slight deviant from my paranormal writing as Tara MacQueen.

 

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Actors… Riley would be Scott Anthony Smith (photo attached) and Molly would be Stevie Cooper (photo attached).  These are two actors I’ve worked with before and really see them in the role.

From Camden, Maine, USA I directed this actor at Maine Media Workshops

From Camden, Maine, USA I directed this actor at Maine Media Workshops

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Actress Stevie Cooper has been in a few of Charlie Mac Productions' works.

Actress Stevie Cooper has been in a few of Charlie Mac Productions’ works.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
One sentence synopsis (hate these)…  Riley’s fisherman future drowned with the death of his parents until Molly Gregan moved into town to shake it up.

 

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I will be submitting to small press on this one.

 

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
November has 30 days, so 30 days part of Nanowrimo.  30 long days of wondering if I was going to make my deadline.  And now, as I go through some self editing I’m glad I did that challenge.  The book has brought my writing up a level.

 

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
This story feels like Nora Roberts’ Chesapeake Bay Series with the brothers and the boatbuilding business.  I don’t claim to be Nora      Roberts but it feels like I was inspired by this even though I read it all in 2002.

 

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
See #8.  Definitely the great Nora Roberts.  I like Debbie Macomber, too.  Oh, and Donna Alward.  Check out this website http://www.chocolatebox.com  for other great authors along with https://www.facebook.com/pages/Romance-Writers-of-Atlantic-Canada-RWAC/

 

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
This book also involves a community broken by the devastating loss of Riley’s parents and Molly’s father, a United Church Minister helps to bring it together.  Wounds don’t heal in silence.  This book involves pain and redemption not just by a woman helping to heal a broken man but also a village finding love again after loss.

 

 

Jerowrimo prep

In order to prep for any writing challenge it’s necessary to decide what kind of animal you are with writing.

Do you have an outline or are going to put one down on paper/bulletin board?  This could mean you’re a plotter.  You like to know how characters will develop throughout the chapters ahead of time or maybe you have an idea of the order of scenes you want to develop your character arc in…

If you don’t do any of that you may be a panster.  You just write.  Your characters are in your head knocking on your ears to get out.  Great.

Either method works and I sometimes use a combination of the two.  I did so much traveling last year that I would get dream like story ideas as I dozed away on the plane and immediately grab my iphone to write up a sentence or two of what I remembered.  These little gems are filed away in my “to do” file on my laptop and are festering in the back of my head for any writing challenge I undertake.

So.  I already have enough coffee lined up for the month of Feb.  I know when and where I need to visit family and friends.  I’m twitching to use the Twitter hashtag #1K1HR at will multiple times a day.

I also know exactly what I’m doing with Charlie Mac and my Beachbody business so I don’t feel like I can’t write each day.  I have a schedule all planned.

Time to get in the writing kitchen and put words on a blank page that I will call my own.

Own the words you say.

Own the words you say.

I’m not just coming into that sentence as a new writer but as someone who’s very aware of the words that I choose when I converse.

Getting into the Maritime Gift Show was billed as being a lucrative spot.  Their words influenced my decision.  That’s not going to happen again! Here’s the pic that shows how we were all lucky if we got 30 people in attendance at our booths.  Plus, Hall 2 (there were only 2) was on top of the ice rink.  Brrr!  For four days I was layered and double socked.

No one at the Gift Show day after day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the Hearts on Fire event Feb 9th 2012 at The Halifax Club my tongue felt like it was choking my throat due to the nerves of how the event was going to go over.  I had other writers and guests tell me the same thing – they were watching what they said while having a great time mingling.  One of the topics was the upcoming Women Making Waves Conference happening at Mount Saint Vincent University which I missed last year but I’m going to it this year with author Julia Phillips Smith.   http://www.juliaphillipssmith.com

Here’s the people who made the Hearts on Fire Event happen:  (Watch for the RWAC writers on Live at Five Tuesday Feb 14 2012).

Trevor Romkey, Shawna Romkey, Caroline Ruyle, Shelley LeBlonc, The Halifax Club’s Edwinna.

http://www.dogwoodconsulting.com

Hearts on Fire Design by Caroline Ruyle

Had a great time at The Halifax Club!

December 4th 2-4pm Jennie Marsland at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic Halifax NS

Today I have another guest blogger answering my questions about her book, “Shattered.”  Set around the Halifax Explosion she is appearing December 4th 2-4pm at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, downtown Halifax, N.S. and again January 10th 7pm at the Keshan Goodman Library in Clayton Park, N.S.  Jennie Marsland is a local author and part of the Romance Writers of American Atlantic Chapter.  She has other books that I’ve happily read including “McShannon’s Heart.”

Jennie Marsland on Twitter @Jenniemarsland

Jennie Marsland on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/jennie.marsland

“Shattered” is available for sale at http://www.amazon.com/Shattered-ebook/dp/B005PGR1L0/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1322484090&sr=8-2

 

What made the story behind the Halifax Explosion appeal to you as a romance writer?

The drama I suppose. Families were separated and spent days not knowing if their loved ones were alive or dead. There were miracles of survival and heroic rescues. As well, I can’t help feel for the returned veterans who had already suffered in the war overseas and then had to go through the trauma of the Explosion. In a romance, you have to create problems or danger for the lead couple, and the Explosion certainly qualifies. Also, I could do the research in my own back yard.

 

What did you find in your research behind the Explosion – the way people from around North American came together? How widespread a tragedy it was at that time of year?

It amazed me how quickly other countries, particularly the US and Britain, came to Nova Scotia’s aid. Many Nova Scotians had family ties in New England and in the ‘old country’, but I have to think that all the help wasn’t completely altruistic. Halifax was strategically vital to the war effort, and it was essential that the port be up and running again as quickly as possible. Which takes nothing away from the generosity of the thousands – even school children – who provided money or help to the city.

Who is your favourite character in your novel, “Shattered”?

Ask the tough ones, won’t you? I’d have to say Alice. In spite of the poor treatment she’s received from her family, she isn’t selfish or bitter. She knows what she wants and she won’t settle for less. She has inner strength she doesn’t know she possesses – until her feelings for Liam bring it out.

What is it about romance writing that you enjoy the most?

The lead couple’s journey from fear and doubt to love and trust, and the growth they experience along the way. In Shattered, Liam believes he’s too damaged to love or be loved, and Alice has to learn to believe she has a right to go for what she wants. Her unselfishness is almost a fault in the beginning, but in her circumstances, it’s hard to blame her. I don’t like romances where the couple fall for each other too quickly – I like a slower, more gradual build-up.

How long did it take to write “Shattered”?

About eight months. If there was a wishing fairy, I’d ask to be able to write faster.

Are you working on a second novel related to “Shattered”?

Yes. Alice has an older brother, Carl, who’s just come home from the front and is throwing his family into chaos. I enjoyed writing his character so much that I decided to give him his own story. So, I beat him up, put him on a train, gave him broken ribs and pneumonia and dumped him off in a small town in Saskatchewan. I fell in love with the prairies on a 4H trip when I was in high school. Carl’s story is called Deliverance, and that’s what he finds, thanks to the former Red Cross nurse who takes him in. The first chapter is included at the end of Shattered. There might eventually be a story about Alice’s sister Georgie as well.

 Anything you’d like to draw attention to at the time of this blog posting ie. events, workshops, signings etc.?

I’ll be doing a book signing at the Maritime Museum here in Halifax on Sunday, December 4, from 2 to 4 pm. I’m really excited about this. The museum has a very poignant Halifax Explosion exhibit. In one display, there’s a little china cup with ‘Remember Me’ painted on it. That cup survived in a house that was totally destroyed. It gives me chills every time I look at it. Also, I’m doing a workshop on researching for historical fiction on January 10, 1012 from 7 to 9 pm at the Keshen Goodman Library in Halifax. As for online events, I’m guesting on fellow author Julia Phillips Smith’s blog, A Piece of My Mind, on Thursday, Dec.1. I Facebook and tweet all my online and in-person events, so readers can easily keep up by following me on Twitter or FB.

Jennie's latest book, self-pubbed this time!

 

 

 

What I know after 5 years of grief.

What I know.  Sounds like I have a secret to tell, doesn’t it?

Here it is.  You may have already guessed it for yourself.  Death waits for no one but life continues even as you exit this world.  For what – we don’t really know or comprehend.  We try to – maybe we go to church, maybe we pray, maybe we meditate or visit spiritual places and for some of us we write about it.

So today I let myself be taken care of.  I visited Michelle Carter at Willow Esthetiques for some 3 hour pampering.  Then, I went to Planet Beach Contemp Spa for a massage where I can listen to music and let myself really relax in a room by myself.  Carrie Hayden is great there.  Then, I went to Starbucks instead of Sweet Smiles Pastry Cafe and the universe let me know that wasn’t a good decision as I almost choked on a cake pop.  Damn those cake pop photoshopped pics – they always look great on the menu photo but mine was so dry I started to choke in my car.  Maybe if I had gone in the Starbucks some cute guy would’ve offered his help and my romance writer side would write our life story the moment he touched me.  LOL.

Tonight I’m going to the Women of Excellence Awards.

All of these events, besides the choking one, are positive reminders that the world keeps spinning with or without you.

And today.  My friend and author Julia Phillips Smith http://www.juliaphillipssmith.com has her release on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Saint-Sanguinus-Vampire-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00689V17I/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1321467880&sr=1-1 and at Smashwords at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/105486

What a great day for her.  To know that years of dedication and work is realized through the Internet.  That there’s a choice in the publishing world.  With great support from her Romance Writers of America Atlantic Chapter group she’s flying like the eagle I chase when I go to Cape Breton.  Such an inspiration.

So.  Take flight.  Go to school.  Get that job.  Make your priorities as Chalene Johnson says in her Car Smart series before your goals.

Or attend Jac McNeil’s speaking engagements through the Royal Bank series as mentioned by the Centre for Women in Business.  http://www.highlandcoaching.com/join-me    Jac and I met at her retreat last October, I joined her Tribal X group and then enlisted her aid in business/writing coaching.  She’s a firecracker so let her engage in you and let yourself fly.  Fly high.

Hmm… upon review that’s a lot of Estrogren I’m pumping into your lives today.  My Dad was always pushing my feminist side and told me in my first year at Trent that Women Studies 100 would be good for me.  Maybe I’d better put *that* on my EHarmony.ca profile.  :-)

Guest Blogger Author Julia Phillips Smith 11/11/11

Today I have the privilege of introducing author Julia Phillips Smith.

http://www.juliaphillipssmith.com

Julia has a book coming out in a week and notices of “Saint Sanguinus” will be updated on her website through the link above.

If you’d like to chat with her sooner join her on Twitter @apieceofmymind

Please enjoy her comments below and I’ll put an update of the status of her book when it’s on Amazon/Smashwords etc.

Author Julia Phillip Smith shot by photographer Caroline Ruyle

 

Julia Phillips Smith:

Sometimes people come into your life seeming to have always been there for you, even though you’ve just become friends.

When Tara rejoined my writers’ group last year, this happened for both of us—we connected instantly, recognizing that we ‘got’ each other creatively, intellectually and personally.

She knew that living under the surface of novel-writing Julia was filmmaking Julia, and having brainstormed together at the writers’ retreat, she knew we could work well together.

And so the great adventure of stepping back onto a set wearing my director’s hat began.

I want to take this opportunity to thank Tara from the deepest part of me, for giving me my creative life back. Once she suggested we work on the book trailers for SAINT SANGUINUS, a dormant part of me surged back to life, carrying the entire launch of my debut novel along with it.

This important life milestone would never have happened if Tara hadn’t suggested we work together.

So I just want to say thank you.

And here’s to a beautiful friendship.

Excerpt:

An elite brotherhood stands between humans and vampires, preventing one side from annihilating the other. Who are called to this service? Only those warriors who curse God with their dying breath.

Welsh warrior Peredur falls to a spear before he can claim Tanwen for his bride. Raging on the battlefield, Peredur utters the curse that seals his fate and leads him to another life. Using the power of a saint whose bone makes up an amulet, Peredur takes on the trials to become a true member of the brethren. Yet his need for the chieftain’s daughter Tanwen still burns.

Tanwen resists her father’s command to take a husband. The only one who understands her sorrow is Cavan, the wise woman’s son. When he promises that he can reunite her with her beloved, she agrees to his terms. But does Tanwen truly understand the depth of the price that must be paid?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nanowrimo and other adventures!

As I hit my stride this Monday morning I realize I love writing. Don’t get me wrong – I’m just setting up my first critique partner and starting to submit short stories so my writing could be crap. But the act of brewing coffee after walking the dogs and then settling in front of the laptop to write with them at my feet is precious. I hope that no matter what happens with my writing as I pursue it as a career that I keep this enjoyment with me.
So I am loving Nanowrimo which is an organization that organizes a challenge – write a book/novel in a month. Their website is http://www.nanowrimo.org/

 

This challenge is supported by my writing group that is a part of Romance Writers of America. I’m using it to write a Fae story because I can’t get enough of the Sidhe Court. I just finished Yasmine Galenorn’s “Night Veil” and I’m impatiently waiting for the next one! I also loved the Mercedes Lackey series like Born to Run. And while I enjoy the tv series “Lost Girl” I am finding it harder to watch as I emphasize so much with the female lead that sometimes I just can’t watch what she goes through.
This past Sunday I missed out on my Romance Writers of American chapter meeting. I worked instead at the Trend and Fashion Expo http://www.trendandfashionexpo.com run by East Coast Dynamics http://eastcoastdynamics.com for Fifth Avenue Collection http://www.fifthavenuecollection.com/taram     I do love that job. And, as it was at the World Trade & Convention Centre the event had help setting up and tearing down so I wasn’t covered in sweat and changing into outfits like other events/festivals. I have to thank Brennan Handy and Devin Sherrington for helping me keep fitness in my life as all the cardio pays off at events like these where you’re packing and lifting boxes.
Hope you all had a great weekend and here’s hoping we get a light winter. LOL.

By the way on November 11th, 2011 Author Julia Phillips Smith will be releasing her debut novel “Saint Sanguinus.”  Check her out at http://www.juliaphillipssmith.com  and on November 10th, 2011 she’ll be chatting about her self publishing at DartNet After Hours held at Sweet Smiles Pastry Cafe in Dartmouth, N.S. on Portland Hills Drive.  http://dartnet.ca

 

Watches, Rings and Gold

Silver, colour and my draw for a 50.00 gift certificate

Greece and other pics – a short, sweet summer of memories.

I just came from a great Writer’s Retreat at White Point Beach Lodge past Liverpool in Nova Scotia with RWAC.  Very productive.  Time to submit stuff!  We watched the films “It’s Complicated” and “Due Date.”  Love, love Meryl Streep.

http://www.romancewritersac.com

P.S. Get Ready for 11/11/11  http://juliaphillipssmith.com

Adirondack Chair overlooking a lake next to the Atlantic Ocean

I know I’m lucky.  I managed to find a second job that pays well and it’s in direct selling with Fifth Avenue Collection (My Open House is Oct 28 7-9pm, Oct 29 2-4pm, Oct 30 2-4pm if you’re interested stop by).  This second job has given me the freedom to take a few “extra” trips this past year that I ordinarily wouldn’t have the opportunity to take.  I went to Calgary, Alberta is August and saw my Grandmother before her 104th birthday and I’m glad I did as she passed away October 2nd, 2011.  When Debbie Ford from TPI Travel said, months ago, that she had a Greek trip planned and there were a few more seats available my hand went up.  I hummed and hawed over going to Greece the past year and realized, like Whistler, B.C., New Zealand, Australia and Runaway Bay, Jamaica that if I could go I should just do it.

The Greek trip was amazing.  I saw a lot of great islands, our group was not affected by the strikes, I climbed up to the Acropolis in Athens but forgot my memory card, did some shopping and sat by a harbour eating Apple Pie with ice cream while enjoying a latte in Mykonos and saw plenty of beaches.  I hope the people of Greece climb out of their economy like Germany did years ago and realize their strengths (which is why Germany is so successful today in its economy).  For now, here are some photos.

CRETE, SANTORINI, PAROS, MYKONOS

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Remember the lizard

I’ve done it!

I eat organic food.  I exercise according to Dr. Hewitt’s exercise prescription plan developed specifically for me.

I’m following the nutritional plan having bought a bunch of small appliances (steamer, blender etc.) and use them every 2nd day.

I have less stress in my life which is why I chose Fifth Avenue Collection as my current full time job.

I have time to finish my MBA with Walden University and read/write more than before.  I have a pitch before an Editor September 17th in Halifax through Romance Writers of America Atlantic Chapter.

Quality jewelry earned for free or received for half price!

SO, what’s the glitch in this program?  Why do I need to remember the lizard?

That’s right.  I said lizard.  See pic below.

I need to remember this guy as he’s one of my anchors from Canyon Ranch, the Wellness Spa I visited in July desperate for heat and sunshine I made the booking at the end of May.  I had no idea that the program would be all encompassing.  That change required work and that this daily work is draining me.  Only I can help myself.   Only I can make the decisions needed to effect change in my life.  It’s been so easy living in Dad’s house and letting my grief

overwhelm me in insidious ways.  To continue the change I now know I need to make this house my own.  I need to own up to my decisions about my life and take action.  No matter how tired I get I also need to remind myself that I have to replenish the energy I put out.  I need to remember the lizard and conserve my energy when needed so I have the energy to deal with the unknowns life can dish out.  Like the flood from Canadian Springs.  Didn’t see that one coming.  LOL.

Remember me? I'm not easy to photograph with a iPhone