Monday, 6 March 2017

Something Shiny



Listening to the news a short time ago, I heard a rather interesting statistic. Interesting may be the wrong word. I’ll leave that up to you. The statistic was on the average human attention span. My first thought was, seriously? Someone or a group of people are actually paid to monitor and record attention spans? 
It gets worse. 
Last year, the average attention span was 12 seconds. Yes, you read that correctly. So unless you’re a speed reader, I’ve already lost you. 
I’ll give my readers the benefit of the doubt. Readers are an intelligent bunch.
So, are you curious? Would you like to hear that we’ve improved? 
Drum roll please. 
I’m listening for the tap of your fingers to prove you’re still paying attention.
No-o-o, we’re flunking, and badly.The average attention span had actually decreased. It now sits at a dismal 8.5 seconds.
As if it can’t get any worse, a goldfish has an attention span of 9 seconds.



Yes, that is correct. We have a shorter attention span than a goldfish. 
Aren’t we proud.
Now the big question. How the heck do they measure what’s going on in the mind of a goldfish. Do they put the little orange critter on a plastic bed and give it a PET (brain) scan? 
I admit, I’m impatient, but to prove my attention span is longer than a goldfish, I will put my cell phone down and allow my computer to have a nap. I will play with the dog. Afterwards  I will initiate a conversation with my husband. Just like the good old days before cell phones invades our lives. I'm sounding like an old fart. I'm not!




I guarantee, the dog has a longer attention span than a goldfish. She will sit and stare at me while I make my breakfast. Two big brown eyes with this, I haven’t been fed in forever look while waiting for a piece of toast in the morning.

My husband's attention span is above average as well. But then again, oh, look, something shiny. 




The Natasha Saga
Empowerment shatters traditions and lives. Greed and pride have devastating consequences. Sacrifices must be made. Written on multiple levels, the saga deals with hope, relationships, and giving, set against a background of conflicting values. 

Through a series of dreams, modern day couple Keeghan and William follow the triumphs and tragedies of multiple generations of the Donovan family. A chance encounter changes Natasha’s life, forever. In her diary, Natasha writes of her dream, and her hope to escape a horrid dictated future.

Will Natasha's legacy survive an uncertain future?

Are you still with me? Oh good. Then you can be the first to see my new cover. 


DONE  
coming soon...

Constrained by the justice system, the judge voiced her regret as she pronounced sentence on the accused. Though relieved by the ‘guilty’ verdict, the prosecution was not in a mood to celebrate. Neither was the arresting officer. 

Corvin served his time, was released, and the legal system rubbed the slate clean. But knowing this abuser doesn’t feel remorse for his actions leaves Jenn furious. She has seen her fair share of criminals. She prosecutes them. 
Still, Jenn can’t accept that this sad excuse for a human walks the streets of her town. And she is not alone.
Will a desire for real justice create a vigilante?

Monday, 6 February 2017

The Joys and Challenges of Writing - Part II





     On my last blog, I had given my latest attempt at writing to my husband. An avid reader, he gets the first look at my work. If he likes it, I celebrate. If he doesn’t, well, been there, don’t think much of it.
     He took his lap-top into the living room, sat on his favourite chair and began reading. Being the good, patient wife I can be, not, I bit my bottom lip and left the room. I went to the lower level of our home to watch some television. All was quiet on the upper floor. A half hour later I couldn’t help but think, is he still reading or did he get bored. Is he surfing the net? An hour and a half later, I couldn’t wait any longer. I slowly crept up the stairs, every so quietly, listening for signs of movement. I almost made it. Almost.
     Woof.
     “It’s just you’re mom,” hubby lectured the dog. “She’s being silly.”
     I stepped into the kitchen and looked toward the living room. The dog was curled up on the couch, her chin rose as she looked toward me. Hubby was still sitting on his chair. He hadn’t moved. It’s a good thing it’s comfortable or he’d have pins and needles in his butt.
     “Well?” I asked. “Are you still reading it?”
     He looked up from his computer. “Yes–”
     “What do you think of it?” I knew he wouldn’t be done the entire book, yet. “I like it, so far.”
     “Hallelujah!” I bellowed silently. “Yes.”
     He was only ¼ of the way through the book. He had a long way to go but it was like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders.
I watched a documentary on the band The Eagles a little while ago. One of the artists discussed handing lyrics and music to the rest of the band and the awful feeling in the gut. Will they like it?
I supposed all artists experiences the same anxiety.
     Anyway, when hubby finished the book, he gave me the thumbs up. Now we have to work on editing it. He’ll point out the silly mistakes that I have made. The type that an author simply misses. He will make suggestions and I will rewrite sections. This isn’t a short process but I want it to be the best it can be before, well before I cross my fingers yet again.
The next step isn’t any easier. Anxiety round 2. Finding a publisher… Publishers reject a lot of manuscripts. As an author, I look through their website and try to get a feel for the company. I search for reviews of the company.  I want a publisher that will market my books in places I’m not capable of reaching on my own. I don’t want a publisher that will be looking for a new manuscript every three to six months. I don’t need or want that kind of stress in my life.
Sounds fun, doesn’t it! Not!

     Would you like in on a wee secret?  Book number two, currently called ‘Done’ is a stand along novel. To classify this one into a genre, I’d say it’s a suspense, but not a ‘who done it.’ Intrigued? I hope so.






The Natasha Saga
Empowerment shatters traditions and lives. Greed and pride have devastating consequences. Sacrifices must be made. Written on multiple levels, the saga deals with hope, relationships, and giving, set against a background of conflicting values.
Through a series of dreams, modern day couple Keeghan and William follow the triumphs and tragedies of multiple generations of the Donovan family. A chance encounter changes Natasha’s life, forever. In her diary, Natasha writes of her dream, and her hope to escape a horrid dictated future.

Will Natasha's legacy survive an uncertain future?

Monday, 2 January 2017

The joys, and challenges of writing




   I finished my latest manuscript and gave it to my husband. My fingers, toes and everything other body part were crossed. He probably assumed I had to urinate given the intense expression on my face. It’s always a nervous time. Writing isn’t only creative, it’s a  personal endeavour. Each manuscript is a labour of love. Allowing someone else to criticize it, takes thick skin. I don’t have thick enough skin. I doubt I ever will. This manuscript had to show that I had grown as an author. That I had read the reviews from The Natasha Saga and applied what I had learned.



   I remember writing The Natasha Saga thinking, ‘what will hubby think?’ Given the amount of time I’d spent on it, I didn’t want him to say. ‘Seriously? This is what you’ve been doing? What a waste of time’ Of course my husband would be far more diplomatic, but the point would be there. I’d need another hobby. Worse still, he may consider sending me back to full time employment.
No-o-o-o. Don’t make me!
He didn’t say that. He finished The Saga and said,‘I like it, but you can’t stop it there.’
Shock to the system, he liked it. Hubby Liked it! I jumped up and down for joy that day, and then I continued working on the manuscript. The plot grew. 


   I always had a problem classifying The Saga into a specific genre. It has a romance component, but it isn’t a romance. The plot breaks the rules of traditional romances. Therefore, it isn’t one. It’s a family saga. 

   When the book(s) were ready, I sent the first one to three publishers. I never considered self-publishing. In my mind, if it was a worthy plot, I’d find a publisher. Mission successful, one of them accepted my manuscript. I was assigned not one but two editors and a cover artist. Today, I’m a traditionally published author.



   With The Saga behind me, I finished my second novel, more than a little optimistic. After all, all four books within The Natasha Saga were available at major on-line distributors. 
Hubby read my second labour of love, yet to have an official name, while I kept myself entertained. When he finally finished reading it, he said, and I quote, ‘You’ve done better.’
It was as if he hit me with a sledge hammer. That comment could have sent us to divorce court. Boom, you’re out of here. It didn’t. Common sense kicked me in the butt. It brought me back to earth with a hard thud. Plunked me down, right on my arse. That plot is still on the back burner, otherwise known as a file on my computer. I haven’t decided what to do with that story, yet.
So you understand my fear handing this manuscript to him. Offically, labour of love number three.




   Well, you will have to wait for the second part of this blog post for his reaction. Now you know how it feels. The anxiety of not knowing. 
I ended each of the saga books with a wee cliff hanger as well, but lucky for you, if you’re interested in reading it, they are available. Amazon, Kobo, iTunes. They are even available in the library system. You may have to ask your library to bring them in. I did, but I do like borrowing books to read.
If you ask and say please, I’m still in the giving mood. I’ll email the PDF copies of the book to you. One wee request. Please post a review after you finish reading Natasha’s Legacy, the conclusion.






Happy 2017.



Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Emotions

As I lay in bed this morning, thinking about this blog post, a commercial came to mind. West Jet Airline is known for their emotional ads and this one is fantastic.
A little girl and her family are checking in for a flight. She is holding a plastic, transparent container filled with live greenery and her tiny pet turtle. Yes, a pet turtle. A real live turtle. It’s not exactly a service animal that can board and remain with the owner.
Hmmm.

The marketing team behind West Jet used facial expressions with internal thoughts to relay their message.

The father; what will they do?
The mother; they can’t hurt it / flush it
And two employees; oh, dear. How are we going to handle this unique situation without breaking that little girl’s heart?
The little girl doesn't have a voice, but she does have facial expressions. Her eyes speak to the camera. See my turtle. Don’t make me leave him behind.
The camera zooms in on the turtle. The little guy looked directly at the viewers, pleading with the airline personnel in it’s own special way, using it’s human voice, speaks.




The entire commercial is brilliant.
Near the end, one employee finds her real voice and speaks. Problem solved.
I give the marketing team at West Jet full marks and high praise.

Authors use emotions when writing. We write words that evoke fear, laughter, make a person think, or simply warm a person’s heart. Through the gift of words, we develop our characters, making them three dimensional.
We describe the scenes, so the reader can visualize the picture in the author’s mind.
Technology has given us audio books. These allow the visually impaired to listen to a story without inconveniencing anyone else. Someday, I’m hoping I can afford to have my books released in audio.
I’m not visually impaired, but I love inserting my ear plugs, closing my eyes and listening to a story unfold while my husband listens to his music. Good quality time with my guy. Don’t you agree.

I’d like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, from my family to yours.
Personally, I wish for world peace, patience and love. It’s a crazy world out there.
Take a moment, breath deeply, and relax. Your body and mind will thank you. Fingers are crossed for the New Year.

Friday, 28 October 2016

For the Love of Tomatoes

  I love the summer with all the fresh vegetables, straight out of our garden. I normally have luck growing tomatoes and zucchini. I plant zucchini seeds and watch like a kid for the sprout to shoot up out of the ground. I buy tomato plants and put them into the garden.
  By mid summer, I'm in the garden, picking and eating my harvest, With more tomatoes than my tummy can handle at once, I picked the ripened vegetables and put them into a storage container for future use. 
  
  Hungry and ready for lunch, I placed the container on the counter, planning to have toast tomato sandwiches. Even the small but sweet and flavourful cherry tomatoes work well in a sandwich. 
Hubby stepped up to the counter to give me a hand with the meal.
  I happened to notice him grab a tomato with this thumb, forefinger and middle finger, look at it. It obviously did not pass his eagle eye scrutiny. I don't have issues with that. Our garden is organic. Some things look rather 'used' and need tossed into the 'green bin' Our bin to dispose of food wast to avoid using the actual garbage.

  He tossed that tomato back into the container. Before I realized what he was doing,
he took the new tomato in his hand and raised it toward the good container, attempting to toss a second small tomato back. I found my voice.
  "Don't you dare put those back in there. Pitch them out," I lectured.
He chuckled. One of those, 'busted' chuckles.
  "You bugger," I cursed. "You were going to to put that back in."
  "I want to pick out good ones."
  I turned my head slightly and glared at him. I didn't say a word, but my glare spoke volumes. He unsuccessfully fought his grin.
  "Once you put it back with the rest of the tomatoes, you'll have to hunt to find it again. How many times to do want to handle the rotten ones?"
  "You're right," he admitted, giving in rather easily.  

  Not at all pleased, I was relentless. "You're not at the grocery store. You can't leave it there for someone else to find it. For someone else to get rid of it."
I watch him tilt his head sideway, and then wiggle it back and forth as he scrunched his nose. The signal for 'Blah blah blah.'
  "Agh," I groaned. Men. Then I giggled. "Where did I find you? Why did I marry you? What was I thinking?"
  "The grocery store," he reminded me.
  Yes. Although we knew each other as social acquaintances, the first time he asked me out was in a grocery store. It was April and I was shopping for tomatoes of all things.




Friday, 30 September 2016

Just for Giggles, and a Good Cause



I spent a Sunday volunteering at a local fundraiser. To say 'the day' is a bit of a stretch. But, I set my alarm for 6am on a Sunday so I'm rolling with it. My friend knew where we were going so I followed her like a lost puppy. Once in the storage room, it was actually more like huge garage, I saw two tables to my right with pink disposable table cloths. I entered the room. Adjusting to the lights, the back of the room was filled with canoes, kayaks and stand up paddle boards, all organized on wooden shelves. To the right, just as we entered were paddles, and life jackets of all shapes and sizes. Sign me up. Let me into the water. But, I had an assigned job.  Kind of. I was to help my friend set up the silent auction table. Turning my attention to the left, the one table was half filled with items. We were handed a pile of sheets with pictures and descriptions of a number of items, waiting for bids. At a quick glance at the pics and the items there was a problem. 
"I'm a bit confused. These don't match," I said, holding the papers out and pointing at the table.
"Some of these things are gifts." The coordinator began pushing items to the side. 'Gift prize... gift prize."
"Okay, so what about the rest of the stuff?"
"The auction items are coming," the organizer assured us.
She was super cool without a care in the world. For a woman running the entire event, not delegating anything to anyone, that amazed me. 
The auction wouldn't close until 3pm, so, I suppose there was time. I've been involved volunteering for more charity events than I care to admit. I could handle this. Kathy and I could handle this. "Okay. We will do what we can."
We were left to work. 
Slowly, every so slowly, more items slowly drifted in and we shifted things around. 
My work was more or less concluded within a few hours.  We weren't about to stay in the garage while the bulk of the activity took place near the water. 
One of the best part of the day were the costumes. We saw a lot of TuTus. On women, men and even the dogs. Yes, I did say dogs. Most of the critters wore life jackets. They all wore TuTus. 
I can't imagine trying to get my dog to wear that. I think she'd swear at me as I attempted to put it on her. She certainly doesn't think much of her winter coat. These dogs were troupers. 
  

















The games were the most comical part of the day. Paddle board races. The ladies were 'nice and sportsmanlike' on the water as they paddled around a buoy and returned. The men on the other hand were more fun to watch. They were more competitive and more willing to tumble into the water. They attempted to jump onto each others boards. Have you ever tried to steady yourself, on long inflatable material, let along jump from one to another? They tip, and tip easily. It isn't a sport for those without balance, That was apparent as I watched them. The better the boarders were, the more willing they were to go in. And they tumbled and went in with a splash.
There were a lot of fit people that were huffing and puffing after the races.


Overall it was a great day. Kathy left with a new paddle, a silent auction item that we kept an eye on. Her hubby would be one happy man. The dark clouds blew over without releasing a drop of water on our area. We never heard a single crack of thunder. The dogs appreciated that. The charity raised 22K, so mission successful.
See you next year. 





One of the stand up paddle board instructors. His dog also works with The St. Johns Ambulance as a therapy dog. Dogs with jobs.











The Natasha Saga
Empowerment shatters traditions and lives. Greed and pride have devastating consequences. Sacrifices must be made. Written on multiple levels, the saga deals with hope, relationships, and giving, set against a background of conflicting values. 
Through a series of dreams, modern day couple Keeghan and William follow the triumphs and tragedies of multiple generations of the Donovan family. A chance encounter changes Natasha’s life, forever. In her diary, Natasha writes of her dream, and her hope to escape a horrid dictated future.
Will Natasha's legacy survive an uncertain future?





Thursday, 15 September 2016

Country Life

I love living in the country. The sights the sounds and yes, most of the times the scents. Although I must admit there are those lovely spring days when the farms are spreading liquid manure, yup, the fancy name for liquid poop. Nope I don't think so much of those days. When I walk outside outdoors I could swear we've had a massive sewer backup. I step back into the house, take a deep breath of nice clean air and go outside again. Yup, the famers are busy. I can only pray mother nature is kind and supplies a bit of a breeze. Blow that stink away. 
Living in the country, I never question where Walt Disney got his inspiration. Nature does not live in harmony. Ever. Critters are bossy. Especially the females birds. Their colouring allows me to tell some of them apart, but not all. Our blue Jays have me baffled. 
The other day, a blue jay flew to our jelly filled oriole jelly feeder. Normally, he or she is a seed eater. I watched as he took a bite of the jelly, swallowed it and proceeded to try another. 




I could hear his voice in my head.
"Ugh, that is too sweet.  Why do Adam and George and Lila eat that stuff?
He flew away.
The conversation in my head continues when that lovely blue bird gets home. Sitting in the next with it's partner, the toots begin. 
"Where have you been and what have you been eating?" The blue jay mate takes it's wing and places it over it's beak. I suddenly sympathize with them. "I can't even send you outside. We live outside. Go.  Stay away until the rumbling in your stomach stops."
And the blue jay is all smiles as it flies off. It has an excuse to continue to gorge itself. 
See, critters are more human than we give them credit for.