Saturday, December 28, 2013

#rndrob1213

Here we are folks, the last Round Robin post of 2013!  (#rndrob1213). Grab a cup of tea and a cookie, I know you still  have some in the house, and settle back to join in the fun! 

This month's topic is: What have you learned from writing? And what are your goals for 2014 and further into the future?

When I started to write many, many years ago I was proud of my ability and loved to tell a good story. Over the years, I've had many fans and even more critics. Still, I persevered. My happiest day was finding out I had won the Murder in Ink contest put on through Wynterblue Publishing. Not only had I won a contest, but with my first murder mystery that is now an e-book and a novella!

Then I got my agent (Dawn Dowdle, Blue Ridge Literary Agency!) and sold my first novel. The fact The Bookstore Lady is published as an e-book and not actually "in print" was a bit of a letdown at first, but it is published and I am getting my name out there while I work on my next novels. How encouraging! That some people still don't take me seriously, hurts, but I refuse to give up!
The main things I have learned from writing:
1) Keep an open mind. You never know who you will get ideas from and who can help you hone your craft and further your career.

2) Never give up! You never know when something great will happen. Even it it's not what you expect.
3) Be selective as to what advice you take. Critics can make or break you, not so much career wise as mentally. Don't let one harsh criticism defeat you.

So what lies ahead for my writing career in 2014?
I am happy to say I have an exciting year ahead!
My agent likes my latest cozy mystery and I have edits to work on in January.
My publisher is awaiting the second book in my Wild Blue Mysteries series: The Mystery Lady. 
I also have a collection of short stories that a I would love to publish.
Beyond that, I plan to organize and revamp old manuscripts as well as making more time to write and make my dream happen!!
P.S. I also plan to grade in karate for my blue belt.
Happy New Year!

And now off to the lovely Ginger Simpson to see what her goals for 2014 are!
Please don't forget to visit my fellow bloggers!!

Diane Bator    http://dbator.blogspot.ca
Ginger Simpson    http://mizging.blogspot.com
Aimee Heil     http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/    writing as A.J. Maguire
Connie Vines    http://connievines.blogspot.com/
Beverly Bateman    http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Robin Courtright    http://rhobinleecourtright.com

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Another Step Down the Happiness Project Path


Today I attended the last formal meeting of the Headwaters Writers' Guild for 2013. Rather than writing from prompts as we usually do, today's leader Nancy, passed around sheets of paper with each member's names written at the top. The idea was to write positive things about each member. (check out Nancy's post at http://headwaterswritersguild.blogspot.ca/ )

I looked forward to seeing what everyone would write about me, especially since my kids had done the same project in school and came home with some wonderful comments about them. So, what did I come home with? I've posted the comments below:

Open hearted and generous.

Easy to like.

Attention to detail and a genuine love of writing are but two of your gifts.

Beneath those golden locks lurks a keen mind!!

Diane's motives are a mystery.

Intelligence, level-headed and kind. A great friend - loyal, patient.

Prolific writer - great story teller - awesome characters - good friend.

I love the way you read your stories - your personality really shines through.

You are motivated, active and caring. You are an inspiration.

You have a really great sense of timing in your stories.

Thanks for remembering me, you obviously can make a person feel more comfortable.

Your stories are so imaginative and complete little worlds and I love your characters. Congrats on being published!


Wow, what great comments! Talk about inspiring!

One of the best ways I know of to improve happiness is to surround yourself with creative and supportive people.
I must admit, my kids are some of the most creative, supportive people I know. By the time I came home from my meeting today, my youngest had a list and was ready to hit the grocery store. At 12 years old, he decided it was a good day to make Beaver Tails - basically flat pieces of fried dough dipped in cinnamon sugar. While I would rather have sat and done some editing, supervising him in the kitchen was as much fun as watching him eat the treats when we were done. Creativity at its tastiest!

For today, I am grateful to have such a great group of writers to work with.
I am also grateful for having great kids who love to do the things that make them happy - like cooking - and even putting up a Christmas tree can be an adventure. But that's a blog for another day!






 

Friday, November 22, 2013

November Round Robin Blog


It's time for another episode of the Round Robin Blog! November's Round Robin topic:
Mass emotion -- tell about one incident you've experience where a large crowd of people shared the same strong emotion.
Whoever said laughter is the best medicine wasn't far from wrong. It has a long shelf-life and is even more contagious than a foul mood, especially when shared with others. How many times have you seen or heard something funny that hasn't affected your mood for the rest of the day?
Recently one of my lovely friends celebrated her birthday by inviting a few other couples to a local comedy night. Six of us sat around the table in a sea of nearly 500 other people. As show time came and went, anxiety was palpable, but most people simply went and got another drink. Once the show began and the laughter started, there was no turning back. Funny lines or not, one audience member after another got swept up in the swell of giggles and chuckles that broke into crests of laughter. Even people who started the evening stressed and sour-looking found something to smile about - were contaminated by someone pointing out the silliness of daily life. Sucked in by the undercurrent of other people finding something to poke fun at.

Two of the people we sat with are parents of a local comedian. They know funny. They live with funny on a daily basis. To be perfectly honest, they are both amazing, hilarious people. So are the other couple we were with. To be caught up in a storm of laughter with people who love to smile and laugh was a plus.
The best part of the evening, beyond the laughter, was "the dance circle". My two lady friends and I danced together in a circle that reminded one of dancing in clubs with a pile of purses on the floor in the middle. Like witches in a coven.

And so we danced, sang and laughed with not a care in the world, infected by the energy in the air and the laughter in the room.
And now onto a more somber tone with our lovely hostess, Robin Courtright: http://rhobinleecourtright.com
Be sure to also check out: Beverly Bateman : http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Looking for a good read?  Check out my novel The Bookstore Lady!


 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Another step in the Happiness Project - Hitting the Highway

Okay, decluttering has gone by the wayside. Christmas is upon us and I always find it even more difficult to keep the clutter down at this time of the year. Decorations, a six foot tree and gifts filling all the spaces I'm trying to empty out, do little to help.

Step back and take a deep breath. What can I focus on instead? Join me while I take a wild leap...

I got my driver's license when I was 16. Across the aisle from me in the classroom was my 64 year old grandma. I kid you not. Holy inspiration! If my grandma could go back to school at 64 and learn to drive, what was there to stop me? Over the years, I drove less as I went through University and when I married and we were down to 1 vehicle. Then it became a necessity for me to drive 3 kids to school, doctor appointments and play dates.
Even so, I was afraid to drive.
Afraid of the big city. (We lived in Edmonton at the time, which is nothing compared to Toronto!)
Afraid of getting lost.
Afraid one of the kids would start to throw up in the back and I'd be stuck hurtling down the highway smelling like...
But I digress.

Moving across the country to unknown terrain did little to build my confidence. Until recently. Sure, I've done trips with my kids before, but always with friends  I've met since we moved here and with hubby. This past year, with my oldest at University and facing the unknown, I've become braver. Driving in downtown Barrie to pick up my son at the bus terminal. Taking the kids on vacation and driving all over the Ontario countryside. Braving driving into another city to get some paperwork done - and having to go back again in 2 weeks. And this time, I know exactly where I'm going!

Confidence plays a huge role in my not wanting to venture far from home alone.
I found as I drove down the open highway (definitely NOT during rush hour, thank you!) that I was happy.
Happy I'd made the trek on my own.
Happy that I can rely on my own resources to find my way, get the job done and get home without incidence.
Happy that I'm seriously thinking about wandering farther the next time I go out.
Happy that when I get anxious about the trip ahead, I can think about my grandma who took a leap of faith in her sixties and learned to drive so she could hit the open highway on her own without having to rely on others.
Funny how something we all take for granted, can give us so much happiness without us ever even realizing...

Join me Saturday for the next instalment of the Round Robin Blog!!
 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Thank you for being a friend....

Over the end of the week and the weekend, I'd planned to continue decluttering and making our space work better for our family. I was derailed from my cleaning mission by several visits with friends. Lunch on Thursday, breakfast Friday, lunch Friday, Christmas shopping with the kids Saturday morning, a comedy show Saturday night and Sunday my middle son "had" to take me out shopping. Busy for sure, but happy busy.

While the kids and I didn't buy a lot, we walked and talked.
Catching up with friends I haven't had the opportunity to spend time with in months was well worth putting aside projects.
The comedy show Saturday night was hilarious. The comedians on stage were pretty good and the ones at the table made me laugh just as hard. It's great when you can sit with friends who love to laugh, love to dance and love to just have fun and be silly. There were about 500 people at the event and my friends and I only knew a handful of them. It was like being at the wedding of a distant third cousin. We seemed to be the "old people" table, but didn't care. Even one of the pics my  hubby took of me showed me relaxed and smiling. Happy.

The weekend gone, everyone back to work and school, I'm hiding in my cave to do some writing today. I haven't taken time to write since early October. And I'll make time to exercise. Two more things that make me happy.
Have a wonderful day!





 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Christmas Wish List Promotes Decluttering

Just when I'm getting discouraged with a lot of things, I found this in my inbox!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0coq4YPAR3k   If you watch the whole thing, you'll see cover for The Bookstore Lady!

What a fun idea. I have worked on a trailer for The Bookstore Lady, but haven't put it to music yet so it's stuck in my "To Do" pile. Why haven't I finished it? Time. Fear. Anxiety. Whatever. Truth is, I have a whole pile of things left undone that haunt my computer and my closet.

In keeping with my Happiness Project, my theme this month is clearing out clutter and building energy. I've been going for daily walks and suddenly have more opportunities to meet with friends. Great energy builders. I've also been making healthier meals. (mostly for myself because the boys just won't eat chicken in spinach sauce for no amount of money!)

I have cleaned out my novels-in-waiting and have a stack of paper to shred. Not projects I'm giving up on, just things that are old copies no longer needed. I have also found a use for the huge file of writing prompts that I've held onto since 2007. I've typed them into my computer for a friend who wants to bring them to writing meetings. Next I'll cut them into strips and put them in a box to draw from when my imagination is stuck for an idea.

Old magazines? Every year I make an inspirational collage of things I want in my life. Maybe this year, I'll make it a party. Have a few friends over to create Vision Boards.

Old clothes and books? Just so happens the charity pickup drive comes past here in 2 weeks. Yippee! They'll love the bags of stuff I set out once I ransack the garage this weekend.

Funny how cleaning out my inbox can change my mood for the day!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Happy Energy

Still keeping in with my Happiness Project, I started looking for things that make me happy and give me energy. This brought me to a realization. I am an empath.
There I said it. An Empath is a person who can psychically tune in to the emotional experience of a person, place or animal. Being so strongly affected by the emotions of others, crowds overwhelm me, the negative moods of others send me into a funk and I can tell when something is wrong with certain people in my life. Not only do these things affect me mentally, but it can become a physical reaction as well. Racing heart, anxiety, the works. Sometimes I know where the feelings are coming from, sometimes I don't.

What does being an empath have to do with being happy? I thought at first it was just the reactions to others that exaggerated my moods. After some trial and error, I've discovered the foods I eat play just as big a role.
This spring I started a cleanse with the help of my naturopath. No caffeine. No alcohol. No sugar. Within days, I felt lighter and happier. Once I added exercise into the mix, the effects were amazing! While I still felt the emotions of others, they didn't affect me as deeply. I was able to brush off the negativity so much easier.

After spending the past two months feeling like I wanted to spin off the face of the earth, the realization dawned on me that eating right and exercising daily made me feel grounded and happy. I had energy. I smile more because I feel good. Light. I also am able to deal better with others and love to cook the foods that make me feel good. Healthy foods.

So, what would I recommend for those just starting on the Happiness Project journey?
1) Eat better. Notice how foods affect your mood. Too much caffeine and sugar can make you jittery, anxious. Water, water, water is the best medicine for mood! I even add coconut water or citrus just to change it up.

2) Sleep! There are so many hours in a day and our bodies need to rest and regenerate. Without sleep, we are cranky and crave something to wake us up. Back to the coffee and sugar.

3) Smile. So many days, I don't want to smile. I have to fake it just to get through the day. By the time I fall into bed, however, the smile is genuine and I've had nicer interactions with most people than I would have otherwise.

4) Exercise. Go for a walk. Stretch. Dance around the livingroom with your kids. Take a fitness class. Do something that moves your body and raises your heart rate.

5) Find a passion. Have a hobby you love? Make a few minutes every day or even once a week to indulge. Spend some time doing something you love. I love to write as well as paint. While I try to make time for both, some days that's not always possible due to kids, work, whatever the excuse. There's no harm in taking fifteen minutes a day to feed your soul!

That's it. My top five. The things I'm working on in my own life.
Let me know what works for you!!



 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Happiness Project

A couple weeks ago my mother-in-law passed away. Helen was a lovely woman who made a real mark on her community and her family and friends. Her boxes of pajamas for the kids every Christmas as well as her bright smile and love of dessert before (a tradition we already carry on some weekends) will be sorely missed.

In the midst of our mourning, the kids and I walked into an Indigo store and browsed. It was here I came across The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin http://www.gretchenrubin.com/ . In need of some happiness, I bought it. I have to say I'm only three chapters in, but find it an interesting read.

Chapter One talks about clearing clutter from our lives. Okay, I've tried this before. It reproduces. As fast as I clear a table or a counter, the next generation of debris settles in. Ugh! But I've managed to clear a desk top and the coffee table (already reproduced!) and a dresser (now covered in cards and mail.) No problem. Not giving up.

The clutter is only a symptom of the busyness of our lives. Work, school, activities...we're always on the go and find a convenient place to drop things with the half-hearted intent of putting them away later. It's when later stretches into a week or two that it becomes an issue. One of the worst places for clutter in the entire house is my closet. The catch all space. Forget a little drawer, I go big! The kids already know that's where the Christmas gifts lurk, but never snoop for fear something will fall on them!

The plans for clutter are simple. Go in, clear it all out, and live in spacious peace. Uh...but, I can't get rid of the jacket my mother-in-law gave me that I've never worn. Or the blouse from my mom because I wore it...never. Or the shoes I used to wear to my old job at the bank. Or the mounds of binders I keep my manuscripts in since I don't have a real office space, I work out of my closet. Literally. Or...(insert other odds and ends here). The point is, we all have things we keep for sentimental value. Some things fill space in our hearts, some just fills space.

So, onward with my own Happiness Project.
Month One, November, will be about clearing the clutter and finding some much needed energy.
Let you know how that goes!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Round Robin October 2013


We are back with another adventure with the monthly Round Robin! Check out what I wrote then follow the links around the world to see what other writers think!

Paranormal themes run rampant through fiction across many genres. Are you a believer in the paranormal or a skeptic? Have you ever experienced (or known someone who had) a paranormal experience?

I know many people who are firm believers in paranormal and have had experiences they can't explain. One of my favourites actually happened to my oldest son in October 2012.

We had our black and white cat Oscar from the time he was 6 weeks old until he passed away in September 2012, a month shy of 19 years of age. Our kids grew up with him always around, sleeping on their beds and following everyone through the house. He was never a real cuddly cat though, not until his 18th year. Stricken with arthritis and other health issues, he suddenly wanted to spend time with each of us and eat anything that smelled good and try anything that looked like fun. Like the doting parents we are, we carried him up and down the stairs when he struggled and made sure he was warm and comfortable.

While it wasn't a real shock when he died peacefully on a Sunday morning, it was difficult for all of us. He was family. Not long after Oscar passed, my oldest son Nick was sitting on his bed with our younger cat Jazz sound asleep at his side. Nick was startled when something cold brushed past him and touched his hand. Jazz, suddenly alert and on his feet, looked around like he'd sensed something. When Nick told me about the incident a few minutes later, he was a bit spooked, but also relieved. Wherever Oscar was, he was happy and able to get back up onto his bed again.
 
 



And now off to Connie Vines to find out about her paranormal perspective.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Stop by and visit me on tour!

I will be part of Patricia Gligor's "Getting to know you" post that goes live Sunday morning Oct 13 and will run through the following Saturday. Here's the link:  http://pat-writersforum.blogspot.com/
Hope to see you there!


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Pondering among the leaves...

 
Such a lovely morning this morning, I decided to take a walk in the leaves. Granted, my pace has been slower than normal lately due to a cold, but sometimes slowing down is what helps us see the trees rather than the forest.
 
I love autumn. As a kid, I had a long driveway to walk down to get to the bus stop. Shuffling through the leaves and warming the frost on my nose, was actually one of my favourite parts of the day. Still is! I have a natural affinity for both paper and the trees it comes from. The one in the picture resides across the street from me. Our tree is smaller and more spindly, not a climber and covered in kids all summer long!
 
 Yes, I do still shuffle through leaves. Living in the Eastern part of Canada, we have such a wide variety of them. Maples, oaks, chestnut...the colours are breathtaking and the photos we get while hiking are amazing.
 
One of my favourite memories of fall in Ontario is when my brother and his wife first came to visit us for Thanksgiving and we took them hiking. My sister-in-law had never seen a real maple leaf (in her defence, neither had we before we moved here. There's just no such thing in Alberta!). Her excitement when she found a perfect red maple leaf lying on the ground was contagious! Then the kids pointed to the thousands of maple trees that surrounded us. She was a bit sheepish, but thrilled to see so many lovely leaves of every autumn colour. We still joke about that first maple leaf, but it's a memory that will live on forever!
 
Autumn is also the best time for me to dive back into writing. The kids are at school, the air is crisp in the morning and warm come lunch and going for long walks not only rejuvenates my soul, it stirs something in my brain that gets me primed to sit and write.
 
Where September is a rush of back to school, seminars and signing new students at work and constant stress, October is more laid back for me. Routine is setting in and I can focus again. It's when I am the most productive.
 
This fall, my oldest son has Reading Week at the end of October. I'd never heard of that before, but I'm glad for the opportunity to spend time with him and get in a bit more hiking. And, since he is a writer as well, a lot more brainstorming!
 
Have fun shuffling in the leaves!


Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Few Lines from...The Bookstore Lady

Looking for a fun read? Check out A Few Lines from The Bookstore Lady...
 
 
When the hunched over, balding pharmacist next door called out, “Good morning, Katie,” her hand flinched and her heart raced. It took her nearly a full minute to remember she’d been Katie Mullins for two months and she’d better answer before he got offended.

“Hi.” She nodded.

The drugstore opened at eight every morning and it was now quarter to ten. Must have been a slow morning if he had time to stand in the doorway with a large cup of coffee rather than hanging out behind the back counter. “You’d best convince Ray to get some air-conditioning for that store before your new books curl up and warp. It’s beyond me how he’s never lost half his books every summer.”

“Dust absorbs the humidity.” She smiled wryly. “I don’t think we can afford air-conditioning this year.”

“I know a guy who’ll give you a quote. He’s not bad looking once you get past the bug eyes and scars. I can call him, if you’d like.”

“Maybe some other time.” Like when hell froze over.

He waved and went back into the drugstore.

Katie drew in a deep breath. The air was fresh from last night’s rain and the hint of a breeze mussed her hair. In two months, the only thing to find her was the sunshine and a case of withdrawals that made renovations hell. Nate, bless his heart, had had more compassion while she fought “the flu” than any man she’d ever met.

She blew a strand of stray copper hair out of her mouth and jiggled the door lock. Another thing that needed to be fixed before winter. She should have done it during renovations, but it hadn’t seemed as important as books and workmen. Luckily, Nate worked cheap and she hadn’t had to dig into the money from Dunnsforth. The money was tucked up in a box in the backroom, fastened with half a roll of duct tape. She’d ask him to fix the lock when he delivered her order later.

The door opened with a groan. “It’s about time.”

Want to read more? Order The Bookstore Lady (published by Books We Love) available at:
http://www.amazon.com/The-Bookstore-Lady-ebook/dp/B00DWKNGPQ/


 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Robin's Round Robin Blog Sept 21, 2013


Welcome to another episode of Robin's Round Robin Blog our topic for today is:

As odd as it seems September, because of first day of school, university, etc. so the topic this month is beginnings, which can be exciting, terrifying and all together nerve wracking all at the same time. Some beginnings expand beyond your wildest imagination, others are disappointing, and some are downright disastrous.
 

 I have always loved September. Back to school, believe it or not, was my favourite time of year. New clothes, new school supplies, the smell of leaves turning gold and red, a slight chill in the air...those are still the things I love about it the most. September was also the start of my independence as a young adult moving 7 hours away from home to attend University. In fact, every September is when I make my "New Year's Resolutions" for the following year.

This year, September marks my oldest son's journey to his own independence. He has moved 4 hours away from home with a cell phone to keep in touch, which is one thing I certainly never had. He's learning to take the bus around his new city, do his own laundry and shop for his own groceries. While it's sad to see him "leave the nest" and grow up, it's exciting to see him take on life on his own terms. Some of the things we've instilled in him will follow him through life. Other ideas and concepts, he'll change and make his own.

As my kids grow up and tackle their own beginnings, I take on a few of my own. My first novel came out over the summer so I am learning how to market and promote my work and myself. I graded for my green belt in karate at the beginning of September, a huge step for me. Karate has always been something my husband and kids did, I washed gis, drove the kids to lessons and sat watching. Now I'm a karate-ka, a karate student, and will attend my first camp on my son's campus in October.

Being a writer, my creative time becomes scarce over the summer while the kids are home. In September is when I can begin creating anew. Sit and organize and plan and tidy up the summer sand from my workspace. New paper, new pens, new folders, new perspective.

September is when I begin anew.

Sip your coffee, sit back and click on the links to see what author Beverly Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca thinks about September!

 


 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Blog Tour

Since the release of The Bookstore Lady back in July, I've had to be creative about promoting my book. One of the fun ways to do this is through a blog tour. My upcoming appearances:
 
September 16: I visit Lorrie Striuff at:  http://lorriejuly.blogspot.ca/p/pick-your-date.html
 
September 21: I am part of the Round Robin Blog here at my own site with links to many others! This is a blog tour hosted by Robin Courtright: http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com
 
September 27: Read A Few Lines From... at Books We Love: http://bwlpp.blogspot.ca/
 
October 13:  I'll visit Pat Gligor at http://pat-writersforum.blogspot.ca/


Keep an eye on my fanpage on Facebook for upcoming news!
 https://www.facebook.com/pages/Diane-Bator-Author/263599617046736?ref=hl
 
 

 

 

Book Review: Rachel Brimble's A Man Like Him


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  I will be the first to admit I don't normally read romance novels, but I had two reasons for reading Rachel Brimble's A Man Like Him. Number one, I've heard about her and her writing through the grapevine. Number two, while she lives "across the pond", her book kept appearing on bookshelves everywhere I turned since we both have the same agent!
And, I have to admit, I was also a bit curious about the cover blurb about having flash flood in a park and the need for a hero.
Rachel did not disappoint! From page one I was caught up in both Chris and Angela's lives--as well as his sister Cat's!--and followed them through twists and turns to a climax that kept me turning page after page late at night until done! She has a wonderful way of setting a scene and her writing is so full of vivid descriptions that keep the story moving well. 
A Man Like Him is a great read for the adventure, the romance and for the suspense of it!
And now for a little sample:
 
Changing her life…again
After two years in hiding, Angela Taylor knows her independence is worth it. As long as she can escape her past, she has everything under control. Until a flash flood hits the park where she works, and hot Chris Forrester shows up the exact moment she needs a hero.
Chris proves he can save lives—and weaken a girl's knees. But how can she make him understand that she's off-limits, that getting close to her will endanger his life? Her happiness or his safety: it shouldn't even be a choice. Because when you love someone, you protect them, no matter the cost. At least, that's what Angela keeps telling herself….
 
Like what you read? Order A Man Like Him at:
 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Expect the UnExpected Connie Vines


Been a busy few weeks getting Thing 1 off to University and dealing with a few other issues! Not quite back on top of things, but I'm getting there!
In the meantime, I'm welcoming the lovely Connie Vines to my blog today to promote her new novel Brede.
Here's A Few Lines from Connie Vines:



Brede swallowed, trying to ignore the thick, tight feeling wedged in his throat.  He didn't welcome the onslaught of emotion that filled his chest and caused him to stroke her jaw with an unsteady finger tip.  He reminded himself that he didn't need to be involved in her problems; he had enough of his own.  As soon as the roads were passable, he'd get her to a doctor and the police could take care of the rest.
     Still, no matter how hard he tried to remove himself from the situation, he kept remembering how fragile she'd seemed in his arms.  he felt as if he'd carried a sparrow, all feathers and tiny bones, out of the gully.

Connie Vines
Expect the UnExpected!
Stop back next week for a few lines from Joan Hall Hovey.


 

Monday, September 2, 2013

 
It's been a bit of a crazy weekend. We took Thing 1, aka our oldest son, off to University.
 
Up until Friday, I was scurrying around getting things packed, making sure he has what he needed, working, and writing. Then came the trip home yesterday. Long and quiet. Exhaustion had taken over. In need of a distraction, I read all the way home, Rachel Brimble's A Man Like Him. (Review to come soon!)
 
Today I'm cleaning and getting the other kids ready for school. Trying to not be a smothering mom to my 18 year old who just wants to be left alone to check out his new world. At least he has a roommate who is also athletic and has a great sense of humour. They should get along well! Like every mom, I just want to know he's eating well and happy.
 
Thing 2 brought along the manuscript of Four Possessions to read on the road trip. According to him, it's one of the best he's ever read and I'd better get it edited and printed soon. Love having such encouraging fans. At least with everyone back to school soon, I will have the time to sit and finish edits and all the accessories I have to send to my agent.
 
Sorry, a bit of rambling today. Just trying to get my head and everything else in order. A bit of clean up before I get down to work tomorrow. Speaking of which, time to change loads of laundry. The once constant in life.
 
Happy Labour Day weekend!
 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Robin's Round Robin Blog August 2013

OH NO!! Thanks to the wonders of technology, this post was supposed to air yesterday! Apparently, it didn't work and I'll never try that again! So sorry to those people who were depending on me to be part of the link!!

Through my new friend Ginger Simpson, a fellow writer with Books We Love, I was introduced to this fun, monthly event called Robin's Round Robin Blog hosted by Robin Courtright. Basically, several various writers answer one question on their blog and provide a link to the next writer's blog so readers can follow along. Kind of like a writer's version of tag without having to get out of our creaky chairs!

This month's topic is:

Have you ever met a real-life character? Someone who was very different
from your preconceptions, or someone who was just bigger than life, or
whose lifestyle was so very different? A very eccentric someone? Tell
about them (without giving real identities) in any manner you like. Did
they change your viewpoint? Did you use them as a fictional character?


I have met a few great characters in the various jobs I've held. One of the best I've met so far was a customer in a bank. The perfect cliché for a blue eye-shadow wearing, toy dog packing, big haired, over the top character who actually talked about having to get her corns and bunions treated. OMG!! While I didn't use her per se, I have another character who could be her later in life named Mimsy Lexington who appears in my novel The Bookstore Lady! Mimsy is an 80 year romance novelist who gets around with a walker and wears ball gowns, tiaras, and plastic stilettos - the kind strippers wear. She not only appears in The Bookstore Lady, the first book in the Wild Blue Mysteries series, she also has a cameo in the second book in the series, The Mystery Lady, and will be featured in the third book called The Crazy Lady.


 



Thanks for stopping by, come back and visit soon!
And now off to the talented Rita Karnopp for her response!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Summer's End

There have been a few ends occurring this summer.

Firstly, my oldest leaves for University next weekend. While we'll definitely miss him, we will have many opportunities to see him between now and Christmas with all of our karate activities. It's going to be strange packing him up to move into his dorm for the next 8 months!

Secondly, my mom lost a good friend of hers this past weekend. Marjorie was 92 years old, nearly 30 years my mom's senior. The two met while Marjorie's husband and my grandma were in the nursing home. Both mom and Marjorie were there every day to help with meals and struck up a wonderful friendship that saw them both through their losses over the past twenty-three years. I will always be grateful for Marjorie being there to help my mom deal with her grief and wish with all my heart I could be there now to help Mom through the loss of such a dear friend. They kept each other young and active!

Thirdly, the loss of a lady I knew briefly but who made an impact on my life. Jill gave me a job when I was desperate and told such vivid stories of her life that she helped spark my own stories. A mom of four, she had already lost two of her daughters before I met her and suffered hardships I could never imagine. She also drove a convertible and a motorbike! Courageous, vivacious and a fighter to the end, Jill passed away from cancer on Monday. From her, I take the message to live my life doing what I love and to roll with the punches.

Where there are ends, there are always new beginnings. New lives, like the baby boy my friend Dawn gave birth to last week. My nephew who turns 1 tomorrow. The kittens Tammy's cat just had.

My new beginnings are editing Four Possessions to get off to my agent, joining in a blog tour or two, and focusing on healing my body and soul to carry on with the writing I love.


 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Just a Few Lines from Shattered Dreams by Janet Lane Walters

Okay, I'm a little slow on catching on, but here we go!
My publisher, Books We Love, does a segment called "Just A Few Lines" where my fellow authors send each other blurbs from their novels and they, in turn, post it to their own blogs to help promote each other. Here, for your reading pleasure, are a few lines from Janet Lane Walters novel Shattered Dreams.....
 
 
Without a glance at the waiting patient, she strode to the counter. The aroma strengthened. Hadn’t been her imagination. She turned her head and stared at the man wearing the green cotton examining gown. She gripped the edge of the counter. Blood rushed from her head.

“You’re dead.” The words slashed the silence. This couldn’t be happening.

“Hardly.”

The voice sounded like the one from her dreams. She opened her mouth to ask where he’d been and what he’d been doing for the past twelve years. She sucked in a shallow breath. Asking that question would only stir the emotions she had frozen.

“Don’t bail on me. Sit down.”

Her fingers had no feeling. Waves of darkness dimmed her vision. The edge of the counter disappeared. Her knees buckled. Blackness engulfed her.

 

* * *

 

“Manon!” Rafe Marshall leaped from the examining table in time to catch her before she hit the floor. He cradled her against his chest. “Didn’t mean to scare you,” he whispered. Why did she think he was dead? He knew news of his accident had been kept quiet because the police believed he’d been deliberately forced off the road. Who had told her? Had the informant been the driver of the dark car his rescuer had seen speeding from the scene?
 
Find Shattered Dreams here.
 
Janet can be found daily at http://wwweclecticwriter.blogspot.com/
 
 
Stay tuned. Next week Just a Few Lines features Jane Toombs


Thursday, August 8, 2013

A Surprise E-mail

While checking emails yesterday, I noticed one from Amazon to recommending books for me to read. When I opened it, I nearly fell out of my chair! Advertising for MY NOVELLA! I have no idea how many people this actually went out to, but what a great surprise. Of course, I had to share this with everyone I know.

The neglect of my blog lately has been for a good reason, honest. I'm trying to get a blog tour underway for The Bookstore Lady. What is a blog tour? In the old days, publishers used to send writers on the road to promote their novels and gain fans. Today, with so many books published as e-books (mine is through Books We Love) and in print, actual book tours still happen but a lot of writers also go to other writers, reviewers and sites to put up blurbs about themselves and their work. While it is a lot cheaper, you also have one or two days to attract people to yourself and to the other person's blog.

I am finalizing a list this week and will post next week where and when you can find me! No two blogs will be the same in this round. Site owners ask for many different things: a blurb about the book and a picture of the cover, send you a questionnaire about your writing style, how you write, about you in general, and so on. So far, I'm working on one of each!

The bigger news for me, is that I want to host other writers. I'm still working on some ideas for how and when, but if you are a writer who would like some promotional help - email me!! I'd like to start hosting writers soon!
Have a great weekend!

Are you looking for something in our Mystery, Thriller & Suspense books department? If so, you might be interested in these items.
 
 
 
 
Mystery, Thriller & Suspense books
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Murder on Manitou
Murder on Manitou
 
Price: $2.84
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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Five Minutes Peace

I had wonderful delusions of keeping up to date on this blog at least once a week. In reality....
Still doing promotions for The Bookstore Lady. I'll be doing a blog tour once I find some more wonderful writers who will host me and plan to have some special guests of my own. I'll let you all know where & when!

Have Four Possessions with Beta readers before I send it off to my agent in September and have some paperwork to clean up for Dawn as well.

Book Two of the Wild Blue Mysteries, tentatively titled The Mystery Lady, is written and undergoing edits.

Aside from that it's been a very busy summer between work and training to grade for my Green belt in karate in September. I'm also juggling writing time between spending time with my oldest son before he goes off to University. There will be big changes in store this fall! On the plus side, I'll have more writing time once the kids go back to school.

Read a wonderful book the other day. Anne Van has written a great book called Tokyo Dare you can order on Amazon. Anne is a fellow writer who shares not only the same agent (Dawn Dowdle at Blue Ridge Literary) but the same publisher (Books We Love) as I do! Feel free to check her out! Great book and I really hope she has a sequel!

Have a great weekend!

 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The E-Book Process

When Books We Love offered to publish my novel The Bookstore Lady, I didn't expect it to be available until later this summer. Wrong!

We designed the cover last week, did the edits Thursday/Friday and added my dedications then Saturday morning, the novel went up on the internet. The Bookstore Lady is now live at Smashwords and All Romance e-Books. It will be live at Amazon, B&N and Kobo and will filter over to Sony and the iBookstore from there! http://networkedblogs.com/N783T

WOW!

Now I am scrambling to get links everywhere I can on Facebook, my blog, my website, my writing group site, everywhere! Then I can take a breath.

So what's next? Into the editing cave I go! Edits for Four Possessions, my second book which I'll place into my agent's hands this fall.
After that, I'll work on The Mystery Lady, book #2 in the Wild Blue Mysteries series. Looking forward to reuniting with Danny Walker and Leo Blue, my favourite detectives!

I am so grateful for all that has happened in the past two weeks--good and bad!
While the good gives motivation, the bad offers perspective and introspection.

Stay tuned!




 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

A Lazy July Sunday

Now that all my paperwork is done for The Bookstore Lady and I need a day to shift gears to edit Four Possessions, I wanted to do something a little different. Yesterday, the kids and I celebrated our town's 150th birthday by wandering through the festivities downtown. Parading dragons, acrobats, artists, dancers and singers abounded. So did the heat! Today, with the rain, we wanted to do something a little bit different.

Having obtained my Reiki III not so long ago, I've been itching to teach some of what I've learned. My kids, likewise, have been asking me to teach them. With the rain coming down in buckets this morning and hubby away, my kids became very willing students. We only did a half lesson, giving them time to absorb the things we discussed, but wow the things that came out of that session were amazing!

First off, who knew three teenaged boys could sit still so long without a computer or a video game?

Secondly, meditation means different things to different people. It blew my mind what each boy thought of what they went through. Sensations of heat/cold/peace/comfort and gifts received during the guided meditation.

Thirdly, how energy pulses through each of us in different ways. One son's hands were hot, another son's hands were warm and the third son had one hot hand and one cold hand.

The one thing that struck me the most about all of it was the rain outside. It was raining when I took my Reiki I a few years ago. It was kind of an affirmation for me. A cleanse of sorts. Today, the rain poured while we did attunements then died off as we ended the session and chatted.

Afterward, I felt like I'd achieved a wonderful sense of peace and energy. Energy that has guided me today to recreate both my blog and my website! I hope you, my wonderful readers, like what I've done!
Please don't hesitate to leave a comment.

Love and Peace,
Diane
 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Contracts signed, scanned and delivered!

Just a brief update to say I have signed and sent out two contracts this week!
1) to my agent allowing her to represent Four Possessions.
2) to the publisher Books We Love to agree they can publish The Bookstore Lady.
Time to celebrate then set my focus on editing!
Woohoo!

Friday, June 28, 2013

A pause while I catch my breath!

What a wild week at my house!

First off, the older kids finished school Monday. My oldest is now officially a high school graduate AND enrolled in University AND got his first real job for the summer and has to get up at 4:30am every day! My middle son is taking advantage of having the house to himself to squeeze in video games, friends hanging out and walking with me. My youngest finishes school today and HAD to go because he and a buddy are going out for lunch. Hard to believe how mature they can all be in the real world. Certainly a different story at home!

As for me, I got a great email from my agent on Wednesday to say that she wanted to represent Four Possessions and work on getting it published. Woohoo! Great way to start the day, which led to a good karate class that I sweated like crazy in. It was when I came home for lunch afterward that I nearly fell off my chair...

My wonderful agent Dawn phoned me to say we had an offer to publish The Bookstore Lady!! I won't give out details just yet until all the paperwork is signed etc. Needless to say, its hard to eat a stir-fry when you're dancing around the kitchen. Things get messy!

We're holding onto the offer until today because The Bookstore Lady is also with three other publishers. Dawn sent them each a notice to say we have an offer and if they want it to speak up before the weekend. Today is the deadline. We'll know by tomorrow at the latest what my options are and I may be able to submit more books to them in the future!

Wow! Very glad for a long weekend this weekend! Need to sit back and catch my breath for a few minutes.
Of course then I have to update my blog when I get more news, update my website, update facebook, send out twitters...

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Silver Linings

Things have been a little hectic in my life over the past couple of months. I've been sidelined by some crazy allergies to things I never thought I was allergic to, I've gone on a doctor supervised elimination diet to try to weed them all out. The list seems to grow daily as I add things back into my diet. Things like green tea, honey and dairy products and that's just the first of many I'm sure. Yikes. Certainly a life changer.

Another life changer was my oldest son turning 18 this year. Wow. I'm so excited for him. Such a realm of possibilities are opening up for him! University. A job. Travel. My biggest wish for him is to live the life he loves. To find joy in every day life.

Joy can elude us so easily, can slip from our fingers and be replaced by darkness, frustration and despair. I have tried to raise all my kids to find a silver lining. To look for the positives even in the negatives. A Pollyanna view? Perhaps, but good is always there lurking.

My writing career has stalled for the past couple of months as I deal with my health issues and "real life" took over. Too busy to write, to edit, to think. Too distracted by all the big things to bother with sitting and focusing.

Then came a rainy Monday.

Stuck at home with cranky weather, no vehicle and a bad mood, I sat and I wrote. As I wrote, emails came in from my agent. More rejections, but with it came more possibilities and the request for a sample of my latest manuscript. The one I was working on right that minute. A silver lining.

Now I face the excitement of a new deadline and karate classes with a possible grading.

Better get cracking!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Exactly one month since my last post. At least I'm consistent!
Very busy gearing up for a big karate event at work so I've let a few things slip like checking emails and updating my blog.

On the writing scene, I'm still waiting for the last of the first seven publishers to give either thumbs up or thumbs down on The Bookstore Lady. What's a writer to do while they wait? Karate, of course. Kidding!

A draft of my latest manuscript Four Possessions is now finished and off to one reader. I will seek others next week. Just when I think I'd take a week off and focus on other things, I decided to help my oldest son job hunt. While he went and handed out resumes, I ended up writing. Book 2 in what has suddenly become a series. I had a title picked out but then this character came along and has changed everything. Now I'm a bit adrift and he's taken over and the body's been found...

So much for my hiatus. It's funny how characters have a way of taking over and changing what you thought would be an easy, peasy little murder mystery. Nope. Cue one hunk with a sword and all bets are off!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Dragging My Feet into Spring

Wow, a whole month without a post? How did that happen?
Oh, yeah. Vacation. Work. Editing until my eyes resemble red computer monitors...
Lately, however, it seems the muses are not only tapping my shoulder for a little attention, they're smacking me right over the head! Last night I attended a workshop put on by our local library which was led by Richard Scarsbrook, former high school teacher and current teacher at Humber College. Part 2 of a 5 part series. Very inspiring. So much so I itched to get home and at my computer so I could Facebook my friends about it. Kidding.
Last week, I attended a talk at the library by one of my writing friends Jayne E. Self. Jayne has two wonderful murder mysteries called "Murder in Hum Harbour" and "Death of a Highland Heavyweight." The room was packed, Jayne was nervous but did a wonderful job teaching us all how to pick a murder victim.
What do the muses forsee in the future?
Harry Posner's release of "A Softness in Her Eyes" on April 5th at Booklore.
Clare McCarthy's release of "Meandering" on April 11th at Booklore.
The 3rd installment of Richard Scarsbrook's workship on April 22.
Harry's talk "Poetic Notes from a Novelist" at the library on April 23rd about his book "Charivari."
And that's only April!

Very inspiring to see the release of so many new, amazing books, especially while I'm furiously editing mine! Still awaiting word on The Bookstore Lady, which is with 4 publishers. One publisher who rejected it, gave me wonderful insight and an amazing rejection letter. It gave me a the ability to fix a couple points that stuck out and I'd overlooked. Deja Vu is in it's final phase before I send if off to my agent for her to read through and edit.

As for works in progress, I have so many things I'd love to work on! They all wait in the queue. I have one novel to complete before I'll move on to editing some YA pieces.

Right after I update Facebook, do some spring cleaning and....
 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

While at a writing meeting today, I learned one of the other members, Mary Patricia Bird, wrote a review of Murder on Manitou. What a nice surprise! I was very flattered and included the link here for anyone else to read:  http://mary-patricia-bird.quazen.com/games/book-review-murder-on-manitou/#ixzz2Lqwzf7yl
 
My writing career has been moving along lately. Final edits have been done to The Bookstore Lady and my agent has all the query information she needs. Our next step is submitting to publishers and being patient for one of them to snap it up. More babysteps. It's not an easy process, but it will be worth the wait.
 
When I started writing, I thought everything I wrote was brilliant and showed it to my mom. I'm sure she got sick and tired of reading all my drivel after a while. Even when I moved away, I sent her copies of manuscripts, one of which I know she still has tucked in a closet somewhere in typical mom fashion.
 
As I've grown and honed my skills and my craft, I've met other like-minded people who are just as devoted to their works. In joining the Headwaters Writers' Guild, I've learned how to take the criticism as well as the pats on the back. I've also learned when to ignore advice and when to take it to heart. And, more importantly, when giving advice is a bad idea!
 
One of the other Blue Ridge Literary Agency writers, Dixie Lee Brown, has written a great blog about her journey to publication. http://www.dixiebrown.com/2013/02/24/me-an-author/. I love the palpable excitement in her blog! I also can't wait until I'm in the same shoes she is currently in with the release of her novel 2 weeks away! I could be jealous and angry that it's not my turn, but that's not me. I'm thrilled to pieces for all the great writers I have the pleasure of working with.
 
For now, I celebrate the successes, however small they are, and eagerly await the day I can tell the world that my novel will be published. Fingers crossed!