Writing, embracing each day, finding inspiration & joy along the way.
The Writing Life
Some would say the writing life is about sleeping late, drinking coffee, and showing up to work in your PJ’s. For me this is far from the truth and I couldn’t be happier about it. My day typically starts at 5:30 am with a brisk morning walk. Morning walks uplift, inspire, and get the creative juices flowing. Plus there is always the added benefit of getting some exercise in before I sit on my butt for several hours.
I have never experienced the joy (read, bitterness) of a cup of coffee. I may not be the norm among other writers out there, but my tea is naturally caffeine free and the farthest thing from an addictive habit that I possess. Though I do occasionally sit down at the computer in my PJ’s, I assure you it is not generally the state you would find me in if you happened to pop by my door at 11:00 am.
So, what is it about the writing life that I love so much? I have grande conversations (in my head mostly) with characters I am just getting to know. Then there are the ones who have firmly inserted themselves into my daily thoughts. I have, on occasion, had to stop myself from speaking as if they were real people I had conversed with. I love to research and I love history. Put those two things together with the power of Google and I’ll be off the beaten path, down a rabbit hole in no time.
I can’t resist buying a new notebook, despite my continually growing stack of them. I have a strange fondness for specific pens. Don’t believe me? Just try and borrow one. This one is obvious, but I adore books. I am a slow but steady reader. Seldom does a book discourage me from reaching the last page, no matter how daunting.
The community of writers in my neighborhood, on the web, and all over the world continue to inspire and encourage me. That is a community I am honored to be a part of. The flexibility of time in a writer’s schedule, allows me to travel with my family, which consequently without fail spurs on the creative juices. Weekends are for all kinds of fun and adventures which only promote a more balanced life. But mostly, I love the writing life because it allows me to be the best wife and mother I can be and that my friends, is worth every ounce of creativity I give to my writing projects.
The Library Book is not only a historic looking and simply beautiful hard cover book to look at. It is also a book that, in my opinion, should be read by every lover of books. It is not often that I recommend a book through this blog platform. Most times, I save my reviews of books I am reading for the exclusive audience of my newsletter subscribers.
Note: If you wish to join in the fun, you can sign up for my twice monthly newsletter HERE! While you are at it, be sure to enter the monthly book giveaway too.
The Library Book though, is simply one I must share with you. Written by Susan Orlean, it is rich with historical detail. The sheer volume of research Ms. Orlean must have engaged in to create such a complete account of not only the Los Angeles city library fire of 1986 but also the intricacies of libraries in general is a feat not for the faint of heart.
Historical fiction is a passion for me. I am somewhat obsessed with stories and time periods past. The fashion trends of the early 1900’s alone ignites a fire within me. If it weren’t for the lack of indoor plumbing, I would jump back in time in a heartbeat to glean all that I could from a magical time in history.
This holiday season, I am most excited about joining together with other historical fiction authors in a special Facebook Event. Historical For The Holidays is taking place on Wednesday December 12th beginning at 12:00 PM EST (that is 9:00 AM for all of you on the West Coast). Joining the party couldn’t be easier. Simply click the link (image below), sign in to Facebook, and sign up to attend the event. Then on Wednesday pop on over to Facebook again to chat with over 35 historical fiction authors.
Historical For The Holidays:
Featuring Stephanie Dray – author of My Dear Hamilton
M.J. Rose – author of Tiffany Blues
Thelma Adams – author of Bittersweet Brooklyn (this title is on my to be read list)
Prizes & Giveaways
Chat with your favourite historical fiction author
Meet some debut authors
Hang out in your PJ’s, sip eggnog, and enjoy the party!
I will be popping by the party as a host at 1:30 PM EST (10:30 AM PST) with conversation and questions, as well as a giveaway. I hope to see you there!
Space is like money, the more you have the more you use. We live in what most North Americans would consider to be a small space, all 1,060 square feet of it. We don’t really need a larger home for the three of us, though I certainly wouldn’t turn one down if offered. With our son a mere year or two away from leaving the nest to pursue his own goals, relocating just doesn’t make sense for us right now.
That being said, I covet homes with just two extra rooms. One is a dedicated workout room where all the equipment and machines could be hidden behind a door that closes. The other, and probably my most desired space, is an office all my own. A place where I can organize my book stack, my notes, a bulletin board filled with the plot of my current work in progress. Even a white board covered in all the potential new writing projects that currently wander about my brain. If those ideas had a space to live on a white board, perhaps my brain would be a little more free and organized too.
This past week, what began as an exceptionally generous and thoughtful 25th anniversary gift turned into something even greater. It was not lost on me that for our silver anniversary my husband presented me with a silver MacBook Pro. It isn’t diamonds but it is still shiny and most certainly a direct path to this writer’s heart.
With MacBook in hand, I wandered aimlessly around the house searching for a suitable place to put it. The tiny space in a corner of the kitchen carved out for the home computer, and my previous writing spot, isn’t set up for another computer without the hassle of moving things around on a daily basis.
I must admit there actually is a very large desk with cupboards and such sitting in the basement. The basement however is cold, dark, damp, and two stories below the only washroom in the house. So, as you can imagine, the many cups of tea I was drinking to stay warm in the basement equaled multiple trips up the stairs in search of the washroom. Not an ideal or time effective situation for a writer.
Having voiced my concern over where my new MacBook would safely call home, all the while threatening anyone who dared eat or drink near my new baby, my husband and resident problem solver, set to work. With the simple, and I mean simple, move of one piece of furniture, there was suddenly a space for a desk all my own. A trip to IKEA, thank God for IKEA, granted me a slim but suitable little desk and a matching shelving unit for my many research materials.
So today, here I sit at my new desk with my new MacBook, pleased as punch that I truly have a space to call my own. I have high expectations of this space. I will be more productive. Words will flow effortlessly to my fingertips. I will no longer be distracted by dirty dishes or anyone seeking an afternoon snack. So, off I go to embrace the day and the looming deadline for book number 3 in a space all my own.
Looking for a peek into my new writing space? Follow me on Instagram for photos and more.
History has the ability to inspire us. Even more powerful though, history has the ability to teach us. To show us how past events shaped the lives we enjoy today. I spend a significant amount of my time researching historical elements for the novels I write. Much of the era I focus on is the pre, post, and World War II time frame. The war itself offers up a bounty of stories ripe for the picking. A variety of stories from a staggering number of perspectives keeps me engrossed in the time period.
While I was researching the history of the 1946 Ford Deluxe, I came across a concise and insightful book. The book shared the historical account of not only the cars themselves but also the men, manufacturing, and politics behind them. I was intrigued to learn that during Hitler’s reign, the German division of Ford was required to use solely German parts in their manufacturing process.
As I expanded my knowledge on the 1946 Ford Deluxe, I confirmed that due to the war, automobile design was stalled for several years. It wasn’t until a few years after the war had ended, that Ford began to investigate new designs. The first automobiles produced after the war were manufactured using pre-war materials and thus the sleek and bold designs of the post-war Ford’s did not hit the automobile market until late 1948 / early 1949.
The most intriguing bit of information:
The Great Depression, it seems, was the result of three significant factors. The first was the real-estate collapse in Florida. The second was the upheaval and crash of the New York stock market. But the third contributing factor was the consumer debt of almost $2.9 billion dollars. I was shocked to learn that of that $2.9 billion dollars of debt, almost half of it was due to consumers purchasing automobiles on credit.
To be honest, I never really understood the financials of why the Great Depression began. The reasoning for such a drastic change in a enormous economy always seemed to consist of smoke and mirrors to me. Though I can easily grasp the realities of a slippery slope as time marched on through the 1930s, I was unable to truly wrap my brain around how it all began.
I never expected the book ’40 Ford by Joseph P. Cabadas to provide insight on matters outside the scope of the cars I was seeking information on. When I became enlightened within the first few pages with regards to the consumer’s role in the creation of the Great Depression, I was reminded to open my viewfinder.
History has a way of telling its own story. The version we learn along the way has more to do with the lens through which we look than the historical data we seek.
Just this month I created a book giveaway. There are two things you should know about me. One, I love to buy books. Seriously, I have more books waiting to be read than I have time to read, but that doesn’t seem to stop me from buying them. Two, I love to share great books I’ve read with my friends. I pass books on, often requesting that they don’t come back to me. Okay, I request they don’t come back to me because that would be evidence, kind of like a Starbucks receipt, if I don’t have it, I couldn’t possibly have purchased it.
Though I may be in a little bit of denial with regards to both Starbucks and my ever growing book collection, when the idea of sharing books through a giveaway occurred to me, I was stunned I hadn’t thought of it earlier. What better giveaway for an author to offer than BOOKS?
Before The Rain Falls
Is the first historical fiction title in a long list of books I plan to share in the coming months. I will announce the giveaway each month by revealing the chosen title in my bi-monthly newsletter. If you don’t want to miss your chance at winning monthly books, sign up for my newsletter today! I promise not to spam you nor share your email address with others.
I send two emails a month with updates on what I’m reading, where I am at with the current novel I am writing. In addition, those emails will now include the monthly giveaway announcement! The books I giveaway will come from the historical fiction genre as those are the types of books I write and most often what I read. The winner(s) will receive the monthly chosen book in digital format. No Kindle? No problem! I read Kindle books on my iPad with the free Kindle app.
I will contact each month’s winner to determine which digital format they prefer before sending them their prize. I am super excited to share great books with you so, off you go now…. Go enter this month’s giveaway!
Friends are part of what makes life so enjoyable. They allow us to let down our hair, laugh at ourselves, and completely be who we are meant to be. There is a special feeling though, a connection of sorts, when you spend time in the company of people of like mind. These are people you want to hang with, learn more about, and most certainly celebrate a great event with.
This past weekend, I was fortunate to attend the Surrey International Writers’ Conference. This was my third time at the conference and though I am exhausted beyond what should be possible, I walked away with a brain full of workshop related processes and two new friends. Even though, I am renewed with more knowledge from the workshops and keynote speakers, I have a feeling, it is the connection to my new friends that will carry me further in life and in writing.
My advice for meeting friends is….
Get out there and meet people
You have nothing to lose
You have everything to gain
Like minds attract like minds
Everyone has something to contribute
You are not the only person who is shy, quiet, reserved, etc
Somebody, somewhere is waiting for a friend like you, so what are you waiting for?
A tribe, as defined by the English Oxford Dictionary, is “a social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader.”
My tribe however isn’t linked by blood or religion. I have no idea where they fit in terms of social or economic standing. I know we use different dialects at times (oh those darn Canadian u’s) and we certainly follow no leader. Instead we move as one, each taking a turn at showcasing that which the rest of us might enjoy, delight in, and share.
My tribe consists of authors, readers, editors, marketing specialists, book designers, formatting experts, and more. Most importantly though, my tribe is a tribe of book lovers. We read and then proclaim a story’s greatness to the rest of the group. Gathering for book related events is a highlight to our week. We celebrate book releases like we would a child’s birth.
We may not ever have the opportunity to meet in person, but we certainly consider ourselves exceptionally fortunate if we do. Our excitement for one another’s accomplishment is honest and authentic. The uniqueness of our tribe is that we recognize we are not in competition with one another but instead in a relationship of shared interests.
We are book lovers and it has been my most fortunate circumstance to call these amazing people part of my tribe. This past week, many members of my tribe took time out of their own busy lives to share the release of my latest book. Honored, touched, and incredibly grateful I am to call these individuals friends.
Take a moment and check out what my tribe has been up to….
Kelsey Gietl is currently finishing up her second novel titled, Twisted River. I was thrilled to be an early reader, and I am telling you it is going to be so challenging for all of you to wait until Twisted Rivers arrives in stores this December.
Heather from Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen blog read and reviewed Stealing Mr. Smith. Word has it Heather is also working on her own novel. I am very much looking forward to that release. Check out her blog and see what she is reading next.
Books and a Brunette (I love the name of her blog) AKA Jen reads and blogs about her picks. I am always certain to learn something new when I visit her blog. This month she interviewed me for the release of Stealing Mr. Smith and I have to admit that I had to really think about a couple of those questions. She asks unique and intriguing questions and it was a joy to be interviewed by her.
Looking for an Instagram bookworm to follow? Look no further than myreadingzen or adventurenlit. These two book lovers offer great book posts. You can be sure your tbr pile is about to grow by the bushel.
A voice actor is a special individual who crafts a story into a production with the sole use of their own voice. Lillian is one of those talented people who I desperately wanted to work with. I have a new goal to write a story that calls for a British protagonist if only so she can narrate it.
I have been fortunate to meet some amazing people through social media. It gives me hope that the world, despite the latest and greatest developments in technology, cannot remove the need for humans to connect with one another. We do that through books. How do you connect with your tribe?
Stealing Mr. Smith is a mere two weeks away from releasing. The time has whipped by at break neck speed as I attempt to tackle my “to do” list. As you can probably tell by this very tardy blog post, time is slipping away from me. I hope you’ll forgive me the late post as I have a GIVEAWAY to offer you!
I am giving away 3 digital copies of Stealing Mr. Smith. Time is running out though so get yourself over to the link ASAP as the giveaway closes tonight. Seriously, run! Don’t walk. You have 5 hours left to enter.
Good luck and happy reading!
P.S. If you miss the giveaway, you can pick up the new release on September 25, 2018 at Amazon or one of your favorite online retailers.
Fiction, that magical storybook time machine that can have us on the edge of our seats in suspense. Keep us reading late into the night for just one more chapter. Or even transport us to an entirely new world in a few pages. Journeying into fiction is one of my guilty pleasures. It also feels much like a life force that has the ability to sustain me.
On a weekend trip to Portland, Oregon, I found myself in the position of appreciating fiction from three uniquely different vantage points. One as a writer. Another as a reader. Yet more surprising was when I saw a setting through the eyes of a character. You will soon meet Bernice from Stealing Mr. Smith when the title releases in September 2018.
I traveled by train from the quaint little corner of Bellingham, Washington known as Fairhaven to Portland’s Union Station. As a historical fiction author, I have to mention my love of train stations. The architecture, the moldings, the wooden benches, and the actual train itself. All of these inspire stories inside my head.Continue reading →