Book contract

June 30, 2010

I just did something very cool. I…wait for it…filled out a book publishing contract.

Hurray!

All the progress has made me pause to consider where, when, how, and why it all began. Here’s a story to explain…

Coming Home

I was raised on prairie sunshine. Our community highly valued good hard work. Our men tolled for years over rocked filled land in an unforgiving climate — too hot in the summer, too cold in the winter. Our women minded the house, tended the kids and worked beside their men come haying time. There were few leisure activities. Art and Artists were foreign concepts to us.

I felt like a fish in the hayfield. It seemed I always had my head in the clouds. Dreams were what filled my life. Art and artists were the stuff of these dreams. Yet, I came as close to this world as my TV screen. One day my dad pointed out a local farmer and identified him with a new word writer  — I was intrigued.

Years passed and this hayseed was blown far from home. When I settled I found myself on a tiny island. Strangely it felt more like home than any place I’d ever been. The islanders identified me as one of their own.

“You are an artist,” they proclaimed.

“Who me? No, I just like to scribble,” I whispered.

“No, you are a writer,” they announced.

And I knew I was home.

Okay, to be clear, I’m not talking about writer’s  block. I’m not talking about the inability to pick up that pen or bang on that keyboard.

What I’m talking about is writer’s pause.

Never heard of it?

I’m not surprised. I just coined the phrase.

I think it apply describes what I’ve occasionally had to deal with so far in my writing career.

I’ll explain, I’m working on a story. Say, for example, my latest project — a Young Adult novel. Its been a pleasure working on this project. Chapter after chapter came fluently. Until that is I hit chapter five.

What happened?

Well, I think I became intimidated with the weight of the project. The result was that no more words came.

My first response was to panic.

Oh, no, I thought, I’ll never write again.

Which is a healthy response to this dire situation. : )

Then I started work on one of my other projects. That’s why its best that I have more than one project on the stove. The prefect number of projects for me to be working on at once seems to be three.

They battle it out for my attention. (It’s not hard for me to personify anything — pens, tacks, writing projects.)

When my YA decided to speak. I allowed it to take me wherever it wanted to go. So, currently, I haven’t been writing chapters but rather pieces of random chapters.

Yeah, at least the words are coming. That’s all I ask, pled for.

Hey, got sometime, way not visit me:  www.oknitting.com

Give and take

June 17, 2010

The good news:  today I found a new publisher. Thanks to my Romance Angel Network friends. I searched my files and found a suitable manuscript. I tidied it up, wrote an email, attached the file and sent it away into cyberspace. Wish me luck.

The bad news:  Today I received another rejection email for one of my manuscripts.

I’m still playing the game. Batter up. Swing, batter, batter, swing.

Cheer me on. Visit:  www.oknitting.com

Writing prompt

June 1, 2010

Writer’s Digest sent this prompt to my email inbox day:  A close friend has a life-altering decision to make and asks you for advice. What advice do you give? Write the conversation between you and your friend.

Here’s what I submitted…

“The sudden turbulence in our lives caused a division in our relationship,” she sobbed into the phone.

“What? What are you saying? I don’t understand? Are you saying you’re getting a divorce?”

“Frank and I have mutually decided to terminate our joint venture at this juncture,” she bawled.

“Are you okay, Sally? You’re not making much sense.”

“I’m suffering from an repeated sense of depression followed by a…” Her voice was lost in a shower of tears.

“I’ll be right over,” I told her and left immediately.

When I arrived at Sally’s I found her sitting on the floor — her knees drawn to her chest. She was rocking back and forth. Prone on the floor next to her was her husband. A large knife still embedded in his back. All I heard from Sally for the longest time were sobs. Then all of a sudden she stopped rocking, she stopped sobbing, she looked at me.

“What do I do now?” she asked.

I’m dyslexic. As you may not be surprised to hear, learning to read wasn’t easily accomplished by me.

I’m an author. I have self-published MAYNELY A MYSTERY — a cozy mystery set on Mayne Island.

How did I do that? How did I evolve from a reluctant reader to an author in love with words?

Well, let’s see…

My parents were ardent readers. My dad always had at least four books beside his bed — a bookmark in each. My parents read to each other at the supper table — they read to me. They shared books such as Good Morning, Miss Dove.

In elementary school, I had a devoted remedial teacher who focused on my gift of imagination to encourage me to learn.

In junior high school, I had an engaging English teacher who further developed my passion for story by offering books such as The Crucible by Arthur Miller, Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy Ethan Forme by Edith Wharton, and Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.

She introduced me to John Steinbeck and I fell in love. I spent more and more time with him. I joined him as he and his French poodle Charley travelled the United States. He shared his stories and I wanted to share mine.

I wrote throughout my awkward teens — endless stories.

Writing became like breathing. Such a part of who I was that I couldn’t recall a time when I was without a pen.

I moved from Steinbeck’s books to others — many, many others. I forgot his voice.

Lately, however, I pulled East of Eden from my bookshelf. I rediscovered his voice and the debt I owe him.

Join me on my journey, visit:  www.oknitting.com

Rejection

Specially publishing house rejection letters.

When I first started receiving them, I likened them to acceptance from the high school in crowd — only the prettiest, most popular received them. Publishing houses were bullies — I was the humble writer victim.

Recently, however, I had a revelation when I joined Good Reads. (www.goodreads.com) It’s an excellent web site you should join. One of the advantages of being a member is that you have opportunity to win books. They emailed me a long list to choose from.

Did I choose every book?

No, I choose the ones that most interested me.

Then I thought, Yeah, this must be what it’s like to wad through a publishing house slush pile.

Yesterday, I received two little ‘r’ rejection letters.

Big ‘R’ rejection letters are form letters. Basically, these forms letters mean, ‘we’re just not interested.’

However, in these little ‘r’ rejection letters the editor has taken the time to give you hope. They acknowledge your merit as an author and offer you help. They have suggest possible solutions aimed at guiding you down the path to publishing. They point out the problem. 

My problem — which both editors agreed on — was lack of knowledge regarding the genre I wrote in. In other words I had written a worthy story but I just hadn’t followed through and done my homework.

Today is a fresh new day. Today I will find a home for these two excellent pieces.

Wish me luck,

Leanne

Visit me:  www.oknitting.com

Live radio

May 10, 2010

Well, did you catch it?

Strangely, even though the program was in the can, sitting here waiting to hear the program I went through the same anxieties that I did when I was in the studio waiting to read my piece.

Did you hear the phone ring?

There’s a reason they call it ‘live’ radio. Although, ironically I think the phone ringing helped you, the listener, to live that moment with me. It’s almost like we planned it — we didn’t.

While reading, I made a mistake. Did you catch it? It was one small word. I noticed it. I felt my stomach fall to my toes — the exact same feeling I had when I read the piece.

I had so much fun.

The people at Salt Spring Island radio station (CSFI-FM) were so kind and supportive to me. Patricia Locke coached me before I read my story. Her suggestions  helped me bring my story to live. Thank you so much Patricia.

 Now I have fulfilled a childhood dream.

One Christmas I received a tape recorder. With the help of that machine, I spent many hours creating my own radio programs. 

Being on CFSI-FM was a thrill. I encourage you to live your dreams.

I’m delighted to invite you to listen to CFSI (Salt Spring Island’s public radio station) on May 10th. My creative non-fiction piece WHAT MY GRANDMA TAUGHT ME will be aired during the launch of their new radio program “In The First Person”. “In The First Person” will air from (approximately) 9 to 9:10 a.m. “In The First Person” will follow “Community Calendar”. You can also listen to CFSI by logging on to www.cfsi-fm.com for live streaming audio.

Please help me share this great news,

Leanne

My writing group

April 30, 2010

Today is the last Friday of the month. So today I attend my writing group.

When I first started attending this group I was an aspiring author full of self-doubt about my writing. That was on the outside. Inside I thought my writing was amazing. Each meeting I went sure that I would blow their socks off.

I was sure they would say, “Wow, Leanne that’s amazing. I wish I could write like that. Don’t…please, don’t change a word. ”

Did they do that?

Um, no.

They gently pointed out grammatical, spelling, tense errors. They carefully explained where I had lost my reader. And under their watchful eye my writing improved.

So today I’m published author who doesn’t need them any more. Infact, today I sit them all down and say, “You know one day you’ll be able to write as well as I can. All it takes is time and practice.”

Um, not.

Today I’m a published author who needs them more than ever. In fact, I continue to look forward to each and every writing group because I know that they will point out things in my writing — areas of improvement, possible directions, other additions — that I would never of considered on my own.

Additionally I have the opportunity to help others with their writing  journey.

Oh, writing group how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

Write on!

Leanne

Visit me:  www.oknitting.com

Oh happy day

April 29, 2010

Yesterday I made good progress on my work in progress — MAYNELY HIDDEN. It is the second book in my MAYNELY A MYSTERY series. At this point MAYNELY HIDDEN seems to me to be less cozy mystery and more literary fiction. It does have mysteries in it and romance and humour. I have to see how the rest of the book unfolds. Currently I’m on about page 18 so anything could happen. I have written the plot. However, for me the plot is never craved in stone. I like to let the story lead me. That way I have a surprise as well.

There are other differences between MAYNELY A MYSTERY and MAYNELY HIDDEN as well. For example were MAYNELY A MYSTERY was set in the summer — MAYNELY HIDDEN is set in the fall. MAYNELY HIDDEN is darker in mood than MAYNELY A MYSTERY.

Fall on an island that is a tourist destination — there’s intrigue already. What do those islanders do?

Tomorrow my writers’ group meets and I can’t help but think that was the nudge I needed to get things rolling.

Today is a day full of volunteering and travel. So I don’t think I will get much writing done. Maybe on the ferry.

The weather here is warm and sunny.

I hope you have a grand day

Leanne

Visit me:  www.oknitting.com