Counting down to KaliCon 2019!

In three weeks, I’m headed to my first ever Book signing event as an author. I’m excited, terrified, nervous, thrilled, anxious, and totally behind schedule.

I made a to-do list. It’s long. I’ve been chipping away at it and whatever I’ve managed to accomplish will be what I present to the event audience. Faerie lights will make all the difference, right?

The biggest goal has been prepping a second printing of Tempt the Ocean to include a new cover for wider distribution (until now the book has only been released on Amazon). The cover design is revised, the front-matter updated, and somewhere in the body text is a single typo that I still have to find. Launch date is set for end of October, just before the signing event. Look for the cover reveal coming up mid-October!

With the revised cover design, all the other printed matter for the book signing can follow. As a participating author, I have a six foot table to fill with everything I have to let people know I write books! On my to-print list are a giant printed copy of the new cover, giveaway bookmarks with all the ways to follow me, a mailing list sign-up, a basket for a draw with book purchase. I can’t forget the star of the show—the books I’m there to sign. I received notice today that my printed copies are on their way.

Are you exhausted reading this? Me, too!

As part of the promotional lead-in to Kali-Con, I have an author interview coming up next week (October 12). Look for a link in my twitter feed.

Stay tuned for news about the new cover and wider availability of Tempt the Ocean later this month!


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Summer Holiday Post

After a very long sabbatical, during which I bought a home and moved into it, I am back!

I am happy to announce that I will be a participating author at KaliCon this fall. KaliCon is a readers convention, happening in the town of Belleville (adjacent to Prince Edward County – there will be wine tasting!). This will be my first ever readers’ event as an author.

I have ruminated here in my blog about marketing and publicity, and my lack of time and experience to promote my novels properly. Last fall I learned about a Romance Readers event called “Romancing the Falls,” and although I discovered the event too late to participate as a writer, I decided to go anyway. I hopped in the car by myself Saturday morning and drove two hours to Niagara Falls, calming my nerves most of the way. I had my notebook with me, in which I had two or three names written of writers to seek out when I arrived. A couple of people who are regular participants in the Toronto NaNo writers’ group would be there, but I had never met them in person.

I am so glad I made the effort. The event opened my eyes to a world of author-reader meet and greet that I knew nothing about. Everyone there was lovely and generous with their time, and I learned a lot from chatting with other writers. I also learned that there are similar events all over North America throughout the year, and the important opportunity they create to reach new readers. Marketing examples abounded, from giveaway baskets to printed book marks, from book raffles to signings. I came away at the end of the day with new contacts, information on a few book bloggers, a grasp of better book promotion, and invitations to take part in a couple upcoming events as an author.

The biggest thing I’ve learned is that I will have to spend a little money on promotion, and hope it will pay off in the long run to reach new readers.

In other developments during my time away from blogging, I finished parts one and two of what’s turned into a period epic romance, and completed a first draft of a brand new romance to follow that up with.

I’m also excited to announce that Tempt the Ocean is receiving a new edition and new cover treatment for a wider distribution “re-launch.” Cover reveal and more information to follow in the next few weeks.

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The Benefit of a Writing Vacation

Last month I escaped from my house to Costa Rica and spent a couple of weeks hiding in a sunny place with my novel manuscript. As a writing sabbatical goes, the time was short. As vacations go, I was bringing a big chunk of work to digest. I came home extremely satisfied on both counts.

I started every day with a cup of coffee and my pages and set to work. I am in the story editing/re-writing of massive chunks phase, so I worked by hand—pen on printed page, combined with re-writing by hand on the backs of rejected pages and a few borrowed fresh ones. In the afternoon I changed into my bathing suit, walked down the block to the beach, and swam in the Pacific. Some days I took the manuscript with me to the beach and spent a few hours working seaside at an outdoor cafe, sipping some kind of drink served in a coconut, my feet dug into the sand. Does this sound non-productive? Not at all! I plowed through three-quarters of the novel by the time I returned home.

Last year I took time off to write at home, mid-winter, and failed. I did write, but I suffered from the double yoke of winter blues and lazy distraction. This year I decided to go for sunshine, and came home at the end of it happy and accomplished.

I think that forcing myself to completely relax while writing made a phenomenal difference to my focus.

I returned to work the day after my escape, and am back to my narrow margins of writing time. I am forgiving myself some down time, as this has been a tough year, with trying to find a new place to live, and saying goodbye to several loved ones. The boyfriend needs some attention, too. We are already talking about where to sabbatical next year. One last reflection to bear in mind—make sure the boyfriend brings enough to do to keep himself busy during writing hours!

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Mister, Can You Spare the Time?

I haven’t gotten my head around the right ways to promote a book, or how to find the time. I barely have enough time to write. But the truth is promotion deserves equal time to writing, if a writer has any interest in finding readers. Which I do, or I wouldn’t be putting in the effort of multiple drafts to get the story right. The time has come to consider hiring one of the hundreds of promotional services vying for my few dollars—one that comes recommended. Goodreads forums for indie authors provide some insight, though a bit of digging is required.

I have learned something about timing from my mistakes. So here’s some advice to my future self: don’t release a book during NaNoWriMo in the heat of cram-writing a new one. Also, don’t bookmark the time immediately following a first draft spew for promoting the previous book—you will be too exhausted with burn-out to bother.

I’m still grappling with the promotion of the last book, and what happens to it when I move my focus to this new one. I hate how I feel like I’m letting my characters down when I abandon the old book for the new (I hate how I miss them sometimes). It’s been a year and a half since I let that book loose on the world and I’m lost as to how to do right by it. Is there a promotional time-limit after publishing? The book doesn’t feel new anymore, and yet it would be new to most people, as few have read it. Common advice seems to dictate letting the previous book(s) piggyback on the promotion of new reads, and as the time to promote the new book is fast approaching, that role is already set.

Meantime, during the day I’m designing train cars for a TV series and at night I sit down to 18th century London. I’m lucky if I get an hour a day in London gin joint times, but at the moment I am in the back halls of a Covent Garden theatre trying to find a little privacy. I know what happens there but I’m not telling…




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Editing: Better as a Hand Job

First I apologize for the gap in posts. I started a new job which always presents time challenges, then a dear friend died, then I got offered a short contract on the other side of the country, starting this week. There was hardly time to breathe let alone blog.
I wrote the final sentence of my completed draft about a month ago. After a one month break, the time has come to begin the big story edit. I need to do the first big edit myself before handing the manuscript off to a different set of eyes. This will officially become the third draft, having designated the post-NaNo run-through—where I made notes in the margin and took a year to complete the big gap in the second half of the middle third—as the second draft.

I started a few weeks ago—okay, I started over a month ago—when my boyfriend and I planned a camping trip that provided a perfect opportunity for a few hours a day without distraction to peruse the draft and make notes. Only trick was: I’d have to do the work by hand. I printed out the first part in its entirety, double spaced, and took a pen. The camping weekend was a rain-out disaster. I did some work on the manuscript while we were sequestered in the tent, but only got so far as halfway through the prologue before misery prevailed and I read a book instead.

Part of the lesson there was don’t expect to get any work done while spending time with someone who needs a lot of attention or whose miserable state of mind can so easily effect one’s own. That part I already knew. The second part of the lesson did not reveal itself until this weekend.

Having printed a large chunk of my manuscript for the camping trip, and finding myself heading out to Vancouver for a film job, I threw the pages into the suitcase with everything else, figuring I would have time to try again. The first week here I’ve been too exhausted in the evenings to do anything, but yesterday I found myself with a whole day to kill, and after a hike in my favourite park to a view I seek out every time I’m here, I took the manuscript to the beach. Pen in hand I began where I’d left off in the tent, making notes on the pages, noting character changes, points of arc I’d missed an opportunity for, details that I’d added later that tied into the beginning chapters, and highlighting a few awkward sentences I need to fix. Most importantly, I found myself so reinvigorated by the story and its characters that when I decided I’d had enough of sitting on the grass on a towel and headed “home” (a hotel suite), I sat down at the desk and worked away for another couple of hours.

It struck me as I worked that making the edit notes on a printed manuscript made a huge difference in the process. Something about working with a hard copy removed me far enough to grant me a wider perspective. I could turn the pages and write on the back. I imagine working with a hard copy instead of on the laptop is akin to printing out a drawing I’ve been working on and hitting it with a red pen for corrections. There is just so much more one can see with the whole than when nose to word (or line) within a screen space.
I will have to transpose the notes and rewrites back into the digital manuscript (which will become the third draft, officially), but the process is worth the extra step.

I am out with family today and more hikes per the pacific north-west life, but I can’t wait to get back to those pages!

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