Saturday, 11 February 2017

I know exactly why I attack my legs. To feel something—anything. And to make the hurt stop. —Rose Phillips (Cutting to the Chase)

I know many of you have seen this already, but I’m not sure that everyone who follows the blog also follows me on other social media formats. So, for those who have missed it, we have a launch date for Cutting to the Chase. February 24th! It will release first as an eBook, with the print copy to follow a month or so afterward.

I am thrilled with the cover design. It captures the novel perfectly. The artist does not shy away from the very tough subject of self-harm. I approve heartily. It is not a topic to be sugar-coated, but one that needs to be thrown out into the open, discussed honestly and candidly with compassion and empathy. That is a road to healing.



Friday, 27 January 2017

“That’s what storytellers do. We restore order with imagination. We instill hope again and again.” – Walt Disney in Saving Mr. Banks


I love what I do. How many people are fortunate enough to feel that way? For me, opening up the laptop and entering my stories is as exciting as going on vacation. It's much the same in many ways. I think about it constantly, I prepare with enthusiasm and I disappear into the pages of another world, one totally disconnected with my own. Just like a holiday, right?

Yet, lately, I haven't been able to successfully immerse myself in my writing. The world keeps knocking on my brain, popping up and distracting me, distressing me. I have considered staying away from all social media until Mags's story is complete, but I have Cutting to the Chase to launch next month. So it's not a good time to disappear from avenues of promotion.

Despite the staggering sense of doom that abounds everywhere you turn in the media, I fervently check throughout the day. It's like coming upon a car crash and knowing you should look away but some insane part of you stares, riveted to the scene. I keep waiting for the punchline to this very bad joke, and it isn't coming. Trickles of human insanity have always infiltrated our lives but this all-out bombardment is more than disconcerting; it is unnerving and leaves me wondering where our world is heading.

Accompanying this sense of ever-growing anxiety is worry for my many friends who are grappling daily with acts of racism and hate, struggling for their rights and despairing that their country will not survive the environmental impact of decisions being made. Heck, the world is worried about it.

I also worry about us. I'm concerned about our complacency, about the surety that it won't happen here. I wish I were confident that we have indelible moral fortitude, that our Canadian-ness is truly infallible in its kindness. But Kellie Leitch, who says that Trump's win is an "exciting message and one that we need delivered in Canada", and Kevin O'Leary, who has no political experience and is a loudmouth reality TV show personality (if that doesn't send chills down your spine, then you're doing a better job blocking out the news south of us than I am), are being presented as legitimate possibilities for leadership of the PC party. Not to mention, we just have to remember that Toronto elected Rob Ford not so long ago. It can happen here. It might happen here if the ugly rhetoric we hear daily starts to feel normal.

I don't yet know how to balance my concerns with my writing. I'm certainly not willing to bury my head in the sand and ignore what is going on. But, through the centuries, writers have shown us that stories are important too. They provide insight, give us a cathartic outlet and help us navigate our own world. And, sometimes, they just provide a much needed escape. It's why I read. It's why I must find a way to block the noise and write.

http://www.azquotes.com/author/12339-Alan_Rickman

Friday, 20 January 2017

Down the Rabbit Hole...Again!


I didn't get much new writing done on Mags's story. Instead, I began some research for it and fell headlong down the rabbit hole. It's a problem I have. At first I thought the thrill of chasing knowledge and facts was confined to historical research. I've always been passionate about history and it made sense that I could easily get lost in it. Apparently, I thoroughly enjoy research of any type and slip down the slope of information with ease. Worse, I have little desire to climb back up and get down to the task of writing.

Mags is starting Fashion and Design at college. I know nothing about it, and since it's going to be part of the world she inhabits during the space of the novel, I figured I should get a sense of what it might be like. Many videos, multiple fashion blogs and numerous articles later, I can say I know a little somethin' somethin' about it now. And it's so stinking interesting.

I know the basics of fashion sketching and rendering. I can rhyme off the list of materials needed to create a pattern from scratch and I can describe the purpose and essence of a mood board. From the basics of what stitch for what seam to how to pad a mannequin, I have watched it all, or read about it. Colleges provide video glimpses into their classrooms. I can see Mags standing in the middle of those rooms, sitting at one of the industrial sewing machines or drafting a design at one of a series of long tables filled with students as diverse as the designs they dream of presenting to the world.

This information will now percolate in the back of my mind and pop up in the writing, sometimes planned, sometimes unexpectedly. That's the added joy of researching. It allows me to embed authenticity within exposition and dialogue. I always fall further down the hole than I anticipate but, inevitably, a choice piece of information found unexpectedly in one of my tangential tunnels will prove to be a gem. There is nothing more satisfying than that.

Oh, did I mention that I now want a sewing machine? J

Friday, 13 January 2017

Update


Welcome back!
I apologize for my delay in returning to the blog, but life got in the way. I've also been preoccupied with the busy-ness of getting published. And that's what I thought I'd share with you today. My fellow writers waiting in the wings may find this informative. My friends and readers may just be curious. If it is of little interest to you, here's a great video about a dog and a hummingbird you might enjoy instead. I won't be offended. Off you go. J

I was not required to revise any aspect of Cutting to the Chase. After reading about so many authors struggling with requested revisions, it was a great relief not to have to tackle that particular mountain on this first climb. For proofreading and copy editing, I was assigned an outstanding editor. Lisa knows her stuff. She caught some word omissions (they're hard to spot because you subconsciously insert those missing little beggars as a writer and as a reader), and taught me a comma lesson I somehow missed both as a student and a teacher. Even Keev, my resident grammar guru, was unfamiliar with this particular comma rule. In researching it—yes, I question everythingJ—it seems, in most instances in my novel, both ways are considered correct. One is a traditional approach, the other contemporary. And my choice was contemporary! I was quite surprised, as I would have classified myself as a traditionalist.

Lisa was supportive and responsive to all of my questions. She assured me that commas are the single most contested issue with editors and authors, and that it often comes down to preference. Publishing house preference played a large role in the edits. Spelling had to be changed to American versions, Oxford commas had to be inserted (I use them instinctively but had removed them as many in the industry have moved away from them, especially in young adult novels) and formatting had to be adjusted to fit Evernight Teen's printing specifications.

The marketing team has connected with me and encouraged me to launch a variety of media. Many of you now see me on Facebook, a place I was hesitant to enter but am enjoying tremendously. On the practical side, there are several private Evernight Teen groups in there that offer me support and promo opportunities. I will soon set up my author page on Facebook as well as on Goodreads and Amazon. For Facebook, I am merely awaiting my cover. For the other two, I need my ISBN to set up.

I have long been active on this blog, Twitter and Instagram. However, these accounts were designed to support the launch of adult material in Historical Fiction and Historical Romance. I still intend to continue writing in those genres, so I want to maintain my presence under the name Rose Rambles as is. To that end, I have alternate accounts for my young adult launch. You can find my new blog at rosephillipsya, my second Twitter handle is @rosephillipsya, and here is the YA Instagram. These last two are directly linked on my YA blog.

If you're a little confused following all of that, welcome to my head. Spinning is a daily state of existence. There is plenty to think about and a long list of things to do. Next up will be the cover reveal, which I will share everywhere. After that, Cutting to the Chase hits the cyber shelves. That's both exciting and nerve-wracking, and I can hardly wait!
 

Friday, 9 December 2016

“Capture your dreams and your life becomes full. You can, because you think you can.” – Nikita Koloff


I read publishing announcements regularly. On blogs, on Twitter and in trade papers. Some are dry industry notices that emphasize the deal and not the author. But, many are direct from writers both new and seasoned. I rejoice for all of them, but I relish the debut author announcements. They are always effusive. Filled with squees, happy dances and smiley emoticons, they make me smile. And, they encourage me to keep dreaming.

Well, today it is my turn to broadcast good news. I am happy…no, thrilled…to share that my contemporary young adult novel, Cutting to the Chase, is being published by Evernight Teen! Needless to say I have been squeeing, dancing happily and sending out a few smiley faces of my own. It is all signed, sealed and delivered with a projected publishing date of February 2017.

I am optimistic that publication is not the end of the road for this writer's journey but, instead, a fork with more choices to contemplate. To that end, I need to get seriously busy. I am working on building my YA image and author site here. There is promo to consider to support what the publisher plans. And, Mags' story will not write itself. If readers enjoy Lizzy's tale, they might want to hear more about Mags. She'd better be ready and waiting in the wings.

So, I am going to take a small hiatus from the blog. Between what I need to accomplish in writing and the festive season, something needs to give. Besides, you folks will be busy too. And, if you miss me and want a little fix, either follow me on Twitter or Instagram. Or, even easier, scroll down two posts and watch me sing Hallelujah. J

I will return in the new year. Until then, be good to yourself. And continue to dream. Dream daringly. Dream big. Then chase those dreams down. I'm living proof that if you dream it and think you can do it, you can.

Happy Holidays!

Friday, 2 December 2016

If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. —Maya Angelou


Years ago, Keev and I joined five friends on a houseboat on the Trent Severn Waterway in Ontario. It was a week filled with eating and drinking, playing tourist and enjoying the quiet beauty of inlets along the river. One day, we awoke to rain splattering the bedroom window. A bit disappointed but undaunted, we headed out to join the others in the main living area. A typical laughter-filled breakfast started the day but, as the morning wore on, we saw no sign of the heavy rain stopping. That meant no walks, no lounging in the sun, no swimming. We grew quieter and felt a little down. That's when one of our friends announced, "I think it's a soup day!"

Now, that sentence in isolation sounds a bit odd. But, it was stated with such an air of confidence and expectation that we bought into it. Together we made soup and, while the weather remained the same, the mood lightened. Afterward, we curled up around the boat, napping, reading or chatting. And it felt cozy, not claustrophobic. All because our friend changed the tone by declaring it a soup day.

Soup has always been at the centre of my husband's life. In true French-Canadian style, he grew up with a pot of soup on the stove for his daily lunch. It's a tradition he loves, and we have now fallen into the routine of enjoying a noon-hour bowl of soup. And, none of that canned stuff. He makes it from scratch, and I look forward to his creations.

It has been a wetter fall than usual on the island. Not wanting our moods to reflect the gloom, we decided to have a pre-emptive soup "pick-me-up." But, since soup making is a regular occurrence in our house, we wanted to do something different. Recently, a friend in the neighbourhood had mentioned that she would like to try my husband's lentil soup. So, we brought the ingredients to her house. Keev made the soup while we watched. It was a wonderful afternoon of laughter and talk and, yes, wine. J

It poured that afternoon and we didn't care. We couldn't have been more content.

In life we often cannot control what happens to us, only how we respond. Our houseboat friend, wise beyond her years, understood that. When it rains in your life, choose to make it a soup day!

Friday, 18 November 2016

Act the way you'd like to be and soon you'll be the way you act. —Leonard Cohen


Like many, I continue to contemplate what is happening in our world and wonder what we can do to make things better. I honestly do believe that it starts in our own backyard. If each of us took time to care for those in our communities, then, like the heat that radiates from of a ray of sunshine, everyone would feel the warmth. We all need to know that someone cares, that we matter in this life, that we are loved.

I have always enjoyed Leonard Cohen's songs. They brought peace and solace to me in times of stress. I was saddened to hear of his passing, but I know that he lived a life of his choosing and has left his mark. That is more than many of us can claim.

A few years ago, I had the privilege of performing Hallelujah. It was with the wonderful Madcap Players, the troupe that my husband and I were a part of for so many treasured years. And, in true Madcap fashion, I rewrote the lyrics to suit a Christmas show. Embedded in that rewrite is my belief that we make a difference with our everyday actions.

With the Christmas season approaching, I decided to share it here. If you sing solo, or in a choir or know someone who does, please share the lyrics. Encourage everyone to reach beyond December's good wishes and generosity. Idealistic? Perhaps. But simple and doable. Let's all make a concerted effort, throughout the year, to make our world everything that it can be, everything it should be.

         (Lyrics below)


Hallelujah

Christmas is upon us now
We bow our heads and take a vow
To live the good that really
should flow through us
We toss a coin
We give a gift
To charity we'll give a lift
We raise our heads exalting Hallelujah
Hallelujah , Hallelujah
Hallelujah , Hallelujah

Gestures grand and warmly meant
We do our best to prevent
A sad or hungry Christmas Day
for anyone
But Christmas comes
just once a year
Too many days they live in fear
Each day survived they bless with Hallelujah
Hallelujah , Hallelujah
Hallelujah , Hallelujah

Maybe there's a God above
Who gave us strength and gave us love
But what's the point if we don't
really use it
Make each day
a Christmas day
Help someone along their way
Then we'd all have cause to shout out Hallelujah
Hallelujah , Hallelujah
Hallelujah , Hallelujah

Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

Hallelujah , Hallelujah