Saturday, 26 March 2016

You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view. —Harper Lee

Stop the presses! Not that they've actually started, but it's a line I've always wanted to say and have never had the context to use it. Well, now I do. Sorta. I am slamming the breaks on querying Cutting to the Chase for a few weeks.

One of my author friends suggested I write it in the first person point of view (POV). Now, to be honest, she encouraged me to do this quite some time ago. I resisted. I've never written in first person and was overwhelmed at the prospect of a full rewrite in a POV that did not come naturally to me. The story is told in close third POV, so it's almost the same thing. Right? (Insert irritating disqualifying buzzer here.) Wrong.

Her suggestion niggled at me as I continued to read a plethora of young adult novels—all of which are written in the first person. And, I have found myself drawn in, immersed. Unbeknownst to my conscious mind (Because, had I recognized I was doing this, would I have begun to query at all?), I started absorbing how to do it. And, shortly after hitting send on a few queries, I sat down and played with chapter one.

I learned two things immediately. First, I can write in first person. Second, and more importantly, it's worth the extra work. I am really getting into Lizzy's headspace. Scenes that were previously fine are now more than that. They are stronger. They pop.

I love writing so many different kinds of stories but, right now, young adult hums for me. It feels familiar, comfortable, like coming home. It taps into years of work in education and, in a way, helps me remain connected with youth, something I miss now that I have left the field. As for the work that is currently going into switching POV? It is part of the thrill of writing—you never stop learning.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

I suppose with any good writing and interesting characters, you can have that awfully overused word: a journey. —Alan Rickman

I am sending Cutting to the Chase out into the big wide world. It is difficult to let it go. When writing a story, I am immersed in the world and the characters become very real to me. It is difficult to say goodbye to them. I believe it is why I think of my stories in clusters. Raven's Path, my historical fiction, is the first of a three-part saga. Love Denied, my Romance, is one of an interconnected series dealing with taboo subjects of the Regency era. And, Cutting to the Chase introduced characters that are screaming for their own stories.

I am currently knee-deep in Mags' story, who I met in Cutting to the Chase. I talked in an earlier post about how difficult it was for me to throw her off the cliff, but I did and we are now currently climbing out. Not a quick scale, mind you. There is a lot for her to figure out before there will be any resolution or peace in her life. I am full of angst as I write, but we're in it together, Mags and I, and we will come out on the other side.

Becky's storyline is beginning to blossom too. What started out as snippets and scenes is quickly evolving into a full story arc. I am trying to keep her quiet while I focus on Mags, but she is one determined girl and keeps pushing into my thoughts. So, I capture snapshots to pacify her and hope that she backs off for a bit and gives me some space.

That's two connected but very different stories sprouting from Cutting to the Chase, and I have been quite satisfied with the situation. I mean, three is the perfect number, right? Well, it seems that Stu doesn't think so. He has started to tap on my shoulder and remind me that he too has a life. I've explained to him that writing from the point of view of a teenaged guy might be a bit much for me. He just takes off his cap, runs his hand through those ridiculous curls of his and winks. Says I'm up to it. He's got his own file now, because who am I to argue?


Saturday, 12 March 2016

Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies. —Aristotle

Today is our anniversary. I love. I am loved. Unconditionally. It's why I believe in happy ever afters.

You kissed me
And I didn't know
That in that moment
That singular spectacular moment
My life changed for the better

My heart, my life, my Keev.
(For those curious about our anniversary song...Cathy, Sadie...this year we have chosen Over and Over Again by Nathan Sykes.)

Saturday, 5 March 2016

It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness. —Charles Spurgeon

I live in a bubble, I really do. I'm not sure when that happened. It wasn't always that way. I am no stranger to life's trials and heartaches. None of us are immune. Yet, more and more I cannot help but think I am the luckiest person on the planet. Although, perhaps my happiness stems from recognizing and celebrating the good things in my life rather than dwelling on the not-so-good things? I have come to believe that negatives can be undermined by positives. So, that means you have to put your positives in the spotlight in order to keep the negatives in the wings…or better yet, to toss those negatives into the gutter behind the theatre of your life.

I used to keep a "grateful" journal. Each night I'd write three things that I was grateful for that day. Eventually, I internalized it and, while the journal still resides in my nightstand, I rarely write in it. Instead, I say it out loud. To my husband. To myself. To the universe. I thought I'd share some things in my life that I am grateful for, that make me want to do a happy dance just thinking about them.

1.       My good health. I begin every day with a thankful nod to it. For, without it, my bubble might pop.

2.       My husband. Best friends, we tell each other "I love you" every single day. More importantly, we mean it.

3.       My two little dogs. They make my heart swell with love and maternal instinct, and they make me laugh every day.

4.       My home. Pastoral, mountain and ocean views, it is an ever-changing watercolour outside my living room window. It reminds me every day that I am but a small part of something bigger, and that helps keep things in perspective.

5.       My writing. The artist in me craves creativity and writing feeds that part of my soul. Add to that 100% support from DH and the time to pursue it, well, how lucky can a gal get?

6.       My friends. Old and new, near and far. They don't allow me to slip into an insular writer's world. Instead, they insist that I come out and play and always reach out when I am MIA too long.

7.       Books. I stinkin' love books. From romance novels to picture books to atlases, surround me, submerge me, freakin' drown me in books. I adore the look of them, the feel of them in my hands and I love, love, love getting lost in them.

8.       Champagne. It's a good thing I am not rich. I would live on the stuff. Mind you, even in my quiet little life there is always a reason to pop a bottle of bubbly.

9.       Chocolate. We enjoy a piece of chocolate every day. It is decadent and delicious.

10.   Gardening. I have always loved planning a flower garden. Now I have seven raised beds waiting for my exploration into vegetable gardening…and a climate that makes this new endeavour oh so exciting.

I urge you to make a list and to focus on the great things in your every day. To the best of our knowledge, we only get one chance at this thing called life. Let's kick up our heels a little and celebrate all things good.