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!