Thursday 29 September 2011

Chunk It Down!

Time management. Those dreaded words linger at the back of my mind, pushing against the front of my skull until I can’t ignore the pressure anymore. Due dates, revisions, planning new novels, blogs to write, marketing research, facebook, and for those who have it, twitter. I pull out my trusted 2011/12 planner and attempt to jot down whatever needs to be done for the next day.  While plotting a course for my day, I take several detours, until I’m back on track to do some revising for my time travel novel. I huff and puff and sigh. An author in these times has to wear many hats – especially when organizing the aspects of his or her writing career.

So, I slip on my ‘time management’ hat, and instantly know what I have to do. Chunk it down! I must organize my writing into small, easy to handle chunks. Make notes. Brainstorm. Find the best times that work for me. Get rid of the gunk in my head. And if I need to clear my head – exercise, walk the dog, dance – give my brain a chance to process the information. Then write.

Of course, it helps to learn how and when to delegate at times. But that’s another blog post!

Monday 26 September 2011

Supporting Fellow Authors!

Thought I'd put the spotlight elsewhere and pat the backs of a couple of authors who have also signed on with Musa Publishing. Both are up and coming, and both their books will be released in this October. If you get a chance, swing by their websites and them out.

 So, without further ado:

Meet Stephanie Campbell whose young adult  book, Dragon Night, will be available October 7/11 on Musa's website.

Meet Arley Cole whose young adult book, The Blacksmith's Daughter, will be available October 21/11 on Musa's website.

Congratulations to the both of you!

Thursday 22 September 2011

Make Decisions With Confidence!

When Kathy Teel, the head editor for the YA imprint Euterpe at Musa Publishing asked me if it were possible to rework my novel, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS AND THE ARCH OF ATLANTIS into a one character point of view instead of all five characters, I hesitated. Could I? It would take some creative wangling, scene cuts and looking at the book from an entirely different perspective, but as I thought about it, something inside me gave and I saw this endeavor with new eyes. Yes, I can, I know I can, I thought, mimicking the Little Engine that could.

Part of me did not want to pass up this long-awaited opportunity. Humans thrive on challenge. To me, reworking my Last Timekeepers series into stories with one point of view throughout the whole book would be worth the effort. Plus, there were incentives. First – I was offered five books right off the bat (with the possibility of ten). Second – it would make me a better writer by focusing on one character during each book throughout the series. The reader would receive more depth of character, a connection with that character, and most-likely a better story.

However, the other part of me was quaking in my boots at the cuts and scene juggling I would have to magically perform. I bit my bottom lip. Yes, I can, I know I can, echoed in my mind. Deciding, right there and then, to just do it, made me take a leap of faith in a newer, fresher direction. And like the Fool pictured in the tarot cards, I kept my head up, eyes forward and didn’t look down.

Remember: Your future is what you make it. Decide now what it shall be – Napoleon Hill.

Monday 19 September 2011

And The Winners Are ...

The Muskoka NovelMarathon had its wrap-up gathering over the weekend. I was not in attendance. Sigh. I also did not receive an award. Double sigh. Nor did I win in any of the three categories the authors were competing in (Adult, Young Adult and Juvenile). Triple sigh. But that’s okay – I was cheering from the sidelines (read – in a galaxy far, far away – ok at my brother’s place in Amherstburg, ON) for everybody who wrote during those three hot days this past July. I Facebooked, liked, commented as much kudos and kidding as I could, and wishing that I could have been among the winners. In my eyes, everyone’s a winner who writes and raises funds for their local literacy council.

So without further ado, here are the winners for the 2010 Muskoka Novel Marathon:

Adult Category – Patricia Flewwelling

Young Adult Category – Kevin Craig

Juvenile Category – Susan Blakeney

Hugs and handshakes go out to Paula Boon, Karen Wehrstein and their enthusiastic group of volunteers who helped put this year’s Novel Marathon together! A big Woo Hoo to you all!

Remember: Nothing great is ever achieved without enthusiasm – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday 15 September 2011

The Law Of Flexibility

You’ve all heard of the expression ‘going with the flow’ – well, sometimes it’s easier said than done. I think the trick is to ‘embrace’ the experience (flow), move through it, and accept wherever it’s taking you, even if you don’t like where you’re being taken. Those who develop the ability to bend and experience a situation fully, and without judgment, are those who truly come out on top. There’s great strength in being flexible.

Case in point – I was trying so hard to fit into an outmoded paradigm (traditional publishing) that I literally seized my lower back muscles. It’s taken months to loosen up. Literally. And I’m still a little stiff to this day, but I know the tension is easing and I feel better than I’ve felt in a while since I’ve adapted to the idea of ebook publishing. Truth is, I wasn’t prepared to be flexible when it came time to send out my Last Timekeepers novel. Nope. I was bent on (pun intended) acquiring a literary agent and then a traditional publishing company deal. Honestly, who knew ebooks would take off like they have? Now that’s what I call a lot of resistance!

The Law of Flexibility states: When pushed, pull; when pulled, push; and when a force comes toward you, get out of the way! It is a great lesson, and offers a magnificent opportunity to learn something of value. By being flexible, you open new doors to a new life; you become adaptable and present.

Remember: Always fall in with what you’re asked to accept. Fall in with it and turn it your way – Robert Frost.

Monday 12 September 2011

Over The Rainbow!

I’m still riding high. It’s been a whirlwind week for me. Why? Because I’ve finally found a home for my Young Adult manuscript, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS AND THE ARCH OF ATLANTIS! MusaPublishing has agreed to give me a contract, with a release date of May 15th, 2012 and the promise of four more books to follow for a total of five books. There’s just a small wrinkle – I have to rework my ‘work of art’ so that each book is in the point of view of one character throughout the book. ‘No problemo, sounds fun,’ I said, as I nervously thought of the reworking process ahead of me!

 I’ve been feeling a little like Dorothy must have felt when she finally got back home to Kansas after her long journey through Oz. Emotions such as relief, gratitude and happiness have washed over me again and again because I challenged myself enough to follow the yellow brick road.

Fifteen years. That’s what it has taken me to arrive at this point. I started my writing journey fresh-faced, full of myself and optimistic. Yeah, I had that kicked out of me from time to time, but I didn’t give up. I picked myself up, took mini-breathers in between to sort myself out and checked in on my internal compass from time to time. On course, off course, on course, off course, until it finally led me to this moment. And I’m so grateful for the experience.

Now the real work begins, and the heat is on. Hey, is that a twister I hear coming my way?

Thursday 8 September 2011

In For The Long Haul!

Ask yourself this question - Which one project or activity, if you did in an excellent and timely fashion, would have the greatest positive input on your life? This takes some foresight. Having long-term perspective can be hard to understand, especially for people who haven’t learned the benefits and teachings of patience and perseverance. Visualize your future five, ten, even twenty years ahead. What do you see? Do you have a clear path? Or are things blurry?

When you’re in for the long haul you realize that it takes slow and steady growth to establish any kind of endeavor worth working toward. Hard work, persistent effort, practical skill and patience are some of the main ingredients it takes to make your goal(s) pay off. Long term projects, whether writing a book series, starting a business, saving for retirement or attending school, need constant attentive nurturing, assessment and planning in order to create positive input into your life. In other words, to reap what you have sown.

Being in for the long haul allows for breathing space – to reassess and reevaluate your progress – to decide what you still need to do to accomplish your goal, and once done, apply consistent effort until you succeed. This is the difference between short term goals and long term goals – the bigger the investment, the bigger the payoff.

Remember: Focus on what you enjoy and build for the long haul!

Thursday 1 September 2011

Act The Part!

What if you had a genie appear and grant you your wish/desire/goal right now? It didn’t matter what the wish/desire/goal was. Maybe you want to start your own business, or perhaps graduate from a course you’ve wanted to take, or even sign a multi-book contract and get on the New York Times Bestseller list (grin). It doesn’t matter what you’ve dreamed of – what if you had whatever it was that you’ve wanted NOW? Right this moment, in the present.

How would you act?

This may take some time to ponder, but say all your obstacles are out of the way, and what you want, what you’ve always dreamed of having/being/doing is there for the taking. Take it and feel how you would feel as if it is yours. Use your imagination, visualize until you’ve got what you’ve always wanted. Fake it until you make it. There. Can you feel it? Does it feel real to you?
Acting the part sends powerful commands to your subconscious mind to find creative ways to achieve your goals. So when you’re thinking like, talking like, dressing like, acting like and feeling like the person who has already achieved your goal, you’ve set yourself up for success by already being where you want to be. And that’s a good place to be.

Now … where was I? Oh, yes, outlining my third book for THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS series.

Remember: Believe and act as if it were impossible to fail – Charles F. Kettering (inventor)