Category Archives: Books and Writing

Good-bye 2011, Hello 2012

This has been a good year. I’m glad because 2010, as a good friend of mine would say, ‘sucked ass’.

2011 started off with me dating a great guy, getting a new job, and uploading my second novel, Hiding in Plain Sight for sale. The year got better as royalties started coming in and my new job went from good, to great to fantastic. Sadly, the great guy faded to barely good, and then to me saying, “Yeah, this isn’t working out anymore.”

My trip home this year was for a happy reason. My middle brother got married to a great girl and I’m now a proud step-aunt to a couple of awesome kids. The wedding was sad without Dad, but our family has healed enough to celebrate despite our missing member.

My year ended with bobsledding down the Olympic track in Whistler, BC, reuniting with a childhood friend, chocolate, good friends, a flirtation with potential, and a bottle of apricot brandy.

2012 is starting off with a lot of promise.

My new job is not so new anymore but I still get up with a smile on my face and look forward to going into the office. PaperBox Books is thriving. Our reputation is growing and the submissions are flowing in steadily and I’m in the process of editing “Kiere” my new distopian, young adult novel. It should be ready for sale by the end of March, at least that’s my goal.

and there is that flirtation…

and we’re off – NaNo 2011

NaNoWroMo.org 2011 has begin and I’m already behind. It’s a little disconcerting, but I’ve been here before and haven’t failed yet.

This years story is a bit more serious than my usual light and fluffy fare. I’m basing it on a video from Live Leaks about a man found dead in a hotel room. He has ID but no one steps forward to claim him. When I heard about the video, I decided I had to tell his story. How come he had no one to miss him?

While I was pondering this, I talked to some of my writer friends. I’d decided to have his son looking for him and interweave chapter’s about the son’s search and the father’s journey as an ‘Unclaimed Life’.

One of my writing buddies suggested I needed more drama. So the father is estranged and the boy sees him across the graveyard at his mother’s funeral. The father was banned from seeing his children after being jailed for sexually molesting his daughter. It’s now 10 years later and the siblings are all grown up and so are the psychological demons that haunt them.

I hope I can do the story in my head justice.

VCON, SIWC and NaNoWriMo

I’ve been a bad blogger. I was reminded this over the weekend at the Surrey International Writers Conference. I attended a lot of the social media sessions because I’ve been out of the ‘what’s happening in Social Media’ loop over this past year. Happily, I’m not as out of sync as I feared, but I was slacking just the same.

Mysterious Ages, my fellow ML for NaNoWriMo.org and I spoke at the beginning of the month at VCON. It was awesome, although, according to Myst, I was a bit of a chatterbox. Yeah, well… anyone who knows me could have told him that. VCON was great though. I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the rest of the conference after our session was done. I am seriously considering attending next year as a participant.

Today was the last day of SIWC. My head is close to exploding with all the fantastic advice I received at the very well run sessions and keynotes. Despite my overwhelmed little noggin, I was sad to see the weekend close.

One of my highlights was to talk with Daniel Kalla. A few years ago he, in conjunction with The Province Newspaper , ran a Serial Thriller writing contest. Daniel wrote the first chapter of the book and there was a competition to write each subsequent chapter. I participated the 2nd year they did it and I won first runner up for the first chapter open to competition. Unfortunately, this was also the last year it happened. As we spoke over lunch, Daniel said that it wasn’t lack of interest that caused the contest’s demise, it was that there were too many participants to judge.

It gave me a bit of a thrill, knowing that I had been competing against even more people that I’d originally thought. It made that 1st runner up placement that much sweeter.

Writing Stuff

It’s September already and Marc and I are starting to frantically put together the events for NaNoWriMo.org 2011. This will be my 5th year participating and my 2nd year as ML (Municipal Liaison = organizer).

We’re getting an added boost this year from VCON. We’ve been asked to speak on a panel Saturday, October 1st all about NaNo. We’re very excited about it. NaNo is such a great way to get your first draft done. The camaraderie, community and cheer-leading is incredible. I can’t wait to spread the word.

Then it’s time for SIWC (Surrey International Writers’ Conference). I missed it last year so I’m doubly excited about it this year. We’re renting a room and staying on site which will enable us to stay and play with the other writers until the wee morning hours without having to worry about travel back and forth. It’s going to be a blast.

And then it starts: NaNoWriMo.org 2011

Marc and I are deep in the planning process. We’ll start posting things as soon as details are finalized.

This year, I’m tackling a story that isn’t my usually light, funny fare. I’m not going to lie, it’s going to be hard for me – there will be death, betrayal and abuse (and the family disasters that follow in its wake). Some of it hits very close to home. If it turns out half as well as I have it in my head, it’s going to fantastic in a haunting and thought provoking way. I’m just hoping I can do the idea justice.

(and yes, me, the die hard pantzer – has actually done a bit of plotting for it already. But only because some of the subject matter needs a little research so I can keep my facts straight)

The Making of Hiding in Plain Sight

My new novel, ‘Hiding in Plain Sight‘ hit the virtual shelves almost a month ago. So far I’m thrilled with the response it’s been getting.

This is the first novel I’ve written specifically for a young adult audience. I was amazed at how comfortable this genre is for me. I guess that means that I haven’t completely grown up yet (which is a good thing in my humble opinion)

So, where did I get the idea for this book?

The first draft of this novel was written during NaNoWriMo 2009. At the stroke of 12 on November 1st I had four names and I knew one of the characters was an alien.

That’s it, That’s all.

My goal was to write a 50,000 word first draft by the end of the month. On November 30th, I had 55,000 words yet was nowhere near the end of my story. I stalled and procrastinated for another 6 months before I was forced into finishing it by a friend and fellow writer who wouldn’t let me alone until it was done (Thanks by the way). When I finished the first edit and send the final chapters off to my proof-readers we discovered that I’d made a fatal faux-pas – my ending happened without my main character. I had to re-write it, ditch the beautiful reconciliation scene and add in more action. The new version, I’m happy to say is much better.

As you can probably tell, I’m not much of a plotter. I break out in hives if I try to figure out what’s going to happen too far in advance. Sometimes I write my characters into a corner, but usually that just makes for a more interesting story as I write them back out again. For Hiding in Plain Sight, I was halfway through the first chapter when I realized that the whole family was from another planet and it wasn’t until later that I learned there were bad aliens coming to get them.

Why did I decide to use Saint John, New Brunswick as the setting?

Saint John is my hometown and I just pictured my characters there. I cheated a bit and had Hilary live in the house beside the one I grew up in. So when Ben moved in next door, he moved into my house. Alex, his little sister, has my old bedroom. Shannon lives in the the first house at the head of the subdivision across the street.

I say I cheated because I used a location I knew well. It meant that I didn’t have to put much effort into designing the setting, I simply pulled from my memories.

My characters went to Saint John High School, just like me. A lot has changed since I went there so I picked the brains of one of the SJHS teachers, who incidentally graduated with me. He updated me on the things that have changed since then and what hadn’t. A huge shout out to Peter Larsen. He was a huge help. FYI – if I got any of the details wrong, it’s my bad not his.

Where did I get the names for my characters?

My main character names are an ‘I never forgot you’ to my ex-husband’s nieces and nephew. I left when they were still really small, they probably don’t even remember me. But losing the ability to be part of their lives and watch them grow up was one of the hardest adjustments to make in the aftermath of my divorce.

The alien names were just jumbles of letters until something looked pronounceable. The name for the bad guys, the Hurliingen, is actually a misspelling of the Dutch word for pirate.

After writing this novel, I have a whole new appreciation for Tolkien and his ability to a) create so many names and b) keep them all straight. During my editing process I discovered at least three spellings for Myonus and four for the Hurliingen. I am in awe of any writer who has mastered this task.

If I’ve made you curious (I hope) and you’re interested in buying the Hiding in Plain Sight to read for yourself (crosses fingers) go to http://paperboxbooks.com

PaperBox Books is an indie e-publisher. Check out all of their books for sale.

Canucks and Novel Sales

So have I mentioned lately I love my new job?

Last night I rode in a limo to Rogers Arena (while drinking champagne) to watch the Canucks play from one of the hospitality suites. We lost… boo, but the great food and open bar helped salve our wounds.

The best sign I saw from the fans was held by a cute little guy who was around 8 or 9. It read, “If you need to rest your players for the playoffs, I’ve got my gear in the car.” I loved it.

Book Sales for Hiding in Plain Sight have so far outstripped all three versions of Jake.

It’s been a bit nerve wracking too. Because my new novel is set in my home town with scenes taking place in my old high school, it is not just strangers who have read it. People I grew up with have been checking it out. I want to bit my nails every time someone else says they’re reading it. Luckily no one has pointed out any setting errors 🙂

Hiding in Plain Sight

I am a happy girl, my new novel is up and already selling (and it hasn’t even hit half of our distributers yet).

Hiding in Plain Sight is the first young adult novel I’ve written specifically for the young adult genre. My other published YA novel, The Trouble with Jake, was originally written as an adult romance and the re-written for a younger audience.

Hiding in Plain Sight is set in the neighbourhood I grew up in with scenes taking place in my old High School. Here’s a bit about the story:

Hilary is excited when a new family moves in next door. It doesn’t hurt that they have a gorgeous son. But even his good looks and classic car can’t distract her from the strange things she starts to see.

Ben and his family are from the planet Myonus. They barely escaped when the Hurliingen tried to take-over their planet’s government. But, even on Earth, they aren’t safe. Ben and his kid sister, Alex, have something the Hurliingen need to squash the rebellion and complete their conquest.

The Hurliingen are coming to get Ben and Alex, can Hilary help stop them?

Hiding in Plain Sight is already available on Amazon for their Kindle and through Smashwords for all other formats including the Nook, KoBo, Sony e-Reader and iPad.

2011 Week 2

So here we are at another Sunday. It’s been a long week but it has flown by… a contradiction that makes perfect sense.

I spent much of Monday, going over my new novel, ‘Hiding in Plain Sight’. We’re due to publish it at the end of February so I’m focused on getting this edit finished so I can give my proofreaders a chance for another go over before I send the final copy to PaperBox Books.

I still have no idea what I’m going to do for the cover. I have flying purple lights, a restored Barracuda, spaceships and alien pirate-types in addition to my main five teenage characters.

My dating life seems to be steaming along in the right direction. This guy ithinks I’m as awesome as I think he is. A great start for sure.

…and I had a job interview on Friday. The company really impressed me with their dedication to keeping long term employees. For that reason alone, I want to work there! (plus the money is decent, the job description is what I want and the commute isn’t bad). Wish me luck.

Today I’m working more on my novel and waiting for Mom to come online so we can Skype.

It’s soooo close to finished I can taste it. This is officially the longest novel I’ve ever written coming in at over 76,000 words. I’m a happy girl.

Holiday Mash-up

The year is drawing to an end and I have to admit I’m not sorry to see 2010 go.

*hears faint crying*

“There, there 2010” I say in a comforting voice, “It’s not really your fault, crappy things just seemed to happen while you were with us.”

I lost some dreams, lost my father and gained some perspective. For the most part, not a bad year, just hard to take in places. Although, to be fair, 2010 seems to be redeeming itself this past week, I’ll keep you posted to see how that transfers over to 2011.

I leave for Saint John, New Brunswick in 5 sleeps. I fly during sleep number six. I’ll be accompanying Santa as he flies over Canada on Christmas Eve. Seriously, I’ll have my camera at the ready, just in case I see his sleigh at 35,000 feet.

In other news:

Our new novels have launched, promotion is going well and books have been sold. If you haven’t been there already, go check out PaperBoxBooks.com to buy our new titles. We have an urban fantasy, a serial killer mystery and a teen romance. Awesome stories.

Post NaNo Recovery

Final tally was 55, 601 words written during the month of November. I really like how the story has created itself around my idea and once I get the gaps all filled in, it’s going to be great.

I’ve been looking for a job lately, while my SNB Consulting Services business has been great and I’m still taking clients, it will no longer be my full time focus. Now I’m ready to take what I’ve learned to benefit someone else’s business.

So if you know anyone looking to hire someone with office administration, web design, social media marketing and editing experience let them know about me. 🙂 I can start immediately, although I will be out of town for the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

Don’t worry, I’m still Managing Editor at PaperBox Books. In face, we’re about to launch three new titles just in time for the Christmas rush. Check them out at http://paperboxbooks.com. We’re really excited because this time we’re presenting the ‘other’ side of Perry plus two new authors.

And if you participated in NaNo Fiction Therapy is offering a special rate to help authors edit their novel set up. The details can be found at http://fictiontherapy.com/nano2010.php.

I’m heading home for Christmas in two weeks. This will be a very bitter sweet holiday. My last trip home was a mad rush across the country to say goodbye to my father. Daddy died this past August.

This will be our first Christmas without him. Everytime I think about going home I get really excited until I realize Daddy won’t be there. I fear I’m going to be a blubbering mess when I get home… and I’m usually the storng one who refuses to cry. It will be interesting.