Home for the Holidays

It’s been an odd trip home this year for Christmas. I’ve learned a few things.

1) I’m not as good with red-eye flights as I used to be. Even though I dozed for almost three hours on the plane from Vancouver to Toronto, I was exhausted when I got to Mom’s place. After a full turkey dinner and pleasant evening, I finally succumbed to the lure of my bed at 8:30pm (I feel no shame since I’d been awake almost 36 hours).

2) I’ve somehow managed to deal with Dad’s death despite being over 5000km from home. Except for a quick cry when I first saw Mom, it’s been okay. It has been a very healing trip home. I’ve had my moments, but they’ve been more affirming than distressing. For that I am thankful.

3) My friends on both coasts ROCK (Robin and Kevin too, even though they’re in the middle of the country). Not that this was a new lesson, I’ve known this as long as I’ve known them. But it’s something I don’t mind being reminded of… and I frequently am.

I hope everyone is having a peaceful holiday season either alone or with family and friends. The new year is just around the corner waiting for us to start it all over again.

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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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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.

There is Snow

Snow in my backyard

Snow in my backyard at 8am

I know the people in the rest of Canada are laughing but we have snow. Where the rest of the country is ready for snow by the time November hits, Vancouver isn’t.

In fact they issued a ‘heavy’ snowfall warning last night – expecting 5-10 cm.

My roommate (a fellow back-Easter) looked out side and asked, ” Is this what they were panicking about?”

I reminded him where he was. This is after all the ‘tropic’ of Canada. Despite hosting the Winter Olympics last year, Vancouver is not a snow-capable city. Luckily, we almost don’t have snow any more. It’s just past noon and the 2-3 inches we got last night is almost gone. (That almost never happens back East).

Snow gone

All, but the snow in the shadow of the house, is gone

It’s not really anyone’s fault. It’s not cost effective to have a huge fleet of snowplows waiting for the few inches we get most winters. Even by 8am this morning, the pavement was bare. No plows needed.

I’ve been here 8 years now and experienced only 2 snowy winters. One lasted 2 weeks and the other 4. The other 6 winters barely saw a flake hit the sidewalk without melting.

My only regret is that I didn’t bundle up to go outside and build a snowman while I could. Although, staying in my cozy jammies and sipping coffee was a good alternative.

Mid NaNo Update

It’s half way though NaNoWriMo and I’ve over half way through my novel. I hit 28k last night which is over half way to the goal of 50k but I’m concentrating on actually finishing my story this year. In years past I’ve hit the 50k without issue, but my story didn’t end until over 60k (and let me tell you trying to finish a NaNo without all the community support is hard).

This year’s novel is a different genre for me. While it’s not coming as easily as I hoped, it’s not nearly as hard as I feared.

I’m treading into the waters of dark fantasy. My main character is a young man who is hitting ‘second puberty’ where strange abilities are manifesting. He had no idea that he wasn’t a plain human, or that there was any such classification. Let’s just say he’s had an interesting couple of weeks thus far in the story.

The social side of NaNo is rocking this year, there are so many more events and even more people involved than ever before. I am truly thankful to have these folks in my life.

Good luck to everyone doing NaNo and to those just writiing, or to those who need a little luck today.

One More Sleep

NaNo is almost here again and I can’t wait.

Writing has taken over my entire life lately, so you’d think that adding NaNo would make me groan and say “Oh Gosh no, not more WRITING?!” Instead I’m energized and raring to go.

This year I’ve set myself a challenge. I’m writing form a young man’s point of view, in first person and it’s a fantasy. I’m going to delve into the world of mythologies that I haven’t really paid attention to much before.

Will I be crucified by the diehards for mashing canons or will I escape the noose by making my story believable enough to be forgiven.

Today, the ‘Eve Before Kick-Off’ I’m frantically putting the finishing touches on the games, packing the goodie-bags for transport to the venue (via transit no less) and making lists to make sure I don’t forget anything,

In addition, I’m testing out audio editing software and writing a newsletter or three for Fiction Therapy and SNB Consulting. (Why did I want to be an overachiever again?)

So – to test out my audio bit from my to-do list – here’s a little Welcome to NaNo 2010 I created this morning – enjoy.

NaNoWriMo Preparations

As my busy week draws to a close a new busy week begins and then it’s a month of absolute insanity as NaNoWriMo.org is about to take over my life.

What’s NaNo you ask?

I’m sure I’ve mentionned it before, but I’ll explain again because I love it so much.

Nano is a self-challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. It’s Fun, It’s Insane and It’s a Blast.

Here in Vancouver it’s a huge event. We’ve already started the festivities. Last weekend was a pre-welcome and orientation session to give newbies a chance to ask advice and feel not so alone and old friends to reconnect without disrupting their writing frenzy.

This Sunday, on October 31st. We’ll have our kick off party at Moose’s Down Under. One of my favourite restaurants. Afterward, we’ll go home and wait. Some of us will hop on to our IRC channel and chat until the stroke of midnight. Once that clock hits 12 we’ll start writing.

During the month we’ll have all kinds of write-ins and social events. The Vancouver NaNo Group (also called VancoWriMo.ca) has grown so big we have 3 MLs (organizers) and several mini-bosses (official volunteers who will help host events). We also have the IRC chat open so people who are writing from home can still participart in the social aspects of the month.

Then, at the end of the month we have two TGIO (Thank God It’s Over) dinners. One on Dec 1st and one on the weekend to make sure everyone has a chance to attend.

Seriously, if any of this appeals to you sign up and join the fun – it’s free (except for the cost of the food or drink you order at any of the hosting venues). The fundraising we do is to help the MLs regain some of the money they’ve spent on the goodie bags and such, anything left over goes to NaNoWriMo to help them keep the fun happening.

Sue The ML

Sue the ML will strike you with inspiration

I’ve been busy prepping the prizes for fundraising games at the kick-off event and helping the other MLs create the welcome goodie bags. Our theme this year is 8-bit games. Our amazing mini-boss of the internet has created 8-bit avatars of the volunteer team – here’s me (I’m adorable in 8-bit – who knew?) ———->

I’m super stoked about this year.It will be my forth Nano and hopefully my forth win.

I’m not a plotter, I tried once and failed miserably. I much prefer the thrill of the hunt for the next story line and the challenge of avoiding plot holes and not writing myself into a corner. Although this year, I seem to know more about my story than in years past.

I’m going to try writing fantasy – from a teenage boy’s point of view. I already know who my main character and his ‘infliction’ and have a couple of scene set ups in my mind. But, I also know that can all change once I start writing. Like I said, it’s the thrill of the hunt.

I’m off to do the Sunday Brunch Writing Prompts at Toasted Cheese, then it’s off to bag some goodies and do the final edit for one of out authors at PaperBox Books – whee, more books coming soon!! I can’t wait.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

It’s been an interesting year thus far. Parts have been wonderful and others devastating.

I am thankful for all of it, even the bad parts because they’ve highlighted what is good in my life and allowed me to appreciate it even more.

I have a lot of good in my life. It’s not perfect, but it’s mine and I’m eternally grateful.

A friend of mine used to enjoy arguing with each other. He was chasing an ideal of what he ‘should have been like’ had he no been delayed by certain obstacles in his life. He was so busy chasing himself that he missed everything that was going on around him.

It drove me nuts. I’m not refuting that he had some pretty shitty things happen but his failure to acknowledge anything positive bothered me. He dismissed his own accomplishments as, “Yeah whatever but I could have done THIS.”

Everyone has issues. Everyone has problems. Quite frankly if you don’t, then you’re not doing it right. BUT, and this is the hugest, most important BUT, if you concentrate on your problems and focus on your issues and nothing else, you’re going to screw yourself over and you’ll have no one else to blame.

That isn’t to say ignore issues and pretend they aren’t there, but deal with them, or at least accept that they’ve happened, and move on.

Some things will never go away – it’s a sad fact of life.

That date your didn’t ask for in high school, that mess at work which cost you your job, the death of a loved one…every mistake your parent’s ever made while raising you. What’s done is done, you can’t change it… and even if you could, would it have made your life better? Would your life suddenly be perfect because of one decision?

At some point we have to stop blaming the past for our present circumstance and get our own ass in gear to create the life that we want.

Whoops – this isn’t the direction I was going to take when I started writing this. But maybe I’m meant to be a preachy, armchair psychiatrist today.

Do yourself a favour – make a list of the positive things in your life and be grateful for them.

Do it for yourself.
Do it for those around you that have to put up with your whining and complaining.
And if for no other reason, do it for wrinkle prevention.

SNBCS Social Media Seminars

sooo… here is a plug for one of my other businesses.

I run SNB Consulting Services. One of the things we do is help consultants, authors, job seekers and small business owners learn about Social Media with a very hands on approach.

This means in-person seminars, some where I usually encourage attendees to bring their laptops so we can get started immediately.

Yeah – I though you’d like that.

So for all your authors out there who want to know more about using Social Media to create an online presence and market your books, check out SNBCS Social Media Basics seminars at Douglas College in New Westminster, B.C., just outside of Vancouver.

If you can’t come to the West Coast, check out my website, SNB Consulting Services and Building Better Small Business blog (because, my dear author, a small business is what you become as soon as you sign that publisher contract)

Sign up for my e-newsletter and you’ll receive an ebook of some of my favourite tips for getting started.

Bookcamp Vancouver 2010

It was a rousing success and well worth the rush hour commute to get there and back.

(I work from home. My commute is normally from my bed, to the coffee maker to my keyboard. The only traffic I encounter is having to wait for my house-mate to finish in the bathroom.)

I love writers.

We’re smart, observant and interesting individuals always with a story or three to tell. The passion and dedication we bring to the table is unmatched by anyone (except artists) simply because we do this for the love of what we do not for the expectation of profit.

This makes us innovators, entrepreneurs, work-around-ers, and highly, highly creative.

I was so impressed, as I always am, at the caliber of people in the book industry. Right from the folks who aren’t brave enough to put a capital ‘W’ when they call themselves a writer to the folks who make a living wage in books.

I want to give a shout out to some of the great folks I met/talked/listened to yesterday. (Unfortunately I had to miss a couple of sessions so this is a pretty short list)

The Book Broads – Angela Crocker, Perry Richardson & Kim Plumley
Books on the Radio – Sean Cranbury
Protagonize – Nick Boutin
Namaste Publishing – Mary Kellog
Toasted Cheese – Theryn
CBC – Canada Reads Hannah Clausen and Kimberly Walsh

Things I learned:

  • As an author it’s up to you to market your book. The publisher can do only so much before it’s time to concentrate on their next title.
  • Social Media helps to level the playing field between the big publishers and indie publishers.
  • Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn.
  • Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn. (most authors need to hear this at least twice)
  • Participate – Get out there an comment on other peoples blogs.
  • Have your own blog, write about stuff related to writing, your challenges, your triumphs, things you find interesting that might interest your audience.
  • Don’t just think about it DO IT!