Category: For Readers (Page 2 of 18)

Filling the Well

Julia Cameron lists the “artist’s date” as a building block to nurturing the creative side of oneself. The idea is to “fill the well” or your artist’s soul by going on an excursion by yourself and taking in all the details of the moment. What do you see? What do your hear? What do you smell? What do you remember? All these minutia “fill the well,” supplying a rich source of inspiration for the writer. 

As an introverted-extrovert, or maybe an extroverted-introvert, I relate to the concept of the artist’s date. I thrive on company. I love chatting and learning from others. I also crave quiet and solitude to repair my mind and heart from information overload. 

Ms Cameron says these dates should be taken alone, but on this date, my husband went with me. I needed a driver!  I’d been given a book on “Pioneer Churches” in my area and decided Sunday was a good time to go and explore some of them. As usual, I was more drawn to the graveyards than the church buildings.   

One of the places we visited was a military chapel and graveyard. Some of the gravestones at this site pre-date Canada as a nation. We walked silently among these stones, hushed and reverend as we trod on “holy ground.” There were other visitors, equally respectful. A few had laid flowers–it was Mother’s Day. 

We visited three sites. I soaked up the balm and beauty of these places. The babble and strife of the day-to-day world receded.  I felt the well filling, imagination stirring. I came home with my mind at peace.

On Monday I read an article at Writer Unboxed that filled me with dismay. The writer, David Corbett, explored good intentions and The Road to Hell, a serious discussion of the culture wars happening in society in general and in publishing in particular. The topic is huge and amorphous and thorny and slippery. Thankfully, the comments were mostly thoughtful, with a minimum of snark — a rare event on social media. Still, I felt my peace slipping away. 

Then I read the next article on the same website, a report on the memorial service for Hilary Mantel at Sourthwark Cathedral. The author, Porter Anderson, spoke of how the architecture and the music eased him away from the hurly-burly of the London Book Fair. His words brought to mind my sojourn among the tombstones on a Sunday afternoon. My mind filled with images of bluebells growing wild, a rabbit nibbling on some grass, a family’s love for a departed parent. My anxiety eased.

The David Corbett article is important. The topic is life-changing for authors and readers. I don’t recommend avoiding the hard topics or hiding away from the issues of our day. There are forest fires raging in my country, there are bombs exploding in Europe and Africa. There are millions of hungry people around the globe. There are families in my home town resorting to food banks. These things are real, and writers need to write about them. It is our job to reflect the world we live in, to try to make sense of it and to point to hope.

The young seaman who died after falling from the rigging of a sailing ship in the 1850’s lived in a completely different world than mine, yet his shipmates erected a stone in his memory. The cared about him. They missed him. They honoured him. 

Love, compassion, connections–these are the stuff of humanity, regardless of the ages. They are also the seeds of story. 

As a writer, I’m glad I took time out to fill the well. That makes me a better writer, and a better contributor to my community. I am grateful to Julia Cameron for giving me “permission” to nurture my own self without feeling guilty or selfish.  I encourage others to do the same.

I admit to an affinity for graveyards, but I doubt many share that quirk. Where do you go to fill your well? What inspires your imagination? What brings peace to your soul?

 

Visits: 69

Before and After

 

The beauty industry is rife with before and after pictures. Their aim is to show potential customers the benefit of some product or treatment, hence the “after” picture is far more appealing than the “before” picture.

Lately, I’ve noticed conversations containing the before/after phrase,  not in regards to a beauty treatment, but in relation to COVID-19. The pandemic created a great slash through the normal progression of our lives. We have “before,” when families and friends gathered for celebration and sorrow. When the only consideration in creating a guest list was the size of the table. Babies were born and grandparents, aunts and uncles flocked to the nursery to greet the new arrival. In times of loss, the bereaved drew strength from the mourners who assembled to comfort them. We didn’t think twice about being present in a group.

COVID changed all that. Some grandparents didn’t cuddle a newborn until the babe had become a toddler. Families grieved in isolation, unable to hold the hand of a loved one as they passed from this life. Our new guest lists may exclude the unvaccinated. Remember when banks had signs outside requiring customers to remove sunglasses and caps before entering the building? Now we see a masked man in a bank and shrug.

Most pandemic related restrictions have been removed now, but our behaviour has not returned to the “before” times. I doubt it ever will. 

From a personal and social point of view the effects of the pandemic are significant, leaving us more cautious, suspicious of our fellowmen. We must navigate a new “normal” and the journey  is uncomfortable and awkward.

From a writer’s point of view, the experience of the pandemic gives us a whole range of new responses for character-building. If a good story starts at a turning point, we have loads of examples from our daily lives to show what happens when a character hits a crossroads. Does she defy the risks and go out and party with strangers? Does she withdraw into her cocoon and miss out on the rest of life? Does she feel her way back into the life she had before, or does she close the door on those times and start over?

In my wip, the heroine is a widow. She behaves like a new widow, even though she lost her husband five years before the story began. That is because she has decided to withdraw — from friends and neighbours, from community, from organizations — from everything that gave her life meaning before her sudden change in circumstances.

Since the pandemic, I can look around me and see that response in real life. I know people who have stopped coming to church, have stopped going to the grocery story, have given up on movies or concerts, have cut themselves off from personal contact with anyone outside their household. I can use my observation of these people to give more depth to my protagonist

In my story the heroine is jolted out of her half-life by events — it would be a boring story if she wasn’t — and I can witness the same thing around me as people venture into society once more.  Some are cautious, wearing masks in every indoor setting. Some are being social, but only with a few close friends. Some are racing full-throttle into crowds of strangers.  More grist for the story-teller’s mill.

Regardless of how people respond to the post-COVID world (actually, the virus is still around, it’s just the restrictions that have changed) no one has been untouched by it. We all have this wide chasm, an empty place in our lives, from when the pandemic was at it’s worst. We date our memories as pre-pandemic or after. It’s as though we have had two lives.

One ended in March of 2020. 

As writers, this is familiar ground. Our stories are about change.  Page one is “before,” and the end is “after.” We can give our characters successes and defeats. We can make them victims of circumstances, or we can make them masters of their own lives. In fiction, we can make it up as we go along. That’s the joy of writing, The question is, how will we manage in real life?

In March of 2023 we begin the second part of our own story.

Visits: 75

Name that Character

I’ve been wrestling with my wip lately and I think I’m losing. I started the story with such enthusiasm, I thought the words would just fly onto the page. You’d think by now I would know that never happens. 🙁

Part of my problem is the heroine’s name. I know, it’s just a name, get on and write the story. But names matter. If I don’t feel the name reflects the character’s personality, I can’t relate to her, even though she is my own creation. As I was struggling with my heroine’s name I came across a great article at Writer Unboxed, about the power of names. You can read the whole article here.

I had to chuckle at the writer’s aversion to certain names based on life experiences.  I was tormented in school by a fellow named Guy. I could never use that name for a hero in a book, although he could probably show up as a villain. 

Personal bias aside, I want my heroine to have a name that will resonate with readers. It needs to be unique but no so far out that no one will believe it on a fifty year old widow. I’m writing what I hope is a “seasoned” romance. This is a new genre for me and I’m still finding my way. My historical novels used lovely old-fashioned names like Emma, Louisa and Lottie. I connected with those characters immediately and their names fell upon them naturally. They fit so well with long skirts and sturdy boots, and strong-minded women.

I don’t want my heroine to sound as though she comes from another era. I don’t want her to sound too grandmotherly. I don’t want to attach too youthful a name to an older heroine. Of course, our reactions to names are purely subjective but there are guidelines. Jo Beverley used to advise using hard consonants in a hero’s name, to give the impression of strength. Jack, Devon, and Zeke are examples of strong names. Jo would also consider who the name looked on the page, choosing Karl instead of Carl, because the K had more presence.

The name needs to fit my character. When Raquel Welch died there were a number of news stories about her but the one that made me laugh was the tale of a movie mogul who thought her name too exotic and suggested she change it  – – – to Debbie. As Raquel told the story on late-night TV she pulled a face and said, “Do I look like a Debbie?” The answer was patently “no.” Ms Welch was marketed as a sex symbol, an exotic, someone with jungle – like appeal.Raquel suited that image perfectly.

My character is a middle-aged woman, wallowing in her widowhood, keeping the world at arm’s length. The reader must see her vulnerability beneath the “I’m fine,” mask. She is currently named Carrie. It’s a good name, popular at the time my heroine would have been born, but it sounds juvenile in my ear. Not only that, it is  the name Stephen King used for a very disturbed teenager! Not the association I want.

What about Karla? Or Kerry? Changing the C to K creates a whole other personality. I’ve just done a Google search and neither of those names pulls up a negative or famous connection. 

What do you think, dear reader. Is a fifty-year old market gardener named Kerry believable? Relatable?

Please share your thoughts in the comments. I’d love to read them.

 

 

 

Visits: 61

Is It My Story to Tell?

    My to-be-read pile has reached such towering proportions I’ve had to break it into two  edifices. The collection includes books I’ve chosen myself, books I received as gifts at Christmas, and books chosen by my book club. Topics range from the science of climate change to a Gothic fantasy to a YA mystery. That’s the joy of reading books others have chosen. I’m not a science geek so would have passed over the climate change book, yet I find it fascinating , and actually easy to read.

     Gothic and fantasy are not my first choices, but this gift introduced me to a writer of amazing skill and imagination. It opened my eyes to a subject I have long ignored.

     There is a lovely gentle read from an author I love. I’ve opened that one today and consider it my reward for persevering through the tough ones.

     One of my book club choices  provoked controversy upon its release over the question of cultural appropriation. Unless you’ve been living on a desert island with no internet, the topic of cultural appropriation has crossed your consciousness. I’ve heard people get really worked up about the topic but I could not understand what all the fuss was about. Isn’t fiction supposed to show us other cultures, other ways of being, other realities? Can’t a woman write from a male point of view? or a child’s or even a cat’s? It happens all the time.

     The argument that you don’t have to be a murderer to write a mystery seems obvious. I write historical fiction but I am not a pioneer. I’ve never lived without running water or electricity. Yet I feel I have every right to tell those stories. My forebears were pioneers. Their story is part of my history. It is their cultural legacy to me. I research the times and places to be as accurate as possible, but I believe these are my stories to tell.

     Wouldn’t the same research-based approach allow me to tell a story from another culture, another race?

     Now that I’ve read this controversial book, I can appreciate the furore.  Although the protagonist of the book in question is non-white, I never really identified her as such. As I read, I felt as though she was a middle-class, white woman looking through a picture window at a story unfolding before her. The protagonist was in peril but the narrator was safe.

     When I read Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale, I had a very different experience. I was terrified for every page of the book. If I read before bed, I’d have nightmares.  Hannah never lived in Nazi-occupied France, but she told an authentic story.

     Authenticity is, I believe, at the heart of the cultural appropriation debate.  For someone who has never been beset by bullies because of the colour of her skin, or her style of dress, to tell the story of someone who lives with that reality every day, is a herculean task. It may be possible, in the hands of a very skilled writer, dedicated to uncovering the nuances and subtleties of a different culture and layering them onto her characters. Such a book would be very hard to write. In the case of my book club choice, that author missed the mark.

     The variety in my “to-be-read” pile, is a gift. It demonstrates the wonder of books, how they stretch our minds, challenge our prejudices, and bring joy and comfort. Even when they fall short, they can teach valuable lessons.  The old adage of “write what you know,” I now understand can mean, “is this your story to tell?”

Visits: 144

The Trouble with Tropes

Cruising through the internet last week I came upon a conversation between highly successful romance authors looking for recommendations for romance novels. Many complained that they were bored with the same old tropes played over and over again. As readers, they wanted something  fresh to grab their attention and keep them turning pages past their bedtime.

There were many responses along a similar vein and the recommendations seemed to be for re-reading old favourites. As a romance author I found the discussion interesting and worrisome.

To trope or not to trope. Readers have certain expectations of romance novels. If an author doesn’t meet those expectations, the book is likely to flop. Yet meeting those expectations results in reruns of the same old themes — and bored and disgruntled readers. 

What is a writer to do?

Here are five top tropes in romance along with some suggestions for freshening them up.

  1. Spunky heroine.  The belief is no one wants to read about wimps. Heroine’s must be proactive, kick-ass, goal-oriented, tough . . . you get the picture. And yet, fairy tale heroines beloved of romance authors are often placid and reactive. Cinderella needs her fairy godmother to get her to the ball. She needs prince charming to rescue her after the ball. So, perhaps there is hope for a “non-spunky” main character. I read one book recently where the heroine irritated me no end because she wouldn’t stand up for herself, yet, in the end, she did grow and find love and she “rescued” herself. What kept me turning the pages was the author’s voice, the engaging cast of secondary characters, and the setting.  If you are really tired of writing about or reading about the perky, spunky female, you can go a different route, but you need skill to pull it off.                                                                                                                                                           
  2. Jilted at the altar. This one incorporates the “cute meet” beloved of romance readers too. Usually the bride, or groom, left standing alone meets the perfect mate while picking up the pieces of the disastrous day. I just read a book that began that way. I yawned, but kept reading. I liked the heroine’s voice. However, the book exceeded expectations as the story delved deeply into family relations, small town castes, and an old mystery. So the trope was useful to hook the reader, but it did not determine the entire story.                                                                                                                                                                        
  3. Proximity.  This is the one where the two main characters are snowed in by themselves in a remote cabin, or stranded on an island, or locked in an old castle. There are many variations but the point is they are together and cannot get away from each other. In the world of tropes this must lead to romance.  But what if it doesn’t? What if enforced proximity exposes a nose-picker, or a soup-slurper, or a bully, or a whiner? Perhaps this trope could be used to separate a couple who were romantically inclined at the beginning of the story and can’t put enough distance between themselves when they are finally able to escape? I haven’t read a book like this yet but there must be one out there somewhere. I think if would make a great comedy.                                                                                                                                                                     
  4. Marriage of Convenience.  I admit that this is one of my favourites, especially in historical romance and especially when handled deftly — witness Georgette Heyer. Inevitably the pretend couple ends by falling in love and turning their fake marriage into the real thing. What would happen if they didn’t? What if her old sweetheart, left for dead at Waterloo, returns, alive and well? How does she get out of her “convenient” marriage? Walking away is a possibility in contemporary romances, but for a regency lady to desert her husband and still have a happily-ever-after? Again, such a story would challenge the author but it might satisfy the reader who is tired of same-old, same-old.                                                                                                                                                                             
  5.    Billionaires/celebrity/royalty.  I don’t like this one very much. The characters are too unbelievable for me. The billionaire who never seems to work, the celebrity who misbehaves, the royal who doesn’t understand protocol . . . I’m apt to throw the book at the wall. But it is a trope that is adored by many readers. So, how to make it work?  Be realistic.  If you put a public figure in your story, give them something worthwhile to do. To paraphrase Martin Luther King, let me judge them by their character, not their bank account. Celebrities often spend a lot of time helping charities, or advocating for the poor or hungry or traumatised.  A person who expects adoration because of his wealth or social status isn’t “hero”material. If he loses all his money, will the reader still love him? I’d read that story.

So, dear reader, what are your favourite tropes? Can you recommend a romance that turns an old faithful on its head and sends that author to the top of your reading list? Please share in the comments section. (click the button under the post title.)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

 

 

 

Visits: 69

Christmas Short Story

Christmas seemed a long way off in November, now it is rushing forward at breakneck speed. So, I’ve been working on my annual short story. After numerous re-writes, I thought I had the text ready to publish. My friend had told me about using the reading tool on microsoft so I thought I’d do one last check using that. I found one typo and one repeat word but listening to my words read by a computer voice was . . . an experience.

For some reason, the computer voice did not recognize the name of my heroine — even though a google search showed it does exist. The word the computer used was totally mangled. For those who may have received the story, the heroine’s name is Riona, pronounced ree-owe-na. 🙂

I live in Canada and have always referred to my mother’s mother as grandma. Pronounced grand-ma. The computer must have been programmed in the southern States because it pronounced my grandparent as grand-maw. I had a hard time picturing the woman I’d written about sipping tea from a china cup with “maw” at the end of her name.

Usually, I do a final proof by reading the work aloud, myself, but that can put a strain on the voice and I’ve got a cough, so the computer option seemed like a good idea. It certainly speeded up the process, and reminded me that readers will come from different regions and different backgrounds. 

I’ve had a trying day arguing with various templates on the computer, but my story is now written, edited, and published in my newsletter. If you want to read it, please join my newsletter   here.  

If you are frantically working on Christmas projects, take time to savour the moment. You’ve still got seventeen days. Put some carols on your sound system, bite into a piece of shortbread, and remember the reason for Christmas.

Visits: 91

Remembrance Resource

Although we are now heading into the Christmas season, I want to share a resource I came across as part of our Remembrance Day activities.

Our local newspaper does an excellent job of connecting readers with the actual people who went to war. For one thing they run a “remembrance” page where families can commemorate their loved ones. One item clutches at my heart strings–a family of seven, four brothers to WWI and three more to WWII. On first glance I thought the family was lucky since only one brother was killed in action. On a closer reading I found that the surviving brothers of WWI were all invalided out. One suffered shell-shock (we call that PTSD now) for the rest of his life.

However, the newspaper cannot tell all the stories, there are too many. Into the breech has come Vancouver Island University with its “Letters Home” project. The university has collected letters written by soldiers away from home and sent to their families. In November, copies of those letters are delivered to the current occupant of the house at that address.

The recipients are surprized to to receive a letter written from the trenches a hundred or more years ago, but most are touched by the message, and reflect on the young man (only men were in combat at that time) who left home and family in the cause of justice and freedom.

What makes this project unique and wonderful is the fact the letters are not held in a museum. Rather they are digitized and then returned to the family that owns them. Thus Canadians can read the real life experiences of our soldiers without depriving the families of a precious artifact.

So far the university has digitized 30000 letters and thousands of photographs. The database is searchable and available to the public for free. It can be found at canadianletters.ca.

I took a quick look and was immediately drawn into a story. The first letter on the landing page was from a young man wondering why Marjorie hadn’t written. I wanted to jump back in time and give Marjorie a stern lecture. Then I wondered if Marjorie had become ill or maybe died herself and no one had the heart to tell her soldier-beau. Or maybe Marjorie had written but the letters were intercepted. Of perhaps . . .

Look at the story possibilities that jumped to mind after reading only a few paragraphs. For writers of fiction, this database is a treasury of ideas. For people living in a former soldier’s home, they are a window to the history of the house. For citizens who weep for the lives lost, the dreams unfulfilled, and the heartbreak of millions, the letters are a way to honour our brave men and women who sacrificed so much that we might live in peace.

On this day of American Thanksgiving celebrations let us give thanks to our veterans for their service.

 

 

Visits: 93

5 Reasons Your Book Should Sing

Over the summer I reread  Georgette Heyer’s Sylvester.  I have all her romances on my keeper shelf, but I’d forgotten this one, so it was like reading it for the first time. What a treat! When I finished it,  I picked up New Girl in Little Cove by Damhnait Monaghan. This book is set in modern day Newfoundland. I felt as though I’d switched the soundtrack from Mozart to Great Big Sea.

That got me to thinking about the music I might associate with my own books. For the Prospect Series, Gord Lightfoot’s Canadian Railroad Trilogy was an obvious choice. It combines the excitement of opening up a new land with the hardships that come with the adventure. The fact the song has three parts plays well into my storylines as well.

I’m currently working on a short read with an older couple. I don’t have a particular song in mind, but I’m thinking of a community dance. I went to many of those in my younger years. The music ranged from waltzes to square dances to The Twist — the music wasn’t the most important thing–it was who chose you for a partner! And yes, in those days the boys did the choosing and the girls did the hoping. With that image of the town Odd Fellows Hall and the homegrown band in my ears, I can stay in the story world more easily.

I tried out my idea on my author friend in Australia and learned that she had specific songs in mind when writing her books too. “Yes my books do have theme songs… although not always logical. Evil in Emerald was ‘Cat Like Tread’ from Pirates of Penzance, The Postmistress was ‘Peter Hollens Shenandoah’ and The Gold Miner’s Sister was ‘Shallow’ from the latest Star is Born movie. The oddest was probably ‘Arms’ by Christina Perri which was the theme for Gather the Bones.

So, why have a soundtrack for your story?

  1. Tone  The soundtrack playing in your mind will keep the tone of your writing consistent. The English language is rich and varied. Authors have many choices for the “right” word. A song can help make those choices better. Is your book a stately gavotte or a rollicking sea shanty?
  2. Mood  Even though stories move through light and dark times, a book can be strengthened if there is a consistent mood. War stories carry that hint of danger even when we aren’t on the battlefield. Children’s books are full of wonder, regardless of the actual scene. When the reader puts down the book, what do you want her mood to be?
  3. Setting  I am an author who views setting as a “character” in a story.  The mountains in my Prospect books, for example, played a role in the heroines’ reflective scenes. Those towering peaks gave strength and courage to Lottie and Emma and Louisa.
  4. Inspiration  “What happens next?” is a constant question before a writer.  The lyrics or the music of your soundtrack can provide some ideas. Country and western songs are legendary for telling a complete story from joy to heartbreak in only a few lines.  Tammy Wynette’s   Stand by your man, give him two arms to cling to
    And something warm to come to/When nights are cold and lonely.–might provide the nudge to take your story down a different path.
  5. Fun  Sitting at a keyboard or holding a pen over a lined notepad, can get lonely and dreary.  We all start this journey because we want to tell a story, we love words, we want to send our ideas into the world. That’s the part that makes us want to write. But the process from idea to finished work can be a slog. The soundtrack playing in our heads can remind us to have fun. Maybe we could all “Whistle While You Work.”

What about you? As a reader do you hear music in a book? As a writer do you consciously choose a soundtrack to accompany your story?

Visits: 159

My Summer Vacation

    In my part of the world, school starts this week. Even though I’m long past school age, at this time of year I still get the urge to purchase a clean note-book and a sharp pencil with a fresh eraser. Another back to school ritual is the “how I spent my summer vacation” essay. I think teachers used that topic in the first week to give themselves time to organize the classroom and memorize the students’ names. Anyway, here’s my essay.

       First, I took a break from writing this blog. I don’t cope well with hot weather and we had lots of hot days this summer. The weeds flourished, but the garden suffered from a cold, wet spring. Even plants that grew well failed to produce much fruit as the bees were missing at the vital time. For years we’ve been hearing about the loss of honey bees and how that effected the honey producers. This year, every gardener in my neighbourhood witnessed the effects of no bees first hand.  I’m preparing for next spring by hunting for bird feathers on the beach. If it is too cold for bees at blossom time, I’ll use the feather for a little human-assisted pollination. 

The lovely Jennie Crusie hosts a blog called Argh Ink One day a week she asks the question, “What made you happy this week?” I love reading the answers. Happiness, it seems, comes in many different forms. For me, happiness is good friends. So I’ve spent a good part of vacation time re-connecting with friends finally coming out of COVID protection. I know the virus is still out there and poised to whack the world again, but we’ve all been lonely these past few years so I’m hoping the endorphins released by laughter, along with all my vaccines and boosters, will help my immune system win the battle. Plus, I’m staying off cruise ships. I know a lot of healthy people who went on a cruise and came home with COVID.

    Over the Labour Day weekend, I had triple happiness as I was able to combine my garden, friendship, and nostalgia with a trip to our annual Fall Fair.  The photo at left shows my ribbon haul. I consider it a win if I get ribbons on at least 50% of my entries and enough prize money to cover my entry fees and my admission to the grounds. I declare success on all fronts this year.

   I reconnected with my farm roots as I walked among the horses and cows and chickens and sheep. (See photo at top.) Jeans and straw hats bring happy memories. Score one for nostalgia.

   Then,  I met my friend at the fair. We’ve been doing that for over twenty years. This  long friendship makes me happy. Our fair experience together is also a happy one. I give her produce from my garden, she makes jam and wins a prize. We’re in this together!

    Speaking of friends, my pen pal from the other side of the world is a “best seller” in Canada with the first book in her Guardians of the Crown series, By the Sword. So, I’m happy for her.

   So, the first day of school is over. I’ve written my essay. Tomorrow the real year begins.

  What did you do for your summer vacation? Did it make you happy? 

Visits: 59

A Beginning

The calendar reads July, summer, hot days, lazy days, vacation days, winding down days. January or September is the time for new things, days when the weather is sharp and clear, the garden is put to rest and a new term has begun. Yet, today I began work on two new projects. When the mood strikes . . .

First I organized a reading list for my book club. We won’t meet until September but many of us like to have the reading list in advance so we can get a head start. We’ll read nine books over the fall and winter. We take December, July and August off. The suggestion list is long and enticing. I had a hard time paring my choices to nine. Some I’ve read before, like The Dictionary of Lost Words. Much as I enjoyed that book and think it would make for a great discussion, I didn’t vote for it because there were so many other intriguing suggestions.

Ann Patchett is on the list and she’s one of my favourites so one of my votes went there. There’s a history of Victoria that I want to read even if it doesn’t make the final cut.  There’s a family saga that will go into my TBR pile, along with a romance, a couple of mysteries and a Canadian Classic, Fifth Business, by Robertson Davies. There is a book set in Japan, another written by a First Nations author and another set in Afghanistan. 

I’ve mentioned my book club before on this blog. We’ve been reading together since 2000, with the same core members. Of course, over twenty two years there have been some changes. We all started out as working women and now we’re all retired. We’ve seen each other through some major life changes, like big moves or the loss of a parent or a spouse. We’ve read nearly 200 books — everything from children’s literature to William Faulkner. Through the medium of books, we’ve gotten to know each other very well. 

The marquis at my local gas station reads “the best antique is an old friend.” Well, my book club is full of some genuine “antiques.”

The other new thing I’ve started is a contemporary story with a “seasoned” heroine. Since I usually write historical with twenty-something heroines, this is a whole new endeavour, but I’ve started it in July, so there must be something drawing me on. 

One of the advantages of growing older is that we become more secure in who we are. I’m hoping that attribute will be one of the main characteristics of my heroine. Instead of a girl/woman feeling her way into adulthood, I’ll write about a woman who knows her own mind. Who knows what she values in a partner, and knows the cost of love is often heartbreak.

I hope you are all enjoying the lazy, hazy days of summer. Unless you live in Australia, in which case I hope you enjoy the nip of frost in the air and a warm apple cider by the fire.

 

Visits: 47

« Older posts Newer posts »

© 2024 Alice Valdal

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑