Category: Uncategorised (Page 1 of 23)

Generation Gap

doing homeworkI didn’t post to this blog last week because I had out-of-town company. In fact, I had out-of-province company. It was wonderful to have family come for a visit — a reminder of the special bond of kinship. I was thrilled to discover my great niece is a reader. A visit to my local book store was a highlight of the trip for her. Her brother was more intrigued by the toy store next door. ūüôā Her choices were all unknown to me. In fact, we didn’t have any book references in common.¬†

 

Co-incidentally I read an interesting paper at Writer Unboxed on the need to “explain” our use of language. The question was whether the reader would “get” the author’s references. I was astonished to learn that a seasoned author presented draft ms to young critique partner only to find the reader didn’t understand the allusion to women in the 1950’s attending university in order to obtain an MRS. degree.¬† That was such a common conception in my day I simply assumed it was part of our collective conscience.¬† Now I question all the idioms I thought were universal. How many people who hear “David and Goliath” know the Biblical story? If a rogue “meets his Waterloo,” does the average reader understand Napoleon’s defeat at that place?

My aforementioned great-niece is a “tween” and very specific about the books she reads. The Baby-Sitters Club is top of the wish list. She’s also keen on mysteries, however, despite high praise from her mother, grandmother and great-aunt, she refuses to read Nancy Drew!¬†

How will our generations talk to each other if we don’t have the same reference points?¬† If coming generations don’t read the classics like Little Women, or Anne of Green Gables, where will we find common ground for conversation let alone for reading? To be fair, I haven’t rushed off to the YA section of my library in search of Dog Man either.¬†

My book club meets today. The book under discussion involves a different culture and contains many culturally specific words. The author made no attempt to explain these terms to the reader, leaving us with the choice of putting the book down while we hunted up a dictionary, or skipping the unknown word and carrying on with the story. The approach did not resonate with me. I would have preferred that the author make some attempt to describe a piece of clothing rather than merely assign a foreign word and put the reader to the trouble of researching the vocabulary. Again, I must review my own writing for references that may be meaningless to some readers.

It seems authors must always be prepared for new challenges. And we must seek the balance between assuming our readers share our background and education and treating them like preschoolers who must have every word explained.

What do you think? Do you want plentiful explanation in  your fiction reading or do you just want to get on with the story?

 

Views: 79

History Matters

Canadians landing at June Beach June 6 1944

June 6, 2024 will mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day. Already, around the world countries, armed forces, and ordinary citizens are preparing to commemorate this historical milestone. We are talking about our history.

Earlier this week, Americans marked Memorial Day with tributes to men and women who fell while serving in the armed forces. They are talking about history.

“. . . the most important thing I learned from Dr. Sloan and Ancient History 101 was that there is more to history than facts, more to truth than reality. . . . once upon a time, I thought that history was carved in stone.” Diane Schoemperlen in Our Lady of the Lost and Found.¬†

The above quote was an eye-opener for me. I, too, am of the generation who believed that history was carved in stone. Events happened. Facts are facts. If the textbook records it, it must be true. So, it is not surprising that the revisionism of our modern age disturbs me. But if there is more to history than facts, it is equally true that we must consider the facts when studying history.

As a lover of history I have been unsettled by the “cancel culture” rampant in my world. Men and women I considered heroes are being villified as racists. Accomplishments of past generations are rewritten as disasters. Values, once honoured, are mocked as Imperialist propoganda.¬†

As a writer of historical fiction, my dilemma grows. Do I portray the past by the standards of the time or through the lens of modern sensibilities?

Do I throw up my hands in despair and retire from public discussion altogether? Given the amount of venom spewed on social media, that last option seems wise. 

But, did men die on the beaches on D-Day in order for me to play the coward? Is their heroism to be crushed into the sands of time and forgotten?¬† To bury my head in the sand while the voices of tyrants and aggressors grow louder, is unconscionable.¬† As one who has benefited from the vision and courage and sacrifice of previous generations, I am honour-bound to “remember them.”

Sir John A. MacDonald, the founding father of Canada, is one historical figure who has been recast as a villain, given his record on residential schools. But that reading of his character disregards the time he lived in, the society he was born into, and the many other facets of his characters. This article has its own bias, but is at least a scholarly approach to the man and his times. 

A recent essay at Writer Unboxed also touched on our understanding of history and our response to war. What lifted my spirits on reading this article was the author’s desire to commemorate hope.

Finally, a story in my local newspaper, the Times-Colonist filled me with optimism. It is the story of a piano teacher who has assigned her students to write musical compositions in memory of a fallen soldier from World War II. The program, called “Music for Veterans Project,” connects students and veterans in a unique way. The young musicians are given a package with information about a fallen soldier. They are told to research the life of the solider, find his family if possible, learn about his likes and dislikes. What was his favourite food? Did he play in instrument?

Armed with this detailed knowledge, the young musician composes a piano piece in honour of the man who died. They then play their composition at a Veteran’s Lodge.

Through the life of someone who may not have lived beyond his twenty-first birthday, old soldiers and young students are brought together in a very meaningful way. I still believe that those who do not remember their history are doomed to repeat it. So, knowing that these dedicated piano students are remembering and connecting with the past gives me hope.

I am of a generation who has only known peace, but I have studied history. The parallels between today and the 1930’s is frightening. I pray to God that enough of us will remember history and work to avert the forces of hatred and greed, that we will subdue the desire for power, and recognize the “other” as a fellow human being.¬†

History has shown us the disaster that will follow if we fail.

Views: 26

Jane and the Brand

 

This week my book club meets and we are each bringing a different book by Jane Austen. I chose The Watson’s,¬†which was an unfinished fragment left by Miss Austen when she died. Various members of her family tried to complete the ms using Jane’s notes and her sister’s (Cassandra) recollections. Each of these writers used the original manuscript and then tagged on an ending of his/her own, trying to imitate Jane Austen. The version I read is one completed by John Coates — no relation of the Austen’s — that is a rewrite of the whole book, including the part that Miss Austen left unfinished.

It must have taken considerable¬†confidence to re-write the famous author’s original words, but Coates argues that she left only a rough draft and would have edited it herself if she had ever finished it for publication. The result is seamless. I cannot tell what is original to Austen and what was added by John Coates.

This book was a very enjoyable read, but I felt it hadn’t the depth of Austen’s finished works and lacked the humour and gentle mocking of “society” so wonderfully achieved in the major novels. Still, reading what is essentially a rough draft makes it easier to recognize the main characteristics of a Jane Austen novel.

To use modern terminology, the book follows the Austen “brand.” We have a gaggle of sisters, an ailing father, a great need for husbands, faithless suitors, a worthy but awkward hero, a country ball, gossip, and the many restrictions placed upon young ladies of this age. (If reading about the powerlessness of women of that era, whether rich or poor, doesn’t get your women’s lib passion frothing, you’re missing the point!)

Over the years I’ve read many articles and attended many lectures on “branding.” Often the emphasis is on visual similarity like covers and websites being instantly recognizable as belonging to a particular author. Since Jane Austen’s books were first published, they have gone through many editions and different publishers, so the “look-alike” covers don’t apply. But, I think, her story elements are just as reconizable as production elements like cover-art and author name.¬†

The branding lectures often focus so much on the art, the colours, the fonts, and the back blurb that they overlook what is between the covers. But, when it comes down to it, don’t readers come back to their favourite authors because of the story, the style, the voice, and the reliability of the writer to spin a tale that resonates and satisfies.

Spending my last week in Jane Austen world, I’ve wondered far from the Canadian frontier, and gold prospectors, and building a new country, but it has been fun to take a ” walk on the tame side,” just for a change.

What about you? Are you a confirmed “Janeite?” Do you have a favourite Jane Austen novel? A favourite character? Or are you firmly in the modern world and have no time for picnics and balls and changing your clothes five times a day?

 

Views: 41

To Love and to Cherish

Why do we read romance novels? For most, it is the desire to experience again that rush of first love — the euphoria, the hope, and the passion. Writers who can tap into that moment meet the expectations of the genre and attract readers by the hundreds of thousands.¬†

And why not? Can anything be better than falling in love? 

I’ll betray my age, when I say yes, there is something better. There is living and loving throughout life, sharing all the ups and downs, the heartaches and the joys, with a beloved partner. Living the “for better, for worse” part brings a deep contentment that may not be thought of in the excitement of a wedding.

How many twenty-somethings really imagine living together in old age when they blithely promise “in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, so long as we both shall live?” Youth is blessed with a sense of immortality. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, the young believe that “it won’t happen to us.” We’ll never need a cane, we’ll never lose our figure, our skin will never wrinkle, our strength will never wane. In this case, denial is a good thing. It makes us take risks, it makes us hope, it keeps the human race trying to make a better world. It keeps the human race alive.¬†

There is a subset in the romance genre called “seasoned romance,” that features older characters as the love interest. Some of these books consider thirty to be “seasoned” but I think they miss the mark. It takes a lot of living to be well and truly seasoned. But what a joy when one reaches that stage of life when the bloom of youth is gone, some dreams have been set aside, some ambitions unrealized,¬† to find that even then, you are cherished by a loving spouse. Someone still sees you as beautiful, someone still thinks an hour in your company better than a week at the carnival, someone will still kiss your hurts and make them better.

I love that word – cherish. It means so much more than love. To cherish to to act, to decide, to care for and to support. Love, as an emotion, is fickle, fleeting and unreliable. Cherish is steadfast.

There is a song, “I”ll Walk Beside You,”¬† that sums up this idea. I can’t listen to it without a tear in my eye. I’ve provided a link to a recording by Kenneth McKeller. Bet you can’t listen to the end without a clutch of your heartstrings.

I’ll Walk Beside You

I’ll walk beside you through the world today
While dreams and songs and flowers bless your way
I’ll look into your eyes and hold your hand
I’ll walk beside you through the golden land

I’ll walk beside you through the world tonight
Beneath the starry skies ablaze with light
Within your soul love’s tender words I’ll hide
I’ll walk beside you through the eventide

I’ll walk beside you through the passing years
Through days of cloud and sunshine, joys and tears
And when the great call comes, the sunset gleams
I’ll walk beside you to the land of dreams.

— Edward Lockton and Alan Murray

Views: 315

7 Reasons I Love Heroes

My writers group held a workshop last week on the anti-hero. Most people in the room could rhyme off whole lists of such characters and always with a little sigh, a yearning for the “bad boy.” The anti-hero is a very popular trope in modern day romance, not only in books but also in movies and television.¬†

To create the anti-hero archetype, we needed to look at heroic qualities and then turn them around. 

 


Hero                                                              Anti-Hero

     Selfless                                                                      Selfish

    Brave                                                                          Cowardly

   Honest                                                                        Dishonest

    Loyal                                                                            Untrustworthy  

   Moral                                                                          Follows his own code

   Kind                                                                               Self-centred

   Acts for the good of all                                     Acts only for himself


Of course,¬† these seven attributes are only a partial list of traits of both characters, but I’d choose the ¬†“hero” over the “anti-hero” any day of the week.¬† I admit to finding the scoundrel style anti-hero amusing, think Professor Hill in The Music Man, or Bret Maverick¬† ¬† but do I¬† really want that man in my life? Could I trust him in the long run? When would his charm become irritating? When would he run off and leave me destitute?¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†

In our cynical world it is fashionable to scoff at the guy in the white hat, but I like my old-fashioned heroes. Matt Dillon in Gunsmoke, risked his life over and over again to keep the town safe. He was loyal. He was honest. He watched out for the misfits. You could trust your life to a man like that. 

Now I will outrage Jane Austen fans by suggesting that Mr. Darcy is not a hero.¬† He is arrogant, rude, self-centred. He has no compunction about destroying Jane and Mr. Bingley’s happiness, because of his pride. Where is the kindness in that? Admittedly, by the end of the book he has acted to protect Elizabeth and her silly sister but only because he can’t help himself from loving Elizabeth, not from any innate kindness. It sounds very romantic that Mr. Darcy will sacrifice himself for love but really . . . what kind of marriage lies ahead? Elizabeth will have all that lovely money but will she spend the rest of her life apologizing for her family? For not being the woman he would choose if love hadn’t played havoc with his plans? Will he always look down his nose at her? Will she always be “less than?”

I predict Jane and Mr. Bingley will have the happier life together.

The heroes in my books are definitely “white hat” types. Sean O’Connor in The Man for Her, has set aside his own dreams for years in order to look after his family.¬† He is brave –the rustler scene; loyal — the fist-fight over Lottie’s honour; kind — the way he treats Michael.

In Her One and Only, Grey North has some dark secrets in his past, but he puts aside his own desires to please his mother. He goes out of his way to protect Emma when secrets from her past threaten her life. He behaves honourably when he realizes he has compromised her.  He is a community leader in the growing town of Prospect, and he wins our hearts with a lavish gesture to show his love for Emma.

In Her One True Love, I’ve given heroic qualities to two men. Jack Kendal is a mounted policeman, committed to serve and protect, even at great personal cost. Daniel Stanton is a clergyman, his life dedicated to helping and serving others. Louisa has a hard time choosing between these two men because both are selfless, brave and kind. They fit the model of a hero.

In our politically correct world the term “hero” is being replaced with protagonist or main character. Those terms work well for the anti-hero, but they are too wishy-washy to describe the real hero of my romances. I’m old-fashioned enough to want the “good buy” even if he finishes last, over the “bad boy.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Views: 70

6 Nostalgia Tips for Writers

Browsing through a box of old family photos and scrapbooks, I found myself weeping, while remembering happy events. Why such contradictory emotions? Nostalgia. 

The dictionary defines nostalgia as :¬†a wistful desire to return in thought or in fact to a former time in one’s life, to one’s home or homeland, or to one’s family and friends; a sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time.

That seems like a dry definition for such an emotional state.  

A further exploration of nostalgia determines it is a truly meaningful emotional experience, usually fleeting and fragile, that underlines a sense of something lost and finding it again, for one brief moment.  As one paper put it In that moment, you are connected; you have placed a phone call directly into the past and heard an answering voice .

Longing and Loss

In preparing this post I read several papers on nostalgia and they consistently pinpointed longing and loss as critical to feelings of nostalgia. That is why I cried over photos of happy times. They are gone now, the people passed away or scattered, the places changed almost beyond recognition. The happy memories are edged with loss. 

Beyond the dictionary definition, nostalgia evokes powerful emotions and thus, is useful to a writer of romance. In this genre, perhaps more than any other, the emotional reponse of the reader is paramount. We want our readers to fall in love with the hero, to weep with the disappointed, to despise the villain.

Nostalgia for Writers

    So, how can we, as writers, use the power of nostalgia to add impact to our stories?

    1. We can use it to put ourselves in an emotional state. Look at an old photo or call up an incident in your memory, that evokes nostalgia in you. Now that the writer is feeling fragile, vulnerable and maybe a little weepy, she can transfer that state to the character on the page.                                                                                                                                                             
    2. Use nostalgia triggers to hook the reader. The town of Mayberry never existed, yet millions of viewers identify with the place and the time, when they watch the Andy Griffith show. Why?¬† Because they long for the security and friendship and sense of belonging that attach to Aunt Bea, Opie and the rest. I’m not suggesting you set your book in Mayberry, but use a word or two to tap into that longing that resides in your reader and you’ll have them hookedon your story.¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†
    3. ¬†Find triggers for your characters that will call forth a response from readers as well. Perhaps your heroine catches the scent of apple blossom and is swept back to a happy time in her own life. Even if your reader doesn’t like apple blossom, the sense of smell is a strong trigger for memory and they may recall their own favourite blossom or scent.¬† I just read an article citing red roses as a touchstone and my mind flashed to my Dad. To him, the only real flower was a red rose. In an instant, I was down the rabbit hole of memory, and the blog post that mentioned a red rose became memorable to me.¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†
    4. We all share a longing to belong, to be part of a continum, to have roots. Help your¬† characters to find their HEA, by giving them that place, literal or figurative, that is “home.” The place they belong.¬† Call upon your own nostalgic moments to define the emotions that surround that place. ¬† ¬†
    5.   In historical fiction, incorporating nostalgic elements can enhance the tone and setting to draw the reader into your imaginary world. Who can resist the image of a team of draft horses pulling a plough across the wide prairie? You can even mention the smell of leather harness, the dust in the nostrils of the ploughman, and the heat of the sun beating down from a cloudless sky.                                                                                                                                           
    6. Use nostalgic writing for reflection. Let your character muse on the passage of time since she was the prom queen at her high school, and all the changes and growth she has experienced since then. She may look back fondly or sadly on the girl she was then. That’s a decision for the author. Whichever it is, the reader will be drawn in — she’ll reflect on her own teen years, she’ll be emotional, maybe even shed a tear– and she’ll love your book.

    There are many ways a writer can tap into the powerful emotions that nostalgia elicits, these are only a few. Don’t pound your reader with all of them at once, but sprinkle a few bits here and there. Your story will have that little bit extra emotional writing that readers crave.

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    Views: 70

    Join the Choir — Live!

    Happy spring, every one.

    This post is late going out because I’ve been busy with happiness.¬†

    This morning the World Happiness Report  came out. My country, Canada, ranks 15th in overall happiness and Finland ranks as number one, again.  Interestingly, in Canada, the under thirty cohort ranks as the unhappiest group in the country. Researchers suggest that social media is partly responsible. Younger people are on their devices much more than older Canadians. As we all know, social media highlights bad news, anger, outrage and disaster. No wonder constant users are less happy.

    Last week, I went to a vocal workshop. I didn’t learn much about vocalizing that I didn’t already know, but the presenter made quite a case for singing in a choir. Since 99% of the particpants were choristers, he was, literally, preaching to the choir. ūüôā He did have some impressive research to back up his message. Singing promotes longer and happier life. For one thing, singing is a physical exercise and requires good breathing technique. More oxygen to the body promotes better physical health and better cognitive health. Singing makes us happy so joining the choir relieves depression.

    Singing in a choir is also a social activitiy and that brings me to the point of this post. I haven’t spent a lot of time at the keyboard this week because I’ve been meeting with friends. As we all know, reading and writing, by nature, are solitary activities. Much as we all enjoy losing ourselves in a story or getting really stuck into the writing, we need to take time away from being in our heads and go out and be with others.¬†

    As a writer, I keep in touch with a few writing friends — we had coffee together on Monday. Time spent with them keeps me in the writing mindset, but it also opens my mind to other points of view, to news from the writing world and to some hearty laughs over any number of things.

    Later today, my book club (readers) meets. We’ll chat about the latest book on our list — another “misfit” story — and discuss if the author was successful at involving us with her characters. If so, why. If not, why not. Kind of like the “compare and contrast” questions on a school literature exam. We’ll also catch up on each other’s family news, lament the state of the world, and find lots to laugh about.

    Tomorrow I’ll go to choir practice and the day after that I’ll visit with an older writer friend who has been bereaved. Kudos to her for knowing the value of coffee dates even in the midst of grief.

    I can read and write by myself. I can find news in the media or on-line. But I don’t get the sharing and laughter that face-to-face meetings allow. Do you know that loneliness is now ranked as a health risk? That doesn’t mean a person has no people around. The studies refer to the “lonely in a crowd” feeling. Writers and readers might recognize this as a trope in poplular fiction. But, even though it can underpin a good story, it is not good for mental health.¬†

    So now you know my excuses for the delay in posting this blog. 

    Now do yourself a favour and go join a choir!

     

     

    Views: 71

    Why Use a Remote Narrator?

    It seems every magazine article, blog post or email I’ve read this week talks about getting readers to “feel” the emotions of your story. Mostly the writers conclude that writing in deep POV is the way to get that emotional reaction from readers. For those of us who’ve been in the game for a while, this is not new advice.¬†

    I remember when I was a brand new writer, as yet unpublished, attending a workshop with Lynn Kerstan (Yes, it was a long time ago.). She talked about getting into character when she was writing from a male point-of-view. She said she’d sprawl in her chair in typical manspread style, loosen the top button of her jeans, roll her sleeves up to the elbows and stare at the ceiling while pretending to chew on a cigar.¬†

    Remember, this was a long time ago. My apologies to the sensitive males among us who would never act in that way. The point is, she was trying to physically take on the characteristics of her male characater in order to write in his deep point of view.

    As I write historical fiction, I often find a visit to a museum or one of the lovely old store fronts in my town help to put me in the right frame of mind for the story. Vintage fashion is a sure key to open the door to women’s lives in the late nineteenth century.

    Given all that, I was surprised that the two most recent books I read, set the narrator at a distance from the main characters. The reader was not “in” the story, she was “watching” from the outside.¬†

    Why would an author do that?

    In both cases, the plot centred on survivors of extreme violence, one a soldier from WWI and the other an officer in a rural police force. One might think that the writer would want the reader to experience the trauma of these characters but perhaps that was too intense, maybe even from the author’s perspective. Perhaps she was afraid that too much gore would turn the reader away.

    Also, it wasn’t the actual traumatic event that was key to the story, it was the effect of the event on the characters years later. The retired soldier who could never close his eyes without seeing the battlefield, who could never get the stench of rotting flesh from his nostrils. The police officer who fears for his life every time he knocks on a door or makes a traffic stop.

    As might be expected these stories were slow moving. The change that happened occurred largely in the chracters’ minds and in their relationships. Still, the books were memorable. I’ve no doubt the characters and ideas expressed in them will dwell in¬† my mind. I’ll have more compassion for the police officers and others who deal with the horrors of modern society. Every day on the news we hear of a shooting or an accident with deaths. The news stories don’t tell us the gory details.¬†

    In the police officer story the narrator relates a bus accident with seniors. The officers spent all day “matching body parts.” And that was only one day. The horrors build on each other day after day, year after year. When you think about it, it’s a wonder any of our first responders manage to hang onto their humanity. During COVID we hailed them as heroes. They are still heroes, even if the pandemic has abated.

    The books I read were gifts. I don’t think I would choose a story with a remote POV, but I’m glad I read them. With all the experts shouting deep POV at us, it is enlightening to read from a different perspective.

    Isn’t that what makes books so wonderful? You never know what insights lurk between the covers.

     

    This week two books from “observer” narration.

    Views: 90

    Role of the Story Teller

    One of the happiest times of my week is Saturday morning, when my husband and I listen to a story on CD. Often that story is told by Stuart McLean. I’ve written about Stuart before on this blog. Follow the link if you want to re-read. He died seven years ago this month, and yet, his stories still bring me to tears and make me laugh out loud. What a legacy.¬†

    Listening to his tales makes me think about the role of the story teller. As writers I’m sure we’d love to think our tales will touch people years after we’ve gone.¬† If so, what kind of legacy do we want to leave?

    If I were a humourist, I’d want to “leave ’em laughing,” as Stuart has done. If I were a crusader, I might like to highlight the plight of the poor, as Charles Dickens did. If I were a classicist, I might hope to retell Greek tales in modern language, like the opera composer Niccol√≤ Zingarelli. or William Walton.¬†

    But I am none of those. I am a spinner of simple tales, told to a small audience, who want to read about love and happily ever after and maybe learn about a short period of history in Canada. What legacy can I leave?

    I think Stuart McLean teaches me that tales do not have to be told on a grand scale, but they do have to be told with humanity. The characters we create must be relatable. No one is all good and no one is all bad. The “hero” of McLean’s stories, Dave, is about as awkward, and inept, and well-intentioned as a man can be. I don’t think any of the listeners aspire to mimic Dave’s misadventures. I think we do covet his goodness. Dave’s schemes inevitably go awry, yet, in the end, his kindness, his basic humanity, and his affection for both friend and foe shine through. A character worth emulating. A legacy worth leaving.

    Lottie, in The Man for Her, is stubborn and headstrong. She rejects Sean’s love because he won’t bend to her will. Someone who has been disappointed in love could identify with Lottie. My hope, as an author and a caring human, is that, in the end, my story will touch that disappointed lover, show her another way, help her give love another chance.

    The Christmas short stories I share with my newsletter subscribers are intended to lift hearts, to remind us of what Christmas is about. When we look for light in the darkest days of winter,  I want to bring hope, peace, joy and love to my readers.

    The story I’m writing now is about an older heroine, who has loved and lost. Perhaps it will help someone learning one of life’s hardest lessons. Grief is universal. None of us can escape death. Our culture tries to deny death, or hide it away, but every human heart will suffer that great loss. If I can tell a story that helps one soul in grief, I have done a good thing.

    My legacy will not show up in the history books, but I hope it will touch at least one person. I hope the tales I tell will make someone’s world a better place.

    What about you, dear reader/writer? Do you wonder about your own legacy? What is your goal?

    Views: 39

    Happy New Year

    Yes, I know it is February, but I got sick shortly after New Year’s Eve and have spent the first month of 2024 with the covers over my head and cough drops at the ready. Not COVID 19. Rather, I got the cold-that-never-ends! For weeks I’d go to bed at night thinking I would be better in the morning, only to wake up worse off than the day before.¬† Apparently, many others have experienced this virus so I can’t even claim to be medically unique.

    Some authors would have used time like this to power through their manscript. Sadly, my brain was functioning only at a basic level, i.e. eat, sleep, sneeze. Even my reading was only accomplished in short bursts. I couldn’t even get through my Christmas haul of new books.

    In one of those short bursts, I got confirmation of something I have long suspected to be true for myself. I read better on paper. On screen, I tend to skim. For that reason, I pay the big bucks to order my favourite authors in paperback as opposed to e-books. 

    I learned a few new words.

    • Trichobezoar¬†is another word for “hairball.” So the next time my cat embarrasses me by barfing in front of company, I can just use the big word and feel better. Kind of like Mary Poppins’ Supercalifragalisticexpialidotious.¬†¬†I half-watched the movie from my sickbed and marvelled at what a spirit lifter it is.
    • The collective noun for hummingbirds is charm. What a beautiful sentiment. Outside my window is a charm of hummingbirds. In reality, hummingbirds are fierce little beasts who won’t share the feeder. They leave the flowers to fight off invaders. In other words, they’d rather starve than share. Not so charming!
    • Clutter is one of the words used to describe a bunch of cats. If you’ve ever had a couple of cats twisting about your ankles you’ll appreciate the sentiment. A¬† clutter of cats is digging up my garden.

    I also learned that readers enjoy seeing pet pictures on blogs. With that in mind, here are a couple from my “clutter.”¬†

    Now, my weary brain has to rest. I am recovering, but the journey is slow. I hope all my readers are enjoying robust health and gobbling up thier favourite books, whether on screen or on paper.

     

     

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