Time sure flies when you're working your butt off. The Boiled Cat book is out. Touch, my new book from Lorimer SideStreets is also out (both in the same month) and now it's time to party. The Boiled Cat book launch will be held on April 25, 7:00 PM at the New Black Centre in Calgary, Alberta (Doors at 6:00 and entrance at the back of the building). MJDiva (rock and blues) and Thrashadactyl (thrash metal) will be performing. Boiled Cat books (and all my SideStreets books)will be available for purchase and I will be there reading and signing. It will be a fun night - so head on down. I will also be announcing a really fun Boiled Cat contest. You could win your own Boiled Cat t-shirt from the Boiled Cat shop. So stay tuned for that announcement.
Some of the people I most admire talk about fear. How they felt it during their work. How during a new endeavour, that later became such a defining moment in their career, at the beginning, terrified them. Many of them felt like a fraud about to be caught out. And it’s not the people you would expect. It’s people you look at now and say – wow, he or she really knew their path. But they didn’t. It was a gamble. But instead of running from their fear, they put forth extraordinary effort, stood steady in the trembling wind. And what I’ve learned from this is that you can’t fail without trying. And that failure is in itself a reward for trying. Therefore failure is not a negative thing. It is a leap. A badge proving you went forward. That you are more than the ones who turned away when the terrifying task was set upon the table. And do not forget that alongside failure is success – which you also do not gain without attempt.
So whether I succeed or fail, no matter how afraid or fraudulent I feel at the task set before me – I am going forward and I will see just what happens. Whatever it is, it may well be extraordinary.
After over thirty or more hours of editing, long days, and bleary eyes, I have finally uploaded the final draft of Boiled Cat to the publisher, Createspace. It's a print on demand publisher run out of Amazon. So far Boiled Cat seems to be on schedule for a big launch some time in late March or early April along with its huge and interactive website and Boiled Cat store full of t-shirts and books.
On the other hand, in less than two weeks my other book Touch will be hitting the shelves and virtual shelves of the online book stores - put there by Lorimer Sidestreets. It's due out March first and can be pre-ordered right now. http://www.lorimer.ca/childrens/Book/S/32/2491/Touch.html
Both, though different books, have teen characters willing to fight for what they believe in. And while one does it through hacking (Touch) and the other does it through punk rock (Boiled Cat). Both boys aren't the type to back down from a fight.
You can check out more about each book by visiting their pages on this site - Boiled Cat and Touch.
The “Dear Lucky Agent” Contest is a recurring online contest
with agent judges and super-cool prizes. This year they are looking for Science
Fiction novels (adults or teens) and any kind of Young Adult novel. If you write
in these genres, then this contest is for you. If not - try again next year,
they will have different niche genres. The contest is live through January 31,
2013. So enter now. More details found here: http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/13th-free-dear-lucky-agent-contest-young-adult-and-sci-fi
Two truths and a lie – ever played it? It’s a game where you say two things that are true about yourself and one thing that isn’t and the people you are with try to pick out the lie. The more detail the lie has, the more it tends to be believable. It’s like that in writingThe more details you add, the more senses you use, the more you know about your subject – the more your writing sounds real.
I was writing a creepy scene where my main character walked through a rather rundown neighborhood in London, England. I had never been to this neighborhood in my life. The last time I was in England, I was twelve and nowhere near this place. So to research I found a walking tour on the internet. It was just visuals, but it gave me a good impression of things. Then I read articles about the neighborhood, just a couple, for flavor. I found out about how the police handled things and what was socially acceptable. After that I picked one image for each of my senses to work into my scene. Then I plotted the whole thing out.
I think the resulting scene is one of my best works. One of the people in my critique group said, “I can really tell you’ve been there.” That made me happy. So bring the techniques of two truths and a lie into your work and see just what it can do.
I can't recommend the WordsWorth program enough. If you are a youth writer, go to this retreat. It will change your life.
Drink the Wild Air
Come join us at the WordsWorth Winter Retreat! March 1-3 at Camp Chief Hector. Why there, you ask? “Nature has no outline. Imagination has” William Blake
March 1-3 we’re heading to the mountains for another Creative Writing Re-treat and of
course, we hope you’ll be there! But why do we keep bringing our writing to the outdoors?William Carlos Williams said things close to the nose aren’t proper subjects. Not all writing can be direct self-expression. Looking inward can keep poets and writ-ers from looking outward. And so we’re taking you outdoors this time to Camp Chief Hector to partner with the outdoor staff to notice evocative new images and to have fresh adventure. And then we’ll create time to take these new images and experiences
...and collaborate them with language. So even if you already have a relationship with
the natural world, this one will be new.The locale of the happening always colours the
happening, and often, to a degree, shapes it novelist Elizabeth Brown observed.
So join us and DRINK THE WILD AIR March 1 – 3, 2013 at Camp Chief Hector
YMCA in Kananaskis, Alberta. Thaw your brainfreeze with warm words and we hope
you will find an unexpected connection between the outdoors and words.
To register or click here: http://drinkthewildair2013.eventbrite.ca/
We will be outdoors, indoors writing, up late writing under the stars, sleeping
late -ish. There will be campfire, music, parlour games, Exquisite Corpse Games... the fun will never end.
Oh, yes it will. On Sunday just after lunch. But in true Words-worth fashion, we will pack the fun in. We’re even offering a bus out from Calgary on the Friday night.
Ahh! The cover of my new, self published book Boiled Cat came in today. I was asked which draft I liked (there were two) and what changes I wanted (I get to make changes twice and then it's set in stone - unless I pay more money). This is so stressful! I toyed with the cover. Tried to make it as best I could. I tried to make it appealing. Made notes. Felt sick to my stomach. Second guessed myself. Then finally sent everything back to the publisher. Now I have to wait five days to find out if I made the right choices. This self publishing thing is hard. I wish I had a crystal ball to see how it all ends. Then again... maybe not.
When I was in high school the school counsellor asked me what I was going to do after school. Of course I said, “I’m going to be a writer.” At this point I had already written a novel, had a one act play produced that did quite well in the local festival and had the same play reach the top five in a province wide playwriting competition against adults. So I was well on my way. Not to mention that even with the three or more hours of high school homework and studying I had every night, I regularly managed to pound out another two to four hours of writing a day too. Mind you, I didn’t have a job. Still, I was a writer and that was that. My school counsellor didn’t see things quite my way. “You can’t be a writer,” she said. “You won’t make any money.”
I recently saw a similar conversation directed at one of the kids I met this summer. “You can’t be a writer. Why not do what your parents did? They’re successful.” I’m afraid to say, this girl is already is writer, and a damn good one at that. With no real training, she just writes from the heart. Says what is on her mind, and it blows me away every time. So telling her that she can’t be a writer isn’t going to play out well for anyone.
Besides, being a writer isn’t something we choose. It’s what we are. You don’t decide to be a writer. Not in my experience. You either are one or you aren’t. You either spend hours fiddling with words, desperately searching for a way to make your words better, to ring truer, to be brighter, or you do something else. Find excuses. Do laundry. And not everyone who likes to write is a writer. But when you are a writer, having someone tell
you that you can’t be one – doesn’t work. You can’t just stop being a writer. There isn’t any way around it. It’s like telling someone that they can’t be human. How the heck would you pull that off?
So to all you struggling writers out there. Don’t listen to the can’ts. Don’t worry about the don’ts. Just write. You have to anyway. So why fret. Trying to explain this passion to those people is a waste of time. Besides you have better things to do – like writing.
My February Trilogy hasn’t been picked up by an agent yet. My readers are complaining. I have to get it sold. But, there’s something wrong. It’s just not – I don’t know – exciting enough. I mean, sure there are gun fights and poisonings and grenades, but something’s still not right. I just can’t put my finger on it.
Then I talked to my daughter. She asked me what exactly was wrong and the more we talked the more I realized – the stakes aren’t high enough. They are in the second and third book. But the first one, it kind of falls flat.
So come November – I’m going to dive into February and pump it up. Make all those things she does life or death, because really, being a secret agent, her life is against the wall most of the time.
Now I feel better about things. Now I can fix this and finally get an agent. Did I mention my daughter is super smart.
Okay, so I didn't EXACTLY fall off the Earth. But I have been really busy. No, not your usual relatives are in town and I have laundry and dishes kind of busy. I've been teaching all summer. I ran three week long summer camps and taught at one. That's four camps. Not to mention my amazing daughter won a film making award so we had to go out to Vancouver to see her animation on the big screen. Pretty good for an eleven year old. Then September rolled around and I got to breathe for two seconds before RIO started up again as well as a Theatre class I'm teaching and school. Did I mention I home school? Couple all that with a novel deadline and a few rewrites and the fact that I'm also self publishing a novel and had a play in the Calgary Fringe festival. Yeah, so like I said, busy. But things are slowing down to a low roar and I've found a long ladder to hop back up on the Earth. Hopefully this blog will come more frequently now. In the meantime, for your entertainment - here is a good review I got of Hook Up. I'm so pleased: http://www.umanitoba.ca/cm/vol19/no4/hookup.html
Writer, Teacher, Mutant. What more could you want?