Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Auld Lang Syne

The time between Christmas and New Year's was always a favorite time for me. Maybe it was because of the relief from the relentless charge towards Christmas Day, cooking, cleaning shopping. It's all done and there's something wonderful about the season of lights which will finally dim after New Year's Day. I can sit and enjoy the Christmas Tree and remember all those who are no longer with us. But it's not a sad feeling, it's more that I feel them there, our parents, aunts, uncles, siblings and cousins. I envision them sitting quietly with us, my mother feeling superior to my wrappings - hers were always works of art with beautiful paper and ribbons. My sister eating a Christmas cookie, she who never gained weight. My father somehow has acquired a whisky and water and a box of chocolates. My Victorian grandmother is there, too, rocking in the chair right next to the tree.Somehow my husband's family are present also, although in real life we celebrated separately. His father is enjoying his drink along with my father and maybe they are talking about a boxing match. His mother is working on an afghan. I feel the connection of family through the ages. Recently we learned more about my husband's ancestors and their life as early settlers in New York and Nova Scotia. Maybe they have stopped in, too, to see what life is like in 2011, as opposed to 1780. I wonder if they notice our tree is artificial, not cut down fresh from the pine forests?  One of his remote grandfathers has brought a bottle of the rum he distilled in Boston in the 1600's and he is going offer a glass to our fathers. Wonder what they would think of it? Then my mother's family arrive with their instruments and begin to play. It's a joyful scene, out of Charles Dickens. My aunt sits in a corner sketching them all. With the New  Year, they will quietly steal away again and our daily lives will slip back into their familiar groove. Time to look ahead.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Merry Christmas to All and to All a Good Write

OK, it's almost time for the Man in Red to make his final and most important appearance. Not that he's not already in the area. We saw him having breakfast with kids at the Mall, and all the kids were strangely well-behaved.

I've got my little shopping list done, mostly and now I'm wrestling with putting ebooks online. There's a lot to learn about this subject and I suppose you could say it is in its infancy. It's VERY exciting for authors who are already published and have lots of books to epublish. It's also exciting for writers like myself who are new to publishing but we have to try to write and publish at the same  time, because we don't have a large "backlist",which is a heck of a big job.
I'm not complaining, I love it. All I want for Christmas is four more hands, Santa and a couple more laptops. Can you do that? An extra brain might be a good thing, too. And maybe you better not forget a hamper of wine and chocolate. If you can manage a muse somehow, I wouldn't say no.

At least we have all those great people out there in writerland who post on their blogs and websites and share so much information. Thanks to them and I hope Santa brings them all their Holiday wishes.

As my gift to you, I've made my latest mystery, "Dangerous Inheritance" free on Smashwords.com, for a limited time. I'd love it if you'd read it and make a comment.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Nanowrimo Days

I just finished NaNoWriMo once again. This term is short for National Novel Writing Month and it happens every year in November. The task is very simple. Write 50,000 words (a novel) in 30 days. Then you submit your wonderful prose to Nanowrimo, who will validate the count and issue you a nice little sticker that says winner. I'm making it a little simpler than it is because the Nano site gives  you all kinds of advice and encouragement as you toil away and some goodies after it is all over.
Nanowrimo will not critique your work at all. It is simply there to encourage you to put the pedal to the metal and write, write, write. It is a unique experience, especially if you are like me and are either a slow writer or have trouble writing prolifically. Believe me, it is like blood, sweat and tears for me to produce that 50,000 words! Every day, I sit down and stare at my computer, willing it to produce about 2,000 words. Guess what? It doesn't. I actually have to write it myself. Each day I am convinced that nothing will happen. It will all stop right there. But knowing that there are thousands of people registered at Nanowrimo who are out there writing and GETTING TO THE FINISH LINE is the one spark that keeps me going.
Why is it hard to do this? I think for some people it isn't hard at all. Those are the people whose word count shows them at 80,000 words while I am toiling away at 35,000. For a lot of us, I think it is a real challenge. But when you gasp your way to the finish line somewhere around the 30th day, what a feeling of accomplishment! You can say to yourself, I can do it! I DID IT! I wrote a novel!
Now, it may not be a very good novel and it will probably need a lot of editing, but that doesn't matter.
You did something. Yes you, you did it.