What’s It Like To Be An Author?

I recently accepted an invitation to the blog of fellow author Connie Lacy for an enjoyable Q & A. Connie’s latest book is A Daffodil For Angie, a historical coming-of-age novel set in the sixties. I loved it and I highly recommend it.

What’s It Like To Be An Author?
Taking a Peek Behind the Curtain
with Jennifer Kelland Perry

Connie:  One of the unexpected pleasures of being an indie author is making author friends around the world. Not that I’m flying off to far-flung places. I’ve made friends through online writer groups, including Jennifer Kelland Perry … read the rest here.

Jennifer Kelland Perry, YA Author

Pages From The Past: Moving to Newtown

Moving to Newtown, Newfoundland in 2010

These are a few excerpts from my private journal in September 2010, shortly before I started this blog.  We were living in Mike Perry’s summer house here in Newtown, while our future home’s interior was being renovated on Perry’s Point by Paul’s two handy cousins and by Paul himself.  

Of note, this excerpt was written during Hurricane Igor and its aftermath.  Also of note is my poem at the end.

Very slowly, the old house on the point is undergoing its planned metamorphosis. My emotions are mixed. To see the rot exposed, the peeling paint and wallpaper, the ancient cobwebs hanging from the now-bare and blackened rafters, the unbelievable mess in the yard created by demolition, and now reconstruction – all of this plays havoc with my need for cleanliness and order. Are we really going to live here, in this two-storey house on a piece of rock jutting out into the cold North Atlantic? And are we ever going to find carpenters to install the new windows and clapboard while the rest of the work is done?

But then on one occasion when I visited the point last week, I saw something. I caught an encouraging glimpse of what could be. Of what that old house could become. My eye is drawn to the sun shining in through the multi-coloured glass of the windows we are not replacing. I see promise in their dazzling jewel tones of green, pink and yellow.

I get a mental picture of the rooms, devoid of junk and sawdust. Instead, they are neatly decorated, warm and comfortable, the kitchen filled with welcoming smells, music playing, Paul laughing at our cat Vivian as she skitters across the floor after a pop bottle stopper. I see Paul in his home office working on design plans, and I see me typing another page in my new novel. I welcome a visitor, put the kettle on…

I pretty much wish we were already there, playing house. Patience has never been my strongest virtue, so time drags on.

Sept. 21

So the house in Paradise didn’t close yesterday as planned. The buyers require a survey of the land…why did they wait until the last minute??

And now we are back in Newtown, enduring the wrath of Hurricane Igor as he sweeps over the province, the likes of which we have never witnessed. There’s a leak in the living-room here at Mike’s that started since Paul left to go out on the point. The wind is howling, the rain is hitting the windows in sheets. Mother Nature is showing her teeth today and she means business! The radio assures me that this storm is a record breaker, and I feel like I have three houses to worry about: this one, the one on the point, and our biggest investment up to now, the one in Paradise that is almost sold.

Even Maisie and Vivian look worried.

Sept. 23

Everyone I love now has their power back. My sister Lynn got hers at 1 yesterday, my mother-in-law last evening, and daughter Denise at 4 this morning (no other family lost theirs). We had it gone for about seven minutes on the night of the storm. So I breathe a great sigh of relief that all is well once again. I smile to realize that many have no cable TV or internet access right now – just like us!

Of course, we still wait for a phone call from our real estate agent or our lawyer as to when the house will close. I pray the walk-thru goes well. We wait to see if the Trans Canada Highway will open later today. And we wait for our new windows to be delivered. Sometimes life feels like a long drawn-out waiting game.

I love cooking and baking. Sometimes it feels downright therapeutic. As I made cod au gratin and a strawberry-apple crumble yesterday, a feeling of such peace and contentment enveloped me, it made me think of the book Simple Abundance and how much truth is in it. Whenever I cook and there is lots of time to do it right, I adore it. Thinking of living on the point and cooking and baking in my brand new kitchen fills me with happiness. I taped some loose recipes into my personal cookbook just this morning, in anticipation of using them soon.

The only thing that hurts is to read the recipes that Mom dictated to me over the phone not that long ago.

And I wait for a call from Lynn to see if they have a new placement for Mom. I don’t think I will get over the hurt of her Alzheimer’s disease for a very long time, and the worst is yet to come. Right on the heels of Dad’s ALS and death in 2003, the dreaded condition swooped in on my precious mother and changed her forever. Why has this double whammy hit our family, I wonder. I fear that the knowledge of it and the pain of its aftermath have changed me forever too.

As a way of dealing with these feelings, I wrote a poem this morning.

God, give me back my mom, I beg you and I plead

we’ve lost her much too early, the pain will not recede

First we lose our father to a death no one should know

too young he was to leave us–my God! I miss him so..

The grief it proved a burden our mother couldn’t bear

her sadness turned to illness with a name I’ve always feared

I know not how her soul survives as her mind and body waste

she lives and yet she doesn’t;  a stranger took her place

Where is my mother’s heart?  Where is her winsome smile?

I miss the wisdom of her words, her gentle, caring style

God, give me back my mom, if it’s only in a dream

let her put her arms around me;  let her hold me as she sings

Then please take her up to heaven, let her suffering be gone

reunite my precious parents–maybe then I can go on.

***

The One

Clarence blinks and yawns, instantly awake at the sudden rattle of a latch. The door next to his own swings open, then closes, the metallic creak and slam echoing down the brightly lit hallway. His nap is over, thanks to the new arrival. Might as well face the day and deal with it!

While he does some quick stretches and washes his face, he steals sidelong glances at this latest stranger and wonders if he’s a loudmouth like so many of the others. Clarence’s head hurts from the constant din in this godforsaken purgatory. All the crying and complaining from the younger inmates last night had kept him awake, just as it did most nights since winter came and filled the place to near-capacity.

His stomach growls in protest. He wonders when breakfast will arrive, the high point of the morning. He knows he doesn’t belong in here, and he’s starting to forget exactly how long it has been since he’s known joy.

Is that food coming?

No, a woman, one he’s never seen before. She smiles in at him. The scent of her is delightful; it soothes him and makes him think of flowers.

His jailer is here now too. He’s opening the door! “Clarence here has been with us the longest. But he’s very quiet and well-behaved.”

“He’s beautiful,” the woman says, “and he reminds me of Leo, one I had as a child. He’s the one!” She reaches for him.

Nestled in a carrier on the passenger seat, Clarence purrs all the way to his new home.

Jennifer’s Friday Fiction Beach Read

Friday Fiction – a place to share short pieces of my writing in the form of short stories, flash fiction, poetry and vignettes. These posts may not occur every week but whenever the mood arises.

Happy…and Busy!

It’s a cold and snowy day here at home, but the following warms me down to my toes.

I’m thrilled to see another powerful 5-star review on Amazon for Calmer Secrets!

Take a look:

“Calmer Secrets is a fascinating and mature, well-written second look into the lives of the Cross girls which takes place some four or five years after the events of the first book. The time gap and the substantial content in each novel support Jennifer Perry’s decision to split this story into two books.
Samantha is all grown up, Ben is gone, and against her self-centred, irritating sister’s advice she tumbles into a relationship with old friend Kalen – who has turned into a hot rocker. Their mother continues to wrestle with her issues, and the charming Henry, Veronica’s four-year old boy, is Samantha’s darling. The scene is set for a gritty, realistically told and engrossing unravelling of events, and old secrets, which will change everyone’s lives.
The gripping story kept me helplessly reading on, late into the night. Hints are dropped, with a thud, or a tickle of the mind, and I yelled at Samantha not to be such a fool, at Ronnie for her attitude, at Kalen, at Ben, at Darlene, at Cash… the only one I didn’t yell at was little Henry.
*Much* is explained as the final secrets are revealed and the ends of the story are resolved, and one begins to understand the complexity and depth of these beautifully crafted characters.
This is an excellent novel of family, love, and the damage that secrets can do. Highly recommended, but you have to read the first book first. Together, they make an epic story of ordinary life.”

https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R1D4NN653C42PN

*Comments are closed because I’m feverishly writing this week and trying to minimize distractions. See you on Sunday!

Blogger Bouquet #50

Raimey Gallant is a Canadian writer I recently discovered here on WordPress through the Insecure Writers Support Group.

From her Welcome page:

“I’m an activisty, feministy, world-traveling, wannabe comedian who writes crime thrillers and YA contemporary…I’m also a marketing and fundraising consultant, and zumba champ.”

Raimey’s blog includes a collection of tips and tricks on the craft of writing, as well as advice on the marketing side of writing. If you’re a writer, you just might want to follow her too!

Here’s a helpful article on the creation of a fictional villain:

Five Ways to Find Inspiration for the Next Great Villain

Comments are closed here but you can leave one on the blogger’s page.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Blogger Bouquet #49

Annika Perry – no relation to yours truly – is a writer, wife and mother who was born in Sweden and lives in the UK.  She is busy finalizing edits on her first short story collection, and is also working on the last edits for her debut novel, Island Girl.

From her About page:

“Writing has been a passion since childhood although it is only in the past year that I have seriously started to write fiction.

In Spring 2014 I won First Prize in the Writing Magazine Short Story Competition which was a joy. Furthermore, I was short-listed for Inktears Short Story Competition in 2014.”

I’ve highlighted the following post of Annika’s where she shares the highs and lows, as well as the distractions, of the editing process. For example, how does a breakfast bowl end up in the bathroom? Check it out:

CHIPPING AWAY!

 

Comments are closed here but you can leave a comment on the blogger’s page.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

The Marathon of Novel-Writing

I’m guest-posting on A Writer’s Path today, sharing my experiences as a novelist.

Come on over for a visit and check it out!

The Marathon of Novel-Writing

Reflections on a Good Week

As anyone who follows me regularly can attest, I don’t use this blog too often for shameless self-promotion of my novels.

Please allow me to make an exception for today.

I am on Cloud Nine since Wednesday, when my debut book Calmer Girls peaked at Number One on the Amazon Canada Bestseller list for Teen Fiction, specifically in the Kindle Store categories of Teen Pregnancy, as well as a peak at Number Two for Dating & Intimacy.

Yay! 😀

What a nice feeling to hit those numbers.
Thank you, Canada.

Calmer Girls Series

***end of self-promo***

I now return you to regularly scheduled programming.
See you on Sunday!

Guest Post: Connie Lacy

“From a novelist’s perspective, the Sixties, itself, is like a character – so rich was that period as a decade of change.” ~ Connie Lacy

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming author Connie Lacy to my blog as a special guest. I hope, dear friends and followers, those of you who read or write fiction would kindly say hi or leave a comment for her below.

Connie writes speculative fiction, climate fiction and magical realism, all with a dollop of romance. Having worked for many years as a radio reporter and news anchor, her experience as a journalist shows up in some of her novels.

Connie’s post today is about 1960s music, stemming from her research for her latest novel due out this fall. I am a huge fan of the music from that era, so I jumped at the chance to share it with you. Take it away, Connie!

The 1960s – when social consciousness hit the airwaves

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When you think of music of the 1960s, what pops into your mind? The Twist by Chubby Checker? Ricky Nelson’s Hello, Mary Lou? Maybe it’s Come Together by the Beatles, or Bob Dylan’s Like a Rolling Stone. All of those songs were popular in the 1960s. But the first two were in the early sixties. Dylan’s Like a Rolling Stone hit the charts in 1965 and Come Together was released in 1969. Needless to say, the volatile decade of the 1960s saw a huge transformation in the music everyone heard on the radio. Looking back, the first few years of that decade seem like a continuation of the 1950s, while the middle and late sixties come across as a new era with a more complex sensibility.

I’ve been re-listening to some of those songs as I write my latest novel which comes out this fall. The story is set in 1966-67 as musical tastes underwent a tectonic shift. It’s surprising now to think that the actual top forty playlist as my novel opens in September of 1966 included such varied songs as: Sunshine Superman by Donovan, Summer in the City by The Lovin’ Spoonful, The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine, Land of 1000 Dances by Wilson Pickett and Stevie Wonder’s version of Bob Dylan’s Blowin’ in the Wind, all in the top ten. Then at #11 was Wouldn’t it Be Nice by The Beach Boys and #12 was Lil Red Riding Hood by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs.

The Sixties, of course, was a time of great social upheaval, with opposition mounting to the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement gaining momentum, growing demands by women for equal opportunities, and the gay rights movement picking up steam. The music we listened to incorporated or reflected growing social consciousness. Some popular songs were overt political statements. It’s amazing when you realize we went from Brian Hyland’s 1960 hit, Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini, to James Brown’s Say it Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud in 1968… and from 1961’s My Boomerang Won’t Come Back by Charlie Drake to Barry McGuire’s 1965 anti-war anthem, Eve of Destruction.

This musical evolution took us from silly novelty songs like 1962’s Monster Mash to 1965’s My Generation by The Who – a teen rebellion anthem if there ever was one. But the airwaves were also filled with anti-war songs. Think Fortunate Son by Creedence Clearwater Revival, Peace Train by Cat Stevens, Universal Soldier by Donovan and the very powerful War by Edwin Starr – “War, huh, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing.” There were songs calling for equal treatment of black Americans such as A Change Is Gonna Come by Sam Cooke and Southern Man by Neil Young. There were also songs that became anthems for women, like Aretha Franklin’s Respect, Lesley Gore’s You Don’t Own Me, and on the Country and Western side, there was Dolly Parton’s 1968 hit, Just Because I’m a Woman.

From a novelist’s perspective, the Sixties, itself, is like a character – so rich was that period as a decade of change. Our country was undergoing a dramatic transformation and our music was changing as well. What a gift for me as a writer. And I make use of popular songs the characters listen to in my novel to help create that Sixties vibe.

If you’d like to be notified when my new book comes out, you can sign up for occasional, brief author updates here. And you can find my other novels on my Amazon author page or my website www.connielacy.com.

This article was originally posted on the author’s website here.

Thanks so much for visiting, Connie!

Readers and Writers, did you live through the Sixties?
Have you ever written a story set in that decade?
What are some of your favourite songs from the era?