Sunday Snaps: Tuckered Out (but in a good way)

Hey friends! It’s been longer than usual since I’ve blogged or shared a snap, but I think I had a good excuse. I’ve been going over the final draft of my latest novel manuscript with a fine-toothed comb in recent weeks—a little snip and tighten here, an extra fleshing out there—and I’m happy to say it is finally in the hands of its first beta reader.

Due to a few changes made, it took longer to get to this point than planned when I blogged about the final draft in June, but between the jigs and the reels and the hope that feedback is mostly positive, here we are.

Much has fallen by the wayside getting to this stage, so I’ll take the coming week to finish reading Jacqui Murray’s latest novel, and begin another one for my online book club. Along with that I’ll catch up on neglected chores and, of course, all my favorite blogs. (Sorry for not commenting much lately, bloggers!)

I had hoped to take part in NaNoWriMo this month, but instead my plan is to write a blurb, query letter and synopsis for submissions to publishers. I also hope to complete the outline for Book 2 of my speculative fiction trilogy by month’s end. That way, writing the first draft can begin on December 1.

I’m tuckered out, but also STOKED. I feel good about the book and am more focused than ever on my writing.

But first, I will follow Vivian’s lead: flake out, hang out, and recharge. See you next week.

A Seasonal Love Note

I know our Atlantic Canadian summers are short and I treasure the warmer days while they’re here, but there is something about this season of change I truly love as well.

Late summer and early fall has a uniquely different quality, where on a sunny day the air lends a crisper, more metallic edge to the natural world. (This love affair hinges on one important caveat: that the northeast wind doesn’t blow too much and turn our world chilly and wet for days on end.)

The outlines of clouds against the steel-blue sky look sharper, heralding the approach of what is to come. Most foliage and grasses are still summery green. I relish them all the more, knowing the colours will soon transition into vibrant shades of red and gold before finally fading to the cool grey and white hues of late autumn and winter.

It is a season of harvest and renewal, a time of new beginnings and the dawning of fresh ideas. The kiddies are back in their classes. Though my own school days and child rearing years are well behind me, I still feel that push of motivation into new plans and goals, to make the transition into a stricter work schedule, to get back to writing more in the coming months. November and NaNoWriMo are still a ways off, but I strive to clear up all loose ends in preparation for – dare I say it without jinxing myself – a 50 thousand-word first draft of a brand-spanking new novel.

Then there are the berries. Where would this season be without the berries?

fullsizerender-3fruits of the first trip

fullsizerender-2…and fruits of the second

In two afternoon jaunts, the blueberries are now picked, and it won’t be long before we are in on the barrens again to pick partridgeberries. (In other parts of the world, these lovely bitter, relatives of the cranberry are called lingonberries or cowberries.) I make plenty of the “patchy-berry” jam for my other half since he likes it on his morning toast all year round, not to mention in the occasional pastry tart with a generous dollop of thick cream.

Especially anticipated, besides an excursion on the barrens, is picking the plump, juicy partridgeberries that grow right here on our land. I checked all around the Point last week and it looks like a bumper crop this year, probably a sign of how plentiful their growth is everywhere else. They, along with the blueberries and the cod from the food fishery, will go a long way in keeping our deep freeze full for another winter.

Coinciding with the cool-down in temperature is a return to more bread-baking. There’s nothing like the smell of a fresh batch from the oven to take the chill out of your day.

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”
– F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

What do you like the most about this time of year?
Relief from the heat? A return to a more orderly schedule?
Getting the children out from underfoot and back in school?
Or are you sad because the summer is nearly spent?
Do tell!

This post was inspired by Ailsa’s Travel Theme: Seasonal.

Hello, December – Goodbye, Nano!

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Where did November go, people? Don’t get me wrong, I am happy – but a little surprised – that December is already here. You see, I’ve been busy: for the first time, I have successfully completed the National Novel Writing Month Challenge, and I did it two days before the end-of-the-month deadline.

Was it difficult to write 50 thousand words in 28 days, you may ask?

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What do you think?

After sitting still for so long, it was wonderful to have the freedom to get up and move around again. But I have to confess: I felt a tad wobbly at first.

This is how I walked Friday evening when I finished:

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Arthritis? What arthritis?

Joking aside, I am super happy I took on the challenge, and would recommend Nanowrimo to anyone who wants to see results in a short period of time. It is an effective way to kick procrastination and writer’s block to the curb, especially if you have a writing buddy who is as determined as you are. Wendy kept me accountable, and we both finished with days to spare.

So now I have a first draft of the Calmer Girls sequel, minus a couple of concluding chapters that I will finish this month. Those chapters, along with the additions that will go in when I begin editing in January, should bring the word count up to 70 thousand plus.

The Nano website suggested I treat myself to a T-shirt showing off their logo, but I did better than that. Being Black Friday, I got Santa to order me a new camera online for Christmas, saving himself over $200 in the process.

This is me now:

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A new camera for my blog! Yes!!!

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Did you take part in Nanowrimo this year?

Have you ever challenged yourself with a creative deadline and won?

Please share your experience with me. 🙂

Writing, writing, and more writing? Write on!

 

Hi, everyone. I thought I’d pass along a quick update today about my novel and what has happened lately in my life as an author.

I am encouraged by the reception Calmer Girls has gotten in the publishing world. In particular, I am now patiently waiting on those who have expressed interest in my query, synopsis and sample chapters, and who subsequently requested the full manuscript for review. (Yay!)

Of course, my optimism is tempered with caution and awareness of the reality that these are only first steps. The road to getting traditionally published is a long, slow and arduous one for many new authors, and I am no exception. I read yesterday of a successful novelist who endured TWENTY-NINE rejections before his first book was picked up. And it ultimately made it to the New York Times best-seller list!

So now while my manuscript is out of my hands, I continue on with the sequel. In that area I have made progress, but not as much as I would like due to life getting in the way (Funny how that always seems to happen!).

designed by Elizabeth Doyle
designed by Elizabeth Doyle

For this reason, I am considering taking part in National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo as it is called. This is a yearly internet event that takes place in November, not only nationally but all over the world. The object is to write 50,000 words of a first draft in 30 days, which means participants write an average of 1667 words a day.

Awesome? Terrifying? Doable? Impossible? You tell me.

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Will this be you?
never
…or this?

If I do indeed sign up, some of my activities will no doubt have to be curtailed or relegated to the back burner. My Friday Bouquet will be suspended for the time being, and my other blog posts will be brief. I won’t be able to read others’ blogs as much as I am used to. But I shall return, my lovelies!

What do you think of such a project? Are you taking part in NaNoWriMo this year? If you are, tell me all about it below. We can give each other moral support. 🙂

Explore Further:
One Wild Word: Get ready for NaNoWriMo by choosing your novel’s story question

Kristen Lamb’s Blog: 8 Elements to NAILING Your Plot and Owning NaNo