Things are moving quickly. It’s seems as if every day there’s a new task, or something to think about. From all I have heard, and from my own past experience, the publishing world can move like a slug. Not so, these days. A little over three weeks ago, I sent my ‘final’ manuscript to the publisher in Word format. Last week, I received it back in .pdf with the instructions that I had to edit it and send them any format or content corrections. I immediately set to my task with enthusiasm.
Meanwhile, I received e-mails concerning covers from one person, pricing decisions from someone else, pre-orders from another, and social networking from yet another person. The Facebook author’s page is constantly throwing out ideas, news, questions, and support.
I also had my own list of homework to do, which included, among other things, getting a new author photo, updating my social media sites, and finding reviewers.
My head is spinning, but it’s a very happy spin. This is really the fun part of writing. Sitting back and looking at the whole process objectively, this is easier than struggling to get your idea onto paper in a coherent and entertaining fashion. Much easier.
The .pdf is now edited. I just have to hit the send button. I’ve checked off a few ‘to dos’, added a few others. In a matter of days, I will do my cover reveal, and I will continue updating my sites. Eventually, I will get back to writing.
All I have to add is that I’m eternally grateful to Black Rose Writing for this opportunity to have fun.
I’m writing this while on a flight from Calgary to Montreal with a final destination to Quebec City. This is the part I dislike the most about vacations – the end travel. Once the fun is over I’d like to be beamed home without having to go through all the hassle of dragging around luggage and passing time in airports or on long flights, but this time I’ll count my blessings. This was a perfect vacation and in thirteen days I crossed quite a few items off my bucket list. I also added on a few more.
Steve and I, accompanied by his sister Carolyn and her husband Glen, flew to the far end of Canada to Vancouver, and began our trip with a few days exploring the city accompanied by our daughter Rachel. We threw in a quick side trip to Whistler on the only rainy day of our vacation. Despite the rain we made the most of our time, visiting an old friend, and taking the gondola to a mountain peak in Squamish. With our own personal tour guide we were able to visit a few spots that we may have overlooked if we had been on our own, and since Rachel is a big fan of hiking trails and waterfalls, we saw some of the nicest.
After leaving our home base in Vancouver we spent a night in beautiful Victoria, taking some time to catch up with some relatives, before heading up the coast to Tofino. We enjoyed the beach, the hiking trails, and, of course, the beautiful Pacific sunset. Steve and I had already explored these areas during the winter season, but it was a completely different perspective during the summer in high season. The colours, the lush landscape, and the mountains were constantly grabbing our attention. It helped us better understand the magnetic pull of British Columbia for the citizens of Eastern Canada and many other countries. The province has a variety of landscapes, cultures, ways of life, and mindsets to offer. There’s something for everyone.
We discovered uncharted territory (for us) when we ventured toward Alberta, starting in Jasper and descending through the national parks to Banff and Canmore. It seemed that each corner we turned offered us a view more spectacular than the last. So many times I thought the landscape was so unreal that it resembled a painting by a very talented artist. Between the majestic mountains and the picture-perfect turquoise lakes our heads were constantly swivelling. I even stood on a mountain glacier!
My take-away from this trip? I came away from BC feeling dissatisfied. With the province? Definitely not. I was left with a taste for more. I know there’s a lot more to explore and I didn’t have enough time to do it. Fortunately for us, with a child living on that coast, we have the perfect excuse to return. I would love to spend more time on Vancouver Island, visiting the area around Victoria, and going up the coast to discover other small towns. On the mainland, I’d like to visit the Okanagan region on one visit, and perhaps northern BC on another. Alberta also merits some further exploration.
Any disappointments? Definitely. We never saw a bear sauntering down the main Street of Banff or Canmore despite numerous warnings not to feed them. We also didn’t see any cowboys on horseback venturing through downtown Calgary (I believe we had also been warned about feeding them). But, those are both minor disappointments compared to the abundance of great experiences we had over the course of two weeks.
We certainly have a country to be proud of and a lot to explore and discover. My advice? Take advantage of it.
To young children, they are playmates, fixers, cheerleaders, and absolutely essential. As those children grow into teenagers and young adults, fathers become a ‘can’t live with them, can’t live without them’ kind of person. They become the watchdogs and the lecturers while still tenaciously hanging on to their role as playmates, fixers, and cheerleaders. It’s a fine line they have to walk.
I lost my father when he was fifty-six years old and I was twenty-three, still a young adult. My oldest is now twenty-three and the other is four years behind. Once we pass this stage, I will be in uncharted territory, but Steve, my husband, was fortunate enough to have a father who lived to be ninety-three, and who remained an important presence in his children’s lives.
I think most of us grow up hoping to make our fathers proud, trying to live up to their example. Whether they realize it or not, they have a powerful influence on our lives. They are often the yardstick against which we measure ourselves – our moral compass.
My husband has set a high standard for our children to follow. He has taught them by example with his dedication as a volunteer fireman and fire chief, with his hard work and his tenacity, and his ability to deal with people no matter how delicate or urgent the situation. He uses his sense of humor to amuse and defuse.
He may not know the difference between taupe and brown, but he can settle disputes with reasoning and good cheer. He may come home with cucumbers when we sent him to the store for zucchini, but he will turn himself inside out to help mend a broken heart. He will buy bus passes for a grown daughter who lives thousands of miles away to make sure she doesn’t have to walk home late at night. He will drive across town at any hour to change a flat tire, or pick up kids after a party. He’ll search for light and sound systems to make sure our girls have ‘the best party ever’, and he’ll try to teach them skills that may serve them later on in life. In other words, he will always go the extra mile for his kids.
Those are traits of a good father.
I often wonder how my life would have differed if my father had lived a longer life. Would I have made different decisions? Would I have followed a different path? It certainly would have been wonderful to have him at my wedding and to see him dote over my babies. I know I took him for granted while I had him, as my girls probably do with their own father. But I still hold my dad’s legacy inside me, and I can only hope some of it will be passed on to my children. If not, the legacy of their own father and his before him will be more than enough to help them along.
Yesterday, was a day of chores and responsibilities, topped off by a BBQ supper with the volunteer firemen and their families. All in all, it was a great day.
But, today is the ultimate lazy, hazy day (I’m too old for crazy). I hurt my back a little yesterday doing housework (which leads me to believe that housework is bad for your health and it should be banned). so today I couldn’t get back into the gardening or anything that required lifting or pushing vacuum cleaners.
It’s so unusual to sit around and do nothing that I feel guilty. But, at least I’m not alone. Everyone in this household seems to be afflicted by the lets-be-lazy attitude today. And why not?
This is what we work all year for – to be able to enjoy our homes, our families, and our friends, especially when the weather is nice and we can sit back and smell the roses (or in my case, the lilacs).
I have a confession to make, and for most of those who know me, you won’t be very surprised.
I’m not an adventurous person. There, I said it.
When I was a teen and young woman I read two authors religiously – Agatha Christie and Sidney Sheldon. I wouldn’t read anything else for fear that I wouldn’t enjoy it. I made an exception for The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, which I read several times, over and over again.
Eventually, I ran out of books by my then-favorite authors and either had to branch out or give up reading altogether. So, I dipped my toe in the reading pool, but remained cautious. I would find one author I liked and would read everything I could find written by that particular author, and, over time, I eventually built up a decent-sized stable of reliable authors.
Recently, I stepped outside of my comfort zone and picked up a book by an author I had never read, feeling sure I wouldn’t make it past the first chapter. I was proven wrong (admittedly, not for the first time).
Paula McLain pulled me into her novel, Circling the Sun, with a net made of gossamer so fine I couldn’t even feel the pull. The description of the flight in the prologue remained in the back of my mind for the duration of the novel, leaving me unsure of the type of ending I was going to encounter.
The novel succeeded in grabbing and holding my attention because of two elements. First of all, I was thrown into a country which I have never visited, but through Ms. McLain’s descriptions of Africa in the 1920s and 30s I felt I was there with her protagonist. The setting was weaved into the story in such a way that you didn’t feel like it was being spoon-fed to you. It was simply there, surrounding you.
The second element, which always succeeds in catching my interest, is the fact that the novel is based on a real-life person, Beryl Markham. I had never heard of this woman, but I am fascinated when an author takes a less-than-famous person and fictionalizes his or her life, using what little information is known about them to create an intriguing novel.
In this case, Beryl’s story of her successes and her defeats is captivating reading. Always keeping in mind that the novel is based on a true story makes it even more engrossing. Beryl lives a life which would be unusual enough in our present time, but living it during those decades would be virtually unheard of. Her strength of character, her determination, and her fearlessness were qualities which were not generally encouraged in young women in that time and place. Her talents, firstly with horses, and then with airplanes, were nothing short of remarkable.
I would like to thank Paula McLain for entertaining me with her excellent story and writing techniques, and also for teaching me to be a little more fearless in my reading selections. However, I will be falling back on my old habit of reading authors I’m familiar with at least one more time. I’ve discovered that Ms. McLain has a few other novels…
As you may or may not have noticed, I had taken a hiatus from blogging. Not because I‘ve given up on writing – far from it, I write all the time. At first, I think it was due to having too many other things to work on, and then it developed into a feeling of rustiness. I had waited too long and I couldn’t get back into it. To top it all off, I was wondering what in the world I had to say that would interest people. Thus, my hiatus. But, I feel guilty about my laziness. I believe that blogging and maintaining a presence is important for my writing.
So, on that note, I’ve decided to turn over a new leaf. I’m too late to make a New Year’s Resolution, so I will make a Mother’s Day Resolution.
I resolve to take up blogging again, and I won’t tear my hair out worrying about what’s interesting. I will write about what’s important to me at that time.
This weekend we celebrate Mother’s Day. I always find it difficult to accept that I should be the recipient of good wishes on such a day, even though I’ve been a member of the club for over twenty-three years. There are those who have gone before me, and continue to go before me, that are more deserving. My mother passed away several years ago, but my mother-in-law continues to impress people with her energy, good cheer, and resourcefulness.
But all parents, whether mother or father, are deserving. It`s an important job which affects every aspect of your existence. And, the contract doesn’t come to an end when the children reach the age of eighteen. It’s a lifetime commitment and sometimes it becomes even more difficult and more important and more heart-wrenching as they grow older, or maybe we’re just less able to handle the stress as we grow older.
So, even though it’s nice to have a day to celebrate mothers in particular (and it gives us an excuse to get together for a meal, some chatter, and a few laughs) the joys and the challenges are a daily occurrence and one I wouldn’t trade for the world. I know there are a lot of mothers who would agree with me on that point. Enjoy your day!
Now if I can just remember how to post this…
I finally have a day at home where I don’t have to overindulge – a day that I can put my feet up and share a few thoughts.
Over the past few days, we had our celebrations with both sides of the family, which involved a lot of eating, drinking and be merrying, and I have to say it’s been a great holiday season for us so far. We received an early and very welcome Christmas gift when our oldest daughter, Rachel, arrived home on December 6th, all the way from Whistler, B.C., without spilling the beans. What a surprise! And what a thrill to have her here for the holidays after two years away.
On my husband’s side of the family, all the cousins were present and accounted for, something we haven’t experienced for five years. And we had a wonderful new addition to the family with the first great-grandchild for my mother-in-law.
We are very fortunate, and I think that’s something we shouldn’t take for granted. The past year was not easy for many people. I’m astonished at how many families I know who lost loved ones, particularly in the past couple of months. All of those families are struggling to face a holiday season with an important person missing. And, they will have a year of ‘firsts’ ahead of them. I know from past experience how difficult that can be.
I also know a couple of people who experienced serious injury and sickness in the past few months. For them, they have a long road of recovery ahead.
So, I have a wish for 2017.
I wish the people who have suffered loss to have the strength to get through the year of ‘firsts’. I wish those who are injured or sick to hold on tightly to their determination to be well again. I wish those who haven’t suffered difficulties in the recent past to think about those who have, and to have compassion and understanding for them.
And to everyone, I wish a year full of happy surprises and continued blessings.
P.S. Please forgive my multiple wishes when I promised only one.