Saturday, December 27, 2008

Was it the new Vacuum???

Must be! Clearing the dust from my new digs seems to have led to clearing the cobwebs for writing as well! Believe it or not, I managed to revise the last Chapters and epilogue for our Madelaine...which means draft #3 is FINISHED!!

Its been sent off to Pamela and once the last few chapters are printed, she will hand them over to Peter for his critique...and then we can start on the 4th (& final???) draft...which means the hard part will only just be starting!

As for the vacuum? It seems to work really well, although I'm still skirting around a few remaining boxes. What I wouldn't give for an extra closet to just stack them in until I get the energy required to sort through them.

However, Ms Blance will be glad to know I have purchased a good quality - queen size - air mattress which will be put to use when we can arrange for a weekend of writing in "Manhattan".... My goal is to clear enough floor space now to actually use it, LOL!

Its been a very mild day, lots of rain - even thunder! - and quite foggy. If I had my way that would be the end of winter and we could just coast into spring. But I fear I don't have that much pull, so guess the weather will be what it will.

Hard to believe 2009 is just days away!



Jamie Tremain is back!

Welcome back Liz. This has been a time of change and the last few months have been trying for both of us. Change is inevitable , some good and some bad but we have both weathered the storm. Liz informed me she is back revising this morning, in between wrestling her new vacuum cleaner. What excitement!!!! Don't know how she can stand it.

Peter is anxiously waiting on the final chapters to edit and I will have to use the old grey cells, as Monsieur Poirot would say.I have been in neutral for a few months. Only half of my short storyis finished but I will use it again. It will be fun to get back to our routine once again and have a big editing w/e before we send the book out.

As soon as Madelaine is on it's way we have to finish Body Perfect and we can't wait. I would like a new look for the blog and have you posting your comments. We will keep it more on the writing and less on the personal side. I received a new Peter Robinson book for Christmas. It's tempting to sit down and read today as he writes the way I would like to but as my partner is back revising I had better get the lead out and do my bit.

On the personal side that I said we would be forgoing.... Ryan , our Christmas angel came home on Tuesday under 4 lbs but has now surpassed that mighty weight. He is just so perfect a baby and the family are all doing well. The other four G-sons are well and happy and Santa was very good to them. What more can you ask for.

I will blog again before the New Year and let you know where we are in our plans to be published Authors. This will be in bold script for a while until I get a cataract replaced.

Drive safe wherever you are and talk soon.


Friday, December 26, 2008

A Quick P.S.

Happy Boxing Day!

For the very first time I actually went to a large department store on Boxing Day...however not an experience I'd be in a rush to repeat!

Hope your Christmas has been peaceful and healthy.

As promised I've uploaded a more recent photo of Pam and myself taken earlier this month.

My plan is to work on Madelaine tomorrow.. yes Pam, you heard right! As long as the day brings no unexpected interruptions, I plan to be here at my desk, revising. We'll see how that works.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to All

Well its nearly upon us once again – Christmas! I always find this time of year to be a time of reflection and remembering. A time to be thankful for abundant blessings and to be more aware of those who are struggling.

Growing up as a child I recall that my father became very melancholy at Christmas time and with a child’s eyes couldn’t understand the sadness, and at times anger, he displayed. Now with the passing of time I begin to see. As adults we too often have lost the innocence of those childhood Christmases, and if they were happy, joyful times with family and traditions, the passing years make us aware that we can never really re-create those times. Over time we lose family members and friends and only have memories to draw upon at times. If we are truly blessed and fortunate, we have created our own traditions with our own family and friends. So while we will always have the past as part of us, we do live in the present and need to make the most of it.

Pam is enjoying a much needed and well deserved small break before Christmas. I wish her and her family all the Best for a Merry Christmas, and for both of us I wish us a great year in 2009 – where we will see “Madelaine” being discovered and much sought after! Hey…if you don’t dream big how do you know it won’t happen?

Mark Twain once said, "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the things you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

We are both anxious to get back in the writing mode and I’m doing my best to get organized so that we can finish up the final draft.

A new photo will be here soon, recently taken at our Christmas lunch held last week at work. We are practicing for book jacket photos don't you know? :-)

So from both Pam and I – Merry Christmas and Slainte (meaning Health or Cheers from Pam’s Scottish background).

Cheers and be safe this Christmas Season!


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Congratulation's Liz!

Liz is back but not up and running yet with the books. The first day back at work she was given a promotion. I wonder if I took some time off that would happen to me?? Liz received a well deserved kick upstairs to the sixth floor and is now training her replacement and learning her new job and still emptying boxes. I am sure she will be settled soon and knowing the way Liz works, she will have Mastered the new job in no time. Congratulations Liz. I will miss you but you will not miss me asking you a million questions all day regarding the computer.

Saw my Christmas Angel Ryan today. I held him in my arms for about an hour while he made funny faces and slept. Just beautiful. Everything in miniature . No eyebrows or lashes, long fingers and the cutest little button nose that is so tiny. Oh I could go on all day about him. He has gained about 5 ozs so he is now 3lb 9ozs. I wanted to dress him but of course they would have to be sized for a doll.

Weather miserable and rainy and cold and windy. I should hit the stores for some shopping but may wait until next w/e. Last minute person I am.

Sorry, nothing to report on the writing front but the New Year is not far off and we can get going again.

Talk soon.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Of Tissue and Boxes

And no, its not Christmas presents! Boxes and tissue packing everywhere has been my scenery for the past few days, and while I can see emptied cartons now flattened and awaiting pick up by my daughter for her upcoming move, progress at making order out of chaos seems very slow indeed!

The purchase of a small pantry unit and microve stand will help with kitchen organizing - I hope! I have one last day free from the usual desk job and so must make this one worthwhile. Not one room is yet completely set up which is discouraging. Although yesterday's crowning triumph was to finally hang a curtain rod in the bedroom and remove the taped cardboard - it also meant the window could be opened! Hallelujah - fresh air at last!! I'm a fiend for having a bedroom window open in all weather, with a fan bringing the fresh air in even quicker! The first few nights were sweltering as there is little heat control in this apartment - its either on or off. And when its on it reaches nearly 80 degrees, which is about 10 more than I am comfortable with. So I won't even tell you about the laundry room, where I spent a few hours yesterday! I think the heat is part of the reason I'm lagging in getting organized (well its a good excuse anyway!).

Howerver, I'm very grateful that the computer is up and running, and miracle of miracles, when the internet connection was turned on, it actually worked! Not that I ever had any doubt, LOL!!

Pam has been holding down the fort at work I believe and while I'll be glad to see her and a handful of other friends there when I return tomorrow, its not a place I find much enjoyment in any more. So as the appeal of working drops, the desire to continue writing as a means to escape must increase!

Well there, decision made...I think I shall tackle this new writing room of mine and see if I can get some of the boxes cleared away and unpack my writing notes and manuscripts and get some motivation going!

And as Pam mentioned in her post, the economy is becoming a big worry to so many, so perhaps I should not grumble quite so much about my job, it may not be the best, but the pay is adequate and if I keep in line and stick to the rules, I should be OK. My daughter in law has been laid off from her job in the automotive industry, which will have an impact on her young family, and my other daughter in law's postion as a newly hired nurse may be in jeopardy as well. So this Christmas should be more about family time and not excess, although NOT spending harms the economy as well. It truly is a ripple effect, but balance is needed.

Anyway, for me I'm glad to be "back" and will next send an update when I've got Madelaine open and revising underway.

Wherever you are today, and whatever you find yourself doing, take a moment to count your blessings - and if you have a way to help improve another's situation, don't miss the opportunity.


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Eighteen more days to Christmas!

Only eighteen more days to Christmas day. Seventeen more days to shop. That is, for those with a Christian persuasion. Everything seems very subdued this year and with good reason. Debt and job losses , the housing market falling rapidly and the car business a disaster. At the Mall yesterday, a Saturday, there was only one lonely little girl, all dressed up in her prettiest party dress to see Santa and have her picture taken. If the kids don't come out soon they will be laying off Santa and where will we be then.
I have decided , come next payday that I will have to keep the economy afloat and do my usual spending. At the sales of course of which there are many. But the down side to that, is that once stores get rid of all their inventory at very reduced prices, staff will be laid off and they head for bankruptcy, Bankruptcies are everywhere and favourite stores are no longer there.

Now that Peter and I have five beautiful grandsons in ages from 13 to 1 week old we will take pleasure in finding gifts for them to open on Christmas morning. If there is money left over then
the others will get a token to celebrate the season.

Unfortunately baby Ryan will not be home for Christmas but maybe soon after. I saw him yesterday and he is our Christmas Angel. So tiny but fiesty. he was moving around lots and I think he uses up all his energy.

I have not heard from Liz so maybe she has not hooked up her Internet yet. I hope the move went smoothly for her. It was a cold day but it stayed dry. Hurry back Liz as we have a book to finish. As if she is thinking about it at this time!

It is a bright and sunny day today but very cold. Not that I am venturing outside as I have oodles of housework to catch up on and put out the few decorations we still have. Some people do not like Sundays but I love them as I can potter to my hearts content. Something I do very well.

As this is the new age perhaps I will send an email Christmas card to everyone. I remember getting one about ten years ago and was disgusted by it. I railed against someone not taking the time to write to me personally but times change
So the question is....Christmas Cards or email? Hope to hear from some of you. Remember its what you say not how it is delivered.

Talk soon and Liz will be back in good form to finalize Madelaine.


PS.This quote I heard recently we could all live by.
"More loving,less spending"

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

My wee man

I could not let this opportunity go by without telling you all about my latest grandson. Born early, so he is a teeny wee thing weighing in at 3 lbs 4ozs. I was priviledged to be at his birth and I am in awe every time. Ryan Erik is breathing on his own and it won't be long before he starts to put on the pounds. Hope he is home for Christmas. and Ryan makes five grandsons!!! beautiful every one.

As you have ascertained the writing is at a standstill until Liz moves this w/e. As soon as she has her computer hooked up it will be nag, nag, nag. I know she is just as anxious as I am to finish things off and get going again.

I could talk about the state of the economy or our illustrious politicians that don't appear to know which way to turn after they were just elected,but I won't. I think Christmas will be a much quieter and hopefully more meaningful time for many, as families spend time together and not go overboard with the spending.

At work I am busy setting up boxes to collect food for the Food Drive as many are in need. We usually sponsor a family in our department but have decided to collect for Interm Place that gives help to women and children who have just come from home situations that are volatile.
There are always somebody much worse off than we are. Hope it helps someone get back on their feet again.

Weather -5 tonight so I am glad to be home. Send your thoughts to Liz as she makes the move to her new apartment. I wish her well and look forward to having our firt writers w/e in her new office.
I will update you on the wee man now and then.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Beyond Exhaustion!

That’s what moving house does to a body. Downsizing from a 2800 square foot house to a 2 bedroom apartment. Sorting and tossing, wrapping and giving away…and it never seems to end. I suppose getting older doesn’t help either! The last time I prepared for a move I wasn’t working full time and had the luxury of energy during the day to devote to the organizing and cleaning. Not to be this time!

Work is very stressful right now (do I sound like a broken record??) and so I find there is no peaceful interlude. Eight plus hours of slogging away mentally during the day, followed by an almost comatose drive home afterward. A quick bite to eat and then trying to get at least two hours worth of packing done before falling - totally wiped out - into bed…where the brain then kicks into gear and reminds you of a million and one things that still need to be done.

And amidst all this chaos runs the thought “you need to be writing…Maddy needs to get finished” Where is a good clone when you need one? I’m really looking forward to setting up my writing room and have organized it quite nicely…in my imagination! More room to spread out and be motivated to make the final push towards completion of Madelaine.

Speaking of writing reminds me that within a day or two I will need to disconnect myself from cyber-space – and will be anxious to ensure my computer survives the move and will re-connect smoothly at the new address. Much to my chagrin I learned my current internet level of service is not available in the same high speed format that I enjoy now and I’ve been downgraded to one level lower. Ask my co-author how happy I am about THAT little piece of news!

Well the pizza that was ordered for dinner this evening is almost gone, which signals I’d best turn my little-remaining energy to some more packing.

Before I forget I’d like to wish any American cousins visiting our site a very Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving!!

I hope to be back soon once I’m settled in my new abode, in the meantime, I’m sure Pam will keep you all up to date if need be!


Sunday, November 23, 2008

God's gift to the literary world!!

Sunday evening and tearing my hair out writing query letters to agents. This is harder than writing the book. I have put it off as I am waiting for Liz and Peter to finish the edit. As soon as that is done this baby is launched. At least from us. To make my letter both interesting from the point of view of the book, and why you would want to read it, also let the agents know we are God's gift to the literary world is daunting.
However, having said that, we have come this far so I must persevere. I hope to have something to show Liz at work tomorrow.

I think we have decided in the New Year we won't take on any extra projects at work. We both have a habit of always staying involved but it takes it toll and we want to get on with the other book. Lots of ideas to keep that one going and hopefully a series. Liz will be settled in her new home and we can set up a better schedule of work.

I am convinced that no one talks more about the weather than Canadians. We had our first snowfall this week, even before all the leaves had fallen from the trees. It looked beautiful, for a while and then it was just a mess and freezing.
On my drive home from work on the first day, everyone was being very careful. I was driving on a major road that was under construction, widening the roadway. They tell you to stay at least three cars behind the car in front but I was at least six. The cars behind were a good distance away. Thank goodness.My heart started thumping and I think I was probably yelling to whomever, as the car had a life of it's own and started drifting sideways. The whole area was full of ditches that the workmen were filling and I saw myself just drifting into one of them.
Needless to say I managed to control the car and came to a stop right in front of six or eight workmen. It must have been the look on my face or my yelling but they all started to applaud.
I sheepishly grinned at them and slowly drove the rest of the way home without incident.

Since then we have just had a few flurries but its very cold but sunny. That makes a big difference.

Well my life has been saved so that I can be on the best seller list as Jamie Tremain. Save driving everyone. Talk soon.


Monday, November 17, 2008

This and That!

Not many leaves left to fall and the car was covered in ice this morning. I like the changes in the seasons but I have to admit this is not my favourite.
The editing of Madelaine is coming along and is going as slow as I thought it would. I don't swear much but@#$%^&. However beggars can't be choosers and unpaid labour is hard to find. Liz is still packing boxes and sorting through a lifetime of memories . I don't envy her the work but before she knows it she will be settled again and can get back to the revisions I am waiting on.

In the meantime I have started a short story with the intent of sending it into The Toronto Star contest. We have given ourselves another deadline. As Liz hopes to be settled around the 5-10th December she hopes to be finished the revisions by the 19th. We will be sending it off over the Christmas holidays and then we will wait on the rejection letters!!!!

We are looking forward to getting back to Body Perfect and the completion of that book.
The New year should bring about a more structured writing routine with scheduled brainstorming sessions and writing weekends.

2009 we believe is going to be a big year for us so watch out all you Jamie Tremain fans. Thank you for sticking with us. We like to see comments on the blog on anything really so please share your ideas or thoughts with us.

Talk to you soon,

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The tree for lovers

Good morning,
It has been eight days between blogs and I apologize. Liz is still coughing but she is on the mend. She has had car troubles that are now fixed and she is on the hunt for new digs. What with her heavy commitment at work and all of the above it is no wonder she has not been writing. So we are in a bit of a slow down. My" in house" Editor is still editing, but slowly, and I might say very thoroughly, but oh does he like to procrastinate. Better not nag or it won't get finished.

Hope to start a short story today for a contest in the Toronto Star. Have the germ of an idea and now it's getting started.

The weather this last two weeks has been glorious and the trees magnificent, but I think it is all over.
The Linden tree or Bass wood outside my office window is on the wane and only has a few leaves left. It has been my barometer on the weather all year. It is called the Lime tree in Britain and is know as the' tree for lovers'. How appropriate for this house!!!Just in case you think I am really up on my trees, I Googled this information.
It has many medicinal properties and makes great honey. If this book is slow in selling then I have my tree to fall back on as a source of income!! My son is an arborist so I will pick his brain about my lovely tree. Let it be known here that when my time comes just plant a tree over my ashes. Not being morbid but never liked the thought of a big slab of marble on top of me.

I just heard from the other half of Jamie Tremain and she had a good lead on a new abode so that's encouraging. She says after a few chores today she will have a look at Madelaine again. She is very frustrated. In writing its important to keep the flow going or you loose the momentum.

My garden has been put to bed by the resident editor/gardener/artist/and stacker of dishes. Today he has an Art class at the local college. I will make a small suggstion when he gets home that he may want to relax with a book by a new Author called jamie Tremain. Do you think that will work?

Enjoy the w/e and talk soon.


Saturday, November 1, 2008

Ahh- ah - chooo!

Four weeks of coughing and NOW I get the head cold? Two doctor visits and a chest xray provide no information other than its probably a very stubborn virus and has to be waited out. I've never had a cough that's held on like this before. Seems to be on its way out and then returns with a vengeance....and just for more fun it seems a head cold is finally settling in. I see a trip to the drugstore for more cough and cold remedies and a ton of kleenex.

Pam has had a week of roller coaster emotions; she lost a sister in law very suddenly and is grieved that she is unable to make the trip to Scotland for the funeral - my prayers and sympathies are certainly with her and her family. Plus dealing with all the ongoing stresses at work.

But at least a highlight - she was able to chat with two favourite authors (Peter Robinson and Louise Penny) at a recent author's gathering down at Harbourfront in Toronto. And she was able to get Louise Penny to autograph my own copy of her latest book in the Gamache series, "The Murder Stone" - certainly now a prized possession of mine!

Pam had several photographs of her meeting with Louise, seen below.

Unfortunately the photos taken of her and Pam didn't turn out all that well, but I'm going to post this one as the best of the lot:

I wish I could have been there with Pam to meet Louise, but perhaps some day we will be able to meet at the launch of "Madelaine - Shadows and Light". Which of course is our priority to get finished ASAP!

Last night was Halloween, and like Pam, its not an event I care for. We did go over to our son's house to see the grandchildren's costumes: 5 year old Michael was a Transformer; brother Noah an adorable walking Pumpkin. 3 year old Makenna was a fetching Pirate Captain, with her curly blonde hair! and baby brother Max toddled about in a Turtle outfit.

Good news about today is that the clocks go back! Yeay - an extra hour of sleep...personally I just wish the powers that be would leave the time set at either Daylight Savings Time or standard time and be done with it!

Well enough rambling, time to get on with the day. Now where did I put that package of cough candies?


Friday, October 31, 2008

Ghosties & Goblins

It seems to get longer and longer between posts but life gets in the way sometime. I am at home today as a day of bereavement for my sister-in law who died suddenly Sunday morning. I was going to try and make the funeral in Scotland but my husband pointed out that we had let our passports expire. Lesson learned. I will visit with my brother next year, but my heart and thoughts will be with them all this Saturday.

Liz is back from her much needed break but is still nursing a very bad cough and is into the fray at work. She is moving in the next month so I am not sure how much writing she will manage as packing boxes and all that a move entails will be foremost in her mind. Life certainly takes twists and turns sometimes.

The editing is coming along and Peter is working on Chapter 12. Not finding a great deal to change and that makes me very happy. When Liz revises the last few chapters we will be ready to format and make editing changes and then it will be done. May send to the printer to be bound so that we can have an original copy each.

Earlier in the week I went to the Harbourfront ,International Festival of Authors in downtown Toronto. It must have been the coldest night of the year so far.I walked from the train Station to the venue ,with the cold wind almost knocking me off my feet and chilling me to the bone I wondered what I was doing there all by myself. And why did I not drive? Especially since I was not sure where I was going and lots of strange characters around at night.

I made it with nose running and no feeling in my feet or hands but it was worth it.
Standing in line for my ticket was a guy I recognized and when he moved away I turned and introduced myself to Peter Robinson, one of the greatest writers of crime fiction with his Inspector banks series. Chatted for a few minutes and then he was pulled away by his adoring public. he has a new book out but the name escapes me.

I had gone specifically to hear Louise Penny read from her latest book "The Murder Stone" and there she was standing chatting with her husband Michael and another couple.
Again, I introduced myself. Don't know what she thought. Still blowing my nose and trying to get the blood back into my hands and rattled on about how much I was enjoying her book. Although we have had a correspondence before and she had critiqued our book she was having a hard time remembering who I was. She meets so many people. Well it came to her eventually when I said Jamie Tremain. Ah Ha. The magic words.

The evening was very interesting. One poet and four novelists of crime fiction. Louise speaks so well and she was the only one that I completely understood. She was a CBC journalist on Radio for 20 years so her voice carried. Such a striking woman and we had a nice chat later. Took some pictures and hope to put them on whenever I figure that out. I picked up a copy for Liz and she signed both for us.

The walk back was not as cold as the wind was behind me. I missed the street car and did not have enough cash for a cab. Had to wait 40 minutes for the train and Peter picked me up at 11.30pm. Past my bedtime but the whole evening took my mind off the sadness I felt about my brothers loss.

Today is Halloween and I am being a humbug about it. I will keep the lights out as I am not in the mood for ghosties and goblins. Tomorrow is a visit to two of my g kids in Barrie and I will help them eat the chocolate candies they receive tonight, if there are any left.

Have a good w/e.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Frost.... on the cars this morning...brrr! Not surprising, but always a harbinger of what's not far away. The colours of the trees this autumn are nothing short of spectacular. I have heard that we are able to enjoy particularly vibrant colours this year due to the abundance of rain in the summer. Certainly a bonus and I hope we can enjoy them for many more days yet!

Indeed, it was another hard week at work, but thankfully we now have a brief respite! I managed to complete Chapter 13 last night and will do my best to wrap up at least 2 more today. (That's the plan at any rate!)

I'm enjoying the first coffee of the day and aside from laundry, really have nothing pressing chore-wise to attend to. Although I do feel a long over due bath is in order....for my dog, Angel.

As means of motivating myself for the deed, I have stripped the bed of blankets and comforters and headed them for their own bath. My reasoning being that I don't want a less than clean doggie lying on freshly laundered bedding. We'll see if this works. No doubt you have gathered that Angel is allowed the privilege of sleeping with the humans. As she only weighs 12 pounds and likes to curl up behind my legs, I don't mind.

I think Pam underestimates her ability in the agent search. Her strong point in this partnership is her confidence and gift of salesmanship, not being afraid to approach anyone who might lead to that one perfect connection. I on the other hand, am more content with behind the scenes activities and technical needs. Although I certainly look forward to sharing book launch duties with her!

No doubt the search may prove to be a frustrating one, but we've come too far now to let that be a major hurdle. One letter, one email, (one rejection?) at a time!

Part of the reason for this blog, is to get the word out about Jamie Tremain. For those of you who do check in from time to time, we really appreciate your comments or suggestions. And if you are a random visitor, perhaps YOU are the connection we have been searching for!

Enjoy the day.



Friday, October 17, 2008

Hunting down an agent

Another horrendous week at work for both of us. Cramming five days work into four. We are working on a presentation for the department we work with and at least we get to work together,but its tempting to just sit and brainstorm for our writing.
Liz is off on vacation for a few days well earned rest next week so I have been cracking the whip, OK nagging her, to get a few more chapters edited before she goes.

My list of agents is getting longer. It is a tricky business and how do we know it will be a good fit? The query letter to push our story has to be just right.Of course with an agent who is already representing the same Genre. I quite enjoy the research and one of the tips I received was to follow up with an author I like and try and get their agent to represent us. Although there are quite a few drawbacks to the fact that there are two of us,....I guess Liz will want half of what we earn... we feel it is an advantage. As in two heads are better than one. It helps that Liz and I are our own best critics. We have not come to blows yet or even harsh words. If something needs changing or adding we speak up and discuss it. Because the other has seen the issue in a different light and knows intimately the story, It is usually right.

The evening darkness is coming around faster now and the temp. has dropped. We are expecting frost tonight but sunny days all w/e. I should wash my windows while I still have the energy and before it gets too cold.
I could talk to you here about the Canadian election or the monetory woes of the world but I won't. I am not conversant regarding either. My only opinion regarding the election is that we have a Tory government again, albeit a minority and it does not please me much. That's all I will say about that. The Financial disaster is global so misery likes company. Scarey times. I just hope people will still want to buy a good read when they are feeling the pinch.

Right after Halloween, my least favourite holiday of the year, we have the election from the excited States of America. All eyes will be looking south to see which leader will take them into 2009. Even with all their problems they are still a very optimistic crew. Time will tell.

Until things settle down around the world, and it may be longer than we hope for, Christmas may be more subdued. Roll on 2009 as I predict it will be a good year for Liz and I so look out for Jamie Tremain in a bookstore near you.

Enjoy your w/e.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Thanksgiving wishes to all.

Happy Thanksgiving,

This is one of my favourite holidays of the year. Today the sun is shining and the temp. is to go to 23. My husband and I are driving into the city to have dinner with friends and I will sit back in the car and savour the colours. I hope they are having turkey as it always tastes better when someone else is cooking. Tomorrow I will be seeing my children.

How do you like our new picture? This was taken again at the Gala our company has every year to celebrate the top performers. Cruise winners as well. The top dogs get to join about 600 people for a week in the Mediteranian at the annual floating Conference. They did not call our names!!! so we will just have to book ours after the book comes out. Ohhh thats an idea for the launch party. A cruise ship full of editors and publishers and all these book buyers. They would be captive until we got to shore. There is no harm in dreaming.

The International Festival of Authors is happening at Harbourfront in downtown Toronto on Oct 22-Nov 1st. Some of my favourite authors are reading from their books and having round table discussions. I am in a quandry as to who to see as a few are in different locations at the same time. I would like to see, of course, Louise Penny,reading from her new book The Murder Stone out this month & Peter Robinson, All the colours of Darkness, Rohinton Mystry, Nino Ricci and the pulitzer winner Richard Russo who is a marvelous writer and has a new book out as well.
Anita Shreve and Joan Barfoot are also on my list. Decisions, decisions.

Well my coffee is cold and I am off to buy the dessert for dinner. I am sure our friends are expecting a culinery masterpiece, but my local bakery makes the most lovely pastries and my oven is on the blink. Thats my excuse and I am sticking to it.

Enjoy the rest of the w/e and I will get back to work tomorrow night.


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Mixed Bag

A rainy, cool, autumn day. A day when it just seems appropriate to be enduring a fever, aches, and chills. Tis the time of year when nasty colds, coughs, and other related ailments make their re-appearance after a summers' hiatus - or so it seems! Came home yesterday and got out of the car. A turtle would have made it to the front door faster than I did! Everything hurt - from the roots of my hair to my toe nails. Eventually I managed a few hours sleep, alternating between teeth chattering chills and blanket tossing heat waves. Felt better when I awoke this morning and decided to go to work...well by the time I got there, the fever was back and so I finally packed it in about 1 oclock...came home and slept some more. Feeling slightly better right now, so will try and have a bite to eat.

As Pam mentioned, this week at work we received word of a work restructure, or "realignment", nothing really new in the industry we are in, but the way it is handled often leaves one scratchng one's head! Buzz words abound, "scoping" new opportunities; "moving forward", and my personal favourite - staff will be "liberated" - Conjours up pictures of emaciated staff chained to a desk, endlessly toiling with no relief in sight! And of course, management will do their best to "redploy" those affected. Are we talking military campaign or downsizing?

Very hard to stay positive with some of these changes, although Pam and I are focusing on our own personal "liberation" - get published!

So if I continue to feel a little more with it this evening, I shall turn my attention to some more revising - ever closer to that final draft ready to be sent out to the world of literary agents, editors, and publishers.

Onwards and upwards!


Monday, October 6, 2008

Restructure and Reality

Spent Sunday in the beautiful town of Stratford. On the river Avon of course . It was too lovely a day to sit at home and worry about the economy and the elections. With winter just around the corner my husband and I took advantage of the weather and a chance to visit this Festival city.

Now I have never been a student of Shakespeare but I can appreciate the influence he made to all forms of artistic endeavors. Books and plays and films in abundance have been made of his work and everyone knows some saying or other attributed to him. We drove through the village of Shakespeare before we entered Stratford where theatres are many and restaurants are named after Characters in his books. Housing districts are aptly named Hamlet ward or Falstaff and my favourite area is the Avon ward. Did I tell you I would like to live there? I could finally learn to ride a bike and cycle to my favourite book store. Visit one of the many coffee or tea shops and after a brew cycle down to the Avon and feed the swans. Cycle home and write all afternoon. Perhaps in the evening take in a show at the nearest venue and pretend I know all about the Bard.
Is that not a lovely dream?

Back to reality and both Liz and I had a surprise at work today. That dirty word, restructure reared its ugly head again. Not sure what it means to us, but we will wait it out and work harder to get our literary endevours printed soon.

The final edit is underway by my illustrious other half. I suppose this means he will need acknowledgement in the credits. I have read over Liz's revisions in chapters eight , nine and ten tonight and I am not sure Peter will have much editing to do.

Talk very soon,


Sunday, October 5, 2008

My Two Cents

"Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavour" - Truman Capote

A lazy Sunday morning here in this half of the JT household...I spent yesterday babysitting my grandsons, Michael and Noah. Always fun to be around little ones and see how their minds work; Michael was quite chatty and the time went fairy quickly. But now today needs to be catch up time. I may not even shed the pj's for most of the day, although my intention in that department always seem to be overruled by the need to feel dressed and ready to face the day.

I managed to finish editing up to Chapter 8 on Friday evening and as Pam has noted, she has enlisted the editing skills of her husband with Chapters 1 - 7.

It's a grey day so far, not much in the way of cheery sunlight, which would be most welcome. And as Pam mentioned, last week at work was beyond tiring, and no relief in sight! That in itself should be - NEEDS to be! - our motivation to get our Madelaine, and eventually Paul and Dorothy, out of our hands and onto bookshelves!

I'm glad her eye treatment went so well last week, although my queasy self couldn't look her in the face until her one pupil returned to normal size. Thoughts of anyone working on my eyes is probably one of my greatest dreaded fears - so you know contact lenses would never be an option in my case! I guess its the fact that one usually is left in a conscious state while being treated that gives me the greatest worry. Topic change - quickly!

At any rate, Pam now has improved vision and a working laptop, so all should be back to normal in the writing world of Jamie Tremain! Time to do my part and so after posting this, I'll open up Draft #3 of Madelaine - Shadows and Light and commence tweaking Chapter Nine.

Hope the sun is shining in your corner of the world.


Saturday, October 4, 2008

My in-house Editor

Good morning all,
Time to put the head down and get this baby finished. I have given seven chapters to my in- house editor AKA Peter , my husband. I have asked him to edit the last manuscript before it is sent off. I will have to crack the whip as he is usually slow as molasses but he has told me he will start tonight.

I think fresh eyes are needed as it is very tempting to fiddle with things so Mrs L if you are not too exhausted with your babysitting duties and the gruelling week at work , well you know what is needed. I have narrowed down three agents to contact so cover letters and queries will be my job this w/e.

It is an overcast day but not too cold and I am patiently waiting on two grandsons visiting today. The wash is on and the soup pot bubbling away. It's that kind of weather where comfort food is needed. Maybe even put the fire on. I am reading a book by Maureen Jennings, a Toronto writer and really enjoying it now that I can see properly. Wednesday of this week saw me at the eye clinic for some Laser. I had what they call floaters around the cataract and in ten minutes they were zapped out and I was in work by 10.30am. Truly amazing what they can do and I am glad they can.

Met for coffee last night with two girlfriends, one of whom is waiting on her offer of buying an old farmhouse on three acres outside of Kincardine. Kincardine is where Liz and I went to work on our book and get a handle on our writing. I hope it works out as then we can have somewhere to visit on Lake Huron. Maybe she can rent us rooms as a writers retreat!!!

Soup smells good. Red pepper and squash. Very seasonal, I hope it tastes as good as it smells.

Talk soon.


Monday, September 29, 2008

Bloody Words

Yoo Hoo,
I'm back. I picked up my computer tonight and answered about 75 emails. It's so nice to have it back. I have not exactly been idol but scribbling with pen and paper is not quite so fast without spell check and the grammer fixes the computer gives you.

I read two books this past few weeks and also read and edited a few chapters of Madelaine. Liz and I will make a date soon to spend the day and finalize the manuscript before sending it out.

That is something else I have done. I found one or two agents to get a feel of what their expectations are.
Drafted a few query letters but writing different synopsis I found quite difficult. Putting a 300 page manuscript into a paragraph or two is quite daunting but I will persevere to get it just right.

Yesterday was a typical Fall day. Sun blazing down , the colour of the trees magnificent and just a perfect day for Toronto's yearly Book festival, "The Word on the street". I try and go every year and I was not disappointed. I shamelessly promoted Jamie Tremain and bought a few other books from aspiring novelists. I listened to a few authors read from their work and all in all a most enjoyable day. I recommend anyone who likes books to go next year. The setting is perfect around Queen's Park with all the University buildings giving off the right ambience to this event. I met some very interesting people and was invited to attend a Mystery Conference next June being held in Ottawa. It's called Bloody Words. Just love the name so we may check this out.It's reccommended that smoozing and networking and self promotion is equally as important as the writing it's self.
Work, I mean the work we get paid for, is getting to be very demanding of our time and we seem to have less and less to spend reading our work but we will keep on trucking.

It's nice to be back and please feel free to comment or give your opinions about anything you fancy.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Seasonal Greetings

It arrived yesterday just before noon - so Seasonal Greetings to all! A girlfriend and I decided last year that because we don't care for "Seasons Greetings" being used more and more instead of "Merry Christmas", we would use "Seasonal Greetings" at each change of the Seasons - at least when we remember!! Hallmark - are you listening?

Pam at last word is still without a computer - hopefully there will be a positive report this morning on a prediction of when she will be back online...she is very frustrated to say the least. Yesterday she said that she didn't realize how much it bothererd her to not be able to have her computer. No kidding!

I have updated Chapter 6 of Madelaine and we are looking ahead to a fourth (and FINAL!!) draft..the revisions are becoming more and more polished - which is the goal.

The weather of the past few days has been my favourite! Cool and crisp nights, with sunny and pleasantly warm days. The colours of the trees are becoming more and more vibrant - a canvas of reds, yellows and orange, contrasting with the remaining green, set against brilliant blue skies. Nature's art work - changing each day.

And now my next thought is - what will I pay for gas at the pumps this morning???

Hope your day is a good one -


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ten Days!!!!

Can it be 10 days since the last entry! Apparently it is. :-(

Its not that there is nothing happening, but the past couple of weeks have been somewhat exhausting for both Pam and I. Pam continues to be frustrated by computer ailments and is hoping to have a PC doc take a look very soon! Although I have some experience with computer woes and am fairly tech savvy, my suggestions to her have not been successful - and I certainly can share her extreme frustration with not having a dependable computer to work with. I on the other hand, am seeking motivation - and Pam waggling a threatening finger at me to "revise" just doesn't quite cut it. Dead on my feet most days, I am!

We have a mutual friend at work, Cheryl, to whom we have promised the plum position of Administrative Assistant/Marketing Genius/General Dog's Body (ie..."Is the coffee ready, Cheryl?") for Jamie Tremain Publications, in the (very near, please!) future. She suggests we need to already be thinking of a co-ordinated line of clothing and other accessories, featuring the JT "look" - even though the "look" has not yet been perfected. However, there is the small matter of actually getting published first to attend to. Details, details...tsk, tsk!

Pam and I both agree that we are most anxious to wrap up Madelaine so that we can get back to finding out what Paul and Dorothy have been up to during this extended hiatus - I'm sure with no one to watch over them, there has been ample occasion for more shenanigans.

The weekend approaches and the weather is definitely in tune with the time of year; chilly nights (the best for sleeping!) and sunny days..oh that it would last until, say, February and then March right into spring. Have I mentioned that I really don't like the winter??

Next week we have our annual company gala and awards dinner after work. Makes for a long day, but perhaps we will have the opportunity for a more recent photo to replace the shot here on the blog!

So please bear with us - we are by no means giving up on our dream, but just as with any dream, real life tends to intrude at the most inopportune times!



Sunday, September 7, 2008

Rainy Sunday

"A good book is like an unreachable itch. You just can't leave it alone" Laura Bush

Well its not Monday, yet, but it is raining. And turning out to be a great day for writing. Its cool and damp - after some of the humidity recently endured, its refreshing to be dressed in longer pants, socks and a hoodie! A cup of tea on my desk, music in the background, and rain softly falling outside - all that's missing is a fireplace. For me, this is very condusive to writing, and so the third draft of Madelaine is before me, and I'm in the midst of Chapter 4.

After over a year of thinking the title "Madelaine" may not be enough, here is the revised title (for now at least!) - MADELAINE - Shadows and Light. However, I know Pam and I will always refer to our "baby" as just Madelaine, or even Maddy.

We've been emailing back and forth this morning - I don't think she is much looking forward to returning to work tomorrow. Can't say that I blame her!

Isn't that a great quote by Laura Bush ?- and to that end I have just started a novel by Peter Robinson - Aftermath. It's got me hooked right from the start and so in keeping with the day, I'm also itching to get back to the grisly and horrendous case Inspector Banks now is in charge of, so after this I think I will take a break from the computer and curl up for a good read!


Thursday, September 4, 2008

Southern Comfort and Freighters

Yoo Hoo, I'm back,

My trip to Harsen's Island was much too short. Great company,food to die for and Southern Comfort Manhattan was the drink of choice. We idled away the hours sitting on the dock watching the freighters go by.It was like the start of the summer not the end as the temp. was in the high 20's.
Wikipedia informed me that the St Clair river channel surrounding this island has more freighters than the Panama canal and the Suez combined and I believe it. They would glide effortlessly and quietly, or so it was for me. As I don't hear a great deal I would be startled out of my deck chair by the presence of these gigantic steel boats from all over the world. Only imagining what they had in their holds. Maybe grain ,salt or lumber. All the while motor boats and cruisers and those little sea-doos were dwarfed by their presence.

Now you must be thinking, " this girl does not get out much". Well thats true, but I have to say I really enjoyed them.

I did meet a fellow writer on this trip. She was the daughter-in-law of the lady I was visiting. She has just published her first book and I was so excited for her. Her name is Linda Wolf and she has just released her first children's book called "A Nightcrawler's Nightmare". She also did the illustrations and has her first book signing soon. (It's available through Good luck Linda.

Driving back through Stratford, one of my favourite towns, I had a notion for fish and chips so we stopped at a diner. Not very glamourous but they claimed to have the best fish and chips anywhere and butter tarts that melt in your mouth. Their boast was true and the name of the diner was Madelynes. I could not resist.

And what has this to do with my writing? Not much. I had great intentions to write in the car but I slept most of the way and on the way back we missed the duty free. I am the navigator but the car was putting me to sleep again. I had a taste for a Manhattan.

Liz has been busy while I was away and in a few days more of lolling around will have me back to revising Chapter nine.


Monday, September 1, 2008

SEPTEMBER 1 - Already?????

Is it just me, or is time flying by at an ever faster rate? It feels like only the other day I sat here and bemoaned the winter, and now summer has pretty much had its run! Trees are rapidly turning colour and shedding leaves. But at least thanks to the abundance of rain this summer, the shrubs and lawns are still a healthy green. Autumn is my favourite time of year, it still speaks of new beginnings and starting fresh on projects - a long held throw back to the school year, and by this time in my life, I don't think that's going to change now.

Today is a beautiful sunny day, some humidity, but no rain in the immediate forecast.

By now Pam is hopefully ensonced with her friends on an island really sounded intriguing and I hope she has a wonderful and restful time. I wonder if indeed she did manage to wrap up a few chapters while on the 5 hour drive. That's not something I've ever been able to do, read or write, while in motion. However, I do reserve final judgement on that because I have a feeling if I had a laptop to work on, that might be a different thing entirely! But then one runs the risk of missing something happening outside the vehicle.

Today is a stat holiday - Labour Day. And to celebrate I am not going to do much, although I feel I should vacuum out the season's reminders from my car. Lots of gravel, bits of grass and other items not worthy of description!

Yesterday I officially began work on the third (and final?) draft of Madelaine. Chapter one has been revised, and Pam has left me with several more chapters to bring up to date. So I'll see how productive I really feel!

Hope everyone has a good week - Pam is fortunate to be away from work for a few days, she really needs a chance to recharge her batteries. For myself, I have a few days coming up in October to anticipate!

Enjoy the day!


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Wishful Thinking

One more day of slogging away at my paid job and then its vacation time. One week is not very long but i'll take it. This is my favourite time of the year as the evenings are cooler and the daytime temp is comfortable. Not that I get outside all day.Liz and I seem to work in a sweatshop by the way we account for our days. Our Department is on the move again and by the end of September we will be back where we came from. Never a dull moment.

Gave two more chapters to Liz today that I had edited and made small revisions. I am not finding much in the third draft to change so keep your fingers crossed that this is the final editing. We are quite happy with the story and the outcome and hope you all think the same.

Liz is taking a breather while I am away next week. What with being swamped at work and the house up for sale and now she has learned of the death of an old friend. So we will regroup when I return and see how far we have to go and get the manuscript ready to send out.

My trip to Detroit will take about five hours so I should be able to get a few chapters under my belt while we are traveling. I am not taking my laptop with me so no blogging from me next week. The weather forcast says 80-82 degrees and cool at night. I hope I see some changes in the colour of the trees as that is what September is all about.

Will blog on my return with the third draft near completion. Wishful thinking.

Monday is Labour Day in Canada so I hope everyone here enjoys their day off work.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Our Olympic Marathon

As Liz mentioned I am having problems. Just another little glitch to keep me on my toes. In between watching the Marathon at the Olympics last night I was doing my own marathon trying to fix what I know not much about. I gave up.

I have started revising chapter 6 and hope to do 7 today of the third draft . From this point Liz and I will work together to fine tune and hopefully have a publishable manuscript.

Talking of the Olympics.. I have enjoyed many events including the sprinters and relays but my favourite is the Marathon. The stamina and endurance needed to finish took my breath away.
Well our Marathon journey writing our first book will need lots of stamina and endurance too so I hope you are all there, our friends and readers to cheer us on to the finish.

Well the Olympics are over but the writing is not so....

I have four days to get a handle on draft three as I am on Vacation starting Friday. A visit to Detroit with an old friend and a relaxing time before the weather changes.

I am about to lock myself in my "Calea Sona" (Gaelic for Restful Haven), for some piece and quiet. Enjoy the rest of your w/e.


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Madelaine - DRAFT #2 - Finished!

I managed to get through the rest of Chapter 18, all of 19 and the epilogue today!!! A hard day's work spread over a few hours. Unfortunately Pam is having computer woes and can't access her Word program to open up the revisions! So I guess she will have to take my word for it, that its done. Which of course means, Draft #3 is up next!

A very warm and humid day here maple tree out front is quickly shedding multi coloured leaves! I fear the tree has seen better days and may have numbered days if the city sees its bare branches and sparse foliage.

And now I think I will treat myself to settling in my pj's and grabbing my latest book - "No Place Safe" by Richard North Patterson, and if I fall asleep after a couple of pages, then that's perfectly fine.

Halfway through the weekend - if only the work days would go this quickly - grrrrrr!!


Thursday, August 21, 2008

"BLOG!" she said.... Blog I will (am?). Pam's commanded suggestion to me as the work day was wrapping up.

Almost the end of another work week and both Pam and I are becoming increasingly frustrated with lack of both time and motivation to focus on Madelaine. Demands at work and home seem to take their toll and leave us exhausted by day's end.

Tomorrow sees us bid adieu to a good friend where we work, someone I've worked with for almost 10 years! She is staying with the bank but taking a position closer to home, which will allow her to walk to work if she desires - goodbye 54 km trek on the highway twice a day! I'll miss you Linda!

I'm hoping for a quiet weekend with some writing time, I just have to wrap up the end of Chapter 18, 19 and the epilogue to say that the second draft is done! Pam has been making some changes on the third draft, but I don't dare start in on it until I feel I can have closure on the second one. So my goal is to get to that point before Monday! Until then, Pam may take a stab at drafting some query letters to prospective agents.

Almost the end of August and there is a hint of autumn in the air, leaves are already taking on their seasonal change of wardrobe. I really love the fall! But don't like what it portends- brrrrrr!!

Hope your weekend will be a good one - Cheers!


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Admiration for a Bookcase

Postings have been scarce but we are still very busy revising. Liz, now than her computer is running again has been cleaning up the last chapters of the second draft. I am working on the second chapter of the third draft and it is slow going. We meet everyday for lunch and read it out loud . This is where the revising comes in as we cut sentences and haggle over words but in the end we seem to be in agreement.

Editing your work is such a personal thing. It is very hard to cut your work and throw it out. As this is a collaboration I was sure we might come to blows when the other says 'That word is not working or, lets cut that paragraph." It has not happened that way at all. There are obvious times when I know who is writing what but mostly the work has blended and it is just our story.

The word count has stayed pretty much the same as when we cut often something else is added. The story has stayed the same, just said in a different way and we hope with more punch.

Liz is off to her friend Rebecca's trailer this w/e for a well deserved rest. I believe another open house is scheduled. The weather forecast is Sun sun and more sun for a change. We were all getting a bit waterlogged.

My oldest grandson ( who will be a tenager next week) Yikes! has been visiting .
As he had a sleepover at his cousins last night I am taking advantage of doing some writing in peace.

My goal today is chapter 3& 4. These revisions I am doing by hand so that Liz and I can then go over them together. Our workplace will not allow for my laptop in the cafeteria!! Some nerve they have. Imagine.

Right at the moment I am sitting on a single bed in my office admiring my new bookcase. I have finally brought all my favourite books together in one place instead of every corner of the house.
Most I have read and reread but I have quite a few that I need to read. I have a few first editions and quite a few Authors have signed books that now grace the new bookcase. The computer is grand but nothing beats the smell and the touch of a book.

Will blog tomorrow night and will let you know if I get these two chapters finished.
Enjoy your week-end.

Pam AKA Jamie

Friday, August 8, 2008

I'm Back!!!

And very relieved to be able to say that!

After a week with no computer and limited access to my email and favourite sites I've FINALLY been able to get back online.

My computer crashed a week ago, requiring the purchase of a new upgrade (which is quite nice, lots of space to fill up!), and then the headache of dealing with the tech support of my internet provider because the disc I previously used to connect the internet, would not, of course, be compatible with Windows Vista (another upgrade, which so far I quite like). After a frustrating phone conversation I requested they send a new disc. It arrived yesterday - with absolutely no instructions and didn't just "run" at start up! More frustration, but the end result is that I'm back!

This evening will be spent trying out the trial version of Microsoft 2007 which was deviously installed as a special 60 day offer. And the last hurdle, hooking up my email accounts.

But at least I feel like I've returned from an unexpected hiatus and am very anxious to get back into writing and communicating!

And - its FRIDAY!!!! Birthday party tomorrow for my youngest grandchild, Max. He turned 1 yesterday, so its the first birthday party for him.

Have a great day...mine is going well so far, LOL!!


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

@#$%^&*, said Liz

Rain, rain and more rain. This kind of weather reminds me of Edinburgh where I was born and brought up. I have never seen such green grass this far into the summer here in Canada. All the trees and plantings look so lush. But I have had enough already.

Update on Liz and my son Ron. Liz worked her last day as "the big boss" and an admirable job she did too. She is looking forward to getting her own work done and being back at her desk. I was afraid to ask her about the computer as if she had it up and running she would be blogging and emailing and hopefully back at the writing but when I asked I received a@#$%&* in the only way that Liz could do @#$%^&*. and then she told me to go away. We will just have to wait on the computer fairy helping her out.

The outcome of the cat scan on son # 2's foot was not a broken bone but six broken bones!!!. Only he could do such a thing is such a spectacular way. Doc says lots of pain for at least two years. Not sure of the prognosis but we will keep our fingers crossed.

So, how much writing have I done? Nada. I am almost finished putting all the books in my new bookcase and fixing my office.
I read an article yesterday that told me if I want to write just write and forget about how your surroundings are. Well that may work for some and I get his drift but I need to work in a clean and tidy workspace,My other excuse is my partner is incommunicado.....So its all Liz's fault.

Just joking, as we will soon be rattling out paragraph after paragraph of award winning prose. I know Liz is as frustrated as I am so hang on.

Rain has stopped and the sky has cleared so its time to get back to other peoples books and finish my room. Will keep you posted re Liz and her computer.


Monday, August 4, 2008

Liz is nearly up and running but Ron is not!

Had word this am that the other Jamie Tremain is almost up and running. At least she has a new hard drive. Now she has to program it or whatever she needs to do to communicate with the world. You can tell I am a techi person with all the lingo I use. Hurry back Liz. You have been gone toooooo long.

I have spent the better part of today in the emergency with son # 2. 30 years old but still needs his Mummy. Party time at Alqonquin park and some fooling around has resulted in either a broken foot or ligament problems. He has been in the emergency now for six hours and waiting on an orthopedic surgeon. I could have left a couple of hours ago but my writer's curiosity kicked in as I pretended to read a magazine and listened to many tales of woe. It is a strange bond these people have as they poured out their ailments and compared war wounds. When you get into hour three, people talk of the most intimate things and bit and pieces of lives are bared to complete strangers.

All good fodder for my folder on interesting characters. Lets hope than Ron's foot is not too serious and is home soon and all is right with Liz's world and we can hear from her soon.

Back to work tomorrow but it's a short week. Jamie Tremain will be back in business and our third draft will soon be ready for ....the world.


Sunday, August 3, 2008

Crumbling walls and a "Spiffy" haircut.

The house has been built but now some of the walls are crumbling. To shore them up, Liz's job has to get back to normal. Is that possible?Then the house will sell at the price they want with no more open houses and by a miracle her computer can be fixed instead of the need for a new hard drive.

When Liz came to work Friday she could hardly utter the words. "My computer crashed" Fortunately she had saved our writing on a USB hard drive but not her photo's. One of those things we always mean to do. Hopefully a technician can retrieve them for her.

A short hiatus was in order with the writing as I had some family obligations myself and we were just getting frustrated with halfhearted attempts to discuss our progress.

Until we get back on course with the revision and final draft of Madelaine I have an opportunity to organize myself. My books and papers are everywhere so I have sent Peter to pick up a floor to ceiling bookcase for my office. I am supposed to part with a few books but it's very hard. Its akin to book burning in my mind. I will also give some thought to the continuance of "Body Perfect" as both Liz and I are very excited about the way that this book has come together.

On a personal note, my youngest grandson has just had his third birthday. "Happy Birthday Damian" He won't be our baby much longer as another wee Blance is due in January. Baby #5.
Heeding advice from my friend Bertha(She is 92 and fashion maven) she told me I was letting myself go and needed to spruce myself up and get a "spiffy" haircut and make it my signature.
Well, either the new hairdresser did not know what "spiffy" meant or he was in a hurry for a Friday night date. My hair is not much different from what I walked in with and I was $55.00 lighter. I am such a coward. I said it was ok , paid up, gave him a tip but now I am wishing I had spoken up and insisted on getting what I wanted. Next time.

What else can I do to spiffy myself up??? Your answers to that question are of paramount importance and I look forward to your suggestions. Within reason.

I have a sign on my office door that I attach when I don't want to be disturbed.
It's says "Calea Sona". It means "quiet haven" in gaelic.That is what I need to write. Absolute quiet.
I am sure it won't be long until we are back on track and will start to send "Madelaine" off to prospective agents or publishers.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

We've Built the House..... we need to decorate it!

These sage words were uttered by me, myself, and I during our weekend writing endeavour, in Paris (Ontario).

As Pam has mentioned, we were thrilled to have received feedback from Louise Penny on our first three Chapters on the eve our planned writing weekend! How kind of her to actually take the time to read our work and then reply with suggestions and praise. And how true that a little bit of praise can do wonders!

What we have written so far, seems to be comparable to building a house. We have the framework and basics, we just need to add those touches which will make it more complete and the best that it can be.

Part of the advice she gave us included the suggestion we visualize scenes as if we were watching them on television or in a movie. And then to describe what we see. For me, that was pure inspiration and helped lead to a more successful re-write of Chapter One over the weekend. This helps to avoid an essay-type of writing which we seem to have fallen into.

It would be wonderful if Pam and I could work full time at this enjoyable occupation of writing! The weekend proved that we are more productive and creative when we can actually sit together for a good chunk of time. At times we seemed to not only read out loud what we had written, but almost to act out some of the scenes as well! Somehow I think that behaviour might be frowned upon at the cafeteria where we work.

My thanks as well to Rebecca, and her mom, for allowing us the chance to enjoy their trailer as a writer’s retreat. (The pork tenderloin and grilled veggies were amazing, yum!)

Well it’s been another long day at work. I’ve been covering my manager’s desk while he is (hopefully) enjoying a two week vacation. All I can say is that the day is not without its stresses!

The humidity threatens to stay with us – not my favourite kind of weather, and also takes its toll on one’s energy level. Having said that, I will now say goodnight and ready myself for bed – the morning appears to arrive earlier and earlier each day!


Monday, July 28, 2008

M &M's, Gummy Bears and Liquorice all-sorts.

This w/e past was spent at a trailer in Paris Ontario. A friend of Liz had offered us the use of her trailer so that we could concentrate on the revisions away from family life that can interrupt the creative juices . The flow just does not happen.when you have many demands on your time. However, the revisions went much different than what we had prepared ourselves for.

The much anticipated critique of our work arrived on Friday from Louise Penny. We received a delightful letter and she was full of encouragement and suggestions on how we could polish and fine tune our Masterpiece. It could not have come at a more opportune time.

Now this is the real writing. Each and every word and sentence is examined and pulled apart and cut and added to and we still managed to keep the story the same. But it is slow going. We managed over the two days to do 27 pages but were very happy with the outcome.

Louise eats gummy bears while she is writing. Liz and I nearly made ourselves sick eating M & M's and liquorice all-sorts. Not to mention the meals that Rebecca prepared every couple of hours. All writers must have a weight problem as I was not aware of stuffing my face as much as I did.

We worked for four hours on Saturday and then managed a two hour nap. Must have been the M & M's. Sunday we started around 10am and put in another three before we packed up to head back to civilization.

It was great to actually work on the story with Liz as we usually work separately and then compare. Not sure how we will handle this from now on. Louise also suggested a book to read which may help and I already had it so.... a bit of studying tonight and then get back to the story line by line.

It rained constantly all week-end and lots of thunder and lighting. Hmmm, I don''t think we mention the weather much in the book!! Learning something new everyday and still having fun. Those of you that have been reading the chapters just hang on to your horses as when you are ready to buy "Madelaine" at the book store it will be new and improved and we hope you love it just as much.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

92 years young

Hullooooooooo, Are you enjoying the new features Liz added for your word play pleasure. Some days I get them all and others only two out of five. I will persevere.

We have been having the most perverse weather of late and I am fed up with it. Last Saturday I had two old and dear friends visiting for the afternoon. The sun was blazing one minute and we were enjoying a chilled glass of wine and having a good chin wag when it started to spit rain. Nothing to worry about as we were sure it was just a sun shower. Now in the best scenario most people would just get up and go inside. Unfortunately my friend has a disabilty that makes it hard for her to get up. Getting her inside would have taken at least 20 mins. My friends mother , who was celebrating her 92nd birthday ,has a bad knee and uses a cane. So you can see my predicament. What to do?

I ran inside for three large umbrella's and we sat sipping our wine and continued our conversation when the skies opened up and the rain came down in torrents. After a while the umbrella's could not keep us dry it was so heavy. They were good sports about it and when we eventually were able to make our way inside they changed into some old clothes of mine and we had the birthday dinner all dressed as if we were refugees.

I had the nerve to ask Liz if she was going to do any revising tonight as I am waiting on chapters to work on. She gave me the evil eye as she has been putting in 12 hour days at work and has just listed her house for sale with all that entails.

This w/e we are going to Paris. Yes ,I said Paris. There is more than one you know. Hope to get lots of revisions done and the book ready for an agent to look at. Hope we don't need an umbrella.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

New Features

Just a quick note to our loyal readers!

Check out the new features added on the right hand side - you can stay for a while and have some fun when visiting Jamie Tremain - enjoy! Play a word match, check the word of the day, or play a game or two of "Hangman".

Also, if you would like a regular newsletter which summarizes the blog entries, please be sure to add your email address and subscribe - this is also on the right hand side.

So check back often, because I love to try out new features and you never know what we might add.

Liz (who loves word games!)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Synopsis and withdrawal

Condensing a 300 page manuscript into a 2 page synopsis or less, I find quite challenging. Known for my verbosity... it is harder than I thought. That is my job this w/e and to draft a letter to attach to the chapters I will be sending off on Monday.
Then Liz and I will wait with bated breath for the verdict. In the meantime we will finish the revision of the book from cover to cover. A friend of Liz's and her family are giving us lodging at their trailer. Rebecca will be hammering out any changes we make and Liz and I will edit.

Then we should be ready to find an agent.I have been researching and have narrowed it down to a few and so the journey is really just starting.

"Body Perfect" has been under wraps for a few weeks and we are having withdrawal pains . We are both very excited about the characters Dorothy Del Rio and Paul J Barron and I know for sure Liz has plans for their next adventure. I think maybe a contest is in order to guess where the next location of this series takes place?? But I am jumping ahead of myself. This one is almost finished and then we will start the rewrite while we are waiting to hear about "Madelaine."
Maybe it was not a bad idea to write two books at once!

Weather unsettled and overcast. Just right to tackle the synopsis as there is no danger of me sitting out with a book. I should be washing, cleaning,cooking, and all that domestic stuff but.... An author's work is never done!

All this rain we have been having is making me homesick (almost). The garden is so green but it also brings up lots of weeds. Just maybe I could spend half an hour weeding when I need a break from my trusty laptop.

I am going to talk Liz into taking a short video when we go to the trailer and try and attach it to the blog. Technically challenged that I am I will have to leave that to her.

Talk later,

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Another DUH Moment!

Almost the end of the week...and what a week its been. But that has to do with work, and who wants to talk about that! I'm glad Pam is back from her vacation, although I'm sure she'd rather still be in that mode.

She is anxious to get our first three chapters of Madelaine ready to send off for perusal by a favourite author - if you keep up with us, you'll know who we mean!
It took me a couple of nights to read over the small changes she wanted to make, and to insert my own. Today we were able to quickly go over the pages and agree on the changes to be made. And tonight my plan was to come home and quickly edit these chapters. Hmph!

This would be quite easy to do....IF...I hadn't left the folder on my desk at work...grrrrr! This is the third in a series of "duh" moments today. And hopefully the last!

At least its not Friday and all being well I will have it with me for the weekend. So for now, I'm debating whether to go back to the next chapter which needs revising; work on the newsletter for work; or pack in the technology for the rest of the night and go read. Decisions, decisions, decisions!

Have a great evening.


Monday, July 7, 2008

Back at the Salt Mines!!

Back at the salt mines today. My week's vacation was so short but I have another week in September to recharge my batteries again.
Enjoyed the time away from work and the weather was good. Visited relatives and had dinner with friends for a barbecue.
Not so enjoyable was the slow leak we had in the basement . We found out that it was coming from the water heater.Just what one likes to hear on a Sunday afternoon. Such are the joys of owning a house. I went back to work for a rest and I left the cleanup to my bitter half.

I have finalized the first three chapters of Madelaine and now Liz will proofread before I send it off to Louise. Each evening I am trying for one -three chapters of editing and revising before I pass it off to Liz for agreement or otherwise before she fixes it on the computer. In a couple of weeks we are planning on a w/e retreat at a friend's trailer to hammer out the final edit and revision before we send it off into the world.
I have narrowed down a few agents both here and abroad so the next step would be to write a covering letter and a synopsis of the book. My sister Caroline just sent me a link to an agent in the UK . Thanks Caroline.

Net-working is an important part of marketing your book and I hope my sales skills come to the rescue when the time comes. Liz has made me more business cards and at every opportunity I distribute them. In the company Newsletter last week, one that Liz is editor, she quite blatantly entered out blog address to the book reviews that we had done. What a team!!. Look out world here we come.

Still working on characterizations. I can get lost in reverie when I get an idea and I must admit some are quite bizarre.
I am often asked why we write and place out characters in the US?? That is a good question and I will answer at another time after I have conferred with my partner in crime. Please use this vehicle for any questions you may have for liz ans I and I promise one of us will get back.

Stay tuned.


Tuesday, July 1, 2008


July 1 - Canada's birthday and there is no country I would rather live than my own Canada!

We may not be as openly patriotic as our cousins to the south, but that doesn't mean we love our home any less. I am heartened to see more and more signs that is slowly changing - more and more flags appear, bumper stickers , and car magnets announce that we proudly support our troops.

And of course Canadian literature! I must confess I tended to shy away from all things Canadian, (dare I say that I don't "get" Margaret Atwood!) until I joined a small book club, where we focused a lot on Canadian authors - what an eye opener!

I'm glad Pam had a such a nice day yesterday. As for vacations, I on the other hand am quite happy to find a locale which would afford me the luxury of doing NOTHING all day long...well other than working through a growing stack of novels awaiting my attention! A well stocked cottage by a quiet lake would be wonderful right about now.

Ah well, back to reality - some chores to tackle today and then all being well, some time to devote to Madelaine!

So to my fellow Canadians - HAPPY BIRTHDAY, eh?


Monday, June 30, 2008

" Kilts and Clover"

I am not much for vacations as I get too restless for the beach and then too tired for all the walking, looking at tourist attractions. I am never too tired for shopping or finding new and interesting restaurants and pubs though. That is what I did today. After two days of utter and complete slothfulness I was raring to go. Peter and I took ourselves off to Port Dalhousie a short drive from St Catherines about an hour from our home in Oakville. That was after I had checked out the sales for a new pair of sandals. I can't resist 40% off.

You are wondering what all this has to do with writing? Well ,I find everything I do now is with an eye to finding a new character that I can use , if not in what I am writing now, but for some future book or article. And I was not disappointed.
Port Dalhousie is a lovely small port that has lots of beautiful boats in it's harbour. A long pier with fishermen catching all look the same to me, and then throwing them back. I guess they are waiting for the big one. This is a holiday town and people were there from all the neighboring cottages or like us , just there for the day. A carnival had been set up near the beach and the vendors were doing a brisk trade plying cotton candy and popcorn. They have one of the oldest carousels in existence for 5c a ride.

We had decided to take a picnic and I had dutifully packed sandwiches and washed a bag of cherries but.......... oh the smell of chicken wings and fish and chips and all the stuff I had vowed to stay away from. I rationalized that I was on my holidays after all and how could I deprive my beloved a fat burger that he so obviously wanted with the blue cheese melted on the top. I caved and had a pound of chicken wings washed down with two beers. I have never had two beers in all my life but they went down a treat as it was very warm.
Ordering our repast on the patio of a very old pub that had a new name of "Kilts and Clover"?? we were seated next to the future characters for...I don't know what.

The main street had loads of new restaurants and pubs and lovely art and clothing stores. The new pubs were busy stocking up for the festivities tomorrow, Canada's Birthday. Bikers were roaring up main street that you see in nearly all small towns in Ontario. Lots of character's there! Wonder if they would like to be interviewed? Hmmm Maybe not.
You will have to wait until I write about these two I met today. About my age , maybe older. Very chatty and I could not ascertain if they were a couple or not. They lived in St Catherines so they told us all about it. Friendly and outgoing and they liked their beer too. Maybe thats why neither of them was bothered that they hardly had a tooth in their heads!!. That's all I am going to tell you about them.

On the way home we stopped at a drug store as I wanted to check my Blood Pressure . Recently it has been somewhat elevated. Lo and behold it was under the normal level and I am convinced it was those two beers I had and not the medication I now have to endure.

Working on the first three chapters to fine tune them before I send them off to Louise Penny for critiquing. Liz continues her revising and is at chapter 10 and it doing a super job along with lots of other responsibilities this week. Take it easy Liz.

Talk soon and look for more characters to emerge from my vacation.


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