Tuesday, July 29, 2008

We've Built the House.....

....now 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?


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