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.


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