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Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Into The Unknown/ Change Is Inevitable

Not unknown exactly, as I have reinvented myself a few times before. We take on many personas as we women go through life–daughter, sister, cousin, aunt, friend, fiancĂ©, wife, mother, grandma.

The moniker I don’t like is a widow. Its almost four years since my husband of fifty years died and left me to carry on without him. 

Family and friends here and abroad have been my rock and are so important to me and I cherish them all. The house I am living in right now, Peter and I bought over 30 years ago. Lots of memories with the three kids who are now adults and have families of their own. They have given me five wonderful grandsons. I’m a lucky lady.

So why, In the middle of a pandemic would I sell my house and buy an apartment? It didn’t just come to me as my kids thought. Oh, mum’s bored. So she’s gone out and bought a house!! One even said that’s my childhood home you’re selling. Hardly, they were all teenagers when we came here.

I’d been searching for a smaller place on one floor. When time creeps up on you stairs become a big nuisance. And bingo! The perfect garden apartment was found. Not far from where I now live, so a familiar neighborhood. No elevators to deal with. Beautiful grounds that someone else will look after. A walkout to a beautiful terrace and lots of room for all my books and writing paraphernalia. How perfect is that?

So what has this to do with writing you ask? It’s really all about change. We have all been asked to change how we view the world. How we travel, interact with each other at a distance. Wearing a mask is foreign to most of us but if we don’t accept the changes in our lives now it will be at our peril. This is one of the biggest changes most of us have had to deal with but stick to the rules folks and we will come through this.

On the Jamie Tremain front, Liz and I are excited about the changes in our working life together. Now that she has retired and left the corporate jungle behind, we can set a working schedule but we are both flexible with our time. 

This is not to say we have been idle. Again, it’s all about change. I started the year off by breaking my arm. Two months later when I was starting to recover we heard the rumblings of COVID-19. More changes and in a big way. You all know the numbers and how frightening it all is. So while in isolation we could Zoom-video chat and use our method of writing on Google Drive to keep us busy.

The publishing industry has changed so we were fearful our latest WIP would be delegated to a desk drawer. We are happy to say Beholden to None, our third book in the Dorothy Dennehy Mystery series is now with our publisher. We will keep you updated on the progress of this book.

So as I dealt with realtors and purging and packing for my new home Liz dug out a book we wrote in 2013. Dusted it off and we worked to clean it up, revised, and added to get it ready for publication. Grants Crossing #1. We are busy now with Grants Crossing #2 and planning a whole new series with different characters. We hope you like them as much as we do.

Stay cool, it’s hot here in Southern Ontario, wear your mask and keep apart as much as you can. We will get through this if we listen to the experts in the medical field.



Friday, June 12, 2020

Phase 2 - COVID Updates and More

TWO months to the day since the last blog post, and we are only now starting to come out of self-isolation and restrictions here in Southwestern Ontario – otherwise known as Phase 2. Personally, I’m ecstatic because it means I can have a haircut on Monday!

Suitable precautions will be in place, both client and stylist will be masked – not quite sure how the hair washing and cutting will work – and the salon’s waiting room will now be a client’s car. Call when you arrive and they will call you back to let you know when you can enter the premises.

As well, restrictions on gatherings have now been extended to 10 persons, but still maintaining social distancing. How surreal that these descriptions and guidelines have become commonplace in such a short span of time.

I never leave the house without at least two face masks and bottle of hand sanitizer.

But virus aside, what’s new with Jamie Tremain?

We have Beholden To None all ready to be sent to the publisher. Just awaiting their confirmation to submit. Our publisher, as with so many other businesses, have felt the effects of this pandemic. So processes are moving a little slower.

In the meantime, Pam and I have dusted off a book we completed about 6 years ago. Tentatively called “Grant’s Crossing – Death on the Alder”, it is a story in a different setting than Dorothy Dennehy and her team in Portland, Oregon. We had such enjoyment creating the story and characters and found we fell in love with it all over again when we opened it back up to edit, revise, and  polish. So that’s our next assignment. Tidy up, and prepare for publication.

Pam and I still have not been able to meet face to face, but joy oh joy, our Genre5 group is planning a socially distanced gathering next week. Outside, on a spacious deck, we can’t wait to get caught up.

As mentioned in my previous blog, we started a  group project during COVID.  A writing exercise that continues to grow!  I’ve just received the most up to date version of our story and will be adding my contribution over the next day or two. I can’t believe how much fun this has been, and for 5 writers to be collaborating on one story has been an adventure.

My journaling continues and I find it’s been helpful to record my thoughts and document only a tiny fraction of what the world has been coping with this year.

My granddaughter, Makenna, turned 15 this week. Another family birthday we’ve been unable to gather for, but a “birthday drive-by” was arranged by her mother, so a celebration of sorts.  The collection of family cards and gifts are accumulating. We may need more than one day to finally sort through them all – the question remains though of when?

I will continue my daily tracking of virus stats – creating and maintaining spreadsheets is a quirky hobby of mine – as well as journaling.

Stay safe, stay healthy.


ps - Accessing the blog today, I learned new formatting was being introduced, so excuse anything that looks out of place. I will be "tinkering" over the next few days!

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Retirement, The Virus, and Isolation. Oh My!

By now I don’t have to do a background on COVID-19 do I?  We’re probably all weary of the news, numbers, and how everyone is coping with being isolated from family and friends. Basically it sucks!  But if my staying put means I keep one medical staffer safe, or reduce the strain on emergency supplies, then it’s a small price to pay.

So, ‘nuff about COVID – other than to say it took the wind right out of my retirement sails!

No Description Required!

Yes, my long anticipated day of freedom from the corporate world was to be March 31 2020. But global events put a crimp in that date!  Began the first week of March, when our whole floor (approx. 200 people) was quarantined for 14 days due to one staff member testing positive for COVID-19. The push was then on to have everyone geared up to work from home. Something so many of us had wanted for years and if in place earlier might have meant I would have stayed a little longer.

Back at work on Monday March 23 with only a handful of us on the floor. As I was due to be gone the following week it was decided working from home not an option for me.  Vacation time was owed me, so my last official day was Thursday March 26.  Hardly anyone to say good bye to, and definitely no hugs. We all walked around each other at arm’s length and waved goodbye from a distance. A deflated, anti-climactic end to almost 22 years with the bank. The planned retirement celebration lunch was cancelled. Apparently to be re-arranged at a later date – perhaps by Christmas???

And oh the irony. Pam has been anxiously awaiting my freedom from 9-5 so we could have regular “JT days” and now we can’t get together!  We have video conferencing as next best option. And it’s been working with our Genre5 Author group to provide the 5 of us with a weekly chat. Video conferencing has been a great option for family gatherings as well.

Have to admit though I’ve been finding it hard to settle down to write. Our work in progress, “Beholden To None” is under edit now. We’ve had great feedback from two  beta readers and are working through the suggestions for the third draft. I’m grateful that Pam and I do have the ability to work online, but it doesn’t compare to the face to face environment.

It’s so hard not being able to get together with family and friends. But at least my linen closet, pantry, and CD collection are now organized. I may have to do a toothpick inventory later this week – depending on my schedule of course.

Our Genre5 group are participating in a group writing exercise for fun. Will let you know how that turns out. I liked the idea so much, I started a similar activity with some willing family members.

Genre5 Author Group - Donna Warner, Liz Lindsay, Donna Houghton, Gloria Ferris, Pam Blance

And I’ve taken to journaling this past month. Wish I’d started sooner, but am finding that it’s become both a good outlet for my writing and satisfying as a potential documentation of these historic days we are in. And there you have it – right back to COVID-19 again!

I rest my case. This pandemic colours everything we do right now. So I’ll finish by reiterating my appreciation for front line workers. Hospital medical staff, emergency responders, transit operators, truck drivers and retail workers. 

I have a beautiful daughter-in-law who is a nurse in our city's General Hospital, and my wonderful husband drives a city bus here as well. Both literally risk their lives each day they work. Love you both so much.

When will normal return? No one knows, but I will do my part and know that the sun will shine, social distancing will end and books will be read!

Stay safe, keep healthy.


Saturday, February 15, 2020

Not so Humerous

My plans for the New Year were short-lived when I took a tumble on a sunken living room step and broke my Humerus bone below the shoulder. It was not at all humorous! A visit to the Guelph emergency and an orthopedic surgeon in Oakville with lots of lovely pain killers has had me laid up for the past six weeks.

When I came out of the fog of drugs and self-pity, I soon felt that I was incarcerated for whatever sin I had committed. How humbling it is to be dependent on everyone. Family, friends, and neighbors came to my rescue with food and offer to take me to appointments. I am so grateful, but as someone who has their car attached to the hip, I found it quite frustrating. Then there was the twice-weekly hose down by a lovely PSW who also helped me dress. One night I had to call a neighbor to help me out of my sweater. I was stuck. I have a new appreciation for folks that have to deal with this every day.

Having a writing partner certainly helped me with this situation. I couldn't type and was useless trying to dictate with the microphone. Liz, as always, has my back. We still managed to go ahead with our work in progress. Liz typing and me telling her my take on the story. Today was a good day when she came to visit, and we sorted out some plot scenes. Reading out loud is how we get a feel for the story and spot if anything is amiss. I would say we still have a third of the way to go. But the end is in sight.

My arm has more movement and I should be starting therapy next week. Driving I will leave another two weeks. I hope to be more creative now the heavy drugs are out of my system. Back to reading some crime mystery books and stop bingeing on Netflix.

Liz has some exciting news for you on the next blog post so stay tuned. Jamie Tremain is back and will have a new book for you in the near future.