World Book Day in the UK is the first Thursday of March. Sending out well wishes to all the readers in the UK. Read – it matters. And while I’m on about books – huge congratulations go out to Joseph Boyden and his book, The Orenda, for winning this year’s Canada Reads Contest. As Stephen Lewis, Canada Reads panellist, so eloquently stated, The Orenda speaks to the original sin, the moment of injustice in Canada. It is a book that will change the way Canadians think.
Someone mentioned that they read my blog because they love my process. I was pleased with that comment because that’s what writing this blog has been about – how I get from point A to point B without cracking up. Though, come to think of it, the cracking up process may make equally good reading and how can one ever know if they’ve crossed the line? I read Diary of a Mad Housewife years ago and I really don’t think that poor woman knew how far gone she was until it was too late. Good grief, onto less morbid thoughts.
On this fine Sunday, my process is all over the map and then some. (Oh-oh, just looked out the window – the rain is pouring down and the wind is whipping up quite the storm on the lake. I swear it was sunny not five minutes ago.)
Plans for The Light Never Lies Blog Tour have come together with a bang over the past week. I have 19 stops planned on 17 great blogs – a nice mix of reviews, interviews and guest posts. The tour will run March through May and I’m looking forward to writing about each blog host as I wend my way through the various stops. I’m waiting on a couple of final confirmations, but you can find the entire schedule on a separate page here on my blog. As the tour progresses, don’t forget to get your comments out on the various sites so you have multiple chances to be in on the draw for a trade paperback copy of The Light Never Lies mailed right to your door.
And speaking of The Light Never Lies trade paperbacks, they are now prominently displayed in five North Island locations, alongside Disappearing in Plain Sight, with two more stores to go. Considering we’ve only had the books for ten days, it seems like quite the accomplishment. Once again, huge thanks to the North Island merchants who are so quick to display and sell a local author’s work.
Major book launch events are planned for the upcoming weekend. On Saturday, March 8th, I’ll be at F.P. Foods in Port Alice from 10:00 – 4:00 selling and signing books. Now I have a book for Bill Jr. and Bill Sr. to hold! Just so happens the Oscar Hicke’s Hockey Tournament will be in full swing at that time. I’m expecting a good deal of traffic as the town is bound to be flooded with people. And if you’re planning to be in Port Alice, get your tickets for the Parent Advisory Committee draw. A copy of The Light Never Lies is included in their basket of prize goodies.
On Sunday, March 9th, I’ll be at MarketPlace IGA in Port McNeill from 9:00 – 3:00. I’m looking forward to reconnecting with many McNeill friends.
On Monday, March 10th, I’m doing a coffee meet and greet at Captain Hardy’s in Port Hardy from 9:00 – 11:00. I’d love to sit down and chat with anyone who’s around over a cup of coffee.
Amidst the hustle and bustle of book promotion, the writing goes on. The book of short stories is off to the editor and the cover designer is doing his thing. I’ve been brainstorming a number of titles – variations on sorrow and hope, threads and weaving – as well as working on the all-important ordering of stories. There is a natural flow to the thirteen selections – I just have to find it.
I’m in the process (oh my gosh, there is that word again!) of preparing to re-issue Disappearing in Plain Sight under the Huckleberry Haven Publishing imprint with my own ISBN. The whole endeavour involves some careful planning. I want the new version ready to go up on Amazon as soon as possible after the old one comes down.
Research and back-writing for Chasing Down the Night is moving forward in spits and starts. Last week, I read Paula Wild’s book, The Cougar. A fascinating and scary read that has me hesitating to go out the door – a fairly common reaction. You know the stories about students in first year psych who imagine they have every debilitating mental illness they study? Reading about cougars is a bit like that. You start to imagine you see one behind every tree you pass. But awareness of these powerful, big cats is an important aspect of being safe while living in cougar territory. And, by the way, Vancouver Island is the cougar capital of North America, having the highest concentration on the continent of these magnificent animals. Given that, it makes sense that cougars are going to stalk their way into my writing.
I’ll leave you today (because my process has a few too many irons in the fire) with a photo that is giving me some inspiration as I ponder the third novel in the Crater Lake Series – Chasing Down the Night.
As many of you know, I have recently launched The Light Never Lies, book two in the Crater Lake series. Rather than book the services of a blog tour group (expensive and a bit difficult to determine what it is I’ll be getting), I thought I’d put together something on my own by shouting out my availability via my own blog to my own followers. Brilliant idea, right?
I am available to do guest posts, author interviews, and of course reviews of my new book are always coveted. I’ll sing, I’ll dance, I’ll wear fire for a hat. (I’ve heard that injecting a little humour while making requests is always helpful.) I can supply a custom photo for your post.
If I can come up with about a dozen guest slots, I’m going to give away two free softcover copies of The Light Never Lies on this tour. One for the blogger who manages to get the most engagement from a post featuring yours truly (likes and comments) and one for a commenter – all names to be drawn from a hat. These books will be mailed to the lucky recipients.
So, followers, put on your thinking caps and let me know your angle. Together we can work on a personalized guest post that will make us all happy. You can let me know of your interest in the comments below or email me directly – firstname.lastname@example.org
“Heartwarming, heartbreaking, all those kinds of adjectives. Now I have to go read the first book.”
Just wanted to share this review of The Light Never Lies. The book has been out two weeks and has already garnered a couple of really interesting reviews. This reader had not read Disappearing in Plain Sight and found the 2nd Book in the Crater Lake series to be stand alone. Good to know!
Originally posted on What Has Been Read Cannot Be Unread:
But once I got past all that (which really wasn’t all that bad, I just like to exaggerate a smidge), holy patoly, what a read! It is all about the characters in a Canadian summer camp for abused/troubled teens, both the residents and the staff, and we are quickly caught up in the drama of their ongoing lives. It seemed to me like an awful lot of drama, having conveniently forgotten my own family and its theatrics, but then I got thinking that we all know lots of people with their dramas and tragedies, so this wasn’t so rare after all.
“Success in not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.”
I’ll tell you a little secret – I don’t love public speaking and I suspect I’m not alone. That being said, having the opportunity to speak to a small group of people who are avid to hear me talk about my books does make getting over the whole not craving the spotlight thing, not only doable but, highly enjoyable.
Last week, I was invited for my fourth appearance at yet another of our local North Island libraries. I think I’m getting the hang of these author gigs. Over the years of not loving public speaking, I have figured out a few strategies that make the events go well.
I don’t like to begin an event by standing before a group of people and going straight into a long block of talking. To me, this is the cold-call of public appearances, to be avoided like the plague. When called upon to perform in this way, I am apt to plunge down into a well of self-consciousness and discover, somewhere there in the inky darkness, that my breath is short and my voice is shaky. Confidence takes a dive and it’s hard to carry on. Not impossible – I’ve been in situations where I did claw my way out of the well. Then of course there were situations like Colin Firth found himself portraying in the opening scenes of the movie, The King’s Speech. Just as an aside, I highly recommend this movie for anyone who struggles with public speaking. To see what poor George VI went through is to put all our own experiences in perspective.
Whenever possible, I am proactive and plan my center stage moments so they work for me. For my presentation the other night at the library, I started off with an ice breaker activity which I introduced in the following way.
When I meet people, I’m often asked – what do you do or what are you doing now? This is probably because I’ve had a few different careers. When I say, I’ve written a book, well, now two books, people will invariable get this look on their face and then tell me – oh, I’ve always wanted to write a book or I’ve always thought I had a book in me. I think this happens because the telling of stories is so essential to being human – it makes our lives and experiences real.
I’m going to pass around paper and pencils. Please jot down a few words that describe what the book in you would be about. At the end of the evening, I’ll draw one of these slips of paper and the lucky author-to-be will have their choice of either one of my books as a prize.
As people participated in this activity, there was laughter, chatter and positive energy circulating through the group. An atmosphere like that is contagious.
The next part of the event involved reading from my book, Disappearing in Plain Sight. Reading passages from one’s own work is both terrifying and exciting. Another method I employ is to have my husband Bruce share the first reading with me, specifically choosing a portion of my book that lends itself to two voices. Again, this allows me breathing room and gets me right over my self-consciousness about sharing my work.
After that – the library event was clear sailing. I did the next reading on my own, broke for questions and comments and when those wound down, I did a couple more readings. There was a casual, easy feel to the evening that I believe the audience liked as much as I did. I was able to wrap up with a passage from The Light Never Lies and that was really exciting. I pinch myself sometimes to believe I wrote one novel. To have written a second is beyond the beyond as the Irish so aptly put such things.
For me, careful planning of a public speaking event is always the key to success. I’m no pantser, for sure. I create a written breakdown of each thing that will happen with time frames and notes about what I want to say. And I practice.
I highly recommend that self-published authors get out in their local communities and share their work. For me, holding my book in my hands and reading from that book to a group of people is very rewarding. I watch the look on people’s faces as they pick up my book, admire the cover, flip it over to read the back and leaf through it – those are priceless moments, indeed.
Thinking about the movie, The King’s Speech, got me thinking about this statue of Winston Churchill we took in Queen’s Park, Toronto a few years ago – ever the statesman and quite the public speaker.
So happy to shout out thanks and share the first review (of many, I hope!!) for The Light Never Lies. Gloria Antypowich has posted up her thoughts on her blog. Please pop over and see what she thinks of the sequel to Disappearing in Plain Sight. Thanks.
Originally posted on Gloria Antypowich - Romance and Love Stories:
When I read “Disappearing In Plain Sight, Book One of the Crater Lake Series”, I recognized that Francis Guenette’s work was solid, with a great depth and understanding of human relationships. I totally loved the book and looked forward to the next one in the series.
When the “The Light Never Lies” became available I downloaded it to my Kindle immediately. It was wonderful to visit with the cast of characters from the first book, plus a few new ones. Once again, Lisa-Maries arrival shakes up the lives of the regular inhabitants at Crater Lake.
One of my current projects is a book of short stories. I have a dozen of my own offerings, from micro-short flash fiction to slightly longer pieces, plus four stories I have recently co-authored with my mom. If you knew my mom, you’ll raise an eyebrow at how this project is possible. You see, she died in 1997.
My mom wrote a lot. I’m still in the process of recovering so much of her work. But, to my knowledge, only one of her short stories was every published – Ten Days Out appeared in the Story Teller Magazine in the fall of 1996. Most of her work was in a constant stage of rewriting, revising and preparing for resubmission to one magazine or another.
The four stories I have been working on for inclusion with my work appeared in an anthology that she and her writing group, The Coastal Tail Spinners, put together for family and friends.
So – why the need to co-author these works? Why indeed …
I had thought to simply transcribe and include these works under her name. The moment I started to type, I realized it wasn’t possible. I began to make changes and what I was doing was much more than editing. An internal dialogue with my mom ran steadily through my head. It goes something like this:
I don’t think she’d say it like that, Mom. What about this instead? No – well then, I’ll rewrite it like this. Do you like that better? I’m reading between the lines here, but shouldn’t we tease this part of the story out? Good grief, this section is far too long – let’s shorten it up. I know what you’re trying for with the vernacular dialogue but it’s sure to irritate the reader – you see that, right? The story just can’t end here. I’m going to take it in this direction. What do you think of that?
And on and on it goes. The process is emotionally draining. By the end of a few hours working with my mom, I feel the need of a long walk, a hot bath, and a big glass of wine. And she isn’t even here to argue!
And that’s the hardest part. I would give anything to have my mom beside me in this process. We’d be pulling our hair out by the end of the day but it would be invigorating and enraging and oh so wonderful. This one way conversation makes me feel the loss of her in ways I’ve not plumbed the depths of in the sixteen years since her death.
The writing process has brought me into a new relationship with my mom – a relationship I have to build without her, through words left on scattered pages. It’s lonely and some days it makes me cry but I wouldn’t miss this opportunity – not for anything.
I will put the book out in both our names and claim co-authorship for my mom’s stories – though her name will appear first. No matter the work I’ve done, the one who came up with the ideas and the characters deserves first billing.
What would you think of taking on a project like this? Share your thoughts; I’d be interested in participating in such a dialogue.
Flowers are blooming somewhere – right? I’m longing for spring