On the Road Again: Blog Tour Request

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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 – guenettefrancis@gmail.com

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THE LIGHT NEVER LIES by Frances Guenette

“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!

What Has Been Read Cannot Be Unread

Never Lies This is the sequel to Disappearing in Plain Sight,   which I have not had the pleasure of reading.   So although I am happy to say that is is a stand alone book,  before you get to the standing alone part, you have to get through the throngs of characters that come pouring off the pages at you.   It put me in mind of those 50’s movies ads for their “cast of thousands”.    At one point I thought I might need to set up an Excel spreadsheet to square away who was who and who was related to who else and all their backstories.  Whew!

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…

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What Author Doesn’t Love a Captive Audience?

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“Success in not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.”

(Winston Churchill)

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.

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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.

5 stars for “The Light Never Lies, Book Two of the Crater Lake Series by Francis Guenette

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.

Gloria Antypowich - Romance and Love Stories

The Light Never Lies by Francis Guenette The Light Never Lies , Book Two – Crater Lake Series by Francis Guenette

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.

Among the new comers in the cast, I particularly loved eight year old Robbie Collins.  My heart ached for him when he was sent with his father– Alexander Collins—a man who was a stranger to him, and began their…

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Writing with my Mom

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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:

slides0011 (2)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.

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Flowers are blooming somewhere – right? I’m longing for spring In love

Castles, Ghosts and Guest Posts–Welcome Indie-Author, Linda Gillard.

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(Cawdor Castle, near Inverness – Linda in her red jacket wandering the grounds doing research.)

Today, I am thrilled to welcome, indie-author, Linda Gillard to my humble blog. Hailing from Black Isle, Scotland, Linda began her writing career as a traditionally published author – oh, come on, you know the kind I mean – a writer who has an agent and a publishing house behind her. She had three published novels under her belt, when she decided to write a book that stepped a bit too far out of the genre box for her publisher’s liking. She was told the book had no selling mileage. Unwilling to accept such a judgement, Linda waited around in the hope that her agent would find her novel another home. When that didn’t happen, Ms.Gillard went indie and she hasn’t looked back.

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Linda has recently released her seventh novel, Cauldstane. I posted about this release a couple of weeks ago – check here! Today, Linda has a delicious guest post to share. I dare you not to shiver as you read of her inspiration for Cauldstane. She has also been kind enough to supply a few castle photos to get us in the proper mood.

So, without further ado, I turn the spotlight over to award-winning author, Linda Gillard.

Echoes From the Past

I’ve just published my second novel set in a Scottish castle. The latest book is calledAuthor Linda Gallard CAULDSTANE, the name of a fictional Highland castle and home of the MacNab family. Cauldstane is a decaying 16th century castle and a money pit. The MacNabs have lived there for generations, but in the 21st century they’re finding it hard to hold on. The family is now divided. Should they should sell up, or try to use the castle and estate as the basis of a business? Cauldstane is blessed with quirky architecture and a riverside location, but there’s also an ancient curse and a malevolent ghost who poisons lives and relationships and wants to drive the family out.

 

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(Another stunning shot of Cawdor Castle.)

I first got the idea for CAULDSTANE when I visited Cawdor Castle, near Inverness. It’s privately owned and still inhabited, but open to the public. As I walked round, I started to think about what it might be like to live in a castle­ and of course, I wondered if it was haunted.

I’d already done a lot of castle research for a previous novel, UNTYING THE KNOT, in which an ex-soldier restores a ruined 16th-century tower house (a small, domestic version of a castle.) I visited more castles, read books about them and biographies of the people who lived in them. I loved doing all the research, though in the end not much made it into CAULDSTANE. But that’s how I think it should be with research. Readers shouldn’t be aware of it, but it should enrich the story and make it seem more authentic. Some readers have said Cauldstane Castle seems almost like another character in the book. One reviewer likened it to Manderley, the country house featured in REBECCA.

Many Scottish castles are reputed to have ghosts and there’s a great deal of evidence – some of it recent – about sightings and strange incidents. So did I see any ghosts on my visits? I sensed nothing at the Disney-esque Craigievar, which is supposed to be thoroughly haunted, but at Cawdor there was one corner of a room where I had what I can only describe as a very bad feeling, one I’ve had before when visiting ancient buildings. On a subsequent visit, I experienced the same sensation, but as soon as I moved away from that corner, I felt fine.

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(Craigievar Castle near Aberdeenshire and herself trodding the path. Disney-esque indeed!)

If you asked me, do I believe in ghosts, I would have to say, I think there’s something, some sort of echo from the past which some people can attune to. I live near Culloden Battlefield, one of the eeriest, most desolate places in Scotland, though it’s not far from a main road. In the Highlands a sense of history – much of it tragic and brutal – is almost palpable. It’s hard to ignore the powerful presence of the past. That disturbing presence is something I’ve tried to bring to my latest novel, CAULDSTANE.

CraigievarPlease visit Linda’s Website

Check out her lively Facebook Page

Cauldstane at Amazon.com

Cauldstane at Amazon.co.uk

Cauldstane at Amazon.ca

 

 

 

Now that Linda has my readers in the haunted castle frame of mind – here’s my review of Cauldstane to further wet the appetite.

A Novel of Redemption in True Gillard Fashion

Once started, I couldn’t stop reading until the last page of Gillard’s latest novel was turned. The characters leapt to life; they grabbed hold of my imagination and wouldn’t let go. A highly recommended read by an author that is tried and true.

When I was a little girl, I used to dream of living in a real Scottish castle. As a teen, I read more than my share of Harlequin romances that featured feisty young women falling in love with dour Scottish Laird’s. And guess what? These guys had castles!

My childhood fantasies were stoked and stroked by Cauldstane. For readers of Gillard’s other novels, familiar themes are woven through – a not so young but still vital heroine searching for something more in her life, a sense of having journeyed to the Scottish Highlands, a glimpse of things that occur outside the normal realm of our senses (ghost alert), the faint strains of music, quilts and savoury home-cooking.

Caulstane throws in an armoury complete with a darkly haunted, breathtakingly handsome man who hones blades and wields a sword like a master of times gone by, a ghostwriter with a few dark secrets of her own, and a superbly drawn ex-physicist/now vicar waiting in the wings to save the day.

But as always, what keeps me coming back for more of Gillard’s storytelling is the sense of redemption her novels convey. Cauldstane did not disappoint in that regard!

Valentine Day’s Distraction

Valentine's Love Letter

Today is Valentine’s Day. I wouldn’t know that if I hadn’t checked Facebook this morning and seen all the heart-shaped well-wishes people were sending out to one another. To add a wee dose of quilt to my unsentimental and forgetful turn of mind, my husband presented me with this extraordinarily cute “Love Letter” gift – a chocolate letter F. I’m enjoying the chocolate despite the guilt.

You may well ask, why this lack of romantic holiday awareness? Distraction hardly seems to cover my state of mind lately. My daily round of activity is disjointed and definitely out of lineal order.

I’m actively promoting the recently released, second book in the Crater Lake Series The Light Never Lies. Things are going well on this front. The softcover version should be available on Amazon within days. Right now it is sitting pretty in the CreateSpace Store.

I’m reformatting the first book in the series – Disappearing in Plain Sight – for re-release under a new imprint name – Huckleberry Haven Publishing. This is really exciting. Assisted self-publishing served its purpose but the time has come for me to step out.

I’m doing back-writing and brainstorming for the third book in the series (first time ever to be revealed title) – Chasing Down the Night. The Scrivener (now purchased) program file for this book is filling up with character sketches, setting notes and story arc outlines. My ‘real’ bulletin board is becoming cluttered with post-it-notes.

The hats are flying on and off my head at a dizzying rate of speed – promoter and marketer, that is definitely a bright red top hat; formatter, has to be a felt bowler of deep blue; imagining and creating, a rainbow coloured fancy hat, circa 1920’s with lace and feathers and ribbon trailing everywhere around me.

Hats off to multitasking and Happy Valentine’s Day to all Red heart

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