Hopping on a Blog Chain

DSC_0007

Much like this beautiful eagle hopping onto a tree top, I’m the next link of a blog chain today and am happy to hop on the bandwagon.  Deb Young tagged me in this chain last week and I want to shout out a big thanks to her for the invite. Deb and I met through social media. I bought and read her self-help book for self-published authors – Sell Your Books and from there we connected on Twitter. I was looking for a writer’s professional association to become part of and she directed me to the Alliance of Independent Authors – I haven’t been disappointed with any of Deb’s advice so far!

Okay – this is how the blog chain works. I answer the following four questions and then tag three other writers to do the same.

What am I working on?

I am currently formatting The Light Never Lies (sequel to my first novel, Disappearing in Plain Sight) for upload to CreateSpace – huge learning curve but I’m finding that I enjoy the devilishly picky nature of formatting and I love the control. I’m also storyboarding the next book in the Crater Lake series and working on tuning up ten short stories I would like to publish under the title, Echoes of Sorrow, Threads of Hope.

How does my work differ from others in the genre?

Choosing a genre is difficult. I write about family dynamics, personal growth, issues facing young people, rural living to name just a few themes. But there is romance, too. I have slotted my writing into a genre I call – contemporary fiction with a splash of romance. My books find their voice in third person narration through the eyes of a number of the characters in the story. This makes my writing somewhat unique. I also weave a good amount of setting details into my work – I want the reader to recognize this area or, if they’ve never been to Northern Vancouver Island, be intrigued about visiting.

Why do I write what I do?

I believe that all my experiences to date shape what I write – teaching, working as a trauma counsellor, my years of being a mature university student and researcher, living on the shores of a beautiful lake in a pristine wilderness setting, being plugged into the life of a rural community. When it comes to fiction writing, these are the things that allow scope for the ideas that pop into my head.

How does my writing process work?

I get a tiny idea about a character – maybe a tidbit of dialogue or an interesting situation that character might find him or herself in. I jot down notes and when the time is right, a story starts to form. Next comes a ton of back writing – detailed character sketches, research, timelines, drawings of various settings. After all of that, I might be ready to storyboard. This happens with post-it-notes and a large bulletin board. That will lead to a bare bones outline. After all of that, I start writing. Not necessarily at the beginning – wherever my interest is caught on a given day. The writing weaves back through the whole process as I update everything that has gone before. This is an important part of my writing process because I need that openness to letting the story take the lead.

When the first draft is finished, I move straight on to rewriting. Input from my first beta-reader comes after the second rewrite. She builds up my confidence and gives me valuable input on things like believability, length and structure. By about draft eleven or twelve, it’s time for editing. My first beta-reader is also my editor. She is already familiar with the story and she knows my style. This stage is amazing and exciting as we become real collaborators on tuning up each and every sentence. After this edit, my husband Bruce gets a read through. He often has a lot of technical suggestions. With any luck, I also have a few other beta-readers who might be brought in for specific sections of the story. Then the work moves into the final edits and proofreading. And voila – a finished manuscript.

Now for the fun part – here are my three tags.

Laekan Zea Kemp

bio1Laekan is a writer and explorer extraordinaire who grew up in the flatlands of West Texas. She graduated from Texas Tech with a BA in Creative Writing and is the author of the multi-cultural New Adult novels, The Things They Didn’t Bury, Orphans of Paradise, and Breathing Ghosts. I got connected with Laekan when she issued an invite to her blog followers asking if anyone would like to host her on a tour to promote her new book. I thought she had the most brilliant idea for putting together a blog tour that I jumped on board. Some of my followers may remember when Laekan appeared on my blog.

Please check out Laekan’s blog where you will learn all kinds of other things about her and find links to her books.

P.C. Zick

Writing Whims by P.C. ZickP.C. began her writing career in 1998 as a journalist. She’s won various awards for her essays, columns, editorials, articles, and fiction. She was born in Michigan and moved to Florida in 1980. Even though she now resides in Pennsylvania with her husband Robert, she finds the stories of Florida and its people and environment a rich base for her storytelling platform. Florida’s quirky and abundant wildlife—both human and animal—supply her fiction with tales almost too weird to be believable. Her writing contains the elements most dear to her heart, ranging from love to the environment. Her novels advance the cause for wildlife conservation and energy conservation. She believes in living lightly upon this earth with love, laughter, and passion. I got connected with P.C. when she featured Disappearing in Plain Sight on her Writing Whims blog.

Please check out P.C’s blog to learn about all the great things she’s up to.

Vashti Quiroz-Vega

Vashti's Web Photo[1]From the time Vashti was a young kid, writing has been her passion. She’s always been a writer, she just didn’t know it until much later. It is easier for her to express her thoughts on paper than with the spoken word. She enjoys making people feel an array of emotions with her writing. She likes her audience to laugh one moment, cry the next and clench their jaws after that. A love of animals and nature are often incorporated in her stories. You’ll read intriguing things about various animals, nature and natural disasters commingled in her character driven novels. Vashti and I have been blog buddies for a while now.

Please visit Vashti’s upbeat and interesting blog to learn more about her.

Thanks again to Deb Young for inviting me to be part of this blog chain. I hope everyone will check out Deb’s blog and my tags to three great writers – Laekan Zea Kemp, P.C. Zick and Vashti Quiroz-Vega.

I’m leaving you today with a bit of the west coast beauty I appreciated last week on a trip out to Winter Harbour.

P1090905

Sailboats, Disappearing in Plain Sight, and a Safe Harbour.

IMG_0048

My marketing and promotion manager (aka – husband – Bruce) pulled off a significant coup the other day. He managed to have my book, Disappearing in Plain Sight, on sale at The Outpost, a local venue in Winter Harbour, in time for the arrival of the racers in the VanIsle 360, a circumnavigation sailboat race around Vancouver Island.

IMG_0072

The Outpost is Winter Harbour’s all purpose general store. One of those places that remind me of days gone by when one stop shopping meant just that. The website will tell you they have everything from bolts to bananas, as well as a well-stocked liquor store, a wide variety of groceries, fishing gear and tackle, household items, and local souvenirs (like Fran’s book – yippee and happy dance going on).

IMG_0073

“Winter Harbour is the true “end of the road”, an outpost community off Quatsino Sound. A unique fishing village on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, there are few residents 1881.1[1](population 20!) and lots to see. The village of Winter Harbour got its name in the 1800’s when its sheltered harbour became a haven for sailing ships. This boardwalk community puts visitors close to the wildlife and remoteness of northern Vancouver Island.” Quoted from  this great site – it describes Winter Harbour and all kinds of must-see places nearby.

If you ever plan to visit this picturesque community, consider staying at the Winter Harbour Cottages. Run by Pat and Phil Wainwright, the rates are reasonable, and the accommodations fully reflect the charm of the fishing village setting. The cottages have wonderfully evocative west coast names – Cedar Cottage, Chinook Cottage, Otter House, and Beach House. Check out the link above for all the details, plus great photos of the area. I want to send out a big hello to Pat – a former work colleague from School District #85. Hi Pat and Phil!

The VanIsle 360

2013 Van Isle 360 071 redone[1]

The Van Isle 360 is a biennial, 580 nautical mile point-to-point race circumnavigating wild and rugged Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. Sailed in ten legs, the course provides inshore, offshore and overnight sailing through some of the most stunning and challenging waters on the planet.

The race is on as you read this – June 8th to 22nd. Please go and check out their website and their Facebook page. They’re trying to get a 1000 likes so feel free to give them a hand with that.

Each leg of the race is unique with a new adventure lurking around every corner. There are the strong currents and narrow passages that mark the inside route, to say nothing of the notorious Nahwitti Bar. It is said that fish boats’ windows can be permanently etched by the sand churned up in the waves. This is not to be outdone by the infamous Brooks Peninsula, where weather stations are frequently blown over. The host communities (of which Winter Harbour is one!) go out of their way to welcome the fleet at each one of the stops with awards and festive events (things like having Disappearing in Plain Sight for sale at the local store.) The sailors get to relax and enjoy warm hospitality and the unique character of each community.

IMG_1020

So, there you have it, folks. Local promotion in a absolutely breathtaking spot with a sailboat race thrown in for good measure – life is good in my marketing world (thank you Bruce!)

Don’t forget that June is prize and party month here on my blog. All likes, comments, pingbacks, and new follows get entered for great prizes.