the journey from writing a novel to ... what were we talking about again?

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Sometimes I’m Not Very Brave

Sometimes I have to tell myself to be brave.

Not very often, but it happens. And when it does happen, I look at myself and think, “I’m not brave at all”. It doesn’t matter what I have done or have accomplished, because when I look at myself I think, “that’s not me”.

I’m not feeling terribly brave today.

Or yesterday.

Or the day before that.

I’m feeling … like I’m done. Writing I mean. 

As a writer, you are encouraged to encourage other writers. It’s a very difficult field and when someone wins or someone gets another contract or someone writes something so amazing you shake your head and wonder what the hell you’re doing being published … it’s very difficult.  You need to encourage them. It’s not a competition.  And yet … sometimes when you’re not feeling very brave, you feel unimportant. And I think what’s worse is, as a writer, I think we are all moody. I think you need to have that trait to write well. You have to be able to think you’re amazing with one breath and in the next, think you suck.  Maybe to make you try harder? Maybe to make you dig down deep, down right into your toes and push it all out with the force of childbirth? And then when it’s born, you’re so pleased. So happy for yourself. So happy with what you created. But the process …

I find that writing magazines are somewhat helpful. They tell you how to find your creativity, how to market, what not to do, blah blah. But what about the magazine that tells you that you don’t suck? That tells you that it understands, that it knows it’s so hard?  Where’s that magazine?

I know a lot of people don’t read this website blog. And that’s ok. Friends do and that’s terribly supportive. I try not to feel crushed as my comments have reached only 41 and my spam comments are in the 800’s.  I don’t have a huge following. And that’s ok. No feeling sorry for me.

But what I want to say is, if you, sweet person who stopped by to say hello, or just to peek at who I am, if you happen to be a writer, I have this to say:

You can do it.

You can reach down deep and stir it up and pull it out.

You may be crying with frustration and sadness and fears because you can’t get an idea, your plot isn’t working, your characters are boring, you can’t find a simile for “said” without being pretentious. 

You may be neurotically tracing your sales and getting more depressed because the numbers go down weekly and you wonder when your book will be found in the bargain bin.

You wonder if you’ll ever get another contract because while the first book may be doing well, it is a cut-throat business and you, my dear writer friend, are worried you’ll never write again.

It’s ok.

Sometimes you don’t have to be brave. Sometimes you can feel sorry for yourself. But don’t let it linger too long. Because you have to remember:

You did it.

You are writing.

You have what it takes.

You can work harder.

The house will get clean later, the dog will be fed, the child will bathe at some point.

You will not feel guilty when wonderful hubby cleans the bathrooms and makes a burnt dinner because you didn’t have time.

And remember that you can’t be confident in your abilities, because God made it all happen, not you. And if He wants you to keep writing, you will. Let Him use you.


You will believe in you again.

I promise.


Sometimes I need to read my own words more often….

Eating: earl gray tea. sadly, it’s cold.

Watching: Despicable Me (for the third time in three days)

Listening to: the child cough. oh he’s so sick.

Reading: Matched by someone on my Kindle. May buy it.

Not Been Around?

I plead innocent. My computer was broken.

If I could write in white today, I would.

The world is covered by thick white snow. It started snowing 5 hours ago and it hasn’t stopped yet. I’ve already dragged the gaffer out for a walk in it. Soft, swirling fluffy flakes landing on everything that stands still.  I love these days. The Christmas lights were turned on early (did I mention our tree has been up since November?) and it’s beautiful.

The gaffer is downstairs focusing on Christmas cards for his schoolmates. And I?

I am thinking of Amish Romance again.

I met an old school chum this week as she bought a couple of books and she’s terribly creative and gifted. And as we chatted, I mentionned the change of book audience and she was surprised. We discussed giving up one’s … creativity for the sake of money. Basically, ‘selling-out’.

I have so many ideas for so many different books. I have a picture book idea in mind and I also have the plot line of my amish one.  While I will accept that I was given a pretty good gift of writing, I have no problem writing books I don’t enjoy tremendously on a personal level, provided it brings in money.

Now don’t sound so shocked. My man works two jobs. I work none. Therefore, if I can make enough money that he only needs to work one? Then I’ve done my part. The end.

My greatest joy writing is poetry. And I can do that anywhere at anytime. It only takes five minutes to purge out something fantastic (my opinion anyway) once you have a delicious phrase. And a true joy would be to have my poetry bound properly. I’ve always wanted that. Maybe one day when I have nothing to do with my time and I have the debt thing sorted out. Then I”ll print all of it on yellow paper.

Listening to: Christmas carols and our neighbour chopping wood

Eating: gluten-free pumpkin scones (not bad)

Watching: the gorgeous snow fall

Reading: Desecration and Karen Kingsbury’s book um… something about a line. or something.

Call Me Crazy…

But I started a new book.

And it ain’t for kids.

See, I was having a fantastic conversation with the lovely Kathleen, and discussed how at her new Publishing house, she’ll be senior editor of women’s fiction and amish romance. For those of you who are unaware, yes, amish romance does exist. So I laughed. And then realized that she just might be an outlet into other, possibly bigger things. Hm…

So as we email chatted, I came up with what I thought was a brilliant storyline for women’s fiction/amish romance. I have yet to figure out which it’ll be.

So today, after the gym and my Farm Boy lunch run, I made it over to my favourite coffee shop, noticed two of my books had sold over the weekend (yay me!) and began to write.

I wrote 1,000 words without breaking a sweat.

While I am all for writing another Jackson Jones (gosh they are fun to write and I’m pretty sure I have the plot down for the third – which will involve a shipwreck), if I don’t sell an adequate amount of the first, there will not be a contract for a third … yet. Deep down I’m hoping for a late start out of the gate and mid-summer things will pick up smoothly (although I pray for a great Christmas spike) and then I’ll be asked to write more. But why limit myself? I’ve always wanted to write a grown-up book. I’ve always wanted to write a teen series. I’ve always wanted to write an adult fiction.

So why not?

Reading: same as before

Eating: pumpkin scone from starbucks. too sweet! ick. shoulda had chocolate square or something

Listening to: the dog chew her feet.

Watching: Hulk with Ed Norton.

A Good Editor

I got to talk to the ever-lovely, ever-brilliant Kathleen today on the phone. Which is a super big treat for me. Like having two lattes in one day, but waaaay better.

We discussed her moving and how happy I am for her and how much God is blessing her and her husband with this.  We discussed greenhouses, birthdays, the train and long-distance relationships and Amish Fiction. We discussed possibilities.

She said what I was afraid to think.

This second book may be the last Jackson Jones. I don’t know. I won’t know for awhile. The numbers don’t come out until January and then they’ll decide.

But she made me look past that. She said, Jackson Jones may have 15 books. Or it may just have two. But there are so many more books left inside you to write.

Gosh that made me cry.

Not because it would be, could be, might be the end of Jackson Jones. But that I really do have more books within me. And then she told me that I was a good writer. And that I was a real person. A genuine person who loves God.

And of course that made me cry more.

A good editor reaches into your heart and makes it pump faster. A good editor makes you wish  more, dream bigger, believe in yourself more. A good editor shows you your weaknesses and your strengths and puts up with your vulnerable moments of self-doubt and loathing.

Now I’ll have to write a grown-up book so I can keep her…

Reading: Nicolae (third book in series)

Eating: apple

Watching: Sharks Tale

Listening to: my happy yet sad tears drip on my shirt.


Yesterday I had moving on the brain.

Since I was born, about 37 years ago, I think that I have moved 22 times. Oh my word! And the bulk of that moving happened from age 18 on. Since Jackson was born, we’ve moved 4 times. That’s 4 times in 6 years. I know, it sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?

But see … we’re starting to miss the country. Not rolling hills and farms and whatnot. But what we miss is the forest. I don’t know what else to call it. Wildlife? The backwoods? Having been both schooled in Forestry, hubby and I have moments of discussing trees. They are stimulating conversations, but not conversations to have with friends. We know when the glazed eye look happens it’s time to shut up.

We’ve been hoping and praying for property. Problem is, property near town is expensive. We don’t have much coin. We have much debt. It happens. We are trying to be responsible.

Two blocks (country roads) away from our wedding house (which hubby built with his own two hands – I helped incidentally) is a house for sale. On ten acres. Of thick, no nonsense forest.

Pros: It’s in the country. One neighbour is two acres away, the other is 20 acres away. Across the dirt road is a thick forest.  It has three beautiful crab apples out front. It has some lawn, but not too much. It’s 10 acres deep of thick forest, hopefully  not swampy.  It’s quiet. It’s where we like to be. It’s close-ish to our old neighbours. It’s the forest. I could finally have my greenhouse built. (Hubby brought home all the old firestation garage door panels when they exchanged them for metal. I have the ability to develop a 15’x30′ greenhouse out of fireenginered panels and windows. Am waiting still. Have had them for ten years.)

Cons: I love my house. I love the sunroom. A lot. I worked so hard on my back garden this year and won’t reap the benefits of the labour and love and money next year. I can’t dig up any of the plants to take with me.  Mac’s Milk is two minutes away incase there is a Doritoes craving. And the Starbucks is right there too. And the grocery store. And Walmart.  And I like our neighbours. Well, most of them.

You’d think I was nuts putting so much emotion on my gardens. But I love my gardens. I’ve worked on them for almost four years and developed a new honkin’ bed out front and a potager in the backyard. I’ve transplanted and divided different hostas and lupins and peonies (oh my peonies!) I planted two climbing roses this year, I planted a david austin because our backyard is so ideally hot and perfect. There aren’t any bugs.

But ten acres of forest?


Reading: Tribulation Force

Eating: tuna melts on fresh french bread. Will suffer later.

Watching: Indiana Jones on the Wii

Listening to: my child in the tub.

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