Where I spray-paint my thoughts…

Leave a comment

7 Reasons Why This Traditionally-Published Author is Releasing a Self-Published Novel. Number Four Will Blow Your Mind!

This summer, I’ll be releasing my novel What You Want, a work of contemporary fiction about three unlikely friends on a road trip, as a self-published e-book. There’ll be a paperback release later, probably sometime in the fall.

What would convince me, as a writer in mid-career who has had 23 books published by traditional publishers, to self-publish a novel? You’ll be amazed by the answers!!

1. I have run out places to spend or store the piles of cash I made from traditional publishing.
As we all know, there’s a TON of money in traditional publishing. Authors can make as much as one or even two dollars for every copy of a book sold, and with small publishers like the ones I’ve worked with, that can run into three and even four digits! It’s just not fair for one human to have so much wealth at her fingertips.

2. I need a break from the paparazzi.
The book trade is glamorous but exhausting. I’m sure you’ve all read blog posts and tweets from your favourite authors complaining about how tiring it was when they went on that nine-city book tour and had to be up at five to do morning television and come back to the hotel room and ice their hand after signing 3000 books in two hours. I myself have gone on tour to locations as exotic as Mount Pearl and even Conception Bay South. I have spoken to groups of up to sixteen people and signed as many as five books in an afternoon. A gal needs a break from that kind of adoration.

3. Matt Damon is bugging me to know if he can star in the movie adaptation.
We all know that some writers have achieved mind-blowing success with books that started out as self-published works. Let’s take E.L. James for example. Wait, no, let’s not. Let’s take Andy Weir, whose book The Martian, originally self-pubbed online, not only became a bestseller when it was picked up by a traditional publisher, but is now being made into a movie starring MATT DAMON. MY MOVIE BOYFRIEND. So apparently, self-publishing a book will lead directly to me meeting Matt Damon. I can’t draw any other conclusion, can you?

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Shelf Esteem: Book Questions Answered

In this video I talk about books people spotted in my last video, the Messy Bookshelf tour. In less than 5 minutes total I discuss Margaret George’s The Autobiography of Henry VIII, Douglas Adams’ Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, Caryl Rivers’ Virgins and Girls Forever Brave and True, and, last but not least, David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest, which I explain (as I did in my review after reading it) is, in a few ways, quite a lot like the Bible.

Leave a comment

ECT #3: Flatrock to Gallows Cove

photo (8)

I had company this time — my cousin Jennifer joined me for the 5.7 km hike from Flatrock to Gallows Cove on Father Troy’s Trail. Having another hiker is not only good company but offers the possibility of a car parked at both ends so we could do a longer one-way hike. It was a chilly but clear evening and the views were tremendous! Also, I found a cache.

This means I’ve now done almost all of Father Troy’s Trail, except for the little piece from Torbay Beach to the Spray Lane end of the trail, and I’ll soon have to start branching out to other parts of the East Coast trail.

Distance: 5.7 km. Probably would have been an even 6 if we’d walked all the way out to the Beamer at Flatrock, but I was in a bit of a hurry to pick up Emma from work so we took a shortened version and did not go right out to the end of the point (if we had, I’d probably have found another cache, because there is one out there).


ECT #2, Gallows Cove to (almost) Torbay Beach

photo 1

Continuing from my last blog post, I did another mini-section of Father Troy’s Trail on the ECT this past week. I started at th same spot I started before — Gallows Cove — but headed south instead of north, making it almost all the way to Torbay Beach and back in about an hour. I could have gone farther if someone had been picking me up at the other end, but knowing that if I went all the way down to the beach I’d have to turn around and climb back up kept me from going any farther! It was a beautiful evening; I found three caches and thoroughly enjoyed my little hike.

Observation at Tapper’s Cove: if you’re going to put money into public art for your community, you should put some money aside for maintenance. Otherwise you get this Ghosts of Murals Past look:

photo 2

Distance: about 2.5 km one way, 5K return.

Leave a comment

ECT#1 — Father Troy’s Trail, Gallows Cove to Church Cove

churchcoveI’ve decided one of the things I want to do this summer is see how much of the East Coast Trail I can hike. Unlike my Grand Concourse project from summer 2012, I’m not going to set any lofty goals like completing the whole trail network, because hiking trails are a much bigger committment and more time-consuming than walking trails (and harder to get to as many are farther from my home), but I’m going to do what I can — aided and abetted by the fact that my lovely daughter has taken a part-time job in the town of Torbay, about a 20-minute drive from home and close to several trail access points. Tonight i started out alone and had an unexpected minor adventure on a short section of Father Troy’s trail from Gallows Cove to Church Cove.

I’d planned a short walk, about 20-25 minutes up the trail in one direction, then back to where I’d parked the car. However, it turned into a long hike because it was a beautiful evening on a lovely trail, and I was lured further on by the chance of finding a geocache.

I ended up hiking down and up much steeper trails than I’d intended. At one point I passed a sign that showed Father Troy’s trail continuing on ahead, with the “Church Cove Loop” (marked “Difficult”) veering off to the right. I’m not the sort of hiker who does well on “Difficult” trails, but the cache I was looking for was at Church Cove, so I thought I’d push on towards it.

I found myself heading down, down, down, then crossed a stream at the bottom of the lovely little waterfall where I snapped a picture. After that it was all up, up, up, clambering over steps cut in the rock, thinking “Was this really a good idea?” It was a much steeper and harder hike (almost a climb, by this time). The view from the top of Church Cove was worth it (and I found the cache) but I wasn’t looking forward to the climb back. I’d already been hiking for an hour now and figured it would take me even longer to get back.

Then, in the clearing at the top of Church Cove where the cache was hidden, I turned around, looked at the signs, and saw one pointing off to my left: “Father Troy’s Trail to Torbay.” The shorter, much easier route that I’d turned off of, ended up in the exact same place I had been heading for. I’d taken what turned out to be a much longer, tougher route to arrive at the very same spot.

There’s a life lesson in there somewhere!

I took the easy route back, of course. Look for more East Coast Trail updates over the coming months …

Trail: Father Troy’s Trail, Gallows Cove to Church Cove
Distance: about 3k one way (6k total)


Shelf Esteem: Bookshelf Tour

Over on Tumblr, I often see book bloggers sharing beautifully shot photographs of their artfully arranged bookshelves, organized by colour, by theme, or some other clever scheme. My books are arranged by “whatever fits on that shelf” and the result is quite messy. Despite this, I decided to take friends and vlog viewers on a tour of (some of) the many bookshelves in my home. I also offer viewers a chance to pick out books for me to talk about in upcoming videos and even win a book, so play along!


All Will Be Well

This is the song I’ve been listening to over and over all week (since discovering it on the soundtrack of a Parks and Recreation episode).

Julian of Norwich, that odd medieval mystic, famously said “All will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of things will be well.” And this is a statement of faith that I hear quoted a lot, both from people who share Julian’s Christian faith and those who most emphatically don’t. It’s a statement that I love but find hard to believe.

As near as I can figure from my reading, when Julian said it she meant it in the broadest cosmic sense — in fact, she was probably expressing the theological idea that today we would call Universalism — that no-one will be lost, that God will, in the end, find a way to save all creation. This is an idea I found powerfully appealing (though not necessarily Scriptural) — but I think many of the Christians who like to quote this line might disagree with this idea.

A lot of people seem to use “all will be well” as general sort of assurance, a kind of “everything will work out in the end” when you’re going through hard times. I struggle with this, not least because it’s certainly not a kind of assurance Julian would have recognized. As a medieval mystic, she not only expected but welcomed suffering, another perspective not shared by most modern Christians. I assume many Christians who say “All will be well” today mean that somehow, God is in charge and things will pretty much work out, even though you might be having some tough times now.

Some days I believe that, but some days I don’t. I’ve lived a life blessedly free (so far) of shocking tragedies, but I see enough horrific tragedies and senseless losses in the lives of those around me that I find it hard to trust that God is going to just “work things out.” As for those who don’t have any religious faith but still quote this? I have no idea what they’re trusting. The universe? Karma? Either way, “all will be well” doesn’t seem to be working out very well for either the Christians or the atheists of my acquaintance — unthinkable tragedy seems to hit both groups equally.

So I’ll admit I struggle. I don’t see either God or a beneficent universe offering people any guarantees that everything will work out OK, which means that whenever someone says “All will be well,” my chattery inner voice jumps up and says, “Well, maybe it will and maybe it won’t, but it’s distinctly possible that God’s definition of ‘well’ may be incompatible with mine, and how ‘well’ did things work out for the parents of that poor kid who died last week, and and and and ….”

Suffice it to say I have a hard time drawing comfort from these words.

And yet, when I heard this song by the Gabe Dixon Band, I just fell into it like I fall into bed at the end of a hard day. It warmed me. It comforted me. I listen to it over and over again.

I’m a wordy person, but sometimes words need music with them for me. Especially if they’re going to connect to me at a level that goes deeper than my incessantly-analyzing rational mind.

When I hear people quote “All will be well,” I think “Yeah, but ….” When I hear Gabe Dixon sing “All will be well,” I feel it. I feel that all will be well. Maybe it’s because the song itself acknowledges that all-wellness is problematic — that the fight is just as frustrating as well, and sometimes this is hard to tell. But I think it’s just that music gets past my defenses. I know there’s no rational way to understand how “All will be well,” that I can’t pull out a signed contract from God or the Universe or Whoever guaranteeing that I and all those I love will be safe from major trauma and I will triumphantly overcome all obstacles. But when I sing along, I don’t need that. “All will be well” is not about the rational mind. It’s about something deeper and more inarticulate — an attitude that approaches this big, scary life with openness and hope rather than with fear and dread.

It’s true in a part of me that theology and reason can’t reach, but music can. All will be well.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 172 other followers