The pause that refreshes

It’s true: I’ve been missing in action for some time. The past few months have been my equivalent of an embryonic diapause. This is a mechanism where certain mammals do not reproduce when the environment is not right for nurturing young. Embryos remain in a state of dormancy until conditions are right for reproduction. In 2016 my dormant young were my YA and contemporary stories.

I’ve been writing in a different genre, under a different name. But that’s another story for another day.

A couple of things stirred my interest in disaster scenarios again. One trigger was listening to this chilling podcast from CBC. It dramatizes an earthquake event in the Pacific Northwest. Add to that the new earthquake threat, identified as the Devil’s Mountain fault. Suddenly interest in prepping was alive again. Do you want to read a fictional account of an earthquake hitting Vancouver and surrounds? Look for my book Lockdown.

What about you? Are you ready for a disaster? Is your grab-and-go bag packed? Have you stockpiled food yet? If you’re unsure how to do any of that, there is a world of reference material out there to help you. One place to start your emergency preparations is with the Geek Prepper site. Here’s their recommendation as to how to build your food resources – 35 Survival Foods. Or click on the picture to get to their site.

In the meantime, I’m going back to my story in the mountains where a trio of teenagers are dealing with a disaster of great magnitude. Someone has prepped for this event but will they share their emergency supplies?

Are you giving thanks?

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues it’s the parent of all the others – Marcus Tillius Cicero. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day in Canada and I want to list some of the things I’m grateful for, in my writing life:

  • For all my writing friends who share their wealth of knowledge, read what I write in its unpolished form, offer encouragement and hold my feet to the fire when it’s necessary.

  • For all the people who have pre-ordered a copy of Outback Promise for delivery on November 1st.

  • The people who bought and read my book Lockdown. Double gratitude to those who logged into Amazon and / or Goodreads and left a favourable review.

  • For the publishers, Great Plains Teen Fiction, who took a chance on me and published Lockdown. Thank you to the entire team and Anita Daher in particular.

  • HarperCollins Australia contracted Outback Promise for release as in e-book. Thank you Rochelle Fernandez for seeing the potential. Thank you Dianne Blacklock for the edits that helped realize it. And artist Michelle Payne for delivering a gorgeous cover.

  • Friends and family who believe enough in me to encourage me on this road.  

My love of writing started, like most writers, with a love of reading. Long before I dreamed of writing a novel, I had these gifts:

  • I learned to read early and had access to a good public library.

  • Every Christmas until I was eighteen I received a gift from great aunt in England, whom I never met. But hardcover books, wrapped in thin brown paper with my name on them, arrived every December. There were few books in our home and I treasured these ones that were mine and mine alone.

  • Having an English teacher in grades 9 and 10 (RIP Peter Seale) who improved my appreciation for the beauty of language and literature.

John Milton said gratitude bestows reverence…changing forever how we experience life and the world. Do you believe that? What are you thankful for now and in the past? Who or what helps you on your chosen path?

 

Photo from Wikimedia Commons: Fall Colours in Canada by Vlad Livinov from Toronto

 

 

 

Where to from here?

Stairs.jpg

At the bottom of a steep staircase, at the end of a twisted trail in a corner of West Vancouver, there is a spot that used to be one of my favourite places when I was a scuba diver. Copper Cove was a short drive from my West End apartment. Costs were limited to gas for the car and air for the tank. Once I was in the water, the wall on the right side of the cove was full of hidden treasures. To this day the dive site remains relatively under-utilized, which is extraordinary in a city of almost two and a half million people. To end the dive perfectly there is a lovely rocky beach with driftwood logs to sit on for the all-essential, post-dive debriefing.

Word count: 345Reading time: 1-2 minutes

I loved diving there but, to be truthful, I didn’t look forward to the long ascent afterward, hiking the hundred pounds or so of gear up those stairs and back to the car. If I wanted to get home, or more importantly to my next dive, I had to make that climb.

My book launch two weeks ago was like diving at Copper Cove. Getting there, although somewhat fraught with jittery nerves, wasn’t too bad. Once I entered the venue, there was no looking back. It was like putting the reg in my mouth and deflating my buoyancy compensator—there was only time to look around and enjoy the ride. Afterwards sitting and talking about it with friends helped me understand and appreciate the experience even more. Just like diving.

Something important happened two weeks ago. I had the uncommon experience of launching a professionally-published book into the public domain. That was a privilege and a delight. That initiation ritual is behind me. Now I’m climbing the staircase back to my next novel.

How did you feel after your first book launch? Did it energize you for your next writing project? Did you race up those stairs two at a time? Or did you feel slightly daunted at the new prospect of a secondary career in sales?

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Photo from Wikipedia Commons: Concrete stairs 2007 by Diego Godoy