Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Weds: Getting Ready to Pack

 Wednesday morning, almost our last day here on Vancouver Island. I'm sitting out on the verandah, enjoying the quiet view of golfing green and forest as I enjoy breakfast waffles. Across the way, a dog barks, then another. A chain of different dogs take up the chorus, ending with a deep, baying howl. Something's wrong. Silence, as if we all wait to see what's next. The absolute quiet continues. No deer breaks from cover. A car starts up. Construction ratatatat echoes from a distant jackhammer. And the forest breathes again.

We leave Friday morning for the 2.5 hour Ferry ride and will cross back into the U.S. at Blaine, then down the coast cutting east just below Everett, home to Spokane. Yes, I'm eager to be home, but I will remember the quiet peace of the mornings and the beauty of this island, our trip south to Victoria (and Butchart Gardens, the Royal British Columbia Museum).

Butchart Gardens (September 2023)

Update on writing. Not much to report. I'm working on two projects at once, so slow but steady going on both. My 'doggone mystery' has new scenes, and the collection of short stories for subscribers to my newsletter is taking shape. Allen said that it sounds like some of my stories come from dreams. Perhaps. And perhaps they start when I sit on the verandah on that red swing and listen to the morning.

At the Swan's Pond (September 2023)

What's next? Football season? Settling into that time of year when the leaves change and we're reminded that winter's on its way? What one thing would you like to accomplish this winter? in the coming year?

Tuesday, September 05, 2023

IWSG September 5: From the Beginning!

This month's Challenge Question from the Insecure Writer's Support Group took me back in time. All the way back to July 2015, just 8 years ago, and I'm already at 46 (out of 118). Go HERE to read that original entry! 

What I've appreciated most . . . is how effectively this vibrant online community connects writers who care about other writers and writing, regardless of genre or level. Each month, I appreciate not only those words from those who visit me. Visiting others who post for IWSG has introduced me to others who very quickly become mentors and friends. I feel like cheering at each success, each new book released, each challenge faced down, and I learn from each IWSG member I visit.

Writing, for me, is essentially a solitary act, even when I'm doing research. Being a part of IWSG is an important way to stay connected to others who care about writing. IWSG also creates a certain discipline for looking within, to asssess where my goals and commitment to writing are taking me. This process of reflection opens up new understandings of what is possible, what I might like to do next.

And one more resource I've become addicted to: that connection IWSG has to Write ... Edit ... Publish, an every-other-month writing challenge for flash fiction. October's prompt is inspired by the appropriately ghoulish Phantom of the Opera. Just a little different way to keep those writing wings moving.

Thank you to generous IWSG members who volunteer as hosts each month. And thank you for those who work somewhat behind the scenes to create anthologies that celebrate our work. 

I hope we all will celebrate this wonderful resource!

More words next time!

May your own writing go well.

Nanaimo Cove, Vancouver Island (Sept 2023)

Our temporary home.

About the Insecure Writer's Support Group: Our goal is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Each month, an optional question is posted. You can post your response on your own blog OR talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time - and return comments. This group is all about connecting! Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.

The awesome co-hosts for the September 6 posting of the IWSG are:

Why not grab a cup of coffee, visit our co-hosts AND maybe 12 others to see what they've posted?

Friday, September 01, 2023

Walk in the woods . . . and a psychological thriller . . .

Yesterday we spent nearly an hour, strolling through the Milner Gardens, just about a 30 minute drive away from where we're staying on Vancouver Island. Billed as "an ancient forest and garden oasis by the sea," I can agree. Even royalty has sipped tea here. 

We took in the views and admired the hidden fountains and rhododendron shrubs so large, their gnarled branches looked like trees.

Old growth Douglas firs stretched hundreds of feet to the sky as we followed forest trails down to the beach, overlooking the Strait of Georgia. 

Feet tired, on the way home, we stopped at the Mykong River Restaurant to feast on a seafood hot pot (shrimp and scallops in a delicious oyster sauce). Nearly a perfect day. OK, it was truly a perfect day.

Update on the writing. Just for this month, I'm working on a side project, final edits on a psychological thriller, not my usual genre. In fact, most of the people I know don't read dark stories, and I'm really not sure what my next step is. 

I began writing Mothers Don't Die when I first retired. Excited to begin serious editing, I took a writing class. On the very first day of class, our teacher warmly welcomed us and said, "Work on any project you wish. Any stage -- prewriting, drafting, or editing. But, please, no violent stories." I set my story aside and said to myself, "I might as well write about mermaids!"

That led to my first book, The Mermaid Quilt and Other Tales. One of those short stories morphed into Standing Stones, and thus began a series of historical fiction set in the 1840s in Scotland, Canada, and Australia. 

Inspired by the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries, I then switched genres to write The Seventh Tapestry, an art crimes mystery.

Mothers Don't Die is now ready for your reading pleasure, if you like dark, psychological thrillers. I'd love to hear what you think. Click HERE.

Meanwhile, I'm back to drafting that doggone mystery, Unleashed Pursuit and hope to have a workable first draft by the New Year! 

Happy September and happy reading!