Author Talks with her Protagonist: Persistence & Humor

I’m having a hard time wrapping up my final edits on my horror novel, M.B. Finishing a book, I’m finding, is like letting go of a friend. Anne is the name of my protagonist and she’s modeled a bit after me (but not entirely). We’re both intelligent women, both love old houses and each of us have our quirks. And our stubbornness.

I’ve been visiting Anne at her house, dragging my feet around her hallways while she pecks away at her laptop busily. Anne works as a freelance programmer inbetween renovating her house in her semi-retirement. I tend to mope and throw myself across her couch, counters, floors and rugs. I hide behind her long curtains and look out onto her front yard and the tree I placed at the edge, just outside the front row of bushes. Anne ignores my antics politely and reminds me to wipe up my smudge marks I leave on her windows.

Anne’s blunt and direct, like me, but slightly more patient. One of our latest conversations went a bit like this…

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Poison Ivy & Procrastination: Writing Snares

There’s a saying in North America for poison ivy: “Leaves of three, leave it be.” Poison ivy, as the picture shows, has the infamous three leaves on a stem. Many people (but not everyone) are allergic to the oils the leaves produce. Unlucky wayfarers come across the ivy usually in forests, overlooked fence corners or in neglected flower beds.  Rub against the plant’s leaves and the oils will give you a rash, blisters and itchy skin.

Gardeners must cut the ivy carefully, bag it and throw it away. You never burn the ivy–the smoke carries the oils and if you breathe it in, a reaction can happen internally. Clothing and skin must be washed immediately. Then bring on the pink Calamine lotion and prepare for a couple of weeks of healing while dodging inquiring stares. Avoid questions of people asking why exactly you look like a pimply young piglet and smile at the ignorant treating you like a contagious leper.

Crack on.

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Book Update & Thoughts on Bugs Bunny

On this side of the screen, I received my manuscript for M.B. back from my editor. I’m going through it slowly, combing through the suggestions. I’m plastering over plot holes, sanding down sentences, squirting oil into squeaky words and listening to see when the engine hums. M.B. is a horror novel with a sprinkle of mystery. It’s partially a reflection on the world and how vulnerable people tend to be treated (not too great).  M.B. has lots of layers of meaning, some tucked behind dark places. I hope you’ll enjoy reading it.

I’m aiming for an early to mid Fall publication date. It will start as an ebook and then will become available in print later. More on M.B. to come as publication approaches. Continue reading “Book Update & Thoughts on Bugs Bunny”

Changing of the Winds: Mary Poppins

I’ve always been entranced by a line in Disney’s original Mary Poppins movie. Julie Andrews says this line very quietly to the children at their bedtime when asked how long she’ll stay.

“I’ll stay until the wind changes,” she announces delicately to the children. As a child, that means only one thing: she’s going away. Mary is not permanent.

This perplexed me as a child and still rattles me a little as an adult. How brave Disney was to keep this element of the story, of change and letting go. Waiting periods and change are two of the hardest things for kids to understand. I’m not sure adults win the blue ribbon, either.

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Combing through Novel Drafts: How I do it

This morning I’m combing through my novel, M.B., for what is probably the three hundredth time–without exaggeration. If you want to write, and write well, get used to this process. As you scan back and forth over your novel’s pages, like a scanner hovering silently over the moon’s craters, you will find mistakes, blip and puddles that will need to be fixed, altered or mopped. This is good, normal and part of the writing process. I enjoy the process and bring tea, snacks and Enya music along for the ride. Make yourself comfortable and go.

Here’s some ways how I go about the revision and editing processes…

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