Sunday, October 30, 2011

Deadly Legacy

One More Landmark on the Horizon

It's official. The title of my next book is Deadly Legacy. As I write this, the cover is under construction. No, the image to the side isn't it. I just can't help playing around with graphics.

While Jennifer Johnson, the cover artist who worked her magic for Under A Texas Star, creates, I have another landmark achieve. It's time to do the back cover blurb.Somebody tell me why writing a novel seem easier than condensing it down to three paragraphs that will convince a reader to buy your book.

Well, it isn't going to write itself, so if you'll excuse me...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Kat Flannery is Chasing Clovers

Since I've always known I either wanted to be a writer or adventurer or both, I'm always curious to find out what motivates other writers. So, when I invited Kat Flannery, a fellow Imajin Books author, to do a guest blog, I asked her: 

What in your life drew you to becoming a writer, and what in your life led you to write this book?

Thank you, Alison for having me on your blog.

I’ve always loved to write - to create a story and characters in my head, and bring them to life. I write because I have to. I cannot go a single day without dialogue, description, or plots running through my mind. When I was young, I was known for telling tall tales. I’d take a scene and add my own flare, which of course was always over exaggerated, and long winded. If my older brother fell off his bike, I’d put my own bits and pieces in the story to make it interesting. Soon all our neighbourhood friends would think my brother fell off his bike while being chased by a rabid dog that almost bit his leg off. I rescued him by throwing a rock at the dog. See, much more interesting than just falling off a bike.

As I got older I began writing poetry, short stories, and songs (which were no good. You should know how to sing if you’re venturing down that path) I’d watch people while at work and I’d wonder where they came from, or if they had a hidden and dark past. My mind would wander, and I’d have to write. If I didn’t write, the ideas seemed to intensify until I’d finally sit down, pick up my pencil and allow the muse to flow. When I began having children the urge to write remained. I did however, write less while the boys were young, but as they got older, and I had some time to myself the writing bug increased.

The idea for Chasing Clovers didn’t come to me right away. There was no epiphany or bright light. No one wacked me across the head with a shovel, or slipped me a note under my door. I wanted to write a story that would touch people’s lives.

My Grandmother lost two children a month a part in the 50’s and I often wondered how she survived such an agonizing ordeal. How she raised four other children? How she made it through each day without crumbling? This is how my protagonist, Livy Green was born. I took the scenario of losing a child, turned the year back to 1884 and placed her inside a saloon. Then I began researching mail order brides. What would make a woman marry a man she’s never met before? One word popped into my head...desperation. This was the meatballs I needed with my spaghetti! And soon the book emerged in my cluttered head, to flow freely from my fingertips and onto my keyboard.

The message in Chasing Clovers is simple: Hope.

Livy is grieving the loss of her child. She is angry and resents those around her. She doesn’t think she deserves a second chance at life, or at love. But John Taylor changes all of that. He demands that Livy, distant and cold, fit into his family and raise his two children.

John and Livy’s journey of pain, loss, and turmoil, is also one of redemption, as they learn to overcome their hardships. And with the beauty of the golden Alberta fields surrounding them, renew their faith, love, and happiness in their tale of Chasing Clovers.

Happy Reading!

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Thanks for everything - except the burnt pot

Twas the night before turkey
And this I did learn
Don't watch so much TV
That you let the pot burn

Whether it's the night before Christmas or Thanksgiving or Easter, our family has certain traditions. My kids go to their Dad's and I spend the evening doing the prep work I couldn't possibly face first thing in the morning.

By this point, my daughter Kate will have baked up a storm and stayed up the night before cleaning up the kitchen. This year the bread didn't turn out but there's a pumpkin pie in the fridge and cookie dough waiting to be baked fresh. I stay clear of the kitchen while she works so I don't kvetch about the mess. By the time she lets me have the kitchen back, it's cleaner than when she started.

Now that's something to be thankful about.

My job is the turkey and stuffing - two kinds of stuffing. My niece Claire is vegetarian so I make a meat-free stuffing to fill a pepper that will be roasted for her lunch. I make a sage, onion, mushroom and sausage stuffing like my mother used to make - except that I like to saute my onions and mushrooms first. Also like my mum, I boil up the neck for the gravy. I also add the onion skins. They give the broth a richer flavour and colour.

Because I'm on my own, while I prepare food, I catch up on missed shows. Tonight I watched one NCIS, two Hawaii Five-O's, and a Criminal Minds. The stuffing was finished by the end of the first show but I wanted to give the neck a chance to cook. After all, if I went upstair to work, I might forget about the broth and burn the house down.

Instead, I just burned the pot.

I am thankful that my ex and I have a good system where both of us spend time with our kids on the holidays. I'm grateful that my nieces father and stepmother also do Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday so I can have all the kids together on Monday. I am especially thankful that there's a nice sized turkey in the fridge, washed and patted dry, ready to stuff and roast tomorrow. There are potatoes and brocolli ready to cook and a pie to be warmed for dessert. All fresh local foods. A bountiful harvest.

I'm not so happy about the burnt pot.