Tuesday, October 18, 2022

No, I still have not finished that book.

That was August, right? Embarrassing. I've been pretty good at focusing on finishing another book, though. If this were a normal book I'd be done reading by now, but as it's fantasy, I'm a little more than halfway through. Every now and then I pick up that other book, like when I can't sleep, because it always succeeds in putting me to sleep! Probably worth the sticker price right there. 

I have finished *writing* the next book though. It's called All The Best Things and it's ready to pre-order now, with the paperback coming by the middle of November. I had a lot of fun writing Emilie and Tim's story, as usual grabbing little bits of real life for some of the things that go on in it. Like taking a riding lesson!

After a leisurely warmup, Jodi made her work, and the nerves fluttered away because she didn’t have time for them. She was glad Excursion was fit, even though she wasn’t sure she was herself, quickly breaking into a sweat. Half an hour into the lesson she knew she was going to hurt tomorrow. Forget that. She was going to hurt in an hour.

Next up in the writing department is NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month! I believe the first time I did it was around the time I first started this blog. That was a crazy month, as I committed to posting every day, writing every day, and doing a small oil painting ever day. Good times. Crazy, but good. 

Are you taking part in NaNo this year? 


Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Hi, remember me? I used to live here.

Long-time no post on ths blog, right? I did feel as if I lived here, years ago. I loved posting; sharing about my art and my horses. Then Facebook came along and ruined it for everyone. 😂

Aesthetics are fun to make. To people still do those, or have they all run off to TikTok?


As now I've added publishing novels to my repertoire, when I was having Thoughts this morning, as I considered that business while making my morning cappuccino (that hasn't changed) I remembered this place and decided to write said Thoughts down here. Mostly because writing of all kinds is good practice, and I don't think anyone reads this anymore so it's almost like a journal instead of a public forum!

I was thinking about books, and what makes people decide to read them. Do you judge a book by its cover? My own covers have done okay, I think, though I haven't adhered to the norm for the micro-niche in which I write ("equestrian fiction"). It's my way of sharing a bit of my art along with the stories. 

Do you read the blurb, or description, for the book? I find blurbs really hard to write. How do you tell just enough about the story for potential readers to know what it's about without giving too much away? As a reader, the blurb tells me a lot about the writing, though in this day and age it's not uncommon for a writer to pay someone else to write it for them. I don't think that's entirely a bad idea, except often the blurb writer won't have actually read the book, so how accurate is it? I've found a lot of times after reading blurbs written by the authors that the book really isn't about that at all. So maybe that's a point in favour of hiring someone, or maybe that's just my brain being wired differently so I don't see things the way others do!

Pro Tip for aspiring authors (aka what I still really need to work on, so am I really a pro?): have your blurb ready before you mention your book to anyone. Have a pitch, even if you're not hoping to find an agent to become traditionally published. Be ready to answer the question, "What's your book about?" I failed this one recently, a year and a half into this gig. "Oh, um, well, it's about a girl and a guy and a horse and, do you know what the Queen's Plate is?" Not my exact words because I've probably banished them from my memory. I already spend too much time telling myself how hopeless I am, I don't need extra reminders. 😬 Also, I'm going to blame COVID for lack of practice talking to humans in person.

Another Pro Tip: I've often found that other people are better than you at telling you what your books are about, or that even if you think your book is about one thing, what your readers think matters more. You can always change up your blurb and try new ones to see if they work better. When it doesn't drive you insane, it's fun!

Are you someone who reads reviews? We authors can get obsessive about them. We try not to sound like broken records but they mean so much to our careers and thus our justification for writing more books that it's a sad reality we must keep asking for them, at least until we have a big enough name people drop reviews probably without even properly reading the book, haha! I am that person that reads reviews, but I also know how subjective they are. I'm reading a book now that has been raved about and I had high hopes for it, but for me, it's been very "meh." It's been set aside and picked up again, and I will probably finish it through sheer force of will, but I guess it's just not my thing. I'm not the book's ideal reader.


**Insert requisite ask for reviews here.** Don't want to write a review because it's too hard to find the words? Just leave a star rating (though I think maybe you can only do that with e-books when Amazon, or whoever, pops up at the end and asks you to rate and review). All I ask is that if you're going to leave one or two stars, have the guts to tell me why. I can take it. Promise. 😉

Personally, my go-to for deciding if I will read a book or not is reading the sample. It's what I would have done in the old days when I used to go to brick-and-mortar book stores and libraries. I read a few pages, and if the writing grabs me, it goes on my wish list or in the cart or on my library app bookshelf. I did not do that with the above-mentioned book. Do as I say, not as I do.

Enough thoughts for this morning. I'm nearing the halfway point in the very rough draft of my current novel project, so there's a word count goal calling my name. Later, there will be painting! And stalls. Because there are always stalls, right? 

Take care, and I'd love to hear what you're reading because personal recommendations are another good way to find new books!


Sunday, February 27, 2022

Run With a Mighty Heart: How A Racehorse with One Eye Helped a Family Find Meaning in Life and LossRun With a Mighty Heart: How A Racehorse with One Eye Helped a Family Find Meaning in Life and Loss by Jennifer Morrison
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this little book. At a time when horse racing in North America is inundated with such negativity, it was refreshing to read a positive, feel-good book about a wonderful little Canadian horse surrounded by a team of good people. This is the horse racing I grew up to love!

I don't read much non-fiction, but this book was a light, effortless read. Here's to a stellar season for Mightly Heart in 2022 so we get a sequel!

View all my reviews

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Well That Didn't Last Long


So, it's January. A new year. I didn't realize I missed you, Blogger Blog, until I did. 

It's been a cold January, but still nothing like the Polar Vortex year. What year was that again, 2013? 2014? I can't remember. I just remember too many days of sub-minus-30 temps, and that wasn't counting the wind chill. There have been a couple of those mornings so far, and one day I did leave the horses in, but since, out they go. They're all bundled up and my barn's water is cosy too, so they don't need to be in to keep it warm. My new barn really isn't that warm. It's too open, which is probably good for ventilation and their health overall.

Well, this was just me checking in with no one at all. Time to write, and paint, and muck stalls and so on. Tally ho!

Painting: 6 x 8 Tribute oil, "Keeper," and 16 x 20 Tribute oil, "Mighty Heart."

Writing: GTC Prequel novella (20,188/30,000 words).

Reading: Hunting by Stars by Cherie Dimaline (paperback) and Wonderland by Stacey D'Erasmo (e-book).

Listening: Crazy Rich Asians (audiobook) and whatever's on Spotify's "Discover Weekly" for music. They seem to know me well! 

Wednesday, July 07, 2021

It's All A Blur…


 

So, it's been a month. And it's been A Month. 

At the beginning of May, I started a contract position, working the Census here in Canada. There wasn't a lot of work to do in May, but June has been solid. 

Anyone who knows me knows that enumerating is an unlikely job for a hardcore introvert like me. But desperate times call for desperate measures, haha. The new house has cost me far more than a five-year-old house should to set right, and sorting out those issues has both pulled me away from rebuilding my art business in a new area, and meant those bills I mentioned in my last post. Kind of a vicious circle. Soooooo....yeah. It's amazing what you can do when your neck is on the line!

Anyway…it's not been all bad. It's let me get to know the new area, driving here, there and everywhere. There are lots of pretty spots around here. And while a surprising number of people hide (I didn't realize Census was so scary!) most people have been very friendly. 

I have completed a number of Keepsake paintings, and I've managed to get 27,000 words down on the next book…so all has not been lost! I'm hoping July will be a bit less stressful though, on all fronts. 

Painting: just finished a 10 x 8 Keepsake of an awesome Percheron, which I can't share yet because it's a gift.

Reading: Teresa Van Bryce's House of the Blue Sea

Listening: today was Cursive's Angry Organ (sometimes you just have to, because Art Is Hard!); audiobook, Courage by Natalie Keller Reinert.

Tuesday, June 08, 2021

Hello June!


No threat of snow in the forecast right now — we're in the midst of another heatwave. Where I used to live, I was in a little knoll, very sheltered from the wind, so during a heatwave like this, it was *very* hot. Add to that I had a steel barn, so while I'd still bring the horses in to get them out of the sun, I'd have to hose them before putting them in their stalls, or they would just sweat in their stalls, even with fans on them. My lovely new barn is much cooler, and as I may have mentioned, the wind here is crazy — which is a nice thing on a hot day. I still bring them in if the sun is beating down, thanks to Gracie's predisposition to heatstroke, but overall it is much more pleasant for them.

I recently saw a post in a FB group asking if anyone knew of any books on a woman starting up her own farm — alone — and building it from scratch.  Funny, that. Last fall, one of my friends suggested I should write such a book, about this crazy journey I'm on. I admit I've kind of been keeping my head in the sand when it comes to recording the reality of what's happened in the past year because it was not easy. And things still aren't roses. In fact, other than some wild daisies and plenty of dandelions, there are no flowers here yet, haha!!  But I thought I should start recording stuff here. No one reads this blog anymore anyway, so I'm not going to worry about it being "perfect." It will just be a place to record the goings-on and development, and if there's a cohesive story to be extracted from the entries, so be it. 

In the meantime, on the writing front, I'm finally starting to pull together things for the *next* book in the Good Things Come series. I'd still like to see more reviews and ratings for All Good Things and All The Little Things…the reviews are good, and maybe it's not fair to compare them to Good Things Come, but it still lets the doubt fester! Ah well. An odd thing — ATLT has 20+ ratings on Goodreads, but only 14 on Amazon. All Good Things has 26  on Amazon, but only 13 on Goodreads! GTC is pretty close — 93 on Amazon, 95 on Goodreads. Oh, how I'd love to see it reach 100!

Okay, enough babbling about the novels. Must work. Bills, many many bills, to pay…

Sidenote, now that I've included the photo above — I found some amazing butter tarts, at the grocery store, no less! They're just the way I like them, buttery and crunchy and plain. So good. They are exactly like Faye's butter tarts (well...Lucy's…) would be like…mmmmmm

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Two Days In A Row!


Are you impressed? Are you even out there? Haha.

There's a crazy wind out there today. I got stalls done first thing for a few reasons — because unsettled weather like this can mean rain and thunderstorms, so I wanted to be able to bring ponies in a drop of a hat; because I had someone coming out on a work order for Xplornet; and because…I forgot the other reason all of a sudden. Such is my brain these days!

So, stalls done, I let myself read a bit more of Tudor's new book, then did a little stuff on the computer. Then the person from Xplornet called and got me riled up by suggesting I had unreasonable expectations of my service (like I expect it to work? That kind of unreasonable?). That was 10am. To talk myself down after that call, I put on some Bon Iver, swept up dog hair (which I could do every five minutes), then settled down to paint. I made an adjustment as per a client's observation on one commission, then signed both of their paintings; then worked on, and I hope finished, another one and sent it for comment. Two-plus hours later, the Xplornet person arrived. Guess what? He says the installation was done completely wrong and is confident he can fix it. I do hope he's right!

Once he left, I took my silly Border for her run (she runs, I walk!). I also played with a cover idea for the next book in the Good Things Come series, which I haven't fully committed yet to writing! So now I have a prospective title and cover idea…and a vague story outline! I'm not sure if I'm excited or terrified! I think I kind of love the cover image…and while I love the title idea, I'm not 100% sold on it. We shall see. I'm going to need some feedback from others on it. Sometimes my title ideas are a little bit obscure!

I did up the little graphic above last night after getting a new review on All The Little Things. It was a lovely review, though I had to laugh to think of what Faye's response would be! She'd be good with the classy, but I think she would have preferred to star in a steamy romance! 

Okay! Time to bed the stalls and bring the kids in. They're been remarkably chill today with that wind! At one point, both boys were napping!