Artist Date, Blogging, Book Love, canadian authors, Country Life, Nature, writers life, writing, Writing Submission

The Artist’s Way

January 17th

Hi everyone! I am rereading Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way. In one month, I’ll write up another post about the workbook and exercises.

For those of you who don’t know about Julia’s book, stick around ❤

The Artist’s Way

This is a creative writing method separated into 12 weeks. Julia writes about what creativity is and how to harness it. She suggests you read one chapter a week. There are a series of exercises you should complete along the way 🙂

Morning Pages

Each day, write around three pages in a notebook. You don’t have to plan anything. Write whatever comes into your mind.
I picked up a notebook and reserved it for Morning Pages. I usually write these before I’m about to start work. I write down worries I have, bits of dialogue, or prayers. It’s a pure stream of consciousness.

Artist Date

Once a week, break your routine and take time for yourself. You might listen to music, go for a walk, explore ice caves or paint. Do something that allows you to relax and enjoy life.

Last weekend, I explored Cape Enrage. Wow! What a sight. Not only did I physically benefit from walking about, but I also came up with some new ideas for a short story.

I highly recommend both exercises.

Have Fun Writing

I hope you have a great rest of your week. In a month I’ll blog about my experience with The Artist’s Way.

What are you working on this month? I’d love to hear below ❤

Until next time,

Loie xo

Blogging, Book Love, canadian authors, writers life, writing

STORYSTORM and 85K Challenge

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January 1st

With a New Year comes new writing challenges and opportunities! I have to say, I love them all.

Today, I’m going to share about two opportunities I found out through friends: STORYSTORM and 85K90.

Keep reading to find out more!

STORYSTORM

What is STORYSTORM? How do you participate? It’s easy 🙂

  1. Register by January 7th.
  2. Read daily blog posts.
  3. Jot down story ideas.

By the end of January, if you have at least 30 new ideas, you can sign the STORYSTORM PLEDGE and possibly win some PRIZES! How awesome is that? Check out the first post here!

Shoutout to Jennifer Shelby for sharing this challenge on her blog ❤

85K

This challenge focuses on writing 85,000 words in 90 days. You have to commit to 1,000 words, every day, for three months. Some writers will write more in one day. The 90-day time frame gives writers time to catch up if another commitment interrupts them.

April is the first of three 30-Day editing months. This means you have a month in April to finish up your project before the editing phase that begins on May 1st.

Learn more here! Shout out to my friend, Rebecca, for sending me the link 🙂

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I hope you guys have a blast with these two challenges! I’m excited and have already written 1,000 words on a new project about a lace maker in the 1880’s 🙂 ❤

Until next time,

Loie xo

Blogging, Book Love, canadian authors, Country Life, Nature, writers life, writing, Writing Submission

Happy New Year

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Photo by Carl Attard on Pexels.com

December 31st

Hi friends,

Short post here for now. I just wanted to say I’m thankful for everyone I’ve met this year and whose supported me with writing.

Huge shout out to #WriteMentor’s creator, Stuart White and my two mentors Amber R. Duell and M. Dalto.

Stuart, thanks so much for your generosity and heart. This program is amazing and has helped so many writers already. I can only imagine what the future holds.

Amber and MB helped me so much! They both helped me edit and bring my YA fantasy novel to another level ❤ I learned a lot about writing and storytelling from them. Big hug to you both ❤

Thanks to my writing pals at Romance Writers of Atlantic Canada. I’m excited to get to know you all more this year. Also to my friends at Genre Writers of Atlantic Canada. Go Atlantic Canada, haha 🙂

I met some wonderful friends via writing websites and fan groups. Lots of love to you all. I hope 2019 is a year of inspiration, growth, and success for all of you ❤

Best wishes and Happy New Year!

Loie xo

 

 

24 Days of Writing, Blogging, Book Love, canadian authors, Nature, writers life, writing, Writing Submission

Flash Fiction: Santa’s Secret

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December 21st

I wrote this short story for the Weird Christmas flash fiction contest. I wanted to continue the story of my characters, Beira and the stag. You may have met them in The Winter Crone.

What happens to Beira and Alaor when they find Santa Claus? Who do they unexpectedly discover behind the fluffy beard :)?

Enjoy ❤

Santa’s Secret

The white stag hated Christmas lights.

It reminded him of the dreary Hallmark movies his mistress enjoyed so much. She wept and scratched her watering nose at every cheesy ending while he wondered when the filmmakers would hire a better writer.

His mistress begged to differ.

“What are you brooding about now, Alaor?”

Beira, the Winter Goddess, leaned towards him and draped an arm around his neck. “I can see that scowl from a mile away.”

“Why is he here?” Alaor asked. “Parading around as the jolly Santa Claus?”

Beira shrugged. “Your guess is as good as mine. I thought I got him for good. Maybe my Granny magic didn’t work.”

She sniggered to herself but Alaor shook his great head, upsetting a child carrying a tray of hot chocolates. He hardly regarded the spilled brown liquid or the tears in the boy’s eyes. Beira leaned down to help the little boy.

Alaor had greater matters on his mind.

Jolly St. Nick. The stag wanted to rush in and spear the bugger in the belly with his antlers.

If the children only knew who was really behind the mask.

Beira popped back up and flicked his ear gently. He didn’t look away from the imposter.  Her gaze softened as she regarded him a moment too long. “Stop worrying.”

“I’m not worrying,” he snapped before stalking forwards through the evergreen decorated gate.

Passersby’s exclaimed as they took in his majestic white coat and amber antlers. A little girl darted forwards, a dingy carrot in her hand.

“Beira,” he snarled, and she laughed in ringing booms before swooping down to catch the little girl’s arm.

“That’s so sweet of you but my friend doesn’t like carrots. He’s – um – allergic.”

Alaor snorted, streams of white clouds exiting his nostrils. Trying to feed him like a second-rate mule. He was the Winter Goddess’ protector.

“Hmph.”

Beira sunk her fingers into his fur and purred, “Don’t be so uptight. They think you’re pretty.”

Alaor choked and she nudged him forwards, grinning. “Come on. We need to go see Santa.”

He followed his Winter Goddess before stopping at once.

Santa sat on a scarlet velvet chair. However, behind the white beard and embarrassing red broadcloth, the Sun King glared at him and Beira.

“You tried to kill me,” he grunted.

Alaor raised an eyebrow at the Sun King and his ridiculous disguise.

“Least you managed to survive, Santa. I’ll make sure to pay a visit to the North Pole. Looks like you’re in my realm now,” Beira said sweetly.

The late Sun King gritted his teeth and Alaor stamped his hooves.

Winter reigned with fury.

Author Interview, Blogging, Book Love, canadian authors, Nature, writers life, writing, Writing Submission

Author Interview: Canadian YA Author Mere Joyce

Introducing Mere Joyce

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Mere Joyce is a Canadian author of books for young adults. Her writing includes contemporary tales, high-action mysteries, and her personal favorite–ghost stories. When she’s not writing, Mere can be found recommending books as a librarian, or spending time at home with her husband and two sons. She’s also been known to be a selective, yet highly enthusiastic fangirl.

Mere’s novels include Blank Canvas (Evernight Teen, 2015), Getting the Brush Off (Orca Book Publishers, 2017), Shadow (Orca Book Publishers, 2018), and Shade (Oracle of Senders book 1 – 7S Pub, 2018).

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Welcome to another addition to Canadian Author Interviews. Today, I’d like to welcome Canadian YA author, Mere Joyce.

Loie: Welcome to the blog, Mere! So lovely to have you here. Can you please share about your journey as a writer to published author? When did you start writing and why? When did you decide you were ready to try and have your book published 😊?

Mere: Thank you for having me! I can’t precisely remember when I started writing, but I can trace it back at least to my tween years. Writing has long-since been an important part of my identity (my high school yearbook actually says my future goal is to become the female Stephen King, :P), but it wasn’t until I finished schooling and began working as a librarian that it went from being a hobby to being something I was serious about. It’s always easy to say ‘I’ll get to it eventually’. But being surrounded by books each day at work made me realize I needed to make an honest effort at getting my own writing on the shelf as well. I sent out my very first query in January 2012, and spent three years working on various projects before finding a home for my first novel.

Loie: YES! Love your high school yearbook goal 🙂 I know that way of thinking too, getting to it eventually.

Can you share some of the inspiration behind Blank Canvas? It sounds so complex and amazing 😊

Mere: Blank Canvas actually came from a dream I had when I was fifteen years old! At the time, I couldn’t stop thinking about the creepy man who painted everything and kept me captive, so I wrote a story called The Painter. It was a fairly short tale, and more of a horror/thriller. But unlike some of my other earliest writings, I never gave up my conviction that someday the story would make it into book form. Nearly a decade after first writing it, it occurred to me that the story could be told in a totally different way, focusing less on the imprisonment/escape and more on the life lived afterwards. I started to explore the character of Maddie more thoroughly, making connections I’d never realized before (for instance, that she herself was a painter), and I ended up rewriting the entire thing from scratch. The story gained depth, and the character of Maddie truly came alive for the first time, which was awesome.

Loie: Wow! Some dreams are truly powerful. Love the story behind Blank Canvas! Can’t wait to read it. My copy is on its way:)

What is your favorite genre to write and why?

Mere: I love horror, and would be thrilled to write more YA horror stories. But I actually find myself often drawn to writing YA contemporary tales. I love exploring the possibilities of ordinary teens facing extraordinary dilemmas (big or small), as well as the complexities of “normal” life.

Loie: Yes! I love contemporary as well. I’m working on a Bluebeard fairytale retelling. I’ve never written horror or creepy stories, so it’s been kind of fun.

Do you have any new projects on the horizon in 2019 that you can hint at 😊 ?

Mere: I have a couple! In addition to continuing with my Oracle of Senders series with the upcoming Revenant, I also have a new YA Contemporary called Things That Fall, which will be released in August by Dancing Cat Books! Two very different stories that are both immensely near to my heart – including a varied mix of ghosts, cousins, romance, and mystery.

Loie: Eeee! I love the title, Revenant! Also, your new contemporary sounds fantastic. Ghosts 😀

With your experience, how have you found the Canadian publishing industry?

Mere: The Canadian publishing industry is really interesting…it can be a challenge, as there aren’t a ton of publishing houses/agencies, and many of the ones that do exist have very specific areas of interest. But I absolutely love the dedication of the Canadian industry to publish and promote Canadian authors and Canadian content, especially in regards to YA—I grew up not even knowing Canadian YA existed! There is a lot more visibility for our works now, and there is a sense of community among both publishers as well as authors that is fantastic.

Loie: Thank you for sharing 🙂 I always love to hear authors perspectives on the industry. I see the dedication too and its lovely. Super encouraging for up and coming authors and writers.

Who’s your favorite author and why?

Mere: I actually find this an incredibly hard question to answer, because I collect favourite stories far more often than I do authors! However, if I were to choose one, I’d have to reach back a ways and go with Frances Hodgson Burnett. She had a way of writing stories that were grounded in reality but completely magical all the same.

Loie: Oooo! She’s a fantastic author.

Favorite 2018 read?

Mere: I really liked Kiersten White’s The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein, an unexpected enjoyment that’s rekindled my interest in the original tale.

Loie: I can’t wait to read that book!!! Any tips for aspiring authors 😊 ?

Mere: When you read (both in your genre and outside of it), pick out the things you absolutely love about the stories—especially the little things. Metaphors or descriptions, character interactions or settings…delving into the intricacies of stories will help you learn what kinds of things you love (and, conversely, what things immediately make you roll your eyes with annoyance or dismay). There are so many “rules” out there for writers, that it’s easy to feel like you have to write in a certain way, or avoid a type of story because it’s been done before. Always keep the magic of reading alive, and write the kinds of things you love/wish there was more of as a reader—without worrying if it follows the rules or is going to be seen as cliché!

Loie: That is great advice! I actually was planning a series for January where I’ll look at examples of characters or setting in various stories and share what I love about them so much.

It’s like studying craft more directly:) Mmmm. I love that – keep the magic of reading alive. I agree one hundred percent.

Thanks so much, Mere! Fab to get to know you more and highlight Canadian YA authors<3

24 Days of Writing, Blogging, Book Love, canadian authors, Nature, writers life, writing, Writing Submission

On the 12th Day of Writing: Coming Home to Yourself

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Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Pexels.com

December 12th

Hi friends!

For those of you interested in writing blogs, there is a submission opportunity with The Relationship Blogger. They are seeking blog posts about self-acceptance.

Coming Home to Yourself

Did you struggle against conformity, perfection standards from parents, or cultural conditioning? Did you ask the question am I good enough as I am?

Share your heart about being your true self and what it took to find that. Self-acceptance is so difficult.

It’s a journey.

Dive into your experiences with self-discovery and self-acceptance. What have you struggled with about yourself and what have you accepted? What was the turning point for you?

The Relationship Blogger seeks poems, essays, or fiction. January submissions are due by December 15th. Send your final piece to: submissions@therelationshipblogger.com

Check out their master submissions page for formatting details.

This is a different call of submissions but might be insightful and interesting to pen.

Big hug ❤

Loie

Author Interview, Book Love, canadian authors, Literary Agent, writers life, writing

Interview with Author and Literary Agent Nicole Bezanson

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Back for another interview with a Canadian author and literary agent!

Here is Nicole’s bio, from her website:

“NICOLE BEA is a short story author, novelist, technical writer, and agent with Metamorphosis Literary who primarily focuses on writing contemporary teen fiction. An avid storyteller since childhood, she has honed her skills through a variety of educational programs including management, sociology, legal studies, and cultural diversity in the workplace,  most recently engaging in coursework about communication for technologists.

 

When she isn’t busy updating her manuscript portfolio or responding to queries, she can usually be found reading, avoiding domestic chores & pursuing her new hobby of learning to cook. She & her husband share their home in Eastern Canada with a collection of disabled cats and a lifetime’s worth of books.”

 

Loie: Hi Nicole! It’s so great to have you here on the blog today. I’m excited to chat with you 😊 I love meeting Canadian YA authors. Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed.

Can you share a little bit about your writing journey. When did you start writing, what do you write, and how did you get your agent?

Nicole: I started writing novels in January of 2017 after being diagnosed with clinical depression. I had always wanted to write a book growing up but never really knew how to go about it. Once I started to be treated, I decided to tackle my goal of writing a full-length novel. I’ve always loved young adult stories and thought that perhaps that would be a good place to start and I completed the first draft of my first book in about a month. It was such an exciting process and I found the ideas started flowing from that book very organically, and so I started my second book very shortly after, finishing that one in six weeks.  Over the course of the year I wrote five teen fiction books!

I ended up querying my fifth book, FORGET ME NOT, in January of 2018 and was picked up by my agent, Patty Carothers of Metamorphosis Literary Agency, in April of the same year. I was so happy to find someone who loved my story as much as I did and who was also willing to help me set some goals and teach me about the publishing industry, so it was immediately a great match.

Loie: Thank you for sharing ❤ That’s quite amazing that you wrote five novels in one year 🙂 ! Also, super encouraging that you found an agent after querying for a few months.

Can you tell readers a little bit about Wattpad and why you decided to post your stories there? What’s your favorite thing about Wattpad?

Nicole: Wattpad is such a great community to be part of, especially for a new writer. There are so many ways to grow your writing and share your stories with others that I think it’s a fantastic way to learn more about writing. There are people on the platform who like all different genres, so the nice thing about that is you’ll be able to find a group of people to connect with who have similar interests.

I joined Wattpad about a year before I started writing full-length fiction, mainly as a reader and poster of micro-fiction. I ended up turning some of my Wattpad pieces into novellas that were picked up by Zimbell House Publishing and it was then I realized that maybe I had the potential to turn writing into something more than a casual hobby. Wattpad definitely helped engage me with a network of wonderful people who were all very helpful in giving me direction and answering inquiries.

Loie: Wattpad is amazing. I’ve read some incredible works on that site. My friend and mentor from #WriteMentor, MB Dalto, posts stories there 🙂 That’s really neat that some of your novellas were picked up by Zimbell House Publishing!

As a literary agent at Metamorphosis Literacy Agency, have you noticed anything with incoming manuscripts? What are some things that turn you away from a manuscript? Have you noticed any trends? What do you love seeing in a submission?

Nicole: I absolutely love reading submissions. It’s one of my favourite parts of the job. I’ve received some really creative content and it always amazes me what people can come up with and the depth and breadth of creativity. I’ve received all genres and sub-genres and have become really engaged with some things I would normally not have thought I’d interested in. That’s kind of an interesting part of being an agent is the exposure to all these projects. 

Most submissions I receive are very well put together.  That being said, it is important to ensure you have the basics down in your query. Please double-check to ensure the agent’s name is spelled correctly, that you’ve included contact information, and you are following the submission protocol. I also personally like to know why the author thinks we would be a good fit, but if you’re including this, please make sure it is a personalized statement and not just something generic that may not actually apply (for example, don’t say that you’re sending it along because of the agent’s interest in romance if they’ve indicated they don’t wish to receive romance).

Loie: Wow, that’s super insightful. Thanks for sharing. What is your favorite genre to write and why?

Nicole: I generally only write teen fiction, but I have dabbled in adult romance. I like to use my own experiences as a teenager as the basis for my books and some of my stories directly reflect things that have happened to me growing up. I find when I write about things that are based on real life, it allows me to process them in a different way, plus I get to maintain some sense of nostalgia. In particular cases, like with my story SKIN, I get to re-write endings to stories that may not have had positive conclusions.

Loie: Can you share how you edit your novels? Do you have a checklist you go through after completing a draft? Do you send to beta or critique readers?

Nicole: I edit as I write, paragraph by paragraph. Because of this it takes me a little bit longer to get my writing done, but I find it less stressful than trying to get all my thoughts down without reviewing them. As I’m writing my first draft, I post the chapters on Wattpad for my dedicated readers and take their comments into consideration when putting together my manuscript for submission. Once my draft is complete and I’ve reviewed the comments on Wattpad, I employ a selection of beta readers.

Loie: That’s a neat method 🙂 Cool! What are you reading at the moment?

Nicole: Nicholas Sparks – The Last Song

Jay Coles – Tyler Johnson Was Here

and

Lauren Spieller – Your Destination is on the Left

Loie: Ooooo, I have Your Destination is on the Left on my TBR list 🙂 What are you hoping to find in your inbox as a literary agent? Do you have a specific #MSWL? Any fairytale retellings or fantasy, contemporary, or YA stories you’d love to see in your inbox?

Nicole: My #MSWL is as follows (at least for now!):

Contemporary fiction in ages 16+, and YA in all forms and genres, particularly with romance or mystery subplots. Manuscripts featuring animal appearances are always appreciated, cats and horses in particular, as are stories taking place in Canada.

Loie: Awesome! Yay, Canada ❤ Thanks so much for visiting, Nicole! So great chatting with you.

You can find Nicole on Wattpad and her website. For those interested in querying her, find out more information at Metamorphosis Literary Agency.

Until next time,

Loie xo