Sooo…how have you been?!
Please tell me I wasn’t the only one who got a big ol’ smack in the face when I saw the date today.
September 1st? Whaaa??!!!
The last long weekend of the summer, sigh. That alone deserves a moment of silence. I’ll wait…
…Right! So, we have some things to catch up on, don’t we?
Did you go on any trips? Try any great summer recipes? How’s the writing going? Did you even have time for it with all the seasonal hustle and bustle, barbecuing and cottaging?
Me? Well, I knew I was going to lay low on the blog front this summer, and I have, not because I wanted to, really – I’ve missed it and all of you – but simply because something had to give, and this was an area I knew I could drift away from for a while and come back to when the time was right. Isn’t that what great about blogging? It’s there when you need it.
I’ve got some updates that I’m thrilled to share and haven’t really said out loud to many people, yet. So here goes…
Just before the summer started, I had the infamous “call.” (I’ve been considering writing about my experience, as well as what helped me prepare for it, so if you’re interested let me know and I’ll put a post together.) Let me just say that after years and years of querying agents, submitting, resubmitting, and of course, every writers old friend, REJECTION, it was a pretty amazing experience. A total roller coaster, but amazing. And the stars aligned. :-) I love my agent. We are a great fit. Working with her has been a wonderful experience and has already made me a better writer. I’m pumped about the edits we’ve been doing together. Hopefully we aren’t too far from sending my manuscript out on submission. (I’ll keep you posted.) Needless to say, I feel very fortunate. I’m glad that I didn’t give up. One of the nicest things has been opening my email and not having to deal with rejection letters from agents anymore. Not surprisingly, my self-esteem has been enjoying a healthy boost.
All that to say, the summer began with an intense period of revisions. I fell off the map, sank into the cave, went AWOL. Man, sometimes clichés are just the best. Anyway, weeks slipped by, and by the end of it, I was empty.
Then in July I took a vacation to British Columbia! It was my first time that far west, and I was blown away. The provincial motto is “Beautiful Bristish Columbia.” All I can say to that is, no kidding! We spent time in Vancouver, Tofino, and Victoria, with a little pit stop in Nanaimo to sample the legendary dessert bar of the same name. (Yum!) Each place was so special. In Vancouver, we enjoyed craft beer touring, biking along the sea wall, eating the most amazing sushi, walking along the beach….walking everywhere!
Tofino is a magical place. If ever I run away, that’s where I’ll be. Highlights? Sea kayaking. Surfing! (Waaay harder than it looks but so fun.) Soaking in the hot spring at Maquinna Provincial Marine Park. And a life-long dream for this tree-hugging ecologist – hiking in the temperate rainforest in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. The biodiversity was incredible! I saw eagles, otters, a grey whale (!!!), and sea lions – and that was all in one afternoon. Not to mention the black bear we saw munching on grasses on the morning we left.
Victoria reminded me a lot of my beloved Ottawa. So lovely.
I picked up an incredible book from the must-visit, historic Munro Books. Have you read THE GOLDEN SPRUCE? Sometimes life is stranger than fiction. The book was haunting, especially after connecting with the coastal rainforests described in the book. I highly recommend it.
From B.C., it was on to Whitehorse. I hadn’t been up north in years, and had yet to visit the western arctic. Again, such a special place, with lots of cool cultural things happening. We hiked along the Yukon River, explored the S.S. Klondike (now a Parks Canada site, but back then a ship that was used during the Gold Rush), soaked in some more hot springs, and took a wrong turn that almost lead us up to Dawson City! The one-hour detour was totally worth it for the scenery alone. There is an amazing food scene in Whitehorse. We had a great visit at Yukon Brewing, the best americano I’ve ever had at Bean North Coffee Roasting Co., and such great sushi at Asahiya Japanese Restaurant that we had to visit a couple of times. I bought a book while here too, my favourite travel momento, from a neat little second-hand bookshop called Well-loved Books.
This is just the briefest of recaps, of course. I can’t wait to revisit each of theses places and get to know them better. But I’ll just say this, being away reminded me of the importance of getting away. I unplugged. I remembered my adventurous side. I relaxed. And creativity found me again, because I made space for it.
While away, I got some exciting writing news. My publisher, Inanna Publications, let me know that the pub date for my full-length novel SIDE-BY-SIDE has been pushed up. We’ll start working on cover design and edits in the new year. The book will launch in September 2018. That doesn’t feel far away to me at all . I guess I’m still getting used to the idea.
I’ve read some great books this summer. My book sister, Kendra, and I dove back into the Neapolitan novels, THE STORY OF A NEW NAME, by Elena Ferrante. I’m still processing this one. It’s definitely having an influence on the story that I’m writing now. What I loved most was reading a novel that takes its time, building plot, building character. There were so many threads but somehow they all masterfully came together by the end. And much like book one, the ending of book two left me gasping. Such a treat reading this and discussing it with my fellow bookworm, from whom I learn so much. (Hi Kendra!) *waves*
While filling the creative well in July, I read BIG MAGIC. A friend of mine that knew I was creatively exhausted after revising my manuscript pushed it into my hands a couple of days before I boarded the plane to B.C. I know that I’m arriving late to this book party, but wow, I enjoyed it. So much so, in fact, that I’m going to devote an entire post to it. My copy should be arriving in the mail any day now.
August is a heavy month for me, so its been a recent tradition of mine to read comedy memoirs then. I call it Comedy Memoir Month! It’s not really a thing, just for me. ;-) Past books have included BOSSYPANTS by Tina Fey, YES I CAN by Amy Poehler, and YOU’LL GROW OUT OF IT by Jessi Klein.
This year, I read THE GIRL WITH THE LOWER BACK TATTOO by Amy Schumer, MODERN ROMANCE by Aziz Ansari, and HOW TO BE A BAWSE by Lilly Singh. I loved the first book, although it was a lot more intense and sad than I had expected. Very candid and surprisingly touching. The second was like an anthropological study of how technology has changed modern relationships, a topic that is endlessly fascinating to me, not only because I’ve written a novella about it (unpublished), but because aren’t we all trying to figure out this technology thing when it comes to our relationships, not simply romantic ones? So, aspects of the book were intriguing and enlightening, while others were a bit dry. Still worth checking out, though, if you’re interested (i.e. baffled) by the subject. The last book was okay. I felt the age gap between myself and the author, which I don’t always feel when I read younger writers. It’s a great book for millennials younger than myself that are looking for some motivation to get their creative projects off the ground. What I can say about each of these books is that I expected more laughs and was a little disappointed. Ah well. That’s what cat videos are for, and lucky for me, I live in very close proximity to a purveyor of those.
Still there? If so, have a great long weekend! And don’t worry, there’s still lots of summer to go. Well, a solid three weeks of it, anyway. ;-)
A :-) xo
P.S. Anyone else utterly obsessed with the new Manchester Orchestra album? Wow. Great writing inspiration to be found there.
Hellooooo!!! Lovely to ‘see’ you, and HUGE congratulations on your great news, that sounds very exciting!!! Very happy for you x x x
Elaine! So great to hear from you! Thanks so much for the well-wishing, it means a lot. I’ve missed you!!How are things? I’ve got to head over to your blog and drool over your latest culinary adventure. xxx :-)
Everything is great at this end, thank you 😊😊😊 x
Excellent, so glad to hear it! Must be back to school time by now. Hope it’s a smooth transition! :-) xo
Yes, all fine, I miss my boy though xx
Ooh, of course! The summer is so nice! Glad to hear all is well, though. :-) xo
So good to see you again! Congratulations! I am excited for you! ❤
Hi! Thank you so much! It’s been a hectic but abundant time, that’s for sure. I just finished a frantic week of revisions. Formatting issues nearly drove me around the bend, but all is well now. How was your summer? :-) xo
It was very hot! It is now cooling off so that we can resume bike riding! It sometimes is astonishing how much time can be spent formatting and editing! You probably feel as though you could have written another book in this time! :)
I love the cooler weather, too! It’s so nice to be active and not end up a sweaty mess, ha ha, speaking for myself, of course! Sigh, it’s so true about editing. I took a long walk to decompress last night, though, and now I can appreciate the process a bit more, and see how the MS is better now than before. Hope you guys have many more bike rides ahead of you this season!! :-) xo And how’s the music going?
My husband has been working a lot of overtime lately… so we haven’t been playing the drums together lately as much as we would like to. I need to practice on my own… and sharpen my skills! Enjoy the cooler weather!
Wonderful news, Anita – congratulations! Good to catch up 💙💚💛
Thanks so much, Martha! How did you keep busy this summer? :-) xo
Hey hey my friend….Wow! it seems like ages since we spoke. How are you??? My goodness it was lovely reading your post today, and what an exciting time you have had. Congrats on your manuscript news…keep us posted :-)
You mentioned about possibly writing a post about, The infamous ‘call’ and what helped you prepare for it. I would be very interested to read about that.
I need to get my nose into a book again….so thanks for sharing all your reads, I will be looking into them for sure.
Well, we are officially in Spring now, so I am looking forward to the summer-time, and relaxing by the pool and grabbing a tan…so all is good this side.
Chat soon, and take care. :-) xxx
Lynne! How I’ve missed you! It’s so lovely to hear from you. Wow, our seasons are opposite. Now the summer is winding down here and the nights have a chill to them. I love spring, especially as it gets closer to summer. How have you been keeping busy? Thank you sooo much for the well-wishing. It’s been a hectic summer, with work, and also my in-laws were visiting from London, UK, for three weeks…that was fun but it’s a little tiring too. :-) Oh fantastic, I’ll put a post together about the call. Thanks for your interest! I just finished a frantic week of revising so now I’m getting back to a more normal routine. I’m looking forward to seeing what delicious things you’ve been cooking up! Take good care and speak soon! :-) xoxox