Monday, July 16, 2012

New Blog!

With the increase in activity in my writerly life, I've decided to start a new 'Brenda-the-writer' blog. Anything writing related will be found in this fabulous new site. :) But don't worry, This Mom is still Overdunne. I'll still be here when I can. Life just ain't dull and I've always got something to spew about!

So if you're looking for my writing-related drivel, check it out!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Where's the map?

Okay, so I've spent the past three days researching the 'Road to Self-publication'. I've googled, stalked self-pubber's blogs, talked to self-pubber's and emailed publication companies. Holy cow is there alot out there! Createspace, Smashwords, BookBaby, Lulu...there are so many options for those (like me) who aren't quite ready to go it alone and are willing to cough up a few dollars for the help. There are also many, many self-help for self-publishers websites and even a 'Self-publishing for Dummies' book! Wow. And the end result of all of my research is that I'm more indecisive than I was before I started. I need a map that says GO HERE NOW. I'm a great map reader. I really suck at decisions.

In the meantime, I've penned (or I guess I should say typed) a few thousand words on my current work-in-progress and prepared agent submissions for my other, more marketable manuscript. I've also worked two days at my job that FINANCES all of my crazy ideas, spent 8 hours watching over hyper little ballerinas and saucy teenagers at my daughter's evening dance rehearsals, built cross country jumps for my other daughter and her horse and somehow managed to feed, clothe and taxi everyone to where they needed to go. 

I guess you can say I'm a writer now. Who else would live this wacky life? There really should be a map.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Self-Publication Road...first steps.

I am going to self-publish a book.

There. I said it.

After years and years of writing, editing, hand-wringing, submitting, editing, hand-wringing, waiting and editing some more, I have decided to self-publish a manuscript. Note I say 'A' manuscript, because I have decided that self-publication is the route to go for this manuscript, and this manuscript alone. Well, so far, anyways. If you've been following along with my drivel, you'll know that I have three complete, edited manuscripts in various piles around my messy house, and at least two in various stages of completion (35k, 9k). The manuscript I've decided to publish on my own is a fun YA historical fiction story with a hint of magic set in late 18th C New Brunswick. It's a quick romantic read, written as my 2010 NaNoWriMo project. Yah, I've submitted it to a few agents, even gotten some great, personal and encouraging rejection letters, but my heart isn't in it. It's just not a mass-market book. Don't get me wrong, it's a great story! But it doesn't fit the mould, nor does it run with today's popular YA dystopian, paranormal or other genres. It's different...and I like it that way.

For these reasons (and a few others) I've tossed around the idea of self-pubbing this manuscript for almost a year. I've REALLY tossed it around. My poor husband is sick of hearing about it. I've stared at my computer screen for HOURS, wondering and thinking and stressing. I've read and searched, and stalked my favourite indie authors' sites and I've come to the conclusion that it makes sense. I still am working toward traditional publishing with my other manuscripts (for reasons individual to the stories), but for this one, self-publication is the way to go.

And now that I've admitted it publicly...I'm going to do it.

I am slowly, with the help of my family and friends, coming to terms with the fact that I am, indeed, a writer. My husband has been a ROCK of support. He lets me wail and moan and gnash my teeth, and then tells me what I need to's my decision. I love him dearly. One particular friend of mine has also been struggling with am-I-a-writer-or-not-itis (and she's been PAID for her services) and we've been leaning on each other for support. She may or may not have even written a blog about it (check it out here). Every writer needs reams of back-patting and kick-in-the-butt-ing, and she's done both. Thanks V.

So...over the next few weeks/months/years, I'll be taking my first steps to self-publication. Cover art, formatting, final copy-editing...these are just a few things I'll be banging my head repeatedly over. My impatience to get moving will no doubt be an issue, but so be it. I've read some pretty AWFUL self published stuff, and I've read some FABULOUS self published stuff (check out Tammara Webber on Amazon. I LOVE her 'Between the Lines' series.). I aspire to be like the latter, and I know that good indie publishing takes lots and lots of time and hard work. I'll do my best.

Self-publication here we come.


Friday, June 8, 2012


Writers need to be patient. It's a fact. Crafting a manuscript takes time. Time to plan the story, time to write the story, time to edit the story, and then...(gasp!)...time to release the story to the world. Every step of the process takes hours, days, weeks, even years of waiting and wondering. We've all heard of authors who recognized the first inklings of a story in childhood and published the finished products in the sunset of their lives. It's a wonderful, full-circle idea. Really, it is.

Of course we've also heard of the geophysicist who scribbled his or her ideas down at afternoon tea, sent them off to a friend that night and, voila! Story published and on the NY Times Bestsellers list mere months later.

If you've done just that, I hope you know how lucky you are. Perhaps your mother rubbed a rabbit's foot on your cradle and fed you four-leaf clovers in your soup. I'm trying very hard to be happy for you. Seriously, I am. Okay, not really. I'm just doing my best not to hate your stinking guts.

I am a complete failure in the patience department. Well, at least in the writing patience department. I can wait for ages for some things (I'm the type that never peeks at Christmas presents, and never reads the ending first). But when I'm writing a story I want it to be done and done now. The words come flying out of my brain too fast for my fingers to keep up. I can't wait to send it off to the editor, and then I check my email hourly (okay maybe every five seconds), until it's back. I zip through the edits and then I want to send it out on an express train the next day. Sadly, it doesn't work this way. I know this...and I'm sure just about every newbie mistake I've made has stemmed from my lack of patience.

However...the manuscript I'm working on now has been almost eight years in the making. EIGHT YEARS! That's like a hundred in dog years, isn't it? And this manuscript is slowly shaping, forming, fine red wine (Merlot, anyone?). I'm excited about it. It's taken time because it's real, honest, and true. How does impatient little me end up writing something like that? I have no idea. Lots of cleansing breaths and buckets of coffee I guess.

How 'bout you? Do you suffer from impatientitis? Or are you cool and calm about the whole thing? I'd love to hear how you cope with the long spaces of time in between the magic. I'll share a coffee with you while we wait.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Conferences, Vacations and a SNEAK PEEK!

Visiting the Grand Canyon
May has been an awesome month. In fact, it's been 'Spoil Brenda Month'. Started out with a three day trip/one day writing conference with my BFF (where I won a door prize and a Kindle!), continued with Mother's Day, and then a 5 night vacation to Las Vegas with my hubby was just the icing on the cake. Not only that, but my latest YA not-so-urban fantasy manuscript "SKIN" is polished, and ready to go, and now in the hands of a couple of fabulous agents for review. Yay!  Let the obsessive email checking begin...

I've also gotten back to writing an adult contemporary manuscript I'm working on...thanks to the inspirational workshops at the Ontario Writers Conference, and the ongoing writerly banter I've had with several writer friends. I'm about 21,000 words in. Hoping to at least have the first draft completed by the end of July, in anticipation of WriteOnCon a wonderful online conference that happens in August. If you've not heard of it, check out the conference details out here. This will be my third year at WriteOnCon...can't wait! Last year I even got a couple unexpected of partial/full requests by agents, just by posting in the forums.

Vegas and the Grand Canyon were AMAZING. Cannot believe we actually went there. So worth it to have a little anniversary getaway by ourselves! Hubby and I had an awesome time. Pic above is me trying not to look nervous by the 2000 foot cliff.

I'm really excited about my new manuscript (SKIN)!  Selkies and secrets on the red sands of PEI...sound interesting?  I thought I'd leave you with a little taste. :) Enjoy!

The roads are red. I know everyone said that they would be red, but I just didn’t think they would look like this. Pinkish, orange-ish red, like sunsets. They’re weird in a pretty kind of way.

I’m sitting in the back seat of the van, mushed between five million suitcases and my very annoying little brother somewhere on Prince Edward Island. I seriously want this trip to be over, but unlike the hundreds of thousands of tourists who’ve crossed that awful bridge this summer, I don’t want to be on this island at all.

We’re moving here. It’s August and we are crammed into this crappy van and we’ve been driving for three freakin’ days to get here. It’s hot. Our air conditioning is dying a slow and painful death, and I can’t wait to get out on those long stretches of red beach just to get away from the van from hell.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

So behind...

Hello, April...! Oh. My. 

The last time I wrote the snow was falling, and now the daffodils are blooming. How does that happen? The good news is, LOTS of great things are happening in my life right now, and I've got some wonderful things to write about...soon! So stay tuned.

Good to see you!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Reflection on Remembrance

I had the amazing opportunity on Sunday to take a break from my mad NaNo writing-fest and attend a Remembrance Day ceremony with my daughter. She's an Army cadet (much to the chagrin of her Air-Force father) and her unit was marching in support of their sponsor, a local Legion.

Veterans, Legion Members and Cadets stand at attention.
It was a bizarre little ceremony, as the memorial gates they were marching to are located on a main street in a busy city. There was a police escort, several bicycle cops and two police cars with flashing lights. The cadets (age 12-18) looked sharp, marched well, and came to a halt in the middle of the intersection, the police officers directing traffic around them and the few war vets healthy enough to stand with them. In spite of the setting, and the low attendance, the Legion members led us through the National Anthem and played (via recording) the Last Post. We had a moment of silence. Like every ceremony of this nature, I struggled with the tears that inevitably well up when I think of the lives lost. Perhaps it's survivors guilt, perhaps it's the memory of so many friends and neighbours who have lost their lives in the service of our country, or perhaps it's fear that some day I could hear that bugle call someone I love dearly home. Whatever the cause, the moment of silence, to me, is sacred. And on that busy street with police officers directing traffic Sunday morning, it was no different.

As the moment of silence ended, I was shocked to hear a middle-aged woman start to yell. "You ruined the last post! You ruined the moment of silence! You should be ashamed!" she screamed at a poor unsuspecting police officer just behind my daughter. I'm sure I wasn't the only one confused. My poor daughter, standing there protected by the police officer helping the traffic through (which, by the way, was now backed up at least 6 blocks in each direction), looked like she was about to bolt.

I think (but I'm not sure) that this woman was mad at the police officer for letting the traffic through during the moment of silence. In her ignorance though, she not only insulted someone who was bravely doing his job, but those in front of her, who were doing what was important...remembering. I can't tell you how furious I was at this loud, angry woman who for some reason thought she had the duty to blast someone for ruining a ceremony that she herself was ruining. I wanted to run into the street and scream at her. Had she worn a uniform for her country? Did she watch the father of her children get on a plane for a 6 month tour in the desert? Had she held her son as he cried silently for the father he knows is in danger? Had she seen the rows, upon rows of gravestones in a lonely French field? Had she sat up late at night waiting for her husband to come home from a rescue mission in the middle of a blinding storm?

I have.

And as much as I wanted to give this sad woman a piece of my mind, I didn't. The men and women who die every day so that we can stand and pray freely in a city street deserve better than that.

To his credit, the police officer listened to her quietly, attempted to placate her, and continued doing his job. The cadets, legion members and veterans ignored her. The ceremony finished and we walked away. I'm sure there are better ways to hold a ceremony than with a few straggly spectators in the middle of a busy street. But our discomfort was minimal. The act of remembrance is what counts. 

To the men and women who have died so that I can sit here, writing my unedited thoughts...thank you.

They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
We will remember them.
Laurence Binyon