Saturday, 23 January 2010

When Life gets in the way

As 2010 dawned, I made a promise to myself that I would add a post to my blog every day, well most days anyway, and I would write everyday, no question about it.

Well, as the days have changed to weeks, I still haven't added a daily post to my blog, and my writing has all but gone by the wayside.

The annoying thing is as I said in my title, life has got in the way. There is housework, shopping, a disabled son, telephone calls, to name but a few things. My best intentions never bring about the achievements I strive for.

But, although "Life" is a natural part of the day to day workings of the world, I know that one day, hopefully sooner rather than later, I will be where I want to be. I will not give up. We can all reach our goals, climb that mountain no matter how high, and just be who and what we want to be.

Do you have the problem of how do I reach my goal, how do I climb that mountain? I do it by carrying on carrying on.

Someone once gave me a picture - a stork trying to swallow a frog. The frog is hanging on for dear life head in the birds beak, and feet around its neck. He is doing everything he can to avoid being swallowed. On mention of the picture, the person in question told me that he felt it suited me as I never seemed to give up. No matter how hard things get, although I might moan about it, want to give up on it, or just forget about it altogether, I always find some way of bouncing back.

So, my question to you is:
When "Life gets in the way" how do you deal with it?

Monday, 18 January 2010

To Submit, or not to Submit? That is the question

As writers we all have that time that we want to send that story or book manuscript out to a publisher. But once we get to that point, we wonder if we can let that baby go.

Have you had this problem? I have.

I wrote my first assignment and sent it in thinking I would get a letter back from my instructor telling me all the things she thought were wrong with it. Well, it had faults, but how many don't? As I took the envelope and opened it, my heart stopped. Is this how I am going to feel every time I send something in? I am being stupid. Afterall, its only a story, right? Right.

But this was just an assignment, a practise run.

Anyway, Having opened the envelope, and reading the comments from my instructor, I was pleasantly surprised. It wasn't nearly as bad as I thought.

So, back to the reason for this post. That first assignment was written about six years ago. WOW!! And only now I have managed to revise it, edit it, and send it out. Gulp! Well, its a good story (of course I think it is, I wrote it didn't I?) The writing, the revising, the editing, the re-revising, re-editing, .........

Was I ever going to have it ready? Well, long story short, the process took a few weeks, thankfully with the help of some very helpful, more knowledgeable writer friends. I did and redid, and thought this would never end.

Well, I'm pleased to say, it is finally finished, and it is finally on its way. I went through the whole process, printed the manuscript and cover letter, put them in the envelope with the return envelope and relevant return postage. Then came the "part with it" time.

Do I, don't I. Of course I do, but I know that when I get to the mail box the envelope will mysteriously stick itself to my hand, and will stay out of the box. I'll have to go back home and try again later.

So activate plan B. My husband came home for lunch the other day, and was informed that my story was in the envelope and ready to go. He was happy to hear this, and told me that I could have the car. My response, oh, you can stop by the mail box and put it in on your way back to work.

I'm pleased to say, he agreed, and my story was/is winging its way to the publisher. So, now starts the waiting game.

So I suppose the best way to end this is to say please keep checking back to see if my submission was a success, or if it came back with that all too frequent, dreaded rejection form letter.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Interview with Simon Rose

Welcome to my latest author interview.

My guest today is Canadian children's author Simon Rose. His novels include The Doomsday Mask, The Heretic's Tomb, The Emerald Curse, The Clone Conspiracy, The Sorcerer's Letterbox, and The Alchemist's Portrait.

He's also a contributing author to The Complete Guide to Writing Science Fiction: Volume One and founded the almost legendary networking group Children's Authors and Illustrators on Facebook. Here's what Simon has to say about his work.

Welcome, Simon. Could you please tell us a little about your books.

My books are in the science fiction and fantasy genre for middle grades, around ages eight to twelve. You can see full details of each of them, including excerpts and synopses (and you can even listen to recording of my readings) at the Books page at

The Alchemist's Portrait is a time-travel story, in which Matthew journeys through the centuries using magical paintings which act as doorways into the past, in order to save the world from the clutches of an evil alchemist.

The Sorcerer's Letterbox, another time-travel tale, is based on the famous mystery of the Princes in the Tower about Edward V and his brother Richard, Duke of York, who were supposedly murdered on the orders of Richard III in 1483.

The Clone Conspiracy is a science fiction thriller involving clandestine laboratories and secret experiments, while The Emerald Curse, based on my own reading of comic books while growing up, concerns Sam's adventures in a bizarre, and at times deadly, superhero universe.

The Heretic's Tomb is set in the medieval period once again, this time during the Black Death in 1349.

My latest novel, The Doomsday Mask, was published in the spring of 2009. It's once again for ages 8–12 and in the science fiction and fantasy genre. It's a fast-paced adventure about ancient civilizations, mysterious artifacts, and shadowy secret societies.

A seventh novel for middle grades, The Time Camera, will be published in spring 2011, along with Flashback, a novel for young adults, and synopses are available here. I have also written several books for younger readers with Weigl Educational Publishers due for publication this year and have a regular column ‘Simon Says’ with the National Writing for Children Center.

What drew you to writing books for children?

One of the best things about writing for kids is that I can write about the kinds of things that fascinated me when I was young. Stories can be very imaginative if they are for children, which makes writing them so much fun. And, of course, in science fiction or fantasy, more or less anything you can imagine is possible, as you craft stories involving ancient mysteries, the unexplained, the paranormal, science fiction, time travel, parallel universes, alternate realities, weird and wonderful characters, and a multitude of "what if" scenarios.
Once I had children of my own, I came into contact with children's books again for the first time in many years. Picture books initially, of course, but then early chapter books and novels. When I decided to try my hand at writing novels and stories, I found myself drawn to the types of things I used to read as a child. I read lots of science fiction, as well fantasy writers and ghost stories while growing up. I also read a tremendous number of comic books, in which the stories took me across the universe, into strange dimensions, into the land of the Norse gods or had me swinging from the New York rooftops. At high school, I studied a lot of history and have retained my interest in the subject up to the present day. I also read voraciously on ancient civilizations, mysteries, the supernatural, and the unexplained.

What are you working on now?

I have another completed novel on a paranormal theme which I am seeking a home for, if there are any interested editors and publishers reading this. I'm working on a number of editing projects for other writers, have numerous projects of my own for future novels, and I am collaborating on several picture books with a local illustrator. In addition to novel writing, I offer copywriting services for business, such as editorial content for websites. I have a few of those types of projects, as well as upcoming articles for magazines and online publications on a wide variety of topics, such as the articles written for Dark Roasted Blend on a bewildering variety of incredible and fantastic topics You can search or my articles on the Dark Roasted Blend home page.
I'm also involved in a large local event set for the fall called the Calgary Children's Book Fair and Conference.

Any advice for aspiring children’s writers? 

Writing is in some ways the easy part. It can be a very long process not only to write a book, but also to get it published. A book is a marathon measured in years rather than weeks or months. Don’t be afraid to revise and revise over and over again. Most authors go through many revisions before their work reaches its final format. Remember, too, that your book will never be to everyone’s taste, so don’t be discouraged. A firm belief in your own success is often what’s necessary. After all, if you don’t believe in your book, how can you expect other people to?

Read as much as you can and write as often as you can. Keep an ideas file, even if it’s only a name, title, sentence, or an entire outline for a novel. You never know when you might get another piece of the puzzle, perhaps years later. You also mustn’t forget the marketing. You may produce the greatest book ever written. However, no one else is going to see it if your book doesn’t become known to potential readers. Be visible as an author. Do as many readings, signings, and personal appearances as you can. Get your name out there and hopefully the rest will follow. Especially for newly published authors, books don’t sell themselves and need a lot of help.
You can read some of my tips and advice for writers at Ezine Articles. I also belong to a number of writing organizations and am the Assistant Regional Advisor for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators in Western Canada.

Where can readers find out more about you and your books?

Autographed copies of my books are always available from me directly, but they are also available at all the usual places such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and many other places online — and details can be found for each book here. You can also easily order any of the novels from your local bookstore if they don't have copies on the shelf.

You can stay up-to-date with me and my work by visiting my author site and blog, connecting as a friend on Facebook, joining Children's Authors and Illustrators on Facebook or my own groups for each of the novels or following me Twitter.

Do you offer any other services?

Yes, I offer a wide range of presentations, workshops, and author-in-residence programs for schools and libraries. I cover such topics as where ideas come from, story structure, editing and revision, character development, time-travel stories, history, and research. You can learn more about them here and I offer study guides for all the books.
I also conduct virtual author visits via video using the Skype network, and you can get some idea of how it works from my videos on YouTube.

I also offer workshops for adults, both in person and online, as well as online workshops for children, which are proving very popular.

I was also involved in a large local event in November 2009 called the Calgary Children's Book Fair and Conference.

I did a lot of work in summer camps this year, some of which you can learn about here. In addition, here in Calgary I work as a writing instructor with home school children, the local school board's continuing education program, the University. I am also an instructor with the National Writing for Children Centre and will be presented at schools libraries in the UK as part of the Off the Shelf Festival of Writing and Reading in October 2009.

Thank you Simon for agreeing to do this interview. You certainly lead a varied and busy life.

To my readers: I can recommend Simons books, and have read 4 of the books he has available at the moment (see above). I am now starting the fifth.

Until the next interview – Happy writing, and much success in all you do.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

New Blog Interview


CONTACT: Terrie Hope, Children’s Author

For Immediate Release

Guest Author, Simon Rose at Terrie Hope’s Write What Your Heart Desires

Terrie Hope explores the written word through your heart desires at Come along with Terrie on her weekly chats such as “This Business Called Writing” and interviews of professionals in the trenches of writing for children.

Stop by Friday, January 15th and visit with Terrie’s guest author, Simon Rose. Simon will be checking-in throughout the day to chat and field any questions you may have.

Thank you in advance for your interest.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

New Years Resolutions

We all make new years resolutions at the end of the year, and try to convince ourselves that we are going to keep at making them work. But how many resolutions are still being followed a few days after the beginning of January? If you're anything like me, they are all broken by the 3rd of January.

With this in mind, I decided this year that I would not make any resolutions. I am making writing goals instead.

I will start small - one submission a month. Possible, yes. Doable, definitely. Then there's my blog, and my critique group.

So, there's plenty to keep me busy.

What are you going to do make resolutions, or make goals? Whatever you choose, I wish you luck and success.

I am determined to make 2010 my best writing year yet. Are you?

Friday, 1 January 2010

A New Day, A New Year

As I write this the clock has just struck 8am on January 1st 2010. I sit here and think of the things I am hoping to achieve in this new year.

There are many things, that come to mind, but my greatest priority is to get my writing life in order. I have procrastinated through 2009. That voice has kept saying "Oh, tomorrow is another day", "Publishers don't want your stories, they're not good enough", " Just do this first, and then write".

There has always been something to stop me writing. And, yet, while that little voice nags me to not submit. There is that other voice that tells me to do more.

So which one do I listen to?

I could listen to the procrastination voice. I know where that will lead me - straight down the road to nowhere. But I will listen to the other voice. It is time to get my writing hat on, to put aside all the things that keep me from writing, and to get those babies on paper and out to those publishers who I know are waiting for them.

So, as I write this, I know that my first task is to set my goals for this brand new year. What are they? I think #1 will be to submit at least one story every month this year. Doable, yes, achieveable, definitely.

2010, here I come. No New Years resolutions. They are too easily made and too easily broken. This new year will bring dreams to reality, words to paper, and achievements to be proud of.
I thank everyone who has read my blog for taking the time to visit.

My wish for you all for 2010 is success in all that you do. May this be a happy and prosperous writing year for us all.