One Writer's thoughts on the experience of writing and the publishing journey.
|Posted on December 4, 2013 at 2:00 PM||comments (0)|
DEAR GOD, Jehovah, Allah, Goddess - sorry, I know You have many names and it’s my journalistic soul that wants to cover as many of them as I know. Forgive me if I get it wrong – I’m rushing the research a bit here. I do appreciate Your taking the time to listen, as You have done so many times in the past. You must be extra busy with deadlines at this time of the year, because fires, floods, famines, storms, droughts, wars and general stupidity do not stop even in this holy season. With all that going on, I hope You can also find the time to celebrate with us the joy and peace that belong to this Holy Festival.
There have been so many times when You have pulled this tattered manuscript of my life out of the heavenly slush pile, and even when Your reply has been a gentle rejection note, there is always been encouragement to go on using the talents You have loaned to me. You have forgiven the times I have been grouchy on life’s deadlines, when I failed to appreciate the wonder of the opportunities in new contracts You have offered, and the many times I have ignored Your submission requirements in hopes that You would see past my mistakes into the willing prose of my heart.
Having said all of that, I feel selfish even asking for more, but here goes:
1) It’s a bit of a cliché, but I would join with so many, many others to ask You to give Mankind – and I say MANkind because the male of the species seems to be more inclined to conflict than we females, but maybe I’m biased – if You would just give them all a bit of a shake and tell them it’s time to make peace not war.
2) Please ignore the mean things I said about the intellectual abilities of publishers or agents who rejected my work – I know what they said had merit and I didn’t really want You to strike them. Honest.
3) There are so many of Your people in need, hungry, homeless, afraid, in pain. Maybe You could inspire those of us who have so much to heed Your teachings and work towards a more equitable society. Perhaps You could even slip a little extra blessings into the Christmas stockings of those who have been courageous enough to stand up for what is right.
4) Please forgive the times I’ve cursed at my computer; the technology You have given us is truly a blessing and it was just the heat of the moment. I didn’t mean a word of it. Really.
5) Of course, I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t invest this prayer with a little personal self-interest. First, I want to thank You for all the people who have bought my books – the nice reviews always feel like a warm GodBreeze to my soul.
6) Then maybe You could run to a dollop of forgiveness for all the times I left undone the things I ought to have done, and done those things I ought not to have done? Let’s not get into specifics now, eh? That would be a bit embarrassing and take up too much of Your time. We both know what they were. However, if You could see Your way to nudging me to become a better person, and a better writer, and maybe, just maybe, a bit of help in getting through the edits for the next book, I would be very grateful.
I can’t promise that I won’t screw up some more, but Dear Lord, I’m trying to be better.
Thank You. Amen.
|Posted on November 18, 2013 at 1:15 PM||comments (0)|
Just love this gorgeous cover by Ramona Lockwood for Marrying Money - Lady Diana's Story - the first in the Marrying Money series and about to be released in a couple of days in ebook form. You can read the first chapter for free uner the First Chapters tag above at www.glenysconnell.com
|Posted on November 11, 2013 at 2:50 PM||comments (0)|
COVER REVEAL: My Christmas time romantic comedy, The No Sex Clause, is coming out in print soon and I wanted to share the very drool-worthy cover created for the book by Erin Dameron- ill. The book is already available on Kindle but, dinosaur that I am, there's nothing quite like holding a brand new printed book in your hands, is there? Especially with such a gorgeous cover model; :-)
|Posted on October 31, 2013 at 2:40 PM||comments (0)|
By Glenys O'Connell
So, it’s that time of the year, when the ghosts and goblins come knocking at your door for treats, the stores are festooned with jack-o’lantern shapes, black cat cutouts, big hairy spiders and tape recordings of maniacal laughter. And candy, oh, yes, let’s not forget the candy…….uhmmmmmm
Where was I? Oh, yes – all this commercialism has drowned out some of the ancient superstitions and meanings of the All Hallows Eve, a time when the veil between the living and the dead is at its most thin. Don’t worry, I’m not going to delve into all the white and black magick associations; the claims of Satanism, White Wicca, and numerous other subjects too deep and complicated for a mere blog.
But I do want to talk a little about Halloween superstitions. Did you know the festival is believed to date back more than 2000 years? Celtic peoples in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and northern France celebrated the virgil of Samhain to honor the Lord of the Dead.
As time went by, accretions of ghosts, witches, goblins, black cats, fairies, demons and all the things we associate with Halloween began to attach themselves to the festival. The Celts believed that evil spirits lurked around and as the sun god grew weaker towards the end of the year, these spirits grew stronger. To keep safe from these, the ancient peoples lit great bonfires, to prevent those who rose from the dead haunting the living. Druids held rites with human sacrifices, usually criminals, prisoners of war, or some other undesirables. At least, that’s the claim.
Just in case the bonfires and sacrifices didn’t work, people put on grotesque and frightening costumes and strode around the countryside. The idea was that if you looked scary enough, the evil spirits would think you were one of them and leave you alone.
Giving treats stemmed from the belief that if you did not pacify the evil spirits with some good stuff, they’d trick you. Apples were a favourite treat, and led to many of the Halloween games we play today. In Snap Apple, an apple was tied to the end of a stick and young boys would jump up and try to bite it. The first to be successful would be the first to marry.
Girls would try to peel an apple with the peel all in one piece. She would then wave the peel three times around her head and throw it over her left shoulder. The shape of the peel when it landed, providing it was unbroken, was the initial of the man she would marry.
On All Souls Day in England, the poor would go from house to house, promising to pray for the souls of the occupants if they were given food in return. This was called going-a-souling. As the tradition grew, treats became more elaborate and included the ‘soul cake’ – a square bun decorated with currants.Remember the rhyme we used to sing? Often associated with Christmas, this was also a song for going a-souling:
Soul, soul! For a soul cake!
I pray good mistress for a soul cake!
An apple, a pear, a plum or a cherry,
Any good thing to make us all merry!
One for Peter, two for Paul,
Three for Him who made us all.
Up with the kettle and dwn with the pan,
Give us good alms and we’ll all be gone.
Glenys O'Connell is staying home tonight, clutching a bowl of treats and casting spells to stop little kids taking all the chocolate.........
|Posted on October 13, 2013 at 7:30 PM||comments (0)|
By Glenys O'Connell @GlenysOConnell
Remember when you were a little kid, and you were afraid to get out of bed in case the monster that lived under there grabbed you? I’m sure you do – you’re a writer, and writers are born with over active imaginations. Your childhood was probably peopled by characters both human and fantastical who were as real to you as if they actually existed. And some of them were probably genuinely scary. Like Writer’s Block.
And you were probably genuinely scared, just like that heart pounding, no-one-can-save-me-now feeling you get when you sit and stare at the blank screen, absolutely sure the Writer’s Block monster is going to grab you and drag you down to….well, you probably had your own ideas of the scary place those monsters took little kids to.
BUT – the whole point of this article is that Writer’s Block is exactly like the monster under your bed – it’s scary but really, really it simply doesn’t exist. And yes, you’re scared, you’re really, really scared. But the source of your fear isn’t real.
Now, do you feel silly?
Well, don’t. You’re not the only one to break out in a sweat, convinced you’ll never write again. And, as a psychotherapist, I can tell you I’ve had clients afraid of stranger things than Writer’s Block – and their demons have seemed every bit as real and inevitable to them as your Block seems to you.
Want to know how I can speak so definitely? Well, it’s not some alchemy born of training as a psychologist, I can tell you that. Even though that kind of training encourages students to poke and prod at all the monsters in our heads, learning just what particular button to press to make them disappear in a puff of psychic relief, that’s not where I learned the secret about Writer’s Block.
No, I learned it from successive news editors at newspapers where I worked for years. News editors – now there is a really scary monster and believe me, they do exist, and their teeth and fangs are real…..
And when the deadline looms and your editor yells across the newsroom: “I want 500 words and a sidebar on that (fill in your own blank!) for the front page!” No reporter who wants to live long enough to get a lunchtime, paper’s-to-bed-beer is ever going to say: “Oh, Mr. News Editor, I’m sorry but my Muse has left me and I’ve got Writer’s Block, so you’ll have to publish with a blank space on page one. Maybe people can use it for a grocery list…”
Yeah, right. And maybe that reporter can join the ranks of the unemployable.
So, what to do about those times when you can’t write? Well, first of all, drop this idea of Writer’s Block. Ever noticed that, when the words of the beast appear in writer’s journals and articles, it’s always capitalized? We’re scaring ourselves, is what we’re doing. Creating monsters to excuse the fact that we’re simply not doing our jobs. And there are a number of reasons why.
Fear is probably the most common. Let’s face it, being a writer is a dream most of us have nurtured for a long, long time. And we can go about saying that we’re writers, we’re going to write a book/article/screenplay, whatever and people will look suitably impressed or insultingly bored, whatever. And eventually, they’ll ask, like, when is this going to be published?
And that’s the scary thing at the root of most so-called blocks. Because eventually, if we ever finish our work in progress, we’re going to have to send it out into the big bad world. A world that may reject it. What if we’ll not make it? What if people laugh? What if our stories are old and hackneyed and boring and…..what if we’ve no talent?
Well, the sad news is that you won’t know until you grab that monster by the nose and wring out your story, painful word by painful word, until it’s there in all its glory. Then you’ll send it into the world, and start on the next one. And the next. And someday, if you hone your craft, you’ll be published. And I hate to burst that glow of hope, but then you’ll face Writer’s Block’s big brother – SecondBookitis. The paralysis that grabs writers of a newly published first book and convinces them that they can’t perform the same trick again. Welcome to the real world, baby.
Another reason, why you can’t seem to make your fingers fly across those keys is that there is actually something wrong with your story. There’s a clash between what you’re writing and what your brain feels is right. Sometimes if can be as simple as an implausible scene. Someone in your story is being asked to step out of character, and refusing to do so. You’ve got an unlikely situation, and it’s simply not working, no matter how wonderful it may have seemed when you dreamed it up.
Go back into your WIP. Read what you have. Research, research, research. Maybe there’s something there that you’ve got by wishful thinking, not by checking facts. Think about it. Take long walks and consider your story– your cardiovascular system and your dog will love you for it. And somewhere around all this, the answers will pop into your head. The plot will right itself, the characters act as they should, and all’s right with your imaginary world.
But dwelling on the idea of Writers’ Block will only reinforce your righteous conviction that something is stopping you from writing.
Something is. You.
There are a few tricks around writers block. One often recommended it to simply sit and write – anything at all. Gibberish. And eventually it will morph into something meaningful. That no doubt does work for some people. All it does for me is give me a few pages of depressingly useless nonsense and a headache, but it’s worth a try. It could work for you.
My own favourite is to always end my writing sessions at a point where it’s easy to pick up and carry on. Some writers stop mid sentence, or mid page, mid-chapter. I always stop at the end of a chapter (yes, I write short chapters!) but with a cliffhanger ending that segues smoothly into the next chapter. Those days I use a novel planner notebook with an outline and small outlines for each chapter. Okay, I don’t keep strictly to the outlines, and something I've scheduled to happen in chapter seven might not occur right then – or even at all – but it means I know where I’m going. And when I sit down and start writing, the first thing I do (well, after playing several games of solitaire and checking email) is to read the chapter from my previous writing session. I allow my Infernal Internal Editor(I.I.E – say it aloud and extend the E!) the opportunity to do his thing (I just know my IIE is a male – only a male could be THAT nitpicky!) following the guidelines of the outline, I head off merrily down the path that flows directly from that chapter, marked out in the outline for the next chapter.
Maybe wouldn’t work for everyone, but if you’ve reached the stage of thinking you’re blocked, well, it’s worth trying anything rather than suffer.
One thing you can be sure of is that the only way to rid yourself of the pain of all those words and ideas dammed up in your head is to put them down on paper. Get the work done. Pour out that story. Tell what's in your heart. Polish it and primp it and send it off like a mother sending a child to school for the first time. Weep a little. Be scared for you know all the dangers that lurk out in the big world that threaten your baby. But that baby needs to be out there – and you know it.
So just get on with it. You’ll feel better for it, you know.
Now, all together, loudly: There is no such thing as Writer’s Block.
We’re writers, and we will write.
We will hone our skills – and that involves writing, writing, writing. And that’s just what we’ll do….
Writers’ Block – phooey!
This Excerpt is Taken from Naked Writing:The No Frills Way to Write Your Book! You Can Read Chapter One by Clicking the First Chapters Button At The Top of This Page.
|Posted on October 11, 2013 at 11:25 AM||comments (0)|
Maggie Kendall is blessed - or cursed - with a psychic gift. The murdered victims of a serial killer call to her to bring them home.
But Maggie knows that the serial killer whose mind is somehow linked to hers will one day make her his victim. She has given up her dreams and fled her life as a wealthy heiress to live incognito as the publisher of a small newspaper in a quiet Ontario town.
But the killer has stalked and found her, as she knew he would. He leaves another dead body as his calling card, a gift to her.
Now she must choose between taking a stand and running away once more in hopes of evading him.
And the one man she must ask for help and protection is Detective Josh Tyler - a man with very personal reasons for despising and distrusting anyone who claims to have psychic abilities.
In this excerpt, the as yet unintroduced couple first encounter each other in a local café, and Josh's coffee accidentally spills across Maggie's shirt front....
Josh Tyler blinked, staring after her as the door slammed behind her. He'd been intent on cleaning up the spilled coffee mess and had acted without thinking. Now his fingers telegraphed the sensation of the warm soft femininity and his embarrassment deepened. He hadn't felt this awkward since high school.
“Don't pay any attention to her,” a plump teenager behind the counter said. “That's Maggie Kendall, she's from the city.” She made the words sound like an accusation rather than a statement and Tyler bit back a smile.
“Now, Alicia, Ms. Kendall's a nice enough woman and she's worked wonders with the Gazette since she bought out old Dan Warrington.” An older woman sitting by the electronic till said in a warning voice.
“Yes, but she's strange. People say she sees things … like, a second sight.”
“Alicia! That's enough. Now serve the gentleman and then get back into the kitchen and help Sam with the cleanup.”
Tyler wanted to ask more questions but was pretty sure the eagle eyed cashier would slap him down, so he ordered coffee and a Danish to go, paid and left the store.
Outside on the broad sidewalk his eye was caught by the large sign on one of the offices across the road: The Woeful Creek Gazette. Maggie Kendall was an attractive woman, even if maybe a bit highly strung. But he'd no wish to get close to any member of the Press – and certainly not to someone with a reputation for 'seeing things'.
Reporters and psychics were, in his experience, about equal in the charlatan stakes.
* * * * *
You can read the beginning of this first chapter of Saving Maggie by clicking on the First Chapters tab at the top of the page, and see about the book on Amazon.
|Posted on September 18, 2013 at 3:05 PM||comments (0)|
Guess What Canada Post brought me this morning?
The first print copies of Saving Maggie!!!!!
Is there anything finer than holding the first print copies of your book in your hands?
All fresh and shiny and sparkly!
Saving Maggie is romantic suspense/mystery with a touch of the paranormal, published by Crimson Romance, a division of Adams Media (F+W Media) in the United States.
Maggie is set in an area of Ontario, Canada, very like the place I call home
Here's The Blurb:
Newspaper reporter Maggie Kendall has a psychic gift – or a curse: The missing violently dead call for her to find them. Her ability incites a serial killer to play games with her, sending her an invitation in a pink envelope every time he kills and daring her to find his victims. But when the killer moves the bodies without leaving a trace, Maggie is denounced as the worse kind of charlatan – a psychic fake who feeds off the pain of other peoples’ tragedies. Just the sort of person that Detective Joshua Tyler hates the most. He’s been hounded by reporters and fake psychics since his emotionally disturbed wife disappeared two years earlier. He reacts angrily when Maggie offers a message from his wife. But he can’t help being attracted to her even as she infuriates him. The killer believes that Maggie is that one special person he’s been searching for – someone who can read his mind. Only her death can bind them together forever. Maggie knows he’s going to kill her, and she knows why. But how can she make Tyler believe her? She needs him to join her in a race against an experienced and determined killer to save her life…
|Posted on September 16, 2013 at 11:10 AM||comments (0)|
I thoroughly enjoyed this light-hearted tale of murder, friendship, family and a woman working on getting her life – and love life! – back after divorce. The mystery seemed fairly straightforward at first, but Ms. Toussaint leads the reader on a trail that becomes more complex as the story unfolds.
Cleopatra Jones, a small town accountant and now a single mom, allows herself one main luxury – a weekly golf session with her best friend, Jonette. Jonette’s something of a contrast to Cleopatra, being apparently a carefree divorcee with a wild streak.
Out on the golf course one day, they find the body of a local bank loans official – a man not noted for his sympathatic attitude towards clients. In fact, Dudley has so many enemies, it’s hard to choose a murder suspect.
But Cleopatra is concerned for her family and determined to clear the names of friends – and her ex-hubby – who police suspect of Dudley’s murder. She’s hampered by her culinary-challenged, Mama, disapproving young daughters, an over protective detective, and two massive dogs.
Then there’s the strange neighbour who is maybe just an innocent eccentric – or is he hiding a dark secret?
And Denise, who stole Cleopatra’s husband and may have been sleeping with his best friend.
The cast of characters also includes the delicious Rafe, the golf pro with a reputation as a ladies’ man. Can Cleopatra really believe he’s interested only in her?
And can she resist the overtures of Charlie, the self-centred ex who’s suddenly interested in her again?
Only two things stopped me from giving this book five stars – one was that I felt Ms. Toussaint could have explored the whole banking mystery a little more thoroughly. The second was that the ending seemed rushed, but that may be because we’re being led into the next Cleapatra Jones mystery, On the Nickel.
To See More About This Book on Amazon, Click HERE or on the Book Cover.
|Posted on September 7, 2013 at 11:05 AM||comments (0)|
Yes, the rumours are true! I'm giving away copies of Naked Writing: The No Frills Way to Write Your Book! for FREE today (Saturday) Sunday and Monday, on Kindle.
This is the book based on the creative writing course I taught in third level classes and online for years. And all that info is yours for the asking - just for three days!
and all the other Amazons as well - folks in Germany, Spain and other places have already snagged their copies.
You can also read the first chapter on the First Chapters page - see the tab at the top of this blog.
|Posted on August 25, 2013 at 1:50 PM||comments (0)|
I must confess I’ve never been to a writers’ conference – time and circumstances always seem to get in the way. However, now that I’ve read Autographs, Abductions, and A-List Authors by J.L. Wilson, I think I’m going to have to get myself to one just for the experience!
Of course, I’m sure that the murder, mayhem, jealousy, ambition and just plain fun that Ms. Wilson portrays so well in her book are not on the schedule at most conferences (except perhaps for the fun). Even so, the book is a witty and engrossing read with characters verging from the insane and paranoid to the plain weird and downright sexy. The plot is engaging and even plausible, offering a smorgasbord of methods to murder your competition.
And, most intriguing of all to myself as a seasoned murder mystery reader, I didn’t guess who the villain was until the very end. Mind you, I’d have been happy to hang out with fictional author Bea Emerson and the very attractive Detective L.J. Remarchik as they raced to solve the puzzle before a murderer sent Bea to that Great Publishing House in the Sky….
Here’s the Blurb from Amazon:
Bea Emerson's first MrWAR Conference (Mystery/Romance Writers And Readers) is almost her last. When a best-selling author dies while autographing a book for Bea, it puts her under suspicion of murder and under investigation by Abilene homicide detective L.J. Remarchik.
However, Bea isn't too disturbed by that since L.J. is a handsome older guy. Then another famous mystery writer is murdered and Bea almost dies with him. That convinces L.J. she might need some special protection. He decides to undertake that task personally and the sparks between them fly.
It isn't until the famous Silver Stylus award ceremony in which Bea is a contestant that the true killer is unmasked, almost costing Bea her life and her award for Best First Novel. While L.J. is able to save Bea from a killer, he can't help breaking her heart — or can he?
Go check it out yourself on Amazon by clicking the cover above, or the following link: http://tinyurl.com/kbfo8dd
Glenys O'Connell: www.glenysoconnell.com