A Year in the Life – A Writer Reflects

“You always say YES and figure it out later.” ~ Me, circa always

Saying yes in the writing world is the story of my life. Panicking after delivering that yes is ALSO the story of my writing life. But a writer would be a fool to say NO or I CAN’T or I DON’T KNOW HOW or I DON’T HAVE THE TIME.

For writers, opportunities are not endless. Unlike the pesky little bible-thumping crazies of the world, opportunity doesn’t keep knocking. It breezes on by to the next person on the list. As a writer, I always LEAP before I know what awaits me.

This is how I came into two situations in 2017.

One of these opportunities was an invitation from ID PRESS to submit to their romance anthology. I said yes. And then I beat myself up struggling to come up with a short story that was vaguely romantic in nature. Their shtick is to experiment with genre, after all. I had a chance at acceptance if my story skated along the outskirts of ROMANCE. I just didn’t know how hard that YES was going to make my writing life in the weeks that followed. I struggled with this one. I must have had 30 attempts at a story for that anthology. I never pressed the DELETE key so hard in all my life. It was an unendingly daunting task. It literally wasn’t until the midnight hour that I finally hit on something and ploughed through a story and clicked send. Luckily for me, they accepted THE HALF DRAWN GIRL ON THE CROSSTOWN BUS (It later became, at their request, THE HALF DRAWN GIRL). It was only because I said YES months earlier that I even struggled so hard to come up with something. I committed and I needed to see it through. I said yes…and then I figured it out. It’s times like this that I realize there actually ARE writing fairies looking out for those of us foolish enough to jump off the ledge and commit.

You can pick up THE HALF DRAWN GIRL and other genre-bending romance short stories in the newly released anthology ALLUCINOR from ID PRESS.

AMAZON PRINT USA

AMAZON PRINT CANADA

AMAZON KINDLE USA

AMAZON KINDLE CANADA

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A gorgeous cover and a wonderful collection of stories.

The other YES I pulled off in 2017? I have had a Camino de Santiago novel in my heart since I walked the pilgrimage in Spain to the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela where the bones of St. James, the apostle of Jesus, are said to be resting. I had a few chapters written, but mostly, as I said, it rested in my heart. Like a soft prayer bead on a rosary, waiting to be caressed into words.

When my agent asked me if I had anything ready that was a contemporary YA novel, I said NO…but that I had something almost ready. So, I also said YES. I told her my years long elevator pitch for my Camino novel idea.

THE BREAKFAST CLUB MEETS THE CAMINO DE SANTIAGO.

I have never been so proud of an elevator pitch in all my life. It’s golden. It resurrects the images and themes precisely, concisely and quite specifically. Thankfully, my agent also liked the sound of it.

So—-I say yes, it won’t be a problem. Give me a couple of weeks.

A WRITER ALWAYS SAYS YES! You can always figure out THE WAY after you commit. I did this with my first play and I found myself sitting in a haunted castle basement in the near dark listening to the ghosts mock me while I raced to write a play that would be performed in front of an actual audience less than 24 hours later. What’s the worst that can happen in a YES situation? You don’t deliver? I’m always willing to take that chance.

This is how writers live on the edge. It’s not the stuff of daredevils, but it certainly makes the writing life interesting.

I wrote the Camino novel. I am awaiting agent feedback at the moment. I’m feeling positive and hopeful. Saying YES to that novel was possibly one of the best things I’ve ever done with my writing life. BECAUSE it was a novel that meant a great deal to me even before the first word was down on paper. It was a novel I knew I could deliver in a couple of weeks because the bellows that blew it into existence was alive and living inside me. Did I lie to my agent when I said YES? Not exactly…it was an almost completed novel…it’s just that it was scattered about within the far reaches of my heart and mind. All I really had left to do was allow it to flow through my finger-tips, past my keyboard and land on my MSWord document. No biggie.

Those are two of the major moments in my writing life as I look back on 2017. All that is left, I suppose, is the BRUSSELS NOVEL MARATHON WRITING EXPERIMENT and MY 3rd PLACE WIN IN THE WRITERS COMMUNITY OF SIMCOE COUNTY’S 2017 WORD BY WORD SHORT STORY CONTEST. (<<<You can read my story at the link provided) The story that won 3rd place was yet another story set on the Camino de Santiago. It has become an obsession with me, and I probably won’t be satiated even after I return to the Camino in 2019…life willing.

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All set for our pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in 2019. Credencials (Passports) and patches in hand.

The Brussels novel writing experiment? Well, I’m not sure. The novel I began there? Maybe it is burning on the stove top waiting to be stirred. I like what I wrote…I’m just not sure where to take it. I’m one third in. I did, however, fall absolutely and completely head over heels in love with the beautiful city of Brussels while I was there under the pretense of writing an entire novel. It is a breathtakingly beautiful city. And nearby Brugges is no limp headless chicken, either. It’s stunning…not to be missed. We’ll see how the novel goes. Oh…I suppose this has something to do with my writing life, too…I received a WCDR Writing Grant to help pay the way to Brussels and my personal writing/exploration retreat there.

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I lost and found my heart in Brussels, Belgium this past May.
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I was also extremely thrilled to find multiple traces of the Camino de Santiago in Brussels. There were MANY of the scallop shells embedded in the cobbles in the streets of the city, as well as a church once dedicated to pilgrims that walked through the city on their way to Compostela. I even found this statue of St. James himself!

Oh, and I have a novel releasing FEBRUARY 6th, 2018. My GAY YA novel, PRIDE MUST BE A PLACE. See the cover below:

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Pride is coming from MUSE…the publisher of my debut novel, SUMMER ON FIRE. You can add Pride to your bookshelf on GOODREADS HERE. You can also check out reviews for all 6 of my books on Goodreads.

As the year winds down to nothing but the past, I sit here awaiting word from my agent on my Camino novel. AND I work on final edits on my 2016 Muskoka Novel Marathon Best Adult Novel Award winning novel, I WILL TELL THE NIGHT. AND I await getting into final edits with my MUSE editor on PRIDE. Sounds like I might be doing a lot, but I promise you, I’m still the laziest writer in existence today. I do a flurry of activity and then hibernate for 8 or 9 months. L-A-Z-Y.

Outside the writing life, unto my daughter and her husband a newborn child was born in 2017. This year has seen the arrival of HARRISON:

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This little smile of a boy brings so much joy. He should be called Mr. Happy, but his name is actually HARRISON.

Go ahead…click all those links. I know you wanna.

I guess that sums up my 2017. The appearance of busy while maintaining my lazy status. Level up to 2018!

 

When You Finish a Novel that Consumed You

There’s nothing like typing THE END at the bottom of your MSWord document. It is a distinct kind of joy and sorrow to do so. On the one hand, there is a great sense of accomplishment. On the other, you are sadly saying goodbye to great friends. It is the hug that wounds, the kiss that burns, the cut that feels so good.

After living inside the Camino de Santiago for the past month, retracing my own steps for the sake of my characters, I am exhausted-spent-exhilarated-lonely-happy-thrilled-gutted-euphoric-elated-dejected-emotional and fragile and infinite and empowered. And a few other emotions thrown in for good measure.

If you’re a novelist, you know the feeling.

My young adult novel The Walk–or The Camino Club (I cannot decide)–has been put to bed. I sent it off yesterday. Come what may, now. It will be what it will be. I need to strike that pilgrimage place from my list of obsessions for a spell. The Camino itself fully consumed me while writing that novel. From watching the movie THE WAY on repeat, to listening to the same movie’s soundtrack on repeat, to reliving my own Camino experience through memories and photographs…I swear I feel like I just got back from Santiago de Compostela today. So powerful was the spell it has had on me these past weeks.

Goodbye Santiago de Compostela. I love you so much. And I love the characters I created to walk the path towards you too. Goodbye Diego, Shania, Manny, Troy, Greg, Claire, Meagan, Gilbert, Kei, Mia, Becky, AND Bastien. Buen Camino!

But there is nothing to do after finishing a novel and submitting it to your agent, but to jump into the next one. Whether that be returning to a work in progress or starting something new. To dally would be to get out of the habit. So, onward. Back to the novel I began in Brussels this past May. The Epoque of Ethan awaits. It needs to be completed. Today, I turn the page from Spain and open a new one on Brussels. I swear, these settings are consuming me just as much as these characters.

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Time to revisit Brussels, one of the few settings for my young adult WIP The Epoque of Ethan. This is me in Grand Place, the beautiful square in the heart of Brussels, just two minutes from where I stayed this past May.
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My upcoming release PRIDE MUST BE A PLACE is now on GOODREADS. Click the image above to swing on over to GOODREADS and add #PMBAP to your shelf! It drops February 6th, 2018.

#FridayReads MY NOVELS…

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I thought I would feature my books for Friday Reads, in case you’re searching for something to read this Father’s Day Weekend. Here’s what they are about:

THE REASONS: With a mostly absent father, one sister deceased and the other on the verge of invisibility, and a certifiably insane mother, Tobias Reason is forced to grow up fast. When his older sister Deja’s tragic death causes his mother to fall deeper into insanity, Tobias attempts to be a surrogate parent to his younger sister, Annabel. But broken mother Maggie takes up a lot of his time, causing Annabel to fall even further into the background of their chaotic existence. When Maggie flippantly hands her mother’s house over to Tobias, he sees an opportunity to learn how and why his family has become so shattered. His world begins to collapse from the weight of the secrets he un-buries, and he focuses in on a stranger from his parents’ past… a possible Ground Zero to Maggie’s fall into insanity. If Tobias can somehow eliminate the past, he can make his family whole again.

SEBASTIAN’S POET: Sebastian Nelson is a boy in search of a family. Abandoned by his mother, Sebastian is left with a broken father who doesn’t even seem present when he does show up. Forced to be the main caregiver of his younger brother, Renee, and lost in a sea of indifference, Sebastian only wants to experience the love a real, stable family could afford him. One morning he discovers the famous folksinger, Teal Landen, asleep on the sofa. Teal’s nurturing nature brings an immediate sense of security into Sebastian’s tumultuous life. But a dark secret looms between Teal and Sebastian’s father of a hidden past. Sebastian is driven to discover their secret, but also he’s aware of how tenuous their hold on Teal really is. He doesn’t want to lose the feeling of home Teal’s presence has brought him. If Sebastian pushes too hard, he could lose Teal forever. He could be destined to raise his younger brother alone, while witnessing the total decline of his emotionally devastated father. If Sebastian is abandoned by the only healthy influence in his otherwise shaky existence, he will also be forever in the dark about the secret that will reveal so much about his fractured family.

SUMMER ON FIRE: Zach Carson is a loyal friend. But is loyalty enough to keep best friends together when one of them sets fire to the rural barn they use as the local hangout? Zach, Jeff Barsell and Arnie Wilson struggle to pick up the pieces when news spreads that a body was discovered in the burnt out shell of the neighbouring home. When the word murder is used by the local police, the stakes grow even higher. When the police start searching for their most likely suspect-none other than Jeff’s older brother, and nemesis, Marty Barsell–the boys decide to join forces and come up with a way to prove his innocence. But just how innocent is Marty Barsell? When Marty admits to being at the scene of the crime, the three friends enlist the help of Zach’s annoying sister, Sherry, as well as the sympathetic town eccentric, Ms. Halverton. But can they keep it together long enough to save Marty, and themselves, from imminent catastrophe? Summer on Fire is the story of friendships, and the lines we are asked to cross in order to keep them.

BURN BABY BURN BABY: Seventeen-year-old Francis Fripp’s confidence is practically non-existent since his abusive father drenched him in accelerant and threw a match at him eight years ago.Now badly scarred, Francis relies on his best friend Trig to protect him from the constant bullying doled out at the hands of his nemesis, Brandon Hayley-the unrelenting boy who gave him the dreaded nickname of Burn Baby.The new girl at school, Rachel Higgins, is the first to see past Francis’s pariah-inducing scars.If Brandon’s bullying doesn’t destroy him, Francis might experience life as a normal teenager for the first time in his life. He just has to avoid Brandon and convince himself he’s worthy of Rachel’s attentions.Sounds easy enough, but Francis himself has a hard time seeing past his scars. And Brandon is getting violently frustrated, as his attempts to bully Francis are constantly thwarted.Francis is in turmoil as he simultaneously rushes toward his first kiss and a possible violent end.

HALF DEAD & FULLY BROKEN: Carter Colby is the most unpopular teen at Jefferson High. This would be easier to deal with if his identical twin brother, Marcus, weren’t the hottest, most popular boy in school.When Marcus is killed in a motorcycle accident, Carter discovers the one thing more painful than trying to compete with Mr. Wonderful: wearing his dead brother’s face. He felt invisible before the accident, but with Marcus dead, everybody turns away from him in mourning. How can he blame them? He can’t bear to look in the mirror.When Carter begins to see Marcus’ ghost, Mr. Wonderful’s quest to save the world and spread happiness may not be over after all, even in death. Marcus knows that Justin Dewar, the boy who drove the truck that crashed into his motorbike, is struggling with the guilt of taking a life. Melanie, Marcus’ mourning girlfriend, was also hit hard by the tragedy. Marcus wants to make things right before it’s too late.With Marcus’ help, Carter experiences love and friendship for the first time in his life. But is Mr. Wonderful’s helping hand enough for Carter, Melanie, and Justin – three kids fully broken by the tragedy – to save one another?

All are available at AMAZON, or at INDIGO CHAPTERS/KOBO, and some are available at BARNES & NOBLE. Or, wherever books are sold. Three of these novels won the MUSKOKA NOVEL MARATHON‘s BEST NOVEL AWARD and one, Burn Baby Burn Baby, was listed on the LIBRARY SERVICES FOR YOUTH IN CUSTODY’s 2016 IN THE MARGINS BOOK AWARDS LIST.

Isobel Swallows a Warrior – A Short Story (Previously Published in Nothing But Red)

I thought I would share a short story today. This was originally published in the anthology NOTHING BUT RED. The anthology came about after the brutal ‘mercy’ killing of Du’a Khalil Aswad. Joss Whedon wrote an essay on the incident on May 20th, 2007. Later, Nothing But Red was created. It contained the essay from Joss Whedon which can be read HERE.

From the NOTHING BUT RED website:

In April 2007, seventeen-year-old Dua Khalil was pulled into a crowd of young men—some of them family members. They proceeded to stone and beat her to death, a supposed “honour” killing for being in the company of a man of a different faith.

The police stood by and did nothing, and several members of the crowd filmed the incident with camera phones. You can find the video on both CNN’s website and YouTube (We have not linked to the video. A simple search will find it for you.).

One month later, popular writer and filmmaker, Joss Whedon, posted his complete despair and outrage on a fan-run news blog, Whedonesque.com. Among his words was a call to action. This is how some of us responded.

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Here is the story I wrote for the anthology. It was published in 2008.

 

Isobel Swallows a Warrior

By: Kevin Craig

Isobel has reached her breaking point. She watches the wipers’ valiant attempts at clearing the rain from the windshield as she wills herself somewhere outside the Denali in which she is trapped. It is futile. There is nowhere she can go to escape the voice of oppression sitting beside her.

“You never listen, Isobel,” Cal repeats. “This has been planned for months. Just because you don’t want to participate in the social events of my life, doesn’t mean you’re excused from them. You’re my wife. You will accompany me. It’s the way it will always be.”

Isobel attempts to hear Cal’s voice as only noise. She has become adept at tuning out the gist of his words; at hearing only his baritone drone. This ability saves her from the sting of many insults.

As the wipers continue to fight the deluge, she listens to the near-whisper of Dusty Springfield singing Son of a Preacher Man (“A radio is supposed to be background noise. The volume doesn’t need to be above three. Anything higher is excess.” One of the first Cal tenants; handed down some twenty years earlier. She has been straining to hear ever since.). Her finger itches to crank the volume; an action that would be met with dire consequences.

“Are you even listening, or are you proving my point?” In her head, Dusty is drowning him out.

“Isobel? Earth to Isobel.” The jab to the shoulder brings her back. “You’re going to act like a normal human being tonight. I work with these people. The least you can do is show them a little respect, for Christ’s sake.”

She rubs her shoulder and ponders Dusty’s words. Cal is the only boy who could ever teach her. There was a time–way back when–when she thought he was a sweet-talker, too. It seems she shares something with Dusty. She wonders if Dusty would allow herself to become a doormat to her preacher man’s son.

“Promise me that.”

“Yes,” she mumbles. “I always do. Your fetes are so incredibly stimulating—”

“Don’t get lippy, Issy. You’re going to ruin this for me before it even—”

“I’ll be your puppet, Sir Cal. Don’t worry.” Something in the hopeless way the windshield wipers struggle against the rain empowers her. She smiles, proud of her flippancy.

“Phhh. Some puppet you make. You’re as useless as feathers on a trout. I’d be able to control a puppet better.” Cal reaches for a cigarette and works at getting it lit. Isobel cracks her window against the smoke. “What the Christ are you doing? Can’t you see it’s pissing out?”

“You know I can’t handle the smoke,” she says.

You know I can’t handle the smoke,” Cal mimics in his mousy Isobel voice. “You’ll soak the seats.” Isobel reluctantly shuts the window.

Isobel shuts down and allows Cal to concentrate on his cigarette. She knows he is thinking about tonight’s Big Cal on Campus event; how wonderful he will be. She thinks idly about her children.

At first, she did the Cal experience for Cal’s sake. He was a sweet-talker. He seemed like someone she could love forever. As the tides began to turn—as the ugliness began to show through his rigid façade—she had found herself with child. First came Hennessey, and then Ben. With each rise in her belly, she felt a swell in her sense of hopelessness. With each child, Cal’s particular brand of Calness grew uglier.

But the kids are grown, a new voice in her head announces. What am I staying for now? She seems to search the rain for an answer. “We’re almost there.”

“Give the woman a medal,” Cal says. “Does MENSA know about you?”

“I was just thinking aloud.”

“Try not to make any mental breakthroughs like that tonight. They already think you’re weird. Don’t start talking to yourself.”

“I was making an observation.”

“And a fine observation it was,” he laughs. “Fine as rain.”

Isobel watches the wipers cut their rhythmic path across the windshield. She knows there is an answer to her problems right in front of her—she just can’t touch it.

If he lets me out at the door, I’ll stay. If he makes me walk in the rain, I’ll leave.

Isobel almost jumps from her seat as this thought occurs. She sneaks a peek across the void between herself and Cal, afraid that he has heard the ultimatum. He is finishing his cigarette, staring blindly into the road and savouring his superiority.

She wants to jump out of her skin. She feels as though a warrior has taken possession of her body and she tries desperately not to blink away this belief. She is afraid the spell will be broken, and with it her resolve.

Cal moves into a turning lane. They are at the Sienna Suites, the pretentious banquet hall where the pretentious soiree is being held. Isobel feels her heart in her throat. She is afraid he might not be able to resist the bright lights and showiness of the valet parking.

As they enter the parking lot she crosses her fingers, hopes for a miracle. As soon as the thought had entered her head, she knew she had wanted it more than life itself. Now she allows her future to rest on Cal’s next move.

“Like I’d let one of those punk-ass kids drive this truck!” Cal says to himself. Isobel waits for him to suggest she jump out.

If he drops me off, I stay with him. Her heart races and monarchs scratch the insides of her belly. They inch past the doors, past the smartly dressed, pimply teen-aged valets—past the security of knowing where Isobel will sleep at night.

In typical Cal fashion, he heads for the back of the lot. Isobel hears the tired parking-refrain mixing with her swirling thoughts of escape—Nobody’s denting these doors. This is a Denali, for Christ’s sake!

Cal pulls sideways into two spots, grabs a Toronto Star from behind his seat, unfolds it over his head and opens his door. He is running toward the banquet hall before Isobel’s door is opened.

She leaves the truck slowly, allowing the rain to soak her new Alfred Sung dress. Cal stops halfway, waves one arm impatiently while holding the paper above his head with the other. Isobel’s own arms begin to rise at her sides. She feels them lengthening—becoming wings. She looks into the night sky, allows the water to further soak her upturned face. She is unconcerned with running mascara and wilted hair.

She makes her way to the entrance and sees Cal waiting inside. His face is red with anger as he glimpses the damage that the rain has caused her. She smiles and waves. She splashes through a final puddle before allowing a tall dark doorman to open the door for her.

“What the hell took you so long? Christ, Issy. Now is not the time to get lost in that Dreamland head of yours. You’re soaked!”

She comes back down to earth just long enough to placate him with a few light words. “I’m in heels, Cal. It’s okay. I’ll just run to the washroom and freshen up. Wait here. I’ll be right out.”

“I’ll see you at the table. I’m not your Goddamn servant,” he snarls. “Wait here,” he says in his finest mousy Isobel voice. “That’s rich, Isobel.” He storms off, handing the doorman his dripping Toronto Star.

Isobel makes a show of walking towards the washrooms, in case he glances back. Her full-circle back to the door is almost a dance. She thinks of Hennessey and Ben—of how they will react to her spontaneous decision to flee. For a split second she thinks she will step back into her life. The resolve takes hold. The warrior in her belly propels her to the doorman.

“Can I help you, Miss?”

“Can you please call me a cab?” It is not Isobel’s voice that comes out of her tiny body. It is the voice of her swallowed warrior. She is leaving.

“They’re just outside. Follow me.” He cracks an umbrella and ushers her into the new and unknown. She puts one foot in front of the other, attempting to look like the sane, rational woman she is leaving behind.

An orange door is opened. She hears the thank you escape her lips. Her wet frame drops into the seat of the cab and she thinks she is smiling as the door closes.

Isobel stares forward, not knowing her next move. I’m leaving Cal. She turns to look at the back of the driver’s head. I’m on my way out of my life. I’m leaving Cal.

“Looks like you got a drenching,” the cabby says, pulling her back into the world. There is music playing softly, almost inaudibly.

“Just a little rain,” says the new voice that Isobel is trying on for size. “Could you please turn the music up? Music should be heard.”

“Certainly. And where are we going tonight?”

She looks to the ceiling and then closes her eyes. “Anywhere but here, driver. Just drive.”

THE END

I Will Tell the Night – But I Won’t Remember It.

I have been madly editing my latest novel, I WILL TELL THE NIGHT. Having just completed it a week or so ago, it is material that should be fresh in my mind. But it isn’t. Not at all. It’s actually quite frightening to be reading along and have no idea what’s coming up WHEN YOU WROTE THE THING THAT’S COMING UP! Mere days ago. And when I say NO IDEA, that is exactly what I mean. Whole scenes are surprises to me. Entire chapters are foreign and unrecognizable.

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From an editing standpoint, this makes part of the process easier. Because as I read, I am not doing that thing writers do when they read what they meant to say instead of what is actually on the page. When you know what’s coming, you can accidentally read a line the way you meant to write it instead of the line you actually wrote…thus perpetuating your error and keeping it in your manuscript.

That’s not happening, because I have no idea what the hell is going on. I’m just over 200 pages in with the edit, on a manuscript that is 308 pages long. I vaguely recognized a few of the scenes. I remember feelings I had while writing some of them, even though I did not actually remember the scene itself. I remember things I contemplated putting into the story, but didn’t. Those are the phantom limbs I spoke of in THIS POST. So, essentially, I am waiting for scenes to happen that will never happen because I didn’t write them. I’m a hot mess.

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I won Best Novel for the novel I’m editing, but I can’t remember why…

I will often blame this lack of connection with my writing on the way in which it is written. This floats when I write a novel in 72hrs under duress of getting it completed in a weekend with sleep deprivation, distractions, and intensity. Yeah…then I can say, “What the hell did I write?! I don’t remember a thing.” But the lion’s share of this novel I wrote over the course of an entire month. I can’t use that marathon brain alibi.

Times like this, I have to admit to myself that this not-remembering entire chunks of a novel I just wrote is one of those longtime symptoms of PTSD. It’s actually a bit painful to read your work and not feel familiar with it. Where did I go when I wrote it? Where the hell am I?

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With Lori Manson at the 2016 Muskoka Novel Marathon wrap-up party. Lori won Best Young Adult Novel and I won for Best Adult Novel.

This is something I don’t only realize when I’m editing my work. The looming deadline for getting I WILL TELL THE NIGHT back to the Muskoka Novel Marathon people has me fully concentrated on editing this book to the best of my ability…so it’s the thing that is making me think of this NOW.

But if I were being completely honest with myself, I find it very difficult to have conversations about ANY of my published novels. Someone will say something about one of my characters and I have to chase a thread going nowhere inside my head to try to figure out what novel that character is even in. I often come up empty and just pray that as the person continues to speak, a clue will be offered up and I will figure out what novel they’re talking about. Then, I try to piece together a response that sounds halfway intelligent…as though I know what the hell they’re talking about. I don’t.

I guess I’m just destined to be like this. I do have an overall impression of my works, but just in the vaguest possible of ways. I carry something akin to a fractured synopsis around for each of my novels. But if I am required to go outside that gossamer description, everything gets lost in the shadows. I become the unreliable narrator. Unreliable, because I don’t recall. I believe Peter Gabriel said it best…

I don’t remember, I don’t recall
I got no memory of anything at all
I don’t remember, I don’t recall
I got no memory of anything
Anything at all” ~ Peter Gabriel, I Don’t Remember

This is not something new to me. I wish it was. I guess this post is just to vent on this truth that has always effected my writing life. It is my coming out. I have a shattered memory processor. It will never be better. As passionate as I am about the process of writing, I’m as attached to my words as I am attached to John Doe and Jane Doe. I don’t know John Doe. I don’t know Jane Doe. They are unfamiliar to me.

I am editing away…discovering my novel for the first time. When I ask what the writer’s motivations were for including this scene or that character, I ask because I want to know. When I think, ‘Whoa! That’s intense! I did NOT see that coming!’ It’s because I didn’t see it coming. I get slightly mildly depressed when I edit. Wanting to be attached to something and realized you’re not…that’s at times a really difficult reality to accept. Because it makes you remember the why of it all. It makes you remember that you are broken and your old wound is never going to go away, no matter how healed you believe yourself to be. Parts of you will always be collateral damage.

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If you see me and you would like to ask me about one of my novels, go gentle on me. You will most definitely know more about the novel than I do. I can’t answer many of your questions. It makes me feel small. It makes me feel less. It makes me remember how much I’ll never remember and how much I will always forget.

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I remember this. Vividly. Just not the words born from this moment.

For me, my memory lies squarely and surely in the FEELINGS I had while I wrote the thing that I wrote. The process. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. It’s all about the process for me. It can’t be about anything else. I don’t have that luxury. I’m broken in the places where my stories live. I can tell them, I just can’t retell them…