Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Second Small Birthday Snippet - the Scary One

Since I couldn't decide what snippet to post, here is the second one. It's from the scary story ... Everlasting.


Her name was lost when the stars were lost. When the shroud covered the sky with the screaming souls of the dead.

She is not who she was, but she remembers. She will always remember. Remember the city that was.


Approaching dusk brings waves of worker bees out of the skyscrapers, cascading toward the entrances of the subway and Union Station, stopping cars by their flood. They are a tide rippling out to the suburbs and back in. Out and in, out and in, out and in: an unending cycle -- or so she thinks.


It rises between one breath and the next, one blink and the next – unexpected, unknown. A translucent tapestry of grey and pink and white, it stretches over houses and buildings, part of the lake. It covers hospitals, theatres, parks. Queen’s Park.

No time to run, to scream, to weep; to see the sun, the sky or the stars one last time.

No time. Too much time.

One Small Birthday Snippet: Summer of Flight

Okay – since it’s my birthday and I can’t decide whether to post from the novel or the scary short story...I figured I could post them both. After all, I only post snippets once a year.
Here’s the first one - From Summer of Flight...

“Thanks.” Her mother swept a dark curl over her ear and took the bottle Casey offered. After a quick swig, she looked up. “So, what do you think? Have I captured it?”

Casey turned to the half-finished piece spread out on the easel. Her mother had a tiny studio on Queen Street, her nature paintings earning enough money to pay the rent on the studio and the occasional bill. Usually, the paintings were perfect mirrors of reality. This time though… “What did you do to the island?”

Her mother gave a nervous laugh. “Um...well, I admit the painting is more fall than summer. I wanted the trees to have a golden tint to their leaves.”

Casey looked closer. Sure enough, the two trees on the rocky island were tinged with fall color. “Isn’t it a bit small?” Casey said, comparing the painted island to the real thing. The one on the canvas wouldn’t hold a shack much less the buildings she’d seen the day before.

“Now that you mention it, I do remember thinking it was much bigger when I was a girl. I always wanted to go over and explore. Your grandmother was insistent that we stay on the mainland. Something about an early experience Violet had with bears.” Her mother sighed, somewhat wistfully. “It’s sad really what erosion can do. There’s not much left.”

Casey followed her mother’s gaze to the enormous granite cliff arcing out of the water. She knew the rock continued around the island because the building she had been near yesterday used part of it for a wall. But if her view was correct, the island couldn’t have changed all that much since her mother was small.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Writing Retreat -- and Summer of Flight Update

I just got back from a three-day writing retreat in Windsor to work on the book.

If you recall, I fell off the planet last year -- so the book I wrote kind of got side-lined. Truth be told, I hadn't done more than look at it in just over a year. (I know, sad and pathetic is me).

But, as part of the year of reinvention, I am getting all aspects of my life back in order. Once the pilot was submitted to the contest (no word yet), my eyes turned back to the book.

Now -- I've kind of been afraid (no, terrified) to even look at it. After all, it's been a year. It was pretty much ready to go last summer (or so I thought last August). If I read it now and hated it -- I'd be really in a bind.

So, I finally bit the bullet and blocked three full days to read the book beginning to end and to make edits.

I just got home, and I can report the retreat was a wild success. I am also happy to report several things I realized while away:

  1. I am obviously a better writer now than I was last year. It was amazing how many minor edits I noticed. They were glaringly obvious as I read it over. Chalk one up to taking a break before reading it.

  2. I still really like the story (thank goodness!).

  3. The beginning is too slow (which I already knew). I've made a bunch of edits to it (i.e., I canned most of the first two chapters). I need a bit more time to fix this part up. But it shouldn't be too bad.

  4. I really do need a new title. Summer of Flight -- much as I love it, doesn't actually fit the book.
I made all my notes on paper -- and now I am keying the changes in backwards (so I end with the re-write of the beginning). I'm about half-way through keying in the edits.

Once this is done, I'll likely look for a final test reader or two just to be safe. Then, finally -- I can get it properly out the door (the five query emails last year notwithstanding).

Which is good, because I am kind of going on an unexpected research trip in late August for the Napoleonic sea adventure (with magic) novel. It would be nice not to have to worry about Casey and Company when I set off on that adventure!