Tuesday, December 30, 2014

New Year, New Book

2014 was kind of a transition year for me in terms of writing. I took a break from writing fiction and worked instead on our RV self-help book, Tips for New RVers: Catchin' the Dream.


It was a fun way for Dick (aka RVPainter) and me to re-live our year on the road and to put some closure on the experience. We really felt that we were the quintessential "Newbies" when we started RVing and that we learned SO much about what to do and what not to do; what worked and what didn't. It just made sense to us to share that with others in the hope that it would help them avoid some of our mistakes and missteps.

Everyone embarking on an adventure like that will encounter situations that test them, but if we can help make it a little easier for even a few people, well, that would make us feel good. It takes courage to live on the road and I am proud of what we did and grateful for the experiences - the wonderful ones AND the trying ones - because they all taught me that I can do much more than I ever imagined and also taught me a great deal about myself and about letting go. It was truly the experience of a lifetime.

As we glide into 2015, I feel ready to return to my true calling - fiction writing. My next book is actually already started, but it's been setting on the back burner for a while. I needed to put some distance between Return to Canterbury (the sequel to The Christmas Village) and this new book, and to get the RVing book out of my system. I am not a writer who can move quickly from one project to the next, because I create these fictional worlds that I live in for quite a long time, so it takes me a while to move on from them.



Writing Return to Canterbury was bittersweet, because when it ended, I knew that my visits with Jamie, Kelly, Christopher, Ida, Rusty, Reggie and all the characters of Canterbury had also come to an end. They say that endings are beginnings - and they are - but I need to take some time to honor my endings before starting new beginnings.

My next book will be historical fiction. Not a children's book, but more a coming-of-age story that takes place in England at the start of World War II. It's inspired by my mother's experience, which I've written about at this blog in the past. But it's only inspired by it - it's not her actual experience because I know very little about what that was. I think of it as a way of writing the story that might have been. That's the great thing about being a writer, you get to tell the story your way and you get to change the ending. And, you get to get even with mean people by turning them into characters that everyone will love to hate :)

As far as describing the type of book I hope this next one will be - well, think of a cross between All the Light We Cannot See, Orphan Train, and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I know that's a tall order, but I'm aiming high. When I was a kid, my dream was never "to be a famous author;" my dream was "to write the kind of wonderful books that I like to read." That's still my dream. Sure, I'd love for my books to be best sellers, but I want that to be the result of them being wonderful books, not fad books with throwaway story lines that no one remembers a year later. So I'll be entering a new world soon and I expect to get lost there for quite some. Dick gave me a t-shirt once with this saying on it: "I'm in my own little world, but it's okay, they know me here." That pretty much sums it up.

Wishing everyone a Happy and Prosperous New Year. May your dreams come come, and may they be all that you hoped they would be.




Saturday, December 20, 2014

Home

It was just two years ago that we landed here in Florida after our year on the road in our RV. Once we decided to settle down, I was fortunate to be able to return to teaching yoga at a beautiful studio right away and it's become a nurturing and supportive yoga home for me. I've made such wonderful friends here - kindred spirits whose sincere kindness and acceptance are beyond anything I've ever experienced.

Over these two years, I've also written and published two books - Return to Canterbury, the sequel to The Christmas Village, and Tips for New RVers: Catchin' the Dream, which Dick and I worked on together. It was a fun way to relive and remember our year on the road and also to share what we hope are helpful tips for others considering such an adventure. It seems like my writing juices, which went on hold while we were on the road, were ready to get flowing again because I kinda can't even believe I wrote two books in two years!

We've been renting a condo, and for a while that was nice because it felt very easy and unencumbered - something we had grown to appreciate during our RVing year. But after a while, it seemed almost TOO easy - and a little boring! We started to miss the little projects you have with a home, and the ability to have our own space and piece of earth. So we started house hunting. We looked at a LOT of houses, but ended up deciding to go with new construction. We found a sweet little development where we are now having a new home built on a small lake. It's a mixed neighborhood - meaning not just older folks but families too. We like that. It seemed to take a while for the builder to get started, but now the house is actually looking like a house so that is exciting.

2014 has been a really good year in a lot of ways. We've reconnected with dear old friends - friends we laugh with like no others and on whom we know we can count, no matter what. Friends who are like family to us now. We've been able to see family much more often too. And, a family member who had been estranged reached out and asked to reconnect early this year and that has been a wonderful, unexpected turn of events.

So it kind of feels as though some things that were broken - or at least a little mangled - have mended. I guess if you wait long enough, most things do just come around on their own, right? What doesn't serve you will leave of its own accord, and what is right for you will come, or will return. You just have to know which is which; keep your heart open but also know when it is okay to let go.

I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Bright and Beautiful New Year filled with love, laughter, true friendship and joy.

Here are a few pictures of the house:








ABOUT THE CHRISTMAS VILLAGE

The Christmas Village reflects many of my cherished childhood memories of growing up in the beautiful New England town of Andover, Massachusetts. It holds remembrances of snow-covered ground, the smell of pine and wood smoke filling the air and candlelit Christmas Eves. But it's more than just a story set at holiday time - it's an adventure that will transport you to another place and time and take you on a roller coaster ride of excitement and suspense.

As a reader, I love stories with twists and surprises, and as a writer, I promise there are more than a few in my book! And as a reader, I also enjoy a story with underlying themes that reflect life itself, and so in The Christmas Village, issues of disappointment, loss and forgiveness are subtly interwoven.

As you are transported into a magical adventure along with our young hero, Jamie, I hope that my book's positive themes around friendship and family, blanketed in an adventure that is exciting and fun, and topped off with a dollop of nostalgia, will bring you and all the children in your life, young and old, a renewed sense of holiday joy.

THE CHRISTMAS VILLAGE is the winner of the 2013 BLOGGER BOOK FAIR READER'S CHOICE AWARD for children's action/adventure.

KIDS REVIEW THE CHRISTMAS VILLAGE

~I am in the 3rd grade. My mother just bought an autographed copy of "The Christmas Village". I couldn't stop reading it ! It was just hard to put down. Everyone in my family wants to read it. I think you should write Part Two! Thanks for writing a great book. From Pete

~I just finished your book, The Christmas Village. It was an awesome book! I love your books and I hope you write another book. Sincerely, Andrew

~I loved your book The Christmas Village. It was so funny that I could not stop reading it. Your book was amazing! From Arnav

~I loved The Christmas Village! It was so interesting and exciting that I wouldn't stop reading it until I finished the whole book! ... Everyone should read it because it is packed with action and like I said is so exciting. I think you had an amazing choice of your describing words. Sincerely, Ava

~I really like your book. Your ending I thought was really good. Jamie and Kelly are my favorite characters. From
Maegan

CLICK ON THE REVIEWS TAB AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE TO READ MORE REVIEWS FROM KIDS AND GROWN-UP KIDS!

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A reading at the Shetford Library in Hubbards Cove, Nova Scotia