Category Archives: My Website

Debra Purdy Kong’s Review of Mayne Island Skeletons

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Debra Purdy Kong’s Review of Mayne Island Skeletons.

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Author Interviews

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If you would like to be interviewed as part of this blog, please follow the submission guidelines below. Then e-mail me at treewithroots@gmail.com with answers to the questions below.

Submission Guidelines:

1) Provide a link to your book(s)

2) Provide a very brief author bio

3) Note any other links that you want included

4) The subject line of the e-mail should say “Author interview”  followed by your name and book title.

These answers may be embedded in the bio:
1) Where are you from?
2) When and why did you begin writing?
3) Is there a message in your work that you want readers to grasp?
4) What books have most influenced your life?
5) Are there any life experiences that influence your storytelling?
6) What are your current projects?
7) What is the hardest part of writing?
8) What are some of the most interesting things you’ve learned while writing?
9) What do you do in your spare time?
10) How can your readers get in touch with you?

I look forward to posting an interview with my fellow writers each Friday.

Yet Another Challenge

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This isn’t a writing challenge.  It’s a reading challenge: “BookChickCity’s Mystery and Suspense Reading Challenge 2012.”

Can you believe a challenge that invites you to read mystery books and review them?  I can’t believe how lucky I was t o find this.  I read mysteries and crime books anyway, with a little feeling of guilt, of course, since they aren’t really “literature.”  I tend to shrug them off as a something I do between reading “real” novels.  But let’s face it.  I read them AND write them.  I love them.  I love page-turners, where the detective finds a new clue at the end of the chapter or is kidnapped or roughed up and you wonder what adventure is coming next.

Therefore, I was delighted to find this challenge.  All I have to do is link to that website and review the books I read.  And all I have to do is read and review from twelve to twenty-four mysteries this year.

Next time you see me reading I’ll be happy to boast that I’m reading a mystery book.  No more guilty pleasure; it will be number blank on my list of books I’m reviewing.

Want to join me?

Go to  http://www.bookchickcity.com/2011/12/sign-up-mystery-suspense-reading.html

Its Over: I’m a NaNoWriMo Winner

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I submitted my 50,001-word novel today.

I started writing on November 1, with a setting and a character.  The setting was Montreal in 1967.  The character was a twenty-two -year-old woman, who becomes a private investigator. I decided two other things about her.  She would be driven by a need for Justice and she would have an overdeveloped sense of smell.

With just this to start with, I dove in and wrote the first chapter.  I decided to write in the third person, but in a few places I would write in the first person.  That was when she was a woman in her sixties, writing in the present time.  I liked her right away.  She had spunk.

I found myself doing research every day.  I needed to check out fashion, music, vehicles, police uniforms, Expo 67, Metro, names, geography, even firearms, and much, much more.  I learned a lot.

My most challenging part was writing the felons.  I had to force myself to make them more violent and unscrupulous than I was comfortable with.

I write books for pre-teens, my Magda of Mayne Island Mystery Series  http://www.treewithroots.ca/ so this novel, written for adults, was challenging for me.

I’ll let some time pass before I go back and rewrite this book, I think.  Idon’t know if I’ll be interested in writing for the adult market in the future.  I’ll have to wait and see.

“Yarning” – Hats and Books

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“Yarn” has a funny sound to my ears.  Say it: “Yarn.”  Doesn’t it sound funny?  There’s a twang, a drawl, a kind of “hillbilly” sound to it.

So when I use “yarn” to crochet my hats, or tell “yarns,” as some people refer to them, when I write my books, I find myself chuckling at this word with its two meanings.  How odd, that both of my daily pastimes, crocheting and writing, are both connected with this odd-sounding word, “yarn.”

Another odd coincidence is that two of my Mayne Island friends, Leanne Dyck  and Celia Leaman, have the same  combination of interests.  Both these women knit and write.  Like me, they spend a good part of their lives involved in using yarn and telling yarns.

I wonder if there are a lot of people who write and use yarn in their daily lives.  Perhaps this is a combination unique to Mayne Island.

If you use yarn and tell yarns, I’d love to hear from you.  Or if you know others with these two passions, please let me know.

Okay.  Back to my novel.  I’ll take a break from it later and continue working on the beret I’m designing.  I have some beautiful yarn I want to work into it.

Coffee and Manuscript

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A fellow writer, Robin Spano, posted this on Facebook this morning, “Loving the luxury of my first morning in a week with coffee and my manuscript. You know things are good when your day job is what you love more than anything.”

Can you relate?  I recently had to go a week without writing because  of commitments I’d made, and I began to feel physically sick.  I got back to my manuscript and wrote all day, then the next.  I felt so much better, and I also finished writing half the first draft pf my fourth Magda of Mayne Island novel.  This is not a writing rhythm I’d recommend.

What works best for me is a day that begins with rewriting the previous day’s work, then writing today’s chapter or two with a cup of coffee.  It proceeds with more writing, with a short break for lunch, if I remember, then reading and writing blogs or letters,  then writing some more and ends with my printing up and reading that day’s work and making changes in pencil.  Every day is different, but that’s what I call a good day.  I can’t complain.  It’s a good life.

Back to work now.

Bloody Words – Crime Writers of Canada Conference

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I learned so much I had to leave a day early!!!  Seriously!

Friday, started with a fact explosion when Robert Landori’s gave us detailed information about Terrorism and Money Laundering, so we’d get it straight when writing about them. I knew there was going to be a feast of information to digest.  Then we spent an hour with William Deverell, introduced by Adrian Chamberlain.  Mr. Deverell, famous author and winner of many prestigious awards including the prestigious Dashiell Hammett Award for Literary Excellence in North American Crime Writing, described his writing day.  I think a lot of us lesser writers could relate to the way he eases into it, from puttering around (not his words; mine) to editing earlier work, to writing “in a white heat” (his words) till past dinner time.  His talk filled me with a new determination to work harder at my craft.

Always proud of being from Mayne island, I usually let new acquaintances know it right away.  I was surprised when a fellow writer told me her great-great grandfather once owned Mayne Island.  Captain George Richards of the Royal Navy was surveying that area and generously named the island after his lieutenant, Richard Charles Mayne, her ancestor.

After registration, I was asked if  I wanted to join the Crime Writers of Canada.  When I learned that there would be competitions and prizes, I decided that I would.  Perhaps the added incentive of a prize would spur me on to greater writing.

Our reception was just delightful.  The writers I met were all friendly and very interested in what I wrote, just as I was very interested in their work. They felt like colleagues.  Some were much farther along in their careers, with many books safely completed, while others were there to see if they might be able to turn a synopsis into a book.

As a Volunteer, I sat in the room with the two agents, and made sure that each writer who had signed up for an interview had their fifteen minutes with an agent.  There were some who came well-prepared with writing samples, reports on blogs and web pages, and reviews.  Others were just exploring the idea of writing a book.

That evening, we stayed for a radio play from the 1940′s, read by mystery writers and directed by Michael Slade.  The name, “Shock Theatre” was very appropriate, since I found myself nervous about stepping on rats in my friend’s pristine basement guest room when going to be there, as a result of listening to the shocking play, complete with sound effects.  I could almost hear the “squeak, squeak” of the rats, produced by the sound effects man squeezing a plastic frog, as I was falling asleep!

The next morning we experienced “Read Dating.”  Instead of meeting a potential date pitching himself, we met authors pitching their book or books for three minutes.  I learned that in three minutes you can describe the setting, the lead character, the conflict, and some of the interesting details, with enough time left for a question or two.  And there are several new books on my “must read” list now.

On workshop was a panel discussion with two publishers, a published author and a self-published author.  They discussed the touchy subjects of electronic books, self-publishing, traditional publishing, and combinations of all three.  I believe that, although different viewpoints were expressed, that all agreed that good-quality books in whatever format, at a reasonable cost to the buyer and a reasonable payment to the authors was the goal they all wanted to meet.  They also dealt with the subject of  promotion and all agreed that publishers can not do as much as formerly.  Social media play a large and important role in marketing books regardless of the medium.   All possibilities are under consideration by Canadian publishers and authors.  Publishing in Canada is alive and well.

Another panel discussed the trends in crime writing.  The message I took away from that session was that by the time a trend is noted, it’s already too late to jump in and write a book about it.  Perhaps we’ll write the book that sets a new trend, one of the panelists suggested.

Side-kicks, villains, or other minor characters, can sometimes steal the show, in life and in novels.  Some authors write back stories about all their characters, so that if they  decide to make them a lead character in another or just have them appear in it, they will know them.  Some authors kill off their over-written characters or put them in a coma.  At times it’s necessary to edit your book and have fewer or smaller scenes for these characters.  If someone is writing a series, not a stand-alone book, it”s important to remember that your readers may not have read earlier books.  Introduce  your minor characters so that the new reader will get a clear picture of who they are and be able to remember them later on.

Another panel was especially good for those of us writing series.  It addressed keeping the long arc fresh, book after book.  This can be accomplished by placing your character in new, interesting settings and by introducing new challenges.  Some authors write two series, and alternate between the two.
some leave several years between each book in the series.  Some series cover a brief period, with the main character remaining the same age.  Others have the main character age.

Around lunch time of our second day, I began to realize that if I was going to process all I had learned, and put it to use in my writing, I would have to stop.  I had reached my limit.  Fortunately, my traveling companion and I both agreed to leave early.

Beautiful Mayne Island, so green, so clean, enveloped us in her arms as we drove off the Queen of Cumberland Ferry.  We were glad to be home again.