Update and Funny Story

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Despite being on the road for three days for my son’s graduation, I managed to get some research done on agents and how to write query letters. I even managed to get a draft done that I can work with!I will be working on my synopsis this coming week in and around helping my son pack to move across the country. At first, I approached writing my synopsis as a dreaded task, but then a brilliant writer in the writing community on Twitter pointed out that it would help me write my back cover blurb!What a great way to put a positive spin on such a daunting task.Funny story:On the way home from the grad, we were sitting on the top deck of the ferry reading, when a young BC ferry worker came over to invite us to watch a marine presentation that she would be hosting in five minutes.As we slowly pulled our noses out of our books, she laughed and said, “oh you’re reading books, that’s even better.”I think the poor girl was shocked that we weren’t on our phones.When you’re killing time on the ferry or waiting for appointments, how do you spend your time? When I’m alone I write, when I’m with my son, we usually play crib.

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What’s the difference? A books a book, right?

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Do you know why I call Timothy’s Adventures and Kaylee’s Adventures devotional books and not a collection of short stories?

There is actually a big difference between a novel, a collection of short stories, and a devotional book. Timothy’s Adventures and Kaylee’s Adventures are devotional books, where my new work in progress is a fantasy novel.

Often misunderstandings happen because people are not using the same definitions to define a word. So here are the definitions that I used when prayerfully choosing how to market Kaylee’s Adventures and Timothy’s Adventures.

A book as defined by a quick Google search:

1) A written or printed work consisting of pages glued or sewn together along one side and bound in covers.

2) A bound set of blank sheets for writing or keeping records in.

I would define a book as a collection of pages that may be either bound and printed or kept together in e-format. These pages may contain non-fiction, fiction, pictures, puzzles; abstract lines (as in accounting) as their content or the pages may be blank (as in journals).

A story as defined by a quick Google search:

1) An account of imaginary or real people and events told for entertainment.

2) An account of past events in someone’s life or in the evolution of something.

Google defined a short story as a story with a fully developed theme but significantly shorter and less elaborate than a novel.

Google defined a novel as a fictitious prose narrative of book length, typically representing character and action with some degree of realism.

Merriam Webster defined a novel as an invented prose narrative that is usually long and complex and deals especially with human experience through a usually connected sequence of events.

Which brings us to defining a devotional. Google defined a devotional as: of or used in religious worship.

This definition, however, is not very useful in the context of my devotional books.

Merriam Webster defined devotional as:

1) Of, relating to, or characterized by devotion

2) A short worship service

Once again this definition was not very useful. Given these definitions, I decided to ask myself how I would define a Christian devotional.

For me, Christian devotionals are for personal edification and to assist with spiritual formation. A devotional may be read on its own or alongside the Bible. They have some form of prayer and meditation to guide the reader’s thoughts and prayers.

My devotional books are a collection of short story devotionals. Each chapter may stand alone as a devotional taking advantage of the valuable parent/child discussion time. Or you may choose to read the devotionals as part of an ongoing sequence.

I shared in another blog post that my son was often disappointed that his devotionals always had different characters. He was sad that he never got to know the characters, which made it harder for him to relate to them. I found he always wanted to know more, his little mind imagining the rest of the story.

For this reason, I’ve written my devotional books so that children may connect with the characters and their friends. This allows for a meaningful connection with real life and the scriptures.

My new books are middle grade fantasy novels! Something completely new and exciting for me. I loved writing the first one so much that I’ve already started the second one.

author.to/BooksbyTanyaPacker

all 3 books

Emotional week

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My mind was an emotional roller coaster this past week. I came home from church on the 26th to the news that my Aunt passed away without any warnings.

I struggled with flying to Ontario to be with my mom or flying to the Northern Interior to be with my cousins. As it was, I stayed put and tried to support everyone the best I can from here. It’s times like this when I regret living in this big beautiful country of ours.

My son and I set aside one day to sort and purge our old camping equipment and outside toys. Although it was cathartic in many ways, it was also a trip down memory lane for me. My son and I did a ton of camping (including winter camping) when he was younger. My heart wanted to be in the bush with him camping and having a campfire, but my health won’t allow it anymore.

Early one morning, I did force myself to sit down and work on some editing that I wanted to do on chapters one and two of my new work in progress, only to have my old laptop act up. By grace alone, I managed to get it working again without losing anything or waking anyone who was still sleeping! After that nightmare, I did take a few extra precautions so that if it happened again, I wouldn’t freak out quite so bad! I think it’s time to invest in a new laptop and Scrivener.

On a positive note, while doing my edits, it sparked some changes for my finished novel, which is good since I’m still sitting here on pins and needles waiting to hear back from beta readers. I am really excited for my mentor to read my book! I can’t wait to work with her, I want my writing to be the best I can make it.

I declared Saturday a reading day because I needed a self-care day, but Sunday I was back at the writing/editing whilst sitting outside.

Do any of you write outside? I ask because I am hoping I’m not the only one with a writer burn!

Here’s hoping my burn fades fast so that I can wear normal clothes for my son’s graduation ceremony!

Sharing old wisdom with a new twist

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I wish I was writing an update saying I was on chapter ten of my current WIP, unfortunately I’m still on chapter two. But life happens, and I have learned to take it in stride.

My thoughts these few weeks have been on helping my son prepare to move across the country again and on providing him with solid writing advice to take with him. His writing journey is his own to discover, and it will be as unique as he is.

There are as many different ways to write as there are authors, and everyone seems to think their way is only way!

As I mused on this, some advice a dear old friend gave me came to mind, and with a tweak or two, it fit perfect: ‘every writer has their own way of doing things and every writer believes their way is the right way. **Find what works for you!’. The only thing I would add, is listen and learn from others’ mistakes and successes, and adapt to fit you.

And from there, I have shared all the notes with my son from my masterclasses, pinterest, and my mentor. The only advice left to give him is that life happens and, when it does, set your book aside, it will still be there waiting when you come back to it. Don’t toss it out, remember how long it took for me to publish Kaylee’s Adventures!

I’m proud of my son for so many reasons! I’m proud of all that he has overcome. I’m proud of the man he is, for graduating university, for standing up for himself, and for being true to who he is. And now I can add to my list that I am proud of him for tackling the nightmare process of outlining and doing character profiles! He’s working the process and I’m thrilled and honoured to have the privilege to walk it with him.

I’m going to miss him when he moves to the other side of the country to follow his dreams.

Procrastinating on a long weekend

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Today I procrastinated writing this blog post by writing a letter to the Canadian political leaders, however now I’m procrastinating finishing said letter by writing this blog post.
I’d forgotten how eerily quiet and empty the house is now when I’m at home alone. My husband and son went to see the Avengers End Game this afternoon. I chose to stay at home to get some chores and work done. It also gave them some much needed male bonding time together, that, and if I’m honest, it’s not my kind of movie.
After I finish this blog, I should get some work done on chapter 3 of my new WIP or do some housework, but I have five books calling my name. The weather here is damp and cold, which is the perfect time to curl up with a good book and read away this long weekend Monday!
Typically Saturdays are my day for getting all the housework and yard work done, but this past Saturday, I led a Discovering God through creativity and stories retreat day. It was a blessing to have a great group once again, and I look forward to planning our next retreat day. Retreat days are rejuvenating for participants but exhausting for the leader, and I crashed hard when I got home Saturday afternoon leaving the housework for today.
Sunday I couldn’t wait to get home after coffee hour to relax outside with my son and write! The weather was perfect sunny with a gentle breeze. I love that my son is plotting, planning, and working on his character profiles. He is being dedicated and working the process, which can be half the battle some times!

I’m curious how did you guys spend your long weekend?

Guest blog: Gavin

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Hi, my name’s Gavin – I’m “the son”.
I just finished my BA at Simon Fraser University – English Major, Education Curriculum Development and Instruction minor, setting myself to do PDP (2 years Teacher’s College), but am undecided about that path so am taking some time from school to work and get back in tune with my creative side.

It is very surreal being done. Now that I do not have impeding deadlines or assignments I am procrastinating on, or looking ahead at the classes and grades I need to graduate, it is a very strange, uneasy feeling.
Whilst I wait on hearing back from job applications, I have been fortunate enough to spend time with my mother who not only inspires me to get in touch with my creative side, but encourages me, and when needed, nags me, to do so now that I have time.

She has been trying to get me to co-author a Children’s book with her, but that is not necessarily my speed. I have toyed with the idea of writing a novel or selection of short stories, but have never had the time.

I am currently, however, working on draft two of my own Detective Fiction novel, and am starting to flesh out and develop my characters. It has been a learning process, but thankfully I have a supportive and knowledgeable guide, know to me as “mom”, with me on this quest.

It has been quite enjoyable sitting outside bouncing ideas off of each other, but even more so seeing my mom in action working on her MG fiction.
She managed to rope me into doing this post since she was away on a conference, but, baring I make any headway on my own creative endeavors, she may be able to rope me in to do another post with an update on my book.

Loving writing

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I’m excited to share that I have finished round three of my edits on my middle-grade fantasy novel and draft three of my outline for my new book.
There are some considerable advantages to writing a book series, the biggest one being that I only have a few character profiles that I need to work on before I can jump back into working on round four of my outline.
I want to share a secret! I’ve loved working on my edits, especially this last round where I read my book to my son. It helped me fix some things that I had missed and allowed my son to offer some insight for improvements!
Gavin, my son, is exploring his desires and dreams of writing a book as well, and I am thrilled to have this opportunity to guide him through the process. He has draft one done of an outline and is working on his character profiles as I type this up.
We’ve enjoyed sitting outside the past few days bouncing ideas off each other as we work on outline drafts. I wasn’t sure how I would handle having a writing buddy around all day, given that I’ve worked at home by myself for 5 years.
Next week when I’m away at my conference be sure to pop in and read my son’s first guest blog post!