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.

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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!

May already?

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New Book update:
I am celebrating the completion of round one of my edits for my middle-grade fantasy book. I love how it has improved and can’t wait to receive feedback from my beta reader and my mentor Kate! With round one finished and while I wait to hear back from them, it’s time to get my outline drafted for a new project. I have so many ideas churning around for the next book that I’m finding it hard to sleep at night.
Did you know that quality picture books are harder to write than you imagined?
Current work in progress update:
I am working on different ideas and drafts for a picture book. I’ve loved rereading all my son’s old picture books to see what I like and don’t like. I even made a special trip to Walmart and Chapters to read some new picture books, it’s essential to see what parents are reading to their children and what children want.
I am happy to say that I only came home with two books to add to my to be read pile on each trip! How is that for discipline? I do justify my reading habit by saying I have to keep up with the current trends in books.
Looking ahead on the calendar May is shaping up to be a fun-filled month with tons of new activities. I have a one day retreat, a new psalter prayer group, and a Bible study that I’m leading at my husband’s church. We also have a three-day long work conference to attend out of town. My schedule and routine are going to need some tweaking, but it will be worth it.
What plans do you have for May?

Did you survive Easter Weekend?

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Holy Week and Easter can be exhausting for families due to the commitments and running around for different family dinners and celebrations. I do hope that you managed to find some peace and quiet time to reflect during all the busyness.

The news about the terrorist attacks Easter morning was shocking and devasting, to say the least. This kind of news always makes me step back and hold my loved ones closer.

In and amongst all the Holy Week services and high emotions, I moved my son home from university. Being the fantastic team that we are, we cancelled the moving truck and managed to make the move in two trips. My poor little Rav4 handled the bulk of his stuff (it’s surprising the amount of things you can accumulate in five years of university), and the second trip we moved his desk and twin bed in my husband’s car.

Being old school, I still managed to get several chapters edited using pen and paper. The ferry line up and crossing provided several hours each way to do edits. Now all I have to type them all up.

With these edits done it brings me to the halfway mark with my first round of edits on my MG fantasy work in progress.

What a breathtaking start to Holy Week.

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The rain held off for our Palm Sunday procession, I gifted two beautiful little girls with a signed copy of Kaylee’s Easter Treasure, and I got to see a dear old friend!

Monday I cried out with the rest of the world as Notre Dame, and Al Aqsa Mosque, two glorious sacred, pieces of history were on fire. Despite the gripping news and videos all over the Internet and social media, I persisted with my edits for my middle-grade fantasy novel and managed to get the rest of chapter one and two edited along with half of chapter three.

Yesterday I survived the gloomy depths of the editing trenches. I finished chapter three and managed to get a significant jump on chapter four. I am going to be honest; I am actually enjoying my editing process. Many authors say that editing is a nightmare, but I am loving the transformation of each chapter!

I have rearranged my writing schedule around our Holy Week services, which isn’t too hard. It will actually be a nice change of pace for me given that writing is a rather isolated profession.

Will you be taking part in any of the Holy Week services?

I will make all our services this year, but the Good Friday and the Great Easter Vigil. I will be travelling down to help my son move home after completing his final year at University. I am one proud momma bear, he has worked hard over these past five years and I am proud of the man he is.

As an English major with a minor in Education with a love of reading, I keep trying to talk him into blogging or co-authoring a book with me! You never know now that he will be home for a couple of months, one of these days he might even try his hand at writing or blogging.

Now for the hard part

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I sat staring at my screen for a while on Monday when I finished the first draft of my middle-grade fantasy novel. The panic didn’t set in until I hit send and the email whisked off into cyberspace; too late now to turn back.Now the hard part starts, waiting. I’m not known to be a patient person, but waiting for my selected few trusted readers to get back to me with their input and suggestions will ultimately help improve my editing. It’s always good to know what they liked, didn’t like, what worked, what didn’t work, or where they fell asleep!This waiting will also allow me the necessary time away from my novel so that I can start the excruciating task of editing with fresh eyes.Have you ever wondered what the actual process is for publishing a book?I think authors all have a different method or process and I believe it is crucial that we use whatever way works for us. My mom has a whole new appreciation for what an author goes through since her visit; she now asks how I’m doing rather than the dreaded question: “is it at the publisher’s yet?”So now the million dollar question is, what do I do while I wait to hear back?I could start another devotional book, or a children’s picture book like my niece asked me to, or I could start on book two. What do you think?While I tried to decide what I should do this morning, I planned the retreat day I will be offering my husband’s church, and I found all the supplies and prepared the music. Then in an effort to keep procrastinating from writing this blog, I did some housework, called my mom, checked my emails, and organized some paperwork!Ps. Let the research begin!

What a crazy month!

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I loved having my mom here for a month; I only wish that she could’ve stayed longer with us. She is such a beautiful, loving soul and so much fun to have around. I am fortunate that my mom is my biggest cheerleader!

Every day she encouraged me to write, and after I’d written, she would ask me what horrible things I did to her favourite characters. Which always made me laugh. She has a new appreciation for authors now!

I love that my Mom has become a voracious reader since retirement! She read 3.5 books while here, and if you count my WIP, it makes it four books! It was distracting but hysterical listening to her giggle away at her one book, but it was equally cute watching her stress out, chewing off her fingernail while reading her James Patterson novel. I now know where my son and I got our habit of snuggling under the blankets with a flashlight to read! I caught her reading one night well into the night. Lol

If you’re looking for a good fantasy to read check out Academia Draconia or The Damsel and the Dragon by Mae McKinnon, I loved them. I read one in March (it took me five days), and I read the other one in 2 days! (Be sure to support your Indie authors both by buying their books and doing a review.)

Does anyone else struggle to get back into a healthy writing schedule and routine after being off?

I have a new writing buddy that is encouraging me to get the last three chapters written. I picked him up while on a driving tour with my mom and son! What a great weekend the three of us had. Nothing special, our goal was to make memories. We toured out to the breathtaking resort community of Tofino, BC.

As of today, my word count is 32, 737. I’m still on chapter 25, the word count of 1021. So close to writing those coveted words!