Do you make your own greeting cards or inspirational sayings like the e-card above? Finding free images that don't have a copyright label or watermark can be difficult.
And that's why my current post at Inkwell Inspirations is about using my own photo library to provide you with Free Blank Pics for Memes. So come along for a visit and I'll see if there's anything you can use.
Last weekend I attended the Write Canada conference where one of my stories, Here We Come A-Wassailing, was up for a Word Guild award.
To my deepest chagrin, I didn't win.
But I enjoyed seeing the satisfaction, disbelief, and tears of those who did, and am sending out another hearty CONGRATULATIONS! to all the winners.
The above photo shows the Novotel Hotel which hosted the conference, but it's what's on the other side of the picket fence that's the subject of my Inkwell post, Travel Gems and World Knit in Public Day.
Note: People who knit and crochet DO NOT WANT TO MISS THIS POST!
The post is also the public unveiling of my new image, taken at the conference by award-winning photographer, Stephen Woo.
And so begins my post today at CFHS where I'm showing how young ladies enjoyed stepping out with their fellas through early 1900 photographs. The 1890's image below is only one of the activities I've used in my Photographs: Early 1900's Romance post.
Announcement: I am excited to announce that the CFHS blog is changing its look!
Eff Sep 8th, you'll see the change as shown in this graphic:
This spring on March 11, I was presented an opportunity to create a story for a new two-volume hardcover set containing 16 short stories to be published by Guideposts Books in time for this holiday season. The deadline for the submission of a synopsis was March 26 - a mere two weeks away.
The two books were to have different themes:
- family, faith, and friendship in one
- angels, miracles, and other wonders in the second
Since the initial email said we could contact the editor for a list of story suggestions, I emailed and asked for the list so I'd have an idea of what they were looking for.
In the days that followed, two stories came to mind - a contemporary story and a historical one, both fitting the faith, family, and friendship theme. I wrote and rewrote and after each synopsis was done to my satisfaction, I sent it out to my Inkwell Inspiration blog mates (Inkies) for critiquing.
On Mar 25, I emailed both synopses and a writing sample to the Guideposts editor. And then I tried to concentrate on my current writing project while I waited - not an easy thing to do.
On April 8th, I went into town for awhile and although I had my iPhone with me, I didn't have the volume turned up and didn't feel it vibrate. As soon as I returned home and entered the dining room though, I saw the light flashing on the Answering Machine. It was my agent, Mary Keeley, announcing that Guideposts wanted to buy my short story, Riding on a Christmas Wish.
Before I became too excited however, Mary advised that the Guideposts Books editor had some conditions before the contract would be offered. She gave me his number, and after a few hours when I'd settled down a bit, I made the call.
The editor said the main condition was that they wanted the story to be written in the father's point-of-view (POV) only. (He gave me the reason, but I won't say it here because that would ruin the story for you.) Would I be able to do that? I answered yes because several people had told me that I write guys well, and if that's what it took I was up for the challenge. The editor was also concerned that a big action scene would be lost because it was in the mother's POV, but I assured him that I could work around it and keep the action. (It gave me confidence that he liked the action scene.) With that verbal agreement, I got down to the business of writing. My new deadline to submit the complete 5,500-7,000 word short story (22-28 manuscript pages) was May 6.
And I did, again with help from my Inky blog mates. What would I do without them?
On May 10th, I received the Guideposts contract in the mail - all 3 copies. It was right there on paper that they wanted Riding on a Christmas Wish for A Cup of Christmas Cheer. Upon reading the contract, though, my joy was tempered by a sobering fact - that if the manuscript wasn't acceptable, the editor would ask for revisions once only. If the editor did not like my revisions, Guideposts would terminate the contract and I would receive a kill fee for my trouble versus the full payment. Gulp.
But it wasn't enough to stop the joy from bubbling up again. In order not to give away the contract details, I whitened out much of this xeroxed copy prior to taking this self-portrait. Yes, that means I aimed the camera at my chair and set the timer . . . ran to my chair . . . held up the contract . . . and smiled.
I shared the image on Facebook, etc, and got back to writing.
On May 31st I received my first ever revision letter. The Guideposts editor spared nothing in giving me his thoughts on my story and it looked bad at first, but it actually came down to one character problem and the tone of the story. The editor wanted the revised copy back by 9 am on June 10th, and after deep-thinking for a couple days, I started the revisions.
On June 9th, I sent in my revised copy, and then sat on tenterhooks while waiting to see if the editor liked it. Was it good enough? Had I understood his revision requests? Had I conveyed on paper the tone I knew he wanted? Would it be rejected because of something I could have easily changed? The doubts lingered...
Thankfully, he answered the next day - on June 10 - with a thank you note saying no further revisions were needed and the book would be out in October.
That was it. Or was it? Although I'd signed the contract, I didn't have the final version with the whole contingent of signatures.
You know, it's funny how your faith can flag when you allow doubt to set in. It's also the reason I didn't write this post sooner - the fear of rejection was very strong. It seemed better to wait and be sure my story had been accepted before making a big hoopla. So far, the only thing I had done was post the above photo on Facebook, and that was all I was going to do until I was very sure of publication. The thing is... the publishing world is changing so fast, an author can never be sure of publication until the book hits the stores.
On July 15 however, I received an email from the Books & Such head office that the Cup of Christmas Cheer contract had arrived and was attached. You can bet I ran that attachment off pretty quick. :)
And now I finally believe that I am going to be published - and soon too, because at this point, Oct is only 3 months away. Sure, things can happen between now and then, but faith in my writing ability has taken an upswing. I've been blessed beyond measure with this opportunity and so grateful to my agent, Mary, and my Guideposts editor, for giving me this chance.
October you say? Yikes, I have to start planning how I can help promote this project starting with the Genre Dinner at the upcoming ACFW conference.... but that's another post. :)
As part of my research trip for my Mountie series, I am following the 1885 Trails. Last year, when I made this same trip following a writer's retreat near Humboldt, SK, I went looking for the site of the Humboldt Telegraph Station since it's on the Carlton Trail. Both play significant parts in my story. When I visited last year, all I had was a spot on the map approx 5 km west and south of Humboldt, and some references in a couple history books. I didn't know what to expect.
My hope rose as I found the site resplendent in flags and signs. It didn't matter that it was a secondary rural road on the open prairie. What mattered was that the spot was marked. I was standing on the Carlton Trail at the site of the original Humboldt settlement.
As I surveyed the fields suffering an overload of spring rain, I spotted further evidence that someone was doing something there.
My suspicions were confirmed when I saw the signs.
Unfortunately, Humboldt is a 4 hour drive from my home, over mostly gravel roads, and although I was trying to cajole hubby into letting me take the family van for another day trip, the weather didn't cooperate. The commemoration went ahead while I stewed about the mucky Saskatchewan roads.
Skip forward to yesterday. I hadn't heard any promotion for the site, so was anxious to see what, if anything, had changed. See for yourself...
Each storyboard is a different aspect of the original site, such as the telegraph station, the family who ran the station, the Carlton Trail, etc. Very informative. I won't put individual storyboards here, but I'm creating a page under my research section for this topic.
Back to yesterday, the archaeological dig was getting some action. On the other side of the 3rd storyboard from the left, two men were standing amongst a bunch of white markers. Curious what they were doing at the dig, I zoomed in on them.
My eyes pricked when I saw them raise the Union Jack - a sight I hadn't witnessed since early grade school when the principal walked into our classroom to replace the familiar flag with a red and white one sporting a maple leaf.
The Union Jack wasn't up very long before the men lowered and rolled it over a tube. With my photos taken, I drove over to where they were parked and waited for them. Something was in the works, and I needed to know what.
It was a dry run for the ceremony this Saturday, June 23rd which will include:
- members of the Governor General's Horse Guard (tall bear hats, I believe)
- the NorthWest Mounted Police in full uniform
- dignitaries, etc
And I'm going to miss it! I'll arrive home from my research trip on Wed or Thurs and I doubt I'll make it back for Sat. I wish I could be there - for the photo and video opportunity. But most of all, because I want to experience the pageantry as we pay tribute to an earlier time in Saskatchewan's history which benefitted the newly formed Canada.
Saturday, April 21st was a special day as it was my first Reading at Chapters - the biggest book store in Regina, Saskatchewan.
The event was planned by the Saskatchewan Romance Writers (SRW) who were reading from their newly published anniversary anthology, Love, Loss and Other Oddities. Although I'm not a contributor of the anthology, I am a member of the SRW and therefore was asked to participate.
Chapters' staff set up 30 chairs and a podium in their reading area in front of the fireplace. It was a cozy spot, but soon became congested as more chairs were needed. We'd all brought family and friends, but numerous customers, out on Saturday forays, stopped by to listen. Some sat and some stood, but all contributed to a welcome attitude to the 5 readers.
In determining our reading order, I asked to go last because I was planning to ask for audience feedback and I didn't want anything to distract the audience from another reader.
A time limit of 8 mins for each of the 5 readers meant I was able to read the first 5 pages of my historical romance, Emma's Outlaw. Although I drank plenty of water beforehand, my mouth quickly dried. I had a water bottle behind me, but once I started reading, didn't want to lose the avid audience' attention so didn't reach for it. Within the first couple paragraphs, I had to remind myself to breathe, too.
When I was done, I told the audience that my agent wanted feedback of what they'd heard and every person who returned a card would get a chance to win a copy of the Love, Loss and Other Oddities which the other readers had read from.
I then handed out pens and the questions I'd printed on cardstock which made it easy for them to write on since the cardstock is thicker than regular paper. Twenty-six cards were returned and from those a winner was chosen.
In the photo above, my husband, Nelson, is sitting in the wooden chair babysitting my camera which taped the whole reading. I'll add my portion of the video as soon as I can, depending on my agent's permission.
If you were one of the people attending the Chapters' Reading, thank you for your support.
Last Monday I blogged about Heritage Turkeys at Inkwell Inspirations and mentioned it on our farm blog, Draper's Acres. I wasn't going to blog about it here because it seemed too far removed from writing. I was wrong.
The post has dogged me all week because the emphasis wasn't so much on the turkeys, but that they were Heritage turkeys. Heritage equates to history. And as such, it should be mentioned on this blog where the emphasis is on history as much as writing.
The links above will lead you to the posts where I talk about the efforts to preserve these colourful birds where at least one variety has gone extinct because it fell out of public interest for no particular reason other than human fickleness.
And to get you started, here's a photo of my husband, Nelson with a pair of young
Broad Breasted Bronze Heritage turkeys.
I saw this old relic on my recent research trip
to the Batoche area of Saskatchewan.
I'm sure it's an old train car, but I've never seen anything like it.
Of course, the other option is that it's one of the original mobile homes.
Does anyone have any information they'd like to share?