Category Archives: Writer’s Notes

MESSAGE FROM THE GRAVE

Tom Thomson once said, “The way to paint is to paint.” This has certainly been true of Thomson. He never took any formal art classes. It has been said that he had “The confidence of inexperience.” He picked up techniques from other artists, but mostly he just had fun with his painting. Sure, he got […]

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SEVEN THINGS I’VE LEARNED WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION

  As I work on my next novel, set in 1911, I am amazed, though not totally surprised, how much work goes into preparing to write a simple scene. I have to consider every aspect of what is possible during this time period. Did they have cars? What kind of clothes did they wear? How […]

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IN REMEMBRANCE

March 10, 2017 was a sad day in the literary world. Two great writer’s died: Richard Wagamese and Robert James Waller. Both authors have had an impact on my life, and I’d like to honour these two men by telling you a little about them. ROBERT JAMES WALLER: Bridges of Madison County. Who hasn’t heard […]

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WRITER’S STRESS

  I recently received an article across my desk about writer’s stress that really got me thinking. Well, thinking, and a little scared. I knew writing could be stressful at times, but I had no idea of the impact it could have on our health over the long term. It’s true, we have to deal […]

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A NEW WRITING PROJECT

And so it begins. The start of a new novel. How do I commence? Where will the story be set? What kind of research will I have to do? What genre will I pick? Who are my cast of characters? These are just a few things I will have to ponder, as I begin a journey […]

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Book Launch Speech – Nov. 13, 2016

Five years ago, when I began to write River of the Stick Wavers, I wasn’t even thinking in terms of publishing. All I wanted to do was write a story, based on an obituary I’d read in the Globe and Mail. It was about a woman who paddled her boat back and forth to an […]

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River of the Stick Wavers – A Preview of my new book

SYNOPSIS:  Following the premature death of her husband, Grace Irwin discovers that she no longer fits in to the world she knew. Always a dutiful daughter, wife, and mother, the widow is unmoored by her loneliness, fearing the slightest rapid will sweep her away. Grace travels to the French River in Northern Ontario, to grieve […]

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Be Your Own Best Friend – Doing It Alone (Part 2)

I just got back from listening to Margaret Atwood speak at the Alice Munro Festival in Blyth and wanted to share my thoughts before they disappear into the fine mist of my memory.  What can anyone say about Margaret Atwood?  She’s a well-known, prolific writer of many genres.  At 76 she has three pieces of literature […]

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What Scares Me As A Writer?

From Globe and Mail Arts – Saturday April 9, 2016 – The Book Report: Yasuko Thanh. What scares you as a writer? Lack of resources and time.  The ability to have both in necessary measure eludes most artists: You pay for one with the other.  Everything is a sacrifice.  If you want your family to […]

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Into The Arena

It has taken me four years to write my novel River of the Stick Wavers and another year to edit it.  Whether I publish traditionally, or self-publish, I know it won’t be an easy process.  In today’s society we measure success by how much money we make, or how many people like us (particularly on social media).  […]

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Writing – The Beautiful Mess

Once upon a time I took painting lessons with an artist friend of mine.  It didn’t take long for me to figure out that I didn’t want anyone to see the beginning stages of my work-in- progress. Why couldn’t I paint like my friend? I wondered.  I wanted it to look pretty from the get […]

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Writing And The Spirit

Sometimes when I’m writing, or even researching, I get this feeling that comes over me.  It’s like I’m vibrating at a higher frequency than usual.  That sounds weird doesn’t it?  But I don’t know how else to explain it.  It’s like I’m on another plane.  That something greater than my self is working through me […]

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Authenticity

  A number of years ago, I worked at a place where my boss accused me of doing something I didn’t do.  Because they were my boss, I was afraid to say anything.  In bed that night I went over and over all the things I could have said – should have said – in […]

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Patience – The Art of Doing Nothing

There’s been an undercurrent of struggle going on beneath the surface of my life at the moment.  I know that some kind of transition is taking place within me, but I don’t know how it’s going to play out.  When I told my friend Suzanne about my struggle and she asked if I was the […]

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Writing Challenge – How I Encounter the Blank Page.

I think the biggest challenge that faces any writer is sitting down to a blank page. Working at home as I do, poses an additional challenge.  There is always something else that I could be – should be — doing.  You know how it is?  There’s the housework, the laundry, the groceries, dinner to prepare, […]

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Why I Write

I remember many years ago when I signed up for a correspondence course in writing, one of the questions they asked was, “Why do you like to write?”  I was stumped.  I had no idea why I write.  At the time I was writing a romance novel so I asked myself why I liked to […]

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Found Characters: How I Came Up With the Characters for My Book

People fascinate me.  What is it that motivates them to act in a certain way?  What pain have they suffered in their life?  Why are they so cruel?  So when I’m looking for ideas for a new novel or story, more often than not, I start with a character.  Out of the characters life, the […]

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Writers Who Have Influenced My Style

It has been said that when you are writing you should give up reading because it is likely to influence your own style.  If I did that, I’d never read again.  Reading is essential part of being a writer.  Read all kinds of books, and don’t be afraid pick and choose the things you like […]

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Book Expo… and other things about writing.

My friend Helen and I went to the Windsor Book Expo November 23, 2014 held at the St. Clair College Centre for the Arts in Windsor.  It was a wonderful opportunity to meet other authors and to find out what kind of books people are writing in the area.  Along with memoir there was romance, suspense, […]

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Editing So Far

The hardest thing I did while editing my novel River of the Stick Wavers was to delete the first chapter:  The image of an old woman traveling alone in a motor boat to a distant island. I thought people would wonder who she was and why she was traveling alone to an island. I mean, […]

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On Location At The French

I visited the French River because it is the setting of my novel River of the Stick Wavers.  I wanted to experience first-hand what it felt like to be there, but what I gained was far more than I could have ever imagined. Being a woman alone in a setting that is more isolated than […]

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A Room of My Own

Virginia Woolf talks about writer’s needing “A Room of One’s Own,” in which to write in her essay of the same name.  As I sit at my desk and look around me, I understand the importance of having my own space to imagine my next book. My husband and I actually made an office out […]

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Beginnings

Well, I’m done the first draft of my novel River of the Stick Wavers, and I’ve sent it off to my editor.  What do I do now? Lucky for me I won’t have to spend weeks searching for a new project.  My son gave it to me as a gift one day when he approached […]

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Endings

Whenever I’m writing a novel, I never know how it’s going to end.  Part of the fun of writing is to let the characters tell their own story.  I think that endings should come about organically.  So, why was it that I was having such a difficult time writing my own ending to River of […]

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Writing About Emotions

The human mind is complex.  Emotions are created out of a lifetime of experiences and each experience informs how an individual will react to life’s challenges.  Sometimes our emotions are confusing and difficult to understand.  For example, when someone we love dies, it is easy to feel selfish for thinking of only ourselves and how […]

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Minor Characters

Never underestimate a minor character.  How I wish I had known about this before I started my novel.  As it is, on the near completion of my work-in-progress, I now have to go back to the drawing board to re-evaluate whether a minor character’s motivation is strong enough to justify his treatment of my major […]

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Getting Focused

It’s funny; I’m sitting here trying to write an article about staying focused on writing and I’ve already been distracted by my washing.  Yes, but that’s only because I have an appointment this afternoon, and then there’s the soup I want to make for supper.  Sound familiar? There’s no doubt about it, distractions are an […]

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