Monday, September 17, 2012

Off to the Other Side!

Happy Monday, everyone. Hope you all had a lovely weekend!

This is a very exciting week for me, because at the end of it, I'm off to my homeland . . . land of maple syrup,  lobster, moose (hm, any other clichés I can throw in there?) and my best friend's wedding! We met over an unfortunate crayfish in Grade 10 Biology, and even though we haven't lived in the same city for longer than three years since, we've remained firm friends. Who knew crayfish could be so powerful?

I'll be on official blog break until the second week of October, but I'll probably pop in from time to time with some photos of my exploits.

In the meantime, here's what I'll be up to:

Staring out at the Atlantic Ocean.

Taking in the fantastic views from the Keltic Lodge, Cape Breton - site of the wedding.

Walking the red sand of Prince Edward Island.

Chowing down on my lobster friends.

Have a great couple weeks, everyone!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Prince Charming, Etc.

Well, it's Friday. I've absolutely no idea how that happened, but somehow I have managed to finish the second draft of The Pollyanna Plan and complete the outline for my Christmas novella, which I'll start writing next week. Bring on the mistletoe!

Today, I'm pleased to welcome Laurey Buckland to the blog, talking about her new novel, A Girl's Guide to Fairy Tales. Great title, eh?

Over to Laurey!

Fairy tales seem to have saturated our media in the last few months in terms of films and television series , but that is not the reason I chose to base my first book on them. In fact, at the time I started writing, I thought I was on to something original. However, the fact the tales themselves have been around for centuries means that nothing that draws inspiration from them is truly original. So why bother?

Well…they were an appropriate theme for my story as fairy tales reflect universal themes of social class, love, money, appearance, the good, the bad, the ugly and everything in between – otherwise known as real life. Reality is where I set my story. No magic, no Fairy Godmothers to put things right or handsome princes to rescue damsels in distress. Just blood sweat and tears in a bid to discover that elusive happily ever after, which I believe every person on this planet seeks, whether they realise it or not.

One of the hardest parts though is realising when we have attained that happily-ever-after. What really defines it? What really makes us happy? That is what I wanted to explore and show how different those endings are for different people.

Despite only being 26-years-old, I have still had a decade of listening to countless stories from my girlfriends regarding love, life, work, sex, bad dates and good relationships, as well as having a few of my own stories to share.

I wanted my characters to become ‘every women,’ with facets and traits readers could relate to. Therefore for daydreamer Maddie, obsessive compulsive Clare, over dramatic Isobel and happy-go-lucky Sophie, life is more a world of tragic than magic. For Maddie it’s a constant battle against the monotony of a job she hates while her heart aches to be somewhere else, for Clare it’s a perpetual struggle to vanquish her teenage insecurities and to see herself for the woman she really is, for Isobel it’s a refusal to reveal her true self for fear it’s not what everyone imagined her to be and for Sophie it’s a willingness to believe in a rumour that threatens to poison her perfect relationship.

But with the love and support of their friends and a little bit of luck, the girls soon realise that happy ever afters are not just reserved for fairy tale fiction – as long as they start believing in them.

If you decide to read A Girl’s Guide to Fairy Tales, I hope you enjoy and perhaps find fragments of yourself in the characters I have come to love over the last year.

Thank you, Laurey. 

Ladies, what was your favourite fairy tale growing up? And men, did you fancy yourself to be a prince, ready to sweep your princess off her feet?

Have a great weekend!

Monday, September 10, 2012

York Festival of Writing: Mulling It Over

Phew, what a weekend! After two wonderful days at the York Festival of Writing, lots of great conversations with writers, co-running a workshop along with being on a panel and giving a presentation, and  listening to some inspiring sessions . . . I'm exhausted. I arrived back to a hot and sweaty London late on Saturday night, and since then, I've been mulling over what I took away from the conference.

Writers are friendly people. Well, we already knew this, right? But the more I interact with writers in the real world, the more affirming it is. Since moving to London, rarely have I encountered strangers who smile and say hello! At this conference, that was the norm. And I loved it!

It's hard to get published - and it's hard once you are published - but failure can lead to success. Keynote speaker, best-selling author Jojo Moyes, detailed how her publishing journey has been full of highs and lows, and that the lows helped propel her towards the highs. Persistence really does make a difference.

More and more writers, traditionally published or not, are opening up to self-publishing. Two of my sessions focused on self-publishing, and I was pleased to see the attitude appears to be changing. It's no longer a last resort for the desperate, but a viable option alongside traditional publishing. Although the majority of conference participants were seeking the traditional route, it was nice that conference organisers didn't sideline the growing trend to self-publish.

It is possible to attend a writer's conference and not drink. Oh yes it is! Although I must admit, it's not by choice. :)

Above all, agents and editors are interested in the story. With all the worries about building a platform, writing the proper query, meeting submission guidelines, etc., it really does come down to the story.

And in other news, Sheri Larsen is celebrating! She's signed with Literary Agent Paula Munier of Talcott Notch Literary, and she's having a huge giveaway to celebrate -- including some of my books. The giveaway is open until September 27th. Winners will be announced on September 28th. Head over to take a look.

And in more news! Leigh T Moore has released a novel! Check out The Truth about Faking here. Congrats, Leigh.

Have a great week, everyone. I'll see you on Friday!

Friday, September 07, 2012

Kitties and Keyboards

Whoop! It's Friday! And as you read this, I am winging my way up north to York. So it's a good thing that I have the lovely, Montréalicious Cat Lavoie here today, covering for my absence.

Before turning the blog over to her, I want to say a huge apology to several bloggers whose comments I found trapped in my spam filter. I haven't been ignoring you -- I just didn't know you were there!

And now, without further ado, here's Cat:

Thanks for having me, Talli!

Today, I wanted to talk about the challenges of being a writer. But instead of focusing on how hard it can be to find time to write or how I have panic attacks when—after reading a draft for the twentieth time—I still find sneaky typos, I wanted to chat about the particular challenge of writing… with a cat on your keyboard.

I've been accused of being a crazy cat lady and I embrace that title with open arms. Besides, I think you need to have at least ten cats to qualify as a real crazy cat lady. And I only have one. Her name is Abbie and she does not support my writing career. In fact, I think she's actively trying to force me into early retirement. Since I spend most of the day at the office, I should give her all my attention when I get home, right? Sadly, that's not always the case.

When I adopted Abbie from a shelter ten years ago, she was already five years old and set in her kitty ways. I don't think she had a clue that she was being adopted by someone who spends most of her free time staring at a computer screen and having animated conversations with imaginary people who live inside her head. A crazy person, basically.

So what does Abbie do to get my attention? She takes my computer and my notes hostage.

When she eventually falls asleep, I scoop her up and whisk her over to her favourite chair before she even has time to open her eyes and realize that she has fallen asleep on the job. 

Sometimes she'll have a change of heart and try to reward me for all my hard work. Just the other day she caught a bird in our backyard and tried to bring it back inside the house. Thankfully, he was able to escape her grip. The bird was meant to be a present for me, surely, and not a warning of what will happen if I ignore her for too long.

Even though she sometimes makes it hard for me to focus on writing, Abbie is—by far—my favourite distraction. There's nothing better than days when she doesn't feel like fighting me and will fall asleep next to (and not on) my computer. The soft rumblings of a happy—or resigned—kitty is like music to my ears.

Just don't tell her that I'm working on a second novel.

When twenty-seven year old Roxy Rule’s best friend and roommate accepts a glamorous new job overseas, she expects their relationship to continue as it’s always been—carefree and easy—until they share a heart-stopping kiss moments before his departure. Overcome with mixed emotions, she fights the urge to over analyze the situation and resumes back to her normal life in New York City, working for an intolerable boss at a dead end job, creeping further and further away from her own dreams of becoming a professional chef. While things become more complicated between her and Ollie, Roxy is sure that nothing can come between two lifelong best friends—not even mild jealousy over a thriving career or a silly little kiss that meant nothing. In fact, it was such a meaningless and forgettable kiss that she convinces herself that it’s not even worth mentioning to her fiancé, although it is all she can think about. Roxy’s already topsy-turvy life only gets more complicated when her sisters Steffi and Izzie suddenly become her roommates. Steffi is six months into a pregnancy she refuses to discuss and Izzie is in the throes of a premature midlife crisis. Roxy tries to take control of her career, her love life and her sisters – but can she really handle it all? And can the Rule family keep it together – or break under the pressure?

Thank you, Cat! You can purchase Cat's novel on Amazon here. Have a great weekend, everyone.

Monday, September 03, 2012


Happy Monday, everyone! And happy Labor Day to everyone in North America. This is Back to School Week in London, otherwise known as the Traffic is Hell Week. I shall sit tight in my little office watching the packed street with glee.

This week is a busy one for me, too. Friday, I'm off to the York Festival of Writing where I'm giving a four-hour workshop (eep!), along with taking part in two other sessions. Wish me luck, everyone. I may actually get to see some of York, too, a city I've always wanted to visit.

I'm also feverishly working away on the second draft of The Pollyanna Plan, trying to get this round of edits done before jetting off to Canada in three weeks for my best friend's wedding. Yay! And in other news, I have returned from red to blonde after a mammoth session at the hairdressers. My arse is still sore from sitting for so long!

Before I sign off, a small reminder today is the last day to get my novels for 99 cents, along with these other great books.

Have a fantastic week!

What's on your agenda this September?