I’ve been inundating the internet with graphics of quotes from my book, False Hope. Below, is another I created to give a sense of Ashley’s thoughts on death, grief and hope. I’ve also given a brief summary of the book. Enjoy!
Ashley Wells is a young woman making her way in Toronto. A new job at a small law firm propels her into a romantic relationship with Jax Fuller, a handsome young intern destined to be her biggest mistake. As their bond deepens, Ashley can’t help but think Jax is hiding his true self. As she navigates through the deception, betrayal and grief she discovers the truth about her lover and the dangerous game he is playing. She becomes embroiled in a fight against a crime boss determined to stop at nothing even if it costs the lives of those she loves,. Ashley summons her courage to fight for justice, and in doing so, confronts the limits of the human spirit. In her final testament of love, Ashley forfeits the life she had for one filled with an uncertain path and an undiscovered landscape.
I just finished work on my first romantic
fiction piece. It took me over a year to
write and my days were fraught with doubt, indecision, and wine. I wrote the original manuscript over
twenty-years ago. At that time, I had pitched
it to publishers, agents and to whoever I could find. After the onslaught of rejection letters
arrived, I decided to put it away. I
felt it was destined for the great slush pile in the sky.
Fast forward twenty years and that manuscript
sat there daring me to open it and take a peek.
So I did. The bones were still
good, but the story and the characters needed work. I needed better dialogue and a better
plot. I opened my ten-year-old laptop
and started typing. I bought a book on
how to write a novel. I researched
websites on how to write a good romance.
I bought a fresh notebook and wrote character outlines, plot structures,
subplots, point of views, dialogue and pretty much anything that popped into my
I kept a running recipe card summarizing
each chapter so I could remember details of characters like birthdates, hair
color, eye color, traits, jobs, families, and backstories. I kept pictures of my old apartment in the
back of the notebook so I could take it out and look at it remembering it in
detail. It is the inspiration for
Ashley’s apartment in the book, right down to the weather-beaten picnic table
and it was fun to relive that time through a character’s eyes.
I took the pile of rejection letters and
went through them. Again. I researched how to write dialogue. I researched plots and pacing. I wrote and rewrote chapters. I sat in my basement and isolated myself from
everyone, who still insisted they needed to see what I
was doing. I took my ten-pound laptop to
work and wrote outlines on my lunch break.
I rewrote the chapters at home in the evening. I read and wrote for months. Then I stopped.
I left the project for three months. I’m not sure why. By the fall, I was ready to tackle it again
and began. Again. It took me until June to finish what I
But I finished.
And I’m happy I didn’t give up. I’m happy I didn’t listen to that voice
telling me to put it away. The voice
that said it was too hard and complicated and no one would read it. I’m happy the rejection letters sat in my
file daring me to try again because, without all of that negative “I-knew-you-couldn’t-do-it”
attitude, I proved them wrong.
My decision to self-publish was born from
the above-noted rejection letters. I
didn’t think I was as bad as all of these lovely publishers and agents thought
I was. I am determined to get this book
out into the world by the end of this month and I can’t wait.
Wading through all of the self-publishing
advice and webinars and blogs can be tedious.
I picked one person who sounded knowledgeable and listened to his advice.
Some of it I used, and some I threw
aside. Not everything is written in
I just want to publish a book. Simple.
There’s designing a cover and editing your
work. Selecting a platform and uploading
files. Formatting, ISBN numbers, social
media, marketing, and the list goes on.
Tackle one thing at a time. I started months ago researching book cover
I created a cover for the book using a free online service. I just couldn’t find a resource or a designer that fit what I had in mind. I used the suggestions I found online. I researched the most appealing colors and the most attractive fonts. I went through stock photos and templates. I wasn’t liking anything I saw. I stuck to my original plan and with a new YouTube vid in my mind, I designed what I wanted.
Through happenstance, my cover came to life. I love it.
It was a lot of work, but I enjoyed every
step of the process. I’m now working on
the outline for Book 2 and have ideas for the third. I’m taking my time and I will publish when I
feel I have everything set and ready to go.
If you are working on your first novel,
keep going. You’ll want to give up and
throw the laptop out of the window but resist.
Drink the wine and take a walk.
Then go back to it. The journey
in writing the book is the most fun.
You’ll find there are no better words than
“The End” staring back at you.
I just finished reading an opinion piece in the Independent that sounded like, if I were British, and young and still cared about where I put my tuna salad or even ate tuna salad for that matter, it sounded like I wrote it. It got me thinking how I should be writing more opinion pieces and stuff about more important newsy crap like tuna salad and Theresa May’s lipstick, and less about my trials and tribulations of being abandoned by children and having to struggle my way through Menopause. It hit me like trying to remove a sweaty workout bra. Smacking myself in the face while trying to pull the soaked yet suddenly rigid material up over my head. The idea is a good one, it’s the execution that’s tricky. Also, it’s a total piss off and funny as hell at the same time.
Then I thought if I don’t write about the daughter-who-left-me-alone-and-sad or about the Big M, what the hell will I entertain ‘the lot’ about? That’s you all. The Lot. Sounds like a great title for a book. The Lot, a continuing saga about wine-binging children-rearing sweary-sadists who revel in the Writer’s hardships with gravity and battles with people-who-think-they-know-better. Anyway, what would I write about? I’ve listed possible incoming topics to keep everyone happy. They are as follows:
1. Meghan Markle’s ridiculous spelling of her first name and how I hate her hair. Seriously, what the hell is the ‘h’ in there for? Am I supposed to say it ‘Megawn’? Or ‘Meghawn’??? Or Duchess of Sussex, which fills me with unending amounts of joy that it fucking rhymes. I think the Queen did that on purpose as a joke. And her hair! Don’t get me started. It always looks like she slapped it up in a bun completed by the Queen’s pissed off lady-in-waiting and then stood in front of a fan blowing 125km/h to finish the look.
I really just want to run over and spray it down….
2. The merits of reading the news on the internet vs watching that shit on T.V. First, I can yell at the computer, raise my fist and protest in ire and everyone just thinks I’m having a bad day with spelling. Also, I can say nasty things or laugh out loud and colleagues think I’m just reading a memo from the boss. I can get various viewpoints from various sources who are questionable and be like the rest of humanity, and totally buy it. I can also read opinion pieces that inspire me to write opinion pieces that spew my opinion and include tuna salad analogies and Magenta lipstick. And judge Meghawn Markle’s hair. Sorry, Duchess of Sussex. That Queen is such a jokester!
3. Taking a cue from my dog and be done with petty life shit. Seriously, that dog has got some issues with noise, laughter, people, kids, babies and other dogs. She can’t stand loud ringing noises from the T.V., doesn’t enjoy the doorbell, she can’t stand my son. At all. She hates to have someone talk to her unless it’s me, then she can tolerate me in short spurts. She will only eat her food when the dish is COMPLETELY FULL AND NO LESS. Will NOT roll over, give a paw or lay down – those commands are just for dumb dogs who don’t know any better. She cannot stand having her picture taken, doesn’t like baths, insists on diving under the covers because she is cold and sits on top of my head because she knows it pisses me off. She sits on Hubby’s legs, then growls when he tries to pet her, defends her right to be perched on the softest pillow in all the land and DEFINITELY would NEVER eat off of anything other than your fingers or her dish.
“What?! Stop looking at me, Human”
I clearly need boundaries like these.
Now that I have some clear cut topics for future posts and opinion pieces, be sure to pop by to see how I delve into the complexities of these issues…or at least the mystery of where I put my tuna salad.
It seems as though the world is turning on its head. It’s imploding with people condemning each other to friendship hell if they vote the wrong way, and other people tormented by inner demons to the point of taking their own lives; a ‘c’ word broke up a country and caused a wide divide, and the rest of us are left clinging for dear life hoping the assholes of the universe will suddenly realize by some divine intervention that the real logical courses of action exist and will redeem themselves with unbelievable compassion. And humanity. We hope.
We are missing something. We are missing the spark of human conscience that guides every person on the planet to do and be in the light. The positive voices that were once abound with energy and forethought are being
drowned out by deaths and guns and hate.
We are missing thoughtfulness and
The once thoughtful intelligent discourse that filled the air is being pushed aside by social media insta-posts denigrating anyone who disagrees, anyone who takes a side and anyone who says the sun will come out tomorrow. Guess what? The sun will come out, people will disagree, there will be sides and the positive voices will sing.
Humanity has taken a big punch in the gut. Compassion has taken a backseat to shaming. Truth is a lost art. The gun debate rears up and then fades away as fast as it arose. People’s attention spans are at the ultimate minimum since we repeatedly seem to forget our own history. Allies are not allies anymore. We would rather be at each other’s throats than by each other’s sides.
It’s painful and exhausting trying to wade through the muck of negativity and shameless heartlessness that seems to be waiting around every corner. My generation, those of us in the throes of our fifties, are looking around baffled and bewildered by utter lack of empathetic voices. What happened?
We forgot. With all of the technological advances at our fingertips, with self-driving cars and instant cooking pots and ultimate quick efficient non-thinking gadgets, life got easier. We got lazier. We forgot to take care of the little things that we once thought were insignificant, but really are the most important. We forgot people’s feelings; we forgot that people wage war with themselves that we know nothing about; we forgot to take care of our relationships, our friends, our family; we forgot what if feels like to struggle, to extend a hand to someone, to be neighbourly; we forgot what it’s like to be scared, lost, and alone; we forgot that someone else’s thoughts and life are as just as important as our own. We forgot that whatever personal battles we are enduring, there is always someone else battling their own shit just as hard. We became a self-involved, altruistic society with a big ego and multiple platforms on which to perform and display that ego.
We’ve forgotten how to think. We’ve forgotten how to care.
The screeching tires that you hear in the background is the future of humanity revving up and getting ready to careen carelessly onwards. It will run over anyone who stands warily in the road, waving her arms pleading for a hand with a flat. If everyone stands in the road together, maybe we can get it to slow down a bit. And help out. And care about the girl with the flat tire on the side of the road. Maybe.
Two years before she died she told me that she was proud of me. That, after reading a report I had done on a child I was seeing, she thought I was an intelligent independent woman and I would always be a little bit hers. She said that. It was twenty eight years ago. More than a lifetime and I still hold that near and dear to me. I still carry it. I hold it in my hands as if it was a fragile rose ready to lose its petals. I wasn’t hers in the blood relative sense, but hers in connection. She had watched me grow. Held me in her arms as I sobbed for my father. Laughed when I couldn’t walk barefoot on the gravel at the cottage. Washed my clothes. Washed my hair. Let me swim in Lake Erie even if the water was freezing. Took me for rides in her two seater convertible with the top down and the wind whipping my hair. Let us search under the beds for the miserable cat we loved but didn’t love us back. Christmas dinners, backyard barbeques, birthday cakes and an appreciation for evening games. Cross border trips that included border guards looking in the backseat with me sandwiched between my dark haired, dark eyed brothers the European lady in the passenger seat and the black man driving. The questioning look on the border guard’s face as he said “These kids yours?” We laughing hysterically as we drove on. Fishing in Lake Erie and getting my line stuck in the rocks; halfway through a road trip to Toronto then realizing we didn’t have the tickets to a much anticipated game; a speeding ticket once we got there; singing Jesus Loves Me in the car, then me throwing up on the floor of the Ponderosa restaurant while we were in line; games of Sjoelbak (we pronounced it shoola), rummy, and my first introduction to poker. My first drink (rye) during the move after my mom moved, my first job at her law office, my first grown up piece of jewelry, a watch when I graduated highschool. Me picking ABC gum from underneath the tables at the Fiesta restaurant when I was five and everyone telling that story over, and over and over…..
A lifetime of memories from a woman who died too soon and she gave them all to us for nothing but by simply being a ‘little bit hers’. And I am. Because she said so.