Sunday, August 28, 2011

Breakfast TV - the big promotion begins!

Last Thursday Jennifer Aikmen-Smith, of Dragon Dreams fame, and I were invited to be on Breakfast TV for a few minutes to promote "Emily Finds a Dragon".  It went very well, or at least that's what I'm told.  I haven't actually seen it yet.  I was really surprised how compact the sets were.  Three sets used on BTV could all be fit in a good sized bedroom.  A couple of cameras sit in the middle of the room and spin around to point at the correct set.  Quite cool.

We went to Halifax on Wednesday evening since they wanted us on air at 8:15 am.  The hostess was great, gave a great intro and helped us plug the book signing that we had at Chapters later in the morning.  Through the jigs and reels, both Chapters and our distributor, Glen Margaret Publishing, took more books than they had originally had so that was great.

We have another book signing coming up in Dieppe in a few weeks, but once Jen has her daughters V-ball schedule nailed down we will be hitting the rest of the Chapters, a few on the independent stores, the Farmers Market again and so on.  Still hoping to sell at least 650 books by January 1st.

We have been asked a few times about self publishing and Jennifer would like us to do a workshop at the library on self publishing.  Maybe, between the two of us, we could put on a 2 hour work shop.  We have learned quite a bit so far. I think Jen is sharper about this than I am.  I still concentrate on writing and she is the one that works closer with the actual production.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Where do you get your ideas?

This is one of the most common questions I get asked and I suspect this is true for most writers, regardless of gendre.  I also suspect that almost every writer couldn't tell you exactly.  I find that most of my ideas come as a bit of an "aha" moment where something clicks in my feeble little cranium and an idea pops out.  I always carry paper with me since I have a good memory - it's just short.  Nothing worse than loosing the idea for the next blockbuster story for the lack of a scrap of paper.

I find I get most of my ideas when I'm not really thinking about it.  Mowing the lawn, road trips with music on, are all fertile places for me.  However, contrary to that, the idea for my second book did come as an "aha!" moment with the bulk of the story in place instead of a scrap of an idea.  I was looking at a drawing my friend and illustrator, the brillant Jennifer Aikman-Smith,  did of a baby dragon looking up at you holding a valentine.  He had the big puppy dog eyes and "pop" came the idea for "Emily Finds a Dragon" with 75% of the story dragging along behind.

That was unusual for me.  Most of my stories come in a series of movie scenes in my head.  I jot them down and eventually pull the pieces together to make the first draft.  As a result, I often have two or three manuscripts going at the same time.  One I focus on, one that is ruminating in my head and I pick out scenes for, and one that I'm researching.  Since my writing time is often hit and miss, this allows me to do something constructive with my writing time regardless of how long I have or how tired I am.  Sometimes I'm just typing notes into the computer.  This is good stuff to be doing when I'm too tired to be really creative, but I'm still doing something that needs to be done. 

I suspect this doesn't work for many writers, but it does for me.  I have had to juggle time all my working career so I'm used to trying to work on a couple of things at a time.  As I get older, and slowly back out of the many organizations I volunteer for, I hope to have a more structured day where I can block off time to write at more consistant times.  Then I hope I coan concentrate mainly on one manuscript at a time.