Dementia, Human Behaviour, Human Nature, Humanity, Old age

Writing Preserves Loved People

At first I thought her stories were just talks to take the place of silence.

I smiled and listened a few times a week. She told me of her meeting her late husband, how she had surgery in order to at last get pregnant with her final son. I heard how her husband laughed before the war, and what was left of him afterward. She told me about her whole life. She told me about all the pets she had, what happened to them, and how she felt about it.

It was coffee at my place and tea at hers. She loved driving to see me. Hours of story telling were also hours of bonding. In time, I picked her up to visit at my place, or go to parks or coffee shops. She no longer had a driver’s license or even her beloved cars. My phone rang often; a lonely sounding voice asked for a visit. At times I became frustrated as I needed to concentrate on my upgrading courses. My compassion was greater than my study habits.

Less than a year later, she couldn’t tell me anything new. She struggled to remember what I said minutes before, and she was frustrated with her lost ability to remember what she had just said. But I had bonded with my mom-in-law, and I remembered for her. I was her external brain, and she would always say, “Oh, yes, that’s right.” Nonetheless, she honestly never recalled.

Within a year, Mom could not function at home. Her weight had dropped significantly. Our visits were at a lovely rest home. Her memory continued to decline, however, having a lucid few moments one afternoon, she directed me to sit with her on her bed and told me she had to clean out her in-laws home, and she knew of the hard work and long hours. She thanked me that day, when previously she had resentments for her son and myself taking her from her familiar home.

All those stories over that period of time were not silence fillers. I believe she knew she had only so much time to tell them. I’m certain she understood her mind had slipped and would continue to be eaten by something she herself could not identify.

In the five years she lived in the rest home, she declined to the point of not knowing me, hollering at me, and insulting me. I took it hard as I only hoped Mom lived in herself somewhere, and somewhere, she still loved me.

Dementia did not love me. It didn’t keep track of our bonding. Dementia hardly recognized her son. The disease took her away forever, and she died not knowing who we were.

Over a year has passed. I can write about this without weeping, although my eyes sting. I can still hear her story-telling voice. I can smell her White Diamonds perfume. I can feel her genuine hugs, and I can imagine a delicate tea cup in my careful grip. I’m so afraid these memories will fade like she did. Writing preserves loved people.

Animal abuse not tolerated in small city in Ontario, Human Behaviour

In Ontario, Animal Lovers are Outraged and Talking

Tarrick Martin is gaining a fast audience as news spread about the murder of his dog, Lady. Normally I wouldn’t post about such atrocities, but this happened in my home town, and I am proud to see the outreach of support for this innocent dog.

Martin has been severely beaten, and the news is, more harsh beatings are to come before his court appearance. He killed and buried Lady in a shallow grave by the train tracks in close proximity to where children play. Authorities exhumed her and found solid evidence she was beaten to death with heavy blows, likely the shovel Martin dug her grave her with.

On Facebook, several photos have surfaced. In all the photos where Lady was present, she looks terrified, as in this photo. This is an animal who has been abused repeatedly. My guess is she tried to fight back and he took her to the place where he would bury her after his rage was spent on her.

Martin will be in  London, Ontario on trial.

Feel free to share this post, in fact, please do! We all need to see how people are fed up with innocent animals being abused and murdered. Murder is murder. Make this man’s face well know. The example has been set.

If any of this news in inaccurate, please pardon the errors. Social media is not always accurate, but rest assured, Lady was beaten to death.

Thanks for taking the time to read and share.

Human Behaviour, Human Nature, Humanity, information, Mistakes, Traditional publishing

What’s to Say Writing’s Glamorous?

In a few short minutes a contract was cancelled.

I was lucky to get out of a contract. My publisher, who was editing my novel MS felt too ill to concentrate and diligently work on it. The warning signs were there, but I was excited to be accepted by a traditional publisher after just turning down my first traditional contract. I wanted to be in that less-than-two percent. And I am, but with a price.

No matter how excited you are to get published by a traditional house, make sure you vet them the way they vet us. Actually, do this for self-publishing also.

Check their Web site for the year they started and how many books they have. This is more important than I initially thought. If they have few books compared to the length of time they’ve been publishing, they may be short staffed. Worse than that, you don’t know if anyone is being payed or if it’s a group of friends helping one another get the company going. Books, books and how many tell a story of their own. If no one is collecting a paycheque, the incentive likely isn’t the same. Who works hard and invests themselves for free? Even with the frail promise of a booming future business, most people are not driven if they have a job, and volunteer on the side.

If there are major delays in sending out a contract, keep looking for a publisher. Be aware, fully aware there may be delays in editing, too. There were delays with my MS, and it was frustrating to sit here in my writing lair hour after hour for weeks, then wait for months for a return.

Talking yourself into believing it’ll be okay, is not the way to start a contract or a publishing journey. Once you have a contract, in most cases you’re bound and there is nothing to be done but be at the mercy of your publisher.

I’m grateful my publisher is a fair person, and she wanted me to be happy when I was not. I lost eleven months, but I am on my way with a publisher who needs to be paid, but I get all the support of a traditional house. He was able to help me leave the contract, simply because he knows the publisher I was with. Moreover, he has paid staff.

Be vigilant with edits. Keep a copy of previous edits you’ve worked on. My publisher edited dramatically. Half pages at a time were deleted and her writing replaced mine. Her voice, her style, and ideas. My characters were doing things I never had them do, and they said what I didn’t have them say. She was showing me what I could do in trouble areas, but her text should have been alongside mine if it were to change so much. Had I not retained a copy, I would never have never been able to restore my work and edit in my own voice. I’m sure I would have had a nervous breakdown. I’m serious.

This is so recent, the knot in my neck is still pulling all the way to my shoulder blade.

My intention with traditional was to be accepted as it was important to me. I needed the risk-taking approval of a publisher. I’ve been accepted twice now with a query. I practised my query for a long time, then started getting action. If you are seeking traditional, ask questions. Ask how many are active on staff. Do they have volunteers? Ask how long edit rounds usually take. Ask what your gut prompts you to ask. It is your manuscript. It’s your slow return on book sales.

I have found since being accepted by a reputable publisher, one I will pay, that once the dust settles a bit and I can purchase books to sell, what I pay in is an investment with return as long as I don’t slack off in selling.

If your first book will be self-published, there’re contracts, so be vigilant. Take the time to study, what’s good and what’s not. Google will get you there, just type in bad authors’ contracts. The good authors’ contracts. Take the time to study, and hope you get a good publisher.

I studied hard. My downfall was trusting because this publisher I met in a writers’ group. I liked her. I still do. Keep personal feelings separate from business sense.

Good luck.

Thanks for reading

encouragement, Human Behaviour, information, Traditional publishing

Is it a Traditional Disappointment?

It can take years to write then publish a book or novel: practicing query letters, and years of learning about market needs, and looking for a traditional publisher. Conversely, one can write a book, choose to get professional editing and professional advice, then go ahead with a cover and choose a printer, then viola— a book on Amazon—in much less time.

It’s up to the author to agree or disagree if “good things take time.”

Notice traditional Web sites. How long have they been operating, and how many books do they have? Is the web site up to date? How do the reviews look? Do the reviews add up to how many books they have published? Any complaints? At times, complaints can come in the form of a review which isn’t detailed with accolades.

A traditional publisher should apply for the copyright. About fifteen percent goes to the author, which is fair considering copyright cost, printing, cover, editing, and typesetting costs, so make sure the contract doesn’t ask you to buy an amount of books as a requirement. It could be an option, but never a requirement. If it is an option, you shouldn’t have to pay full price for books, and be sure you’re not paying for these books to be printed. You should be paying for completed books. At cost would be ideal, but don’t expect it as these sales profits go to the publisher. If you’re selling the books you buy, expecting to receive royalties on these books is lofty. You get whatever profit you can gain. Look for these issues in the contract, and study as much as you can before signing one. Take it to a lawyer, be sure if you are not.

An author, it they’ve invested in their writing with schooling, workshop classes, and courses, works hard on a manuscript. Work just as hard on finding a way to publish, because that’s the end goal.

I don’t have a lot to say for self-publishing as I went he traditional route. But I will say this: with self-publishing you have more control over edits, since you are paying; however, with traditional publishing, you’re still paying as you are only gaining a minimal percentage of sales. Remember that and don’t be shy about keeping your “baby” in the clothes you sent it out in, with the same baby powder scent. Don’t be convinced your characters’ dialogue is all wrong, and have your say about retaining your voice, your influence, your expression, and your experience.

I’m in the middle of my edits now. My editor is not a bully, but has gotten carried away with inserting her voice in an attempt to show me what works well. I am not obligated to take this advice; however, extended deletions and additions in my work have been disruptive to me as well as time consuming to restore my work. Never delete your original manuscript! You’ll want it side by side with your edits. You’ll see good changes and unwelcome changes. We have to let go of an amount of our precious words, but you’ll know what shouldn’t be changed according to the rest of your story. Make sure consistencies, if you editor has not read your story first, are not going to be disrupted.

Edits are necessary. Grammar, punctuation, some copy editing for awkward sentences, but remember this, no matter who you agree to for publishing your manuscript with, it is still your manuscript. It takes courage to send out query letters and manuscripts, so retain that courage when you’re in the middle of edits.

They All Wore Black is my novel manuscript. I don’t have a release date as of yet:

A traumatized, hushed-up family is struggling to learn it’s okay to cry out.

Brad Fadden trudges with his head down and his guard up. His deviant father died, but Brad aches with raw secrets. Haunting memories. His haggard mother is reticent about it. His protective sister fled eight years before because of it.
       It’s 1988. Ganja, cocaine, pills—easy scores. Even so, fifteen-year-old Brad cannot subdue his crippling emotions. He’s off to harass his dead father’s socially inept boozing pal who guards the pivotal truth. The fearful sot may be the only one who knows it
     A peculiar old man intermittently appears to caution Brad about addictions and prying. He’s left to think he’s hallucinating, but he won’t stop getting high and prying. They say, The truth will set you free. They’re wrong.

(Names of characters of fictional, and it is a pure coincidence if they resemble real people.)

Thanks for reading.