WHITE WOLF MOON: EPISODE TWO?

I’ve decided to work on a sequel to “White Wolf Moon”. I spent many hours writing the book then going through the publishing part of it but most of that is behind me now and I find myself at odds with what to do with my time.

Someone suggested that once I’ve put the stallion in the barn I should saddle up the mare.

I have no idea what that means.

Both activities sound naughty in a metaphoric sort of way.

I suppose it simply means when you finish one project you should jump back on and start another. That makes sense.

So I saddled up the mare and opened up my file of deleted scenes from the first book. A few of them will make the cut but most of this project will have to be new.

I began, as is my usual approach, by having two of the main characters chat…more of a little recap of “White Wolf Moon” for those that hadn’t read it. Then using my digital recorder I wandered through additional dialogue pursuing anything that came to mind. I like using day to day events (perhaps embellished) as part of a story-line and letting the characters deal with them in ways that I can’t. As an example…some “artist” has tagged my back fence. There’s not a lot I can do except paint over it but the neighbor painted over his and three days later it was tagged again. So, as part of this chat with the characters, someone has tagged Evan’s fence. Let’s see what he does about it. Through this chaos came a direction for the sequel and one pretty cool title. I spent nearly three hours rambling into the recorder then typing it out. Now, after reading it back, I’m pleased. Not only does this tie up some intentional loose ends, it explores the characters further.

Will I do an outline? I did with “White Wolf Moon” but as I let the characters write most of the story (through the aforementioned improv dialogue) I don’t usually color within the lines. The outline went out the window fairly early on in that process but I will try it again.

Even though I’ve had a number of requests for a sequel it’s still too early to know if “White Wolf Moon” will garner enough attention to warrant one. From my standpoint though, I’m back in the saddle and thoroughly enjoying revisiting these characters. After a couple of hours on the laptop I now realize how much I’ve missed having them around.

They didn’t just disappear after I closed the book… they’ve actually been pretty busy and it’s nice to find out what they’ve been up to these past few months.

JUST DO IT!

There was an interesting discussion at my book-signing last Saturday. A lady mentioned to me that her daughter has been thinking about writing a book for some time and I was asked for advice. I simply said to do it. Everyone has a book in them and they should get it down on paper (or laptop) whenever the spirit moves them. I also suggested not to wait until you’re sixty-five like me. A gentleman spoke up and said that he thought it was better to write at an older age because you have more life lessons under your belt and that experience could make what you write more significant to the reader.

Who’s right?

In “White Wolf Moon” it’s the experience of Evan Morris, the central character, that fuels the storyline. I draw on my experiences from the sixties (and up to today) to allow Evan to relate his philosophies on life. I’m not sure I could have written this is if I wasn’t sixty-five unless I’d done a lot of research and even then I don’t think I would have had the same slant on life in general. So concerning my book, that gentleman was right…but you have to keep in mind that “White Wolf Moon” relies heavily on my recounting real people and events in a fictional setting.

Fiction is imagination. As long as you have one you can create a story, poem, screenplay…whatever. If I was twenty-five now I couldn’t create something like I did to my satisfaction but I could perhaps write a sci-fi book. I’m sure that everyone has some pretty interesting characters around them and more than enough interesting situations to create a series of short stories or a full novel.

I have grandkids in the early grades in school. Their little one-page crayon stories are filled with boundless imagination and creativity and, while some of the stories don’t make sense to me, I see the value in allowing their imaginations to soar. Too soon their minds are cluttered with the realities of life and the more technical side of education.

It all begins with one sentence. Even if you’re not ready for prime-time the experience of creating your first story can only add experience to subsequent projects.

If you can think it, you can write it…at any age.

So that makes us both right and two rights can never be wrong.

LAYTON & I…TOGETHER.

The undulating universe of cosmic coincidence strikes again!!!

About three years ago I wrote a scene in “White Wolf Moon” that took place in a bookshop (At Second Glance Books in Kamloops). At the time there was an Irving Layton bio atop the poetry shelf. I described it this way:

“Evan moved back to the poetry shelves where a thick Irving Layton biography dominated a stack of thin, self-published works. He initially thought that it was sacrilege that Layton should be lumped in with those unknowns but then he thought better. Layton himself would have been the first to congratulate them for the perseverance and gumption they possessed to get even this far. Irving would have been right.

He leafed through the biography cluttered with fluorescent yellow highlighting and penned margin notes… a student perhaps. He was always curious about what other people deemed significant enough to underline or otherwise deface a book. He quickly browsed a few of the ‘important’ paragraphs. All of it had to do with the writing and not the man. As with all authors Layton was more than what he wrote and the more was usually far more interesting and insightful than the percentage of his soul bared in the work.”

Last Saturday I sold quite a few of my books at the signing. One gentleman, about my age, had me sign it for him. He was back in the store today and made some wonderful comments about the book. He told me that he’d laughed more than he has in years and that I’d done something that no other book has ever done…one scene brought him to tears. But the coolest thing about him buying my book? Three years ago he had bought the Layton book that I described. Now “White Wolf Moon” sits next to Irving Layton’s bio on his bookshelf.

Once again, one of the neat little things about having a book out there.

UNICORNS

Within the shadows, without the light, unicorns prance while pan-pipes lay a bed of harmony.  Fragile butterflies flutter between stone turrets resting only briefly amid rich ivy as they flit their way across sunlit castle walls.

Within the light, without the shadows, there is honesty and truth. It is called ‘reality’. Some say it needs no creative process to survive. Simply put…all that is experienced is all that there is.

There are no unicorns.

Between realms there lies a better world. A delicate blend of truth and dreams where fabled creatures, when called upon, may exist. A mixture of warm imagination and cold reality. Sprinkles of hope and guidance spiced with seasoned knowledge and understanding. Gently stirred. Mixing yet somehow keeping separate the shadow and the light. This delicate blend of truth and fantasy…of realists and dreamers…of life and unicorns.

Each needs what is unique to the other. Reality requires the elasticity of imagination to stretch boundaries and expand horizons. Creativity needs reality to temper dreams into possibility. Without the other, each suffer. Where once they sailed the ocean blue today they sail through darkened space. One dares to dream…one dares to try. Together they have reached the stars.

Reality lasts a lifetime.

Unicorns…forever.

ANOTHER BLOG OF SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION….

What an interesting day…I was standing in a checkout line waiting to pay for my daily orange juice when a woman in front of me turned around, looked at me, and said: “You’re the guy with the book!” I smiled and told her she was right.
“I saw your picture in the paper! A friend says I should read it, it’s really funny. What’s it about?”
I just happened to be carrying a bag with six books to restock the display at the bookshop where I work so I handed her a copy. She read the back then leafed through a few pages and handed it back to me.
“Would you sign it for me?” she asked.
“Will you buy it from me?” I asked.
She handed me the money, I signed the book.
I went to work and had just set out the remaining five copies when Shelley Joyce from CBC Radio arrived and conducted an interview with me about “White Wolf Moon”. I finished up about fifteen minutes later and received a message to call the local paper for another interview. A few minutes later a photographer arrived to do the article photo.
Topping off a pretty good day I sold & signed another five copies of the book.
I am totally overwhelmed by what has happened over the past week and, to be honest, I’m loving every minute of it. These are the moments that make the last couple of years of work and frustration worth it.

SISTERS

Two of one.
A quiet motion in the wind…sun brushed petals gently part.
Delicate as silk…soft as loving touch or smile.
So different yet identical.
Sisters.

This goes back to the mid-eighties when I had my own b&w studio/darkroom in Edmonton, Alberta.  As a point of interest (and a bit of a spoiler) this is the image that Jenn tells Marie was the final clue that led to her uncovering Evan’s identity in “White Wolf Moon”.

To those that have started to follow me, I thank you. I’m hoping to get more familiar with your blogs after this weekend as I’m preparing for some interviews and a book-signing.

A BLUSTERY DAY….

Image

It’s a blustery day here, not cold though…at least not yet. Mum Nature is dressed in the latest fall colors and is teasing us with unexpected niceness. I’m sure that sister winter is behind the mountain checking her look in the mirror but for now I’ll appreciate the moment. I’d planned to rake a few leaves today but every gust drops another bushel or so onto the lawn so why bother?

Instead I’ll find something to fill my time. There are always projects around the house…cleaning, painting, repairs and the like…and I have many hobbies. I bought a 1/8 scale plastic model two years ago. It’s a 32 Ford (Big Deuce, they call it). I worked on it every spare minute for a month or so and now it sits, unfinished, on my desk in the hobby room. Standing beside it is a re-issue model of the Alien from the 1979 movie…started but not finished. I seem to start a lot of things….

The point is I always seem to be doing something. Some of it is relaxing and enjoyable yes, but I still have to be doing something.

A part of “White Wolf Moon” recounts a brief time in my life when I lived with five other people in an old house in Edmonton. On weekends we would travel to a pioneer log cabin in the hills on a property owned by the parents of one of the kids that I lived with. It was beautiful up there with rabbits, deer, and the occasional porcupine. We’d arrive with our picnic baskets and wine and spend two days without electricity or running water (save for the creek that ran through the trees and settled into a pond at the edge of the clearing). We would strum guitars and sing out old rock and folk songs around the fire in the evenings but during the day we’d find our own little corner of paradise and paint, write, work on crafts, or read. A couple of us usually ended up down by the pond stretched out in the grass with our book-of-the-moment. Mine was an old red canvas covered “Catcher in the Rye” and while I honestly don’t remember much about the book I do remember how relaxed and at ease I was. The wine probably had something to do with it but I think it was the overall atmosphere of being at one with nature and good friends that created such peace.

I think that was about the only time I wasn’t looking for something to do. I would set Holden Caulfield down in the grass, look up at the clouds and do…nothing.

I think I’m going to treat myself and try to do nothing. I’m going to upload this blog and shut the computer down for the rest of the afternoon. The television shall remain darkened during this rebellious act of personal disobedience. I have a book by another self-published BC author sitting on the end table which I really should read…tomorrow.

Today is for stretching out on the couch and doing nothing.

Okay, I’ll probably end up having a nap but that’s kind of doing nothing isn’t it?

WINE, BRAUTIGAN…AND THOU

I’m sorry but an ereader on my coffee table will never replace the overstuffed bookcases against my wall and clicking over a title on my monitor will never have the same appeal as browsing through the shelves at a used book store and finding a new (old) Richard Brautigan to add to my collection. Reading a book written in the sixties that was printed in the sixties is a big part of the magic for me. The book itself becomes a part of the experience and that’s something that a plastic reader just can’t provide. There’s a feel to an old book. The browned paper is not quite as smooth as newer books and each scuff, crease, and scratch bears witness to all those readers with equally good taste that have gone before. Someone told me recently that there’s a way for people to turn the screen on their readers light brown to simulate an old printing. Seriously?

Ereaders are here to stay and that’s okay…it’s the way everything is going. On a positive side people now have more access to more writing than ever before (I still have trouble calling them “books”) and if they’re comfortable with the sterile nature of the product they’ll probably read more and this is a good thing. Authors too can benefit from the new technology. It’s relatively easy to self-publish an ebook and there’s a lot of content out there now that would never have seen the light of day through traditional publishing.
So I welcome, although I won’t embrace, the new technology. If it brings new readers and new authors together then that’s fine, in fact it’s great. But give me a quiet evening, a glass of wine, a comfortable armchair, and my latest trade-size copy of The Hawkline Monster over a sterile backlit screen any day. It was published in 1974 and is in remarkably good condition…no creases on the spine, some light wear to the edges, and a gentle crease on the front cover. Someone once cared for this book as I will now care for it and yes, the pages have browned because, well, it’s the real thing.

I’M A GEEK…

Yup, geek, nerd…whatever. I collect Hot Wheels. It’s just a hobby, a nice inexpensive hobby. There are those that “invest” in Hot Wheels and buy up every new release assuming that they’ll be able to turn them around in the future and retire. Yeah…no. You’ll be lucky if you get back what you paid. Yes you might make a bit by specializing in rarer versions or better yet by tracking down those older ones from the early days but you’ll never put your kid through college or retire to that ranch up river on Hot Wheels. You should be collecting solely for the fun of it…if something nets you a few bucks then that’s a bonus.
The same applies to writing that first book, novel or otherwise. You do it because you want to, not because it’s going to get published and you’re going to spend agonizing weeks deciding which film company has come up with the primo offer for your best seller.
When I talk to people about “White Wolf Moon” the majority of them tell me they’ve always wanted to write a book. “So…do it,” I usually say. “Grab a writing pad and pen or fire up the laptop and do it.” One lady told me that she loves writing and she tries to write something every day, even nonsense…then she looks at the housework she didn’t get done and feels guilty about the time she’s wasted. I think it was John Lennon who said if you enjoyed the time you wasted then it wasn’t wasted…or something like that.
I’d written a lot of stuff before this book was published, most of which will never be seen by anyone else but that’s okay. I did it for my own enjoyment.
“White Wolf Moon” is a personal story for me, a semi-factual diary if you will. As such, I never intended on putting it out there. A friend convinced me to have a go at it and I’m glad he did. It has already made a little bit of money…nowhere near recouping the cost…but that’s not really the issue. Yesterday a customer at the bookstore was standing at the counter reading my book. He was giggling as he flipped through some pages, dead serious on others. He’d been there for perhaps half an hour, which prompted me to ask if he was going to read the book here or did he want it to go? He then said some pretty nice things about it (modesty prevents me from repeating them here) and asked if I’d read it. I told him only about forty or fifty times then pointed to my picture, which is beside the display. We had a good laugh…he bought it…I signed it. Yes, I made about five dollars, but the fact that someone else enjoyed something that I enjoyed creating…that’s one of the really cool things about having a book.