As a child, Melanie Cossey delighted in reading stories that left her feeling disturbed, like Shirley Jackson's The Lottery, and Poe's The Telltale Heart. Her love of the Victorian period combined with her penchant for impactful, unsettling stories nurtured her desire to create troubling tales of gothic horror. Melanie's short The Nymphalidae won Honorable Mention in the Storm Crow Tavern's 2015 Tales from Beermat Microfiction Contest. Her short fiction has been shortlisted in numerous contests. Melanie's gothic horror, A Peculiar Curiosity, was released on October 26th 2018 by Fitzroy Books. She is a member of the Horror Writer's Association.
In this episode, we talk about Melanie's newest book, her writing life, her work as a professional editor, and her well rounded artistic life.
Learn more about her latest book: https://regalhousepublishing.com/product/a-peculiar-curiosity/
Check out her editing business: https://polishedandpreciseeditingservices.com
I'm back to podcasting! And My first guest for what I am calling my second season is the fabulous Neil Douglas-Tubb. In addition to being an ex-police officer and fiction author, Neil is a clinical counselor who's written ten books about recovery and the process of healing from addiction, abuse, and trauma.
When you're listening, from time to time you'll hear Neil's chair squeak. I thought about editing it out but decided not to because I want you to imagine the two of us sitting in Neil's home, I am on the couch, and Neil's sitting in a computer chair - the same chair he sits in to write all of his spy novels!
I honestly had no idea just how impactful it would be for me to read Searching for the Willingness to Change. Absolutely everyone will get something out of this book - because, like it or not, we all have something to heal from and we all use unhealthy strategies from time to time (and if you say "not me" then you really need to read chapter one - haha).
I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to speak with Jennifer Manuel in May about her book, The Heaviness of Things That Float. I have so much to say about this novel and our conversation! But let me start with this: the novel is exceptionally well written. Jennifer is a master craftswoman who deserves to be widely read. The BC Book Prize folks agree--Jennifer won the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize in 2017.
The themes of The Heaviness of Things That Float are timely--we have been engaged in a nationwide conversation about cultural appropriation, responsibility, and ethics. The week before we recorded this episode, Canadians erupted to call out the mis-guided 'cultural appropriation prize' literary fiasco. In The Heaviness of Things That Float, Jennifer uses fiction to bring to life the very real issues Canadians must grapple with, including racism, colonialism, intergenerational trauma, privilege, and the need to have honest conversations about truth and reconciliation. In addition to talking about the novel, we ask: how do we transform conversation into effective action? And Ally-ship into reparation?
Listen here or find the show on iTunes or Google Play.
I hope you will listen to and enjoy Episode Four. Neil has some serious wisdom to share with us. He believes that "the business of living is to have an experience here (on this earth) while you have the time. So get out there and have the life you were meant to have."
Neil sets a great example. Here he is (pictured left) with his Harley Davidson. The thought of Neil zooming over the Malahat on a sunny Saturday with his wife makes me smile.
His book, The Ghost and the Dustman is for sale on Amazon and at Ivy's Bookshop in Oak Bay.
Listen to our conversation here.
Last week Yvonne Rediger and I talked about her new romance novel--Diving in Heart First. Yvonne started writing at twelve years old but only became serious about writing and marketing her work later in life. After listening to the episode myself, there are a couple of things that stuck out for me that I think all writers could and should take note of:
1. Yvonne has built structure and habit into her writing life--she knows what her day will look like and then gets down to the work of it. In the morning she writes. In the evening she markets. In the middle she enjoys time with her husband.
Planning for success is something we often talk about. Structure makes it easier to reach out goals and should (hopefully!!) remove that nasty element of procrastination. Haha--I can take down any schedule--I am a master procrastinator so I am truly qualified to comment on this topic. When I procrastinate it's usually because I am struggling with something in the book (or in myself) so if you feel the urge to wash the dishes or make a phone call at your designated writing time, just take a minute to tune into what the trigger is--the fear--and then move through it and sit down to write any way (as Yvonne says in the interview--get it down on the page because you can't edit what you don't write). If you keep repeating the procrastination cycle, I recommend you read The Big Leap (see link below--I am part of Amazon's affiliate program and earn a very, very small commission when you purchase through that link--and no cost to you or the author). It's a great book that spells out what can hold us back right when we are on the verge of achieving success.
2. Yvonne is disciplined about her word count which allows her to move through first drafts pretty quickly. I'm not saying you must commit to 2000 words per day to find success, but it seems to me that working to a daily goal can help you stay on track. I use Storyist to write and the software allows me to set a daily word goal. When I reach my pre-determined word count goal the software dings, and I feel satisfied and proud!
Keep in mind that goals are good but rigid thinking is not. Indeed, rigid thinking kills creativity. How can you be creative when your mind is busy beating you up about missing a goal or striving to hit a word count instead of finding flow? We can get too stuck on rules and goals and then lose sight of the bigger picture. So hold your goals and word counts lightly. Make them doable. Set yourself up for success. Every word you write moves you towards your end goal. So if you have a day where you write 100 words, let it go. Like Steven Erikson said: "One day you might write 1000 words and the next day 11,000."
3. Yvonne has a support network of other writers and family and friends. We all need a cheering section to keep us going. Especially with writing novels where external rewards or recognition can be slim.
Find your people--the people who support you as a writer and friend--who know how to deliver constructive feedback in a positive way. It's next to impossible for most people to truly assimilate feedback that is presented negatively or with the intention to shame--your growth as a person and writer need not be littered with the detritus of another's ego!
4. Yvonne likes, accepts, and integrates feedback. This is scary for a lot of writers, new writers in particular. I know it scared the crap out of me but once you accept that feedback can make your work better and then also learn how to differentiate between poor and/or toxic feedback, your writing will improve and your book will be more likely to resonate with readers.
Did you miss the episode? Listen now!
In Episode Two of the Books and More with Lenore podcast, Steven Erikson, author of the Malazan Book of the Fallen series, gives us a sneak peak inside the brilliant concept of his new (yet to be published) book, Rejoice--an alien first contact novel of a different kind.
You know, us people, we kinda suck. We exploit the Earth's resources and our fellow humans to get ahead, we resort to violence to gain power and control, we use unhealthy coping skills to deal with emotional stresses and trials, AND there's no sign that we are committed to changing our behaviour anytime soon. Enter aliens. What if extraterrestrials stepped in to put a stop to our destruction?
How would we handle an extraterrestrial intervention? What do you think?
Listen to hear our conversation...
I seriously don't even know where to start!
Today I will offer Steve Erikson a cup of tea in my makeshift, yet functional, west coast basement podcast studio.
There are thousands of Erikson fan's who are in love with complex world of the Malazan series, and who can't get enough of the spin offs and Erikson's other impressive (and fun) works, like the Willfull Child. All of these fans would be excited to have one-on-one time with Steve to discuss story and world building. And I want to talk about those things too, BUT do you want to know one particular reason why I'm personally excited? Steve is not just another author to me. He has become a dear friend and confident and encouraged me to keep with my writing during those times when I just didn't take myself seriously and/or had major mental blocks about my own worth as a writer. So for me, having Steve as a guest is an extra special treat, and an honour.
We will talk about his brand new book, an ET first contact novel like nothing I've ever read and discuss why an alien first contact novel? And why now? Also, let's find out what it takes to create a body of work that vast and wide as the Malazan series. Is he human? Or??
I am super stoked to announce the name of my first guest, the amazing Diane Gallagher. If you live in Victoria BC you might know her best as a high school teacher-librarian or you might be aware of her role as an activist for trans rights in schools and as a voice for LGBTQ youth. If you knew Diane in these roles, you might not be aware of is that she is also an accomplished author (you can find her work on Amazon or go ahead and pick up a copy of her latest novel).
Diane will join me in my cozy basement studio on April 12th to record an episode of Books and More with Lenore. We will talk about her new novel, her travels, and the writing life. In the meantime, if you have any questions for Diane, please send them to me. I will do my best to incorporate them into the conversation. You can message me via Books and More with Lenore Facebook page or send an email to lenore at lenorekennedy.com.
Diane generously donated a signed copy of the Bastard of Saint Genevra to give away! Everyone who signs up for the Books and More with Lenore mailing list will have the opportunity to win it. Remember: e-news is the best way to stay in touch because everyone who subscribes gets the episodes first BEFORE they are listed on iTunes.
Learn more about Diane and her new book by visiting her website and check out her author bio below:
Diane Gallagher is a freelance writer, novelist, essayist and poet, editor, social justice activist and retired teacher-librarian. Her first novel, Greenwich List, was published by Asteroid Publishing. Her second novel, The Bastard of Saint Genevra, has just been released by Island2Island Press, and her novella, The Rose: A Hirsute Horror will also be published by Island2Island press later this year. In October 2016, she released Mancia di Sanu: A Canadian Expat’s Take on Sicilian Life and Cuisine. Diane has had numerous poems, articles, and essays published online and in print. She writes two blogs: http://dianegallagherwritings.com and http://mysicilianhome.wordpress.com. She is currently working on the first book in a young adult fantasy trilogy set in the Cowichan Valley. Apart from writing, Diane’s other passion is working as an activist for social change. She spent a decade working with LGBTQ youth and was instrumental in writing the anti-homophobia and transphobia policy in her school district. Diane now volunteers by helping to run a fair-trade store in her small town. She passionately believes that helping people develop their own economic security is the best way to make long-lasting changes. Diane has travelled extensively, including extended periods in Italy and Japan. She currently divides her time between Sicily and Vancouver Island. Diane publishes under both Diane Gallagher and Diane Cacciato.
Yay! We have cover art for the podcast!
This is the art work you will see displayed alongside the Books & More with Lenore podcast once it is listed on iTunes and Libsyn (the podcast hosting site).
I think I am still a solid four to five weeks out from making my podcast available on iTunes (I need to have three to six episodes recorded and produced--also I would like to have a long line up of weekly interviews scheduled to make sure I can stay on track with weekly or bi-weekly podcasts).
That said, I want you be able to join the fun early! It looks like I will have episode 1 ready to go by about April 16th. If you want to be amongst the first to hear the show, simply sign-up for my e-news and I will release each episode to you immediately after it is produced.
Recording begins next week. You won't want to miss my conversation with Diane Gallagher, who will discuss her fabulous Italian travels and her latest book, The Bastard of Saint Genevra.
Want to be on the show? Applications now open.
Is there a book or piece of writing that changed your life?
Poetry - novel - blog post - memoir - travel writing...it all counts!
What resonated with you? How did it impact your life? Do you wish you could share what you've learned with friends or clients who face similar challenges, cross roads, or life transitions?
If you answered yes, I would love to speak with you! I am looking for folks (location not an issue but you must have access to Skype) to share their game changer book/writing with me and then talk about it.
Get in touch!
I can't wait to hear from you,