One Strangely, Incredibly Good Tour!

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STRANGELY, INCREDIBLY GOOD comes out in ebook June 5th, and I’m going on tour in May. Fictionella is setting up an online blog tour for me -I’ll be visiting 25 blogs.

This Is So Exciting!

What do you want me to talk about? Please discuss below, or send me a note via my Facebook Page. I’ll make sure those questions get answered during my blog tour. I’ll also be re-blogging some of the best interviews here.

Another question: I haven’t decided if I should create an event page for the digital launch of the book on June 5, (so many people hate those event invites!) or just create one post, such as, THE DAY IS HERE! ;) and we can all chat on that on the main page of the Facebook Author Page that day. Ideas?

Thanks again for your support and loyalty. You rock.

Can’t wait for you to meet Cat, Eugene, and Gram!

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Love,
Heather

 

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The Writing Process Blog Hop

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Thanks very much to Doreen Pendgracs for inviting me to participate in this fun blog hop about the writing process. I met Doreen through PWAC (Professional Writers Association of Canada) many years ago, and she has been a great supporter of all my writing projects ever since. Thanks Doreen!

Doreen Pendgracs

Doreen’s intent is to educate, entertain and inspire writers and anyone interested in creative and cultural endeavours.If you’re a chocolate lover and love to travel, you will enjoy Doreen’s chocolate travel blog at http://diversionswithdoreen.com/. If you’re interested in her latest book, Chocolatour: A Quest for the World’s Best Chocolate, visit  http://chocolatour.net/ for updates about the book, and chocolate tours, tastings and events. In addition to non-fiction books, Doreen also writes magazine, newspaper, and online articles and blog posts about travel, lifestyle, chocolate, volunteerism, and other topics for various publications. You can read some of her published articles on the “Samples” page of her static website at http://www.wizardofwords.net.

Doreen’s previous title, Before You Say Yes … A Guide to the Pleasures & Pitfalls of Volunteer Boards was released by Dundurn Press in 2010 and has been renowned as the “volunteer’s bible” as it was written to serve as the ultimate guide for anyone sitting on a board of directors in the non-profit sector. In addition to books and periodical assignments, Doreen has also done writing/editing projects for various corporate clients, and conducted writing and public speaking workshops for numerous writing and community groups. As a Distinguished Toastmaster, Doreen’s speaking abilities have dazzled audiences on Celebrity Cruise Lines and in other forums.
Doreen loves making contact with readers and fellow writers and hopes you will enjoy perusing her wide variety of posts. Drop by her Twitter and don’t forget to check out her Chocolatour website.

Okay, now it’s my turn:
Author Heather Grace Stewart

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1) What am I working on?

I am excited to say that I’m currently “in final edits” on my adult fiction/women’s fiction novel, Strangely, Incredibly Good, with my publisher Morning Rain Publishing. Gosh, I love being able to say that! I got the best Christmas gift ever when they sent me a publishing contract for Strangely, Incredibly Good on December 23rd, 2013! I’m also thrilled that we haven’t revised much from my original manuscript. We’re just looking to clean it up and make it shine now. It is due to be launched on June 5, 2014.

When I’m not working on edits for that book, I’m coming up with the plot for my next book. I can’t say much about that. You’ll just have to wait. :D

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

 I hope that people will say it has more humour than most other women’s fiction novels. I also hope they find it’s more of an escape. It’s about a woman who starts an exercise routine and discovers a genie in her Wii machine! It’s definitely fanciful, but that’s what I set out to do. I wanted it to be based in modern reality, but allow for the characters to escape that reality – and take the reader along with them on that fanciful journey. It’s more adventure packed than some other books that are considered women’s fiction, I think, but then, I didn’t write it specifically for women  – I wrote it for myself, and my friends and family, with hopes that many people from diverse backgrounds, men and women, would pick it up and enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

3) Why do I write what I do?


I write to entertain myself, first and foremost. It’s pure entertainment for me. When I’m writing a longer work of fiction like this, I’ve noticed the TV remains off for several weeks at a time, or, only one or two shows pull me in a couple times a week (I do need to watch some times to recharge my batteries after writing all day)!

The topics I choose to write about – in my poetry and in fiction like Strangely, Incredibly Good - are all themes I feel need more discourse in our society. I want to get people thinking and talking about these themes. Sometimes, I just want to poke fun of our society and get us all laughing at ourselves. Other times, I’m more direct, and I’m trying to incite change. This novel was really meant as an escape for the reader, and as a form of entertainment, but there are some themes and sub-themes in there I hope get dissected to pieces in Book Clubs across Canada and beyond. As long as you have some wine in hand and don’t take my book too seriously! The last thing I want is to cause cat fights at Book Clubs!

Side note: My main character’s name is Cat. This could get interesting. We could actually call debates over that character – debates over her actions and what they mean – Cat Fights.

See? I’m having waaaaay too much fun with this book. I may never watch The Bachelor again!

4) How does your writing process work?

The only hard and fast rule I have is to write something every day. If I’ve got a lot of marketing to do, or maybe I’m prepping a writing workshop like the one I just did at Queen’s University, I still set aside half an hour every day to write creatively. I don’t always like what I wrote, but I save it in a file, and work on it the next day, and the day after that.

When I was working on this novel, I got to my desk every morning at 7:30 a.m. and wrote until noon. That’s a little trick I learned when I read that Hemingway did that. Then he went fishing every day at noon. I choose to have lunch, Tweet, check Facebook, do yoga, take a walk, read, or do laundry! Then I get back to other work tasks.

The first week or so of writing Strangely, Incredibly Good, I just wrote. I didn’t edit at all. I tried to not even edit my sentences as I put them down, let alone re-read what I wrote and edit that paragraph or paragraphs. I just wrote. I had an idea, and I saw the beginning, so I wrote that. And then I kept going.

When I got to about 5,000 words, I took a look at what I had, and started plotting. I had cue cards, and a filing system, and filed items on plot, main characters, sub characters, etc. I plotted out how the story was going to end, but I did so in a vague way. My story wasn’t solidified yet. I still had to write and find out what was going to happen.

So, I got back to writing, and worked at a slow but steady pace. Some days I put down 1,000 words; other days, more like 1500. I never wrote beyond that because I never wanted my writing to sound tired.

Once I was finished my book, I spent weeks going over it and massaging it for language, plot development, and character development. Then I wrote up my query letter and started looking for a publisher. This is the first time I’ve found a publisher for my work this quickly. I sent my letters out in early November, and received this request for publication just before Christmas. It doesn’t usually happen like that, trust me. But it does feel meant to be.

This is one experience where I can say I’ve definitely enjoyed the journey, the writing, as much as the destination of getting published.

PLEASE visit the following three writers, who will be posting their answers to these questions next week, Monday, March 31, 2014. Not only are they talented writers, they have become dear friends. I feel blessed that they have become part of my life.

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Joseph Hesch is a writer and poet who lives near Albany, New York. Many of his poems and stories are inspired by the spirit and history his 350-year-old hometown. But often, they capture the observations and feelings of a man who began to create verse and stories in middle age. His work has been published by numerous U.S. literary journals, as well as in anthologies such as Petrichor Rising, a worldwide collaboration with a small group of friends brought together on Twitter. Joe posts many poems and in-progress short stories on his blog, A Thing for Words A founding staff member with the dVerse Poets Pub community, and now a contributor to the Bardo Group, Joe has been named one of Writers Digest Editor Robert Lee Brewer’s “Best Tweeps for Writers to Follow.”

Please drop by his Twitter timeline and his Facebook page.

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Author Elisa Lorello was born and raised on Long Island, the youngest of seven children. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth and eventually launched a career teaching rhetoric and composition. Elisa spent six years in North Carolina, where she split her time between teaching writing to university students and publishing her own work. She has since returned home to the Northeast.

Elisa is the author of Kindle bestselling novels Faking It and Ordinary World, Why I Love Singlehood (co-authored with Sarah Girrell), and Adulation. Faking It, translated in German as Vorgetäuscht, also spent three consecutive weeks at #1 on the German Kindle Bestseller List.

When not writing, Elisa is an unapologetic Duran Duran fan, Pop-Tart enthusiast, walker, and coffee shop patron, and she can sing two-part harmony.

After you visit her awesome website, please visit her on Twitter and drop by her  Facebook Page.

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Author Arianna Merritt, M.Ed, is a Canadian Psychotherapist (registration in progress), Author of ‘Stand Tall & Speak from the Heart: How to Find Your Way’ and the Founder of
Arianna’s Random Thoughts. The focus of her work is centred around issues of expressive writing, self-worth, and perseverance. Arianna empowers individuals to reach their full potential through finding their voices and sharing their stories. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and on her website.

Take Ten Thursday Writing Prompt

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Hello again!
I missed a Thursday while visiting Kingston, Ontario on my Three Spaces book tour, speaking at Queen’s University and visiting two bookstores. But while there, I took some neat shots, and was hoping you’d be inspired to write something looking at them today. I’ll post two.

All you have to do is take ten minutes to get yourself started today. Just ten. You can take more if you have it, but at least get a paragraph down if you don’t have much time, and then write more tomorrow. I’d love a link to your post when it’s ready and will share it.

If you are working on another writing project, I encourage you to stick to it and keep writing! Let me know how it’s going here?

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The Weight Loss Struggle (You Can Help Me With SIG!)

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The main character in my upcoming novel, Strangely, Incredibly Good, struggles with her weight. This is a serious issue and I take it seriously in the book, but the book is also humorous, and I hope you’ll laugh over the situations the main character gets herself into as she struggles to exercise, lose pounds and feel better about herself.

I’m not sure many people know this except my family, but maintaining my weight has never been easy, and I struggled with it in my 20′s. At one point, in my late 20′s, I was 60 pounds overweight, so I know a little about what that feels like, emotionally.

For my novel, I researched what it might feel like to be even more overweight by reading a lot on the topic, surfing discussion forums, and speaking with different women. It was eye-opening for me.

One of the complaints my character  ‘Cat’ has is believing in weight loss programs and products or trends that are only in the business to make money, and don’t actually work. There’s a slimming spray out on the market right now that I thought sounded fantastic, until I read this fact:  “Energy is measured in calories. X Spray contains two calories per dose. That is not enough energy to stop the stomach from grumbling with hunger.”

For years, I was drinking Slim Fast for breakfast and lunch but it never filled me up. I ended up snacking more at the end of the day.

It took me years to stop being conned by all these ‘get thin fast’ techniques and to finally just discipline myself to eat healthier food, smaller portions, and cut out a lot of my sugar intake. I still struggle to eat right every day.

Please share some of your dieting ‘flops,’ if you will, what you learned, and if you’ve found success at keeping a healthy lifestyle, how did you do that? Let’s encourage each other!

The book doesn’t come out until June, and while it is written, it’s never completely finished until we hit ‘publish.’ I know it isn’t easy to discuss this issue, but I’d appreciate any comments you can make, if you feel you can. Your comments may provide me with even more insight to make this character’s struggle a realistic one.

Thanks!
HeatherVeggie Diet

“I hate you, fashion industry, with your tiny t-shirts that would only fit small, starving boys.”

~Cat Glamour  in Strangely, Incredibly Good

Take Ten Thursday: Writing Prompt

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Welcome to Take Ten Thursday at Where the Butterflies Go! Thanks for dropping in.

Your writing prompt today is this photo, taken at our local winter festival.

DSCN7219Snow taffy and later, in Spring, ‘sugaring off’ or going to the ‘sugar shack’ is part of the culture around here. If it’s not something you’re familiar with a) you really need to come visit Canada and enjoy all the celebrations surrounding the maple syrup industry! and b) just write about your Winter Traditions.

Ready? Got a pen, paper, or a computer keyboard? Got 10 minutes? Good. If not, TAKE ten. Find a quiet spot and jot down whatever comes to mind for at least 10 minutes. Please take more time if you have it! Hear that? Your inner artist is asking you for some play time!

Enjoy!
Heather

Take Ten Thursday Writing Prompt

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Take Ten Thursday Writing Prompt

Today I’d like to start something with you readers called Take Ten Thursday. Ten sit ups? Ten Coffees? You can do those things too, sure, but I’m encouraging you to spend JUST TEN MINUTES today on writing.

It can be poetry. It can be prose. It can be the start of a novel. It can be the middle of your novel. It can be as short as a haiku, as old-fashioned as a sonnet, or as modern as lyrics to a mash up song.

Just Take Ten. Take ten minutes for yourself in a quiet room, all alone, and just write – and do not edit what you write.

If you can continue past ten, great, but what I want to teach you is that if you think you aren’t creative, or you think you don’t have time, just ten minutes can get you started.

You’ll need to pick up what you did tomorrow and add to it, maybe edit it a little (although it’d be great if you leave it alone and keep adding to it throughout your weekend, and only edit it on Sunday). That’s why I wanted to start this on Thursday. I’d like to see what you came up with by SUNDAY every week. Or, if you’re too shy to share, simply post a comment here telling me that you did the exercise and how it went.

Today, I’m writing a few paragraphs in my novel about a ferris wheel. So, I thought I’d make the first writing photo prompt one of Old Orchard Beach, Maine, where there’s a lovely ferris wheel on the beach.

Look at it carefully, and then use the photo to get you started writing. If you don’t feel inspired by it, try looking out your window. Don’t feel obliged to use my photo prompt. Do whatever it takes during your writing session to get something down on paper or on your computer.

I’m looking forward to hearing about how it goes in the comments below, and receiving LINKS here to your writing on your blogs!

Have fun with it!
Heather

Do Not Think…Just Write.

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Do not ‘Think’ you have a book inside of you.

Go from ‘Think’ to ‘Do!’ by scribbling or typing some of it down -at least 1,000 words of it- without editing it as you go.

Do it today. Do not tear up what you’ve done, or allow yourself to listen to the voices telling you the premise is silly and that everyone’s going to hate your book. Wake up early and do the same thing tomorrow, and the next day. Then, keep going.

There is a book inside everyone.

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Another Five Star Review for Three Spaces!

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THREE SPACES
5.0 out of 5 stars

A self-contained trilogy of insight in microcosm and macro-wisdom January 16, 2014
By Carl J Dubois

Format:Paperback|Amazon Verified Purchase

The concept of “Three Spaces” is more genius than appears at first glance. Public Space and Personal Space are prelude and context for Cyberspace, and they set up beautifully the expression of the mixed emotions inspired by the new connectivity we find ourselves navigating in this changing world.

“Dances With My Daughter,” in the Personal Space section, reveals — perhaps more than anywhere else — the poet, the woman, the mother, the wife, the person — the author and thinker coming to terms with all of life’s demands, and the juggling act required by them, but mostly the liver of life who knows where the real stuff resides, and why we juggle.

It is instructive, accessible reflection from someone who finds the time to observe in a briefly detached way before rushing back into all of life’s entanglements, commitments and momentum. So wonderful too how often it feels communal, as if she is expressing what we feel but struggle to say.

Open it to any page and enjoy the simple wisdom and honest revelations of self from a soul whose writing feels like her balancing act — beauty found in the spaces between all of our appointments, and like gifts rather than some obligation we have to read it so we can move on to the next thing on our list. You will want to keep it close by, to see what gifts it reveals next time.

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What I’m Up To When I’m Not Tweeting/on Facebook

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-In edits this month and next for my novel Strangely, Incredibly Good (more news on that from my new publisher next week!)

-Negotiating sale of poem ‘The Day You Looked Me In The Eyes’ (Three Spaces) to Oxford U. Press! It will be used for a teacher’s resource guide to teach their UK syllabus; anticipated sales are 500 over 3 years. I’ve worked with Oxford University Press a few times and am so impressed with them.

-Preparing to read from The Groovy Granny and teach Haiku and freestyle poetry to Gr. 3′s at a local school (early February 2014)

-Preparing to speak at Queen’s Media and Journalism Conference March 8-9 2014 – thrilled to be invited back!

-Laundry, laundry, laundry (does it clone itself when I’m not looking?)
-My title is a bit of a joke – I do love Tweeting and Facebook, but in my free time I also love Image
just being with my family, scrapbooking, and doing yoga (I’m writing those last two on purpose so I actually commit some time to them soon!)

Can’t wait to share more about my upcoming novel with all of you with a post from my new publisher – NEXT WEEK! :)

Have a great start to 2014, everyone. Make it count.
Heather