If you’ve had enough of all the media blitz about Covid, then maybe you should put this book aside for a while before reading it. The story is based on a bestseller about a global virus outbreak and the effect it has on the characters in the story who, in some way, are all connected. There doesn’t seem to be an actual ‘protagonist’ since the POV switches to and fro from the slew of characters. Yet the writing, as well as the characters, are well crafted. We see a lot of dysfunctional relationships, and with that come the frequent passages of self-doubt and self-reproach. The decisions taken by the characters, directly or indirectly, affect the lives of others.
To isolate oneself from society is the bestseller’s best advice to escape the virus. But is that a sure way to protect oneself from the infection? Just as burying our past will not erase any wrong decisions we’ve taken.
Another milestone on my writing journey. I just completed the eight draft of my latest novel, Illusion of Wings—actually it must be my ninth since I kept on going back to change things while I was writing out my query letters. I had to finally put my pen down and tell myself it was enough… no more editing. We’ll see. Is a novel ever really finished? In any case, I have time to tinker around with the manuscript. The publishers take forever, if at all, to respond. It takes six to eight months or more for them to get back to you. I had one contact me after almost five years—luckily it was to offer me a contract. That’s why I send out simultaneous query letters with the mention that I will advise them immediately of any changes in the status of my submission. But these publishers are flooded with new submissions every week. They need to take the time to properly access each manuscript––not an easy task with few employees and limited budgets. Illusion of Wings, is a working title. What I consider to be a suitable title might appear strange to a potential publisher. I have yet to imagine what the cover would look like––that’s certainly not my specialty. But I do have time to think about it now that I’ve started sending out submissions. I’ll be posting my main characters’ backstory soon and hope to get any comment you can spare. Here is a short blurb:
Ailis, a 17 year-old indentured servant, is desperate to get her freedom. But escaping her master in Louisiana of the 1750s could get her whipped, branded and placed in stocks. Her plans are put on hold when her master sells her to a Montreal merchant to pay off a debt. She sails from New Orleans on a large frigate disguised as a cabin boy where she’s able to use her skills as a healer to treat the sailors. Once In Montreal, she continues to use her medicines to help people while serving her demanding mistress. Her plans of escaping to freedom are rekindled when she befriends, Reine, a black slave who harbours the same dream as her. Not long after, she meets up with Phil, a sailor she met on the ship, and starts making plans to leave the fortified city. She discovers that both her master and her mistress are hiding a secret which, if exposed, can lead to their downfall. Is she willing to go against what she believes in to negotiate her freedom? When one of the servants under her care dies, she’s accused of murder and imprisoned. She must find a way to avoid the gallows—but at what price?
The ebook format of my novel, The Daughters’ Story, has been released at several vendors. Hopefully, that will help with the sales, but at the end of the day, the reviews, good and bad, will be the determining factor as to whether the book will survive. Putting it through an extravaganza of promotional stunts will give it visibility and with that, maybe a handful of willing readers, but if none of them bother to comment on what they read––not something that comes natural––the book will have had its moment of fame and slowly disappear.
As writers, we put our hearts out there, hoping someone will listen, feel, rethink life, get angry or throw the book across the room. We want to touch someone’s heart or hit a nerve. An emotional reaction indicates the book has changed a reader’s life in some way, and perhaps it happens, but if the reader never gives any feedback, the author misses out on how to use their writing to maintain that vital writer-reader connection.
I’ve done what I could for the novel and now… time to roll up my sleeves and focus on my latest work.
Moving along… the advanced reading copies are out and heading for those who will read and hopefully review my work. They might like it… or maybe hate it.
Too much back story… characters not credible… pace too slow… weak structure… ending too abrupt… I’ll have a panic attack trying to come up with what I did wrong.
But maybe they’ll connect to the main character, Nadine––fingers crossed––and forgive all the flaws in the story. Nadine is banished to a home for unwed mothers in 1950. She’s 15. Her baby daughter, whose father is shrouded in secrecy, is put up for adoption without her permission. Vowing to reunite one day with her daughter, she cuts all ties with her dysfunctional Irish and French-Canadian Catholic family whose past is cluttered with secrets, betrayals, incest and violence.
As writers, we are dependent on the reader’s reaction to our work. Some will enjoy the book and review––or not. Others will make sure to comment if they don’t like something about the story. Both positive and negative reviews help to make the book visible to others. Without reviews, the book disappears.
It should be released May 1st, but it’s available for pre-orders which will arrive at the end of March.
Finally… the rewrites (numerous) are completed, the cover has been crafted and my novel is now ready for pre-sale at the publisher’s site. Amazon will only publish in May but the books will be ready on the publisher’s shelves by the end of March. It’s been a long journey but the time has come to wish it Godspeed and let it go.
Nadine is banished to a home for unwed mothers in 1950. She’s 15. Her baby daughter, whose father is shrouded in secrecy, is put up for adoption without her permission. Vowing to reunite one day with her daughter, she cuts all ties with her dysfunctional Irish and French-Canadian Catholic family whose past is cluttered with secrets, betrayals, incest and violence.
It’s now October 1970 in Montreal. Following two FLQ kidnappings, Ottawa proclaims the War Measures Act and sends the army into Quebec. These staggering events indirectly bring about a reunion between Nadine and her daughter Lisette, now 20 years old and embittered after being bounced from one foster home to another. Eight months pregnant, Lisette and her partner Serge, who is close to the FLQ, need money and see Nadine as a possible source.
A family saga with World Wars I and II, the Great Depression and the October crisis as backdrop, The Daughters’ Story tells the unsung, yet intensely passionate, tale of women whose unquenchable need to belong drives them to survive and thrive despite cruel conditions.
Today as all Fridays (although we’ll take a break to bring you some Christmas specials during the festive period) I bring you a guest author. This time is a classic that I think most of us will be familiar with (and especially with her characters): Beatrix Potter.
There is plenty of information about her on the internet. I leave you a short biography and links to more information about her and her works.
Helen Beatrix Potter was born on the 28th July 1866 in London (South Kensington). Both her grandparents had been industrialists in the cotton business (in the Manchester area) and her parents were quite wealthy and followers of the Unitarian faith. Her father was a barrister and amateur photographer and her mother enjoyed embroidery and drawing. They were both interested in the arts and encouraged Beatrix and her younger brother, Walter Bertram, in the pursuit of…
I still remember the day I started writing my first novel. I felt a little lost. I knew the basic concept of the story I wanted to tell, but the endless sea of possibilities on how to get there was overwhelming.
DiRaddo depicts the Montreal gay community in a realistic light. There are no stereotypes in this novel. His characters are well-rounded and totally likeable. Told in first person past tense, Paul, the POV character’s voice is strong and authentic. The story tackles the different phrases of a relationship––love, trust, jealousy, exclusivity, as well the importance of giving your partner freedom to explore his potential. The need to form a family unit of their own is paramount, The characters have chosen a different path to the one they had with their traditional families, yet there is still a deep-set need for parental approval. Paul bakes a strawberry pie every year on his deceased mother’s birthday. Michael keeps the childhood ornaments around him that gave him solace as a child. Although they hold on to the old memories and traditions that gave them comfort, a non-traditional lifestyle involves forming new rules and traditions which reflect their own experiences. No manual exists to guide them. A most thought-provoking read.
for reading and reviewing my book. Please check out his lovely, upbeat and warmly entertaining blog for book and movie reviews.
The Eurovision Song Contest, as befits a singing competition marking it 65th anniversary this year, is a great many things – gloriously and deliciously over the top, a great promotional vehicle for aspiring singers or those looking to revive their career, as camp as Christmas and a brilliant way to sew the seeds of togetherness and inclusivity.
But could it also be a hotbed of murderous passions and vengeful intrigue?
In Over My Dead Body: Murder at Eurovision (A Bebe Bollinger mystery) by Christoph Fischer, it is all that and more as mysterious shadowy figures, impelled by grudges unknowable, seek to mar the contest with all manner of…
Not only is the book, made to appear as if you’re reading into a tree, beautiful, but so is the story. Well-crafted, thought-provoking, and and at times touching and profound. Willow tells her adult son, “You don’t belong to me, I belong to you.” How true to life! Our parents’ spirit stays with us even after they leave us, making us smile, cry, look into ourselves, and shape the journey of our life. Highly recommended read.
Creating an About file is always a struggle for me. There’s nothing extraordinary about my life. I am grateful to be born in Canada where devastating hurricanes, flooding, and earthquakes aren’t commonplace, and where a visit to the hospital doesn’t involve working till the age of 95 to pay off the cost. I’m immensely grateful to have a roof to protect me from the elements, and enough food and water to keep me relatively healthy. Ordinary is a need for me––I don’t crave fame, fortune, great adventures, and neon lights.
Writing is sharing an emotional and spiritual connection between writer and reader. I have written many poems and stories through the years but a lot of them haven’t survived my weeding process. If the content of a piece is limited to a me experience, it won’t survive very long. If it connects beyond the ego, it has a better chance at survival. The poems and stories that appear in this blog aren’t written in cement. Some will disappear when I don’t feel that flutter when I reread them.
I’m from a small village in southern Quebec. I retired from teaching primary school to make time for my writing.
My novella for children, Culloo, was published by Pemmican Publications in 2014, and Baraka Books published my literary historical novel, The Daughters’ Story. My latest novel, Illusion of Wings, is currently being assessed.
Besides writing and reading, I try to find time to practice Yoga, to bake, and to create soaps, salves and tinctures concocted from the medicinal plants in my gardens.