Cassandra is a novel that was written between November 1988 and April 7, 1990.  It was a time when I was 26, just married, just moved to the Toronto area, pre-children.  The painting is from a photo taken around that time at a cottage in New Brunswick.  It has lived in my basement on a wall until the last couple of years and I am happy to see that it really fits the novel that was written around that time.  It too has lived in the basement for years, waiting for me to do something with it.

I’m happy to say that like my little novella Sarah, this one is going up on Tablo. Genève Blue is happy to put her name to this one 🙂 I am editing as I type it out on the computer and whether or not it becomes an Amazon ebook or a paperback (if so it will start out on remains to be seen.  I’ll decide that when I’m done.  In the meantime, it’s a pleasant trip back to the late ’80s and what it was like to be in my mid-twenties.

Seems like yesterday.

Off-Air update

product_thumbnailOff-Air by Genève Blue is a labour of love that spanned two Nanowrimos, got ignored by a publisher, I put it up on Lulu as a paperback, ordered a proof copy and realized there was a whole bunches of edits needed before hitting the “approve” button for review by Amazon.  That last bit was almost year ago.

So over this past 11 months I’ve been proof-reading the book and just waiting for the time to sit down and fix it all.  This vacation week I finally did a few things I’ve wanted to, and it all started with finding my first novel, Sarra, Alone in A Strange New World.  I was 17 when I wrote it and shows.  Still, for a 17 year old it wasn’t bad.  What freaked me out was that I wrote it 35 years ago and there’s a whole lot that was in that book (because it’s futuristic science fiction) that didn’t exist then.  And uh, they do now.  You’d have to read it for yourself to see what I mean.  Anyway, that’s on Tablo just as a freebie read, I don’t plan to make that an eBook or anything like that unless I get so many readers that it makes sense to do that, but honestly, I doubt that it’s that good.  It’s a fun and short read if you like that sort of thing.

This led to finally putting Genève’s I Ching Jukebox up finally as an eBook on Amazon.  It already is there as a hardcover, and I sold enough copies to get a royalty cheque (nothing to get up and jump about, it was their minimum release amount) but I hadn’t finished doing the eBook or softcover version.  This was my experiment and I’m pleased to say it was quite simple so that will be up on Amazon soon, and readable on Tablo.

So that led me to thinking about Off-Air, a book I really enjoyed writing and reading it over.  So I updated the Lulu paperback, ordered a proof copy with the royalty amount I had, and then worked on the eBook version.  I am pleased to say that’s another accomplishment.  It is readable on Tablo:  Off-Air.

This has been an incredible week off, and it’s not over yet 🙂  I have to revise my poetry book to approve the softcover copy up but it also makes me realize that here’s another book that needs the eBook treatment; and, I still need to finish formatting I Ching Jukebox as a paperback.  Will I do that this week?  Probably not.  Anyway, this all clears the way for more writing and painting which is something I’ve been desperate to get back to doing.

Yay me!

Sarra, Alone in a Strange New World – a novella on Tablo

Sarra, Alone in A Strange New World is a book I wrote back when I was 17-18.  I had big dreams back then, I was going to be a world famous author and this was my first finished book.  I sent it off to many publishers and waited and waited and … nobody liked it. Rejected, it sank to the bottom of a box and waited while I grew up, got married, got unmarried, had children, wrote lots of other stuff, moved, got a few things published, published a few more on my own. It came to see the light of day today.

Back in 1979-80 young adult fiction didn’t really exist, certainly nothing of the brevity of the vampire novels and hundreds of others that have been published in the last ten years or so.

I decided that since this novella had been typed on now yellowing paper and if that’s gone it’s gone forever, I should try and transcribe it to a Word file.  At the end of Chapter 1 (about a third of the way through) I thought: you know what?  It’s not that bad.  And there’s some freaky things in there if you consider that it was written 35 years ago.

I haven’t changed it except for spelling errors and adding a couple of “he said”s to clarify things.

This is what I do on my vacations, when I’m not playing with pallets in the backyard trying to create stuff, and eating ice cream by the Saint John River.

Life is good.

Two Links of Shameless Self-Promotion, and one of my favorite contests

Here’s the shameless self-promotion part.  I’m enjoying using Tablo for posting my works in progress with eventual publishing in mind.  While I usually use Lulu and still very highly recommend it, I also like being able to let people read stuff while it’s being worked on and being able to get comments and followers.

First, my promise of finally putting my short stories into book form is in progress.  I’ve titled it Goodnight, God after one of my favorite short stories.  If I want to be remembered for anything, it’s Goodnight, God and Karen – those are the two stories closest to my heart (so far).  The short stories are under my own name, Catherine M. Harris:

Next, there’s my in progress Nano novel still called the Late Night Cleaner’s Club but it may wind up being called something else since it’s less about cleaners and a whole more about a middle aged son caring for his mother who has demetia, and his life observations, memories (and his mother’s as well).  It’s a little different from what Genève Blue usually writes in that so far there’s no ghosts or paranormal at all 🙂

So finally, the CBC Creative Non-Fiction contest is back, and closes March 1st.  Don’t know what I’ll write about this year but I’m sure I’ll think of something.

Now back to my Sunday evening.


Yup, I’m a winner in Nanowrimo but where do we go from here?

I am very happy that once again I’ve got a really good start on a book.  It’s tentatively titled Late Night Cleaners Club however it may not be staying with that title.  It depends on whether I work what I had originally intended for that title into this book.  It’s hard to say.

A synopsis:  Doug is a middle aged man who visits his mom in Fredericton for Thanksgiving.  When he gets there, he realizes that something is wrong, his mom is not herself and what’s worse, she thinks his father is in Toronto.  He’s not.  A trip to the doctor confirms his suspicion – his mother has dementia.  Since she is barely able to handle things at home, Doug decides he better take leave from his job and go to Fredericton to take care of his mother.  His wife is not amused.

This book is a journey through memories and follows the decent into silence that dementia is; it’s about a mother’s love, a marriage hanging by a thread, and the exploration of relationships that happens when you are faced with a serious illness of a close family member.  There is humour, touching, sad moments.

This is a book that I think people will appreciate.  At 50k words it is not finished; I expect that it will be about 150k when it is.

I do have a promise that unlike my 2012 novel that is about half way at 75k words I will finish this one.  My 2012 book is a humorous fictional novel that deals with what it’s like to work for the government (think Yes Minister but from the point of view of us minions, not the DM level).  For various reasons I’ve shelved it for the time being but it will be completed in due course.

What’s next for me is continuing on this new novel and finishing the edit of the first edition of Off-Air after which it will be (I hope) approved for Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  I will also be illustrating and publishing my children’s story The Troll of Barondale and compiling a book of essays and a book of short stories.  So you see, I’m busy.

The two published novels, I Ching Jukebox and Off-Air are published under pen-name Genève Blue because fiction is indeed fiction and that’s my way of putting space between the real me and pure imagination.  Other publications, such as Polariods Get Yellow (my illustrated book of poetry) and my essays and short stories are published under the name Catherine M. Harris.  Yup, that’s me.

So stay tuned.  As you can guess I am really happy with my latest nano attempt.

Now about Nanowrimo: I have read and been part of discussions on the merit and the foolishness of trying to write a novel in a month.  The fact is that how quickly and indeed how people write is individual.  For me, this exercise forces me to put aside extraneous things and get busy.  The hardest thing I find is just having the time and the perseverance to not take several years to finish a piece of work.  It’s easy to get distracted with life so I appreciate this month of writing time.  It doesn’t always work – last year’s effort got as far as about 2k words when I knew that what I was thinking of would take research and I just wasn’t all that into it.

50k of words is a novella.  As a short story writer and poet used to trying to condense emotion and thought into a short space initially that amount of words was a daunting experience.  However, once I saw that it gave more space to truly explore deeply the characters and their emotions I have learned that novel writing is an experience that I use for my more complex ideas.  I don’t write as many short stories as I used to because I now look at them for ideas that require a short punch – not an entire world and bevy of characters.  I view this as evolution.

I have been told that you can’t just sit down and write a novel.  There needs to be a story board and plot outlines and character sketches to attempt it and for those people who do this, all the more power to you.  I envy your organizational skills.  For me though writing comes from a space that I can’t explain.  I see a sentence – my first line – and everything just flows from there.  It’s how I’ve always written and how I intend to continue.  Whether a novel takes me ten years or two is irrelevant.  It’s how the inspiration hits me and that’s all.

People say how good can a book be if you just whip it off in 30 days?  Well, probably pretty messy.  That’s what editing is all about, and that’s where proof reading after the book is edited and published comes in.  The editing is the hard part and most assuredly the longest – at least for me it is.  Some day if I ever get picked up by a publisher I hope that I’ll rub shoulders with an editor that comes with that book contract.  In the meantime I rely on my own skill and those of a few chosen fellow writers to be those extra set of eyes.

In that I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that one of my favorite editors Mark Atherton died earlier this year.  I miss him, and I hope that where ever a soul goes when you die, he’s happy.  He deserves it.

Now back to my novel.