Back in the Groove

Two things have been happening since my last blog post eons ago.

Number 1

I moved.

Moving is much like doing a major spring cleaning of every room in your house. Every nook and cranny and every spec of dust. In a way, it was very liberating and made me practice minimalism. It struck me as incredible and depressing to see how much stuff I’d accumulated throughout the years.

I moved into a smaller apartment and so I needed to downsize and trim my possessions. I still haven’t been able to let go of a small beige colored handbag which I haven’t used in years but it used to belong to my mother. What am I holding unto?

And then there was the move itself during Montreal’s heaviest snowstorm of the season!



Oops! Sorry, wrong photo!



My poor dog, Bau, didn’t at all like the move.

Wake me when it’s over!



Number 2

The second reason why I haven’t been posting on my blog is that I had nothing to say.

Then, I received an e-mail from Thelma Mariano, the editor of my women’s fiction novels:

New Picture (9)  balawydermissisdatingadventures  cafe paradise a  Not by Design

Thelma was recently interviewed by Duke Diercks where, along with 12 other editors, was asked this question:

What is the #1 mistake that you see first-time authors make?

 Here’s part of her answer:

 Most first-time novelists underestimate the amount of work required to bring their completed draft to a publishable level. This leads to what I believe is the #1 problem with early manuscripts: a lack of story tension.

If we lack a “story-worthy” problem, something strong enough to pull a reader through hundreds of pages, needing to know what happens next, no amount of editing will make it better.

Click here to read more on Thelma’s answer

and here on the editing process

62 thoughts on “Back in the Groove

  1. Welcome back, Carol and congrats on the move. We recently did the same, including having to rid ourselves of years of accumulations. It was stressful but worth it. And I agree with your editor’s advice. We need to give the readers something to keep reading about!

    • I know but it’s also getting used to my new environment. I moved from a bustling city environment to a calm, quiet country like environment. Life is full of good-byes and hellos! 🙂

  2. Enjoyed hearing about your move, Carol, and your editor’s words of wisdom. Now I’m off to visit the links, thank you. Loved the joke about the wrong photo, too. 🙂

  3. I know all about the difficulty of moves, Carol! I don’t envy you one tiny bit. I’m very glad that you were able to get settled, though. And I’m sure Beau will settle in, too. Thanks very much for the good advice, too, about writing. It’s always good to hear what experts in the business say. Delighted to see you back!

  4. Welcome back Carol. It’s nice to have a break but yours sounds like a very busy one! We are selling our house too and definitely don’t like the thought of moving either and might just say “wake me up when it’s all done!” great advice about writing! I agree 💚💚

  5. Hi Carol,

    Congratulations on your move! I hope you will be happy in your new place.

    Jocelyne xo


      • We moved two and half years back. I didn’t really want to but we could not afford that big house any longer and the girls had moved so.. But it was so, so hard. All the memories of our lives there as a family. Cards on the table, it was meant to be a downsize but ..well… the place we got was in a mess so going far below its value. I think the worst was the biz of turfing out. Like the cupboards and the attic eaves were like fossilized layers of our past there. Anyway I got ruthless cos although our present place had quite good storage I thought I am not taking 3 feet off the huge attic room to store a lot of old rubbish, although I wished and wished for even one set of attic eaves like we had. After I had turfed an Everest mountain to the local dump, we pops over to see where the utility things were etc and as we drive away my Mr goes,’ Do you know there’s a set off attic eaves that are bigger than ours in that attic?’ They weren’t on the schedule. Hell, I shoulda wished for an indoor swimming pool etc etc….

      • Moving has a way of poking into past memories and facing us with some sort of grief. I’d been in the neighbourhood I moved from for the last twenty-five years or so. Like you I couldn’t afford anymore where I was and moving to a smaller place (out of the city core) gave me more financial breathing space. And a lot of other kinds of breathing space: woods along the seaway for example.
        So nice that you got more attic eaves!
        Enjoy your weekend. Hugs. xxx

      • Oh I do. I had a proper door put on them and everything! We were lucky enough to move back to the area we lived in when we were married first. It is much more ‘cosmopolitan’ now, if you like, which is great. xxx

  6. Congrats on the move! When you survive that, you know how strong you are. I did it three times in five years (settled now, finally, for over 2 years) and it was an ordeal. However, I did lose weight (moving is hard work) and feel much lighter just for getting rid of too much ‘stuff.’
    As far as our writing goes – YES, I try to start each chapter with a hook, and end each chapter with a hook, so the reader wants/needs to keep turning the page.
    Glad you’re back here blogging with us. Keep it coming!

  7. Carol, lovely to see you back!😀❤️ Oh no, moving is stressful enough without it being during a terrible snowstorm. I hope the actual day went okay (as can be expected) and that you are settling in well in your new apartment. Does Bau look any happier now? Minimalising is all good and well but some objects carry a lifetime’s worth of memories, nearly have a soul in themselves…they just have to stay! Your editor’s words are so true and that story tension has to be one of the major elements to keeping a reader hooked! I’m bookmarking Thelma’s website…who knows when I might be able to approach her! 😃

    • So lovely to see and read you here, Annika. Yes, in spite of all the snow the move went well and I am pretty much settled in my new place. It’s an adjustment, of course as I moved into a different environment and life-style and Bau is somewhat happier.
      I like what you said about objects having a soul in themselves. Well said! 🙂
      Have a terrific weekend. ❤

  8. Grrr, Carol. I see my comment has vanished. I was welcoming you back and saying that I thought you were in hiding working on a new crime novel, lol. Glad you got through the move and I’ve missed your presence, so glad to have you back. And thanks for sharing the link about editing. 🙂 ❤

    • Thanks for taking the time to post again! You are truly sweet! <3.
      I am working on a new novel and that also took up part of my time but it was mostly the move that kept me busy. You know how it is: packing, unpacking, cleaning and all the little details that go along with moving like change of address, bank etc.
      But it's also stimulating and fun to be in a new place and a different environment.
      Have a great weekend. Hugs! ❤

    • Moving can be stressful, and is, but it can also be very exciting and stimulating. I needed this change so I understand when you say you so want to move. When I began thinking of wanting to move it took me quite some time before I found out where I wanted to move to. I walk around many different neighborhoods! 🙂
      I am still getting adjusted to a new area, and a new life-style. Hmm, maybe I will write about getting adjusted. 🙂

  9. Hi Carol,

    Thanks for posting that interview I had with Duke … it seems to have struck a positive note with your readers.

    And I LOVE that photo of Bau hiding under the covers. Really cute!

    I think blogging about adjusting to your new environment is a great idea. Maybe there are aspects of your new place that inspire you to write more? Or free you up in some way?

    Meanwhile, good luck on getting settled in. By the time summer comes along, you (and Bau) will be able to enjoy the scenery on Nuns Island. Looking forward to getting together a little later this year…

    Best regards,



  10. Welcome back! My husband and I have lived in the same house for almost 27 years now (longest either of us ever lived in one place) and I often cringe at the thought of moving (which we eventually want to do). Parting with our books is always the hardest, although with ebooks now, there’s simply no excuse to hoard books that we know we may never read. Over the years I have given away items that were once very sentimental. At first it was hard, but when I realized that it was my memories of the person, and not the concrete object, that I’d turn to, it became easier. And I do mean “easier,” not easy. Still, one handbag. How much space can that take up 😉

    • I realize that one handbag (and it’s more of a clutch) takes up little space.  I guess in my decluttering phase I became rather ruthless! I was living in my place for 16 years and when I decided that I wanted to move I began to slowly get rid of stuff. In a previous move, I had gotten rid of a lot of books. I had decided to keep only those books which I truly loved. Besides, books are heavy to lug around. Still, I was left with a considerable number of boxes filled with books in this current move. And these days I tend to buy e-books. Thanks for being here! ❤

      • We had dinner with another couple our age who are thinking of moving from a large house to a condo. The wife has a lot of furniture items that she feels strongly sentimental about: a piano that her grandmother played on but no longer works; a record cabinet from the 1920s. Indeed, a clutch is one thing … but a whole bedroom suite is something else.

  11. I’m glad you survived the move – I hate moving and every time I’ve done it in the past few years there’s been torrential rain, but you get snow! Yikes. Hopefully no more moves for me now 😉 I love the advice from your editor and it’s great to see you back here xxx

  12. Welcome back, Carol!
    Thanks for the links. I’ll be hopping over to check them out.
    I’m sure you’re glad the move is over. We did the same downsizing move in November. We are still going through stuff and asking why we brought this or that, found we don’t have room for a few items we thought we couldn’t live without, and clearing out so much clutter. We over-estimated the amount of space we would have. LOL. Good luck in your new surroundings. Hugs.

    • I so understand how you overestimated the amount of space in your new place. I brought way too much glassware. I will never again have seated diner parties for 25! Good luck with your own de-cluttering. It really is an ongoing process, isn’t it? Thanks for coming over. I really appreciate it. 🙂

  13. Congrats on your move. I am at the phase where my kids are moving out. Yay! But it’s a lot of work to move their stuff (which they don’t want to take.) also the advise for first time writers was fascinating and helpful. Good luck!

    • I know what you mean about your kids not wanting to take their stuff. Even though my daughter is no longer living with me, my locker her is filled with much of her stuff.

  14. So true about maintaining tension in the book so that the reader continues on.. otherwise the book may fall to the floor 😉 I’m happy you got through the move! Awww the doggie wants a bit more sleep and I hope you get a nice rest too xx

  15. Carol, congratulations on completing the move! I know that is an exciting, scary and emotionally-draining task. It’s been a while since I’ve moved but one never forgets. I’m glad you survived it. I have to admit that my heart fell when I read you had nothing to say. I disagree! While I appreciated reading the words and advice of your editor, I am always interested in reading your words, your posts. You are so encouraging and you have such a gift for making me strive to better my craft, my life. In short you’re inspiring! So even if you simply posted “roses are red,” it would be awesome! Looking forward to your next words. Enjoy your new life path.

    • Ann, thank you for your very, very kind and encouraging words. It truly pleases me that I have somehow (to my surprise) touched you to better your craft…:)
      We are all in this together. ❤

  16. I like that reason, it is so true. After realizing I was in a hurry to get my novella (self-)published, I rushed it. Then I became a reader and when I read it I didn’t like the product I had put out there for vanity. I decided to edit it, got two editors (make that three counting me because I just finished my Proofreading and Copy Editing Course from The Writers Bureau, UK), and I am now re-(self-)publishing it. I like it (as a reader), but as a writer there is always a mistake you spot there and there. That’s really good advice from Thelma. You help me a lot, Carol.

  17. I’m sorry to arrive late to the new home post! Congratulations, Carol! I like how once it is all over, this gsare clean, organized and downsized! I was kind of pushed into leaving a house we had built from the basement up. Oh, how I loved every wall I decorated with paintings like five foot tall sunflowers I painted on a creamy peach basein the laundry room. In each bathroom, a beach scene, a lavender combed base with a ribbon with violets along the top, etc. The buyers told me I could “visit” the house, they weren’t going to change any paintings.
    I moved to a downtown apartment, locked front and back doors, multigenerational living with college students, adults with special needs and regular, non-student people from 24 – 70! I chose small, special furniture and collectables, as well as art by my grown kids , brother Randy and a few paintings which are “worth something.”
    I have been here for ten years, Carol! Fun memories of my new “neighborhood” and my grandies still enjoy camping out here in my one bedroom place. Someone wise said to me, “It’s not the size of your home but how big your world is!” Happy relaxing and breathing fresh, country air to you, dear friend. ❤

    • Oh, Robin, your house you’d built from the basement up sounds really special with your artistic touches throughout it. But now you have a different canvas that you seem to have settled into.
      Unlike you, I moved from out of the city to a much quieter and wild environment. Just down the block is the seaway with its pathway filled with bird songs and the nesting of geese and ducks on the golf course which I see from my office window. Inside, my new living space is smaller than what I had in the city but my outdoor space is so much larger!
      Your grandies must love the intimacy of your place. That is the real joy, isn’t it? And to your quote I would add how big your heart is. Lovely to see you here, Robin. ❤

      • Aww, thank you, dear Carol. I am not really sad about the house. I’ve had a lot of fun times and we use the college campus next door, walking in circles on a labyrinth, sitting in rocking chairs, walking across the creek bridges. . . The scenery you have is full of joy of nature. Birds singing and geese flying are wonderful sounds floating on the air. hugs xo

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