Bau: It’s here!

It’s finally on sale – a book which I have been working on for years.

Throughout these years the book’s title has changed. It first was Only the Lonely, inspired by Roy Orbison’s iconic song Only the Lonely and which I also included as a quote in the beginning of the novel.

Then the title became The Boy Next Door but I found it told only part of the story. The Set Up was the third title but after a bit of research I found that there were too many books with that title.

Finally, I settled with Just Before Sunrise because it evokes the question: What happened just before sunrise? Which is the whole point of the story.

Right now, Bau, who has been so tolerant throughout this process is still manifesting his patience and control. He is just eagerly waiting for me to finish this post and press publish so that he can go for his well earned walk.

I am very proud to present my dog Mom’s latest novel Just Before Sunrise. It is available in both e-book and paperback.

I hope that those of you who will read it will enjoy it.  

Description on AMAZON

How I Got Published: Wendy James

wendy-james

Wendy James is the author of six books, including The Mistake (2012) and Out of the Silence, which won the 2006 Ned Kelly Award for Best First Crime fiction and was shortlisted for the Nita May Dobbie Award for women’s writing.  James writes about women’s lives: their domestic and interior lives as well as the bigger picture – the intersection of the political and the personal. She currently lives in Newcastle, New South Wales, with her husband and two of their four children.

HOW I GOT PUBLISHED

I actually started out writing short stories, so my first published work was a story that was published in the lovely literary journal, Voices, which was put out by the National Library of Australia, back in the mid nineties. A few months before the story was accepted I’d won a university short fiction competition, quite unexpectedly, and that gave me the confidence to reach for the stars — publication.  I was young and naive, and had no idea about the realities (and hard work!) of writing and publishing, and somehow imagined that everyone would be just as thrilled as I was  …  I remember feeling really silly when I asked the publisher’s assistant whether she’d enjoyed the story (who asks this?) and she replied rather tersely that she didn’t really know, as she was too busy typing up the damn manuscript to read it. This was back in the early-ish days of home computers, and my already outdated Mac didn’t have a word-processing doc that was compatible with the publisher’s computer. I’d written the story as a bit of an experiment – there’s a bit of playing around with language and technique – and to be honest, these days I find this story a little painful…

 There’s not quite any feeling to match the exhilaration of that first publication, but even now, almost twenty years later, and with a quite a few stories and articles and novels out there, I  still find it incredibly exciting to see my words in print, available for all the world to read. These days I do manage to resist the temptation to ask readers whether they enjoyed it …

HER LATEST BOOK 

 From the bestselling author of The Mistake comes a hauntingly powerful story about families and secrets and the dark shadows cast by the past.

Continue reading

Himalayan Jungle Rose

Yesterday I was doing a bit of office clean-up and came across some packages of incense which I had bought on my yoga trip to India and had forgotten about them.

One package was Himalayan Jungle Rose.

I am usually not a huge fan of incense but I opened the package and immediately could smell its sweetness even before lighting a stick.

The incense filled my home with its lovely scent not unlike that of a bouquet of roses.

But what was even more astonishing was this description of the incense on the package:

Rose is well known for the Aromatic beauty and healing property. “Queen Flower” incense uses in worship, purifies the atmosphere & making tranquil with its fragrance. Brings peace and happiness to the soul, soothes mind & body, energizing the heart chakra, increases love, compassion & devotion and gives a sense of security and spiritual attunement.

The sight of a majestic mountain such as the Himalayas is certainly beautiful but so can the smell of a rose.

In this hectic period let’s take time to smell the roses.

ABOUT PERSEVERANCE

While I was scanning through my TBR list on my Kindle for something that would inspire me in my writing I came across Lady By The River – Stories of Perseverance, coedited by Yvette Prior. 

I am a believer in chance and fate so it brought a smile to my heart when one of the essays was about writing and perseverance. Just what I needed to read.

Mabel Kwong’s: How I Found the Confidence to Chase My Passion and Made It A Reality is filled with heart warming advice about the struggles of being a writer.

An Australian Chinese-Malaysian writer Mabel Kwong is fascinated by issues such as multiculturalism, racism, stereotypes and identity issues. Her difficulties with her writing range from rejections and lack of support from a family where

artsy jobs are deemed riskier career choices and so are often frowned upon.

Mabel Kwong fought these obstacles.

When we push on and keep trying, we feel the flame of inspiration within us amidst growing confidence.

When we muster the courage and try our hand at what we are passionate about, we ignite the spark within us to put ourselves and our voice out there.

Following this story I was delighted to discover that it was written by Ana Linden, a fellow blogger whose writing and photography I greatly admire. I have read and enjoyed every one of her books. Her style of writing is raw and she is fearless in exposing her heart. This is especially true in her essay titled Present in the Past.

Ana Linden’s story is why for years she avoided going back to her childhood home and finally having the courage to confront the power of her past.  

 I had felt the effects of her (grandmother’s) manipulative, selfish and cruel nature at a time when I desperately wanted to believe nothing of that was real, because I loved her…You never get over certain things, but you learn to live with them, to control what they do to you.

When at 19 she finally left her home town, (F)uelled not by hopes and dreams of idealistic youth, I left it driven by anger and hatred.

Ana Linden’s writing is honest and bold at its core as she minutely describes her pain and mistreatment. She pushes on to simply survive my family and not become like them.

To quote Yvette Prior in her introduction to Ana Linden:

Ana processed her past with us, showing us how she turned pain and mistreatment into motivation, to then later dispense grace from a place of strength. 

The collection includes ten other moving stories where patience and friendship, determination, learning to embrace challenges, coping strategies and sharing all are part of the fabric of perseverance. In her conclusion of this collection and study on perseverance, Yvette Prior writes:

It takes an effort to endure, but it can pay off with an enriched you, and with an inspiring story to tell later.

Bau: My New Friend, Cosmo

During my last visit at Dog Therapy, Yara, one of my many fans, showed me a photo of her dog, Cosmos. Many of my fans come to see me because they miss their dogs back home.

I guess while they’re petting me they’re thinking about their own best friend.

Doesn’t Cosmo look handsome with his eye-make-up?

Yara, told me that the imprint of his heart was always there. It wasn’t shaved

or tattooed. What a special dog!

Thank you, Yara, for sharing your dog.

Stevie Turner: Falling

Falling has a unique premise: James Hynde, at the end of his rope, decides to commit suicide by jumping off a building. He lands on Olivia who is coming from an interview with the Royal Ballet Company and her dreams of becoming a ballerina are literally crushed while James has failed his suicide attempt.

Wheelchair bound, Olivia is intent on getting her revenge to the man who ruined her life.

Falling is a novel with two very well rounded characters filled with greed, money, revenge and yes, even romance as a relationship between Olivia and James ensues. Not an ordinary love story though, where, James’ motivation is guilt for having ruined Olivia’s dream while Olivia’s is one of bitter revenge. Two people marrying each other for the wrong reason.   

About a quarter of the way through the novel Olivia’s revenge is blocked by several obstacles involving a mother-in-law, tainted money and the appearance of an ex-wife.

Life keeps knocking Olivia down, yet each time she manages to get up with courage and determination. James, on the other hand, is out to prove that he is not a deadbeat loser.

When Olivia discovers that her dream of opening up a ballet school is squashed by James’ dark secret, their marriage turns for the worse. Olivia wants a divorce which James refuses to give her and they end up being business partners.

In lockdown, will their business partnership survive?  

I enjoyed this novel. It is a fun, light read with twists and turns that make it unpredictable.

The moral of the story, in my opinion, is spoken by Olivia’s mother:

“Don’t let what’s happened to you make you bitter. It’ll destroy the rest of your life.”

BAU: My Fans

Thank you Malak Aly for the photo.

How great to get all this love and affection from these McGill students. I adored how they said I was so cute when I sat and gave them a high five and when I did a little dance for them. Here I am thinking about how lucky I am to be a dog.

A discussion got to Montreal on allowing dogs on the subway as of October 15. This surprised a student from Germany and another from Columbia who said that in their country dogs and cats have always been allowed on public transport. I have heard that even pigs and chickens are permitted on buses in Mexico.

Montreal will only allow dogs on with a muzzle. What is that? Then the nice law student from Germany said that instead of putting muzzles on dogs they ought to put them on violent people taking public transportation. I’m going to vote for him to install such a doggie law. VOTE!

D. Wallace Peace: The Necromancer’s Daughter

In her acknowledgment page D. Wallace Peach writes how Cathleen Townsend, a beta reader and editor challenged her to write a book “with one beautiful character, not someone physically stunning, but someone with a beautiful heart, a truly good person.”

Taking up the challenge, D. Wallace Peach created the royal daughter Aster, a sweet, innocent and fearless girl who was born dead but brought to life by Barus, an old, slight, crippled man who practices the art of bringing the dead back to life through necromancy.

Necromancy: The Summoning, Manipulation, and Resurrection of the Dead.

Barus, learned the art of necromancy through Olma, the woman who’d rescued his abandoned body in the woods and her book of herbal craft.

When Barus is summoned by the King of Verdant to save his dying wife, the Queen and the child she bares, the Queen begs the King to allow her to die but to save the baby. Upon discovering that the baby is a girl King Aldring abandons her and Barus steals her and brings her up as his child.

The loving bond between Aster and Barus is one of the most touching and beautiful father/daughter relationships in literature. This is expressed in letters which Barus wrote while separated from Aster:

You were my first attempt at necromancy that mattered. I knew then that you would become my snow fairy and transform my lonely days with your bright spirit.

Aster learns this skill of using herbs, poisonous distillates, incantations and human blood to resuscitate the dead.

In a later letter, Barus explains to Aster how her mother, the princess of Blackrock’s marriage to King Aldring was a political exchange and how she entered this world through an act of sacrifice.

When King Aldring is close to death, he must find an heir and so he seeks out Aster and brings her to his palace.

From there, the novel turns into an adventure where Aster escapes, crossing borders into Catticut where she encounters dragons and much hardship. The forest of silver cats lay between her and the mountains of Blackrock – her mother’s homeland – where Aster hopes to find Barus still alive.  

This is a story of a young woman’s courage, hope, and loyalty.

Besides the plot, the novel shines with its exquisite, poetic descriptions.  

Much has been written about this novel both through her 10 day book tour.

 and her many 5 star reviews of the book on Amazon.

D. Wallace Peach has succeeded in creating a beautiful character, not someone physically stunning, but someone with a beautiful heart, a truly good person.  One of literature’s heroines.

Finally, I was most impressed by D. Wallace Peach’s talent and vivid imagination.  

Screenwriting: Update on the Logline

I realize that I have been neglecting my blog posts on screenwriting. The thing is, I was busy writing my screenplay. Now that I’ve finished it (for now) I’d like to share what I learned about screenwriting for TV or film.

A few posts ago I wrote about the logline which you can have a look at here:

https://wordpress.com/post/carolbalawyder.com/10156

One of the ideas I discovered in my process to screenwriting is that your script should be presented in a certain standard, much like a play might be presented. There are quite a few screenwriting softwares out here, depending on your needs. I chose to write on ARC STUDIO and really like it. I am still on it.

So here’s a link to their website and especially what they have to say about the log line:  

(… the basic formula of a logline is protagonist + catalyst + protagonist’s goal + antagonist/conflict. 

https://www.arcstudiopro.com/blog/logline-the-most-important-thirty-words-youll-write

Thanks for reading. 🙂

BAU: I’M BACK

After a summer holiday and assisting my guardian in her writing projects, we’re back to volunteering. Our first gig was at The McGill Grad fair.

Here I am with some grad students. I wasn’t too happy about being in this photo as you can tell. Not relaxed at all.

I love a good back rub. I am with the volunteers who greeted me with such warmth at the door.

And here I am with George and two new volunteers. The volunteer holding me said this was her first time holding a dog. She held me like a baby. As you can see I had total confidence in her.

Smorgasbord Bookshelf – Summer Book Fair 2022 – #Crimethriller Carol Balawyder, #Thriller #Haiti Mark Bierman

During the summer Sally is posting reviews from her Bookshelf. I was both grateful and fortunate to have her post my recent novel.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Over the course of the summer months I will be sharing the recommended authors who feature in the Smorgasbord Bookshelf along with their books and a selected review.

The first featured author today is Carol Balawyder – with her coming of age crime thriller...Just Before Sunrise

About the book

A coming-of-age story with a domestic noir twist.

Nadine, tired of running her call-girl agency has upgraded to gold digger as she finds the perfect rich widower to marry. Discovering that her wealthy widower is an abuser she seduces his stepson, Charlie, to plot her husband’s murder.

But things don’t go as planned and soon she is turning to her experience hiring young call-girls to find the perfect girl to save her from going to prison…

Homeless Maya is drifting on the streets, grieving the recent loss of her mother.
When she is offered the opportunity to prepare a…

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