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!

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Oops! Sorry, wrong photo!

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

Wake me when it’s over!

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

Why I Changed My Cover

In my last post I revealed a cover for my latest novel Not By Design. 

Many of you took the time to comment positively about the cover and with all my heart – THANK YOU!

In the midst of this ego boost I received an e-mail from Debby at  D.G.Kaye who offered a different opinion, pointing out that my cover, although appealing, did not “go with” my brand.

The photo doesn’t give me an immediate feel for what the book is about. And the title should be in stronger font and stand out more, like your other books. Maybe like your Finding Mr. Right book, so it stands out and follows the branding of the previous book?

I literary struggled with the decision to change the cover of my book. At first I tried to take the easy way out and just go ahead with the status quo.  Also because so many of you wrote such lovely comments about the cover I didn’t want to take the risk of offending you by changing it. Besides, I too liked the cover.

I admire Debby’s work and that she has read all my previous books in my Getting To Mr. Right Series added clout to her critique. Plus, there was this annoying tiny voice nudging me to pay attention.

As these things so often happen, Jenny Nash’s weekly post was on getting advice. An interesting article worth reading, as Jenny’s articles are, but what particularly stuck with me were these words:

Most important of all, don’t lose sight of your own heart. When you get advice, weigh it against what you think. Does it ring true to you? Does it strike a nerve? Can you see how incorporating it will make your work more clear, more logical, and more whole? If yes, then by all means, take the advice.

Debby’s advice did strike a nerve that I couldn’t ignore, especially what she said about branding.

What did I know about branding except nothing. Then, I came across a tutorial on branding which you can find here.

If I was to be honest with myself I had to admit that my current cover, as eye-catching as it was, was not the right fit for my Getting To Mr. Right series. It just didn’t go with the other covers.  Something I should have thought about beforehand. But honestly, I hadn’t at all considered branding.

 

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As hard as it was for me to let go of the “old” cover, I had to do it.

The cover I’ve ended up choosing is more faithful to the character’s spirit and, hopefully, more in tune with the other books in this series.

 

NOT BY DESIGN (1)

 

In a life turned upside down, Felicity finds joy is sometimes just around the corner.

Ever since she first appeared in Getting To Mr. Right, Felicity Starr has been struggling to find her own kind of contentment. Now, at thirty-five and living in Rome, Felicity is about to break into the world of fashion design, and caught in a flurry of plans for her wedding when calamity strikes.

Her father’s sudden death brings into question the whole meaning of success. Then Marco, the man she’s about to marry, leaves her when he learns of her Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis.

Forced to return to Montreal, Felicity finds her life thrust into unexpected turns. As she confronts the on-going challenges presented by her disease, she gains the strength to let go of old beliefs and face her inner truths.

Love, friendship and rewarding work come in different forms and Felicity finds it all in ways she never imagined – in a life that’s not by design.

 

Buy Not By Design – A Getting To Mr. Right Series

 Amazon

 

 

 

Seeking Purpose

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I’m pleased and honored to be featured on Joanne’s blog. A member of Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime, and Romance Writers of America, Joanne writes paranormal romance, cozy mysteries, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario.
If you haven’t yet been on Joanne’s blog I encourage you to browse through it. You’re sure to be inspired.

http://joanneguidoccio.com/

 

Joanne Guidoccio

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have Canadian author Carol Balawyder musing about the two acts of her writing journey.

Here’s Carol!

carolbalawyderI am so grateful to be featured among so many (over 90!) wonderful writers in Joanne Guidoccio’s Second Acts series.

In life one has many second acts but the one which I wish to focus on here is my writing journey.

ACT ONE

Five years ago I retired from a successful teaching career with the luck of a pension that allowed me the freedom to write without the financial burden of having a day job. My initial intention was to put my heart and soul into writing crime novels. After all, wasn’t that the purpose for my going back to school to study criminology and later teach Police Tech and Corrections so that I would have credibility as a crime writer?

mourninghasbrokenBut then people around me…

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Donut or doughnut?

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Every Christmas my French Canadian mother-in-law used to make donuts just like the ones in this photo which we’d all scramble for. It seems that donuts have been a Christmas tradition in many cultures.

“Different takes on doughnuts are to be found on every Italian table during Christmas festivities,” says food writer Eleonora Galasso, whose first cookbook As the Romans Do will be published in 2016. “They’re called different names in each of the 20 regions: roccocò in Naples, cuddureddi in Sicily, torcetti in Piedmont, ciambelline al vino in Rome. In the different shape of these doughnuts you can find both Pagan and Christian symbols.” Katy Salter (The Trendiest Festive Snack in Town).

Continue reading

Giving Thanks

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October 12: Canada’s Thanksgiving Day.

For all of you who have followed me and continue to do so; for your awesome posts and wonderful books; for all who have read my books and posted reviews on Amazon, Goodreads and other social media; for those who have featured me on their blogs and websites

 I THANK YOU 💖 

In appreciation, all my books are on sale this week.

http://www.amazon.com/Carol-Balawyder/e/B00HVETKWM

Reviews are gratefully welcome 🙂

 

Two Interviews

I have been blessed this month to be interviewed twice.

Judy Penz Sheluk’s debut novel, The Hangman’s Noose is an Amateur Sleuth with an Edge mystery. She also runs a series of interviews with authors on her blog. I am so happy to be part of her Interview With Authors Series.

Interview with an Author: Carol Balawyder

Carol Balawyder

My guest today is Carol Balawyder. Carol holds degrees in both criminology and literature. It is this mixture that brings her to want to write crime novels, but it was her divorce that led her to write fiction about being single in mid-life.

Carol’s short stories have appeared in The Anthology of Canadian Authors Association, Room Magazine, Entre Les Lignes, Mindfulness.org and Carte Blanche. She also manages a blog where she posts series on: Female Nobel Prize Laureates, Famous Writers’ Desks, The Femme Fatale, Interviews with crime writers on How They Got Published, Ten Great First Dates and posts on writing.

Cafe ParadiseJudy: Tell us a bit about your latest novel, Cafe Paradise

Carol: The protagonist in Cafe Paradise is Suzy Paradise (who also was one of the four main characters in Getting To Mr. Right). At fifty-two she’s finally fulfilling a long cherished dream of owning her own café when a giant chain opens across the street. As she fights to save her business she learns to re-define the meaning of work, family and romance so she can find her own formula for happiness.

Cafe Paradise takes place in  two up-and-coming boroughs in Montreal.

Griffintown or The Grif, was quickly becoming a vibrant neighborhood. As part of a revitalization project, the city was building parks, playgrounds and bicycle paths in the area and attracting artists and hi-tech enterprises. It seemed like the perfect place to open a cafe .

The second setting is in The Plateau, specifically Prince Arthur Street.

The street had been Montreal’s hippie haven and the home of its counterculture movement in the ‘60s. A number of artists and playwrights still lived around the square.

What’s the best writing advice you have ever read  continue reading here 

 

 The other interview was with Heather Debreceni from The Divorce Summit website. 

This was my first experience doing a voice interview and by listening to much more seasoned and very interesting guests that were part of this Dating Edition summit, I discovered how much I love listening to interviews while lying in bed at night! 🙂

In case you didn’t catch it the first time I posted it, here’s my interview again.

 

Hold Unto Your Dream

 

 

You have brains in your head.

You have feet in your shoes.

You can steer yourself any direction you choose.

You’re on your own. And you know what you know.

And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…

This quote from Dr Seuss hangs at the entrance of Suzy Paradise’s cafe. Seeing her dream crumble before her eyes, Suzy faces the tough decision of whether to hang on or to let go.

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Do you think dreams have an expiration date?