Sunday, December 28, 2014

Growing up Catholic

It's not a secret.

The average reader will have concluded that most of the Catholic themed portions of the novel are influenced by the author's upbringing.

While Sera Fletcher was often excused from Sunday mass,  my siblings and I were obligated to attend church.  Some of my brothers were altar servers so they had no excuse.

 
I have fuzzy memories of my First Communion and dropping my little white Bible into the Seguin River on the way home.  

As we became teenagers, some of us played hooky, smoking cigarettes and killing time beside the railway tracks. Shame, shame!
 
Sera would spend her Sunday mornings with the Johnsons, the kind neighbours who encouraged her to read Bible stories from Baptist and Coptic sources. After church, the Fletcher family and close friends gathered for brunch at the Red Hare restaurant

Those were good, wholesome times. 

What memories do you have of growing up Catholic? Any anecdotes filled with wonder, mischief or the fear of punishment by fire and brimstone? Do submit a comment below.

If you have read the novel, please add your comments to those of the other readers. Thanks!

If you haven't read the novel yet, take a detour through Smashwords to download a sampling of the ebook format of The Year of the Rabbit.  If the notion grabs you, purchase a copy of the entire novel.  You get to set the price.  How do you like them apples?


Thanks for dropping by!  

T

Saturday, November 15, 2014

November is Picture Book Month at the Huntsville Public Library


While my writing friends are hunkering down to tap out an 80,000 word draft novel, I'm taking it easy with reading and fondly gazing at the remaining picture books in our home.

The kids are grown up but I still have a soft spot for some of our favourite titles

teddy bear holding picture book
Edgar the Bear with a reading recommendation


As mentioned many times in this blog, I also have a soft spot and great respect for public libraries.  I even scored a work term in a library many years ago.

The library in my old stomping ground is celebrating November as Picture Book Month and posting recommendations from staff and patrons.  I think it's a great way to engage patrons, parents and families in sharing the love of reading.

The role of libraries has evolved over the past few decades.  To me, they are still gathering places in a community where people can search for information, acquire knowledge and exchange ideas.

In the novel, the library is a place where Sera Fletcher could escape and seek comfort during difficult times.  You won't find a printed version of The Year of the Rabbit in a library yet.  You can find the eBook version at Smashwords.  

Please submit a review there, at Goodreads or drop me a line.  See what others have written.


Thanks for reading!

 T

Friday, October 31, 2014

Have a safe and happy Halloween

Here's wishing all the kids big and small a happy Halloween.

Most of us have fun memories of the "night of dressing up for free candy". Most parents I know support their kids in making it a night of spooky thrills.

There are fiction writers who offer creepy, scary stories to make your hair stand up.  I just want to make you cry. That's right.  Here is an excerpt from the novel about the night Sera Fletcher's friend was spirited away. 

Read more excerpts from The Year of the Rabbit.  Download a free ebook sampling from Smashwords.


Thanks for stopping by.  Stay safe, warm and dry.

T




Sunday, September 14, 2014

Loneliness

The kids are back in school. 

Most elementary and middle school students have made new friends or reunited with old ones to form their social circles and cliques.  

Let's not overlook the quiet loners who seek a safe corner of the playground or a quiet nook in the library.  They are likely too shy or embarrassed to approach a group and risk rejection after asking to be included. 

As much as parents and teachers would like to promote reading for our children, let's recognize that some of them turn to reading to escape loneliness.  Perhaps they can join a book club at the school or the public library.  That's one way to start.

Halloween is coming up too.  It used to be a happy, exciting occasion for Sera Fletcher, her siblings and friends.  That was until the night her best friend was whisked away. She soon turned to books and the public library as safe places with imaginary friends and wonderful, happy worlds.




 
"There's a little bit of Sera in all of us."

 How about you?  Is there a lonely tween wavering inside?

I invite you to read more excerpts from The Year of The Rabbit, a Novel About Fate, Family and Forgiveness Join others who enjoyed this piece of Canadian fiction.  Download the first few chapters of the eBook for free from Smashwords

Thanks for dropping by.

T
 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Birthday wishes

Just wanted to mention that it's Sera Fletcher's birthday.

Happy Birthday!

She's a fellow Leo and Rabbit.

"There's a little bit of Sera in all of us."

How about you?  Are you a Leo too?

Get your copy of the ebook version at Smashwords


Theresa


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Giving it away for free

My ebook publisher is having a summer sale. 

Smashwords authors can participate to offer discounts on book prices.  Since I had set the price for The Year of the Rabbit to 99 cents or "you set the price", it will be free for the month of July.




That's okay by me.  The more readers this story gets, the better.  I would love to hear your feedback and add it to the list of other reader comments

Thanks for dropping by.

T
 





Saturday, June 14, 2014

Fathers


Get ready for homemade cards, breakfast in bed spills and gaudy ties. Father’s Day is June 15th.  

In the novel The Year of the Rabbit, we are introduced to Matthew Fletcher, father of Sera and her older siblings. 

 

I like to think of Matthew Fletcher as an ideal husband and a good father.  He was gentle and loving with his children.  He was forgiving of his wife’s wild behavior.  He performed honest work as a carpenter and cabinet maker.   He also supported others in his community.    

Golly. He was my ideal man. 

I invite you to read a few excerpts describing Matthew and his gentle ways.

Upon meeting Father Gio for the first time:
Upon meeting Walter George for the first time, after the boy is caught stealing Sera's bicycle one summer night:


Sera catches Matthew in an emotional moment while the family prepares for Marie's surgery:


Sera discovers Matthew at work, finishing off a very special wood carving project:




Only a handful of people had been aware of Sera’s true paternity.   After Marie passed away, her hidden letter of confession reached Matthew through an unlikely messenger.
 

Here's wishing all the good fathers out there a wonderful Fathers’ Day.  Enjoy the time with your family.  Rock that colourful tie.

I invite you to read more excerpts from The Year of The Rabbit, a Novel About Fate, Family and Forgiveness

Join others who enjoyed this unpolished gem of Canadian fiction.  Download the first few chapters of the eBook for free from Smashwords.  If you like what you have read, you can then purchase the entire book for 99 cents or more (you set the price).  

T

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Speed kills


It's Grand Prix weekend, calling to all the speed demons, thrill seekers and groupies. 

I am not a fan of the races.  I just don't understand the benefits, the purpose of auto racing, with all the noise, the pollution and the risks. 

One of the minor characters in The Year of the Rabbit died in a race car crash.  I didn't take pleasure in killing him off but he provided a good contrast to the way Father Gio lived his life. 






Questions:
  1. What are the benefits of auto racing?  
  2. How does auto/motorized racing help our society and our planet?  
Does anyone else see racing as the epitome of our failing civilization that is driving around and around in circles, faster and faster until...
I hope I haven't turned people away with these questions.  I am seeking serious, helpful answers.  
Now that I have offended some and hopefully intrigued the majority of level-headed folks, I invite you to read more excerpts from The Year of The Rabbit, a Novel About Fate, Family and Forgiveness
Join others who enjoyed this unpolished gem of Canadian fiction.  Download the first few chapters of the eBook for free from Smashwords.  If you like what you have read, you can then purchase the entire book for 99 cents or more (you set the price). 

I don't mind if you take your time.  

T
 


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Make it a lovely Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day, if you celebrate it.
 

In The Year of the Rabbit, a novel about fate, family and forgiveness readers will encounter a few motherly characters:

  • Marie Fletcher was a caring mother figure despite her struggles with mental health issues and a dark secret;
  • Margaret MacDonald experienced deep guilt and regret that she did not prevent the abuse of her daughter;
  • Jenny Young struggled with supporting her pregnant teen and understanding her husband's disappointment;
  • Amy Young became a teenage mother who learned how to be responsible with the help of her own family and friends;
  • Gio's Mom was the typical doting mother and eventually an exuberant grandmother. 

I hope you've already thought of a gift for your Mom.  She may enjoy reading The Year of the Rabbit if she doesn't mind a few references to teen sex, infidelity and murder. 



You can feel confident that you have purchased her an environmentally responsible gift by getting the Ebook for only 99 cents



If your mother has already left this earthly domain, please accept my condolences.  Perhaps you may relate to young Sera Fletcher as she realizes the impending death of her own mother.   That scene brought tears to my eyes while writing the novel, recalling emotions felt when I lost my own mother many years ago.

Have a lovely Mother's Day - or make it one for your own Mom. 

T



Sunday, April 27, 2014

Customer service 101

When you work in the service industry, you have to put your personal issues and attitudes aside while dealing with the public and other customers.

Most times, you must force that smile and keep your voice in a friendly, welcoming tone - even while dealing with personal issues or difficult people.  



I wrote about a recent restaurant experience while dining with friends.  Hop over to the Deep Blonde Thoughts blog post Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.    

Readers of the novel will remember the different types of patrons who frequented the Red Hare restaurant.  

Co-owner Jenny Young was patient and polite while serving customers.  She kept her attitude in check - especially while serving unpleasant customers like Daryl MacDonald.

You can meet Jenny and appreciate her kindness, her professionalism while you read the following excerpts:
Read more excerpts from The Year of The Rabbit, a Novel About Fate, Family and Forgiveness
Join others who enjoyed this unpolished gem of Canadian fiction.  Download the first few chapters of the eBook for free from Smashwords.  If you like what you have read, you can then purchase the entire book for 99 cents or more (you set the price).  

 
Visit the novel's
web site.  

Thanks for dropping by and remember:  the next time you dine out, be kind to your server.

T



Saturday, April 19, 2014

Things that spring up at Easter

You wouldn't know it in the Ottawa Valley but Spring is here.  

The snowbanks are melting into dirt piles, there's dog pooh everywhere and the rivers are rising.  Yuk!

I haven't witnessed crocus sprouts pushing up yet but am hopeful to soon enjoy the annual Tulip Festival.  

Some folks are adorning their homes and work areas with colourful symbols of renewal and rebirth.  

 
Yes, some of us writers still have day jobs in order to support luxuries like rent, food and utilities. 

Friends and relatives are decluttering their attics, basements and garages, planning up-coming events like yard sales.   Who knows what gems or skeletons they will discover in the process?

One of the resident youth recently helped me dig out a piece of concept art that was nicely tucked away in our deep, dark storage area.  It was a Yin Yang egg I painted during the 1999 Year of the Rabbit.




I wanted to inspect this piece of art I attempted while trying to restore harmony during an unbalanced time in our lives, while treading the murky waters of my own well-being.  

If you dig deep enough, you will reconcile with your shame and forgive yourself for not acting soon enough to rescue your family.  You can spend years writing down to the bones to regain your mental health, work up the courage to symbolically destroy the demons from your past.  




The above news story was published in The Seguin Sounder, a fictitious newspaper that evolved out of the novel.  

Spoiler alert:  The antagonist meets with a violent ending at the hands of the innocent - and with a little help from nature.
Read excerpts from The Year of The Rabbit, a Novel About Fate, Family and Forgiveness
Join others who enjoyed this unpolished gem of Canadian fiction.  Download the first few chapters of the eBook for free from Smashwords.  If you like what you have read, you can then purchase the entire book for 99 cents or more (you set the price). 

Visit the novel's web site.  Just watch where you are digging though. 

Thanks for dropping by.  

Happy Easter! 
 

T


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Speed reading or gauged pleasure


As an avid reader who likes to relax with a good book, would you want an app that helps you speed read through a novel on a smart device?

Something like the Spritz app would be helpful in circumstances when you need to study a short article or story summary of a book.  I don't think it can compete with the pleasure of sitting down with a good book or taking a novel to bed.  Would you agree?

I'm the kind of person who likes to read printed books in paperback and hard cover format.  I have progressed with the times by reading books on my iPad Mini as well. I find that paperbacks work best when reading in bed.  They make less noise or risk less damage if they were to drop from my sleepy grip.
 
In The Year of the Rabbit, Sera Fletcher loved to read and would often go to the local library to soften the pains of loneliness and escape into other worlds she discovered through books.  


She would also find herself sorting and re-shelving the books from the return carts.  She loved this sense of order and control since her world was falling apart around her.
  • If you would like to download the first few chapters of the eBook version for free, visit this page at Smashwords.
  • If you want to read more, you can set your own purchase price (above 99 cents) at Smashwords.
  • If you’re not sure but would like to first see what others thought of the book, start here. 
  • If you don’t own one of those newfangled eBook readers yet, you can purchase a Portable Document Format (PDF) version of the novel and read it on your computer, laptop or tablet.
Although it took me four years of drafts, edits, love and tears, I will allow you the right to read it as fast as you want. 

If you’re waiting for the next print edition, it may be ready before 2023.  

Thanks for dropping by.

T
 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Something for everyone during Read an Ebook Week March 2 to 8

As a Smashwords author, it is my pleasure to promote Read an Ebook Week 2014.


 
Visit Smashwords.com during March 2 to 8, 2014 for a list of independent authors' books on discount or for free!  So much variety that can be packed into your eReader.

Since The Year of the Rabbit is already listed at 99 cents, it will be available as free this week.  If you don't already have a Smashwords account, you can easily join for free


 
Do you like trains?  There's plenty of trains in this novel about fate, family and forgiveness.  

Do you like books that explore human interest, loneliness, belief systems and dabble just a little into romance? 

You will like The Year of the Rabbit. These previous readers did.  
 
Thanks for dropping by.  I hope to hear from you soon.

T



Monday, February 24, 2014

Monkeying around

It was a golden weekend around le petit apartment.  

We got in some Olympic men's hockey cheering as Canada scored 3-0 over Sweden for the shiniest hardware of all.  

Of course it was a result of hard work by the Canadian team and nothing to do with my Saturday night lamp hunting visit to IKEA.

In addition to baking and working on her own projects, the resident artiste was busy with finishing up three more Chinese Zodiac illustrations.  I am pleased to present Monkey, Rooster and Dog. 




Lovely, yes?

Do you want to know more about The Year of the Rabbit?   

Thanks for dropping by.

T




Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day

I am not a romance writer nor do I willingly read romance novels.  

My hardened, cold heart still has a small, warm corner that acknowledges the biologically unstable state with a few droplets of hope. 

The Year of the Rabbit contains an element of romance that gradually builds and buds between characters Gio and Georgette. The excerpt below is the closest I could get to a Saint Valentine's Day offering.   Enjoy - if you must.  


Excerpt from Chapter 12 - before edits 

It was after dinner when Georgette located Gio in the greenhouse, trimming rose bushes and humming “Lavender Blue”.   She had already checked in on Sera and shared a glass of wine with his parents.  

He heard her heels click-clacking on the stonework outside as she approached the door, then the tap-tap-tap of a shoe against the door. 

“Knock, knock!” she called lyrically.

“Come in,” he sang back to her. 

“Mais, my hands are full,” she replied sweetly.

He turned and reached for the door handle.  Through the frosted glass he could see her womanly silhouette, standing with one hip positioned higher than the other, both arms bent slightly and each hand holding a wine goblet.

As Gio opened the door, he breathed in sharply when he saw her wearing a dark blue summer dress, tied at the waist with a white satin belt.  Her hair was pinned up with just a few copper curls dropping to the side and back of her neck.  As she smiled, her slightly sunburned face crinkled, revealing crows-feet around her twinkling, aging eyes. 

“Georgette,” he said softly, “You look beautiful this evening!”

She smiled, cocked her head to one side and inquired coquettishly, “Just this evening?”

He chuckled and stood aside to let her in.  She handed him a glass of red wine, “From the recent batch.  Your parents wanted your opinion.” She sashayed inside and stood near his workspace. 

“Thank you,” he said with a bow, “Err… merci, mademoiselle. Grazie.” 

“De rien,” she cooed.

Gio sipped slowly, rolled his tongue around in his mouth then swallowed.

“So, what is your opinion?” she asked.

He set his glass down on the table in front of two large plant pots, leaned his lower back against the table and said, “It’s great.  It’s perfect.” 

“That’s it?” she chuckled as she stepped closer.  She looked at the pots on the table.

“What are you working on, Gio?  What are these? They don’t look like rose bushes,” She slid in for a closer look. 

“Just a project I started a few years ago,” he replied softly then took her wine glass and set it down beside his.  

“So… how is the wine?” she insisted.  

He extended his right hand to her. She accepted.  He pulled her closer and enveloped her with his arms, one around her shoulders and the other around the small of her back.  She put her arms under his and around his back. 

Gio buried his face in her hair, breathed in then let out a big sigh, “It was worth the wait.”

Despite her womanly experience, she trembled.  He pulled her closer, her hip pressed against his thigh.  

“Are you cold?” he asked.

“No,” she looked up at him, smiling, “Just nervous.  I feel like a young woman.” 

“I feel like a man…  a free man,” he sighed and squeezed her gently against him.

“I can tell,” she quipped, “Whatever that is in your pants is starting to hurt me.”

“Oh, that,” he laughed, “No.  No, that’s … something I wanted to show you.  I guess this is a good time.”

“Really?” she smirked, leaning back slightly. 

- End excerpt - 

Learn more about The Year of the Rabbit, a novel about Fate, Family and Forgiveness:


T

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Packing carrots and sugar cubes

Get back in yer hole, silly groundhog!


So what if a whimsical human tradition has permitted a groggy rodent to predict six more weeks of winter.  Let's enjoy it while it's here.  Let's feel the energy of the horse galloping in and lasso us some opportunities.  

Let's also enjoy those warm stews, soups and beanful chili's.

The above picture was illustrated by a resident artiste. She is getting close to completing the commissioned work of twelve Chinese Zodiac signs. Our favourite of course is The Year of the Rabbit. The rabbit would likely have been smart enough just to stay in his hole if given the choice.



Learn more about The Year of the Rabbit, a novel about Fate, Family and Forgiveness:  

Thanks for dropping by.  Please close the gate on your way out.


T

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Reading recommendations from a teddy bear?

I would like to introduce you to Edgar, Sera Fletcher's favourite teddy bear. 

He provided her comfort during some very sad and confusing times.  

Sera also found comfort and escape while reading books.  The local library was one of her favourite places to visit, to feel at home.   

As a parent of young adult children, I have fond memories of our reading time on weekend afternoons or school nights.  We liked to explore new picture books but also had our old favourites.



Two of our favourite books were Wednesday is Spaghetti Day and The Lion and the Little Red Bird.  

As a working mother, I would visit the public library often during my lunch hours, exploring the children's section for new finds to cart home on the city bus. 




Edgar the bear has his own board on my Pinterest account where we pin photographs of him holding some of our recommended reads. I hope you will enjoy the pictures as well as the short reviews there and on Goodreads.

Edgar is a character in the novel but he was also a real  childhood toy.  He was gifted by a relative to a five year-old girl in 1969. The girl promptly named him Winnie (aka Winnie Pooh Bear).



I was that little girl.  

Winnie accompanied me while playing with friends and exploring the expanding world around our small town home.  Over the years, he comforted me while healing from lost friendships, broken hearts and very difficult life circumstances. He has kept many of my secrets.  

Winnie has his own secret.  There is a music box hidden in his stomach.  If you squeeze his tummy using the right pressure and tempo with both hands, you will hear the Rock a-bye Baby song. There were several tempting times to open him up, to dig inside and examine that box.  My childlike belief that he had feelings spared him that indignity!

I still have Winnie but don't snuggle with him anymore.  He stays at home, in a seat of honour up on the shelves in my room. A few months ago, I thought he looked lonely so I pulled him down for some photo opportunities, to share our love of reading and to lure in curious minds.     



This bear was a good listener, friend and an inspiration

You can trust his recommendations. 
 - - - 

Thank you for reading this far.  Did you find this post funny, interesting or inspiring?  Check one of the boxes below.  Offer a comment if you can.  

Drop by www.yearoftherabbit.ca for more information about the novel.  Visit deepblondethoughts.ca for tongue-in-cheek observations about life and life styles.  If you like cats, visit my WordPress blog where the Tabby rules.    

T