Sunday, November 15, 2015

Cookies of contention

Does it cause indigestion when others claim intimate knowledge of the preferences of some mystical figure?

Flo has been spending free time haunting local book shops lately. This recent discovery provided the opportunity for a creative allegory about belief systems and the claims of some groups as having the correct answers and interpretations.  



In The Year of the Rabbit, we touch upon different belief systems and the shared values. Compassion and service to others are some of them. 

Download a sampling of the ebook from the publisher today. Get a taste of the story by reading others' comments

Follow Flo on Twitter

Thanks for dropping by. Apologies if you expected actual cookies. 

T



Thursday, October 29, 2015

Halloween omens

Pay no attention to that asteroid coming very close to us on Halloween.

With any luck in Eastern Ontario, it will still be cloudy, rainy and all superstitious parties will be oblivious to the ominous event anyway.

For Sera Fletcher, Halloween used to be an enjoyable celebration for dressing up and knocking on doors for candy. Unfortunately, 1974 was the year she lost a friend.


Read more excerpts from The Year of the Rabbit. Download a free portion of the eBook here. Unsure? See what other readers have said.

Thanks for dropping by.  Have a  safe Halloween.



T

Sunday, July 5, 2015

You CAN go home again

I recently had a sentimental journey to my old home town.


We descended on Parry Sound, Ontario aka Seguin Sound, that fictitious small town in The Year of the Rabbit.

My siblings, their significant others and offspring were scheduled to gather for our family reunion.  My oldest son and I prepared well with a day on each side of the weekend to allow for and recover from travel.

Sadly, the passenger trains don't stop there as much anymore.  We took the train from Ottawa to Toronto then connected by bus. 

We played tourist in my old home town. A lot has changed in 30 years. I reacquainted myself with some of the sites that inspired settings in the Novel. We also got in a visit with a dear, old friend. 

I captured many photographs of my childhood neighbourhood, the nearby Seguin River and that famous CPR train trestle. If you read the novel, you will know that trains played a major role. They passed by many times a day and night blowing their loud whistles, sometimes stopping to bring visitors and at other times, taking people away. 



We walked to many places within good distance of the lovely Bed and Breakfast on the rich side of town. As you can see from this building mural beside the Seguin River, logging was a big part of Parry Sound's beginnings.



After a rainy Sunday walking tour to tower hill and around the old neighbourhood, we ate a warm lunch in the restaurant that inspired the Red Hare.


I was compelled to have a bowl of chicken wonton soup - for old time's sake.


 
The soup, the river and the passing trains wrapped me in the good, fuzzy memories of my old town. Thankfully, I didn't bump into any old flames or undesirable characters while I was there.  

As stated in the opening pages of the Novel, the reference to any characters that resemble people living or dead is purely coincidental.  Some characters may be a blend of individuals I encountered in my early life.

I haven't heard any complaints via email or in the reader feedback comments.  Maybe enough people haven't read the novel yet. So until they do, there is no worry of going home again.


Thanks for dropping by.  

If you're curious to read the novel, you can visit Smashwords to download a sample or purchase an ebook copy. It's only 99 cents or you can pay what you feel is a fair price. It's okay, I didn't write it to make money, only to share a story. If you enjoyed it, mention it to others. Please post a rating and/or a review on Smashwords, or on Goodreads if you already have an avid reader account. 

Otherwise, stick around for a few years as we work on a shiny new print edition, due out by 2023.


If you're curious to see more Georgian Bay vacation pictures, drop by my Deep Blonde Thoughts blog.  I'll be posting more soon.

Have a nice summer.

T



Sunday, June 21, 2015

What it takes

This post is in recognition of Father's Day.

Due to my own Father passing away many years ago and the lack of a Father figure in my little family, this day no longer holds much significance. 

I can imagine how it must feel for some families to celebrate Mother’s Day or Father’s Day in a home divided or where one parent has passed away. 

I admire families with dedicated, responsible fathers. I envy women who have had the good fortune to find a man, a mate who is faithful, kind and supportive, and who sticks around to help raise their children. 

In the novel The Year of the Rabbit, we are introduced to Matthew Fletcher, father of Sera and her older siblings.  Only a handful of people had been aware of Sera’s true paternity.   


After Marie passes away, her hidden letter of confession reaches Matthew via an unlikely  messenger. 
 

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.  Read more here

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). 

Thanks for dropping by.

T

 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Being alone on Mother's Day

It's Mother's Day 2015. I am alone.

My kids are away and have forgotten to gift me with flowers.  As a consolation, they have been sending me instant messages, cute stickers and Tweets.  



Welcome to the next generation, the new age of sentimental expression.
 

The cats seem apathetic but helped me express some former-Catholic, Motherly guilt.

That writing session took a lot out of me so I'm going to trim this bittersweet post by recycling some previous ones about Mothers Day and Motherly references in the Novel.

Thanks for dropping by.



Call your Mom.

T

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Lion or Lamb?

Hello there, March!

So glad to see you and say farewell to frosty February!



So far this Sunday morning, you seem calm and dull.  Are you a gentle lamb or a lion in sheep's clothing?  Ah, weather lore and folksy interpretations, I love ya! 

I shall celebrate this new month, a chance to do some pre-spring cleaning and celebrate birth as we ease into the Year of the Sheep.


T
 




Sunday, February 15, 2015

Blending traditions like there's no tomorrow

I'm not a fan of Valentine's Day.

I would not go out of my way to ruin the fun for all the lovers yet I feel sorry for the flowers suffering unnecessary carnage. 

No, I'm not bitter that I had nobody special to share this Hallmark holiday with.... I can celebrate it with my children and merge it with other tasty, shiny events this month.  I shall wait another day or two before I enjoy the savings on all the retail chocolate!  Bwaa-ha-ha-haaaaa.



Florence T Lyon tweets about blending traditions

It was a bittersweet day on February 14, 2015 when Michele Ferrero passed away. I shall think of him every time I bite into, every time I savour one of those tasty, chocolate-y, nutty Ferrero Rocher nuggets. There were times when they helped me through tearful drafts of the novel when Gummy Bears just would not do. Thank you, sir.
 
Wishing all visitors a safe, enjoyable and chocolate-y Valentines'-Flag Day-Family Day weekend and a prosperous, healthy Lunar New Year



  
Would you like a little taste from The Year of the Rabbit?

Otherwise, stick around for a few years as we work on a shiny new print edition, due out by 2023.

Thanks for dropping by.

T (aka Flo)



Sunday, February 8, 2015

Celebrating the Lunar New Year 2015

If you're from the Ottawa or Eastern Ontario area, you will commiserate with me as we receive more snow.


My excuses for not going out today:
  1. I am completing support tasks for my writing group and enjoying the meticulous order of things;
  2. There's too much frickin' snow - especially for a short-legged bus mouse.  
It would be nice to get out to the inaugural Lunar New Year celebrations in Ottawa or some kind of winter carnival activity. I would much rather attend the former because it happens indoors, celebrates the anticipation of spring and a new year coming on February 19th. There will likely be tasty treats, colourful decorations and firecrackers. 

Forget the firecrackers!  I'm not fond of sudden, loud noises.  I understand the original intention was to scare away the nasty lion or dragon that would come down from the mountains. 

I'm not all that superstitious but I like to explore and appreciate different traditions.  The Chinese New Year is special to me and Sera Fletcher, a character in the novel.

In less than two weeks, we will enter The Year of the Sheep (or goat, depending on whom you consult).




The resident artiste finally finished the Sheep illustration I commissioned a while back.  She has been creating Zodiac pictures in lieu of paying rent yet took a little longer than expected due to her personal projects. 


Delays aside, I love her style. I like to think creativity runs in our family - or  frolics and bounds as we monkey around

video

I'm not sure if or how we will use all of the illustrations in the next print edition of the novel but they sure provided a nice distraction and collaboration exercise over the past couple of years. We also got to fine tune our communication skills.

You may want to see the artiste's comic art work on Patreon. You can support her quest to be independent and to move out from under my "motherly oppression".  

Kidding aside, do you want to know more about The Year of the Rabbit?

Thanks for dropping by.

T (aka Flo)


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Winter Carnivals


Well, the Rideau Canal opened for skaters yesterday.  

I am not a willing participant in crowded events - especially those involving bone-chilling temperatures, shrieking children and sharp objects.  

To get into the winter spirit though, I wanted to offer an excerpt from the novel, during January 1975 and leading in to that Year of the Rabbit.  

Imagine yourself in a small town on the shores of Georgian Bay. Meet a lonely yet brave 11 year-old girl - a girl on a mission. 
------

It was late January at the Winter Carnival celebrations at the town park that Sera approached Aunt Georgette for a couple of dollars. 

“Don’t you want to go on a sled ride, chérie?” Georgette asked, “How about some hot chocolate and pastries?” 

"I have to go... see someone," the girl responded.

"Where are you going,  Would you like company?" asked her Aunt.

“Just somewhere, Aunt Georgette. I need to go alone,” Sera replied, choking back tears.

"Okay, chérie," Georgette bent and kissed her on the forehead while handing her two dollars.  

"I'll see you back home, Aunt Georgette.  Thanks." She quickly pocketed the money and turned towards Main Street.  

The snow drifted down in a gentle, lacey curtain.  Sera adjusted her scarf and pulled the knit hat down over her ears and dark curls.  Her walk was slow yet determined with her boots making a steady ka-lump, ka-lump rhythm as she walked down the street.  

She had no desire to join in festivities in the park or at the ice-fishing derby on the Bay.  She needed to be somewhere familiar and comfortable.  

Sera headed towards the Red Hare, digging up the warm memories of the place, anticipating a hot bowl of wonton soup and sitting in her favourite spot.   I have to take things into my own hands, she thought while walking down the bustling sidewalk.  "Someone has to fix this.  I'm going to talk to Mrs. Young."

When Sera entered the restaurant, she was disappointed and angry to see Daryl MacDonald at one of the booths near the front, chatting up some of his police buddies, Constables Harrison and Brown.  

"Well, look what the cat dragged in," he feigned polite joviality, "It's the youngest of the Fletcher brood.  Where's the rest of the crew?  I haven't seen you people in here for weeks."

Sera felt a flood of fear and anger.  He likely knew damn well why they hadn't come lately.  Now he was sitting here gloating and rubbing it in.  She hated this man for what he did to her friend's mother.  She hated that they had to move away and she couldn't know where they were.  At least he didn't know where they were.  Look at him, what a big shot — just because his family owned most of the lumberyards in town.  

Don't say anything stupid.  Don't be afraid, she reminded herself.  Remember why you are here.  

"Hello, Mr. MacDonald," she responded while removing her hat and mitts, "Hello, Constables.  People have been busy, I guess."  She strained to see if her favourite booth was available.  She felt relief when she saw Jenny clearing her favourite table near the back.

The constables shifted in their seats uncomfortably. They didn’t look like they enjoyed his company.

Daryl continued, "Now, how's that Daniel doing in college?"

"Fine, thanks."

"He's a fine young lad, " Daryl continued to his companions, "He's going to make a fine officer some day."

The other men nodded in agreement and sipped their coffee.  

“Yes, siree.  And I heard he’s going to be a father too,” he gaffawed and slapped the table.

"Excuse me," Sera said curtly and headed towards the back. 

She walked at an even pace towards her booth.  Jenny was clearing away dishes from the previous customers and stopped to smile at her, "Hello, Sera. How are you, sweetie?"

"Not great, really," she responded, removing her coat, folding it and tossing it into the corner of one of the benches.  She scooped up a couple of plates and put them into the bussing bin that Jenny was holding, helping her tidy up.  

"I miss you, Sera," Jenny said, still performing her work, "I miss your whole family."   She pulled a handkerchief from her apron and blew her nose.  

"I miss you too, Mrs. Young," the girl responded, "I miss Amy and Mr. Young, I guess.  I miss this place."  Their eyes met. Sera was frowning and looked down at the table. "I miss Victoria."  She burst into silent tears, her shoulders shaking with each painful sob.  She sunk her chin into her chest and hunched her shoulders.

Jenny put her arms around Sera and held her closely.  

"I miss her so much.  I'm so lonely and I don't know .. don't know what to do."

"I know.  I understand, Sera." 

"I miss … how things used to be.  Mom is still not well enough. They say she's gone into a 'relapse'.   Aunt Georgette tries to cheer me up but I just don't feel any better.  I miss coming here, being here."

She gladly accepted the tissue Jenny offered her and blew her nose loudly.  

"Here, sit down."  Jenny slid in beside Sera on the bench with her arm around her shoulder and her head leaned in so she could speak softly.  "Things have been pretty tense around our place too.  Carl is embarrassed and angry with Amy.  That is why he had her sent away to that place in Toronto."

"I know.  I heard it from Dela and Gwen."

"It's ... very lonely around here without her too.  My own little girl," she blew her nose one more time and breathed out in relief, "Thank goodness for Gio arranging with the high school that she could finish her studies from there."  

"He's not half-bad, then," Sera commented, "How is Amy ... feeling?"

"Oh, she's a tough one but still her little princess self," she smirked, "and she tells me on the phone that she has been eating a lot. I mean A LOT!"

"Great. I wish she was here.  I wish I could see her big belly ... and feel the baby moving. "

Jenny looked down at her delicate hands and whispered, "Me too."

A small group of people entered the restaurant and seated themselves.  Jenny sighed then gave Sera a half hug and squeezed her shoulders to her chest, "I had better get back to work. Where's that Carolyn?  She's supposed to be covering the other side of the room.  Are you hungry?"

"Yes.  May I have a bowl of wonton soup?"

"Sure thing," Jenny replied as she rose to grab the bin and headed towards the kitchen. She turned and whispered, 

"It's nice to see you again, Sera."  

"Same here, Mrs. Young."


After she finished her soup and blew her nose again, Sera sat quietly and gazed at the rabbit painting above her booth.  She took in the red, gold and green designs, the curves and simple patterns.  She felt sadness.  She felt a distant joy and contentment.  She smiled.  It was her first in a long time.  I miss this, she thought.  

The kitchen door swung open slowly.  Carl Young emerged, wearing his kitchen whites, as usual and holding a towel.   He approached Sera's booth with slow, even steps, wiping his hands.  

Sera perked up nervously and smiled, "Hello, Mr. Young."

"Hello, stranger, " he responded.

"Would you like to join me?"

"Sure.  Sure." he smiled briefly and sat across from her, "I guess I could take a break."  He sighed and groaned as he sat down on the bench.  Within seconds, Jenny swiftly brought over a coffee cup and saucer, filled the cup and dropped off the cream and sugar.  Carl gave a curious look, almost surprised that his wife was so quick in serving him.  

Sera bit her lip, looking down then slowly lifted her gaze to meet his tired eyes.  He appeared old and sad.  She rarely saw him sitting still for long periods.  

"Happy New Year, Mr. Young."

"Happy New Year, Sera."

"Soon it will be the Year of the Rabbit, yes?"

"Yes, that's right," he responded, looking up at the painting. 

Sera leaned forward, "It's my favourite year, you know, since I was born in it and.. that was the year you opened the restaurant."

Carl smiled slightly and nodded.  "That's right.  I forgot."

"I was wondering if you were going to have a celebration of any sort.  You know, like an anniversary party?"

"Oh.  I hadn't thought of that.  I've been.... busy."

"You could invite a lot of people."

"Really?" he shifted in his seat.

"Sure.  I could help with the decorations. I'm sure Dela and Gwen would like to help too."

"Sounds nice," he nodded, his eyes scanning the booths and front of the restaurant then took a sip of coffee.  

"I miss Amy!" she blurted out.

Carl, closed his eyes, breathed out slowly and set down his cup.

"I miss her, Mr. Young.  So do Dela and Gwen.  So does.. Mrs. Young."

"Sera..."

"I may just be a kid but I know she didn't do anything horrible.  She's pregnant and yes by my brother.  Stupid teenagers," she rolled her eyes, "Stupid. But.. but, it's not like she killed someone."

Carl looked at her sternly. 

"Please, Mr. Young," she pleaded with a soft whisper, stretching her hands across the table, "Let her come back home.  The place isn't the same without her.  I miss coming here with my family.  I miss that, Mr. Young."

"Sera..." he said in a tired manner.

"Please." Her green eyes watered and bore pitifully at him.  He did not want to destroy her youthful innocence.

"Sera.  It's a matter of honour, of family pride.  She shamed the family.  I gave her the best of everything and this is what happens... If this was another place and time, a girl in her situation would be…"

"I understand, Mr. Young. Well, I don't really ... I respect your opinion."

"Thank you."

"If it's a matter of you not wanting her at home right now, can she come and stay with us?"

"Oh.. Now I see.  Did your father send you here?"

"No!  I came by myself.  They don't know that I'm here. It was very hard for me to come here by myself especially seeing ..." she scowled, "seeing HIM here." her head jerked towards the front of the room.

"I see..."

"My friend was sent away with her mom because he hit her.  I haven't seen her for months. I've only received one letter from her. I miss her. I also miss Amy. Dela and Gwen miss Amy. I miss coming here with my family. Please, please, can we just put things back the way they were?"

"I don't see how we can do that, Sera.  My heart is broken. My family is shamed."

More people entered the restaurant, stomping the snow off their boots, shaking their hats and heading to join their companions.

"I.. I…  should let you get back to work, Mr. Young." said Sera, rising, "Looks like the winter carnival has brought a lot of people out today."

"Yes, I should get back...."

Sera put Aunt Georgette's money on the table and slid it under her empty soup bowl.  She grabbed her coat and got up to put it on.

Carl sat back and stared sadly at her.

"Thank you for the soup, Mr. Young.  It was delicious and warm as usual."

"Thank you for dropping by, Sera."

"Happy New Year,"  she said as she put on her tuque, turned and walked quickly towards the front door. 

- - End excerpt - - 

Sample more excerpts.    See what others have shared after reading The Year of the Rabbit.  Download the first 20% of the novel for free at Smashwords.  

If you have already read the book, why not offer a brief review?  Indie authors appreciate if readers post even a short review of how a book made them feel. Please do it!


Thanks for dropping by www.yearoftherabbit.ca.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Smashwords: Smashwords Year in Review 2014 and Plans for 2015

From Mark Coker and the folks at Smashwords.



Smashwords: Smashwords Year in Review 2014 and Plans for 2015: Each year I provide Smashwords authors and publishers a review of our progress in the year as well as hints of our plans for the coming ye...



Smashwords is the publisher for the ebook version of The Year of the Rabbit (2011).  We're working on a new print edition, due out by 2023.  Meh... I just enjoy keeping a young artist and editor hostage, feeding her and supporting her creative work.



Happy New Year!



Theresa (Flo)