Guest blogger — Lucy Andrews

Today I’m thrilled to welcome Lucy Andrews!

My first novel, Crater’s Edge, has just been published by Solstice Publishers on 7th November 2017.  I am delighted to be published, but still wonder how or why I chose to start my literary career with a science fiction novel rather than writing in another genre.

I like to read books that take me away from everyday life, so I had decided to set my story either in the past or future. In the end, I plumped for the future on a distant planet, reasoning that this would be easier than writing an historical novel which would require a lot of research.  I’m not so sure now.  Science fiction is about creating worlds that stretch the imagination.

I started the first chapter confidently, but then realized that I had to create every aspect of the colonial world that I was describing and make it sound plausible. I spent hours working out what would actually work in terms of the society that my characters lived in.  Then I tried to envisage what the buildings would look like.  What would the atmosphere be? Would there be only one sun? How long would a day be?  What would my characters wear or eat?  I also had to give some thought as to what I should call everyday objects and decided to use recognizable names for things so as not to confuse my readers.  I wanted my story to sound credible, not a fantastical screed which would only appeal to a narrow readership.

So far so good, but then I discovered that my characters had gone down a mine and were deep underground.  I don’t know how this happened.  It wasn’t intentional.  I didn’t want to let them stay there for too long, but I was in a fix as I know absolutely nothing about mining.  At this point, rather than give up, I started to really exercise my creative side.  This required sitting with pen and paper and drawing the machines; then figuring out how they would work. I had to decide on the dimensions of the machines, what sort of rock they would be cutting through, what the atmosphere deep underground would be.

I got my characters out of the mine, but the writing didn’t become easier as the mines had only been the start of the adventure.  From time to time, I had to stop writing to check up on all sorts of facts, some very minor, as well as to draw diagrams or pictures to make sure that the things I described hung together.  After the initial struggle to put my world together, writing the book became great fun.  Since publication, at least two of my friends have asked me how I know so much about mining!

I’ve now started writing a sequel which is proving to be as much fun to write as the first.  This time I’ll keep out of the mines though!

Crater’s Edge is available on Amazon at  https://www.amazon.com/dp/162526674X

https://facebook.com/LucyAndrewsAuthor

https://twitter.com/LAndrewsWrites

getPart

 

Guest writers!

I am so excited to announce that several Solstice authors will be sharing guest posts here over the next weeks — I love getting to know other writers, and am learning so much from my collaboration with them.

Meanwhile, the final proof of The Phone Call is here, and we will be doing our final read-through tonight.

Patience is not one of my virtues…

Finally, we have finished our proofreading of The Phone Call, and are waiting for the (hopefully) final proof so we can look it over one more time. There are days that seem to be full of hurrying to get the writing/editing/proofing done, then waiting for the next step. Any of you who know me personally know that patience is NOT one of my virtues, but I am trying to be better about this.

So now, we wait again, and I know that it will only be a day or two until the proof arrives, then we can set a release date. I can’t adequately express how excited I am that my second novel will be published soon, when it still seems like a dream that the first was published.

While we wait, here’s a new teaser for The Phone Call:

 

Meeting old characters again…

Over the last two weeks, we have been proofreading The Phone Call, getting it ready for release in print and e-book versions. The funny thing is, The Phone Call was the first novel I ever wrote, so I have “known” the characters for more than twenty years. I started writing it when my son Sam was a baby, and kept picking away at it for years. I’d think it was done, then months later decide to revisit it, edit/re-write/change it, then the process would start all over again.

The Phone Call was the first novel of mine that Solstice Publishing offered a contract on, and I always expected it would be the first one published. A couple unexpected glitches in the editing process put it in spot #2 for publishing, but in my heart, it will always be my first book.

So, over the last months, as I worked on the editing of That One Small Omission, and have been working on novels 3 and 4 and my memoir, I had sort-of lost “contact” with the main characters of The Phone Call, Kat and Alex.  Over the last two weeks, I’ve remembered how much these characters have meant to me, and have greatly enjoyed getting to know them again. I can’t wait to introduce them to all of you!

 

Saying good-bye to an old friend…

This morning we said good-bye to our friend, Marc, the most stubborn, opinionated, irritating alpaca ever to walk this earth, one who we loved with all our hearts, and who will be sorely missed.

marc

To understand our journey together, you need to know the history. Almost nineteen years ago, I saw an article in the local paper about alpacas. I’d never seen an alpaca, never. I’d seen llamas, but not alpacas. There was a local farm that offered that families could come visit and hang out with the alpacas for free. So we went.

And I met alpacas. And I fell in love. I mean, LOVE! They were beautiful, and interesting, and just captured my heart.

So for almost two years, we researched, visited farms, put aside little bits of money, and finally bought two alpacas, with third thrown in as a rescue animal. There was fluffy white Saber, feeble-but-brilliant-and-loving Chad, and baby Marc. They arrived at our house on a freezing cold January day, we didn’t even have a real barn for them, and they moved into our vegetable garden area because it had a rudimentary fence around it.

Over the next months, we (okay, Paul) built a little barn, put up real fencing, and got to know our new friends. And the love affair stayed the same. I just plain loved being with them, watching them, listening to them. Once we sheared them, I learned to spin, and another love was born.

Year after year, our little herd changed as members passed away, but Marc stayed the constant.

One year, we went to Grand Manaan on vacation, and while we were gone, there was a bear attack, and one of the other alpacas was killed — but Marc and his buddy Erv jumped the fence, and ran almost a mile away to safety. When the bear came back a couple nights later, Marc jumped the fence again, and ran to find his protector, Paul. From that day on, Paul was Marc’s buddy. Oh, yes, they fought — you should have seen the daily battle over when Marc would try to take all the grain from the other alpacas, and Paul would keep him away. But when Marc got out last New Year’s Eve, and got lost — we hadn’t realized he’d developed night blindness — it was only Paul who he would follow home. And then there was the repeated garlic incidents — Marc would get out of his pasture and go roll in the garlic beds and eat scapes, and you all know how important the garlic is to us as a family. Then there was the time that Marc protected me when our ram had gotten upset, and went after me, hitting me and injuring me, and when the ram pulled back to hit me again, Marc got between us.

Oh yeah, he had his wussy moments too. He’d scream like a baby when it was time to shear him. And a squirrel could spook him and he’d give that eerie alpaca scream to let us know something was wrong.

And eat, that animal could eat. He’d gobble his food, always looking for more, and would make sure he’d get more than the others. Apples and kale were the favorites, although squash plants were high on the list too. Just Saturday we took him some apples, and stood and laughed watching him eat them, taking a bite from each one, almost as if making sure that the others wouldn’t want them after he’d bitten them — like siblings licking cookies…

So today, we mourn his passing — knowing that he had a long, healthy, happy, joy filled, protected life — but we will miss him still. He was the first to the gate to see us, loved to have his neck scratched, could kick like a maniac, and always made us laugh. How lucky we are to have had him in our lives for so long!

In his honor, here’s a little collage of pictures of him.

That One Small Omission — getting ready for a kindle sale price!

My first published novel entitled That One Small Omission was published in October 2017 by Solstice Publishing in both e-book and print versions. I am so proud to finally have it published!

The “blurb” for That One Small Omission says, “Maggie Erickson-O’Brien always played it safe, always. That is, right up to the moment when she met the man of her dreams while on a work trip. A one-night stand led to dreams of forever, right up to the moment when until she realized they could never have a future together. Months later, fate thrusts them together again, and her dream man has to decide if her one small omission will doom their relationship. Can forever still happen?”

My second novel, The Phone Call, is in final proofreading before it is published by Solstice. In anticipation of the release of that novel, the kindle price on That One Small Omission is being lowered from $2.99 to $0.99 from Tuesday, November 21st through Monday, November 27th. It can be purchased here: Kindle Version of That One Small Omission — thanks for your support!

 

Time to stop and look for a moment…

Lately, between the end of the growing season, which means lots of garden clean-up, and some extended family health issues, we’ve felt like we have been constantly at a full out run. Each morning we get up earlier and earlier, with the idea that today we will finally get caught up, and by the end of the day, the list is longer than when we started the day. Add in trying to also keep writing, keep proofreading, remember the importance of our interpersonal relationships, and work at our incredible but demanding day jobs, and it’s been a trying time for us all.

But this afternoon, as I stepped out of a meeting and tried to find my car keys, I took a moment to look to the west toward Lake Champlain. The natural beauty took my breath away, and I stood and stared, and let myself just stop for a moment. That brief few moments did more for my soul than I can express, and as I got back into the car, I felt more settled than I have in the last few weeks.

So now I am settled in at the laptop, ready to write for a while while my trusty proofreader reads nearby, and I am full of vigor and joy in the process again.