Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Year of Accomplishment

Well, what a difference a year makes!

First of all, I must apologize, once again, for neglecting this blog and keeping everyone in the dark on my progress. Unfortunately, I have the kind of mind that only focuses on one thing at a time. It is not, perhaps, the best way to get followers, but I have learned through the years that if I don't focus exclusively on one thing, I tend to overwhelm myself with obligations.

That being said, my focus has served me well. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, we (with my co-author, Carley Bauer) have been accepted for publication and we are currently going through the second and (hopefully) last edit prior to publication in early February of 2013. So please keep your eyes open for "No Gentleman is He", part of the Sons of Liberty series with Tigearr Publishing. We are also working on Book 2 of the series, as yet untitled, which will continue the saga of our characters as they enter into the American Revolutionary War. The first book is set in 1775, where there was tension but still a hope of reconciliation with the Crown for their rights. Book 2 is set in spring of 1776, when almost all hope of successful negotiations, aka the Olive Branch, are all but gone, and hostilities break out in earnest. 

We have striven to write romance books that are not only traditionally character driven, but also have strong plot lines, with excitement, tension and strong research to titillate the reader. We feel readers have become bored with the standard makeup of traditional romance stories and demand stronger stories and real plots to engage them. 

I want to take this opportunity to thank all those who have supported me through this journey, namely my co-author Carley Bauer who pushes me to my best, my publisher Kemberlee Shortland who is the most author friendly publisher I have ever had the fortune to work with, and my best friend, Violet, who always encouraged me, understanding when I went weeks without contacting her and always picking up any conversation like we never had that break. She had faith in me even when I doubted myself, and always made me feel like I could accomplish whatever I strove for as long as I worked for it. 

Last, but not least, my husband. He made suppers when I was so immersed in work, I would forget to eat, cleaned up when various rooms almost disappeared due to neglect, and fielded phone calls so I wouldn't be distracted. He was understanding, tolerant and supportive, even if he still doesn't completely understand this peculiar obsession of mine. We adore each other and can't conceive of being separated for any length of time, no matter how much we exchange loving barbs. 

This has been a year of accomplishments, but is only the beginning. The coming year will be one of even more hard work, more messy rooms, more forgotten meals, and satisfaction! Various projects are in the works as well as Book 2, and various personal aspirations are to be met. 

I want to thank all those who have stuck by me through my long neglect. Like my best friend, you have been enormously patient, and please believe me when I say "I am truly thankful". 

New Year with Old Acquaintances 

Forgive me lest I glow in pride,
As year ahead briefly breaks its stride.
Ambitions I have striven for,
And once again step up for more,
Have come to my bid
And destructive doubts hid.

When snowy New Year morn breaks free
I dance with friends who lofted me.
We share smiles, camaraderie all
Aflame in our hearts the constant call
For love and support. Oh, friends indeed.
Our spirits soar, our true lights we heed.

S.L. Bartlett, Dec. 2012

May you all have a Happy New Year, and rich blessing through all the year.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Old Post Resurrection: I Hate My Muse!

Driving home today, I got the strong, overpowering fragrance of fresh cut alfalfa hay. It hit me like a strong draw on a pot plant, and I had to pull over for five minutes and just lay back and sniff. I love, love, love that smell. It’s what I like to call a “hay-high”.

Unfortunately, it also got my mischievous little muse squirming about in my brain, giving me ideas on my book. Now, the little winged insect never plants these treasures when it’s convenient. Oh no. She plants them like light weight seeds only sprinkled lightly on the soil so that the briefest wind can blow them away as I rush home before I forget them. At my age, I figure my memory has about a five kilometer radius, and I was about forty-five kilometers from home.

Of course, my almost getting a speeding ticket was all for naught. After unpacking my groceries, including the half thawed butterscotch ripple ice cream, the little wench disappeared back into her hole and I was left with confused, muddled prose. If I ever get my hands on that sneaky little fairy, I’ll wring her bloody neck!

What she had planted there was absolute beauty in words, too. Ah well.

Have you ever had that happen? You have no way of typing it when this brilliant idea hits you, and you can’t even travel back to medieval times and write it down on paper and pen because you never thought to put them where you can reach them. Do people still use pens?

My least favorite time for an active muse is three o’clock in the morning. You wake up, again with the next Pulitzer Prize in Literature playing out in your dream-soaked brain, but you are in that “body stone” that comes with that time of night. You know you should write it down. You know you have to get up and record it for prosperity before it fades with complete wakefulness, but darn it, the pillow is in the perfect position, the blankets wrapped around you like a custom made cocoon.

Sure enough, you drifted off again, only to have it fade with the dawn. It’s gone. And that naughty little fairy muse is nowhere to be found! Thank heavens it doesn't happen often.

I think she only likes car rides. She mocks me with her head hanging out the window, her tongue dripping saliva all over the upholstery. As soon as I pull into my small town and race dangerously down the main street in a frantic attempt to get home, terrorizing my poor neighbours, poof! There she goes, with the poplar fluff flying about like summer snow. I can still hear her tinkling laughter in the branches.

Do me a favour, will you? If you come across a “muse trap”, pick it up for me. I’ll pay you back.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Canadian Tribute to 9/11

We will all remember that terrible day. No matter where you were, in the U.S. or Canada or anywhere in the world, it impacted all of us.

An RCMP Mounted Police is shown at the Beechwood National Memorial Cemetery, beside the monument in rememberance of the Canadians lost in the September 11th attacks at the Beechwood National Memorial Cemetery

The Sept. 11 attacks killed 26 Canadians. I felt the need to give them names, to acknowledge their existence in the world. So here is a too brief look at each one.

Michael Arczynski — The 45-year-old was from Vancouver. He and his wife, Lori, raised in Montreal, had three children. Lori gave birth to a fourth child, named for his late father, after the attack. He also left behind three daughters from his first marriage.

Garnet (Ace) Bailey — The 53-year-old director of pro scouting for the National Hockey League's Los Angeles Kings was a native of Lloydminster, Sask. He died aboard United Airlines Flight 175. He was a veteran of 11 NHL seasons as a player. He joined the Edmonton Oilers where he was a linemate of teenage phenomenon Wayne Gretzky. He is survived by his wife, Katherine, and son, Todd.

David (Barky) Barkway — The 34-year-old executive, who lived in Toronto, was in an office on the 105th floor of the north tower. He was in New York with his wife, Cindy, on a business trip. He left behind two young sons, one who was born in January 2002 and named David after his father.

Ken Basnicki — The 48-year-old father of two lived in Toronto. He was last heard from at 8:55 a.m. from an office on the 106th floor. His wife, Maureen, was a former flight attendant grounded in Germany at the time of her husband's death.

Jane Beatty — A native of Britain, Beatty, 53, lived in Ontario for more than 20 years before moving to the United States with her husband Bob. She had just celebrated her fifth anniversary of surviving breast cancer. She had two grown sons.

Joseph Collison — Collison was born in Toronto in 1951 and moved to New York City. He was unmarried. He is buried in Mississauga next to his parents.

Cynthia Connolly — Connolly, 40, transferred from Montreal offices to New York in 1999. She and her husband, Donald Poissant lived in Metuchen, N.J., with their Airedale-German shepherd, Shadow, and pet cat, Obi.

Arron Dack — The 39-year-old father of two Dack was born in England, but moved to Canada with his parents in 1970. At the time of his death, he lived in New Jersey. He is survived by his wife, Abigail Carter and his two children, Olivia and Carter.

Frank Joseph Doyle — The 39-year-old Detroit native lived in N.J. with his wife, Kimmy Chedel of St. Adele, Que. He was an American citizen whose parents were from the Ottawa valley, and he had a home in Canada left two children, Zoe and Garrett.

Christine Egan — The 55-year-old Health Canada nurse epidemiologist from Winnipeg was visiting her younger brother's office in the World Trade Center. Egan was raised in England and moved to Canada in the late 60s. She taught at the University of Manitoba and received her Ph.D. Egan also had a love of Canada's North, where she had practised as a nurse. Nunavut nursing students.

Michael Egan — The 51-year-old immigrated to Canada in Montreal and moved to New Jersey. He left behind his wife, Anna and two boys. His sister Christine, visiting him in the towers on that day, was also killed in the attack.

Albert Elmarry — The 30-year-old moved from Toronto to the United States in 1999. He left behind his wife, Irinie, who gave birth to a daughter six months after her husband was killed.

Meredith Ewart and Peter Feidelberg — The Montreal couple moved to the United States in 1997 and married in March 2000. One month before they died, they returned to Montreal for a second wedding reception with family and friends. Ewart was 29, and Feidelberg, 34, lived in Hoboken, N.J.

Alexander Filipov — Filipov, 70, was born in Regina and lived in Concord, Mass. He was killed on American Airlines Flight 11, just days before his 44th anniversary. He leaves three sons and his widow, Loretta.

Ralph Gerhardt — The 34-year-old lived in Toronto but had an apartment in NYC. His girlfriend was also killed in the attacks.

Stuart Lee — Lee, born in Korea, grew up in Vancouver and lived in Manhatten with his wife, Lynn Udbjorg. He was 30-years-old.

Mark Ludvigsen — The 32-year-old native of Rothesay, N.B. moved to the United States with his family when he was young. He and his wife of three years, Maureen, lived in Manhattan.

Bernard Mascarenhas — The 54-year-old native of Newmarket, Ont. He left behind his wife Raynette, a son and a daughter.

Colin McArthur — The 52-year-old Glasgow native moved to Toronto in 1977 and in Montreal in 1986 after marrying his wife, Brenda and became a Canadian citizen. The couple relocated to New York in 1997.

Michael Pelletier — The 36-year-old grew up in Vancouver, BC. He left behind his wife, Sophie, a three-year-old daughter and one-year-old son.

Donald Robson — A Toronto native, he had lived in the United States for 20 years with his wife, Kathy. He had been planning 24th wedding anniversary celebrations with his wife for later that day. He was 52 years old.

Ruffino (Roy) Santos — a resident of British Columbia. He moved to New York in the late 1990s with his wife. He was 37 years old.

Vladimir Tomasevic — He lived in Toronto with his wife, Tanja, who still has a shredded piece of his trousers. He was 36 years old.

Chantal (Chanti) Vincelli — A former Montrealer. Vincelli lived in Harlem with her cats. The local grocer named her the Harlem Princess and the name stuck. She was 38 years old.

Debbie Williams —  A Montreal native. She and her husband, Darren lived in Hoboken, N.J. She was 35 years old and left a new born daughter.

Let us remember all of those almost 3000 first casualties of the War Against Terrorism. May we remember to never let it happen again.

Friday, August 31, 2012

I've Come to Accept My Real Self

Things are quickly becoming more and more real for me. I am about to become a published author, complete with my own author page on Tirgearr Publishing's site.

Now, Kemberlee, the publisher, happened to choose a photo of me that I have never liked but others who know me say is the real me. What I find odd is that she managed to hone in on that one photo; a gum-snapping, applejack moose jerky eatin', somewhat classy trailer trash woman.

You will have to go here to see the photo, if you're curious.

Now, how did she know?

I thought I had successfully fostered the image of a bon-bon eating, lingerie lounging, champagne sipping "Jackie Collins" type, or at the very least, a thoughtful, serious writer.

She must have been talking to my co-author, Carol, who knows me so well. Now Carol better fits the persona I was trying to convey. She lives in Delaware, near NYC. She's an attractive blonde, loves the city life and all it has to offer and probably dresses impeccably. You see, while we've been friends for 10 years now and have been writing together for the same amount of time, we've never met in person.

It's probably just as well, too.

Because what that photo of me portrays is real. I truly am a redneck at heart, I honestly prefer the country life and everything it involves. While she loves shopping in the big city, I hate it and get impatient five minutes after entering the store. I break out in a cold sweat as soon as I hit the city limits of Edmonton, AB and my hands turn cold with white knuckled panic. She loves shopping for clothes, and I've had the same pair of comfortable jeans, complete with paint speckles and battery acid burns on them, for the last five years. I also wear my husband's shirts and consider myself quite chic. She loves the theater and city entertainments, and I live for the fishing and camping trips to the mountains that we plan weeks in advance, complete with a cooler full of moose dried meat, iced tea and fish bait, all co-mingling. She delicately dabs perfume, and to me, the smell of bug spray and campfire smoke is ambrosia. She loves a man in a well tailored suit, and my husband and I got married with him wearing a nice sweater over his flannel shirt, and I found him the sexiest groom ever! We were surrounded by my equally earthy relatives, and the impromptu reception later was a total hoot, complete with a good, old fashioned feast of each person's best dish. One hoser even spiked the punch with his own dandelion wine!

So why are Carol and I such good friends and perfect colleagues? I have no freakin' idea. Is it despite our vast differences, or because of them? I often wonder what would happen if we ever met in real life? I have often thought how perfect it would be if I bought the lot next to her house, moved in the trashiest trailer I could find, have my husband make his famous raspberry hooch while I smoked meat in our homemade smoker, and drastically lower her property values. I can't help but laugh in gleeful mischief at the thought.

So, I guess folks, if you want to know the real person behind the books I co-author, here I am. Kemberlee, you had me pegged from the first day, so I guess I can quit pretending now.

Have a great day, eh?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A New Adventure

Well, it seems my co-authored book "No Gentleman is He" has been accepted for publication.

Isn't that exciting?

I'm still shaking my head in disbelief that I didn't receive one rejection letter. I still wonder if I should request one from Kemberlee, my publisher at Tirgearr Publishing, just to feel like a "real writer".

There is perhaps something I should explain for the sake of friends who seem confused (and rightly so). My pseudonym for this work of Historical Romance fiction is Lynette Willows.

Now, people have asked me why writers use pen names. There are many reasons, I'm sure, but all I can do is speak for myself. For almost ten years I've been a freelance writer, and I used the name S.L. Bartlett. I am known by this name for journalistic pieces and humour/satire writing.

I also write novels, as yet unpublished and in different genres. "No Gentleman is He" is a historical romance, but because of my odd penchant for odd facts and both of our intensive research, it seems both I and my co-author, Carley Bauer/Carol Butler Crawley went a tad overboard with it. They have decided they like it despite that, but we still have some heavy re-writing and revising to do.

But I digress.

The reason for pen names is to keep an author's association with one particular genre clear. For example, if you pick up a Steven King book, you expect surprise and horror. Would you pick up a tender romance book that he wrote, or even take him seriously if he wrote under the same name?

I write in a multitude of genres, mostly because I would get horribly bored in just one. My reading tastes are equally as varied, so I guess it's to be expected. I am currently working on a political/suspense thriller, a satirical work dealing with child rearing and teenagers training to be terrorists, and another Lit work that is completely different from our current work. I am also still interested in keeping up my freelance work. I find deadlines, research and journalism exciting.

I am currently working on a blog site on Wordpress, exclusively for Lynette Willows to keep everyone up to date on the progress of Book 1, "No Gentleman is He" of the Sons of Liberty series, due for publication just before Christmas. It will also serve to outline historical facts that may surprise a lot of people, myself included. I found it amazing how political climate and societal pressures during the years of the American Revolution coloured history and its legends, and with these books, perhaps we can bring some facts out of the grey fog. You may not only be surprised, but shocked and slightly angry that this upstart Canadian and her American co-author could expose their most cherished heroes, We will also never lose sight of the fact that this is also a romance and that will satisfy the romantic in all of us.

In Book 2 of the series, of which almost two chapters are already done, these historical facts will come out in more detail and be twined into our story. We seek to not only thrill, excite and entertain, but we hope to also surprise. We will keep you informed of our progress.

I will keep this blog, Romancing the Thrill Quill, for my varied other projects, including progress on my novels, any general thoughts I may have to share, and to have fun! I admit, this one has no definitive focus, but that suits my personality. Being organized is boring; I'll use Lynette to do that. Oh, by the way, that is why I've been conspicuously absent; I've been busy with this series. My profuse apologies for neglecting friendships; I will try to do better.

So, you've been warned. Meanwhile, I'll keep you up to date on this new adventure and the new Lynette Willows blog, thoughts about being published and indulging in my love of research, writing, and spinning tales.

Oh, and when we have our cover design, you all will be the first to know. Keep your stick on the ice, folks!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday Fictioneers: Agoraphobia


This is the picture the story is based on...100 words, more or less. Click on picture to go to original source, and more great flash fiction.

“Vast, horrible emptiness.” She sat on the bench, her eyes glued to the sky beyond the bare branches.

“I had thought if we brought her outside, to get through to her…” the doctor mused.

The taller doctor shook his head, looking up. “We see blue, friendly sky, and beyond that, a busy space. Most people can perceive the vastness, the infinity of a busy universe She sees a frightening void with hidden horrors.”

He glanced down when she sobbed, hiding her face in her shaking hands.

“If only we could show her what’s out there.”

“Only when ordinary humans can make the trips to space will we see success in treatment.”

“She’s terrified.”

The tall doctor turned to him. “Aren’t we all?” he answered.