The What Ifs


Tomorrow is the big release for Equals, the novella I told you about a month ago.  It took longer to finish than I expected.  The feedback I get from my talented team of pre-readers is something I take very seriously.  When they told me they felt like things were missing, I listened.  When they told me tweaks needed to be made, I agreed.  I took their feedback, read through the story again, and made the changes.  Not every single last one–there are always a few suggestions that I know just don’t feel right for the characters–but I thought them all over thoroughly.  And they were right.  Before, I felt like the story was good.  Now, I feel like it’s great.  Well, at least I did.

In the last few weeks as I put on the final touches, polished the document with my editor, and prepared the book for publishing, my confidence began to waver.  When I thought about the July 11 release date, my stomach knotted.  Had I done everything I could to make it a great story? What if I should have fleshed out this scene more? Cut that one?  What if the character motivation wasn’t strong enough? What if it bored the reader to tears?

The questions multiplied. What if it was just regurgitating the same old story? What if I got it all wrong?  What if everyone finds out I don’t have a clue what I’m doing?

Why the hell am I doing this writing thing anyway?

canstockphoto20581897

Self doubt is horrible.  It’s painful and crippling and as the release creeps closer the worse it gets.  In the past, I knew there was a limited audience for short stories.  My releases were small.  I knew the bulk of my readers were friends, people I already know.  There’s more pressure with a novella.  And I’ve set up a blog tour to promote the story and bring in new readers.  I had a blast preparing for it and I think you’ll love the excerpts and interviews.  But it somehow makes this much more “real”.  Cue the anxiety.

The book is done, the advance review copies are in the hands of the bloggers, and there’s nothing to do but wait.  Tomorrow everything starts rolling and all I can do is hang on. I’ll be posting links to the blog tour and of course I’ll have links to where you can buy the book.  I hope you’ll give the book a chance and that you’ll visit the blogs on the tour. What will I be doing? Well, I’ll be swimming through the what ifs and doing my best to make it through to the other side.

Stratford, Ontario

I’ve pretty much been going non-stop since last December.  Work and writing don’t leave much time for relaxing so I made a conscious choice before I left for a long weekend in Canada.  No phones, no internet, no laptop, no writing … for three whole days.  The idea was painful.  Forcing myself to leave my laptop at made me twitchy.  I love writing.  Deeply.  But I know if I’m not careful I will burn out and that won’t do me any favors as a healthy human being or as a writer.  So I loaded my tablet with books, turned off the internet, grabbed my camera, and headed to Canada!

Stratford, Ontario  is a beautiful town.  It’s home of the Stratford Shakespearean Festival, an amazing series of plays held from April through October in the four theaters in town.  Primarily performances of William Shakespeare’s plays, they also perform musicals, one man shows, and other interesting dramas.  Starting when I was eight years old, my parents took me every year.  Once I met my husband, he came as well, and with few exceptions, I have seen at least one, often two, plays there every year.

IMG_2619

Lake Huron, crossing the Blue Water Bridge from Pt. Huron to Sarnia

Normally, we go in September or October and after going at the end of June this year, I can honestly say I much prefer going in the fall!  It was in the high-70’s and muggy that weekend and I am much happier when it’s 65 and drizzly.  Still, I had a wonderful time and I am eager to go back next year.

 

IMG_2605

Festival Theater

The performances are always incredible.  This year we saw King John and King Lear, neither of which I’d seen before.  King Lear was especially heart-wrenching and we decided we might need to end the weekend on a high note next year and see a musical!  It’s difficult to turn down the opportunity to see Shakespeare’s tragedies performed so well though.

IMG_2564

Guest House

For many years, we’ve stayed in a pretty little guest house in town.  It’s like a bed and breakfast (without the breakfast) and it’s a charming little place.  The room is comfy, the shower is nice and roomy, and it’s a fantastic price.  The owner was an elderly woman who, sadly, passed away this spring.  Her daughter is still running the place and although we’ll miss the owner, her daughter did a lovely job.

York Street Kitchen (not my photo)

Since breakfast isn’t included, we always go to a cute little restaurant called The York Street Kitchen.  The photo above is from when it was located on York St.  It has since moved Erie Street but is every bit as delicious as ever.  It’s a funky little place that I absolutely adore and I can’t believe I didn’t take a photo of it!  We’ve probably eaten everything on the menu at least six times but it never disappoints and we always go back for more.  One of my favorites is the H.M.S. Pinafore, but anything with smoked salmon is a winner in my book!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We were there Friday through Sunday, so in addition to the plays we went out to dinner.  Raja, an incredible Indian restaurant where I had sweet chili spiced duck, is NOT to be missed and neither is Pazzo Taverna, an Italian place that we ate at twice because it was so good.  Incredible mussels and thin crust pizza, along with a cucumber herb martini that I would really like to re-create at home.  In addition to eating our way through town, we strolled the gardens, shopped downtown, browsed antique stores, and checked out an art festival.

IMG_2573

We went crazy at a wonderful tea shop and I stocked up my usual bag of black currant black tea and tried out a new flavor of green and white tea blend flavored with grapefruit.  I also picked up a few bags to give as Christmas gifts, which felt a little odd since I was shopping in June rather than September.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Oh, and if you ever get a chance to visit, this shop is a little slice of heaven.  They have dozens of infused olive oils and vinegars to sample. Chocolate balsamic vinegar and green chile olive oil is incredible together.

There is plenty to do in town, and one of these days, I am going to take a tour of the backstage and costume warehouse.  My inner theater nerd is so geeked by the idea but I’ve never managed to squeeze it in.

Oh well, there’s always next year.

Lake Huron, crossing the Blue Water Bridge from Sarnia to Pt. Huron.