Two Paths to Completing that First Draft

Coming Soon

The first draft of any novel is like climbing a mountain that has its peak concealed in thick clouds. Many people start writing it but few finish. There’s many reasons for the lack of success. If you’ve completed your first draft, congratulations. Take a moment and bathe in the beauty of reaching the top of the mountain, breaking through the cloud cover and feeling the sun on your skin.

While writers may not understand why they failed to finish the first draft, one reason might be the use of the wrong technique. There are as many ways to write a book as there are writers. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. You have to find your way to write the novel. It won’t be the way your English teacher told you how to do it. It won’t be the way the famous writer you met at his book signing did it. The author giving the workshop in the community hall has a different way than you to write a novel.

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The Coldest December: Big Ramblin’ Mike by Annemarie Hartnett

One of the stories in The Coldest December short story collection was written by Annemarie Hartnett. Here is the biography that accompanied her submission.

First published in 2006, Annemarie Hartnett has written stories under various pseudonyms in just about every genre. Her young adult historical romance set during the Halifax Explosion can currently be read at Watttpad. A Mount Saint Vincent University graduate, she grew up in Halifax, where she still lives, and works in the non-profit sector.

Find more about her writing and what she’s working on next by visiting her website Annemarie Hartnett.

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The Artist Behind the Cover Art for “Throw Away Kitten”

Throw Away Kitten Candy McMudd children bookQuarter Castle Publishing has received many compliments about the artwork on the cover of Throw Away Kitten. When they hear it was done by a teenager, they are more impressed.

Meet Sam Smith, author of Boys Ride, Too. She’s been creating art since before she could write her name. Her early works, mostly of horses, revealed she had an eye for detail. By the time she was ten, she could accurately sketch a horse in any position in about five minutes.

She created the kitten on the cover of Throw Away Kitten when she was 15 years old. It was done in pastel on sketching paper. It was done for fun and because she loved kittens.

“Revelation Stones” Epilogue leads into “Healing Stones”

For those who haven’t yet read Revelation Stones, the epilogue leads into the next Diane Lynn McGyver novel, Healing Stones, the 4th book in the Castle Keepers series. It’s a teaser of what’s to come. Here it is.

The end of the cobblestone street froze Liam in place. It had been four years since he had ventured from the city, and now the forest beyond appeared scary, dreadful. Animals that could eat him and bugs that would pester him non-stop lived out there. He didn’t know them like he knew those that would eat him alive and pester him here in the city. These were not animals in the sense folks thought of them, but beings of intelligent races that acted like animals.

Living in the centre of large buildings and streets of stone meant he never walked through mud, was scraped by thorns or slept on the ground. He knew Wandsworth, what to expect from the people who lived here and where to steal food. Leaving it meant he’d cast aside his safety nets and survive by other means. It might mean his death by morning.

He clenched his fists in his pockets, hiding his hands from those who passed, either entering the city or leaving it. They wore suitable clothes, carried packs and many had horses. He had none of that. His worn boots might not survive a week trekking through the woods. His trousers were thin, given the warm weather, and his button shirt had only short sleeves. His only defence was a dagger strapped to his thigh. The few coins in his pocket would buy a little food to aid him in his journey, yet he had nothing to carry that food in.

Glancing back from where he came, he thought about the few items in his quarters that might help him, but he couldn’t return for them, not if he wanted to escape the men who controlled him. He had to walk, get as far away from Wandsworth as he could before they discovered him missing. Yet… He gazed into the forest, fear consuming him. Maskil was so far away, he’d never make it without someone to help him.

He grasped his necklace and pressed the small dark-blue stone into his palm. Isla had made it and gave it to him for his tenth birthday celebration. He’d taken it off only once since, to replace the leather strap. Sometimes when the ache in his heart overwhelmed him, he held the stone to his cheek, imagining her beside him. He had done this less often the longer he stayed in Wandsworth, but he did it now, wishing to find her, hoping she’d forgive him for breaking the pledge he’d made.

A sharp pain in his heart generated doubt. She’d never forgive him, yet… He had to ask. If he didn’t ask for forgiveness, he might as well lay in the gutter and drink himself into oblivion; the pain would not cut deeper.

The searing sensation on his right shoulder blade overshadowed the pain in his heart. That curse, delivered only a week ago, had driven him mad. If not for Isla’s hand holding onto him, he’d have surrendered completely, but he had managed to expel some of the poyson to ease the pain and maintain control of his actions. The other branded men hadn’t been as lucky and had succumbed to the whims of The Mavericks.

He pressed the stone to his cheek, closed his eyes and imagined her face: young, innocent, beautiful. The Isla he knew could never love a man like him. He was as dishonourable as the worst criminal that roamed the streets, and she was as honourable as her das. Still, he ached to see her even if it was only to be turned away. A tear slipped down his cheek. He was wasting time. The Mavericks would start searching his familiar hangouts; it might be days before they discovered he had escaped. That would give him a head start.

Tucking the necklace beneath his shirt, he took the first step, his boot striking dirt and stirring up dust. His journey began, and there was no turning back.

Look for Healing Stones this fall.

Upcoming Book: Write that First Draft Free Style

How are  novels written? This question has been asked for years. How do you write a novel? Well, everyone writes it differently, so there’s no concrete rules. That’s the hard part; you have to figure out how to write one on your own. However, there are methods to help writers on their journey. They are as different as the types of books on a library shelf. Ideally, a writer tries several, sees what works for them, or takes a little bit from each process and creates their own.

There is no right or wrong way to write a novel. It can be written with one sentence a day or 5,000 words a day. It can take ten days or ten years to write. It can be written in a word processing document on the computer or with a pen or pencil on paper, lined or unlined. It can even be written in crayon on the inside of cereal boxes.

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Halifax Explosion Remembrance Book

On December 6, 2019, the twin cities of Halifax and Dartmouth will mark a devastating event in their histories. On that morning in 1917, a cataclysmic event occurred, leaving large sections of the two cities in ruins. It would go down in history as the largest man-made explosion of its time and would remain there until the atomic bomb in 1945.

The SS Imo, a Norwegian vessel chartered to transport relief supplies overseas, struck the SS Mont-Blanc, a French cargo ship en route from New York to France. Loaded with wartime explosives, the Mont-Blanc caught fire. It raged out of control and ignited the cargo.

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Where Does Candy McMudd Find Character Names

Throw Away Kitten Candy McMudd children bookCharacter names come from many places. They may be those of family members, friends and neighbours, names heard on the radio or television, favourite characters in other stores (including TV shows and movies) and sometimes, they are chosen because of their meaning.

We asked Candy McMudd where she found the names for the characters in her story Throw Away Kitten. Here’s what she had to say.

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Schooling in Guysborough County by John N. Grant

John N. Grant, author of A History of Oldfield Consolidated School 1962 – 2017, has a new book for history enthusiasts. In late August, he released Schooling in Guysborough County 1735-2016A Case Study of Public Education in Rural Nova Scotia.

Description

The history of schooling reflects the impact of economic, political, military and other social forces on the local community. The history of schooling in Guysborough  County covers almost 300 years. In 1735, there was one school in the County; in 1959, there were almost one hundred; in 2018, there were three. This is the story of what happened in between.

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Last Day of FREE Sale: Blade of Truth

Blade of Truth by Diane Lynn McGyverToday is the last day of the eBook sale. Blade of Truth, a fantasy short story, is free! That’s right. Free. Download your copy before it’s too late; read it any time.

Blade of Truth is Bronwyn Darrow’s back story. It’s short and bitter sweet.

Who is Bronwyn Darrow? He’s a member of Aruam Castle Guard at Maskil in the Castle Keepers epic fantasy series. He’s dwarf, and his love interest is Alaura of Niamh. He was born and lived his entire life (until Scattered Stones) in the small town of Maskil.

Where can you find it?

Sale ends tonight at midnight.

How a Plane Crash and a Parachute Inspired “Swallowed”

When Quarter Castle Publishing asked Isla Jane what had inspired her to write Swallowed, this is what she had to say.

I saw a video on YouTube by a man who had crashed his plane in the remote wilderness of Quebec. He survived because his plane had a parachute. I’d never heard of such a thing, so I did a little research on the subject and found CAPS, which stands for Cirrus Airframe Parachute System. As the website states, “The parachute system is designed to protect occupants in the event of an emergency by lowering the aircraft to the ground after deployment.”

Cool. Right? That’s what I thought.

Matt Lehtinen, the pilot who crashed and was stranded in the remote area of the province, shot a Vlog to capture his experience. He was rescued after only five hours but WOW, what an adventure.

My imagination absorbed the information and the energy from the video and the story took shape within minutes. It took much longer to write: 25 days.

Swallowed – A story about survival in the remote wilderness will be available spring 2020.

3-day eBook Sale: Blade of Truth

Blade of Truth by Diane Lynn McGyverFrom now until the end of August, we’re having an eBook sale. Blade of Truth, a fantasy short story, will be free! That’s right. Free. Download your copy today; read it any time.

Blade of Truth is Bronwyn Darrow’s back story. It’s short and bitter sweet.

Who is Bronwyn Darrow? He’s a member of Aruam Castle Guard at Maskil in the Castle Keepers epic fantasy series.

Where can you find it?

Sale runs from August 28 until August 31, 2019.

Quarter Castle Publishing at The Night Market

Quarter Castle Publishing will be set up at the Night Market Thursday August 29th from 4:30 pm to 8:30 pm. Books for sale include:

  • Shadows in the Stone: Book 1 in the Castle Keepers series by Diane Lynn McGyver
  • Scattered Stones: Book 2 in the Castle Keepers series by Diane Lynn McGyver
  • Revelation Stones: Book 3 in the Castle Keepers series by Diane Lynn McGyver
  • Beyond the Myst: Book 1 in the Mystical series by Diane Lynn McGyver
  • Throw Away Kitten by Candy McMudd
  • Quarter Castle Chronicle 01: short story collection by Canadian authors
  • Boys Ride, Too by Sam Smith

The night market has a wide variety of items for sale, including organic, fresh produce by Snowy River Farms and a bake table. Live music inside and food trucks outside provide the perfect spot to eat and enjoy entertainment.

Learn more about The Night Market through their website, or check them out on Facebook.

Cash only. Hope to see you there.

Halifax Explosion: Recipe for Disaster

The Halifax Explosion from a distance.

Disasters like the Halifax Explosion don’t just happen out of the blue for no reason. Many factors must fall into place to set the stage. For the cities of Halifax and Dartmouth, the perfect storm started three years earlier.

On August 4, 1914, Canada joined allied forces and went to war with the Central Powers in Europe (Germany, Austria-Hungary and Turkey). The ice-free harbour of Halifax was strategically located, making it a vital link to the conflict overseas. It was the perfect staging area for trans-Atlantic convoys. Military personnel from across the country congregated in Halifax and Dartmouth. They either prepared for transport overseas or remained at military facilities to help with the war effort on this side of the Atlantic. Hospital ships arrived at the port bringing war-torn troops from Britain to home. Civilian men and women also came for many reasons, including to work as labourers.

The Coldest DecemberThe many military ships, merchant vessels and other types of watercraft created heavy traffic in Halifax Harbour. Add to this the types of cargo transported, such as fuel, ammunition and explosives, made it a recipe for disaster.

The Coldest December is a short story collection published in December 2017 to mark the 100th anniversary of the Explosion. Eleven Nova Scotia authors tell of the events through fictional stories. To learn more about the anthology, visit The Coldest December.

Story Behind Throw Away Kitten

We asked Candy McMudd what inspired her to write her children’s novel Throw Away Kitten. Here’s what she had to say.

Throw Away Kitten Candy McMudd children bookI live in the country, but I never knew how many pet owners did the unthinkable: abandon boxes of kittens, puppies and kits (short for kittens, which is what baby rabbits are called) on the side of rural roads. That is, I didn’t know until I found a ‘lost’ kitten that had probably been dumped by its owner and told a friend about it.

She was surprised it was my first one. She’s had many boxes of baby animals dropped off near her driveway over the years. She said, “We own a farm. People think we want them. They think we can easily take care of them.”

A farm always has a few barn cats, but they don’t need more. They certainly don’t need boxes of rabbits and puppies.

If I didn’t know this was happening and I lived in the country, I was certain many others didn’t know either, so Throw Away Kitten was born. It can be read to young children and read by children with a grade one reading level. It has a happy ending, and I hope it inspires children to take responsibility for their pets, so generations to come will not abandon these animals on roadsides.

Swallowed: Coming Spring 2020

Isla Jane has a secret. (Psst; don’t tell her family) She’s written a book; her first one. She’s super excited about it, and here at Quarter Castle Publishing, we’re excited for her. It’s been read, enjoyed and accepted for publication.

Now the waiting begins. It’s scheduled for release in Spring 2020, and we have an exclusive sneak peak of the first scene to share with readers. It’s still in it’s raw form, so expect things to change as production continues.

Swallowed is the story of survival after a plane crashes and two strangers must work together to find their way out of the vast wilderness of Northern Ontario.

“Yeah. Rod speaking.” Rod pressed the receiver firmly against his ear and with his hand over his other ear, blocked noise from the plane testing its engine. “Last flight leaves in ten.”

“Can she get aboard?” came the administrator’s voice on the other end.

“It’s a private flight.”

“Can you ask?”

“What’s the emergency?”

“Her mother’s dying. She needs to get home.”

Rod gritted his teeth and glanced out the large hangar door at the pilot of the four-man plane and his two passengers. The pilot wasn’t the problem; the arrogant bastard from California who financed the short expedition to Northern Ontario and who had rubbed him the wrong way since arriving two days earlier was the real issue. The business associate he’d brought along to document his excursion was approachable enough, but Johnathan Stone, the biggest name these days in Hollywood would brush him off without giving him a chance to ask.

“There’s a flight leaving tomorrow afternoon,” said Rod. “How close to death is her mother?”

“She’s 91; she’s courting it.”

“Damn.” He rubbed the dark stubble on his chin. This wasn’t the first time he’d solicit a ride in an emergency, but it was the first time he hesitated because of one man.

“It won’t hurt to ask,” said the administrator. “All they can do is say no.”

“Yeah. Give me a sec.” Before he set the phone down, a thought came to mind. “She won’t be able to take luggage. There’s no room.” For a two-day trek to the north, the two Californians had packed enough provisions and gear to stay six months. “We’ll ship it out on tomorrow’s flight.”

“No problem. Just ask before that plane leaves.”

Rod set down the phone and jogged across the runway to where the pilot did his final checks and the two passengers gabbed and took selfies of themselves and the plane.

“Excuse me.” Rod came to a stop in front of the man who had the power to give the okay. “Mr. Stone, we have an emergency.”

“Emergency?” Johnathan Stone lowered his phone, which was only a glorified camera in Summer Beaver with no cell service. “What type?”

“A woman needs to fly out immediately. Her 91-year-old mother’s dying. She doesn’t have much time. Next flight is more than 24 hours away.” He rambled off the information quickly to prevent being cut off by the arrogant cuss. “No luggage. Just her.”

Mr. Stone made a face and looked at his associate. “Can we spare the room?”

“We can. It’s an honourable thing to do.”

Mr. Stone’s grimace deepened. “Ninety-one.” He huffed. “Making her daughter a plumpy, grey-haired, saggy-chinned 60-something broad who’ll chatter non-stop about dear old mom and every misery in her life the entire flight.” He tilted his head forward and peered over his glasses. “Three hours of dull conversation and whining Lord have mercy. She’ll need a shoulder to cry on. Still interested?”

“Could be worse.”

“She sits in back with you.” He turned to Rod. “We leave in ten. We wait for no one. If she’s here, she flies. If not…” He shrugged. “We’re not a taxi service.”

“Thank you, Mr. Stone.” You conceited ass. Rod rushed to the phone. “Get her up here now. He won’t wait, but he’ll take her if she’s here.”

“Excellent.”

“Tell her the company will be horrible, but it’s the best we can do in short notice.”

“Whose flight is it?”

“Mr. Johnathan Stone’s.” Sarcasm dripped on the line.

“Good grief.”

“Yeah.” Rod hung up and watched the scene on the tarmac. The middle-aged man who had sky-rocked to stardom with the movie Roads Apart was poking fun at his associate. Several words drifted in on the wind over the engine: stuffy elderly, gossiping hag, and wind bag full of complaints and gas… Obviously the 53-year-old didn’t think he’d age further. He probably thought marrying the 27-year-old model kept him young. What she saw in the man old enough to be her father was simple: money and fame. Giving him her fountain of youth was not in the deal.

Stay tuned as we share this exciting story with you in the months to come.

Shadows in the Stone: Isla and Liam’s 1st Scene Together

Shadows in the Stone by Diane Lynn McGyver

Isla of Maura and Liam Jenkins meet in Shadows in the Stone, the first book in the traditional epic fantasy series Castle Keepers. They’re just kids, playing kid games in the forest. Yet there is wisdom in their thoughts and words.

This is the first scene in which they appear together. She’s 12, he’s 13, and they’ve known each other for about seven years.

Isla dove beneath the large fern. Her heart pounded against her chest as she struggled to hide from view. The cool moist ground kissed her cheek, stained her bare feet and knees, and soiled her clothes, but she didn’t notice. She waited here to catch her breath before setting out again for the safety of the great oak.

A bird screeched high above in the canopy of the trees. Eight, nine, ten. Isla slipped from beneath the fern and wove around a boulder in her path. The great oak grew nearby. Her eyes darted left and right, looking for the hunter. If he found her… She shuddered at the thought.

A shadow leapt from the depths of a leafy bush, driving her into soft moss. She rolled several times before crashing into the trunk of a tree where she lay on her back, gasping for breath and realising once again today, she had lost.

Liam lay beside her, wearing a big grin. “That makes two weeks’ worth of oatmeal raisin cookies!”

She laughed and slapped her friend in play. “I’m taking to the trees the next time.” Liam had grown faster, stronger. Alaura said he would, being a boy, but Isla still had a few tricks. It pleased her that his meeme had allowed him to join her and Alaura at Moon Meadow after the session hall closed for the day. Out here in the forest, they ran and played freely without the watchful eyes of adults. At twelve, she didn’t need constant supervision.

“You should be sneakier, less honourable,” said Liam.

“Sneakier, yes, but less honourable is not an option.”

He grinned. “At times life, not the person, dictates the level of honour. No use being honourable and dead.”

Interested in reading more? The eBook is free at these locations:

FREE eBook Weekend: Destiny Governed their Lives

This Saturday and Sunday (May 11th and 12th), the short story “Destiny Governed their Lives” will be free at Amazon. Download the eBook today; read it whenever.

Amazon.ca

Amazon.com

Amazon.uk

Destiny Governed Their Lives: Tale 01

Staring Catriona Wheatcroft, age 17

When a young woman casts a Sight Visitation Spell, it changes her life forever.

Catriona Wheatcroft is an apprentice who aspires to be an impressive sorceress.

When she discovers a scroll for a powerful spell, she hopes to prove to her teacher she is ready to take advanced lessons.

The spell is cast, and the unexpected brings tragedy to her life.

Market Event: A History of Oldfield Consolidated School 1962-2017

John Grant Oldham Consolidated School historyHistorian and author John Grant will attend the 3rd Annual GLO Crafters Sale on Saturday November 3rd from 9:00 am – 2:00 pm at Grand Lake Oakfield Community Society, 22 Lakeside Drive, Grand Lake, Halifax County, Nova Scotia.

He will have copies of his book, A History of Oldfield Consolidated School 1962 – 2017, available for purchase.

Free admission. Everyone welcome.

The publication is a 36-page booklet jam-packed with details of the schools that existed before the consolidation and the events leading up to and following the building of the new school in Enfield, Halifax County, Nova Scotia.

The back of the book contains a list of principals and vice principals who taught at the school.

In 1962 the school sections of Goffs (Guysborough Road), Oakfield, Oldham and Enfield Border were dissolved and Oldfield Consolidated School was built to serve the new school district. School consolidation is never easy. This is the story of the process and the life of the new school.

A History of Oldfield Consolidated School 1962 – 2017

John Grant Oldham Consolidated School historyHistorian John Grant, author of Historic Guysborough, is the author of A History of Oldfield Consolidated School 1962 – 2017. It’s a 36-page booklet jam-packed with details of the schools that existed before the consolidation and the events leading up to and following the building of the new school in Enfield, Halifax County, Nova Scotia.

The back of the book contains a list of principals and vice principals who taught at the school.

In 1962 the school sections of Goffs (Guysborough Road), Oakfield, Oldham and Enfield Border were dissolved and Oldfield Consolidated School was built to serve the new school district. School consolidation is never easy. This is the story of the process and the life of the new school.

Grant opens his history lesson:

On Wednesday evening, 1 May 1963, almost 100 people attended the formal opening of the new Oldfield Consolidated School on Hall’s Road, Enfield. The ceremony was chaired by Councillor Mary T. King-Myers, and Lt. Col. Kendrick C. Laurie of nearby Oakfield was the guest speaker. The students of the new six-room school, already in regular use, also participated in the opening by performing “a number of musical selections.” The ceremonial presentation of the school’s keys saw them passed from the school’s builder to the representative of Halifax County and then to the district school board. They were then received by J. Douglas Fleming, the Chair of the local Board of School Trustees, who presented them to the school’s first principal, Mrs. Jean McManaman. The school’s plaque and a Union Jack were also given to the school during the ceremonies which were opened and closed by the prayers of local clergy.

To purchase a copy of the book, please contact Quarter Castle Publishing.