Tag Archives: canadian novels

Mounties on Mayne


Mounties on Mayne.

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Mystery Book to Tantalize You


The owner of our local bookstore is after me to finish writing my book! She said that people have been asking her if it’s out yet. I told her it’s nearly finished. She said, “Then why are you reading from it at the Active Pass Festival? Are you just tantalizing us?”

Festival Active Pass will a big event on Mayne Island and the other islands bordering on Active Pass. This April the 17th, 18th and 19th many of the local clubs and enterprises of one kind and another will be welcoming visitors to three days of activities. On Sunday, April 19th, the library has lined up local writers to read mostly from their books for young people. I’m so excited to be reading from Magda’s Mysterious Stranger, the fourth Magda book set on Mayne Island. It is a work in progress that is almost ready to go! Continue reading

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Christine Lowther on Mayne Island


Christine LowtherA determined group of Mayne Islanders turned out on this rainy night to meet Christine Lowther and hear her read from her book, Born Out of This. She focused on her childhood love of our island, comparing it to Narnia, then gave us a brief trip through years as a foster child, the world of punk, her activism, and her return to Mayne Island. She now lives at Clayoquot Sound in a float-house.

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My Defining Moment


Two Kids Riding Bikes

My defining moment happened on a summer day on Mayne Island nine years ago. If the neighbor’s grandchildren hadn’t been out riding their bikes I might never have written my first book. As I watched from my front porch, it was like a switch had been turned on and I was back on my bike, pant legs rolled up, pedaling down the road. I was strong, free, and independent, just enjoying life as a kid, like those two. I was eleven again, riding my bike, thinking my thoughts, feeling the same feelings. I had to write my book. That day, my own childhood, the children I had known, the books I’d enjoyed and the world of my imagination came together and spilled out onto the pages. I could not stop writing.

I had grown up in a Saskatchewan village — nestled among wheat fields and grain elevators. Like any village, ours was rife with gossip and legends. My imagination was haunted by the secrets and hidden mysteries I overheard while listening silently and invisibly to grown-up conversations. When I wasn’t skating or riding my bike, you could find me curled up reading. By the age of eleven I was writing the kinds of stories I enjoyed, and though I completed very few of them, I started many. I continued writing secretly while raising my family and working, but, always shy, I kept this part of my identity hidden.

But in 2005 I retired and had uninterrupted time. The first week of my retirement I saw those two kids and I started writing my first novel. My heroine, Magda, enjoys the same freedom I had. On her island where deer roam, fences are few, and farms and meadows lie on fertile land between hills and ridges, she rides her bike along quiet country roads lined with salal bushes, blackberries and wild roses, with her friends. They swim in the ocean and build rafts and shelters from driftwood. But all is not as idyllic as it seems on the surface. Magda, whose father and brother drowned in a sudden storm, learns that friendly people who have potluck dinners and bake blackberry pies for their neighbours, have dark secrets, both gruesome and terrifying. Magda’s adventures and her unbridled curiosity challenge the adults in her life.

I owe my three books and one “on the way” to the two kids riding bikes down a dusty road one sunny day nine years ago. Without that sudden coming together of everything I wanted to express, in one jolt, Magda and her friends would not exist

From my entry in CBC’s Writers Write: “Defining Moments”
http://definingmoments.cbc.ca/mediadetail/18448437-Two%20Kids%20Riding%20Bikes?offset=2?offset=2

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To blog or to write


I’ve ignored this blog for several months. I’ve been hard at work on my fourth Magda book. I’m on my eleventh revision now. I think it’s finally starting to come together.
Unless you’ve written a book I don’t think you know what hard work it is. And I won’t tell you how hard it is because I would never want to say anything that would discourage you from starting to write one. Let’s just say that you must really need to do this, really be obsessed with the need to do it! It will use you up, and make you find resources you didn’t know you had. And if you are that motivated, then writing books will give you great satisfaction.
So, you might not hear from me again for a while. Send encouraging thoughts my way, please. I still have a long way to go.

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Beta Reader


I write primarily for kids between 9 and 12,  and my books are mysteries and adventure stories.  I never read or write Sci Fi.  But I’m reading a friend’s first novel to look for things that don’t work.

Why am I doing this?  I’m helping out a friend and fellow-writer, someone who has done the same for me, in fact.  I’m doing it out of friendship and gratitude.

What are my qualifications?   I write.  I can spot grammar and spelling mistakes.  I can tell when the flow in the novel is bumpy.  I can sense when a character does or says something that is “out of character.”  And I know when there is too much telling and not enough showing, which brings me to my next question.

How am I unqualified?  I don’t know how much explaining of technology is acceptable in a Sci Fi novel.  I don’t know how much explanation of the fictional society’s peculiarities is enough.  I don’t know if I can skip over the technical details that I can’t understand.

Please give me feedback if you’re a Sci Fi writer or reader, or if you’ve ever been a Beta Reader for someone’s Sci Fi book, on any other genre of novel, with which you’re unfamiliar.

I look forward to your comments.

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From Draft to Draft


Today I finished the 4th draft of my fourth Magda book. Feels wonderful. I’ve added 4,00 words since the 3rd draft. The plot pieces have moved around and the logic is falling into place.

Is it still a mystery? I don’t know. Is it a love story? Not really, though love is there throughout the story. Is it a book for kids 9 to 12? Maybe. It’s about kids, but perhaps the subject makes the book too painful for kids to want to read.

It’s the book I wanted to write, is all I know.

When I write the next draft, number 5, I’ll concentrate on imagery, mood, suspense, the language that makes up the story’s tone.  This is the part that I love the most.

After the next draft, I hope to be ready to show it to a good editor.  I know that I’ll be doing more rewriting after that.  And so it goes.

Any suggestions?

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Author or Writer – re-posted


I’m re-posting this because it’s an on-going question, one that my colleagues keep asking and which has not been answered to my satisfaction.  In truth, I don’t care what you call me.  What I do is write.

Recently, I’ve been wondering if as someone who has and is writing original novels, some of which I’ve published, as paperbacks and as e-books, I’m a writer or an author.  I’ve also had poems, articles and short stories published in magazines and books.

I’ve been reading other people’s blogs where the question, “Am I an author, a writer, both, or neither?” is being discussed.

The arguments appear to fall into two camps: one camp bases the nomenclature on content and the other bases it on publishing.  Camp 1 says, if you write, you’re a writer.  If the writing is your  own idea, originating with you, then you’re its author.  If the writing is about someone else or about their ideas, you’re a writer.  Camp 2 says if you write, you’re a writer.  If your writing is published, you’re an author.

But Camp 2 can be broken down into Camp 2A, which says that you must publish a book, not a story or poem, to be called an author, and Camp 2B which states that the publisher must be a recognized publishing house; you can’t self-publish or be an indie publisher, otherwise you’re a writer but not an author.

The Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary makes it difficult to distinguish between author and writer.  It defines an author as “the writer of a literary work (as a book)” and a writer as “one that writes.

So far, I’m not clear about e-books and which camp you’re in if you consider an e-book a published book.

I would love to hear your opinion.

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What Subjects are Taboo?


July 2nd, 2013 at 7:16 pm

Everyrosehasathornwrites, “It seems to be how tastefully it’s written that counts.”

My response is, I agree. I’m dealing with the taboo subject of child soldiers in my fourth book. I want to let my young readers know about this horrible situation without freaking them out so much they’ll stop reading. I’m treading very carefully.

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New Review for Mayne Island Skeletons


 

Mayne Island Skeletons on June 25, 2013
star star star star

“Amber Harvey’s latest book is a gripping mystery that is perfect for the 9 to 12 age range, and even as an adult I was able to get into her descriptive writing style and the paranormal tale she has spun for all’s enjoyment.”

Smashwords book review by Sierra Cline

Thank you to all the readers of my books who write a review! I feel so grateful when you take the time to tell me how you liked it.

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