Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Final Note

Dear Readers,

Thanks to all of you who have been following the journey of my new book, Far, the third book of The Freak Series. Some of you may have noticed that I stopped blogging for a number of months once I finished the first draft. That’s because there was no way to blog and not give away what was happening with the plot. My editor noticed a problem with one of the plot points and it needed quite a big revision. In some cases I don’t agree with editors when they want certain changes but in this case I really felt that she was right. Again, I can’t explain it here without giving away too much of the story, but I did a big re write and we are both very happy with the end result. After the big edit, there was the line edit and the galleys and all kinds of small tweaks as well, and now finally, here it is! I love Jade and I’m hoping you’ll want to find out what happens to her when she travels to Palm Springs with her family in order to be tested for her psychic abilities.

All best wishes,

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Juniper School, Thompson, MB

Carol chatted with the grade 8 students of Juniper School in Thompson, Manitoba this week. See their great questions and answers below!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Welcome Students of Riverside School!

At 1:00 PM today the grade 6 students of Riverside School in Thompson, Manitoba will meet Carol for a live chat here on The Freak 3 blog!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Welcome Grade 5 Students of Gray Academy!

At 12:50 PM today the grade 5 students of Gray Academy of Jewish Education in Winnipeg, Manitoba will meet Carol for a live chat here on The Freak 3 blog!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Welcome Students of Gray Academy!

At 10:30 AM today the grade 7 students of Gray Academy of Jewish Education in Winnipeg, Manitoba will meet Carol for a live chat here on The Freak 3 blog!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The First Draft

Well, it’s been quite a month. I spent a full day lying on the couch, staring out the window at the trees and contemplating how I’d break the news to my editor that I was out of good ideas, that the initial idea I had for the third Freak book was rubbish and would never work. Then I tried to think up a better idea but nothing worked. Finally, as I often do when desperate, I called my friend and writing partner Perry Nodelman and we began to brainstorm. By the end of our talk I was pumped and ready to write. By the next day, almost all the ideas we had come up with I threw out, but something had happened. My brain was working again, and ideas were flowing and I had a rush of them, and then I knew what was going to happen. It all fit, it all worked and the more I thought about it, the more sense it made and the more ideas kept flowing.

I sat down to write- for the first time typing instead of writing long hand- and didn’t really get up from my desk for the next 2 weeks. My husband did all the shopping and cooking. I went for a walk every morning and one night we went to a movie with friends and twice the family came over for dinner. Outside of that I wrote. Usually a chapter a day, sometimes two or a chapter and a half. At night, before sleep, I’d plan the next day’s work. And at the end of two weeks, I had a finished book. I spent another week reading it over, editing it and just before the year ended I sent it off to my editor.

As I always do I read it to my husband every night- well, this time because it was typed he read it himself- and he would encourage me by telling me how good it was and how he wanted to know what would happen next so I felt I had to keep writing, and in the end he pronounced it
better than Visions. I hope my editor agrees.

The night I sent it off to my editor I felt sick all night. I have never sent off a manuscript without getting sick, even after all this time. Will the editor like it? Is it any good?
And then there’s the let down. I’m tired now, really tired.
And there’s the mystery: where did those words come from? How did that writing happen? To this day, the process is still a mystery to me.

Today I start writing chapter 2 of The Curse of the Emerald Eye, the book Perry and I are writing together. We’ve written the chapter one so that it can go in the back of the first book of the series, The Proof That Ghosts Exist.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Can books change you?

Yesterday I received an amazing email from a reader. She had obviously been really moved by a number of my WW2 books, and had read quite a lot of material on my web site and so was familiar with my other writing as well. It made me think about my favourite books and what makes them my favourites and that made me wonder if literature can change a person. I think that in a way it can. When I was young I read Frank L. Baum voraciously. He was my favourite author. And I think he did change me. Not what I did- I still went to school and did the things children do, but he changed my inner life. I understood that there was this thing called the imagination and that it could be so stunningly wonderful, in fact, magical, and yet, you couldn’t see it or touch it or eat it or wear it, but it changed everything that happened on your inside. Later as I read books as an adult, I rarely had that same response, perhaps because it’s a once in a lifetime feeling. Books can make me think, or feel , or empathize with a character and see a different point of view, or just entertain, but I think that sense of pure wonder I had as a young reader will never return.

I suppose the natural next question is, do I try to write things that are life changing? I’d like to be that person. I’m not sure I often am. When I think about a new book I think that I want it to be something fresh, something new, something that no one has done so that maybe, just maybe, a reader will have that sense of wonder and delight and feel that something inside has changed. Maybe I’m constantly trying to recapture for others that feeling Baum gave me as a reader. And every once in awhile someone writes and tells me I have. It doesn’t get better than that.

All best,

Friday, November 30, 2007

Welcome Students of Minitonas Middle School!

At 1:00 PM today the grade 8 students of Minitonas Middle School in Minitonas, Manitoba will meet Carol for a live chat here on The Freak 3 blog!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Writer's Block

One of the questions I’m always asked about the writing process is , “What do you do about writer’s block?”

I’m not sure if I’ve ever had a true block in the sense of not being able to write for years on end as has happened to some writers. Sometimes though, I do get stuck. Like today. I was trying to figure out what the heck to write about on my weekly blog and couldn’t think of a thing because all week I’ve been too busy to get to my writing- for one thing my “pages” arrived for Ghosthunters and those need to get done before I can return to Freak 3. What are Pages? It’s the way a book looks just before going to galleys which is the way the book will look when it’s actually in print. In other words, instead of just printed out on manuscript pages, it’s got page numbers, the font that the designer has chosen , the design the designer has chosen and even the title pages etc. And by the way, Ghosthunters looks fantastic! Marijke Friesen has come up with an amazing look for the series and the first book titled, The Proof that Ghosts Exist. So anyway, I’ve been busy with the pages and, because we live in Winnipeg and it’s now pretty cold, my husband and I decided to rejoin the at the Rady this week so we could swim instead of walking every day outside with the dog. And while I was swimming I realized that I should write about exercise and the brain. You see, that’s what I do when I get stuck. I take a walk or go for a swim and somehow that seems to unstick my brain and ideas start to flow. I think they’ve done studies to prove that moving your arms, like you do when you walk, actually helps the brain to think and I can believe it. So that’s what I recommend- exercise. But the kind that lets you think- if you’re worried about writing, I mean. I don’t suppose playing tennis would give you the time to think of new ideas because you’d be too busy concentrating on your next move, whereas cycling, walking, swimming, are all things that let your mind wander and that’s a good thing. On the other hand any exercise is good for a writer I suppose, since we spend so much time sitting, hunched over our computers, turning pale and wan, and rarely seeing the light of day...

The other thing that helps when you are stuck is the opposite- make yourself sit in your chair and don’t get up until you’ve written something, anything. Don’t try to be perfect, just try to get something down. By doing that, even if the words don’t flow at first, there’s a chance that they’ll start to flow. Whereas if you aren’t writing there’s no chance at all.

So these are 2 different extremes but I use them both.

Take care,

Friday, November 16, 2007


My birthday was yesterday and guess what I did to celebrate? I went to a psychic!

OK, that might seem too much like research, since I am writing a book about a psychic, but this is someone I’ve been going to since we moved back to Winnipeg in 1981. In case you haven’t read about this on my web site I’ll tell you the story of my first meeting with this psychic. My cousin recommended him and I went just for fun, not really believing in any of it. At the end of the session I asked him if I would ever get my books published- I had 2 finished and had had about 20 rejections and was feeling pretty discouraged. He said yes, within a year and by a small publisher in Saskatoon. I was really shocked- it was such a specific prediction. Anyway, about 2 weeks later the head of the Literary section of the Manitoba Arts Council called and told me that there was a publisher in town and since the Arts Council had some copies, because I’d applied for a grant, could she show them to this woman? I asked who who it was and she told me that her name was Carolyn and that she was a publisher from Saskatoon. I started to scream and babble about a psychic etc. She must have thought I was crazy but she gave them to Carolyn and within a year they were published along with a third one I’d been working on.Weird, eh?

So, yesterday the psychic told me that I was going to be giving away secrets about my work. And in a way that’s what this blog is, so he was right again. He also said that I was split between 2 households which is true, because I’m so involved in my daughter’s household because of my grandchildren. He also said that after this project- which he said needed to be done by Feb.- again true- I’d be doing something else. I wonder what that could mean? As far as I know after this one I go right into writing the second book of the Ghosthunters series, but maybe that’s what he meant.

I talked today to Kelly at Key Porter and she’s the one setting up this blog. She’s terrific, by the way. And we discussed how it would work with all your questions, posts, etc. and I explained to her that as long as I’m not writing my first draft I can post and I can do sessions on line, but once I start on my first draft I can’t do anything else. I don’t even pay my bills! I do get so involved and so focused that I can only think about the story. So there will be a break while I am writing the first draft, although I’ll still try to post once a week if I can. After the first draft, once I’m on to the second draft we can meet up again on line at the appointed time.

Right. Now I’m going to go back to reading Extraordinary Knowing. What a great book. I still feel I have more research to do before I can settle down to the first draft.

All best wishes,

Friday, November 9, 2007

Not every week is great for writing.

This week has not been a good week for writing. To say the least. First Perry and I had to finish our copy edit for The Proof That Ghosts Exist, coming out this spring, which meant each of us reading the edit separately and then going over each change together over the phone. After that we needed to come up with chapter headings and that was easy for me because Perry had a great idea for them and came up with most of them. Next the cover art for the book came in and that took up lots of time going back and forth with discussions between our editor, the art director and me and Perry. Finally our editor thinks it might be a good idea to put a teaser in to the first ghost book- a chapter or a few pages of the second ghost book. So that meant Perry and I had to make sure we knew where book 2 was heading. I wrote a few pages and sent it to Perry. Overnight I decided I didn’t like it. So we talked over the phone and brain stormed other ideas for a beginning. We decided on one and he has written the first few pages now and as soon as I finish this blog I’m going to go and write a few more.

Did I mention that my daughter and her family- hubby, and two little ones under age 3- also moved on Thursday? That meant I was babysitter in charge of the grandchildren, and also the one who made sure everyone had food to eat every night.

Oh- something really amazing did happen this week even though I didn’t get a chance to even look at Freak 3. I dreamed a whole new book. That’s only happened to me once before, and it was for the Minds books – I dreamed that first scene in Of Two Minds. This time I dreamed a whole book outline, characters and plot and everything. And it’s a really good idea. I have no idea where it came from- it’s a realistic story, nothing to do with ghosts or psychics or anything else that I’m thinking about these days. Go figure.

OK. That’s all for now- I’m off to write ghostly stuff and then hopefully, finally, this week, I’ll get back to Freak 3.

By the way I think we have a title, but I’ll wait a bit to tell you.
All best,

Monday, November 5, 2007

Can your fingers catch up with your thoughts?

I did write the first 4 pages of the book right after I wrote my last blog. I typed it instead of writing long hand. Usually I write long hand, fax to my typist and she types for me. That changed for the first time when I wrote Turned Away. Because that was a diary, the writing was slower, I did an entry a day, as I researched, rather than researching first and then writing. So I didn’t mind the slow pace- did I mention that I type with 2 fingers? But I write fast, or as my 3 year old grandson would say, faster than fast. So typing can’t keep up with my thinking. I think that typing that book played into a very different style.

So the big question, should I type this one or write as usual? Not sure yet. The first 4 pages were typed but that was because I wanted to have them on file-I had a hunch that after getting them done I’d be taking a small break and I was right.

First of all, there’s a book I want to finish before I continue writing. It’s called Extraordinary Knowing by Elizabeth Mayer and is a fascinating look at anomalous events. It begins with her describing how her daughter lost a priceless harp. No one could find it, not even the police, so in desperation and on a dare she called a dowser. Dowsers are known for locating water but apparently good ones can find anything. And this dowser, over the phone and from thousands of miles away, found the harp! All she did was tell him the city where it was lost and he told her exactly where it was. It had been stolen and the police couldn’t get a search warrant on the say so of a dowser so she put up signs on that block offering a reward and sure enough she was called, had to meet someone late at night, and the harp was returned for the reward, no questions asked. She was a PHD, a psychoanalyst, and had no belief in the paranormal. This event sent her on a quest to find out more. I’ve only read three chapters but so far it’s an amazing book. She includes many stories from doctors who were afraid to mention their strange experiences for fear of being called crazy but talk to her when she starts to study inexplicable phenomenon.

The Freak is about a girl who becomes psychic. I believe people can be psychic and will go into that in another post. But the question I’m looking into now is, what exactly does that mean? How does it work? Is it what we think it is? And what does it mean if somehow we can, for instance, forecast the future? Will talk about all these questions as we go.

Meantime my copy edit for The Proof That Ghosts Exist has arrived and Perry Nodelman, my co- writer, and I are each reading it separately and then on Sunday will go over it together- so no time for Freak 3 today.

Cheers everyone,

Friday, October 26, 2007

What's in a Name?

I am a procrastinator. That’s why I’m writing this blog. I should be starting my first draft of The Freak, Book 3. Normally before I begin to write I clean the house. I don’t mean normal cleaning, I mean reorganize everything, go through all my piles of things I should have dealt with months ago but didn’t because- yes, I'm a procrastinator- but we just moved and everything is clean and organized. So I’m writing this , my first ever blog, so I can avoid writing my first chapter of----. Of what? The title of the third Freak book was “Betrayal” but now that I’m about to start I’m thinking it might not be right. I’m considering the title “Trust” but need to talk to my editor about it. You may not know this but titles are as often chosen by the publisher as by the author because they are considered part of the publicity of the book and that, of course, is the publisher’s job. Sometimes, though, if I’m lucky the title just jumps out at me. The third book will be about Betrayal but the opposite of that is trust and loyalty, right? And it seems to me that’s a more positive title. But maybe not as dramatic. What do you think? Post your thoughts and we’ll consider your ideas.OK. Now I’m going to write the first paragraph. I already know what the first line will be. In fact, that’s how I know I’m ready to write. First line occurs to me and then I know I’m ready to go.
I’m going.
Best to all of you,