The RV we named Lucy

I still remember the day when I came home from work and Charlie opened the door for me all excited and pleased with himself. His announcement that he had put a deposit on a ten-year-old 24-foot long RV came as a complete shock. We had discussed buying one when we got married over 30 years ago but I thought that the dream had died long ago. We’d camped in a tent, progressed to a tent-trailer, then to a 13” trailer and now owned a cottage which kept us grounded. Obviously the lure of the open road was still in Charlie’s soul.

“I know you. You’ll love it. Wait until you see it.” He brings me to this monster of an RV, so dirty that I couldn’t tell if it was white or gray. Parked at the back of a farmer’s field I wasn’t impressed.

Charlie opened the door, I took one step in and almost tripped as I stumbled back out again. It smelled of a heavy smoking male who had lived in it with minimal washing facility for himself or his laundry. The stink was so overpowering that it almost knocked me over. What on earth was he thinking? He must be out of his mind. No way was I going back inside that thing.

Charlie opened the windows and vents, left the door wide open and coaxed me back in. With my hand over my mouth and nose I gagged as I entered again but managed to stay long enough for a good look. At first glance I hated it. At second glance it looked alright. At third glance, once scrubbed, shined and disinfected I could see its potential.

I walked out, took a deep breath, took another, turned to Charlie and smiled. Travelling across Canada in this RV would be fun. We bought it. We named her Lucy and I am forever grateful to Charlie for finding her.

Check out my book ‘Lucy’s Road Trip – RVing Across Canada’ ISBN 978-1-77216-006-2 http://www.chapters.indigo.ca

http://louiseszabo.weebly.com

Advertisements

It’s done. Now What?

It’s done.  I sent my RV book out for review at Baico Publishing in Ottawa. It is the first step in the publishing process. Until I hear from them I don’t want to look at the manuscript.

At my computer I play games. I delete accumulated email.  I check out RV sites. What I am really doing is procrastinating.

After the year of revising and revising I feel completely lost. What do I do now?  The obvious answer is to work on my media presence.

To this end I took a course ‘ The most Valuable book marketing help you can get’ from Doris-Maria Hellmann at 111publishing.com which was excellent.  I got overloaded with information and am ready to get going.  My big problem is how.  According to the course I need over the next year to get followers. I must at the least get,   Goggle+  2,000, Twitter 2,000, Goodread, 1000.

For some people this is easy.  I search for reader, reviewers, traveller, RV, and don’t know which to choose. I am slowly losing my mind.

I must also blog twice a week, write articles for newspapers and magazine so that my names get noticed, and twitter at least once a day.

At the moment, I have no clue on what I will blog about. Should it be about my book? What I will do next in my marketing quest?  They say don’t blog about yourself all the time. Maybe I should write on why it took 3 weeks to get our shower stall re-tiled.

I could take the easy way out and post from the Book.

For the moment, I think I’ll get myself a glass of wine. And think about it

an AAAHHH, AAAHHH moment

I don’t often get an AA moment (Is this how you spell it) or is it AHH! AHH! moment? It happened when I sat with Anne, my beta reader/editor/friend to go over the suggested changes in the RV book.  She liked it but.  There is often a but. Especially from beta reader. This is good as it is the whole purpose of having beta readers.

“You mention’ RV’ a lot.  You need to refer to it as something else, vehicle, mode of transportation, truck. The story revolves a lot around the RV so it’s not like you can eliminate it.”

And then came the AAAHHH   AAAHHH moment.

The story is not only about our travel across Canada.  The story is about the RV itself.

I needed to give the RV a personality, make her real, make the reader like her, care for her, believe in her. She is the hook. And the RV named Lucy was born.

I start revision number 8 and go from first person to third person. Of course I’ve just added a few more months to the project but what difference does it make.  Since the RV trip was taken in 1997, six more months mean nothing.

Writing can be a pain in the neck but it’s so much fun.

My mojo is back

After an encouraging discussion with my writing group, my RV book is back on track. I follow the 21 steps to ‘clear my prose’ and do it chapter by chapter.  I have 1/3  done and sent that part to my editor friend. Once those revision are complete I will be ready for professional editing.

Tomorrow Barbara and I are off to Wakefield, Quebec for a book signing of ‘Travel Dreams and Nightmares”. This is the first time we do this at a library. Previously we’ve had a table at a book store and one at a book fair but this will be different. We will each have 15 minutes to read which seems a long time.  Do I read all of a story (we have 26 in the book – 6 are mine) or do I read only part of a few. This is an hour affair and I wonder what we will talk about for the last half-hour. The more I face the public the more confident I get about selling the book and myself. It is all a learning curve for when I have to do it for the RV book.

Marketing is a pain. What I want to do is stay home and work on ‘The Garage Wife’.I have to add a sub- title (Across Canada in my old RV – A road trip across Canada – RV across Canada). I am at the point where, after I wrote about 1996 when we went from Ottawa to Cape Breton – Gaspe,  – i n 1997 we finally leave Ontario, a province with much acreage . My trip started when we left our laneway. Mentally, Charlie’s trip started when we left Ontario. After 3 days on the road his trip has begun. The water backed up twice, we blew a fuse once.

I revise some more.

I have my mojo back.

I learned something about marketing – check out the following.

co-author ‘Travel Dreams and Nightmares’
from Chapters/Indigo  http://bit.ly/18vQOFi

Step back and re-load

It has been a busy summer. I finished my RV book and it is now with a beta reader. This means that I don’t look at it until it is returned at the end of September.  I spend most of August creating a Iphoto book in celebration of 50 years of marriage (it seems like a long time but, when it is a happy marriage, time speeds by quickly). 

A word about the Iphoto book done on MacBook Air.  Mine is 89 pages and I had a problem uploading the file. You have to make sure that no keystoke hit or else the program asks to cancel or retry. I almost gave up after 5 tries at buying my book when it refused to upload my file. The answer. Stay on iPhoto and don’t let the screen go blank. It took me 3 hours to upload my file and during all that time I moved the cursor over the screen so that the computer did not blank out the screen. At the end my hand was numb and I almost finished reading a book.  Have patience. 

All this to say that I am at the moment without a definite project. I feel a bit lost. I will take the weekend to organize my thoughts and see where they lead me. Maybe I will blog about the RV book.  Maybe I will continue writing my memoir. Maybe I will return to the manuscript of when my mother died. Maybe I will convert the funeral arrangement book into Ebook format. 

Maybe I will start something completely different. Who knows.

Alone and loving it

This is my 3rd day of spending alone time at the cottage.  Today, a cloudy day that promises rain, I thought for sure I’d be bored, want my husband to drive up to the cottage a day early, want to phone someone, want to drop into at a neigbour’s cottage. I will do none of these things.

I have spent my time finishing the 5th revision of my RV book. I am working on a photo album to give my husband on our 50th wedding anniversary in the fall. I am writing this blog all the while listening to the galaxie jukebox oldies oldies on a tv channel. It brings me back memories of long ago and every now and then I get up and dance. 

This is the first time I have spent so much time alone. My worse problem is thinking up meals for myself. Cooking for one isn’t much fun. Maybe I will lose a few pounds. 

Around this bay at the cottage are 15 other cottages. It is the middle of summer holiday season, the weather, except for today, has been absolutely summery and yet, it has been so quiet that I feel alone in the wilderness. Not even the birds are singing. The only sound besides the words in my head is that of the wind blowing the leaves in the trees. The only company is the chipmunk begging for nuts.

As all human being do, I talk in my head. Continuously. I think of my writing, of my projects, of things that interest me, books I should read, my friend whose husband is dying of cancer, going swimming by myself.  I take long walks on the beautiful country road wondering if a bear is watching me from afar. 

And I love every minute of it. Does this mean that I am not satisfied with being with other people. Or of my life in town and all the responsibilities that come with it? Far from it.  

This is my time to take stock of where I am in life. It took a while for me to find my self and I have come from afar to this contentment with my self.

This moment is all about my self, and I am happy to report that I am a happy person. Next week my ordinary life will begin again and I will still be happy. The sun is out.

A great place to write

It is 9:30pm and I am sitting on the porch at the cottage.  A light illuminates my space but on the other side of the screen, which keeps the mosquitoes away, all is dark.  Across the bay  there is a bonfire and I hear voices of children.

I am in my own world. They are in theirs. My brain is usually too tired to write in the evening. Tonight is different. We have had a week of humid, hot, stay inside in an air-conditioned room. I hate that. It is as bad as wintertime when it is too cold to go outside.

Here at the cottage I change.  The air is fresh, the food taste better, I am on the ground instead of on the 15th floor of my condo building. The cottage does something to my soul which I can’t explain. Whatever it is make me feel good, happy, alive.

And so I spent a couple of hours this evening writing my RV book. Revising it. I write it for my husband, to bring back the memories of that trip we took across Canada in 1996.  We bought this 10 year old RV that had seen better days.  Once it was cleaned up and the motor thoroughly checked out we took it on the road.  There were problems. Thank goodness for if it had not been for the problems i would have nothing to write about.

Which means that to write there has to be a problem. My first writing was about my soul problem.  That was 20 years ago. It became a 60,ooo word manuscript that I eventually threw away. It had too much of my soul in it. The good thing about writing it was that I became a writer. Not until I could read my soul could I do any writing.

How much of my soul am I ready to write about.  A writer must be courageous to put feelings down on paper and write stories to stir someone else’s soul.

Writing makes me feel  vulnerable. Why do I do it?