Monday, 25 November 2013

Finally, Back in Business

My apologies, once again, blog visitors. Apparently, my new regular job as a courier has taken a lot out of me over the past couple of months where I haven't had much gumption to write, or keep everyone posted with what has been going on in my life.

The sometimes late hours, combined with other personal commitments I have taken on (ones I do not wish to discuss at the present juncture), has regretfully foiled my attempt to participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) to the fullest potential. I had the best intent; writing 1,007 words in the first hour of November. Unfortunately, due to these other commitments, my desire to continue went south faster than a Snowbird escaping the harsh Canadian winter. So, my plans to write the fourth adventure in the Gary Celdom saga has been put on hold. However, that is not to say I haven't been busy the past few weeks either.

During the past three weeks (and many more weeks before that), I have been putting the finishing touches on Scarlet Siege and Barbadian Backlash for their eventual re-release onto the market. After some debates with both my internal and former external editor, I am pleased to announce that both 'Siege' and 'Backlash' are back on Amazon, Kobobooks, and Smashwords as eBooks. What's more, Smashwords is slowly trotting the two tomes on it's affiliate sites. At the time of this writing, both have been listed on Apple's iBooks service, and should be appearing on the Barnes & Noble Nook Books site, Sony eReader (please ignore the current listings on there, as it does not show the updated versions), and other sites, in the near future.

I know what you're saying, "That's great, Douglas. But, what about a printed copy I can physically hold in my hands? I prefer flipping through actual printed pages." Rest assured, fans, I haven't forgotten about this demographic either. Since both 'Siege' and 'Backlash' clocked in at under 45,000 words each, after all the edits, I have decided to publish both of them in a harmonized paperback, entitled Gary Celdom Case Journals: Volume One. For one price, you can get a bound paperback with a matte-finish cover containing BOTH Scarlet Siege and Barbadian Backlash. This harmonized paperback has just been released on Amazon.com and it's European affiliate sites. (i.e. Amazon.co.uk)

At the same time, I have unveiled a new cover for Barbadian Backlash, and the cover for Gary Celdom Case Journals: Volume One.

First, for 'Backlash'...


And for the harmonized paperback...



For everyone's convenience, I have provided links to the listings on the right side of this page, so you can peruse, and purchase the version you prefer.

That's all for now from my end. I'm going to try to take the rest of the year off, but the knowledge I have the third Gary Celdom adventure, Rouge Numbered Week; as well as, the first book under my C.D. Melley moniker, The Prairie Fire Within, waiting to be edited might make it for a busy December.

Thank you all again for your patience and support.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Halloween Flash Fiction: "A Spectre's Soliloquy"

This is the Hallowe'en-themed short story I wrote back in June, and has been printed on napkins and released in coffee shops in Brisbane, Australia, Leeds, England, and my hometown of Toronto, Canada. A huge thank you ever so kindly to the good people at Tiny Owl Workshop for making all of this possible for not only myself, but the other winning participants.

The afterlife is not all that it's cracked up to be. Yes, All Hallows' Eve is a time of year for my cohorts within the Nether Realm to rejoice over their high holiday. They howl under the light of the harvest moon, inspiring the nightmares of young children more concerned with how much candy they will receive during a night of trick-or-treating; their parents warning about moderation to avoid the impending rush and inevitable cavities from overconsumption of the sugary haul. But, I enjoy the autumn winds. Hearing the other ghosts carry on in their revelry grates on what's left of my soul, and takes away from my enjoyment in the season.

I was never a "party person". I spent my living days keeping to myself, my nose in a book, believing an educated mind was an enlightened mind. Hemingway, Shakespeare, F. Scott Fitzgerald, J.K. Rowling; all of them aroused my intellect in the name of literary entertainment. Little did I realize the last book I was engrossed in would be the one which lead to my unfortunate demise.

Let this be a lesson to the bookworms amongst the living. The next time you bury your nose in your e-reader, watch where you step off the streetcar. You can never tell when a lead-footed motorist is a barreling down the street, trying to beat a red light. It was a mistake I have been paying for to this day.

Now, I suffer every October 31st for my lack of attention. I should take pride, for this night, is now my New Year's Eve, but I'd rather read some Edgar Allan Poe instead of dancing like a zombie to Thriller. Regardless, I wish everyone living or dead a Happy Halloween.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Pre-NaNo Brain Chatter

Salutations, blog readers. I hope everyone is doing alright. I'm still feeling the effects of the bountiful harvest yesterday since it's Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada. (Yes, I still have my stuffing addiction, but I've since added to it. Let me just say, I love butternut squash gnocchi.)

My apologies yet again for not posting a new blog entry in a month. (Not that my girlfriend was complaining, but she agreed, a new entry was long overdue.) Three weeks ago I started a new job. I'm now employed as a courier; making deliveries across Toronto via public transit. It's a good way to keep me out of trouble (at least when I'm not on the webcam with the aforementioned girlfriend), allows me the opportunity to see the city, and it gives me a little extra coin to spend and save. I've been mulling some of my delivery adventures over, and I've been thinking it might make some good material for an upcoming non-fiction book. I might gear it towards the humour genre, but we'll see what I can come up with over the upcoming weeks on the job.

This is one of the things that has been poking at my brain recently, as it's getting near that "favourite time of year" again. No, not Christmas (dear God, I haven't even begun to think about shopping for it), but National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo, for short). This will be my fifth foray into the month of November delve into literary fracas; where I will attempt to pen a 50,000-word first draft within 30 days. In 2011, I wrote the first draft to Scarlet Siege, and last year, the first draft to Rouge Numbered Week. This year, I'm planning on writing the next installment of Gary and the gang. It will be a reworking of my original 2010 attempt: a murder spree during NaNoWriMo itself. The tentative title I have for this piece is Writer's Revenge. I just hope I have better luck this time around than I did three years ago when I was only able to pen 8,000 of the necessary 50,000 before personal health issues came to the forefront. "But that's not important right now."

The other big thing that's been going on in my life is a little something I did this past June. For loyal readers to this blog (and I thank you for still sticking around in my periods of non-posting), I had submitted a short story to a publishing house in Australia. The requirements were it had to be no longer than 300 words, and it had to be Hallowe'en-themed. I quickly whipped up my story and sent it in. To my surprise, it was one of the 30 stories selected to be in this campaign. Then, I didn't think much about it for weeks until recently. I was asked to do a little fine-tuning to the story, which I did. So, here it is, Thanksgiving morn, I roll out of bed and turn my cell phone on to check my messages. Imagine my surprise when my phone buzzed with a tweet from the good people (Well, more like a wonderful woman, but I'm sure others are involved.) at Tiny Owl Workshop which included this photo.


If that's not something to be thankful for, I don't know what is. The stories are slated for release in time for "All Hallow's Read", which I presume will be within the next fortnight, at select coffee shops not only here in Toronto, but in Leeds, England, and Brisbane, Australia, as well. For a complete list of venues, you can find them at: http://tinyowlworkshop.com/2013/08/13/some-of-the-fabulous-places-to-go-to-find-halloween-napkin-stories/  To say I'm not uber-excited would be a complete lie.

That's all for now from this end. To all of my fellow Canadians, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and don't overdue it on the fixings. Turkey and stuffing will have that full and sleepy effect on you. Talk to you all again when I can.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Beyond Smitten

A lot has happened in my life the past few months. I've dealt with a death in my family this past June, I've been plugging away at a volunteer job one day a week, and this past July, I penned the first draft of my debut romance novel under the C.D. Melley banner. Things seem to have been trudging along at a slow pace, but I felt there was something missing in my life. That changed the first week of August.

While writing The Prairie Fire Within, I started talking with a woman whom I had "met" through a message forum I've frequented for the past six years. While the chats started out innocently about different facets of the fandom, the two of us began to develop a good online friendship. Then, something happened: our chats grew more into a personal interest in one another. She would become interested in my writing, and various nonsensical quips and posts on Facebook; while, I grew interested in her outside endeavours where she assists at a dog rescue shelter abroad. The chats moved from the Forum to Facebook, and on the odd occasion when we could afford it, long conversations over the phone. There was one slight hang-up to the whole situation: I live in Southern Ontario in Canada; she lives on the Gulf Coast of Florida.

However, despite all of that, we grew more and more interested in one another. Some people might say we became "smitten" with each other. I'll admit I've been in my share of long-distance relationships in the past, and I believed this one would be like all of the others. That was until last weekend when I took a deep breath, decided to test the waters, and took a trip to Florida's Gulf Coast to spend a few days with her. Some people would say I was crazy to throw such caution to the wind; flying over 1,000 miles to meet a woman I had only spoken with online. But, as the weekend drew on, our feelings for one another grew deeper. We developed a closer, stronger bond with each other, and it was a wonderful weekend spent. Then, something happened that gave me great perspective upon this new relationship.

As I sat in the airport on Monday morning, awaiting for my flight home to board, I was overcome with an urge.. an urge I had never experienced before. While I didn't act upon it (unfortunately), it was something I hadn't felt with any other woman I had been involved with in my life. That urge was the desire to turn around immediately, and return to the woman's abode, and stay with her forever. I couldn't do that as of yet because of my personal commitments here in Canada, but I would be lying if I said I haven't been thinking about trading in my poutine and Tim Hortons for a Cuban sandwich and a cup of Einstein's. This woman has captured my heart in a way no other woman has ever done before; including a former relationship I held very dear to me.

I don't know what the next few months will bring, but one thing for certain, my heart and part of my mind will belong to her, and perhaps in a few years time, the writing cave that is currently my 12th floor hi-rise apartment will be relocated to a small corner of the Marshall Student Center at the University of South Florida. If that does happen, I think Gary will enjoy his days as a Snowbird.

Friday, 23 August 2013

The Division Report: August 23, 2013

Oh dear, I've really fallen off the wagon with my updates. I haven't done a new blog entry in over a fortnight. Things have been crazy personally here at my desk, but I shall try to make amends for it now...

Everyday I'm Editing: While it's taken a while to light the fire under my tuckas, I've finally started to the re-writes for Scarlet Siege. It's been a slow go, so far; only 6% complete, but I'm hoping with my hired editor's recommendations, things will go smoothly. However, I must confess, I've been thinking about The Prairie Fire Within, as well, and am contemplating doing some re-writing on it too. This is the problem when you have four books in the pile: you don't know which to work on first. Hopefully, my head will clear soon, and I can focus my attention on one particular project. Oh wait...

The Write Stuff: Normally after I've finished writing a first draft, I try to distance myself from the craft for a few weeks, so I can clear my head. Alas, that doesn't appear to be the case this month. While I should be taking a break post-Prairie Fire Within, my muse has struck me again with a special assignment, and personal request from someone. For those who follow me on Facebook, earlier this month it was announced that I have entered into a new personal relationship. As a token of my love for her, I have called upon C.D. Melley once again to pen an exclusive short story. Here's the kicker, while I usually have a month to write my stories, this time around I've given myself a stricter deadline: two weeks. I am currently on Day 3 of the project, and the present, I have written 2,000 words for it. My completion goal is September 4th. The work is currently untitled, but since it's being written for only one person, I don't think a title is that crucial, is it?

Reading is Fun-damental: Needless to say with my new relationship, real life, and this special project, my reading has fallen by the wayside again. I do have two books currently on the go on my Kobo. The first is a tale about a homeless guy living on the streets of London, England, entitled Getting Lucky by Craig Anderson. It's been an alright read so far, but it hasn't really captured me as of yet. But, I'm the type of guy where if I starts reading something, I'll stick with it until the end. It takes a lot for me to abandon a book I'm reading.

The other on my reading shelf is the second book by my good friend, Christa Simpson. Twist and Turn is the latest installment of  her "Twisted" trilogy, and I named the book as this year's "birthday read." I'm curious to see what lies ahead for Edwin and Abigail... and I'm hoping to get started on it in the next couple of weeks. (Please don't hate me, Christa?)

That's all that has been going on the past few weeks. But, before I go, I have a proposition for the loyal readers to this blog. Recently, my dear friend, Danielle Taylor, overcame her stage fright, and posted on her Facebook Author/Fan Page a short video of her fielding questions from her fans. That got me to thinking, and I'm throwing this out to you, my fans: What would you say to me doing the same, and posting a vlog for my next entry. If you're interested, here's how I suggest we do it...

If you have any questions about my writing, or my works-in-progress: whether it be about my Gary Celdom series, C.D. Melley questions, or anything else about my writing, please leave a message on my Facebook Author/Fan Page; which can be found at https://www.facebook.com/DouglasJMcLeodAuthor, or if you don't have Facebook, leave your questions on Gary's special Twitter account: @TorontoPhoenix. I'll take your submissions for the next week if you're interested, and the five best ones will be answered by yours truly on this special vlog edition of The Division Report; which I promise will be posted during the Labour Day Weekend here in North America.

Thank you everyone for sticking by me, and you'll not only hear from me, but see me next week.

Friday, 2 August 2013

The Division Report: August 2, 2013

Greetings, everyone. My apologies for not posting an entry last week. Things had gotten quite busy between real-life commitments and "C.D.'s" drive to finish his novel. Speaking of which...

The Write Stuff: July is over, C.D. How did you make out?

It was a nail biter to get The Prairie Fire Within completed by midnight this past Wednesday. However, I was able to finish the first draft at 2 in the morning on the 31st. The final word count was 50,155 words. Now, I'm going to take a few days off to enjoy the long weekend before I start editing.

Way to go, C.D. I hope you can relax this weekend and start with a fresh editing mind come Tuesday.

Reading is Fun-damental: Surprisingly enough, I've gotten back into the habit of firing up the Kobo and reading. Recently, I was gifted a copy of Minutes Before Sunset by Shannon A. Thompson. The book is the first of a trilogy involving a pair of high school kids who are a part of a secret order preparing for an upcoming war at the end of the year. During the day they're normal humans, but at night, they morph into these Dark creatures who possess paranormal powers.

I'll admit, this is the first paranormal book I've read in recent memory, but I have to admit I enjoyed it. The pacing was good; however, the chapter set-up was different than what I was accustomed to; each telling the story from either of the two main Dark characters. But, despite that, the pacing was excellent. If paranormal tales, with a bit of a love story twist, is your thing, I suggest picking it up. Rating: 4/5

Every Day I'm Editing: Well, it's taken weeks on end, but I was finally able to arrange a meeting with my M.I.A. editor to discuss my first novel Scarlet Siege. While the version she received was an earlier version (I had made a round of edits since I previously saw her), her recommendations were that I need to make a few more revisions. Characters need to be tweaked a little, and there needs to be more action added to break up the long dialogue stretches. I'm hoping to get started with those revisions next week. As for when it will be re-released, that's up in the air. In the meantime, she has since received the revised version of Barbadian Backlash, so hopefully she won't be as brutal with it as she was with "Siege".

That's all for now from my desk. The next time you'll hear from me I will be a year older, as my birthday is slated for this coming Sunday. Alas, I don't have a gift to give everyone like I did last year. But, if you are thinking of bequeathing anything to me for the occasion, just one tip: gift cards for Tim Hortons and DavidsTea will earn you brownie points. See you next week.

Monday, 15 July 2013

The Division Report: July 15, 2013

Another week has come and gone, and I've been busy toiling away at my desk and in various libraries across the city. Not much has gone on with the editing and reading front, so I will hand this off to my romance novelist alter ego, C. D. Melley.

Thank you, Douglas. Work on "The Prairie Fire Within" has been coming along quite nicely over the past week. As of Sunday afternoon, I have written over 23,300 words for the story. I'm hoping to have the first draft of 50,000+ words complete by the end of the month. In the meantime, in advance of the book's eventual completion, I have taken the opportunity to create my own author/fan page on Facebook. On it, I have included a brief synopsis of what my book is about. 

For those interested, you can check it out by clicking here.  Back to you, Douglas.

Thank you kindly, C. D. I can't wait to read the finished project.

If you've been following me on here, you know I've been in the process of re-editing my first novel, Scarlet Siege, for eventual re-release. A couple weeks ago, I posted an event on my author/fan page where I would be revealing the new cover for the title when it makes it way back onto online marketplaces. Today is that day.

So, if you haven't tuned into my Facebook pages as of yet, here is what the new cover looks like...


For those not familiar with the story, allow me to give a description...

Gary Celdom is a 51-year old detective who has been with the Toronto P.D. for over 25 years. There are a few little quirks about him, though. He doesn't always follow things from the book, and he also suffers from emotional and psychological trauma because he is often visited by the ghost of his fiancée, Karen Prairie. She was assassinated on their wedding day 20 years prior, and still comes around to give him grief and advice. Also by Gary's side is his current "professional partner," Jessica Amerson, who has been experiencing some mixed emotions about her colleague.

In Scarlet Siege, Gary has decided to take some time off to attend a fan convention in town for his favourite television series. While there, he runs into an old friend, Phil Bennett, and they set out to enjoy the weekend's events together. Unfortunately, things go awry when it is learned one of the main actors has decided not to attend the festivities; a development that angers a group of fans. They decide to revolt, and the entire convention becomes a hostage situation, with the rebellious faction demanding the aforementioned actor make an appearance, or they will start killing off the attendees.

The story is the conflict Gary experiences since he's been injected into the situation as an undercover officer. We learn of the dynamics of Gary's character; as well as, the relationship difficulties experienced by not only Detective Celdom, but of his friend's inside the convention, and Jessica who is back at the Division, receiving text updates from Gary on the situation.

I'm hoping to have "Siege" available for re-release within the next month or so. In the meantime, don't forget to check out my author/fan page on Facebook for all the latest in the Gary Celdom news, and check out C. D. Melley's author/fan page on there for updates on "Prairie Fire". We'll see you again next weekend. Hasta!

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Flash Non-Fiction: This Is Writing!

When one embarks on the journey to become what they are destined to be, they must overcome a rash of obstacles that life or others put in their way. They will come across a slew of critics and naysayers who believe the path they take should be done a certain way, or proper channels need to be followed. They will pay some heed to the advice; others will be brave enough to forge their own path into the unknown. The latter group will suffer setbacks and failures along the way, but it is all part of the learning process. Being a writer is no different from this.

When we first start out, we get the idea that the task ahead is unfathomable; yet, we have a passion and a desire for our voices to be heard. Yes, we will have our aforementioned critics; people who will tell us that we are crazy and we should find a “real profession,” but we don’t give up. Every rejection letter we receive, every naysayer who tells us our stories are not good enough drives us to prove those people wrong. However, with every ‘Negative Nelly’ we find a ‘Supportive Sally.’

As we continue to hone our craft, we gain the support and admiration of others; people who follow us on our request. They read every word we write, and in the case of some, offer suggestions to make what we put down on paper better; thus, making us better writers in the process. It is a long road we travel, but when you receive confirmation of your first sale, it is the validation we strive for to say we have finally arrived.


When that day arrives, we can finally stand tall, and proclaim, “I AM A WRITER!”

Monday, 8 July 2013

The Division Report: July 8, 2013

Howdy everyone. I hope you all had a great long weekend... well, it was a long weekend if you were a resident of the U.S. of A. While I had mine the week before, I was spending the past few days visiting my relatives 75 miles (or 120 kilometres, for the metric followers) away. Here's what's been going on as of late:

The Write Stuff: As most people know, I am currently in the midst of the July edition of Camp NaNoWriMo. While it has been tough to get the ambition to write some days due to the heat, I have trudged on. At the time of writing this update I have scribed 12,243 words of the necessary 50,000, or 24.486% complete if you're interested in percentiles. My story is in the seventh chapter and the scene has my MC out on a coffee date with her hunky love interest. I don't want to give too much away, so you're going to have to wait until its released... whenever that may be.

Every Day I'm Editing: Speaking about releases, we are currently one week away from the reveal for the spanking new cover for my first novel, Scarlet Siege. Which brings me to some... well, I'm not sure if one would call it unfortunate news... on the editing front. I've heard back from one of my beta readers, and she's made some suggestions for my manuscript. Like my still M.I.A. hired editor, the beta has suggested I need to tweak my sentence structure a bit. Admittedly, English was never my best subject in high school. I liked to write, but my form was not the most polished. This means I will resume re-editing "Siege" (when I get a free moment from writing my current project; squeezed in among the two suggested meditation sessions a day my teacher for a class I'm currently taking on Thursday nights recommended. Oy!) Needless to say, I'm going to be busy for the next while.

Reading is Fun-damental: Alas, with everything going on, my reading has been put on hiatus. It is a shame because I have a few books on my "To Be Read" list I want to tackle. Sometimes, there's not enough hours in the day, and coffee can only prolong you for so long before the system crashes.

That's all for this week's belated edition of The Division Report. I'll return in a few days with the latest progress report on The Prairie Fire Within. Try to stay cool, everyone.

Sunday, 30 June 2013

The Division Report: June 30, 2013

Greetings and salutations, visitors to GaryCeldom.com  I hope all of my readers in Canada are enjoying their Canada Day long weekend (the actual holiday happened to fall on a Monday this year.) My apologies in advance if this edition of The Division Report appears disjointed. I am writing this on less than four hours sleep. Why so few hours, you ask? There is a reason for that, and I will get into it right now.

Every Day I'm Editing: I've been in a mad rush to get Barbadian Backlash re-edited before I start writing for Camp NaNoWriMo in about another 13 hours (at the time of writing). Realising my time was running out, I conducted an all-night editing session where I edited what used to be the final 6 chapters and condensed them into 5. I finished my task just before 4:15 a.m. Toronto time this morning. The end result of this whole endeavour has transformed the original 26-chapter, 51,000-word manuscript into a 19-chapter, 43,200-word product. To say I'm running on fumes right now would be an understatement; however, I'm thankful it is over for now. In the upcoming weeks I will put a call out to enlist a couple of beta readers for "Celdom II;" however, I'm not sure if I will need to send them a copy of Scarlet Siege (a.k.a. "Celdom I") beforehand, so they could get an idea of how the series has progressed. I would take a break, and commence editing Rouge Numbered Week ("Celdom III") after I was well-rested. But, as I previously mentioned, the start of Camp is nigh, so that will have to be put on hold for the time being.

The Write Stuff: One would think with my marathon editing session, I wouldn't have time to do anything else this week. Those people would be wrong.  In honour of the National holiday taking place tomorrow, this past Wednesday I composed a flash fiction entitled, "Meet Me On The Hill." It's about a young English-speaking woman who asks a Québec-accented male she met at a coffee shop earlier in the day out on a date to see the Canada Day fireworks on Parliament Hill. I wrote it to symbolize the two official languages coming together in the Nation's Capital to celebrate our country's 146th birthday. If you haven't had a chance to read it yet, you can do so by clicking here.

Reading is Fun-damental: Truth be told, when I wasn't editing my second book, or writing a 500-word story, I spent the past 9 days finishing up the 3 books I had on the go. It seemed like a daunting task, but I wanted to make sure my schedule was clear come one second after midnight July 1st.

The first book was 100 Grey Cups: This is Our Game by Stephen Brunt, a sports columnist for The Globe and Mail. The book detailed the vast history of what has become a week-long celebration for the Canadian Football League's championship game. Released before the 100th edition of the game was played last November in Toronto, the book is filled with stories about how the event has evolved from a humble game first played on a field in Rosedale in 1909 to what some fans refer to as "The Grand National Drunk." While the book is a good read for those interested in the history of the uniquely-Canadian game, I found the book cumbersome, as stories are rehashed at different intervals of the book. The second half of the tome consisted of a mini-record book for the championship and a lengthy index for all of the people, places, and events referenced. While I commend Brunt for the inclusion of the records, I found a couple of them were misreported (a fact checker would have been beneficial). The index, in my opinion, was unnecessary. I felt a more detailed recount of recent games would have been an asset. Still, if you're a CFL fan, it's a good book to own, but only if it's on sale. My rating: 3.5/5

The second book I read was The Woman Who is Always Tan and Has a Flat Stomach (and Other Annoying People) by co-authors Lauren Allison and Lisa Perry. The first thing I found with the book was it had the same set-up as The Best of Down Goes Brown by Sean McIndoe, a book I loved. It was a collection of short chapters detailing the personality traits of the people the two authors have met (and occasionally, their own husbands). While I see the book as an attempt at humour, after the first 25 chapters it became repetitive, and I began to lose interest. While McIndoe's book left me in stitches, Allison and Perry's came across like a complete bitchfest; definitely not one I would recommend. My rating: 3/5

The final book was written by a dear friend of mine, Christa Simpson, entitled Twisted. It's the debut offering from a trilogy of contemporary adult novels involving two friends who have been in the midst of an on-again/off-again relationship. The action is full of steamy sexiness, as the two main characters attempt to rekindle the smouldering embers that exist between them. I will confess I was disheartened by the ending; however, knowing there are two more books to come, Simpson has piqued my interest to see what lies ahead for the two leads. My rating: 5/5

That's it for another edition of The Division Report. To my fellow Canadians, I wish you all a happy and safe Canada Day tomorrow, and for my fans residing south of the 49th parallel, I would like to bid them a Happy Fourth of July this coming Thursday. One thing to remember, people: while I know it's a time to celebrate your respective countries, please be safe. If you've been drinking, don't drive, and take the necessary precautions if you're setting off your own fireworks. Next week's edition of The Division Report will be delayed as I'm scheduled to be out of town visiting my family, and I won't have internet access where I'm headed. I'll see you all in seven, and happy writing!

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Flash fiction: "Meet Me On The Hill"

In honour of my home country's birthday taking place this coming Monday, I've written a flash fiction  to celebrate the occasion. Enjoy!

--

“Did he stand me up? I hope I didn’t make a fool of myself for asking him to meet me here.”

The late evening sun was setting behind the crowd who had gathered, and she still hadn’t found him. Sandra paced the sidewalk outside the gates hoping he would show up. It was on a whim she asked the handsome stranger out to see the show tonight.  Sandra wouldn’t have asked him to join her tonight in the first place. She wasn’t the type of young woman who would propose a date with someone she met in a coffee shop a few hours earlier, but the seating in the Tim Horton’s on Bank Street was hard to come by. With the holiday, there weren’t many places open to begin with.

This morning, Sandra was sitting at a table enjoying her usual medium double-double when he walked up to her, and asked if the seat across from her was taken.  She didn’t notice him at first, his Francophone accent sounded like most of the others from the Gatineau side of the river. However, when she looked up, Sandra was transfixed by the young male who sat across from her. His trimmed black hair and brown eyes pierced into her soul.  She would learn of his name, Patrick, and engaged in some friendly banter.  The young woman, with flowing blonde hair and emerald green eyes was mesmerized by his charm.

Sandra learned that Patrick was visiting family in Ottawa from the Westmount region of Montréal; one of the rare English-speaking neighbourhoods in the Québec metropolis, and decided to step out for a cup of coffee. Fate would draw him to her, and she wanted to get to know him better.  However, Patrick would be returning home the next day, so if Sandra wanted a shot, she had to act quickly. She ran through her mind what the two of them could do for an impromptu date. Then, it came to her. “Meet me at Parliament Hill, so we can watch the fireworks together?” she requested of the Québécois.  Patrick seemed hesitant at first, but would do his best to show up.

The front lawn was becoming crowded and Sandra worried her whim was all for not. Suddenly, she heard the dulcet tones of Patrick’s voice.  It must have been a relief to see him when she bounded into his arms for a tender embrace.  The pair made their way onto the grounds to take in the concert leading up to the big finale. The skies over the Peace Tower lit up in a kaleidoscope of colour. Sandra nuzzled into Patrick’s arm, and prayed the night would never end.


Two people came together on that Canada Day night in the Nation’s Capital; one English, one French; a symbol of the unity our country possesses, and a relationship that has spanned 146 years, and continues to do so to this day.  Happy Canada Day to everyone from Newfoundland and Labrador to British Columbia to the Territories.

Friday, 21 June 2013

The Division Report: June 21, 2013

Happy Summer Solstice, readers. I hope you're all enjoying the first day of summer wherever you are... well, unless you're in the Southern Hemisphere; then, you're probably trying to stay warm. It's time for another edition of The Division Report, a look back at the week that was in my writing exploits.

Every Day I'm Editing: Progress has been slow on this front. I have been able to go through a couple more chapters on Barbadian Backlash (a.k.a "Celdom II"), and am currently sitting at just a tad under 39% complete on this latest round of revisions. I'm still waiting to hear back from my betas regarding Scarlet Siege, in hopes I can proceed with either more edits, or the eventual re-release of my first book. In the meantime, I plan on redoing the cover for Siege this coming weekend. So, if you see me in midtown Toronto Saturday afternoon with a camera in my hands, that's what I'll be up to.

Reading is Fun-damental: I'm continuing to read my dear friend, Christa Simpson's, first book in her Twisted series. At this point, I'm almost halfway finished, and there's some interesting developments transpiring between the main character and her friend/love interest/roommate. There is a flashback to the main character's past in Chapter 11, that I admit came out of left field, but it adds depth to her. I'm loving it so far, and can't wait to see what happens next between Edwin and Abigail.

At the same time, I've figured out the solution to a little issue I was having with my Kobo e-reader (turns out it was the external memory card I plugged in, but didn't really need at the present), so I've resumed reading the two books I was trying to start on it. The first is written by sports columnist for The Globe and Mail, Stephen Brunt, detailing the rich history of the Canadian Football League's championship game, the Grey Cup. It came out in time for the 100th edition of the championship game, played here in Toronto, last November. (And admittedly, was the backdrop for "Celdom III", Rouge Numbered Week.)  It's a look back to an event that started on a muddy field in the Toronto's Rosedale community in 1909, and has grown into a week-long party celebrated by football fans from coast-to-coast. I'm currently 2/5 finished reading this tome, and am looking forward to the rest of it.

The second book I'm currently reading on my Kobo is a humour book entitled, The Woman Who is Always Tan and Has a Flat Stomach (and Other Annoying People), co-written by Lauren Allison and Lisa Perry.  It's a book done in the same style as Sean McIndoe's The Best of Down Goes Brown, where it's a collection of short chapters, which could easily have been blog entries. The book takes a look at the co-authors' wacky neighbours and spouses in ways that make you either roll your eyes at the people they're describing, or possibly smack some common sense into them. It's an entertaining read so far, and like Brunt's book, I'm 2/5 complete in this.

Needless to say, I'll be busy with reading for the next while.

The Write Stuff: Unfortunately, with all of this reading, my writing has taken a backseat for the time being. I will be commencing work on my first ever active (and hopefully, successfully completed) project outside of the Gary Celdom detective series on July 1st. As mentioned previously, it will be a romance novel about Amanda Bellamy, a female ad executive in Toronto who inherits her uncle Gerald's wheat farm in Saskatchewan; much to the chagrin of her cousin, Rebecca. While on the farm, she falls for one of its workers, Hank Acker, and they commence a rather steamy relationship. All the while, Rebecca is challenging Gerald's Will for possession of the farm.

With the project starting within the next week-and-a-half, allow me to announce the name of the project, and my pen name, taken in honour of my recently departed great aunt...

My first romance book under the name of C.D. Melley will be entitled, The Prairie Fire Within.

I look forward to working on this new project, but at the same time, the wheels are continuing to turn for Gary and company. After talking with a friend of mine currently living in Southern California, I came up with an idea for "Celdom V." I won't be starting work on it until sometime next year (I still have to get through editing "Backlash" and "RNW"; along with, writing and editing "Prairie Fire", and the proposed "Celdom IV" and "Melley II" books before then.); however, it is a project I'm looking forward to in earnest.

That's all for another week. I hope you all enjoy the first weekend of summer, and if you are out enjoying the sun's rays, don't forget the sunscreen. There's nothing worse than a burnt reader.

Friday, 14 June 2013

The Division Report: June 14, 2013

My apologies for missing last week. I had to make an emergency trip 70 miles away from home last Friday to tend to family matters. It's been a rough week in the aftermath, but that's not to say I have forgotten about my writing duties. Here's what I've been up to during the past week-and-a-half...

Reading in Fun-damental: During my time away, I was able to finish reading Sean McIndoe's The Best of Down Goes Brown. I found it a hilarious romp involving the National Hockey League. McIndoe takes real life events within the league, and amongst some of its players, and puts his own comedic spin on it. If you, or someone you know is a sports fan, and has a love for "the fastest game on ice," I highly recommend it. Rating: 5/5

Since then, I have started reading Twisted by my good friend, Christa Simpson. This is my next reading foray into the romance genre, and it's an interesting read so far. At the present, I'm about 14% through the book, and am interested in seeing where the story leads.

Everyday I'm Editing: The latest round of re-edits on Barbadian Backlash are coming slow, but sure. When I originally penned the book, it clocked in at 51,100 words spanning 26 chapters. At the present, 3,000 words have been chopped and it sits as a 21-chapter tome. I've only gone through nine of the original chapters so far, so I still have a ways to go before I send it out to the betas. I'm hoping through these rewrites, I'll turn it into a stronger story.

The Write Stuff: While one would think I wouldn't have been able to write much with everything going on, I did pen two flash fiction stories in the past eleven days. The first was a submission for a Halloween-themed short story contest. The challenge was the story had to be no more than 300 words, and those who know me (*waving to my Hired Editor who has been eluding my search party*) know having to try to condense my prose is not an easy task. However, I was able to meet the parameters, and enter my submission. I will find out in a couple of weeks if my entry is one of the ones selected. If it is, "A Spectre's Soliloquy" will appear on printed napkins in selected coffee houses this October. Should it not make the cut, I will share it with you, my loyal readers. I'm just not sure if I should post it as soon as I find out, or wait until closer to All Hallow's Eve.

My other piece of flash fiction is one I posted right here yesterday. With the July edition of Camp NaNoWriMo starting in two-and-a-half weeks, I decided to knock off a little "write rust" and whipped up a little 550-word story entitled "Chance Meeting in Cowtown." It's about two Calgary residents who come together by fate, and plant the seed for an eventual relationship. Who knows? If my proposed romance novel project this July is successful, I might parlay "Chance Meeting" into my pen name persona's second book.

That's all for now from my writing desk. I want to give a shout out to all of my new followers on Facebook and Twitter. My apologies to the Twitter followers if I send out non-writing tweets. It's a combination personal-professional account. Speaking of which, if you're on either (or both) social media platforms, my Facebook Author page can be found at: http://www.facebook.com/DouglasJMcleodAuthor and I can be found on Twitter @Dief_Highlander. Until next week, happy writing!

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Flash Fiction: Chance Meeting in Cowtown

It was a tepid Saturday afternoon along the Bow River. Craig Kennedy was riding his bike along the city’s bike path, as the May sun shone down on those taking advantage of the urban outdoors.  It had been a crazy spring weather-wise; however, in a city like Calgary, one can never know what Mother Nature brings from one moment to the next. One moment it could be snowing and the mercury hovers five degrees below freezing; the next it could be warm enough to don a light jacket. The warming Chinook winds which blow across the Albertan Foothills are appreciated, but unpredictable in planning one’s attire.

Craig was travelling at an easy pace to take in the tranquility just north of the city’s busy downtown core when he noticed a woman in distress. He rode off the path onto the grass, and investigated the situation.

“Are you alright?” he asked.                                 

“Not really. I was running just off the path, and my foot caught a divot. I think I twisted my ankle.”

Craig cautiously looked at the woman’s right foot, and surveyed the situation. He noticed a slight discolouring around the ankle joint, but it didn’t look like there was any serious damage.

He concluded, “It doesn’t look too bad, but it is something you need to get checked out. Are you able to stand at all?”

The woman leaned against Craig for support, as he helped her back to her feet.  Her hand took hold of his muscular bicep, and she liked what she felt. While he did work out, Craig tried to keep his mass to a lean appearance. He didn’t believe in looking like a hulking bodybuilder, opting for strength over bulk. However, whenever he exercised, he made sure to target his key areas. A hidden contrast to the bike shorts and light jacket he wore.

The woman apologized, “I’m sorry. I didn’t catch your name.”

“Craig, Craig Kennedy. And, you are...?”

“Olivia Rumsey. Thanks for your help, Craig.”

“It’s not a problem. There’s a walk-in clinic over at 12th Avenue and 4th Street SW. Do you think you’re able to make it over there?”

“Not on my own power. Is there any way you can help me get over there?”

Craig reached for his smartphone, “I’ll call us a cab since they won’t let me take my bike on the bus.”

An hour later, Olivia hobbled out the clinic on crutches with a bandage wrapped around her ankle. The whole time, Craig waited with her while she was being treated. He hailed another cab and accompanied her to her condo in the East Village. Craig had to catch himself from staring at Olivia the whole time he was with her. She stood a demure 5-foot-5 with her blonde hair pulled back into a ponytail, contrasted by a pair of green eyes which sparkled like emeralds. She dwarfed Craig by a mere six inches, but height was irrelevant. She was thankful for his kindheartedness. Olivia offered to repay Craig for his good deed, but he refused any monetary compensation. However, after some convincing, she did make him agree to a coffee date once her ankle healed. It was a chance meeting between the two individuals along the banks of the Bow River, but one that was the beginning of a long relationship.

Monday, 3 June 2013

The Division Report: June 3, 2013

My humblest apologies to my readers for being late with this past Friday's edition of The Division Report. Things always tend to get crazy here at the homestead (which is actually a hi-rise apartment) around the end of the month. That being said, here's what has been going on for the past... well, week-and-a-half.

Reading is Fun-damental: As noted in my last edition, I was in the process of beta-reading an excerpt of an upcoming novel by my dear friend, C.S. Janey. She writes contemporary romance -- a genre I'll be personally experimenting with in the near future. I'll explain my reasoning a little later. C.S. forwarded me the first nine chapters of her work-in-progress, and I must confess it is quite steamy. I intend to give a full review once I've read the finished project, but rest assured, I've liked what I've seen so far.

Everyday I'm Editing: I've slowly been making the re-edits on the latest draft of the second book in my "Gary Celdom Case Journals" series, Barbadian Backlash. As of present, I have been able to condense the first five chapters into three. I'm finding it difficult to determine where to begin and end the revised chapters as I attempt to develop a flowing pace to this work. (Miss Hired Editor, I could use some help right about now.) I am hoping to have the revised draft completed by the end of August, so I could have it sent to a few beta-readers in time for the fall foliage, and I could commence the edits for Gary's third book, Rouge Numbered Week.

The Write Stuff: Alas, I fell short of my intended goal of having my short story, tentatively entitled Dark Secret, completed by the end of May. As of writing this report, I have tallied 700 words on the piece. I will continue to plod through it in hopes I will have it finished by the end of June, for once Canada Day (July 1st), rolls around I will embark on a new literary adventure.

As I alluded to earlier, and last week, I am going to break from my usual detective/mystery genre, and commence work on a romance novel. I will be penning this as part of the July 2013 session of "Camp NaNoWriMo." The proposed work will be a tale of a young female advertising executive who's established her career in the big city. However, her life changes when her uncle passes away, and she inherits her wheat farm in rural Saskatchewan; much to the chagrin of her cousin who wants the farm to be sold. During a visit to her inherited business, our heroine meets one of the farmhands, and he sends her desires into overdrive. Can our heroine make the necessary adjustments in order to continue to make the farm profitable, and not be overwhelmed by the surroundings?

That's it for this belated edition of The Division Report. I'll return in just a few days time with the next edition.