Carol Anne Shaw
I live on Vancouver Island in beautiful BC. I am the author of three award-winning novels for young adults, write book reviews for The Ormsby Review, and provide line and copyediting services for fiction writers.
Sometimes a thing's not a thing until you say it out loud; until you hear the words with your own ears. Coyotes. They show up in November. It's all Alderton talks about. That, and the fact everyone thinks they're a bad omen for our town. Alderton is like that. Too many people leading boring lives, grabbing drama whenever they can.
WHEN THE WELL RUNS DRY
Three years ago, I quit my day job to write full-time. With two books published and a third in its final editing stage, I decided there would never be an ideal time to "take the leap." The planets were never going to be perfectly aligned; I would most likely not win the lottery, and I was pretty sure no big-time publisher was going to come knocking on my door with a hefty advance and a six-book deal. Nope, that was crazy thinking. But I did know I had to make a change. I had been working at a job that challenged my value system daily. I was complaining too much, and I felt depleted and powerless at the end of each day. Sure, the pay and benefits were good, but living exclusively for the weekend just didn't (and still doesn't) make sense to me. So, I took a deep breath, and with the support of my artist husband, took the proverbial plunge. (And if you're shaking your head at the thought of two bumbling artists trying to make a go of it under the same roof, well, yeah, shake away.)
REAL, BUT NOT SO SIMPLE
About twice a year, I get the urge to tidy up. This may not sound like such a big deal to the average person, but to someone who lives among binders and papers and books, it most certainly is. I'm a book slob.
THE GIRL WHO RUNS
The girl should know better, but it's October, her favourite month. The others are sleeping, but she'll be back before sunrise; before they're awake.
THE ROCK IN THE HARD PLACE
I am nine when my father runs off with his 23-year-old secretary. He leaves a note on my mother's pillow: I just don't love you anymore. I know this because I find the crumpled piece of paper in the garbage can after my mother falls asleep on the couch. Then I read it in my closet with my Mickey Mouse flashlight.
I meet Geoffrey in the middle of the night on a Greyhound bus. He gets on in Cache Creek, clutching a brown leather Gladstone bag that has seen better days. There are two faded band stickers on one side: The Beatles' Abbey Road, and Pearl Jam's Ten.
THE MUSHROOM HUNTER
Rain for five days now. Been mostly inside, except to make sure the tarp is tight on the woodpile and the cabin’s gutters are clear. Jake doesn’t mind. He sleeps a lot these days, but then, so do I. Guess we’re both getting on.
TEN SURE-FIRE WAYS TO NAIL YOUR FIRST DRAFT
I’ve been writing for a long time. Some days are wonderful. I’m sure you know what I’m talking bout—those days when the words flow forth like a river in spring. Those days when you are convinced you are the next Margaret Atwood or Stephen King. But then, there are the other days; the ones that aren’t quite as lovely. On those days, we’re left staring at our blank computer screens, keenly aware of our own faint reflections staring back at us. “Ah yes,” we mutter. “Hello, self. You’re here again, I see. And yet, you have no words to show for yourself. You should maybe leave and go and do something useful. Clearly, you are an imposter.”