Monday, October 29, 2012

Anita Birt's Note Book

Did any of my many readers order my contemporary romance, Isabelle's Diary? It's a ghost story, a love story and a surprise ending. My historical romance, A Very Difficult Man is doing okay. I am such a little frog in a big, big pond filled with  multimillionaire frogs I am happy to sit on my lily pad and dream big dreams.

So my big dream is to have my blog readers (are you out there? If so, wave.) buy my books either as e-books or trade paper back. A Very Difficult Man, Ring Around The Moon and Too Young To Die are also available in trade paperback.

I am reading Julian Barnes' book," Arthur and George" on my Kindle. Last night at ten thirty I forced myself to close my Kindle and go to bed. I get up early. Of course, my head didn't want to go to sleep, too stimulated - not good. So. . . I shall break one of my rules and read the book in daylight!

 Read fiction during the day??? My  conscience (oh hell how do you spell it?) will prick me. I shall give in to my baser instincts and read Arthur and George. I think my Scottish Grandmother will turn in her grave at me wasting time when I could be doing something useful. Such as?

How do I get my blog out there in blog land? Does anyone know? If so, please tell me how.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Anita Birt's Note Book

I've been writing, turned to gaze out the window. In the field across the road a young buck stood quietly. He had the beginnings of a small rack. He was way out of deer territory we don't see them down by the sea. The deer have become a nuisance in and around Victoria. No predators to control the population. They eat farmer's crops, huge a financial loss, and can wreak havoc on city gardens.

I'm working at getting my creative muse back. I shall write a minimum of one hour a day until the days come when I'll do three and four hours as I used to. After my husband' death I have had many changes to work through. Finding my lost muse is becoming kind of fun. I know it's hiding and probably enjoying a respite. We shall see what happens. In the meantime, I shall discipline myself to do at least one of writing a day even if the writing has to be tossed and redone the nerxt morning.

My books are out there and available in e-format. Three are in e-format and trade paperback. They are: A VERY DIFFICULT MAN, RING AROUND THE MOON AND TOO YOUNG TO DIE.

I shall pack it in now and read The National Post, a major Canadian newspaper..

An aside. The Pope has proclaimed a new saint, a Canadian native, St. Kateri who lived a couple of hundred years ago. Her parents died of small pox when she was a child. She was ravaged by the disease, ruining her skin and leaving her with vision problems. She joined a Jesuit Missionary order and "lived a life of piety, purity and mortified the body by floggings and sleeping on a bed of thorns. She died age 24. I'm not sure what makes her saintly. Her suffering was self inflicted.

God help her. She never had a decent night's sleep.

Bye for now,'

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Anita Birt's Note Book

How dark and drear it is outside with a light rain falling, enough to keep me in and restless. Restless because I am stuck or blocked or my creative muse has gone away. Oh woe is me. I have three chapters written of my latest venture and am not sure whether to go on or chuck the whole thing or go back to stories I have written in the past and see if I can start writing again.

Or should I do some editing of two romance novels already finished and send them out. But where? Something will come to me. Something is bound to turn up. Keep on writing. As wonderful Nora Roberts said. "You can't fix a blank page."

I watched the Baltimore Ravens play against Dallas for awhile. I wanted to see how Michael Oehr, #74 played as left tackle. I have read the book by Michael Lewis, The Blind Side, and wanted see #74 in action. Yes,  he knocked down an opponent trying to reach the Raven's quarterback. I didn't watch the whole game having other things to think about - writing creatively again.

If there is another human being out there with a brilliant thought to encourage me, please leave a comment.

Make me happy, buy my books. I adore the little royalty cheques that drop into my mail box once a month. And now if the rain has stopped I shall go for a walk. I need a change of scene.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Anita Birt's Note Book

I have just read an article in our local newspaper, The Times Colonist. It's copied from an article written by Katy Read, Star Tribune, Minneapolis, and the title is: "Happy Seniors Overrepresented."

How to define happiness is the first problem especially in an aging population, approaching eighties and beyond.? What is happiness and how do you know when you are happy? Good question that I can only answer from my Canadian experience.

Our health care system may not be perfect but I have no fear of the future should my health fail and I require surgery, hospitalization or treatment for cancer.  None of those will be fun but the costs are covered  by the health care system into which my taxes have been paid, and continue to be paid. My bank account remains intact.

Back to happiness. As an older person I'm thinking happiness is a chimera that can be broken down into bits and pieces. Listening to a bird song or the screeching of gulls. I know I'm alive when those things make me smile. Is smiling a sign of happiness?

Out walking by the sea this morning I saw some diving ducks. A log flowing in with gulls perched on it.The Pilot boat going out to take the pilot off an ocean going freighter. I met a friend and had a short chat. And the lowering clouds reminded me that autumn is here. Altogether a pleasant outing while breathing ocean-fresh air. I was happy to be alive and fit and well enough to walk a kilometre.

Back to something else I am doing to please me. I am memorizing a few wonderful lines from Macbeth having just seen the opera. Love it but I want to hear the words. I'm also giving myself pleasure in memorizing A. A. Milne's clever children's poem, King John's Christmas.  It is witty. The poem starts like this.
 "King John was not a good man, He had his little ways, And sometimes no one spoke to him for days and days and days.And men who came across him, When walking in the town, Gave him asuperciliousstare,Or passed with noses in the air.  And poor King John stood dumbly there, Blushing beneath his crown."

The decorations by the brilliant Ernest H. Shepard are priceless. The poems are made to be read aloud and I can't bore my friends by reciting them while trapped at the dinner table with me. They would not be happy, would they? The poem is in Now We Are Six. My husband bought a complete set of A.A. Milne's Christopher Robin's stories and poems for  my daughter, Lesley, when she was born in 1946. I still  have the books. 

What is happiness?


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Anita Birt's Note Book

Seems no one is interested in ghost stories - not a single comment about my last post and a few paragraphs of my romance novel, Isabelle's Diary. Sigh. Why do I keep this damned blog going, it's no fun if not a single, solitary soul will add a comment.

Should I write about the lives lived by the elderly residents in a care home? Dull stuff really, although most of the old folk have had really interesting lives and only need a little encouragement to tell their stories or, at least part of their stories. When one has lived to be ninety, lived through wars and bombings and scarce food and concentration camps, there are enough tales to fill a book.

But to-day and tomorrow are for the young and middle aged and various degrees of aging and who has time for the old and infirm, and not so infirm?  Damn it all, we still have our wits and enough physical activity to keep our bodies in reasonable shape.

Yike! That was a rant and I apologize. I am frustrated and keeping a silly blog is bad for my soul.  What is more, I have arthritis in a couple of my typing fingers and they do dumb things when I type, like skipping up to 9 and sticking it in where it doesn't belong. Or  j will dart in and mess up a word. You see what I am up against and no one leaves a comment to cheer me up.

Autumn weather has sneaked in and the sky was grey and overcast all day. Rain is forecast for the coming days and is welcome. We have had a nasty drought and the rivers are low and the salmon have to swim up stream to spawn. Time for good rains to fill the rivers and make the salmon happy. And us who eat them.

Have you seen any ghosts? Have you ever played with an Ouija board?

Must go and read one or two of Christopher Hitchen's essays to sharpen my wits. They have lain idle for too long. Remember to purchase one or two of my books.


Sunday, October 7, 2012

About my ghost story, Isabelle's Diary - My story takes place in the Welsh town, Llandridod Wells; we know, of course, that Wales is a mysterious place. Here is how my story begins. Sally is in a cafe.

 "Sally lowered her coffee cup and stared at the oddly dressed young woman seated at a table by the window. When had she entered the cafe?

Intrigued by her unusual appearance, sally studied the stranger more closely.. Her braided dark hair was coiled neatly on top of her head. The sleeves of her elegant black sil jacket were turned back at the wrist revealing a lilac silk lining the tightly buttoned cuffs of a snowy white blouse. Her black silk skirt of some lighter silk, fell in graceful folds to the floor. Well polished boots peeped from beneath the softly draped fabric

She removed a book bound in maroon leather from a black  silk kpurse and opened it. Curiosity got the better of Sally and she craned her neck for a better look. The gold edged pages were hand written in black ink. Must be a diary.

Tears trickled down the girl's pale cheeks as she slowly turned the pages. Her hands trembled and her grief-stricken sighs tugged at Sally's heart. Should she try to comfort her her? Offer motherly help? Without warning the stranger's manner changed. She returned the book to her purse, closed the gold clasp and rose to her feet. Smiling slightly, she looked directly at Sally and for endless seconds her steady, dark-eyed gaze held Sally captive.

"Here's your check, miss. Care for more coffee?"

Startled by the waitress's voice, Sally bumped the table and tipped her cup spilling the dregs.

"Sorry, didn't mean tot give you a scare." The waitress cleared away the cup saucer and wiped the table.

"No more coffee, thanks. " Sally reached for her shoulder bag hanging on the back of the chair, squirrreled inside its jumbled contents for her wallet-t and for the umpteenth time promised to organize it. She counted out the unfamiliar English coins to pay the bill. When she looked up the stranger had disappeared.

"Do you know the young woman who just left?" Sally asked.

"Pardon. What young woman?"

"She sat at that corner table by the window." Sally stood and slung her back over her shoulder.

"No one's occupied that table all morning. I reserve it for my regulars."

"Of course, she was there, dressed in black and crying over a diary."

The waitress frowned and peered over glasses. "You are mistaken, miss," and turned to greet an elderly couple at the door. "There's late you are. I've some fresh-baked currant scones to go with  your coffee."

"This is ridiculous. I saw her." Sally pointed to the table. Why was the waitress being so dense?

"Miss, I have no idea what you're talking about. Please let me get on with my work."

"But she ..."

"There's been no one at that table all morning."

Rudely dismissed, Sally gave up, stepped outside and caught sight of the black clad girl hurrying up the street. "Oh no, you don't," Sally muttered and sprinted after her..

Dodging shoppers, mothers pushing babies in strollers, side stepping around small children on tricycles Sally was only a few feet behind the girl as she disappeared around a corner at the end of the street. Seconds later Sally caught up and skidded to a stop. The girl had vanished.

Where? How?

And that  is how Isabelle's Diary begins.  I would type out more but my fingers are giving me hell.  Better for you to buy my book and download it to your e-reader. Order from my publisher Ellora's or from, or Amazon.UK  I promise you a good read with many twists and turns as the plot thickens.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Anita Birt's Note Book

Do you like reading ghost stories? Many of us do, so it was a great treat to hear Dr. Stephen Ross, a professor at the University of Victoria, give a talk on The English Ghost Story. Back to the old Gothic tales set in ruined castles or remote areas where vampires might creep from their graves to frighten villagers. Ghosts aplenty were a constant in those tales. Moving on to England and Dickens Christmas stories. Telling ghostly tales on Christmas Eve went the children to bed afraid to fall asleep. The tradition of telling ghostly tales faded with the industrial revolution and the great leaps made in science.

Along came seances and tapping on tables and mediums were a big hit. Much was made of the occult and secret traditions of knowledge. Ghosts are not to be feared, if there are such things as ghosts. It's a fascinating topic. Having touched very briefly on the topic, here is a ghost story readily available as an e-book.

My contemporary romance novel, ISABELLE'S DIARY, is a ghost story.  It takes place in the present time in Llandrindod Wells, a small city in mid Wales. It is a bright sunny morning. My heroine sits in a small cafe sipping a cup of coffee. Sitting at a window table is a young woman dressed in Victorian black. She is reading from a diary and tears trickled from her eyes. What happens next changes my heroine's life forever.

All my books are available in e-format. Three are available in trade paper back, A Very Difficult Man, Ring Around The Moon and Too Young To Die.

If you like a ghost story, download, ISABELLE'S DIARY, to your e-reader and enjoy the tale until you read the last page. And a question still remains. Was the girl in black a ghost?

Anita Birt