Memoris of a Tipsy Author

Okay so here it is.  The ramblings of a woman who has had a week of highs and well, highs.  I got my book two days before I was expecting them and it caught me completely off guard.  When my publisher brought me 8 boxes full of a books, that I actually wrote, I went a little haywire.  Colours of love flashed before my eyes as I unexpectedly had to autograph, yes autograph two copies of Sisters of Avalon.  My publisher wanted one for his mom and one for his grandmother, both Newfoundland women.  I wrote this book for Newfoundland women, thinking about them reading my words made want to throw up.  Oh Wow!  It was all finally happening.

Fast forward to two days later and I am now having a party for my Nova Scotia supporters a day earlier than I had planned on because of Arthur!  Hurricane Arthur decided to join in the festivities.  It felt as if I had summoned him just like I did in my imaginary tales of the Bride Sisters of Bridgette’s Cove.  When you read the book you will completely understand my reference and the significance of a hurricane named after the legendary King that my characters are tied to.

So, it’s Friday night and I am all for “breaking out da Barbies” as my old friend Mrs. Gimlet was on hand to commemorate the event.  She was twisted with lemon and two drinks later I was ready to talk birthing stories.  I apologize to the young woman who attended my launch and had to hear all about labor’s 1 and 2.   After having two children I sometimes feel obligated to tell the world how fraking life changing it can be.  Not to mention how demons can enter your body when you get mad at your husband for not taking off his jacket while you are trying to bring his son into the world.  But that’s another story.

Hours after everyone had left I was still at the top of the mountain unable to close my eyes as I watched Nurse Jackie, waiting to see what Arthur would bring me.   In the end we got off lucky as we kept our power and all our branches.   He was not necessarily as kind to others.

So there it is, my blog that was written while under the influence of Gin and becoming a published author for the first time.

See some of you in Newfoundland next week and be careful what you say to me, you just might end up in my blog.  Just kidding, well sort of.  LOL

R.H. Downs

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One Week

In one week I will be making my way back “home”, back to my beginnings.  Because I am about to embark on a journey that I have longed for, my ego has been trying to play games with me.  It is attempting to turn my excitement into fear as thoughts of failure try to worm their way in.  I fight these thoughts with my self-talk method.  I remind myself that no matter what, I will still have a beautiful life whether my book is a success or otherwise.  I tell myself that even if my first novel is not everything that everyone expects it to be, I am still a whole person.

I have spent this past year working very hard, often neglecting my social life and spending less time with my boys.  I have made sacrifices yes, but for the next four weeks I plan on making up for that time by giving my boys a summer they soon will not forget.  The freedom that awaits them on my tiny island is something very special.  I know this because I lived it for the first 18 years of my life. They will get to explore the magic of a place that I hold very dear to my heart.  Not to mention the precious extended family time that we all will have together.  That time will make it all worth it for me and for them.
Regardless of how my book is received or reviewed, I have been given the opportunity to share a piece of myself.  Putting myself out “there” allows me to step outside of my comfort zone and tell others that anything is possible.  Living a full life can still happen even when loss, stress and depression still linger behind the curtains.  That is the real message that lives inside my story.  I look forward to sharing it with anyone that will listen.  Look out Newfoundland, here we come.
R.H. Downs

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I Have a Confession to Make

Okay loyal followers of my E11ephantRoom blog I have a story to tell.   This tale will hopefully inspire.  Very few of you will know that Sisters of Avalon came very close to not happening at all this summer.  There were a few bumps along the way that I kept to myself as I have learned that writing and publishing a book is a process.  There are many other people at work behind the scenes that also have a hand in my journey.  I am blessed for each and every one of them.

Originally, back in the fall, my publisher and I both believed that we could have Sisters of Avalon ready for father’s day in Newfoundland.  That date however, got pushed ahead to the end of June, and now early July.  There were some editing issues and my book did not get the full attention that it needed.  The circumstances were all beyond everyone’s control, no blame was cast but instead we moved forward.  We leaped on to plan B.  As my mantra of the month states, “every obstacle is an opportunity.”

My publisher, a proofreader and myself worked day and night to get the book as ready as we could for my plan B launch.  The first edition of Sisters of Avalon is in good shape but I am betting a few things slipped by us.  That is why we decided to only do a limited run of the first edition.  We ordered 250 copies to sell only for my launch in Newfoundland this summer.  Of those 250 copies, 90 of those are for my Indigogo supporters.  Which means I will only have 160 copies to sell this summer.  The second edition of Sisters of Avalon will not be published until the fall, once it has gone through a more thorough round of editing.

I promise you there is a lot of great stuff in the first edition and I think you will enjoy it.  And look at it like this, those of you that own it will have a collector’s item that will hopefully be worth something someday.

Thank you for reading my confession, I hope I haven’t disappointed anyone.  I honestly worked my butt off getting this book ready for the promised 2014 summer release.

Happy Tuesday.

R.H. Downs

 

 

 

 

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A Mild Monday Meltdown

My blog is a little late today.  I am still recovering from my meltdown yesterday.  That can happen once in a while. Things were piling on top of things and I just exploded.  It was a culmination of too much sugar on the weekend, Sunday being father’s day and the fact that there was a slight delay in getting Sisters of Avalon off to the printers.

Let me start with the sugar.  I have come to learn that sugar makes me wacko, if I eat too much of it I get cranky and then crash, hard.  Saturday was a rainy day and I planned a day in with my boys.  We bought some treats and watched Muppet Movies until I felt like Miss Piggy.  By the way, she is one of my favourite muppet’s but I think she needs to give up on Kermit and start dating Fozzie.  Funny guys always make better lovers.  And that’s the kind of crazy thinking that happens when I eat too many gummy worms.

Then on to Father’s Day.  Yes, it is a scheduled calendar date that society has put upon us to spoil the men in our lives and that is kinda cool.  But for the past three years my dad has not been available to answer the phone and hear me cheer “Happy Fathers Day.”  My dad has passed on and I miss him not being around.  I imagine this day can be difficult for many of you that might be in the same boat.  I get through it for my boys and my hubby and make it special for them but I ache on the inside and I try my best to let it pass.  It gets a little easier every year but the longing to hear his voice is still there.  It always will be, I am sure.

The kick in the arse that pushed me down meltdown ally was when my publisher told me on Sunday evening that there was a delay in sending my book to print.  It did not get sent off on Friday the 13th like I had thought.  Go figure, superstition got the better of me.  Apparently,  some legal papers regarding copyright were not completed properly the first time around.  I let the delay get to me more than I normally would.  I usually see obstacles as opportunities but not on Monday.

My co-workers could tell when I walked into the office that I was not myself.  They were wonderful, as always, in their understanding that I was not having a good day.

In order to get out of my funk I vented to my husband, who always knows how to handle an over emotional “me.”  I am happy to have him by my side, especially on the bad days.   I also contacted my Diva friend, who always gives great advice.  I feel like she should send me an invoice after she reads my rants.  I am not sure what I would do without her.   She also inspired me to do a good deed and make an appointment to donate blood.  An odd thing I know, but that is just what she does.  She inspires.  And after finding out that donations are at a low this year I also encourage others to do the same.  You never know when the vampires will attack.  But in all seriousness it is a great thing to do.

So now it is Tuesday, the sugar has gone from my system, Father’s Day has long passed and my publisher managed to get things back on track.  As I type this copies of my book are sitting in a printing-house, I cannot wait to get my hands on one.   Now that my meltdown is over, I can reflect and be grateful for all that I have.   My crappy mood on Monday came and went, just like the tides as change is the only real constant in our lives.   I feel that it is important to forgive ourselves when we do something “human” so I did just that.  I let my ego get the better of me this weekend but I will not let it get the best of me.

R.H. Downs

 

 

 

Luckily, I have “tools” to help me through these situations.

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The Plan As I See It

My blog is a day late and a dollar short.  A day late because yesterday was not about me in any way.  Our country said good-bye to 3 very brave RCMP hero’s on June 10th, and that day was for them.  What a wave of emotion I have felt this week.  I know what loss feels like, but the shootings in Moncton brought more than just grief with it.  It also brought an overpowering amount of love and support for the families of these fallen officers.  I am so proud of my Canada.  Seeing all those brave men and women show their support was something I will never forget.  A sea of red marching for hope, love and peace.  I salute you all.  Namaste.

The dollar short reference was of course regarding  my Indigogo campaign which is now complete.  I did not raise my entire goal amount of five thousand.  But, I still have enough to do a mini launch in just the western and central areas of  my home province, Newfoundland.  I am ecstatic that I get to come home.  The love and generosity from my family and friends has taken my breath away.  I am blessed.

Out of the money raised, ten percent goes to Indigogo for administration fees.  Another percentage, not sure what yet, will have to go towards postage for those that supported me across the country.  I had 23 contributors from across Canada and the United States.  I had 22 from Nova Scotia, 1 from New Brunswick and 18 from Newfoundland and Labrador.  I even had 3 people sign up for book club packages.  That’s a lot of love from people who have not even read my book yet.  Thank you, your kindness has not gone unfelt.

Sisters of Avalon will be on its way to print this week.  I will be putting a schedule together over the next couple of days confirming dates for my visit.  I have one confirmed event that I can pass along now though.   Grand Falls Windsor Library on Friday, July 11 at 2pm and another at 7pm.  I will be doing a reading and book signing on that day.  Other details will be coming soon.  Your books will be delivered to you all one way or the other once I get to Newfoundland.

For those that reached out across Canada and the US, I will be posting your books as soon as they arrive at my door.  I look forward to hearing your feedback once you dive in.  Then the real fun begins.

Then there are my Nova Scotia supporters.  Look for an email coming soon regarding your delivery details.  I am going to try my best to personally deliver them to you all right before I hit the road for Newfoundland.  I have a feeling I am going to have a lot to blog about this summer.

I cannot tell you how much this journey has meant to me.  It is a dream coming true and I would not be able to do this without the love and support I receive on a daily basis.   Thank you all for that.  I look forward to performing my own good deeds along the way this summer, as I pay forward all the generosity that has been shown to me.  I think I will call my trip the Good Deeds Tour 2014, brought to you by Sisters of Avalon, the shining star of the granite planet!  Oh wait, that’s Blue Star right?  Heehee, private joke there for all my Newfoundland and Labrador friends.  There will be no Blue Star on my trip but maybe I will have a sip or two of a good ol’ Jockey Club while I am there.  But only one or two, I am going to be too busy looking for people to read my book.  If you know anyone interested, just drop me a line.

R.H. Downs

 

 

 

 

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The Grand Seduction-A Film Review

If you would like a run down of the storyline for this particular movie you can read Jim Slotek’s review from the Toronto Sun.  His journalistic outline of the film is very accurate in most regards, but I didn’t go see this film because I wanted to write something typical.  I went to lose myself in the tiny harbour of Tickle Head, Newfoundland.  And I did just that.

Tomorrow I get my manuscript, Sisters of Avalon, back from my publisher one last time to approve final edits before it goes to print next week.  I have 7 more days to make it the best it can be.  Going to see The Grand Seduction made me crave my Newfoundland culture even more than I already do.  I could smell the fish stage and taste the screech just as the characters on the big screen did.  As soon as the opening sequences started with the view of the harbour I was hooked.  I felt the warmth of the wood stove as someone’s “mudder” served them pea soup.  Ahhhh the flavours of home, there is nothing like it.

The film had a handful of Newfoundland greats that we all know and love, Mary Walsh, Cathy Jones, Gordon Pincent.  How can you go wrong with that threesome?  Then throw in some Mark Critch and you got a rocking kitchen party like no other.  I am pretty sure I saw Pete Soucy in the mix as well.  I even think I saw Corky from Skipper and Company.  Remember that one folks?  I miss Skipper.  I would also like to mention a new fella that was brought on the scene for only a few opening shots, Percy Hynes-White.  This young man was meant for the big screen, how could he not be with the likes of Sherry White and Joel Hynes for his parents.  Look for him sitting on the roof in the first 5 minutes of the movie.  I have a feeling there are many more films in that boys future.

As I giggled the night away I was left with wanting more of everything, more Newfoundland, more Mary, and maybe even a couple more phone sex conversations.  I have your attention now, I bet.  Yes the scene with Mary Walsh eavesdropping on a private telephone conversation with the lead character, played by Taylor Kitsch, was something else.  A “Nan” type character sat listening idly by not knowing what Kitsch’s “machine” was while Mary Walsh’s lip quivered at the thought of Kitsch’s “machine” getting overheated.  A cheap thrill but a thrill nonetheless.  Life is full of those silly little things that make us think of a time in our lives that once was.  This film gave me a lot of that.  But it was what I went looking for and I was not disappointed.

The theatre only had about 7 people in it but I plan on going back next Tuesday with a group of girlfriends so that we can all be silly together.  Most of my friends here are also from Newfoundland so I know when the gang of us get together to go see this we will have our own little kitchen party on the go.  There is nothing like home and there is nothing like getting a gang of Newfoundlanders together to have a “time”.

The Grand Seduction might not win any Oscars but it was worth my 11.99 on a Monday night.  If you are an east coaster missing home this film will give you a mouthful of something sweet.  A morsel to chew on until you can find the time and or money to get back to that place that just makes you feel whole again.  Newfoundland is not just the province I call home but it is where my spirit was born.  I wear my red, white, yellow and blue with pride and long to feel her breath graze my shoulder and whisper, “Welcome home missis, welcome home.”

See you next Tuesday.

R.H. Downs

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Thank you, thank you, thank you…

It’s been a busy week.  I launched my  indigogo campaign igg.me/at/sistersofavalon a week ago tomorrow and boy, do I feel loved.   Not that I didn’t beforehand but I am overwhelmed with emotion and cannot wait to share Sisters of Avalon with you all.   I am guessing if you are reading this blog than you have already seen my campaign.  In any case, I am at 42% of my funding and still have a way to go yet. But for those that have reached out to help, you have made me feel extremely blessed.  With you by my side I know I can do this.  Seeing a dream come to life is a precious thing and I have not taken any part of this journey for granted.

My hubby has been by my side cheering me on, editing my book, recording videos and taking our boys out weekend after weekend to give me time to write.  What a household of great men I have in my corner.

My friends from far and wide have been reaching out and donating, even friends that I didn’t think I had, have come out of the woodwork.  I am grateful for the love.

My family, once again, you are holding me up.  Keeping me strong and cheering me on.  I am filled to the brim by your generosity.

With 9 days to go I still need you to share my annoying posts, keep them going until they reach enough people, I appreciate it so very much.

Bringing Sisters of Avalon to Newfoundland is my dream because this novel would not even exist if it were not for my home .  This story is my love letter to my birth province (even if the story line is rather dark).  Newfoundland is my beacon and I would be lost without its beautiful light.  This campaign is more than just about raising money for me, it’s about sharing a part of my soul that has been hidden for so long.  Three years ago, right around the time of my fathers passing, a light got switched on inside of me.  It was a glimmer of hope that came after a year of heartbreak and excruciating pain.  I knew deep down that if I didn’t find some sort of way out of this sorrow that I would lose myself in it forever.

I began reading books about finding my Dharma and began healing through my creativity, which of course was writing.  The Sisters of Avalon script came first, I wrote dialogue between characters that also felt pain but looked for forgiveness and happiness.  Then came the book, and I can tell you that the book became something entirely different.  All the darkness, sadness, and pain that was once inside me came pouring out.  I will apologize now to anyone who thinks this story will end wrapped up in a pretty pink bow.   It will not have your  typical happy ending, but will challenge its readers to look for their own happy ending, their own joy, and their own bliss.

Sisters of Avalon is more than just a story, it is my manifestation of something I believed so strongly in, that there was no way my ego could destroy it.  It is my way of saying that when you allow yourself to break free from all the crap that is thrown at you, anything is possible.  As human beings we  get caught up in so much shit, pardon my lack of decorum, that we lose our spiritual connection to self.  We were all put here on this earth in the same way, and in that moment we are all infinite creatures capable of extraordinary things.  It took me 36 years to figure that out, and I am grateful for every moment that lead me there but now it’s time to let go of everything that held me back.  The path ahead of me is already laid out, I just have to be courageous enough to follow it and not “sweat the small stuff,” as they say.

Thank you to everyone who has joined me on this adventure, as I will forever hold your gratitude in my heart.

Namaste.

R.H. Downs

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