Morning Coffee: Fishing for Ideas

003I spent last week at Stanley’s Resort on Eagle Lake near Vermilion Bay, Ontario, some of the most beautiful country I’ve seen and a marvelous staff. I was there with my husband, brother-in-law and his wife learning to fish and I couldn’t help but be struck by how much fishing is like writing.

Casting for fish is like casting for ideas, or that perfect word. You throw your line into the water and hope for a bite. Sometimes they strike immediately, but most of the time you have to sit and wait and then troll to another location where you might have better luck. In the meantime, you sit quietly watching the shoreline, listening to the song birds and the call of the loons as your muse, your heart jumping with hope at every little tug or catch on the bottom.

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Most of the time your catch will go right back into the water as either too big or too small, that illusive, manageable middle ground hiding back in the weeds. Even the keepers can be hard to pull into the boat, fighting your efforts to control them the entire time. But when that perfect catch does break the surface you know it! You tease it; chase it back and forth until you get that first glimpse of it flashing in all its glory in the sun and you know it’s the one you’ve been searching for so long and so patiently. (Or, not so patiently!)

And at the end of the day you sit around with your friends and a cooler full of beer and talk about the ones that got away. The ones that just didn’t quite stay on the line and reel in the way you would have liked, despite your best efforts.

Here’s a picture of my biggest catch of the week, a 40 inch northern made possible by our guide, John, in the background. Yes, it was too big and had to be thrown back, but it makes for a heck of a “fish story”.

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Morning Coffee: While I’m Away

Summer

 

 

 

 

By the time you’re reading this I will be in Canada fishing…and writing, of course. So, while I’m away, I’ll leave you with some of my poetry. I hope you enjoy and I’ll see you back here next week.

June Bugs by Jane Yunker

Fat bodies hurled
against bedroom windows
attracted by the light.

Shells click
frenzied thumps
wings buzz desperation.

Do they want to read over my shoulder
or are they just afraid of the dark?

After The Rain by Jane Yunker

Past dirty ankles the water rushed
tumbling the dam of leaves and sticks
built so carefully by muddy fingers
to stop the dreaded pirate ship
from plummeting down the sewer.

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An earlier version of “June Bugs” appeared in the Summer 2013 issue of Creative Wisconsin, published by the Wisconsin Writers Association.

“After The Rain” appeared in The Villager, Oct 1985, and Priority Parenting, July 1992.

Morning Coffee: Baggage

SummerWe all come with baggage. It starts collecting from the moment we are conceived and doesn’t end until the day we die. It’s what we do with that baggage that builds our character, the ever-changing person we become.

We are born with a coin purse full of the beginning events that shape us both physically and mentally: perhaps mom smoked while pregnant, or had a few too many glasses of wine. She may have been in a car accident or had health problems that risked our own well-being when we were at our most vulnerable. There’s our very DNA, the building blocks that not only determine what we look like, but whether or not we will one day fall victim to certain diseases.

As we get older there are the teachers who inspire us and the athletic coaches who terrorize us…or, for some, it’s the other way around. There are best friends and neighborhood bullies. We earn recognition for our accomplishments, are given raises and promotions, awards. We are laid off, or just plain fired, from a job we loved, or perhaps forced to stay in a job we hate. There are injuries, illnesses, and deaths.

Events totally out of our control will change the way we perceive our world, our safety. There are hurricanes, tornados, fires, droughts, and wars. Who wasn’t affected by the events of September 11th? Everything we do now, all the precautions, the long lines at the airport and the travel warnings, perhaps even the way we look at others around us, goes back to that horrible day.

We get married, have children, and maybe end up divorced. Or we might never find that right person and remain single all our lives. There are many couples who desperately want children but find they can’t conceive, and children who desperately want “forever” parents but grow up without.

We all come with baggage, both good and bad. We start with that little coin purse and we end with a trunk-full. What do you do with all those experiences? Do you focus on the horrible, the unfair, until your trunk becomes so heavy you are completely weighed down by it? Or do you push aside the bad and focus on the good so that your trunk goes almost unnoticed? I’d argue most of us fall somewhere in-between, and it depends on the day. Some days it feels like you just can’t win and others you’re on top of the world.

I had one of those extra good days recently. The final judging results for WisRWA’s 2016 FabFive competition were announced and my book Mary Bishop ended in fourth place in the historical category out of twenty two initial entries. I will hear soon whether either of the final judges, an editor and an agent in the historical romance industry, want to read more, but even if they don’t, in my mind it’s still a win.

Morning Coffee: Love and Romance

Mothers Day 1First love. Young love. Puppy love. True love. Second chance at love. Love makes the world go round. Whatever you call it, we are all in love with love.

From the day we are born we look for love, we give and we long to receive. We love our parents. We love our teachers, our best friends, that boy (or girl) who sits across the aisle from us in class. It’s why the romance industry is thriving. We buy chocolates, flowers, cards, rings to demonstrate just how much we love someone. There are entire cable television channels dedicated to romance! And we love to read a good romance novel.

The Romance Writers of America (RWA) sites 2013 statistics of over $1 Billion in sales a year; 32% of mass market paperback sales are romance novels. Not surprisingly, 84% of romance readers are female; yet, surprisingly (to me) 16% of romance readers are male. Let’s face it, we all love a happy ending and romance novels are all about happy endings.

I continue to work on my revisions for Mary Bishop. I’m working on the last chapters, expanding on the plot line that threatens to keep Mary and Oliver apart. I get the thrill of writing my happily-ever-after ending all over again. It’s a second chance at love for both, something neither one of them ever expected, and I’m just as excited about it as I was the first time I wrote it.

At the same time, I’m anxious to get started on my next project, The Healing Heart. A young girl finds love during WWI and the great influenza pandemic of 1918…but more on that later.

I’ve been debating which romance to read next. It’s not as easy of a decision as you might think. So much depends on what kind of a mood I’m in. Historical or contemporary? Usually historical. Then, which historical era? There’s a lot of history to consider. Then there’s theme. Am I thinking suspense, political drama, big city or small town? The choices are endless and I’ve been known to change my mind multiple times before I actually start reading, but I think I’ve made my choice. Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander has been on my Kindle for some time and I feel the draw to read it next. And after reading it I will put the Starz network series on my Netflix list and watch that.