COUNTING DOWN THE STORM (Temporarily Unavailable) A Novella by D. Ryan Leask
For two days the storm has taken over the city, and two people's lives. A man convinces himself that his life is worthless when his lover leaves him for another man. Alone and depressed, he allows his life to sink into the bowels of civilization. When a wife and mother discovers that her husband is having an affair she abandons logic and gives in to the perilous abyss of jealousy and revenge.
Re-Launch Tentatively Scheduled for Oct 17th:
¦Goodreads - For All E-Readers ¦Smashwords - For All E-Readers ¦Diesel E-Books Store - E-Pub ¦iTunes - For Your iPad/iPhone/Mac¦ ¦Kobo - For Your Kobo¦Sony - For Your Sony E-Reader¦Barnes & Noble - For Your Nook¦Direct From the Author - Mobi E-Pub or pdf¦

Thursday, August 21, 2014

When Words Collide, Day 1

When Words Collide 2014
Calgary, Ab

     I could easily start at the beginning, or at the end or somewhere in the middle but D. J. McIntosh, SG Wong (sgwong.com), Wayne Arthurson and Clare C.Marshall all said that a manuscript needs the action to hit right away (unfortunately it didn’t and their hands went up despite the excellent reading skills of Susan Forest). That was Live Action Slush – Mystery Edition at When Words Collide.

     I was speaking with SG Wong at the end of the day to thank her for her words about my story, she asked me which story was mine but I was too embarrassed to say so:

SG Wong, if you read this it was “Killing Gavin Petters.” I had over described Gavin Petters being philosophical and called a chair an occasional (Something which I must rectify).
(I hope that was “actiony” enough to grab you, dear reader.)

     I don’t want to give much background other than saying it’s a writing conference in Calgary that happened August 8-10, 2014. I first heard about it over a year ago; my wife mentioned it to me and said, “You need to go to get Dianna Gabaldon’s autograph.”

     I imagined the conference to be like a trade show, only for writers. There would be rooms filled with 400 Diana Gabaldon fans, 80 self-help/motivational writers, 16 hotel guests who stumbled in looking for the bar and 4 people like me whom I would never find in the crowd. Jumping to conclusions without research is dangerous (trust me, it’s the way I write, finish the story, then research and pray to God that you can either twist reality or the story enough to fit without breaking it completely). I had no desire to attend, I had my writing event, NaNoWriMo.

     Now fast forward several months. A writer’s group I had joined (but didn't find was the right fit for me) shifted gears, took a hard left and “threw all the dogs out the back”. I returned to what is now the World Famous (my own little world) Montparnasse Group

     Long story short… Barbie “MsBurb” Thompson the organizer and most motivating person I know (that has nothing to withhold from me if I don’t do what I'm told) said, “You are finishing your first draft, perfecting the first three chapters and pitching at When Words Collide.”

     I will admit that it wasn't that out of thin air, we had been discussing goals and I mentioned that I may be able to do something like that, perhaps, if I found time, and/or if I . She doesn't do excuses. I did it, although the “perfecting the first three chapters” part is extremely open to interpretation.

(I’m sure if you had read this far you are likely guessing how my pitch went considering the “quality of this post.” Someday I will write one about why you should never judge an author by his blog especially when coming to grammar, spelling, and, punctuation.)

     Nothing on the pitch stuff yet, I wish to be chronological and the pitch was Friday at 5:30 I started the conference Thursday night.

     Every other Thursday is when we convert the Crown Plaza Hotel into La Rotonde. That Thursday was our Thursday. Rick Northy (no link, tsk, tsk), the co-founding member of our group and Barbie both had rooms at The Carriage House Inn. I did not, a mistake which I hope not to make next year. We had a beer at the lounge and went for a second upstairs on the tenth floor. 

     It just so happened that Jack Whyte was staying on the same floor. Barbie made some small talk regarding drinking to which he laughed and said something further, which I do not recall, then she said, “Oh my God, you’re Jack Whyte.” Or something like that.

     Now, I am a complete ass because I did not research who the big guests were (I mean I saw their names but didn't check out their backgrounds). Perhaps that was a good thing because other than knowing that Jack Whyte was an important enough author to be the head-liner of the show I knew nothing, which came in handy the next day.

     I won’t get into the discussions that we had following or Barbie and Rick’s stories of the pre-conference goings on although they are quite funny.

    The following morning I arrived back at the Carriage House at 8:00 solely to be sure that I was there in time to sign up for a pitch session (which I was very frustrated to find out the night before had a pre-sign up that I had somehow missed). Instead of sitting around however I decided (talked into by Barbie) to go to a manuscript session with none other than Jack Whyte. Of course you were supposed to hand in your manuscript well before the session was to start but seeing as I didn't know I was going…

     Key things I learned from this session:
  • Jack likes long flowing sentences
  •  hates when you use a person’s name too much (especially if there’s less than three people in the room
  • he makes every story come alive with his rich baritone voice and Scottish accent.

     As with all of the other sessions I went to I will have to do a brain dump which will likely consist of a kabrillion blog posts of information mostly just to solidify what I learnt.

     Oh, and Jack did read part of the second chapter of my Novel which I hope didn't give him nightmares (my story revolves around an author who kills his agent, editor and publisher, he read the part where the author is unceremoniously dumped by all three).

     During one of the breaks I managed to get slotted in for a pitch session (at 5:30 with the fantastic Brian Hades of EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing . One small issue was that Jack had held onto my manuscript which I had (stupidly) only printed one copy of and I wasn't about to ask for it back, I don’t care if he was planning to just use it for fire starter (I debated sliding chapter one under his hotel room door but Barbie decided that would be a little creepy (however coming from someone who replaced Tom Jones with Jack Whyte as her… well you can guess what list a middle aged woman has Tom Jones on, maybe I should have taken her advice with a grain of salt (you aren't supposed to use a bracket within a bracket but I don’t care))).

     Luckily Rick had bought a printer just for such emergencies and after harrowing issues of technology (computer problems, Internet access) I managed to reprint my three chapters.

     I went to two great sessions, wrote down what I needed to say for my pitch.

     “Hi my name is… …My novel is called Death By Putts. It’s about an author who murders his agent, publisher and editor.”

     *Dramatic pause

     Believe it or not security didn't come and the pitch went really well! Let’s just say that it’s a good thing I got those chapters printed out.

     I don’t think I can do a brief overview of the conference all in this one post so I will save the rest for another time.

*****

I miss you Dori,  06/04/13-14/08/09
I hate ending this post on a sad note but just before I gave my pitch I received a phone call from my wife informing me that she had to take our Bull Mastiff, Dori, to the vet. She hadn't been feeling quite right for a couple of days but nothing too far out of the ordinary; even just that morning, although she wasn't full of P&V, she seemed to be okay. We received a call early the following day that she was indeed in very poor shape. Although there were some options for us none were very good and we had to make the heart-breaking decision to let her go. She passed peacefully late Saturday morning with her head in my lap.
When I completely come to grips with this loss I will probably write a post about it on my parenting blog but for now it’s all I can do just to mention this. I feel that I have to though; focusing just on the joy of the weekend makes me feel selfish and guilty.



Monday, June 10, 2013

What If…

I am a writer and a full time stay at home parent. Many of you are the same or perhaps, as I was before, a full time office droan. It's a tough life working, parenting and trying to squeeze in a few moments of writing. Even if you are a full-time published writer unless you are very fortunate (I hate to use the word lucky), chances are you desperately need to supplement your income. Balancing life, money, time is always impossible. It seems like what we value most, time, we have to constantly trade in for money which in turn means less time, not only is it less time, it's generally less time not when it's convenient for us but when it's convenient for our bosses, clients or other people.
The internet is full of "opportunities" as you've noticed from the your spam folder and pop ups, promises of making thousands in your spare time. It sure would be nice but being dubious is a light word for how you feel about these I'm sure. Perhaps you've heard of multi-level marketing, home sales etc. that seem like pyrimid schemes (which are illegal by the way) and have been equally dubious due to past experiences or having friends realize they make no money selling Avon or Mary Kay or Candles or what ever. I hear you I was the same but (and this is the part where if you've read this far you'll want to tune out, please don't)…
Maybe, just maybe, some of these are legit.
Just over a year ago I met with a lady my wife works with and another gentlemen to discuss helping us with our finances. I was impressed. They had access to products we couldn't get on our own, were able to shed light on things we didn't know and really helped us with our financial goals. The lady my wife works with is a wonderful person and trust wasn't an issue. With little to no effort on our part (which they were happy to let us decide our own level of control) we were on our way.
Lately, as many of you know, I lost my job, half by choice, half by no choice. I knew when I left I wasn't going to go back to the grind, I wanted to stay home, raise my kids and write. Reality has since sunk in, without one of use pulling in a mid six figure salary it's not possible but making up that difference isn't really either when you factor in daycare etc. I thought about working part time but that is a bad time for money trade. I thought again about my financial advisors and what they did, sure they traded time for money but on their terms. I reluctently went to an information session ready to see that it wasn't for me, what do I know about money? Is it going to take me years of tremendously hard work just to get a small paycheck? They got me, I "drank the punch." They made no illusions of easy money or not having to work hard to get started but they also showed promise of really caring about their clients (which I already knew) and their recruits. Mentorship, training and coaching were the most important things for getting someone started. Perhaps they were blowing smoke but it was worth looking into.
Now, I hope that this support is across the board but I know that just like any job there are bad bosses and bad collegues who could care less about others but in the team I knew there was none of that, no cut throat no clawing your way to the top on the backs of others, just a positive atmosphere that, despite my attempts to see through, I got caught up in. I've joined. Am I scared? Damn right, it's taking a chance, leaving my comfort zone and knowing that I have to push myself and my company past the negative stereotype of seemingly similar companies before I can even start to show what we can do to help. I am going to bust my hump doing it too, why, because I believe in it. I think many fail at these types of jobs because they don't believe in their product, they think the money will come easy with little effort and they can't get past the awkward stages of getting started.
The company I'm working with is a Fortune 500 company who sponsers race cars, they are nolt a scam, they are not just out to get more people to give them money, they are out to help people and keep their profits rolling in by keeping customers happy and coming back and referring their friends, don't get me wrong, they are about making as much money as possible but perhaps they've seen what we all know, you can make $100 by tretchery and deciept or you can make $95 honestly and morally and sleep at night.
The company I work with is World Financial Group, if you want to join my team or see if I can help you (especially if you live in Calgary or even Alberta) please feel free to contact me, I will do everything I possibly can to help you.

Dennis R. Leask
Associate Member
World Financial Group
dennis_leask@yahoo.ca
On twitter: @DRLeask (This is a great way to contact me)

Monday, March 18, 2013

I am going to get a children's story published… PVII

I haven't posted my latest note on this. I have sent it to an Agent!

Danielle Smith with Foreword Lit! I really like this agency and I hope that I at least get a personal response.

Have you ever heard of Query Shark?

Before you ever send a query letter read every letter posted on this site. It will really help.  I did it although, funnily enough, I took none of the advice except for writing a query letter that entices even if it does break all the rules.  That is more for me. Thanks to a good friend who said:

"You're funny in your tweets. Be funny here."

So I wrote my query letter like my character from "My Baby Sister's An Alien" had convinced me it was a true story and it was my duty to make sure I spread "the truth."

Hopefully it works.

Thanks for reading!