Tuesday, July 21, 2015

I have a book deal!


Interesting Engineering's photo.


Well who said that hard work and perseverance don't pay off?

For the past two years I have been working like a dog to kick start my dream of becoming a children's author.

I have been turned down more times than I care to mention (and that was simply on the road to finding an agent), taken more courses, worked at my craft almost 7 days a week and finally, that work has paid off!

My debut middle grade novel, It's a Mystery, Pig-Face! has been bought by New York Publishing House Sky Pony Press and will be released as part of their Fall 2016 list. The announcement came out in Publishers Weekly today, which is the equivalent, for you sports people out there, of having your trade to the New York Giants placed in the Sporting News.  Big Stuff!
 
 
Alison Weiss at Sky Pony Press has bought Wendy McLeod MacKnight's debut, It's a Mystery, Pig Face!, a middle-grade novel in which an 11-year-old girl finds a bag of money in a baseball dugout and enlists the help of her best friend and annoying little brother to discover who lost – or maybe, stole – it, in a town brimming with suspects. Publication is planned for fall 2016; Lauren Galit at LKG Agency did the deal for world rights.
 
 
 
Now the hard work begins, as I begin another round of edits with them and learn the ins and outs of marketing.

I want to seriously thank each and every one of you who have cheered me on during this journey!  This past Spring was particularly tough; I don't mind sharing that I was feeling quite down and depressed and wondering if I had made a terrible mistake in leaving my job to pursue this dream.

I guess it is always darkest before dawn, since if May was a terrible month for me, June shone brightly and put many things in my life in perspective. 

I am genuinely proud of myself, knowing how much work this has taken and will take in the future. It is a testament to hard work and the pursuit of excellence; I always believed I could do it and I wanted it to be the best book it could be and supported by a publishing house that would nurture both me and my book and I have that in Sky Pony Press in spades!

For those of you who are interested, I have also re-launched my website wendymcleodmacknight.com, where I will be posting regularly on my writing journey and providing useful information to other aspiring writers.

I will still be posting here regularly on the other ephemera of my life! 

Again - a heartfelt thanks. Many of you have taken a real personal interest in my writing and dream and that interest will never be forgotten!


MWAH!

Wendy


 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Faded Beauty


It always seemed to me that the herbaceous peony is the very epitome of June. Larger than any rose, it has something of the cabbage rose's voluminous quality; and when it finally drops from the vase, it sheds its petticoats with a bump on the table, all in an intact heap, much as a rose will suddenly fall, making us look up from our book or conversation, to notice for one moment the death of what had  still appeared to be a living beauty.

Vita Sackville-West


We are at the end of our peony season here.  They bloomed late and were frankly not quite up to part thanks to an abundance of rain in June, but no matter; they are beloved when they bloom.

Much as I love them in their glory, I admit to a fondness for them in their spectacular decline; they are the Miss Havishams of my garden and a wonderful reminder that not all that is beautiful in this world need be shiny and new.  I leave them about until the last petal has fallen.









We seek to copy nature in how we dress, how we decorate our homes, and this seems especially true with respect to peonies.  It is all about pale layers of gossamer thin silks and cottons, all trying to recreate the divinity that is a peony.

There is something soothing about piles of linens at the end of a day (all sources Pinterest)





And we love to dress like flowers for bed or for our big day:







And who can blame us? I for one would love to be able to go back in time and deck myself out like my favourite flower...

Am I the only one that keeps their flowers past their prime? Do tell!

I am learning all kinds of technical things that I will be sharing soon - and such is my Saturday!  Hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Stay safe out there!
xoxo wendy

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Spit and Polish



Things have been very busy Chez Wendy this summer.

As you know, the winter destroyed our old pool.  It took a long time to get a new one and while we waited, we decided that we really ought to paint the gazebo and re-shingle its roof.

Thank goodness for Barry's abilities. Apart for a cracking good mind, he is one of the most handy men I know.

For the cost of a can of paint and a few bundles of shingles - which are not expensive, at least not in the amount we required - we feel like we got a whole new building!
Took this picture yesterday -
 you can from the tools and wood
he was still fixing the decking around the new pool

The bright white inside makes it so inviting...






We sit out so much these days in the evening - it is the perfect firefly viewing spot!!!!

Well done Barry! 


Did anyone else watch the Wimbledon Men's Finals today?

I was on pins and needles.  I really wanted Federer to win, to be the all-time champion there, but it was not meant to be. But what tennis!!! I love Wimbledon and was so happy to see Serena win yesterday!


Gotta love those action shots, including my crush Benedict posing for a selfie... He really is quite famous for that now...



Tomorrow we are off to my old stomping grounds to see old friends!  I cannot wait!  I have been locked in my office writing for hours each day and I am ready for a break!!!

Have a wonderful Sunday!

xoxo wendy


 


Friday, July 3, 2015

Miller Time Friday - We Rise Again!


Sorry to be incommunicado - we have been very busy: me with writing (big news coming soon!), Barry with work, company, and yard work.

If June was cool and rainy here, July is making up for it with warm days, peonies, dragonflies and fireflies, and a cool beer on the back deck.

We don't have much to look at out there yet.  Our pool, broken thanks to the harsh weather, has still not been replaced:



Barry has turned his attention to another victim of the winter - our grape arbour.

The original arbour was constructed from pressure treated lumber.  The new one is made from trees that fell during Hurricane Arthur last July and is quite woodsy and fitting with the property, and best of all - materials were free!  All will rise again, it seems!



Thank goodness for a handy man!

One of my favourite things this time of year is when the snowball bushes shed their flowers.  THAT is the kind of snow I can get behind...




I am doing yet another draft of my Work-in-Progress and have been soothing myself reading about writers who are tortured as much as I am.  I suppose (hope) that I will get better self-editing, but it can be quite torturous.

I have also been reading an interesting little book, Brian Grazer's A Curious Mind.




Brian Grazer, as many of you know, is Ron Howard's Producer Partner, and has been carrying on curiosity conversations for over 30 years.

I was curious about his hair and he answers that question in the book!

Anyway, some really good food for thought and a call to encourage our young people, our employees, and most of all, ourselves, to case a curious eye all around.  It is an interesting and fun read!

We are having a relatively quiet weekend - seeing good friends tomorrow, praying for the pool man to show up, that kind of thing.  Tonight we will eat out doors and enjoy the gloriousness that is July in New Brunswick.

Since it is Friday, and my late Dad's birthday, let's have a cocktail shall we?

Bud enjoyed his white rum - preferably Bacardi's so white rum it shall be:

Porch Crawler         

Ingredients
  1. 2 ounces chilled club soda
  2. 1 ounce fresh lemon juice
  3. 1 ounce Simple Syrup
  4. 1 hot chile, such as serrano, halved and seeded
  5. Ice
  6. 5 cherries, pitted, plus 1 cherry for garnish
  7. 3 mint leaves, plus 1 sprig for garnish
  8. 2 ounces white rum
  1. In a cocktail shaker, muddle the 5 pitted cherries, mint leaves and chile. Add ice and the rum, lemon juice and Simple Syrup; shake well. Strain into an ice-filled collins glass, stir in the club soda and garnish with a cherry and a mint sprig.

I see one of those in my future...

Have a grand weekend all! 

xoxo wendy

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Fathers




“I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren't trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.”
― Umberto Eco

Some of us are missing our dads today, either because they are no longer with us or they are far away.

Others of us are fortunate to be able to spend this day with our fathers and celebrate them for all they have done for us: hugs given, endless drives her and there, pearls of wisdom, kindness, humour, the wallet that never seemed to dry up. 

There is the young dad, the middle aged dad, the old dad.  All are needed if we are to become fully ourselves.

My father was a shy man. He never danced with me at my wedding because he would have been terrified to get up and dance in front of people. That was okay. He got me down the aisle, and before and after then, he got me through life.

In the end, I married someone a lot like my dad - kind, sentimental, handy, but I may have upgraded slightly to a dancer. 

Either way, I am grateful for the dad I have and the dad my children have.

I hope you have a lovely Father's Day!





xoxo wendy

Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Uncanny in our Lives


One of the finest things about listening to public radio - the CBC or NPR or BBC - are the great interviews that you "stumble upon".

I am a regular listener of the CBC show Tapestry, and caught a really interesting interview with journalist Patricia Pearson about her new book Opening Heaven's Door: What The Dying May Be Trying To Tell Us About Where They're Going.



Pearson became interested in the topic of Near Death Experiences and the uncanny after her father's death, when it seemed he had "visited" her very ill sister before she discovered he had passed away.

You can listen to the whole interview here and it is certainly thought-provoking.

What Pearson argues, and has convinced me of, is that our secular, scientific world has left very little room for unexplainable incidents. The book cites numerous academic studies aimed at isolating and then proving (or disproving) the individual's contention that they have been part of something that simply cannot be explained using traditional and conventional approaches. An interesting aspect is how almost all individuals who have one of these experiences - knowing that someone has died in advance of being told, seeing their lived one's soul exit the body, having their own near death experience - are almost universally afraid of sharing their story for fear of ridicule.

They are right to feel this way it would seem. One of the most interesting parts of the book for me was the fact that many doctors have experienced the uncanny when their patient dies, but felt they would be drummed out of the career if they shared the information.

Our lives are orderly and neat compared to the lives of our ancestors, but in many ways, we have completely isolated ourselves from the experience of death and dying. Pearson unpacks the issue well in her book.  This is no James van Praaghe or Long Island Medium kind of book (and that is not said with any disrespect), but a more academic approach to the issue, although one that is grounded with a lovely touch of believer by the end.

We all know people - our friends and family - who have experienced these kinds of things, and yet, they are often not spoken of save during late night conversations after a glass or two of wine. I know at least three family members who had unexplainable experiences, and always wondered if there was anything to it. Now, having read Pearson's thought-provoking book, I am more likely to believe than disbelieve.  It is truly a fascinating subject and Pearson handles it well.

How about you? Have you had any uncanny or unexplainable experiences related to those who are dead and dying?

Have a lovely Sunday!
xoxo wendy

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Everlane Loafers Review - Patent Maple


As promised, a little more information on the Everlane Loafers.  I bought these a couple of months ago.  I had a nice credit from Everlane due to a SNAFU on their part regarding an order I made over a year ago, and these loafers have sat in my shopping bag for months.  Literally.

I loved them, but I was terrified to buy them.

What tipped the scales for me in the end was that Everlane allows Canadians to return items with only a $5 surcharge.  I have paid way more over the years to return things to J Crew, and I have to say, I was impressed that they charge so little. 

I also had a long email exchange with one of Everlane's lovely staff people, trying to determine what the correct size would be as patent loafers are considerably stiffer than plain leather.

I had contemplated going up a 1/2 size, from the 6H to 7.  In the end, the staff person convinced me to go with my usual size and they were right.

My point of comparison is an old pair of black patent Cole Haan loafers that I have practically worn to death.


 
 
 
As you can see above, the Cole Haans are wider, but that is probably because they are now 5 years old!  They have a square toe box, which I think makes them a wee more comfy than the Everlane loafers, but honestly only a wee bit. 
 
The fact is, my toes stop at about the same place on both shoes.  my left foot, which is about 6 3/4 (ack!) is definitely more pinched than the right shoe, which feels as comfortable as my right shoe on the cole haans. 
 
My sense is that order up a half size might make them too loose at the heel, which is a regular problem for me - I tend to "walk out of" shoes.  I have worn these about 5 times, and I feel they are loosening up slightly, so I suspect by fall, when I am wearing them with light socks, they will be as comfy as the cole haans.
 
What they have in spades is looks.  They are so pretty!
 
 






 
 
I plan to buy a navy pair sometime in the next year, having expended all of my summer wardrobe $ on my recent gold skirt purchase, but I really recommend these loafers!  As the images on their website and other blogs show, they can be styled multiple ways:
 
 
 
 
 
Source
 
 
 
 
Hope this helps some of you who have been wondering whether or not these were worth getting!
xoxo Wendy