Tuesday, September 02, 2014

The Start of a New Year -or- Once a Teacher, Always a Teacher

The first day of school (it is here in Ontario) has felt more real as the start of a year than the first of January ever has once I began teaching in 1976. I know it’s that way for a lot of teachers, most, in fact. I haven’t had a classroom assignment since I left the Toronto District School Board back in 2001, but I still do some teaching here and there when someone wants me to.

But the first day of school still resonates with me and I still feel as if is a perfect chance to get it in gear and really accomplish something. (Whether I do or not is another matter…)

Right now in my writer’s life, I have a number of irons in the fire and could easily fill two people’s lives with all that needs to be done. The list is intimidating to say the least whenever I contemplate it, so I tend not to do that, just close my eyes and try to barrel through. I often find that an overflowing job jar can cause one to suffer from complete stasis, don’t you? But I will suffer through the list for all you loyal readers of Type M.

Here it is:
  1. My new full-length novel, Roses for a Diva, hits bookstore shelves in mid-October. Being a sequel to The Fallen One — my most successful publication to date — there’s a lot of pressure for this one to do even better. I’m in the middle of arranging a flurry of signings prior to the Christmas rush and I will be sharing two launches for the book (one in Toronto, one in Ottawa) with Type M confrère Barbara Fradkin, whose None So Blind is being released at the same time, by the same publisher. How cool is that? But arranging an effective book tour is a lot of work and very time-consuming.
  2. I am trying to find consistent time to work on my new novel (name withheld for the moment — but it’s a good one!) which also happens to be the start of a new series. Knowing the numerous pitfalls of writing a series from all my friends who are currently writing series, I have been working at a much slower pace than normal, and taking tons of notes as things occur to me. The initial novel causes such a ripple effect through subsequent novels that everything must be just right. It is an intimidating project on its own. So far, so good…
  3. I’m waiting for the contract to be delivered for a third novella for Orca. Once that arrives and I sign on the dotted line, I’m committed to have something publishable in to them next June. I’m really excited about this since a) I think I’ve come up with a terrific plot, and b) I love working with everyone at Orca. If you haven’t picked up one of the Rapid Reads series, you should. They are excellent books, even if they are short and simple. Think of them as the crime writing version of Haiku. Vicki Delany and Barbara Fradkin also have Rapid Reads out. Buy all of them! My favourite place to read one is on a short plane ride or car trip. You can finish any of them in under two hours.
Bear in mind with the above list that these are just my writing endeavors. There’s also a new band just getting onto its feet (and all the arrangements that still have to be written for it), the big band I play with, a bit of free-lance teaching (two gigs so far for this fall) and of course design work to help hold body and mind together.

Perhaps I should consider giving up sleeping as my “New Year’s” resolution.

Speaking of Roses for a Diva, it just got it’s first little shout out from Jack Batten in the Toronto Star (and also includes a shouts out for my friend Phyllis Smallman’s new book:

“Not to be outpaced, Canada boasts two top writers in fine form. Phyllis Smallman is back with Martini Regrets featuring Sherri Travis, a smart woman who can’t stay clear of murderous situations (October). And Rick Blechta’s Roses for a Diva finds the opera soprano Marta Hendriks once again singing for much more than her supper (November).” — Jack Batten, Toronto Star

Now that’s a great way to begin a new year!


Eileen Goudge said...

When they invent an app that eliminates the need for sleep, I'll be right behind you line to get it, Rick. Good look with your touring, writing, music-making, etc.

Rick Blechta said...

Thanks, Eileen.

Back when I was a young-un, I could get by on two "sleeps" of 2-3 hours each, one late at night, and one during late afternoon. You can get away with that sort of schedule when you're a musician working in clubs. Perhaps I could work that sort of schedule out again...somehow...