nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

working on a poetry manuscript

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This week, I am assembling a new poetry book in the ‘a glimpse of…’ series. The first two books, a glimpse of water fall and a glimpse of dragon gave readers a peek at some of the beautiful waterfalls in New Brunswick and the bits of magic in all our lives. A glimpse of sickle moon will explore the seasons in New Brunswick. The manuscript won Third Place in the 2020 New Brunswick Writers’ Federation Competition for the Alfred G. Bailey Prize.

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The poetry book presents fifteen years of seasons, each presented as four poems about spring, summer, winter and fall. The poems about spring talk about floodwaters, under-story flowers and waking from hibernation. Summer poems tell about hurricanes, picking raspberries and sheep in the morning meadows. Fall poems explore first frost, wasp nests, fading flowers and ripening blackberries. And in winter–ice caves, snow drifts, walks in the falling snow and feeding birds.

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I have struggled with how to present these poems. I thought of making each suite of four represent a year in my own life and entitling the section 1978, 1980, 1996, 2012 and so on. I thought about titling each section as a special year–‘The Year of the Path,’ ‘The Year of the Groundhog,’ and so on. I have finally settled on a title drawn from a common theme in the four poems presented–‘paths through tangled woods,’ ‘where shadows meet,’ and ‘a sliver from full.’

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For the cover, I will create a painting of the crescent moon, seen through the branches of birch trees. The image below is a facsimile.

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All my best as you work on your own project.

Jane

Written by jane tims

January 14, 2022 at 7:00 am

new mystery series

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As my forth Kaye Eliot Mystery nears publication, I have begun work on another mystery series. These Urban Mysteries will feature the cities I have known, for example, Halifax and Fredericton. Each will feature a young professional woman who is thrown into a mystery not of her own choosing.

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One of the Urban Mysteries will feature the Victoria Circle roundabout in Fredericton.

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These books will be short (novella sized, between 15,000 and 20,000 words) and illustrated. They will feature some of the folks we see every day in our cities–the police, the shop owners, the homeless, the university students. Urban climbers and lovers of parkour will also make it into some of the stories.

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These mysteries were fun to write since I have used many of my own haunts and experiences in the writing.

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Another story will be focused on the old Saint John General Hospital, now demolished.
This model of the Dome that once topped the building is from Pieces of Saint John.

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Another feature of these stories is that I consider them Meniscus Peripherals, in other words, they are written in the same universe as my Meniscus Science Fiction Series. They are not at all about outer space, but each story will include a short mention of an alien abduction and each story gives the circumstances around the abduction from Earth of one of the characters in my Meniscus books: Tagret the chemist (Book 5), Rist the Slain (Book 5), Belnar the Slain (Book 2), Blue-Eye-Brown (Book 11) and Aagle (Book 11).

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The first of the Urban Mysteries will come out in June, 2022.

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All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

January 7, 2022 at 7:00 am

coat hanger

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My most recent poetry book, a glimpse of dragon, includes several poems about the mystery and magic of the night sky. One of the most interesting star groupings I have seen is Collinder 399, also known as Brocchi’s Coathanger. Its ten stars look a lot like a little upside-down coat hanger. The grouping is not a true star cluster or constellation, but is considered an asterism — just a random pattern of stars. To see the asterism, you need a dark, summer sky. Find the Summer Triangle (the triangle created by Altair, Vega and Deneb) and Collinder 399 is near the line between Vega and Altair. On my back deck, it can be found by facing south, and looking along the roof ridge of our house, so I can always find it at the right time of year. 

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(Source: Wikimedia Commons, Petr Novak)

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Here is a poem about the asterism from a glimpse of dragon:

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coat hangers

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1.

metal hangers aggravate

refuse to cooperate

they are

jangled, tangled

twisted

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2.

her closet has

grace

padded satin hangers

plumped

muffled

kind to arthritic hands

pearl buttons to keep

her dresses from slipping to the floor

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3.

Brocchis’ Coathanger Cluster

between Altair and Vega –

with binoculars

this fuzzy patch of light resolves

to ten splendid stars

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suspends the fabric of sky –

a strong little hanger

with an oversized hook

upside-down

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To get a copy of a glimpse of dragon, take a trip to Westminster Books in Fredericton, or order from Amazon https://www.amazon.ca/glimpse-dragon-Jane-Spavold-Tims/dp/B09M5KYBS3.

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Hurry up summer sky!

All my best

Jane

Written by jane tims

January 5, 2022 at 7:00 am

stained glass

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Of all the media I have tried, working with glass has been the most satisfying, the most dangerous, the most fun, and the most dangerous. Did I say I think this medium is dangerous?

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In 1995, I took a course in making stained glass. I had visions of completing a box light for above our bar. Something with parrots fluttering among broad Monstera leaves. In those days I was in full decorating mode and the home bar was to be called ‘le parroquet.’ It had a large artificial tree, vines from the ceiling, a three-panel diorama of African plain, a life-long collection of Tarzan books, and dozens of parrot bric-a-brac: parrot-shaped mugs, stir sticks and cushions. Some of this still exists, but the only part of the bar light completed was a lone parrot, unfettered by vines and leaves.

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As I worked with the glass, I dreaded my sessions more and more. First I worried about being cut by the glass. Part of the process means scoring and breaking the glass into needed shapes. I actually never cut myself, but I worried that I would.

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For ten years of my professional career, I worked in the field of air quality, so I was sensitive to issues of inhalation of particulates and gasses. As I honed the edges of the pieces of glass, I was aware that the process sent a fine glass powder into the air. I wore a mask, but felt lingering glass particles might be a result of the process. Next, the process involved laying down of lead solder between the bits of glass: use of flux and solder added to my air quality concerns.

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In the end, I worked with stained glass less and less, and today, I have only a few pieces to represent my foray into making of stained glass. I know there are many stained glass artisans who work safely with beautiful results. But the medium was not for me.

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Nevertheless, I can continue to ‘work’ with stained glass in my writing life. The next Kaye Eliot Mystery will be titled Stained Glass and will feature a stained glass artist who uses his medium to tell the story of a mystery four decades old. Working with stained glass may be dangerous, but hanging around with this particular stained glass artist might be dangerous too!

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Stained Glass is now in the proof and beta-reading stage, so it will be published by March, 2022. For those who have enjoyed the previous Kaye Eliot Mysteries, this will be an enjoyable read. If you haven’t followed the mystery-loving family before, have a look at How Her Garden Grew here.

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All my best,

and no cut fingers!

Jane

Written by jane tims

January 3, 2022 at 7:00 am

a book to lose yourself in …

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My most recent read is a book I could not put down. The first in the Tim Brown Mystery series is ‘January: CODE’ by Jan Fancy Hull (Moose House Publications, 2021). The book is funny, engaging and makes me want more!

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Tim Brown is a newspaper editor in small-town Nova Scotia who has decided to take a year off to dig deeper into local stories of interest. He finds himself over his head right away when he is asked to solve a mystery that has no clues and no suspects … the mystery itself is a mystery. Readers will be charmed by Tim’s personality and his relationships with the characters he encounters. His attempts to dress the part of a local ‘detective’ are funny and relatable.

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I am looking forward to the next adventure in the series — if the book’s title provides a clue, I can look forward to eleven more of these mysteries! Write faster, Jan Fancy Hull!

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Enjoy your reading in the New Year!

All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

December 31, 2021 at 7:00 am

next Kaye Eliot Mystery: Stained Glass

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Set in Nova Scotia, the Kaye Eliot Mysteries feature a woman and her young family as they set out to solve local mysteries. You will love the kids, especially Matthew who adds his own naive curiosity to the mystery.

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When I started writing the mysteries, I wanted each one to include a communication from the past. The mystery in How Her Garden Grew is sparked by a dusty bundle of letters found in a crawlspace. In Something the Sundial Said, Kate finds an old diary that leaves clues to a century-old murder. In Land Between the Furrows the family finds a stack of post cards and solves the mystery of a valuable stone.

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Stained Glass presents a new mystery to the Eliot family. This mystery is also a communication from the past, from an artisan in the community. He has created a series of stained glass windows in houses along the Bay of Fundy shore. The stained glass artist asks Kaye to solve the mystery by finding the windows and discovering a secret he has kept for forty years.

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Stained glass has always been my favourite art form. The interplay of colour and light creates a magical medium for telling stories and expressing emotion. In this mystery, Kaye will also make use of her botanical skills, interpreting the meanings of various plants and flowers included in the stained glass windows she finds.

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Stained Glass will be published by the end of March 2022.

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Here is a short excerpt from the story:

I looked into the room where the cat had gone. Not a room, but a long hallway, with a stairway at the end. I shrugged and followed the hall. At the foot of the stairs, I hesitated. Wandering around the main floor of an empty house was one thing. Climbing those stairs would be brazen, even for me.

The stairs led to a landing where a huge stained glass window let in a marquee of coloured light. I was very like the glass panel decorating the landing of our house. Even the picture was similar. Two women and two men. A grape vine gone crazy. One of the women, the one with the wings and a crane of stars, was looking out to sea, precariously near the edge. One of the men held on to her elbow. If I had to name the piece, I would have called it ‘teetering on the edge.’

I turned to face the room opposite the stairs and screamed.

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Happy New Year and happy reading everyone!

Jane

Written by jane tims

December 29, 2021 at 7:00 am

now available: a glimpse of dragon

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a glimpse of dragon, second poetry book in the ‘glimpse of’ series, is now available at Westminster Books in Fredericton.

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The book is illustrated with my black and white drawings and considers extraordinary things in ordinary life. These are poems about comets in the sky, ghost cars in the covered bridge and dragons lurking in the campfire.

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campfire dragons

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dragons prowl

in balsam

backcrawl in amber

blisters of pitch

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dragons lurk

under mantles of smoke

blacken the stones

spurt throatfuls of fire

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dragons leap

to the Draco sky

watch us grow small

with sparking eyes

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close their lids

and sleep in flight

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You can also order a glimpse of dragon at Amazon, click here.

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I hope you enjoy ‘a glimpse of dragon.’

Jane

Written by jane tims

December 20, 2021 at 3:28 pm

Counting the days

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I have a special Advent calendar to count down the days until Christmas. Each day during Advent, I hang one ‘ornament.’ The ornaments are made from plain cardstock, ribbon and various bits of decor — buttons, tiny baskets, brooches, earrings. We count down the days from the first Sunday in Advent (this year, November 28, 2021).

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To make these, I selected a shape I liked from the internet, used a fancy font to add the number of days (written out, but you could also use a number), printed and cut out the shape. Then, with a glue gun, I attached a bit of decor and used a hole punch to add ribbon for hanging.

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The ornaments can be hung from a small tree or branch, or from a dowel suspended from the ceiling. I hang our ornaments from an old fashioned clothes dryer I have attached to the wall.

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Enjoy the days leading up to Christmas. They can be hectic, but take the time to sit and think about the good things in your life.

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Take care in this time of pandemic.

Jane

Written by jane tims

December 18, 2021 at 7:00 am

a glimpse of dragons

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This year, I am continuing to gather my various poems into categories for publication. I intend to publish three books of poetry in the ‘a glimpse of…’ series.

So far, I have published ‘a glimpse of water fall,’ a collection of poems about waterfalls and the way lives can sometimes take a ‘downwards’ turn. In 2012, the manuscript for a glimpse of waterfall won Honorable Mention in the Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick’s competition for the Alfred G. Bailey Prize.

Next year, I will publish ‘a glimpse of sickle moon,’ poems journeying through the various seasons of the year. In 2020, the manuscript for a glimpse of sickle moon won Third Prize in the Bailey competition.

Later this fall, I will publish ‘a glimpse of dragons.’ This poetry collection is about the mysterious events in my life that take imaginative reasoning to understand. The title comes from the idea, in the Dark Ages, that unexplainable celestial events were the actions of dragon-kind.

I have gathered six types of poems into this collection and I illustrate many of the poems.

1. those ordinary things in my life that seem imbued with magic;

2. my ‘observations’ of dragons;

3. unexplainable events in my life that would fall into the category of ghost stories;

4. my encounters with magical people;

5. poems about my deep appreciation of sky and the awe that accompanies trying to understand the reality of space;

6. a tribute to the crow, an animal I feel kin to, and the dark women I associate with crow-kind.

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The poetry book ‘a glimpse of dragons’ will be published by kdp and available in paperback on Amazon in December. The book will also be available from Westminster Books in Fredericton.

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Take care in these days of pandemic,

all my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

November 10, 2021 at 2:07 pm

A Milestone: Ten Books in the Meniscus Series

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With the publication of Meniscus: Rosetta Stone, there are now ten books in the Meniscus Science Fiction Series. Well, since I always make life difficult for myself, there are actually eleven books (if you count Meniscus: 1.5 and you should – it’s a great little book).

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In any case, this is a milestone in another way. Rosetta Stone is the first book of a Trilogy aimed at ending the oppressive rule of the Dock-winders, overlords of planet Meniscus.

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The Meniscus Science Fiction Series tells:

  • the story of abducted Humans and their fight for freedom

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  • the love stories of memorable characters:

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  • the adventures of characters pitted against the wilds of planet Meniscus:

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The stories are told in free-verse poetry (do not be afraid) and illustrated. Each book includes maps, character backgrounds, a glossary and a Gel-speak dictionary.

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Try them, you’ll like them. Click on any of the covers to the right to see the book for sale on Amazon.

All my best!

Jane

Written by jane tims

November 5, 2021 at 11:34 am

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