nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Starting a new book 2

with 4 comments

Today, I finished the rough draft of my new book in the Meniscus Series. This book will deal with discovery of a secret that will bring down the nasty Dock-winders.

The working title of the book is Meniscus: Resistance.

Before you become amazed at my productivity, remember that my Meniscus stories are in narrative poetry and are a quick read. At this early stage, this book has 11,600 words.

~

~

The next step in my process is tedious, but very helpful.

~

I create a Table of Chapters. Each ‘Chapter’ in the table is described by ‘What happens,’ ‘Setting.’ ‘Point of view,’ ‘Characters,’ and ‘Theme Progress.’ I can work through my entire document:

  • change all the place holders to actual Chapter numbers;
  • make certain the setting is described in detail;
  • ensure point of view in each chapter is clear and does not waver;
  • list the characters in the chapter and ensure everyone has a role to play; and,
  • check on progress made towards resolution of the story.

Table of Chapters for Meniscus: of Resistance

ChapterWhat happensSettingPoint of ViewCharactersTheme Progress
PrologueJames escapesSpace dockJamesJames, D, DW, GH, Drag’onIntroduce  antagonists
1.Trath crawls from minebase of Flame MtnTrathTrathTrath escapes
2.Abra finds six glyphsobelisk at The TipAbraAbraAbra finds glyphs
3.Evening meal at Hath’menVillage of Hath’menOmniscientJames, Drag’on villagersDrag-on set apart
etc.     

~

If the story is missing an ending, or has continuity issues, this building of the table helps me to focus on the story progress and, by the time the table is completed, the story is more complete.

~

Once these tasks have been done, the Table of Chapters can be set aside and used later for any stage of the revision process. For example, I can check each chapter for phases of the moon, so the full moon doesn’t occur two days before the crescent moon! I also use the table to make certain the illustrations are evenly distributed throughout the text.

~

~

Off I go, to fill out the Table of Chapters and to find an ending for my book.

~

All my best!

Stay safe.

Jane

Written by jane tims

November 18, 2020 at 12:00 pm

Next Authors Coffee House

leave a comment »

Every two months, we hold an Authors Coffee House at our church– a non-denominational outreach activity for the community.

Invited authors read from their work, sell their books, answer questions about the writing process and enjoy one-another’s company.

The next event will be Thursday, November 26 at 2 PM. Our author is Neil Sampson, winner of the 2018 Bailey Poetry Prize (Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick) for his manuscript “Apples on the Nashwaak.” His book will appeal to anyone with a bit of Irish in their heart! Hope to see you there!

Neil’s book is available for purchase at Chapel Street Editions (click here).

starting a new book

leave a comment »

I love working on multiple writing projects at once. So it is no surprise to me that I have books and projects at all stages in development:

  • The next book in my Kaye Eliot Mysteries is in final draft (‘Land Between the Furrows,’ release date March 2021)
  • The next of my poetry books (‘niche‘) is in proof stage (release December 2020)
  • I have just released the next book in the Meniscus Science Fiction Series (Meniscus: The Knife) and the next is in final Draft (‘Meniscus: Meeting of Minds,’ release date May 2021).

~

~

So, this week, in the narrow crack between revisions, I have started to draft another in the Meniscus Series. Tentatively entitled ‘Meniscus: Resistance,‘ this will be the last in the Meniscus Series (she says).

~

It has been so long since I started a new book, I have forgotten how the process unfolds.

~

~

1. A long time thinking, while doing other things, about the theme … how this book will connect with the last, who the characters will be, where the action will occur and so on.

2. A few sleepless nights, staring at the ceiling, thinking about opening scenes, how my characters are feeling and precipitating events.

3. Eventually I am ready to start the first drafting. For this, I need a relaxing, familiar space. I like to sit on the sofa in my living room, so most of the drafting will be on my iPad in the Word app. At some points, I may shift my focus and do some writing in longhand.

4. Even during drafting, I start revising. I go back and forth, moving details around, gleaning from earlier books to avoid inconsistencies, refining ideas. Some days I turn to the main computer to do a read-through and correct spelling and syntax, and to start to refine the poetry of the story-telling.

~

~

Of all the parts of the writing process, the early drafting is my favourite. It is also (for me) the quickest. By starting a new project, I have resolved to follow through with later revision work, illustration (including the cover art), formatting and marketing.

~

So, here I am in happy land, pushing my characters around, and sometimes trying to catch up to them …

~

~

All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

November 12, 2020 at 7:00 am

Meniscus: The Knife … now in paperback and e-book

leave a comment »

If you have been reading my Meniscus Series (science fiction adventure), you will be wondering what happened to Tagret and Rist after they said goodbye in Meniscus: Encounter with the Emenpod.

~

~

The sequel is now available! Meniscus: The Knife tells the story of Tagret’s quest to find Rist before he is captured and killed by the Brotherhood.

~

~

The book is available at Amazon (click here) as both paperback and e-book. If you live in the Fredericton area, I will have author copies in a week, so contact me to arrange delivery!

~

Every story in the Meniscus Series takes the reader to new places and introduces new characters. The books also take the Humans of Themble Hill a little further in their journey. Every book has a glossary, a dictionary of Gel-Speak words, a description of characters, maps to follow the characters in their adventures and my original illustrations.

~

Here is a map showing Tagret’s journey to The Knife and the city of Nebul-nan:

And a view of the strange, half-inundated city of Nebul-nan:

~

Hope you enjoy my book!

~

All my best,

stay safe!

Alexandra Tims (a.k.a. Jane)

Written by jane tims

November 6, 2020 at 10:39 pm

lily-of-the-valley

with 2 comments

~

lily-of-the-valley

~

Convallaria majalis L.

~

where they came from

I do not know, perhaps

~

from my mother’s old home

in a shovel-full of lilac

a sheet of white writing paper

in a green box crammed with letters

~

perhaps from my grandfather’s farm

tucked in beside the creeping Jenny

a green and white plate printed

with a saying about home

~

perhaps from a seed in the gravel

spread on the paths or the road

a line of red pebbles

in a spill of quartz

~

every summer the colony spreads

green flames lick at gravel

white bells, delicate perfume

scarlet berries

~

a letter not written

a plate hung on the wall

a pathway leading home

~

~

All my best!

Stay safe!

Jane

Written by jane tims

October 7, 2020 at 7:00 am

scraps of paper

leave a comment »

Occasionally I tackle a stack of stray papers. These are usually bits saved years ago, once thought important. Sometimes I find a scrap of poetry among receipts and old letters. Poetry scribbled when an idea occurs, on any scrap within reach.

~

~

This week I found a draft poem about following rules and the evidence left behind by bad behavior. I have always loved picking blackberries, so it is no surprise to me that picking blackberries was used as a metaphor in the poem.

~

~

~

defiance

~

no denying

the evidence —

pulled threads

and stained fingers

~

one drupe

with all its packets

could never mark

so well, each finger

~

rolled across the page

indigo tongue

and purple lips, words

blackberry-spoken

~

the rule — never take

the path through woods

stick to the road, resist

blueberries, blackberries

~

avoid the risk

of bears and brambles

hints of danger

in faerie tales

~

~

~

Last spring I spent time pulling together some of my many poems into three upcoming books of poetry. This poem will fit well into my manuscript titled ‘niche,’ poems about the spaces plants, animals and people occupy.

~

All my best!

Follow the rules of social distancing!

Stay safe!

Jane

~

Written by jane tims

October 5, 2020 at 7:00 am

ghosts are lonely here ….. new poetry collection

leave a comment »

This spring, I began to gather together the various poems I have written over the years. One of my recurring interests has been abandoned buildings and other discarded human-built structures. And now, here is my book of poems about abandoned humanscape … ghosts are lonely here.

~

My book is available in paperback and includes 45 poems and 14 of my original pencil drawings. Most of the poems are about abandoned structures in New Brunswick, Canada.

~

~

We live in a time when built landscape is often in a state of abandonment: old churches, old bridges, old schools, old buildings. Add to this abandoned vehicles, abandoned boats and deteriorating stone walls, over-grown roads and decommissioned rail lines, and we exist in a landfill of nineteenth and twentieth century projects, abandoned to time. These poems listen to the histories and stories of the abandoned. The poems are sometimes sad, sometimes resentful, always wise.

~

~

~

To order ghosts are lonely here, click here.

~

Have a great day.

Jane

Written by jane tims

September 18, 2020 at 7:00 am

harvesting herbs

leave a comment »

The colder nights have arrived and I have decided it is time to harvest my herbs.

~

I have a lot of parsley in my deck garden. All summer, I have snacked every day on the leaves, loving the taste, the fresh air feeling that is the result.

~

~

I enjoyed the harvest as well. With scissors, I cut the parsley leaves just below the branching of stems.

~

~

I checked each set of leaves for bugs but the parsley is remarkably bug-free.

~

~

I harvested into my colander, washed the leaves and set them to air-dry. Once the leaves are dry, I will load them into my drier, a Salton VitaPro. In a drying time of about three hours, I will have enough parsley for winter cooking.

~

I have followed a similar process with my basil. Everything around me smells really good!!

~

Hope you are enjoying your own produce if you are lucky enough to have a garden.

Enjoy your day.

Stay safe.

Do. Not. Get. Covid. Fatigue!

All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

September 16, 2020 at 7:00 am

the wisdom of faerie tales

with 2 comments

As I write and revise the poetry for my ‘garden escapes‘ project, I search for references to enrich my poems. One category of these is the faerie tale. Many faerie tales include gardens in their tale-telling. Some include wisdom to be applied to my experience of the abandoned garden.

~

I have chosen three faerie tales to include in my poems:

Rapunzel: the beautiful girl with the long, long hair is imprisoned in the tower because her father makes a bargain with a witch. In one version of the tale, the father steals rampion bellflower from the witch’s garden and gives his daughter as compensation.

Beauty and the Beast: a beautiful girl falls in love with an ugly beast. The tale tells us that you must sometimes look beneath the exterior to find inner beauty. This is another tale where a father is caught stealing a flower (a rose) from a garden and gives his daughter as compensation. Hmmmm.

Sleeping Beauty: when the princess is put to sleep, a thorny vine grows around the castle to hide her away.

~

I have included these faerie tales in three of the poems I have written. Below is my poem incorporating the tale of Sleeping Beauty.

~

wild cucumber (Echinocystis lobata)

~

I think the story of Sleeping Beauty requires a little retelling, to make the princess less compliant. The three vines in the poem are:

  • Clematis (Clematis virginiana): names include virgin’s bower and devil’s darning needle. This climbing vine has delicate white flowers and fluffy seeds
  • Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia): an aggressive climber with leaves palmately divided into five lobes
  • Wild cucumber (Echinocystis lobata): a prickly annual vine and a climber with tall columns of white flowers

~

Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)

~

Sleeping Beauty

~

“… round about the castle there began to grow a hedge of thorns, which every year became higher, and at last grew close up round the castle and all over it, so that there was nothing of it to be seen … ” –The Tale of Sleeping Beauty, the Brothers Grimm

~

three vines whisper—

Clematis virginiana

Virginia creeper

wild cucumber, reshape

the hawthorn, the rose

with frail flowers

and five fingers

tendrils like springs

disguise the thorns

~

keep curiosity seekers away

~

dampen noises from

beyond the barrier

where wakeful Beauty

taps her nails

on foundation granite

wonders if anyone

will dare to tear

at tendrils, breach wall

of thorn and vine

~

the need for rescue always in doubt

~

only decades ago

a home chuckled

behind the hedgerow

mowed lawn and a dyer’s garden

tansy at the cellar door

flax in the meadow

Beauty dibbling seeds

deadheading flowers

tying up sweet pea

~

only the cellar remains

~

perhaps she will slash

her way through hawthorn

rip out wild cucumber

scrape away suckers of creeper

tame the hawthorn, the briar

renovate house and barn

encourage the scent of sweet pea and petunia

transparency of hollyhock and mallow

whisper of yellow rattle, rustle of grasses

~

no more virgin’s bower

~

Clematis virginiana

~

This work was made possible by a Creations Grant from artsnb!

~

All my best.

Are you getting COVID-fatigue?

Stay alert!

Jane

Written by jane tims

September 1, 2020 at 7:00 am

identifying an unknown plant

with 2 comments

This is NOT a how to identify a plant post. If anything, it is a how not to identify a plant post.

It started with a plant I saw on one of our ‘field trips.’ In my own defense, I had never seen this plant before.

~

DSCN1673

~

DSCN1676

~

I thought it looked like a sumac, a plant very common in our province. It had pinnately compound leaves and a terminal inflorescence. The flower didn’t look right; it was too diffuse, too brown and ragged. The leaves had a very wrinkled look, unlike the leaves of sumac. But I took lots of photos, enough to show me stem hairiness, a characteristic I know is important to the identification of sumac.

~

tight, red flower cluster of staghorn sumac

~

Back at the house with my photos, the computer and my plant identification books, I proceeded with my detective work. Humph. Didn’t seem quite right. I even asked a biologist friend and consulted an excellent How to know the sumac species video. I now know the three local sumac species: Rhus typhina (hairy twigs), Rhus glabra (smooth twigs) and Rhus copallina (winged twigs).

~

None were quite right. Rhus typhina or staghorn sumac was closest, but the flowers were not right at all. Since plants of staghorn sumac are either male or female and no one shows photos of the male flowers, I decided it must be a male staghorn sumac.

~

staghorn sumac near our cabin

~

Fast forward a week and I went to see the beautiful flower garden of my biologist friend. Saw something that looked like my mystery plant and proudly said, “Your sumac is a male.” Bzzzz! Not a sumac but an Astilbe. Ahah! My mom had Astilbe in her garden. That must be it. I sang all the way home. Back to the computer. Hmmmmm. None of the leaves were quite right.

~

I gave up, but feeling closer than ever, I went to a group I belong to on Facebook. ‘Plant Identification‘ is a no-nonsense, no chit-chat group. I posted my photos and my whereabouts and, within a couple of comments, I had the answer. Sorbaria sorbifolia. False astilbe. False spirea. False goat’s beard. I looked at some reference photos. The leaves are right! The flowers are right (past flowering and brown). The description is right! Yayyyyy!

~

Sorbaria sorbifolia. Source: Hydro-Quebec

~

Now, after a little more research, I can write my poem!

~

DSCN1672

~

Now for all the comments that say you recognized the mystery plant right away!

~

This work was made possible by a Creations Grant from artsnb!

~

All my best!

Jane

Written by jane tims

August 24, 2020 at 7:00 am

%d bloggers like this: