poetry and prose about place

writing life,

with 5 comments

This summer I have been taking a break from writing science fiction. I have my next science-fiction book Meniscus: Karst Topography ready to publish so I can take some time to think about other writing projects.




In 1997, I wrote a long mystery novel. I thought it would be interesting to read it through and see how much my writing style has changed. It has changed a lot, as you will see below. But the story was good and I had spent a decent amount of time on characters, story arcs, and point of view, so I decided to work on the draft.


The story is titled HHGG (big reveal later in the year) and was 162,500 words. Yikes.


This is my first draft of an eventual cover blurb …

Kaye Eliot comes to Acadia Creek to spend a quiet summer with her two children. But instead of passing stress-free days of swimming and hiking, she finds herself embedded in mystery after mystery. A missing vagrant and a gang of thieves have the community worried. Neighbours seem determined to occupy all of Kaye’s time and energy in restoration of an old flower garden. Meanwhile, she and her kids have stumbled on a century-old legend of a treasure buried on the property, a packet of old letters and an old map of the garden. And they dig up a sinister sea shell. A sea shell who looks like a grinning skull and who will not stay where he is put. Can Kaye recover her calm or will she be victim of neighbors, vagrants, thieves and a shell called the Grinning Tun?


jane1 (2016_12_30 00_28_35 utc)


the Grinning Tun (about 25 cm or 10 inches across)


My work on the book has been on several fronts. I have ‘tweeted’ daily about my process  since May 28, 2018 (@TimsJane):

  • Reduce the number of words. I lost a lot of words through editing and style changes. I took out the dream sequences, all the ‘ly’ adverbs, a lot of thinking and feeling, and a raft of ‘that’s. I went from 162,561 words on April 13, 2018 to 148,999 words today on July 15, 2018. It is still a little long but a good read (in my opinion).
  • I did a lot of thinking about whether to keep the setting in 1994 or modernize it to 2018. With some advice, I have decided to keep it in 1994. In fact, the story would not unfold as it does with cell phones and computers at hand. So my characters drive down to the community phone booth almost every day and look for clues in whirring reels of microfiche.
  • Leaving the action in 1994 provided an opportunity to explore the culture of the 1990s. Besides the missing cell phones and computers, people collected Canadian Tire Money, waitresses smoked in restaurants and POGs were a fad among kids. In the summer of 1994, the song ‘I Swear‘ held the Canadian single charts for three weeks and the American charts for seven weeks. Six degrees of Kevin Bacon was a thing. The slang interjection ‘like’ punctuated speaking (still does).
  • Part of the text is in Spanish so I asked my friend Roger Moore to help me proof-read the Spanish text.
  • I spent a lot of time with my Grinning Tun … I bought him on line in 2010. The more you look at it, the more it looks like a skull.
  • I spent a stupid amount of time designing a curlicue for announcing a change in sections. I am glad I did, because this new novel will include ‘Drop caps’ at the beginning of every chapter and said curlicue.




It will take me a few more weeks to proof the draft. To do this, I order a Proof from CreateSpace and do my edits as a way of passing the time effectively on my stationary cycle. Once I have the Proof, I’ll be able to concentrate on painting the cover for HHGG. This is the rough outlay for the cover, tacked together from various photos …


HHGG cover (2).jpg


Now you know everything about HHGG except its title!


All my best,


Written by jane tims

July 18, 2018 at 7:00 am

5 Responses

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  1. Sounds intriguing? Good luck Jane.

    Liked by 1 person

    allan hudson

    July 19, 2018 at 5:41 am

    • Thanks Alan. By the way, my arms are getting stronger from lugging your book around! Great read!

      Liked by 1 person

      jane tims

      July 19, 2018 at 7:51 pm

      • Yes, it’s a large book. I’ve always liked big stories. Glad to know you’re enjoying it Jane.

        Liked by 1 person

        allan hudson

        July 21, 2018 at 5:09 am

  2. My grandmother had a shell like that Jane. She kept it as a doorstop in her parlor. And I used to listen to the Sea. That was Lunenburg County Nova Scotia. And I never thought as a child to ask which sailor brought it back from where.

    Liked by 1 person


    July 18, 2018 at 8:17 am

    • Wow! Our family also used big shells as doorstops. Think how different things are. My shell came from a place called Eee Bay and was brought to me by Jason at UPS!


      jane tims

      July 19, 2018 at 7:49 pm

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