A Good Home, Author Cynthia Reyes, Book Editor, Book Previewers, Book Reviews, Books, Editors, Manuscript

That Extra Pair of Eyes

Every writer needs an extra pair of eyes, but the reality is we only have two!

Here’s a shout-out to two women who have kept faith with me at different stages of the writing of An Honest House:

Lesley, my writing coach, mentor and first editor.   

Lesley Photo

Lesley Marcovich believes everyone has a story to tell. She runs a writers’ group, biography workshops, and is the creator of www.biographytimeliner.com.

I’ve been blessed to find this woman. Strong on storytelling structure, she divines the things I’m scared to write about, and tells me – gently but firmly – that I have to do it. On my rougher days, she even traveled for meetings on  my verandah.

THANK YOU, LESLEY.

blog-photo-verandah-dogs-in-foregorund-and-visitors-in-bg

~~

Katherine lives in Gibraltar and provides valuable services to authors around the world. She’ll:

  • Edit your book.
  • Provide a pre-publication review of your manuscript, AND provide critical feedback.

I was blessed with great editors and generous, smart, first-draft readers. As the book neared completion, I wondered: how could I get the kind of review that usually comes only after the book is released?

Katherine Desk

(Photo of Katherine’s desk)

And that’s where Katherine came in.  Her review and report — she writes a thorough report — were excellent. Katherine – a former journalist – asked great questions, made key observations.

Back I went to the manuscript — polishing, polishing.

Congrats to Katherine for her keen eyes, skillful suggestions and empathy for anxious authors. Other authors tell me she’s also a wonderfully professional editor, which makes total sense to me. But even if you already have your own editor, I’d still recommend Katherine, as an extra pair of eyes.

BRAVA, KATHERINE.

 

A Good Home, Encouraging Others

En- Courage

Photos by Hamlin Grange

~~

Courage is contagious,  you know.

One person’s courage infects another.

I see this every day in our blogging community.  We en-courage each other — with our dreams, creations, projects, relationships, life.  

Even telling someone: “I know you can do this”, can make the difference between that person’s stepping forward or drawing back.

Cynthia and Don Corbett - cropped

And there are other groups that we each belong to. Like my writers group, Spirit of the Hills. My email group, The Loopers.  My church group at St. Thomas’ Anglican. 

We en-courage each other.

We do so when we ourselves act with courage, though scared inside. We do it when we convince someone that — yes —  you can do the thing that frightens you.

Friend Eva Lloyd persuaded me to come to her home — to read and talk about A Good Home shortly after its publication in 2013. I was stuttering, reclusive and generally afraid of my own shadow, but Eva promised me: “You’ll be fine, Cynthia. And what’s more, we’ll all be here for you.”

Book Photo -Cynthia reading

Eva and friends en-couraged me, and I took the risk.

Book - Friends listen at Evas

My husband and I supported artist Don Corbett as he prepared for his art show in 2014, not knowing that Don planned some encouraging of his own. He invited me to do a reading at his show, then gave me a painting (see top photo).

Don en-couraged me.

Cynthia Reading Cropped

 

At various times in our lives, everyone needs to be encouraged  by others.

Thanks for your encouragement.

~~ 

“Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.” Billy Graham

This post is dedicated to everyone who helps others to be courageous.

Book Cover Promo - Coming Soon

 

 

 

A Good Home, Canadian Homes, Canadian life, Family Moments, Family Stories

What Did You Do With My Mother?

I sat on the rug in the family room, concentrating on the needle in my hand.

Without turning, I could tell that my daughter was standing in the doorway to the kitchen.

“What are you doing, Mum?” she asked.

“I’m darning the rug. It’s got a few holes and I’m trying to mend them.”

“Who are you?” she asked.

Unasked, but loud nonetheless, was her follow-up question: “And what did you do with my mother?”

Some of you know this rug. It’s the one that was on our verandah. We suspect it’s about 100 years old. But how many things do you know that have retained their gorgeous colour (despite the threadbare spots and holes) after 100 years?

blog-photo-verandah-chairs

But I digress.

I’m not a do-it-yourselfer. I have ten thumbs and no talent.

But it was a great day in my world:  pain no worse than usual; speech clear; best of all, my daughter was here. It was like winning the lottery.

Plus, the lady in the yarn store was sure I could mend the rug.

“I even lost the two sets of yarn I’d bought here”, I confessed. 

She smiled and reassured me yet again.

Back at home, I threaded the huge needle and pulled the wool over the hole, criss-cross. It looked awful. My mother’s voice popped into my head: “You need a patch of fabric.”

Of course.

I asked my husband: “Have you a thick old sock? Something I can cut up?”

We found one. Its colour almost perfectly matched that section of the rug. I cut out a chunk, put it under the hole and started mending.

And that’s what I was doing when my daughter spied me.

But when she came closer to inspect, even she was impressed.

If a bit speechless.

**

Book Cover Promo - Coming Soon

 

 

 

 

A Good Home

Idiot-Proof Comfort Food

 

For a few years now, I’ve been following two rules to improve my cooking, and save money at the same time:

  1. Use simple recipes
  2. Use what’s already in the fridge, freezer or pantry

The first recipe my friend John Garside taught me has just three ingredients.

“You can’t go wrong with this one!” he said.

“Wanna bet?” I asked.  “I made a two-ingredient dish — cauliflower and cheese — and completely forgot the cheese!”

John just smiled a beatific smile.

“I’m serious,” I insisted. “My husband stopped me from cooking for years after the accident. I’d either forget the pot on the stove, or forget half the ingredients. Awful.”

“Just try this recipe,” John said. “And let me know.”

blog-photo-recipe-onions-in-dish

First, get about 3 or 4 medium size onions.

Then, 2 or 3 medium size sweet potatoes.

Then a can of chickpeas.

“Got that, Cynthia?”

“Yes, John.” I madly scribbled as he spoke.

“You can add seasonings if you wish, but not necessary… Now, slice up the onions and simmer them in a pot with a bit of oil or butter for one hour.”

“One hour?”

“No less than an hour.”

Hmmm…

“Peel and slice the potatoes, thinly.”

“How thinly?”

John held his thumb and forefinger slightly apart.

“Layer that on top of the onions and simmer for one hour.”

“One hour?”

“Yes, another hour. Then, rinse the chickpeas, add and simmer for an hour.”

Another hour?”

“Yes. Do not try to hurry it up. It won’t taste as good.”

“Okay, John,” I said obediently.

“Ann and I call it ‘Fired Onions'”.

“Fired onions?”

Turns out, the name comes from when the couple stopped at a restaurant that had a sign saying “Fired Onions”. Someone misspelled the word ‘fried’.

“Now,” said John. “Remember what I told you: the burner must be at the lowest level. Not medium, not a bit low, but the lowest setting possible.”

“Okay, then!”

~~

It worked! Thank you, John.

Photo by John Garside