Anita Daher's Blog

December 2, 2018

For anyone looking to give one of my books for the holiday, I have multiple copies of Forgetting How to Breathe and Wonder Horse on hand, and a handful of copies each of most of my others, including Spider's song. I would be happy to personalize and mail. Gift wrapping also available on request.

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Published on December 02, 2018 06:45 • 20 views

November 26, 2018

Amusing moment this morn while driving my daughter home from her midnight shift. Knowing that our voices are similar, she tried to my trick my car/phone voice recognition magic thingee (that is the technical term, yes?) into thinking she was me. She tried impressions of happy me, sad me, frightened me, angry me over and over, undulating and changing her voice until Siri answered her.

Delighted, but not knowing which inflection was the trigger, she tried again and again and again and again and again, mostly without success, until we were both in stitches, and my eyes watered with laugh-tears. I begged her to stop, as the tears were impairing my vision, and pointed out that though our tone was similar, she had the slightest (and most adorable) lisp.

Hmm, she said, then tried it again and again and again, focussing on her slight lisp until she got it right again and again and again.

"Yes, Anita?" Siri answered each time.

Then she told Siri to call me by another name.

And we all laughed. Even Siri (by request).

My kookie kid. I love her to bits :-)

It also made me think about the wondrous things a person can accomplish when presented with the right motivation.
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Published on November 26, 2018 07:55 • 23 views

November 25, 2018

A few days ago I came across my first electronic reading device--a Kobo I last used in 2011. I mostly used it for reading manuscripts (loaded as pdf docs) submitted to the publishing house where I worked as editor. When I read for pleasure it was purely through paper books.I was a traditional reader! I swore that the physical sensation of touching, smelling pages would never be replaced with an e-book, oh, no, not by me.

So MUCH has changed in seven years, including the way I consume books. I usually have three on the go at any one time now: audio book (for walking and driving), paper book, and e-book. My go-to has been my Kindle, which I have come to adore (despite mixed feelings re the Amazon monster). I read in waiting rooms, on airplanes, at the hockey game when I am mad at my husband, in bed and in the bath. Now that my old Kobo is up and running, I will give that a go too, though mine is the original model Kobo, so it is slow and without wifi. There are so many ways to enjoy books, and I am happy for all. A story is a story, is a story.
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Published on November 25, 2018 05:28 • 9 views

November 11, 2018

Okay, there's no point getting into the wholly unexpected adventure my house/dog sitting stint was. Best laid plans and all that. Fodder? Definitely. I will say that when I woke on the fifth morning on the floor wedged between coffee table and couch, looking up at the paws hanging over the edge of the couch which I'd shared with the dog for three nights, another two to go, I did question my judgement. Actually, I believe I said out loud, "I'm too old for this SH**."

But that is all well in the past at this point, and the numbness in my fingers from a pinched nerve has almost worked itself out. So has something much larger.

The writer me has had a bumpy year. My agent retired, I was turned down for a grant, a writer-in-residence position, and the TD Canada Trust book tour. My work-in-progress stalled, and I wondered if I had another book in me. Like, ever. I took to spending hours staring at a screen, moving a word around here and there. Writing small passages I felt had potential. But not enough.

I spent far too much time on social media.

A writer writes. I wasn't writing. Not actually.

After an email exchange with a writer friend I hold very dear, I thought around the edges of my work-in-progress. Why was it stalled? Because I wasn't all that interested in writing it. That was the truth of it. The painful, regrettable truth.

I set aside that stalled project--not an easy thing for me to do, ever. In order to move on, recover and rediscover the writer me, I had to let it go.

After cutting the cord, I took a week off, read voraciously, and picked up an idea I'd set aside for "one day." It was the right call. I am now deep in the birthing of it, and having a blast. It feels right and good. I've also returned to my earlier process. I am plotting and researching this puppy thoroughly before I begin the actual writing.

In that wonderful way the universe sends love notes to say we are on the right track, a little over a week ago I received excellent news. A novel I've had in the works, one I love inside out, will be published Spring 2020. Early days, and the contract is not yet signed, so I will say no more, except that story birthing during mornings and revising this other novel during afternoons has been exhilarating and healing. A writer writes, and I am a writer once more!

Oh, I have also shut down social media accounts--for now (not forever). I need to protect and funnel my desire to communicate through story, not brief and constant tweets and updates.

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Published on November 11, 2018 11:31 • 19 views

September 21, 2018

Good morning!
I've just spent two days in a barn. This, on the heel of a short but lovely southern Alberta book tour where I shared my most recent middle grade novel, Forgetting How to Breathe, and my earlier picture book, Itty Bitty Bits (always a fave presentation, as I get to jump around with puppets and a ukulele).

The "barn" is actually a lovely Air BnB suite above a riding arena at Country Haven Stables just outside of Medicine Hat. The reason? Beginning today I will house and pet sit for someone I only finally met yesterday.

If, dear reader, you are a writer and at all like me, you find it helpful to relocate for time to time to eliminate usual distraction and focus on your work. A month or so ago I joined a website that puts house-pet sitters together with those who have houses and pets needing sitting. As I love animals, I thought this might be a super idea for short get-aways without the expense of paying for a cabin or the like.

We shall see! The adventure continues...but I do love this barn, recommend it, and will be back :-)
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Published on September 21, 2018 06:32 • 62 views

August 26, 2018

To Iceland today, for pleasure and research. My first overseas flight! After good health for months and months, came down yesterday with a horrible cold. Not too leaky, lung-achy, sore-throaty so far this morning...knock on wood.

First stop when we arrive Monday morning will be a soak in a thermal pool. Not the Blue Lagoon, which is where most go, but one within walking distance of the hotel, and frequented by locals. Thank you cousin Kent for the recommendation!

In advance of this trip I've read so many books either about Iceland or set there/partially there, or set in Canada with roots there (please read The Tricking of Freya if you haven't very good), and cannot wait to touch toes to soil. Notebook ready. Brain ready. Let's do this.
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Published on August 26, 2018 04:01 • 65 views

August 24, 2018

It took me years to break my soap opera habit. Finally, I eased away from making sure I was home and planted in front of the telly in time for Coronation Street and The Young and the Restless, satisfying my need by reading daily updates. That was my methadone, I suppose.

Social media is a more demanding, beguiling monkey, the addiction much stronger. I've written about this before--my need to break free. What is they say about quitting smoking? Something about quitting again and again, never stop quitting. And quit I must. To write, I need the interior silence and stillness that I can only find when I stop the steady stream of communication. Instead of posting my every thought, I must hold it, let it germinate, watch, wait, see if it takes me somewhere else, becomes something more. This only happens with time.

So...last week I stopped all the instant-noodle communication of Facebook. No more daily "Good morning!" and chat about cups of tea. I haven't cancelled the account, as this monster has rooted itself in my personal and professional life in a way that would cause chaos if I went at it with a hack saw, but I've stopped the constant checking in. By not "talking," I've less requirement to look for a response, and respond in turn.

Other social media I will keep, as I feel less of a draw to it. For now.
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Published on August 24, 2018 07:13 • 52 views

August 19, 2018

I misplaced my notebook and have stumbled in my WIP. I wandered hollow for a few days, but have figured it out. It is not so much that I need to backtrack, but another path must be taken sooner. I will get to it. This empty feeling happens from time to time, and there is good in it. Sort of a rest. As my mind is usually so very busy, my brain hangs, like muscle loose, like a mouth agape. As I weed and water, bake and craft, who knows what might fly in? I mustn't take too much time away. Tomorrow, tomorrow...or later today.
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Published on August 19, 2018 07:13 • 61 views

July 4, 2018

Good morning!

Titles aren't always an easy thing to nail down. Do other writers find that? There have been times I've settled into a story with a "working title" I love, fairly confident it will be the one I use, but other times the novel is finished and I find myself going through the story over and over, searching, searching, searching. It was like that with Spider's song, initially called "Dear Blog" (begun back in the days when blogs were shiny and new, and a very open and generous Wil Wheaton, who was knowledgeable about such things, gave me a little help and advice in getting started--with a blog, that is. I felt that when the book finally came out, I should have one.

My most recent, Forgetting How to Breathe, was also difficult. When I began the story years ago, it was simply, "Ice Pony Ranch," but as the novel has horses in it but isn't a "horse story" I knew it wouldn't stick. Along the way I tried A Pinch to Make it True, and Tia, but after my editor encouraged me to look deeper, I finally settled on what we have, and I love it. I pulled the title from a bit of narrative, and it resonates for all kinds of reasons.

I didn't begin this morning's entry with the intent of discussing my novels. Nope. I was actually scratching my head as to what I would call this blog entry. I only wanted to say hello, and that I had an audition yesterday that I feel really good about (Hurrah! Take that, audition anxiety!), and doesn't it suck that teeth begin to wear down and out as we age? I guess I just had a few minutes and wanted to shoot the breeze. Maybe that is what I should have called it: Shooting the Breeze. Maybe in future I will just use the date, or maybe the first thing my eyes land on (a trick I leaned from Richard Scrimger).

Well, as you were. I've had my tea, have added to my novel WIP, and will shortly trot off to the dentist. Later I will spend more time trying to lock in a scene for another audition.
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Published on July 04, 2018 06:43 • 168 views

June 22, 2018

A beautiful morning to all!

We've another hot one ahead in Winnipeg with 30C (86 F) yesterday, the same expected today. I am lucky to have air conditioning, though the machine is leaking freon and on last legs. The service guy says it'll have to be replaced. We've been nursing it along by turning it off at night. Not sure if that is the best strategy, as it makes for a restless sleep. On the other hand, a restless sleep makes for an earlier morning, which means I am quicker to the page!

I am having such a good time with this new novel! So different from my usual--more attuned to the type of novels I most enjoyed as a teen. I appreciated being able to take in a panel on "Cartology, Cosmology, and Culture: Building Your Fictional World" at the Canadian Writers' Summit in Toronto last week, featuring authors Kelly Armstrong, Angela Misri, Yvette Nolan and Drew Hayden Taylor. It was encouraging to hear their differing processes as I head into building my world.

Two other notes worth marking re my time in Toronto. First, my appointment to the position of 1st Vice Chair of the Writers' Union of Canada was ratified at our AGM. Next year, at our 2019 AGM in Halifax, I will automatically become Chair. I am so deeply honoured to be trusted with this role, and the one to come, and looking forward over these next three years to working on behalf of all Canadian writers for the betterment of our economic well-being and the conditions within we create. Things are already looking up re the copyright battle (thanks to many who have been working on this for a long while).

Second, I mentioned in a previous post that I was stepping away from acting--and in particular, auditions--so that I could concentrate more fully on my writing. Everything changes. While I was in Toronto I received an email from a Toronto talent agent, who'd learned I was currently unrepresented. She wondered if I would consider signing with her. I was flabbergasted, but also felt pretty good that she'd reached out. The acting world, like the writing world, is full of rejection. It feels really, really nice to be wanted. Long story short, we had a couple of conversations, and I signed. Writing is still my primary focus, but it seems I wasn't ready to walk away from acting. Maybe the universe knew that.

All for now...someone put the kettle on! Time to get back to my fictional world :-)
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Published on June 22, 2018 05:48 • 159 views