Hell yes.

Dear Blog Followers,

I can’t believe how many of you jumped through the hoops to follow me to my new home: http://www.leighevans.com/blog

You. Are. All. Awesome.

Leigh

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I’ve lost you.

Dear blog follower,

I’ve lost you.

I’ll be honest: I just didn’t see it coming. Matter of fact, I was sick to discover that my new blog was not a skin over the old wordpress blog, but something separate, which means that your blog subscription can’t automatically be moved over to my new home on the web.

It sucks beyond suckitude. Why? Because when I sit at my desk and write these blogs, I’m writing to you.

Yes. You.

That person I’ve never met, but who clicked on “follow” some months ago and who checks my blog when they receive notice that I’ve posted something new.

And now, I’ve been informed that I must ask you to follow me over to my new blog and resubscribe all over again. I’ve been told that I should tell you that the site is new and improved and that you’ll find that invitation so damn exciting that you’ll go trotting over there, as happy as could be.

My mission statement in this wordpress blog has always been “Tell the truth” and I’m going to follow that vow all the way to the end.

The new site looks different. Very polished. And yes, the blog is wearing fancy new threads, but beneath it? It’s not going to be wildly different. It will still be me.

Talking to you.

I hope to see you over on the other side: http://leighevans.com/blog/ If I don’t then let me finish with this: thank you. Knowing that I wasn’t sending my blogs into an empty void meant more to me than I could possibly convey.

God bless and take care.

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I’ve moved.

Dear Reader,

My new website is up and running.  You’ll find my entire blog at leighevans.com 

Look forward to seeing you there,

Leigh

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Bullies like the dark.

My high school building was shaped like an “H”. To get from one wing to the other, you had to use a short corridor. That wouldn’t have been a problem if the doors on the passageway opened to the French or Algebra classrooms. People wouldn’t be inclined to linger, would they?

No such luck. The gym was on the left. The cafeteria on the right. Cool people were always leaning against those corridor walls. Particularly during lunch hour.

I loathed walking down the Hell-gauntlet.

Detested it. Sweated over the prospect. Tried to avoid it.

You see, I was the girl with the wrong hem length in high school. Go ahead, shrug. I do now, looking back. Big deal. In the context of world events, who cares how long or short your skirt is?

Turns out, mean girls do. Also, a few second-string jocks, who lacked in star qualities but were steller with cruel quips.

There was no escape from them. At least four times a day I had to face the Corridor of the Cool. Like every other person on the D list, I pretended I didn’t hear the comments. About my weight. About my clothing. About my clumsiness and unpopularity. But I did. Shame curled around my ribs and hugged me hard, each and every time.

I took those foul words too much to heart. Foolishly, I incorporated them—sewing those criticisms into the cloth of me.

So wrong.

I’ve changed. I’ve grown. I’ve learned a thing or two. But I have never forgotten what it felt like to be an outsider; an observer who couldn’t figure out the map because it was written in a language she didn’t understand.

I was lucky. My teenage years predated social media. The mean girls and the second-string jocks couldn’t follow me home. Once I turned the corner to our street, I was almost home free. I was safe.

Amanda Todd, and others like her, are never safe. Their bullies breed in the dark, fingers curled over the keyboard.

I’ve told you my story, as minor as it may be. If you have a story, visit the blogs listed below. Leave a comment.

Bullies breed in the dark. Come on. Help shine a light. Tell your story.

Mandy M. Roth
Yasmine Galenorn
Lauren Dane
Michelle M. Pillow
Kate Douglas
Shawntelle Madison
Leah Braemel
Aaron Crocco
NJ Walters
Jax Garren
Shelli Stevens
Melissa Schroeder
Jaycee Clark
Shawna Thomas
Ella Drake
E.J. Stevens
Ashley Shaw
Jeaniene Frost
Rachel Caine
Kate Rothwell
Jackie Morse Kessler
Jaye Wells
Kate Angell
Melissa Cutler
PT Michelle
Patrice Michelle
Julie Leto
Kaz Mahoney
Cynthia D’Alba
Jesse L. Cairns
TJ Michaels
Jess Haines
Phoebe Conn
Jessa Slade
Kate Davies
Lynne Silver
Taryn Blackthorne
Margaret Daley
Alyssa Day
Aaron Dries
Lisa Whitefern
Rhyannon Byrd
Carly Phillips
Leslie Kelly
Janelle Denison
Graylin Fox
Lee McKenzie
Barbara Winkes
Harmony Evans
Mary Eason
Ann Aguirre
Lucy Monroe
Nikki Duncan
Kerry Schafer
Ruth Frances Long

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Time For a Face-lift

It’s not that we’re ragged and battered. It’s just that we know we could look better.  Mmhmm, we could do more with ourselves.

Time for a face-lift.

Over the last few months, this faintly, shabby blog has been going through covert improvements.  Emails flew from Toronto to Sante Fe about design options. The busy web-people at Desert Elements Design were up to their throats in style sheets and coding. Layouts were polished. This weekend, final tweaks are being done.

Next week, you’ll see a new website.

I think it’s lovely. I hope you’ll enjoy browsing the new pages.

So, this is Leigh Evans, signing out from the old blog. Next time we talk, I’ll be smiling from my new website.

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Giveaway!

Did she say giveaway?

Yes, I did! St. Martin’s Press and Goodreads have joined together to offer an awesome, awesome giveway!

That’s a lot of awesome. What’s up for grabs?

100 FREE copies of The Trouble With Fate,

that’s what.

Did she say free?

FREE.

100 Winners will be randomly chosen from the Goodreads members who clicked on the “enter to win” button.

Inconceivable! Where is this magical button?

Go here: http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/34687-the-trouble-with-fate

Do you see it? It’s just to the right of that damn fine story blurb.

I saw it and clicked as directed. Now where’s my book?

You’ll have to wait to the end of the contest period to find out if you’re a winner. But seriously? Where’s the downside? One click, and you’re entered! (As have almost 200 people in less than 24 hours.)

Hurry up. Get your name in there!

Maybe you’ll be a winner!

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I love Canada.

People I meet at conventions are always faintly surprised to discover that I’m Canadian. In many ways, it’s easy to understand why. We sound like Americans (unless we come from the Rock), and we dress like them. We watch the same television. Read the same books and listen to the same music.

I’ve told you about the series of videos we made to publicize The Trouble With Fate. Here’s another one, filmed in one of the University of Toronto’s fabulous courtyards, in which I explain why I chose to set the book in Canada.

I simply had no choice.

I am Canadian.

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Conversations in the Car

Husband and I were in car, on the way to see the film Looper.   “Watch out for that guy,” I said.

“I saw him,” he said, turning onto the main road.

We’ve been married 27 years. Driving is a we-effort. “He came up on that light so fast, I didn’t think he was going to stop.”

Husband drove. After a block he said,  “You know, I saw the worst driver last week.”

“Yeah?”

“He didn’t stop for any of the stop signs. Just rolled right through them.” Husband used his hand to give me visual. “Blew right through all the red lights, too.”

I shook my head, the way women do when they want to show mild interest.  Then I broke his contemplation of the Most Terrible Driver in The World by observing, “Les Miserables is coming out this year. I can’t wait to see it.”

Dead silence until the next red light. “That’s a historical thing, right?”

“Yup. A musical.”

I gave him the look.  “Don’t even try. We’re going to Les Miserables.”

Husband sucked in a long, breath then released it in an equally long sigh. “You know what else that driver did? He filled in two of his letters on his licence plate with a magic marker. That’s illegal. He must be trying to get around the fees on the 407.”

“Don’t even try to squirm. You owe me for On Bak.”

The corners of his mouth pulled down as if I’d handed him a lemon and asked him to bite down. “It’s a musical,” he said in an aggrieved tone. “With. Costumes.”

We passed a car and he changed lanes.

“Bear?” I asked softly. “How’d you keep up with the Most Terrible Driver in the World?”

Dear husband’s expression went curiously blank. Then he said, “Les Miserable, huh?”

“Yup.”

He released another heavy sigh. “Why do you think they call it Miserable?”

“Don’t worry. I’ll let you can sleep through it.”

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Margaret Atwood’s Rules

In 2010,  The Guardian, inspired by Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing, published a two part article wherein 15 authors set to paper their own list of dos and don’ts. We’re talking big names here. Go ahead, check  out: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/feb/20/ten-rules-for-writing-fiction-part-one

I read the articles again this morning. And wouldn’t you know it? This year my favourite was Canada’s own~

Text below is taken directly from the article.

Margaret Atwood

1 Take a pencil to write with on aeroplanes. Pens leak. But if the pencil breaks, you can’t sharpen it on the plane, because you can’t take knives with you. Therefore: take two pencils.

2 If both pencils break, you can do a rough sharpening job with a nail file of the metal or glass type.

3 Take something to write on. Paper is good. In a pinch, pieces of wood or your arm will do.

4 If you’re using a computer, always safeguard new text with a ­memory stick.

5 Do back exercises. Pain is distracting.

6 Hold the reader’s attention. (This is likely to work better if you can hold your own.) But you don’t know who the reader is, so it’s like shooting fish with a slingshot in the dark. What ­fascinates A will bore the pants off B.

7 You most likely need a thesaurus, a rudimentary grammar book, and a grip on reality. This latter means: there’s no free lunch. Writing is work. It’s also gambling. You don’t get a pension plan. Other people can help you a bit, but ­essentially you’re on your own. ­Nobody is making you do this: you chose it, so don’t whine.

8 You can never read your own book with the innocent anticipation that comes with that first delicious page of a new book, because you wrote the thing. You’ve been backstage. You’ve seen how the rabbits were smuggled into the hat. Therefore ask a reading friend or two to look at it before you give it to anyone in the publishing business. This friend should not be someone with whom you have a ­romantic relationship, unless you want to break up.

9 Don’t sit down in the middle of the woods. If you’re lost in the plot or blocked, retrace your steps to where you went wrong. Then take the other road. And/or change the person. Change the tense. Change the opening page.

10 Prayer might work. Or reading ­something else. Or a constant visual­isation of the holy grail that is the finished, published version of your resplendent book

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I just can’t talk about it.

Sometimes people ask me, “What’s your book about?”

That’s when some evil thing grabs my throat and squeezes. And for the life of me…I. Can. Not. Talk.

Oh, I can ramble on about other people’s books. I just get struck dumb by the enormity of talking about my own.

So. Outtakes can be fun. You want to see what happened to me when Rich of Astral asked me the dreaded question?

 

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