Writing and Kurt Vonnegut

danceEvery winter I hold an artist E-Circle that follows one of Julia Cameron’s books (Artist Way). This year’s book is “Walking the World.” We exchange weekly e-mails on the chapter readings and spotlight our individual works-in-progress; mostly it helps to share writing struggles and triumphs. Thanks to all who joined up. Speaking of triumphs, congratulations to member, Elizabeth Copeland, whose novella won the Ken Klonsy novella contest and will be published by Quattro books in the fall of 2014. Wonderful news! And thanks too to Kathleen who shared this inspiring letter from Kurt Vonnegut below that she found on-line:

Dear Xavier High School, and Ms. Lockwood…:

I thank you for your friendly letters. You sure know how to cheer up a really old geezer (84) in his sunset years. I don’t make public appearances anymore because I now resemble nothing so much as an iguana.

What I had to say to you, moreover, would not take long, to wit: Practice any art, music singing dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.

Seriously! I mean starting right now, do art and do it for the rest of your lives. Draw a funny or nice picture of Ms. Lockwood, and give it to her. Dance home after school, and sing in the shower and on and on. Make a face in your mashed potatoes. Pretend you’re Count Dracula.

Here’s an assignment for tonight, and I hope Ms. Lockwood will flunk you if you don’t do it: Write a six line poem, about anything, but rhymed. No fair tennis without a net. Make it as good as you possibly can. But don’t tell anybody what you’re doing. Don’t show it or recite it to anybody, not even your girlfriend or parents or whatever, or Ms. Lockwood. OK?

Tear it up into teeny-weeny pieces, and discard them into widely separated trash receptacles. You will find that you have already been gloriously rewarded for your poem. You have experienced becoming, learned a lot more about what’s inside you, and you have made your soul grow.

God bless you all!

Kurt Vonnegut

He’s a wise man!
Dancing home…
Kathy-Diane

Happy 2014!

aliceThanks to Hampton High School for inviting me to come and talk about my new book. I visited a few different classes and passed along my top 10 tips for writing a novel.  What a talented bunch of young people! I expect great things from these budding authors.   Many were dressed in their costumes for that night’s opening performance of Alice in Wonderland in the Hampton Community Theater.  Kudos on an excellent performance!

Congratulations also goes out to Hendrien in Saint John who won the $125.00 spa gift certificate in the draw at the book launch and signings preceding Christmas. Who couldn’t use some pampering after dealing with power outages, freezing rain, shoveling, shoveling and more shoveling?  Luckily, my family all arrived safely and we were together to celebrate the season via flashlight, wool sweaters and lots of board games. Reminded me of the many camping trips we’ve taken through the years minus the mosquitos.

Wishing you and yours all the best in 2014! May it be rich with opportunity and courage.

And now let us welcome the New Year—full of things that have never been. -Rilke

How wonderful that no one need wait a single moment to improve the world. -Anne Frank

Kathy-Diane

World Vision Trauma Centers: Child Exploitation

spirit8I would to thank all my friends at Saint David’s United Church, fellow book lovers, book clubs and all the kind folk who attended the launch of “Standing in the Whale’s Jaw” and dropped into the store signings. Part of the proceeds from each copy sold is being donated to World Vision’s Recovery Centers for victims of child trafficking. I’m happy to report I was able to mail a cheque to them today for $1000.00.

The trauma centers do offer hope for children traumatized by the unspeakable emotional and physical abuse of the commercial sex trade. When they flee the vicious cycle of exploitation, the centers provide health care, counselling, life and job skills training and begin to help them heal and move onto better lives. World Vision also advocates for child rights and better child protection laws. This is key, I think, and, most important, they educate children and families targeted by traffickers.

At this time of year when I see so many happy healthy children, starry eyed and rosy cheeked, brimming with the excitement of the holidays, the knowledge that this horrible stuff exists in our world sickens me.  I hope this small donation moves us one step closer to a world where every child is safe and sheltered.

A big Thank you!

Kathy-Diane

Congrats to GoodReads Winners!

girl4 Congrats to the GoodReads winners of the draw for an autographed copy of my new novel “Standing in the Whale’s Jaw.”  Fifteen-year-old  Elsa Byrd is on the verge of becoming a woman in the summer of 1935. In a world run by men, it could be more of a curse  than a blessing. She stumbles upon a stranger hiding in the barn and decides not to tell a soul. When a dead girl is discovered floating in a dory, it quickly shifts from the kind of secret Elsa wants to hug close, to the kind she doesn’t dare let out. Her mentor,  Lavinia Twigg, joins the police investigation and Elsa is left teetering between risk and danger, silence and disclosure, trust and fear.

The winners are:

Heather C.

Ava W.

Alicia H.

Julianna P.

Mary H.

Adelynne C.

Amy J.

Lindsey E.

Helen W.

If you live in Canada you should receive it this week. UK and US residents may not find it in their mailboxes until next week. Hope you enjoy it! I just found out it’s landed on the bestseller list on the Saint John Telegraph Journal. Woohoo!

Kathy-Diane

“Standing in the Whale’s Jaw is a swirling, twisting tale of intrigue. Two bright and daring young women weave through a cast of characters… to solve one great mystery and open their minds to a greater one.  A rollicking ride with many surprises along the way.” -Linda Little author of Scotch River

 

 

Thanks to all: Launch, World Vision and Alice Munro

SAM_1851bI’d like to thank everyone who attended the launch of my new novel “Standing in the Whale’s Jaw” (Tightrope Books) and to all the organizers of the FogLit Book Festival.  It was so nice to look out during my reading and see all the familiar faces: fellow writers, retreat attendees, neighbors, friend’s from St. David’s United church, readers and books lovers who enjoy long lunches discussing what’s currently on the shelf.

Part of the proceeds from each book sold is going towards World Vision’s Trauma Recovery Centers for victims of child trafficking. The strength behind WV is that they are already on the ground and have established trust on SAM_1860a grass roots level in many communities. The shelters offer counselling, education and training in new skills.  They advocate for children’s rights and the implementation of child protection laws.  Thanks for your support! I will let everyone know what the tally is when I send in my first donation at year’s end.

I have a number of book signings coming up and if you are around, drop by and say hello:

1-3, Saturday October 12- Coles McAllister mall

SAM_185512-2pm, Saturday October 19 – Indigo Saint John

12-2, Friday October 25 – Westminster Books Fredericton

12-2pm, Saturday October 26 – Chapters Fredericton

12-2pm, Saturday November 2 – Chapters Moncton

SAM_187612-2, Friday Nov 8 – Coles Brunswick Square, Saint John

 You can enter a draw to win a gift certificate at Element 5 day spa. The draw will be November 15th.

Finally, wonderful news regarding one of my favorite Canadian authors: the legendary Alice Munro. She won the Nobel Prize for Literature!  In an industry where the novel dominates, she has remained one of the greatest living short story artists with the prizes and awards to prove it. She’s inspired many to tackle that SAM_1866 form, including me.  I never would have tackled “Roads Unravelling” without her inspirational prose to convey the powerful stories of ordinary people. I heard that she has said, being in her 80s, it’s time to set her writing aside. I hope that isn’t true. Congratulations to Alice Munro!  So very, very well deserved.

“Leveille has set her story in a bygone place and time so vividly evoked the reader is transported…” -Trudy Morgan-Cole, Author of  That Forgetful Shore

SAM_1850 SAM_1863SAM_1878SAM_1858(fixed)SAM_1869SAM_1870

Book Launch at the FogLit Festival

foglit2  Join me for the launch of my  new novel “Standing in the Whale’s Jaw” (Tightrope Books) at the opening ceremony of the FogLit Book Festival on October 3rd at 1:00 p.m. in the Saint John Free Public Library at Market Square. Drop by for a reading, signing and munchies. It’s free! Enter a draw to win a gift certificate from Element 5 Day Spa.  A portion of each book sold is being donated to WORLD VISION TRAUMA RECOVERY CENTERS for victims of child trafficking.  If you can’t make the launch, see the EVENTs page for a list of upcoming books signings.

Last time I participated in a book festival in this library, I was ‘piped in.’ A colorful bag piper– complete with kilt–serenaded the authors in a grand majestic parade through the doors and up the stairs. I can’t wait to see what they have in store this time. By the way, the FogLit Festival runs through the weekend and features free writing workshops and readings. Indigo is running the book table so lots of bookworm browsing to be done. There’s ghost stories, historical walks, music and, if you’re 19 or over, a wine tasting. Authors  include Beth Powning, David Adams Richards, Donna Morrissey and many, many more.  The writing workshops run the gamut from memoir, short fiction, poetry and, for the kids, comic books. Be sure to drop by.

See you there!

Kathy-Diane

“Leveille has set her story in a bygone place and time so vividly evoked that the reader is transported to experience it
through the richly realized characters.” -Trudy Morgan-Cole, Author of That Forgetful Shore

“Nineteen thirties rural New Brunswick shines in this multi-layered, coming-of-age murder mystery. I hope we hear from Elsa Byrd and Lavinia Twigg again – they make a first-rate detective team.”     – Laurie Glenn Norris Author of Haunted Girl

Standing in the Whale’s Jaw

Whales Jaw - 5.5x8.5 COVER.inddI love the cover of my new novel “Standing in the Whale’s Jaw.”  It’s finally ready and will be available in a few weeks, but you can preorder it on Amazon or Indigo.  I have had a great time working with Tightrope Books (Toronto) to bring it all together.  They are a hard working bunch. It is always amazing to me that one tiny flash of inspiration can grow into a full-fledged book by putting pen to paper day after day. In the beginning the vision is fleeting and trying to nail it to the page is like trying to catch a wisp of floating pollen.  I have to remember that if I just show up, sooner or later it’s bound to land on me.  It’s astonishing to hold a finished book in your hand. My ego is always tempted to take all the credit, but the truth is, something much bigger collaborates with my efforts to turn the scribbles into a shining story; or tries to–depiste the fact that I keep getting in the way. I’m grateful for the mystery.

STANDING IN THE WHALE’S JAW: Fifteen-year-old  Elsa Byrd is on the verge of becoming a woman in the summer of 1935. In a world run by men, it could be more of a curse  than a blessing. Elsa’s father enters the TB sanitarium and she’s forced to live on her grandparents’ farm. She stumbles upon a stranger hiding in the barn and decides not to tell a soul. When a dead girl is discovered floating in a dory, it quickly shifts from the kind of secret Elsa wants to hug close, to the kind she doesn’t dare let out. Her mentor,  Lavinia Twigg, teams up with Inspector Gerard of the Saint John Police and Elsa is left teetering between risk and danger, silence and disclosure, trust and fear.

Stay tuned for details on the launch, signings and all the fun stuff.

Happy reading,

Kathy-Diane

“Standing in the Whale’s Jaw is a swirling, twisting tale of intrigue. Two bright and daring young women weave through a cast of characters… to solve one great mystery and open their minds to a greater one. A thoroughly enjoyable read, it’s a rollicking ride with many surprises along the way.” -Linda Little Author of Scotch River

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