Friday, February 17, 2012


Authors who blog four or five times a week are heroes in my book. I don't know how they do it. Well, I do, but let's face it, blogging is hard work. It takes me most of the day to compose just one post. Which is why I've decided to cut my blogging time down from three times a week to once a week. It'll give me more time to work on my new WIP and to take care of my family. If I don't, the house is liable to fall down around me. I'm currently living with one husband (as opposed to more) and two grown sons. Yes! Three males. (Thank you for that resounding "OMG!")

I sent the sequel to Broken but not Dead to my publisher in December, so I'm waiting to hear news of their decision (on bended knee). Okay, not really, but I am anxious. Omatiwak: Woman Who Cries is the story of a broken woman, Declan's and Bronson's mother, sixty-year-old Sally Warner.

You might remember Sally (Kathy Bates lookalike) from Broken but not Dead; she was generally drunk. No one was more surprised than I when she sobered up and turned out to be a fascinating woman. And persistent. After I finished Broken, Sally wouldn't leave. Days, weeks, months, she hounded me.

"Joylene, you must write my story." But Sally, I want to go south where it's warm.

I wrote the first chapter of Omatiwak on October 11th, 1999, and, as usual, presented the pages to my mother before retiring for the evening. She was watching Jerry Springer in her room. In the morning I found the pages on the dining room table with two spelling corrections. At ten o'clock I checked on my mum and found she had passed.

Finishing Omatiwak held new meaning.

I quickly realized that I needed someone strong to balance Sally's commanding presence. Someone who would also become her friend. I chose (or maybe he chose me) RCMP Investigator Corporal Danny Killian. Sounds Irish, eh? Actually, Danny was born in Haida Gwaii, formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands. Haida Gwaii means "islands of the people".

Surprisingly, Danny Killian looks a lot like Adam Beach. 

Accordingly to Haida legend, Haida Gwaii is the place where time began. It's also the birthplace of a dear friend who passed away several years ago.

R.I.P. Georgia

Georgia's lineage went back 7000 years. The first explorers didn't arrived from Spain until 1774.

But this isn't a history lesson.

As I got to know Danny, I realized he was caught between two worlds, that of the white man he wanted so much to emulate and that of his proud and noble heritage.

When he was a baby, his father died. When he was a child, his mother fell in love and married a visiting marine biologist from the mainland of British Columbia. Understanding the importance of Danny's aboriginal ancestry, Killian Senior took Danny out of the residential school, adopted him, and built a home for his new family on the reserve, so that Danny's connection to the land would grow, not diminish.

When Danny was ten years old, his mother died suddenly of complications from pneumonia. Killian Senior kept Danny close during that difficult time. Danny would later credit his dad in keeping him grounded by invoking a strong sense of pride and obligation in Danny becoming the man his mother would have wanted him to be. It's one of the reasons Danny joined the RCMP after graduation. In honour of his parents and his heritage, he hoped to make a difference.

Isn't it interesting that Danny should choose a career that, like his heritage, isn't always viewed kindly by many Canadians?

Angie Killian, originally from Sandspit, was murdered outside the Lougheed Mall in Burnaby seven months before Omatiwak: Woman Who Cries opens. Four weeks later, while her murder remained unsolved, Danny captured one of Vancouver's most hideous serial killers, a psychopath targeting native sex-trade workers. Because of his quick actions, Danny was promoted and transferred to Prince George, away from any involvement in his wife's investigation.

When he meets Sally, they are both at the lowest point in their lives. Sally's husband, retired minister of National Defence, has just been found shot dead in their kitchen; and Danny is reeling over the unsolved murder of his wife. Bent on solving Warner's murder, he developes an unusual friendship with Sally. The similarities in their lives are too strong to ignore. Neither of them fit well within the confounds of our society.

I hope it's evident that there is more to Omatiwak than meets the eye. It was difficult hitting upon issues seldom spoken of. Many foreigners are surprised when they learn that racial prejudice and the distrust of police is alive and well in Canada. Because we're known as the "nice nation", it's hard to image such bias exists here. But they do. The "why" is a mystery.

But that's not what this post is about either.

I wanted to share with you how much I enjoyed writing Omatiwak and why finishing it was so important to me. Sally Warner and Danny Killian are two characters who are as different as two people could be, and I love them dearly. I hope my publisher and those on the editorial committee feel the same way. But mostly I hope my readers (because I do believe Omatiwak will be published) see beyond their external shells, (one is middle-aged and far from Hollywood's glamour girl, and the other is an Indian), right down to their very souls. Fictional souls, of course. 

Some people say there are only two kinds of people in the world. I agree. There are those who write stories and there are those who don't.

--happy editing


  1. Wasn't this an interesting post! I enjoyed this. Thanks so much for sharing. :D

  2. Fun post, Joylene. I had fun taking that question in several directions. To my way of thinking, there are two kinds of people in an endless series of ways. Smart and dumb. Happy and sad. Male and female, though some have done their best to obfuscate that difference. Light skinned and dark skinned. monogamous and adulterous. See what I mean? so, yes, we tend to differentiate as either or.

  3. @Morgan, I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Hope your day is going well.

    @Pat, it was meant as fun. Thank you for getting that. There are definitely countless two-kinds of people. That's because it takes all kinds.

  4. Having read a very early version of Omatiwak, I can't wait to read the final version when it is in print. SO glad you stuck with that Joylene - the story has haunted me for years.

  5. @Meg, what a nice thing to say. But the truth is, it's because of working with you and the gang that I'm even discussing this topic.

  6. Hi Joylene:

    Good to see some backstory of the characters we've been working with for the past year.

    Actually all dichotomy is a failure of understanding. It stems from our bilateral symmetry, not from any principle in logic. If we were trilateral we would all be dividing the world into threes.

    That said, let me offer a writing dichotomy that is bugging me intensely right now. There are two kinds of publishers---the ones who hoard your submission for a year, only to say they don't want it when you...eventually send a polite enquiry, and there are those who don't.

    Chris H.

  7. Joylene, what an exciting, stirring post. I hope you hear very soon that your book will be published. In my writing workshop, I tried to explain about the theme of the book. After spending months and years writing a book, what is the reason you spent all that time? The reason is the theme. I believe your theme(s) makes your book well worth reading. Glad you are so fired up about it. Best wishes.

  8. @Chris, I hope your realize how important your input into Omatiwak is and was? Same with Meg, it's all about good critique partners and the value of their experience and insights. There's also sane agents vs insane ones.

    @Janet, thanks. I think that's what makes life so much more rewarding now. Having so many authors as friends. We share a common ground. Have a great day.

  9. Hi Joylene,
    What an awesome posting! Indeed, first of all, when it comes to blogging, when I actually do one, it usually takes under two hours for me to formulate something almost bordering on legible. And under two hours, probably is apparent :)
    Well done you, by the way, for taking care of those three chaps in your house. Is it something like, if you don't do it, it don't get done...
    And you share a fascinating insight here that resonates within me from a time long ago when I, a wide-eyed fifteen year old who walked from Vancouver to the aptly named town of Hope on that most inspiring of walks named, 'Moccasin Miles'...
    Warm wishes, your way, Gary

  10. Joylene, a resounding OMG! I also live with a husband and two grown sons and have a grandson who might as well live here! So I feel you, girl. On a more serious note, you know your mother knows you finished this story, don't you? And that she's as proud of you as we are. I'll be reading Missing, Assumed Dead as soon as I finish two others in progress. And on a further nuance of "There are two kinds of people. Those who write and those who don't" -- There are those who write (because they must) and those who think anybody could -- but never do. Because they can't.

  11. Thundering applause to you for writing (and finishing) a book with 3 men in the house! This has me hooked already...I'm dying to read the book. Tell that publisher "people are waiting!"

  12. (I've finally made it here. Spent the afternoon at my writers' group.) Your definition of two kinds of people certainly resonates in our wonderful online community. I've also heard, "Those who write, and those who think they can." And "Those who write, and those who wish they could." After today's critique session I don't want to ponder where I fit. LOL!

    Sometimes you have to make way for the priorities in life and it sounds like you have some major ones. Blogging once a week makes perfect sense. Somewhere in between looking after all those men and the resulting housework, you need to have time for your writing. (Plus a little time for yourself!)

    I'm so excited that OMATIWAK is on its way. I'm pretty sure your mom will be smiling, too. I have no doubt it will be as successful as its predecessors. Your writing makes your stories unforgettable!

  13. @Gary, Moccasin Miles, I haven't heard that for so long. It brings back memories. We used to drive from Maple Ridge to Hope for coffee on a Friday night. We were too young to go go the bar. Haha.

    @Gail, thank you for your kind words. I miss my mum a lot. I hope she's pleased. Heck, she is. She was my biggest fan.

    @Kim, thanks. I finished my first book with 5 of them menfolks hanging around. Ha. It was fun. Most of the time.

    @Carol, it actually felt weird this time. The first time I had nothing to lose. Broken's release, I think I was in shock. This time? I'm actually nervous. What if...? But I'm not going to think about that. Thanks, Carol, for everything.

  14. First off, can I just applaud you for living with three men? Wow.

    That said, Omatiwak sounds so complex! I hope you hear about it soon! :)

  15. Thanks, Carrie. I probably won't. They're swamped at Theytus. But--I found out yesterday that Dead Witness was nominated for the Global Ebook Award. I'm happy about that.

    Hey, Carrie, hope you have a nice weekend.

  16. Enjoyed this Joylene. I agree, either you write or you don't. :)

    Thinking about going down to posting once a week as well. Spend too much time on the peripherals and not enough time on writing, and I need to change that.

    Happy weekend,

  17. Karen, I think it's time. We've made some wonderful friends. We've got our name out there. I think producing a few more books would be great. I'll see you at the keyboard. Have a nice weekend.

  18. What a wonderful, interesting post! Good luck with your publisher and your writing.


  19. Thanks, Cher. Hope you're having a wonderful weekend. Writing???

  20. Hi, Joylene. Interesting post. Best wishes with your new WIP.

  21. Thanks, Susanne. Have a nice weekend.

  22. Know what you mean about blogging being hard work, but thanks for the fascinating post, wonderful insights.

  23. Thank you, Carole. I really appreciate your support. Having so many wonderful blogging friends has made a world of difference.

  24. Your characters don't need to be glamorous to be intriguing. In fact, the more real they are, the more relatable they are, and therefore the more interesting and gripping they are.

    As far as Nice Nation, Canada, goes, well, it's filled with humans, and humans are weak and flawed, which makes them all the more fascinating, no matter where they're from. I'm glad you finished this book and I hope it gets published soon!

    (Ick - you still have Word Verification! I've been unable to post a lot of comments lately due to the double WV format recently enabled. You might think about disabling WV. I've never used it and I never get spam. Just a thought. Now, let's see if I can get past your WV...)

  25. Thank you for your astute comments, Nancy. The world really is a small place, yet made up of so many diverse peoples.

    I did cancel the word verification last week, and within 5 minutes had 3 spams. I understand what you mean though. Often I have to do the verifying several times before it's accepted. But what to do. Spam is equally annoying. Maybe even more so.

  26. Any time another author reminds me of the importance of actually writing rather than spending too much time marketing, I love it!

  27. What a great post, Joylene, and I loved hearing about your new book. I'm sure your publisher will love it.

    I do agree that blogging is a lot of work. Some days I spend way too much time on it when I know I should be writing. I go through periods when I pull back a bit, so that I can devote more time to writing fiction but then I always come back to it.

  28. Not to mention those wonderful moments when Miss Charlotte comes for a visit. Thanks, Laura. Have a great week.

  29. A most fascinating post. If you could write only 1 post this week, this one was it! I pray your publisher will have great news for you, Roland

  30. That is so very kind, Roland. Thank you!

  31. Wow, that lady looks just like Kathy Bates! I thought it was her until I read the caption!

    Good to see you at my blog! Thanks for commenting!

  32. LOL, thanks, Lauren. When I wrote Dead Witness I had a pic of Cheryl Ladd on my pegboard. I was so surprised when I found out most writers did that, found a face for their protagonist. What a relief. For years I thought I was just plain weird. Thanks for stopping by.

  33. And I SO thought I was your hero, yet I only blog...what?....once a month? LOL...

    A sequel? Fantastic! Fingers crossed for you, and you're such an inspiration, woman. You truly are. Always have been!

    Love, love, love the insight into the story!

    Thank you for sharing, and hugs to you, my friend and inspiration!

  34. #Come at me, thanks!

    #Carol, of course, you're still my hero. Even if you only blog once a month. It's quality, not quantity. Hugs back to you, you author you.


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