Maxine continues to write and dream and read and learn and transform and listen and create in Didsbury, Alberta.
She was left reeling for a bit when her sons stepped into adulthood, but she and her husband are rediscovering what it's like to be 'just two' again. And it's not so bad. In fact, it's kinda fun!
You'd think that having all this time freed up would result in more writing, but life always has a way of presenting scenic side roads to explore. This tendency to be easily sidetracked by shiny things, paired with her penchant for poring over her stories for a loooong time before releasing them to the world, makes for long pauses between books.
Add to that the fact that her newest book is a much longer story -- a novel, in fact -- with characters dear to her heart having adventures that had to be allowed to play out to everyone's satisfaction, and it becomes clear why it took so long for J-Company to make its debut.
Now all that remains is to get this story up on Amazon. (Which is proving to be a whole other kind of adventure.)
Constant noise. A gazillion secret rules waiting to trip you up and send you to the PrinciPal's Torture Chamber. A scary Custodian. And a bully. Welcome to Grade Five.
Oh . . . and don't forget the meddling Pink Crow who locks you out of your secret world.
As bad as school is, the spooky WhiteOut place Jesse lands in when he tries to get back into his secret world is worse.
And also better. Much better.
Where else do trusted Comrades come alive and bullies help to save the day?
Where else does imagination release secret powers and a tiny candy maker become a hero?
Where else can a soldier learn what it really means to be a leader?
Nowhere but WhiteOut.
My name is Emma Wassmer. I am a Social Media Coordinator at Red Toque Creative, where I create and curate content for client’s social media platforms and help to maintain their social media strategies.
I am a graduate from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology where I received a Diploma in Graphic Communications and Print Technology. I am an Adobe Certified Associate in Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign and have experience with Microsoft Office.
I am a hard working, self-motivated, driven individual who strives for success. I push myself to complete and achieve my goals and am committed to excellence in all the activities that I take part in.
Along with being a social media coordinator, I work as a freelance graphic designer, and a part-time graphic designer for Greenvelope.
When I’m not working, I enjoy hiking, photography, and art!
I’d love to help you with your graphic design needs.
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We were eating dinner. The phone rang. My youngest son got up to answer it. That, in itself, was extraordinary. We never answer the phone at dinnertime!
The rest of the family was so flabbergasted by this uncharacteristic behaviour that we unashamedly eavesdropped on his conversation.
"Hello?" he said. "Yes."
And then, "Yeeeesss!" which was drawn out in such a way that it sounded very much like, "Yes, of course! That is so obvious, why are you even asking?"
He hung up the phone with an abrupt, "Ok. Goodbye," and returned to the dinner table.
When it became apparent that he wasn't going to enlighten us on the nature of the call, I asked him who was on the phone.
He told me and resumed eating.
"Aaaand? What did she want?"
He looked at me in a way that made it apparent he would rather not disclose the details of his conversation, but when I didn't drop it, he said, all in a rush, "She tried to get into her secret world, but ended up in another secret world that she thought might be mine so she phoned to see if it was."
"You have a secret world of your own?" I asked, delighted.
"Yeeesss!" he said, in exactly the same don't-be-so-dense way that he'd answered his friend on the phone.
"Oh. Wow." I said. "What's it like?"
"If I told you, it wouldn't be a secret any more," he replied.
Point taken. But I couldn't resist asking a few more questions. The only tidbit he allowed me, though, was that his secret world's entrance was a stone archway guarded by a Viking.
Just like with Leaf, this image would not leave me alone. All sorts of ideas began swirling through my head. Eventually, I chatted with my son's friend, who was much more willing to talk about the goings-on in her secret world.
(Excerpt from Chapter 13)
It was still foggy, but it was grey again, instead of white, and it was a thinner fog than before. And more swirly, like there were a hundred fans moving the air in different directions. This time Jesse could tell the difference between the ground and the not-ground and it seemed like he could see further, even though there was nothing to see.
JoJo sniffed the air. “Do you smell that?”
Jesse flared his nostrils, pretty sure he knew what JoJo was smelling.
“Is that . . . ?”
“Cinnamon,” Jesse said. This time it was much more than a whiff. Turning in a slow circle, he tried to locate its source.
JoJo grabbed his arm. He wrenched it away, but the look on her face made him turn to see what she was staring at.
Something was moving toward them through the mist. It was oddly shaped and walked as if one side of its body had trouble keeping up to the other side. And it was growing larger with every step it took toward them.
Jesse kept his eyes on it as he pulled the bow off his shoulder and fit an arrow into the string. He steadied himself and raised his arms, aiming for the centre of whatever it was looming in front of them.
“Stop right there!” His voice sounded weak and hollow in the fog.
The Thing kept lumbering toward them. Jesse’s arrow bounced on the bow’s string. He took a deep breath and steadied it, willing himself to shoot if It came any closer.
“I-I said stop!”
But It didn’t stop. And the closer It came, the larger It grew until, finally, incredibly, the shape of a colossal giant came clear in the mist.
JoJo gasped and grabbed Jesse’s arm again. He shook it off, pulled the arrow back as far as he could, and prepared to let it fly.
We are this close!
Since I don't have the money in hand to pay a printer, I've decided to try using the Print on Demand model that Amazon provides. This is the last step, but there are myriad smaller steps that make it up.
I've made decisions about the book dimensions and the cover and the paper. Right now, I'm stalled on the tax portion of the program.
Since Amazon is an American company and I am a Canadian resident, there are some special hoops I have to jump through, but I have no idea what they're asking me for!
Luckily, I met a woman who has successfully jumped through all these hoops and knows someone who can help me navigate this. That's next on my list.
I also just recently learned that Amazon is merging CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing into one service. I don't know what that means for the work I've already done on J-Company. Hopefully, I don't have to start from scratch again.
I'll keep updating here, but if you want to be contacted as soon as J-Company becomes available, click the button below this column and I'll put you on the priority announcement list.
I'm so looking forward to releasing J-Company into the world! While Leaf and Down in the Jungle tell very different types of stories, they are still both picture books. J-Company is an actual novel!
I missed working with an illustrator -- although I got to do that a bit as Emma and I designed the cover together -- but I loved getting to know this story's characters in depth: Jesse and JoJo, Abby and Cinna. And Duke, of course!
The characters really do develop a life of their own! Some of the things they said or did in the course of the writing would make me laugh out loud.
I'm so excited for you to meet them!