Friday, June 21, 2019

Author and friend Christiane France

June 21, 2019

"Buying men sounds a bit kinky, but sure. If that works for you, I'll buy the men and you do the rest." - Chris Grover,  April 25, 2016

My friend and fellow author, Chris Grover, died on June 19, 2019. She'd been ill since the fall of 2018, housebound for most of the winter. She kept saying once warm weather returned, she'd perk up. It wasn't to be. Diagnosed with lung cancer, she developed pneumonia and in the end, succumbed to it. 

Chris grew up in post World War II England and later immigrated to Canada. She liked her adopted home in Hamilton, and she and Roy enjoyed many years there. After Roy passed, she stayed in her apartment with her "boys," Toby and Dom. Chris was definitely a cat person. 

Chris was a gourmet cook. While Ron and I are happy to slap a few burgers on the grill, Chris made her meals an event. Well-traveled, she brought home recipes from every country she visited. Those locales, and food, often made their way into her stories. 

I first met Chris in the spring of 2008. Back in those days, Amber Quill only took in new authors once a year through a sort of lottery they called a contest. They accepted manuscripts for a month, sorted out the chaff, and then accepted only a few. I was one of only eight out of over two hundred authors offered a contract in 2008. Of course, once you were in, you had a permanent publishing home. Chris sent me an email to welcome me to AQP and we started to correspond. Until this past winter, rarely a day went by that we didn't chat. Fighting respiratory issues sapped her energy and she began to miss a day or two at a time. Then I got the call from her close friend in Hamilton that she was gone. 

During the days of our friendship, we co-wrote two series - The Escort and The Ghost at the B and B. Our writing styles were similar, and often we'd ask "did you write that section or did I?" When AQP closed its doors, we each took a series to indie publish. 

We also hatched an idea to write a story set in the same town from the perspective of two business partners. That became the Amethyst Cove books. She wrote the Greg Stewartson stories, and I wrote the Ian Coulter stories. We wondered how to get Greg and Ian into the same conversation but we never quite got around to doing it. 

After Amber Quill closed, we both tried a few of the remaining e-publishers, but it wasn't the same. AQP spoiled us for anywhere else. We went indie although Chris was never as comfortable with it as I am. Making my own covers was creative fun, so I offered to do hers, too, which elicited the above quote. She wanted to pay me but I told her to donate a few bucks to her local animal shelter. That was a good payment in my book.  

I'm going to miss Chris. Even though we came from very different backgrounds, we held similar views on right and wrong, good and evil. I will miss her emails and her recipes. 

Chris shared her vast knowledge of writing and publishing with me and I'm grateful to her for that. The writing community has lost a guiding light and a quiet leader. Her voice has been stilled, but never her influence on those who knew her. Rest well, my friend. 

KC Kendricks



Sunday, June 16, 2019

Writers just want to have fun

June 16, 2019


I found this drawing on Twitter this morning. Kudos to Grant Snider for a piece of wonderfully charming artwork. It's humorous but with a lot of truth. The more I study it, the funnier it becomes. 

Print Graveyard, Inspiration Overlook, Desperation Drop, Plot Labyrinth, Procrastination Patio. Oh, we've all been to those places. And out in the ocean what do we find? The white whale. Study your classics if you don't "get" that one. 

Actually, I've changed my mind. It's not just a charming work, it's fucking genius. 

These days, I think I'm living on the Procrastination Patio. I'd much rather be in the Cave of Reclusive Genius. It's not all my fault I'm on the patio. Settling my stepfather's estate has been time-consuming. I think I need to dedicate a page to tips on how to deal with some of the roadblocks that have been set up in my way to accomplishing that task. I've submitted the forms for his life insurance and you'd think I'm pulling all those funds out of the agent's personal pocket. It's not right what they make you do for money due you, or in this case due to my mother. 

I've fortified my writing muse by reading a lot. Reading has been a wonderful escape at the end of the day when I know I'm too tired to try to write. I was a reader first and I'll likely be a reader last when I've retired my keyboard. 

One day soon I'm going to move from the Procrastination Patio to the Author's Cloisters. I won't be the one escaping down the rope, either. I'm pretty well-organized with settling Jack's affairs and I'm working the plan. Now it's a matter of tying up loose ends. Being philosophical, I can visit the Reflecting Pool and admit time away from the keyboard will probably end up being a good thing. That part of me, the part that is the writer, has had a good long break. 

When the time comes to finish July Heat, I'm going to visit the Internet-Free Cafe, buckle down, and get back to work. After all, I've already been to Aspiration Tower and the Brainstorm Rotunda. I've tossed copy down to the Publisher's Roost. When it's all said and done, I think I'll paddle out to the Shrine to the Muse and be thankful the passion to write is still with me. 

Thank you, Grant Snider, for sharing your talent and wit with the world. 

KC Kendricks
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