The Bistro

The Bistro

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Join us here in The Bistro for a discussion on the entire Gamache series. Feel free to ask or answer any questions about any of the books or the series as a whole.

Discussion on “The Bistro”

As I finish book two and start on book three, I totally appreciate the difficulties any ongoing story creates. When you start the people and the characters don’t exist, how can you know where the road will go. I just wrote a paragraph with no concept of why I was writing it. Turns out it completed the paragraph below that I didn’t even know was incomplete. For me writing is very much a subconscious process. I don’t know how much LP plans out here story arcs but if you work organically like I do, then the planning is more geographic than set out like a road map.

The whole process sounds fascinating, Anna. I love to hear how you work, and so pleased for you that the first draft is in place! Yipee!

Hi everyone. It is great to hear good news and nice things happening. I am so glad the whole trip went as well as the dress Julie. We need things that lift us and renew us.

I heard from Millie briefly and she is doing fabulously but exhausted without much time on her hands. Can’t wait until she drops by and tells all.

It was could to see you pop in Cathryne. I am thinking of you all the time.

Thanks for asking after my mum and dad Barbara. It’s such an up and down time for them. We thought we had escaped the nasty bugs but dad has been quite ill for the last week. Mum has a very painful hip but smiles more when the analgesia is timed correctly. I hope Sam and his brother have a good visit.

It’s funny Julie but I can hear you bouncing with enthusiasm after your conference. We do need the energy of being with likeminded others to keep us going. I certainly use you all as inspiration.

Book two is done, first draft took 31 days. It had to as that was the time I had before it was back to the more complex life I have when my daughter is at school. The trick is that it leads to book three so guess where my head is right now and there is so much editing to do! I shall plug away and hopefully have something to share in a few months or less.

In a warm spell here. I wonder what El Niño will bring for us all as it gets stronger!

Thank you all for all your good wishes. The conference was so wonderful, brought me home filled with enthusiasm for Austen and everything Regency!

Anna, I’m excited to hear that you are working on the next book – wonderful news! I can’t wait to hear about all the characters from The Cove… I think it’s time for a re-read for me.

I felt sorry for Louise, as well, when I thought to myself – how could she possibly know in book one that there would even BE a book 2, let alone that by book 8 or 9, she’d need the village to be completely cut off from the cyber-world? I know you have to think ahead, but that’s crazy!

Barbara, I hope you’re feeling better. If the weather has gotten better, that’s probably helped a lot!

Millie – can’t wait to hear about your trip with your Mother, and all the wonderful things you’ve done and seen!

Julie, your dress is beautiful. Sounds like you had a wonderful time. An opportunity to be with other Austen fans, see everyone’s outfits and get in some sight seeing. Thanks for sharing with us.
Can’t wait to hear of Millie’s adventures. What a special time for Mother and Daughter.
Anna, how are your parents ? My husband and his brother will visit their mother later today.

Oh Julie, I’ve been thinking about you and hoping you had a wonderful time. Love the picture, thanks for posting it! Beautiful from head to toe.

I’m baa-ack! I had the best time – Kentucky is a gorgeous state, the countryside is so beautiful! I took a paddleboat ride down the Ohio river one night, and a drive out to a Shaker village the next day, and was just blown away! Everything was so fun – I saw so many beautiful gowns and hats and gorgeous costumes of all kinds. The speakers were great, and it was all a wonderful time! As promised here’s a pic of me in my gown: https://picasaweb.google.com/116634764800697602903/InstantUpload#6206026334764781234

I was posing with an internet friend that I got to meet – she writes Regency inspired books. She is the pretty young thing in the red gown – that bump in the back of her dress is actually where her train is caught up for ease of movement – very clever! I take terrible pictures, but the dress is shown to good effect. It was a lovely evening! I’ll have more pics to post soon – but I had promised so many people that I’d send out a picture of the gown, that I figured I’d better get it up fast.

Hope the Jane Austen event went really well Julie. I saw your comment about the mobiles in Stiil Life. That had passed me by. I feel a little sorry for LP. It can’t be easy keeping track of the multitude of details across the whole series. I am finding that difficult having written just one and a draft!

How are you Barbara? I hope the sun is shining.

Cathryne, are you ok??

Thinking of everyone as the year tumbles to a close. I can’t believe how fast time is traveling!

Dear Barbara, we have seen video of the floods which are really dreadful. Once the water does recede then the damage is revealed. Good to so many people chipping in to help.
Erin loved her trip and is excited by the challenges of school. We are trying to make the next 12 months more fun and less stress but that is not easy. The HSC is a stressful time, it started yesterday for this years class. I still have nightmares about mine!

The rain has stopped for the most part. Many locals went to help in South Carolina. The cleanup will mean hard work. So many small pond dams failed. There have been reports for years on the need for repairs to them. Most schools have reopened today. Summerville, SC, one of my favorite small towns, had streets and curbing wash away.
3,ooo words a day. You have been using this time very well. Inspiration and opportunity together.
Imagine a cottage for writing. I have often thought how wonderful it would be to have a retreat. Mine would be for reading and enjoying being alone with my thoughts. For me, alone means with my dog(s) and cat. I would also need a kitchenette for snacks, coffee and tea. I even drew plans for one once ( just an amateur sketching ).
I hope Erin enjoyed her travels….so enriching.
Louise has not only given us wonderful novels but inspired us in our daily lives. I am so thankful for her example
Happy Thanksgiving to our Canadian friends.

I hope everyone is ok where ever they are. It is a clear sunny day through my window as spring paints the world vibrant green.
I read your comments over at the Reading group guide Barbara. I will give it all some more thought but I am a bit immersed in my draft at the moment.
I want to finish it before a return to the school run and teen diversions next week. I have seen the last four weeks without such things as my gift of time to write and set myself the task of 3000 words a day…you have to have a goal. I am close to achieving that which is down to Louise and her inspiration and the support I have had from family. I can’t tell you how many cups of tea I have required to keep going. Kudos to hubby this weekend.
Has the rain stopped in the South Barbara? Friends in BC are telling me that it is warm and wet there….not what I wanted to hear. Roll on snow.

I have writer’s cottage envy! When I get to a difficult part in my novel, or when I just thing it is a load of codswallop, I go and find a Louise Penny video to watch. She is so sensible and generous with her discussion of the process. Then I saw this, a video in which she shows her writing space. I want…snow and all.


Yep, the characters of The Cove are being heard again. What amazing compliments you pay me Barbara. Comparing me to LP is high praise indeed!!! I thank you for the warm glow it gives. She is a wonderful role model, although I can well imagine Louise laughing madly at the thought.

Definitely not writing the great anything novel, just transcribing a story the characters wish to tell. It is very interesting the directions they are taking. New locations and new characters, as well as new insights into some familiar ones. Bit of mystery to boot.

Working hard to get the first draft done so I can start shaping the mud I am throwing onto the wheel.

Have a great time Julie. Looking forward to the photos!

Glad the sun is shining for you Barbara. We have the opposite. After several very hot days we are back to cold and drizzle. I don’t mind. I see it as an excuse to be cosy and finish writing my book. Getting close. Louise posted a link to an interview she did on cbc radio. It was a very timely reminder of things she has said before but helpful for me to rehear. Writing is for me and that I shouldn’t be trying to write the greatest novel in the world or I will never finish it.

Anna, How exciting ! Your second novel. Further adventures of the characters in the Cove ? I’m happy for you . You are a well rounded person, quite intelligent, loving and caring to your family and others and now using your talents to write. You remind me of LP in many ways. One day, we may be a part of your discussion group.
Love the comment about the greatest novel. A local author told me she had to realize she wasn’t trying to write the Great American Novel just her book. She had a problem trying to get it perfect.
Write away. Looking forward to reading it.

I’m off first thing in the morning for my Jane Austen event so I won’t be posting until I come back – which isn’t til next Tuesday night! I picked up my dress this afternoon, and it’s just perfect – wait until you see pictures! I will be posting an album of my adventures so all my friends can see, so will send a link when that’s up. Fun! Til then, stay safe, away from the mad weather and cozy in the Bistro…

Thanks for the link. I have an appt. with the ophthalmologist Thurs. and will ask about the light box and my eyes. Later this month I’ll see the Internist and discuss it. I had known about but let it go. I do things like that.
Today was beautiful. The sun was bright all day. Yipee !

Julie, I only just read your post on Roseburg. I am sorry it has affected you so closely but yes I can well understand how frustrating it must be. It is a curious form of government when the Preisdent is so hamstrung by Congress that he can’t make changes that he wants to and would be sorely needed. I feel fortunate that our government was able to come together on the issue and make a difference when we had the tragedy at Port Arthur. It can be done but the structure of your government, the interpretation of the Constitution, and the NRA mean it will have to come from the people not from the President. I think he would enact a law tomorrow if he could. The fact that he can’t is frustrating indeed.
We have gun problems here but since 1996 they have declined dramatically. As have suicides by gun. While mental health care is important, as we have seen many of the instigators of gun crime don’t come to the notice of the mental health system.

Barbara, I have been following the destructive rains and I am sending thoughts and prayers to the those affected. I agree with Julie about the right kind of light. Phototherapy is effective in alleviating SAD, seasonal affective disorder. It’s very real but there is help available so please look into that. I will hunt up a reference for you. You are doing a great job looking for things to help while the rain falls.

Anna – I think some of my frustration comes from having come from a different country. One where it is much more difficult to get guns. Not impossible, and such shootings are not completely unheard of, but you never hear of someone having an arsenal of guns at home, each having been gotten legally. Surely, if there were more roadblocks in the way, some of these people would give up trying to get guns.

I know the president can’t do anything alone, and the NRA is so very powerful a gun lobby that it boggles my mind. I almost think we need some kind of government reform that bans accepting gifts from such lobbyists before we can have gun control reform. If it didn’t come after Sandy Hook, I can only assume that people don’t care enough to make it happen at all. I know there are some – many – who care deeply, but so many vocal others who only care that they not have their right to arm themselves to the teeth infringed. Crazy. And crazy me for letting it make me crazy!

I also agree that mental health care is important, but that alone, won’t solve the problem. So many crimes are committed by people who do not meet any legal or other definition of mental illness. Having guns be that much more difficult to get is the bigger issue, and I worry that so many politicians turn it all into rhetoric by citing the mental health care aspect, and taking the discussion down a different road.

I think you’re right, Anna, that this president would do it tomorrow if he could. And part of me thinks that he’s a very smart man. Maybe smart enough to get this done in the time he has left, if he really makes that the main issue he cares about. What a great legacy that would be for him to leave – not only having brought in good health care for all citizens, but also to have made the country safer by reforming the gun laws. During his “lame duck” time, I think that Mr. Obama has already decided he will not worry about not offending people, and will do more of what he really wants to do. I wish he would take up this cause with a vengeance.

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