Thursday, 22 December 2011

Anna Patricio author of ASENATH

Welcome, Anna Patricio to talk about her new book ASENATH.

by Anna Patricio

Mention Joseph to anyone the street and they will be able to tell you,
"He's the dreamer. The one with the coat of many colours. The one who
can interpret dreams." Some will even say, "The one in that
technicolour musical," which I personally don't care for much.
(I prefer the movies 'In The Beginning' and 'Joseph King of Dreams,' both
excellent portrayals of Joseph.)

But mention Asenath, and the reaction you will most likely get is, "Who's that?"

Indeed, hardly anyone knows about Asenath, and that is probably
because she is mentioned very briefly, eclipsed by her famous dreamer
husband. Whenever I tell people I have written about her, the reaction
I get most of the time is, "I didn't know Joseph had a wife!" If I got
a dollar every time that remark was made...

So why write about this little-known, obscure, voiceless name from the
Book of Genesis? Actually, the fact that she is little-known and
obscured provides great potential for fiction. Because barely anything
is known about Asenath, I am thus at liberty to stretch my imagination
as far as I please. All we are told about her is that she married
Joseph after he successfully interpreted Pharaoh's dreams. So I filled
in the (huge) gaps before and after that event.

That is just the surface, however. My other and more crucial reason
for writing about Asenath stems from my interest in Joseph, which
began when I was still a student.

I had known about Joseph's story all my life, what with having
attended Sunday school and all. But it was later on when some dramatic
changes took place in my life - entering university plus my sister
needing surgery - that I came to realise what a powerful and moving
tale this is. Until then, I thought of Joseph as some distant figure
from a far-off time and place. But when I came across his story again
after the abovementioned events came to pass, I realised just how much
I could relate to him. I admired how he maintained his strength and
integrity, despite the numerous travails that befell him. Really, when
you think about it: first his mother died when he was only 8 (or so),
then he was sold into slavery, and then imprisoned for a crime he
didn't commit. That's a terrible burden to bear. But he survived it
all and emerged as a very seasoned man. I love how people often
summarise Joseph's Cinderella-esque tale as "from the pit to the
throne" because - well - that's what it really was.

My admiration for Joseph then drove me to delve deeper into his story.
I read everything I could get my hands on. First I began with Biblical
commentaries and studies, then later discovered more interesting
accounts, such as Jewish folktales and Persian epic poems.
Along the way, I grew curious about his wife Asenath. I wanted to know
what sort of women married so strong and admirable a person as he. But
when I looked her up, I found hardly anything on her. Oh, I found a
few ancient tales such as the Greek 'Joseph and Asenath' which has as
its theme Asenath's conversion to Judaism. But other than that,
nothing. Nothing to tell me of her childhood, her marriage to Joseph,
her family with Joseph etc.

I came across some contemporary fiction of Joseph, but I wasn't too
satisfied with how Asenath was portrayed, mostly because she wasn't
given much attention by the writers. She was almost always in the
background. When I didn't find anything I wanted to read about her, I
then thought to write something myself.

I played around with ideas for about two years. Then the ideas took
shape in the first draft of the manuscript, which I then worked on for
3 years. And now, after nearly another year of seeking publication,
'Asenath' has finally materialised.

Find ASENATH here:

Learn more about Anna on her website.

Monday, 19 December 2011

New Years Eve = Disaster!

Last week my girlfriend and I went to see New Years Eve. First let me explain why we decided on this particular show in the first place. We both needed a break and thought that a movie where you didn’t have to think was perfect.
Well, this movie was not only a no-brainer for us, but must’ve been something conjured up over a night of drinking for the screenwriters.

It was terrible.

The plots were dry, predictable, and boring. The acting was even worse. This movie casted some of the top A list stars such as Katherine Heigl, Josh Dumal, Ashton Kutcher, Michelle Pfeiffer, Zac Efron, Robert De Niro, Halle Berry and Sarah Jessica Parker. So the acting potential was at a high standard and I have to say watching this movie was like watching one episode of the teletubbies. Over paid morons flopping around on screen. Ugh I’d rather give myself a paper cut between my toes.

Where do I begin?

The first story: Katherine Heigl and Jon Bon Jovi used to be engaged until he left her the previous New Years Eve. Jump ahead a year and she’s catering the New Years Eve gala in Times Square where he is the headliner. Hmmm I wonder what happens. Well, you don’t have to see the movie to figure it out. A lack of chemistry, bad acting and horrible writing spells blah!

Moving on to story number two: Michelle Pfeiffer and Zac Efron. She plays a frumpy middle aged woman looking to fill her list of things she’s never done. Zac is the man for the job. He is a mail delivery boy who gets around on a bike and motorized scooter which later Michelle drives, scratching one thing off her list. You watch as the two go from place to place in New York City but never find out why she needs to fulfill the items on the list. At the end of the movie Zac kisses the overly frumpy, and needs to put some cucumbers on her eyes, Michelle as they dance the night away in Times Square. One word defines this mess...Puke.

Story number three: Ashton Kutcher hates New Years Eve because his heart was broken a few years before during the holidays. (wah wah wah) He walks around in his pyjama’s ripping down all the decorations moaning about how much he despises the day. In comes Lea Michelle (Glee) and the two get stuck in the apartment elevator (go figure) The two fall for each other (again go firgure) Amid all the chaos of the movie Lea Michelle breaks into song. I am not kidding. This is not only cheesy but nearly caused us both to lose our popcorn right there. It was a good thing we were the only ones in the theatre because the profanity that expelled from our lips at this ridiculous scene would have definitely gotten us kicked out.

Story number four: Robert De Niro plays a dying man whose only wish is to go onto the roof of the hospital and watch the fireworks at midnight. Halle Berry is his nurse and sits with him until his daughter, Hilary Swank arrives. Oh goodness, where to start? After almost dying a few times throughout the show and merely hanging on by a thread his daughter takes his oxygen from his nose and wheels him to the roof top where he...yes you guessed it, dies. What did you think would happen?

And in comes another song, by Lea Michelle as all the couples come together in a New Year hug, kiss, or whatever. At this point my eyes were crossed and I was praying for the credits to roll.
There were of course other stories but these four took the cake.

If you feel I’ve ruined the movie for you, well I’m sorry. But look at this way; I saved you $20.00, your stomach from revolting, eyes from crossing, and your sanity. You can’t put a price on that!

Overall New Years Eve was a flop, a horrible waste of time.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

25 Days of Christmas at Imajin Books

There's only 25 days left until Christmas and the beginning of Imajin Books 25 Days of Christmas Giveaways event.

Imajin Books is Giving Away:

4 eBooks daily.
A basket o’ books (you choose the titles to fill it)
A Kindle Fire eReader.

The rules are simple:
Review one of their titles on Amazon or Smashwords.
Post an announcement on your face book page or Twitter.
Buy one of their eBooks.

It gets even better!
All eBooks are on sale from .99 - 2.99.
Imajin Books publishes Fantasy, Horror, Romance, Western, Mystery, Young Adult and more. They have lots of titles to choose from, so purchase yours now while their on sale!
Click here for Imajin titles.

With Christmas shopping in full swing, and your wallet constantly emptied, winning something is always nice. So enter your name in the 25 Days of Christmas Giveaways event.

Click here to read contest details.

Good luck!

Friday, 11 November 2011

Today We Remember

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks still bravely singing fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead: Short days ago,
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved: and now we lie
In Flanders fields!

Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you, from failing hands, we throw
The torch: be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die,
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields

By Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae
Composed at the battlefront on May 3, 1915
during the second battle of Ypres, Belgium

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Under A Texas Star

I'd like to welcome Alison Bruce, author of Under A Texas Star. Tell us a bit about your book and why you wrote it.

Disguised as a boy, Marly joins a handsome Texas Ranger in the hunt for a con man and they must bring the fugitive to justice before giving up the masquerade and giving in to their passion. Inspired in equal parts by Louis L'Amour and Georgette Heyer, Under A Texas Star is a western mystery/romance, with a touch of humour and loads of adventure.

Why does a Canadian city girl write a western set in Texas?
I get asked that a lot. The answer is simple: Louis L’Amour and Zane Grey. My father introduced me to these authors just as my mother introduced me to Georgette Heyer and Dorothy Sayers. I grew up wanting to meet Chic Bowdrie, Texas Ranger. I wanted to shoot a Colt Peacemaker. And I wanted to learn to ride.

Friends of the family had ponies and I was led about on those a few times as a child. When I was out west, I rode bareback on a horse that was ready to be put out to pasture. That’s when I got my first clue that horses and I needed to keep our distance. My right eye ballooned, encapsulating my contact lens. Funnily enough, the owners wouldn’t let me near their horses a second time. Stubborn, I tried again when I was at university. I paid a discount rate for an introductory lesson.

I’m short and plump. Horses are big and tall. I had the devil of a job getting up into the saddle. When I finally got enough momentum to heft myself up, I kept going and fell off the other side. They didn’t have a block, so they got a folding chair for me to stand on. Once I was on the horse, I did pretty well. I started having images of riding the trail as I walked and cantered around the arena. Then the lesson ended.

“As easy as falling off a horse” has an entirely different meaning to me. When it was time to dismounted I slipped off the saddle and kept going down until I was flat on my ass on the sawdust.

The worst problem? Being in an enclosed ring with horses triggered an asthma attack that almost put me in hospital. It didn’t really hit me until I was out in the cold air. Then it was iffy whether my roommate would drive me home or to the hospital.
All grist for the mill.

Marly Landers Learns to Ride

The gelding was a short, sturdy gray mustang with a definite mulish look to him. The owner fit a similar description. He was asking forty dollars. Jase talked him down to twenty-five, then spent another twenty-five on a saddle, bridle and saddlebags. The tack he bought used from the livery owner. With a little dickering, Jase managed to get him to throw in a saddle blanket.
Throughout this procedure, the boy stood out of the way, in awed silence. His expression was one of near panic.
"Stop gaping and saddle his horse," Jase ordered.
"S-sir, I c-can't―"
"Sure you can. You seem to have made stable work a parttime career. Next to clearing tables, that is."
He looked down at Landers and could almost see the mental calculations the boy was making. Fifty dollars was a lot of money. A month's pay for a Ranger. Mucking stables, the boy might make that in four.
"Don't fret it," Jase added. "You take care of that horse and I'll get my money back for it in El Paso. Now hoof it!"
Within an hour of trying to teach Landers how to ride, he started to wonder if he shouldn't trade the saddle tack in on a buckboard.
It wasn't that the boy was slow-witted. Far from it. All things considered, Landers learned fast.
Blame, Jase had to admit, lay partly at his own door. To him, riding was as natural as walking. He took most of what he knew for granted. That didn't make him an ideal teacher. Nor did it help that they were drawing an audience. The livery owner had cleared a corral for them. Bit by bit, the fence started filling up with folks who had nothing better to do on a sultry Friday morning.
Most just watched for a time and moved on. Some cheered, while others taunted the boy. The worst ones shouted wellmeaning but contradictory words of advice.
Then there was the horse. The beast didn't just look mulish. He had a temperament to match. With more intelligence and malice than Jase had ever thought a horse could possess, this one did his best to make things even more difficult for the boy.
Jase was losing his patience.
When Landers tried to pull the horse to a stop, the animal bucked hard and the boy was thrown over his head.
Jase jumped between the gray and the boy. "You!" He pointed at one of the cowboys. "Get the horse!"
Two men jumped off the fence. One took Jase's position as block. The other grabbed the reins and let the beast know who was boss.
Jase went to help the boy.
"I'm okay," Landers said in a shaky voice.
He waved off Jase's help, stood and brushed the dirt from his trousers. With a stubborn gleam in his eye, he marched up to the now calm horse. Grasping the bridle, he pulled the gray's head down to look him in the eye. "I've had enough. Your name is Trouble, 'cause that's all I've had from you. From now on, you better behave or I will personally slice you into horse steaks."
Fascinated, Jase and the cowboys watched Landers. Still glaring, the boy took the reins and walked around to the right side. As though hypnotized, the horse maintained eye contact until he had reached the limits of his neck's ability to twist. Then Landers shortened the reins and with only a little awkwardness, mounted. The boy turned Trouble and walked around the corral's edge. Cautiously, he changed the pace to a trot.
"That's an old Injun trick," one of the cowboys said.
"What?" the other asked. "Mounting on the wrong side or threatening to make dinner out his horse?"
"Both," Jase interrupted. "Show's over."
The cowboy nudged his friend. "Come on, you can buy me a beer."

Under A Texas Star is available in trade paperback and eBook.

Alison Bruce can be found at and

Friday, 28 October 2011


Today I'd like to welcome guest blogger, Rick Lauber author of Caregiver's Guide for Canadians.

Welcome, Rick. Please tell us why you chose to write this book.

Do you know someone who is aging? We are all growing older and this is becoming an issue of national importance. Currently, one in five Canadians helps look after the needs of an aging parent/friend/spouse (source – 2006 Canadian census); with our country’s aging baby boomers, this number is expected to skyrocket.

As parents, friends and/or partners age and their health declines, other relatives/loved ones are left scrambling to find and provide appropriate care. Unless these people have been fortunate enough to work in the health-care field, they often lack the necessary skills, attitudes and experience to adequately help.

I know of these issues well through having served as a family caregiver – not once, but twice – for both of my aging parents. Mom had Parkinson’s disease and Leukemia; Dad had Alzheimer’s disease. Prior to being diagnosed, both my parents were the pictures of good health; therefore, I was not expecting either of them to be diagnosed with these serious health conditions, nor was I prepared to serve as a caregiver.

My new-found caregiving roles included helping them move, shuttling them to and from doctor’s appointments, handling their banking, picking up medications from the pharmacy and serving as my father’s Joint Guardian and Alternate Trustee. As a caregiver, I suffered from a sense of imbalance, stress and myriad emotions including anger, frustration and grief. I found that taking a temporary break from my caregiving responsibilities became absolutely vital to manage my own health and well-being; simple, cost-effective means of “escaping” from caregiving include going for a walk, reading and socializing with friends. While caregivers typically focus their time and attention entirely towards a loved one, they cannot overlook their own health and well-being. If I became sick and could not effectively manage, who would care for my parents?

One of my most effective means of coping, over all, was by writing. Journaling my thoughts and frustrations proved to be very therapeutic. First, I wrote only silent feelings, followed by numerous newspaper and magazine articles and finally a complete guidebook entitled “Caregiver’s Guide for Canadians” (published by Self-Counsel Press). The book is a wonderful resource for individuals expecting or currently providing care for a loved one (whether an aging parent/friend/spouse). Sample chapters include “Caregiving from a Distance”, “Searching for Long-Term Care for Your Parent”, “Dealing with Changing Family Dynamics” and “Finding Joy in Caregiving”.

Since its publication (September, 2010), the book has garnered some impressive media interest. I have been interviewed for newspaper articles, radio talk shows and television news broadcasts. I have also spoken to groups and visited numerous bookstores for scheduled signings … I have found that these personal appearances work exceptionally well to create awareness. With the number of caregiving stories I have heard, I am truly convinced that caregivers need an outlet to talk about their own experiences.

As the author, I am humbled with the attention but pleased that I can, even in some small way, help both prospective and current caregivers.

“Caregiver’s Guide for Canadians” is available at national Chapter’s bookstores as well as on-line at
Self Council

Rick Lauber
Caregiver’s Guide for Canadians
Rick's Blog

A superbly-written and well-documented book that guides the reader through typical eldercare issues provided by professional and private caregivers.

Read the book!! The experiences written about will make you want to fill out the sample forms in the last section of the book for all possible situations. There are also aids and resources listed. Wish I had had those lists when I was first a caregiver!!

A wonderful, concise, and practical book. While the subject of caregiving is a difficult one, Lauber approaches it in a way that a mentor, or wise uncle would...caring, yet firm, and full of useful tidbits and resources.

Thursday, 13 October 2011


It wasn’t long ago that I was going over my rejection letters from CHASING CLOVERS. Twelve white papers sat before me. Some with letterhead, some without, and even a few with coffee stains on them. Within the neatly typed letters, four stood out above the rest—four with the same inscription... Dear Writer.

I wasn’t important enough for them to address the letter to me. The letter they send all the rejects.

Nope, I am Dear Writer.

The first time I received a rejection letter I sighed loudly, and tossed the paper into the pile of NO’s slowly growing on the right side of my desk.

The second time my jaw clenched, and for a few seconds I think I lost my vision. I took a deep cleansing breath, and then off to the pile it went.

The third time my hand tightened, crinkling the paper a smidgen. I bit my lip from yelling out vulgar profanity, took ten deep breaths that burned my nostrils and throat. I waved the paper in the air and threw it into the pile on the right.

The fourth time was an email so I printed it out. I clenched the paper within both hands, spewed out “Dear Writer” in every mimicking way I could along with a few “Thank you Jack Ass’”, and crumpled the paper up into a tight ball. I went outside and lit it on fire. As I watched the orange flames lick the curled paper, my temper began to subside and I came back to reality. Every writer goes through this, right? It’s never the first time. Heck, it’s usually never the first book. I picked up the charred ball from the pavement, and went inside to run it under some cool water.

The only part that wasn’t burned beyond recognition...Dear Writer.

Dear Damn Writer. Ugh.

I stared at the two words for a long time, my eyes misting—my throat tight. Was I ever going to get this book published? I picked up what was left of my pride and dragging my feet, my chest tight, I went back to my office. I reached for the rejection letters, and spread them all over my desk. Words jumped out at me. “Good, but not good enough.” “You’re almost there, but this needs work.” “Keep trying.” “Sorry, no.” “We do not publish new writers.” “Please, do not waste our time.” (ouch)

I picked up my book, loose papers bound by two elastic bands, with scribbles from editing sprawled across the pages. I ruffled the edge with my thumb casting a faint breeze. The clean, dry scent filled my nostrils, and I smiled. The smell of paper is like homemade bread to a writer.
Even if I never publish this novel, I wrote it. I spent countless hours researching, and reading. I took course after course until I thought my brain was going to explode with information. I typed until my fingers cramped and my eyes dried out. I did it when no one thought I could, or would.

I finished it. I finished it. I FINISHED IT!!!

That was the day I put my book, CHASING CLOVERS in the drawer of my desk thinking it would never be published. A month later I saw the ad Imajin Books had posted in the Writers Guild looking for submissions.
I said jokingly to my husband, “I should send in CHASING CLOVERS and see what kind of rejection I get this time.” I had given up hope on ever finding a home for my novel. He didn’t laugh. He looked at me and said “I don’t think you should give up. Send it. What do you have to lose?”

I sat for a while and pondered what he’d said. He was right; I didn’t have anything to lose. So I gathered my query, synopsis and three chapters and sent them in. What followed next has been a dream come true.
In three days I will be a published author. CHASING CLOVERS will be in ebook and print.

I will hold the story I wrote two years ago in my hands. And you know what? It will be the best baked bread I have ever smelled.

CHASING CLOVERS ebook release this Saturday, Oct. 15th.


Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Mail Order Brides and Chasing Clovers

Mail order brides have always fascinated me. In the 1800's women married for a sense of security, and financial stability. They were widows seeking help to raise their children, lost souls searching for independence.

In the 1800’s mail order brides became very popular. Men migrated west to farm land, build towns and cities, and mine for gold. Most being successful, soon found themselves financially stable. But one thing was missing...women. There were very few women in the early days of the west and if some popped up, they were always married. Soon men began sending letters to churches and newspapers back east looking for brides.

The women took on the status of mail order bride for many reasons, but one looms above all the Times were tough back then and a woman needed to know she was taken care of. This wasn’t a marriage founded on love, but instead on knowing you had a roof over your head, food in your stomach, and money in your purse. Those things held precedence to love. This doesn’t mean some didn’t find love. I think that was possible, but it wasn’t the reason they were together.

In the early stages of writing Chasing Clovers, I started to research the mail order bride, and I began asking myself questions. Why would my protagonist, Livy Green marry a man she’s never met? Was she running from something, or possibly someone? Was she destitute with no where to live? Was she lonely? Was she married with children and now a widow?

I soon realized she was desperate, from my perspective you’d have to be. She didn’t necessarily want to be a bride, but she needed to escape the life she was living and there was only one way to do so...answer an ad for a mail order bride. I described her fears of first meeting John Taylor, her soon to be husband. She was nervous. Her hands shook, back rigid, no expression formed on her face. She didn’t know him. Was he a drinker, a gambler, a forceful person? She'd second guess herself, wanting to run for the hills and live in the wild, then marry a stranger. But desperation pushed her into this possibly dangerous situation, and she had no choice but to stay.

In Chasing Clovers, Livy and John’s story is an adventure filled with laughter, sorrow, and forgiveness. It is an emotional tale woven solely for you, the reader, to enjoy and fall in love with.

Below are actual ads from the book Hearts West: True Stories of Mail Order Brides on the Frontier by Chris Enss. I used this book for research and loved it.

"A lively widower of 40, looking much younger, 5 feet 7 inches high, weighing 145 pounds would like to correspond with some maiden or widow lady of honor who would like a good home, kind husband and plenty."

"A gentleman of 26 years old, 5 feet 3 inches, doing a good business in the city, desires the acquaintance of a young intelligent and refined lady possessed of some means, of a loving disposition from 18 to 23, and one who could make home a paradise."

"Wanted: A girl who will love, honest, true not sour; a nice little cooing dove and willing to work in flour:"

Watch for my book Chasing Clovers, published by Imajin Books on Oct 15th in e book!!!


Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Back Cover for My Book.

The idea for Chasing Clovers didn’t come to me right away. There was no epiphany or bright light. No one wacked me across the head with a shovel, or slipped me a note under my door.

I had been writing a story for a few months, but there was something missing. The “missing” was actually a lot of things: no substance, no meat, and no bones. I had scenes, but no plot, no conflict and no resolution in sight. To put it bluntly I had nothing, zip, zilch, nada.
I did however, have characters. And while writing their biographies they started to take shape and form, coming to life right before my very eyes.

I took their backgrounds, delved a little deeper, and began asking myself questions. It wasn’t long after that the book emerged in my cluttered head and oozed from my fingertips onto my keyboard.

Long hours, little sleep and five months later I had written the rough draft of my novel. It would be another year and half of re-writes and hiring an editor to make this book what it is today.

Watch for my first Historical Western Romance novel, to be released by Imajin Books Oct 15th on ebook.

Below is a brief summary and back cover text of Chasing Clovers.

Mail order bride, Livy Green, is desperate to escape the memories of her past.
John Taylor will never love another woman again, but his children need a mother.
Will they learn to trust eachother, or will their pasts interfere?

Longing to escape the awful memories and the saloon she once sang in, Livy Green lies about her past so she can be a wife to John Taylor and step mother to his two young children. Overwhelmed by the task, she struggles to put her resentment aside and love them as her own.

John loved his first wife and is still heartbroken over the loss, but he needs a mother for his children. When his distant and unfriendly mail order bride arrives, he begins to doubt his decision though one glance into Livy's terrified green eyes tells him he can't turn his back on her.

As Livy's past catches up with her, and suspicous accidents begin to happen on the ranch, she is tempted to come clean and tell John the truth. But will he send her back if he does? Or will they forever be CHASING CLOVERS?


Thursday, 29 September 2011

Character Development

Character development is a different process for every writer.

How do you develop a character? How do you make them real, or three dimensional?

To develop a character a writer needs to be inside their head. In order for me to do this I need to write a character biography. In the beginning of a novel I write only the basics about my characters. But after a few chapters, I need to go back and add to their biographies. I ask questions about their background. Who their parents are? Do they have any brothers or sisters? Where they live? What they do? Are they happy and if not, why?

I interview them. This can be tricky because you have to answer the questions as your character. At times it can get confusing, but can also be fun.

By the end of the bio process I generally have four to five pages for each character.

As a writer you must understand your character. What would they say in certain situations? How would they act if caught in a dilemma? I always use the Who, What, When, Where and Why format when writing anything. I never stray from it while developing good characters and plot.

If your character is not believable to you, he will not be believable to your readers.

If you have a character who doesn’t behave the way he is supposed to, your reader will begin to question his integrity. This is a sure fire way to pull the reader from your book. AND you don’t want that. The rule also applies to plot. The story must be believable to be accepted by your readers.

A three dimensional character has all three things: thoughts, emotions and actions.

If I was to write:
John left for work in a hurry.
This statement doesn’t give the character any dimension. All it tells you is that he left for work in a hurry.

However, to write it this way does:
John woke to the sound of his alarm clock. He rolled out of bed, grabbed his ironed grey suit, and quickly dressed. With one shoe on, he headed out the door. “Damn, my boss is going to kill me.”
This adds dimension, it gives the reader insight into John’s character by showing his actions, emotions, and thoughts.

Your characters are going to evolve as your story does, but what makes them desirable is that they are real.


Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Car Trouble?

Flat tire? Engine problems? Some light on your dash board that won’t go off?
This happens to all of us, and unless you’re mechanically inclined you have no clue as to why the vehicle is dinging and flashing red signs every time
you turn it on. You do have the common sense to know something is wrong and take it to the dealership or mechanics.

But what do you do when they tell you there’s nothing wrong with your car? Persist and ask them to check again? Leave it for the next time when you’re stranded on the highway in -30 and a blizzard?
If you argue and insist they check your car thoroughly, nine times out of ten they will come back with what they think the problem is.
And you will fix it.
So you’ve just replaced some hose, belt, or fan (I’m just throwing words out there) that were never broken. And then guess what? You’re back within a few weeks with the same dilemma that brought you there earlier.

A couple months ago I took my van in because the power locks were going crazy; unlocking and locking while I was driving. Sometimes they’d stay locked and I couldn’t get in. This usually ended bad, as I’d try to climb in through the back hatch, or passenger door, often hurting myself or innocent bystanders (my children)

The man took my keys and sent me on my way, assuring me that they’d find the problem. An hour and a half later my doors miraculously fixed themselves, but my transmission needed to be flushed, tires rotated, oil changed, plugs and other gadgets needed to be replaced, oh and Mrs Flannery, you have 5% of your brakes left.

WHAT??? My brakes work fine. In fact I came to a complete stop this morning when that cat ran out in front of me. And I did stop at every red light on my way to the dealership.
Tires rotated? Oil Changed? Transmission flushed? My mind was racing.
I knew that the salesman or “fixer fellow” was just doing his job, but come on! My van wasn’t a jalopy. Sure there was bubble gum on the seats, and a pop stain near the back row, but I did regular oil changes, and tire rotations. I maintained the vehicle underneath the hood.

I cleared my throat and politely asked, “How much will all of this cost?”

“$900.00 or a little more, depending on the type of brakes you put on. But I do recommend something towards the top of the line. They last longer and are more durable.”

Well, of course he does! Why wouldn’t he recommend the best brakes? He works on commission. The more he sells, the more he’s paid. As I chewed on my bottom lip I pondered what my next step should be. After all, I had no intentions of paying for anything, the power doors were still under warranty.

After much deliberation (a cup of coffee and a quick call to my husband) I dropped the keys on the counter of the sales department and said, “How much will you give me for it?”


Monday, 5 September 2011

In Their Own Words The Girl's of Atsikana Pa Ulendo Tell Their Stories

I was introduced to Atsikana Pa Ulendo in 2009, when I was asked by Roberta Laurie, the other half of Prairie Dog Publishing, to help the Rotary Club market for Memory and Christie’s tour. I had heard Memory speak the year before, and I remember being shocked when she read off the statistics of what a young girl living in Malawi’s life would be like without an education. As I looked around the room of more than a hundred people I thought, none of us ever have to worry about being married at fourteen, a fear of exploitation, no rights, and the great possibility of getting HIV/AIDS.

These issues are not a part of our culture in Canada. Whether male or female you have the choice of education, the freedom to vote, the voice to speak out against sexual harassment and assault.
These girls have none of those things.

It broke my heart. I wanted to help make a difference and so Roberta and I brainstormed for a way to do so. When Roberta traveled to Malawi with the intention of asking for stories from the girls, I knew there was a chance she wouldn’t be able to get them. The girls were busy with their studies and chores at the school. But when she returned with a brief case full of the girls hand written stories I knew this book was going to be completed.

With compassion and excitement we were able to mould this project into what it is today. Throughout the year we’ve put countless hours into edits, proofreading, layout, and the marketing of this book so that we may evoke passion within you, our readers.

Even though I’ve never met these girls, I am proud of each of them. They have beaten the odds; they have overcome discrimination, while holding their heads high. Within this book, the girls of Atsikana Pa Ulendo, have given us a gift. Through their own words they have allowed us a glimpse into who they are.

Our mission at Prairie Dog Publishing is to change the world one book at a time, and this book has changed me. It has opened my eyes to the problems within our world. I only hope In Their Own Words; The Girl’s of Atsikana Pa Ulendo Tell Their Stories, will change you too.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each book will go to Atsikana Pa Ulendo.

Prairie Dog Publishing

Tuesday, 30 August 2011


With summer holidays coming to an end most mothers can’t wait for a break from the sibling rivalry, late nights, and do not forget the ever present echo of “I want.” By the time August hits most moms are more excited than their kids for the day-to-day routine back to school brings.

As they shop for school supplies it is like watching children in a candy store. With their fixed smiles plastered on their overjoyed faces. The isles are abuzz with their polite parley and fun banter, as they exchange kind “hellos” and high fives. They’re all getting ready to set sail on the same ship. It may not be the “Good Ship Lollipop” but rather its own sweet and tantalizing journey, with the promise of a satisfying splendour to be reached by all!

Ahhh, yes back to school. It has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

Today is the day all mothers unite and sing the same tune. A song of the habitual early morning breakfasts, packed lunches, and off onto the bus.
No more of the marooning cords that have been played for the past two months. The stresses of how to fill the days disappear, and the repeated “I’m bored” is silenced.

And tomorrow morning at 9:00am a contented sigh may escape, for all will be normal once again.

In celebration of back to school I’ve added a song.

Click here


Monday, 8 August 2011


In celebration of Book Week I thought I`d discuss one of my favourite authors.

I enjoy short stories and often read them for a quick fiction fix. One of my favourites is The Lottery by Shirley Jackson. This story was introduced to me about six years ago in one of my writing courses and I`ve loved it ever since, making me a Ms. Jackson fan forever.

If you’ve never heard of Ms Jackson, let me enlighten you. She has written more than 50 short stories which have been published in Women`s Day Home Companion to The New Yorker. She was said to be a recluse. She never did any interviews, hardly allowing her audience and fans a glimpse into the great and talented writer. However, if you`ve ever read Ms. Jackson you will come to know a small piece of who she was. She deposited bits of herself and home life into her stories.

A mother to four children and married to literary critic Stanley Edgar Hyman, Ms Jackson found time to not only write short stories but novels as well. She didn`t just stick to one genre either, writing everything from murder mystery to children`s books. Ms. Jackson is the essence of what kind of writer I aspire to be. She passed away in 1965, leaving behind a legacy of literary brilliance.

The Lottery, to me is one of the best short stories ever written. Published in The New Yorker in 1948, Ms. Jackson captures the essence of a small town in America who has a yearly lottery. She brings her reader into the sleepy town and the ordinary lives of the people who live there. I don`t want to say too much, for fear of giving the story away, but let me assure you this is no fairy tale.

I`ve attached the link to The Lottery and encourage all of you to read it.

The Lottery


Monday, 1 August 2011

Summer Sizzle Give Away!!

Hey everyone. My publisher is hosting a really cool contest and I wanted to let all my followers know. I've attached the details from their website below. Good luck!!

'Summer Sizzles with Imajin Books' this August: Scavenger Hunt

This summer, celebrate the opening of the innovative Canadian publishing company, IMAJIN BOOKS. Our huge summer event began on July 1, 2011 and we rewarded readers and book reviewers, our way to say "Thank you" for reading our books.

This August, the fun continues with an exciting Summer Sizzler Scavenger Hunt.

This event runs Aug 1 - August 31. Participants have a chance to win some fabulous prizes, including a Kindle ereader with wi-fi.

To enter:
1. Check out our Scavenger host list and click on each blog link.
2. Scavenge through these blogs until you find our Scavenger Hunt badge/graphic. You'll find the graphic at our website, so you'll know what to look for.
3. Email us at with "Scavenger Hunt" in subject line and the website link to the page with the badge you found, your name, mailing address and phone number, plus the title of the ebook you would like to receive if your name is drawn.
4. Each correct entry counts as an extra entry into our prize draws, so the more you find the badge and send us those links, the more chances you have of winning the Kindle and other prizes.

• 31 winners will receive one ebook of their choice from our published titles.
• 4 winners will received a signed novel (trade paperback) by authors Alison Bruce, Melodie Campbell, Cherish D'Angelo and Cheryl Kaye Tardif.
• Grand Prize: Kindle with Wi-Fi ($140 value): One grand prize winner (Kindle) to be selected from all eligible entries. Additional prizes may be added later.

This contest runs Aug 1 to Aug 31. Winners will be notified by email by September 3rd.

Entrant must be 18 to enter and be a Canadian or USA citizen for paperback and Kindle prizes, but can be international for ebook prizes. No purchase necessary. No substitution, no refunds, no cash value. The grand prize is not redeemable in cash and must be accepted as awarded. Void where prohibited by law.

Imajin Books authors, their families and any subcontracted associates of Imajin Books are excluded from this contest.

Imajin Books is an innovative, unique Canadian publisher with an eye on exciting, ever-changing trends and opportunities in publishing that opened its 'doors' to authors worldwide in late February 2011. They promise great reads by wonderful authors, with ebooks priced under $5 and trade paperbacks under $18.

From The future of reading is ebooks, and the future is NOW!

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Zombie Mom

So today I finished my edits for, Chasing Clovers to be released by imajin books later this year. The edits were exhausting, tumultuous, and a learning experience. I will never, and I mean never use the word turned, or turning again. I also, will not use another word ending with ‘ly’.

Even though I use an editor (who I love) with my novels, a publisher will ask you to make other edits, like the above. A publisher’s job is to make your work the best it can possibly be. And that begins with a deletion of over used words like ‘turned’ or ‘nodded’. So like any writer would, I dusted of my 5000 page thesaurus and set to work looking (another over used word) for other words I could use. The result; deleted text that was not needed, changed words, and a much tighter and concise manuscript. Just like the editor and publisher wanted.

Alas, there was one more thing to do, and I cringe because every writer knows this one. Show don’t tell, darn it! Yes, I showed a lot in the book, but there must’ve been days where I didn’t want to, and told instead.

Well, it is all done and I am a better writer for it. However, the editing process has not come with a bit of, well, obstacles. When I’m writing, or editing I tend to not sleep a full 8 hours. I live off of 5 or 6. I find time in the day when it’s quiet, and the kids are sleeping or away at school to write. But because its summer holidays, I’ve had to change those times to early morning and late into the evening when everyone is still sleeping. I have become a Zombie. This doesn’t bode well for me. I need my sleep, and according to my husband if I don’t get enough I become crazy.

These last three weeks haven’t been great for my body either. I’ve fallen down my stairs carrying my computer, which caused me to have a hair-line fracture in my shin. Alas, I did not drop my computer. And on Thursday while waking early to sneak in some writing time, I dropped my closed computer on my toes, dislocating one and breaking the other. Curse words flew, none of which I will repeat, but like a good Italian girl I did not fling my computer across the room. Instead I drove myself to the hospital, puked on the doctor who put my toe back in place, and carried on.

Sleep. I needed sleep. But, like any dedicated writer I ignored the blurred vision, dizzy spells, and stiff fingers and trudged on. I finished my edits, added another 3000 words to the new book, and wrote a rough draft of an article. My 13 year old son, spots me whenever I use the stairs, and the other two carry my computer from my bed to my desk. It has all worked out well, and I thank God I didn’t break any fingers in the process.

To celebrate I’ve added a song....enjoy!

Click here to listen


Thursday, 16 June 2011

Brainstorm: A sudden impulse, idea, etc.

I need an idea – a plot. I’m waiting restlessly for a brilliant story to enter my brain. At which point, I am hoping, the plot will thicken and the characters names will come forward. However, until this happens I am stuck – cemented in time.

Thoughts have to enter my head, and soon. I feel the itch. My fingers tingle in earnest with the desire to smash onto the keyboard in a rhythmic tap, tap, tap and create amazing sentences, and dialogue. My mind desperately searches for a place – a perfect destination.

I lay awake at night piecing together the images, the dialogue, and the faces I see and hear. Little by little a shape forms. I squeeze, puncture and massage it into a mould – my sculpture I can now work with and pull apart when I need to.

And once again a story has begun.


Monday, 6 June 2011

Imajin That!

I have some exciting news. On Friday I signed a contract with Imajin Books to publish my novel. My book will be in e book format and paperback. I will actually get to hold a copy of the book I’ve written!! A book!!!! My book!!! Do I sound a little excited? Well that’s because I am!!!!

The blood, sweat and tears that go into writing a novel, or anything for that matter, cannot be something one takes lightly. Every writer knows that when pen touches paper you are depositing a piece of yourself for all to see. You are placing fragments of your very soul within your characters. These written words become a part of you and hopefully your readers. Pages are spotted with your sweat and tears. Moistened and salty, they smell of your trials and tribulations while you meticulously craft your story. Frustration and angst meddle with your mind as you write out a chapter only to rip it up the next day and start over. Limbs become cramped, and aching. Voices shout out orders that only you can hear, waking you up all hours of the night.

You wonder if you will ever be normal again.

This is only the beginning. There will be revising, rereading and rewriting of your story. You will send your novel to an editor, only to do it all over again. You draft a query letter (writers resume) and a synopsis that will take you hours and days to construct.

And then you will be rejected. You will be told you are no good. You will mourn.

And you will survive.

Alas, there is a light at the end of a dark and sometimes tumultuous tunnel. Someone will see your work as magnificent, as a piece of art. They will see your talent, and want to publish you.
Thank you to Imajin Books for giving me this opportunity and for believing in my story.

And thank you to all my friends and family who kept encouraging me, sometimes with a swift kick to the butt, but doing so with a smile and positive words. I love you all!!!


Monday, 30 May 2011

Tip etiquette: when to leave a dollar and when not to.

I was out this weekend doing errands and decided to stop at the liquor store for some beer. While paying with my debit card I noticed a tip option come up on the screen. Now I can see that this might be applicable if I had a large purchase and the cashier helped me out to my car, but do I have to tip for a case of Bud Light Lime?

When is the right time to tip? We are all familiar when eating out to tip the waitress. But what if the waitress was no good? What if she was rude? Do you hand over the cash then? And how much is too much? What is considered the norm? Most places have a few choices when tipping. You can bypass the whole thing. Pay a percentage of your bill. Or choose to pay a dollar amount. The choice ultimately is yours. I tip all waitresses whether good or bad, the dollar amount may vary, but I always leave something.

This brings me to last week when I took my boys for ice cream. I paid with debit. The tip option popped up and I wanted to bypass it. However, the machine wouldn’t let me. I was told by the cashier that I’d have to enter an amount even if it was a penny. I was shocked, and angry that I was being forced to tip. I was not given the option. The business took away my right to choose whether I’d like to tip or not.
I probably would’ve given some sort of gratuity if these were extravagant ice cream cones that took time to construct, but they weren’t. They were vanilla, and not even dipped in chocolate! I pulled out my wallet and counted out the correct amount in change – pennies included, and handed them to the now grumpy cashier. Why should I have to tip for three ice cream cones?
Where is the line drawn when it comes to tip etiquette, not just on our part as the consumer, but the businesses as well? Shouldn’t it be our choice to tip or not? And what is the deciding factor when it comes to adding this option at your store? Does a liquor store or fast food restaurant qualify?

A debit card junky, I now carry cash with me where ever I go. This eliminates the awkward feeling I get when paying for an item and having to tip.

Sometimes not seeing things can be a blessing. – August Strindberg


Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Love Free for the Taking!!!

Everyone's experienced a day where you feel the world is against you. Sadly, for the people in Slave Lake their life just got a little bit harder. Homes and businesses lost. Treasures burned and unrecognizable, clothes, furniture, cars and more lay in ashes down the streets – blowing and scattered across the prairies. Memories are all that will be left for some, as these victims try to put their lives back together.

However, there is a light shining through this dark and twisted tunnel. Humanity hasn’t been lost. Empathy still plays an integral part in our society. People still care. Calls for donations have been made. Strangers have rallied together and boxed up blankets, bottles, diapers, and food to load onto their trucks. Doors have been opened, wallets emptied.

Whether small or large your efforts have made a difference.
Your sleeping bag will warm children. Your bottles will feed babies. Your money will aid in the reconstruction of lives.
But above all, it will be your generosity, your kindness, and your heartfelt thoughts and prayers that will stay with these people forever.

It is comforting to know that when life throws you a curve ball, there are people who are willing to help. Hands are extended. Arms are there to
embrace you. Prayers are sent. The gift of love is given freely and without cost. AND that people is something to be proud of!!!


I have added a few places accepting donations:

*Customers can text “REDCROSS” to 30333 to donate $5 to The Canadian Red Cross Society. TELUS works with the Mobile Giving Foundation to make these donations available through mobile technology.

*Donations are being taken in Spruce Grove at Walmart. Large truck and trailer set up by the Garden Centre until 9:00 p.m. Monday, 9:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. Tuesday.

*Salvation Army relief efforts: Monetary donations can be made at the Salvation Army's website (specify your gift for the Slave Lake Disaster Relief Fund) or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY or visit your local Salvation Army.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Hello Sunshine!!!

Hello Sunshine!!
The winter has been a long one, and I am happy to bid adieu to the cold, frigid weather for a while. With arms wide open I embrace the sun and all its warmth!
Today I will be writing. What? I am unsure, but I will take my coffee and computer and head out to the deck. Maybe I will find a little inspiration there.
When I was in school the one thing that was drilled into your head, was write what you know. Write the genre you read. Write about a story you’ve lived. Write about your crazy neighbour and all his antics you’ve witnessed through your screen door. But most importantly just write!
Because I love history so much, I choose to write that genre. But sadly this doesn’t fall into the “write what you know” category. What do I know of the Romans, the Victorian era, the Civil War? How did they bake bread in the 1800’s? What did they wear in the 1700’s and how do I describe their wardrobe? And what of their lingo, their language back then. Whether it’s 100, 200 or 300 years ago they spoke differently than we do now. How do I capture that essence? How do I take what I only partially know from text books and online research, and build it into something believable and real?
Imagination, creativity, and knowledge are my tools. Much like a carpenter, but without the tool box, I have a computer, a pile of books, and a highlighter; I begin fixing the story in my head. I know the plot. Now I need the tools to hammer out the characters, sub plots, and everything else in between. There has to be conflict and resolution of some sort. I build an outline, a chapter by chapter breakdown. And then I take a deep breath and begin.
Sometimes it doesn’t come to me right away, and I wait patiently for the conversation to begin in my head. This could take days, weeks, and on occasion months. I become a little fearful before I begin, knowing that I will say goodbye to daily pleasures such as talking on the phone, reading a book, and watching T.V. All will be cast aside until I am done. I will be consumed, obsessed and somewhat recluse. I will allow my nails to over grow, my hair to go unwashed, my clothes unchanged. I will have vanished.
So let the writing process begin!!!


Wednesday, 4 May 2011

A Bad Hair Day.

Today I had the unfortunate pleasure of helping out a friend’s daughter. She went to the hairdressers for a trim, and came out with crooked, way too short bangs. I am aware that bangs are supposed to be short, but these were horrific. Cut away as if they didn’t matter; snipped off without any thought towards the girl in the chair. Not only were these bangs jagged and not blended, they were unfixable. How does this happen? This is a teenager. It wasn’t like she couldn’t sit still for a haircut.

It is clearly obvious the hairdresser didn’t listen to her client. The “please trim my bangs” was not heard. The small request fell on deaf ears. The result so disastrous and will surely affect this girl forever. She walked in the salon with expectations of being pampered – transformed. Instead she walked out looking like a bad 1950’s doll.

We have all experienced this regrettable monstrosity. Too much cut off. A wrong colour put in, a massacre of botched hair scattered on top of your head. You look like a lead in the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Is this fair? Should she have paid for this eyesore? How does a person know who can cut hair well and who can’t? And are there warning signs?

Here are some tips:

1. You should not pay for anything you are not happy with. Especially when it comes to your hair. If you don’t like the cut say something before you leave the salon. Heck, say something before she is finished cutting your hair.
2. There is no sign to tell you who can cut hair and who can’t. What might work for one individual may not work for another. Before planting your butt in the chair bring a picture and explain in depth what you are looking for. Then ask them if they can do this? Go with your gut. If you get a bad feeling run like the wind.
3. Warning signs will come in little bits of information. So make sure you’re listening to the hairdresser. Watch her actions. Is she uncomfortable while cutting your hair? Is your hair looking the way it should? Run your fingers through your hair during the cutting process, see how it feels. Most times you will be able to tell if she’s cutting too much or the hair isn’t blended.
4. Ask questions.

There is no guarantee you won’t look like the Bride of Frankenstein after a trip to the salon. Placing your fate in the hands of someone holding sharp pointy scissors is always a gamble. Remember the choice is yours, leave your hair the way it is, or take a deep breath and roll the dice!


Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Are You MADD Enough?

It is the middle of the night, and someone is knocking on your front door. Your 18 year old daughter isn’t in her bed. Your stomach turns. You panic. Acknowledgement of what you’re about to be told slams into you like a ton of bricks. You cannot catch your breath. Your hand tightens on the doorknob, not ready to face the reality you know you cannot change.

Many of us will never experience this horrific feeling. Many of us will never know what it is to lose a loved one so tragically. And many of us will have restful nights, never awoken to death knocking at your door.

But there are many who have. They’ve lived through their own nightmare. They’ve answered the door in the middle of the night. They’ve taken vigil beside a hospital bed, the only sounds coming from the ventilator keeping their child, husband, wife, or friend alive. They’ve screamed in agony, shed relentless tears, lost a piece of their soul. They are victims from drinking and driving.

Drunk driving has been a problem since before prohibition. However, with time things have changed. Now it is a criminal offence. If you kill someone while driving under the influence it is considered manslaughter. You are no different than the man, or woman who shoots their neighbor over a disagreement. You are equal to the person who robs a convenience store, killing the cashier.

You are a murderer.

Many of you may disagree. You argue that a few beers or shots at the bar do not change your perception while behind the wheel. You’re fine. You know exactly what you are doing. You have complete control.

News flash! So did the man who held up the convenience store. He was in control too.

What if it was your child, wife, or husband who had been killed in an armed robbery? You would want justice. Demand the killer go to jail for his crimes. You may even think he should die. As a Canadian Citizen you rely on the government to punish this criminal in the court of law. You expect nothing less. What is so different if the killing is done from behind the wheel of a Ford Escort, or Dodge Ram? Just like the robber, the drunk driver made a choice. Isn’t driving under the influence similar to waving a loaded gun in public? You are placing innocent civilians at risk. You are a danger to society. You are using your vehicle as a weapon.

Ask yourself, is drinking and driving worth it? Are a dozen beers and a buzz worth the consequences if you drive home killing yourself or someone else? Are you prepared to put all your aspirations and dreams on the back burner for a good time that could land you in jail with a criminal record?

Will you be able to look into the eyes of a grieving mother, or father after you’ve killed their child? A few years behind bars is never going to come close to the guilt, and anguish of what you did. Just like the victims family, you will never forget. You will live your own personal nightmare.
The only difference is… you created it.

Monday, 25 April 2011

When Gourmet Cakes go Wrong

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend. I enjoyed time with my family, and ate way too much turkey!

This weekend, however was not so great for a friend of mine. She went out on a limb, and decided to purchase a gourmet cake for her daughter’s birthday. A giant step out of her comfort zone, she normally opts for the usual Safeway cake with nutri-whip icing, my friend took a leap of faith and dove right in head first.

She did her research. Looked the company up on the internet, and scanned through all the gourmet cakes, and flavours. She even read the testimonies of the people who had ordered, and ecstatically proclaimed how they will definitely order again!

Now, I feel the need to explain something here. These cakes were nothing compared to Buddy Valastro from Carlos Bakery on Cake Boss, but they were fancy just the same. Decorated with all sorts of trinkets, and doodads, and painted in colours one has never seen on a cake before. From the pictures on the website, the baker seemed to be talented in the sugary art. Seeing this, my friend put her reservations aside and picked up the phone.

A Smurf cake was ordered.

Saturday came, and she swung by to pick me up. We were going to get the cake, and like two kids who had just been let loose inside a candy store, we couldn’t contain our excitement. What would it look like? How would it taste? Which Smurfs would the baker use?

I waited anxiously inside her car as she dashed into the store. Five minutes later we both sat silently staring at what was supposed to be the infamous Smurf cake. Puzzled, we gaped at the three disproportioned blue dudes, definitely not Smurfs, sitting on top. Pink and yellow flowers littered the cake, and a purple ribbon was wrapped around.

Now, I am no Smurf concierge, but I do know they were short with round bellies. They lived in the forest, and with a little Google search I soon remembered red mushrooms were their houses. This cake looked nothing like the Smurf cake we expected. In fact it wasn’t even close to what it should have been, and unfortunately neither was the price tag.

So I wonder, was the baker rushed and didn’t have time to fulfill the order to perfection? Did she over analyse her expertise, and soon realize she couldn’t design the blue figures? We will never know, and I suppose it doesn't matter. The little girl loved her cake, and how it tasted.


Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Happy Tuesday!!!

It's Tuesday, and I can't be happier. My renovations are almost completed, and book number two is coming along nicely.

I'd been falling a little behind with my writing lately, two months of nothing, and so I am excited that the muse has finally returned.
For how long? I don't know, but I will take the small doses it has to offer in hopes of finally finishing this damn book.

Yesterday was revision day, and I didn't get anything done. Instead I sat down at the computer and wrote. I love creating a story. I get excited when I see my characters evolve from a biography I wrote months before, into real people. Their problems are like mine or yours, and they display true genuine emotions towards them. In this part of the writing stage my characters start to lose my voice and whisper to me their own words.

My favourite part of writing, is when everything I've worked so hard to build, create, and plot comes together. Whether it be soft and subtle or a big bang, the ending has to be a moment of discovery for the reader.

And so, today I have been writing since early this morning. Much of it I will delete, re-write, or save for another part of the book. But I met my quota today, and that is something I haven't done in a while.

So I am celebrating...with a little song.

Enjoy friends, and have a great Tuesday!!


Sunday, 17 April 2011

Renovations = Relationship Ruiner?

Well, the weekend is almost over and I have to tell you mine wasn't full of rest and relaxation.
Instead it was filled with another R word. Renovations.

(sigh) Renovations are simular to a nasty flu. Although, I think I'd prefer the flu. Much like dry heaving, renovations can have you purging just the same. Whether it be the price, or the simple fact of who is doing the demos the out come is still the same....they suck!

In my case it is the latter. The who. And that person is my husband. Please don't misunderstand me, I love my husband, but we do not work well together.
Especially when it is the demolition of my kitchen wall. You see, the problem stems way back. He is irish and I am italian. Need I say more?
I am a born arguer. I don't mind a little confrontation now and then, however he'd tell you I like it. Pish Posh. He on the other hand is a one track person, and therefore does not clean up behind him.
He figures this is my part of the job. AND folks, this is where the problem begins.

I don't mind helping. I am willing to meet half way, and that would be by helping him clean. You know, holding the dust pan, plug in the vacuum, supervising.
He doesn't quite see it that way, and so the fight starts.

While he is ripping down the wall, I take up my broom and begin to clean. This is not the thing to do apparently. Oops.
A tool gets lost amongst the rubble littering my kitchen floor. What tool? I ask unconcerned glancing over at him. I'm met with a glare scary enough to frighten the devil.
Don't judge me. I don't know the fancy names for these things. I only know what they do by their shape, and that's it!

Well, you'd think it was the end of the world. I suddenly became the abductor of the tool. I somehow kidnapped the dodad and was holding it hostage. Yes, dear husband this is what I've done!
Are you kidding me?
Give me a bloody break!!
I was cleaning. A task, may I remind you was handed down to me.

I knew I wouldn't throw away a tool. It was some where in the kitchen. But it wasn't until the doors had been slammed a few times, and some good curse words spewed from our arguing lips, that the little tool made itself known. It had fallen into the recycle bin.
Phew, that was close. I took my leave and went shopping, and he continued on his project. And wouldn't you know it, we are getting along just fine!

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Inspired by Rejection?

"There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
-Ernest Hemingway

Every writer knows what a rejection is. It’s that proverbial knife to the heart – the slap to the face. But worse, it is the moment when a writer begins to second guess themselves, to wonder if the path they have chosen was the wrong one.
As a writer, ideas float in and out of your brain like boats in a harbor. The voices in your head will not cease, and the only way to get them to quiet down is to place fingers to keyboard and write. Over time you produce articles, essays, short stories, and possibly a novel. Hours, days, months, and sometimes years go into perfecting your masterpieces. Plot, sub plot, and characterization, are all over analyzed. Sentence structure, spelling, and punctuation have been checked, re-checked, and checked again. It isn’t until you finally feel a sense of completion with your piece that you decide to move onto the next step; searching for a publisher.
You dust off your Writers Market, wipe down the keyboard and spend countless hours reading and re-reading submission guidelines. Every detail is memorized until you’ve narrowed your search down to a list of potential prospects. The next few weeks are dedicated to writing the best damn query letter ever. The guidelines have been followed. You hold your breath and email your letter.
You wake one morning to find a reply. With shaky fingers you click on the message and read “Dear Writer.” You have been rejected. Your query was not even good enough to require addressing you by name. Smack.
In the beginning of the rejection process you can understand a publisher’s plight. You are a new writer with little or no other published pieces, and minimal experience. However, as a writer you should know, there will always be rejections. The question is will it be easier to take? Will the knife only venture in a little bit, just grazing the skin? Will there be no more slaps to the face, your pride staying intact?

The answer is no.

As a writer you do not put fingers to keyboard without depositing a sliver of yourself. And so, because your writing becomes personal, a rejection will hurt. Some may go deeper than others, but they will all cut just the same.

It is a ritual for me, after receiving a rejection, to find myself at the bookstore. Reminiscent to Time Square on New Year’s Eve, the bookstore is my happy place. I feel exhilarated when I walk through the glass doors and anticipate what my next new read will be. But I often find myself amongst the tall shelves and smell of paper for another reason. There is something else – something deeper. And maybe you have to be a writer to understand, but the bookstore is the one place I can go and be surrounded by those who trudged the “writer’s path” long before me.
It is a place void of judgment. No one here knows about my battles as a writer, my scars invisible to all. I can walk through the aisles and run my fingers down the short and tall bindings playing refuge to the words written by some of my favourite authors. It is here I can take Charlotte Bronte’s Jayne Eyre, and read her words as if she is standing right before me. I can clutch Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms and know he revised every word a hundred times. I can wonder if Charles Dickens felt the burst of emotion I do when I’ve completed a piece of literature. And I can sit cross-legged and thumb through Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice knowing she felt the same pain I do with a rejection. And in my private moment of self pity, my eyes are opened. I have not been the only one to labor over pages and pages, trying desperately to make them perfect. I am not the only one whose dream was squashed with the words “I’m sorry” or “Dear Writer.”
I am not alone. I will never be alone as I carve out my small niche in the writing world. I am surrounded by the best. The “greats” I aspire to be. The authors who have all been there, but still prevailed. They survived amongst the piles and piles of rejection letters. They picked themselves up, and pulled the knife from their heart, sat down at their desks and started all over again. They carried on. And so must I.


Monday, 11 April 2011

Monday, Monday!

Well, I can't say that I'm happy it's Monday. Of all the days in the week Monday has got to be the worst. Monday's are the start of the work week. Kids are back to school. Sports and other extra-curricular activities resume their nightly rituals. And to top it all off, you've gotten nothing done on the weekend. You are left with a messy house, laundry and dinner to make when you get home from work.

I try not to do any writing on Monday's. Not only because I have a lack of knowledge and couldn't spell a word if my life depended on it (right now I am spell checking this post as I type) but because I have no creative juices left. I've tried to write on Monday's and the outcome is disastrous, horrible, unreadable garbage!

So most Monday's I dedicate to the three R's. Research, re-reading, and revising whatever I wrote that week. This in itself is a daunting task. Especially if you've had a bad writing week, and I've had many of those.
But in the words of Isaac Bashevis Singer "The wastebasket is a writers bestfriend." And mine is well used.

I've added a link to one of my favourite songs. If you're having a crappy Monday, I hope this will cheer you up!!


Saturday, 9 April 2011

The English Language

Yesterday, my 12 year old son informs me he broke a window in my van while playing street hockey with his brothers. On the verge of losing my mind when he smiles and says J.K.
"J.K?? What the hell is J.K?" I ask him.
"Just kidding, mom." He laughs.
Is he kidding??
So, being the person that I am, I go into a long and drawn out conversation about the english language and how these silly abbreviations don't mean anything if no one knows what the definition is.
"Everyone at school says it, and mom, OMG and LOL are now a part of the english dictionary."
WHAT???? Is he J.K? This is absurd! Honestly,what kind of world do we live in when OMG and LOL are credited as actual words????

According to my son there are tons of these new-fandangle type words. AND this generation has become enamored with it. J.K. aside. Soon these kids won't know how to speak proper english. Soon all we'll hear on the streets is a bunch of gibberish - abbreviated words that we will not be able to understand!!

Will we for-go our language and adopt this new idiom of abbreviations? We're not too far off you know. Texts and emails are written this way. Son's and daughter's are trying it on their unsuspecting and clueless parents.
It's only a matter of time before it will replace all sentences.

Prepare yourselves people. A new language will be created, it will be called something fancy, retro, and catchy like AWL AESPAOB!!!

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Number One.

Good day! I am blogging for the first time. You will have to bear with me here, as I medle through this first post.
Today was the day I chose to create this page, after much procrastination and biting of the nails, I had a moment of, umm well let's just say insanity. I mean creating a blog is stressful. What will I write about? Will it be interesting? Will anyone care? And what if I have nothing to say!
This is ubsurd! I feel naked, strangely so that I swear I feel a draft.
Okay, breathe. 
This can't be too hard. Write about things you know. Write about topics you are passionate about. Write about the news. Blah! On occasion I may feel the need to post about something on the news, but for the majority of this blog it will be about writing and publishing. How to write, what to write, how to search for that perfect publisher. Do's and Don'ts. I will update on my writing endevors, of course. The struggles and triumphs of being a writer. I will post links to articles pertaining to writing, contests, submission guidelines, and of course some new and old good reads.

So, now that I've started I have to go and find some followers.
Wish me luck!