Saturday, December 28, 2013

Books, books, books...

Merry Christmas! One of the guaranteed presents around here is books - everyone gets at least one in their sock, and maybe more under the tree. Here are a few of the books shared this year:

Seven Wonders: Colossus Rises

Adventure Collection (Some classic titles!)

The Never Girls

The Hardy Boys

Home Ice Advantage

Sports Illustrated hockey books (can't find the link... grrr!)

Doctor Proctor's Fart Powder

We are Water

Then I went on the Kobo Boxing Day sales and got these ebooks:


The Painted Girls

Orphan Train

The 100-Year old Man who Climbed out a Window and Disappeared

The White Queen

So I think we're all set for reading in the new year!!!

What are you reading?


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Game Plan Giveaway!

Chance to Win!

The holidays are here!  While I can't give every one of you a present I DO have super cool basketball charms that I’m itching to give away. How can you get one?

Show me the copies!!!

Post a picture of your copy of Game Plan – the paperback or the cover on your eReader – on your Facebook wall with a link back to Natalie Corbett Sampson and you’ll be entered in a draw to win one of three basketball charms and signed Game Plan post cards.

Oh wait, there’s more!! (I’ve always wanted to say that.)

If you tell me in your post which publication from Fierce Ink Press you’d like to read, I’ll send it to you if you win!  (I’ll draw the winner by Find the titles and descriptions at the Fierce Ink Press Shop.

Post the pics by the end of the year :) to be included so you can start 2014 with a new great read and a cool basketball charm.

Fine print: If you live in the US, I can't send you The Night has Teeth or The Night has Claws... but you're welcome to anything else!

Monday, December 16, 2013


I'm looking for a new project. Game Plan is out. UntitledSecondBook is sitting in the publishers' submissions pile. I need to keep writing. I've considered doing some shorts but lacking ideas.

It's hard to find something new. Are there any new ideas out there any more? How many ways can Romeo and Juliet be told? And relevant. It has to mean something and be interesting. And worthwhile. And that's all before it's a good story. It's daunting to start again.

But I'd rather not start from a blank page. I think I'll sit down and type out something and see if it goes anywhere... kinda backwards but...


Friday, December 13, 2013

Where to?

It's Friday again - the weeks seem to go by faster and faster!

Monday I submitted UntitledSecondBook to a publisher. That bears repeating: Monday. I submitted it. Submitted UntitledSecondBook. To a publisher.

It'll be a while before I hear anything - everybody is going into the holiday season so I'm sure it'll be after business ramps back up in January before they get to it. I don't remember stressing about it last year (I submitted Game Plan in November and heard back in January), but that was likely b/c I didn't expect much from it.

And the question becomes - what do to in the meantime? I have a couple of ideas but neither feels like a really great idea worthy of a novel. I think that's why I like writing novels instead of shorts - coming up with worthy ideas is the hard part for me. Once I have an idea, growing it out and in, finding the details and describing the situation, building the characters - that's all fun. It's coming up with an idea that is tough. It needs to be worthy - relevant, interesting, new (well not new, nothing's new is it? But newly packaged)... It doesn't come easy to me.

I think I may come at it by a character this time... I have a few that are lurking in the shadows in my head. Sounds kinda crazy no?

Today I get to go by Woozles to drop off a few signed copies of Game Plan! I'm excited it'll be on a real shelf. A real book on a real shelf. How cool is that? So if you want a copy of Game Plan and are downtown Halifax check it out there - would be great if they sold out and had to order more! ;)


Monday, December 09, 2013

17 Pages

I have 17 pages left in the UntitledSecondBook to edit before I throw up and send it off to the publisher for a submission. It's not any easier this time. In fact, I think it's harder. When I submitted Game Plan it was a pie-in-the-sky shot - nothing to lose, might as well send it. But now that I've published one book, I feel like I'm tediously treading on shaky ground - is a writer still a writer if no one wants their second book?


Monday, December 02, 2013


It's 8:26am, the house is quiet enough that I can hear the heat pump and the dryer. My fatcat Abby is perched on my left leg, Luna is on Rookie's launching pad on the floor (he needs the pad there to jump onto the bed) and Rookie is snoring in the living room by the door. I have no idea why he won't sleep in here when I'm home? My tall glass of Diet Coke is half gone, but still cold - the bubbles are popping at the surface. The lights are down, but my desk lamp is on, spotting the computer. The clutter that lands on my desk through the weekend has been cleared away so that only my old Cabbage Patch doll, Danielle Daniel's  Brave girl print and Brett Lawrie (the bobble head version) are watching me...

I've got the whole day ahead to tie up loose Game Plan strings and soak in UntitledSecondBook edits.



Monday, November 25, 2013

Now what?

I'm published! Dream accomplished!!!

Now what?

The process of getting my little story to a real life book has been one of small steps and stages over the past eleven months. Even the process of signing with FIP was done through a series of conversations, not one big moment when the contract fairy rang the doorbell with balloons. Longer processes don't make the excitement less, but it spreads it out so that feeling of shock and disbelief doesn't come with. Does that make any sense?

So for the past 11 months I've kinda gotten used to the idea that my little story was growing up to be a real live book. It's given me time to soak in the idea, to revel in the accomplishment and - here's the kicker - to ask, 'what next?'

So I've accomplished my dream of publishing a book. What happens when you've done what you've always wanted to do? You can't stop dreaming, right? You can't sit back and say 'well that's that, I've done it all.' I think for me the dream of publishing a book seemed unattainable... lofty and ambitious. So I didn't look bigger. Now that I'm sitting on that cloud in the sky I'm kinda peeking beyond it. Could my little story growed up to be a real live book actually be one people LIKE? (And not just the people who are supposed to like it) and... (gasp)... Could I do it twice?

So, while I am still spinning about the tv interview and the launch party and the overselling of books and the reviews coming in... I'm also looking at my UntitledSecondBook with a great deal of expectation.

Can't wait.


Friday, November 22, 2013


Wow! What a mixed bag of emotions!!!

I hate tights and wasn't allowed to wear my hoodie so that's a tough place to start right there! I suck at mingling and there were so many people I love but don't get to see nearly enough in one place I didn't know what to do. I hate being the center of attention, but was so touched that everyone worked the Game Plan launch into their schedules. I was proud of my book and appreciative of the people who got it to be a book and terrified to read in front of everyone - I think it would be easier to read in front of 300 strangers than the 30 or so faces there last night. Honestly, I don't even know how many people were there - but we kept running out of chairs :)

Once I was done the reading it was much better. The sweets were awesome! (what good Moms I have). And I got to chat with people a bit as they  moved around. Book sales were amazing! (we're short now on books!) Best of all, I didn't trip in my heeled boots and I didn't puke. If that's not a success...

Thanks so much to everyone for the night - Colleen and Kimberly, who hosted and organized, Colleen's Jason and friends Crystal and Adrianna who trekked from PEI and helped set up, my Moms - Sue and Diane who brought yummy sweets, and friends and family who came to support me. I really am blessed.


Thursday, November 21, 2013


The blog tour is in full swing! I thought I had posted the blogs, but... I didn't. What can I say? I'm a flake sometimes. Fierce Ink Press has a list of the blogs and dates, HERE.

You gotta check them out!!!  Here's one from today at WhY.A. not Reviews.

I received a review on GoodReads too! Not from someone who was asked to review it either! HERE is that one, if you're interested.

It's sooo exciting to have people who don't HAVE to like it, like it! Don't forget the launch party is tonight at the CGC at 630pm. Treats are being provided by Diane Sampson - that's reason enough right there!


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

YAY! It's out!!! Here's where to get it!

And the list of places to buy the book are increasing! So exciting! You can get 'Real Life' paperback copies of the Collectors Editions here:


Barnes & Noble

McNally Robinson

Fierce Ink Press

And for the regular paperback:

Fierce Ink Press (best spot!)



YAY!!! Need a Christmas present for someone?


Monday, November 18, 2013

It's a cyber busy day!

Strange that I'm not getting any 'real' work done. The Blog Tour started today!!! My first review! EEK. I couldn't even look at it until Colleen said it was good. Here it is at CanLit for Little Canadians.

Thanks so much, Helen!


Monday Monday

Everyone hates Mondays - 'cept me.

I love Mondays. I get the kids off to school and then I write until I have to pick them up for the rush to music and swimming and chair ball.

TV interview this morning - EEEK!  I was up at 445. I don't do mornings well. I was out the door by 540 mostly because I couldn't sit down in my house in my black jeans for fear the pet hair would overtake me. I picked up Crystal at the Crossroads - she was there to make sure I went through with it! All my prep - hair mousse and blow-dry, make up and dressy clothes, tall back heeled boots which meant - socks GASP! for five minutes of tv time, but if it helps Game Plan get noticed, I'll do it!

Here's the Video:

Now I'm off to work on UntitledSeondBook so I can push my 15mins of fame to 20mins!


Friday, November 08, 2013

Creeping closer

Today's a writing day, but it's also a PD Day, which I've pointed out is less than productive... My plan today was to set The Great Room Clean and Switch in motion then hide in my room and write while they comply upstairs. Yeah right. Instead I'm searching the net for tattoo ideas b/c I'm way too frustrated to go near my vulnerable imaginary friends. I'm working through the 47 loads of laundry in the living room, and got sooo overwhelmed at one point that I pulled out some blue bags and started sorting it into 'wash' or 'donate' - that cut my loads down by a good third. 

I've noticed through all this that my kids are spoiled. Rotten. I guess that's not new, it's just a reminder. They have waaay too much. Too much stuff. Too much say. Too much expectation. How do you teach a kid with EVERYTHING gratitude? humility? compassion? empathy? Gosh these are the days I feel like I'm screwing them up!

So no writing for me today... hopefully I'll carve out some time this weekend. 


Monday, November 04, 2013

Writing Day... not!

So Monday and Friday I am supposed to write. The problem with that plan is that since I'm not seeing clients on Monday and Friday it makes it easy to book infrequent appointments so they don't interfere with my weekly schedule. So I'll spend half of my day today addressing my 'real job', and the other half taxiing the demons around... not much time left for writing.

I received feedback for my SecondUntitledBook and I have so much to tackle! Can't wait to get a solid day to get on it. Guess it's looking like Friday instead.


Friday, November 01, 2013

Hiatus and Update

So just when things were getting good and I could share updates like the Indiegogo campaign and the cover reveal, I got zonked with a wicked cold. I'm about nine days into it and still not 100% but actually feeling human again. I didn't write last week or this Monday - I slept instead. Which means no blog updates for my three readers to review.

but I'm back!

Cover is out! It looks awesome. And my friendly neighbourhood publisher (to be differentiated from the mean one who lives away) sent me texts with pictures of the inside, side and back. - Question: if the message is a picture is it still called a text? - Anyway. It's THICK. It's awesome. It's soooo cool to see. I can't wait to hold one and smell it. Does that make me weird? Yes I love to smell books. That's actually a point of conversation in my UntitledSecondBook, two characters argue about whether books smell bad or good - they don't, however, argue about whether or not it's weird to smell books.

So here's the update!

1. Game Plan GIVE-AWAY! If you missed your chance to pre-order a copy, or if you'd love to WIN a second copy for freeee (maybe to push on some unsuspecting person as a Christmas present?) you can enter the GoodReads giveaway. There's already 257 people entered! That's exciting because that's about 254 more people than I thought who know about the book!

2. Game Plan launch party is set for November 21 from 630-800 at the Canada Games Centre. There will be food. If you're coming in from out of town and need a ride from the airport, let me know. ;) They tell me I'm to read some aloud... I'm working on excuses to get out of that part.

3. I'm still not ready to watch Glee videos from The Quarterback and starting to realize I may never be.

4. I sent UntitledSecondBook out to an editor that came with a huge recommendation and he got back to me this week. I have some specific direction on where to improve and strengthen the story, some questions to answer and some details to provide... I'm excited to jump back in.

Happy Friday!


Friday, October 18, 2013


How's this for a post:

There's not much to say after that is posted!!! I love it! I love the colours, I love the bball. I love the puppy who has a small but recurring role in the story. I love the font of the title and my name. If you zoooom up you can see a review by Tish Cohen. Can you believe that? Tish Cohen. She used words like 'poignant' and 'achingly' and 'Game Plan' all in the same place.

You can still pre-order a book at the Indiegogo Campaign. With just over a week to go we've surpassed our goal and are charging forward!


Friday, October 11, 2013

News!!! Um... coming.

I've been alluding to super cool news lately and a lot of things are happening. It's so exciting to see the release unfold - plans for the release party, the final editing from the copy editor, the cover reveal, blog tours, review requests... so exciting.

I can give you a tidbit. You know that part on the cover of a book where someone who knows what they're talking about gives a once sentence review to encourage you to buy it? That's a blurb. And I didn't know the process of obtaining that before - I just figured someone wrote a review and whomever made the cover picked a part of that to put on the cover... not so. My publisher identified someone in the field who would have clout and asked them if they'd read and provide a blurb - that's how it's done. At least this time. I can't tell you who, or what she said. My mean publisher (who's name rhymes with 'mean') says I can say 'soon' but I argued that a timeline would provide anticipation so she said 'a few weeks' which isn't really my definition of soon. 'Snot my fault.

So stay tuned b/c it's freakin' amazing. Soon. Ish.


Monday, October 07, 2013

Strange Dream

The other night I had a very detailed dream about a different kind of family and the circumstances they encountered... I was aware enough that it was a dream that I thought to myself "I need to remember this, it would make an awesome book!" but not aware enough to know how rediculous (I'm going with that spelling) the whole thing was, how terrible a book it would make. I woke up excited to make note of the story... but as each detail was remembered I realized just how lame the whole thing was. Silly me.

It's Monday again. I get to spend the early part of the day with my computer, my cats and dog and my M&Ms (though disappointingly they are peanut, not plain or peanut butter). I'm wearing my Fierce Reader tshirt for extra inspiration. Great day ahead!


Friday, October 04, 2013

HUGE news

So I found out something super cool on Wednesday. It might be the MOST exciting thing to find out since I found out Fierce Ink Press wanted to publish my story. But it's still top secret. That's mean isn't it? I hate it when people say "I know something you don't know". Snotty. But it's not my secret to tell yet! I tell you, those people at Fierce Ink Press SEEM nice but they're actually really, really scary. They know where my kids live.

What I can tell you is the Indiegogo campaign is less than $500 away from our goal! So awesome! If you want to pre-order Game Plan you can go here to do it!


Tuesday, October 01, 2013

PD Day...

Mondays and Fridays are my writing days. To make up for those two days I work three long days at my clinic on T/W/Th. But Monday and Friday are also prime PD Day choices and when the kids are off, well, not much writing gets done.

Yesterday I worked in the morning and then did some grocery shopping. Steve was off so the kids were with him. Then he took the kids to music and swimming so I had the whole afternoon to pluck at my computer. See? what would I do without him? I did some good work with my UntitledSecondStory.

The Indiegogo campaign is creeping up, over 55% of the funding goal! If you haven't seen it, there is a video of my girlies interviewing me that is pretty cute. Well half cute - their half! Now that it's October 1 I can say Game Plan will be out NEXT MONTH!


Friday, September 27, 2013

New book (not mine)

So that --> came in the mail this week! I was excited to see it. I can't remember which blog I first read of it but I've been stalking it for a few weeks. It's not available through Chapters which always makes me hesitant - don't know why, some kind of superstition or OCD habit thing - but I found it on Amazon so I finally ordered it. Free shipping included three day delivery - cool, eh?

I wondered how useful it would be (vs how hokey and stupid it would be) but I had heard it referenced in a few places and thought it was worth a shot. It's actually pretty cool. There are 75 emotions from 'adoration' to 'worry' with definitions. The coolest part is each has a list of physical signals and internal sensations - you know, 'show don't tell'.

Coolio, no?


Monday, September 23, 2013

Final Edits

I just sent it off... it's gone. Off into the wide world of publishing...

Game Plan goes through one more stage of editing - mostly for nitty gritty stuff like formatting, punctuation, etc. And then it's out.

On one hand, I want to hold onto it, put it off and go through it once or twice or a hundred times more to make sure it's just right. But on the other, I am so ready to hand it off. I know that no matter how many times I go through it, each time I'll find something to tweak or change or cut or add and it's time to walk away.

I've sent it off to my publisher and today I'll be moving on to my pesky second project that still doesn't have a name.


Preorder Game Plan here: Indiegogo campaign

Monday, September 16, 2013

Indiegogo Campaign!

Here's the link to the campaign.

Here's the explanation:

I wrote Game Plan for me. It was a story that was bursting out, I wrote it on my own time. I was determined to make it 'a real novel' by publishing it, even if it meant self-publishing. If I was honest, that's what I figured would happen.

And I submitted the story to Fierce Ink Press with the mantra of "The worst that happens is they say 'no'". And guess what? They said "YES". Then I freaked out a little. It was really happening - and I didn't even know yet how lucky I was.

Fierce Ink Press works out of PEI and Halifax and focuses on local authors. They are a self described "indie" company, meaning they are small in the market of huge players. 

They might be small but they do mighty work. Their expectations for the quality of work they publish are high and the process to publication is thorough and rigorous making each publication exceptional. They have a series of short stories written with the theme that "it gets better". Sales of those shorts support causes identified by the authors and have included, Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, Street Kids International, The IWK and SHYM /YWCA Halifax. Good stuff.

It's important for me that you know contributing to this Indiegogo campaign isn't just 'buying' Game Plan. It's supporting a small, local publishing company who have earned my great respect over and over through their work ethic, their drive for quality, their community contribution, their professionalism and respect for people. 

OH! And you can get cool stuff and watch me make a fool of myself on video.

Please consider making a contribution and/or sharing this link with your friends and contacts.


Friday, September 13, 2013

Say Wha?

So  the elves at my super awesome publisher Fierce Ink Press have been busy working magic. Stuff like this, and this... But the latest has potential to be the awesome-est. They've set me up to attend a reading / writing workshop as  part of a Teen Writer's group at Alderney Landing Library!

How cool is that?

Real life kids with real life questions and real life interactions. I can't wait! But I have to - it's not until December 7.


Monday, September 09, 2013

Emergent Literacy

Sorry to Mom and my four other followers, you probably saw this on my FB page too... but I really like it.

Today while I was shopping at Costco, PJ carried on a text conversation with Steve (who is in Turkey - how's that for technology?). Then on the drive home she wanted to text my mother. Now, part of her interest is because she thinks 'texting' is something the big kids (read: teenagers) do and part was the novelty of having MY phone in her grubby little paws (not a common privilege), and the remaining teeny part was an interest in speaking with someone else but still... how cool is that?

I love that my kids can read and write. I was going to say 'it makes them people' but that suggests people who can't read/write are not people, which isn't what I mean at all. It certainly doesn't make them adults... maybe it gives them another piece of their identity, one step closer to who they will turn out to be?

Jack is a voracious reader (and I can't believe I found a place for that word). He loves big books, especially fantasies with creatures and magic. Elliot loves fact books, anything sports related, and his retention for itty bitty facts and statistics is frightening. The girls are still growing into their interests; Wen loves to read but hasn't really found a niche other than Capt Underpants that she feels is worth her attention and PJ picks books based on how cool the cover sounds (and I don't mean that in a literary way, just how cool it sounds).

I can't wait to see what they think of my favourites!


Friday, September 06, 2013


This week has been something else.

But it's Friday. The kids are back in school and I'm back at my desk ready to tackle the edits I've been thinking about all week. Again I've been redirected with valuable advice that is growing my story. It's changing from a wimpy, floppy, thin being to a strong, muscular, purposeful creature - though there's still a ways to go yet.

Gotta go get some DC, then I'll be perfect.


Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Social Media

Yikes! This world is scary! And that's with the proper, positive use of social media!

I've been trying to link FB and Twitter and G+ through HootSuite, all updated through this blog, which is already linked to GoodReads. Fully investigating 49th Shelf is on my next ToDo list because I'm expecting it'll be my new favourite! And Tumblr? never mind. There's not a hope in H.E.DoubleHockeySticks I'll get further than re-tumbling Jimmy Fallon clips. Even this post, disguised as a fascinating recounting of my trouble in new age communication, is really a test to see if my efforts this afternoon were successful.

If you found this by Twitter or G+ yay me!

If not... grrr!


Monday, September 02, 2013

Last day of Summer Vacay

How is it possible? It's our last day of vacation together. The kids have tomorrow off too, but I'm at work so they'll be at the sitter's. We have an international student with us again so I'll be sending five kids off on Wednesday to grades 9, 6, 4, 3, 2. Ouch. Impossible.

I'm not the Mom who can't wait for school to go back in. I love the time off with my kids, well usually. I'm not eager for school to start. BUT, with school I get my M/F back for writing. I've tried to write when the kids are here but if I do get some productive time it's short lived. I'm excited for Friday - my first full day of quiet and selfish time.


Friday, August 30, 2013

Social Media

Game Plan grew into a YA book - I didn't have a plan to write it that way, I just had a story to tell and as it developed I realized that's what it was. But to make MY story into a story a YA reader would enjoy I had to work a lot on the dialogue, the interactions, the details that make my characters ACT like teens, not growed ups like me. Tough but doable. It was fun to explore and discover what makes a teen seem like a teen, right down to the texting - I still spell out every. single. word.

I've also been learning about social media. I've been a FB junky for years and I love Instagram, but I've pretty much ignored the rest. Today I sat down with my brilliant publisher who knows all about the techy world and she taught me everything she knows. Not really. But she showed me enough to be dangerous out there in the cyber world.

Good thing my kids aren't teens yet... their young age will save them a great deal of embarrassment.


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Guess what? Books coming out in the fall...

There are some books coming out this fall... Some in September, some in October and one or two in November.

You may be interested to look (click here)... and if you were, make sure you scroll waaaay down to the bottom, in November, under YA, there's a book being released by - little ol' me!!!

You should check it out. Really!

(I'm so easily amused!)

And check this out too! Very cool.


Monday, August 26, 2013

The Most Exciting Part!

Guess what?

I saw cover designs today... mock-ups for Game Plan!

Once upon a time I was an artist who loved to draw and paint. I should do it more but I don't. I still love it though, and so the one thing that seems to make the book REAL and not just a file on my computer is a cover. A real live cover!

So the designs I saw today are ideas and starting points, there are things to tweek and change. But I was so thrilled to see them I actually had to take a second and a breath when my cursor hovered over the file name before I clicked and opened it.

Oh yeah, you don't get to see it yet, na-na-na-boo-boo!


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Book Two

Game Plan is back in the hands of Fierce Ink Press for a final editing round. While I wait, I'm keeping myself busy working on my second book that has no name because the more I think of it the more I dislike the working title.

I really LOVE this new story. I mean LOVE. Kinda conceited, eh? What gall... but I don't feel like it's Mine in a way, I love that it came to me. It was much harder to write than Game Plan but the end result is so exciting. I'm on my third? fourth? edit, looking at specific weaknesses and trying to flesh out areas that need more. I get so caught up in this one when I dive it...


Monday, August 19, 2013


So we arrived home yesterday, after 4705 km on the road. Yes, exactly 4705. And all of the editing and writing I was excited to get done on my 'downtime' didn't get done, of course. There was very little downtime. I've spent the morning racing through the things I need to do so I can jump back into Game Plan edits and other things waiting for me. This post is one of them, getting so much closer to my Word Doc time but it would go more smoothly if FB would stop messing around with my head and just post the damn pictures already.

To write relevant stories, I like to watch and learn from what happens around me. A lot of Game Plan is autobiographical, though not in a factual way - I took events, feelings, thoughts and attributed it to other people. I don't really know how else you'd write? How do you write something you've never experienced (at least in parts)?

SO here are the 10 things I learned on my 4705 km trip with the Munsters to Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa, our visits to The Bell Centre - Canadiens Hall of Fame, meeting Baby, Springridge Farm, Hockey Hall of Fame, Jays Game 1, Dinner with Marianne and Nina, Wonderland, campsite pool and playground, visiting more friends, Jays Game 2, Toronto Zoo, BaskinRobbins, Museum of Nature, the Mint, Parliament Buildings, ByWard Market, Ghost Walk Tour, Light show on Parliament Hill, 24 Sussex, Rideau Hall, Aviation Museum, Star Wars Identity Exhibit... phew.

1. In combination, Google Maps and a 10 year old navigator sway unpredictably between surprizingly effective and dangerously terrible.
2. I think I'm finally old enough to enjoy CBC Radio.
3. Hearing either Bruce Springsteen or Blue Jays Baseball will make any situation better.
4. Quebec City is lacking in hotel rooms for people who don't want to pay $200+/night.
5. My children have all turn into Mini-Mes when they're cranky - not a good thing.
6. Punishing a child by taking away entertainment such as screens or toys doesn't really help the situation.
7. My 9 year old is smarter than at least two tour guides in Ottawa.
8. My kids have kick-ass stamina, especially for amusement parks - 12+ hours without stopping. Except to pee - refillable cups aren't the best idea.
9. I'm too old to remember 10 things about our 10 day trip.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

One word at a time...

I've gone through the edits the outside editor suggested and made adjustments as I could. There were good suggestions, not even new ones, just ones I hadn't completely managed to achieve yet... it's growing stronger. But that's the easy part...

When I submitted Game Plan to Fierce Ink, it was 128,248 words long - but that included the cover page and my name and stuff. When we discussed contract, the lovely ladies suggested a word count around 100K would be more reasonable. Reasonable for whom? Through my first two edits after the contract I was able to slice away 20K! TWENTY THOUSAND words! That's like cutting off a right leg. I thought they must be happy with that effort, right? Wrong. Cut more, they said... did I call them 'ladies'? Slave drivers more like it. Tortuous sadists. SW (the secret agent editor) trimmed another 2000 or so off before handing it back to me. I've been whittling words away, in twos and threes, slipping closer and closer to that magic 100K mark.

I think maybe my dad's suggestion of just counting through the doc and cutting every eleventh word would work just as well.


Friday, July 26, 2013

Edits back...

I received Game Plan back from the Outside Editor whose secret code name is 'SW' to protect her identity from the authors whose lives she destroys.

It's actually not that bad.

Which means my twenty days of floating are over and it's back to business for me... we're in the home stretch!

My first step is to reclaim my MeStation and make it ready for writing:

Yikes. Much better and back to normal. 

Nope, wait...

 There. That's better.

Tomorrow I'm plunking myself down there and pecking away for hours...

I can't wait!


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Edits Back Eve

Game Plan has been in the hands of the outside editor hired by My Pub (teehee - still will squeeze that in anywhere it fits). I'm assured she's not Scary. The revisions are/were due back tomorrow, but apparently my story needs soooo much work, it won't be done until Friday. Okay, that's not what they told me but it's certainly how I interpreted it because obviously it's all about me, right?

Actually, it's a bit of a relief and a good thing... tomorrow I have to try to be productive at my day job. If I were expecting the imminent return of GP I'd be struggling to concentrate. This way I can obsess about it all day on Friday :)


Monday, July 22, 2013

Well Phewy

I mentioned I was waiting... and some of my waiting is over.

I got my 'thanks but no thanks' letter in response to the grant I applied for back in May. I've applied now three times and gotten this letter - pretty much word for word the same - three times. Ouch.

There's a lot of risk in this writing thing. You know that dream where you show up at school naked? Well it's not quite that, but there are a lot of similarities. To write a book - well, not all books, those 'for Dummies' books probably don't count. Or cookbooks - but to write most other books you have to lay out words that are sprinkled with bits of yourself. Ew. That sounds gross. I mean to write a book that is relevant to readers, something that people will CARE about, you have to put something relatable in it. You have to show yourself. And not the macho tough self, unless you are writing for macho tough readers. So while I expect to be fully clothed at any public sharing of Game Plan or The Second One, each time I share it with someone - or anyone - I'm exposed.

So I wrote an application asking for funding. Showed them a little bit of my story (of me). It's tough to keep it objective. Of course there's nothing personal - they filter through piles of applications and only have so much to give out - but when I read that 'thanks but no thanks' letter, it takes a lot of effort to remember that.

Bottom line is, it doesn't change anything. I don't write stories to get rich (though that would be nice, eh JK?) so receiving funding only makes things easier. There's always next time.


Friday, July 19, 2013

Book Launch - A taste of what's to come

So I'm told that not all books are celebrated with a book launch but Fierce Ink Press has made a practice of doing so with the books they publish. YAY! and YIKES.

Last night I attended the book launch of Membrane, by Carol Moreira. It was held in a coffee shop where I sipped on Blueberry Italian soda. There were itty bitty cupcakes with itty bitty prints of the beautiful cover. Colleen, of Fierce Ink Press did an intro and then Carol said somethings and read somethings. It was very cool, and very scary.

I'm currently lobbying the idea that I should attend the launch for Game Plan incognito. I'll wear a big plastic nose and sit in the back. Someone else can read. Someone else can talk. Someone else can stand in front of everyone. There's a reason why writers like to write. It's very comfortable for me to hide at my MeStation desk and type away at a computer instead of talking to everyone.

SO while the launch was super cool, it was a little daunting to see what will be coming up for me in November. I'm terribly excited about it, and I'm terribly terrified at the same time.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Exciting news

Remember when I sneakily alluded to changes being made to Game Plan above and beyond the awesome edits?

I can be less sneaky now. We've moved up the publication date!!! It had been planned for January 2014, but now it's coming out in November 2013 - just in time for Christmas.


Tuesday, July 09, 2013

In Between

For the past few years I've worked pretty consistently on two projects - Game Plan and The Second One (don't have a title I like for that one).

Game Plan just went back to the publishers last week and to an outside editor today - whom I'm told is very nice, not scary at all, we'll see about that. I get it back July 25, which feels like a lifetime right now.

The Second One has been submitted to publisher, and I'm waiting to hear back from them to know if it's a good fit. I love it. But every mother loves their ugly child too, right?

I applied for a grant through the Dept of Communities, Culture and Heritage in the NS Gov't. I've had two rejections so far so the current application may be as much an effort to out-stubborn their jury as it is an attempt to gain financial support for my fledgling second career.

In summary, I'm waiting. I should try to be productive while I'm waiting but I'm a full time waiter... I think while I wait and I think about waiting and I wonder and worry and stress and fret and whatif every scenario and I don't get anything done.


Wednesday, July 03, 2013

On Edge

SOOO, a lot has happened, even though there's not much I can tell.

Something super cool is in the works (no, not a movie deal, not quite that super cool... yet).

But a side effect of the super cool was the need to have my edits in THIS WEEK so that's all I've been doing the past couple of weeks - I worked my day job, humoured my kids, and then settle in to my MeStation to poke away at the keys.

It's morphing into something bigger than I ever imagined.

Can't wait to share it with you all!


Monday, June 24, 2013

Making it Happen

I tell my kids 'do your best' with everything they do - school, sports, music... all we ask of them is they try their best. Well, for now anyway, at some point we'll have to up the ante since their professional sporting careers (NHL, NBA, WNBA) are our retirement plan. But for now, do your best.

I talk with them about 'my book' and they know I'm working to make it the best it can be, and they are excited that it'll be published. (They're not all that excited to read it, Jack suggested the first chapter would be enough for him to get a good sense of what he needs to do for the cover art b/c the rest might be 'too boring'). What they haven't added up yet is that publishing a book is something I always dreamed of doing, and by putting in the work, time, effort, I am now anticipating fulfillment of that. The subliminal message I'm hoping they get is that if you want something, go do it.

On Friday I jumped off a building. Okay, I didn't really jump, I walked slowly down the side, but it was 35 stories of walking slowly down the side. I was happy my kids were there to see me go. Again, it was something I wanted to do... I faced a challenge and fulfilled a commitment.

Sure rappelling and writing are kinda different. But the message I'm hoping my kids get from it is kinda Nike-esk. Just do it. Try. Push. Step up and then don't step down.


Friday, June 14, 2013

Who'da thunk it?

I was  excited to get my manu back with the editors' suggestions, but I was nervous too... I was worried that the suggestions they made would trigger my territorial defense system - kinda like a digestive system but instead manages my knee jerk reactions to take my ball and go home. But it didn't! There are a lot of suggestions and working through them has been very enjoyable. The edits are sound and constructive - I can see the story growing stronger with each page. I didn't expect to enjoy this round as much as I am!


Tuesday, June 11, 2013


I had to evacuate the house yesterday... my revisions were due back but sitting at home waiting for them to appear wasn't safe for my mental state. Sure, I could have busied myself with laundry or cleaning but... well, I didn't. Instead I visited my Gram, ran to the mall, met Steve for lunch and deposited half my savings at Costco (who am I kidding, I don't have savings). In a strange linked-in kinda way, the minute I was able to return to my MeStation at my desk, My Pub FB'd me to say 'Check your email'.

And what I wanted to read all morning suddenly was way too frightening to look at!

I've looked through them and each time I read over the comments the whole thing shrinks to be a little less daunting. There are lots of edits and suggestions but all of them are sound. There are a few 'd'oh' comments that I can't believe I missed, and some brilliant suggestions that I never would have thought of. Strangely there are a couple where I first thought "oh, no, no no, can't..." but are shifting towards "Woah, that would be awesome!"...


Friday, June 07, 2013

Finding the way in...

I'm at a pause today - Game Plan revisions are coming back to me on Monday (SO NERVOUS!) and Book Two (don't like it's working title) is edited completely for the third? fourth? time. I'm spending today researching opportunities to have my work read - contest, grants, publication submissions, workshops, etc. It's daunting. The internet is a wonderful source of information. And scams. It's hard for me to see one from the other. If I could find a couple of good, trustworthy connections, I would have a much better handle on what's available and what's worthwhile - and could stop pestering My Publishers (still love saying that) with silly rookie questions.

And if Abby would decide if she wants to sit in my lap or not (instead of the up/down pattern she's holding this am), that would be a bonus.


Monday, June 03, 2013


If there's one thing in common with my two stories it's a good dose of heartache. I hope it reads real because I feel it when I write it, or when I edit it. It makes me sad and sullen so that sometimes it's hard to pull myself back to the 'real world' where my characters' heartache isn't mine.

I'm editing my second book today and I'm getting into the gritty stuff. It's hard to reread. But I love the story and I want it to be as strong as it can be so I'm pushing through.

I might need a hug soon though, since I'm not allowed Diet Coke.


Friday, May 17, 2013


It's another PD Day, which I took to mean 'sleep in and be unproductive' day. We're going to show Ellie the town later, but for now I'm doing not much besides FB'ing and resisting the urge to rub Luna's belly. Is there anything more enticing than a warm, furry belly? That cat is so cute.

See what I mean? No work getting done today.


Friday, May 10, 2013

Editing day

I had the life changing opportunity to go study at the Banff Centre last April to participate in a workshop that targeted the first chapter of a novel. By then I was 'finished' Game Plan so I actually started my second novel while I was there and confident I had done everything I could to make Game Plan the best it could be (even the title sounded perfect). After about two days I realized just how wrong I was about that! It was disheartening at first, but after working through the intimidation it was really constructive and motivating to see a direction in which I could improve my story.

One of the most helpful hints that came out of that week was tiny but essential. Edit a hard copy. Call me dense but I would never have come up with that on my own! So I totally abused their free printing service and ordered a hard copy of my novel. I put book two back on the shelf and put pencil to paper (oh and highlighters and cool little sticky tags).

So now I'm editing a hard copy of book two. I've been through the file three times for editing but I still find things in the hard copy that need to be reworked. Tweaked. Omitted. Moved. There's something soothing about returning to pencil and paper to write. I'm enjoying it very much.


Friday, May 03, 2013

Funding and Grants

Today's writing day was absorbed by writing a Grant application. I've applied twice before and received the same 'thanks but no thanks' letter six weeks later. This time I was able to ask for direction from My Publisher (teehee) and they have given me great suggestions. Who knew that a grant app for WRITING would have to be organized, specific, detailed and concise? You mean narrative reasoning and eloquent description doesn't work? I even dusted off my ancient Excel skills (thank you Acadia science labs) and made a 'Gantt Chart'. (I'm not going to tell you what that is, you'll have to google it yourself, just like I did).

My hope for receiving the grant decreases with each application but I still submit - they won't say 'yes' unless I ask, right? It would be nice to have some 'pay' for the time I spend writing instead of seeing my little pals at work, but in the end the pay is the least important part. (SHH. Don't tell Steve). Grant or no grant, I'm determined to find a way to spend two days poking at this laptop and creating worlds.


Monday, April 29, 2013


My days to write are Monday and Friday. I've dedicated those days to working on the outstanding editing, writing, grant prep, whatever needs to be done. It didn't get done today.

Have you ever read a book that took over everything? That you couldn't put down but didn't want to read because reading only brought you closer to the end and you really wonder what you are going to have left if you ever finish it? I'm reading one like that now, and did so until after 3am last night. Even after I forced myself to turn off the light my head was swirling with the heart ache in the story and it was a long time before I fell asleep. Then today, not only was I useless because I was tired, I was useless because I couldn't pull my head out of THAT story to work on my own. FRUSTRATING! I cherish my writing days, relish in the time I have to focus on it that when I lose a day to lack of focus... grrr!


Friday, April 26, 2013

Quiet Fridays

As I type, my 65 pound calico cat is purring in my lap. Okay, she's not 65lbs but she's fat. Very fat. And when you put all that fat on two tiny points of balance that are her front feet, well... she's fat.

The house is quiet. Every so often the dog will whimper or growl in his sleep. He's chasing something but I don't know what it is. The kitten (who isn't an kitten any more but is called that by virtue of being the youngest pet) alternates between sleeping on the couch with the dog and tearing around the house saving us from an evil only she can see. The kids are at school, and I'm starting to watch the clock to make sure I get them in time. Content. Relaxed.

I've edited today, which is sometimes great and sometimes terrible. With the story I was editing, I would get so wrapped up in the characters that I forget to read actively. I've had to 're-edit' several parts! I have another voice whispering at me, an interesting idea that I'd like to investigate. And I'm anxiously waiting to get Game Plan back on my desk to give it another go. There's no better place  to be!


Monday, April 15, 2013

Bringing home the Bacon

So I have a rather good paying day job... It's fun and challenging and rewarding most of the time. And the children don't bite. Often. Well, not daily at least.

But I love to write.

I've decided to dedicate Monday and Friday to writing - working on Game Plan, working on my second story that I'm prepping for submission, writing short stories from images and ideas that don't have a novel home, drafting a character that's been whispering... there's lots to do. I can fill my day easily without getting up from my desk. (Which is good because much of the day there's a cat in my lap and they don't like to be disturbed).

But I'm not making money.

And in the end, it seems, that occupational worth is dictated by money. It's a weird arbitrary scale where full grown boys playing baseball make more than nurses and teachers, but none-the-less a job that doesn't pay anything isn't usually seen as being worth doing.

Even my husband has learned the hard way not to ask, "You're not working tomorrow?" when he tries to confirm my week schedule. Sigh.

So I'm applying for a grant. Again. We'll see how that works out. And in the meantime I'll remind Steve that I am now a writer with a contract. And hope that someday my favourite job will help buy groceries. If not, I'm still happy to sit under my warm cat and enjoy the days poking at my computer.


Friday, April 12, 2013

Mind Yoga

I'm back! It feels great to be sitting quietly at my computer, giving life to my imaginary friends. I try to write on Mondays and Fridays when my kids are in school. For the past several weeks I haven't had those days - there was March Break, then a snow day, then Easter weekend, then hockey (always hockey) and I haven't had a solid writing day to work. Monday I did, and today I do (though not at my comfy MeStation desk with my cats as the car is in the shop - again).

Writing is like a drug for me... a maintenance regimen that keeps me even and calm, content. Mind yoga. When I don't have the time to write I find myself falling sullen and cranky, short with the kids, bitter to everyone else... not a good scene. SO, I'm so happy to be back.

My Publisher (like how I squeeze that in?) has Game Plan for review. I'm trying to ignore it because wondering how it's going might drive me crazy. In the meantime I'm working on preparing a second story for submission. This second story has a magnetic pull on me... it's hard to climb out of the story. I think it's the kind of story that really should be written furiously in an isolated mountain cabin; a product of a few months' obsessive effort without distraction.


Saturday, March 30, 2013

Title Works

When I was writing my story it had the perfect title - Walking in Faith. I had attended a sermon in which the minister said "walk forward in faith and even if it doesn't work out as you planned good things will happen." To me that meant, "Write. If nothing comes of it, at least I wrote." And as the last pages fell into place I realized the characters were walking their own journeys with a lot of faith, not knowing how it would end up but keeping hope and faith that things will work out. At points, that's all they have. I thought the title was perfect... until the feedback came in saying readers thought it was a Christian themed story, which it really isn't. I guess I should have seen it coming, right? I mean the source was a sermon.

So when I submitted the story - after waiting months for the perfect time, I sent it in on impulse late one night - I didn't have a title for it. I came up with something because I wanted to send it off. Her Story was the best I could think of at that time of night. I thought it was appropriate, could apply to Kat or Ella, or even to the baby. But bland, right? Certainly doesn't jump off the shelf at anyone.

When I read over The Contract (that would be my book deal!!!) there was a part that said basically, 'the publisher would confer with me about the title but they would have final say'. I thought I'd be territorial - it's my story after all, I should name it right? But I was actually relieved to hear that those with more experience and industry know-how would be making the decision.

Sooo, a few weeks ago, in preparation for the PRESS RELEASE, we started batting names around. I thought I'd offer some up here, kinda like the bloopers reel at the end of a movie:

In Her Own Time
The Assist
In Due Time
Getting There
Baby Steps
Finding Faith
Long Shot
Winning Record
(some symbol with no verbal pronunciation)
Silver Linings Game Sheet

Okay so some suggestions were better than others. Game Plan appeared early in our brainstorming and was bounced back and forth in emails listing favourite suggestions and somewhere it became THE one. We threw around other suggestions but Game Plan just morphed itself over the story and claimed it.

And I can't think of the story as anything but!


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Big News!

So I tried to find a town crier but there's a shortage here in Halifax. Instead I'm resorting to my online voice. Today is the day!!! A press release (can you believe it? A press release about MY book?) was, well, released to the WHOLE WORLD today at noon. That means I can finally scream that my book will be published by the fantastic team at Fierce Ink Press!!! I'm so excited to be working with those girls on my first book. Even though they don't deliver addictive beverages (read: Diet Coke) to the house, they have been a great support system in the initial stages of working towards publication.

And to publish a book, it needs a title. My next big news is unveiling the final title (drumrolllllll):

Game Plan

I love it. I knew it would need a new title, but was a bit worried it would feel like renaming my ten year old. When we found the perfect one though, it was easy to switch it up in my mind.



There's some news bubbling...


Tuesday, March 19, 2013


It's decided! The nameless novel now has a name!!! It's not the working title "Walking in Faith". It's not the submission title "Her Story". It's super cool and very appropriate to the story. I'm told there'll be more information coming out on it NExT WEEK so I'll hold onto my cards until then.


Sunday, March 10, 2013


Sooo, I was sitting in a meeting this morning with a tableful of people I didn't know. We had to do the whole 'go around the table and introduce yourself' thing. It got to me and I said my name then said "I'm an SLP, a writer and a hockey mom". The hockey mom thing is half a joke - I'm a bball mom too, and swimming and music and homework and mean-vegetable-pusher. The point of the story is I introduced myself as 'a writer'. To other people. Out loud.

I have no idea what 'a writer' is. Grammatically, a writer is 'one who writes'. By that definition, I've been a writer since first grade. I've been serious about writing fiction for a year and a half or more. By serious, I mean committing several hours a week to a concrete and defined project (well, two). Was I writer then? Somehow signing a contract that says someone else thinks I'm a writer makes me start to believe it.

However it happened, identifying myself as 'a writer' today was very cool. There were no fireworks or expressions of shock and amazement, but I was smiling wide inside.


Friday, February 22, 2013

Superpower Ring

I was blessed enough to travel to Banff in April of last year to attend a workshop at The Banff Centre. It was a phenomenal experience. I spent a week talking about writing with people who loved to write. It validated my efforts to write and made me rethink the definition of 'a writer' - could I perhaps BE one, already? Shopping in Banff I had to restrain myself because the trip was already more expensive that we could afford. But, com'on, I had to get something, right? I found a ring. It is a circular piece of ammolite set in silver - not unlike the Green Lantern's ring but way cooler. I was told that ammolite was found in the local mountains, part of ancient shells. It's iridescent, shimmering different colours depending on the angle of the light.

The ring was meant to be a souvenir of my trip, but it has become a reminder of how I felt there. It's my Writer Ring and it gives me super powers to BE a writer, not just someone who writes.


Monday, February 18, 2013


I just signed it! It's a done deal! I'll let you know more details when I can share them, the picture looks better without graffiti but right now the details are not my news to share!

I spent today (another snow day) editing. I've been through the story four complete times, and many times in parts, but 'my publisher' (yeah, I'll throw that in anywhere I can) has given me suggestions for improvement so I'm going through again with those in mind. It's great to have another set of eyes look at your work - I don't know about others but I can only go so far with my own words before I stop reading them at all. The suggestions made so far are smart and effective - I'm excited to see how my story will morph into something bigger :) The process can be just as interesting as the end product, feel free to follow along.


Saturday, February 09, 2013

Snow storm

We have a crazy existence here: four kids in basketball, swimming, music, three in hockey... we never get a break. I love every minute of it, but it can be exhausting. Today is a storm day - everything is cancelled, even the Mooseheads game at which Wen was supposed to play a Timbit intermission game! So we're all holed up at home, watching old movies and eating chips in our pjs.

And I've started my editing.

Writing a book isn't all that hard, you think of what happens and write it down. Editing is another story altogether. I'm not all that creative. Maybe that's my problem. Once I've seen a solution to a problem, or a way to do something, it is very hard for me to see it from a different perspective, to see a different way to do it. So I can read what I've written and know it kinda sucks, but it's very hard to change it to make it better. It's tough! But I'm excited to see it develop.


Monday, February 04, 2013

Snow day

Maybe 'snow day' should be renamed to 'Terrible Mom Day'. I had a chance to spend the day with my kids but I was soooo close to wrapping up my second novel - getting the first draft foundation done - that I couldn't pull myself away. Instead I let them have screens (video games and tv) for free (without having to earn it) and forced them to go play outside - egads! Of course the venture into the snow only lasted thirteen minutes. I did make them chocolate chip pancakes to try and make up for it. I also did two loads of dishes and am writing this to procrastinate doing my third to try to even out the wifey part. When I write, I can get so lost in the story that it's hard to pull myself out to do what I'm 'supposed' to do with the rest of my responsibilities. I get why some writers end up being reclusive assholes!


Friday, February 01, 2013


I woke up  super early this morning when it was really still night. I was awake just long enough to wonder what day was coming up. At first I thought it was Thursday but then I realized it was Friday morning which meant the day spent with my computer and my cats. I was pretty happy falling back to sleep.


Monday, January 28, 2013

Bad diets make for good writing days?

Ernest Hemmingway was an alcoholic wasn't he? And Fitzgerald. And a quick google search actually resulted in this list of writers who were alcoholics too.

I think you have to be a little bit unstable to allow imaginary voices the power over you to make them real.

I love Smirnoff coolers, but not at dysfunctional quantities. Usually. My vices are Diet Coke and chocolate. I've given up DC several times, a few times for years, but have fallen back off the wagon, especially on my writing days. It helps to keep the voices flowing. And what goes better with DC than chocolate? Specifically an over sized Reese peanut butter cup.

So I may die early of obesity or an aspartame induced brain tumour, but artists are worth more dead, anyway, right?


Saturday, January 26, 2013

The beginning

Ever really want something to happen, but know it probably won't happen because it doesn't happen to people you know, just other people somewhere else? But you still do what it takes for that to happen because the end result that probably won't happen anyway is less important than the the process?

Hopefully next week I'll have written documentation that my Something just might happen after all.


#GoodDay Reviews

Charlie's Story on Wattpad

Game Plan on Wattpad

Nine on Wattpad

My other Distraction