Monday, December 29, 2014

Review of 2014 and Gear Up for 2015

Another year? Already?

Since Game Plan was published in November of 2013 much of early 2014 was spent in the afterglow of debut publication :) I travelled to Vancouver and hoped my way back via Saskatoon and Toronto to promote my story... it didn't result in wide ranging publicity like I hoped, but I visited with great friends and talked to new people - even got to run a workshop at my own high school, which was the highlight.

Spring and summer were spent writing my third novel and and submitting my second... what a roller coaster that is, doing both at once. The excitement and hope of creating, the frustration of rejection, all swirled together from day to day sometimes from hour to hour.

Fall brought acceptance of my third story, sorta out of order. I felt kinda like I was leaving the second behind, abandoning and forgetting it, giving up. And that felt awful.

I discovered Wattpad and posted Nine, which became featured (and has over 8000 readers!), the first chapter of Game Plan and a companion short from Charlie's point of view.

The biggest writerly decision I made this year is to try self publishing. Kinda scary, though now that the decision is made, it's less scary and more exciting. I can't wait to do all the parts, and have to be careful not to rush into it and miss the chance of making it the best story possible.

So where does that leave me going into 2015? What goals are set? Not 'revolutions' as PJ calls them, but goals:

1. Create an excellent second story with the direction and support of Fierce Ink Press.
2. Process through the stages of Self Publishing and create a fantabulous story.
3. Up my GoodReads 2014 reading challenge from 35 to 40.
4. Stay off the diet Coke.
5. Write more short stories, submit to lit magazines.

I should probably be more specific, eh? Like with specific numbers and timelines and stuff... but little steps right?


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Happy Holidays to everyone! May you not knock your kids' heads together.


Friday, December 19, 2014


I've been working on two projects lately:

1. Communicating with a publisher about my thirdly written story.
2. Moving towards self-pub'ing my secondly written story.

Sitting in the orthodontist's waiting room with Elliot I got an email out of the blue that swapped the stories outright. Curveballs are hard to catch. Uncertainty drives me nutty. But after a fumble I've smothered the curveball and am back in the game... excited about moving forward.

Baseball is awesome, it works with any situation.


Monday, December 15, 2014

2014 Reading Challenge

I finished my GoodReads 2014 Reading Challenge last night!!! In December of last year, I set a goal to read 35 books in 2014 and I finished my 35th last night. Doesn't sound like much, does it? I mean that's not even one book a week... but it's more than one book every two weeks and three of those books were monsters: The Goldfinch, A Cruel and Shocking Act and We Are Water were all hefty tomes. (Yes, I did look up that word to make sure I was using it correctly).

 What's interesting about this collection of books is the increased number of local authors who I've met... I've shifted the way I find books. I used to go into Chapters (a favourite place) and peruse the shelves (looked that word up too) for my next favourite book. Usually I'd end up following Heather's or Oprah's suggestions. A huge number of the books I read this year were authors whom I've had the pleasure to meet, talk to, work with... it's such a different experience to read words written by someone you know. There's a whole new dimension to the story, a depth of seeing the reasons behind some of the words. I love it.

I've also learned that there are fantastic books and stories out there that are on par or even surpassing the books that get the accolades and best seller status - something that gives me hope and encouragement as I embark on my self-publishing experiment... I mean if I figured out that the small books are awesome, hopefully other people will too? Maybe this year if you buy books for people try to get a small selling book, from a publisher like Fierce Ink Press or from a local author him/herself.

What was your favourite read of 2014? I've been staring at these covers trying to decide what was mine and it's honestly nearly impossible to do so. I'd recommend any of these if you're looking for a good story (I didn't finish the ones I hated). And don't forget, reviewing a book on GoodReads or on the store's webpage is a much appreciated way to respond to the author's efforts.

Happy Reading!


Friday, December 12, 2014

Organic Chemistry

I took Organic Chemistry in second year of university at Acadia U. I was a nerd. I was a straight A student who studied hard and did well. Mostly smart - and what I didn't 'get' I could make up for by writing A LOT until I figured I earned enough points in there somewhere. But I was stumped by Organic Chemistry. I went into the exam needing a 70% to keep a A (thanks to study groups and assignments I hadn't had to do much work on my own to that point). I studied 50+ hours for that test. (This is where, if I'm telling the story orally I say 'fifty, as in five, zero, not fifteen' just to be sure my listener appreciates my dedication.) I studied with others, I studied by myself. I rewrote notes and redid questions. I met with the teacher to ask for help. I did not get my 70% grade. Mostly it was because by then I had sooo little understanding of Organic Chemistry that I didn't even know what I didn't know to ask questions that are helpful.

That may be the only commonality between Organic Chemstry and Self Publishing a novel.

I've googled 'self publishing' and get companies who are eager to help but I'm wary of anyone that excited to take my money and my story. I could spend a small fortune on books about self publishing... and I really want to know if they were self published too? I feel like the road runner, spinning my feet really, really fast and not getting anywhere... But when he moves, it's like a shot, right? So the time is coming!


Monday, December 01, 2014

The Golden Egg

In my research about self pub'ing I found a quote that went something like this: "The hurricane will kill the goose that lays the golden egg." Wherein the hurricane referenced the onslaught of bad writing that is published through self publishing just because they can.

I'm jumping on the band wagon, joining the club and the fray, signing up, buying the farm - oh wait, I think that one's different.

I'm finding the golden egg. Or am I laying it? I'm confused. I'm going to publish Aptitude myself. Now that I've decided, I'm freakin excited instead of terrified :)

Feel free to come along for the ride.


Friday, November 28, 2014

Self Pebbling

I have no idea what 'self pebbling' is but my phone insists I forget 'self pub'ing' and try pebbling instead. This computer too. Is it a sign?

I've been talking with a friend about self publishing. I'm strongly considering it for my second book that is out on submissions. I love that story. LOVE it. And it makes me sad to think no one wants to publish it... and so far no one does, except me. So, why not?

Except every seven minutes I do an about-face and decide I should keep knocking on doors to find a perfect fit through traditional publishing. Self publishing is daunting. It's expensive. It's risky. But I've read it's rewarding and fulfilling and fun. (I don't really believe the 'fun' part). I'm not a salesperson. I'm basically the opposite of a salesperson, so how would I get the word out about a book I published?

Which of course, comes to the point... what is the point of publishing?

1. To make millions of dollars so I can buy more fun toys for the cats.
2. To become famous, a household name for generations.
3. To make an idea, a file on my computer, into a real, live, hold in your hand and sniff it book.

The first would be nice, but I'm not banking on it. The second would be horrible. The third? Seems pretty close to true. So if that's the end goal, then self pub'ing would be much more productive than self pebbling or even knocking my head against the closed and locked publisher doors.

I might just go for it.


PS. I have no idea what this tree has to do with 'self publishing' which is the google search under which it appeared, but isn't it pretty?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Self Directed Therapy

I'm an introvert. I cry at movies, and I act goofy around people, but when it comes to true emotions? I shut it down tight. I am terrible with confrontation - I'll cry before I'll fight back. If I'm upset, I don't want a hug, thank you very much, that only makes things worse.

I have a friend going through some really shitty stuff. Like in the grand scheme of shitty, her stuff is near the top. And she's far away and I'm here and I'm too broke to do much about it. And even if I do go... what is there to do? It's not the type of shitty stuff I can fix.

It's interesting, though, to me... if I step out of my head long enough to examine my thoughts which I do with frightening frequency. Does that suggest psychosis? It's interesting that when I'm stressed out about stuff, I rhyme of lines of literature in my head. Not 'real' literature that's been written, nothing soothing like Shakespeare or Maya Angelou. It's my own crap that's not worth putting down... but it's like I'm processing the emotions - mine and those of the people around me - through a literary description, through a line of prose, as if I have to compose it to understand it.

So I've had lots of voices whispering to me this week... none of them productive and many of them painful. This is the kind of stuff I wish nobody had to write about. least of all my friend


Friday, November 21, 2014

Here you go...

Here's a companion piece to Game Plan... The Halloween party from Charlie's perspective.

I've been poking away at it for a while now. Also working on some edits and met a deadline. And that's all I have to say about that.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Kissing Frogs - Alisha Sevigny

I'm so excited to be a stop on the Kissing Frogs tour! Partly because I got to read it waaaay before any of you poor saps, but also because I love talking about books.

At first glance, Kissing Frogs is a cute, light-hearted romance. A teen is 'forced' to go on a conservation study trip with a different group of kids while her own gaggle of friends heads to Florida for a party-filled vacation. So not fair, right? 

What's worse? Her old nemesis is there too - the boy who teased her in her past life when she was a clumsy nerd. She has worked hard to shed her past and who she used to be, and there he is to bring it all back. Oh and, instead of partying with her boyfriend she has to clean the poop out of the aquariums of ickily gross frogs. 

Can you guess what will happen?

What's not apparent before you read Kissing Frogs is the depth of character and the gentle reminders of the value of integrity, independence and being true to yourself. Sevigny delivers realistic characters. Her main character, Jessica, has a fantastic voice (and I don't mean singing) with laugh-out-loud one liners and on point sarcasm. She develops through the story as she learns who she is, who she wants to be and figures out how to get there. She takes the readers along in a gentle, here's-the-clues-figure-it-out-yourself way instead of the crash over the noggin other books often use to hammer home a message. 

Sevigny's description of the setting and landscape was beautiful, leaving me wanting to learn more about Panama and the animals that live there. 

As a mom, some of the um, adventures? the kids get into made my toes curl - surely teens wouldn't do THAT in a foreign country, right? But I doubt those without dependents would find fault with their  escapades. I'm just an old mother hen, now. While the outcome of the story is somewhat predictable, the way the characters get there, is not. Their week in panama is full of twists and turns and surprises that kept me intrigued.

As a mom, this is one I'll keep for my daughters' bookshelves, so they can hear Jessica's experience. I'd recommend this book to anyone who needs a breath of fresh air and a happy, feel good book.


PS Don't forget the giveaway!!! Canadian residents are eligible to win a free eCopy of Kissing Frogs. To do so, comment here or leave a message about Kissing Frogs on Twitter @NSampson17 !

Sunday, November 09, 2014


I've had my head down digging through edits against a deadline... less time for blogging!

It's fall! I love fall. I hate that it leads directly into winter, but I love fall!

Any big Christmas plans? We have a ginormous Christmas surprise for the half-sized people in the family. I'm excited for the reveal.

Any books on your Christmas list?


Friday, October 31, 2014


I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that deadlines and writers are not a good combination.

Writing is an art form, as inspired and creative as painting, sculpting, dancing... You wouldn't walk up to a comedian and say "Say something funny" (actually I think people do that and I'd imagine it's really annoying.) The point is, writing comes when it comes and deadlines mess up that whole process. I sit here with a pressing deadline and my right brain says, "Yeah, f*ck you, that's not how I roll". Thanks right brain.


Friday, October 17, 2014

Blank Page

I've stared at this blank page for a bit now, waiting for that lightning bolt of inspiration to hit me. Still hasn't and I'm starting to think my insistence on inspiration is more a cloaked procrastination tactic. So I should probably stop rambling and get to work.


Monday, October 13, 2014


Happy Thanksgiving from Canada!
I'm at my desk today because deadlines don't have holidays! But I'm happy as a clam sitting here typing away. I'm taking a break between synopsis writing and story rewrites to post here.

It's hard to list what I'm thankful for without sounding trite or cliche. I mean the list is kinda the same isn't it? Good, healthy family and friends, food to eat, warm place to sleep, safe place to play and work and the right to individual thoughts, opinions, identity. Don't get me wrong, I know there are many people around the world without these basic things, even here in Halifax. But listing them at the dinner table becomes repetitive and the repetition kinda takes away from the effect, don't you think?

So yeah, I'm thankful for all of those things too, but here's my list of unique things:

... for colours and light in the fall.
... for my pup who loves me no matter what I do.
... for the time I have to peck at my computer and the ideas that come out.
... for chocolate, especially the kind that doesn't melt in my hands.
... for sticky notes that make me feel more organized and less frantic.
... for sports, especially hockey and basketball and baseball, that let me see my kids feeling passion.
... for books that let me be someone else for a bit.
... for social media that lets me talk to friends I'd lost touch with.
... for sentences that end in prepositions.
... for the 'f' word, because it's so versatile and sometimes it's the only word that works.
... for sparkly things.

:) Happy Thanksgiving, from this Proud Canuck.


Monday, October 06, 2014

Meeting of the Minds

So I had a work meeting today, with another literary-type who does writing and editing and other cool stuff. She is helping me get my latest WIP ship shape - I get to ask her questions and we bounce ideas off of each other. She rewords an idea forty seven times until I understand what she means, that kind of fun stuff. Fun for me at least!

I've said it before, there's something surreal that happens when artistic people talk about art. I'm sure it's there when math people talk about math, but I can't say I've experienced it, not being a math person myself. There's an aura or an energy that is more than the sum of its parts.

And my Pumpkin Spice Latte without the latte was pretty yummy too.


Friday, October 03, 2014

Happy Writing Friday

I know those titles are getting boring. You'd think that someone who writes would be more creative with titles, but nope... my second story is currently called USB (for untitled second book) and my third story is - wait for it - UTB. You can figure out what it stands for.

Today I have lots of direction.

I'm excited to be contributing to the online magazine, Understorey. It's a great collection of stories and thoughts on motherhood - check it out! I'm not sure when my story is going in, but you should read what's there already. So I have edits to do for that to do.

I've uploaded a part of Game Plan's first chapter to Wattpad. Wattpad is a really great community of writers, take a look. It's free and has a mobile app so you can read on your phone.

After I'm done all those tidily bits, I have to take a serious look at my Big Editing Project. I have edits back on a story that are giving me swirling thoughts and explosive ideas. SO excited to move forward with it until I actually OPEN the document and then I'm  totally daunted. I'm at the point where I'm considering rewriting much of it because it may be easier than changing what's there... we'll see. I'm eating M&Ms in an effort to boost my courage.


Monday, September 29, 2014

PD Day

The "P" in PD Day does not stand for productive. Or prolific or profitable. At least not in terms of writing. 


Friday, September 26, 2014

Driving force of stories...

I don't write action packed thrillers... I wish I could, they're fun to read and sell well. So far my stories have been driven by emotions.

Game Plan was driven by my frustrations and fears waiting to adopt and the new emotions I had for my daughter's first mother when we finally found her, paired with the mixed up emotions I remember from being a teen.

Nine was driven by my love of baseball, the rest of the story grew up around that.

My second story was driven by my love of words and writing and my love of love stories, especially one against the odds.

My third story was driven by my wonder of and empathy for kids with autism, my apprehension of sending my kids into the world every day where they'll meet with friends and bullies, enthusiasm and apathy and try to figure out which is which.

So already this morning I've been amused by my fashion forward daughter, frustrated by my antagonizing son, worried about my apparently sick puppy and brought to tears watching an enemy on the field walk off for the last time. This is where the fodder is. All of those emotions can be applied to a new situation to build a new story. You don't need a car chase :)


Monday, September 22, 2014

Random Updates

WEllll, I had a very sweet Reese PB Cake for breakfast - a dessert I got when we were out last night that I didn't feel like eating last night. It was yummy but OMG so sweet so now my heart is racing and I feel flighty and confused... maybe that's not the cake's fault, though.

This weekend was a big one...

1. My ball team raced back from third place (of four) to play in the championship game at the tourney!!! I wasn't there for the final game though. We didn't win, but we made it close and that was good enough.

2. I had to leave ball b/c I was invited to the Word on the Street welcome gala! YES! An opportunity to mingle through a room full of people I don't know! I don't know about anyone else, but that is THIS writer's most feared monster... There is a reason why I'm most comfortable at my computer with my cat. It was so exciting to be invited though, and it's healthy to push oneself into uncomfortable situations, right? So I ditched my uniform hoodie, put on makeup and went. I accomplished the two goals I set for myself: 1. Talk to someone I don't know, 2. Don't puke on them. SO all in all it was a successful evening, with good food.

3. Word on the Street! How awesome was that? A whole street festival about reading and writing. There were tents with authors reading aloud, spoken word, book sales, pitch the publisher... I've said it before, there is something special that happens when literary folks (readers and writers) get together, some kind of glow or aura of energy that hovers over everybody. And I didn't puke when I did my readings either! Two for two!

4. Hockey started! Elliot's four ice times into his tryouts and doing well... As much as I try not to be, I'm a terrible hockey mom - not one of those crazies that yells at everyone from the stands, but one who gets terribly anxious and stressed out about tryouts. Since I had my ball tournament and WOTS, I only saw one of Elliot's practices, but I bugged other parents for regular texted updates.

So now I'm sitting trying to digest a month's worth of sugar and focus my brain long enough to figure out what's next. I have to WIPs in the infant stages, trying to decide which deserves my energies at this time, or better yet, which I have energy for. (Yes I know that's grammatically incorrect but remember the whole buzzing on sugar thing).


Friday, September 19, 2014

Word on the Street

Today is a prep day for Word on the Street Halifax!

Think Halifax Buskers festival but literary. Authors, publishers, book sellers, all gathered on the waterfront to talk about BOOKS. How awesome is that? There are readings for all ages, I think Theodore is already full for his reading cruises. There are signings and meet and greets, pitch the publisher. Browsing. I'm so excited to be a part of it! And the weather looks like a perfect day (knockonwood, fingers crossed). I'm sad to say I didn't even know it existed last year, so I'm hoping to get the word out.

Except I'm also terrified! I fit the stereotype of a reclusive, introverted writer. I like to peck my stories out on my puter in part because I don't like putting myself 'out there' in a performance way. I mean, if I did, I'd act in plays and stuff! Doing public events like the book launch, readings and workshops has been a huge learning experience for me, and one wherein I've had to face some pretty big fears head on... but I'm up for the challenge. Sorta, maybe.

So today I will spend time figuring out which parts I'll read and making sure they're the right length. I'll make sure I have my purple pens ready for signing and my business card collection stocked. Wish me luck! Or better yet, come by on Sunday.


Monday, September 15, 2014

Bits and Parts

I've got a concept for a blog entry floating around in my head and I'm struggling to pin it down in a concise enough way to make it make sense...

Here are my last several FB profile pics:

And it got me wondering... how could a layman like me psycho analyze what my choice in photographic representation might mean about me. Does it mean anything?

I am the picture taker. I'm always behind the camera. I have crafty ninja skills when it comes to ducking behind things and avoiding cameras pointed at me... as if they were sniper guns. I hate having my picture taken. I hate looking at pictures of me. So these pictures are a compromise... here, you can see PART of me.

How does that pertain to writing? Since I'm the one doing the writing, arguably I can let the parts of me I want in there slip by and hide the parts I don't, right? But how honest does that make the writing itself? And does writing that allows a fuller version of myself ring more true? The WIP I am struggling with carries some very dark experiences... not my own non fiction, but built from some of those deep dark emotions that drowned Atreyu's horse. Could it be that the struggle I'm having is rooted in the fact that that's a less attractive part, that I'd really not like it exposed?


Friday, September 12, 2014

Crossroads and kinda lost

It's FRIDAY! I get to sit at my desk, under my spotlighty desk lamp, eat cereal with a fork (b/c the spoons are all either in the dishwasher or lost at school) and type around the fat cat in my lap. Okay, I lied on that one, she's not in my lap right now, but I anticipate her coming back.

Except today I'm not sure what to do.

I've been working on the latest WIP. Sometimes a WIP comes as a story and I have to make up the characters. This one came as a character. I think she needs to be explored and presented, but I have NO IDEA what the story is yet! I have the beginning - 7K pretty good words of a beginning - and I know how and where it'll end. I have NO idea where the middle is, like how long is the timeline? what is she doing? who is she meeting? what brings about her development?

Monday I tried 'writing through it' - you know, just keep pecking away and see where it leads... except I'm worried that it's not worth it in the end? Maybe this is only a short story? or a character sketch? Maybe it's not meant to be novel length. argh. I go back and forth on whether it's worth hashing though or whether I need to put it aside and start a new idea for a while.

So I've been procrastinating - putting my time into other tasks that seem important at that moment.  The things writers do, like boost social media platforms (FB, Twits, Wattpad) and write rambling blog entries. It's not getting me anywhere. Obviously.


Monday, September 08, 2014

Goooood Monday Morning!

I'm dragging today... after very little sleep.

I stayed awake until after 2:30 to finish The Goldfinch. I was determined to get it done. Some books I like to soak in and read more and more slowly as the end nears because I don't want to be finished with them. This was not one of them. I liked the book, I actually liked it a lot, but (Dr. Phil says a 'but' there repudiates anything said before it but I don't agree) but I found it a very hard, slow, trudging read. Not slow in action, there was lots in there, but slow to get through. I started on August 23 and read til September 7 - well, early hours on the 8th. That's over two weeks for one book? And not pick up here and there, I mean an hour or more a day (well, in the middle of the night) of reading. Way longer than usual for me. And what about that Pulitzer? I mean, it may sound like sour grapes, but I didn't think it was Pulitzer worthy. But it was good and I'm glad I read it.

I think I struggled with my own naivety. There was a lot of drugs and petty crimes in the book, stuff that was just par for the course in the story, but it really bothered me. I wanted the MC to raise above it, even if that would have created more of a fairy tale than a true story. I guess I like clean lines and happy endings. Because of their choices, I struggled to empathize with the characters and at points really didn't like them very much.

The characters were well developed and well defined. Perhaps my favourite part of the book was Boris' dialect and grammar... very true, very consistent, I could hear him talking in my head. For him alone, this book might make a good movie.

Read it if you get the chance!

Friday, September 05, 2014

Back to School means back to Writing!

I love summer with the kids. On days I'm not working we'll find something fun to do, or hang around the house and swim in the lake. I love having them around and back to school makes me sad. BUT with them back in school I get my writing days back!!!

I know I posted similar before and after pics before... here's my return to productive writing days after a summer of finding time willy nilly and wherever I ended up sitting:

Ahhh, clean desk for a clean start... which is kinda daunting b/c my latest WIP and I are not really getting along that well. We're actually not on speaking terms at the moment, which means I sit at the puter and pound my head against the keyboard, pound my fingers against the WIP trying to draw out words and thoughts and ideas while it sits in a dark corner laughing at me. Who said writing was peaceful?


Wednesday, September 03, 2014


It's so nice to get a good review... this one came via a friend:

"Got this book from one of my besties Colleen McKie for my bday. Her company published it... started to read it at 1pm on Monday & finished it before 10pm. A FANTASTIC read! Whitty, touching, everything a great book should be.Warning I cried & laughed through out it. It has been years since I read a book in one sitting! I highly recommend you grab a copy"

Sounds awesome, no?


Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Ten Book Challenge

There is a challenge going around FB wherein the recipient lists ten books that "have stayed with you in some way. They don’t have to be ‘right ‘ books or great works of literature." 

I thought it would be interesting to post them here:


Is your favourite on this list??? The strange thing is it sounds daunting to write a list, but once I got rolling I could have listed many more. 


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Why do I Write?

I was invited by fellow author, Blogger, Twitterer and MLB fan, Ellen Mulholland to discuss why I write.

I find it a difficult question to answer without sounding too much like a beauty pageant contestant asking for world peace and inner tranquility, but there's a lot of truth to that under the cheese.

I'm pretty busy. I have four kids aged 8 through almost 12 and a husband who acts like a kid. My are bright, funny, athletic and social and a great deal of my existence is invested in their development into professional athletes, politicians, musicians or socialites. It'll pay off, I'm sure, when they buy me that summer home on the ocean. Even though Steve's a very 'hands on' dad, there's still twice as many of them as there are of us... we're sorely out numbered.

I'm also an SLP. My paid job is rewarding. I work with fantastic families who want the best for their children and I love being a part of reaching those potentials. But it's not a job where I can leave work at the office. Even if I don't do paperwork, I spend time after hours problem solving, worrying, thinking about 'my kids' and how we can get another step closer to a goal.

I try to be community minded. I coach the kids when I think I know something about the sport (so baseball, not hockey). I try to participate in boards and committees and organizing of things that are worthwhile.

So my life is quite the hamster wheel. And please, don't misunderstand, I love it that way. I hate missing a game or practice, I hate not driving a kid somewhere and I don't miss if I can help it. I'm not a homebody, I like to be on the go. I'm terrible for multitasking... I can't tell you the last time I watched a movie without also plucking away at my computer and/or listening to a ballgame or something. But without balance, even though I love the hectic pace, it can get to be too much.

Writing forces me to stop.

It stops the frantic multitasking. It stops the thousand thoughts going a thousand different directions. It stops the worrying, the supposing, the brooding over things I can't change.

It helps me focus on the experiences and the feelings I've had, the things I've learned. It helps me process and understand what they mean and how they relate to the rest of the world. It helps me appreciate the uniqueness of what I have, who I am, who I'm blessed to be around.

Writing lets me ask 'what if' and explore other possibilities without giving up the awesome reality I live.

It makes me feel better, calmer, stronger, more still in the way I imagine exercise does for others. (I wish writing made me skinnier too, sadly it does not). I love writing way more than exercising anyway.

When I've spent time writing I'm a more conscious reader and a more thorough thinker. I'm a better mom and wife and a better friend. And I want world peace. :)


Monday, August 25, 2014


Hear that?


Neither do I.

The girls are at their g'parents until later this afternoon. The boys are in their summer camps (E in hockey, Jack in 'climbing and leadership'). This is the first day since school was let out that I have time alone to write.

By alone I'm conceding that the dog will want to go out 47 times and come back in, that the kitten will do nutty stuff like jump at the sliding door as she is now, and the geriatric cat will choose my lap or my chest (depending on my level of reclination) as the perfect spot to sit for 30 seconds at a time. "Alone" is relative.

I actually got several good chunks of time over the past few days with my chicklets away and no baseball, hockey, basketball or soccer (save one game on Sunday) to run between. I finished up my manuscript and sent it off to a publisher... scary stuff I tell you. I thought having a book published would prove something but it only sets me up to be the only thing worse than a 'never was' and that's a fluke or a fraud. I wonder what it'll take for me not to be terrified by the whole submission process? A string of best sellers and a six digit royalty check? Dunno but I'd sure like to try ;)

Anyways, enough procrastination. I'm off to edit a secret weapon story. Not a story about a concealed gun but a story that is a secret bonus linked to Game Plan that I'm excited about.

Happy Monday!


PS if you google "image for silence" the results are very creepy. Who knew?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Diary of Anne Frank

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I read these books written by people involved with the family of Anne Frank. Of course I read Anne Frank's diary as a teenager, but reading the other memoirs made me want to re-read her story to see if I could draw the connections - looking at the same story from different points of view. 

Is it okay to dislike a 12 year old persecuted child? Probably not, eh? Okay I admit it, I wasn't a fan of Anne Frank at the beginning of her diary. For the first third of the book I was worried by my opinion of her - snotty, conceited, ungrateful child... but aren't all children at some point? 

I think the power of this story is the growth of the girl, in spite of (or because of?) her circumstances. As she grows and writes her perception of herself, of her family and others hiding with her, of her circumstances grows and becomes so well thought out, so well articulated, it reminded me of the uni course I took studying the Transcendentalists. This child, who was so real and authentic that she still complained about the inequities of being a teenager, also wrote about spirituality, sexuality, politics, societal interactions, truth and justice and peace. It makes me wonder who she would have become had she been given the chance.  It is truly a gem of history. 


Friday, August 15, 2014

It's like a sore in the mouth...

That's all I can come with. It's like a sore in my mouth, that kinda twinges and I'm compelled to touch my tongue to it to see if it's still there and that's when it hurts. Forgive me if I sound melodramatic, I mean, I never knew the man, right? And people have much bigger tragedies, much bigger struggles that are real to life. Here I am grappling with the death of a man who didn't know I existed. But when I remember that he's dead, and more so that he chose to be that way, it's like thrusting my tongue against a canker - it hits me all over again.

Suicide is terrifying. And disturbing. I told my kids why I was crying - that Robin Williams had died - and Jack asked how? I said he was sick and left it at that. Naive. He googled him the next day and read the truth. I can't even imagine how scary and lonely and desperate someone must feel to get to that point. I wanted my kids to be too young to know about that.

I don't even know the point of this post. It's taken me twenty minutes two write those two paragraphs; neither a complete thought and one having little to do with the other. But writing helps me process things, my thoughts and my emotions and so I hoped plucking away something here would help me step forward.

This tribute helps too... in his voice, though not his words. From one of my favourite movies, Jack. Quite hauntingly appropriate now, and quite the challenge.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Oh Captain, my Captain!

I first remember seeing Robin Williams in Dead Poets' Society and have loved him since.  O Captain, My Captain, is the Walt Whitman poem famously quoted in that movie. 

But in the poem the Captain is dead.

The tributes list his greatest movie roles in Good Will Hunting, Mrs. Doubtfire, Good Morning Vietnam but my favourites were the lesser known - One Hour Photo, Jack, Patch Adams, Awakenings and What Dreams May Come. I even named my son, Jack, after him. I actually thought I was unusual to claim Robin Williams as my favourite - not the bigger names like Tom Hanks or Robert de Niro or Jack Nicholson, but the short, funny zany guy who probably had more panned movies than hits. But from the reaction to yesterday's news, it seems everybody loved him. If only he knew. 

 I suspect people in the spotlight struggle to balance what they share and what they keep to themselves. Obviously in hindsight Mr. Williams kept his demons to himself. I mean, he shared his struggles - he was open about his addictions and rehab efforts, but no one must have known how dark it was for him to make the choice he ultimately did. But I always felt he was sincere, generous of his talent, his humour, his money, his position. He stepped up and helped out, with the veterans overseas, with the homeless at home. I loved to watch him on talk shows because it amused me that the camera men can't keep up - he seemed to put all of his energy, all of himself into any moment where he knew people were watching.
Everyone is commenting on how funny Robin Williams was, and I have to agree, he was hilarious, witty and crude and shocking. But have you seen some of his serious roles? He must have had a phenomenal understanding of human emotion to tone down his crazy to play a heartbroken father or a twelve year old boy or a fragile lonely man.  Maybe he let us see more than it seemed?

The world is a less funny place today.


Monday, August 11, 2014

Why is there a snorkel on the coffee table?

These are the questions you just can't make up.

I spent my writing morning doing tax-stuff and cleaning the house. (Well, cleaning is a strong word). Real life sucks sometimes. I received my feedback eval from my super cool editor guy with some really great points and some direction that leaves me bursting with ideas of how to fix it. I've a self imposed deadline of end of August for submission of the MS. But this morning mundane responsibilities like tax-stuff and house cleaning took over.

I've got a conundrum I need to solve. My story presents the idea that 'truth' changes with perspective... the end of the story leaves us with four unavailable narrators and I want the reader to realize that those four know a truth that the greater community don't realize in the sensationalized news. Trying to figure out how to get that side across.

This afternoon the half-sized peeps and I are headed to a friend's barn to visit horses. PJ has asked me every fifteen minutes if it's time yet.


Saturday, August 02, 2014

Multiple Perspectives and Super Powers

In the past couple of months I've read these three books:


The Book Thief I discussed in my review here. The second and third are memoirs written by women who knew Anne Frank. Reading them were like looking at a single sculpture from different sides, different angles. And next I'm going to reread Anne Frank's diary itself.

Some books are important as escapes, some drive the imagination, some make us think or make us laugh. I think these are important as reminders, as humans to empathize and realize. When Gies is talking about her struggles to find food for her family, walking hours under fear of detection for a few potatoes or beets, I was thinking about my Tim's drive through trip for my hot sausage and cheese on a biscuit, the expired food in my fridge that just went bad because we were too busy to eat it this week.

And it's not outdated. We can read these books and gasp at the unimaginable atrocities, wonder how it's possible it could have happened and forget it's still happening now. Words have power, and written stories give their writers a super power Long after the Germans surrendered and pulled out of Holland these stories remain. The way time passes, the people who died would have been old enough now to have passed even if they had survived... but these stories can still be shared and can still have impact. Their super power is immortality, maybe.


Friday, August 01, 2014

Lazy Days

During the summer I try to plan 'Adventures' for the kids and I to do when I'm off work. It gets us out of the house, active and learning something about NS. Nothing grand, just little day trips. Today I had a few ideas, the waterfront, Uniake house, a beach, the Oval... but in the end we had a lazy day at home. I tried to peck out a few words on my cantankerous WIP, the kids invited their fiends over and have bounced around from the garage to the basement to their bedrooms to the lake (so I had to go lifeguard and read)... I prepped supper and am watching the clock until we have to leave for hockey (if you thought hockey was a winter sport, you didn't know about SUMMER hockey for the obsessed and crazy Canucks). Rookie is snoring at my feet. Sometimes it's great just to stay home.


To prove the point made above, it took me six tries and several minutes to get this 'casual' snapshot.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Inspiration in strange places

I write fiction in part because I don't have the patience to be accurate with research. Instead of figuring out the facts to the detail, I'd rather make them up... and that's somewhat frowned upon in the non-fiction industry.

But my stories are all drawn from truth and real life experiences. Everyone has experienced all the emotions to one degree or another. Usually I feel a moment, a situation and think 'this could become a story by wondering what if'... the changes of a real situation answering 'what if' grow into fiction.

Today I took the kids to see Maleficent. I love going to the movies but it's unusual that I love a specific movie itself enough to be wrapped up and impacted by it. Most I enjoy while I'm watching (or not) and then forget about them shortly after. Maleficent was amazing. It was magical in its story and its presentation - the effects and the cinematography were phenomenal. The story was beautiful, real and painful and honest. The characters seemed so true (despite the occasional wing or horns in the head) and so flawed. I came out of there wanting to write more fantasy stories, which is something I've never been interested in before.

If you get a chance to check it out, please do so!


#GoodDay Reviews

Charlie's Story on Wattpad

Game Plan on Wattpad

Nine on Wattpad

My other Distraction