Monday, March 31, 2014

Book Tour and the Fall Out

So its' Monday again. I spent my last writing day packing and working on workshop notes and all that fun stuff. Then I flew out to Vancouver, then Saskatoon, then Toronto and came home last night. I should be writing today but instead I'm trying to settle my overwhelming anxiety... All the things I ignored while I was gone are still here waiting for me. Plus the unpacking. Yikes.

SO no writing today either. Hopefully Friday? Sigh.


Friday, March 28, 2014

Back to school... again

SO I did my workshops on Tuesday and they were cool... but TODAY I went back to Cawthra Park, MY high school. It was weird to go back - it looked the same as I remembered. The workshop was awesome. The students were engaged and enthusiastic  and we filled the two hours with good discussion. It was a blast. 
Then I had to hightail it through construction and traffic (which means I wasn't hightailing it very fast) to a library on Eglinton where I met with students from a couple of different schools to do the workshops again.

From there I headed downtown to bring cupcakes to Angela Misri's Jewel of the Thames book launch. 'Course I was early so I had to kill some time at the Eaton Centre. Terrible, I know.

All in all it was a super cool day.

Down day

Not to be confused with Downward Dog Day. Totally different.

I spent my day with the cutest reviewer of literature I know. It was a four star kinda day - well, a four poop kinda day but that's how he rates things, right? I managed to change, change, feed, change, feed and change the little reader without breaking him. We had a good time.

Tonight I gave a small private reading at No One Writes to the Colonel. It's a really cool lounge place in the big scary city. Very comfy and funky furniture, good drinks, nice staff and cool lighting. We sat and chatted, had a drink, I read a bit and we laughed a lot - and the reading and laughing weren't related, which is good. I forgot to take pictures - you'll have to look at their link to imagine it!

Tomorrow I am back into high school. MY high school to be exact. I'm stoked.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Travelling Alone

It's a strange dynamic, this travelling alone. I left my Uncle's and Aunt's home around 9 this morning and landed at Julie and Rae's at 1030 tonight. Course that's with some confusing time travel so I really don't know how long my day was.

I love travelling. I enjoy flying (though less so when I have to sit next to someone who might talk to me). I like silent travel. Earplugs and books. In spite of full flights, I did accomplish that antisocial goal today. Travelling alone gives me time to think and relax, time to reset, boost confidence in independence and problem solving.

But then the pendulum swings. As calming as solitude can be, the other side of the coin is loneliness. And the coin flips fast. Moments of confusion, being lost, being frustrated, and what about when I want to just run to get a coffee or something who watches my bags? And the loneliness is fast and hard, and overwhelming.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Return to High School

I had two workshops today, in two different high schools in Saskatoon. I had hoped I had grown since then. I had hoped I had found out who I was, understood myself, gained confidence to be me. Nope. Walking through the halls with the chatter and loud laughs, furtive texting that's not nearly as secretive as they think... Words like 'loser' and 'geek' rumbled around in my head. And as I started talking my doubts grew - doubts in their interest in me and my talk, in my relevance and in their perception. I could actually feel myself willing to be invisible.

Don't look directly at them, whatever you do.

I could have been fifteen again - desperately searching for acceptance and reinforcement of worth from people too worried about their own image to contribute anything positive to mine. I hated that feeling way back then and was shocked to feel it again today. Except today I had to be a growed up. I pushed forward and kept talking, even called a few out when I was competing with a phone.

I think they were able to gleam something from my rambling. I did see a shift as I talked, a glimmer and a lean forward that shed their initial apathy. Then as I was packing up and bracing my fifteen year old mind for another dose of the halls, five girls approached and asked "Can we ask you a couple of questions?" Can you??? YES PLEASE! We chatted a bit more. They asked about motivation, about direction - relevant, thought out questions... they were listening!

I was so caught up in my own insecurity that I forgot how fickle perceptions can be. My perceptions of them were driven by my own anxiety, still there after all this time. I wonder how many of them felt the same way I did today. High school is tough, man, to show up there day after day and make friends, walk the halls, study and learn... they're pretty awesome if you ask me. It was such a great opportunity to see it from this point of view.


Travel Day

I left Vancouver this morning and landed in Saskatoon this evening. By my travels today I'm reminded of how blessed I am. The friends I left behind in Vancouver are new friends that Steve made through his coaching with the wheelchair basketball community. I've only known them less than two years, and in that time only spent a few weeks with them total. But they're the kind of people who made me feel at home in a way that seems as if I'd known them forever.

Then I fly to Saskatoon and was met at the airport by my uncle and aunt. They are the extended family I saw most as a kid, I grew up with yearly visits with them and my cousins. As I got older and went my own routes to university and marriage and parenting and things that take me away from my childhood relationships, the visits got fewer and farther between. But sitting in the living room chatting it was as easy as always, with these people who know me as me and nothing less or nothing more.

I'm so blessed to have such great friends and family all the way across the country.


Monday, March 24, 2014

Paper Ghosts

My gig today was at The Paper Hound in downtown Vancouver. It was a tiny little shop chilling between big high rises and hotels. Most of the books were used, everything from Shakespeare to Rowling, philosophy to literature to art appreciation...

It was... I can't find the words. It was like a presence was hovering between the books, hanging from the high ceiling like a smoke cloud. The smell was wonderful, the clean warm paper smell.

I sold one book! But it was kinda cheating because it was to a friend who had agreed to meet me there. There were a few other customers that came and went but that didn't matter. I enjoyed soaking in the atmosphere, being surrounded by books and the ideas and thoughts and personalities they held.

Here are a few pics:

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Richmond Public Library

I had the exciting opportunity to talk to 19 teens in Richmond today. A few seemed excited about the writing workshop, but about half admitted they were there because their mothers registered and sent them. Sigh. Sounded like we were all going to have fun. But that's okay, I have four kids and work with kids, I know how to pull teeth well enough I could have been a dentist. We got through the workshop and I saw some head nods that seemed like they were paying attention. By the end I even got some laughs and unsolicited participation. I had a blast.

Before the workshop we toured Granville Island. What a cool place that is! So many neat shops, colourful food, and crafts and arts and trades. Even painted cement trucks. 

Here are a few pictures!


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Jumping across the country

Sooo I woke up this morning on the East coast and am struggling to go to bed at a reasonable time on the West coast... today's technology is amazing.

I love flying, mostly because of what I can't do. I read, worked on my computer, slept... all without feeling guilty about not parenting, cleaning, doing dishes, laundry...

I stole some pictures (I say stole b/c technically the phone was supposed to be off) of the fields in Ontario, some lakes somewhere between Ontario and here and the mountains we passed over on our way in. It's frustrating. It's impossible to capture what I see.. the light, the texture, the colours, it's amazing and the picture never measures up. I wonder if that's why people keep painting and taking pictures, keep writing, because it's impossible to capture the magic of it.

I'm lucky to be staying with friends in Ladner which I think is somewhere near Vancouver... So I had curb side pickup at the airport, some good chat and a drink, a yummy lasagne dinner and a walking tour of a local fishing pier. Beautiful!

Tomorrow we're squeezing some site seeing around a library workshop at Richmond Public Library for teens. I'm looking forward to it, and nervous too... I hope it goes well.

I have been composing a brilliant and insightful entry all day... but the local time is 9:22 which apparently is 1:22 Hfx time and I'm really not at my best! 

Until tomorrow.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Writing Day Tomorrow...

... but I'm leaving on a jet plane instead.

When Game Plan was published in November there was a Blog Book Tour - my book travelled around and was reviewed day to day while I stayed home and drove the kids to hockey.

Tomorrow I'm flying out to Vancouver!!! I've never been to BC. Then I'll hop my way back to Nova Scotia over the nine days following, stopping in libraries, book stores, coffee shops, high schools to talk about books and writing and all that cool stuff.

I packed tonight... I'm quick at it and always do it last minute. My biggest challenge was finding the charger for my camera batteries. Oh and figuring out how to fit my 70lb puppy in my suitcase.

I'm hoping to blog my escapades as they go so feel free to join along!


Monday, March 17, 2014


It's a day to write! I may get to it. I have some loose ends to tie up for the trip on Friday though... packing lists, confirmations of dates, all that fun stuff. I head out to Vancouver EARLY Friday morning on a magic time travelling flight where I leave at 9am travel for 15 hours and arrive 3 hours later... Well, maybe not that drastic. For someone who did well in school and is sorta intelligent, I get super confused by timezones and travel.

I feel like I'm in a stubborn argument with my WIP. I don't know what to do with it and it's not helping. It feels like a silent angry fight where you don't want to be the first one to give in. When I start thinking about my WIP and the problems I'm working out, it feels like the answers are locked away in the bathroom. I can hear The Answer rummaging loudly to let me know that I know it's there and it's not happy, and not willing to come out and work it out until I admit I'm wrong and it's right and apologize for my stupidity.

Maybe I'm over thinking it?


Friday, March 14, 2014

Arts Anonymous

I went to see Phillip Phillips last Sunday with my concert date cousin, Kelly. He's phenomenal. He won American Idol two years ago and I clearly remember his audition and remember him being my favourite from that point on.

He was on stage with a few guitars, a keyboard, drum set and trumpet. His music has a good beat. According to Yahoo Answers he plays 'pseudo folk rock' - whatever that means (I hate the concept of 'genre' in books AND music, I mean, good is good, right?). It was loud enough that it reverberated in my ribs and lungs. Funny, the best thing I can compare that to is a cat lying on your back and purring - is there anything more relaxing? My point is the music goes right through me, consumes me and with it consumes my stress and anxiety, my fatigue, my irritability and lulls me into a calm, happy, soul-settled place.

Writing does that too. And drawing. It's strange because my writing would is silent. I do best when the kids are not playing video games in the next room or calling out to me every injustice they have suffered (at a rate of one per 3.5 minutes). It's pretty much the opposite of the crowded, flashing, buzzing concert. But the resulting calm force is the same.

Maybe the creative, artistic side of my brain controls the oxytocin? I dunno. But it's a reliably consistent affect. I've gotten a little addicted to it, truthfully.


Monday, March 10, 2014

A Different kinda Monday

It's March Break...

SO today is all about the challenge of finding something fun - and inexpensive - to do with the Munsters. The fun part is easy, the inexpensive part is the challenge...

Wish me luck!


Friday, March 07, 2014

Book Tour!

When Game Plan was released it went on a Blog Book Tour around the internet where bloggers read and reviewed the book... it was very exciting to read a different review each day but I still did dishes at home and worked and slept in my own bed.

So I decided I should do my own book tour!

It's a poor person's book tour - my folkses got my flights on their points and I'm only visiting cities where I know someone has a couch for me, but I am going straight across the country! I've never been to BC before. My awesomest publicist just sent me the schedule and so I get to share it with anyone who wants to stalk me!

Vancouver Area:
March 22 - Putting on a writing workshop for teens at the Richmond Public Library
March 23 - Hosting a Reading and Signing at the Paper Hound

March 25 - Hosting a Reading and Signing at the Moka Coffee Bar

Toronto Area:
March 27 - Hosting a Reading and Signing at No One Write to the Colonel
March 28 - Putting on a writing workshop for a couple of classes at Cawthra Park SS (MY high school! How awesome is that?)
March 28 - Putting on a writing workshop for students at the Maria Shchuka Branch of the Toronto Public Library.
March 29 - Putting on a writing workshop with Angela Misri at the North York Public Library.

I'll be attending the book Launch for Fierce Ink's Jewel of the Thames on the 28th.

And in there somewhere I get to visit the aquarium in Vancouver and the brand new one in Toronto! And snuggle on CJ. Only kicker is I'm there a week before the Jays arrive. Blast it!

Sounds like fun, doesn't it?


Monday, March 03, 2014

Writing Challenges of the Day

My drivers' licence expired on Friday which meant I had no choice but to head to the DMV today to get it renewed. Last thing I need is a ticket for driving with an expired licence. Or be in an accident with an expired licence or anything to do with an expired licence, really. SO I packed up my computer so I could work while I waited and headed to Access NS. That's when things got weird... there was no wait. Literally. I walked up to one desk, answered some questions and paid my money then walked to the next desk took a terrible picture (seriously, diet starts as soon as the ice-cream in the freezer is gone) and took my new card. Weird.

Now I'm back home, challenge #2. My diet Coke stash is depleted. I found a bottle that is 3/4 full in Steve's office so that'll have to do for the morning. I have no M&Ms but that's not a bad thing b/c of that whole terrible drivers' licence picture thing.

But my real challenge is this... my WIP has three voices. They all contribute something worthwhile. They're complex characters with interesting stories, differing perspectives and unpredictable responses. It works. But there's a forth voice who is hovering... so far he's one dimensional, straightforward and uncomplicated... he just doesn't fit as a voiced character, but I feel like maybe he needs to be there too... I'm not sure how to tackle this one... I feel like maybe changing his name is the first thing to do. It's a bit more challenging than my limited diet Coke.


#GoodDay Reviews

Charlie's Story on Wattpad

Game Plan on Wattpad

Nine on Wattpad

My other Distraction