Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Just taking a few moments to wish everyone out there a Merry Christmas and a Happy, prosperous New Year! May your lives be filled with joy and love, now and in the coming year!



Sunday, December 12, 2010

Wonderful Read!

It's been a while. Things have been hectic as usual. But I've just finished reading a book that I can't stop thinking about: Courting Morrow Little, by Laura Frantz. The characters, the drama, the beauty of the setting, all resonated deeply within me. I can't stop thinking about the characters.

A romance so beautiful it makes you sigh. A hero, half-Shawnee Indian, half-white that makes you melt. His thoughtfulness, dignity, pride and attention to the heroine, all combine to create the perfect romantic hero.

Laura Frantz starts her story slowly, building each layer of the relationship step by step, until the beauty of the couple's love overtakes you. I could see the scenes playing out in my mind like a movie.

If you have a chance to pick up "Courting Morrow Little", you won't be disappointed.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


You may or may not know that I'm a aspiring romance writer, unpublished at present, but hoping to one day find my words in print. As part of the learning process, I submit my work to different contests, mostly to receive professional feedback on my work.

Today I received two judges' comments on my latest contest entry, and the extreme dichotomy of their remarks makes me wonder how we writers do what we do. The only way is to develop a very Thick Skin.

Here's why: The first judge loved my entry. Almost every comment she wrote was glowing praise, happy faces, loved this! etc. At the end, she wished me well, and felt this was at a publishable level and she looked forward to reading the rest of my story one day soon. Bubbles of elation, inner happy dances - what every writer wants to hear!

Then I opened the second one. I had a suspicion this one wouldn't be so good, otherwise, I would have been a finalist for sure. Nothing however prepared me for the complete demoralization contained within. Not one good comment. Everything was over-the-top negative. She might as well have told me never to write again. And believe me, if I had been brand new (which she thought I was), and hadn't some contest wins and high placements under my belt, I probably would've quit writing then and there!

How dare someone be so cruel? I have also been on the opposite side of the fence and have judged several contests myself. And, yes, I have had to read some entries that I hated. But I have tried my best to always give some positive feedback first and then give gentle suggestions on improvement. It is not up to me to end the dream of some new writer. No one can ever please all the people. For example, millions of people LOVE Stephen King. I, do not. As a judge, I realize that if I don't care for an entry, someone else will probably love it. So who am I to say this is not a viable story?

A judge's duty is to point out the good and the bad in a professional manner. There is no room for rudeness or cruelty. Most writers I have met on line and in person have a very sensitive side. Most creative people do. To bulldoze someone's dreams is not acceptable.

The only thing left to do is vent (which I'm doing here) and get on with the business of writing. Oh, and maybe stick my tongue out, just to feel better!

To all my fellow aspiring writers, may we lift each other up in encouragement and help heal the wounds of rejection when they come. BOY, DO THEY COME!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Happy Birthday & Prayer Request

Had to stop by and wish my lovely daughter a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! It's almost the exact time she was born, and on the same day, a Monday! What a thrilling day that was for our family - my first child and my mom's first grandchild! I am so grateful that she was born healthy and she's now a very vibrant young woman.

While I'm taking a time out from celebrating with lasagna and cake, I'm thinking of another new mother, Krista, whose little girl Annabelle, is in serious need of prayers. She's had two heart surgeries in her first few weeks of life. I can't imagine how upsetting this is for her parents. So I'm doing as requested and pasting a blog below asking for prayers! Please pass it on if you can.

Dear Lord, Please bless dear little Annabelle and her parents. Give them strength to endure this difficult road, and bring them healing and peace. Amen.

Here's the request from another blog:

"IT'S MY MISSION TODAY - to get as many of you praying and reposting the request on your blogs! Let's place this precious little baby girl before the feet of the GOD who parted the Red Sea!

Here's what you do

1. Check out Krista's blog and familiarize yourself with her dear little Annabelle (
2. Cut and paste this entire blog entry and post on YOUR blog
3. Post a comment on my blog with YOUR blog address and where you're blogging the prayer request and I'll be sure to pass it on to Krista
4. Post on Krista's blog a prayer (keep it relatively short) that she read ACTUAL words of prayer being lifted for Annabelle
5. Continue to pray ... indefinitely :)

Are you with me??"

Annabelle & her family need your help!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Author Deeanne Gist

One of the biggest joys in my life is finding a new author to read. After discovering Tamera Alexandra several months ago, (see earlier posts), this week I had the pleasure of reading "Maid to Match", by Inspirational author, Deeanne Gist. From the very beginning, I couldn't put the book down. Deeanne's description of life at the Biltmore estate in Asheville, North Carolina was riveting.

The forbidden romance between Tillie and Mack, servants on the estate, is delicious. Tillie's ambition to become lady's maid to Mrs. Vanderbilt is jeopardized by her attraction to Mack. Mack needs his job as a 'useful man' to get his sister out of the orphanage and away from the abusive orphanage director. Lots of conflict, lots of stolen kisses.

A fantastic read from beginning to end. I highly recommend it and look forward to reading more works by Ms. Gist!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Movie Review & Some News!

Finally got to see the new Twilight movie "Eclipse". Once again, the movie kept very true to the book. The effects were excellent and the characters well done.

The only thing I thought lacking was the chemistry between Bella and Edward. In the first movie, the romantic tension was palpable on the screen. In New Moon, Edward was hardly in it, so it was tough to tell. But in this third movie, I didn't feel the anguish that Bella was feeling, torn between loving two men. That came across much stronger in the book. However, all in all, I was happy I went to see it on the big screen.

On the home front, my big news is that I found out I came second in the Touched By Love Contest, sponsored by the Faith, Hope & Love Chapter of the Romance Writers of America! This is very good news to me and a sign that I am on the right track with my writing. It has given me the inspiration I need to keep on writing!! After finaling, my entry was judged by 5 published authors. I only hope I get to read their comments at some point.

Here's a cyber toast with bubbling champagne! To all the wonderful writers out there.



Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Hi there! Sorry I've been Missing In Action. Sometimes I can't think of a thing to blog about - and other times, I'm too busy! SO today I'll just jot down a bunch of random things that have been happening.

1. My latest 'work in progress' is a finalist in the "Touched By Love" inspirational contest! I needed this affirmation very badly and am very grateful for the lovely judges who liked my work. Will find out at the end of July where I ended up in the final round.

2. Hit some milestones in May - hence the 'busyness' of my life. My husband and I achieved 25 years of marriage. Whew! That's a big one. We had a nice dinner out together (minus the kids). Someday when we have money, I'd love to travel. Maybe by our 30th?

3. The other big milestone (dare I confess) was turning 50! Friends of mine took me out to the King Edward Hotel in Toronto to have high tea. Very British! It was amazing! The decor, the gorgeous china, the architecture, and , of course, the FOOD! The tea was amazing as well. You got to pick your blend from a selection of little glass jars. They added the leaves to your pot and kept refilling it with hot water. I swear I drank 4 pots in less than 2 hours. Which lead to checking out the lovely bathrooms! LOL.

4. My daughter's volleyball team went to Vancouver for the National Championships and did quite well. They came 4th in tier two! Way to go Peel Selects! I did not go with her, but my husband did. I had to stay home because our son was having his Confirmation that weekend. So I had a small family celebration for him. For one whole weekend, I had a very tidy house! Two less people to dirty it up.

5. The other family milestone was my great-uncle celebrated his 70th anniversary as a priest! We went downtown Toronto to participate in the festivities and saw quite a few relatives that I haven't seen in a while.

So as you can see, I have been a little pre-occupied. The next milestone is my son's Grade 8 graduation on Monday. Then maybe I can look forward to my two week summer vacation! And some sleep!

Cheers until next time!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A New Author I've Discovered

I've recently discovered an author I just love! Her name is Tamera Alexander. She writes historical romance set in the frontier land of Colorado Territory. Tamera uses the setting as almost another character - so real and vivid is the feeling as you read it.

So far, "Beyond this Moment" is my favourite of her books that I've read. Dr. Molly Whitcomb comes to Timber Ridge with a huge secret. Of course, falling in love with the Sheriff only complicates the whole problem. Starting over in a new town is not as easy as Molly thinks!

Tamera's books are the type that you can't wait to get back to once you've put it down, and then when you've finished, you miss the characters terribly.

If you ever have the chance, give her books a try. You won't be disappointed!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Avatar is Amazing!

I finally got to see the movie, AVATAR, yesterday, right before the Academy Awards later that night. It was worth the admission price, that's for sure.

James Cameron has created an amazing alien world, with a race of blue people called Na'vi, with their own language, social class and spiritual values. They are very close to nature and respect all life forms. There are many themes in this movie, good vs. evil, money/greed vs. nature/spirituality, betrayal and love, etc.

What I admired most from the whole movie was Cameron's imagination and creativity. His ability to take a vision, a dream actually, and make it into reality. Isn't that what we as writers try to do with every story?

I hope I can paint with words the type of beauty Cameron has painted with his film.

Monday, March 1, 2010


Woo-hoo! How exciting was that hockey game for the Gold Medal? Well, I guess it was much more exciting if you were cheering for Canada! LOL! And believe me, we were!

Sidney Crosby is now Canada's newest hero! What an awesome goal! History in the making. I was only a youngster when Paul Henderson scored his infamous goal in 1972, but I think this Olympic Gold Medal game will outshine that wonderful memory.

I am so proud of all our Canadian athletes. They did an amazing job. And to all the people in Vancouver who helped make these 2010 Olympic Games such a magnificent event, my sincerest thanks and congratulations!

I only have one question... What will we watch on TV now?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

True Courage!

Like most people around the world, I have been captivated by the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. Between hockey, skiing, curling, speed skating, figure skating, it's hard to keep up with all the events!

And each event brings with it stories about the athletes involved. How hard they've worked to get here, the sacrifices they and their families have made along the way. The triumphs and the tragedies all tug at our hearts.

But no story has touched more people than that of French Canadian figure skater, Joannie Rochette. This woman personifies the word "Courage".

First imagine the excitement of awaiting your family to join you for the biggest event of your life. Your parents arrive in Vancouver and tragedy strikes. Your mother, your biggest fan and supporter, dies of a heart attack. The shock of such an event would devastate anyone, never mind an athlete expected to give her all to her craft.

Despite the shock, the grief and indescribable pain, Joannie performed her short program as scheduled. What kind of courage did it take for her to step out onto that ice Tuesday evening? What kind of mental fortitude did that require? One can only speculate.

As a spectator watching her give her all to that program, and performing well enough to achieve third place, only to fall to pieces with the roaring of the crowd afterwards, I was moved beyond words. What a wonderful example to all the young people everywhere of strength, determination, integrity and courage.

We will be wishing Joannie every blessing and good wish tonight as she performs her free skate. May her guardian angel be with her as she again conquers her pain to perform for herself, her family and her country.

Bonne chance, Joannie! Canada loves you!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

As a romance writer, I feel compelled to add a blog today celebrating romance and love!

In this light, what better way to celebrate love than with a kiss. Kisses epitomize romance to me, in print and on screen. So I've decided to add a small excerpt from one of my manuscripts showing a kiss between my hero and heroine, Allie & Jason. Long-time friends, this is their first kiss.

Hope you enjoy!

"Allie clung to him, allowing his hands to soothe the tension from her back muscles. Jason was the one person who understood what that night had done to her, the havoc it had wreaked on her relationship with her family, and on the rest of her life. Through it all, Jason had never condemned her for her foolhardy actions that night, never once told her how stupid she’d been. He’d remained her staunchest defender.

She felt him pull her closer as if their bones could meld together, offering her solace and strength. All of a sudden, she became acutely conscious of that strength, the band of steel his muscled arms formed around her. His lips in her hair, whispering words of comfort.

In that moment of awareness, something changed between them. She felt Jason’s lips moving to her cheek, then slowly downward, inch by silky inch, until they neared her mouth.

Her heart seemed to stand still in her chest, her breathing stalled in her lungs. He hesitated for a fraction of a second before he touched his lips gently to hers, as if experimenting to see how she’d react. Her body began to hum, like a thread of electricity moved through her. She strained up to push her mouth more firmly to his.

Somewhere through the haze of grief, passion sparked. Reaching up, she entwined her arms around his neck, plunging her fingers into the thick mass of his hair. She kissed him back with a fervor long held in check. Her heart raced, her knees sagged like they were made of rubber. His tongue tangled with hers, his hands moved up her back and into her own hair. She thought she heard him groan, and then, just as quickly as it had started, he pulled his mouth away.

She stared at him, dazed. His whiskey colored eyes looked almost black, the irises fully dilated.

“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done that.”

“I’m glad you did,” she whispered."

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! However you choose to celebrate, may your day be filled with romance and kisses!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Two Goals Accomplished!

Everyone is talking about goals these days. Writers especially seem to love to set goals for themselves. Word count goals, submission goals. Myself, I think this adds too much pressure (These days I'm all about de-pressurizing - there's a new word!)

I've heard so many varieties. Write 100 words a day. Write for 20 minutes a day. Write a chapter a week. Write a book in a year (that one is usually not bad). But honestly, I just don't have the time or inclination to keep such stringent records. And if I don't do what I was supposed to that day or week, then I beat myself up about it. Another reason why I don't do New Year Resolutions. I always want to lose 10-20 pounds. Does it happen? No. One day I'll be ready for that. In the meantime, I don't want to constantly feel bad about it. So I exercise when I can, and try to watch what I eat.

However, this past week or so, I did accomplish two important things.

1. I submitted a short story to a local newspaper contest. This was a challenge because I haven't written a short story since elementary school. I went on-line to research what a short story entailed, and then WROTE IT! I don't even know where the idea came from. It just appeared, fully formed, in my head. And it is now in the mail! Aside from the monetary winnings, first prize includes tuition to a college writing program. Wish me luck!

AND ...

2. I took out my resume, blew off the dust, and revised it for the first time in about 11 years. And I sent it out to the place I most would like to work - the Library! (I think I should have been a librarian! LOL) Not that there is even a hint at a job opening, but hey, wishful thinking (or should I say positive thinking) never hurts.

So even though I don't consciously set goals, I do congratulate myself when I achieve one or two!

How do you celebrate achieving your goals??

Saturday, January 23, 2010


It's that time of year where the January blah's set in. TV is rather boring, except for the new season of the Bachelor! Poor Jake is getting twisted every which way by these women. Who will he choose?

I did go and see "New Moon" which I enjoyed very much. Of course, having read the book makes a big difference, I think. Lots of great conflict in this story. Great effects, too.

Another movie I've seen recently, was Amy Adams in "Leap Year". This was very cute! And the Irish setting was wonderful. Anyone who likes romantic comedies will love this one.

I haven't yet seen "Avatar" but my son and husband assure me it's a must see on the big screen (3D glasses and all!) I hope to get there before it leaves the circuit.

On the smaller screen, I have become re-aquainted (and somewhat obsessed, I must confess) with the mini-series "The Thorn Birds". I got it on DVD for Christmas and was prepared to be disappointed. I hadn't seen it since it originally aired in the early 80's and figured I had romanticized it in my memory. But I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it again. I'm reading the book too, but am a little disappointed with it. There's too much description of landscape and the war for my liking. So I tend to skip through a lot. Good lessons for my writing though. Slow pacing is indeed a killer!

On the writing front, I am trying my hand at a short-story. A local newspaper is hosting a short story contest, so I challenged myself to try it. I have a new-found respect for shorter fiction. It's really hard to get everything into 2,500 words. I have been chopping without mercy to get it down to size. One final edit and it should be ready to enter!

What are you doing to keep your spirits up this winter?