When your passion finds you

I guess you might consider me a passionate person.  I get very excited about whatever it is that I’m working on. I think about it day and night, sometimes to the point that it interferes with my sleep. I’m never too upset about that part as some of my best ideas come at 4am.

I tend to be most passionate, some might say a little obsessed, about artistic pursuits.  Photography, cooking, a brief stint with an attempt to combine the two (food styling and photography is MUCH harder than it looks, I promise you!!!) and of course writing.

I’ve recently been writing weekly articles for www.lifestyleandstrength.com and it has caused a revelation of sorts for me.

Sometimes when we’re so busy trying to find our passion, it sneaks up on you. Sometimes  your passion finds YOU.

I’ve always taken my gym time very seriously, but would never have considered it an artistic pursuit… it’s just something that I must do for a myriad of reasons. What I hadn’t realized was that I absolutely LOVE writing about it.

While I may struggle from time to time with my fictional work, I can’t seem to shut the output valve off on the lifestyle and strength articles.

Now I have to figure out how to channel the non stop flow of ideas in to how in the hell to finish that second novel. The third novel is feeling a little crowded out in the very busy and passionate place between my ears.

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Why I Suck at Self Promotion

I think I’ll go with the first and most likely reason as to why I suck at self promotion… I AM CANADIAN.

I don’t mean to offend all of you OTHER Canadians who are self promotion geniuses. It’s just that typically we are very unassuming and exceedingly polite people. We apologize A LOT. And so with that thought in mind I will apologize for taking up your time today while you read this article.

I simply have a very hard time selling myself. Selling almost anything ELSE is a complete breeze. In fact some people have told me that selling is my true natural forte. ICK!

I even have a hard time sending an email to close friends and family telling them about some change in my world. I’m perpetually afraid of inconveniencing someone… anyone.

It’s not that I don’t think I’m good at what I do (see now I even cringed a little at that one) it’s just that I feel somehow that everyone is busy… we’re all busy, and have things we need to get done or sold or whatever our goals are. ALL OF US… not just me. So why would any of you want to take time out of your own day to read about me?

I’m working on this little problem, but wouldn’t it all be so much better if someone else just told the world what an awesome writer I am? Sorry about that… carry on.

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Karma: Not Always Such a Bitch

I believe in Karma. Those of you who know me, or even those of you who have read my work see plenty of evidence that I fully believe in Karma… for better or worse.

I think that getting what’s coming to us is a good thing. I think that it keeps us balanced and honest (or at least for the most part).

The other day while in the check out line at the grocery store I looked down under my cart and I saw what amounted to 3 or 4 dollars in change. I looked to and fro for the person who may have dropped it as the cashier rang up my purchases. I called out to the nearest woman, who shook her head.  I looked at the other cashiers, but still could not find the person whose wallet had clearly upended in the line.

I bent down to collect up each piece, dismissing the thought of what filth I might also be coming into contact with. I handed the coins over to the cashier explaining that I didn’t know what else to do with it, but laughed as I said that I was keeping the lone penny… for luck!

I checked my phone once my groceries were loaded into the car and saw a new email. It was from a man who had just been to my site. He wanted to say how much he liked my writing. He was asking me to become a regular contributor to his site… his infinitely more popular site! My first article will appear Sunday.

So was it the good Karma for returning the change? Or is that old “pick up a penny” thing for real?

I hope that you’ll join me on Sunday mornings over at www.lifestyleandstrength.com It’s a very interesting site with tons of great info and now me!

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Truth in Fiction or Fiction in Truth?

I’ve been working on a short story, as I often do when I find myself stumped with my larger work in progress.  It’s going rather well and I will very most likely enter this new short story into a contest. It’s going so well in fact that I suspect that it will form a part of a much more in depth piece that I’m slowly plugging away at… a memoir… of sorts.

I’ve read that the difference between a memoir and an autobiography is artistic licence. I like those words; artistic licence.

What I’m struggling with is where the line between artistic licence and just plain old fashioned untruths is… or I guess I should say fiction. Right?

This particular story is based on a real life event which I recall with great fondness, and clarity. The problem is the real story isn’t nearly as funny as the one I’m spinning. Mostly I’m fine with that, but I’ve picked on a few people who maybe don’t totally deserve it, simply because it made the story flow more smoothly… and of course more humorously!

So do I keep calling it my life story and risk offending a few family members (alright it’s actually my big brother and a few cousins!) or do I alter it sufficiently to protect the innocent?

Just thinking out loud.

 

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Again with the Twitter excuses

Following are some of the reasons that I may have chosen NOT to follow you on Twitter.

 

The first reason has little merit other than it genuinely annoys me… personal problem I know, but what the heck, it is my account right! Anyone who talks about themselves in the third person automatically drops in my estimation.  Unless you are Barney Stinson and/or Dennis Quaid, you will not pull it off AT ALL…STOP DOING IT!

 

Next on the chopping block is anyone who discusses their love of the Lord, or quotes the bible in any way shape or form. Why oh why would you have followed me in the first place? If you have read any of my work, you would see rather quickly that I am not in least bit religious. In fact most of what I write gets right in the face of several of the commandments. Look I’m all for people believing in whatever they want to believe in… I have my own beliefs too. I just happen to think that they should probably be kept private. If you state right up front that you are (insert religion here) take this as my personal guarantee that I will not follow you. Presumably we will both be better off for it, so please see it for what it is.

 

If you are promoting a book, why would you choose another author to promote it through? I mean I get wanting to network, maybe have some nice conversations with people that you have something in common, maybe discuss different writing styles, problems, share solutions and so forth. But if you are actively trying to SELL me your book, please assume that I won’t buy it… I’ve got my own work to sell and I can only assume that you don’t have the time nor the interest in buying mine either.

 

Finally (well for now anyway) it would appear that there are many “best spouse in the world” out there. And if you claim to be married to one of them AND you are a writer, please explain to me (actually, no in fact, don’t bother) why you would include any information about how you have the best wife/husband/boyfriend/fiancee in the whole darn world? WHAT THE HELL does that have to do with your writing. Furthermore it makes me feel rather strongly that you are riddled with guilt and are sucking up, (and please please please keep it to yourself) who knows maybe you’re cheating and are going a little far out of your way… remember “Me doth thinks you protest too much”. Or perhaps you’re partner is actually such an insecure dick that requires this level of stroking or you fear he/she/it may wither without it. Regardless of the reason, I can’t imagine why you would make such an unlikely claim. Save if for your book dedication and don’t forget to include the words “…in my opinion.”

 

So if your bio reads something like this “Bob is the AUTHOR of ‘Why My Wife is the Greatest in the World’ He travels with God’s hand on his shoulder and will be visiting a town near you soon!” You can pretty much assume I will not follow you.

 

And what is it that makes me so special that I am able to make these judgements on others you ask? Well, with the support of the Lord and the greatest guy a girl could ever ask for! Of course! PS Buy my book! 😉 Right okay, so that’s not it and the real reason is… well I just don’t have one so clearly I’m just judgmental and vocal about it 🙂

 

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Preparing for my possible new future

As I sift through the multitude of projects that I have tinkered with over the lovely yet sometimes painfully long summer months, I realize that I have half planned far too many writing projects for myself. I know that I want to spend the rest of my life writing. Should I ever figure out how to combine it with my other love, photography, then I will be fulfilled, but for now I am terribly disorganized and wonder if this is truly my calling. It is entirely possible that I may be more appropriately suited for another line of work altogether… and I think I know what that is.

I am not an avid TV watcher, but every once in a while a show comes along that completely hooks me. Homeland is that show. I have just watched the entire first season (thank you Apple TV! how I adore you:) in less than a week. I won’t bore you with a lengthy description of the show itself, nor of the cast, but I will describe one scene for you.  CIA agents are interrogating an Afghan diplomat whom they believe to have information pertinent to their ongoing investigation. After seemingly several hours of questioning (in a predictably dimly lit, grungy room) the presumed terrorist is handed a purple Crayola and a sheet of paper. He is instructed to write down the names and addresses of any and all associates of the ring leader… then he is left.

This is where my possible new career comes in.

In order to extract the information from the now exhausted (and of course grimy and sweaty) Middle Eastern man, music is blasted at him in short bursts every thirty seconds or so. I recognized the genre immediately… Dubstep (I have a 14 year old son)  After a few minutes of this, the poor frazzled man is overcome and in his shaky hand he grips his little purple crayon and begins writing names down. We the viewers are supposed to marvel at the brilliance of the CIA and their supposed humane method of extracting information. All I could think was “That terrorist is a PUSSY! That’s every bloody day around this joint! What’s wrong scary criminal? Can’t handle a little electronic music blasting at you repeatedly at deafening decibels?”

It reminded me of another account (non fiction this time) of how interrogations were conducted. They apparently woke the suspect every three hours or so and made him move rooms.  Have none of these terrorists ever had children? I spent approximately the first 5 years of parenthood doing precisely that, in order to placate my own little terrorists.  Add to that some kicks to the stomach with (albeit tiny but undoubtedly powerful) feet and some biting in the really early months when the hunger of said tiny terrorists was peaking. and yet I persevere with my quest (motherhood!)

So there we have it… I clearly am fully equipped to withstand several different methods of interrogation. Now how do I find a possible employer?

**** this is intended solely as a humorous article and not intended to offend or demean any individual who has been subjected to any form of torture or interrogation… seriously! *****

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Just getting something off my chest

Okay, so I just unfollowed more than 500 Twitter “friends”. I feel a little guilty about it, so I will try to explain to anyone who cares to read this.

I use quotes as I don’t know any of these people. I’ve never had a conversation with any of the 500 or so, in the Twitterverse or otherwise. I have nothing against any of these people. In fact I’m sure many, if not all of them are fascinating, charming and knowledgeable people in their own right. I just couldn’t figure out why we were following one another. If it’s just a numbers game, I think that I will choose to keep mine low but meaningful.

I suppose it all began innocently, or perhaps idealistically enough when I first joined Twitter and wanted to meet like minded people. Isn’t that why we all join?

What I suddenly realized was that I had a tremendous amount of people on my timeline that I didn’t recognize in any way. They weren’t there to make conversation with me (nor I with them in all fairness), but rather to sell something. Something that I don’t need, nor do I have (since I being completely honest) the desire to research and become convinced that I do need. I would be willing to bet big money that these 500 or so feel much the same about my tweets.

On the other hand, I have made some wonderful friends on Twitter. Some who have been exceedingly helpful, supportive, encouraging or just plain fun and funny. I’ve met people that I consider real friends, people whom I look forward to one day meeting should our paths ever cross. I’ve learned so much from many of these people and they have enriched my life without doubt. That is a mere handful, nowhere near the almost 2,000 I was following. I’m still following over 1,300 and it seems positively ridiculous to me. I can’t possibly be in touch with that many people, nor support, retweet and #FF even with the help of Tweetadder or Hootsuite.  Even if I did, am I really benefitting anyone by blindly supporting without really knowing anything about a person and their product, purpose or otherwise?

Perhaps this seems naive, or at cross purposes with how Twitter is supposed to work, but I feel a need to fit myself into this particular social media platform in a way that I can believe in.

I am making a promise to myself from this day forward to only follow people  I believe that I can have a relationship with on some level, be it personal or professional. If this seems self indulgent or unkind in any way please accept my apologies.

 

 

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While I write… please enjoy this fun little bit

This was a short piece written from the point of view of the main character in my story.

Julianne gives us a quick look into her life and what A New Set of Rules is all about.

Enjoy and as always please let me know what you think of the piece!

 

So…irony, it’s a funny thing; one Christmas, my mum gave me a really nice carving knife, with a beautiful rosewood handle and a steel blade that never needed sharpening; she’d taped a penny to the blade.

“For luck.” She’d said.

When I tried to take that taped penny off, I sliced my thumb. Now, isn’t the irony of that just hilarious?

My story? It’s a series of taped pennies; situations that seemed to me at the time almost comical, they were so thick with irony. I don’t want to give away too much, suffice it to say, Karma is a bitch!

 

Don’t get me wrong, these taped pennies, were ultimately the best thing that could have happened to me.

They opened up a door in my life that may otherwise have remained firmly closed. I’ve always been ready for change, it’s important, and it’s usually been accompanied by adventures, so I’m always up for it.

So here was all this new information that I had to try and understand and frankly it was all I could do not to laugh uncontrollably… I worried briefly that perhaps the cheese had finally slipped off my cracker, but the truth of that matter was that I really wasn’t unprepared for any of it…it felt as though I’d been ready for it for a long time and I was sure going to embrace it. I was looking forward to what all this change would bring.

My adventure began in Manhattan; a short visit, but after that, I found myself questioning some of the choices I had made. I know, I know… that sounds a little clichéd, but life can be like that.

I understood almost instinctively that I could revisit any of the choices I’ve made, I could change them, if I really wanted to. I was euphoric. How could you not be?

Step one was simple; I wanted to reconnect with my great big and perpetually enthusiastic family, especially my sister Diana. She’s always had a way of zeroing in on a situation and pulling from it the most important details. She was also always the best at sniffing out an adventure!

With that uncanny ability, she convinced me to travel half way around the world in search of something…someone actually.

I didn’t have to search for long, it was almost as though he had been waiting for me; waiting for me still after all these years. I was spellbound by the romance of it all, a love affair that could withstand the test of time and of distance.

The next few days were a whirlwind…and as it would turn out, life changing in so many ways. Sometimes you pick at the tape around that penny and you cut yourself; sometimes that penny comes right off without so much as a scratch. That’s irony there; you just never know what’s going to happen next. Pick up a copy of A New Set of Rules and see for yourself.

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Writing and Reading Sex Scenes

I’ve been thinking a lot about sex…I’ve been wondering why some people can’t wait to get to the sex scenes and others simply squirm in their seats at the prospect of reading one.  I’m definitely in the former camp…the suspense leading up to a sex scene almost always has me on the edge of my seat (depends of course on how well it’s written!) I can NOT wait to get to the actual sex scenes, and have been known to skip ahead to them, or in really special cases,  re-read them several times (think Diana Gabaldon’s The Outlander!)

A really well written sex scene can be almost as good as the real thing…almost, maybe let’s not get carried away shall we! A great sex scene makes your breath quicken and can block out the whole world…it’s just you and the written word, romantic no? It stays in your memory for days or perhaps even weeks.  A well written sex scene doesn’t even have to use smutty language, although I should point out that I’m not remotely averse to it, I just choose to keep it out in case my Mum ever decides to read one of my books;)

I’m very interested in hearing your opinion of what makes a really great sex scene in a book…I want to hear it all, no holds barred, bring it on!

Stay tuned for an erotic fiction short story on this site soon…I have so many that I’d like to share with you

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