K is for Knowing When to Quit

Hi everyone,

I have some disappointing news. Even though it is really difficult for me to drop out of something once I’ve committed, I’m afraid I’m going to have to withdraw from this year’s A to Z Challenge.

This was my third year of the A to Z, and I find it so valuable and a lot of fun. I enjoy reconnecting with my blogger friends and discovering new ones to follow. But this year I definitely bit off more than I can chew…and then my personal life imploded. So spending four hours a day writing blogs, reading blogs, and commenting on blogs is not how I can or should spend my time right now.

I’m also leaving the country for part of the month, which was adding a ton of extra pressure.

I will return to the blog in June with renewed energy, posting each Tuesday in the same vein as the topics you’ve enjoyed so far this month. These spooky posts are the regular focus of this blog, so if you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read, please consider signing up to my blog or checking back in June. I’ll respond to any unanswered comments at that time, so hopefully we can get back in touch then.

My apologies to the A to Z committee and everyone else who has been working so hard on the Challenge. If there was any way I could make it work, I would, but it’s just impossible.

I’ll probably be back next year, but I’ll definitely plan things better the next time.

Welcome!

This is a very big day for me!

Welcome to my new website. I am so happy with it, and I have to give my dear friend Kyla Roma tons of props for doing such an amazing job. I was really concerned about communicating my vision to a designer, especially since I wasn’t entirely sure what my vision was.

Thankfully, Kyla is very skilled at reading between the lines, and from the very first version, I was thrilled. She totally nailed it! I hope you love it as much as I do.

But that’s not everything that’s new. If you click here, you will see my awesome book trailer! Created by Jarrod Tully and Drew Kozub of Storm the Castle Media, it’s a spooky sneak peek at my new novella, The Bear Who Wouldn’t Leave, which Samhain Horror will release as an eBook on May 5, 2015. In October, you’ll be able to purchase the full Childhood Fears Anthology as a trade paperback.

I had so much fun shooting the trailer. Working with Jarrod and Drew is always a blast, and it’s a thrill to introduce you to a very promising young actor, Ian Argue. Ian was a true professional who made our lives a lot easier. And he loves horror, which is a bonus! I’d like to thank everyone who was involved in the project, with a special shout out to Kim Sheldon, who lent us her home and her son for hours upon hours.

If you sign up for my newsletter, you’ll be able to read my novel Lost for free. I’m planning to publish the newsletter quarterly, unless there is really big news that requires a special edition. You can sign up without fear, because I’m never going to inundate you with crap or spam you with constant appeals to buy my book. I promise.

Thanks so much for all of your support and encouragement. Please let me know what you think of the site and trailer in a comment, and if you like what you see, please share, share, share!

Love you guys. xoxo

Holiday Treats: The Virtual Cookie Exchange Blog Hop

I’ve always wanted to participate in one of those cookie exchanges. What a fantastic idea! You bake lots of your favourite cookie, attend a party with other cookie bakers, and leave with a fabulous array of holiday treats that make it seem like you’ve spent months in the kitchen.

Well, my wish (kind of) came true! I’ve been asked to join a virtual cookie exchange created by the lovely Linda Poitevin. Virtual eating is no where near as fun as the real thing, but virtual baking and virtual clean up? That I can definitely handle.

Many thanks to Vanessa of Thodestool for inviting me to the party! If you check out all the invited guests’ posts, you’ll be able to collect 341 new cookie recipes…how cool is that?

As for me, it was really difficult to choose just one. There’s so many cookie recipes that I grew up with and absolutely adore. In honour of my Scandinavian heritage, I decided to go with Anise (or Aniseed) Cookies. If you’re from Scandinavia, chances are your holiday baking revolves around three spices: anise, cardamom, and caraway seeds. Anise lends a delicate liquorice flavour to these cookies, and it’s absolutely delicious. Trust me! I used to eat the seeds like candy when I was a kid.

**Note: While these cookies are easy to make, they do require two hours of chilling, so don’t try to whip them up at the last minute. Also, they don’t really brown. You’re looking for a hardening of the dough. If you leave them until they’re brown, they’re burnt. Very much like shortbread that way.

Anise Cookies (recipe from Harrowsmith)

1 1/4 teaspoon anise seeds
1/4 cup soft butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups flour

Crush anise seeds with a rolling pin or grind with a mortar and pestle and set aside. Cream butter, then gradually add sugar, mixing well. Add eggs one at a time, beating each time. Add vanilla. Stir in anise seeds, and gradually add flour, stirring sufficiently to mix. Chill the dough for two hours.

Remove dough from the refrigerator and knead lightly on a floured pastry board. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out to half an inch thickness. Cut the cookies with a cookie cutter of your choice, place on a greased cookie sheet, and bake at 350 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes or until dough starts to firm.

Makes approximately four dozen cookies.

Enjoy! What is your favourite holiday treat?

Thanks for reading!

Why Women Don’t Go To The Police

One question keeps getting asked about the Jian Ghomeshi situation….

“Why didn’t the victims go to the police?”

I understand why people are asking this. In fact, I asked it myself at first.

And then I read the stories of young women who had entry-level jobs in media. Women who hoped to make something of themselves. Women who were excited that this “big star” was paying attention to them.

Women who thought their careers would be ruined if they said anything, and I got it.

I thought about my own story.

In October of 1991, I broke up with my verbally abusive boyfriend.

On the same night, he attacked me. I was in a truck with a male friend, and my ex drove his car into my friend’s truck SEVEN times–while we were driving. My ex only stopped when my friend managed to flag down the police.

A high-speed chase ensued before the cops were able to catch my ex-boyfriend.

My friend and I went to the police station to give statements.

There were at least three other guys in my ex-boyfriend’s car when he did this. Presumably, they gave statements as well, and I heard through a third party that they were horrified by the guy’s actions–that they hadn’t seen it coming.

My spine was fractured in two places due to this little “adventure.” For years, I couldn’t stand, sit, or lie down in the same position for more than five minutes without extreme pain. A doctor told me I’d be in a wheelchair within a few years, but thankfully she was wrong.

I’ve done a lot to heal myself through exercise and healthy living, but I still suffer from chronic back and neck pain, as well as brutal migraines. That will never change.

So there you have it.

My ex wasn’t famous. He wasn’t a beloved media celebrity with the court of public opinion on his side.

He broke my spine in two places. I reported it to the police–several people did, and the police witnessed part of this mess themselves when they had to chase him down.

And what happened to this guy? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. He counsels troubled youth now–how’s that for chilling?

I have nothing against police officers. I count some of them among my closest friends, and I realize they have a very difficult job to do.

But if the attack on me–which was extremely public and violent–didn’t have any repercussions for the perpetrator, how could we expect any of these women to put so much on the line and maybe still not get any justice in return?

Sometimes going to the police just doesn’t work.

That said, I encourage anyone who has been abused or assaulted to file a report.

Just don’t point to a lack of reports as evidence the women are lying.

Thanks for reading!

Seven Things I WILL Miss About Living Here

The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra: one of my favourite things about
living here.

Ever feel like the universe is trying to tell you something? Last winter was the worst my city had experienced in almost 100 years, and this summer is probably going to set a record for rainfall. Some nearby towns and cities have declared a state of emergency, and one of my favourite restaurants had to temporarily shut down because they didn’t have power.

In times like this, it can be easy to forget all the good things about living here. But there are a few, and here’s my list of things I will miss about living here, in no particular order.

1) The people. Originally I planned to live here for two years. The reason I’ve stayed so long can be summed up in one word–people. While this can be a difficult city to break into–most locals have lived here forever–once you’re in, you’re in. I’ve made such incredible friends over the years, and I’ve finally gotten to a place where everyone in my life is amazing. Gone are the bad friends and romantic disasters of my youth.

2) Steady work. The work is another reason I’ve stayed as long as I have. Being a freelancer can be scary, but most editors here know my name and are familiar with my work. I usually have more work than I can handle, and if I ever have a slow time, it’s only a matter of making a few calls or sending some emails. I never take this for granted–I know I am very, very lucky not to have to struggle.

3) Sense of community. I was raised in a small town where I knew almost everyone. Moving to a city where I knew no one was pretty scary. But now I bump into at least one person I know every time I leave the house. It’s taken me years to stop feeling like a newbie, and it feels good to know that if I’m ever in trouble, this city has my back.

4) Supporting cast. It takes time and effort to cultivate a great support system. I have an amazing

My fight camp at Kwest Kickboxing

doctor. A wonderful muay thai club with a reliable coach and friendly fellow fighters. A hair dresser who has become my friend over the years. The best drywaller ever. A great accountant. Kick ass references, should I ever need them. The awesome banking manager at my credit union, who is always available with suggestions and advice. Having to start over again from scratch will be more than a little daunting.

5)  Familiarity. They say that familiarity breeds contempt, but I like knowing how to garden in this city–what will grow, and how to grow it. I like being able to try out a new recipe, and finding everything I need at the local store (well, most of the time). I like knowing the difference between the neighbourhoods, and having a basic understanding of each bus route. When we move to an island, cooking North American recipes will be impractical, if not impossible, which means my treasured collection of cookbooks will be completely useless. Gardening will be vastly different–I’ve heard moving to Palau may mean giving up strawberries–I can’t even imagine that. When it comes to food on a remote island, what’s available is what’s in season, period. While it’s a better way to live and eat, I’m sure it’s going to be a huge adjustment.

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet

6) The arts scene. This city has an incredible amount of cultural experiences available–from a top-flight symphony and ballet to great concerts, festivals, art galleries, museums, and live theatre. There is always something to do here, and you usually don’t have to look that hard to find it. If you love the arts, this isn’t a bad place to live. While the close-knit community of an island will certainly have a distinctive arts scene, most likely including local artisans and traditional music and dance, it won’t be on anywhere near the same scale. I feel fortunate that I’ve been able to take advantage of the great arts and culture this city has to offer.

7) The restaurants. Feel like sushi? How about Thai? Or pizza, samosas, gyros, Vietnamese noodle bowls, dim sum and traditional British pub grub? It’s all here and then some. Every cuisine in the world is represented by at least one restaurant, if not ten. Before I moved here, I had no idea that I loved doro tibs, an Ethiopian chicken dish, or Japanese crepes stuffed with fruit, or saganaki–a Greek dish that is basically a pool of melted cheese. Moving to an island will give me the opportunity to try a whole new cuisine, but I’m sure I’ll eventually miss the great variety available in this city. However, I will not miss the ubiquitous coffee-and-donut chains that seem to be on every corner, or the fast food places. I can do without both.

Going for dim sum with friends is such a fun experience

If you were to move tomorrow, what would you miss?

Thanks for reading!

Five Things I Won’t Miss About Living Here

Hello Dear Readers,

Sorry for the late post. I had some unexpected drama last night when I discovered my basement was taking on water. Needless to say, it wasn’t the good kind of excitement. I’ve got a pretty good house, but it’s old, so it’s kind of like living in a time bomb. I never know what (horribly expensive) thing is going to go wrong next.

It’s no surprise that, in moments like this, my thoughts turn longingly to my island dreams. So, without further ado, here’s five things I won’t miss about living in my North American city.

1) Owning a home: Most of the places we’re considering, including Palau, do not allow expats to own property. Almost everyone rents. And even though my home has been a great investment, I’m relieved. I miss the days when a scary leak or a broken furnace were somebody else’s problem.

2) The weather: Old timers would say I have thin blood. I can’t stand the cold, so in my brilliance, I moved to a city that’s cold about eight months out of the year. (And even the summers aren’t guaranteed to be nice.) My ultimate goal is to never be cold again. The day I get to sell all my sweaters and coats will be one of the happiest of my life. For reference, here’s an awesome video that was made about our last winter.

3) Lack of privacy: As strange as it seems, moving to an island will give me more privacy, not less. In Palau, as long as you stay out of the capital city, there are places to live where you can look out your windows and see nothing but the ocean or trees. It’s like living in the country. I swore I would never buy a house where one looks out their window into another house, but I soon discovered there’s no choice in the city. Unless you’re independently wealthy.

4) My neighbours: The frightening thing about neighbours is that you have no control over who moves in next to you. With more space between us and the nearest neighbour, that won’t be as much of a problem. Currently, I have an older gentleman who likes to wander the neighbourhood screaming to people, along with his screaming grandchildren and the children they play with, who also scream. The guy on one side of us has a garage band that plays “Blue Suede Shoes” and “We’re Not Going to Take It” ad nauseam in his living room, and the one on the other side is apparently growing a dandelion farm in his backyard. At least I’ve made peace with the woman who constantly watches my house from across the street. That was pretty creepy at first.

5) My exs: As large as this city is, sometimes it feels like a small town. Everyone knows everyone, and that’s especially true of your ex. It’s hard to cut ties with someone after a brutal or painful relationship when a good portion of your friends are still friends with him. Or when he starts working for your former employer. Thankfully I’ve never dated anyone from my dojo, but I still have more opportunities to bump into an ex than I’d like–one lives less than a block away! The thought of starting over somewhere new is pretty damn appealing.

Of course there are many things I will miss, but I’ll tackle those in another post. If you were to move tomorrow, what would you make you the happiest as you waved goodbye?

Thanks for reading!

Five Things I Learned From Working With a Life Coach

Life coach for a year, friend forever.

When I first started working with Ashley of Your Super Awesome Life about a year ago, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Part of me (okay, a large part of me) was wary about all these “life coaches” who were suddenly hanging out virtual shingles and promising to solve all our problems.

But I was also feeling pretty desperate. I’d started working for myself again six months before, and things weren’t going like I’d hoped. I was sure I’d suddenly have “so much more time” when I became my own boss. After all, I used to work in an office eight hours a day, not including the commute. When those nine+ hours were suddenly mine again, just imagine what I could do!

Well, I didn’t have to imagine it anymore, because I was living it. And to say I was not impressed would be an understatement. The work I did for other people was still controlling my life and schedule, and I still wasn’t working on my big goals–the reason I started working for myself again in the first place! When I wasn’t doing client work, I was goofing off–spending hours on the Internet, having long lunches with friends, or taking bubble baths in the middle of the day. What was going on? Why was I sabotaging myself?

As my time with Ashley comes to a close, she asked me to write about what I learned from working with her. Maybe this could help some of you as well, whether you want to hire a life coach or not.

1) Nothing will work if you’re not committed. When I first began my work with Ashley, she gave me lots of homework. Since I really wanted to see results (and, being a people-pleaser, probably also wanted to impress her), I made sure I completed every assignment, even the really difficult ones. But as time went on, I started to make excuses for why I couldn’t complete my homework, and my progress suffered. (Big surprise.)

Unless you’re totally committed to the hard work involved in changing all the destructive patterns in your life, you can have the best coach in the world but she still won’t be able to help you. A life coach is there to offer suggestions and be a guide, but she can’t force you to do the work. That part, unfortunately, is still your job.

2) If you’re resistant to change, a life coach isn’t for you. People who ask for help typically do so because something is not working. One of the first things Ashley gently suggested was that I cut back on my freelance work. My answer? A resounding “NO!” As an impartial observer, she could look at my life and clearly see that I had way too much going on–and, as a result, I was focusing my energies on the “easy” stuff–my client work.

Meanwhile, I was convinced that all I had to do was stop wasting time and taking breaks, and once I did, there would be plenty of time for both my own personal goals and my freelance work. And I was right, up to a point. But so was Ashley when she said something had to give. What usually gives in my case is sleep and eventually my health. Because no one can juggle an insane schedule indefinitely and not burn out.

3) Life coaches don’t have all the answers. Sounds like a no-brainer, right? But when we hire someone to fix our lives, it’s tempting to think they will just look at what’s going on, tell us exactly what to do and what not to do, and solve all of our problems. Even if they are genius-level psychics, when was the last time you did everything people told you to do? There’s probably a reason you’re not doing those things.

A life coach can make suggestions and point you in the right direction, but even she will get stumped sometimes. A “magic wand” is different for everyone, and it’s your job to keep looking for it. Hiring a life coach is just part of your search. If you hire one and expect her to do all of the heavy lifting, you’re going to be disappointed. My magic wand ended up being the Jerry Seinfeld Productivity Secret,  and it was actually my boyfriend who stumbled upon it. You never know where the right answers will come from, so don’t stop looking.

4) All life coaches are not created equal. I was nervous before I began my work with Ashley. She was fairly new to the coaching game, and I was not her target market. But as it turned out, she was the best person for me to work with.

As someone who had recently started to work as a life coach, she wasn’t jaded. She was enthusiastic and kind. I never felt like I was just another client to her (even if I was), or that she was in a hurry to get off the phone so she could move on to the next person…which is probably why our sessions almost always ran overtime. Since she had a background as a family counsellor, she was prepared for and confident about the more personal issues I struggled with–she never made me feel silly or inappropriate for bringing them up.

Sometimes I wondered if I would have done better with a tough-love coach, something that I’ve pondered with kickboxing as well, but the truth is, tough love rarely works for me. I’m a sensitive soul with a soft heart, so Ashley’s cheerful, encouraging approach was perfect for me. She feels like a friend now, not just a coach, and I will probably bawl like a baby during our last call next week.

5) Sometimes you just need a friend. With all the achievements I celebrated during my year with a life coach–returning to the dojo (again and again), finally cleaning out my office, writing fiction again and finishing two new novels, figuring out my brand, etc.–it’s the personal moments that stand out the most. The time she listened to me cry over the sudden death of a dear friend, or heard me stress about an ongoing fight with a family member.

Even when we’d mostly solved my working day woes and my productivity levels were off the charts, I was reluctant to end my coaching relationship with Ashley. Working for yourself can be a really lonely, isolating thing. It’s so nice to have a friend who will listen to you without judgement; who will be a consistently kind, safe person for you to cry to when things get tough. There were lots of highs over the past year, but there were also lots of moments that broke my heart.

And that was one of the most valuable things about working with a life coach. Sometimes you just need someone in your corner.

I thank Ashley Wilhite with all my heart for being in mine.

Have you ever worked with a life coach? What was your experience? Or would you ever consider it? Why or why not? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Thanks for reading!

Ten Things That Were AWESOME About The ’80s

Hi everyone,
Hope you’re having an awesome week. I’m currently slogging through what I hope will be my last series of edits on Dragonfly Summer.
Jo, my protagonist, is forced (and I mean kicking-and-screaming forced) to go back to her hometown and investigate her childhood friend’s disappearance. Returning to the scene of the crime means Jo has to relive her past, and that means…yep, you guessed it–going back to the ’80s. But it isn’t all bad. Here, in my humble opinion, are ten things that were awesome about the ’80s.
1) The Music. Lots of great music was released in the ’80s, but when I talk about the sounds of the decade, I mean the bright, happy pop tunes. The power ballads. The faux-heavy metal hairbands. Wham. Depeche Mode. Glass Tiger. Bon Jovi, the early years. Duran Duran. Corey Hart. Prince. A-ha. Rick Astley. Poison. Madonna, the early years. I don’t think we realized just how much our school dances kicked ass. The synthesizer and the one-hit wonder would never reach such heights again.
2) Teen Movies. Thanks to John Hughes, the ’80s spawned a number of timeless teen movies that will be adored by generations to come. The Breakfast Club versus Bring It On? No contest. Seen Pretty in Pink lately? Molly Ringwald still looks good. Not an easy feat for the ’80s. (Okay, ignore the prom dress.)
3) The Toys. The original Strawberry Shortcake, Carebears, Charmkins, Rainbow Brite, Popples, Wrinkles…the list goes on and on. I’m not sure if the boys had as much fun, but I do remember Castle Grayskull being pretty damn impressive.
4) Keyboards. What’s happened to the keyboard, that miraculous instrument that can sound like all others…but shouldn’t.
5) So-Cheesy-They’re-Awesome Music Videos. This was the decade of the music video. A-ha’s Take On Me. Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer. Robert Palmer’s Simply Irresistible. Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Madonna’s Like A Prayer. The list goes on and on….This spoof with Hugh Grant is so on target, it made me laugh until I cried.
6) Jelly Shoes. Flexible, colorful shoes that look like candy? Sign me up. This is one trend I was happy to see return.
7) Berlin Wall Coming Down. There aren’t many moments in life when you’re keenly aware that history is taking place right before your eyes. And even fewer still when it’s taking place in a good way. This was one of them.
8) Epic Soundtracks. Star Wars. Raiders of the Lost Ark. Chariots of Fire. Need I say more?
9) Over-Accessorizing. When you see someone with an arm full of leather or rubber bracelets, you can thank the ’80s for that. Madonna in particular. She made over-the-top trend look cool.
10) The Original 90210. Once they lost Brenda, it was never the same. And don’t even talk to me about the new one.
and Ten Things That Should Stay in the ’80s…
 
1) Perms. Whoever thought that soaking our heads in toxic chemicals that smelled, burned our eyes, and fried our hair was a good idea must have been insane. If you had any hair left after the process, you got to look like this a few months later. Not good.
2) Banana Clips. The worst crimes against hair were perpetrated in the ’80s. There are so many to choose from, but this tacky mockery of Roman gladiator helmets is right up there.
3) Harem Pants. You know what’s flattering? Not harem pants.
4) Annoying Sitcoms. We are currently living in the era of the kick-ass drama. I approve. But in the ’80s, terrible sitcoms with their over-the-top canned laughter ruled. Full House, Family Matters, Charles in Charge, Small Wonder, Webster, My Two Dads, Mork and Mindy. Ugh. Even a lot of the “good” ones don’t hold up today. (To be fair, there are still awful sitcoms being made, but I no longer have to watch them. As an adult, I can just say no.)
5) Men Wearing Spandex. If it’s not the ballet, it should be banned.
6) Crop Tops. I see fashion designers are trying to trick us into thinking this is a good idea again. It isn’t.
7) Acid Wash. Our parents had a point when they asked us why we wanted our expensive jeans to look like they’d lost a fight with Clorox.
8) The Cold War. Constantly thinking the world was going to end in a nuclear war sucked big time.
9) Misuse of the words “ignorant”, “gay”, and probably a million others I can’t think of right now.
 
10) The Workout Wear. Aren’t you glad you don’t have to wear these stellar outfits to the gym?
What did you love or hate about the ’80s? What ’80s trend would you like to see return?
Thanks for reading!

Happy (Impending) New Year!

We’re almost at 2014, Dear Readers!

In the last few years, I’ve noticed this huge backlash against New Year’s resolutions. People say how stupid they are, how they’re made to be broken, and how they prefer to make their goals for a new year in September, etc.

Every time I write a post about resolutions, someone gets her panties in a knot. I don’t understand this. If you don’t like making resolutions, don’t make them. But if you enjoy the process, what does it hurt?

I’ve made New Year’s resolutions since I was a kid. I love the idea of a New Year being a completely new start, where you can reinvent yourself if you chose and recommit yourself to the things that are most important.

At this time of year, I usually look back at the previous year’s goals to see how I did. I’m always up for self-improvement, and I enjoy tracking my progress year by year. Sadly, I can’t find any resolutions for 2013, which is odd for me. I always make them. Maybe I just neglected to write them down? In any case, here are the big things I accomplished in 2013.

  • This was my first year working for myself again. It had its minor frustrations, but all in all, it was a wonderful year, and I’m sure next year is going to be even better!
  • I FINALLY finished my rewrites for Dragonfly Summer, which has been on my list for at least two years.
  • I wrote a new book, and almost all of a second one. I only have 20,000 words left to go on my first young adult novel.
  • I did quite a bit to further my writing career this year: I went on a writer’s retreat where I actually got some writing done (30,000 words in a week), attended a writer’s conference, entered Twitter pitch contests, and hired a life coach. I also started blogging one of my novels.
  • I finally returned to my kickboxing club after a 18-month hiatus. I haven’t gone as consistently as I’d like, but at least I have my foot in the door.
  • I finally watched my fight. This was a BIG thing for me. It took me almost two years to get up the courage.
  • I developed at least three new freelance contacts. Not sure if they’ll stick, but it’s always good to expand the business side of things.
  • I recommitted myself to this blog, posting three times a week as of October.
  • I made quite a few new friends and adopted a kitten.
  • Keeping my resolution to travel more, I spent two weeks in Curacao and joined a trip to Bali.
Here are my resolutions for 2014. It’s a big list.
  • Submit Dragonfly Summer to agents and editors in the spring. No excuses!
  • Rewrite Curacao book (no title yet).
  • Write FOUR new books: two in my upcoming Egyptian series, a horror novel I’ve had percolating for some time, and a children’s book, which is long overdue.
  • Rewrite my young adult novel.
  • Submit and market the Curacao and young adult novels.
  • Approach five new international markets for journalism.
  • Send query letter to Cooking Light.
  • Continue to blog three times a week.
  • Continue to sell stuff for move.
  • Start fixing up house for move.
  • Go on a “buying diet”.
  • Work towards fighting again, earning my green prajioud, or both, depending on whether or not I can maintain the focus needed to succeed in my writing goals.
  • Begin Spanish lessons.
  • Be a better girlfriend.
  • Get a website.
  • Kick my addiction to social media sites and identify time wasters and obstacles. Work on eliminating them.
The theme for 2014 is “Be OFF when off; ON when on”. I have a bad habit of being “kind of on” all the time. I often procrastinate when I have work to do, but on the flip side, I can rarely just relax without doing some kind of work in the background. I think I will make a lot more progress if I fully commit myself to whatever task is at hand, and THEN enjoy my leisure time without guilt (or working). Those who are closest to me will probably notice I’m on Facebook and email a lot less, but hopefully we’ll have more quality, meaningful time together.

As for this blog, I resolve to be a lot more honest. When I started writing A Life Less Ordinary, I’d hoped to remain anonymous so I could write openly about my life and what was important to me. That lasted about a minute, as everyone commented using my name. And, as I needed to use Facebook to promote it, keeping it a secret wasn’t going to work, anyways.

Using my real name has forced me to be careful about what I say. There have been many posts I’ve desperately wanted to write, but I’ve bitten my tongue, afraid of potential backlash. Then I wrote The Silent Killer. It was difficult and scary to write, but it seems to have resonated with people and maybe helped a couple of readers feel they’re not alone. This has shown me that speaking up, while terrifying at times, is worth it. So I’m going to do it more often…without venturing into the territory of over share.

My goal for 2014 is 156 posts! Please feel free to hold me accountable.

What’s your take on New Year’s Resolutions? Willing to share any goals for the future? Let’s inspire each other!

Happy New Year. Wishing you love, light, and all good things in 2014.

Thanks for reading!

Never Forget, Always Remember

Hello dear readers,

Ordinarily I’d be publishing my weekly happy list today, but out of respect for our veterans, I will be waiting until Tuesday.

November 11th is Remembrance Day in Canada and Veterans Day in the United States. On this day, we take a minute to remember the veterans and all the sacrifices they’ve made so we can live in free countries.

People who honor this tradition are not supporting war. They are recognizing that sometimes peace comes at a huge price.

Today I dedicate this blog and all the writing I will do to the brave men and women who served and still serve our country.

I will never forget your sacrifice. I am able to speak freely as a writer and as a journalist because of it.

Peace.

Thanks for reading!