Pull back the curtain and see how a suspense writer puts the thrills and chills together.


Beating the Birthday Curse

Hello Dear Readers,
Thanks for all the wishes for a better birthday. I do seem to have finally managed to beat the birthday curse–it was a wonderful weekend. I spent Saturday with my awesome friend Donna, who presented me with six tiny plants that she grew in her own greenhouse. (This pic is of us at my ill-fated co-ed sleepover a couple of years ago.) I love getting new plants for my garden, and knowing that Donna grew them herself makes them all the more special.

We went for lunch at Kenko, my favorite sushi restaurant of all time, followed by ice-cream at the Marble Slab Creamery. As you can no doubt tell, I was taking full advantage of my weekend off from the Jillian plan. Coconut ice-cream with fresh strawberries and gummy bears…what could be better than that? And the sun made an appearance, just in time for us to enjoy our ice-cream on the patio. We then proceeded to spend way too much money at a garden centre.

The Birthday Curse made a brief reappearance when the restaurant I wanted to go to for dinner turned out to be permanently closed! But The Boy saved the day by booking the only available reservation at Inferno’s, a marvelous little French fusion bistro in our neighborhood. I savoured my favorite appetizer of cambenzola frit with raspberry coulis, and ordered spicy lamb pasta in a tzatziki sauce for my entree. Everything was delicious, even though it wasn’t the Italian comfort meal I had originally hoped for.

Sunday, my actual birthday, was a gorgeous day–warm and sunny, without a cloud in the sky. The Boy and I spent it at Fort Whyte, which is a massive nature preserve with hiking trails, lakes, an interpretive centre, marshes, etc. Our field trip started off on a high note when I spotted a garter snake! The Boy caught it for me so we could snap a few pictures before letting it go. Was it ever squirmy! Holding it for even a minute was not easy. It had the tiniest bright red tongue–very cute.

Our next encounter with nature was even more charming. We spotted a female duck, bottom-up in a pond, eating duckweed. She came up for air, and swam slowly across the water, so we followed her, and I’m so glad we did. When she got to the edge of the pond, she hopped out, crossed the path, and dove into another lake. Once she started swimming in this one, she began to quack repeatedly, like she was calling someone. We soon discovered why, as an entire flock of the tiniest baby ducklings began to swim towards her. There had to be almost a dozen! May is a great time to see new spring babies in this part of the world.

As we headed to the Buffalo Stone Cafe for a lunch of bison burgers, we came across two Canada Geese who were watching us very carefully. We hadn’t seen them under the trees as we approached, so we were a lot closer than was probably safe (Canada Geese are large birds that can be vicious if cornered or threatened.) At their feet was a clutch of adorable, down-fleeced goslings. They were so cute! I’ve never seen a gosling in the wild before, so this was a big treat. I’m really surprised the parents let us get so close, but they must get really used to people at Fort Whyte.

We stopped to view the bison herd and their calves before heading home. It was a long day with a lot of walking, including one brutal trek out of the park and down the highway before we arrived at the bus stop. Thankfully, we acquired a walking partner who made the journey a little more interesting. This lovable woodchuck waddled along with us for quite a while, making us laugh with his antics. He certainly was in quite a hurry! This was the first time I’d ever seen a woodchuck, but it was a day of firsts. We ended the day with a stop at the Dairi-Whip for ice-cream cones–a perfect end to a perfect day.

It was a good year for presents, too. The Boy got me more food memoirs for my collection, three one-on-one private coaching sessions with my kickboxing kru, and a ticket in the local hospital lottery. There’s 3.3 million dollars worth of incredible prizes up for grabs, including two million-dollar show homes and some amazing vacations. My chances of winning are one in twenty, which aren’t bad odds. We had a fun time dreaming about the possibilities.

Now the weekend is over and it’s back to work, and back to the Jillian plan. I have to admit that my enthusiasm for this plan has waned since my time off. How do you motivate yourself to work out when you just don’t feel like it? I’m hoping The Biggest Loser finale will help inspire me!

Making the Cut, Day Eight (again): Have kept to the eating plan, but so NOT looking forward to tonight’s work out. Help!
To bed at: 10:40 p.m.
Awake at: 6:45 a.m.
Novel pages written: TBD. Had to be at work early this morning, so I’m stuck writing at night again.

Thanks for reading!
1 part newsletter, 1 part unnerving updates,
2 parts sneak peeks of new projects.


  1. Chris

    Re. Biggest Loser – Koli was robbed! He lost the highest percentage of weight yet lost out on the grand prize because of a personality contest. Ah well… Michael deserved it. Can you imaging starting out at 526 pounds and ending at 262? Wow.

  2. Story Teller

    Yes, I know you’re steaming. 🙂 I thought Koli should have won, too. But in the end, it’s a reality TV show – it’s not designed to be fair. Koli could have been eliminated at any step along the way, and still would have ended up with only $100,000. The way I look at it, he has a great new body and a hundred grand – not too shabby!


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