I am an author.

When I first found out that I was pregnant, after the hysteria passed, I got excited about all the things I would teach my child.  I would teach them everything I had learned.  I could show them what I knew of the world.  I planned on teaching them the same lessons I was grateful to have learned, and would avoid the lessons I wished I hadn’t learned.  But mostly I wanted to teach them the lessons I had learned too late; the ones that stung a bit too much to learn the hard way.  

Let me tell you, I was a way better parent before I had kids.  I was so wrong.  

When I met Halia, she let me know quite quickly that we weren’t going to be following my plan, because she had one of her own.  Halia has been my mirror since the day she was born, showing me how the world sees me, and always demanding to know the next step.  She’s kept me accountable for my actions, and forced me to be the best version of me I could be.  

And then I met Leona, who had a much different lessons for me.  

With Leona I’ve learned to stop and look around.  I’ve learned it’s okay to wander away from the crowd and dance when there’s a good beat, even if I’m the only one who can hear it.  I’ve learned the joy of being silly, and that it’s okay to wear plaid, florals and stripes in the same outfit as long as you have the attitude to go with it.  I’ve learned that everyone has a story, there’s an adventure to be found anywhere, and that there’s no limit to the number of times she can make me question my own sanity.  

So, having learned all these valuable lessons, I did what any parent would do: figure out a way to profit from their children.  

I’d like to thank everyone for coming and for those who helped make yesterday possible.  It’s been a fun ride and I’m humbled by the love and support I’ve been given.
A big thank you to Christina at Starving Artist Gallery Cafe for hosting the event and for her help throughout the planning process.  Everyone raved about the food, the art, the venue.  Everything was perfect.  And I even came home with some new art.
I can’t even express the gratitude I have for Becky, English Dave, and Del Davis.  Without their encouragement I might not have even tried.   I don’t know how I got so lucky to have such amazing friends as these three, but I am so grateful I do.
Thanks goes out to John, who still loved and supported me even when I was going (still am) a bit crazy with stress and being stretched too thing.  And of course for the flowers.
A big shout out to Chris Brown, an amazing and talented musician who played the entire event.  I received so many compliments on the music.  I’ve always been a supporter of musicians, but this guy… I’d fund every project he wanted to work on if I could.  

I was asked quite a few times yesterday if I am working on more books.  I am working on the second book in the Halia and Leona series with the working title “Mom, who’s Mackulay Culkin?”  

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A New Adventure

Last year I started a new adventure, which ended up rewriting my entire life.  Sixteen months later and my life barely resembles what it used.  The only mainstay are my girls, and my closest friends who stuck with me through the growing pains.

Part of my adventure was to actually do something with my writing.  I opened up a new site that will feature my novels once they are written.  But in the process, I actually wrote a children’s book as well.  It has been sent to the publisher, edited and translated into French.  The goal is to have it done this summer.

Lucky for me, the publisher allowed me to use my good friend to do the drawings, which I know will mean it takes longer as he is a busy guy, but it also means that it is a complete labour of love for my two lovely ladies who inspired the story and keep me going.  Being that it is a labour of love, I’ve decided to release the children’s books under my own name and not my pen name.

Below are a few rough sketches.  I can’t wait to see the finished copies.  He is so talented, yet so humble.

Bloggy Book Review

While doing research in January, I read many books on blogging.  Here is a review of some of those books…

The Digital Mom Handbook – by Audrey McClelland and Colleen Padilla
This was a very easy read.  I managed to get halfway through in one evening, even with the kids home.  There seemed to be more hype added to the beginning of the book than was needed, and I suspect that this was needed because they just needed to make it seem longer.
This book is for absolute beginners.  Published in 2011, it talks about Facebook and Twitter as though they were rather new things, and even explains how you can set up a Facebook page.
Centered on “Mom blogs”, this book offered little for those wanting something different, other than how to advertise said blog.  It mentions little about the actual content of the blog.  There’s even a section about balancing your family life with your sudden successful blogging life, as thought it might be just that… sudden.
Honestly, I feel like this was just a money grab for the authors, offering up just the bare minimum of advice, way too many ‘see how easy it is’ tidbits from other mom bloggers, while keeping the real trade secrets and struggles to themselves.  I barely read, only skimmed the second half.  Got few ideas, but mostly on marketing myself.
WordPress for DummiesLisa Sabin-Wilson
I had high hopes for this book as I’ve read many ‘Dummy’ books, most of which were very helpful.  (Does that make me a dummy in multiple subjects or an anti – dummy because I read them?)  Touches on hosted and self hosting WordPress as well as the (bare) basics of html coding, but more of as explanation of what the user is seeing on the screen than a ‘how to’ section, and then a large section on themes.  Over all decent beginners technical manual.  (For those interested in HTML, there’s a Dummies book for that too.)

Blogging for Writers – Robin Houghton For those of you who even have the foggiest idea of how to set up a blog on either Blogger or WordPress,  skip to Chapter 5.  This is where the actually writing info starts.  It offers suggestions on the actual post content itself, style, images and resources.  This one centered less on money, and more on just being known as a writer, and offered the most suggestions on how to get your blog out there and seen.

How to Blog a Book – Nina Amir
If you know anything about blogging, skip chapter on one.  I can sum it up in two sentences.   People get book deals based on their blogs.  Anyone can have a blog.
The remainder of the book seemed to be a bit down on the ‘book publishing’ industry.  Chapter 9 had some interesting insights into the biz and how little money there is in the actual publishing  of a book, and how multiple streams of income will be needed in order to work full-time as a writer.  Interesting.
Over all, I found the book repeated itself a lot, going over the same points chapter to chapter.

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

I actually finished this book last month, but it has stuck with me and inspired me till this day, that I feel I need to honour it with its own review.

I fell upon this book through the Todoist blog and borrowed it from my local library that night.

At first, I’m not going to lie, I thought it was fluff and a silly self-help book.  Gretchen is a full-time writer, has more time, resources, and it would seem money, to throw at her project than I would, but it is still none the less inspiring.  I will not be going full-scale like she did, but I did write my own 10 Commandments list, and feel this book lead to my epiphany to do what I want, and write.   The lesson she learned on earning gold stars is something I myself am working on and can see in others more now.  I will reread again to gain another dose of inspiration and happiness injection and recommend this book to those who feel like they’ve lost something, but can’t quite put their finger on it.

Kathy Reichs – Bare Bones Book Review

Bare Bones by Kathy Reichs
There are two things I would like you to keep in mind while reading this review.
This is the first book I’ve read not only in the ‘Bones’ series, but also by Kathy Reichs.  Yes, I know its not the first book in the series.  Yes, I know I probably should have started at the beginning of series, especially since it seems to refer to fleeting images I can only imagine are from previous books in the series.  But I don’t like being told where to go.
Secondly, I have watched pretty much all of the TV series which was inspired by this book series.  And while I am acutely aware that the book and its screen version are never the same, it was hard to adjust from the TV version of the Tempe Brennan to the book version.
I like when books start immediatly with action, instead of a slow winding, and with a dead body right off the hop, my interest was peaked right away.  Sadly it didnt stay there.
Written in the first person, I had a hard time grasping the personality of this woman.  In certain ways she seemed overly clinical and annoyed me with phrases like ‘memory cells… expand the image…’  But her interior monolgue seemed to be sensitive.  The narrative voice is choppy and abrupt.  I can’t say whether this is to add to the character of Tempe Brennan or of the author of herself.
Perhaps it was done in previous books, and Kathy expected it to carry forward for the remainder of the series, however I found the character development seems rather linear with characters that seem to play a significant role to the plot.  What’s the deal with Ryan?  Is he a boy toy? Is she the one being used? Are the a couple?
I felt the story was a bit researched to death.  I get that information that is needed to help the plot progress move along must to be presented in to the reader somehow… but I find it hard to believe that Dr. Brennan wouldn’t know about Diatoms.  Seriously?
The ending was the biggest let down for me.  The action gets good, Brennan escapes from a near death experience, the mystery is unravelled, only to have the cop she doesn’t even like put the pieces together for her while she’s in the hospital.  And then that Ryan guy appears again, goes to a beach with her, fills her in on how the whole kerfuffle unfolded… and she rants about endangered species.   The end.
It wasn’t terrible, and I did read through it fairly quickly.   But I’m not sure I’ll be reaching for another dose right away…  Maybe next month.