Saturday, November 28, 2015

2015 has been a long, hard road...

I've been really bad about posting to my blog for so many reasons this year. One of which has been my health, dealing with doctor appointments, MRIs, and test after test. My body has become inflamed and stiff with arthritis to the point I've had to give up karate classes and even walking long distances, both things I've loved to do for years. I've been unable to life things and even little things like doing laundry and housecleaning have become major ordeals. I've been left to do these things alone. Even before my husband decided to move on to take a job in another country. Once more, his career comes before his family's concerns or needs. The kids and I will have to find somewhere else to live and I will have to take a full time job. Working part time and writing has never been acceptable.

Yet, through it all I am trying hard to stay positive.

I have discovered aquafit classes and do them a couple times a week. Through doing these classes, I have also learned something wonderful. Little old ladies are amazing! A lot of the women I do class with are in their seventies and beyond. They are funny, they are thoughtful, and they have no shame about their bodies. It's very liberating to be in a room of women whose bodies have served them well and they are proud just to be there.

In all the issues I've faced over the past year, I've discovered something else I never knew.
I enjoy the company of other women and have learned a great deal from some amazing women thanks to one woman who has brought many of us together:  Crystal Andrus Morrisette. I won't go into a lot of detail about Crystal, but I will tell you she has a soothing voice and a wonderful way of looking at the world. In turn, she helps her students to look inward and learn more about how they appear and react in the world. I have been fortunate to take a couple telecourses with her and look forward to her January course as, hopefully, my life calms and the dust settles. I look forward to rebuilding my spirit and clearing the brush aside to find my life path once more.

Health-wise, I have a series of MRIs starting November 25th to see what is causing the debilitating pain in my right knee as well as my hips and spine. I see my rheumatologist in January to get answers. To find out what I am dealing with and what to do next, aside from changing medications. I want to be able to keep walking, with or without the meds at this point!

Writing-wise, my I am currently editing my 6th book for my agent and look forward to it's release in April 2016. I will also be working on 2 more books next year. Actually, I think a lot of great things will happen in 2016!

Whatever happens, I would love to continue to dance in the water with the lovely ladies at the pool.
I would love to will finally get that tattoo I designed years ago and have been too afraid to get because I never spent a lot of money on me.
I would love to will go back to school and learn the skills to help me help other women.
I would love to will move my kids and I to an apartment and seek to have a less stressful life.
I will keep writing and creating.
I will be more open to life and all it has to offer.
I will love me.
And I will learn the things I want to know and to show my kids that life goes on even when it feels like you're in a toilet bowl and swirling down fast...

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Round Robin Blog Fest November 2015

Welcome to another session of the Round Robin Blog Fest!  
Fall has settled in and the Santa Claus parades have begun here in Canada. I have my Christmas lights up and this is the time of year I seek, not only gift ideas for family and friends, but ways to make life better for others. This year for Christmas, a friend of mine is helping someone gather enough winter hats, mittens, and socks for a homeless shelter. That was my most recent act of kindness that made me feel good, despite a lot of challenges in my own life right now.

Ironically, today's blog them is:  Tell when you either performed or received a random act of kindness that made your day better.

Right away, I thought of the best one that we've ever performed that ended up making a world of difference to a neighbour.  My kids don't exactly love to shovel snow, but they do love to do good deeds for others - a lot of the time without taking any credit - and not once have they ever asked for money. When we had a particularly heavy snowfall a few years ago, they went around and shoveled sidewalks for a few neighbours they knew could not do the chore for themselves. One of the men had recent health issues and we took it upon ourselves to clear his driveway through the day while he and his wife were at work. 

Flash forward three months later. I ran into this man at the local grocery store. I hadn't seen him over the winter, but my kids were very much on his mind. He had a story to tell that made my eyes fill with tears.

That particular day the kids had shoveled his driveway, he was in the hospital an hour away. His wife had spent part of the morning with him, most of her day at work, then a good part of the evening back at the hospital. By the time she was on her way home, it was very late at night and she was dreading having to shovel the driveway to get into her garage. She came home to a clear driveway and immediately burst into tears. She went into the house and called her husband to ask "who would do such a thing?" He had two neighbours in mind, but was very sure he knew who had done the deed. Three months later, he was able to let us know what a wonderful impact that random act of kindness had on he and his wife.

We have shoveled their driveway many times over the years, but none of those times have meant as much to the kids and I as that one winter storm.

Let's grab a cup of tea and shake off the winter chill as we stop by to see what Skye Taylor's favorite random act of kindness was all about!

Our Writers:
Diane Bator
Skye Taylor
Fiona McGier
Bob Rich
Marci Baun
Connie Vines
Rachael Kosinski
Hollie Glover
Judy Copek
Anne Stenhouse
Rhobin Courtright

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Halloween Round Robin Blog Fest October 24th

Happy Halloween!

This month's Round Robin Topic is:  Do you believe in angels, spirits, ghosts, demons or other ethereal beings or locations? What do you think when they appear in stories? Have you used them in your own stories?

Wow! Hard to believe it's already that time of year again. Halloween is one of my favorites. Every year I am involved with a Haunted Dojo (basically a fun Haunted House, but built in a karate school) and get to meet and greet dozens of trick-or-treaters. I love the magic of the holiday as well as the way we are able to suspend all belief in the way things "should be" for "what is possible." Including how we are more willing to think about spirits, ghosts and demons, even for just a couple of days.

I used to love to read stories of the paranormal and have actually edited a couple. A well written book of any sort can get me to suspend all belief in reality. Something spooky and logically done, could totally convince me it is all real. I have read one or two that made me want to keep the lights on at night. One of which was written by my friend Richard Goodship called "The Camera Guy."

While I have never used ghosts or demons in any of my own stories, I am currently writing a cozy mystery with a psychic as one of the minor characters. Watch for "Life is Better Brunette" coming out in Spring 2016!

And now for my own ghost story....


My mother-in-law passed away in October 2013 a day before my kids and I were meeting up with family in Collingwood, Ontario. Since it was difficult for us to get away to attend Grandma's funeral 2,000 miles away, we held our own memorial on the shores of Lake Huron with Grandma's favorite Tim Horton's coffee and timbits (donut holes!) We also bought a bright green star balloon to release over the lake as we said our goodbyes. 

The kids and I made a circle, said our goodbyes and released the full-to-bursting helium balloon to the elements. To our surprise, it didn't sail off into the sky as we expected. Instead, the balloon sank to the ground and bobbed toward the highway. We all started to laugh and cry at the same time. Grandma had a notorious bad sense of direction as well as being a bit of a joker and it seemed she wanted to get in one last laugh. We all shouted to the balloon - and Grandma - that she was going the wrong way and needed to go up over the lake into the sky. No word of a lie, the balloon did a 180 degree turn and rose up over the lake then disappeared into the clouds.

We tried again the next year on Mother's Day to launch one more balloon in her honor. My youngest son clutched the balloon in his hands, the long ribbon tied so tight around his hand he nearly cut off circulation. As we walked from our home to our launch site, a gust of wind came up out of the blue and ripped the balloon off the ribbon and right out of his hands. He was nearly in tears as we watched the balloon sail off over the trees and into the sky. Then we burst out laughing. Grandma was never one for sitting around feeling sad. She would have preferred to go for an ice cream cone and make the best of things. 
Which is exactly what we did...

Have a wonderful, wonderous Halloween and make your way over to visit Beverley Bateman to see what she has stirred up on her creative cauldron!! Be sure to check out the rest of our amazing authors as well!

Marci Baun
Margaret Fieland
Diane Bator
Beverley Bateman
A.J. Maguire
Fiona McGier
Heather Haven
Bob Rich
Anne Stenhouse
Helena Fairfax
Hollie Glover
Rachael Kosinski
Connie Vines
Skye Taylor
Rhobin Courtright

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Oh my! I have been away from my blog for a little while, but for a few good reasons.

I am hard at work on Book #3 of my Gilda Wright Mystery series:  Life is Better Brunette which is due to my agent in a couple of weeks. In this book, Gilda meets her match in the form of a psychic who worms her way into Kane Garrick's life. Is this psychic the real deal or is there more to her than meets the eye?

I have also have also been dealing with some health issues, one of which is being tested for arthritis in my back, hips, knees, and ankles. Not a fun thing to deal with, but once I have a proper diagnosis, I'll be able to deal with the pain and move forward. It may also mean a change of residence due to the abundance of stairs in my current home.

My oldest son moved out on his own this fall. Not to school this time, he's working and taking care of himself for real now. I'm very proud of him!

Of course, there will be many more changes and other things going on, but for now, I look forward to getting back on top of things this fall. To getting my new book out soon and to working on Book #4 of the Wild Blue Mystery series, The Painted Lady.

So much on the go!
Have a wonderful autumn,

Saturday, July 25, 2015

July 25th Round Robin Blog Fest

Welcome back to the Round Robin Blog Fest! How do you like our new logo? 

I sure hope you're enjoying the glory days of summer, I know I am! Before we get into the question of the month, I'd like to announce that there will be a new book in my Gilda Wright Mystery series coming November 1st. I am currently knee deep in writing Life is Better Brunette for Gemma Halliday Publishing. How exciting!

Now on to this month's topic:
Have you used pets or other animals in your stories? What function do they perform in the story? Do they need to have a function? Can they be a character?

Up until recently, I have rarely used an animal in any of my books or stories. In a new book I'm working on a book for Gemma Halliday Publishing as part of their Danger Cove series, my main character, Laken, finds an Old English Sheepdog puppy and takes it in without realizing the downside of owning a teething dog. Not only does Sammy become her sidekick since she can't leave him alone without coming back to mass destruction, but he is also her ally in solving a murder. 

In the novella Death of a Christmas Witch I did for Cozy Christmas Capers, an anthology released only during December and January this year, I had another dog. A Golden Retriever-Husky mix much like a dog I grew up with. Drake, the dog, had a love/hate relationship with my main character Audra's husband Rex. For me, Sammy will be a recurring character, as was Drake, but that doesn't need to be the case in all books.

My favorite animal books belong to Lilian Jackson Braun's The Cat Who... series where the cats are major characters in crime solving capers. If you're looking for a great animal read, these are fabulous cozy mystery novels!
  1. The Cat Who... is a series of twenty-nine mystery novels and three related collections by Lilian Jackson Braun and published by G. P. Putnam's Sons, featuring a reporter named Jim Qwilleran and his Siamese cats, Kao K'o-Kung and Yum-Yum. Wikipedia
As far as being characters, I find the animals usually steal the scene they are in, Whether that's intentionally done by the author or just where my attention becomes fixated is debatable. But I do love a well written mystery with or without animals. Even Janet Evanovich uses animals in her books. Stephanie Plum has a hamster named Rex, a dog named Bob, and even ends up taking care of a monkey named Carl.

Look for more animals in my upcoming books and make sure you hop over to visit the fabulous Anne Stenhouse and see what she has to say regarding writing about animals. While you're at it, stop by and say hello to all our contributing authors:

Beverley Bateman
Victoria Chatham
Connie Vines
Margaret Fieland
Rachael Kosinski
Kay Sisk
Judith Copek
Marci Baun
Diane Bator
Anne Stenhouse
Rhobin Courtright

Skye Taylor

Monday, June 8, 2015

RELEASE DAY for Hardheaded Brunette!

I am SO proud to announce the release of my second book in the Gilda Wright Mystery Series HARDHEADED BRUNETTE from Gemma Halliday Publishing!!

What's Hardheaded Brunette about?

Gilda Wright's life seems to finally be on track. Her love life is looking up with her hot boss, Mick, and she's planning and promoting a grand opening extravaganza for his new martial arts school. But things go awry when their special guest referee for the opening's exhibition match is found dead on the beach. To make matters worse, the school's sexy new weapons instructor, Kane Garrick, stands accused of his murder. In spite of her promise to Mick and to nearly everyone else in town not to get involved, Gilda--a.k.a. the Brunette Sherlock--wades into danger one more time. The only question is, can Gilda catch a killer before the killer catches up to her?

Both Hardheaded Brunette and the first book in my series, Can't Keep a Brunette Down, are only 99c for a limited time! Get your copy today by clicking on a cover!

Looking for a few more good reads? Stop by and check out my fellow authors at Gemma Halliday Publishing. Including out upcoming short story collection KILLER BEACH READS coming July 16 which will include my short Gilda Wright story Brunettes Just Wanna Have Fun.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Are Romance Novels a Thing of the Past?

Welcome back to another episode of the ROUND ROBIN BLOG!! 
This month's blog post is based on the topic:
What changes have you seen in romance novels in the past decade? Is there a change in romance novel direction? Is there still a market for non-explicit sex stories?

Even though I don't write romance novels, I do incorporate non-explicit romance in my mystery novels. Why non-explicit for me? My mom and my grandma read them! Seriously, I write to please a portion of my audience. That and I just don't enjoy writing explicit scenes...unless they are very well written.

Cover your eyes if you loved 50 Shades, but I couldn't get past the first paragraph of Chapter One because of the writing. I'm not that much of a masochist. I want to read books I can relax and lose myself in.

Don't get me wrong, I've read both romances and mysteries with sex scenes (explicit and non). If the book is well written, a surge of heat through the body is welcome. I do know a lot of people who write erotica, which have explicit scenes on nearly every page. Many people read for the sexual content, an escape from a boring job, boring life, etc. Many people find it a turn off that things that "should be private" are laid out bare (sorry, bad pun) for the world to read.

I think there will always be a market for both explicit romances and non-explicit. There will always be the variety of people to accommodate both, just as there will always be readers of every genre out there. Different genres go through surges of readers and may fall off in popularity for a while, but there will always be another surge. For those of us who prefer our romance with less spice, rest assured, our favorite types of stories will always be there!

Feel free to hop over to Rachel Kosinski's blog and see what she thinks about today's topic!! While you're at it, stop by and meet all of our great writers!

Love ya, 

Beverley Bateman
Fiona McGier
Connie Vines
Skye Taylor
Margaret Fieland
Helena Fairfax
Anne Stenhouse
Marci Baun
Diane Bator
Rachael Kosinski
Rhobin Courtright

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Round Robin Blog Fest April 2015

Welcome back to another edition of the Round Robin Blog Fest! 
I've been absent from the tour for a bit due to other obligations, but now I'm back!
This month's topic is: What glues you to a story start to finish? And/Or what hooks do you use to capture your readers?

What glues me to a story from start to finish are great characters and a plausible story line. If I'm not hooked into a book within the first page, I will put it aside - or toss it across the room as in some cases. Rarely do I force myself to read on unless someone has already read it and tells me it is worth it. Usually, it's not.
A plausible story line to me is something that, while it may be a bit far fetched, could be possible. Improbable Possibility refers to a situation that is a possibility in the real world, but is extremely unlikely. A lot of movies thrive on this, particularly the older James Bond movies.
I also appreciate a good story where I don't have to hunt to follow the story line. One of my least favorite books was The River King by Alice Hoffman which tended to meander like a river. Jumping from one character to another, including a dog, the book made for a very difficult read in what should have been a really good story.
What hooks do I use to capture my readers? I decided the best way to tell is to show. Here are some samples of my hooks and the books they are in:

"I directed traffic and tried to ignore the wailing from up the beach. The crime lab boys arrived via Ken Allured’s fishing boat about half an hour ago. They kept busy doing their thing, which included scraping finger nails and collecting everything on the island that looked suspicious. Well, everything except me." - from Murder on Manitou, Wynterblue Publishing.

 "Danny Walker fought the urge to grab Paulina. Rather than get directly involved, he leaned against the back wall of Gerard Maddox’s home office while she swayed and clutched the arm of the chair next to her. Her face, perfectly made up, was as pale as her platinum hair. She stared at her champagne flute, apparently unable to swallow another mouthful. Considering the conversation that floated around her, he hardly blamed her." - The Bookstore Lady, Books We Love Ltd.

"Danny awoke to a cool draft and snuffling near his face. Images flashed through his head sleepy mind. Sitting in an overheated car, a drive through the country, scraping old paint off walls, falling asleep in a dusty sleeping bag at three o’clock when he could no longer keep alert. Finally, he remembered falling asleep in the old sleeping bag at the old Victorian house he’d purchased last month.
Only now he wasn’t alone." - The Mystery Lady, Books We Love Ltd.

"After taking a lukewarm shower then rummaging for clothes that would pass for clean, Leo Blue opened the curtains and groaned. More snow. The fir trees along Main Street blossomed with colored lights and lamp posts stood adorned by wreaths. Christmas had taken the small town of Packham by storm overnight, but in his opinion the holiday ranked right up there with root canals and broken ribs. He should have fled to Tibet right after Halloween." - The Bakery Lady, Books WeLove Ltd.

"Gilda’s cell phone vibrated next to her plate, making the ice in her half-full water glass dance. She groaned, her stomach churning, as it had all week. “Not again.”" - Can't Keep a Brunette Down, Gemma Halliday Publishing.

(Coming June 8,, 2015!)

When Sensei Mick Williams dreamed, he dreamed big—much to the chagrin of his receptionist Gilda Wright. After spending a late night designing fiery logos for the new Phoenix Martial Arts school and printing off scorecards for Mick William's MMA extravaganza, Gilda had fallen asleep on top of her covers with nightmares of martial arts clip art coming to life and chasing her through the new training hall. - Hard-Headed Brunette, Gemma Halliday Publishing.

Thanks for joining me on my blog today! You can find all my books (except Murder on Manitou which is out of print right now) on Amazon and my fan page on Facebook.

Hope you pop over to check out Ginger Simpson's blog and the other great authors joining us this month!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Spring Has Sprung?

After a month of "extreme cold" weather days, I'm posting a picture I painted years ago just for a taste of summer! While we have had a lot of snow this winter, it's the bone-penetrating cold that has me the most down. In the past I would go tanning to take the edge off. This winter has been busy since September with my workload increasing at work, events, health issues, kids' activities, etc.
Top off all the local insanity with the book I had due to my publisher March 1st and I've been a meltdown waiting to happen!

I'm glad to say two great things have happened this past month.

  1. I got Book Two in my Yin-Yang Mysteries done! Woohoo!
  2. We are rebranding the entire series for a relaunch.
What does that mean? It means all those copies of Death of a Jaded Samurai will be worth money one day. The new series will be called Gilda Wright Mysteries and will soon have exciting new covers! It also means they books will have new titles. Sorry, no sneak peeks just yet. I'm gnawing on my fingernails in anticipation as well. I can tell you that there will be a new anthology coming this summer that will include a new Gilda Wright mystery.

Just had to squeeze in one more painting. It's been such a long time since I pulled out my paints. While today won't be the day, I think I will have to make time soon. One of my best memories of being a kid was sitting on our back porch painting. I didn't have a lot of skills back then, but I certainly had the passion! I think that's one thing I need to rekindle. My passion, both in my books and in my art.

Watch for some great new paintings, great new books, and a lot of awesome energy!
Yes, spring has certainly sprung - even if only in my imagination!


Saturday, February 21, 2015

February Round Robin Blog Fest

Welcome back to another episode of:

My apologies for disappearing for the past couple of months, between getting Book 2 done for Gemma Halliday Publishing and a few other things, I've pretty much been hiding in a cave! I promise you, the results will be worth it!

If you are unfamiliar with the Blog Fest, grab a cup of tea and sit back to jump from author site to author reading their answers to the question: If you have (or even if you don't have) a bucket list, what top priority thing(s) do you want to accomplish?

This made me think of the movie The Bucket List, which I thought was very funny and stirred both my mind and emotions. Aside from the movie, I've been thinking about this question a lot lately. Every January in karate class, we set our goals for the year. The three basic ones include: Something karate based, something personal, and one other. This year, like every year, my goals include earning my next belt and getting a book published. I'm proud to say I exceeded my goals for last year. I had three books published, ran two 5km events, and earned my blue belt. This year may be a little more difficult.

This year's goals include earning my brown belt, publishing two more books and losing 20 pounds - sorry, Letting Go of 20lbs. With one book already off to my agent for submission to Gemma Halliday Publishing, I've started the fourth book in my Wild Blue Mysteries series for my other publisher Books We Love. I'm also at work on a short story for Gemma to put into an anthology this summer and we are doing a revamp of my Yin-Yang series to give it a different vibe and reach a wider audience. 
Eventually, I would like to start a whole new series of books once the Wild Blue Mysteries are done. The characters and settings are already waiting in the wings!

The physical side is where I'm running into trouble. Last year my goal was to run a 5km race. I ran one and ended up walking one. Something in my body has held me back to the point I struggle to walk some days and am in pain most days. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a whiner by any means. I've still done karate and yoga classes up until karate became too painful. Yoga helps alleviate the pain, but only for a while.

On the upside, I've been to my doctor. I have an anti-inflammatory and have had vial after vial of blood taken to find out what's going on. Then I can get my goal to become a black belt (eventually) back on track!

From here, you can jump over to visit Victoria Chatham and see what she's written on her list! Below is the list of all the writers on our tour. Feel free to check them all out and show them some love!
Stay warm,