Friday, November 30, 2012

Contest Winners!

It's time to announce the winners! Thank you to Colleen Sundby-- for the fabulous mugs and thanks to my publisher, Heather Savage of for giving me the e-book copies of Thoeba to pass on to the winners!

And thank YOU everyone for participating. Makes me feel like I should have ordered more mugs! Thankyouthankyouthankyou.

Anyway, after several Palm Bay Coolers, I let my best friend choose the winners out of the troll's favorite hat. And the winners are...

1. Lana Fulton

2. Terra Weston Koster

3. Giovanna Lagana

Fortunately, I am in touch with all these women via Facebook. All three will receive an e-book copy of Thoeba and one of those swanky mugs pictured above. Now all I need are addresses, and I'll be in contact soon, ladies!

I'll be back next week...or not. I can't think of a new topic. Any ideas anyone?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Christmas Contest!

I love this time of year. People I love have birthdays. (Happy Birthday to my sister Jody Lean and my friend Roxy Lebeau!) Plus it's time for Christmas shopping, and I like to get a half decent start. I'd tell you what I'm getting my loved ones, but some of them actually read this blog ;)

Which brings me to this picture. In order to celebrate the season and the fact that Thoeba has been out for six months, I'm giving away these three metal mugs with three e-book copies of Thoeba. You can't see it, but my signature is on the sides!

See...if I start a little early, the winners can give Thoeba AND/OR one of these lovely travel mugs to someone for Christmas...or treat yourself, of course.

The contest goes for a week, as usual. I'll announce three winners on the 30th. Here's the drill...You know when I ask you guys to post and tweet your hearts out? Same thing...I want to see Thoeba's name everywhere! Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, it's all good. Retweet the blog, or post a review, whatever your fancy.

But here's something else...I want to promote some very talented friends as well, who could give you MORE ideas for Christmas. Each time you tweet, post, blog any of the people or sites you found here, add a hashtag for #Thoeba or mention this blog otherwise. (i.e.- earthtothoeba was right...Jessica Frost rocks!) Or if that feels to much like advertising, use my name. (i.e.-I LOVE the Rocky Mountain Soap Company. Thanks for the heads up, Donna Milward.) You get the picture. This is just so I can see who is endorsing my friends because of this blog, and it counts as two entries. Trust me...these people are worth checking out!

First, meet COLLEEN SUNDBY at  To say that Colleen is creative is like saying, "Yeah...Michaelangelo paints." She's the person who made these great mugs for me, and besides crafting cool custom tiles, (by hand) and personalized gifts, she also makes gorgeous jewelry with natural stones. (See the above agate necklace she gave me.)

Also check out REBECCA BARTLETT's site at This bracelet and necklace are the pieces I own. She started making chainmail to keep her hands occupied when she quit smoking. As you can see, she's an expert now. The photos on the site are better. Go look and see what she can do with pop-tabs.

Like Pottery? Go to Potterycove at and visit KELLY MOEN.I've known Kelly for many years, and I'm really proud of his work. This is just a sample of the stunning stuff he does.

Of course there is a loooong list of books that would make great purchases for Christmas. At we have HEATHER SAVAGE, JAY MIMS (The Five Santas would be perfect for Christmas) and JACINTA MAREE with more authors coming.

Got a teen reader on your list? Go to to get a copy of Anathema from MEGG JENSEN. I've read it. It's a beautifully written original fantasy that's not to be missed.

For those who like it spicy, try JESSICA FROST erotica (Siren Publishing) and DEANNA WADSWORTH (Decadent Publishing) man on man erotica. Both can be found at

For intense poetry, no one does it better than JESSICA BELL. ( Her latest is called 'Fabric' and it's nominated for a Goodreads award.

If I forgot you, please feel free to advertise your novel in my comment section. Support your independent and small published authors!!

Here's a new twist on a gift idea I just learned about. If you go to or there are a multitude of truly helpful ways to give. These sites are designed to purchase necessary items overseas, such as mosquito nets and textbooks. You can donate these things in the name of your loved ones.  I wish I'd heard of this earlier!

And normally I wouldn't push a franchise, but I just wanted to tell you about my new favorite store...The ROCKY MOUNTAIN SOAP COMPANY. You can find them in Alberta--Edmonton, Calgary, Canmore, and Banff. In British Columbia--Victoria, Vancouver, Whistler and also Winnipeg, Manitoba. If you don't live near any of these cities, there's always on-line ordering.

Their products are handmade and environmentally friendly. They are comparably priced with Bodyshop and use no chemicals. Not to mention, every time I walk in there, they give me a free soap sample, and often my purchases lead to little gifts, like mini body butter sticks and lip balm...for being a good customer.

So Happy Shopping! I hope this list helps you find something for your family and friends, and don't forget to enter the contest!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Honest critisism

Birthday Sully. This is his 'crazed on catnip' face.
I'm late...but until now, I didn't have anything to write about this week. And besides, it was Sully's 2nd birthday yesterday.

I had nothing to say until I realized...I never told you the details of how the book club appearance went! In all the excitement I'd almost forgotten about it--it had gone so smoothly.

I'll admit to being really nervous...they would have questions about my first stab at novel writing. Urf. These people didn't know me...not as a writer or a human being. I imagined them sitting hunched and wary--my jury waiting to decide if I were truly worthy of the title of 'author'. Or maybe they would label me a hack. It didn't help that I was an hour late, but at least they understood why.

After Lynda introduced me, there was a hush. Were they as nervous to talk to me as I was to them? Nah...NOBODY was as nervous as I.

The first question came from Rachel. She asked where I came up with the idea for Thoeba. I told her it came from a dream. That relaxed her somewhat, I think. We got into a small discussion about the religious tones, and I assured her and the room that my ideas were pretty much fiction...ideas bounced around for entertainment. It's something people have noticed before and maybe I should clarify. I AM NOT L. RON HUBBARD. I'm didn't write Thoeba to convert anyone to my way of thinking. That would be weird and narcissistic.

I said it with humor, and the comments flowed a little more freely after that. They asked about formatting and character development. Grammar mistakes were discovered. They pointed out where I could use more show and less tell. They talked about detail and which characters they liked. I was surprised to know that Dr. Stuart Thompson was popular, despite his short character arc.

Some of the details have already faded from my memory, but all in all I found it to be a good experience. They later told me of their trepidation in talking to me, worried about a writer's delicate ego.

Rachel has a book blog where she does reviews. She told me a story of how she gave one author an average and honest review, only to get blasted for it. The author wrote her a scathing letter, demanding she remove her critique.

That surprised me...Wouldn't you want the truth? If someone takes the time to read your book and tell you where you can improve, wouldn't you take it? How else will you grow? Yes, Thoeba is my 'baby' too, but I'm willing to put my pride away for the opportunity to hear ideas on how to write better. I don't want to suck. I don't want to look back on my career and think, "Those were terrible. No wonder my work doesn't sell."

So it's overdue, but I'd like to say Thank You to the Fox Creek Book Club. I enjoyed our discussion and I appreciate the feedback. Happy reading!! <3

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Driving myself crazy

I hate fear. Not the flight or fight kind. The kind that prevents a person from doing something because the repercussions, as unlikely as they seem, might reach out and smite them.

If you read the last post, then you'll know I had a car accident. It wasn't that bad. I got a bruise, and it only took five days to go away. The trepidation lingered...

Funny how adrenaline works. When I had the accident, I wasn't scared. I grappled with the wheel, certain that if I kept my head, I could steer my way out of that mess.

When the car rolled to a stop in the ditch, I searched the floorboards for my Yoda dash ornament, despite the fact that I thought I smelled smoke. (Not very smart, I know. I was afraid he'd burn up, and my husband gave him to me.) I accidentally hit Yoda's yellow button, setting him off...

You know what he said? "Hard to see, the dark side is."

I cried, but not because I was frightened. I was angry at myself and worried about the passengers in the truck.

I can't say I ever felt actual fear.

So why did it take me five days to get behind the wheel again? Well actually, I was resting. I didn't have any pressing business outside my home and besides, my husband needed the truck for work. Right? RIGHT?

But I knew I'd have to do it, and soon. We made plans to go shopping, and you better believe I was gonna drive. Damn straight.

The day we went out, the roads were a slushy mess--more so than the day of the accident and dirtier. I got less than three blocks from the house when my long-suffering troll tried to make an easier directional suggestion, and I turned into a psycho.


Of course he didn't react very well..."What the hell is wrong with you? I'm trying to help-"

"I DON'T WANT YOUR F*CKING HELP. LEAVE ME ALONE! I'M TRYING TO F*CKING DRIVE!" I hadn't reached the intersection yet, and the tirade continued.

As I approached 99th and 163rd, praying that I would stop in time, I didn't see the pedestrian crossing or the houses lining the street. I saw driving snow and a freakishly long highway that suddenly turned to a grassy ditch covered in a dusting of white. I heard the blown-up, paper bag pop of the airbag. And then I couldn't see anything through my tears.

My poor husband was so mad, he wanted to walk home. He'd endured enough verbal abuse. But God bless his patient heart, he wouldn't leave me crying. I couldn't turn left. It was at least three minutes before I could turn right. I ended up going around the block to go home for a cup of tea.

The second attempt went better...I guess. It took as an hour of driving around to figure out there was no parking at West Edmonton Mall, but at least I drove.

I guess my fear is normal. (Cue cheesy but appropriate piano music.) I've learned that it's okay to be afraid. It's perfectly acceptable to feel as though...Nah. I'm gonna beat this bitch. Apparently it's going to take some time, but it's doable. Fear is to be overcome.

The troll is giving me the truck today. I'm going to take my time. I'm going to get through this. Lots of people have this happen to them and manage to conquer it. (Thanks Suzanne and Kevin) Nobody is responsible for my emotional recovery but ME. Then I can stop bugging you people with my drama.

What does Yoda say? "Control! Control! You must learn control!" Yeah...I definitely want it back.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Silver Linings

So glad I didn`t end up looking like `Zombie Gord`
Okay, so I'm a little late for our Thanksgiving to give thanks, but I'm early for the American one.

You know that trip to my hometown I talked about last week? Yeah, I went. But I had a car accident on the way there. I'm fine, but the front end of my Grand Marquis is Metalliburger.

It was snowing when I left, but it wasn't that bad. After all, I'm a Canadian AND an Albertan and we drive in random crap all year long. I wasn't worried. In fact, the highway roads were better than the ones in the city. Well, at least until I got about halfway to Fox Creek. That's when it really started to get nasty.

No one did the speed limit. We all pretty much limped along, at mercy to the violent gusts of snow...Except those who owned those gargantuan pickup trucks. They moved marginally faster. I saw a white GMC Sierra coming up on my left to pass. His truck took up the whole lane, and I worried that he'd clip me on his way by. So I decided it would be a safe and courteous move to pull to the side a little to give him some room.

I was wrong.

As soon as my tire touched the shoulder, I realized it was SLUSH, and the car began to spin. I kept my head and worked hard to correct, but I hit the guy trying to pass and we both hit the ditch. I smashed into an embankment, crushing my front end and setting off the airbags. He got a broken headlight, and a scary close-call with the opposite lanes of the double highway. His poor 8-month pregnant wife was a wreck. His two- year old daughter looked confused and frightened. I felt like a heel for putting them through such a horrible experience.

As I staggered out and watched my car bleeding antifreeze like an arterial spray, I immediately counted my losses. My freedom to go anywhere I wanted, my time, my various activities that require a car, the money I'd need to get another vehicle, plus my insurance premiums might go up...I cried in frustration, anger and shock. (Thank you to the Edmontonian hunters who turned around to stop and help. They were on their way home to the garrison when they saw the crash. They even offered me a ride home. Special thanks to Peggy, who hugged me while I sobbed.)

Now that I've had a few days to think, I'm counting my blessings. Bear with me. Despite my light-hearted view at times, I don`t think this is a joke.

I'll get more exercise.  I've been trying to fit more activity into my routine. Now that I don't have a car, I'll be doing more walking. And there`s no McDonald`s, Wendy`s or KFC within walking distance.

I don't have to worry about fixing the air-conditioning. Or buying gas, or paying insurance on a second vehicle. A bus pass is less than my monthly premium, and it costs over 50 bucks to fuel up.

I'll have more time to write. True, not having a car means there's few things I'll have to give up. But my plate was getting a little too full anyway, and there was less and less time to write. It's winter and I have no vehicle. What better time in life to sit and work on my novels for hours on end?

I got some GREAT sensory details out of the experience. I was alert and present for the entire ordeal and   my writer's brain immediately conjured up useful descriptive phrases I can use in some future mishap some poor character will have to endure. Did you know a deployed airbag smells like burnt latex and dust?

Airbags. Whoever invented those has saved countless lives, and thanks to that safety device, I walked away with a bruise on my breast and nothing more. I chuckle when I realize the airbag never made it to my face. For once I'm glad I have big boobs to block stuff.

Good friends. Lynda and Ian dropped everything to come and get me in their nice, safe Toyota Tundra. They brought me to their home, and comforted me. They listened to me whine, even though less than two years ago they'd lost their daughter-in-law and grandson in a winter highway accident much worse than mine. And to everyone who expressed their concerns on Facebook. THANK YOU.

Nobody suffered injuries. I don`t know what I would have done if my decision had hurt, or worse killed those people. The witnesses, and the cop, told me not to take it personally when the pregnant woman wouldn`t look at me when I apologized. But even though this is classified as a `no-fault`accident, I made a mistake that could have destroyed their family. Thank God I don`t have to live with blood on my hands.

I'm alive. Alberta weather on Alberta roads kill hundreds of people every year. I wasn't one of them. (And no one else got killed.) My attempts to correct my wild spin may not have prevented the accident, but I DO think it prevented the car from rolling. I'll never really know. All I know is I'm here to tell the story. I'm here to love my husband and my two beautiful cats. I'm here to hug my family and friends, and to appreciate everything I have. And to continue writing.

Enough sadness. Let`s focus on something positive.

So...How did the trip go otherwise? Quite well, actually. We were an hour late for the book club, but I got awesome feedback--good and bad. (As in useful. I can grow from all the comments.) I made new friends.

Due to poor planning on the 'acting' principal's part, no students came to the library to meet me. But I met the librarian, Mrs. Starkey who was super fantastic and it turns out she knows my parents. An old highschool pal, Sharie, dropped by to say hello. Hailey came from the local paper, and I was able to meet her face to face and tell her I used to babysit her. We got pictures together, and ones of me with Mrs. Starkey. They took a photo of me beside my old locker. I still remembered my combination. Later Hailey dropped by Lynda and Ian`s house to introduce me to her kids, and her daughter looks EXACTLY like she did at that age. I am humbled that she did this.

I got to spend quality time with two people who are extremely important to me. I love Lynda and Ian like parents, and obviously they love me too. I`m going to cherish the time I spent with them...and their awesome massaging chair!

Despite the accident, I feel like I did a pretty cool thing and I`m happy.

Anyway, I hope everyone had a fun and safe Halloween.