Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Quick Christmas Greeting

Image by:
Where does the time go?  This is a really late post, because this is the first time all day I've been able to get at my computer.

Remember when I bragged on Facebook at the end of November that I was finished? Yeah, apparently I lied. You'd think that since I'm wrong about that year after year, I would stop taunting the Spirit of Christmas with my smug efficiency.  Maybe it would stop piling more , er...'cheer' on me.

I love it, but Thank God the festivities come only once a year. I'm already exhausted.

But also excited. I'm spending the end of the world going to Canada's Largest Mall and spending the Gift Certificate Pennington's sent me on the 50% off sale in Phase One.
Then, I'm finishing off the jello shooters for Terra's party. I'm going to buy beer and coolers--The last of the Christmas booze.

THEN I will be ready, and I can spend time doing edits and hanging out with my sister, Jody and my best friend, Darci, plus the troll and cats.

I wish each and every one of you a fantastic, Christmas, Hanukkah, Holiday--Whatever you celebrate. And if the world doesn't end tomorrow, Thoeba and I will see you in 2013. (We're taking next week off.)

What have you guys got going on?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

We've been adopted!


Yes, it's true! Thoeba and I have been adopted by a lovely woman named Lesa-Miller-Cox.

Can you imagine my surprise, when I found a note in my direct messages saying "I can't wait to adopt you!"?

Turns out some of Staccato's supporting reviewers at YA and Teen Readers have organized "Christmas for Authors." It really DOES feel like Christmas already!

My adoptive reader and I have lots in common. But she is super sweet, and enthusiastic. She's into paranormal--especially vampire novels, and adores animals. She's got a fantastic sense of humor I relate to. She loves Thoeba and wants to everything she can to promote her. I am so lucky! 

And how's THAT for creative marketing? The ladies behind this adoption drive are geniuses. Through this  blog-hop I've made a new friend and learned more about the YA community. I LOVE their new take on giveaways and marketing. They're making it fun and original.

If I haven't said it before, I'll say it now. THANK YOU, ladies! You are awesome. And thank YOU Lesa-Miller-Cox for choosing Thoeba and me. Check them out and like their page. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Musings of Bruce

     I almost forgot to blog today! Sometimes when you're busy and don't have a set schedule, you forget what day it is. Needless to say, I didn't have anything prepared. So here is a blog about my favorite muse. (I have three) It was originally published on Author Jessica Frost's blog several months back, and it's one of my favorite pieces.

     It took me twenty minutes to pick this photo of Bruce Dickinson.  It took me another ten minutes to begin this blog. It’s hard to catch a man’s essence in one picture. I wondered, as sometimes happens, what would Bruce say?
     Certainly Bruce wouldn’t flaunt his looks…He doesn’t have much in that department. He isn’t hideous like his band’s mascot ‘Eddie’, but he isn’t GQ material either. His face isn’t why I worship him.
     Bruce wouldn’t brag about his long list of accomplishments, but I will. Besides his decades long career as songwriter and vocalist for Iron Maiden, Bruce is a world-ranked fencer, a commercial jet pilot, a radio announcer, a tank collector/enthusiast, and oh yes, he’s also an author.
     Bruce is fifty-two and unstoppable. He is a modern day renaissance man, and that makes him muse-worthy.
     What would I give for his boundless energy? His unshakable confidence? His thirst for life?  Bruce Dickinson has inspired me to bravery.
     Writer’s Block? No problem. Take a break to do something else you are passionate about. The answer will come.
     When my character has activities or vocations I know nothing about, I dive in like Bruce, learning new things like Kendo and paranormal investigating first-hand.
     When I doubt myself and my talents, I plow through like Bruce, knowing I’m good now, and I’ll only get better with time and perseverance.
     It’s more important to be talented than gorgeous, but to me Bruce is both. He’s a shining beacon of determination that breeds success, no matter what one sets their mind to.
     “If it all happens just like this for the rest of my life, it’s going to be one endless Groundhog Day.  I determined that I was not prepared to submit to this regime, so I thought I had to do something about it.”—Bruce Dickinson. (From Brainy Quote)
     And that is why Bruce Dickinson will always be my muse.

Photo by: Ross Halfin

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.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Homeward Bound

This Sunday I'm going back to my hometown of Fox Creek to talk to people about my book. Sigh...The very idea makes me want to curl up into a ball and go to sleep.

I haven't been back in at least a decade. I like city life too much.

I'm going as a favor to a friend. She has a book club and has been bragging up Thoeba for months. She's told her peeps not to sugar coat anything, and to feel free to criticize at will. After all, this is to be a learning experience for me. I hope they remember to be nice about it.

THEN, my friend is arranging for me to come to my old school and talk to kids about writing. Lovely. I don't know which will be worse--If all 700 kids for an assembly or if only two show up at the library. Do I prepare a speech or just wing it? How do I emphasize the importance of education when I never graduated myself?
I'd like to ramble on about how this scares me more than anything Halloween can throw at me, but I've got a million things to do. I will leave you with a picture of the treats I'm handing out this year.

Pretty cool, eh? The bag says "Treat without the Sweet."  I think it's a pretty good idea. Who doesn't love Playdoh? I got this from Shopper's Drug Mart in with the makeup and decorations.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

My Creativity is Frozen

Today I'm getting my furnace replaced. More gargantuan household expenses, but definitely worth it.
But this means for pretty much the entire day, I have no heat running through the house, and I'm freezing.

Photo by: Liz Noffsinger/
I'm sitting here distracted and shivering, and it's only 7 degrees Celsius. My goosebumps are the size of gumdrops. All I can think about is the blanket on the couch....but I've already spent an hour and a half under it--not getting anything done. I'm hoping once we replace the ole' Flamemaster my days of sofa-burrowing will come to an end. I just can't function when I'm cold, and it's getting worse as I get older.

Of course, when I'm too warm, it makes me sleepy. I've been crashing just as much under that cozy sleeping bag behind me as I have been in my own bed. I can't win. Whole lot of getting nothing done.

There's got to be a happy medium. Surely, I'm not the only writer distracted by the temperature of their own atmosphere? I often hear the question asked, what do you listen to when writing? I honestly don't care. I just want to be toasty.

What about you? What comfort level do you need to work? I could use a few pointers here.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

You're Fired!

  On Sunday, I did something I've never done before in my novels, short stories, or any of my works. I fired a character.

I can admit all this out loud now, because I think I'm past it.

I've been struggling with my third novel, 'Chasing Monsters'. Granted it was a rough summer, with many upsets and sadness, but it felt like more than that. For awhile I couldn't put my finger on it.

As the reviews of 'Thoeba' roll in, I've been getting a little nervous. Four and five star ratings should make me happy, right? Well, they do. But now I'm feeling the pressure. If everyone thinks my debut novel was that awesome, everything that follows should be MORE so. Eep.

So last week, after a few too many Palm Bay Red Grapefruit coolers, I told my loving and ever-so-PROUD-of-me hubby that I'm secretly worried that Chasing Monsters is just a rehashed version of Thoeba.

There, I typed it.

Oh sure, there's new faces with different lives, a new plot, and different villains...But we're still in Alberta, and we're still dealing with angels and demons.

I couldn't shake the feeling. Devaki is not Thoeba, and my hero is not Peter. Noelle isn't anything like anyone I've written before. Much to my delight, my villains are doing things I wasn't expecting.

So what's the problem? More like, WHO is the problem. It's Max. Max is Noelle's little brother. He's a teenaged computer geek. Sound familiar? If you've read Thoeba, you will recognize that personality as Zach, Peter's teenaged computer wizard son.

But no, I thought. He's different! He's only thirteen, and he's got a snarky attitude...just like Kayla, Zach's little sister. Hand smacks forehead moment. Plus he complicates the story. I don't want to give spoilers, but I can tell you he won't be with Noelle when the feces flies.

You know that feeling you get when someone useless you work with or employ finally leaves or gets the boot? Yeah, I haz that. I can move forward knowing I deleted something the reader wouldn't appreciate. Usually I'm attached to my characters, and maybe I should feel bad. But the truth is, I barely knew Max. He was an acquaintance, and when you write people, that just won't do.

I can't believe it took me nine chapters to figure this out.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

I am an Unwashed Heathen

I'm sitting at the edge of my chair, watching the clock and sniffing my armpits. My brand new hot water tank has just been installed, and I can't WAIT until the water is ready for a steaming hot, lingering shower, so I can scrape the day off without having to boil water first. It's like camping, without the secure knowledge of WHEN you can go back to civilization.

I know who my friends are...the ones that don't seem to mind that I don't smell the freshest, or that my hair looks and feels like playdoh. But the best ones are the kind that let you come over to borrow their shower.

It's either sneak showers when you can, or sponge-bath no-pants. And dry shampoo? I think I'd rather shave my head.

We don't plan ahead in this house. We wait until something completely, unfixably croaks before we get new stuff.  Replacing a fridge is also like camping...with more coolers. Need a new stove? Hello Take-Out week and barbeque. Don't ask about the furnace. I'm trying not to jynx myself.

If the world ends in 2012, and I survive it, shoot me anyway. I don't think I could ever adapt to a world without hot running water. Or internet. Or toilets. (Insert long Thanksgiving list of things I'm grateful for here.)

P.S.-Alyssa Suzanne, contact me. I still have your contest prize.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Contest Winners!

 Last week was my two year blog anniversary and I asked you all a question. What does the R.M. stand for at the end of Kaptain Loki Donovan R.M.? I got a few comments on the blog, but more from Facebook or in person. (poker face)

The results kind of surprised me. Not many got the answer--My SISTER guessed 'Rogue Masturbator'! My best friend guessed 'Ruckin' Mitch'. I know my sister Jody is a little pervert , but I don't know why Darci said 'Ruckin' Mitch. Am I a Ruckin' Mitch?

Actually, my favorite is 'Rabid Mouse'. It's what I would tell people when they asked, "What does the R.M. stand for?'

"Rabid mouse."



What DID surprise me is the fact that the first two correct answers came from two women who I'm not very familiar with. Congratulations, Alyssa Susanna and Beckey! You are the winners!

Both women commented how they related to the nickname initials, as they feel their households and/or lifestyles can be classified as a 'Royal Mess'.

Now I feel kinda bad...I didn't get the name because I'm a champion juggler of children, work and responsibilities. Quite the opposite.

I was seventeen, and although I DID juggle two jobs and school, I can recall the words of my friend Nicole, after we received a detention because of some random chaos I'd created.(I'd tell you if I remembered)  "Well Loki, here's another Royal Mess you've got us into. What now?" I'm an orchestrator of messes, not an organizer of them. Sorry.

Beckey, I'm going to message you on Twitter. (Since we follow each other)

Alyssa Suzanne, I can be found on Twitter and Facebook under the name 'Donna Milward'. Please contact me.  I need to know where to send your pin and bookmark :)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Happy Anniversary to my Blog!

Yep...I've been writing this blog for a whole two years this week. I first wrote as my character, 'Thoeba', but when that got old, I reverted to myself and never looked back. I mean...maybe I'm jaded, but looking at the world from a newcomer's perspective became REALLY difficult. How many new discoveries can a centuries-old angel find that fascinating?

And if you read this blog, you'll have noticed it hasn't been very happy lately. I've dealt with death and the loss of people I cared about.. I grappled with depression--both mine and my friends' and felt like I'd lost my mind. I came WAY too close to losing my beloved Freya. But those issues are simmering down...and I'm in the mood to do something positive.

What do you say we have some fun? How about a little contest? And I`m gonna make it about ME.

You see, since highschool, I've had this huge, detailed nickname. I am known, in certain circles as... (deep breath)

Kaptain Loki Donovan R.M.

The Kaptain part was originally 'Captain Hook', from my habit of mimicking a certain gesture behind guys with nice tushies. (pinch, pinch) The 'K' spelling was just for the sake of being different.

Loki came from my love of Norse Mythology (Actually, I love ALL mythologies, my favorite being Greek) and my ability to get myself and my friends into trouble. True to the Scandinavian trickster's reputation, I frequently got us out too. Good times.

My friend Andrea from work named me 'Donovan' after I started calling her 'Andy' (I don`t think she liked that much) and it kinda stuck.

This is the contest part...YOU guys have to figure out what 'R.M.' stands for. Don't worry, this is multiple choice. Is it:

A) Rubber Mallet?

B) Royal Mess?

C) Runny Meatloaf?

D) Rabid Mouse?

E) Rogue  Masturbator?

F) Ruckin' Mitch?

Leave your answer on the comments, or Twitter it, or put it on Facebook. I wanna see it!

The first two correct answers will receive an angel pin and an autographed bookmark. And I'm not telling who won until next week. Such is the devious nature of Loki.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Importance of Wills.

 I had said that I would stop writing blogs about death. Believe me, I wish I was done with it, but I guess the business of death isn't finished with me. This summer, I lost two old friends from my hometown of Fox Creek. Rest in peace Lorraine Gliege and Kory Haynes. And if you read my blog, you will recognize the photo at left as Gary Larsen, my Edmonton deceased buddy.

Gary didn't write a will. Like many of us, I guess he thought he had time, or many he just didn't think it was that important. Well, it is.

No one knew his final wishes, so assorted associates put together a memorial and some, most notably, his friend Ehren Ackerman took it upon themselves to sort his affairs. This has been an emotionally taxing affair, and just when we believed it was coming to a conclusion, the process took an upsetting turn.

According to Section 31 of the Cemeteries Act of Canada, unclaimed remains must be kept by the funeral home for a minimum of one year. Then they must be processed in a respectful and non-offensive manner. Next of kin or executor must give written permission for this.

We're not sure proper protocol was followed. Gary's kin are in Denmark and some don't speak English very well. We have a hard time accepting the idea that his aunts, uncles and cousins would allow his body to be cremated and scattered with no proper location or ceremony. We were not apprised of this decision, despite the fact that Ehren, as his acting executor, offered to pay for a modest funeral.

A friend of mine tried to console me, saying "At least he's not around to see this."

We're PARANORMAL INVESTIGATORS, and don't buy that for a minute, and it's brought us back to square one, mourning our loss anew.

Rest assured, we're looking into this. We are bombarding Fountain Gardens with phone calls. We need to know the exact date they disposed of Gary and where. We are unsure of the documentation from his Scandinvian relatives, and not sure if we will have access to these WRITTEN letters they claim to have obtained, giving the home the go-ahead.

If you live in the Edmonton area, and you knew Gary, and want to help us find answers, the number to Fountain Gardens is (780)457-6600. We'd like to know what they are telling people, and we'd like to send them the message that Gary Larsen was NOT disposable-that he had people who cared about him. He deserved better than a bums-rush into the afterlife.

Myself personally, I would like to be cremated and given a small and inexpensive ceremony for my friends to say goodbye. I would have liked to have given Gary the same thing, but that's not really possible to give him a funeral now.

Knowing the heartbreak we are experiencing, I'm going to get my behind in gear and write that Last Will and Testament. I can't stand putting my survivors through something like this. I highly recommend that everybody do the same. <3

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Importance of Catbreaks

Or...Why I Don't Get as Much Done These Days.

This morning I woke up at seven, determined to get to work right away. Today is 'wet food day' so I got up and dished out turkey flavored slop onto two plates and lay down to wait for my husband to finish showering.

Sully (Siamese on the left) arrived, plunking his big purring butt on my pillow and started licking my head. I decided to enjoy his gratitude and fell asleep smiling.

I woke two hours later, irritated with myself for wasting time. I sat up quickly, only to find Freya at the end of the bed, adorably grooming herself. (she's on the right) I settled next to her, just to watch her being her usual cute self.

I might still be there, if it wasn't for the look she gave me. It said, "You're still here? Shouldn't you be writing?"


I find my cats very distracting. I know I'm not the only writer who finds his or herself suddenly unable to work due to our feline friends. 'Cat on the keyboard' is a common excuse. When Sully conquers my desk and explores I stop and observe. When Freya curls into my arms and falls asleep I don't dare disturb her. They force me to stop and 'paws'. (groan)

Honestly, I think it's good for me. I think they'll help me live longer. I used to stuff my days full from the moment I woke to late at night. I once stressed myself into frenzies, trying to pack an entire to-do list into one day, no matter how tired I became.

I feel calmer these days. My heart feels warmer than it ever has in my life. I have so much love for my furbabies.

Plus they inspire me. No really. If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't have had anything to blog about today ;)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Photographer's Bane

I read a blog recently that brought something very important to my attention. I wrote this blog weeks ago, but shelved it temporarily to write about Gary.

Roni Loren, the woman behind BlogHer wrote an article based on her experiences being sued by a photographer for using his images on her blog without permission.,1

Ouch. The unfortunate part is, even though Ms. Loren was apologetic and didn't mean to do anything wrong. Her actions were looked upon as a kind of piracy.

At first I thought "That's crazy! It's just a photo for her blog! It's not like she's raking in money using his work."

When I run it through my head I realize photographers have the same issues with piracy as writers and musicians do. They work hard to create their art as well, spending hours perfecting their craft and investing thousands of dollars in equipment. Why should they be any different?

We get mad when piracy sites sell our books for their own gain, but what do you do when random people from all over the world pluck your work off the internet without even a clue that they're stealing from you?
I've been  sticking  primarily to one site-- and haven't had any problems. You can use their photos for free if you acknowledge them, but certain rules apply. If you look at my past posts, you will see that at the bottom of each page I acknowledge the artist and or I use the HTML link they provide, such as the case below.

But Roni Loren has me nervous. I can't afford to get sued either. I have a feeling I'll be using my own camera a hell of a lot more.

Photo by: <p>Image: <a href="" target="_blank"></a></p>

Thursday, August 23, 2012


I finally get it...I attended my first memorial EVER and I finally understand.

 I haven't been to a funeral of any sort for 30 years. I was ten when my grandmother died, and apparently the sight of my deceased grandma in her casket was too much for me and my sister. I remember the hysterical confusion and the torrential tears. We never attended another one. My mother decided that it was better to remember loved ones as they were when they were alive, not as the husk that held their essence.

I used to believe in that wholeheartedly, even while I watched my mother simmer in pain and anger years after she lost her brother and refused to go to his service. She claimed no regrets for that decision.

So I'm glad I went for a friend. We all gathered our resources. We brought flowers, candles, and a ton of food. Gary's buddy, Reverend Lee Thompson presided over the service, obviously having a great deal of experience comforting a gathering of grieving people. We sat under a grove of trees in a public park and traded stories about Gary. I wasn't surprised to hear others speak of his sweetness and innocence--his love of Deep Purple and animals.

I was able to tell others of what Gary was like at Nait. Sherri spoke of bonding with Gary over obscure albums. Little Andreas broke our hearts when he said "I'm going to miss him." before bursting into tears. His former paranormal group was there too.

We celebrated his life and laughed until dark. We wished he was there to enjoy the Timbits and joked about his incredible capacity to eat. I hope Gary, where ever he is, saw how much he was loved and the profound impact he had on our lives.

And I can get on with my life and stop obsessing over death. With all the good memories flooding back, I feel like I can capture his goodness in the character I promised...Rest assured, I'll include his favorite 'Fart App'.

Side Note: Today the world lost Mrs. Kory Haynes of Fox Creek, Alberta to terminal illness. My heart and my sympathies go out to my friend Sharie Haynes-McGinty and her family. Been a summer of loss it seems.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Gone but Won't be Forgotten

Gary Larsen March 13,1964-August 12,2012
This is a hard post to write. I don't know where to begin.

I got a phone call Monday morning that shocked me straight to the soft spot in my heart, the one reserved for people like Gary Larsen.

Gary Larsen (Photo at left by Julia Ackerman) was a Paranormal Investigator for Edmonton Paranormal. He had a gentle soul, a massive sweet tooth and a hollow leg. He was 48 years old.

He will be remembered as a quiet person and a  great listener. He loved animals--especially birds, classic rock, and Timbits.

He loved ghosthunting, and the team is suffering a terrible loss.

I actually met Gary at Nait twelve years ago when we both took the Meatcutting course. Everybody there liked him too.

When I was there,  had a dream about him once where I asked him to guard my lunch. (What was I thinking?) When I came back and inquired as to what happened to my sandwich, Gary wiped his mouth with the back of his sleeve and muttered "I mon't moh." around a mouthful of turkey and cheese. I still chuckle when I think about it.

The saying "Only the good die young" applies here. It feels so unfair. Why him? Why this shining example of what people SHOULD be? Do people like Gary spend so much of their personal warmth on others that they don't leave enough for themselves? Is their sole purpose for being here to teach us not to take the people you love for granted? Maybe he reached that pinnacle where there was nothing left for him to learn here--Lessons complete. Time to go home.

Months ago, when I announced I was working on 'Chasing Monsters', Gary asked if he could be in it. I was happy to oblige. It's a promise that gives me as much trepidation as it does comfort.

On the one hand, I worry if I'll get it right. He'll never be able to say "I don't talk like that." or "That doesn't sound like something I would do." I won't ever really know if I nailed his character and he'll never have the chance to read it.

On the other hand, I'm in a unique position to preserve his memory. When I told him he was definitely a character in the novel, I think it made him feel special. Now I can show people all around the world that he really WAS special.

That in itself is a little inspiring. I'm going to listen to Ehren, Linda, Julia and Cathy and write his role with my heart. Someday when I meet him on the other side, he can tell me how he liked it.

In the meantime, Rest in Peace, Gary. We already miss you. Feel free to visit. <3

Thursday, August 9, 2012

I'm Baaaaaack!

An unexpected thing happened last week. After three weeks away from my blog, I decided I should come out and tell people why I didn't feel like writing. A writer never leads her readers with loose ends, right? I felt like I had to be honest.

That wasn't the unexpected part. The surprise came the next day when I wrote my first 1K since summer began. And then I did again the next day. And I wrote more the day after that--not only on 'Chasing Monsters' but on the erotica as well.
And it feels really good to be back

 I didn't really admit it in my last post, but my friend's depression had affected me to the point that I couldn't write. I didn't admit that even to my friends. They knew I was sad, and that I had a few things going on in my life. I talked to them about it, but I hated doing it. Felt like 'TMI'. I felt like I didn't have the right to hurt. It wasn't my depression, it was his. What was I crying about?

So coming out and telling  EVERYONE was even bigger and scarier. Apparently it was a good and necessary thing because my mojo is back. I feel liberated. Once again I'm doing the things I love, like writing and gardening. See my veggies? (pictured above)

Thanks to all my friends and acquaintances for your support and kind words from this blog, Twitter, Facebook, text, etc.

Thanks to you, everybody's stuck with me. Love to you all.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Depression bites

No, not mine-but someone very close to me has it. And in case you haven't noticed I don't feel like writing much as a result. It's been three weeks since my last post. I just didn't feel like sharing with anyone.

I admit, I haven't been the greatest friend in regards to my loved one's illness. In the last year I have sighed, rolled my eyes and resisted the constant urge to tell him to 'snap out of it'. (That comment usually gets me 'snapped at'. If it were that easy, don't you think they'd do it?)

As time rolls on, I've watched him get progressively worse.  My funny, sweet, gentle friend has become withdrawn, sullen and quick to rage. Now he's Mr. Hyde. It's hard to watch.

So difficult, in fact, that one day I was the one to shut down. I woke up feeling hopeless and sad. I couldn't do anything. I just lay on my couch and cried. It went like that for two days. No matter how I tried to get up and get on with it, it wasn't happening. Karma's a bitch but I'm glad for the experience.  I gained a lot more empathy. If this is what he feels everyday, I see how hellish it must be.

It's not over. It's still pretty rough. I'm trying to be supportive, because this is not something a person can 'just get over'. It's an illness, and I know that now. This isn't a case of whining or a need for attention. He needs my support, not my exasperation.

He's getting the help he needs, and I'm going to walk beside him while he does it. Wish us luck. We're going to need it.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Today is the day I announce my contest winners! Thank you to all who participated. There are three winners, and each will receive the e-book copy of Thoeba, one T-shirt depicting the cover, one fridge magnet depicting the cover, two metal bookmarks depicting guess what? I will also send a few autographed paper bookmarks as well. I haz swag, but my camera batteries are dead. Sorry...

ANYWAY! The winners, as chosen by sleeping troll are...

1)Tammy Middleton

2)Rebecca Bartlett

3)Meghan Dickert

I will be contacting all of you via Facebook and/or Twitter. Thanks again everyone!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

It's finally here! Thoeba's book birthday! It's our re-do debut.

For those of you who don't know, Staccato is Thoeba's second publisher. It was scary when we lost our first one, Vamptasy, when they downsized, but things happen for a reason. Once again I am excited and hopeful. Heather Savage and her team are awesome. (Thanks ladies <3)

Reviews are pouring in and most of them,but not all, are great. And that's cool. There's even a couple of contests out. Check out mel' and Those are two I know of for sure. They're giving away e-book copies of Thoeba and other stuff.

And I've decided to have a contest of my own. I'm going to give away three e-book copies too, plus autographed bookmarks. And just between you and me? I'm in the process of getting three T-shirts printed up for the contest. I'm getting a friend to do it, so they aren't done yet. ;)

Wanna enter my contest? Here's how: Same rules as last time...every time you tweet, retweet or share or even MENTION me or Thoeba, you get an entry. You have until next Wednesday, July 4th. Ready...? Go!

I'll announce the winners next Thursday. Thanks and Good Luck!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Can't Please Everybody...

It was bound to happen. After weeks of four and five star reviews I have to admit I probably got cocky.

The feedback had been all I'd hoped for. Review after review assured me that I belonged in the writing world...that my first novel was a shining example of imagination and skill. Maybe I'd be a bestseller, like one of those people who became social media darlings within months thanks to Facebook, Twitter and word-of mouth.

THEN "Thoeba" would become a blockbuster movie, starring Elizabeth Banks as Thoeba, and one of Dakota Fannings unknown younger siblings as Kayla. And people would talk about me in trendy circles, and the pressure to follow up with nothing less than brilliance would be...

Wait...What? A two star review on Goodreads? WTF?

I don't know her. But she IS a professional book reviewer. Which made me wonder why she hadn't commented on it.

More curious than upset, I politely thanked her for the review and asked her, "in all seriousness", what she didn't like.

Her quick response was friendly, VERY nice. She just couldn't get into it. She said she felt bad about that. She didn't put it on her blog as a regular review, or post it on Amazon because she felt it wasn't a bad book, or even a badly written book. She just didn't get into it, and she hoped I understood.

Ah, there go my dreams of uniting the globe with a message of tolerance and world wide empathy. Goodbye, Nobel Peace Prize.

Just kidding. But I think I DO understand. Not everybody is going to fall in love with my concepts. But at least I was honest to my work, and I hope others continue to like 'Thoeba' and my next novels. I will continue writing and learn from people who don't agree with me.

But it's funny...I thought this would hurt more.

Illustration by: aref

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Nothing on this blog is about writing...

Busy day today...And an important anniversary tomorrow-at least to me.
It was exactly one year ago tomorrow that my husband and I fell in love with a cat. At the Humane Society she meowed at Dan's feet until he picked her up, and purred so loud he never wanted to let her go. So we didn't.

I could go on and on about how she's changed my life. (I could...for HOURS) But anyone who knows me, or reads this blog knows just how precious she is to us. We love being cat owners so much, we got another another, a handsome boy named Sully. Delightful chaos has ensued ever since. Tomorrow they'll get her favorite wet food (Turkey and Giblets) and on the weekend, I'll buy an extra special treat for both of our furbabies.

I can't do it today (or tomorrow)because I'm doing garage sales at my house from 4 to 8, Thursday and Friday afternoon. As you know, Entities Unknown has been doing some fundraisers, and this is part of it. We have dishes, clothing, books, games,etc. We also have a sewing machine, stereo speakers, and other cool things. If you live in Edmonton and the surrounding area, come see me! It's at 9902-158st. Edmonton, Alberta.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Meet Terra Weston-Koster!

Yeah, I'm late again...But honestly I had nothing interesting to post about. That is until the amazing woman who designed my book cover agreed to be on this blog! It gives me a whole bunch of pleasure to introduce you to Terra Weston-Koster, the graphic designer behind my first cover, but certainly NOT my last!

Tell us about yourself...

Im Terra (Weston) Koster and I grew up in central Minnesota. My biggest passions in life are family, horses, singing and Art. Im a former Sailor (so please excuse any language slips and currently a graphic artist.

How did you become a graphic artist? What drew you to this line of work?

I love art in any form. I love drawing, painting, photography, throwing on a wheel, basically everything involved with art. I realized that the only way to make a living as an artist is by living out of your car… or about 100 years after you die ☺ So I decided it would be smarter to mix my love of art with Technology because that is never going to go away. I went to school for Multi Media so I could do everything from digital art to websites and photo editing.

Where do you get your inspiration?

I get my artistic inspiration from all different sources, from my kids to nature, animals and I love fantacy/SciFi.. However for book covers I definitely get my inspiration from the characters in the book! I love books that are so well detailed that there leaves no questions about the characters. That being said, it’s also interesting when a characters personality is very specific but their physical attributes are more vague. I think that helps the reader put themselves in the story.

How did you come up with that genius cover for 'Thoeba'?

There is so much emotion in Thoeba! Sorrow for her lost Love, Joy and discovering new things, anger at the demons that pushed her from heaven… and a snarky sarcasm as she deals with the new humans she meets. There was just no way I could fit all that on one cover, so I decided to use an image that shows her as overwhelmed as possible, and holding herself/the Energy for support. She clearly misses heaven so I wanted her to have her head thrown back and her face up.

She is an angel so of course I pictured her beautiful, and when she lost her wings the description of her scars was great, so I wanted to make sure she had a “tattooed scar” look instead of cuts and blood which is not how they are supposed to look. And although you cant see The Energy, you can see the necklace she is wearing. There is also a darkness with the demons so I had to add lots of falling ash.

Could you explain to us how the average cover comes together?

That depends on the cover. Reading the book to get a feel for the characters is a must. Sometimes it depends on the author as well. Many times there are certain things they just love and really want incorporated. It can be as elaborate as the whole theme, or something as simple as the font ☺

Then you have to think about your target audience. Just because it might be a cover that I personally love, if it wont appeal to the targeted readers it wont be good for the book. The cover needs to grab them long enough to get them to pick it up and read the back ☺ After that it’s a combination of cover, and blub that gets someone to read it.

I see your facebook profile photo has a horse. It seems you have a passion for them. Can you tell us about it? What else makes you happy?

I grew up with horses and I love to ride and show. I would live and breath them. My husband says my love of horses overshadows everything else, but he also says most people don’t have a passion that strongly for anything at all so its not all bad. We have some very good cow horses, and we compete as often as time allows. My kids have been riding since they were about 15months old, and my daughter is 7 and competes with me. The other loves of my life are my husband Scott, our daughter Shane and our son Wyatt. They are the 3 funniest people I know. I tell Scott that I was normal before I met him… and Im pretty sure I get my sarcasm from my kids.

Thanks so much Terra for my perfect cover art AND for taking the time to do this interview. You rock.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A good excuse

Actually, I have TWO good excuses for being late. Number One, I'm sick. Have been for 10 days. I allowed myself a few days here and there of couch hibernation, but as typical of most women, I wasn't able to just lay around doing nothing. I've been running errands, doing garage sales and puttering about in my yard. I could have just blogged about that I suppose... But I really wanted you all to see my homemade bookmarks. That's them in the photo. What a pain in the butt! They are inexpensive and rather simple, but they're all mine. (Well, except for Terra's cover)I'll pass these around like business cards. THAT'S what took me so long today. Sorry...Would anyone like some? Send me your address via Twitter or Facebook and I can mail you a few :)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tickled to Tell

Got lots to tell you all today. It's a little crazy as usual, but things are coming together. I've finally started 'Chasing Monsters'. I only got 400 words in, but it's a start. I just have to re-learn the art of not caring what I write now, and edit later. I've been second guessing all my sentences. But at least I've started. I'm also pleased to announce that advanced copies of 'Thoeba' are available. Heather Savage is hard at work getting it ready to go and promoting the heck out of it. To order your guaranteed advanced copy, contact I'm so excited!! Meanwhile, "Entities Unknown" is having our first fundraising garage sale. It will be on May 12th and 13th. It starts at 8 am and will go until 4 pm...or 6 pm. Depends on how many people we get. The address is at Brandy's house--3415-138 ave. Edmonton, Alberta. Bring your friends and family! We are also having a bottle drive and a jar for 'Pennies for the Paranormal'. If you can help us out with that, we'd be grateful for any contribution. Thanks! Hope to see you there!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Crazy Nights

Sorry everyone...I don't actually have time for a real post. I'm busy writing an outline for 'Chasing Monsters' while writing bios for 'Entities Unknown'. I'm still trying to find time to write the erotica. I still do Food Bank twice a week and 'Wing Nites' on Tuesdays. I've been attending meetings for Edmonton Paranormal every second Saturday and on Wednesdays for 'Entities Unknown'. Did I mention we'll be doing garage sales? Our first one is next weekend at 8 a.m. at 3415-138 ave. Saturday and Sunday. I'll probably be tired because the troll's birthday is the night before, and I still haven't figured out what to get him. Also we have a silent auction coming up. I still have my walking workout on Monday mornings and Thursday afternoons. My spring cleaning is finished, but I still have to finish raking the front lawn, and I have to bottle the Strawberry Riesling wine I made. Right now I have to go grocery shopping because I have company coming tonight after I take Sully to the vet for a booster and after I do the walking workout. Whew! Did I forget anything?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Fear of Flying Solo

I'm having a hard time admitting to this. No, I haven't got writer's block. At least not exactly. 'Thoeba' will be out in June, and my beta readers are reporting favorable opinions about 'Aphrodite's War'. It's time to start writing 'Chasing Monsters'. In fact, I've started the character resumes and the outline. The problem is...I'm nervous. This will be the first time since I started writing Thoeba that I will have no critique partners. I will be writing my novel without anyone to tell me when I'm being cartoony, or how I could tighten my sentence a little more. There will be no one there to check my grammar or give me kudos for a nice turn of phrase. I'll be going at this alone and it scares me a bit. What if I compose the entire book and find out it sucks and I can't write without someone holding my hand? What if I discover I'm really not that talented? I feel like I'm sitting on the edge of the nest and somebody is fixing to kick me in the pants. Still, I'm a big believer in change being a good thing. In a lot of ways this will make me a better writer. I will be forced to rely on myself rather than anybody else. It will give me a more critical eye. I will learn a new kind of discipline. Besides, this ties right in with my tendency to do things BECAUSE I'm afraid of them. There are hundreds of writers out there who've never even HAD the benefit of crit partners. I'm going to count myself as fortunate, and use all the valuable things I learned from Suzanne, Jan, and Dawn. It's time to jump off the branch head-first.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Get by with a Little Help From my Friends

Been really busy lately. Mostly getting the little things done. Writing outlines and guest blogs...herding cats. Snow tires are off and I'm almost finished washing walls. I love my friends but I SWEAR the next time one of them says "Oh hey, you could come wash mine." I will scream. Seriously. Is that supposed to be funny? When I meet you people in hell, I'm going to ask, "Hot enough for ya?"

Nah...Even as I bitch, I smile. It's months like this that I'm grateful for the whole bunch. It never ceases to amaze me how I wound up with them in the first place.

Growing up, I was extremely unpopular. Being the only one wearing Metallica and Megadeth shirts in a town of 2000 will do that. I had three friends.

I don't know when my loner tendencies came to an end. I think it started with Facebook. I only joined because my writer's group demanded it. As resistant as I was, it let me keep in touch with all my new friends who shared a common interest in the gift of words. Then it happened...Highschool classmates that I thought didn't care about me friended me in droves. As my confidence grew, I attended places like EPIC, Kendo and writing clubs alone until people started talking to me.

And thanks to facebook, I was able to hang on to people I used to work with as well, despite how job situations change and we all move forward with our swamped lifestyles.I even kept friends from therapy.

I was shy and moody. Now I'm happy and overwhelmed with my love for all kinds of people.

And the best part is the variety! Everybody's there from Christians to Zombiewalkers. I have a smorgasbord of writers, jewelry makers, photographers and other creative people. There's paranormal interest peeps, gays, lesbians, school chums, bikers, goths, kendokka, former employees and co-workers.

All of you make me feel RICH, and you've made my life interesting. This post is for you.

*And a shout out to Dawn Ius, another good friend I met through a writing group. HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAWN!! (She's the brunette on the right in the photo. She did my wedding photography)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Uninspired? Clean your desk!

Yeah, I know. A clean desk is the sign of a sick mind. Don't worry, as I write this I'm already getting hummus on the keyboard.

I know my last post was rather sad (Freya is doing just fine) and last week I didn't bother but that doesn't mean I sat on my butt wallowing in contrition. No,I got busy. I made wine from a kit and I washed walls. I ran errands, made appointments, and spent much needed time with friends.

Today, I tackled my desk. And it felt good.

The fun part of cleaning your desk is the treasures you rediscover. Here's some of mine:

A stack of business cards, all from the new friends I made on my trip to Washington three years ago.

An R2-D2 USB key.

A button that says 'Be a Goddess" advertising

A card representing the word I adopted but rarely use--'macellarious' It means pertaining to butchers. "In matters macellarious, you can speak to Donna, the former Meat Manager."

Old critique notes from 'Aphrodite's War.

And a recipe for Monster Breakfast Cookies...which I'll share with you.


1/2 cup butter, softened 1 cup brown sugar, packed 2 Eggs
1/2 cup canola oil 1/2 cup of honey 1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups of instant oats 2 1/2 cups Robin Hood Nutri-flour blend 1/2 cup ground flax seed
1/4 cup sesame seeds 1/4 cup poppy seeds 1/4 cup regular flax seeds
1 tsp. baking soda 1 tsp. cinnamon 1 cup raisins

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Beat butter and brown sugar until creamy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add oil, honey, and vanilla. Add next six ingredients. Stir in raisins.

3. Place 1/4 cup dough for each cookie on baking sheets. Flatten slightly.

4. Bake in preheated oven 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. These cookies freeze well. Makes 24 large cookies.

How do they taste? I have no idea. I don't bake.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Cat Mommy's Guilt (Blogging, smoking and crying)

I wasn't going to blog today. I had decided today was one of those days where I said 'screw writing' and took the entire day off from it so I could nurse my cat to health. But I'm a writer. It's how I express my emotions. And Freya needs to rest without my constant hovering.

Today those emotions are relief, happiness, and trepidation topped with an avalanche of guilt.

My sweet kitty Freya has suffered a collapsed lung. I'm heaving great sobs of shame as I write this. My head throbs from the hourly tears I've cried since I learned of her injuries.

I've been letting Freya off her harness. There is nothing she loves more than exploring outside and chasing birds. And we have a small problem with swallows trying to take over our attic. I thought, "One doesn't keep a mouser tied up, why should I keep a bird huntress on a leash? Besides, it makes her happy."

Yesterday around lunch, I checked outside, which I do frequently, to see if she wanted to come in. She was waiting silently by the door. She came inside without a word. Very unlike her. She talks a lot for a cat. She was FILTHY.

"Oh my God, Freya," I said. "What did you do? You SO need a bath. You're not getting out of it this time. Where were you?" Not a peep from her. I continued to babble at her about what a mess she was. She was walking funny.

You know how cats have that effortless grace when they walk? Freya made it look awkward-like she was tiptoeing gingerly. She headed downstairs. She'd descend two steps, stop and rest. Two more and rest.

An awful thought stuck me, and I don't even know where it came from. Someone once told me that animals look for a dark quiet place to die. So I brought her back upstairs to watch her. That's when I noticed she was breathing heavy--and with every breath her flanks quivered. We left for the vet immediately.

When they told me it was a collapsed lung, I knew it was my fault. Nobody could tell if she'd fallen, or been attacked or hit by a car, but it doesn't matter because it's my fault for thinking SHE would be okay roaming unfettered. SHE was a smart cat.

But I think my friend Colleen is right. Knowing how Freya avoids traffic and strangers, this was probably not an accident. I remember the mark on her back--One long muddy curve in the precise shape and width of a bicycle tire. Somebody, perhaps one of the many kids in this neighborhood, or maybe my crude and creepy next door neighbor, went after her and deliberately hurt her.

Pure speculation. Nobody knows what Freya endured before limping her way home.

When people find out that Freya got hurt because she was wandering freely, they say 'lesson learned' and 'at least you got her to a vet in time'. It isn't that comforting unfortunately. This mistake could still cost my precious angel her life. She's not out of the woods yet.

I can't help feeling this is probably some kind of karmic butt-kicking. This is for all the times BEFORE I had a pet (Freya and Sully are my very first pets ever) when I would roll my eyes and think "It's just a pet...Why get so upset over some animal?"I can guarantee you I'll never say THAT again.

But yes, there are lessons learned here.

1) Trust my instincts with my cats. Rhonda is right. They will tell me what they need.

2) Never think it can't happen to me/my pets. Just because cats are intelligent, doesn't mean the people around them (including me) are.

I never had children, so I guess i never really learned this one before, but...

3) Sometimes keeping the ones you love doesn't always mean doing what makes them happy, but it's doing what is RIGHT for them--for their own protection. I need to be a more responsible pet owner. For Freya and Sully's sake.

I'm just praying it's not too late.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

No Rest for the Wicked

I guess it's official. After going to EPIC meetings for over a year,writing consistently for the Edmonton Paranormal newsletter, and taking a position as writer for 'Entities Unknown', I have joined Edmonton's coolest paranormal investigative team in a new capacity. I am now the 'Client Liaison'.

When Ehren first approached me with the idea, I balked. I didn't think I was qualified to talk to people on a regular basis. I consider myself a little reclusive. While I'm accustomed to complete strangers approaching me and telling me their life's story, I never understood why. I asked him, "Does this look like an approachable face?" To which he replied, "Well yeah. You DO have an approachable face, and you're easy to talk to."

Oh. I guess the angry teen-aged headbanger I once was is buried beneath my laugh lines. Well!

So I thought about it. Why not me? I'm spiritual and sympathetic. I strive for professionalism and I don't judge.

Besides, this means only an hour or so of my time each week. I just have to keep in touch with clients through e-mail and facebook. Yeah, like I don't do that kind of thing anyway. This will also mean going on the occasional investigation and hearing great stories about real-life ghostly encounters.

So aside from writing novels, blogs and paranormal articles, I get to experience the paranormal world firsthand. Guess I can't say my life is boring anymore. In fact, I'm incredibly busy these days. But you know what? I kinda love it.

Photo by:

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Apologies to Nietzche

I made it through 'Birth of a Tragedy.' I learned that Nietzche took 114 pages to explain the Ancient Greek grunge scene. It wasn't easy, but I'm glad I did.

Now I'm reading Seventy-five Aphorisms, and guess what? He really is a genius, and I'm feeling pretty sheepish.

Here's some of what I've learned:

Reader's Bad Manners--A reader is doubly guilty of bad manners against the author when he praises his second book at the expense of the first(or vice versa) and then asks the author to be grateful for that.

The Worst Readers--The worst readers are those who proceed like plundering soldiers: they pick up a few things they can use, soil and confuse the rest, and blaspheme the rest.

The Sharpest Criticism--One criticizes a person, a book, most sharply when one pictures their ideal.

Ouch. I guess I deserved that. He's right, though. It was rude of me to judge him on what was his first work. Especially since I'm probably going to be a victim of my own line of thinking.

I take back what I said last post and will finish reading the basic writings of Nietzche with an open mind. Having said that, I end this post with my current favorite quote from Germany's beloved philosopher.

Opinions and Fish--Possessing opinions is like possessing fish, assuming one has a fish pond. One has to go fishing and needs some luck--then one has one's own fish, one's own opinions. I am speaking of live opinion's, of live fish. Others are satisfied if they own a cabinet of fossils--and in their heads, "convictions".

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Nietzche Drives Me Nuts

I dislike Nietzche. Not because he's a pompous misogynistic, anti-Semite. No. I dislike him because he makes me feel like an uneducated yutz. I'm so frustrated! How am I supposed to learn anything from this guy if I can't understand what he's trying to say?

Here's an example, taken from The Birth of Tragedy: "One need only to reflect more deeply on the linguistic difference with regard to color, syntactical structure, and vocabulary in Homer and Pindar, in order to understand the significance of this contrast; indeed, it becomes palpably clear that in the period between Homer and Pindar the orgiastic flute tones of Olympus must have been sounded, which, even in Aristotle's time, when music was infinitely more developed, transported people to drunken ecstasy, and which, in their primitive state of development, undoubtedly incited to imitation all the poetic means of expression of contemporaneous man."

To which I reply..."Huh?"

As a writer I can't really wrap my head around works so badly in need of an editor. Wordy much? Grammar would be nice. Notice that it's one long sentence? I have to read stuff like this several times before I get the jist of his babbling.

I'm starting to think;

a) He was making a concerted effort to be as academic and snooty as possible. He had a lot of critics, and maybe this was his way of saying, "I can use bigger words and sentences than you. Can you hear me now?"

b)Or these are the rantings of a complete lunatic. After all, he did die a demented recluse.

I hear all the time what a genius he was. I think the emperor has no clothes. Do people applaud his musings because to admit he confuses them means they feel as stupid as I do? Can someone enlighten me?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Yowls Well that Ends Well.

Ernest Hemingway collected cats. According to him, one cat leads to another.
Like tattoos and other forms of pain. How did he get anything writing done with all that caterwauling? That would be like me trying to write while listening to Megadeth.

The cutie in the photo is Sully. He is the latest edition (we hope) to our family, and the current reason for my exhaustion. Funny how alert one becomes when awakened from a deep sleep by low growls outside the bedroom door.

Being a relatively new pet owner, I was unprepared for the hissing, biting, screaming and territorial posturing involved. The cats were bad too. I think Freya secretly watches Bruce Lee movies.

But it's Day Four and I see a light at the end of the tunnel. They spend a lot of time close to one another without any freak outs. But I don't think I'm supposed to know that. It's like they deliberately howl in unison the minute I walk in the room-just to milk it a little. Because aggravating the human is fun.

You know what I've learned? That my cat Freya is a domineering, loud, little bitch that doesn't care if you're bigger than her. It's HER way or NO WAY.

I wonder where she got that from?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

By any other name...

As my Summer release date approaches and encouragement and congratulations roll in, something occurs to me. And I know I won't get any more work done until I address it.

I frequently find myself in the awkward position of telling publishers, friends, readers and fellow bloggers they are pronouncing and/or spelling 'Thoeba' incorrectly.

It 'o' before 'e', not the other way around. And it's not pronounced 'Theeba' like Phoebe from 'Friends'. Nope. It's pronounced with an 'oh'. As in 'toe' with a 'th' sound in front of it. Thoh-bah.


You'd think that someone who wants to establish a long career in writing would name their first novel something a little more memorable and user friendly. Yeah, that would have been the smart thing to do. Again...sorry.

Why did I do it? I blame my sub-conscious mind.

When I was fourteen years old, I had a bad dream. I was a naked angel hiding in a garden. I crouched behind the hydrangeas clutching a crystal, knowing I had to protect it at all costs. A man and his children tried to coax me out, but I saw demons circling overheard and knew they were searching for me. These idiots were going to give me away!

They appealed to me, patting their chests and saying their names. I tried to respond, but the only thing I could say was, "Thoh-bah! Thoeba!" And it's been that way ever since, even the weird spelling.

So now you know. I could never bring myself to change it. At least I have the knowledge that the book title and my character's name will remain unique. Nobody else will be dumb enough to copy my example. ;)