Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Writing Through Life's Tsanamis

Well it's Wednesday, the first of the month and as designated by Alex Cavanaugh, it's Insecure Writer's Wednesday. 

It's one of those years that it feels like the hamster wheel just never stopped spinning.  Somebody plunked me on the thing and it just kept spinning and spinning with no little red button that said...


One family obligation after another, one crisis after another and all intertwined with that mundane day to day that has a person doing what they normally do - running to the grocery store, dry cleaners or remembering, that yes, we are almost out of gas in the car.  It's just been one of those years.  We all have them.  Whether it's a crazy week, a month that got out of control or once in a long time - a year that just spun into oblivion.  But everyone's turn comes along when life's craziness combine with what look like unexpected disasters, fortunately none that could be called nature's wrath - not a real Tsanamis, keep us hopping.

How does one keep writing through all of that?  I did but I don't think well.  I forgot that I needed to refresh the well where ideas come from.  And to do that I needed something fresh that didn't spell crisis.

So after a year of craziness I'm finally dusting off the travel journal, and while it's not the most foreign of shores, I'm heading south, looking for some relief from the edges of cold weather that's just beginning to sift in.  I want to shave a few days off that never-ending Canadian cold weather. 

While there's not much different as we first cross the border, the changes become more evident as we head further south.  Snow for instance.  There was no snow 500 miles north.  But here, there's snow.  Go figure.  And of course, there's no Tim Horton's.  The Canadian Icon is a no-show.  Not that I mind, I'm just saying. 

But what we did find was the funkiest little taco stand in a little town that provided - well, if nothing else, ambiance.  A chain  made unique by the tiny space it took up and the three over-sized men who ran it in an undersized kitchen.  From sticky doors and tables to well-worn floors - yes...  it was one of a kind.  Why did we eat there?  Well, it wasn't as bad as it sounded.  And if nothing else - well it was a story.  

But the good thing of all of this - getting away gets the creative process going again.  While I haven't forgotten the story that I have been too long revising, new ideas are popping up and I'm excited to put pen to paper.  I'm remembering why I travel - it inspires me every time.  It takes me into places that are not my norm exactly as I love to do with the characters in my stories.  Travel is rejuvenating and it is always fodder for a story or two.

Take a trip, anywhere.  Somewhere you haven't been before even if that somewhere is somewhere in your own city or town.   Like just the other day a trip on the city bus gave me an unexpected view into life as I don't normally see it.  The unexpected, a place where story ideas lie waiting to ambush us.

 And the journey continues....  Tomorrow onward - hopefully we'll hit Denver before rush hour.  


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Intent to Kill

A ruthless band of smugglers will stop at nothing to strip Cambodia of its priceless ancient artifacts, even if it means using and killing female tourists.  Journalist Claire Linton knows she's on the story of a lifetime.  But for Claire, it's personal too: long before her "Uncle Jack" came to the U.S., he was held captive in the nightmarish killing fields of Cambodia, and Claire senses there might be a connection between that long-ago bloody history and the dark crimes plaguing the country today.

Simon Trent is a burnt-out Interpol agent who disappeared after his last case turned fatal.  But with the resurgence in smuggling and all signs pointing to the man who once escaped his grasp, he comes out of hiding to finish the job that's haunted him for years.  What he doesn't see coming is Claire, the beautiful and headstrong reporter who may be a threat to his case - and to his heart.

As Claire and Simon reluctantly join forces to unravel a mystery that reaches deep into her family history and may be his only chance at redemption, they must fight to stay one step ahead of a brutal killer - and one step away from the dangerous feelings building between them.

My latest romantic suspense, Intent to Kill, was released this week and is now available at online bookstores including: 

Barnes and Noble


Monday, October 7, 2013

Choices and Illusions - A Book That May Change Your Life

 I had the opportunity to review Eldon Taylor's latest book, Choices and Illusions, and I jumped at the chance.  Choices and Illusions didn't disappoint.  If you're interested in the power of the mind or have made noises about changing your life - you'll enjoy the information in this book.

Eldon Taylor is a New York Times best-selling author and is considered to be an expert in the field of subconscious learning.  He has made a lifelong study of the human mind and has earned doctoral degrees in psychology and metaphysics.  He is a Fellow with the American Psychotherapy Association (APA) and a nondenominational minister.  Eldon has served as an expert witness in court cases involving hypnosis and subliminal communication.

Eldon was a practicing criminologist for over ten years specializing in lie detection and forensic hypnosis.  Today he is president and director of Progressive Awareness Research, Inc.  Since 1984 his books, audio programs, lectures, radio and television appearances have approached personal empowerment from the cornerstone perspective of forgiveness, gratitude, self-responsibility and service.

Be sure to visit the promotional page for Choices and Illusions by clicking here.  

My review of Choices and Illusions:
The human mind is extremely complex as Eldon Taylor again demonstrates in his latest book,
Choices and Illusions.  Richly written, Eldon takes us on a journey into the power of the mind.  While
no book on the mind can be anything but complex, Eldon softens the depth of the information with strategically placed tales and stories that entertain as well as teach.

Do minds communicate with each other - is the basis of creativity more a group activity than an individual one?  R. D. Laing
Quotes like this along with Eldon's thought provoking research and easy prose make Choices and Illusions a provocative read.

Choices and Illusions provides an excellent base to begin the exploration of self, and of the unseen but compelling forces of society that have the ability to shape the basis of our beliefs and ultimately our personalities.  It provides the tools necessary to begin harnessing the powers of your mind instead of letting it run unfettered and potentially controlled by the power of hidden beliefs foisted on us by others.  And more importantly, it provides telling evidence that the mind is the one thing that can change your life.

I found Choices and Illusions an intriguing read.  With plenty of references to other books on the subject, Choices and Illusions is an excellent jumping off point for anyone interested in enriching their lives by becoming aware of their most powerful tool, their mind.

You can find Choices and Illusions along with my review on and Barnes and Noble.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Gone With The Wind

Last week was the Banned Book Week Hop and I was offering a copy of Gone With The Wind.  Which I must say I have been slowly making my way through these last months - yes, I did say slowly.  A few pages in the morning, another page here or there, interspersed with other reading of course.  But slow or not, I'm enjoying and obviously, savouring every page.

But to get to it - the winner of a paperback copy of Gone With The Wind is:


Congrats - hope you enjoy the story as much as I am the second time round.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Time Wrangling or Dog Biscuits?

Why is it that fall seems to bring that rush of too much to do.  Maybe it's not the same everywhere but here on the prairie it seems that whether you have kids or not, whether you farm or not - we're all affected by the cries of back to school and rush to get the harvest in before the weather turns for the worse.

For  me, I'm hearing the cry of getting a story done that has languished way too long.  It's been a year
that's been slightly disjointed, fragmented by the demands of life.  And that, for now, is as good an excuse as any.  Although I suspect that the story might have fared better if I streamlined my writing life. 

Streamlined.  Maybe organized is a better word.  My old methods of jumping in here and there working on one project or another has, as the volume has escalated, caused chaos.  The chaos is headlined on my computer, let's call her Old Faithful.  She's been keeping me company since 2007 but now the battery is weak and her body is sagging.  I'm parked at my kitchen table, afraid to leave the safety of a solid surface and a nearby electrical outlet.  I'm cleaning up five years of files before transferring to a new computer.  In the meantime, I'm hoping no one jostles my shaky power connection as I sheer the chaos of over-bulging files and realize that when in doubt - save might not be the best option.

It's been a year of splitting my attention between a number of projects.  And instead of dividing my time equally, I found myself spending too much time with one while leaving another lie.  And that's where organization comes in - time slots.  Can I write more than one story at a time without losing momentum on another?  I know I will do it, have done it - just not efficiently.   I suspect there is a better method.  I'm still scratching my head on that as I continue to delete and move but I suspect that the answer lays beneath all those stacks and stacks, of really unnecessary files. 

Sigh - oddly the state of my computer files reflects that of the life of my current protagonist.  Irony or what?  

But, it's been a long day and so as not to get it together all at once I'm going to move on to something a little more relaxing.  Making dog biscuits.  I see a shaggy head look up at the mention of one of his favourites.  So here it is, Rourke gives them a triple star.  Of course, he is only one dog and he does have slight favourable leanings to the cook:

Rourke's Salmon Biscuits
1 can salmon (about 200 grams)
1/2 cup water
pinch of dill
a dash or two of lemon
a dash of pepper
bake at 325 - flip the cookies after thirty minutes
and continue to bake for another half hour.
Turn off oven but leave cookies in the oven until it cools.  
Cookies will harden just a bit more

And for this first Wednesday in October, the recipe is the best bit of writing procrastination I have to offer.