Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year!

Looking forward to what 2012 brings

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Book Winner + End of Movember

I just want to start this post by saying I'm Sorry for my lack of posts. I said I was back to more consistent blogging ... and I haven't been blogging. What's up with THAT?? 

Well, just so you're all aware, if you don't remember this post where I talk about going back to school - THAT'S what's up my friends!  The only way I know how to describe the busy-ness that has been this past semester is "drinking from a fire-hose!" But I've loved every minute of it (except for the bits that made me feel like I was back in high school ... quelle horreur).

So without further ado, I would like to announce the winner of my very first contest ........ (*drum roll*) .......

You are the winner of the novel Quiver by Holly Luhning. Please email me your name and address at

emond (dot) c (at) gmail (dot) com

and I will have your book in the mail asap!

In other news ... Yesterday marked the last day of Movember. How I'll miss all the wonderful mustaches, :p Until next year, here's a pic of my own:

{It took me so long to grow that mustache, and now I have to shave it off ... ;p}
A Bientôt!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Isabelle Laflêche is Here!

I'm excited to welcome another fellow Canadian {I didn't intend that to be the theme this week, but it's not such a bad thing ;p}, author Isabelle Laflèche to my blog!

 Isabelle was kind enough to answer a few questions for us despite her busy schedule {She has been hard at work on the sequel to J'adore New York ...}.

Isabelle worked for over ten years in Toronto, New York City, and Montreal as a corporate attorney in a large law firm and on Wall Street. In 2005, she was responsible for the business affairs of a Quebec based fashion designer where she developed her penchant for haute couture. This is her first novel. She lives in Montreal, Quebec.

A Bit About The Novel ...

When Catherine Lambert, an effortlessly chic Parisian lawyer, receives an offer to transfer to the New York office of her prestigious firm, she unhesitatingly accepts. A dedicated follower of fashion and everything stylish, she is determined to conquer the high-flying world of Manhattan law -- and love. Catherine's dreams of glamour fizzle quickly, however, when she is faced with the hard realities of her profession. The pressure of billable hours, the incessant demands of her impossible bosses, the conspiracies of two malicious secretaries and the advances of the lecherous client prompt her to question her career choice. But then she meets Jeffrey Richardson, a powerful client, and her New York life takes on the romance she'd hoped it would -- until an unexpected request forces Catherine to re-evaluate the exclusive world she's chosen for herself. With its insider's perspective on the dirty deals and intrigue that have darkened Wall Street's reputation, J'adore New York is a bright and funny take on the lives and laws of New York's most powerful players.
This was one of those books that I KNEW I had to read from the moment I saw the cover; I was hooked after reading the synopsis, and once I began I couldn't put it down until the very last page! I'm actually reading it right now for the THIRD time, and it's just as good as the first - I love reading/watching anything legal related, and the more glamorous the better!

Read on for my interview with Isabelle ...

What inspired you to make the leap from lawyer to author?
A psychic I met in New York told me I was wasting my time practicing law....But after I took some creative writing classes and received great feedback from my classmates, I decided to take a leap of faith.

What is a typical day like for you now?
Two thirds is spent working on upcoming projects and freelance work and a third is spent taking care of administration matters.

Do you have a particular process when it comes to writing?
I try to develop an outline but I tend to let my imagination run free. I write mostly at night and re-read and edit in the mornings.

How long did it take you to write J'adore New York?
The initial first draft took about a year to write, but it took several years of revisions after that before it was picked up by a publisher.

How long did it take you to get from idea to published novel?

5 years.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Running, skiing, kayaking, browsing in flea markets, reading magazines.

Do you have any suggestions for wannabe novelists wanting to break into the publishing world?

Take your time, do your homework and be very persistent.

You've spent time in Paris researching your novels, do you have a favourite spot to visit when you're there?
Absolutely! Paris is so magical and dreamy. I must say that my favourite neighborhood is Saint-Germain- des- Prés.

Can you tell us what's next for you?

I've recently completed the writing of J'Adore Paris, the sequel to J'adore New York. I am planning on writing three books in the J'Adore Series. After that, perhaps a series for young adults.


If you were to pair a glass of wine with J'adore new York, what kind would it be?
A Shiraz: bold, deep & rich with notes of sweetness.
Book you're currently reading?
The Help [By Kathryn Stockett].
If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be? 
Staring out at the ocean, in Rockport, Mass.
Favourite girlie cocktail?
A Fig and ginger martini from the Rose Bar in New York {Look out for the recipe in an upcoming post}

A HUGE Thank You to Isabelle!! 
I will have the pleasure of attending a writing workshop later this month taught by Isabelle, 
so I will definitely be doing a post on that.

For those of you who haven't yet had the opportunity to check out Isabelle's blog, here is the link.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Holly Luhning Is Here!

SO excited to welcome fellow Canadian, Holly Luhning, to my blog for my first EVER author Interview!

I first heard about Holly and her novel, Quiver, through a mutual friend, and I'm really happy to have the opportunity to spread the word about this talented gal.

Raised in rural Saskatchewan and now living in Toronto, Holly holds a PhD in eighteenth-century literature, madness and theories of the body {not only talented, but smart}. She has received a Saskatchewan Lieutenant Governor’s Arts Award, and her collection of poetry, Sway, was nominated for a Saskatchewan Book Award.

A Bit About The Novel ...

In sixteenth-century Hungary, Countess Elizabeth Báthory tortured and killed over six hundred servant girls in order to bathe in their blood; she believed this brutal ritual would preserve her youth and beauty.
Danica, a young forensic psychologist, is drawn to Báthory’s legend. She has moved from Canada to England to work at Stowmoor, a Victorian insane asylum turned modern-day forensic hospital. One of her patients, the notorious Martin Foster, murdered a fourteen-year-old girl in homage to Báthory. He cultivates his criminal celebrity and Danica struggles to maintain a professional demeanor with the charismatic Foster as she begins to suspect that his activities may be linked to a cabal that idolizes Báthory.
Danica’s life in London becomes increasingly complicated when  Maria, a glamorous friend from Danica’s past, arrives to do archival work in the city. She claims to have discovered Báthory’s long-lost diaries and slowly reveals horrific passages to Danica. As Danica’s career and her relationship with her artist-boyfriend, Henry, begin to break down, Maria lures her into a complex social sphere. Unsure of who to trust, Danica’s professional and personal lives become dangerously entwined, and she must decide what she is willing to risk to satisfy her attraction to Báthory’s ominous legend.

I LOVED this book!! It was unlike anything I've ever read before; it was dark, sexy, a bit grotesque, and entirely glamorous. I recommend reading it on a dark, rainy evening, with a glass of Shiraz {Holly's recommendation -- see below}, all curled up in bed to get the full effect - just make sure there's someone else in the house in case you get scared... or is that just me??

Read on for my interview with Holly, and stay tuned till the end for a little treat ...

Where did you first hear about the Countess, Elizabeth Bathory, and what was it that drew you to her as the subject for your debut novel Quiver?
While I was researching an undergrad paper, I came across Raymond T. McNally’s non-fiction book about Báthory, Dracula Was A Woman. The book had nothing to do with my paper, but I took it out of the library anyway. I was interested in Báthory’s historical and political stories, but I was even more interested in contemporary fascinations, and even obsessions with her – artists, musicians, criminals who have been influenced by her legend. I was intrigued by this sustained, contemporary fixation on her; the social anxieties this fixation reveals in regard to issues of violence, beauty, ritual, and femininity.
Some parts of your novel are pretty dark, and describe gruesome situations; as a writer, was it difficult for you to go to those places? To put yourself in the shoes of someone like Bathory, or Martin Foster?
It was taxing to work with such dark material, but it was also something that was entirely necessary to the story I wanted to tell, so I just did it. The Báthory diary sections were perhaps the most intense to write. I wrote the bulk of them in a cabin in the woods of northern Saskatchewan, on a two-week writers’ retreat. I actually don’t remember much about writing them, but around day ten of working on those sections, I started to have pretty terrible nightmares, and I had to put them aside for awhile.

Kind of an off the cuff question, but if you had the chance to sit down with Bathory today, what would you say to her? What kind of questions would you ask?
I would not want to sit down with Báthory, for several reasons. There are many versions of Báthory that have been constructed in stories and studies, and the Báthory in Quiver is my fictional version of Báthory. That version draws from historical record, but the book as a whole is mainly driven by enduring fascinations with her legend, which I understand as different from Báthory as a person. I also can’t really imagine working through time/cultural/language challenges in order for us to engage in productive conversation, or why she would deign to speak with me.

How long did it take you to write Quiver?
It took quite awhile. I first attempted to write poems about Báthory, and it took some time to realize, and then admit to myself, that this project needed to be a novel. Once I started actually writing the novel, it took about five or six years, counting all the drafts and rewrites and editing, etc.

Did you have a specific writing process? What was a typical day like for you during the creation of your manuscript?
I was doing my PhD while I was writing the first draft, so I didn’t have a regular writing schedule – sometimes I wouldn’t work on it for a couple of months, because I had to focus on the academic work, and then sometimes I was able to book off two weeks where I could work on the novel exclusively.

At any time during the novel writing process, did you find yourself coming up against resistance (by resistance I mean anything that kept you from doing your work, from writing your novel. Writers block can be resistance. So can distractions, and Starbucks, etc.)?
There are many things that can and do interfere with writing a novel. It is rare for a writer to have all of his/her time allocated for writing a novel, particularly a first novel, so if you ever want to finish, you have to learn how to effectively manage your time. My “day job” while I was writing Quiver was finishing my PhD dissertation and going on to do a post-doc. I would allocate the necessary time to do that work, and then when I was able to schedule chunks of time to work on the novel, it got to the point where I would usually use that time pretty well, because I knew it was kind of then or never.  And during the few months leading up to when I submitted the manuscript I had to sacrifice a lot of social activities in order to have the time and to stay in the headspace to get the work done – that was hard, but also necessary if I was ever going to complete things.
What was the process like for you, going from completed manuscript, to finding an agent, to getting published? Any advice for writers going through this process now?
The main thing is to focus on the work and to make your manuscript as absolutely solid and as good as you can possibly make it on your own. These days, a publisher might not have the resources to invest in a lot of substantive in-house editing, so you want to submit something that is as polished as possible.
I read in a review of your book that the only downside to it was the cover (which is I know is out of your control) because it gives the wrong impression according to the reviewer. I myself have seen your book on bookstore shelves sitting next to teen vampire books, so I'm wondering if you have any thoughts on this, because I can see how that might be a misleading categorization.
As you say, things like cover and marketing are beyond my control.  I trust that my publisher has strategies to try to get the book to as wide an audience as possible. There’s never just one way to market a book – for example, Quiver has just been released in the U.S. with an entirely different cover and marketing label. I didn’t write the book with any one genre or audience in mind, and I’ve been happily surprised at times at when the novel has found an unexpected audience, such as older YA readers, even though I never anticipated 16 - 18-year-olds as a target audience!


If you were to pair Quiver with a glass of wine what kind would it be?
A lovely shiraz.
What are you currently reading?
Bill Clegg’s Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man
If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be? and why?
This is hard, because I love traveling and have many favourite places. In general, though, I’d say someplace with ocean, beach, starry skies. 

THANK YOU Holly for answering my questions and allowing me to share your thoughts with my readers. And now .... A GIVEAWAY!!!!! One lucky ready will win a copy of Quiver

All you have to do to enter is comment below by 11:59pm GMT, November 18  and make sure you include your email address. It's that easy!! Giveaway open to international readers.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

See You Soon ...

A small taste of what's to come this week ...

Tuesday (November 1) I'm featuring my interview with Holly Luhning, author of Quiver; and on Thursday (November 3) I will be featuring an interview with Isabelle Laflêche, author of J'adore New York!  

See you all soon! 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Good News + My Upcoming Return

Hi Everyone!

I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend so far. I know mine had a great start because of this little book that arrived in my mailbox yesterday afternoon ...

If you look very closely, under the list of editors (and right above the forward credit), there you'll see it - my NAME!

Last April I decided to get involved with a local organization, the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association (FOPLA), and I became a member-at-large on their board of directors. Through FOPLA I heard about a project called Potpourri. Young authors, aged 9-17, submit their poems and short stories to the libraries, through the Awesome Authors Youth Writing Contest, and the winners are published in this anthology.

When I heard about Potpourri, I knew I wanted to be involved in some way, so when one of my co-members said some light editing was needed for the English short stories, I quickly volunteered, not anticipating the lovely surprise I would receive in the mail. Fast forward about five months, and here we are.

 I want to say how wonderful it is to see an opportunity like this for young writers, and I feel so lucky to have been a part of it (even just a small part). I grew up in a small, northern Alberta town, and even though I have so many great memories of visiting my local library (OFTEN), there just wasn't anything like this available to me.

So I urge people to continue to support their local libraries, because you're not just supporting books - you're supporting future authors! Here are a couple of pics from the Potpourri 2011 launch:

{Images by Sam Hornby}
CONGRATS to all the young authors, and Thank you to everyone involved who worked so hard; the anthology looks GREAT! Thank you for letting me be a part of Potpourri. If anyone in the Ottawa area is interested in purchasing a copy of this year's anthology (or even if you're not in Ottawa), click here.

MY UPCOMING RETURN! I will be kicking off my return to (more consistent) blogging with some author interviews the first week of November, and I also plan to have my FIRST give-away ever, so STAY TUNED ...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Seeing The Light at the End of the Tunnel ...

I can't remember the first time I saw a pink ribbon for breast cancer awareness; at the same time, I can't remember a time when it wasn't in my realm of consciousness. That pink ribbon is both a reminder of how one day your life can be normal, and the next your entire world is flipped upside down; it's also a reminder of hope. 
I try to focus on the hope ... 

October is breast cancer awareness month, and I'm about to get brutally honest here ... every time I see a pink ribbon I feel a little bit bitter. Don't get me wrong, it's not because I don't support the cause; far from it. 

I realize that I never shared with you the type of cancer my partner was diagnosed with; well, it was testicular cancer, and it was aggressive. In the span of one month it was discovered and diagnosed; grew to the size of a tennis ball and removed; and then discovered that it had spread into the lymph nodes and the lungs. He was put on an equally aggressive chemo plan immediately following the surgery, and after weeks of treatment, I'm happy to say that it looks like we're nearing the end of this unexpected bump in our journey. 

The CAT scan shows no sign of any cancer at this point, and if it stays that way after the end of this upcoming weeks' chemo (Monday through Friday - bleh), then he's in the clear! Even though we're not quite there yet, I can't tell you how relieved we were to finally hear some good news. 
Did you know that Testicular cancer is the most common type of cancer for males aged 15-29??? I didn't either.
I'm happy that such a simple thing as a pink ribbon can help start the conversations that many people are too afraid to broach; but I also hope that people will remember that there are many other types of cancer that deserve just as much support and awareness.
Thank you so much for all of your support thus far, and I can't wait to get back to blogging on a more regular basis! 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Quote of the Day

"You just have to plant your bottom in a chair, keep it there, and do it. There’s not a lot of mystery to it"

- Danielle Steel, on the not-so-mysterious task of writing a novel 

{via Pink Lemonade blog}

Friday, September 30, 2011

I ♥ This

Just a few things I'm loving these days thanks to my recent love affair with Pinterest ...

Source: via Cate on Pinterest

There is nothing more adorable than a baby pug {are you reading this G??} ...

This is currently my style bible ... Not only full of great style tips (best for someone who likes the laid-back, chic, California girl style), but full of practical advice too!

How to Keep Whites White
"One trick is to ... soak the offending T-shirt [(i.e. for those unsightly yellow stains)] in a solution of vinegar and water (1 tablespoon of vinegar to 1 cup of water)."    ...

Source: via Cate on Pinterest

This living room, featured in Patina Style, is serving as inspiration for my own living room ...

Sounds like a perfect Fall snack, I WILL be attempting this recipe this weekend!

Such a simple idea, but so creative {and it looks like it would be fun to do!} ...

If I were rich, I would probably purchase every piece of clothing, and every accessory designed by Michael Kors. His collections pretty much sum up what I love about fashion (simple, but elegant & chic), and this watch is STUNNING ...

And speaking of stunning, I fell in love with this photograph {taken in Paris} the minute I saw it. If only all rainy days could be this gorgeous. 

And last but not least ...

Source: via Cate on Pinterest

*Sigh* It's sooo true, I could {and have} spend HOURS on Pinterest. I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to join a support group if it doesn't let up! There are just too many beautiful things on there {I've found so much inspiration for my wedding and my home, not to mention all the wonderful recipes}.

Is anyone else out there just as ADDICTED to Pinterest as I am?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Saturday, September 24, 2011

First Days of Fall + New Beginnings

Before I say anything else, I want to say THANK YOU to my fellow bloggers and readers for the warm and kind comments I received after my last blog post. It means a lot to me, and my partner, to know that we're in your thoughts and prayers. I'm still technically on my blogging hiatus, but after reading other blog posts about the beginning of the Fall season, I felt compelled to add my thoughts to the blogosphere.

So as you all know, yesterday was the first (official) day of Fall! Fall is my favourite season for three main reasons:

 {Fall fashion! Summer is great (who doesn't love long, breezy dresses, and lounging by the pool with a drink in spare moments?), but Fall ... Fall means tall leather boots, and warm, cozy sweaters to wrap up in.} 

1) Pringle of Scotland: Cowl neck sweater
2) Tommy Hilfiger: Rugby striped sweater
3) Aldo: Deare boot

{Blustery days made better with warm cups of tea, and leaves changing from bright greens to beautiful golds, crimsons and coppers. And the smells, oh how I love the smells of Fall. }

and my favourite reason of all ...

{New Beginnings. To me, Fall has always been the epitome of this concept, much more so than New Years. Because Fall was (is still) the time when you can begin with a blank slate. When school begins, and the pages of your notebook are still crisp and white, waiting for the words to leave their mark.}

My partner and I ... we're on a path to a new beginning of sorts. We're going through something that can do one of two things: tear you apart, or bring you closer together. I can truly say right now, that this experience has brought us even CLOSER together, and I feel so blessed that God has given us the chance to show how strong we really are. Whatever your belief system, whether it's "God" or something else, know this: you are never given more than you can handle.

We WILL get through this. We WILL beat this, and we will LOVE more for it!


Friday, August 19, 2011

My Blogging Hiatus

First of all, I want to wish everyone a Happy Friday!! I want everyone to enjoy their weekend, and spend it living to the fullest. My guy and I will be tackling a huge chunk of our backyard this weekend, and somewhere in there I'm hoping to finally learn how to drive our new standard vehicle! :p

Now I want to say something. Before I do that, though, I want to say how much I appreciate all of you who have visited and read my blog so far and have left comments. I only started this blog a couple of months ago (has time really flown by that fast?) and so far my expectations have been exceeded. I also appreciate your patience as I navigate my way around the blogosphere and find my direction.

I will be taking a hiatus from blogging for the next couple of months. I mentioned in one of my posts last week that I've been dealing with some personal issues, and that issue has now become my number one priority. This summer my partner was diagnosed with cancer. After many tests, and surgery, he will be undergoing chemotherapy for the next few weeks, hence my hiatus. I want to reassure all of you that his cancer is a very treatable one, and we have no doubt that he will beat this!

{To my beautiful partner- I LOVE YOU!!}

I appreciate your patience, and understanding during this time, and I will be back to blogging before you know it!

à bientôt!!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Big Thank You to This Blog ...

I just received my copy of Groundswell by Katie Lee in the mail today via Chick Lit is Not Dead. I won their draw a few weeks ago and I cannot wait to start reading it!

Thank You!!

Quote of the Day

I find the more I learn, I realize how little I know, so my first piece of advice is to always keep trying, experimenting, and learning.

- Read more advice from ceramics designer Reiko Kaneko at This is Glamorous

The Importance of Being Educated + A Chess Analogy

{Image by Janis Christy/Getty Images}

Okay, so the title of my post is sort of a lame attempt at word play -- The Importance of Being Educated/ The Importance of Being Earnest -- get it!? My post actually has nothing to do with the play so forget about that. What I want to talk about is education (duh!). Why am I talking about this? Because I've struggled with school my whole life, despite my belief that it is important. I also want to talk about it because I have recently been in the process of going back to school. Despite my love for writing, you should know that it doesn't pay my bills (you can read about that here), and even though my partner is extremely supportive of me and my creative endeavors, I have a need to contribute more, and to want to do more, than what I can make on my writer/waitress salary, hence my going back to school (also, it's not just the money, I just really don't like waitressing or working in retail). 
And I know you all are just aching to know what I'll be studying so I'll tell you ... duhn duhn duhn (*oh the suspense) ... I'm enrolled in a two year Paralegal program, along with slowly working towards my Bachelors in English (which has been a slow-going, lack-of-money attempt). 

I recently had some doubts about going into the program, doubts about moving in a direction that seems opposite of where I want to go (i.e. be a full-time freelance writer and make mega bucks by sitting in my home office and making my own hours, etc.), and I related my doubts to my partner. Even though I was starting to feel excited about this new direction in my life, I somehow had this idea that by studying something other than writing, that I was betraying myself and my future goals. What he said next totally blew my mind (in a good way) and I want to share it with you all:
Life goals are a bit like playing chess: your objective is to checkmate the 
opposite king, but to do so many things have to fall together. 

Sometimes, during a game, you will move an unimportant pawn, to lose a
turn, or see the opposing play unfold to better defend. This pawn,
unimportant at the time, might be the key to the final play, when you
finally checkmate your opponent. Similarly, in life, something that
seems unimportant at the time might become a key in
obtaining your life goal.

- My Guy

Ladies, you're going to have to back off because he's MINE!  ;p But what he said really opened my eyes. In non-chess terms, sometimes you have to go in a direction that seems opposite, or unimportant, to what you really want, but in the end it's all part of the journey. 
As for my belief in the importance of education, I really do stand by that; however, I do believe that life can be just as educational as a classroom, if not more. That being said, without the foundations I learned in the classroom, I wouldn't be half the writer I am today (and I could always be better) and I can't wait to continue with my journey and see where all the twists and turns will take me! 
What do you guys think? 
Do you prefer classroom education or life education, or a combo of both? 

Friday, August 12, 2011

So You Wanna Write a Novel ....

I'm so sorry I've been AWOL this past week. We had friends visiting from out of town, have been dealing with some personal issues and I'm in the midst of planning my best friend (of 11 years)'s baby shower! I've also managed to squeeze in some writing here and there. Since it's Friday, I'll leave you with this video I found on youTube by dwkazzie, who wrote a legal thriller called The Jackpot.

Happy Friday Everyone!!!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Art of Procrastination

Procrastination; it’s an art, really, and I have been perfecting it for years. The following are a few tips and tricks to help you procrastinate. Now I’ve put a lot of thought and effort into what I’m about to say and -


Oops ... sorry about that. I had this overwhelming urge to go jump in the shower; nothing like feeling squeaky clean before sitting down to write. Then afterwards, I realized that I really needed to make the bed. Don’t you just hate crawling into a messy bed at night? I know I do. Then I felt hungry, so I went down to the kitchen to make some lunch, and after heating up some leftovers, I couldn’t leave the kitchen without doing the dishes. Nothing bugs me more when I’m going to make supper in the evening and there are dirty dishes left by the sink. Then I realized I’d worked up a thirst after eating, and doing the dishes so I needed something to drink, naturally. So I poured myself a tall glass of water and went to go sit on the couch and enjoy it before heading back up to my office to write, but after seeing some crumbs on the floor I needed to whip out the swiffer vac and clean those up. And after that I thought I might as well wash the floors while I’m at. And of course, after all that cleaning I needed a break, so I watched the latest episode of Drop Dead Diva.

But I’m back now, and ready to pass on my golden nuggets of wisdom; except, I’ve forgotten what I was going to say...

{Image by Richard Krzmien via Writer at Work}

I was going to post this yesterday, but unfortunately my computer came down with a nasty virus posing as an anti-virus scanner {vista security 2012 -- Beware!!!!} so I had to put it off ... no really. I wasn't procrastinating, I swear ... 

Any tips for overcoming resistance/procrastination out there? Or ways that you procrastinate? Please share your wisdom with me in the comments!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Happy Monday ...

At least it is for moi because today is a civic holiday for some of us in Canada, so I'm getting to spend an extra day with my guy before the week officially begins tomorrow!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I've been spending as much time as I can outside in the beautiful weather, and getting some (much needed) yard work done -- I might post some before and after pics eventually. We're transforming our tiny backyard into a full patio, so I'm very excited to see the end results. Since we're doing a little bit at a time, it might not be until the end of the summer.

In the meantime, it's always nice to enjoy a refreshing beverage after working out in the hot sun, and I've discovered a very yummy gluten free beer at my local LCBO.

{Image by Cate Emond}

Friday, July 29, 2011


... Although the work has just begun!

Conducting my first phone interview in almost 3 years in about, oh, 5 minutes. I'm nervous, yet excited. The interviewee is a dear friend of mine, which makes it a bit less nerve-wracking, as is the fact that this is my third time interviewing him. No matter how many times you do it, though, it never gets any easier.

{Wish me luck!}

Happy Friday!!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Garden Oasis

{Style at Home via Debra Prinzing}

It's such a beautiful day out today, so I'm going to spend the afternoon gardening and enjoying the gorgeous weather (while it lasts). And don't you just LOVE the garden oasis pictured above?? It was designed by landscape designer Mark Gregory and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, and was featured in the May 2011 issue of Style at Home!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

You're Never Too Old ...

{Photo by Norman Jean Roy via Vogue August 2011 Issue}

What Makes YOU Happy?

{Photo by Sue Ahmed via Flickr}

I was inspired recently by this post over at Made By Girl, where the owner, Jen Ramos, asked her readers what their passion was. Now obviously you know what my passion is - writing!! I've been writing since I was a little girl, I even started my own newspaper when I was 11 years old, and I had forgotten, until recently, that when asked in grade one what I wanted to be when I grew up my answer was, a writer.

So on that note, I'm happy to share some exciting news ... 

Today I landed my first (paying) freelance writing gig!! I don't want to say for what publication just yet (I don't want to jinx it - even though they've already said yes, I keep expecting the "I'm sorry we changed our minds" email ... - I guess I'm superstitious that way) but I will let you know when the time comes. 

I'm also excited to let you guys know that I have a series of author interviews coming up on this blog so stay tuned ... 

Some other things I'm passionate about: 

Good Food
Great Friendships
Champagne and Pizza (gluten free)
Cheese (Baked Brie ... mmm ...)
Feel Good Chick Flicks
Curling up with a good book
The Hills (my guilty pleasure)
Warm weather and LOTS of sun
Eating Sushi
Japanese Beer
Water (oceans, lakes, rivers, a tall refreshing glass with lime!)
Bubble Baths
Buying office supplies (and staying organized)
Playing my guitar
Good conversations ...

What is it that makes YOU happy? What are you passionate about??

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Art of Reading

{Photo via lilsugar}

When I was a kid I loved to read. It was a struggle at first, but once I caught on to the joys of reading I couldn't get enough, and I could go through a book in a day. I used to find all sorts of sneaky ways to stay up late, curled up with my latest Nancy Drew mystery, and though I would get in trouble for not sleeping, you can hardly blame a kid for wanting to fill her mind with wonderful stories.

I love anything that encourages young ones to read, and I absolutely love the print shown above. Wouldn't it look so cute hanging on the wall of a child's bedroom?

What was YOUR favourite book as a child?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

I ♥ This

I'm always looking for ways to make organizing my life easier, and I'm especially always looking for beautiful items to help me get the job done. I'm currently hearting this zebra print day planner from My Agenda.

What items do YOU love that help you stay organized?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Happy Friday!

I only wish I could travel on this ...

 {Photo by Juan Pablo Magnano via AD}

So that I could get to this ...

 {Photo by Dan Forer via AD}

Instead I'll be doing this ...

{Writing a la Carrie Bradshaw. Photo via this blog}

And okay, maybe I'll be sipping a little of this ...

{Who doesn't love Sangria?}

Have a great weekend everyone!!! 
Let me know what all of you are up to! 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Because I'm a Dummy About Blogs

As you know, I am relatively new to the blogosphere - relatively meaning, I've started a few blogs before but they didn't take. And I knew as much about blogging then as I do now - which is not much. So I was so very happy to come across this book: Google Blogger for Dummies.

If you're like me (i.e. technologically challenged) then this book is worth checking out. I've found loads of tips and tricks just in the first few pages. For example: I was so excited a couple of weeks ago when I finally figured out how to create a hyperlink. All I had to do was switch over to edit html, find the word I wanted to link to, and type out the long code - a href, and all that jazz. This book taught me that all I had to do was highlight the word I wanted to link to, click on the "link" button above and type in the email address.

How easy is that??!!!???

For those of you who are blogging pros, you're probably laughing at me right now, but seriously, that's how web-challenged I am. And I have to say, I'm really enjoying myself since I started this blog a mere 3 weeks ago.

For anyone else out there who struggles to "get" the more technical aspects of blogging, I really recommend this book. On top of learning some basic HTML and all the features of blogger, the book also covers topics such as growing your audience, the business of blogging (i.e. making money from your blog), and networking and relationship building.

For those who don't use blogger, a more recent book, also covering wordpress and typepad, can be found here.

Happy Blogging everyone! :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I'm A Writer!

And like most writers (and other artists) there are things that will drive your spouse and/or family crazy. Here are a few tips, from me to you, on dealing with the inevitable:

1) When you say you’re going to fold the laundry, don’t all of a sudden get a burst of creativity and instead go sit down at your computer to punch out a few pages. Don’t you know that when you get a brilliant idea, it can wait!?! Trust me, you won’t forget*.

2) Ditto for dishes, bed-making, vacuuming, and any other household chore, really. Actually, come to think of it, maybe it would just be better if you don’t say you’re going to do those things. That way, he’ll have low expectations, and when you DO manage to tear yourself away from the laptop and into the kitchen to, you know, put some random pieces of food together and call it a meal, he’ll be so impressed with your effort that it’ll be AT LEAST another month before he realises the laundry has once again gone unfolded**.

3) Every time your spouse brings up that fact that writing isn’t exactly raking in the bucks (yet, I say, yet), gently, and subtly, avert his attention to something else, say, a piece of lint that is floating in the air. Taking your top off works wonders as well, but let’s save the drastic measures for when it’s really needed (like when your overdue credit card bill arrives in the mail ... err ...).

4) When you’re so caught up in the world you’ve created on the page, sometimes it’s easy to forget what’s happening in the real world around you. Here are a few key phrases to keep handy for when you’re spouse is trying to have a conversation with you while you write:

“Uh huh, of course I’m listening.”

“What was that? I’m actually listening so intently, that my focus caused me to not hear what you just said!”


And my personal favourite:
“Leave me alone, I’m writing.”***

All jokes aside, it’s been a tough transition for my partner and me to adjust to my decision to go back to being a writer. Tough for me because writing jobs are few and far between and what is available is highly competitive, so I need to work twice as hard to “break in”; and that’s not including my fiction aspirations either. Tough for him because he can’t understand why I would choose a job with so much uncertainty over something more secure (and lucrative). He’s an engineer though, I wouldn’t expect anything less! ;p In the end, I know he loves and supports me no matter what, but it doesn’t make those tough moments any easier.

To be honest, I still have moments where I think, “hey, maybe I should become a law clerk after all”; or a lawyer, or teacher, or architect, or any other “safe” career I’ve considered in the past. And for a little bit, the fantasy sounds nice; a nice, steady income, Monday to Friday hours, weekends off; yearly trips to Panama, Florida and Europe; a new couch, and a new wardrobe (god, I’m dying for new clothes!!). Then I remember who I am and I know that, though those things may satisfy me in the short term, in the long term I would regret not following my passion.

Plus, I’m a terrible employee. Truly aweful. Seriously, other people will actually benefit from my being self-employed.  

So there you go. In the most round-about way I could think of, this is me acknowledging that I’m a writer. Deep down to my bones, I know I’m a writer, and I’m finally at peace with admitting it. That is, until the next time I covet a pair of Jimmy Choo’s, or think about my dream vacation to the Maldives. Sigh, at least I can write about it! 

*Actually, most likely you will forget. Always write things down! And see piece of advice number two.
**This is wishful thinking.
 ***You may have to take your top off later to make up for this one.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Perfect Storm

The past two days have been beautiful, but sweltering hot. So hot, in fact, that heat warnings have been sent out. Then, about 20 minutes ago the sky darkened, suddenly, as if out of nowhere, the wind whipped about, and the sky opened up - and the rain came.

With all of our modern advances and technology, it's easy to forget the power of mother nature.

Do any of you enjoy thunderstorms?

{See more awesome lightning photos here}

Friday, July 15, 2011

Have a Great Weekend!

I will be spending my weekend with my guy, enjoying the beautiful summer weather, doing a bit of writing, and watching the film version of Françoise Sagan's novel Bonjour Tristesse!

Bonne fin de semaine!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Moroccan Spice

Currently reading Lulu in Marrakech, by Diane Johnson (she’s also the author of Le Divorce) for a bit of inspiration for one of my short stories. I’ve read this novel before, about a young woman named Lulu Sawyer, who agrees to go undercover for the American CIA in order to retrace money from well-off donors to radical Islamic groups, and I loved it. It has a bit of everything; Intrigue, Glamour, Romance, Culture.

Ever since I saw the 1942 film Casablanca, starring Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart, I’ve wanted to travel to Morocco, and I hope to go someday in the near future ... perhaps for my honeymoon in 2013! 

 {Photo of the Riad Anayela Resort via Oliveaux}

1/2 oz lemon juice
1/2 oz pomegranate puree or juice
Pour the vodka, cardamom simple syrup, lemon juice and pomegranate puree in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.Shake well.
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Serves 1.

Cardamom Simple Syrup

1 cup water
1/4 cup whole cardamom
2 cups sugar
Bring water and cardamom to a boil.
Stir in sugar until fully dissolved.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Keep in the refrigerator for 3 days, then remove the cardamom

On My Way Home

Been having a bit of a rough week and I found this video and it made me smile (ok ... and tear up a bit, lol), so I wanted to share it with you all. It doesn't have anything to do with writing, but it shows one person's love and commitment to another, and to me, that's worth blogging about!

Monday, July 11, 2011

My Top 5 Adaptations

I’ve never been a snob when it comes to film adaptations of books, because I appreciate both mediums equally, in their own way. That’s not to say that I’ve never seen a bad adaptation (I honestly couldn’t even make it to the end of My Sister’s Keeper); but like all forms of art, it is a matter of opinion.

So here are, in my opinion, my top five adaptations from books:

Wicked by Gregory Maguire: This is actually a stage adaptation, not a film adaptation, but I’ve included it because it is one of those instances where I liked the adaptation better than the actual book. 

                { The Novel}                           {The Musical}                           

Sideways by Rex Pickett: It’s about wine, need I say more? 

{ The Novel}                           {The Film}

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen: I could watch this movie, and read this book over and over again and never get tired of it. Many adaptations have been done, but I actually really like the most recent one with Kiera Knightly.

{ The Novel}                           {The Film}

Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray: Reese Witherspoon did an excellent portrayal of Becky Sharp, and again I liked the film better than the novel. Mira Nair directed and it is a visual feast for the eyes.

{ The Novel}                           {The Film}

      Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote: I love both the film and the novel. Each has a completely different ending than the  other giving me two stories I can enjoy.

{ The Novel}                           {The Film}

There are many film adaptations that I like, but these are my favourites. There were a few others I had thought to include, but ultimately they didn’t make this list simply because I saw the film but didn’t read the book; or I saw the film and read the book, and liked the film, but didn’t feel like it could stand alone, so this list is by no means complete. 

Whether or not a film follows the book exactly, which is the criteria many people use to determine whether or not an adaptation is “good”, is of no importance to me. What matters to me is whether the film can stand on its own, without needing to have read the book first to know what the heck is happening on the screen. 

Do any of you have any favourite adaptations? If so, which ones?