Thursday, May 30, 2013

Circle of Fire Book Club: UPDATE


I wrote a blog post a few weeks back about wanting to run a Circle of Fire Book Club this summer. I didn't get a huge response, but then again I haven't been doing a great job of putting the word out. No worries though, because I am going to share my schedule with you right now, so if you're interested you can follow along.

The book is divided into three parts, so in the spirit of keeping things simple (and with the knowledge that people lead busy lives) that is how I am structuring my Circle of Fire. Specific dates are indicated below, as well as a small list of resources (the list is small, the resources aren't!).

If there is enough interest, I would love to have a series of discussions (4 in total - 1 for each session + a bonus to celebrate completion). I have left the dates TBD for now, but for those interested I really like meetup and Google+. If even one person expresses an interest in meeting up I'm there! And if no one expresses any interest? Well, it's a good thing I dig my own company and I'll be celebrating with a glass of wine (or 2) on my own!  :)

THE FIRE STARTER SESSIONS


Part 1: MOJO (sessions 1-3)
June 1 - June 15

Blog post: June 17
Discussion: TBD (on or around June 15)

Part 2: MOXIE (sessions 4-9)
June 16 - July 6

Blog post: July 8
Discussion: TBD (on or around July 6)

Part 3: RESULTS (sessions 10-16)
July 7 - July 31

Blog post: August 5
Discussion: TBD (on or around July 31)
Bonus gathering: TBD (on or around August 10)

Resources
Danielle's website & page for FSS
- Workbook o' Fire
- Videos & Worksheets
- The book (grab it online or from your local bookstore)
Follow Danielle on Twitter @Daniellelaporte
- Twitter hashtag for The Fire Starter Sessions is #FireSS

Being your true self is the most effective formula for success there is
- Danielle LaPorte, from the Fire Starter Sessions

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Isabelle's Book Launch + Giveaway

Last week I attended my very first book launch, for the lovely Isabelle Lafleche's latest book (and sequel to the bestselling J'adore New York) J'adore Paris. It goes without saying that I read it as quickly as possible and absolutely ADORED it, bien sur! Here are a few shots from the party (although my iPhone isn't the best camera; for better quality photos check out Isabelle's blog - fun fact: 5th photo down you can spot me in the corner staring off into space ;p).

 {cool installation art displayed at the party}

{I'm just working the room (more like skulking in the corner taking photos)}

{English version of J'adore Paris on display for purchase}

{Perfume for guests to try and take home samples by Monsillage}

{Me and the author, Isabelle, just chilling}

The novel follows Parisian lawyer Catherine Lambert, and her loyal assistant Rikash, as she fights high-profile legal battles against international counterfeiters for her new job at Christian Dior. 

The blurb on the front cover couldn't have described it more perfectly: "Like a fine bottle of French champagne - fizzy and sophisticated."

I found myself noting with glee all the small references I connected with; the way the main character's love interest calls her "Catou" (my husband is french and sometimes uses this pet name for me); the Taittinger (I drank this on my first new years eve with my husband when he brought back a bottle of it from France); the reference to Carrie Bradshaw (Sex and the City being one of my all-time favourite series).

The book launch itself was so much fun, even though I was slightly out of my comfort zone. I went alone and knew only the author so I really had to work at putting myself out there, but in the process I met some wonderful new people and had a great time.

Felicitation, Isabelle - I couldn't be happier for you!


In celebration, I have a copy of J'adore Paris to give away to a lucky reader! Just answer the following question in the comments section below, and on June 7 I will announce the winner here on the blog:

Catherine has landed her dream job at Dior in the novel ... what is YOUR dream job?

This contest is open internationally*, and don't worry if you haven't yet read J'adore New York (although I highly recommend it) because though the novel is a sequel, it stands fairly well on its own.




* This is the second time I am holding a contest, and I admit that the last time I held one it took me a really loooong time to get the book out. All I can say to the winner this time is I will try my best to get the book out promptly, but if I end up dragging my butt you will probably get an extra little surprise in the package to make up for the wait ;)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Brave

Sara Bareilles has a new single out titled "brave". It's a little more 'pop' compared to her older stuff, but I love the message and I feel good when I listen to it. So I wanted to share.

And now I want to share a little "brave" of my own ...


For the first time I shared a poem with the world. After the above photo was uploaded to Twitter I was immediately stricken by panic and fear, and there may have been some slight hyperventilation and tears (you know, nothing too drastic). I realize that this made it all the more important for me to do it anyway.

And guess what? The world did not come crashing down around me. In fact, it went on exactly as it had 30 seconds before.

I have a new friend to thank, in part. I first "met" David 7 years ago through his book, Postcards from Paris (a blend of poetry, prose, journals and sketches - a book I love and recommend), and about a week ago I e-mailed him to ask if he would be willing to spare some time to meet a fledgling writer for coffee and to talk about (what else?) writing.

When I first showed him the poem, I hadn't even signed the damn thing! But he asked me if I would, and also if he could share it online. I believe my reply was "the thought of you posting it online terrifies me ... so I am saying yes!" I'm thankful for this exchange, because it gave me that little boost of confidence I needed to go one step further and share it myself.

When it comes to talking about my own work on this blog, I've had the realization that I always do so in a very vague and unspecific way. And while I don't necessarily believe in talking about a work-in-progress while I'm in the middle of it, I have had the desire to open up more about my writing.

I never set out to write poetry, but in my relatively-short journey (thus far) I'm discovering that a story will take the form it wants, and our only job as the writer is to get the hell out of the way. (A tough lesson for a control freak like myself :p)

I write poems and short stories, songs, scenes; journals and dreams and letters - I love to write letters. I write about loss and I write about love. I write about the loss of love, but mostly I believe in love. I write about being my age and how I'm really naive, and I write about the things that haunt me because when I get the words down, they seem to haunt me a little less.

None of it is perfect, and I've experienced rejection but despite that, I've still managed to keep what I write very private and away from the world.

Natalie Goldberg once said (and I'm paraphrasing) that nobody cares if we write or not, so we have to do it anyway if we love it; because we love it. So I write because I love it and because I have to. But I also write in order to connect, and to do that I have to share - even when it scares the shit out of me.

But that's what brave is all about.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Dear Diary (Confessions of a Pack Rat)

I've been cleaning/organizing my office this past week (I know, it's about time) and in the process I've had to make the tough decision to cut down on clutter - I am a pack rat in the worst sentimental way! I had boxes full of old birthday/christmas/random holiday cards, ticket stubs from movies and plays, scripts from scenes I'd performed in acting classes, letters, postcards, diaries from when I was a kid, and even spelling awards from grade school. I actually had piles of certificates and ribbons - for participation!! Yikes!

While I think it's great to be able to look at all of this stuff and reminisce, I realized (well, with the help of my husband :p) that I could probably do without the majority of it, but still hold on to the most precious items.

So I managed to be (almost) completely ruthless and I tossed most of it away. Here are a couple of little gems that made the cut.

This one because I thought it was cute:


So my distaste for math is a long-standing one, and apparently I used to spell my name wrong ;p Also, instead of keeping the entire diary (which was mostly filled with lame 8-year-old boy-crazy/boy-hate rants anyway) I carefully removed my favourite entries and tossed the rest. 

This one because it's revealing:


School assignment circa 1999ish - pretty sure I was in grade 6 when I did this. We had to create an art piece out of our names and then write about ourselves. Now I'm starting to wonder - what was up with me always wanting to be famous? Hehe. 

This one because it was something I felt I accomplished:


My (fancily decorated) speech in grade 8 when I was campaigning to be the class rep for our school's student government. It was pretty much the exact same speech I gave the year before so I must have figured, 'why fix it if it ain't broke' (I was elected both years). 

Cleaning my office has taken me so much longer than I ever thought it would, mostly because I end up getting sucked into the past and nostalgically pouring over all my old crap. Lord knows, there is enough of it that I could probably make it a weekly feature on the blog and it could go on for years ;)

Is anyone else out there a pack rat like me? If you have any tips for de-cluttering and organizing an office I would love to hear them :) 

Friday, May 3, 2013

♥ Friday Links

I haven't shared favourite links in a while and I've decided to bring that feature back to the blog. For this round I've included some great writing tips, along with a few other gems I've found around the web.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Love this idea of rose petal ice cubes. Will be trying it at brunch this weekend!

At the beginning of the week I was in a low place, but this Marie Forleo video popped up in my inbox just when I needed it (if that's not cosmic timing, I don't know what is :)

I came upon two blog posts this week about writing and patience, here and here - I think it's a hint ;p

An article by Amy Friedman on shame (and writing).

A moving poem by Francesca Lia Block.

Just discovered Paperless Post and I'm loving it! Used this invite recently.

Just saw the first buds of spring the other day, and I'm so inspired by the recent warm weather, so I want to share Gala Darling's 20 ways to celebrate spring!

This girl is so inspiring, going after her dreams and documenting the journey through her blog.

And for those of you celebrating Cinco de Mayo this weekend ...

image sourced from Pinterest