Feeds:
Posts
Comments

COVER REVEAL!

Cover Reveal!

Cover Reveal!

I couldn’t be more excited to share the cover art for my latest novel, The King’s Consort-The Louise Rasmussen Story, a new bio historical fiction that I’m told will be released in the next month or two!

Stay tuned for details in the coming months.

Many thanks to my publisher, BWL (Books We Love), and cover artist, Michelle Lee!

 

Write On The Beach

Write On The Beach

This weekend I wrapped up a 2 day inaugural writers’ workshop I was co-hosting. It was a ton of work, but an extremely exciting and successful event – which is what really matters. I’ve never attempted anything on this scale, and bringing together 4 diverse, very successful authors to Grand Bend to teach 90 minute workshops to an equally diverse audience of new and “wannabe” writers proved to be no small challenge.

We couldn’t have done it, and done it so well, if not for the help of my partners-in-crime, Mary Alderson and Jonathon Roulston. Of course without the financial grant support of the Grand Bend Community Foundation, the Lambton County Creative County Fund, and the Grand Bend Art Centre, none of it would have been possible. I’m incredibly grateful for these groups and individuals who pulled together to make this entire event and weekend a success. Our instructors were also a real treat to work with. Jeff Rasley, Alicia Rasley, Bonnie Burnard, and Robyn Doolittle are professionals of the very finest merit. Their wisdom, humour, and expertise were appreciated by everyone. Judging by the comments I received from attendees, each session was chock full of insightful, helpful information and take-aways.

Grand Bend Harbour

Grand Bend Harbour

One of our added goals was to increase awareness of Grand Bend, Lambton Shores, and all we have to offer residents and visitors. Long known for our beautiful, wide sandy beaches, incredible sunsets, beach town vibe and family-friendly restaurants and activities, we wanted to showcase Grand Bend’s cultural and creative side as well. Visitors to the workshop, including instructors Jeff and Alicia Rasley who travelled from Indianapolis, Indiana, came away impressed by Grand Bend, and stated more than once that they’ll be back.

These are all true win-wins for everyone involved. I like that. It also means we’ll definitely be going ahead and doing one again next year, so stay tuned next spring for details.

 

 

I’m so excited to share information on a new 2 day writers’ workshop series in Grand Bend, Ontario (2 hours from Toronto, 45 minutes to London and Sarnia) this June 11-12/2016! With four A-class, seasoned writers as instructors talking on a variety of topics, there’s something for everyone! Whether you’re already well into the writing journey, just starting out, or want to learn how to get started, these workshops were made for you. 

I was fortunate enough to connect with the multi-published, multi-talented author, Anne R. Allen back in July. For those who missed it, here’s the updated version she pasted over on her blog this weekend. This interview was such fun to do, and if you love comedic mysteries, you’ll love Anne’s books, so check them out!

   
 http://annerallensbooks.blogspot.ca/2016/03/who-does-best-as-indie-author-why-write.html?m=1

What a terrific interview this has been. How do you go from poet to stellar non-profit fundraising master, then back to poet. Read more about the ever fascinating Morrie Warshawski to learn more. Welcome, Morrie!

You Read It Here First

Morrie Warshawski

When first reviewing Morrie Warshawski’s (www.warshawski.com) online profile and many interviews, I came away wondering, “Who is this man?” Trained as a poet in his earlier years, Morrie has become one of the most sought after fundraising consultants/facilitators in his field. Specializing in working with non-profit organizations, he has managed to stay true to his own core values. His eclectic words of poetry lay on the page, inviting the reader to make of them what they will. This is clearly a thinking, feeling, man who values life and humanity in equal measure, and I’m pleased to introduce him to you. Welcome Morrie.

****

Interviewed by Debbie A. McClure

Q         The poems you’ve written in your latest book, This Afternoon (http://warshawski.com/index.html), seem strange and meandering, with snippets of words ripe with imagery cobbled together. What is the message or meaning you are hoping to convey…

View original post 1,256 more words

Why Bother?

Why Bother?

Why Bother?

Well, there’s a question and a half! Every so often I ponder this question, and at the beginning of a new year, it’s extremely appropriate.

Life can seem like such an uphill battle that it’s easy to think, “Why bother?” After all, if whatever you’re doing isn’t getting you where you want to be, maybe you should just quit. I mean seriously. Quit. Or don’t quit. Only you can decide which path is right for you.

In a YouTube video I posted a few months ago, I remarked that I’d watched a video with Pastor Rob Bell and author Elizabeth Gilbert, where Rob commented that perhaps we don’t need to “find” our place in this world, so much as “create” our place in this world. Wow! That really hit home, since I’d spent most of my life trying to figure where I fit in. I’ve come to a conclusion; I don’t need to fit in. I can create my own place and thrive from there.

But what if what I’m doing is hard? Really, really hard. I’ve questioned this chosen path of writing so many times. I’ve cried, I’ve pleaded with God to give me a sign, I’ve meditated, and I’ve demanded. I’m still right where I’m meant to be. I’m still struggling. I’m still learning. I’m still growing – sloooowly. Maybe someday I’ll look back and wonder why I couldn’t see what was right in front of me, or why I even questioned who I am and what I want to do with this life I’ve been given.

Struggles Ahead

Struggles Ahead

In reflection it occurs to me that every struggle I’ve had to go through has brought me to this point in my life. I’ve hated the struggles while I was going through them, and I know I’ll hate the ones that are looming out of sight. After all, what if my choices lead me places I don’t want to go? What if I never reach my goals of making a living from my writing. What if all my family and friends never understand what I’ve been trying to do? What if I fail?

So why bother? I have the free will to change my course and do something entirely different. The next question is; do I really want to? What will I gain if I do? What will I lose? Every choice has pros and cons, and being a reasonably intelligent woman, I have to consider those pros and cons every single day. From the moment I open my eyes in the morning, to the moment I close them again at night, I have to choose how I spend my hours. Sitting here writing this blog post, I could be doing something else. But this question has been bugging me, so I’m better off getting it out in the open where I can see it. It’s a big question, and the answers are scary.

Do I have to answer today? Right now? Tomorrow? Next week – or next year? No, I don’t. I could just drift along and let life take me where it will, but knowing me, I won’t like that either. I know I need to feel I have goals and some measure of choice in what I do. I need to be intellectually challenged – Lord knows I’ve had life challenges enough. I don’t need any more “blessing in disguise”. I want them front and center where I can see them, so I know there’s a reason to bother. Of course what I want isn’t necessarily what I get. It isn’t always what any of us get. So, we choose to either bother, or not bother. There are consequences to both.

For me, I choose to continue to work at writing because I feel my most authentic when I do. I feel good at the end of the day when I’ve done the work, sat in front of my computer, slogged at getting the words down on the page of my current WIP. Even when I know it’s not perfect, it’s at least a start. I have that choice. Every day. Now, because I can, I choose to work five days a week at my writing, leaving the weekends for family, friends, errands and household chores. After all these years, I know this is when my brain functions best, so I’ve learned to go with what I know works for me.

Networking works!

But if I’m not making a wonderful living from my writing, why bother? If I’m not a famous author yet – after five, going on six, loooong years – why bother? I guess the answer to my own question is because not writing scares me more than failure. I’m afraid that if I stop, that’s where I’ll feel I’ve failed myself. I don’t know what the future will hold, but I do know that I love writing stories. I also love interviewing other writers from around the globe and getting to “know” them. Connections matter to me, so if I were to stop, I’d lose that. I also learn so much from other writers like Molly GreenAnne R. Allen, Ruth Harris, Christina Hamlett, Janna Graber, Deb Cooke (aka Claire Delacroix), Jeff and Alicia Rasley, and so many more I’ve come to know and enjoy through my writing and interviews. I think about the connections I haven’t made yet, and I don’t want to give those up either. For me, they are reasons to bother.

When I think about the question “why bother”, as it pertains to anything in life, I guess the answer is to consider what you’d do if you stopped. Are you okay with the consequences? Does stopping fill you with relief, or disquiet? If it would truly be a relief, then perhaps it’s time to try something else. On the other hand, if it fills you with disquiet or upset, then you aren’t done yet. Possible future or past failure doesn’t matter. It becomes a moot point, since that’s no longer why you do it. You do it because you aren’t finished with whatever your “it” is, or “it” isn’t finished with you. Simple. As. That.

So, I guess I keep writing. I can add to my repertoire of writing. I can explore new avenues of writing to add to my novel-writing, such as freelancing with articles, more interviews, or non-fiction. I can fall in love with the written word and communicating with others all over again and stop worrying about the what-ifs. What I choose not to do is stop. I choose to bother. Doesn’t mean I’ll never complain again, or worry, or agonize, or cry, or demand, or question. That’s not part of the bargain I have with myself or with God. I’ll just do my absolute best and see how it all turns out. It’s all any of us can do.

What have you chosen to bother, or not bother with for this new year?

 

Lost

Lost

 

 

 

 

I’m about to admit something that’s very difficult for me, but maybe it will help someone else.

Four years ago my husband and I lost everything. Well, almost everything. Like so many of you, we’d been struggling with servicing our mountain of debt, and were quickly losing the battle. It wasn’t that we weren’t trying to pay our bills, or were reckless with our spending. After thirty years with the same company, my husband was informed that he, along with scores of others at his company, were being moved into early retirement. We weren’t prepared for such a huge financial hit. We told ourselves we’d be fine and started treading water.

I had written my first novel, and was working in a salaried sales job that was transitioning to a straight commission job within a few months. Knowing that my job really wouldn’t provide me with anything close to a regular paycheck, panic struck. We kept paddling faster and faster, hoping something would break for us, but with me at fifty-two years of age and my husband approaching fifty-seven, the prospects for full-time work were looking dim. After sitting down for some long, hard talks with a financial trustee, we were told our only reasonable option was to declare bankruptcy and walk away from our house. We simply weren’t bringing in enough money to pay all the bills, and even if we both got minimum wage, full-time jobs, we’d only continue to dig a bigger hole. This was devastating news.

That January we walked away from our home that we’d so lovingly put a great deal of time and money into. It was the place our children and grandchildren came home for Christmas to. It was a place of hopes and dreams now hopelessly smashed. By declaring bankruptcy, it meant we wouldn’t qualify to rent a decent home in a decent neighbourhood, so we moved in with my parents. My mother his highly allergic to cats, so I handed my beloved Charlie over to my sister to love and care for. That really tore me up, because losing my home and packing up most of my personal belongings to put into storage was bad enough, but to lose my cat?

My parent’s two bedroom, two bathroom home is a good size, and we were extremely grateful for their generosity in allowing us to move in, but it was certainly never designed to accommodate two couples – especially two women in the same kitchen. We made it work for a full year before realizing that if we wanted to salvage our close relationship, something would have to give. Throughout the bankruptcy we’d managed to hold on to our 40′ x 12′ trailer by continuing to make the small monthly loan payment. That trailer became our beacon of light. We moved it to a park that offered twelve month lot rentals and made it home. At a little less than five hundred square feet, it was a tight squeeze, but it was our own space. No, I didn’t have a dishwasher, or even a washer and dryer. If I wanted to blow-dry my hair, I had to first turn off additional lights and the furnace/air conditioner. The small tub came equipped with a shower, but wasn’t big enough for an adult to use as a bathtub, so I gave up the luxury of taking relaxing baths.

Now, I know that many, many others struggle with far more than I did, and I don’t mean to make light of people who are. My heart, thoughts, and prayers go out to those people, and I never lost sight of the fact that I wasn’t completely destitute. We still had a place we could call home that was safe and comfortable. We still had family, friends, enough food to eat, and decent clothes to wear. I knew I’d be okay.

Keep writing!

Keep writing!

I continued to write, and began meditating to help me deal with the anger and depression I was feeling over the situation (self-inflicted and otherwise) I found myself in. I became extremely embarrassed by the fact that I was living in a trailer in a trailer park, and other than close family, I invited no one over, and told even fewer people. Pride was strangling me. The truth is, I thought I deserved better, or more, or something. I knew I shouldn’t, and I knew I had a lot, so much really, to be thankful for, but it was going to take some work to get me back to where I needed to be.

Slowly I began opening my eyes to all the beauty of nature that was all around me. We lived in a beautiful, wooded area of the park surrounded by other full-time mobile homes. The neighbours were lovely and kind – many of them seniors, and our grandchildren loved coming to swim in the heated pools, play at the playground, and try their hand at the on-site mini-golf. I was still battling, but I was winning the war. One day at a time, more light came through my filters.

Then I was hit with an exacerbation of my Sjogren’s Syndrome, an autoimmune disease that causes extreme dry mouth and eyes, among other things. Up to that point I’d been dealing with it pretty well, but in the spring of 2014 I began to experience severe light sensitivity. I eventually went to an eye specialist, who said an ulcer – a hole – was forming in the center of my right cornea. If it wasn’t corrected quickly – like within days, I’d lose that eye completely (not just the sight, but the eye itself!)

Over the coming weeks and months, I wore eye patches and took various eye drops and medications to help stop the hole from growing, and eventually repair itself. You know, it’s amazing; the left eye actually compensates for the right one. Due to some scarring of the cornea, my eyesight in that eye never fully recovered, but it’s about 90% of where it should be, and to look at me, you’d never know. It’ll never get any better, but I can see, I can type, I can read, and yes, I can drive just fine. Throughout this entire time I continued to write, because writing is where I can lose myself. I wore the damned eye patch, I gave myself the necessary breaks from the computer screen, I put in the drops, took the medication, and I paced myself, but I never stopped writing. I was reminded that I am a fighter, and that writing mattered to me. It was worth fight for. I am worth fighting for. I became determined to keep doing what I could, when I could. I refused to be a failure.

Filtered Light

Filtered Light

Oddly enough, having come that close to such a serious health issue, I began to actually feel more hopeful and grateful for all I had. My meditations became more about giving thanks for what I have than asking for things I don’t have. I started to laugh more, and lost my insecurity regarding my living circumstances. I was finally at a place where I could see light at the end of the tunnel again. We still didn’t have much money, but my husband’s very small company pension and his willingness to go back to work seasonally helped fill in some of the gaps. Another blessing is that we were closer as a couple than we’d ever been. His willingness to go back to work at a time when I couldn’t work at all, reminded me how much I trust and admire him. In order to indulge my love of travel, we began house and pet-sitting for others throughout North America. We discovered people and places we never would have in the days when we went to resorts and hotels. We discovered a mutual love of history, museums, and unique places that cost little or nothing to visit and explore. We re-discovered each other and ourselves. There were so many small, unexpected blessings taking place all around us, that I couldn’t help but be moved to a place of gratitude.

Recently we moved into a three bedroom, three bathroom townhouse back in the city, and are in the process of selling that small trailer. We’re closer to the majority of our children and grandchildren, and I’m reveling in the small things I no longer take for granted; things like taking a long, hot bath, a dishwasher, my own washer and dryer (no more lugging laundry to the community laundromat at the park), real space to display my beloved personal items, unpacking favourite things that have been in storage for years now, and welcoming family and friends to our new home. The other night we put up the Christmas tree for the first time in four years, and I marvel at how far we’ve come. Our townhouse isn’t a fancy home, not nearly as grand or beautiful as some of my family and friends have, but it’s warm and welcoming, and home. As we approach a new Christmas and a New Year, I’m grateful for so many things. Whatever the coming months bring, I have more hope, more joy, and more daily gratitude than I have for a long time. Through the grace of God, life is good.

I guess all the good things have always been there, I just had to let in enough light to see them.

Just Enough Light

Just Enough Light

 

 

 

 

 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

What have you learned this year, and what hopes do you have for the new one just around the corner?

The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap

A topnotch WordPress.com site

Crime Fiction Writer Sue Coletta

Inside the mind of a crime writer

Deborah Cooke & Her Books

USA Today Bestselling author Deborah Cooke writes paranormal romance and contemporary romance; she also writes medieval romance as New York Times bestselling author Claire Delacroix.

Writer Unboxed

about the craft and business of fiction

Pub(lishing) Crawl

Reading you under the table since 2012

You Read It Here First

Conversations with Today's Authors

The Baltimore Writer

Rus VanWestervelt (@rusvw13)

Crime Writer Sue Coletta

Inside the mind of a crime writer

Write Naked

A writing life cut open.

M.L. Swift, Writer

Much Ado About Nothing

Gotta Find a Home

Conversations with Street People

Steve Rose's Blog

On Life in Transition

Lara Krupicka

Family Bucket List Expert - Living the Bucket List Life

O at the Edges

Musings on poetry, language, perception, numbers, food, and anything else that slips through the cracks.

Media Magnetism

Attracting - and Maximizing - Today's PR Moments

hearts on sleeves club

If you wear your heart on your sleeve, join the club.

JamesRadcliffe.com

James Radcliffe, Musician. Music, Blog, Pictures, Live, News...

Author Lisa Rayne

Intellectual Thrillers & Romantic Fiction

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,826 other followers