Archive for the ‘This & That’ Category

Happy Friday the 13th!

Friday, April 13th, 2018
A friend from high school turned 58 today on Friday the 13th! She was born on a Friday the 13th, and, guess what? 5 + 8 = 13. That’s pretty lucky. For years, until I was 13 and met this friend and another born on April 13th, who both set me straight and showed me calendars from the year of our birthday to prove how wrong I was, I thought I was born on a Friday the 13th in January.
 
Turns out I was born on a Wednesday. My mom had 3 kids close together and couldn’t remember the day of the week I was born. My dad only knew he was working out of town and came home on Wednesdays and Fridays. So I was therefore born on one of those days. Thirteen years of thinking I’d been born on Friday the 13th flew out the window! I had to console myself with being born on the 13th day of the 13th month.
 
Happy birthday to everyone born on the 13th of a month, but especially to the Friday the 13th babies! It’s not unlucky. We’re a bit weird, but, hey, weird is wonderful. Embrace it!

Quick Palm Springs Break

Friday, March 16th, 2018

I recently returned from a week’s visit to Palm Springs with my husband. This gave me a great chance to see where my parents spend their winters. My first time in Palm Springs, and I loved it. Palm Springs has a great, laid-back vibe, and, well, it kinda reminded me of Fred Flintstone’s Bedrock City. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Bedrock City is based on Palm Springs (I shall have to google that and see if I’m right).

We had some “bad weather” (aka clouds) while there, but still plenty of pool time. Had a chance to visit the zoo and also ride the Aerial Tram. Here’s a shot of me with my Dad at the top of the tram.

Here’s another of my husband playing with the big rocks:

And me, afraid of slipping down the slope, so this is as far as I got:

I usually post photos on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook. I’m trying to get better at doing it here.

Did you have a chance to take a break somewhere warm this winter? I’m now back to snow, which thankfully is finally melting (slowly…so slow…ly…).

A Slushy Walk

Thursday, January 25th, 2018

Between bouts of clouds and slushy snow, it’s a beautiful day. Ghost of Allie pulled me away from my laptop and took me for a walk. She’s much faster now that she’s not in earthly form. We happened to pass the house of one of my “old man friends” from the dog park. There were two special old guys with dogs with the same name (different breeds). Both called Shadow, humans named Bob and Jim. I remembered their names by thinking of Jim-Bob Walton. Bob passed away from an aggressive cancer maybe over a year ago. Maybe longer. His Shadow died a week later. Jim continued to walk to the park even after his own Shadow died. But then Allie and I changed our patterns, and I stopped seeing Jim.

What a delight to find Jim out shoveling snow today (he’s in his late 80s last I knew). I didn’t know if he was still around or not. I don’t know if he recognized me, but we chatted, and I was so pleased Ghost of Allie decided to drag me on this walk. It just lifted my spirits to see Jim still in his huge house and still obviously managing. Way to go, Jim. Thinking of Bob. Jim-Bob Dog Park Old Man Friends…I’ll remember you both fondly.

A New Year – A New Word(s) of Intention

Sunday, January 7th, 2018

I’m not much for New Year’s Resolutions. The surest way for me not to attain a resolution is to set it in stone. I don’t know, the rebel in me just balks. So for the past couple of years, I have chosen a Word of Intention for the year. 2016 was Gratitude. Each day, I strove (strived? stroved? egad) to feel grateful for some aspect of my life, no matter how small. My mood is affected by not only the ups and downs of daily life, the losses that naturally increase as we and our loved ones age, but also by the weather. And in my part of the world, in the winters we get our fair share of white-shrouded skies, in the spring comes the gray clouds and sometimes torrential rains (our region suffered severe flooding in 2017), and the summers, while usually nice, lately we are experiencing drought and forest fires up the whazoo, which makes for more clouds–with smoke–obscuring the skies. Something about a blue sky just lifts my spirits. The weight of clouds weighs me down. So my annual Word of Intention helps me get through those rainy or fire-smoky days,

For 2017, I chose Positivity as my Word of Intention. In retrospect, this was a fantastic choice. My dear doggie left this world in November, and I spent most of last year as her caregiver. Reminding myself to find the positive in a day–no matter how small–helped me focus on the positivity animals, and especially dogs, radiate. Once Allie died, I got very ill with a host of viruses that seemed to swoop in and take advantage of my total lack of defenses. Only wrapping myself in the feeling of positivity Allie gave me helped me through some of those days.

So along came the time to choose my word for 2018. I chose Joy, as an extension of Gratitude and Positivity. Here we are less than 10 days into the new year, though, and Joy alone isn’t quite working. As I gazed at the white sky while on a solo walk without my beloved pooch, I wondered why. And I decided Joy wasn’t…verby enough. It’s a fine plan to try and embrace a spark of joy in daily life as we proceed through the year, but I needed something more active to spur me along. Joy is my goal, but being Proactive every day, in my writing and in my life, I believe will help set me on the path to Joy.

And you know what? It’s working. The days I can’t find joy, I remind myself to just be proactive, to take a step toward a writing or personal goal. And once I’m in the midst of doing that, well, there comes my joy.

Some days, joy is elusive. And you know what? That’s okay. It’s hard to find joy when someone passes away or another sort of tragedy befalls a loved one. But by being proactive, I am confident that step by step, I will find my way back to joy every time.

What about you? Do you set Resolutions? Or do you have a Word of Intention for the year? The season? This month? That’s sort of the approach I’m taking with 2018. If February requires a word other than Proactive to pave the path to Joy, so be it. Don’t fence me in! My year is wide open.

Oh, Dear, Summer Happened Again!

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

I know, I know. I had high hopes for blogging over the summer. What can I say? Once Eldest Son comes home from China for a few precious weeks every year, I lose sight of everything else. And it seems most everyone is on social media these days rather than blogs.

Well, today ES and DILly 2 departed for Shanghai again, and I won’t see them for another ten months. So it’s back to writing–and hopefully back to some semblance of blogging. I have good intentions, I really do. But right now I’m delving into formatting for PICTURE IMPERFECT, which IS coming out this fall! This is my first time trying to format, both eBook and print. I have a professional in the wings, should it come to that. But I really would like to be able to change out my backmatter, etc., as needed without hiring out, so it’s time to get technical.

Gulp.

Listify Life – Favorite Places on the Internet to Waste Time

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

I would argue that for a writer there is no such thing as wasting time on the Internet, because entertainment is fodder for stories, and we use the Internet a lot for research and for planning our writing days, etc.  So this is really more a catalogue of where I am most likely to be spending my time on the Internet. If I weren’t a writer, would I visit Facebook several times a day? I honestly have no idea because I was an author before I joined Facebook.  The Internet, whether you are using email loops or forums or Facebook groups, provides a way for writers to get together and brainstorm and exchange ideas and experiences about publishing houses, editors and agents. It really is an invaluable tool.  So that’s my caveat!

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  • Facebook –  Yes, I do waste a lot of time following links on Facebook that have nothing to do with writing.  I love being able to stalk my kids online using Facebook,  and it’s a great way to keep in touch with friends both old and new.  I spend more time then I should following links to quizzes and news items that I know are just going to irritate me. I could just open up my USA Today app instead.  But of all the social networks out there, Facebook is the one I go to most frequently. I belong to an author support group and also to a group of publishing folks who are really into paper planning, and I  just joined a group for authors who are interested in doing their own formatting.  All that I find absolutely necessary. 🙂 As I look at my list, though, I realize I haven’t even included Twitter.  I have tried really hard to get into Twitter, but it’s just not in my top three. Same with Pinterest.  Unless I’m looking for renovation ideas, which is when I usually visit Pinterest, I don’t go there.  There’s only so much time in the day!
  • Trip Advisor –  When we are planning a big trip I usually start out by buying a Frommer’s book on the country and reading it cover to cover.  But then I follow up with months of research on Trip Advisor. It’s hands-down the best place I know to get advice on where I want to go.  I tend to pay the most attention to reviews from travelers who live in my province or Alberta, because we have similar expectations.  Whereas, folks from Ontario and folks from the UK have different expectations, I’ve come to realize through reading reviews on Trip Advisor. So while I might check those reviews and those ideas, if I really want to know how I might feel about a place, I depend on the residents of BC and our neighbours to the left, depending which way you are looking at the map of Canada.  I consider Alberta to be on the left,  because I am standing inside British Columbia looking out. 🙂
  • Instagram –  This is a new one for me. I discovered Instagram basically because I decided to participate in the spring #listifylife challenge  and Instagram is the primary place where the challenge is occurring.  I discovered that I really like Instagram.  Maybe it’s because participating in the challenge coincided with me blogging about our trip to Patagonia, because I realized I could start posting pictures of the trip to Instagram. 🙂  So, on Instagram, instead of networking really with just other writers, I have started networking with other travellers.  I follow a lot of travel bloggers and photographers on Instagram, and honestly it is what I am mainly there for, the travel photography, not the social networking.
  • Romance Divas Forum –  Easily the best, in my opinion, support and industry and research and brainstorming forum for romance authors on the Internet.  And… It’s how I discovered my paper planning group on Facebook, and that paper planning group is my happiest place on the Internet right now. 🙂
  •  Stock Photo Websites –  This one wouldn’t be on my list if I weren’t an author. What reason would I have to visit stock photo websites?  You would probably more likely find me on shoe buying websites…  But because I am mainly independently publishing right now,  stock photo websites are super important in the book cover brainstorming process. While some book cover artists will look at the stock photo websites for you, others want you to search for your own stock images or at least provide them as an example of what you’re looking for. Believe me, I can spend hours and hours and hours on stock photo websites when I am brainstorming a book cover.
  • Amazon and Chapters –  Chapters is a Canadian online bookstore, and I buy paper books mainly from Chapters or Canadian Amazon.  I buy e-books from American Amazon, and because I am an independent author I am on Amazon a fair amount checking sales rankings, etc. But I also check sales rankings on Kobo, iBooks, and other places. Actually, I don’t really check sales rankings all that much unless I am running a promotion or have a new release, which hasn’t occurred in too long.  But when my next release does come out within the next few months, I know I will be stalking my Amazon dashboard.  Kobo is also easy to stalk,  but I don’t buy books from Kobo. I buy the odd book from iBooks, but I prefer the lighting on my Kindle to reading on an iPad, so therefore I spend the most time buying books on Amazon.  I had a Kindle before the Kobo came out, and I still use my original Kindle (sorry, Kobo,  but as an author I love you!)
  • Cover Artist Sites –  I have used the same cover artist for all my books as Cindy and under my pen name except for two short stories. Even though I keep going back to the same cover artist, I like to visit other cover artist sites just to get a taste for what else is out there.  A lot of cover artists also run their own photography shoots, so I get sucked into those rabbit holes very, very easily. 😉

Where do you waste time on the Internet? Is it time wasted? Or is it…a necessity?