Happy Valentine’s Day!

Truthfully, I am quite horrible with remembering special occasions. Seriously, our dating anniversary is the 25th of February and I’ve forgotten it every year since we got together. Each year I tell myself this year will be different and I’ll remember, but then it’s the middle of March and I’ve forgotten again. The only one I am semi-decent at remembering is our wedding anniversary…and that’s only because I post a hundred reminders in my phone and my Mother-in-law also reminds me.

But I’m not the only one who sucks at this special occasion thing! My husband doesn’t believe in Valentine’s Day. He doesn’t believe in spending ridiculous amounts of money to prove his love. He shows it daily and believes that’s the way it should be. Luckily, I get grand gestures often enough that I’m not bitter about his lack of interest in Valentine’s Day.

Anyway…I was going to do a special treat up for Valentine’s Day, but it sort of creeped up on me and I didn’t get around to doing what I had planned. I know, I suck and we’ve already covered that. Instead, I have something else in mind…

I love hearing about grand gestures, so feel free to tell me all about the best Valentine’s Day ever and what made it the best Valentine’s Day ever. Seriously, participate because you could get a small present from me…ūüėČ

Comment on this blog post with your best Valentine’s Day story, then I’ll select a winner using Random Result. Sound fun?

P.S. Here is a little funny meme that made me laugh like a hyena. (Get it?)

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P.S.S. Also, this incredible giveaway is still happening and will close tomorrow so ENTER ENTER ENTER.

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A Harrowing Experience

I’m probably going to feel a little ridiculous for admitting this…but I can’t drive in snow.

When I say that, I don’t mean that I can’t actually drive…I don’t mean that I am one of those people that does like 5 miles per hour down the highway. What I mean is that driving in the snow makes me have anxiety attacks. Some days I have no choice but to grit my teeth and bear it, like yesterday.

I was running late. I had to get my older son to the bus stop for 8:26am, and then make it to an appointment for my other son at 9am. We were late leaving the house and scrapping the ice off the truck took longer than I expected. Probably because I couldn’t actually reach the middle of the windshield.

I had three minutes to make it to the bus stop. Normally not an issue, the drive takes one minute if that. I started driving down our road…which is very narrow, for the record. So narrow that two cars driving down it in opposite directions cannot get past each other even when the snow banks aren’t piled high.

I was nearly at the stop sign when a red van pulled onto our road. She saw me and motioned to the person on her right (coming down the opposite way from the road that she came from) that she was going to back up so that I could get out. I couldn’t see this person as they were fair enough down the road that they were obscured by a house.

She backs out and I start to drive, only to have a massive snow plow speed up onto our road. It was the person she had motioned to, and he didn’t give a shit about what we were trying to do there. He blocked the rest of the road and just stared at me.

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Now I drive a huge Dodge truck, and there wasn’t anywhere for me to go but backwards. In a huge truck. On a snowy, narrow street. With a snow plow coming at me. Remember how driving in snow makes me anxious? Like really anxious? Well…imagine how driving in snow backwards with a snow plow coming at me makes me feel.

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I was a shaking mess by the time the snow plow got off my street and the red van disappeared, and I’d missed the bus completely because that three minutes was wasted backing up and waiting for everyone to get off the road. And it pissed me off a lot. I was nearly at the damn stop sign! The snow plow driver could have waited less than two seconds for me to vacate the road.

And the snow plow driver was laughing at me. Which made me cry because I was anxious and shaking about driving backwards in the snow with a snow plow coming at me. And he laughed at me.

I had to cancel my younger sons appointment because there was no way I’d be able to drop my older son off for 9am and make it half an hour away for 9am. I haven’t mastered the whole be in two places thing yet.

I seem to have the luck of running into all the asshole snow plow drivers. It’s like a major qualification to be a snow plow driver is that you must be an asshole.

So, that was my harrowing experience yesterday that reminded me that my fears of driving in the white stuff are basically justified.

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Unreasonable

I am often told I have unreasonable expectations. I used to let those words defeat me, I used to let them cause doubt to take root in my mind and heart. I used to think that maybe I do have unreasonable expectations….but, I do not.

I hold myself up to the same expectations. Yes, I do a lot…but I could do more. I could improve. As a business owner, a writer, a mother, a wife, a friend and a sister…I could improve. There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging that, and it should come as no surprise that I have similar expectations for other people in my life.

I am all about growth. Each day I strive to grow more, even if it scares me. And I want everyone around me to do the same thing…and why shouldn’t I want that? Why shouldn’t we all want that?

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I may not be the nicest person, but I still strive to have a kind heart and kind thoughts. I strive to be nice, even to people who really make it hard. I try to tell myself that they need kindness more than someone who makes it easy. Do I always succeed? Hell no…but I try.

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Doubt, resentment and hatred can spread like dandelion weeds, infecting everything so I try my hardest to spread kindness instead. The world needs more kindness and compassion. I need more kindness and compassion. I need accountability and dependability, so I try to be all those things and more.

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Sometimes, the truth hurts and hearing that we’ve done something shitty that’s hurt someone else makes us angry because the majority of the world doesn’t seem to process their feelings correctly. Anger shouldn’t happen when someone tells you that you’ve upset them or let them down. That’s not taking accountability for it, that’s passing the buck off to someone else instead of saying sorry. Yeah, sometimes I fail that test in the moment, but I always go back and apologize after stating what I did wrong and how I reacted wrong. That’s called accountability. You don’t need to be perfect but you have to make a conscious effort.

And I expect the same from those I surround myself with. That doesn’t make me unreasonable at all.

If you feel that I am unreasonable for expecting growth from you, then maybe you should look in the mirror and ask yourself…who’s really being unreasonable?

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Romancing February; Valentine’s Day Giveaway!

I am excited to announce that I will be participating in a Valentine’s Day giveaway, run by the extremely talented Allie Burke, author of Paper Souls. Several other incredible authors are also participating:

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Several ebooks will be up for grabs, posted to Allie’s Facebook page starting Friday. Make sure you like her page so you don’t miss out!

And in the mean time…here’s a little something I tossed together last night. Hope you enjoy it:

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What happens when you take a stand against the town bullies? Find out in Collide.

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A Message of Hope – #MarcusStrong

A lot of us get caught up in the daily grind, worrying and stressing about things that are so insignificant. I know I do. I worry about grey hairs and waistlines and cable outages. Then something happens and it puts everything into perspective and you realize what really matters is family, friends, faith and community…love and hope.

One of my dearest friends, Marisa Baksh, just found out her beautiful 13 year old son Marcus has stage four cancer. Marisa has held my babies, helped me figure out the complicated world of nursing a newborn, and she is beautiful inside and out. She never hesitates to lend a helping hand and be there for others.

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Marcus is very much like his mama; he has always been a wonderful big brother to his two brothers and sister. He is respectful, kind, considerate, and SO brave. Marcus is filled with so much light and love and talent, if you met this kid you’d know what I mean.

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There’s a fundraiser ongoing to help elevate some financial stress for this incredible family so that Marisa’s hardworking husband Tony can take some time off work and be there with his family. If you could donate it would mean the world to us. Our community has already raised over 2 grand in the five hours this fundraiser has been up…let’s keep it growing so Tony and Marisa can focus on Marcus and their siblings.

No family should have to go through this, but at least we can pull together and help support them through it.

Please feel free to help in any way that you can. Five dollars, sharing this fundraiser with the hashtag #MarcusStrong, or coming to our community events.

Thank you!

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Mush and Plugs

I have completed what I fondly like to refer to as the “mucus plug” or “bloody show” of my latest novel, Reckless Abandon. It’s really just the first draft, but I find it more amusing to refer to it as the mucus plug or bloody show. It’s the first signs of the impending birth of a new novel. You don’t show it to anyone really, on account of how gross that would be…but you still get excited because it’s coming.

So…with that being said, my brain is actually mush right now and any hopes for a well thought out post have evaporated. Some actual proof of that can be found on the Twitter, where my thoughts go to die.

But hey! At least it’s Friday!

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Ask And Ye Shall Receive Version 1

On my author fan page, I asked my readers/fans/groupies/homies (or whatever you want to call the amazing people who are basically the backbone to why I do what I do) if they had any burning questions for me. They did, so I have decided to write up a post answering those questions. How exciting!

“Who inspired Grayson? You said (and maybe I shouldn’t say this!) that you poured a lot of yourself into Everly. So is Grayson based on an old flame?”

Grayson is a complicated character. He ended up being, in the end, an entirely different person than those that originally inspired. I drew certain aspects of his personality from several different people I have known over the years, and yes…from an old flame or two. But the chemistry, the mannerisms, all of that started out as aspects of my husband but turned into something different. Grayson is not meant to be anybody in particular, and he didn’t turn out to be anyone in particular either. I actually poured a lot of myself into Grayson as well.

“Oh I’d love to see the writing cave!!!”

Here she is, in all her {messy} glory…
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I share an office with the boys’ playroom. If I’m writing when the kids are up, it looks a lot like that lol.

“How old are kiddos? How do you write with kiddos?”¬†

My kids are 5 and 3. Writing with kids is a challenge, but it’s not impossible. They usually entertain each other or I write at night when they are in bed (or when my hubby is home).

“Favorite snack?”

My favourite (sorry, my Canadian is showing again) snack is dill pickle chips.

“If you could talk to any person who’s ever lived, who would it be and why? They have to be real, not fictional.”

I’d give anything to have another conversation with my Great Granny again. I would love for her to meet my kids. We were pen pals when I was growing up, and we always had a special bond even though we didn’t often see each other.

“What are some of your bucket list items?”

I want to travel. I want to see everywhere, but my top three places I’d love to go to right now are Ireland, England, and Iceland.

“Did you always want to write or was there some pivotal event that turned on that lightbulb?”

I have always wanted to write, or rather…I have always written. Even as a kid, I’d write “stories” out, sitting at my white desk and carefully crafting my letters on the lined binder paper. Stories about horses, adventures and best friends were my forte back then.

“How did you summon the courage to publish your first novel? I mean…you open yourself to serious criticism. And I’ve heard that some authors consider their novels to be their babies.”¬†

I kept saying¬†I want to be a writer. I want to publish a book, I want to follow my dreams…but I never actually put forth the effort to do it. I let excuses get in the way.¬†I’m too busy. My kids are too young. I don’t have the time. I don’t think I’m good enough. One day, I woke up and decided I’d had enough of the excuses. I used NaNoWriMo in 2013 to sit down and fire out a story that had been locked in my head for years. I had it edited, took some time off for a surgery, figured out how to do the whole formatting thing and slapped a cover on that bad boy and uploaded it to Smashwords, Kindle and Kobo. No looking back.

I was rather inexperienced and there was a lot of things I *should* have done but didn’t, and I’m kind of glad I didn’t. If I hadn’t uploaded it when I did, I probably would have chickened out. And yes, my novels are my babies and it does hurt my feelings when someone doesn’t like them ~ however, my books aren’t everyone’s cup of tea and I understand that. I don’t get mad about it, it’s more like a sad passing “oh…okay”. You know?

“What¬†countries¬†have you visited and which was your favourite?”

Aside from Canada, I’ve only been to the United States and Mexico. I would have to say Mexico is my favourite because it’s vastly different from Canada, while the US was similar. Mexico was warm and beautiful and just…wonderful. It was also a very nice vacation lol.

“Do you speak more than one language?”

Nope, I am hopeless at learning languages. I can scarcely speak English. lol

“Have you ever met anyone famous? Who?”

I met Sharon, Louis and Bram when I was a kid at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto. I also met a famous football player there, but I couldn’t remember his name.

“Have you ever dated girls?”

No, but I’ve kissed them before haha.

“Favorite season?”

Summer, because I love the warmth and to swim and to just be outside. Camping is my favourite.

“Next direction for books?”

After I finish up with¬†Reckless Abandon, I’ll be writing the third and final Collide book. Then I’ll be writing a novel about Jenna Burke. After Jenna’s story will come Crimson’s. (If you have read Collide¬†and¬†Consumed, you’ll know the characters I’m talking about).

I’m not only planning on writing about those guys though, I have several other novel outlines to do as well. But I have to finish what I’ve started first!

“Doing a signing?”

One day I hope to!

“Why do you choose to use places you’ve been in your novels?”

I like to be able to close my eyes and easily visualize the locations. I love to see every nook and cranny. It feels more real to me than just Googling a town. I may make some up in the future…one of my visions is a place unlike anywhere I’ve been before.

“Do you have a favourite brand of makeup?”

Yes, I love Kat Von D’s makeup line from Sephora.

“What are your pet peeves? Like…what pisses you off quicker than anything else?”

Matt says: “When people bug you when you’re writing”, which is very true. If the words are flowing and people are distracting me (you know, people over the age of five…like HUSBANDS for example) I get right crusty. Other things are:

1) When you ask someone if everything is okay¬†and they say “nothing” but then post a ranty status about it on social media. Like, say it to my face when I ask you? (Also hits vaguebooking, I guess).

2) When the covers and sheets are all messed up in my blanket, or when I feel trapped and can’t get my feet out. My husband loves to torture me with this one…

3) When people say that they’re going to do something and then don’t. Or when they don’t listen to me (kids included lol).

4) Judgmental people who purposely say things that really aren’t necessary at all just to dig at others.

I could probably keep going…ha.

“Do you have any phobias?”

Spiders. Heights. Planes. Driving behind transport trucks that carry logs or other things that could smash through my windshield and kill me. Driving in the snow. Strangers.

“What book, beside any of your own, have you read the most?”

Probably the Harry Potter series. I read those books so much the spines broke.

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