How did you spend the Christmas holidays?
I spent it in Frankenmuth, Michigan, not far from Flint, a 3 ½ hour drive for us. The town’s architecture resembled a Bavarian village from Germany. A great number of specialty shops like cheese, chocolate, sausage, line the one main street. A river runs through town. It’s a quaint and lovely place.
It was a 3 day bus group trip starting on Tuesday, December 24th. I have never been on a bus trip, especially with a group. I’ve always traveled alone, so I come and go as I please. But it was fun having your days planned to see and do many different things. It did irk me a little to have to be here and there at an exact time, but, as is usual with me, I’m always early.
The goal of the trip for a number of people was to shop. You can imagine all the unique and specialty German items available in Frankenmuth. We went to one store called Bronner’s. The building was large enough to fit 3 football fields, showing off an enormous variety of Christmas ornaments. There must have been a few million. I’m not kidding. You could get anything you wanted on an ornament. They even had a desk where you could get it personalized. I walked around the store in awe. All of us did.
This trip originated with my friend Joan (whom I met while volunteering for the SPCA). She had nothing to do this Christmas and asked me if I’d like to go away, and I said yes. Joan and I are good friends and we go out to eat together and to movies, but we’ve never spent much time together. I love Joan. She’s a wonderful woman with a big heart, but damn it, she didn’t stop talking for 3 days. After the trip, we are still friends, which says a lot.
I met two wonderful women on the trip. One smoked and joined me at the end of the parking lot where the designated smoking area was positioned. We were almost the only 2 in the whole hotel who smoked. There were a couple of others who’d stop by, but Jan and I were always there. What an incredible woman. We had such a fantastic time chatting about every topic under the sun. Unfortunately she lives a little far but hopefully we will remain friends through email.
Maggie was the other woman I became friends with. We found ourselves seated across from each other at lunch and the minute we started talking we had an instant connection because of our common interests like our view of life, euchre, animals and maps. We’re both single so spent much time comparing notes on men. It was so much fun to talk openly like that. I know we’re going to be friends forever.
I returned home on Thursday, December 26th at close to 7 p.m. We had been going since 9 a.m. when we left the hotel for shopping. We left the USA in the afternoon and drove home. Customs was no problem. No one was pulled off the bus and everyone was passed through quickly.
I’m so glad to be home in my recliner with the kittens running around and silence. Wow there was so much noise. I’m an author so a bit of a loner. Being around all those people was definitely another experience.
The kittens were very surprised to see me walk in the door. They seemed a little unsure of me but Sisko of course came up to me and I picked him up and hugged him so tightly. It’s funny how much I missed them. I haven’t been away from them since they were a week old. I know they are happy to have me home.
All in all, it was a wonderful trip organized by the Great Canadian Bus Company. I loved going somewhere I’ve never been and seeing, smelling and hearing new things. It was certainly a unique Christmas experience. Everything was well arranged. I have to recommend Karen who was our tour guide. A lovely, retired woman who does these trips for her enjoyment of travel which showed. No one had any complaints of her.
Our bus driver, Selena, was brilliant. I have never been so comfortable on a bus. And on Christmas Eve night, she took us on a tour of the Christmas lights around Frankenmuth, which displays were amazing. But our local guide directed Selena to a home outside of town. No lights, narrow road, and it was obvious Selena had never been this way. With only that guy’s directions, Selena took us to the best light display any of us had ever seen. It was an incredible experience thanks to her.
Sister Innocent, my murder mystery, is with the editor. I get it back on January 10th at which time I’ll read through it again correcting any errors. Then the book will be formatted. I hope to have it published in February, but I’ll let you know when it’s ready to be purchased.
If any of you would agree to review the novel, I can send you the formatted manuscript in any format you would like.
Have a Happy New Year and may next year be an even greater year than the last.
As you may have read from a previous blog, I have been fostering cats and their kittens for the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).
My third family was Mary and her 2 male kittens who were a week old. That was five months ago. I fell in love with the kittens so decided to keep them. I had been training them since day one, and now they are very well-behaved cats. If I
say no, they stop, but I give them free range in the house. I have put away everything breakable. They do knock things onto the floor.
But Sisko and Odo are so different. Sisko is black and white, whereas, Odo is grey and white. What’s neat is their patterns are the same. Sisko likes sleeping on my clothes lying on the couch, Odo prefers just the couch. Odo loves playing with balls and will play with them for hours. Sisko loves straws. He will carry them all over the house. Sisko licks my fingers. Odo loves to rub noses.
They look so different from their mother who was white with orange patches. She was feral (she still didn’t trust me after 3 months together) so I gave her back to the SPCA. I’ve heard she was adopted.
I would call myself a dog person who loves 2 kittens. I would love a puppy but I’m not ready for the work. I believe you have to devote at least 3 years to training a dog, and I’m not ready for that. I have been training the kittens but they sleep a lot and play with each other so I have time off. I’m sure if I ever brought a puppy into the house, the kittens would be more curious than scared and they would all get along well.
What are you doing for Christmas this year?
I’m going to a place called Frankenmuth, Michigan. Anyone been there? The town is built like a Bavarian village and it celebrates Christmas all year round, but it is very special for Christmas day, and I’ll be there for that. It’s a 3 day all inclusive but trip, and it takes 3½ hours to drive there. I’ll blog about it when I get back.
If there is anyone out there interested in my murder mystery Sister Innocent, it will be a few months before I publish it. I’ve been reading it over and decided to change lots of stuff. I’ve deleted some and rewritten others. My editor is reading it over one more time. Then I’ll go through it again one last time with those edits and then I’ll publish.
I’d really appreciate it if you could write a review of my books and post it on Amazon. You don’t have to write something long or literary. Just a few words about what you thought of the story. Thanks.
It’s been a while since you’ve heard from me and I’m sorry, but I’ve been busy with my volunteering, and I’m working on 4 novels at the moment.
Before I get to my books, I’m pleased to tell you that I came first at the live poker tournament I play in every Saturday at a local bar. Fortunately, or unfortunately, we play for points not money. At the end of the season, there is a tournament with the top 20 (which of course I will be in) to play for a ticket to a real money tournament. That picture was taken to show the winning hand.
I’ve finished my murder mystery entitled Sister Innocent, but I met a woman through my volunteering who loves murder mysteries and she offered to read the novel before it goes to print. To my disappointment, she found a few errors that I have to correct, and she’s right. I returned to the beginning of the book and have been reading it over making those corrections. But I just don’t feel like working on it at the moment.
I was going over my document files and found a story I started in 1994, the year after my fabulous year in Australia. It is about a shy woman who works at a factory in Australia and who dreams of finding a husband. Yes, it’s a romance. My first romance! I’m on chapter 7. The ending I had considered was shot down by my editor and she’s right so I don’t know where it’s heading. My books seem to write themselves.
A few years ago, I published a novel entitled Devouring Time. Since I decided to get a new cover for it, I decided to read it over and found problems. I sent it to my editor Sarah and she edited it for me and agreed it’s missing a few chapters. I will be working on that at some point.
Devouring Time is about a distinguished Toronto family all involved in the art world. Some are artists, gallery owners, collectors, legal, insurance, etc. They come together to open a historic package brought to them by Marcus from England. This novel should be a play because it takes place over 24 hours and in basically two rooms, but I don’t know how to write a play. Can anyone help me with that?
Finally, I’m working on the 3rd book in the Coma Kids series. I’ve written a few chapters and know what to write next. I’m working on this now. The kids are back on Earth and the story becomes a little darker. One character dies, another becomes an alcoholic, two find great wealth, and the others all have their mountains to cross.
I have a great team around me. There’s Sarah, my developmental editor, and Emily my proofreader. Both are excellent at what they do and my books are better because of them. I have Angela now who has been a lot of help promoting my books. There’s Panagotis from Greece who is a brilliant cover designer and his prices are very fair. Another woman named Sarah formats my books, and she does a wonderful job. And finally Howard has helped with my titles, subtitles and back blurb.
I’m very lucky to have such people I can trust to prepare my books for publishing. If anyone would like someone’s details, please reply to this email. I would be happy to put you in touch with any of them.
Back to writing. Have fun,
I’m doing it all wrong.
I realize I’m supposed to write series and what is popular today, but I can’t seem to do that. I do have my young adult sci fi series, but I also write different genres.
And guess what I’ve gone and done now?
I’ve published a joke book. I’ve been collecting jokes all my life, and then one day I decided to put them together into a book.
I love jokes. I love hearing and telling them. I had a dentist who would tell me a joke while my mouth unthawed. When I was in Australia, I found that if you get an Aussie drunk, he tells jokes. I just wrote them down.
I should warn you that most of my jokes are adult content.
You can find the paperback on Amazon here, but the ebook won’t be available until next week.
I’m halfway through correcting the proofreader’s edits for my murder mystery.
What do you think of the cover?
It’s about a legal secretary and her difficult life at a Toronto law firm. Suddenly some co-workers go missing and then later found brutally stabbed to death. There are many suspects, but the killer can’t be found.
I don’t know if you are aware how important are Amazon reviews. I really appreciate you reading my books, but I’d be grateful if you could write a review and post it on Amazon. It doesn’t have to be literary or long. Just a few words about what you thought would be great. Thanks!
I love playing poker. Actually, I think I’m addicted. I’ve been playing online at Pokerstars.com since 2005. I started playing just for chips to learn how to play. I read a few poker books and watched many tournaments on TV.
A few years later, I changed to play for money. Initially, I played the $1 or $2 tournaments. I never won but had fun.
In time, I played the $7.50 Sit & Go of a maximum of 180 players. The tournament takes about 4 or so hours to play. I did well and made it often to the money round so at least broke even. I did place higher sometimes and did make some money.
I played in a $7.50 tournament with over 3,000 players and I placed 2nd and won $2,100.
I played in a $11 tournament with over 3,000 people and I placed 3rd and I won $4,000.
After I moved to Brantford and found the casino, I played in a couple of tournaments. Buy-in was $160. Unfortunately, I lost out both times (did place better than half) before the money. I loved playing live but I needed experience.
The casino changed hands and now they’re no longer hosting any more tournaments because they don’t have enough staff, so they said, which is of course unfortunate.
But two weeks ago, a friend who always helps me out suggested a website. On it are all the events going on around Brantford. There’s so much going on that I didn’t know about.
And one of those events was poker. There’s a group who play at a bar about a 5 minute drive from my house. They play on every Saturday at 2 pm, and also during the week but the tourney starts at 7 pm and that’s too late for me.
So, I’ve been playing every Saturday. It’s absolutely wonderful to play again and these people play for points not money so doesn’t cost me anything to play and therefore I can learn how to play. Playing live poker is so different from playing online. I came 4th out of 14 the first time I played with them.
The next week, I came out to play. Everyone was a little friendlier and I had a good time.
At our table, people are playing anything and it’s a relaxing atmosphere. But then this young serious poker guy was moved to our table. He immediately took control because he had the most chips, and he made a lot of high bets.
We were in a hand together. I had King Queen and the flop came 9, 7, and 6. He made a huge bet and I folded of course. He flipped his cards showing he had Jack Queen so my hand would have beaten his.
A few hands later, we were again together betting against each other. I had 8 and 6. The flop came 3, 5 and 7. He bet something and I called. The next card was a 9 and I had a straight. He bet a lot again and of course I called. The river was the 6 and I still had a straight. He couldn’t have a hand to beat me.
And what happened? Didn’t he go all in which of course I called. Everyone at the table was shocked to see I won. I got a lot of props for that.
A few hands later, he said to me, “Nice hand.”
I said, “Thanks for going all-in.”
I came 3rd in that tourney but I would have come 2nd if I hadn’t been stupid and fold a winning hand. I’m learning.
Have you heard about my poker novel: The Perfect Hand? It’s about 5 poker buddies who uncover a conspiracy caused by a religious fanatic. The novel reveals many poker secrets and takes you on a fun ride.
You can get it at Amazon at:
Have I got news!
Polishing up the last chapter and then I’ve finished my new novel. It’s a murder mystery that takes place in a legal firm in Toronto, Ontario. I don’t have a title yet.
worked at a few law firms as a legal secretary off and on for 9 years. I know a lot about law firms, especially the legal secretaries who are noisy, cliquey and continuously gossip.
I always wanted to write a book about a law firm, but I needed a plot. One day it came to me to write a murder mystery and brutally murder those secretaries I disliked. Sound good?
The narrator takes you on an adventure to determine who is the serial killer.
The second and greater piece of news is that the sequel to That Truthful Place has been published. The Gift of Thoran takes the kids to a moon in a far away galaxy where they hone their telepathic abilities.
An alien invasion. Check. Teenagers with supernatural powers. Check. The world hanging in the balance. Check. And Double Check!
In this sequel to Book One of the Coma Kids Series, a group of ten teenagers with extraordinary powers are rescued from the dangerous restrictions on Earth by an advanced race of aliens (the Thorans) who have bestowed upon them gifts of telepathy and telekinesis – the ability to move physical objects by thought.
The Thorans fly them to a moon orbiting their planet where they are encouraged to develop their powers. Here they meet five other groups of kids from different species, and learn to work together to face numerous challenges: From fighting off the Yarm, a space creature who eats all vegetation leaving planets barren, to overcoming a life-threatening illness, to aliens who attempt to enslave them.
Through their various trials the kids become stronger, and are able to do amazing things with their minds. But will it be enough to save the planet and the galaxy from being destroyed by evil aliens?
You can purchase it on Amazon:
Imagine being with me in a room full of dogs. If you don’t know already, I love animals and especially dogs. I drive my friends nuts when I stop and pat every dog I meet because I can’t pass by a dog without talking to it. The owner usually thinks I’m talking to them but I explain that I was actually talking to their dog.
On Friday, March 1st, I volunteered with the SPCA (animal shelter). They held a $25 microchip and rabies vaccines clinic. Over 100 dogs and cats came into the clinic.
Now imagine how it would be with 20 people in the room all as crazy about dogs as me. Every time a dog squealed from getting the microchip, everyone immediately turned to look with worried faces, hoping the dog was okay.
Every dog that came in got oohs and aws from everyone in the room. We had 2 gorgeous Great Danes who stole the show. They were magnificent. A massive Mastiff arrived and blew us away. A few huskies appeared as well as a few rottis and labs. Lots of Shitzus. A 10 week old Golden Retriever puppy (my favourite breed and the puppy I’m going to get) caused everyone to fall on the ground. Was she ever sweet. I had to contain myself not to grab her and run out the door!
The Brantford SPCA is run by kids. Sorry kids for me because they are all young women in their 20s. It takes a lot of dedication and love of animals to work for the SPCA. And yes it’s a lot of hard work, and they worked hard at the clinic. They really knew well how to handle animals. I was so impressed with them. Every animal was extremely well treated.
These young women organize numerous clinics for the public as well as fundraising affairs. Each event is well organized and everybody has a lot of fun volunteering with them. These women know animals. It’s amazing to watch them handling someone’s beloved pet. I have nothing but respect for them and, because of that, I will continue volunteering for them.
Early April, I will be publishing the sequel to That Truthful Place, the Gift of Thoran. I only recommend it to someone who begs for something unique. The Gift of Thoran is my homage to the Star Trek series. I always wanted to write a Star Trek episode.
In the Gift of Thoran, the kids travel to a moon in another galaxy. They must struggle to survive as many challenges are put in their way. They meet 5 other species from 5 other galaxies and they all must learn to work together to succeed.
I would be pleased to forward a pdf copy to anyone who would agree to write me a review on Amazon. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and, when the novel has been formatted, I will send you a copy.
That Truthful Place has been professional formatted now so if you’ve downloaded it, I would be pleased to forward you that version. Please email me at email@example.com and I will send it to you.
Have a great day,
Important and urgent news!
I have greatly improved That Truthful Place and it has now been professionally formatted. If you have already downloaded it, I would be thrilled to forward the new version. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send it to you.
For those of you who'd like to read a free book, please go to my Home page.
That Truthful Place also has a new cover. What do you think?
The sequel to That Truthful Place has been completed and now proofread. I have to read through the novel and make the corrections, but it’s taking some time. I hope to have The Gift of Thoran, A Space Novel about Teenagers with Supernatural Powers Who Fight Off Alien Invaders As the Galaxy Hangs in the Balance for you in February.
Now for some other great news.
I just spent 10 days in Jamaica from January 7th to 16th. I stayed at the Iberostar Rose Hall Beach resort in Montego Bay. Yes, an all-inclusive and I’d never go any other way.
I did everything I planned to do: read (someone else’s book), swim in the pool (which was perfect), suntan (yes I have a good tan but in this cold, I don’t think it will last long), eat (there were 4 great restaurants) and drink (3 sips and I’m drunk).
Every morning, I was settled near the pool. I led a good life, doing whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. I didn’t have to live by the clock (though there were specific times for dinner).
It was a restful vacation, which I needed being so burnt out. Because of that trip, I feel like a new person.
It was an excellent resort: the staff are amazing, it’s very clean, being all-inclusive makes it a lot of fun and it has everything you needed. I didn’t go off the resort but hope to next time.
Yes, I want to go back so planning to return there next year at the same time. I met lots of wonderful people who go back every year at the same time. I have joined their group and looking forward to seeing them next year.
Well, back to work.
In 1995, I was in a Hamilton psychiatric hospital to receive treatment and I met this really great woman. We shared a common bond with what we were going through, and we became close friends. She is native and, after being released back into the world, I visited her home on the reserve many times. I got to know her wonderful husband and their 3 great kids: 2 girls and a boy.
A few years later, I moved to Toronto and we lost touch.
After 15 years, I returned to Hamilton and I looked for Sharon. Every time I met a native person from the Six Nations reserve I would ask if they knew Sharon and Shane, but no one did.
When I moved to Brantford and, while volunteering at the hospital, I met 3 native women and I asked them if they knew her but they didn’t, but they suggested I put an ad in their local newspaper, which I did. I asked if anyone knew Sharon and Shane and their 3 kids, and left my email.
The day the newspaper issue came out, I got an email from Hayley saying, “I think you’re looking for my mom,” and she gave me Sharon’s phone number.
So, after 22 years, we are friends again, and the reserve is only a 20 minute drive from where I live.
I have some great news. The sequel to That Truthful Place is finished. I have sent the novel to my proofreader and will get it back by the end of November. I’ll then make the corrections and read it over a couple of times before I publish it.
The sequel, Season of Days, takes place on a moon in a far away galaxy. The children meet species from other galaxies and communicate through telepathy. Their telepathic abilities improve over time, and they are able to accomplish almost any task by using their minds.
The children are challenged by a dangerous space creature and aggressive aliens who try to enslave the children. Also, one species develops an illness prevalent on their planet that threatens to destroy them. Together, with the other species, they fight to withstand these disasters.
Season of Days is my homage to Star Trek. I always wanted to write a Star Trek episode so this is my offering to the genre.
I’ll let you know when it’s available on Amazon.
As you may remember, I lost my poor Kira in June. It was tough losing your first dog, but she was dying and I didn’t want her to suffer.
I have grown up with dogs (first a Schnauzer, then a yellow Lab, and finally two Golden Retrievers); I worked in a private kennel for a year (and, yes, I cleaned up after lots of dogs); Years ago, I volunteered with the Hamilton SPCA and now I volunteer with the Brantford SPCA, taking the dogs for a walk. My new volunteer opportunity is fostering Golden Retrievers through Golden Rescue.
Golden Rescue is a wonderful organization run solely by volunteers. The ones I’ve dealt with so far have been fantastic as we conquered the many stages I need to get through to foster the dogs. They all obviously love dogs, and especially Goldens.
And I need my dog fix, but I’m not yet ready for commitment. I still need to be free so adopting a new dog is not yet right for me, which is the reason why I contacted Golden Rescue. After a representative came and checked out my house and fenced-in backyard, my application has been accepted. I will get my first dog soon and I can’t wait!
Goldens are my favourite breed because they best match my personality: I’m bubbly and happy most of the time and, if I had a tail, it would be up and wagging all the time, too. Goldens need one good, long walk every day, and I need to walk more so it will be good for me to get back into walking when I have a dog.
Goldens are sweet, calm and good natured dogs. They are smart and easy to train compared to other breeds. Goldens just want to be loved and they give lots of love in return. The dogs I’ll be getting will be housetrained and probably trained to do most things. Goldens aren’t the type of dog to bark much or destroy property. The dog may have some behavioural problems but with love, patience and discipline, you can easily train a Golden.
I will only have each dog for a few weeks or so at a time, and then it will be adopted. The dog is brought to my house by a volunteer. The new parent comes to my house to pick up the dog. I will be keeping a diary of the dog’s behaviours to help place the dog and to find good new owners to match the dog.
You don’t have to worry about me becoming attached to these foster dogs because they will all be mature dogs. My next dog will be a Golden puppy, actually two puppies. (I think animals are better in pairs.)
And they have to be puppies. But I have to be ready for at least a three year commitment to train and discipline them. (Once dogs are three, most puppy problems are gone.)
I’m not ready for puppies; maybe in a year or two. (I won’t be fostering any puppies because I wouldn’t be able to give them up.) In the meantime, I’ll foster adult dogs and enjoy my time with them. Winter is coming which is my least favourite season, but watching a dog roll and play in the snow makes winter worth it.
I’ll write about my first foster soon and I hope you are interested. I’m so excited.