Finally Down ‘Home’

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Photo by Ruth Simmons

Yes, I know I have been quiet for a while. But, in actuality, I haven’t been quiet at all. Behind the curtain, I have been doing my best headless chicken impersonation. Okay, maybe not that gruesome, but you get the picture.

I have been wearing many hats lately. Not only am I still writing, but my writing branches out to include a number of different genres, Dark Fantasy, Horror, Middle Grade and Christmas themed. I have also added one more hat to the rack, publisher/editor at ID Press. But more on that later.

Today is a bit of an emotional day for me. My first published book, The Good King, is now in Newfoundland at the Avalon Expo thanks to my friend and co-publisher at ID Press, Pat Flewwelling and her travelling bookstore, Myth Hawker.

Avalon Expo 2017 Myth Hawker Booth

Why is this emotional? My roots on my mum’s side are from the east coast. It seemed like I spent my whole childhood travelling to Newfoundland with stops to visit relatives in New Brunswick. Great aunts and uncle in great old houses. There were always stories, and home cooking, and laughter, lots of loud, laughter and music.

It is this that flavours my writing. I may not write specifically about the east coast, but the essence of it finds its way into my writing.

My mum was suffering from COPD (Cardiopulmonary Disease), brought on by years of heavy smoking and working as a hairdresser in the 60’s, when I was writing The Good King. To that point she’d only read my early horror stuff, a story based on Mary Shelley’s life but fictionalized and brought into the 60’s.

“Are you on drugs?” She’d ask me regularly.

My mum was a voracious reader but COPD has a way of changing people. Kind of like high altitude. The oxygen getting to the brain is diminished and as such, the capacity for reason as well.

At this point she was well along the path that COPD drags its victims. She had lucid moments but they were becoming far less frequent. In one of those moments, she asked about the book. My Cousin Meg Simmons was just finishing up the illustrations. I wanted it to be a surprise and present her with the finished version.

She never saw the finished book. She never got to see me published, something she always told me I could do.

“You have the gift for telling stories, like your grandfather.”

So, today, The Good King is finally ‘home’ in Newfoundland. Her home.

Mom and Emily New Brunswick 2007

“She’s got seagulls in her eyes.”

Thank you, Pat.

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The Enemy Within

Sun Tzu - The Art of War Bamboo Book University of California, Riverside

Sun Tzu – The Art of War
Bamboo Book
University of California, Riverside

In light of the current political shenanigans, pipelines, shootings, women and gender inequality, and immigrant hate, I got to thinking. Why can’t we all just get along?

The old saying goes, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”  And whether it was Sun Tzu, or Niccolò Machiavelli that the saying originated from, I wonder why do we have to have enemies?

Well, I think I found the answer.

A Letter from “The Enemy”

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When the Youngest Gets Older

middle-cove-beach-nfldToday marks the end of a sense of childhood. The passing of “parenting”. We are now merely guides. Our youngest hit the 17th year mark and is doing it with her own quiet style.

Our daughters are so much the same and yet so different. Bug is socially active while Red is reserved if not a little weird, in a good way.

She’s always been so headstrong and slave to routine but on the other hand her artistic ability knows no bounds. Red is someone that needs to be pushed but don’t tell her what or how to do it. Frustrating? You betcha.
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Muskoka Novel Marathon 2016

Marathon Tapestry 2

Muskoka Novel Marathon 2016 Tapestry by Betty Bierema Laxson

It’s that time again. The Muskoka Novel Marathon. Writers raising money for literacy.

You’ve read me waxing on about it, and about its cause. You’ve seen my Facebook Author Page posts. It is a worthy cause. But the reality of the matter is that we are in a time when we are being bombarded with requests for donations to various causes, school trips etc.

They are all worthy of our money but we only have so much of it, don’t we?
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It’s Over – Ontario Writer’s Conference Final Curtain

Ont-writers-conference-logoYep, you read it right. The Ontario Writer’s Conference closed up shop for the last time this past weekend.

For ten years it has been educating writers, connecting writers to agents and publishers, promoting writers and providing a venue to network with other writers and industry professionals.

As you can see the OWC was all about the writer.

Ya it’s pretty clear I ain’t no Hemmingway,
But I can write it, write it, Ya, I got lots to say.
‘Cause I got the words words that play up on the stage
And all the right junk on all the right pages. 

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The March Hare

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Words of the Season

March is a busy month for me normally.

Birthdays.

Yep, enough said, right? But this month it is particularly busy.
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The Silence of The Damned

Photo by Suzanne Mclean Long.

Photo by Suzanne Mclean Long.

I find I am too often apologizing to you dear readers for my absence, my silence. And forgive me for doing so again.

We chalk up lack of posting as Real Life. Or real life getting in the way. In reality, most times it is pure laziness. And while that is part of the case here, there are other things afoot.

Laziness, in my case, is often a lack of focus, a lack of motivation. But that lack of motivation has a dark and sinister finger on the button. Cancer.

I know I’ve touched on it before but I feel the need to talk. To get it out in the light, at arms length, to show it to others and in doing so, hopefully take away some of its power.
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