With Valentine’s Day approaching, I can’t help but wonder if I should have my next novel revolve around finding love for or on Valentine’s Day. I’ve been plotting it in my mind for a while and I wrote the synopsis. Nowhere does Valentine’s Day or any other holiday figure in my writing, but why not? Well, one reason is I plan on releasing it in December, so if there’s going to be the mention of any holiday, shouldn’t it be Christmas or Hanukkah or New Year’s Eve and Day? Ugh? Don’t know. While making the holiday a central part of the story would definitely make it a specific holiday story, bringing the holiday into the story wouldn’t matter so much as long as it makes sense to have it there, right? Probably.
Something else has surfaced
A few weeks ago at the bookstore, my daughter mentioned she wanted a Valentine’s Beanie Boo. Friday, I found myself shopping alone and picked up a card and some chocolate for her. (I’ll get to the beanie boo. I have to.) As I was browsing the cards, I noticed how many were for romantic relationship. I remembered sending my mom chocolate or flowers at Valentine’s Day and my ex-husband asking me why I would do that, it’s a holiday for lovers.
But is it?
Sunday, I had a “Remember when…” moment and sent this text to my BFF: Remember when you, Alain and me would go to Mike’s Restaurant on boul. Cartier on Fridays/Saturdays after work? Sometimes Diran would join us. I can’t remember who else ever did. But we would talk and laugh and plan the future. I did not send the text out of nostalgia, but out of love. A “Hey Girl, we’ve been through so much together. Love you.”
Isn’t that what Valentine’s Day is all about? Sharing love. It doesn’t have to be about chocolate and flowers or dinner and sex or champagne and jewelry. It can be about family, friendship and romance. It can be about recognizing those who are important to us and who impact our lives, and about knowing who loves us and loving ourselves.
Who are you sending a Valentine to? Who are you hoping to get a Valentine from? I love hearing from you. Leave a comment.
If you saw my Instagram posts yesterday, you know my daughter and I were having a blast at the Toronto Blue Jays WinterFest. Normally at this time of year, some of our players head on a lucky city in Canada for their Winter Tour. As Canada’s only baseball team, they recognize that their fan base is not just city or province-wide, but nationwide. It’s great to see that kind of appreciation for fans.
Thanks to my friend Mike, I became a baseball fan and introduced my daughter to it when she was two and half years old. Since then, we look forward to attending games every season. But this is the first year, we went to WinterFest fun.
There were so many activities we couldn’t do them all in the seven hours we were there.
We decided to get some proper face paint and tattoos first.
We visited Ace and Ace Jr’s nest. I had never noticed it in the outfield before.The field was filled with activities like throw and catch, ice skating on wax and ping pong.
A band played in between QA sessions with the players and staff.
We got to sit in the SportsNet broadcasting boot where Jamie Campbell normally sits.
Thanks for a great time Toronto Blue Jays!
Who’s your favorite team? What do you get out of being their fan? Leave a comment. I love hearing from you.
I’m allergic to dust, pollen, penicillin, and other substances. An allergy is an abnormal reaction to an allergen. But what if it were more than physical?
What if an allergy could be applied to the mind?
Think about it… Are you a fairly stable individual until you go to your friend’s house for a BBQ and HE is there. You know HE angers you and you try not to let HIM get to you, but, just the thought of HIM, let alone HIS presence, hits your aggression center and you want to call HIM names and tear HIS face off.
Or you are having the best day until THAT co-worker shows up. You know THE ONE I’m talking about. SHE bosses everyone around. Since you’re a woman, SHE delivers a backhanded compliment about your work with a smile. Meanwhile, SHE bats HER eyelashes at your male co-worker, touches his arm, and giggles at his words. You’re not upset with him because SHE came over to educate him as SHE did you. If only knocking HER off her stilettos by pulling HER by the hair weren’t considered harassment and grounds for dismissal.
Maybe it’s just me
It’s not just me. We all have our triggers. People, places and things. Our impulses stem from our reptilian brain. It knows how to fight, fly or freeze. If we let our emotions take over when triggered, we’d be having a mental allergic reaction. Learning what triggers us, accepting that triggers are inevitable, and finding ways to deal with those triggers are the antihistamine medication.
So what do we do?
One of my tricks is reminding myself that we are all human. That maybe there’s someone in my life that I piss off as much as HE or SHE ticks me off. So just let it go. Easier said than done, but definitely doable.
So how do you handle your triggers? I love hearing from you. Leave a comment. Allergic
If you’ve read Secrets, then you know that Diana’s a young woman who knows what she wants. Here’s the letter she sent Santa this year.
I’ve missed you. It’s been one whole year. So you know I’ve moved, right? Don’t bring my presents to Dad’s because I don’t live there anymore. I’m living with Ron now. He’s got a fireplace although it’s shut up. Can you come in through the front door or something? I guess so because there are probably fewer homes with chimneys than without. I’ll have to check about leaving a door or window unlocked for you.
Anyway, I’m happy living here. We need to renovate, especially the bathroom! What I wouldn’t give for a rain shower and a jacuzzi tub, but you don’t bringcontractors. So here’s my wish list and its Pinterest counterpart.
In the tech department, there’s the latest iPhone and the Kate Spade pouch to protect it. The Instax Mini camera would be fine too.
Clothing and accessories. Did you see the pic of that cute pink sweater? Wouldn’t it look great against my skin? But I could use another jacket and I don’t have a bomber. Where have a been? Even Bubbe, Ron’s grandmother, has one. Some cool shades would be good too!
How about a little self-care? A journal, if you want to be frugal, or a day at the spa, if you can afford a little luxury, would make me super happy.
Okay, so no pressure. I’ll be happy with just about anything.
I’m learning how to bake. So I’ll leave you some cookies and milk by the tree.
What do you think of Diana’s wish list? Are any of the items on your list too? I love hearing from you. Leave a comment.
When I was a university student, I celebrated the end of the semester with a reading day. After my last exam, I would walk to Chapters Bookstore (now a Victoria’s Secret) on the corner of Ste-Catherine and Stanley streets, ride the escalator to the second floor and browse the rows of romance and fiction novels.
It could take time to find the right book. I looked for one which started with a sentence capable of catapulting me from the floor of the bookstore into the story. And, my intuition had to agree to the selection. It sought the book that would captivate, engage and relax. I found many enjoyable books this way and I write hoping readers will find my stories as enjoyable.
As I wrote Secrets, the story flowed onto the pages. The characters lived the joys and sorrows while I recorded the events and empathized with them. Even the editing went smoothly. I had a special connection to this story.
Based on comments from beta readers and Kirkus Reviews, I believe you’ll feel this connection when you read it. It’s now available as an e-book on Amazon. To find out more, click the cover.
How do you choose your reading day book? I’d love you hear from you. Leave me a comment.
The last modified date on my manuscript Stay was 2014. I was shocked when I saw that today. Three years have passed since the manuscript was professionally edited. Since then, I struggled with insecurities and also with illness. I sold my condo and moved. I switched jobs twice. I became a certified fitness instructor. I went back to university for a few writing classes. I made a small effort to find an agent. I wrote another novel and started a fourth and decided on the plot for a fifth. But mostly, I grew up.
During these three years, I would get upset thinking about how Stay sat on my computer ready for publishing, then I’d forget about it for while, and start the cycle all over again. But I’ve changed. And in the last few months, I understood that I’d get to publishing it when I was ready. I guess I’m ready now because I’ve been reading Joanna Penn’s blog, Creative Penn and downloaded one of her books. If you’ve never read her blog, she’s definitely worth the read. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve also organized myself based on her suggestions.
A couple of summer’s ago, I read a series by Erin McCarthy called True Believers. I was intrigued by some of the similarities between our stories. The friendships, the boyfriends, the parents and the one word titles. Later, I read a post about series and titling a series around a theme. It’s nothing new or earth moving but it did get me thinking about how to unify the Masks series. I still don’t have a title for the series but I did change Stay to Secrets. A major theme throughout the series is the hidden, unspoken parts of life and finding the courage to confront them.
I looked up some of the cover designer recommendations from Joanna Penn and chose a company. Last night, I went to the bookstore and found an 18 year old girl (Just the perfect age!) and asked which types of book covers she preferred. She liked the drawn covers, not the pictures. Unfortunately, she was the only girl there. One is not exactly a recommended sample size so I’ll have to keep up the survey. I’ve noticed that most of the young adult book covers either picture people or are drawn people or scenes. There are very few with only a title. So, I’m thinking as long as it’s not a title on a coloured background I can’t go wrong.
During the week, I wrote the back cover blurb. Today, I priced out professional reviews and found a proofreader.
So maybe, I’m ready to publish another novel, huh?
What bloggers and writers are your mentors? Leave me a comment. I love to hear from you.
My daughter thinks mass is boring. I thought the same when I was eight years old. Mom injured her knee on Friday and needed to rest. So I went to the English Midnight Mass alone last night at St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish.
I left home knowing that the church parking lot would be full, that the church would be overcrowded, warm and even smelly, and that it was too warm for a picture perfect snowfall after mass. This may sound like I had low expectations, but I didn’t. I simply approached the familiar experience with acceptance.
I parked at the back of parking lot and found a seat next a young blond woman with a friendly smile. The organist was different from the one I’m used to on Sundays which threw me off, but it didn’t matter because I still sang. Since I was one of the few singing in my section and singing off key to booth, I’m sure my neighbours tapped into their reserve of tolerance. (Thank you for bearing with me fellow believers.) I wasn’t used to the new priest either. I could barely see him because a large tall man stood in front of me, but I heard his invitation to visit the manger by the altar after mass and contemplate Jesus’ birth. And I thought I would do that. I expected to say a quick prayer and see the usual lineup of characters: the necessary Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus; the magi and their gifts; and of course, the animals. Then leave.
When the mass ended, the organist played a Christmas hymn which she sang in Polish, rousing every Pole in the congregation to join her. While I stood before the manger, I didn’t see it. Instead, I heard a melody I vaguely recognized with words foreign to me, and yet I was absorbed by the spirit of Christmas flowing through the church at that moment.
There is such a thing as Christmas magic. It is a gift without a price, without wrapping and without a bow, but it is given from the heart, freely and shared with everyone. You don’t have to be a Christian to receive it because peace (the freedom from war as well as the state of serenity) and love (the compassion we show ourselves, our friends and family, and even strangers) are not proprietary to any religion, race, ethnicity, gender, or group. They are the right of all humanity.