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Can-Con and Canning

So, it’s the first of September. I sat down to look at Facebook, and WHOOSH! The summer’s over. I may have ignored the garden way too much, I still need to weed the bloody sweet potatoes, but a lot of writing has been done.

I sold a Halloween shifter story to Endera Press, a women oriented anthology publisher. I’ve been asked to submit a Christmas story, as well. I pitched a cookbook to an awesome publishing group, and am twitchy waiting to hear back. I got a scary short accepted for a private anthology, Ottawa Independent Writers 30th anniversary edition; 30 at 30! But, I turned 55 this summer, can I still be in it?  LOL

And this month looks to be lining up for more craziness!

canning and zombies

This week I am canning 150lbs of tomatoes, blue plums, and hopefully beets, carrots and caramelized onions.It’ll likely take a couple friends, and a sale at No Frills (in Fall they usually sell carrots, beets, onions and potatoes at $2/10lbs.) If my sweet potatoes are doing well, I may can puree.

Next weekend, I’m giving a presentation at Can-Con on Authorpreneurship; those receipts are worth money! I’ll be talking about whether you are an employee or an indie writer, what is deductible and when, why you are throwing money away if you don’t keep receipts, why you should incorporate, when to start filing as a business (it’s earlier than you think) and more.

I love Can-Con, my local SFF convention for readers and writers. I get workshops and seminars and panels by some of Canada’s greatest SFF writers! And if you buy your tickets early, it’s only about $50 for the full three days! I have met wonderful people, like Tanya Huff (she’s back this year!), Julie Czerneda (so is she!), Marie Bilodeau (she’s now an organizer) as well as Linda Poitvin, Robert Sawyer, SM Carriere, and more.

This is my result from one of those FB quizzes. This explains why I have a diploma in Small Business Accounting, and am a painter and writer. I am renaissance woman, hear me scribble.

rightbrain vs left

Nightmare at the airport, sorta…

This weekend was my 15th wedding anniversary and my mother in law’s 80th birthday. So my darling hubby and I were flying to Winnipeg. We expected to arrive about midnight.

Not exactly….

The first plane was delayed by an hour. So we got to Toronto with about 20 minutes to make our connecting flight. We raced through the airport, luggage piled on my lap, hubby pushing my wheelchair at top speed. We need not have rushed. Second plane was also delayed by an hour or more.

We finally get to the runway, despite the woman demanding special treatment and the old guy losing his ticket. We’re  on our way.

Oh. No we’re not.  The flight computer is dead. So we sit for half an hour while they try rebooting and trying to figure out the error messages.  Finally they decide to use a new plane. We taxi back to the airport. Well, better the waste of time than finding the computer doesn’t work at 30k feet.

We had eaten at 430pm to get to the airport in time. It was now after 11pm. I was getting both tired and hungry. And cranky.

But we get on the new plane. They’re going to have snacks. Both planes had only pretzels. Sigh.

Got to Winnipeg around 4am Ontario time. Almost 12 hours since my last meal, all of it awake and annoyed.

The airport in Winnipeg had only one wheelchair. One. There were 3 people on the plane who needed one to deboard.

430am. Finally got off the plane. Bed by 530am, 24 hours after getting up. Tired doesn’t begin to cover it.

When I’m tired and cranky I’m downright antisocial.  I’m an introvert to start with, and get peopled out really easily.

Darling hubby is one of 7 children, they pretty much all have kids, those kids are now getting married and having kids.

Did I mention the antisocial? And the tired. And the jonesing to work on my novel. Or the yule short story for an anthology.

But at least there’s wine and ice cream cake.

Adventures with Jules Verne


Jules “Underfoot” Verne, my new cat. The underfoot is a great description of her favourite place while I’m walking. Jules is often a nickname for Juliette, and since Warehouse 13 had a female HG Wells….

Poor Jules Verne, she’s had a hard life up to now.  I am something of a cat whisperer, so I was able to figure out her short history.

From my Facebook page “I have figured out most of Jules’ back story. She is less than 6 months old, got pregnant in her first heat. She was dumped on the road near the barn 1-2 weeks ago. She had her litter but they were either stillborn or died soon after.
How did I know? She’s clearly a house cat. Litter trained, very friendly and ok with other cats. She’s skinny but not starved looking. She eats every scrap of cat food the second you put the dish down. So out on her own long enough to be seriously hungry but not quite starving. She’s deliriously happy to have found people. Definitely a tame cat who misses her home. If she was lost, she could track her way back.

It took 2 days for her dugs to fill with milk. So she’s not currently feeding kittens but was less than a week ago. She also shows zero desire to be outside. When my dad took my cat’s kittens away when I was a teenager, the cat destroyed the screen door trying to get to them.

Whoever dumped a pregnant teenage cat by the side of the road to fend for herself is deserving of the worst curse I know. May my Goddess give them everything they deserve.

FYI; I am pledged to the Morrighan, a goddess of battle, death and rebirth. I hope they come back as helpless females.

These same *unsubs taught her two very bad habits; jumping on the counter, and begging for food off my plate. I won’t stand for these, any cat I’ve had from 6-8 weeks old never does either of these. So, we started training the first day. Nothing rough, but a strong NO in my best “mom voice”, and a firm shove off of my lap.  I hope it doesn’t escalate to the spray bottle.

She seems pretty smart, leaped off of the counter at my first NO. But snuck back into the kitchen and stole the fatty back of the ham we had. Sigh, her eyes were bigger than her stomach, she left a greasy mess all over the floor.  Yeti knew better, he just stayed far away from the kitchen until it was cleaned.

One good thing, I’ll need to be sure to put everything away right away now. My kitchen will be so clean! I’m hoping she’s a good mouser, Yeti is too lazy to do more that stare at the little buggers. I may have to teach her a bit though, I tried a squeaky mouse and a ball, both times she just stared at me.

She’s got a very sweet and affectionate nature, and they’re barely hissing at each other any more, it seems more habit than actual enmity. She loves to be up high, her current fave place is on top of the video camera case, piled on top of a table in my office. From this high (3ft) ledge she surveys her queendom. And sleeps.  A lot.

She does 3 things a lot; sleep, eat and poop. I can’t wait until the chemical warfare part of the cats juggling for supremacy is over, and they both go back to covering their poop. I seem to be scooping every 20 minutes.

Speaking of which, I must go…


*unknown subjects, from FBI profilers manual

So, shit happens….

So, yesterday was interesting, today was frustrating.

I had a 9am appointment for a full physical. With bloodwork, so no breakfast, not even coffee or tea. I sat at a restaurant drinking herbal tea to wait for the appt.

Somewhere between the restaurant, the Dr’s office and the bloodwork, my phone got stolen. We called the only 3 places it could be, then visited in person, just in case, and then called again later in case someone working there just didn’t tell everyone they’d found it.

No luck, it is gone. We tried calling it first of course, in case it was in the bottom of my backpack, or had fallen out in the car. It rang the first 2 times, but not where we could hear it. Then it was powered down, when it should have been at 90% power. Shit a brick!

So today, in between mourning my photos, my winning streak at solitaire and my phone numbers… I called Bell to report it stolen.

Well, okay, first I tried to use their “award winning user friendly website”.  ROFLAO

The only way to report your phone stolen from Canada is… wait for it…. to call them on your cell.  Seriously.  The “talk to a representative” gets you sales, who can do nothing. Searching on “stolen phone” gets you the advice about calling from your cell. AND  the 1-800 number is not working today.

L Stewart

Eventually, I just call the sales rep and play the “get me a manager” game until I reach someone to report this fiasco to. She disables my phone, adds it to the local cop’s watch list, adds it to the nationwide Bell watch list, so no-one can change the phone # and use it. The Bell phones don’t have sim cards to swap out, they just have internal thingies. So it’s trackable. (unless it’s powered down)  Which mine still is.

But, she says it was powered on yesterday at 4:20pm. about 7 hours after it was stolen. And that my lock screen kept them from using it; calling Japan, buying a small country, etc.  Yay!

Now… I bought insurance when I bought the phone… replace it!

Nope, too easy. The reason I’ve been getting texts from Bell urging me to upgrade, is that my contract ended a couple months ago, so did my insurance.

New Note 5 phone $369.  Nope, it’s $274 at Rogers, cancel my account, and maybe my satellite TV too, I’ve been looking at Shaw direct lately. They have Crave AND Shomi!

New Note 5, $250.  Includes unlimited nationwide calling, video and chat.

Go me!   But… I have a show on Saturday, I need my Square to sell books. But this is a whole new frustration with a different company.

Square is linked to the device, not the account. I can’t switch it to my hubby’s phone until mine arrives, may not be able to switch it to the new phone.  Another email sent to customer support…

Vikings and sexy stuff

So… yesterday we went to the last day of the Viking exhibit at the Canadian Museum of Civiliza… History. (stoopid politicians changing the name to leave a footprint on history)

I went with several members of my Kindred; Norse reconstructionists and sword brothers, it’s an old religion: the prechristian faith of my northern European & Scottish/ Pictish ancestors.

It was both interesting and vaguely disappointing. I already knew most of the history and religion, but the notes on social structure and ritual were interesting. I took photos, especially of the two skulls and the burial pot. They could be ancestors of mine, we’ll never know.
skull 2

We also bought a penannular broach at the gift shop, which my darling man will be trying to copy in his forge. (see example above)

And it’s all research for my fantasy novel series! I learned new words. their own words… like viking is a verb not a noun. It’s traveling in a ship to raid or trade. People went aviking, they were not a viking.  Cool!

Also, the average age at death was 23-30 for men, slightly younger for women, likely because of poor childbirth conditions, and multiple pregnancies causing anemia and nutrition deficiencies. 60 was considered doddering old age.  Not so cool. And no wonder they married at 14, between the infant mortality rate and dying young, it’s a wonder they survived as a race.

broach and beads

1000+ year old beads and broaches set from a wealthy Noreaenner woman. (grave goods)


A Week of extremes…

From +17C to -20C, from grass to 2 feet of snow, from unable to walk pain to… well, less pain. All in a week.

Needless to say, my writing time has suffered greatly.  But I have new boxes of chocolate and caramel coffee, so I hope this week will be better.

Even though it’s half over.

Good news is, working in small bursts, I’ve managed to get two cookbooks ready for print proofs, and in ebooks all over the place. Except Pronoun.  For some reason Pronoun isn’t accepting my Word Headings, so I’m waiting on a response to a puzzled email.

Now Smashwords can’t find my bookmarks. Maybe doing this with a migraine is just causing extra work?

Breakdown over, we now return you to your “normal” reading…

Last week, I had a major 4 day migraine from the storm that dumped nearly 52 centimeters of snow on us in 24 hours. Then kept snowing off and on all week. That’s about 2 feet for my American cousins.

Part of the migraine was my eyes not quite focusing and my head hurting every time I concentrated. (I also smelled dead mice and dirty feet, but that’s not relevant to the story) What this meant in practical, getting shit done terms was that… well. I couldn’t.

The computer hurt my head, concentrating hurt my head, turning on the light hurt my head…. so of course, I tried to design my cookbook covers.

And utterly failed.  So. Much. Fail.

Fortunately, I have amazing and talented friends, who rode to my rescue with new covers, and adjusted them to the formats needed by Createspace, Kindle, Smashwords, etc…

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These awesome covers were designed by Fiona at  She’s easy to work with, fast and really, really good at making sense of my artistic blathering! I cannot recommend her enough.  (book covers, posters, business cards… bookmarks?)

I’m definitely getting her to do the covers for the next 3 cookbooks; African, Celtic and for large gatherings.  (anybody know a good word for that?) And maybe crockpot specific recipes….

Little does she know, that I know she makes maps! My epic fantasy novel will have a map of the 13 territories…..  Guess who’s going to be made to read the book and help draw the stupid thing?

In the meantime, with another big storm in the forecast, I’m hunkering down with a new Anne Bishop book, and my recipe files for the Indian cookbook.  It must all match the earlier Asian cookbook in look, style, format….  But oddly, it takes little concentration.


Mental breakdowns over book covers…

That’s normal, right?

I have self published a cookbook on Asian cooking, fresh, simple and home-made, no store-bought sauces.  I am trying to do a series of different cuisines, because that’s what I make at home. Every day.

Asian cookbook cover signature        cover 2

My next one is Indian cooking, because we live on curries from the crockpot. And my butter chicken is becoming famous among my friends. Also planned are Celtic (like haggis and oat-flour shortbread), African (like berbere, and Moroccan chicken), and cooking for potlucks.  But I have a major problem.

Not the recipes, or the home made spice blends, or even the links to find specific ethnic ingredients… my problem is… well, okay one problem is that I suck at designing covers and can’t afford a designer until I sell enough copies to pay for making it.

Which leads to my other problem/ question: why is nobody buying the Asian cookbook that’s already out?  It’s on Amazon, Kobo, Sony, ibooks…  Dozens of people asked me to make a cookbook… not. one. sold.

I looked at Asian cookbooks that are selling, and my cover is certainly similar.

Depressing, and off-putting.  Certainly makes me reluctant to pay for a cover design.

So, I make my own, and get feedback. Resulting in SIX covers for the Indian cookbook, and I am rapidly starting to hate them all. I need the lettering to stand out more, I’d like it bigger, but then it wouldn’t fit on the cover. But the way it is now, you can’t read it in a thumbnail.

Of course, if I knew how to do more than poke at Photoshop, they might be nicer looking. Then I might find out how to outline the letters. Or fade out the background.

As Promised… Jamieson Wolf

And just in time, as my space bar has decided to only work part time. Now I need to smash it to get it to work, and have broken a nail.

The trials of being a writer, I tell you!

Without further ado, or spaces….

Giving Me the World

I used to be terrified to date. I was worried that men would judge me unworthy of their attention when I should have judged them unworthy of mine. My self-worth was so low that I equated sex with love.
Dating was made more difficult when I was stricken with Multiple Sclerosis on New Years Eve 2012. Now men not only judged my looks, they were afraid of me or they belittled me. When I was still walking with my cane, I had one man wave his hand at it saying “What’s that?”
I looked at my cane and then at him and said “It’s my cane.”
He rolled his eyes and said “Yes, but what are you doing with it?”
I remember my mouth opening up wide in wonder. When I closed it I replied: “I need it to walk.”
He scoffed. “Well, it must be nice being half a man.”
Needless to say, the date didn’t go well.
I had another man call me broken, still another who asked me why I persisted in pretending I had some disease when I could be whole and healthy if I chose to. I had one ask me how I could be so happy when I was so sick.
“Because I choose to be.” I told him.
After a string of horrible dates, I had given up on men. My dating life hadn’t been too great to start with, now it was the shits. However, just when I had given up, I met Michael.
He was an entirely different kind of man. He didn’t judge me, didn’t reprimand or make fun of me. Instead, he supported me and loved me completely.
It took a little while for me to trust him and not to run away. I wanted to run at first because he wasn’t treating me terribly. I know that sounds horrible, but anyone that has been in an abusive relationship will understand.
When Michael told me that he loved me the first time, it was as if a sun went off inside of me, filling all of me with a vibrant light. I remember standing there for a few seconds before saying “I love you too.” And the light increased.
Almost two years later, that love has grown and the light continues to grow, chasing away the shadows. We’ve travelled to different parts of the world, but more than that, Michael has helped me to travel to different parts of myself and helped me to engage with life again.
He really has given me the world and so I wrote this poem for him. Love you Michael.
You Have Given Me The World

From the moment
that we met,
my life has
been filled with
light. As our
love has continued
to grow, I’ve
changed. Now, instead
of hiding and
hoping for a
better life, I’m
living it. Instead
of wishing for
magic, I’m creating
it. Instead of
shying away from
all of life’s
pleasures, I’m embracing
them. Rather than
shy away from
anything, I’m meeting
things head on
unafraid of what
will happen. Instead
of waiting for
life to happen
to me, I’m making
my life happen.
Rather than try
to change me
into something that
you wanted me
to be, you
accepted me as
I was, as I
am, embracing all
of me and
all that I
could be. You
believe in me
even when my
belief in myself
flags or wavers.
You love even
the parts of
me that I
didn’t love and
now I see
myself in a
different light, through
a different lens.
You have changed
my life into
something so wonderful.
You have also
turned the world
from a mystery
waiting to be
solved into something
waiting to be
discovered. You’ve shown
me what true
love really is
and I’m a
better man because
of you. You’ve
given me the
world and I’m
eternally grateful for
your light. You
have given me
the world and
I can’t wait
to discover it
with you.”

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Buy a copy of Dancing with the Flame here:

Guest Blogger coming soon

I sit, here, insufficiently caffeinated, and ponder what to say about my friend Jamieson Wolf.  One of the most prolific writers I’ve ever met, and I’ve met Eve Langlois!

He has an instinctive, provocative poetic voice, and writes in several novel genres too. If we weren’t friends I’d be so jealous of how generous his muse is.  But we’ve been friends for almost twenty years, or maybe more?  So I am nothing but happy for him at the reception his new book; Dancing with the Flame is getting.

And he’s guest blogging Monday’s post. So I get a full day to play with my scattered index cards to try to make my story make sense.

Wish me luck while enjoying Jamieson’s poetry and his post on inspiration.