Category Archives: Life in General

Life and the Pandemic

I’ve been away from writing for a while as you can probably see by my lack of posts. Life, in all of it’s glory, got in the way.

I got married, lived happily ever after until recently. I was already in the process of transitioning away from my full time job to look after my husband as he declines. Yup – I’m staring widowhood square in the face and it’s not a pretty sight.

Then along came the Covid19 pandemic which threatens to take my husband sooner rather than later.

Life can be a bitch!!

So here I sit at my computer in my home office, winding down the work day of my full tie job ,while still in my pajama pants and slippers pondering what to do next.

I’ve been preparing for my semi-retirement for a while. Over the past few months I’ve been gathering all of the partial stories I’ve abandoned since my wedding and organized them into priorities, genres and tasks to get myself back into the publishing game. Note to self – having several genres is going to be a publishing challenge.

This Coronavirus pandemic has hastened me along because I’m going to have a lot of spare time in the days and weeks ahead. IF I don’t have something to occupy my over-active imagination, I’m going to be in real trouble.

It will be a little bit different this time. I’m not going to edit and publish other people’s work like I did when I was half of PaperBox Books. This time it’s all about me.

While doing my research, it’s been fun to see what changes have been made since I stopped publishing.

I’ve been an avid subscriber to the Amazon Kindle platform for a couple of years and was excited to see how they’ve simplified the process and made it so much easier to publish a book.

Having said that, from a reader’s perspective, there are a lot of great stories that I’ve stopped reading because the writing sucked. No matter how fascinating the characters or the plot, if I had to keep internally correcting the wording or grammar I’d get frustrated and find another book.

Amazon Kindle pays it’s authors per page read. It doesn’t matter if you have 100 people downloading your book, if no one can make it past the first 10 pages, you’re killing your revenue. Not only for that book but many readers won’t ever attempt to read anything by you again.

So as a writer, I’m taking all I’ve learned to heart. Who am I kidding, I was already super anal about grammar, spelling and story flow. Now I just have to get my butt in gear and finish a few of these stories and get them out there.

Hopefully posting this will help to keep me accountable, while the roller-coaster called life has its wicked way with me.

Keep safe out there!

Good-bye 2011, Hello 2012

This has been a good year. I’m glad because 2010, as a good friend of mine would say, ‘sucked ass’.

2011 started off with me dating a great guy, getting a new job, and uploading my second novel, Hiding in Plain Sight for sale. The year got better as royalties started coming in and my new job went from good, to great to fantastic. Sadly, the great guy faded to barely good, and then to me saying, “Yeah, this isn’t working out anymore.”

My trip home this year was for a happy reason. My middle brother got married to a great girl and I’m now a proud step-aunt to a couple of awesome kids. The wedding was sad without Dad, but our family has healed enough to celebrate despite our missing member.

My year ended with bobsledding down the Olympic track in Whistler, BC, reuniting with a childhood friend, chocolate, good friends, a flirtation with potential, and a bottle of apricot brandy.

2012 is starting off with a lot of promise.

My new job is not so new anymore but I still get up with a smile on my face and look forward to going into the office. PaperBox Books is thriving. Our reputation is growing and the submissions are flowing in steadily and I’m in the process of editing “Kiere” my new distopian, young adult novel. It should be ready for sale by the end of March, at least that’s my goal.

and there is that flirtation…

I got the job!

Four trips across Canada in eighteen months is hard for most budgets to handle. For an entrepreneur it can be even harder. Especially when two of those trips were so emotional, you couldn’t think straight… if at all.

So late last fall, I decided to close SNB Consulting as a full time business and keep it as a support for PaperBox Books and Fiction Therapy and go searching for gainful employment.

Let’s just say the job market, even in Vancouver, isn’t back to what it was and the word overqualified was used more than I was prepared to hear.

The awesome girls, Christina and Lauren, at Office Team have been working hard on my behalf. On Friday, they arranged another job interview for me. The company impressed me. Forward thinking, new technologies, family atmosphere, mostly long term employees etc. I was psyched.

When I left the interview, I was even more keen to work there. She warned me, they probably wouldn’t be making a decision for short lists until Tuesday.

Monday morning at 9:30am, I got the call requesting a 2nd interview.

Tuesday at 11:30, I was sitting in the CFO’s office.

Tuesday afternoon, I was in danger of wearing down my battery by checking my cell phone to make sure I hadn’t missed the call – even though it was on my desk, with the ringer turned up loud.

It was agony.

When the call came, it was better news than I could have expected. Instead of a temp-to-hire as originally indicated, they wanted me immediately as an employee and offered much better terms.

C’mon, do the happy dance with me.

So far 2011 is rockin’ – Thank You!

2011 Week 2

So here we are at another Sunday. It’s been a long week but it has flown by… a contradiction that makes perfect sense.

I spent much of Monday, going over my new novel, ‘Hiding in Plain Sight’. We’re due to publish it at the end of February so I’m focused on getting this edit finished so I can give my proofreaders a chance for another go over before I send the final copy to PaperBox Books.

I still have no idea what I’m going to do for the cover. I have flying purple lights, a restored Barracuda, spaceships and alien pirate-types in addition to my main five teenage characters.

My dating life seems to be steaming along in the right direction. This guy ithinks I’m as awesome as I think he is. A great start for sure.

…and I had a job interview on Friday. The company really impressed me with their dedication to keeping long term employees. For that reason alone, I want to work there! (plus the money is decent, the job description is what I want and the commute isn’t bad). Wish me luck.

Today I’m working more on my novel and waiting for Mom to come online so we can Skype.

It’s soooo close to finished I can taste it. This is officially the longest novel I’ve ever written coming in at over 76,000 words. I’m a happy girl.

Week One Pulse Check

So, here we are at the end of 2011’s week one. How is the new year treating you and more importantly, how are you treating it?

So far, I’ve managed to do a whack of stuff for PaperBox Books. I’ve created posters of the book covers and business cards to had out. I’ll have them uploaded and tested by the end of the day.

Any suggestions for other downloadable swag to help promote e-books?

I’ve sent out dozens of resumes for full time work. (2010 saw me cut back my consulting business to part time – I need a bigger travel budget.) Hopefully I hear back from some of them soon.

Oh, and I’ve finished reading Improv Wisdom: Don’t Prepare, Just Show Up, by Patricia Ryan Madson. It was good. My main take-aways were: 1) show appreciation for what you have now (don’t wait until later), 2) taking that first step is usually the hardest but you can’t move forward if you don’t try, 3) get off your butt and do it and give yourself permission to make mistakes along the way – that’s how you learn. Wise lessons!

As part of my ‘me-first’ strategy, I played hooky for an hour or so yesterday for a lunch date. Things seem to be looking up in that department… I’ll keep you posted.


How are you making out so far with your goals/resolutions for 2011?

Onward and Upward in 2011

I spent much of January 1st pondering my resolutions. Yes, I make resolutions every year and I do manage to keep most of them. Probably because I am constantly learning and improving and ‘resolutions’ just give me a chance to set yearly goals for things I’m already doing.

This year I have some events that are helping me by providing motivation and incentive.

For weight loss and finding a new job I have my brother’s wedding in July.

This will be my 4th trip home in 18 months, so the travel budget is looking pretty grim. Plus there is a really pretty bridemaid dress for me to wear… and I’d prefer to look pretty in it. My current body shape… well let’s just say, it has curves in all the wrong places. Must Fix!

I got a head start on the New Year by beginning to read, Managing Your Mind: The Mental Fitness Guide by Gillian Butler, PhD and Tony Hope, MD, on my flight back to Vancouver. So far it’s good. It reflects a lot of the advice I’ve given to others over the years. Hopefully, I’ll be the one taking it myself this time.

I’m also reading Improv Wisdom: Don’t Prepare, Just Show Up, by Patricia Ryan Madson, a Christmas gift from a friend who knew I’d like it (she’s so smart). I should have it finished by today and she’s right, I highly recommend it for folks like me who tend to plan more than they do. (another thing for me to fix)

I’ll also continue on trend and finish editing “Hiding in Plain Sight’ and have it published in February and then start working on my next one. I’d like to get two more of my novels edited this year, but I don’t think that’s realistic, so one is the goal and two is a bonus.

I’ve been concentrating on everyone else in 2010, so I’ve declared 2011 the year of ‘me-first’ (not to be confused with ‘me-only’) as an official reminder that I’m a people too.

Wish me luck!

Home for the Holidays

It’s been an odd trip home this year for Christmas. I’ve learned a few things.

1) I’m not as good with red-eye flights as I used to be. Even though I dozed for almost three hours on the plane from Vancouver to Toronto, I was exhausted when I got to Mom’s place. After a full turkey dinner and pleasant evening, I finally succumbed to the lure of my bed at 8:30pm (I feel no shame since I’d been awake almost 36 hours).

2) I’ve somehow managed to deal with Dad’s death despite being over 5000km from home. Except for a quick cry when I first saw Mom, it’s been okay. It has been a very healing trip home. I’ve had my moments, but they’ve been more affirming than distressing. For that I am thankful.

3) My friends on both coasts ROCK (Robin and Kevin too, even though they’re in the middle of the country). Not that this was a new lesson, I’ve known this as long as I’ve known them. But it’s something I don’t mind being reminded of… and I frequently am.

I hope everyone is having a peaceful holiday season either alone or with family and friends. The new year is just around the corner waiting for us to start it all over again.

There is Snow

Snow in my backyard

Snow in my backyard at 8am

I know the people in the rest of Canada are laughing but we have snow. Where the rest of the country is ready for snow by the time November hits, Vancouver isn’t.

In fact they issued a ‘heavy’ snowfall warning last night – expecting 5-10 cm.

My roommate (a fellow back-Easter) looked out side and asked, ” Is this what they were panicking about?”

I reminded him where he was. This is after all the ‘tropic’ of Canada. Despite hosting the Winter Olympics last year, Vancouver is not a snow-capable city. Luckily, we almost don’t have snow any more. It’s just past noon and the 2-3 inches we got last night is almost gone. (That almost never happens back East).

Snow gone

All, but the snow in the shadow of the house, is gone

It’s not really anyone’s fault. It’s not cost effective to have a huge fleet of snowplows waiting for the few inches we get most winters. Even by 8am this morning, the pavement was bare. No plows needed.

I’ve been here 8 years now and experienced only 2 snowy winters. One lasted 2 weeks and the other 4. The other 6 winters barely saw a flake hit the sidewalk without melting.

My only regret is that I didn’t bundle up to go outside and build a snowman while I could. Although, staying in my cozy jammies and sipping coffee was a good alternative.

back to work

The fun is over and it’s back to work.

It was a great weekend showing my new roommate around Vancouver. It took me back to ‘the old days’ when I had just arrived and was being shown around myself.

Sometimes I forget how amazing this city is.

But *sigh* now it’s time to get back into my schedule before my world explodes and several of those days I’ve been trying to take one at a time, attack all at once.

Tonight I’ve devoted to catching up on all those blogs and e-books I’ve downloaded with the best intentions of putting their knowledge into practice and grow my businesses to skyrocketing effects. I’m happy to say I made a huge dent thus far… although the skyrocketing doesn’t seem to be as easy or as quick as simply reading the information. (greases up the ol’ elbows for tomorrow).

Tomorrow will be mostly editing my new novel ‘Hiding in Plain Sight’. I seriously need to get it finished because it’s my turn to submit to our editing group next week and with that means I start editing ‘Kiere’. The Novel I’m hoping to have ready for publication before Christmas.

Lazy days of summer my a$$!

Roommate and Jeffery Deaver

Today was the day.

I got up on time and headed out to the airport to greet my old friend/new roommate.

I have to admit to getting a little emotional at seeing someone from back home in Vancouver.

I’m very thankful for the new Canada Line skytrain that links the YVR airport to the transit system. Having bussed out to the airport a few times with luggage, I can honestly say it’s a definite improvement.

I took along the Jeffery Deaver novel I bought myself at Christmas. I’d attempted to read it on my flight back to Vancouver after the holidays. I was only able to read a few pages when I had to put the book down. The writing was so horrid. Impossible, I tried to convince myself. This was a Lincoln Rhyme story, how could it be BAD?

Seriously, I love Jeffery Deaver. He’s one of my favourite authors… except for this book.

On the skytrain on my way out to meet the flight, I opened the first page and started again. I managed to get far enough into the story to be intrigued. I think I’ll be able to finish it this time but WOW, this one isn’t close to his usual standard. (I’ve even gone back to his other books and re-read parts, just to make sure it wasn’t my perception that had changed because off all the editing I’ve been doing lately.)

Nope, it’s just this one.. whew.

We got home without mishap and within 5 minutes of entering the house, my new roommate was on his computer, I was logged into mine and silence reigned supreme while we both caught up on emails, MSN and (in his case) texts.

Oh Yeah – this is going to be a beautiful roommate relationship 🙂