Social Media

I love Facebook, and I use my private account to keep in touch with family and friends. Now, I have an author page on Facebook, as well, where I can share news and views with readers and book reviewers.

I’ve long had a TWITTER account, but rarely used it; In fact, until very recently, I didn’t know how to properly tweet TO someone. (I was a member of MODPO, Modern and Contemporary American Poetry, a U of Penn MOOC, and I wanted to be able to respond to their videos.)

As the mother of a teen, I knew all about TIKTOK, but I only learned about BOOKTOK a month ago. And so I started to create videos, and I’m having a blast. After all, I am part of the MUCHMUSIC/MTV generation. I grooved to Michael Jackson’s THRILLER before the term social media was even born.

I’m still trying to navigate GOODREADS — I find its ‘GOOY’ a bit confusing. I’ll get there! It just may take me some time.

And I had never planned to use Instagram. But after seeing its possibilities, I’ve become a new fan.

My ‘Found Poem’ shared on Instagram.

Authors of today can connect to their readers much easier than they did forty years ago. As a reader, I love following my fellow authors on social media, laughing and crying with them. Now, as an author, I look forward to hearing from my readers, listening to their stories and answering their questions.

Social media can sorta rock.


Words of the Week

As I work on my second novel, cope with disillusionment, and choose to address some issues head-on, damn the torpedoes, these are the words that come to mind (One I should have added: Enlightened.)

TOKEN: adjective. 1) Done for the sake of appearances or as a symbolic gesture

EVASIVE: verb 1) avoiding the issue; not straightforward.

MARGINALIZATION: noun. 1) treatment of a person, group, or concept as insignificant or peripheral.

PLATITUDE: noun. 1) a remark or statement, especially one with a moral content, that has been used too often to be interesting or thoughtful.

UNDERHANDED: adjective 1) acting or done in a secret or dishonest way.

DIPLOMACY: noun. 1) the art of dealing with people in a sensitive and effective way.

CONSOLATION: noun 1) the comfort received by a person after a loss or disappointment.

EMPOWERMENT: noun. 1) the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights.

CANDOR: Noun. 1) the quality of being open and honest in expression; frankness.

PASSION: noun. 1)Ā a strong feeling or emotion

SELF-DETERMINATION: noun. 1) free choice of one’s own acts or states without external compulsion

INTEGRITY: noun. 1) the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.

VISION: noun. 2)the ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom.

ABOVEBOARD: adv. 1) in open sight; without tricks, concealment, or disguise.

INCLUSIVE: adj. 3) enclosing; embracing

TRUSTWORTHY: adj. 1)deserving of trust or confidence.

Dance the Night Away by Joel Tesch.

The Necessity of Downtime

I’ve long known that even when I’m relaxing, reading, people watching or just day dreaming, I’m still in a strange way ‘writing.’ It’s a paradox. The writer needs to sit down and transfer those thoughts, feelings and imaginings on to paper, but if that is all they are doing, if all they do is work, eat and sleep, their writing will eventually suffer.

(Published in ROOM, Canada’s oldest feminist literary journal)

I used to feel guilty about my ‘chill time.’ But I no longer do.

What I write is filtered through my life experiences. Interactions with less than savoury characters, small talk with charming personalities, the unplanned trip to a garden centre, a long rest on a bench beside a river, unexpected laughter at a funeral, sudden heartbreak at a wedding, a favourite chair, graffiti on a wall, a funny cat … all these things take hold and root, then they are ‘reborn’ in our novels.

(Frankie, telling me “Gimme some attention. Now.”)

I don’t mean that authors actually use their books as a means to immortalize nasty ex-lovers, frenemies or in-laws who criticized us for decades. NO! What I mean is that what and who we observe–little details, random acts of kindness, discourtesy or arrogance, the hero who insists ‘I just did what anyone would do in the same situation,’ the misogynist bigoted jerk who reamed out an employee in front of sympathetic customers, the quivering old woman visiting her daughter’s grave, still, after forty years, peacemakers and warmongers, the magnificent painted rocks left by an unnamed artist, the cobwebs in a corner, countless strengths and weaknesses, vices and virtues… all these things? They are the driving force behind works-in-progress. They light a fire that refuses to be extinguished.

Writers must dedicate time to the craft of writing and GIVE ‘ER. But the stroll through the garden, the movie watched with loved ones, book browsing and petting one’s cat and actually taking a bath instead of the normal two-minute shower and rereading a favourite mystery? These, too, are essential for the creative process. Stories need to be nurtured, given air and light. Play can be work, too, šŸ˜‰

(Close to home, a respite, a place to reflect….)


City Girl, Small Town Life

The Nith River and North America’s Largest Operating Waterwheel

I was born and raised in Montreal, and our family moved to Ontario when I was fifteen. I lived for many years in the Greater Toronto Area, before my husband and I chose to relocate to Kitchener, Ontario. We lived in the city for over twenty years, and when our daughter turned four, we chose to live a simpler, quieter life west of the city.

Bench beside the New Hamburg Public Library

How much of my novel’s setting is based on an actual town? Well, New Hamburg is not my fictional Bliss River, though the Nith does snake through the town, and I will say that during a time of crisis, my community rallies around those who need help and support. Our volunteer firefighters are dedicated, real life heroes. Our library is wonderful, and the librarians are hardworking and so kind.

I enjoy how close I feel to nature, here. Each spring, a heron returns. Each summer, spider webs cover our metal bridge. Fishing is a popular sport, and our gas station offers live bait. We have a bowling alley that has been in business for decades. A rubber duck race (yes, I said Rubber Duck race) is held on Canada Day. The Wilmot Horticultural Society takes wonderful care of our town’s gardens. In the autumn, there is a Fall Fair, and come December, an annual tree lighting ceremony.

Great Blue Heron

New Hamburg is situated between Kitchener and Stratford, so I am close to malls, theatres, and cultural events. I am so thankful that we live where we do. It’s a perfect place for a writer– inspiration rises like mist from the river, nurtures my spirit and warms my heart.

Thank you, New Hamburg.

So, What is Creativity?


Today, Iā€™m thinking about creativity.

As a former Early Childhood Educator who has studiedĀ child development andĀ curriculum, I recognize that creativity is a process, not a finished project. Creativity is about forming original ideas. Creativity gives full freedom to explore both environment and materials.Ā  Creativity, at its core, is about observation, independent thinking, innovation and imagination.

There is nothing more detrimentalĀ to children’s creative process than being shown a finished pieceĀ so that they can strive to mimic it, if not in totality, then in some way.Ā Ā You will paintĀ King Tut.Ā  You will ALL paint King Tut.

Currently, there are many so-called art classes for youngsters that are promoted as being creative when, in fact, the instructor hands the kids a stencil and selects the paint colours for them. Only the few finishing touches (like where the eyes are painted or if the cat has black fur or brown fur) somehow makes the piece unique and personal. Um. No.

Perhaps, the instructors feel that parents put more emphasis on the finished piece than on their children finding inspiration and developing self-realization. After all, the parents shelled out $100, $200 or $300, so perhaps the instructor feels compelled to show that those dollars produced what most would view as ā€œartā€Ā to ensure the student (customer) returns.

Thankfully, Iā€™ve found a course that will teach my daughter some techniques, but will not overshadow her creative process by telling her what she will create. She will be collaborating on a mural with other children her age. THEY will plan and design its layout and then work on completing the art. .

As someone who writes for children, it is imperative to me that my books encourage self-expression.Ā Ā  One of the books which Iā€™ve written has my main character taking art classes, and Iā€™ve been very careful to show that she isnā€™t told WHAT to paint.Ā  My protagonist slowly develops her skills and is free to produce the art that SHE sees all around her.

As a former teacher, as a mother, as a childrenā€™s book writer, I must nurture the creative process in young children the best that I can.

Am I opinionated about this?Ā  Absolutely.Ā  I say, colour outside the lines, paint the sky gold if you want to and if everyone else is painting King Tut, then go on, paint yourĀ platypus as big and bold as you want.

And let art come from the heART.