Bye! Off On An Almost-Adventure

My dad and his brother.
Almost ready for their first adventure.
 My dad was the type of guy who almost did a lot of things.  That guy lived his stories and could even make an adventure out of dialing the wrong number. How he told it, he almost hung up and then decided she sounded nice so really, he almost never dialed the right number for a few months. Yeah. They ended up married. That was Dad.

He taught me that every adventure begins when you almost do what is expected of you but end up doing something brave and crazy instead. He was almost a lot of things, and every story started with a gleam in his eye and the phrase, "I almost did that." Yup. He was almost rich off a goldmine. He was almost a policeman, a priest and a few other so-not-my-dad things. Each one was a funny story that kept us chuckling. But honestly, he was fearless, or rather, he swallowed his fear, because he taught me that fear is always there, the trick is to think about what you almost lost, not about what you're doing. Make sense? It doesn't have to if it works. 

Don't take my word for it. Try it. When you find yourself stuck in a rut, doing what everyone expects of you, just stop and do the opposite. Open the backdoor. Take the path less travelled, the hard route. Marry your wrong number. I mean really. Who does that? 

And so... (eating my own advice) fearlessly, I am going on an almost-adventure. Adventures can be fun and a little scary, but with an almost-adventure, it'll take courage. When I'm ready to turn right, I'll stop myself and go the way I wouldn't normally. I'll try to make him proud and almost do as much as I can. (You follow that? It's okay, took me 35 years to get it.) I've got my poncho packed, my snowsuit, my bathing suit, and a few necessities, and I'm off with no idea what to expect. I won't have access to the Internet for awhile. (I can't imagine the horror and will tell you how traumatized I am when I return to the real world.)

I'll catch up with you all in March! That sounds so far, I'll miss everyone, but I should come back with some interesting almost-stories, no?

Have you ever almost done something expected of you but lived an exciting adventure by not doing it?

National Family Literacy Day

La journée nationale de l'aphabétisation familiale!

Our stack of books has changed dramatically this year. My son picks books based on the cover, my daughter looks for titles that speak to her. I seem to pick them on how well I know the author, agent, or publisher. Hmmm. Not always the best strategies. Yet, these books have led to interesting debates during our nightly reading sessions.

One thing hasn’t changed. It's still wonderful to read with my children. It's our time, when nothing else matters. I wouldn't give it up for anything, even if it is evolving from snuggle sessions to exciting debates. It’s still magical.

It was gradual with my daughter. The odd novel was in the mix... then she wanted to read it to me, and now she reads to her brother. Yeah, he’s spoiled. He gets a story from her, one from Dad, and a few from me; one in English and one in French, every night. Now he’s starting to read to me too. Why not? He loves it. We love it. During these reads, my daughter hovers nearby in case she finds something to add. She usually does.

My children get what it takes to write a book, because they see me do it, everyday. Maybe that’s why they appreciate them so much, hard to say. They were fantastic beta readers for I Whisper Alone last summer. They know how books work and have interesting feedback. My daughter is old enough to understand voice, plots, and all that magical stuff. We have in-depth conversations about what she’s read, or not read. Why do some books not make the cut? Ask your children. It’s interesting to learn what turns them off a book or even better, what keeps them hooked!

January 27th is National Family Literacy Day, and I'm using this day to reflect on what reading as a family has brought us. It has made me a better mother and writer. It has given them a love for the written word and its craft. Best of all, it’s brought us together in a world where it is so easy to fall apart.

Maybe this year, I’ll write a story with my children. Zombies eating magical princesses with girlie names aside— that might be fun.
Can't wait.

For more great ideas about Family Literacy Day, visit ABC Life Literacy’s website at

Taking a Healing Day

No. Not a sick day. Today I took a healing day. A day that was all about... fun.

This morning, in three hours, I wrote 6k. It's not unusual for me to go on writing binges. I do this a fair bit. Probably too often. I'm not even sure if that's the most I've ever written in a morning. Probably not, I don't normally keep track. Why did I today? It surprised me. I had other plans for my day and I had to really justify not accomplishing them. I think 6k is acceptable. I can live with that because it was healing and led to the rest of my awesome day.

The shock lies in the what I wrote so feverishly. No. Not a fantasy. Not a sci-fi or a short story. Not even an article for the paper. I wrote about nothing. Just random things that came together to make what will hopefully be my second non-fiction book. So far, it's not as funny as the first, but it's already got a special place in my heart. It's honest, it's real, and it's me. Pretty cool.

Normally, for me, non-fiction takes an outline, a proposal of what should be said so that it all comes out in an orderly fashion. Apparently not anymore. I wrote it like I write my fiction and it was amazing to have that type of freedom with my ideas. I imagined a conversation with a friend and just vomited it all out in whatever language the words came to me. I'll clean it up later. That is the title of the book after all.

I started to outline. I really did. I put three major headings on my blank page, then I listed a couple chapter titles for each one. And then! I was off. (maybe that is an outline?)

Who the heck knows what I said, but I felt like a genius on crack. Man. I bet it's pure crap, but I wrote 6,000 words today and it felt great to get them off my chest. It was nice to break up the routine of editing my three final drafts. This morning I actually wrote a new idea that was brilliantly me.

But, that's not all I did today. Nope. I did a crit in the afternoon for a friend. Helping others, helps me. This has always been the case. It felt nice to be useful. I played a board game with my kids. Never will there be a day where that isn't healing. My kids are great fun. I visited with a dear friend, had wine and some wii dancing. And! I went to a party in the evening and mingled, listened to stories, caught up with old friends, and relaxed. Now, I think I'll head down and watch a late night movie all snuggled with the big guy. Yup. Perfect.

Ah. Nice to be back.

Has your writing ever surprised you like this? Just out of the blue you have something new to say that helps you heal? What do you do on your healing days? 

Celebrating a Year!

Happy Blogoversary to Life's like that! *insert cheers of shock and excitement here, maybe a few oooohs and ahhhs too*

Oh my. I did it. There were moments where I had my doubts I'd survive a year out here. For those of you who don't know how much can happen in 365 days, you've never followed a blog.

I survived a crusade. I sent my blog to hell, brought it back, and showed others how to do so. I interviewed some impressive (and some insane) writers- yeah you know who you are. I met great writers, agents, publishers, crit partners, won all sorts of cool things including an honorable mention or two, and made real friends- yeah you know who you are. Most importantly, I learnt what BTW and LMAO mean. (my sister got a kick out of it each time I texted her in a panic with a new set of oddly used letters. Thanks sis for your patience with me.)

And that's just my blogging world. The real world was still spinning around me making me dizzy. Yikes eh?

The odds of me surviving this year without my family, blogging buddies, and readers encouraging me would have been zip. So!I'm celebrating by giving out an award to the first 20 still active bloggers who left comments on my blog.
Thanks Richard!!!
Thanks Elizabeth!!!

I've been honored with the "Great Comments Award" twice! By RICHARD HUGHES from Writing and Living by Richard Hughes and by Elizabeth Varadan's Fourth Wish.

Richard was my first real blogging buddy. We grew together. We learnt together. And I'm glad we found each other because it can be a scary world to face alone. He leaves many Great Comments which I look forward to each week. So often I hear that if you just be yourself, if you support others, and if you have something to say that is honest and genuine, that you will go far out here. Richard is that blogger. His site is not only impressive, it's my other home. I love to sit and chat with Richard. So thanks for the great award and for sharing my journey with me this year.

Elizabeth and I have been commenting back and forth since last March. March! I had to look it up, I knew it'd been a long time but geesh. No wonder it feels like I learnt I lot from her. I did. Elizabeth's site is very warm and inviting, and she brings that with her in all her comments. She teaches, she shares, and she's just all around fun. She's great at feeding my addictions; always has a book suggestion or is just a plain living example of what it takes to be a writer-- heart and soul, dedication and love, passion and motivation, friends and family. I hang out at her place a fair amount too. So thanks for the great award, makes me feel a little less stalker and a little more friend. Thanks for sharing the magic with me this year.

As for all you other commenters... Love Love Love to have you stop by. Everyone teaches me something new, makes me smile, and brings my words to life in a new way. Yes. I am just a fool blogging to myself without you!

As for all you readers who don't leave comments-- hugs, and thanks for reading me. It leaves me with a warm feeling inside to know you stopped by.

So these are the gems who came to visit me and left comments on my blog, back when I had zero followers. They all left great comments that led to wonderful debates, conversations, and friendships!

1- PK HREZO                                   2-Liz Arroyo from Chandara Writes   
3-Regina from Unsettled                      4-Beth from My Characters Lives
5-The Happy Whisk                            6-J.L. Campbell from The Character Depot
7-Betsy from Write Brain Mommy       8-Jayne Ferst from a Novice Novelist
9-Lynnette Labelle                              10-Donna Hosie from Musings of a Penniless Writer
11-Writing in a Nut Shell                     12-Catherine Awinn from the Writing Room
13-Lydia Shart from the Sharp Angle   14-Laurel from Unhinged... Seriously
15-DB Symith                                      16-Shelli from Market My Words
17-HowLynn Time                              18-Krista from Mother, Write. (Repeat.)
19-Carolyn from Serendipity                20-Lindz from Rapturous Randomocity

Now to accept this award one just needs to pass it on to another 20 bloggers whose comments you just love!

Oh. I am so not done.
Next, I was honored with two awards (last August, sorry for the delay, life was spinning around me!) from a dear friend over at Letters from Valentina Hepburn. Valentina's site is a great place to visit when you just need an escape. Her letters took me away on a little journey into the imagination. I never knew where. Oh my. I never knew where I'd end up. Once we were in some guy's place stealing his girlfriend's knicker's-- please don't ask why. hehe. Plus, she always knows just what to say to cheer me up when life makes me dizzy.

And so, I am passing them on to seven  eight (I couldn't cut it back) bloggers who are both versatile and sweet. All they need to do is thank me, and pass them on to 7 other deserving bloggers. Don't forget to share 7 things about yourself!!
Check them out, you'll see why I chose them and couldn't leave one out. Not one!! Wonderful sites! 
1. Duta from places with character                2. Cherie from Ready Write Go
3. Trisha from Words + Stuff                        4. Autumn Shelley at Conspiracy Cafe
5-Susan Kane from the Contemplative Cat   6-Erin Kane Spock from Hold on to Your Bloomers
7-Victoria Lindstrom from Writ of Whimsy   8-Teresa Cypher from dreamers, lovers and star voyagers

And here are the 7 fascinating things I learnt this year while blogging:
1- That it's one step from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Yahoo groups, GoogleTalk, Skype, and Goodreads. What did I miss? Any other crap I need to sign into? Bring it on.

2- Blogging is really just writing in public. For a closet addict like me, not so easy to do. But! I am still here. A year later I've posted 63 times, and I now submit to several newspapers! I did it. Thank you for giving me the courage!

3- That every day I learn something amazing. 

4- That a writer is never alone. This one is really three things but they interlink;
        -Not only are other writing addicts out there-- some are worse than me. Sharing with them kept me motivated.
        -My wonderful family doesn't get why I write daily (heck, neither do I), yet they support me. They help me make time to write when there is none. They turn me back to the computer when I announce that I am done and they read with me so I have someone to talk with about my passion.
        -A writer needs only one other thing-- readers. This is the magic.

5- That I have more stories to tell than time to tell them. Does that even make sense? Probably not, but you get it, right? Thought so.

6- That I know very strange things. Like how to kill an immortal, and how to make shirts with my characters on them to motivate me when I feel like quitting. (no wonder I have no time, eh?)

7-I have no idea what "no" means anymore. Staring at the pile of rejections I got this year, really, I should have an idea what "no" means. I should. But! I don't. Do you?

7 1/4- I can do whatever I want on my blog, it's mine. Get your own and send me the link.
7 1/2 -(yes 1/2- see number 7 1/4 if this confuses you.) By the way, BTW does not mean Bitch That Writes. Sorry if I confused a few people with that one.

Oh my. What did you learn this year that stuck with you?
Happy New Year!

Bring it on
thanks for not only sharing the magic with me
but making it happen.