"Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing."

- Benjamin Franklin

A day in the life of mom

Get up. Get yourself up because if you roll over it will be far more painful to get up later and you won’t have gotten a work-out in. Get up. Whatever you do, remember the passport forms today.

Drive. Push it push it, spin, spin, spin. Do you want to waste away in your seventies? Look flabby in that “hot” one-piecer you just picked up? Then push it.

Drive home. Have you sent those thank you cards? I wonder how my friends are. How long has it been since I talked to Jen? Later.

Coffee, coffee, thank the Good Lord for coffee.

Kids in the house. Warm, sleepy, hugs. Delicious.

“Sorry, no yogurt today.”

“I know you eat yogurt each and every day, but there’s none today, and there’s no toast either. There are some perfectly good Cheerios. Yes I am a failure as a mother, thank you very much.”

Laundry, laundry, there’s always laundry.

Exactly six more minutes until they need to be in school. If there’s no food in their stomachs by then I’m a bad mother.

“EAT!!!! I DON’T CARE, PUDDING, CHICKEN LEGS, JUST GET SOME FOOD IN!” Was that the demon me?

See more on The Huffington Post

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Is Twitter Like Online Therapy for Teens?

Twitter can be noisy. Silly. Crude. Mundane. Commercial. Self-promoting. Therapeutic. Wait, what was that last one?

I won’t lie, the reason I got into Twitter had to do with the second-last descriptor. When I set my sights on publishing a novel for teen girls, I thought I should get to know my audience better. I had to build my ‘author platform’ and become capable of navigating the social media world. Although in the beginning I felt slightly creepy about doing it, I began to follow young adults, and as general Twitter courtesy dictates, many followed me back.

Most of what I’ve seen is light, or funny, or intended to get attention. But the surprising part of this Twitter experience for me has been that more often than you’d think, sandwiched between tweets like:

“Don’t ever try to drink nutella it doesn’t work”

Or

“Drop my phone on my face way too often”

I find tweets like these (legit, random, and from distinct people):

“You could have just said you hated me instead of having me figure it out on my own.”

“You’re ashamed of me”

I’m not sure why I’m shocked when I see them. I guess I come from a family and generation that doesn’t share so openly. At first I found myself wondering what good it would do to share sensitive thoughts with hundreds or even thousands of strangers.

“All I ever wanted to do was make you proud”

“I hate crying myself to sleep, it’s the worst. I just wanna be happy ☹”

Do they realize that these tweets won’t go away? That they might read them later and remember? Relive?

“I know I said I would quit but I was upset and really needed a few hits.”

“I don’t think me and mums relationship will survive this operation”

“Dad most people say hi when I walk through the door but thanks for that”

“I hate everything about myself”

Some get reactions and replies. Validation. Support.

“I wish I can go a day without worrying about how fat I feel or how ugly I think I am.”
5 retweets (followers who have passed the tweet to their own followers’ timelines, likely in agreement)
Response: “That makes two of us”
Response: “1 you’re not fat, 2 you’re beautiful & 3 I love you the way that u are!”

“Hate people who let you down”
7 retweets, 1 favorite (star of approval)
Response: “What’s up mate”

Read more on The Huffington Post

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It’s the end of the world as we know it

I’m reading the most fantastic book. The surprising thing is, I may have read it before, and there’s a good chance you’ve read it too. It’s called…

Farneheit_451

 

I was looking for a new YA book as usual, so I started googling “top YA books,” or some such thing and this one always came out near the top. I thought I had read it as required reading in high school, but in reading it now I can’t say I remember much, if any of it, which makes me think I never read it in the first place. Let’s let me believe that.

Reading it now has brought me many “aha” moments, which should be the goal of any truly great book. In case you’re one of the few who haven’t read it, I’ll give you a teensy plot teaser. It’s the dystopian (pessimistic futuristic…) story of a fireman whose job it is to set fires rather than put them out. And the fires burn books. In this future, people have figured out that it’s rather painful to think, and so ever so slowly, society has weaned itself of thoughts that may lead to conflict or challenge, which is why books are seen as rather problematic. The main character, Guy Montag, is happily running around torching books when he meets a teen girl who thinks and speaks differently. Poetically. With questions. The light goes on for Guy, and it looks like he has some thinking to do.

I admire insightful writers, enough that I’m almost giddy when I find one. This book was first published in 1951, but Ray Bradbury describes the future I live every day. How  there are no porches, because people don’t talk anymore (okay, so there are still porches, but they don’t get used a whole lot). How TV is absorbing everyone, but it’s not saying anything. How when people aren’t watching TV they have “seashells,” in their ears, spouting noise that takes them away from interacting. How many people are almost entirely absorbed with nothings.

Do you ever go to a party, and all the chit chat is about stuff? Things someone has bought, or things someone wants. TV shows. I remember I had one friend who used to describe interactions he’d had with customer service people in great detail. Of course I’m far from innocent – everyone gets distracted with the little things for much of every day and wants to chat about it. But whenever I finish a day engrossed in interactions like this, I feel like there’s something missing. I wonder what’s wrong with me. And then I call a close friend who doesn’t talk like that, and I’m reminded not to despair. This book also reminded me that I’m not the one with the problem.

Please. Care about something. Challenge people, and don’t be shy to ask embarrassing questions so that you can challenge from a place of understanding. Search for meaning, and don’t be lazy about your minutes and seconds on this planet. Our time is short, and we need to make the most of it.  Work tirelessly to prevent dystopia.

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Interview with Sariah Wilson, author of “The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back”

Hey, you know what one of the cool things is about being alive today? You can get in touch with authors with a simple little message ping!

I was hunting around Amazon for cute YA romantic comedies since I had just written a cute YA romantic comedy – needed to get to know my peeps better – when I stumbled across Sariah Wilson’s book, “The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back.”

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Her fans loved the book, which gave me faith that vampires and apocalypses hadn’t unseated the smiles in every reader’s heart. I reached out to Sariah, which eventually led to the interview below. Enjoy!

(more…)

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Trudging up the toboggan hill

Ever start something new and feel so daunted by it you almost give up? That feeling happens to me a lot. Although I’m not a doom and gloom pessimist all the time, it’s easy for me to see the un-bright future of everything. The voice of caution is loud for me. “Be careful!” “This is going to take a lot of work!” “Do you think you can really do it?” “What if you have to ditch your ambitions? What will people say?” “What if you jump into the future and find out it’s been a flop?”

Sometimes I feel like this guy

Thanks free-extras.com

Thanks free-extras.com

It even happens to me before I cook a big dinner. I think to myself, “Am I actually going to pull this off?” I worry that this guy won’t get what he’s looking for.

Thanks kthadani.com

Thanks kthadani.com

But two hours after I chop some things and pop them in the oven, everyone is full of food and compliments. In general, with perseverance, even things greater than cooking work themselves out. But that doesn’t stop me from feeling like this in the beginning

Thanks o.canada.com

Thanks o.canada.com

I have to tell myself I’ll be here in no time if I work at it

Thanks calgarysun.com

Thanks calgarysun.com

And shut down the voices that tell me I might be here

Thanks thespec.com

Thanks thespec.com

As a great person must have said at some point, Nothing ventured, nothing gained. And stop looking at that last picture. And check out my new YA romantic comedy.

 

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Coronation Street and Storytelling

I guess I admire storytellers. Shocker, eh? If you’re a writer, I would hope that’s a prerequisite, because you won’t get very good learnings from yourself. I’ve been a reader for my entire literate life, and if you have too, we could probably buy each other one of those giant bowl lattes and talk about books until the caffeine buzz would eventually make us forget about literature and investigate good landing ground for somersaults. Date time and place, that’s all I need, my friend.

But what we often forget about are stories from movies and TV. Yes, we love books, and those are our guilty pleasures, but when we’re too tired to do anything else, where can we be found? In front of the good ‘ol TV. And if it’s 7:30pm in our house, you’ll find us in front of Coronation Street.

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Before I met my husband I had never seen this show. But then we started hanging out, I became a regular visitor at his cottage, and we started being semi hung over on Sunday mornings. I soon discovered that hung over Sunday mornings are best spent on the couch in front of the TV, and when you’re up north and you only get one TV station, guess what’s on? Coronation Street. Phil was already aware of the characters because he has tons of British relatives who love it, and before I knew it, I was hooked.

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I was watching it again tonight, and I paused to marvel at what a lame show it actually is. Everyone who watches it knows that it’s lame. You can’t watch an episode that’s primarily about whether or not Chesney will get to keep his dog without knowing that this program is lame.

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But at the same time, fans will defend the show’s merits until they bad accent themselves hoarse. So I wondered tonight – what is it about this stupid show?

And do you know what it is? It’s the characters. When you have strong, believable characters, you can have lame story lines. Dry story lines.  Norris can contemplate whether or not to share a trailer with someone. Roy can fret about not being able to find good help in his sandwich shop. Because we love Norris and Roy, even though they’re both extremely annoying. And of course, there is plenty of baby mama love triangle drama at the same time with others on the show. But once you’re invested in the characters, the plot only needs brief twists to keep you going. And when the characters shift – actors quit, or whatever – you wonder if you’ll keep watching. But you do (though not quite enough that you hate to miss an episode). The writers do a good job of keeping you invested.

I hope I’ll keep you invested. In me, not in Coronation Street, although as I’ve mentioned, that’s good too.

Question – what characters in programs, movies, and books keep you tuning in?

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Girl Reinvented

Tabitha Mahony has always been that smart, polite, heavy girl who flies under everyone’s radar, until one day an unfortunate low rise jeans incident brings her the kind of publicity no one is looking for.

Rather than taking the challenge in stride, Tabitha begins to question the personality she has relied on for the past sixteen years. What has she gained from being who she is? She only has one crazy loudmouth friend, she has zero prospects in the guy department, she’s basically a parent to her mother and older pothead brother, and she feels miserable most of the time. She wonders what would happen if she suddenly decided to become someone entirely different. What would happen if you did? Would you ask out that crush? Confront that pretty little sour-faced girl in the tennis skirt? Get drunk? Jump out of a plane?

Yeah, so would she.

Follow the LOL exploits of Tabitha Mahony as she tests the limits of her new personality and stumbles her way into romance, all the while learning more about who she really is.

Click here to read the first two chapters! 

Buy Girl Reinvented on Amazon.com

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