With a Kiss…

-Mother Natures Kiss Cover

 

Well, Friends, my new book, Mother Nature’s Kiss has hit the ether! That means you can order it online and if you do it today it will arrive by mid-December.

It is a rhyming, dreamy drift from a cottage window, out over the water and into outer space and back again. This unique bedtime story will hopefully become a new family favourite.

As the back cover says, it “… will unite us all with a wink and a kiss.”

-Mother Natures Kiss Back

Over the spring and summer, I have worked with my publisher, Tellwell Talent to bring this new book into the world. Yes, it took about nine months ;). It is finally ready and I can’t wait to share it with you.

I have blogged about the journey with previews of a few of the illustrations. You can see how long it takes to create a physical book from an idea! This was actually fast! 🙂

I have dedicated the book to my grandchildren.ded

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As I said in the book, they are my heroes and the leaders of tomorrow.

Thanks to all of you who have championed me along the way. You will find many of your names on my Acknowledgements page. (If I have forgotten anyone, I am sincerely sorry.) I feel like this book has a community already. Please spread the word to make the Mother Nature’s Kiss community bigger!

Order one for you wee ones in time for Christmas! Click HERE to go to Amazon.

Enjoy, enjoy!

With gratitude and lots of Mother Nature love to all! xoxo

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Star-Gazing

“Starlight, star bright, first star I see tonight. Wish I may wish I might, have this wish I wish tonight.”

How many of us have looked up and allowed a star to touch our dreams? Or maybe launch them? As children, we would look up and chant at the brightest early evening star, holding onto a sacred wish deep in our hearts.

For my part I know nothing with any certainty but the sight of the stars makes me dream.

  download-5Vincent Van Gogh

There wouldn’t be a sky full of stars if we were all meant to wish on the same one.

 images-2 Frances Clark

The stars call to all of us, not just the artistically gifted such as Vincent and Frances. They are there, day (you just can’t see them) and night, and they touch each and every one of us who live on this planet, uniting the world with a sense of wonder.

Imagine… If the stars should appear but one night every thousand years how man would marvel and stare.

images Ralph Waldo Emerson

They inspire us to live a better life, be a better person and to challenge ourselves to make a mark. With all that inspiration, they succeed in making us feel humble and very small.

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I’ve loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.     

Galileo Galilei

 

The power of stars is amazing. Just by looking at them, we are filled with a sense of awe. How many time in our life have we looked up and taken a deep breath, stopped what we were doing and breathed out, “Wow.” Some believe the stars have a healing power. I don’t know but I can say that one of my favourite things to do is sit and look out on a starry night and let my mind drift. It is so calming, it must be healthy for me!! 🙂

I have loved painting the stars for my latest book, Mother Nature’s Kiss. I was inspired by the circles in Vincent Van Gogh”s Starry Night, above. I wanted them to be loose and fun so I thought I’d share how I create a night sky.

 

While I am painting I listen to my favourite starry music:

So Long Lonesome, Explosions in the Sky play it here , Light the Night, Tracey Chattaway listen here and Glow, Lights and Motion yes, you’ll love it!

My dreamy music takes me away and lets me create, feel relaxed and happy as I paint and play as I go.

This was just a fun post to share and say hi. I hope you are having a great day and I wish for you a beautiful night. Check out the stars!

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xox

 

Mother Nature’s Kiss

An Interesting twinkle light has caught my sleepy eye tonight…

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I am working on a new book about falling asleep at the cottage on a warm summer night. It is going to be called Mother Nature’s Kiss and is based on a true event. One night, many years ago, I lay awake at my cottage trying to figure out what was the cause for a bright light that beckoned from way down the lake. I was sure it was never there before. The words for a poem came to me and stayed and then beckoned me to write this dreamy book.

I am using the view in the story based on the view from my cottage and I have to say, it’s pretty fun and special to be painting that beloved landscape again and again as the story progresses.

My Mom painted the painting on the right 55 years ago and it hangs in my bedroom. Looking out has always been calming and beautiful in any weather, any season and now in my memory.

The story goes on to wonder, through each verse, what the light could be and the musings get farther and farther away…

More souls in the universe and one turns to the sky…

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…Until we realize that it is…

Mother Nature winking as she blows a kiss good night…

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The process of designing a new book is always much harder for me than actually writing it. This poem has been with me for a long time and now I have to go through the process of working with a publisher and the parameters of creating the layouts and illustrations. All a fun and exciting creative challenge!

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And it can get messy at times!! 🙂

 

 

 

This poem was called Night Light until I added two more verses that described how Mother Nature’s kiss felt as well as how it looked. I shared it on Scriggler and was amazed at the positive response. To date, 2087 people have read it and loved it (with 100% approval rating!)

I will let you know when Mother Nature’s Kiss is published. Until then, enjoy the view of your life. xox

Connie and Lily’s Book Club

My book, Gifts of the Crysnix, is for people with big imaginations and big hearts. It is for people who feel compelled to root for a fallen champion and feel compassion for a lost soul. One who is in search for greater ideals and who is always willing to learn more about themself and be a better person can identify with the life-lessons that are gently persuaded from the pages.

When I wrote the book I targeted the message to young people at the brink of adulthood. I thought that reading a book with new heroes who are just trying to figure out the labyrinth of life would appeal to them. Although I have appreciated positive kudos from all ages, I had the immense pleasure of meeting six young ladies who I really wrote the book for. I was the guest author at a mother/daughter book club and got to meet my target audience up close and personal.

 

I have to admit, I was a little nervous because it was the first time I would have honest feedback from several people at once. You just never know how something like that will turn out! The girls were very organized with their questions and critiques. Exploring the origins of my inspiration and the depths of my research, we had a lively and spirited discussion. I was so impressed by the maturity of these 11-year-old girls and the intelligence of their questions and comments. All in all, the book passed with flying colours and I didn’t have to slink out of the room with my tail between my legs.

My young target audience is a group of people with literally the weight of the world on their shoulders. They are our leaders of tomorrow and they have a lot on their plates. I appreciate the steep learning curve they are on. The primary reason why I wrote the book is to remind the reader to fight the fear that holds them back, to advocate their moral compass and to realize that by just being your true self is enough to gain respect. I dreamed up the Crysnix to personify our inner voice. We all have to listen to it because somehow it knows the future and is always right.

If I can share a little wisdom to our future leaders, it is to trust our instincts, believe in ourselves and dig deep to create and live our best lives. These are heavy lessons and I used a beautiful world of fantasy and imagery to get the point across.

 

Thank you to Connie and Lily for an evening I will never forget. Thank you to all the girls and moms who were there that night. I absolutely loved the interaction! It was a real thrill for me to sign the books to the girls after they read it with them exclaiming to each other in the background about how much they loved it!

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What a treat for an author. For all those countless hours I spent conjuring up the story alone in front of my computer with only my imagination and hope for company, this night was a wish come true.

To see a video of me reading the Prologue set to the beautiful music of Thomas Newman, please click here

 

The View

On the back page of my book, my Bio mentions that I found my inspiration in the forest around my family island home. I have found a lot of inspiration in that forest and this summer I had the wonderful opportunity to go back and take a walk along the trails of my childhood.

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You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry, don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way. Walter Hagen

The occasion was the wedding of my son, whose marriage took place on an island on the lake where he grew up. We all grew up there, all six generations of my family, and it was the perfect excuse to go back.

The old “camp” has been renovated almost beyond recognition and the changes made were beautiful ones. However, the living room and a couple of bedrooms were the same and I inhaled deeply as I walked through the scents of six generations hidden in the fir walls. The verandah was gone. It was cool in every sense of the word. We would sit out there on a hot day shaded from the sun and on a warm evening, we could rock on ancient rocking chairs and look out at the view that seemed to go on forever. It was very cool, indeed.

We do not remember days, we remember moments. Cesare Pavese

The view is mesmerizing. Like a close friend, it was always there. I can’t count the times I would look out and feel a sense of calm overtake me. It wouldn’t matter if I was a small child crying from a bee sting, a hostess of many enjoying a large party, rocking a baby to sleep or quietly playing cards at night with my mother. Whenever I looked out, it was my happy place.

Walking through the camp, things definitely looked different but I would catch myself looking out at the view and the trees and the hill and be struck again and again at how little things had really changed. Fifty-five years separate these two pictures.

Life is very different for me now. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done when I walked down the hill for the last time. Now, years later, I walked up the hill again and marveled at the fortunes of time, how they twist us and turn our lives around. So excruciating at the time, we grit our teeth and endure only to find that life turns out for the better.

We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. E. M. Forster

The memory of the view will be with me forever. Although it pains me that I can’t see it readily, I have it in the picture of my mind always. It’s like the view we have of our life. We can pine for what we do not have or hold our head up and look out to the new opportunities that are around the next corner.

This week, I am incorporating a publishing company. Years ago, when I began writing for children, I was inspired by the beauty of the forest on Treaty Island. Why not name the company Treaty Island Publishing Ltd.? It’s appropriate, right?

Below, I have shared a couple of poems about the camp. Hold On To the Past was written while I still lived there every summer with my small family. Now, the words are bittersweet as I watched my daughter mother the sixth generation of our family. It is about holding on to the memories in our hearts.

I think Night Light will be a bedtime story very soon. I wrote it one night as I was looking out from my bed. It was the light of a new cabin across the lake belonging to friends I hadn’t met yet.

Night Light Lake view

Enjoy.

Night Light was recently showcased by Scriggler. You can read it here .

Hold On To the Past

 

A certain realm of comfort comes when living in this place.

Everywhere I turn, I can see my mother’s face.

Her decorating touches, nestled in the corners last

And I feel a reassurance when I

Hold on to the past.

 

My father’s vibrant voice still booms through the rafters.

I still can hear the residue of tinkling sibling laughter.

We were so young, all of us. The future seemed so vast.

Much too soon, all I could do was

Hold on to the past.

 

The memories in the pillows, bathtub, garden, pots and pans,

Mom’s favourite chair, playing gin at night — now I can see her hands

As I hold my cards or hold my child. Traditions have been cast.

I mother generation five as I

Hold on to the past.

 

The view, the hill, the summer breeze, the deer eating the flowers,

The bears, the storms — and more — create the Camp’s compelling powers.

The cool lake consumes me with a daily bracing blast,

When reaching deep into the green, I

Hold on to the past.

 

The feel of cool dew on my feet, or thigh-burn on the hill,

The sound of loons or smell of pine are what makes time stand still.

Gentle waves in rhythm tap a halyard on a mast.

Sensations of the ages help me

Hold on to the past.

 

A silent pang of sadness comes. I take it all in stride

And think of those who lived here once and swallow tears of pride.

We mark our time in summers as our lives slip by so fast

And measure our heights on the wall and

Hold on to the past.

 

Thanks for reading. Remember, life is all about the view. Cheers.

The Winnipeg Launch

Hello, Winnipeg! Welcome to my launch!

Lisa Book Launch  05McNally Robinson Booksellers … (cue dramatic music …) a mecca for any prairie author to give a reading and launch.

It is one of the most beautiful and HUGE independent bookstores that still remains in North America and is the largest in Canada. You can just feel the unique touches as you walk in – the children’s section built like a treehouse, complete with a full line of clothing and soft toys, the fabulous Prairie Ink Restaurant and the photos celebrating hometown authors adorning the walls like a frieze of accolades. This is a special place and I was so honoured to have my launch there recently.

Thank goodness it wasn’t a scene from Thomas Wolfe’s You Can’t Go Home Again! That expression was so false when I looked out at the many faces of the people who took time out of a beautiful summer evening to attend my launch.

Family, friends from my school days and friends of my parents, dear friends I can never see enough of and old friends I haven’t seen in years, all came to support me. I can’t thank them enough for their love and “being there” for me.

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My dear friend, Patty Christie introduced me. To give you the level of the bar of the people there, she came and stood at the podium to introduce me after a hip replacement two weeks before! Man, I have good friends!

 

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My best friend from high school, Ali Hanks came by and her husband, Bruce, (and by the way a huge shout out to all the husbands who attended!) took these pictures. Thanks so much, Bruce!

 

My readings were set to the music of Thomas Newman, lowland and Hans Zimmer. Quite an accompaniment! If you would like to hear the music again you can click here , here and here . The first selection was the Prologue and you can read along to the music for fun. It is very dreamy and dramatic and you just feel swept away into another world. I love reading to music and plan to create YouTube videos of me reading to these selections and more.

As I signed books and chatted with old friends, I felt so grateful for the reconnection to Winnipeg. True to the Crysnix magic, the whole evening’s success was a wish come true.

I just heard from John Toews, who is the Events Coordinator, that my book reached #1 that week! 

Here is a video I pulled together. Honestly, I need a resident high school kid to help me with this stuff! Just another reason why I miss my kids. Many thanks to my son, Lee for his amazing help through the evening and to him and his fiancee, Emily for putting me up and putting up with me! 🙂

A video of the evening and much love to all. xoxox

My New Fan

The students file into the library and I smile at the eager faces. I am at my old neighbourhood school and I marvel at how time has passed so quickly since my kids were attending Robert H. Smith School.

The familiar brick walls and corridors call out to my memories of when I was one of the moms who was a permanent fixture, helping out when and wherever I could just to get a glimpse of my kids during their school day.

This is from the letter I sent to the principal, to introduce myself:

I grew up in River Heights and brought up my family there. My three children went through Robert H. Smith in the ’80’s and I was very involved with the school. At the time, I had a video production company and I created a video about the building of the new school and the historic accolades of the original. It was a great fundraising project but also became a testament to the legacy of the presence of the school in the community.

Although I now live in Calgary, my son still lives in River Heights. When I visit him, I love how the memories flood in as I drive by the school. Memories of a very happy time in my life as I raised my young children as part of a loving and thriving community.

My book, “Gifts of the Crysnix”, is about a small community and the people trying to live with purpose. It is about choices and making the right ones to better their lives. Targeted to your middle-grade students, it promotes the message that they have tremendous power over their lives

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by trusting their instincts and believing in themselves. This is the gist of my presentation to them. I will talk about life choices, the science behind a wish and also the components of creating a good story. 

My presentation went well and I was thrilled to have the kids line up to buy the book. There were so many, I was struggling to come up with original notes to write alongside my signature!

As I was leaving, I realized I didn’t have a picture of the school. The children were all streaming out of the school, on their way home for the day. I asked one of the boys who bought my book if he would mind taking a picture of me. I asked his name and Daniel smiled and took this great picture of me. IMG_2001Thanks, Daniel!

I was loading my things into my car as Daniel and his mom came running up to me. Daniel’s mom asked if she could take a picture of Daniel and me. I was so touched.

After, as he was running back to his mom’s car, Daniel called out to me, “I’m your new fan!”

Wow, what a high point of the day! When I think of the years it took me to have the guts to publish this book, I wonder – honestly, why did it take me so long?

Three reasons for my gratitude. High, Low, Grateful

When I set out to write this, I thought it would be really hard to narrow my tremendous gratitude down to three things. It was a good challenge and made me dig a little deeper. I have spent the last couple of days getting my house ready for the holidays, working quietly with classic Christmas movies playing in the background. When you spend the day alone with your thoughts, digging through old family ornaments with the memories swirling, it is a perfect time to reflect.

  1. The first thing I am thankful for is what I call my perfect past. Oh, I am not saying I was perfect or that I had a great time over the years. Quite the opposite, in fact. I call it perfect because of everything I learned about myself through the journey. Sometimes it was fun and easy but often it was hard, sad and a struggle. Probably the most powerful gift I gave myself was to get over the feeling of being a victim. I feel as if I have finally grown up. 2

 

I cherish the memories of places I have been and the people I have spent time with and look forward to an exciting future watching my grandbabies grow.

 

 

  1. My health is a gift that I am very grateful for. My mother died when she was 43 and my dad died when he was 41. It is strange to think that I am the lucky one now, remembering them in their prime, when so many of my friends are dealing with the trials of aging parents. I lost two very dear friends this year and miss them terribly. I am thankful that my health is well and hope to live many more years. Now that I have finally begun to publish my books, I feel like I am just getting started!

3. My alone time is precious and I am grateful that I so enjoy walking in a forest or by the ocean, quietly watching the sunset or just sitting with a cup of tea.

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Often, all day long, my house is quiet and I am alone with my thoughts. When I am not working, I reflect on my loved ones, living and gone and miss them and appreciate them all.

 

 

 

This is a season when we welcome family time. After all the preparations, racing around finding just the right gifts, wrapping them all—and the bedlam of unwrapping them, decorating the house, shopping for the food, fighting traffic, making the big dinner, finally we all get to sit down together.

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In my family, we have a tradition at the table called “High, Low, Grateful”. We all take our turn telling about the high and low points of the day, and what we are grateful for at that moment. It is wonderful how the world stops and we focus on each other. It is also awesome what comes out of the mouths of babes.

 

 

 

This holiday season, please take a moment to pause and list your “High, Low, Grateful”, either to yourself or to the loved ones around your Christmas dinner table. There are no rules except you have to be honest. It’s ok to acknowledge the good with the bad. That’s what life is.

So, to paraphrase three things I am grateful for:

  1. My perfect past that has taught me the tough lessons that have made me the strong and happy woman I am today.
  2. My health that allows me to race into my future, embracing all that I want to achieve.
  3. My gentle solitude that allows me to appreciate my family and friends through missing them.

My very best wishes to you for a wonderful holiday.