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 Hungry​ Monster Interview

If you think that writing  a book is daunting, it’s only half of the work once you jump into the ocean of publicity and promotional options. Authors who love to write and bring their stories to the masses have to be adept at having a marketing brain as well as being a wordsmith. That is why it is such a treat to have help from the interviews and reviews.

My last post was about the Hungry Monster Review, which I really appreciated. Now I have the honour to share the interview from Hungry Monster. I can’t express enough how exciting it is to interact with those who make it their passion to promote authors like me.

Thanks again to Thomas Anderson for his time and kind insights.

Please read the interview here.

Cheers to all and have a great day!

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?

Old School

With a couple of weeks to go before school lets out for the summer, the students at Balmoral Hall School must have thought I was crazy when I exclaimed how GREAT it was to be back!IMG_2012

But, really, it was.

I began in Kindergarten and left in Grade 7. The memories are rich and textured and, although the school has changed quite a bit with brilliant new wings and lofty ceilings,

 

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the exterior of the old school is still there and the memories are visceral as I remember how it felt to push out the heavy doors and run down the stairs to the playground.

 

 

 

 

IMG_2007 I was struck by the feeling of belonging as I noticed the beautiful, bronze plaque from a capital campaign years ago, and chuckled at my name engraved on it. I felt proud of the connection

 

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My presentation in the beautiful Sifton Theatre Auditorium went off without a hitch as I reminded the girls to believe in themselves and to fight the fear that holds them back from living their best lives.

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After, I really enjoyed meeting the girls and hearing their DSC00675.JPGdreams of being a writer. There was zero doubt in my mind they would go places and have a significant impact on the world.

DSC00674It was an honour to put a note in a beautiful writing journal.

 

 

 

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I stood under the pictures of the Head Mistresses who were there so many years ago with me. There have been five more Heads of School since and I felt like I entered a time warp.

There is nothing left of the old senior school as I signed in at the new entrance. Complete with a buzz-in system and guard at the front, I wondered, what has the world has come to? as I clipped on my visitor tag.

 

Gone are the days when I used my crutches with my broken leg in Grade 1 and won at “Mother, My I?” under the glass passage. The old swing sets are gone and with them the original and all engrossing pastime of swing tag. The kilts are still there, though, and the prefects and Closing Exercises, and I am convinced the facilities, ethics and dedication toward our leaders of tomorrow are new and improved.

As I walked to my car, I glanced at the old Junior School. Still the tindlestone brick and the many windows we all looked out of, almost every day of our formative years. I paused and looked at one window in particular and a hilarious memory flooded in of when a schoolmate climbed out of it, causing quite a stir as she inched along the outside of the building and climbed in the next one. I remember telling my mom about it and she just laughed along with me. She was definitely NOT old school.

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Many thanks to Balmoral Hall for the warm welcome and the warmest of new memories. There is something definitely intriguing about going back … to the place of your foundation and the seat of your ideals and values and friendships and aspirations … to your old school.

Reviews with a personal touch.

I knew that when I finally published my book, Gifts of the Crysnix, I would be “putting myself out there”, leaving myself open to criticism (both good and bad) and becoming vulnerable to sharing my life with the masses. Being a very private person, I think that is the reason it took me so long to pull the trigger, so to speak.

I took so many years, in fact, I began to ask myself if I would live to regret not publishing it at all? My answer was, YES, and so I steeled myself as I went about answering the promotional questions my publicist put to me with honesty, candor, and the silent hope that I was doing the right thing. Although it went against my core of being happy to stay under the radar, I realised that I would never be able to reach my potential readers and share my message if I didn’t just suck it up and go for it.

What I wasn’t prepared for was the tremendous, positive response and support I have received from friends, strangers and (wow?!) the reviewers. Below are a couple of reviews I have received recently.

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I am so touched that someone took the time to snap a couple of pictures of my book in their home – on a table and in the hands of a reader who is my target audience. My heart swelled to see that picture! My book … there in the hands of a young woman comfortably settling in for a good read …

Thank you so much to the gals at GROOVINMOMS for the time and effort they put into the review.

Here it is:

GROOVINMOMS review

 

The second review reveals some personal points from my past that are tender issues. After I lost both of my parents, I grew into womanhood feeling that no one had my back. I had to figure out life on my own. The life lessons I learned are some of the ones I wrote the book around. They are the reason why I wrote it. If I can help a young person figure out life a little by reading Gifts of the Crysnix, then I will have had their back. It means everything to me.

Many thanks to the people at Mystic Living Today, an e-zine about our mystic life. They wrote a very sensitive article about my book and me.

Have a look:

The Gift of Life Lessons

Press Releases -“Gifts” are flying out to the world!

Wow! I just googled myself and there were 4+ pages about me! Crazy! I guess my publicists are doing a good job. I was kind of tickled to see, not only my books offered to countries all over the globe, but also the press releases starting to swarm like butterflies out to the world.

Have a look at a couple:

Broadway News

prweb release

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Butterflies are very cool and they exemplify the reward of setting your sights on a goal and the merits of tenacity to get there. I am writing a book about their journey through life that takes them great distances. I hope that my books will travel as far and more.

The life lessons offered in Gifts of the Crysnix are for every age and every culture. They take us on a ride where we see the metamorphosis from being self-centered to self-giving, from being shallow to magnanimous, from feeling insecure to feelings of tremendous self-worth. I may not know how to speak all the languages that my book is now offered in, but the message is universal.

Gifts of the Crysnix coverAs my novel is read, I hope people will come to understand that as we mature, everyone struggles with the same issues. It doesn’t matter where we are, what country or culture. I wrote the story to be set in a small seaside town that could be in any country in the world.

Let us all remember to believe in ourselves, to wish for the right things and live our best lives. Let us remember the lessons of compassion and selflessness, and how it feels good to live by a moral code of ethics. And let us know the strength that comes from humility and the power of forgiveness.

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It is the message I wish for humanity.

 

For more information about the magic of the Monarch Butterfly watch:

Flight of the Butterflies trailer

The Calgary Book Launch

 

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This week I had my first Calgary launch party at Self Connection Books. The store has a private event room and the facilities to webcast so I was able to connect with my readers in person and through the web. It was so cool to know I was reading to people across the United States and Canada.

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Of course, I made too much food but I had to provide a feast! I printed out excerpts from a couple of feasts from the book and displayed them on the tables along with the food.

 

 

And who could forget the purple frosted sparkly cupcakes and the shortbread cookies with the fancy purple “C” from the cover? Ok, I get a little crazy when there is a chance to decorate with icing as my friends and family can attest …

 

The day was really fun and, as always, it is such a treat for me to share bits and pieces from the book. For my reading, I chose the scene where Princess Amethyst is interpreting the Laws of Light in her Volare Solus ceremony.

As I began, Princess Amethyst took the podium and cleared her throat… I smiled to myself and read on.

The reading began on page 180 and included the first five Laws:

‘know thyself’

‘be a vessel of harmony’

‘live in a state of gratitude’

‘leave the world in a better state’

‘never forget our purpose’

During the Volare Solus, which is a coming of age ceremony, the young adult Crysnix demonstrates his or her maturity by not only reciting all the Laws, but offering a personal interpretation of them.

How would you explain them apply them to your life?

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Thanks so much to everyone who joined us in person and through the webcast. I really appreciate your ongoing support.

Ten Points From “Gifts of the Crysnix”

  1. Fight the fear that holds you back.
  2. Find strength in humility.
  3. The power of forgiveness can set you free.
  4. Live by the Laws of Light to reveal the best version of yourself.
  5. Live your best life by working through your goals and  your dreams will be fulfilled.
  6. Can the power of a wish change your life? Greet each day as if it has already happened.
  7. Trust yourself; the universe is waiting to deliver if you just ask.
  8. If thoughts have mass, wishes have power. Quantum physics makes them come true.
  9. Listen to your inner voice. It is trying to make you believe.
  10. Gratitude can save your life.

As I work at the final stages of pulling together my publicity campaign, I am thrilled at the prospect of sharing myself through my book. I have to be careful not to give too much of myself away and spread myself too thin. Like the locket in the story, we can keep a talisman close to our hearts to help us remember to be kind to ourselves.

It can be anything to trigger the reminder. A piece of jewellery, a favourite piece of clothing or even a scented cream. Through the day, it’s a good thing to stop and take a moment to honour our health, our gifts and our lives.

Queen Rose paused and slowly presented her daughter with a finely tooled, heart-shaped locket held on a delicate necklace of shimmering pearls and crystals. Princess Amethyst tenderly opened it to find bits of purple, pink and white crystals sparkling inside. “This is a piece of yourself so you do not give it all away,” her mother said. Excerpt from Gifts of the Crysnix

Queen Rose paused and slowly presented her daughter with a finely tooled, heart-shaped locket held on a delicate necklace of shimmering pearls and crystals. Princess Amethyst tenderly opened it to find bits of purple, pink and white crystals sparkling inside.
“This is a piece of yourself so you do not give it all away,” her mother said.
Excerpt from Gifts of the Crysnix