Posted in writer, writiers

Welcome to Purgatorium

Purgatorium is coming!

Do you enjoy dark tales that will keep you up in the night? Coming November 2016, Purgatorium is an anthology of eleven dark works, by ten writers. 

A project started over a year ago by Connie Di Pietro, Tobin Elliott, Pat Flewwelling and Dale Long. Together, they formed ID Press.

Kevin Craig started The Purgatorio Diaries on his blog recently, where he asked each of us with stories in Purgatorium to answer a range of questions. Kevin’s blogs let you learn a little about each of the ten writers that make up Purgatorium.

I decided to do something a bit different. I asked each writer (and our writer duo) to tell our readers about their story in Purgatorium in ten words or less, and pick a photo that gave a visual insight into their story.

Like what you see? Purgatorium is being launched at Bookapalooza November 19th in Whitby, Ontario. Check out both Bookaplaooza and ID Press to learn more.

I hope you enjoy a peek into the works in Purgatorium, in alphabetical order by story title.


Blood Pies – Kate Arms

Pizza, drugs, or death. A delivery guy’s nightmare.

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You can follow Kate on her Facebook or learn more via her website.


Carousel Eyes – Yvonne Hess

A dark entity must have the woman who escaped him.

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Yvonne is anti social media- but she can find you.


Dubious Pickles – Kevin Craig

The curiosity of boys is far too overpowering to ignore.

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Kevin can be found on Facebook , his website or Twitter.


Fight or Flight – Tobin Elliott

Sometimes love is painful. Sometimes pain feels like love.

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Tobin can be found on his website or Twitter.


Ivy – Mel E. Cober

The Bad Voice makes a little girl do horrid things.

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Mel can be found on Facebook her website or Twitter.


Mule – Pat Flewwelling

Joshua’s worst day becomes his best – and last – day ever.

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Pat can be found on her Facebookher website or Twitter.


Nekomata – A.L. Tompkins

Trapped by a murderous ghost, two girls find an unlikely ally.

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Amanda is too busy saving the world to be on social media. (Or is that destroying the world?)


Pieces – Tobin Elliott & Robert E. Walton

Frankenstein can replace body parts, but when his mind goes…

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This dangerous duo can be found on their respective social media sites.


Terminal – Robert E. Walton

Time is nothing but a human construct.

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Robert can be found on Facebook.


Unstrung – Connie Di Pietro

Sometimes being friendly to the new neighbour comes with strings attached.

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Connie can be found on Facebook her website and Twitter.


Victim of Love – Samantha Banik

A fountain of youth camouflaged by dangers of unrequited love.

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 Samantha can be found on Twitter .


Purgatorium is launching at Bookaplaooza 2016. See you there!

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Posted in writer

Ontario Writers’ Conference 2015

Wayson Choy, our lunch speaker.
Wayson Choy, our lunch speaker.

My third year at the Ontario Writers Conference was this past weekend. I’m still worn out. So much learning, new ideas and fun crammed into just two days.

I attended the Festival of Authors Friday night. (Daytime Master classes were also offered, but I didn’t sign up this year). Actress Anna MacKay-Smith did a great job interviewing each of the authors. Rob Winger, Plum Johnson and Catherine Gildiner were each given a series of questions to answer, followed by a reading of their works. I purchased Gildiner’s book the next day at conference, from Blue Herron Books, the book seller for OWC. (and WCDR I might add- support your small town book stores!)

Saturday was the big event. Conference ran from 9am-almost 6pm. A full day for sure, but very rewarding. I thourougly enjoyed the two classes and one lecture I selected, as well as the other speakers. I’d say i took the most away from Andrew Borkowski’s Delicious Dialogue I could take more classes from him for sure. He’s entertaining, as well as incredibly informative. The other highlight for me was Wayson Choy’s lunch talk. I could listen to Wayson talk for hours, as i’m sure the rest of those attending would agree. I even got the privilege of talking to him at the festival Friday night. He’s incredibly approachable and easy to talk to.

Lunch followed, and it was the best I’ve had at a conference yet. My second workshop was Breaking and Entering, with Senior Editor Craig Pyette, followed by a lecture by Olga Filina of The Rights Factory. I took a ton of notes at both, that I can’t wait to put into practice.IMG_6943

All the learning is wonderful, but the best part about conference for me is getting to spend time with other writer friends. Some I get to see in real life only at the annual conference. The encouragement, the laughter, the congratulations when we accomplish a writing goal. These friends have made this journey all that much better. The best friends push you when you need it, and back off when you need that too. They also know who they are, without any mention of their names here. One is pictured here, but everyone knows Kevin Craig and I are great friends.

A dozen of us also went out for dinner after conference ended. What a loud, fun night! Can’t wait to do it again.

Two crazy writers.
Two crazy writers at OWC.
Posted in writer

National Scrabble Day is Today

Today is National Scrabble Day!

The creator of National Scrabble Day is unknown, but it’s celebrated annually on its creator’s birthday, April 13th. An unemployed artist created the classic game of Scrabble in 1931. Alfred Mosher Butts originally called the game Lexiko, Criss-Cross Words, and finally Scrabble, as we all know today.win-372770_1280

Butt and entrepreneur James Burnot made the original games by hand, stamping each letter on each tile.

Scrabble Facts:

Scrabble is played on a fifteen by fifteen square grid.

Scrabble is sold in over one hundred and twenty countries, in twenty-nine languages.

Since 2004 you can watch the National Scrabble Championships on ESPN.

The original game didn’t have a board, but was played with tiles only.

There are over four thousand Scrabble clubs worldwide.

For the game’s 50th anniversary (1998) a Guinness Record was set for the world’s largest Scrabble game, where it took two men to move each six foot square tile.

For Scrabble’s 60th anniversary (2008), which was also Prince Charles’s 60th birthday, a portrait of the prince was made, using Scrabble tiles.

Many celebrities are known to play the game; John Travolta, Sting, Jimmy Kimmel, Moby, Tom Cruise and the Queen are a few.

Chuck Woolery, famous game show personality hosted the TV version of Scrabble form 1984 to 1990. It returned briefly in 1993.

There are one hundred tiles in a Scrabble set, and only one J,K,Q,X and Z.

Are you a competitive Scrabble player?

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BTW- welcome to my new website. Watch for more updates and improvements here.

There are ten two-letter vowel only words that can be played.

Are you a competitive Scrabble player? Will you be playing today?

Posted in medical, writer

The Breast Thing I’ve Done for Myself (so far)

I realized recently I never shared here a big change I now made over a year ago. I had plastic surgery. Breast surgery. Now, before you get all “why do women need to do that to themselves?” read on. I had a breast reduction. Not that there’s necessarily anything wrong with getting a breast enlargement.

However, after years of suffering headaches, migraines, neck pain, back pain and embarrassment I was thinking more and more about a reduction. I woke up one morning and nearly half my face had gone numb. The hospital and later a neurologist couldn’t figure out why I’d not only lost the feeling in half my face, but it had begun to spread to the other side. I believe now, that it was a combination of both my husband and the neurologist suggesting

Right after my surgury
Right after my surgery

perhaps a breast reduction may help. My chiropractor also agreed.

I researched my surgeon options very carefully, as well as looked into the risks involved. I was quite surprised on the lack on information available for those considering a breast reduction in Ontario. It was though a Facebook group that I learned the most after connecting with other women who had already had the operation.

I won’t get into all the gory details here, don’t worry. It’s safe to keep reading. It took me about two months to get OHIP approval for my operation. Based on my breast size, they covered all of my regular surgery. I opted to add the “side boob” liposuction, which is basically where the surgeon removed the excess fatty tissue from the sides of my breasts, as the OHIP covered surgery only covers the medically necessary portion of a breast reduction. The liposuction is considered cosmetic, but as I’d read it’s next to impossible to naturally loose that extra tissue I decided to get that done as well while I was under.

I had my breast reduction in November 2013. I haven’t looked back since. It is a fairly major surgery though, not to be entered into lightly. I had a full six weeks of being unable to lift anything, and it was even recommended I didn’t raise my arms above my head during the healing. My entire chest was glued, sewed AND stapled back together. Yes- I was sore, but the worst was over in a few days. (thanks to the magic of pain killers)

Some of you may wonder why I’d share something so personal here. Well, one reason is I think it’s very important to share information to those who need it. Another is that breast reduction surgery worked well for me. My migraines have almost disappeared now, my neck pain has been reduced substantially, and I’m finally feeling a lot less conscious about what I wear.

If you are one of the many women who could benefit from breast reduction surgery, my best piece of advice is to do your research. Find the best surgeon  for you. Learn about the risks vs benefits, ask your surgeon about recovery. A good surgeon will be more than willing to answer all your questions.

If you would like more information about my experience, please feel free to contact me as well.

10 lbs removed & much happier
10 lbs removed & much happier
Posted in family, food, friends, stress, writer

Ch..ch..changes

This is the mandatory time of year where one is supposed to reflect on their past year, note all their failings and make resolutions to do better next year. I’ll admit, I used to buy into that too. I used to write up a list every single year at the end of December and get frusturated by early spring I wasn’t achieving my lofty goals.
notes-514998_1280Several years ago, though I realized a few things. One, my list of goals was much too long. If I recall correctly one such list was 3/4 of a page long. Totally unrealistic. No wonder I failed every year.
Also, some of my goals were just way too great to accomplish in a single year. Get out of debt? Back when I was single and working just above minimum wage? Ha!

Lose weight? A good goal for sure- but I never made a plan as to how to to get to that goal. So I’d fail.

These days, I make more of a plan for what I’d like to accomplish in the coming year. Like my writing for example. The last year I really seemed to loose my drive- not 100% sure why, but with a little help and encouragement of one writer friend in particular, I started writing again. Only very recently.

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Happy New Year!

Funny thing is- once I started writing again some other things just kind of fell into place. I’m not sharing what those are quite yet, but I’m thrilled with the recent changes that have happened. All because a friend gave me a shove.

Resolutions get broken. Goals with a path- thats the key. I now have a much clearer path in mind of how to accomplish several of my goals in the coming months and year. I’m sure there may be sharp rocks or thorns along the way, but I have ideas in mind on how to deal with some of those too.

Watch out 2015- here I come!

Posted in writer

Blog Tour 2014

Please forgive my absence.

I haven’t been keeping to on my blog, and I really ought to be. However, when fellow writer Douglas Owen asked me to participate in this blog tour, I though it would be a good opportunity to get back into my blog.

Douglas Owen is a writer of  fantasy & science fiction, and has several titles under his belt. His blog can be found at: http://daowen.ca/category/blog/

This “tour” happens every Monday, and is to let readers know about new works, works in progress and upcoming writerly events.

Writer, Naomi Mesbur will be posting in this chain next Monday (April 14th). I still have space for two more writers, if anyone is interested.

Naomi Mesbur has been writing under the name of Mimi Jones-Taylor since 1986. She was a finalist in the 2013 WCDR Slam with a piece she first read at Words of the Season in June of that year. Her goals for 2014 are to fit life in between the pages, and finally have a piece published. Her blog can be found at: http://thebadwriter.blogspot.ca

Here are my answers to the four questions:

#1. What am I working on:

I just finished a short story for the Writer’s Community of Durham Region’s annual contest. It took me quite some time to get this story just the way I wanted it. This year we had to use a writing prompt from writer Sarah Selecky,  which was both a challenge and a fun exercise. I’m now about to start re-writing Box Of Secrets, right from chapter one again, based on feedback received from my writing critique group.

#2. Why do I write what I do:

I tend to write a mix. Real-life, suspense and humour. Why? It’s what I enjoy reading. Usually I have a bit of more than one genre in my work, but suspense is what I like to do the most. Adding a plot twist, especially when my characters take over & even I wasn’t expecting what they do next is when I know I’m writing something worth reading.

#3. How does my work differ from others of its genre:

This is a tricky question. I’d like to think we all write in our own ways. Same genre or not. I think I add a different mix of characters and plot twists to my stories, making them uniquely mine.

#4. How does my writing process work:

I’m a pantser- which means I’m not one to draw out elaborate plot lines or character summaries ahead of time. I wrote the first draft of Box Of Secrets during Nanowrmo 2012, and when I first sat at the keyboard I had no clue what I was going to write about. Soon enough though, my characters took over and took my story in a direction I didn’t expect.

After I finish a piece, I do my own edits. Then I usually submit that chapter or short story to my writing critique group for feed back. Make further edits. Re-submit to my critique group, if time permits and do even more edits.

Writing is a skill, but there is also a learning curve that goes along with it. Sometimes, it’s hard to see something you’ve worked so hard on be met with a less-than enthusiastic response. But when you get it just right, and the critiques are a well-earned endorsement of your skill as a writer, there is no better feeling in the world.

The Tour Continues:

Watch for Naomi Mesbur’s answers next week, on her blog

 

Posted in family, food, friends, parenting, photography, writer

Not Missing The City

It’s hard to believe it’s been a year already since my family and I moved from a suburban cookie-cutter neighbourhood to a hamlet fifteen minutes from any city.  That may not seem like much, but now instead of very loud neighbours with speakers blasting towards my house I have a huge corn field.  The corn field is much quieter, except after eleven p.m., when the coyotes begin howling.

The longer we’re here the more focused I’ve become on supporting & getting involved in my local community.  We try to visit our little library at least once a week.  Another small library, in a nearby hamlet closed recently, due to not enough residents using it.  I’d hate to see that happen here.

Parsley, oregano, chives & tomatoes
Parsley, oregano, chives & tomatoes

I’ve been trying to buy more from local farmer’s markets, since there are so many here in Durham region.  Next spring, I hope to have a huge garden, like most of my neighbours here do.  My huge pot of herbs & my gigantic tomato plant did well though.  Nothing tastes better than fresh produce.

I’ve been trying to utilize the local businesses and talent as much as we can here as well.    I get gas at our little gas station, get ice cream at the corner store and get my haircut from locals frequently.

I took exercise classes this spring, and learned my instructor is multi-talented.  She’s also a local photographer, who took my head shots for my various media sites, and took breathtaking photos of my family a couple of weeks ago.  If you live in Durham region check out Nicola Dawn Photography.

The teachers in a much smaller school have been amazing.  My daughters are no longer “lost” amongst 650+ other children.  Instead of being on one of four of five classes in their grade, there is only one class for their grades here.  I’d say most of the teachers already know my girls here.  Which not only makes my children happier to be known by name, but as a parent, it makes me feel safer, knowing it WILL be noticed if they were to go missing.

Last week, one of my short stories was published in a local magazine.  The amount of support I received from the community has been amazing. It’s also inspired me, to submit more short stories and write more often than I have been lately.

Support your local community and they will support you.  It’s that simple.

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One of the beautiful images of my girls by Nicola Dawn Photography