Whirling Through Autumn

Autumn’s always a busy time for writers with conferences, workshops, book launches, courses, readings, and many other events. When you’re launching a book during this period, the activity really ramps up. It’s why I feel a bit like an autumn leaf that’s been swept up on the wind and swooshed from place to place.

To be clear, I enjoyed wonderful experiences in September by meeting writing friends and colleagues, most of whom I haven’t seen in over 4 years. Spending time with them was restorative for the soul. Below is a photo of one of four events that took place last week. It was a joint launch/reading with writing colleague A.J. Devlin, who’s just launched his third mystery, Five Moves of Doom. He’s created a great character in former pro wrestler turned private investigator, in ‘Hammerhead’ Jed. If you’re looking for great whodunits with a lot of humor, check out A.J.’s website HERE.

Joint Reading/Launch, Sep. 28

Writing-related tasks continue for A Gold Satin Murder. I’m currently updating back and front matter in all of the Casey Holland ebooks. I’m also taking part in a query letter workshop through the Creative Academy focusing on my urban fantasy, which is proving to be a great experience. Query letters and a book synopsis require many drafts for me, for most writers actually, but I’ve decided to search for a traditional publisher and both are an essential tools in the process.

Today, I’m taking it easy as I had my vaccine booster yesterday and have a very sore arm and a bit of fatique today. Also, here in Canada, Thanksgiving is this weekend and I’m hosting the family dinner. I can’t wait for family time. I see my granddaughters once a week, and little Abby looks different on every occasion. I’ll share pictures next week.

Ordering links for A Gold Satin Murder:

AMAZON

APPLE BOOKS

KOBO

BARNES & NOBLE

GOOGLE PLAY

So Long, 2021

I imagine many people have good reason to see this year end, and for things to improve in 2022. I totally get it. Here in British Columbia we’ve suffered a grueling year. Mother nature provided harsh reminders that she’s hurting and we’d better smarten up to avoid more death and destruction. As I write this, Vancouver was -12 degrees Celsius overnight. In our area, this is rare but not as unsettling as the forest fires and heat dome last the summer, and the major flooding that wiped out entire farms and killed many animals in the fall.

Worldwide, there were immense challenges, much of which saddens and angers me, especially at the horrible way people treat one another and the planet. But I also saw plenty of grassroots heroes showcased on TV, helping friends, neighbors, and community through crises. There are still many good things happening. There is still hope. It also makes me really appreciate the blessings our family enjoyed this holiday season.

Although we had snowy conditions for part of the hour+ drive to our daughter’s home, Christmas was delightful. Ellie wasn’t quite sure what was going on with all the gifts, but she certainly took to her new Elmo and other toys.

Despite the weather and ominous COVID challenges, I took some positives from this year. I worked diligently on editing the urban fantasy and made good progress, thanks to my wonderful critique group. I’m finally going back to finalizing the Casey Holland mystery novella for beta readers, which I’ll be seeking over the coming weeks.

I also returned to craft fairs and facilitating this fall, and enjoyed our first family vacation with Ellie. When it comes down to it, for me it’s all about family and doing things that fulfill me. My first full year of retirement has been busy and rewarding, but as always, I can’t wait to ring in the year new and see what the next chapter brings. Happy New Year to All!

Pixabay image by Gerd Altmann

A Different Kind of Christmas

Well, it’s almost Christmas, and I hope you’re all doing as well as you possibly can. Christmas at our house will certainly be different this year. My daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter will be celebrating with us via Zoom. My son, who lives with us, will hook up my laptop to our big screen TV so they’ll be as close to us as possible. If luck, we might be able to get my brother-in-law in Ottawa to Zoom in with us as well.

I’m still cooking a turkey and enjoying some wine, and gift unwrapping. I still feel excitement and joy by the holiday season and am heartened to see people doing so many generous things to make the holidays a little better for others.

Today, I’m sharing some photos that represent some of my December. First up are three of my favorite tree ornaments. The chandelier and First Nations design are gifts from my sister who usually brings me a new ornament every year. The pink flamingo was purchased from the gift shop at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas, where we took my mom for her 75th birthday just over a decade ago. This will be our second Christmas without Mom, and I still miss her very much.

But we’re also overjoyed to spend our first Christmas with Ellie. This photo was taken on Dec. 10th, after she’d been to the doctor for her checkup and vaccines. She’s now 4-1/2 months old.

Ellie and me

It snowed in our area on the first official day of winter, which is kind of cool. When you’re retired and don’t have to drive to work every day, you appreciate snow a little more.

Taken two days ago. There’s little snow left.

To those who celebrate, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!! And happy holidays everyone!

Christmas Greetings

sheikh-tuhin-Christmas[1]I took a close look at my calendar this week and nearly fell out of my chair. Christmas is less than a week away. The busy-ness of holiday preparations along with the usual chores and responsibilities means that I often lose track of time. I’m sure many of you can relate.

I don’t do as much Christmas preparation as I used to. My kids (30 & 24) decided a while ago that they were too old for gingerbread-cookie making and stockings. These days, my mother is the one who needs assistance with organizing, purchasing, and wrapping presents, although that’s not much extra work.

My son’s coming home from Calgary for Christmas and I’m delighted to be serving a dinner for ten people, a little larger group than normal, but hey, I got this. I’ve been cooking turkey dinners with all the trimmings for quite some time.

Next year, my daughter will be moving into her new house, and she wants to take over the cooking tradition. Having never cooked a Christmas dinner before, and planning to host fifteen people will definitely require a little help.

I want to take this moment to say Merry Christmas to those who celebrate! I wish you a joyful, happy Christmas with good food and good company. The older I get the more I value family time, and especially this day of celebration to acknowledge all that has brought us together.