Friday, May 31, 2013

Exciting Announcement!

Hey Hamilton,

On Saturday, June 1st, I'll be at the Concession Street Fest, in front of one of my favorite stores! 

Stop by and preorder or purchase a book, and receive a free autographed (full size) poster of The Secrets of Albion Falls! 

Don’t like print? We’ve got you covered. 

Show me your Kindle or reading device (with your purchased copy of The Secrets inside), and get your free poster.

Looking forward to seeing you!

Brightest Blessings,

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Pretending to be normal in a crazy world

Like many, I grew up in a strict home. The rules were clear. Girls stayed indoors. We learned how to cook, and we had our share of household chores. The boys were outside doing the yard work, and whatever job boys did outside.  

There was one rule that applied to all us kids equally, and that was, as my father would say, “Children were to be seen, and not heard.”

Harsh, I know, but that is how it was. 

We never spoke out of turn and we waited until we were addressed before attempting to express our joy in how the day went or what upcoming event was about to begin.

What about dinner? That same rule was applied and enforced with a firm punishment.  There was no chatting, no laughter, and absolutely no complaints! We were poor, and sorry Mom, but we ate horrible meals. Meals that consisted of cow tongue, creamed peas on toast, liver and kidney stew, and whatever else my mom could make that would feed our large family within a tight budget.  

Don’t get me wrong, there were good times. We had crabapple fights, picnics in the backyard, and I have fond memories of sitting in the living room singing songs by Queen and Abba with some of my siblings. Yikes! Now I feel old.  

Some of my best memories were with the twins. We sat together, and they allowed me to read stories I had written. They were the inspiration for Hal and Gallagher, and they truly are barbarians with incredible hearts.

There were advantages and disadvantages to being the youngest of a large family. The biggest disadvantage (for me) was taking responsibility for someone else’s doing. When a certain brother of mine broke the front window … I took the blame and punishment. It was easier to take a single punishment over a multitude of reminders that I was the low man of our totem pole.

The advantage was much more valuable. I watched (in silence) everything, everyone in our house did. I made notes of what not to do, and wrote promises on how I would raise my children.

I kept those promises.

Dinner in our home is quite different from how I was raised. Once seated, it is a free for all, and there are no limits. For me, silence at the dinner table is a form of punishment. We joke, we share our innermost feelings, and if someone is struggling with a personal issue … they are welcome to put that on the table as well.

Judgment is an unwelcomed guest.

Recently, my eldest stopped by for dinner.
While cleaning up, he said, “Do you have any idea how hard it was to pretend to be normal while living in a retirement village with a Pagan mother?”

I laughed and replied, “About as hard as it is to hide your true beliefs while living in same retirement village. Would you rather I didn’t hide my beliefs?”

He smiled and replied, “Nice comeback, but I was joking, I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Which brings me to today’s topic. Pretending to be normal in a crazy world.

Why pretend?

I thought I was doing my children a favor. I never installed my beliefs onto them. Instead, I allowed them to experience different religions until they found what made them feel complete. When my youngest was twelve, he began asking questions. 

At thirteen, he joined in on a cleansing ceremony. Once the cleansing was complete, he drilled me with many questions.
Towards the end of our conversation he asked, “What’s the difference between a pentacle and a
pentagram?” I answered him honestly and backed it with corresponding paperwork. He then asked, “So you wear your amulets because they make you feel safe?”

“Yes,” I replied with a firm nod.

“Then why hide them when you go out? If they make you feel safe and it’s who you are ... then why hide it?”

“I didn’t want to embarrass you guys or have you feel out of place.”

“Are you embarrassed about being Pagan?”

“Absolutely not!”

“Then be proud and stop hiding it.”

It is amazing what our children can teach us. There I was, trying my best to raise my boys without embarrassing them, and instead, I was teaching them to hide who they are from the world.

I no longer hide who I am, even when I go to my son’s school, whether I am there for a recital or to talk with a teacher. My amulets are proudly displayed.

Last year, he asked if we would enroll him in a Catholic school, we immediately agreed, and together, my youngest and I are learning about the bible. If my amulets are hidden under a shirt, he questions me, and reminds me that I should be proud of whom I am and the choices I have made.

Thanks to my amazing boys, I no longer pretend to be “normal” because I am just the right amount of crazy to blend in! :)

Brightest blessings,

Sunday, May 12, 2013


The past week has been an amazing week. 

On May 2, 2013, Author Dean Sault arrived at our home as a cherished houseguest. 

Ironically, Dean brought the sun and warm temperatures with him. We experienced beautiful weather, great conversations, and some interesting adventures of our own.

A fun video of Dean cooking dinner for our family.

Together we attended The Ontario Writer’s Conference in Ajax. 

There, we met with many aspiring authors. We attended information seminars, participated in a few classes (to help us improve our craft), and enjoyed meeting with others.

One of the most exciting moments was when we were able to finally meet with the beautiful and always pleasant Stacey Donaghy!

For well over a year, Stacey and I have been friends (via the internet), and although we live in the same province, time was never on our side when it came to personal visits.

The Devil's Punchbowl

Ironically, Dean brought the sun and warm temperatures with him. We experienced great conversations, and some interesting adventures of our own.

My youngest son and I took Dean sightseeing, to the Devil’s Punchbowl in Stoney Creek, ON.

Took the dogs for a long and enjoyable walk. Toured our village, Hamilton, Ancaster, Stoney Creek, Toronto and Ajax. But, sadly, we ran out of time and were unable to tour Albion Falls. That will have to be our next visit. :)    

Some of our plans we were able to maintain, such as, focusing on a marketing strategy and searching for a great cover designer for Dean’s newest book entitled, Ghost of Lost Eagle. This book amazed me, and I can honestly say that I am officially a fan of Western Romance Paranormal! 

Ghost of Lost Eagle, will take you on a fast paced, thrilling, emotional rollercoaster! It is a story like no other I have read. It has it all! Characters you can relate with, historical values, gunfights, romance, paranormal, and, so much more.

Below is the first chapter:
*WARNING!* May contain offensive language and this story is highly addictive!

Ghost of Lost Eagle
Book one - The Sweetwater Canyon Series
By: Author Dean Sault


Rain seemed heavier this afternoon. Chuck, my horse, splashed steadily along the narrow path while it filled six inches deep with fast-flowing runoff. He did not like it.
“Easy boy. It’s just rain. We’ve been in hard rain before.”
Reining him out of the growing stream, I hoped firm ground covered in grass might give him better footing to settle his nerves. Steep canyon walls on either side of the trail ahead, gave me pause. In the distance, a wolf howled. The eerie wail echoed off nearby granite.
“Whoa, boy.”
Sitting high in the saddle, I listened intently through the steady din of the storm. Then, I heard it. A rumbling noise grew from the ground all around us. I yanked Chuck’s reins, turning us back down the trail.
Muscles of my stallion swelled beneath my thighs. He galloped down the pass having heard the danger before me. Good thing he resisted my coaxing.
We blasted at a dead run past saplings growing on either side of the streambed. Some stung when they slapped my legs, but Chuck knew instinctively what he was doing. I loosened his reins giving him his head. Less than two hundreds yards ahead, safety beckoned in the form of a wide spot with gradual slopes on both sides where we could climb out of this gorge.
I chanced a quick look over my shoulder. Churning water raced toward us with incredible speed. Small trees tumbled in the center of a churning, twenty-foot-high flash flood. Water filled with debris coursed through the canyon. Our only escape? Outrun it to those slopes.
“Gid’up, Chuck!” I shouted, jamming my heels into his sides to urge more speed out of my magnificent steed.
The wide spot approached fast. Only a few dozen more yards.
Water wrapped around my horse’s legs. He high-stepped, but it quickly surged above his knees taking his balance. We tumbled forward, vanishing under the brown floodwater filled with tumbling branches. Up versus down was impossible to know under the dark water. My shoulder slammed into something hard jarring the breath out of me.
My lungs screaming for relief when I saw daylight and gulped a welcome load of fresh air. Chuck’s legs stuck out of the water on the opposite side of the flood. He thrashed wildly, trying to roll over.
Sharp pain spread through my ribs when a thick tree limb jammed into my side. Each time I surfaced, Chuck was nowhere to be seen. Sanctuary of the intended slopes passed with violent currents sweeping me helplessly toward the mouth of the box canyon.
Awareness hit suddenly. Entering this gorge, we weaved up a boulder-strewn rise that would now be a deadly drop off. This water would crash over that fall with bone breaking force, carrying us with it.
My foot wedged between rocks below the water and the powerful current slammed me painfully against the gulch floor. Pinned to the bottom by water pressure, each movement trying to pull my leg free forced my boot deeper into the tight slot. Lungs burned for air. Vision narrowed. I came close to passing out when a hand appeared before my face. I grabbed it. The hand slid past my fingers to grip my wrist with amazing strength. The strong arm pulled me upright against the current. My ankle popped free.
Breaking above the surface, I gulped air in desperate relief.
The strong hand that saved me was nowhere to be seen. I wrapped my arms around a large tree riding above the rest of the debris. Pulling onto it, I straddled the thick trunk. The growing roar of water crashing over the drop-off confirmed my fears. Disaster was close at hand.
Something flashed across my vision. It jerked me backward by the neck, tearing me from the false safety of my log. I grabbed the rope that tightened around my throat, pulling with all my strength to loosen the choking noose. It dragged me against the current toward the shallows where I felt rocks knocking against the back of my legs. I dug my heels into sand, but the rope did not relent until dragging me out of the water onto heavy gravel of the shore.
Tension let up in the rope. The coil fell loose on my shoulders and my rescuer flipped the loop over my head. I coughed up water while rubbing rope rash on my neck.
“You always this stupid, mister?” a female voice asked, dripping with contempt.
I looked up at a small woman sitting on a quarter horse. She untied her lasso rope from the saddle horn.
“Good thing I roped you with my first throw. If I missed, there wouldn’t be much left of you on those rocks.”
She pointed at the nearby top of the waterfall as I rolled onto my knees.
“Thank you,” I said, still coughing up water.
I looked for Chuck.
“Have you seen my horse?”
“Over there.”
She pointed across the surging water. Chuck’s front legs draped over a spit of rock protruding into the raging water. His rear legs found footholds somewhere beneath the roiling torrent. He hung on in desperation.
“He’ll be okay,” she continued. “Flash floods pass quick. Get him when it’s over.”
I didn’t know what else to say. I wobbled on bruised legs when I stood.
The young woman recoiled her rope and hung it on the saddle horn before dismounting.
“What the hell were you thinking?” she asked. “Any idiot knows better than to go up a box canyon during heavy rain, especially Lost Eagle Gulch.”
“You’re right. But, I thought—”
“Bullshit, you didn’t think at all, dumbass! That’s the problem. Could have killed yourself and your horse, much less putting me at risk to save your fool life.”
“I’m sorry. You’re right. I made a mistake. Where’s the guy who pulled me out?”
She planted her hands on her hips.
“Do I look like a guy to you? Are you blind?”
She was definitely female. Soaking wet long hair stuck to the front of her shirt. It reached almost to her waste.
“Well, no ma’am. I’m not blind. I’m talking about the hand that pulled me off the bottom.”
“I’m the only other soul up here. Nobody else roped you. I didn’t pull you with my hand. You musta sucked too much water. You’re hallucinating.”
She might be right, I thought.
“And I’m not a ma’am.  I’m a miss.”
She pointed to the water behind me.
“Five minutes. It’ll be low enough to get your horse. Good luck finding your hat. Gun’s gone, too.”
I looked down. Sure enough, my forty-four was gone from its holster.
“Dammit,” I said wiping wet hair back off my face.
The little woman began to laugh.
“What’s so funny?” I asked.
“Can’t help you with your gun, but your hat went over the falls on the right side. Floatin’ pretty good, last I saw. Flash floods don’t run more’n a mile or so. If you get going ’fore the wind comes up, you might find it before dark.”
She enjoyed a good laugh at my expense.
Rainwater poured off the down-turned brim of her black Stetson hat in a steady stream splashing onto her chest before vanishing into red plaid fabric of her shirt. The ruddy skin color of her heavily tanned face hinted at long hours spent in the sun. Outlines of supple breasts with noticeable nipple bumps danced through clingy, wet shirt material.
“Hey cowboy—up here!” she said, pointing at her face. “Typical, asshole. Why can’t men see beyond a woman’s chest?”
She grabbed her horse’s reins, slipped a boot in the stirrup and swung onto her saddle in a smooth, experienced movement.
“Good luck finding your stuff. You’re gonna need it . . . dumbass!”
She slapped her horse with loose reins and leaned forward while the heavily-muscled cattle-working mare made quick work of the gravel slope to a trail above.
“Wait,” I yelled. “What’s your name?”