Monday, 28 December 2015

Had a Blue Screen?

Last Tuesday, I had a big shock. In the morning as usual, I turned on my laptop. It opened fine, but then suddenly died and went to blue screen. My laptop was at least five years old so I knew this could happen at any time. Of course, I immediately drove over to my computer guy. My hard drive was badly corrupted and he wasn't sure what he could save. I had started two new books and hadn't as yet backed them up so I was worried.

John at the Computer Trade In was truly amazing. He was able to download most of my stuff which he transferred it into a new/used computer. Luckily, I didn't lose any documents or my emails. It would have killed me to lose those. In the end, I only lost my calendar so I have no past. If I had to lose something, I'm glad that's it.

I rely on my laptop the same way most people feel about their cell phones. My whole life is on here. Everything important to me is on the computer. Sure I back-up everything on USB sticks but I don't do it every day and something new consistently occurs. I honestly don't know what I'd do if I lost everything. That would be a terrible disaster. So I'm so relieved all is good.

 For a complete change of topic, I would like to discuss 50 Shades of Grey. I haven't read the books though a couple of friends did. They both agreed the writing was poor so I didn't bother. The movie finally made it to the movie channels so I was able to watch it for free. Wasn't going to pay to see it.

Was really surprised at the movie. It was terrible. It's basically about sex between two beautiful people. All the other characters had no substance, interest and were poorly described. They added nothing to the plot. And the dialogue was horrible. I couldn't believe how bad the movie was. It deals with dominant/submissive sex of which I have no interest. If a man ever touched me like that, I'd call the police.

He did terrible things to her. I can't believe this was actually filmed. The sex scenes are just soft porn. Don't see any private parts but otherwise there's a lot of nudity. I didn't find it a turn-on in any way, shape or form. If you like that stuff, the more power to you. I have no intention of reading those books or seeing any future films.

have fun,

Monday, 21 December 2015

Are You an Author?

What does it mean to be an author? It used to mean you spent years writing that perfect novel, printed off a copy, boxed it up, then send
it to a publisher. Perhaps you’d then become one of the lucky few who they’d agree to publish. If one publishing company didn’t accept it, you sent it to another firm then another until your great manuscript got published. Either you realized the dream, or your dream was dead.

Nowadays, most publishing companies won’t look at an unsolicited manuscript. You need an agent and most agents require writing samples in the form of a query letters and proposals. You can write to any number of agents, and they either may not respond or they may send a format email advising that you’ll only hear from them if they express an interest.

You can take that avenue and spend months or years trying to find someone to represent you, or you can self-publish. There are a number of available options these days. You can self-publish through a publishing company that specializes in that, but then you pay them a lot of money for a sub-standard product. These companies are out to make money from you not your books.

On the other hand, you have Createspace or Lulu, where you can self-publish your books for free. It’s easy and straight-forward. Also, you can publish within days rather than waiting two years as you would with a traditional publisher. You don’t pay much to buy your books so you can make a good profit when you sell them unlike the situation with those publishing firms. They require almost the book price if you want to buy a copy. You lose money on every book you sell unless you charge a higher price.

Okay so now your book is published and you expect it to sell, but it doesn’t. No one knows about it. Millions are self-publishing and setting themselves up on Amazon. You have to stand out and build an audience, which means marketing.

Marketing is the biggest job for the aspiring writer, and there’s so much to do. You have set up accounts with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Linked-in, Google +, Goodreads, just to name a few. You have to be active and get yourself out there. But that’s a lot of work.

So what does it mean to be an author these days? It means a lot of work, which most authors wish they didn’t have to do. We just want to write, but it doesn’t work that way now.

have fun,

Sunday, 13 December 2015



Sorry about last week. I totally forgot to write a blog. I remembered on Wednesday. Decided to wait until Monday since I'm trying to keep it regular.

I've just been busy with my books. Finally finished Devouring Time, a mystery, about an historic Canadian family, embroiled in the art world, await the delivery of a mysterious package from their ancestor in England. It has now gone to Nate, my proofreading editor. It will be returned edited in approximately six weeks.

My other novel, The Perfect Hand, a thriller about five poker buddies who uncover a conspiracy, is complete. I just finished correcting Nate's edits and suggestions. I have sent it out to a couple of friends to read it over now to check for any typo or mistake we missed. It's amazing how many fresh eyes you need to read a book before its as perfect as you can get.

I wanted to write a lighter blog this week since the last one was pretty heavy. I just have those thoughts now and then, and felt like sharing them. Today, I thought we could talk about koalas. I have a photographer friend in Perth, Australia, who is constantly informing me how many koalas are in the trees around his house. One day he had 12!!

The other day, he noticed one fall out of a tree. He was chatting with me at that time. He went outside to see what was the matter. He picked up the sick koala and brought it into his house. He gave it water and placed it on his bed. Within minutes, it was sound asleep and snoring loudly. My friend called the local Koala rescue centre. They came and picked up the poor thing. They were able to restore it to health and it was set free.

When I was in Australia in 1993, I visited many zoos where I saw lots of koalas. I never saw them in the wild. At one zoo, I had myself photographed with one. I wanted to hold it but the woman in charge said that would not be possible because koalas could scratch you badly with their long nails or pee on you. But when talking to my Perth friend, they seem gentle and sweet.

I hope you enjoy the pictures.

Have fun,

Monday, 30 November 2015

Devastating Death

How would you manage after losing your children to an accident? How would you survive the death of your children? One minute, you are a family of five and now its just you and your spouse.

In Red Deer, Alberta, sisters Catriona (Catie) Janine Bott, 13, Jana Nicole Bott, 11, and Dara Janisse Bott, 11, suffocated after they were buried in canola seed inside a truck on October 13, 2015.

Those parents lost their 3 daughters at one moment. I could never imagine how they feel.

Or for the couple who lost their 3 children and father in a car accident in Vaughan on Sunday, September 27 with a drunk driver. The children were nine-year-old Daniel Neville-Lake, his younger brother Harry, 5, and two-year-old sister Milly.

“So far it’s been like a dream – very surreal, as if you can catch glimpses of the children out of the corner of your eye, or you hear them,” Jennifer Neville-Lake said in an interview with CP24.

I can't imagine that loss. Smack and your life is upside down. Your whole life changes. Everything you originally thought is destroyed. Every plan you made, every decision, every hope for the future is derailed. I just shake my head wondering how those parents will manage.

I've been pretty lucky in life when dealing with death. A friend in high school was hit by a train and that affected everyone in grade 11. I had a boyfriend in Australia die from a grand mal seizure. I wasn't with him at the time and I've always felt guilty about that. And I remember holding my grandfather's hand as he died.

I truly believed that if anyone could return from the dead it would be Houdini. If anyone could trick death, I thought he could. But he didn't come back. I guess I'll just have to die to find out what's next, but that will hopefully occur far down the road.

What are your thoughts on death?

have fun,

Monday, 23 November 2015

What's your Favourite Meal?

Ever since watching The Green Mile as John Coffey was offered anything he wanted to eat for his last meal, I've often wondered what I'd have for a last meal. It's a question I've often put to people. I'm usually informed that steak is their favourite. Many say some kind of seafood. Lots say pasta. What about you? What's your favourite meal?

Mine is my mother's roast beef with roast potatoes and onions usually with steamed green beans. It's a wonderful meal and luckily mom makes it often during the colder months. (She doesn't like to turn the oven on in summer.)

My next favourite meal is steak. I prefer it cooked medium with mashed or baked potato. Actually, I'll eat potatoes any way, except raw. I love potatoes and can eat them all the time. My next favourite meal is anything ethnic. I love Japanese, Korean, Greek, Middle Eastern, Vietnamese, Thai, etc. Unfortunately, I'm not a big fan of Italian and pasta though it seems many people enjoy it the most.

It's worth travelling if even just for the food. I would love to travel to Greece or India and eat Greek and Indian food all the time. That would be great. When I lived in Israel, I ate many different kinds of foods coming from all over the Middle East. My favourite was a Yemenite place that served this huge pancake called Melawa (I think) and a special tomato dipping sauce. It was fantastic. Haven't had it since 1985.

In my first year of high school, my best friend was Chinese. After school, I was often invited to her house to do homework. And after homework was dinner and I was welcomed to partake. They had no cutlery so I had to learn how to use chopsticks which I learned fast because the food was so good. Sally's parents owned a restaurant but the food they made at home was nothing like the "restaurant" food. Very fond memories. I also learned a bit of Mandarin because Sally's grandparents didn't speak any English.

Different foods or meals bring lots of memories which I'm sure happens with you too. Do you have any food memories?

have fun,

Monday, 16 November 2015

Swearing In

I've been told many times to write my blog regularly. I have been a bit sporadic but, from now on, I will write a blog every Monday.

On Wednesday, December 2nd, I'll be travelling to Ottawa via hired bus to watch Filomena Tassi (the winning Liberal candidate for my riding) swear in as a member of parliament. This is a memorable and exciting event and I'm so lucky and pleased that I've been given a chance to be involved. She has invited everyone who volunteered during her successful campaign.

Seeing Justin Trudeau being sworn in on TV was spectacular. We want to believe in him and trust him to be the best prime minister ever. Maybe even greater than his father? He picked a wonderful cabinet made up of 15 men and 15 women, and people from all walks of life and backgrounds. It is a promising and positive government. So far, Justin is doing great and everyone is happy.

Going to Ottawa for Filomena's swearing in will take all day. We are to meet at 6:45 am to catch the bus. We arrive in Ottawa at noon. The spectacular event takes place at 3:30 pm. Then we all go out to dinner to celebrate. We arrive home by midnight. One long but very thrilling day.

I'm so proud that I volunteered and voted for Filomena. She is truly a brilliant and wonderful person. Her office is next door to my vet. My mom bumped into her when she took Kira to the vet after she had been attacked. Mom got to know Filomena and told me about her. I met Filomena after numerous visits to the vet. (Kira is my dog but stayed at my parents for a couple of days last March and was attacked by their neighbour's dog. She had 3 operations but doing great now.)

So I got to know Filomena as a person first. Her warm and generous personality oozes from every pore. Her great intelligence is immediately obvious and she treats everyone as an equal. She has a beautiful golden retriever named Ella and has always been concerned about Kira. She greeted her so warmly the other day and was pleased she had healed so well.

My stomach is twisting and churning in excitement for Canada. These are thrilling times. Even though I travelled around the world and lived in many places, I have always been Canadian first. I was always proud to divulge my citizenship and because of same was well treated by the natives. With Justin as Prime Minister and someone as wonderful as Filomena in government, there is nothing but optimism.

My 4th novel A Discerning Heart is now available on Amazon. Its part romance, part fantasy, part cautionary tale. A rollicking story of an Old World fisherman who looked for love and acceptance but settled for power and wealth. Throw in a mysterious island and even more mysterious mermaid and an enchanting story emerges. Sex, lies and a long missing pirate’s identity are all major plot points in this fantastical adventure.

have fun,

Monday, 9 November 2015

Who's Your Editor?

I always find it difficult to find topics to write in blogs. I want to find something interesting and positive. I hope you're interested in my subjects and find a reason to continue reading my blog and then hopefully buy my books. If you'd like me to write about something, please let me know.

I often like to write about people in my life who have influenced me. Here's another.

Andi was recommended to me through another editor. I thought I could write a book then publish it. I knew I needed an editor but just for proofreading. He suggested I hire a developmental editor to help with the novel. I was sceptical but followed up and got in contact with Andi. I sent her a few chapters of A Discerning Heart and loved her suggestions. I felt she was spot on and when I corrected the novel, it definitely improved.

With a virtual handshake, Andi became my primary editor. I send her a chapter at a time. She reads through it and makes comments and suggestions. I make the corrections and return it to her for review along with the next chapter. We proceed this way all through the whole finished novel.

When I first receive back my edited chapters, I read through what Andi has written. I fret and fume over the changes. Then I start at page one and along with my novel make the corrections. Andi's words make me think and write better. I love the edits I've made and am prouder of the finished product.

Since A Discerning Heart, Andi and I have worked through That Truthful Place as well as my next and upcoming novel The Perfect Hand (about 5 poker buddies who uncover a conspiracy) which will be published in a month or two.

Through Andi's edits, I've learned so much about writing. She has helped me with Point of View which can be difficult at times. Sometimes I repeat myself or not describe the scene well enough. She reminds me to add action or a pause in the dialogue.

Not only does she help me improve, she is very inspiring. Once in a while, we chat over Skype. She is always positive and enthusiastic. After we hang up, I'm always encouraged to write and work on my books. She has often sent inspiring emails that seem to come at the most needed time.

I would never publish another novel without going through Andi. She is very special and I feel lucky and honoured to work with her. If you're looking for an editor, please check out her site:

have fun,

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Bad at Remembering People

Do you have a trouble recognizing people? I have so much trouble and I'm bad with names. Monday night, at the Liberal party (we won. yeh!) I met a handsome East Indian couple. We talked for a bit then went our separate ways. I knew them. I know I did but I couldn't place their names or where I had seen them before. After we parted, I pondered their connection. Then I hit on it. They owned my favourite Indian restaurant. I go there often for lunch. They have great set lunches.

Does that happen with you? So many times, I meet someone I have met before but in a different environment and I can't place them. I have met and talked to people from all over. Everybody remembers me but I don't remember them and feel bad.

My favourite example of this happened when I was in university at McMaster. I was playing euchre in the lunchroom with my friends. (At that time, the euchre players took over a whole long table in the cafeteria and games of euchre played continuously. If you had a class, someone would arrive to take over for you. After class, you'd return only to take someone else's place who had a class. Was lots of fun.)

Any way, this guy came up to me and said hello. I smiled back then said, "I know you but I can't place you." He said, "I see you every Saturday morning at swimming classes." I hit my head with my hand and said, "Oh yes, I just didn't recognize you with your clothes on." My friends laughed.

I've been very lucky. I think I've met someone from every country in the world. I try and learn a few words in their language and learn their traditions and culture. I love learning about other countries which is one reason why the characters in That Truthful Place are all different nationalities.

I was very lucky as a kid. My parents have no prejudices and taught me same. They never said, "You can't eat at your friend's house" because they were Chinese, East Indian or Black. My parents taught me to accept everyone no matter their sexual orientation, religion or colour. We are equal. I have always believed that.

have fun,

Friday, 16 October 2015

My brother, Bob

That's my younger brother Bob and his dog Strider. He looks good doesn't he? (My brother I mean, not the dog.) He's doing really well these days. He's been running triathlons and now he's running in a half marathon. Truly amazing.

I think he's crazy. Triathlons are so damn hard. And now he's running a half marathon. Wow eh?

Even as a child, he was very enterprising. He and his best friend would go to the university football games (we lived close to the university) and hide under the stands. They would collect all the beer bottles (and there was a lot) and take them back to the store. He made lots of money. When he was a teenager, he started a lawn mowing business. He was very successful and I think he sold his business for $20,000 just before he left for university. He completed an MBA and had many responsible jobs.

I've always been impressed with what he has achieved but, until recently, we haven't been friends. My brother and I have always been opposites. As kids, we didn't hang out much even though I preferred his Tonka toys over my dolls. He did his thing and I did mine. We have lead very different lives. For many years, we didn't speak. Then a few years ago, we had a good talk and now we get along great.

We have a wonderful relationship and thanks to Skype, we talk once a week. Family is very important especially as we age. My parents will die at some point and then we will only have each other. Having him in my life is very important to me. He is very encouraging about my writing career and I can always depend on him for support. I'm lucky to have him as my brother.

I just felt like writing a blog about my brother. Hope you don't mind.

have fun,

Monday, 12 October 2015

It's Election Time

Canada is holding federal elections now. The date for the election is Monday, October 19th, but I was able to vote today in the advance polls. I thought I'd be in and out. Usually I am which is the reason I like voting in the advance polls. However today there was quite the line-up. I waited in line for an hour to vote.

Sure you can complain about the lines, but isn't it great so many people are voting? My parents voted yesterday in a different spot and they reported how busy the polling station was. I don't think I've heard of so many people deciding so early for whom they will vote.

Being able to vote is a right. Everyone should be able to have that choice. It's hard to believe that there are still some places in the world where voting is difficult. We should be proud that it's so easy for us to vote.

I also think Canada has a choice of wonderful men as leaders. Really any of them would make a good prime minister. They are honest, intelligent and hard-working people. Of course, I'd prefer Justin Trudeau, the Liberal candidate, but I don't think Canada would suffer greatly under any party.

I've been volunteering for the Liberal candidate in my area. I go into her office several times a week and make cold calls to learn how people are voting. The script we use is very good so we don't sounds too harsh or invasive. However, many times people hang up on me. I've called a few very rude people who take out their anger on me. That's not pleasant.

On the other hand, many calls are pleasant and the people are friendly. They are proud to admit they are voting for the Liberal party. They tell me stories explaining why they have made that choice or explain how much they like Justin and want him as prime minister.

Elections provide much excitement. I love having things to look forward to and I look forward to seeing who will be our next prime minister.

have fun,

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

A Discerning Heart

My 4th novel A Discerning Heart has been published. It's available on AMAZON

Genre: Fiction/Historical/Romance/Adventure

A story about a poor fisherman demeaned and humiliated by the people in his village. He decides the time has come for him to achieve a miracle and become popular.

He travels far into the ocean to attempt to capture the illusive Green Tail. A storm appears and he is knocked into the water by a strong wave. Almost drowning, he awakens on a deserted island guarded by a mermaid. Her treasure is littered all over the beach.

For a few years, Jim survives on the island with the mermaid. While out walking, he discovers the journal of a dead pirate captain. By chance, a small boat is washed up on shore. Grabbing as much of the mermaid’s treasure as possible, he repairs the vessel and escapes the island.

Jim returns home to his village assuming the identity of the dead pirate. He takes revenge upon all of the people who treated him badly. He attains everything he so desired but catastrophe was not far away.

have fun,

Sunday, 27 September 2015

The Toronto Blue Jays

As you may or may not know, I love sports. I'm a big hockey fan and follow the Toronto Maple Leafs. I enjoy football and the CFL. I cheer for the Hamilton Tiger Cats who would have won this season but will now lose because they lost their terrific quarterback to injury. But, of course, who isn't cheering for the Blue Jays.

During the early 90s, I lived in Toronto and worked in a great law firm. My boss often gave me tickets so I got to a lot of games in great seats. I was there when they won the World Series in 1992 but was in Australia when they won in 1993.

I love going to live sports games. I've been to lots of baseball games, some Ticat games, but never to an NHL game. Hamilton hosted the AHL farm team for Montreal. It was fun to watch those games but it isn't the NHL.

Baseball games are a lot of fun. I like sitting on the field along the third base line. I don't know why other than because I used to play third base. One of the most beautiful things is the throw from third base across the diamond to first base to get the batter out.

So, the Jays are playing great right now. The whole team is working great together. It's not just Bautista, Donaldson and Encarnacion hitting home runs but Martin, Pillar, Smoak and Revere are getting them too. Their defence is spot on though I think Bautista is a little weak in right field. But he hits home runs so has to be in the line-up.

It's been 22 years since the Jays won the World Series. They are definitely headed that way and have a good shot at it. It would be wonderful for Toronto to have a winning team. The city will go crazy.

Only a few games left, then post season. I've been watching every Jay game and will continue.

Go Jays Go

have fun,

Sunday, 6 September 2015

I Slept with Santa

Sorry I haven't written anything in a while. I've been concentrating on my writing. A Discerning Heart will be published in two weeks. I worked through it with a developmental editor then had it edited by another editor. I'm pleased with the result.

A Discerning Heart is part romance, part fantasy, part cautionary tale. A rollicking story of an Old World fisherman who looked for love and acceptance but settled for power and wealth. Throw in a mysterious island and even more mysterious mermaid and an enchanting story emerges. Sex, lies and a long missing pirate’s identity are all major plot points in this fantastical romantic adventure.

My friend Miriam who came up to the cottage with me, read That Truthful Place and found some typos. I was shocked. Then I read it over. It was terrible so took it off the market and worked through it with my developmental editor. It is now with the proofreading editor and I will get it back September 15th. After I correct the edits, Miriam is going to read it over again looking for any missed mistake. I will then re-self-publish it.

I'm also working on The Perfect Hand, a thriller about 5 poker buddies who uncover a conspiracy. Been working through it with Andi and we are almost finished. I'm not in any rush to publish this one but hopefully I'll have it out by November/December.

So, as you can see, I've been busy so haven't had an opportunity to write a blog. Also, not much else is going on with me. Just been writing and editing.

But I did sleep with Santa. Met this nice guy in the chat room. He lives in Brampton and was looking to move. I've been lonely and have always wondered about getting a room mate.

Any way, we met. He spent the night. We both decided in the morning that we weren't capable. But he did look like Santa. He's growing his white beard for Christmas when he works as a Santa. I thought it rather odd that I slept with Santa and didn't get any presents.

Have fun,


Friday, 24 July 2015

The Cottage

That's Miriam sitting on the dock. We spent two wonderful weeks at my parents' cottage up north on a lake. Its a small lake with much crown land (owned by the Queen and can't be sold. Natural areas). A number of cottages are scattered around the lake. We don't have any close neighbours so its very quiet and private.

As you can see, we have a little fishing boat. I'm the only one who uses it. Twice I tried to start it but it wouldn't work. Got the local handyman in and he got it started. We took it out and was at the other end of the lake when the motor died. Tried it again. It started but soon died. Rowed for a bit and let the engine rest. Tried it again. And yes yet again it started, then died.

I looked around the lake and spotted a guy in a boat. I waved him down. With 2 dogs in his boat, he towed us home. So didn't take the boat out again. Ever year I like to take a tour of the lake to see if anyone has changed their property or cottage. The cottagers association decided that no new cottages would be built on the lake so lots of forest, but some people add buildings or additions to their cottage. It's always fun to note any difference. Not much changes around the lake. People have had cottages there for over 50 years.

Sorry I haven't written in a while. I spent two weeks at the cottage and worked hard on my books. I've finished another one, A Discerning Heart, about a poor fisherman. Out to catch a famous fish, he finds himself shipwrecked on a deserted island guarded by mermaid. The island is filled with treasure from shipwrecked pirate ships. He finds a dead pirate's journal. One day he escapes the island taking as much of the treasure as he could. He assumes the identity of the pirate captain and takes revenge on the villagers because they had always mistreated him.

The novel is now with the editor. After I make those corrections, I'll send it to a friend to check for any other mistakes/typos. Once those corrections are noted, I'll be self-publishing. I hope you'll find the topic interesting and buy a copy.

have fun,

Here is a photo of Emma, my cat, at the cottage seeing if the dog left her anything to lick from the ice cream container.

Friday, 19 June 2015

About Children

I never wanted children. Sorry to say that so bluntly but been thinking for a few minutes of how to begin this blog and I keep coming back to that statement, but I don't want to offend. So I hope you'll understand and keep reading.

As a young child, I didn't play with dolls. Sure I was given dolls but I never played with them. I preferred my brother's Tonka toys.

On the street where I grew up, there were many families of boys. Two were across the street, two in the house beside us. Three from around the crescent, and another boy who was friends with them and always hung out with us. All these guys were older than me so adopted me as their little sister. We wrestled and hiked in the woods. One day, they found abandoned bunnies and gave them to me.

Growing up, I was only interested in sports. I played baseball, volleyball, waterpolo, badminton, and soccer. I refereed volleyball and basketball for $20 a game. I worked the penalty box for hockey and the down box for football. I was also a lifeguard and swimming instructor. Boys were to compete with or a good rival. Never considered them as possible husbands.

Only after arriving in Israel, did I learn about sex. While there, I joined a kibbutz who offered the opportunity to study Hebrew and work on the kibbutz in trade for the lessons. It was an amazing experience.

Every month, we received 30 packs of cigarettes for free. Also they gave away the Pill for free to any woman who wanted it. Since I had met someone, I accepted the offer and went on the Pill. I didn't want to take a chance. It never occurred to me to get pregnant. I never thought about children or getting married.

A few years later, I was living in Tel Aviv studying English Literature at the Tel Aviv University. My boyfriend and I broke up so I went off the Pill. To make a long story short, we got back together and I got pregnant. While my boyfriend was serving his yearly military service, my best friend and I sat down and made a list of pros and cons about keeping the baby. I had a semester to go to finish my degree. Danny and I weren't married and I wasn't sure he'd marry me. I was alone in Israel without any family. Could I be a single mother?

Yes, lots of cons. One other big one was both Roni and I felt there was something wrong with me and I shouldn't be having children. I had always thought something was wrong with me but all the doctors said it was nothing. With all these thoughts, we both believed that it was best I have an abortion, which is what I did. In Israel, any single woman has the right to have an abortion.

In 1986, I returned to Canada and in 1987 I was diagnosed with Bipolar Affective Disorder. I was advised that it is hereditary and I definitely carried the gene for the illness. Much mental illness rained on my family. My brother was diagnosed Bipolar too.

I didn't want to take a chance of having children. I couldn't bear seeing my child go through the hell I've been through. The doctors agreed that I should be prohibited from having children so performed a tubal ligation. I've never regretted that decision.

From my 20s to my early 40s, I lived like a gypsy. Marriage and family were the farthest things from my mind. Running away from my problems was my sole occupation. When things got hard, I'd quit my job and move somewhere else, even to another country.

Now, I'm in my 50s living a very free life. Yes, I have the responsibilities of my cat, dog and house but I'm satisfied with my life. Sure whenever I see a baby or child I don't wonder what if, but then I think of all the work. They require constant attention, which continues for the rest of your life. When I think of that and what it would mean to have a child here demanding my time, I'm glad I didn't have kids.

I'm poor. I'm a struggling author. I work every day of the week. I'm constantly on my computer putting words together. Some days I don't even take the dog for a walk. How could I look after children? I couldn't. I made the right decision not to have kids.

Do you agree with me? Do you understand?

have fun,

my children:

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Update about Signings

I try to remain positive in my blogs. No one wants negativity; there's enough of that in the world. So I keep my blogs positive and optimistic. However, I'm going to change that policy with this blog. I need to vent.

I'm an author. My job is to write and then sell my books. One possibility for this is a book signing at a bookstore. Here in Ontario, Chapters is the major chain hosting signing events. It's very easy to book a signing: just call the store and ask to speak to the person who organizes the events. Never had a problem talking with that person and, after a detailed email about me and my books, I scheduled a date.

Most stores place a table for you in the front of the store by the front doors. I thought this was a great spot, but I have learned the ropes. When people walk in a store, they don't want to be accosted especially by someone selling something. But, when you are sitting there, you have no choice but to say hello and invite them to look at your books.

Most people say, "No, not interested." I don't mind them not being interested but I wish they were more polite. At one store, people were just rude. I'm sorry to bother you but this is my job. Being rude is totally unnecessary. You can say no but be polite about it. At the end of the day, I feel terrible and beaten down. If it weren't for Miriam, who drives me to all my signings, I'd be upset. She is a gentle soul who knows just what to say.

At the Guelph store, the manager put the table back into the store on a main walk-way. People were more relaxed because they were already shopping and would stop by my table to hear about my books. I sold quite a few at that store and the people were really nice; even the ones who said no but they said it with a smile on their face.

Today's signing was a disaster. There were more staff in the store than customers. Everyone I tried to interest in my books said, "I don't read," "I have no time to read," "I'm not much of a reader." Well then (sorry) but what the fuck you doing in a bookstore? Sorry but seriously? I only stayed at this store an hour as there were no sales and I couldn't be bothered to waste my time further. This is the first time I've left a signing early. Usually I stay from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm.

I do signings because it's the best way to get your work out there and I will continue to do signings. Each year, I have a new book to add to the collection and I want to promote it. Even though I find them so difficult, I must persist. You never know who will buy your book and maybe it could lead to something. Also, I sell more books at the stores than I would sitting at home. I just wish people were nicer.

In my next blog, I'll give you an insight into my new novel, The Discerning Heart. I don't know the genre yet. My editor will help with that. I call it adventure.

have fun,

From my signing in Guelph:

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Playoff Hockey

Playoff hockey is the best. Hockey is my favourite sport and I love watching it. I'm a big Toronto Maple Leaf fan and yes I admit it. Even though they were third worst in the league, I still say, "There's always next year" as does every other Leaf fan.

Leaf nation received some great news this week with the announcement that Mike Babcock will be the new coach. Mike was the coach of the Detroit Red Wings and won a Stanley Cup with them in 2008. He's a famous coach in Canada since he won two Olympic gold and a world championship for us. I'm thrilled he's taking over and look forward to a Stanley Cup in a few years.

Back to playoff hockey. I haven't missed many games this season. It's such a difficult sport. I have much admiration for the players except when they fight. Don't like the fighting. Went to a boxing match and a hockey game broke out.

In playoff hockey, the guys play that much harder. They skate faster, hit with more abandon, and find it more difficult to score. I was cheering for Montreal and Calgary until they lost out. If the Leafs aren't playing for the Cup, then I cheer for any Canadian team. Now, I'm cheering for Chicago and New York Rangers but they are down in both their series with Anaheim Ducks and Tampa Bay respectively.

I would love a Chicago/Ranger cup final but it will probably be Ducks and Tampa Bay. My bet is Tampa for the win but it will be a long series, probably go seven games. But that's great. Lots of great hockey to watch.

I just had my backyard sodded. It was a mess and terrible to look at. After discussing it with a friend who owns a contracting business, he offered to do it for me. One of his workers came over and dug up the mess that was my backyard so it was dirt for a few days. I was surprised that Emma liked that.

The landscaping has been completed and I love how it looks. Wow this is so much better. Waiting to see if the pets prefer it. I sure hope so. Keeping it watered well. That's easy to do. I'm so happy how easily this problem was solved.

have fun,

Monday, 18 May 2015

Striking Teachers

Happy Victoria Day!

Right now, in Toronto, teachers are on strike. I'm not going to read up about their issues or learn the reasons for their strike just to regurgitate it here because I really don't care. Don't have kids and don't know any kids of school age so really it's not a matter which I can honestly discuss. But I think teachers should never be allowed to strike.

Just think of the stress they are causing to kids in their last year of high school. Their whole life could go askew because their entrance into university or the work force is put off for a few months. And what about the parents? They have to stay home from work to look after their kids so the strike affects them aversely too.

Teachers never striked when I was a kid. Our teachers rarely took time off work. I remember them always being in class. They were always available to us and offered great school programs. I have great memories of many teachers from Westdale Secondary in Hamilton.

When in grade 12 and with our history teacher and a few adult chaperons, we went to Quebec City. We took the train. I was 17 years old and so in Ontario, I wasn't old enough to drink since the age was 18. However, in Quebec, the age requirement to drink was 16. I was playing bridge with the history teacher, an older sister of one of my classmates and another teacher. They were all drinking except me who had a can of coke. When we crossed the border, my history teacher picked up his bottle of rum and poured it into my coke. I loved him for that!

For some strange reason, I fell in love with chemistry in grade 9. I did very well in that class and volunteered to clean test tubes after school. My chemistry teacher was a lovely man who spent time helping me excel in his classes. I received a 98% in that class. Actually, it was the best mark I ever received. I was more a B student.

I had a lot of problems learning how to read. As a child, I avoided reading as it was torture. I don't think I was dyslexic but probably borderline. I see words as shapes. If a word is spelt wrong, I can tell by its shape but I'm not always able to identify the mistake. I remember sitting quietly in class as the other students read. Amazingly enough, I managed to make it to grade 5 without being able to read.

Then I met Mrs. Markham. I'll never forget her name. She realized I wasn't reading and set out to teach me to read. She spent much quality time with me. To encourage me to read, she gave a book: Mrs. Pickerel Goes to the Moon. That was the first book I ever read and I loved it. Reading became better than candy and because of that book, I set out to read everything I could get my hands on. I'm still a voracious reader thanks to Mrs. Markham.

Teachers are a major part of a child's life. They make a difference. I have the upmost respect for teachers but they should never be allowed to go on strike. Let me know what you think. Do you agree or disagree?

have fun,

Friday, 8 May 2015


When we were kids, we hardly ever went out for dinner. When we did, it was to celebrate something special. When my parents were kids, they never ate out at restaurants. Well time's have changed.

We now go out to dinner quite frequently and it is no longer something special. Well, it's always special to me. I love eating restaurant food and I have a few favourite places in my city.

My favourite place is La Luna. The chefs are Lebanese and serve middle eastern food. And the food is absolutely fantastic. I must have eaten everything on their menu. There have two restaurants. One is in downtown Hamilton. The other is on the mountain which is ten minutes from where I used to live. So when I lived on the mountain seven years ago, I would order from La Luna every two weeks. Their staff is the best: the friendliest and nicest people.

My next favourite restaurant is a Japanese place owned and run by Koreans. These Koreans are the nicest people I've ever met. I've learned some Korean so that I may thank them for their meals. Joya Sushi serves the best sushi and I love their beef teriyaki. There is also an assortment of Korean dishes which are delicious.

Yesterday, I had my favourite lunch at the Indian restaurant. India Village serves a special lunch which comes on a metal tray like you get in the army but in each place is a lovely variety of Indian food such as an appetizer like onion bhaji, a main dish with a few pieces of butter chicken, a salad, a side vegetable dish and a small sweet ball for dessert. It's absolutely delicious and very healthy.

Another favourite restaurant is Bangkok Spoon. They provide delicious Thai food. Their fresh spring roll is absolutely fantastic. They also have a great variety of beef, chicken and seafood dishes. Had a few and enjoyed every one.

As you can tell, I like ethnic foods. I love to eat things I could never make for myself. I also enjoy spices. When I travelled to different countries, it was so much fun trying their native foods. I could eat my way around the world!!

Where do you like to eat? What are your favourite foods? Leave me a comment.

have fun,

Friday, 1 May 2015


Ever watch Dragon's Den or Shark's Tank? Ever think of an invention? Those shows promote intelligence, business savvy and strong personalities. Not only is it interesting, but you learn some great ideas. But it's difficult coming up with something that everyone will want to buy. Some ideas succeed but most don't.

Have you ever heard of Magic Mess? It's a brilliant invention. It is a screen that covers any door.

It's a simple mesh that is fastened to your door. Those pins you use for particle boards are the best things I've found to keep the screen attached to the door frame. They are easy to stick into the wood frame and easy to take out at the end of the season.

In the centre are magnets which allow easy passage and connect quickly upon closing. It is a brilliant invention. I love that fresh air.

Now I can leave my backdoor open all the time. No flies or bugs get in and the dog and cat can go in and out as much as they please.

How would you like to receive notice of my next blog? Or obtain information about my next book? Or maybe you'd like to know of my next signing?

You can now leave me your email and I will inform you about is happening. Go to this site and leave me your email address. Lots of news is to come.

On Saturday, May 9th, 2015, I have a signing at Chapters Ancaster in Meadowlands. Please come out and say hello.

have fun,

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Richard Wagamese

This morning I was fortunate enough to attend a Grit Lit event in Hamilton, Ontario. Numerous workshops and readings were available to the public for a small price. I was lucky to spend an hour and a half listening to the Canadian author Richard Wagamese.

Richard is an amazing, brilliant, and special author. His background is truly disturbing. He was taken away from his family at a young age and then placed with an adoptive family who consistently abused him. At 16, he left those terrible people and headed out to make a life for himself. He succeeded in obtaining some of the most menial jobs because he only had a grade 9 education and no work experience.

Yet, he discovered the library. He had never experienced a silence such as the quiet he heard at the library. Voraciously, he read every book he could lay his hands on. He kept a small note pad to record pieces of knowledge he gleaned from overheard conversations. He would take these simple queries to the librarian to learn everything he could.

Not only did he learn to write from the books he read, he also obtained a position with a local newspaper. From there, he achieved many writing opportunities from all over Canada. He admitted to still reading widely as evidenced by the number of books scattered throughout his house. Truly amazing. Most authors tell would-be authors to read as much as possible.

Since one of my characters in That Truthful Place is Ojibway, I provided Richard with a copy. I look forward to any comments he may have.

Check out a new Review from Jaylan Salah who I met through Twitter. Have you read the reviews from HollySisson or R.D. Hale for That Truthful Place.

have fun,

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Looking out my Window

I live in my black leather recliner in my living room. Here I do everything. I sit with my laptop, feet up and everything I need at arm's length. To my right is a large window leading to my backyard through which I can see Sumac trees and bushes covering a small, steep hill. Beyond the hill are million dollar estates. There is a metal link fence at the top of the hill leading into their backyards so you can't see any buildings and I rarely see anyone. Mostly cats wander the hill but saw a possum the other day.

My backyard is fenced-in. It's not a big backyard but big enough for Kira, my terrier mutt dog. Birds love my Sumac trees especially Blue Jays. I also see Cardinals, Sparrows, Robins and other small birds. Once in a while, hummingbirds (my favourite bird) hover by my window. Squirrels run all over the fence and enjoy teasing the dog and cat.

I have turned off the furnace and am leaving the backdoor open. Now my pets can go in and out at their pleasure. What a relief! Kira has me up and down out of my chair often to go outside and then to let her back in. She doesn't spend much time in the backyard. It's also great to have some fresh air. I love airing out the house. I like keeping all the windows open.

My poor Kira. Two weeks ago, I had to go out of town for a couple of days so left her with my parents who love looking after her. I kept Emma, my cat, at home and a neighbour came over and fed her.

While Kira was in my parents' fenced-in backyard, a vicious neighbour's dog who had been let off leash broke into the backyard and attacked Kira. The skin on her back had been ripped from her body. She had three operations. The final operation made an incision from shoulder to shoulder. She is recuperating well and is back to her old self.

That neighbour's dog, as well as the second one these people own, killed a neighbour's dog four years ago. In the past year, the dogs have attacked two other women out walking their dogs. We understand from Animal Control that these dogs must wear a muzzle all the time while on a walk. My parents have seen them walk by recently and the dogs aren't wearing muzzles.

I don't know what is the matter with these people. Kira's bills came to over $2,000. I guess they like hurting other people's dogs and they have lots of money to throw away. Really? It's terrible what they are doing. No one wants to walk their dog in my parents' neighbourhood because of these dogs. My parents wrote Animal Control about the dogs being muzzle-less. We'll see what happens.

Kira had the stitches out last week. We saw the vet today for a check-up. She's pleased that Kira is healing so well. This vet is brilliant and did a wonderful job. Kira is back to her usual routine which means walks in this now beautiful spring.

have fun,

Thursday, 9 April 2015


All my life, I've volunteered somewhere. Growing up, I worked with the CNIB (Canadian National Institute for the Blind). The school/residence lay close to my home. It was a wonderful experience and I learned much about disabilities. These kids were not only blind but also developmentally delayed. Whenever I returned to Hamilton, I would spend time with the residents. My last job with them was being in charge of their Pet Corner. I would teach the children about animals and how to look after a pet.

When I was at the Tel Aviv University in Israel, I helped a blind woman record her school books and assignments into Braille. I would spend hours reading into a tape recorder so she could write them out. I also typed out her essays. It was wonderful being able to help her. I don't remember her name, but she was lovely and so smart. She did well in her studies.

In 1992, she travelled to Long Island, New York, to receive a seeing eye dog. Along with seven other people, she attended a guide dog school. She spent a few weeks with them learning how to work with her guide dog. I travelled there and stayed a few days. She was so happy to have me there so I could help translate when needed. I also took her shopping. Try explaining colours to a blind person.

The guide dog school was truly amazing. It was brilliant to watch the blind people who would normally walk hunched over and head down transformed with the dog to walking erect, head up and smiling. What a wonderful transformation. All of the people changed dramatically with a dog at their side. It made me cry numerous times.

I itched to pat and play with these guide dogs. I had never seen more beautiful dogs. Six were labs both yellow and black. There was a standard poodle and a golden retriever. Of course, I was not allowed to touch them since they were in work mode. But every evening, after the trainers had left for the day, everyone would bring their dog to me so I could finally lay my hands on them. I was in heaven.

From April to June, I have scheduled five signings. If you will be at the Burlington Indigo on Brant Street on Saturday, April 11th, come and say hello. I will be at Chapters in Meadowlands, Ancaster, on Saturday, May 9th, from 1 to 4 pm. On Saturday, May 16th, I will be at the Chapters in Guelph on Stone Road. I have two signings in June. On the 6th, I will be in Stoney Creek and on the 20th, I will be at the Chapters in Erin Mills, Power Centre.

have fun,

Thursday, 26 March 2015

English Works

A few months ago, I found an ad in a local newspaper looking for volunteers to speak English with students from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, over Skype. I'm always looking to volunteer. But being able to do it from home, makes it better and easier. I contacted the organizer, a young woman from Rio now living in New York City. Patricia, with the help of Roger (a Canadian living in London, Ontario), arranges English speaking people to have  conversations with Brazilians.

Classes began at the end of February. It's a very interesting situation. After a class, the students spend five to ten minutes in front of the computer on Skype to talk to a volunteer. There are set dialogues to follow but, depending on the level of the student, I ask them a few questions of my own. The ages rang from 13 to 55, both men and woman of varying abilities.

I enjoy teaching English. It's an important language to learn. Most countries speak English and learning a new language is always fun. Most of these students are beginners but some are more advanced. Some speak quite well while others need assistance with the words. It's a lot of fun and I enjoy meeting these people whose wide and bright smiles light up my computer.

For a long time, I have been working with a young man from Rio. I met him on the chat line. He was looking for someone to help him with his English. We hit it off and I began to teach him. In the beginning, his only words were hello, how are you. After a few years of English courses and a two week experience in England at a school for non-English speakers, he is fluent now. His vocabulary is well-established and I'm always impressed with his abilities. He gives me a lot of credit but he had done the work.

Recently, I have been speaking on Skype with one of their assistant teachers. Raphaela is a pretty young girl who desperately wishes to learn to speak English. Her writing skills are excellent but she makes some simple pronunciation errors. I'm sure she will learn quickly. She has a good ear and accepted the corrections instantly.

This world they live in is so different from ours. Classes are cancelled due to police actions, shootings and violent happenings. We are so lucky to live in such a peaceful environment. I was asked why it is so safe here and I couldn't reply. It has always been safe in Canada and I treasure this country for its peaceful existence. When told that if they don't see the police, it is strange. I replied that it is strange for us to see the cops.

If you are interested in volunteering or in the organization, check out this English Works website

have fun,

Friday, 13 March 2015


One thing you may not know about me is that I'm a professional poker player. I've been playing poker for money for two years now though I've been playing at the same poker site since 2005. At that time, I played with fake money/chips but it became boring. You really won nothing. So, I decided to start playing for money. I only play tournaments and not cash games so I only lose a set amount.

Mostly, I play $7.50 tournaments. The most expensive tournament I play in costs $11 to enter. So that's all I can lose: $11 which is not going to break the bank. These tournaments have between 4,000 to 8,000 players so the tourney may take a number of hours to complete. The longest I've played is six hours when I came 9th out of 6,700 people and won $250. Many times, I make it to the money round and at least win back what I paid into the tournament.

Basically, I play maybe four hours. It's my entertainment. I love playing poker. It's so addictive. I'm fascinated with the game. It's so exhilarating when your hand hits and you win. Though I must admit, when you lose it's disheartening but, after a few moments of pain, I bounce back and look forward to the next hand.

I play at Pokerstars a great site. You have a choice of either playing for money or for chips. They make improvements all the time only making the games better. Recently they added a notation where you can learn what place you are in the tournament and how many people are left. You can also easily learn when the blinds change and to what. There is a place where you can make notes about the other players as well as to learn your statistics.

In the past, I played in a few live tournaments held at local bars. I came second in two different tournaments and won $120. However, these games stopped for some reason and I no longer play live. My dream is to play in a poker tournament in Las Vegas. One day I will go but not now. No money.

I wrote a novel about five poker buddies who uncover a conspiracy. Had it edited and it needs work. One day I'll get to it and finish it.

Loving the weather. So glad we moved our clocks ahead. This is great. So nice to see the sun and the temperatures are finally moving up not down. Soon I'll be able to open the windows and let the fresh air in.

have fun,

My favourite poker player is Daniel Negreanu, from Toronto now living in Vegas. He's a big hockey fan and is trying to get a hockey team in Vegas.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Talking about Mental Illness

I'm now gainfully employed as a speaker for an organization called TAMI: Talking About Mental Illness. Jill runs this program for the Canadian Mental Health Association which brings people associated with mental illness into schools, colleges and university classes to teach students about mental illness. It's a wonderful concept to get people to understand what mental illness really is from someone who suffers.

On Friday, March 6th, I was invited to Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario, to give a speech about my experience with mental illness. I'm Bipolar. I became sick at 6 years of age even though I wasn't diagnosed until I was 27. All through my childhood, all doctors said I was just a "spoiled brat looking for attention" even though I was screaming out at everyone that something was wrong with me.

I really enjoyed giving the lecture. There must have been 50 students in the class and as I looked around the room, every eye was on me. I told them about my life and discussed what it means to be mentally ill. They gave me a good ovation. The teacher (a blonde bombshell who is also extremely intelligent with a sturdy handshake) said that I was a "charismatic speaker." Wow.

I'm so happy that was the response from her and Jill gave me two thumbs up. I wasn't that nervous speaking. I did forget what I had said. I talked for maybe 15 minutes and I was exhausted. When I got home, I realized what a rush it had been and I can't wait to give more speeches. Hopefully, I'll hear from Jill soon about more possible opportunities.

I love spreading the word about mental illness. My hero is Clara Hughes who rode her bike around Canada in the pursuit of dialogue about mental illness. Thanks to her, people like me find it easier to talk about my Bipolar.

After leading an adventurous life travelling the world, I can admit that I'm basically stable at this moment and never happier in life. I love writing and am working on three books (one mystery, one adventure and the sequel to That Truthful Place ). A few wonderful opportunities are occurring to keep me happy and optimistic about my future.

Life is good!

have fun,

Thursday, 5 March 2015


Spring is just 15 days away. Just 15. I can't wait. I love this season since it means winter is over. Not a big fan of winter but, yes, we survived another winter. Okay. there is still a lot of snow on the ground and the temperature is quite cool, but it will be gone soon. It's guaranteed.

One thing you can't fight is the weather. Everyone here, when planning something, plans for all possible weather conditions. Some sites will tell you the weather on any given day but who knows if that's correct.

I'm not truly allowed to comment on the winter though it wasn't that bad. But, I hibernated and worked at home so I didn't have to get up in the dark, clean off the car every morning then drive into work. After work, you have to clean the car off, manoeuver around snow mounds and return home where you have to shovel the driveway to get the car in. I have lived that life.

Luckily, now I have an empty garage to keep my car warm and safe from the weather. I live in a townhouse complex and we have landscapers who plough our road and driveways. Great service. They cut our grass in the summer so I can go away and it doesn't look like it. Oh and I have a neighbour who is a retired nurse who loves to garden. I pay her a bottle of wine every spring and she keeps my front garden glowing with flowers.

I love the spring. I love seeing colours and not just white and black. I love seeing areas fill up with leaves and not just branches. Once the flowers come out, it is truly beautiful out there. Everything feels and smells new and fresh. It's great being able to open the windows and allowing the fresh air blow throughout the house.

Brrrr. It's still cold out. Just let the dog into the backyard. Glad I don't have to go outside to pee!

have fun,

Wednesday, 4 February 2015


These terrorists we hear of in the news feel hate more than any other emotion. And it's not a simple hate. It's a hate worse than fire. It burns and burns to the point of destruction. When they hate, death is the only objective. Most have a warped belief of Allah and Islam and can hear no reason or compromise. Diplomacy is cowardly. You can't reason with these people. Unfortunately,  their future can only be death or imprisonment. They won't ever change their beliefs.

I lived in Israel for five years and travelled twice to Egypt. While there, I saw that hate. Nothing I could say would change their minds about me. I was Jewish and a Israeli. I didn't deserve to live.

When I was in Sydney, Australia, I got a job at a factory. One of my best friends was a guy from Jordan now living in Australia. We took every smoke break together. We could talk about anything and we especially loved jokes and would compete to make each other laugh.

After a month at the factory, the fact that I was Jewish got out. It meant nothing to everyone but my Jordanian friend. He never spoke to me again.

The Israeli ambassador and the Minister of the Diaspora would like Hatikvathe Israeli/Jewish Peoples' National Hymn, to become the most popular video on You Tube
by April 16, 2015, the 68th anniversary of Israel’s Independence Day.

Please view the video clip. The object is to place this video among the top five clips. 

the Hatikva on Youtube

have fun,

Sunday, 1 February 2015

The Cottage

It's been a while since I've written a blog. All the work self-publishing Locker Rooms and That Truthful Place took a lot out of me. I just can't seem to get the books free of mistakes. Everyone who reads them finds another mistake. I keep making the changes and then re-publishing. Hopefully, they are now at their best.

I understand my mother made a few requests of my father before their wedding. She wanted a dog and she wanted a cottage on a lake. The first wish was easily fulfilled. I grew up with dogs which I loved. We had Schnauzers, a Yellow Lab, and two Golden Retrievers which is really the best breed.

In 1974, my parents bought land on a small lake near Huntsville, Ontario. The next spring, the cottage was built by a wonderful man and his two sons. Unfortunately, the builder died of cancer a few years later. I became very good friends with his daughter.

This is a view of the cottage from the dock.

It's not a big cottage. One long room consisting of the living room, dining room and kitchen. On the other side are two bedrooms and the bathroom. The kitchen only holds a refrigerator and stove. No microwave, no dishwasher or laundry machines. I don't mind the simplicity. It's refreshing after all the modern conveniences I have at home. Also, this situation deters many would-be guests.

My mother had a very good friend who wanted to visit our cottage. She hinted it to me many times when I saw her. Then one day I described the cottage. She never asked again.

I had given one friend exact directions which she didn't follow so got lost. Her mother was convinced that she would get lost in the USA even though she was driving north not south. When she arrived at the cottage, all she could manage to say was how many trees there were. She couldn't believe that we were living in a forest. She wasn't there a day before she asked to go into town. Huntsville is a 30 minute drive and, when I'm at the cottage, I stayed at the cottage. We only would go into town for groceries or to do laundry. She didn't last long. She stayed on more night then returned home.

I think a lot about the cottage. Winter is a wonderful time to go up. The place is winterized but our private road is long with a very steep hill so the only way to get in is by snowshoe or cross-country ski which is fun when you're young. As I get older, I find that more difficult to do. Blue Mountain is a great ski hill near Huntsville and we skied there many winters.

Muskoka gets a lot of snow in winter. Here is our picnic table taken this year by our neighbours. You can't see their cottage because of the trees. You only see them if they are on the dock. On our other side is Crown land. It's just forest. No one can buy it or build on it and will always remain like that.

Growing up I had some special friends at the cottage. One was Flora whom I have described in a previous blog entitled: To Special Friends. Other close friends were Bill and Evelyn Sims. They were a wonderful, warm and happy couple. Usually they would sit on their dock and I would visit with them when I was out on the lake in my canoe. They died a while ago and I still miss them.

Bob McCrae's family owned much of the land on our lake. He sold us our property and became a very good friend. I had a school-girl crush on him even though he was 50 years older than me. But even after his Parkinson's developed and he couldn't leave the house, I would call him every week. Most times he'd lose his voice after a few minutes but I would proceed to chatter away. He has also died and the cottage just doesn't seem the same without him.

I have travelled around the world but never found a place as beautiful as the cottage. I still go up every year with friends. My best friend came up last year for the first time. She is the kind of person who is always busy doing something. She can never just sit down. When I invited her to the cottage, I expected her to spend a lot of time in town. Well the opposite happened. She had never relaxed so well as she did at the cottage. She loves it up there. We plan to spend two weeks next summer!

Hope you enjoyed reading about my sanctuary. Anyone else have a cottage?

Have fun,

Monday, 5 January 2015


Not understanding the self-publishing system, I self-published Shall-We-Chat? Revealing the Secrets of Chatting Online through Createspace which is associated with Amazon. The benefits of this site is that it's free and the books are automatically available on Amazon. I didn't know what I was doing and I made some publishing mistakes. The book turned out pretty well, but I decided for my next one I would get a publishing company.

There are a number of publishing houses out there that cater to self-publishing authors. After checking out a few, I chose iUniverse since they were the cheapest. They charge $1,200 to publish your book. The other places charge between $3,000 to $4,000 and I couldn't afford that. I was optimistic that my book would be better after being published by an established firm.

iUniverse proceeded to publish Locker Rooms in approximately three months. They offered editorial services but their charges were very high which made it unavailable to me. I had thought that editing was part of the package. I was wrong to consider the novel ready for publishing. I should have had it edited by a professional editor. I didn't have my editor Blake Atwood at that time.

Since I have trouble writing the back cover, I requested iUniverse do that. It cost $200. I asked Blake to do the same for That Truthful Place and he charged me $40. Actually, everything I asked iUniverse to do cost me more money. The fee I originally paid only covered the basics. Anything extra cost money. I also expected them to do some marketing for me. They don't do any. They do offer some events but very expensive.

When Locker Rooms was published, I bought copies to sell to my friends and for signings. Since it was an American company, the exchange rate made it expensive. I had to buy the book at its book price so when I did the signings and was charged 45% by Chapters, I actually lost money with every book I sold. Not an ideal situation.

In addition, unknown to me, I had to obtain an IRS Income Tax number which is difficult to do. After waiting on hold with the IRS for 45 minutes to learn how to properly fill out the form, I sent in the correct form with my passport. I was very nervous about sending my passport but I had no choice.

Obviously, I was very unhappy working iUniverse. I mentioned that to Blake and he said I could cancel with them. I didn't know that. So, of course, I immediately cancelled my contract with them.

I have re-self-published Locker Rooms through Createspace and it is now available on Amazon. Here are the links to buy Locker Rooms: and It is not available through which is an obvious disadvantage.

I don't know what those other more expensive companies offer, but I love Createspace. Its free but there are a number of easy steps to follow to self-publish. Also, the royalties are much better. You can buy your copy for a cheap price so I will make money on every book I sell. A much better situation.

have fun,