Monday, 5 June 2017

Eye Spy


There has been a lot of media coverage lately about bees. How they are on the decline. If you like to eat anything the least bit healthy, you need bees. The collect the nectar and pollen from flowers.This is used to feed their colony. As they collect they pollinate. The nectar eventually turns into honey.

There has been a lot of media coverage lately about bees. How they are on the decline. If you like to eat anything the least bit healthy, you need bees. The collect the nectar and pollen from flowers. This is used to feed their colony. As they collect they pollinate. The nectar eventually turns into honey.

I live in rural Ontario. Our property is bursting with flowers and trees. Enough trees, we rarely use our air conditioner. Even on the hottest days, we sleep with our windows open at night, allowing a beautiful breeze into our bedroom.






Spring is beautiful around here. The trees and perennials are coming to life after the winter. We have a cherry tree on the property that the birds love. We were outside in mid May, doing some yard work. My husband was working a short distance from me, close to that tree.
 "Heather. Come here. Listen."
As I walked toward him, I heard the buzz. A small orchestra could have been suspended in the air. I looked up at the white blossom filled cherry tree. Honeybees surrounded every branch of the vibrant tree, buzzing around those blossoms. What a gorgeous sight, and sound.
I just smiled.



The joys of living in rural Ontario. we buy my honey and honey products from a local bee keeper. I support our local famers and buy pure Canadian maple syrup from a 'Sugar Shake.' We can watch them tap the trees.

An interesting little fact. Bees don't sleep. They have a short life span, around thirty days. They work the entire time. Keep the bees alive and healthy. We need them.

If you're able, buy wild flower seeds and plant them. The honeybees will thank you. 


Where to find me?  I'm out there...

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

It's time to Celebrate

Celebrating Canada - blog post

This year my great country turns 150 years old. July 1st. We're young as a nation, but this is worth celebrating. It's a vast, diverse, beautiful country. I'm proud to call Canada home.
A Toronto radio station did a poll in April. If neither money nor time were an issue, where would you travel to. 
British Columbia is gorgeous. We have been a few times. Tofino on Vancouver Island, the coast of BC with the ocean and the Rockies in the distance. And of course the wineries. 
Banff and Lake Louise in Alberta. Words can't describe how beautiful this area is. We are heading to Canmore and the Badlands in Alberta for our summer vacation this year. I'm looking forward to it.
Ontario, my home province is amazing. Rolling countryside, rocks and lakes and waterfalls. North, south, east and west. It's an incredible province. We take day trips, with picnic lunches regularly with our dog.
I love the east coast as well. It's relaxed and the people are so friendly. The food. The aroma alone is mouth watering.
The answer to the poll?  
Newfoundland. Otherwise known as "The Rock"


We went to The Rock two years ago with our best friends. It was on my bucket list and it didn't disappoint. It's best described as heaven on earth. We drove the western arm and stopped a number of times along the way to hike or just appreciate the view. Gros Morne is a must see. We took the boat to Labrador and had a wonderful meal in a lighthouse. 
We saw icebergs and humpback whales during our trip. And we saw one moose. Woohoo. Rumour has it there are more moose than people in Newfoundland.


The hospitality is second to none. 
We were on the final days of our holiday, and looking for someplace for lunch. We pulled into a small restaurant / convenience store and walked in. There were probably eight tables, all of which were occupied. 
A young father hopped up from the table. He asked in his Newfie twang if we were there for lunch. 
We informed him we needed a table for four.
I just about died when he responded. 'He would kick his family out.'
I'm not quoting here. It would be impossible to remember his exact words. The Newfies have a dialect all of their own, but it's something you can understand. 
He told us they ate there all the time and that they were done anyway. 
He turned to his father and two kids and told them to make room. They got up with their drinks and we took their place. We enjoyed a fantastic meal.
We have travelled a lot over the years. We've been to Europe, travelled the USA, have been to Caribbean islands and to Central America. 

Canada ranks right up there. If you haven't been, it's worth the trip.



Monday, 3 April 2017

Smooching - How much can you take?

Kissing

Last month on the blog I discussed the average attention span. Picking up on that theme, I heard another interesting statistic. 
This one has me equally baffled. According to a survey, people are willing to watch a kissing scene for twelve seconds. Now granted, twelve seconds doesn't sound very long, but think about it. 
This survey wasn't using a couple having short sweet kisses while talking or giggling. We are referring about a full blown, wet, get the heart pumping kiss. 
I challenge you. Set a timer for twelve seconds.
Ready?
Now, imagine watching a couple go at it. Not a couple on the big screen, but an average couple. 
One thousand…two thousand. 
Keep watching that couple.
You're not even half way there yet. 
When you've had enough, how many seconds area left on the timer?



There is a reason the camera angle changes during a 'Hollywood' kissing scene. You've watched the characters in that relationship grow and develop, but still, enough is enough. I think that is why the director uses sheer curtains, a fence, something, anything to add dimension to the scene. Even the character's hands get in the way of the lip lock. 
As you can guess, twelve seconds, in my mind, is way too long to watch. 

So, back to the 8.5 second attention span. I think during the kiss the viewers mind is wandering for at least 3.5 seconds. 


Monday, 6 March 2017

Something Shiny



Listening to the news a short time ago, I heard a rather interesting statistic. Interesting may be the wrong word. I’ll leave that up to you. The statistic was on the average human attention span. My first thought was, seriously? Someone or a group of people are actually paid to monitor and record attention spans? 
It gets worse. 
Last year, the average attention span was 12 seconds. Yes, you read that correctly. So unless you’re a speed reader, I’ve already lost you. 
I’ll give my readers the benefit of the doubt. Readers are an intelligent bunch.
So, are you curious? Would you like to hear that we’ve improved? 
Drum roll please. 
I’m listening for the tap of your fingers to prove you’re still paying attention.
No-o-o, we’re flunking, and badly.The average attention span had actually decreased. It now sits at a dismal 8.5 seconds.
As if it can’t get any worse, a goldfish has an attention span of 9 seconds.



Yes, that is correct. We have a shorter attention span than a goldfish. 
Aren’t we proud.
Now the big question. How the heck do they measure what’s going on in the mind of a goldfish. Do they put the little orange critter on a plastic bed and give it a PET (brain) scan? 
I admit, I’m impatient, but to prove my attention span is longer than a goldfish, I will put my cell phone down and allow my computer to have a nap. I will play with the dog. Afterwards  I will initiate a conversation with my husband. Just like the good old days before cell phones invades our lives. I'm sounding like an old fart. I'm not!




I guarantee, the dog has a longer attention span than a goldfish. She will sit and stare at me while I make my breakfast. Two big brown eyes with this, I haven’t been fed in forever look while waiting for a piece of toast in the morning.

My husband's attention span is above average as well. But then again, oh, look, something shiny. 




The Natasha Saga
Empowerment shatters traditions and lives. Greed and pride have devastating consequences. Sacrifices must be made. Written on multiple levels, the saga deals with hope, relationships, and giving, set against a background of conflicting values. 

Through a series of dreams, modern day couple Keeghan and William follow the triumphs and tragedies of multiple generations of the Donovan family. A chance encounter changes Natasha’s life, forever. In her diary, Natasha writes of her dream, and her hope to escape a horrid dictated future.

Will Natasha's legacy survive an uncertain future?

Are you still with me? Oh good. You pass!






Monday, 6 February 2017

The Joys and Challenges of Writing - Part II





     On my last blog, I had given my latest attempt at writing to my husband. An avid reader, he gets the first look at my work. If he likes it, I celebrate. If he doesn’t, well, been there, don’t think much of it.
     He took his lap-top into the living room, sat on his favourite chair and began reading. Being the good, patient wife I can be, not, I bit my bottom lip and left the room. I went to the lower level of our home to watch some television. All was quiet on the upper floor. A half hour later I couldn’t help but think, is he still reading or did he get bored. Is he surfing the net? An hour and a half later, I couldn’t wait any longer. I slowly crept up the stairs, every so quietly, listening for signs of movement. I almost made it. Almost.
     Woof.
     “It’s just you’re mom,” hubby lectured the dog. “She’s being silly.”
     I stepped into the kitchen and looked toward the living room. The dog was curled up on the couch, her chin rose as she looked toward me. Hubby was still sitting on his chair. He hadn’t moved. It’s a good thing it’s comfortable or he’d have pins and needles in his butt.
     “Well?” I asked. “Are you still reading it?”
     He looked up from his computer. “Yes–”
     “What do you think of it?” I knew he wouldn’t be done the entire book, yet. “I like it, so far.”
     “Hallelujah!” I bellowed silently. “Yes.”
     He was only ¼ of the way through the book. He had a long way to go but it was like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders.
I watched a documentary on the band The Eagles a little while ago. One of the artists discussed handing lyrics and music to the rest of the band and the awful feeling in the gut. Will they like it?
I supposed all artists experiences the same anxiety.
     Anyway, when hubby finished the book, he gave me the thumbs up. Now we have to work on editing it. He’ll point out the silly mistakes that I have made. The type that an author simply misses. He will make suggestions and I will rewrite sections. This isn’t a short process but I want it to be the best it can be before, well before I cross my fingers yet again.
The next step isn’t any easier. Anxiety round 2. Finding a publisher… Publishers reject a lot of manuscripts. As an author, I look through their website and try to get a feel for the company. I search for reviews of the company.  I want a publisher that will market my books in places I’m not capable of reaching on my own. I don’t want a publisher that will be looking for a new manuscript every three to six months. I don’t need or want that kind of stress in my life.
Sounds fun, doesn’t it! Not!

     Would you like in on a wee secret?  Book number two, currently called ‘Done’ is a stand along novel. To classify this one into a genre, I’d say it’s a suspense, but not a ‘who done it.’ Intrigued? I hope so.






The Natasha Saga
Empowerment shatters traditions and lives. Greed and pride have devastating consequences. Sacrifices must be made. Written on multiple levels, the saga deals with hope, relationships, and giving, set against a background of conflicting values.
Through a series of dreams, modern day couple Keeghan and William follow the triumphs and tragedies of multiple generations of the Donovan family. A chance encounter changes Natasha’s life, forever. In her diary, Natasha writes of her dream, and her hope to escape a horrid dictated future.

Will Natasha's legacy survive an uncertain future?

Monday, 2 January 2017

The joys, and challenges of writing




   I finished my latest manuscript and gave it to my husband. My fingers, toes and everything other body part were crossed. He probably assumed I had to urinate given the intense expression on my face. It’s always a nervous time. Writing isn’t only creative, it’s a  personal endeavour. Each manuscript is a labour of love. Allowing someone else to criticize it, takes thick skin. I don’t have thick enough skin. I doubt I ever will. This manuscript had to show that I had grown as an author. That I had read the reviews from The Natasha Saga and applied what I had learned.



   I remember writing The Natasha Saga thinking, ‘what will hubby think?’ Given the amount of time I’d spent on it, I didn’t want him to say. ‘Seriously? This is what you’ve been doing? What a waste of time’ Of course my husband would be far more diplomatic, but the point would be there. I’d need another hobby. Worse still, he may consider sending me back to full time employment.
No-o-o-o. Don’t make me!
He didn’t say that. He finished The Saga and said,‘I like it, but you can’t stop it there.’
Shock to the system, he liked it. Hubby Liked it! I jumped up and down for joy that day, and then I continued working on the manuscript. The plot grew. 


   I always had a problem classifying The Saga into a specific genre. It has a romance component, but it isn’t a romance. The plot breaks the rules of traditional romances. Therefore, it isn’t one. It’s a family saga. 

   When the book(s) were ready, I sent the first one to three publishers. I never considered self-publishing. In my mind, if it was a worthy plot, I’d find a publisher. Mission successful, one of them accepted my manuscript. I was assigned not one but two editors and a cover artist. Today, I’m a traditionally published author.



   With The Saga behind me, I finished my second novel, more than a little optimistic. After all, all four books within The Natasha Saga were available at major on-line distributors. 
Hubby read my second labour of love, yet to have an official name, while I kept myself entertained. When he finally finished reading it, he said, and I quote, ‘You’ve done better.’
It was as if he hit me with a sledge hammer. That comment could have sent us to divorce court. Boom, you’re out of here. It didn’t. Common sense kicked me in the butt. It brought me back to earth with a hard thud. Plunked me down, right on my arse. That plot is still on the back burner, otherwise known as a file on my computer. I haven’t decided what to do with that story, yet.
So you understand my fear handing this manuscript to him. Offically, labour of love number three.




   Well, you will have to wait for the second part of this blog post for his reaction. Now you know how it feels. The anxiety of not knowing. 
I ended each of the saga books with a wee cliff hanger as well, but lucky for you, if you’re interested in reading it, they are available. Amazon, Kobo, iTunes. They are even available in the library system. You may have to ask your library to bring them in. I did, but I do like borrowing books to read.
If you ask and say please, I’m still in the giving mood. I’ll email the PDF copies of the book to you. One wee request. Please post a review after you finish reading Natasha’s Legacy, the conclusion.






Happy 2017.



Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Emotions

As I lay in bed this morning, thinking about this blog post, a commercial came to mind. West Jet Airline is known for their emotional ads and this one is fantastic.
A little girl and her family are checking in for a flight. She is holding a plastic, transparent container filled with live greenery and her tiny pet turtle. Yes, a pet turtle. A real live turtle. It’s not exactly a service animal that can board and remain with the owner.
Hmmm.

The marketing team behind West Jet used facial expressions with internal thoughts to relay their message.

The father; what will they do?
The mother; they can’t hurt it / flush it
And two employees; oh, dear. How are we going to handle this unique situation without breaking that little girl’s heart?
The little girl doesn't have a voice, but she does have facial expressions. Her eyes speak to the camera. See my turtle. Don’t make me leave him behind.
The camera zooms in on the turtle. The little guy looked directly at the viewers, pleading with the airline personnel in it’s own special way, using it’s human voice, speaks.




The entire commercial is brilliant.
Near the end, one employee finds her real voice and speaks. Problem solved.
I give the marketing team at West Jet full marks and high praise.

Authors use emotions when writing. We write words that evoke fear, laughter, make a person think, or simply warm a person’s heart. Through the gift of words, we develop our characters, making them three dimensional.
We describe the scenes, so the reader can visualize the picture in the author’s mind.
Technology has given us audio books. These allow the visually impaired to listen to a story without inconveniencing anyone else. Someday, I’m hoping I can afford to have my books released in audio.
I’m not visually impaired, but I love inserting my ear plugs, closing my eyes and listening to a story unfold while my husband listens to his music. Good quality time with my guy. Don’t you agree.

I’d like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, from my family to yours.
Personally, I wish for world peace, patience and love. It’s a crazy world out there.
Take a moment, breath deeply, and relax. Your body and mind will thank you. Fingers are crossed for the New Year.