When Listening Is The Answer

“More than any inheritance, more than any sacred item, more than any title, the legacy he left behind is this: as one that day in the sundance circle when he lifted me from the depths, he taught us that during our time on earth we ought to love one another, and that when our hearts are broken, we ought to work hard to make them whole again.

This is at the centre of sacred ceremonies practised by Indigenous people. This is what so many of us seek, no matter where we begin life.

This is the reason you walk.”

The Reason You Walk by Wab Kinew

writing

I’ve spent considerable mental energy the past couple of weeks trying to figure out how to deal with the fact that’s I’m white. That’s very strange thing for me to type out – I’m a white woman. When I think of all the words I would use to describe myself ‘white’ wouldn’t even hit the top ten. Quite possibly not the top twenty. I’m not sure it would occur to me at all.

I guess that’s a case in point for white privilege.

“an invisible package of unearned assets”   Peggy McIntosh

There has been considerable talk, especially in light of Black Lives Matter, asking others to listen to what needs to be said, no matter how hard it is to hear it. It reminds me of the time my son travelled to El Salvador in high school on what was essentially a mission trip. Not to build home or schools, but to spend time with the people of El Salvador in their homes to hear their stories of their country’s violent civil war and the impact it had on their lives.

Hard, harsh, cruel stories of death, loss, and violation from people who wanted their stories told and heard to than be retold and heard again by people who knew nothing of that kind of violence. Stories that were incredibly moving and very hard to read. That process also involved decompressing at the end of each day, because that kind of intense listening needs an outlet.

We cannot simply listen and listen and listen some more and at the end of the day be silent too.  But first we must hear what others have to say.

Or read what they have to say. Hence my book choice and reference to the quote above. I’ve wanted to read this book for a while now and finally picked it up as one of my summer reads. Then I thought maybe I’d wait for the fall to read it in favour of a more ‘beachy’ type read. The kind of books I write! Then people died. And more people died. And the call to action was listening to what people of colour have to say about systemic racism, inequality, and ignorance .

Reading The Reason You Walk by Wab Kinew is my response to that call to action. To read a book by a First Nations politician, broadcaster, musician and activist, who’s also an Honourary Witness for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. I will read his words.

Because we need to do more of what my son did in El Salvador right here at home. We need to listen, absorb the words, without prejudice. Without defence. Or defiance. The words of the people of this country who have stories of oppression, reconciliation and redemption to tell. Because we do better when we know better. But first we must listen. Read. Or both.

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Christmas Couple Time

Christmas couple time? God bless you if you can fit that in. As a romance writer you’d think I’d be better at ensuring my husband and I enjoy some quality couple time during the season of Christmas craziness. But let’s face it, things like movie date night turn into…

movie watching

A nap. I blame the sugar.

I hope it’s the little moments that count. Our annual trip to Tim Horton’s dressed in our pajamas (thank goodness for drive-thrus, cuz otherwise – awkward) for hot chocolate. We drive around looking for the best Christmas lights. Taking a few minutes to sneak some treats and cuddle in front of the Christmas tree. Fondue night.

I’m the planner. Because I don’t consider watching hockey with the fireplace on a date. On the upside, if I fall asleep I won’t miss anything. And naps are important. See above.

I mean I love the idea of building a fort with blankets and pillows and lights and having a picnic in there but all I can think about is who is going to put all that stuff away? Me. That’s who.

But if you’re looking ideas give these links a try!

My Name Is Snickerdoodle – Don’t Be A Grinch Family Night (Okay, not a date night but you could tweak it a bit. But picking a favourite family movie and turing it into a night sounds like a cute idea to me, in a make more work for yourself kind of way.)

The Dating Divas – Christmas Light Scavenger Hunt Date Night (This is a group date night idea which again I found cute! And they’re the Dating Divas. They should know what they’re talking about. And also not a lot of work involved. Invite another couple, or two. Print out the sheet and off you go.)

5 Amazing Things – 5 Amazing Date Night Ideas For Home (besides watching TV) (If you try the Vodka tasting night idea make sure to hide the elf, and not among the vodka bottles, before you start, because…there are a bunch of different kinds of vodka out there. Just saying…)

What’s your favourite way to enjoy some quality time together.

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Some Days…

All you need is love.

all you need is love

The Beatles.

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Happy Hump Day

It’s Wednesday. Even if I refused to believe it first thing this morning. I was sure it was Tuesday.

Good Will HuntingSo true!

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Baton Blog Hop

I’ve been invited to the Baton Blog Hop by JB Lynn, who writes laugh-out-loud suspense and mysteries, along with goosebump-raising thrillers. Sounds good, eh?  The extra great news is she usually has a contest running and now is no different so check out her Contest Page and enter to win!

Time to answer a few questions!

1) What am I working on?

I’m working on my second Aspen Lake novel. Life is small town Aspen Lake is heating up again, on the streets and between the sheets. Kate Logan, boutique owner, is fighting to get her life back on track. Seth Stone, starving artist and carpenter, is leaving reality behind to start again. But when a extremist religious group move to Aspen Lake and make it their mission to shut down the annual Gothic Revival Festival Kate is organizing, trouble brings them together.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I guess it differs because it’s my voice telling the story. Hopefully, what you’ll find is everyday men and women who don’t have all the answers and are looking to find their place in the world. Along the way they find their happily-ever-after. Also, Aspen Lake is a small town in the province of Saskatchewan, Canada. Not many of those around, LOL.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I write romantic suspense because that’s what I love to read. I love torturing my characters. I love strong male leads, and smart female heroines. But I also love a good villain. I not sure what that says about me…

4) How does your writing process work?

Gosh, it’s all over the place. I fit it in when I can, but I try to write everyday. Therefore, I write in chunks. My writing groups holds three or four writing challenges a year. I love those and writing long side and being inspired by writers I admire.

Passing the baton.

Meet Elizabeth Lang, who I have privilege of knowing! Elizabeth is a science fiction and fantasy writer and author of The Empire series. Lucky you, you can check out some free stories and other things here.

Happy Reading Everyone!

 

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My Favorite Viking

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That’s it. That’s all I’ve got. A picture of Travis Fimmel.

I’m busy revising while the laundry pile grows and the dust gathers. Not sure what’s for supper as there’s precious little in the fridge. But I can’t stop. I’m on a roll.

Until next time.

 

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What Doesn’t Kill You…

If there is one quote that seems to be a favorite of many which I can’t relate to, its: What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

I don’t know why this quote rubs me the wrong way because there’s some truth to it. I think it’s the fact that it’s voiced by people who are searching to give comfort when there simply isn’t any you can give. They fall back on the old tried and true. It’s become trite and over used.

I prefer this instead.

strengthI saw this on Pinterest and thought I’d share. Have I mentioned I’m addicted to Pinterest. Today for instance, I spent many happy minutes (way to many) gazing at North West Coast Native Indian art in the name of research. Somehow that led to pinning ideas for great office spaces which lead to reading quotes.

So, yeah…that’s how my Friday is going. How’s your day going? What is your least favorite quote?

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A Freebie!

We all love a freebie, especially with the weekend coming on. But only until tomorrow! So head on over and get your copy.

Purgatory by Denise Moncrief

Book Two of the Colorado Series (The follow up to An Impostor in Town)

Free on Kindle from Feb 4th through Feb 8th

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Five years ago, a tragic accident robbed Chris Smith of a normal life. Left with only a jagged scar, a set of wedding rings, and bits of memory—smells, sounds, and fleeting feelings—she copes with the loss of her identity. Amnesia has made her life a living purgatory…until she meets Steve West.

Steve’s construction company is remodeling the ski lifts in Purgatory, Colorado. However looking at Chris is seeing the face of his deceased wife. Now the truths he’d been forced to believe have him searching for answers.

Murder, deception, and missing ransom money. Can Steve protect Chris…and prove she’s the wife he never believed dead before the killer tries again?

Excerpt:

A swoosh of wind burst through the front door as a man entered the building. Dragging her attention away from the magazine, she turned to greet him. He hesitated for a fraction of a second as if to get his bearings before trudging through the lobby toward her. As soon as their eyes met, her words of welcome froze on her tongue and the pain began—flashes of light across her vision—tightness in her throat—intense, piercing sensations in her head. Panic and the desire to run soon followed.

She massaged her forehead, trying to rub away the stabbing pain that throbbed between her eyes, and then returned her attention to the man in front of her, pulling the computer keyboard toward her, determined to do her job despite the sudden fear gripping her insides.

She attempted her most professional tone. “Good morning. Welcome to the Inn at Purgatory. How can I help you?”

No response.

She glanced up at him. To her dismay, he presented all the indications of a panic attack. She recognized the signs well. His forehead glistened with tiny beads of sweat. The vein in his neck pulsed. Anxiety flashed in his eyes as he struggled with each new breath he took.

“Mister, are you all right?”

He braced against the counter and rubbed a hand over his face. “Yeah. It’s just…you look like someone I used to know.”

Chills ran down her spine. He wasn’t creepy, not in the least. On the contrary, she sensed an unmistakable connection to this stranger. She recoiled from the feeling, but nothing could have pried her eyes from his for a few brief, intense moments.

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Denise Moncrief is a Southern girl, who’s lived in Louisiana all her life. And yes, she has a drawl. She’s been writing off and on since she was seventeen. She has a wonderful husband and two incredible children. They not only endure her writing moods, but also encourage her to indulge her passion.

Her first “novel” was se
venteen handwritten pages on school-ruled paper and an obvious rip-off of the last romance novel she read. The urge to write wouldn’t let go of her. In her twenties, she started another novel, only to abandon it after Chapter Four or Five. She started writing seriously about eight years ago and has already published several stories.

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Keeping Warm: A New Fireplace!

We are having a new gas fireplace insert but in today. Yay. Our current one no longer works. So, while I”m waiting and before I phone to see where the installer is at I’ll tell you about my writing group’s January writing challenge. We used to do something called BIAW (Book In A Week) but this year we decided to have an all month challenge. I was feeling quite productive until my cold resurfaced, now I’ve slowed down to a crawl. Time to get back at it. This year I’ve set revising goals instead of first draft goals. I’m finding it a challenge to keep track of progress because there is a lot of backtracking and a bit of jumping around.

Right now I’m stalling over a sex scene. You’d think those would be terribly exciting to write. They aren’t. They’re complicated. It’s a plot pivot in the relationship between the main characters and it’s a very important scene which will set the tone for the second half of the middle, if that makes any sense.. Hopefully things are stirring around up there in my brain and it’s working on sorting out a couple of things.

Here is the old one, and I’m informed by the installer unsafe fireplace. Yikes. Good thing we haven’t used in a couple of years.

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Here’s the new fireplace, which is very attractive and modern looking even if you can’t tell from the picture!

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I love it! But it’s a bit smelly in here right now as we have to let it run for about five hours so it can season. Good thing it’s a nice day here (only -2 C) and we can open a window.

Have a lovely weekend! And remember to include a little romance in the weekend, like maybe a cuddle in front of the fireplace.

 

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Letting Go Of Summer

TKAM Quote2

So…two things.

1. Either Harper Lee was comfortable existing with very little…or that was one hell of a friend.

2. It suggests that To Kill A Mockingbird was a story she’d been thinking about for a long time. An opportunity presented itself and she took it. Because To Kill A Mockingbird was meant to be written and shared and loved. Yep! Indulging in a fangirl moment.

I’m thinking of my favorite book today. Probably because summer and the ending of the season usually make me think of TKAM. Even though I love autumn, the older I get the tougher time I have letting go of summer. This also might have something to do with our Canadian winters seeming harsher the older I get.

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If a June night could talk, it would probably boast it invented romance. ~Bern Williams

Enjoy the last days of summer. Read that last book outside, take that last camping trip, toast that last s’more. Until next year. Now the gathering starts. The organizing. The settling in.

 

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