Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween Candy Favs!

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Or not, depending on how you feel about Halloween. You know who I feel the most sorry for? Teachers! They have to put up with sugar-infused kids for the next four days.

Everybody has an opinion on everything these days. And I'm no exception! Although we try not to air our dirty laundry here, I'm about to come clean. I have very strong preferences when it comes to candy. And chocolate. Although I'll eat pretty much any kind of chip out there - except type.

Recently we took a mini-vacation to a place called The West Edmonton Mall. At 5.3 million square feet, it's home to a hotel, an amusement part, a waterpark, an ice rink - just to name a few things. And many, many stores. One of which is a must stop place that's a chocolate shop delight called the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. Oh my word, they have these chocolates called Bombs! I fell in love with the dark chocolate Sea Salt ones. I won't tell you how many I ate. Since I'm supposed to be avoiding dairy and sugar, it's safe to say I not only fell of the wagon I leaped off straight into bliss.

Wrapped in caramel and dipped in chocolate. Chocolate Bombs have soft chocolate centres while Tiger Bombs have chocolate and peanut butter centre that are available in plain or flavoured with almonds or peanut brittle. Milk Chocolate Bomb centres have flavours too, including plain chocolate, Oreos, peanut brittle, coconut, sea salt, almond, or English toffee with almonds. White Chocolate Bombs have cheesecake and espresso bombs come in milk or dark chocolate. 
Top Five Halloween Candy Favourites!
  1. Arrow Bars
  2. KitKat Bars
  3. Little Bags of Ripple Chips
  4. Rockets
  5. Dairy Milk Bars

Least Favourite Top Five Halloween Candies
  1. Candy Corn
  2. Little Bags of Dorritos
  3. Raisins
  4. Those individually waxy toffee candy things
  5. Cookie and Cream Bars

How about you? Favourites candies or chocolates? Dislikes? 

Friday, October 28, 2016

Fun Questions

Here's a little, fun questionnaire for a Friday morning.  Nothing too taxing.  Especially if you're reading this before you've had your coffee.  (Or wakeup beverage of your choice.)

What is your wakeup beverage of choice?

What's your favorite color?

Are you wearing socks this morning?

If yes, what color?

If no, why not?

Approximately how many pairs of shoes do you own?

What's the oldest thing you own?

Think quick... What's your favorite book?

Name one thing of no monetary value that you treasure.

Who's the last person you had a long telephone conversation with?

My answers:

coffee, hunter green, yes, white, about 8, a book from the 1800s, a pine cone from the tree my sister and I planted at the house where we grew up, my mom.

Hope that was fun.  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

If you don't like it, paint it

Lately I've been on a bit of a refinishing kick, so I thought I'd show you a couple things I've been working on.

I REALLY disliked these chandelier shades

but I couldn't find any that I really loved. So I decided to paint them.

NOTE 1 -- According to Martha Stewart it can be done. If Martha says it, it must be true, right?

NOTE 2 -- I was leery of the potential fire hazard that might occur so I did not paint the inside of the shades.

Here's how they turned out:

(In case you're wondering why you can see part of a UPC code, it's because I stuck the shades on water bottles while I painted them.)

(Left one shade a little crooked so that there's a view of the underside.)

I still don't love it (then again, I don't like brass) but it's an improvement.

I wish I'd taken a decent BEFORE shot of this desk, but hopefully you'll get an idea of how dark it was. What you can't see is how banged up the veneer was and how dingy the once brass-colored handles were.

Now it looks like this:

I'm THRILLED with the way this turned out.

It's the original hardware, but I used nickel-colored spray paint on it and it made all the difference.

Tell me Killer Friends: 

Is there anything you'd like to give a facelift? 
Is there anything you've refinished that you'd like to share?  
Or do you think I'm totally nuts for spending hours on this kind of stuff when it would be quicker to just buy new?

Monday, October 24, 2016

Real Men Wear Shirts

So this happened! I saw an actual book cover for a romantic suspense holiday romance with a hero on the cover sans shirt, of course, BUT wearing a jacket left tantalizingly left leaning against an outside horse coral surrounded by SNOW. Piles and piles of the white stuff. Because it's WINTER.

Seriously? All I could think was...his poor frostbitten nipples.

In case there's some confusion over the apparent shortage of men's clothing, I found some options for the poor guy.

First off, I found this at Zeus Factor. Okay, I really found it on Pinterest but the clothes are Zeus Factor, I don't know who the guy is. But look! He has on not one but two shirts and still manages to look sexy.

Woolrich Inc. says yes you can be a rancher and be warm an appealing too!

Sexy in a toque. 

Don't get me started on the firefighters! Maybe they don't wear clothes under their gear...

There's still time to enter to win my giveaway by signing up for my Newsletter! Up for grabs is a $25.00 gift certificate to one of the following: Amazon, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble.

I'm away this week enjoying a short vacay. At a mall! Where I'll be doing further research. If you want to follow my shenanigans find me on Instagram! What are you up to this last week of October?

Friday, October 21, 2016

My Opinion on Remakes

I am totally not a fan of remakes.  'Reboots' are especially heinous, imo.  Don't even get me started on the new 'Star Trek' movies.  I grew up watching old Star Trek episodes on TV. This new thing?  Arrgghh.

Lost in Space the TV show?  Good.  Lost in Space the movie?  Dog.  (Entertaining in its own way, but still a dog.)

About the only time it works out is if they take an really good old thing (movie, play, song, etc.) and twist it around so it has the same basic premise but it's totally different.  Like You've Got Mail, the premise of which was done in The Shop Around the Corner.  Or Ten Things I Hate About You, which is a retelling of Taming of the Shrew.  Ever hear The Lemonheads doing Mrs. Robinson.  Totally rocks in a totally different way.

Anyway, I guess I'm a stick in the mud.  Set in my ways, perhaps? 

I haven't watched Lethal Weapon the TV show yet.  Once upon a time (before both Gibson and Glover had meltdowns), I loved that movie.  This new thing?  Not even kinda interested.  I have heard some people say it's pretty good, but meh.

I read yesterday that they're doing a 'prequel' to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. (One hopes they chose the original version and not that Johnny Depp thing.)  I don't really see how that's possible since Roald Dahl never wrote a before and he probably wouldn't have wanted to. 

Not sure if they've just run out of new ideas in Hollywood or what the dealie-bob is.  I only know I don't like it.  But that's me.  What do you think?

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Have you always wanted to write a book?

In case you don't know, National Novel Writing Month, (NaNoWriMo for short or just NaNo for even shorter) is almost upon us.

Since they explain it better than I ever could, here's the description from the NaNoWriMo site:

"National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. 
On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30.
Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel."

I know, I know, it sounds intimidating...and to be honest it is quite the challenge, but it's not impossible. If you don't believe me, check out this list of best sellers that got their start as NaNo novels.
This year I'm going to try something different and I'm going to attend some in-person NaNo meetings/write-ins and I'll be sure to report in on what they're like and report in on my weekly word count progress. 
Tell me Killer Friends:  
Are you one of those people who say "I always wanted to write a book"?
Have you been a NaNoWriMo participant in the past?
Will you be NaNo-ing this year?

Monday, October 17, 2016

Small Town Inspiration and a Giveaway!

My fictional small town of Aspen Lake was inspired by a resort area I grew up close to and where I worked a summer job for a couple of years. I've talked more about settings on my author's blog and if you're interested you can check it out. My third book of the Aspen Lake series, GONE, has scenes that take place at The Back Forty Bar (and sometimes Grill), The Pines, and Grace's house. I'm hoping by sharing some snippets you'll get a feel for each place and a picture in your head.

The Back Forty Bar (Modelled after every small town bar that ever existed.)
Every available door and window were propped open anticipating a non-existent breeze. The Back Forty didn’t have air conditioning. Sweaty people swilled more beer. “If you don’t like to sweat what the hell are you doing at the lake?” was the question her boss tossed back at any outsider stupid enough to complain.
In a place where everyone knew you by your first name and judged you by what you did last night, the Back Forty put up with tourists but it catered to the locals.

The Pines (Modelled after another inn and restaurant, Banbury House Inn, in Wolseley, Saskatchewan.
Grace smoothed down the sides of the black dress she pulled out for funerals and gave the hostess her name. If you needed upscale you came to The Pines. Two brothers had overhauled the heritage building, abandoned by French aristocrats in the late nineteenth century and several owners since, and converted it into a first class steakhouse renowned for it’s cowboy cuisine. Nothing said let’s put a ring on it like popping out a jewellers box over the Pine’s Blackened Bison steak strips. Or so they said. 

Grace's House
Arms full of cat Grace walked into her kitchen unrecognizable in its current state of tidiness. Balls of yarn were stacked in a funky crate. Her hand-woven place mats rested under a sunny yellow bowl of apples. Her sister Hope stood at the kitchen counter unpacking what looked like a brand new stand mixer and beside it were a set of mixing bowls and a cluster of baking utensils.

Now for the chance at my giveaway! Sign up for my NEWSLETTER and be entered for a chance to win a $25.00 gift certificate from one of the following: Amazon, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble. 

Do you love stories that take place in a small town?


Friday, October 14, 2016


Just now... "Oh, holy shit, it's Friday."

Yep, that's why I'm late.  No clue of what day of the week it is.  I've been off all week.  I seriously thought it was Saturday today.  That's what I get for looking at the schedule for tomorrow's football games first thing.

Of course, it didn't help that I started out the morning weird...

In the middle of the night last night, I got up to answer the call of nature.  And discovered a mouse on a sticky trap in the middle of the kitchen floor.  Being the middle of the night in a freezing cold house, I simply picked up the trap and put it in the garage, so I could deal with it in the morning.  This morning comes and the mouse is gone.  The mouse is gone.  The trap is gone.  No signs of where any of it could've disappeared to.  Great.  And I hadn't had any coffee yet.  So I go in to get my first cup, notice the sugar bowl is almost empty, and attempt to pour sugar into it from the canister.  And dump sugar all over the counter.  Screw that.  I left the sugar.  I filled my mug and took it into the office where I could enjoy my first caffeine of the day along with my first nicotine.

I'm better now.  Cleaned up the sugar.  Found the sticky trap - sans mouse.  The day is looking up.  Then I remember it's Friday morning and I haven't done this post yet.  AND I have no clue what to write about anyway, because I'm lame my creative well is dry.

So here we are. 

How's your Friday morning going?

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Hitwoman Flash Fiction -- An Armani led Seance

Big thanks to B.E. and Karyn for holding down the fort while I was gone.

In February I'll be taking part in the COASTAL MAGIC CONVENTION which promises to be a lot of fun.

As a featured author I was asked to write a piece of flash fiction for Grave Tells.

I love writing flash (short!) fiction based on prompts, but I must admit that including Fundies was a bit of challenge!

Still, I think that they make perfect sense in Maggie's world so make sure to check out Maggie, Armani and God in my original piece HERE.

And hey, if you want to join me at Coastal Magic (fun, sun, authors...some people might find that combo heavenly) make sure to do that too!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Better Late Than Never!

This past weekend was Thanksgiving in Canada!

We celebrated with all the usual food groups of turkey, gravy and pie. As usually happens when I'm cooking there is drama involved. We ate an hour later than we had originally intended on account of me trying to cook the turkey on broil instead of bake. Encase you're interested, it doesn't work. Thank goodness there was baseball to watch and our Toronto Blue Jays won! Sorry Texas fans...

Last year the power went out for five hours. Thank goodness for barbecues.

See always something to be thankful for!

Here's to everyone having a great rest of the week. And if it can't be great I hope it's manageable.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Reading Old Books

I stop by the thrift store on a semi-regular basis to load up on books.  Which means, for the most part, old books.  The local thrift store here rarely has anything new.  The majority of their offerings are, I'd say, from the '70s, '80s, and '90s.  Those work for me sometimes, but I prefer older.  Especially when it comes to crime novels. 

They're easy to spot.  Their covers have a certain style - even when I can only see the spine.  Pull 'em out, take a look, and if they're something that sounds interesting to me, put 'em in the stack.  At 25c each, I don't even care if I end up with a dog. 

Of course, sometimes they fall apart in my hands.  They're old, so it's expected.  I was reading one the other day and I kept having to jam the pages back together so I could hold it.  Most of the time, though, they're solid. 

My copy of I, The Jury is like that - old and falling apart.  I keep looking for a new old copy, but that one's hard to find.  Most people who have that book want to keep it.  (If you haven't read it, get thee hence.)

Anyway, like I intimated, some of these older crime stories are dogs.  For the most part, though, I'm finding 'new-to me' authors to love who have a backlist that could keep me reading until the day I part ways with existence.  Rex Stout - author of the Nero Wolfe books - is a new favorite of mine.  Sax Rohmer - author of the Charlie Chan books - is another.  I just picked up four books from a series by an author I found by reading one of his 'non-series' books - Donald Hamilton.  It was excellent, so I hope his series is excellent, too. 

Oh, I'm still reading newer books, too.  I sprinkle them between the older books. 

I like to think reading the old books makes me write better.  And reading new books keeps me fresh.  But, then again, I read everything according to my whims, so whether any of this actually helps with my writing is for the readers to decide.  All I know is I love reading.

What are some older crime titles you've read and loved?  Any suggestions for me to keep an eye out for when I'm at the thrift store?

Monday, October 3, 2016

Here's What's Up In October!

It's October but you probably already knew that. I started this month off with a very author-type activity by giving an author reading, along with Annette Bower, at the very lovely Last Mountain Lake Cultural Centre. Annette, by the way, pens entertaining as well as thought provoking women's fiction with romantic elements and has a new book out called Fearless Destiny.

I also bought a new daily planner for my writing life.

 I'd share some of my answers to the Currently: This Month feature with you.

Reading: The Night Circus by Erin Morganstern, which is our book pick for this month. I'm listening to Kylie Scott's Dirty from her Dive Bar series. And on the nonfiction front I'm reading Immediate Fiction: A Complete Writing Course by Jerry Cleaver.

Planning: I'm organizing a giveaway for this month at my website and am working out the details.

Watching: The Blacklist, Blindspot, and Chicago P.D. I call this research!

Cooking: Gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, egg-free meals. Yeah...sounds crazy restrictive, I know. But it makes my stomach happy.

Eating: See above.

Drinking: Tea and water, as I've decided a detox is in order after a bit of a free range summer attitude.

Pinning: Fall clothes. This is my favourite time of year. 

Crafting: insert laughter

Writing: I added this one! I'll be working diligently on finishing Mike and Grace's story, my 3rd Aspen Lake book. Seriously, I'm going to finish it. Finally.

Also, we'll be celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving in October too! What plans do you have for October?