Kansas City Love Train

Kansas City, MO

Kansas City, MO












Get on the train.

The love train!

After nine months of not submitting or really writing the wips I have for the submission process I have finally been jolted back into why I write.

Because I love it!

Thanks to the Romantic Times Convention in Kansas City, Missouri I have watched my friends who are published have great fun and success at their events.  I’ve also made new friends and attended fantastic panels on craft (how to write) and business (how to sell to agents, publishers and editors).

So, I hit send on my email and sent off my short story last week.  Don’t worry – the nail biting has already begun on that one.  Thanks to the “Write 50 books in a Year” panel I now have an organized spreadsheet up until October of this year of what I’m writing and submitting.  Which will hopefully turn into a column of what gets accepted and what gets rejected on the spreadsheet as I continue writing, editing and submitting.

Kansas City, MO.  What a great city.  Home of jazz and historic downtown buildings.  With fun trips to the shopping centres and busy highways leading out of the city.  My drive from the airport took me past the Majestic Restaurant and Jazz Club and other hole-in-the-wall restaurant and clubs.  I even sped by the Friday Night Farmers Market which caught my attention with the words “Bad Seed.”

And thanks to Author Shawna Romkey’s family I visited and ate at the famous Arthur Bryant’s BBQ restaurant.

The convention really kept us hopping from morning until late at night.  It was fun but I found parts of it long winded so you really have to choose what you want to see and do.  Also, I know authors who had agents stand them up at appointments.  Meh.  It’s over 2,000 people – what do you do?

Had a great time at publisher spotlights on Entangled Publishing, Sourcebooks and ChocLit.

Oh, and I did visit JC Penny and Macy’s.  What’s a girl to do when you have one shopping day?


Jerowrimo prep

In order to prep for any writing challenge it’s necessary to decide what kind of animal you are with writing.

Do you have an outline or are going to put one down on paper/bulletin board?  This could mean you’re a plotter.  You like to know how characters will develop throughout the chapters ahead of time or maybe you have an idea of the order of scenes you want to develop your character arc in…

If you don’t do any of that you may be a panster.  You just write.  Your characters are in your head knocking on your ears to get out.  Great.

Either method works and I sometimes use a combination of the two.  I did so much traveling last year that I would get dream like story ideas as I dozed away on the plane and immediately grab my iphone to write up a sentence or two of what I remembered.  These little gems are filed away in my “to do” file on my laptop and are festering in the back of my head for any writing challenge I undertake.

So.  I already have enough coffee lined up for the month of Feb.  I know when and where I need to visit family and friends.  I’m twitching to use the Twitter hashtag #1K1HR at will multiple times a day.

I also know exactly what I’m doing with Charlie Mac and my Beachbody business so I don’t feel like I can’t write each day.  I have a schedule all planned.

Time to get in the writing kitchen and put words on a blank page that I will call my own.





For a little bit more on Robert Lantos’ background:


I also quoted Robert Lantos as stating “if you want to do a Canadian Film in Canada right now you must be crazy” (based on his previous discussion about Canadian broadcasters not showing Canadian films in primetime in contrast to other countries).


So, I’m done.


I now turn my attention to the income I received and needed when there is no consistent work in the film industry – Fifth Avenue Collection.


I am your Fifth Avenue Collection Independent Jeweller and I am now full time.  This career allows me to continue my novel writing and provides me with the safety and security of owning my own business with a consistent paycheque.  Here are some pics from some of the experts at Fifth Avenue Collection that share their experiences and provide knowledge to the jewellers every year.


Gwen Greenstock after her presentation on Retirees

Joanne during her presentation on "Shut up and Drive"

Dale and Betty discuss how they got into jewellery

This purse is to a hostess if she exceeds a certain show amount ends August 2012


Western Caribbean, Ft Lauderdale and New Orleans jumbalaya trip!

First of all, I want to thank Haley Bradbury at Cruise Holidays for organizing my entire trip. Her expertise and connections around the Globe helped me pick Celebrity as a cruise line. I was not disappointed.


My trip began on a flight to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. I went a day ahead of the Celebrity Solstice leaving the Port Everglades so that I would have plenty of time to go through the Embarkation process. I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express that was across the street from Starbucks and down the road had plenty of retail stores and restaurants on 17th. The next day, I had transportation by Carey Transport International to the Celebrity Solstice. Carey is very professional and always on time as this trip has proven. Another great recommendation by Haley.


I had decided on this cruise, my second cruise ever, that I would be a part of Aqua Class on Celebrity. What this meant is the entire experience was improved and enhanced my numerous points of detail. There was no line up for me when I checked in at the Port – I was straight on the cruise and sipping a Mimosa provided as a welcome on board within 40 mins of arrival. The staterooms were ready 2.5 hours later which is not unusual and what a stateroom it was (see pic). I had fresh fruit and canapes every day plus free bottled water. My stateroom attendant David He was chatty and determined to talk to me every morning and evening in case I needed anything. He told me that my first name means Star in India.


The first night a huge bottle of Champagne was in my room that I sipped as the cruise left Ft. Lauderdale on my private glass balcony. I was in heaven. Not only was it warm in temperature but I had walk in access to the Aqua class restaurant Blu and immediate access to the Persian Gardens where you could lay on heated chairs and meditate after a steam room experience. The Spa was amazing. I decided to have Chinese Acupuncture treatment by Allison while I worked out in their fitness club. My body said thank you by deep sleep every night. I soon learned, however, that I felt too dizzy from the movement of the ship to stay on a treadmill but could handle the elliptical trainers no problem thanks to PT Elise Ioannou from Cypress. I’ve entered an Algae bath detox spa program and can feel the results physically already. However, in the Spa I was told my the Irish Spa Director that I was named after the Tara Stone in Ireland.


Then, I met a group from the southern states on an excursion that told me I was named after the plantation in Gone with the Wind.


Despite all of them being correct and I didn’t mention the other meanings to any of them we had a great time. Eating supper by myself is not unusual if I go to a restaurant but at Blu couples to my right and left quickly engaged me in conversation as we all enjoyed the organic food. The wine steward quickly learned what type of palette I have for dry wine and recommended new wines every night. Thanks to the pre-bought wine package I could enjoy wines up to $12 a glass.


I fell in love with Grand Cayman. I may never go back to Mexico even though we visited an island (Cozumel) it’s just not my cup of tea. And we visited Roatan but never made it to Costa Maya due to high wind not letting us into the docking area and officials closing it down.


For 7 days I had the most amazing vacation and great weather.


I then stayed in Fort Lauderdale for a few days and I have to say the Sheraton let me down a bit by placing me in a room that smelled like mold. They are right by the ocean however and have 2 pools. Still, I didn’t stay in my room much as when I complained they came in and aerosoled the air conditioning unit so that it smelled like Lysol every day in my room. The Holiday Inn that I stayed at previously had no such problem.


Next – Fantasy on the Bayou the RWA FF&P Sub-chapter conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. I’m not going to lie. The conference’s keynote speaker Maggie Shaye had us all shedding tears at her personal story and triumphant rise to publication after 4 years of rejection. She started on a typewriter that had no “e” key and had to fill them in plus cut and paste corrections with scissors and paper. She had an agent that was forcibly removed from being an agent by her native state due to shady dealings and yet all of this did not stop her from giving up hope or stop writing. She said “I hope this conference is for you what hearing the words “you did it baby” did for me.”


And guess what. It has been. I have one full request and 3 partials. Even if they all say no this has been an experience I was not prepared for. I was prepared for no. I was not prepared for yes. This is the first step in becoming a published writer by traditional means. I have a contract with Dellarte Press on a book I’ve been working on for 2 years (my epic adventure romance) which forced me to re-join the RWAC writers group and take part in Nanowrimo plus writing retreats. But, this… this conference has made me realize that it is possible with perseverance it is possible that your manuscript will be a novel one day.


I finished my New Orleans visit by walking around and then taking the New Orleans Movie Tour with Jonathan Ray who has worked on numerous sets. What a great tour! We got to see location sites from the van and saw movie clips showing us these locations in the films. We also munched on popcorn and bottled water as we were quizzed on movie trivia and who was in Hollywood South this month. We saw Brad Pitt’s house, Nicholas Cage’s burial site, Sandra Bullock’s house, John Goodman’s house and Anne Rice’s house along the way as well. With a 30% tax incentive New Orleans and the state of Louisiana are hopping with films.

I also met Nancy Knight who organizes Dragon Con each year and is an agent herself.  I sat with her during the amazing supper the FF&P organizers had for us at the Marriott New Orleans (lobster, snapper, turdunken, prime rib, pasta, dessert, tea, coffee…).  Please check out for more details.

Maggie Shayne Keynote Speaker FF&P Conference in New Orleans

Aqua Stateroom on Celebrity Solstice

Anne Rice House on New Orleans Movie Tour


1997 was a busy year for me – I found old photos in a room I just cleaned out at the house and went through them last night.

It was the best of times…It was the worst of times.  You know the saying.  All character building I’m sure.  :-)

I graduated with a B.A. English Literature from Trent University.  I moved out of my first apartment in Peterborough, Ontario and went on a Contiki Tour through Europe before ending up at Cambridge University for their summer session of Medieval Courses.  I visited friends in Peterborough while I searched for a place to live in Toronto that would accept me as having a temp job through the Keith Bagg Agency as employment.  I often wondered what I was going to be able to eat each day until I got an apartment, a real job and I could pay for groceries at the local Loblaws.  The money I had saved working as a Telemarketer at Trent University was dwindling.

Here’s a pic of my first apartment in Toronto.  The landlord had 17 cats.  I slept on the floor until I managed to get a sofa bed delivered by a hotel going out of business.  Ugh.  My furniture that is wooden is the basic stuff from IKEA and up until recently I still had most of it out of nostalgia.

I decided to take a publishing course at Ryerson University and got an internship which paid $500 for 3 months of work.  However, I got the job.  I was able to travel and work directly with a Vice President of U.S. Sales and Marketing.  It was stressful but paid the bills.

Here’s a pic of my Dad and I celebrating Christmas that year.  He actually acknowledged that I could now drink alcohol with him.  A big step after being legal for 2 years beforehand LOL.  I miss him all year but when I lived in Toronto he looked forward to seeing me at Christmas so the holidays are especially hard.  I think of everyone else in this world that has someone to miss at this time and while he left my life too early I understand that the lessons I’ve learned since his passing are invaluable.  Thanks to both my Mom’s family and my Dad’s family for support.  Hopefully, at the Port Wallis United Church’s Blue Christmas service I’ll see people who struggle like me at this time each year and realize that we all have to let go of the pain of separation and see the joy our loved ones brought us instead.





Greece and other pics – a short, sweet summer of memories.

I just came from a great Writer’s Retreat at White Point Beach Lodge past Liverpool in Nova Scotia with RWAC.  Very productive.  Time to submit stuff!  We watched the films “It’s Complicated” and “Due Date.”  Love, love Meryl Streep.

P.S. Get Ready for 11/11/11

Adirondack Chair overlooking a lake next to the Atlantic Ocean

I know I’m lucky.  I managed to find a second job that pays well and it’s in direct selling with Fifth Avenue Collection (My Open House is Oct 28 7-9pm, Oct 29 2-4pm, Oct 30 2-4pm if you’re interested stop by).  This second job has given me the freedom to take a few “extra” trips this past year that I ordinarily wouldn’t have the opportunity to take.  I went to Calgary, Alberta is August and saw my Grandmother before her 104th birthday and I’m glad I did as she passed away October 2nd, 2011.  When Debbie Ford from TPI Travel said, months ago, that she had a Greek trip planned and there were a few more seats available my hand went up.  I hummed and hawed over going to Greece the past year and realized, like Whistler, B.C., New Zealand, Australia and Runaway Bay, Jamaica that if I could go I should just do it.

The Greek trip was amazing.  I saw a lot of great islands, our group was not affected by the strikes, I climbed up to the Acropolis in Athens but forgot my memory card, did some shopping and sat by a harbour eating Apple Pie with ice cream while enjoying a latte in Mykonos and saw plenty of beaches.  I hope the people of Greece climb out of their economy like Germany did years ago and realize their strengths (which is why Germany is so successful today in its economy).  For now, here are some photos.


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