Tara MacDonald

Dad’s Christmas.

It began with the fresh spruce or pine tree that Dad would cruise through several tree lots beforehand to suss out who had “straight” trees.


Right.  A straight tree.


Then, he’d haul me around to different ones and pull a few out.  He’d get me to back up to see how straight it looked then give it a shake.  If a lot of needles fell out he’d put it back saying it was too dry to bring home.


We’d find a tree.  He’d throw it in the back of his red F150 half ton truck and we’d head home.


He’d pull out the tree stand and put the tree in the breezeway between the garage with a special cocktail of water, bleach and corn syrup he got from the New York Times one year to keep the tree healthy.

Then, we’d prep the living room.


This involved setting town clear plastic tarp in the entryway and the designated spot for the tree.  This spot was close to the door to eliminate as many needle droppings as possible.  It wasn’t about light or positioning or outlets for the Christmas lights… it was about needles.  He hated them!  He hated cleaning them up.  Even if I cleaned it up he hated knowing they were there on the blue/green tile floor.  And both he and I would miss one or two.  So when the tree came down after the Old Christmas date he’d walk by the door to get to the kitchen and he’d eventually pick a few off of his white socked feet muttering about needles.


This tree ritual lives on in my memory every year.  With love.  Because I miss it.  Because it made me smile.  Everyone has traditions they like to do or keep… Dad’s eccentricities were mine to keep.


I took over decorating the tree after Mom left and ended up donating all her ornaments to the Salvation Army so I could start a new tradition with my Dad.  Instead of an angry decorating tree ritual where my Mom would re-decorate after you we created memories to make Christmas a happy, joyful, spiritual place in our lives.


I miss him.  And this Christmas I’m creating my own tradition now that, after five years of grieving, I can start another fresh chapter in my life.


Oh, Christmas tree… Oh, and my tree?  Bought it online – fake, set up by a pole and pre-decorated so it’s definitely straight.

Dad carving the turkey!

Dad carving the turkey!


Own the words you say.

Own the words you say.

I’m not just coming into that sentence as a new writer but as someone who’s very aware of the words that I choose when I converse.

Getting into the Maritime Gift Show was billed as being a lucrative spot.  Their words influenced my decision.  That’s not going to happen again! Here’s the pic that shows how we were all lucky if we got 30 people in attendance at our booths.  Plus, Hall 2 (there were only 2) was on top of the ice rink.  Brrr!  For four days I was layered and double socked.

No one at the Gift Show day after day


















At the Hearts on Fire event Feb 9th 2012 at The Halifax Club my tongue felt like it was choking my throat due to the nerves of how the event was going to go over.  I had other writers and guests tell me the same thing – they were watching what they said while having a great time mingling.  One of the topics was the upcoming Women Making Waves Conference happening at Mount Saint Vincent University which I missed last year but I’m going to it this year with author Julia Phillips Smith.   http://www.juliaphillipssmith.com

Here’s the people who made the Hearts on Fire Event happen:  (Watch for the RWAC writers on Live at Five Tuesday Feb 14 2012).

Trevor Romkey, Shawna Romkey, Caroline Ruyle, Shelley LeBlonc, The Halifax Club’s Edwinna.


Hearts on Fire Design by Caroline Ruyle

Had a great time at The Halifax Club!

Nanowrimo and other adventures!

As I hit my stride this Monday morning I realize I love writing. Don’t get me wrong – I’m just setting up my first critique partner and starting to submit short stories so my writing could be crap. But the act of brewing coffee after walking the dogs and then settling in front of the laptop to write with them at my feet is precious. I hope that no matter what happens with my writing as I pursue it as a career that I keep this enjoyment with me.
So I am loving Nanowrimo which is an organization that organizes a challenge – write a book/novel in a month. Their website is http://www.nanowrimo.org/


This challenge is supported by my writing group that is a part of Romance Writers of America. I’m using it to write a Fae story because I can’t get enough of the Sidhe Court. I just finished Yasmine Galenorn’s “Night Veil” and I’m impatiently waiting for the next one! I also loved the Mercedes Lackey series like Born to Run. And while I enjoy the tv series “Lost Girl” I am finding it harder to watch as I emphasize so much with the female lead that sometimes I just can’t watch what she goes through.
This past Sunday I missed out on my Romance Writers of American chapter meeting. I worked instead at the Trend and Fashion Expo http://www.trendandfashionexpo.com run by East Coast Dynamics http://eastcoastdynamics.com for Fifth Avenue Collection http://www.fifthavenuecollection.com/taram     I do love that job. And, as it was at the World Trade & Convention Centre the event had help setting up and tearing down so I wasn’t covered in sweat and changing into outfits like other events/festivals. I have to thank Brennan Handy and Devin Sherrington for helping me keep fitness in my life as all the cardio pays off at events like these where you’re packing and lifting boxes.
Hope you all had a great weekend and here’s hoping we get a light winter. LOL.

By the way on November 11th, 2011 Author Julia Phillips Smith will be releasing her debut novel “Saint Sanguinus.”  Check her out at http://www.juliaphillipssmith.com  and on November 10th, 2011 she’ll be chatting about her self publishing at DartNet After Hours held at Sweet Smiles Pastry Cafe in Dartmouth, N.S. on Portland Hills Drive.  http://dartnet.ca


Watches, Rings and Gold

Silver, colour and my draw for a 50.00 gift certificate

Vision Board – have you made yours? Break out the glue, scissors and magazines

Recently, after a conversation with a friend about having a visual aid to focus on I realized that I needed to do the same.

I need to have a visual every 3 months that I can get to.  As a reference.

At the Fifth Avenue Collection Mini-Seminar in January 2011 we worked on our goal setting board.  Yes, we cut up magazines and put images to what we wanted to do with our business.

Vision Board from Fifth Avenue Collection

At the Highland Coaching Creative Business Retreat for the Solopreneur I did the same thing but about my Charlie Mac Productions Inc. business.

Vision Board from Highland Coaching Retreat

And, now I have one for me.  A personal visual board – that is the upcoming trip to Jamaica.  Bconnected (a local networking group) offered a great deal with Limetime Travel to go to Jamaica and I paid for it last year.  I’ve never been to the Caribbean or anywhere in that area before.

A good friend of mine had her wedding in St. Lucia in the ’90s but I couldn’t afford to go.  I need this vacation like a fish needs water.  To sit on the beach and do nothing seems fantastic.

My wishing well is now fulfilled.  I can scratch off two points off of my bucket list – I’m visiting the Caribbean and I’m taking a real vacation.

What are you doing on your bucket list? Maybe you should make a vision board…

Blog ready…

Just had a great workshop today by Julia Smith on how to blog, what to blog and how to find your blog community.


We are both members of RWA Atlantic Chapter.  I know both myself and my guest enjoyed the workshop.

Thursday night 6-9pm we have an event at the Argyle Fine Art Gallery on Barrington Street in Halifax, N.S. where authors and business professionals will meet to mingle with each other.  Fruit art by Fruitful Expressions will be there as well as catering by George & Lito’s Catering.  My company Charlie Mac Productions Inc. is working with Rich Graphics on this event and we’re hoping that the great community that is Halifax/Dartmouth/Bedford/Lower Sackville join in and say hi to each other.

RWA Atlantic Chapter really is the group where I can just relax and let my mind think of creative ideas for my writing.  The retreat I went to back in October was intense (I had to leave early) but unbelievably productive.  I got my character out of a deep pit and started the re-jig of my author website plus blog.  I never thought I would find such comradeship.

Also, yesterday I finished a 1.5 day Creative Business Retreat for the female solopreneur and I’m looking forward to working Jac McNeil into our lives more.


Are you in?  Because I know I am.  I know where I am.

RWA and Bconnected meet Thursday Feb 10th at the Argyle Fine Art Gallery

Back at it in 2010!

Due to a hiatus as my business took off and I only had spare time for my dogs and family I am back!

I’m conjuring up spells and stories for a short story publisher and ebook publisher.  I’ve been developing ideas for paranormal romance over the past year but lacked the comittment to sit down and write them out.

I’m afraid my RWA group may hate me but I’m going to self-publish my first book.  I just can’t find the time for anyone’s schedule besides my own.

Check out some great musicians:  Crissi Cochrane and Mike Bochoff on MySpace



http://www.charliemacproductions.com for what I’ve been up to this past year besides a fantastic visual journey into New Zealand and Australia with some dubious people -ahhh! I love Contiki bus crowds. When they’re sober.

I’m also working on my MBA at Walden University in International Business.  Finished my first semester already and into the next one.

I’d like to thank Dane Sanders for telling me at a PhotoPLUS conference at the Jarvits Center last October that falling on my head is not only ok but sometimes required.  Check out his blog at http://blog.danesanders.com/

And Professor Ed McHugh – thank you so much for your continued support in our lives in motion on this planet.

Russel Cook and family – keep rockin’ it and asking me what my word count is.

xxoo Tara