Writing, writing, and more writing? Write on!


Hi, everyone. I thought I’d pass along a quick update today about my novel and what has happened lately in my life as an author.

I am encouraged by the reception Calmer Girls has gotten in the publishing world. In particular, I am now patiently waiting on those who have expressed interest in my query, synopsis and sample chapters, and who subsequently requested the full manuscript for review. (Yay!)

Of course, my optimism is tempered with caution and awareness of the reality that these are only first steps. The road to getting traditionally published is a long, slow and arduous one for many new authors, and I am no exception. I read yesterday of a successful novelist who endured TWENTY-NINE rejections before his first book was picked up. And it ultimately made it to the New York Times best-seller list!

So now while my manuscript is out of my hands, I continue on with the sequel. In that area I have made progress, but not as much as I would like due to life getting in the way (Funny how that always seems to happen!).

designed by Elizabeth Doyle

designed by Elizabeth Doyle

For this reason, I am considering taking part in National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo as it is called. This is a yearly internet event that takes place in November, not only nationally but all over the world. The object is to write 50,000 words of a first draft in 30 days, which means participants write an average of 1667 words a day.

Awesome? Terrifying? Doable? Impossible? You tell me.


Will this be you?


…or this?

If I do indeed sign up, some of my activities will no doubt have to be curtailed or relegated to the back burner. My Friday Bouquet will be suspended for the time being, and my other blog posts will be brief. I won’t be able to read others’ blogs as much as I am used to. But I shall return, my lovelies!

What do you think of such a project? Are you taking part in NaNoWriMo this year? If you are, tell me all about it below. We can give each other moral support. :)

Explore Further:
One Wild Word: Get ready for NaNoWriMo by choosing your novel’s story question

Kristen Lamb’s Blog: 8 Elements to NAILING Your Plot and Owning NaNo


Cat Dreams

Good day, my friends and fellow felines. Vivian K. Perry here, returning as guest host on Jennifer’s Journal.

Jennifer caught me unawares one morning last week, indulging in a wonderfully delicious cat nap. These pics she took make me wonder: do humans dream the same as I do?



Jennifer says I get twitchy at times when I sleep, where my paws seem to act out the dream-movie playing in my head. In the dream-movie, I might be chasing a shrew or a mouse, or I could be trying to catch up to Paul on a walk.


I wonder, is it the cat version of REM sleep? Except it’s RPM sleep – short for “Rapid Paw Movement”?

 I think the camera captured me here resting up for another night of fun and frolic. While the weather is still mild, Maisie and I enjoy napping for most of the day, so we can return to our wild, nocturnal adventures as the moon rises and darkness descends…


 …then we pad back home at the break of dawn to stir the house with urgent meows and vibrating purrs.
Time to get up and fill our bowls, humans!



“How nice it is to think that feline dreams, like our own, are painted with creative brush strokes from time to time. Perhaps my cats and I even share the same dream…where every cat has a safe, warm place to sleep.” ~ Barbara L. Diamond

“I think we dream so we don’t have to be apart so long. If we’re in each other’s dreams, we can play together all night.” ~ Bill Watterson (Calvin & Hobbes)


Before I sign off of course, Jennifer insists I include a sleeping Maisie in my post:


Baby Maisie


Grown-up Maisie


Wishing you all – and my dear sister – the sweetest of dreams! ♥


Further Reading:

Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: Dreamy

I Dream – a poem by Jennifer 

Do Cats Dream When They Sleep?

Friday Bouquet #10

jmm-pic (1)


Jacqui Murray is an author, a journalist, a teacher, and a wealth of helpful advice for all things wordy.

I have learned a lot from her posts she fills with hints, lists,  how-tos, and reviews.

As Jacqui says on her About page:

I love writing–always have–so this blog will cover writing topics, with brief forays into other things. If you know writers, we’re intrigued by everything around us. Life is full of characters, plot lines, unique settings, and we want to experience it all.

Here’s a recent post that I found valuable and you might too:

Writers Tips #78:  8 Writing Tricks You Won’t Read Anywhere Else    

Go and check out WordDreams for help with your writing and blogging questions, and say hi to Jacqui for me.  :)

*Comments are closed here but open on the blogger’s page.

First Date

Here is an excerpt from my private handwritten journal from 1994.

Please forgive me for all the clichés about love, but I was twenty years younger and writing for myself.

“… It was Friday night, October 7. Finally, seven o’clock came and Paul arrived. Wow! was all I could think. On the night we’d met, I guess he hadn’t been in his best form because this guy looked like he could melt my heart. I hoped I looked good to him too!

We dined at the Casa Grande, on Mexican food and sangrias, and had drinks at the T.G.I.F. club. And he was absolutely charming. He was funny, attentive, and generous with his money. I had a perfect time, for someone who was too nervous to eat much. We went back to his place and talked.

Then came the first kiss.

I was sitting on the couch and he was sitting on the floor next to me. The chemistry was overpowering to say the least. He said the sweetest things to me. The next thing I knew he was leaning back against my legs and I encircled him with my arms. Touching him felt delicious. He then turned to face me and kissed me gently. It was wonderful, too wonderful to describe.

Because his roommate might come home any minute, he suggested we go listen to his stereo in his room where we wouldn’t be disturbed. I said something like I wasn’t born yesterday, to which he laughed and reassured me I didn’t have to do anything I didn’t want to do.

He was a perfect gentleman, even though the physical attraction was very strong. We kissed and talked and just rested there on his bed until the sun came up. I got home around 6:30 or 7:00 and went to bed. What a beautiful night!

Paul called me late that morning and I told him what a wonderful time I had. Then, being pretty sure what the answer would be, I asked him if he would like to come over that night. He said he’d be there. I was on cloud nine….

…I could go on and on describing those first few dates in glorious detail, but let me simply say Paul swept me off my feet and I knew I was smitten. The weekend following our first date, he asked me to “go steady”, and I said yes. A few weeks later he told me he loved me, and I told him I loved him too. We were so compatible from the very start. Everything feels so right. I love him more than I ever thought possible.

I would never have chosen to start a new relationship so soon after the breakup of my marriage, but in this case I believe Fate played a hand in bringing us together at this time in our lives. As Paul often says to me, we were meant to be together, not before, but now when we were ready for each other and could better appreciate the depth of our love.

I could have said no, I won’t go out with this guy because it seems too soon, and then miss out on ever finding a true soul mate, which is how I see him. He’s so kind, so sincere, and very intelligent. I can’t imagine a sweeter man for me…”

Okay, I better stop transcribing right there, before I share EVERYTHING and completely embarrass myself. :)

Happy 20 year Anniversary of our first date, Paul. <3

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Another Look Back:  The Day We Met

Friday Bouquet #9

Michael Lai from RetireeDiary is a travel photographer in Hong Kong, whose blog I’ve been following for years.

His skill with the camera and his captures of people and places is always a treat.


Now he shares with us The Dog Who Lives On A Fishing Raft*, a collection of engaging shots featuring Dor Dor, a gorgeous Labrador Retriever who belongs to a friend.

Click on the link below to see how photogenic Dor Dor is. If you scroll down on his page to the Related Posts under the Likes you will find more from the series of my new “favourite internet dog”. :)

(Yes, I’m a cat person, but who can resist that smile?)


The Dog That Lives On A Fishing Raft – Reflection

*images copyright protected by Michael Lai, retireediary

Comments are closed here in the hope you will visit Michael’s blog. If you do, please tell him Jennifer sent you.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone <3

Photo Challenge: Inviting Nighttime

During our trip to Italy and France in 2011, I took hundreds of photos, the majority of which were daytime shots. Here are some favourite captures from two of France’s cities in late evening and night.

I still find them as inviting as ever.


France 139

Lights wink on as dusk descends.

France 143

Window-shopping in Cannes; almost as fun as the real thing!

France 144

Boulevard de la Croisette invites us to explore. Ritz Carlton on the right.

France 145

The Croisette stretches 2 km long beside the Mediterranean Sea.

France 146

The entrance to our hotel beckons.

France 154

Home Sweet Home for three nights.

On to Paris:

France 231

The view from our hotel for four nights

France 234
France 001

France 105

On the Seine River Dinner Cruise…


…which ended at the Eiffel Tower.

France 125

Bonne nuit, mes amis!  

Weekly Photo Challenge: Nighttime

Weekly Travel Theme: Inviting

Thinking Out Loud

What is the essence of a life?

A deep thought indeed, but putting aside the belief in the existence of a supreme being for a moment, what is the first notion that question conjures for you?


Is it the wail of a newborn when she is pushed from the womb, wet and shivering, into a cold world of bright light and jarring noise?

Is it a living being’s will and drive to survive?

Is it the slow and arduous process of becoming what your potential keeps whispering you can be, or the serendipitous ease of slipping into a role you were born to fill?

Is it what we cling to as we grow old, try to recapture, strive to enjoy in every waking moment, as the end draws ever nearer?

Could it simply be the state of being, dreaming, pondering and loving?

Or hating and enduring what the universe has given you?






Maybe, life is the constant of the everyday: the laughter of a stranger on a crowded subway, the silly song that got stuck in your head and you sang in the shower this morning, a face that suddenly smiles in your direction, a warm hug, a lover’s kiss, or a soft place to fall after a long day.

100_3366Perhaps it is the enduring memory of a giant harvest moon, the languid ripple of a pond you sat beside last summer, the smell of warm cinnamon in an apple pie, the taste of licorice, or the sweet sip of ice-cold raspberry koolaid you loved as a child.


Some of life is lived between the lines of our subconscious, in the many subtleties of our private, innermost selves.060

Life is all of this and much more. It is joy and disappointment, connection and camaraderie, isolation and despair, exquisite pleasure, and acute suffering.








Life is the endurance of the human experience and the divining of purpose. Life is the continuity of unconditional love.

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What do you think  life is all about? What is your answer to this enduring question?

Friday Bouquet #8

I have been a loyal follower of The Mad Hooligan Chronicles for nearly as long as I’ve been blogging. It went through a metamorphosis last year, and changed its name from the original, The Howling Mad Cat.



When HMC (Howling Mad Cat) departed for Kitty Cat Heaven at the ripe old age of 21, shortly after Ellie adopted two new cats by the names of Kobi and Bobo, and the Mad Hooligans blog was born.

Along with the adorably candid photos, Ellie treats us with three quotes to ponder, which relate to the topic of each of her posts.


Bo & Kobi

From their profile:

“Verily I say unto you: Ye shall have two cats, and they will cause havoc amongst the household.”
At http://howlingmadcat.wordpress.com/.

A light-hearted read to brighten your day, I suggest you take a look at yesterday’s entry. You just may hit the follow button too:

The Life of Riley

Comments are closed here in hopes you will comment on their site.

Have a good weekend, everyone. <3

My “Backyard” – Pt. 2: The Beach

As the last tranquil days of summer disappear, I am drawn to the warmth of the sandy beaches that encircle Perry’s Point.

For a few moments, I can almost forget colder days are approaching…



This stretch of sand is begging for bare feet.

“To see a world in a grain of sand, and a heaven in a wild flower,
         hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour.”
~ William Blake





It’s good to see that the beach birds are still around.
The sandpipers and plovers seem to be in no hurry to wing their way south for the winter.


Among the strands and clumps of kelp, there must be lots of yummy tidbits for them to eat.


Notice how some like to stand on one leg.


The different species get along fairly well, sharing nature’s bounty.




Due to global warming, many species of birds in North America are dwindling in numbers, and the numbers on protected and endangered lists are increasing.


I hope you never face extinction, my precious feathered friends.


This one appears to have something to say about it all.


I love their plump little bodies…


…and their long beaks!



Vivian doesn’t go down to the beach unless she has company…


…Good thing for the beach birds!


“The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.” ~ Charles Darwin

Thank you for stopping by to enjoy the beach with me, and Summer’s last hurrah. :)

Has Fall arrived where you live?

Friday Bouquet #7


I follow quite a few blogs by writers, and Moon In Gemini: Debbie’s Blog about Writing and Pop Culture is one of my favourites.

On her About Page:

I have very eclectic tastes in fiction, movies and TV.  I love genre fiction of all kinds, and am just as likely to have fantasy, horror, YA, historical fiction, sci-fi or romance residing on my Kindle.”

“… Gemini is a sign associated with writing and communication.  It’s also a sign associated with people who can’t make up their minds about anything, so don’t be surprised by the variety of subjects that may appear in this blog.”

I am highlighting the following post because I agree with her opinion on strong female characters. For that matter, we think all strong characters are intriguing because of their flaws as well as their strengths. Their faults are what make them human and real.

The Strong Female Character: I Do Not Think That Means What Some People Think It Means

If you love fiction of any kind, I think you’ll like Moon in Gemini as much as I do.

Comments are closed here. I invite you to comment on Debbie’s blog.

Have a great weekend, everyone. :)