I’m Having a Party–All Month! With Prizes!!!


I’m having a party . . . that’s right folks and all of you are invited. Cue the band, let the balloons fly, bring out the cake. My blog is one year old this month.

Believe me, there is something to celebrate here – over 12,000 views, 1,200 comments, and as of this morning, 862 followers.

Those stats are amazing to me when I consider that I had written six posts before I got a single like.

I look at those numbers, and I think – wow – every tenth viewer made a comment! (OK – some of you are riding on the coat tails of others, but stats are in the eye of the beholder, so I’m going let you keep on riding.)

Today’s post will be number 139.

Here’s a brief review of some posts that stand out.

The post that received the most likes: Share the Love. Makes sense, this was a post where I gave a shout to a number of other bloggers, and that should be popular.

The post that got the most comments: I Go Public with Disappearing in Plain Sight. I write about a book launch I did at a local mall.

My most heartfelt post: Uninvent: Fight Like Soldiers, Die Like Children.

My funniest posts: Emma does Michelangelo and Baby Brit’s Bad Rap.

Most popular guest posts: when my husband Bruce of Through the Luminary Lens posted up holiday pictures and when my friend Cheryl let me put her story – My Hero Becky on my blog.

My Favourite music post: Love is a Country by the Wallflowers

My Saddest flash fiction post: She never let herself believe in the magic of Christmas (though Starting Over was pretty gut-wrenching, too – don’t read these if you’re day is all happy face cheery – a dying daughter or a son going to jail – neither will pep you up.)

My Most helpful post: Holiday survival 101. This depends on perspective of course. Lots of people found both Twitter posts helpful – Like a Bird on a Wire (or wooden bench) and Twitter the Ongoing Saga.

I could go on and on. All of the posts are special to me and because of the wealth of views and comments and followers I’ve seen pass by this blog, I think some of those posts have been special for you, as well.

All parties should include some fun prizes. Everyone who likes this post will get their name put in a hat and I will choose one lucky person who will be invited to do a guest appearance on my blog (plug your book, interview, topic of your choice, you choose) – think of those 862 followers of mine before you decide this is a budget prize.

Not to be outdone by the ever popular Ginzu knife commercials – every person who comments will also have a chance to get their name thrown in the hat for a prize. This lucky winner will receive a $5.00 Amazon gift card (hint, hint, if you haven’t already bought my book you sure could, but gifts should have no strings attached.)

But there’s more. If you like my blog, make a comment, and talk about me on your own blog, (make sure you ping back to me, so I’ll know) I am going to do another draw and send the winner a trade paperback copy of Disappearing in Plain Sight. The only string attached to this prize is that I hope the winner would consider doing a review when finished reading the book.

Oh – if you aren’t a word press blogger and you can’t press the like button – let me know that in your comment so I can make sure you get into the final prize draw.

Here’s a photo to get you in the mood to celebrate! (Baby Brit and chocolate cake – oh my gosh, what can I say?)


The contest prizes may be modest, but as Stuart MacLean’s record shop owner Dave (CBC Radio – Vinyl Cafe) always says, we may not be big, but we are small. The contest will close at the end of June – so spread the word and encourage other people to stop by. The more the merrier.

So, there you go, celebrations, prizes, balloons, cake, coffee, a glass of wine – we’ve had it all on Disappearing in Plain Sight. Please join in the celebration.

My Writer’s Manifesto


Gore Vidal wrote that writers are born with a repertory company in their heads. As a writer grows older, he or she become more skilful at casting this company.

He went on to say Shakespeare started off with twenty characters, whereas Vidal himself only started with ten.

I question the assertion that we came into this world with access to characters written into our DNA, or the belief that we are born to be one thing or another – writers included.

Storytelling, of which writing is just one example, is a skill that people learn early in life. I remember the absolute delight we had when granddaughter Emma told her first story. We had been out for a walk before Halloween (she was not quite two), and we stopped to look at some spooky decorations on one of the houses. When we got back to her house, her dad had just driven up. She looked at him with eyes as wide as saucers and said, “Spooky house.”

A storyteller is born when the understanding of how to string words together in order to share an experience occurs. Being able to represent those stories with a set of arbitrary characters that represent a written language will come later.

There are stories in us that beg to be told. A shared story is a gift – for the teller and the listener. What else were parents trying to do over and over but elicit a story, when they asked, “What did you do at school today?” How many breathless teen conversations begin with the words, “You’ll never guess what happened.” Here comes a story. We sit across from our spouse and say, “How was your day?” What we’re truly saying is tell me a story, invite me into your world.

Like any skill worth acquiring, honing the art of representing stories in written form is hard work. A talent one will spend a lifetime working at and even then it won’t have been enough time. I don’t imagine many writers come to the end and think, “Well, at least I’m leaving this world having perfected the craft of writing.”

This is my third post in a row on the writing life – give the reader the best that is in you; if you know a writer – give them the support they need; and today’s message – don’t give up. What you are trying to master, as a writer, is no less than the vital work of informing civilization. Like all art, writers tell the stories that allow others to make sense of the world.

Have you ever heard the saying – the first book a writer writes is the story they need to tell. I assume the point here is that once the writer is free of that burden, he or she can go on to greatness. I disagree with that premise. The story you need to write is the story someone needs to read. Just as the message of this post is what I need to tell and simultaneously it is a message someone else needs to hear.

My writer’s manifesto – do your best, get support, and don’t give up. Never doubt that what you do matters.


(This picture was taken in the Schneider Museum of Art in Ashland, Oregon)

Weekly Photo Challenge. Layer on the Praise


The photo challenge this week is, the sign says. When we travel, I am the one who takes pictures of signs. Here is one of my all-time favourites, applicable to so many situations in life.

As I look at this sign, I find myself thinking that writing is a lonely endeavour. I have spent months on my first draft, which by its very nature is something personal, between me and the story I’m trying to tell. It is not ready for public consumption. Even though I’m well aware of that fact, it’s hard to keep quiet. I get to a point where I am dying to talk about the characters and the story. The compulsion is even stronger now as I work on the second draft. It’s still not even ready for beta readers, but I’m more eager than ever to talk. Herein lies the danger that the sign eludes to.

Where do you find someone who understands what this early stage of the process is like for a writer? It is unlikely that we will find ourselves married or partnered with other writers, and that’s probably for the best. But I need someone who knows that if I break down and yammer on about the storyline, or the characters, or go into a complete tailspin and actually read something aloud, the only response acceptable is unqualified praise.

I need to be built up. I’m running a marathon, and I’m getting tired. Where are the supporters on the side-lines handing out fruit and energy drinks?

The last thing I want is critique. Believe me, there will be more than enough time for that down the road, and I’m well aware of that fact.

Heed the sign above. If a writer shares something with you at this early stage, plaster a gigantic smile and your face and layer on the praise. Otherwise you might find yourself at the mercy of the danger this sign describes.