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“Poo Brew”- REALLY!

Road trips are excellent humor fodder for amusing the weary travelers. The “POO” dialogue recently heard on a California radio station was hands down the most memorable. Apparently, American companies are producing a beer made with recycled sewage water (yes, you get the picture)! And, even more incredulous, this beverage is becoming a winner! Imagine! Actual companies using recycled sewage water to create new beverages for human consumption.  Check it out, Wiegert Brewing has a U Tube video showing a patron trying their carbonated POO BREW. It is touted as a “POO BREW chocolate vanilla gourmet soda.”  I know what you’re thinking. When you flush that POO down the toilet, that’s the last time you want to encounter it… Well my friends, if you don’t believe me, check out Manure Tea for fun! Do you think these companies could possibly be onto something? Should we be investing?

Are you at all entertained as a passenger on a road trip by the billboards and bumper stickers that catch your eye along the freeways?  My bored husband is inclined to be influenced by billboard solicitation. So, after the 10th sign, advertising “PEA SOUP ANDERSEN’S”,  a slight detour off the highway for a brief pit stop was made.  Seriously, its hard to believe that one can make a thriving  business by packing the traveling hordes in to sample PEA SOUP!  (Please Note: My husband didn’t even bother to inquire whether I actually liked PEA SOUP, he was so jazzed about sampling this unique fare amongst all the other travelers seeking a distraction from driving.) Of course, the next Billboard tempting him to exit off the freeway came when he spotted, “HONK IF YOU LOVE BUFFETS!”  NOT!

Heading to the desert means getting more physical exercise and losing a little weight. This  gym billboard gave us a chuckle, “PAY DIDDLY FOR YOUR SQUATS”.  Clever, don’t you think?

As we drove through Palm Desert, we were taken with the restaurant sign, “UNCOWPROMISING”.

The best bumper sticker of all for us had to be, “GOOD HAPPENS”. That one caught our attention when contrasted with the other saying that’s out there…

And finally, coming from someone who is about to celebrate another birthday, “I know it all…. I just can’t remember it all at once.”

I’m sure you have some humorous billboards and bumper stickers that you thought were clever.  Share them with us by commenting below.  We want to hear about them.


Lao Tzu copy

According to Global TV’s Newscast yesterday, January 19th is recognized as the most depressing day of the year. As you can tell from the title of my post, my personal experience of that date was anything but depressing!  What factors contributed to my feelings of well-being?  What made yesterday a day that was fresh, energized, and left one feeling rejuvenated? From my perspective:

1. Exercise- Start the day off early with a brisk walk with friends in a gorgeous part of Vancouver Island (ocean, golf course, rocks and trees, trails). It helps when the sun is shining, like it was yesterday!

-Attend a Yoga Class at the end of the day to wind down and get some wonderful stretches in.

2. Time to Chat with One’s Partner- communicating, over coffee, about upcoming travel plans that we are mutually looking forward to.

3. Creating- continue to fine-tune (wordsmithing) one’s Picture Book, while anticipating the illustrator’s draft cartoons. As well, preparing the Query Letter to be sent to the targeted publisher.

4. Artistry- continue to make progress with a “shabby chic” tin ceiling tile project.  This feeds one’s need to continue to beautify one’s home.

5. Productivity- clean and organize the bathroom cupboards with new baskets purchased at Home Sense on the weekend. (√ on the TO DO LIST)

6. Nutrition- Plan and prepare a tasty dinner to  share with one’s partner upon returning from Yoga.

7. Leisure- Enjoy the evenings for some screen time, internet browsing, or to read one’s current book.

8. Sleep- Get a wonderful 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep and awake rested.(Unheard of for those in the working world… I know!)

Yesterday was a super day!  Having direction and time for a little togetherness with others is key to my personal well-being. The only element that could have improved it would have included some time spent with children.

A former colleague and friend of mine called on the weekend and inquired during the conversation about what I was up to now that I had retired from my all-encompassing career.  It was hard for me to explain the change in my day-to-day life and the effort it takes to keep it engaging, fulfilling, happy, and rewarding. One doesn’t have those urgent calendar must-dos  and overwhelming schedules (or, unfortunately, the celebrations for the successes). The hardest and perhaps the true gift is having the luxury of time to indulge yourself in the way you choose to spend your day.  It’s a process and I am learning to be gentle on myself and give myself permission to pursue the things in life that fill my soul. It isn’t perfected yet, but the process and transition one moves through is an interesting and rewarding journey in its own way- especially when you feel fresh, energized and rejuvenated!

Was yesterday a day to feel blue?... NOT A CHANCE!

I’m sure some of you have tales of what keeps you feeling positive about your life.  What are the ingredients that keep you fresh, energized and rejuvenated?  I’d love to hear from you, so please do leave a comment.  And don’t forget, you can subscribe to my blog and receive notices when there is a new post. Please do so, I’m excited about growing my readership!


I’m not sure about you, but I’m not always ready by New Year’s Eve, to articulate my resolutions for the upcoming year ahead. I’m learning, as I move forward through the years (such a poetic way of saying aging), that everything in life comes down to RELATIONSHIPS. I used to get annoyed in my profession when the buzzword relationship-building became over-worked. I wanted to shout out at times that if everyone just did their job to the best of their ability in a principled way, relationships would never be an issue.

Now that I’m retired and have had the luxury of time to contemplate and appreciate the wisdom of valuing, maintaining, and further developing deeper relationships with others; I find that it’s becoming my all-encompassing goal. We all know the power of having strong, true friendships and caring, supportive families, and the work and effort that is required on an on-going basis. This is my “umbrella resolution”, I’m going to continue to grow and develop my relationships with the people I love and care about. It’s my first priority.

My second resolution is related to relationships, as well. Since I started writing and publishing, it has been a fairly solitary activity. I depended on the Internet, Twitter, blogs, webinars, and conferences to continue to develop as a writer. I didn’t tap the expertise of others through collaborating and sharing with other authors, illustrators, publishers, educators, librarians, etc., who share my passion and strengths in creating worthwhile kidlit. Relationships were not forged with the talented people that surround me, who live and breathe their craft. Some of this was due to moving to the island and away from my contacts and identity. But 2015 is different. I know I’m finally ready to do just that. I’ve started the New Year off by contacting an illustrator (cartoonist) who I envisioned creating the humorous illustrations for my new picture book, as I created it. His cartoons are brilliant and his style will bring the text alive for a heart-warming story about a young family that vacations together on their sailboat. The book is entitled, Who’s the CAPTAIN? I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he’s up for the project. If you’re familiar with Cockpit Confessions in the Pacific Yachting Magazine, you’ll know of David Alavoine’s witty style and ability.

I don’t know if you’ve come up with an “umbrella” New Year’s resolution, as I have. I’d appreciate hearing about yours and what actions you’re taking to be successful.
Please leave your comments below and any suggestions you have for me, to make 2015 the best one yet.



Nanoose Library X'mas Sale

Nanoose Library X’mas Sale

It’s that shopping time of year when you’re looking for some fun, engaging reads for your TWEEN-aged (9-12 year old) kids or grand kids to enjoy over the holiday season. SCHOLASTIC has a report coming out in the new year, but they released a chart recently that summarized their findings.  This is what kids aged 6-17 said they want from the books they read:

1.  MAKE ME LAUGH      (70%)


3. TELL ME A MADE-UP STORY        (48%)


5.  TEACH ME SOMETHING NEW          (43%)


Kids (9-11) want books that have a mystery or a problem to solve.

Kids (12-14) want books with smart, strong or brave characters.

This is useful information for parents, grandparents, and teacher librarians that continue to promote the reading habit with their tweens and young teens, after the primary years. As the author of the Frenchie Series, I felt validated knowing that my three Middle Grade novels fit the criteria for what TWEENS are looking for when choosing books that will entertain and hook them in. This age group can relate to Ethan, the main character, who would do ANYTHING to own a French bulldog. These contemporary fiction novels have tweens chuckling aloud as they join Ethan in his misadventures and schemes through his nightly Frenchie’s Best Friend (FBF) blog followers who are as “gaga” over Frenchies, as he is!

The Frenchie Series is a timely read for the holiday season for all TWEENS (aged9-12).  If your tweens are reading eBooks- you may want to check out the Kindle Countdown Deal on Amazon for Bk. #1 - Frenchie’s Best Friend- Follow the Blog (the ebook has been reduced from $2.99 to$0.99 from Dec. 12th-Dec.19th) .Paperbacks are also available at all Amazon sites:


FBF without Spine

The Kindle Countdown Deal on Amazon for Bk. #2Frenchie X2- Follow the Blog (the eBook has reduced from  $2.99 to $0.99) from Dec. 19th to Dec. 26th):


Frenchie X2 Cover

Bk. #3 of the Frenchie Series: Frenchie Diva- Follow the Blog is available in Kindle eBook and paperback format from all Amazon sites:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GXIW57E

14549732_Frenchie Diva Cover JPG( 4341595 ) copy

Anyone wishing to purchase the paperback series in Canada can order directly from my Canadian Distributor: http://www/redtuquebooks.ca


Knowing your TWEEN’S reading preferences, as you do, are you in agreement with the Scholastic survey summary?  I’d love to hear your opinions or those of your children/grandchildren/ or students.  Please leave me a note in the comment section.  And if you should take advantage of the Kindle Countdown Deals and purchase the Frenchie Series, please do leave a short review comment on Amazon for other readers to find.  I’d love to hear whether you agree with me that the series meets the criteria of what tweens are looking for in the books they choose!



Yesterday, October 22nd, WE DAY was celebrated at Rogers Arena in Vancouver. Youth from all over the province earned the right to attend and celebrate their actions towards changing the world.

It caused me to pause and reminisce to five years ago, as a principal accompanying some of West Bay’s Grade 6& 7 leaders to the first WE DAY in Vancouver. It was a powerful experience to hear from world leaders and ethical change agents immersed in making a difference in their communities and the world. Marc and Craig Kielburger (the co-founders of Free The Children) compelled the audience to become engaged activists with an awareness of global issues and the compassion to build a better world. The WE DAY experience inspires youth to develop the confidence and social skills required to be part of the ME TO WE GENERATION. Craig Kielburger introduced and had a conversation with the Dalai Lama that day. The Dalai Lama explained his beliefs in this way, “My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” It was a message that united all of the religious beliefs of audience members. Human kindness is a concept and virtue of which any age group can relate. The Dalai Lama’s goal has been to “raise the next generation to be calm and confident, compassionate, peaceful and kind, and engaged with each other and their studies to make the world a better place.” (Vancouver Sun, Oct. 18th, p. A8)

Having that experience with WE DAY and nurturing the International Baccalaureate’s Mission Statement as our compass, West Bay students had confidence – building experiences, raising funds for a school and well in Liberia, sponsoring a book drive to fill the library, and much more.

The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.

To this end the organization works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment.

These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.

Upon retiring, I have written three novels in a tween Frenchie Series. In Book #2, Frenchie X2- Follow the Blog, the adolescent main character, Ethan, gets involved in a fundraising scheme by joining a school leadership team. Ethan doesn’t see himself as a leader, much less someone who could bring about positive changes to make a difference. The novel is a humorous story about a boy growing up and becoming more confident and self-aware. The series is humorous, while it deals with the teenage angst that youth go through at this stage. This is a short Pet Blog excerpt from Frenchie X2- Follow the Blog:

Frenchie X2 Cover

Blog: Fundraising King!

I can’t stop grinning. The Doggie Boutique Day was my idea and it turned out to be a really good one. Not only did the whole thing actually go off without any major glitches (meaning no one got scalded making tofu dogs or bitten while washing dogs), and if my Doggie Wash Station is any indication, I think we’ll have cleared thousands today. And that feels GOOD! It isn’t just about the cash; it’s about making the money to help those disadvantaged kids in Liberia. I can’t get over how great I feel about being part of the solution.

My Mom couldn’t stop talking about the event when she returned home with the puppies. She was blown away by the organization and variety of goods and services that the school provided. The thing that impressed her most was that the kids at our school had done it all and that they had followed through and participated selflessly on a Saturday. The fact that her son was the brainchild of the initiative just made her ecstatic. She’s been on the phone for two hours straight calling all our relatives to brag about her son- me Ethan. Can you believe it? Now that makes me feel like a winner! (The problem is that this will be short-lived, once I have the nerve to present her with my report card. That’s why I intend to milk this for awhile.)

And what of the puppies? What was the highlight of their day? Well, Pierre’s been tearing around the house costumed as Elvis in a gold sequined suit with a cape flying behind him. And Sissy is wearing a pink beret (that stays on her head at an angle with elastic) and a tight tiger-skin fake fur jacket. I think the costumes may be a little much, but they’ll look cute on Halloween at the Doggie Park. I’m surprised that they love their outfits. It never occurred to me that they would enjoy wearing them, but Pierre won’t stand still long enough to get his off; I think he likes the cape flying as he races through the house. And Sissy, she actually gave me a baby growl when I dared to take her beret off her head. Too funny!

Mom picked up this pink leather halter thing with lots of bling all over it. She keeps calling it Sissy’s bra… I personally think it looks ridiculous and let me tell you…. Sissy is not excited about putting the thing on. She refuses to lift her front paws so that Mom can slide it up and fasten it. I don’t blame her, why would a puppy want to wear a bra? What’s gotten into my mom? What was she thinking?

Too much excitement for one day, I’m beat and just want to crawl into bed and dream about our big success.

High on Himself New Papa,
Frenchie’s Best Friend

Whenever I present readings and author workshops to classes in Grades 4-7, my visits become a school fundraiser. They receive 25% of all book sales to donate to their favorite charity or their local SPCA. It is another way to raise funds to give back to one’s community.
If you are an educator or parent, interested inspiring your tweens to become kind, confident global citizens, these novels may be right for them.
To purchase the paperbacks of Frenchie X2- Follow the Blog in Canada for your tween or school, go to:

Amazon for  paperback and/or ebook:
US:  http://www.twocandobooks.com/out.php?a=B007BG2ETG&l=us&s=a
If you would like to follow up with an author visit at your school or library, leave an email contact in the comments section below. I live on Vancouver Island and am in the Portland, Oregon area often. I would love to hear back from you regarding your leadership efforts and successes to help make a difference in our world. Did any of my readers attend the ME to WE Day in Vancouver yesterday? What was your experience? Please do tell me about it!

Last November, Vivalogue hosted its first Independent Book Festival in Richmond, British Columbia. It brought independent authors together to promote and sell their books, and provided excellent feedback from sessions with editors on their books. As well,  workshops provided  authors more information regarding the self publishing industry. Please watch the You Tube video from last year’s festival to see for yourself what the two day festival accomplished.

Raindance Book Festival 2013


2013-11-09 4 RainDance


2013-11-09 3 RainDance

On Saturday, Nov.1 and Sunday, Nov.2, 2014 you are invited to participate in the Tidewater Book Festival for Independent Authors in Nanaimo, British Columbia. It promises to be an outstanding two day experience for self published authors, as well as for the public.  The authors will share their books with the public at the  Nanaimo Museum on Saturday, November 1st.

Kait Burgan from Shaw TV will be covering the Tidewater Book Festival for Independent Authors for her program Go! Island. This is a great publicity opportunity for authors participating in the festival to promote their books to a wider audience. Kait will be talking to visitors & authors at the Book Fair on Sat., November 1 at the Nanaimo Museum.

Sunday, November 2nd is a full day of 10 hour-long workshops offering essential advice and information for new and existing authors from industry experts. Topics range from how to craft your pitch, sell your book, create the best cover and the latest practices for e-book marketing and creation—sign up for the workshops you need to self-publish successfully.

Registration for this year’s Book Fair is strictly limited to 25 authors only. Register now at http://www.tidewaterfestival.com to secure your table at the Festival.

Don’t miss out on this excellent learning opportunity and a chance to become better acquainted with the business of self-publishing. Let me know in your comments if you have registered as a participating author or if you will attend as a visitor to peruse the books and meet the authors.


I don’t know how your family celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving, but I’m almost certain it didn’t resemble the one I experienced this year.

Most of us conjure up a vision of an elegant, cozy, homey dinner of stuffed turkey and homemade pumpkin pie. The table set with autumn decor, a crackling fire adding ambience to the delicious, mingling aromas.

Of course nobody considers the harried cook in the over-heated kitchen frantically mashing potatoes, carving turkey, stirring gravy, and trying to have all the feast fixings laid out on the dining room table before it cools and congeals. Thanksgiving dinner pressure – that’s the real picture.

Well, wipe that image from your mind and conjure up, instead, a family of three couples: parents (in their early nineties), their son and daughter (in their mid-sixties), and their spouses (aged 60 and 80). A typical family gathering of parents and their kids, right? And where did they have their Thanksgiving feast? Well, don’t you know- Milano’s PIZZA, of course! Not a whiff of roasted turkey to be found, but certainly aromatic garlic wafting through the cavernous restaurant.

And didn’t the daughter of the family conveniently dream the night before our Thanksgiving gathering that she, her mother, and her sister-in-law won BIG at the casino? It was a premonition that obviously must be acted upon. There was no stopping “the girls” from heading down to the Casino directly from the pizza table, deserting the guys with instructions to return home and prepare the coffee and COSTCO pumpkin pie!

All three gamblers had their $20. limit clutched tightly in their fists, posed to feed the nickel machine… Yep, I did say nickel- not dollar machine. Why, you ask? Apparently, there is more play time on a nickel machine. The three “girls” clustered in front of the machine of choice, anticipating the big win as the $60. deposit disappeared within the bowels of the starving machine. As the final nickel was played, there was an audible sound of disappointment. It was over, all three of us incredulous that somehow the “dream omen” had not played out!

The 90 year old decided she wasn’t ready to be wheeled back to the car without her winnings! She enticed her daughter to put an extra $10. into the machine of her choice (a winning machine as opposed to the greedy machine that had already eaten up our combined $60.), and she continued to play. So the “girls” stood behind their mother’s wheelchair hanging on each hit of the button as the $10. quickly started to disappear. On the second last hit, and with all three of us sighing in resignation that someone had had a faulty dream, eight BONUSES lit up on the screen and the top of the machine sounded as a sum of $1544 was highlighted! That’s right, a BIG, BIG WIN!

And wow; we felt so thankful when we walked into the apartment for our pie and coffee- tightly clutching our loot!

OH HAPPY, HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Our unconventional Thanksgiving proved to be tons of fun!

 THANK YOU!                                                     Show Me the MONEY



I’d love to hear about your Thanksgiving.  This was such an unusual celebration, and I’m not sure entirely in keeping with the theme of thankfulness, but it certainly was fun!  Why don’t you leave me a comment to let me know your thoughts?

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