Monthly Archives: October 2014



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:
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!


Tidewater Book Festival for Independent Authors


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 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?