The Tax Journal will be ready for Can-Con!

I finished the tax journal for authorpreneurs today!

I had promised people that it would be ready for Can-Con, and it will be. Barring printer problems, idiots at customs and so forth, of course.

I don’t have a table at Can-Con, so I’ll have a few in my bag and a box in my room, just stop me and ask. Unless you have a table and are willing to share a corner. ¬†ūüôā

I don’t have my final printing costs yet, so I don’t know what I’ll be charging. But I can spare a buck or two to a vendor who saves¬†me¬†the effort.

Now, this is a journal specific to Canadian taxes. Is there interest in a general writer’s bullet journal? It would be prettier but have much the same¬†functionality. Fewer tax points, but more space for general journaling and story ideas.

Here, there and everywhere

The next few weeks, or months, will be crazy busy around here.  That probably means my 2x a week blogging schedule will get even more screwed up than usual.

Thursday, I’m in town until 9pm for a writers group. Friday we leave for Ad Astra.¬† Get home Sunday late at night, and I should go to a different writers group Monday, but let’s be honest, even with the wheelchair all weekend, I’ll be in NO shape for a day in town.

The following weekend, we leave for 2 weeks for my Mom’s wedding.¬† It’s so cute! She’s 80 and he’s 70, and she thinks she’s a cougar, a cradle robber!

We get back just before the long weekend on the 21st of May, and have a birthday event to go to, then a few days off before the book fair (I’m on the organizing committee and in charge of registration). The next weekend is a charity event, the next is a wedding, then there’s a festival I’m in….

I’ll post when I have both time and brain function, but realistically…. expect to return to regular blogging in the fall.

I won! IwonIwonIwon!

I entered a short story contest put on by Radish a few weeks ago. Radish is an online story sharing app, kind of a pro-level Wattpad. Except that it just goes to Mac Apple products for now. (They are working on an Android app)

I entered a short story based in my world for Nets to Catch the Wind. It stars Thalia, one of the supporting characters. The contest rules were that it must involve flashbacks triggered by a shot in a bar. So I wrote some backstory to my backstory.

And it won best fantasy!

Great news to come back from Ad Astra to, eh?  Which was great on its own, btw.

So, I’m not sure how much I can say about my biggest bestest thing that happened, I’ll have to wait for permission, but it was awesome!

I also got to chat with amazing authors, buy tons of new books, and see a couple great panels. I got to party with a writer whose work I love. And… I seem to have been promised a panel or seminar on taxes and the authorpreneur at Can-Con 2016!

They want to call it “What to do with those fracking receipts!”¬† LOL, I can work with that.


Can-Con, Nanowrimo and the election.

Let me get this off my chest first. Literally.  While at Can-Con, someone gave me the plague.

Coughing, sneezing, enough snot to float a rowboat, achy joints… You know who you are, and you should be ashamed. Doing this to a writer on the eve of Nano! ¬†I can’t even look down at my keyboard without my nose running, my eyes crossing from the tickle… my cat is staring at me like I’ve grown a second head!

Other than that, Can-Con was awesome. I saw wonderful people, took part in a couple of very useful workshops, and watched many a panel on business and gory stuff. And I sold FIVE copies of my debut novel, A Test of Loyalty¬†(A Mechanicsville book)! ¬†Five, that makes thirteen paperbacks in total. ¬†Another fifteen and I’ll have paid to have them printed… That doesn’t sound as wonderful as it feels..

Nanowrimo (NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth) is here and I’m working on the second book in the Mechanicsville series, Alone in the Dark. It picks up a week or so after the first book ends.

Nano is something I try to do every year, it teaches me to quiet the internal editor and just get it on the page. I call it Draft 0, as opposed to first draft, because it needs some work just to make sense. And a large part will end up being tossed out.  But editing is easier than the blank page staring at you.

Last year’s nano book was the second 1/2 of my epic fantasy, Nets to Catch the Wind. ¬†it’s taken until mid-October this year to match the two¬†halves and make it make sense. ¬†So…draft one. So while I let the new book rest in December, I’ll be working on draft 2 of Nets. Moving my brain from epic fantasy to gritty YA and back again…

The Canadian Federal Election!

Well, I’m nearly done talking about it, I have been impressed with the rhetoric, with the promises, and now with the new cabinet. ¬†I mean… a WOMAN in charge of the Status of Women ?? Natives in charge of Fisheries, and Justice? ¬†A decorated veteran in National Defense? ¬†He must be crazy!

But it’s my kind of crazy. ¬†I am guardedly optimistic and hopeful of getting MY Canada back. You remember Canada, don’t you? ¬†Peacekeepers, a haven for refugees, good/ free health care, great education, a beautiful mosaic of cultures not a morass¬†of victim blaming and otherness….

My sweet patootie (otherwise known as former foster son, now bestie) Douglas Connors wrote an excellent introduction to our new Cabinet.  And I am stealing it for this blog.

“The Cabinet

1. Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness: Ralph Goodale

Former Minister of Finance. A man of great integrity in a portfolio requiring it as our most fundamental rights are at play. In 2006, the RCMP sunk the Liberal campaign by announcing an arguably baseless investigation into Mr Goodale. Now, he’s in charge of the RCMP.

2. Indigenous and Northern Affairs: Carolyn Bennett

A doctor and a stalwart supporter of our First Peoples. I have no doubt she authentically wants better outcomes as she is a woman of great compassion. It is an inspired choice.

3. Agriculture and Agri-Food: Lawrence MacAuley

An experienced and very capable Minister, from PEI. Has been in office since 1988. An agriculture minister from the East is an inspired choice.

4. Justice and Attorney General: Jody Wilson-Raybould

Former provincial Crown Prosecutor. She is of Aboriginal heritage. She and Carolyn Bennett, will make a very strong team with regard to an inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous women.

5. Foreign Affairs: Stéphane Dion

Another VERY inspired choice. He’s a statesman. He’s a natural diplomat. He’s shown he can put his ego aside. A just reward for the raw deal he got.

6. Public Services and Procurement: Judy Foote

This is the lady who was the Liberal point person when the harassment complaint of 2 NDP MPs came to light. She did very well during delicate and difficult circumstances. She was the head of Memorial University’s (Newfoundland and Labrador) university relations division before she entered politics.

7. Immigration and Citizenship: John MacCallum

Former Minister of National Defence who also just happens to hold a Ph.D. in Economics and has been a professor. A very earnest, thoughtful, and competent Minister. He is a very good egg. He will handle this file ‚ÄĒ and the Syrian refugee issue, with great care and compassion. Another inspired choice.

8. International Trade: Chrystia Freeland

Exceptionally competent.. frighteningly so. Of Ukrainian heritage and has degrees from Harvard and Oxford in Russian and Slavonic-related studies. Also a well-regarded financial journalist (Financial Times, Washington Post, The Economist).

9. Government House Leader: Dominic Leblanc

Son of former GG Romeo Leblanc. A party stalwart who also happens to be a very good personal friend of the Prime Minister. A very hard worker with a reputation for integrity. Also a graduate of Harvard Law.

10. Health: Jane Philpott

New to Parliament. A member of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario who has worked with Doctors Without Borders in Africa, and has worked on HIV and refugee advocacy. She defeated Harper mouthpiece Paul Calandra.

11. Treasury Board: Scott Brison

Former finance and industry critic, Parliamentary Secretary, and party leadership candidate. Very experienced, smart, and well spoken. Openly gay.

12. International Development: Marie-Claude Bibeau

New to Parliament. She holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and a graduate diploma in environmental management and is a former employee of the Canadian International Development Agency (postings in Ottawa, Montreal, Morocco and Benin).

13. Innovation, Science and Economic Development: Navdeep Bains

A proven entity, with a solid reputation, who taught part time at Ryerson University. He holds an MBA and is a certified management accountant.

14. Canadian Heritage: Mélanie Joly

New to Parliament. A former candidate for the Mayoralty in Montreal after all the turmoil. She emerged out of nowhere to place second behind Denis Coderre and became a political star. Not much of a track record in governance on which to form an assessment of competence as a minister, but on paper, is promising. She is a member of the Barreau du Québec (lawyer).

15. Finance: Bill Morneau

New to Parliament. A graduate of the London School of Economics. He’s a former head of Canada’s largest human resources firm and was a key adviser to the Ontario government on pension reform, so he will be key for expansion of the CPP (as well as to managing job creation via infrastructure spending).

16. National Revenue: Diane Lebouthillier

New to Parliament. She is a social worker from the Gaspé region who has also served as a chair of a regional municipality.

17. Families, Children, and Social Development: Jean-Yves Duclos

New to Parliament. Another graduate of London School of Economics (Ph.D.). He formerly headed the economics department at Université Laval. Recognized economics expert; has served as President of the Canadian Economic Association.

18. Environment and Climate Change: Catherine McKenna

New to Parliament. MP for Ottawa Centre who upset the NDP’s Paul Dewar in riding with largest voter turnout in the country. She is a human rights and social justice lawyer who is the co-founder of Canadian Lawyers Abroad.

19. Transport: Marc Garneau

First Canadian astronaut in space. Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering. Retired Navy Captain and former President of the Canadian Space Agency. Not sure what specific experience he would bring to the Transport file, but he will bring wisdom and rigor to Cabinet.

20. Employment, Workforce, and Labour: Maryann Mihychuk

Indigenous MP new to Parliament. Former member of the Manitoba MLA for the NDP. She is a geologist, who is well known in the mining community. A former NPDer at Labour sends an interesting message.

21. Natural Resources: Jim Carr

An oboist and trustee with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra as well as a former executive director of the Manitoba Arts Council. Former Deputy Leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party.

22. Democratic Institutions: Maryam Monsef

New to Parliament. Afghan refugee (came to Canada with her widowed mother and 2 sisters). Founder of Red Pashmina. Came 2nd in the 2014 Peterborough Mayoralty race. Nice touch that the Minister for Democratic Institutions is the person who won in Dean Del Mastro’s ‚ÄĒ he who is in jail for violating electoral law ‚ÄĒ riding.

23: Veterans Affairs: Kent Hehr

New to Parliament. MP from Calgary, quadriplegic as a result of having been shot in the neck as a bystander. A former Liberal MLA in Alberta.

24: Sport and Persons with Disabilities: Carla Qualtrough

New to Parliament. MP for Delta, BC. She is a Paralympic medalist who is a former President of the Canadian Paralympic Committee and is a human rights lawyer.

25. National Defence: Harjit Singh Sajjan

New to Parliament. MP from Vancouver. A retired member of the Canadian Armed Forces who received the Order of Military Merit for his service and a member of the Vancouver Police Department for 11 years. Highest ranking Sikh ever in our armed forces. Another inspired choice.

26. Science: Kirsty Duncan

A Liberal stalwart and a very hard worker. Always comes across as very sincere. She holds a Ph.D. in geography. She was part of the IPCC crew that won the Nobel Prize.

27. Infrastructure and Communities: Amarjeet Sohi

New to Parliament. Was thrown into jail in India in 1988 on trumped up terrorism charges and was released in 1990. Former member of Edmonton municipal council, which will likely serve him well in this position. Defeated Conservative Tim Uppal by less than 100 votes.

28. Status of Women: Patty Hajdu

New to Parliament. She holds a Masters in Public Administration. She is an expert in harm prevention, homelessness, and drug addiction with nine years as the head of the drug awareness committee of the Thunder Bay District Health Unit. She was also the head of the city’s largest homeless shelter.

29. Fisheries, Oceans, and Coast Guard: Hunter Tootoo

New to Parliament. A businessman who served as the former speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut. An inspired move to put a Northerner in such a position.

30. Small Business and Tourism: Bardish Chagger

New to Parliament. Young MP (under 40) from the Kitchener-Waterloo area who was studying nursing until she became the executive assistant to Andrew Telegdi, who represented Waterloo in Parliament from 1993 to 2008. She is a community organizer with multicultural communities.


I very much like the composition of this Cabinet: A good balance of experience and novelty; gender parity (and women put in many key roles); strong background in law, economics, and science but with a good variety of other perspectives (public health, social justice, women’s rights, sports, performing arts; great representation of diversity (racial, religious, First Peoples, sexual orientation, people with disabilities); many inspired assignments.

IMHO, this Cabinet very much better reflects the composition of Canadian society than anything in recent memory (and possibly ever).

He is showing that he truly is the first PM we’ve had who grasps the concept of the Global Village.

Very neat that PM Trudeau is taking questions immediately after the swearing in ceremony.”

Looking forward with hope

And not just to Can-Con or Nanowrimo.

A week or so after the election, and I’m looking forward to getting MY Canada back, maybe even a new and improved Canada. A Canada of polite, peaceful, diverse, supportive, people with education and healthcare¬† for all. No more politics of division and fear. No more funding cuts to the poor, and tax breaks to the rich. No more tar sands, leaking pipes and jailing protesters as “terrorists”.

The House of Commons won’t even sit for the first time until Nov. 4th when PM Designate Justin Trudeau names his first cabinet.¬† And already he is announcing sweeping changes, not just in attitude, but in laws, in how the government will be run, in the whole “personality” of the government.

He opened the Press Gallery, where reporters meet with the Prime Minister to ask questions, for the first time in SEVEN YEARS!

He is dedicated to gender parity in his cabinet, and he will have as many women as men, for the first time EVER.

He has announced the end of “first past the post” and will instate some form of representational voting, tbd after consulting (gasp) the public.

He has announced initiatives to lower investment in oil, and increase investment in sustainable/ renewable power sources.

He has announced increase funding to the arts and the CBC.

He posts everything in both official languages.  He thinks Canada is stronger for being a mosaic of language, culture and traditions.

He is revisiting and promising to change Bill C-51, the terrorism bill that labels anyone who disagrees with the PMO a terrorist.

He is stopping the war on charities, veterans, the public service and women’s groups.

He has announced life-long pensions for wounded vets. No more proving that your legs haven’t grown back.

He is reinstating the long-form census.

He is de-muzzling scientists and libraries.

He has jump-started the processing of Syrian refugees.

He is looking at repealing the First Nations Transparency act.

He is withdrawing us from a conflict role around the world and reinstating our peace-keepers.

He does yoga.


I may just be joining the fangirls Trudeau-mania, part deux.¬† What will he do once he’s actually in office?

Book sales and things to ponder

So, about 8 people bought my book within the first couple days of its release. It’s hard to tell exactly with the kindle unlimited, because it shows pages read, not books sold.

Since then, nothing.¬† Not one.¬† Sigh.¬† I hate marketing, why aren’t there marketing fairies?

I now have 50 paperbacks in my kitchen, about 10 are on hold for people who say they want them.¬† I’ll likely sign them, wow, the only people to buy my book!¬† You get a thank you!

Of course, the marketing took second place to our water pump dying, so we had no running water for a couple days. No laundry, no canning although I have apples, grape jelly, tomatoes….¬† but no water for the water bath canner.¬† Not much of a bath with no water!

Which brings up… no shower!

So, yesterday from 11-4 the house was filled with plumbers.¬† Well, only two, but they were big. And busy.¬† And everywhere: basement, kitchen, yard, well house….

So, nothing got done, because my dearest love got home from work within minutes of the plumbers leaving.¬† It would have made a great opening for a romantic comedy.¬† But in real life it meant laundry, supper preps, discussing the cost of all the plumbers…

So, I need to sell books.¬† Or give them away to get more reviews to convince people to buy my book.¬† I’m listening to webinars on marketing books (90% are for how-to books) and it takes all day.¬† Which means no writing done that day.

And I have a lot of books screaming to get out!¬† It’s scary in my head, especially when the vampire from one series wants to get it on with the elf from a completely different series!




So, I think I’ll do a small giveaway.¬† If you are in my target market (13-16 yrs old) or have kids, nieces, cousins, etc in the target market…. contact me at my writer’s FB page, or the book’s FB page,¬† with your email address, and in return for an honest review, I’ll send you a copy.

At Ad Astra in Toronto.

image The hotel for the con is sweet! I can’t wait to see the Con Suite! image We even have a micro kitchen. I’m dizzy with anticipation and hunger.¬†¬† And pain meds. It’s been raining all day, so the old bones are complaining but I’m so happy to be here.¬† Anne Bishop is here! Gail Z Martin is here!

So are several writer and musician friends.  It should be a great weekend. And the panels look brilliant.   Hardest part will be choosing which ones to see.

Writing, editing, steampunk, apocalypse, dystopian, comedy, horror, mystery…. my head’s threatening to explode.