Friday, August 18, 2017

Staycations by @elle_rush

I've been talking about Romancing the Capital for months. Then, the day before I was supposed to leave for Ottawa, a family medical emergency meant I spent that day in the hospital.

Life happens. Often with bad timing.

Fortunately, everything turned out well, and everybody is happily recovering, but my vacation plans were detonated in an unrecoverable way.

(Happy note - I have been invited back for Romancing the Capital 2018 and there are a few tickets left if you want to come, but most sold out quickly)

I had two options: say forget it and go back to work like I hadn't planned anything at all, or roll with it and turn my time-off into a stay-cation and explore my city.

So I explored.


This charming fellow interrupted my picnic at Assiniboine Park. We went for a stroll through the English Gardens there and took a bunch of photos. I went to the Picasso exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery (hurray for free passes). We went to a wedding in Kenora, driving three hours through the gorgeous Whitehall Provincial Park and Canadian Shield.

Let's be honest - staycations are not as exciting as vacations, where you get to explore new places and see things you'll never see at home. But a lot of us never bother to see the things you can see at home anyway. I didn't get to the Manitoba Museum until earlier this year - and I've lived in Winnipeg for 25 years! If you're lucky, you hit the highlights when family comes to town, but that's it.

I'm quite proud to say I've hit most of Winnipeg's tourist traps. I've done the Forks. I've been to a Jets game, and countless Goldeyes baseball games. I've walked around the Exchange District, gone to Assiniboina Downs, visited the Assiniboine Zoo, attended a musical at the outdoor Rainbow Stage, and toured several pavilions for Folklorama.

There are things till on my to-do list: visit Lower Fort Garry, go to a Blue Bombers game someday, just to say I've done it (but I am not a football fan), and skate on the Red River during Festival du Voyageur. But I've done okay. I know a lot of people don't have vacation days to take, and don't have money for out-of-town vacations, but there are always things to do close to home.

You have a couple weeks before the kids head back to school. Have you done anything around your hometowns?

***
Since I've been talking up Winnipeg, I should mention its serial killers. The Calendar Killer has been active for five months, and his next victim could turn up at any time. Check out these intrepid men and women working to catch him. You can start with book 1 -




A year ago, Sergeant Eric Parker gave up his fiancée because of his job as a homicide detective, and he’s regretted it ever since. When an old case throws them back together, he’ll use every trick short of handcuffing her to his bed to win her back.

Bree Collingswood has moved on. Her career is on the upswing, and she’s over the unexpected implosion of her engagement. She insists Eric isn’t on her hot-guy radar any more, even if nobody else believes they are over for good.

When a string of murders in Winnipeg is linked to a single killer, tensions in the city sky-rocket. And when Bree catches the Calendar Killer’s attention, Eric knows the best way to keep her safe is not to send her away again, but keep her closer than ever.




Sunday, August 13, 2017

New adventures, Life Journey's, Family Legacies @tdanielsauthor


Hi there! Welcome Back! As it often does, life ramped up and I’ve missed a few posts. I apologize. As you know there have been some exciting things going on in the Daniels household recently.

 The kids have moved out, and Mr. D and I have sold the tiny little townhouse in Orangeville and purchased some acreage on the outskirts of town. Soon, we’ll be surrounded by ten acres of conservation, a pond and horse ranches. I’m a country girl; I don’t thrive as well in the city. Nature is where I draw my energy from, and this will be the perfect place for me to get back to writing. Mr. D has always wanted property out in the country and this is perfect timing as he begins to gear down for retirement. It’s a win/win for both of us.

As I was sitting down and thinking about what I wanted to share with you today, I started thinking about how quickly we became empty nesters and how much I miss my kids. I love them all. I love Mr. D.’s kids as if they were my own. Although, I am very excited for the next phase of my life with Mr. D, the transition hasn’t been very easy for me. As we all know, I’m an emotional mess at the best of times when it comes to family. The house is quiet now; too quiet. I miss making dinner together and discussing our days. I miss adjusting the volume on my TV to try and drown out the surround sound from the basement. I even miss walking into the house and trying to avoid tripping over eight pairs of shoes. My dad and I were very close, and I find myself wondering how he managed when, as a young adult, I decided to leave the nest and start my own adventure. My dad was the kind of man who seldom
voiced his opinions or engaged in long discussions regarding life. His actions, most often, spoke louder than his words. He never told me that he missed me, but he often would ‘pop in’ to bring me grocery items that were ‘on sale’ that week or bring me lunch when he knew I was working long
shifts, or coaching back to back soccer games. There were times when mysterious bank envelopes of cash would show up in my purse. I never told him when I was struggling, he just knew. Yesterday, we took a break from work and from packing to enjoy a wonderful visit with Mr. D’s sister and her son. After dinner, while sitting around a small fire in the backyard we began to talk to about family and legacies. Mr. D’s nephew shared with us a story from his younger years when he and the family were on a drive and became lost. They found themselves at a little apple orchard off the beaten path and what was meant to be a stop to ask for directions, unintentionally turned into a day that remains in his mind as one of his favorite ‘misadventures’. He then told us that when he has a family of his own, he will plan apple picking adventures and share with them the cherished childhood memory.


 I started to think about my own childhood memories, and the story I have most often shared with my own children. My dad, the strong silent type, was a plumbing salesman. His territory covered a lot of the west and northern parts of Ontario, which often took him out of town for very long days and sometimes overnight. When I was young, I was always excited for school to end for the summer because that was when my dad would let me travel with him one some of those trips. For some kids, long trips in the car may have been a nightmare without the present day addition of DVD screens and wifi. For me, the trips were never long enough. The winding roads and beautiful scenery of the regions of Parry Sound and Bracebridge seemed to pass by way too quickly. I always knew that somewhere along our journey there would be a stop planned to pull over on the shoulders of the highway and climb the rocky hills to pick blueberries. Sometimes he'd forget to bring a container to put them in, so we would sit on the rocks and eat as many as we could. He seldom said much, (surprise) but almost always got us back on the road by telling me we better get going before we were attacked by bears. lol It was many years into my adult life before I figured out that they were not just magical moments of pulling over and stumbling on blueberry bushes. Blueberries are hard to find in those areas. I’m not sure if he spent hours when he was on his own, searching those rocky hills for bushes so he’d know where to stop… or perhaps he just planted them there himself so that we’d have some to pick. Either way, it’s one of those memories that will stay with me forever. I often talk about living your life so it’s a story worth telling, but even more importantly, I now think we need to live our lives so others will remember us. My dad has been gone for many years, yet he is in my thoughts every day. It’s not for his wise words of advice. He seldom lectured or had strong opinions; he never got involved in family gossip or drama. My dad listened, my dad gave his time, and my dad SHOWED me his love. I’m not sure, if he planned it, or if he innocently and unknowingly created some wonderful legacies for me. And so, like Mr. D’s nephew, I plan on passing on those legacies.
 I’ll plan on getting all the family together for big thanksgiving dinners. I will always celebrate Christmas as if I’m viewing it through the eyes of a small child. And when Mr. D and I move in to our new home in the country in a few weeks, to honor the memory of my dad, we’ll be planting blueberry bushes in the back property.
When our grandchildren come to visit, we’ll take them for a walk in the country with a basket or two and share our memories, our time and our love. Hopefully when we’re both long gone from this world, our children and grandchildren will be left with memories of not just things we’ve said, but things we’ve done, WITH THEM.




Check out my new release 'Refusing To Expire'
My long awaited and highly anticipated leap into romantic comedy. From Serious and heartbreaking to wistful and hilarious. Reviewers say that Roger is the perfect book boyfriend, kind and caring, with just enough protective alpha to make a woman feel appreciated and loved. Refusing To Expire was an engaging, cleverly written, and highly amusing delight. I simply could not put it down. 
#R2E #triciadaniels #preorder #99cent #newrelease #refusingtoexpire#romcom
Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/Refusing2
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/refusing-to-expire-1
Smashword: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/723220
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/refusing-to-exp…/1126371147…
apple ibooks: Refusing To Expire



Author Shenanigans @MichelleGAuthor #RTCOttawa2017 #jtsshenanigans

Hello! This post is coming to you late, and I apologize. While I was in  our nation's capital where Eve Langlais is hosting the 3rd annual readers' conference, Romancing the Capital, I had technical difficulties with my computer, and then we went camping, and then I had to recover. Also I had to find a date no one else was posting.

Several of our bloggers here attended as signing authors including 'Nathan Burgoine, Amy Ruttan, Susan Hayes, and Elle Rush (whose head attended since she had a family thing come up and couldn't make it).  Me? I go as a reader for a couple reasons. First, I must protect the secret identity! Second, I love hearing from other writers about their process and inspiration. And last, because I may be just a bit of a fan girl.

This year I wanted to get pics of the authors, but I wanted to do something different. Inspiration struck when browsing for crochet patterns and I found a Mature Content section. Naturally I had to check it out. The result? John Thomas (JT for short) who became my travelling companion.



Yeah, it's amazing what authors will come up with. Anyway, JT has been making the rounds. He proved quite popular with authors and readers! In fact, I've had orders to make several of these guys. I may have to open an ETSY shop, lol. Please enjoy these pics while I get back to crocheting more penises. You can follow me and #jtsshenanigans on Instagram.




'Nathan Burgoine, Elizabeth Lister, Desiree Holt, Heather Long

JT as centrepiece, getting fondled by readers, and hanging with Susan Hayes.

L-R: Top - Cat Johnson, Sarah Castille, Eliza Gayle
Middle - Corene Callahan, Darynda Jones, Tina Christopher
Bottom - Sharon Page, Opal Carew, Sara Hubbard

Anne Lange, Felicity Kates, Sadie Haller (with Zoe York hiding in the background)

Milly Taiden and Angela S. Stone


Elle Rush blowing a kiss to JT.

And the event's host, Eve Langlais. 

I love Romancing the Capital because there's so much energy and so many people just like me! It's so refreshing to turn the filter off and talk about whatever I want with people who accept it all. I mean, where else can you carry a crocheted penis? If you have a chance to go, I highly recommend it. Plans for next year are already underway and tickets are available here.

Until next month!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Going Crazy this Summer! #family #noschedule @jsubject


Working from home can be tough. For me, I arrange my work schedule around everything else I have to do. Since my kids are still in school and young enough to still need me for some things, that's just the way it is. Since it's summer, I am needed even more to keep them entertained and from fighting. That means my usual schedule is even more disrupted. And at this point in the summer, the lack of a proper schedule is affecting my work habits, my fitness habits, and my sleep pattern. (I try to get things done when the kids are in bed, but it doesn't always work that way.)

We did go to the Toronto Zoo this summer to see the Pandas before they leave for Calgary.



I've also been listening to a lot of K-Pop, M-Pop, and J-Pop with my daughter. She tried to get me to listen to them last year, but I wasn't a fan of the groups she listened to. Then she found some others whom I really like. Here's one of our favs to sing and dance to - Go Crazy by 2PM - if you want to see what K-Pop is like.

BOOK NEWS! 

* Love in  New World New Adult Romance box set (print & ebook) released July 31, 2017.
   You can find all of the buy links here.


* Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2 releases October 10, 2017.
   Pre-order links can be found here.
   Get a sampler from Instafreebie here.
   Get a FREE Embrace the Romance Coloring Book here.


   
Until next time...


Friday, August 11, 2017

Audiobooks - my new adventure @SusanHayes

At the end of May, something momentous happened. Well, I thought it was pretty momentous, but I’ve been waiting for this moment for quite some time. ACX (Amazon’s audible section) opened their doors to Canadian authors. Until now, only UK and American authors had access to their narrators and process.  Not anymore!

I had done my research. I’d planned. I’d prepped. I was ready. I dove in head first with a squeal of glee and got started within hours of the announcement. Even after all the prep, there was a lot of work to be done.

I spent less time picking out my wedding dress than I did going over narrator auditions. This one was too high pitched, that one was too soft spoken. What kind of accent was I looking for? Male or female narrator? In the end, the decision was easy. The moment I heard Tieran Wilder’s voice, I knew she was the one. 

Having picked a narrator, the next step was to send her the script (book) and a pronunciation guide.  I write sci-fi romance, with plenty of alien names, curse words, and invented language, which led to some incredibly funny email exchanges as we worked out how everything would sound.

After that, came the review of the audio files. The first sex scene I listened to, I burst out laughing. It’s one thing to write steamy scenes and know people read them. It’s quite another to have someone else read every word aloud, complete with moans, whispers, and gasps. I giggle and snickered and possibly blushed (I admit to nothing.)

It’s ten weeks later, and now I have not one, but TWO audiobooks out in the world. Both Double Down and All In are now on sale, and I’ve got Wild Card, book #3 in The Drift series ready to go for this fall.

I enjoyed audiobooks as a reader, but now that I know how much work goes into creating one, it makes listening to one much more interesting. I flew from the west coast to Ottawa last week to take part in Romancing the Capital. To entertain me on the long, long (did I mention it was long?) flights, I took several audiobooks with me. They're a great way to pass the time. 

And yes, I was in Ottawa with my fellow Romance, Eh, bloggers 'Nathan, Amy, and Michelle. It was a wonderful time, and if you can make it to Ottawa next August, I strongly recommend you come and check it out! 






Sunday, August 6, 2017

Conferences & Travel

*Waving Hi* I'm on my way back from the third annual Romancing the Capital. I will do a little recap next month, because as soon as I hit the ground running back at home I have to pack up my kids, husband and make sure my dog is off to my Dad's place because we're flying out to Calgary.

I've been out west before. I love it, but what's great about this trip is as soon as we land we're headed north to the Northwest Territories and Wood Buffalo National Park.

I'm so stinking excited.

Pine Lake


Northwest Territories has been on my bucket list for years and I wouldn't be going if it weren't for the fact my brother just got engaged to a fabulous girl who works up there in Fort Smith NWT. Although his fiancee is from Ontario.

Alexandra Falls. Yep, going to see them too!


It's going to take 17 hrs from Calgary to get there, but I'm so, so, so excited. Even if it means traveling for three hours on 200 km of gravel road where there's no cell service. It's like the last frontier, sort of.

And when we're up there, the midnight sun sets and the aurora borealis returns to the north. They actually celebrate it, so I'm really hoping to see another one. I haven't seen the northern lights since I was 14 and my kids have never seen them.

Aurora Borealis courtesy of my SIL to be


Good thing Wood Buffalo National Park is Canada's largest dark night preserve. Even if we don't catch an aurora the stars alone on a clear night will be amazing.

After a few days up north of 60 we're headed back to visit my husband's sister who lives south of Edmonton. We're planning to head back to Jasper, Drumheller, Edmonton, Rocky Mountain House and a place I've never been before Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump.


I love everything about Canada's west. And at the end of this trip I'll have seen top to bottom of Alberta. I have seen a lot of Ontario, but I've never been to Moosenee (it's on my bucket list though), so I haven't been top to bottom of my own home province.

What's on your bucket list?



You can check out Amy's latest release here




Thursday, August 3, 2017

Prose & Cons with @NathanBurgoine

Later today, Romancing the Capital starts. I'll be there with nearly fifty other authors to amuse, chat, and have fun with a few hundred readers. Conventions can be marvellous things.

Have you ever wondered "is this something I'd enjoy?"

Like most things, it depends. But I'm willing to bet the answer can be "yes."


What kind of convention is it?

I've gone to a quite a few different cons (conventions). Some are cons for writers, cons for fans, cons for readers, cons with a specific theme, and cons for all of the above.

Writing or Literary cons are an amazingly unique experience. Like many writers, I'm capable of being an extrovert, but am far more comfortable in my introverted life. Writing is pretty darn solitary. When I gather with my fellow writers, though, there's this amazing feeling of replenishment that happens. If my creativity is a battery, a writing con is a great way to plug that sucker in and recharge it. If you're not a writer, these conventions are often just as awesome to attend as a reader, too, as you get to hear the "behind the scenes" discussions of the authors who talk about their craft, their history, or just the topics shaping the writing world today.

More to that point, I meet people at all stages in their writing careers at literary cons. Frankly, it's a great opportunity for me to pass on the help I was given. I can both offer a hand up to people who are just starting (sometimes something just as simple as making an introduction) and also receive advice and access to people who know way, way more than I do. If you're someone who wants to try breaking into the writing world, a writing conference is a great place to start. Panels on craft are invaluable. I owe the start of my writing career to people I met at the Saints & Sinners Literary Festival in New Orleans, which I attend every year I can. Being in a queer space with queer writers is incredible, and not an experience I can recreate on my own. Ditto Naked Heart in Toronto, which is another queer literary festival just hitting its third year and fast becoming a favourite.

So, are you a writer (or want to give it a whirl)? Check out your local writer-type cons.


Cons for fans? They're a blast, too, as I get to put on my nerdiest T-shirts (there are many) and wander around looking at board games and card games and RPGs and generally come home with a bajillion new games that it'll take us months to play through. I'm not a cosplay person (my skills with a needle and thread begin and end with putting buttons back on shirts) but holy crap is it amazing to see the creativity on display at things like Ottawa Comic Con. A group of my friends got together and made costumes from "Vault 613" (in the style of Fallout) and the best part had to be one of the little kids of said friends wandering about in their Vault 613½ jumpsuit. So cute.

It's fun. It's also often overwhelming, as these types of cons also tend to have really major guests who can charge giant line ups for photographs. This is something I've never done, as I dislike (a) lines, and (b) figuring out what to say to famous people. It's one thing to rely on my bookstore skills and offer them a coffee or some water while I set up their book-signing table. It's another to be face-to-face with Neville-freaking-Longbottom and trying to say something other than "I'll fight you!" Nope, I'll keep my ability to blurt out the wrong thing to myself, thanks.

So, love all things geeky, nerdy, or some-other-niche? There's probably a con for that.

Some cons are a mix of all of these things. Can*Con springs to mind, here. Held in Ottawa, it's partly for fans (science fiction specifically, though in a broader sense inclusive of horror, fantasy, paranormal and all the other versions of speculative fiction out there), partly for the literary and writer types (many panels are about writing topics and craft topics, including things any writer would love to learn from experts who come in to discuss things like blood splatter analysis and biological outbreak models—the science component of Can*Con is incredible) and is just as much for readers as it is those writers and fans (the guest of honour this year is Steven Eriksen!)

Between readings, panels, workshops, and discussions there are also a few games and lighthearted moments to be had. Heck, last year there was even a D&D-style name-badge game you could play between sessions. I was a wizard.


Now, last but not at all least... Cons for readers.

Aha! So, this is where I circle back to talking about Romancing the Capital. Starting tomorrow, the insane fun begins. Attendees get to meet and mingle with the authors they love, play hilarious games, attend readings and panels, and the single biggest theme of the next three days, if my experience with the previous two RtC Cons is anything to measure by?

Laughter.

Seriously, RtC is hysterical. The panels, the games, the giveaways. Sex-toy piñata? Check. Designing an alien? Check. Dirty Pictionary? So much check. The folks that come to the session I'm hosting will be playing "Blurbs Against Humanity," (think "Cards Against Humanity" only with romance novel blurbs). The whole event is an opportunity to have fun with authors and readers, and by the end of it, none of us have any voices left, and our "to-be-read" piles have grown to Everest proportions.

So, if you love to read, and you're eyeing a reader conference and wondering? Wonder no more. I promise you'll have fun.

So, check out a con. Read up to see how crowded it is and whether or not you'd like to be a part of that crowd. Bring water. Take breaks. Remind yourself the whole point is to have fun (and maybe learn things). Be polite, but push your envelope and speak to people you've never met.

And if you're going to be at Romancing the Capital this week? Find me and say hi. I'll be pretty much the only boy around, and I'm six-foot-three, so I'm easy to spot.