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When bibliophiles travel…



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Solstice Blessings !

I can’t believe it’s already June 21.  Summer Solstice is the longest day and shortest night of the year.  A time when people gather to celebrate the Sun.

Midsummer Eve is a truly magical time.  The Faeries venture to the human world, many of them for the sole purpose of causing havoc and taking great delight in doing so.  It is said that the Selkies come ashore, shedding their skins so that they can be human for one night.  The gather and dance on the shore, but if disturbed or discovered they will grab their skins and head back out to sea.

Let’s look at the Midsummer card from the “Fairy Ring” oracle deck.  We can spot Robin Goodfellow and his friends, gathering for a celebration in the human world.  In the distance, but closer than at any other time of year, is a Faerie island.  It is said that on this day, humans are able to travel to the Faerie Realm.  But be warned.  They journey there can be straightforward.  The journey back, however is not.

Midsummer Card

“The Midsummer card ushers in joyful energies of magic, enchantment, consummation, culmination, celebration, delight, fun, light, illumination, and clarity.”

This is an excellent time to seek the guidance of the Fae in your own life.  To ponder the questions that you have been asking yourself.  To connect with Nature and take a moment to truly appreciate your surroundings.  If you are in an urban area, try to seek solitude wherever you can.  Find a way to plant your feet on the grass or the soil.  Take a walk through the woods or sit by the lake.

It’s a bit gloomy here and looks like we’re in for a wet summer.  I don’t mind the rain, but we had such a long, cold winter that I was hoping for a lot of sun, especially today.  So let’s look at the bright side.  It’s a perfect day to snuggle up on the couch with a cup of tea and a good book.  I hope to finish “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” and get back to work on my next novel.

Summer Solstice framed

What are your plans (or non-plans, as the case may be) for today?

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It was the best of times and it was total shite

Thus far, this has been both the worst and best year of my life.  That may sound like an odd thing to say.  Allow me to explain.

On December 31st, I took Izzy to the vet.  She hadn’t been eating and seemed “off”.  I went to the appointment thinking perhaps she’d developed diabetes.  I left with an empty crate.  My sweet girl who had such a hard start to life was gone.  When I say “life” she spent the first 7 or 8 years in a cage, devoid of human contact – not much of a life at all.  It wasn’t fair.  The cancer that I knew was lurking there when I adopted her 1.5 yrs ago had spread throughout her body and I made the decision to release her from her pain.  So I returned home that day in a state of shock, without my sweet little girl.

Then in Mid-January a very dear friend of mine passed away suddenly from what I now refer to as “that effin’ flu”.  To say that it knocked me on my proverbial butt would be an understatement.

About a month ago, I had a not-so-fantastic run-in with my past.  The good thing that came of it was I finally rolled up my sleeves and tackle my basement.  I am still not 100% finished but I’m *this close* and quite happy about that.

I needed a break from pretty much everything, but didn’t intend to be away this long.   I have been writing.  Unfortunately, it’s all still in my head.  I haven’t been reading anything, either and that makes me sad.  I don’t even want to check Goodreads to see how far behind I am in my 2014 Challenge.

I decided to take a day off and give myself the gift of a long weekend.  I had it all planned out.  Drop Ari off at the vet for his dental, head to Costco and stock up, go home for lunch, pick up Ari, then settle in for a weekend of creative bliss.  The Universe had other plans.

Ari had his dental and as I suspected, needed a few teeth removed.  The procedure was routine and he made it through fine.  Unfortunately, his mouth wouldn’t stop bleeding.  They discovered that he had almost no platelets, so while his blood was clotting they weren’t staying put.  He had no other symptoms that one would typically associate with this issue, so I spent the weekend in a daze, crying and wondering if I was going to have to say goodbye once again.

Thankfully and much to our surprise, he made a full recovery.  He’s back to his sassy self, although I have to admit I didn’t realize how much of an instigator he was with regard to barking until he had his little holiday.  Hmmm…

So it’s been a rough year so far.  Now comes the happy part.  I choose to see the lesson in everything.  It’s not always easy, nor is it usually pleasant.  It certainly isn’t instantaneous.  But if I don’t learn what I need to learn, I am going to have to go through it again.  Needless to say, I have learned a lot about myself through this process.  The most important thing is that I don’t give myself enough credit for how far I’ve come.  We often spend a lot of time lamenting what we DIDN’T accomplish that it’s easy to forget all of the amazing things we’ve seen and done, as well as the lesson’s we’ve learned and the changes we’ve been able to make as a result.


Once again, I vow to get back to work.  Step One : clear all that clutter, unopened mail, and various bricka-brack off the kitchen table that you decided would be a great workspace.  Hopefully this time my efforts will yield some results.  The Faeries are beyond restless and I honestly can’t blame them.  Stay tuned for updates and insights and other things that float through my brain.

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Welcome to my Healing Room

I was not feeling well this weekend, so I did not attempt a reading.  Instead, I’ll start the week off with this post about my Healing Room.  

It must be Spring because I have this overwhelming urge to clean, organize, and de-clutter.  I live in a three bedroom house and find that, although the extra space is fantastic and I am extremely grateful to have it, I seem to collect a lot of clutter.  Not sure where it comes from or how it finds me.

I recently decided that I needed to get back into the habit of meditating, listening to more music, and tackling my “Must Read” shelf.  After wandering around the house and making some mental notes of things I wanted to change as well as stuff that I was DEFINITELY getting rid of ASAP, I decided to clear out and transform the spare room.

Healing Room - before and after

Here is the “Before and After” photo.  Believe it or not, I accomplished all this in just two evenings.  I may regret hauling that furniture around tomorrow, but it’s done and I love it!


Here is the little altar I put together.  Himalayan salt lamps are not only beautiful, but they really make a space cozy.  I have 10 of them throughout the house and am probably going to get a few more.

Healing Room - altar


Next up is the seating area.  I have been crocheting since I was about 15 and this is the first blanket I ever made myself.  The little table is one of two that my grandmother gave me.  She lives in Ontario, I live in Alberta.  I went out to help her move into a condo and she let me bring back a few things.  The tables fold down and I put them in my suitcase.  Yep.  I wanted them that badly.

 Healing Room - seating area


Three of my favourite things!  Books, music, and candles.  That is my TBR pile, which doesn’t seem to be getting any smaller in spite of the fact it’s now May.  Hmmm…

Healing Room - books n music

Just for fun, here is my bowl of tumbled crystals.  The bowl was given to me by my grandmother, who got it from her mother and I managed to get it home from Ontario without breaking it.  Slap my virtual palm, Bloggie Peeps!  I absolutely love the shape and it’s the perfect size.  These aren’t all of my stones, just the ones I am not using at the moment.

 Healing Room - bowl of tumbles

The best part about this little project is that it didn’t cost me a dime!  I already had everything I needed for this space.  Some of it was in other rooms of the house, some was in the basement collecting dust.  It’s amazing to me what you can do when you decide you don’t need to spend any money or get any more “stuff”.  Now, to tackle the basement…

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Filed under Books, What Inspires Me

When Authors Let You Down

A subtitle should serve to give you additional information about a book.  A peek into the content.  An indication of what you can expect.

Unfortunately, in this case the subtitle proved to be very misleading.  I recently lost a very dear friend of mine and was given the book “Piece from Broken Pieces – how to get through what you’re going through” by Iyanla Vanzant.  So naturally, I thought it was a book about how to move through grief (in whatever form it takes for you personally) to the other side.  Ways to help you deal with the odd and unusual rollercoaster of emotions that you experience as you try to navigate your way through an experience that is deeply personal and at the same time Universal.

I sat down this weekend to read through it and soon realized it was not a self-help book but a memoir of the author’s life.  I kept reading, hoping that her healing process would be some sort of inspiration to me.  What I found instead was an ocean of excuses for her behaviour and repeated relapses into self-destructive patterns. About You

Her daughter died and she retreated to her bed for months.  She neglected her obligations and soon found herself in financial ruin.  Her reaction to her situation was mind-boggling.  “This is not my fault!”  I beg to differ.  Now don’t misunderstand, I know what it is to have the wind knocked out of you, leaving you wondering if you will ever recover.  I know what it is to have the wolves at the door and not know how you will appease them.  But what has to happen before we take ownership of our actions and our part in the situation?  No one is a passive participant in their lives, for even inaction is an action on your part and I hate to break it to ya, but you are responsible for the choices you make or fail to make.


Upon finishing the book, I felt angry and deceived.  “How to get though what you’re going through”?  I call BS on that one.  What I learned was what NOT to do when the shit hits the fan.  Curling up in a ball and weeping, fasting and praying, telling yourself that all you have to do is have faith and everything will be alright.  Those are passive actions.  Yes, definitely pray, light a candle, meditate, ask for guidance, seek help, release your grief, work with crystals, call your Pastor, go to a drumming circle, do some yoga, head out to the middle of nowhere to do some primal scream therapy, take up pottery, write down your feelings.  But at some point you have to take it upon yourself to use the tools that are presented to you and open not only your eyes but your heart to the path that you are meant to be on.  Avoidance and blame solves nothing.  In fact, it can make your situation so much worse than if you just put on your big girl panties, rolled up your sleeves, and took an honest look at your life and what you could do to change it.

Dig Deep

So I decided to look at how I was feeling and change my perspective.  Where is the lesson?  What can I take from this experience?  I reflected on events in my own life and how I dealt with them at the time, as opposed to how I would deal with them now.  I looked at how far I have come, even in the last year.  I found joy in the fact that I do not see myself as a victim but as someone who lives with the outlook that everything happens for a reason and comes with a lesson.  Am I perfect?  Far from it.  I am a work in progress but the key is that I am working on what needs to be worked on.  No excuses.

Speaking strictly as a writer, if you are going to put a subtitle on your book – ensure that it is accurate!  Don’t lead the reader down a dead-end road or set expectations that you can’t possibly fulfill.  Even if the book is wonderful, the reader will still feel disappointment.  You’ll still sell your memoir because a lot of people will be interested in your story.  But those who sought out your book because they thought it was about how to cook fish and instead found it filled with stories of your fishing expeditions and laments about all the fish that got away, you’re going to find yourself with a lot of disappointed (and hungry) readers.

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Book Haul – the library edition

I posted earlier about the huge pile of books that I found in my personal library.  I told myself that I would not buy any more books until I’d read all of them.  Note.  I said I wouldn’t BUY any more books.  I said nothing about borrowing them.

Upon finishing ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’, I decided to head to the library.  Not only did I bring home that title, but three others.  I asked how many I could borrow at once and was told 50.

FIFTY?  As in, five zero?

So, without further adieu, here is my very first Book Haul – the library edition!

Feb Library Haul - part one

‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’

‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’

‘The Awakening’ by Kelley Armstrong

‘The Reckoning’ by Kelley Armstrong

For those who aren’t familiar with Kelley Armstrong, she is the author of the “Women of the Otherworld” series, which begins with the book ‘Bitten’ (which I have written about before).  I have read the first three books in that series and discovered today that the library in my little town has the rest, so I will definitely pick up where I left off.

Last summer, I borrowed ‘The Summoning’.  It is the first book in the “Darkest Powers” series for Young Adults.  I enjoyed what I’ve read from Kelley Armstrong thus far and wanted to see what she brought to the YA circle.  After reading ‘The Summoning’, I intended to continue but soon found myself working on the Author Quest, so I put any and all recreational reading on hold.

I look forward to not only immersing myself in Harry Potter’s world, but also to seeing what Kelley Armstrong has in store.  Stay tuned for reviews.  Meanwhile… is there a series that you started and have been meaning to finish?


Filed under What Inspires Me

My Harry Potter Experience

What could be called the most successful series in literature consists of 7 books, 8 films, 8 video games, a list of 400 other officially endorsed products, and a theme park.  Believe it or not, I was never swept up in it.  Being a bookseller, I had obviously heard about it, but hadn’t immersed myself in it.

“Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” was released June 30, 1997.  I don’t remember when I first heard about it, but at the time I was working on my own novel.  I had decided that I would wait until it was published before reading any of the Harry Potter books, so I missed out on all the excitement.

I have to admit, I wasn’t certain that the book would live up to all the hype.  I have seen a couple of the films but because I intended to read the series, I didn’t want to see them all.  I wanted to be at least a bit surprised.  I loved the story and was looking forward to finally digging in.

Now that I have finished reading the first book, I get it.  I see exactly what all the fuss was about.  I almost wish I had been among those who didn’t have a clue what to expect.  But then, I am glad that I don’t have to wait for what must have seemed like forever until the next book to come out.  I just went down the road to the library and there it was!  (another bonus to being tardy to the party is that the books are readily available and I don’t have to get on a waiting list to borrow them)

Harry Potter Book 1 for Blog

Nothing goes better with a good book than a cup of tea.

It’s charming and magical and fun.  On a personal note, after the last few weeks (which were truly craptastic) I needed charming and magical and fun.  As I turned the last page, I thought to myself (spoiler alert)

“Surely they aren’t going to send him back to live with those people for the summer!”

I promptly picked up the phone, called the library, and had them put ‘Chamber of Secrets’ on hold.  A friend suggested I pick up ‘Prisoner of Azkaban’  if possible because I would certainly plow through book 2 and this way I could start book 3 immediately.  So I did just that.

I am going to be doing my own little writer’s retreat in the near future and have arranged for two 4-day weekends in a row!  So for those who are thinking ‘Shouldn’t she be writing?’, my answer is yes.  I definitely should be.   I plan to do nothing but write for 8 days solid, in two blocks of 4 days each.  But for now, I will curl up on the couch with the Hooligans and enjoy another trip into the world of Harry Potter.


Filed under What Inspires Me