Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Making it interesting... a challenge.

Like many writers, I’m guilty of neglecting my blog. Not because I’m too busy to write short pieces, but because content is key… and I’m not so great with the create-your-own-non-fiction content. Give me a topic, and I’ll come up with something. Ask me to come up with my own, and I’ll find one-thousand-and-one ways to procrastinate… starting with Facebook and ending with scrubbing behind the toilet.

I’m issuing myself a challenge for 2015, one that you can take up yourself if you’re trying to blog while caught in the trap of “I’m all out of interesting ideas”. Every time I come across a topic that elicits an emotional response from me, I’m going to write about it. I’m not going to sensor my true feelings, nor am I going to edit out my politically-socially-emotionally unacceptable thoughts. This is, after all, my blog. It even has my name on it.

For those who enjoy the words, thanks in advance for the reads, the comments, and the shares. For those who don’t, I’m pretty sure you know how to change the channel (and by channel I mean URL). Just try not to “unfollow” me because I said one thing that’s off-putting. Instead, start a conversation. I love reading other people’s opinions. I also love to argue… sometimes I even do it when I know I’m wrong, just to see how far things can go… it’s the writer in me, often playing devil’s advocate… always searching out new material. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The mystery of the missing plates and bowls...

I've moved twice in the past two months. The first move was relatively easy, we only needed clothing and a few personal items. We settled quite easily into the rental while awaiting our new house to be built. The rest of our belongings spent two months in storage, waiting for the first of November when they would lovingly be unpacked.

Actually - let's face it, for the most part we tore into those boxes like it was Christmas morning, excited to see if our belongings had transformed into something magical in the time they spent in boxes. They didn't, but we were still happy to have our "stuff".

Unfortunately, we lost a few things during the process of the move. A couple items didn't survive transport, resulting in shattered glass, other items were packed into unusual places, and others simply disappeared.

This was the case of the all-important box of small plates and bowls. Once the kitchen was unpacked (the toaster had somehow ended up in my bedroom, leaving a small trail of crumbs), I scratched my head in bewilderment - those plates and bowls had to be somewhere... I had packed them myself.

While searching out the missing box, we found so many things we don't need. I don't even know why we packed them, or what we're going to do with them in the new house - they just don't fit. We sorted through bedrooms, the family room, the rec room, the furnace room... and came up with nearly every household item known to man - everything, that is, except those bowls! My boys had resigned themselves to eating cereal out of soup pots. Even my mixing bowls were in that box.

The place we hadn't focused our attention on was the garage. But they couldn't have ended up there. I had already and checked all the boxes, neatly labelled in my own handwriting.

With the falling snow, we decided it was time to tackle the chaos of the garage. We moved boxes, bins, and bikes. We did not think of the missing bowls and focused only on making space for the car to fit.

And then - a miracle happened. We opened a giant, unlabeled wardrobe box; one that I had not packed. Sitting on top was the missing box! There were also snow-saucers, a soft cooler, and a bunch of other misplaced items tucked inside. Now... how the heck had that fully packed, heavy box of dishes ended up inside a giant box of outdoor stuff? It's a mystery: one of many this move has revealed.

In the end, eating cereal out of soup pots didn't hurt anyone, but this move is beginning to make me question my sanity.

Monday, September 22, 2014

So many authors!

 On Sunday, September 21st, I had the privilege of working at the Morning Rain Publishing booth as both editor and author. The day started out a bit wet, but by noon, the grey clouds had been swept away by gusts of wind and the sun came out to warm us up.
Morning Rain Publishing - Word On The Street
The Morning Rain Publishing booth at The Word On The Street Festival
Jennifer Bogart Jaquith, Jaclyn Aurore, Jo Clendening
 We had gone to the festival with the intention of selling lots and lots of books, but the real reward in being there came when other Morning Rain Publishing authors started to arrive. We sold each other's books, laughed, joked around, and had a chance to get to know each other outside of online connections. I can honestly say I work with an amazing group of Canadian authors and look forward to more of these events.

Morning Rain Publishing - Word On The Street
Authors Lisa Toohey and L. Lombard being photo-bombed by Jaclyn Aurore

Morning Rain Publishing - Word On The Street
Authors L. Lombard and Kate Baggott
being photo-bombed by authors Lisa Toohey and Jaclyn Aurore
Morning Rain Publishing - Word On The Street
Author E. Graziani and cover designer Jo Clendening

Morning Rain Publishing Authors
Back: Jo Clendeing, Kate Baggott, E. Graziani, L. Lombard, Jaclyn Aurore
Front: Lisa Toohey, Jennifer Bogart
(photo credit - Lisa Toohey)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Busy is good, busy is good, busy is good

I think my last post was in June... which feels like a lifetime ago. The funny thing with life, is that it keeps you so busy that before you know it, months have passed by, and you don't even know where the time went. Since June, I have:
  • participated in Guelph's Faery Fest - and yes, I wore a costume, read from Liminal Lights, and had a great time. 

  • had the privilege of sharing an evening with several Morning Rain Publishing authors - a fantastic group of intelligent and creative women. 
(J.M. Lavallee, Heather Grace Stewart, Nancy Beattie, and me)
  • moved my family from Quebec to Ontario - which was a difficult decision, but we're settling into our new home and meeting some wonderful people. 

That's my summer in a nutshell. My mantra has been "busy is good, busy is good, busy is good" - but I have to admit I'm glad for the routine that autumn is bringing, the slower pace, and the chance to catch up on some writing projects I have in the works.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Liminal Lights, Kobo, and Reviews...

I'm pretty sure Kobo has set up its online store with the intent to drive writers to insanity and back. While enjoying an end-of-year dinner for one of the school committees I sit on, I was made aware that there was a review of "Liminal Lights" on Kobo. I was so excited (there aren't many reviews of this book yet), that the first thing I did when I got home was search for the review. 

I searched, and I searched, and I googled, and I yahooed, and I came up blank every time. Deflated, I messaged the person who had reviewed the book - someone whose opinion I value greatly - and asked if she could send me a link. She did - but there was no review visible... just the book cover, synopsis, and the "order now" button. 

She did email the review to me - and with her permission, I'm posting it here. When I asked if she would mind her response was, "Hells yeah! If I cared enough to write it, I care enough for it to be public, too!"

So - here it is... I won't lie; it made me smile, laugh, and cry all at the same time. I loved this review.

Here's what I thought of Liminal Lights by Jennifer Bogart:
I gave it 5/5 stars.
Liminal Lights
J.M.Bogart has found her magic in this novel! Written with a better than average range of vocabulary ( for this genre) it at times is almost lyrical. A carefully crafted storyline with plenty more to be explored, this story leaves you wanting more.
A delightful twist on our perception of faeries and things that go bump in the night; the story is told in the voice of Bean, a Liminal designated to protect her human charge and harvest her magic for the benefit of her own race. We could call this a coming of age book, but it is the Liminal who is facing life choices and decisions that will have far reaching effects.
Liminal Lights on Kobo

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Oh - those writerly feelings!

I love writers... their quirks and imaginations, their spirit and determination, and their love for something that most definitely is not going to make them rich quick, but might enrich the lives of others.

On a daily basis I get to chat with them, edit their work, review their masterpieces, and delve into the inner workings of their minds. And even though writers rarely write themselves into their stories (unless they're crafting memoirs), they do give away hints about their personalities, values, and the things they hold dear.

The one thing that makes me sad is when I come across good writers who worry people won't like their stories. I'm not talking about the occasional, "oh, that old story - that was nothing" brush-off. I'm talking about writers with real skills for story-telling who don't believe they have something worth sharing, when they really, truly do.

Writers are a special breed of people. They create worlds with words. They give birth to entire cities of characters, raise them, and nurture them before setting them free. And they weave more than their hearts and souls into their work - if you look hard enough you can find the entire person lurking between the lines, even though it's unintentional.

All they ask for in return for their hard work is that readers buy their books and enjoy them. Often these books sell for less than a cup of coffee. The only thing that thrills writers more than hearing someone appreciated their books is reading about it in a review. Some books take years to write and can usually be read over the course of a few days... an honest review takes about fifteen minutes to create and post online to any number of websites.

Please be kind to those of us with writerly feelings... we need all the support we can get.

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Liminals are here!

Finally! The Liminals have arrived at the Morning Rain Publishing website. They're also on Amazon, Kobo, Google Books, and Goodreads.

I started writing this book three years ago for my boys. The plan was to give them something to think about, along with a bit of action, and a whole lot of fantasy in a world they can relate to. Sometimes I think we let our children grow up far too quickly. This book slows down the pace and lets them be kids for just a bit longer.

Anyway - it's really for the reader to decide if I have achieved this goal. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Liminals Are Coming! The Liminals Are Coming!

It's true... Thanks to the team at Morning Rain Publishing, Liminal Lights is polished, formatted, and ready to be shared with the world on Thursday, May 15, 2014.

And thanks to the combined efforts of Liette Chamberland Photography and Jo Clendening from Morning Rain Publishing, it has a shiny new cover.

If you want to read more about the book - check out my author page on the publisher's website (Yes - I'm going to make you click on over there, because you just might find other books you'd also enjoy).

In the meantime... here's the gorgeous cover... I can't stop staring it!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day!

Dear Mom,

Sometimes, amidst the hustle and bustle of everyday life, I sit and ponder a simple question: How in the world did I get here? Oh – I know how I got here, to this place with four teen aged boys, a messy house, a loving husband, a sloppy dog, and too many responsibilities to handle in just one day. That can all be explained away by hasty decisions, a love of children, and the usual paths adults take as we meander through the tangled forest of life.

The “here” I am talking about transcends the physical and is nestled somewhere deep inside my happy soul. It’s the place I visit when the kids are screaming, the laundry is out of control, the dog has dug another hole, and the work is piling up. It’s the place that reminds me, on a daily basis, that “these things have a way of working themselves out”.
This place didn’t suddenly appear in my psyche. Like a flower, the seed was planted, it was nurtured with love and sunshine and taught resilience. From birth to adulthood, it has withstood emotional storms, torrential tears, and angry winds. More importantly, it has embraced the warmth of laughter, sunny smiles, and the strength of love.

A big part of who I am as a woman, a mother, a wife, a sister, and a daughter comes from the seed of hope you planted so long ago. Thank you for always being there, for loving me, and standing by when life becomes chaotic. These things do have a way of working themselves out – through hard work, a little faith, and whole lot of love and support.

Thank you for always being present in my life. I love you,


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Haiku number two - Words ... NaPoWriMo, Day 24

Haiku number two... before midnight, even.


released on a sigh
drifting through a tangled mind
soon to be tethered. 


Spring Haiku... NaPoWriMo - Day 23 (I know it's late!)

An attempt at Haiku, as suggested by Heather Grace Stewart, one of my favourite poets. I don't think I nailed it, but it was an honest effort.


little buds leaping
unfolding to embrace light
waking from the dark

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Drifting... NaPoWriMo, Day 22

Quick poem... kind of inspired by the "Broken" book cover created by Liette Chamberland.


Some days - life is easy.
It drifts by on a wave of hope;
light, carefree, content.
These are the days
we need to remember
when hope turns sour,
and the waves turn stormy;
leaving us in a world
filled with turmoil
and confusion and despair.

The easy part is still drifting...
Sliding past the woe.
Creating it's own trail
of wistful anticipation.
This is the road we must travel.
Setting aside the worry and pain-
letting hope guide us
beyond the chaos and roiling waves
to that sheltered place
we call peace.


Monday, April 21, 2014

Fairy-Tale RomanceNaPoWriMo - Day 21

Uh oh... it's eight minutes after midnight...

Fairy-tale Romance

Softly whisper in my ear
Of dreams, and, wishes, and love.
All I really want to hear
Are stories of fairy-tale love.

I see the prince so clearly,
He's tall, and dark, and divine.
His princess will love him dearly,
Their hearts forever entwined.

Take me to the world of dreams
Of fantasy kisses and romance.
Where nothing is as it really seems
And reality is all askance.

There we will discover
The truth that lies ahead.
The real world shelters my lover
Who I'd rather have instead.


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Liminal Legend... NaPoWriMo, Day 20

My book, Liminal Lights, will be released May 15th by Morning Rain Publishing. The poem below is a teaser for the book... sort of. 

Liminal Legend

In the days before the Liminals came,
The world was dark and dreary.
Man had no creative flame:
His life was dull and weary.

Then came a spark, a tiny light,
A magic so pure and untainted. 
It smoldered into something bright:
Never to be captured or painted. 

This energy surged deep within,
The power too vast to be harboured.
Man needed help from another kin:
Who came from the cosmos and laboured. 

Their essence thrived in ethereal light,
Their outlook bright and lively.
With skill and care they brightened the night:
Weaving their craft so wisely.  

Another creature discovered their blessing,
Its spirit was dark and murky.
With a hunger that was all encompassing:
It drank in the precious energy.

Man did not know who to trust,
His power was sacred - unstable.
Liminal secrets were scattered to dust,
Reduced to nothing but fable. 

In Time... NaPoWriMo Day 18 - I know it's late.

I'm posting twice today - once now, to make up for Friday, and again later, when I've completed my second offering. Writing with loud, rambunctious boys around is tricky business... this one needs work, but it's a start. 

In Time

Yesterday, you were just a boy,
Exploring the world around you. 
Yesterday, you danced with joy,
Accepting each moment as brand new. 

Today, you are a teenager,
Feeling your way to manhood.
Today, you're young and eager
Leaving behind your childhood. 

Tomorrow, you'll be a man
Adjusting to life as an adult. 
Tomorrow, you'll understand,
That this isn't the final result. 

For now, you're free to discover
Taking your time to grow.
For now, satisfy your hunger,
Learning all you need to know. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Catching Up... NaPoWriMo, Day 19

I didn't post yesterday, mostly because we were celebrating Easter with family and partly because four hours plus driving makes writing difficult... the police frown upon typing and driving...

So - now I'm two poems behind...

Catching Up

Some days, it seems, even though I try,
I can't catch up, I will not lie.
The dishes are stacked, with care, on the table,
I know they're there, I'm just not able.
My kids are grungy, their clothes aren't clean,
I think one is wearing my fine cuisine.
The vacuum sits, collecting dust,
And the toilet seat has formed a crust.

What distracts me? It's hard to say,
I only know I sigh with dismay.
It's not the TV that is blaring,
I'm not one for sitting and staring.
I like to think that I'm not lazy,
But each day is filled with crazy.
I know there are chores to be done,
But I'd rather dream, and read in the sun.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Ode to a Lost Sock... NaPoWriMo, Day 17

Today, I did six loads of laundry (including folding and putting away), changed five beds, edited 20 000 words (or more), ran some errands, and wrote this poem... because socks deserve love, too.

Ode to a Lost Sock

Yesterday we were snuggled together,
Rolled up tight, two birds of a feather.
Oh, my mate, where have you gone?
I'm not sure my life can go on.

Already, I miss your shapely form,
You were so soft and toasty warm.
We've been apart for only a day,
I only wish you did not stray.

What shall I do? How will I survive?
Without your support, I cannot thrive.
For sure, we were the perfect pair,
When it comes to socks, there is no spare.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

We Belong... NaPoWriMo - Day 16

I promised Scott Butcher I'd write about eagles... but I didn't say what I'd write. Only that they would be present in my poem, and I'd link back to his fabulous pictures on Facebook.

I also promised my 17-year-old that I would write about seahorses...

And I always keep my promises.

We Belong

I am the eagle
Majestic and strong
My perch is the highest
In the sky, hear my song.

I am the seahorse
Gentle and pure
I drift with the current
In water, I endure. 

You are so tiny
Paltry and small
An ocean is binding
Not for me, at all.

You are gigantic
Huge and immense
The sky is expansive
It doesn't make sense. 

We are both rulers
Just drifting along
Enjoying the elements
Of where we belong.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Halfway... NaPoWriMo Day 15

Woo hoo - I'm at the halfway point and I've only missed one day of poetry, which I promise to rectify before the end of April.


     Not sure
          if I should
               go up or down...
               Undecided, I lean
                    to the right,
                    but the wind blows...
               And pushes me
          to the left
         Where I balance
     For a brief instant
Before teetering
     Back to the in between


Monday, April 14, 2014

Hide and Seek... NaPoWriMo Day 14

Almost halfway through NaPoWriMo and today is the day the words won't come so easily...

Hide and Seek

There is no poem inside of me today.
I searched.
I checked in the corners,
Behind the furniture,
And even dusted away a few cobwebs.
The poetry is playing a fabulous game
And it's calling it hide and seek.
Only, the harder I seek,
The more elusive it is.
It just doesn't want to come out to play.
And even though I'm sad,
I can respect this decision.
Not every day can end in rhymes
Or carefully counted syllables.
Not every day holds imagery,
Or meticulously sculpted stanzas.
Tomorrow the poetry will reveal itself
Tired of waiting for me to find it.
And I'll be here, with pen in hand,
Willing to play the game.


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Stormy Night... NaPoWriMo - Day 13

I'm not depressed or angry or upset in anyway - but I hate storms, and we had a lovely one this evening. The louder the storm, the more nervous I get.

Stormy Night 

Stretching across the sky
In a trail of angry light
Blazing a path of untouched fire
So pure it burns bright and white.

Rumbling with rage and hurt
An awkward and awful choir
Building to an apex of fury
So incensed by ire.

It's only a brief phase
Lost in a moment of grief
Let the rain wash away the fear
The pain is ever brief.

The storm ends in silence
Leaving a smoldering void
In a chasm of emptiness
Where nothing is enjoyed.


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Cheers to the men... NaPoWriMo Day 12

Yesterday I saluted the women in my life. Today's poem is for the men.

Cheers to the Men

Cheers to the men who make my day bright,
With smiles and cheer
You make me feel light.

Here's to their vigor and unyielding strength,
They hold me up high
And support me at length.

Be kind and mindful, they're soft and they're sweet.
With dreams of their own
They make me complete.

Remember their power, it's part their charm
To love and protect
And keep all from harm.

Respect their intellect, it's sharp and it's swift,
Tenacity unleashed
Can oft be a gift.

Cheers to the men who hold my soul close,
They make my life whole
A heart always knows.


Friday, April 11, 2014

Cheers to the women! NaPoWriMo Day 11

Today's poem was inspired by good friends and their stories. Every day I am grateful to know so many wonderful women who effortlessly empower, support, and love each other.

Cheers to the Women

Cheers to the women who make me feel whole
With laughter and tears
And stories well told.

Here's to their spirits that rise high above
The surface of masks
To reveal their love.

Be gentle and kind, they're fragile and soft,
Full of hope and life
Their dreams held aloft.

Remember their strength, it's part of their charm,
What might be a weakness
Is what keeps them from harm.

Respect their minds, they're strong and creative,
Independent and swift,
And often persuasive.

Cheers to the women who hold my heart,
My life is complete
You set me apart.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Sweet Temptation... NaPoWriMo Day 10

I'm posting before midnight! 

This one is in response to Scott Butcher's suggestion I write about chocolate... which I love above all other foods... even though I know that the smallest taste will lead me into trouble... because I have no willpower... 

Sweet Temptation

Please don't tempt me 
With your velvety voice
And your sensual eyes
And your delicious scent. 
Even a taste
Could ruin everything
By teasing the beast
That lurks deep inside. 

Please don't lure me
With your warmth and charm
And  sweet sensations.
Even a hint
Could weaken my resolve
By enticing lust
That simmers within. 

Please understand me
When I say I love you
But I can't have you
Nor should I need you. 
Even one lapse
Could destroy the trust
My body demands
So it can be strong. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Come with me... NaPoWriMo Day 9

While the rest of my world is settling into sleep, I'm writing about it. Thanks to my writer-friend Lockie for giving me the suggestion. He has a bit of poetry of his own on his website - so when you're done reading mine, you should definitely take a look at his.

Come with me

Come with me to the fairy land
So we can dance under the stars
While listening to the pixie band
As they strum on their guitars.

Come with me to the land of dreams
So we can skip with abandon
Through the forest and in the streams
You'll be my constant companion.

Come with me to find the night
So we can play together
Within the shelter of moonlight
Please stay with me forever.

Come with me to the place called sleep
So we can drift with freedom
Letting our minds sink down deep
Into ethereal wisdom.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Whispered Illusions... NaPoWriMo, Day 8

 I was thinking of my upcoming publication of Liminal Lights when I wrote this...

Whispered Illusions 

Whisper to me of fun and games and thrills
And chills that take you away, far into the night
Where the magic drifts through the wood
And over the hills, between the trees and finds
Us there with hope and fear and laughter and love
Of the world all around, beneath and above.

Whisper to me of all that you've seen and been
And want and need from life and its cohorts
Who dance in the rain, in the dark, hidden in mist
And concealed under cover of sunlight and smiles
Upon faces that twist and contort with the pleasure
Of human awareness taken in measure.

Whisper to me so that I might hear and not fear
This life all around me, surround me, don't drown me
In knowledge and wisdom that I won't acknowledge
As it reaches beyond me, stretches and leans
To weave new patterns, and dreams and visions
I can't explain because my world is illusions.

Monday, April 7, 2014

NaPoWriMo... the commitment issue...

Was it only seven days ago I said I decided to do this crazy poetry thing?

Stepping out of my writing comfort zone is one thing, promising to write poetry everyday for 30 days is quite another. First of all - it's harder than I expected it to be, and I knew it wouldn't be easy. I'm not whining or moaning or making up excuses; I'm simply stating a fact. Good poets make it look easy, but this is work. Really challenging, heart-wrenching, soul-searching work.

Soul Searching

Sometime in the night you saw me
Sitting in the dark, in the light blue chair,
Tears long dried on my cheeks, nose red, eyes puffy,
You knew better than to interrupt my reverie.

The words simply dried up inside of me,
I couldn't find my voice, I'd lost my flair.
Words silenced in my heart, dried up, all  musty,
Locked in a world of despair without energy.

Slowly, silently, you stepped away from me,
Letting me mourn my loss, leaving me there
To ponder the right and wrong of my trusting
The well to be full, overflowing with generousity.

As you faded away, I knew that you saw me
Offered your strength, enveloped me in care,
And compassion, and love, and curiousity
To awaken the dream within, and lend constancy.

Sometime in the night you saw me,
Sitting in the dark, in the light blue chair,
Eyes gleaming, mind whirling, lips curling
Into a smile filled with light, love, and novelty.

Woman Writing at a Table 1905 Artist:  Anschutz, Thomas Pollock

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Travelling is hard... NaPoWriMo Day 5

Writing poetry on the go
While driving to and fro
I might have dropped the ball
But I didn't miss the call
I will keep this going
The words continue flowing
Even though I'm on the road
I'll honour the NaPoWriMo code
And not skip even one day
As promised I'm going to play
This might not be my best
But it surely was a test
Of my commitment to this game
Even though it's kind of lame.

My apologies to anyone reading this - I'm determined not to skip any days. This might not be my best offering, but at least I tried...

Friday, April 4, 2014

I don't want to... NaPoWriMo Day 4

It's only day 4 and I'm already late posting my poem. If my computer had been cooperative, I would have had this piece shared before midnight... as it is, it's still rebelling, thinking that it should get at least one Friday off now and then.

Anyway - here goes...

I don't want to...

I don't want to go out in the rain
to play.
I'll get wet
and melt—
Oh help!

I don't want to go out in the sun
to play.
I'll get hot
dry up—
Not fun!

I don't want to go out in the wind
to play.
I'll get cold
Might fly—
Oh my!

I want to stay inside today
not play.
Read my books
and write—
That's fun!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Outside Right... NaPoWriMo Day 3

Feeling a little bit sentimental as I watch my boys grow into young men...

Outside Right

Just when I thought I had it all figured out
You came along and turned my world rightside up.
The grey depths of your eyes beckoned with care
Pulling me in, sheltering me there.

A small flash of smile, a dimple or two
Giggling and squealing and laughing anew.
Tiny fingers, always so sticky and sweet
I always knew you were my special treat.

Each day that you grow, I feel you pulling away
But the bond doesn’t break, it’s strong and will stay.
Thank you for flipping all the wrongs outside right
You strengthened my heart with your special light.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Finding my inner poet... Day Two

Deep breath - here goes... please don't judge too harshly, I can hardly believe I'm putting this out to the world in the state that it's in...

Path to Pathos

Who thought of this disorganized plan—
no balance, no structure, no rules,
it’s all confusion, intrusion, illusion

What is this place we call life—
it pulls, it pushes, it undulates
without reason, or rhyme, or treason

Where do we go from here—
disjointed, unplanned, yet connected
to each, we beseech, and impeach

When does this misery end—
it won’t resolve from within nor without,
it surrounds, it resounds, all around

Why call it freedom—
it’s a trap, a cage, all chaos
let’s engage, not enrage, let's restage.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Poet for a Month...

Usually, during the month of April, I round up a few word-smithery friends and ask them to share poetry on my blog. If I feel inspired, I might add one of my own, but that's a rare occurrence. This year I was so caught up in the perpetual winter that March slid into April before I realized what was happening. Now, I'm left with a conundrum... I can't just let NaPoWriMo slip by uncelebrated. I might not write poetry, but I do enjoy it.


I'm taking a gigantic step out of my comfort zone and am going to attempt to write one poem a day during the month of April. Don't get excited - it probably won't last as I have commitment issues.

In the meantime, enjoy it while it lasts:

Poet for a Month

A poem a day?
What's that you say?
Try something new?
It takes but a moment or two...
Yup - I think I'll play
And become a poet before May.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Self Publishing: How much does it really cost?

Lately, I’ve seen a lot of talk about how easy self-publishing can be. Let’s be honest, there isn’t much to it: write a story, create a cover, and post it through the distributor of your choice. In fact, it’s so easy there isn’t any reason to suffer through querying traditional publishers, or even small Independent publishers. Their contribution to the polishing and publication of your work isn’t worth what you’ll lose in royalties.

Or is it?

I guess it all depends on your publishing goals.

What if you want a polished manuscript that flows well on the e-reading device and has a professional, eye-catching cover? Many authors have the time, patience, and skills to create their work from start to finish. I don’t.

I like to think that one of my strengths as a writer is knowing my limits. I’m not talking about writing; I’m referring to all the essential bits that go into finishing the work. When it comes to editing, I can’t see my own mistakes, be them grammar or otherwise. I don’t have the knowledge or skill to create a good cover, and we all know that everyone initially judges a book by its cover. While I am capable of formatting my own work for ePub and Mobi, it’s a time consuming process, especially if you’re creating the best possible, error-free, e-reading experience and don’t already own appropriate software. Uploading your Word or OpenOffice file to the desired distributor might seem like a good idea, but there’s no guarantee you won’t be left with blank pages, overlapping text, and odd fonts because your word processor couldn’t embed them. E-readers aren’t paper books; if files are formatted incorrectly, the reader isn’t going to have an enjoyable experience.

So – what is the real cost of self-publishing a short story? Let’s break it down.

According to the Professional Writer’s Association of Canada (PWAC), the least expensive rate for article writing is $0.10 a word... that means the copy for a 7000 word short story is worth a minimum of $700. (Keep this number in mind – I’m going to come back to it later

A professional editor charges between $30 and $60 an hour. Assuming that editor can review 2500 words an hour, and is working for an average of $40 an hour, that means a minimum of $120 for a 7000 word story  – keep in mind that this is only content editing. Depending on the condition of your manuscript, the editor may require additional hours to make it publishable.

Formatting the document for digital publication should be straightforward, except that word processors are not all created equal. Many leave behind bits of coding and unusual errors that disrupt the flow of the copy on an e-reader and wreak havoc with html links and bookmarks. The average package price for formatting is $125 which includes file clean-up, inclusion of the cover, meta-data, hyperlinks, ToC, and error-free file conversion to secure PDF, MOBI, and ePub. The longer the manuscript, the inclusion of images, and the more detailed the formatting, the more expensive the package is going to be.

I tried to make my own book cover – once. I bet a toddler with an etch-a-sketch could do better. Recently, a number of book cover design options have popped up on the internet. Prices range from $30 for a quick and easy pre-made cover (but there’s no real guarantee you won’t see that same basic cover on another book) to over $400 for a custom creation. In the past, I have paid approximately $200 for a unique cover, custom designed by a professional graphic artist.


Let’s add it all up:

$120 for editing
$125 for formatting
$200 for a professional cover.

But wait... what about promotional materials? And marketing? And Distribution? 

Yes – I can upload my short story to any number of distributors – KDP (Amazon), Kobo, Nook, Sony, Apple – or I can try to let Smashwords do the work for me. Smashwords uses “meat grinder” to convert Word files, but the conversion isn’t always smooth. Errors in formatting are frequent, resulting in unappealing books. If Smashwords is unable to convert your file to their standards, they won’t extend your book to their expanded distribution channels. But it’s free to upload files, and doesn’t cost anything for the conversion process, right?

Well, no, there’s a misconception to the “free” aspect.” There’s no upfront cost from the distributor to do the conversion (after you have already spent hours creating an error-free document). However, your indirect payment to the distributor depends on the sale price of the short story and the distributor’s non-negotiable royalty rate. If a book is priced under $3, then, on average, they keep 65% of the sell price. This means that a $0.99 short story earns me a profit of $0.35... but only after I have paid for the above expenses.

Remember the $700 price tag for the story itself? Let’s add that to the cost of the complete work for a grand total of $1145. How many e-books would I have to sell to earn this back? Keep in mind I only keep $0.35 for each book I sell.

3272 copies.

That’s a lot of e-books, before I see a profit...

Alternatively, providing my work is accepted, I can hand the reins over to a publisher, and take advantage of their team of editors, formatters, and cover designers. Hopefully, their marketing team will help me promote the work, and at the very least, my story will be available to the public at no cost to me, except for my initial investment (blood, sweat, and tears) of writing the story.

Now – let’s talk about why it’s such a bad idea for writers to give away their work for free...  

Sunday, February 16, 2014

For the love of short stories...

On Friday, Morning Rain Publishing (MRP) released five short stories - one of which was mine. Each story can be purchased separately via the MRP website, Amazon, Kobo, and Google Books. However, if you'd like a treat, and bit of a savings, all five can be purchased as a compilation exclusively from Morning Rain Publishing. When you hit the "buy now" button, eJunkie tells you the format of the book is a PDF, but if you email info@morningrain.ca, the nice people over there will send you the file format of your choice. 

Here are the books that are included in the compilation:

Letters and Illusions by Jaclyn Aurore

For months, a mysterious letter has kept Candice and Jason apart. When Jason returns to the small town of Springbrook, Candice demands answers. “Letters and Illusions” is Jaclyn Aurore’s third publication. Her other works include the Starsville Saga: Starting Over, and Standing Up.
Under the Stars by Jennifer Bogart

Ryan might be running from his past, but Willow is searching for her future. The two meet on rocky ground, and work to find secure footing in the topsy-turvy world of love. “Under the Stars” is written by Jennifer Bogart, author of “Money, Masks & Madness”, “Reflections”, and “Remember Newvember”.
Happy Enough by Anita Dolman

Caught in an eerie pattern of history repeating itself, Jeff discovers that he and his wife have fallen into the trap of complacency. “Happy Enough” is a story of love, acceptance, rejection, and renewal.  Anita Dolman’s work has appeared in journals and magazines throughout Canada and the United States, including: GrainBywords.caThe Antigonish Review, Ottawater, GeistThe Storyteller MagazinePRISM internationalUtne andThe Fiddlehead, and in the anthology Decalogue: ten Ottawa poets (Chaudiere Books, Ottawa, 2006).
Extra-Large Double-Double by L.J. Ivers

Unkempt and carefree, sporting her favourite pajamas and bed-head, Marci Gale set out in an early morning blizzard to answer her sister’s plea for babysitting. Little did she know an adventure awaited her, all because of a simple cup of coffee, unexpectedly paid for by a devilish stranger. “Extra-Large Double-Double” is L.J. Iver’s first publication. Her first novel “Currents” is awaiting publication and a paranormal romance trilogy, entitled “Soul Seeds”, is her current work in progress.
Escaping Ivernee by Lisa Toohey

Imprisoned in the Ivernee Mines, and sentenced to a life of despair for a crime she didn’t commit, Sarah-Leigh is determined to escape. Both her body and spirit are broken and bruised, but with the kindness of an enigmatic stranger, she starts to regain hope.  Lisa Toohey has dreamed of becoming an author since she first learned to read. Her inspiration can often be found in the wild dreams that plague her sleep. “Escaping Ivernee” is Lisa’s first publication.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Under the Stars - book cover love

Tomorrow, my short story will be published by Morning Rain Publishing. I love the cover. It's modern, it's romantic, and the female main character has short hair! The art director at MRP is pure magic. I love how she was able to create a cover that represents both the character and the book content.