Monday, 29 February 2016

New Blog Site

Hi Everyone,

I have a new website and my blog is now posted on my site.

Check out my new blog here

I will still be writing a blog every Monday. I hope you'll check out my new website.


Monday, 22 February 2016

Life as a Junior Forest Ranger

When I was 17 years old, I joined the Junior Forest Rangers' program for the summer. It was a youth program run by the Ministry of Natural Resources. To apply, you had to be in your 17th year and a resident of Ontario. The program began in 1944, but unfortunately ended in 2012. Big pity

I was assigned to an all girls group near Chapleau, Ontario. That's way up north past Sudbury. If I remember correctly, it took a full day to get there.We named our camp "Five Mile Style" because we were located near the Five Mile Park. That's a picture of us above. I'm the one in the middle of the first row wearing the 79 shirt reminding us that that was 1979. I'm glad I wore that shirt.

The program involved work, education and recreational components. We learned how to clean campsites, clear trails, plant trees, maintain canoe routes, how to combat forest fires, and wildlife projects (we learned the proper way to skin a beaver. The whole camp turned out for that, but I was the only one who remained until the end).

We were there for the two months of July and August, and it was a lot of fun. I met other girls from all over Ontario and from many different backgrounds. There were also a few other camps near us. We came together for parties and everyone had a great time.

The hardest thing we had to learn was to put out forest fires with a portable fire extinguisher. We were trained how to properly put it together and how to use it. It was a difficult device that required hours to learn but, once achieved, we were very proud of our accomplishment.

On the first day, we were given a number of rules to follow. They included everything to keep us safe and free of injury. Being the rebel I am, I encouraged everyone to break the rules. We broke every one but, at the end of the summer, we won the prize for the most successful camp and received a small pocketknife with the Ministry of Natural Resources emblem. It was so funny we received this after breaking every rule. I still have it.

It was a wonderful summer full of excitement and adventure. We hiked many trails and even went on a fun canoe trip. I don't remember any fights or difficulties. We all got along well and enjoyed the friendships. It was an experience I'll never forget.

My new website goes live on Wednesday, February 24th, 2016. Let me know what you think.

Have fun,

Monday, 15 February 2016

Summers in P.E.I.

I have many fond memories of my childhood summers at Prince Edward Island, Canada. My family visited this incredible island for six consecutive summers while my brother and I were growing up. Driving from Ontario took three days, so we were ecstatic when we arrived at the P.E.I. port. The entire vacation was spent at a lovely, quaint motel in the small town of Souris, which is on the eastern tip of the Island.

 My family swam and relaxed much of our time on the stunning seascape. The long, empty beaches created by red warm soft sand were a simple joy. Swimming was a little difficult because you had to walk far out into the ocean before you reached a point where the water was over your head. The ocean could be quite cold, but we didn’t care and swam all the time.

Along the red beaches were spread every possible kind of shell and sea creature. I loved finding the circular imprinted sand dollars and the dead, stiff star fish. As we sauntered along the warm coast, we would collect all sorts of natural debris. My mother and I created very artistic ornaments by pasting the coloured shells onto many different shapes of driftwood. Much to our surprise, we later discovered similar crafts being sold in the tourist shops for $10.00.

My parents always organized small adventures around the island. One such scheduled trip was to Green Gables and the make-believe home of Anne, the main character in Lucy Maud Montgomery’s novel Anne of Green Gables. It is such a wonderful story about an odd little girl who was adopted from an orphanage by Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert who lived in Avonlea. Due to many mishaps and good deeds, not only do the Cuthberts fall in love with Anne, but she also earns the friendship of the townspeople. It is a marvelous tale full of laughter and tears. It was made into a television series.

One day, a brown station wagon pulled up in front of one of the rooms at the motel with two big, beautiful, black Labrador Retrievers in the back of the car. Like a magnet to all dogs, I immediately marched over to make friends. Suddenly, from the front driver’s side of this ugly brown car, came a very gruff and angry short man with a full, brown beard and steely brown eyes that seemed to pierce right through you. He vehemently shouted at me to get away from his car and to leave his dogs alone. I slunk away feeling quite dejected.

The next day, the horrible, little man’s lovely wife invited me into their room. Her husband was out walking the dogs. They were her husband’s dogs, she explained, and he did not like anyone touching them. I was not to be upset by his behaviour. He wasn’t good with children, she added. She then talked to me about my holiday and other incidentals. We had a very pleasant time. When it was over, she gave me a big hug and sent me on my way. I liked her very much.

After the couple and their dogs had left, my parents told me that the man was Farley Mowat; a renowned and well-respected Canadian author who has written many novels. I must admit that I was very surprised. From that day forward, I never again read any of his books.

Do you have any childhood memories that bring sunshine to a dreary day?

As far as the Syrian refugees are concerned, I arrived at the soccer venue at 9:20 a.m. They didn't arrive until 10:15 am, but it was only the men and kids. The women remained  at the hotel because of sick children. It also snowed so that probably freaked them out. I left my card with a couple of men looking after them so if they need me, they'll call.
have fun,

Monday, 8 February 2016


One thing I can thank my parents for is raising me ignorant of prejudice. My parents never said, "You can't go to their house" because my friend was Chinese, Native Canadian, Black, or East Indian. Growing up, I always had friends from other countries. I saw them as equals and felt that I could only learn from them. My knowledge about different cultures, languages and ways of life grew. I absorbed and reveled in it.

Because I loved studying other cultures, I decided to travel the world. It was a dream of mine as a kid to live and work a year in every country. Of course, I didn't make it to them all but I did get to a few (England, Europe, Middle East and Australia). I prefer to live in Canada but I still like to travel. Unfortunately, I can't go anywhere at the moment because of an old dog and cat. When I'm free, I will travel again. My first 3 trips are planned to South Africa, Brazil and England/Ireland. Then the rest of the world!

On Wednesday, I'm driving to an indoor soccer field where this great guy named Duncan, who owns the place, has opened it up to the Syrian refugees who have made Hamilton their home. It's fantastic that they are here and away from such a horrible existence. But most don't speak English and have nothing. The kids need a place to run and play and the men enjoy playing some soccer so it's great they have this field, but the women do nothing but sit on the sidelines.

I will be meeting with these women and hopefully, in some small way, I can help. I remember a bit of Arabic because I lived in the Middle East for 6 years. I hope it's enough to help them understand that I'm trying. I plan to teach them English and help them understand our culture. I love teaching English and spreading knowledge about the language. It's a real joy when you correct someone about a pronunciation and they get it. When you see that light in their eyes brighten because they've understood.

So as you can see, there is not a prejudicial bone in my body. I accept everyone no matter what colour, race, religion or sexual orientation. I wish everyone could be the same way and that's why I wrote That Truthful Place. It's about 10 kids from different ethnic backgrounds. I wanted to show how people with many difference can work together and be successful.

By the way, have you ever noticed that on an airplane there are people from all over the world? And they're not fighting. Everyone hopes it will be a safe flight and they will land on time. They don't care that the person beside them, in front of them, behind them is of a different race. See, we can live together in peace.

In my blog next Monday, February 15th, I will describe my experiences with the Syrian refugees.

have fun,

Monday, 1 February 2016

What a Week!

Check out my interview with Youngman Brown on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016 at

Opposite to most people, I don't like weekends. Nothing on TV and no one works. But I love Mondays. However, I didn't enjoy last Monday as much. I apologize for not posting a blog last week and below is the reason.

First thing Monday morning, I received an email from my editor Andi advising that Amazon had changed their format requirements. My novels had been published in bold font and I had to change that. So all week, I reviewed my novels and deleted the bold. Then I had to re-publish them all. This is not a difficult feat, just very time consuming.

Check out this site if you wish to learn more about this:

Another project I'm working on is creating a whole new website. I have been told by some experts in the industry that my site is a liability. My new site should be live in a week or so. I will let you know when to check it out. Though it's in the beginning stages, it looks much better. I've very satisfied with the result. Can't wait to show it to you.

Then I get a call from Animal Control that Kira's dog license has expired. Every year I get a form from them in July to renew Kira's license. I always pay it well in advance of the deadline. However last year, I didn't realize that I had forgotten about it because I didn't receive the form. Luckily because my record is excellent, they didn't charge me late fees. I quickly paid the fee and made a note in July to pay.

On Wednesday, my mother and I attended a meeting about how we can help the Syrian refugees who have arrived in our city of Hamilton, Ontario. They are in great need of ESL teachers. I have taught English as a second language to adults in my past and, for the last year, I have been teaching English to students in Brazil over Skype so have lots of experience. The organizers were pleased to meet me and promise to put me to work.

I know what it's like to travel to a new country, not knowing the language or understanding the culture. I hope I have the opportunity of acclimatizing the Syrian refugees. Their children should pick up the language, but adults will have a more difficult time. Helping them out could be as easy as taking them shopping to show them where and what everything is.

One other fun occupation was taking the car into the garage to have the rear lights repaired. Like everyone, I dread taking the car in because I'm always afraid they'll find something wrong which will cost hundreds of dollars to repair. Luckily, I only had to pay $29 for the lights. Whew!

Over the next two weeks, I will be taking part in the Amplify Summit during which time I will listen to broadcasts presented by many various experts in the writing field. I'm looking forward to learning something new.

So time is flying. I can't believe January is over and it's been a good month. Looking forward to February to see what will happen next.

have fun,