Sunday, November 17, 2013

My Fat is Pissed Off

So I've got these bumps on my legs. They're the result of something called erythema nodosum. Don't ask me to pronounce it. I can barely spell it. Suffice it to say the bumps are inflamed fat.

I have no idea what I did to piss off my fat. Maybe it was that diet last year ... otherwise known as The Year of the Carrot.

Yeah. I know. Fat is bad enough at its regular size. It's really bad when fat swells and gets fatter.

The bumps, which are all over my legs below the knees, and are about the size of ping pong balls, are tender and sore. Them I can deal with – what's a few bumps on legs that are already elephantine, criss-crossed with varicose veins, and hairy? The other stuff that goes with them isn't so nice. I have a low grade fever, all my joints are achy, I have an annoying dry cough and I'm short of breath. Like, so short of breath that I can't walk to the bathroom without wheezing. Most of all, I don't have the energy to do anything. I've pretty much given up finishing Nanowrimo. Dave does most of the cooking and it's all I can do to make the bed in the morning and have a bath. Blogging, Facebook – even my beloved Candy Crush – the fate of my books, reading, none of it holds any appeal. And I'm weepy, crying at the stupidest things.

Erythema nodosum, which is relatively rare, is a common by-product of Crohn's disease, and I've had it a few times. Generally my Crohn's medication, Remicade, sends it packing, but I've never had it this bad before. There's not much that can be done about it that I'm not already doing, and the good news is, it doesn't usually last longer than six weeks. In the meantime, I'm lazier than your great Uncle Fred, and spend my days lolling about the sick couch, wheezing and whining.

I am tempted to stick a sewing needle in one of the bumps to see what comes out. I'm thinking they're either volcanoes of goo, or those pods in Cocoon, full of tiny, fat-inflamed aliens.

By the way, the only reason I'm posting today is because I was just downstairs watching Dave paint the family room and I accidentally spilled a cup of paint. Dave was not impressed. I helped clean up, apologized profusely, and ran like the wind ... bumps and all.

P.S. - Yes, that's my smelly foot in the photo. I didn't want to steal someone else's bumps from the internet so I took a photo of one of my own, at the risk of grossing you out. But hey, don't my toenails look pretty? :)

Friday, November 8, 2013

Crazy Days and Old Friends

Our snowy subdivision this morning.

Hang on a sec. I need more coffee for this post.

I've been so busy this last little while. Busy and depressed and hyper-excited and... did I mentioned depressed? Yah, it happens. Depression hits at the oddest times and for the oddest reasons, but the reason I'm feeling down in the dumps is I'm questioning Nanowrimo and my ability to get it done. Can I whine for a sec? IT'S SO BLOODY HARD. I don't mind writing when I'm in the thick of it, the "zone" as Stephen King describes it and I LOVE writing when it's fecking DONE. That's my favourite writing, the done stuff. I don't mind writing short stories, I enjoy blogging, but sitting down to an entire novel just hurts my lazy-assed head. It literally scares the shite out of me. See? There it is on the floor. A big pile of steaming shite. (Oh wait, sorry, that's cat puke.) There. I'm done whining. I'm behind, yes, but I'm not giving up. In fact, I had a satisfactory session this morning and plan to knock off another 1,000 words this afternoon.

Did you know it's snowing here? Like fecking Christmas, it is. I hate mentioning the weather here in Cold Lake, Alberta, because my Mom is coming to visit us in December and she's freaking out about the cold. Note to self: call her and tell her we paid our gas bill so she doesn't need her parka.

I saw on Facebook this morning that Alberta music icon Jann Arden was working on her novel AT THE SAME TIME AS ME. So I sent her a message, saying we're sameys (which means "stalker," no doubt) and then I had the audacity to send her a link to my free book! HAHAHAHAHAHA! I crack myself up, I do.

So today is FREE BOOK DAY! Starting today, and for the four days after, I'm giving away Friday Girls on Amazon. I'm really trying to get it on Amazon's Top 100 Free Books list. Why? Here's my evil strategy:

  1. Being on the list attracts attention from PEOPLE I DON'T EVEN KNOW so I can stop annoying my friends. With me so far? I thought you'd like that part... Getting noticed is the hardest part of being an indie writer. Right now poor Weezie is buried under hundreds of thousands of books. Nobody would notice her if they fell over her, and if they don't notice a book, it doesn't matter if it's the next 50 Shades of Purple, nobody will buy it and Weezie will die. *sob* (She told me she wants lots of crustless sandwiches and good church coffee at her wake.)
  2. People who read my free book will be so enamoured of my mad writing skillz that they will seek out other books by the same author and they will buy Green Eggs & Weezie, by the thousands, and I will be rich and famous and be able to afford to order pizza three nights a week. 

That's my whole plan. I know. You're thinking genius, right?

So please. Go download my book. You don't need a Kindle. You don't need a credit card. You just need a computer to download the thing. I don't even care if you read it. Oh wait. That's a lie. But I'll start with you downloading it and then I'll pester you for more ... (evil plan part deux).

Here's the links:

In the U.S., go to

In Canada, go to

In the U.K., go to


I wonder if Jann Arden downloaded my book yet?


More about the book. Sorry. I know. You want to punch me in the face right about now. I'd like to thank the following bloggers for mentioning Friday Girls. If you've got time, drop by and say howdy!

William Kendall says he's something of a rogue and a scoundrel but he's always been super nice to me. Plus he really loves cat photos. How bad can he possibly be?

Kristy, over at Ramblings of a Mad Woman, shoots straight from the hip. That's why I love her. I also love her because she says she loves my writing. You know, which never hurts, right?

Sue Harding over at I Refuse To Go Quietly, is a wonderful gal. We have a lot in common, we absolutely do – like we're old and we hate writing sometimes. Only she knits and I have no idea what a freaking purl is. I tried to be witty over on her post. You can be the judge on whether or not I succeeded.

Alex J. Cavanaugh is probably known to most of you – and to most of the planet! He's the bestselling author of three space/science fiction novels and he's probably got the most popular blog on the whole wide web. Lucky me, everyone's favourite ninja gave me a shout-out.

If I've missed anybody, please let me know. And if anyone else wants to post a link, I will be your BFF forever. Y'know, or for a day or two. Depends how much coffee you have ...


Maybe Jann Arden will want to be my new BFF now. Wouldn't that be great? She lives just down the road from me. We could eat nibs together. And walk our dogs. And wear each other's clothes...


Today is the Oh, How I Miss You Blogfest in which participants, like me, list the bloggers I miss and list the bloggers I would miss, were they to drop off the face of the planet or be eaten by maggots or accidentally fall in their chipper shredder.

The way things are going in blogland, my list of absentee bloggers could be really long. But I'm going to limit it to three:

Alan W. Davidson
Alan, I miss you... you and your Newfoundland shenanigans and your gentle nature and that fecking ridiculous red fez you sometimes wore. I miss you so much I even miss that stupid fez. I met Alan through #FridayFlash and was wowed by his storytelling skills. He wrote a story about a dog in a Walmart parking lot that I still think about, years later. Please come back to the bloggy world, Alan. It's not the same without you, bud.

Laurita Miller
This seems to be a theme. Laurita – dear, sweet Laurita – has the classiest blog I've ever seen. Calling Shotgun combined her thoughtful, wonderful writing and beautiful photographs. She told stories about The Rock that inspired me so much I just had to visit. And meeting Alan and Laurita was one of the highlights of my entire life. Unfortunately I can't provide a link to Laurita's blog because it's open to invited readers only. But trust me, it was wonderful.

CJ Hodges MacFarlane
CJ introduced me to #FridayFlash, which literally changed my life. For a while there we were hot and heavy, writing back and forth, talking on the phone but, unfortunately, life got in the way and we drifted apart. She doesn't blog anymore either, and that is just a crying shame. I loved her spark, loved her talent, loved her whole big generous personality and I miss her like crazy.

Honestly, I don't want to list bloggers I would miss. Because I would miss all of you. And that's the truth. Y'all make the world a better place and I may not get around to you all the time, because I'm a selfish idiot, but when I do I'm always impressed with what you've done with the place. Keep on keeping on, because you're special, and if you were to stop writing, I would miss you. oxo

To see other bloggers taking part in the blog hop, visit Alex's blog. He's got the list!


Jann Arden hasn't called yet. Damn!


Today is also my friend Mark's birthday. Happy birthday, ya old fart! (He's the same age as me. I'm allowed to say that.)


And one more thing... are ya still there? WAKE UP!!! Geez Louise...

Fellow #FridayFlash writer Janel Gradowski released her second book in The Bartonville Series this week. The Queen of Bad Decisions follows up on Must Love Sandwiches. These books are well-written, smart, funny and FAST. Janel's idea is to give busy people enough of a taste to curb their reading appetite, so each book in the series includes a novelette, two short stories and a few recipes.

The characters in her books all live in an artist's colony and, because Janel's a foodie, she always makes food as important as her lively characters. Happy launch, Janel! I hope you sell books like hotcakes!


Oh wait! Come back! I lied – I do have one more thing. Recently I won some bling from CBC's Canada Reads promotion and yesterday it arrived! Check out that awesome book bag and three books from Canadian writers. Jealous? You oughta be! Now go download my free book. Go on! Git!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Friday Girls

Swishing skirts, high heels and Cadillac-bound,
It's the Friday girls, the Friday girls, the Friday girls.

When I was trying to come up a name for my short story collection I just fell in love with "Friday Girls." The very idea conjured up images of kick-ass women, confident in their abilities but all too human, kicking up their high heels and heading brashly into the weekend. But the name was also practical. Most of the stories were, after all, written about "girls" of all ages, and most were written for #FridayFlash, the Internet meme that transformed me from a journalist who wrote just-the-facts-ma'am into a bonafide fiction writer.

If you've never heard of #FridayFlash, let me quickly explain. It's the brainchild of Jon M. Strother who came up with the idea of writers, from all over the world, concocting a story of 1,000 words or less and posting it on their blogs every Friday. These stories were tweeted and Facebooked with the hashtag #FridayFlash, which enabled other writers (and readers) to find the stories, comment on them, share them and give positive feedback – thus boosting the confidence and visibility of the writers.

I have bloggy friend CJ Hodges MacFarlane to thank for turning me onto #FridayFlash, something I immediately fell head over heels with. There was such a rush in seeing what other people said about my stories. And there was such immense satisfaction in sitting down in front of a computer screen, with little more than an idea, and coming up with a real live story. Usually I had no idea what I was going to write until I started writing and it always amazed the heck out of me when a story turned out right.

Plus, I met the most amazing people. People who were just like me – struggling writers with the self-confidence of fleas. We shared the same dreams, the same goals and the same fervour to get those stories written, week after week.

I wrote a story the week before my wedding. I wrote one on my honeymoon. I wrote when I was crazy busy, and I wrote when I was ill. Bloggy friend Alan W. Davidson said I was "addicted" to #FridayFlash and he was absolutely right.

As my confidence increased I turned my attention to my novel, Green Eggs & Weezie, and, for the most part, left #FridayFlash behind. But I never stopped thinking about my "Friday girls" and I tried not to lose touch with the writing community that changed my life.

I'd like to thank Paula Boon for editing my stories, and Lou Freshwater and Jon Strother for providing introductions, as well as Steven Novak for the beautiful cover. Mostly I want to thank the writers of #FridayFlash who liked, or at least pretended to like (!) the stories that took a little bit out of my heart.

I think you'll like these stories. I'm hoping they make you smile, or make you cry, or at least make you think. These are my girls, the daughters I never had, my friends, my relatives, and they're as special to me as the women in my real life.

Starting tomorrow, for five days, Friday Girls will be free to download on Amazon. I'm working on getting the paperback version together (as well as writing a new novel during Nanowrimo, gawd help me) and should have that together in the coming days. (That one won't be free, however!)

Would anyone care to post a blurb about Friday Girls on their blogs? Doesn't have to be a big deal. Just a blurb that it's out there and it's free for five days. And if you read the book, and you like it, I'd sincerely appreciate a review on Goodreads and Amazon. It's a jungle out there in book publishing land and you really need the help of your friends to get a book launched. I hope I'm not too big a pain in your butts but please know you are soooooo appreciated.

E-mail me if you need cover art or a blurb or a link or money. Oops, sorry, don't have money. I'm a writer, remember?

Friday, November 1, 2013

It's Nano Time!

That's the 2013 Nanowrimo logo. Doesn't it suck? I'm almost embarrassed to post it here. It's like Nano hired some six-year-old with a Commodore 64. Well I won't be ordering a t-shirt this year, that's for sure.

It's 8:23 a.m. here in Cold Lake, Alberta. If you haven't noticed yet, I'm procrastinating. My office is upstairs, calling my name, and yet here I sit on the living room couch, blogging. Oh well. Just a few words here before I head upstairs to write a lot of words. Honestly I don't know what I'm so worried about. I have an idea. I have an outline. I have time and lots of coffee. It's just that starting a new project is so intimidating ... and the doubts – the doubts are enough to send you round the bend. What if I can't write anymore? What if the words don't come? What if, what if, what if???

I could talk myself into a panic attack if I wanted to. I even dreamed about Nanowrimo last night. Oh well. Nothing to be done now except climb the big wooden hill, park my lily white butt behind the desk and start writing.

Good luck to everyone doing Nano this year! If you want to be my writing buddy, look me up. My top secret buddy code name is Matthiasville.


One more thing before I go – I had to share this photo I took last night. It's Ben-Ben, our opera-singing cat, sitting in the camp chair I had set up next to the front door for Hallowe'en. There were so many kids (175)  there wasn't a lot of point in moving far from the door – thus the chair. Anyway, Ben sat there quite comfortably, watching the kids come and go. I think he enjoyed the evening more than anybody.