Sunday, December 29, 2013

Feeding the artist child

It's just past Christmas and old man winter has us in his icy grip again.

Although yesterday was a dull, cold and slushy-bus Saturday in Ottawa, it didn't bring down my inner child nor the artist in the family.  

The illustrator recently celebrated a milestone age. She was happy, nay excited for me to take her on a birthday shopping trip to one of our favourite art supply stores, to pick out sketch books, pencils and other tools. 

It made me happy to see her so happy while browsing the aisles of creative potential.  It brought back memories of my young adult days, my creative escapes - and my own Mother's appreciation of my art. 

The illustrator holds two English Lit. degrees and has reverted back to her first love of drawing while waiting for the perfect career to drop onto her lap. 

She has created an online comic series that chronicles the travels of a human girl and her alien companion as they visit every habitable planet in the galaxy. She is expressing her creativity, her need for exploration and escape.  Didn't we all have a need for escape once or twice in our lives?

A few days ago, she finally produced three more Chinese Zodiac illustrations for the next edition of the novel.  These will cover her share of the rent for December.

The Year of the Snake will soon meander away.

- and the Year of the Horse will soon gallop in.

Some day, I think she could illustrate a beautiful children's book.  As a toddler, she was an inspiration for some of my drawings and whimsical sketches while I still had the time.

Realistically, I would like to see her and the other promising young people living with me succeed in education, career options - and eventually move out.  

So, while she's looking for gainful employment and arting around, perhaps you would like to purchase a framed print of one of her creations?  Help her save up for her own apartment and not be held ransom by a mother who forces her to produce drawings in lieu of rent.  

Do you want to know more about The Year of the Rabbit?  

Thanks for dropping by.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Ontario Wine Country Tour and Research

The author went on a wine country tour last weekend.  

One of the objectives was to perform research that would enhance wine related mentions in the second edition of the novel.  It was hard work with all the wining, dining, pairing and taking notes.  

By day 3 of the tour, I was in no condition to taste any more wine.  I reviewed my notes, attempted to improve my understanding of wine terminology plus learn more about the history of the Niagara on the Lake wine country.

It will be a bonus if this hard work pays off to enhance the novel.  Otherwise, it was a good opportunity to test out one's travel legs, to purchase "souvenirs" for family and friends.

If you feel like exploring, please drop by the domain for The Year of the Rabbit, a novel about Fate, Family and Forgiveness.



Thursday, September 19, 2013

Commissioned art

I have engaged with a talented young artiste to provide illustrations for the second edition of the novel.

The objective is to provide representations of the paintings gracing the booths at the Red Hare restaurant.  I am also planning for a new cover design.

The artiste will provide twelve Chinese Zodiac illustrations over the next four months. 

Here are samples of the first two works:


I think they are very lovely.  You can view these and more of the artiste's creations at her Arting Around blog.

To read up on the novel and related activities, please visit


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Her sister's secret

It's Pride Week.  

Communities are hopping with events to celebrate in loud, proud and colourful displays - or to celebrate in a quiet and dignified manner

In this excerpt from The Year of the Rabbit, Sera finds out that Amy and Dela plan to leave town, taking baby Harry along.  She also confronts them about their relationship.  

A community's reaction to homosexuals in 1975 would not have been as accepting as present day.  We are witnessing a balance between pride and dignity, with youth taking more leadership roles.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Bicycle stories

When you were younger, did you ride a bike?  Did you ride your bicycle everywhere and anywhere around town?

If you fall into a certain age range, you may share the opinion that "back in the day", kids were safe and carefree as they rode their bikes all around and across town.  

We didn't wear helmets.  We may have had bells and baskets.  We were cautious enough to enjoy being adventurous.  Those were the days.  

Hop on over to the Deep Blonde Thoughts blog where you can read about bicycle statistics and activities around present day Ottawa. 

In the novel there is mention of the children of the 1970s riding bikes.  If one night you forgot to put it in the shed, there was the chance of your bicycle being stolen.  It happened to me in my teens.  It almost happened to Sera Fletcher in
The Year of the Rabbit

If you enjoyed that excerpt, you may want to read more.  You may even want to:
  • Buy the eBook (You set the price!) or download a free sample from Smashwords; 
  • Buy a copy of the eBook at the iBookstore if you're visiting this page on an iPad. (Please note that they still have the novel incorrectly categorized as Children's fiction)

Visit the home page for The Year of the Rabbit, a novel about Fate, Family and Forgiveness.  The main characters are a Catholic priest, a little girl and a retired exotic dancer.  

Did you find this blog entry funny, interesting or inspiring? See the reaction check boxes below.  You can also subscribe to / follow this blog via email notification.  See the little sign-up box on the right hand side of this page.

Thanks for dropping by.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Research is difficult and tedious

The author of The Year of the Rabbit didn't have ample time to properly research wines before publishing the novel. 

To the kind and gracious readers, she apologizes.  

If you have read the book and noticed any faux-pas's with wine references, here's your chance to be rewarded for the inconvenience.  You can help her correct any wrongs. 

Visit this Deep Blonde Thoughts blog post.  Follow the instructions to obtain a much-deserved gift.

Are you not familiar with this bittersweet story?  Really?  Mon Dieu!  You are welcome to read excerpts from the novel.  Download a sampling from Smashwords.  

See what others have offered after reading the book (and without noticing any key omissions about wine). 

Thanks for dropping by.  Now we must head off on our important quest...  :o) 


Monday, May 20, 2013

A Favourite Tree

Do you have a favourite place where you can go to be alone or to enjoy with a special person?

One of my favourite places to visit is the arboretum at the Experimental Farm in Ottawa

In recent years I have been dragging my children there for picnics and walks along the lush, colourful pathways.  We also visit my favourite tree, a Bebb's oak. 

It reminds me of my dear old Dad, of a photograph that was taken of him leaning on a cane during his final years.

During a 2005 visit, we noticed a plaque on the tree dedicated to Ardeth Wood, a promising young woman who was murdered on a bike path the summer of 2003.  

Visiting the arboretum provides us with a chance to experience nature as a family, to get fresh air and exercise. Visiting this tree provides me with time to reflect with a respect for ancient wisdom, hope for the future and gratitude for being a survivor. 

This springtime visit, I remembered to pack my copy of For the Love of Trees so we could identify the different species.  Unfortunately, we didn't have time to wander and explore due to tight schedules.  Another time, perhaps. 

In the novel, trees are featured often - especially the pin cherry tree.  It was a favourite place for Sera Fletcher to climb and hide.  It was from this tree that she first met Father Gio

This tree provided the riggings and backdrop for the last  performance witnessed by Sera's ailing mother

Soon, it too met with its fate.  

As I look at a nearby cherry tree losing its blossoms, I know that it will produce berries this summer and that the remaining ones will be consumed by hungry birds during the winter.  

This tree is a reminder of the cycle of life and death, much like the The tree of life.

If you appreciate trees and want to read undiscovered Canadian fiction, please visit by the web site for The Year of the Rabbit.  



Sunday, May 12, 2013

For the Mothers

Happy Mother's Day, if you celebrate it.
In The Year of the Rabbit, a novel about fate, family and forgiveness readers will encounter a few motherly characters:
  • Marie Fletcher was a caring mother figure despite her struggles with mental health issues and a dark secret;
  • Margaret MacDonald experienced deep guilt and regret that she did not prevent the abuse of her daughter;
  • Jenny Young struggled with supporting her pregnant teen and understanding her husband's disappointment;
  • Amy Young became a teenage mother who learned how to be responsible with the help of her own family and friends;
  • Gio's Mom was the typical doting mother and eventually an exuberant grandmother. 
Excerpt:  While she lay in her mother's casket, young Sera Fletcher pondered life after death

Have a lovely Mother's Day - or make it one for your own Mom. 


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Kitchen Help and Cooking Therapy

Sera sank deeper into depression after Amy and Dela left for Alberta, taking little Harry with them.  

She missed them.  

She also missed the comfort of Edgar Bear whom she had given to Harry. 

She missed her father who seemed like a different, distant man since her mother had died.  

Jenny and Carl let her stay in Amy's old room above the Red Hare RestaurantOver the past few months, Carl had softened up towards Sera - in his own way

Thanks for reading this post.  Please provide your reaction below or submit a comment.  Check out the other excerpts if you'd like to taste a little more of this bittersweet story.  Drop by for more information about the novel.  

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The things that turn up in spring

You wouldn't know it in the Ottawa Valley but Spring is here.  

In local travels, we have witnessed crocus sprouts pushing up from the earth and snow.  People are planning for the annual Tulip Festival

Friends and relatives are dusting off their patio furniture and eying their garden plots still covered by a dirty blanket of  snow.  They are logging up-coming events in their calendars.  Who knows what they are going to dig up?

Recently, on the other side of the pond,  "... in Edinburgh's frozen clay soil, the city’s archaeologists unearthed a diamond.

Resting in the dark, underneath what was once a city car park, the remains of a medieval knight were discovered."

See:  History unearthed: Meet the team who discovered the car park knight 
"The discovery comes just a month after the bones of Richard III were identified after being discovered below a car park in Leicester in what is being heralded as one of the most sensational finds in archaeological history."

I enjoy these discoveries, things of ancient past dug up and respectfully handled by archeologists - and drooled over by historians. 

Then there are those discoveries that indicate a body was not placed out of respect - and not under a car park but under an apartment building that the surrounding neighbours didn't want built.   

This news story was published in The Seguin Sounder, a fictitious newspaper that evolved out of the novel.

If you are curious to meet a certain redheaded girl who likes to bury things - and meet her younger, sadder sister Sera read excerpts from The Year of The Rabbit, a Novel About Fate, Family and Forgiveness.  Hop on over to the web site
After you purchase the book, you will join the ranks of other readers who enjoyed this undiscovered piece of Canadian fiction. 

Thanks for dropping by. Visit the novel's web site.  Watch where you are digging ;o)



Saturday, March 23, 2013

Something about Mary ... Magdalene

I caught part of this documentary on one of the upper cable channels last night while dozing off.  It woke me up and caught my interest.  

I just love the play on words for the title.
Since I was a young Catholic, I had questions about women in the church, about Mary and the other Mary.  Damn, I was confused.  I was intrigued about the woman, the prostitute who washed the Lord's feet with perfumed oil then wiped it with her own hair.  He only had kind words to say about her. How cool was that? 

It is 2013.  We have a new, gentler Pope. He has chosen the name Francis after Francis of Assisi.  I like that.  He has hope for the poor Hope for the environment.
Hope for rebuilding the RCC? 
Hope for women's role in the Church?  Perhaps enough positive change to encourage reluctant Catholics to return? 

At lunch this week when I mentioned these small steps of progress,
a friend suggested that if I wanted to read the new testament again, to check out the Gospel according to John. 
Who exactly WAS the beloved disciple...? Hmmmm.

Isn't it funny that when one "testified" in the old days, only a man's word was respected and that he would grab his testicles when giving an oath
?  I really should look this up, in a credible source.  I wish we could remove some of these gender-specific, dated words from our modern vocabulary.
You can read more tongue in cheek comments on my other blog.  If you are interested in a child's view of the Church, take a few moments to read excerpts from The Year of The Rabbit, a Novel About Fate, Family and Forgiveness.  Hop on over to the web siteSorry, no Easter eggs yet. 
Thanks for dropping by.

Monday, March 4, 2013

It's Read an Ebook Week

Free Ebooks
Many Ebook publishers and authors are joining in this annual promotion called Read an Ebook week

Smashwords is the publisher for The Year of the Rabbit Ebook.  Here's what they're saying in their launch message

Ebook or eBook?   Whatever... Come read some Canadian fiction for curious young adults and sentimental adults.  Meet Father Gio and his newly discovered daughter.  Meet Sera who embraces books as an escape from loneliness.  

Hop on over to the web site at:
Thanks for dropping by.



Saturday, February 23, 2013

Missing since Halloween

A Seguin Sound man posts a request in the local newspaper, looking for his wife and daughter.

Thing is... they don't want to be found.  Find out why in this excerpt.  

This becomes a traumatic experience for Sera Fletcher who will spend the subsequent months missing her friend and sinking into depression 

She finds joy when her illegitimate nephew is born.  Then she ponders life and death while realizing her mother will not survive the cancer that is consuming her once beautiful body. 

See more Seguin Sounder clippings.  Read more excerpts.

Thanks for dropping by.   Hop on over to The Year of the Rabbit web site when you have a minute.  


Friday, February 15, 2013

Word Puzzle

How about an old-school form of entertainment?

Until we figure out how to get this in an iPad app, here's a little something to print and keep you occupied during slow periods.

Get out your trusty pencil.  Be daring and confident - use a pen.

Thanks to  



Saturday, January 26, 2013

Deep Freeze and Family Traditions

January has been one roller coaster of a ride weather-wise

Just weeks ago we were in the middle of the January Thaw and now we're into a deep freeze.

If you're in Ottawa and the weather is finally stabilized by next weekend, do drop by one or two of the Winterlude events.  One of my favourite Winterlude traditions is to visit the ice sculptures with my young folk after a dining experience somewhere in downtown Ottawa.  

My "children" no longer like to go on the Rideau Canal, in the crowds of other skaters.  If I suggest we go for a walk to say that we were actually on the canal, they are not fully prepared because not all are sensible enough to wear boots.  


Only a couple still enjoy the tasty messiness of BeaverTails pastries and hot chocolate after we have toured the ice sculpture exhibits.  If you are curious, I recommend to go at night when the sculptures are enhanced by colourful lights. 

The video below was created by two young ladies.  It looks like one is trying a BeaverTail for the first time.  

Oh, well.  You can't hold onto all of the favourite activities with a maturing family.  You can at least take photographs, videos and hold onto the memories.


Do you have family traditions that you enjoy, helping to break up the long winter months and get your kids outside? 

I tried downhill skiing once and did not enjoy it at all. I have fond memories of snowshoeing around forests and small lakes near Georgian Bay.  I also recall winning a snowshoe race at a Parish Picnic when I was about 12 or 13 years old.  


Permit me to lead you to some excerpts from The Year of the Rabbit.  

If you enjoy the excerpts, you can download a portion the ebook version from Smashwords for free. 
See what others have offered after reading this bittersweet tale. 
Thanks for dropping by.  Stay warm and dry.