Tears & Laughter

Or, the hardest part of writing The Wanderer.

Graham and BC are such fun loving souls, at first blush, one might imagine writing their story would be easy peasy lemon squeezy. It wasn’t. Oh, how it wasn’t.

Their romance begins with loads of laughs. Their senses of humour truly shine through—or at least, I hope they do. They have a lot of fun together.

Real life creeps in on them in a way that surprises them (and surprised me, as well.)

You might call it—a plot twist.

This was the part I found the hardest to write.

Graham faces what feels to him like an insurmountable mountain.  BC struggles to support him along with the rest of their friends and family. And thus begins the part of the story that required a deft hand to get the delicate balance of emotion to humour right.

To avoid spoilers, I’ll only say that I drew from my own personal experiences (and those of friends) along with a lot of research to depict and at times painfully honest view of things.  Some chapters in The Wanderer were honestly quite painful to write. The ‘happily ever after’ might’ve been the only thing to keep me going.

To quote one of the early reviewers of the book:

Do I think this book is for everyone? Hell No! I mean did you miss the part where my bestie backed out of reading before even hitting half way? The Wanderer hits some hard truths of how cruel life can really be, but on the flip side of that, it shows that love is such a beautiful and patient thing that seriously will come out of nowhere, knock you flat on your arse and make you a better person than you ever thought you could be.”

~ Saucy Reviews on Kinky Korner

There’s a bit of magic in a story that makes you feel.

And I can only hope The Wanderer fills readers with joy and laughter in the midst of sorrow.

A bit like life really, isn’t it?

A Year of Living Dangerously.


Alternate titles: Recognising one’s limits.  Or, that time I was young, drunk, and incredibly foolish.

In my early twenties, I spent two years living in the Dominican Republic. I’d flown down to visit a friend for a much needed mental break from life and decided not to come home. It seemed a necessary decision at the time.

I picked up a job as a teacher. I taught English as a Foreign Language at a local institute to classes of kids in the afternoons and adults in the mornings & evenings. At one point, I worked from nine in the morning until 8 or 10 pm at night.

Truth be told, what I really did was teach in between long nights out at the bar with my friends.

I drank.

A lot.

If the bar happened to be close to where I lived, I’d walk home if I couldn’t catch a ride with one of my friends. I’d walk home, at night, after getting drunk off my arse.  It’s quite honestly a miracle that I was never assaulted.

A routine established itself fairly quickly for me. Work hard. Drink harder. Sleep a few hours. Repeat the cycle. Somewhere in the midst of all of it, I managed to pay my rent, save a bit for food (occasionally), though I often drank more than I ate.


I didn’t have time.

By my second year living in Santo Domingo, a dangerous cycle had begun. I always paid my rent. But afterwards, I’d shop. Clothes, CDs, nothing substantial (like food or water for my room that I rented out of this apartment). What I did spend shopping, usually went to nights out.

It wasn’t as if I was making a significant amount to start with, either. I made next to nothing, though likely more than the average worker in the city did. Teaching paid better.

As money dwindled, I started borrowing money, as several of my friends did, as well. I’d do it to get through the month. Pay it back after my next paycheck, and end up having to take more out from the lender to cover what I’d lost (or wasted partying).

In the middle of all of this, I wrote a play. Not only did I write it, but I also worked with some people I knew in the local theatre scene to produce and direct it.  We only did a few shows. Made more than I earned in a couple of months. Did I save any of the money? Of course not, we went through all of the money in a single night out.


I mentioned the vicious cycle, right?

On my twenty-first birthday, I had to acknowledge to myself that I’d sunken into a genuinely dangerous place. I’d started to have dizzy spells. A doctor even took me out of work for a few days.

I wasn’t eating anywhere near enough–and taking far too much alcohol into my body.

I’d like to say I immediately changed. It took about three more months of sinking deeper. Fear had caught a hold of me, though. I didn’t want to know what rock bottom might be.

In one of the rare instances of impulsivity in my life, I made the decision to leave. I tendered my resignation, bought a plane ticket with borrowed money, and within a month I’d left. I returned to the States, got a job, and cut back on the drinking.

So here are a few lessons I learned in my years of living dangerously:

  • You’re spending should never exceed your income.
  • Drinking yourself into a stupor is playing Russian roulette with your safety.
  • There are some incredibly good people in this world, who will look out for you.
  • It’s harder to pick yourself up than it is to knock yourself down.

Those two years in the Caribbean weren’t all doom and gloom. Here are some truly amazing things I did:

  • Travelled all over the Dominican Republic (extraordinarily beautiful place).
  • Made life long friends and have some brilliant memories.
  • Had my horizons expanded.
  • Added playwright to my list of accomplishments.
  • Spent time with some intensely talented artists, musicians, and writers.

Even with all the insanity, not sure I’d change a bit of the experience.

What’s the most foolish thing you’ve ever done?



Mind over Matter; Mind over Muscle.


One of my new TV obsessions is a show on the History channel called The Selection.  It’s about a group of civilians who are being put through a squashed down version of the training that Navy Seals, Rangers, etc. all have to go through. It is, I think, an eye-opening experience for people to see the hell that it can be.

I expected to be entertained–I didn’t anticipate hearing a few really profound life lessons. Thought I’d share a few things that have stayed on my mind, rolling around up there, inspiring not only me as a person–but my muse, as well.

  1. Know your motivation for doing what you do–make it deep and important.
  2. Your mind will give up before your body.
  3. The hard shit in life? It’s temporary. Get through it–don’t give up.
  4. Do your best, even if you fail, you’ll have done everything you can.
  5. Failing isn’t the same as quitting. When you fail, you can try again. When you quit, you’ve given up on yourself before you even have a chance to see what you’re capable of.

Have you watched The Selection? If not, what have you seen/read that’s inspired you recently?

Five Things about Expectations.


Donuts have nothing to do with this post.

I’ve found expectations to be rather dangerous things.  They can kill relationships of every variety, damper success, and over-exaggerate failures.

Here’s five things about expectations:

1. My expectations are my own–no one else is in my brain to see them.  How can anyone meet expectations they are unaware of?

2. As a writer, call I can do is my best.  Placing pressure on myself on serves to heighten any failures–making them harder to overcome.

3. We often confuse goals with expectations.  I prefer goals; something I have some measure of control over.

4.  Managing expectations usually keeps me from being perpetually disappointed in others.

5. It doesn’t always work.  Sometimes I still want to smack someone upside the head for saying they’ll do something and then they don’t.

Do you ever struggle with expectations?



Managing Expectations.

Replacements1There were two lessons I learned from my first marriage:

1. Some men are complete wankers, avoid them.

2. Expectations can only be met if they are shared.

One of the biggest fall downs in a relationship, many times, can be the fact that one has expectations that the other is not aware of.  Expectations are a dangerous thing to begin with.  We often set ourselves up for failure with unrealistic ones.   Or we become angry with our partners for not falling in line with what we believed they would.

My current husband and I spent a lot of time before getting married talking about expectations.

When I get upset with him for not doing something, I’ve learned to first ask myself if he was aware I expected him to do it.  We often joke with each other that we’re not mind readers.  And given that as an Autistic, my brain works differently, it’s usually impossible for either of us to infer what the other is thinking.

How do you deal with expectations in a relationship?

The Bucket List


I’m still on the fence as to whether I not I like the term Bucket List.  I heard someone once say they hated the term because they didn’t want to accomplish things ‘because they were going to die.’  I understand the sentiment.

We could just call it a life list.

Sounds trite.

In any case, my list has changed over the years since I wrote my first one at nineteen.  Items have been added, accomplished or just removed.  I think the first version had ‘meet Michael Crichton’ on it.  He was my favourite author at the time.

A few more highlights:

Things I’ve accomplished:

– Written/published a book.

– Started my own business.

– Traveled the world (at the time I meant to somewhere I’d never been, since I traveled rather extensively as a child.)

A few of the things I want to accomplish:

– Get a tattoo.

– Have a garden.

– Walk the John Muir Trail.

– Become fluent in a second language.  (I’ve dabbled in languages, can curse in multiple languages, but I’m not as fluent as I’d like to be).

How about you? Do you have a bucket/life list? What’s on it?  Have you actively tried to accomplish the things on it?