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Do I Watch Too Much Television?

Do I watch too Much Television?

How much is too much T.V.?  It’s easy with kids.  School is first and it’s okay if all chores and homework is finished.  Plus it can be a great babysitter at times, especially for hyper kids!!  But for adults?  As a rule, I try not to watch t.v. during the day.  I work from  home and it’s way too easy to get sucked in and waste the day. Music is my background noise, rather than having the television on.  I used to watch soap operas when I was younger but luckily I broke that habit when the kids were born.  Plus, As the World Turns and Guiding Light went off the air and they were my favourites, so that helped.

I was going through our PVR this morning.  It was abs and arms this morning and I had the news on.  They were trying to scare me about the upcoming hurricane/end of the world.  I only write that because Hurricane Sandy hasn’t hit Toronto yet and I really hope it won’t be as bad as they are making it out to be.  So I checked out what I had saved on the PVR.  I love my PVR.  Really love it!   Although it’s probably part of the reason I watch so much television at night.  I don’t have to worry about missing my favourite show because it’s on after I go to sleep, or because I’m putting the kids to bed or because I’m working on something at night.  I don’t have to sit through commercials and I am guaranteed to find a show I’m interested in at any time of the day.  And there are a lot of shows I’m interested in, which I think is another part of my problem.  There are a wide variety of shows on my PVR, some of which I’m not proud to admit I watch.

Let’s see what’s on the list today:

Go On – love Matthew Perry but not loving this show.  Jeff’s trying to give it shot, so I’ll watch it, but will work on something while doing so.

Dancing with the Stars – yes, this is there.  In my defense, my kids love to watch this and it’s on too late for them.  But really, this is the All-Stars and it’s fantastic!!!  Guilty pleasure for sure.

Survivor – same with this.  Yes, it’s been on forever but Jeff Probst is such a cutie plus he never seems to age.  And the guy from the Outback season – the one who fell in the fire – is back, along with former Blue Jay Jeff Kent and Blair from the Facts of Life, so it’s really good this season.  Some day maybe I’ll have the guts to apply!

Ben and Kate – there’s about 3 episodes still to watch, so it means we’re not really into it, but will watch when we run out of everything else

Two and a Half Men – not sure why?  Ashton Kutcher is kind of cute and it’s interesting how the show will try and push the boundaries about what can be said, but …?

Big Bang – obvious – it’s a really good show!

Gossip Girl – another guilty pleasure.  Thank goodness it’s ending soon because it’s not as much of a pleasure as it used to be!!  I’m kind of just waiting to see if Blair and Chuck finally end up together.

Grey’s Anatomy – although not sure how long I’ll stick with it now that McSteamy and Lexie are gone.

Vampire Diaries – Elena is a vampire – who didn’t see that coming?

Castle and Bones – Nathan Fillion and David Boreanz – ‘nuff said.  Plus both are alumns of Joss Whedon shows and if I can’t have Joss Whedon show on the air, then I will take those who used to be in his shows.  (FYI – I have all episodes of Buffy, Angel and Firefly on DVD)

How I met your Mother – see above, plus Neil Patrick Harris is AWESOME!

Arrow, Vegas, Nashville and Last Resort – all new shows I’m getting into.  Will be pissed if they are cancelled because they are showing potential!  In past years there haven’t been this many good new shows.

Revolution – will be seriously pissed if cancelled, but doubt it will be.  This was the inspiration for this posting since I read a review in the paper about it.  I love this show for two reasons – it reminds me of Lost and Billy Burke.  Next to Joss Whedon shows, Lost was my all-time favourite, favourite show.  Loved it!  Still miss it!  So to have a JJ Abrams produced show that’s just as compelling as Lost is so great for me!  And Billy Burke – for all you Losties, his character is basically Sawyer, only not as sexy.  But his sexiness is growing, although hindered by the fact he’s Bella’s dad. (Twilight)  I’m not holding that against him too much, because he’s just awesome in the role.

I think that’s all that’s on the list now.  There might be a movie or two, and when Dr. Who comes back at Christmas, I’ll have those episodes to watch.

So I watch a lot of television!  But not during the day and thank god for PVRs!  So I guess I’ve answered my own question but what do you think?  And what do you think about my taste in television?

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Do I have the b***s to be a Blogger?

Do I have the balls to be a blogger?
Blogging is hard. Once a week is enough – there’s no way I could do this every day. Don’t get me wrong – it’s fun and I love it! I’m writing more these days than I ever have before and it’s amazing. But it’s one thing to plan a scene for the characters in my books because I know what I want them to say and do. This blog thing is…
What is it?
I began this blog as a way to promote my book. Has it done that? I can only hope so. I started the blog for Jeff for the same reason – to promote the community he’s been developing in Bethany. It’s a good platform for this, but do you really want to hear about how awesome my book is and how you should buy it and read it and tell everyone else about it and…
I’d love you to do that but I’m not that full of myself to solely focus on that. Plus it would be about as boring as a baseball bat used by the Blue Jays.
Since I’ve started this, I’ve begun to follow a bunch of blogs myself but I hardly have enough time to read them, let alone comment. These emails are always on my to-do list. A couple of them are on writing and blogging and can be pretty helpful. The one I read yesterday (not sure when I got it) was about what kind of blogs are successful. And it turns out, the more dysfunctional you are, the better! Apparently people love reading about how spazzy you can be! Inspirational is good as well, controversy always sells and to have a confessional blog is always the way to go.
Well, that sucks. While I can be a little more than average spazzy/idiotic/a doofus at times, for the most part, I’m relatively normal. And while I do have quirks, not sure if I want them spread out for everyone to see. I save that for the characters for my books. I can use all of my embarrassing traits (and maybe even some of my friends !!!) and everyone thinks it’s a figment of my imagination!
So maybe I’ll throw in a few dysfunctional stories now and then, but for the most part, that’s not me. And I’m not inspirational enough to go there. I can do the confession – I think I’m okay with that. But the controversial…
I’m not a controversial person. I don’t particularly like conflict. I don’t spout out all these comments and opinions that would guarantee a debate with my nearest and dearest. I’ll argue if I have a point that needs defending, but for the most part I’m a go-with-the-flow type of gal. I was planning on trying out the controversy angle by posting about the tragic death of Amanda Todd but after reading it over, I ended up deleting it. It just wasn’t me. I came across sounding like I was blaming the poor girl and her parents for everything that happened and while that would have been controversial, it also made me sound really nasty.
And so maybe I don’t have the balls to be that kind of blogger. I think I’m okay with that. If I have to pretend to be someone I’m not to get a few extra hits, then it’s not worth it. My blog – however it ends up – will be honestly about me, written in my voice, about things that interest me (and hopefully you too!). Maybe I’ll sneak in a few of my idiotic (or blonde) moments and maybe I will share a controversial opinion I might have. Who knows – maybe I can inspire others! But whatever this blog turns into, it will be pure me.
Hope you keep reading!

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The Ebb and Flow of Friendship

It was Thanksgiving here in Canada on Monday. Even though it’s not a big of a deal here as it is south of the border, we still do the family thing, eat copious amounts of turkey and give thanks for all the good things we’ve got going for us. I’m not a big fan of turkey so it’s not my most favourite holiday (with the name Holly you know it has to be Christmas!) but it’s always nice seeing family.
We saw an old friend this weekend as well. He was up visiting his parents for the holiday. This got me thinking about friendship. He lives two hours away, we haven’t seen him for a year and a half but it was still like we had seen him last week. Circumstances have changed, we’ve changed, the physical distance is there – this happens with friends. But why is it that some remain constant and some drift off into the wind?
When I moved to the city (was it really almost 15 years ago?) I had no family here. I moved to be with Jeff and never once regretted leaving my family. I was lucky to be so warmly welcomed by his family and his friends who took me in as one of their own. For years our social life revolved around his (and my) large group of friends. We shared cottage weekends, pub crawls, and planned our weddings together. There’s a picture I recently came across – there’s 10 of us at a wedding and it’s a great picture. You can tell we’re a group of close friends, not just acquaintances who happen to be sitting together. We’re all touching each other. My arm is around Lara, my hand is on Sean’s arm; Dani is leaning on Chris, Chris is leaning on Jim; Pam has her arms around Silv and Jeff – it’s a nice picture. It’s a very bittersweet picture, however, because there’s only one of those people (other than my husband) than I’m close to now. (Love you Pam! And you, too Mel!) Back then I thought I would grow old with that group of friends and now I’m lucky to get the odd comment on facebook from them.
My last post prompted Jeff to announce I needed a group hug. While I didn’t mean to come across so needy, I did get some comments from friends. But that, and last weekend, and staring at this picture makes me thankful for the good friends I do have in my life now. Friendship is like the tide – it flows in and out, constant and always moving. The water washes against the rocks – if the rock is big enough, stable enough, then the water will flow around it, carving niches and crevasses, but not doing any damage. But sometimes the water will wash the rock clean away. Why is that? Why do some friendships persevere over time and distance? One of my best friends lives half a world away, I haven’t seen her in over three years, but I know she’s still there for me whenever I need her. But another person – she was my roommate for 4 years and my maid of honour and she let herself drift away (and yes, I am STILL very bitter about that. I got a guilt invite to her wedding and she put us at the very worst table) Was she a bad friend the entire time we knew each other to let our relationship fade so easily? Was I a bad friend for letting her go? Or was it some reason neither of us understood? Is that what happens to people and how can you tell if that’s the type of friend someone will turn out to be?
Instead of reflecting back on failed friendships, I’m going to look at the ones I have now, and be thankful for them. I have a wonderful group of people I trust to be part of my life, that I can count on for their love and support and I know they feel the same about me. We still share the odd cottage weekend and bottles of wine have replaced pub crawls. These people are a big part of my life and now, and I hope they’ll remain so for a long time. I know it doesn’t always happen like that, but instead of worrying about it, I’m going to just be thankful for the friends I have in my life.

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Questions, comments, concerns?

I am desperate!
I am desperate for comments, for reassurance, for reviews about my writing. It’s taken me so long to put myself out here, with my book, with my blog, that I am frantic for people to tell me what they think.
Is this normal? Shouldn’t I be worried about what people are going to say, rather than just that they say something about it?
My good friend called this morning to tell me she commented on-line on something I wrote. I was so excited!!! I was ecstatic! I didn’t really care what she wrote, only that she did. Another two friends commented on my book. One wrote a review that I haven’t been able to see yet and although I’m very curious about what she wrote, I’m simply over the moon she took the time to comment on it. This comes after my brainwave that NO ONE was ever going to read my book because they were afraid it sucked. They could buy my book – being a very supportive friend – but that didn’t mean they had to READ it, because what if they read it and it was bad? If they could put off reading it for as long as they can with excuses – ‘I’m just finishing this other book; I’m really busy these days; the only time I read is when I read the kids a story at bedtime’ – then they don’t have to worry about the possibility of lying to me, of telling me they loved it when it really wasn’t their cup of tea.
This has been driving me crazy!
I have been living in a constant state of anticipation since I decided to publish this book. And it’s not the lovely, impatient eagerness of say, foreplay when it’s good, but there’s better to come, but you still want to prolong it…
No, I’m done with this! Read it! Tell me what you think! Please!!!
I think Sally Field said it best when she won her Oscar – “You like me. You really like me.”
Is this my problem? Am I desperate for reassurance that I am just liked? How do other people deal with this? For this blog (and another one I’m writing for the hubby) I’m planning on news posts every week. I’ve got to go through this every week? I’m going to have to wait at least 6 months to a year for my next book to come out (hopefully!) I’m going to have to let people have sneak peeks, because I won’t be able to handle this! I’m a somewhat confidant person so I don’t think I need constant reassurance I’m awesome because I know sometimes I kind of can be! And sometimes I’m not. But putting myself out there, letting folks – all sorts of folks – see the inner workings of my thoughts- it’s scary! And having my friends read stuff is worse than anyone else.
I think I need the reassurance that I have the ability to impact someone with my thoughts, opinions and words. Did I make someone laugh? Did I make them care about my characters and what happens to them? I want to know I can force someone to have a reaction from something I wrote. Isn’t that a definition of being a writer? I’ve been doing this in solitude for so long that it’s very difficult to step out in the light. But it’s also very exciting.
I know I’ll have to prepare myself for hearing negative remarks and opinions.
There will be more rejection. Like I said, my writing isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. I’ll have to thicken the skin and suck it up. But at least it will be a reaction. Something has to be better than nothing!!
“I’d rather feel pain than nothing at all” (Three Days Grace)

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Sexytime in books

I went for a run this morning. Usually I go with my good friend but she was having a much-deserved sleep in this morning, so I thought I’d go myself.   I thought this morning would be a good time to get my head around an article I’m writing for the church newsletter on Spirituality and Running. My minister suggested it, I think because he knows I would rather go for a run on Sunday mornings than go to church with husband and kids. Have I ever had a spiritual experience while running? Not really sure, but I thought a solo run might be a good time to reflect on it. And then I could talk to my friend about connections to religion and spirituality and running the next time we ran…heehee. Inside joke.
I also thought it might be a sign of solidarity to another good friend (my walking friend. I have a running friend and a walking friend and also a boxing/bellydancing friend who once called me a workout slut but that’s off topic.) My walking friend and 90% of my predominantly Jewish neighbourhood were enjoying(?) the high holy day of Yom Kippur while I was reflecting on my spirituality this morning. I thought that might make me a good neighbour. Anyway, I started out with my ipod and thought it was a good sign that ‘Like a Prayer’ was the second song on my playlist. I began to contemplate my spirituality…

…and then my thoughts turned to sex.

Not my sex life, but sex in books. Sex in my book. So much for spirituality and running this morning.

When I tell friends about my book coming out, I get a lot of eager questions about if there’s a lot of sex in it. Unfortunately, there’s not. There’s a little bit where Casey finds the cheating boyfriend in the process of cheating with the girl in the church (I’m sure that would be great for the church newsletter!) and the end of the second chapter ends with her having sex, but that’s about it. It’s not that I’m avoiding it – if Casey should have had sex, I’d be perfectly happy to have her enjoy some sex but I wasn’t about to put in a gratuitous sex scene just for the sake of writing a dirty bit.  But because of all the questions and the interest in sex in books in general lately, I was wondering if I should include more in the new book I’m working on. And if so, how graphic should I make it?

I’ve read the three Fifty Shades and have seen how erotica is sweeping the literary world these days. I enjoyed most of the books, although Christian’s ‘You.Are.Mine.’ while they’re getting it on gets creepy really quick. Reading the Fifty Shades trilogy led me to check out other books in the erotica genre, which was an undiscovered field for me. Memorable ones were ‘The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty’ (starts out good but too much spanking/paddling for my liking. A little might be ok, but if that’s all they do…) and ‘A Diary of a Submissive.’ BTW, any other suggestions would be welcome!

Doesn’t everyone have books with the pages earmarked at the good bits? When I was a teenager, my friend used to talk about the scandalous Jackie Collins but for me, Judith Krantz crafted a much better sex scene. And these days I love how Jilly Cooper writes sex. It’s not too titillating but more matter-of-fact. “Here are Billy and Janey walking through the meadow and now they are having sex and this is what he is doing to her and she is clearly enjoying it.” I love Jilly Cooper!

I remember I included a sex scene in one of my first books. Actually, I think I put in a couple of scenes, including a threesome, which a friend of mine loves reminding me about. He keeps asking if I’m going to put in another one in every book I write! I also remember reading the scene (straight sex, no kink) aloud in a writing class I was taking. Talk about embarrassing!

Because of the success of Fifty Shades, it’s clear sex sells. And women aren’t hiding in the bathtub reading their books anymore. Well, they are, but they’re also reading it on the subway, on the beach and in book clubs. And it’s not just women who are reading it. This summer, another family came to our cottage with us and all four adults were reading one of the Fifty Shades books!

So how much sex is enough? And how much is too much? I write chick-lit, not erotica, but should I play this new trend and spice it up? In the new book I’m working on, I think Brenna is going to have sex with the much younger Brady but how graphic should I make it? Should I sex up my chick lit, give Ana and Mr. Grey a run for their money? Then what happens when my great aunt reads it?
It’s something to think about. Do I try and channel my inner E.L. James or keep it sweet? (Maybe not too sweet) And apparently it’s more interesting to think about then my spirituality!

I should go work on that article now!

Ps. Just got the new J.K. Rowling. I wonder if she put in a sex scene?

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J.K. Rowling’s newest…

I’m eagerly waiting for A Casual Vacancy! I even pre-ordered it. The only other book I’ve done that for is Harry Potter – number 4 I think- and that was only because I just gave birth to Sam and didn’t think I’d be up to a visit to the bookstore! I thought J.K deserved another pre-order.
I can’t imagine the pressure this woman must be under. The book could be a massive flop and she’s still be the richest woman in the universe, but as an author, how can you possibly follow such success? Yes, I know, children’s fiction vs. adult, fantasy vs. real-life but still? You have to feel for her.

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A Little more…

Second post of the day…just because I thought I needed a little more.

I’m starting this blog because I have just published my first novel.  Baby! Baby? Baby?!  I decided to go the self-publishing route because I was tired and frustrated by all the rejection letters.  They were all very nice, which gave me hope to continue but didn’t help me get any closer to being published.

I started thinking about self-publishing about a year ago.  It was one of those poop or get off the pot moments.  Sarah was starting grade one the next September which meant my stay-at-home mom status was about to become redundant.  I’ve been writing forever,  mainly while the kids napped in the afternoon (and everyone wondered why naps were such a big deal in our house!)  I thought this would be the perfect time to try it full-time.   And then while I was at Word on the Street (an awesome book fair in Toronto) I spoke to a nice man from iUniverse who said something like “if you died tomorrow, do you want them to find a drawer full of unread manuscripts?”  Pleasant thought to be sure, but I did have a cupboard in Sam’s room overflowing with pages of stuff I’d wrote and so the decision was made.

One thing I was really hesitant about was the perception surrounding self-publishing.  I’m sure when I announced to my friends I was going to self-publish my book, many eyes rolled.   The area of self-publishing was and still is seen as not much more than vanity press where anyone who can write a sentence thinks they should publish their books.

I went the self-publishing route because I was tired of going nowhere.  It’s very difficult to get a traditional publisher to look at you unless you’re already a successful writer.  There’s not a lot of room for a brand-new untried writer to get her foot in the door.   Before the on-line book market blew up,  even the physical space for books was shrinking.  Small bookstores were disappearing and shelves in big bookstores were being taken over by cards and gifts and toys.  If I want to buy toys, I’ll go to the toy store.  If I go to a bookstore, I’m there because I want to buy books and I want the biggest selection I can find.

FYI, what big bookstores are selling these days is a pet peeve of mine.  I’m the sort who has yet to fully embrace the ebook revolution mainly because l love the book part of reading a book.  I’m not opposed to it, and my novel will be sold as an ebook, but I’m not there just yet.   I’m sure I will be soon.

I knew I could pay someone to publish my book, but I still wanted it to be the best it could be.  I paid for an editing service to clean it up and in my opinion they did a great job.  I’m sick of all the self-publishing bashing and how it can only mean the death of traditional publishing.  You know what – it’s not going to be.  Look at Penguin buying Author Solutions.  Someone woke up and realized this is how it is now and how it’s going to be.  There are tons of talented writers out there, hoping and praying for someone to read their work and by getting out there and by doing it themselves, they’ll get that chance.  Maybe their writing isn’t for everyone and maybe they’re not the best at it, but they are enough people who love to read out there so that someone will enjoy it.  Self-publishing allows anyone to realize their dream and I think everyone deserves that chance.

So I’m taking that chance and I set up this blog to get my name and my book out there.  I hope you’ll take a look.

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Here goes…

My blog.  I have a blog now.  I have a novel that’s been published and for sale and people are actually buying it, and a webpage.  And now a blog.  It’s been a pretty good month so far.

I was reading other people’s blogs, trying to figure out what the heck to write about.  Sure, I can use this to tell people about my book, but is that enough?  Probably not, but I’ll figure that out later.  So – to misquote Amanda Hocking – I have no real platform to speak of – but I will work my ass off for this book.

And my next one.

And the one after that.

Please keep reading!

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