Tag Archives: Achievement

A new year… a new challenge.

Once again time has run away with me and suddenly it’s 2015! Since my last post the grandparents arrived from the UK; we have hosted a drinks party (attended by almost more children than adults, who proceeded to turn my living room into a movie theatre, where the popcorn machine had a nervous breakdown!); enjoyed a family treat to the ballet to see a seasonal tradition, The Nutcracker, which had both boys attempting to walk on their toes and pirouette for the following couple of days. Santa then brought MORE Lego, which neither child would let me help build, so I sulked in my craft room building my new ink caddy, which took all of five minutes then two hours to arrange the inks in colour families and make sure all the labels pointed the right way. I cooked the most enormous bird to perfection and enjoyed eating my own body weight in Christmas pud because I could, having made it flourless. Drank lots of wine and wore stretchy leggings to accommodate pudding.

There has been lots of sleeping in, due to very little nocturnal snoozing, sadly not for the reasons you might think, but my arthritis picked a very inconvenient time to flare up. After finally resorting to prescription sleeping pills just to stop the clock- watching, my physio then treated me with five thousand needles, which caused copious amounts of screaming. It probably wouldn’t have been so bad if I hadn’t had the bright idea to host a joint Harry Potter birthday party for the boys between Christmas and New Year. It was the ultimate crafting challenge for Steph and I. We have spent the last two months making… paper wands, felt ties, Quidditch Pong, floating candles, a ‘Have You Seen This Wizard’ photo frame, Pin the Beak on Hedwig, HP Bingo, Pass the Howler, party bags containing Bertie Botts Every Flavoured Beans and Golden Snitches, and a very cool brick wall made by painting a $5 sheet to create platform 9¾! We sorted 27 kids into the four houses and dressed as wizards and witches – I copped for Hufflepuff so, yes, I was Professor Sprout. We played games, earned house points and – according to the emails I received the following day – threw the birthday party of the year. We were knackered but we all had a lot of fun and my boys have kindly donated $200 of birthday money to the British Columbia Children’s Hospital – their choice entirely.

So, here I am beginning a new year, not sad to see the back of 2014, despite it ending on a high. It began in a dark place, a place I never thought I would visit, and hope never to visit again. From somewhere deep inside I found an inner strength that I never knew I had. It helped me pick myself, and move forward. I sometimes looked back, but as that dark hole got smaller and smaller I found I could face things that many would shy away from. And among all of that I achieved something I thought was unachievable… Bruises. What now? On January 1st I began 365 days of writing. Everyday I will write in my journal: thoughts, feelings, life events, and just whatever I need to empty out of my head. I also love quotes, and Santa was kind enough to pop a quote journal in my stocking, so I also plan to record a new quote everyday.

A new year with new challenges.

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Busy!

This post is long overdue – sorry about that but real life has taken over and my boys are already hyper about grandparents arriving and the pending festivities.

Saturday (over a week ago now!) – when it came to the book event, the only thing I was worried about was nobody turning up. Waking up the day before with a raging eye infection that required an emergency trip to the walk in centre was not part of the plan. That evening I was also accompanying my husband to a conference dinner he’d been speaking at. Two events that require makeup and NOT the sticky antibiotic ointment I waited over an hour to get, in between delivering offspring to birthday parties, dropping off supplies for the book event and reprimanding my 5 year old for eating only candy at said party! G&T required while trying to disguise puffy red eye.

Sunday – another birthday party, but thankfully hubby dealt with this one alone while I arranged bits of cheese, cold cuts and crackers on trays, looking glamorous in baggy checked PJs, Velcro rollers, slouchy slipper socks, and a bleary eye full of ointment! Threw some school uniforms at the washing machine in the vague hope they would be laundered, and dug out something from the freezer that my babysitter could easily assemble for dinner.

When we arrived at Future Hair Training Centre that afternoon, I was blown away to find the extent to which Cynthia, the owner, had gone to make the event special for me. She had provided a sign in sheet at the door, a clever red carpet poster for pictures, and Hollywood-style Walk Of Fame stars on the floor. It was all very novel (pun intended) and fun! Several friends/neighbours/mums from school, who wanted to show their support, had said they would pop in, but we all know how it is during this busy time of year. All credit to most of those good people – they stayed true to their word and took time out of their weekend to join me. My husband and my closest friend (to whom the book is dedicated), were right there with me throughout. I felt confident and comfortable being thrown into the ‘spotlight’ for the first time. I think when you believe in yourself and your product there is no reason to doubt your ability to put yourself out there. For a first event, I was pretty happy.

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I have no idea where the rest of the week has gone. We’ve been having some minor renovations done on the house; I can tell you that one day (don’t ask me which one, can’t remember) I had a very heated discussion with our handyman over communication issues. Mid-week we finally got around to getting all the decorations out and purchasing trees (yes two, slightly excessive I know but the money goes to charity). My husband has a ‘thing’ for large Christmas trees; in fact, it was almost twenty years ago to the day that I was lured into his apartment by the glorious smell of pine and subsequently fell in love. It has taken us nearly four days to get the wretched things into the house and decorate them, for the end of the week has been, if possible, busier than the start. My elder son turned 8 at the weekend, on the same day as our 16th wedding anniversary. He also received an early birthday surprise at the school assembly on Friday, where he received a Principal’s Award after only starting at that school in September – very Proud Mum moment where your bladder is too near your eyes while sat in the front row in full view of all the teachers. My husband’s Christmas party was that same evening, where there was a lot of wine flowing and not enough food! (We’ll not discuss that any further!) I did sell a few books, which was unexpected. A weekend of celebrating, and then what do I get? ANOTHER virally thing that makes my body feel like it’s been trampled on. I would give anything for a day off from chronic disease, just a few hours of pain free time would be great if anyone wants to trade?

Despite the bugs, life goes on. The decorations are all finally up, even though the tree looks like it attended the Xmas party with us and still hasn’t sobered up! I’ve finally baked my Christmas cake (even though I can’t eat a single bite of it), the birthday boy had a great day and is now the proud owner of a new desk and shelves (thanks to hubby and his tools), the renovations are complete in time for the in-laws to descend, and I have found that the only way to deal with the evil virus is to pickle myself in mulled wine!

Stay tuned for another week of motherhood and holiday madness…

Yikes!

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I am officially doing this and it’s only a week away. Am I really freaking out? No. As with every other part of this whole adventure, I’m just going with the flow and having fun with it. I did briefly think about what I should say, a kind of speech, but to be honest I think I’m better off winging it. I have no idea how popular it’ll be – some fat man, with a white beard, wearing a red suit, is also parading around downtown at the same time… but he’s not giving away free wine and erotic books! I have already achieved my goal, so I’m just going to enjoy whatever comes my way and carry on being me (which requires a new frock and shoes, of course – long live Black Friday!).

As a stay-at-home mum with two kids now in full time school, you could be forgiven for thinking that I should have oodles of time to organise a book publicity event. I thought so too…but here’s a few other things that have filled up my week.

Sunday – hubby at work all day L. I split myself in two to get both boys to birthday parties at opposite end of the city at the same time. (Actually, this is not exactly true – I sweet-talked another mum into taking one of them, because she was taking her twins anyway – I’m good but not that good!) After daytime single-parent madness, I enjoyed a little something on ice that evening while catching up on my social media. Hubby returned home; I promptly announced that, after further coaching on Hootsuite, I had now learnt to schedule tweets – except I accidentally called them ‘treats’! He was just as excited about this as I was – his mind, not mine on that occasion 😉

Monday – suffering from the mother of all viruses, which meant I sounded like I should have worked on a dirty chatline! Drank wine. Slept.

Tuedsay – Viruses exacerbate my arthritis so I felt as if I’d been put through a mangle. My physio was scared to even look at me in case it made me more uncomfortable! An evening of crafting with my bestie. Drank wine. Slept.

Wednesday – reached a new low by carrying a sample of my dog’s poop around in my handbag for most of the day until I dropped it off at the vet. I parked on a meter right outside to dive in and drop it off, intending not to pay but found an hour and 14 minutes on the clock – why does this not happen when I need to pay for that much time? Drank wine. Slept.

Thursday – cooked a meal for hubby’s potluck journal club. My bestie and I finished making all 52 wands for my boys’ Harry Potter birthday party, and we started making Quidditch pong. Made two Minion birthday cards for both boys (which look really cool, actually). Legged it to the hair salon to put up the poster between picking up monkeys from various after-school clubs. Drank wine. Slept.

Friday – BLACK! Shoes x2, leather pants x1, Christmas gifts x1. Date night at home with a curry and 24. And hubby, obviously. Drank wine. Slept.

Saturday – SNOW! Crafting class to learn how to use distress inks. Bloody freezing – minus 2 FFS. Arrived home to the glorious cooking smell of bacon and eggs, courtesy of hubby. Rearranged crafting room to accommodate new ink pads. Made mulled wine to warm up (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!) Family fondue night followed by Despicable Me 2. Good times… Drank more wine. Slept.

Sunday – Lazy morning after waking up too early from coughing myself inside out. The usual 2-hour iChat with the lovely in-laws in the UK (the marvels of modern technology). Arctic walk with the dog. Monopoly. Roast beef, Yorkshires and all the trimmings. Roaring fire. Drank wine.

Phew! Can’t believe another week has passed and it’s December already!

EVENTful week!!

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This is the first opportunity I’ve had to fill you in on my exciting news; it’s been quite a week! This time last week I had the obligatory hair appointment one requires before a big night out. I am a loyal client at a local hairdressing school here in Vancouver: Future Hair Training Centre on Broadway @ Cambie. I am well known there, having not been anywhere else for over 5 years now, so it wasn’t a surprise to me that they were all very supportive when I broke the news sometime ago of my upcoming publication. Cynthia Skabar, owner and senior education officer has built an award-winning reputation, and is always friendly, patient and enthusiastic on the shop floor whenever I witness her interaction with the students. I have NEVER left that place disappointed – well maybe the odd bad blow dry but everyone has to learn!

As I patiently sat having my freshly shampooed stripy bob combed through, Cynthia breezed towards me and launched into an excited frenzy of promotional ideas for a book event she was keen to host at the salon. WOW!! I was genuinely blown away – no pun intended – little me, just a regular client having her hair spruced up for the school fundraising gala. In less than an hour we’d thrashed out dates, ideas and advertising… and it’s really happening.

If anyone would like to join me for a drink, the event will be held at:

Future Hair Training Centre

512 W Broadway, Vancouver, BC

Sunday December 7th, 2-5pm.

There will be door prizes, books available for purchase & signing, cheese & wine, Q&A, & maybe I’ll a reading from a chapter of Bruises for you.

I hope you can join me for my first promotional event.

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As for the school gala, well the signed hardcover copy I donated for the silent auction created a bit of a bidding war, finally going for more than its retail price. I knew putting myself out there would probably mean a few whispers in the playground, but actually everyone who now recognizes me has been very positive about congratulating me on the achievement (they obviously didn’t notice the genre!). Hopefully it gave me some more local exposure, and a few more raised eyebrows during drop off and pick up.

For more information about Bruises and how to purchase a copy, please go to the bookstore on my website http://www.louiselindley.com

I’ve arrived!

www.louiselindley.com.

That’s right, I now have a website. Yet another social media thingy to maintain, and honestly I have no idea what I’m doing with it. So, when my marketing manager arranged a conference call for website coaching I was keen to learn and determined I could do this. However, it was arranged for the morning after I returned on a late night flight from my annual girls’ trip to Las Vegas, which involves 3 days of partying, shopping, more partying and only two hours of Thunder! And approximately the same number of hours of sleep. After killing off several more brain cells from the very few that still exist in my dizzy little head, it very quickly became apparent that website coaching in the Vegas aftermath was not a smart move.

As you know I am technically challenged. An old-fashioned list-writer with a pen and a calendar full of life events hung on the kitchen wall. It is a constant battle between my husband and me. He puts EVERYTHING on his iThings, I put EVERYTHING down on paper. I just find it quicker, easier, and better to keep track of. If it isn’t on the kitchen calendar it isn’t on my radar… period! Perhaps if I used my own iThings for more stuff I would be dragged up to date and be more familiar with using them, but I’m too blonde to retain the information. Now I have the prospect of maintaining a website – me, the person who writes texts in full because I don’t understand the abbreviations!

To be fair to her, my coach was patient and informative, while I sat mesmerized at my computer watching her screen on my screen do all sorts of fancy things with text and images. The fact is that this scenario in itself had me amazed at the technology that is available these days. This is all just another part of my journey, and a steep learning curve that began with a phone call. When I began down this road I had no idea what was involved in publishing a book, but I eventually did. Now, I have to learn what is involved in website maintenance, but we all have to start somewhere and I’m fortunate at least to have had someone who knows what they are doing get me started. I’m not a quick learner, and my brain has been fried by two kids and seven years of partying in Vegas, but like everything else that has been required of me during this process, I’m willing to give it my best shot – and thankfully I do have a very technically-minded husband, whom I expect will roll his eyes so much at me that if the wind changes he’ll stay like that!

The Power of Life Experience – A Writing Tool

I sometimes wonder if she’s looking down on me and shaking her head in disapproval, while secretly admiring my achievement. I remember her reaction when I told her my dissertation was to be published in a nursing journal, full of pride and admiration. However, the relationship I had with my mum was not always a harmonious one. A long time ago I made mistakes, I am human, we all do. I eventually came clean and declared my gross error of judgment, and suffered the consequences. I decided from then on that I would always be honest with myself, and not to be afraid of living my life my way. This cost me my relationship with my parents; they were not so understanding, and we parted ways for over ten years. I’d tried on a couple of occasions during that time to build bridges, but nothing became of it, until my brother’s wedding. I didn’t want a significant family event to be awkward, so I tried once again, and that time we were all ready to move on.

If I had known then that we would have less than a year to bury our differences and re-build our mother-daughter relationship, I might have done some things differently. Yes, I still would have emigrated, I had already made that decision. I really didn’t expect to be getting that call for a long time. The saddest part was that I’d only just told her the news she had always hoped one day to hear. I was 11 weeks pregnant when I found out that she was terminally ill. Returning home to England was something I did with a second thought. It was the right thing to do, a lot of water had passed under the bridge, and we built new ones. I showed her my scans; she was the only person to know which names we’d chosen. Deep down I think I always knew she would never see her first grandchild. She died when I was 31 weeks and too sick to travel long haul to say a final goodbye. It took me a long time to have closure.

That was 8 years ago today, and a day doesn’t go by when I don’t think of her. It used to be in a sad way, but now I sometimes laugh and joke with myself about the fact that sometimes I open my mouth and she comes out. Despite our differences, we parted good friends. Anyone who reads/has read Bruises will now understand where some of my words have come from. They are the product of a very real and powerful emotional experience that I believe you can only write about if you truly know how it feels. It took me some time to write that particular chapter – sometimes I just couldn’t see through my own tears – but it was quite cathartic to use it as part of someone else’s story. Every time I re-read it I could feel the depth of Frankie’s emotional pain. I deal with physical pain all day, every day, but emotional pain is something far more excruciating.

This particular life experience has been a very powerful tool, and incorporating it into my writing has helped me enormously. Of course, I have had many very positive life events too, but oddly it seems to be the sad ones that fall naturally onto the page and make good reading. I hope she is out there somewhere, once again proud at what I’ve achieved, and I don’t just mean my book. However, there is a tiny part of me that is also glad that she can’t actually read it – there are some things a mother doesn’t need to know about, and my sexy imagination is one of them!

Bruises is available from FriesenPress, Amazon, and other major online bookstores.

And so it begins…

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I decided to get Thanksgiving over with before I jumped on the promotional bandwagon, and here I am. The coffee shop in which I wrote most of Bruises is the first place that has offered to promote me. The owner has been very accommodating and keen to help promote me in anyway he can, though I’m not sure he really knows what my book is about… probably best not to enlighten him. After several attempts at an author poster – without the help of hubby, so I’m quite proud, actually – I still ended up resorting to my craft supplies. I would welcome readers’ thoughts on it – good or bad?! Anyway, this little display now has pride of place in the coffee shop, right next to the milk & napkins etc. It’s at eye level (well, my eye level, so chest level really) and also happens to be beside the area where the punters wait for their beverages. Only a few minutes after it went on display, I spotted a woman reading the back, and then a dirty old man began fingering it after he studied my picture then glanced across at me sat in the corner, where I promptly tried to make myself even smaller.

The great thing about this gig is that once again I get to hang out here regularly and enjoy some very good overpriced coffee. It is, thankfully, proving to be a more positive promotional experience than the one in the independent bookstore on the next block. I randomly called in after a brutal physio session (in which, despite turning up with a lovely signed hardback copy for my tormentor, I was still attacked with a gazillion needles – I actually thought I was in pretty good shape that day too, having had no painkillers for two days – clearly I was wrong!) Hoping I didn’t look as bad as I felt, I presented myself to the ‘lady’ at the counter in this tiny bookstore. There were one or two people milling around shelves as I launched into my speech… ‘self-published author… consider consignment…’ etc. etc. The assistant, who was significantly taller than me (not difficult, despite my wedges) looked down on me like I was something the cat had dragged in. It took me nearly all of my ‘cheeky free’ 20 minutes on my parking meter to extract the owner’s business card from her, as it was clearly more than her job’s worth to give it up. There was once a time when I would have cowered and left, but not now. Now, I believe in myself, and I believe in my book, and I will succeed because I’m crazy and have enough confidence now to think I can.

‘So it’s explicit?’ she said with slight tone of disgust.

‘No, it’s tasteful but smouldering.’ I had to stop my inside voice from adding, ‘read it lady, you might learn something!’

Sadly, the owner still hasn’t emailed me back, but I’m not seeing this as a setback; if anything, it’s her loss not mine. I’ll just move onto my next port of call… which just happens to be our local kids’ bookstore. They have a small adult section that features various genres. Appropriate? I don’t see why not. I’ve seen many mums (& dads) let their kids loose in that place to peruse the shelves alone; it’s the perfect situation for mum to find a little something too!

You can get your copy of Bruises direct from my publisher, from Amazon and other major online bookstores.