Category Archives: Uncategorized

Follow The Rules

I’ve been thinking a lot about the rules lately. Not laws. 😉 The rules when it comes to what I write. You might be thinking, what rules? There are no rules, beyond basic grammar, spelling and punctuation. Except there are.

In the genres I write, contemporary and suspenseful romance, the rules are pretty basic. They’re the same as the real world. I don’t deal in magic, portals to other dimensions, space travel, or supernatural creatures. People don’t fly, murder is wrong, and no man or woman is perfect. Sounds simple enough, right? I used to think so, but lately, I’ve been thinking that I’ve got a set of rules that I write within.

Let me explain a bit more.

In a fantasy novel, for example, the rules are different. There might be magic, wizards, flying people, and werewolves, etc, right? But they follow rules, or canon, set out by the author. They might be: magic is good, but can be used by bad people. People can fly, but it requires a certain spell, or they’re not able to fly beyond our own atmosphere. Werewolves exist, but only at the full moon, or maybe they can shapeshift on their own schedule. It all depends on the novel, or the world that the author has created. Once they’ve established that world, the rules are set. If a werewolf can only change at the full moon, then that is the rule. If people can fly without a magic spell, then they don’t need to cast a spell before jumping off the Eiffel Tower. They can’t break the rules. They can’t, in the penultimate chapter, suddenly have a werewolf change at the new moon. It would be against the rules. Do you understand?

When it comes to my own work, you still wouldn’t think the rules are all that restrictive. And they’re really not, but I do have them. I didn’t start out telling myself that I have to follow them, or that I can never change them. Each of my hockey-romance books are stand-alone and could each presumably come with a new set of rules if I wanted.

The TAITS series of adventure/mystery, they on the other hand, do have to follow the rules I’ve created. The technology they use is advanced, but it’s not omnipotent. They take care of foreign threats in far-off places, but they can still diffuse situations they come across at home. The characters are faster, smarter, and more resourceful than the average person, which means they can move faster, or handle more firepower than most people. There are a few other minor details that you probably never gave a second thought to while reading them, or that I even considered while writing them. All together, it makes up a sort of playbook that I have to reference whenever I write something new.

I’m not sure when it occurred to me that I’ve been writing everything I do within a set of rules. I suppose it’s been on my mind in the last couple months since I’ve posted the last two stories on Lit, “Cold as Ice” and “Reflections on Ice.” I enjoyed writing both of those, for different reasons, and to me, they ended on satisfactory notes. The majority of feedback I received was positive, but there were several people who commented that I’d ended the stories without a marriage, or even a hint of a proposal. This isn’t the first time I’ve had that sort of response, and I suppose it’s because I rarely end my stories with marriage or a proposal. It’s not a hard and fast rule, but in my mind, I cannot suddenly have my characters go from the first tentative confessions of love to all-out marriage and commitment at the end of my stories.

I write contemporary romance, which, to me, means they’re modern interpretations of love and romance, within the societal norms I’m used to in the Western world. Meaning, people don’t meet and get married after dating for a month or two. They don’t even get engaged. Not typically, anyway. I’m sure everyone out there has some story of love-at-first-sight or meant-to-be about real, live people they know, but whatever the case may be, that is not typical. That is a very small percentage of people who experience those things, and in my opinion, having those situations in my stories would not make sense.

There have been three stories in my catalogue of work where the characters have come together in marriage or engagement by the end. In those stories, that step in their relationship made sense. They’d been together for some time, and they’d spoken of marriage or a life together. It wasn’t just a grand finale chapter or epilogue I tacked on the end to bring some kind of final conclusion to the story.

In my other works, the characters have only known each other for a very short amount of time. (Kaitlyn and Alex dated for about two months, Mina and Drew, the same, Dylan and Cassia dated a grand total of two and a half weeks before the end) To me, it would be disingenuous to have them end in marriage mere weeks after they got together in the beginning. It may not have started out as a rule in my head, but it has come to be something I do follow, in my efforts to keep my stories as “real” as possible. Yes, yes, I know. I write fiction, and really, my hockey-romance stories could arguably be classified as pure fantasy, but I still try to have realistic characters, dealing with realistic issues in a realistic world, our world.

Maybe I don’t like the stereotypical happily ever after scenario because I don’t want to see my stories ending at all. Maybe I like to keep them open-ended for future sequels. 🙂 I know I like revisiting characters in later stories, weaving friendships throughout and updating on characters from old stories – in a more realistic timeline.

I’m not suggesting my rules are the same for all romance, contemporary or otherwise. They’re just what I find myself working with, or having had worked with all along. Any set of stories, romance, fantasy, or otherwise, does fall within a set of rules. You may not know it, may never be able to pick them out after having read them, but they’re there. I know occasionally I read something and find myself detaching a bit from the story, and it can sometimes be because the author has strayed from their own canon.

I read a truly awful hockey-romance themed ebook a few weeks ago. The story was all over the place, the characters went from being jerks to whiners and back again repeatedly, and there was a sad lack of research when it came to hockey facts, which annoyed me to no end. How hard is it to Google even the most basic hockey facts? Altogether, along with poor editing, I couldn’t get into it at all. It felt like the writer put down whatever they felt like in the moment, without a thought for previous actions or timelines. I can suspend my disbelief for just about any kind of story – I mean, look at what I write! – but this was too much. It’s just an example, of my own opinion, of how a story loses so much when an author isn’t consistent at all. Can you think of anything you’ve read recently that sounds similar?

I’m currently working on something brand new, in a new genre for me. It’s a fantasy story, and I’m making the rules up as I go, but writing notes as I go along as well. I’m sure I’ll contradict myself at some point – hence, the notes – but that’s why there’s the editing process. I hope the end product will be faithful to the world I’ve created and that I won’t have readers poking hole after hole in my efforts. It’s definitely got some plot points that will require firm guidelines. It’s not something I’ve spent a lot of time on before – well, not since I was a kid – but I’m excited to be working on something new and exciting anyway.

The rules are there for a reason. Then again, many of you are probably thinking, rules are meant to be broken. Maybe, maybe not. When it comes to my own writing, I’ll always be working on the things I need to, in order to improve and continue to deliver something I love, in the hopes you might love it as well. 🙂

Take care, and happy reading!



Filed under Uncategorized, Writing

Winter and Hockey

Today is Hockey Day in Canada. Not exactly a national holiday but a day that always brings a smile to my face. Every Canadian hockey team is seeing action today, starting with Calgary vs. Winnipeg, which starts in about an hour. I may watch some of it, but my family is coming over and we’re going to be outside, enjoying the mid-winter reprieve from the bitter cold we’ve had lately. At the moment, I have a coffee in my hand, and a blanket over my legs, and I started to think about the romance of winter. And hockey. 😉

Of course, you know one of my major themes is hockey romance, as in, ordinary women meeting and falling in love with professional hockey players. Sports-themed romance in general is nothing new. There are thousands of stories out there about football players, baseball players, basketball, rugby, soccer (or football again, for my readers outside of North America.) and even golf, tennis, and other pros that I just can’t think of right now. Hockey alone has more than I could ever read. Not all of them good, necessarily, but they are plentiful.

What is it about hockey that’s so amazing? I know why I love it. Part of it is ingrained from birth, I’m sure. I did live in Edmonton for several years growing up, during the time of the Oilers’ greatest years, pre- and post-Gretzky. It’s fun being in a hockey city, seeing jerseys in bars and pubs on game nights, being able to go to games (wish I could go to more… any time someone wants to gift me with tickets, or take me to a game, I’m all for it!) but outside of all that, what is it about the game itself?

It’s rules are fairly simple: put more pucks in the net than your opponent. Sounds easy, right? Now do it while balancing on razor-sharp skates, using a stick to guide the puck, while still watching out for and dodging defencemen, then shoot the puck past a goalie into a net 6′ wide by 4′ tall. Piece of cake, right? Oh, also there’s basically no out of bounds, so except for penalties or off-side calls, play doesn’t stop, so you get short breaks between each 45-second (sometimes longer) shift and still have to be faster, stronger, and have a better shot than the other guys. No problem.

I learned to skate at a very young age, and while it is like riding a bike, in that you never forget how, I certainly never had the skills or talent to do more than skate laps around a rink. So I’m amazed every time I watch a game. They are so fast, all of them. Their stamina is impressive, and having the hockey sense to pass a puck, accept a pass, or keep moving forward with the opponents breathing down your neck, it’s all so incredible to me. I feel the same about a lot of sports and athletes. They all make it look so easy, don’t they? It’s just something they do, like I breathe, or write.

And of course, what’s not to love about the season? There’s nothing like that first wide-spread snowfall, when the snow covers everything and after the sun goes down, the air takes on this sort of soft, pink hue, and the world is hushed. Winter was made for introverts and homebodies, like myself. Winter means it’s OK to bundle up in a dozen blankets and stay in by the fire with a good book and a cup of tea. Now, add in a hockey game with your favorite team. I love it! You have no idea how many stories I’ve written or plotted or edited while watching hockey. Or maybe you do. 😉 It must be pretty obvious with the subject matter I write.

I don’t know if I’m expressing myself very well. I’m not going to lie and say I love winter all day, every day. The days when I have to shovel two feet of snow from my front and back walks, I don’t love. I don’t like having to start my car twenty minutes before I can leave work because it’s so bloody cold, the car just won’t run, and I certainly don’t enjoy spending an extra half hour or more on my morning or afternoon commutes because the roads are in such rough shape. But those few days in the winter, when I’m not working, when I’m watching the snow fall, while warm inside with a cup of coffee, and I can watch a good hockey game, those days, I love. And to me, that’s romantic.

Take care, and happy reading!


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New Year, Nothing New

Here we are. It’s 2018. And I’ve accomplished nothing so far. To be fair, I was travelling until four days ago, and this is the first chance I’ve had to sit down and read or relax since then. November and December were crazy as well, so all together, I haven’t had much downtime since before Halloween. That’s OK though. I’ve been squeezing in a lot of writing, or planning numerous stories, even with my busy schedule. Even made some awesome notes and headway in a couple of brand new projects. They’re not quite ready for sharing yet, but I may post a ‘sneak peek’ in the coming days. I’ll keep you posted, as always.

Does anyone out there do New Year’s resolutions? I don’t. They’re never a good idea, in my opinion. It might be something you can stick with, but in general, New Year’s resolutions just don’t work. I remember when I was going to the gym regularly – ah, I miss it so much. Also miss weighing less…  – every January, there’d be this massive uptick in attendance. It would last for a good month, then by February, they’d start dropping like flies, until we were back to the ‘usual’ crowd. It may have been that they switched to different times (I used to go at opening every morning, 5:30 a.m., it was the best, most productive time for me) but my guess is most people just didn’t last. And that’s OK too. I couldn’t continue going to the gym because of the cost. I’ve been seriously thinking about carving out space in my budget for it though, because I loved going. I don’t think I’d classify that as a resolution though.

If anything, my resolutions are the same as always. Save more money, don’t sweat the small stuff, and write more. Always write more.

And on that note, I’m going to get to it. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season, and that you’re not letting the winter blues get you down. For my part, I’ll be so happy when the daylight starts to stretch again. 🙂

Until next time, take care and happy reading!

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Vacation Days

Hello. It’s been a while, and I have been busy. I’ve been writing, reading a lot, working even more, and wishing I could win the lottery somehow, just so I could write all the time. 🙂 Alas, bills…

In other news, I just got back from a wonderful vacation, to Havana, Cuba. I’ve shared some pictures, if you’d care to look, and rest assured, I wasn’t a total sloth on the trip. I did write some, and have an entire story plotted out in my mind now, all thanks to the wonderful sights, food, drinks and people that I met while I was there. No, I’m not telling you anything, except that it’ll be a story in a certain spy-adventure-romance story that I write. 😉

Not much else to report. I have also finished a new Ice story, and I will be posting it up on Lit soon. I’ve attached a preview in the Sneak Peeks section. Be sure to check it out, and check back for updates on any other news.

I wish I had something more interesting to share, something about writing, or my struggles with writing, or even anything good I’ve written or experienced lately. Other than vacation – which was incredible, let me tell you! – my life isn’t terribly exciting these days. I’m just trying to work and save and pay some bills. You know, life. UGH.

Rest assured, I’m still hard at work on my next writing project. Sometimes it’s hockey-romance, sometimes it’s my adventures, and sometimes it’s something else entirely. I’ve had a few other files on the go lately that are totally different from other things I’ve done. They’re not ready for sharing but writing them has been fun and new.

So that’s it. That’s all I’ve got. Please check out my pictures below. My holiday was wonderful, and exotic and everything I saw and tasted was brand new, and I loved every minute of it. Even when I fell down and hurt my foot, which led to a lot of swelling and limping for the next several days. 🙂

As always, take care, and happy reading!


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Farewell to Summer

As the seasons change, and the nights grow longer, I can feel the change in the air. It’s getting cooler, it feels sharper when I step outside. I won’t be able to get away with my light jacket for much longer. We’ve been very lucky since September to have very little bad weather. Sure, the nights are cold and the temperatures just don’t get as high, but it’s been a really beautiful autumn. And now, with winter and snow on its way, I’d like to take a moment to share some of my warm summer and fall days with you.

I mentioned before how I worked part time this summer again, at the golf course I’ve worked at previously. It’s a beautiful course, with incredible views and this season was unbelieveable as far as the weather went. I think it only rained twice out of all the weekends I worked, and it wasn’t until September that we had some crazy inclement days. Forgive the quality of the photos. I took them on my cell phone and they don’t always come out as well as I hope.

Here’s the view from a tee from some time in August, I believe.


Another from sometime in July or August.


Here’s a couple from a rather misty morning. I think it was either early in the season (May) or possibly late in August. 🙂

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And these are my favourites, from my last weekend working. It was beautiful, sunny, and the changing colours are apparent. (No, we don’t get the beautiful maple reds and deep maroons. Mostly it’s yellow and some orange, but still pretty, IMO.)

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Of course, I did mention there was some crazy weather early in September. In fact, the next one was from the Labour Day weekend. Yep. It’s snow! LOL, rest assured, it’s no longer there and we’re back to waiting for the real snow to arrive.


Anyway, I hope you like these. I enjoyed my time there, even though it was hard work. Now, I can move on and look forward to the coming winter, with all the soft blankets, wam tea and cozy afternoons of reading and writing.

Take care, and happy reading.

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Top 10 Lists – Sports Movies

Well, it’s a new year, new days stretching out before us all and new challenges to be faced. For my part, I could do with fewer challenges but then, we don’t get to choose the times when our patience and peace of mind are tested. I woke up yesterday, just like any other day, and so I suppose that is a good start. 🙂

I watched a movie yesterday, as there’s really not much else to do on New Year’s Day. It was called “When the Game Stands Tall,” about a high school football team who shattered all records, across all sports, for games won. Their winning streak went to 151-games before they were defeated and the movie follows the path of that loss, and what comes after for the team. I liked it very much, but then, I’ve always been a big fan of sports movies. So often, they’re about overcoming odds, facing personal demons and becoming better men and women because of it.

This movie was much the same. A lot of critics called the movie contrived, dull and not true to the facts they were LOOSELY based on. What those people all failed to see, and probably fail to see in other sports themed movies, is that the movies aren’t about sports. They’re not about the games they play or the wins or losses. Like I said, they’re all about overcoming challenges, external and internal. They’re about facing the truth, in all its forms and deciding whether or not to live up to your own expectations of yourself. “When the Game Stands Tall” did this, just as so many other movies have.

So in that spirit, in the spirit of facing a new year, new struggles and deciding what kind of person we’re all going to be by the end of this year, I give you my own favourite list of sports themed movies. They’re only my own top ten, not an opinion on which are the greatest sports movies, as it would be difficult to narrow it down. There are so many!

Anyway, here they are: 😀

10. Rocky – What’s impressive about Rocky is that it’s a story about an ordinary man, just trying to find his place in the world. A bit like the man who wrote and starred in it. I’ve always loved the whole Rocky series, but the first stands out, of course, because it was the beginning. Throughout the movie Rocky goes from being fine with who he is, to wondering if he can do better, to doing better, to wanting only to be near the woman he loves. What’s not to like about that?

9. We Are Marshall – This movie tracks the year following the tragic plane crash that took almost an entire football team. It’s about the school’s struggle to put together a new team and to convince the college sports rule makers to allow freshmen to play football. Meanwhile, the town and community deal with the loss of brothers, sons and friends and it’s a heart wrenching movie, but ultimately, heartwarming as the game helps to heal.

8. The Sandlot – I watched this movie as a kid and loved it for the youthful hi-jinx. I still love it for the same reason but now with a nostalgic twist. It’s a wonderful movie about a young boy moving to a new town, a new school and meeting a ragtag group of kids who play baseball every day in the neighborhood sandlot. Only, he doesn’t know a thing about baseball, or the fact that Babe Ruth is a man. This movie will probably make me laugh for-ev-ER.

7. Gridiron Gang – A fairly recent movie, this one follows the football program at a youth detention center in Los Angeles. The coach refuses to let these kids leave Camp Kilpatrick without even a narrow shot at a better life. Not all the kids who play on the team go on to make something of themselves but some do and those few who face the challenge the coach lays out for them, are better for it.

6. The Longest Yard – You can pick either the old or the new one, though I enjoyed the newer one quite a lot. Yes, it was funny and silly and crude in a lot of moments, but there were moments that made you stand up and cheer for the Mean Machine. Also, who doesn’t love a movie that sees the underdog totally screw over the big man. I admit this movie is less uplifting than it is plain old entertaining.

5. Wimbledon – Now this is definitely a sports movie that is less about sports and more of a rom-com. However, it does focus on the famous tournament of Wimbledon and with that backdrop, it counts as a sports movie. It’s about a man and a woman figuring out what means more to them. The title or the chance at a meaningful relationship. Also, special shout-out to a now wildly famous Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. He was delightful in this movie as the best buddy. And who didn’t love James McAvoy’s character betting against his own brother round-after-round?

4. A League of Their Own – This movie was an instant baseball classic. I loved seeing this in the theaters years ago and still love watching it whenever I catch it on TV. These ladies are all so unique and so far ahead of their time. It’s amazing when you think of how this movie is inspired by actual events.

3. Bend it Like Beckham – A surprise hit from a few years ago, this movie helped launch the careers of Keira Knightley and Parminder Nagra. I love the way this movie explores the family dynamic and the two wholly different sisters. I also love how in the end, the parents are traditional, staid and so loving, that they only want to make their daughters happy. It’s a warm, touching movie with some exceptionally funny moments – my fav is when all the older ladies whip out their cell phones at the engagement towards the beginning.

2. Coach Carter – What I like most about this movie is that I recall the way the school made headlines even up here in Canada with the decision to forfeit games until the players got their grades up. I don’t know how accurate the facts of the movie are, but I still love it. It’s a great movie about watching boys start to grow into men and face challenges the likes of which, most of us have never or never will face.

1. Remember the Titans – I had this movie listed as one of my all-time favs for movies, period but it remains my favorite for sports movies. It’s a great movie and if you’ve seen it, you’ll know what I mean. Yes, I’ve heard that it doesn’t follow the facts exactly – what movie “inspired by actual events” does? – but the spirit of the movie, and the message is the same. The game just is, and sport, any sport, doesn’t care what you look like.

Honorable Mentions include (but are not restricted to!): Draft Day, Field of Dreams, The Cutting Edge, Happy Gilmore (Come on!! Who didn’t love seeing Bob Barker kick some ass!), The Replacements, Bad News Bears, Caddyshack, Jerry Maguire, Hoosiers, Moneyball, 42 (another fairly recent one based on the first year Jackie Robinson played in the major league), Leatherheads and The Last Boy Scout. (OK, maybe The Last Boy Scout doesn’t quite count but Damon Wayans plays a former football star so that counts in my mind.)

So there you have it. Once again, these are just my favorites. There are too many to include every single sports movie, and I know I’ve left out many classics, merely because I haven’t seen them all. Perhaps you can share your own favs?

OT: Just for the heck of it, I’m re-watching a Doctor Who episode, called “Journey’s End.” Even though I’ve seen it a dozen times before, and even though I know what’s coming, I always hope against hope that it could be different. In the end, I have my heart ripped out every time when I have to say good-bye to the best companion of all. “But… I was going to be with you forever…” *sigh* 😉

As always, take care and happy reading.


Filed under Movie Reviews, Top Ten Lists, Uncategorized

Publication News!

I have exciting news to share. For the first time, I’ve written something brand new for publication. This story has never been posted on any website or forum before. It’s called “A Crack in the Ice” and is a sequel to “Uncovering the Ice”. See below for the book description.

cover page 1st draft

“After a year, Sean Bertrand, hockey player, and Vanessa Landon, erotica writer, are still blissfully in love. Things between them seem to be progressing just as they should. Until the unthinkable happens: Sean is traded to another team. Separated by thousands of miles and divided by miscommunication, their relationship starts to crumble. They need to find a way through this or their once serendipitous romance may finally have reached its breaking point.”

It’s currently only available for sale on Amazon Kindle and Smashwords. Hopefully it won’t take too long to be posted up at the iTunes bookstore and the Nook Book store as well, but as soon as I see them there, I’ll let you know.

Anyway, I hope you venture over to the websites to view the free sample downloads and perhaps that’ll be enough to inspire you to buy it. If you do buy it, please, I encourage everyone to leave an honest review on the websites. I have no other means of advertising and reviews mean everything. So please take the time to leave a review. It doesn’t have to be some long diatribe about what you liked or didn’t like, just a few words would be wonderful. Plus, I just like knowing if you enjoyed it or not. 🙂

Thank you again for following along. I have been rather absent of late, and I promise, it’s only because I’m spending all my spare time writing and editing. I hope everyone is doing well and surviving the start of the season of Big Eating. Anyone else od’d on candy and chocolate from Halloween? Me too!

As always, take care and happy reading!


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