Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Post holiday ramblings

The holiday season is almost over and I am still feeling overwhelmed. I’ve done the family get togethers and the parties with friends, the travelling, the shopping, opening ond oohing over gifts. Now this week it’s catch up time. I have dentist appointments, hair appointments, cleaning, planning our vacation, new years eve parties and work to do as well as preparing for my new job that starts next week. I look at my to do list and wonder what the hell I’ve gotten myself into. The kids and hubby are off school and work and running around underfoot making noises and generally being themselves. Which normally I love, but it isn’t very conducive to writing time. I guess I need to become Dory and “just keep swimming.” One step after another. What gets done will get done.

Add into the holiday rush the grief that inevitably comes around this time of year. Forcing a smile when those you are missing aren’t here can be the hardest thing. I’ve lost so many relatives, so many who I can’t see any longer. I still find myself turning to say something to them. Or thinking I should call them. Or wishing they were here to see this, or that. Those emotions aren’t fleeting, they are there every moment of every day, but they seem more intense around this time of year. It makes focusing on the here and now very difficult. Is there a solution for this? A cure for grief? I don’t believe so, but I think we need to take those feelings in and let them go again. If not for our own sanity than for the sake of those around us. We need to feel them, but not dwell. And in the thread of not dwelling I will move on…

I’ve just signed up for my first ever blog tour, for Liquid Fire. Beginning February 10th and running until the 24th. Don’t ask me what that means, I’m not quite sure yet. I am sure I will figure it out though. It’s getting pretty damn exciting, I can’t wait until everyone can read Lee’s story. She’s quite the character – a strong woman who has run into some bad luck along with being thrown into a world she knows nothing about. Lee is the epitome of todays woman, unwilling to take any crap from anyone, confident in herself and unwilling to let anyone tell her what she should be. Add into that a potty mouth and a heart of gold and we have a character that we can all relate to.

The one thing I’ve been thinking a lot about lately is my “tribe”. The word has been bandied about in all sorts of meme’s and on facebook recently. A tribe, for those disconnected from the google, is the group of people one chooses to surround themselves with. I love my tribe. It consists of both friends and family.

The friends I have are creative, supportive and wonderfully delightful to have conversations with. We have gone from drinking buddies (with many nights at bars dancing and laughing) to having breakfast and coffee dates. I refuse to think of it as getting old. We have changed our circumstances and the way we socialize with one another, but a true friend can be there in the quiet moments as well as the loud obnoxious ones. I am one of the lucky ones, being over forty and still having a wide social group of friends is a blessing. The friends I write about are similar to the ones I have in real life. The conversations they have and the way they get along are very much evident in my everyday life.

The family part is a little more complicated. I love my family, and while I may not have chosen them I enjoy the time I spend with them. It’s very different from the relationships I have with my friends. We joke around, usually at each other’s expense. Making fun of ourselves is a great past time that prevents any of us from getting too big of a head. We are all very different, but it’s like pieces of a puzzle. While each piece is unique they all fit together to create a whole picture.

Mr. Gloria, is the biggest part of my tribe. With him, as with no one else I can be myself. He accepts me, he makes fun of me, he drives me and inspires me. He is my other half.

Thing one and Thing two, are also becoming more and more a part of my tribe. I am incredibly proud of how they turned out, the people they have become. We’ve raised people that we want to be around and there is nothing more perfect than that.

Have you thought about your tribe and what it means to you? How do you define your tribe?

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Ho Ho Ho!

It’s Boxing Day and I am sitting wrapped up in my onesie with a tea, fingers traipsing across the keyboard as I continue to work away. I’ve taken a little break from my current WIP (work in progress) to post a little update. And maybe to ramble a bit (I have been known to do that once in a while).

First things first the update, I got my new artwork for the cover of Liquid Fire (Yaah!) And here it is:

I thought I’d share the blurb for Liquid Fire as well, just so everyone knows what it is about:

Liquid Fire
Everyone remembers their childhood as being magical, Lee just found out hers really was.
After suffering a run of bad luck, Lee wants nothing more than to lick the wounds of her past and bury herself away from reality, but she discovers a world of magic, a history she never realized existed. Her destined elementals are being held against their will and the only way to find them is to align with the incredibly delectable, unbelievably stubborn Jeremy. They wind down pathways that will take their undeniable chemistry even higher as they move closer to the sinister plot that has stolen her birthright. Together they will find the villain and learn that sometimes fire and water can mix with steamy, hot results.
A spark of flame glows, A sprinkle of rain slows….

Woohoo. I am thrilled with the cover art, Cora, my cover designer did a fantabulous job capturing the spirit of both Lee and Jeremy as well as the overall feel of the book. Liquid Fire’s release date is February 9th 2016, and is available for preorder now. If you preorder from Amazon, you can get a great deal (sale ends on release date so I would definitely recommend preordering it and saving some $$$ or if you really like me you could order more than one copy at the sale price still save some money and help me out in the process.) Here’s the link to my publishers website where you can click on your preferred link to buy as well as read an excerpt.

So besides fighting through the edits and excitement of new book artwork and release dates, I’ve been quite busy. (I did some crafting for Christmas gifts and a reduced version of my usual Christmas baking – I only made 55 dozen cookies this year instead of the usual 120 dozen, I’ve been keeping busy.

After my great talk and reading with the local paranormal book club my muse decided to whack me upside the head with the next book in that series. So I’ve been furiously typing away at Reta’s story. If you read Supernaturally Yours you will remember Reta. She was Nathan’s partner at the Enforcement agency and a werewolf. So far she’s been a lot of fun to write, more than I thought, she has hidden depths that one wouldn’t have expected.

I’ve also just finished up writing what I’ve tentatively titled ‘Three times the Charm’ a novel for the Wiccan Haus series, by Dominique Eastwick. I finished up with the beta readers and all the initial edits and sent that one off to the publishers. Now fingers are crossed with that one as I wait to hear back.

The Christmas celebrations start for me on Xmas eve night. My baby sister and her hubby, along with my bio dad come over for dinner. We had a spread that was way too much food for the seven of us. My brother in law finally got to immigrate to Canada so it was his first Christmas here in something like four years so it was great to have him back. We laughed like hyenas as we played cards against humanity. If you haven’t heard of the game yet, look it up. It is a migraine inducing, laughing all night horrible game for horrible people. And we loved it.

Yesterday I got to spend Christmas with my family, Mr. Gloria, thing one and thing two and I spent the morning together just chilling. Them being teenagers definitely puts a different spin on what Christmas morning looks like. It was more relaxed (hell we slept in until after nine) but the excitement was definitely there. I love seeing their faces filled with joy and happiness. There were no fights no arguments and it was wonderful. Spike (my Cockapoo) even loved his gift. In the afternoon we went to my sister’s madhouse. She has three little ones ranging in age from eight to two, and my brother and his wife brought the newest addition a beautiful little girl who is four months old. Add in my clan and my dad and we have a loud, rambunctious bunch. Dinner was tasty and fun. We laughed and opened gifts and had an ear splittingly, thunderous good time.

After dinner we came home and concluded our celebrations with the annual viewing of Die Hard, the best Christmas movie in existence. Today we head up to Mr. Gloria’s family for the celebrations there. Whew. I get tired just thinking about all the running. I love it though. I love seeing family and friends and catching up.

I sincerely hope that everyone out there had time to spend with those closest to them and took a moment to look up at the sky and be thankful for what we do have. Tomorrow is soon enough to think about what we don’t have or what is missing, for now focus on the good. Focus on the here and now. Love the tribe you surround yourself with and enjoy them and the little moments. They are what counts in the end.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

I am a lucky woman.

I’ve come to a realization. I’m a lucky woman. I know it sounds weird to say out loud or think, but it is true. And what you may ask brought this epiphany to me? Pillows. That’s right. Pillows. Last night I crawled into bed incredibly late, back sore from hunching over the computer editing, and way later than I would have liked. As I crawled in I looked at the pillows on our bed, there are 6. (I know that’s a lot of pillows – but we do have a king sized bed and haven’t upgraded to king sized pillows yet) Anyhoo as I studied the pillows I realized there were 5 pillows on my side of the bed and only 1 on my hubby’s. He took the flattest pillow for himself and left the rest on my side so that I could be comfortable. Damn that man. I almost teared up. Over some god forsaken pillows. I’m not normally an overly emotional person (I have been called an emotional mute for my inability to cry at chick flicks) but this did it for me. I was standing there in the dark, looking at the pillows on my bed and that’s the moment I saw what a good man I had.

At my writers group earlier in the night we spoke about how different things would be without the support of our partners. What their negativity can do and how it affects us. Don’t get me wrong constructive criticism is one thing, and it is needed but support through those assessments is so important. We also discussed the creative brain and how it works differently from other mind sets. With artist brain we can so easily become lost in our own imagined failings and see them as indicators that we aren’t good enough. Or that we can’t be the person we want to be. I guess we are more sensitive, more prone to doubts. When we look a piece we’ve created, or written, we see the flaws. The errors, and forget to see the overall piece, the beauty. Sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes, that self-doubt can snowball into a pervasive feeling of failure. A lack of faith.

Believing in yourself is the most important thing, it took me a long time to realize that, but having someone support you unconditionally can help you to get to the point where your faith in yourself is where it needs to be. Mr. Gloria taught me about confidence and shored me up when I didn’t have it in myself. Together we make a pretty darn good team.

So, looking at the pillows got me to thinking, never a good thing at three in the morning let me tell you. But my brain, as always will do what it wants with little input from me. So I started thinking about all the little things Mr. Gloria does for me. He leaves a light on in the bedroom when he goes to sleep so that I don’t trip when I come to bed. He hugs me every day. Every single day. If I am gone somewhere overnight, he calls me just to say he misses me. When I get my migraines, he rubs my head and gets me ice packs and water, sitting with me to offer comfort. He’s worked at his job for the last twenty years. Not a job he hates by any means, but not his dream job that’s for sure. He works there day in and day out and tells me to live my dream. Stay home and write. He encourages me, and he supports me in all of my crazy schemes (except for crafting too much – he does put down his foot when my craft supplies start to take over the house) and he loves the cray cray artist that resides in me. He believed in me, when I didn’t believe in myself. And so many other things that writing them all down would be an impossible endeavor. Added to all that is the fact that he’s still the sexiest man I ever wanna see at the end of the day and we have magic together. We still laugh and talk and genuinely like each other.

So while I absolutely hate it when people tell me that “I lucked out” with my husband, children, career any of that; because to me, it’s not luck. I picked a great guy. I raised my kids to be great. And I worked really hard for my career. That’s not luck. That’s hard work and dedication and generally making the right choices. HOWEVER, last night I really looked at him and thought DAMN, I’m one lucky girl. Because not only did I make the right choice, I am also lucky.

In case anyone is feeling really bad I will say that he snores like a truck and purges lots of things that aren’t his just because he thinks we don’t need them anymore (like my makeup, and loaf pans, and a new deep fryer). He’s not perfect, but I’m lucky to call him, mine.

Now that I’ve made everyone uncomfortable with my love letter to my husband I will stop.

What does your significant other / family / friends do to let you know you’re special? Those in our lives are trying to show us with little, seemingly insignificant things that they love us, usually they tend to be tiny things that we won’t pay attention to, like the number of pillows on your side of the bed. Pay attention, I’m sure you’ll find them.

So anyone have any good ones? I’d love to hear them, maybe you could help melt my cold cold heart and allow this emotional mute to open up and cry.

Monday, 14 December 2015

20 Questions with Anna

20 Questions with Anna Berkowitz from
Supernaturally Yours

Note: Interview takes place just prior to the beginning of Supernaturally Yours.

1. What’s your full name?

Anna Catherine Berkowitz

2. If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do?

I would do some baking followed up by cuddling up on my couch with a good book.

3. What impression do you make on people when they first meet you? How about after they've known you for a while?

I think I come off as clumsy and shy but after you get to know me you know that I am loyal and hardworking with a good sense of humour. Of course I am still shy and clumsy but I’m a lot more than that.

4. What's your idea of a good marriage? Do you think that'll happen in your life?

I haven’t had a lot of experience with good marriages in my life. My parents were definitely dysfunctional. But from what I saw from my besties parents, I think a good relationship requires communication. Without talking to one another a relationship is doomed to failure. Passion is also incredibly important. As to whether I’ll find that one day, I certainly would like to think so.

5. What are you most proud of about your life?

Ah, sheesh, this is a hard one. I am proud of my ability to adjust to major changes. After I was zombified I could have given up, a lot of people did, but I spent a couple weeks buried in the bottom of a big ole tub of ben and jerrys, then I dusted myself off and figured out how to live my life as it was.

6. What are you most ashamed of in your life?

For me I am ashamed about my lack of education. I wanted so many things and I let others opinions of me affect how I lived my life. Terribly ashamed of my apartment.

7. If you could spend the day with someone you admire (living or dead or imaginary), who would you pick?

I always love spending time with my bestie, Jenny. But since I can already do that, I assume you mean someone who I can’t. Hmm. Okay I know, Immanuel O’Ryan. Weird answer? Not really, that way I could kick his ass for trying to play God and ending up starting the zombie apocalypse.

8. Do you think you've turned out the way your parents expected?

No. I know I haven’t. I keep trying and hoping they’ll come around.

9. What was the moment in your life you are most ashamed of?

I had a one night stand. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not ashamed of the one night stand I am ashamed that I let the dick head’s parting words weigh heavily on me for so long. I let him affect the way I live my life and took so long to get over him.

10. Is there anything you've always wanted to do but haven't done? What would happen if you did it?

I’ve always wanted to learn a craft. Something simple and homey like knitting. I’m ashamed to admit to anyone I don’t know how and to ask for help.

11. What's the worst thing that's happened in your life? What did you learn from it?

Most people would expect me to answer that becoming a zombie was the worst thing that ever happened to me but it wasn’t. The worst thing was discovering how little you knew about people and how closed minded they could be in not accepting me once I was a zombie. Being kicked out of my parent’s home because of my disease and learning that they weren’t willing to accept me as I was.

12. Tell me about your best friend.

Oh my god, Jenny is the best. We’ve known each other since kindergarten and she is the sister I never had. She’s incredibly smart and beautiful. She is everything I wish I was. Bold, she takes life by the balls with no apologies. She accepts me as I am and has never expected me to change who I am.

13. What's the worst thing you've ever done to someone?

I genuinely try to be a good person. I did pull a lot of pranks in high school, some were my idea, others were Jenny’s. I don’t think I should talk about them – the statute of limitations might not be over yet.

14. What would you like it to say on your tombstone?

Anna Berkowitz, human and zombie. Lovable woman who never let the world beat her down.

15. Describe your ideal mate.

Can I pass? Fine. Ideal mate, someone who accepts me and loves me. Someone passionate and loyal, who can show his emotions and not hide behind a tough fa├žade. He has to be tall, but more important than looks is personality. He can’t be mean, or hostile. And it certainly wouldn’t hurt to have a sense of humour, or a rock hard body.

16. What are you most afraid of?

Besides spiders? I am very afraid of losing control of my urges and turning into a braaaaaiiins zombie.

17. What's the most important thing in your life? What do you value most?

I value the friends who are around me. I value their acceptance and love. Besides that I find time in the kitchen important. Baking and trying new dishes keep me sane.

18. What do you like best about yourself? Least?

Best, I like my sense of humour, physically I like my hair, not many people have this shade of red. Least, I hate that I am clumsy and seem to turn even the simplest of actions into a visit to the e.r. Physically I would like to lose some weight and be more confident.

19. How do you feel about your life right now? What, if anything, would you like to change?

I am ready for a change. Ready to move on and be the person I should have been before I became a zombie. If I could change anything it would be to have made me do this a long time ago. To say to heck with it, this is me and be happy.

20. Are you lying to yourself about something? What is it?

I think I am lying about how I really feel about my parents. Trying to give them the time they need and believing that they will come around. But if I am lying to myself how would I know?

You can buy your copy of Supernaturally Yours at the following locations (or if you are local to me - contact me and I can get a paper copy to you)



also available on iTunes and any other major ebook retailer - just search Supernaturally Yours.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

First Book Club Reading

This past two and a half weeks have been crazy. I have had six events in 18 days, five craft shows and my first book club reading and discussion. The craft shows / bazaars were a lot of fun, I met a lot of great people and got to introduce Supernaturally Yours to so many unsuspecting folks. I also managed to reduce some of my immense Christmas shopping list.

The reading at the Paranormal Book Club went so much better than I ever could have expected. I am not much of a public speaker but found the women to be so open and friendly that I felt at home. They had a number of great questions and comments that made me start to get excited about the world of Supernaturally Yours again. It was one of the most gratifying things, hearing the enjoyment and yes, even tears, my book has brought people to. That's the end goal, to have readers who not only read your novel but enjoy it. The one lady told me she was brought to tears and cursing me when I killed off a certain character (don't worry I won't tell you who dies - no spoilers here.) I loved that.

It's one of those things, writing is a solitary experience. I'm alone in my world for so long, trying to coax my muse to giving up the words that I need to express what is happening inside my head. I know how much I like the characters, how much I like the world but there is always a niggling of doubt about whether my words have translated the emotions, the actions and the feel that I am going for. I've written extensively here on my blog before about self doubt and how hard it can be, so I won't go any further on that subject. It was wonderful hearing from a stranger how I touched them enough to bring tears to the forefront.

Now that my crazy couple of weeks are done I can try to focus on Christmas and getting all the multitude of crafts that I have planned done (hehehe, don't tell Mr. Gloria but I made an unfortunate trip to the craft / dollar store and am fully stocked with ideas) wrap my gifts and maybe spend a bit of time with my family.

Although, I might have to start writing, my muse has been reactivated by all the discussion and the last few nights I can barely sleep thinking about my next main gal. Hmm. Too many ideas. Let's see where this takes me...