Music’s Box: “Memories” by Beau Barnett

•April 10, 2015 • Leave a Comment


This is an absolutely wonderful story by my good friend Beau Barnett. He’s a brilliant writer. You should go Read it. I am not responsible for any crying you may do. ;)

Originally posted on Team Hellions:

The next installment in the Music’s Box project is a tear jerker. Then again, if there is one writer I know that can evoke emotion better than any, it’s Beau Barnett. I’ve known Beau for a few years, he’s contributed stories to many a blog project, including my previous one. His ability to capture a moment – what’s felt within it, the sounds, the sights, how everything changes – is his strongest suit. He can write a damn good love story that puts Nicholas Sparks to shame and he does it every time. This particular story is a dual narrative from the main characters, Mark and Rachel’s, perspectives. Their story began a couple of years ago with “Make a Wish”. Among friends, this is the story that gave birth to the phrase “skyward at the sky.”

The song Beau chose is “Memories” by Eisley, a beautiful testament to marriage and…

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Cover Reveal: Dead Ringer by Sarah Fox

•March 25, 2015 • Leave a Comment

It is my very great pleasure to share with you the cover of my friend Sarah Fox’s debut novel, Dead Ringer. I met Sarah through the wonderful Twitter writing community and she is a wonderful person. Truly, I’m lucky to count her a friend. Because we live in the same province, I’ve even gotten to hang out with her a couple of times now, which is a real treat.

Sarah is a writer of great talent, and I was so thrilled when first she was picked up by an agent and then announced she had sold her cozy mystery Dead Ringer for publication. And now you get to see her beautiful cover! But first, a little about Dead Ringer:

Title: Dead Ringer
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: HarperCollins (Witness Impulse)
Release date: June 2, 2015


Midori Bishop’s life is hitting all the right notes. She has her dream job playing violin in a professional orchestra and is embarking on a secret relationship with the symphony’s hot maestro. But when Midori finds a cellist strangled to death, the maestro soon becomes the number one suspect.

Midori sets out to prove the maestro’s innocence but discovers that he and many others have secrets they would rather keep hidden. As the investigation takes Midori closer to the truth, the killer gears up for a grand finale — with Midori as the intended victim.

*     *     *     *

Sounds good, doesn’t it? You know you want to add it to your TBR list, don’t you? If you’re on Goodreads, you can do so here!

And now, I guess I should stop teasing and show you the lovely cover of Dead Ringer.

Dead Ringer


I really love this. So perfect.

There you go, guys. Now, go add it to your TBR list and when it comes out, read and review!


Cover Reveal: Pathogen: Patient Zero

•February 27, 2015 • Leave a Comment

My good friend Kai Kiriyama has been very busy of late. She’s writing up a storm and has a new book coming out soon, Pathogen: Patient Zero. It’s available for preorder right now from Smashword, with others to follow. Ready for a look at the cover? Sure you are.


Isn’t it pretty? Now for a little information about Pathogen: Patient Zero.

*  *  *  *

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Every outbreak starts somewhere…

A young girl, hospitalized with a violent strain of the flu.

The charismatic doctor who promises that she’s going to be okay.

A nightmare virus that threatens to destroy them both.

Reduced to the title of Zero, she is dehumanized by her doctors into little more than a series of charts and procedures. Zero is left to her own devices, telling her story through a haze of drugs, slipping in and out of consciousness, and trying to find some kind of inner peace as the doctors hustle around her to find a cure.

From Kai Kiriyama, author of Blaze Tuesday and the Case of the Knight Surgeon and My life Beyond the Grave: The Untold Story of Vlad Dracula, comes her newest book, this dark, YA medical horror, PATHOGEN: PATIENT ZERO.

From start to end, PATHOGEN takes the reader on a journey through the death of a young woman, struck ill by what seems to be the flu. As she deteriorates, the story follows along from her point of view as she succumbs to more symptoms, and is forced to endure more and more tests while the doctors treating her look for a cure. Heartbreaking and harrowing, PATHOGEN: PATIENT ZERO journeys through the five stages of grief, and explores what it feels like for those suffering from terminal illness.

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PATHOGEN: PATIENT ZERO will be released May 15, 2015, and is available for pre-order on Smashwords.

About Kai:

2015 author pic

Kai Kiriyama is a writer of many things, mostly novels, of varying genres.

With diplomas in tea leaf reading, palmistry, crystal divination, and crystal healing, it’s no surprise to see novels reflecting the otherworldly with her name on them. Influenced by tales of magic, deception and monsters, Kai takes her genre-hopping seriously.

She currently lives in Canada with her pet snake and a looming deadline.

She can be reached by email at

You can find Kai on Twitter

On facebook:

On her website:

Embracing Your YOUness

•February 21, 2015 • 2 Comments

This post is about me, but it’s also about all of us. I mentioned on Twitter a little while ago  that I’d had an epiphany. Today, I’m going to share it with you.

In the course of my recovery, my therapist and I have talked about a lot of things, and one that particularly resonated with me is the subject of self-talk. It’s something we do both consciously and unconsciously. It’s the things we say to ourselves but also how we react inwardly about things we do (or sometimes don’t do).

My self-talk is generally negative. Sometimes it borders on self-abusive even. Through it all is the theme of not being enough. Not tall enough. Not smart enough. Not worthy. Because of this, I’m constantly surprised when people around me express what I mean to them and it’s positing. I’m amazed sometimes that you guys want me around even. Most of my life, I haven’t even noticed I do this to myself. This made it harder to fight or even see what I was doing to myself.

But then I was reading a post about getting back into writing by my friend, Julie Hutchings. She talked about writing 200 words and how you’d never tell a friend essentially “that’s all?” so why do that to yourself? This is so true for me. I tell writer friends all the time that however much they wrote, that’s more words than they had which is automatically a win. I’m learning to do this for myself, to savor just getting some writing done. So far, that’s going surprisingly well.

But as I read Julie’s post, something clicked, something bigger. This is a broader thing. So often I’ve dismissed my own accomplishments as not enough, who I am as not good enough. I’ve constantly demanded more, no matter what I’ve done, how much or how well. It’s like somewhere in my head, I believe there’s some level of perfection I can achieve, even though I know perfect is a concept with no basis in reality. It is impossible. And yet I keep thinking I should do more, that I’m not enough.

In doing so, I’ve missed all the things that I am. All the things that I’ve done. I’ve sucked the joy out of my own life by refusing to appreciate myself. And I’ve decimated my self esteem, not to mention letting others trample it into oblivion, in the process. That self-talk I mentioned? These are things I would never be cruel enough to say to others, all heaped on myself. A small mistake turns into me being stupid, useless and a bad person. Because I forgot where I set my glass of water down, for example. It’s that insane for me.

From talking to others, I am certain I’m not alone in this. So many of the people I know engage in this to some extent. Raise your hand if you’ve ever engaged in this behavior, even a little. Oh my, that’s a lot of hands.

I say that stops here and now. I am at last going to work on giving myself credit for the things I’ve done and who I am. It was a long journey, at times difficult, but I’m here and on my feet. I invite you to come with me. Do it every day. Give yourself credit.

And they don’t have to be big things. Got all your items on your to-do list for today done? Celebrate that. Got the kids fed on a difficult day where you’re not feeling great or things are going wrong around you? Give yourself a pat on the back. Acknowledge the victories, even more so on hard days than easy ones.

Above all, pay attention to how you talk to yourself, the internal monologue that goes on. As I said, I hadn’t really noticed how awful mine had gotten. When I finally really listened to it, I was horrified. But now that I’m aware of it, I’m working to change it. To be less judgmental of myself, and to keep perspective. Would you believe it’s working, and better than I could have believed when I started?

We are all enough, whatever that might mean to you. But we need to acknowledge that to ourselves. To accept that we can be enough, which is a hard one for me but worth working on. This isn’t to say you can’t look at yourself with a critical eye. Doing so is part of growing. But please, let your self-criticism be constructive. “I suck” or “I’m stupid”,  which are frequent parts of my own self-talk, are not constructive. I wouldn’t say that to someone else, so why am I saying it to myself?

I still want to improve, to strive to better myself. But while I’m doing that, I’ll also celebrate myself and my accomplishments. Balance the two, you know? Don’t let the want for more take away from you the enjoyment of who you are. Don’t forget to look at yourself and remember how impressive you are. Give yourself credit for your own awesomeness. Because you are, and the sooner you acknowledge it, the happier you’ll be. And I want that. I want you guys to be happy. I want you to be free from the monumental self-judgement that’s so common these days. You all deserve it.

Just think about it, guys. Listen to your self-talk and see if maybe there’s some tweaking to be done. Some celebrating to be added. And always remember, you are more awesome than you realize.

Finding My Voice Again

•February 16, 2015 • 6 Comments

A bit of an update, and some things I want to share. To begin with, my state of being, beyond just my mind, continues to improve. Therapy is helping, group therapy even more than I ever expected. But I think the biggest reason is me. I’ve changed, and maybe in the best ways.

One of the things that I’ve been doing is talking. I withdrew a lot when things started to get bad. And then there was this gulf and I didn’t know how to bridge it or how to talk about it. How to even begin.

I lost my voice in a very real, if not so literal way.

Thanks to some very good friends, I’ve found it again. Therapy has helped with that, but I really owe it to friends who listened, who let me say what I could and not push for more. Who let me open up more as time went on and I felt up to it. Friends who reached into the darkness and have been my lifeline. Thank you. You know who you are and I’m sending you all my love.

I’m trying to take good lessons away from what’s gone on and one of them has been the importance of letting people in. Of talking about not just the good things, but also the bad ones, the imperfections and vulnerabilities in my life, with those who care about me.

I lose perspective so quickly on those bad things, both events and things others say to me. They become all consuming, larger than life and overwhelm me. Talking about it, especially with friends who are supportive and love me, helps me regain perspective, even if it’s just because they remind me that not everything that happens is my fault. Also that I’m not a horrible person. Yes, I have often thought that about myself, in the last year particularly.

Learning to talk about my recent experiences has helped in so many ways. The most important is that I feel like myself again at some moments. They’re brief, but real. In those moments, I am again the me that  was able to do things and be happy no matter what, who was and felt capable of the things she wanted to do. Reconnecting with that self has been a blessing. I’d nearly given up on the idea that I could be that person again, so finding I am still her… Wonderful.

But I’ve also learned that I need to be careful and set boundaries. I took on too much, both personally and professionally and I crumbled under it after a while. I’ve got further thoughts on this, and an epiphany to share, but I want to keep that for it’s own post. It’s important enough for that, I think.

There’s more than one voice I need to regain, of course. My writing voice is the other. It’s proving a bit more elusive, but there are signs of its return. I’ve got a story drifting around in my head about a city in a valley, one that harbors secrets. I’m writing a short story for my friend Julie’s blog. Any of you writers out there who want to put a flash fiction out there, you should go here for details.

It’s nice to feel some inspiration again, and it’s nice to have a place to share the result. Talking about this on Twitter has yielded a fair bit of support and I have to say, it’s nice to know people want to read my stuff. Energizing, really.

So while I’m not all the way back yet, there are signs of it. I’m going to be okay. I’m going to be myself again. Maybe I’m even closer to that than I realize. Some days I feel like it. Hope is a good thing, right? :)

Thanks, guys, for sticking by me through this. You’re awesome. All of you.

The Garden of my Peace

•February 4, 2015 • 9 Comments

I’ve been trying to figure out how to write about what’s happened recently. The short version, that I’m doing better now than in months, really doesn’t cover it as well as I’d like to. But I’m not sure that I can express adequately the changes in thought that have led to this. Yeah, I know, I’m a writer, I should be able to do that, but right now I’m not confident in my ability to paint the picture. I’m going to try and maybe I’ll be able to feel a bit of my old faith in my words.

As I said, I’m doing better. Not 100%. That will take months. Maybe even years. I don’t know, and for the moment, I don’t care. I’m not going to worry about that right now. Instead, I will appreciate what I have, how I feel and so many other things about this moment.

That’s really one of the things that has allowed me to improve and feel this way. It’s called mindfulness, a living in the present and I’m practicing it consciously. Both in my individual and group therapy, we talk about it a lot. It’s not easy, but has made all the difference.

I was doing better, but then had a very painful couple of weeks where it felt like all the progress I’d made over the last month or so had been wiped away. This only made it worse, because I began to wonder if getting better was even possible.

One morning, about a week ago, I woke up and decided I had to change things. I had to let go. Of the things that had hurt me. Of the people involved with that. Of the past. Even of all ideas of what the future should hold. How things should have been.

I’m not sure that really conveys what I did, or how hard it was. I don’t know if I can really make anyone who has not been through something like this understand. But maybe you can a little?

It was more than just letting go of the pain and the things I feel like I’ve lost, even if some of it may never have been really real.

I decided to be grateful for even the simplest of things in my life. Sitting and patting my fluffy cat, Zedd, or burying my face in his fur as he purred away to me. The taste of my coffee. Sunshine. The sound of rain falling.

The amazing thing was how immediately it made a difference. By the end of that first day, I was smiling again. By the second, I felt like my brain, my poor overloaded, exhausted brain, was actually working again as it hasn’t for a long while now.

This isn’t to say it’s been easy. Sometimes “should have been” comes up and bites me in the ass. Sometimes I have trouble sleeping because I wake in the night hurting. But it’s progress. And every time this happens, I practice mindfulness. Zedd’s very helpful that way, often coming over in those difficult moments to bump my hand with his head for pats, his purr going full out. I love my cat so much.

I’m also grateful for the friends I have. The ones who send me a note to say they’re thinking of me. The ones who have commented on the painful posts here to tell me I’m not alone, or even just to offer hugs. The ones on Twitter who have accepted how much or little I was able to be there. The truth is that until this past week, I haven’t felt comfortable there. That’s a bit of a story all it’s own and the truth is that I don’t want to share it here.

More than anything, I am grateful for the friends who, over the past several months, have taken it upon themselves to check in with me, on FB/Twitter/Text, when I withdrew from everything. Most of those weren’t questions about how I was. They were just being there. Sharing a funny picture, or catspam or just talking with me about their stuff. I suspect I owe a lot to those people, maybe even my life, and I am so deeply appreciative of the effort these people have made. Truly, I am lucky.

I’m on the road to getting back to work. I feel like I can maybe handle it again now, especially after talking with my manager. Life is starting to move forward. I even have a story I’m slowly toying with. I’m not trying to dive back into the torrent as it used to be. I may never get back to that and I don’t care. It’s just nice to feel the stir of a story again.

Every day, I work at my mindfulness and gratitude. At recognizing the good things in my life, focusing on that rather than the things that went horribly wrong. I work at my peace. It’s like a garden to me now. I tend it and it grows. One day, it may cover my whole life, my mind and my heart. One day, but this present is enough for me.

Thank you to everyone who has stuck by me, who has helped me through this just by caring.


•January 19, 2015 • 5 Comments

Please bear with me through this post. I need to get some of this out of my head, but I’m struggling with how to talk about it, so this might be a bit of a disjointed mess.

I’ve recently decided to remove certain people from my life, and it makes me sad to have done so. I had to though, because I can no longer afford to have people in my life who prove to me over and over that they don’t really care about me, or those who damage my sense of self-worth (which often is precarious to begin with). That doesn’t mean I don’t miss them. I do, because I still care about them. My mind and heart just can’t take anymore.

The most basic truth right now is that I am heartbroken. Truly and completely heartbroken. No, I don’t want to talk about why. Or at least I’m not ready to do so here, and I doubt I ever will be.

I’m working on getting better and my state of mind slowly coming around. Therapy and meds are helping, but the last week has been rough. Some days, the past year and a half come back to haunt me, to taunt me with every mistake I made or all the times I believed people who clearly weren’t what they presented themselves as. I feel stupid and foolish and naive for believing them. No amount of telling myself faith in others is always a good thing eases that feeling.

I think the worst part of it is that I’m now wary of letting new people into my life and I’m taking a long hard look at some of those who are there right now. I don’t like feeling this way. I liked who I was and I’m not sure how I feel about who I’m becoming as a result of what happened. But I’m not giving up on other people. I won’t. Maybe in time this will ease. I hope so.

It’s going to be a while before I feel like I can write again. I toy with ideas now, but don’t actually feel capable of writing any story right now, no matter the subject or length. Even the few blog posts I’ve written have been difficult (which might be why there are so few lately).

I’m trying to be around on Twitter, and I’m answering messages and mentions now. But even that is sometimes difficult. I feel cut off, unable to bridge this chasm to reach anyone entirely. But I love you guys. And I’m trying, really I am.

I’ll get there one day. I keep telling myself this.



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