Through The Lens of History

History has the ability to inspire us. Even more powerful though, history has the ability to teach us. To show us how past events shaped the lives we enjoy today. I spend a significant amount of my time researching historical elements for the novels I write. Much of the era I focus on is the pre, post, and World War II time frame. The war itself offers up a bounty of stories ripe for the picking. A variety of stories from a staggering number of perspectives keeps me engrossed in the time period.

While I was researching the history of the 1946 Ford Deluxe, I came across a concise and insightful book. The book shared the historical account of not only the cars themselves but also the men, manufacturing, and politics behind them. I was intrigued to learn that during Hitler’s reign, the German division of Ford was required to use solely German parts in their manufacturing process. 

Through The Lens of History

As I expanded my knowledge on the 1946 Ford Deluxe, I confirmed that due to the war, automobile design was stalled for several years. It wasn’t until a few years after the war had ended, that Ford began to investigate new designs. The first automobiles produced after the war were manufactured using pre-war materials and thus the sleek and bold designs of the post-war Ford’s did not hit the automobile market until late 1948 / early 1949.

The most intriguing bit of information:

The Great Depression, it seems, was the result of three significant factors. The first was the real-estate collapse in Florida. The second was the upheaval and crash of the New York stock market. But the third contributing factor was the consumer debt of almost $2.9 billion dollars. I was shocked to learn that of that $2.9 billion dollars of debt, almost half of it was due to consumers purchasing automobiles on credit.

To be honest, I never really understood the financials of why the Great Depression began. The reasoning for such a drastic change in a enormous economy always seemed to consist of smoke and mirrors to me. Though I can easily grasp the realities of a slippery slope as time marched on through the 1930s, I was unable to truly wrap my brain around how it all began.

I never expected the book ’40 Ford by Joseph P. Cabadas to provide insight on matters outside the scope of the cars I was seeking information on. When I became enlightened within the first few pages with regards to the consumer’s role in the creation of the Great Depression, I was reminded to open my viewfinder. 

History has a way of telling its own story. The version we learn along the way has more to do with the lens through which we look than the historical data we seek.

A Giveaway Makes Me Happy

Just this month I created a book giveaway. There are two things you should know about me. One, I love to buy books. Seriously, I have more books waiting to be read than I have time to read, but that doesn’t seem to stop me from buying them. Two, I love to share great books I’ve read with my friends. I pass books on, often requesting that they don’t come back to me. Okay, I request they don’t come back to me because that would be evidence, kind of like a Starbucks receipt, if I don’t have it, I couldn’t possibly have purchased it.

Though I may be in a little bit of denial with regards to both Starbucks and my ever growing book collection, when the idea of sharing books through a giveaway occurred to me, I was stunned I hadn’t thought of it earlier. What better giveaway for an author to offer than BOOKS?

Giveaway time

Before The Rain Falls

Is the first historical fiction title in a long list of books I plan to share in the coming months. I will announce the giveaway each month by revealing the chosen title in my bi-monthly newsletter. If you don’t want to miss your chance at winning monthly books, sign up for my newsletter today! I promise not to spam you nor share your email address with others.

I send two emails a month with updates on what I’m reading, where I am at with the current novel I am writing. In addition, those emails will now include the monthly giveaway announcement! The books I giveaway will come from the historical fiction genre as those are the types of books I write and most often what I read. The winner(s) will receive the monthly chosen book in digital format. No Kindle? No problem! I read Kindle books on my iPad with the free Kindle app. 

I will contact each month’s winner to determine which digital format they prefer before sending them their prize. I am super excited to share great books with you so, off you go now…. Go enter this month’s giveaway!

Good luck!

Where Friends Meet…

Friends are part of what makes life so enjoyable. They allow us to let down our hair, laugh at ourselves, and completely be who we are meant to be. There is a special feeling though, a connection of sorts, when you spend time in the company of people of like mind. These are people you want to hang with, learn more about, and most certainly celebrate a great event with.

This past weekend, I was fortunate to attend the Surrey International Writers’ Conference. This was my third time at the conference and though I am exhausted beyond what should be possible, I walked away with a brain full of workshop related processes and two new friends. Even though, I am renewed with more knowledge from the workshops and keynote speakers, I have a feeling, it is the connection to my new friends that will carry me further in life and in writing.

Friends at the Surrey International Writers' Conference

My advice for meeting friends is….

  • Be yourself
  • Get out there and meet people
  • You have nothing to lose
  • You have everything to gain
  • Like minds attract like minds
  • Everyone has something to contribute
  • You are not the only person who is shy, quiet, reserved, etc
  • Somebody, somewhere is waiting for a friend like you, so what are you waiting for?

An Autumn to Remember…

Autumn on the coast of British Columbia is, generally speaking, wet, blustery, and at times a punch to the gut from Mother Nature, reminding us that summer has come to an end. To be completely honest, I am a summer girl. I love the heat, the patio dinning, beach BBQ’s, and all things that go along with the footloose and fancy free season. This autumn however, has demonstrated just how the season between summer fun and Christmas can be a magical symphony of vibrant colors and delicious, crisp autumn air.

I have been lapping up the change of season happening beyond my window for several weeks. It has been a slow but stunning transition. When the first leaf turned red, I honestly thought the rain would follow fast on its heels. To my delight, autumn has been anything but rainy.

an autumn to remember
Photo courtesy of (c) David C Williams

Yesterday was reminiscent of my younger years when as a family we would pile into the station wagon and go for a Sunday drive. We didn’t always have a destination, nor did we have an expectation of anything other than that which the drive provided.

My husband and I ventured out early yesterday morning. The sun was bright and promised a glorious day. We drove the back roads taking in farmers fields, sleepy farm animals, and the most amazing landscape of color every way my eyes turned.

The local mountains, rich with a jumble of shapes and colors, suddenly had depth to their towering masses. Even the berry fields have tinted themselves a festive cranberry color in celebration of the season. If you are lucky enough (and thankfully we are) to live near the ocean, the contrast of the blue water against a fireworks display of autumn is a sight one is not easy to forget.

Yes, autumn is certainly giving us a show this year and I am truly grateful for the opportunity to experience it.

Thankful Thoughts

Today, thankful thoughts are at the forefront of my mind. It is, after all, Thanksgiving Monday in Canada. Today, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media will be littered with gratitude filled thoughts. This of course, is a very good thing. Most certainly it is a trend I would like to see more of.

My  belief is, that which you focus on is equal to that which you experience. This belief is the reason I guide my thoughts daily through meditation, gratitude exercises and such. If we only ever have control over how we perceive and react to the world beyond our own minds, then surely we can find a little time each day to take care of those thoughts. 

Several of my previous posts have focused on mindfulness, seventy three of them to be precise. You can read more of my “mindful” posts here. Mindfulness is not merely a state of mind, but also an active, doing, sort of approach to life. It involves being aware of our surroundings just as much as it involves being centered and grounded in our own peacefulness. Mindfulness asks us to be present in the moment and have gratitude for whatever that present happens to be.

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Mindful Mondays – Week 73 – My Tribe

A tribe, as defined by the English Oxford Dictionary, is “a social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader.”

My tribe however isn’t linked by blood or religion. I have no idea where they fit in terms of social or economic standing. I know we use different dialects at times (oh those darn Canadian u’s) and we certainly follow no leader. Instead we move as one, each taking a turn at showcasing that which the rest of us might enjoy, delight in, and share.

My Tribe

My tribe consists of authors, readers, editors, marketing specialists, book designers, formatting experts, and more. Most importantly though, my tribe is a tribe of book lovers. We read and then proclaim a story’s greatness to the rest of the group. Gathering for book related events is a highlight to our week. We celebrate book releases like we would a child’s birth.

We may not ever have the opportunity to meet in person, but we certainly consider ourselves exceptionally fortunate if we do. Our excitement for one another’s accomplishment is honest and authentic. The uniqueness of our tribe is that we recognize we are not in competition with one another but instead in a relationship of shared interests. 

We are book lovers and it has been my most fortunate circumstance to call these amazing people part of my tribe. This past week, many members of my tribe took time out of their own busy lives to share the release of my latest book. Honored, touched, and incredibly grateful I am to call these individuals friends.

Take a moment and check out what my tribe has been up to….

Kelsey Gietl is currently finishing up her second novel titled, Twisted River. I was thrilled to be an early reader, and I am telling you it is going to be so challenging for all of you to wait until Twisted Rivers arrives in stores this December.

Heather from Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen blog read and reviewed Stealing Mr. Smith. Word has it Heather is also working on her own novel. I am very much looking forward to that release. Check out her blog and see what she is reading next.

Books and a Brunette (I love the name of her blog) AKA Jen reads and blogs about her picks. I am always certain to learn something new when I visit her blog. This month she interviewed me for the release of Stealing Mr. Smith and I have to admit that I had to really think about a couple of those questions. She asks unique and intriguing questions and it was a joy to be interviewed by her.

Looking for an Instagram bookworm to follow? Look no further than myreadingzen or adventurenlit. These two book lovers offer great book posts. You can be sure your tbr pile is about to grow by the bushel.

A voice actor is a special individual who crafts a story into a production with the sole use of their own voice. Lillian is one of those talented people who I desperately wanted to work with. I have a new goal to write a story that calls for a British protagonist if only so she can narrate it.

I have been fortunate to meet some amazing people through social media. It gives me hope that the world, despite the latest and greatest developments in technology, cannot remove the need for humans to connect with one another. We do that through books. How do you connect with your tribe?

Mindful Mondays – Week 72 – Gratitude Among The Chaos

Today I am filled with gratitude. You see tomorrow is the release of my second historical fiction title, Stealing Mr. Smith so my heart is singing with gratitude. This sense of gratitude though, does not come without the packaging of chaos. There are many tasks to accomplish, loose ends to wrap up, and readers to engage with.

Despite the many demands ahead of me, I am grateful that I have the opportunity to be in this exact moment. I have immense gratitude for the opportunities I have, to follow this dream of being a writer. I love being a writer. Immersing myself in the lives of my characters is like hanging out with old friends. Watching a setting unfold, is equivalent to visiting a long ago town built on hard work and simple values.

It is with the end product of a book, a story to share with others that makes my heart soar. So, tomorrow I begin my day by sharing all that I’ve worked on for the past several months with readers around the world. Some have been patiently waiting for the continuation of the story. Others have no idea it exists at all. Either way, this journey to the publication day was not reached alone, and that is what I am most grateful for.

Today, I am thinking of all the people who helped me navigate this path to publication. It is a list not unlike what you will find at the back of any author’s book. That list of people who coddled, protected, and supported the book’s life up to its publication day and beyond. 

So, even among the chaos of a book launch, I want to take the time to show gratitude and appreciation for those individuals who helped bring Stealing Mr. Smith to life. I simply couldn’t have done it without you.

Gratitude for the release of Stealing Mr. Smith

The story continues with Stealing Mr. Smith on September 25th, but if you’d like to pick up your copy of Becoming Mrs. Smith first, you can grab yours now and take advantage of the SALE pricing at your favorite online retailer.

Becoming Mrs. Smith ON SALE NOW

Mindful Mondays – Week 71 – Be Authentic!

Being authentic sounds easy enough. I mean how difficult is it to be the real version of yourself? You, after all, are already perfect for the job of being you. You’ve been training for it your entire life, evolving, growing, shifting. No one can tell you, “you are doing “you” wrong”. Being you, being authentic, is a key element to experiencing your life’s joys, successes, and opportunities.

Can you imagine living your life by way of another person’s expectations? What if your family wants you to be one thing, your boss wants you to be something else, and your best friend expects yet another version? Exhaustion would hit you before you even put your feet on the floor each morning.

Here is the kicker….in the above example, you would be behaving as if you knew precisely how those individuals expect you to be. But, you never truly know another person’s thoughts, you would be making life choices based on what you interpreted someone else wanting from you. To me, that is the epitome of a hamster wheel on high speed.

So, how do you be authentic?

Love yourself first:

Give yourself permission to love yourself. If you do not see fit to love yourself, just think of how much more difficult you are making it for others to love you. When you love yourself, you tell yourself good stories about who you are. You don’t let negative self talk derail the good qualities you carry with you. Nobody is perfect, but we are all worthy of love. Start with you and watch it grow.

For more information on how to love yourself first check out my I Am Love blog post.

Do what you love:

How many people do you know that are living a life that doesn’t resonate with them? Whether it is a job or another area of your life, doing what you love is a direct route to being authentic. Just to be clear, doing what you love doesn’t mean you neglect responsibilities. I don’t exactly enjoy taking out the garbage, but if I didn’t take out the garbage the ramifications most certainly wouldn’t make me feel more authentic.

I have a 70/30 rule (you can check out the blog post here). In a nutshell the rule states if you are enjoying or for our purposes here, are being authentic for 70% of your day to day activities, the other 30% isn’t nearly as distracting. This rule allows you to focus the majority of your life on things that you love and the rest, well, it just kind of takes care of itself as you work your way through your day.

Give of yourself:

Being authentic isn’t a solitary path in life. As humans, we seek out communion with others. To be authentic, it is important to find a way to give of yourself to others. These acts of giving should not come from a place of obligation, but instead from a place of true desire to share with others that which you enjoy.

Random acts of kindness remain at the top of my list for a direct route to feeling fulfilled. If you ever find yourself in a slump, get up immediately and go and do or say something kind to another individual. You will magically change two lives in one moment.

An authentic life:

I do my best to live an authentic life. Seldom does a day go by where I don’t show myself love and kindness. I love what I do and have gratitude for the opportunity to work from home as a writer each and every day. Giving of myself is a natural part of life for me. Sometimes it is through volunteer work other times it is with heartfelt connections with others in all kinds of otherwise mundane situations.

Recently, in anticipation of the release of Stealing Mr. Smith, I offered a giveaway. I had so much fun with the giveaway and it reminded me just how much I enjoy sharing books with others. Seldom does a book remain on my shelf once I’ve read it. I am always excited to give it away to family and friends and share the joy of the story that I found within its pages.

So, starting this October, I am excited to announce that I will be offering a monthly giveaway for books that I have enjoyed. I can’t wait to share them with you. Sign up for my newsletter or follow me on social media to find out how to enter the monthly giveaway.

Don’t forget… Stealing Mr. Smith releases on September 25th.

Stealing Mr. Smith

Mindful Mondays – Week 70 – Stealing Mr. Smith

Stealing Mr. Smith is a mere two weeks away from releasing. The time has whipped by at break neck speed as I attempt to tackle my “to do” list. As you can probably tell by this very tardy blog post, time is slipping away from me. I hope you’ll forgive me the late post as I have a GIVEAWAY to offer you!

I am giving away 3 digital copies of Stealing Mr. Smith. Time is running out though so get yourself over to the link ASAP as the giveaway closes tonight. Seriously, run! Don’t walk. You have 5 hours left to enter.

Good luck and happy reading!


P.S. If you miss the giveaway, you can pick up the new release on September 25, 2018 at Amazon or one of your favorite online retailers.

Stealing Mr. Smith Giveaway