Reflections on a Memorable Year

A year ago, last December, I decided to pull my manuscript from the small presses I had approached earlier that spring and self-publish my father’s memoir.  Looking back, it was a decision I made because of concern for my father’s health and a desire to share his story with others while he could still participate. In fact, at the end of January, my father was hospitalized after my mother found him splayed out on their frozen driveway.  Within a few days of hospitalization, the colour returned Read more [...]

Five Effective Ways to Procrastinate

For writers, but feel free to adapt. Locate your favourite pen. It should fit perfectly in your fingers with just the right weight and glide smoothly across the page. Crack open the spine of that new, beautifully decorated notebook you purchased weeks ago, but that so far has remained in pristine condition. Soak in the new-page scent. Position yourself comfortably on a chair, preferably with an oversized feather pillow on your lap and feet resting on a coffee table or ottoman. Rest your Read more [...]

Think Like a Student

At this time of year, I’m keenly aware of every red maple leaf waving amongst a sea of green, the deep orange berries weighing down the branches of my mountain ash, the darkness creeping earlier into the evening and cool air entering through my still-open window in the wee hours of the morning. September is fast approaching and I’m powerless to hold on to those long, aimless summer days. But, I’m buoyed by the idea of a revamped routine for the coming months and inspired by a new old idea: Read more [...]

Travel to Write

The more I write, the more I want to travel. The more I travel, the more I must write. Writing my family memoir brought me to many unexpected places: the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.; the port town of Gdansk, Poland; Stutthof concentration camp in Sztutowo, Poland; the bay of Lűbeck, Germany. I tasted the salt of the sea air, felt the fine sand between my toes, heard the squawking of sea birds, and breathed in the scent of pine forests. Of course, historical documents, old Read more [...]

Time, Energy and Space for a Writing Life

Everyone’s busy. I get it. If you’re like me you probably take on too many commitments and get involved in too many activities, just to find yourself overwhelmed when projects are due, deadlines are looming, and everyone needs your attention. Although I’d like to imagine I can do everything, the reality is I can’t do everything well. I used to believe I could multi-task, but really I was only shuffling between tasks, not giving any one thing my full attention.  For a long time, writing Read more [...]

10 Tips for a Successful Book Launch

My experience with book launches is limited to two, one of which was my own, so perhaps I’m not the authority on this subject.  But, as always, what I didn’t know led me to read, investigate, ask questions, and eventually follow my own path. What I learned along the way suggests that book launches are as varied as the books they are celebrating and as unique as the individual writers. With that in mind, I offer my tips for creating a memorable book launch based on my first experience. Celebrate! Read more [...]

The Universe Conspires

Paulo Coelho wrote, “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” I always liked this idea, but I didn’t really know how it could be possible.  The whole universe? Conspiring? Really?  A month has passed since I launched my family memoir about my father’s experiences as a young Finnish sailor in a Nazi concentration camp.  Before its release on March 19, two months ago, I blogged about the process of self-publishing and all of those things I Read more [...]

My Little Book Goes to Washington

I had a full-circle moment a few days ago when I entered the industrial steel-encased elevator at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.  A fellow teacher and I had travelled to Washington, D.C. on a school trip with a group of twenty-four grade twelve English and Literature Studies students who were eager to explore the museum for the first time. It was our first stop. This was my third visit to the USHMM, but I was no less excited. Tucked into the pocket of my travel purse I had a copy Read more [...]

How My Book Almost Didn’t Happen

The following is a version of my talk at the book launch for The Day Soon Dawns on Sunday, April 19 at Parkside Centre. I thought I’d tell you a little about how the book came to be . . . or rather how it almost didn’t happen. I was about fifteen, my daughter’s age, when I learned about World War II in history class at Lo-Ellen. Even then, I knew my father had stories, but I couldn’t really make sense of them. He didn’t say too much, and I was afraid to ask. Even then, I vowed to Read more [...]

One Journey Ends and Another Begins

Spring has finally arrived, although it is difficult to tell as a layer of fine icing sugar snow fills the air and clusters on the deck outside my patio doors.  It has been a whirlwind of a week now that my book is finally published. Appropriately, I think, the official publication date was on the last day of winter.  I started self-publishing at the beginning of December and what a journey it has been!  Like waiting for spring, it took several weeks longer and was more blustery than I initially Read more [...]