3 Writers Dine Together in Toronto!

Kerri and Glenda and Me outside Crepes Club in Toronto

Kerry, Glenda and Me outside Crepes Club in Toronto

During my October 2015 trip to Toronto (where I went to help my sister with my niece), I had the pleasure of meeting one of my online author/writer/blogger friends, Miss Kerry Kijewski.

Kerry is the blind woman whom I interviewed a while back. I’ll tell you more about her in a minute.

Geography First!

To put things in a geographical perspective, Kerry lives about an hour-and-a-half away from Toronto, whereas I live about a twenty-hour drive away. (But it’s only a two-hour flight, and I flew there!)

Because I generally don’t travel much, I decided to ask Kerry if she could meet me in Toronto while I was there. Of course, it didn’t dawn on me to ask her beforehand if we could meet; my main purpose of going to Toronto was to assist my sister with my niece, and I didn’t actually think I’d have time to do anything else while I was in the big city.

Once my niece was unexpectedly released from SickKids a bit earlier than anticipated, I realized that I could find a few hours to have lunch with Kerry, providing she could journey to Toronto to do so.

After sending her a message on Facebook, she told me that her mom would be able to drive her to meet me. YAY!

So, on Monday, October 19, 2015, I met both Kerry and her mother, Janet.

Lovely ladies!

We, upon my suggestion, decided to dine at Crepes Club.

My cousin, who lives in Toronto, and whom I was supposed to meet for dinner one evening but who cancelled on me that day, had suggested going to Crepes Club because it was close to Ronald McDonald House (RMH), where I was staying.

I had done some research on this place when he first suggested it. I read some Yelp reviews, took a look at their menu, and selected the three dishes I wanted to try.

Needless to say, when he cancelled on me, I was disappointed!

But then, when I learned that Kerry and I would be meeting face-to-face, I suggested we go to Crepes Club.

Unbeknownst to me, she had also invited a friend of hers to our gathering; a freelance writer named Glenda.

I was not disappointed or angry with Kerry, however. Instead, I was pleased to meet yet another writer!

Kerri and her mom inside Crepes Club

Kerry and her mom inside Crepes Club

 Kerri and Glenda outside Crepes Club


Kerry and Glenda outside Crepes Club

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Getting Recognition as an Editor

Getting Recognition as an Editor

Today I want to tell you about one of the gifts I’ve received last year. I also have a video for you to watch.

To set the stage, let me first tell you that in mid-February of 2014, Wording Well, my main website, was born. In addition to being a blogger and a freelance writer, I began to offer editing services as well. (I’ve since added blogging coaching/consultation services to my list.)

It’s amazing what can happen in two years of blogging! Not only did I receive recognition for my editing skills, but… Read More

Enter a Book Giveaway! (Dec. 12 to 24th)

Black Fountain Goddess cover

Do you like good fiction novels? I do.

Do you like contests/giveaways?  I do.

Do you like autographed copies of books?  I do.

Enter a Giveaway!

Wording Well is pleased to announce that Laying It Out There is currently running a giveaway of The Black Fountain Goddess.

This book is Jean Moynahan’s second novel, and it’s really, really good. (I have a copy of her first book, The Illuminated Vineyard, which is on my list of books to read.)

Read the Book Review

In fact, this novel is so good that I’ve reviewed this book on Goodreads and have also blogged about it, on my author site, Laying It Out There.

Enter the Giveaway!

I’ve have done a few giveaways in the past, but never have I used Rafflecopter to do so.

But there’s a first time for everything!

So I’m using Rafflecopter this time, and I’m really, really hoping to make this giveaway a huge success!

I’d like to invite you to read my review of this book, learn a bit about the author, and enter the contest.

You can do so by visiting this link.

Hurry! Enter NOW!

Win an autographed copy of The Black Fountain Goddess!

Waking for Hours: #bookreview

Waking For Hours book cover

I have met many awesome bloggers and authors online, but what is really cool is when I meet someone who falls out of the “norm” and piques my interest, like Connie Anne McEntee did.

Connie is also the author of Waking For Hours, a book about a teenage boy discovering his sexual identity.

My Review of Waking for Hours (which I posted to both Amazon and Goodreads):

Teenager William – Billy – Miller finds himself in a situation he never dreamt possible: in a love triangle with both a female and a male. As he discovers he is bisexual, he finds himself being polyamorous – having a girlfriend and a boyfriend at the same time.

Initially, Billy seems like an average teenage virgin, until he meets Jools, whom he gets to know during hiking trips and school study dates. As the two boys forge a special friendship, Billy and his girlfriend, Shelly, engage in intercourse for the first time.

Facing teenage struggles, like having to take a bus all the time because he doesn’t have a car, Billy sometimes gets rides from his friends who have vehicles, including his girlfriend, as well as his parents and grandpa, too.

The fun parts of being a teenager are incorporated into this book, including going to parties where Spin the Bottle and Never Have I Ever are played.

Throughout the book, the main character faces both inner and outer struggles, as well as discrimination from peers. His journey takes him to new and exciting places, and a variety of support systems emerge. The fact that Jools’ mom is a lesbian and Billy’s grandpa is bisexual adds another dimension to the book, too, demonstrating that LGBT people are everywhere!

Confusion about sexual orientation is the main issue in Waking for Hours. The moral? Self-discovery is a journey best left unrushed.

Because I had some interaction with the author – Connie Anne McEntee – prior to reading this book, I was able to notice some parallels between one the author’s characters – Donnie – and the author’s actual life. It’s no secret that fiction is based on reality, and the parallels added to the authenticity of the characters in the book. Some parallels:

  • similar names (Connie/Donnie)
  • the main character is a teen and has a sister (the author has two children)
  • the author has struggled with the very same issues as Billy

The simplistic writing was engaging, light and airy, the storylines had teachings behind them coupled with positive influences, including a gay pastor and a family who is loving and supportive of their children. Billy’s parents try very hard to be great role models, and the fact that his grandfather is bisexual adds an interesting twist to the story. It’s clear that the grandfather was born in a day and age where sexuality was not openly discussed, but the grandfather is portrayed as someone who is not only a mentor to Billy and his friends, and seems to be someone who is a lot of fun to be around.

I deem it an excellent book for teens, and would recommend this book easily!

Waking for Hours: Book Blurb

Here is what waking for hours is about, according to the author’s website (where you can visit to read a brief excerpt):

Seventeen-year-old Bill Miller is a creative, sensitive, and talented teenager who thinks of himself as just a regular guy with ordinary problems. His girlfriend, Shelly, is confused about her feelings for him. His ex-girlfriend, Melody, likes him as just a friend. Truth be told, Bill just wants to find peace. As the summer before his junior year of high school comes to a close, Bill attends a fine arts program at a community college and begins to perceive himself in a new light.

After a rather unsuccessful day at camp, Bill meets Julian “Jools” Garden, who immediately makes him feel better about himself. Jools and Bill find ways to spend time together, starting with a hike in the middle of suburbia that causes Bill to question everything he has ever known about himself. As his friendship with Jools progresses, Bill realizes he is not a straight guy with a girlfriend, but instead a bisexual youth who has fallen in love with Jools, even as Shelly seduces him for the first time.

Waking for Hours shares a teenager’s unique coming-of-age journey as he relies on the help of his grandfather and a new friend and unlocks the courage to face the reality about himself, love, and labels.

You can get your copy of Waking for Hours from:

Get to know the author on a personal level

The other day, when I wrote about sexual identity, I promised to introduce you to an interesting person.

I’m fascinated with interesting people, and Connie Anne McEntee is such a person.

Designated male at birth, Connie is undergoing medical transition from male to female. She’s also a witch, and is quite open about answering questions – even questions that “cross the line.” She was kind enough to share a few things with me and answer some of the questions I had in a mini-interview:

What does MTF mean?

Male to female.

What does genderqueer mean?

Genderqueer refers to a gender identity that is somewhere between masculine and feminine on the gender spectrum, sometimes a combination of both (androgynous or androgyne) and sometimes neither (agender). It’s an identity that “queers” the concept of gender identity by demanding the recognition of more than two options. A subset of genderqueer is genderfluid, in which a person might have a gender identity that shifts for various reasons.

I had thought for a time that I might be genderqueer, and I think it was an attempt to retain some masculinity to keep my wife from needing to divorce me. At this point, it’s safe to say that I have a feminine gender identity but I do queer gender roles to an extent. I still identify very much as my kids’ father, and they call me Dad. Additionally, I refer to myself as an ex-husband. Should I marry again, however, I will be a wife.

What is your sexual orientation? (Forgive me for being so blunt)

My sexual orientation is pansexual, that is I am capable of experiencing sexual attraction to persons across the gender spectrum. That said, I usually find feminine presentations to be most attractive, followed by androgynous, then masculine. My romantic orientation could be described as panromantic, as I am capable of falling in love with a person whose gender identity is anywhere on the spectrum. Unlike with my sexual orientation, I don’t seem to have a hierarchy of desire with regards to romance.

Here’s where it gets complicated. I can experience sexual attraction in different ways. The example I described above is based on how I perceive a person visually. There have been persons I’ve met who might not have found visually attractive, yet I became sexually attracted to them after I got to know them and began to fall in love with them. Typically, sexual attraction after a close emotional bond is formed is described as demisexual. But since I can experience sexual attraction also by appearances, it would be inaccurate for me to describe myself as demisexual. Wildly inaccurate, in fact. *blush*

Can you tell me more about your personal issues with respect to sexual attraction and interactions?

I’m very out regarding my sexual and romantic orientations, as I am with my gender identity. And while I will readily admit that my birth name was David William, I generally don’t discuss details of my sex life.

You’re into witchcraft, and you are a witch. Can you share what this means? Read More

Memories of Me #bookreview #books

Memories of Me - book cover

Writing about yourself and your memories can be hard, especially if you have endured traumatic events in your life.

I speak from experience when I say this, so I know this to be true. I’ve been raped, I’ve contemplated suicide on numerous occasions, and I nearly died. Fortunately, I’m still here, reaping many benefits of some of the decisions I’ve made, which include making money from writing.

I’ve had a short story included in an anthology, I’ve won a short story contest, and my book of short stories is going to be available soon!

I’m also still working on my two books; my memoirs, and Letters to Julian. Because of this, when I was recently contacted by Laura Hedgecock and asked to write a review of her new book, Memories of Me: A Complete Guide to Telling and Sharing the Stories of Your LifeI was intrigued, and I agreed to writing a review of this book in exchange for a free copy of it.

According to Laura Hedgecock:

Memories of Me taps into the passion of connecting with loved ones through memory narratives. It empowers hobbyists to create a legacy of family stories and memory episodes through prompts, in-depth brainstorming exercises, writing samples, and just enough writing tips for writers to take pride in their projects. 

I also agreed to participate in a blog tour. To see the other participants of this blog hop, check out the Memories of Me official tour post, beginning with this spotlight and this review.

Update: This review was given by another person, who, apparently, reviews books on a regular basis.

My Review

Memories of Me: A Complete Guide to Telling and Sharing the Stories of Your Life contains a lot of information, brainstorming and other exercises, and encouraging words to help YOU put into perspective your memories, thoughts and experiences so that YOU can write and catalogue your life stories.

Memories of Me uses Laura’s own experiences to show you how to implement the strategies she sets forth. For example, when writing a Christmas letter, Laura gives you specific things to include in it and then shows you how to incorporate all of them by writing a letter of her own. This practice is demonstrated throughout the book, which allows you to get to know her (and, by extension, her family) better while learning how to enhance your writing.

In this guide, worksheets are interspersed with writing tips and exercises and personal stories are shared. My favourite worksheet was the Brainstorming Lessons Learned worksheet, as it prompted me to think about and recall many things that I thought I had forgotten! This particular worksheet involves completing sentences such as “How I learned _____,” with the blank filled in with a specific action or attribute. Laura’s prompts are simply amazing.

From childhood to animals to school days to grandparents to friendships to relatives to religion to regret to conversations from the past to difficult times, Laura guides you, letting you be the decision-maker as she helps you remember and write. She also assists you with things pertaining to the art of writing, such as finding your voice, preserving your language, editing your words, and expressing yourself using humour.

Memories of Me: A Complete Guide to Telling and Sharing the Stories of Your Life is a true treasure chest of goodness you will benefit from and love!

My Personal Recommendation

Obviously, as someone who is writing her own memoirs (as well as a book titled Letters to Julian), I would not recommend Memories of Me: A Complete Guide to Telling and Sharing the Stories of Your Life unless I found it to be useful.

I do.

I also plan on using some of the exercises and worksheets as I struggle with my book of memoirs (and dealing with some of my own demons)!

Purchasing Information

Memories of Me: A Complete Guide to Telling and Sharing the Stories of Your Life is now available via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books & Things. You can also buy it from The Marketplace. I’ll leave it up to you to find out where you can get it at the lowest price. 😉

A Free Option

For those of you wanting guidance via a free option, I would recommend using Sue Mitchell’s memoir starter kit, which I also have.

 

 

picture of Laura Hedgecock

Laura Hedgecock is a Michigan-based freelance writer who attended the University of South Carolina. She is the mother of two (three if you count the dog!) and is the author of Memories of Me: A Complete Guide to Telling and Sharing the Stories of Your Life.

You can connect with Laura via Twitter or Google+, visit her site, Treasure Chest of Memories, and/or read her personal blog, Memories in the Wind.